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Improve your gut health by eating just one of THIS fruit a day

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/better-gut-health-3707.html

by:  | January 25, 2021

better-gut-health-avocado(NaturalHealth365) Over the past few years, we’ve continually learned more about the exciting health benefits of avocados.  Studies conducted on this fruit have found that they’re useful for regulating LDL cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease.  Additional research shows that they help support immune function, may curb appetite, lower blood pressure, support healthy skin, and even help prevent certain types of cancer.

The authors of a new study decided to investigate a different side of avocados, delving into their effects on the digestive system.  Findings published in the Journal of Nutrition show that eating an avocado a day improves overall gut health drastically.

12-weeks study shows POWERFUL benefits to gut health

Study authors wanted to go beyond the obvious benefits of consuming avocados, like their ability to reduce cholesterol and make you feel full to focus on how they influence the gut.  The study involved 163 people between 25 and 45 years of age who were overweight or obese but otherwise in good health.

Broken into two groups, over 12 weeks, one group of people added an avocado to one meal a day.  The second group of participants ate similar meals but did not have an avocado.  Throughout the study period, all members provided fecal, urine, and blood samples and reported how much of their meals were eaten each day.

At the end of the study, researchers discovered that the group eating an avocado daily resulted in more healthful microbes found in the intestines and stomach.  Along with their ability to increase the healthy microbes in the gut, study authors also noted that avocados’ high fiber content makes them excellent for digestive health, too.  Researchers noticed that, interestingly, the avocado group also excreted more fat in their stools, suggesting that they may not have absorbed as much energy from the foods they ate.

Ready to add an avocado to your daily diet? Here are some simple ways to enjoy this INCREDIBLE fruit

Avocados are a mild fruit that’s easy to incorporate into both savory or sweet dishes.  They’re a great addition to your favorite salads, can be added to sauces, and taste delicious stuffed with an egg and other ingredients.  Of course, avocado toast is a favorite option for many avocado lovers, and they’re even delicious in smoothies along with protein powder and your favorite fruits.

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of nasal congestion, fatigue, poor sleep, skin issues plus many other health issues.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

For those who aren’t fans of avocados, it’s possible to get probiotic nutrients in other ways.  Eating yogurt is a popular way to get more good bacteria into your gut.  Consuming more vegetables high in fiber like lentils, artichokes, broccoli, and chickpeas also benefit gut health.  Chickpeas, in particular, contain a fermentable fiber that promotes gut health, and they are known for fighting heart disease and curbing the appetite, too.

Sources for this article include:

OUP.com
MedicalNewsToday.com
NaturalHealth365.com
NaturalHealth365.com

Ease aching muscles with ginger

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365store.com/ginger-helps-aching-muscles

Ease aching muscles with ginger
Posted by Carol Simmons on 12/24/2020

Prized by chefs for its tangy, refreshing flavor and utilized in cuisines around the globe, ginger is a sure way to add a little “zing” to recipes.  Even its scientific name – Zingiber officinale – has a zing to it!  And, ginger’s usefulness isn’t confined to just the kitchen.

For centuries, ginger root has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing systems as a trusted remedy for a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, colds and fungal infections. Now, an intriguing new study backs up ginger’s pain-relieving properties – and reveals why ginger might be “just the ticket” for relieving post-workout muscle pain.

Looking for a natural alternative to toxic medications?

As it turns out, ginger is packed with active compounds such as gingerols, shogaols, and zingerone.  Research has shown that these inhibit the activity of the pro-inflammatory enzymes COX-1 and COX-2,  which are major culprits in promoting inflammation and pain.

In fact, scientists credit ginger with pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects similar to that of NSAID medications.

In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia and published in The Journal of Pain, volunteers took either 2 grams of ginger a day for 11 days, or a placebo.  Towards the end of the study, participants were asked to perform a series of elbow flexor exercises intended to cause moderate muscle injury.

Three days later, the team evaluated the participants’ range of motion and their levels of pain, inflammation and swelling.  And, the result was clear.  Daily ginger consumption, the researchers concluded, caused “moderate-to-large” reductions in muscle pain.

Separate studies have shown that ginger reduces menstrual pain as well.  In some studies, ginger seemed to work as well as ibuprofen, a pharmaceutical pain-reliever!

Ginger has also been found to reduce hip and knee pain in osteoarthritis patients.

Discover a time-honored remedy for nausea

Ginger has traditionally been used to relieve indigestion, nausea, vomiting, bloating and constipation – with sound scientific basis. With strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, ginger protects the gastrointestinal tract, promotes efficient digestion, and speeds the elimination of waste.

In studies, dosages of one or two grams of ginger were shown to effectively reduce post-operative vomiting and motion sickness-related vomiting.  In one trial, ginger helped to ease nausea in children and young adults undergoing chemotherapy.

Researchers have also praised ginger as a safe and effective treatment for morning sickness.

Good to know: With strong antimicrobial properties, ginger is active against the H. pylori bacteria, a common cause of stomach ulcers and digestive problems.

Ginger helps to protect against several life-threatening diseases

Ginger may even act against heart disease and cancer, the Number One and Number Two causes of death in the nation.

In one review, 5 grams of ginger a day had significant antiplatelet activity, meaning it reduced the “stickiness” of platelets that allows blood to form into dangerous clots. Other studies have shown that ginger reduces harmful LDL cholesterol while increasing levels of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol.

While more research is needed, it’s clear that ginger has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system.

In addition, ginger contains phenolic compounds called gingerols.  These have been shown in laboratory studies to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Access the zesty benefits of ginger

Ginger is available in the form of fresh ginger root, as well as in dried, powdered form. Ginger may also be candied and even pickled – with the latter commonly served with sushi as a palate cleanser.

There are a variety of delicious ways to use ginger (aside from the time-honored gingerbread).

You can add ginger juice to smoothies, grate fresh ginger over salads or vegetables, or use fresh or powdered ginger to add zip to stews, marinades and dressings.  You can also make a stomach-soothing ginger tea by thinly slicing two inches of fresh ginger root and boiling it for 20 minutes, then straining and cooling.

Ginger in amounts found in foods is generally recognized as safe. However, if you intend to supplement with ginger extracts or capsules, check first with your integrative doctor.

Ultimately, whether you use ginger to alleviate pain, soothe digestive problems or promote overall health, this spicy herb has plenty to offer.

Sources for this article include:

JPain.org

ScienceDaily.com

NIH.gov

MedicalNewsToday.com

NIH.gov

Can Carrots Help Combat COVID?


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2021/01/23/can-carrots-help-combat-covid.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola   Fact Checked    January 23, 2021

can carrots help combat covid

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Scientists studying the relationship between nutrition, your immune system and COVID-19 have found that carrots have a compound that is stable against SARS-CoV-2 proteins
  • Carrots are rich in vitamins A and C; data show a deficiency in vitamin A leads to age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and inhibition of normal apoptosis in bone marrow
  • Beta-carotene helps optimize levels of non-HDL cholesterol and compounds found in carrots help lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and metabolic syndrome
  • While the demand for baby carrots is rising in the U.S., it’s wise to steer clear of them as they are usually given a chlorine bath before sale; choose whole, unprocessed, ideally organic, carrots that you can wash, peel and cut yourself

Carrots (Daucus carota) are root vegetables and one of the most popular food ingredients used worldwide. Researchers have found this popular vegetable may hold one key in the fight against COVID-19.1

Historians believe the history of the carrot is somewhat obscured since, initially, carrots and parsnips were used interchangeably and it has been difficult to identify when wild carrots were first cultivated.2

It is believed they originated in Iran and Afghanistan and were popular in ancient Egypt, where the most-used carrot was believed to be purple. English settlers brought the modern-day carrot to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609, where they spread to South America and then made the jump to Australia.

Wild carrots are still indigenous to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia and appear in temperate regions around the world.3 The modern carrot appeared in the 17th century after selective breeding reduced the wooden core and increased the sweetness.4 But it was only after World War I that carrots became popular in the U.S.

China leads the market for turnips and carrots combined, producing 48.2% of world sales for the two veggies.5 Global production in 2019 was 44.7 million metric tons and the market is expected to continue to grow at 3.4% through 2025. The major challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the impact on the supply chain, which has increased direct farm-to-consumer sales and delayed shipping.

Some Components of Carrots Influence SARS-CoV-2 Proteins

Many scientists have begun studying the relationship between nutrition, your immune system and COVID-19 infection. Since carrots are consumed around the world, scientists at a private institution in Mexico developed a study in which they analyzed the effect retinol RTN from carrots has on amino acids that make up SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.6

Preformed vitamin A, called retinol, comes only from animal products such as buttercream, cod liver oil, eggs and liver.7 However, carrots contain beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in a range of 3-to-1 or 28-to-1, depending on factors such as thyroid function and zinc levels.

Researchers used the HyperChem molecular modeling software to evaluate electron transfer coefficients of the nutritional compounds found in carrots and the SARS-CoV-2 amino acids. What they found was the interaction between carrot RTN and the virus amino acids was the most stable, concluding that the results of their analysis “may indicate a recommendation to increase carrot consumption to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.”8

They point out that carrots are a rich source of vitamins C and A, as well as energy, fiber, calcium and beta-carotene. In the past researchers have demonstrated carrots have anti-inflammatory properties, anticancer activity and antioxidant activity by scavenging free radicals, which is essential for your immune system.

Their present work looked at the interaction between the amino acids in the COVID-19 coronavirus and multiple components found in carrots. Using chemical quantum analysis, they found RTN was the most stable substance and functioned as an antioxidant agent.

The data showed RTN, with other chemical compounds found in carrots, worked together to fight SARS-CoV-2. Interestingly, when they compared the power of RTN against commonly used allopathic medicines used for COVID-19, including remdesivir, ivermectin, aspirin and favipiravir, the natural substances in carrots appeared to be more powerful.9

Click here to learn more

Retinoids and Carotenoids Support Your Immune Health

While beta-carotene-rich vegetables, such as carrots, are helpful, you absorb more vitamin A from animal-based products. However, John Stolarczyk, from the World Carrot Museum, points out it’s easier to get people to eat carrots than it is to eat liver or cod liver oil:10

“Almost everyone, especially kids, likes carrots, whereas liver is an acquired taste. Carrots are very cheap, (easily stored) and attractively displayed in most stores. Liver looks dreadful.”

For nearly 100 years, scientists have understood that vitamin A is an essential component in your body’s ability to resist infectious disease.11 However, it is only recently that researchers have begun to understand the mechanism vitamin A uses to regulate cell- and humoral-mediated immunity.

This includes the discovery that retinoic acid plays an important role in cell regulation on immunity.12 Retinoic acid helps balance TH17 and T cell regulatory responses, as well as having a therapeutic role in autoimmune diseases. Researchers have found that retinoic deficiency plays an important role in the development of a broad range of autoimmune diseases.13

Your skin is an important part of your immune health, functioning as the front line of defense against bacteria and viruses and other pathogens. Scientists have known that vitamin A plays a unique and vital role in the formation and maturation of epithelial cells.14,15 But this doesn’t happen on just the outside of your body.

Vitamin A also plays an integral role in the production of the mucus layer that lines your respiratory and intestinal tracts and plays a primary role in promoting the secretion of mucin. This is a glycoprotein that plays a central role in limiting infectious disease and in adaptive immunity.16

Researchers have also identified the role it plays in the defense of your oral mucosa and improving the integrity of your intestinal mucosa. In addition to being important to protect your immune system, researchers, using animal models, have found a vitamin A deficiency (VitAD) can result in a:17

“… defect in both T cell-mediated and antibody-dependent immune responses. VitAD can also inhibit the normal apoptosis process of bone marrow cells, which leads to an increased number of myeloid cells in the bone marrow, spleen, and peripheral blood, indicating that VitA is involved in the regulation of homeostasis of bone marrow.”

Beta-Carotene May Help Promote Cholesterol Homeostasis

Cholesterol and beta-carotene have considerable overlapping properties, including transportation facilitated by lipoproteins and the body’s use as precursors for hormones.18 While cholesterol and beta-carotene are present in atherosclerotic plaque lesions, elevated concentrations of beta-carotene are associated with a lower incidence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers believe they have shed new light on the interaction between beta-carotene and cholesterol metabolism that has been called a “potential game-changer.”19

After a preclinical study in which they compare the effects of a 10-day diet high in beta-carotene on the plasma cholesterol of beta-carotene oxygenase 1 (BCO1) deficient mice, the research team aimed at determining whether the same BCO1 locus could affect serum cholesterol concentrations in humans.

They evaluated a cohort of college applicants of Mexican ethnicity in the Multidisciplinary Investigation on Genetics, Obesity, And Social Environment. BCO1 is the enzyme that converts beta-carotene into vitamin A.20

Analysis of the animal study showed that the mice without BCO1 had elevated plasma level concentrations of beta-carotene as they could not convert it to vitamin A.21 The higher concentrations were associated with an increase in cholesterol as compared to the wild type mice control, which converted beta-carotene to vitamin A and had lower levels of cholesterol.

Cholesterol changes occurred almost exclusively in non-HDL cholesterol.22 One commentator points out many are deficient in beta-carotene and speculates:23

“… it might be predictable that the observed effect increases with age and that the cholesterol-lowering effect of β-carotene is enhanced on diets rich in carotenoids.

Notably, previous studies linked low vitamin A blood concentrations to coronary events such as myocardial infarction. β-Carotene is a major source of vitamin A, but as recently noted by a conference elucidating the current status of the β-carotene research field, dietary intake is below recommended concentrations of <3 mg/d in many populations.”

More Health Benefits of Carrots and Seed Extract

The flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids in carrots all contribute to numerous other health benefits. Data have demonstrated the compounds found in carrots have properties that lower the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and cancer.24

They also are known for hepatoprotective, renal protective and anti-inflammatory properties. When you develop a habit of including carrots in your daily routine, you enjoy some important health benefits.

Cancer — Data show smokers who eat carrots more than once weekly have a lower risk of lung cancer,25 and a beta-carotene rich diet may help protect against prostate cancer26 and colon cancer,27 and to reduce the risk of gastric cancer.28

Carrots also contain falcarinol, a natural toxin they use against fungal disease, which may stimulate cancer-fighting mechanisms in your body and has demonstrated the ability to reduce the risk of tumors in rats.29

Vision — Carrots have long been associated with good eyesight. Vitamin A deficiency can speed the deterioration of your eyes’ photoreceptors leading to vision problems and night blindness.30 Carrots can also reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration31 and cataracts.32

Both are eye diseases that get worse over time and may lead to blindness. Additionally, data have shown that women can reduce their risk of glaucoma by 64% when they eat more than two servings of carrots per week.33

Metabolic syndrome — Carrots contain beta-carotene and lycopene, both of which have been associated with lower incidence of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged and elderly men.34 Metabolic syndrome is associated with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Brain health — Data show middle-aged men and women who eat a high number of root vegetables, such as carrots, show a reduction in cognitive decline.35 Carrot extract has also demonstrated a positive effect on the management of cognitive dysfunction.36

Antiaging effect — Carrots are replete with antioxidants that help reduce the damage caused by free radicals.37 Carrot seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties, which are significant even when compared against drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and Naproxen.38

Vegetables that are rich in beta-carotene also help prevent premature skin aging. Data also show people with scleroderma, a disorder of connective tissue, had low levels of beta-carotene.39

Choose Your Carrots Carefully

Demand for baby carrots in the U.S. continues to rise as more people are choosing them for snacks over junk foods.40 Baby carrots are made from full-length carrots that are peeled and shaped. Bolthouse Farms and Grimmway Farms are the two leading producers that have focused on advertising campaigns and packaging to improve snack food sales.

However, part of the process of making baby carrots includes a chlorine bath. Grimmway Farms reports they use chlorine on all their baby carrots to prevent food poisoning.41 Chlorine can also be used to extend the shelf life of baby carrots.

Buffing and processing increase the rate at which the carrots begin to deteriorate and develop a white blush on the exterior as the vegetable begins drying out.42 Although the amount of chlorine in each individual baby carrot is minute, it has an additive value to your overall toxic burden.

Additionally, it isn’t the chlorine that causes most problems but, rather, the disinfection byproducts produced when the chlorine interacts with organic matter.43 In this case, the term organic means a carbon-based compound.

Disinfection byproducts are far more toxic than chlorine and are produced in all baby carrots, whether toxic pesticides were used in the growing process or not. Long-term exposure includes excessive free radical formation, which accelerates aging and vulnerability to genetic mutation and cancer.

Scientists are only beginning to understand the long and short-term impact of chlorine base chemicals. Your healthiest option is to grow your own or buy whole, unprocessed, ideally organic carrots and then wash, peel and cut them yourself.

Carrots can stay fresh in the coolest part of your refrigerator for about two weeks when they are wrapped in a paper towel or placed in a sealed bag. Avoid storing them near apples, pears or potatoes since the ethylene gas released from these vegetables and fruit can create a bitter flavor to your carrots.44

If your carrots still have green tops, remove those before storing in the refrigerator since the carrots will wilt faster. However, carrot tops are nutritious and can easily be added to fresh vegetable juice or your salad.

Warning!

This recommendation on carrots is general and I don’t want you to believe that carrots should be used to treat COVID. It is important to understand that many are unable to effectively convert the carotenoids to the active form retinol that improves immune function.

So if you or anyone you know has an active infection it is FAR better to use retinol. A good form would be emulsified vitamin A. Don’t eat a pound of carrots and think that it will help you fight COVID as it likely won’t. You need the real vitamin A.

– Sources and References

Eating this unusual fruit IMPROVES digestion and reduces cellular stress

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/special-fruit-digestion-3695.html

by:  | January 15, 2021

pomegranate-health-benefits(NaturalHealth365) It’s pomegranate season!  This colorful and unusual fruit is in season from October through January, so now is the perfect time to experience the sweet and tart taste for yourself.  And it’s not just the taste you can enjoy – the fruit offers plenty of health benefits, including improved digestion.

Let’s take a look at some of the best reasons to add this fruit to your winter diet, plus give a few pointers on how to eat pomegranate without making a mess.

Protect your digestion with a fruit MORE protective than red wine or green tea

Pomegranates contain arils, edible red seed pods surrounded by juicy, red-hued fruity flesh.  Just one cup of arils contains about 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, 36 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, and 16 percent of the recommended daily intake of folate.  Like many other fruits, pomegranate arils are also full of antioxidants and fiber yet low in calories.

Thanks to this impressive nutritional profile, pomegranate arils and juice have been studied extensively for their possible health benefits.  Research reveals the following:

  • Pomegranate contains at least two antioxidant compounds believed to offer medicinal properties: punicic acid and punicalagin.  The antioxidant capacity of pomegranate juice is actually thought to be three times more powerful than the antioxidant capacity of red wine and green tea, as shown in a 2000 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
  • Randomized trials in humans have shown that consuming pomegranates can reduce inflammation, which is a major driver of cell-damaging oxidative stress, aging, and chronic disease.
  • Thanks to their anti-inflammatory capacity and fiber content, pomegranates are also recognized for their beneficial effect on digestion.

Additional research cited by the University of Florida suggests pomegranate may even help lower blood pressure, reverse cardiovascular disease, and enhance exercise performance (by optimizing blood flow).

Intimidated by this messy fruit? Here’s how to eat pomegranate

You can buy prepared whole pomegranate arils or purchase 100 percent pomegranate juice.  But it’s less expensive to buy a whole pomegranate and prepare it yourself (and compared to even whole juice, eating the actual fruit is healthier given the higher fiber content).

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of nasal congestion, fatigue, poor sleep, skin issues plus many other health issues.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

What turns many people away from buying whole pomegranates is how notoriously difficult it can be to cut and prepare.  Here’s a simple way to do it yourself without making a huge mess or staining your fingers for days:

  • Cut a pomegranate into quarters.  (You can generally tell that a pomegranate is ripe and ready to eat when its sides are slightly flattened and its skin is easy to scratch with a fingernail.)
  • Put one of the fruit quarters in a large bowl filled with fresh water, and gently pull apart the skin and pick out the arils as you hold the wedge under the water.  The skin and pith of the fruit should float while the arils should sink to the bottom of the bowl.  This prevents red juice from getting everywhere (your clothes and cutting boards, for example).
  • Repeat with the other quarters.
  • Skim off the skin and non-edible membranes of the plant from the water and strain the arils out.  Voila!

You can eat arils by the handful or sprinkle them in salads, oatmeals, yogurt, and more.  Enjoy!

Sources for this article include:

UFL.edu
Healthline.com
NIH.gov
MedicalNewsToday.com
SpoonUniversity.com
NIH.gov

Are mushrooms the ultimate superfood? The answer may surprise you … especially when it comes to getting enough vitamin D

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/mushrooms-health-benefits-3693.html

by:  | January 13, 2021

mushroom-health-benefits(NaturalHealth365) While certain types of mushrooms can be toxic or even deadly, the mushrooms you’ll find in the grocery store are safe and healthy to eat.  In fact, the health benefits of mushrooms appear to impact everything from cognition to gut health.

Mushrooms are even known as one of the few plant sources of vitamin D, a critical nutrient that about 1 billion people worldwide are estimated to be deficient in.  In other words: these versatile fungi could be a great addition to your weekly meal plan if you don’t eat them yet.

Eating just 2 servings of mushrooms per week could do wonders for brain function

Most varieties of mushrooms contain a range of nutrients, including vitamin D, vitamin B, copper, potassium, selenium, and phosphorus.  We’re still learning about why they boost health, but human studies have so far revealed some promising effects.

According to Harvard Medical School, one 2019 study found that consuming just two servings of mushrooms per week (1 serving is about 3/4 cup cooked) was associated with a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment in older adults compared to eating fewer than 1 serving per week.  Scientists attribute their excellent brain-protective benefits to their antioxidant capacity.

Additional research has found that mushrooms, which contain natural prebiotic compounds, may stimulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria and potentially support healthy digestion.

Another great thing about mushrooms is that you generally have a wide variety to choose!  Popular types of mushrooms include:

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of nasal congestion, fatigue, poor sleep, skin issues plus many other health issues.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

  • Shiitake
  • Portobello
  • Crimini
  • Button
  • Oyster
  • Beech
  • Maitake
  • Enoki

Read this important note about mushrooms as a vitamin D source

We mentioned earlier that mushrooms are one of the only plant sources of vitamin D, which (in addition to sunshine) makes them a popular choice for vegans or anyone interested in non-animal sources of this important vitamin.  And while this is true, there are a few important things to keep in mind so you can ensure you’re getting the most out of this nutritious fungi:

  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture, mushrooms technically contain a compound called ergosterol that is a precursor to vitamin D.  This means that it gets broken down in the body and converted into vitamin D2.  But, vitamin “D2” is not the ideal form for humans.  Especially if you’re deficient in vitamin D … you’ll want to get vitamin “D3.”
  • Many conventionally grown fungi are actually grown in dark environments, which dramatically lowers their vitamin D content (unfortunately).  Some more health-conscious producers are now exposing their mushroom crops to ultraviolet light as a way to improve the fungi’s nutritional profile.  Look for these higher-quality varieties in health food stores or online.
  • According to Harvard Medical School, dried mushrooms stored in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months contain about 600 IU of vitamin D2 per 3.5-ounce serving.
  • Bottom line: If you’re deficient in vitamin D (with a blood test score of below 30) … then, you’ll most likely need to supplement with vitamin D3 to the tune of 5,000 to 8,000 IU or more until your levels reach between 50 and 80 ng/ml.
  • In addition, you may want to consider taking your vitamin D3 with cofactors like, vitamin K2, magnesium, zinc and boron to help with proper absorption.

Before you eat mushrooms … here are two final tips:

Don’t wash or clean mushrooms until you’re prepared to use them (ideally within a week of purchasing), and try storing them in a fridge in an open brown paper bag to help absorb excess moisture and prevent spoilage.

Sources for this article include:

Harvard.edu
USDA.gov
NIH.gov

Feeling hopeless about your underactive thyroid? These two nutrients may help, study suggests

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/underactive-thyroid-zinc-selenium-3687.html

by:  | January 8, 2021

underactive-thyroid(NaturalHealth365) According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 4.6 percent of the U.S. population over 12 years old lives with hypothyroidism, with women far more likely to develop the condition than men.  Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, occurs when your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones.  This diminished thyroid function can potentially lead to devastating health consequences, such as weight gain, muscle weakness, pain, depression, plus much more.

Although thyroid medications are the gold standard for managing hypothyroidism symptoms, they are certainly not the only way to nudge your thyroid gland to release more of its vital hormones.  A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition put two nutrients to the test to see if they can help improve thyroid function.

Study questions effectiveness of medications used to treat underactive thyroid

If you live with low thyroid, you know how the condition progresses over time and symptoms worsen. Upon diagnosis, most doctors recommend patients to begin taking one of the many thyroid medications on the market, likely for the rest of their life.  This approach might sound reasonable if we did not consider the long list of possible side effects and severe long-term health consequences, such as breast cancer associated with thyroid medications.  In addition, scientists also raised questions about medication efficacy, as a whopping 40 percent of patients on thyroid medications continue to have abnormal TSH levels, according to the Colorado thyroid disease prevalence study.

Such dismal results with commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals may partially explain why researchers looked at nutrients to boost thyroid hormone levels naturally.

Supplementing with these two nutrients can increase thyroid hormone levels

In this 12-week study, researchers divided 68 obese women with underactive thyroid into four groups.

  • Group 1 received 30 milligrams of zinc (as zinc gluconate) and 200 micrograms of selenium (as selenium yeast)
  • Group 2 received 30 mg of zinc
  • Group 3 received 200 micrograms of selenium
  • Group 4 received a placebo

At the end of the study period, researchers noted significant improvements in several areas.  First, participants in the zinc-selenium group saw a 9.2 percent increase in Free T3 hormone levels.  The zinc only group had an even more remarkable, 27 percent increase.  Second, Free T4 levels also went up by 12.4 percent among patients taking both zinc and selenium.  Finally, the ratio between Free T3 and Free T4 also improved by 23.8 percent.

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of nasal congestion, fatigue, poor sleep, skin issues plus many other health issues.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

Researchers concluded that yes, indeed, supplementing with zinc or zinc and selenium has a beneficial effect on thyroid function.

Discover the various ways zinc and selenium affect your thyroid

To better appreciate the above findings, let’s take a closer look at the connection between thyroid and zinc.  One of the most important functions of zinc is its role in the T4 to T3 conversion.  This process is also called the peripheral thyroid conversion, by which your body converts the inactive thyroid hormone T4 into the active hormone T3.

Although zinc is not the only nutrient playing a role in this conversion, it is undeniably the most important of all.  Zinc deficiency impairs your body’s ability to convert T4 to T3 and may lead to low thyroid development. On the contrary, maintaining adequate zinc levels can help optimize your health in multiple ways.

Selenium, an essential micronutrient for thyroid function, also boosts T4 to T3 conversion, protects the gland against damage, and plays a vital role in thyroid hormone synthesis.  Of all the organs, your thyroid contains the highest concentration of selenium in your body.

Know this before supplementing with zinc or selenium

Although avoiding deficiency in zinc and selenium is essential for optimum health, you should always consult with your healthcare professional before starting a new supplement regiment.  Taking high amounts (especially over 40 mg) of zinc for long periods can deplete copper stores in your body. If you have celiac disease or other digestive disorders, you may not be able to absorb zinc at all.

Selenium requires similar precautions as it can be toxic at high amounts.  Experts have set the daily upper limits of selenium at 400 mcg.  Brazil nuts are a popular way to ensure you meet the recommended daily intake of selenium.

Be mindful, however, that according to the NIH, one ounce, or about 4 to 6 Brazil nuts contain approximately 544 micrograms of selenium, which is more than nine times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 55 mcg for most adults. A good rule of thumb is to limit the number of Brazil nuts to a couple of them a day.

Sources for this article include:

NIH.gov
NIH.gov
NaturalHealth365.com
NaturalHealth365.com

Can an Onion a Day Keep the Doctor Away?


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2021/01/11/can-an-onion-a-day-keep-the-doctor-away.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola      Fact Checked      January 11, 2021

onion health benefits

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The nutrient value in onions is likely the reason this savory vegetable is packed with health benefits; it is loaded with calcium, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium
  • Onions are one of the richest sources of flavonoids, a group of polyphenols that play an important role in reducing the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases
  • Onions are a source of the water-soluble fiber inulin, an important prebiotic that supports your beneficial gut bacteria and has demonstrated the ability to promote weight loss and reduce liver fat cells
  • Quercetin is another compound found in onions, and it’s linked to fat cell inhibition, immune system modulation and blood pressure reduction
  • Pick your onions dry and firm and leave the root intact to reduce tearing while peeling

A 2019 survey of 2,000 people in the U.S. crowned corn the new favorite vegetable, with an approval rating of 91%.1 Onions followed not far behind with an approval rating of 87%, making it among the top five favorite vegetables. The survey found some of the least favorite vegetables included asparagus, mushrooms and eggplant.

Many experts believe that the first onions appeared in Central Asia. Most agree the vegetable has been cultivated for nearly 5,000 years and might be one of the first cultivated crops since they are easy to grow and transport, and have a long shelf life.2

Pliny the Elder catalogued how Romans used onions in Pompeii before being killed by the volcano. His documents showed that onions’ curative powers included the ability to induce sleep, heal toothaches and mouth sores and address vision problems. Others have documented their use in the treatment of headaches and heart disease.3

In the Middle Ages, onions were used to help relieve headaches, hair loss and help to pay the rent. The first pilgrims brought them on the Mayflower to America to cultivate, where they became one of the first products brought to market in New England.

Onions are a member of the allium family, which also includes garlic, leeks, shallots and chives.4 About 125,000 acres produce 6.2 billion pounds of onions each year in the U.S.5 The top producing states are California, Eastern Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

Other countries producing a large number of onions include Turkey, Pakistan, China and India. According to Live Science, the average person in the U.S. eats 20 pounds of onions each year.

Nutrient Value Basis of Onion’s Health Benefits

It’s likely the many health benefits derived from eating onions comes from the nutrient value of the vegetable. One small onion has just 28 calories, 6.5 grams (g) of carbohydrate and 1.1 g of total fiber. It also contains:6

  • Calcium, 16.1 milligrams (mg)
  • Magnesium, 7 mg
  • Potassium, 102 mg
  • Vitamin C, 5.18 mg
  • Choline, 4.27 mg

Onions are also surprisingly high in beneficial polyphenols.7 This group of plant compounds plays an important role in the prevention and reduction of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In a comparison of the polyphenol and antioxidant capacity between red and yellow onions researchers found the outer layers of the onions had the highest number of total polyphenols and flavonoids.

The outer layers of both types of onions also had the highest antioxidant activity. However, overall, the red onion had better antioxidant activity, with a higher number of total polyphenols and flavonoids that were associated with antioxidant activity. Onions have over 25 varieties of flavonoids that help prevent cellular damage contributing to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

In addition to the calcium content promoting strong bones, onions may also relieve oxidative stress, which in turn decreases bone loss and can help prevent osteoporosis.8 Onions are also good sources of vitamins A and K, which in addition to vitamin C help protect your skin from ultraviolet rays. Vitamin C also helps your body produce collagen, a structural support for your skin and hair.

Click here to learn more

Prebiotic Compound Has Multiple Benefits

Prebiotics are indigestible fiber that help nourish the beneficial bacteria in your body. In turn, these bacteria help with digestion and absorption of your food, as well as play a significant role in the function of your immune system. One of these prebiotics is inulin, a water-soluble form of dietary fiber that’s found in onions.9

Inulin is found in thousands of species of plants, but most experts agree that chicory root is the richest source with up to 20 g of inulin per 100 g in weight. Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, asparagus and raw onion are also significant sources, with Jerusalem artichokes measuring up to 19 g and raw onion measuring from 5 to 9 g.10

Your gut thrives on adequate amounts of fiber as it helps improve digestive health and relieves constipation. In one study, researchers found those who took inulin had bowel movements with improved stool consistency,11 and another four-week study showed older adults experienced better digestion with less constipation.12

In addition to feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome, inulin also demonstrates the ability to promote weight loss and reduce liver fat cells in people who are prediabetic.13

Since inulin is colorless, has a neutral taste and is highly soluble, manufacturers are adding it to food products to help increase the fiber content of processed foods.14 In a review of inulin studies published in U.S. Pharmacist, the data showed inulin also has an effect on mineral absorption and a potential effect on lipid levels.15

Several studies showed it helps improve calcium absorption, which is highly beneficial in the onion since it is also a rich source of calcium. Overall, the data on the effect on lipids were mixed as most studies had a small number of participants. However, past research has shown that soluble fiber does lower lipid levels.16

In one study of women who had Type 2 diabetes, the researchers found those who used insulin had better glycemic control.17 It also appears that flavonoid-rich foods such as onions may help inhibit the growth of H. pylori, a type of bacteria responsible for most ulcers.18

Allium Vegetables Linked to Cancer Prevention

Allium vegetables are popular in different dishes worldwide and some epidemiological studies have found an association between people eating large amounts of allium vegetables and a reduced risk of cancer, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract.19

The majority of these studies have come from mechanistic research, or studies that are “designed to understand a biological or behavioral process, the pathophysiology of a disease, or the mechanism of action of an intervention.”20

Some of these have been clinical trials evaluating the mechanism sulfur compounds in allium vegetables have on bioactivation of carcinogens and antimicrobial activities. In a review of the literature, researchers found:21 “Allium vegetables and their components have effects at each stage of carcinogenesis and affect many biological processes that modify cancer risk.”

In early 2019, a study published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology revealed the results of an analysis of 833 patients with colorectal cancer who were matched against an equal number of healthy controls.22 Demographic and dietary data were collected using interviews.

After the analysis, the researchers found that adults who ate high amounts of allium vegetables had a 79% lower risk colorectal cancer. Dr. Zhi Li, of the First Hospital of China Medical University, was the senior author, who commented on the results saying:23

“It is worth noting that in our research, there seems to be a trend: the greater the amount of allium vegetables, the better the protection. In general, the present findings shed light on the primary prevention of colorectal cancer through lifestyle intervention, which deserves further in-depth explorations.”

Angela Lemond, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agrees that foods high in antioxidants and which are “one of the richest sources of dietary flavonoids,”24 are important to good health:25

“Foods that are high in antioxidants and amino acids allow your body to function optimally. Antioxidants help prevent damage, and cancer. Amino acids are the basic building block for protein, and protein is used in virtually every vital function in the body.”

Quercetin Linked to Blood Pressure and Immune Function

Quercetin is another compound found in onions that is linked to a large number of health benefits. This single antioxidant flavonoid is found in high concentrations in onions. Researchers have found some onions store quercetin in the outer layers and others have higher concentration in the inner layers.26

Red onions and chartreuse onions have the highest levels in the outer layers, whereas the highest levels of quercetin were detected in the inner layer of the yellow onion. In this study, data showed the yellow onions had more total quercetin than red onions, and chartreuse onions had the highest level overall.

The most common onions are red, yellow and white, whereas chartreuse is a relatively rare genetic genotype.27 There are two main classes of flavonoids in onions — anthocyanins that are responsible for the color of red onions and quercetin that is responsible for the yellow and brown skins of other varieties.28

In one review of the literature researchers evaluated the anti-obesity activity of onions and their effect on related comorbidities.29 Analysis revealed studies that demonstrated “quercetin-rich onion peel extract” could inhibit fat cell generation in the lab and an animal model.

Additionally, they found raw extract could reduce blood sugar in an animal model after 24 hours and had the potential for pancreatic beta cell regeneration. The benefits extended to overweight and obese patients with high blood pressure who used concentrations of quercetin extracted from onion skin.

In this study, a group of participants took three capsules each day and while there was no difference in blood pressure measurements in the total group, blood pressure was significantly reduced in the subgroup of participants who had high blood pressure.

As I’ve written in the past, quercetin in combination with vitamin C has a powerful effect on your immune system and specifically to help prevent COVID-19. Since 1 cup of chopped onions provides 13.11% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C,30,31 onions are a healthy addition to your daily nutritional intake.32 The benefits to your immune system are extensive and include:33

“Quercetin is known for its antioxidant activity in radical scavenging and anti-allergic properties characterized by stimulation of immune system, antiviral activity, inhibition of histamine release, decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines, leukotrienes creation, and suppresses interleukin IL-4 production.

It can improve the Th1/Th2 balance, and restrain antigen-specific IgE antibody formation. It is also effective in the inhibition of enzymes such as lipoxygenase, eosinophil and peroxidase and the suppression of inflammatory mediators.”

How to Pick, Peel and Store Your Onions

Whether you’re harvesting from your own garden or selecting onions at the grocery store, use those that are dry and firm. Although they have a long shelf life, once they reach the end the flesh begins to get soft and moist.34 The onion should have little or no scent before you begin cutting.

As you peel the onion, take off the least amount of skin from the outer layer. As with many other vegetables, the outer layers are packed with antioxidants, which are best used in your meal and not in the garbage or compost pile.

The chemical properties of onions that make them savory are the same that trigger your tears as you’re peeling and chopping. These are sulfur compounds the plant uses in chemical warfare against predators. As you slice an onion, it produces a sulfur-based gas. This reacts with your tears and forms the familiar irritation triggered by a sulfenic acid substrate.35

To reduce the effect, try standing farther away so as the gas is released it disperses before reaching your face. You can also try cutting onions in front of a fan that blows the gas away from you. Try refrigerating the onions for 30 minutes and leaving the roots intact as you’re cutting and peeling. According to the National Onion Association, the roots have the highest concentration of sulfur.36

Onions should be stored in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area. Instead of a plastic bag, consider wrapping each in a paper towel before placing in the refrigerator. The sweeter the onion, the higher the water content, which means sweet onions have a shorter shelf life than other types of onions.

If learning about the health benefits of eating onions has inspired you to include them in your meal planning, then you’ll want to check out the National Onion Association Guide to help choose the different types of onions, their flavors and how they are best prepared.37 You’ll also find this and more health information about onions in “Onion Power!

 

– Sources and References

The Type of Fat You Eat Affects Your COVID Risk


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2021/01/11/unsaturated-fat-intake.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola      Fact Checked      January 11, 2021

unsaturated fat intake

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • A compelling report in the journal Gastroenterology offers a radically novel yet logically sound explanation as to why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening organ failure, namely their high unsaturated fat intake
  • Data indicate that COVID-19 mortality rates are heavily influenced by the amount of unsaturated fats you eat. Simply put, unsaturated fat intake is associated with increased mortality from COVID-19, while saturated fat intake lowers your risk of death
  • The researchers believe early treatment with calcium and egg albumin will reduce rates of organ failure and ICU admissions, as they bind unsaturated fats and reduce organ injury
  • Omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) makes up the bulk of the omega-6 consumed and is the primary contributor to nearly all chronic diseases, because when consumed in excessive amounts, LA acts as a metabolic poison
  • Detailed instructions for how to calculate and track your LA intake are included

A compelling report1 in the journal Gastroenterology offers a radically novel yet logically sound explanation as to why some COVID-19 patients develop life-threatening organ failure. According to the authors, data indicate that COVID-19 mortality rates are heavily influenced by the amount of unsaturated fats you eat.

Simply put, unsaturated fat intake is associated with increased mortality from the infection. On the bright side, they believe early treatment with inexpensive calcium and egg albumin will reduce rates of organ failure and ICU admissions.

While no clinical studies have been done yet on this type of therapy, the authors believe it’s time to do one, as it appears early albumin and calcium supplementation can bind unsaturated fats and reduce injury to vital organs. They also point out that saturated fats are protective.

The Most Dangerous Fat of All

I’m currently writing a book on what I believe might be the primary disease-maker in the Western diet, namely omega-6 linoleic acid (LA). And, since diet-related comorbidities are responsible for 94% of all COVID-19-related deaths,2 taking control of your diet is a simple, common-sense strategy to lower the risks associated with this infection.

LA makes up the bulk — about 90% — of the omega-6 consumed and is the primary contributor to nearly all chronic diseases. While an essential fat, when consumed in excessive amounts, LA acts as a metabolic poison.

The reason for this is because polyunsaturated fats such as LA are highly susceptible to oxidation. As the fat oxidizes, it breaks down into harmful sub-components such as advanced lipid oxidation end products (ALES) and OXLAMS (oxidized LA metabolites). These ALES and OXLAMS are actually what cause the damage.

One type of advanced lipid oxidation end product (ALE) is 4HNE, a mutagen known to cause DNA damage. Studies have shown there’s a definite correlation between elevated levels of 4HNE and heart failure.

LA breaks down into 4HNE even faster when the oil is heated, which is why cardiologists recommend avoiding fried foods. LA intake and the subsequent ALES and OXLAMS produced also play a significant role in cancer. HNE and other ALES are extraordinarily harmful even in exceedingly small quantities.

While excess sugar is certainly bad for your health and should typically be limited to 25 grams per day or less, it doesn’t cause a fraction of the oxidative damage that LA does.

Processed vegetable oils are a primary source of LA, but even food sources hailed for their health benefits contain it, and can be a problem if consumed in excess. Cases in point: olive oil and conventionally raised chicken, which are fed LA-rich grains. To learn more about this hidden source of LA, see “Why Chicken Is Killing You and Saturated Fat Is Your Friend.”

Many now understand that your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is very important, and should be about 1-to-1 or possibly up to 4-to-1, but simply increasing your omega-3 intake won’t counteract the damage done by excessive LA. You really need to minimize the omega-6 to prevent damage from taking place.

Click here to learn more

LA Damages Your Mitochondria

In order to understand how excess LA consumption damages your metabolism and impedes your body’s ability to generate energy in your mitochondria we need to explore some molecular biology. There’s a particular fat only located in your mitochondria — most of it is found in the inner mitochondrial membrane — called cardiolipin.

Cardiolipin is made up of four fatty acids, unlike triglycerides that have three, but the individual fats can vary. Examples include LA, palmitic acid and the fatty acids found in fish oil, DHA and EPA. Each of these have a different effect on mitochondrial function, and depending on the organ, the mitochondria work better with particular kinds of fatty acids.

For example, your heart preferentially builds cardiolipin with LA, while your brain dislikes LA and preferentially builds cardiolipin in the mitochondria with fats like DHA. As mentioned, LA is highly susceptible to oxidation.

The LA within the mitochondria cardiolipin is exposed to cytochromes in the electron transport chain that contain iron, which in turn can catalyze oxidation of the cardiolipin. This is bad news because oxidation of cardiolipin is one of the things that controls autophagy.

In other words, oxidation of cardiolipin is one of the signals your body uses when there’s something wrong with a cell, so it triggers the destruction of that cell, a process called apoptosis. Your cells know that they’re broken when they have too many damaged mitochondria, and the process that controls this is largely the oxidation of omega-6 fats contained within cardiolipin.

So, by altering the composition of cell membranes and stored fatty acids in cells to one that’s richer in omega-6 fats, you make your cardiolipin far more susceptible to oxidative damage. The good news is that by making a few well-chosen tweaks to your diet, you change the composition of fatty acids in both your cell membranes and your cardiolipin to a favorable composition.

Fat Intake Linked to COVID-19 Outcomes

Getting back to the issue of how your fat intake can affect your COVID-19 outcome, the Gastroenterology paper3 points out that unsaturated fats “cause injury [and] organ failure resembling COVID-19.” More specifically, unsaturated fats are known to trigger lipotoxic acute pancreatitis, and the sepsis and multisystem organ failure seen in severe cases of COVID-19 greatly resembles this condition.

The solution they propose, namely early supplementation with egg albumin and calcium, is thought to be helpful because they are known to bind unsaturated fats, thereby reducing injury to organs. The two conditions also share other risk factors. As explained in the paper:4

“Unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) generated by adipose lipolysis cause multisystem organ failure, including acute lung injury. Severe acute pancreatitis and severe COVID-19 share obesity as a risk factor, along with lipase elevation, hypoalbuminemia, and hypocalcemia.”

The authors further explain that the ACE2 receptor that the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to gain entry into your cells resides on fat cells, and oleic acid — a monounsaturated omega-9 fat found in olive oil — has been shown to cause multisystem organ failure, including acute lung injury.

PUFAs in general also depolarize mitochondria and increase inflammatory mediators. All of this is what caused the researchers to explore the potential connection between lipotoxicity (toxicity caused by harmful fats such as LA) and severe COVID-19 resulting in organ failure.

dietary saturated fat intake
dietary unsaturated fat intake

The paper contains an interesting diagram that summarizes the investigative approach they took to reach the conclusion that unsaturated fat intake correlates to COVID-19 outcomes, which I unfortunately cannot include here. In summary, though, it shows that higher intakes of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), primarily LA, resulted in a greater risk of severe COVID-19, while higher intake of saturated fat lowered the risk.

PUFAs Raise COVID-19 Mortality While Saturated Fat Lowers It

The researchers discovered that hypocalcemia (lower-than-average levels of calcium in your blood or plasma) and hypoalbuminemia (low albumin in your blood) are observable early on in patients with severe COVID-19.

When looking at data from COVID-19 patients, the also found that low arterial partial pressure of oxygen and percentage of oxygen ratios were associated with higher levels of unbound fatty acid levels in their blood. They also speculate that UFAs may cause vascular leakage, inflammatory injury and arrhythmia during severe COVID-19.

In tests on mice, animals given LA developed a range of conditions resembling lethal COVID-19, including hypoalbuminemia, leucopenia (low white blood cell count), lymphopenia (low lymphocyte count), lymphocytic injury, thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), hypercytokinemia (cytokine storm), shock and kidney failure.

How to Calculate Your LA Intake With Cronometer

Considering the damage LA imparts, it’s not surprising that it could play a significant role in the outcome of COVID-19. As mentioned, virtually all of the comorbidities associated with COVID-19 are diet related, share many of the same risk factors, and can be triggered or worsened by high LA intake.

Fortunately, you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to have your food analyzed for LA. All you need to do is accurately enter your food intake into Cronometer — a free online nutrition tracker — and it will provide you with your total LA intake. The key to accurate entry is to carefully weigh your food with a digital kitchen scale so you can enter the weight of your food to the nearest gram.

cronometer.com is free to use when you use the desktop version. If you feel the need to use your cellphone (which is not recommended) to enter your data, then you will need to purchase a subscription. Personally, I have used the desktop version exclusively for the last five years as it has greater functionality and allows me to avoid electromagnetic fields from my phone.

Ideally, it is best to enter your food for the day before you actually eat it. The reason for this is quite simple: It’s impossible to delete the food once you have already eaten it, but you can easily delete it from your menu if you find something pushes you over the ideal limit.

Once you’ve entered the food for the day, go to the “Lipid” section on the lower left side of the app. The image below is taken from one of my recent data entries and shows you what the section looks like. To find out how much LA is in your diet for that day, you merely need to see how many grams of omega-6 is present. About 90% of the omega-6 you eat is LA.

lipids

To find out the percentage of calories the omega-6/LA represents in your diet, go to the “Calories Summary” section shown in the image below. In my case, I consumed 3,887 calories. Since there are nine calories per gram of fat, you will need to multiply the number of omega-6 grams times nine to obtain the total amount of omega-6 calories. In my case, that is 69.3 calories.

Next, divide the LA calories by your total calories. In this example, that would be 69.3/3887 = .0178. If you multiply that number by 100, or move the decimal point two spaces to the left, you will have the percentage as a whole number. In my example, it is 1.8% of LA. This falls within the ideal LA percentage range, which is between 1% and 2% of your total calorie intake.

Cronometer is in the process of automatically displaying the “Percent of Omega-6” in your diet, but that will not be deployed until early 2021, so use the formula above to calculate it for yourself until then.

calories summary

Helpful Feature You Might Not Be Aware Of

Most people aren’t aware of an incredibly helpful feature in Cronometer that allows you to easily identify where all your LA is coming from. If you mouse over the percent field next to the omega-6 value, you will see a popup displayed that will rank order the foods based on the quantity of LA they contain.

In my case, below, you can see that the four eggs I ate are my largest source of LA. Eggs are a very healthy food but, unfortunately, nearly all chickens, including pasture raised, are fed grains that are loaded with LA. Even if the grains are organic, they still contain LA.

I raise my own chickens and am in the middle of an experiment to change this by feeding my chickens a very low-LA, no-grain diet. I will have the eggs analyzed in a research lab and hope to get the LA levels 90% lower, which should hopefully get my LA intake below 5 grams.

It is interesting to note from my analysis that my primary protein, bison, only contributes 0.5 grams of LA even though I had 8 ounces that day. For the most part, fruit is also LA-free, which makes it a better source of healthy carbs than grains.

I also use rice on my high-carb diet days, in this case about 100 grams of carbs for the day, and the rice has no LA in it. Both rice and millet are two of the best grains to use as they have no gluten. The rice has the additional advantage, though, of being LA-free. It is best to use white rice, as the fiber in brown rice provides little nutritional benefit and may actually cause some problems.

carbohydrates

Carbohydrates — Choose Wisely

I must admit that I have a prejudice in this area as my first book in 2004 (which was a New York Times best seller) was “The No Grain Diet.” The concern about avoiding grains was largely based on consuming excessive carbohydrates that could lead to insulin resistance. At the time, I wasn’t aware that increased LA consumption was likely a far more significant issue than excessive carbs, or that most grains are typically loaded with LA.

However, when you have increased carbs in the form of sugar and processed wheat, and then add seed oils, you have the Devil’s Triad, which collectively contribute to most metabolic diseases.

So even though I wrote the book 17 years ago, I still believe most grains should be avoided, or at the least minimized, because they are typically high in carbs and LA. Many are also loaded with other problems like gluten, oxalates and phytates.

In my more recent book, “Fat for Fuel,” I advocated the cyclical use of balanced and healthy carbs in the form of fruits and healthier grains. For most of us, fruit is a far healthier option than grains as there is virtually no LA in fruit, with exceptions like avocado, which is technically a fruit.

Metabolic Flexibility Is Key for Optimal Health

About 90% of the population is insulin resistant. Ideally, you will first want to become metabolically flexible and improve your ability to burn fat as your primary fuel. I discuss this strategy extensively in “Fat for Fuel.” It typically takes a few weeks to a few months for someone to transition to a metabolically flexible state.

When you are metabolically flexible, you will typically have normal blood pressure, not be overweight, and have a fasting blood glucose below 90, which you can easily measure at home.

While limiting carbs to less than 50 grams per day when you are metabolically inflexible is a powerful strategy, once you regain your ability to burn fat for fuel, most will find that they need to include a healthy source of carbs back into their diet. A simple strategy would be to shoot for around 50 grams on your low-carb days and double or triple that on your high-carb days.

You can start by simply alternating low and high carb days and monitor your fasting blood glucose. If it starts to rise over time, you will know that it is probably better to decrease the frequency of your high-carb days. Again, the best carbs to use would be fruit or white rice, as they are virtually LA-free. After you have been on a low-LA diet for a year or two, you can integrate other carbs that are higher in LA.

Fats — Be Careful of Cooking Oils

Ideally, it would be best to limit the amount of oil you use for cooking. Typically, it is better to cook using no oils and substitute grass-fed butter, instead. This is because seed oils are the single greatest source of omega-6 LA and the higher you heat food, the more toxic byproducts you create.

You might wonder how you can limit your cooking oils. Let me give you an example. If you were cooking ground beef or bison, you could cook in a frying pan or in a covered pot over low heat using the water in the meat to convert to steam and cook the food at a low 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you choose to use oil for cooking, then you can use the table5 below to help you select the best oils. It is color coded to guide you. The preferred oils are shaded green. Notice that concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) beef tallow or butter has three times as much LA as the grass-fed version.6 They still are very low and within an acceptable range, but it is clearly better to choose the higher quality grass fed version when you can.

Lard and palm oil are less preferred options because of their higher LA content. There is a load of confusion around olive oil, though, that needs to be cleared up. And, while avocado oil isn’t widely appreciated, it too has the same concerns as olive oil.

Both olive oil and avocado oil LA content varies widely. Typically, it will average around 10%, although some oils could be twice as high. The reason one needs to be ultra-careful using these oils is because the vast majority (over 80%) are adulterated with cheaper and high LA oils like safflower.

So, if you plan on using either of these oils, you need to have independent objective confirmation that the oil has not been tampered with. These brands are typically more expensive as authentic olive and avocado oils have much higher production costs.

Oils that should be completely avoided at all times are the primary culprits of destroying health in the 20th century: the toxic seed oils that are shaded in red. That said, the dose makes the poison. So, you can theoretically use any of the oils in the table below so long as your total intake of LA for that day is less than 2% of your total calories. The higher up on the table the oil is, the more likely you will exceed your safe limit for the day.

cooking oils

What About Seeds and Nuts?

Seeds and nuts can be used in moderation. The table below indicates approximately how much LA is common seeds7 and nuts.8,9, 10 You can see that most are nearly half LA. For that reason, it is very easy to reach really high levels of LA if you eat lots of seeds and nuts, with the exception of macadamia nuts.

Seeds/Nuts % Linoleic Acid
Poppy seed 62%
Hemp 57%
Wheat germ 55%
Walnut 53%
Pecan 50%
Pumpkin 45%
Brazil nuts 43%
Sesame 41%
Peanut 32%
Pine Nuts 33%
Chia 16%
Almond 16%
Flaxseed 14%
Pistachio 13%
Hazelnuts 12%
Cashew 8%
Macadamia 2%

Also keep in mind that even if the nut has a relatively low quantity of LA, like almonds, it could be loaded with other potential problems like oxalates. Oxalates are razor sharp crystals contained in many nuts and seeds. They are water soluble and only found in the unprocessed seed or nut. If you are consuming an oil version of the seed or nut, it will contain virtually no oxalates.

So, the key here is that seeds and nuts are clearly allowed, but large quantities should be avoided. Be sure to enter them into Cronometer so you can see precisely how much LA they contain and how they are influencing your total daily intake.

Please note that the percent of LA indicated for the foods above is the typical average. It is important to understand that the percent of LA in any specific food can be highly variable based on many factors, but the values listed are what are typically found in the literature.

Ideal Sources of Protein

In general, animal foods are typically much lower in LA than vegetable sources. This is especially true for seeds and most all nuts, except macadamia, as you can see in the table above. Additionally, many vegetable sources have oxalates, phytates and gluten, which have been previously well-documented to have adverse health effects.

There are two important exceptions, though. Ideally, you will want to limit your intake of chicken and pork as these animals are universally fed grains that are loaded with LA. It is common for them to have LA levels from 10% to 20%. They will contain lower amounts of LA if they are not raised in a factory farm (CAFO), but most likely will exceed levels in lamb, beef, bison and other game animals like elk, by 10-fold.

For most of us, the ideal source of protein would be from bison, followed by beef and lamb. An 8-ounce serving of these foods typically has less than 1 gram of LA. In addition to eating muscle meat, it would be wise to regularly include sources of organ meats, as they are loaded with important micronutrients not found in muscle meat.

Eggs are another source of LA concern as the yolks are about 16% LA. This is because nearly all chickens, including those that are pasture raised, are given grain as their primary feed. As long as you aren’t allergic to eggs, they are an incredibly healthy nutrient-dense food and one of the finest sources of bioavailable choline available.

I believe it would be wise to limit eggs to four or less per day, as that would provide about 2.5 grams of LA. As mentioned earlier, I am currently in the middle of an experiment.

I’m feeding my 20 chickens a low-LA carnivore-type diet consisting of 1 gallon of 4-day-old sprouted mung beans with 4 ounces of melted butter mixed in, along with a regular supply of beef liver and mealworms. I will be analyzing the eggs for LA in the next few months as it takes some time for LA to be liberated after it’s consumed.

Pistachios

Written by Brenton Wight, Health Researcher
Copyright © 1999-2021 Brenton Wight. All Rights Reserved.
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Updated 2nd January 2021

Pistachios are more than a tasty snack, they are probably the best nuts to eat!
They are very nutritious, with more than 30 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, γ-tocopherol, β-carotene, lutein, selenium, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, potassium, vitamin B-6, beta-carotene, lutein + zeaxanthin, selenium, fibre and are low-carbohydrate.
Even though they contain healthy fats, they actually help fat burning, along with cholesterol improvement, heart health, blood glucose improvement, even better sexual function!

Main Benefits:

  • Plenty of vitamin B-6, essential for the brain, nerves, energy, breaking down fats, lowering homocysteine, treating anxiety, depression, PMS, ADD, ADHD
  • Heart health, blood vessels, cholesterol and triglyceride improvement due mainly to the antioxidants
  • Diabetes improvement due to lower blood glucose and corresponding lower insulin levels
  • Curb the appetite due to the protein, healthy fats and fibre content
  • Studies show benefit for erectile dysfunction in men
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin in pistachios helps protect the eyes from macular degeneration and other eye disease
  • Prebiotics and fibre in pistachios help feed our healthy gut bacteria, the first line of defense for immunity

References
http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2014/08/07/dc14-1431

https://www.medicaldaily.com/regularly-eating-pistachios-might-help-reduce-blood-sugar-levels-diabetes-risk-300780

http://www.truthaboutabs.com/pistachio-nutrition-benefits.html

The Link Between Nightshades, Chronic Pain and Inflammation

© 31st December 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC.
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Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/link-between-nightshades-chronic-pain-and-inflammation
Posted on: Tuesday, April 10th 2018 at 9:45 am
Written By: Elisha McFarland
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2019

Nightshade Vegetables - Nightshades, Chronic Pain and Inflammation
Few people are familiar with the term nightshades, and many will be surprised to learn that consuming foods from this plant group may be contributing to their pain and inflammation

Nightshades belong to the Solanaceae family which includes over 2,000 species. They also include some of the most popular foods consumed today; such as tomatoes, potatoes, all types of peppers, and eggplant. Although not truly nightshades, blueberries, huckleberries, goji berries and ashwaganda all share the same alkaloids which may have inflammation-inducing properties.

The Solanaceae family contains cholinesterase inhibiting glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids including, among others, solanine in potato and eggplant, tomatine in tomato, nicotine in tobacco, and capsaicin in garden peppers. The glycoalkaloids in potatoes are known to contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and negatively affect intestinal permeability. (1,2) According to Dr. Marvin Childers, When these inhibitors accumulate in the body, alone or with other cholinesterase inhibitors such as caffeine or food impurities containing systemic cholinesterase inhibiting pesticides, the result may be a paralytic-like muscle spasm, aches, pains, tenderness, inflammation, and stiff body movements.” (3) These symptoms may dissipate in a few hours or days if ingestion is stopped, based on the sensitivity of the individual, the amount of nightshades consumed on a regular basis and their level of inflammation. However for some heavy consumers of nightshades the process of inflammation and pain reduction can take up to 3 months.

After reading the symptoms associated with nightshade consumption, it is easy to understand why one of the major problems attributed to nightshade is arthritis. Arthritis is also the most common disability in the U.S. (4,5) Statistics from a 2007-2009 study show that doctor diagnosed arthritis affects 49.9 million people in the United States alone (6). Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting more than 20 million people. More than 2 million people are affected by rheumatoid arthritis, the most disabling and painful form of arthritis. Arthritis has no boundaries to gender, race or age, it affects young and old alike. (5, 7) In fact it may be surprising to some that an estimated 294,000 children (age 18 and under), have some form of arthritis. (7) In 2003 the medical cost of arthritis alone was approximately 128 billion annually. (4) Since 1994, disability-related costs for medical care and lost productivity have exceeded an estimated $300 billion annually in the United Statesthis includes arthritis and other rheumatoid related illness (8) Add to these numbers the report released in 2011 by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, where an estimated 116 million adults live with chronic pain, which costs the United States $635 billion annually in health care and lost productivity. (9) So the question is how much of these problems are nightshade related? That is the question some researchers are asking, as they believe that arthritis is often misdiagnosed in people who may in fact be experiencing severe side effects of nightshade consumption.

Many who suffer with arthritis or an arthritis related disease such as lupus, rheumatism, and other musculoskeletal pain disorders, have found that consuming foods from the nightshade family is in fact adversely affecting their health. Norman F. Childers, PhD, founder of the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation stated: “Diet appears to be a factor in the etiology of arthritis based on surveys of over 1400 volunteers during a 20-year period. Plants in the drug family, Solanaceae (nightshades) are an important causative factor in arthritis in sensitive people.” (3)

Three month challenge

If you want to know if nightshades negatively affect you, take the three month challenge. Avoid all nightshades for three months. (It’s called a challenge for a reason).Be careful to note the nightshade list, and become a label reader as some homeopathics, prescriptions, over the counter medications as well as numerous processed foods contain nightshades. Prescriptions and over the counter medicines may require a discussion with your pharmacist or a phone call to the manufacturer of your over the counter medicines to determine ingredients.

After three months, begin to reintroduce one nightshade at a time. Take note of any aches, pains, stiffness, and loss of energy, headaches, respiratory problems or any other symptoms. You may find as many others have, that the quality of your daily health will dramatically improve after eliminating nightshades from your diet.

The nightshade list

  • ­ tomatoes (all varieties, including tomatillos)
  • ­ potatoes (all varieties, NOT sweet potatoes or yams)
  • ­ eggplant (aubergine)
  • ­ okra
  • ­ peppers (all varieties such as bell pepper, wax pepper, green & red peppers, chili peppers, cayenne, paprika, etc.)
  • ­ goji berries
  • ­ tomarillos (a plum-like fruit from Peru)
  • ­ sorrel
  • ­ garden huckleberry & blueberries (contain the alkaloids that induce inflammation)
  • ­ gooseberries
  • ­ ground cherries
  • ­ pepino Melon
  • ­ the homeopathic “Belladonna” [note: this is highly precautionary as homeopathics contain virtually no measurable “active” chemical]
  • ­ tobacco
  • ­ paprika
  • ­ cayenne pepper

Soy sauce made in the U.S. is generally made with genetically modified (GMO) soy beans, which are cut with the nightshade plant Petunia.

 

The condiments black/white pepper and pepper corns are not nightshades

Other ingredients and products to avoid

  • ­Homeopathic remedies containing Belladonna [note: this is highly precautionary as homeopathics contain virtually no measurable “active” chemical]
  • ­Prescription and over-the-counter medications containing potato starch as a filler (especially prevalent in sleeping and muscle relaxing medications)
  • ­Edible flowers: petunia, chalice vine, day jasmine, angel and devil’s trumpets
  • ­Atropine and Scopolamine, used in sleeping pills
  • ­Topical medications for pain and inflammation containing capsicum (in cayenne pepper).
  • ­Many baking powders contain potato starch
  • ­Don’t lick envelopes, many adhesives contain potato starch
  • ­Vodka (potatoes used in production)

Read labels carefully because you could be doing everything else right, and still be sabotaged by one small amount of an ingredient.

Never buy a food has that uses the generic term of seasoning or spices…. nightshades may be included in the ingredients.

Learn more about the similarity of tomato lectin with wheat germ lectin (WGA), as well as lectins found in rice and barley:

Rice, Potato, and Tomato May Be As Inflammatory As Wheat


References

1. Potato glycoalkaloids adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease. www.greenmedinfo.com/article/potato-glycoalkaloids-adversely-affect-intestinal-permeability-and-aggravate

2. Naturally occurring glycoalkaloids in potatoes aggravate intestinal inflammation in two mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease. www.greenmedinfo.com/article/naturally-occurring-glycoalkaloids-potatoes-aggravate-intestinal-inflammation-two-mouse

3. Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery (1993) 12:227-231.An Apparent Relation of Nightshades (Solanaceae) to Arthritis https://www.noarthritis.com/research.htm

4. National and State Medical Expenditures and Lost Earnings Attributable to Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Conditions — United States, 2003 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5601a2.htm?s_cid=mm5601a2_e

5. Differences in the Prevalence and Impact of Arthritis Among Racial/Ethnic Groups in the United States, National Health Interview Survey, 2002, 2003, and 2006 https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2010/may/10_0035.htm

6. Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation – United States, 2007-2009 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5939a1.htm?s_cid=mm5939a1_w

7. Prevalence of and annual ambulatory health care visits for pediatric arthritis and other rheumatologic conditions in the United States in 2001-2004. Sacks JJ, Helmick CG, Luo YH, Ilowite NT, Bowyer S. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=18050185&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

8. Prevalence and Most Common Causes of Disability Among Adults — United States, 2005 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5816a2.htm

9. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research https://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Relieving-Pain-in-America-A-Blueprint-for-Transforming-Prevention-Care-Education-Research.aspx

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.