Can antioxidants be too much of a good thing?

Antioxidants seem to be a “cure-all” for just about anything and everything. We hear about antioxidant-rich superfoods in the news, and advertisements are dripping with promises for better health. They're known for their ability to fight free radicals, and this is good news. Free radicals make you age faster and deteriorate your health. But does that mean you should load up on anything labeled “antioxidant”? Not necessarily. Here’s why.

Autoimmune diseases are on the rise

Autoimmune diseases are on the rise, according to recent publications. Approximately 5-8 percent of the U.S. population, or 14-22 million people, are affected by these diseases. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are at least 80 known autoimmune-related diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases (such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease), thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s), myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and psoriasis.

Is fasting healthy?

People fast for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it’s religious, other times it’s to lose weight or to rid the body of toxins. And there are different types of fasts too. Some people don’t eat or drink anything for a period of time, while others partake in a limited amount of food or drink, like only juice or teas. There’s also intermittent fasting, which is kind of like interval training your diet – you go through intervals of fasting and not fasting, on and off. One common approach to intermittent fasting is following a pattern of eating only during an eight-hour window of the day, and fasting the rest of the day. But is it healthy to go without eating for a period of time? Let’s be proactive and examine the potential benefits and risks.

Fructose: The good guy or the bad guy?

There are different types of sugars – your table sugar, corn sugars, and then there’s fructose. Fructose is found mostly in fruits and vegetables as well as honey and agave nectar. Fruits and veggies that are high in fructose include apples, grapes, watermelons, asparagus, peas and zucchini. And fruits and veggies that are low in fructose include bananas, blueberries, strawberries, carrots, avocados, green beans and lettuce.

A new issue in the gluten controversy

Gluten-free is a booming business. Over half a billion dollars get forked over each year to supermarket clerks and bakers for the coveted “GF” flours, pastas and breads. The point is to prevent agony and malnutrition (celiac disease), mild discomfort (gluten intolerance), weight gain (dieters) or hyperactivity (moms of kids with autism or ADHD).

How much magnesium do you really need?

By now, there should be no dispute that magnesium is an extremely important mineral for optimal health. Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles and kidneys, needs magnesium. It is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Around 50-60 percent of all the magnesium in the body is found in the skeleton, about 27 percent is found in muscle, 6-7 percent is found in other cells, and less than 1 percent is found outside of cells. It is required for healthy teeth and bones, activating enzymes and energy production.

Boost your immune system

You may notice that your immune system needs a tune-up when you start getting frequent colds or have too many sick days. But you should be proactive even before the first sniffle. Why? Because your immune system has to fight the load of everyday toxins, pollutants, bacteria and viruses, along with the adverse health effects that accompany them, from fatigue to cancer.

Are all protein powders created equal?

Protein powders have become the go-to meal replacement option. According to Euromonitor International, 2013 sales of protein powders were at least $7 billion for sports nutrition powders as well as weight management protein shakes. Conditioned by years of meat-industry proclamations of protein being good for building muscle, yet stymied by the dangers of animal fat in the diet, consumers are turning to powders to get the protein they feel they need. But, potential dangers lurk in certain protein powder supplements.

Probiotics for oral health!

Oral hygiene is not just an issue of beauty and having a great smile. In fact, your oral health affects many areas of your health. For example, according to Mayo Clinic, some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight, and gum disease seems to be more prevalent and severe in people with diabetes.

Probiotics: bacteria to promote a strong gut and immune system

The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro, meaning "promoting" and biotic, meaning "life." And you’ll find it in more places than just your Greek yogurt. Probiotics can also be found in kombucha drinks, kefir and supplements.

Burdock: A soother, purifier, free radical fighter all in one?

Often known as an herbal detox remedy in alternative medicine, burdock is in the daisy plant family and grows as a weed in the United States and several other countries. In Japan and some parts of Europe, burdock is eaten as a vegetable.

Put trans fat on your naughty list

Trans fat – Your taste buds may love it, but your heart and blood vessels don’t. So what are trans fats? Trans fats form when ordinary vegetable oil is hardened by treatment with hydrogen at high temperatures and pressures. They give foods a desirable taste and texture, and oils with trans fats can be used many times in a commercial fryer. As a result, trans fats are often used because they are cheap and last a long time.

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