Pumpkin Seed Oil May Reverse Male Pattern Balding

Vitamin D 101 for Beginners: A Guide to Benefits and Sources

By Kris Gunnars, CEO and Founder of Authority Nutrition, BSc (Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine)

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Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid with
calcium, magnesium and vitamin D
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You may be surprised to learn that vitamin D is completely different from most other vitamins.

It is actually a hormone, a steroid hormone that is produced out of cholesterol when your skin is exposed to the sun.

For this reason, vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine” vitamin.

However, sun exposure is often inadequate these days, making it necessary for people to get more of it from the diet (or supplements).

This is important, because vitamin D is absolutely essential for optimal health (1).

Unfortunately, only a handful of foods contain significant amounts of this vitamin, and deficiency is extremely common (2).

In fact, according to data from 2005-2006, a whopping 41.6% of the US population is deficient in this critical vitamin/hormone (4).

This article explains everything you need to know about vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), meaning that it dissolves in fat/oil and can be stored in the body for a long time.

There are actually two main forms found in the diet:

  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): Found in some animal foods, like fatty fish and egg yolks.
  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): Found in some mushrooms.

Of the two, D3 (cholecalciferol) is the one we’re interested in, because it is almost twice as effective at increasing blood levels of vitamin D as the D2 form (6).

Bottom Line: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body for long periods of time. There are two main forms, D2 and D3, of which D3 is much more effective.

What Does Vitamin D Do in The Body?

 

Vitamin D is actually pretty useless at first.

It needs to go through two conversion steps to become “active” (8).

First, it is converted to calcidiol, or 25(OH)D, in the liver. This is the storage form of the vitamin in the body.

Second, it is converted to calcitriol, or 1,25(OH)2D, mostly in the kidneys. This is the active, steroid hormone form of vitamin D.

Calcitriol travels around the body, going into the nuclei of cells. There it interacts with a receptor called the vitamin D receptor, which is found in almost every single cell of the body (10).

When the active form of vitamin D binds to this receptor, it turns genes on or off, leading to changes in the cells (12). This is similar to how most other steroid hormones work.

It is well known that vitamin D affects various cells related to bone health, for example telling the cells in the gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus (14).

But scientists have now found it to be involved in all sorts of other processes, including immune function and protection against cancer (15).

So people who are deficient in vitamin D will be deficient in calcitriol (the steroid hormone form), so in effect they are deficient in one of the body’s critical hormones.

Bottom Line: Vitamin D is turned into calcidiol, the storage form of the vitamin, which is then converted into calcitriol, the active steroid form. Calcitriol binds to the vitamin D receptor inside cells, turning genes on or off.

Sunshine is The Best Way to Get Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be produced out of cholesterol in the skin, when it is exposed to the sun. The ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun provide the energy needed for the reaction to occur (16).

If you live where there is abundant sun year round, then you can probably get all the vitamin D you need by just going outside and sunbathing a few times per week.

 

Keep in mind that you need to expose a large part of your body. If you’re only exposing your face and hands then you will produce much less vitamin D.

Also, if you stay behind glass or use sunscreen, then you will produce less vitamin D, or none at all.

This makes the advice to use sunscreen to protect against skin cancer highly questionable. It raises your risk of vitamin D deficiency, which may lead to other diseases instead (17).

If you decide to get your vitamin D from the sun, just make sure to never, ever burn.

Sunshine is healthy, but sunburns can cause premature aging of the skin and raise your risk of skin cancer (18).

If you’re staying in the sun for a long time, consider going without sunscreen for the first 10-30 minutes or so (depending on your sensitivity to sun), then apply it before you start burning.

Vitamin D gets stored in the body for a long time, weeks or months, so you may only need occasional sun to keep your blood levels adequate.

All that being said, not everyone (including myself) lives where there is sun year round. In these cases, getting vitamin D from foods or supplements becomes absolutely essential, especially during the winter months.

Bottom Line: Sunshine is the best way to get vitamin D, but sunscreen blocks its production. Many people don’t have access to sunshine for most of the year.

Very Few Foods Contain This Vitamin in Significant Amounts

Here is the vitamin D3 content of a few select foods:

Although fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, swordfish, trout, tuna and sardines are decent sources, you would have to eat them almost every single day to get enough.

The only really good dietary source of vitamin D is fish liver oils, such as cod fish liver oil, containing up two to times the daily value in a single tablespoon.

Keep in mind that dairy products and cereals are often fortified with vitamin D (21).

Some rare mushrooms also contain vitamin D, and egg yolks contain small amounts.

Bottom Line: Cod fish liver oil is the single best source of vitamin D3. Fatty fish is also a good source, but you have to eat it very often to get enough.

Vitamin D Deficiency is Serious Business

 

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies.

Some people are at greater risk than others. Although the average is around 41.6%, this percentage goes up to 82.1% in black people and 69.2% in Hispanics (4).

Elderly people are also at a much greater risk of being deficient (22).

People who have certain diseases are also very likely to be deficient. One study showed that 96% of heart attack patients were low on vitamin D (23)

Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is a silent epidemic. The symptoms are usually subtle, and may take years or decades to surface.

The most well known symptom of vitamin D deficiency is a disease of the bones called rickets, which is common in children in developing countries.

However, due to public health measures back in the day, they started fortifying some foods with vitamin D, which mostly eliminated rickets from Western societies (24).

Deficiency has also been linked to osteoporosis, reduced mineral density and increased risk of falls and fractures in the elderly (25).

Studies have also shown that people with low vitamin D levels have a much greater risk of heart disease, diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), cancer, dementia and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, to name a few (26).

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to a significantly increased risk of death from all causes (27).

Whether being vitamin D deficient actually contributes to these diseases, or whether people who have low vitamin D levels are just more likely to get them, is not as clear.

Bottom Line: Vitamin D deficiency is a well known cause of a bone disease called rickets in children. However, deficiency has also been linked to many other health problems, as well as reduced life expectancy.

Health Benefits of Getting Plenty of Vitamin D

 

Vitamin D has received considerable mainstream attention in recent years and decades.

Research on it has gotten lots of funding, and hundreds of studies have been done.

Here are some potential benefits of getting plenty of vitamin D:

  • Osteoporosis, falls and fractures: Higher doses of vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis, falls and fractures in the elderly (30).
  • Strength: Vitamin D supplementation can increase physical strength, in both upper and lower limbs (31).
  • Cancer: Vitamin D may help prevent cancer. One study showed that 1100 IU per day, along with calcium, reduced cancer risk by 60% (32).
  • Depression: Studies have shown vitamin D supplementation to cause mild reduction in symptoms in people with clinical depression (34).
  • Type 1 diabetes: One study in infants found that 2000 IU of vitamin D per day reduced the risk of type 1 diabetes by 78% (35).
  • Mortality: Some studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation reduces people’s risk of dying during the study periods, indicating that it may help you live longer (36).
  • Insomnia: (A note from Nutrition Breakthroughs): Vitamin D is a proven insomnia remedy.  The results of a clinical trial of vitamin D supplementation was published in a recent issue of the journal “Medical Hypothesis”.  The researchers followed 1500 patients over a 2 year period and a consistent level of vitamin D3 was maintained in their blood over many months. This produced normal sleep in most of the participants, regardless of the type of sleep disorder they were experiencing. (end of the note from Nutrition Breakthroughs).

This is actually just the tip of the iceberg.

Low vitamin D levels have been linked to all sorts of diseases, and supplementation has been shown to have numerous other benefits.

However, keep in mind that much of this is not definitely proven. According to a recent 2014 review, more evidence is needed to confirm many of these benefits (38).

Bottom Line: Taking vitamin D supplements has been shown to have numerous benefits related to cancer, bone health, mental health and autoimmune diseases, to name a few.

How Much Should You Take?

The only way to know if you are deficient, and whether you need to take a supplement, is by having your blood levels measured.

 

Your doctor will measure the storage form, calcidiol or 25(OH)D. Anything under 12 ng/mL is considered deficient, and anything above 20 ng/mL is considered adequate. (Note: Some medical tests report results in nanograms (ng) per millilitre (mL). A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram. A gram is about 1/30 of an ounce. A millilitre measures fluid volume equal to 1/1000 litre).

The RDA for vitamin D in the US is as follows (39):

  • 400 IU (10 mcg): Infants, 0-12 months.
  • 600 IU (15 mcg): Children and adults, 1-70 years of age.
  • 800 IU (20 mcg): Elderly and pregnant or lactating women.

Although the official cutoff point for vitamin D deficiency is 12 ng/mL, many health experts believe that people should aim for blood levels higher than 30 ng/mL for optimal health and disease prevention (40).

Additionally, many believe that the recommended intake is way too low, and that people need much more to reach optimal blood levels of the vitamin (41).

According to the Institute of Medicine, the safe upper limit is 4.000 IU (42).

For people who are at risk of deficiency, this may be a good amount to aim for. Sometimes doctors recommend taking much more than that.

Just make sure to take vitamin D3, not D2. Vitamin D3 capsules are available in most supermarkets and health food stores.

Vitamins A, K2 and Magnesium Are Important as Well

It’s important to keep in mind that nutrients usually don’t work in isolation.

Many of them depend on one another, and increased intake of one nutrient may increase your need for another.

Some researchers claim that fat-soluble vitamins work together, and that it is crucial to optimize vitamin A and vitamin K2 intake at the same time as supplementing with vitamin D3 (43).

This is especially important for vitamin K2, another fat-soluble vitamin that most people don’t get enough of (45).

Magnesium intake may also be important for the function of vitamin D. Magnesium is an important mineral that is often lacking in the modern diet (46)

What Happens if You Take Too Much?

It is actually a myth that it is easy to overdose on vitamin D.

Vitamin D toxicity is very rare, and only happens if you take insane doses for long periods of time (48).

I (Kris Gunnars) personally live where there is very little sun year-round, so I take 4000-5000 IU per day of a vitamin D3 supplement.

I’ve been doing this for many years now, and consider it to be an essential component of my personal health strategy.

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This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original mineral-based sleep remedy Sleep Minerals II, containing calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and zinc.  It has been shown to be effective for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for heart health, restless leg syndrome, bone strength, menopause insomnia and teenage insomnia.

Doctor P. of Houston, Texas says: “I had developed sleeping problems and took two different sleep medications over the course of several weeks. When I discontinued them, the insomnia came back even worse. I literally got about 20 hours of sleep in 6 weeks time. Sleep Minerals II was just what I needed. I*ve been taking it for a couple weeks and getting many hours of sleep a night. As a doctor I would definitely avoid prescribing sleeping drugs.  I would recommend Sleep Minerals II.”

For more information visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

Article source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-101

Are Eating Habits Affecting Your Sleep? from Natural News

By Helen Thomas, an independent writer who writes about the natural health benefits of food, alternative medicine and natural home remedies | Courtesy of NaturalNews.com

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Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II *********************************************

The best and worst foods to promote sleep

Let me ask you a question, when was the last time you enjoyed a really good night’s rest? For many, they may need to really think about that answer. The reason is according to the National Sleep Foundation found that almost 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. In addition, lack of sleep affects women more than men. However at this time it is unclear why females experience more sleepless nights than their male counterparts.

Nonetheless, lack of sleep is a very serious issue that can lead to depression, increased stress levels, irritability, mood swings, weight gain and slowness of response time. So let’s take a closer look at what can be done to prevent you from becoming one of the 40 million sleep-deprived individuals.

The first step is the make the decision that you will avoid taking medications to get more sleep. The reason is simple, you don’t want to rely on, either physically or mentally, a drug or OTC (over the counter) medicine. Instead let’s focus on making simple eating changes to help you restore your sleep.

Avoid Certain Foods

It’s true that certain types of food can keep you awake at night. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee, pop or soda
  • Spicy foods
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, etc.)

These types of foods place stress on your body and when your body is stressed it can’t function properly. In addition, if your body begins to function improperly, it not only increases the stress level but the imbalance will also increase.

The foods on the above list should be consumed at least five hours before you go to bed. This gives your body enough time to absorb and then eliminate any remaining components.  Also, the consumption of spicy foods should be done either at breakfast or lunch. This will allow enough time for complete digestion. In addition, fried foods also need time to be fully digested and eliminated, too.

Foods to Consume

Here are some of the top food choices to add to your diet to help improve your sleep patterns and avoid insomnia.

  • Plain ole drinking water
  • Protein-based foods (egg, meat, etc.)
  • Greens and vegetables
  • Tart Cherry Juice

In regards to the last one, tart cherry juice, this is one drink you should enjoy on a regular cherry juice sleep basis. Not only is it a good source of water, it is a natural source of melatonin. The best way to make tart cherry juice is to mix one ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate with seven ounces of water to make one eight ounce glass. One glass provides a good amount of water. However, in addition to the water the one ounce of the concentrate is packed with almost 150 nanograms (15% of a gram) of naturally occurring melatonin.

The presence of the melatonin will help you sleep better, but it is also a powerful antioxidant that will help to fight free radicals in the body.  (Definition from Nutrition Breakthroughs: an antioxidant can protect tissues from the damage caused by oxygen in the body.  The natural processes of digestion, as well as consuming unhealthy foods and drinks, can create excess oxygen.  A free radical is an unstable molecule that attacks other molecules and plays a major role in the aging process and degenerative diseases).

So, with the diluted tart cherry juice you’ll be getting a triple dose of benefits. You’ll be getting more water into your diet. You’ll be enjoying a better night’s sleep and will fight insomnia — while also giving your body the added antioxidants to free the disease causing free-radicals.

Regarding protein, a recently published study indicated that individuals who experienced less sleep ate less protein, were overweight, and didn’t take a daily dose of vitamins and minerals. This information was compared to people with normal sleeping patterns.

Also, another study revealed that people who usually got five to six hours of sleep per night drink less water and ate more fatty foods than a normal sleeper.

Finally, a normal sleeper with the longer sleep time, consumed more protein, drank more water and was not overweight. This simply means that taking care of yourself, drinking water and watching what you eat will have a positive impact on your overall length and quality of sleep. Also, adding a glass of tart cherry juice concentrate probably can’t hurt either.

magnesium benefitsComments from Nutrition Breakthroughs: Other minerals and foods proven to help with better sleep include magnesium, calcium, potassium, walnuts, almonds, bananas, fish oils and salmon.

Eating more vegetables can also increase melatonin levels in the body.  One Japanese study tracked consumption of vegetables such as tomato, pumpkin, spinach, Japanese radish, cabbage, carrot, etc., and discovered there was 16% more melatonin in the women with the highest vegetable intakes.

This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.

Article source: http://blogs.naturalnews.com/eating-habits-affecting-sleep/

Ten Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health.

This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits.

Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil.

1. Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated (1).

However, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless. Many massive studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth (2).

Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average run-of-the-mill saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak.

No, they contain so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.

Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.

They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies (substances produced during the metabolism of fats), which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

Bottom Line: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.

2. Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy

 

Coconut is kind of an “exotic” food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people.

However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.

The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific.

They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world.

These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease (3).

Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconut and remains in excellent health is the Kitavans (an island near Australia)..

Bottom Line: Plenty of populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut.

3. Coconut Oil Can Help You Burn More Fatcoconut oil benefits

 

Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world.

While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are critical too.

It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is NOT a calorie.

The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats (5).

One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.

Bottom Line: The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.

4. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms

 

Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is Lauric Acid.

When coconut oil is digested by enzymes, it also forms a type of fat called monolaurin.

Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi (8).

For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans (10).

Bottom Line: The fatty acids and breakdown products in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections.

5. Coconut Oil Can Reduce Your Hunger, Helping You Eat Less

 

One interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger.

This may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized, because ketone bodies (substances produced during the metabolism of fats) can have an appetite reducing effect.

In one study, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men.

The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average.

Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch (13).

These studies were small and only done for a short period of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could have a dramatic influence on body weight over a period of several years.

Bottom Line: The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term.

6. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Are Turned into Ketones, Which Can Reduce Seizures

 

A so-called ketogenic (very low carb, very high fat) diet is currrently being studied to treat various disorders.

The best known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children.

This diet involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood.

For some reason, this diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.

Because the MCTs in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketone bodies, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet (16).

Bottom Line: The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.

7. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels

 

Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought.

Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL (bad) cholesterol to a benign form.

In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.

There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.

This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over the long term.

Bottom Line: Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.

8. Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen

 

Coconut oil can serve various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it.

Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.

Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin (22).

Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath (26).

Bottom Line: Coconut oil can be applied topically as well, studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as mouthwash.

9. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients

 

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals.

In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.

Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.

Other studies support these findings and medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease (31).

Bottom Line: Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.

10. Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Harmful Abdominal Fat

 

Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight.

Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs.

This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many Western diseases.

Waist circumference is easily measured and is a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.

In a study in 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in a period of 12 weeks (19).

Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 2.86 cm (1.1 inches) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day.

This number may not seem too impressive on the surface, but be aware that these people aren’t adding exercise or restricting calories. They’re losing significant amounts of abdominal fat simply by adding coconut oil to their diet.

11. Anything Else?coconut oil benefits

In order to enjoy the health benefits outlined in the article, then you must get organic, virgin coconut oil… NOT the refined stuff.

I personally cook almost everything I eat in coconut oil and my health has never been better.

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This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.

Article Source: Healthline Nutrition

10 Flax Seed Benefits and Nutrition Facts

By Dr. Josh Axe — Doctor of Natural Medicine, Doctor of Chiropractic, and Certified Nutrition Specialist.  Dr. Axe has a passion to help people get well using food as medicine.

Flax Seed Title

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Flax seeds have been consumed as food for around 6,000 years and may have very well been the worlds first cultivated superfood!

Flax seed benefits could help you improve digestion, give you clear skin, lower cholesterol, reduce sugar cravings, balance hormones, fight cancer and promote weight loss… and that’s just the beginning!

Flaxseeds, sometimes called linseeds, are small, brown, tan or golden-colored seeds that are the richest sources of a plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), in the world!

Another unique fact about flaxseeds is that they rank #1 source of lignans in human diets. (lignans form the building blocks of plant walls and are a source of phytoestrogens or healthy “plant-based estrogens”).  Flaxseeds contain about 7 times as many lignans as the closest runner-up, sesame seeds.

Stunning Flaxseed Nutrition Facts

When you look at the nutritional benefits of flax seeds, there are many things that will catch your attention.

A  1 ounce (3 tbsp) serving of flaxseeds contains:

  • Omega-3 (ALA) 6,338mg
  • Fiber 8g
  • Protein 6g
  • Vitamin B1 31% RDA (recommended dietary allowance)
  • Manganese 35% RDA
  • Magnesium 30% RDA
  • Phosphorus 19% RDA
  • Selenium 10% RDA
  • Also, flaxseeds contain a good amount of vitamin B6, Iron, potassium, copper and zinc.

This flax seed nutrition profile makes it easy to see why it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.

10 Flax Seed Benefits

1. High in Fiber, but Low in Carbs

One of the most extraordinary benefits of flax seeds is that they contain high levels of mucilage gum content.  Mucilage is a gel-forming fiber that is water soluble and has incredible benefits on the intestinal tract.

The mucilage can keep food in the stomach from emptying too quickly into the small intestine which can increase nutrient absorption.

Also, flax is extremely high in both soluble and insoluble fiber which can support colon detoxification, fat loss and reduce sugar cravings.

You should aim to consume 30-40 grams of high fiber foods daily (by eating whole grains, vegetables and fruits).

2. Healthy Skin and Hair

If you want healthier skin, hair and nails then consider adding 2 tbsp of flax seeds to your smoothie or 1 tbsp of flax seed oil to your daily routine.

The ALA fats in flax seeds benefits the skin and hair by providing essential fats as well as b-vitamins which can help reduce dryness and flakiness. It can also improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, and eczema. This also applies to eye health as flax can reduce dry eye syndrome.

Flax seed oil is another great option since it has an even higher concentration of healthy fats. You can take 1-2 tbsp internally to hydrate skin and hair.  It can also be mixed with essential oils and used as a natural skin moisturizer.

3. Weight Loss

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that flaxseeds and walnuts may improve obesity and support weight loss.

Since flax is full of healthy fats and fiber, it will help you feel satisfied longer so you will eat fewer calories overall which may lead to weight loss. ALA fats may also help reduce inflammation.

This is important for weight loss in that an inflamed body will tend to hold on to excess weight. Add a couple of teaspoons of ground flaxseed to soups, salads, or smoothies as part of your weight loss plan.

4. Lower Cholesterol

The journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that adding flax seeds into your diet can naturally reduce cholesterol levels.

The soluble fiber content of flax seeds trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it unable to be absorbed. Soluble fiber also traps bile, which is made from cholesterol in the gallbladder.

The bile is then excreted through the digestive system, forcing the body to make more, using up excess cholesterol in the blood and lowering cholesterol overall.

5. Flaxseeds are Gluten-Free

Using flax is a great way to naturally replace gluten-containing grains which are inflammatory where flax is anti-inflammatory.  So, flax seeds are great for those who have Celiac disease or have a gluten sensitivity.  They may also be a good alternative to omega-3 fats in fish for people with a seafood allergy.

Another great aspect of flax being gluten-free is that it can be used as a grain-free option in cooking.  I will often use it along with coconut flour in baking at home.

6. Flaxseeds are High in Antioxidants (Lignans)

Amongst its other incredible nutrition facts, flax seeds are also packed with antioxidants. Lignans are unique fiber-related polyphenols (plant chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors) that provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health.

Polyphenols support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body.

Lignans are also known for their anti-viral and antibacterial properties, therefore consuming flax regularly may help reduce the number or severity of colds and flus.

7. Digestive Health

Maybe the biggest flax seed benefits come from it’s ability to promote digestive health. The ALA in flax can help protect the lining of the digestive tract and maintain GI health. It has been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from Crohn’s disease or other digestive ailments, as it can help reduce gut inflammation.

You can also take 1-3 tbsp of flax seed oil with 8 oz of carrot juice to help naturally relieve constipation.

Flax is also very high in soluble and insoluble fiber which can also improve digestive health and is one of the highest magnesium foods in the world.

Two tablespoons of flaxseeds contains about 5 g of fiber or 1/4 of the RDA (recommended dietary allowance). The fiber found in flaxseeds provides food for friendly bacteria in your colon that can help cleanse waste from your system.

8. Flax Seeds for Cancer

Flax seed benefits have been proven time and time again and even including fighting breast, prostate, ovarian and colon cancer.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Cancer Research discovered that consuming flax seeds may decrease the risk of breast cancer. The three lignans found in flaxseeds can be converted by intestinal bacteria into enterolactone and enterodiol (plant-based estrogens), which naturally balance hormones, which may be the reason flax seeds reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that the lignans in flaxseeds may also reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.

9. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

We hear a lot about the health benefits of fish oil or omega-3 fats. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fats that are critical for optimal health. Although flaxseeds do not contain EPA or DHA, they do contain ALA, another type of omega-3 fat.

A study published in Nutrition Reviews has shown that approximately 20% of ALA can be converted into EPA, but only .5% of ALA is converted into DHA. Also, surprisingly gender may play a big role in conversion where young women had a 2.5-fold greater rate than men.

Regardless of conversion, ALA is still considered a healthy fat and should be included in a balanced diet.

10. Menopausal Symptoms

The lignans in the flax have been shown to have benefits for menopausal women. It can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy because lignans do have estrogenic properties.

These properties may also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It can even help menstruating women by helping maintain cycle regularity.

To experience the flax seed benefits for your hormones include 1-2 tbsp of flax meal in a breakfast smoothie along with 1 tbsp of flax seed oil.

Flax Seed Benefits chart

How to Use Flax Seeds

There are many great ways to add these super seeds into your diet including adding them to homemade muffins, breads and cookies.

One of the most common questions about baking with flax seeds is, does baking have any effect on omega-3 fatty acid?

According to many studies, you can bake flax seeds at 300F for 3 hours and the omega-3’s (ALA) in flax seeds remained stable.

Tips for including flaxseed in your diet include:

  • Add 1-3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to a morning smoothie
  • Mix a tablespoon in with yogurt and raw honey
  • Bake ground flaxseeds into muffins, cookies and breads
  • Add to homemade sprouted granola
  • Can be mixed with water and used as an egg substitute

Flax Seeds vs. Flax Meal vs. Sprouted Flax

Flaxseeds are best consumed ground as our bodies cannot access the nutrients if they are eaten whole and they will pass through undigested.

You can grind the flax in a coffee grinder, this is best done immediately before eating them so they do not spend much time exposed to air or you can buy them pre-ground.

However the very best way to experience flax seed benefits is to consume them in their sprouted form. Soaking flax seeds and then sprouting them eliminates phytic acid and may greatly increase mineral absorption. (Phytic acid can impair the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium).

Like other sources of fiber including chia seeds and hemp seeds, make sure to take flaxseeds with plenty of water or other fluids.

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This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.

Article Source: http://draxe.com/10-flax-seed-benefits-nutrition-facts/

The Candida Diet: Studies Show Natural Food Remedies

What is Candida? It is one of the natural microscopic organisms that live in our intestines and mouth. Candida is a yeast-like fungus that has the role of helping to digest food. Normally the stomach has an abundance of healthy bacteria that keep Candida under control, but an overgrowth can take place if a person eats a lot of sugar or highly processed foods, takes birth control pills, drinks alcohol or takes antibiotics.

Researchers have been on the trail of natural options in order to provide people who have Candida overgrowth with some alternatives to antifungal drugs. In fact, studies have revealed several natural remedies. How can a person know if they have Candida overgrowth? Some of the signs and symptoms include trouble focusing, chronic fatigue, depression, insomnia, stomach gas, congestion, allergies, recurring yeast or urinary tract infections, headaches and joint pain.

One of the top proven remedies for Candida is Turmeric. Turmeric is frequently used in Asian dishes and curry powders and it gives these their bright yellow color.  Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that provides its many health benefits. One research study on turmeric comes from the Canadian Journal of Microbiology.  The researchers found that turmeric is effective against fourteen different strains of Candida.

Probiotics such as the healthy bacteria found in yogurt, have been found to combat Candida.  Physiology is the study of the normal functions of living organisms and their parts. A leading journal of physiology reported that probiotic therapy is successful in treating fungal colonization of the intestinal tract.  More specifically, acidophilus heals fungal infection, as well as the accompanying stomach inflammation.

Coconut oil was proven in a recent animal study in Massachusetts to reduce the amount of Candida in the gut by more than 90%. The researches emphasized that antifungal drugs can be used to decrease and control Candida and prevent it from spreading to the bloodstream, but repeated use of antifungal drugs can lead to drug resistant-strains of fungal diseases. “Food can be a powerful ally in reducing the risk of disease,” said Alice Lichtenstein at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine”, sums this up the best when he said: “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”.

This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and a supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, as well as Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails, and more energy.

Candida DietShared by www.NutritionBreakthroughs.com

References:

1. Are probiotics effective in the treatment of fungal colonization of the gastrointestinal tract? Experimental and clinical studies.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17242486

2. Curcumin as a promising anticandidal of clinical interest. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21358761

Studies Find Rice Bran Oil Benefits Menopause, Cholesterol, Immunity, More

Rice bran oilRice bran oil is a heart-healthy oil that is used in cooking, salad oil and nutritional supplements.  It is extracted from the outer bran coats of rice.  It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids that help fight disease and promote good health.

Research studies have found that rice bran oil reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, remedies menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, strengthens the immune system and protects the retina of the eye.

Rice bran oil is rich in two types of natural vitamin E and also high in Oryzanol (a word that sounds like “Original”), which is a powerful antioxidant only found in rice bran oil.  Antioxidants protect our tissues from deterioration and help to slow the aging process.

One example of rice bran oil benefiting heart health is a study done by a team of cardiovascular scientists in Japan. The 60-day study was conducted with 300 men and women and found that a combination of rice bran oil and sesame oil reduced blood pressure by 14 points and lowered cholesterol by 26%. The oil consisted of 80% rice bran oil and 20% sesame oil.

Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia can plague women who are at pre-menopause or menopause.  In a study of menopausal women, researchers gave the participants the active component of rice bran oil in supplement form.  After four to six weeks, 90% of the women had some form of relief, with 40% claiming “excellent” improvement.  The women also experienced significantly reduced cholesterol levels.

Our immune system protects and defends us from disease in all its forms.  It is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. The main cells involved are white blood cells called “leukocytes” which create antibodies that neutralize toxins and infections.  From the journal of Phytotherapy Research (phyto refers to plants) comes a study showing that rice bran oil evokes a significant increase in antibodies that greatly enhance immune activity.

Rice bran oil can help calcium to be absorbed better into the body.  In a review article from “Progress in Lipid Research” (a lipid is a natural fat or oil), the authors write that healthy oils increase mineral utilization by enhancing the effects of vitamin D – a vitamin that works alongside calcium and magnesium.  As a result, oils such as rice bran oil can help calcium to be deposited into bone and improve bone strength.

This health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.  This sleep remedy features calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, all mixed with rice bran oil in a highly absorbable softgel.

Kimberly B. of Troy, Michigan gives her review and says: “I have been taking Sleep Minerals II for about a month now. I have tried everything out there and this supplement is amazing. I have suffered with insomnia for 2 1/2 years. I have also had restless leg syndrome my entire life and this is the first relief I’ve ever had…gone for a month now.”

For more information on Sleep Minerals II visit this page.