Posts tagged: healthy living

Detox Your Body

Detox Your Body ChartImage – © herbs-info.com. Photo – © Von Schonertagen – Fotolia.com (under license)

Although modern medicine tends to cast a cynical eye at detoxification practices such as fasting and colon washing, nobody can deny that the human body is exposed to a lot of toxins, and that bioaccumulation is real. Relief from such toxins can only bring benefits.

Unsurprisingly, the most common organs targeted by detox protocols are the ones directly responsible for dealing with the toxins that enter the body: the liver, the kidneys, and the intestines or colon.

Here are some science-supported ways you can clean up your body and feel better, stronger, and healthier through the consumption of detoxifying foods:

Liver: The liver is The Great Detoxifier. It is the part of the body that takes all those noxious chemicals and fats that we ingest, and then turns them into something that can be excreted by the body. [1] But that doesn’t mean the liver can’t use a little detoxifying itself.

Alcohol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and diabetes are just some of the liver’s top enemies. These can all cause injury and inflammation to the liver, preventing this organ from doing its job properly.

One lesser-known natural food item that can detoxify the liver from the effects of alcohol, NSAIDs, and diabetes is bitter gourd. This fruit reduces liver oxidation and inflammation caused by alcohol consumption, [2] stimulates the scavenging of liver free radicals caused by diabetes, and increases glutathione levels, which alleviate liver inflammation caused by NSAIDs. [3][4]

Other natural food items that have been scientifically proven to detoxify or rejuvenate the liver include lemons, [5] avocados, [6] apples, [7] dandelion leaves, [8] and garlic. [9]

Kidneys: The kidneys are blood filters. It is their job to collect and eject toxins from our blood. But the kidneys themselves can be vulnerable to toxins such as drugs, microorganism infections, and even excessive calcium or blood sugar. [10]

For detoxifying the kidneys, few natural food items are as well known as cranberry juice. Research has proven that cranberries do help clear the kidneys of viral infections [11] and calcium deposits. [12]

You probably didn’t know that onions have been reported by scientific research to show effectiveness in counteracting kidney toxicity from cadmium intoxication. [13] They are also useful support for renal Toxoplasma gondii infections. [14] Red onions are considered healthier than white overall and this is a valuable health switch to make.

Intestines After our food has been mashed up into liquid form by the stomach, the small intestines absorb the food nutrients and send them out to the bloodstream to be delivered to the rest of the body. The unusable parts – the wastes – are then pushed into the large intestines / the colon.

In other words, the colon is like the body’s trash can. Imagine how disgusting it can get if it isn’t regularly emptied. A lot of bacteria-filled waste material can be left behind to wreak havoc in our body. Lentils have shown effectiveness in helping eliminate this material from the colon, and that makes them an excellent colon detoxifier. [15]

Now if you feel like washing out the colon for good measure, there’s no need to go for a colonic irrigation. (In any case, many doctors do not recommend colonics anyway, because it heightens our risk of bowel perforation, infection, and electrolyte imbalance.) [16]

Instead, try drinking pineapple juice! This vitamin and fiber-rich liquid is so good at clearing the bowels, it has been consumed to help clear the colons of patients who are about to undergo a colonoscopy procedure. [17]

Finally, don’t forget to encourage the healthy growth of beneficial microorganisms in your colon. One proven way of doing that is by eating globe artichokes. [18]

Indeed, though modern medicine may pooh-pooh the benefits of faddish “detoxification” methods, we find rich scientific evidence supporting common-sense ways of detoxification: eat healthy food and avoid unhealthy ones.

Some foods, though, have been proven healthier and more powerful detoxifiers than others, and since we can only eat so much, it is good to know which foods confer the greatest benefits.

After all, with all the toxins around us in our modern world, our body can use all the help it can get…

References:

[1] http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=anatomy-and-function-of-the-liver-90-P03069

[2] http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c3fo60449g

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19795081

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15927932

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24754177

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmid/24860825/

[7] http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0308-8146(12)01542-7

[8] http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0278-6915(13)00256-1

[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24646302

[10] http://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/howkidneyswrk.cfm

[11] http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.200600276

[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14616463

[13] http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10534-008-9148-5

[14] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24312764

[15] http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=7491890

[16] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/expert-answers/colon-cleansing/faq-20058435

[17] http://www.karger.com/?DOI=10.1159/000354094

[18] http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0007114510001571

How To Make Probiotic Lemonade

How To Make Probiotic Lemonade
Graphic – herbs-info.com Photo © shutterstock.com (under license)

When it comes to flavor and refreshment, nothing beats a cold glass of fresh homemade lemonade. Store-bought brands are often filled with sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavoring. So when it comes to your drink, it’s always better to go natural. Lemons are already packed with vitamin c, antioxidants, and potassium to keep our body healthy… but imagine if we can make an awesome drink even more awesome. [1]

A great way to boost the health benefits you can get from your beverage is to add a dose of probiotics extracted from yogurt. Probiotics are often called “good bacteria” since they have been linked to improvements in mood, digestion, and immunity. [2][3] Best of all, the natural tart taste of lemons makes it a perfect complement to the sour flavor of the whey from yogurt.

Here are the steps to make your own probiotic lemonade at home.

For this recipe you’ll need:

Ingredients
• 12 Organic lemons
• 1 cup of fresh whey from yogurt
• 1/2-1 cup of organic cane sugar (adjust according to taste)

Things you’ll need
• A thin cheesecloth
• Rubber bands
• A gallon jar

1. Extract the whey. We start with the process of extracting whey from store bought whole milk organic yogurt. To do this, simply drape your cheesecloth into a bowl and add the yogurt. Tie it with a rubber band and hang it up to strain the liquid. After a few hours transfer the liquid into a measuring cup and you now have around 1 cup of whey for your drink.

Tips:
You can use the leftover yogurt as an ingredient for dips, spreads, and fillings.
Use the thinnest cheesecloth as possible. A think cheesecloth can absorb the whey rather than strain it from the yogurt.
You can save the whey for other recipes, just make sure to keep it refrigerated.

2. Now it’s time to squeeze the juice out of the lemons. You can use a lemon press or any lemon juicer of your choice.

Tip:
Roll the lemon first on your counter top to maximize the amount juice you’ll get.

3. Mix the whey and lemon juice in a gallon jar. Now add the amount of water and sugar to the taste that you want.

Tip:
It is best to use at least 1/2 cup of sugar so that the probiotic can use it for fermentation. This will make the sweetness a little weak after fermentation.

4. Wait. Once finished mixing. Tightly close the jar and leave it on your kitchen counter at room temperature for 2 days.

5. Enjoy! After 2 days, transfer the mixture to a glass pitcher and you now have a refreshing and healthy probiotic drink your family will enjoy.

References:

[1] Natural bioactive compounds of Citrus limon for food and health. (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19748198 http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(17)35557-9/pdf

[2] Probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 Reduces Depression Scores and Alters Brain Activity: a Pilot Study in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28483500

[3] Probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2) improve rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life in individuals with seasonal allergies: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. (2017) http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/105/3/758

Bowl Of Cereal Vs. Organic Apple & Grapefruit

Bowl Of Cereal Vs Organic Apple & Grapefruit
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Images source – Pixabay (PD).

In the words of nutritionist Adelle Davis, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”

Breakfast is rightfully regarded as the most important meal of the day – it makes us happier, lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes, boosts our cognitive performance, and prevents weight gain. [1][2][3][4] However, these health benefits have more to do with the content of your breakfast than the timing.

What is in a Bowl of Cereal?

As far as convenience is concerned, a bowl of cereal is an easy pick for most people – but at a cost. Cereals are often loaded with unhealthy carbohydrates, high-processed foods, unnecessary additives (e.g., preservatives), and sugars that may wreak havoc on your body.

Word of Advice: Ignore the marketing ploys and health claims in the commercials or on the front of the box. Always read the ingredients list before indulging in a bowl of cereal – the devil is in the detail! That said, there are several healthier alternatives such as whole foods (fruits, grains, vegetables, etc.) or dairy products.

What is in an Organic Fruit-Based Breakfast?

Rather than eating a bowl of cereal with questionable ingredients, consider single-ingredient foods such as grapefruits and apples.

As one of the most nutritious citrus fruits, grapefruit is rich in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. [5] A medium-sized grapefruit contains vitamin C (64% RDI), vitamin A (28% RDI), fiber (2 grams), low calories (52), protein (1 gram), magnesium, folate, thiamine, and potassium.

Likewise, a 182-gram apple is rich in fiber (4 grams), potassium (6% RDI), vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C (14% RDI), vitamin E, and B vitamins. Additionally, apples contain polyphenols (micronutrients packed with antioxidants), especially on the skin.

So, what is your choice? A bowl of cereal or organic apples and grapefruit?

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

References:

[1] Breakfast Cereal and Caffeinated Coffee: Effects on Working Memory, Attention, Mood, and Cardiovascular Function http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938499000256.

[2] Eating patterns and type 2 diabetes risk in older women: breakfast consumption and eating frequency http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2013/06/12/ajcn.112.057521.abstract.

[3] Effect of breakfast composition on cognitive processes in elementary school https://ase.tufts.edu/psychology/spacelab/pubs/MahoneyEtAl.pdf.

[4] Association between Eating Patterns and Obesity in a Free-living US Adult Population http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/158/1/85.full.

[5] Grapefruit, raw, pink and red, all areas Nutrition Facts & Calories https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1905/2.