I just love flaxseed, and one I supplement with daily. Flaxseed has an amazing amount of benefits to help promote overall health. In saying that, how can one find flaxseed? What actual benefits does organic flaxseed provide? Can it help prevent your blood sugars from spiking? For that and much, much more, continue reading!
Flaxseed oil is an excellent supplement that supports the body’s vital systems. It is rich in the omega-3 essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. Although omega-3s are crucial to human health, they are not manufactured by the body, so it’s important to get a steady supply through dietary sources and supplements.
There are two types of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. Most Americans get enough omega-6 fatty acids from dietary sources such as meat, eggs and dairy. Omega-3s are necessary for growth, heart health and brain function, but many of us do not get enough of them from dietary sources. MayoClinic.com reports that multiple studies have shown that omega-3 supplements may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
These supplements have also been studied as a treatment for depression and other mental illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, ADHD, osteoporosis, and even cancer prevention.
Benefits Of Flaxseed:
Flaxseed oil offers a wide range of health benefits. There are some studies showing that flaxseed oil can reduce total cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoprotien also known as bad cholesterol). This, however, is dependent on how well the alpha-linolenic acid is broken down into EPA and DHA. Flaxseed oil is likely to make platelets less sticky, which could help to reduce the risk of heart attack.
Flaxseed may also lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels (fat in the blood). Flaxseed oil has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to regulate the heartbeat, further supporting good cardiovascular health. In addition, the flax seed contains compounds called lignans. Studies show that patients taking lignans had a 75% reduction in atherosclerotic plaque buildup.
Flaxseed itself is recommended for those who suffer from Crohns disease or irritable bowel syndrome because it is thought to be able to heal the lining of the stomach and reduce inflammation.
The ALA found in flaxseed inhibited tumor growth and incidence in animal studies. In addition, the lignans in flaxseed are thought to bind to estrogen receptors, reducing the risk of estrogen driven breast cancer.
Ok, lets face it, the majority of us (me included) don’t even come close to getting our recommended daily allowance of vegetables each day. One vegetable that we should really try to incorporate into our diets is kale! There are not to many super foods out there, but this is certainly one that packs a nutritional punch.
Many people ask, what is kale? The health benefits of are being reported in major outlets, whether the general media or scientific journals. The light that is currently being shed on kale is that it is one of the most potent health promoting vegetables known to man. Kale is similar to other nutritional powerhouses, especially cabbage relatives like broccoli. However, it doesn’t resemble broccoli in appearance, having lovely dark green leaves instead of a miniature tree-like look. Kale is also a low-glycemic food. If someone is trying to lose weight, then this vegetable should be part of their diet.
Why Should Kale Vegetable Be In Your Diet?
The health benefits of kale are attributed to sulfur-containing phytonutrients. These substances, according to research, appear to be able to reduce the occurrence of numerous types of cancers. The exact mechanism is unclear, but researchers have concluded that such compounds in kale may trigger enzymes in the body that help to counter cancer promoting substances.
Kale, therefore, seems a great addition to any anti-cancer diet.Its benefits don’t just end there, however. Kale is also an excellent source of fiber, which is an important consideration for the millions of people who suffer from elevated cholesterol levels and in helping cleanse the colon. Many people, when they think of sources of calcium, believe dairy products are the best choice. But the truth of the matter is that dark leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach are better sources of calcium. Another important consideration is that kale is extremely sparse on calories, has no saturated fat, and does not cause widespread allergic reactions like many diary products do. In short, with kale, you can obtain your needed calcium without the guilt.
As a type 1 diabetic, the glycemic index use to be near and dear to my heart, well, that’s until I found out the glycemic load. How do the two differ? Last week I posted about the the glycemic load, but what is the glycemic index and how do they differ? Lets take a closer look!
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose (blood sugar) level. A food with a low GI will typically prompt a moderate rise in blood glucose, while a food with a high GI may cause our blood glucose level to increase above the optimal level.
An awareness of foods’ Glycemic Index can help you control your blood sugar levels, and by doing so, may help you prevent heart disease, improve cholesterol levels, prevent insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, prevent certain cancers, and achieve or maintain a healthy weight. A substantial amount of research suggests a low GI diet provides these significant health benefits. So, it’s worth taking a look at the basic principles of a low GI way of eating.
Why The Glycemic Index Is Important?
Your body performs best when your blood sugar is kept relatively constant. If your blood sugar drops too low, you become lethargic and/or experience increased hunger. And if it goes too high, your brain signals your pancreas to secrete more insulin. Insulin brings your blood sugar back down, but primarily by converting the excess sugar to stored fat. Also, the greater the rate of increase in your blood sugar, the more chance that your body will release an excess amount of insulin, and drive your blood sugar back down too low.
Therefore, when you eat foods that cause a large and rapid glycemic response, you may feel an initial elevation in energy and mood as your blood sugar rises, but this is followed by a cycle of increased fat storage, lethargy, and more hunger! Although increased fat storage may sound bad enough, individuals with diabetes (diabetes mellitus, types 1 and 2) have an even worse problem. Their bodies inability to secrete or process insulin causes their blood sugar to rise too high, leading to a host of additional medical problems.
The theory behind the Glycemic Index is simply to minimize insulin-related problems by identifying and avoiding foods that have the greatest effect on your blood sugar.
High Glycemic Index Foods And Health Problems:
What researchers have learned is that high glycemic index foods generally make blood sugar levels higher. In addition, people who eat a lot of high glycemic index foods tend to have greater levels of body fat, as measured by the body mass index (BMI). High BMIs are linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
High glycemic index foods include many carbohydrates such as:
- White bread
- Low-fiber cereals
- Baked goods
Ok, let me start off my saying that these little gems are my favorite snack to munch on when I get that afternoon craving to devour something! The health benefits of have been documented for centuries and modern research is backing up many of the claims – there any many goods reasons why you might want to consider including them in your diet, so lets take a closer look!
Benefits Of Eating Almonds:
Nuts, like almonds, hazel nuts, peanuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts and cashews can all play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease, according to a Harvard review. That’s because nuts may help reduce LDL cholesterol (more on that later), and incorporate a dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat and fiber, which has a heart-protective effect. Nuts are also rich in arginine, an amino acid that converts to nitric oxide in the body and helps blood vessels to relax.
Almonds Nutritional Profile:
Check this out! This is why I love these little guys!
Almonds boast an incredibly impressive nutrient profile, but what about the calories in 10 raw almonds.
A 1 ounce (28 grams, or small handful) serving of almonds contains (1):
- Fiber: 3.5 grams.
- Protein: 6 grams.
- Fat: 14 grams (9 of which are monounsaturated).
- Vitamin E: 37% of the RDA.
- Manganese: 32% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 20% of the RDA.
- They also contain a decent amount of copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.
Almonds For Weight Loss:
Not only delicious, versatile, and portable, but are nutritionally beneficial on a number of levels. Recent studies have demonstrated that diets featuring almonds and other tree nuts do not cause weight gain and may actually promote weight loss. This can be explained by the exceptionally healthful fatty acid profile that they possess. In concert with fiber, these compounds evidently work to suppress appetite, possibly by influencing the production of hormones involved in the hunger-satiety cycle and promoting a feeling of fullness. So if your looking for that perfect mid afternoon snack, give these guys a whirl. Add that extra protein to your diet and also help your waistline!
Hemp Seeds are a perfect and natural blend of easily digested protein, essential fats (Omega 3 & 6), Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and enzymes. All amino acids essential to optimum health are found in Hemp Seeds, including the rarely found Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). The 17+ grams of omega fats supplied by Hemp Seeds provides sufficient, continuous energy throughout your day!
Assist With Blood Pressure:
Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids that can reduce blood cholesterol. This keeps the heart healthy and also prevents plaque buildup in the arteries, which can ultimately lead to heart attack and strokes. Its fatty acids also reduce inflammation that can cause high blood pressure and poor blood circulation. Therefore, hemp can significantly reduce the workload on your heart.
Hemp Seeds And Diabetes:
Hemp seeds can also be beneficial if you are diabetic, or are at risk for diabetes, as they can help to stabilize your blood sugar levels but reducing blood sugar spikes. This is due to the healthy fats which help the body to absorb the glucose from the bloodstream and turn it into energy.
I was in the supermarket the other day with my 4 children and as we were strolling down the cereal isle, one of my oldest grabbed a box of a very well known cereal and ran over asking if I would buy it. Looking over the nutrition facts, I was absolutely shocked to see how much sugar was in this stuff! There was even a nicely place picture of an Apple on the front of the box, so it had to be healthy, right? Get this, 42.9% was pure sugar (percent based on sugar by weight)! A recent episode of 60 Minutes titled “Is Sugar Toxic” had folks buzzing over Twitter and whispering at the water cooler, but is sugar really the enemy or is this yet another nutrient that’s being needlessly discriminated against? Lets take a closer look!
Data reveals that Americans are consuming over 150 pounds of sugar per person each year—that’s one-third of a pound each day! Did you know that studies are also showing that sugar is more addictive than cocaine, and yes you are reading that correctly. Also, studies show that top sources of sugar include sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks as well as those popular energy drinks.
The American Heart Association’s current guidelines for added sugar are up to 100 calories (6 teaspoons) per day for women and 150 calories (9 teaspoons) for men. Based on the statistical data, we obviously consume way more sugar than we need.
Most of us have seen white granulated sugar all of our lives, but what makes it bad for us? Made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, sugar (or sucrose) is a carbohydrate. Sucrose is made up of two simpler sugars, fructose and glucose.
Sucrose is also naturally in plants, including fruit. Most fruits are not on the Body Ecology program, since they are too sweet and feed the systemic fungal infection, candida. Very sour fruits like lemons, limes, black currant juice and sour grapefruit are usually fine for most people.
There IS a difference between naturally occurring sucrose in plants and the sucrose found in granulated sugar or the high fructose corn syrup often used to sweeten processed foods.
Both granulated sugar and high fructose corn syrup go through a refining process…they are called “empty calories” because they offer no nutritional value. In addition, they are addictive and rob your body of energy and health.
Jen (my wife) first introduced me to pomegranates roughly 10 years ago and I immediately fell in love. Not only is pomegranate jam packed with nutrition, this super-food has some seriously amazing health benefits. Maybe you currently incorporate pomegranates as a part of your daily diet and maybe you don’t, but lets take a look as to why if they are not currently a staple in your diet, why they should!
Whether fresh in its natural state or in the form of juice, extract, oil, or even dried and used as a spice as it is in India, pomegranate is relatively low in calories, making it a choice addition to any diet.
Nutritional research science, now, suggests that all parts of the pomegranate, seeds, juice, and peel offers its own unique polyphenol protection. Polyphenols are plant antioxidants (natural chemical nutrients) that help protect us from developing many different kinds of diseases.
As in the case of this particular fruit, which consists primarily of juicy seeds called “arils“, ellagic acid is the main polyphenol found in pomegranates, and it is this substance that helps control several types of cancer. There is also a high level of punicic acid, which is closely related to conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a healthy trans fat found in nature. Daily drinking 6 to 8 ounces of pomegranate juice seems to prevent or inhibit cancer growth in prostate, breast, and reduces inflammatory enzymes in colon cancer.
Pomegranate And Polyphenols:
Pomegranate juice is also abundant in polyphenols, which have shown significant positive effects on the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients. Polyphenols boost the brain cells’ resistance to oxidative stress, help to control the degeneration of fats and also appear to avert the death of the cells.
Pomegranate and Heart Health:
The American Journal of Cardiology” published a study that concluded that pomegranate juice improves blood flow to the heart by as much as 17 percent. This may help those who are suffering from heart disease, or are at risk of developing it. Pomegranate juice may help reduce arterial plaque. It also lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL).
Apples are undeniably good for you, especially if you have diabetes. Apples are high in the soluble fiber pectin, making them good at controlling blood sugar by releasing it a little more slowly into the bloodstream (no this does NOT replace insulin) nor do I recommend you stop taking your insulin, so lets just clear that up right now. In addition to helping to regulate blood sugar and bowel function, soluble fiber is thought to have an anti-inflammatory affect that may help diabetics recover faster from infections.
Apple Vitamin C Benefits:
Apples benefit your health by boosting your intake of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C helps you make collagen, a protein found abundantly in your skin. Collagen is a crucial structural component of skin and helps maintain your skin’s waterproof barrier. Low collagen production caused by vitamin C deficiency affects your skin, leading to a re-opening of old wounds and skin tearing. A large apple contains 10.3 milligrams of vitamin C, 14 percent of the daily vitamin C requirements for women, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, or 11 percent for men.
Apple and Cancer:
Lab studies have shown that several compounds in this juicy fruit curb the growth of cancer cells — but apples are most potent when eaten whole (minus the stem and seeds, of course). People who munch more than one a day lower their risk for several cancers (oral, esophageal, colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and others) by 9 to 42 percent, Italian researchers found.