Food and Drink
In recent years, the low fat diet trend has lost a lot of steam. These days, many health authorities no longer recommend restricting dietary fat indiscriminately. Having said that, there is still a fair share of disagreement about what exactly constitutes healthy lipid sources. Just about everyone agrees that hydrogenated fats (aka trans-fats) are harmful. Likewise, most nutritional experts recommend seeking out omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in cold water fish, grass fed meat and select seeds, including flax, hemp and chia. On the other hand, saturated fats and vegetable oils tend to fall into the “questionable” category.
Tags: Fibromyalgia, Inflammation, Olive Oil
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 3 Comments & Updates
Earlier this year there was a major review in the journal Digestive Diseases focusing on the role of gut bacteria in relation to healthy aging. The authors of the paper describe various “pathophysiological” mechanisms such as impaired immune function and systemic inflammation, which appear to be linked to undesirable changes in the microbiota of seniors. However, this observation has not yet been matched with a widely accepted medical solution. In part, the reason has to do with uncertainty about exactly how to re-establish a healthier bacterial environment.
Tags: Immune, Inflammation, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink | 5 Comments & Updates
In modern times, culinary herbs and spices have primarily been relegated to the role of flavor enhancers. Want to liven up chicken or pork? Add some fresh garlic and rosemary sprigs. Tired of the same old oatmeal in the morning? Try a pinch of freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg to the mix. And, the skillful use of dill, sage or thyme can make all the difference when preparing seafood or vegetable dishes. But, what’s often missed is that common herbs and spices can be as healthy as they are tasty.
Tags: Diabetes, Heart Health, Inflammation
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink | 7 Comments & Updates
There’s no doubt it: green vegetables are at the peak of their popularity. They are the rock stars of the produce section! These days, nutritionists are quick to recommend them as a healthy part of just about any dietary plan, whether gluten-free, low carb or macrobiotic. Finding greens while eating out is no problem either. Most restaurants from fast food chains to gourmet eateries now feature chard, dandelion leaves, kale or spinach as side dishes and, sometimes, even as primary components of a main course. And, of course, you’ve surely seen countless juices in your local markets or natural food stores that proudly proclaim their “greenness”. There is a lot of good to be found in this trend. However, the benefits can be even greater if you make more greens at home.
Tags: Avocados, Mint, Spinach
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 4 Comments & Updates
It’s cool, chocolatey and undeniably good for you! Of the three claims I just made, the first two probably won’t raise any eyebrows, but the latter one may ruffle a few skeptical feathers. After all, ice cream isn’t something you’ll find on most lists of wholesome dietary options. Even health food store varieties are probably best enjoyed as an occasional treat if only because of their sugar content. Today’s culinary creation is an exception to the status quo.
Tags: Chocolate, Coconut, Stevia
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 6 Comments & Updates
Appetite suppressants have earned a well deserved, bad reputation in many medical circles. Time after time, so called miracle “diet pills” have failed to promote sustained weight loss and/or caused serious side effects. Perhaps the highest profile example is fen-phen, a drug combination consisting of fenfluramine and phentermine. In 1997, the FDA required that fen-phen be pulled from the US marketplace after numerous reports of heart valve disease and pulmonary hypertension became too common to ignore.
Tags: Fiber, Spinach, Water
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | 14 Comments & Updates
My fifth and final Expo West entry is geared towards healthier pleasures. These days, there are many faux-health foods on the market. Terms like “All Natural”, “Gluten Free”, “No Sugar Added” and “Non-GMO” are appearing on labels at an alarming rate. In some instances, this is the result of a positive shift in product composition which has largely been driven by consumer demand. So that is good cause to pat ourselves on the back. But, having said that, many of these so-called functional foods aren’t actually as health promoting as they may seem.
Tags: Coconut, Gluten, Onions
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 5 Comments & Updates
The sub-title for this blog is, “Make It Better!”. Year-in and year-out, the one thing you can count on at Natural Products Expo West is a certain degree of flash and showmanship. Many of the exhibits are quite extravagant. You’ll find everything from comic book characters to marching bands all vying for your attention. But, oftentimes, some of the better products aren’t represented in this category. Instead of following the latest trends, they simply build upon traditional wisdom and aim to improve upon it in one way or another.
Tags: Broth, Prunes, Soy
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 5 Comments & Updates
Last month, I joined approximately 77,000 other members of the natural health community in Anaheim, California. Natural Products Expo West is an ever expanding mecca for exhibitors of all sorts of holistically-inspired body care, foods, household goods and supplements. All told there were over 3,000 exhibitors presenting their respective wares. At the same time, there was also a broad array of educational presentations on topics ranging from sustainable agriculture to the future of probiotics.
Tags: Almonds, Beets, Organic
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 5 Comments & Updates
I think it’s safe to say that onions are a relatively popular vegetable. Although, they tend to be more the co-star than than the lead actor in a meal. Apart from onion rings, when was the last time you saw an onion casserole, onion salad, or sautéed onions as a main or side dish in a restaurant? Not very likely! While that’s probably not going to change anytime soon, you may want to onions to play a more prominent role in your own kitchen.
Tags: Heart Health, Onions, Quercetin
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Diabetes, Food and Drink | 9 Comments & Updates
Why would anyone actively avoid eating fruit? For some, this question can be answered in one word: sugar. Most fruits contain a significant amount of naturally occurring fructose and glucose. But, much like other whole foods, fruit also features additional components. Fat, fiber, nutrients and a long list of phytochemicals dictate the blood sugar response and overall health impact of any given fruit. For instance, avocados are rich in both fat and fiber, which makes them an ideal choice for those concerned about blood sugar fluctuations. However, the reality is that most fruits do not contain much fat. Therefore, fruit selection ought to focus on fiber, nutrient-density and phytochemical content.
Tags: Blueberries, Kiwi, Strawberries
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 6 Comments & Updates
Pharyngitis is the technical name for a sore throat. In most cases viral infections, such as the common cold or influenza, are responsible for the characteristic inflammation and swelling in the back of the throat or pharynx. Thankfully, there are some evidence-based alternatives that address sore throat prevention, recovery time and symptom severity.
Tags: Echinacea, Licorice, Zinc
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments & Updates
Conquer food cravings. Check! Retrain your fat cells. Check! Lose weight permanently. Check! These are the bold pronouncements made on the cover of the new book, Always Hungry? I’m fully aware that such claims are typically associated with fad diets and weight loss schemes. But, I hope that my history and reputation will encourage you to stick with me for the remainder of this review. As you may know, several years ago I lost over 80 lbs by adopting a high-fat, nutrient-dense, lower carbohydrate diet. Since then, I’ve mostly maintained that initial weight loss. In fact, right now I weigh less than I did at the end of my weight loss journey. Hopefully that gives me some credibility in this arena.
Tags: Body Fat, Inflammation, Vitamin D
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 10 Comments & Updates
Hard to believe another year has passed so quickly, but 2015 is swiftly winding down. But, before ushering in 2016, I’d like to offer up one last healthy prescription. Long time readers of this site and my Twitter followers know that I’ve been on the coconut bandwagon for quite some time. This once maligned food and ingredient is now considered conditionally healthy by many health experts. Still, there are enough dissenting voices in the alternative and mainstream media to stimulate uncertainty in the minds of some. Today, I hope to put those unconvinced minds at ease when it comes to the enjoyment and health benefits of coconut.
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Tags: Coconut, Diabetes, Skin Care
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 6 Comments & Updates
One of the hottest new supplements in the natural health marketplace is Moringa oleifera. The leaves of this “miracle tree” are frequently described as an exotic “super food” because of their nutrient density and subtropical origin. So, on the one hand, you’ll often find organic, powdered forms of M. oleifera leaves in high-end health food stores. And, at the same time, a lesser processed version is sometimes used as an ingredient in the diets of poor communities where malnutrition is common.
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments & Updates
Recently, I was asked an intriguing question that regularly comes up in my line of work. A friend of the site wondered whether eating too many “super foods” or going overboard on supplements can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. There are two types of stroke: hemorrhagic and ischemic. According to the National Stroke Association, only about 15% of strokes are the hemorrhagic variety. This form of stroke involves bleeding in the brain caused by damaged or weakened arteries and blood vessels. Cerebral blood spills build up pressure in the cranium and subsequently damage the brain.
Tags: Aspirin, Ginkgo Biloba, Stroke
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 8 Comments & Updates