Have Sugar But Not Too Much

Introduction

A week or 2 ago we mentioned diabetes and ways we could help prevent it. The best and most effective way is to cut sugar out. The recommended amount of sugar consumed on a daily basis should be no more than 9 teaspoons. Just a can of soda has 8 already. So you see for the sweet tooth’s out there (including me) we should really watch out how much sugar we consume every day as it can be very easy to consume more than recommended. There is no doubt that sugar can definitely give us more energy instantly every day and make us feel happier but there are more serious side effects apart from diabetes when consuming too much sugar on a regular basis.

 

Sugar and the issue of weight gain

Sugar has been shown to lead to weight gain. This is because sugar is an empty calorie. Despite it having so many calories it is not high in nutritional value at all and is not very filling. A higher calorie intake equates to more weight gain. Another reason why sugar leads to weight gain is that it is the first source of fuel the body uses. As a result, they do not offset hunger for very long in the stomach. This leads to more regular eating thus increasing the calorie intake. Sugar also has the ability to affect biological pathways that regulate hunger. Our body produces a hormone to regulate hunger depending on energy output. This hormone is called Leptin. Studies have shown that excessive sugar intake disrupts the function of Leptin in our body by making our body more resistant to it. This means we end up consuming way more calories than we need in order to meet our body’s fulfillment.

 

Sugar and the issue of obesity and heart diseases

Consuming too much sugar on a regular basis increases the likelihood of some sort of heart disease. One reason as to why it increases the chances of heart disease is that excessive sugar causes obesity. Sugar leads to obesity due to the increased intake of calories. Obesity is one of the main causes of heart disease. Sugar also stops triglycerides from breaking down. This puts more pressure on the heart as there would be more blockages. This will cause the heart to pump harder leading to high blood pressure. Another reason why sugar leads to high blood pressure is that it increases LDL while decreasing HDL. LDL is known as bad cholesterol. This is because it sticks to your arteries leading to narrowing of the artery. While HDL is known as the good cholesterol and it removes all other bad fats such as triglycerides and LDL that’s floating in the bloodstream. As the artery is narrowed there will be less blood being able to flow through thus leading to increased blood pressure.

 

Sugar and the issue of oral and dental health

Finally, too much sugar leads to poor oral and dental health. As you’ve probably heard every mother says ‘stop eating sugar it’s bad for your teeth. There is plenty of bacteria that live inside the mouth. Some of the bacteria are good and protect your oral health but some are not. These bacteria thrive off sugar. They love it as much as you do. But as these bad bacteria grow out of control they release acids. These acids released can dissolve the enamel of your teeth leading to cavities. This acid also causes bad breath. This is why it’s important to brush your teeth and decrease the amount of sugar to stop these bacteria from taking over your mouth.

 

Conclusion

Sugar is great, it tastes great, makes you have more energy, and helps you out mentally. However, they have so many side effects if over consumed. Weight gain, heart disease, and poor oral health are just some of them. Make sure to cut out as much sweet food as you can and try to keep under the recommended daily amount!

 

Negative effects of sugar on kids

 

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Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Introduction

Who’s a big chocolate fan?? I know I am. And when I mean chocolate, I mean dark chocolate. Like at least 40% Cacao. Anything underneath that isn’t really classified as proper chocolate to me. Those usually contain a high amount of sugar and dairy and don’t really have the full health benefit that Cacao does. So today, let’s dive into the 4 benefits of consuming chocolate.

 

Benefits of eating chocolate

  • Cocao is super nutritious. Just as perspective 100 grams of dark chocolate contains 11grams of fiber. Fiber is essential for your digestive system. Allowing stools to pass through with ease. It also covers many other daily nutrients as well and a good portion of recommended daily intake such as 67% of iron, 58% of magnesium, 89% of copper, and a lot of other stuff. But please don’t eat 100g of dark chocolate as they are also very calorie-dense.
  • Cacao has the ability to improve blood flow. Inside our arteries, there is a lining called the endothelium. The function of the endothelium is to act as a filter and regulate blood flow by relaxing the arteries. This process is done by producing Nitric Oxide. Research has shown that cacao stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the arteries thus allowing a better flow of blood in the arteries.
  • Cacao can lower LDL while raising HDL. In a study, cocoa powder showed that it can reduce oxidated LDL. LDL itself is bad because it can clog the artery making it harder for blood to pass through. Oxidated LDL is even worse as once it reacts with oxygen it is capable of damaging surrounding tissue like arteries in your heart. HDL is the good cholesterol and helps maintain the levels of LDL. So eating dark chocolate in moderate amounts is good for heart health.
  • Finally, consuming moderate amounts of chocolate can improve brain function. This is because chocolate can improve blood flow. This includes blood flow into the brain. Thus the brain will get more nutrients and oxygen, allowing it to grow and function at its best. A study also showed that it can significantly improve cognitive function and verbal fluency, especially in the older population. This is due to the fact that cacao has a stimulant similar to coffee, resulting in short term improvement in brain function.

 

Conclusion

Chocolate is a super delicious and affordable treat. A couple of benefits are nutritional values, improve blood flow, cholesterol maintenance, and improvement in brain function. It’s a lovely treat for your body but remember to have it in moderation. Too much chocolate will result in diabetes and other health issues due to too much sugar consumption.

 

Dark chocolate has many health benefits such as brain health and immunity!!!

 

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4 Natural & Effective Ways to Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels is something that effects around 31% of the human population. Having a cholesterol levels can lead to high blood pressure, angina and kidney diseases. In more serious cases it can lead to strokes and heart attacks. This is because cholesterol builds up in our arteries and blood vessels. Due to this build up, it leads to a narrower vessel hence the increase in blood pressure and the increase likelihood of blockages. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, today let’s discuss 4 ways for you to lower your cholesterol.

 

  1. Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet. This is because it contains high amounts of LDL. This is a type of cholesterol that is harmful for the body as it leaves build ups and is easily solidified in room temperature. Thus leading to narrower blood vessels in the body. We find saturated fats in many unhealthy foods such as pies, cakes and different types of pastries. This is because they are all made from some sort of animal products like butter and margarine. Another way to avoid food that contains high amount of saturated fats is to consume less processed meats. This is because it is often mixed with cuts of meat that contains high amount of animal fat.
  2. Consume food that is high in omega-3. Even though omega-3 is a fat it does not build up in the body as it is classified as an HDL. Think of it like this, omega-3 is the oil that keeps the mechanics well oiled. If everything in your body is well oiled, it’ll function smoothly and be kept in a better state. By keeping the arteries better oiled, it decreases the amount of plaque and fatty builds up from the LDL. As a result, even if you do have high cholesterol, it’ll lower your blood pressure. Leading to a lower likelihood of heart diseases.
  3. While we are sticking to recommended foods, it is highly recommended for people with high cholesterol to consume soluble fibres like beans, oats, citrus fruits and barley. This is because our body is not able to digest these foods. This create a small barrier where these soluble fibres are then attached to the cholesterol, preventing it from getting into the blood stream. In addition, soluble fibres helps your gut bacteria (probiotics) function better. So start consuming more fibre right now!
  4. Do some exercises. Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between exercise and lower cholesterol levels. This is because exercise stimulates a higher production of HDL levels. As we have mentioned it above, HDKL decreases the amount of plaque and fatty build ups in the arteries. As a recommendation, exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. It can be anything from brisk walking to playing a sport that you enjoy.

 

Here are 4 tips on how to reduce cholesterol. Remember, it won’t be decreased overtime. Try these tips for a couple of months and retest your levels after. Sometimes it may take even longer. But I guarantee that if you stick to it, results will show over time!

 

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Diabetes – Intro

BRIEFING:

 

Food is now in abundance for many of us. In fact, we have so much food that many of the unnecessary products are becoming staples. I’m sure there is one person that you know of replaces water with soda, fruits with sugary sweets, whole foods with processed foods and fresh meat with processed meat. These foods will surely lead to health complications later on in life. One of them would highly likely be diabetes.

What is diabetes? Diabetes is when there is too much sugar in your blood. This can be due to two reasons; congenital and lifestyle. Type 1 diabetes is due to congenital issues. This is an autoimmune issue that occurs when your insulin-producing cells are attacked by your immune system. Insulin is an important hormone that regulates blood sugar and without it our blood sugar levels will rise. So if there is a lack of insulin to begin with, there will be nothing that keeps it under control. Type 2 is due to consuming food with too much sugar. This causes one of two problems. Firstly, it may cause the body to not produce enough insulin. This is because the demand is too high and the body cannot make enough supplies. Secondly, it can cause the insulin to become more resistant. This just means that your body isn’t able to process the sugar as well as it should. Insulin is used to the amount of sugar and is feeling lazy so it will no longer be as sensitive as it once was.

cont.

 

So let’s talk about some early signs and symptoms of diabetes. Some early signs of diabetes can include frequent urination, increased thirst, and an increase in appetite. However, sometimes there may be no symptoms at all! So we must constantly monitor our blood to check for sugar levels and other problems. In severe cases of diabetes, slow healing of cuts and wounds, loss of sensation, blurry vision, and patchy skin. The one that I would definitely be careful of would be the slow healing of wounds. This is because it increases the likelihood of infection occurring.

 

So now we know what diabetes is, what is the reasoning behind it, and what the symptoms are, next time we’ll discuss some risk factors (hint: most likely from diet). Also, we’ll tell you some ways to prevent yourself from getting diabetes too!

 

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Meal Prep 101

Life happens. And one of the best ways to make it through successfully is to make sure you’re prepared.

Meal prepping saves you time, energy and serves as your friend on the days when you get home late and every fibre of your being is against you making food. In turn, you end up spending less on eating out and having more energy by eating home-cooked, delicious meals.

Whether you’re keto, paleo, low-carb, or standard NZ diet, this simple guide will serve you well to have a fridge full of healthy meals for the week.

 

Prep steps:

 

  1. PLAN: Meal prepping starts on the weekend. Look at the week ahead of you and figure out the busy days for which you’ll need meal-prepped meals. Even if you don’t want to meal prep for the entire week, make sure that you schedule some time the day before to prepare a meal.
  2. THINK: Open notes or find a pad and pen to write some healthy meal ideas. Nothing fancy, keep it simple. For example, you could have some one-pot recipes on hand that can make huge batches like chilli, grilled chicken, roast veggies, and stir fry.
  3. SHOP: From that simple menu, create an ingredient list and go out to buy your meal prep ingredients. If you don’t have the memory of an elephant, be sure to bring a note pad with you or have your list on your phone notes to tick off as you go.
  4. COOK: Schedule one or however many days out of the week to cook. This could be every Sunday that you plug your headphones in with a good podcast and go hard at your meal prep for an hour and a half. Be sure to cook all the things that take lots of time to cook like your chicken, veggies, and potatoes. Prepping in bulk is best because it saves you heaps of time. Slicing a few carrots is as fast as slicing one, so make sure to prep everything you can in that set time.
  5. STORE: Finally, store your meal-prepped food in containers and make them accessible in the fridge. Be sure to also put the appropriate items in the freezer if you know you won’t be eating it before it goes bad.

And most IMPORTANTLY, don’t forget to make meal prepping fun and a regularly weekly ritual of yours. Throw on some music, watch a show or just chat if it’s a team effort.

Apply these meal prep principles and your future self will thank you immensely.

This blog is sponsored by Priorityfitness.

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Learning From Longevity Cultures: Part 1

Watching a TEDx Talk by Dan Buettner on longevity inspired me to write this.

The following three blogs are a summary of his talk with a few of my own ideas.

If you want to watch the original talk head over to YouTube and search his name otherwise stay tuned for a summary of his main findings. Scientists believe humans can live about 90-100 or so years and there are communities around the world that have a high rate of people who are living into their tenth decade. The NZ life expectancy is about 81 years which means Kiwi’s are missing out on 10-20 extra years. What would you do with 10 years?

The main thing a lot of people say when talking about living longer is that they don’t want to be in pain or incapacitated. But what if those years were full of life and joy? What else would you be able to achieve and how much more could you make an impact in other peoples lives with an extra decade or two? The majority of people in these long-lived communities, or Blue Zones (Seventh-Day Adventists in California, the residents of Sardinia, Italy, and the inhabitants of the islands of Okinawa, Japan) are not only living longer but are doing so in great health. In this three-part series we will cover the nine common principles you can learn from these cultures so you can add life to your years and years to your life.

They don’t exercise:

no, this doesn’t mean what you might hope it does! A sedentary lifestyle is not good for you. People in these communities set up their lives so they are nudged toward movement. They live in houses with steps and don’t have conveniences like premade food. They spend a lot of time and effort physically preparing food, cutting and collecting wood, fishing or farming their own food, and have more physically involved jobs. Basically their day to day is exercise but if you work a sedentary job exercise is still the next best thing so that you can minimise the impact of sitting all day. On top of regular exercise try to integrate more movement into your day by simply parking further away and walking to work or the shops. Yep, this will mean leaving home earlier, but convenience might be slowly killing you!

They live with Purpose:

In our culture we tend to gear our entire working life toward retirement at which point we become sedentary, giving up mental and physical challenges and along with it, losing a sense of purpose. Sure, your work capacity will decrease as you age but make sure you retire TO something and not FROM it. In Okinawa they don’t have a word for retire, they have a word ikigai, which means, “the reason you get up on the morning.” This could be a hobby, going to night school to learn a language or how to cook, picking up an instrument, joining a club or group, writing a book, being involved in your family’s life, the list goes on.

To be continued…

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The Benefits of Consuming Good Fats

Introduction

We were once told that fats can do more harm than good and once deemed as an enemy to our diet. However, recent studies are showing that SOME of them are amazing for our health.

There are two main types of fats, saturated and unsaturated.
-Unsaturated ones are oil-based fats and are usually runny at room temperature.
-On the other hand, saturated ones are solid at room temperatures and are commonly found in animal-based foods and dairy.

So which one is good for the body? Unsaturated fats of course! and doctors are pretty much in agreement that eating foods loaded with saturated fats, such as butter, red meat and pork, can cause heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

 

What are some of the benefits of consuming good fats?

1. Lowers heart disease and cholesterol level

Recent studies have that consuming healthy fats (unsaturated) can reduce some risk factors for heart disease. There has been evidence also showing that a high intake of monounsaturated fats can help reduce blood cholesterol levels.

 

2. Absorption of Vitamins

Another important benefit is that it allows the absorption of certain vitamins into our bodies. There are water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins, without the aid of fats it cannot readily be absorbed into our body. Vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble and all have different functions for the body.

 

3. Increase Muscle Mass

The research has linked healthy fats to increase in muscle mass. It has also linked the intake of those healthy ones to good hormone balance and increased recovery after an intense workout.

 

4. Improves brain function

Research finds that “good” fats (monounsaturated ones) associates with better overall cognitive function and memory and saturated ones associates with worse overall cognitive function and memory over time.

 

Where can we get these healthy fats from exactly?

  • Chia Seeds
  • Flaxeeds/Linseeds
  • Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts etc
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Extra virgin Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin Olive oil.

 

Which ones to stay away from

  • Dairy products such as milk, cream, cheese, butter, ghee
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Red meat
  • Pork, Bacon or Ham
  • Sausages.

Despite popular belief that these products are healthy for us to consume, they are all extremely high in cholesterol and hugely contribute to heart disease, cancer and diabetes (the 3 tops killers all over the world). With the restriction of these products in ones diet researchers and medical experts have been able to reverse the most severe cases of heart disease, diabetes and cancers.

Good healthy fats

 

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Celery Juice Health Benefits

Introduction

The juice of fresh raw celery is loaded with a variety of nutrients. It contains almost all essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and stocked up energy, which help in regulating the natural as well as optimal functions of our body collectively. Please keep in mind that I highly recommend using organic/spray free celery as regular celery can have high amounts of pesticides.

 

Celery juice

 

Here is a list of health benefits of celery juice:

 

1. Prevents Cancer:

Keep cancer at bay by drinking celery juice every day. There are 8 types of anti-cancer substances present in the juice that can heal cancer in a number of ways. The acetylenic content of the juice prevents the tumor cells from growing, the phonolic acid content makes the hormone-like prostaglandins (accelerates the growth of cancerous cells) inactive, the phyto nutrient content stops free radicals from destroying the DNA of our cells, and so on.

 

2. Lowers Cholesterol:

Celery juice is an excellent natural remedy for lowering the cholesterol levels in our body. It contains a chemical compound named 3-n-butylphthalide that has positive effects on reducing the bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) in our bloodstream. It also boosts the secretion of bile or steroid acids which is helpful in lowering cholesterol too. The juice extracted only from 2 stalks of celery can decrease our cholesterol levels up to 7 points.

 

3. Controls Blood Pressure:

If you drink 1 glass of celery juice each day, you will be able to keep your blood pressure levels under control. It is again the effects of 3-n-butylphthalide, which diminishes the secretion of stress hormones and relaxes the muscles present around our blood vessels so that they get dilated and blood can flow through them smoothly without causing much pressure onto their inner walls.

 

4. Prevents Digestive Disorders:

Celery juice has great potential to cure various digestive disorders. It contains lots of fibers which turn the plant into a laxative one. Fibers discharge certain nutrients during the preparation of juice and prevent constipation by making the bowel movement smoother.

 

5. Prevents Calcification:

Fresh celery juice is also useful in averting calcification inside our gall bladder, urinary bladder and kidneys. As it can remove waste as well as toxic materials from these organs, the stones present within these get broken down and eliminated easily.

 

6. Maintains Acid-Base Balance:

Studies have shown that very few foods are as powerful as celery juice in maintaining the acid-base balance in our body. It reduces the acidity and makes our body alkaline to some extent so that the pH levels remain good.

 

7. Anti- Inflammatory Action:

Celery juice is highly anti-inflammatory. It holds an organic compound named polyacetylene, which inhibits acute inflammation in bone diseases like osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. and respiratory disorders like bronchitis, asthma, etc.

 

8. Diuretic:

Being a good diuretic, celery juice facilitates the production of urine and helps us stay healthy. Basically, the two essential minerals – sodium and potassium – present in the juice act as the regulators of our body fluid, thereby promoting urination.

 

9. Aids In Weight Loss:

Shedding extra weight also becomes easy and hassle-free with the regular intake of celery juice. It is extremely low in calories and very filling at the same time. Therefore, it keeps our appetite under check and helps us lose weight successfully.

 

10. Treats Insomnia:

Sleep disorder or insomnia can also be treated effectively with celery juice. The magnesium as well as essential oil content of the juice imposes a soothing effect on our nerves and. As a result, we can relax and enjoy a sound sleep.

 

Benefits of Celery Juice for Skin:

Celery juice can contribute to our skin to a great extent. It works as a wonderful alternative to synthetic beauty products available in the market. Explore the skin benefits of celery juice below:

 

11. Hydrates Skin:

The juice extracted from celery is high in water as 95% of the weight of the plant is water. Hence, drinking celery juice in a regular manner can fulfil our daily requirements of water and keeps our skin cells hydrated. As a result, we get soft and supple skin.

 

12. Prevents Skin Damage And Other Disorders:

Water and antioxidant content of the juice is also good for purifying our body and making our skin clearer. Antioxidants are basically ‘free radical scavengers’, which make our body free from toxins and prevent our skin cells from getting damaged. On the other hand, water facilitates the elimination of those toxins as well as other waste materials from our body. Consequently, we can stay away from a number of skin disorders.

 

13. Keeps Skin Young:

Celery juice is loaded with vitamin A, B, C, K, niacin and folate, which are essential for repairing skin damages as well as keeping up the health of our skin. These vitamins also help in producing collagen and nourishing our skin. Therefore, we get smooth, young and wrinkle-free skin.

 

14. Ensures Glowing Skin:

There are numerous minerals present in celery juice. These include calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, and so on. Regular intake of these minerals can result into bright and glowing skin.

 

Benefits of Celery Juice for Hair:

Not only health or skin, but celery juice is rewarding for our hair also. Several ways through which this juice can benefit your tresses are given below:

 

15. Over-all Hair Care:

It has been already mentioned that celery juice comprises high amount of water and vitamin A. Both are great for our hair. Water keeps our scalp hydrated and cures dandruff, while vitamin A provides nourishment to the roots of hair strands and makes them healthy. Celery juice is also known to stimulate the growth of our hair and improve its texture. Hence, if you want lush and beautiful hair, consider daily intake of celery juice.

 

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