Mycobacterium vaccae: Bacteria That’s GOOD For Your Brain!!

 

Reading this article will give you yet one more reason for spending plenty of time outdoors, whether walking through the woods, working in the garden, or making mud pies with the neighborhood kids. 🙂

 

Get Outdoors and Try to Get “Infected”
With These Brain-Healthy Bacteria

We know that eating a variety of organic fruits and vegetables promotes good health…

We also know spending time in nature, whether it’s walking through green spaces or spending time in the garden, can increase feelings of well-being and reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.

Now researchers have discovered another reason why spending time outside makes us feel so much better: Soil contains a beneficial strain of bacteria that can improve cognition and lower some risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Read on to learn more about this friendly microbe and how it can keep your brain strong…

The helpful bacterium is known as Mycobacterium vaccae (or M. vaccae). It’s abundant in soil. When we’re outdoors we breathe it in the open air…

As you may know, science is homing in on the connection between our microbiome – the beneficial microbes in our gut — and brain function. Some researchers even go so far as to call the gut the second brain. (For more information on gut and brain health, see Issue #205.)

A 2013 study published in the journal Behavioral Processes provided more evidence for this theory when researchers Dorothy Matthews and Susan Jenks fed a group of mice live M. vaccae bacteria and then had them run a maze. A control group ran the maze without the benefit of the microbe.

The results were stunning. Mice that ate the bacteria before and during the trials “completed the maze twice as fast as controls and with reduced anxiety-related behaviors.”

M. vaccae acts like an “old friend”

The “old friends” or “hygiene” hypothesis of stress-related diseases states that, because we spend less time in nature and overuse antibacterial soaps and other germ-killing aids, our bodies no longer reap the benefits of microbes like M. vaccae, which have helped humans survive and thrive for thousands of years.

The hypothesis gets its name from the strategy of ‘reintroducing’ humans to their old friends [beneficial bacteria] to promote optimal health and wellness.

Without them our bodies fall prey to the negative effects of stress and chronic inflammation, and this adversely affects our bodies’ own ability to prevent diseases.

Chronic inflammation also contributes to depression, which is not only a danger in its own right, but is also a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (see Issue #117).

In a 2016 study published in the journal Trends in Immunology, researchers “immunized” mice with M. vaccae and found that their exposure to the microbe (or infection, if you will) prevented stress-induced colitis and reduced fear, anxiety, symptoms of inflammation and poor stress management.

The Connection Between M. Vaccae,
Serotonin and Alzheimer’s Disease

The reason for the animals’ decreased anxiety in the above studies is that ingestion of M. vaccae stimulates the release of serotonin in the brain. Higher levels of this neurotransmitter elevate mood and decrease anxiety.

Serotonin is the “feel good” neurotransmitter that’s also essential to synaptic functioning. Your neurons need serotonin to communicate with each other. This molecule also plays a crucial role in memory and learning.

Serotonin production naturally slows as we age. Research suggests that this decrease could be linked to depression, decreased cognition, memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Studies of autopsied brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease have shown serious serotonin deficiencies. Being low on serotonin doesn’t necessarily cause cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, but it is an indicator that overall brain health and functioning has been compromised.

Big Pharma has been trying to create drugs that boost serotonin, but so far they haven’t been effective. So your best bet to prevent low levels of serotonin is to actively stimulate its production with M. vaccae – and by other means.

How to Increase Your Intake of M. vaccae

Spending time in green places, city parks and uninhabited woods alike, increases your exposure to M. vaccae. Get outside and breathe the fresh air as often as you can.

Eating fruits and vegetables directly from the tree, shrub or vine also helps you to ingest beneficial quantities of this microbe. As long as they’re grown without pesticides and herbicides, you’ll be pretty safe to eat them without washing. (I’d be wary of vegetables grown in or near the ground, especially in manure-rich soil. Those I’d wash.)

Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that gardening or otherwise closely interacting with the earth gives you even more M. vaccae.

Long-time gardeners swear that spending time among their plants is therapeutic. Now we have a new reason to think so.

Spend some time playing in the dirt with your kids or grandkids. Try planting a small flower garden that you all can tend together. Grow one or two vegetable plants and eat the produce right off the plant. Or visit a local farm and sample their wares.

As long as you’re outside, eating organic fruits and veggies and getting dirty once in a while, you’ll be doing your brain a favor.

 Source: Brain Health Breakthroughs Newsletter by Lee Euler

Related Self-help Health posts:

Walking: Just Do It (In Nature!)

Natural Ways To Treat Alzheimer’s

Trees: They’re Not Just For Hugging

FYI, there’s a free on-line series starting on the 12th that ties in nicely with the idea of spending more time digging in the dirt. It’s the 3rd Annual Home Grown Summit. which will feature 38+ presenters sharing their best “secrets” about growing food, living sustainably, creating community, and more….

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You can go to my “What’s New” page to find out more about the summit, plus see the list of e-books and reports the Grow Network offers for free.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

Onions: In Your Food, On Your Feet, By Your Nightstand…..What?!

 

A couple of years ago I read somewhere about onions being such strong anti-bacterial agents that if you cut one in half and put it in a dish on your nightstand, in the morning it would be all black from attracting all the germs and “greasy grime” in the environment. I was thinking about that a few months ago and wishing I’d saved the article because I wanted to refresh my memory on the facts, plus include the info in a post about onions because they keep coming up, along with garlic, as such good anti-cold and flu agents.

Anyway, I had been wanting to research the topic, but hadn’t found the time to get around to it. Then boom and viola! An e-mail showed up right after that that actually contained info about that very thing. Talk about synchronicity and serendipity!

 

 

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Onions: Don’t Leave Home Without Them! 🙂

Onions have countless uses in the kitchen and are a chief ingredient in many sauces, salads and entrees, but to think of them only as a cooking ingredient overlooks the fact that they are also nutritional and healing powerhouses. Eating an onion a day (ideally raw) could be one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to safeguard your health, especially during wintertime.

Rich in disease-fighting quercetin

Onions, particularly red and yellow onions, are fantastic natural sources of the well-studied flavonoid quercetin. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, quercetin acts like an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory, and can guard against heart disease and cancer. These claims are now being proven by research. For example, one study published in Gastroenterology in January 1996 found that eating half of an onion a day could cut the risk of developing stomach cancer by 50 percent. Wow! And a later study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that quercetin could significantly reduce the concentrations of LDL cholesterol in overweight subjects, thereby decreasing their risk of cardiovascular disease.

High in allicin

The pungent taste and aroma of onions, as well as their famous release of eye-watering gases when chopped, is due to their allicin content. Allicin is also found in garlic, another common kitchen ingredient and nutritional powerhouse. Allicin is an organic sulfur compound which, like quercetin, possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent cancer. Moreover, research featured in Microbes and Infection in 1999 showed that allicin is a potent anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-bacterial, and can kill common (and increasingly antibiotic-resistant) microbial cultures in the body such as Candida albicans and E. coli. Since viruses thrive in cold weather, eating more onions in winter really is a good idea!

Lower blood sugar

Although the allicin in onions is best-known for treating disease, it has also been linked to reduced blood sugar. A research paper published back in 1975 in Experientia proved that diabetic rabbits that were treated with allicin extracts experienced “significantly reduced” blood sugar levels and glucose-nitrogen ratios. We now know that this is because allicin competes with insulin in the liver, which encourages the body to manufacture more of it. This helps transport glucose through the body, thus reducing blood sugar levels. Additionally, onions are also a top source of chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the actions of insulin. Therefore, diabetic or pre-diabetic individuals can help stabilize their blood sugar levels by adding more allicin-rich foods like onions to their diets.

Surprisingly dense in nutrients

One medium-sized onion also contains a surprising number of additional nutrients. This includes approximately 20 percent of our recommended daily intake of the essential antioxidant vitamin C, as well as varying amounts of protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron and most of the B vitamins. Obtaining these nutrients from whole foods like onions is the best way to optimize biosorption rates.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/045470_onions_natural_treatment_allicin.html#ixzz3QvE6uFew


 

And from The Alternative Daily, here are 11 of the amazing ways you can use onions more often…..

Stop a bloody nose

If you get a nosebleed, as soon as possible after it starts, slice an onion and hold it just underneath your nose. The fumes from the onion act as a natural coagulant to stop the bleeding.

Cure insomnia

While it definitely sounds a bit bizarre, onions are even said to cure insomnia. Just cut into a raw onion and take five to ten deep breaths of its aroma. For the best results, place it into a glass jar and put it beside your bed – take a whiff just before laying down.

Eliminate dark spots on the skin

To remove dark spots on your skin, slice a red onion and rub it directly onto dark areas of the skin after cleansing. Used on a daily basis it can help lighten hyper-pigmentation.

Soothe menstrual cramps

Onions are known as one of the best soothing agents for menstrual cramps. Consuming raw onions regularly during four to five days before your period can help ease the pain.

Improve sexual drive

The agent that gives onions their strong smell, allicin, is also responsible for increasing blood flow to the sexual organs, resulting in increased sexual drive.

Strengthen the immune system

As onions contain a significant amount of phyto-chemicals in addition to high levels of vitamin C, they can help strengthen your immune system, providing a strong defense against the common cold or flu.

Detoxification

Onions’ sulfur-containing amino acids offer a detoxifying effect which helps the liver process things like caffeine and acetaminophen as well as converting pesticides, lead and dry-cleaning solvents into forms that are less toxic and easier for the body to eliminate.

Support good oral health

Forgetting about the issue with foul breath for a moment – chewing raw onions for several minutes can help prevent tooth decay and oral infections by killing harmful germs present in the mouth. Just brush your teeth and use a mouthwash afterward to get rid of the smell. Chewing a fresh sprig of parsley can also help.

Stabilizing blood sugar levels

Studies have shown that consuming onions regularly can also help balance blood sugar levels. Onions are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and many other micro-nutrients, compounds which further help to support normal blood sugar levels.

Fresh bulbs of onion*Preventing cancer

Research has found that organosulfur compounds, found in both onions and garlic, prevent the development of cancers by detoxifying carcinogens and stopping cancer cell growth. High onion intake has been associated with a 56 percent lower risk of colon cancer and a 25 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to no onion intake.

*More on this in a follow-up post on onions

Eliminate pimples

Rubbing half an onion on your face daily can help to eliminate blemishes without leaving acne scars or the long list of side effects which can come from acne medications.

Onions are truly an amazing food – use them frequently in your meals. They’re one of the most versatile vegetables and can be consumed raw or cooked, imparting a unique flavor to almost any recipe.

Onions for fever
I heard one of my teenage daughters talking to someone the other day about treating a fever, and she said, “Put some onions on your feet.” I couldn’t believe how bizarre that sounded. However, that is how I raised my kids. From as young as they can remember, I would initially treat a low-grade fever with white onions, putting a few slices on each foot and pulling on their socks.

Using onions for healing is nothing new. In Europe, onions were used to fight off sickness in the early 1900s, and Ayurvedic medicine has been using a poultice for the chest or feet to treat coughs, flu and fevers for centuries. The Hutterites, a North American pacifist community similar to the Amish, place cut onions throughout their home during cold and flu season because they believe the onions keep the germs away.

Onions are rich in sulphur-containing compounds that are naturally detoxifying. In addition, onions are the richest dietary source of quercetin, a highly potent antioxidant that has been shown to thin the blood, combat asthma, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, infections, and has been linked to inhibiting certain cancers. Onions also have strong anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral properties. So, don’t forget to add plenty of onions to your diet to help protect you from even the nastiest of bugs.

Source: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/11-amazing-uses-onions-clearer-skin-better-sleep/


 

For a really great, in-depth article on onions and which ones are highest in certain nutrients, and how to store and use in cooking, and extensive list of what health issues they help address, check out this post by Dr. Mercola. It also mentions how, when peeling an onion, you should only remove the outer most papery layer because a lot of the nutrients are in the next few layers……

Ideally, peel off only the outermost paper-like layer. Peeling too many layers can reduce the onion’s quercetin and anthocyanin content by as much as 20 percent and 75 percent respectively.20 One piece of good news is that quercetin does not degrade when cooked over low heat, so when you’re making soup, for example, it simply transfers into the broth.


 

And now for the fun and exciting part about onions that came in the e-mail I was talking about. It was from Dr. Jane Goldberg, health enthusiast and owner of La Casa Day Spa in NY. She’s always got some interesting information to pass along and this time it was exactly what I’d been waiting for. Here’s what she said….

And now for a novel but smelly idea:
 –
The following information comes from La Casa friend, Rev. Zoe Chang. As Zoe tells the story:
 –
In 1919, when the flu killed 40 million people, so it is said, there was one doc who visited his neighbor farmers to see if he could help them combat the illness. As he was to discover, many of them, as well as their families, had contracted the flu, and had died.
However, the doctor came upon one farmer, and saw that everyone in his family was still healthy. The wife explained that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in each of the rooms of the home. The doctor was puzzled, and asked if he could have one of the onions to examine it under the microscope. He found the flu pathogen in the onion. The onion had seemingly absorbed the flu pathogen, thereby, happily storing it away from the family, and keeping them healthy.
 –

The story gets better: A few years ago, a hairdresser was having trouble because so many of her employees and customers were coming down with the flu. When flu season came the next year, she decided to try the onion remedy, and placed several bowls with onions around her shop. She was happy to report that for that year none of her staff got sick.And, yet more, from a woman in Oregon:

 –
“Thanks for the reminder. I don’t know about the farmer’s story, but, I do know that I contracted pneumonia and needless to say, I was very ill. I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put it into an empty jar, and place the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs. Sure enough, it happened just like that. The onion was a mess and I began to feel better.”
 –
Onions have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.  The fact that they have the capability of absorbing bacteria and viruses is the reason they are so good at preventing us from getting colds and flu. But this is, also, the very reason we shouldn’t eat an onion that has been sitting for a time after it has been cut open. Leftover onions are toxic.
 –
One of the people providing information for this piece took a tour at Mullins Food Products, an Illinois company that makes mayonnaise. Questions about food poisoning came up during the tour, and the guide’s answer was surprising. He maintained that all commercially-made mayo is completely safe.
 –
“It doesn’t even have to be refrigerated. No harm in refrigerating it, but it’s not really necessary.” He explained that the pH in mayonnaise is set at a point that bacteria could not survive in that environment. He then talked about the summer picnic, with the bowl of potato salad sitting on the table, and how everyone blames the mayonnaise when someone gets sick.
The guide said that when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the ‘victim’ last ate onions. He was clear that the culprit is not the mayonnaise (as long as it’s not homemade mayo) that spoils in the outdoors–but rather, it’s much more likely to be the onions.

He explained that onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. He suggested to be careful with onions on hot dogs at the baseball park, and never keep a portion of a sliced onion. He said it’s not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator. It becomes highly toxic when left open for even a single night, and creates bacteria which can cause adverse stomach infections, or food poisoning.

 –
And, finally, dogs should never be given onions. Their stomachs cannot metabolize them.
 –
I’m definitely going to try the onion on the nightstand (and soles of my feet) routine and see what happens. Fascinating stuff! Also, since reading the part about not using leftover cut onions, I have been more cautious about keeping them more than a day or two in the fridge. So far I haven’t had a problem, but then I use a BerryBreeze™ unit, which neutralizes pesticides and toxins, so that might be the reason.
Related Self-help Health posts: Let’s Hear It For Red Onions!
 –

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my new website Evolution Made Easier and blog of the same name for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

If You Eat Ice Cream, Be Sure To Read This!

 

Okay, so I knew a lot of what they put in commercial ice cream these days wasn’t good for us, but it’s even worse than I thought, especially with “main stream” brands. And it turns out even many “healthy” varieties are usually anything but. When I’m not making my own version of ice cream using frozen banana chunks and full fat coconut milk (with some vanilla powder, a dash of cinnamon, and maybe some walnuts, Action Whey, cacao or fruit thrown in), I usually rely on Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss Ice Cream. Heavenly, healthy, and as satisfying as “the real thing,” AND it happens to be on Food Babe’s recommended list. Yea!

If you want to have your ice cream and be healthy, too, then you’ll want to read this in-depth exposé from Vani to make sure you’re making the right choices……

 

Is There Really A Healthy Ice Cream Brand?

I love ice cream! When I want a treat, ice cream is one of my favorites! But take a walk through the typical ice cream aisle and you’ll find a minefield of risky (and sometimes dangerous) additives mixed with factory farmed milk. I’m a firm believer that everyone should still enjoy treats from time to time, but don’t consider it a treat to poison myself with heart-wrecking trans fats, carcinogenic poisons like glyphosate, and additives linked to gut inflammation. I’ve learned that you can enjoy treats (even ice cream!) that won’t destroy your health and pack on the pounds, but you just need to know what to look for.

There are now some brands that seem healthier like Halo Top and Arctic Zero, and many people have been asking me if they are TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. I’ll get to them in a moment, but first let’s check out what you’ll find in the major ice cream brands.

If you see any of these additives in ice cream, do yourself a favor and put it back on the shelf…

Gut wrecking emulsifiers: Most ice creams are full of emulsifiers that have been shown to disrupt the good bacteria in your gut and can lead to disease and obesity. Companies use these because it’s cheaper than filling their product with 100% whole food ingredients. Of course the main ingredients in ice cream (cream and sugar) are also linked to obesity, but when you eat the real thing you feel more satisfied and are less likely to down an entire pint.

Some of the worst emulsifiers in ice cream…

Artificial Colors: Whenever you see a color like Red 40, Red 3, Yellow 5, or Blue 1, these are derived from petroleum and linked to several health issues including allergies, cancer, and hyperactivity in children.

Mono and Diglycerides (or Partially Hydrogenated Oils): These contain trans fat which is strongly correlated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The CDC has linked trans fat to at least 20,000 heart attacks per year and the Institute of Medicine says there is no safe level to eat. This additive is often found in low-fat ice creams where they are trying to make up for what they took out, but you’ll find it in many others too!

Sugar Alcohols and Zero-Calorie Sweeteners: “No Sugar Added” and “Carb Smart” ice creams are packed sugar alcohols like maltitol syrup and sorbitol. These are associated with destroying gut heath, and a healthy gut is the key to good health and a slim waistline. Artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda) and acesulfame potassium have been shown to contribute to weight gain by encouraging sugar cravings. When you eat something sweet – even when it has no calories – your brain is tricked into wanting more calories because your body is not getting enough energy (i.e. calories) to be satisfied. So you keep craving sweets, eating sweets, and gaining weight. They also come with serious health risks!

Artificial flavors: These synthetic flavors are made from proprietary chemicals to make fake food taste real. This is not a single ingredient – each flavor may contain of up to 100 ingredients, including synthetic chemicals, solvents and preservatives such as BHA, propylene glycol, MSG, parabens, and more.

These ice cream brands look healthier… BUT…

Natural Flavors: The only difference between natural and artificial flavors mentioned above, is that natural flavors are derived from things found in nature (such as beaver glands). Just like artificial flavors, they are created in a lab by a team of scientists and can contain up to 100 hidden ingredients. The bottom line: You have no idea what you are eating – and it might be propylene glycol, BHA, and parabens.

Soybean Oil: This unhealthy oil increases the risk of obesity, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. When it comes to organic Soymilk ice creams, an abundance of soy itself is not healthy in the diet as it can disrupt hormones and lead to disease. Soy also has an abundance of phytic acid that leaches calcium and other vital minerals from your body.

Cottonseed Oil: I was shocked to find cottonseed oil in LaLoo’s Capraccino Almond Fudge Ice Cream. This oil generally comes from GMO cotton crops that require an intense application of agricultural chemicals and have been called the “World’s Dirtiest Crop”. Residues from these pesticides can remain in cottonseed oil and cottonseeds are subjected to intensive chemical refining with toxic hexane, bleach, and deodorizers. I consider it one of the worst ingredients in food.

“Sugar” Instead of “Cane Sugar”: The majority of sugar in this country comes from GMO sugar beets and not from cane. These sugar beets are Roundup-Ready, which means they are sprayed with the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) and don’t die. Whenever an ingredient list just says “sugar” instead of “cane sugar” that indicates it’s from GMO sugar beets. When my team contacted LaLoo’s Goat Milk Ice Cream they said their ingredients are “clean” and that they’re currently working on getting verified by the Non-GMO Project. But, unless you see that label on there, consider it unverified!

Conventional (not organic) Dairy: Some brands like Breyer’s, Tillamook and Häagen-Dazs have some flavors with cleaner ingredient lists with fewer additives, but they don’t use organic cream or milk. I outline all of the reasons to only choose organic dairy products in this post.

Häagen-Dazs has a non-GMO claim on their ice cream, but that doesn’t apply to the cream, milk, or eggs, in that the animals were likely raised on GMO feed. Their non-GMO claim is 3rd party verified by SGS and their standards don’t apply to animal feed – and a rep from Häagen-Dazs confirmed this with us. Ben and Jerry’s is another brand that uses non-GMO ingredients, but admits the cows are still fed GMO grains (but are trying to transition and hopefully will).

Why to avoid dairy from GMO-fed cows:

  • Almost all non-organic dairy cows in this country are fed a diet of GMO grains on a factory farm. I call this “Monsanto Milk” because it is produced with a lot of GMOs which put more money in Monsanto’s pocket (and I don’t want to donate any money to them!).
  • Testing has found other pesticides, antibiotics and drugs (sources: 1, 2) in conventional milk (including ones that are banned), and this is what you could be eating when you eat non-organic ice cream.

Organically raised cows are only permitted to eat organic non-GMO food and organic grass. Ultimately, you want to look for certified organic ice cream to avoid dairy raised with herbicide-laden GMOs, hormones, antibiotics and all the drugs that are prohibited on organic farms.

Let’s discuss HALO TOP Ice Cream…

I’ve gotten a lot of emails about Halo Top because they market themselves as a healthier alternative to regular ice cream that’s low-calorie, high-protein, and low-sugar… and they are REALLY POPULAR right now. This brand has a real “Health Halo” around it (haha), but I’m not buying it. They’ve done such a great job marketing it as healthy ice cream that some people are even treating it like a diet food and the founder says he eats it every morning… which sounds just crazy, but who wouldn’t like to have ice cream for breakfast, LOL. Here’s why that really isn’t a good idea (sorry guys!)…

  1. Halo Top does not use organic cream or milk, which means it is likely made with Monsanto Milk (from cows fed GMOs). Their ice creams also contain non-organic eggs, which likewise, probably comes from chickens fed a diet filled with GMOs and possibly other drugs.

Email from Halo Top (May 2017): “We do use only non-GMO ingredients in Halo Top, and the cows from which we get our dairy ingredients are never treated with growth hormones (like rBST). We’re not yet at a point, though, where we can guarantee the makeup of the grain for the cows’ feed across the supply chain. Working on it though!”

  1. Halo Top uses natural flavors and won’t tell you what’s in them. While this is true for pretty much everyone who uses natural flavors because they are considered proprietary, a member of the Food Babe Army sent me the response they got from Halo Top:

“Hey Vani I felt like this was something that needed to be shared. Halo ice cream that I feel like has been pitching themselves as a healthier ice cream won’t disclose what their “natural flavoring” is. Thought you’d like to know their cop out response: Hi Alyssa! I inquired into the flavorings for you, and it turns out that apparently the flavorings industry is highly competitive, and the flavoring makers we work with keep their exact formula proprietary to themselves for competitive reasons. Even so, we of course require confirmation that the flavors are indeed all-natural, gluten-free, kosher, etc. I know it’s not exactly the answer you were looking for but I hope it helps a little!”

  1. Halo Top uses the sugar alcohol erythritol as its primary sweetener. As more people are recognizing and avoiding artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, food companies are replacing it with erythritol… but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. This additive can wreak havoc on healthy gut bacteria. This can lead to a whole host of diseases and if you’re trying to lose weight or stay slim, keeping your gut healthy is vital! Erythritol is also a powerful insecticide known to cause diarrhea, stomach upset, headache when consumed in “normal amounts”.
  1. Why add fiber to ice cream? This just makes it all too easy to think of Halo Top as some sort of health supplement, when in reality, ice cream shouldn’t be eaten every day (or for breakfast!) and we should be getting our fiber naturally from fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and not from processed fiber additives that were manufactured in a lab. The industry calls these “functional fibers” but they do not function in your body the same as fiber in real food.

Is Arctic Zero Healthier?

Arctic Zero is another “healthy” ice cream that really isn’t. They claim their whey comes from a “GMO-free region” but that doesn’t guarantee how the cows are fed:

Email from Arctic Zero (May 2017):We have no control over what the cows are fed, but please know we get all our whey protein from a GMO-free region. Our whey protein is GMO-free certified before added to our product and our final product is tested for GMO and it is GMO-free. Please know that our whey protein is not produced from genetically modified organisms, and does not consists of, or contain genetically modified organisms. Therefore, our whey protein is certified GMO-free”.

Arctic Zero is not 100% organic, the whey isn’t from organic cows, and it also contains processed “functional fiber” additives and not-so-natural flavors, so I don’t consider this a good choice.

When shopping for ice cream, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it certified organic?
  2. Is it flavored naturally with vanilla bean, lemon, cinnamon, cocoa, etc.? Or, did they take a shortcut with “natural flavors”?
  3. Is it made entirely with whole food ingredients? Or, does it contain additives you don’t have in your kitchen like carrageenan, yellow #5, erythritol, and mono and diglycerides?

If a product doesn’t meet that test, seek out a better brand (there are several!) Here are some of my favorites…

NOTE: Not every flavor by these brands is perfect and you still need to read the ingredient list to make sure you know what you are eating.

  • Three Twins Organic Ice Cream – This is my favorite store-bought organic ice cream and they have a lot of flavors to choose from. A few of them contain natural flavors, but most are flavored naturally with real ingredients like banana, vanilla extract, cinnamon, peppermint extract, etc. – Just check the ingredient list!
  • Alden’s Organic Ice Cream – Know that they do use guar gum, locust bean gum and xantham gum, so not exactly the best choice but they are widely available to most people.
  • Local Organic and Grass Fed Ice Cream – Your local farmers market or natural food stores may carry ice cream made from grass-fed cows on small family farms in your area. Seek these out.
  • Homemade Banana Ice Cream – Just add frozen bite-sized pieces of a very ripe banana to a powerful blender or food processor and puree until it comes to a creamy consistency. This may take a few minutes. It’s that easy and really satisfies an ice cream craving! You can try adding coconut milk, nut butter, cinnamon, cocoa, or vanilla to change it up. Just blend these in after you puree the bananas well.

Source: http://foodbabe.com/2017/05/22/really-healthy-ice-cream-brand/

Tell me what your favorite ice cream brand is in the comment section below, and check out this previous Self-help Health post for 3 variations on coconut milk ice cream from Food Babe.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Let’s Hear It For Red Onions!!

 

I knew red onions were good for us, partly because they are in the same family as that health-promoting powerhouse garlic, but I didn’t know they had as many health benefits as they do. And I’m so glad to find that out, because awhile back I found a simple recipe for pickled red onions that I just love and eat almost daily. 

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF RED ONION: 4 WAYS RED ONIONS REDUCE YOUR CANCER RISK

Today researchers believe that up to 40% of cancers are preventable with a change in dietary habits alone. The compounds and dietary nutrients found in red onion are associated with a decrease risk in developing prostate, colorectal, stomach, and numerous other cancers.

Read on to learn what makes red onions so effective at improving health and how they can help reduce your cancer risks.

What are Red Onions?

Thoughts of their distinctive odor and teary eyes probably comes to mind when you think of slicing into an onion, but how about red onions? Red onions are different than other varieties of onion such as the sweet Vidalia onion and the milder flavor white onion.

Aside from their flavor and color, red onions won’t make you cry and they also contain different compounds that can inhibit cancer growth. They are part of the collective family of flowering plants belonging to the allium family, known for their rich content in sulfur containing amino acids. This vegetable family has been extensively studied for its protection against degenerative diseases like cancer.

Read on for 4 key health benefits of red onions…

Health Benefit #1: Enhances Detoxification Pathways

The total antioxidant profile of red onions is suggested to increase the activity of powerhouses like glutathione and SOD (superoxide dismutase). These defense systems protect against cancer by inhibiting inflammation, repairing DNA and tissue damage, neutralizing free radicals, eliminating carcinogens from the liver, and supporting a variety of detoxification pathways that remove toxins from the body.

The high sulfur content of red onions alone supports the body’s natural ability to detox. Sulfur stimulates several anti-inflammatory processes which promote healing by enforcing antioxidant defenses. Sulfur is one of the best chelating agents that binds with heavy metals in the blood and flushes these toxins from the body. Sulfur is essential to the health and activity of hormones, enzymes, nerves, and red blood cells.

Any interference with these biological processes can lead to the accumulation of carcinogens and the increased inflammation and tissue damage that consequentially increase cancer risks.

Onions are also rich in quercetin, a powerful bioflavonoid. Quercetin aids in the removal of excessive estrogen levels from the body. This antioxidant also stimulates liver function to detoxify estrogen and other carcinogenic agents. Cancer cells of the uterus, breast, ovaries, and prostate are associated with having receptors for estrogen to bind.

Quercetin also exhibits structural similarities to estrogen making them a possible anti-cancer therapy treatment to target breast cancer cells.

Health Benefit #2: Increases Overall Immunity

Red onions contain health-promoting compounds that improve your overall immune response. Both nutritive and non-nutritive compounds found in red onions act on the body using antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral effects to reduce the burden on the immune system. The flavonoid content that contributes to these chemo-preventive properties is higher in red onions than in their white or yellow family members.

Allicin is an antioxidant compound abundantly concentrated in red onions. Allicin is effective at destroying pathogens that weaken the immune response and support cancer development. It combats fungus, bacteria, and viruses. For these reasons red onions are a useful carminative herb that enhances digestive function and improves imbalances in gut microflora.

Along with improving natural abilities to detox, quercetin also has a major impact on reducing inflammation. Quercetin is such a strong anti-inflammatory agent that supplements of this compound are marketed to improve the inflammatory immune cell response associated with histamine release.

Health Benefit #3: Regulates Sugar Levels

One of the benefits of consuming red onions instead of yellow or white is attributed to their low glycemic index. Red onions have a glycemic index (GI) of 10 on a scale of 0 to 100. This means that red onions are slower to release energy which increases blood glucose levels. Eating foods which don’t raise blood glucose if beneficial in preventing the development of type-2 diabetes.

Impaired glucose metabolism is one known contributor of cancer development. Maintaining stable insulin levels is critical to preventing physiological processes that can contribute to cancer. The low GI of red onions is associated with lowering blood pressure, increasing blood flow, inhibiting atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries), and also assists in regulating fat cell formation.

These vascular health benefits significantly reduce cancer risk because they are linked with an improvement in metabolism. This impacts hormone function and the health of reproductive organs.

All of this combined with the anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin allow red onions to help to neutralize free radicals that contribute to DNA damage, abnormal cell activity, and cancer growth.

Health Benefit #4: Suppresses Cancer Cell Growth and Development

The high levels of quercetin in red onion was given the credit in certain studies for protecting against laryngeal and gastric cancer, as well as reproductive-related cancers.

Protects against Mutant p53 Activity

Anthocyanins are a naturally occurring compound that give red onions their red hued purple color. Anthocyanins act as a powerful antioxidant weapon in the fight against a mutant gene called p53 that causes oxidative stress and is associated with tumor growth. Anthocyanins in red onion naturally inhibit the destruction that the abnormal functioning p53 gene can cause on cells and tissue.

red-onion-health-benefits-3

 

INHIBITS TUMOR GROWTH & METASTASIS

The pigmenting compounds in anthocyanins are also partly responsible for the protective effects red onions exert against tumor growth. Anthocyanins suppress a cancer cell’s ability to migrate and form tumors by inhibiting angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels that cancer cell’s use as an energy source to grow. By inhibiting angiogenesis, cancer cells cannot form tumors or spread to new areas of the body.The super nutrient quercetin again reveals its powerful antioxidant potential.

Quercetin is so effective at scavenging free radicals that it possesses the ability to prevent tumor cell growth. These influences have been reported in breast cancer cells to induce apoptosis (“cellular suicide”) and activate a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (p21) that shuts down many of the influences that enables cancer cells to proliferate.

The loss of expression or abnormal activity from p21 is implicated at increasing the risk of invasive cancer growth and is associated with the following cancer types:

  • Colorectal
  • Tonsil
  • Gastric
  • Breast
  • Ovarian
  • Esophageal
  • Oral
  • Lung
  • Pancreatic
  • Laryngeal
  • Bladder
  • Gliomas (tumor formation in the brain and spinal cord)
  • Cervical
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer)

 3 Recommendations to Reap the Most Benefits of Red Onions:

As with many foods, there are tricks to cooking red onions to receive the greatest health benefits. Here are a few tips you can utilize to ensure that you are receiving the highest amount of nutrients from red onions in the kitchen:

  1. The majority of the anthocyanin content is in the red skin of the onion. Avoid over peeling the onion and throwing these cancer-fighting compounds in the compost.
  2. The allicin compound in onions is released only when the onion is chopped or crushed. Like garlic, it is beneficial to activate the allicin compound by slicing into an onion a few minutes before adding it to recipes.
  3. Heat degrades many of the antioxidants in red onions. Eating them uncooked as often as possible optimizes the nutrients you are consuming. Consider cooking red onions at a low heat and avoiding high temperatures to limit nutrient loss.

Getting More Health Benefits From Red Onions

How will you include red onions into your diet to reduce your cancer risks? Here is a list of ways that you can add red onions to your diet every day:

  • Add to chili recipes or use as a topping
  • Finely slice into salads
  • Combine into homemade slaws or pickled vegetables
  • Add red onions to the last 2 hours that your bone broth is simmering
  • Mix red onions with the traditional yellow onions into a French onion soup
  • Prepare cold soups such as gazpacho as a hidden way to serve up raw red onion
  • Lightly sauté or roast and use in mixed veggie sides, atop burgers, or in quinoa dishes
  • Dice into chicken and tuna salads or prepare a homemade salsa
  • Blend raw red onion into a creamy guacamole or give other dips and sauces a new take on flavor by pureeing into hummus, tahini, or a Mediterranean baba ghanoush

Source: https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/health-benefits-red-onion/

Here’s a yummy sounding recipe I plan to try that uses a whole red onion. And to see the recipe for pickled onions that I mentioned in my intro, check out Tip #7 in this Self-help Health post.

This Creamy Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry is the BEST curry I've ever had! It's loaded with homemade grinded spices and incredibly flavorful!

COCONUT CHICKPEA CURRY (VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE)

Preparation 15 min Cook Time 30 min
Serves 4-5     ADJUST SERVINGS
All this Creamy Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry takes is one pot, it’s loaded with homemade ground spices’ and incredibly flavorful!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons oil to sauté
  • 2 mediums onions/1 large red onion, sliced
  • 14 ounces/400g fresh tomatoes, diced (if using canned, drain the tomatoes)
  • sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces/454g can chickpeas, drained
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 13.5 ounces/383g can coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 1 small lime

Check out the link below for a cooking video and more on the recipe. Apparently the squeeze of lime at the end is very important. 🙂 

Source: http://jessicainthekitchen.com/coconut-chickpea-curry-recipe/

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Free HealthType Test™ And Report, Natural Appetite Suppressants, Plus 15 Healthy Dessert Recipes

 

Here’s what I think is a great free health resource from the folks at ph360. It’s an easy, 3 minute quiz you take to determine your health type, which then generates a 15 page report with information, insights and tips about how to work with your particular type to be happier, healthier and more self-aware. I found it fascinating that, based on my answers to the short quiz, the report was “right on” in so many ways. AND it provided me with a number of “a-ha moments” and tips about when to eat, sleep, exercise and more. It also validated certain things I’ve been drawn to do, even though they may not match what most healthcare practitioners advocate. Just proves that everybody and every body is different, and doing what’s right for YOU isn’t necessarily what’s good/right for others …..

 

image

The HealthType Test™ is a 3 minute online quiz that calculates your Health Type and then gives you a 15 page report on how you can eat, socialize, be active and live your life in a way that comes naturally to you!

 

Watch the HealthType webinar replay in the private ph360 FB group. Not a member yet? No worries, request to join for free here.

Go here to take the test: https://healthtype.ph360.me/test


 

A great little (well, actually rather large :-)) infographic by PlantBasedVillage.com I got from a newsletter from Underground Health Reporter…. 


 

And here’s what looks to be a good resource if you’re a dessert lover like me, but also want to be as healthy as possible. I checked out a number of the recipes from this post and they look and sound good, plus reasonably healthy. Anyone for salted caramel tahini cups? Yes, please! :-)…….

clean dessert tahinicups

Go here for 15 recipes: http://www.purewow.com/food/clean-eating-dessert-recipes

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

 Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup, Fat-burning Chicken Salad, Avocado Chocolate Pudding And More…Yum!

 

Wondering what to eat this weekend? Here are some healthy and yummy sounding recipes to try….

 

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Instead of opening up some canned soup, make a soup with raw organic vegetables in the blender, instead. The blades of a blender (especially a Vitamix) move so quickly they heat the soup. You can have a piping hot, one-dish meal ready in less time than it takes to find the can opener! Here’s one of my favorites:

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 large organic tomatoes, halved
4 fire-roasted red peppers
1 cup coconut milk
4 leaves fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Blend tomatoes, red peppers, coconut milk, fresh basil and garlic powder in a hi-speed blender. If using a Vitamix, blend until hot (about 5-6 minutes). Top with pepitas, fresh basil, and a splash of coconut cream, if desired.

FYI, the page where I found this soup also had several other interesting sounding recipes, including one for sweet curry noodles (using “zoodles,” aka spiralized zucchini noodles) and sweet potato black bean wraps.

Check them all out at: http://alldayenergydiet.com/vegetables-fb/


 

And how about this chicken salad recipe from danettemay.com that supposedly helps you burn fat, rather than pack it on?

 

chix4-1024x774bl1

Fat-Burning Chicken Salad

If you love chicken salad, you know there’s one ingredient you must AVOID if you’re on a weight loss plan…

MAYONNAISE

This ingredient is killer for your waistline and your overall health. And the “low fat” or “no fat” options for mayonnaise are also a no-go.

So you’ll be happy to know that I created a fat-burning chicken salad recipe that is absolutely delicious! Give it a try and I promise you’ll never use mayonnaise again.

INGREDIENTS:

6 oz. cubed chicken breast

1 c. plain greek yogurt (I love Fage)

1/2 c. sliced celery

1/2 c. small cubed apple pieces

1/4 c. sliced, small cubed onion

2 tbsp. raisins or craisins (optional)

2 tsp. cumin spice

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all together and it’s ready to eat.

This is fast, easy to make and so yummy!  You can top it on a bed of greens or eat it plain.

Want more deliciously simple and fat-burning recipes like this? Check out the source below and there will be a place at the end of the post where you can sign up for over 150 popular fat-burning recipes that you can make in 15 minutes or less.

Source: http://danettemay.com/fat-burning-chicken-salad/


 

And after you’ve burned some fat with the chicken salad, reward yourself with this chocolate avocado pudding recipe from Activation Products that you can literally whip up in a minute or two 🙂

 

This is our favorite kind of sweet treat. Equal parts creamy deliciousness and healthy nutrition!

It’s quick and easy to whip up, but even the time it takes to blend will have you drooling with anticipation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ripe California avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/3 cup quality organic cocoa powder (made from 100% pure cacao)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp flax oil
  • Raspberries and mint leaves for garnish

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Garnish with raspberries and mint before serving.

A few benefits of these delicious ingredients:

  • Avocados: These creamy, satisfying fruits are very high in healthy fats, including oleic acid (a.k.a. omega-9), which can reduce inflammation. They also contain significant amounts of vitamins B5, B6, C, E and K and are high in potassium, which can balance blood pressure levels, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and improve kidney health.
  • Cocoa powder: Calcium and potassium are among the nutrients present in cocoa powder, in addition to plenty of antioxidants. Cocoa can help to lower bad cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of clogged arteries and balance blood pressure.
  • Raw honey: This “liquid gold” is used in many natural healing solutions, such as cough suppressants and sleep aids as it has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It also supports your immune system.
  • Coconut milk: Wholesome and delicious, coconut milk is high in fiber, and contains vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, C and E, in addition to minerals such as selenium, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
  • Flaxseeds are one of nature’s most powerful sources of nutrition and contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to health. The oil supports the cardiovascular system and the digestive system, as well as eye health and blood sugar balance. It even maintains healthy hormonal balance.
  • Raspberries: Always a favorite, these tart and tasty berries possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making them great for weight loss, immune system support and even pain relief. They are also high in potassium and other minerals, making them great for controlling heart rate and managing blood pressure.
  • Mint: Mint can offer relief from indigestion and inflammation as well as nausea and headaches. It can also stimulate digestive enzymes that can help you to lose weight.

Source: http://www.activationproducts.com/marine-phytoplankton-supplement/chocolate-avocado-pudding/


 

Or try these tasting looking key lime cheesecake bites from Paleo Hacks…..

 

key-lime-cheesecake-bites

These Key Lime Cheesecake Bites make for the perfect cool dessert.

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 cup raw almonds
  •  2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  •  1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight & drained
  •  1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (well shaken)
  •  3-4 tablespoons raw honey
  • 4 limes, juiced & zested

Instructions:

  • Line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake liners and set aside.
    •  Place the almonds and melted coconut in a blender or food processor and blend until the mixture is crumbly and sticks together when pinched between you fingers.
    •  Place one heaping tablespoon in each lined muffin cavity, and press the mixture down using the back of a spoon to make a mini “crust”.
    •  Place the muffin tin in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, while you prepare the filling.
    •  In the food processor add the drained cashews, coconut milk, honey, and lime juice. Puree until smooth and transfer to a measuring cup.
    •  Remove the muffin tin from the freezer when the crusts have hardened a bit and pour the filling mixture over the crusts. Top with lime zest and place back into the freezer for at least 4-6 hours to harden.
    • Store in the freezer until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Source: http://blog.paleohacks.com/key-lime-cheesecake-bites/ 

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my Evolution Made Easier website’s To Your Health pageand my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine

Extend Your Life Expectancy? Take A Hint From South Korea!

 

Did you know the life expectancy for people living in the US is declining and the level of health here lags behind that of most other countries? Plus, according to a recent study, we have the highest infant and maternal mortality rates of any of the countries in study, AND the highest obesity rate.

If you are concerned about these statistics, you may want to start mirroring some of the habits of the South Korean people, including having a diet rich in probiotics and fermented foods…..

 


 Life Expectancy Projected to Soar — Except

in the US

By Dr. Mercola

For the first time in 20 years, life expectancy has actually declined in the U.S.,1,2,3,4 dropping from 76.5 years in 2014 to 76.3 in 2015 for men, and from 81.3 to 81.2 for women. This means American women now die, on average, about one month earlier than they did in 2014, and men lost about two months of lifespan.5

In all, there were 86,212 more deaths in 2015 compared to 2014, and as of 2015, the U.S. ranks 29th out of 43 countries for life expectancy,6 lagging behind countries like Chile, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Korea and the Czech Republic. In 2014, the U.S. ranked 28th.7

Moreover, according to Dr. Peter Muennig, a professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, this decline in life expectancy is a “uniquely American phenomenon.” No other developed countries experienced this decline.

Dr. Jiaquan Xu, the report’s lead author, noted the decline in life expectancy is primarily caused by a rise in several categories of preventable deaths,8 again highlighting the failure of the American health care system to properly address the root causes of chronic disease.

Meanwhile, both dietary patterns and health care availability in South Korea — which has made some of the greatest life expectancy gains — offer valuable hints at what Americans need to do to change course.

Analysis Suggests South Koreans May Soon Outlive the Rest of the World

Another extensive analysis9 of longevity patterns in 35 industrialized nations projects life expectancy at birth in the U.S. will continue to lag, such that by 2030, it will be on par with the Czech Republic, Croatia and Mexico.10,11,12

Meanwhile, South Koreans of both sexes and Hungarian men and have made the greatest life expectancy gains. By 2030, South Korean women are projected to have an average lifespan of 90.8, making it the first nation to break the 90-year life expectancy barrier.

This is a significant feat, considering South Korea ranked 29th for women’s life expectancy in 1985.13 As for the cause of the U.S.’ failure to keep pace, The Washington Post notes:14

“The reasons for the United States’ lag are well known. It has the highest infant and maternal mortality rates of any of the countries in the study, and the highest obesity rate.

It is the only one without universal health insurance coverage and has the ‘largest share of unmet health care needs due to financial costs,’ the researchers wrote …

In contrast to the United States, South Korea ‘has a remarkable investment in early childhood nutrition,’ has been taking advantage of medical advances and technology across its population and has some of the world’s lowest obesity and hypertension rates …

‘They seem to be getting a lot of things right at the same time, and getting them right for almost everyone,’ [lead author Majid Ezzati] said.”

Differences in Diet Offer Valuable Clues

Japan has long been noted for its longevity, but that’s starting to change as Western dietary influences have crept in. Again and again, we see health outcomes decline when countries adopt a Western style diet with processed foods as a staple.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s use of nutritional supplements, especially probiotics for both adults and infants has risen, and their fermented food and omega-3 intake is among the highest in the world. In my view, this is what you would call a major clue.

Research15 published last year showed South Korea, along with Japan, the Primorskry region of Russia, Denmark, Norway and Greenland and a few other indigenous regions had the highest blood levels of the animal-based omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — the latter of which is a primary structural component of every cell in your body.

Americans and Canadians both have “very low” levels, which may increase the risk of chronic disease. Use of vitamins and dietary supplements in South Korea also rose by 4 percent in 2016, and probiotic sales rose by 7 percent.

According to Euromonitor, “these products are increasingly seen as essential consumer health items among South Koreans.”16 South Koreans also consume 2 million tons of kimchi each year — a traditional dish of fermented cabbage. As noted in a previous Food First article:17

“[K]imchi is the one food that most Koreans simply ‘cannot live without.’18 … [It] seems to make its way into every meal of the day. In autumn, South Korean employers even give their workers a customary ‘kimchi bonus,’ helping to subsidize the ingredients for their annual kimchi supply.19

Considering that most Americans eat a primarily processed food diet, high in sugars and low in healthy fats, fiber and fermented foods, it shouldn’t come as a major shock that life expectancy might suffer.

Advertisements might lead you to believe this processed fare will give you all the nutrition you need for a long and happy life, but your body cannot be fooled.

Chronic Illness and Opioid Addiction Take Toll on Americans

The cost of health care in the U.S. is also the highest in the world, and continues to rise. Health care now accounts for 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).20 But even though the U.S. spends more than $3 trillion on health care each year, it is the worst performing system ranked by multiple aspects of care.21

Recent research also reveals HALF of all Americans live with chronic illness,22 and in my view, this has everything to do with diet. According to study authors Elizabeth Reisinger Walker, Ph.D., an assistant research professor, and Dr. Benjamin Druss, professor at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University:23

“The health of individuals in the [USA] is increasingly being defined by complexity and multi-morbidity, the co-occurrence of two or more chronic medical conditions.”

Addiction to opioid painkillers appears to be another significant contributor to declining life expectancy in the U.S.24,25 Deaths from synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, rose by a whopping 73 percent between 2014 and 2015. Prescription pain killers alone killed 17,536 people last year.

According to Robert Anderson, who oversees death statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this. Certainly not in modern times.”

For the rest of the article:http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/03/08/us-life-expectancy-declines

Related Self-help Health posts:

Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

Probiotics: The Good For You Bacteria

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.