Category Archives: All About Ingredients

Foods That Naturally Increase Your Estrogen Levels

vine vera banner presenting Foods That Naturally Increase Your Estrogen Levels

Unless you were lying under a rock for the past few decades, you probably know that the sun is one of the primary causes of aging skin. What you may not know, however, is that there’s something that ages your skin far faster and more irrevocably than even some of the most hardcore sun exposure. Loss of estrogen is the reason behind some of the least desirable effects of aging skin, and even more distressing, there is not a whole lot you can do to stop it. While hormone replacement is possible, the side effects associated with it are enough to make it a non-option, and it is likely that, until corporations find a viable treatment, we are not likely to hear much about possible ways to avoid it, but there are, and you can find them in your foods.

What Is Estrogen?
Estrogen is the hormone responsible for women’s reproductive health. As Dr. Ritika Samaddar explains, “It has a significant role in tissue functioning- specifically of the uterus, pituitary gland, and breasts.” In addition to playing a vital role in the development of reproductive organs, estrogen also affects bone density metabolism and fetal maturation during pregnancy and is a crucial part of growth and development.

The compound phytoestrogen is a nutrient found in plants that have similar functions to estrogen found in the body, and its intake has been shown to increase the level of estrogen in humans.

Benefits Of Estrogen Rich Food

Relief of Menopausal Symptoms
A study published in the ‘Menopause’ journal showed a significant difference in women with diets high in phytoestrogen and those with a lower level of the nutrient in terms of menopausal symptoms. Results showed phytoestrogen was capable of relieving hot flashes and vaginal dryness in menopausal women.

Prevents Ovarian and Breast Cancer Risk
In addition to relieving symptoms of menopause, estrogen rich foods contain antioxidant- like properties that help to remove oxidizing agents from the body. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that phytoestrogens can stimulate protein synthesis and are, therefore “strong candidates for natural cancer-protective compounds.”

Good For Skin and Hair
Dr. Simran Saini says phytoestrogen can add natural radiance to skin and hair and fight premature aging.

Prevents Osteoporoses
Estrogen is crucial for bone development, combining with calcium, vitamin D and other hormones in the rebuilding of bones. Studies suggest that phytoestrogen may have similar properties. In addition, a study in Women’s Health Initiative revealed that phytoestrogen may provide “cardiovascular protective effects” that are lacking in Hormone Replacement Therapy and better strategies for preventing bone loss need to be taken.

Prevents Strokes and Improves Heart Health
Studies show strokes to be the third most common causes of death in middle-aged women. A Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide suggests these statistics can be lowered by incorporation a daily tablespoon of flaxseed oil into the diets of women over the age of 50, who are likely candidates for strokes.

Estrogen Rich Foods
If you are thinking of getting serious about boosting your phytoestrogen intake, here are some of the best foods to do it with:

Flaxseed
When it comes to foods that contain phytoestrogen flaxseeds are at the top of the list. They improve liver function, prevent brittle nails, and skin dryness associated with lack of estrogen.

Soy Products
Oh say can you soy? Soybeans are a great source of phytoestrogen and one of the best foods for women in general. Soy milk, wheat flour, yogurt and soy dairy can all make great estrogen additions to your diet. They are low in calories, have almost no cholesterol, and researchers often point them out for their effectiveness in the prevention of breast cancer.

Walnuts
Walnuts are another effective source of phytoestrogen. Add some to your salads or eat them alone for a phytoestrogen-rich snack.

Dairy Products
Got milk? Milk, tofu, and paneer are all dairy products with a healthy amount of phytoestrogen, so be sure to include them in your diet to reap the benefits.

Sesame Seeds and Chickpeas
Packing a heavy punch when it comes to phytoestrogen sources, sesame seeds and chickpeas are a great addition to any health conscious diet. Hummus (made from chick peas) contains a whopping 993 micrograms of the stuff per hundred grams, so eat up for that estrogen surge!

How are you upping your estrogen levels? Let us know!

Add Avocado To Your Beauty Routine

Flower made of Avocado How often has this happened to you? You’re on a date or in a meeting and you go to the restroom. Check your look in the mirror, and there is, the inevitable food on the face. How long has it been there? Is it that noticeable? What is it? Where is it? On your nose? In your eyebrow? Most of us don’t want to be caught wearing our meals in public, yet, at home, it can be somewhat more acceptable, in fact, even desirable. Avocados can be great in your meals and also on your face, and hair. Here are some ways of incorporating the green wonder into your beauty routine.

Anti-Aging
One thing avocados, a.k.a. alligator pears are great for is anti-aging. Not only can you use the mashed avocado for a mask, but eating it helps to fight aging as well. The antioxidants in the avocado detoxify the body, reducing wrinkles and making skin soft and supple.

Drink the Juice for Skin Health
These days it seems as if no fruit or vegetable is beyond liquefaction, and avocados are no exception. Just mix one with a cup of milk in the blender and – voila- a drink full of nutrients and vitamins. Your skin will thank you for it. Add honey if you like it sweet.

Revitalizes the Scalp
Avocado is also a great treatment for your crowning glory. The fruit can be used to treat dry hair or a dry itchy scalp. Just mash some up and massage it into your scalp and let the proteins and amino acids work their magic. You should find a more comfortable, less flaky scalp, and improved overall hair condition.

fresh Avocado smoothie

Defrizz Hair
Got frizz? Put half a mashed up avocado in the blender, add two tablespoons of avocado oil, and work it into your hair and scalp. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and shampoo. You should find hair immediately less frizzy and easier to control.

Natural Sunscreen
If you’re looking for a chemical free way of guarding againstUVA and UVB exposure, avocado oil works as a natural sunscreen and also soothes sunburnt skin. The high antioxidant content of the avocado protects against free radical damage and can restore the effects caused by overexposure to the sun.

Treats Skin Conditions
The healthy fats and oils in contained in the avocado are a close match for the natural oils in the skin and make great natural moisturizers with calming properties to reduce inflammation. Just mash one up and put it right on your face and neck, and wash it off after 5 or 10 minutes and reap the effects of radiant, beautiful skin.

Bad Breath
Some stuff a stick of gum in their mouths before an up close encounter, others drink avocado juice. Bad breath comes from your stomach, not your mouth. Avocado juice cleanses both mouth and intestines, removing the microbes that cause bad breath.

What is your beauty go to’s? What food do you wear? What do you do with your avocados? Let us know! We love to hear it!

These Ingredients Have Neuroprotective Benefits

woman reading book

The central nervous system. That complex combination of the brain and the spinal chord, studied extensively, but understood only partially, constantly and mysteriously working to generate our movements, emotions, and desires. While a system so multifaceted can be so fascinating, it can also be extremely prone to malfunction. So many things can go wrong with a system so complicated, and unfortunately, our limited knowledge makes many of these difficult to treat. Neuropathic disorders and diseases continue to plague so many with so few solutions. That is why it is so important to protect ourselves against these disorders. Here are some ingredients with neuroprotective properties.

Glutamate Antagonists
Glutamate antagonists are the main treatment to used to control cell death in CNS disorders. Overexcitation of glutamate receptors causes calcium to increase, which has major consequences on the nerve. Glutamate antagonists inhibit the binding of glutamate to receptors and may help to avoid excitotoxicity. Some treatments with promising results include:

Estrogen
Estradiol helps to prevent excitotoxicity by inhibiting glutamate receptors, such as NMDA.

Ginsenoside Rd
Studies show that ginsenoside Rd may help to inhibit glutamate excitotoxicity, and has proven to be an effective and noninvasive treatment for ischemic stroke patients.

Progesterone
Progesterone has been shown to prevent secondary injuries in patients with stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Antioxidants
Antioxidants work to protect the body against oxidative stress, which is the main cause of neuron degradation. The effectiveness of antioxidants depends on the disease, gender, age, and ethnicity. Here are some of the most common antioxidants that have been shown to be beneficial in the reduction of oxidative stress in at least one neurodegenerative disease:

Fish Oil
Fish Oil contains n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that can prevent mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. It has potential to be neuroprotective and is the subject of many studies on its effects on neurodegenerative diseases.

Resveratrol
Resveratrol can prevent oxidative stress in disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s disease and cerebral ischemia.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E has varying effects depending on the neurogenerative disease that is being treated. It is most effective On Alzheimer’s disease and may be somewhat beneficial in treating ALS, but it is ineffective in the treatment of Parkinson’s.

THC
THC can exert neuroprotective effects on ischemia of the brain by acting on glutamate receptors, cation channels, and other pathways,

Stimulants
Certain stimulants are neuroprotective in appropriate doses.

Nicotine
Nicotine has been shown to offset Parkinson’s disease in humans and monkeys. It is available in patch form.

Caffeine
Caffeine is protective against Parkinson’s disease and induces neuronal glutathione synthesis by promoting cysteine uptake.

Selegiline
This has been shown to delay early onset Parkinson’s disease by an average of nine months.

Are neuroprotective ingredients important to you? Which ones would you use? THC? Nicotine? Caffeine? Let us know what you think.

Natural Ingredients That Stimulate Healthy Cell Formation

These days, when the word “cell” is mentioned, most of us are likely to think “phone.” While many of us may argue that cell phones are vital to our well being, there are other kinds of cells that are probably just a little more important. These are the cells in your body; the fundamental units of life form which all your organs and tissues are made.

Like most of our cell phones, the cells of the body are in constant communication with one another, responding to the signals they receive from your environment. If the cells cannot operate efficiently, tissues and organs can breakdown, resulting in a host of health conditions. In order to keep these cells functioning properly you need to keep yourself well nourished. Here are some healthy ingredients you need to ensure that these very important cells continue to serve you well.

whole grains

Whole Grain
Whole foods contain the fullest variety of nutrients, which makes whole grains one of the most complete food sources for healthy cell formation. The three main parts of the whole grain each serve a different purpose, and provide a different complement of vitamins and minerals. The protective bran guards the sprout from sun damage; the germ contains a high level of micronutrients from the vitamin E family, while the endosperm contains the lowest level of nutrients and serves mostly to provide calories for the sprout. While all three parts are used in whole grain food, refined products, such as white bread, use only the endosperm, or starch component of the grain.

Fats and Cell Formation
The fats you eat have a major influence on your cells. As a matter of fact, they become your cell membranes. Unsaturated fats, like the omega-3s in fish and nuts, are needed to give your cell membranes their shape and the ability to communicate with one another. While trans fatty acids, or saturated fats, also become part of your cells membrane, they are less able to respond to signals and can cause cell membranes to become brittle.

Cereals, vegetables, fruits, and grains also have fats to protect cell membrane from damage. These include tocopherals and are found in highest amounts in wheat germ oil, carotenoids, such as beta-carotene in carrots, vitamin C from citrus fruits, and lycopene in tomatoes.

eggs and meat

DNA
DNA is the part of your cell which stores your genetic information, and it is vital that you take steps to make sure its integrity is not compromised. When the structure of DNA breaks down, the body becomes not only unable to produce proteins for proper cell function, but it may cause mutations that lead to cancer. While fats are an integral part of protecting the DNA, it is also important to maintain adequate levels of protein, choline, inositol, carotenoids, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E.

Healthy DNA also requires an adequate intakes of vitamin B12 and folate, which are involved with repair and replication of DNA. Eggs, meat, fish and dairy are all rich in vitamin B12, while high levels of folate are found in eggs, grains, and green vegetables.

Organic Foods
Since agricultural chemicals are know to damage the function and structure if cells, organically grown foods are recommended to promote healthy cell formation. Studies show that pesticides can overstimulate enzymes which can be a cause of inflammation, and a contributing factor to psoriasis and atherosclerosis,
Organic foods can also minimize DNA degradation. Test tube studies show that agricultural chemicals can lead to genetic mutations leading to the development of cancer and have a negative effect on the production of energy.

Are you keeping your cells healthy? Let us know what you’re eating to keep your cells in tip top shape!

Kale

10 Ways To Include Kale and Swiss Chard In Your Diet

You may be wondering why, if veggies like Swiss chard and kale have been around forever, why haven’t you heard much about them until recently? Well, the sad truth is that there was a time in history when these greens were considered the “ugly ducklings” of the vegetable family. While their better tasting relatives, like spinach and broccoli, were enjoying the limelight, kale and chard were consigned to a lesser position, largely ignored, until one day, their superfood powers were revealed.

Suddenly, they became all the rage. No one could consume these darlings quickly or often enough, and more and more new and innovative ways were found to incorporate them into meals and snacks. If you are among those who are see in kale and Swiss chard in a new light, here are ten ways you can give these veggies their proper due.

Veggie Soups
Healthy comfort food? Why not? Chop or puree some kale and Swiss chard into your next soup recipe.

kale chips

Kale Chips
Just remove the stem and center ribs and tear leaves into chip size pieces. Toss them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with herbs, salt or cumin. Bake at 300 until crisp.

Smoothies
Smoothies and green protein juices can be great sources for packing in nutrients. Add one or two handfuls of kale, Swiss chard, or spinach to your morning or afternoon concoction. However, you may want to keep in mind that juices do not provide the same fiber benefits as eating greens and drinking smoothies do, as juices tend to have high sugar content due to other added vegetables.

Green Veggies With Eggs
Not to be confused with green eggs and ham, green veggies can make a great addition to an egg scramble or frittata.

Green powder

Green Powders
Green powders contain a large variety of concentrated green veggies, and usually include plant algae like chlorella and spirulina. Look for organic green powders at health food stores and make sure to take into account what type of sweetener and how much sugar the powder contains. Try to keep sugar levels under five grams per serving.

Baked Goods
Fool your family, fool yourself. Puree some Swiss chard or kale into your muffins or brownies. According to Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, “You won’t even feel like you’re eating vegetables.”

Pasta
Cheryl Forbero, RD suggests foregoing the basil or pesto on your pasta for some heartier greens. You can even work them into your lasagna or pesto recipe, says Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD.

kale pizza

Pizza
Kale pizza anyone? Why not? After you finish heaping on the mozzarella, how about heaping on the greens? Drizzle with oil and vinegar and mangia!

Beans
Add texture and color to your bean dish with a few cups of chopped Swiss chard or kale. Just add it along with the garlic, onions and seasoning.

Stir-Fry
If your sautéing some beef, chicken or tofu, stir in some carrot, red pepper and Swiss chard stems. Then, remove from heat and stir in the leaves for a healthy and delicious stir fry.

How are you adding kale and Swiss chard to your diet? Let us know how your keeping healthy!

The Benefits of Keratin for Hair and Nails

Portrait of woman

It is true that women will go to great lengths to achieve great lengths. There is little a woman won’t do in the pursuit of longer hair, nails, and lashes. She will glue, she will paint, she will invest, she will supplement, she will extend, she will photoshop. She will fight tooth and nail for nice teeth and strong nails, and she knows the value of a strong ally. Keratin is one of the toughest forms of biological mater. It gives the horse its hooves and the rhinoceros its horns. Why not use it to give you an extra edge?

What is Keratin?
Keratinocytes are living cells found in the skin that produce a protective layer that provides flexibility and strength and helps to keep water and other materials from getting to the skin. Keratin is the tough protein strand that provides these keratinocytes with their strength.

Keratin is found primarily in the skin, hair, tooth enamel and hair, and plays a role in protecting these body parts against harmful environmental factors. They allow hair and skin to be flexible and make nails, tooth enamel, and hooves of animals hard and strong.

Vegetables

Keratin Deficiency
Individuals with a keratin deficiency tend to experience slow hair growth, and the hair they already possess is usually weak and brittle. Lack of keratin may also cause weakness and discoloration of fingernails. While there are topical keratin treatments, the best sources for keratin, as is usually the case, are edible.

Fruits and Vegetables
Proteins from vegetable sources are absorbed in the body with the help of Vitamin C. This vitamin is also the basic building block of keratin. Peppers and Brussels sprouts are both rich in vitamin C, as are citrus fruits such as oranges and limes.
Biotin, or vitamin B7, is also a foundation for keratin building and plays a large role in the metabolism of proteins. Onions, cauliflower, and broccoli all have high concentrations of B7. Whole grains are another food source which encourages keratin generation.

Dairy

Meat and Dairy
Low fat dairy products contain amino acids that boost keratin production. Low-fat cheese, yogurt, and milk, will give your body a boost of keratin, as will meat. Fish, poultry, lean meats, animal liver and kidney are all protein rich meats that help to produce keratin.

Other Sources
There are also certain vitamins and minerals that are important for generation of keratin. Because of the high concentration of the protein found in sulfur, sulfur rich foods such as eggs, dried beans, kale and soybeans can all play a significant role in keratin development, as can beans, almonds and walnuts. Gelatin is a another food associated with increased keratin production, and can be found in frosted cereal, fruits jams, molded fruit salads and certain yogurts.

What do you think of keratin? Do you use it to your benefit? Let us know!

Avoid These Toxic Food Additives

Woman reading food label

“Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Chew Bar,” the Hazardously Toxic Candy. According to the package, if you can hold the Pakistani candy import in your mouth for 60 seconds, you’re a “Full Toxic Head. ” If you can hold it in your mouth for 45 seconds, you’re a “Toxic Wannabe.” Thirty seconds and you’re a “Crybaby,” and 15 seconds makes you a “Total Wuss.” And according to the FDA, zero seconds makes you really smart. In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration found that the Toxic Waste candy line really was toxic and was recalled from store shelves for excessively high lead content. Who would have guessed?

Although no one could accuse the company of false advertising, not all foods announce their toxic contents on their labels. Here are some toxic food additives that you should beware of.

Artificial Sweeteners
Most of us know that sugar is harmful, but the sweeteners we replace them with may be even worse. The American Heart Association says the best plan of action is to stick with the real stuff, but limit your intake. Men should keep daily sugar consumption to 9 teaspoons while women should aim for no more than five, while children’s sugar intake should be limited to three teaspoons per day.

Natural sugar substances with health benefits are also available, such as stevia, honey, and agave nectar.

The naughty list of artificial sweeteners include aspartame, aceslfame potassium, saccharin, and sugar alcohols. These are often found in sugar free desserts, gum, sugar substitutes, and diet soda.

Apple injected with syringes

Chemical Preservatives
Although some food companies manage to keep food shelf stable with methods such as freezing, drying, and canning, this is not always the case. Twinkies owe their longevity to a host of chemicals.

If you want to determine whether the food items you are buying are being chemicals preserved, look out for butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene(BHT), and propyl gallate. These additives are usually found in cereal, gum, potato chips, soups, meats, oil and are potential carcinogens. Sodium nitrate, found frequently in cured meat, such as bacon, corned beef, and hot dogs, has been linked to pancreatic and stomach cancers.

Unnatural Flavor Enhancers
Artificial flavor enhancers are used when chemically altered and preserved foods need to taste good. As usual, the real stuff is preferable and small amounts of real fats and oils are recommended over large amounts of additives.

Artificial and natural flavors can be found in most things and are non nutritive. Partially hydrogenated oils are usually in products including margarine, baked goods, bread, frosting, and crackers and create trans fats which can raise cholesterol and increase heart disease risk. Olestra, or olean, is an additive often found in”light” chips and can cause gastrointestinal distress.

Woman checking label

Artificial Colors
Attractive as they may be, artificial colors have been linked to tumors, allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. They are often found in foods with little nutritional value to begin with, so it’s probably best to avoid them entirely.

Chemical Stabilizers
Chemical stabilizers help to give texture to processed foods and are often present in food mixes, such as pudding mix. Gums are chemical stabilizers often found in dough, drinks, ice cream, pudding, cheese, and candy and can cause severe allergic reactions. Potassium Bromate is a dough stabilizer which has been linked to cancer.

What have you been doing to avoid toxic food intake? Let us know what toxic foods we should be avoiding!

What Makes A Product Noncomedogenic?

Noncomedogenic. N-O-N-C-O-M-E-D-O-G-E-N-I-C. Noncomedogenic. It sounds like the word that stumped the runner up in the fourth grade spelling bee. If you’ve been hearing this word used a lot lately in the cosmetic industry and thinking it sounds impressive, its meant to. But is it, really? Let’s break it down.

Woman squeezing pimple

A comedo is the mildest form of acne, otherwise known as a pimple, whitehead, or blackhead. So technically you could say, “Wow, that’s a rather large comedo on your face.” as a more polite way of saying, “Wow, that’s a really big zit you have.” Non, of course means without, hence, noncomedogenic, when applied to a skin cleanser essentially means the product does not clog pores and will break down excess oils on your skin without stripping necessary moisture.

What Does “Noncomedogenic” Mean?
Although the term “noncomedogenic” sounds scientific, the truth is that the effectiveness of noncomedogenic products has not been proven in clinical trials, nor has it been tested by the FDA. This is not, however, to say that such products are without merit; in fact, there is some evidence that non comedic products can reduce acne. There is, after all, proof that blocked pores can produce acne, and therefore, a product preventing occlusion of pores, may help prevent it. However, some forms of acne may be a result of other causes, such as a high presence of bacteria on the skin, and, in these cases, noncomedogenic goods would not have much effect.

In other instances, products are labelled noncomedogenic, but, in fact can cause skin rashes an irritation.

Woman cleaning face

Chemistry of Noncomedogenic Products
Noncomedogenic cleanser usually contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur or salicylic acid. Some have ingredients to treat acne, and others are simply formulated to not aggravate pimples and clog pores.

Benzoyl peroxyde kills bacteria which causes acne and does not produce oil on the skin. Salicylic acid does not kill bacteria, but does unclog pores without creating additional oil. It also dissolves oil in the hair follicles. Sulfur washes away dead skin cells and excess oil and is also believed to be able to break down blackheads and whiteheads.

Pros and Cons Of Noncomedogenic Cleansers
Noncomedogenic. How bad could it be, right? Anything purported not to clog pores, couldn’t be too bad, right? Well, you be the judge.

Benzoyl Peroxide
If you’ve ever used benzoyl peroxide to treat acne, you probably found it to be effective. However, you will need to use it for a few weeks before you see results, and, if you discontinue use, the acne will return. Also, while you can combat the drying effects of benzoyl peroxide on skin with moisturizer, other side effects are not so easy to deal with. Itching, rashes, burning, and swelling have all been associated with the use of benzoyl peroxide and are best handled professionally.

Woman checking skin

Salicylic Acid
Like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid requires continuous use to see results, as pores will clog up again when the skin is no longer receiving treatment. Although it can cause irritation and stinging, it is usually mild enough to work without causing serious side effects.

Sulfur
Sulfur has very few side effects, if any, and, although some may find the smell disagreeable, the odor is usually not detectable when mixed with other ingredients.

What do you think of noncomedogenic products? Does the term reassure you? Let us know!

Cinnamon sticks and powder

Sprinkle On A Little Cinnamon

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Cinnamon. It should be on tables in restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime someone says, “Oooh, this is so good- what is this?’ The answer invariably comes back, ‘cinnamon.’ Cinnamon. Again and again.” Indeed, one can’t go too wrong with cinnamon. It goes with everything from toast to apples, tea to coffee, rice pudding to noodle pudding. Even Pizza Hut can hardly deny the boost to their sales caused by the addition of cinnamon sticks to their dessert menu. And now cinnamon can add another feather in its cap. It’s good for you!

Source of Antioxidants
Cinnamon is full of antioxidants that protect against free radical damage and slow the process of aging. Researchers have found forty-one protective compounds in the spice, and that’s only to date!

The OTAC scale, used to measure antioxidant concentration ranks cinnamon a respectable number 7 in all herbs, spices, and foods and was the hands down antioxidant- concentration winner in the herbs and spices category, beating out rosemary, thyme and oregano.

Cinnamon in a mug

Inflammatory
The antioxidants in cinnamon also contribute to its anti -inflammatory effects, which can help decrease the risk of cancer, diminish decline of brain function, and heart disease. Research has revealed the presence of over seven kinds of flavanoid compounds in cinnamon, which are known for their ability in fighting disease -causing inflammation throughout the body. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is also an effective source of pain relief, helping to soothe muscle soreness, allergic reactions, and PMS pains.

Heart Health
Another health benefit of cinnamon is its ability to reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, two of the most common factors for heart disease. Compounds in the spice can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol while stabilizing HDL (good) cholesterol, promoting heart health.

Research also shows cinnamon boosts blood circulation and aids the body in its ability to repair tissue after it’s been damaged, including heart tissue.

Fights Diabetes
Also an effective anti-diabetic, cinnamon can help lower levels of blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. This is because cinnamon is capable of blocking enzymes that allow the blood to absorb glucose, decreasing the amount of sugars that enter the bloodstream, which is especially beneficial to diabetics.

Cinnamon powder

Prevents Cognitive Decline
Cinnamon protects cognitive function by activating proteins that protect brain cells from damage and reduces oxidative stress. Furthermore, its high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds make it a candidate for possible therapeutic treatment in preventing age-related disease.

Lowers Risk of Cancer
You can also add the ability to lower cancer risk to this spice’s already impressive resume. Cinnamon protects against cell mutation, DNA damage and tumor growth, Studies show that is the compound cinnamaldehyde that is responsible for the inhibition of cancer growth and also the cause of apoptosis, the self-destruction of cancer cells.

Protects Against Bad Breath
Cinnamon Trident, anyone? Studies show cinnamon contains extracts that protect against bacteria that cause bad breath, cavities and tooth decay. Furthermore, the essential oils in cinnamon have proven more potent than any other known plant extracts. It can be used naturally as an anti-bacterial mouthwash and as a flavoring agent in chewing gum to remove oral bacteria.

What do your sprinkle your cinnamon on? Let us know your innovative ways of spicing things up!

Bread and pasta

Change Up Your Diet By Avoiding Bread, Pasta, and Chocolate

For many of us, the idea of avoiding bread, pasta, and chocolate is akin to depriving ourselves of air, food, and water. In fact, if most of us were told that were suddenly required to eliminate these three things from our diets, a good percentage of us would probably find our meals shrunk to half the size, leaving a large chunk of the population both clueless and dinner less. And that definitely puts the kibosh on the chocolate spaghetti you were thinking of making for dessert tonight.

Carbohydrates are a vital part of a nutrient-rich diet. They’re naturally occurring sugars that supply our bodies with energy and help with glucose production. However, when it comes to carbohydrates, as with everything else, its all about making the right choices.

Simple and Complex Carbs
Our bodies need carbohydrates to keep healthy there are two types. Complex carbs take our bodies a reasonable amount of time to digest, and, as a result, glucose is released at a reasonable rate. Simple carbohydrates release the sugar at a much higher rate, causing sugar levels to spike and, bring on hunger, increasing food cravings, and

Bread
Bread, namely white bread, is the most commonly consumed carbohydrate, and, fortunately, it is also the one easiest to remove. Here are a few replacement ideas.

Lettuce Wraps
If you’re new to the lettuce wrap, romaine is the best flatbread replacement while radicchio and butter lettuce are excellent alternatives to sandwich bread. Just fold the lettuce around your favorite filling or use two pieces, one on top, one under.

Whole Grains
If you can’t envision life without bread, go for the whole grains, enriched with germ intact, if possible.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms
A veg with some substance, portobello mushrooms can be a great and delicious substitute for a sandwich bun, and are also a great source of vitamin D.

Pasta
Like bread, pasta is a processed grain and is best when consumed in a whole grain variety. If you’re thinking of kicking pasta off the shopping list, here are some backup ideas.

Veggies
Zucchini sliced into long ribbons can serve as a substitute for fettuccine noodles and lasagna, and broccoli slaw and spaghetti squash can replace spaghetti noodles when blanched lightly.

Quinoa
You may not be sure of how to pronounce it, but quinoa (“keen-waa”) is a low carb, high protein grain that can be a great pasta replacement in salads and soups.

Shirataki Noodles
These carb-less, low-calorie Japanese noodles owe their consistency to yam starch. That said, you may find a difference in texture from your typical wheat noodles, but shirataki noodles are a healthy pasta alternative.

Shirataki Noodles

Chocolate
Although you may have heard of dark chocolate as an antioxidant superfood, chocolate in large quantities is not a recommended source of nutrition. It provides only simple carbohydrates and is bad for teeth and digestion. For an alternative source of sweetness try:

Fruit
Try keeping a Tupperware container full of fruit for when the sweet cravings hit.

Cocoa powder
Try making chocolate pudding with cocoa powder, skim milk and a sugar substitute.

Get the good stuff
If you must eat chocolate, go for quality over quantity. Chocolate with high cacao content and low sugar contain a high antioxidant level and is good for you in small quantities. Try to avoid “candy chocolate” that is more likely to contain artificial flavoring and colorings.

Let us know how you manage to survive without pasta, bread, and chocolate. What are your favorite go-to substitutes?