Health Tips

4 Ways Sugar Can Make You Fat

1. Fructose Causes Insulin Resistance Have you ever heard of the hormone insulin? It is one of the key hormones that regulate human metabolism and energy use. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas, then travels in the blood to peripheral cells like muscle cells. Insulin sends a signal to these cells that they should put transporters for glucose onto their surface, thereby allowing glucose to get into the cells where it can be used. When we eat a high carb meal, glucose levels go up. Excess glucose is toxic so insulin rapidly goes up in order to get the glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells. If we didn’t have insulin or it wasn’t functioning correctly, blood glucose would reach toxic levels. In healthy people, this mechanism works very well and enables us to eat meals that are high in carbohydrates without our blood glucose levels becoming too high. However, this mechanism tends to break. Cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, whi...

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Is Bread Bad For Your Health?

Bread is High in Carbs and Can Spike Blood Sugar Levels Even whole grain bread usually isn’t made with actual “whole” grains. They are grains that have been pulverized into very fine flour. Even though this process reserves the nutrients, it causes these products to be digested rapidly. The starches in bread get broken down quickly in the digestive tract and enter the bloodstream as glucose. This causes a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin levels. Even whole wheat bread spikes blood sugar faster than many candy bars. When blood sugar goes up rapidly, it tends to go down just as quickly. When blood sugar goes down, we become hungry. This is the blood sugar roller coaster that is familiar to people on high carb diets. Soon after eating, they become hungry again, which calls for another high-carb snack. Elevated blood sugars can also cause glycation at the cellular level when the blood sugars react with proteins in the body. This is one of the co...

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Should You Take Citrulline Supplements?

What Is Citrulline? Citrulline is an amino acid that was first found in watermelon. It is considered nonessential, meaning that your body can naturally produce some on its own. However, you can increase your levels by eating foods containing citrulline or by taking dietary supplements, rather than relying on your body’s production alone. These higher levels may produce beneficial effects on health and exercise performance, as discussed later in this article. Citrulline has important roles in the body, but unlike some amino acids, it is not used to build proteins. However, it plays a necessary part in the urea cycle, which rids your body of harmful compounds. Specifically, the urea cycle removes ammonia from the body. The final product of this cycle is urea, which your body gets rid of in urine. Citrulline can also help widen your blood vessels and may play a role in muscle building. How Does It Work? Citrulline produces several important effects in the ...

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14 Everyday Uses for Tea Tree Oil

1. Hand Sanitizer Tea tree oil makes an ideal natural hand sanitizer. Studies have shown that it kills several common bacteria and viruses responsible for causing illness, including E. coli, S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae. Moreover, a study testing several types of hand wash shows that adding tea tree oil to the cleansers boosted their effectiveness against E. coli. Here is a simple recipe to make your own moisturizing, all-natural hand sanitizer using tea tree oil. 2. Insect Repellent Tea tree oil may help keep pesky insects away. One study found that 24 hours after being treated with tea tree oil, cows had 61% fewer flies than cows not treated with tea tree oil. Furthermore, a test-tube study revealed that tea tree oil had a greater ability to repel mosquitoes than DEET, the most common active ingredient in commercial insect repellents. Try this easy-to-make insect repellent using tea tree oil and other natural ingredient...

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11 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cortisol Levels

1. Get the Right Amount of Sleep Timing, length and quality of sleep all influence cortisol . For example, a review of 28 studies of shift workers found that cortisol increases in people who sleep during the day rather than at night. Over time, sleep deprivation causes increased levels. Rotating shifts also disrupt normal daily hormonal patterns, contributing to fatigue and other problems associated with high cortisol. Insomnia causes high cortisol for up to 24 hours. Interruptions to sleep, even if brief, can also increase your levels and disrupt daily hormone patterns. If you are a night shift or rotating shift worker, you don’t have complete control over your sleep schedule, but there are some things you can do to optimize sleep: Exercise: Be physically active during waking hours and keep a regular bedtime as much as possible. No caffeine at night: Avoid caffeine in the evening. Limit exposure to bright light at night: Turn off t...

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Are Energy Drinks Good or Bad for You?

What Are Energy Drinks? Energy drinks are beverages that contain ingredients marketed to increase energy and mental performance. Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy, Monster, AMP, Rockstar, NOS and Full Throttle are examples of popular energy drink products. Nearly all energy drinks contain the ingredient caffeine to stimulate brain function and increase alertness and concentration. However, the amount of caffeine differs from product to product. This table shows the caffeine content of some popular energy drinks:   Product Size Caffeine Content Red Bull 8.4 oz (250 ml) 80 mg AMP 16 oz (473 ml) 142 mg Monster 16 oz (473 ml) 160 mg Rockstar 16 oz (473 ml) 160 mg NOS 16 oz (473 ml) 160 mg Full Throttle 16 oz (473 ml) 160 mg 5-Hour Energy 1.93 oz (57 ml) 200 mg All caffeine information in this ta...

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5 Simple Ways to Tell If an Egg Is Good or Bad

1. Check the Expiration Date One of the easiest ways to tell if your eggs are still good is to check the date on the carton. But if you throw your refrigerated eggs out as soon as this date arrives, you could be wasting perfectly good eggs. In the US, eggs may be labeled with either a “sell by” or expiration date, depending on which state you live in, in order to let you know if your eggs are still fresh. A “sell by” date indicates how long a store should offer eggs for sale — no more than 30 days after packing — but not necessarily that the eggs have gone bad. An expiration date, on the other hand, marks the date after which the eggs are considered less than fresh. If neither of these labels is present, there is yet another date you can look for to tell how fresh your eggs are. Eggs that have been graded by the USDA are required to show the “pack date” on the carton, which is the day that the eggs were graded, wash...

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Is Coconut Oil Good for Your Skin?

What Is Coconut Oil? Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil that is traditionally made by extracting the oil from raw coconuts or dried coconut kernels. At room temperature it’s solid, but when heated it can soften or even melt. It’s frequently used in cooking or applied directly to the skin and hair. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are a form of saturated fat. In fact, these medium-chain fatty acids make up about 65% of its total composition. The medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil include: Lauric acid: 49% Myristic acid: 18% Caprylic acid: 8% Palmitic acid: 8% Capric acid: 7% Oleic acid: 6% Linoleic acid: 2% Stearic acid: 2% Although coconut oil is about 90% saturated fat, it does contain small amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats as well. One tablespoon contains about 12 grams of saturated fat and 1 gram of unsaturated fat. It Can Kill Har...

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The Top 8 Health Benefits of Cauliflower

1. Contains Many Nutrients The nutrition profile of cauliflower is quite impressive. Cauliflower is very low in calories yet high in vitamins. In fact, cauliflower contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need. Here is an overview of the nutrients found in 1 cup, or 128 grams, of cauliflower : Calories: 25 Fiber: 3 grams Vitamin C: 77% of the RDI Vitamin K: 20% of the RDI Vitamin B6: 11% of the RDI Folate: 14% of the RDI Pantothenic acid: 7% of the RDI Potassium: 9% of the RDI Manganese: 8% of the RDI Magnesium: 4% of the RDI Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI 2. High in Fiber Cauliflower is quite high in fiber, which is beneficial for overall health. There are 3 grams of fiber in one cup of cauliflower, which is 10% of your daily needs. Fiber is important because it feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut that help reduce inflammation and promote digestive health. ...

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How Valerian Root Helps You Relax and Sleep Better

What Is Valerian Root? Valeriana officinalis, commonly known as valerian, is an herb native to Asia and Europe. It is now also grown in the US, China and other countries. Flowers from the valerian plant were used to make perfume centuries ago, and the root portion has been used in traditional medicine for at least 2,000 years. Unlike its delicately scented flowers, valerian root has a very strong, earthy odor due to the volatile oils and other compounds responsible for its sedative effects. Interestingly, the name “valerian” is derived from the Latin verb valere, which means “to be strong” or “to be healthy.” Valerian root extract is available as a supplement in capsule or liquid form. It can also be consumed as a tea. How Does It Work? Valerian root contains a number of compounds that may promote sleep and reduce anxiety. These include valerenic acid, isovaleric acid and a variety of antioxidants. Valerian has re...

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