Health Archives - Live Love Fruit https://livelovefruit.com/category/health/ Eat Vibrantly. Live Vibrantly Sat, 06 Nov 2021 00:39:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1 https://livelovefruit.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/cropped-logo-favicon-refresh-170x170.png Health Archives - Live Love Fruit https://livelovefruit.com/category/health/ 32 32 153805294 Latest Sunscreen Recall Raises Concern Over Chemicals https://livelovefruit.com/sunscreen-recall/ https://livelovefruit.com/sunscreen-recall/#comments Thu, 05 Aug 2021 01:11:25 +0000 https://livelovefruit.com/?p=38802 Every summer, millions of people enthusiastically spray or rub sunscreen on their skin. With sun care being a $2 billion-a-year…

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Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreens recalled by Johnson & Johnson
Credit: Neutrogena; Aveeno

Every summer, millions of people enthusiastically spray or rub sunscreen on their skin.

With sun care being a $2 billion-a-year industry in the United States alone, it’s no wonder we have it ingrained into our psyche that sunscreen is the ultimate protection against skin cancer, aging, and sunburns. 

But the latest sunscreen recall might have us think otherwise. 

Sunscreen Recall

On July 14, 2021, the parent company, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), issued a voluntary recall of five Neutrogena® and Aveeno® aerosol sunscreen products.

They were pulled after independent testing had found they were contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical called benzene.

CVS Health also pulled two store-branded aloe vera products due to similar findings.

While a few sunscreens did test positive for benzene, many did not. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that most sunscreens are loaded with questionable ingredients that likely shouldn’t be going on your skin.

The use of sunscreen, however, is important. So what do you do? Read on to find out. 

Which Sunscreens Were Recalled?

The recall involved four Neutrogena sunscreen sprays and one Aveeno spray. They were voluntarily recalled by J&J “out of an abundance of caution”:

  • Neutrogena® Beach Defense® aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Cool Dry Sport aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Ultra Sheer® aerosol
  • Aveeno® Protect + Refresh aerosol

According to a statement made by J&J, “While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished products…Consumers should stop using these specific products and appropriately discard them.”

Specific lots of all recalled Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreens can be found here.

While Neutrogena’s spray sunscreens ranked highest in benzene content (almost three times the FDA-recommended maximum level of benzene), other brands also tested positive at lower levels. Companies like Good Sense, Banana Boat, CVS, and even all-natural mineral sunscreen brands like Raw Elements tested positive for the chemical.

After the recall was announced, CVS also stopped selling the following products:

  • CVS Health After Sun Aloe Vera
  • CVS Health After Sun Aloe Vera Spray

While these CVS products have not been recalled, the company paused its sales as a precaution to the products testing positive for trace amounts of benzene.

However, one of the CVS benzene-contaminated products called After-Sun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel is still for sale.

Why Were The Sunscreens Recalled?

In total, 294 sun care product lots were tested from 69 different brands. Of those, 78 samples tested positive for benzene.

Valisure, the independent lab that tested the products, found that contamination appeared in specific batches of sunscreen rather than specific brands.

The report from Valisure can be found here.

The report “found multiple sunscreen products that contain levels of benzene that significantly surpass the 2 ppm conditional FDA restriction.” They also state that many samples contained “significantly detectable benzene and some batches contained up to 3.1 times the conditionally restricted limit.”

Valisure requested the FDA to recall the identified batches of sunscreen products that pose a health risk to the public.

According to J&J, daily exposure to benzene in these products “at the levels detected in internal testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.”

But Dr. Christopher Bunick, associate professor of dermatology at Yale University, claims that there are no safe levels of benzene. In Valisure’s press release, Dr. Bunick notes that “Even benzene at 0.1 ppm (parts per million) in sunscreen could expose people to excessively high nanogram amounts of benzene.”

Sunscreens That Were Not Recalled

Other samples of sun care products that tested for benzene at levels of 1 parts per million or higher included the following:

  • Sun Bum Cool Down Gel
  • Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel
  • Raw Elements Eco Formula Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

While these products have not yet been recalled, it would be wise to avoid them given the toxic nature of benzene, even at lower levels.

Why Is Benzene Dangerous?

Benzene is a known human carcinogen, with the FDA recognizing the chemical as a serious danger.

The FDA lists benzene as a “Class 1 solvent” that “should not be employed in the manufacture of drug substances, excipients, and drug products because of their unacceptable toxicity…However, if their use is unavoidable in order to produce a drug product with a significant therapeutic advance, then their levels should be restricted” and benzene is restricted to 2 ppm for these special circumstances.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines benzene as a carcinogen and lists “inhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, skin and/or eye contact” as exposure routes.

Exposure to benzene has been associated with a wide range of acute and long-term adverse health effects and diseases like cancer and aplastic anemia. 

In a 2010 review of benzene research, the authors note that “there is probably no safe level of exposure to benzene, and all exposures constitute some risk in a linear, if not supralinear, and additive fashion (1).” 

The authors also cite a comment from a 1939 study that investigated the hematotoxicity of benzene, stating, “exposure over a long period of time to any concentration of benzene greater than zero is not safe.”

Benzene has been specifically linked with blood cancers like leukemia, making this chemical particularly concerning as it is found in sun care products. 

A study published back in 2020 found that chemical sunscreen ingredients are “systematically absorbed after one application, and some ingredients can stay in the blood for at least 3 weeks (2).”

Many other studies have also demonstrated the effects of different sunscreens and how quickly their ingredients penetrate and absorb into the skin after application (3)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Why Is There Benzene in Sunscreen?

Since benzene is not an added ingredient in sunscreens, no one really knows for sure how it ended up in sun care products.

The only logical method by which it could have ended up in these products is via the manufacturing process. 

“The root cause of the benzene found in recalled sunscreen products is the focus of ongoing investigation,” FDA spokesman Jeremy Kahn said.

According to Scott Faber, the senior Vice President of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “Benzene could be a byproduct of the process of making the chemicals that companies sell to the formulators of personal care products and sunscreens. Or it could be that some of those chemicals break down into benzene, although that seems less likely.”

“But it’s very alarming, especially since the FDA does not require companies to test ingredients for contaminants, nor does it require testing for such chemicals at a finished product stage,” he added.

This is why it is best to choose sunscreens made from natural ingredients, instead of ones made from chemical cocktails.

Which Is the Best Natural Sunscreen?

Whether you have sensitive skin or you simply want to avoid sun care products involved in present or future sunscreen recalls, a natural sunscreen will be your best bet. 

Chemical sunscreens aren’t much different than natural ones. They provide the same level of SPF as chemical sunscreens do, but with a reduced risk of exposing yourself to nasty chemicals like benzene.

When choosing a natural sunscreen, look for ones with non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that physically block the sun’s rays and shield your skin from UV rays. 

With that being said, there are a lot of suncare products out there that can make the selection process a little confusing.

So here’s a list of some of the best natural and organic sunscreens to protect your skin all year long (with a little help from EWG):

3rd rock sunblock

3rd Rock Sunblock Sunscreen Lotion, Unscented, SPF 35

Natural, organic, and toxin-free SPF 35+ sunblock sunscreen – Made with food-grade ingredients only. Hypoallergenic, sweat, and water-resistant.

kabana sunscreen

Kabana Green Screen Organic Sunscreen, Unscented, SPF 32

Kabana uses an 86% certified organic ingredient formula that is baby and child-safe with just 8 ingredients. It is biodegradable, fragrance-free, chemical-free, and vegan.

100% PURE Everywhere Sun Stick

100% PURE Everywhere Sun Stick, SPF 30

The convenient stick design by 100% pure is perfect for applying over the face and body. It contains non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect the skin against both harmful UVA and UVB rays (without the use of nasty chemicals).

All Good Sunstick

All Good Sunstick, Unscented, SPF 30

The All Good Sunstick is hypoallergenic and gentle for children. It’s made from non-nano zinc oxide and skin-saving oils like jojoba, coconut and avocado. Excellent for sensitive skin, water resistant and reef friendly. 

amara sunscreen

Amavara Transparent Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30

Natural, organic, and toxin-free SPF 35+ sunblock sunscreen – Made with food-grade ingredients only. Hypoallergenic, sweat, and water-resistant.

How Can I Protect My Skin From Sun Without Sunscreen?

Getting enough sun during safe hours, when UV levels aren’t staggering high, is the best way to help your body synthesize vitamin D.

Outside of these hours, when UV levels are high and not so beneficial for our skin, it is best to wear either natural sunscreen, or practice sun-smarts.

Here are a few ways you can ensure your skin is protected when UV levels aren’t so safe for our skin:

  1. Wear a loose, long-sleeved blouse. Get one that is airy and not too heavy, and light in color to refract the sun.
  2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  3. Wear natural sunscreen with non-nano zinc oxide (listed above).
  4. Seek shade. You can use trees, shade structures or use your own sunshade tent.

The Bottom Line

The latest sunscreen recall found dangerous levels of benzene in sun care products that were above the threshold recommended by the FDA.

In response, J&J announced that they were voluntarily recalling select Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol spray sunscreens. The recall affected the following products: Neutrogena Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen; Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport aerosol sunscreen; Neutrogena Invisible Daily defense aerosol sunscreen; Neutrogena Ultra Sheer aerosol sunscreen; Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen.

Benzene is a known human carcinogen, specifically linked to cancers of the blood like leukemia. This makes it particularly concerning, given sunscreen ingredients have been well-studied for their ability to absorb into the skin and enter the bloodstream.

Instead of conventional sunscreen, you can opt for organic, natural options that will protect your skin just as well as products made with questionable ingredients.

You can also protect yourself from the sun by avoiding it at dangerous high-UV hours. If you must be out in the sun all day, opt for a hat, or long-sleeved blouse to keep the sun at bay.

Various sunscreens from Johnson & Johnson that were recalled with text - sunscreen recall: traces of cancer-causing chemical benzene found in conventional sunscreen. Use these safe, healthy, natural alternatives instead

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10 Natural Ways to Balance Your Hormones https://livelovefruit.com/10-natural-ways-to-balance-your-hormones/ https://livelovefruit.com/10-natural-ways-to-balance-your-hormones/#comments Sat, 20 Mar 2021 23:25:10 +0000 https://livelovefruit.com/?p=38572 Your hormones are the reason why your arms are the same length, why your entire body changed at puberty and…

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Female Reproductive System next to adrenal glands representing organs in the body responsible for hormone production

Your hormones are the reason why your arms are the same length, why your entire body changed at puberty and why you can turn fuel into food. 

Hormones are extremely important chemical messengers that influence the way we think, breathe, eat, and sleep. They also change the way we look, feel and function. 

When they fall out of balance, many functions in our body suffer as a result. We may feel more lethargic and moody, put on extra weight, or our hair might start falling out.

Whatever the reason, there are natural ways to balance your hormones that don’t require prescription medications. Sometimes all it takes are a few lifestyle changes.

But first, let’s talk a little about the endocrine system.

What Is the Endocrine System?

Your hormones are tiny chemical messengers that are secreted directly into the blood by the glands that produce and store them. These glands make up what is known as the endocrine system

Your endocrine system and hormones work together to maintain a constant environment (i.e,, homeostasis) within the body.

In response to specific stimuli, hormones are released from these glands and into the bloodstream. From here, they target specific tissues or cells by binding to receptors that are located either on the cell surface or inside the cell.

As the hormones attach to their receptors, a cascade of biochemical reactions is set off in the target cell which modifies its function or activity.

The glands that make up the endocrine system include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, adrenal glands, gonads, (i.e., testes and ovaries), thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, and pancreas (1)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

The pituitary gland, otherwise known as the “master gland,” controls the activity of most other hormone-secreting glands. It is responsible for sending information from your brain to other glands in your body.

The pituitary gland is made up of two different tissue types:

  • The anterior pituitary gland that synthesizes and releases classic hormones
  • The posterior pituitary gland that secretes neurohormones that are made in the hypothalamus

The anterior pituitary gland secretes five hormones: leutinizing hormone (LH), follice-stimulating hormone (FSH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), growth hormone (GH) and prolactin. LH and FSH stimulate the production of sex hormones, TSH stimulates the production of thyroid hormones, GH helps aid proper growth and development and prolactin stimulates milk production after childbirth.

The posterior pituitary gland doesn’t produce hormones on its own; instead, it stores two hormones – vasopressin and oxytocin – that are produced by neurons in the hypothalamus and then released into the bloodstream.

There are two major groups of hormones that circulate in the bloodstream: peptides (proteins) and steroid hormones. Amino acid-based hormones can be divided into three categories: proteins, peptides, and amines.

Here is a breakdown of these hormones:

  • Protein Hormones: hormones that consist of long chains of amino acids (polypeptides) and include GH and FSH. Because of their chemical structure, protein hormones cannot enter cells. Instead, they interact with receptors on the cell surface.

  • Peptide Hormones: hormones that consist of short-chain amino acids and include vasopressin and oxytocin.

  • Amine Hormones: hormones that are synthesized from the amino acids tryptophan (like melatonin) or tyrosine (like thyroid hormones and dopamine).

  • Steroid Hormones: hormones that are derived from cholesterol like testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol.

In order to achieve homeostasis within the body, hormone production and secretion must be tightly controlled. As a result, the body regulates all of its functions via several different hormones that control each other instead of one singular hormone (2)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

So as you can imagine, when just one of these hormones is even slightly imbalanced, many health problems can unfold. Some so extreme that your sleep, metabolism, hunger, growth, and sexual development can all be impacted.

What Causes Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormonal imbalance can be caused by a variety of different factors. Some of these factors may be environmental, genetic or

Our hormones are primarily controlled by two separate areas of the brain: the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. These areas of the brain receive feedback about how much sleep we get, what our diet is like, environmental toxin exposure, stress levels and so much more.

This system is extremely sensitive, and as our body fights to protect itself from these various factors, our hormones can become easily dysregulated.

Some major contributors to hormonal imbalance include:

  • Stress (physical and emotional) and not enough rest
  • Being overweight or obese
  • High levels of chronic inflammation
  • Genetics
  • Steroids or other medications
  • Thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroid or hyperthyroid)
  • Gut issues or food allergies
  • Toxicity – the endocrine system is particularly sensitive to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (hence the name), which many of us come into contact with in our day-to-day life

When your hormones become unbalanced, there will be many different signs and symptoms your body will signal to you as a cry for help.

Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

When your hormones are out of balance, some of the symptoms will be subtle, and some will be obvious.

Here are a few key signs that something is off with your hormone health:

  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Low libido
  • Irregular periods
  • Hair loss/hair thinning
  • Low mood, anxiety, or depression
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes/night sweats
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues

Certain conditions may also be associated with the above symptoms which may indicate deeper underlying problems. These conditions might include things like:

  • Estrogen Dominance: irregular periods, weight gain, fibroids, changes in sleep patterns
  • Hypothyroidism: tiredness, weight gain, constipation, muscle aches and weakness, depression, sensitivity to cold
  • Hyperthyroidism: nervousness, anxiety, irritability, tiredness, weakness, difficulty sleeping, sensitivity to heat
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): infertility, acne, excess body hair, weight gain
  • Diabetes: nerve damage (neuropathy), fatigue, dry mouth, skin issues, blurry vision
  • Adrenal Fatigue: fatigue (especially upon waking), poor stress response and mood regulation, anxiety, depression, muscle aches and pains
  • Low Estrogen: painful sex, low sex drive, mood swings, menstrual irregularity
  • Low Testosterone: erectile dysfunction, hair loss, low sex drive, loss of muscle mass, weight gain, mood issues
  • Metabolic Syndrome: large waist, fatigue, inability to focus, browning of folds of skin around the neck
  • Endometriosis: abnormally painful periods, abnormal or heavy menstrual flow, infertility, painful sex
  • Menopause or Perimenopause: hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, vaginal dryness

Thankfully, you can optimize the health of your hormones and find relief from your symptoms by following a few key steps.

10 Natural Ways to Balance Your Hormones

Given the importance of our hormones and how much they impact our body and lives, utilizing the steps below – if you haven’t already – would be wise.

Let’s start with the first and most crucial – stress management.

1. Keep Stress Minimal

Stress is one of the biggest factors that impact hormonal health. Dealing with chronic stress will cause spikes and dips in several hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, vasopressin, thyroid hormones, prolactin, and growth hormones.

These hormones respond to stress in the following ways (1)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source:

  • Cortisol: activates the pituitary-adrenal axis. Cortisol is the main stress hormone released in response to an innate need for survival.

  • Catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine): activates the pituitary-adrenal axis. This leads to increased cardiac output, skeletal muscle blood flow, sodium retention, reduced intestinal motility, cutaneous vasoconstriction, increased glucose, bronchiolar dilatation, and behavioral activation.

  • Vasopressin: acute stress triggers the release of vasopressin from the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus along with corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH).

  • Gonadotropins (FSH and LH): when stressed, there is a suppression of circulating gonadotropins and gonadal steroid hormones. This can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle and may lead to complete impairment of reproductive function.

  • Thyroid Hormones: during stressful conditions, thyroid function gets down-regulated. Stress inhibits thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) secretion, as well as slows the release of T3 and T4.

  • Prolactin: levels can either increase or decrease during stress. Acts to maintain homeostasis within the immune system.

  • Growth Hormones: levels are increased during acute physical stress (like exercise). May enhance metabolism. With psychological stress, however, there is a growth hormone secretory defect.

Some of these stressful responses, if chronic, can lead to endocrine disorders like Graves’ disease, diabetes, adrenal fatigue, obesity, sexual dysfunction, and more (2)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Completely avoiding stress isn’t realistic, but managing it is important to prevent it from becoming a chronic state of being.

Some scientifically-proven ways of managing stress include exercising every day, meditating, getting enough sleep, connecting with the community, and practicing breathwork.

You can also nourish and support the body’s ability to respond to stress by supplementing with adrenal tonics, like the one created by Cymbiotika.

2. Avoid Chemical Products

Certain types of chemicals called endocrine-disrupting chemicals are chemicals or mixtures of chemicals that interfere with the way the body’s hormones work.

They’re present in a variety of products that most people use every day. Things like BPA found in plastics, and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in Teflon coatings make up for a majority of infertility issues.

Other common endocrine-disrupting chemicals include herbicides and pesticides, parabens, and triclosan. These ingredients are often found in cleaning products like window cleaners and dishwashing liquids, personal care items like toothpaste and deodorant, and kitchen staples like plastic straws and cans of beans.

Instead, opt for products that don’t contain a long list of nasty ingredients. I like Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (can be used for multiple cleaning purposes), Eco’s dishwashing liquid, Redmond Toothpaste, and Crystal Mineral Deodorant Sticks.

3. Get Enough Sleep

How much sleep you get, and what time you go to sleep are crucial factors in determining how your hormones function.

It’s kind of like a double-edged sword, however, in that hormonal changes can wreak havoc on sleep, and not enough sleep can wreak havoc on hormones.

In order to understand sleep and hormones, we need to look at our circadian rhythms. This 24-hour internal clock controls how our body’s functions change throughout the day.

Your cognition, metabolism, sleep-wake cycle, and many other functions all follow a circadian rhythm.

When your sleeping patterns are inconsistent, your circadian rhythm can be thrown off. As a result, your body won’t be able to regulate stress hormones as effectively, and your appetite and blood glucose levels can be thrown off.

As a result, you can increase your risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression and anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and more.

So what can you do to improve your sleep?

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking around roughly the same hours (even on weekends) will allow your body to get in a proper sleep-wake cycle.

Some other things you can do to improve your sleep include:

  • Turn off or dim the lights at least 1-2 hours before going to bed.
  • Stop drinking anything with caffeine in it at least 4-6 hours before bed.
  • Stop eating at least 2-3 hours before bed.
  • Avoid cell phone and laptop use right before bed. If you must use them right before bed, invest in some blue-light-blocking glasses.
  • Engage in regular exercise to tire yourself out by evening.

Following the above tips can drastically help improve your sleep schedule.

4. Eat the Right Foods

Eating the right foods can make a world of a difference when it comes to naturally balancing your hormones.

Stocking your fridge with plant-based options like fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds and beans and legumes will provide you with nutrient-dense options to fuel your body without the fear of added hormones.

Dairy and meat are laden with all sorts of hormones (both natural and synthetic), that end up in our bodies and confuse our own hormones.

Refined sugar and refined carbohydrates (like white grain products, pastries, cookies, and the like) can also spike blood sugar levels and mess with your insulin. When refined sugar intake is too high, it causes your body to continually release insulin to help control blood glucose levels (3)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. This can lead to insulin resistance, and eventually, type 2 diabetes.

Another food to look out for is soy, which can be sneakily labeled in foods as something you might not otherwise recognize it as. Soy contains phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen in your body and can cause all sorts of problems.

Plant foods are naturally hormone-balancing and are a great place to start if you’re having trouble with your hormones. If you’re craving traditional sugary sweets, try making healthier versions of the things you love that won’t send your blood sugar on a spike, like these tahini brownies!

It is also worth mentioning that the better you take care of your gut, the better your hormones will respond. New research has shown that if your gut is compromised (whether that be from leaky gut syndrome, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)), you may be more susceptible to hormonal problems like diabetes and obesity (4)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Keeping your gut bacteria strong by eating the proper foods and supplementing with a high-quality probiotic like SEED (one of my favorite robust probiotics) can help alleviate this problem.

5. Supplement with Herbs

Supplementing with hormone-supportive herbs is another great option for those who want to balance their hormones naturally.

Herbs have been used to treat hormonal imbalances by natural medical practitioners for centuries with beneficial results.

Some key adaptogenic herbs to consider include:

  • Ashwagandha: reduces stress and anxiety. Supports the nervous and endocrine systems and promotes a natural sleep cycle (5)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

  • Chaste Tree Berry/Vitex: used to treat menstrual cycle problems and pain, premenstrual syndrome, and menopause. May help normalize estrogen and progesterone (6)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

  • Holy Basil: reduces physical and mental stress, stress-related anxiety, and depression (7)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. Also helps protect the body from chemical stress and pollutants, which are contributing factors to hormonal imbalance.

  • Maca: plant sterols in maca stimulate the endocrine system helping to maintain hormonal balance. According to some studies, these sterols are used by the body with the help of the pituitary to improve adrenal function, ovarian and testicular function, as well as the functioning of the thyroid, pancreas, and pineal gland (8).

  • Rhodiola: supports the adrenal glands and encourages a healthy response to stress. Staves off physical and mental fatigue (9)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Medicinal mushrooms have also been found to possess adaptogenic qualities that keep the body in a steady state of homeostasis. Whether too high or too low, medicinal mushrooms can help stabilize hormone levels within the body (10)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

6. Get Active

The amount of physical activity we get every day makes a huge impact on the hormonal responses of the body.

When we exercise, our muscles contract and this movement activates our fat cells and adipose tissues by hormonal signaling. Activation of the nervous system and heart also triggers the release of various hormones from our brain (11)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Some hormones serve us better than others, though. If your exercise routine is causing you to consistently pump out high levels of cortisol, then you may gain more weight than lose it. Human growth hormone (HGH), however, helps keep us strong and healthy, so optimizing release of that hormone is key.

How do you do that? Gentle exercises like walking help boost your overall mood, while short intense exercises like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) help boost HGH and testosterone to keep you lean. You don’t want to overdo it, though. Just 15-20 minutes of HIIT a few days a week is enough to keep these fat-burning hormones high.

7. Manage Chronic Inflammation

When inflammation becomes chronic, many systems of the body are often thrown off.

I’m not talking about acute inflammation (the kind we get from a cut, burn or scrape) – I’m talking about chronic inflammation. This is a low-level inflammation that takes place in the body when there is injury, toxins, or stress; its purpose is to initiate healing and protect the body. 

Whether it’s caused by food sensitivity, chronic stress, environmental toxin exposure, or excessive alcohol consumption – it wreaks havoc on the body.

Different areas of the brain that regulate hormones also contain receptors that respond to the inflammatory mediators that are released when the body is in an inflamed state.

As a result, our brain signals the adrenal glands to pump out more hormones, like cortisol, which imbalances other hormones in the body, like insulin, leading to chronic inflammation (12)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

So keeping your inflammation levels in check is important!

You can help manage your chronic inflammation by making some of the delicious recipes in my recipe eBook, ‘Freedom from Inflammation‘. It is packed with over 50+ recipes to help you reverse any chronic states of inflammation in the body.

freedom from inflammation recipe ebook

8. Eat Mostly Organic Foods

Hormones can be disrupted in many ways through pesticide and herbicide exposure in the foods we eat.

For example, pesticides and herbicides:

  • add synthetic hormones to your body (like xenoestrogens) (13)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source
  • impact liver function, making it harder for your body to process and eliminate excess hormones (14)
  • can increase infertility (15)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source
  • can make the growth of fibroids worse (16)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source
  • can impair ovulation
  • can damage thyroid function (17)

This doesn’t mean to say that you need to eat everything organic. In fact, avoiding the “Dirty Dozen” is a big enough change to slash your pesticide exposure in half.

While buying organic may be more expensive in the short-term, it is a long-term investment in your health that will save you on medical bills down the line.

To cut down on organic costs, go check out a local farmers market, or sign up for a local CSA delivery.

9. Be Mindful of Medications and Birth Control

Certain medications come with side effects that impact the way your hormones function. As a result, you may experience things like fatigue, appetite changes, altered sleeping patterns, low libido, and more.

Medications like antiepileptic drugs, corticosteroids, stimulants, glucocorticoids, dopamine agonists, statins, and rexinoids can all throw off hormone balance.

Being mindful of the medications you use and speaking to your doctor about the side effects would be wise. You can also speak with a natural medical practitioner like a naturopath to discuss alternative options.

Birth control is also something you should either reconsider or stop altogether if you’re finding your hormones are out of balance. Long-term health risks of taking birth control pills include weight gain, back pain, increased blood pressure, increased risk of uterine bleeding, blood clotting, heart attack and stroke, mood changes, breast tenderness, and more (18)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

There are many forms of natural birth control, like tracking when you’re ovulating, that are highly effective. You can check those out here.

10. Balance Your Omega Fatty Acids

Eating healthy fats, especially focusing on omega-3 fatty acids, can have a positive effect on your hormones.

Omega-3 fatty acids are constituents of the membranes of all cells in the body, and are precursors of locally produced hormones, like eicosanoids, which can help treat and prevent various diseases, especially in women.

The anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 also helps balance out the negative inflammatory effect of omega-6 fatty acids, which are consumed in much higher amounts than omega-3 in today’s Standard American Diet. When the balance of omega-3’s to omega-6’s is off, inflammation levels rise, which throws off hormones (as described above) (19)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Some great sources of omega-3 fatty acids include chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds and spirulina.

The Bottom Line

Hormonal imbalances affect many people worldwide, yet many are unaware they even have an imbalance to start.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance include feeling anxious, trouble gaining or losing weight, hair loss, fatigue, irritability, low sex drive, inability to focus and more.

If left unchecked, hormone irregularities can manifest as common disorders like diabetes, thyroid disease, estrogen dominance, low testosterone and infertility.

Not getting enough sleep, dealing with chronic levels of inflammation, experiencing high levels of stress and envrionmental toxicity are all contributing factors to hormonal imbalance.

Learning how to balance your hormones naturally by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, getting enough sleep, exercising and stress management can all help bring your body back into a state of balance.

female reproductive system with text - unbalanced hormones can cause fatigue, hair loss, brain fog and low mood. Here's what you can do about it.

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15 Impressive Health Benefits of Pineapple Juice https://livelovefruit.com/health-benefits-of-pineapple-juice/ https://livelovefruit.com/health-benefits-of-pineapple-juice/#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2021 22:46:00 +0000 https://livelovefruit.com/?p=11267 Not many people know that pineapple is one of the most favorite tropical fruits around the world. It is loaded…

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freshly pressed pineapple juice

Not many people know that pineapple is one of the most favorite tropical fruits around the world. It is loaded with an array of vitamins, enzymes, and minerals that help revitalize and rejuvenate each and every cell in the body.

Drinking pineapple in the form of juice helps deliver these nutrients straight to our cells in a matter of minutes, without having to go through the process of digestion. Think of it as a blood transfusion.

20 Health Benefits of Pineapple Juice

Here are 20 good reasons why drinking pineapple juice is certainly worth trying!

1.Improve Digestion

Pineapples contain a group of digestive enzymes called bromelain, which can solve many problems in regards to digestive complaints. Bromelain enzymes are proteases, which break down protein into building blocks, including amino acids. This allows proteins to be properly digested and absorbed (1)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

2. Strengthens Our Bones

Our bones and joints really like the mineral manganese, and pineapples happen to be an excellent source of manganese. This mineral has been found to reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis and reduce pain from osteoarthritis (2)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. And with just one glass of pineapple juice containing over 73% of our daily manganese requirements, it makes a great potential option for helping improve bone health

3. Prevent Heart Disease

Pineapples are a great source of antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. Antioxidants combat oxidative stress in the body by scavenging and neutralizing free radicals. Without antioxidants, these free radicals cause damage to our cells and organs, which later manifest as chronic inflammation and a weakened immune system (3)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

Pineapples are particularly rich in vitamin C, as well as flavonoids and phenolic acids. These antioxidants also happen to be found to insoluble food matrices, meaning they are able to better survive harsher conditions in the body and produce lasting effects (4)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

Studies have also found bromelain as an effective treatment of cardiovascular diseases as it inhibits blood platelet aggregation, therefore minimizing the risk of arterial thrombosis and embolism (5)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

4. May Enhance Weight Loss

Aside from reducing your cravings for unnatural sugary treats, pineapple juice may help encourage fat loss. One animal study from 2018 found that pineapple juice may decrease fat formation and increase fat breakdown. However, more studies in humans are needed to confirm these results (6)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

5. Minimize the Risk of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Pineapple juice is high in potassium and low in sodium, which makes it beneficial for those dealing with high blood pressure. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine. Potassium also eases tension in the lining of your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure levels (7)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

6. Reduces Inflammation

Bromelain found in pineapple is one of the best anti-inflammatories in the plant-food world. Studies have investigated its ability to reduce CD4+T lymphocytes (8), which are primarily involved in triggering inflammatory responses in the body. Bromelain is actually used as a treatment for inflammation and sports injuries and may be effective in reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis (9)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

7. May Help Reduce the Risk of Cancer

A handful of studies have shown that pineapple may reduce the risk of certain cancers as a result of helping minimize oxidative stress and inflammation. A few test-tube studies have pointed to bromelain as an effective cancer-fighting agent (10)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, (11)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. Combined test-tube and animal studies have shown how bromelain stimulates the immune system to produce molecules that make white blood cells more effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth and eliminating cancer cells altogether (12)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

8. May Ease Symptoms of Arthritis

Pineapples contain bromelain, which possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties. These properties may provide relief for those with inflammatory arthritis, as one study points out its effectiveness for rheumatoid arthritis (13)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. One review analyzed bromelain’s effectiveness in treating osteoarthritis. They concluded that bromelain can help relieve symptoms associated with arthritis, especially in the short-term (14)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. More studies are needed to determine its long-term effectiveness.

9. It Can Boost Serotonin Levels

What if I told you drinking pineapple juice could improve your mental health? Pineapples are a great source of tryptophan, which gets converted into serotonin in the gut and brain. Serotonin plays a significant role in the regulation of mood and cognition (15)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. It is often called the “happiness hormone,” with low serotonin levels being linked to memory problems and even depression. 

Bromelain has also been shown to improve mental health. One clinical study found that anxiety ratings decreased and depression scores improved for those who were on higher doses of bromelain (16)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

10. Faster Wound Recovery

Research in both humans and animals has found that the topical application of bromelain can be useful in helping heal burns to the skin (17). Other studies suggest that bromelain may be therapeutic for soft-tissue injuries, especially dealing with muscle soreness after exercise and bruising (18)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

11. Strengthens the Immune System

Pineapples are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, so it’s no wonder they help strengthen immunity. Pineapples are especially rich in vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system. The antioxidants present in pineapple help neutralize free radicals that would otherwise cause systemic damage to our cells and organs, weakening our immune system (19)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Chronic inflammation is another factor that weakens our immunity (20)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, so including antioxidant-rich fruits like pineapple in your diet can help off-set these effects.

12. May Reduce the Risk of Macular Degeneration

Vitamin C has a high and effective antioxidant capacity that protects our cells and organs from free radical and reactive oxygen species. It is found in high quantities in pineapple (as well as other fruits like oranges, lemons and limes). Vitamin C can help prevent age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration due to its strong antioxidant activities (21)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

One study found that eating 135 mg/day of vitamin C decreased the risk of nuclear cataracts by 40% (22)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. Two cups of pineapple can provide you with over 160 mg of vitamin C, making this fruit an excellent choice in supporting the health of your eyes. 

13. Natural Antihistamine

Pineapple acts as a natural antihistamine thanks to bromelain, the anti-inflammatory enzyme that is said to be effective at treating respiratory distress and inflammation associated with allergies.

It also helps break down mucus that can irritate the respiratory tract. One study found that pineapple juice was effective in treating tuberculosis, as it helped soothe the throat and dissolve mucus (23).

14. Enhances Skin Health

When used externally, pineapple juice can actually make your skin brighter and more toned. The enzyme bromelain helps break down and sweep away dead skin cells, making it an ideal ingredient for face masks. 

In addition, the nutrients in pineapple, like vitamin C and beta carotene, help reduce wrinkles, improve the overall appearance of your skin, and can lessen the damage from exposure to the sun.

Vitamin C is also essential for the synthesis of collagen (24)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, which is the primary protein involved in giving skin its strength and structure. 

15. May Help with Asthmatic Symptoms

As a natural antihistamine, pineapple juice can help reduce some of the symptoms associated with asthma. Research has even suggested that the pineapple enzyme bromelain appeared to reduce inflammation associated with asthma (25).

As we’ve discussed, pineapple is a wonderful source of vitamin C, which may also help those suffering from asthma. Researchers found that asthma sufferers often have lower serum levels of vitamin C and beta-cryptoxanthin (26)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

While bromelain is sold in much higher concentrations in supplement form, the enzymatic activity from fresh pineapple supersedes the isolated version of bromelain found in pills

The Bottom Line

Pineapple juice is loaded with vitamins, enzymes, and minerals that help revitalize and rejuvenate our cells. It stimulates our digestion, can help prevent heart disease, reduces inflammation and so much more.

When making pineapple juice, make sure to include the core of the pineapple, as it contains the highest concentration of the beneficial enzyme, bromelain.

Pineapple slices and juice in glassware on wooden table with text - drinking pineapple juice can help prevent heart disease, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and more!

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How to Make the Best Homemade Oven Cleaner https://livelovefruit.com/how-to-make-the-best-homemade-oven-cleaner/ https://livelovefruit.com/how-to-make-the-best-homemade-oven-cleaner/#respond Fri, 04 Dec 2020 04:44:46 +0000 https://livelovefruit.com/?p=38064 Keeping your oven clean is something you might want to do if you want to avoid the smelly self-cleaning function.…

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Close up of female hand with yellow protective gloves cleaning oven

Keeping your oven clean is something you might want to do if you want to avoid the smelly self-cleaning function.

The dried up bits and pieces that stick to the walls of your oven should also be removed to avoid burn-off.

Those burnt, baked-on food bits can release carcinogens into to air as it continues to burn. As you breathe them in, you put yourself at risk of inhaling these toxic fumes (1)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

In addition, commercial oven cleaners contain some of the most dangerous toxins that you can find.

So what to use instead?

Homemade oven cleaner!

Making your own oven cleaner is by far the safer solution. It’s cheap, works just as well if not better than commercial oven cleaners, and it’s easy to use.

Dangers of Commercial Oven Cleaners

Scrubbing oven residue is incredibly difficult, so it’s no wonder people opt for harsh commercial oven cleaners. They think the stronger, the better because they’ll remove all the grime with minimal effort.

But sacrificing a bit of elbow grease for a toxic chemical slew might not be the smartest option.

Any standard cleaning products, like air fresheners, are developed with hazardous chemicals that disrupt hormone, immune, and nervous system function. 

However, according to Samara Geller, senior researcher for the Environmental Working Group, oven cleaners are “especially hazardous”. And it has to do with the ingredients used in oven cleaners. 

“Those warnings [on the labels] give you a pretty strong indication that maybe there are some pretty serious chemicals in this product,” Geller said. “I might want to think twice about using it.”

Some warnings even go as far as recommending gloves and masks while using the product. 

“These chemicals are very harsh and can be caustic and corrosive,” Geller said. “They can burn the skin and eyes, can blind, and can be corrosive to the respiratory tract. The vapors can irritate the lungs and can actually exacerbate or trigger an asthma attack. A lot of the chemicals used have been known to actually be capable of causing asthma.”

So what kind of chemicals in oven cleaners cause harm?

Butoxydiglycol

Butoxydiglycol is a solvent that is banned in the European Union at concentrations above 3 percent. It can irritate and inflame the lungs (2). Impurities associated with the chemical during processing, like 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide are known human carcinogens (3)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Diethanolamine

Diethanolamine (DEA) is a known human respiratory toxicant and labeled as a Group 2B Carcinogen by the World Health Organization (4). There is also potential developmental/reproductive toxicity. One animal study found that maternal exposure to DEA interferes with brain development, potentially altering memory function in offspring of mothers exposed to this ingredient (5)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

Diethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether

Breathing in vapors of diethylene glycol mono butyl ether (DEGBE) while consuming alcohol can lead to liver and kidney problems. Possible adverse effects can also take place on blood and testicular tissue (6)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Ethanolamine

Ethanolamine is highly corrosive and can severely irritate the nose, throat, and lungs causing coughing, wheezing, and/or shortness of breath. This chemical may also damage the liver and kidneys and high exposure can negatively affect the nervous system (7).

Potassium Hydroxide

Potassium hydroxide is particularly concerning, as not only does it irritate the lungs, but with higher exposure, it can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) (8). 

Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is highly corrosive and can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes, such as those lining the respiratory tract. Exposure to this chemical is particularly harmful to children. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “Children exposed to the same levels of sodium hydroxide in the air as adults may receive a larger dose because they have greater lung surface area:body weight ratios and increased minute volumes:weight ratios. In addition, they may be exposed to higher levels than adults in the same location because of their short stature and the higher levels of sodium hydroxide in the air found nearer to the ground (9).”

So before you go purchasing that Easy-Off or Mr. Muscle oven and grill cleaner, keep in mind the harmful chemicals you may be exposing yourself to.

How to Make the Best Homemade Oven Cleaner

If you’re concerned about the health dangers of using commercial oven cleaners – don’t fret. You’ll soon learn how to make the best homemade oven cleaner around.

Many homemade oven cleaners often come with the addition of vinegar and baking soda together. You don’t want to do this, though, because the combination creates a reaction that cancels out the cleaning power of both ingredients.

If you’re going to use vinegar for cleaning the oven, use it as the final step. You can use the recipe below to scrub and get the grime off your oven, and then follow with vinegar to shine and de-grease. Then, wipe dry with a paper towel.

To make your own homemade oven cleaner, you’ll need the following:

  • Glass bowl
  • Scrub sponge
  • Spoon
  • Gloves
  • Baking Soda
  • Water

Remove the racks from your oven and clean them separately in your sink (you can do this by scrubbing them with baking soda).

Next, add your baking soda to the glass dish. Baking soda is a mildly abrasive cleaner that works great for removing the grime from ovens. It breaks up and removes caked-up particulate matter that get stuck to the oven surface without causing damage.

Then you’ll want to add your water to create a paste that you can easily spread over the surface of your oven.

Wait 20 minutes to one hour, and then wipe clean using a scrub sponge. Follow with a few spritz’s of vinegar and then dry with a paper towel to give it a nice shine.

Here is the recipe for how to make the best homemade oven cleaner:

Close up of female hand with yellow protective gloves cleaning oven
Print

The Best Homemade Oven Cleaner

Commercial oven cleaners contain some of the most dangerous toxins that you can find. This homemade oven cleaner recipe is the safer solution. (And it works!)
Keyword cleaner, oven, stove
Total Time 2 minutes
Servings 1 application

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups baking soda
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar

Instructions

  • In a glass bowl, add the baking soda and water to make a paste.
  • Brush onto all surfaces of your oven until completely coated.
  • Let sit for 20 minutes to one hour.
  • Put on the gloves and using the scrub sponge, wipe clean.
  • Follow with a few sprays of vinegar and wipe dry with a paper towel to leave your oven sparkling new.

How to Clean an Oven Quickly

Here are some oven cleaning tips to help you get the fastest (and best) results:

  1. Remove loose debris: wipe or vacuum up any loose food items from the bottom of the oven before applying your cleaner. This will loosen the dirt, making it easier to clean, and will also reduce the amount of time it takes for the cleaning action to work.
  2. Give the cleaner time to work: You’ll get better results if you let your baking soda mixture sit for a period of time before cleaning. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes to one hour before wiping to get rid of the built-up grime.
  3. Cleaning motion: the grime that builds up on your oven is quite literally baked on. So it will need a little bit of elbow grease to fully remove. Use a circular motion with your scrub brush to get rid of any spots that are particularly hard to remove.
  4. Finish off with vinegar: finish off the cleaning process with some vinegar spray and wipe off with a paper towel. This will also help get rid of any lingering spots that the baking soda didn’t quite remove. Your oven will look as good as new!

The Bottom Line

Commercial oven cleaners cause serious harm to the organs in our body. As a result, we’ll be left feeling sick, naseuous, dizzy and headache-prone after using such products.

To prevent the harms that commercial oven cleaners pose to our bodies, learning how to make your own homemade oven cleaner is highly recommended. Not only is it cheap and easy to make and use, but it works just as good if not better than standard oven cleaners.

Protect the health of you and your family by going chemical-free and cleaning your oven with two simple ingredients: baking soda and water.

close-up of dirty ovens beind cleaned with text - homemade oven cleaner: de-grime your oven and leave it sparkling. No poison, cheap and easy.

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10 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds https://livelovefruit.com/health-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds/ https://livelovefruit.com/health-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds/#comments Tue, 13 Oct 2020 00:27:57 +0000 https://livelovefruit.com/?p=37685 Pumpkin seeds are one of nature’s most nourishing foods. While they may be small, their nutrition is mighty – and…

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Pumpkin seeds and wooden scoop

Pumpkin seeds are one of nature’s most nourishing foods. While they may be small, their nutrition is mighty – and you really only need to eat a small handful of them to receive the full benefits. 

Pumpkin seeds have been linked with health benefits like improving heart and prostate health, reducing cancer risk, and promoting better sleep. 

What’s more is that these seeds can be easily incorporated into just about any meals – baking, smoothies, salads, as a snack, you name it!

So before we get into the health details of pumpkin seeds – what is a pumpkin seed?

What Are Pumpkin Seeds?

Pumpkin seeds come from the inside of a pumpkin or similar squash variations. Since pumpkins are a fruiting body (a squash), they have seeds to propagate the following year.

Pumpkin seeds are edible, flat, oval-shaped green seeds that come cased in a hard outer shell. When removed from the pumpkin, these seeds can be roasted in the oven, or they can be cracked open to reveal the raw pumpkin seed. 

When buying pumpkin seeds from a grocery store, you’d look for the green seeds, not the ones you’d find straight from a pumpkin. Manufacturers actually de-case the pumpkin seeds to reveal the green seed inside and sell that either raw or roasted.

Pumpkin Seed Nutrition Facts

Pumpkin seeds are protein- and fat-packed seeds that are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and crucial phytonutrients.

Here is a brief overview of the nutrition found in a 1-ounce (28 gram) serving of pumpkin seeds:

PRINCIPALNUTRIENT VALUEPERCENTAGE OF RDA
Calories153 Kcal8%
Carbohydrates5.0 g2%
Fat13.0 g20%
Protein6.9 g14%
Cholesterol0.0 g0%
Dietary Fiber1.1 g4%
VITAMINS
Vitamin A107 IU2%
Vitamin C0.5 g1%
Vitamin E9 mg66%
Vitamin K14.5 mcg18%
Thiamin0.1 mg4%
Riboflavin0.1 mg5%
Niacin0.5 mg2%
Vitamin B60.1 mg3%
Folate16.4 mcg4%
Pantothenic Acid0.1 mg1%
MINERALS
Calcium12.1 mg1%
Iron4.2 mg23%
Magnesium151 mg38%
Phosphorus332 mg33%
Potassium228 mg7%
Sodium5.1 mg0%
Zinc2.1 mg14%
Copper0.4 mg20%
Manganese0.9 mg43%

10 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Here are the top 10 health benefits of pumpkin seeds, backed by science:

1. Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids, which help neutralize free radicals that would normally trigger an inflammatory response in the body (1)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

Studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil performs as an effective topical anti-inflammatory agent, helping clear up acute and chronic inflammatory skin conditions like acne (2). 

In an older study, pumpkin seed oil reduced inflammation in rats with arthritis without any side effects. Animals who were given an anti-inflammatory drug to control their arthritis experienced reduced inflammation, but with adverse effects of the drugs (3)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

2. Stabilize Blood Sugar

The antioxidants in pumpkin seeds, as we’ve seen above, help reduce inflammation in the body. Higher than normal levels of inflammation in the body are commonly associated with chronic conditions like diabetes (4)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

In addition to antioxidants, the high magnesium content of pumpkin seeds may also be responsible for helping lower blood sugar levels. Just one ounce of pumpkin seeds provides 37% of the recommended daily amount of magnesium. Research has even shown that those who consume more magnesium have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (5)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Several studies have found that supplementing with pumpkin juice or pumpkin seed powder helped lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes (6)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

While more research is needed to confirm the beneficial effects of pumpkin seeds on blood sugar levels, the results look promising. 

3. Boost Heart Health

The antioxidants, minerals, and fatty acids in pumpkin seeds all have a positive effect on heart health. 

Animal studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil may reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease (7)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, (8)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

In humans, it was found that pumpkin seed oil supplementation reduced diastolic blood pressure by 7% and increased HDL or “good” cholesterol levels by 16% (9)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Other studies have found that pumpkin seeds increase nitric oxide generation in the body (10)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. This could be beneficial for the health of our cardiovascular system, as nitric oxide helps open up the blood vessels, improving blood flow, and reducing the risk of arterial plaque build-up. 

Pumpkin seeds also have high concentrations of phytosterols that can help inhibit the absorption of bad cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract (11)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

4. Help Fight Cancer Cell Growth

Diets rich in pumpkin seeds have been linked to a lower risk of several types of cancers like breast, stomach, lung, and colorectal cancer (12).

One study found that pumpkin seed extracts inhibit cell growth of hyperplastic and cancer cells (13)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

Moreover, studies suggest that the phytoestrogens in pumpkin seeds may play an important role in preventing and treating breast cancer (14)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

A large observational study on postmenopausal women found that eating pumpkin seeds was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer (15)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

In vitro research has also found that supplements containing pumpkin seeds may help slow the spread and growth of prostate cancer cells (16)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

5. Improve Bladder Function

Pumpkin seeds have been shown to help relieve the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition where the prostate enlarges and causes problems with urination in men. 

A handful of studies have found that eating pumpkin seeds reduces the symptoms associated with BPH (17)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Pumpkin seed oil may also help improve other aspects of bladder function, like helping improve symptoms of overactive bladder and correcting urinary dysfunction (18)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Pumpkin seeds have also been found to prevent kidney stones, as evidenced in a study conducted in Thailand (19)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. According to the authors of the study, “Pumpkin seeds provide high phosphorus levels and can be used as a potential agent in lowering the risk of bladder-stone disease.”

6. Improve Male Reproductive Health

Pumpkin seeds are essential for men’s health and provide significant protection for the prostate gland.

The prostate is said to store minerals like zinc, which help prevent issues like prostate enlargement (hyperplasia) induced by testosterone imbalance (20)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Pumpkin seeds may also help improve male fertility. One animal model demonstrated how pumpkin seed oil supplementation prevented sperm abnormalities and increased sperm count in rats (21).

And, as we’ve seen above, pumpkin seeds have been found to decrease symptoms in men with BPH, which triggers an enlarged prostate. 

7. Promote Better Sleep

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of tryptophan, which is critical for a good quality sleep (22)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

Tryptophan interacts with brain chemicals important to sleep, and the timing of your biological clock’s sleep-wake cycle. Tryptophan increases serotonin, which also increases melatonin, two neurotransmitters that regulate sleep and mood. If your serotonin or melatonin are disrupted, you may suffer from insomnia and depressive symptoms. 

Pumpkin seeds are also very high in magnesium, which has been associated with better sleep quality (23)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.  

Studies have found that taking a magnesium supplement improves sleep quality and total sleep time in those who have low levels of magnesium (24)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

8. Reduce Anxiety and Depression

High levels of tryptophan present in pumpkin seeds also make them great mood-enhancers. 

Studies have shown that those experiencing mood disorders like anxiety and depression may have tryptophan levels that are lower than normal (25)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

As the availability of serotonin depends on the intake of tryptophan, dietary sources of this amino acid, such as that found in pumpkin seeds, are essential for good mental health and well-being. 

Pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium, which has been found to treat depression even better than antidepressant drugs (26)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

9. Enhance Immune Function

The antioxidants found in pumpkin seeds, like vitamin E and carotenoids, help boost immune function.

When a virus or other pathogen enters our bodies, a certain class of immune cells called T cells to jump into action, proliferating rapidly. 

Studies have shown that vitamin E is enough to protect the T cells’ cell membranes from damage, so that they can successfully multiply and fend off viral infections (27)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

Another nutrient found in high levels in pumpkin seeds is zinc. 

Zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system, helping in the development and function of cells mediating innate immunity, neutrophils, and natural killer (NK) cells (28)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

A handful of pumpkin seeds provides you with over 14% of your daily value for zinc, so be sure to load up when you feel your immune system needs a little boost!

10. May Promote Hair Growth

Of the many health benefits of pumpkin seeds, the support of hair growth is one of them.

Pumpkin seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as other phytonutrients that improve the texture of dry, brittle hair.

Zinc, for example, helps increase the production of keratin, a type of protein found in the hair.

In one study, twenty-four weeks of treatment with pumpkin seed oil increased hair growth by nearly 40% in men with baldness. This could likely be due to the phytosterols found in pumpkin seeds, which inhibits enzymes that break down hair protein and cause hair fall (29).

The Bottom Line

Pumpkin seeds are a delicious seed that is nutrient-dense and high in antioxidants and other crucial phytonutrients. They contain a good amount of healthy fat, protein and fiber.

Thanks to their diverse nutrient profile, pumpkin seeds help boost the immune system, reduce the risk of cancer, enhance sleep quality and mood, improve heart health and more.

You can enjoy pumpkin seeds roasted or raw as a snack, in smoothies, salads or baking.

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25 Clever Uses For Baking Soda You Probably Didn’t Know https://livelovefruit.com/clever-uses-for-baking-soda/ https://livelovefruit.com/clever-uses-for-baking-soda/#respond Wed, 07 Oct 2020 03:15:19 +0000 http://livelovefruit.wpengine.com/?p=7845 Could this kitchen staple, used to make muffins light and fluffy, also be your next multi-tasking wonder? These 25 clever…

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baking soda on table

Could this kitchen staple, used to make muffins light and fluffy, also be your next multi-tasking wonder? These 25 clever uses for baking soda are likely ones you use with other (more expensive) products. Save your wallet, and use baking soda instead!

25 Clever Uses for Baking Soda

Here are 25 clever uses for baking soda you probably didn’t know!

1. Make Toothpaste

Toothpaste can be easily made with a mixture of baking soda and coconut oil (and essential oils like peppermint). Some people swear by baking soda use on their teeth every day, but this might be a little too abrasive. Using it from time to time to help polish and whiten teeth is usually a better option.

2. Dry Shampoo

Forget expensive over-the-counter dry shampoo products – just use baking soda! Flip your head upside down over a tub or container and pour 1 – 2 tbsp. of baking soda in your hand. Distribute the baking soda evenly throughout your hair, start close to your scalp but not on your scalp. Brush or comb your hair until the normal colour starts to set through.

3. Acne Treatment

Making a baking soda mask can be used to treat acne once a week. It helps by loosening tight skin around blackheads and eases inflammation around pimples.

4. Hair Brush and Comb Cleaner

If your hair brush gets dirty with oil and product buildup, you can clean it by placing it in a bowl of warm water mixed with 3 tablespoons of baking soda.

5. Homemade Deodorant

Rub a little bit of baking soda in your arm pits for an easy, fool-proof deodorant that is much safer than over-the-counter deodorants like Old Spice and Secret. Be sure to use baking soda that is aluminum-free!

6. Facial Scrub

Baking soda is a great natural exfoliant for the skin if you use it 1-2 times per week. Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with 1-2 tbsp. water and rub in a circular motion on your face before rinsing off.

7. Relieve Insect Bites

Get rid of nasty insect bites by making a paste of equal parts baking soda and water and applying this to your bite. This should also work well for itchy rashes and poison ivy.

8. Easy Floor Cleaner

Cleaning the floor just got easier! Combine just 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water, and use this to help clean any floors made out of tile.

9. Grease-Be-Gone!

Adding baking soda to your dish wash water will help remove grease from stubborn pots and pans, making them easier to clean.

10. Soothing Bath Soak

A baking soda bath can help neutralize acidity of the skin and help eliminate toxins. Add 1 cup of baking soda to your next bath, put on some soothing music, light some candles, and let the baking soda do the rest of the work.

11. Deodorize Everything

Baking soda is an amazing deodorizer (not just for your armpits!). It has the power to freshen up and neutralize odours in fridges, trashcans, litter boxes, sneakers, recycling, as well as on surfaces like kitchen countertops, cutting boards and lunch boxes.

12. Extinguish Class-B Fires

Baking soda can smother small flames created from flaming liquids like gasoline, oil and grease. Put out small fires on rugs, clothing, wood and upholstery.

13. Fruit and Vegetable Scrub

Remove un-necessary pesticides, herbicides and waxes from fruit and vegetables, wash them in a tub of cool water with 1-3 tablespoons of baking soda.

14. Crayon, Pencil, Ink and Furniture-scuff Eraser

Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp cloth or sponge, rub the affected area clean and rinse!

15. Laundry Detergent Enhancer

Adding baking soda to your laundry detergent will help make your clothes whiter and softer. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry and watch the magic happen!

16. Pan Scrubber

Bring grimy pots and pans back to life with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. You can just let equal parts baking soda and hydrogen peroxide sit in your pans, cookie sheets, or other cooking utensils that could use a little TLC, and then wipe off after 1 hour. The grime will come off easy and hassle-free.

17. Unclog Drains

Forget the Drano, and make room for baking soda and vinegar drain treatment! Pour a hot pot of boiling water down your drain and then put around 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain. Let this sit for a few minutes and then pour a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup very hot water down the drain. Cover the drain with a plug (if you have one), and let sit for 10 minutes. Flush again with a pot of boiling water.

18. Absorb Toilet Odours

No one likes a smelly toilet, and sometimes getting rid of the odour is near impossible. Until now. 1 cup of baking soda added to a toilet, and left for an hour, will help clean the toilet and absorb the odour.

19. Help Flowers Last Longer!

Cut flowers will last longer if you add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the water in the vase.

20. Ant Repellent 

Mix an equal amount of baking soda and salt, and then sprinkle this mixture wherever there are ants coming into your home. They’ll be gone in no time!

21. Improve Sports Performance

“Soda doping,” or taking baking soda capsules is one method long distance runners use to help enhance their performance. It buffers the lactic acid released from muscles after a strenuous workout, and makes recovery faster. This is thought to work similarly as “carb-loading” would.

22. Heartburn Relief

Baking soda works as a great antacid. Stir 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in 1/2 cup water and drink it any time you experience heartburn.

23. Windshield Rain Repeller

Wipe your windshield with baking soda to help repel rain, and improve visibility during rainstorms.

24. Make Beans More Digestible

When you are soaking dried beans, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the solution to remove gasses and improve digestion.

25. Cravings Buster

If you are craving something sweet-dessert like, rinse your mouth with 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of warm water. Spit out once done rinsing, and your craving should disappear instantly.

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30 Most Nutrient-Dense Foods On The Planet https://livelovefruit.com/30-most-nutrient-dense-foods/ https://livelovefruit.com/30-most-nutrient-dense-foods/#respond Thu, 01 Oct 2020 22:34:10 +0000 https://livelovefruit.com/?p=37588 Nutrient density – here’s a term that is taking the food and nutrition scene by storm. However, it isn’t just…

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Assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables and berries.

Nutrient density – here’s a term that is taking the food and nutrition scene by storm. However, it isn’t just a trending fad but is deeply rooted in science. Health experts recommend eating a nutrient-dense diet for a wide variety of benefits it offers. But let’s start by understanding nutrient density. 

A nutrient-dense diet requires you to choose the foods you consume based on the micronutrients it contains in each calorie. Such a diet does not focus on counting calories or preferring low-fat food or raw foods. Instead, it involves eating a good variety of foods that offer high nutrient density. These include unprocessed, whole foods, and they help you feel satiated for longer while staying healthy.

What Is Nutrient Density?

Nutrient density is the term used to describe the number of beneficial nutrients any food contains, in proportion to its energy or calorie content. By that definition, the most nutrient-dense food would be one that offers a high amount of nutrients for comparatively fewer calories. When you include more nutrient-dense foods in your diet, it helps you increase the amount of nutrition your body gets per calorie consumed. 

Most of us immediately think of fruits and vegetables when talking about healthy foods, but your options aren’t as limited as they seem. Several other whole foods such as peas, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains also provide you with a high number of nutrients, making them extremely beneficial for your health.

The Importance of Consuming Nutrient-Dense Foods

You may be wondering why the need to stress on nutrients. That’s because the food we eat is what our body uses to stay healthy and keep functioning optimally. A healthy diet rich in whole foods should ideally provide our body with a host of essential minerals, vitamins, proteins, and fatty acids, as well as other benefits. 

A nutrient-dense diet may also be called an anti-inflammatory diet. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods is critical for avoiding chronic diseases and lowering the risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Dividing your nutrient intake by your calorie intake can take you closer to understanding your overall health.

According to the USDA, three primary factors determine the quality of a person’s diet. These include:

  • The number of micronutrients and macronutrients consumed in every calorie.
  • Eating an appropriate number of calories while avoiding nutrient deficiencies.
  • Avoiding toxic substances such as refined sugar, trans fats, and sodium.

The difference between calories and nutrients can be understood through this simple example. Six hundred calories in the form of french fries from McDonald’s is not the same as 600 calories of kale. Even 600 calories of natural food like brown rice are not as nutrient-dense as the same amount of kale. This shows that different foods have different nutritional qualities and hence offer varying amounts of nutrient density. 

Top 30 Most Nutrient-Dense Foods On Earth

If what you’ve just read has intimidated you into questioning all your food choices, don’t worry. To save you further stress, I have compiled a list of the 30 most nutrient-dense foods out there. These are unprocessed foods, free from chemical alterations or synthetic ingredients. 

The stars on this list are foods rich in micronutrients like trace minerals, essential vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. They also offer a healthy balance of macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and good fats. 

For an ideal diet, it is crucial to focus on wholesome, primarily unprocessed foods with complex chemical structures. Plant-based foods offer phytochemicals and antioxidants that aid the body’s immune system, support detoxification, and boost cellular repair.

Here are 30 plant-based foods that you should include in your diet, based on their nutrient density:

  1. Almonds

This is an extremely healthy snack, perfect for munching on the go. It is loaded with antioxidants, vitamin E, fiber, and magnesium. Studies show how consumption of almonds can help with weight loss (1)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, improved metabolism, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (2)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

  1. Amaranth

It is naturally gluten-free and rich in muscle-building protein, as well as several other nutrients. Amaranth is a fantastic source of fiber, calcium, iron, manganese, and selenium. It helps regulate your thyroid and maintains elastin in the skin to keep your skin smooth and supple. You can cook and consume amaranth leaves to include vitamins A, C, and folate in your diet. 

  1. Artichokes

The humble artichoke is a rich source of minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. It also contains a high amount of folate, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. A medium artichoke will provide just 60 calories while offering 4g of protein, which is more than most plant-based foods.

  1. Asparagus

An ideal nutrient-dense food, asparagus is low in calories but features a great nutrient profile. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, particularly folate, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. It is also a good source of fiber and protein. 

  1. Avocado

Aside from being highly popular among millennials, avocado also boasts several nutritional benefits. It is packed with healthy fats and fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, while also being low in carbohydrates. Avocados contain a wide range of nutrients, which includes 20 different minerals and vitamins.

  1. Beets

Beets possess several different valuable nutrients, such as vitamins C and B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and manganese. They are also low in fat and calories while being loaded with pigments and inorganic nitrates that offer various health benefits.

  1. Bell Peppers

Water and carbs form the significant components of bell peppers, but they are also a good fiber source. In terms of nutrient composition, bell peppers are rich in vitamin C and a host of other minerals and vitamins such as vitamins B6, K1, A, and E, along with potassium and folate. 

  1. Berries

Different kinds of berries are some of the most nutritious fruits in nature. They contain very high amounts of polyphenols – or plant-based antioxidants – that aid in preventing several chronic health conditions. Other nutrients packed in these small fruits include minerals, vitamins C and K, manganese, anthocyanins, and several phytochemicals. Go ahead and fix yourself that blueberry smoothie now!

  1. Carrots

Aside from being crunchy and tasty, carrots are also highly nutritious. They’re rich in beta carotene, potassium, vitamin K1, fiber, and antioxidants. Carrots are a good source of several beneficial plant compounds such as alpha and beta carotene, lutein, lycopene, polyacetylenes, and anthocyanins.

  1. Celery

One of the most popular ‘diet-foods’ out there, celery is also incredibly nutrient-dense. A single stalk will provide you with 12 types of antioxidant nutrients, aside from beta-carotene, flavonoids, and vitamin C. Other nutrients include vitamins A, C, K, and minerals such as folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. 

  1. Chia Seeds

Good things come in small packages, remember? Chia seeds are a brilliant example. One of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, a single ounce comes loaded with 11 grams of fiber along with significant amounts of calcium, manganese, magnesium, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and a variety of micronutrients. 

  1. Cruciferous Vegetables

Here’s a reason to include more cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts to your diet. Cruciferous veggies are low in calories and rich in nutrients like vitamins C, E, K, and folate and fiber. They also contain phytonutrients, which help reduce inflammation. They’re ideal for a weight-loss diet as they keep you satiated for longer. 

  1. Garlic

A fantastic way to add taste to any bland dish, garlic also happens to be surprisingly nutritious. It is rich in vitamins B1, B6, and C and copper, calcium, manganese, potassium, and selenium. Allicin, the active ingredient, has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol (3)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, aiding in a reduced risk of heart disease.

  1. Green Beans

This kitchen staple ranks high on the list of nutritious foods that you must add to your diet. They have zero cholesterol, are low in sodium, and possess a high fiber content. Besides being heart-healthy, green beans are rich in various nutrients, including vitamins like vitamin C, A, and folate, and minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. 

  1. Kale

Kale is easily one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables to consume. It is packed with various minerals, vitamins, and fiber, while also being rich in antioxidants and several bioactive compounds. Aside from large amounts of vitamins A, B6, C, and K1, kale also contains potassium, magnesium, copper, calcium, and manganese. 

  1. Lentils

Lentils are a convenient and inexpensive source of a wide array of nutrients. They’re made of more than 25% protein and are a rich source of iron. They are also loaded with B vitamins, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. The high fiber content of lentils helps improve your gut function.

  1. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They’re also fat and cholesterol-free, with low sodium and calories. The nutrient content of mushrooms includes antioxidants, beta-glucan, B vitamins, copper, and potassium.

  1. Oats

Amongst grains, oats rank high in terms of their fat and protein content. They’re a good source of starch and fiber, particularly beta-glucan. This breakfast favorite is loaded with multiple vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, manganese, B vitamins, copper, selenium, iron, zinc., and magnesium. They also contain potent antioxidants called avenanthramides (4)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, along with phytic acid and ferulic acid. 

  1. Onions

A medium-sized onion has just 44 calories but is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  It is incredibly rich in vitamin C, multiple B vitamins, and potassium. They also contain antioxidants and bioactive compounds that aid in lowering heart disease risk factors. 

  1. Peas

Green peas are an excellent source of antioxidants, protein, and fiber. These nutritious vegetables have a relatively low-calorie content but boast a nutrient profile that covers nearly every vitamin and mineral our body needs. 

  1. Pomegranates

This fruit boasts a nutrient list containing fiber, protein, vitamins C and K, and minerals like folate and potassium. But it also holds a real wealth of plant compounds with powerful medicinal properties, namely Punicalagins and Punicic acid. These have unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

  1. Potatoes

Despite their reputation, potatoes are rich in plenty of nutrients. They contain generous amounts of magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, manganese, vitamin C, and multiple types of B vitamins. They are also extraordinarily fulfilling and rich in resistant starch, a fiber-like substance with potent health benefits.

  1. Pumpkin

This winter squash flaunts an impressive nutrient profile. It is packed with vitamins A, B2, C, and E and several minerals such as iron, potassium, copper, manganese, and small amounts of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and folate. It is also rich in orange and yellow pigments, particularly beta-carotene and xanthophyll esters.

  1. Quinoa

This South American whole grain boasts an impressive nutritional profile. It is a good energy source because it has complex carbohydrates. You also get roughly 2.8g of fiber and 4.4g of protein in every 100g serving of cooked quinoa. It is also rich in several B vitamins and minerals like phosphorus and magnesium.

  1. Spinach

Popeye’s favorite food is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. Low in calories and having a high water content, spinach is an excellent source of insoluble fiber. It is also rich in vitamins A, C, and K1 and minerals like folic acid, iron, and calcium. 

  1. Spirulina

This high-protein seaweed supplement is about 60% protein and also great weight-loss food. At just 43 calories per tablespoon, this blue-green algae provides you with vitamins B1, B2, and B3, as well as copper, iron, and small amounts of potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

  1. Sweet Potatoes

A great source of nutrients and energy, sweet potatoes contain a high amount of complex carbohydrates. As complex carbohydrates take longer to break down, sweet potatoes keep you feeling full and energized for longer. Other nutrients to gain include vitamins A, B6, and C, and antioxidants like beta carotene.

  1. Swiss Chard

This dark leafy green vegetable is disarmingly abundant in minerals, vitamins, and potent plant compounds. A small serving of cooked Swiss chard can cover your daily requirements of vitamins A and K, while nearly fulfilling the RDI for vitamin C. It is also a good source of copper, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc. 

  1. Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes are an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C. They’re also loaded with several nutrients such as folate and vitamin K. Powerful plant compounds in tomatoes include beta carotene, lycopene, chlorogenic acid, and naringenin – all of which possess proven health benefits.

  1. Walnuts

If you like snacking between meals, walnuts are the right choice. Although slightly rich in fats and calories, they are also a good source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Walnuts contain many vitamins and minerals such as copper, folic acid, phosphorus, manganese, and vitamins B6 and E. 

The Bottom Line

These foods will help you avoid nutrient deficiencies and benefit you when trying to maintain a healthy weight. Consuming foods high in fiber and dense in nutrients is ideal for weight management because this approach helps you skip unnecessary calories from added sugar and refined oils.

When you make a habit of eating low-calorie foods, it provides your body with the essential minerals and vitamins without extra calories or weight gain. At the same time, it also gives you optimal nutrition and prevents health deficiencies. 

Here are some simple tricks to help you add more nutrients to your diet:

  • Avoid highly processed foods like instant noodles, processed meats, convenience meals, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Choose organic produce to avoid harmful chemicals and prioritize fresh, local foods to boost your diet’s nutrient density.
  • Stress more on including as many whole foods as possible as they naturally contain the wealthiest density of complex compounds and nutrients.
  • Rather than focusing exclusively on foods high in nutrients, make sure to consume various foods for a balance of healthy fats, fiber, and sufficient calories.

Healthy eating isn’t as tricky as it is sometimes touted to be. Use this article as a guideline to help you make small changes to your lifestyle that will give you long-term rewards in your health.

assortment of fresh fruit and veggies with text - 30 most nutrient-dense foods on the planet

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Dangers of Phosphoric Acid in Soda: How This Chemical Destroys Our Bones https://livelovefruit.com/dangers-of-phosphoric-acid/ https://livelovefruit.com/dangers-of-phosphoric-acid/#comments Thu, 24 Sep 2020 20:04:15 +0000 https://livelovefruit.com/?p=11736 Not many people give a second thought when they down a soda or energy drink. Each year, Americans consume around…

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normal bone matrix compared to osteoporosis bones

Not many people give a second thought when they down a soda or energy drink. Each year, Americans consume around 45 gallons of soda per person. In fact, people drink more soda than they do water, which has led to major health problems.

These drinks not only destroy your bones, but they harm nearly every organ in the body.

Dangers of Phosphoric Acid in Soda

In the Framingham Osteoporosis Study (1)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, BMD (bone mineral density) was measured in 1413 women and 1125 men. Their dietary intake was measured by a food-frequency questionnaire, and adjusted for BMI, height, age, energy intake, physical activity score, smoking, alcohol use, total calcium intake, total vitamin D intake, caffeine from non-cola sources, and for women, estrogen use and menopausal status.

The study found that daily cola intake was associated with significantly lower BMD in the hips of women, who are typically more prone to bone loss than men, because of hormonal differences between the sexes.

Why does this happen? It is suggested that phosphoric acid in cola leaches calcium out of the bone, or that too much phosphorous inhibits calcium absorption (2). Caffeine in sodas, energy drinks, and coffee also accelerates bone loss in women (3)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. Caffeine has been postulated to interfere with calcium absorption and leads to calcium loss through urine.

Phosphoric acid exists in many whole foods, but too much often leads to heart and kidney problems, muscle loss, and osteoporosis, as we have seen.

If you have absorption issues like leaky gut, suffer from osteoporosis or other bone-related disorders, or are over the age of 50, you should absolutely avoid soda at all costs. Eliminating soda and caffeine altogether (regardless of whether you suffer from the aforementioned), will automatically protect your body from the dangers these beverages pose to the human body.

Drinks you should avoid include:

  • Colas (coca-cola, pepsi, dr. pepper, etc.)
  • Energy drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Bottled or canned iced tea beverages
  • Bottled or canned coffee beverages

Additional Dangers of Drinking These Beverages

In addition to weakening your bone matrix and putting you at risk for developing osteoporosis, sodas have some other downsides. They not only make you gain weight, but they can contribute to health conditions like cancer and fatty liver disease.

Fat Gain

Soda causes you to gain visceral fat (fat around the abdomen), which squishes your organs and increases your risk of heart disease. Drinking one soda a day can increase liver fat, skeletal fat, triglyceride blood fat and other organ fat.

Cancer

Caramel colouring found in many sodas helps give them their brown colour. Caramel colouring contains two contaminants, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, both of which have been found to cause cancer.

Tooth Decay

Soda causes major damage to tooth enamel, and increases your risk of developing cavities (4)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. The damaging reaction lasts 20 minutes after each sip, so taking your time to drink soda is actually more harmful.

Fatty Liver Disease

The large amount of synthetic fructose found in these drinks damages the liver when consumed in large amounts. The fructose is turned into fat, which remains in the liver and leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Type 2 Diabetes

Drinking just one can of soda per day has been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (5)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Dementia

Dosing yourself with large amounts of sugary drinks impairs memory and decision-making abilities, and can lead to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Higher glucose levels have also been associated with an increased risk of dementia (6)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Alternative Drinks

If you still want to get your soft drink fix, or crave that carbonation, you can opt for healthier options like kombucha or plain seltzer water.

You can also opt to make your own natural sweet juices, or fruit and herb flavoured waters.

By switching out healthier options for soda, you’ll feel better within a few days and with a renewed source of energy!

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10 Health Benefits of Ginger Lemon Juice Shots in the Morning https://livelovefruit.com/health-benefits-of-ginger-lemon-juice/ https://livelovefruit.com/health-benefits-of-ginger-lemon-juice/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2020 00:30:45 +0000 https://livelovefruit.com/?p=37390 Ginger’s healing powers have been embraced by many cultures for centuries.  The medicinal root packs a powerful nutritional punch and…

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freshly pressed ginger and lemon juice

Ginger’s healing powers have been embraced by many cultures for centuries. 

The medicinal root packs a powerful nutritional punch and is loaded with vitamins and minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. 

But adding lemon to the mix brings it to a whole other level. 

That’s where ginger lemon juice comes in. 

The health benefits of ginger lemon juice are as powerful as it sounds. From enhancing the state of the immune system to helping remediate the digestive tract and fighting cancer, ginger lemon juice is one drink you should be drinking regularly. 

While you can consume these ingredients separately, the combination of the two makes it a powerful duo that enhances the state and function of all cells in the body.

10 Health Benefits of Ginger Lemon Juice

Ginger and lemon work synergistically with one another to provide your body with some pretty miraculous benefits.

Here are 10 health benefits of ginger lemon juice you simply can’t ignore:

1. Improves Digestion

Researchers believe that because ginger and its metabolites collect in the digestive tract that this is why so many of its benefits are gut-focused (1)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Ginger is a digestive stimulant, meaning it gets the digestive juices flowing and improves how well your body digests food. 

Studies have found that ginger triggers the production of trypsin and pancreatic lipase, two enzymes that help us digest protein and fat, respectively (2)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. It has also been found to increase gastric motility in healthy volunteers (3)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Another way ginger assists with our digestion is that it stimulates digestive juices like hydrochloric acid from the stomach and bile from the liver and gall bladder. This makes ginger a preferable supplement to have on hand when you’re about to consume a relatively large meal. 

In terms of treating gastrointestinal disorders, ginger is useful for those who tend to get bloated or constipated. A study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand found that ginger can help relax the intestines during an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) flare-up (4)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. Other studies have found similar, with ginger helping provide IBS relief in over 53.3% of participants (5)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

2. Strengthens the Immune System

Ginger is a great herb for helping bolster the immune system. This is in large part because of its high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories

Chronic inflammation puts a lot of stress on the immune system by keeping it on constant high alert. By doing so, it weakens the ability of the immune system to work properly and fight disease (6)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

The bioactive molecules of ginger like gingerols help fight free radicals in the body, which play a role in heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and aging (7)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. By consuming ginger, you help reduce your risk of these diseases by strengthening your immunity. 

Lemons, on the other hand, are high in vitamin C, a natural antioxidant that enhances the immune system (8)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. They also have antiviral and antibacterial properties. 

3. Helps Reduce Nausea

Ginger has been used by pregnant women for centuries in order to help alleviate nausea and vomiting — and science has proven its effectiveness in doing so. 

Several double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials have shown that ginger consumption is effective and safe in helping prevent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (9)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, (10)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Ginger has even been reported as effective as dimenhydrinate in treating nausea and vomiting in pregnancy with fewer side effects (11)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Ginger has also been recommended to combat nausea associated with chemotherapy (12)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

Lemons are also a popular treatment for morning sickness and nausea as they contain neutralizing acids that form bicarbonates — compounds that help relieve nausea. 

4. Improves Kidney Function

This may come to a surprise, but ginger and lemon both help improve the function and state of the kidneys

In diabetic rat models, ginger significantly increased antioxidant capacity in rats supplemented with the rhizome. These supplemented diabetic rats also had significantly reduced nephropathy, a disease of the kidneys caused by damage to the small blood vessels (13)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

And if you’re someone who suffers from kidney stones, you’ll be pleased to find out that lemons actually help prevent them from forming in the first place. Lemons contain citrate, which helps prevent calcium from building up and forming stones in your kidneys (14). 

5. Reduces Inflammation

One of my favorite health benefits of ginger lemon juice is by far its ability to reduce chronic inflammation in the body. 

Ginger is a well-known anti-inflammatory. It contains anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which inhibit the production of nitric oxide (15)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. Under normal conditions, nitric oxide would form damaging free radicals called peroxynitrites that inflame and damage our organs and cells.

Gingerol also acts on vanilloid receptors, which are located on our sensory nerve endings. Researchers have found that ginger’s initial burn affects the pain pathways directly, but also relives the inflammation, which in itself causes pain. 

The antioxidants in lemons are also powerful anti-inflammatory agents that scavenge free radicals that would normally contribute to a heightened inflammatory response. 

6. Protects Against Cancer

Several studies have investigated the anti-cancer potential of ginger and its role in fighting lung, prostate, ovarian, colon, breast, skin and pancreatic cancers. 

This can be largely attributed to gingerols, the bioactive components found in high quantities in raw ginger. 

Gingerols have been found to inhibit the effects of NF-kB and a variety of other factors that trigger cancer cell growth (16)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Other studies have found that ginger induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancerous cells (17)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Lemons and other citrus fruits have demonstrated potential in reducing cancer risk. 

Some studies have found that people who eat the most citrus fruit have a lower risk of cancer (18)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. Researchers believe that certain plant compounds found in lemons like limonene and naringenin could have anti-cancer effects (19)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

7. Aids Weight Loss

Ginger is often found in fat-burning supplements because of its metabolism-boosting effects. Research has found that eating ginger with other foods actually helps increase the thermic effect of those foods, therefore helping you burn more calories than you would without it (20)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

A meta-analysis of studies investigating ginger’s weight-loss benefits found that ginger has a significant effect on body weight and belly fat (waist-to-hip ratio) (21)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

8. Boosts Nutrient Absorption

Many people don’t absorb all the nutrients from the foods they eat. In fact, the average person absorbs anywhere between 10-90 percent of the vitamins and minerals in their food. This is largely due to the number of processed foods people consume, and excessive mucus that lines the digestive tract.

Ginger helps promote regular digestion and metabolism of your food and is therefore a great addition to your diet if you’re having trouble absorbing nutrients. It does so by stimulating gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion (22)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

The vitamin C in lemon also improves iron absorption from plants, so if you combine ginger and lemon with some beets, then you’ll actually help your body absorb more iron from the beets!

9. Helps Eliminate Cellulite

Ginger and lemon are well known for their cellulite-reducing capabilities.

Both ginger and lemon help tone and cleanse out the lymphatic system, which is the main system in the body responsible for producing cellulite in the first place. 

Because cellulite is a by-product of lymphatic system blockage, it is best treated by stimulating lymph flow. 

Ginger and lemon are excellent toners of the lymphatic system. The acids in lemon and the warming properties of ginger help break down the accumulation of toxins in the fine lymphatic vessels, helping to improve lymph flow. 

10. Can Help Lower Blood Sugar

Ginger is useful for helping lower blood sugar, which is great for those who are diabetic, trying to lose weight or both. 

A study on individuals with type 2 diabetes found that just two grams of ginger powder per day lowered blood glucose levels by twelve percent, and improved HbA1c (denotes long-term blood sugar levels), significantly. Over a period of twelve weeks, this led to a ten percent reduction in blood sugar levels (23)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. Quite impressive!

Lemon juice has also been shown to help diabetics control their symptoms, especially when taken at meal time. Researchers from the Université Paris-Saclay discovered that lemon juice slows the body’s digestive system, thereby delaying the conversion of carbohydrate into sugar (24)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source

Their findings suggest that lemon juice could help level spikes in blood sugar that often follow a large meal. 

How to Make Ginger Lemon Juice

Making ginger lemon juice isn’t that difficult of a task. All you really need is some ginger and lemon, and a juicer (or a blender and fine-mesh strainer).

Some people may find ginger and lemon alone a bit too tart. If you’re not just making a ginger lemon shot, but instead would rather drink it in larger format (say 1-2 cups worth), then you may want to consider adding fruit to make it more palatable.

The juicer that I use is the Omega NC800HDS. While any masticating juicer should work, this is the juicer I’ve been using for years without fail. I’ve also heard great things about Greenstar!

Alternatively, you can also use a high-speed blender like the Vitamix and then strain your juice in a nut-milk bag. While I’d always suggest juicing with an actual juicer, as it extracts nutrients better, if you’re tight on cash and can’t afford a juicer, the blend and strain method is always better than nothing.

I also suggest leaving the peel on the ginger. The peel comes with its own separate benefits that you wouldn’t otherwise receive by taking it off. Leave on the peel if you can!

Here are some ginger lemon juice recipes you can start with:

Ginger Lemon Juice Shots

The basic – ginger lemon juice. Take this as a shot in the morning to get your day going.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw ginger, unpeeled
  • 2 lemons, peeled

Method:

  1. Run ingredients through a juicer, or blend in a blender and strain.
  2. Drink immediately.

Apple Ginger Lemon Juice

Taking the ginger lemon juice shots up a notch by adding some apple. This will make it more palatable if you’re not extreme enough for straight ginger lemon shots.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw ginger, unpeeled
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 2 apples

Method:

  1. Run ingredients through a juicer, or blend in a blender and strain.
  2. Drink immediately.

Carrot Apple Ginger Lemon Juice

This makes a delicious warming juice that is perfect for revving up your metabolism in the morning.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw ginger, unpeeled
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 apple
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled

Method:

  1. Run ingredients through a juicer, or blend in a blender and strain.
  2. Drink immediately.

Celery Ginger Lemon Juice

This juice is a little milder but incredibly healing and grounding. Celery juice is good on its own in the morning, but adding some ginger and lemon to it enhances its benefits.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw ginger, unpeeled
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 10 ribs of celery

Method:

  1. Run ingredients through a juicer, or blend in a blender and strain.
  2. Drink immediately.

Turmeric Ginger Lemon Juice Shots

This super anti-inflammatory combo tastes extreme but really gets to work on healing different parts of the body. You can add a little sweetener like maple syrup or honey if you want to make it more palatable.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw ginger, unpeeled
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1/4 cup raw turmeric, unpeeled

Method:

  1. Run ingredients through a juicer, or blend in a blender and strain.
  2. Drink immediately.

You can experiment with ginger lemon juice by adding some of your favorite fruits and veggies to the mix. Don’t be afraid to experiment with it!

Best Time to Drink Ginger Lemon Juice

While there is no harm in drinking ginger lemon juice at any time of the day, it does tend to work best on an empty stomach. When you drink it on an empty stomach in the morning, you get the digestive juices working so that you can better absorb your breakfast and other meals throughout the day. 

If you really cannot stomach ginger lemon juice straight in the morning, then you’ll still reap the benefits if you drink it later in the day. Just remember to drink it on a relatively empty stomach. Juices tend to absorb and work best in the body when your stomach isn’t also digesting other food stuffs.

For example, if you eat lunch around 12 or 1 pm, try to drink your juice at least 2-3 hours later, so around 3-4 pm.

The Bottom Line

Ginger lemon juice provides the body with a host of benefits that help assist digestion, boost immunity, reduce inflammation and so much more. 

While you can take ginger lemon juice shots in the morning, if it happens to be too strong, you can add in other ingredients like apples and celery to help reduce the potency. 

The health benefits of ginger lemon juice are strongest in the morning when the stomach has had the chance to rest overnight, but you will still reap similar benefits if consumed later in the day. Any ginger lemon juice is better than none at all. 

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8 Serious Health Dangers of Diet Soda https://livelovefruit.com/dangers-of-diet-soda/ https://livelovefruit.com/dangers-of-diet-soda/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2020 23:54:59 +0000 http://livelovefruit.wpengine.com/?p=118 You may think that diet soda is your free pass to drink all the soda you want without any negative…

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You may think that diet soda is your free pass to drink all the soda you want without any negative health effects, but that’s far from the truth.

Most people turn to diet soda to avoid weight gain from their sugar-loaded counterparts, when in fact it makes your body crave even more sugar.

In addition, the drinks are seriously addictive and can be hard to kick once you’ve gotten into a routine of drinking them every day.

The reality is, is that the health dangers of diet soda make drinking them not worth the inevitable health problems that may progress down the road.

The culprit of it all? Synthetic sweeteners.

Synthetic Sweeteners in Diet Soda

I used to be addicted to diet soda 6 years ago – I could sometimes drink up to 5 full glasses of the stuff. Unbeknownst to me, I was wreaking havoc on my body and would end up with headaches, fatigue, and brain fog.

I drank diet soda so that I could reduce my dependency on regular soda. But little did I know that the synthetic sweeteners in diet soda were doing twice as much harm on my body as regular soda.

While regular soda is still a terrible option, diet soda is a really terrible option.

Instead of sugar, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame-k, and/or sucralose are used to sweeten diet soda drinks.

These synthetic sweeteners wreak havoc on all parts of the body.

The thing is, is that the way the human body and brain respond to these sweeteners is very complex.

One concern is that people who use artificial sweeteners may replace the lost calories with other foods that are sugar dense. After all, the brain requires glucose to thrive. If it isn’t given the energy source it needs, it is going to unleash those cravings in other ways.

People might also assume that because they’re drinking diet soda, then they can afford to eat the cake or cookies they so desperately want.

It is also known that synthetic sweeteners change the way we taste food. People who use artificial sweeteners may start to find natural sugar sources like fruit, less appealing, and vegetables even more so. So there is a seriously unhealthy trade-off here, where you start craving more artificially flavored foods with lower nutritional value over foods that will actually nourish you.

These synthetic sweeteners are also highly addictive – so giving them up can be difficult.

8 Dangers of Diet Soda

If you’re concerned about the health dangers of diet soda, the following eight reasons should be more than enough proof to kick the habit.

1. Neurotoxin

Aspartame is a highly addictive carcinogenic neurotoxin. It breaks down as phenylalanine (50%), aspartic acid (40%), and methanol (10%) (1)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. Methanol is also known as wood alcohol which is converted to formaldehyde when heated.

Introducing formaldehyde into the body, a known carcinogen, and neurotoxin (2)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source is problematic if consumed regularly.

A major issue with aspartame is that it acts as an “excitotoxin”, exciting neurons until they die. According to one study, one of the metabolites of aspartame, aspartic acid, causes hyperexcitability of neurons and is a precursor to other excitatory amino acids like glutamate. This combination induces excitotoxicity and leads to the degeneration of astrocytes (glial cells that provide physical and metabolic support for neurons) and neurons (3)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Drinking aspartame long-term has also been found to interfere with the brain’s antioxidant defense system in animal studies. Researchers found that aspartame creates an imbalance in the antioxidant/pro-oxidant status in the brain, mainly through a mechanism involving the glutathione-dependent system (4)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Not only that but because of the inhibition of brain serotonin and dopamine, aspartame in diet drinks can put a serious damper on your mood.

One study found that when consuming high-aspartame diets, participants had more irritable moods, exhibited more depression and performed worse on spatial orientation tests (5)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

2. Headaches and Migraines

The chemical soup that lays in every can of diet soda is a major reason most individuals get a headache after consuming it. A major ingredient in diet sodas, sucralose, has been found to cause migraines and GI tract issues, based on a variety of case reports (6)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, (7)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Aspartame also causes inhibition of brain serotonin and dopamine (8)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source, two neurotransmitters that may play a role in reducing migraine and headache pain (9).

3. Acidifying

Diet soda is incredibly acidic. It ranks around 3 on pH charts, which is highly corrosive. According to studies by the Journal of the American Dental Association, diet soda is just about the most acidic beverage you can drink, besides undiluted vinegar (10)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

The threshold pH for enamel dissolution is 5.5, so diet soda quite literally eats away your teeth. Sugar-free drinks usually have higher levels of phosphoric acid, citric acid and/or tartaric acid, which eats away at the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities and dental erosion (11)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

Soda demineralizes your body, too.

When you drink soda of any type (diet or regular), the body tries to buffer the acidity by pulling alkaline minerals stored in your bones like calcium phosphate. As these alkaline minerals are pulled to counteract the acids found in sodas, your bones become weaker and more likely to decay. They start to become more brittle and easier to fracture, and may even result in osteoporosis (12)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

With such an acidic pH, diet soda will also make your skin look dull and may make you look older than you actually are. One study even claimed that drinking diet soda can age you as rapidly as smoking cigarettes (13).

4. Obesity

Calorie-free sweetness actually tricks the brain and makes it crave more sugar.

Some studies have found that when participants drink diet soda, there are significant increases in glucagon-like peptide 1. Glucagon-like peptide 1 is a hormone in the gut that promotes energy storage and insulin action while decreasing appetite. Results suggest that diet soda does increase insulin via gut action, but only when glucose is also present (which it normally is – especially during mealtime) (14)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

In addition, some studies have shown that drinking diet soda can prevent you from losing weight. When testing the link between obesity and diet soda, researchers at the University of Texas Health Centre found that obesity risk increased (57.1%) when people drank more than two cans of diet soda per day compared to 47.2% for people drinking the same amount of regular soda. This doesn’t mean you should drink regular soda (47.2% obesity risk is still ridiculously high). It just goes to show that diet soda does not help prevent you from gaining weight.

5. Kidney Damage

There are many ingredients in diet soda that increase your toxicity load. Ingesting chemicals not meant for the human body increases the number of free radicals circulating in the blood, which then have to be filtered by the kidneys.

A study out of Harvard found that long-term diet soda drinking causes a 30 percent greater reduction in kidney function. The study looked at women who regularly consumed diet soda over 20 years and found that consuming just 2 diet drinks per day was associated with a 2-fold increased odds for kidney function decline (15)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

6. Heart Disease

Turns out that diet drinks are a major problem for the cardiovascular system, too.

A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed a link between diet soda consumption and heart disease (16)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source. The study was conducted for over 10 years and included up to 2600 adults. The researchers found that diet and regular soft drink consumption was associated with many risk factors for developing heart disease. Even after controlling for these risks, diet soda consumption was still independently associated with an increased risk for stroke, heart attack, and death.

This isn’t the only study that has made a correlation between the two.

A more recent study found that drinking two or more of any kind of artificially sweetened drinks a day is associated with an increased risk of clot-based strokes, heart attacks and early death in women over 50 (17).

7. Metabolic Syndrome

An alarming amount of studies have been showing the correlation between diet soda and chronic disease.

Metabolic syndrome, for example, has been found to have known links to diet soda consumption.

One study found that “at least daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 36% greater relative risk of incident metabolic syndrome and a 67% greater relative risk of incident type 2 diabetes compared with non-consumption” (18)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

More recent studies are now finding, however, that this risk might only increase if you consume artificially-sweetened sodas with meals that are carbohydrate-heavy (19).

8. Compromises Lung Health

Drinking any type of soda, including diet soda, increases your risk of developing asthma and COPD symptoms. This association is dose-dependent, so the more you drink, the higher your risk of developing these conditions.

A large study with nearly 17,000 participants found that high levels of soft drink consumption were positively associated with asthma and COPD. Overall, 13.3 percent of surveyed participants with asthma and 15.6 percent of those with COPD drank more than half a liter of soft drinks per day (19)✓ Trusted ResourcePubMed CentralHighly respected database from the National Institutes of HealthRead source.

The Bottom Line

Diet soda is loaded with toxic synthetic sweeteners that impact all parts of the body. While most people reach for diet soda as a healthier option to its sugary counterpart, they may be doing more harm than intended.

Diet soda negatively impacts your lungs, brain, kidneys, and teeth and can be a major downer on your mood. It has even been associated with more chronic health conditions like metabolic syndrome and heart disease.

Steering clear of diet soda and replacing it with healthier options like freshly pressed fruit juice, or kombucha, is a great way to spare your body from the damaging effects of this highly acidic drink.

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