|Baking With Butter (And Other Fats) |
Do you remember, “Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven”? Reportedly, Pillsbury says it best. How many brands of refrigerated dough can there be? Regardless of what comes from the oven, we want it to taste good. Sometimes that means throwing discretion to the wind and eating stuff we otherwise would avoid. Yeah, right. We all know that limiting simple carbohydrates like white flour and sugar is healthful, but once in a while a splurge disrupts the routine. In that case, we crave “mouth,” the sensation of satisfaction that a food is expected to give. In the unwarranted war against fats that erupted in the last century, commercial baked goods were loaded with sugars—yes, more than one—in a feeble attempt to restore the mouth feel lost to the missing ingredient. The only real accomplishment was to increase the simple carbohydrates and practically force a person to eat several pieces of pastry in the quest for the satiety of mouth.
|Supplement Action & Interaction |
The fat-soluble vitamin E is a family of eight antioxidant substances, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Each is prefixed by alpha-, beta-, delta-, or gamma-. Alpha-tocopherol is the only form actively maintained in the body. Therefore, it’s found in the largest quantities in blood and tissue. Because it has significant nutritional value, alpha-tocopherol gets the most attention. Gamma-tocopherol, on the other hand, is the most common form of dietary vitamin E, yet receives little attention because blood levels are only one-tenth that of α-tocopherol.
|Seasonal Allergies Are Coming |
Hack, Hack! Achoo, Achoo! Got any tissues? Drat, another allergy season. Burning eyes, runny nose, plugged-up ears, sinus pressure and scratchy throat. Claritin, Benadryl, Allegra, Dimetapp, any Antihistamine. I gotta lie down.
Allergy is a hypersensitivity response of the immune system, reactions to normally harmless substances in the environment called allergens. Pollen, ragweed, animal dander, mold, and smoke are common culprits. If Dad or Mom has such an allergy, so might you (DeSwert, 1999). If you’re the oldest in the family and under age 20, watch out. Most of us self-medicate with whatever lines the pharmacy shelves, but once in awhile a visit to the doctor is prudent. Antihistamines, either OTC or Rx, are indispensible.
|Food And Mood |
Parents already know that a young child will wake them in the middle of the night. With an infant, though, it’s hard to tell if he’s in a bad mood or just hungry. Maybe both. Does food precede mood, or vice-versa? Is it possible to be in the mood for a bowl of ice cream and an argument at the same time? If so, eat the ice cream first. That way, the projectile has been removed from the equation.
Recently, researchers voiced their confidence that there’s a relationship between diet and mood, and that a deficit of micronutrients might be the beginning of crabbiness…or worse. Of the macronutrients, carbohydrates have been credited for inducing calmness, but that is short-lived at best because ups and downs in the glucose-insulin pathways can short-circuit the best intentions.
|Salt’s At Fault? Now What? |
For years it was held that salt intake has a distinct influence on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (CVD). In fact, in 2011 the American Heart Association issued a sweeping call for salt restriction (Appel, 2011), limiting intake of sodium to less than 1500 milligrams a day, which translates to approximately 3750 milligrams of sodium chloride. One teaspoon of salt, which is about 40% sodium and 60% chloride, has 2300 mg of sodium. Naturally found in most foods, sodium defies accurate measurement, but because men eat more food than women, they consume more. Nerve impulses depend on sodium for activation; otherwise you wouldn’t be able to open the link to this page. Overconsumption of sodium, however, can lead to calcium deficiency (Teucher, 2008). Once again, it’s a matter of balance…but not without at least a little controversy. Also in 2011, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a paper that discounts a relationship of salt intake to CVD.
|Arthritis And Common Chemicals |
Merely because something is hereditary doesn’t mean it has to be inherited unless it’s a defined, overt physical characteristic, such as eye color or hairline. Disease or propensity for disease does not have to telegraph itself through gene expression. In the belief that genetic activity can be turned on and off, more than a handful of scientists are convinced that arthritis, in this case, does not have to pass from seed to seed along the family tree. Arthritis, the osteo- kind, can be spawned from unseen environmental assaults, namely perfluorinated chemicals, which are fluorocarbon derivatives. You remember fluorocarbons. They’re part of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) once used as propellants in spray cans and in refrigerant fluids. Although they aren’t used for aerosol sprays any more, they’re still in the marketplace. When released into the atmosphere, CFC’s affect stratospheric ozone, the depletion of which is implicated in the rise of skin diseases and climate change, not to mention depressed growth in plants and interrupted photosynthesis.
|Stress And Childhood Obesity |
Being a kid doesn’t necessarily mean having a carefree life, yet that’s how most adults view childhood. Because kids don’t have jobs, bills to pay, and children to raise what could they possibly have to worry about? More than we realize. Even the very young among us have stressors, slight though they may be. Stress is a function of the demands we face and our ability to handle them. Often it comes from outside sources. You know—family, job, friends, school, and expectations. Sometimes stress comes from inside, related to what we think we should do compared to what we actually do, say or think.
|Mood Boosts Elder Brain Power |
When you’re in a good mood, it’s almost amazing what you can accomplish. This has little to do with emotions and even less with temperament. The former are short-lived and specific, and may be turned on by a single stimulus. The latter are characteristics that are seemingly innate rather than learned. Moods may be disarrayed, as in depression and bipolar disorder, and are subjective, although they may be inferred by conduct or body language. Many things can trigger a bad mood, and what disturbs one person might be ridiculous to another. In some circles, bad mood is believed to originate when one’s ego becomes threatened by a situation, event or condition beyond his control. Foul moods can interfere with many of our individual enterprises and ventures, not the least of which are the mental acrobatics that have seen us through thick and thin from youth to the extremes of middle-age. With age there may come decline, physically, emotionally and mentally. But we may have more control over this than previously thought. Is it possible that we can improve physical health, which will improve mood, which will improve mental faculties?
|Iodine Deficiency |
Beyond its role in antisepsis and breast health, iodine is perhaps best known for its regulatory function in the thyroid gland. Educators at the Linus Pauling Institute reiterate the mineral’s essentiality to the thyroid hormones, commonly listed as T3 and T4 on a blood test. T3 is the physiologically active form, while T4 is the more abundant circulating form. In targeted tissues, T4 is converted to T3 by enzymes that depend on selenium for their activity. In this manner, the thyroid comes to control growth and development, metabolism, and reproductive function. Can you see the need for selenium? In the absence of sufficient iodine, the pituitary gland will secrete thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in an attempt to set things straight by increasing iodine trapping mechanisms. If TSH levels are persistently elevated, the thyroid gland may enlarge and form what is known as a goiter.
|Cancer And Sugar: How Sweet It Isn’t |
Talk about linking sugar to cancer can be confusing. The “facts” are often presented in a misleading manner that can cause anxiety in those who have the disease. Yet, learning about the science behind the connection can help us make educated decisions about nutrition choices for better health. Sugar, or rather glucose, feeds every cell in the body. We need it to produce energy. Even if we eliminate sugar from our diets, our bodies will still make glucose from other sources, including proteins and fats. It’s a little more complicated than meets the eye. Eating lots of sugar forces the body to make more insulin, one of whose properties is to tell cells to grow. For healthy cells, this is good because all cells grow, divide, die and get replaced by new ones. However, cancer cells can be told to grow, too, when the body makes too much insulin (Goodwin, 2002) (Duggan, 2013). So, yes, there can be too much of a good thing. Knowing from the start that sugar in itself is not evil, we can proceed to the science.
|Zinc Away Your Inflammation |
When you put your hand into your pants pocket and shake it around, you can hear the jingling of loose change. No change, no jingle. You have identified a deficit. It’s not that easy with some nutrient deficits. Zinc is one of them. Although zinc levels are low in some disorders, the most reliable method for diagnosing zinc deficiency is a positive response to zinc supplementation. Most of the zinc in the body is held in skeletal muscle and bone, so we’re not likely to notice a shortage right away because there are no signs. Growth retardation, low insulin levels, anorexia, mental fog, rough skin, and decreased thyroid function are symptoms, but these may also be related to other causes. Worldwide, zinc deficiency is not uncommon, though it is rare in the United States. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to make sure your buckets are filled.
|Mineral Balance: Calcium-Magnesium-Phosphorus |
Minerals are more than just rocks that come from the earth and, ultimately, return there. They compose about four percent of the human body and must be obtained from what we eat and drink. We need only small amounts of minerals, but when they are lacking, either singly or in a partnership, things can happen in the body, from something as relatively minor as a muscle cramp to something more significant like osteoporosis. Minerals work together synergistically to perform a variety of functions. Some maintain pH balance; others facilitate the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes or help to conduct nerve transmissions. Still others control muscle contraction and relaxation. Some serve in both structural and functional capacities, such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
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