Reap the Anti-Aging Benefits of Exercise

Exercise can help you lose weight, keep it off, and look great. Exercise also plays a role in slowing the aging process. As we are all living longer, it has never been more important to exercise into our later years in order to maintain strength and independence.

In order to reap the anti-aging benefits of exercise, one does not have to be a fanatic, or do it exhaustively and vigorously. For an older person who has not exercised much in his or her life, taking 30 minute walks or gardening can provide great health benefits, and prolong the quality of life.

For the most optimal benefits, though, aerobic activity alone is not enough. As we age, it does not help to support our muscles or weight. Strength training is crucial because it increases balance, strength, and improves the posture. Strength training decreases the likelihood of developing osteo- or rheumatoid arthritis.

The most important factor in exercising as we age is the maintaining of independence. For older people, independence is priceless. Through moderate exercise that includes strength training, the motor functions will keep working properly, the chance of falling decreases, and the confidence to perform tasks remains and increases. Strength training of some type can also help increase the metabolism and aid in controlling body weight gains in later life.

The benefits of exercise are numerous. Moderate exercise not only can slow down the ageing process, it can also help to relieve some of the problems that are commonly associated with getting older, including:

  • Relieving insomnia
  • Relieving back and joint pain
  • Reliving stress and tension
  • Increasing sociability
  • Increasing flexibility
  • Increasing muscle tone
  • Maintaining a healthy weight or helping in healthy weight loss

Exercise does not have to be scary or painful. It can be fun, and can provide many benefits beyond physical health. In addition to helping you age gracefully, it helps you keep your independence, helps you to maintain a high quality of life, gives you more self-confidence to do anything, and it can be a great social outlet. While growing older is scary, the fears can be diminished a bit by taking control of your life and body, and naturally slowing down the aging process through moderate exercise and strength training. It is never too late to start!

Aging and Exercise

Our thinking on the impact of exercise on aging has begun to change. It looks like exercise may do more for your body than simply keep it fit and keep the weight off. In fact, most of the places (called blue zones) where people live longer and healthier lives than average have some component of exercise in their daily lives. Studies have shown that the telomere length (a measure of a cell’s age) is longer in twins who exercise compared to twins who do not. Further, we know that exercise is linked to longer life expectancies. In other words, exercise may have its own anti-aging effect. In addition to keeping everybody fit, exercise can slow the aging process in your body.

There are some easy exercise tips you can do every day to help yourself get where you want to be. I’m sure most of us have heard that we should park at the end of the parking lot and walk, or to take the stairs instead of an elevator. These are great tips. They force us to exert ourselves where we might have otherwise taken the easy way. By putting ourselves in a position to choose the more physical route we are giving ourselves an edge over our health. You don’t need a gym membership, a set of weights, or the latest Brazilian super workout DVD series to get into better shape. Just get out and walk. Of exercises known, walking is among the healthiest.

Make sure you get all the good nutrition your body needs. That means vegetables and fruit high in antioxidants, polyphenols and of course fiber. Juicing is a great way to get nutrients. Remember the maxim, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” It’s pretty accurate. It turns out that apples are massively high in beneficial antioxidants which protect the cells of your body from premature destruction.

Drink plenty of water, limit your alcohol and forget the soda pop and packaged juices. Six to eight glasses of water per day will hydrate you, improve your skin, enhance digestion, aid elimination, and help your body to rid itself of accumulated toxins. So when you’re thirsty, drink water.

Remember, exercise is not something that you accomplish in a short period of time. Instead, exercise is a lifestyle. When you are physically fit, you have more strength, energy, endurance and overall vitality. Being fit enhances mood and reduces mental fog.

Following easy exercise tips like these will make your whole fitness routine go better because you are building a healthier foundation everyday by the choices you make. Being healthy is a lifestyle built on many small choices. It’s all up to us. The nice thing is, it can be easy as pie.

Why is beta-carotene so important?

Beta-carotene is a member of over 380 compounds called carotenoids. Carotenoids help give the distinctive deep-colour vegetables their colours. These dark coloured vegetables are the main focus of our antioxidant investigation.

Beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A (which is retinol) in the body as the body needs it; so beta-carotene is pre-vitamin A. Beta-carotene intake is measured in two ways, by International Units (IU) or milligrams (mg). One milligram is equal to 1,666 IU. While vitamin A can be toxic in large amounts, beta-carotene is not, even at high levels. Because of this, it is the ideal vitamin A supplement. Besides being a safe storage form of vitamin A, beta-carotene has other very powerful protective effects on the body.

As a free radical fighter beta-carotene goes after a couple of free radicals for which no enzyme system exists. It is also unique in that it is not destroyed or made inactive when it quenches a free radical. It is also very effective at interrupting oxidant chain reactions spreading from one molecule to another.

Vitamin A is important for immune systems because it keeps skin and mucous membrane cells healthy and moist. Membranes that are healthy stay moist and resistant to cell damage. The moistness inhibits bacteria and viruses from replicating and starting infectious diseases. Healthy cells are also resistant to cancer. This makes it ideal in treating deficiency syndromes.

Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant by helping to protect our cells by supporting skin-cell turnover; the process that keeps cell growth and development running efficiently. Without enough A, skin becomes dry, tough, and scaly. It also helps the health of our eyes, improves night vision and prevents night blindness, promotes formation of strong bones, guards against bacterial, parasitic and viral infections, keeps skin healthy and smooth, guards against heart disease, stroke and lowers blood pressure.

Many researchers believe most people are so deficient in beta-carotene they recommend increasing the foods that contain a lot of beta-carotene as well as taking a supplement. To show that there is no danger of overdose here are some facts. People with a skin disease call porphyria, sensitivity to light, require up to 500,000 IU a day. Children with this disorder have taken up to 100,000 IU a day for years with no adverse effects. You will know if you are getting too much; your skin, especially the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, will turn orange-brown colour. Once the amount is cut back skin returns to normal.

Finding ways to incorporate beta-carotene into your normal everyday foods can be fun and tasty. Pumpkin is one delicious way to get vitamin A into your diet. Just ½ cup of canned pumpkin has more than 16 milligrams of beta carotene, 160%-260% of the daily amount recommended by experts. Other top sources of beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, winter squash, broccoli, apricots, spinach, collard greens, red peppers and blueberries. Kale is another green that cannot be ignored, along with spinach, broccoli and collard greens, it is chock full of zeaxanthin and lutein two powerful antioxidants that help protect against cataracts, retinal disease and damage, and macular degeneration do to age.

 

Try an apricot, cantaloupe and blueberry salad. Add red peppers or roasted red peppers to broccoli for a nice kick. Use spinach and collard greens with onions and garlic and cook up with ground meat to use in any number of dishes from tacos to meatballs. Make healthy cooking fun by experimenting with different vegetables, herbs and spices. Make a “greens” salad with the kale, spinach and collard greens and season it lightly with healthy vinegrettes and a few spices instead of a regular iceberg lettuce salad. Above all take a great beta-carotene supplement along with the change in diet.

By changing the way we eat, what we take and how we prioritize nutrition we can give our bodies the fuel to fight all kinds of diseases and sicknesses. Talk with your doctor about where your health stands now and what your problems are. A little research should help you get a picture of what deficiencies certain vitamins and minerals help. Start eating creatively, get some exercise.  Do this now and make the change. Keep a journal of how you feel over the next year or two to see what improvements you experience. Plus, taking CarotoMax now will give you the carotenoids you need to fight whatever comes later.

 

 

 

 

 

How to lower Cholesterol naturally?

Our heart is an amazing muscle. It supplies nutrients and oxygen to all our vital organs and body parts. It beats on average 100,000 times a day and pumps the equivalent of 2,000 gallons of blood each day. With all the work our hearts do it seems only logical we should take care of it as well as it takes care of us. Yet in most of the country, the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death is coronary heart disease also known as coronary artery disease (CAD). This occurs when a substance made up of cholesterol deposits called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart, pretty much the same as what happens to our home plumbing pipes. When this happens, your arteries can narrow over time, this is called atherosclerosis. A heart attack occurs when plaque totally blocks an artery carrying blood to the heart.

We eat foods high in saturated fats, like fast food instead of natural home cooked meals. We drink soft drinks or sports drinks instead of water. We pass over the veggies for starchy foods or end up slathering them in high fat dip. We eat until our stomachs feel like they are going to burst or continue to eat 3 or more helpings in the buffet line. We even choose candy bars and other sweets instead of reaching for fruits to satisfy our cravings. In moderation and with limitations these “treats” are not necessarily bad for us; but the amounts we consume on a normal basis are usually larger portions than we need. It is also contributing to one of the unhealthiest societies where teenage obesity is up along with childhood diabetes.

We can change how and what we eat; we can choose the healthier foods and smaller portions sizes. We can cut back on alcohol and get reasonable amounts of exercise. Quitting smoking and eating a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, fish, non-fat or low-fat dairy products and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can also make a significant difference. Some things we cannot change; such as, older age, male gender, and a family history of CVD (cardiovascular disease) but we may be able to impact these areas in beneficial ways.

Studies have shown the maintaining of normal cholesterol levels, normal blood pressure and including vitamin D, CoQ10, garlic, magnesium, fiber and Omega fatty acids in our diets promote cardiovascular health. Important helpers are magnesium and vitamin D. Why are these supplements important?

  • CoQ10 – Helps produce energy in each cell, particularly those in the heart and other major organs. Since it has powerful antioxidant properties, it helps prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation. Although the human body can synthesize CoQ10, in some situations the body’s capacity to produce CoQ10 isn’t sufficient to meet its needs. CoQ10 levels reach their peak in the human body by age 20 and fall slowly thereafter.

 

  • Garlic – Studies show that garlic promotes cardiovascular health by helping to retain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels naturally when used as part of a diet low in fat and cholesterol.  Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has been shown to be  responsible for many beneficial actions, including the support for the maintenance of healthy levels of beneficial microorganisms.

Source of fiber

  • Fiber – There are two types of fiber in foods and we need both. Insoluble fiber, found in the outer layer of grains such as wheat bran, promote a healthy digestive system and colon health. Heart health benefits come from soluble fiber, the type of fiber found in oats and apples. Increasing soluble fiber intake helps naturally lower blood cholesterol and blood-sugar levels.

 

  • Omega fatty acids – Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Research also shows that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids promote cardiovascular health and help retain normal blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Omega-3s also support healthy brain, vision, and joint function.

  

  • Magnesium – A major helper in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscular activity, temperature regulation, detoxification reactions, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Magnesium also increases oxygenation of the heart muscle by improving how it contracts and moves and is involved in energy production and the synthesis of DNA and RNA.

 

  • Vitamin D – Researchers have linked low vitamin D intakes to osteoporosis or brittle bones, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and certain cancers. As such, the scientific community is advocating higher intake of vitamin D to address the suboptimal vitamin D blood levels found in many Americans.

 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends adding 2,000mg of PHYTOSTEROLS to your diet each day to lower cholesterol levels naturally. Plant phytosterols have been clinically proven by more than 80 studies to lower LDL cholesterol.  Phytosterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and compete with cholesterol for absorption in the intestines, leaving cholesterol behind. This means the more Phytosterols you have; the less cholesterol is absorbed by the body and the better your chances for lowering your LDL cholesterol.

Shaklee PHYTOCOL-ST is a proprietary formulation with clinically proven ingredients that help block the absorption of cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. It made with a powerful blend of phytosterols, which are found naturally in plants, fruits, vegetables, and grains. It delivers 2,000 mg of plant phytosterols daily or 100% of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommendation for phytosterols.  It has no added preservatives, colors, flavors or sweeteners.

Being healthy isn’t something that just happens; we have to work at it. Finding the right kind of help can make all the difference in how we live and feel. Reducing cholesterol naturally by watching what we put into our bodies will go a long way in our overall level of health.

Health Benefits of Garlic

Garlic has been used by people for centuries. From Mesopotamia to ancient Egypt to Babylon, the Greeks to Medieval times and up through our modern era its benefits have been observed and scientifically proven. Medical history records the medicinal effects of garlic have been consistent and in use as medicine as a diuretic, digestive aid, antibiotic, anti-paracitic, anti-congestant, to soothe continuous coughing, clearing arteries, treat asthma, colds, edema, and cancer prevention among other uses.

References to garlic can be found throughout history but in 1562 the first valid work on herbs by William Turner, herbalist to Queen Elizabeth I, was published as William Turner’s New Herbal. In 1812 garlic was used extensively by doctors in England and can be found in Jonathan Stoke’s, A Botanical Materia Medica. It lists comments on garlic from over forty medical books of the time. If garlic did not work well, it would have fallen out of the historical record some time ago. Instead, it has cemented itself in medical and human history, truly withstanding the test of time.

Since around the time of the Industrial Revolution the search for the chemical constituents of plant medicines began to appear. We got morphine from the opium poppy, quinine from chichona bark and aspirin from the willow.  This is also the time work on garlic started.

Scientists wanted to know why it worked and what made the distinct smell of garlic when it was cut or crushed. They found in the garlic bulb there is alliin and alliinase in a non-reactive state. When the bulb is crushed or cut the components combine to form allicin which has health enhancing properties.

Allicin can then break down into ajoene and the some 70 sulfur-containing garlic oils, most of which can help our health in a different way than allicin. These eventually break down into a mixture of polysulfides which have no health or medical value. This means in a few weeks or months extracts will lose all their power unless protected in some way. Fresh garlic contains the most health benefits. Boiling garlic completely removes all benefits.

 These compounds make up a tiny fraction, only 0.1% to 0.36% of the total weight of a garlic bulb. Other compounds include: water, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamin A, B vitamins 1,2 and 3, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, manganese, germanium, selenium, copper, iron, adenosine (a nucleic acid).

A few points on these compounds: B1 is bound to the allicin, very rare in the plant kingdom. The combination called allithiamine is extremely easy to absorb and is used in Japan in nutritional supplements. Adenosine is a nucleic acid, a building block of DNA and RNA which contributes to garlic’s beneficial effects on the blood; plus garlic contains more of this substance than any other plant food.

Germanium and selenium minerals are both present in significant amounts which have been discussed in literature as being anticancer substances. The carbohydrates consist of at least 10 different sugars. One of these, scordinin, is regarded by the Japanese as a basic health enhancer.

The Evidence Mounts

With more than two decades of use as a supplement, you can imagine that the tiny herb and cooking spice has been studied constantly. Its power over cholesterol seems to hold up over and over again!

A study took 220 individuals, divided into two groups. One group took 800 milligrams of powered garlic for a period of four months. The other group took an inert placebo.

The group with the active garlic supplement experienced a 12 percent drop in their lipid levels. The group that took the placebo, by the way, experienced no significant change in their lipid levels.

Interestingly, garlic is so effective at reducing cholesterol that it’s considered a licensed medicine in Germany for the treatment of atherosclerosis — hardening of the arteries.

In a German study, a group of individuals were placed on a low-fat diet. Their cholesterol count fell by 10 percent before it stabilized. The researchers then added a garlic supplement to their daily habits. This prompted another 10 percent drop in their cholesterol.

In another study, this one conducted at Tulane University of Medicine in New Orleans, 42 individuals were divided into 2 groups. Each group had elevated cholesterol levels. One received 900 mg of garlic extract — divided among three capsules daily. The second group received a placebo.

At the end of 12 weeks, those who took the garlic had a six percent drop in total cholesterol. On average, total lipid counts went from a high of 262 mg/dL to 247 mg/dL. Specifically, the bad cholesterol dropped about 11 percent, from 188 to 168 mg/dL.

This compared with those participants who took the placebo, whose total cholesterol fell no more than three percent. If you decide to take a garlic supplement, you can expect to experience a drop of close to 10 percent in your total cholesterol.

Because of garlic’s recognized importance as a fantastic aid to health through all of history and its newly discovered significance for our generation, garlic’s chemistry has been well researched. Literally hundreds of compounds interact within garlic to make it one of the best health foods of history and modern times. The sulfur compounds work to interfere with many bad compounds that cause viral and bacterial infections, cancers, cholesterol, blood clots etc.

Eating raw garlic is the best way to get the benefits but garlic breath can cause the loss of friends, relatives and others close to you. Some people can get a temporary upset tummy from consuming raw garlic while others can get a rash from handling raw garlic. The garlic in the stores is not fresh, it is usually harvested between July and November, the freshest garlic is the best for you. To get consistent potency and a measured delivery of the beneficial materials garlic should be consumed in a food supplement form.

Look for a pure, natural and pesticide free garlic product, preferably one that uses the cool-dry process. This will preserve as much of the active ingredients as possible. The label should state how much dried and fresh garlic is in each capsule or tablet. It should also tell you how many pills equal one clove of garlic; 1-2 cloves is usual for prevention of circulatory problems, 3 cloves is minimum for therapeutic effects such as antibacterial. It is also vital that the garlic you use has the distinct smell of garlic; the smell should be apparent when you break open a pill or capsule and/or put it into water.

Shaklee’s Garlic Complex combines the health benefits of garlic with the antioxidant properties of spearmint and rosemary. This supplement helps with cholesterol and healthy levels of microorganisms among other benefits.

Studies show that garlic promotes cardiovascular health by helping to retain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels naturally when used as part of a diet low in fat and cholesterol.  Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has been shown to be responsible for many beneficial actions, including the support for the maintenance of healthy levels of beneficial microorganisms.

Garlic Complex

  • Helps retain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels*
  • Promotes cardiovascular health*
  • Helps maintain healthy levels of beneficial microorganisms*
  • Unique Shaklee formulation
  • Combines the health benefits of garlic with the antioxidant properties of spearmint and rosemary*

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Why Processed Food is Dangerous?

Our bodies were designed to eat natural foods. Today we get most of our foods from boxes, bags, or drive through. Most of what we eat looks the same and tastes the same, plus we can get it in the freezer and canned section of the grocery store any day of the week; which is a testament to the processed nature of our foods. Doesn’t it seem strange that most of the food we eat is made in a lab by scientists instead of by nature? What does this mean for our bodies and our future?

In 1903 the hydrogenated process was invented. Since then most if not all foods have been processed to death stripping all good nutrients from our food in order to make it always taste the same and look the same and be the same.

A few tips to know and understand whether or not your food is actual food or processed food. If it is made after 1903, wrapped in cardboard, tinfoil, or layers of plastic, if it is heavily advertised to get you to eat it, if it is manufactured, convenient, keeps forever, artificially flavored, always the same, bland and/or gives you instant results,  it’s probably not real food your body can process.

Trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives and artificial flavorings are other things that have contributed to the epidemic degenerative diseases that occur in today’s world.

Here are some tips to look for when searching for “real” food. Real food is grown, has variable quality, goes bad fast, requires preparation, has vibrant colors, is authentically flavorful, rich in textures and is messy not neat like processed food.

Carlos Monteiro, a professor at the University of São Paulo, believes that “the big issue is ultra-processing.” That is to say, the most important factor when considering food and nutrition is neither nutrients nor foods — it’s what is done to foodstuffs and the nutrients contained in them before they are purchased and consumed.

Monteiro makes it clear that most foods and drinks are currently processed to some extent — even fresh apples are washed and sometimes waxed, and drinking water is filtered. But ultra-processed foods are all too common, and they are depleted of nutrients and provide little beyond calories.

According to the Atlantic:“The purpose of … ultra-processing is to create: durable, accessible, convenient, attractive, ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat products … Monteiro argues: ‘the rapid rise in consumption of ultra-processed food and drink products, especially since the 1980s, is the main dietary cause of the concurrent rapid rise in obesity and related diseases throughout the world.‘”

 The most important factor now, when considering food, nutrition and public health, is not nutrients, and is not foods, so much as what is done to foodstuffs and the nutrients originally contained in them, before they are purchased and consumed.” Americans currently spend upwards of 90 percent of their food budgets purchasing processed foods, which offer very little in terms of nutritional value and instead typically contain ingredients that will actually cause you harm.

What makes processed foods, or as Monteiro calls them “ultra-processed foods,” so devastating to your health?

Lots of Calories for Little Nutrition

If you eat a fast-food burger, you can easily take in close to half of your daily caloric requirements. Add in fries and a soda and you may be nearing an entire day’s worth of required calories.

But in that one meal, which is designed to be eaten quickly, on-the-go, you have not received the vitamins and minerals, the live enzymes and micronutrients, the healthy fats or high-quality protein that your body needs to function, let alone thrive.

When these types of foods are consumed day in and day out, for months and years on end, what you end up with is a calorie-dense diet that is not giving you the nutrients you need to stay healthy. On a diet like this, you will likely gain excess weight while your body is still literally starving for healthy nutrients.

Processed Foods are Addictive

Fast food is available just about everywhere, including in hospitals and schools, and processed foods make up the majority of foods at your supermarket. They are marketed aggressively to kids and adults alike, and are manufactured using specific synthetic ingredients and other tricks to get you to eat more, crave more, and keep coming back for more.

As Monteiro wrote:“Ultra-processed products are characteristically formulated from ‘refined’ and ‘purified’ ingredients freed from the fibrous watery matrix of their original raw materials.

They are formulated to be sensually appealing, hyper-palatable, and habit-forming, by the use of sophisticated mixtures of cosmetic and other additives, and state-of-the-craft packaging and marketing. Further, ultra-processed products are ‘convenient’ – meaning, ready-to-eat (or drink) or ready-to-heat.

The leading branded ultra-processed foods and drinks are manufactured by transnational companies most able to purchase substrates for their products at rock-bottom or even subsidized prices. They penetrate new markets in lower-income countries, with massive marketing and advertising budgets, and may undercut local industries, drive them out of business, or take them over.

It is interesting that most people know that fast food and processed foods are “not good for you,” yet most still choose to eat it. This is in large part due to the intensive advertising campaigns coupled with the habit-forming nature of these foods.

On average, just one serving of a typical children’s breakfast cereal equates to more than 90 percent of the daily sugar intake for sedentary girls aged 9 to 13. Even infant formulas and jarred baby food contains excessive amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup — hooking babies on the unnatural taste of processed foods as soon as they’re out of the womb!

In one study of rats fed a diet containing 25 percent sugar, they became anxious when the sugar was removed — displaying symptoms similar to people going through drug withdrawals, such as chattering teeth and the shakes.

The researchers conducting the study found a link between opioids, your brain’s ‘pleasure chemicals,’ and a craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods. It is thought that high-fat foods stimulate the opioids, as when researchers stimulated rats’ brains with a synthetic version of the natural opioid enkephalin, the rats ate up to six times their normal intake of fat.

Further, long lasting changes in rats’ brain chemistry, similar to those caused by morphine or heroin use, were also noted. According to researchers, this means that even simple exposure to pleasurable foods is enough to change gene expression, which suggests an addiction to the food.

Dangerous Food Additives

Eating processed foods is in no way the same as eating pure, unprocessed foods, in taste, nutritional value or the way they interact with your cells on a biological level.

Processed foods often have little nutritional value and are chemically altered to increase the appeal to your taste buds, so they can override your body’s signals that would otherwise tell you it’s time to stop eating and try something else. They are also loaded with additives that are harmful in their own right, such as

      1. Fructose

Now the number one source of calories in the US, fructose diminishes your feelings of fullness because it does not stimulate a rise in leptin, one of the most powerful hunger- and fat storage regulators in your body. Fructose also reduces the amount of leptin crossing your blood-brain barrier by raising triglycerides. Leptin resistance, in turn, is perhaps one of the most significant factors underlying human disease. For example, it plays a significant if not primary role in the development of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, and perhaps the rate of aging itself. Additionally, whereas glucose suppresses ghrelin (also known as “the hunger hormone,” which makes you want more food), fructose, again, does not. Fructose also increases your insulin levels, interfering with the communication between leptin and your hypothalamus, so your pleasure signals aren’t extinguished. Your brain keeps sensing that you’re starving, and prompts you to eat more. For the sake of your health, it is strongly advise keeping your fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, but this is virtually impossible if you eat a lot of processed foods.

       2. Genetically Modified (GM) Ingredients

Some 75 percent of processed foods contain GM ingredients, which are being increasingly linked to serious health problems. Just last year the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) reviewed the available research and issued a memorandum recommending that all doctors prescribe non-GMO diets to all patients because they are causally linked in animal feeding studies to:

  • Infertility
  • Immune system problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Organ damage
  • Dysfunctional regulation of cholesterol and insulin
  • Accelerated aging

One of the first steps to avoiding GM ingredients is to cut back on processed foods in your diet

     3. Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer, is added to thousands of processed (canned soups, crackers, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners, chips and much more) and restaurant foods.MSG is so popular because it actually enhances the flavor of foods, making processed meats and frozen dinners taste fresher and smell better, salad dressings more tasty, and canned foods less tinny. However, it is also an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees — and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.

     4. Food Additives

More than 3,000 food additives — preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients —   added to foods. While each of these substances are legal to use, whether or not they are entirely safe for long-term consumption — by themselves or in combination — is a different story altogether. Many of them, such as sodium nitrate, BHA, BHT, aspartame, Blue 1, 2, and potassium bromate, have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Others are estrogen-mimicking xenoestrogens that have been linked to a range of human health effects, including reduced sperm counts in men and increased risk of breast cancer in women. Studies have also shown that a variety of common food dyes, and the preservative sodium benzoate — found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings — cause some children to become measurably more hyperactive and distractible.

Meanwhile, E-numbered food dyes (such as tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129) do as much damage to children’s brains as lead in gasoline, resulting in a significant reduction in IQ. Fortunately, when you avoid processed foods you’ll also automatically avoid virtually every one of these toxic food additives.

It is wise to get as much raw food in your diet as possible, including raw eggs and humanely raised organic animal products that have not been factory farmed. And there are a number of reasons for this.

For starters, processing foods at high temperatures destroys naturally occurring enzymes. Enzymes are proteins — catalysts to speed up and facilitate reactions in your body. In fact, some biochemical reactions will not even occur without these enzymes (you have about 1,300 of them).

Processed foods are also devoid of bio-photons, the smallest physical units of light, which are stored in, and used by all biological organisms — including your body. Vital sun energy finds its way into your cells via the food you eat, in the form of these bio-photons.

They contain important information that controls complex vital processes in your body. The bio-photons have the power to order and regulate, and, in doing so, to elevate the organism – in this case, your physical body — to a higher oscillation or order.

The more light a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is. Naturally grown fresh vegetables, for example, and sun-ripened fruits, are rich in light energy. The capacity to store bio-photons is therefore a measure of the quality of your food — and processed foods contain zero light energy.

Ditching Processed Foods Can be Easy

Eating fresh, whole foods is the “secret” to getting healthier, losing weight and really enjoying your food, but many believe it’s next to impossible to eat nowadays without processed foods.

Many people are under the mistaken impression that cooking from scratch is an extremely complicated affair that takes lots of time and costs more than they could possibly afford. More often than not, this is simply not true.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find you can whip up a healthful meal from scratch in the same amount of time it would have taken you to drive down the street to pick up fast food. Of course, you’ll be far more satisfied when you eat your home-cooked meal, both physically and mentally.

Finding the time, and the financial resources, to make healthy meals for your family can be challenging, but please don’t use these as excuses to exist on processed food. Your health — your energy levels, your appearance, your mood and so many other factors — will improve when you eat the foods your body was designed for. Returning to a diet of locally grown, fresh whole foods is really the only way to reach optimal health. A major leap forward would be to strive for a diet of 90 percent non-processed food and only 10 percent from other sources.

Final Words of Wisdom

Please remember that someone has to spend some time in the kitchen to prepare your meals, whether it is you, your spouse, a relative, friend, or a chef. If you ignore this basic principle you can be strongly assured your health will suffer.

The other point to consider is that if you fail to plan you are planning to fail. It is no mystery that when noon comes around you will likely want lunch. So why not figure out what that will be the night before you go to sleep. Seek to make a habit of knowing what you will eat the next day so you can be prepared and won’t have to rely on fast food or junk food.

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