Health Tips

Are Phytoestrogens Harmful for Men?

What Are Phytoestrogens? Phytoestrogens are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in numerous plant foods. They have various functions in plants. Many have strong antioxidant properties and some may play a role in the plants’ defense against infections. They’re called “phytoestrogens” because their chemical structure resembles the structure of the sex hormone estrogen. The prefix “phyto” refers to plants. Estrogen levels are higher in women than men. This hormone is responsible for women’s fertility as well as maintaining feminine body features, but it also plays an important role in men. Phytoestrogens’ similarity to estrogen means they can interact with estrogen receptors in cells. These receptors mediate estrogen’s functions within the body. However, the effects of phytoestrogens are much weaker than those of estrogen. Also, not all phytoestrogens work the same. Some block estroge...

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Why Natto Is Super Healthy and Nutritious

What Is Natto? Natto is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of fermented soybeans and characterized by a slimy, sticky and stringy texture. It’s easily recognizable by its distinctive, somewhat pungent smell, while its flavor is commonly described as nutty. In Japan, natto is typically topped with soy sauce, mustard, chives or other seasonings and served with cooked rice. Traditionally, natto was made by wrapping boiled soybeans in rice straw, which naturally contains the bacteria Bacillus subtilis on its surface. Doing so allowed the bacteria to ferment the sugars present in the beans, eventually producing natto. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, the B. subtilis bacteria was identified and isolated by scientists, which modernized this preparation method. Nowadays, the rice straw has been replaced with styrofoam boxes in which B. subtilis can be directly added to boiled soybeans to start the fermentation...

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9 Impressive Health Benefits of Goji Berries

What Are Goji Berries? Goji berries, scientifically known as Lycium barbarum, are also known as wolfberries, fructus lycii and gougizi. These dried red berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. They have a sweet taste and can be eaten raw or consumed as a juice or herbal tea. They can also be taken as extracts, powders and tablets. All dark blue or red berries, including goji berries, contain high levels of antioxidants, which may help protect the body against damage from free radicals. What’s unique about goji berries is that they contain specific antioxidants called Lycium barbarum polysaccharides, which are thought to provide a variety of impressive health benefits. In addition, goji berries provide 11 essential amino acids — more than other common berries. Read on for 9 evidence-based health benefits of goji berries. 1. Very Nutritious The nutritional content of goji berries is thought t...

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20 Natural Laxatives to Help Keep You Regular

What Are Laxatives and How Do They Work? Laxatives are substances that either loosen stool or stimulate a bowel movement. They can also accelerate intestinal transit, which helps speed up the movement of the digestive tract to spur a bowel movement. Laxatives are often used to treat constipation, a condition characterized by infrequent, difficult and sometimes painful bowel movements. There are several types of laxatives that work in different ways. The main classes of laxatives are : Bulk-forming laxatives: These move through the body undigested, absorbing water and swelling to form stool. Stool softeners: They increase the amount of water absorbed by the stool to make it softer and easier to pass. Lubricant laxatives: These coat the surface of the stool and intestinal lining to keep in moisture, allowing for softer stools and easier passage. Osmotic-type laxatives: These help the colon retain more water, increasing the frequency of bow...

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Can Vitamin D Help You Lose Weight?

What Is Vitamin D? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that you can get from vitamin D-rich foods or supplements. Your body is also able to make it through sun exposure. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, keeping your immune system healthy and facilitating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Because vitamin D is not found naturally in very many foods, most health professionals recommend getting at least 5–30 minutes of sun exposure daily or taking a supplement to meet the recommended daily amount of 600 IU (15 mcg). However, those living too far from the equator may not be able to meet their requirements through sun exposure alone. At certain latitudes, very little vitamin D can be produced by the skin for up to six months of the year. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency affects nearly 50% of people worldwide. Those at risk of deficiency include : Older adults Breastfed infants Dark-skinned individuals Those...

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8 Impressive Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

What Are Cayenne Peppers? Cayenne peppers belong to the nightshade family of flowering plants and are closely related to bell peppers, jalapeños and paprika. They were originally grown in Central and South America, but brought to Europe in the 15th century by Christopher Columbus. Cayenne peppers are a popular spice used in many different regional styles of cooking, and they have been used medicinally for thousands of years. These peppers boast an impressive nutrition profile, which includes a variety of antioxidants that are beneficial for your health. One tablespoon (5 grams) of cayenne pepper contains the following : Calories: 17 Fat: 1 gram Carbs: 3 grams Fiber: 1.4 grams Protein: 0.6 grams Vitamin A: 44% of the RDI Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI Vitamin C: 7% of the RDI Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI Manganese: 5% of the RDI Potassium: 3% of the RDI Ribofla...

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Does Junk Food Slow Down Your Metabolism?

What Is Junk Food? Junk food refers to highly processed foods that are generally high in calories, refined carbs and unhealthy fats. They’re also low in filling nutrients like protein and fiber. Some examples include french fries, potato chips, sugary drinks and most pizzas. Junk food is widely available, cheap and convenient. Also, it’s often heavily marketed, especially to children, and promoted with misleading health claims. While it is tasty, it is usually not very filling and is easy to overeat. Interestingly, junk food may also affect your brain in a very powerful way, especially when consumed often and in excessive amounts. It may trigger a massive release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control your brain’s reward and pleasure center. When your brain is flooded with dopamine in such unnatural amounts, it can cause food addiction in some people. It Takes Less Energy to Digest Junk Food It requires energy to digest,...

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9 Powerful Health Benefits of Cumin

Cumin is a spice made from the seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant. Many dishes use cumin, especially foods from its native regions of the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia. Cumin lends its distinctive flavor to chili, tamales and various Indian curries. Its flavor has been described as earthy, nutty, spicy and warm. What’s more, cumin has long been used in traditional medicine. Modern studies have confirmed some of the health benefits cumin is traditionally known for, including promoting digestion and reducing food-borne infections. Research has also revealed some new benefits, such as promoting weight loss and improving blood sugar control and cholesterol. This article will review nine evidence-based health benefits of cumin. 1. Promotes Digestion The most common traditional use of cumin is for indigestion. In fact, modern research has confirmed cumin may help rev up normal digestion. For example, it increases the release of digestive prote...

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Cassava: Benefits and Dangers

What Is Cassava? Cassava is a nutty-flavored, starchy root vegetable or tuber. Native to South America, it’s a major source of calories and carbs for people in developing countries. It is grown in tropical regions of the world because of its ability to withstand difficult growing conditions — in fact, it’s one of the most drought-tolerant crops. In the United States, cassava is often called yuca and may also be referred to as manioc or Brazilian arrowroot. The most commonly consumed part of cassava is the root, which is very versatile. It can be eaten whole, grated or ground into flour to make bread and crackers. Additionally, cassava root is well known as the raw material that’s used to produce tapioca and garri, a product similar to tapioca. Individuals with food allergies often benefit from using cassava root in cooking and baking because it is gluten-free, grain-free and nut-free. One important note is that cassava root must be cook...

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How Much Fruit Should You Eat per Day?

Fruit Is Rich in Many Important Nutrients The nutrient composition of fruit varies greatly among the different types, but all varieties contain important nutrients. For starters, fruit tends to be high in vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin C, potassium and  folate, of which many people don’t get enough. Fruit is also high in fiber, which has many health benefits. Eating fiber may help lower cholesterol, increase feelings of fullness and contribute to weight loss over time. What’s more, fruits are loaded with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that can damage cells. Eating a diet high in antioxidants may help slow aging and reduce the risk of disease . Because different fruits contain different amounts of nutrients, it is important to eat a variety of them to maximize the health benefits. Eating Fruit Can Help You Lose Weight Fruits are high in nutrients and relatively low in calories, making them a great choice ...

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