Health Tips

Why Shiitake Mushrooms Are Good For You

What Are Shiitake Mushrooms? Shiitakes are edible mushrooms native to East Asia. They’re tan to dark brown in color, and the caps usually grow to between 2 and 4 inches (5 and 10 centimeters). While typically used as vegetables, shiitakes are actually a fungus that grows naturally on decaying hardwood trees. They’re also widely grown. 83% of shiitakes are grown in Japan, although the US, Canada, Singapore and China also produce them. You can find them fresh, dried or in various dietary supplements. Nutrition Profile of Shiitake Mushrooms Shiitakes are low in calories. They also offer good amounts of fiber, as well as B vitamins and some minerals. Here are the nutrients you get in four dried shiitakes (15 grams) : Calories: 44. Carbs: 11 grams. Fiber: 2 grams. Protein: 1 gram. Riboflavin: 11% of the RDI. Niacin: 11% of the RDI. Copper: 39% of the RDI. Vitamin B5: 33% of the RDI. Seleniu...

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8 Health Benefits of Eating Guavas

1. Guava Extract and Guava Leaf Tea May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels There is some evidence that guava can improve blood sugar control. Several test-tube and animal studies found guava extract reduced blood sugar levels, improved long-term blood sugar control and reduced insulin resistance. This is good news for people with diabetes or those at risk. A few studies involving humans have also shown impressive results. One study of 19 people found that drinking guava leaf tea lowered blood sugar levels after a meal. The effects lasted for up to two hours. Another study involving 20 people with type 2 diabetes found that drinking guava leaf tea reduced blood sugar levels after a meal by more than 10%. 2. Eating More Guavas May Help Keep Your Heart Healthy Guavas may help boost heart health in a number of different ways. Many scientists believe that the high levels of antioxidants and vitamins in guava may help protect the heart against damage from free radi...

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Can Juicing Help You Lose Weight?

What Is Juicing? Juicing is the process of extracting the liquid from fruits and vegetables, while removing the solids. This can be done by hand or with a motor-driven juicer. The juice from fruits and vegetables doesn’t contain any skin, seeds or pulp. It does contain some nutrients and antioxidants, but without the beneficial fiber of whole fruits and vegetables. Some people use juicing as a so-called detox method. However, there are no scientific studies showing that replacing solid food with juice will detoxify the body. Your body is able to get rid of toxins on its own through the liver and kidneys, so using juice as a detox treatment is completely unnecessary. People also use juices as nutrition supplements and to lose weight. Neither of these uses is supported by research, but many people claim they work. In general, juice recipes contain fruit and vegetables. Many also contain spices such as turmeric and ginger. Juice Diets There are sever...

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Red Wine vs White Wine: Which Is Healthier?

What Is Wine? Wine is made from fermented grape juice. Grapes are picked, crushed and placed in buckets or vats to ferment. The process of fermentation turns the natural sugars in the grape juice into alcohol. Fermentation can occur naturally, but sometimes winemakers add yeast to help control the process. The crushed grapes are put through a press, which removes the skins and other sediment. Whether this step is done before or after fermentation determines whether the wine becomes red or white. To make white wine, grapes are pressed before fermentation. Red wine is pressed after fermentation. After this step, the wine is aged in stainless steel or oak barrels until it’s ready to be bottled. What’s the Difference Between Red and White Wine? The main difference between white and red wine has to do with whether the grape juice is fermented with the grape skins. To make white wine, grapes are pressed and skins, seeds and stems are removed before ferm...

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8 Natural Substitutes for Sugar

Why Sugar Is Bad for You For starters, there is simply nothing good about sugar. It contains no protein, essential fats, vitamins or minerals. There really is no need for it in the diet. In fact, there is a long list of reasons why you should avoid it. Sugar interferes with hormones in your body that regulate hunger and satiety. This can lead to increased calorie intake and weight gain. It also harms your metabolism, which can lead to increased insulin and fat storage. In fact, many studies have found a strong link between sugar and obesity. Simply put, people who consume the most sugar are far more likely to become overweight or obese than those who consume the least. High sugar intake is also associated with some of the world’s most deadly diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. What’s more, sugar is addictive. It causes dopamine to be released in the reward center of the brain, which is the same response activated by addicti...

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How Junk Food Makes Your Brain Want to Get Fat

Leptin – The Body’s Energy Balance Hormone Leptin is an incredibly important hormone in the body. It is secreted by our fat cells. The bigger they get, the more leptin they secrete. More fat = more leptin. Leptin is supposed to send signals to the brain, informing it about how much body fat is stored. We eat -> Body fat gets stored -> Leptin increases -> Brain “sees” the leptin and makes us stop eating. This is a basic negative feedback loop, the output (leptin) decreases the input (eating). This is how the brain is supposed to keep body fat levels within a narrow range over the long term. The problem today is that leptin isn’t working. Obese individuals have high levels of leptin, but it isn’t getting through to the brain and therefore there is no signal that the fat cells have enough energy stored and that the person needs to stop eating. Insulin – Drives Fat Storage, Blocks Leptin You...

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4 Stimulants in Tea – More Than Just Caffeine

There are 4 substances in tea that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier to provide a stimulant effect. We have good, old caffeine, which you can also get from coffee and soft drinks. Then we have two substances related to caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. And finally we have a rather unique amino acid called L-Theanine, which has some very interesting effects on the brain. This article discusses these 4 stimulants in tea. Tea and Coffee Provide a Different “Buzz” The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about the psychoactive effects of coffee and tea. Both contain caffeine and therefore have a stimulant-like effect on the brain, but we agreed that the nature of these effects is quite different. My friend used an interesting analogy: The effect provided by tea is like being gently encouraged to do something by Mother Theresa, while coffee is like being kicked in the butt by a military officer. After our conversation, I’ve b...

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5 Ways Restricting Calories Can Be Harmful

1. It Can Lower Your Metabolism Regularly eating fewer calories than your body needs can cause your metabolism to slow down. Several studies show that low-calorie diets can decrease the number of calories the body burns by as much as 23%. What’s more, this lower metabolism can persist long after the calorie-restricted diet is stopped. In fact, researchers believe that this lower metabolism may partly explain why more than 80% of people regain weight once they go off their calorie-restricted diets.One of the ways that calorie-restricted diets slow your metabolism is by causing muscle loss. This loss of muscle mass is especially likely to occur if the calorie-restricted diet is low in protein and not combined with exercise. To prevent your weight loss diet from affecting your metabolism, make sure that you never eat fewer calories than are required to sustain your BMR. Slightly increasing your protein intake and adding resistance exercises to your wor...

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Does Milk Block Antioxidants in Foods and Beverages?

High-antioxidant foods like tea, coffee and fruit have been linked to many health benefits. Unfortunately, some studies have found that milk may block some of these beneficial compounds. However, other studies have found that milk has no effect. So what should you believe? This article explores whether milk inactivates the antioxidants found in foods and beverages and if you should be concerned. What Are Antioxidants? Antioxidants are substances that prevent oxidation. Oxidation is a common chemical reaction in which a molecule gives up electrons. In the body, oxidation can lead to the production of harmful free radicals, which are molecules that are missing an electron. Free radicals then take electrons from wherever they can, often causing damage to cells. In fact, excessive free radicals may contribute to aging and the development of certain diseases, such as dementia and diabetes complications. Antioxidants, which help eliminate these free radicals, come i...

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The Top 10 Benefits of Regular Exercise

Exercise is defined as any movement that makes your muscles work and requires your body to burn calories. There are many types of physical activity, including swimming, running, jogging, walking and dancing, to name a few. Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It may even help you live longer. Here are the top 10 ways regular exercise benefits your body and brain. 1. It Can Make You Feel Happier Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. It produces changes in the parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety. It can also increase brain sensitivity for the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression. Additionally, exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain. Furthermore, exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms in people suff...

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