We live in the age of information overload. Having such abundant knowledge at our fingertips can be overwhelming—and nutritional knowledge is no exception. Thanks to the incredible breadth of resources at our disposal in the natural health space, parsing out the perfect nutritional plan can seem like a full-time job.
The pros and cons of fat consumption are perhaps more hotly debated than any other food category.
The word “fat” has come to carry a negative connotation, but as we’ve written about in the past, not all fats are created equal. Some serve as the perfect fuel source for your body and brain, and others cause widespread oxidative damage, inflammation, and weight gain.
For some time, however, it was unclear which fats were the healthy ones.
Decades ago, tentative research (which is now largely considered inconclusive) led the mainstream medical community to believe that saturated fat consumption is associated with obesity, heart disease, and other leading health problems. Perfectly healthful fats like coconut oil and olive oil were quickly vilified, and polyunsaturated “vegetable oils” were touted as the healthy choice.
While there were some experts who legitimately believed that vegetable oils are healthier than saturated fats, there was also a political force at play. Seeing the massive economic opportunity at hand, grain producers stepped in to provide the “healthy” vegetable oils there were coming into fashion.
Chief among these offerings is canola oil, a product of the rapeseed plant. Canola is now the second largest oil crop in the world, comprising more than 15% of the world’s entire oil crop production, and generating billions of dollars in revenue annually.
There’s still a lot of debate about proper dietary habits around saturated fats—moderation is still key, and high levels of saturated fat (especially when eaten at the same time as carbohydrates, and when coupled with a sedentary lifestyle) can still lead to weight gain and other issues. Saturated fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and macadamia nut oil are inherently healthy, though, and can confer a wide range of benefits when consumed properly.
This is decidedly not case with canola oil. Despite the enduring belief in its healthfulness, this industrially produced oil carries a litany of risks, and offers essentially no benefits, even when consumed moderately.
The case against canola oil
A genetically modified product, canola oil is a Canadian invention that’s backed by Canada’s government, cheap to manufacture, and many packaged or processed foods contain it. Canola oil was first created in the early 1970s as a natural oil, but in 1995, Monsanto created a genetically modified version of canola oil. As of 2005, 87 percent of canola grown in the U.S. was genetically modified, and by 2009, 90 percent of the Canadian crop was genetically engineered.
Even its name is engineered. As mentioned above, canola oil is a product of the rapeseed plant—but producers and PR spinners decidedly to change the oil’s name to something more palatable.
Furthermore, the name isn’t this plant’s only toxic component. Rapeseed naturally contains erucic acid at levels which are toxic to humans; the plants used to produce canola oil have been genetically engineered to reduce erucic acid to “safe” levels. Why not just start with a non-toxic plant to begin with?
And it gets worse. Like most genetically modified crops, rapeseed is nearly always grown with toxic pesticides, which inevitably leads to residues in the final product. Check out this article if you’re still not convinced that glyphosate and other pesticides are a health risk. Additionally, the industrial process of refining canola oil involves a medley of conclusively dangerous chemicals, including solvents and bleach.
Rapeseed oil (canola) was originally used as motor lubricant during World War II.
Fun fact: rapeseed oil (canola) was originally used as motor lubricant during World War II. When demand fell off, producers began an extensive campaign to make it an edible product—hence the complex process of toxic refinement and bleaching.
This horrendous production process should be enough to keep you away from canola oil—but in case you need more reasons, researchers have now linked canola oil consumption with a wide variety of serious health issues, including obesity, allergies, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
One team of researchers even found that canola oil decreases the production of a certain protein that protects the brain against amyloid plaque buildup and neuronal damage—so much to say that canola oil consumption may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
All of this should come as no surprise. In addition to the pesticide and toxin residues mentioned above, canola oil is also packed with oxidized omega-6 fatty acids, which lead to systemic inflammation, deplete the body of glutathione and other endogenous antioxidants, trigger weight gain, damage cells, decrease disease resistance, and accelerate aging.
Use these oils instead (and enjoy the benefits)
Luckily, there’s a wealth of available alternatives to canola oil. They may be a bit more expensive, but the benefits are well worth the cost—your body and brain need healthy fats in order to thrive (the brain is composed of 60% fat).
Studies have demonstrated that olive oil can preserve synaptic integrity in the brain and improve markers for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve also talked extensively in past articles about the incredible benefits of coconut oil—it’s even been shown to improve cognitive function after just a single dose.
Keep in mind that saturated fats are not always suitable for cooking (though anything is better than cooking with canola oil, which almost immediately breaks down and riddles the body with damaging free radicals). Use grass-fed butter, ghee, macadamia nut oil, or raw virgin coconut oil instead.
Use olive oil only for salad dressings and similar cold dishes, as it will break down almost as easily as canola oil and other polyunsaturated fats (unless it’s “pure” rather than “extra virgin” olive oil).
By removing canola oil completely from your diet, you’ll be taking a huge step toward protecting your brain and overall health.
We’ve written before about the amazing health benefits of essential oils.
You could hardly ask for a more perfect medicine: essential oils are literally the distilled essence of a medicinal (and usually wonderfully fragrant) plant. The ancient art of distillation (which has been practiced for at least 5500 years and counting) delivers a potent and focused version of the plant—the ancients actually considered their oils to be encapsulations of the plant’s spirit.
Modern medicine has shied fairly far from this spiritual characterization, but ancient and modern medicine agree that essential oils yield fantastic results when used in a huge variety of applications.
While each essential oil has its own laudable properties, lemon essential oil stands out as a particularly versatile one. At present, there have been over 500 studies conducted on it, and the verdict is clear: it’s a powerful tool that should always be kept handy for maintenance of both health and home.
In case you still think essential oils are just for aromatherapy (which can be functional and powerful in its own right, by the way), here’s a brief tour of lemon essential’s benefits.
Lemon essential oil is best known for its cleansing qualities. It’s been incorporated into many natural cleaning products because of its utility as a disinfectant, surface cleaner (and polisher), and grime remover. You can even use it with your laundry detergent (just add one drop) to leave your clothes extra clean and wonderfully scented.
And the cleansing potential of this essential oil definitely isn’t limited to your home—it also works as a detoxification agent on nearly every level of the body. It stimulates lymph drainage and supercharges the body’s natural detox system (whether consumed or rubbed on the neck with coconut oil).
Use it to disinfect your hands, mix it with baking soda and honey to make a deeply nourishing face wash, or add it to your homemade toothpaste to combat bad breath and improve oral health (mixing it with coconut oil and using the mixture for oil pulling works great too).
A study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology even suggested that lemon essential oil has the strongest antimicrobial activity of all essential oils—meaning that it’s capable of cleansing your body of even the most virulent pathogens.
Digestion and metabolism
Lemon essential oil is also a godsend for stomach health. It aids digestion, balances gut flora by killing only harmful bacteria (it’s even been shown to protect against E. coli and salmonella when added to food), and acts as a great remedy for abdominal and colic pain, nausea, and upset stomach. One study even showed that within two days, it can reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy by up to 33%.
It also works wonders for your metabolism, which means that your body is better able to absorb available nutrients and put them to good use.
A well-functioning metabolism is also able to run steadily and efficiently, which translates to greater weight loss. Amazingly, simply smelling the scent of lemon essential oil has been shown to increase the ease with which the body can break down fat. Adding just a couple drops to your water at least three times per day will provide even greater support for both weight loss and general digestive health.
Disease and stress resistance
Given that this healthful essential oil is potently detoxifying and microbiome-supporting, it should come as no surprise that it offers excellent immune support and builds stress resistance. It contains powerful antioxidants like d-limonene (some analyses report that it contains up to 70% of this disease-fighting, and even cancer-fighting, compound).
Many people have used lemon essential oil to drastically speed up their recovery from colds and flus (or prevent them in the first place). Once again, just add a couple drops to your drinking water throughout the day.
It’s also been shown to combat depression, anxiety, and other mood issues—after all, mental and emotional health, too, are often a matter of developing the proper adaptive resistance to environmental stressors. Studies have shown that lemon essential oil significantly boosts energy levels, and even improves depleted levels of dopamine (a neurotransmitter often targeted to treat depression and other disorders).
In Review: Top 10 Lemon Essential Oil Uses
- Laundry – In case you leave your laundry sitting in the washer too long, just add a few drop of lemon EO and your clothes won’t get that nasty smell.
- Teeth Whitener – Mix lemon essential oil, baking soda and coconut oil and rub on your teeth for 2 minutes and then dense as a natural teeth whitener.
- Clean Hands – Got greasy hands from working on your car or bike and regular soap isn’t doing the trick? No worries, just add a couple drops of lemon EO with your soap and get your clean hands back!
- Natural Disinfectant – Want to steer away from alcohol and bleach to disinfect your countertops and clean your moldy shower? Add 40 drops lemon oil and 20 drops tea tree oil to a 16-oz spray bottle fill with pure water (and a little bit of white vinegar) for a traditional cleaning favorite.
- Face-wash – Lemon essential oil uses for skin can can improve your complexion and leave your skin soft and supple. Lemon oil benefits skin by deeply nourishing. You can make lemon oil with baking soda and honey for a natural acne free face wash.
- Wood and Silver Polish – A lemon oil-soaked cloth will also help spruce up your tarnished silver and jewelry! Lemon oil for wood cleaning is also great.
- Goo-Be-Gone – Un-stick the sticky goo your kids leave behind with stickers and gum with lemon oil.
- Promotes Fat-Loss – Putting 2 drops of lemon oil in your water 3x daily can support metabolism and weight loss.
- Improves Mood – Diffusing lemon essential oil in the air can lift mood and fight depression.
- Immune Support – Lemon oil can support lymphatic drainage and help your overcome a cold fast, mix it with coconut oil and rub it on your neck.
Lemon essential oil is incredibly easy to find, and as we mentioned above, many natural house care products already include it as an ingredient (just remember that it’s simple to make your own cleaning products).
It’s hard to go wrong, as long you purchase a high-quality, organic product from a brand that you trust. Check out our favorite organic lemon oil cold-pressed made from fresh organic lemon peels from Starwest Botanicals. With a light fresh citrus scent, this oil is great for use in your
diffuser, the bath, massage, as a food flavorant, in lotion, and as a mouthwash.
Be sure to take advantage of essential oils as a time-tested healing and cleansing agent for health and home.
- This practical guide shows how essential oils — used at home and on the go — can greatly improve the quality of busy lives. Colleen Dodt includes dozens of simple recipes featuring essential oils for combating stress, PMS, sunburn, and other common health conditions. She details the uses of essential oils and the powers of aromatherapy at home, at the office, and in the car, and she provides readers with recipes for safe and fragrant cleaning products.
If you still haven’t outgrown your childhood aversion to broccoli, you may want to do so now—a continuing wave of research is confirming that broccoli offers even more powerful health benefits than previously imagined.
The compound that has been getting the most attention is sulfurophane. This organic sulfur molecule broke onto the scene when scientists discovered its potent anti-cancer properties, and subsequent studies have revealed a wealth of other powerful benefits.
Here’s a whirlwind tour of the reasons why broccoli deserves a prominent place in your diet (and why your mother was doing you a favor by forcing you to eat it).
Broccoli: A functional food with healing capabilities
There’s healthy foods, and then there’s functional foods—that is, foods with such powerful healing capacities that they can be used to treat acute health conditions. And broccoli—thanks to its high levels of sulfurophane and other beneficial nutrients—is perhaps one of the most promising functional foods of all.
Sulfurophane and broccoli’s other beneficial compounds—including glucoraphanin, flavonoids, phenolic acids, diindolylmethane (DIM), and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)—perfectly exemplify the holistic healing power of functional foods. Traditional drugs and medications nearly always focus on specified mechanisms to the exclusion of others—as a result, they often create imbalances and side effects elsewhere in the body, even while attempting to balance the ailment in question.
Functional foods, on the other hand, balance the underlying factors that lead to optimal health, and are thus able to address an impressive variety of conditions. They do so without side effects, and without sacrificing the acute healing power that we look for in modern medications.
Take a look at some of the benefits and applications of sulfurophane that researchers have discovered so far.
Immune support. It turns out that eating broccoli can offer your immune system a serious boost. One study found that it enhances the clearance of bacteria by macrophages, increases the activity of natural killer cells, and even boosts defenses against influenza and other viruses. It also helps prevent the decline in cellular immunity that normally occurs with aging by activating a protein called Nrf2.
This comes as no surprise, given that sulfurophane also takes care of some of the fundamental factors associated with aging, illness, and immune dysfunction. For example, it significantly reduces both the presence of reactive oxygen species and C-reactive proteins, thus helping to ward off systemic inflammation.
Detoxification. Sulfurophane also helps unburden your immune system and other defenses by dramatically improving detoxification mechanisms. In fact, it is the most potent inducer of phase 2 detoxification enzymes (endogenous antioxidants that do the bulk of detox work throughout the body). Research has demonstrated that sulfurophane triggers this cascade of enzymes by activating Nrf2 and by increasing cellular levels of glutathione, the body’s “master antioxidant.”
Diabetes. One of the most promising applications of sulfurophane is in the treatment of diabetes. Studies have shown that eating broccoli sprouts improves many of the parameters for type 2 diabetes, including increased blood antioxidant capacity and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and decreased triglycerides, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein (CRP).
They have even been shown to attenuate diabetes complications such as nephropathy, tissue damage, and cardiovascular issues. For these reasons, many physicians believe that sulfurophane could serve as a complement to (or even a replacement for) metformin, the leading diabetes medication.
Obesity. Researchers are finding that many of the compounds that make broccoli so well-suited for treating type 2 diabetes can also be profoundly helpful for preventing and controlling obesity. One study demonstrated that three weeks of sulfurophane supplementation reduced weight gain, lowered levels of insulin and leptin, and improved cholesterol, glucose tolerance, and insulin resistance in mice.
A similar study found that sulfurophane protects against both obesity and cardiovascular disease by inhibiting fat accumulation, and reduced liver triglycerides, total cholesterol, and leptin.
Cancer. According to many experts, broccoli sprouts just might be the most promising anti-cancer yet discovered. Supporting research is pouring in at any increasing rate, and the results are fascinating.
Eating cruciferous vegetables (especially three to five servings per week of broccoli and broccoli sprouts) will decrease the risk of many cancers by up to 40%—but that’s just the beginning. Sulfurophane also directly kills cancer cells (without harming healthy cells) through a wide variety of mechanisms, and increases the efficacy of chemotherapy drugs (while minimizing their toxic effect on the body).
Now are you ready to eat your broccoli?
Sulfurophane supplements can be helpful, but there’s no substitute for good, old-fashioned broccoli. Eating at least a few servings a week will confer all the benefits discussed above, and will ensure that you’re getting all the beneficial compounds that work in synergy with sulfurophane.
Only eat lightly steamed broccoli—full cooking or boiling will denature most of the good stuff. Better yet, also give broccoli sprouts a try. They’re packed with extremely high levels of sulfurophane, and they make a delicious, spicy addition to salads and smoothies.
Approximately one fifth of the American population consumes diet soda on a daily basis. The majority of individuals do so under the assumption that diet soda is significantly healthier than its sugary counterparts.
This is certainly the story that soft drink manufacturers have fed to us—but a growing body of research demonstrates that it’s a bald-faced lie.
As the lie of sugar’s healthfulness became more and more difficult to maintain, manufacturers turned to artificial sweeteners (despite early research that revealed the dangers of this laboratory chemicals from the very beginning).
The calorie-free nature of these chemicals is also a powerful leverage point, which allows companies to advertise diet soda as an ideal way to lose weight while protecting yourself against the dangers of conventional sugar.
This claim holds less and less water with every new study that’s published, but diet soda makers continue to whitewash their products nonetheless. Meanwhile, an increasing number of leading health experts warn that limiting artificial sweetener consumption may be just as important for your health as limiting sugar consumption.
Saccharin (the first artificial sweetener to hit the market) was found to cause cancer in animals not long after its commercial release
Diet soda myths
There’s a number of persistent myths out there about diet soda…let’s put them to rest.
Artificial sweeteners are safe and non-toxic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Saccharin (the first artificial sweetener to hit the market) was found to cause cancer in animals not long after its commercial release, aspartame was found to be so toxic that its release was delayed by nearly a decade, and sucralose (the newest artificial sweetener on the block) can lead to leukemia, severe bowel and kidney issues, cancer and systemic toxicity, neurotoxicity, inhibited thyroid function, and many other conditions.
Yet more research has shown that daily consumption of diet soda is linked with an increased risk of depression (even more so than drinking regular soda), that long-term diet soda consumption is linked with kidney dysfunction, that diet soda drinkers are more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke, and that drinking diet soda increases the risk of developing asthma and other respiratory problems (the more you drink, the higher the risk).
Daily consumption of diet soda is linked with an increased risk of depression
And shockingly, that still only scratches the surface of the dangers these chemicals carry. While they’re all pretty nasty, aspartame in particular has been linked with a dizzying list of side effects and health conditions, including memory loss, hearing loss, visual problems, fibromyalgia, weight gain (more on that in a bit), multiple sclerosis, fatigue, birth defects, lymphoma and other cancers, ADHD, Parkinson’s, and more (in addition to the health issues mentioned above).
Diet soda DON’T help you lose weight. Artificial sweeteners may carry the dangers presented above, but at least they’re more waistline-friendly than sugar, right? Wrong.
According to researchers, the intense sweetness of artificial sweeteners profoundly confuses the body and drives metabolic systems haywire. Hormone responses that normally signal hunger and satiety are upset, and thus diet soda drinkers tend to overeat.
It’s clear that the way to lose weight is to change the fundamental habits that led to the excess weight to begin with, not simply to replace sugar with something equally sweet, addictive, and unhealthful.
Diet soda is NOT safe for diabetics. Artificial sweeteners in diet soda may not spike blood sugar levels, but this absolutely does not mean that they’re safe for diabetics. As mentioned above, these chemicals wreck just as much havoc on metabolism as sugar (if not more).
Artificial sweeteners still trigger insulin in a way that causes your body to switch into fat storage mode, which leads to weight gain and metabolic dysfunction.
One study actually found that people who consume artificial sweeteners are 36% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome (the precursor to diabetes) and 67% more likely to develop full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Just say no
You’d think that, with all of the overwhelming evidence against diet soda and artificial sweeteners in general, people would stopped consuming it by now. In fact, there’s more than enough data to warrant banning them from commercial distribution (more than one team of lawyers has certainly tried to do so).
There’s more than enough data to warrant banning artificial sweeteners from commercial distribution
But the propaganda of soft drink manufacturing giants is strong—Coca-Cola is arguably one of the most widely distributed and universally recognized brands in the world. And the legal teams behind these companies appear to be just as entrenched; an artificial sweetener ban doesn’t seem like it will happen anytime soon.
The responsibility therefore falls on us to remove these toxic beverages from our lives. As is probably obvious from the discussion above, they’re just not worth whatever enjoyment they provide—and they’re certainly not a weight loss or diabetes-friendly solution.
If the thought of exiling fizzy, sweet beverages from your diet is unbearable, know that there are other options. Making your own sparkling water (with a Soda Stream or similar device) and then adding plant-derived flavorings is a great alternative, and kombucha is even better (thanks to its probiotic content).
Purathrive’s Thomas DeLauer explains how turmeric turns bad fat into good fat.
Weight management is a full-time job in which nearly everyone seems to be engaged—you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think they “could lose a few pounds.”
While vanity and impossible standards certainly define the weight loss world to an extent, the drive to maintain a healthy weight should nevertheless be viewed as a positive instinct. After all, those who are obese (or even just overweight) are at much higher risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, cancer, depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders, sleep apnea and breathing problems, osteoarthritis and bodily pain, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and all causes of death.
Unfortunately, though, even the surplus of vanity in the Western world doesn’t seem to be enough to keep obesity in check—one third of all U.S. adults are obese, and 69% of all Americans are either overweight or obese. In past articles, we’ve discussed the aspects of modern society that make obesity almost inevitable: the notoriously health-sapping American diet, every-present environmental toxins, and sedentary lifestyle practices, just to name a few.
In order to contend with all of these barriers to proper weight management, we need more than just an abdominal workout and occasional half-hearted dieting. Even those who maintain a disciplined diet and fitness regimen often find that shedding excess pounds is not an easy task.
Luckily, the healing dynamo turmeric has begun to weigh in on the subject (no pun intended), and studies show that this golden spice can be hugely helpful to anyone trying to lose weight.
A new way to lose weight
Most attempts at weight loss fail because they fail to address all of the factors of weight imbalance simultaneously. In fact, most of these factors are still deeply misunderstood by most people, who have been trained to believe that burning as many calories as possible is the key to weight loss.
While burning fat (as measured in calories) is certainly important, the process is ultimately much more complicated. Not to worry, though: studies have revealed that turmeric takes care of nearly every aspect of weight loss.
Turmeric literally supercharges the body’s own ability to burn fat. Here’s how…
Turning “bad” fats into “good” fats. Researchers have known for some time that our bodies contain two kinds of fat: brown fat, which expends excess energy through heat generation (and doesn’t cause weight gain), and white fat, which is the notorious kind that leads to obesity through fat storage. It turns out that curcumin actually turns white fat into brown fat by enhancing the expression of brown fat genes. Curcumin even causes apoptosis, or “programmed cell death,” in white fat cells, thus improving the ratio between brown fat and white fat. And the more brown fat you have, the more easily your body is able to burn more white fat through thermogenesis (which is induced by brown fat).
Welcome to the science of nutrigenomics, where the nutrients you consume can positively alter the ways that your genes express themselves. We’ve come a long way since crunches and calorie restriction were your only options for weight loss.
And this process of fat transformation is supported by turmeric’s many other fat-shedding mechanisms…
Anti-inflammatory activity. First and foremost, turmeric quells systemic inflammation, which is at the root of excess fat storage. Inflammation also causes physical pain, stiffness, fatigue, sluggishness, and illnesses of all sorts—all of which majorly discourage the active lifestyle that’s necessary to overcoming obesity. Check out this article to learn why turmeric is one of the most incredible (and safest) anti-inflammatories on the planet.
New mitochondria formation. Mitochondria are the energy-producing powerhouses of your cells. One study demonstrated that, by directly inducing mitochondrial biogenesis, curcumin (the turmeric polyphenol that the researchers chose to study) alleviates fatigue, supports the muscular system, enhances athletic performance, and increases fatty acid oxidation. These boosts all help remove the burdens that make weight loss so difficult (from the standpoint of both biochemistry and personal motivation).
Metabolism boosting. The metabolism—which can be thought of as the body’s “fat-burning furnace”—is often imbalanced and sluggish in those who are overweight or obese. This dysfunction makes weight loss even more difficult, as much more work is needed to burn the same quantity of fat. Turmeric breaks this cycle by drastically increasing the activity of a metabolism-balancing protein called AMP-activated protein kinase, which increases the rate at which fat can be burned.
Healthy “weight maintenance” proteins. Turmeric also increases levels of many other proteins that serve as markers of healthy weight maintenance and metabolism. Most notable are hormone-sensitive lipase and p-acyl-CoA carboxylase, which signal the body’s increased ability to burn fat and the suppression of new fat production.
But not all forms of turmeric are created equal…
Stores are overflowing with turmeric products—but the unfortunate truth is that most of those powders and capsules offer very little benefit.
Turmeric powder has a fairly low bioavailability (meaning that a good portion of it isn’t properly absorbed by your body), it often isn’t very fresh, and it’s sometimes made with harsh processes that can destroy or degrade turmeric’s healthful components.
Because turmeric is hard to absorb, it must be formulated in a certain way allowing the body to absorb and utilize its entire spectrum of nutrients.
Otherwise it is useless…
PuraTHRIVE Organic Turmeric Extract is an outstanding full-spectrum extract that’s “liposomalized”—meaning it’s specifically blended to make the turmeric bind to phospholipids (fats) that increase its bioavailability 10 to 20 times!
This formulation takes all that raw turmeric has to offer and presents it in a format that your body LOVES to consume.
==> Give this truly revolutionary product a try… you won’t believe how quickly you feel its effects. Once you do, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make turmeric a part of your daily life a long time ago.
If you follow the ebb and flow of dietary trends, then you may have heard of the ketogenic diet. At first glance, it may seem like just another high-fat fad, a sort of “get fit quick” scheme that can yield fast results but isn’t ultimately sustainable.
But many health experts believe that it’s much more than just a fad. A huge amount of ongoing research suggests that eating a ketogenic diet can balance and align your metabolism on a fundamental level, increase energy levels, boost brain function, and aid with fat burning and weight management.
And unlike the Atkins diet and other extreme eating styles, ketogenic diets are entirely sustainable, provided that you’re making healthy choices within the guidelines of the diet. The main problem with Atkins was its “have as much bacon for breakfast as you want, as long as you skip the toast” mentality—any nutritional doctrine that ignores basic principles regarding healthy vs. unhealthy foods is doomed to failure).
So what is a ketogenic diet?
“Ketogenic” literally means “ketone generating.” In order to understand what that phrase means in the context of your nutrition, we’ll need to take a detour into discussing how the body generates the energy it needs in order to function.
The body powers itself using two types of fuel sources: glyocgens (which are made out of sugars) and ketones (which are made out of fats).
The glycogen cycle is the energy generation and storage method with which you’re probably most familiar—through this process, the body turns sugar (glucose) into a usable form of energy. Glucose is the quickest and easiest energy source, so the body “prioritizes” it (meaning that whenever you consume sugars or carbohydrates, the body will power itself with glycogens, even if you’ve also consumed the fats necessary to make ketones).
So why not just stick with the quick and easy way of generating energy?
Here’s the problem: the process of glycolysis (i.e. the creation of glycogens to fuel the body) leads to a “blood sugar cycle.” Blood sugar rises as sugars are processed, insulin is released to signal the storage and usage of the newly created energy, and then blood sugar falls as your body runs out of glycogens. This is the crash that occurs anywhere from three hours to thirty minutes after eating a carbohydrate-rich meal—and as you probably already know, it’s not a great feeling.
Before you know it, you’re stuck in an endless cycle of refueling with more sugars, in order to prevent the lethargy, brain fog, and moodiness that accompanies the inevitable blood sugar crash. And the hunger felt during these low blood sugar states is of the desperate variety, so it doesn’t exactly promote healthy food choices—these are usually the moments when we give in to our cravings, which are most likely for the sugary, starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods that started the whole cycle in the first place.
And the repercussions of this kind of glycogenic diet are serious and far-reaching (as if dealing with the symptoms of this perpetual blood sugar roller coaster weren’t bad enough). Constant insulin spikes decrease insulin sensitivity over time and lead to diabetes, sugars cause chronic inflammation (the “root of all disease”), and these bodily conditions make it nearly impossible to maintain a healthy weight or function at peak performance.
Break the cycle with ketones
There’s another option: by dramatically decreasing your carbohydrate intake, you can switch your metabolic state from glycolysis to ketosis, during which the liver uses fat to form an energy source called ketones.
The formation and usage of ketones doesn’t necessitate blood sugar fluctuation or insulin release, so it’s a much “cleaner” way to power the body. Ketones also burn much more slowly, so you won’t experience crashes, cravings, or desperate feelings of hunger every couple hours. In fact, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the incredible boost in overall energy that a ketogenic diet can provide.
And ketosis doesn’t just feel better for you—numerous studies have also confirmed that it carries a whole host of benefits. It dramatically accelerates weight loss, and helps heal diabetes (by improving insulin sensitivity) and cancer (by starving cancer cells of the sugar they need to grow).
The brain also loves ketones. Because your brain is an incredibly sensitive and sophisticated organ that uses up to 25% of the body’s total energy, it’s particularly stressed by both the ups and downs of the blood sugar cycle, as well as the free radicals that are created through glycolysis. Ketones bypass all of these problems, and thus provide the brain with high-octane fuel that allows for greatly improved mental clarity and cognitive function. Studies have even demonstrated that ketogenic diets can be used to heal epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological disorders.
Remember, though: ketosis only occurs when you train your body to use fats instead of sugars for energy. As soon as you eat any carbohydrates, your body hops right back into glycolysis. The process of teaching your body to burn fat efficiently can take a bit of time (it’s referred to as “keto-adaptation”), so be patient with yourself.
There are many different variations of the ketogenic diet, but the “standard ketogenic diet” consists of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. Stick with the kind of healthy fats that we’ve discussed in other articles, especially coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and olive oil. Eating your carbs only before periods of activity will help with weight loss (this process is called carbohydrate sequencing), but don’t worry about it too much if you’re just getting started.
Give it a try for at least a month or two. Within a week or two, most people realize that this is the real deal—and while the process of keto-adaptation can sometimes be challenging, the weight loss, skyrocketed energy levels, crystal-clear cognitive performance, and long-term benefits are well worth the effort.
It’s January and what does everyone want to do in January? They want to lose weight and avoid getting sick. Well, good news! Apple Cider Vinegar is your new best friend!
How apple cider vinegar helps you lose weight
Apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight in a few different ways. Firstly, its strong flavor stimulates the production of stomach acid and bile in the digestive system, so that you are able to break down food more effectively.
While the mainstream media and pharmaceutical industry tell us that too much stomach acid is a common problem, this is actually incorrect. Many people, especially those consuming a diet high in processed foods, suffer from low stomach acid, which contributes to poor digestion and weight gain.
Apple cider vinegar also supports weight loss by contributing good bacteria to the gut microbiome. This is where we should mention that the type of apple cider vinegar you buy is very important. It must be raw, unpasteurized, organic apple cider vinegar.
You will be able to tell from the cloudy appearance of the vinegar. There may even be chunks or strings floating in the liquid. This is entirely safe, and in fact, ideal! Those bits indicate that there are healthy living cultures in the vinegar.
When you drink this living probiotic food, more beneficial bacteria take up residence in your gut. These bacteria protect you from illness and play an important role in extracting nutrition from what you eat. This means that you are able to get more nutrients from less food, and your body becomes satisfied more quickly.
Finally, apple cider vinegar supports weight loss by stabilizing blood sugar. A number of studies performed on diabetic patients found that blood sugar levels showed less fluctuation when a small amount of apple cider vinegar was consumed before a meal.
Wondering how to make use of this wonder remedy? Read on for our favorite ways to use apple cider vinegar for weight loss.
How to make an apple cider vinegar drink for weight loss
Drink a teaspoon in water
The simplest way to add raw apple cider vinegar to your weight loss regime is by adding a teaspoon to a glass of water and drinking it upon waking, before lunch and before dinner. This way your digestion is fired up and your blood sugar remains stable!
Make a juice blend
For those who don’t enjoy the taste of apple cider vinegar, we recommend mixing it into a juice or smoothie! This is a great way to get more vitamins and minerals into your diet. Just be sure to make your own fresh juice rather than buying ready-made beverages, which usually have sugar added!
Make an immune-boosting remedy
Warning: this concoction is not for the faint of heart! If you really want to step up your health, try making immune-boosting shots with potent health-boosting ingredients. You can mix a small amount of crushed garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a little turmeric, some apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some raw honey with a small amount of water. Mix this together and drink it down whenever you want to prevent illness, especially in cold and flu season!
Apple cider vinegar safety
This should go without saying, but just because something is good for you, it does not mean that more is better. A little bit of apple cider vinegar every day can really improve your health, but drinking lots of it will not help you to lose even more weight!
In fact, there have been reports of people suffering damage to the esophagus from drinking apple cider vinegar straight from the bottle. We recommend consuming no more than three tablespoons daily, and always diluting the vinegar with other liquids.
Apple cider vinegar should be consumed with caution by people with a condition called gastroparesis, or delayed emptying of the stomach. Some experts have expressed concern that the increased acid levels could cause damage to digestive organs. We recommend addressing underlying conditions with a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet before adding apple cider vinegar to your daily regimen.
Whether or not you need to lose weight, raw apple cider vinegar makes an excellent addition to your preventative health routine!
Mother Nature’s All-In-One, All-Natural, Cure-All, and Multi-Purpose Life Elixir Backed by Research and Natural Health Enthusiasts since Hippocrates…
Researchers are convinced—more than ever before—about the nutritional benefits of walnuts. Walnuts are delicious, satisfying, and packed with health benefits, but they rarely make it onto the short list of healthy foods.
When I was growing up, walnuts would pretty much only make an appearance during the holiday season, when my mother would use them to make Christmas sweets. But research demonstrates that you’d do well to keep these nutrient-dense nuts handy all year round.
Here’s why they deserve a prominent spot in your diet…
They’re chock-full of healthy fats, vitamins, and nutrients. For a long while, all fats were shunned as unhealthy, but we’re finally reaching the light at the end of that tunnel. It’s now widely known that only some fats are bad for you—and in almost every case, it’s the fats that have touted as the healthy ones (such as vegetable oil and other polyunsaturated fats).
Walnuts are high in healthy saturated fats, and low in carbohydrates (which are the real culprits when it comes to obesity and disease). They’re even a moderately good source of protein.
Researchers have also been surprised to find that walnuts pack a serious nutrient punch. They’re a good source of vitamin E, the full spectrum of B vitamins, melatonin, minerals like manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron, and more antioxidants than any other nut.
They contain rare antioxidants—like quinone juglone, tellimagrandin, and morin—which are so powerful at scavenging free radicals that researchers refer to them as “remarkable.”
They fight (and prevent) chronic diseases like a champ. Once again, researchers have been pleasantly surprised by the potent disease-fighting power of the humble walnut.
Studies have demonstrated that they reduce the risk of a wide variety of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and male infertility. Just one serving of walnuts per day (a quarter to half a cup) can significantly lower fasting insulin levels,  inhibit the growth of breast and prostate tumors,  and improve sperm quality and motility. 
They are good for the brain. Walnuts contain a number of neuroprotective compounds, including vitamin E, folate,melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. Research shows walnut consumption may support brain health, including increasing inferential reasoning in young adults and Alzheimer’s in seniors and adults.
One study also found that consuming high-antioxidant foods like walnuts “can decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging,” “increase health span,” and also “enhance cognitive and motor function in aging.” 
They are incredibly heart-healthy. Walnuts are particularly adept at keeping your heart strong and healthy. They’re very high in the amino acid l-arginine and the fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid (ALA)—and a diet rich in these compounds has been shown to decrease the risk of death from cardiac events by up to 50%. 
And you can begin reaping these benefits by eating just four walnuts a day (that’s all it takes to significantly boost your ALA levels). Up that to one ounce per day, and you can significantly reduce cardiovascular risk across the board.
They help you make smarter overall dietary choices. On top of being nutrient-dense, walnuts are also great at satisfying your appetite. Studies have shown that, for this reason, eating walnuts actually increases the overall quality of your diet—mainly because the satiety they provide helps you make smarter food choices throughout the day.
A study at Yale University Prevention Research Center found that when participants added just two ounces of walnuts to their daily diet, they displaced unhealthy foods and improved their cholesterol, blood pressure, and other markers of cardiovascular health.
And contrary to what you might expect, participants in this study actually lost weight (nuts are usually considered fattening). As with anything, walnuts should be eaten in moderation—as long as you follow this rule of thumb, though, walnuts can be greatly helpful for weight management. Another study showed that, just by adding a handful of walnuts to their daily diet, participants lost an extra 1.4 pounds and an inch off their waistline.
Eat Organic Walnuts (plus easy recipes)
Just remember that, as usual, organic is always a better choice than conventional—if you’re not buying organic walnuts, you can’t be sure you’re actually getting any of the benefits listed above. Not only do many conventionally grown foods lack the nutrients of their organic cousins—they can also be actively bad for your health, because of the pesticides and other toxins that they often contain.
The same goes for raw vs. pasteurized or roasted walnuts. Only truly raw walnuts live up to their highest nutrient-dense potential—any other kind is at best stripped of its beneficial components, and at worse irradiated or polluted by industrial processing.
This holiday season, try adding organic, raw walnuts to your diet with these delicious recipes…
Maple Glazed Walnuts
2 cups walnut halves
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat a dry skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the walnuts, maple syrup and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until syrup is caramelized and nuts are toasted, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
2 cups raw, organic walnut halves
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 teaspoons olive oil or coconut oil (or other healthy oil of your choice)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix your honey and oil with 1 tablespoon of water and heat gently (high heat will destroy the enzymes in the honey). Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and toss the walnuts in it (this way, the walnuts are not heated and remain raw), and sprinkle in the salt, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. You can also brown the spiced walnuts in a skillet for 2-3 minutes, but doing so will denature some of its beneficial components.
Serve your Spiced Walnuts as a healthy, satisfying appetizer, chop them up and sprinkle over side dishes, or add them to your favorite salad. See? Holiday cooking can be healthy!
Green tea is easily one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. Its rich profile of antioxidants, nutrients, and other therapeutic compounds make it a powerful tool for improving nearly every aspect of your health.
And after studying some of these compounds more thoroughly, many researchers have decided that green tea is one heck of a functional food too (this means that its constituents can be used to treat specific diseases and conditions). Before we get into the details about what studies have revealed, though, let’s take a look at green tea’s illustrious history, which will give you a better idea of just how underestimated this stuff is as a natural medicine.
The history of this great healing tea is long and winding, but we know for sure that the leaves of the Camellia sinensis tree were harvested and steeped as a tea as long as 5000 years ago. The “green” in green tea refers to the fact that the leaves are not cured, aged, or otherwise oxidized in any form prior to being steeped (in ancient times, all tea was “green” tea). Green tea became a mainstay of the Chinese civilization, and continues to be lauded as a health and longevity tonic even in the modern incarnation of traditional Chinese medicine.
Meanwhile, in the world of conventional medicine, green tea remained an unassuming beverage—that is, until studies started scientifically confirming its incredible healing properties.
Green tea zaps cancer stem cells
Green tea began getting a lot more attention when researchers discovered that one of the compounds it contains, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), dramatically inhibits cancerous tumor growth by targeting cancer stem cells (CSC’s).
As we’ve discussed in other articles, CSC’s are the “mother” cells that control the proliferation of cancer cell colonies—if you can knock them out (which neither chemo or radiation can do), you can beat the whole tumor. Scientists have been surprised to find that healing foods, not dangerous and expensive cancer treatments, may be the key to fighting CSC’s. A recent study listed EGCG as one of the top CSC-targeting foods.
Like many of the other top anti-cancer foods, green tea interrupts the signaling pathways of CSC’s. Simply put: it breaks down communication between CSC’s and the colonies of cancer cells they control, so that growth and proliferation can’t happen as easily.
Prevention is the key
Even if you or a loved one isn’t battling cancer, you’d still do well to befriend green tea.
For starters, it’s just as good at preventing cancer as it is at curing it. The National Cancer Institute predicts that by 2050, cancer will affect one out of every three women, and one out of every two men—so you can never be too careful when it comes to prevention.
And green tea is the real deal: one 10-year prospective study demonstrated that drinking green tea every day delayed the onset of cancer by up to 7.3 years (in individuals with biomarkers indicating the development of cancer).
There’s also significant evidence suggesting that green tea can prevent primary cancer altogether, especially when consumed in conjunction with other anticancer foods and compounds. Studies have found that green tea consumption can lower the risk of breast cancer by 22%, lower the risk of prostate cancer by 48%, and lower the risk of colorectal cancer by a whopping 57%. All across the board, studies have shown that those who frequently drink green tea are less likely to develop various types of cancer.
And it’s not just cancer against which green tea protects you. Name an ailment or health problem, and there’s probably a statistic showing how green tea can help you with it. Here’s just a few examples…
Brain health. Drinking green tea offers a cognitive boost that many people find superior to that of coffee, because it contains an anti-anxiety compound called L-theanine, which synergizes with caffeine. It also cumulatively improves brain function over time, protects the brain from neurodegeneration, and significantly lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Heart health. With its abundance of antioxidants, green tea lowers total and LDL cholesterol, and protects LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation. Taken together, these benefits amount to a 31% lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Disease resistance. The bioactive compounds in green tea kill bacteria, inhibit viruses like influenza, and lower your overall risk of disease. A body continually enriched with loads of antioxidants is one that is much better at resisting disease.
Weight and blood sugar management. Green tea boosts metabolism, increases fat oxidation by 17%, and has been shown to improve overall physical performance by up to 12%—all of which helps immensely with weight management. This is just one reason why it also lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by an impressive 42% (it also lowers blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity).
Longevity. The coup-de-grace: a Japanese study demonstrated that drinking green tea can lower the risk of death by all causes by 23% in women and 12% in men.
Get the picture?
You couldn’t ask for more out of a beverage—it’s delicious, nurturing (when hot), refreshing (when cold), energizing (without being overly stimulating or anxiety-inducing), and packed to the gills with health-promoting compounds.
So if you’re interested in living a longer, stronger, more disease-free life, be sure to add green tea to your list of daily (or at least frequent) health rituals.
We also highly recommend this amazing blend of superfoods green drink which contains organic matcha green tea, matcha is high in the antioxidant called EGCG which reduces stress, regulates hormones within normal ranges, and reduces appetite. (EGCG) epigallocatechin gallate, has also been identified to dramatically inhibit cancerous tumor growth by targeting cancer stem cells (CSC’s).