Do We Really Need to Take Vitamins for Our Health?

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Vitamins got their name because they are "vital to life," meaning that if you are completely deprived of them for a long period of time, you become sick. One hundred years ago many of our forefathers did suffer from malnutrition. That was an age of under-nutrition. Americans are now living in an age of over-nutrition or over-eating, depending on how you look at it. Today's modern food distribution system and the availability of a wide range of fresh foods throughout the year mean dietary deprivation is no longer an issue in this country. Except for a few isolated cases of people who can't absorb their food, we haven't seen mass cases of vitamin deficiency in this country since the pilgrims washed ashore.

We've just been frightened or overly excited by vitamin manufacturers, the processed food industry, and their supporters in the government into thinking we can benefit from supplements. We don't.

The link between health and vitamins may have gained momentum in 1962 when Linus Pauling won the Nobel Prize. He was convinced that mega doses of vitamins would be good for your health. But these claims were based solely on his personal experience with vitamins; his own research had nothing to do with Vitamin C. Just because one person takes a pill and they feel better (even if they are a Nobel Prize winning scientist) that doesn't mean that the pill was responsible for the effect. That is why we have placebo-controlled trials. In fact there is no evidence to support the claim that Vitamin C in pills or in fresh foods prevents colds. The best that can be said is that Vitamin C reduces symptoms by 23%, and may decrease the length of time you suffer from cold symptoms by about a day. The fact that Vitamin C continues to be touted for the prevention of colds can only be attributed to the incredible marketing ability of the vitamin and supplement industry and the ability of the American public to suspend disbelief.

The modern day obsession with vitamins can be traced to back to a book from the 1960s called 'Let's Get Well' by Adelle Davis. She author advocated high doses of vitamins for most of the ills of modern life. She claimed that she spent many hours in the library reading the scientific literature to find support for the statements, which she made in her books, which were the most influential sources of the modern day obsession with vitamins, supplements and nutrition in the support of health . Later it was found that most of the citations she made were grossly inaccurate or had no basis in reality. It appears that our current belief in vitamins and supplements were built on a foundation of sand.

The USDA hedged their bets in regards to vitamins when in 1941 they first came up with the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The RDA determined how many vitamins and minerals we need to take in daily in our diets (this is not to be confused with the food pyramid, developed by the USDA in the 1950s, which tells us how much of different food groups we need, like fruits, vegetables, cereals, meat, and dairy products). Most of us are familiar with the RDA from our childhood days of reading the back of our cereal boxes during breakfast time. What most people don't understand is that the authors of the RDA only knew what type of deprivation was required to develop illness.

The USDA didn't really know what the minimum was you could take and still be healthy. For instance, pellagra is a deficiency of niacin (Vitamin B-3) that plagued the American South in the first part of the 20th Century, with associated mental dullness, lethargy, and other symptoms. Pellagra was related to the Southern narrow diet of fat back, corn bread and molasses. When foods with niacin and its precursor, tryptophan, such as meats and dairy products, became more available as the standard of living rose, the deficiency was eliminated along with the disease.

However, since the Southern diet was previously devoid of these foods, and since no clinical trials were ever conducted to determine the minimum amount of niacin required, government officials essentially hedged their bets and doubled what you probably need. Better safe than sorry. They also based the recommendation on a tall, young, healthy male who exercises on a regular basis. That means the RDA recommendations don't apply to women, children, the elderly, small people, or sedentary folks. They don't have a clue about how much those people need. In fact, if those people followed the USDA recommendations, it wouldn't be possible to eat enough food to get all the vitamins they say are needed without getting fat, unless they exercised quite a bit. Based on the fact that the RDA analysis of vitamin requirements is based on a bogus standard related to a young healthy male, and an estimate that started out at least double the necessary requirement, the RDA nutritional requirements are at least four times the actual minimum amount of vitamins and minerals, and probably much, much more.

Bottom line is I think it is a waste of time and money to take vitamins. And there are some hidden risks, for instance some vitamins have been shown to increase the risk of cancer and heart disease, rather than decrease them.

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Source by Doug Bremner

Making Lifestyle Changes Is the Need of the Hour

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A couple of decades ago when I was a kid and in school I remember there were very few people who had diabetes, hyper tension, obesity, high or low blood pressure, back aches and similar kinds of health issues. There were hardly any cases of chronic neck pain and a heart attack case was seldom heard of in a country like India, where I live. The picture has completely changed today because presently the issues that I have mentioned above are common. Today every third or fourth person is over weight, has got diabetes or suffering from arthritis, stiff neck, cervical pain or slip disc, back pain, etc. I can say with full confidence that presently there are a very small percentage of people who are completely fit and free from diseases.

The only reason that I find is responsible for the present unhealthy state is our lifestyle. We have become lethargic and self-indulgent. We eat wrong foods, drink heavily, and smoke frequently. We do all these things just to overcome our anxiety or to get relief from our tension filled life. Our life has certainly become complex and our unhealthy lifestyle has added fuel to the fire, and has led to serious body ailments, deformities, obesity and in turn untimely deaths, premature aging, etc. That has finally made us sad, unhappy, and unhealthy.

In my opinion attaining a healthy body is not at all a very difficult task. By making some minor lifestyle changes we can keep ourselves fit and trim. We can overcome all such issues by following a simple diet and exercise routine. By making a few modifications in our diet and combining that with a little exercise all our problems can automatically get solved.

I have a few tips that I will like to share with people who have become obese or are suffering from some kind of stress, have problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, cervical pain, back pain, joint pain, etc. I am not going to suggest any medicine or a pill to you. My formula of getting fit and keeping fit is simple and easy to implement. If you are really serious about your health then just follow what I am going to tell you and I guarantee you will never have any health problem the whole of your life.

What you need to do is to eat a healthy and a low-fat diet. For example, you can have boiled eggs, fruits, milk or cereals like oats, porridge, corn flakes, etc. for breakfast. Eat a heavy breakfast, have moderate lunch consisting salads, yoghurt, pulses, rice or a vegetable, and a light as well as early dinner. In dinner your menu can be two pieces of roasted chicken, ham or any other meat, other than red meat, one or two helpings of your favorite vegetable dish, three or four slices of bread or buns and a glass or two of your favorite wine.

Along with dietary changes if you can do some aerobic exercises like brisk walking or jogging for half an hour, thrice or four times in a week, all the above mentioned health issues will itself get resolved. The tips I have given can help in making you disease free and I am of a firm belief that a healthy lifestyle is definitely your ticket to good health and happiness.

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Source by Harparamjot Singh Sahota

Why Do We Need Good Fats in Our Diet?

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Why good fats? What are these good fats, and why are they so good for us? Why do we need these good fats in our daily diet?

We used to try to avoid fat, but we still gained weight. Now we know that we need some fats in our daily diet to keep ourselves healthy, avoiding all fats can be detrimental to our health. The healthy fats are know to us as the “good” fats.

So what exactly are these good fats? and why are they so important in our diet?. We know natural fats as either saturated or unsaturated, the saturated fats are mainly from animal fats like butter, cream, beef. These fats are solid fats and are not good for us in large quantities over time.

Unsaturated fats are mainly oils from vegetables like olive oils, as well as the oils that we get from seeds, nuts, eggs, oily fish and leafy green vegetables. These are all needed, as they give us the essential fatty acids that we need from the groups Omega 3 and Omega 6. It is important that you are getting the correct ratio of Omega 3:6 in your daily diet, it is essential for good health and can protect us against certain disorders and food allergies.

These essential fatty acids are needed in the body for many reasons:

Healthy hormone production

Healthy immune system

Protect our internal organs

Help improve cholesterol levels

Fuel to burn when needed

Keep our skin & hair healthy

Maintaining our mental stability

To assist in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E & K, which we need for healthy growth and development.

We all tend to eat too many saturated fats, it is hard to avoid them with the packaged and processed food that we find on the supermarket shelves. Experts have agreed that we should limit our total fat intake to 30 percent, with no more than 10 percent of that coming from saturated fats. Which means that we should be cutting back on our intake of meats, butter, ice-cream and commercial products. Then increasing our intake of fish, flaxseed, eggs, avocado and olive oils to ensure a healthy diet.

When you are next thinking about cutting the fat on your diet to lose weight, don’t include the “good” ones as you need them for a healthy diet.

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Source by Kym Crawford

The Paleo Diet – The Truths You NEED to Know

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Many people see the Paleo movement as a super-clean, version of the infamous Atkins Diet; lots of lean meats, no carbs, no dairy, lacking in variety, and expensive. These opinions are simply not entirely true.

The FACTS are: Paleo is clean, but you CAN have carbs, avoid self-deprivation, and you can even keep your fats too!

The name Paleo stems from the Paleolithic era which was a pre-historic period when early man began to emerge. This is why it is sometimes called the Caveman or Evolutionary Diet. It came about as scientists were studying how early man ate and how their eating affected their health status. Scientists found that conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes were nearly absent in our pre-historic past, and researchers wanted to determine if diet played a role.

The cornerstone of the Paleo Diet, is restriction of items such as grains, sugar, and processed foods, while encouraging consumption of vegetables and meat as primary energy sources. This is a sharp contrast with the food pyramid of the early 1990’s, where grains, breads, and pastas were the principal sources of calories in the Standard American Diet, appropriately abbreviated “S.A.D.”

The problem is that S.A.D. has led to unprecedented rates of obesity and chronic disease in epidemic proportions. Researchers have found that because our early ancestors were hunters and gatherers, our genes innately evolved to digest meats and vegetables easily. On the other hand, since sugar and carbohydrates were much harder to find in nature, we have little to no genetic protection against the deleterious effects of the massive amount of carbohydrates that we eat in today’s agricultural society.

So what does that mean for you? It means that foods that you can readily find in nature are part of the Paleo Diet, because that’s where our ancestors found food. Our genetics have evolved to provide our bodies with the necessary proteins and biological machinery to handle meats, veggies, and fruits in a highly efficient and effective manner. Still, carbohydrates are not the enemy. In fact, they are essential for the body in small portions similar to what you would find in fresh fruit. However, grains and plain sugar bombard our systems with so much glucose at one time that our bodies often become overwhelmed. This is a major factor contributing to the increasing rates of obesity, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and many other secondary conditions.

As a structural chiropractor, I take care of patients on a daily basis who must decrease inflammation and their overall body weight in order to maintain healthy and balanced spinal structure and function. As an individual’s weight drops and the inflammatory response of the body diminishes, the spine will have greater protection from disc degeneration, arthritis, and other degenerative issues.

While my primary focus and expertise is in structural correction, I recommend the Paleo Diet because of its focus on fresh meats and vegetables, providing a scientifically sound way for most people to eat for weight control and optimal health.

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Source by Dr. Jonathan Chung

Why You Need a Low Carb Diet Plan Menu

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Anytime an individual considers living a low carb lifestyle, even though there is a ton of information out there, it’s always easiest to mentally prepare yourself if you have something laid out in front of you, like a diet plan. Even with the sheer amount of diet plans out there for nearly every diet ever created, there really aren’t as many low carb diet guides as you might think. Sure, there are paid ones, which is fine, but until you know you’re 100% committed, it’s always best to grab a free one if the option is available to you.

Typically, a good diet plan will contain the following information:

1. An introduction that gets you mentally motivated and pumped up to start or continue your new way of eating.

2. Typically, it will contain a list of recipes. Usually one whole week’s worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes is perfect. Anything more than that isn’t overkill, but might border on information overload.

3. After the list of recipes, a good diet plan will keep you motivated, and perhaps provide some tips and tricks on how to save money on the food, snack ideas, and other bonuses to help you on your journey.

4. It should conclude with more motivational content, words and factual information, even real life stories that will really get you excited about starting your journey.

Low carb dieting isn’t necessarily difficult, however, without proper motivation, it will test you. Sure, eating meat, cheese, eggs, and all of that good stuff perks low carb dieter’s interest at first, and it should, but just keep in mind after the first few weeks (or even sooner if you’ve low-carbed in the past), it will get to be somewhat tedious. If you’re used to eating three-hundred carbs per day, and you drop it down to twenty or so, you’re going to have cravings, and that’s where a good low carb diet plan will come in handy.

If you end up purchasing a physical book that has a low carb diet plan, that’s great, as you can have it laying around ready to read whenever you need it. More conveniently, if you obtain a low carb diet plan in the form of an eBook (usually a .pdf), you’ll have it handy on your computer for quick access, but better yet, you can print out several copies of it, which you could put on your nightstand, leave one in your car, one at your parents house etc, etc.

Bottom line, if you’re going to jump into a low carb lifestyle, then the best thing you can do for yourself is do a little research, find a good diet plan, and stick to it. Stay motivated, because the weight will come off, but you have to be committed, and without guidance, that can sometimes be a challenge!

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Source by Ryan L.

Perimenopause and Insomnia-What You Need to Know

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“There is no effective drug for your type of insomnia.”

That’s what my doctor said when I came to see him about my condition.

To be more accurate, I believe it was something like, “There’s nothing you can do about that!”

I’m sure you can imagine how those words made me feel…

The type of insomnia I struggled with was the kind where you wake in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. I was actually quite fine falling asleep initially, but would wake anywhere between 1:00 am to 4:00 am. Sometimes I would go back to sleep. Sometimes not.

There were quite a few days when I would wake around 1:00 and not be able to get back to sleep. I would have a whole busy day ahead of me trying to function on just 2 or 3 hours of rest.

So imagine me, desperate, going to my doctor, only to have him tell me he couldn’t help me. Even worse, that NO ONE could!

Perimenopause and Insomnia

But guess what? My doctor was wrong.

There was and is a lot you can do to alleviate insomnia. Even the kind where you wake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.

Perimenopause and insomnia go hand in hand. And that particular type of insomnia is very common for women during this time. How come? Because it is a symptom of hormone imbalance and estrogen dominance.

Is that the kind of insomnia you suffer from?

Well, I have some great news for you. There are a number of supplements and essential oils you can use that can help.

Better yet, getting to the root of the problem and balancing your hormones will go a long way in helping you catch some z’s.

Life style changes are crucial for balancing your hormones. A proper diet, exercise program and finding ways to alleviate your stress will help ease perimenopause and insomnia symptoms. If your insomnia is due to estrogen dominance, then taking steps to eliminate toxins from your home will also help considerably.

Balancing your hormones naturally does take quite a bit of time and effort but the rewards are worth it. Besides helping you get a full night’s rest, these lifestyle changes will put your body back in balance and boost your overall health. Many women who suffer from insomnia due to hormonal imbalance, likely struggle with other symptoms as well. Getting to the root of what ails you can often have the added benefit of alleviating multiple symptoms.

Sleep is crucial for your health and wellbeing. Managing your stress and balancing your hormones may be just what you need to get that deserved night’s rest.

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Source by Haley Robbins

Minerals: Plants Need Most of Them, Too

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Most of the minerals we need are the same ones plants require for their own growth. We both need: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, iron, boron, manganese, copper, zinc, molybdenum and chlorine.

Plants don’t store minerals for our benefit — they use them for their own life cycles. If any of their 16 essential elements is not available, the plant withers and dies. If you buy a tomato or a red bell pepper, you know that the plant grew successfully and had all of the minerals it needed. When you eat a wide variety of foods from plants, and animals who eat plants, you will get plenty of these minerals.

The minerals we need that plants don’t need are sodium, iodine, fluoride, selenium and cobalt. They may be in plants, but the plants do not die if they are not available. Most people get plenty of these minerals because our diet is abundant in salt, our water is fluoridated, and we eat foods grown in many different locations. Plants grown far from the oceans lack iodine, and a person who ate only those plants would have goiter, but this condition is no longer seen in North America because we use iodized salt and eat foods from all parts of the continent.

If you eat a moderately varied diet that includes plenty of plants, you should get all the minerals you need and your body regulates them efficiently. Strict vegetarians should check the amount of calcium in the foods they eat, and may wish to take supplements or foods fortified with calcium.

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Source by Gabe Mirkin, M.D.