This is Why Beer Benefits Your Health

8 ways beer is good for youTo quote Homer Simpson: “Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

As tongue in cheek as that may sound there’s some truth in those oft repeated words; it turns out that that most famous of adult beverages isn’t all bad. That frosty pint has very genuine, scientifically proven health benefits.

So the next time you’re knocking one (or a few) back – (try to) remember the incredible health benefits of this foamy, delicious, and internationally recognized drink.

Now, without further ado, we’ll look at exactly what’s in that beer, and I’ll show you the eight ways that beer can benefit your health.

What Is Beer?

what is beer?To many people, this may sound like a silly question – but it’s important to have a good understanding of this beautiful beverage.

There are only four ingredients that – with a considerable degree of skill – go into creating a drink so important to human history that it’s called ‘liquid bread’ in that famous homeland of superior brews; Germany.

Beer is essentially water, hops, grain, and yeast.

The grain (typically barley) is called the malt, and this is what the yeast ferments to produce the alcohol content. Hops reduce the sweetness of the malt and give the beer its distinctive taste. Besides barley, the grains that can be used to brew beer include; wheat, rice, corn or even various fruits or herbs.

The alcohol content of beer can range from less than 3% to over 40%, but most ales and lagers are within the 4% – 6% range.

As few as the ingredients that go into making your beer are; so is the list of health benefits long.

Let’s start with my favorite:

1) Beer Boosts Your Creativity

As counterintuitive as it may sound – it’s entirely true and backed by science. Researchers had forty test subjects watch a movie while trying to solve word puzzles, except that some of them had a blood alcohol level that would have gotten them a DUI in almost every US state.

The surprising conclusion? Test subjects with a blood alcohol level of .075 consistently outperformed their sober counterparts.

But, why is this so amazing? A blood alcohol level of .08 is characterized by

  • Definite impairment of muscle coordination
  • Impaired driving skills
  • Increased risk of nausea
  • Slurred speech

And yet, the sober test subjects couldn’t keep up with the drinkers! This goes a long way to explain the large number of (successful) wordsmiths who regularly enjoy a healthy drink.

2) Never Worry About Kidney Stones

beer mugRaise a cold one and celebrate having one less health worry; researchers in Finland have discovered that for every glass of beer you drink, you’ll also reduce your risk of developing (mind numbingly painful) kidney stones by 40%!

The exact reasons why beer has this protective effect aren’t at all understood but, there are two interesting theories:

  • The diuretic effect of alcohol keeps the kidneys working hard recycling that brew every time you go to the restroom
  • Hops may have the effect of slowing the release of calcium from your bones that can settle down and form (what feels like) mountain sized boulders in your urinary tract

3) Who Needs Beer Goggles?

It’s true that alcohol can change the way you perceive things, but this is different.

Research published in the Archives of Ophthalmology has demonstrated that alcohol consumption equivalent to just one daily stout or lager will increase the antioxidant activity that can prevent the formation of cataracts in your eyes.

A caveat: they also found that test subjects who had more than three drinks experienced the opposite effect. Moderation was the key.

So pop open that can and say cheers to clear eyesight!

4) Hops Can Prevent Cancer

beer can prevent cancerTell this one to the next person who disparages your love of beer. A flavonoids compound found in hops called Xanthohumol has proven anti-cancer properties that play a major role in the chemoprevention of prostate and other cancers.

Like wine, beer also contains health enhancing polyphenols (from the fermented grain) that also play a major role in fighting cancer.

5) Get Your B Vitamins

A Dutch study has confirmed that regular beer drinkers have B vitamin levels up to 30% higher levels of B6 and B12than non-drinkers. While wine drinkers also had significantly higher levels of B vitamins in their blood, the beer drinkers had B vitamin levels that were twice as high. Don’t just drink to someone’s health – drink for your health; B vitamins are essential for the health of your nerves, brain function, and energy metabolism.

6) Drink Beer to Prevent Stroke

Multiple studies have proven a correlation between beer drinking and a reduced risk of suffering a debilitating stroke.

Ischemic stroke risk is cut by up to 50% in moderate beer drinkers as compared to teetotalers. Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke and happen when a blood clot blocks oxygen to the affected part of the brain.

Incredibly, drinking beer makes your arteries and blood vessels more flexible; improving your blood flow significantly. This increased flexibility and blood flow make it much harder for a clot to form – no clot, no stroke.

7) Beer Keeps Your Mind Sharp As You Age

beer glassesForget the stereotype of the forgetful, absent minded drinker; studies going back to the late 1970’s strongly indicate that regular beer drinkers are up to 24% less likely to suffer from the cognitive impairment that usually comes with old age.

Current science still hasn’t come up with the reason why, although some researchers theorize that this benefit is related to the salubrious effect alcohol has on the cardiovascular system, certain flavonoids or the way booze can raise ‘good’ cholesterol levels.

It’s interesting to note that beer contains relatively high silicon levels compared to other drinks, and silicon is believed to protect your brain from the harmful effects of environmental aluminum.

8) Have a Beer before Bed

Beer consumption has been found to stimulate the production of dopamine in our brains – dopamine is a sedative hormone that has been prescribed by doctors to help insomniacs get the rest they need.

Strangely enough, just tasting beer will increase your dopamine levels! According to researchers all anyone needs is about one tablespoon to enjoy this calming effect – so don’t over do it.

Vitamin D | The Sunshine Vitamin

vitamin D supplementsWhat if you found out one vitamin can do all this:

  • Fight disease
  • Reduce depression
  • Boost weight loss
  • Protect against diabetes
  • Stave off heart disease

And is critical to the maintenance of optimum health?
Now, what if I told you that this vitamin is given away at no cost during part of the year?
I can understand if you’re skeptical; but you’ll understand shortly – read on to discover what this vitamin is, what it can do for your health, the dangers of missing out on this essential substance, and of course, the best ways to get your daily requirement of this, literal, foundation of human health.

The Sunshine Vitamin

The sunshine vitamin DIf you haven’t guessed by now; I’m talking about vitamin D, also called the ‘sunshine vitamin.’
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for facilitating the intestinal absorption of essential minerals such as; calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. Vitamin D also has other (critical) biological effects in humans. It can be acquired through diet or exposure to UV radiation (sunlight).
But this just covers the basics – research has discovered that this nutrient has an extraordinary level of influence over our health. Let’s start by taking a look at the consequences of not getting enough.

Deficiency Dangers

We only need to go back a little ways historically to see that rickets; a skeletal disorder that’s caused by a lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate, was once a common health problem in northern Europe and the UK. Vitamin D is vital for the body to metabolize the building blocks of strong, healthy bones. Rickets sufferers will experience symptoms like; weak and soft bones, retarded growth, and, in severe cases, skeletal deformities.

Vitamin D deficiency makes it almost impossible for the body to maintain sufficient levels both calcium and phosphate. When this happens, the body will produce hormones that leach calcium and phosphate from your bones. When bones lack these minerals, they inevitably become weaker and softer.

3 Risk Factors to Look Out For:

  • Geographic location: Your body produces vitamin D when you’re exposed to sunlight, so living in an area with little sunlight will put you at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Also, people who spend much of the day indoors are at risk.
  • Diet: You will have a greater risk of deficiency if you eat a vegetarian diet that doesn’t include fish, eggs, or milk. Having an allergy to milk sugar (lactose intolerance) is another risk factor.
  • Skin Color: darker skin does not react as strongly to sunlight as lighter colored skin; consequently individuals with higher melanin levels need much greater time exposed to the sun to produce the vitamin D they require.

To Stay Heart Healthy

Vitamin D is heart healthyNumerous studies have discovered a direct correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a significantly higher risk of heart disease and hypertension in adults. One reason for this has to do with vitamin D’s role in calcium absorption; contrary to popular belief an atherosclerotic blockage is mostly composed of calcium and not fat. Vitamin D deficiency may create a situation where excess calcium in the blood comes to rest in the cardiac arteries rather than being used for bone metabolism.

Low vitamin D levels have also been shown to be a risk factor for hypertension. Increasing serum vitamin D levels has consistently lowered blood pressure in individuals suffering from a diagnosed deficiency.

What about Diabetes?

Current research has linked low vitamin D levels with the development of insulin resistance which can result in diabetes. Preventing insulin resistance is important to head off this, frequently debilitating metabolic disorder. Studies have shown that test subjects given a daily dose of vitamin D equivalent to ten times the amount found in the average multivitamin increased their insulin sensitivity by almost 40%. This is a remarkable improvement according to researchers.

Stay Lean with Vitamin D

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered that a calorie restricted diet for weight loss is far more efficient for individuals who maintain healthy blood levels of vitamin D. All the women in the study who took supplemental vitamin D (2000 IU) and reached ‘replete’ levels of vitamin D (they had optimum levels) lost close to 30% more weight over a one year period than those who didn’t raise their blood levels to this point.
To maximize your weight loss efforts; you need to do more than increase your intake of D, you need to take enough to achieve a healthy blood level of this ‘super’ vitamin.

What Else can it Do?

The list of vitamin D benefits is incredibly long, and more benefits are being found every year – but here is a short list of what research has shown that this nutrient can do for you:

  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Reduces depression
  • Increased sense of well-being
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Fewer asthma attacks

What Foods Are Vitamin D Rich?

What foods are vitamin D richBesides getting sufficient exposure to sunlight or taking a daily supplement – there are many foods you can include in your diet to ensure that you’re getting enough:

  • Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and other fatty fish are rich in vitamin D
  • Beef liver is an easily found, and incredibly rich, source of D
  • Stop throwing away those egg yolks! Egg yolk is an great source of dietary vitamin D
  • If you love cheese – enjoy it in the knowledge that it provides your body with this essential nutrient
  • Cod liver oil is how many people have traditionally maintained healthy vitamin D levels
  • Shiitake mushrooms will bring a little more sunlight (vitamin) into your life
  • Milk and yogurt provide significant amounts as well

How About Supplements?

There are several types of vitamin D, but only two are important to humans: D2 and D3.
Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is created by plants, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is synthesized by the body when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays in sunlight. The biologically active form of this vitamin is calcitriol, which is synthesized in the kidneys from either D2 or D3.
Of the two types of vitamin D, D3 is the most efficient form that you can consume to maintain healthy levels of this nutrient in your body – so read the labels of that pill bottle and make sure that you’re taking the most active form of D to maintain your health during the winter months when you can’t get enough UV exposure on your skin to make your own.

Boost Your Immune System for School | Office | Home

Boost Your Immune System for School | Office | Home

You may be sweating through the dog days of summer – but fall and winter are just around the corner, and that means cold and flu season is quickly approaching. It’s time to think about boosting your immune system to prevent the misery of fever, headache, and chills.
Falling ill isn’t just a matter of bad luck, there are easy, effective, and natural ways to strengthen your body’s immune response to avoid infection and stay healthy from Halloween to Easter.

 

Why Does Cold Weather Make Us Sick?

This is an old myth that refuses to die; cold weather does not make us sick.

The problem is that we’re confusing cause and effect, it isn’t the cold that is making us ill – rather it’s the conditions that come with cold weather that make it easier for us to catch an illness. Here are the two most important reasons why you need a turbocharged immune system once the leaves start falling.

1) Humidity

Cold weather is dry weather.

Gone are the steamy days of late summer, this means your respiratory passages will have a tougher time maintaining a healthy layer of pathogen blocking mucus. This is why your nose can become runny when you go out in the cold; your nasal passages will work overtime trying to keep warm and hydrated.

This post nasal drip can carry pathogens directly to your lungs and stomach – making you sick.

2) Staying Inside

It’s not bad enough that the dry air outside is putting you at risk, but staying inside is also a way that the cold weather season makes getting ill almost inevitable.

Rhinoviruses peak in spring and fall, and influenza viruses peak in the winter primarily due to locking pathogens behind closed doors and windows as people gather for indoor activities like entertaining guests at home.

According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), dry air makes it easier for the flu virus to both survive and transmit itself. All that still, uncirculated, and dry air is a perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to jump from person to person with a sneeze or a touch.

A study conducted at Tianjin University in China discovered that students in dorm rooms with poor ventilation fell ill more often. Unfortunately, the average classroom in the US exposes students to the same unhealthy conditions.

Furthermore, researchers at Virginia Tech found that good air circulation, as well as higher indoor humidity, makes the influenza A virus inactive.

While there isn’t any connection between being cold and getting sick; stuffy, dry air does create the conditions that can lead to illness.

Here are some of the best ways to boost your immunity to fight off infections at home or work, and keep your kids from missing too many school days.

Get Enough Exercise

Exercise can decrease your chances of suffering heart disease and keeps your bones healthy and strong – but it also revs up your body’s immune response!

Science hasn’t discovered the reason why yet, but here are three good theories:

  1. The increase in body temperature is similar to a fever, with possibly the same effect; an inhospitable environment for any pathogens you may be exposed to.
  2. Physical exertion stimulates changes in the antibodies and white blood cells. When these infection fighters circulate more rapidly, it’s possible that they detect infections sooner.
  3. Exercise reduces your levels of stress hormones. Since stress can depress the immune response; lower stress hormones might protect against illness.

Don’t spend the winter on your couch playing video games with your kids, get up and move on a regular basis to keep your immune system in top shape.

These Herbs Can Boost Immune Function

There is evidence that many herbs used in traditional medicine provide benefits to our immune system and help us fight off infection.

Here are five of the best ones.
Echinacea

Echinacea is a purple flower originally used by Native Americans and renowned for its healing properties. The most often noted benefit of echinacea is its ability to make our immune cells more efficient at attacking bacteria, viruses and even abnormal cells so it’s harder to fall ill and shortening the duration of colds and flu when we do.

Elderberry

The anthocyanins in elderberries have a strong effect on immune function by boosting the production of cytokines (proteins that act as immune system messengers) to help improve your immune response.

There is also evidence that elderberry contains potent antiviral compounds and high levels of infection fighting bioflavonoids and that can help fight the flu. Elderberry extract is usually taken in a syrup and can be used as efficient protection against colds and flu.

Calendula

Also called the pot marigold; calendula oil has proven antimicrobial and fever reducing properties that make it a valuable addition to your immune boosting regime. Studies have demonstrated that calendula can also be used topically to speed wound healing and fight ear infections.

Garlic
cloves of garlicThis has to be the most delicious immune boosting herb you can use! Garlic is rich in allicin a form of sulfur with powerful antimicrobial and immune boosting effects.

Garlic will also boost your immune system by increasing the production of pathogen killing T-cells and has been found to be effective against cancer cells. Including garlic in your diet magnifies your natural infection fighting ability.

Astragalus Root

Astragalus has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s sometimes used on the skin for to speed healing of small wounds. Additionally, studies show that astragalus has potent antiviral properties and stimulates your immune system, meaning that it could help to prevent colds and flu.

You Need These Vitamins

Getting your minimum daily requirement of vitamins is an essential part of any health maintenance routine – but when it comes to boosting immune function; some vitamins are especially important.

Vitamin A

Commonly considered a vital nutrient for eye health, vitamin A (retinoic acid) powerfully influences our ability to fight off infection and stave off communicable diseases. Studies consistently show that maintaining healthy levels of vitamin A will help keep the immune system at its best.

B6
Also called pyridoxine; vitamin B6 is critical for healthy immune function and is an effective way to defend yourself against all kinds of pathogens by powerfully amplifying your body’s defense systems.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the superstar of the vitamin world – with countless studies finding that it’s useful in fighting a plethora of flu viruses as well as the (all too) common cold.

Research has shown vitamin C to be especially effective in fighting lung infections – and even killing bacteria (like antibiotic resistant tuberculosis) that pharmaceutical drugs can’t!

As cold and flu season approach make sure that your diet includes lots of vitamin C rich foods like citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and bell peppers.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a critical component of the immune system. A reduction in UV exposure due to short, cloudy winter days and increasing time spent indoors means that you’ll be getting much less vitamin D than you need to stay in peak, disease fighting condition.

According to researchers; people who have lower vitamin D levels have a significantly increased risk of developing the flu.

Keep your vitamin D levels high until the long days of summer return by eating oily fish like salmon and tuna, beef liver, and egg yolks.

Frequent Hand Washing!

washing hands frequently will boost immune systemThe easiest way to help your immune system to fight off colds and flu is to keep those nasty bugs from getting inside you, to begin with!

Establish a hand cleaning routine for everyone in your home; as soon as anyone comes in from being outside, they should wash their hands with soap and water. When outside you should either wash your hands or use an antibacterial gel every time you’ve touched objects that see a lot of traffic – like door knobs, keyboards, tools, devices, etc.

Humidify

humidify to boost immune systemAs stated earlier; higher indoor humidity and good air circulation will render influenza A virus inactive. Use a humidifier to maintain healthy moisture levels at work (if possible) and at home. Although the weather can be too cold for comfort – it’s in your best interest to also try to keep a steady stream of fresh air flowing into any room where you work, study or play.

Use these immune system boosting herbs and vitamins while you:

  • Keep your hands clean
  • Humidify the air
  • And keep your body moving

To stay cold and flu free until spring!

Why this is Still the Best Medicine

Laughing CoupleIt doesn’t matter whether you’re having a quiet chuckle while reading or a belly-clutching guffaw in a crowded comedy club – laughing feels good.

But, there’s nothing funny about how important laughter is for our health.

While a good giggle won’t cure any major diseases – there is a growing body of research that demonstrates the, sometimes extraordinary, positive things that laughter can do for your body and mind.

What is Laughter?

Simply put, laughter is a physiological reaction to particular emotional stimulus. What causes this reaction can vary widely across populations and individuals.

The Encyclopedia Britannica describes laughter as: “A rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory and involuntary action.

Fifteen face muscles contract and the zygomatic major muscle (the lifting mechanism of your upper lip) contracts as well. Simultaneously, the respiratory system is disturbed by the epiglottis half-closing the larynx, making air intake irregular, resulting in repeated gasping.

It actually doesn’t sound very pleasant at all.

But it does feel great, and science is discovering that laughter has genuine health benefits – keep reading to find out some of the remarkable benefits of laughter.

Stress Relief

Women Laughing While Facing Each OtherIt’s something we all know instinctively; laughing helps us to relax and can relieve nervous tension, and scientific research has discovered how.

Laughing reduces your levels of stress hormoones like

  • Epinephrine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Cortisol

High levels of these hormones will keep your blood pressure and heart rate elevated while depressing both recuperative ability and immune response.

Think about it; how many times have you heard of people laughing in the face of danger? Even when a loved one passes away – we can find relief from sadness in laughing over a beautiful memory about something they did or said.

It’s a Great way to Exercise Your Heart

No, you can’t base a fitness routine on laughter (or can you?), but it’s a fact that laughing powerfully stimulates your cardiovascular system.

This Maryland School of Medicine study shows that laughter is linked to blood vessel health. The study concluded that laughing makes the tissue that forms the inner lining of our blood vessels (the endothelium) expand to increase blood flow. Stress has an opposite effect; constricting our blood vessels and consequently reducing blood flow.

Maintaining a healthy endothelium reduces the risk of

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Donkey LaugingWhile increased blood flow will make blood pressure rise; when you stop laughing, relaxation will cause blood pressure to drop back down. Even better, this relaxation effect will help lower blood pressure below your baseline. Laughing also generates deep breathing, which sends more oxygenated blood through your body.

More Fun than Sit-ups

“Laugh until it hurts.”

Laughter can be an incredible strain on your muscles; the rhythmic, sometimes convulsive contraction of muscles is often exhausting during a period of prolonged laughter.

This study published in the Journal of Motor Behavior discovered that laughter powerfully stimulates the majority of trunk muscles.

It may not be the secret to getting a six-pack, but laughing still packs a powerful punch when it comes to working your core.

Pain Relief

The secret to laughter’s powerful pain relieving properties is endorphins.

Endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller. It’s well-known that long distance running and other endurance activities can stimulate the production of these natural morphines; the so-called ‘runner’s high.’ But, researchers have proven that laughing also stimulates endorphin production.

Researchers at Oxford University recruited a large number of volunteers from the ranks of undergraduate and discovered that the physical act of laughing raised the subject’s pain threshold; a direct result of increased levels of endorphins circulating throughout the body.

Strengthen Your Immune System

In a study conducted on 40 college students, the markers of increased immune function were improved by laughter. Laughing both reduces the levels of circulating stress hormones and increases both the number and effectiveness of our T-cells (vital for fighting infection).

Laughing ManNo, laughing won’t cure the common cold, but it just might make it harder to catch one. But, if you do get sick – watch something funny while you’re stuck in bed, and at least you’ll feel better about it!

Laugh Away Depression

The truth of the matter is that it’s hard to be overcome by depression while you’re laughing.

We can see that laughter is good medicine – but is it an important factor in maintaining and improving mental health?

Laughter therapy is becoming an increasingly accepted method to treat depression and anxiety in a broad range of people. Psychologists and psychiatrists are slowly beginning to incorporate this drug-free solution to relieving the symptoms of emotional distress.

The science is in, and it proves what we’ve always known – laughter is the way to brighten your outlook, reduce anxiety, and give yourself the mental boost you need to push through difficult circumstances and ahead toward better times.

Be Considerate

As good as a good laugh can feel; there are many situations and circumstances when laughing isn’t just inappropriate, but hurtful to those around you. It’s always a bad idea to laugh at the expense of anyone else.

If it was you that was splashed by a passing bus, or had your groceries spill on the way to the car – you wouldn’t find it funny, and you would not like being laughed at.

There are types of humor that you should avoid if you want to be liked and keep the friends you do have:

  • Mean humor: while an innocent prank might be funny to all involved, doing something mean like letting the air out of someone’s tire is just wrong
  • Inappropriate laughter: A funeral is not the place for a guffaw – and it doesn’t matter that your cousin’s joke was just what you needed to relieve the oppressive atmosphere – don’t do it
  • Inexplicable laughter: remembering something funny while walking down a packed street or in a busy office and doubling over in laughter when no one could possibly know why will make others question your mental state

Give it a Try

This is for those unusually dour individuals out there; lighten up!

Watch a funny movie, listen to a comedy podcast, read a satire – but create the opportunity to enjoy a hearty chuckle, if not an outright belly-laugh. You’ll quickly discover that even if it isn’t the best medicine, it’s still the most fun.

8 Amazing Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil Health BenefitsOf all the foods that we can include in our diets to maintain health and reach peak performance – coconut oil has jumped to the top of the list for it amazing, and scientifically proven – health enhancing effects.

Keep reading to discover the 8 most amazing benefits of using this incredible substance for vitality, healing, and avoiding or treating many bothersome (and some serious) health problems.

What is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil, also called copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the sweet internal ‘meat’ of the mature palm coconut. The oil has an extraordinarily high saturated fat content that makes it very slow to spoil (it has a shelf life of about 6 months) and can be heated to high temperatures without burning – making it very good for frying.

Known and used by people in tropical climates for thousands of years, it’s both a staple of food preparation and used in various traditional remedies. Decades of scientific research have shown that this simple nut oil can benefit human health and treat an incredible array of symptoms and illnesses.

The secret to coconut oil seems to be in its high percentage of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs)

  • Caprylic acid
  • Lauric acid
  • Capric acid

Medium chain triglycerides have demonstrated health benefits including; weight loss, improved energy metabolism, and spot reduction of abdominal fat.

Unlike the long-chain fatty acids found in most other plant-based oils, MCTs are:

  • Easier to digest
  • Antimicrobial and antifungal
  • Processed by your liver, meaning that they’re rapidly converted to energy instead of being stored as fat

Coconut Oil for Heart Health

As mentioned previously; coconut oil is naturally high in saturated fats.

Saturated fats increase the healthy cholesterol (the HDL cholesterol) in your body, but they also help convert the LDL (bad) cholesterol into the good cholesterols your body needs. By increasing your HDL levels, coconut oil can promote heart health by reducing the risk of heart disease.

Coconut oil can also benefit your heart by reducing high triglyceride levels in the blood.

A Fat That Helps You Lose Weight

benefits of Coconut OilWhen it comes to losing body fat, metabolism is a huge factor, so the quicker you can get your metabolism revved up, the more calories you’ll burn.

Coconut oil is different from many of the other fats we eat in our diet.

While the majority of other oils consist mostly of long-chain fatty acids (LCT); coconut oil is almost entirely made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs).

The difference with these medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), is that they are metabolized in a different manner than the longer chain fats. The reduced chain length means that MCTs are absorbed more quickly by your body and are consequently more quickly burned as fuel.

This results in MCTs being quickly metabolized instead of being stored as body fat, the calories in MCTs are efficiently turned into fuel for immediate use by the organs, tissues, and muscles in your body.

One study investigated the effects of MCT oil on weight: it compared weight changes in rats who were overfed with either long chain or medium chain triglycerides. The study found that the rats fed the medium chain fats gained almost 20% less weight and a staggering 23% less body fat.

Improve Digestion

Coconut oil improves digestion because it helps the body to absorb vital fat-soluble vitamins, as well as health-essential minerals like calcium and magnesium.

If you consume coconut oil at the same time as omega-3 fatty acids, it can make them up to two times more effective, as they will be readily available to be digested and used by your body due to the effect of the MCTs in coconut oil.
Coconut oil will also help to improve probiotic bacteria and your gut health by destroying harmful bacteria and prevent candida overgrowth. A candida imbalance can decrease stomach acid, causing inflammation and bad digestion.

Coconut oil not only benefits digestive health, but it also helps treat or prevent stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis.

Prevent Diabetes

coconut oil prevent diabetesWhen cells no longer respond to insulin and aren’t able to utilize glucose for energy, is when you’re considered to be insulin-resistant.

Your pancreas will begin to pump out increasing quantities of insulin to compensate, and this overproduction cycle in concert with insulin resistance is the prelude to type II diabetes.

The MCTs in coconut oil will help to balance the insulin reaction in your cells and consequently promote a healthy metabolic process. MCTs take the strain off the pancreas and provide your body with a stable/consistent energy source – not dependent on glucose metabolism.

This process can prevent the development of insulin resistance and type II diabetes.

Coconut Oil Can Reduce Seizures

It’s been known for over a century that by reducing the intake of carbohydrates and switching the body over to using fats as the main source of energy (ketosis), that epileptics will experience a reduction in seizures.

MCTs are metabolized in the same manner as ketones in the body, in one study an epileptic man was given 2 tablespoons of pure MCT oil per day and experienced a marked reduction in seizures with no other changes in diet.

MCTs for Alzheimer’s

coconut oil comes from palm treesA study by the University of Oxford suggests that even though the effect of coconut oil on dementia may be temporary; Alzheimer’s and dementia patients have actually seen measurable short-term benefits from using it.

This research supports the theory that ketones, which are simply byproducts of the breakdown of fats in your body – do play a critical role in the health of the brain.

The concept is that by boosting ketone levels with coconut oil, it’s possible to significantly improve cognitive function.

Treatment and Prevention of Cancer

Coconut oil has two important qualities that help it to fight cancer:

1) Because of the ketones created as coconut oil is digested. Cancer cells are glucose dependent and aren’t able to access the energy in ketones – slowing or even stopping growth (the Warburg effect).

2) Coconut oil MCTs eat away the lipid walls of harmful bacteria, consequently also killing the helicobacter pylori bacteria that has been known to increase our risk of developing stomach cancer.

Even in studies where cancers are chemically induced, the use of coconut oil has prevented cancers from growing.

 

Natural Solutions for Insomnia

Female enjoying a good nights rest. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), over forty-million people suffer from more than seventy sleep disorders and 6 out of 10 adults report trouble getting to or staying asleep several nights per week.

The business of sleep has grown into a multi-million dollar industry; from mattresses to sleeping pills – it seems that Americans are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing that promises a good night’s sleep.

But, what if the best solution to your insomnia is cheap, easy, and natural?

The secret to deep, restful sleep could be a simple matter of:

  • Changing your habits
  • Changing your screen habits
  • Looking at your bedroom in a new way
  • Buying a couple of inexpensive supplements
  • Changing the tea you drink

Keep your bleary eyes focused for just a little while longer and learn why sleep is important, and how easy (and inexpensive) it is to consistently get the quality sleep you need to excel during your day!

4 Reasons Why Sleep Quality Matters

We all realize that not sleeping well will affect our mood and ability to focus, but did you realize that missing out on vital sack time can have serious health consequences?

1) Heart Disease

I realize that we all understand the effect insomnia has on our heads – but did you know that losing sleep will hurt your heart as well?

According to a study published in Current Cardiology Reviews; Men and women who regularly slept for six hours or less had almost two times the total age-adjusted death rate of men who slept a full seven or eight hours per night. Missing out on sleep to get more done during the day could cut your career short instead!

2) Sleep Deprivation Can Make You Fat

If you sleep less than five hours (or more than nine hours), you will increase the chances of gaining unwanted weight. In this study; continuous sleep deprivation in men not only increased their preferences for high-calorie foods but also their overall calorie intake.

3) Sleep Can Prevent Diabetes

Research shows that people who routinely sleep less than five hours per night increase their risk of developing diabetes because missing out on deep sleep could change the way your body processes the sugars that cells use for fuel.

4) Sleep Deprivation Reduces Your Fertility

Are you having difficulty conceiving a baby?

Scientists claim this is one of the effects of sleep deprivation – for both men and women. Data shows that regular sleep disruptions can cause trouble by reducing the secretion of critical reproductive hormones.

Your Habits Could Be Keeping You Awake

Up late because of InsomniaIt’s critical that you associate your bedroom (and especially your bed) with sleeping.

Yes, it’s a no-brainer, but are you guilty of:

  • Eating in bed?
  • Working in bed or at a desk in your bedroom?
  • Watching your TV/laptop/tablet/phone in bed?

These are habits that will virtually guarantee that your mind is stimulated just when you should be nodding off. Worse; you’ll always think of your bed as a place to ‘catch up’ on things you should have done earlier.

Instead of teaching your body that bed means sleep – you’re teaching yourself to get ready for any other activity. Turn your bedroom into a ‘sleep office,’ when you lay down on that bed it’s to get straight to business: Sleep.

Melatonin and Magnesium for Sleep

Melatonin and Magnesium for SleepMelatonin is a hormone produced by a small gland in the brain; your pineal gland. Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate your biological clock. Darkness is the cue that sets off production of this substance, and artificial lighting can throw your ‘body clock’ off. Using an OTC melatonin supplement can be a solution to this problem.

Melatonin is inexpensive and easy to find in health food stores and pharmacies. Take the recommended dose about a half hour before going to bed and stay in dim light to get the maximum benefit.

Magnesium is an essential mineral of which the majority of Americans are chronically deficient. Supplemental magnesium has also been demonstrated to be an effective way to treat recurrent insomnia in older adults; this study found a significant improvement in a group of seniors suffering sleep problems when they started taking supplemental magnesium daily.

Chamomile Gets You to Sleep Faster

It turns out that grandmothers everywhere are right – chamomile tea will get you to sleep faster and improve the quality of the sleep you get.

A paper published in the Molecular Medicine Report claims that research has claimed that chamomile is effective as a mild tranquilizer and sleep-inducer. The sedative effects are possibly due to the apigenin flavonoid that binds to benzodiazepine (think allergy medicine) receptors in the brain.

Chamomile is available in many different forms; powders, tincture, tea bags. It’s easy to find and cheap to buy. If you have trouble getting to sleep after you hit the sack – try this delicious way to wind down and enjoy that drowsy feeling that will send you to a refreshing slumber.

No Need for Dangerous Drugs

There’s often no need for dangerous and expensive prescription drugs to solve your sleep problems. Before you go running to your doctor for a way to get the sleep you need – try these easy, natural, healthy ways to get your body back on track.

Change your bad sleep habits, keep screens out of your bedroom, give melatonin, magnesium, and chamomile a try and leave prescription drugs as a ‘last resort,’ option.

The odds are high that you’ll soon forget what it was like to wake up tired and cranky from a poor night’s sleep.