Here’s Why Going To Bed With Makeup On Ruins Your Skin

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By: Annie Morgan

We’ve all been there, after a long day the last thing we feel like doing is taking off our makeup at night before we go to sleep.

As every woman knows, to truly cleanse your skin (no, makeup wipes don’t count) it is quite a process.

And to hydrate your skin and properly remove your makeup… let’s just say it takes multiple steps.

But going to bed with makeup on isn’t just lazy, it can actually be harmful and seriously damage your skin.

So before you even think about going to bed with your makeup on yet again, check out these skin dangers below.

Breakouts

It’s a vicious cycle.

You wear makeup to cover up imperfections, yet each and every time you go to bed with makeup on you are trapping bacteria under your skin.

Since our skin takes a beating throughout the day it needs time to repair and rejuvenate.

But each time you wear makeup to bed you are prohibiting your skin from going through the natural exfoliation process.

As a result, you’ll wake up with clogged pores full of bacteria, and acne on your face.

Self reports:

“Sleep is the body’s time to repair itself from the stress of the day,” board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon Brooke A. Jackson, M.D., F.A.A.D., tells SELF. While you sleep, growth hormone stimulates renewal of all of the body’s organs, including the skin, explains Jackson. “[The growth hormone] is secreted in a cyclical manner throughout the day, but peak secretion is about an hour after the sleep cycle begins,” Jackson says. During that time, the growth hormone goes to work repairing damage in the skin that comes from the sun, pollution, and free radicals.”

Having makeup on your skin so you can’t breathe definitely hampers this process.

Eye Infections

Sleeping with makeup on means all that junk is smearing all over your face as you toss and turn throughout the week.

And if you are like most women – you probably have some kind of eye makeup on such as eyeliner or mascara.

So as you toss and turn throughout the night – your eyes are bound to get irritated at best, or infected at worse.

And all of those toxins and chemicals are seeping into your eyes because you didn’t wash your face.

Readers Digest reports:

“Sleeping with makeup on can especially damage the most sensitive areas of your face—namely your eyes. Snoozing in full eye makeup puts you at risk for eye inflammation, infections, eyelid redness, and corneal abrasions, from makeup particles rubbing against the surface of your eye. Because the eye area is so delicate, you really need to remove your mascara, liner, and shadow to avoid waking up with a nasty stye or worse.

Dr. Jaber steadfastly recommends that women wash their face in the evening to make sure to erase all makeup from their skin.”

Just Wash It Off

Ladies, I know it can be exhausting to wash your face at night.

But really this is something you just need to do.

Schedule time to fully wash your face and then make sure to apply a toning agent to help balance the PH of your skin.

I personally use apple cider vinegar mixed with water as it is both natural and effective.

And after you use a toner – make sure to moisturize!

Again, I skip the expensive toxic face creams and just use a little bit of jojoba oil.

And for even more radiant skin, don’t forget to eat healthy and drink lots of water!

Ladies, do you go to sleep with your makeup on?

Were you surprised to learn how sleeping with your makeup on can damage your skin?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article with your friends and family to let them know the dangers of going to bed with makeup on!

Acupuncture Gets a Shot in the Arm by Lowering Blood Pressure

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By: Kennedy Shelley

Many people swear that acupuncture works, yet it is often ignored by science as nothing more than a type of voodoo.  To many it is nothing more than Oriental superstition, a type of ancient placebo effect.

Yet a recent article in Nature has quantified that it does indeed work, at least for controlling blood pressure.

Why is this such a big deal?  It’s because the paper was accepted in the publication Nature.

There are tons of scientific journals in the world, and many of dubious reputation.  Some are no more than shills that publish articles to give an air of respectability to bad products, treatments, drugs or supplements.

But Nature is not one of those publications.  It is very picky about which articles it will accept.  Less than 7% of articles submitted get published.

They often demand that the scientists who submit articles also give them all their raw data and they go through it to make sure that the data backs up the claims.

In short, they seem to always be highly skeptical, especially when it comes to spectacular claims.

This is why their publication of a Korean paper which validates a claim of acupuncture is so revolutionary.

The article “Attenuation of hypertension by C-fiber stimulation of the human median nerve and the concept-based novel device” supports acupuncture at least for the treatment of high blood pressure.

What the Korean team found was that you can reduce your blood pressure by stimulating a nerve that acupuncturists have been stimulating for years.

High blood pressure is a highly controllable problem that is often undiagnosed because it often has no symptoms.

And there are those who have bad reactions to certain drugs which include fatigue, dizziness, problems exercising. As a result, nearly 50% of patients quit taking their medication within six months of starting it.

This is why there is so much interest in a non-pharmaceutical way of controlling blood pressure.

If it is possible to lower blood pressure without creating all the problems associated with medications that would be a great breakthrough and might prolong the lives of the nearly one billion people who have high blood pressure.

There have been some devices tested including brain implants and vagus nerve stimulators, but these do not work for most because you can’t walk around with them and require you to go the hospital or a lab.

Enter the Korea team which found that stimulating the median nerve in the wrist did in fact lower blood pressure.

They used 9 areas and stimulated it using either pepper (capsaicin) or a transcutaneous median nerve stimulation or in other words they used low level electrical stimulation of the nerve.

The results were spectacular with only 30 minutes of stimulation, blood pressure dropped nearly 15 points.

Blood pressure is measured with a sphygmomanometer and is a measurement of the pounds of mercury pressure needed to stop the blood from going by a cuff that is blocking blood flow.

The more pounds of pressure, the higher the reading.

Fifteen less pounds of pressure is significant.

They are creating a wrist unit which is a combination blood pressure monitor and electrical stimulator that they hope to have on the market soon.

Both the electrical and chemical stimulation of the nerve saw the reduction in systolic blood pressure.

This has not been turned into a therapy for high blood pressure at the moment but based on these exciting developments it probably will be soon.

But it also gives credence to the ancient wisdom of acupuncture.  By combining ancient healing with modern science, we might get better non-pharmacological treatments.

Track Your Stroke Risk on Your Phone

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By: Kennedy Shelley

This one thing predicts 15% of strokes.

Strokes are the #1 cause of disability in the country.  Unlike widow maker heart attacks, strokes leave you in a wheelchair and sentenced to years of rehabilitation.

Atrial fibrillation or A Fib is an irregular and often rapid heartbeat that increases your risk of stroke and heart failure.

If you have symptoms (and not everyone does) they include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and weakness.

Episodes may come and go or get worse and constant.

It isn’t that A Fib is the killer, it’s a sign of a life-threatening condition.

Why?  Because it increases your risk of blood clots because your heart is beating out of rhythm.  During A Fib the hearts two upper chambers beat out of rhythm and can’t coordinate with the lower half.

The heart rate can quickly jump over 100 to 175 beats a minute (it should be between 60-100).

Your heart is no longer pumping.  In A Fib, it’s quivering.

WHY?

Well there are a number of risk factors for A Fib.  They include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Heart defects you’re born with (congenital)
  • An overactive thyroid gland or other metabolic imbalance
  • Exposure to stimulants, such as medications, caffeine, tobacco or alcohol
  • Sick sinus syndrome — improper functioning of the heart’s natural pacemaker
  • Lung diseases
  • Previous heart surgery
  • Viral infections
  • Stress due to surgery, pneumonia or other illnesses
  • Sleep apnea

Some of the risk factors that could make it more likely you will develop this are your age, high blood pressure, obesity, sleep apnea (snoring), family history.  Some really big ones are type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

One group that is normally considered healthy but also may be at risk is people who do or have engaged in endurance sports.  The over strengthened heart muscle doesn’t always have enough space for blood flow, especially when it is at rest.

STROKE?

How does this increase your stroke risk?  When your heart isn’t pumping, sticky blood in your body can pool in your heart, giving it the opportunity to clot.

The clot can then leave the heart and go to the brain putting you at risk of a stroke.  That’s where the clot blocks blood from getting to your brain.

When deprived of blood, that area of the brain dies.  That’s why people with strokes are often left disabled.  The parts of the brain which are damaged in the stroke may be areas dealing with speech or other function.

PREVENTION

Preventive measures are about the same as any other heart healthy activity such as stopping smoking, no more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day, healthy diet and losing weight.

MONITORING

New technology allows you to see if you are having A Fib at home with your phone.

There are several companies that allow you to see if your heart flutters are serious.  You can now own your own EKG.

Some of these devices are little strips where you put your thumbs on it and it monitors your heart rhythms.

And some new ones use your phone’s camera to monitor your heartbeats.

Both can store the information on your phone and can be sent to your doctor or saved to discuss later.

TREATMENT

The good news is that if A Fib is diagnosed it can be treated with medicines such as blood thinners and lifestyle changes.

This technology used to only be available and could only be monitored at your doctor’s office or in the hospital, but you can still check out those flutters no matter where you are.

Does Protein Cause Cancer?

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By: Kennedy Shelley

Vegans, vegetarians and government regulators are pushing a new idea that high protein diets increase our risk of cancer.

If you notice, politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have pushed legislation trying to change our diets to reduce beef consumption because of her fear of farting cows destroying the planet.

In other words, these self-styled environmentalists and socialists are trying to politicize your diet and tell you what to eat for your own good.

And they often will use really shaky science to justify their actions.

The latest was an obscure and deeply flawed study that was published in 2014 in the journal Cellular Metabolism that tried to link too much protein with higher cancer risk.

The problem with this study is that it was done on mice and did not look at the data that shows the opposite effect when people are studied.

But what was particularly infuriating about this study is that its own data contradicted their own press release.

The studies authors tried to claim that high protein increased cancer risk in the rodents, but their very first chart showed that low protein increased cancer risk.

Yet the popular press picked up on the study with headlines such as this in Science Daily “Meat and Cheese May Be As Dangerous as Smoking.” The article went on to say that a chicken wing is just as dangerous as a cigarette.

And then the politicians started chiming in echoing these ridiculous claims.

While this may be important dietary advice for rats and mice, what is the science when it comes to humans?

One of the problems with the study when they started trying to apply the rodent studies to humans is that they looked at people who said they ate lots of meat and cheese especially in the 1990’s when the government was pushing a low-fat message.

It turns out those people who were still eating cheeseburgers during that time also smoked and drank a great deal.

In other words, these were not the most health-conscious people on the planet at that time.

But the authors didn’t factor this in. If the study was honest, they would have said “Unhealthy people tend to die earlier than healthy people.”

Getting a gram of protein per every kilogram of body weight seems to be the minimum needed to maintain good health (or around 2 ounces for every 100 pounds of body weight).

The problem with politicians is that when they meddle with diet recommendations it affects a large number of people.  It affects the school lunch programs, meals for senior citizens, hospitals and the military.

If they start pushing a low protein diet because they want to “save the planet” they are not really worrying about your health and cherry picking bad or seriously flawed studies puts millions of Americans’ health at risk.

Older citizens are most at risk because as you get older, you don’t metabolize protein as effectively as you did when you were younger.  As a result, we need more as we age.

While this study did take this into account and recommended “moderate amounts” for older citizens, unfortunately many politicians don’t always read the fine print.  If AOC gets her way we will have less cow flatulence, but emasculated senior citizens.

It is difficult to get enough protein eating a strictly vegan diet and impossible to get vitamin B12 without artificial supplements.

This is hardly the all-natural diet they keep taunting.

Protein is a vital macro nutrient that helps keep our lean muscle and helps us to recover from exercise and illness.  Getting dietary advice from vegans and politicians can be seriously dangerous to your health.

5 Proven and Researched Ways Baking Soda Can Be Used for Better Health

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By: Adam L.

Baking soda, to many, is just be something you bake with.

Or, maybe to you it’s just something you stick in the fridge to mask odors.

The good news is this cooking ingredient is no slouch as there are 5 proven and researched ways baking soda can be used for better health.

Because it’s so affordable and available all across the nation, stocking up on baking soda to help improve the quality of your life isn’t a bad idea.

The brand you use doesn’t matter, and how long it’s been sitting in the cabinet doesn’t affect how effectively it works.

All you have to do is use it when you need it, and you’ll notice life improves.

5 Surprising Ways to Use Baking Soda for Better Health

In almost every instance you’ll read about here, you won’t need much baking soda to find the benefits.

And in most cases, all you’ve got to do is add it to water, and you’re on your way to feeling better.

Here’s how all this works.

1 – It Improves Stomach Health:

If you’re familiar with the pain associated with heartburn, or frequently feel queasy when dealing with an upset stomach you’ll appreciate the fact baking soda can help fix a bad stomach.

That’s because baking soda has been shown to treat ulcers, heartburn, and indigestion.

Because many of these conditions arise after the stomach is assaulted with too much stomach acid, the introduction of an alkali substance like baking soda will help make the stomach more alkaline. When it comes into contact with the acid, it’ll help to neutralize the corrosive effects of stomach acid that cause pain and discomfort.

All it takes is roughly ½ teaspoon in 4-6 oz. of water every 2-3 hours to achieve the full effect.

One caveat to this, too much baking soda may present issues, so the general recommendation is to limit yourself to six ½ teaspoons if you’re under 60 and just three ½ teaspoons if you’re over 60.

2 – May Boost Athletic Performance:

Performance hungry athletes know baking soda can help them beat the competition. And, it’s a bit of a secret, and, not illegal either.

The practice is known as “soda doping,” and it helps delay the onset of lactic acid formation in the muscles, which helps you push harder and longer.

Essentially, sodium bicarbonate is an alkali substance that increases the pH of the blood. This seems to reduce and offset the acidity produced in the muscles during intense, anaerobic exercise that produces lactic acid most quickly, such as fast running or swimming.

This function is similar to how acid is neutralized in the stomach and could help you extend a workout and get the maximum benefit from your effort.

3 – It’s Great for Cleaning Teeth:

Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste exists for a reason.

Baking soda is a mild abrasive, and you can clean your teeth with it to clean and polish your teeth – as well as removing problematic plaque.

Plus, baking soda acts as a deodorizer, so brushing your teeth with it will also help control bad breath.

This isn’t fake science either.

As Dr, Joseph Mercola writes:

“One review of data from five controlled clinical studies found that toothpaste containing baking soda “enhanced plaque removal effectiveness of tooth brushing to a significantly greater extent” than brushing with a non-baking soda toothpaste.”

If you want to make your own baking soda toothpaste, recipes are available on YouTube and natural health websites.

4 – It May Help Treat Kidney Disease:

One of the more exciting uses for baking soda is how it might be able to slow the advancement of chronic kidney disease.

When a person has chronic kidney disease they can’t eliminate toxic waste as well as water from the bloodstream, nor do the kidneys work as designed to balance essential minerals like potassium, sodium, and calcium.

By consuming baking soda in small quantities, it could stave off the progression of this condition.

A study of 134 people with chronic kidney disease revealed people who took a baking soda supplement were 36% less likely to develop full-blown kidney failure.  It shows that baking soda may help slow the progression of CKD.

In a study including 134 adults with CKD, it was found that those taking sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) supplements were 36% less likely to rapidly develop kidney failure than people who did not take the supplements.

5 – Helps Soothe Bug Bites:

During the summer, Americans spend millions of dollars on antihistamines and other OTC drugs to help find relief after bugs bite them.

It turns out baking soda might be just as effective, and side-effect free, too.

The alkali properties of baking soda are known to neutralize the site of a bite and can reduce swelling while also helping lessen itchiness.

While baking soda isn’t commonly recommended for skincare, a salve made of baking soda and a few drops of water placed on a welt will help bring down inflammation fast.

How a Funky, Far-Eastern Tea Could Help Reverse Cancer and Heal Your Gut

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By: Adam L.

In the past ten years, the healthy beverage industry has exploded.

As people turn their back on soda, they’re exploring new, innovative drinks.

But a lot of people miss soda and the fizz, which is why a funky, far-Eastern tea that could help reverse cancer and heal your gut has become so popular.

It’s got the fizz of soda, but it’s not as sweet.

Plus it has the nice, acidy bite soda-lovers enjoy, as this far-Eastern tea has a pronounced vinegar flavor.

Chances are if you shop in a health food store or are interested in alternative health you’ve heard of this tea.

It’s called kombucha.

Kombucha has a long history of medicinal use as the Chinese have used it to cure all types of ailments for eons.

Beverage makers create kombucha by adding small amounts of sugar and fruit juice to either black or oolong teas and then add something called a SCOBY to the mixture. SCOBY stands for symbiotic cultures of organized bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) and these bacteria and yeast sugar digest the sugars to create a fizzy, fermented masterpiece.

In the process, they release a host of healthy acids into the elixir as well as helping form colonies for healthy bacteria called probiotics to exist.

These byproducts of the fermentation process lead to some amazing health benefits.

Here are three of the most pronounced benefits of drinking kombucha

1 – Supports Your Gut Microbiome:

Over the past decade, researchers have studied our guts intensely. That’s because scientists have conclusively shown a healthy gut is critical for total health.

Most of our immune system resides in the gut, and if the gut microbiome (the ecosystem of good and bad bacteria in the gut) is compromised, it means immune function is weakened.

Kombucha helps to heal the gut as it contains antioxidants,  amino acids, probiotics, and digestive enzymes, all of which are needed for enhanced gut function.

Animal studies show when mice are given kombucha tea it helps to restore the function of the digestive system and could ward off the formation of ulcers. The researchers reasoned the antioxidant activity of the drink itself was enough to influence gut health by toning down how much gastric acid the stomach produced during digestion.

Additionally, fermented teas like kombucha contain various forms of probiotic that go to work deep in the large and small intestine to increase mucosa in the gut which is essential for keeping food contained inside of the intestines where it belongs, and not leaking out into the bloodstream where it might cause damage.

Dr. Amy Myers, a leading integrative MD, points out that some of the probiotics in kombucha are also helpful for controlling the overgrowth of specific yeasts and bacteria commonly linked to leaky gut – a well-documented problem where undigested food particles invade the body after passing through the damaged lining of the gut.

2 – Boosts Brain Power:

There is a close link to the health of your gut and the health of your brain, and that’s because when our guts are damaged, it means your body doesn’t break down food into essential nutrients that it needs to function correctly.

When the gut is healed by kombucha, it allows for your body to extract essential nutrients from food to enhance brain function.

In addition to that, many kombuchas contain a host of b vitamins, like vitamin B-12, which are necessary to help your body produce the body’s primary energy source: ATP.

Some studies show introducing kombucha into the diet can improve several potential mental health issues.

As Dr. Josh Axe writes:

“A 2012 study published in Biopolymers and Cell examined kombucha as a functional food product for long-term space exploration (yes, you read that right). Among other various features, kombucha’s ability to regulate the “communication of the gut-brain axis” suggested it would be useful in preventing or minimizing the effects of anxiety and depression, particularly for astronauts and others under extreme work conditions (like miners).”


3 – It May Help Balance Blood Sugar

Surprisingly, even though kombucha contains some sugar, it may also play a role in helping balance blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity.

Two probable mechanistic actions are likely responsible.

The first is how the antioxidants in the tea could help improve blood sugar. Studies in rats show that the introduction of kombucha teas (and the antioxidant content) may help to manage diabetes-like symptoms.

The researchers studied how kombucha made of black tea compared to regular black tea for diabetes management and noted that the kombucha did a much better job of lowering body weight (a risk factor for diabetes) and lowering plasma insulin.

Beyond that, recent research indicates that the reintroduction of probiotics into the gut microbiome helps the body better handle carbohydrates and also reduce food cravings, both of which can help to keep blood sugar normalized.

The only caveat is not any kombucha will work for balancing blood sugar. The best kombuchas need to have less than 4 grams of sugar per serving for optimal blood sugar control. More sugar than that per serving may negate any of the positive benefits derived from the antioxidant and probiotics.

The Last Word on Kombucha

Two things about kombucha that you ought to know.

The first is kombucha isn’t available everywhere as it’s a specialty drink. If you’re in a market that doesn’t carry kombucha you may be frustrated by the fact you can’t buy this healthy elixir.

Secondly, kombucha can be quite expensive.

One bottle can cost up to $4.00, which is definitely a hit to the wallet.

The good news is kombucha is easy to make. SCOBYs can be purchased online and you can brew your own kombucha from the comfort of your home. Not only does this guarantee you access wherever you are, but brewed kombucha is also about 90% cheaper than buying it from the store, so that’s a win too.

Three Dangerous Protein Myths You Need to Know

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By: Kennedy Shelley

You may have heard that too much protein is hard on your kidneys.  Or you can’t absorb more than 30 grams of protein at any given meal.  Old people don’t need protein because they are not building muscle.

But you might have also heard that you can’t go swimming for 30 minutes after eating, which is an old wives’ tale with no medical evidence.

It turns out that we actually need more protein as we age, and these old ideas may stop some people from getting what they need.

So, let’s test these ideas when it comes to protein.

1 – KIDNEYS

What is the evidence that protein greater than what the government recommends is hard on the kidneys?

Phillips et. al. looked at all the studies to see if there was any scientific evidence that eating more than 100 grams of protein a day would hurt your kidneys.

The result was none.

It’s one of those ideas that makes some intuitive sense, but it just doesn’t work when it’s actually tested.

This is not an invitation to drink only protein shakes, but “excessive” protein doesn’t hurt your kidneys.

A study last year from McMasters University actually showed the opposite, high protein levels actually helps your kidneys function better.

Their conclusions were that the higher protein diet tends to make people feel fuller, so they eat less, builds and preserves muscle and tends to lead to weight loss.  All with no harm to the kidneys.

2 -ABSORPTION

Is there a limit to how much protein your body can use in any given meal?  Some people believe that too much protein in a meal is just a waste because the body can only absorb so much at any one time.

Many body builder types will tell you with all the earnest at their command that the human body can only absorb 30 grams of protein per meal.

To test this idea scientists broke a group of weightlifters into two groups.  Following their workout, half got 20 grams of protein, and half 40.

The scientists then looked at muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to see if the body was actually using the protein.

And all of it was absorbed.

The 30-gram threshold is a busted myth.

3 -YOU NEED MORE AS YOU GET OLDER

After you get to a certain age, you no longer may be dreaming of building bigger biceps, but you still need protein to maintain the lean muscle you have.

As a matter of fact, you actually need more than you did in your 20s.

The reason for this is protein metabolism gets less efficient after age 50.  So, we need more to make up for less absorption.

It is vital to help recover from illness as well as just maintaining our muscle mass.

If we don’t then internal inflammation (think arthritis) becomes more and more of a problem.

You need at least one gram of protein per every kilogram of body weight every day.   So, if you weigh 200 pounds you need 3 to 4 ounces of protein a day.

Now this is higher than the current government recommendation and really should be considered a minimum to maintain good health.

In summary, don’t be afraid of too much protein.  People have a tendency to feel satisfied quickly when they eat protein so unlike carbs, people tend to self-regulate and quit eating before they eat too much protein.

But getting enough protein will help your health without hurting your kidneys.

Are You Committing These Five Exercise Disasters?

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By: Kennedy Shelley

Some sports carry with them their own risk of injuries.

Football: Concussions and knee tears

Running: Knee cartilage damage

Hockey: Too numerous to mention

But are the exercises you are doing in the gym capable of putting you on the sidelines, or worse yet, doing serious long-term damage to your body?

At particular risk are your joints, especially the point where they rotate.  These areas can get quickly inflamed when exercises are done incorrectly.

And there are some injuries that can occur from overuse.  Here are some that you might want to pay particular attention to:

Kettlebell Swinging

I got into this with CrossFit.  Swinging a weight between your legs doesn’t seem like it would do much until you try it.  If strengthens your glutes and your core.

The problem happens when you switch from only bringing the kettlebell to eye level (Russian Swing) to overhead (American Swing).

When you go overhead, you have now switched from the highly stable glutes to less stable lower back as the anchor point with the weight which increases the risk for back injury.

And then the rotator part of the shoulders gets at risk of injury when the weight starts going higher than eye level.

If you keep the swing lower, you are going to get almost all the benefits, with none of the risks.

Pull-Downs

Guys want broad shoulders.  The Lat pull-down is one of those lifts that should make this happen.  The problem starts when you try and pull it behind your head.

You create a very high amount of stress on fragile parts of your shoulder joint when you put that much stress you pull behind you.  This is not a natural flow of muscle.

There is no benefit to any sport or activity that can come from pulling the bar behind your head, so you are putting yourself at risk of injury, for absolutely nothing.

Just pull the bar down to your chest.

Pull-Ups

It is as primeval as running.  It is a pure exercise, it’s a basic test of strength.  It’s you against gravity.  It’s the basic pull-up, but when you do it wrong, it can knock you out of the game.

Just like the pull-down it’s a slight change in the movement that makes all the injury difference.

If you take too wide of a grip, and especially a wide grip with your palms toward you, you put your rotation in your shoulders at risk of tears.

The chin-up grip palms toward you should not engage the shoulders, that is for biceps.

If you can’t do this, start with pull-up bands to help with the weight so you can keep good form and then remove them as you get stronger.

Leg Extensions

Who wouldn’t like those cool muscles in the legs where you can see where the big quadriceps muscles go to each side of your knee?

And you really see that effect when you sit down at the leg extension machine.

And you are doing a non-functional exercise that puts a ridiculous amount of strain on your knee and the surrounding support tissue.

Squats build up all the muscles in that area, and because all the muscles work together you not only get stronger, you get more stable too.

Crunching Bicycle Style

Some pains you never want to experience, and a compressed disk and lower back pain is certainly one of them.

So, avoiding bicycle crunches should be on your list of things not to do.

This exercise is designed to create a herniated disk in your back (eventually).

Just don’t do it.

While we at Freedom Health News want you to be active, we also want you in the game as long as possible, so hopefully you will take our advice on some of the stuff to avoid.

Can We Start Blaming Hormones for Being Fat Again?

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By: Kennedy Shelley

The energy balance theory is the way most of us think about weight.

The idea that calories in has to be less than calories out is the way to lose weight is the prevailing model in the diet industry.

In other words, if you are fat, it’s your fault you ate too much.

But what if it’s wrong and we’ve known why for over 70 years?

GERMANY WAS WHERE THE RESEARCH WAS

Prior to WWII most of the world’s obesity research was taking place in Germany, the land where the calorimeter was discovered.

Scientists there started seeing a serious problem with the idea that calories in had any bearing on fat storage.

One of the first clues was puberty.  Young men muscled up as teens, and young women started gaining fat in the hips and breasts.

To the Germans, this obviously meant that fat storage was hormonally-based.

The Austrian and German diet and fat experts were endocrinologists, who were doctors who specialized in hormones.  America’s diet doctors in the ‘50s were statisticians who didn’t understand biology.

Most of our current thoughts on obesity came about because of observational studies in the 1950s and ‘60s, not double-blind trials.

In other words, no one was locked in a lab and given a special diet to see what the result was, America’s diet experts looked at big populations, tried to figure out what people ate and then tried to figure out if this is what made people fat.

The easiest thing to measure was calories, so it was obvious to them that ounce for ounce, pound for pound, fat has more calories, so reducing fat would make you thin.

ARE ALL CALORIES EQUAL?

But this implies that all calories are equally used by the body.

Is this true?  Prior to WWII, the answer was no.  The diet scientists then knew that 100 calories of sugar would set off an insulin response and increase glucose in the blood which the body would work to store as fat.

The same number of calories in fat would not spike insulin or glucose and the body would convert it to energy in the liver.

Unfortunately, much of this knowledge was lost or forgotten about for nearly 60 plus years.

Gary Taubes’ book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, makes the case that when many of these Jewish scientists came to the US, they were excluded from positions at many of the Ivy League schools because of anti-Semitism so their ideas were not taught to a generation of doctors.

The American view of obesity focused on energy balance assuming all calories are equal, and some are more dangerous than others.  Especially fat, which was assumed to go straight from your mouth to your bloodstream.

Somehow, they forgot that cholesterol is present in every cell in the body and is manufactured by the liver.

But the message of calories in, calories out has been particularly important to sugar, and carbohydrate manufacturers who want us all to think that a calorie is a calorie.

Pepsi Co. and Coke are major sponsors of nutritional groups who push the eat less and move more mantra, and groups that look at the body’s hormonal responses to food are left to fend for themselves.

Freedom Health News is fighting back against this idea.  We have been doing more and more articles pushing back against this idea that all calories are equal.  For instance, in this article we have shown that sugar is particularly dangerous to your health.

Your food triggers your hormones and this is going to affect your weight and your health.

How to Get Calcium Out of Your Arteries and Into Your Bones

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By: Kennedy Shelley

The British Medical Service told women, ‘quit taking calcium, it isn’t doing any good.’  In 2015 this was dutifully reported by the Daily Telegraph.

What they noticed was when women at risk of osteoporosis (soft bones and hip fractures) took calcium supplements, they saw no benefit at the bone level.

But did they make this recommendation too soon?  It seems that the problem was not an adequate calcium supply, it was a shortage of vitamin K2.

Don’t confuse vitamin K2 with K1.  K1 is the vitamin associated with blood clotting.

The scientist who discovered K2 realized that this mysterious compound seems to be very important in teeth health.  Was he ever so right?

In underdeveloped countries that have not adopted a western diet, there is an absence of broken hips and cavities.  Dr. Weston Price (DDS) attributed this to vitamin K2.  He referred to this as Activator X, which became known as vitamin K2.

K2 comes from a variety of sources but mostly meat and fermented plants.  Since the western diet is based around refrigeration, we don’t often ferment our foods, but this is a vital storage mechanism in areas without electricity.

REGULATION OF CALCIUM

When calcium is left to find its way in the bloodstream, it can unfortunately create pockets of plaque in the arteries.

What vitamin K2 seems to do is give calcium direction and sends it to the bones and teeth.

This is important since we don’t want calcification in our kidneys or circulatory system.

Vitamin K1 does not have this effect, at least in animal studies.

The first small scale study on the effect of channeling calcium to the right areas was reported in 2012 when it was noted that K1 seems to prevent calcification in the arteries.

Dutch researchers noted in 2002 that people who had high vitamin K2 levels were at much lower risk of atherosclerosis.

In 2009 scientists found that women had a 9% reduction in heart disease if they had high K2 levels.

These studies only noted that this was present in those who didn’t have the disease, not that high K2 caused the difference.

BUILD STRONG BONES AND TEETH

We all know that calcium is vital for strong bones and teeth, the question is, does the calcium know it?

It does not seem to go there automatically.  K2 seems to be the regulatory agent.

The effect can be pronounced.  In 2013, a three-year study showed that women who were given K2 had much stronger bones than those who did not.

The results were even more spectacular in one study that showed that K2 reduced hip fractures in women by 77%.

The dentist who discovered K2 believed that K2 literally healed cavities based on his observations with primitive cultures.

WHERE IS K2?

While our body manufactures some, in order to get optimal levels, we have to get it through diet or supplementation.

It has been speculated that broad spectrum antibiotics may wipe out the gut microbiome that helps us manufacture K2 naturally.

K2 seems to work directly with vitamins A and D to help promote strong bones and teeth, so they tend to be in similar food sources.

The best sources of this vitamin are from grass fed eggs, beef, butter and organ meat.  This is a fat-soluble vitamin so eating lean beef won’t help.

Sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables have some K2 too.

There is no solid research that suggest that K2 could help reverse calcification of the arteries, but there is a study happening right now that might shed some light.  The data does suggest that 200 micrograms of K2 everyday might prevent further calcification in the arteries.

And if it helps reduce time in the dentist chair and makes bones stronger, it does appear to be worth looking into.

Ladies – Here’s Why You Should Ditch the Body Shapers Immediately

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By: Annie Morgan

Ah, the quest to be thin.

We ladies go through everything to “look the part” – including squeezing our bodies into the infamous “SPANX” and corsets.

But what you might not realize is morphing your body into crazy and unnatural positions isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s dangerous.

In 2012, the founder of SPANX became the youngest billionaire to make the list of world billionaires.

This means women are clearly buying SPANX.

But despite the popularity, these are the top 3 reasons why you should throw the SPANX away:

You Are Crushing Your Organs

Yes, seriously.

Every time you force your body to contort into an unnatural shape, your organs are being crushed in the process.

Imagine taking a rubber band and putting it around your internal intestines – that’s exactly what happens when you wear body shapers.

This causes your digestive system to act up and can cause everything from headaches to dizziness.

Self reported:

“It can lead to shortness of breath, if worn too snug, which decreases your oxygen supply, leading to lightheadedness and dizziness,” Mara Weinstein, M.D., a dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, tells SELF.

In addition, excess pressure on your body brought on by too-tight shapewear can squeeze your abdomen, leading to abdominal pain, Ruby Greywoode, M.D., a fellow in gastroenterology at the Mount Sinai Hospital, tells SELF. It can also cause or worsen acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). “[Excessively tight] shapewear may compress the stomach and prevent its contents from passing properly, and instead it can back up into the esophagus,” explains Greywoode.”

You Are Destroying Your Circulation

Think about it.

Stuffing your thighs into a tight pair of SPANX is cutting off your circulation.

And then wearing them daily for 8-10 hours a day can seriously damage your nerves, causing all kinds of neurological symptoms like tingling, dizziness, and even numbness.

The Los Angeles Times reported:

“Neurologists have long known about a condition called meralgia parenthetical which causes painful burning and tingling in the thighs when there is too much pressure on the nerves that run through the groin.”

In addition, yeah you might want to look nice, but wearing body shapers can actually cause blood clots or gasp varicose veins!

But it’s not just overweight mid-40s women rocking the shapewear.

One neurologist told the tale of a fit 15-year-old girl who came to see her because she was having nerve problems which included tingling and numbness.

Consumer Reports reported:

“My diagnosis: a compressed nerve in her pelvis… I told my patient to ditch the SPANX, and retire her skinny jeans as well. It might take a few months but I expect the symptoms to fully subside.”

They Can Kill You

Your quest to look good can kill you.

Squeezing your body so tight can lead to blood clots – which can kill.

The Atlantic reported:

“In addition to giving you a blood clot, Spanx can ‘worsen acid reflux and heartburn’ and ‘provoke erosive esophagitis,’ according to Dr. John Kuemmerle.”

If you’re going to wear them – you need to be aware of the risk.

Here’s the Deal

Listen, I know we all want to fit into that little black dress (and rock it with confidence).

If you absolutely insist on wearing shapewear, save it for special occasions and don’t make it a daily occurrence.

Our bodies weren’t meant to be squished and compressed…

… and especially not on a consistent basis for long periods of time.

Ruining your insides (and possibly dying) from bodywear just isn’t worth it!

If you truly want to look the part, be the part.

Eat healthy, and shop for clean foods.

Exercise, and take care of your body.

Make sure to get enough sleep, and drink plenty of water.

There are no shortcuts to health.

Ladies, are you addicted to shapewear?

Were you surprised to learn about the dangers of squeezing your body into these compressing undergarments?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article with your friends and family to let them know the dangers of body shapers!

You Are Too Clean to Be Healthy

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By: Kennedy Shelley

Is your addiction to hand sanitizer making you sick?

While there have been several studies that show our war on germs actually makes us more vulnerable to disease, one doctor wants to take his war on clean to the next level — dirty hospitals.

Dr. Jack Gilbert first noticed that dolphins that were in dirty tanks at aquariums lived longer than those in the cleaner environments.

That observation got him interested in getting dirty.  Then when his son was born, he started looking into how much dirt his kid needed to be healthy.

It turns out most germ exposure is actually beneficial.  Most germs are not good or bad but neutral.

For instance, his advice is to ignore the “five second rule” which he says is a myth (most bacterium hop on in milliseconds).  Unless you know the food landed in a place with a dangerous pathogen (which he believes is almost impossible in a modern US home), don’t worry about it.

He doesn’t wash his kid’s pacifier; he licks it because it will reduce his kid’s chances for allergies down the road.

And he lets his kids get licked by dogs and only makes his kid wash his hands during cold and flu season.

We have white blood cells called neutrophils which are always ready to fight infection.  The problem is that we are so clean we don’t use them enough.

As a result, as soon as we get a super reaction when they finally spring into action, an allergic reaction is the result.

So, Dr. Gilbert’s advice is let your kids get dirty, they will be healthier in the long run.

While this is especially important for kids, there may be some advantage of being a bit of a dirty adult too.

Using a hand sanitizer that kills 99.9% of the germs does two things:

  • It may create stronger germs.
  • Takes away an opportunity to boost your immune system.

The way you change this is “Reverse Hygiene.”  In other words, make your home dirty enough to be healthy, clean enough to be happy.

This doesn’t mean you stop taking showers, but does mean you should lay off the hand sanitizers.

The body needs to develop a stronger microbiome, and the way it does it is by exposure to dirt.

Your microbiome is the catch-all term for all the germs and bacteria that live with you every day.  You carry about four to five pounds of it, most of it in your gut.

This stuff is vital to help you digest food, creates vitamins and regulates your entire system.  When you have an antibiotic, you kill off many of your vital bacteria and you have to build that back up.

And you have to keep exercising your body’s immune system by not getting too clean.

While we know that dirty children are not only happy but healthy children, the evidence is actually not quite as clear with adults.

A study done noted that Amish children who were raised on rustic farms have far less asthma and other problems that plague kids in the “clean” world.

The question is if increasing the amount of dirt in the adult world can make your immune system stronger.

If you have any adult experience in this, please share your observations in the comments below.

Your Doctor Can Save You Money If You Ask Them To

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By: Kennedy Shelley

Your doctor can save you big bucks on your prescriptions.  He knows just how much they cost, and if you ask, they can check it for you.

This may lead him or her to look for cheaper alternatives or prevent sticker shock for you at the pharmacy counter.

Unfortunately, many doctors have been slow to put this tool to work.

Allina Health, which is a large hospital-based network, has started putting drug price information on the physician’s screens so doctors know what it is going to cost their patients when they are in the office.

This has two effects:

  • It may cause the doctor to look for low cost alternatives.
  • It increases patient compliance because they know when they go to the pharmacy if they can afford the medicine.

It turns out that many patients decide at the pharmacy counter not to get a medicine because they can’t afford it, and that is the wrong place to make that call.  If they can negotiate with the doctor and figure out what they can afford, the doctor may focus on the absolutely vital medication and not give the “let’s give it a try” medications.

Yes, it does provide benefit to the insurance companies too.  They find their costs go down, so the more information available, the more benefits trickle down to everyone.

When patients abandon medications at the pharmacy counter, they may be costing themselves more money down the road with unexpected consequences.

But doctors have been slow to adopt these new tools.  They don’t want to get bogged down in discussions over drug costs.  Humana found that only 10% of the doctors in their network are using their tools.

This is where you step in.

If patients start insisting that their doctor use these tools, then they will get used to using them when they meet with you.

This doesn’t mean that it is going to work perfectly for you.

Most of the negotiations with big insurance and big pharma are often highly secretive and competitive, so getting complete information is not always possible.

So, while your insurance company may offer this service in general, Allina’s network only works for 50% of its patients, according to published reports.

So, when the tool works, it works great, but when it’s incomplete, then doctors tend not to use it which makes this tool much less effective.

Law makers are starting to take note and are asking the industry to become more price transparent.

There is competition between major drug stores, the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry, and no one wants to be the first to have to let their competition see their real prices because it will probably lead to lower profits.

But transparency in the market usually works best for consumers in the end, just don’t expect any radical changes any time soon.

The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, which is a nonprofit group that is helping to set new standards for the drug industry, is helping to design a drug pricing tool which will look up drug costs regardless of the insurer.

When or if this system goes online, then expect to have new conversations with your doctor.  It may no longer be “here is your prescription” but instead, “can you afford this medication?”  And this will help all of us make better health decisions.

Do Antidepressants Cause Suicide?

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By: Kennedy Shelley

Unfortunately, some depressed people kill themselves, but the rate is increasing.  It has increased a staggering rate of 33% since 1999.

We are at the highest levels since WWII.  The rate is sadly going up fastest within young people.

This corresponds with a spike in the use of antidepressants especially with young people.

A new report shows that when adults start using antidepressants, they are 2.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who do not.

This makes people wonder, is it the drug or the depression that causes this?

The study shows that 1 in 200 people who are prescribed these drugs will attempt to take their own lives.

The Center for Evidence-Based Psychiatry looked at the data from the FDA and said the government is woefully under-reporting the dangers of these drugs.

What makes it worse is that most people are prescribed these drugs by their family doctor, and not in a clinical psychiatric situation.  This means that primary care doctors are not aware of the potential risks associated with SSRIs such as Zoloft and other drugs.

How does an antidepressant make depression even worse?

Well, very few people realize that antidepressant medications do not automatically work.  In most studies the drug works only slightly better than a placebo.

Often you have to change medications to find the one that actually works for your brain.  Which requires careful monitoring.

What also is important is how many people need to be treated before a medication works.  For most antidepressant medications, you have to give the drug to 10 people before one of them feels better.

That means nine people are getting no help at all from the drug.

That means someone who is already depressed might feel worse because they felt they were promised some relief and are not receiving it from the drug.

Why do we think the drugs are creating the problem?  In studies where one patient received an SSRI and the other got a sugar pill, those getting the drug were three times more likely to try to kill themselves.

Why did these drugs get approved with this type of danger?  Mostly because the trials were short-term, only lasting weeks or months.

When patients were tracked further, the risk of suicide became apparent.

Dr James Davies, co-founder of CEP, says:

It is known that antidepressants increase the risk of suicide among young people and adolescents, and for this reason their use is restricted among these patient groups.

However, this research indicates that suicide risks also occur for some adults. This new evidence should now be reviewed by regulators, reflected in clinical guidelines and brought up in conversations between doctors and their patients.’

It is probably past time to start re-looking at the use of antidepressant medications which are so widely prescribed.

More and more evidence suggests that these medicines do little to relieve depression; for some these drugs can mask real pain that should be handled with a therapist, and may alter the brain chemistry which may make the matter worse in the long run.

To learn more about some of the other dangers associated with antidepressant medications see this article in Freedom Health News.

This does not mean there is no hope.  Many natural remedies seem to help people with depression including changing diets, talk therapy and various non-pharmaceutical herbs.

This article should not be a reason to stop taking a prescribed medication, but a warning that there is no magic pill out there that will help everyone beat depression.  It requires qualified medical support, but there are other options out there including changing your gut health.

Are You Sleeping Wrong?

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By: Kennedy Shelley

Do you wake up in pain?  It could be you are sleeping in the wrong position for your back, or neck.

I wish I could say there is one best way to sleep, but as far as the experts’ opinions, they are mixed.

This is one area that you do have to listen to your own body, but if you are waking up in pain, then that is a signal that it’s time to try something different.

Sleep positions affect not only your back pain, but also how well you breathe at night.  Many people find that when they sleep on their back they snore much more and may have a sore throat.

So, let’s talk about the basic principles of getting the sleep you need so you can wake up feeling great.

GET A GOOD FOUNDATION

You really need to invest in a quality mattress.  Think about it, you are going to spend nearly 1/3 of your life in your bed, so find a quality mattress that will support you.

I know it’s a big purchase, but you even need to consider changing it if you gain or lose significant amounts of weight.  This can affect the pressure points on your body which can cause pain.

Take some time in the store and try to get into a position that you like sleeping in.

There is really no study that shows that memory foam is better than an adjustable mattress, it just feels right to you and your budget.

If you have GERD or wake up because of heartburn, consider putting inch-high blocks of wood at the head of the bed.  Just a slight elevation can help keep the stomach acids where they belong.

A firmer mattress might be helpful if you are waking up with back pain.

SIDE SLEEPING

Many people with lower back pain and snoring issues find that sleeping on their sides gives them the most relief.

The secret to making this work is to place a pillow between your knees to help keep your hips in a neutral position.

Bringing your knees up to a comfortable position to relieve pressure on your back can also help.

MAKING IT WORK ON YOUR BACK

Sleeping on your back is the most popular way to sleep.

If you have some joint and back pain, try putting a pillow under your legs to relieve some pressure on your back, pelvis and hips.

WHERE DOES IT HURT?

If your shoulder is killing you in the morning, try sleeping on the shoulder that doesn’t hurt while hugging a pillow.

If your knee hurts, then side sleeping with a pillow between your knees may take the pressure off the joint.

Oh, your aching back!  This is the biggest complaint in America, again look at a firmer mattress and side sleeping with your knees up and a pillow between your legs.  Try to get it in a position where there is no stress in your back, pelvis and hips.

PILLOWS MATTER

The idea is to keep your spine in line.  You don’t want your head too high or low.  You also might be one of those people who want their arm underneath your pillow, so try to build that in.

Don’t try to raise your head with your pillow to fight heartburn, that won’t do anything for the stomach acid, but instead give you a crick in the neck.

GET THE TEMP RIGHT

Try to sleep cool, 60-70 degrees seems to be the comfort sweet spot.  There is research to suggest the cooler the better.  It seems to help with healing and reducing stress.

HOW NOT TO SLEEP

Sleep experts seem to agree on one thing, stomach sleeping is the worst.  While there are some people who can get away with it for a while, back pain seems to be the inevitable result.

Hopefully these tips will help you wake up feeling better, more rested and without any pain.  Sleep well!

Sinful Dessert Actually Can Help You Lose Weight and Protect Your Heart

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By: Adam L.

We all want to eat foods that taste like sin.

The problem is, when it feels that good, (and that bad), it usually is just bad.

Unless you eat this sinful dessert which actually can help you lose weight and protect your heart.

Now a brief note about this sinful dessert before we go too far into the research around it.

While the dessert in question (dark chocolate) is excellent for you, it’s not going to be of much benefit to you if you combine it with tons of sugar and carbohydrates.

So, when you’re reading this, dismiss any idea that a Snickers bar is going to help you lose weight and protect your heart.

On the other hand, pure, unadulterated dark chocolate (also referred to as cocoa) will help protect your health. Which is why adding a few ounces of it to your diet daily could help improve your health in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

The Astounding Ways Dark Chocolate Can Protect the Heart

When you read the words “dark chocolate,” you’re reading a misnomer.

Pure cocoa, AKA real chocolate, is always dark. It only becomes light when diluted with fillers like milk and sugar.

And the darkness of chocolate is a signal that what you’re about to eat holds a long list of health-boosting compounds inside.

Namely antioxidants and healthy fats.

There is proof dark chocolate is great for you, enough evidence that Harvard even published an article commenting on it.

In that article, they wrote: “If you’re a chocoholic, the news out of England is tantalizing: middle-aged and older adults who eat up to 3.5 ounces of chocolate a day (that’s more than two standard Hershey bars) seem to have lower rates of heart disease than those who spurn chocolate.”

At least that was the conclusion of a study that followed the health of nearly 21,000 residents of Norfolk, England, for 11 years. Among those in the top tier of chocolate consumption, 12% developed or died of cardiovascular disease during the study, compared to 17.4% of those who didn’t eat chocolate. The results were published online in the medical journal “Heart”.

While the study didn’t delve into the mechanisms behind the increase in heart health, it likely has to do with the fact that dark chocolates contain healthy fats.

A typical dark chocolate bar is made with copious amounts of fat known as oleic acid (the same kind of fat also found in olive oil), along with two other healthy fats called stearic acid and palmitic acid.

These fats aren’t added to dark chocolate separately, either. The cocoa butter used as an ingredient to make dark chocolate is derived from the same plant that the cocoa powder used to give chocolate its strong flavor comes from.

These fats don’t just protect the heart; they’re also instrumental for weight loss, too.

Yes, Dark Chocolate Can Help You Lose Weight

There are two ways in which dark chocolate can help you lose weight.

The first has to do with the same way it helps protect your heart.

Because dark chocolate is made up of healthy forms of fat, when incorporated into a ketogenic diet the fats help to turn on “fat storage burners,” which induce your body to use stored fat reserves as fuel.

The fats in dark chocolate are short-chain fatty acids. This means they break apart easily in the body and burn quickly as fuel (while on a ketogenic diet). This quick-burning form of fat then enhances your body’s natural tendency to use fat reserves (i.e., belly fat and other problem areas of fat) to help power cellular processes.

In addition to creating a ketogenic effect, there’s another unique way that dark chocolate helps you lose weight.

A recent study by Dutch researchers showed that by eating and/or smelling chocolate, it helped to suppress your body’s appetite hormone called ghrelin.

The researchers had 12 women participate in two, 60-minute studies.

In the first session, all of the women ate 30 grams of chocolate. The precise mixture was 85% cocoa and had 4 grams of sugar.

In the second 60-minute session, six of the women only smelled the chocolate while the other women didn’t eat any chocolate at all and did not smell it either. The researchers observed that the women who smelled the chocolate had lower levels of ghrelin and felt more satisfied (full and satiated) than the other women and the control group (the ones who did not smell) had no marked decrease in appetite and remained as hungry as they had been before the study started.

Thus, the researchers concluded that dark chocolate could be efficient as an appetite modulator.

When Purchasing Dark Chocolate Keep This in Mind

It’s clear to see dark chocolate is stellar as a health-boosting food.

However, only buy chocolate that is fair-trade certified and supports farmers.

The chocolate market is rife with cruelty and abuse, so your decision to buy ethically traded chocolate doesn’t just improve your health, but the health of others as well.

Weird Australian Plant Could Replace Hundreds of Toxic Products in Your Home

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By: Adam L.

Deep in the outback and along the coasts of a far-off land is a fantastic tree.

The native people of this country revere the tree for what it does…

And as you’ll see, this weird Australian plant could replace hundreds of toxic products in your home.

Which is why if you’re trying to live a greener, healthier lifestyle, you can’t afford to skip out on using this product.

It could single-handedly help replace cancer-causing cosmetics, hormone-damaging cleaning solutions, and neuro-degenerative insect repellents (and more).

The plant is the tea tree, and the oil we extract from this plant is one of the most potent antiseptics, antibacterial, antiviral agents known to man.

Here are 5 products tea tree oil can help replace.

5 Toxic Products Tea Tree Oil May Help Replace

Tea tree oil is an extract of the oil of the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia.

It’s got a beautiful, rich amber hue, a pleasant aroma, and a warm feel on the skin.

All these properties hint at just how remarkable this plant is for helping protect you from so many different organisms trying to ruin your health.

1 – Acne Medications:

Many acne fighters rely on toxic chemicals to kill bacteria living on the surface of your skin. Tea tree oil helps to kill bacteria but doesn’t damage skin like many of those chemicals.

This is in part thanks to a compound known as terpinen-4-ol.

Several studies indicate it works 3-6 times better than placebos at reducing inflammation and healing lesions.

And other studies show it’s just as good at keeping acne at bay as benzoyl peroxide, one of the most common (and most complained about) acne medications.

2 – Hand Sanitizers:

Hand sanitizers might be one of the more inconspicuous health hazards in your home.

Recent research shows the use of these cleaning agents, especially the chemicals in them, could promote bacterial overgrowth and may even lead to new superbugs being created.

Tea tree oil is just as effective as a sanitizer, but it doesn’t contain added chemicals and relies on an age-old antibacterial formula that isn’t known to cause bacterial resistance.

3 – Insect Repellents:

Insect repellents are one of the more dangerous chemicals we use daily.

From DDT (which is now banned) to the ever-so-dangerous sprays with DEET in them, the over-reliance on traditional bug sprays is probably causing more harm than good.

That’s because many of these chemicals are known endocrine-disruptors and also interfere with neurotransmission (among other things).

Tea tree oil helps to repel many bugs and has been shown to be just as effective as DEET.

In one study, tea tree oil performed just as effectively as DEET for repelling one of the world’s most dangerous insects, the mosquito.

And in another study (this study was with cows) all it took was one application of tea tree oil and the number of flies swarming the cows fell 61%.

You can include tea tree oil in your own insect repellent or buy premade ones from a health food store.

4 – Dandruff Shampoos:

While the mainstream dandruff shampoos are clinically proven to work, a number of them use chemicals with questionable safety for prolonged use in humans.

Tea tree oil has a history of helping to control dandruff.

One study showed that a group of people who used a shampoo with tea tree oil as the primary dandruff ingredient saw their dandruff levels fall by about 40%.

They also said that while their dandruff wasn’t as noticeable, their heads didn’t itch as bad and they didn’t have the same kind of greasy feeling other shampoos left behind.

Just a few drops of tea tree oil in shampoo can deliver noticeable results.

5 – Mouthwash:

Tea tree oil is not meant for internal use, but as an ingredient for mouthwash, it’s quite capable.

Dr. Josh Axe writes the following about how tea tree oil can help with stinky breath:

“Bad breath comes from bacteria that is found in your mouth, especially the back of your tongue, throat, and tonsils. Because tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties that can kill these bacteria, it works as a natural remedy for bad breath.

An in vitro study also shows that tea tree oil acts as an effective antiseptic agent against oral pathogens, including Candida albicans, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. This tea tree oil benefit can be extremely helpful after oral surgery, like a root canal, that increases your risk of developing a bacterial or fungal infection.”

The Bottom Line?

The bottom line is tea tree oil is an excellent addition to the products used by healthy individuals.

By replacing many conventional cosmetics/cleansers/toiletries with ones filled with tea tree oil, not only do you keep yourself clean and healthy.

You also eliminate how many toxins you expose yourself to, as well, which has other noticeable health benefits.

Inexpensive, potent, and easy to find, tea tree oil should be in everyone’s medicine chest.

Is Boring Eating the Secret to Weight Loss?

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By: Kennedy Shelley

When I first started tracking my eating using an app called Fat Secret, I noticed something: I’m kind of a boring eater.

Every morning I eat the same thing.  It made tracking easier, but I wondered if it was good for me in the long run.

It turns out that this may be an unheralded way to lose or maintain your weight.

Why have we not heard of it?  Well it’s boring.  You just can’t sell many books called “Just Eat What You Are Eating Every Day, and You Will Be Fine”.  How do you make a book of the same six recipes and repeat them day after day?

But it’s not a bad thing.

1 – It saves time

People who consistently eat the same thing don’t have to poke around at the supermarket.  They know what they need each week.

And they don’t need to spend time looking for new things to cook.

And they don’t need to print out instructions to prepare their food.  All this is done by rote memory.

As I used to tell my kids, “the foundation of all learning is repetition.”  Or in other words, “if you want to learn something, repeat it.”

Our eating behavior gets grooved in, and then we don’t have to think about it.

2 – No meal planning

Once you figure out what your body needs and if you like the taste and it doesn’t make you sluggish, why would you mess with it?

When you find what works, stick with it as long as you enjoy it.

Planning takes time and thought.  It is inherently stressful, so why do it if you don’t have to?

3 – Cut down on temptation

One of the problems with grocery shopping is we usually do it when we are rushed and hungry, two bad things when it comes to making good decisions.

If you are eating the same thing all the time, your mind is on autopilot.  You are not hunting for new things at the store.

The end result is fewer temptations to try something that will throw you off your diet.

Personally, I’m glad I don’t have to go down the ice cream and cookie aisles at the grocery store.

4 – You pay attention to your body

How many times have you finished off a carton of ice cream, package of cookies or a bag of chips and wondered, “why did I do that?”  Well, the first reason is because it was available.

We often will not get dressed and go to the store to eat impulsively.  We only do it when it is easily available.

So, eating the same stuff all the time limits the availability of our impulse comfort foods.

5 – Storage is easier

You don’t need to store a wide variety of ingredients when you eat the same things.

You only need the stuff for your relatively simple menu, and you know what to pick up at the store.

And leftovers get used the next day because it’s just a continuation of what you ate the day before.

6 – Limited choices

You will eat less if your only option is more of what you just had.  Variety and novelty lead to eating more than you need or planned.

One of the reasons we tend to overeat at Thanksgiving is “we just have to try Aunt Martha’s pasta.”

Having many choices tends to make us want to graze longer over food.

7 – Cuts down on stress

If you want to pack on the pounds, put yourself in a state of constant stress.

Being a little predictable and boring can cut down on stress.

What do you do?  Are you stressing that you are too predictable with what you eat?  Share your comments and thoughts below.

Too Much Coffee…Why You Need to Panic

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By: Kennedy Shelley

There is often a fine line between the positive boost you get from a cup of coffee and double espresso jitters.

While there is no known level of toxicity of coffee (in other words, you can’t overdose on coffee), many coffee drinkers know there is a certain spot where too much of a good thing becomes a problem.

Understanding what these effects are, as well as a basic understanding of how coffee is digested can help keep you from the Coffee Grim Reaper.

Let’s face it, what we want is to sharpen our senses, pay more attention to our work, or simply feel more awake…that’s why we drink coffee.  But if you do five shots of espresso, you feel a tightness in your chest, you can’t concentrate, and your leg won’t stop shaking.

The key is only taking a moderate amount of caffeine.  The problem is we don’t know what a moderate amount is, or our general lack of satisfaction with the results of a moderate amount.

All good java junkies seem to think that if a little is good, more is better, and that is not always the case.

FIRST KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DRINKING

In the US, our average cup of coffee is a relative lightweight as far as caffeine goes.  It averages 1-200 mg of caffeine.  In Europe, their cups contain 800 mg.  Even a Grande Pike Place blend at Starbucks is 310 mg.

Studies show that the average American’s sweet spot for caffeine is no more than 400 mg.  After that the jitters creep in.

TIME IT RIGHT

Once you drink your coffee, the waiting begins.

The liver starts working on digesting coffee 15 minutes after you begin to drink it.  The process can take approximately thirty minutes.

So, if you don’t wait thirty minutes between cups, you may not know how your next cup is going to hit you.  Our impatience is what often leads to caffeine overload.

Your liver converts caffeine into methylxanthine which goes to the brain to begin the process of waking you up.

‘. . . coffee sets the blood in motion and stimulates the muscles; it accelerates the digestive processes, chases away sleep, and gives us the capacity to engage a little longer in the exercise of our intellects.’ Honoré de Balzac (paraphrasing Brillat-Savarin) Traité des Excitants Modernes (1838), (translated from the French by Robert Onopa)

Caffeine keeps us awake by blocking adenosine which is what stops arousal and shuts us down for sleep.

Adenosine accumulates during the day and is what finally convinces us to go to bed even when we want to watch the game on TV.

When this is blocked, we get aroused.  Basically, what caffeine does is it takes the foot off the brakes of arousal.

And this is why too much of a good thing is a problem.  Too much arousal is what creates the jitters and nervousness.

These jitters are technically called caffeinism.  There are several studies on mental patients that show that caffeinism produces symptoms that closely mimic schizophrenia.

Getting the right coffee buzz without going one cup over the line is tough, so better to give yourself at least 30 minutes between cups.

If you don’t, you can feel panicked and have the sudden need to find a restroom as your arousal blockers are shut down and you become open to all the inputs flooding into your awareness.

You can’t die from too much coffee, but the effects of too much aren’t pleasant.

The Dirtiest Foods That You Have to Watch

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By: Kennedy Shelley

Some foods have more pesticide residue on them than others.  This is why certain foods really need to be cleaned more than others before you eat them, or better yet, use an organic alternative.

Every year, the Environmental Working Group, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture produces its list of what they call the “Dirty Dozen” of produce that is the biggest problem to our health because of man-made toxins.

Now that there is growing concern that insecticides and weed killers such as Roundup can have profound negative effects on human health, it is even more important to pay attention to these recommendations.

The number one food on the list for the last four years is the strawberry.

It’s thin-skinned and readily absorbs pesticides.

It also is exposed to poisonous gasses to keep it red and available all year round.

Since the average American eats eight pounds of fresh strawberries a year, it is probably worth the extra cost to reduce your exposure to these dangerous chemicals.

What this means is if you are not getting organic strawberries, you need to be meticulous in washing them.  A quick rinse really isn’t going to help much.

There were over 81 different chemicals that were found in various combinations when the strawberries were tested.

On the other side of the coin, you don’t have to worry much about the thick-skinned avocado.

Spending extra on organic here won’t protect your health that much.

The Dirty Dozen list from the Environmental Working Group is:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Again, these are vegetables you need to consider buying organic, or wash very carefully.

According to the group, 70% of the produce sold in the U.S. has pesticide residue on it.

The Environmental Working Group said in their press release:

“Nearly 60 percent of kale samples sold in the U.S. were contaminated with residues of a pesticide the Environmental Protection Agency considers a possible human carcinogen, according to EWG’s analysis of 2017 Department of Agriculture test data.”

While many of the pesticides that we have on our foods in the U.S. were banned in Europe, we still have many types that are very dangerous to humans floating around in our produce section.

One of the more dangerous pesticides is Dacthal which the government has considered a carcinogen since 1995.  Yet 500,000 pounds of it were sprayed on U.S. produce according to the EPA, mostly in California and Washington.

All this does not mean that you should stop eating vegetables, but be aware that commercial agricultural techniques are going to increase your exposure to certain toxins, unless you are doing a good job of removing dangerous residues.

And this is a good list of items where you might want to consider adding organic versions of certain vegetables.

The less exposure you have, the healthier you and your family will be in the long-term.