Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sugar-free Foods: Healthy or Not?

They’re marketed as healthy and low-calorie alternatives to your favorite sugary treats, but are sugar-free foods actually better for you?
They’re marketed as healthier, lower-calorie alternatives to your favorite sugary treats, but are sugar-free foods actually better for you? Well...maybe and maybe not. We've got the details on the good and bad of sugar-free foods.

What’s Replacing Sugar?
Some artificial sweeteners are calorie-free, while others come along with a small amount of calories per serving (but those calories can add up if you eat them often). The most popular sweeteners are still those blue, pink and yellow packets, along with the newest sweetener on the block called stevia. When used as food additives, you’ll see them on ingredient lists as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose and rebiana.

No matter which type you choose, all faux sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. Despite claims that they’re made from sugar or come from a natural plant source, all have undergone some type of chemical process before they reach your lips. Though research is limited, eating too much of these types of chemically treated sugars has been linked to adverse side effects including stomach upset, blood sugar control issues and increased risk of some types of cancer. Some research also suggests that eating excessive amounts of chemically-sweetened foods will entice the brain to want sugary (and typically less healthy) foods more often – not helpful for the quality of your diet or your waistline.

Read more about the specific dangers associated with popular artificial sweeteners and stevia.

Endless Options
Once only used in a limited number of foods, artificial sweeteners are now lurking in everything from diet sodas and juices to cookies and salad dressings. Manufacturers of light ice creams, low-cal yogurts and diet fruit juices often use artificial sweeteners along with added sugars to cut down on calories. So just because something isn’t labeled “sugar-free” doesn’t mean it won’t contain fake sweeteners.

To confuse things ever further, many foods that do use artificial sweeteners exclusively aren’t always lower in fat or calories than their sugar-containing counterparts. Some brands of sugar-free frozen treats, candies and cookies have very similar calorie counts despite their lack of sugar.

Special Needs
There is a time and a place for artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners allow for some additional options for those that suffer from diabetes or folks trying to cut back on sugary food overload. But option for sugar-free alternatives shouldn’t be viewed as a free pass to eat sugar-free fare day in and day out for the reasons mentioned above.

Bottom Line: At 15 calories per teaspoon, a small amount of regular sugar here and there can be worked into anyone’s healthy diet. If you do choose to use artificial sweeteners to help with diabetes, weight management and calorie control, do so in moderation and check ingredient lists -- your intake of artificial sweeteners may be more substantial than you think.

TELL US: What’s your take on the faux sugars? 
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Top 10 Bible Foods that Heal + the Biblical Diet

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, (born 1981) is a doctor of natural medicine and is a chiropractic physician and clinical nutritionist with a passion to help people get healthy. He operates one of the world's largest natural health websites at, and he has published extensively - for blogs, health articles and even several books:

The following article, Top 10 Bible Foods that Heal + Biblical Diet, was also written by him.

November 4, 2017

Whether you eat, drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
All throughout the Bible, references are made to the medicinal properties of foods and herbs. Representing health and longevity from Almighty God, the importance of diet and of preparing and eating food was oftentimes seen as a spiritual act. If you want to consume some of the most common foods mentioned for their health properties in the Bible, then you’ll want to try these top 10 healing Bible foods.

But first, let’s look at what foods the Bible considers clean vs. unclean. Of course, all of the healing foods land in the clean category.

What Are Clean and Unclean Foods?

When you go on the Bible diet, there are only certain kinds of food that you can eat. Certain foods are “clean” and should be eaten while others are “unclean” and should be completely avoided.

Acceptable Biblical foods:
Trees whose edible yield is bearing seeds or is seed — To put it simply, this kind of food is mostly fruits. All fruits are acceptable in the Biblical diet, just as long as they come from seeds. Fruits from fruit trees are okay to eat, as well as anything that grows on a vine, a shrub or anything with a woody bark tissue. (1
Plants whose edible yield is bearing seeds or is seeds — This classification refers to anything that may grow on plants that are not necessarily trees. Examples of seed-bearing plants include squash, tomatoes, corn and beans. (2
Field plants — Field plants or “plants of the field” are the next thing on the list, which can consist of herbs, roots and green, leafy vegetables. (3
Clean meat — Now this one’s a little detailed because the definition of clean meat is pretty complex. According to Leviticus, clean meat is defined as the meat of every animal that has the hoof cloven in two and chews the cud. (4) Examples of clean meat include the ox (cattle), buffalo, sheep, goat, deer, gazelle, antelope and mountain sheep, just to name a few. Examples of unclean meat include pig, camel, hare and rock badger. The Bible also instructs us not to eat the blood of animals or to eat any meat that has been sacrificed to idols. (5)
As for seafood, everything with fins and scales are allowed, but whatever doesn’t have fins such as shellfish is prohibited. For birds, everything is allowed except eagles, vultures, kites, ravens, ostriches, seagulls and owls. It is also noted that all winged insects are considered unclean. (6)

Top 10 Bible Foods with Healing Properties

1. Olives and Olive Oil — Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied. (Deuteronomy 6:10-11)

The Jews were the elite olive merchants of their day. During antiquity, this precious commodity was used for its healing capabilities, for cooking, to light lamps, for soaps, for cosmetics and even for currency. Olive oil was considered so sacred to ancient culture that it was even used to anoint kings and priests. Hence, the Hebrew for Messiah, Moshiach, meaning “anointed one!”

Research has been conducted that proves regular consumption of olives and olive oil contributes to heart, brain, skin and joint health. They have even been linked to cancer and diabetes prevention. (7) Needless to say, this sacred foodstuff has lived up to its ancient reputation!

2. Pomegranate — For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey. (Deuteronomy 8:7-8)

Tasty, messy and just recently gaining ground in the American market these past few years, several research studies have shown that pomegranates contain strong anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-obesity and anti-tumor properties. According to researchers, “Many beneficial effects are related to the presence of ellagic acid, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and flavones, which seem to be its most therapeutically beneficial components.” Subsequently, pomegranates are being considered valid treatment options for chronic diseases such as cancer, insulin resistance, intestinal inflammation and obesity. (8)

3. Fermented Grapes — May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine. (Song of Solomon 1:2)

I can’t make a list of top Bible foods without including grapes. Several epidemiological studies have shown that moderate alcohol intake, particularly drinking red wine, may lower the risk of cardiac mortality due to atherosclerosis. (9) The general recommendation is no more than one (five ounces) of red wine per day except for men under the age of 65 who may be able to have two drinks per day. (10)

When grape juice is fermented, natural anti-oxidant and flavonoid properties are exemplified through a substance called resveratrol. Consequently, researchers have focused much of their attention on evaluating the health benefits of resveratrol in recent years, which has been linked to chronic disease prevention and treatment including diabetes and obesity. (11)

4. Flax — An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels … She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight. (Proverbs 31:10,13)

One of the most important plant fibers in the Bible, flax has been used to make linen for as long as recorded history. Although it has been widely replaced by cotton in recent years, flax remains one of the most important fiber plants in the world and one of the top Bible foods.

Having a rich history of medicinal use dating back to Babylon in 3000 B.C., flax seeds have been wholeheartedly embraced by natural health and medical circles alike because it provides a natural, vegan source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans and fiber. Subsequently, research show that flax seeds may be able to help fight against cancer, lung disease and heart disease. (12)

5. Sprouted Grain Bread — Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. (Ezekiel 4:9).

In the Book of Ezekiel, God gave the prophet Ezekiel a recipe for what has proven to be the perfect bread as science has recently shown us that it creates the “complete protein,” one that contains all essential amino acids. The main reason that Ezekiel bread is healthier than other breads is because the grains and legumes are soaked and sprouted, which makes them easier to digest — and as a result, is the only bread to make this list of top Bible foods.

Harvesting “sprouted grains” happens right after the seed has started to sprout, but before it has developed into a full-grown plant. During this critical growth state, the young shoot digests a portion of the starch to fuel its growth. Subsequently, because the grain’s starch has been utilized, the level of vital nutrients — including proteins, vitamins and minerals — are enhanced. Additionally, research studies have suggested that iron and zinc actually become more “bioavailable,” (i.e. more easily absorbed) after sprouting. (13)

6. Raw Goat Milk — The lambs will be for your clothing and the goats will bring the price of a field. There will be goats’ milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and sustenance for your maidens. (Proverbs 27:26-27)

Raw milk is filled with the vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy dental fluid flow and help maintain strong teeth. Loaded with calcium, vitamin K2, magnesium, phosphorus and fat-soluble vitamins, researchers have carried out a comparative study on the properties of cows’ milk compared to those of goats’ milk and have discovered that goats’ milk may be even more beneficial.

Unlike cows’ milk, scientists from the University of Granada has revealed that data concerning goats’ milk suggests that it could prevent diseases such as anemia and bone demineralization. Additionally, goats’ milk has properties that help with the digestive and metabolic utilization of minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. (14)

7. Lamb — Now you shall eat it [the unblemished lamb] in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste — it is the Lord’s Passover. (Exodus 12:11)

Due to the significance of the Passover Lamb and equating that role to Christ, lambs are the most revered animal in history, and the most honored food in the Bible (and the only meat earning a spot in the top 10 Bible foods). Lamb is the meat of young sheep that are generally one year old or younger. Due to slaughtering the animal at such a young age, the marble fat content is considerably lower than older varieties of meat, which contributes to heart health and helps prevent again obesity. Rich in protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, zinc and other vital nutrients, it is arguably the healthiest red meat on the planet. (15)

On a side note, make sure to purchase local, organic, grass-fed varieties when possible. Grain-fed factory farmed animals are loaded with genetically modified corn feed, countless additives and are simply not worth the risk.

8. Bitter Herbs* (coriander and parsley) — They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. (Exodus 12:8)

Scholars are not in complete agreement which plants the authors of Bible were referring to when writing about “bitter herbs,” but coriander and parsley generally make the list.

Coriander is the seed of the powerful anti-oxidant and natural cleansing agent cilantro. Traditional medicine has long used and labeled coriander as an anti-diabetic plant and scientific research confirms its helpful effects on blood sugar. Coriander also appears to be helpful for high blood pressure and heavy metal detoxification amongst other positive health effects. (16)

Parsley is another health-promoting herb and a rich source of several crucial vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. (17)

9. Vegetables — Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. (Daniel 1:12)

Instead of eating the tasty dainties of the Babylonians, Daniel and his friends requested to live on a vegetarian diet. When it was time for them to be presented to the king, Nebuchadnezzar and all of the leaders were astounded to see that the four young Jewish friends were more fit and looked better than the other young men who ate the Babylonian fare. Often referred to as the Daniel diet or the Daniel fast, history and biblical text actually support that Daniel continued his vegetarian lifestyle throughout his entire life.

Of all the food groups, vegetables are arguably the most nutrient-dense and safest to eat. There’s relatively no risk in consuming too many of them; whereas, if you eat fruit all day, you run the risk of spiking your blood sugar or developing dental caries because of the excess sugar.

Vegetables are so effective at healing that, according to the National Cancer Institute, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, radish etc.) can help prevent cancer because they are rich in glucosinolates – a large group of sulfur-containing glucosides. Known to break down during chewing and digestion, these powerhouse chemicals can slow down and even reverse cancer cells growth. Additionally, it has also been reported that glucosinolates can treat the following health concerns: (18)
  • Inflammation
  • Bacterial and viral infections
  • Carcinogenic toxicity
  • Tumor angiogenesis (blood vessel formation)
  • Tumor metastasis (tumor migration)
10. Raw Honey — Have you found honey? Eat only what you need that you not have it in excess and vomit it. (Proverbs 25:16)

It’s no wonder raw honey is referred to as “liquid gold.” The medicinal applications to the skin and internal body seem limitless. First of all, raw honey is loaded with key nutrients. Research has also shown that honey contains the disease-fighting antioxidant flavonoids like pinostrobin, pinocembrin and chrysin. (19)

In addition to being a fantastic replacement to energy drinks for athletes and people needing a little boost, raw honey also supports the growth of probiotics in gastrointestinal tract including (Bifidobacteria). (20) Another fascinating quality of honey is its ability to improve allergy symptoms. (21) However, be sure to purchase the local variety, as it will contain indigenous pollen species unlike generic store-bought brands.

Recommendations and Benefits of a Biblical Diet

Is it possible to lose weight by following the Bible’s teachings on food and eating? Founder of the Bible Diet, author of The Maker’s Diet and motivational speaker Jordan S. Rubin believes so! According to him, the Bible Diet is heavily influenced based on the teachings from the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy and the only food considered acceptable or clean is the only kind that should be eaten.

Recommendations from The Makers Diet

The four classifications of food (trees that yield seed, plants that yield seed, field plants, clean meat) is the foundation of a Biblical diet. There are also other important things you should consider when starting or following a Biblical diet:
Water, sunshine and exercise. These three are absolutely key to good health. You should always remember to drink lots of water, get lots of exercise and go outside. I recommend one quart water daily for every 50 pounds of weight. Also, it’s important to drink high quality water
Eat safe, clean meat. This means abstaining from certain kinds of meat and seafood such as pork, lobster, clams and mussels, shrimp and catfish. 
Eat foods that are in season. The Bible states that everything has a season. This should also be our attitude when it comes to picking out the things we eat. Lean towards eating fruits, vegetables and herbs that are in season, as they’re fresher and better for your health. 
Eating raw. Eating uncooked raw food is very much encouraged. Some vegetables may need to be cooked, but a majority of them can be enjoyed raw. 
Unprocessed real whole foods. What you eat should ideally be consumed in the way that it was found in nature. This means that we should stay away from preservatives, processed foods, or those produced with lots of contact with hormones, fertilizers and pesticides.
Benefits of Following a Biblical Diet

All these food restrictions may seem like a whole lot of sacrifice, but what about the rewards. According to Rubin, those who go on the Biblical diets and eat Bible foods can look forward to the following benefits:

Weight loss

A diet high in unprocessed food, fruit and vegetables is ideal for weight loss. Natural and raw fruits and vegetables carry fewer calories and are easier to digest then other processed foods.

A longer lifespan 

Rubin claims that some of our ancestors that went on the Biblical diet went on to live for 120+ years. Although we may not reach that age, studies show that a diet high in fruits and vegetables lead to little or no health complications, thus indicating a longer lifespan.

Energy and improved mood 

When our bodies are in a state of imbalance due to poor dietary habits, we immediately feel it. We can feel sickly, sluggish and depressed. Eating right can increase energy, balance hormones and improve our mood.

Final Thoughts

Who would have thought that you could get nutritional advice in the Bible, huh? At the end of the day, if it were good enough for people back then to eat, I think it’s probably good for us today. So much of what the Bible lays out so clearly for how we should eat also makes a lot of sense when you look at scientific research. A Biblical diet is filled with healing foods that promote a well-rounded diet and so many awesome health benefits.


*Hyssop, not commonly used today, is also referred to in the Bible as a bitter herb. [It's very, very bitter, and when my brothers and I were babies, my mom had extreme ulcerative colitis, something doctors said was incurable at the time. We were babies, and she knew she had to overcome her problem for our sake, so she went to a health food store (Harvest Health in Grand Rapids, MI) and someone there recommended she drink hyssop tea. She did, every day and throughout the day, and ate the blandest diet, e.g. boiled green beans, boiled potatoes with no butter or salt. After a year she was able to gradually add foods, and eventually because of the tea and her bland diet, she could overcome her problem! A careful, thoughtful diet does cure! Praise God!] - CM

Friday, September 13, 2019

Gluten-free: Foreign Restaurant Cards

One of my best friends used to rave about why Seventh-day Adventists teachers teaching in South Korea weren't given dietary cards to take to the Korean restaurants (we live in Korea), so we could maintain the healthy, "clean" SDA diet. Many teachers who just arrived didn't have linguistic skills or knowledge about what was in Korean food, so eating in the restaurants that was obviously loaded with pork and shellfish would be against the SDA moral values of respecting the dietary laws given by God. God gave the dietary laws to Moses after He led the children of Israel out of Egyptian captivity, and those laws are documented in Leviticus 11. Jews and SDAs follow these laws; perhaps other religious groups do as well. Anyway, my friend who had lived in Japan for a year had been given such a card stating what foods SDAs avoid, and she along with other teachers teaching in Japan would present the card at restaurants and so felt assured that they wouldn't order anything against their principles.

Well, along these lines, I just bumped into a gluten-free restaurant card to be taken to foreign restaurants. The card can be printed out in German, Spanish, Scandinavia [sic], Dutch, Italian, and French ... European languages. Chinese, Russian, and Arabic, other major world languages, as well as Japanese and Korean are strangely absent from this list. However, with Google translate it's possible to translate this gluten-free request card in any language.  


Printer friendly version

Ich darf aus medizinishen Gründen keine Produkte aus Weizen, Roggen, Gerste oder Hafer essen, also auch nichts Paniertes oder Mehl-Gebundenes. Mais, Reis, Kartoffeln, Gemüse, Fleisch usw. sind erlaubt. Auch Suppen und Saucen, die mit Maisstärke oder Kartoffelmehl gebunden sind.

Por orden médica me está prohibido ingerir alimentos que deriven de trigo, avena, cebada y centeno, y por lo tanto nada que sea apanado o espesado con harina. Maíz, arroz, patatas, verduras, carne, etc. están permitidos en mi dieta, así también sopas y salsas espesadas con maicena o harina de patatas.

(Norway, Denmark, Sweden)
Av medisinske grunner er jeg ikke tillatt aa spise noen produkter laget av eller med hvete, rug, bygg eller havre; heller ikke panering eller legering av disse kornsortene. Jeg kan spise mais, ris, poteter, gronnsaker, kjott, fisk osv. Kan ogsaa spise supper og sauser jevnet med mais eller potestivelse.

Drager van deze kaart heeft coeliakie (glutenintolerantie). Het is absoluut verboden tarwe,rogge, hever en gerst te eten. Ook producten waarin deze granen zijn verwerkt zoals vermicelli, paneermeel en sauzen (bindmiddel) zijn zeer schadelijk. Elk contact met deze gluten bevattende granen/meelprodukten moet vermeden worden! Bij twijfel wil ik QraaQ met u overleggen.

Per ragione medicali mi e vietato di mangiare prodotti fatti di grano, di segale, d’ orzo O d’avena dunque niente che sia preparato con farina O panato. Sono permessi mais, riso, patate, legumi, carne, ect…e anche minestra e salse legati al amido.

Pour des raisons medicales, il m’est interdit de manger des produits contenant du froment (ble), du siegle, de l’orge ou de l’avoine, donc egalement ce qui est pane ou lie avec de la farine. Le mais, le riz, les pommes de terre, les legumes, les viandes, etc… me sont permis, ainsi que les soups et les sauces liees avec de l’ amidon ( de mais) ou avec de la fecule de pomme de terre.

This article has been assessed and approved by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

10 Nutrients Absent in Animal Foods

[Article source on HEALTHLINE by Atli Arnarson, PhD on June 15, 2017]

Animal foods and plant foods have many differences. This is especially true for their nutritional value, as many nutrients are specific to either plants or animal foods. For optimal nutrition, it makes sense to follow a balanced diet that includes both. This article lists 10 common nutrients that are difficult or impossible to get from animal foods.


Vitamin C is the only essential vitamin not found in useful amounts in cooked animal foods. It is a powerful antioxidant that is important for the maintenance of connective tissue. It also functions as a co-factor for many enzymes in the body.

Additionally, vitamin C deficiency may cause scurvy, a condition initially characterized by spotty skin and fatigue. Advanced scurvy can cause yellow skin, loss of teeth, bleeding and eventually death. A diet of only animal foods usually doesn't contain enough vitamin C. For this reason, people need to get it from fruit, vegetables, fortified food or supplements.

However, sufficient amounts of vitamin C can be acquired from raw liver, fish roe and eggs. Lower amounts are also present in raw meat and fish. Since most people are already getting enough vitamin C from their diet, supplementation is usually unnecessary.

Nevertheless, several studies indicate that high vitamin C intake may:
  • Protect against age-related mental decline
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve the health of blood vessels, possibly cutting the risk of clogged arteries
Some of these effects may only apply to those who are low in vitamin C to begin with. Taking vitamin C can also enhance iron absorption from a meal. This can reduce the risk of anemia in people who are prone to iron deficiency. Vitamin C is found in most plant foods, especially raw fruits and vegetables. The richest food sources include bell peppers, kale, kiwifruit, citrus fruits and various berries.
Bottom Line: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential for optimal health. However, it is not found at useful levels in cooked animal foods. The richest sources of vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables.

Flavonoids are the most common group of antioxidants in plants. They are found in virtually all plant foods. Many of the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables may be due to their flavonoid content. In fact, studies indicate that flavonoid-rich diets may have health benefits, such as:
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Improved brain health and function
  • Better colon health
Below is an overview of 4 common flavonoids, including their food sources and health benefits.

2. Quercetin

Quercetin is one of the most common flavonoids. High intake of quercetin has been linked with lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. Quercetin is found in most plant foods, but rich dietary sources include capers, onions, cocoa, cranberries and apples. It is also available as a supplement.

3. Catechins

Catechins are a family of flavanols, the most abundant of which are (+)-catechin and epicatechin. The health benefits of green tea catechins have been widely studied. They have been linked to reduced blood pressure, improved blood vessel function and lower blood cholesterol. Catechins are found in many fruits and beverages. Major sources include apricots, apples, pears, grapes, peaches, tea, cocoa and red wine.

4. Hesperidin

Hesperidin is one the most common flavanones. Studies indicate that hesperidin may help prevent heart disease and cancer. However, the evidence is mostly limited to studies in laboratory animals. Hesperidin is present almost exclusively in citrus fruits, especially oranges and lemons.

5. Cyanidin

Cyanidin is the most widely distributed anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are antioxidant pigments that are responsible for the bright colors of many fruits and vegetables. Studies indicate that anthocyanins may reduce the risk of heart disease, but the evidence is still very limited. Cyanidin is found in colorful fruits and vegetables. The richest food sources are dark-colored berries such as blackberries, black currants and black raspberries.
Bottom Line: Plant foods are rich in a diverse group of antioxidants called flavonoids. Common flavonoids include quercetin, catechins, hesperidin and cyanidin. Their intake has been associated with a variety of health benefits.

The fiber found in plant foods is believed to be responsible for many of their health benefits. Generally speaking, dietary fiber is defined as parts of plants that cannot be digested in the upper digestive system. A high intake of fiber has been linked with many beneficial effects on health. These include:
  • Lower cholesterol.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Decreased risk of constipation.
  • Lower risk of colon cancer.
  • Increased feeling of fullness after a meal, promoting weight loss.
Many kinds of fiber are also prebiotics, meaning that they are able to improve colon health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Below are 5 types of dietary fiber that have been shown to have health benefits in humans.

6. Beta-glucan

Beta-glucan is one of the most widely studied types of fiber. It is a viscous fiber that has been linked with numerous health benefits. As an effective prebiotic, beta-glucan ferments in the colon where it stimulates the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria. This can lead to improved colon health. It may also lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and moderate the levels of blood sugar after meals. The richest sources of beta-glucan are the bran in oats and barley. Lower amounts of beta-glucan are found in other whole-grain cereals like sorghum, rye, wheat and rice.

7. Pectin

Pectins are a family of prebiotic fibers found in fruits. They come in various forms with different health effects. Pectins may promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. They may also help ease chronic diarrhea and moderate blood sugar levels after meals. Additionally, studies suggest that pectins may help prevent colon cancer. The main dietary sources of pectins are fruits, such as oranges, apples, plums, guavas, bananas and various berries.

8. Inulin

Inulin belongs to a group of fibers known as fructans. As prebiotic fibers, inulin and other fructans promote colon health by stimulating the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria. Studies indicate that diets high in inulin may relieve constipation. However, some people experience side effects like flatulence and bloating. Inulin is found in various fruits and vegetables, including bananas, artichokes, asparagus, onions, garlic, leeks and chicory.

9. Lignans

Unlike other dietary fibers, lignans are polyphenols rather than carbohydrates. When they arrive in the colon, they are fermented by intestinal bacteria. This fermentation process turns them into phytoestrogens, which are subsequently absorbed into the bloodstream. Phytoestrogens have been linked with several health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and breast cancer. Lignans are found in most plant foods. The richest dietary sources are seeds (especially flaxseeds) and cereal grains.

10. Resistant Starch

Starch is the most common carbohydrate in plants. It is usually well-digested, but some of it may be resistant to digestion. This type of starch is called resistant starch. Resistant starch promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon, improving colon health. Studies also indicate that resistant starch may increase the feeling of fullness and moderate the rise in blood sugar after meals. Resistant starch is found in various high-carb foods, including whole-grain cereals, pasta, legumes, unripe bananas, and >potatoes that have been cooled down after cooking.
Bottom Line: Fiber may be responsible for many of the health benefits of plant foods. Important types of fiber include beta-glucan, pectin, inulin and resistant starch.

A balanced diet rich in both plants and animal foods has many advantages. Although a carnivorous diet can be healthy, it lacks many important nutrients that are specific to plants.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Denaturing Effect of Cooked Food

The following article is taken from Hippocrates Health Institute, home education (Dec 13, 2018): 

Cooked Food What’s In It?

Well, after years of being a pyrofoodiac, I discovered raw food. No, I’m not talking raw meat or even sushi, but rather fruits, veggies and their juices and raw nuts seeds. In their natural, unadulterated, untouched by man, UNcooked and certainly UN-burned state, these foods really can heal all that ails you. It turns out, it’s that cooked food, especially the burnt stuff, that WILL kill you! 

Yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking, “EVERYONE eats cooked food!” But not everyone knows what the cooking of food actually does to the food, and even more importantly, what that cooked food does to your body when you regularly consume it. 

So, what could possibly be so bad about cooking your food? Does something in the food change when you heat it? 

What exactly is IN cooked food? 

Whenever you cook food, whether it’s on a stove top, in an oven, on a grill, in a microwave, or in a fryer, not only does the molecular structure of the food become denatured, deranged, and/or degraded, but those molecules are changed into new chemical configurations (this is a bad thing) and carcinogenic and mutagenic byproducts are formed. The degree to which this happens is dependent on the cooking temperature, time cooked and method of cooking. 

Grilling, barbecuing, smoking and frying are the worst offenders; they are literally the fires of death, but steaming also affects the food. You know that old saying that there are more nutrients in the water of steamed veggies than are actually left in the veggies when they are done steaming? That’s because heat destroys nutrients, especially the water soluble vitamins like vitamin C and all the B vitamins. The heating of food also destroys the food’s enzymes. In fact, 100% of the food’s enzymes are destroyed at temperatures as low as 118 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the oxygen and water content of the food is drastically decreased, fats are carcinogenized, carbs are caramelized and proteins are coagulated and become virtually unusable by the body. Even the fiber in food loses that sweeping-like action in the colon

The heating of food also creates toxic byproducts. Here is a list of some of the dangerous byproducts you are most likely unknowingly consuming every time you eat cooked food, whether it’s a carb, a fat or a protein: 

Acrylamides: These are the cancer· causing byproducts of cooking carbohydrate foods such as breads, potatoes, pastries or any kind of starch. Even the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) acknowledges the perils of acrylamides. In fact, on their website ( they have a list of the amount of acrylamides found in various common cooked foods, but you better believe the processed/fast food industry doesn’t want you to know about this! 

Ally aldehyde, butyric acid, nitrobenzene and nitropyrene: The book, Diet, Nutrition and Cancer, published by the U.S. FDA’s Office of Toxicological Sciences and the Nutritional Research Council and the American Academy of Sciences lists these toxins as being formed from heating the fats and oils in food. 

Epoxides, Hydroperoxides, unsaturated aldehydes: These are generated when heating fat from meat, milk, eggs, and fish. 

Furfural / furans: These toxins are spawned when sugars are heated. 

Heterocyclic Arnines (HCA’s): Add heat to amino acids (proteins) such as meat, fish or chicken and these poisons will be served up. 

Indole, skatole, nitropyrene, ptomatropine, ptomaines, leukomaines, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, cadaverine, muscarine, putecine, nervine, mercaptins: These toxic by-products have been found in cooked cheeses. 

Methylglyoxal and chlorogenic atractyosides: Heating the coffee bean produces these chemicals. 

Nitrosamines: As nitrogen oxides in the gas flame from gas ovens or barbecues interact with fats, these toxins are created. 

Polycyclic hydrocarbons: These carcinogens are generated from the charring of meat. 

Hydrogenated oils/Trans fats: These man-made fats, also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, were specifically developed so a processed food could sit on a shelf for a long period of time without going rancid. Many of today’s common foods are also cooked in these trans fats. Consuming trans fats can lead to obesity, heart disease, increases in the bad (LDL) cholesterol and lowering of the good (HDL) cholesterol and it contributes to a host of other debilitating health problems. 

Keep in mind, when heating even the most common cooking oils, such as olive oil, the heat denatures the oil molecules and causes the oil to turn rancid. 

What happens to the body when we eat cooked food? 

We have became a “Pyrofoodiac Nation,” consuming excessive amounts of cooked and overcooked food at each and every meal,· including snacks, to the point of great disease and utter destruction! Here is what happens to the body every time we eat cooked food: 

Digestive leukocytosis: The term leukocytosis refers to an increase in white blood cells, indicating the body is in attack mode. This commonly occurs when you are sick; your white blood cells come out to protect you. It may surprise you to know this immune response also occurs when you consume cooked food. lt is referred to as digestive leukocytes, but it’s interesting to note, this reaction does not occur after eating raw/uncooked food. 

Accelerated aging, lowered pH and free radical formation: Also called, lipofuscin, a build-up of toxic, acidic waste material often referred to as “free radicals” accumulates in the skin (and reveals itself as age spots), liver, nervous system and brain when consuming large amounts of cooked food. Your pH becomes acidic and you are literally rusting from the inside out. 

Weakened immune system, disease production and overworked and enlarged pancreas and other organs: When you are not getting the proper nutrients, your white blood cells are always out in attack mode and toxic wastes are in full circulation, your weak and overworked body breeds common ailments such as allergies, headaches, sinusitis, diabetes, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, depression, arthritis, osteoporosis, and various cancers thrive. 

Intestinal toxemia, unfriendly flora build-up and more difficult digestion: Colonies of unfriendly bacteria take over the colon as they feed on the thick tarlike, undigested and uneliminated cooked food putrefying in the intestines. There is also a significant decrease in the quantity of healthy intestinal flora in the colon, often leading to digestion difficulties. A plant-based uncooked diet decreases the toxic load in the colon and decreases the unfriendly bacteria and other dangerous byproducts that contribute to colon cancer. 

Toxic waste accumulation and mucoid plaque build-up in the blood and colon: A congested bowel full of putrefied cooked food can lead to backup and reabsorption of toxins back into the bloodstream. This accumulation of wastes in the blood vessels can contribute to many of today’s common circulatory problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and even erectile dysfunction, and may also contribute to many other common health challenges such as gout, arthritis and various cancers. In addition, common ailments such as runny noses, headaches, asthma and even diarrhea can be signs of a “healing crisis” where the body is overwhelmed and is trying to rid itself of unwanted mucus and toxins. 

Malnutrition & deficiency of important nutrients: Many of those who regularly eat cooked food find themselves always hungry and always eating but totally malnourished, for the nutrient make-up of cooked food is diminished significantly, so the body is always craving more and more. 

Depletion of the food’s life force: As shown in kirlian photography, cooking literally kills food; its bioelectrical energy is destroyed. After cooking, the food is considered “dead.” 

Increased risk of diseases of all types: The cooking of food, especially at high temperatures, literally burns away the anti-disease and anti-cancer properties of food. A diet lacking in raw veggies has been implicated in everything from breast and colon cancer to heart disease, diabetes and even arthritis. 

Baby Steps 

Even if you are not ready to become a 100% raw foodie, you can still do your body good by making some positive food changes and eating less cooked food. Begin slowly by increasing your raw food intake; choose fresh salads over fried onions rings when eating out and avoid all the obviously unhealthy cooking methods with your entree, such as deep frying, barbecuing and charring. Replace your acidic morning cup-o-joe or pasteurized orange juice with a fresh, unpasteurized alkaline green veggie juice and even pick one day a week to eat only raw/uncooked food. Over time, you will start to feel the difference, your skin will glow and your body will thank you with great health. 

© 2007 Dr. Ginger Southall is a consumer health advocate, 
investigative journalist, and a health instructor. She can be reached at 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

10 Reasons to Love Avocados

Hippocrates Health Institute posted about the health value of avocados, one of the most nutrient-rich and versatile fruits that can be eaten daily to enhance a person's health. Originally native to Central America, for hundreds of years avocados have been cultivated. Now they are used in numerous recipes: appetizers, salads, desserts, and even eaten alone. This fruit versatile in meal presentation can play a big part in the health journey by providing the body with nutrients and other healing properties. Externally used, the natural oils in avocados can also penetrate deep into the skin, making it a great addition to skin and hair care routines.

Book title "An Avocado a Day" as posted on Amazon
Here are 10 reasons why a person should love avocado: 
Regulates blood pressure
High source of fiber
Helps absorb nutrients from other foods
Contains more potassium than a banana
Loaded with heart-healthy, mono-unsaturated fatty acids
Can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Helps promote weight loss
Repairs damaged hair
Moisturizes skin
Treats sunburn
These are certainly some beneficial reasons to introduce avocado to the diet or as an addition to body care products.

Just an aside for those struggling with severe systemic candida. During the early days of my hell-fight with severe systemic candida, I couldn't eat avocados ... maybe because I was having a hard time digesting fat, but those early days I was close to starving and could basically only eat chlorophyll-rich foods. Bone thin but after starting to feel better, I found that avocados were the go-to food for helping to regulate my weight, mood and energy. Without organic cold-pressed coconut oil and then avocados in those early days of acute sickness, I think I probably would have melted away. 

One more important point, after I started eating avocados regularly, I noticed that my vitamin A issues were being alleviated. Although I was eating as many vitamin A-rich foods as I could, my vitamin A was extremely low, causing all kinds of problems with my eyes, cartilage and throat. For the body to absorb vitamin A into the blood and gain benefit from the vitamin, fat is necessary. I very much believe it was the fat from avocado much more than the coconut oil, which was good to prevent acute weight loss and heal the GI tract, that helped reach a more stable health plateau. 

That said, I also noticed that if I ate avocados after 4pm, I couldn't fall easily to sleep that night. I usually eat a whole one in guacamole form: avocado, fresh squeezed lemon juice, Himalayan salt, maybe black pepper. Hmm, never heard of that before, but I do know that foods have different effects on the body. Would be nice to know if anyone else has experienced this strange phenomenon.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Support Your Second Brain: The GI Tract

Did you know you have two brains? Our gastrointestinal tract has been dubbed our "second brain" because it contains 500 million nerve cells! Find out how to keep our amazing gut healthy.

Modern gastroenterology suggests our “gut instinct” stems from the 500 million neurons contained in the gastrointestinal tract, in the network of nerves contained in the walls of everything from our esophagus to our stomach and intestines.

That network—the enteric nervous system (ENS)—is what’s known as the “second brain.” And for good reason. The ENS is the body’s second-largest concentration of nerves behind only the brain (and ahead of the spinal column). In fact, there are 30 to 40 percent as many neurotransmitters identified in the gastrointestinal tract as there are in the brain.

The Body’s Prime Source of Serotonin

The ENS controls digestion, including everything from the biomechanics of the stomach and intestines to the alkalinity that allows digestive enzymes to work effectively. By producing 95 percent of the serotonin found in the body, this “second brain” does much to govern how we react to environmental stress. As a regulator of aging, learning, and memory, along with many organ functions and growth factors, serotonin affects our overall physical and mental well-being.

The ENS also produces as much dopamine as the brain—important for everything from motivation to motor control and the production of other key hormones. Working with the brain or independently, the ENS plays a strong role in supporting the healthy functioning of the body.

Protecting the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract

The connection between the ENS and the brain is yet another reason why nutrition is so important: the healthier the digestive system, the healthier the body. More specifically, the healthier the epithelial tissue in the walls of the GI tract, the better it will protect the nervous and circulatory systems from bacteria and viruses. The healthier the digestive system, the more likely the ENS will function optimally.

Nutrition, Hydration, and Supplements

Consuming fewer processed foods and eating more plant-based foods reduces the stress on our digestive system (and, by extension, the ENS). Hydration is also important, as is relaxation prior to and during meals.

The medicinal mushroom lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus)—associated with optimal nerve health—may also assist in the proper functioning of the ENS and the way it communicates with the brain.

Nutritional supplements known to enhance tissue health are another avenue toward good digestion: by optimizing the integrity of the epithelial lining of the GI tract.

Everything from mood to decision-making can be affected when the GI tract is inflamed or otherwise under duress. Making the right decisions around healthy eating is one of the surest ways to sustain balance and good choices in every other facet of our lives.


This article was copied from Support Your Second Brain: Pay attention to your gut instincts published on December 1, 2015 and written by Tawnya Ritco, RHN

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sensitive Stomach

What’s a sensitive stomach?

The term “sensitive stomach” is a non-medical way to describe a stomach that’s easily upset. People with a sensitive stomach may experience recurring gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea.

Someone who has a sensitive stomach might connect their sensitivity to certain foods or situations. Others might experience discomfort or digestive disruptions without being sure of the cause.

At some point, everyone experiences stomach upset. But if you regularly deal with discomfort, indigestion, or changing bowel habits, you may have a sensitive stomach.

What causes a sensitive stomach?

Some people with chronic stomach discomfort are more sensitive to certain foods — like dairy, spicy foods, alcohol, or fried foods. Others may find that they have food intolerances which, unlike food allergies, are not life-threatening sensitivities.

Unlike those with food allergies, people with food intolerances may be able to tolerate small amounts of the foods in question. People with a dairy sensitivity can take enzymes that help them digest lactose.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Sometimes, people who experience frequent stomach issues have something more going on than just sensitivity. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one common culprit behind ongoing stomach trouble.

While its signature symptoms are similar to those of a sensitive stomach, chronic bowel pain is usually involved with IBS. This is due to inflammation in the intestines that tends to be made worse by certain foods.

IBS prevents your stomach and intestines from functioning optimally. Some people with IBS have chronic constipation, while others experience ongoing diarrhea. IBS affects the mobility of the contents of your intestines. This causes:
  • changes in bowel habits
  • trapped gas
  • abdominal pain
Women tend to be diagnosed with IBS more often than men. Women who have had surgeries like C-sections or hysterectomies may be more prone to IBS than others.

Inflammatory bowel disease

If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may perform tests to diagnose you with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, severe conditions that require prescription anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs.

These therapies may also be supplemented with medications to regulate bowel movements, stop diarrhea, prevent infection, and manage pain. Iron supplements might also be prescribed if you have chronic intestinal bleeding.

Further reading: "If Digestion Takes So Long, Why Does Diarrhea Travel So Quickly Through The Body?"

What are the symptoms of a sensitive stomach?

Most symptoms of a sensitive stomach can easily be treated at home. These include:
  • intestinal gas
  • bloating
  • indigestion
  • heartburn
  • acid reflux
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • occasional abdominal pain
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
But if you have the following severe symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:
  • chronic or severe abdominal pain that makes it difficult for you to do your normal activities
  • blood or pus in your stool
  • severe, ongoing diarrhea that lasts for more than two days
  • nighttime diarrhea that keeps you from sleeping
  • unexplained fever
  • allergic reaction (hives, swelling, itching, etc.)
These symptoms may signal a serious condition. Your doctor will perform testing to determine the cause of your symptoms and diagnose the issue.

How to treat a sensitive stomach

Because there are many things that can upset a sensitive stomach, it can take time to pinpoint and solve the problem. Here are some remedies you can try at home to alleviate your discomfort.

Eat smaller portions
  • Filling your stomach too much can make you gassy and give you indigestion. Try reducing the amount of food you put on your plate at each meal.
  • Eating five or six small meals per day may also be more comfortable for your stomach than eating three large meals.
Eat more slowly
  • Eating too quickly can also give you unpleasant trapped gas and indigestion. Make sure your food is well-chewed before you swallow, since digestion starts long before the food reaches your stomach.
Eliminate potentially irritating foods
Foods that can irritate a sensitive stomach include:
  • dairy
  • spicy foods
  • processed foods
  • oily or fried foods
  • alcohol
  • gluten
It might take a little trial and error, but identifying and eliminating foods you’re sensitive to will go a long way. If you already suspect what foods might be triggers for your sensitivity, it can be helpful to find substitute foods or foods that are similar in texture or taste. 
And if your stomach is especially sensitive, you might decide to eliminate all possible triggers to begin with to relieve your symptoms. If you choose to reintroduce these triggers one at a time later, you’ll be able to identify the problematic food.
Drink more water
If you don’t drink enough water every day, you might be chronically dehydrated without realizing it. Inadequate water intake can cause problems with digestion and elimination. 
If you don’t have enough water in your body, your colon can’t pull enough water in for proper bowel movements. In other words, if you don’t drink enough, you could end up constipated.
Lower your caffeine intake
Caffeine can be a stomach irritant. If you consume high amounts every day, lowering your caffeine intake could soothe your stomach. 
You might also consider changing the time of day when you drink caffeine to see if that helps. If caffeine is the main culprit, you may want to gradually eliminate it from your diet.
Reduce your stress
Chronic stress can lead to an upset stomach. If you aren’t able to pinpoint irritating foods, it might be that stress is triggering your discomfort. Consider adding a stress-relieving practice to your routine, like meditation or yoga.

Tips and Treatments 

Foods that tend to be soothing to people with sensitive stomachs include:
  • cooked fruits and vegetables
  • lean protein
  • easily digestible grains
  • fat-free or low-fat dairy
Your doctor may also recommend a short-term, low-fiber diet to ease your discomfort.
If you’re diagnosed with one or more food intolerances, your doctor will recommend you eliminate the food or foods in question. If you are diagnosed with an autoimmune condition like celiac disease, you’ll have to go on a gluten-free diet to manage your symptoms. 
If your doctor diagnoses you with a food allergy, you may be prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector. You’ll need to strictly avoid your allergens, as even a small exposure could cause you to have a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction
Even if you’ve only had small allergic reactions in the past, the next one could be severe or deadly.

What’s the outlook for a sensitive stomach?

Most people with sensitive stomachs can successfully manage their symptoms at home through dietary and lifestyle adjustments.

Sometimes, though, stomach discomfort can indicate a more serious condition like IBS, IBD, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.

If you are concerned about any of the symptoms you’re experiencing, contact your doctor.

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Benefits of Kelp

Kelp isn’t a new commodity. People have been harvesting and gathering seaweed for centuries. Some people groups are just becoming aware of its incredible value for our health while others have harvested it for centuries and have made it a part of their typical diet.

One tablespoon of dried kelp contains between one-half milligram and 35 mg of iron! This iron also has a measurable amount of vitamin C that increases the bioavailability of the iron. Kelp contains alginic acid, which protects the plants from bacteria where it grows, and in the body it can reduce radiation exposure and help with the prevention of heavy metals being absorbed in our bodies.

Key point here, kelp is the largest source of iodine, and iodine is critical in supporting our hormones that are made in our thyroid gland. It is also a key component in regulating the thyroid to produce healthy hair, skin and nails. It is essential for bone health, brain metabolism and our energy levels. Kelp has high amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium along with antioxidants and phytonutrients, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids too. 

You already know to eat your daily servings of vegetables, but when is the last time you gave any thought to your sea vegetables? Kelp, a type of seaweed, is chock full of good-for-you nutrients that can benefit your health and possibly even prevent disease.

Already a staple in many Asian cuisines, this type of sea algae is a natural source of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

What Is Kelp?

You may have seen this marine plant at the beach. Kelp is a type of large brown seaweed that grows in shallow, nutrient-rich saltwater, near coastal fronts around the world. It differs slightly in color, flavor, and nutrient profile from the type you may see in sushi rolls.

Kelp also produces a compound called sodium alginate. This is used as a thickener in many foods you may eat, including ice cream and salad dressing. But you can eat natural kelp in many different forms, including:
  • raw
  • cooked
  • powdered
  • in supplements
Nutritional Benefits

Because it absorbs the nutrients from its surrounding marine environment, kelp is rich in:
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • trace elements
  • enzymes
According to nutritionist Vanessa Stasio Costa, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., kelp “is often considered a ‘superfood’ due to its significant mineral content. It’s especially concentrated in iodine, which is important for optimal thyroid function and metabolism.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that seaweed such as kelp is one of the best natural food sources of iodine, an essential component in thyroid hormone production. A deficiency in iodine leads to metabolism disruption and can also lead to an enlargement of the thyroid gland known as goiter.

But beware of too much iodine. Overconsumption can create health issues, too. The key is to get a moderate amount to raise energy levels and brain functioning. It is difficult to get too much iodine in natural kelp but this could be an issue with supplements.

Stasio Costa also notes that kelp contains notable amounts of:
  • iron
  • manganese
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • copper
  • zinc
  • riboflavin
  • niacin
  • thiamin
  • vitamins A, B-12, B-6, and C
The benefits of these vitamins and nutrients are substantial. B vitamins in particular are essential for cellular metabolism and providing your body with energy. According to UCSF Medical Center, kelp has more calcium than many vegetables, including kale and collard greens. Calcium is important to maintain strong bones and optimal muscle function.

Disease-Fighting Abilities

Since inflammation and stress are considered risk factors for many chronic diseases, Stasio Costa says including kelp in one's diet could have numerous health benefits. Kelp is naturally high in antioxidants, including carotenoids, flavonoids, and alkaloids, which help to fight against disease-causing free radicals.

Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, and minerals like manganese and zinc, help to combat oxidative stress and may offer benefits to cardiovascular health. There have been many claims regarding kelp’s abilities to fight chronic disease, including cancer.

Recent studies have explored the role of sea vegetables in estrogen-related and colon cancers, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. Researchers found that kelp can slow the spread of colon and breast cancers. A compound found in kelp called fucoidan may also prevent the spread of lung cancer and prostate cancer. This doesn’t mean that kelp should be used to cure any diseases or be considered a guaranteed protection against disease.

Weight Loss Claims

In recent years, researchers have looked into kelp’s potential fat blocking properties. Because kelp contains a natural fiber called alginate, studies suggest that it may halt the absorption of fat in the gut. A study published in Food Chemistry found that alginate could help block fat absorption in the intestines by 75 percent. In order to reap the benefits of alginate, the research team plans to add the thickening compound to common foods such as yogurt and bread.

Kelp may have great potential for diabetes and obesity, although research is still preliminary. A study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism found that a compound in the chloroplasts of brown seaweed called fucoxanthin may promote weight loss in obese patients when combined with pomegranate oil. Studies also suggest that brown seaweed may influence glycemic control and reduce blood glucose levels, benefitting people with type 2 diabetes.

In addition to its potential to slow down fat absorption in the gut, kelp is low in fat and calories.

How to Eat Kelp

Thankfully, you don’t need to go diving in the ocean to reap the benefits. Kelp is available in a variety of forms.

Nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., C.D.N., C.P.T., recommends that you try to eat your nutrients, versus taking them in supplement form. She suggests including kelp in a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, from both the land and sea. Kelp can be one small part of a broader healthy diet that includes a variety of unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods.

Moskovitz says that one of the easiest ways to incorporate kelp into your diet is to add an organic, dried variety into soups. You could also use raw kelp noodles in salads and main dishes or add some dried kelp flakes as seasoning. It is usually found in Japanese or Korean restaurants or grocery stores and can be enjoyed cold with oil and sesame seeds, hot in a soup or stew, or even blended into a vegetable juice.

Too Much of the Good Stuff?

Health advisers warn that ingesting concentrated amounts of kelp can introduce excessive amounts of iodine to the body. This can overstimulate the thyroid and cause harm. There are significant health risks to consuming excessive iodine. It’s important to only eat kelp in moderation, and it should be avoided by those suffering from hyperthyroidism.

Nutritionist Stasio Costa notes that because kelp and other sea vegetables take up minerals from the waters they inhabit, they can also absorb dangerous heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead. She recommends seeking out certified organic versions of sea vegetables and to look for packages that mention that the product has been tested for arsenic.

Always consult a health professional before beginning any supplementation regime.