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5 Top Vegan Foods Packed With Protein

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5 Top Vegan Foods Packed With Protein
Photo Credit: www.health.com

If you’re working on reducing your intake of meat and dairy products to improve your health, or have decided to give these types of foods up altogether, you may find it challenging to find new sources of protein.

One of the most common arguments against vegetarianism and veganism is the lack of sufficient protein needed by the human body. But adding protein to a meatless diet is much easier than many people think, even if you want to cut out dairy as well. Many vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains are abundant in protein, as long as you know what to look for.

Here’s a short list of foods packed with protein even vegans can eat. I’ve included some suggestions for products to help you fill your pantry, but don’t forget to look in your healthy grocer’s bulk food bins for many of these protein-packed food.

1. Quinoa

It doesn’t matter if you think quinoa is a seed or a grain, it is one of the best sources of vegan protein. Native to South America, this widely popular grain is a delicious and highly-nutritious substitute for modern wheat, and is very versatile to cook with. Considered one of the world’s greatest superfoods, quinoa is extremely high in protein and calcium and is thus highly valuable to vegetarians and vegans. Frequently prepared as a side dish and used in salads, this grain can also be used to make breads, pastries and pasta dishes.

Recommended Products:

Organic whole grain quinoa from truRoots
Organic pre-ground quinoa flour from Bob’s Red Mill
Organic quinoa pasta from Tresomega

Resources:

Cooking With Quinoa: the Supergrain by Rena Patten
500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury

2. Hemp Seed

Hemp seeds offer easily digestible protein and all the essential omega-3 and 6 fatty acids needed by the human body. Hemp seeds are also rich in antioxidants, fibre, various minerals, such as zinc, and many vitamins including a hefty dose of vitamin E. They have been used to reduce dry skin and hair, help with muscle regenerations, reduce inflammation, ward off heart disease, and improve immune system function. When blended with water, hemp seeds make a great replacement for cow’s milk.

Recommended Products:

Organic hemp protein from Nutiva
Raw shelled organic hemp seeds from Manitoba Harvest
Organic Hemp Milk Making Kit from Handy Pantry

3. Nuts (Almonds and Peanuts)

If you’re looking for a hefty serving of protein and calories without a lot of bulk, then nuts are a perfect solution. You can have them as a snack, or add them to all types of dishes. Soak them overnight and then blend with different amounts of water to create nut milks and cheeses. Nuts offer plenty of protein, as well as other nutrients like vitamins A and E, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, fibre and essential fatty acids. The top four nut varieties with highest protein content include:

  • Almonds at 21.2g of protein per 100g serving
  • Pistachio nuts at 21g of protein per 100g serving
  • Brazil nuts at 14.3g of protein per 100g serving
  • Peanuts at 24.4g of protein per 100g serving

Recommended Products:

Almond meal/flour from Bob’s Red Mill
Nut milk bag fine mesh strainer from Best Health
Raw unpasteurized organic almonds from Terrasoul Superfoods
Organic raw Brazil nuts (no shell) from Food to Live
Organic raw almond butter from Artisana
All natural smooth peanut butter (GMO-free) from Teddie

Resources:

DIY Nut Milks, Nut Butters, and More: From Almonds to Walnuts by Melissa King

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great way to add protein, iron, zinc and especially magnesium to your diet. When small, they can be toasted and eaten whole as a snack or topping, while larger seeds can be shelled and can be ground up to use in baking.

Recommended Products:

Organic shelled pumpkin seeds from Green Bulk
Dry roasted premium pumpkin seeds with Himalayan salt from Farm Fresh Nuts

5. Sprouts

Sprouted seeds, commonly called sprouts, such as alfalfa, mung bean and clover, are packed with protein and many vitamins such as A, B, C, E and K and minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium. Sprouts are best if eater raw, so put them on your salads, stir fries and in smoothies. It’s easy to grow your own sprouts at home. Here are a few resources to get you started.

Recommended Products:

Organic alfalfa sprouting seeds from Handy Pantry
Mung bean organic sprouting seeds from Handy Pantry
4-Tray kitchen seed sprouter from Victorio

Resources:

Build Your Own Automatic Seed Sprouter by Suburban Barnyard
The Magic of Sprouts by Dueep J. Singh
Alfalfa Sprout Greats: The Top 35 Alfalfa Sprout Recipes by Jo Franks

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The Link Between Stress And Intestinal Parasites – And What To Do About Them

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Gut health
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Michelle KmiecGuest Writer

Many of you already know that I was extremely ill just over ten years ago. My symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis were text book. I could barely walk, was dangerously thin (98 pounds), and suffered with electrical symptoms in my limbs and torso. Needless to say… it was awful! (see my story here: Crossroads in Life – A Journey Back to Health)

However, I did not want to believe that my only option was to take big pharma drugs, and live my life bound to a wheelchair; and that was my predicted future. So I decided to be my own guinea pig, and try as many different holistic treatments that offered hope. The first thing, on my holistic menu of options was to totally detox my body, and this included clearing out any intestinal (as well as liver and heart) parasites.

At first I, like many of you, couldn’t believe that it was possible to have parasites in the first place! After all, I live in the United States! And besides, if you just Google “intestinal parasites”, you’ll find that websites such as WebMD state that parasites in the USA are rare. But other sites such as CureZone offer thousands of anecdotal stories of people who 100% disagree.

Yeah I know… ”anecdotal” is hardly “evidence based”. Yet, as far as I am concerned, anecdotal stories are far more accurate than what western medicine tells us, especially since people are sicker today than ever before. Furthermore, you can now add my name to the “anecdotal” list!

When I decided to cure myself naturally, I was not prepared for the amount of research I was going to have to do. But I was scared, and I wanted treatments, remedies, and therapies that at least had a track record of helping others. Happily, as I learned more and more, I found these “holistic” treatments were actually more physiologically sound than the current medical options for health conditions and disease that are offered today.

As it turns out, the more your body becomes acidic, the more fertile your system becomes for the exponential growth of parasites, reduction of good intestinal flora, and the decrease of nutrients. This all leads to a weakened immune system which can then reach a point of disease.

How does your body become acidic?

Chronic Stress!

This stress can take the form of many things… such as:

  • Constant worry
  • Always wanting to be in control
  • Always too hard on yourself
  • Issues surrounding money
  • Emotional conflicts with family and loved ones
  • Living your life to someone else’s expectations

I’m sure you can come up with a few more solid reasons for chronic stress. Of course, what do many of us do to counteract all this stress? Well, we drink too much, smoke, eat too much, and take big pharma meds. for the depression  and  anxiety that all of this stress ultimately causes — all of which contribute to the acidity of the body (and other stress factors).

I was no exception! My body had become so depleted nutritionally that I couldn’t even absorb the nutrition I so desperately needed.

The proof was the result of a parasite cleanse – the release of literally hundreds of parasites via elimination! Hands down, not a pleasant experience, but in the end (no pun intended) it was the beginning of my journey back to health.

So what did I do to eliminate the parasites? I used a product that is found in most health food and grocery stores: ParaGONE by Renew Life. Could there be better formulas out there? Maybe… But this is the one I used, and found it 100% effective.

Oddly enough, at the same time I developed a craving for a variety of seeds and spices. Sure it could have been because I was deficient in zinc, magnesium, etc, which are found in many seeds… but honestly, I was deficient in everything at this point! After a bit of research, I found something that hit the nail on the head a bit more accurately…

Seeds, Spices, and Oil Kill Parasites!

That’s right, many seeds, spices, and oils kill parasites.

  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower, and sesame are known to kill and/or “stun” parasites.
  • Papaya seeds (in combination with honey) kill/remove parasites.
  • Garlic and onions are high in amino acids which contains sulphur; thus the strong door. It is because of the sulphur that they are deadly to parasites.
  • Grapeseed oil and coconut oil are both known for their anti-parasitic properties.
  • Cayeene & Turmeric, which are anti-parasitic AND anti-inflammatory, can also help heal the damage done to your gut by parasites.
This blew me away!  

So, I made a gourmet snack with my new seed appetite!  I bought raw pumpkin and papaya seeds and covered them with grapeseed oil. I added garlic, sea salt, cayenne, and turmeric. Then baked them for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit. Delicious!

You should be aware, however, that in some cases you may experience something that is known as healing reaction/crisis. Also known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, it is a reaction to endotoxins released by the death of harmful organisms in the body. This means that you may have gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, chills, nausea, fever, and aches-pains. Don’t worry though, this typically doesn’t last for more than a few days and the symptoms are mild, and it simply means you are experiencing “die-off” – the parasites are dying, and that’s a good thing!

It’s important to drink a lot of water to help flush out your system. Yes, this means flushing out the parasites too, and you may notice these parasites in your stool. I know this sounds scary, but it truly isn’t. Better in your stool than in your gut, right?

Luckily, the die-off symptoms from treating yourself with seeds and spices are far less than die-off symptoms from taking products such as ParaGONE. However, if you choose to take the more aggressive treatment, keep in mind to start the detox SLOW. And if your die-off symptoms become a bit too much…. slow down some more.

Man in sea drinking water from a bottle
10 Foods that Detox the body. Click here to read the article.
One more thing!

Parasites secrete ammonia in small amounts when alive, and even more when they die off. When this happens, it significantly adds to the symptoms of the healing crisis. Though drinking a lot water helps, there is something else that I consider very vital – the amino acid L-ornithine.

“L-ornithine acts like sponge or magnet. Because of its affinity to ammonia (due to its involvement during the Krebs cycle), l- ornithine helps the body remove the ammonia. This can significantly reduce the effects of the healing crisis.”

Remember, healing takes time… so be kind to your body!

Recommended Articles by Dr. Michelle Kmiec
About the Author

Dr. Michelle Kmiec is a board-certified chiropractic physician who also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology, and a minor in Medical Research. She is a life-long athlete who after curing herself 100% naturally from MS and chronic anxiety, became an avid nutrition health researcher/promoter.

She has been featured in many Health magazines and has been a guest on radio talk shows in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. She is the author of the book “Healthcare Freedom Revolution: Exposing the Lies, Deceit and Greed of the Medical Profession”, Founder of Online Holistic Health, and a contributing writer for other popular informative health website/blogs. She is also co-founder of Crazy Meets Common Sense! – the Podcast that makes sense out of the crazy, to help you live a more healthy, fulfilling and empowering life!

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Adrenal Exhaustion: How Stress Is Affecting You And What Can You Do About It?

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Adrenal Exhaustion: How Stress Is Affecting You and What Can You Do About It?
Photo Credit: https://medium.com/@Flourish_Clinic

Raluca SchachterContributing Writer

Most of the people I work with suffer from a certain degree of adrenal exhaustion, the adrenals being the so-called “stress glands”. Stress happens on several levels: physiological, mental, emotional; it grows exponentially among people living in modern society, with the inability to properly manage it.

The Function of The Adrenal Glands and Their Response To Stress

The adrenals are two small glands, located above the kidneys. The outer area or cortex represents 80% to 90% of the gland and secretes adrenal steroids (cortisol, DHEA-S, aldosterone, and small amounts of S-hormones). The inner or medullary area comprises 10% to 20% of the gland and secretes the catecholamines (adrenaline and nor-adrenaline). Cortizol, DHEA and adrenaline are the hormones responsible for managing stress and adapting to the demands of daily life.

Normal cortisol levels should be raised in the morning and get down slowly throughout the day. The hormone that induces sleep, melatonin, is inversely proportional to cortisol, so when cortisol is high, melatonin is low to help you wake up, and when melatonin is high, cortisol is low to help you sleep. Adrenal exhaustion occurs when there is an imbalance in this cortisol rhythm, which causes it to be too high or too low, during wrong times.

Under stress, healthy adrenals increase their production of cortisol and DHEA to maintain health. They also secrete adrenaline, providing an energy boost when needed. If the stress becomes excessive and chronic, the adrenals can no longer keep up with demand and DHEA levels begin to fall, which causes adrenal exhaustion. As adrenaline increases during stress, digestive enzymes are simultaneously low, and blood sugar levels rise.

Essentially, under chronic stress, all the systems in the body needed for rest, repair and digestion are slowed down or even stopped.

Symptoms of Adrenal Gland Exhaustion

Our body is built to cope with stress. For example, in the past, when our ancestors were threatened by a predator, the sympathetic response – the way of fighting or fleeing our body – was activated. This released cortisol and increased blood pressure and blood sugar to help manage the stress. Once the threat disappeared, cortisol, blood sugar and blood pressure returned to normal. But in modern society, most people are in a constant alert, in a constant “fight or flight” mode, and lose the ability to “disengage” from the stressful situation. Finally, the following symptoms and effects appear:

  • unjustified fatigue that does not go away with sleep
  • hard to wake up in the morning
  • low immunity
  • increased risk of infections
  • the need for caffeine or energy drinks to support daily activities
  • cravings for salty or sweet
  • poor sleep
  • low libido
  • chronic allergies
  • chronic inflammation
  • poor memory
  • low concentration
  • menstrual cycle imbalances
  • chronic pain
  • slow healing of wounds
  • dizziness upon standing up
  • inability to manage stress
  • irritability, nervousness, depression
  • body weight problems
  • increased risk of osteoporosis
  • fertility problems
Causes of Adrenal Exhaustion

A response to chronic stress that eventually develops into adrenal fatigue or exhaustion, has a negative impact on every aspect of health. Stress reaches a huge proportion due to the modern, chaotic and toxic lifestyle and is present in all chronic diseases. Thus, adrenal exhaustion is secondary to a chronic stress stimulus. These stressors can be:

  • Intestinal dysbiosis (imbalance in bacterial flora)
  • Food sensitivities
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Chronic pain
  • Dysglycemia, such as hypoglycemia and diabetes
  • Environmental factors such as air, food and water quality, as well as exposure to toxins
  • Fast lifestyle
  • Poor social and family relationships
  • Emotional stress
  • Inadequate physical exercise
Actions to Restore the Function of the Adrenal Glands

It takes time to rebalance the connection between the brain and the adrenal glands. It is important to remember that what works for one person does not always work for another.

Not only a demanding job or an abusive relationship are factors that contribute to the adrenal exhaustion and undermine the body’s protection mechanism. As described above, the factors are multiple and can start with what is happening on the physiological level: biochemical imbalances, toxicity with heavy metals and other synthetic compounds, inflammation that is out of control, chronic diseases, etc. but they can expand with what is happening emotionally or socially: toxic relationships, abuse, emotional imbalance, etc. or with lifestyle: chaotic sleep, irregular meals, etc.

So the more you try to “clean up” your life, on all levels, the more chances you have of eliminating the multitude of negative factors that can affect your ability to manage stress. My general and basic recommendations are below:

Establishing Your Healthy and Personalized Nutrition Plan

Because we are all different at the biochemical level as we are at the fingerprint level, individualized nutrition is based on meeting the genetic, biochemical and nutritional requirements of each person.

The Metabolic Typing program teaches you essential knowledge about how your body works, how to interpret signals it sends every day, how to adjust protein, carbohydrate and fat ratios to gain maximum energy, and how to choose the cleanest and most suitable food for you. It teaches you how to regain that lost connection with Nature and the earth and how to discover the most effective ways to maintain your physical and mental health. This is not yet another “one type fits all diet” and it is not a “treatment”. It is not a disease and symptom oriented approach. It is an individual-oriented approach. This concept is meant to ensure an optimal level of health and to systematically “build” it, regardless of the negative symptoms that exist. It’s a valuable “know-how”, a lifestyle you can learn for yourself and then pass on to the next generation.

Including Nutrients and Adaptogenic Plants To Balance Your Adrenals

As part of the personalized supplement programs that I develop for each individual, I add almost every time extracts from plants called adaptogens – meant to help the body manage stress and adapt. The best known are rhodiola rosea, ashwagandha, ginseng, eleuthero, cordyceps, shatavari, holy basil. There are other nutrients that have an adaptogenic role, such as magnesium and B vitamins, and these too might be included in your healing program.

Following a Therapy or a Sport to Reduce Stress and Restore Energy Level

If your lifestyle, the way of thinking and the programmed patterns of behavior cannot be analysed and adjusted, healing through nutrition is much more difficult and in many cases it is not possible. Patterns established in the limbic system need to be changed in order for deep healing to take place, and to restore adrenal function. Meditative practices, yoga, Qi Gong, breathing and other similar practices can have a powerful effect on patterns deeply rooted in the limbic system and should not be underestimated when you want a real cure and a long-term result. You can read more about these practices here: Favorite Body-Mind Therapies for a Better Health.

For specialized consultation for your health problems you can schedule an appointment here.

Originally published at metabolicenergy.net and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Raluca Schachter
About the Author

Raluca Schachter is a dedicated Clinical Nutritionist / Natural Health Practitioner a.k.a “The Health Detective”. Raluca was able to naturally reverse chronic health conditions she was struggling with most of her life, and now uses her knowledge to help as many people as possible do the same. Her health programs and diet plans offer a very unique and comprehensive approach to health, where individual nutritional and biochemical requirements are firstly met using specific nutrients and foods that each metabolism thrives on. Raluca offers her services to international clientele and her practice is fully online based.

You can connect with Raluca at:

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What Can Olive Leaf Extract Do For You?

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What Can Olive Leaf Extract Do For You?
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. MercolaGuest Writer

Olives have been widely enjoyed for centuries. Homer called olive oil “liquid gold” and it is closely associated with all past and present civilizations near the Mediterranean Sea. Wild olive trees were likely first domesticated from those growing in the Mediterranean basin; some historians believe it was the olive that made the plant attractive enough to do so. But the deliberate act of making olive oil happened about 2500 BC.

The olive tree also has deep cultural symbolism, often representing peace and health. For instance, the official emblem of the World Health Organization is surrounded by olive tree branches. The symbolic use of the branches and leaves may have originated from the traditional use of the leaves in folk medicine.

Olives are too bitter to be eaten directly, so they must be cured first. The polyphenol responsible for the bitterness is oleuropein. The fruit is rich in phytonutrients, which may explain the health benefits attributed to them. These include a positive impact on the respiratory system, musculoskeletal system, digestive system, cardiovascular system and immune system.

In the current market, testing has revealed food fraud when it comes to properly identifying extra virgin olive oil, which some estimate affects 50% of the olive oil sold in the U.S. Up to 80% of the oil may not meet the legal standard for extra virgin olive oil.

Effects of Natural Remedy May Be From Polyphenol Oleuropein

Both the olives and the extract from olive leaves are beneficial to your health. Mounting evidence demonstrates beneficial effects of olive derivatives such as olive leaf extract (OLE) may be strongly linked to the polyphenols found in the plant and plant products. OLE contains a higher quantity of polyphenols and greater variety than those found in extra virgin olive oil.

Interestingly, the polyphenols between the leaves and the fruit have structural differences that researchers believe may improve the capacity of OLE to affect health. The most studied antioxidant phytonutrient in the plant is oleuropein, which is found exclusively in olives. Oleuropein is the most prevalent found in the leaves, pulp, seed and peel of olives.

Evidence shows that the phytonutrient exerts an antioxidant effect through different pathways and it helps counteract oxidative stress in a similar fashion to that of vitamin C and vitamin E. The phytochemical also has an anti-inflammatory effect through the inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines.

Oleuropein has been shown to reduce interleukin-1 beta and nitric oxide in an inflammatory response. Evidence suggests the compound has an anti-atherosclerotic effect and could decrease lipid levels. In this way, researchers believe it reduces atherosclerosis and suppresses inflammatory factors.

The leaves of the plant have also been traditionally used as a mouth cleanser and to treat intestinal discomfort, diarrhoea and urinary tract infections. Oleuropein administered to liver damaged mice demonstrated protective effects by reducing hepatic steatosis and the progression to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

The plant uses the phytochemical as a natural resistance to microbial attack, which lab evidence demonstrates is active against Gram negative and positive bacteria. Oleuropein additionally has antimycoplasmal activity against antibiotic-resistant strains. Antiviral activity is demonstrated against hepatitis B and HIV.

Mitochondrial DNA damage from oxidative stress can lead to neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Some data reveal that oleuropein has a potential neuroprotective effect, particularly in animal studies involving aged rats. The treated animals demonstrated that administration of oleuropein protects against neuronal loss.

Evidence Supports Anticancer Effect of OLE

A traditional Mediterranean diet has long been linked with a lower prevalence of cancer and cardiovascular disease. One of the main components of the diet is olive oil, which has demonstrated an anti-inflammatory and protective effect against free radicals. The effects of bioactive components in OLE and olive oil may be a result of the phytoestrogen action.

The similar structure has been hypothesized to reduce the progression and problems of hormone-related cancers. Some of the most prevalent types include breast cancer, uterine and colorectal in women, and prostate and colorectal cancer in men, as well as melanoma.

Researchers hypothesize that as people live longer, the prevalence of cancer is likely to continue to rise. Making strong lifestyle choices, such as eating foods to reduce the inflammatory response, may play a pivotal role in lowering diseases such as cancer that are associated with age.

Olive tree leaves have been widely used in traditional medicine in the Mediterranean region. Research into the effects of extra virgin olive oil is abundant, yet evidence suggests that the bioactive components in OLE offer greater and possibly more potent results.

Olive trees produce large amounts of polyphenols to combat pathogens and insect attack. The concentration and variety are influenced by the age of the tree, geographical location and cultivar. However, it should be noted, while there are thousands of phytochemicals within the leaf, they are not present as independent compounds.

The combination of these compounds may be what confers the health benefits. There is evidence OLE and other polyphenols have the ability to scavenge the overabundant production of reactive oxygen species and nitrogen species responsible for damaging DNA and playing an important role in aging and pathology.

The antioxidant properties of polyphenols are widely accepted as the pathway for health benefits. In past research, polyphenols found in olive leaf extract have inhibited the growth of pancreatic, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer cell lines. Scientists conducting a literature review on the effects of OLE concluded:

“There is strong evidence from cell models which demonstrates that olive polyphenols, and specifically the combination found in olive leaf, are able to modulate and interact with molecular pathways and in doing so may inhibit the progression and development of cancer.”

Duration of Upper Respiratory Infections Also Reduced

Evidence also shows the antiviral components of olive leaf extract can shorten an upper respiratory illness. In one study, 32 high school athletes were engaged in a randomized control trial using either a placebo or olive leaf extract equivalent to 100 milligrams (mg) of oleuropein.

The athletes took the supplement for nine weeks during competition while the researchers measured their training load and respiratory illness symptoms twice a week. They found that taking the olive leaf extract did not reduce the incidence of an upper respiratory infection, but it did cause a 28% reduction in the number of sick days the athletes required to recover.

Oleuropein found in olive tree extract also has environmental uses. The antiviral properties have demonstrated the ability to reduce infectivity from viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV). This is a highly contagious and fatal disease in fish that can affect both fresh and marine species.

It is found in farmed fish and wild marine fish. First reported in the Great Lakes region in 2005, VHSV is known to infect 40 different species from salmon, trout and yellow perch, to walleye, northern pike and minnows.

High Blood Pressure Effect on Identical Twins

High blood pressure can damage your heart and blood vessels by making them work harder and less efficiently. Overtime, high blood pressure damages the inner lining of the arteries. It is often called “the silent killer” since symptoms are not usually noticeable. You’ll only know if your blood pressure is high by having it measured.

With the new definition of high blood pressure in 2017, the prevalence of the condition changed. In 2015 to 2016, the prevalence was 29% in all adults in the U.S. After the upper limit for high blood pressure was reduced from 140/90 to 130/80, the prevalence rose to 45%. Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. now have high blood pressure.

Treatment often includes lifestyle changes first, and pharmacological treatment second. In one study researchers tested olive leaf extract as a food supplement in a group of 40 identical twins who had borderline high blood pressure. Twin studies are an important means of testing interventions while controlling for genetic differences.

One twin in each pair received olive leaf extract for eight weeks or advice on changing lifestyle factors that impact blood pressure. Every two weeks, the researchers measured the group’s body weight, blood pressure, heart rate, glucose and lipids. In those who received the olive leaf extract, the dose was 500 or 1000 mg per day.

The researchers found there was a change in blood pressure that appeared to be dependent on the dose. In those receiving 500 mg, the systolic (top number) went down 6 mmHg more than the control group, or down 13 mmHg in those taking 1,000 mg versus 500 mg.

After eight weeks, the average blood pressures were nearly identical to baseline in the control group, but they were significantly reduced in the group taking 1,000 mg. Researchers also found there were differences in LDL cholesterol measurements. They concluded that OLE can lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

More Benefits to Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract comes in capsules and in liquid form. As demonstrated in the video above, the liquid can be added to a smoothie. Women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid OLE, however. Since it can lower your blood pressure, people on blood pressure medication should consult with their physician if they choose to use it.

There are topical uses for OLE, including those related to hair care. In one animal study, researchers showed that topical administration could induce hair growth. While mice are often used to study skin diseases, further testing is needed to determine the potential to promote hair growth in humans.

OLE is also a traditional remedy for high blood sugar. In an animal study and a human trial, OLE lowered blood sugar. Scientists studied 79 people with Type 2 diabetes and gave them either a placebo or 500 mg of OLE each day. Over the course of 14 weeks, the people taking the OLE had significantly lower hemoglobin A1C and fasting plasma insulin levels.

For recommended olive leaf extracts: Click HERE.

People taking medication to control their blood sugar should consult with their physician before trying to supplement with OLE, because doing both can result in a dangerously low or even lethally low blood sugar level.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola
About the Author

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit Mercola.com for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

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What Are Whole Foods, And Why Are They Important For Health?

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What’s going on here?
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

If you think eating healthy is boring and bland, you’ve not learned the incredible, palate-pleasing wonders of a whole-foods diet. But what are whole foods? Pure and unprocessed, whole foods include luscious fruits, nutritious and vibrantly-hued vegetables, hearty and wholesome legumes, snackable seeds, and more.

Whole” does not mean you can’t cook these vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains, or chop them, puree them, or combine them with other foods. Rather, it means you buy (or grow and harvest) the items whole, without chemical preservatives, colours, and other additives. In your own home, you can cut, peel, or otherwise process them during preparation or cooking, as you wish. But they remain pure, whole, and natural — and if possible, grown organically. We do recommend you avoid making homemade versions of junk foods, like potato chips, if you want the benefits of eating a whole foods diet.

An architect from Barrington, IL, Amy had always been one of those people who could eat whatever she wanted and still stay fit — until she hit her 30s. After gaining some weight and seeing skin breakouts, a routine visit to the doctor’s office revealed that she had borderline high cholesterol. She consulted a nutritionist, who suggested she start eating whole foods. After just a couple of months of focusing on fresh and healthy veggies and fruit, Amy started to feel (and look) like her fit self again.

What Are Whole Foods?

As the name implies, whole foods are unprocessed or minimally processed foods in as close to their natural, whole state as possible. The best whole foods for health include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes like beans and lentils
  • Unrefined whole grains like brown rice (preferably gluten-free)
  • Herbs like cilantro or basil
  • Spices like ginger, turmeric, and garlic

Eating a whole-food diet is sometimes referred to as “clean eating” because you avoid processed foods and focus on healthy, nutritious whole foods. Processed and refined foods contain preservatives, artificial colours, and other chemicals that may be toxic. Eating whole foods means you avoid these unwanted additives and get the full suite of antioxidants, digestive enzymes, and other nutrients in the foods.

How Whole Foods Improve Your Health

Clean eating offers many health benefits. Here are some of the ways whole foods can improve your well-being.

Whole Foods Enhance Overall Nutrition

When you eat an organic, plant-based, whole food diet, you are on your way to a sustainable lifestyle.[9] Buying organic foods reduces the use of chemical pesticides and toxic chemicals on the land. Organic growers use practices that are gentle on the earth. Obviously, fewer chemicals on your food, in the air, and in the environment is also better for everyone’s health!

While a whole food diet can provide everything necessary to be healthy and strong, you may still have a few nutritional gaps. Where your diet falls short, consider using high-quality, organic dietary supplements.

Whole Foods Promote Gut Health

Many whole foods contain compounds called prebiotics that nourish good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the colon.[1] This leads to a healthier gut, which is connected with healthy skin and mental wellness.[2] Whole foods can include fermented vegetables, like sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchee, which provide natural probiotics.

Another way whole foods benefit the gut has to do with what they don’t contain. If you eat a lot of heavily-processed foods — the opposite of a whole food diet — it negatively affects the microbiome, even promoting diet-driven diseases.[3] Vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts, on the other hand, are all natural and do not contain harsh toxic chemicals.

Whole Foods Support Your Immune System

As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” When it comes to staying healthy, food really is the best medicine. All your cells require nourishment to function well, including the cells in your immune system.[4] Adequate nutrition, the kind provided by whole foods, fuels the immune response — and that keeps your whole body healthy.[4]

Experts know that undernutrition impairs the immune system.[4] Undernutrition means not getting enough nutrients, but it’s not as severe as malnutrition. It’s possible to be low on certain essential vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and other phytonutrients, without developing an actual vitamin or mineral deficiency. Yet, there’s no obvious test or way to know what you lack.

Your best bet is eating a wide variety of foods to support healthy immune function,[5] and taking a multivitamin and other key nutritional supplements to ensure a well-rounded intake of nutrients.

Whole Foods Protect Your Heart

If you’re looking for ways to protect your heart, start with your plate! A plant-based, whole food diet can lower your risk of developing heart disease. People who follow this type of diet tend to be more active, and it can support healthy energy levels.[6]

Eating whole foods is beneficial for people taking medication for cardiovascular conditions like high blood pressure. In some cases, switching to a healthy, whole food diet can reduce or even eliminate reliance on these medications.[7] Of course, always talk to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medications. But eating healthier is always a win-win!

Whole Foods Help You Maintain a Healthy Weight

It’s no secret that a diet heavy on fast food and processed snacks can lead to weight gain. So it’s probably not surprising that people who follow a plant-based, whole food diet tend to be leaner than those who don’t.[6] Eating healthy whole foods — especially if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet — is an excellent tool for weight loss.

Changing your diet in this way may not only help you lose weight but also improve your quality of life.[7] Following a vegetarian diet may be useful for preventing and managing weight-related conditions, including type 2 diabetes.[8]

Whole Foods Promote a Healthier Environment

When you eat an organic, plant-based, whole food diet, you are on your way to a sustainable lifestyle.[9] Buying organic foods reduces the use of chemical pesticides and toxic chemicals on the land. Organic growers use practices that are gentle on the earth. Obviously, fewer chemicals on your food, in the air, and in the environment is also better for everyone’s health!

In addition to organic options, you can choose locally grown whole foods or eat produce available according to the seasons to support the environment, too.[9] When you buy food that is grown close to home rather than flown in from far away, you reduce your carbon footprint.

Best Whole Foods to Eat

Which whole foods offer the most health benefits? Below are the best whole foods to load up on at the grocery store or farmers market.

Vegetables

When eating a diet focused on whole foods, make vegetables your foundation. Here are some popular options:

  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and lettuce
  • Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage
  • Peppers including bell peppers, cayenne, jalapeno, and poblano
  • Summer squash like zucchini, Calabacitas (Mexican gray), and yellow squash
  • Winter squash like pumpkin, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash
  • Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, burdock, beets, and parsnips
Fruit

Fruit is another important component of a whole food diet. Some good choices include:

  • Berries like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and acai and goji berries.
  • Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruitlemons, and limes
  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
Gluten-Free Whole Grains

Whole grains are those that haven’t been stripped, separated, or otherwise processed. Avoid any grains with gluten, like wheat, because they cause issues with many people. Here are some examples:

  • Brown or wild rice
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Unrefined, unbleached flour made from any of the above grains
Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds pack a big nutritional punch in a tiny package, and they make great healthy snacks when you’re craving something crunchy. The best choices include:

Legumes

Legumes are an excellent source of plant-based protein, and they contain many different micro- and macronutrients. But try not to eat too many legumes, as your health will be better with more fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

  • Beans like chickpeas, black beans, lima beans, and white beans
  • Lentils (including green, red, yellow, and black)
  • Peas (including snap, green, split, and snow)

If you’re looking for greater health, a stronger immune system, or even losing weight, eating more whole foods will make a difference. Try introducing more salads into your diet. Eat more raw foods. Juice or make fresh fruit smoothies.

And make it fun! When you go grocery shopping, turn it into an exploration of the produce department like you are discovering a new country or going on a new adventure. See if there are fruits or vegetables you’ve never tried and buy at least one each visit. Go home and find recipes to try. Or better yet, search the recipes beforehand, so you make sure you have all the ingredients on hand. Your body will thank you!

Points to Remember

Whole foods are those in their natural form, minimally processed and without preservatives, added sugars, and other additives. Eating more whole foods helps the environment by reducing the production of those chemical preservatives, colours, and artificial flavours that otherwise get added. Organic whole foods will be even better for your health and the environment. You can also grow your own.

Whole foods, especially plant-based ones, are nutritious and boost gut health and the immune system. Whole foods may also protect the heart and allow you to maintain a healthy weight.

When you head to the grocery store to shop for whole foods, be sure to fill your cart with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes. Where you feel your diet falls short, use organic supplements to fill the gaps.

References
  1. Holscher HD. Dietary fibre and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut Microbes. 2017;8(2):172-184.
  2. owe WP, Logan AC. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? Gut Pathog. 2011;3:1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038963/
  3. Zinöcker MK, Lindseth IA. The Western diet-microbiome-host interaction and Its role in metabolic disease. Nutrients. 2018;10(3):365.
  4. Childs CE, et al. Diet and immune function. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1933.
  5. Hoyles L, Vulevic J. Diet, immunity, and functional foods. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;635:79-92.
  6. Satija A, et al. Healthful and unhealthful plant-based diets and the risk of coronary heart disease in U.S. adults. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017 Jul 25;70(4):411-422.
  7. Ha B. The power of plants: Is a whole-foods, plant-based diet the answer to health, health care, and physician wellness? Perm J. 2019;23:19-003.
  8. Barnard ND, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of changes in body weight in clinical trials of vegetarian diets. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Jun;115(6):954-969.
  9. Von Koerber K, et al. Wholesome nutrition: An example for a sustainable diet. Proc Nutr Soc. 2017 Feb;76(1):34-41.

Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.

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About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

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