Nutrition News

What to Eat?: Breaking Through the Confusion to Reconnect with Instinctual Eating

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By Dr. Jennifer L. Weinberg, MD, MPH, MBE - 

Following the excess and indulgences of the holiday season, many of us may be trying to change our eating habits. We set unrealistic standards and unattainable resolutions. Then when we don’t reach them, we blame ourselves and a vicious cycle begins.

Nutrition is Confusing

There are so many theories, fad diets, nutrition books and ways of eating. It seems like every day there is a new eating philosophy in the headlines that has shown to heal this ailment or lead to miraculous weight loss. Yet if you have experimented with some of these various diets, you may have found that they are not one size fits all solutions for everyone’s woes.

Many people turn to an approach of counting calories or following one of the many diet plans purported by so-called “experts” or commercial chains in an attempt to lose weight or get healthier. But if these theories were right, than we would all be the healthiest people in the world! Instead, sadly, we have an epidemic of obesity, metabolic dysfunction and chronic diseases.

So What Should We Eat?

What to eat? That is a loaded and often confusing question.

Given all the strong, mixed messages around nutrition and health in our society, the confusion about true nutrition comes as no surprise. People are confused about health and nutrition for a variety of reasons. Marketing and product labels can be unclear and even deceptive. There are thousands of proposed diet plans in the media and many offer conflicting advice. And most importantly amongst these reasons that we struggle to find that perfect way of eating is that there actually is no one right way of eating that works for everyone!

I am frequently asked by patients, clients, friends and family, “What should I eat?” or “What is the right way to eat?” Sometimes clients want a list of “healthy” foods or desire to know what I eat so that they can mimic it exactly.

But the true key to sustainablewellness is that each of us is unique, and this biological individuality allows one person to thrive on foods which can be harmful to someone else. There is no one correct answer to the question, “What is the right way to eat?” There is no one-size-fits-all diet plan that fits everybody since we each have a unique genetic makeup and nutritional needs and this can even evolve and change throughout our lives.

Discover What Works For You

It is so important to find the way of eating and living that is right for you! This means figuring out how various foods make you feel physically, mentally and emotionally and not just mimicking what works for your best friend or your favorite celebrity.

While this is often much more challenging than simply following the latest media-hyped fad, in the end it will be far more rewarding when you uncover and understand your own nutritional needs and find sustainable health and well-being.

    •   Experiment: Tune into your body and learn to listen to its messages. By taking the time to slow down and listen to what your body truly needs, you will more deeply satisfy your desires!

    •   Educate Yourself: As you figure out your unique needs and desires, you may find yourself naturally drawn towards a lifestyle that works best for you. Try to find out as much as you can about foods, physical activity and other forms of nourishment. Explore your options, expand your knowledge and experience what it feels like to you to eat certain foods and nourish yourself in different ways but do not feel bogged down with needing to learn everything or adhere to a specific dogma or set of rules. Remember, this is about you discovering your unique way of nourishment and not about trying to fit yourself into a certain category, label or diet.

    •   Cook Simple, Whole, Natural Foods: Many products you find in a modern supermarket do not resemble anything you would ever find growing in a field or on a tree. These chemicals and artificial ingredients can confuse our hunger signals and throw off our metabolism. A great way to increase the quality of the food you eat and have greater control over its contents is to cook your own meals. Try to focus on eating simple, natural organic ingredients in their whole forms instead of eating less or counting calories. 

Jumpstart your New Year, conquer cravings and return to instinctive eating by starting with these powerful steps!

 

Dr. Jennifer Weinberg, MD, MPH, MBE is a preventive and lifestyle medicine physician and the Founder of the
Simple
|Pure|WholeTM Wellness Method. She offers innovative online wellness and education programs for individuals looking for sustainable optimal health and non-toxic living as well as health care providers seeking to embrace a transformative approach to health care and corporations wanting to integrate a holistic approach to corporate wellness. She also provides a comprehensive All-Natural virtual Recharge Experience for those ready to rejuvenate and build a strong foundation for sustainable life-long wellness! For more information vist her webpage JenniferWeinbergMD.com and connect with her on her Facebook page

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ayurvedic Concept of Agni Digestive Fire and Its Impact on Health

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By Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar

As we get older, appetite tends to wane, and many people even reach the point where they are not necessaril hungry when they sit down to eat. Some people have even lost touch with the feeling of being hungry altogether, particularly those who snack or eat frequently between meals.

According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of natural health, this is not just a trivial observation.  According to Ayurveda, the condition of the digestive fire determines the health of our entire being. When we feel hunger, this is a sign that the digestive fire is blazing. When our hunger flags, and the digestive fire weakens, then our digestion suffers, food is not assimilated and toxins accumulate in the body.

A Strong and Healthy Sacred Fire

In the Ayurvedic framework, digestion is described as a sacred fire, or Agni. The digestive fire in the belly consumes our food and transmutes it into the elements of the body, mind and spirit.

How do we make sure that Agni, this sacred fire, stays strong and healthy? First, we supply just the right amount of fuel. If we overload our stomach by overeating, or if we drown it by drinking too much at meals, then the digestive fire goes out and it takes a long time to recover.

Keeping in mind that hunger is the sign of a healthy digestive fire, rather than constantly snacking, we can wait to eat until the level of hunger is high, but not too high. We can wait until mealtimes, and only then make our offering to the flames.

In India, as in many traditional cultures, meals are a time of sacred offering. Prior to eating, the food is offered to the divine power with humility, reverence and gratitude. The food itself is considered sacred and is prepared, handled and served as a precious gift. Many traditional cultures attach rituals to the act of eating to acknowledge its divine nature. This religious practice nourishes the soul as well as the body.

In many parts of the Western culture, however, this reverence for food and eating has faded, or been lost entirely. Grace may still be said at the dinner table, but for the most part, food is eaten with very little thought of where it came from and an absence of sensitivity to the condition of the digestive fire. Who among us takes a moment of reverential silence before biting into food when we are dashboard dining? And, with oversized portions being the norm, how often do we force ourselves to finish every bite, regardless of feeling unwell afterwards?

Fire In the Belly: A Thriving Digestive System

The consequences of eating in this unconscious fashion, year after year, are devastating. They explain, in part, why Western people suffer so much from obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other life-threatening conditions. These are all diet-related problems and the way to prevent them is also related to our diet– what we eat and how we eat it.

Simply stated, when our digestive fire is strong, we thrive. When it is weak, we suffer. But we don’t have to.

Next time you sit down to eat, follow these simple steps to stoke your digestive fire:

  • Take a few seconds to become aware of your digestive fire. Assess the level of hunger. Can you feel your digestive fire blazing? Can you sense that the digestive fire is ready to accept your offering of food?
  • Look at the food you are offering. Is it pleasing? Is it also wholesome? Will it leave you feeling satisfied, light and energetic?
  • Are you in a quiet and reverential state of mind, undistracted, focused on the amazing, alchemical act of nourishing yourself?
  • Pause for a moment to center yourself in this awareness. Take a deep breath and enjoy.

 

 

The Dirty Dozen: Top 12 Fruits and Veggies to Buy Organic

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If you prefer organic foods, but are concerned about the added costs, check out the new organic shopping guide from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental research organization in Washington, D.C.

In its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce list, the EWG lists both the Clean 15—a list of fruits and veggies lowest in pesticides—as well as the Dirty Dozen, the fruits and veggies with the highest levels of pesticides. 

For budget-conscious shoppers, the Guide helps you shop knowing which items to prioritize on the organic list, and which you can buy conventional. 

According to the EWG, there is ‘growing consensus’ within the science community that even small doses of pesticides and other toxic chemicals can be linked to a host of problems, from increased cancer risk to issues in fetal and childhood development. 

Fortunately, you can lower your pesticide exposure by almost 90% simply by avoiding conventional versions of the fruits and vegetables listed in the Dirty Dozen list. And even if you can’t afford to buy organic for all the items on the Dirty Dozen, don’t fret. According to the EWG, “The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.” It’s better to have a conventional apple than a bag of potato chips or a bacon cheeseburger from your neighborhood fast food joint. 

We suggest keeping this guide with your grocery list or in your wallet so you can reference it whenever needed. It will become second nature in no time! Of course, for those not on a budget, buying organic as much as possible will help put in your vote to support a cleaner, more natural food production cycle in harmony with Mother Nature.
 
The EWG’s Dirty Dozen for 2013:
1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Cherry tomatoes
4. Grapes
5. Hot peppers
6. Nectarines (imported)
7. Peaches
8. Potatoes
9. Spinach
10. Strawberries
11. Sweet bell peppers
Plus: Kale, collard greens and summer squash

The EWG’s Clean Fifteen for 2013:
1. Asparagus
2. Avocados
3. Cabbage
4. Cantaloupe
5. Sweet corn
6. Eggplant
7. Grapefruit
8. Kiwi
9. Mangoes
10. Mushrooms
11. Onions
12. Papayas
13. Pineapples
14. Sweet peas (frozen)
15. Sweet potatoes
 


 

Time for a Spring Cleanse? Top 15 Foods for Liver Detoxification

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liver cleanse natural

By Kristin Muckerheide, AADP, CHHC

The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It is one of the major organs of detoxification, filtering blood coming from the digestive tract and metabolizing and detoxifying toxic substances like alcohol, medications, and chemicals. The liver also makes proteins that are important for blood clotting and other vital functions.

Like a carefully orchestrated assembly line, the various parts and organs of the body work together to keep everything running smoothly and efficiently. So if your liver becomes overly congested with toxins, as often happens with our modern lifestyle, over time, it reduces your body’s ability to secrete the bile it needs to digest fats. This in turn leads to digestive issues and even malnutrition.

Once the liver starts to malfunction, cascading effects ensue in other parts of the body. If the liver’s bile secretion goes awry, the gallbladder is sure to suffer next. This is an increasingly common problem: Every year, 500,000 people in the U.S. alone have surgery to remove gallstones, which often result from compromised bile secretion. 

This is just one of many examples demonstrating how the liver connects to other vital bodily functions. In short, it’s important to keep your liver strong to maintain overall health and wellbeing. And with spring upon us, there is no better time for a gentle liver cleanse.

After a winter of indulging in sweets, starches, animal products, baked goods and comfort foods (your body needed these to keep warm in the frigid winter weather), you may start to feel the desire to eat lighter, fresher, more raw foods and become more active. Many people naturally experience that all of a sudden, they actually want to work out and eat salads and green smoothies.

If this is your experience, it means that your body is simply following the natural rhythm of the seasons. It wants to purge and cleanse itself of all the fat buildup and toxins it accumulated throughout the winter, so that you will you have the energy to walk, run, bike and play in the nice spring weather.

Nature gives us the fresh green foods we need to help us detoxify and cleanse the body and liver in the spring: arugula, dandelion, asparagus, artichoke, peas, avocado, Bok Choy and fennel, just to name a few. It’s not a coincidence that much of the spring produce is green, indicating the presence of chlorophyll, a molecule that binds with toxins (like heavy metals) and carries them out of the body.

So take advantage of all the powerful produce the earth gives us in the spring to cleanse our bodies after the long winter. When we fight against the natural rhythm of the seasons, our bodies can easily fall out of balance—you may see this manifest as being unable to tolerate cold winter weather, suffering from allergies in the springtime or becoming inflamed and overheated in the summer.

When you’re eating cold smoothies and raw salads in the middle of winter or hot barbeque ribs in July, of course your body is confused! Instead, follow along with nature and what it provides us to keep in balance with the environment in which we live, wherever that may be.

A liver cleanse doesn’t have to make you miserable, involving fasting or drinking copious amounts of noxious liquids like lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper or orange juice mixed with lots of olive oil. You can get a long way simply by favoring foods and herbs that help revitalize and cleanse the liver. For a gentle, natural spring cleanse, emphasize these liver-supporting foods:

  1. Dandelion greens and root: Dandelion is a rich source of minerals and a variety of phytonutrients and super antioxidants, which support cleansing of the digestive tract and offer great liver support. It increases the production of bile from the liver and gall bladder, which aids digestion and keeps detox systems in balance. It also helps carry toxins out of the liver. For best results, regularly add dandelion leaves to your salad or sip dandelion tea throughout the day.
  2. Milk thistle: The active compounds in milk thistle, silymarin, appear to help the liver regenerate cells after damage has occurred. This is one of the best liver-strengthening herbs, but it is also strong, and can sometimes create a rash. Start with small doses and build up over time.
  3. Broccoli sprouts: Broccoli sprouts have 20-50 times MORE liver enzyme-stimulating activity than regular broccoli, which is already extremely healthy. A 2012 study found that eating broccoli sprouts may enhance detoxification of airborne pollutants and reduce their negative effects on the body (published in Carcinogenesis, Jan 2012). This follows a 2005 study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention that found that broccoli sprouts may help detoxify carcinogens and reduce the risk of liver cancer.
  4. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds ensure that toxins are eliminated properly. They are a great source of fiber, which binds to toxins and flushes them from the intestinal tract. They are also a great source of omega 3 oils. For best results, consume 2 Tbsp of ground flaxseeds in water every morning.
  5. Lemons: Lemons stimulate the release of enzymes and helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can be easily excreted from the body. Drink warm lemon water (add ground flaxseeds for enhanced toxin removal) first thing in the morning, which is alkaline-forming and helps balance an overly acidic American diet.
  6. Garlic: No detox plan is complete without garlic. This powerful antiviral, antiseptic and antibiotic healer rids your body of these pathogenic microbes and can reduce endogenous (produced in the body) toxins. Garlic’s sulphuric compounds make it an essential detoxifier.
  7. Artichokes: Artichokes aren’t just tasty, they also stimulate bile production, which is essential to properly digest fats, and purify and protect the liver. Artichoke has a mild diuretic effect on the kidneys, ensuring proper removal of toxins once the liver breaks them down.
  8. Turmeric: This highly anti-inflammatory spice helps with liver and digestive disorders; it protects the liver from toxic substances and has been shown to promote bile secretion.
  9. Cruciferous veggies: Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are a rich source of sulphur compounds, which enhance the liver’s detoxification pathways and help it break down and eliminate fat through the bile ducts.
  10. Allium veggies: This class of vegetables include onions, garlic, chives. These foods contain compounds that help the liver produce enzymes needed for toxin breakdown and elimination. They also provide antioxidants that quench free radicals produced during the detox process.
  11. Sesame seeds: These wonder seeds are not only rich in calcium and iron, they are also a liver-protective.
  12. Beetroot: The humble beet contains a wealth of nutrients, including vitamins B3, Bl and C, beta carotene, iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium—which are all necessary for optimal detoxification and elimination and great for gallbladder and liver health.
  13. Apples: While ideal for a fall cleanse, apples are beneficial all year-round. The quercetin in the skin of red apples is also helpful for spring allergies due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  14. Sea vegetables: Seaweeds contain powerful antioxidants that help alkalize the blood and strengthen digestion. The algin in seaweeds absorbs toxins from the digestive tract just as a water softener removes hardness from tap water. Sea veggies also offer the broadest range of minerals of any food, containing virtually all the minerals found in the ocean and that are needed in the human body.
  15. Chlorophyll-containing foods: These bind with toxins and remove them from the body. The foods highest in chlorophyll include spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass and sea vegetables, but any naturally green food contains some amount of chlorophyll.

How to Put It All Together.

For best results, set off a 2–3 week period in which you drink plenty of water, green juice and/or herbal tea, eat lightly, cut back on heavy animal foods and emphasize the liver-supporting foods above. Mix and match according to what you like the best. Incorporate exercise and time outside in the fresh air and sun if possible. You can also try making a detoxifying juice to drink between meals once or twice a day.

Here’s an example of a tasty and powerful detoxifying juice: Use a combination of any of the following: beetroot, beet greens (the tops of the beetroots), apples, celery (including the leaves), parsley, lemon and a knob of fresh ginger.

Try cutting out dairy and gluten-containing foods and grains to clear your brain fog, boost your energy and give your gut a chance to heal. See how you feel without them as well as how you react when adding these foods back into your diet. For best results, add dairy and gluten back in one at a time, with 2–3 days in between to watch for any delayed reactions, which can take up to 72 hours to manifest.

Although more intense liver cleanses and detoxification regimens do exist, incorporating the foods mentioned above, always in moderation, gives the body a gentler, more natural cleanse that is safe for nearly everyone. 

As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Nature supplies us with the most powerful medicine of all—minus the nasty side effects, costs and long-term effects of pills and procedures. No matter what your age or health condition, staying in tune with the earth’s patterns and consuming the medicinal foods each season provides is key to feeling your best and enjoying optimal health all life long.


kristin muckerheide body + soul wellness, llcKristin Muckerheide is an AADP Board Certified Holistic Health Counselor and owner of the holistic health counseling practice Body + Soul Wellness, LLC. For questions and to learn more, www.mybodysoulwellness.com.

Concerned about GMO Foods? How to Avoid Them

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Avoiding GMO foods

American consumers concerned about foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), continue to have far fewer options than their European counterparts. The European Union has stringent controls on the use of genetically modified products, requiring extensive testing of each item before use. In the US, however, there are no controls, and GMO foods and so far, efforts to introduce labeling requirements for GMO foods have fallen short.

So, what’s all the GMO hullabaloo about? Consumer advocates argue that the safety of GMOs has been poorly documented, and that numerous health concerns remain. GMOs are foods have been modified by splicing genes from one organism into another—for example, bacillus bacteria is added to corn to make it produce its own pesticide, or a gene derived from arctic fish is added to tomatoes to make them frost-resistant. Consumer advocates that this kind of cross-species gene combination can have numerous unexpected consequences and health effects on both humans and animals eating GMOs.

There has not been little testing of GMO effects on humans, but animal testing so far suggests that an array of immune, endocrine, and even organ damage could result from consuming GE foods. The American Academy of Environmental Science (AAES) recently recommended that doctors consider in their diagnoses that immune-related and other diseases could be caused by consumption of GE foods, and that doctors should prescribe genetically modified organism (GMO)-free diets.

Since the jury is still out on the safety of GMOs, more and more health-conscious people are trying to simply stay clear of GMO foods by refraining from buying and eating any foods containing GMOs. However, because GMO foods are not labeled, the only way to avoid GMOs is to educate yourself about which food to avoid. The AAES and other consumer advocates such as Jeffrey Smith, writer of the movie “Genetic Roulette,”recommends avoiding the following foods, which most commonly contain GMOs:                                  

  • Conventional soy products, including soybeans, soymilk, soybean oil, tofu, and soy lecithin.
  • Sweeteners: Aspartame, Nutra Sweet, Equal, high fructose corn syrup, and beet sugar. Unless a product lists the sweetener as “pure cane sugar,” it most likely contains beet sugar, which is genetically engineered
  • Seed and vegetable oils: soy, cottonseed, canola and corn oils
  • Corn and corn products
  • Hawaiian papaya
  • Some zucchini and yellow squash  
  • Milk products: cows may have been injected with bovine growth hormone

Alternative Choices:      

  • Buy Organic. While efforts to legally require organically labeled foods to be GMO-free have been defeated so far, most organic growers won’t use seeds that have been genetically engineered.
  • Look for foods with the Non-GMO Project seal, which signifies that the product was tested by an independent non-profit organization and confirmed to be free of GMOs.
  • Buy milk that has the labels “no rBGH”, “no rBST,” or “artificial hormone free.” Or, instead of cow’s milk, try almond, coconut, hemp, or rice milk. WestSoy is one company that sells non-GMO soymilk, but there are other brands that do the same.
  • To avoid sugar from sugar beets, which have been genetically modified, look for candies, chocolate, and baked goods made with 100% pure cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, organic sugar, or other natural sweeteners like date sugar or maple syrup.

A growing number of companies are enrolling in the Non-GMO Project standard, and more companies will likely join them if more consumers demand GMO-free foods. For your convenience while grocery shopping, a non-GMO shopping guide or app for your smart phone is available at the AAES website.


Non GMO Shopping Guide, The Institute for Responsible Technology

Groundbreaking Study on Alzheimer's Disease and B Vitamins

Can supplemental B vitamins decrease brain shrinkage and preserve mental function for men and women at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia? Yes, according to a two-year study by researchers at Oxford University.

But, despite these findings, scientists aren’t advocating universal use of supplemental Triple B (folic acid, B12 and vitamin B6). Taking B vitamins can actually increase the blood level of an amino acid called homocysteiene, which can damage blood vessels and is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, as well as heart attack and stroke.

In short, B vitamins can help or hurt with Alzheimer's, depending on your medical history. If you’re at a high risk of stroke or dementia, B Vitamins can help, but if you have homocysteine levels above 9.5 micromoles/liter, it may not do much good. And if you have diabetes, have suffered a heart attack, or have severe hardened arteries, B Vitamins can put you at greater risk.

In short, consider getting a blood test before stocking up on B-complex. Or even better, consult with a nutritionist or doctor about what vitamin supplements are right for you.

Check out Leo Galland, M.D.'s article at the Huffington Post.

New Research: High Fructose Syrup May Increase Cancer Risk

Every sweet-tooth has their favorite fix when it comes to sugar, but it turns out we aren’t the only ones who favor one kind of sweetener over another: recent research reveals that cancer cells thrive most off of fructose.

Scientists at the University of California Los Angeles found that fructose-fed pancreatic cancer cells divided and proliferated with much greater intensity than their glucose-fed counterparts. This discovery, published in the journal Cancer Research, offers and explanation to the link other studies have found between pancreatic cancer and fructose intake.

While science has long recognized the connection between sugar consumption and cancer growth, this new finding reveals that not all sweeteners are made equal. Unfortunately, cancer’s favorite sweetener is also our own.

Fructose makes the majority of its appearances as high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener used in candy, soft drinks, breads, cereals, and a variety of other foods. Health experts have warned consumers against high fructose corn syrup for quite some time, and even politicians and health regulators have expressed concern over the sweetener’s role Americans’ increasing health and obesity issues.

While sugar of all types has been linked to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, U.S. high fructose corn syrup consumption increased 1,000% between 1970 and 1990—and has only continued to escalate—making it the most common sweetener in food products today.

In order to help pay for programs addressing the obesity-related diseases resultant from high fructose-rich soft drinks, states such as New York and California have levied a tax on sweetened soda. Attempts were made to establish a Federal soda tax, but opposition from the American Beverage association (whose members include Coca-Cola and Kraft Food) squelched the initiative.

Nonetheless, the researchers at University of California Los Angeles hope their findings will encourage governmental action towards diminishing high fructose corn syrup use, paving the way for a healthier future for our nation.

Best Natural Sources of Vitamin B12

Many people who practice yoga regularly experiment with a vegetarian lifestyle or permanently shift to a diet based on plant-based foods. Even yoga practitioners who regularly eat meat would do well to keep an eye on one essential nutrient, which many people get too little of in modern society: vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is one of the most essential nutrients for proper physical function as well as mental and emotional health. According the National Institute of Health, Vitamin B12 is required for a variety of biological processes ranging from proper red blood cell formation, to neurological function, to even DNA synthesis.

Even a slight deficiency in the vitamin can cause anemia, emotional instability, mental and physical fatigue, and insomnia among other disorders. Over a long time, B12 deficiency can lead to permanent brain and central nervous system damage.

The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 for adults age 14+ is 2.4 micrograms (for pregnant and lactating women, RDA is slightly higer.) As you get older, your vitamin B12 requirements also increase, as they do for all the B vitamins.

If you regularly eat meat, B12 is naturally and abundantly accessible in a variety of foods. Some of the best sources of B12 include shellfish, liver, caviar, and fish, such as herring and salmon. Clams alone can provide 98.9 micrograms of the vitamin per a 100g serving, a whopping 1648% of the RDA. Lamb liver provides 85.7 micrograms per 100g serving (1428%), and fish eggs offer up 54.6 micrograms per 100g serving (940%). Salmon and herring give 302% and 312% respectively. 

Ovo-lacto vegetarians can obtain B12 from eggs and dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, and milk. While these animal products offer less of the vitamin than meat sources, regular intake can still provide necessary quantities of the vitamin. A breakfast of one cup of yogurt and two eggs, for example, provides you with over 100% of the RDA. Many ovo-lacto vegetarians can also benefit from B12 fortified foods or supplements.

Unfortunately, for strict vegetarian and vegans, B12 is not so easy to come by. Since the vitamin only forms naturally in animal products, vegetarians and vegans who don’t consume eggs or dairy products should add B12 fortified cereals, soy, or nutritional yeast products to their diet and consider taking a B12 supplement.

Although some claim that soy, spirulina, and other plants naturally contain sufficient levels of the vitamin, the majority of B12 from vegetation is analog, an inactive form that is not only inaccessible to the body, but actually increases your physiology’s requirement for it. 

In short, if you are a vegetarian, and especially if you're a vegan, adding a vitamin B12 supplement to your diet is not just a good idea, it is often a necessity. Boosting your body’s B12 levels will be important to prevent health issues down the road; it will also increase your energy, uplift your mood, and promote overall physical health.

Taking vitamin B12 supplements is not as simple as it may seem, however. Simply swallowing a pill doesn't do the trick, because it doesn't provide the body with a readily absorbable form of the vitamin. The body begins absorbing vitamin B12 in the mouth, where small amounts of unbound crystalline forms when the vitamin interact with the mucosa membrane. Studies have shown that oral B12 supplements are more effectively absorbed when chewed or dissolved in the mouth. Consequently, many people looking for an effective B12 supplement may wish to consider an oral supplement, particularly one designed either to be chewed or sublingually dissolved.

 Below is a review of three different types of B12 supplements. (Disclaimer: we get an affiliate commission on the product links to Amazon).

Oral Supplements:

Sublinqual B12 with MethylCobalamin .  “Methylcobalamin” is the name for the active coenzyme form of vitamin B-12 that is essential for proper cell growth and neurological function. These concentrated tablets dissolve under your tongue to deliver a potent boost of B12 to your body’s system. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, as the tablets contain no yeast, dairy, egg, or other animal products.

Mercola’s B12 Energy Booster Spray. Dr. Mercola is well-known for his in-depth research on common health issues, and this is his choice for the most effective B12 delivery system. The spray delivery system breaks down the B12 into smaller, more available particles for more thorough and quick absorption. Each pre-metered spray delivers a B12 boost to your energy levels, aids digestion, and supports healthy metabolism and blood cell formation.  

External Supplements:

Vitamin B-12 Patches. If you are looking for non-oral form of B12, patches have been shown to quickly and discretely deliver the vitamin to the bloodstream, raising blood levels up to 90%. Easy to use, these dime-size patches can be placed behind your earlobe for up to 24 hours, during which they will release 1000 mcg of B12 to clear and energize your mind, promote balanced emotions, and encourage healthy cell growth. 

 

Could You Be Suffering from B12 Deficiency?

Do you often feel tired or low energy? Do you find it hard to focus as the day wears on, and yet at night, have a hard time falling asleep? Do you find that little things bother you more than they should, and that you sometimes feel anxious or emotionally unstable for no discernable reason? If you’ve experienced several of the above, there could be one simple cause behind your discomfort: you may be suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in a variety of essential physiological processes and is necessary for maintaining normal energy levels, promoting nerve health and neurological activity (including mental alertness and healthy stress response), and producing melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone. Furthermore, B12 supports healthy cardiac function, maintains healthy cell growth, and promotes normal immune, digestive, and metabolic function.

Previously, many experts were under the impression that only strict vegetarians were at high risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. This was believed because the majority of B12 sources are animal products, and plant sources of the vitamin often deliver uptake inhibitors for the essential nutrient. However, B12 deficiencies have been found to be much more widespread than initially thought, especially among those in their senior years. According to some experts, nearly one fourth of people over age 60 are B12 deficient. Furthermore, suboptimal levels of B12 are increasingly common in other age groups as well. Why?

A B12 deficiency is not dependent on diet alone: digestion and assimilation of the vitamin play an equally key role. In today’s society, our diets do little to promote digestive health. In fact, the standard American diet takes quite a toll on our intestinal tract. Over time, overworked stomach lining looses its ability to produce hydrochloric acid, a key component in B12 absorption. Furthermore, the use of common antacid or anti ulcer drugs—as well as ulcers themselves—contribute to deficiency. Doctors also now recognize a condition known as food-cobalamin malabsorption syndrome, in which the stomach lining fails to produce the protein that binds with vitamin B12 to allow absorption.

Consequently, you could be consuming everything from lamb’s liver to B12-rich brewer’s yeast and still suffering from B12 deficiency.

The most commons symptoms of B12 deficiency include: mental and physical fatigue, mood fluctuations, nervousness, sleep difficulties, and even occasional indigestion. If you suspect that you may have lower-than-normal levels of the vitamin, speak with your doctor about taking a natural B12 supplement, such as: Source Naturals 5mg Methyl Cobalamin tablets, Vita Sciences B12 Patches, or Mercola’s B12 Energy Booster Spray.

Natural Weight Loss: How to Cut Calories Without Noticing

“Slow and steady wins the race,” goes the old adage, and when it comes to natural weightloss that advice applies to the battle against weight as well.

According to a report on Mercola.com, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, people who savored a serving of ice cream over the course of 30 minutes felt fuller and more satisfied than those who ate the same portion in 5 minutes. The study revealed that participants’ hunger levels weren’t just psychological: those who took longer to eat the dessert actually produced a higher level of hunger-regulating hormones than those who scarfed their serving down.

Other studies report similar findings. In 2008, it was found that when subjects ate slowly, they ended up eating approximately 10% fewer calories than they did when eating quickly. Participants also reported feeling more full after eating slowly. Another study, published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that eating quickly and eating until full were directly correlated with obesity; in fact, these two habits tripled subjects’ risk of excessive weight gain.

In addition to increasing satisfaction and decreasing weight, eating slowly can improve your health in other ways. For example, the vast majority of digestive enzymes are actually found in your mouth, not your stomach. By chewing for longer periods of time, you break down nutrients for more effective absorption once they hit your digestive tract.  Longer chewing time will also allow you to more thoroughly enjoy the taste of what you are eating. 

Want to Learn a Simple Tips to Lose Weight Naturally?

1. To effectively and naturally cut back on how much you eat, experts advise chewing food twice as long as you’re used to and slowing down in general while eating.

2. Cut back on fructose, a prolific sweetener in today’s food market. Fructose diminishes feelings of fullness by reducing proper transfer of leptin, one of the body’s most powerful hunger regulators. In addition, fructose also increases you insulin levels, further interfering with your brain-body hunger response. Reducing fructose can help reset your eating habits and promote an automatic reduction in how much you eat.

Can losing weight really be as simple as that? Yes, and no. Certainly, eating less and eating more healthy foods will make you lose weight over time. Chewing your food longer and giving your body's digestive process more time to absorb the food is a great way to eat less and lose weight naturally over time.

In addition, however, for many people, overeating has an emotional component as well. If you suffer from frequent cravings or even binge eatings, try out things like yoga therapy and other natural therapies that can help you resolve the underlying issues behind the cravings. There are many anecdotal reports that indicate that yoga might help offer natural weightloss by easing emotional cravings for food. Yoga also promotes weightloss by helping you reconnect with your body's natural signals of hunger and satiety.

 

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