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Best Carb Foods for Your Diet

Carbohydrates are often categorized as simple carbs and complex carbs. If your diet is high in the former this can result in a cycle of short bursts of energy followed by “sugar crashes” which is when you suffer from cravings, mood swings and that lethargic feeling. Simple carbs include sucrose (table sugar), glucose, fructose (fruit sugar), and lactose (dairy sugar).

Examples of complex carbs on the other hand include bread, pasta, rice and vegetables. These are digested much slower than simple carbs and therefore offer a more steady release of energy. If your goal is weight loss, then all carbs should be reduced but more so simple carbs as a result of their impact on your blood sugar levels.

However, fibrous carbs such as green vegetables are one of the best carb foods you can eat for several reasons and you should endeavor to eat lots of these carbs. They are very low in calories, and in some cases even contain “negative calories”, which means that they contain so few calories that your body actually uses more calories to digest and process these foods.

An even more important distinction to make when choosing the best carb foods to help you lose weight is whether it is natural or refined. Natural carbs can be simple carbs such as fructose which is what is in fruits, or complex carbs which include starches such as potatoes and fibrous vegetables. Refined carbs on the other hand would include sucrose which is your average table sugar, and other refined sugars, or highly processed starchy carbs such as white bread and white rice.

Refined carbs are a terrible choice of food, and have little or no benefit to your body. Unfortunately, the typical western diet is shockingly high in refined carbs. What’s more, not only do these foods have many of the healthy nutrients sucked out of them, they are digested and processed by your body very quickly, like simple sugars are, which explains why you feel tired and lethargic after a typical Western lunch, especially when it’s washed down with a high-sugar beverage.

Another way to identify what the best carb foods to eat are is by referring to the GI, or glycemic index, values. The glycemic index shows the effect certain foods have on your blood sugar level. The lower the GI value, the less effect it has on your blood sugar level, and the steadier the release of energy will be. Red lentils, for example, have a very low GI value, while white rice has a very high GI value.

Ideally, when choosing the best carb foods to help you lose weight, you want to focus on natural complex carbs, especially fibrous vegetables, with a moderate amount of natural simple carbs, such as fruits and dairy products. As explained, avoid highly processed and refined carbs, especially sugars, and where possible, stick to low and medium GI foods.

Something you should keep in mind is that consuming refined carbs and sugars are extremely detrimental to your health, except when necessary, and have very high GI values, and the fact is most of us have far too much of them in our diet. When combined with unhealthy fats especially, these result in immediate fat gain. Examples of such foods include pastries, fried foods, and ice cream.

My advice is to avoid all high-sugar foods (and that means a lot of “low fat” foods contrary to what you may think at first), especially if they contain unhealthy fats, and high-sugar beverages such as soft drinks, sodas and alcoholic drinks. The best carb foods will always contain little or no sugar and very little fat content.


Healthy Body

The skin is the largest organ in the body, and the most exposed. Most people don’t take proper care of their skin – either due to hectic work or due to pure ignorance.

Vitamins A, C, E, selenium, and zinc are especially important to maintain beautiful and healthy skin. Foods that are rich in these vitamins and minerals include :

Citrus fruits
Olive oil
Sunflower seeds

This is just a partial list of foods rich in the vitamins and minerals you need for healthy skin. Foods and drinks you need to eliminate or reduce your consumption of include alcohol, sugar, and saturated fat. Coffee and tea should be limited to two cups a day.

Since the skin often mirrors the health of the whole body, eating a healthy diet provides you a healthy body and as an extra benefit, healthy skin.

Healthy Hair

Healthy hair depends on eating foods high in protein and certain vitamins and minerals. Inadequate protein intake over a lengthy period can force hair into the resting phase with shedding a few months later. Five amino acids are of particular relevance to hair growth – cystine, cysteine, methionine, arginine and lysine.

There a number of different specific hair vitamins and minerals that can play a major role in helping a person have a healthy head of hair. Vitamins necessary for healthy hair include vitamins A, B6, biotin, inositol, and folic acid. Minerals needed to good hair growth are magnesium, sulphur, silica and zinc.

Extra hair vitamins are likely to be needed if a person is generally unwell or is undernourished as their hair will show damage and may even stop growing. For example, brittle hair is an indication of iron deficiency while prolonged and severe hair loss can mean inefficient functioning of the liver or the thyroid.

Healthy Teeth

The health of your teeth and gums, the lack of plaque and debris, and the freshness of your breath can be a constant reminder of the status of your overall health. A healthy body generally means healthy teeth as well.

As with promoting healthy skin and healthy hair, eating healthy foods (such as lots of fresh fruits and vegetables) also helps encourage healthy teeth. These foods tend to help scrub the plaque off of our teeth before it can turn into tartar. It is tartar that can cause pockets in the gums where bacteria can take root and cause decay.

Vitamin C deficiencies can result in bleeding gums and loose teeth as well as mouth sores The Vitamin B complex is also essential to a healthy mouth as deficiencies can cause cracking and bleeding of the lips as well as open sores and lesions on both the inside and outside of the mouth.

Calcium is the super nutrient that keeps bones and teeth strong. Vitamin D is another important factor in keeping our teeth and bones healthy. Spending a total of about one hour each week in the sun will normally provide you all the vitamin D you need.

Besides causing other problems with our health, too much fluoride can cause permanent staining of our child’s teeth. It can also cause brain degeneration and certain cancers. So be very careful to rinse completely after brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and after a fluoride treatment at the dentist.

The Advantages of Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extract is a natural source of a powerful antioxidant called OPC. It is twenty and fifty times more powerful than vitamin C and vitamin E respectively. In addition, grape seed extract is good for brain support and eye health as it possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties besides being an environmentally friendly antioxidant.

Grape seed extract can support the treatment of aging by stopping the onset of degenerative mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, and also by slowing down the outer aging process. Grape seed extract is also used in the treatment of cancer by suppressing tumor growth and providing protection against the effects of internal and external stresses. Another benefit of grape seed extract is that it is helpful in the treatment of fibromyalgia, a disorder known by its chronic pain in the muscles.

Grape seed extract has been known to help in the treatment of the following health concerns.

Treatment of High Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Grape seed extract has the ability to lower cholesterol levels and thereby support heart health. The powerful antioxidants in grape seed extract helps improve the strength of blood vessels and increasing blood flow to help prevent heart disease and stroke. It also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis or development of plaques in the blood vessels.

Treatment of Aging and Skincare

The benefits of grape seed extract also include its excellent skincare properties. Grape seed extract helps to bind to collagen much better than Vitamin C and Vitamin E. This promotes youthful skin, healthy cells, cellular elasticity, flexibility, and generally helps in the treatment of aging. For this reason, gape seed extract is one of the most effective ingredients in skincare and spa treatments, and is used in many beauty creams.

Grape seed extract is often used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. The presence of flavonoids in grape seed extract can prevent allergic reactions that can cause eczema. Grape seed extract also helps in restoring the normal functioning of the tissues.

Treatment of Allergies

Grape seed extract works as a natural antihistamine and helps in the treatment of a number of allergies. It also helps in controlling the symptoms of allergic reactions, such as sneezing and chest congestion. Grape seed extract can also help in the treatment of endometriosis, a menstrual disorder. The release of prostaglandins during endometriosis generates inflammation and pain.

Support in Eye Health

Grape seed extract can help regulate the blood flow in eyes and so prevent and treat various eye health concerns. Grape seed extract helps in preventing free-radical damage, a leading cause of macular degeneration and cataracts, the most common causes of blindness in older people.


Benefits of Wheatgrass

Chlorophyll and Haemoglobin

The effects of wheatgrass are attributed to its high chlorophyll content – over 70 percent of the plant’s solid content is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a plant’s version of haemoglobin, which is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen in humans. Chlorophyll and haemoglobin are similar in structure, the main difference being that in harmoglobin the central element is iron (which gives our blood the red color) while in chlorophyll it is magenesium. Chlorophyll converts sunlight into energy, which is stored in the plant – a reason why wheatgrass juice is sometimes nicknamed ‘liquid sunshine’.

A Powerful Antiseptic

Chlorophyll is a powerful antiseptic and detoxifying agent, explaining why wheatgrass has been used successfully for a variety o finternal and external infections (e.g. sinusitis), as well as to hasten skin grafting and wound healing as a gargle for sore throats and to prevent tooth decay, and in bowel cleansing programs. Research also indecates chlorphyll has anti-mutagenic properties, and therefore may be able to inhibit or reduce cancer formation.

Vitamin-rich Superfood

Wheatgrass contains vitamins (A, C, E and various Bs), amino acids, antioxidant enzymes that aid in fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism, minerals (calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron, manganese, potassium and selenium), plus it’s a good source of MSM, a sulphur containing molecule that reduces inflammation and allergy-type reactions and detoxifies the body. Enthusiasts who take it regularly often comment on the energy ‘hit’ they get from wheatgrass; this is most likely a combination of teh concentrated nutrition present and its detoxification properties.

Research Briefs

– Thalassemia Major. This hereditary disease affects the harmoglobin in red blood cells. Patients are usually dependent on repeated blood transfusions and are at risk of anemia, spleen enlargement and bone marrow problmes. An Indian pilot study (2004) found that taking 100 ml of wheatgrass juice daily dramatically reduced the transfusion requirements of patients with thalassemia major – by over 25 percent in half the patients in the study, and by over 40 percent in thress cases. The average interval between transfusions also incrased by 29.5 percent.

– Foetal Haemoglobin. A wheatgrass extract has been used in a preliminary trial at the Murdoch Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The extract was tested on cells to see if it could cause a significant increase in fortal haemoglobin. (This harmoglobin develops in the foetus and has an extremely high affinity for oxygen. After birth it is not so essential and the levels fall in adults to only around two percent of our total haemoglobin.) The trial found that using the wheatgrass extract over a 5-day period suggested a 3 to 5 fold incrase in the production of fortal haemoglobin. This could explain why some thalassemia patients in the Indian study experienced benefits from the juice although it also indicates these benefits are not due to the chlorophyll content, as the extract contains almost no chlorophyll.

– Ulcerative Colitis. A 2002 double-blind Israeli study showed that regular use of wheatgrass juicecan be useful in the treatment of active ulcerative colitis. Patients took either 100 cc of wheatgrass juice or a placebo daily for a month. Treatment with the wheatgrass juice was associated with significant reductions in the overall disease activity and in the severity of rectal bleeding.

User’s Guide

Wheatgrass is widely available at juice bars, health food shops and cafes. You can also buy wheatgrass sprouter kits from healthfood stores and juice your own sprouts at home.

When drinking wheatgrass juice, mix it well with your saliva before swallowing – this improves digestion as well as supporting oral hygiene.


Role of Vitamin E in Lupus Treatment

What can vitamin E do to relieve the signs and symptoms of lupus? The answer to that question begins with looking more closely with what we are up against. The most dangerous and common type of lupus disease is Systemic lupus Erythematosus (SLE), which can affect and damage any of the body’s organs such as skin, liver, kidney, joints, blood vessels, brain, blood, and nervous system. The second most common type of lupus disease is Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE), which only affects skin. The signs and symptoms of this type of lupus are skin rash and scaly sores appearing on the face, neck, and chest. The signs and symptoms of SLE will be specific to the part of the body affected, although usually the rash is also present, and can often be misdiagnosed as a different disease.

The other major sign and symptoms of lupus, common to both SLE and DLE, include chronic inflammation in various parts of the body. This causes free radicals to be released, reactive molecules with unpaired electrons that reek havoc amongst healthy cells in the body. Free-radicals are extremely destructive and so increase the severity of lupus symptoms, causing more discomfort to sufferers.

Luckily, rampaging free-radicals can be “mopped up” by antioxidants, a group of vitamins, minerals, and herbs that are immensely powerful in restoring and maintaining the body’s health. It is vitamin E’s membership of this elite group that makes it helpful in the treatment of lupus. But there is also moreā€¦

The Properties of Vitamin E

Vitamin C, E, and beta carotene are recommended by doctors to treat lupus. Vitamin E posses many useful properties that help in the treatment of lupus disease:

1. It’s a Powerful Antioxidant: Intake of Alpha-tocopherol (a-tocopherol), a form of Vitamin E, is a natural way to treat lupus disease. A-tocopherol is the most active form of Vitamin E and a powerful antioxidant, which protects the body from the ill effects of free radicals and the damage caused by them. Because of its antioxidant properties, Vitamin E plays a key role in protecting body from a number of chronic disorders, besides lupus disease, that affect various parts of the body. Vitamin E does this by donating its own electrons to make a pair with a free radical’s unpaired one, thereby “neutralizing” its destructiveness.

2. It Reduces the Levels of Cytokines: Vitamin E also plays an important role in the treatment of lupus disease because it possesses the ability to control the levels of pro – and anti – inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are a group of proteins and peptides, which work as signaling compounds and play important roles in the immune system function.

3. A study conducted on mice showed that Vitamin E can significantly lower the levels of inflammatory cytokines, and inhibit the main symptom of lupus disease: inflammation.

Another study conducted on 67 people suffering from DLE showed that high doses (1,500 to 3,000 IU) of Vitamin E per day for 19 months along with pantothenic acid helped to treat DLE to great extent. However individual doses of pantothenic acid were ineffective in the treatment of lupus disease. With vitamin supplements, as with so many things in life, commitment is crucial.

What Next?

Now that we know Vitamin E has a number of properties making it beneficial in lupus treatment, we can think about using natural supplements as opposed to synthetic drugs.

Vitamin E in the form of a-tocopherol is available as supplements. The most natural form of a-tocopherol is labeled, confusingly, with a ‘D’, while the synthetic form of this supplement is labeled “DL”. It is the more natural, D, a-tocopherol that is biologically active in the human body, and more easily absorbed to treat the signs and symptoms of lupus. A-tocopherol, vitamin E supplements are often mixed with Vitamin C to make a more effective supplement for the treatment of lupus.

Children and Fish Oil

The Local Education Authority in Durham England were concerned at the increasing number of children who appeared to be underachieving because of an inability to concentrate and focus on a task for any length of time and sought to find out whether supplementing their diets with omega 3 fatty acids might make a difference.

Dozens of schools and hundreds of children have now taken part in several research trials involving fatty acid supplementation by way of fish oil. These trials, led by Dr. Madeleine Portwood, have now become known as the Durham trials and are receiving significant media attention both in the UK and abroad for the dramatic effects that fish oil appears to have on learning and behaviour in the classroom. So far, studies have been carried out on preschool, primary and secondary school children.

The Oxford Durham Study

The largest of these trials was carried out in 2002 and involved more than 100 primary school children from 12 different schools in the Durham area, all of who had developmental coordination disorder, and some with additional problems related to concentration and learning. This trial, known as the Oxford-Durham Trial, was run in collaboration with the Dyslexia Research trust based in Oxford, and Dr Alex Richardson from Oxford University, who is an expert on fatty acids and the brain.

The children in the trial were given a daily capsule of either fish oil or a placebo and as the trial was double blind, no one knew which child was given what. During the week, the children were administered the supplement by school staff. Each child was given six 500mg capsules a day from Monday to Friday, each capsule containing either fish oil or a placebo. The parents gave the children the capsules at the weekends and assessments were made regularly throughout the trial.

It can take weeks for the effect of fatty acid supplementation to show so the trial was conducted over a six month period with half of the children taking fish oil for the entire 6 months and the other half taking a placebo for the first 3 months and fish oil for the second 3 months.

In the first 3 months, those on the fish oil from the start showed dramatic improvements in reading, spelling and behaviour with the placebo group showing similar improvements when they too started taking the fish oil. In the original fish oil group, in the first 3 months, the average gain for reading was over 9 months and just over 6 months for spelling and they continued to show an improvement beyond the first 3 months. When the placebo group switched to fish oil, they showed a reading gain of over 12 months and over 6 months for spelling after just 3 months on fish oil.

The results of this trial haven’t yet been fully analysed but the early indications are “encouraging” and according to Dr Madeleine Portwood, up to 40% of the children have shown significant improvements.

Preschool Trial

Another Durham trial involved nursery school children between the ages of 18 months and two and half years old, 47 of which completed the trial. After 5 months 91% of those who were rated as having very poor behaviour at the start of the trial had improved, with only 4% rated as still having poor or very poor behaviour.

Similar improvements were seen for concentration levels with 79% rated as having good or very good levels of concentration after 5 months supplementation. Language skills also improved significantly compared to the control groups.

Secondary school study

This study was conducted in 2004 and concentrated on how fatty acids could help secondary school children with symptoms of ADHD; the results were released in March, 2006.

At the beginning of the trial, 94% were rated as having moderate to severe ADHD and the same score for inattention, and 89% as having additional problems with impulsivity. After 3 months, the ratings for ADHD and impulsivity were reduced to 28% with inattention dropping to just 17%.


The results of the Durham Trials appear to validate claims that the brain needs the right kind of fatty acids to develop and function normally. The fish oil used in these trials were high in the Omega 3 fatty acid EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), which is thought to be the fatty acid mostly responsible for efficient functioning of the brain itself.

Fish oil is rapidly gaining recognition for being an effective way of improving not only brain function, but lowering the risk of developing other health problems too, so much so that the UK government is considering the option of giving fish oil to all school children in order to improve nutrition in general.

Vitamin C Antioxidant

You may be interested to learn that this antioxidant also goes by the name of ascorbic acid. Take a look at the ingredients labels on the back on some food products in your kitchen and you’ll probably be surprised to learn how frequently you eat Vitamin C. It’s used as a preservative. Many dried fruits are coated with ascorbic acid powder to keep them from browning during dehydration and it lends that familiar sourness to lemon drops. You can make use of the preservative properties of Vitamin C at home by coating apple slices in lemon juice and drying them in the oven at a low temperature.

Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxidant and it takes free radicals directly to the liver to be flushed from the body. Interestingly Humans are amongst the few mammals that don’t produce their own Vitamin C. The others are monkeys, and guinea pigs.

Also this antioxidant is not stored in the human body. You need to replenish your stores daily. Luckily, there are many sources of Vitamin C in the world. Among them are, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, grape fruit, green peppers, lemons, oranges, potatoes, rose hips, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes.

A lack of Vitamin C in the body can lead to scurvy, a condition where the gums pull away from the teeth and bleed. You can lose all of your teeth and eventually die. Though this was a problem for many a seafaring sailor in the past, it’s unlikely that you will develop such an extreme deficiency of Vitamin C. The reason scurvy develops is because vitamin C is a necessary part of collagen formation. Without these connective fibers your tissues becomes weak and break easily. Other earlier signs of deficiency are swollen red gums, weakness, weight loss, irritability, and you will notice that wounds do not heal as easily. Though these signs must be diagnosed properly, they are similar to symptoms of Diabetes, Arthritis, and Gingivitis.

The recommended daily value of Vitamin C is sixty milligrams. If you fall below ten milligrams a day you will begin to develop a deficiency. It can take up to six months before signs of Scurvy will be obvious. If you do manage to get Scurvy its easily treatable with a higher dosage of Vitamin C for a couple weeks and then a management diet containing lots of foods rich in the antioxidant. While Vitamin C is essential to your body and helps to maintain your immune system its not recommended that you take high doses unless under stress or during illness. Too much can cause diarrhea and painful urination.

About Carbohydrates

If you eat more carbs than you burn off, the excess is stored as body fat. This is especially true for carbs which are processed starches or simple sugars because they enter the blood stream quickly to give you a rapid rise in energy levels. Unless you need that energy there and then, the carbs will be stored as fat. These types of carbs are best avoided unless you are extremely active and burn them off as you eat or drink them. They can be stored as fat in less than half an hour! Your body uses energy all the time, even to sleep and breathe. You use a much greater amount when you exercise. When you begin your exercise, your body uses the glucose in your blood for fuel. When there is no glucose left, the carbs stored in your liver and muscles is used. If you do more than about forty minutes of cardiovascular exercise – something that gets your heartbeat up such as jogging, elliptical, fast cycling or similar – only then does your body start to burn its stored fat for fuel.

Carbs in a Healthy Diet

For a healthy diet including carbohydrates, you should eat whole fruits rather than just the juices. Whole fruits contain more nutrients. Remember that complex carbs are usually better for you than simple ones, so sweet potatoes or oats can be beneficial. Eat as few simple carbs or processed starches as possible. If you eat bread or pasta, try not to eat more than 2 servings a day. Wholegrain pasta and bread is better for your body than more heavily processed products. A gram of carbohydrate gives you 4 calories. The reason that a lot of athletes prefer to eat complex carbs (whole grains, oats etc) is that they need a low body fat level. Complex carbs are longer molecule chains. They need more digestion to turn them into glucose so that blood sugar levels stay more level without spikes. If they were to eat simple carbs instead, they would get energy spikes, which is insulin overload, causing them to release a fat storing hormone. All carbohydrates have some effect on your body’s insulin production and your blood sugar levels so it is prudent to watch your intake. Carbs for Diabetics

Diabetics have to watch their carb intake because of how carbs react with blood sugar levels. A diabetic has to check their blood sugar (or glucose) levels regularly because they suffer from insulin resistance, meaning that their blood sugar levels can remain dangerously high if not monitored properly. It is possible to cause organ damage over time by regularly eating high levels of glucose so a diabetic should plan their meals well in order to limit the intake of carbs and manage their glucose levels. It is also important to balance your fats, proteins and other macronutrients in order to work out how much glucose is being produced.