Magnesium’s Magnificent Healing Properties
Magnesium is a powerful mineral occurring naturally in our body and that many people are severely lacking. This can have a pretty negative effect since it aids in the function of over 300 different enzymes and biochemical reactions in the body. The best way you can tell if you are deficient is to eat foods that are rich in magnesium or try supplementing and see how you feel. You will likely notice a difference right away. Magnesium rich foods are things like assorted nuts, legumes and green leafy vegetables. Another great way to get your magnesium is a secret that our grandparents knew, to soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts.This allows you to directly absorb it through your skin.
What are just some of the great benefits of magnesium?
It supports bone strength. Half of our magnesium is stored in our bones, so supporting those levels is hugely important for us to maintain healthy bones. Magnesium also helps the transportation of calcium, another mineral in our body that prevents the loss of bone density, especially as we age.
Prevention of type-2 diabetes. Magnesium helps with carbohydrate metabolism and directly influences insulin activity, which controls our blood glucose levels. Studies have shown that for every 100 mg of magnesium we intake, there is a 15% decrease in the direct risk of getting type-2 diabetes.
Digestive support. Magnesium plays a big role in the digestive process because it is a coenzyme in the intestines that assists in the natural production of hydrochloric acid in the gut necessary to break down the food we eat. It’s also great to naturally relieve constipation.
Supports heart health. Magnesium aids in maintaining a normal heart rhythm, strengthening our muscles, especially the heart which is one of our biggest muscles, and aids in rebuilding our blood vessels. It plays a key role in the prevention of an irregular heartbeat, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
Helps with migraines, insomnia and even depression. It has even worked to cure severe psychiatric issues such as panic attacks, anxiety, and even a difficult agitative state. Magnesium not only significantly reduces the severity of all of these conditions, but also lowers their recurrence rate.
Great stress reliever. When we are hit with stress, magnesium can play a key role in relieving it immediately by relaxing the body as part of a natural hormonal response and naturally lowers blood pressure.
Premenstrual symptoms reliever. As a natural muscle relaxer, magnesium also aids in the relief of premenstrual cramps, and acts as a diuretic eliminating fluid retention that causes bloating and breast tenderness.
It’s hard to believe how much this natural mineral can do for us each day. Try adding it to your diet and see how you feel!
The Soy Debate – Is It Good For You Or Not?
The soy controversy is highly debated these days among nutritionists. On the one hand, soy has become extremely popular, and on the other hand, the potential health risks have also become widely recognized. So, is it healthy or not so healthy to consume soy products?
The known benefits to soy:
- It can be prepared in many different ways as an alternative to meat products.
- It’s a source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
- Soy milk is a common alternative to cow’s milk for people who are lactose sensitive or lactose intolerant.
- Some studies have shown that consuming soy is helpful in increasing HDL (our good cholesterol) and possibly it has antioxidants that protect an increase in our LDL levels (the bad cholesterol).
- Even more recently, there have been some studies done on the isoflavones found in soy. Their estrogen like properties can support bone strength and improve the symptoms of women going through menopause.
The potential health risks to soy:
- Soy that is grown in America is genetically modified and usually not labeled as such.
- There are recent studies showing that soy contains phytoestrogens. If you consume too much soy in your diet you can actually produce too much estrogen in the body, which is especially unhealthy for young children and males. In women, this can lead to an increased chance of developing breast cancer or uterine fibroids.
- Soy phytoestrogens can also cause thyroid disease and an increased risk of autoimmune disease, especially in babies or young children. It’s a very popular alternative formula for infants when they can’t tolerate regular cow’s milk products.
- Many of the meat replacement soy products, such as soy burgers, are highly processed containing unnatural toxins and can contain high levels of unhealthy preservatives and high levels of sodium.
- Some people have an allergic reaction to soy and don’t feel well after consuming it or even develop hives or general itching. You may not realize it is the culprit because soy is hidden in a lot of processed foods.
The best you can do is educate yourself so you can make your own informed decision on whether or not soy is good for you and your family. If you do choose to consume soy, edamame is a good choice because it is not processed, as well as fermented tofu.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Organic?
When it comes to fruits and vegetables especially, eating organic is highly beneficial. The main difference between eating conventionally farmed produce and organic is that organic growers do not spray their farms with herbicides and pesticides. The chemicals used have been positively linked to numerous health problems such as cancer, unhealthy hormone changes and toxicity in the nervous system and brain. These toxic chemicals were designed to kill small pests instantly, so how can it be healthy for people to ingest? Washing the produce before eating it helps, but definitely does not remove all of it. A toxic chemical residue remains.
Some great reasons to eat organic:
- You avoid all pesticides and herbicides.
- The produce is typically 25% more nutritious with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so it’s worth it to pay a little more! You’re still getting your value from it.
- It supports responsible and sustainable farming techniques, eliminating these toxic chemicals from getting into our environment (air, soil and water supply). In turn, the farmers are also protected from their toxicity.
- It actually tastes better!
The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, keeps a great list of absolute foods that you should ONLY eat organic, called The Dirty Dozen, and also a list of the Clean Fifteen that are the conventionally grown foods that are safe to eat. Here is a link to their website http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php
Based on their recommendation, here are the foods you should always eat organic:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Summer squash
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
- Dark leafy greens
A few of my favorites from the Clean Fifteen list:
- Sweet potatoes
You should always wash your fruits and veggies with a veggie wash before eating them, but at least buying all of these foods as organic, assures you that you’re not consuming ANY bad chemicals!
Support a responsible organic farmer and buy organic today!
Are You A Comfort Food Eater?
We all crave different foods, but especially during the cold part of the year. We get this feeling if we just eat certain things it will somehow give us a boost in energy and to our mood. The truth is most foods we crave are not healthy whole foods that will achieve this. Instead we tend to crave foods that do the opposite, like a soda or sweet indulgent coffee drink (both for the caffeine slump in the mid afternoon), processed foods filled with carbs and sugar or heavy fat items such as some hot fries through the drive through or a sweet milkshake. If you’re guilty of this, then you might just be guilty of being a comfort food eater.
The bummer is most of these comfort foods leave us in a bigger slump than we were already in and not long after they have passed over our lips (not to mention they all help pack on the pounds). New research shows that there’s also a link to eating these types of food and inflammation in our body that interferes with the mood regulating chemicals in our brains, possibly even leading to a depressed state.
However, did you know that when you eat heavy carb based foods, doing so actually fuels the production of serotonin? This is your brain’s neurotransmitter that makes you feel good and activates receptors in your brain that help control your appetite and your mood. Like in the winter right now, there is less daylight and so our bodies produce less serotonin. As a response to this we carb load to stimulate the production of more serotonin. It’s something to be watchful of though! Pick the right carbs to achieve this, like healthy complex carbs, not simple processed carbs.
Another fact is that fewer hours of daylight causes our bodies to produce more of the sleep inducing chemical melatonin. This is why we sometimes feel lethargic in the winter and it can cause you to crave sugar. This is another pitfall for many because gorging on sweets will ultimately leave you grumpy and sometimes even depressed. Consuming lots of sugar causes a blood-sugar spike in your body creating these challenging symptoms. Sugar can be a quick source of energy, but it’s a poor choice to get that much needed boost. A much better alternative is to get your lift from a great cup of delicious organic coffee….leave the sugar out though.
One of the best cures for consuming too many comfort foods is instead eating sunshine….getting plenty of vitamin D (which is actually a hormone, not a vitamin). It’s great for chasing away the seasonal winter blues but it also improves your production of serotonin and less melatonin, which will boost your energy and you’ll feel great. It’s an incredible immune booster that will help you get through the flu season! If you can’t actually sit in the sun or escape to the tropics, then definitely supplement this amazing hormone every day. You’ll feel the difference.