Foods, Uncategorized

On-the-Go Breakfast Burrito

Health and WEllness Associates

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On-the-Go Breakfast Burrito

onthegoburrikto.JPG

There’s no excuse to skip breakfast when you have this burrito recipe in your collection. Fluffy eggs are teamed up with high protein ham, cheese, peppers, and whole grains for a handheld meal that you can enjoy on the run. Prep the ingredients the night before and breakfast will be ready in minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 slice uncured ham, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium whole wheat tortilla

Preparation

  1. In a small bowl whisk together egg and egg white. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Place chopped ham skillet and cook for one to two minutes.
  4. Add eggs, cheese, and pepper and cook, scrambling gently until eggs are fluffy, approximately five minutes more.
  5. Pile egg mixture in the center of tortilla.
  6. To roll: fold in the sides towards the middle, then roll up from the bottom (the part closest to you), making sure to roll completely around so that the end of the tortilla is tucked under the bottom of the burrito.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

In this wrap, lower fat ham takes the place of higher calorie ingredients like bacon. Look for an uncured ham such as Applegate or substitute Canadian bacon or a piece of turkey.

Use a gluten free tortilla (like a corn tortilla) for a celiac-friendly version of this recipe.

Cooking and Serving Tips

To help prevent the ingredients from leaking out of the tortilla (this is especially important if taking this meal to-go) wrap entire burrito tightly in parchment paper and cut in half; peel back the paper as you eat.

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Foods, Uncategorized

Quick and Easy Egg McMuffin-Style Sandwich

Health and WEllness Associates

EHS – Telehealth

 

Quick and Easy Egg McMuffin-Style Sandwich

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If a take-out egg muffin sandwich is always on your breakfast menu, we don’t blame you—it’s quick, easy to eat, and tasty. Add another characteristic—nutritious—when you make your own. It’ll be cheaper, too.

This version comes with unique anti-inflammatory properties—the eggs are scrambled with turmeric, a spice that has been shown to fend off inflammation in the body. The eggs also offer a generous helping of protein: 12 grams! Plus, fresh basil is tossed into the egg scramble for a flavor and nutrition boost.

To add a creamy, healthy fat kick plus plenty of potassium, avocado slices are nestled in between the nooks and crannies of a whole wheat English muffin. This simple sammie is sure to fill you up and fuel your body at any time of day.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole wheat English muffin, toasted
  • cooking spray
  • 2 large eggs, scrambled
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 fresh basil leaves, sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 of a small avocado, sliced
  • 1 thin slice beefsteak tomato

Preparation

  1. Put each half of the English muffin in the toaster. Allow toasting until the edges are crisp and slightly browned.
  2. In a small skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat, apply a spritz of cooking spray. In a small bowl, scramble eggs with turmeric, garlic powder, basil, and salt. Pour into heated skillet. With a spatula, scramble the eggs until light and fluffy. Remove from heat.
  3. Place the scramble on half of the toasted muffin. Top with avocado and tomato slices.
  4. Top with the half of the muffin. Serve while warm.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

This sandwich is versatile, as you can add any vegetables to the egg scramble. Try adding diced bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms or baby spinach and kale.

Jack up the heat with a hint of jalapeno pepper or hot Giardiniera. Add a dollop of Dijon mustard on top before closing the sandwich for a unique, sophisticated flavor boost.

For additional nutrition, use sprouted whole grain muffins. Sprouted grains are a bit lower in gluten and high in protein, primarily the amino acid lysine.

Cooking and Serving Tips

This sandwich tastes best when served immediately. The crunch of the toasted muffin and creaminess of the fluffy eggs and avocado combination are at their peak right after preparing. That’s a good thing, as you can make this five minutes before guests arrive or right before you are heading out the door to fuel you up well for your next adventure.

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Foods, Uncategorized

Asian Chicken Stir-Fry

Health and WEllness Associates

EHS – Telehealth

 

Asian Chicken Stir-Fry

 

Asian Chicken Stir-Fry

Asian cuisine is often discouraged in people who are following low-sodium diets since many of the traditional sauces pack a significant salt load. This recipe uses reduced sodium soy sauce, which adds great flavor when mixed with other lower sodium seasoning options such as ginger and garlic.

People with chronic kidney disease often say that they feel limited in the vegetables they can eat. This is mostly due to the potassium content many vegetables have. This recipe provides a good mix of vegetables​ but keeps the portions moderate enough to keep potassium levels in check. In addition, vegetables provide fiber, which helps people with CKD to more efficiently excrete potassium.​

Ingredients

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup red bell pepper
  • ½ cup white onion
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (3/4 cups dry)
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ pound (8 oz) boneless chicken breast

Preparation

1. Chop your broccoli, mushrooms ,red pepper, and onion.

2. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting any butter or salt.

3. Blend soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar in a small blender.

4. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables and sauté until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Set aside.

5. Cut chicken into strips. Cook your chicken in the same pan as the vegetables were in over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.

6. Add vegetables to the pan with the chicken. Add sauce and mix well.

7. Serve each plate with ¾ cup cooked rice and top with chicken/vegetables mixture.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

Tofu or shrimp are additional protein options that work well in this dish.

Brown rice should be substituted if you do not have issues with high potassium or phosphorus in your blood.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Triple Tomato Pasta With Spinach and White Beans

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS – Telehealth

 

Triple Tomato Pasta With Spinach and White Beans

tripletomatoe

Tomatoes get their red color from lycopene, an antioxidant that may help to prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. Cooking tomatoes actually helps to increase lycopene content, therefore potentially boosting its disease-fighting power.

In addition to lycopene, this recipe also provides great nutritional benefits from the cannellini beans. These beans are full of fiber, at 6 grams per half cup serving. They are also one of the highest potassium beans out there, a micronutrient and electrolyte that can help lower blood pressure.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 can low sodium cannellini beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • ¼ cup sliced/slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1 teaspoon minced)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Combine pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend until mostly smooth; some small chunks are okay. You may need to a litter water to thin, but do not add more than a few tablespoons since the sauce is meant to be thick.
  3. Drain and rinse cannellini beans.
  4. Add olive oil to a pan and heat to medium high. Add baby spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat.
  1. Combine the pasta, beans, spinach, and tomatoes into one large pot. Add the pesto and mix well.
  2. Divide into 4 bowls and serve.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

If you cannot find sun-dried tomatoes in oil, then you can substitute ¾ cup bagged sun-dried tomatoes with ¼ cup olive oil. It works best if tomatoes are soaked in the oil for at least an hour.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Leftover pesto tastes delicious as a sandwich spread. It also freezes well.

 

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Calorie Counts on Menus May Be Trimming Americans’ Waistlines

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS – Telehealth

 

Calorie Counts on Menus May Be Trimming Americans’ Waistlines

fastfood

With roughly 40 percent of Americans now obese, new research finds that one strategy may be helping Americans stay slim: calorie counts on restaurant menus.

Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, chain restaurants with 20 or more franchises must now list a meal’s calorie count on their menus and order boards.

And some cities and states — including New York City, Philadelphia and Seattle, and all of California, Massachusetts and Oregon — have gone a step further, imposing broad calorie label mandates in full-service restaurants.

Now, a snapshot of the ordering habits in two full-service, sit-down restaurants suggests the legislative moves are having an impact.

“We conducted an experiment with over 5,500 diners in real-world restaurants and found that calorie labels led customers to order 3 percent fewer calories,” said study author John Cawley. The drop amounted to about 45 fewer calories consumed per meal.

“This was due to reductions in calories ordered as appetizers and entrees,” he added, with little change seen in the calorie count of either drinks or desserts.

That second finding struck Cawley, a professor in the departments of policy analysis and management, and economics at Cornell University, as surprising.

“Before we started, I expected that people would reduce calories in desserts, but they didn’t,” he said.

Why?

“In interpreting that, it’s important to remember that people will change their behavior when the information is new or surprising,” he explained. “People may have already known that desserts are high-calorie and not cut back, but been surprised by the number of calories in appetizers and entrees, and so reduced calories there.”

Cawley calculated that over a three-year period, the calorie cut would lead to weight loss in the range of one pound.

“Not large,” he acknowledged, “but it’s also a cheap policy, and philosophically it’s attractive to allow people to make informed decisions.”

What’s more, “the vast majority of people support having calorie labels on menus, and those who were exposed to them expressed even higher support,” he added.

The findings were published recently as a report issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private nonprofit research organization.

Both restaurants in the study were located on a university campus.

Dining parties were randomly given a menu with or without calorie-count labels. About 43 percent of the study participants were men. The average age was 34, and about two-thirds were white.

Appetizers contained between 200 to 910 calories, entrees contained 580 to 1,840 calories, and desserts contained 420 to 1,150 calories. Drinks ranged from 100 to 370 calories.

Beyond the 3 percent calorie drop linked to the labeling, the researchers also found that consumer support for labeling went up by almost 10 percent among patrons who were given labeled menus.

And restaurant revenue did not seem to be affected by the type of menu offered, despite long-voiced industry concerns that calorie counts might undermine a food establishment’s bottom line.

Lona Sandon is an associate professor in the department of clinical nutrition with the school of health professions at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She said the study makes it “apparent that some people at least pay attention” to labels.

But the move is just “one piece in the big puzzle of addressing the public health problem of obesity,” she said.

“I do not see a drastic change in overweight and obesity rates anytime soon as a result of the menu labeling,” Sandon added.

“On the positive side, it is making people more aware. It may also be making restaurant owners and chefs more aware, which could lead to them putting more healthier options on the menu,” she said. “Between the labeling and changes in recipes, we could get more impact.”

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Contagious?

Health and Wellness Associates

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Is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Contagious?

UTI

 

The answer depends upon what microbe is infecting the urinary tract. The urinary tract consists of the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys, each of which can become infected with different microbes. Urinary tract infections usually arise from organisms that are normally present in (colonizing) the person’s gut and/or urethral opening. These organisms (for example, bacteria such as E. coli or Pseudomonas infect the urinary tract by relocating against the flow of urine (retrograde) toward the kidneys.

Lower urinary tract infections do not involve the kidneys while upper urinary tract infections involve the kidneys and are typically more severe. These types of infections of the urinary tract are almost never contagious to other individuals. This article will not consider STDs and the organisms that cause STDs as urinary tract infections as they are discussed in other articles. However, STDs are often contagious and are transferred to others during intercourse, while UTIs are not usually transmitted by intercourse, so UTIs are rarely contagious to a partner. In addition, women who are sexually active and those individuals (males and females) who have anal intercourse have an increased chance to develop a UTI.

It is unlikely for anyone to get a UTI or STD from a toilet seat, as the urethra in males and females typically wouldn’t touch the toilet seat. It is theoretically possible to transfer infectious organisms from a toilet seat to a buttock or thigh cut or sore and then have the organisms spread to the urethra or genitals. Nevertheless, such transmission of UTIs and/or STDs are highly unlikely.

How long before I know I have an infection of the urinary tract?

The incubation period (time of exposure to time symptoms begin) varies with the microbe. In general, common urinary tract infections with colonizing bacteria, like E. coli, varies from about three to eight days.

How are urinary tract infections spread?

Bacterial infections of the urinary tract are almost never spread to others if the infecting organisms originate from the bacteria normally colonizing the individual (for example, E. coli).

 

When should I seek medical care for a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

 

For symptoms of itching and/or burning on urination or discomfort with urination, people should seek help within 24 hours. Individuals who may develop an upper urinary tract infection (kidney involvement with flank pain, for example) should seek medical help immediately.

When are urinary tract infections no longer contagious?

Simple lower and upper urinary tract infections caused by bacteria residing in the patient are not considered to be contagious. Clinicians suggest people are cleared of lower urinary tract infections after about three to seven days of antibiotic treatment and upper urinary tract (kidneys) infections by about 10-14 days after treatment. Some individuals with kidney infection may benefit from an initial IV dose of antibiotics followed by oral antibiotics.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Household Chemicals Tied to Kidney Problems

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Household Chemicals Tied to Kidney Problems

kidney4141.jpg

 

“Because so many people are exposed to these PFAS chemicals, and to the newer, increasingly produced alternative PFAS agents such as GenX, it is critical to understand if and how these chemicals may contribute to kidney disease,” Stanifer said.

Analyzing 74 studies on PFAS, the researchers found the chemicals are associated with poorer kidney function and other kidney problems. They said it’s particularly concerning that children have greater exposure to these chemicals than adults.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says PFAS can be found in food packaging; stain- and water-repellent fabrics; nonstick cookware; polishes, waxes, paints and cleaning products; and firefighting foams. In fish, animals and humans, PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.

The study appears in the Sept. 13 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

“By searching all the known studies published on the topic, we concluded that there are several potential ways in which these chemicals can cause kidney damage,” Stanifer said in a journal news release.

“Further, we discovered that there have already been multiple reports suggesting that these chemicals are associated with worse kidney outcomes,” he added.

“Because so many people are exposed to these PFAS chemicals, and to the newer, increasingly produced alternative PFAS agents such as GenX, it is critical to understand if and how these chemicals may contribute to kidney disease,” Stanifer said.

Analyzing 74 studies on PFAS, the researchers found the chemicals are associated with poorer kidney function and other kidney problems. They said it’s particularly concerning that children have greater exposure to these chemicals than adults.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says PFAS can be found in food packaging; stain- and water-repellent fabrics; nonstick cookware; polishes, waxes, paints and cleaning products; and firefighting foams. In fish, animals and humans, PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.

The study appears in the Sept. 13 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

“By searching all the known studies published on the topic, we concluded that there are several potential ways in which these chemicals can cause kidney damage,” Stanifer said in a journal news release.

“Further, we discovered that there have already been multiple reports suggesting that these chemicals are associated with worse kidney outcomes,” he added.

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Uncategorized, Vitamins and Supplements

Moringa

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Moringa

 

moringa

Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing tree native to South Asia and now found throughout the tropics. Its leaves have been used as part of traditional medicine for centuries, and the Ayurvedic system of medicine associates it with the cure or prevention of about 300 diseases.

Moringa, sometimes described as the “miracle tree,” “drumstick tree,” or “horseradish tree,” has small, rounded leaves that are packed with an incredible amount of nutrition: protein, calcium, beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, you name it, moringa’s got it. No wonder it’s been used medicinally (and as a food source) for at least 4,000 years.

The fact that moringa grows rapidly and easily makes it especially appealing for impoverished areas, and it’s been used successfully for boosting nutritional intake in Malawi, Senegal, and India. In these areas, moringa may be the most nutritious food locally available, and it can be harvested year-round.

Personally, I grew a moringa tree for two years and I can attest to the fact that it grows like a weed. For those living in third-world countries, it may very well prove to be a valuable source of nutrition.

However I don’t recommend planting one in your backyard for health purposes as the leaves are very small and it is a timely and exceedingly tedious task to harvest the leaves from the stem to eat them.

The leaves are tiny and difficult to harvest and use, so you’ll likely find, as I did, that growing one is more trouble than it’s worth. That being said, there is no denying that moringa offers an impressive nutritional profile that makes it appealing once it is harvested…

6 Reasons Why Moringa Is Being Hailed as a Superfood

  1. A Rich Nutritional Profile

Moringa leaves are loaded with vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and more. One hundred grams of dry moringa leaf contains:

  • 9 times the protein of yogurt
  • 10 times the vitamin A of carrots
  • 15 times the potassium of bananas
  • 17 times the calcium of milk
  • 12 times the vitamin C of oranges
  • 25 times the iron of spinach
  1. Antioxidants Galore

Moringa leaves are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid. The latter, chlorogenic acid, has been shown to slow cells’ absorption of sugar and animal studies have found it to lower blood sugar levels. As noted in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention:

“The leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree have been reported to demonstrate antioxidant activity due to its high amount of polyphenols.

Moringa oleifera extracts of both mature and tender leaves exhibit strong antioxidant activity against free radicals, prevent oxidative damage to major biomolecules, and give significant protection against oxidative damage.”

Further, in a study of women taking 1.5 teaspoons of moringa leaf powder daily for three months, blood levels of antioxidants increased significantly.

  1. Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Moringa appears to have anti-diabetic effects,7 likely due to beneficial plant compounds contained in the leaves, including isothiocyanates. One study found women who took seven grams of moringa leaf powder daily for three months reduced their fasting blood sugar levels by 13.5 percent.

Separate research revealed that adding 50 grams of moringa leaves to a meal reduced the rise in blood sugar by 21 percent among diabetic patients.

  1. Reduce Inflammation

The isothiocyanates, flavonoids, and phenolic acids in moringa leaves, pods, and seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties. According to the Epoch Times:

“The tree’s strong anti-inflammatory action is traditionally used to treat stomach ulcers. Moringa oil (sometimes called Ben oil) has been shown to protect the liver from chronic inflammation. The oil is unique in that, unlike most vegetable oils, moringa resists rancidity.

This quality makes it a good preservative for foods that can spoil quickly. This sweet oil is used for both frying or in a salad dressing. It is also used topically to treat antifungal problems, arthritis, and is an excellent skin moisturizer.”

  1. Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels

Moringa also has cholesterol-lowering properties, and one animal study found its effects were comparable to those of the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin.   As noted in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology:

Moringa oleifera is used in Thai traditional medicine as cardiotonic. Recent studies demonstrated its hypocholesterolemic effect.

… In hypercholesterol-fed rabbits, at 12 weeks of treatment, it significantly (P<0.05) lowered the cholesterol levels and reduced the atherosclerotic plaque formation to about 50 and 86%, respectively. These effects were at degrees comparable to those of simvastatin.

 The results indicate that this plant possesses antioxidant, hypolipidaemic, and antiatherosclerotic activities, and has therapeutic potential for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.”

  1. Protect Against Arsenic Toxicity

The leaves and seeds of moringa may protect against some of the effects of arsenic toxicity, which is especially important in light of news that common staple foods, such as rice, may be contaminated.   Contamination of ground water by arsenic has also become a cause of global public health concern, and one study revealed: 

“Co-administration of M. oleifera [moringa] seed powder (250 and 500 mg/kg, orally) with arsenic significantly increased the activities of SOD [superoxide dismutase], catalase, and GPx with elevation in reduced GSH level in tissues (liver, kidney, and brain).

These changes were accompanied by approximately 57%, 64%, and 17% decrease in blood ROS [reactive oxygen species], liver metallothionein (MT), and lipid peroxidation respectively in animal co-administered with M. oleifera and arsenic.

Another interesting observation has been the reduced uptake of arsenic in soft tissues (55% in blood, 65% in liver, 54% in kidneys, and 34% in brain) following administration of M. oleifera seed powder (particularly at the dose of 500 mg/kg).

It can thus be concluded from the present study that concomitant administration of M. oleifera seed powder with arsenic could significantly protect animals from oxidative stress and in reducing tissue arsenic concentration. Administration of M. oleifera seed powder thus could also be beneficial during chelation therapy…”

Moringa Leaves May Even Purify Water… and More

From a digestive standpoint, moringa is high in fiber that, as the Epoch Times put it, “works like a mop in your intestines… to clean up any of that extra grunge left over from a greasy diet.” Also noteworthy are its isothiocyanates, which have anti-bacterial properties that may help to rid your body of H. pylori, a bacteria implicated in gastritis, ulcers, and gastric cancer. Moringa seeds have even been found to work better for water purification than many of the conventional synthetic materials in use today.

According to Uppsala University:

“A protein in the seeds binds to impurities causing them to aggregate so that the clusters can be separated from the water. The study… published in the journal Colloids and Surfaces A takes a step towards optimization of the water purification process.

Researchers in Uppsala together with colleagues from Lund as well as NamibiaBotswanaFrance, and the USA have studied the microscopic structure of aggregates formed with the protein.

The results show that the clusters of material (flocs) that are produced with the protein are much more tightly packed than those formed with conventional flocculating agents. This is better for water purification as such flocs are more easily separated.”

There is speculation that moringa’s ability to attach itself to harmful materials may also happen in the body, making moringa a potential detoxification tool.

How to Use Moringa

If you have access to a moringa tree, you can use the fresh leaves in your meals; they have a flavor similar to a radish. Toss them like a salad, blend them into smoothies, or steam them like spinach. Another option is to use moringa powder, either in supplement form or added to smoothies, soups, and other foods for extra nutrition. Moringa powder has a distinctive “green” flavor, so you may want to start out slowly when adding it to your meals.

You can also use organic, cold-pressed moringa oil (or ben oil), although it’s expensive (about 15 times more than olive oil.As mentioned, while I don’t necessarily recommend planting a moringa tree in your backyard (a rapid-growing tree can grow to 15 to 30 feet in just a few years), you may want to give the leaves or powder a try if you come across some at your local health food market. As reported by Fox News, this is one plant food that displays not just one or two but numerous potential healing powers:

“Virtually all parts of the plant are used to treat inflammation, infectious disorders, and various problems of the cardiovascular and digestive organs, while improving liver function and enhancing milk flow in nursing mothers. The uses of moringa are well documented in both the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of traditional medicine, among the most ancient healing systems in the world.

Moringa is rich in a variety of health-enhancing compounds, including moringine, moringinine, the potent antioxidants quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and various polyphenols. The leaves seem to be getting the most market attention, notably for their use in reducing high blood pressure, eliminating water weight, and lowering cholesterol.

Studies show that moringa leaves possess anti-tumor and anti-cancer activities, due in part to a compound called niaziminin. Preliminary experimentation also shows activity against the Epstein-Barr virus. Compounds in the leaf appear to help regulate thyroid function, especially in cases of over-active thyroid. Further research points to anti-viral activity in cases of Herpes simplex 1.”

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Foods, Uncategorized

Easy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

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Easy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

chocolate-chip-pumpkin-bars

This dessert is super easy to pull together and the flavorful results will win you nothing but rave reviews.

Ingredients

  • 1 package spice cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided

 

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pumpkin; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Fold in 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips. Transfer to a greased 13×9-in. baking pan.
  • Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  • In a microwave, melt the remaining chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Drizzle over bars. Let stand until set.
Nutrition Facts

1 bar: 139 calories, 6g fat (4g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 92mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 1g fiber), 1g protein.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Gallbladder Disease — Are You at Risk?

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Although anyone can develop gallbladder problems, certain factors can increase your chances.

gallbladder.jpg

The gallbladder is a tiny organ located under your liver that most people don’t think too much about. That is, of course, until it develops problems, such as gallbladder disease.

More than 25 million men and women in the United States are affected by gallbladder disease, an umbrella term that includes:

Gallstones Hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gallbladder. They can range in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. Gallstones can be painful and cause nausea and vomiting, but often they are asymptomatic and don’t require surgery.

 

Cholecystitis This inflammation of the gallbladder is often caused by gallstones blocking the tube that leads out of your gallbladder. Other causes include bile duct problems, tumors, serious illness, and certain infections. Cholecystitis can lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated.

gallbladder2

Gallbladder cancer A form of cancer that starts in the gallbladder with a group of cells that grow out of control. About 9 out of 10 gallbladder cancers are adenocarcinoma — a cancer that starts in cells with gland-like properties that line many internal and external surfaces of the body.

Gallbladder disease can affect anyone, but some people are more vulnerable than others. You are most at risk of having gallbladder problems if you:

  • Are a woman
  • Are older than 60
  • Have a family history of gallbladder problems
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have diabetes
  • Take certain medications
  • Are Native American or Mexican American

    Risk Factors for Gallbladder Problems Out of Your Control

    Gender In all populations of the world, women are twice as likely as men to develop gallstones, according to research published in April 2012 in the journal Gut and Liver. Pregnant women and those taking hormone replacement therapy are more at risk for gallstones because of higher estrogen levels. Too much estrogen can increase cholesterol in the bile and lessen gallbladder movement, increasing the risk of gallstones. The sex difference narrows with increasing age, but is still prevalent.

Genes According to research published in 2013 in Advances in Clinical Chemistry, the tendency to develop gallstones and gallbladder disease often runs in families, indicating there may be a genetic link. Also, a mutation in a gene that controls the movement of cholesterol from the liver to the bile duct may increase a person’s risk of gallstones. Defects in certain proteins may increase the risk of gallbladder disease in some people.

Age Gallstones are 4 to 10 times more frequent in the older population, especially in people over 60. That’s because as you age your body tends to release more cholesterol into bile, which makes it more likely that stones will form in the gallbladder.

Ethnicity Studies have shown a clear association between race and risk of gallbladder problems that cannot be completely explained by environmental factors. Risk varies widely from extremely low (less than 5 percent) in Asian and African populations, to intermediate (10 to 30 percent) in European and Northern American populations, to extremely high (30 to 70 percent) in Native American populations. Native Americans and Mexican Americans are more likely to develop gallstones than other ethnic groups, probably as a result of dietary and genetic factors.

Risk Factors for Gallbladder Problems You Can Change

Although there are a number of things out of your control when it comes to your risk of developing gallbladder problems, you can reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy weight, watching your diet, and paying close attention to how your body reacts to certain medications.

People who are even moderately overweight or obese are at increased risk of gallbladder problems. When you’re overweight, the liver produces too much cholesterol, overloading the bile ducts and increasing the risk for gallstones. Women especially should watch their weight, because studies have found that a lithogenic risk of obesity is strongest in young women; this means they are more likely to develop calculi (buildup of mineral stones in an organ).

Rapid weight loss as a result of fasting or crash diets, and weight cycling — losing and then regaining weight — can increase cholesterol production in the liver, increasing a person’s risk of gallstones. In fasting associated with severely fat-restricted diets, gallbladder contraction is reduced, which can also lead to gallstone formation. But research shows that a shorter overnight fast is protective against gallstones in both men and women.

Diet plays a major role in gallbladder disease because diet influences your weight. People who are overweight and eat a high-fat, high-cholesterol, low-fiber diet are at increased risk of developing gallstones. Exposure to the Western diet (increased intake of fat, refined carbohydrates, and limited fiber content) is a high risk for developing gallstones. And too much heme iron — iron found in meat and seafood — may increase gallstone formation in men.

Coffee consumption seems to lower the risk of gallstone formation, by enhancing gallbladder motility, inhibiting gallbladder fluid absorption, and decreasing cholesterol crystallization in the bile, according to research published in the July–December 2013 issue of the Nigerian Journal of Surgery.

Certain cholesterol-lowering medications, such as Lopid (gemfibrozil) and Tricor (fenofibrate), can increase a person’s risk of gallstones. While these drugs successfully decrease blood cholesterol, they increase the amount of cholesterol in the bile, and thus the chance for gallstones to develop.

Other drugs that may increase the risk of gallstones include Sandostatin (octreotide)and a group of diuretics known as thiazides. Octreotide is used to treat certain hormonal disorders and severe diarrhea caused by cancer tumors. Prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors has been shown to decrease gallbladder function, potentially leading to gallstone formation.

If you are concerned that a medication you are taking may increase your risk of gallbladder disease, talk to your doctor. There may be another medication that will do the same thing without increasing your risk for gallbladder problems.

Other Risk Factors for Gallbladder Problems

In addition to genetic and lifestyle factors, certain medical conditions or surgical procedures can also increase your likelihood of developing gallbladder problems. These include:

Diabetes and metabolic syndrome People with diabetes generally have high levels of fatty acids, which may increase the risk of gallstones. Additionally, gallbladder function is impaired in the presence of diabetic neuropathy, and regulation of hyperglycemia with insulin seems to raise the lithogenic index (risk of developing mineral deposits in the gallbladder that can turn into gallstones). People with diabetes are at risk for developing a type of gallbladder disease called acalculous cholecystitis, meaning gallbladder disease without gallstones.

Crohn’s disease and other medical conditions People with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder, are also at increased risk of gallbladder disease. There are a few reasons for this, but one of the main ones is that if bile salts are not reabsorbed in the ileum (the end of the small intestine), they pass out of the body. This loss of bile salts means that the liver has fewer bile salts to put into new bile. The new bile becomes overloaded with cholesterol, which can in turn result in gallstones.

In addition, cirrhosis of the liver and certain blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, also increase a person’s risk of pigment gallstones, which are gallstones made up of bilirubin instead of cholesterol. Low melatonin levels associated with diabetes could contribute to gallstones as well because melatonin inhibits cholesterol secretion from the gallbladder; melatonin is also an antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress to the gallbladder.

Surgery People who undergo bariatric surgery to lose weight are at increased risk for gallstones. Rapid weight loss in general is a risk factor. According to Bariatric Innovations of Atlanta, gallstone formation can be found in as many as 35 percent of weight loss surgery patients. Organ transplant surgery may also increase the risk of gallstones, and it is not uncommon for some doctors to recommend that their patients have their gallbladder removed before they undergo an organ transplant.

Ways to Prevent Gallbladder Problems 

Many factors may increase your risk of developing gallbladder problems. While you can’t do much about your genes or ethnicity, you can watch your weight and eat healthfully: Focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish, and lean meats. Maintaining appropriate portion size and limiting processed foods and added sugars is also essential to a healthy diet. A study published in July 2016 in the journal Preventive Medicine found that vegetable protein is associated with lower gallbladder disease risk.

 

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