Monday, December 30, 2013

Health Risks Associated with Corn

As with most other kinds of foods, corn should be consumed in proper moderation. What makes corn unique, however, is its ubiquity. Nearly every form of prepared food on the grocery store shelves or in your favorite restaurant makes use of corn in one way or another, whether it is a savory dish full of corn-derived oil or one of the countless entrees that has a corn-based sweetener. “Moderation” in this case becomes a difficult task that involves both identifying and limiting food that contains the grain. However, the health risks associated with excessive corn consumption make such effort all the more necessary.

High Carb Content

Despite the fact that it is commonly thought of as a vegetable, corn is a grain. Like all other grains, it is an excellent source of carbohydrates, which is why it is so often used as a sweetener in soda, candy and other treats. The corn we have today is sweet. It is not the corn that was part of traditional diets. It has been bred over years for more and more sugar content. Carbohydrates are common in western diets, and most Americans and Europeans eat far more carbs than they need to meet their nutritional requirements. Look for opportunities to replace carbohydrates in your diet with green leafy vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins for a better balance.

Fat Imbalances

Corn is also rich in Omega 6 fatty acids. In moderation, of course, this would be a good thing, but consuming Omega 6 without an equally adequate source of Omega 3 can lead to an unhealthy ratio of the two fats. An imbalance in Omega 6 and Omega 3 can lead to inflammation and other discomforts throughout the body. Read ingredient lists carefully, and avoid too many foods that contain corn fat. Canola oil contains a much better ratio of the two fatty acids. However, coconut oil is probably the best oil to use in cooking for a variety of reasons.

GMO Concerns

Corn possess a special obstacle for those basing their diet on natural foods. Finding non-GMO corn products is far more difficult than finding other kinds of truly organic food. Even otherwise natural packaged foods can contain additives derived from GMO corn, and these products must be purchased with caution. Many consumers have reported severe allergic reactions and digestive issues after consuming GMO corn. More and more research is coming out demonstrating the connections between digestive issues and GMO foods. The only way to know foods do not contain GMO ingredients is to purchase certified organic foods from that are certified by a reputable certifying agency. Organic foods in the USA will have the USDA Organic seal on them if they contain 95% or more certified organic ingredients.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Protein's Role in Your Diet

Protein in Natural Dieting


When it comes to fueling your body, you have three choices: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Fat has the most energy content, but that higher energy content means a higher body fat potential if that fuel is not burned, and fat rich foods are also often cholesterol rich foods. Carbohydrates are a popular source of quick energy, but carbohydrate rich food is so commonplace that most serious dieters spend more time finding ways to limit their intake.

Even though carbs have become synonymous with “body fuel”, proteins have the same energy content as carbohydrates, and they have nutritional benefits that extend far beyond just their use as fuel.

Adopting a Protein Rich Diet

There are plenty of protein supplements on the market, but getting these nutrients from real food is cheaper, more efficient and encourages a better lifestyle. Meat, eggs and fish are excellent sources of complete protein; in other words, they contain all nine essential amino acids that your body needs. Even though no one vegetable, grain or legume individually has all nine of these amino acids, however, they should still be your primary source.

By eating a variety of beans, cereals, seeds, nuts and fruits, you can easy obtain all of the amino acids that your body needs. Contrary to the popular myth of “protein combining”, it is not necessary to consume all nine amino acids in a single meal. Beans and rice are nutritious, and together form a complete protein, but your body will get the same benefit if you have beans for lunch one day and rice at dinner the next day.

As with any other form of natural dieting, variety is paramount. Strive to get as many colors on your plate as possible and take everything in moderation. Never depend on a single source for your protein, no matter how much you may love a good steak. Also, please look back to our blogs on soy for issues with soy as a primary protein source. If you are a meat eater, be sure to get your proteins from lean meats. Wild game meats are usually the best as they are always lean and have been eating all sorts of wild diets.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Causes of Chronic Constipation

Chronic constipation afflicts nearly 63 million people in the United States, according to Besides the discomfort associated with it, if ignored, constipation can lead to distressing conditions and a variety of problems. It can also be a symptom of an underlying disorder which could be serious in nature. Chronic constipation is more common in women than men and in older age groups. However, children and adults of any age or gender can be affected by it.

Understanding Chronic Constipation
Incomplete bowel evacuation, straining, passing hard stools, and less than three bowel movements a week characterize constipation. The stool is not released from the colon in a timely fashion and this slowness causes the colon to absorb excessive water from it, leaving it dry and hard to pass.

Primary Constipation
There are several major and minor causes of constipation. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects more than 10% of Americans and is not clearly understood. It presents itself typically as bowel disturbances and abdominal pain which can become disruptive to daily life. Functional or primary constipation is not caused by secondary factors involving underlying medical conditions, medications, or diseases. These are known as normal transit, slow transit, or evacuation disorders. They can be caused by a number of factors, some of which are:
  1. Low-fiber diet
  2. Low-calorie diet
  3. Nervous reactions or psychological causes
  4. Anismus - Failure of the pelvic floor muscles to relax while attempting to pass stools
  5. Reluctance to defecate 
  6. Lack of physical activity, especially following injuries
The psychosomatic causes lead to changes in the water absorption within the colon and digestive disturbances. Socioeconomic factors have also been known to contribute to this type of constipation presenting frequently in sections of population from lower economic and educational backgrounds.

Secondary Constipation
Secondary constipation refers to constipation related to medical conditions or effects of medications.
  1. Structural alterations of the colon caused by cancer, narrowing or stricture of the colon
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Thyroid Disease 
  4. Parkinson's Disease
  5. Diabetes
  6. Blood pressure medications
  7. Antidepressants such as amitriptyline and imipramine
  8. Anti-seizure medications
  9. Narcotic pain medications containing codeine and hydromorphone, for example
Unless constipation is related to serious diseases, there are a number of ways to regulate bowel movements. Dietary changes alone, including eliminating processed foods and increasing water intake, can vastly improve the success in dealing with common constipation. Being physically active also helps to regulate the GI (gastrointestinal) system, along with a high-fiber diet. There are also several mild or natural supplements, such as PRO EM-1, that can boost and cleanse the digestive system if simple changes in diet are not effective. It is important to remember that treating constipation is necessary to prevent complications - hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and rectal prolapse - from arising. A healthy digestive system is an inherent part of overall health and well-being.