Substitute Balsamic Vinegar with Apple Cider Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a traditional ingredient used in many dishes and is readily available at most restaurants and grocery stores. However, just because balsamic vinegar is more popular doesn’t mean it is the right choice. Apple cider vinegar tastes just as good as balsamic, if not better, and comes with a long list of health benefits unmatched by any other in its class. Most of you are familiar with the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” right? Well, think of apple cider vinegar as an apple in its very best form.

From lowering the chance of developing diabetes to fighting fatigue, apple cider vinegar does it all. Research has shown that people who take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day will show a considerable improvement in their average blood sugar levels, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Also, it has been shown that apple cider vinegar can cause a significant decrease in both abdominal fat and waist circumference if consumed on a regular basis. Lower blood pressure is another favorable effect that has been seen with apple cider vinegar which, in combination with lowering cholesterol, can significantly decrease the chance of developing heart disease. Apple cider vinegar also aids in food digestion and regularity, minimizing the chance of gas or bloating after meals. It can also keep you full longer since it acts as a mild appetite suppressant, reducing cravings and the chance of eating poorly between meals. It has also been shown that apple cider vinegar can increase energy levels in times of fatigue so you won’t have to resort to harmful alternatives such as excessive caffeine consumption. Last but not least, apple cider vinegar is full of antioxidants to protect your cells and tissues from free radical damage, keeping your body youthful.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used topically as a treatment for a variety of skin conditions. Applying apple cider vinegar to a pimple can help reduce the redness and inflammation as well as kill the pore clogging bacteria so that it goes away faster. It can also help with fungal infections, including athletes foot and nail fungus. Applying apple cider vinegar to your scalp can help reduce dandruff by killing and discouraging the overgrowth of malassezia furfur, the yeast like fungus that causes it. For a sore throat, gargle with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and it will help you recover faster.

So, the next time you are at the grocery store, instead of going for the balsamic, do yourselves a favor and reach for the apple cider vinegar instead. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Thanks for reading, this has been you dose of Vitamin Jas.


The Health Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa seeds may be tiny, but they pack a big punch. Quinoa is filled with nutrients that will help boost energy, metabolism and even mental clarity. Let me elaborate…

Quinoa is considered one of the best sources of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). It also contains iron, which is crucial for proper oxygen transport throughout our body, aiding in the contraction of our muscles, increasing brain function and speeding up our metabolism and energy production. Quinoa also has a substantial amount of fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, relieve constipation, lower blood pressure, and keeps us feeling full for a long period of time. Quinoa is also rich in magnesium, assisting in proper nerve functioning and the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. You will also find manganese in quinoa, which is a potent antioxidant that protects our cells from damage by free radicals in our body. Quinoa also contains lysine, an amino acid known to aid in tissue growth and repair, shortening recovery time after an injury or illness. Lastly, quinoa is a great source of riboflavin, a B vitamin that helps increase energy production in the brain and muscle cells.

Quinoa is not a grain, but when it is cooked, it has a light, fluffy texture similar to white rice, and is subtly flavored. It actually cooks and tastes like a grain, which is why it is a great replacement for grains that are difficult to digest or pack a higher number of calories and carbohydrates. So, the next time you are preparing a dish that calls for white rice, try using quinoa. You will be pleasantly surprised and your body will thank you in the long run. Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.


Alpha Lipoic Acid: Not Your Average Fatty Acid

I know the name may sound scary and that having acid sounds dangerous, but alpha lipoic acid is a different type of acid. Alpha lipoic acid is what is known as a fatty acid, which are molecules used to produce energy when metabolized in the body. It is a key player in many of our body’s normal functions and when taken as a supplement on a regular basis, it can bring a multitude of health benefits along with it.

As mentioned earlier, alpha lipoic acid helps produce energy in the body. It converts glucose into energy while simultaneously lowering your blood sugar. Energy in exchange for sugar is a very good thing since having high blood sugar can lead to many problems in the long run, such as obesity, nerve damage or even diabetes. Not only does alpha lipoic acid give the body energy, it protects it from damage as well since it also acts as a very potent antioxidant. An antioxidant protects the cells in your body from being damaged by free radicals, which are produced by the oxidation of molecules in your body. Oxidation is a common degradative process that readily occurs in the body, so you can imagine how important having antioxidants in your dietary regimen can be. Alpha lipoic acid is better than your average antioxidant tho because it works in both water and fat, which is significant since 70% of your body is made up of water. Also, alpha lipoic acid can recycle other antioxidants after they have been used up, so it keeps the protective effects going for a long time. Alpha lipoic acid also helps protect the brain and nerves from free radical damage, so it can prevent such diseases as Alzheimer’s or peripheral neuropathy. It can also help prevent cancer since cancer arises from abnormal cell growth, which can be caused from mutagenisis in your DNA due to free radical damage. Along with protecting your body on the inside, alpha lipoic acid serves a huge role in keeping the body looking young on the outside! Since your skin cells are being protected from free radical damage, your skin is kept looking young and healthy for a longer period of time.

You can find alpha lipoic acid at almost any health food market or drugstore. I recommend taking 300mg a day on an empty stomach for better absorption. You don’t have to take it everyday if you don’t want to, but try to make it a part of your daily diet overtime, because the more we age, the more dangerous free radicals are lurking around causing trouble in our bodies. Thanks for reading! This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

The Truth Behind Energy Drinks

Energy drinks may help us stay awake and give us that extra push to get through the day, but at what cost? How many of us really know what the ingredients are in these drinks? Companies pay advertisers millions of dollars to make their products look appealing while masking the negatives, leaving us misinformed and unaware of any dangers. They claim these drinks will revitalize the body and mind, increasing endurance and concentration. However, what they do not tell us is that these drinks have about 3 times as much caffeine as a regular cup of coffee along with multiple other ingredients that act as stimulants, all of which can weaken one’s cardiovascular system and even lead to a heart attack. That doesn’t sound as appealing though, does it?

Recently, multiple deaths, one of them being a 14 year old girl, have been linked to the energy drink known as Monster. Many people do not know how the over-consumption of such energy drinks can be dangerous to one’s health. People see the commercials that show these drinks giving people ample stamina or even wings to make them “fly.” Without any knowledge of how these drinks could negatively affect one’s health, who wouldn’t be tempted to have these drinks all day long? However, the truth is that these drinks not only have up to 3 times the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee, but they have other ingredients, such as taurine, ginseng and guarana, which act like caffeine as well. Caffeine releases a neurotransmitter in the body known as norepinephrine, which then releases a hormone into your blood that causes your heart rate to increase and your blood vessels to contract. If too much norepinephrine is released in one period of time the heart can go into overdrive and possibly even lead to a heart attack. Excessive caffeine consumption can also cause other serious side effects over time such as chronic hypertention, thyroid dysfunction, nerve damage, and heart disease. As you can see, having more than one of these energy drinks a day can definitely take a toll on one’s health, which is why this matter should not be taken lightly.

Having one energy drink here and there when undergoing strenuous activities, like studying for finals or working a 12 hour shift, is not the issue at hand. The issue is that people do not understand the severity of excessively drinking these energy drinks day-after-day whenever they feel the need. To make things worse, people can also build a tolerance to caffeine, which would require them to drink more and more as time goes by to get the same effects they once had with just one drink. Trying new methods to stay awake or to get re-energized is one solution to this problem. Taking a 20 minute power nap is one of the best methods to rejuvenate the body as well as the mind. Exercising, or even jogging in place for a few minutes, also gets the blood flowing through your veins to wake your brain and muscles up. Green tea and Kombucha are natural drinks that contain a minimal amount of caffeine compared to the average energy drink and also work as potent antioxidants to eliminate dangerous free radicals from the body. Also, taking a daily multi-vitamin containing B-vitamins, such as B-12 and niacin, will help supply your body with the energy it needs to get you through your day. Lastly, sleeping at least 6 to 8 hours a night will give your body a chance to recuperate and regain enough energy to face a rigorous schedule ahead. Hope these tips help and thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

Put Down that Coffee and Grab Some Kombucha!

If you’re a coffee lover, like myself, I’m sure you’ve been warned by someone, at one point or another, about how harmful it is for you. Even though it’s been said that one cup of coffee a day is good for you, how many people just drink one cup a day? You may think that venti triple shot latte you get at Starbucks is considered “one cup” because it comes in just one cup, but you’re wrong. Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to many long term problems such as anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction, electrolyte imbalance, stomach ulcers, “caffeine headaches”, kidney stones, gallblader stones…I could go on but I think you get the point. Same goes for those energy drinks filled with caffeine and B vitamins. There’s only so much vitamin B12 your body can absorb in one day. The rest comes out in your urine. So you are just left with some expensive, bright yellow urine and no energy. So what should you do? I have the answer…

Kombucha is an effervescent tea-based beverage that gives you sustained energy without the crash. It has some caffeine in it, but not nearly as much as coffee or other energy drinks, and it has a multitude of health benefits that come along with it as well. Kombucha contains a vast amount of probiotics. I know you have heard of antibiotics which kill bacteria, but probiotics are the “good bacteria” that are in your body that help regulate your normal bodily functions such as digestion. That is why having kombucha after a large meal is so great becuase not only does it get rid of your food coma, it helps digest your meal as well. Kombucha also helps detoxify your liver, boost your immune system, works as a potent antioxidant, increases your metabolism, lowers your blood pressure, hydrates the body, balances the body’s internal pH, aids in healthy cell regeneration, and helps normalize blood sugar levels. Kombucha will give you as much energy as one of those triple shot lattes, but will not cause you to crash 2 hours later. It will give you energy that lasts for hours and will not harm your body or cause any long term problems.

Kombucha can be found in most health food stores, however, I like GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha found at Whole Foods. My favorite one is the original, but if you’re looking for more healthy goodness, it also comes mixed with ginger, citrus fruits or green leafy vegetables that they have labeled as “multi-greens.” Thanks for reading! This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.