A Mediterranean Diet is Nutritious and Delicious!

Are you looking for a diet that is not only healthy but delicious as well? The Mediterranean diet is the way to go! It is primarily plant based, low fat and full of fiber. Plus, it includes lots of red wine!

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts are just a few of the things that make up a Mediterranean diet. These foods are packed with fiber, which can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. They also supply the “good fat” known as omega-3. Omega-3 helps balance mood, lowers triglycerides, and improves hair, skin and nails. Red wine is also a key player in the Mediterranean diet, that is, if you are of age. Red wine is a potent vasodilator, which means it helps open up your blood vessels so that your blood can flow more easily throughout your body. This helps lower the chances of cardiovascular disease, which includes high blood pressure and heart failure. However, the best part of the diet is that it satiating and extremely delicious.

So, why not try the Mediterranean diet? You will be boosting your health as well as satisfying your taste buds. SInce it is mainly focused on natural ingredients, the dishes are barely ever processed, meaning they will retain their vitamins and fibrous content! Thanks for reading, this has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

Use Turmeric to Spice Up Your Food and Boost Your Health!

While growing up, I remember my parents using this dark orange-yellowish powder that they would grab from the kitchen cupboard to stop my cuts and scrapes from bleeding. I remember thinking this powder was some magical fairy dust of some sort that could fix any problem under the sun. Little did I know that this magical powder was turmeric. However, this powder is not “just turmeric.” This powder is an antimicrobial, anti-cancer, Alzheimer’s preventing, obesity fighting, liver detoxifying, pain killer that might as well be called magical fairy dust because it is that amazing. Adding turmeric to your diet will not only make your food taste much better, but will make your body much healthier as well.

To this day, my parents believe turmeric is one of the best ingredients to add to any savory dish, and they are absolutely right. Turmeric consists of the rhizomes of a plant belonging to the ginger family. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. Turmeric was originally used as a dye in India over 2000 years ago and has only recently been proven to have potent medicinal effects when ingested or even applied topically. Since it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, sprinkling turmeric on cuts can help disinfect them, quell the pain, and stop the bleeding. It can also help with psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases as well. Internally, turmeric can help with such problems as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis since they are all essentially associated with inflammation. Turmeric also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease by removing plaque deposits in the brain. For those of you trying to lose weight, turmeric has been shown to aid in weight loss by increasing fat metabolism. The most impressive effect of turmeric though has to be its ability to prevent tumor growth and metastasis, which is the spreading of localized cancer to other parts of the body. Whether it is prostate, breast, lung, or even skin cancer, turmeric has shown amazing results in inhibiting the growth of blood vessels for masses of abnormal cells to thrive on. Without any blood vessels to provide nutrients to these cancerous cells, they cannot grow let alone spread. For people who have already developed cancer, turmeric has been shown to slow  its progression, and even enhance the effects of chemotherapy.

For something that is so cheap, readily available and beneficial to your health, it would be a shame not to try this “magical powder.” Turmeric comes in both powder and pill form, so if you don’t like the taste, which is highly unlikely, you have another option. I like to sprinkle turmeric on my salad with some lemon because it is just as tasty as dressing without all the oil and calories. Turmeric can be found at almost any market or health food store and I promise, you will be happy you tried it. Thanks for reading, this has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

Detoxify your Body Safely and Naturally

Toxins and impurities can easily accumulate in the body through time. From inhaling second hand smoke to spraying gardens and fields with pesticides, or even driving on the highways to and from work, can expose you to toxins. So, it is necessary to try to rid our bodies of these impurities as best we can and as often as we can. The following are a few agents and methods to help cleanse the body and enhance its own natural detoxification processes:

  • Artichoke– detoxifys the liver and cleanses the blood of impurities
  • Cranberry juice– flushes toxins and bacteria from the kidneys
  • Siberian ginseng– boosts the immune system to fight against toxins
  • Flax oil and Psyllium– cleanses the GI tract and prevents the absorption of toxins
  • Garlic and Lemon– stimulates enzymes such as glutathione to breakdown toxins
  • Kale– rids the body of environmental toxins such as toxic metals and pesticides
  • Water– flushes the body of toxins and impurities
  • Sweating/Exercising– gets rid of toxins through the pores of our skin
  • Exfoliating the skin– opens pores to facilitate the excretion of toxins through our sweat

Toxins can alter our metabolism, damage brain chemistry, create hormonal imbalances, cause enzyme dysfunction and even lead to nutritional deficiencies. Detoxifying the body is a way of preserving it and keeping it in top condition so that it may last for many years to come. Think about it like this, if you do not take care of your body now, where will you live in the future? Thanks for reading, this has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.




Is Carbonated Water Safe?

While growing up, I heard a lot of warnings about such drinks as Coke and Sprite having too much sugar, caffeine and artificial additives, but never about plain sparkling water. I thought sparkling water was just like regular, flat water but with bubbles, and what could possibly be so bad about that? Unfortunately, those cute, little bubbles are not as innocent as you think.

Believe it or not, carbonated water was accidentally created in 1767 by a man named Joseph Priestley while he was trying to invent a concoction to kill mice. Torbern Bergman, a chemistry teacher from Sweden, invented the process of making carbonated water in 1771 for the purpose of drinking after the word got out that the concoction Priestly invented actually tasted good. Carbonated water is made by dissolving low concentrations of carbon dioxide into water, which then creates carbonic acid. This is what makes the water acidic and gives it a slightly sour taste. An alkaline salt, such as sodium bicarbonate and disodium phosphate, is then added to try to neutralize the acidity of the solution. Sodium, as many of you may know, is a major culprit in increasing blood pressure. Even though the amount in one drink is minimal, it can definitely add up over time. Disodium phosphate is a compound of sodium and phosphoric acid, and phosphoric acid is what can potentially displace the calcium in your bones, which can then lead to bone loss and osteoporosis.

Carbonated water can also impair the function of your kidneys. As mentioned before, carbonated water is slightly acidic, which can inhibit the kidneys from effectively removing toxins and waste from the body through the urine. This can lead to crystallization of minerals passing through the kidneys, such as sodium and calcium, which can then turn into kidney stones. Most kidney stones are small enough that they can pass through the body without any pain or problems. However, if the kidney stones become large enough, they can obstruct the ureter and cause very painful spasms normally felt in the lower abdomen and groin.

Drinking sparkling water from time to time will most likely not cause any of the complications mentioned above. However, if you like to substitute normal, flat water with sparkling water all day long because you think they are the same thing, you are mistaken. Drinking 8 cups of regular, flat water each day is one of the best things you could do for your body, and anything else would not suffice. Hope these tips help! Thanks for reading, this has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas.

The Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency

Recently, it has come to my attention that many of my family and friends are low in vitamin D. Is this a coincidence? Not really. Vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods and is mainly produced by exposure to sunlight. However, with the risk of developing skin cancer, who really bathes in the sun anymore? Even though many people do not think vitamin D is a serious necessity, low levels can actually lead to many health complications.

Vitamin D plays a big role in sustaining a strong and healthy body. The main necessity for vitamin D is to maintain bone health. It works with calcium to help bones grow and stay strong. Vitamin D also helps regulate the proper functioning of the heart by affecting its contractility and vascular tone. It also plays a role in cell regulation, which aids in cancer prevention by causing cancerous cells to die before they can proliferate into a tumor. Vitamin D also helps our immune system stay strong to ward and fight off infection.

The average adult between the ages of 19-50 needs about 600 IUs of vitamin D a day and, as we get older, that number increases to at least 800. It is recommended to get at least 20-30 minutes of sun exposure on a daily basis to get adequate vitamin D synthesis, but not everyone has the luxury of living in an area with sunny weather all year long. Also, people have been conditioned to wear sunscreen whenever there is sun due to being lectured about the risks of skin cancer over and over again. So, what about getting vitamin D from food? The main foods that naturally contain vitamin D are fish, egg, and mushrooms, which is not really a large selection. Milk is also a good source of vitamin D, but milk has to be fortified with the vitamin since it only provides a trace amount on its own.

So, what can we do? Being aware of your deficiency and its significance is the first step. Many people disregard low vitamin levels from their blood tests because they do not really know the consequences. Try taking vitamin D supplements, or a multivitamin that contains vitamin D, on a daily basis. Foods fortified with vitamin D are also a good alternative, but the selection is still minimal. Going out into the sun whenever possible should also not be ruled out because 20 minutes of sun exposure on a daily basis is highly unlikely to substantially  increase your chances of developing skin cancer. Lastly, make sure not to over do it and stay within the daily recommended dietary allowance for your age because too much vitamin D can actually be toxic. Hope these tips help. This has been your dose of vitamin Jas.


The Misconceptions of Vitamins

There are many people out there who think taking vitamins is unnecessary or even dangerous. Taking vitamins is only unnecessary if you are able to get the daily recommended intake through your meals (which is highly unlikely unless you are one to have 5 heads of broccoli for lunch) and could be dangerous only if you do not know enough about the vitamins you are taking. If you have the proper knowledge to understand which vitamins are right for you and how much of each to take, the results can be life saving.

One of the most important things to know about vitamins is the difference between water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins include vitamins B and C, and fat soluble vitamins include vitamin A, D, E and K. Water soluble vitamins are less likely to accumulate in the body because the excess amount that is not absorbed generally comes out in the urine. Fat soluble vitamins are soluble in lipids and are stored in body tissues, so they are more likely to cause hypervitaminosis. On the other hand, if people do not have enough fat intake in their diet, they could also be deficient in these vitamins because they cannot be absorbed properly.

The accumulation of vitamins in the body can be very toxic, however, if you do not exceed the daily recommended intake of each one, you will be fine. Some symptoms of hypervitaminosis include blurry vision, diarrhea, nausea, and gastrointestinal pain. A lot of people also don’t realize that the vitamins they get from their protein powder, their multivitamin, the fruit smoothie they had as a snack between breakfast and lunch, and all the other things they ate that day can lead to hypervitaminosis as well. It is not just from taking too many pills. Another major issue to be aware of is that people with abnormal functioning kidneys and/or liver need to discuss their vitamin intake with their primary care physician because the clearance of their vitamins may not be as good as others.

This post may have been a little shorter than others, but it may be one of the most important. Learning about the proper intake of vitamins will get rid of any fears or hesitation you may have about taking them and lead to a healthier you. Thank you for reading. This has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas (which you don’t ever have to worry about taking too much of).