Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why High Fructose Corn Syrup Is Bad For Your Health

The health issues tied to consumption of high fructose corn syrup have become more and more noticeable as the levels of consumption have exponentially increased. Since the 1970's, high fructose corn syrup has found its way into everything. In a typical grocery store, everything from salad dressings to cookies to juices are primarily composed of high fructose corn syrup. Why? It's cheap and government subsidized and lasts significantly longer than other healthier types of sweeteners. So what exactly about high fructose corn syrup is it that makes it bad for you?

Your body does not recognize high fructose corn syrup and has a difficult time metabolizing it. When fructose is present in natural forms, it is bonded on a molecular level with glucose. This makes it more of a "slow-release" process and it allows the liver to process the fructose slowly. When fructose is introduced without glucose the liver gets hammered with all of it and has a hard time metabolizing it. The liver might not be able to metabolize all of it, especially if this is an ongoing issue (you are consuming high fructose corn syrup on a regular basis and not giving your body an opportunity to recover). So the extra fructose gets stored as fat on the liver and fat on the body.

Fortunately more companies are now making the conscious decision to replace high fructose corn syrup with regular sugar. But the Corn Refiners Association is lobbying to allow high fructose corn syrup to be re-named "corn sugar". Consumers have to make sure to keep their eyes wide open to avoid being tricked by the CRA- it is a desperate and pathetic move since the CRA was unable to convince Americans that high fructose corn syrup is not bad for you, i.e. Do not be tricked!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Shoppers

As Christmas approaches I notice more and more shoppers hurrying along their merry way attempting to max out their credit cards in last ditch attempts to satisfy their un-satisfy-able partner or children. So, the question begs to be asked- why spend Christmas in such a miserable fashion. I, personally, hate being in crowds of people. It makes me feel claustrophobic, rushed, uncomfortable, you name it- I try to my shopping late at night where I can take my time looking around at whatever I am potentially buying- and even many score some attention from a salesperson. As many pastors gear their messages around the "reason for the season" it is easy to get swept away in the unapologetic consumerism that envelops all of us this season. Why do we allow companies to get into our brains and tell us what we should want? Particularly children. It is disturbing the way that marketing agencies work to target their products to children. This is why I have a love-hate relationship with TV. I love watching TV, unfortunately, something I consider a flaw in my life that I have yet to correct, and yet I hate TV and all the hidden messages and innuendoes. I have Netflix and I regularly stream TV shows to avoid the commercials. Commercials are truly obnoxious and not only that- they have hidden messages that attempt to sway you into their group-think mentality. No thank you. In the new year I hope to spend less time watching TV and more time reading. I recently signed up for and I will blog about them later, when I receive my first free book. :) Happy Holidays, residents of internetland, remember the REASON for the season, and guess what- it ain't shopping...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the world's oldest known spices. The tree is native to Sri Lanka where it was found thousands of years ago. It is the best spice available in terms of its nutrition and health. It contains unique healthy and healing property comes from the active components in the essential oils found in its bark. Cinnamon has extremely high anti-oxidant activity due to which it has numerous health benefits. Aside from being used as a medicine by other cultures since ancient times, the health benefits may also come from eating it which can be listed as follows:

1. Lowers Cholesterol:
Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon included in a daily diet can lower cholesterol.
Also Cinnamon may significantly lower LDL "bad" cholesterol, and triglycerides (fatty acids in the blood) and total cholesterol.

2. Reduces blood sugar levels and treating Type 2 Diabetes:
Several studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control by taking as little as ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Improving insulin resistance can help in weight control as well as decreasing the risk for heart disease.

3. Heart Disease:
Cinnamon strengthens the cardiovascular system thereby shielding the body from heart related disorders. It is believed that the calcium and fiber present in cinnamon provides protection against heart diseases.
Including a little cinnamon in the food helps those suffering from coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.

4. Fights Cancer :
A study released by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland showed that cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
Besides, the combination of calcium and fiber found in Cinnamon can help to remove bile, which prevents damage to colon cells, thus prevents colon cancer.

5. Tooth decay and mouth freshener:
Cinnamon has traditionally been used to treat toothache and fight bad breath. Small pieces of cinnamon can be chewed, or gargled with cinnamon water which serves as a good mouth freshener.

6. Cures Respiratory Problems:
Cinnamon is very useful home remedy for common or severe colds. A person suffering should take one tablespoon of honey with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder daily for 3 days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold and clear the sinuses.
Cinnamon also found to cure flu, influenza, sore throat and congestion.

7. Brain Tonic:
Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and hence acts as a good brain tonic. It helps in removing nervous tension and memory loss.
Also, studies have shown that smelling cinnamon may boost cognitive function, memory, performance of certain tasks and increases one's alertness and concentration.
8. Infections:
Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic and antiseptic properties, it is effective on external as well as internal infections. Cinnamon has been found to be effective in fighting vaginal yeast infections, oral yeast infections, stomach ulcers and head lice.

9. Eases menstruation cycles:
Cinnamon has also been found useful for women's health as it helps in providing relief from menstrual cramping and other feminine discomforts.

10. Birth Control:
Cinnamon also helps in natural birth control. Regular consumption of cinnamon after child birth delays menstruation and thus helps in avoiding conception.

11. Breastfeeding:
It is also believed that cinnamon aids in the secretion of breast milk.

12. Reduces Arthritis Pain:
Cinnamon spice contains anti-inflammatory compounds which can be useful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
A study conducted at Copenhagen University, where patients were given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month

13. Digestive Tonic:
Cinnamon should be added to most recipes. Apart from adding flavor to the food, it also aids in digestion. Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence. It is very helpful in removing gas from the stomach and intestines. It also removes acidity, diarrhea and morning sickness. It is often referred to as a digestive tonic.

14. Reduces Urinary tract infections:
People who eat cinnamon on a regular basis report a lower incidence of urinary tract infections. Cinnamon is diuretic in nature and helps in secretion and discharge of urine.

15. Anti clotting Actions:
A compound found in Cinnamon called as cinnamaldehyde has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets. [Platelets are constituents of blood that are meant to clump together under emergency circumstances (like physical injury) as a way to stop bleeding, but under normal circumstances, they can make the blood flow inadequate if they clump together too much]. The cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets.

16. Natural Food Preserver:
When added to food, it prevents bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.

17. Headaches and migraine:
Headache due to the exposure to cold wind is readily cured by applying a thin paste of powdered cinnamon mixed in water on the temples & forehead.

18. Pimples and Blackheads:
Cinnamon helps in removing blood impurities. Therefore it is often recommended for pimples.
Also external application of paste of cinnamon powder with a few drops of fresh lemon juice over pimples & black heads would give beneficial result.

19. Thinning of the blood and improves blood circulation:
Cinnamon is a blood thinning agent which also acts to increase circulation. This blood circulation helps significantly in removing pain. Good blood circulation also ensures oxygen supply to the body cells leading to higher metabolic activity. You significantly reduce the chance of getting a heart attack by regularly consuming cinnamon.

20. Toning of tissues:
Considerable anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that cinnamon may have the ability to tone and constrict tissues in the body.

21. Muscle and joint pain relief:
Those who eat cinnamon on a regular basis often report that their muscle and joint pain, as well as stiffness, is reduced or even eliminated.

22. Immune System:
Honey and cinnamon paste is good for boosting the immune system, removing regular fatigue and increasing the longevity of an individual. It is also known to have anti-aging properties.

23. Itching:
Paste of honey and cinnamon is often used to treat insect bites.

24. It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

25. Healing: Cinnamon helps in stopping bleeding. Therefore it facilitates the healing process.

Found this article at:

The author, Yazmin Ellas, has been teaching for several decades. Truly inspiring article. I will start sprinkling cinnamon on my coffee every morning. 

High Fructose Corn Syrup=Corn Sugar?

I just read that the Corn Refiners Association is attempting to petition the FDA to allow high fructose corn syrup to be labeled corn sugar. The consumption of high fructose corn syrup has dropped dramatically due to the numerous research studies released showing the ties between high fructose corn syrup consumption and obesity. The Corn Refiners Association would have us believe that consuming high fructose corn syrup is equivalent to consuming cane sugar. I beg to differ. This is a clever re-branding attempt, but consumers have to maintain their eyes wide open. If in doubt, leave it out. Do not add these dangerous genetically modified chemicals into your family's diet and if your family is consuming copious amounts of these chemicals, take the steps necessary to introduce healthier alternatives. I for one, do not touch high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, or preservatives. This is each individual's choice. But, it is important to read about what you are putting into your body, and most importantly, your children's bodies. Hyperactivity disorders in children have been linked to consumption of sodium benzoate (a preservative). And numerous other health issues have arisen since the 1970s when high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners first started gaining prevalence. I am not some ranting and raving hippie. I am simply interested in maintaining the highest level of health for myself and my family as possible. Reading food labels can be daunting at first, but it is completely worth your health. Life is too short to spend sick... Consume proper nutrition and allow your body to blossom into its potential. Now, I will remove myself from my soap box. More nutrition-based blogs to come. ;)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Welcome to the world of blogging

Here I go embarking on yet another project. I have decided that I will begin blogging. I feel blogging is a good way to remember events, and basically sort out your day. I have never particularly considered myself interesting enough to write daily about. Whenever I started journaling as an adolescent it always ended in sporadic entries for about a week or so before the entire endeavor ended up being abandoned. So, we'll see how this goes. For anyone who might happen upon my blog, I am an aspiring Biology teacher, growing Christian, dedicated wife, voracious bookworm and overall laid-back chick. :) Thanks for visiting.