Doctors often use body mass index (BMI) calculation to determine overall health and risk of disease, but now there seems to be a more accurate and simpler way of determining overall health and risk of heart disease. BMI is a calculation of a person’s height to weight, and the new calculation of waist to height (WHtR) appears to be a more accurate predictor health and risk of heart disease. Move over BMI and make way for the waist to height ratio (WHtR).
Waist To Height Ratio (WHtR), Heart Disease, Life Expectancy
In an earlier study Margaret Ashwell, PhD, of Oxford Brookes University, and her colleagues had already determined that waist to height ratio (WHtR) was a better predictor of heart disease than BMI.
Now in a more recent study, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, Ashwell and her colleagues examined data of patients whose BMI and waist to height ratio were measured in the 1980s. The data showed that measuring the ratio of someone’s waist to height ratio is a better way of predicting their life expectancy than BMI.
The study indicated that your waist circumference should be less than half of your height to help prevent heart disease and diabetes, and to add years to your life. Measuring a person’s waist to height ratio measures the levels of central fat that builds around the organs, which points a finger at the stress being put on the organs. This is a better indicator of health than measuring the weight fat on the legs and arms, which is part of the calculation used in measuring BMI.
What Waist to Height Ratio Means For Us
Simply, the calculation is easy. An man who is 5’9″ (69″ total) should have a waist size smaller the 34.5″. My plant-based diet is doing its job since I am 5’9″ and I have a 32″ waist.
A woman who is 5’6″ (56″ total) should have a waist size smaller than 33″.
If you are using the metric system, your waist should be half your height in centimeters.
The study also indicated that children could be screened as early as five using the waist to height ratio to identify children at greatest risk for serious health conditions in their later stages of life.
European Congress on Obesity
Ashwell M, et al “Waist-to-height ratio is more accurate than body mass index to quantify reduced life expectancy” Euro Congress Obesity 2013; Abstract T3T4:P.013. Read more
What Is Gluten? Is Gluten Bad For You? Gluten Free Diet
Is A Gluten Free Diet Better?
“Gluten free” and “gluten free diet” are terms that have swept many us up in a whirlwind. But are they just that, just some terms and fad that have no legs and will soon be history?
I ask this question because people have been eating grains that include gluten for thousands of years, and it seems like all of a sudden that gluten is bad for us. Has gluten always been bad for us, and is it even bad for us? If gluten is bad for us, has it always been that way or has something changed in grains that include gluten? For instance, wheat is a heavily genetically modified grain (GMO) and does the change in its genes play a role in gluten being bad for us?
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a prolamin protein found in the mature seeds of these cereal grasses: wheat (common or bread wheat, durum wheat, farro, kamut, einkorn, emmer, spelt, and triticale) and related grain species that include barley and rye.
Sometimes the term gluten is associated with rice (glutinous rice), but rice protein is not actually a gluten. Oats on the other hand I have found to be tricky in defining. Oats are often contaminated with gluten because oats often come in contact with gluten grains at some time during the production of oats, which can be during the planting, harvesting, or refining of the oats.
Oats and other gluten grains are often processed in the same facilities, but you can find oats that have a “gluten free” sticker on the package and these oats are not supposed to have gluten in them because their processing keeps them away from gluten grains. But this doesn’t solve all of the gluten issues with oats.
Gluten is a group of prolamin storage proteins that make dough elastic, which helps it rise and keep its shape. Gluten in wheat is called gliadin, in barley is called hordein, in rye is called secalin, in corn is called zein, and in sorghum is called kafirin. Oats are a bit different in that the majority of their storage protein is a globulin or legume-like protein called avenalin. Oats do contain a minor prolamin protein called avenin. Why is this important?
Danger Of Gluten
Under normal circumstances people can tolerate gluten (prolamin), but it is dangerous to people who are genetically predisposed with celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder to gluten in the small intestine.
This reaction causes an inflammatory reaction and attack of the villi ( finger-like projections that absorb nutrients) of the small intestine which then interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. Severe celiac disease leads to pale, loose and greasy stool and weight loss do to the body’s inability to absorb nutrients.
Though oat’s avenin is a promalin, some recent studies suggest that oats are not problematic for people who suffer from celiac disease. Previous studies have shown that the avenin in oats caused celiac disease but recent studies indicate that it was the cross contamination from wheat, barley, and rye that caused celiac disease.
This gets a little confusing because a small percentage of people tested for reaction specifically to avenin did show a sensitivity to avenin. There is still controversy as to whether avenin contributes to celiac disease, which may be due to there being different amounts of gluten present in different cultivars of oats. If I suffered from celiac disease, I would treat oats as a gluten containing food. Celiac disease was once thought to be rare but now studies indicate that it may affect 1 in 133 Americans.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Celiac disease involves the flattening of the villi in the small intestine which leads malabsorption of nutrients. People can have a sensivity to gluten that does not result in the flattening of the villi, but instead results in what is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Symptoms include bloating, abdominal discomfort or pain, diarrhea, muscular disturbances and bone or joint pain.
Gluten Sensitivity On The Rise
Tests done on blood samples from a century ago, indicate that celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are on the rise. Something is causing this rise in gluten sensivity. Some blame the wheat, and I agree. Common wheat or bread wheat is the modern wheat we mostly consume and it is a heavily genetically modified crop and contains higher levels of gluten. There is also no telling how the genetic modifications done to wheat effect our bodies.
My diet does not consist of much wheat or other grains, and consists mainly of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and some legumes. Occasionally I do eat organic spelt bread sandwiches and it doesn’t appear to affect me negatively. Because celiac disease and gluten sensitivity or on the rise and haven’t always been this way, I think GMO wheat is the problem.
Health Benefits of Dates – Date Nutrition – Are Dates Good For You?
Dates Are A Nutrient Dense Energy Food
Dates are a fruit that many people are more familiar with in the east and not the west, but since it is a fruit that is highly nutritious its health benefits are now being recognized in the west. Dates are rich in nutrients and are high in fiber, low in fat, high in simple carbohydrates, and they don’t contain cholesterol. They are simply a healthy energy food.
Dates are rich in electrolytes and simple carbohydrates, which support healthy muscle function and they quickly supply energy.
100 grams or approximately four dates are high in the following nutrients:
Eating dates are a good way to support healthy muscle function. Muscles need proper amounts of electrolytes to support normal electrical activity in the muscles. Dates are high in the potassium and magnesium electrolytes. Without proper amounts of electrolytes you can experience muscle fatigue which can lead to a feeling of tiredness even though cell energy levels might be high.
Dates support healthy heart function because they supply the heart with electrolytes to promote proper electrical activity.
Dates And Fiber
Just four dates contain around 25% of the daily recommended allowance of fiber. Dates are a good addition to the western diet which is fiber deficient, because of the high amount of low fiber processed foods that are eaten.
Dates And Energy Levels
Date’s carbohydrates are made up mostly of simple sugars. Date’s simple sugars are easily and quickly converted in to glucose for cells to use as energy. Eating dates before and after exercises, especially high cardiovascular exercises, will help fortify and replenish energy levels.
Dates And Fat
Dates contain very low levels of fat. Dates are a popular energy food among fruitarians because they are high in simple sugars and low in fat, and this is an excellent combination for health. The body uses carbohydrates and fat for energy for cells, but the body uses carbohydrates first and then it uses fat. They western diet is high in fat, so fat often goes unused for energy and is stored in fats cells and can lead to obesity.
Dates And Health
You will find a lot of information that too much sugar is bad for your health and that it can spike the blood sugar level, but we must be specific when we speak about the sugar issue. Processed sugars are bad for you and additive sugars can also be bad for you. Sugar in fruit does not fall into this same category. The synergistic effect of sugar, fiber, and other nutrients in fruits make them a healthy choice for you.
Of course people suffering from diabetes should use caution when consuming sugar. Many studies which specifically study fruit sugars effect on blood sugar level do support that sugar from eating fruits do not have an adverse effect on health and blood sugar level. This video supports dates have no adverse effects on blood sugar level or weight, and provide improvements in triglyceride levels and antioxidant stress levels.
Should Children Drink More Water To Become Smarter
Why is being properly hydrated important for our children? Being properly hydrated is important becausue it is integral to endocrine, immune, neural. cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, muscle, and skeletal function.
Dr. Michael Greger M.D. blesses us with information which indicates that proper hydration is also integral to our children functioning cognitively at their best, or smartest. The more dehydrated children were, the lower their cognitive performance was and they didn’t operate at their smartest level.
He makes the point that the children who were tested did drink liquids, but many of the children did not drink water or enough water. They drank other liquids such as orange juice and milk and they are not as hydrating as water is, which resulted in many of the children being mildly dehydrated.
The levels of sodium, sugars, and amino acids in milk and juice can shrink cells and trigger the release of the hormones that signal dehydration. The studies show that it very important for children to be properly hydrated with water to help them be their smartest.
Should I Soak Almonds – Benefits Of Soaking Almonds
To Soak Or Not To Soak Almonds?
As I travel my vegan diet journey I learn a lot and I make modifications to my diet. I scrutinize all the information I come in contact with, even information that is generally accepted and followed.
As far as alternate medicine is concerned it is generally accepted that we should sprout nuts and seeds to unleash their full nutritional value by activating their enzymes. In this instance I am speaking about soaking almonds and I must say I don’t soak my almonds all the time, but I do soak them half the time.
Benefits Of Soaking Almonds
Activates Almond Enzymes And Improves Digestion
The number one reason to soak almonds is to activate their enzymes. Almond skin contains enzyme inhibitors that protects the almond until the proper levels of sunlight and water allow it to germinate. The belief is that activating the enzymes in the almond allow better digestion and access to its nutrients.
Though it makes sense to me that activating the enzymes in almonds makes digestion of its nutrients easier, some will give blanket statements saying that the nutrients in almonds are wasted if you don’t soak almonds and activate the enzymes, and scientifically I don’t agree with this.
Our bodies have their own enzymes that digest the almonds and break them down into their components. Yes some nutritional may be lost if you don’t soak the almonds, but it is not like there is no nutritional value in eating un-soaked almonds.
Now if we don’t soak the almonds and remove the skin, the tannins in the skin can interfere with digestion. Tannins bind to and interfere with the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and cellulose. Removing the almond skin removes this issue with properly digesting almonds.
Soaking almonds makes almonds softer and easier to chew.
What They Don’t Tell You About Raw Almonds
If you eat processed or roasted almonds, the process kills the enzymes. To avoid this people will eat raw almonds. The problem with even eating raw almonds is that ones we buy from stores are pasteurized and the pasteurization process kills the enzymes.
U.S. law requires all almonds grown in the U.S. to be pasteurized, but the USDA still allows these processed almonds to be called raw even though they no longer are. Farmers can sell unpasteurized almonds but not to food distributors or markets so you have to get them from roadside merchants.
Benefits Of Not Soaking And Removing Almond Skins
Though almond skins contain tannins they are low in tannins, and they contain less tannins than other nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans that contain high amounts of tannins. So almond skins contain less tannins to interfere with digestion, and human saliva also contains proline-rich proteins which inactivate tannins.
So if we chose to eat almonds with the skins we are able to digest the almonds and gain its nutrients, though maybe not as efficiently as if we ate soaked almonds without the skins.
The skin is made of insoluble fiber which helps to clean the digestive track.
Almond skins contain a combination of antioxidants and vitamin E which work together synergistically to protect cells from being damaged by free radicals, and research suggests that this combination in almond skins work synergistically to prevent LDL cholesterol from being oxidized, promoting heart health.
What Does This Mean For The Almonds I Eat?
I basically soak half my almonds and eat the other half un-soaked. They taste a little different both ways and since I like how they taste both ways, I eat them both ways. I also eat a lot of almonds so removing the skin from half of what I eat will reduce some of my tannin intake, plus not overtax my digestive with an enormous amount of insoluble fiber. I guess a just found a balance.
The recipe was a pleasant surprise for me, which I found in the Twister Jar Recipe Book that came with my Blendtec Twister Jar. The Twister Jar is a specialty jar made for the Blendtec Blender, which makes making nut butters and flour a bit easier. As you can see it also makes making specialty recipes easier also.
Now I do have to say that this recipe will serve as a treat for me and is not a staple of my vegan diet. The recipe calls for sugar, and I do limit the amount of foods that I eat that contain additive sugar, even if it is natural sugar.
This cocoa-nut almond butter is really good. I made some this past weekend and brought it to a friend’s home to serve as a snack while we watched some boxing matches. We all enjoyed the cocoa-nut almond butter, which I call a fudge because it has that type of taste. I felt a little guilty because my friend’s wife really like the fudge and she kept going to back for more of the sweets. I am careful to not eat so much at one time because it contains additive sugar. Anyway, the fudge was a huge success.
I usually use my Blendtec Blender to make all natural vegetable and fruit juices, but I recently bought Blentec’s “Twister Jar” to use with my Blendtec blender so I could more easily make nut butters and flour. I have to thank Blendtec for this recipe. The Twister Jar came with a a recipe book that contained a couple of interesting recipes. I came upon the hummus recipe and I was interested!
So I went ahead and made it and it tasted good, but I could have just thought that because I made it. Fortunately I had a good opportunity to see if others would think the same thing. I visited a friend and his wife last night and we watched some boxing fights and ate the hummus with spelt bread, a coco almond fudge I also made, and we drank some banana date fruit juice. We will get into the fudge in another post.
Anyway, they were a little skeptical of everything brought over but in the end the loved and raved about the hummus, and also the fudge and juice. I was a bit surprised about how much they liked it. They had both each eaten just a little while before I arrived, and they still went back for second and thirds of the hummus. I have to say it turned out pretty good. Vegan, raw, and awesome!
Ceylon And Cassia Cinnamon – One Can Be Toxic – One Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Many may not be aware but there are two different types of cinnamon, and one might be better than the other because one can be toxic in large enough doses. The two types of cinnamon are ceylon or “true” cinnamon and the other is cassia or “Chinese” cinnamon.
The use of cinnamon has become popular because it has many health benefits, one being that it is used to control blood sugar levels. Studies now show that both ceylon and cassia cinnamon have health benefits, both only cassia cinnamon controls blood sugar levels.
Cassia Cinnamon And Diabetes – Blood Sugar Levels
Cassia cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin and ceylon cinnamon does not. Most studies done that showed that cinnamon lowered blood sugar levels in type-2 diabetics and pre-diabetics have been done with cassia cinnamon, and the assumption was that cinnamon in general lowered blood sugar levels. More recently, studies done specifically with ceylon cinnamon show that it does not have the same effect on blood sugar levels, and does not lower it.
Cassia Cinnamon And Coumarin
Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin, and it appears that coumarin is the active ingredient that controls blood sugar levels, because ceylon cinnamon doesn’t contain coumarin and doesn’t control blood sugar levels. It would appear that cassia cinnamon would be the better form of cinnamon to use, since the both have health benefits and only cassia cinnamon controls blood sugars levels. The problem is studies now show that coumarin in cassia cinnamon may be toxic to the liver in high enough doses.
A teaspoon a day of cassia cinnamon for adults appears to be effective in controlling blood sugar levels. The problem now is that studies show that kids sprinkling cassia cinnamon on their oatmeal a few times a week may be too much. You can see graphs in the video below which show levels which may cause toxicity.
Ceylon cinnamon doesn’t contain coumarin and doesn’t lower blood sugar levels, but it does have the other health benefits of cinnamon like lowering LDL cholesterol. Since a vegan and vegetarian diet lowers blood sugars levels, I will continue to use my vegan diet to control my blood sugar level, and use ceylon cinnamon for its other health benefits.
Fox Fires Two Reporters For Exposing Cancer Caused By Monsanto’s Bovine Growth Hormone
Bovine Growth Hormone In Milk Linked To Cancer
Two reporters from Fox Television were asked to do any stories they wanted to, to ask tough questions, and to get answers. They did a story on milk in Florida that was adulterated with Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone. Monsanto worked effectively to get the bovine growth hormone on the marketplace.
The federal government basically rubber-stamped it, before they put the bovine growth hormone on the marketplace. The longest test done on human toxicity was ninety days on thirty rats. Either Monsanto misreported the results to the FDA or the FDA didn’t bother to look in depth at Monsanto’s studies.
The scientists of Health Canada looked at the studies for the bovine growth hormone and came to very different conclusions than the FDA did. The growth hormone did not comply with safety requirements and could be absorbed into the body on cause health problems.
When it comes to fruits, it seems like citrus fruits, melons, and berries have stolen the spotlight. They are popular because of their taste, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Eating fruits is healthy, but don’t overlook bananas because they are a powerhouse food in their own right.
Bananas shouldn’t be overlooked because they are a great energy and muscle food. Bananas are also good for health because they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Some benefits of eating bananas are increased muscle performance, lower blood pressure, and improved bone health.
One medium sized banana is high in the following nutrients:
Bananas are a good way to fight muscle cramping due to electrolyte lost. Bananas are high in the potassium electrolyte. Optimum muscle contraction and relaxation depends on proper amounts of potassium being in muscle cells. Without proper amounts of potassium muscles become susceptible to cramping.
Bananas And High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the the force of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels, and kidneys control blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid is in the body. The more fluid, the higher your blood pressure. Kidneys use a delicate balance of sodium and potassium to pull water from the blood to control blood pressure. We need to make sure we have adequate amounts of potassium in our system, especially when confronting diets that contain processed foods which are notorious for their high salt content and compromise the potassium sodium balance.
Bananas And Heart Functioning
Potassium, along with sodium, plays a vital role in maintaining a normal heart rhythm. Both are electrolytes and the proper balance between them allows the proper transmission of electrical impulses sent by nerves. Potassium deficiency can lead to abnormal heart rhythm.
Bananas And Bone Health
The body works to maintain its proper pH level. It will leach calcium from bones to combat a buildup of metabolic acids to maintain that level, which can lead to the weakening of bones. Potassium neutralizes metabolic acids so the body doesn’t need to leach calcium from bones.
Bananas And Energy
Bananas have become one of my favorite energy foods. I eat several bananas a day in the form of smoothies: Banana Date Energy Drink. Bananas are a high carbohydrate and low fat fruit, which is a food that fits well into my diet. I try to eat really ripe bananas mostly because the riper the banana, the more sugar and less starch it will contain.
Simple sugars burn faster than starches or complex carbohydrates, and are burned before fat. This way I am quickly burning the simple sugars first and using up those calories, and then burning stored calories from fats.
Fats are necessary for healthy living and my vegan diet controls the amount of fats and unhealthy fats I consume, because too much fat does being harmful. My cycling season will soon begin for me and I will be increasing my consumption of bananas and dates to increase my access to quickly burning sugars for energy, and also because they support my proper muscle functioning.
Bananas And Digestion
Bananas are easily broken down into nutrients which puts less strain on the digestive system.
Bananas strengthen the mucus lining in the stomach to protect it against stomach acids.
Bananas are rich in fructooligosaccharides, a prebiotic that feeds friendly bacteria in the digestive system. These prebiotics feed good stomach bacteria in your digestive tract which combat an overgrowth of organisms like yeast, which become harmful when there is to much of it in the body.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Natural Life Energy.com. The information on this website is not intended to replace the medical expertise of qualified health care professionals, and is not intended as medical advice. The purpose of this website is to share information from the research and experience of writers for Natural Life Energy.com. Readers should their make your own health care decisions based upon their research and in conjunction with a qualified health care professional.