Category Archives for "Interesting Health Topics"

Sodium Recommendations and Your Health


Sodium has been a buzzword in the nutritional community for the past few decades. Primarily the focus has been on what the daily recommended intake should be and how Americans need to lower their consumption of sodium. Health experts have stated that consuming too much salt will increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes. While the negative health impacts or sodium are understood, consumers need clear guidelines of how much sodium to watch in their diet.

Sodium Recommendations: How Much is Too Much?

Medical and nutritional experts cannot agree on how much sodium is too much. Over the past few decades Daily Sodium Recommendations have varied greatly. Overall, the recommendation is to keep sodium intake between 1,100 and 2,300 mg per day. But intake recommendations are unique to a person’s age and overall health.

  • Facts on sodium’s benefits are inconclusive, but there is clear evidence pointing to the harm sodium can cause in overabundance. Sodium levels that are too high or too low can cause significant health problems. However, with the exorbitant amount of sodium found in processed foods in our country, people are most likely to have a sodium level that is too high.
  • Fast food servings on average contain 4,000 to 8,000 grams of sodium. Add your other meals to the day, no matter how low in sodium they are, and you’re way above the daily recommended intake.
  • The Food and Drug Administration will be issuing “voluntary” salt reductions guidelines for food companies to follow. They expect that this will create major change in the amount of sodium found in foods. Although food manufacturers aren’t required to follow the new guidelines, if one company makes the change, others will follow suit.

Your Sodium Intake

Monitoring your own sodium intake can be more challenging than anticipated. There is a lot of sodium hidden in foods that taste good but don’t seem salty. Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, Senior Director of Programs and Culinary Nutrition at the Culinary Institute of America makes a couple of recommendations to lowering your sodium intake. Her recommendations are listed below:

  • Prepare meals at home, using whole foods that are naturally low in sodium.
  • Use cooking techniques that mimic the flavor profile salt provides without the extra sodium, such as roasting or caramelizing food.
  • Consume Umami-rich foods such as tomatoes, onions and mushrooms increase your sodium sensory perception.

These techniques will allow consumers to enjoy the salty perceptual experience without over consuming sodium.

The type of salt consumed can also make a difference in a diet. Amy Myrdal Miller recommends using diamond crystal kosher salt. The larger diamond crystals contain 60 percent less sodium than regular table salt. Despite current trends, sea salt contains the same amount of sodium as regular table salt. Seasoned salt contains slightly less sodium due to the additional seasonings.

Ultimately, keeping your sodium intake within the range of healthy consumption can be done by preparing and eating whole foods. Make a conscious effort to reduce your sodium intake, avoid major health complications and improve your overall well-being.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Everything you need to know!


Want to kick a** and actually look good doing it?

Seems like wishful thinking, doesn’t it?

But with Apple cider vinegar, you might just be able to squeeze in the ‘looking good’ part.

As for kicking a**, train harder! Apple cider vinegar has been all the rage now and not just for its culinary use.

What is it and what is so special about it?

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Fermentation is one of the oldest known processes to mankind. It was fermentation of wine that led to production of vinegar, in the first place.

Cider means strong drink or wine. It was the Greeks and Romans who fermented apple cider vinegar from soured apple wine. Who knew our pantry staple had such a rich history?

Apple cider vinegar or ACV, as it is commonly known, is a pale amber colored liquid. It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid.

Bacteria and yeast are added to kickstart fermentation, converting sugars to alcohol. A secondary fermentation process converts alcohol into vinegar. It has a sour taste, owing to the presence of acetic acid and malic acid.

A high quality Apple cider vinegar is made from organic apples. It is unheated, unfiltered and unpasteurized. This ensures that all the beneficial enzymes, pectin and trace minerals are retained within the finished product.

Why is it Beneficial?

The benefits of ACV come from its powerful constituents like acetic acid, probiotics, magnesium, potassium and enzymes.

We all know that not all bacteria are bad for us. We need some good bacteria with us and on us, literally! Acetic acid has the ability to get rid of the bad bacteria, but at the same time, it promotes the growth of good bacteria, making it a powerful antibacterial agent. [i] [ii]

unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar

On the other hand, it is also rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are known to play an important role inprevention of Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Did You know? ACV has been in use since 5000 B.C, according to historical records

How to Use It?

  • First things first, everyone should have a bottle of ACV in their pantry. It is a multitasker and can make your life easy, no kidding!
  • From its use as a mouthwash to salad dressings, it is your go-to for almost everything. How you use it depends on what you are using it for. For example, it has an internal use as a mouth wash or as a digestive aid. But it also has an external use as a skin toner or for rinsing your hair. [iii]

Secret Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar

We all know that apple cider vinegar is used in salad dressings, but did you know that there is so much more to ACV than that? Some secret uses of ACV are given below.

· As a hair cleanser. · As an all-natural deodorant.
· As a hair growth stimulator. · As a natural soother for sun-burns.
· As a skin toner. · As a mouth wash.
· As a teeth whitener. · As a wart remover.
· To ease varicose veins. · To soothe a sore throat.
· As an antiseptic, antifungal and an antibacterial. · To clear a stuffy nose.
· As a detoxifying agent for your body. · As a digestive aid.
· To maintain low blood sugar levels. · To lower cholesterol.
· For weight loss. · As an energy booster.
· As a leg cramp reliever. · Non-toxic cleaner for home.
· As a weed killer. · As an odor neutralizer.

As a Hair Cleanser

What is worse than going out in your black dress and having dandruff flakes white washing it?

Our scalp is protected against bacterial and fungal elements by secretion of sebum that maintains a pH of 4.5 and 5.5.

Regular use of shampoo and other chemicals alter this pH and make our scalp vulnerable to infections.

The acetic acid in ACV helps maintain a normal pH and thus prevents dandruff build up.


An additional benefit of rinsing your hair with ACV is that it prevents build up of sticky residue from hair gels or sprays, restoring life to your locks. When applying ACV, let it stay in your hair for at least three minutes to get maximum benefits, before you rinse it out. So get ready for dandruff-free, lustrous locks!

As a Hair Growth Stimulator

Losing hair can be emotionally and physically very demoralizing. Though your genetics do play a role in your hair growth pattern and thickness, there are some environmental factors that do affect it, as well. ACV is a potent stimulator of blood circulation to the hair follicles, which is important for hair growth and for preventing hair loss. Couple apple cider vinegar with a good scalp massage and you’ll be seeing a difference in your hair growth, pretty soon.

As a Skin Toner [v]

  • Getting acne in your 20’s and 30’s may seem far fetched, but the truth is for some people, it never really ends. It all boils down to maintaining a normal skin pH, just like our scalp. Mixing together 1 tablespoon of ACV with two cups of water and a cotton ball, is all you need to get a clear, glowing skin. The alpha-hydroxy acids and acetic acid in ACV help restore the normal pH of your skin, minimize pores and also act as an anti-blemish agent. If you feel that it is drying out your skin, use a light-weight moisturizer after using this toner.

As a Teeth Whitener

A visit to the dentist has to be the most dreaded thing, topping even a visit to your in-laws!


Yellowed, stained teeth are always a turn off, as they reflect your personal hygiene.

Just plain old brushing will never do the trick. To bring a sparkle to your teeth, you need an extra zing!

What is better than your ACV to give you that?

Dilute ½ teaspoon of ACV in a cup of distilled water and use it for gargling in the morning. Brush normally afterwards. A magical, sparkling smile is all yours! And it's not just the magical, sparkling smile you get but you also get the additional benefit of disease-free gums.

Make sure you use it once a day only to prevent tooth enamel from weakening.

As a Wart Remover

As unsightly as a wart can be, getting it removed by a doctor can scare the hell out of anyone. If you are the kind to skip a visit to the doctor, then ACV is here to help you. Soak a cotton ball in ACV, apply it to the wart and cover it with a bandage. It may take a week to work its magic, but you’ll be wart-free soon enough!

To Ease Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are superficially dilated and enlarged veins. They not only give a spider-web like appearance to the skin, but also cause discomfort. Though surgery is the only cure for almost all the cases, there are some mild cases that respond well to treatment with ACV. Massaging ACV gently over the varicose veins increases the blood flow and eases symptoms such as pain, heaviness, swelling and tingling.

As an Antiseptic, Antibacterial and Antifungal

Apple cider vinegar has been used as an antiseptic since ancient times and as mentioned earlier, it has strong antibacterial properties. It kills off bad bacteria and maintains the good bacteria of your body, thereby keeping a balance.

It acts as a strong antifungal and is considered to be extremely useful for fungal skin and toe infections.

ACV is rich in probiotics, which staves off candidiasis. But for candidiasis, along with consumption of ACV, you’ll have to control your sugar intake as well.

To Sooth a Sore Throat [vi]

A sore and itchy throat is not what you need when you have a big presentation to make.

Apple cider vinegar with a fresh apple

No need to panic and run to the drug store. Just open your kitchen pantry and you have your solution right there!

Apple cider vinegar is loaded with vitamins and probiotics, boosting your immunity and getting rid of your sore throat, fast.

Just take 2 tablespoons of ACV with a glass of water, thrice daily and you are good to go.

If you are not a fan of gulping down ACV, gargle it with warm water after every hour!

Did You Know? Hippocrates used to prescribe it for colds and coughs.

To Clear a Stuffy Nose

A stuffy nose is mostly seen in colds, flus and allergies. Yes, it can be very annoying, specially for young children. But the most important repercussions of a blocked nose are that it can lead to ear infections or worsen a respiratory tract infection. So it is important to unblock a stuffy nose. ACV is rich in potassium that thins out the nasal mucus, plus it is rich in acetic acid which prevents germ growth. Drinking it with honey and warm water can be helpful.

As a Detoxifying Agent

Detox is en-vogue. In todays world, you don’t get a lot of products that are pure, leading to accumulation of toxins in our body. Detox is simply a method to get rid of all these toxins from our body, using all-natural substances. And what can be more natural than organic apple cider vinegar? It helps improve circulation throughout the body, detoxifies the liver and binds to toxins, leading to their easy removal from the body. It stimulates lymphatic drainage, which is important for detoxification. ACV also maintains the pH in the body.

As A Digestive Aid

‘I have never had tummy troubles’, said no one ever. When your favorite food is on the table, it is hard not to overindulge. You might be feeling it later on, and that too, not in a good way! So prepare ahead if you know you are going to overeat. Sip diluted apple cider vinegar at least 30 minutes before settling down for dinner. It not only helps in settling that stomach, but the pectin in ACV helps in controlling the intestinal spasms, as well. An additional benefit is that since it maintains normal pH, it also helps in acid reflux and heart burn.

Did You Know? Apple cider vinegar is there to relieve your itch, whether it is from an insect bite or from a jellyfish sting.

To Lower Blood Sugar Levels [vii]

Apple cider vinegar for reducing blood sugar levels?? Seems too good to be true! But research has shown that consuming apple cider vinegar before dinner actually reduces post-prandial glucose surge. This is good news for diabetics, who are insulin resistant. ACV also increases insulin sensitivity, similar to Metformin, a drug used by diabetics. It is pretty amazing that a simple chemical like vinegar possesses so many qualities. You can consume it as a salad dressing or take it diluted in water.

Apple cider vinegar with a fresh apple

To Lower Cholesterol

The wondrous list of benefits of apple cider vinegar is never-ending. More research is needed to find the correlation between lowered cholesterol levels and ACV consumption in humans, but a study has found positive results in lab rats. However, according to one Japanese study, half an ounce of ACV a day lowered cholesterol in people. So, it looks promising!

For Weight Loss [viii]

Now that is a dream-come-true in a bottle! Acetic acid in ACV is the game-changer when it comes to weight loss. It suppresses appetite, revs up your metabolism, reduces water retention and interferes with body’s digestion of starch. It all adds up to bring out a svelte you! But like anything else, this should be combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise regime.

As an Energy Booster

We all have those days when we don’t want to get out of bed, let alone go to work. Daily stress and strenuous exercise can lead to lactic acid accumulation. Though it may seem counterintuitive, but ACV is the perfect antidote. The amino acids within ACV, potassium and enzymes, all work together to give you an energy boost. So the next time, you are rattling your brain to find the perfect excuse to miss work, get up and have diluted ACV.

As a Leg-Cramp Reliever

Leg cramps are usually caused by electrolyte imbalances and can be painful. Leg cramps can be severe after strenuous exercise, when you are likely to be dehydrated. Since ACV is rich in potassium, it is only logical that it will help in relieving your leg cramps.

As a Non-Toxic Cleaner Around Home

Looking for a good anti-bacterial cleaner? That bottle of Apple cider vinegar eating dust in your pantry is the solution. Mix equal parts of ACV with water and you have your all-natural, organic and strong anti-bacterial ready to kick those germs away for good!

As a Weed Killer

As a person who loves gardening, weeds are your worst enemy. They are unsightly and irritating, plus they are not easy to get rid of. Apple cider comes to the rescue, yet again. Spraying a mixture of ACV, salt and dish soap effectively kills weeds and any other plant that it comes in contact with. So avoid spraying it on plants you want to keep!

As an Odor-Neutralizer [ix]

An unexpected benefit of Apple cider vinegar is its use as a natural deodorant. You can use it as your own all-natural deodorant, by rubbing it in your armpits, or use it as a room odor-neutralizer by placing it in a dish. Just thinking about stinky feet can give you jitters, but you can get rid of foot odor by cleaning them with ACV-soaked towels.

As a Fluff-inducing Agent in Baking

Want to have a soft, fluffy slice of cake or maybe a cookie? This one kitchen hack will go a long way. Just add ACV to your recipe and you’ll have the lightest possible baking goods, without any residual odor or taste of ACV.

As a Salad Dressing

Of course, this had to make the list. Needless to say, it gives flavor to your salads!

Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss

Apple cider vinegar has been popular for a long time now, specially when it comes to weight loss. From supermodels to just about anyone, apple cider vinegar tops the list. The exact mechanism, by which it helps in weight loss, is not known, though a few theories have been in circulation.

  • It helps in weight loss by controlling blood sugar levels and by reducing cravings.
  • It aids in digestion and relieves constipation, which may play a role in a seeing a low number on the scales.
  • It also acts as an appetite suppressor. It gives a feeling of satiety, so that you eat less.
  • ACV is rich in enzymes and organic acids. It speeds up metabolism and increases the rate at which fat is burnt. In effect, it prevents fat accumulation.
  • As mentioned earlier, it detoxifies the body. When our body is rid of toxins, all bodily processes become more efficient. This leads to energy expenditure and, in short, weight loss.
  • Although, as valid as these points are, this is not a quick fix. It takes time and aids in weight loss, which is permanent in most of the cases.
  • For maximum weight loss benefits, mix 2 teaspoon of ACV in 8 ounces of water and drink it once a day.
  • Slowly and steadily, increase the drinking frequency to a maximum of three glasses per day.
  • Since it is acidic in nature, drink it with a straw to protect your teeth enamel.
  • To kick start your metabolism, it is recommended that you drink it on an empty stomach, early in the morning.
  • Always drink it in a diluted form, as it is acidic in nature.

Fun Facts About Apple Cider Vinegar

  • It is a fantastic natural de-tangler. Instead of a conditioner, you can use ACV to smooth down your hair strands.
  • It makes your hair shiny and gives a model-like gloss to your locks.
  • Sun-bathing is fun while it lasts. You can relieve post-sunbathing pain and peeling skin by applying ACV-soaked cloths over the area.
  • The acidity of ACV is enough to prevent bacteria, like E.Coli, from propagating. The only condition being that ACV is pure and organic.
  • Cobweb-like strings and a murky appearance mean that ACV is of the best quality.
  • Although it is made up of sugars, it has very few calories. Each tablespoon has around 3-5 calories.
  • It is rich in electrolytes like potassium and can be used to prevent dehydration during strenuous exercises.
  • ACV was one of the first disinfectants used and is still in use today.
  • An Apple cider vinegar- flavored lollipop is available in market to stop hiccups. It just so happens that the sour taste of ACV actually stops the hiccups in their tracks!
  • Soak in an apple cider vinegar bath to remove dirt and pollutants.

Who Shouldn’t Be Using Apple Cider Vinegar?

Just like any other thing on the market, there are some restrictions to ACV use. As beneficial as it is, it can be harmful, too, for some of you out there.

Expectant Mothers

Although, no research has been done in this regard, but pregnant and breast-feeding mothers are warned against using ACV. It is always better to play safe, then be sorry later on.

Diabetic Patients

Diabetics need to be careful, when consuming ACV. As ACV helps in lowering blood sugar, diabetics need careful monitoring to prevent going into hypoglycemic shock. Taking ACV with insulin can lower potassium to dangerously low levels. So it is advised to carefully monitor, both glucose and potassium levels when taking ACV.

Specific Medicine Users

People who are already on potassium-lowering medications, need to be careful when consuming ACV. Low potassium levels can lead to muscle cramps, weakness, nausea and even paralysis.

Remember, even if you do not fall in any of the above categories, ACV consumption in moderation is the key. Do not over-do it. Exercise and a healthy diet have to be combined with it to get optimal results.

Apple cider vinegar is a must-have in your kitchen pantry. It is not just for your culinary adventures, but your beauty escapades and household chores that also need this miracle chemical. It is a magic potion in a bottle and you need it in your life!










Do Woman Gain Fat More Easily Than Men?

Females have a general tendency to gain fat right after puberty naturally. This can be justified by hormonal changes as nature preparing the women’s body for pregnancy, child bearing and lactation, but this doesn’t stop there. Sometimes it’s painfully frustrating for women that they gain fat more easily than their male counter parts, even on same diet.

Lets discuss some of the factors that contribute to women gaining fat more easily than men.

Less muscle, more fat

  • Female body has a greater fat ratio than a male body has. The fat cells use almost 1 calorie per hour while the muscles use 6 calories per hour normally. What does it mean? By simply having more lean muscle mass, men enjoy more calories consumption throughout the day, therefore being less prone to getting fat on the same diet that might make a woman fat.

Slow basal metabolic rate (BMR)

  • Females generally have a slower basal metabolic rate. This can be justified by nature preparing them to have a rate to coupe up with pregnancy requirements. But this also results from various hormonal specifications and life style of females in our society. Also, the above mentioned more fat naturally contributes to slower BMR too.

Working in Kitchen and cravings

  • Women are the ones who’re mostly working in kitchen at home. This means more encounters with edibles and thus more cravings, resulting in unplanned and uncontrolled eating. This often-neglected factor can be a huge factor for weight gain in women alone.

Less outdoor time and activities

  • You need bread? The guy will go get it! you need trash disposed? Well the son or husband will do it. Majority of the outdoor tasks are performed by the men at home. This means that they perform more physical activity than women, resulting in more calorie expenditure and thus less weight gain.

Stress and Depression

  • Due to the gifted nature of females, they’re more prone to being in depression and stress states. It’s not that men don’t have those states, they tend to get over them faster than females.

Studies have shown that during stress and depression, hormonal changes occur in the body and can lead to cravings and direct fat storage too.

By understanding the contributing factors to weight gain, women can modify their life style to minimize their affects and thus prevent unnecessary weight gain!

Can A Gene Make You A Better Person?

Survival of the fittest is thrown around to explain antisocial behavior. Smart guys finish last. People who are unafraid to be selfish and abrasive get ahead in the workplace. It’s even been postulated that people with sociopathic tendencies end up being the most successful among us in their respective fields. But what if reptilian behavior isn’t what makes humans successful as a species? What if it’s the good within us that has given man a place on top of the food chain?

To explain why nice guys don’t necessarily finish last, you’ll have to understand W. D. Hamilton’s theory of evolutionary psychology. He coined the term Inclusive fitness in 1964. His theory broadens the term “survival of the fittest” to include a more meaningful definition of the definition of “fitness.” Here, fitness isn’t just those willing to do whatever it takes to succeed on a personal level, even if that comes at the cost of others. Fitness here is more than just a single organism clawing its way towards survival. It is organisms or people working together to survive and thrive as a community, as a whole.

Can Inclusive Fitness Be Observed?

  • Inclusive fitness can be observed in organisms that live and interact together in groups. In any kind of animal group, those that protect their young are practicing inclusive fitness. It’s not necessary for survival to do so. Snakes, crocodiles and other reptiles simply hatch their young and leave them to fend for themselves. Darwin’s theory of evolution supports that organisms function in ways that allow their own DNA to replicate and carry on within the next generation. His theory doesn’t go further than that.

In W. D. Hamilton’s theory, organisms not only protect their young and next of kin, they may do so at a cost. For example, prairie dogs keep watch for predators. After spotting danger, one may alert the others within his community by making a sound or series of sounds. By speaking up, it draws attention to itself. By putting itself in danger, it attempts to save the lives of others. This can’t be explained by Darwin’s theory, which merely supports survival of the fittest.

This kind of altruistic action can be explained by inclusive fitness. If a gene or a certain set of genes exist within an organism, it may be drawn to act altruistically. Genes are shared within related individuals so when it acts to protect its relatives or community, these genes are protected as well. When related individuals help each other survive, the genes survive too. They are then passed on to the next generation. In this system, organisms are naturally inclined not only to propagate their own DNA but that of their kin.

This explains why a mother would risk her life to save that of her child’s by refusing chemotherapy. It explains why someone might take a bullet for a sibling, or why a someone would simply go out of his way to help a relative.

Not only does the science of this theory explain altruistic behavior, it suggests that altruism makes a community successful. While survival of the fittest may help one individual survive, nature may have caused organisms to evolved genes that allow them to survive as groups, giving new meaning to the saying “No man is an island.”

If altruism is encoded within our genetics, it may explain why some individuals act selfishly. It is then also possible that acting without concern for others is due to genetically programmed behavior. If a defective version of the gene is passed on or if the gene is not passed on at all, a person may not be programmed to act the way other members of the community do. Genetics may explain why some individuals act as though “better you than I.” This could lead to further questions that if our psychology and personality are pre-programmed, to what extent can humans be held responsible for their good and bad deeds?