January 4, 2017

How Junk Food Marketing Leads to Unhealthy Diets

Selective focus on the right cheeseburger

In the 21st century, technology has become an unavoidable part of children’s lives. From educational tools, to watching videos and playing games, children are surrounded by screens of all sorts and sizes. These devices are a perfect media outlet for companies to advertise a number of products to children including snacks, toys and apparel to children.

As a part of this impactful demographic, children have influence over how their parents spend.  Much of these expenses are processed junk foods that children ask their parents to buy each time they visit the grocery store.  These foods are intentionally placed near the checkout tills and within a child’s reach; this forces situations where a child is easily able to access them and ask their parents for that particular treat. Furthermore, the effect of these foods on their health is monumental. An article by Time Magazine quoted UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Oliver De Schutter, stating that “unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco” [1].

This may be due to the fact that junk foods are highly processed and contain large amounts of carbohydrates, unnecessary sugar, unhealthy fats, and extra sodium. Consuming ingredients with little nutritional value has a negative impact on your body. In addition, many of these junk foods are very addictive and tempt a person to keep consuming them. It is important that people control these temptations and are selective in choosing the foods they intend to consume. Unhealthy diets have a direct link with the function of many major body systems such as the cardiovascular and digestive systems.

[1] U.N Official Says Junk Food Just as Bad as Cigarettes. Alter, Charlotte. Time Magazine. Retrieved From: http://time.com/104999/u-n-official-says-junk-food-just-as-bad-as-cigarettes/

 

July 12, 2010

Mandatory High Cholesterol Screening For Kids

Despite all the high cholesterol screenings being conducted left, right, and centre, kids are being left out. A recent study finds that some children who have a genetic case of high cholesterol would benefit from medications for high cholesterol. Ten percent of children who have high cholesterol are missed in these screenings.

It was discovered in the study that 36 percent of children who have high cholesterol that is treatable by medication have been missed in cholesterol screen tests. It was also found by taking lipid tests in West Virginia that 71 percent of the children meet screening requirements based solely on their family history. If cholesterol screenings were mandatory it is thought that early diagnosis would be beneficial for children.

The only loophole in this plan is putting children on medication that they may have to rely on for their entire lives. This may be best not to start at such a young age. Obesity levels were not taken into account in this study.

February 25, 2010

The High Carbohydrate Diet: What It Can Do For You and Your Cholesterol

A recent study demonstrated that certain low-carbohydrate diets, while effective in weight loss, tend to raise cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a naturally occurring component within both animal and human cells, and is essential for the human body’s production of vitamin D as well as various hormones. An excess of cholesterol in the blood will increase risks of heart attack, stroke and vascular conditions, making it imperative to find a dietary solution that will not only help you lose weight, but additionally keep cholesterol levels low.

The Dietary Solution – The High Carbohydrate Diet

  • Eat Lots of Fruits and Veggies – Adjusting to a high carbohydrate diet is easy; simply incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals. Fruits and Vegetables are high in vitamin and mineral content, and won’t have adverse affects on your cholesterol.
  • Eat Whole Grains – Switching to a whole grain bread or pasta will help to decrease both your weight and cholesterol levels, as the minerals and vitamins that are found in whole grain products are excellent sources of beneficial carbohydrates.

The key to losing weight with a high carbohydrate diet is differentiating between the good and bad sources of carbohydrates. Good carbohydrate sources will often be low in sugar and added fats, and includes most fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Finding a method of weight loss that supports healthy cholesterol levels, may seem difficult, however, a few lifestyle changes can help you to not only becoming your desired weight, but also to lead a more healthy lifestyle. If you find that making dietary changes is not beneficial to your cholesterol levels, talk to your health care provider about other lifestyle changes or medications that might influence your cholesterol levels.

October 8, 2009

How to Lower High Blood Pressure

Many people don’t realize how bad high blood pressure can be for your body, and even more don’t know how to lower high blood pressure even after they know they have it. High blood pressure can lead to early damage of the blood vessels and heart. This can cause strokes, kidney problems, and heart disease.

Because high blood pressure does not normally present any sort of symptoms it is important to get you blood pressure tested regularly. There are ways though that you can help keep your blood pressure down and decrease the risk of any potential outcomes of high blood pressure.

  • Don’t smoke cigarettes or use any tobacco product.
  • Try to lose weight if you’re overweight
  • Moderate intensity exercise 30 to 60 minutes, 4 to 7 days per week
  • Limit how much sodium you eat.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Eat foods containing enough potassium, calcium and magnesium.
  • Avoid fat and cholesterol.
  • Try relaxation techniques

There are also medications that can be taken to help lower your blood pressure. Medications are important and you may need to take them, but switching your lifestyle habits will make you healthier and if you don’t have high blood pressure may save you from developing it in the first place.


October 1, 2009

How To Lower Cholesterol

Foods that Increase CholesterolA problem many people seem to be having is high cholesterol. Even though an incredible amount of people are aware of the risks with high cholesterol very few actually decide to change their way of living. Why? Who knows, maybe they are comfortable and are worried that lowering their cholesterol will cause a dramatic change that will disrupt their current state of content. However, for most people this is untrue. Before looking at ways to prevent high cholesterol lets take a look at what cholesterol is.

First and foremost, not all cholesterol is bad. You actually need cholesterol for your body to be healthy, but having too much can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Because cholesterol can build up in your arteries, it may lead to a blockage resulting in a very dangerous situation.

There are two types of cholesterol one that is bad for you body and another that’s good for your body. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are bad because they tend to build up in your arteries, exactly what you don’t want. However, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are good for your body because they help remove cholesterol from the bloodstream.

There are some things you can do to lower cholesterol levels. Eating healthier foods can lower the levels of LDL in your body and you also might feel better in general with a better diet. If you smoke try quitting, this will increase the HDL levels and help remove some of that bad cholesterol that might become a serious health hazard. If you’re overweight try to drop a few pounds, you’ll feel better, look better, and your health will be better. Also, make sure you exercise on a regular basis.


August 17, 2009

5 Benefits of Red Wine

It’s been said for centuries; “A glass of red wine each day is good for you” – and it’s true. Here are a few reasons why red wine is good for your health.

1. Heart Disease – The most studied benefit of red wine is its ability to protect against various types of heart disease. Scientists believe that regular consumption of red wine is a sure defence against coronary heart disease because of its ability to reduce the production of cholesterol.

2. Clots – Moderate wine drinkers have been found to have lower levels of protein fibrinogen (fibrinogen promotes blood clot formation)

3. Kidney Stones – Red wine has the ability to prevent the formation of kidney stones.

4. High Blood Pressure – Too much alcohol can increase blood pressure; however a study found that the blood pressure of wine drinkers after two glasses and a meal was lower than its initial state.

5. Reverse Smoking Effects – smoking impairs the body’s natural ability to relax it’s vessels. Red wine decreases this harmful effect on the cells in the vessels.

March 9, 2007

10 most common toxins in the human body

Over a lifetime the human body assimilates a number of toxins. Some of these are in such trace amounts that we really needn’t worry about them, but it is still wise to avoid as many toxins in the diet and the environment as possible. Here are ten of the most common toxins found in human blood and cells:

Free Radicals

These are the toxic waste products of the process of oxidation within our bodies. Oxidation (like rust on iron) is what causes the deterioration of cells, like a bruised apple when it goes brown and mushy. This goes on at a cellular level within the human body and accelerates the aging process.

The effects of free radicals can be reduced by the consumption of anti-oxidant-rich red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, along with increasing our exercise and eating less.

Mercury

The most common sources of Mercury are amalgam fillings and the eating of large marine fish such as tuna. Mercury is implicated in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, heart failure, irregular heartbeat and even some cancers. There is debate as to whether it is worthwhile to have amalgam fillings removed and replaced. Similarly, the health benefits of eating oily marine fish should be weighed carefully against the risks of mercury consumption.

Sugar

Refined sugar is known as “the white death”. We all know it’s bad for us, that it contains calories without nutrients. Too much of it can cause insulin resistance, diabetes. The answer is simple; eat less white sugar.

Caffeine

Many people enjoy caffeinated drinks and find that they give them a much-needed “high” in times of fatigue. Don’t forget that caffeine is quite a powerful drug and taking yourself off it can cause quite severe withdrawal symptoms. Some people are “allergic” to caffeine and it can cause irrational mood swings and exacerbation of PMS, even heartbeat irregularities. Best to wean yourself off it.

C-Reactive Protein

Perhaps it is wrong to consider this a toxin in itself, but its presence in the blood is an indicator of inflammation in the body. A high reading of C-Reactive Protein in the blood can indicate a propensity to heart attack. It is elevated by infections, inflammatory conditions, insulin resistance, and certain hormones such as those in the contraceptive pill or HRT. It is thought that a preventative dose of aspirin may be effective in reducing the level of C-Reactive Protein.

Cholesterol

A buildup of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol in the blood is implicated in heart disease via hardening of the arteries. Avoid high cholesterol by eating less saturated fats, exercising regularly, eating supplements rich in plant sterols or (as a last resort) Statins (prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs).

Cortisol

This is produced by the body at times of worry and stress, therefore it is commonly called the stress hormone. Eliminate cortisol by exercising, laughing, relaxing, enjoying a hobby and not allowing your own personal stresses to fester and thrive within you!

Pesticides

We encounter these in our own gardens (unless we garden organically) and on most bought fruits and vegetables. At least trace amounts are probably found in most people’s bodies. Either buy organic or make sure you thoroughly wash any fruit and veg you buy.

Dioxins

These are unwanted byproducts of heating processes and can increase cancer risks. They are suspected as contributory factors in diabetes, low sperm counts and behavioral problems. They are everywhere so it is hard to avoid them on an individual level. Buying organic produce and avoiding saturated animal fats (which tend to harbor dioxins) may help.

Homocysteine

Homocysteine is an amino acid. It can contribute to the risks of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, furring of the arteries, toxicity in pregnancy, or even birth defects.

Its build-up can be caused by kidney disease, genetics or vitamin deficiencies. Supplementation of Vitamins B12, B6 and Folic Acid may be wise. These vitamins enable the conversion of homocysteine into less dangerous amino-acids in the body.

We are all exposed to toxins in the environment and our food over our lifetimes. Some are easy to avoid, others less so. Clean living and regular detox programs are probably the best we can do to avoid overexposure to toxins.

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Article written by Sid McCarthy

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