Avoid Micro-Exfoliating Beads

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Micro-Exfoliating beads help to open the pours of skin to allow for deeper cleansing and, theoretically, healthier skin.  However, these beads pose a serious waste problem.  They are too small to be filtered by water treatment facility and are ending up polluting oceans and lakes all over the world.  Reviews from Avkaplan Niva and the IVM Institute for Environmental Studies expose the extent to which these beads have inundated the environment in a short time.

Environmental Impact

  1. Inundation: A study published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin tested water from the great lakes and found that, depending on proximity to cities, the water contained between 43,000 micro-plastic particles/km² and 466,000 particles/km², the latter representing a large percentage of water born particulate matter.
  2. Impact on Sea-Life: According to Niva, wild caught fish are found with 1 to 7 microplastic beads in their digestive system when examined.  Ingestion through mouths and gills has been observed in lab settings, posing serious risk to smaller fish.
  3. Chemical Impact: The many chemicals used in the production of plastics leak out into the water and into the animals that ingest them.  Furthermore, it is possible that the plastics act as vectors for absorbed chemicals already present in the water, aiding in their accumulation and fauna ingestion.  Plastics are helping to kill the ocean, and micro exfoliating beads are leading the charge.

Alternatives to Micro-Beads

If you want to exfoliate your skin while avoiding these plastics, these alternatives provide an environmentally conscious means of doing so:

  1. Honey: Honey is a natural exfoliate, but beyond that it acts as a humectant, which means it locks moisture onto the skin.  Honey also contains anti-bacterial properties which can keep pathogens detrimental to skin health away from the surface.
  2. Biodegradable “Beads:” Small objects such as rice, apricot seeds, and walnut shells can be mixed into other skin care to produce the same effects as the plastic beads.
  3. Konjac Sponge: If you want the rough, pour opening properties of microbeads, consider a Konjac Sponge.  Made from a root of the same name, this sponge will open pours and clean off dead skin.

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Being a Night-owl Increases Risk of Disease

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A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has found a link between staying up late and diseases such as diabetes and obesity.  A healthy, circadian sleeping schedule is recommended for maximum health.

Study Findings

  1. Evening Type Vs. Morning Type: The scientists categorized two types of “Chronotype,” that is “individual circadian preference in behavioral and biological rhythm relative to external light-dark cycle.”
  2. Associated Diseases: For men, staying up later is associated with Diabetes and Sarcopenia, the technical term for age related muscle loss.  In women, only metabolic syndrome was associated with staying up late.  However, these factors all become serious, men or women, as age increases.

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Eat an Apple and Drink Green Tea Daily

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Eating apples and drinking green tea have long been associated with positive health through nutrients and anti-oxidants, however a new study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research has found the two foods to be especially beneficial in the long term prevention of heart attack and stroke.

Study Findings

  1. Key Compounds Break down VEGF: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is the driving compound in the blood behind the formation of new blood vessel formation, the over abundance of which can lead to poor cardiovascular health.  Green tea and Apples contain specific polyphenols, which are found in all fruits and vegetables, that seem to specifically block VEGF.
  2. Cancer Prevention: VEGF is also responsible for a process known as angiogenesis, which directly boosts the growth of cancer cells.  By diminishing VEGF in the blood cell, you can greatly reduce the factors within your own body that promote the growth of tumors.

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Warning: Calcium Supplements Linked With Macular Degeneration

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A new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology has found a link between increased doses of Calcium supplements with age-related macular degeneration.  If you take calcium supplements, especially if you are over 68, avoid taking more than 800 mg per day.

Supplement Recommendations

  1. Avoid Supplements: If possible, it is far healthier to avoid vitamin and mineral supplements in lieu if a proper diet.  Instead, focus on eating a variety of foods packed with all the vitamins and minerals you’ll need.  Please refer to our page on Powerhouse Vegetables and Proper Cooking Methods to retain the most nutrients.
  2. Restrict Dosage: If a doctor recommends them, or if you are unable to fulfill your nutritional needs through diet, than the optimal choice would be to restrict intake to the minimum.  In the case of calcium, this study found that 800 mg and over saw negative impact on health.

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Warning: Muscle Building Supplements Greatly Increase Risk of Testicular Cancer

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If you take muscle building supplements that contain creatine or androstenedione, you are 65% to 177%  more likely to develop testicular cancer.  It is recommended to avoid these products or cease using them if are already supplementing.  Researchers believe that the increased incidence of testicular cancer beginning in the 1970’s can be directly correlated to the increased consumption of these supplements.

Risk Factors

  1. Multiple Supplements: If you regularly use one of these supplements, you are 65% more likely to develop testicular cancer; if you use more than one these supplements, that number shoots up to 177% more likely.
  2. Long Term/Early Use: Men who began their supplement intake before the age of 25 are at increased risk, as are men who have taken a supplement for more than 3 years.

Suggestions for Mitigating Cancer Risk

  1. Avoid Supplements Entirely: Many alternatives exist that are proven to work as well, if not better than supplements intended to build muscle after a workout.  YMMT recommends chocolate milk, but even fast food has been shown to be just as effective.

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Wash New Clothing Before Wearing

 

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A study conducted by Greenpeace found that 20 major clothing brands use highly toxic chemicals during their textile manufacturing process, and that those chemicals remain on the clothing once retailed.  It is important to mitigate chemical exposure buy first washing the new clothes regardless of whether or not it is specified on the garment.

Study Findings

  1. Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPE’s): NPE’s are highly toxic surfactants that find widespread use in industrial settings, with uses such as detergents, dust-control agents, and deicers.  Their use on an industrial scale leads to widespread human contact and serious environmental impact due to large-scale dumping.  NPE’s are highly toxic to aquatic life and can disrupt hormones in humans.
  2. Brands to Avoid: NPE’s were found in 63% of articles tested.  All of the brands included in the study had at least one garment that contained NPE’s.  Brands that were found to use NPE’s are Giorgio Armani, Benetton, BLAŽEK, C&A, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Spirit, GAP, G&M, Jack Jones, Levi’s, Mango, M&S, Meters bonwe, Only, Tommy Hilfiger, Vancl, and Vero Moda.
  3. Cancer Causing Chemicals: More toxic chemicals called Phthalates and amines, both linked with types of cancer, were found in these brands: Giorgio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret, and Zara.   

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Warning: Statin Efficacy Deliberately Inflated

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If you take cholesterol lowering statins, you may be at serious risk, according to a new article published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. According to the article, Statin’s do indeed lower cholesterol in the blood, but do not lower risk of overall cardiovascular disease or mortality.

Statistical Issues

  1. Only Successful in 1% of Subjects: Pharmaceutical researchers presented that statins lower heart attack risk by 36%, when in reality, subjects taking a placebo had a 3% rate of heart attacks, while Lipitor users had a 1.9% rate of heart attacks, a difference of only 1.1%.
  2. Benefits Do Not Outweigh Rewards: The side effects of statins are severe, with many people gaining weight, losing energy, and showing decline in muscles.  However, the biggest risk is that users of statins may not be taking as many measures to prevent cholesterol related heart attacks as they would be if they weren’t taking the pill, greatly increasing their risk of heart disease while taking a pill that does nothing more than lower their quality of life.

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Warning: Dietary Supplements May Contain Synthetic Amphetamines

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A new study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis found that of the 21 herbal supplements that were tested, 10 were found to contain a synthetically derived chemical called ß-methylphenylethylamine.  This chemical is not approved by the FDA, and can only be produced in a lab.

Dietary Supplement Warnings

  1. Not FDA Approved: Dietary supplements do not require FDA testing or approval to be sold to the public.
  2. Results Vary: Supplements almost never have universal effect; their intended results only effect a small portion of users, not enough to make any claim to scientific efficacy.
  3. Herbal is a Lie: Since these drugs aren’t FDA approved, and since the U.S. has no governance regarding what can be considered “herbal,” the supplements do not necessarily need to be 100% plant based.  The study shows that this is indeed the case, with half of the products studied containing synthetically derived compounds.

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Meditate for 25 Minutes before Doing Creative Work

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Researchers from Leiden University conducted a study concluding that even inexperienced meditators can greatly improve short term and long term cognitive function and creativity by meditating.  Meditating directly prior to a creative task can be immediately beneficial to the way in which the brain perceives new ideas.  Depending on your goal when solving a problem, different types of meditation were found to be useful.

Types of Meditation

  1. Open Monitoring Meditation and Divergent Thinking: This type of meditation focuses on letting thoughts come to one’s head unburdened.  The idea is to “open your mind” and allow thoughts to come to your head naturally, without filtering the results or trying to actively direct your train of thought.  This type of meditation lends itself well to Divergent Thought, in which the goal is to come up with as many solutions to a problem as possible, akin to a brainstorm.
  2. Focused Attention Meditation and Convergent Thinking:  Focused attention is used to clear the mind of distractions by focusing intently on a specific object or thought.  It helps with Convergent Thought, which is used to generate a single solution to a problem.

Resorurces

Avoid Soy Products

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Although being marketed as a healthy alternative to meat, soy products such as Tofu and Soy Milk can be seriously detrimental to health, and are in no way a suitable replacement for meat in the diet.  Furthermore, Soy is a staple ingredient in many processed Western foods, and can be hidden on labels under names such as lectin.

Why is Soy Bad?

  1. Phytoestrogen: Phytoestrogen is a hormone that mimics the natural estrogen in the body.  Just like BPA, mimicking hormones in the body can cause systemic problems in both men (testosterone imbalance, infertility, increased risk of cancer)  and women (menstrual problems, estrogen dominance, cancer).
  2. Urinary Cancer: Soy consumption can lead to a higher risk of urinary and bladder cancer.
  3. Hypothyroidism: If your thyroid is already prone to under-activity, soy can make the condition work, blocking the absorption of key minerals the body needs to survive.
  4. Kidney Stones: Soy contains oxalates, a main component in the formation of kidney stones.  The already high incidence of kidney stones in western society can be made even worse by the consumption of soy.

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Eat Eggs Daily to Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

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A study published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has linked the regular consumption of eggs greatly reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.  The study surveyed 2332 men over an average of 19.3 years, and found that those in the higher percentage of egg consumption were 38% less likely to develop T2D.

Type 2 Diabetes Avoidance

  1. Reduce Sugar Intake: Refined sugars in our everyday Western diet are the main cause of Type 2 Diabetes.  Refined sugars have a multitude of negative impacts on health, from increased blood cholesterol levels to obesity.  Removal of these sugars from the diet is necessary to living a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Regular Exercise: By allowing the body to burn through carbohydrate related calories, you can greatly reduce blood glucose levels and drastically cut the risk of developing Diabetes.
  3. Eat Eggs: The study recognizes that eggs are high in cholesterol, however the link between raised blood cholesterol levels and egg consumption has never been verified.  Experimental studies have linked egg consumption and reduction of blood glucose levels, and this study is the first to link egg consumption and reduction of Type 2 Diabetes Risk

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Only Wash Your Hair Twice a Week

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A health column from Columbia University recently stated that for all but the greasiest heads of hair, washing more than twice a week is unnecessary, and can cause even more damage than simply not washing.  According to the report, excessive washing removes the body’s natural moisturizer, sebum, and can cause dryer scalp and hair.

Recommendations for Hair Health from Columbia Health

  1. Only Wash Once or Twice a Week: If your hair is not excessively greasy, then try to cut down on putting shampoo in your hair to twice a week.  Some heads produce more sebum, however, so if you have very greasy hair, or if you are going through puberty, then you might want to wash more often.
  2. Use Quality Shampoos: Avoid things such as sulfides and shampoos with lots of detergents.  Also, mix up which shampoo brand you use every month or so.
  3. Wash Less if Damaged: Hair damaged by styling techniques, dyes, and bleaches should be washed less frequently in order to allow the body to repair the damage on its own.
  4. Eat Healthy: Diet plays an important role in hair health; eat well to improve your hair.

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Cross Your Fingers to Momentarily Dull Pain

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When you have an accident or find yourself in any sort of pain, researchers found that simply crossing one’s fingers confuses the brain in such a way that it eases pain.  The study, published by Current Biology, concluded that increasing the input into the brain can help to ease pain.

Recommendations for Easing Pain

  1. Cross Your Fingers: The study used illusory pain to test the hypothesis, but since the brain creates the “feeling” of pain regardless of whether it is real or not, it is safe to say that it could help to dull real pain.  At least it can’t hurt.
  2. Swear: Researchers at Keele University found that using 4-letter words when in pain allows people to endure pain 50% longer than those using regular words such as table.

 

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Make Rice Healthy by Cooking it Properly

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At the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, an undergraduate named Sudhair James presented a new method for cooking rice that dramatically cuts down on the starchy calorie content in rice, and even makes it ferment in the stomach like dietary fibers.  The new technique is extremely simple, and besides slight proceduaral changes, only requires that the rice be cooked ahead of time.

How to Cook Rice

  1. Boil Water: Begin the process in the same way one would traditionally cook rice; a 1:2 ration of rice to water.
  2. Add Coconut Oil: This is the first major difference.  You need to add about 3% of the weight of rice, which is equal to about a teaspoon per half cup of rice.  This is the first step in altering the composition of starches within the rice to what are known as “resistant starches” that escape digestion and ferment.
  3. Cook Normally: From here, let the rice cook as you normally would, letting the water be absorbed and the rice softening to your preferred texture.
  4. Cool Immediately:  The next step in altering your rice is to allow the rice to cool for about 12 hours immediately after cooling.  This part of the process can be applied to some other starches, such as pasta, to increase resistant starches.  Simply microwave the rice to heat it back up, or add it cold to already hot food, and you have a much healthier alternative to traditionally cooked rice without sacrificing the flavor and tenderness of one of the worlds favorite foods.

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Increase Fiber intake to Feed Gut Microbiota

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A recent study in Cell Metabolism suggests that the best way to increase gut bacteria is to feed the already existing bacteria with “microbiota accessible carbohydrates,” specifically fiber.  The study indicates that western culture starves its microbiota by depriving it of food high in fiber.

Recommendations for Increasing Fiber Intake

  1. Eat Whole GrainProducts: As You Made Me Think has previously reported, whole grain breads and other whole grain products contain many carbohydrates that escape metabolism in the gut and feed the fermentation process.  This is because whole grain foods contain much higher quantities of fiber than their processed counterparts.
  2. Eat Nuts, Legumes, and Seeds: Eating a Handful of Nuts a Day has already been shown to have systemic health benefits, one reason for which is the amount of fiber in them.  Increasing the intake of beans (legumes), specifically split peas, lentils, black beans, and lima beans will greatly increase fiber intake.  (Mayo Clinic)
  3. Eat Certain Vegetables: Veggies like Artichokes and green peas have the highest fiber quantity.  (Mayo Clinic)

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Avoid Drinking Water with Fluoride

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According to an observational study published in The Journal Epidemiol Community Health conducted in England’s West Midlands, drinking fluoridated water leads to a significant increase in the instances of hypothyroidism.

Recommendations for Avoiding Fluoride

  1. Check Your City’s Website: Large portions of the United States and, according to the study, 10% of England, fluoridate their drinking water.  Your city’s utility website will let you know if your tap water is fluoridated.  For the United States, see the CDC’s website for more information.
  2. Purchase and Appropriate Water Filter: The most reliable way to remove fluoride is through filtration.  However, standard carbon filters will not remove chloride.  Make sure to purchase either a reverse osmosis filter, a deionizer, or an activated alumina filter.
  3. Purchase Pre-Filtered Water at Health Food Stores: In order to avoid bottled water, most health food stores have reverse osmosis or deionizing filters that dispense fluoride free water into your own container.

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Avoid Monsanto’s Roundup Weed Killer

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Both the World Health Organization and the United Nations have released statements stating that a key ingredient in Monsanto’s widely used weed killer Roundup is “probably” carcinogenic. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) met in Lyon, France, and determined that while many of the chemicals used commonly in weed killers were metabolized harmlessly, there is evidence that glyphosate has an adverse effect on both mammalian and human cells in vitro, specifically aiding in the development of Hodgkins-lymphoma.

How to Avoid Glyphosate

  1. Avoid Chemical Weed Killers: While Monsanto’s Roundup is the most widely used industrial weedkiller to use glyphosate, the IARC stated that over 750 different herbicides use the chemical.
  2. Eat Organic Food: Roundup is widely used in industrial farming in the united states, and has been a cause of concern in the food supply for years.  By eating organic foods, it is possible, although not definitive, that the chemical can be avoided.

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Increase Folic Acid Intake to Decrease Risk of Stroke

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A new Chinese Study has concluded that adults with hypertension see significant reduction of cardiovascular mortality when increased amounts of Folic Acid are consumed.

Results of Folic Acid Intake

  1. Reduction of Stroke Risk: Over 4.5 years, volunteers who increased their folic acid intake saw a significant reduction in stroke risk.
  2. Reduction of over-all Cardiovascular Mortality

Sources of Folic Acid

  1. Dark Leafy Greens: Greens such as spinach, collard, turnip, and mustard Greens, as well as non leafy greens such as asparagus and Broccoli.
  2. Citrus: Of all fruits, citrus fruits contain the most folic acid.
  3. Vegetables: Although you should already be eating a healthy dosage of vegetables, veggies such as okra, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, beats and corn all have loads of folic acid.
  4. Beans and Lentils: Pinto beans, lima beans, green peas, black-eyed peas and kidney beans are especially high in folic acid.

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Consume Fermented Dairy Products to Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s

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Studies released over the last few years have been showing positive correlation between intake of fermented dairy products and reduction of risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  Multiple strains of fermented dairy have been tested over the years, but Lactobacillus helveticus and Penicillium candidum, two common microbes used to make cheeses, were the subject of recent studies designed to isolate the mechanisms behind the correlation.

What to Eat

  1. Lactobacillus helveticus Cheeses: Cheese is the primary focus of the studies into fermented dairy, and in moderation can be extremely healthy.  Read the label of store bought cheeses before purchasing! Many cheeses in the United States can’t even be legally labeled “cheese.”  Beware of “Cheese Product.”  These unnaturally cured cheeses use artificial means of fermentation and aging, and shredded cheese may even contain wood pulp.  Lactobacillus helveticus is a very common bacterial strain for cheese making, and can be found in American made Swiss, Emmental, Cheddar, Romano, Parmesan, provolone, and mozzarella cheeses.  
  2. Penicillium candidum Cheeses: Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers and Cambozola cheeses all use the Penicillium candidum bacteria for fermentation.  It forms a hard, natural crust on the outside of the cheese.

Fermented Dairy and Alzheimer’s

  • Reduces Amyloid Precursor Protein: In both studies, rats that were given the respective bacterium saw significant decrease in APP in serum.  Build-up of APP in the brain is currently believed to be the cause of dementia and Alzheimers, as well as general memory loss.  The studies show that metabolism of the protein is increased with cheese consumption in rats.

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Be Socially Connected to Increase Longevity

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia: Loneliness by Hans Thoma

Researchers from Brigham Young University have established a connection between social isolation and overall mortality.  Depending on certain factors, social isolation increases mortality rate by 26-32%.

Findings on Loneliness

  1. Loneliness Can Be Both Subjective and Objective: Researchers marked a clear difference between perception of loneliness and actual social isolation, and in both cases, mortality rates increased.  Some people have many social interaction, yet still feel isolated, while some experience very little social connectivity but are contended to be alone.  In both cases, subjective and objective, risk of early death is increased.
  2. Direct and Indirect Results on Health: Both types of loneliness have direct physical side effects, such as high blood pressure, lipid profiles, and poorer immune functions, as well as behaviorally induced side effects, such as smoking, physical inactivity, and poor sleep.
  3. Living Alone Causes Obesity: The study showed that living alone and social isolation have direct results on physical health, including vastly increased inactivity and over consumption of calories, leading directly to obesity.

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