Dangers Of Vitamin Or Mineral Overdose Part I

Most people don’t realize there’s no real advantage to taking more than the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals and many don’t recognize there may be disadvantages. While the general theme of our blogs are about eating healthy and the vitamin and mineral content of specific foods, sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad for our health. Routinely getting an overload of vitamins and minerals can hurt you. It is very hard to overdo it from diet alone and rare when combining a healthy diet with a standard multivitamin but is not uncommon if you combine the one or both with other supplements. Let’s explore what is too much of some vitamins and minerals and why.

Vitamin C cannot be stored in our bodies so it’s rare to overdo it on this one but getting more than 2000 mg a day can be harmful. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is 60 mg but too much on a regular basis can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, heartburn, headache, insomnia and kidney stones.

Iron can be stored and when consistently getting too much, it builds up in our organs causing severe medical conditions. The RDA for iron varies somewhat depending on age and whether you are pregnant but for most its 18 mg. Getting over 45 mg a day is very harmful to your health and can even cause death unless you suffer from anemia. The side effects come in stages and begin with irritability, lethargy, explosive abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, which can sometimes contain blood. Late stage side effects consist of seizures, a decrease in blood sugar levels, fever and liver damage. Symptoms of liver damage can include bleeding and jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and white portion of the eyes. Too much iron may also cause scaring in the stomach and intestines, which can lead to a blockage in the digestive tract. Death usually occurs because of a buildup of iron in the heart, liver and endocrine glands, such as the pancreas.

Zinc is not stored in the body and the RDA for adults is between 8-11 mg. Too much can cause digestive upset, including diarrhea and abdominal pain. Very large doses of zinc — 225 milligrams in a single dose can also cause you to vomit. Too much zinc also interferes with your body’s ability to absorb copper from your diet and some antibiotic medications. If you take zinc supplements in the form of nasal spray, you might experience other side effects. High doses of nasal zinc can affect the nerves in your nose, causing anosmia — a loss of your sense of smell.

Vitamin A can be stored in the body making it easier to overdo it when you have some in reserves for when your body needs it. The RDA is between 700-900 micrograms or 2,300-3,000 IU. When too much is taken you can become sick and skin yellowing can occur. Children are more sensitive to an overdose and too much taken while pregnant can cause severe birth defects.

Selenium is stored in the body and the RDA is 55 micrograms. It is not recommended to take more than 200 micrograms daily. An overdose of selenium may cause bad breath, fever, nausea, and liver, kidney and heart problems. It also greatly increases your risk of skin cancer and diabetes. At high enough levels, selenium could cause death.

While a healthy, balanced diet and daily multivitamin is recommended, it’s important to know the risks of taking vitamin and mi

Health Benefits of Raspberries

Berries of all kinds are a great and healthy snack that boasts amazing healthy benefits. Rasberries, a smaller and sometimes overlooked part of the berry family-offer their sweet taste and are antioxidant powerhouses.

The antioxidants in raspberries help protect us against free radical damage which causes cancer and other age related diseases. The human body naturally produces free radicals and the antioxidants to counteract their damaging effects. In most cases, free radicals far outnumber the naturally occurring antioxidants. A continual supply of external sources of antioxidants is necessary in order to maintain the balance and obtain the maximum benefits of antioxidants. Antioxidants benefit the body by neutralizing and removing the free radicals from the bloodstream.
They also contain high amounts of phytonutrients which help control the dangers of excessive inflammation. By helping to scavenge free radical molecules and regulating the activity of enzymes that could trigger unwanted inflammation, the phytonutrients in raspberries help lower our risk of chronic diseases that are associated with chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. These chronic diseases include obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.

Raspberries are also rich in dietary fiber. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, helps with weight management, keeps our digestive system running smoothly, promotes a healthy cardiovascular system, lowers our stroke risk and keeps skin healthy.

The vitamin A in raspberries helps lower stroke risk and is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, cell growth, healthy skin, maintaining strong bones and healthy mucous membranes. It also plays a direct role in performing physiological functions and helps in the development of the central nervous system. It is also needed in the formation of sperm cells and the regulation of hemoglobin production in the embryo.

The vitamin e in raspberries helps speed up wound healing, maintaining healthy skin, maintaining a healthy immune system, thinning the blood and helps prevent eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.

They also contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.

Iron helps with carrying life-giving oxygen to human blood cells. Magnesium is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, helps with transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

Now you know that these amazing little berries pack a healthful punch in such a small package. With the amount of vitamins and nutrients they provide-they are worth adding to everyone’s regular diet!

Health Benefits of Lemongrass

Lemongrass has long been widely used in Asian countries for its medicinal properties and also for cooking. It’s a tropical herb in no relation to lemons other than its strong lemon-like aroma and taste. While the aroma from the plant is widely used as a natural mosquito repellent, most in the US don’t enjoy the many other benefits of this fragrant and edible plant.

Lemongrass is packed with cancer preventing antioxidant power houses vitamin A and C. Vitamin A ensures a healthy immune system, healthy skin and healthy mucous membranes. It also promotes strong bones and teeth, promotes good vision, and healthy soft tissues.

Vitamin C is important for a healthy immune system, healthy skin, proper wound healing, regulating blood sugar levels and prevents the signs of aging. It also prevents cancer, lowers cholesterol, prevents heart attack and stroke, lowers risk of neurological disorders, improves blood flow and helps us better deal with stress.

Lemongrass also contains folic acid which plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including cell repair and maintenance, DNA synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and the formation of leukocytes and erythrocytes. It prevents birth defects, obesity and various cancers, including colon cancer, as well as preventing heart disease.

It also contains magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese. Magnesium helps with the transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

Zinc ensures a healthy immune system, prevents cancer, proper endocrine function and helps with maintaining proper hormone levels. It also supports a healthy reproductive system, improves cardiovascular health, prevents diabetes, boosts brain function and prevents depression.

The health benefits of copper include proper growth of the body, efficient utilization of iron, proper enzymatic reactions, as well as improved health of connective tissues, hair, and eyes. It’s also important for preventing premature aging, increasing energy production, regulating heart rhythm, balancing thyroid glands, reducing symptoms of arthritis, proper wound healing, increasing red blood cell formation, and reducing cholesterol.

Iron is important for carrying oxygen to blood cells, healthy skin, proper brain function and muscle health. Potassium helps regulate heart rhythm, maintain water balance within the body, lowers cholesterol and reduces blood pressure. Calcium promotes strong bones and teeth, helps with weight management, prevents cancer and promotes heart health. Manganese promotes healthy bones, bone metabolism, and helping to create essential enzymes for building bones. It’s also important for the formation of connective tissues, absorption of calcium, proper functioning of the thyroid gland and sex hormones, regulation of blood sugar level, and metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.

It’s amazing that with all these benefits in one plant and yet it’s still not a popular staple in the average American diet.

Staying Healthy While Traveling

Whether you are flying or on a road trip, one thing no one wants to bring home with them is a cold. When traveling, you are prone to be in places with far more germs than you would be exposed to under normal circumstances. Here are some tips on staying healthy while traveling.

One of the biggest challenges of travel is protecting against colds and flus. Being on an airplane with a bunch of people coughing and sneezing or a rest stop is a great way to get sick. But frequent hand washing (or use of hand sanitizer) can make a real difference and help keep you well. Keep some hand sanitizer in your bag for those times when a faucet and soap aren’t available and try not to touch your face after touching any surfaces such as handrails and door knobs.

Eating healthy foods will give your body the necessary vitamins and nutrients it needs to keep your immune system running smoothly. Bring healthy snacks or purchase meals that will give your body a boost rather than greasy or preservative filled foods that will make your body feel sluggish.

Getting exercise will keep your body happy but can be a challenge while traveling. Hit the hotel fitness center for a quick walk on the treadmill. If you are traveling to a place with restaurants and attractions close by-choose to walk to your venue rather than drive or catch a cab. The less time you spend in areas with potential germs such as rental cars or cabs the less you are exposing yourself to.
Getting adequate rest is just as important as eating well and exercising. Our bodies need to recharge in order for our body systems to run at optimal levels and they can’t do that when we are short changing ourselves on sleep.

Be flexible because things don’t always go the way we want them to when traveling. Delayed or canceled flights to mix-ups at the hotel can put a damper on our plans. But rather than struggle against things that are beyond your control, why not use these unpredicted events as opportunities. During a flight delay, catch up on those phone calls you’ve been putting off, or write that email or blog post you’ve been procrastinating on. Stress bogs our body systems down by using more energy to combat the stress which leaves less energy for the rest to run smoothly.

Being prepared by keeping snacks with you instead of planning on eating at the airport or rest stop will help if plans don’t go smoothly. You can avoid getting over tired or shaky if your plans go awry by planning ahead with a few healthy snack choices that will give your body a boost and hold you over until you can get a full meal.

The last thing anyone wants to deal with while traveling is a cold so it’s better to plan ahead and make a conscious effort to keep yourself healthy rather than just hoping for the best. It’s never fun to suffer through a cold on the flight or ride home but it can be avoided with a little effort. Happy Travels!

Health Benefits of Spices

Adding spices to your food can add to the flavor and give some pizazz to an otherwise bland meal. Besides adding some flavor to your meal-spices offer amazing health benefits in a small package.

For those who like it hot-studies have shown that people who eat a spicy meal consume less calories and these same studies found that chemicals in peppers called capsaicinoids (which cause the burn)reduce cravings for fatty, salty and sweet foods. This only pertains to those who don’t eat spicy food on a regular basis and not chili-heads.

Foods with Turmeric which contains curcumin help us breath easier. For centuries, Ayurvedic doctors have used turmeric (curcumin) to treat respiratory problems. Studies show that it protects the lungs from irritants, pollutants and infectious agents in the air such as cigarette smoke, exhaust, dust and viruses. This results in a lower risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, asthma, laryngitis, bronchitis and other lungs diseases. It’s because of curcumin’s ability to prevent infection and to suppress a protein called NF-kB, which causes inflammation and mucus in the airways.

Many who eat spicy foods tend to sweat because of the spice. Sweating helps us rid our bodies of germs that are making us sick. Adding a little spice to your chicken soup while you are fighting a cold will help you sweat out more germs and can help break a fever.

Certain spices can cancel out the damage of a high fat meal. When you eat a high fat meal your levels of triglycerides (heart disease and diabetes) surge, as well as your insulin, which stores unused glucose as fat. When you season a high fat meal with turmeric or clove your triglyceride response and insulin is decreased. These spices are particularly high in antioxidants that improve insulin sensitivity.
Speaking of antioxidants rich spices- turmeric and clove also fight off free radical damage which causes cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, immune dysfunction, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and other age related diseases.

Need another reason to add spice to your meals? Grilling and barbecuing at temperatures above 375 degrees leads to the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) — toxins linked with colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers. Those crispy, burnt bits are the highest in HCAs. But a study at Kansas State University found that marinating or dry-rubbing beef patties with rosemary cut HCAs by 61 to 70 percent and that Thai spice preparation reduced HCAs by 40 to 42 percent. While that doesn’t mean you can burn your meat without worry-it does show that the antioxidants in rosemary combat that those cancer causing carcinogens before they have a chance to wreak havoc in your body.

So next time you are cooking, add a little spice to your meal and enjoy these amazing benefits.

Health Benefits of Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is an extra-hard dairy product made from cow’s milk. Its sharp, nutty, slightly salty flavor is a popular accompaniment to Italian cuisine. It boasts an abundance of health benefits along with a wonderful flavor. It requires a long process of ageing so that the proteins in parmesan can be broken down into peptones, peptides and free amino acids, in effect the protein has been pre-digested; making the it readily available which puts very little strain on the metabolism.

Our bodies use protein to repair and maintain itself. A major part of your skin, muscles, organs, blood and glands, protein exists in every cell in your body. A 2-ounce serving of Parmesan cheese contains about 20.3 grams of protein, which is 41 percent of the daily value. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein also improves brain function, prevents disease, helps maintain blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health and improves sleep.

Parmesan cheese is also rich in calcium which is essential to your body’s proper growth and development. It prevents osteoporosis, is heart healthy, prevents cancer, helps with weight management and plays a crucial role in other bodily functions, such as nerve transmission and muscular function.

It’s also rich in Vitamin A which aids in good vision, particularly in low light. Sufficient vitamin A is also needed for healthy skin, teeth and body tissue. It also boosts our immune system health, prevents cancer, helps develop the nervous system, prevents signs of aging and keeps our reproductive systems running smoothly in males and females.

It contains phosphate which is essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates, and is widely distributed in cell membranes. It is also required for muscle contraction and the mineralization of your teeth and bones. A 30 gram serving will boost your phosphate intake by one third, and also provide you with a quality amount of calcium which is shown to regulate body fat storage.

Many people are instantly put off by the fat content of cheese. In fact those who love cheese totally ignore it, and those who are conscious about their weight believe that the benefits of cheese are outweighed by the fat content. It is important to be aware that fat is a fundamental part of nutrition. Muscular activity is dependent on fatty acids and, again, because of the changes that occur during the ageing of Parmesan, much of the fat is in the form of short chain fatty acids, these compounds are absorbed more easily and supply energy very quickly to the body; in fact, they are treated by the body in much the same way as glucosides.

Parmesan cheese has a lower fat content than most other cheeses and does pack a healthful punch of benefits to add to our diet.

Health Benefits Of Figs

Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing like the unique taste and texture of fresh figs. California figs are available from June through September and boast a sweet and unique taste while packing in an amazing amount of health benefits.

Figs are a good source of potassium which is the third most abundant mineral in human body and is a powerful food source for maintaining good health. Potassium helps to control blood pressure, provides relief from stroke, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions and nervous system.

They are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber and fiber-rich foods have a positive effect on weight management because they help you feel fuller for longer. Fiber also helps control blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, maintains a healthy digestive system, lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke, prevents kidney stones and helps maintain healthy skin.

Figs are also a good source of vitamins A, C, E and K. Vitamin A is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, maintaining a healthy nervous system, cancer prevention, maintaining healthy skin and cell growth. It also has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.

Vitamin C, another antioxidant powerhouse, is also important for a healthy immune system, cancer prevention, regulating blood sugar levels, preventing heart disease and stroke, prevents cataracts, maintaining healthy skin, reduces the risk of neurological disorders and helps us better deal with stress.

Vitamin E, yet another antioxidant, helps protect against toxins such as air pollution, premenstrual syndrome, eye disorders such as cataracts, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. It also helps us maintain healthy skin, prevents cancer, reduces cholesterol levels, prevents blood clots, alleviates fatigue and strengthens capillary walls.

Vitamin K helps maintain bone health, prevents blood clots, helps maintain healthy skin, helps with wound healing, prevents cancer and prevents heart disease. Vitamin K has also been shown to be essential for the synthesis of sphingolipids (a crucial fat) that helps form the myelin sheath or outer wrapping around the nerve. These crucial fats are essential for proper brain and nervous system function. This is beneficial in preventing Alzheimer disease.

Figs also contain calcium which prevents osteoporosis, helps with weight management, prevents cancer and is heart healthy. They also contain Tryptophan which induces good sleep and helps get rid of sleep disorders such as insomnia.

If you are already a fan of figs-now you know just how good they are for you and if you’re not a fan, maybe now is the time to give them another try!