Dangers of Drinking Energy Drinks

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You may think nothing of picking up an energy drink for a quick, tasty afternoon pick-me-up, in fact, global sales of energy drinks reached over $12 billion in 2012, proving how popular they are with consumers. However, you may not have considered the health risks that come with regular consumption of highly caffeinated beverages.

The Daily Mail reported the death of teenager Joshua Merrick in 2014, after the 19 year old began using caffeinated drinks to boost his energy during workouts. Sadly, this is not a rare case. A 2011 US study examined a number of cases involving energy drinks as the cause of seizures, mania, strokes or death.

There have since been calls to place and age limit on energy drinks. In the UK and Sweden, there is no legislation in place, however several supermarket chains have begun refusing sales of the beverages, such as Red Bull and Monster Energy, to children under 16.

In the USA, similar progress is being made, as Los Angeles may be set to become the first city in the country to place an age restriction on the drinks.

What defines an ‘energy drink’?

Part of the issue is that people are regularly drinking energy drinks as they enjoy the taste, without putting much thought into the content.

They contain high quantities of caffeine, taurine and vitamins, designed to work together to create an energy ‘buzz’.

The drinks originated in Japan in the 1960s and became popular in Europe and the US during the 1980s and 90s, likely due to the development of the rave and clubbing cultures.

Today, they are commonplace, often sold as a mix or chaser with alcoholic beverages in clubs or bars.

The drinks are marketed as stimulants, claiming to improve focus, performance and overall energy. It has been predicted that over 80% of adults in the USA consume caffeine each day, proving how these products could be seen as appealing as an alternative to coffee or caffeine pills.

11 Foods That You Should Only Eat Raw

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Sometimes when cooking, we wonder what the ingredients we are using would taste like alone. Surprisingly, there are a number of commonly cooked foods that are actually better eaten raw, exhibiting health benefits that simply don’t exist after the item has been through the cooking process.

You may have also noticed the popularity of purely raw diets appearing in the general media, encouraging dieters to be mindful of what they’re putting into their bodies and looking to make the most of every health benefit food contains in its natural state.

It has been suggested that when eating raw foods almost exclusively, the individual will experience a significantly higher level of energy, a stronger ability to focus and less minor ailments such as acid reflux or general aches and pains.

However, there is also evidence to suggest there are risks with raw diets, such as poor thyroid and digestive health and subsequently developing an inability to absorb nutrients effectively.

Taking this into account, it’s clear that there are health benefits to eating certain foods raw, however it is likely more beneficial to find a healthy balance, rather than aim for an exclusively raw diet.

Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a registered dietician from Chicago, Illinois, states that “Some produce is most nutritious uncooked, while other kinds need heat to bring out the best in them.”

Read on to discover a variety of foods that taste great when served raw, as well as the numerous health benefits they hold.

Nuts

Raw nuts contain healthy fats that are essential for the body to function. They are also known to lower the low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) in the blood. They also have the ability to lower your risk of developing blood clots and can improve the overall health of the lining inside you arteries. When nuts are roasted, these essential fats become broken down and have the opposite effect – contributing to cardiovascular disease and plaque.

Broccoli

Raw broccoli, when combined with the chewing process needed to break it down, can help to rupture a compound within the plant’s cell walls. This compound is myrosinase, an enzyme that can help your liver detoxify carcinogens and fight against cancer. Myrosinase is deactivated when cooked, and those who eat steamed broccoli will only absorb around a third of its potential, so enjoy it raw for the maximum benefit.

14 High Calorie Fruits You Should Avoid While Trying to Lose Weight

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When you’re looking to lose weight, fruit is often recommended as a healthy snack, used to replace your previous candy bars or potato chips, but what many people fail to realise is that certain fruits contain high amounts of calories, which could hinder their weight loss progress.

Dried Fruits

Due to the fruit’s natural water being removed during the drying process, dried fruits are a lot smaller than the freshly picked product. This means a high number of calories are packed into a very small bite. A cup of raisins, prunes, dates or currants, for example, equates to almost 500 calories. The fact they’re so easy to eat, almost like candy, means you’ll consume far more than just a few pieces, and the result could take you way over your daily calorie intake goal.

Avocado

Avocado is high in fat content, giving it a high calorie count overall. A single cup of pureed avocado contains around 385 calories – almost 20% of your recommended daily intake, based on the 2000 calorie per day recommended for women.

Durian

Durian, known for its awful smell yet delicious, creamy center, contains 357 calories per cup. This may not come as too much of a surprise, due to the fact its milky texture feels relatively indulgent, however can still be unexpected to see such high calorie content in otherwise healthy produce.

Tamarind

A cup of tamarind pulp contains around 287 calories, however it is rich in fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Most of the calorie content comes from sugar, which is naturally occurring, however there are low-sugar alternative fruits that are much better suited to casual snacking. Tamarind can instead be used as a paste, often used to complement steak sauces, chutneys or desserts.

Sugar Apples

Sugar apples, also known as custard apples, contain 235 calories per cup. Although indulgent, they’re still healthier than most desserts due to their antioxidant properties, vitamins, magnesium and dietary fiber, making them a delicious after-dinner treat.

15 Little Known, Extremely Healthy Exotic Foods You Must Start Eating

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With the information available online today, we’re all aware of which foods are healthy or unhealthy. When committing to a healthy diet, we often head straight for the health food section of the grocery store, selecting whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These are, of course, healthy, beneficial choices, however you may find yourself getting bored with the same meals and ingredients over time.

Instead, take a stroll through your local fresh market or independent exotic grocery store. You’ll likely find some little known, exotic foods that are sure to add a twist to any meal while you reap the health benefits.

Spirulina

Spirulina was originally used by the Aztect and is now cultivated in Chad, a landlocked country in Africa. It contains healthy bacteria, full of vitamins, nutrients and protein, making it a great addition to health shakes, bars or juices. It has immune system boosting properties and is also an effective antioxidant.

Kukicha

Kukicha, also referred to as bocha, is a Japanese concoction of twigs usually marketed as a tea blend. The combined ingredients create a nutty, creamy, slightly sweet flavor, making it delicious in addition to being rich in antioxidants and calcium. The twig blend is also commonly added to juices to allow children to enjoy the health benefits too.

Harissa

Spices and peppers are used in Tunisia to make Harissa, a hot chilli sauce full of Vitamin C. It’s been proven to burn fat and lower blood pressure, making it a beneficial addition to African cuisine or even a fun take on hot wings on game day.

Cupuacu

Cupaucu is a super-fruit, found in the tropical rainforests of South America. It contains an edible, sweet, fragrant, white pulp which is perfect for desserts or juice blends. Cupaucu is full of antioxidants, essential fatty acids and can even help to increase your libido.

16 Health Risks of Consuming Too Much Caffeine

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Over 80% of people in the United States consume around 200 mg of caffeine each day, which is no surprise when we look at how easy it is to come by. Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, energy drinks, cola and even chocolate to name just a few.

Caffeine changes the way the body works, and while it may prove to be an effective stimulant, the effects can be unpleasant or even dangerous when too much has been consumed.

There are a number of signs and side effects that may indicate you’re consuming more caffeine than is recommended.

The Effects:

High Heartbeat Rate

Due to the stimulating properties of caffeine on your central nervous system, it is normal for your heart rate to increase within 15 minutes of consuming it. If you’re experiencing a higher heartrate more often than not, this could be a sign you’re consuming more caffeine than your system is willing to handle.

Heartburn

When you consume caffeine, your esophagus becomes relaxed, which contributes to gastroesophageal reflux. This can cause heartburn to those who are susceptible, which can be an uncomfortable experience.

Feeling Jittery

While it’s normal to feel a little restless after a cup of coffee or energy drink, feeling constantly jittery is a clear sign you need to cut back. Caffeine stimulates the hormones within your body, such as adrenaline, which causes jitters and tremors.

Anxiety

The aforementioned afflictions, such as an increase in heart rate, heightened adrenaline and stimulated senses can be overwhelming to the body, resulting in feelings of anxiety. If you’re feeling ‘on edge’ and can’t think why, it’s very possible you’ve had one too many cups of coffee.

Muscle Spasms

A prolonged use of caffeine in abundance can lead to regular muscle twitches or spasms, as the stimulative effects can cause involuntary, erratic movements. This can be alarming when unexpected and is a clear cut sign an individual needs to cut back before doing further damage to their system.

Disorderly Thoughts and Speech

Caffeine speeds up your senses and abilities, which in this case include thought and speech. This is often considered useful in the correct circumstances, for example when battling through a last minute project, however it can result in confusion or stuttering when taken too far.

7 Signs Your Liver is in Bad Condition

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Although our organs are what keep us running, we often take them for granted. So we eat unhealthy foods, don’t exercise, drink lots of alcohol, and fail to get a good night’s sleep.

Because our organs are inside of us, we can’t exactly observe the abuse our organs are taking. However, there are ways to notice when your organs aren’t working as well as they should be.

Getting to Know Your Liver

One of the most prominent organs in the body is the liver. It plays a number of vital roles such as:

Manufacturing blood proteins that aid in clotting, oxygen transport, and immune system function
Storing excess nutrients and returning some of the nutrients to the bloodstream
Manufacturing bile, a substance needed to help digest food
Helping the body store sugar (glucose) in the form of glycogen
Ridding the body of harmful substances in the bloodstream, including drugs and alcohol
Breaking down saturated fat and producing cholesterol

As you can imagine, when the liver is not functioning properly the whole body suffers. One of the most common ways that the liver takes abuse is through excessive alcohol consumption. Many people often joke about, “Drinking so hard their liver hurts.” But this is no joking matter. Cirrhosis of the liver is a common ailment that affects hundreds of thousands of people yearly if not more.

Cirrhosis of the liver is a, “late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcohol abuse. The liver carries out several necessary functions, including detoxifying harmful substances in your body, cleaning your blood and making vital nutrients.” (Source – Mayo Clinic)

In addition to cirrhosis, there are many other liver ailments such as ‘Fatty Liver Disease’ and Hepatitis. These are serious medical issues and should not be treated lightly. The best approach to treating these issues is to prevent them from getting out of hand. This means that you should be firmly aware of signs that your liver is in bad condition.

5 Signs on Your Body Telling You Are Unhealthy

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Despite advances in technology, it seems that society is in worse health than it’s ever been. Diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are all too common affecting millions of American every year. But there’s a lot more that afflicts people than major illnesses.
Even smaller issues like fatigue, slow metabolism, bad skin, anxiety, headaches etc. are extremely common. In fact, in today’s world you’d be hard pressed to find someone who is not on some sort of prescription medication or who suffers from some type of severe or chronic medical issue.
Staying healthy comes down to a few common practices:

Diet
Exercise
Lifestyle (I.e. Good sleep, limited alcohol etc.)

While these things are a great start to being healthy, sometimes it’s not enough. Maybe something deep down is brewing but hasn’t yet manifested itself fully yet.
Regardless of what’s going on, nobody wants to suffer from medical issues and would prefer to slow the growth of these illnesses, or to just avoid them altogether. The first step to doing so is recognizing the signs on your body that shows you are unhealthy.
These signs manifest themselves in a variety of ways, but there are a few particular things you should look for:
Quality of Skin, Hair, Nails and Eyes
Amount of body fat
Let’s begin with four of the most common external signs:

The Skin

Aren’t we all jealous of people we see with perfect skin in magazines? Well, oftentimes their skin is photo shopped and heavily covered in makeup.
The truth is most people have less than perfect skin. Despite advances in technology, and the creation of numerous skin products, it fails to produce bright, glowing skin.
This is because these skincare treatments fail to target the true source of bad skin. They’re too busy focusing on what’s outside the body, as opposed to what’s going on inside.
Whether it’s acne, hives, itchiness, rashes, or eczema there’s a good reason to believe that there is something going on within. There are usually three common explanations for this:
Deficiencies in Nutrients, Often Vitamins and Minerals
A Hormonal Imbalance, or
A Digestive Issue

Clearly these issues go beyond just “bad skin”; they are issues that if left untreated can wreak serious havoc on a person’s body.

So what are these more serious medical issues? Well, in some cases it’s diabetes: “Diabetes, for example, is generally a silent disease, but it can lead to distinct changes to the skin. So the skin may in fact be the first indicator of what’s happening,” notes dermatologist Amy Newburger.

Other medical issues that manifest themselves in the skin are often liver diseases like Hepatitis and Cirroshis of the Liver. These diseases often cause Jaundice, when the skin appears to be yellow.

One less serious issue, yet one that is all too common is dry lips. Dry lips, “… show ¬possible internal -dehydration, vitamin B deficiency or you could be low in iron intake… Check with your GP and ¬hydrate your skin by drinking plenty of water.”

5 Foods That Kill Brain Cells

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The human brain weighs three pounds.Many factors influence the development of and deterioration of brain cells. Things like: an unhealthy diet, lack of stimulation, and a sedentary lifestyle are major contributors to killing brain cells and memory problems. Studies have shown that a stimulating environment can result in a25% greater ability to learnand retain information.

Diets high in certain foods can actually harm or kill brain cells.

1. Trans Fatty Acids.

Fatty acids are found in all sorts of things including: processed foods, margarines, salad oils, deli meats, bakery goods, potato and corn chips, and candy.

Americans consumean estimated 10-30 grams of trans fatty acids every day. The RDA is less than a third of that.

Regular consumption of such things as: trans fatty acids, saturated fats or refined sugars can raise levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. This has been linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
To make trans fatty acids, natural unsaturated vegetable fats are heated to a high temperature with a nickel catalyst and hydrogen gas. This process is called hydrogenation. Trans fatty acids have an unnaturally long shelf life. Thus hydrogenation is a valued process.

Approximately 70% of the US-produced soybean oil has been partially hydrogenated. A natural product has been altered by a unnatural process. Natural fats have been converted to an unnatural chemically altered substance.

In recent studies visual memory of healthy adults resulted in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) when they consumed high levels of saturated fat and simple carbs. Test groups that ate foods low in saturated fat with fewer simple carbs did not show symptoms of MCI.
Moreover after one month of a low saturated fat and simple carbs diet, visual memory of the first group showed improvement.

A 2011 study of people who consume diets high in trans fatty acids revealed that this group had less favorable cognitive function and less total cerebral brain volume. The group also had lower scores on cognitive and memory tests.

2. Saturated Fats

Fats on meat, chicken skin, and full fat dairy products and butter are saturated fats.
A 2012 study revealed a regular diet of foods high in saturated fats was linked to a gradual decline in such cerebral activities as cognitive function and memory.

A study of 6,000 women over 65 showed that those women who consumed the highest amounts of saturated fats also had the worst cognitive and memory functions.
Women who consumed diets high in monounsaturated fats for example those in olive oil, peanut butter and avocados had significantly higher cognitive and memory scores.

10 Foods That Can Cause Heart Attack

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Why Watch What You Eat?

Some foods simply wave a red flag at your heart. They are not heart healthy.
Every single day in USA alone heart disease kills over 2,150 Americans. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women according to the American Heart Association.
North Americans’ diet contains some heart-deadly foods. Avoiding this could save thousands of lives.

What to Watch out for?

There are sadly many foods which are on North American shopping lists that are just waiting to cause a heart attack. Here are some of the worst.

1. Pizza—the Perfect Food?

Once touted as a perfect food for children because it fulfilled many of the food groups—especially if adorned with veggies and/or fruit—pizza is now deemed an artery-clogger.
A single slice of cheese pizza often exceeds 2/3 of your daily ration of saturated fats. Those are the same animal fats in beef, dairy products, and pork.
Avoid pizza toppings like bacon, pepperoni and sausage as they are highly processed. More about that later!

2. Fast Food

We are a nation on the run. Fast food has sadly become a way of life. Portions are too large. Fast foods are full of trans fats and refined sugars. They are most often prepared by frying and the oils are used and reused adding to the saturation.
Check out any fast food menu. There is very little that isn’t loaded with saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and/or sodium. After just one highly processed, high in saturated fats mealyour blood vessels dropped their ability to dilate by 24 percent.
Even supposed “healthy choices” like sushihave sauces or soups are high in sodium and fats

It’s not just the fast food. Processed food in general has a very high sodium content.

3. Milk-The Perfect Food?

Once looked upon as a perfect food for its high amounts of calcium, whole milk and processed milk products are artery-clogging. Choose low fat or skim milk and make your own yogurt.

5 Yummy Drinks for Amazing Body Detox

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Detoxing can make you feel happier, healthier and fresh, due to the body’s release of toxins. Detoxes can also help to prevent chronic diseases and enhance your immune system, so there’s no better time to take on a new cleansing challenge.

Most detoxes focus on drinks, rather than foods, and there are a number of ways to incorporate these healthy beverages into your daily diet.

Smoothies

Most people will agree that fruit smoothies are delicious, making them the perfect way to detox yet still feel as if you’re enjoying an indulgent treat. They can include any combination of fruits or vegetables, allowing you to easily refreshed, cleansed and energized.

It’s even possible, and perhaps even beneficial, to create your own smoothies by using a smoothie maker at home! There are detox smoothie recipe books available to purchase, in addition to countless recipes that are completely free to view online. You may also find that making your own recipes proves to be more affordable and even healthier than the store brands, especially if you take into account the added sugar that many manufacturers include.

Cleanse

For those dedicated who are open to ideas that are a little more extreme, juice cleanses are a delicious yet challenging option to replenish the body, each with their own unique benefits.

The cleanse is designed to omit all food, in favour of fruit and vegetable juices as a source of nutrition.

They are available from a number of different companies, both online and in health stores, with each offering an array of delicious flavors.

However, cleansers should be aware that juice cleanses have attracted a lot of criticism and controversy, as they are often marketed as a weight loss tool, promoting starvation and unhealthy weight loss techniques relating to dangerous eating disorders.