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Candida Overgrowth



Candida overgrowth has nearly become an epidemic, affecting an estimated 40 million people. Unfortunately, this is a condition which can cause debilitating symptoms, yet it is often overlooked by many healthcare professionals. The array of symptoms, whether constant, fleeting, or intermittently changing; is all too vast. They are all encompassing and often so incapacitating they may ultimately become quality-of-life rendering. Some people who suffer from severe symptoms caused by Candida are not even able to hold down a job. It is a sad scenario that seems invisible to others not suffering from similar symptoms, and it can be equally frustrating to seek answers and be dismissed. Here is a closer look at Candida.

Candida is a genus of yeast, which is present in every human body. The most significant species of Candida is called Candida Albicans, and it has the potential to cause many diseases and trigger a plethora of unwanted symptoms, especially in immunocompromised individuals. Many people live an entire life, uncomfortably dealing with one negative symptom after the next, without ever being diagnosed with Candida overgrowth. Although it is difficult to cure, it is absolutely doable; which makes a proper detection of this problem all the more essential. Blood tests, live blood cell tests, and stool sample tests are amongst the most common ways a traditional physician may determine whether Candida overgrowth is an underlying culprit; however, these are not as evident as the severity of accumulated symptoms that are associated with this problem. For starters, many people suffering from Candida overgrowth experience chronic fatigue, headaches, inability to concentrate or cognitive fogginess, vaginal yeast infections, thrush, depression, sinusitis plus possible ear and mouth infections, and toe or fingernail fungus. There are endless other symptoms that are directly associated to Candida overgrowth. Often the body aches with a flu-like pain. Joint pain, muscle pain, extreme tightness in the shoulders and neck, and sometimes even numbness/tingling in the limbs are all caused by Candida. Dark circles under the eyes can occur, jumping when being touched, and sometimes even a tingling or “crawling” sensation of the skin. Brown colored mucous in the back of the throat is a common symptom; along with low grade fever or a low body temperature, plus a sensitivity to heat and/or cold. Other symptoms include: shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, chills and night sweats, alcohol intolerance, dizziness and/or balance problems, and even projectile vomiting, hyper-acidity/acid reflux, blisters in the mouth/tongue/throat, sore throat, white coated tongue, chronic headaches or migraines, and, notably, chronic dental problems. Candida overgrowth can also cause serious psychological symptoms. Aside from depression, irritability and anxiety; it may also be the root problem of obsessive recurring thoughts, paranoia, panic attacks, and overall personality changes. Crying for no reason, sudden rage, fear of talking to people, fear of confrontation, and isolation are all amongst such symptomatic personality changes that are often linked to Candida overgrowth.

Aside from all of the horrible symptoms associated with Candida that silently nudge the body into recognizing it has a problem, there is a standardized spit test that will easily indicate if Candida overgrowth is present. It should be done first thing in the morning before you have put anything into your mouth. (This can be done later in the day, but the test will provide the most accurate results in the morning because Candida accumulates in the mouth overnight.) Fill a clear glass (so you can see through it) with filtered or purified water, not tap water. Gather all the spit you can in your mouth, using your tongue to muster all available saliva. Spit into the glass of water. There are three tell tale results that will indicate the heavy presence of yeast colonies. The first is if your saliva starts to “grow legs”, sinking in strands, resembling jellyfish legs or spider legs. The second possible result is if your spit sinks to the bottom and appears cloudy. The third is the presence of suspended cloudy little specs. If your saliva separates into small specs and sinks just halfway in the water, this is also a clear indicator. Any of the above, or a combination of these results, indicates an overgrowth of Candida, and should require attention. The faster these changes occur, the more yeast you have in your body. It can take up to a half an hour, but if these changes occur within the first three minutes or so, there is a definite overgrowth in your body that is most likely causing some very undesirable symptoms.

There are many products on the market touting the alleviation or even cure of Candida. Many of these have not been proven. Where they may work for some, chances are they will not work for everyone. Consulting a physician about Candida is a good idea, but many times traditional practitioners are not open to the idea that Candida is as large a problem as it is. Most often, you will find more awareness, knowledge, and even simple validation by seeking the assistance of a naturopathic, homeopathic, or alternative medicine doctor. Many cleanses are geared toward regulating many organs in the stomach, such as the colon, liver, kidney, and intestines. A well balanced digestive tract will aid in keeping Candida at bay. Essentially a Candida diet is the most common answer to rid the body of unwanted Candida. Candida feeds on sugar and empty carbohydrates, and it will actually cause severe cravings for such foods in order for the yeast colonies to thrive off the “food” they need to survive. Eliminating (completely, for a while) sugar and carbs from your diet will eventually starve out the Candida. It is difficult, but it will make an immensely important difference. Incorporating coconut oil will also aid in combating the unwanted yeast. After the initial “die off” symptoms of severe headaches, nausea, fatigue, lack of concentration, and irritability; your body will begin to naturally balance itself, and you may very well begin to, finally, feel amazing!

Running Indoors or Out

There is no question in regards to the intense workout running provides, nor the amazing health benefits that come as a result to this type of exercise. There is, however, a question pertaining to whether one should choose running on a treadmill or running outdoors. The truth is; there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of running. Whereas many would respond that it is solely up to the individual’s preference of treadmill versus the free range running outside, that answer is simply the blanket to cover the many comparable aspects between the two.

To start with, there are a few factors that actually affect one’s workout. Running outside is a bit tougher on the body because one must exert extra energy to actually propel himself forward. This is contrary to the functionality of a treadmill where the belt actually aids in moving one’s legs backwards in order to allow the body to execute the motion of pulling them forward again. Running in place in this sense may be a slight bit easier to perform. In addition, there is no wind resistance when running on a treadmill. Running outdoors includes wind resistance, along with uneven terrain. This naturally demands that the body slightly alter its momentum and stride in order to respond to such variables. Contrary to the uneven terrain one encounters when running outdoors; the treadmill provides an absolutely smooth surface, unchanging in texture, and therefore easier to tread on. The smooth surface of a treadmill, which also happens to provide a bit of shock absorption, is less detrimental on joints, allowing the body to endure the workout easier. This is an important aspect to consider; especially for those who are at a higher risk of injury, with medical conditions, or are nursing previous injuries. The shock absorption and lessened impact is particularly easier on knees, hips, and ankles.

Another factor to consider when determining whether treadmills or outdoors is right for your running needs is the fact that treadmills have been known to be improperly calibrated. Many indoor runners acknowledge that they seem to take twice as long to run 2/3 the distance when they take their trek outside. Often times, this is because the treadmills miscalculate the distance, speed, and time one runs. Unfortunately, this can really mislead someone who believes they are running at a certain caliber, in particularly one who is training for a marathon or other event.

Then there is the whole boredom issue. Outdoor running provides an open space with fresh air, and plenty of scenery and other things to enjoy watching. This typically makes time fly, and the run ultimately easier. Outdoor running is also not limited to stationary exercise, allowing one to choose whatever route he may wish, deviating from said path at any given time should he so choose. Running on a treadmill confines the runner to a nearly immobile state, other than the actual activity of moving his legs back and forth. This often makes running feel much more tedious, plus it allows an anxious running to stare at an often seemingly slow-going process. On the other hand, the treadmill allows for much more control of one’s pace, distance, and time spent. It also provides a stationary place to workout in the safety of a gym or home. This aspect comes as a relief for many runners who prefer to exercise at night, or away from inclement weather.

When weighing the pros and cons of running either indoors on a treadmill or outdoors, one must consider his own body, his own needs, and ultimately what he wants to achieve out of running. One of the first considerations should be whether higher impact is ideal, or if it is a healthier, physically beneficial choice to stick with the lower impact of a treadmill. Another aspect to consider is whether one is capable of pushing himself through monotony, or if the outside surroundings are necessary to keep the runner occupied during exercise. Also, if a runner’s intent is to train for an outside event or to simply achieve a certain long distance, this may change his running preference. He must consider whether he will benefit more from a possibly inaccurately calibrated, yet more controlled setting, which may ultimately aid in achieving that desired number; or if running outside is more ideal, especially when training for an outside event, in order to achieve the most realistic likeness. Either way, though it is up to every individual, each advantage is paired with a disadvantage somewhere in the mix. Truth be told, running is running, and a phenomenal exercise that should always be available. On nice days, it is great to go for a run while enjoying the fresh air. It is equally as great to find the convenience of a treadmill in order to continue that workout regimen. All in all, running, no matter where you do it, is great for you!

Gluten

One of the newer crazes in dietary curbs as of late is the establishment of a totally gluten-free lifestyle. There are even people who are not gluten intolerant that have started adjusting their eating habits toward eliminating this wheat based protein. Some people are altering their diets after self diagnosing an array of unwanted symptoms, while others have been medically advised to cease all gluten consumption due to a serious autoimmune illness called celiac disease. Though celiac disease only affects approximately 1% of the human population, it is estimated that approximately 3 million people are afflicted by adverse symptoms of general gluten intolerance.

Gluten is a protein predominantly found in wheat, rye, and barley. Most cereals, pastas, and breads are made from ingredients that contain gluten. Though gluten can be removed from wheat flour, which produces a wheat starch, not all traces can be completely withdrawn. Still, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed the allowance of “Gluten-Free” labels to be placed on products that have had most of its gluten removed. Gluten does many things including adding elasticity, making food items such as pizza and bagels chewy. It also helps to hold in gases from fermentation which enables the dough to rise before it is baked. Gluten also ensures the maintenance of proper shape with the help of starch, as one of its properties is to firm when cooked. Gluten also has the ability to absorb liquid, which is why bread is able to soak up broth. This quality is one reason many vegetarians use gluten to make imitation meats. Gluten is a common ingredient found in a plethora of foods, some of which may be unexpected. Some of these include the most common known gluten containing grains: wheat and all of its forms-semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, and faro; barley, rye, oat bran, wheat germ, bran, triticale, graham, durum flour, and farina. Other foods may be less apparent: many ice creams, ketchup, flavored potato chips, instant flavored rice mixes, salad dressings, cold cuts, beer, egg substitutes, imitation crab, some herbal teas, licorice and some chocolates, to name a few.

As gluten is in many foods, it also has many different affects on people. Signs of intolerance and celiac disease may be any of the common gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, pain, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. It may also cause weight loss or weight gain, exhaustion, fat in the stool (due to poor digestion), irritability and behavioral changes, aching joints, depression, eczema, headaches, cramps, tingling, numbness, slow infant and child growth, nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorption, and even decline in dental health. Since these symptoms can be very severe, and actually cause long-term health issues (especially when malnutrition is involved) if left untreated, it is important to seek the assistance of a physician. To determine whether such reactions are simply gluten intolerance or the more serious celiac disease, blood tests are required, and ultimately a small intestine biopsy will be the final determining factor.

Because of the large number of people switching to gluten free diets, there are numerous companies out there producing many delicious foods for substitute. It is important to be aware that it isn’t mandatory to list gluten as an ingredient if most of it has been removed. Also, though oats are safe naturally, they are often processed in facilities that manufacture other products using wheat and other foods that end up cross contaminating the oats with gluten.

Now that the awareness of gluten has become pretty prominent, there is plenty of opportunity to first determine whether you are one of the potential 3 million Americans who suffer from intolerance; and then create a diet free of the possible trigger. If it turns out that you may be experiencing some of the uncomfortable, often very unpleasant symptoms of gluten intolerance, the dietary change will rid you of them fairly quickly. You will be completely relieved that you took the time to get checked out.

Acai: The Proposed Miracle Superfood

Acai has taken America, amongst other countries, by storm. New acai berry products have emerged almost over night, being touted as a cure-all superfood. These claims include weight loss assistance, disease reversal, cancer prevention, skin and appearance enhancement, and energy boosting. Such claims create quite a bit of hope and optimism; however, they are not supported by enough research as of yet. What we do know, on the other hand; is that even though the acai berry may not be the magic food it has been claimed to be, it is an absolutely healthy choice of food that does have many benefits.

The acai fruit is a berry similar in appearance to that of a blueberry, and it grows on the acai palm tree in Central and South America, primarily along the Amazon River. This small berry has an edible pulp around a large seed and is typically purple in color. This fruit contains many anthocyanins and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that help defend the body from detrimental free radicals and life’s stressors. Anthocyanin is a word derived from two Greek words: plant and blue. It is responsible for the red, purple, and blue hues in many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The foods that are richest in these antioxidants are also the richest in color, such as blueberries, acai berries, red grapes and red wine; typically reflecting a dark purple or even close to black color. Studies have shown that acai berries are higher in antioxidants than most other foods including: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and even blueberries.

While free radicals can ultimately cause damaging destruction on the body, they are fought off by antioxidants. Stress, pollutants, unhealthy foods, and other natural imbalances increase free radicals which can lead to heart disease and even cancer. They typically create a domino effect by stealing healthy electrons on the body and causing more cells to turn into free radicals. They also cause oxidative stress in the body, an effect similar to that of rust on a car. Because of this, antioxidants are much needed to maintain a healthy body.

Acai berries also contain 19 different amino acids, making up approximately 7.5% of the berry’s weight. Amino acids act as building blocks for proteins, and acai berries pack a healthy 8grams of protein in each 100gram serving. Acai berries are also rich with many nutritional vitamins: vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, C and E are all present, in addition to magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, and zinc. There are 3 known plant sterols found in acai, which are attributed to the proper health of heart and digestive functions. As well, acai is a great source of healthy Omega fats with nearly 50% of the berry being fat, and 74% of that fat coming from healthy unsaturated fats such as Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9. This fruit is also a good source of fiber.

Nutritionally, it seems the acai berry has it all. Highly important vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, amino acids, omegas, and vital antioxidants are all packed into these tiny tasty berries. When considering the overall effects of these powerful assets, it is fair to say that the acai berry is, indeed, the perfect choice for a superfood. There may not be tests that directly correlate the berry with specific disease-oriented cures, however; basing a healthy lifestyle of proper diet and exercise is a key to a healthy life in general. Forging that diet to include the potency of acai berries will surely optimize health and ensure the deliverance of many positive effects. The strength and well being promoted by acai berries has long been appreciated. Though they are not in any way a magical food, they really are just shy of little miracles thanks to all the amazing components they consist of. So, indulge happily. Acai, to your health.

Morbid Obesity in a Can

There are countless effects that soda has on the body, none of which are healthy. The average person in the United States drinks about 14.5 ounces of soda everyday. This grave statistic lines up the support factor that soda is in direct correlation with the constantly rising morbid obesity rate, amongst other negative health impacts. There have been rumors for quite some time about how bad soda is, but the warnings haven’t been taken seriously; not by the consumers, nor the manufacturers creating the delicious poison in a can.

Some of the major components of soda are the insurmountable amounts of sugar/high fructose corn syrup, the added caffeine, phosphorous, preservatives, dyes, and carbon; none of which are nutritional or beneficial to the body, especially in abundance. Take sugar, one of the most predominant ingredients in pop, for starters. One regular can of soda is loaded with an incredible 10 teaspoons of sugar, sometimes even more. That is the total (RDA) allotment based on a 2,000 calorie diet for the entire day! So not only are you completely throwing off the balance of your nutritional diet for the day by overloading on sugar; everything you consume that contains sugar after that immediately becomes excess and will most likely be turned into fat. It happens that quickly. The sugar causes an insulin spike which triggers the liver to turn any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. A note to those whom are thinking of switching to diet, or for that matter praising your diet soda: don’t—they are even worse! The alternative sweetener, aspartame, is a poisonous chemical that is sure to cause havoc on your body in due time (That makes for another article).

There is no argument against how outrageous the oversized serving of sugar in soda is. However, manufacturers use a specific type of sugar that makes matters far worse. That type of sugar is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and should pretty much be considered a heinous crime to use. Before the 1980s cola companies were still using regular refined cane sugars or pure corn syrup, which was far better because these types of sugars provided glucose which is useful to the body as an immediate energy source that is stored in the liver and released as insulin as we need it. On the other hand, whereas every cell in the body is capable of metabolizing glucose; only the liver is equipped to metabolize fructose, seriously straining the organ and potentially causing long term harm. High levels of fructose have also been attributed to cause insulin resistance, elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels, metabolic disorders, and yes, of course, obesity. There’s more. High levels of fructose, glucose, and sucrose, all simple carbohydrates, land on teeth and begin to dissolve as acids that eat away tooth enamel.

The phosphoric acid has been known to bind with magnesium and calcium in the body and zinc in the lower intestine, pulling these important minerals away from nourishing the body. This ingredient has been linked to kidney disease, and it directly decreases bone density and weakens teeth. The added caffeine, which is a natural diuretic, dehydrates the body and causes increased urination. At this point, the body pees away all minerals and nutrients, including the phosphoric acid-bound calcium and magnesium. Caffeine, paired with malignant sugar, creates a very addictive drink. Because of this, Americans increasingly consume more and more soda; addicted to the rush that caffeine ignites, and the high sugar causes. Soon the crash, after the sugar and caffeine have dropped, creates the urge to drink another soda in order to prevent drowsiness, lethargy, and withdrawal symptoms such as headache, upset stomach, irritability, and inability to focus. It has gotten to the point that water is being replaced with soda, and some addicts consume over 2 liters per day!

Soda, in and of itself, packed with a bodily biohazard of ingredients, is an addictive detriment to anyone who consumes it. Not only is it utterly bare of any nutritional value, it strips the minerals and vitamins that are already in the body. It causes unnatural effects on the body, spiking insulin, crashing sugar levels, and ultimately ending in an absolutely unhealthy, unsightly weight gain that is difficult to reverse. The potential harm soda inflicts on the body such as possible kidney disease, a stressed and unhealthy liver, hypertension, high cholesterol, dental disaster, diabetes, weakened bones, dehydration and malnutrition are extreme and many. Many of these issues are unseen. However; obesity is quite visible and prevalent. It should be taken as a warning sign that soda is in no way good for anyone. In fact, it is like drinking poison from a can.