Tuesday, February 24, 2015

5 Things to Know About the New Food Guidelines


A panel of nutrition experts recruited by the Obama administration to help develop the next set of dietary guidelines released its long-awaited recommendations this week. The panel addressed everything from red meat to coffee, unveiling a 570-page report that will be used by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to craft new diet guidelines later this year. The guidelines, which form the basis of the MyPlate icon (formerly the food pyramid), represent the government’s final word on what constitutes a healthy diet. They’ve been published since 1980. They influence billions of dollars of government funding for nutrition programs, including school lunch standards and the Defense Department’s menu guidelines.

1Americans are eating poorly.

About two-thirds of all adults, or 155 million people, are overweight or obese. Roughly half have at least one preventable disease, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Poor eating habits and physical inactivity are playing a major role. The situation is forcing the U.S. health care system to focus on treatment rather than prevention, the committee said. So what to eat? The panel suggests more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts. What to limit? Red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened food and drinks, and refined grains.

2Consider the environment.

The advisory committee took a controversial step by asserting the government should consider the environment when determining what Americans should eat. Generally speaking, this means promoting a diet that’s limited in meat but contains lots of fruit and vegetables. It also means eating seafood whose stocks aren’t threatened. According to the panel, the global production of food accounts for 80% of deforestation and 70% of fresh water use. The government has to focus on sustainable diets if it wants to ensure an adequate food supply will be available for future generations, it said. The meat industry says the panel has strayed too far from its mission. The beef industry, in particular, is accused of being tough on the environment, in part because it generates greenhouse gas emissions.

3Ditch the cholesterol limits.

Current dietary guidelines suggest Americans limit their cholesterol to 300 milligrams a day. That’s less than what’s found in a couple of eggs. This time around, the advisory panel said it’s ditching that recommendation because it can’t find evidence of an “appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in the blood. The American Heart Association has also said that limiting dietary cholesterol will not lower the artery-clogging LDL (bad) cholesterol.

4Coffee and alcohol? Those can be okay.

The panel said “moderate” amounts of coffee – three to five cups a day – has been found to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. For some people, even more coffee could be better. One study found the risk of Type 2 diabetes was 37% lower for people drinking 10 cups a day. But it warned against consuming too many calories from the cream and sugar that are often added to coffee. As for alcohol, the panel said a moderate amount could also be part of a healthy diet. But it also said no one should start drinking alcohol just because of potential health benefits. And booze is still off-limits for pregnant women.

5Beef. It’s not necessarily what’s for dinner.

Americans should eat less red and processed meat, the panel said. Diets that high in those types of meat, along with french fries and sweets, are associated with a greater risk of colon and rectal cancer, it said. Red and processed meat is also associated with age-related cognitive impairment. In other parts of the report, the panel excluded lean meat from a list of foods that make up a healthy diet. It added in a footnote that said lean meat could be okay but researchers haven’t yet come up with a standard definition for what qualifies as lean meat. The meat industry pushed back against what it perceives as an anti-meat agenda. “Lean beef is one of the most nutrient rich foods, providing high levels of essential nutrients such as zinc, iron and protein, as opposed to empty calories,” said the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

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In Health,
The Naturally Botanicals Team

Monday, February 23, 2015

Four food preparation methods to maximize nutrition - healthier than cooking

 Monday, January 12, 2015 by: Derek Henry
(NaturalNews) Due to poor agricultural practices and excessive food processing, the food that ends up on our plate is typically a shadow of its former self in regards to nutritional content. To make matters worse, we tend to cook these nutrient deprived foods and further destroy their nutritional value.


To ensure you get the most nutrition out of your food, focus on buying clean, whole foods, and use these 4 methods to expand their nutritional benefits.


Fermenting foods could be one of the most economical and powerful ways to introduce incredible nutrition to your body. Fermenting is simply a culturing process that produces beneficial bacteria that are very important in maintaining a healthy gut flora balance. Introducing them to your diet will improve the function of your digestive and immune system, your liver, and your brain!

As an example, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is a source of many nutrients including:

- Vitamin B1, B6, and B9
- Vitamin C and K
- Manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron

However, even more important is the amount of live probiotics and enzymes in unpasteurized sauerkraut, which makes these nutrients highly bioavailable to the human body.


Another great way to get more nutrition on a daily basis is by juicing fruits and vegetables. Although this doesn't provide more nutrition, it does allow you to eat more fruits and vegetables and reach the recommended amount of servings each day with relative ease.

Not only that, but juicing makes the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in produce much easier to assimilate, as they go straight into your system without having to be broken down. With the sad state of digestive systems today, there are varying limitations on what the digestive system can absorb, but juicing helps bypass that problem by liberating key nutrients from the tough plant cell walls for you so you get the most out of your fruits and vegetables.


Sprouting is something very few people do, but it is another exceptional way to deliver a concentrated source of nutrition that is different from eating the plant in its mature form. To highlight this point, analyze the nutritional profile of wheat grass compared to the full-grown wheat plant, and you will get an idea of the nutrition that the sprout of a plant can deliver.

Sprouts are ideal for improving your health because they are a highly digestible source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, beneficial enzymes, and phytochemicals. Sprouted foods have five to ten times higher B-vitamins, and twice the vitamin A, C, zinc, calcium and iron content of their non-sprouted counterparts.

Per calorie, sprouts may be arguably the most efficient form of nutrition, and they are very easy and economical to produce in your home.


Blending doesn't necessarily get you more nutrition out of your food, but it does allow you to combine more beneficial ingredients that don't otherwise go together to create an incredibly nutritious snack or meal. For example, creating a superfood smoothie can deliver a massive array of nutrients (even more than juicing) in about 5 minutes preparation time.

Blending also allows you to make incredibly nourishing and easily digestible vegetable soups, so your body can easily assimilate all the beneficial nutrients.

Out of all these practices, the most economical (for food costs, time invested, and long term storage capabilities) solution would be fermenting. To learn more and to get an easy recipe, visit The Healing Benefits of SauerkrautTo make sure you're getting the all of the nutrition your body needs, check out .


About the author:
Derek Henry, B.Kin, is a highly revered holistic health coach and world renowned natural health blogger and educator who created Healing the Body to help people understand the fundamental principles to exceptional health so they can overcome their own health challenges. 

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The Naturally Botanicals Team

Monday, February 16, 2015

5 Key Nutrients You're Probably Not Getting Enough of

Greatist | Maya Dangerfield @MaADanger February 15, 2015

Unfortunately the Standard American Diet, also known as “SAD,” is, well, pretty sad. Over the last 100 years, the majority of Americans have gone from eating “normal” portions and home-cooked whole foods (after all, the processed foods we see lining store shelves today didn’t’ exist), to consuming high levels of over-processed simple carbohydrates and refined sugars. With this shift in eating habits, there's been a huge increase in diet-related chronic diseases, which represent the largest cause of obesity and death.

Luckily improving the situation could be pretty easy: Eat more whole, unrefined foods—fruits, veggies, whole grains, and other natural products that go through little processing.

What’s the Deal?

This sad Standard American Diet is lacking in essential nutrients that can easily be provided by eating more healthy whole foods. Unrefined foods—fruits, veggies, grains, and other natural products that go through little to no processing—provide high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients (since they arrive to you in the form nature intended). They’re also nutrient-dense, meaning they pack in beneficial nutrients and minerals and contain no added sugars, fats, starches, or sodium, making every calorie worth something very useful for the body.

These healthy, natural foods are packed with essential nutrients such as potassium and fiber, which can protect against chronic diseases, aid in digestion, and even improve muscle development and physical performance . According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the average American diet lacks the appropriate intake of these powerful nutrients (and a few others) and the under consumption of potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D has become a ‘public health concern.’ Adding these nutrients to your diet (or making sure you’re getting enough of them) can help your body recover from exercise better, improve digestion, and just be healthier overall. 

Your Action Plan

1. Potassium

Why We Need It: Potassium is one nutrient we literally cannot live without (seriously, it keeps our hearts beating). Increasing potassium consumption has been linked to lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, as well as decreasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease . The body also needs potassium to help regulate water balance and to keep the nervous system and our muscles functioning properly. Not consuming enough potassium can lead to some pretty uncomfortable results such as muscle cramps, constipation, and fatigue.

Why We Miss It: The recommended intake of potassium for adults is 4,700mg per day, but currently only 56 percent of American adults reach this goal. One big reason why is that sodium often takes the place of nutrients like potassium in processed foods like cheese, packaged meats, fast food, and pastries.

How to Get It: 1 small baked potato with skin (738mg), 1 medium-sized banana (422mg), 1 cup cooked spinach (740mg), 1/2 cup cooked beets (259mg)

Or try this easy potassium-rich smoothie recipe: Blend ½ cup carrot juice (344mg), ½ cup orange juice (248mg), 1 medium banana (422mg), and ½ cup ice for a snack or breakfast containing 1,014 mg of potassium (and a healthy dose of vitamin C).

2. Fiber

Why We Need It:
Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that moves throughout our bodies, helping promote digestion and prevent constipation, as well as potentially reducingcholesterol levels . There are two types of dietary fiber: Soluble fiber can help lower glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood, while insoluble fiber helps food move through the digestive system properly. Consuming enough soluble fiber (found in oats, beans, lentils, and some fruits) can reduce risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and protect the arteries, while the consumption of insoluble fiber (whole-wheat, brown rice, legumes, vegetables) is recommend to help treat digestive problems ((Dietary fiber for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis. Post, R.E., Mainous, A.G., King, D.E, et all. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. 2012 Jan-Feb; 25(1):16-23)).

Why We Miss It: The recommended daily intake of dietary fiber is 25g per day for women and 38g per day for men, but according to a 2010 report, only 40 percent of Americans reach the recommended intake (more recent estimates decreases the number to only three percent) . Dietary fiber isn’t found in processed grains (like white flour), so anyone following a “typical American diet,” which is typically high in processed grains that have been stripped of their fiber and low in whole grains, are missing out.

How to Get It: ½ cup black beans (6.1g), 1 medium pear (5.5g), ½ cup fresh raspberries (4g), 1 medium sweet potato baked with skin (3.8g)

Try this simple, fiber-rich lunch recipe: Roast ½ cup artichoke hearts (7.2g), ½ cup Brussels sprouts (2g), and ¼ cup sliced parsnips (1.4g) for a delicious dish that provides almost half of the recommended daily intake of fiber. Or, check out our other high-fiber recipes

3. Calcium

Why We Need It: Calcium is an important nutrient that helps maintain healthy bones, assists in nerve transmission, and helps our blood clot . Our bodies need a lot of calcium to properly function (it’s the most abundant mineral in the body) but our bodies also doesn’t naturally produce the element, meaning we need to get all we need from our food (and supplements). Not getting enough calcium can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Why We Miss It: Seventy-five percent of Americans consume the daily recommended intake of calcium of 1,000mg per day for adult men and women—that’s not bad! And most Americans consume their calcium through dairy and dairy byproducts. However particular groups (including young adults, young women, and those over 51) require a higher dose of calcium, so even if they meet the general recommendation of 1,000mg per day and they’re often still not getting enough .

How to Get It:
1 cup collard greens (357mg), ¼ cup diced Swiss cheese (261mg), 1 cup 2% nonfat milk (293mg)

Want to get some more calcium in your diet? Consider whipping up an omelet with 2 largeeggs (56mg), one slice of monterey cheese (209mg), and ¼ cup kale (25mg).

4. Vitamin D

Why We Need It:
Vitamin D is special: It’s the only vitamin we can both consume (by eating a variety of whole foods) and make ourselves—our bodies create Vitamin D in the form of a hormone when we process sunlight. In addition to protecting our bones, vitamin D is a powerful player in regulating cell growth, and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. . Even more, vitamin D helps out body maintain the correct levels of calcium. Vitamin D is an important nutrient for athletes too—it can reduce inflammation and pain, reduce the risk of fractures, and increase muscle protein . In addition to helping athletes perform, vitamin D can help reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure .

Why We Miss It:
The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D for men and women is 18mcg, but only 28 percent of Americans meet this goal. The major dietary source of vitamin D for many Americans is milk (milk is fortified up to 25mcg of vitamin D per ounce). However since most Americans don’t consume the recommended amount of calcium (which is most commonly consumed through milk), the nation falls behind in vitamin D consumption too.

How to Get It: 3oz light canned tuna in water (3.8mcg), 1 cup fortified milk (2.9mcg), 1 cup fortified orange juice (3.4mcg)

Consider introducing more fish—such as stockeye salmon (19.8mcg per 3oz)—to your diet. A single fillet can easily meet the daily requirement!

5. Iron

Why We Need It:
We couldn’t live long without iron: It’s an essential protein building block, involved in everything from carrying oxygen through the body to building muscles. Not getting enough of this element can cause fatigue (also known as anemia), memory loss, muscle loss, and difficulties regulating body temperature.

Why We Miss It: The recommended daily intake of iron for adult women is 18mg daily and 8mg for men. Women are more likely than men to suffer from iron deficiency (sorry, ladies), since women between ages 18 and 50 require more of the nutrient. Not getting enough iron can be a problem for those with particular diets like vegans and vegetarians. Iron from meat, poultry, and fish is absorbed two to three times more efficiently than iron from plants (how much iron your body absorbs from plants also depends on other foods eaten at the same time).

How to Get It: 10 clams (2.62mg), ½ cup edamame (2.25mg), ½ cup lentils (3.3mg), 4oz beef sirloin steak (2.4mg), 1 cup cooked broccoli (1.5mg)

Looking for an iron boosting snack? Consider munching on ¼ cup cashews (2mg) and ¼ cup dried apricots (1.9mg) to increase your daily iron intake.

*Unless otherwise noted, all nutrition information above came from
Originally posted February 2014. Updated February 2015.

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The Naturally Botanicals Team

Monday, February 9, 2015

8,000 Scientific Papers Link Refined White Sugar To Chronic Disease

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) One of the worst things you can do to your body is feed it sugar -- not necessarily natural sugar like the kind found in fruit, but refined sugar. A team of scientists from the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) recently pored through more than 8,000 scientific papers on how sugar affects the body and came to the conclusion that it not only makes people fat but also makes them sick.


The project, which has been dubbed SugarScience, exposes sugar as a primary culprit in the formation of metabolic disease, which can lead to conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Lead author Laura Schmidt, a UCSF School of Medicine professor, says her team's findings are comprehensible -- sugar is highly toxic to the body and vital organs, including the liver.

According to their investigation, nearly three-quarters of all packaged and processed foods contain added sugar. This sugar is typically listed under 61 different names, including things like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), dextrose, evaporated cane juice and sucrose. It is often difficult to identify added sugar because of this, and current regulatory requirements don't mandate that suggested daily values of both natural and added sugar be identified.

A full listing of the 61 common names for sugar is available at the following link on the right-hand side of the page:

The result is millions of people regularly consuming far more sugar than they should be, leading to metabolic syndrome, a classification of risk factors associated with a host of chronic illnesses. If left to run its course, metabolic syndrome can lead to early death in the form of liver failure, heart attack, blood clots and various other life-threatening conditions.

"Too much sugar causes chronic metabolic disease in both fat and thin people," said pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig, a member of the SugarScience team and author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, pointing out that obesity is an entirely separate issue from the extensive bodily damage caused by sugar consumption.

"And instead of focusing on obesity as the problem, we should be focusing on our processed-food supply."

SugarScience project exposes "all calories are equal" myth as scientific fraud

Part of the problem is that many people still don't realize just how much sugar they're actually consuming. According to Medical Xpress, the average American consumes nearly 20 teaspoons, or about 78 grams, of sugar daily, which is far more than the maximum level recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA).

A single 12-ounce can of soda pop contains as much as 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams, of added sugar, which is the AHA's maximum recommended daily level for adult men. Adult women, says the group, should consume no more than 6 teaspoons, or 24 grams, of sugar daily, while children should limit themselves to between 3 and 6 teaspoons, or 12-24 grams, daily.

The best way to consume sugar is naturally, of course, whether it be in fruit, vegetables or unprocessed dairy products. Fruits and vegetables contain dietary fiber and other nutrients that help buffer how quickly sugar is processed, protecting organs like the pancreas from having to work overtime to produce insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.

SugarScience's research also reiterated that not all calories are the same, as is commonly believed in the mainstream.

"SugarScience shows that a calorie is not a calorie but rather that the source of a calorie determines how it's metabolized," explains Lustig.

To learn more about the dangers of sugar and how to avoid it, be sure to visit SugarScience:


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In Health,
The Naturally Botanicals Team