Choosing Natural Sweeteners for Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you should carefully choose foods that you consume, particularly sweet products. You can use some sugar, but it is important to monitor how much carbohydrates you consume per day. If you believe that you exceed your limits often, you should think of using sweeteners for diabetes.

Initial Information about Natural Sweeteners

It is good if you reduce the consumption of sugar by replacing it with natural alternatives, but you should know that some sweeteners like brown sugar, corn syrup, honey and maple syrup have lots of carbs and a high glycemic index as well. That is why you should choose sweeteners that will not increase your blood sugar. We offer you to check out the following two natural sweeteners that may be a great alternative to sugar: agave nectar and stevia.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar, which is obtained from Agave plant, has been used as a sweetener for years. It was especially popular among the Aztecs. This nectar has the same consistency as honey and comes with a sweet taste. One of the best advantages of agave is that it comes with a lower glycemic index (GI) than honey or sugar, which is about 20-30 (sugar has a GI of 60-65).

21 g of the nectar have 60 calories and 16 g of carbohydrates, and the same amount of sugar contains 64 calories and 16.8 g of carbs. Since the sweetener has a lower glycemic index, it is beneficial for people with diabetes.

Stevia

Stevia has been used as a sweetener for a long time. The plant grows in South America and has leaves that resemble those of the mint family. Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, which means that you only need to use a little bit of it. You can try to find Truvia, which is a great sugar substitute product containing some Stevia. The product is sold in small packets, each of which contains an equivalent to two teaspoons of sugar. There are no calories in Truvia and only 3 g of carbs per serving (two teaspoons of sugar come with 32 calories and 8.4 g of carbohydrates).

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Dietary Supplement to Manage Symptoms of Osteoarthritis: Beneficial Drug Alternative

Dietary supplements are gaining mass popularity on the market. One-third of patients with osteoarthritis have used certain supplements. They are mainly unregulated and marketed without much scientific research to back up their potential effectiveness or safety. While some supplements are proven to be effective and fully safe, others can activate unwanted reactions. Here are some of the most popular dietary supplements to eliminate osteoarthritis symptoms.

Glucosamine

This specific dietary supplement is commonly administered by osteoarthritis patients. The organism produces glucosamine naturally, and it can be found in a high concentration within the joints. Theoretically, the substance stimulates cartilage formation, which is inevitable for joint recovery. Synthetic glucosamine features anti-inflammatory properties.

The supplement is available as Glucosamine Sulfate and Glucosamine Hydrochloride. It is widely available in a combination with similar dietary supplements. The component has undergone several medical studies that were aimed at its advantageous influence on hip and knee osteoarthritis treatment. Unfortunately, results of researches were inconsistent.

Conclusions of further research showed a positive influence on osteoarthritis pain reduction. Thus, Glucosamine Sulfate product was found to be one of the most effective osteoarthritis pain reducers. Additionally, another research proved hydrochloride to be also effective in decreasing pain in people with severe instances of the disease.

Compared to NSAIDs or Acetaminophen, Glucosamine Sulfate is more effective in pain reduction and joint function improvement. Besides, the supplement can decrease joint space narrowing within the knee, following several years of the treatment. This dietary supplement is safe for use and not likely to trigger serious side effects.

Chondriotin

Chondriotin serves a type of glycosaminoglycan, which is a building block for the structure of joints. The supplement is usually combined with multiple other components, but during the research, Chondroitin features were studied alone.

The medication is not as studied as Glucosamine, while its results are also inconsistent. Early trials of this dietary supplement showed that it possesses useful properties, which can considerably reduce pain and slow down the process of joint space narrowing. The results of recent research have revealed less favorable peculiarities of the medication, concluding that is has no positive influence on osteoarthritis, and have shown that Glucosamine Sulfate is more effective in treatment of the condition that Chondroitin.

SAM-E

S-adenosylmethionine is a naturally produced component that occurs in the liver. The substance is considered to have a favorable influence on cartilage thickness and chondrocytes increase. Besides, it can help reduce chondrocyte damage.

Results of scientific researches in SAM-e for osteoarthritis have been positive and consistent. The supplement was found to be more beneficial than placebo. The effectiveness of osteoarthritis pain relieving power of SAM-e can be compared to NSAIDs.

A recent trial was aimed at comparison of SAM-e with Celebrex. Throughout the first month of the research, Celebrex seemed to be more effective for pain relieving, while after two months of the therapy the medications showed no difference in results. Both treatments were identically advantageous and effective.

SAM-e is generally safe, but its intake can sometimes trigger headache, anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. The supplement can interact with specific supplements, such as Ultram, leading to harmful reactions to the health. Discuss SAM-e use with a qualified doctor.

MSM

Methylsulfonylmethane is a usual part of a healthy diet. The component can be found in fruits, meats, vegetables, plants and dairy. Additionally, it is naturally produced in the adrenal gland. According to the results of numerous research, MSM has bright anti-inflammatory properties, which help decrease swelling and pain, though cannot cope with joint stiffness.

MSM is generally safe and well-tolerated by the body. The supplement seems to produce only minor side effects, similar to the ones launched by placebo.

Devil’s Claw

Delivered from an African plant, Devil’s claw features a significant anti-inflammatory effect. The substance inhibits lipoxygenase and COX, decreasing osteoarthritis pain. The treatment is well-tolerated and does not produce severe reactions.

Turmeric

Turmeric is known as a spice added to curry powders. Curcumin, a special pigment, which provides yellow color, serves the active component in turmeric. Curcumin is appreciated for its anti-inflammatory effects, however, there is no scientific proof of its preferable influence on the osteoarthritis treatment.

Ginger

Inhibiting lipoxygenase and COX, ginger can have anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, it can influence the tumor necrosis factor, as well as development of inflammatory prostaglandins.

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Phenolic Acids: Benefits and Dietary Sources

There are more than 8000 polyphenolic compounds found in various plant species; among them, phenolic acids, flavonoids and lignans are the most important.

Scientific research reveals that polyphenol-rich diet reduces the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Polyphenols are so called life-prolongers since they prevent certain diseases that often lead to fatal outcomes.

Phenolic acids are a group of phytochemicals with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The list of phenolic acids is quite long, and some of them were thoroughly studied in connection with human health.

Acetylsalicylic Acid

Aspirin, a synthetic form of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), is widely used to prevent and treat heart attacks. This compound has two important properties – it prevents the formation of blood clots and has anti-inflammatory qualities.

Unfortunately, like any other drug, aspirin has notable side effects. It irritates the stomach and can cause complications like gastritis, peptic ulcer, and gastric bleeding.

However, salicylic acid is also found in natural plant products. According to recent studies, lack of these products in our diet might increase the risk of hearth and blood diseases. Salicylic acid also gives fruits and veggies many of their beneficial properties.

In vegetables, the salicylate content ranges from 0 to 6 mg. It is higher in fruits and berries, 2.1 to 7.8 mg. Dries fruits like apricots, dates, and raisins are high in salicylic acid, as well as cucumbers, tomatoes, and black tea. Spices like curry powder, thyme, and paprika have the highest content, though we commonly use them in small amounts.

Some researchers find that the increased incidence of cardiovascular diseases is caused by the lack of salicylates in our food. Grains, meat, fish, and dairy products, which are very poor in salicylates, usually make the most of our diet. Taking only 25-30 mg of salicylic acid daily would significantly reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks, not to mention the strong antioxidant properties that slow down the aging process.

Fresh fruits and vegetables will enrich your diet with beneficial phenolic acids. Don’t forget to add curry powder, turmeric, thyme, and rosemary to your dishes. Ginger powder is also great to add in drinks like tea, coffee, and juices.

Ellagic Acid

Ellagic acid is great for cancer prevention. Recent studies have shown that ellagic acid is one of the most effective anti-cancer agents. It works similar to the drugs used in chemotherapy, but, unlike synthetic pharmaceuticals, natural plant compounds aren’t toxic.

Precancerous cells can appear in the body at any age; they transform into real cancer cells rather slowly. Over time, carcinogens cause multiple gene mutations, which make the malignant cells more viable. At a certain point, they form something like micro-tumors, which are still very difficult to diagnose.

This process can take from one to fifty years, and during this time precancerous cells are very sensitive to external influences. At different stages of cancer development, anti-cancer agents from food can provide protection to our body.

Berries, fruits, and nuts are rich in ellagic acid; its highest content is found in raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries.

Antioxidant properties

Even vitamins A, E, and C cannot compete with antioxidant properties of phenolic acids. Oriental spices have the highest antioxidant activity index (AAI), berries and fruits follow them right after.

Among berries, blueberry has the strongest antioxidant properties. In addition, blueberries help to increase our visual acuity and reduce blood sugar. Phenolic compounds found in blueberries reduce the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.

Foods rich in phenolic acids play a significant role in regulating vital functions of our body. It is highly recommended to include them in our diet on a daily basis.

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What Are The Antioxidants And How To Get The Most Of Them

Antioxidants are certain substances that inhibit oxidation. By that, they are able to protect human cells from the damage, caused by free radical and other harmful agents and neutralize them. The latter may be delivered to the body through smoking, air pollution, radiation, exposure to poisonous chemicals, and so on. Also, they may be produced right in the body during normal metabolic processes.

For the most part, antioxidants are vitamins, phytochemicals, and other micronutrients. They are, for example, selenium, vitamins A, C and E, lycopene and lutein among others. The dietary antioxidants are found in many healthy foods you consume on the daily basis — various fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains are extremely rich in these substances. Also, antioxidants are contained in meats and fish, though, in smaller amounts. And, unsurprisingly, there are almost no antioxidants in junk food and sweets of all sorts.

Why Antioxidants Are Necessary

Normally, there are quite little free radicals produced during metabolic processes. Too much free radicals in the human body may lead to the development of various diseases of different severity — from cough to cancer. Antioxidants are able to neutralize them and, by that, lower the risk of all these possible diseases.

If you eat healthy products and avoid junk food, you are unlikely to be deficient of antioxidants in the normal circumstances. However, if you are, for example, exposed to harmful substances like cigarette smoke or polluted environment on the regular basis, you may need to add even more antioxidants-rich products to your ration or even consider taking supplements.

Dietary Supplements

Unsurprisingly, antioxidants, just like all the other essential micronutrients, are available in the form of dietary supplements. However, there is a problem with these products — they are not proven to be beneficial in comparison with antioxidants, contained in foods.

These substances are much more effective when they are consumed in their natural form, i.e. in the form of certain foods. When they are extracted and turned into supplements, they work much worse. The results of human clinical trials are that extracted antioxidants are not effective for death and various diseases (apart from age-related vision decline) prevention. Still, this doesn’t mean that supplements are useless in case of their deficiency and eliminating the health-related problems it has caused.

More Is Not Always Better

Though getting overdose by eating antioxidant-rich foods is almost impossible, the thing is different with the antioxidants in the form of supplements. Large doses of the latter or their combinations with certain drugs may cause harm to your health. For example:

  • Vitamin A supplements overdose may cause to fetal defects during pregnancy. It may also lead to cardiovascular problems and even cancer in the long-term.
  • Large doses of vitamin E are linked to the increased risk of early death. They may also cause internal hemorrhage.
  • Selenium overdose may cause toxic injury to the whole body and hair loss.
  • Too much vitamin C may cause dizziness and vomiting. Regular overdoses may lead to allergies.

As you can see, despite the common belief, more is not always better. If you think that taking any type of antioxidant in the form of a dietary supplement may be beneficial for you for this or that reason, you should visit your doctor for a consultation to make sure you are not mistaken. Only with proper medical control, you will get the most of the dietary supplements and avoid all the possible harm.

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