Health On Life's Journey

Health On Life's Journey

7 safety facts about MSG in your food

posted by Cindy L. Tjol

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is found in many processed foods, as well as is used by many restaurants.

How safe is MSG for consumption?

Are the assertions that MSG is harmless in small amounts accurate? Can we trust the claim that MSG can be beneficial as it helps you reduce your salt intake while keeping your food tasty?

Brace yourself for the 7 safety facts that you are going to read about MSG.

MSG and the “Chinese restaurant syndrome”

Some people experience what is known as the “Chinese restaurant syndrome” after consuming MSG. The feelings of discomfort include headaches, tingling, numbness, sweating and flushing. In some instances, the symptoms could parallel severe allergic reactions and be life-threatening, for example, chest pains, heart palpitations, breathlessness and swelling of the throat.

MSG and heart attacks

MSG could over-stimulate your heart’s electrical conduction system. It is a potential source of danger for you if you have pre-existing heart problems, as the substance could trigger sudden cardiac arrest or arrhythmia in you. This is especially the case if you are also low in your magnesium levels.

MSG and brain damage

MSG is a sodium salt of glutamic acid, and too much glutamate in the body has been associated with neurological problems like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. A 1968 study by Washington University found that excessive MSG led to brain damage in lab animals. That is why MSG was discontinued for use in many baby-foods.

MSG and cancer

Studies have found that MSG alters the function of genes and increases free radicals in the body. This probably explains why MSG stimulates the growth of malignant tumors, and conversely, drugs that block glutamate actually help shrink tumors.

MSG, obesity and diabetes

Research has found that MSG causes rats to become obese and even develop Type II diabetes. So if you are working hard to lose weight, or are at a risk of developing Type II diabetes, it is best that you do your best to stay away from MSG.

MSG and pain

Since glutamate plays a major role in the sensation of pain, eating foods high in MSG can actually worsen your pre-existing pain problems.

The many unknown names of MSG

MSG has more than 30 other names. Food producers often use these names to conceal the fact that they use MSG to make their foods taste better, so as to pass off as being healthier. Find out more about these alternative names in my next blog entry.

Sources for this article include
[1] Blaylock, Russell L, MD. Natural Strategies For Cancer Patients. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing, 2003. Print.
[2] Fischer, William L. How to Fight Cancer & Win. Rev ed. USA: Agora South, 2000. Print.
[3] Bollinger, Ty. Cancer: Step Outside The Box. 5th ed. USA: Infinity 510 510 Partners, 2011. Print.
[4] Mercola, Joseph, Dr., and Pearsall, Kendra, Dr. Take Control of Your Health. Schaumburg, IL: Mercola. com, 2007. Print.


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.

Should you be taking TCM herb Eucommia? 6 instances when the answer is “Yes”.

posted by Cindy L. Tjol

Considered a power-herb just second to Ginseng, Eucommia is a Chinese herb that has a wide variety of health and medical properties, and has been used by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners for thousand of years. It is only recently that elsewhere, people are starting to learn about and use this herb for its health-promoting qualities.

Should you be incorporating the herb into your health routine? Here are 6 instances when the answers to these questions are “Yes”.

Yes, if you often have backaches

TCM practitioners believe that backaches are usually a sign of Shen deficiency, and Eucommia can help address this deficiency. In 2000, some Japanese researchers found that the bark and leaves of the Eucommia plant contain a compound that increases collagen formation in rats. Collagen is essential for healthy connective tissues (e.g. tendons and ligaments) which are found extensively along the back.

Yes, if you have high blood pressure

Studies since 1970s have shown the blood-pressure lowering properties of Eucommia, which some researchers attributed to its mild diuretic actions. This effect of the herb is especially useful if you have borderline hypertension and could be helped with dietary and lifestyle modification (instead of having to resort to pharmaceutical drugs).

But even if you do not have high blood pressure, you could still take the herb, as unlike pharmaceutical drugs, the herb does not further lower blood-pressure in those already with low blood pressure.

Yes, if you are male and have impotency

If you are male and suffer from impotency or premature ejaculation, and your problems are due to a deficiency in Shen yang (you would need to be diagnosed by a TCM practitioner for that), then Eucommia is the herb for you. Modern studies have found that the herb increases the production of nitric-oxide in your body, which probably explains its function in addressing impotency issues.

Yes, if you are female and are pregnant

TCM practitioners have traditionally used Eucommia in supporting pregnancies, by reducing the occurrence of miscarriages. The herb is extremely mild in terms of side effects and toxicity, and so can be quite safely consumed by almost everyone. Nonetheless, if you are pregnant and are considering whether to take the herb, it might be best to consult your TCM doctor first. Your physician would be in the best shoes to advise you if the herb is suited for your body constitution.

Yes, if you have low immunity

Eucommia has been found to immunity-enhancing properties. It enhances adrenocortical functions and possesses anti-inflammatory abilities. It increases interferon production, which triggers your body’s immune system into defense mode. The herb also enhances phagocytic action, which increases the elimination of foreign materials in your blood by your white blood cells.

Yes, if you deficiencies in Gan and Shen

If you are diagnosed by a TCM practitioner as having deficiencies in Gan and Shen, Eucommia could be very useful for you. The herb could help you address problems brought about by your deficiencies, including the premature graying of hair, blurry vision, tinnitus, poor memory, menstrual issues, as well as fertility issues (in both men and women).

Find out more about HOW you could take Eucommia to enjoy its health benefits.

Here’s when you need to be extra cautious

You need to be extra cautious when taking Eucommia if you experience symptoms of yin-deficient-huo-excessive, which include but are not limited to night sweating, hot flashes, and dry cough with little or bloody phlegm. It is best to consult a TCM practitioner for a proper diagnosis if you are unsure about your body constitution. You should also reframe from consuming Eucommia if you are down with flu or have a sore throat.

References
[1] http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3435100295.html
[2] http://www.mdidea.com/products/new/new05309.html
[3] http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/16/4/338.pdf
[4] http://www.med66.com/new/201202/zm201202213710.shtml


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.

A 4-minute exercise for burning fats

posted by Cindy L. Tjol

Looking for a quick and effective exercise to burn your fats, lose some weight and tone your body?

My hubby and I found something you might be interested in.

It involves only 4 minutes of intense exertion, and you need only set aside 20 minutes of your time for the workout (excluding the warm-ups and cool-downs). And best of all, you can customize the intensity of the workout based on your fitness level. Sounds doable? Definitely worth giving a try!

This fat-burning, anti-aging and mood-lifting exercise that we have discovered is the “Peak 8” exercise recommended by Dr Mercola.

What your 4-min fat-burning exercise looks like

Here’s what you need to do to give “Peak 8” a try.

Decide on your preferred mode of physical activity. Yes, you can walk, run on a treadmill, run outdoors, or use a gym-bike. But wait, I have not gotten to the most crucial part of this fat-burning exercise yet. Read on.

Remember to warm up by doing some stretching exercises.

Then here goes. Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. In other words, walk or run or cycle as fast as you can, for just 30 seconds. I emphasize, “as fast as you can”, as if you were running for your life.

The aim is not to hit a particular pre-determined speed during the exercise. Rather, the aim is to raise your heart rate (by exercising as fast as you can) to what Dr Mercola knows as the “anaerobic threshold”. To achieve this threshold, some of us just need to walk very quickly, while others may need to break out into a mad-sprint before the threshold can be reached.

Only you would know if you have pushed yourself far enough, ie. if you have reached your threshold. At the end of the 30s, you should be gasping for breath and feel like you can’t possibly go on further. You will also experience a “burning” feeling in your leg muscles as lactic acid builds up in them.

After this first 30s of high-intensity exertion, allow your body to recover for 90s by walking, jogging or cycling slowly.

When this 90s is over, start the 30s of high-intensity exercise again.

The entire Peak 8 routine comprises 8 repetitions of 30s high-intensity exercise, interspersed by 90s of recovery time. So effectively, Peak 8 uses up only 20 minutes of your time each time.

Two important points to note.

If you haven’t been exercising before this, or are not in good physical health, you should probably work your way up to the 8 repetitions. For a start, you could do a Peak 2 or 3, then slowly increase the number of high-intensity repetitions to achieve Peak 8.

On the other hand, even if you are physically very fit, you should limit the number of times you carry out Peak 8 exercises to only 2 to 3 times a week. For otherwise, you could do yourself more harm than good.

To maximize your Peak 8 efforts…

To maximize your Peak 8 efforts (don’t let all the mad-sprints and panting go to a waste), you should try to do the following:

  • have enough rest and sleep at night

  • drink plenty of water
  • consume lots of vegetables and high quality protein
  • avoid high fat foods before the exercise, and sugar or fructose in the 2 hours immediately after your Peak 8 exercise
  • get enough vitamin D (by going under the sun, it’s free!)

Give “Peak 8” a try, and let me know it turns out for you!

Reference

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2010/12/24/a-fountain-of-youth-in-your-muscles.aspx


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.

Why exercising doesn’t help you lose weight

posted by Cindy L. Tjol

Do you exercise regularly and watch your diet, yet still see fats accumulating on your body, especially your thighs, butt, tummy and maybe arms? Those who suggest that you exercise to lose your fats really have no idea what you go through. It’s not as if you have not tried; the fats simply won’t go away.

The solution to your problem is not to give up on exercising though. Exercise is still an important aspect of losing fats and weight (other than a good diet, which will be discussed another time). The crucial question is – are you doing the right type of exercise to help you lose your fats?

Several health experts have pointed out that steady-state aerobic exercises like brisk walking, jogging, cycling or even swimming could do your heart and cardiovascular system much good, but when it comes to losing fats, they fall short.

This is because aerobic exercises help you burn calories and fats while you exercise, but when you stop, your fat-burning mechanisms stop too. And in fact, some suggest that steady-state exercises for long periods of time can actually encourage your body to hold on to its fats, as a survival instinct. That sounds like the opposite of what you want to achieve!

Losing fats ultimately boils down to burning more calories than you consume. You definitely burn more calories when you exercise or engage in physical activities. However, when you stop these physical exertions, more often than not, your calorie-burning levels revert to normal. A more permanent way to be constantly burning more calories (even after your physical activities) is to increase your metabolism. And one way to increase your metabolism is via increasing your muscle mass.

And to increase your muscle mass, it is exercise you will have to do! But not just any type of exercise.

The most effective exercises for increasing your muscle mass include resistance or strength training, as well as short intense exercise sessions.

My personal experience with the short intense exercise sessions is that they take only a fraction of the time – a 20 min exercise session, with only 4 min of intense workout, could give you double or more the effectiveness when it comes to building muscles and burning fats.

I will share a bit more on the 4-min-intense workout that my hubby and I engage in, in my next blog article. So stay tuned!

References
[1] http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2014/06/24/steady-state-aerobic-exercise-promotes-weight-loss-not
[2] http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2010/12/24/a-fountain-of-youth-in-your-muscles.aspx


Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at All 4 Natural Health.com.

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