The other day my dad went to see his doctor. My dad was scheduled to receive results from his latest blood test, but they didn’t turn out as he had hoped. The doctor told my dad that he had high cholesterol. A previous test had revealed he also had high blood pressure. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are contributors toward clogged arteries.

Your arteries are blood vessels responsible for the transportation of oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. A normal artery will be strong, flexible, and elastic. On the other hand, progressive clogging of the arteries is a serious condition called atherosclerosis. It is the major cause of cardiovascular disease, which includes peripheral vascular disease, strokes, and heart attacks.[1-3]

In the U.S., cardiovascular disease is considered the leading cause of death, claiming approximately 600,000 lives every year.[4] It is also known as a silent killer since the condition does not cause any symptoms. That is until the problem becomes more severe.

Symptoms of Blocked Arteries

The symptoms of clogged arteries likely depend on the type of arteries being affected.[5]

  •  Carotid arteries: When you have clogged arteries in your brain, it is a condition called carotid artery disease. Plaque will block or narrow the carotid arteries, and signs of a stroke may be present. Symptoms include breathing problems, sudden weakness, confusion, severe headaches, loss of consciousness, blurry vision, trouble with speech, paralysis, trouble walking,dizziness, unexplained falls, and loss of coordination or balance.
  • Coronary arteries: When the arteries in the heart are clogged, it is called coronary heart disease, or CHD. In this case, plaque will block or narrow the coronary arteries when the heart muscle fails to get enough blood. As a result, chest pain, known as angina will occur. It feels like pressure is squeezing your chest, but you may also feel it in your jaw, neck, arms, shoulders, or back. Angina also sometimes feels like indigestion. Emotional stress will also often trigger angina. Other CHD symptoms include heartbeat problems and shortness of breath.
  • Renal arteries: Chronic kidney disease will develop from clogged renal arteries in the kidneys. Over time, chronic kidney disease can slowly impair kidney function. There are no symptoms early in kidney disease; however, as the condition worsens, it can lead to loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, concentration problems, numbness or itchiness, and swelling in the feet or hands. Other symptoms include kidney failure and high blood pressure.
  • Peripheral arteries: Peripheral arterial disease will result from plaque buildup in the arms, legs, and pelvis. These arteries are known as peripheral arteries, and if they are blocked or narrowed, you may experience pain or numbness. On occasion, there are also dangerous infections.

What Causes Artery Blockage?

Atherosclerosis is often referred to as the hardening, thickening, and narrowing of the arteries. A thin layer of endothelial cells that help keep the inside of your arteries smooth and toned lines your arteries. This process allows your blood to keep flowing.

However, several factors will damage the endothelial cells, including platelet cells, increased homocysteine levels, and free radicals from toxins and antioxidant deficiency. Also, vitamin C deficiency and homocysteine will damage the arteries from degradation of a gel-like substance called the ground substance. It is found between the cells and helps maintain the integrity of the epithelial cell barrier.

The plaque will accumulate when various substances are unable to migrate out of the atherosclerotic lesion. These substances include fat, calcium, toxic metals, cellular waste, and cholesterol such as LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. A material involved in blood clotting called fibrin is also accumulated when arteries are clogged.

While the exact cause of clogged arteries is a mystery, evidence shows that atherosclerosis is a complex and slow condition that may begin in childhood and develop as you get older. Certain factors may damage your arteries’ inner layers, including smoking, high blood pressure, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance.

Other contributing factors of atherosclerosis include lack of exercise, being overweight, a type-A personality, heavy metal exposure, elevated triglycerides, and chronic inflammation from diseases, infections, lupus, or arthritis. High cholesterol and fats in the blood are also possible causes of atherosclerosis. On rare occasions, genetics may also play a factor with elevated production of cholesterol associated with atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis can also be caused by oxidative stress through depletion of vitamin C or other antioxidants. Nutrient deficiencies or imbalances may also lead to atherosclerosis. They may include magnesium, potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and methyl donators. Dietary factors also include a diet high in sugar, processed starches, and damaged fats from overheating oils.[1,5,6]

Your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins drugs, or beta-blockers that lower blood pressure. These will help slow the progression of plaque buildup (not without their serious side effects). However, there are also plenty of well-researched foods that can prevent clogged arteries naturally instead:[7]

1. Curcumin (in Turmeric)

Turmeric is a popular spice used in Indian and Ayurvedic cooking, but its true benefit comes from one active ingredient. The primary polyphenol in turmeric called curcumin has long been known for its cardioprotective effects. Turmeric extract is thought to reduce LDL cholesterol and the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

In a 2011 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, researchers found that turmeric could reduce cholesterol and suppress early atherosclerotic lesions better than the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin.[8] Also, a 2006 study on mice suggested that curcumin can help prevent artery damage associated with carotid artery blockage.[9]

2. Garlic

Garlic is also considered one of the better foods that support your arteries. Studies have found that garlic can help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, and slow down atherosclerosis. In a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis in 1999, researchers found that garlic could prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.[10]

A review published in the journal Nutrition in 1997 found that clinical trials on garlic had positive effects in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.[11] Another study from 1999 also found that garlic can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by more than 50%.[12] Garlic is thought to help against strokes and heart attacks since garlic acts as a blood thinner.

3. Ginger

Ginger has incredible anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. Ginger contains heart-protective compounds like shogaols and gingerols, which can effectively prevent plaque buildup by reducing total cholesterol. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2000, researchers found that ginger extract could reduce aortic atherosclerotic lesion areas, cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, LDL-linked fat peroxides, and LDL aggregation.[13]

4. Cayenne pepper

Something spicy can also help support your arteries. The compound capsaicin found in cayenne pepper can help reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood. Cayenne pepper can also lower your risk of stroke and heart attack, and improve blood circulation. Also, highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) with HIV protease inhibitor ritonavir is associated with accelerating atherosclerosis and pulmonary artery hypertension. A study published in 2009 found that capsaicin could help prevent pulmonary and vascular complications associated with HAART drugs.[14]

5. Lemon

Adding lemon juice in your morning water is a healthy habit and good for your heart. Lemon is known to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and it helps the arteries by preventing oxidative damage. Lemons are also a great source of the potent antioxidant vitamin C. High doses of vitamin C have been found to strengthen arteries, reduce total cholesterol, increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL), inhibit platelet aggregation, and reduce inflammation.[15]

6. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can help reduce many risk factors associated with atherosclerosis and heart disease. A 2003 study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003 found that either one gram, three grams, or six grams of cinnamon daily can lower glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in type 2 diabetics.[16] The study observed 60 diabetics for a 40-day period. Researchers concluded that cinnamon can help reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular disease.

7. Ground flaxseed

Flaxseed is another important food for heart health. Ground flaxseed can help support healthy arteries with high fiber. It is also a good source of alpha-linolenic acide, an omega-3 acid that can lower inflammation and blood pressure. In turn, arteries will not become clogged. In a 1997 study published in the journal Atherosclerosis, researchers found that flaxseed lowered the development of aortic atherosclerosis by 46% in rabbits.[17]

Researchers concluded that modest flaxseed supplementation is an effective treatment for reducing hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis. Also, it is a good idea to grind your flaxseed. They contain greater amounts of omega-3. On the other hand, the polyunsaturated fats in pre-ground flaxseeds will break down over longer exposure to oxygen, and it can become rancid.

8. Fermented cabbage

Kimchi is a popular probiotic Korean recipe that includes fermented cabbage and hot peppers that has been found to slow the atherosclerotic process. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that an active compound in kimchi called 3-94-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxyphenyl can help prevent the development of aortic atherosclerosis in high-cholesterol-fed rabbits.[18] Fermented cabbage has also found to degrade toxic chemicals, including bisphenol A and the insecticide chlorpyrifos.

9. Sesame seed

Sesame seeds can help prevent a blocked artery. Evidence shows that they can help prevent the progression of atherosclerosis. A three-month animal study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2006 suggests that the fatty acid content in sesame oil could effectively inhibit atherosclerosis lesion formation, blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels in mice.[20]

10. Pomegranate juice

The high antioxidant content and punicic acid in pomegranate juice are thought to help decrease plaque formation and fight atherosclerosis. Pomegranate juice also contains important nutrients for heart health, such as magnesium and selenium. In a randomized, double-blind, parallel study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2009, researchers found that drinking 240 milliliters (ml) of pomegranate juice daily for up to 18 months slowed the progression of carotid artery disease for patients at risk of coronary health disease.[20]

Other Natural Remedies for Clogged Arteries

Other foods that help prevent clogged arteries include asparagus, avocado, broccoli, chia seeds, fenugreek seeds, and coconut oil. Dietary supplements and nutrients that can help with atherosclerosis include methyl donators like vitamin B6, choline, folic acid, and vitamin B12, as well as antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, grape seed extract, and pine bark extract.

Other important nutrients include L-arginine, vitamin D, vitamin B3, fish oils, and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).  Other supplements include magnesium, selenium, resveratrol, copper, chromium, and trimethylglycine.

Finally, exercise is considered just as important as dieting for cardiovascular health. Exercises that reduce stress are important, including meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qigong. Aerobic exercises, gardening, walking, or running can also help combat atherosclerosis. Exercise for about 30 minutes daily for five days a week.

Disclaimer: Specifically, anyone on blood thinners needs to consult their physician before taking additional blood thinning dietary factorsThis information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

Cleanse and detox are two pretty well-known terms now -Many take part in cleansing regimens annually or practice daily detox habits such as drinking lemon water or organic vegetable juices. While the actual term ‘detox’ may be an overall misleading/incorrect term, which indeed – it is – as you are never able to fully ‘detoxify’ your body from all toxic matter.

These practices, however, which are known to BE cleansing or detoxing, can serve much benefit, keeping in mind that it is still physically impossible for your body to be ‘squeaky clean.’

Taking the stress away from your digestive system by nourishing your body with whole pure foods, drinking more water, getting more sleep, eliminating caffeine, alcohol and toxic habits, are all examples of positive and beneficial cleaning/detox practices which may decrease your overall toxic load.

This is why after completing a cleanse, most people experience an increase in energy, clear skin, elimination of bloating, improved digestion, better sleep, a vibrant mind and much more.

As a holistic nutritionist, cleansing is not new to me – in my life ventures and journey to where I am today – I have taken part in countless cleansing and detox regimens, and while I’ve felt many benefits (and side effects) – I’ve simplified my practices over the years.

What I practice in my own lifestyle, and what I recommend to my clients and readers, is one in the same. I promote taking part in daily detox practices that work behind the scenes long-term, without debilitating you, like some short duration, high-intensity cleanses can.

Some ways you can detox daily include:

  • Drinking warm lemon water upon rising.
  • Eating organic when possible, including cold-pressed vegetable juices.
  • Eliminating trigger foods: wheat, cow dairy, refined sugar, inflammatory fats, processed and packaged foods.
  • Switching to natural personal care products.
  • Dry brushing.
  • Taking a detox bath with Epsom salts, Himalayan salts or alkali bath.
  • Getting in optimal water intake.
  • Being mindful of caffeine intake.
  • Keeping alcohol for an occasion.

Daily detox practices like this may be beneficial in decreasing your overall toxic load so that you can thrive & be vibrant every day!

During a change in seasons, at the beginning of a new year, and after a period of stress, are all examples of opportune times to emphasize cleansing practices by adding in something to additionally support your detoxification organs.

Dark Arts Elixir

Made with few ingredients: filtered water, lemon juice, activated charcoal, pure maple syrup and Himalayan salt.

While all of the ingredients serve a purpose in this elixir – for more than just taste – the activated charcoal provides several noted benefits for this ‘black lemonade’ to be a simple + effective cleansing option.

Activated Charcoal

First and foremost, activated charcoal is not barbecue charcoal. So don’t go eating coals from your bbq or fireplace. Activated charcoal is non-toxic and is designed for supplementation and personal care (it can also whiten your teeth and make a great face mask).

Activated charcoal is manufactured by burning a source of carbon, commonly wood or coconut shells. The high temperature removes all the oxygen, and the steam activates the carbon, creating an adsorbent material with very fine mesh like pores, which can capture, bind, and remove certain poisons/toxins which have thousands of times more weight than the charcoal itself .

Briquettes from your barbecue, on the other hand, are carcinogenic, these are designed to be used as fuel and are 100% NOT safe for ingestion. Charcoal briquettes are more similar to lighter fluid, and all charcoal briquettes are toxic.

Just as with Diatomaceous Earth (which you can learn more about here), and how it comes in 100% food grade and then a toxic form, not safe for human consumption – the same for activated charcoal. If anyone asks me if they can use the coals from their barbecue to make this elixir – I’m going to lose my mind! See my product recommendations for safely activated charcoal below.

In my own personal experiences I have been successful in my ventures with activated charcoal to whiten my teeth, make a bomb face mask, alleviate gas and bloating, eliminate digestive issues while traveling and of course, drinking my Dark Arts Elixir for a short-term digestive cleanse.

Activated charcoal is used in the medical field to treat drug overdose or poisoning, due to its ability to bind to toxins in the body, which prevents the body from absorbing them (known as adsorption) [3]. Unfortunately, studies on activated charcoal are very inconclusive on which toxins activated charcoal can and cannot eliminate.

Since doing my own research on the matter, I’ve found activated charcoal to be called both a miracle supplement and a load of crock. Now, I am not making any claims on this product, as so there are so many views on this supplement – but not enough conclusive studies, in my opinion. However, I like to work from experience, so don’t stop reading now.

I’ve been making and drinking this Dark Arts Elixir every day for a two week period now, and I have personally noticed a huge improvement in my digestion, I have not been bloated, I feel lighter, my skin is clear and glowing, I have been having amazing #2’s, I’ve been sleeping like a baby and I wake up with more energy and vibrancy than what’s normal for me. That says something about the effectiveness, does it not? 

I’ve also got clients, family, and random strangers loving this elixir because of the positive effects! The best part is that I have experienced all of this positive radiance, without changing anything else in my diet or lifestyle, and that’s a good note in my book for my dear friend, activated charcoal.

By the way, activated charcoal literally saved me in Peru from a terrible digestive experience I had 1 month into my 3-month trip. I’ve also been using this product to brush my teeth, and I feel squeaky clean and bright like I just left the dentist. You can see what else I do for natural teeth whitening, here. But back to the good stuff –

Here is how you can make this simple detoxing elixir to kick things up a notch, while still keeping things simple!

Makes 4 servings

What You Need:

  • 4 cups filtered water (I use reverse osmosis with trace mineral drops)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (more or less to taste, I like more)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B or No.2)
  • 1 teaspoon (about 3-4 capsules) activated charcoal (available in powder or capsules)
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt

Directions

  1. Juice your fresh lemons using a citrus juicer – this handheld juicer will maximize your lemon juice yield and make your citrus juicing life way easier. Add your fresh lemon juice to a pitcher.
  2. If you’re working with activated charcoal that comes in capsules, like this – gently squeeze and twist the capsule to open it, and carefully pour all of the contents into your pitcher with the L juice. Activated charcoal can be messy, so be mindful!
  3. Add the rest of your ingredients to the pitcher, then whisk well to combine and refrigerate evenly.
  4. Enjoy on an empty stomach, 1-hour before a meal or before bed. You will have to stir the mixture again as the charcoal likes to settle at the top/bottom.
  5. Portion out servings into sealable mason jars for convenience (optional).
  6. Lasts 5-days when refrigerated.

NOTES:

I like to prepare this in a 1L mason jar, I adjust the water accordingly so that everything fits, to prepare I simply add my ingredients, screw on the lid – shake, shake, shake and refrigerate. Advertisement

Activated charcoal is designed to detox – symptoms include, but are not limited to headaches, nausea, foggy brain, skin breakouts, irritability and low energy. With any new regimen, start slow and listen to your body! These symptoms will pass, and then you should experience increased energy, clear skin, decreased bloating, better sleep, positive vibes and more.

You can enjoy this for several days as a cleanse, or you can prepare as needed.

Who Shouldn’t Use Activated Charcoal

Do not use activated charcoal if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult with your practitioner if you are taking any other medications before consuming. Activated charcoal is a powerful detoxifier and is not selective on what it flushes out.

Using activated charcoal may decrease the effectiveness of your medications. Always take activated charcoal on an empty stomach, away from food or other supplements as it can interfere with nutrient absorption. Drink and cleanse responsibly &

If you’ve ever experienced digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, excess gas, stomach pain, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or looked into how the body works, you might have heard about the digestive enzymes we need to break down food. These digestive enzymes are crucial, but they’re not the only digestive enzymes your body uses. There are three other types of digestive enzymes you need and where they come from might surprise you: celery juice.

Medical research and science doesn’t yet know that celery juice contains completely different digestive enzymes, which perform a separate function to the digestive enzymes that break down food in your stomach. These digestive enzymes are completely unique to celery juice, meaning you can’t get them from any other food. As I share in Medical Medium Celery Juice: The Most Powerful Medicine of Our Time Healing Millions Worldwide, celery juice’s digestive enzymes are “like little capsules that are activated by pH change when they enter the small intestinal tract. One celery juice enzyme can reignite, revive, and reactivate multiple weakened digestive enzymes from other sources that are hanging around in the small intestine.”

What does this mean for your body?

First, it’s important to understand that almost everyone today has digestive enzymes that are not as strong as they’re meant to be. The reason for this is because the liver plays a critical role in producing one essential type of digestive enzyme––a truth which is decades away from being discovered by research and science. But the problem is that nine out of ten people right now have livers that are overburdened and sluggish from having to deal with so many toxins, pathogens, pollutants, poor diet and lifestyle choices, alcohol, medication, drugs, cigarettes, air fresheners, colognes and perfumes, and more. A struggling liver impacts the production of the type of digestive enzyme the liver is responsible for, which in turn affects digestion and contributes to other problems within the body. This is one key reason why so many people experience digestive issues of some kind over their lifetime. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have not experienced any digestive issues yet, it’s still important to take preventative steps now to avoid suffering with them in the future.

Celery juice’s digestive enzymes are a saving grace to these weak enzymes almost everyone has. They come along and reinvigorate these weary enzymes so they can do their job better. Plus, celery juice’s enzymes re-stimulate enzymes from food that are in the small intestine. Celery juice also revives the liver so it can produce stronger bile-related digestive enzymes in the first place and helps strengthen the pancreas and ignite pancreatic enzymes. In addition, the enzymes in celery juice themselves are profoundly powerful for the breakdown, digestion, and assimilation of certain nutrients that neither bile nor hydrochloric acid addresses, because the digestion process is that complex. Medical research and science do not yet fully understand how digestion works and how intricate, involved, and miraculous it is.

The benefits I’ve shared here are just a handful of the ways celery juice’s enzymes are instrumental in improving the health and functioning of your body. There’s many more ways they support you. Celery juice actually contains well over two dozen varieties of enzymes, most of them undiscovered and involved in the breakdown of waste matter inside the intestinal tract. But it’s the healing benefits the three special undiscovered enzymes I mentioned above provide that are one of the main reasons so many people feel better and heal when they drink 16 ounces of straight celery juice on an empty stomach every morning. You can read more about celery juice’s digestive enzymes and the other incredible healing benefits of celery juice in Medical Medium Celery Juice.

Celery juice isn’t a short-term fad or trend that is going to soon pass. It’s not something that’s popular right now but will soon be a distant memory. That will never happen with celery juice because its healing power is too great. It has made that much of a difference in millions of people’s health and lives already and will continue to help many millions more. Celery juice, when consumed in the specific way I share in Medical Medium Celery Juice has the potential to bring improvement and healing to all kinds of chronic illnesses and symptoms, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, acid reflux, bloating, SIBO, migraines, anxiety, depression, dermatitis, allergies, fatigue, mood swings, reproductive issues, fibromyalgia, streptococcus, and much more.

This humble herb’s medicine, extracted through the juicing process, is truly the most powerful medicine of our time healing millions worldwide. I want nothing more than for you and your loved ones to try it for yourself as I describe in Medical Medium Celery Juice so that you too can experience the healing benefits it provides. In Medical Medium Celery Juice I also answer hundreds of questions I receive daily about celery juice and give you exact instructions for how to get the most healing benefits from celery juice. Thank you for your support and commitment to healing. It means the world to me.  

Learn more about the healing powers of celery juice in my new book Medical Medium Celery Juice.

whole plant-based lifestyle and Veganism are the healthiest lifestyle in the world. By eating living foods, you encourage your body to maintain a healthy weight while fueling your body with all the nutrients to sustain perfect health and cut the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity by 80%.

Dieting is not so much what you eat but what you don’t eat. If you are serious about toning your body and looking better than you have ever looked before, follow my lifestyle. Don’t call it a diet because diets never work. You must replace foods that are making you gain weight with foods that create balance and enhance your vitality.

The foods that I will recommend to you will eventually taste like the foods that make you fat. You have to mentally learn to enjoy food for what it does for your health rather than what food does for your palate.
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First and foremost – STOP eating anything in a box, can, jar, frozen and has a shelf life. Don’t consume processed oils, salt, sugar, refined grains, flour, condiments, etc. Don’t eat anything fried, cut out all bread, commercial hummus, crackers, anything that says “vegan” and “organic” other than fresh organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts.

I make my own hummus which is very nutritional and fat-free. I take a half a pound of dry garbanzo beans and soak them overnight. I then thoroughly rinse the beans and put them in a pot covering them with water. I bring to a boil and simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes until the garbanzo beans are tender. I rinse the beans again and throw them in a high powered blender or you can use a food processor… I add the juice of five or six lemons (depending on your taste and enough water to give it a creamy texture. Add the water as you need to when blending. That is it. I love the taste of garbanzo beans. When you add tahini, olive oil, garlic and salt, you are compromising the taste of the garbanzo beans… Oil and tahini add lots of fat too….

Make huge salads. I make enough for two or three days at a time. I chop fresh local organic beets, celery, carrot, red cabbage, and parsley, kale, spinach, radishes (include all vegetables that are locally grown). You can add a half an avocado, lemon and organic apple cider vinegar with each serving. I use apple cider vinegar on all my salads, no oil. I also add hemp seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and, walnuts for additional protein, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants. I eat this salad for breakfast and sometimes lunch. It has a lot of fiber, enzymes and all of the vitamins you will possibly need. You can add any vegetables you like that are locally grown and in a season… Try adding blueberries when in season…

For dinner, lunch, and breakfast eat quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat – add lentils too. as these grains only take fifteen minutes to prepare. I add chopped tomatoes, parsley and lemon. Another meal choice is an organic yam or butternut squash. Just add lemon on the yam, the squash needs nothing. Embrace the wonderful natural flavors of real food – Don’t disguise the taste with oils and salt.

Eat just an organic salad for dinner; kale, spinach, red cabbage, celery, carrots, parsley with 1/2 avocado and organic apple cider vinegar. Last night I had two large organic artichokes with fresh lemon (less than 100 calories, no fat, highly nutritional). Tonight I am going to have two bunches of lightly steamed spinach with organic chopped tomatoes and lemon.

Who doesn’t like to snack? I always have organic radishes, cucumbers, cauliflower, apples, pears and red bell peppers on hand to snack on. These healthy nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits have zero fat and practically no calories and they are very filling. One of my favorite snacks is roasted garbanzo beans. I soak a pound of garbanzo beans overnight. I rinse them thoroughly the next morning. I then put the garbanzo beans in a large bowl and toss with Bragg Amino. I place the beans on a stainless steel sheet and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes to 45 minutes. I live in a high altitude so it takes a little longer. I snack on these beans all the time. They are loaded with protein, fiber and an abundance of nutrients…

If you must go to restaurants, drink warm lemon water and ask for a plate of steamed or raw vegetables. If they don’t have any, then don’t eat, just socialize. Restaurant food is the worst and the most deceiving. So, when I go to restaurants, even Vegan restaurants, I will have raw vegetables. One of my favorite restaurant meals is just a plate of parsley with lemon…

Don’t try and starve yourself, your body will go into a defense mode and store fat. Eat like there is no tomorrow of the foods that burn calories. Drink lots of organic green or white tea. I also drink freshly squeezed organic grapefruit juice which I find burns fat. Infuse water with healthy herbs, fruit, and vegetables. I also drink a lot of chickpea miso. I buy Miso Master as it is organic and 100% vegan. Many miso pastes are infused with fish oil or fish flakes. If you eat at any Asian restaurant, the miso, even though they will tell you the miso is vegetarian, is loaded with fish oil and fish flakes. Another thing Asian restaurants do is steam the vegetables with fish, fish oil or fish flakes. They consider fish to be vegetarian and most Asian restaurants do not know what vegan is… They use fish as a seasoning and a staple.

Cut out coffee and I hope you are not drinking sodas, even the zero calories. Again, do not drink or eat anything that sits on a shelf. I never shop at a supermarket. I buy all my produce from organic farmers and a health food store that I go to where I know exactly where they buy their produce. I have visited the farms. Substitute your doctor for your organic farmer. Make your organic farmer your best friend and the most important person in your quest for pristine health… I call my organic farmers “Doctors.”

I buy all my grains and beans from Bob’s Red Mill. They source the freshest organic products. Natural food stores, even Whole Foods buys their bulk from distributors that have been sold and traded as many as a dozen times. Those grains and beans sit in the bulk section for weeks, sometimes months and are constantly being exposed to humans many times a day… Bob’s Red Mill is the highest quality resource there is for grains, beans, and oats. They ship FREE!!!

Grains and beans are a powerful nutritional food high in protein, vitamins, fiber and calcium and low in calories and fat. I buy bulk organic barley, wheat berries, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, mung, garbanzo, black and adzuki beans. You have to soak them for twenty-four hours, rinse them thoroughly and simmer them together for about 30 minutes until tender. You can add vegetables at the very end by turning off the heat and allowing the vegetables to steam in the beans and the grains. For seasonings, I use fresh grated turmeric, cumin, sage, basil, garlic, paprika, and ginger.

Exercise has a lot to do with maintaining your weight, health and mental clarity. You don’t have to run on a treadmill for two hours or go crazy in the gym. Just walk briskly, park your car furthest from where you are going to the mall or work, take the stairs, do your own house cleaning, play sports, ride a bike, dance around the house or do like I do and play with your grandkids (I feel I have accomplished my goal when my four-year-old granddaughter says, “Papa, you are making me so tired.”)…..Do activities that you enjoy and look forward too. I hate the gym and exercise classes so I walk a lot and ride my bike.

You might say that my diet is expensive, time-consuming and restrictive. Well, so is diabetes, heart disease. obesity and cancer. Think of this new vegan lifestyle as preventive medicine and the only path to extend your life and live healthy long into your 80’s and 90’s. Your mind will be clear, your body will be clean and your energy level is amazing.

I eat like this regularly so I don’t call it a diet, these are the foods that make me feel vibrant and have kept me doctor and prescription drug-free my entire life.

Good luck – ask me anything you want, I will be more than happy to support and encourage you. Please message me…..

“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food”…….. You can do it! ……Doug

How does this homemade pickled cabbage compare to the pickled cabbage in a jar in the supermarket? What about pickled cucumbers or pickled garlic, also popular commercial choices

There seems to be a bit of confusion going around about fermented foods and the difference between what you make in your kitchen and the pickled versions that are available on the supermarket shelf. For example, in one of my video lessons, I demonstrate how to make sauerkraut in the traditional manner.  After the shredded cabbage ferments on the kitchen counter for a few days, it is then refrigerated or kept in a cool cellar where the sauerkraut remains naturally preserved for extended periods of time.

Alex Lewin, author of Real Food Fermentation explains that the confusion comes from the overlap in definition.  In a nutshell, not all fermented foods are pickled and not all pickles are fermented. Still confused?

Foods that are pickled are those that have been preserved in an acidic medium.  In the case of various types of supermarket pickles on the shelf, the pickling comes from vinegar.  These vegetables, however, are not fermented (even though vinegar itself is the product of fermentation) and hence do not offer the probiotic and enzymatic value of homemade fermented vegetables.

Vegetables that you ferment in your kitchen using a starter, salt, and some filtered water create their own self preserving, acidic liquid that is a by-product of the fermentation process.  This lactic acid is incredibly beneficial to digestion when consumed along with the fermented vegetables or even when sipped alone as anyone on the GAPS Intro Diet has discovered (cabbage juice anyone?). In other words, homemade fermented veggies are both fermented and pickled.

What about alcoholic fermentation?  In the case of wine and unpasteurized beers, fermentation occurs as the result of certain yeasts converting sugars into alcohol but there is no pickling that takes place despite the common expression that a person who has had too much to drink is “pickled”.

Home fermentation of vegetables preserves without the use of any pressure or heat unlike supermarket versions of the same foods.   It  allows the ubiquitous and beneficial lactobacilli present on the surface of all living things – yes, even your own skin – to proliferate creating lactic acid which not only pickles and preserves the vegetables, but also promotes the health of those that consume it in the following ways:

  • Enhances the vitamin content of the food.
  • Preserves and sometimes enhances the enzyme content of the food.
  • Improves nutrient bio-availability in the body.
  • Improves the digestibility of the food and even cooked foods that are consumed along with it!

So don’t be fooled by unhealthy supermarket pickled versions of homemade fermented foods. These modern foods are the product of high heat and pressure which destroys nutrients and do not in any way enhance health.   The one exception to this rule are the various fermented foods in the refrigerator section of many healthfood stores. These products are actually fermented and pickled. The only drawback is that these gourmet items are rather expensive compared to the pennies per ounce it costs to make them yourself.

Kefirs are cultured drinks produced by lacto-fermenting certain liquids for a short 1-3 day period of time. Among the list of fermented foods, they are one of the easiest to make from scratch, requiring only a few ingredients and minimal skill level.

When it comes to water kefir vs milk kefir, both can be health-enhancing drinks to consume for most people. However, each variety of kefir is made somewhat differently, utilizing unique cultures that provide slightly different end results.

If you’re someone looking to add kefir into your daily regimen, you may want to learn more about these cultured drinks to see which one might be best for your current health objectives.

The term “kefir” has several pronunciations depending on your country of origin. Most people in the Western U.S. call it KEE-fir or sometimes KEFF-er. The original Russian pronunciation however is KUH-fear.

On this page, we are primarily discussing the difference between traditional-style water kefir vs milk kefir when making homemade artisanal varieties of this beverage. Both are made from SCOBY grains, similar to how kombucha is fermented. The term SCOBY is short for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, not to identify one particular ferment.

But, before we discuss the top differences between water kefir vs milk kefir, we’d first like to clarify the distinction between powdered kefir starter cultures and commercial based kefir products.

Powdered Kefir Starter Cultures Vs Kefir Grains

The use of kefir grains, in both water and milk variations, is the traditional way to make milk kefir or types of water kefir, also commonly called “tibicos.”

powder-kefir-starter-vs-kefir-grains

In recent times, especially is the last decade, kefir powdered starter cultures have become a popular way to make homemade kefir without having to use heirloom SCOBY grains. Although these types can be more convenient and used interchangeably between water kefir and milk kefir, they only contain SOME of the beneficial strains, not the diverse amount found in “true” grain-made kefir ferments.

While the kefir created from quality powdered starter cultures, like the one from Body Ecology, can be reused for a number of batches, eventually it will lose its ability to culture the liquid substrate.

By comparison, the grain cultures used to make traditional-style kefir are actually referred to as a type of “evolved life form” and a living matrix of microbes that, when properly cared for, will proliferate and in-effect live indefinitely. So yeah, they are a bit different!

Though powder-made varieties have their place, for the serious kefir consumer, traditional-grain based kefir can be a better, more cost-effective probiotic-diverse option to powder starters.

What are Commercial Kefir Products Made From?

Kefir grains are considered “heirloom” forms and are more of an artisan variety not used on a commercial scale as they are harder to maintain and regulate for production purposes. Commercial kefir products, both milk and water, are therefore most always made using dried probiotic powder starters.

milk-kefir-vs-water-kefir

Top Differences Between Water Kefir Vs Milk Kefir

1) Water Kefir and Milk Kefir are Not Related Cultures

While both go by the name “kefir” and are cultured from SCOBY grains, the two are not actually directly related.

Milk kefir is believed to have its origins from the Caucasus mountain regions and has a long history of use in Russia, the countries Georgia and Turkey as well as other regions of Eurasia and Central Asia. Milk kefir grains themselves look a bit like small off-white cauliflower florets and have a dense rubbery texture. They vary in size but are generally larger than water kefir grains.

Water kefir or tibicos grains also vary in size but are nearly translucent, like tiny crystals, and tend to be smaller than milk grains. They also have an irregular less rounded shape in addition to a softer gummy texture.

2) They are Used to Culture Different Substrates

The obvious difference between water kefir vs milk kefir is that they are used to culture different liquids. If you’ve ever tried to use water kefir grains to ferment milk, you may have come to this realization.

Milk kefir grains are used specifically to culture milk. Traditionally, dairy milk is used but vegan milks can also be substituted. A popular one we enjoy is coconut milk, made with the flesh and water.  To keep most milk kefir grains alive and thriving, however, it is necessary to periodically use a dairy milk source. We personally prefer using raw organic grass-fed cows milk over pasteurized.

Water kefir is strictly used to ferment carbohydrate-rich sugary liquids, such as coconut water, fruit juice or water that has been mixed with a sugar source. The water used when making kefir works best in spring water or water that has minerals added.

Typically, 2 Tablespoons of water grains and 1 Tablespoon of milk kefir grains are used for about one quart of liquid.

3) Contain Different Strains of Lactic Acid Bacteria and Yeast

The visual distinctions between the two grains are of course associated with the different blend of yeast and bacterial microbes they are made of, probiotics that will further inoculate into the fermented liquids.

Both milk and water varieties are considered “wild” cultures, in that they can take on other species over time. Grains may therefore vary from one to the next in overall composition. To keep your homemade ferment free of other species, you can use an air-lock cap as kefir’s don’t require oxygen to ferment.

milk-kefir-grains-close-up

Milk Kefir Bacteria and Yeast Strains

Generally speaking, milk kefir grains are known to contain larger ratios of the Lactobacillus species than water grains. Here are some species found in milk kefir grains. (Source)

BACTERIA:

Lactobacillus
L. acidophilus
L. brevis
L. casei
L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
L. delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii
L. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
L. helveticus
L. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
L. kefiri
L. kefiranofaciens
L. paracasei subsp. paracasei
L. plantarum
L. rhamnosus
L. sake

Lactococcus
L. lactis subsp. cremoris
L. lactis subsp. lactis
L. lactis

Leuconostoc
L.mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
L. mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum
L. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides

Pseudomonas
P. fluorescens
P. putida

Streptococcus
Streptococcus thermophilus

YEAST:

Kluyveromyces marxianus
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Saccharomyces martiniae
Saccharomyces unisporus
Candida humilis

Kazachstania unispora
Kazachstania exigua
Kluyveromyces siamensis
Kluyveromyces lactis

Water kefir, as we mentioned, also goes by the name “tibicos” and there are many tibicos varieties all over the world that are made from diverse strains unique to particular climates and other environmental conditions.

water-kefir-grains-close-up

Water Kefir Bacteria and Yeast Strains

According to the Journal of Microbiology, water kefir grains have been identified to contain some of the following bacteria and yeast species. (Source)

BACTERIA:

Lactobacillus
L. brevis
L. casei
L. hilgardii
L. hordei
L. nagelii

Leuconostoc
L. citreum
L. mesenteroides

Acetobacter
A. fabarum
A. orientalis

Streptococcus
S. lactis

YEAST:

Hanseniaospora valbyensis
Lachancea fermentati
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Zygotorulaspora florentina

4) Health Benefits of Water Kefir Vs Milk Kefir

For more about the health benefits of milk kefir visit our kefir page or learn how to make your own creamy-style coconut kefir using our recipe.

Both water-based and milk-based kefir varieties are probiotic-rich drinks that help to colonize the intestinal tract and have a health-enhancing impact on maintaining balanced gut flora. (*)

This is a topic which is receiving a lot of attention these days and with good reason. Gastrointestinal microbiota that live in the human digestive tract are a “complex community of microorganisms” that when in proper ratio are known to have a huge influence on our human physiology and overall long-term well-being.

The good news is that these “pro-life” gut flora can be nourished through dietary sources. It is often recommended to include a diverse variety of fermented foods in the diet to get a good cross section of different mircroflora, especially after a period of antibiotic use.

This may include periodic probiotic supplementation, however cultured food and drinks tend to be better overall sources. This is because they are “enzymatically” active and are also, according to a Body Ecology article, resistant to harsh stomach acid. (*)

Some health experts also believe that consuming ferments like water and milk kefir, with probiotic supplements helps to aid in their assimilation. We use the powder from probiotic capsules when making cultured vegetables, like kimchi, as well as cultured seed cheeses.

When comparing the beneficial properties of water kefir vs milk kefir, milk kefir can offer a significantly higher number of probiotic strains than water-based kefirs. The average amount for milk kefir is between 30-50 as opposed to about 10-15 from the tibicos varieties. Water kefir however is identified to contain more strains than that of cultured yogurt and kefir made from powder starters.

Both types of cultured kefir are known to be well tolerated in contrast to other ferments. They can be a more suitable option for those with digestive sensitivities who might not be able to handle other cultured foods like sauerkraut, rejuvelac or kombucha.

Generally, milk kefir is better for those recovering from a candida infection, whereas water kefir may potentially contain sugar content if not completely fermented.

water-kefir-vs-milk-kefir-grains-benefits

5) Quality of Taste and Texture

The taste and textural qualities of water kefir vs milk kefir are quite different in our opinion.

Milk kefir has a very thick creamy consistency and with a tart sour taste similar to yogurt. It is not sweet but can have a mild effervescence.

Milk-based kefirs get there notably thick characteristic from a substance known as kefiran, a water-soluble polysaccharide that congeals with other species during fermentation, gelatinizing the liquid and creating a creamy texture.

Water kefir is usually sweet with a slight tang and fizziness. Taste can vary however depending on fermentation time and ingredients used. Sometimes different combinations of sugars and fruits are also incorporated. Final ferments can have a slightly thicker quality with some cloudiness.

These two types of kefirs of course can be flavored with natural sweeteners or blended with fruits like berries or even various herbal spices if desired.

Traditional-Style Water Kefir Vs Milk Kefir List

WATER KEFIR

  1. A vegan dairy-free option
  2. Takes about 48 hours at between 68-85°F (20-29°C)
  3. Provides a soda-like alternative
  4. More probiotic strains than yogurt or powdered starters
  5. May contain sugar depending on fermentation time
  6. No fat content, lower in calories

MILK KEFIR

  1. Contains bioavailable vitamins, minerals and amino acids
  2. Takes about 24 hours 72-75°F (22-24°C)
  3. Provides a thick creamy probiotic-rich drink
  4. Does not contain sugar, but is higher in calories
  5. Culturing process can potentially reduce lactose in dairy milk
  6. Easier to ferment, less finicky

6) Other Misc Differences Between Water Kefir Vs Milk Kefir

Water Kefir Makes a Great Low Calorie Soda Alternative

Water kefir is a probiotic-rich beverage that also makes a great alternative to sodas. It can be fermented to produce different levels of fizziness similar to carbonated soft drinks.

For those looking for a dairy-free replacement to cow or goat milk kefirs, water kefir can be an excellent choice. Water kefirs are additionally lower in calories in contrast to kefir made from dairy milk, nut milks and soy milk. They can be a better choice for those looking to reduce body weight and daily caloric intake.

Milk Kefir Contains More Nutrients

Both dairy milk and vegan milk sources also come with their list of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The process of lacto-fermenting them with kefir grains, additionally makes these nutrients more bioavailable as they are in essence “pre-digested.”

Dairy milk, from cows, goat or other animals, is identified to be a good dietary source of certain bone building minerals like calcium. Cultured milk kefir is therefore known to enhance calcium absorption, and in some research short-term use was associated with an increase in hip bone mineral density in patients with osteoporosis.

Kefir fermentation is also known to reduce the lactose content in milk, since that’s what the grains feed off of. It has thus been purposed to be more suitable for those with lactose intolerance. (*)

Milk Kefir Tends to Be Easier to Ferment

When making both types of homemade kefir from SCOBY grains, we have personally experienced that milk-based kefir tends to be less finicky about maintaining a consistent temperature and is relatively easier to culture than kefir made from sugar water.

How to Use

Milk or water-based kefir, in our opinion, works best as a “probiotic supplement” when consumed first thing in the morning or 2-3 hours before or after meals. We recommend consuming it in small shot glass size amounts if you’re new to drinking it, then eventually increase amount.

Both varieties, however, can also be added to blended drinks and protein shakes mixed with other superfoods or ingredients.

Healthline and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link on this page.

Spirulina is among the world’s most popular supplements.

It is loaded with various nutrients and antioxidants that may benefit your body and brain.

Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of spirulina.

1. Spirulina Is Extremely High in Many Nutrients

Spirulina is an organism that grows in both fresh and salt water.

It is a type of cyanobacteria, which is a family of single-celled microbes that are often referred to as blue-green algae.

Just like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy from sunlight via a process called photosynthesis.

Spirulina was consumed by the ancient Aztecs but became popular again when NASA proposed that it could be grown in space for use by astronauts (1).

A standard daily dose of spirulina is 1–3 grams, but doses of up to 10 grams per day have been used effectively.

This tiny alga is packed with nutrients. A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains (2):

  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 11% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 15% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin): 4% of the RDA
  • Copper: 21% of the RDA
  • Iron: 11% of the RDA
  • It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that you need.

In addition, the same amount holds only 20 calories and 1.7 grams of digestible carbs.

Gram for gram, spirulina may be the single most nutritious food on the planet.

A tablespoon (7 grams) of spirulina provides a small amount of fat — around 1 gram — including both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in an approximately 1.5–1.0 ratio.

The quality of the protein in spirulina is considered excellent — comparable to eggs. It gives all the essential amino acids that you need.

It is often claimed that spirulina contains vitamin B12, but this is false. It has pseudovitamin B12, which has not been shown to be effective in humans (3, 4).

Summary Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both salt and fresh water. It may be one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth.

2. Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Oxidative damage can harm your DNA and cells.

This damage can drive chronic inflammation, which contributes to cancer and other diseases (5).

Spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage.

Its main active component is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant substance also gives spirulina its unique blue-green color.

Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit production of inflammatory signaling molecules, providing impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (6, 7, 8).

Summary Phycocyanin is the main active compound in spirulina. It has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Can Lower “Bad” LDL and Triglyceride Levels

Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death.

Many risk factors are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

As it turns out, spirulina positively impacts many of these factors. For example, it can lower total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising “good” HDL cholesterol.

In a study in 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina per day significantly improved these markers (9).

Another study in people with high cholesterol determined that 1 gram of spirulina per day lowered triglycerides by 16.3% and “bad” LDL by 10.1% (10).

Several other studies have found favorable effects — though with higher doses of 4.5–8 grams per day (11, 12).

Summary Studies indicate that spirulina can lower triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol and may simultaneously raise “good” HDL cholesterol.

4. Protects “Bad” LDL Cholesterol From Oxidation

Fatty structures in your body are susceptible to oxidative damage.

This is known as lipid peroxidation, a key driver of many serious diseases (13, 14).

For example, one of the key steps in the development of heart disease is the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol (15).

Interestingly, the antioxidants in spirulina appear to be particularly effective at reducing lipid peroxidation in both humans and animals (16, 17).

In a study in 37 people with type 2 diabetes, 8 grams of spirulina per day significantly reduced markers of oxidative damage. It also increased levels of antioxidant enzymes in the blood (18).

Summary Fatty structures in your body can become oxidized, driving the progression of many diseases. The antioxidants in spirulina can help prevent this.

5. May Have Anti-Cancer Properties

Some evidence suggests that spirulina has anti-cancer properties.

Research in animals indicates that it can reduce cancer occurrence and tumor size (19, 20).

Spirulina’s effects on oral cancer — or cancer of the mouth — have been particularly well studied.

One study examined 87 people from India with precancerous lesions — called oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF) — in the mouth.

Among those who took 1 gram of spirulina per day for one year, 45% saw their lesions disappear — compared to only 7% in the control group (21).

When these people stopped taking spirulina, almost half of them redeveloped lesions in the following year.

In another study of 40 individuals with OSMF lesions, 1 gram of spirulina per day led to greater improvement in OSMF symptoms than the drug Pentoxyfilline (22).

Summary Spirulina may have anti-cancer properties and appears especially effective against a type of precancerous lesion of the mouth called OSMF.

6. May Reduce Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a main driver of many serious diseases, including heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease.

While 1 gram of spirulina is ineffective, a dose of 4.5 grams per day has been shown to reduce blood pressure in individuals with normal levels (10, 11).

This reduction is thought to be driven by an increased production of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that helps your blood vessels relax and dilate (23).

Summary A higher dose of spirulina may lead to lower blood pressure levels, a major risk factor for many diseases.

7. Improves Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is characterized by inflammation in your nasal passageways.

It is triggered by environmental allergens, such as pollen, animal hair or even wheat dust.

Spirulina is a popular alternative treatment for symptoms of allergic rhinitis, and there is evidence that it can be effective (24).

In one study in 127 people with allergic rhinitis, 2 grams per day dramatically reduced symptoms like nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion and itching (25).

Summary Spirulina supplements are very effective against allergic rhinitis, reducing various symptoms.

8. May Be Effective Against Anemia

There are many different forms of anemia.

The most common one is characterized by a reduction in hemoglobin or red blood cells in your blood.

Anemia is fairly common in older adults, leading to prolonged feelings of weakness and fatigue (26).

In a study in 40 older people with a history of anemia, spirulina supplements increased the hemoglobin content of red blood cells and improved immune function (27).

Keep in mind that this is just one study. More research is needed before any recommendations can be made.

Summary One study suggests that spirulina can reduce anemia in older adults, though more research is needed.

9. May Improve Muscle Strength and Endurance

Exercise-induced oxidative damage is a major contributor to muscle fatigue.

Certain plant foods have antioxidant properties that can help athletes and physically active individuals minimize this damage.

Spirulina appears beneficial, as some studies pointed to improved muscle strength and endurance.

In two studies, spirulina enhanced endurance, significantly increasing the time it took for people to become fatigued (28, 29).

Summary Spirulina may provide multiple exercise benefits, including enhanced endurance and increased muscle strength.

10. May Aid Blood Sugar Control

Animal studies link spirulina to significantly lower blood sugar levels.

In some cases, it has outperformed popular diabetes drugs, including Metformin (30, 31, 32).

There is also some evidence that spirulina can be effective in humans.

In a two-month study in 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of spirulina per day led to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels (9).

HbA1c, a marker for long-term blood sugar levels, decreased from 9% to 8%, which is substantial. Studies estimate that a 1% reduction in this marker can lower the risk of diabetes-related death by 21% (33).

However, this study was small and short in duration. More studies are necessary.

Summary Some evidence suggests that spirulina may benefit people with type 2 diabetes, significantly reducing fasting blood sugar levels.

The Bottom Line

Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria — often referred to as blue-green algae — that is incredibly healthy.

It may improve your levels of blood lipids, suppress oxidation, reduce blood pressure and lower blood sugar.

While more research is needed before any strong claims can be made, spirulina may be one of the few superfoods worthy of the title.

Malaysian men love tongkat ali, claiming the herb gives them more energy and helps them perform better in the bedroom. It’s so popular that you’ll find tongkat ali drinks and supplements in almost every supermarket and can choose to get your dose of the “Malaysian ginseng” in the form of cappuccinos, tea, energy drinks, pills, and even chocolate.

According to tongkat ali product manufacturers, this wonder herb can do anything from curing erectile dysfunction to boosting your performance in the gym. It’s been traditionally used for its aphrodisiac, antimalarial, antidiabetic, antimicrobial properties for ages, but how effective is the herb in the eyes of science?

What is Tongkat Ali? 

Tongkat ali is a shrub that grows in Malaysia and Indonesia, with the fancy schmancy scientific name of Eurycoma longifolia. Because its scientific name is quite a mouthful, we prefer calling it tongkat ali, or Ali’s walking stick, which *wink wink*, refers to its effects on Ali’s sexual health [1].

Ali's tongkat? | rightways-tan1.blogspot.com
Ali’s tongkat? | rightways-tan1.blogspot.com

What Does Tongkat Ali Claim to Do?  

1. Increase your libido

This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons people use Tongkat Ali, and according to them, it helps improve the libido of both males and females.

Scientific Evidence

In a double-blinded randomised clinical trial that tested 109 men for 12 weeks, researchers found that a daily supplementation of 300mg eurycoma extract increased the erectile and libido of the men by 8.4-8.7%. [2]

Verdict: The study backs it up, but it’s important to note that changes are minor. It’s also worth noting that the study was funded by a phytopharmaceutical company which produces tongkat ali products.

2. Elevate your testosterone level

Oh yea | naturaformula.info
Oh yea | naturaformula.info

Testosterone is a very important hormone to men, and helps to regulate a man’s sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle size and strength, as well as sperm production [3]. You’ll see why men like having more of this. But can tongkat ali really raise testosterone levels?

Scientific Evidence

One study on sexually sluggish and impotent rats showed the increase of serum testosterone bt 50% after 12 days of consuming 500mg/kg of tongkat ali [4].

In another study done on rats using a lower dose of tongkat ali, the herb failed to produce any effect when supplemented to both normal male rats and rats with removed testicles [5].

What about humans, you ask? This 12-week study on 109 men showed no significant changes in testosterone levels before and after daily ingestion of tongkat ali extract. [6]

Verdict: Inconclusive evidence due to lack of research, but the few studies that are available showed no increase in testosterone.

3. Improve sperm quality and quantity

Source: graphiclands.com
Source: graphiclands.com

Sperm quality and quantity is correlated with fertility, and who doesn’t want to always be optimally fertile? Let’s see if tongkat ali really helps in this case.

Scientific Evidence

75 sub-fertile men were prescribed a 200mg dose of tongkat ali with follow-up exams conducted every 3 months for 3 cycles. In all 75 men, there was an improvement in sperm concentration (by 65.5%), as well as sperm percentage (by 94.9%). [7]

However, in another study conducted in vitro (test tube experiment), semen samples of 40 men were divided and incubated with different concentrations of tongkat ali. The study found that the same dose failed to have any significant influence on sperm vitality. [8]

Verdict: It’s possible the tongkat ali could help with sperm concentration and percentage, and the first study on 75 men also showed some percentages of pregnancy. However, mixed results in researches call for more studies to support this claim.

4. Decrease stress levels

Sellers of tongkat ali claim that intake of the herb can help increase our tolerance to stress as well improve our general mood.

Scientific Evidence

In a double-blinded study published in 2013, 63 moderately stressed out subjects (both male and female) were assessed for 4 weeks. The researchers collected saliva samples from the subjects and tested for cortisol (the stress hormone) and testosterone, before giving 200mg/day of tongkat ali to one half of the subjects and a placebo for the other half. They found that those on the tongkat ali had 11% less tension, 12% less anger, and 15% less confusion than those on the placebo. Salivary cortisol were 16% less in those ingesting tongkat ali than placebo, while salivary testosterone was 37% higher compared to placebo. [9]

In a study conducted on mice, researchers found that tongkat ali gave the same effect as the drug anti-anxiety drug Diazepam. Mice were also fighting less, and that’s always good. [10]

Verdict: There aren’t many studies in this area as of now, but from the available research, it seems tongkat ali has a positive effect on stress levels.

5. Improve exercise performance

Source: muscleandfitness.com
Source: muscleandfitness.com

There’s been plenty of anecdotal “evidence” of how tongkat ali helped several people improve their performance in sports and the gym. But what does science say?

Scientific Evidence

A pilot study in 2002 conducted on 14 men found an increase in lean body mass and muscle strength after taking 100mg/day of tongkat ali for 5 weeks. They also experienced reduced body fat and increased muscle size. [11]

However, later studies could not replicate the results of the pilot study. 12 athletes ingested 150mg/day of tongkat ali for 7 days, but failed to show significant improvements in running or cycling endurance in the fitness test. [12]

Verdict: From the existing research, it appears that tongkat ali’s role in improving your exercise performance is insignificant. More research should be done in this aspect of the herb so we could draw a better conclusion.

So, Should I Start Taking Tongkat Ali? 

There are some support in the scientific world to some of the benefits of tongkat ali, so it wouldn’t hurt to try it out if you feel that it could help your current situation.

Beware of Fakes

However, you need to be aware that there are lots of fake products out there claiming to include tongkat ali as its principal ingredient but in fact consists of illegal substances. And once the authorities catch up with these unscrupulous producers, they just change the packaging and name of the product, so it’s really hard to figure out which is legitimate and which isn’t. [13]

Police checking out the fake tongkat ali coffee | Source: thestar.com.my
Police checking out the fake tongkat ali coffee | Source: thestar.com.my

Just last month, police seized 40,000 sachets of fake tongkat ali premixed coffee in Sabah, so do your homework before you purchase.

How to Choose Tongkat Ali Products

1. Research the producer

Google them. Find out if they’re legitimate, if their claims hold water, and if their business is sound (with proper certification etc).

2. Choose the right extract for you

The standard dosage of tongkat ali is usually 200-300mg of a 100:1 extract, usually taken in 1-2 doses in a day. However, there are no current scientific evidence supporting appropriate dosages, and it all depends on a myriad of factors including your age, health, and other conditions. We suggest speaking to your doctor and pharmacist about your interest in tongkat ali and see what they recommend.

Sidenote: Check the dosages in the bottles of tongkat ali coffee and other casual products in the supermarket as too low a dose won’t make a difference.

 3. Don’t buy it off random Facebook posts by random Facebook users

You never know where the products are coming from, if they’re using fake herbs or even if they could cause severe health issues.

Remember, just because tongkat ali is a natural herb doesn’t mean you can ingest as much of it as you want. Cyanide is natural too.

_____

Tofu, tempeh, and seitan are all products that can be used in place of meat. They’re all delicious, but very different and can be used in a variety of ways. Let’s break it down.

Tofu

Also known as bean or soya curd, tofu is a soft, cheese-like food made of condensed soy milk pressed into tight blocks and mixed with nigari. While this product can be rather bland, tofu easily absorbs flavors of other ingredients, such as spices. Tofu has been a staple in Asian countries for more than 2,000 years!

Because of its versatility, tofu can be used in a multitude of dishes to make vegan versions of omelets, desserts, cheeses, and smoothies! Today, you can buy tofu in the produce section of many stores, and a variety of companies use it to create delicious vegan alternatives.

Cooking with tofu is not as scary as you think! Check out these simple tofu chilaquiles!

Seitan

Also known as wheat gluten, seitan first appeared during the sixth century as an ingredient in Asian cuisine and has been a common meat substitute for more than a thousand years.

Traditionally, seitan was the product of rinsing and cooking wheat dough to remove the starch, leaving a protein-dense substance that turned out to be an excellent meat alternative. Today, you can buy ready-made seitan at the store, and a variety of companies, including GardeinTofurky, and Upton’s, use it to create delicious mock meats.

You can also buy “vital wheat gluten” at most natural food stores. This powder is easily transformed into a dense, delicious meat waiting to be added to your favorite recipes. Seitan easily takes on the flavors of your favorite seasonings. It’s also protein-packed (60 grams per cup!), cholesterol-free, and low-carb.

And to sweeten the deal, it’s super affordable and relatively easy to prepare!

Tempeh

This Indonesian staple, made by fermenting soybeans in banana leaves until a firm, earthy patty forms, has been a common meat substitute since around the 12th century. Tempeh contains more protein (31 grams per cup!) and dietary fiber than tofu, and its mild nutty flavor works great in a wide array of recipes.

Today, tempeh is readily available in a variety of brands, and you can buy it unseasoned and season it to your liking! Ready to get started cooking with tempeh? These Chesapeake tempeh cakes are sure to please!

Activated charcoal is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them. It’s made from a variety of sources, but when used for natural healing, it’s important to select activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources.

One of the most popular activated charcoal uses is for the safe and effective treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses. It’s used in emergency trauma centers across the world. In addition, it’s used to reduce bloating and gas, lower cholesterol, treat bile flow problems safely during pregnancy, and even prevent hangovers.(1)

Research shows that activated charcoal works better than stomach pumping (gastric lavage) in some situations.(2)

How Does Activated Charcoal Work?

Activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores. Typically, however, it’s not used when petroleum, alcohol, lye, acids or other corrosive poisons are ingested.

It doesn’t absorb the toxins, however. Instead it works through the chemical process of adsorption. In the body, absorption is the reaction of elements, including nutrients, chemicals and toxins, soaked up and assimilated into the blood stream. Adsorption is the chemical reaction where elements bind to a surface.

The porous surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. The nooks and crannies in activated charcoal are created through a heating process. It’s important to note that activated charcoal is not charcoal used in your barbecue grill! Barbecue charcoal is loaded with toxins and chemicals, and should never be consumed.

Top 10 Activated Charcoal Uses

Whenever you take activated charcoal, it’s imperative to drink 12-16 glasses of water per day. Activated charcoal can cause dehydration if adequate amounts of water aren’t consumed in tandem. In addition, this helps to flush out the toxins quickly and prevents constipation experienced by some individuals.

In addition to being a safe and effective treatment for poisonings and the removal of toxins from the system, additional activated charcoal uses include deodorizing and disinfecting, and it’s an important step to cure Lyme disease. Here are the top 10 activated charcoal uses:

1. Whitens Teeth

Have your teeth become stained from coffee, tea, wine or berries? Activated charcoal helps whiten teeth while promoting good oral health by changing the pH balance in the mouth, helping prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease.

It works to whiten teeth by adsorbing plaque and microscopic tidbits that stain teeth. This activated charcoal use is cost-effective and an all-natural solution for a bright smile.

BE CAREFUL, it can (and will) stain grout and fabrics. Protect counters, floors and clothing before using.

To whiten your teeth naturally, wet a toothbrush and dip into powdered activated charcoal. Brush teeth as normal, paying special attention to areas showing the most staining. Sip a bit of water, swish through mouth thoroughly and spit. Rinse well, until spit is clear.

For best results, brush your teeth with activated charcoal two-three times per week.

Note: If you have crowns, caps or porcelain veneers, it’s possible that activated charcoal will stain them. In addition, if your teeth become sensitive, quit using it. <

2. Alleviates Gas & Bloating

One activated charcoal use often overlooked is to alleviate uncomfortable gas and bloating. It works by binding the gas-causing byproducts in foods that cause discomfort.

A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that activated charcoal prevents intestinal gas following a typical gas-producing meal.(4)

Dosing recommendations to alleviate gas and bloating: Take 500 milligrams one hour prior to a typical gas-producing meal, with a full glass of water. Follow with an additional glass of water immediately thereafter to help get the charcoal into your system, where it can bind with gas-producing elements.

3. Treats Alcohol Poisoning & Helps Prevent Hangovers

While activated charcoal does not adsorb alcohol, it does help quickly remove other toxins from the body that contribute to poisoning. Alcohol is rarely consumed in its pure form; mixers that include artificial sweeteners and chemicals are common. Activated charcoal removes these toxins.

In addition, when activated charcoal is taken at the same time as alcohol, some studies show it can significantly reduce blood alcohol concentrations.(5)

Princeton University’s First Aider’s Guide to Alcohol indicates that activated charcoal is administered in some situations related to alcohol.(6) This includes if the individual is unconscious or showing signs of acute alcohol poisoning.<

4. Mold Cleansing

Most people don’t think about mold living in their bodies, but it can. Toxic mold causes depression, kidney and liver failure, decreased brain function, heart disease, eye irritation, headaches, vomiting, impaired immune system function, and severe respiratory distress.

Homes that have flooded, or even those with small leaks under a sub-floor or in the walls, can create an environment where mold can thrive. Poor ventilation contributes to the problem, and bathrooms, basements and laundry rooms are particularly prone to mold growth.

If there is visible mold in your home, it must be mitigated properly. It’s important to wear gloves and a protective mask to keep from inhaling toxic mold during cleanup. Baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil and borax can be used to clean mold off hard surfaces and keep mold from growing in the future.

If you or your family experience symptoms including wheezing, rashes, watery eyes, coughing or headaches that aren’t explained in other ways, your home should be evaluated for mold spore levels, even if no visible mold is detected. It can thrive behind drywall, under floors and in ventilation ducts.

5. Water Filtration

Activated charcoal traps impurities in water including solvents, pesticides, industrial waste and other chemicals. This is why it’s used in water filtration systems throughout the world. However, it doesn’t trap viruses, bacteria and hard-water minerals.

According to a study published in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, activated carbon filters (activated charcoal), removes some fluoride. (7) Avoiding fluoride and detoxing from it is important for oral health, proper immune system functioning, and healthy kidneys and liver.

Drinking water is essential to good health; however, typical tap water is toxic and laden with chemicals, toxins and fluoride. Ingestion should be limited whenever possible. Activated charcoal water filters are available for whole-home systems, as well as countertop models. Drink eight-10 glasses of pure water per day to help soothe the digestive tract, fight fatigue, keep organs operating, and provide lubrication for joints and tissues.

6. Emergency Toxin Removal

As mentioned above, one of the most common activated charcoal uses is to remove toxin and chemicals in the event of ingestion. Most organic compounds, pesticides, mercury, fertilizer and bleach bind to activated charcoal’s surface, allowing for quicker elimination, while preventing the absorption in the body.

Activated charcoal is also used in the event of an accidental, or purposeful, overdose of many pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medications. It’s effective for aspirin, opium, cocaine, morphine and acetaminophen. It’s important that the proper amount is administered as quickly as possible — definitely within an hour of ingestion.

In the event of poisoning, call 911 immediately. Proper dosing is imperative. According to the University of Michigan Health System, 50 to 100 grams (not milligrams!) is used in cases of poisoning in adults and 10 to 25 grams for children.(8)

In addition, activated charcoal can be used in cases of food poisoning when nausea and diarrhea are present. Adults take 25 grams at onset of symptoms or when food poisoning is suspected, and children should be given 10 grams. Increase dosage as necessary. Remember, it’s essential that adequate water is consumed when activated charcoal is taken. <

7. Skin And Body Health

Activated charcoal uses extend beyond internal applications. For external treatments, it’s effective at treating body odor and acne and relieving discomfort from insect bites, rashes from poison ivy or poison oak, and snake bites.

After a mosquito bite or bee sting, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil, and dab on affected area. Reapply every 30 minutes until itching and discomfort are gone. As activated charcoal stains nearly everything it touches, wrap with a bandage.

To treat bites from snakes and spiders, including the Brown Recluse or Black Widow, you want to cover a larger area than just a small bandage, as the bacteria and viruses that lead to tissue damage need to be mitigated quickly.

Create a wrap out of fabric that’s big enough to go around the affected area twice. Dab the mixture of coconut oil and activated charcoal on the fabric, and wrap. Secure with bandages. Reapply every two to three hours, rinsing well between applications.

To treat acne, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel, and smooth over face. Let dry and rinse off completely. The activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to acne. It’s also good for spot treatments.

8. Digestive Cleanse

Activated charcoal uses help promote a healthy digestive tract by removing toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function. By removing the toxins from your system, you can reduce joint pain, increase energy and increase mental function.

Environmental factors, including pesticides on food, chemicals in the water we drink and exposure to mold, create a toxic burden in our bodies. It’s important to routinely cleanse the digestive tract to support overall health and wellness. To complete a digestive cleanse with activated charcoal, take 10 grams 90 minutes prior to each meal, for two days.

During the cleanse, eat only organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat, and wild fish. If during the cleanse you find you are constipated, this is a sure sign you’re not consuming enough water! Drink a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon and a touch of honey every half hour until constipation is relieved.<

9. Anti-Aging

Activated charcoal uses include helping prevent cellular damage to kidneys and liver, as well as supporting healthy adrenal glands. It’s imperative to cleanse toxins and chemicals routinely from the body. Activated charcoal benefits major organs by helping the body flush out the toxins and chemicals that cause the damage.

Aging is a natural part of life, but due to the toxic load we are exposed to through food, our homes and workplaces, and our environment, to prevent pre-mature aging we must get rid of them.

For this activated charcoal use, take two capsules per day after exposure to nonorganic foods, heavy metals or after contact to other toxins. This supports better cognitive function, a reduction in brain fog, healthier kidney and liver function, and a healthier digestive tract.

10. Reduces High Cholesterol

Studies around the world show that activated charcoal reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol as much as some prescription medications. In one study, total cholesterol decreased by 25 percent, LDL cholesterol decreased by 41 percent, while HDL increased by 8 percent — in just four weeks.(9)

Study participants took three doses of eight grams each for the period of the study. As mentioned below, don’t take activated charcoal within 90 minutes to two hours of taking any prescription medication or supplements as it can prevent proper absorption.

Activated Charcoal For First Aid

I recommend activated charcoal as a part of first aid kits, both at home and at work.(3) In the event of an emergency where toxins, drugs or chemicals are ingested, it’s imperative to call 911 immediately. If you have activated charcoal on hand, be sure to tell the operator; the operator may advise to administer it prior to the first responder’s arrival.

Depending on the amount of toxins or chemicals ingested and types of toxins, multiple doses may be required. At the hospital, physicians are able to administer more as needed.

Activated Charcoal Side Effects

For the activated charcoal uses mentioned here, it’s generally deemed safe for most individuals. However, it’s always good to be aware of any medical conditions such as intestinal bleeding or blockages, holes in the intestines, chronic dehydration, slow digestion, or a recent abdominal surgery, as they may affect how activated charcoal reacts in your body.(10)

Additionally, activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, supplements and interfere with prescription medications. Take activated charcoal 90 minutes to two hours prior to meals, supplements and prescription medications. Potential adverse interactions with the following drugs can occur:(11)

  • Naltrexone (used for alcohol and opioid dependence)
  • Acrivastine
  • Bupropion
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meclizine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Mycophenolate Mofetil
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Suvorexant
  • Tapentadol
  • Umeclidinium
  • Acetaminophin
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Theophylline

BUY FOOD GRADE ACTIVATED CHARCOAL

TIPS On Buying Activated Charcoal

When selecting activated charcoal for any of the uses above, it’s vital that you know what it’s made from. Not all activated charcoal supplements are created equally.

Look for activated charcoal made from coconut shells or identified wood species that have ultra-fine grains. In the powdered form, many products have added artificial sweeteners to make them more palatable; avoid these.

Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal is a brand I trust. This Premium Coconut Activated Charcoal also comes highly recommended. Click on the links to buy.

How To Use Activated Charcoal

  • Activated charcoal is great for removing toxins but it is not meant for long-term use.
  • Take activated charcoal at least two hours away from your medicines or supplements.
  • Use activated charcoal as soon as you realized the ingestion of toxins.
  • Add about 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder into an 8-oz glass of water, stir and drink. Repeat as necessary but no more than twice a day.

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Thank you Sara Ding for this article and she is also he founder of Juicing-for-Health.com.