How to Focus on Folate

Vitamin B-9, most commonly known as folate, plays many critical roles in the body. Folate, along with other vitamins, is an essential nutrient that human beings need to function properly. Your body can’t produce vitamins on its own (except for vitamin D, but you don’t make enough on your own so it’s still considered essential), so you need to ingest them from exogenous, or outside, sources.

Folate’s Function

Folate is needed in order to adequately produce red blood cells. Folic acid also works with B12 in reducing dangerous compounds in the body and for driving multiple metabolic processes. Folate is of the utmost importance to women of childbearing age, as folate is integral in the formation of the fetal brain and spinal cord during pregnancy.

Folate is found in green vegetables, such as spinach, asparagus, and broccoli (the word folate is derived from the word foliage). Like most B vitamins, folate is very easily destroyed by cooking and light, and folate levels decrease rapidly once the vegetables are harvested. The good news is that many foods are fortified with folic acid, an easily-metabolized and stable version of folate. Once serving of most fortified cereals contains your daily dose of folate. Lentils and other legumes such as pinto beans are also good sources.

Folic Acid Supplements:

Women of childbearing age should consider taking a folic acid supplement. Birth defects caused by inadequate folate intake can occur before women even know they’re pregnant, and the damage is unfortunately irreversible. As soon as a woman becomes pregnant, her daily requirement for folate doubles and it may be difficult to meet this requirement through diet alone. Folic acid is a commonly recommended supplement during pregnancy and for women who may become pregnant.

Folic acid supplements are just like getting folate from your diet – they are one and the same and your body processes them the same. Most multivitamins sold in the U.S contain 400 mcg, which is the Recommended Dietary Allowance. Check the vitamin’s label to be sure it says 400 mcg or “100%” next to folic acid or folate. Another option is to take a simple folic acid supplement if you prefer.

In Conclusion:

Making sure you get your recommended daily folate is yet another reason to eat your veggies. Folate is important for everyone, and women of childbearing age should be even more aware of how much they’re getting. Fresh, raw green vegetables are a great source for many vitamins and minerals, not just folate. Keep in mind, fortified cereals are also a great source and doctor recommended supplements are safe for pregnant women. Don’t let this important vitamin slip under your radar!

Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters and people with medical conditions like diabetes take back control so they can get the healthy body and life they want. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education.

Amazing Ginger Health Benefits

Ginger is one of the most used spices in the world today. Apart from flavouring food, ginger benefits the body in numerous ways, including enhancing mental performance. Ginger is available in different forms, i.e. juice, powders, capsules and as fresh rhizomes. The massive ginger health benefits make it an excellent additive in almost all foods. Ginger health benefits include;

Ginger as a powerful Antioxidant

Ginger is rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants play a vital role in neutralisation of free radicals. The antioxidative defense system of the body balances the free radicle production. Oxidative stress occurs in the event of alterations between reactive oxygen species generation and its neutralisation by the antioxidant defense. Moreover, ginger plays an essential role in the reduction of the lipid oxidation and inhibits the pathogenesis of diseases. 6-Dehydroshogaol, 6-shogaol and 1-dehydro-6-gingerdione are inhibitors of nitric oxide synthesis in activated macrophages. 6-shogaol has potent antioxidant properties due to the presence of unsaturated ketone moiety.

Anti-inflammatory activity

Inflammation is a complex immune process, involving various mediators such as interleukin-1, tumour necrosis factor and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Ginger oil significantly represses inflammation, especially joint swelling. Also, ginger extracts suppress the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines and play a significant role in the inhibition of cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase, essential for arachidonate metabolism, and down-regulating the induction of inflammatory genes.

Anti-tumour activity

Ginger extracts suppress tumour development through up-regulation of tumour suppressor gene, induction of apoptosis and inactivation of vascular endothelial growth factor pathways. The development and progression of tumours involve multiple steps including genetic and metabolic changes. 6-gingerol suppresses the transformation, hyperproliferation, and inflammatory processes that involve in various phases of carcinogenesis, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Besides, ginger constituents induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cell line LnCaP by increasing the expression of tumour suppressor p53 and Bax and also decreasing the expression of Bcl-2. 6-shogaol is effective against breast cancer through the inhibition of cell invasion and reduction of matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression. On the other hand, 6-gingerol stimulates apoptosis through up-regulation of NAG-1 and G1 cell cycle arrest through down-regulation of cyclin D1.

Ginger root extracts and gingerol inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori CagA+ strains, which has a specific gene, linked to the development of gastric premalignant and malignant lesions. 6-shogaol induces apoptosis in human colorectal carcinoma cells via the production of reactive oxygen species and activation of caspase-31, and 6-gingerol inhibited pulmonary metastasis bearing B16F10 melanoma cells through the activation of CD8+ T-cells. 6-gingerol has anti-tumoral activity through induction of reactive oxygen species, which also triggers activation of tumour suppressor p53 and the cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.

Anti-microbial activity

Ethanolic extract, of ginger, prevent microbial growth. Ginger has antimicrobial activity against E. coli, Salmonella typhi, and Bacillus subtilis. Gingerol and shagelol are the active agents. The ethanolic extract of ginger powder and gingerol effectively inhibits Candida albicans. 6-gingerol and 12-gingerol, from ginger rhizome, is active against periodontal bacteria. 10-gingerol is an active inhibitor of Mycobacterium avium and M. tuberculosis.

Anti-diabetic activity

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder originating from an abnormality of carbohydrate metabolism stemming from low blood insulin level or insensitivity of target organs to insulin. Ginger and its constituents are efficient in the control of diabetes and its complications through anti-hyperglycemic effect. Ginger acts through the inhibition of oxidative stress and anti-inflammatory process, though the exact mechanism is not known.

Neuroprotective effect

The phenolic and flavonoid compounds in the ginger act as powerful neuro-protectors. 6-shogaol has neuroprotective effects in transient global ischemia through the inhibition of microglia. Moreover, it exhibits neuroprotective impact by accelerating brain anti-oxidant defense mechanisms and down-regulating the MDA levels to the normal levels.

Effect on osteoarthritis

Ginger is useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis, one of the leading causes of severe musculoskeletal pain and disability. Highly purified and standardised ginger extract reduces significantly affect symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. Also, ginger is effective in relieving symptoms of osteoarthritis with negligible side effects. It works similarly as Indomethacin.

Gastro-protective effect

Active compounds in ginger have an invigorating role in ulcer prevention. The compounds increase secretion of mucin. Compounds 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol are effective in suppressing gastric contraction. Anti-emetic effect Ginger and its constituents show a significant impact on nausea and vomiting.

Hepatoprotective effect

Carbon tetrachloride, mancozeb, acetamophine, and lead are among the important substances that poison the liver. Ginger is effective in inhibiting hepatotoxicity by these chemicals.

Effect on migraine

Ginger powder is highly effective in relieving migraines in a dose of 550 mg every 4 hours for five days.

Effect on the eye

Ginger and its constituents are efficient in the management of retinopathy, a symptom of diabetes.

The Hows and Whys of Hydration

Water is the elixir of life. You can survive for over a month without food, but a week without water is fatal. We take water for granted in First World countries; millions of people worldwide struggle every day for access to clean, fresh water.

Funny enough, many people here in the United States struggle to meet their suggested daily water intake. With access to sweetened sodas, energy drinks, and those delicious on-the-go frappuccinos, it’s understandable if you’re bored with “plain” water. There’s no reason not to add a little flair to your water, especially if it means you’ll stay hydrated.

The formula to staying hydrated isn’t a complicated equation, but it does vary from person to person. It’s important to replace any fluid that’s lost throughout the day and night, and those variables can change drastically day-to-day and person-to-person. If you’re exercising in extreme heat or humidity, you’re going to lose fluid more rapidly than if you’re chilling at the movies. The color of your urine is a good way to determine your hydration status. If your urine is pale and straw-colored, you’re adequately hydrated. If it’s dark, like the color of apple juice, you’re low on fluids.

Sweat It Out

Dehydration can occur even if you’re not sweating. In extreme heat and cold, your body loses fluid very quickly without sweating at all. You may not realize it, but you even sweat when you’re swimming! Spending the day frolicking in the pool isn’t a preventive measure. Athletes need to be even more aware of dehydration risks. Athletes tend to sweat more overall than people who aren’t as physically fit, and they may push themselves longer and harder, causing even greater fluid losses.

Drink Up

Drinking is the ONLY way to rehydrate. Pouring water over your head or showering to cool off are only superficial – you need to actually drink the water for your body to replenish its stores.

Some early signs of dehydration include:

• Thirst
• Flushed skin
• Premature fatigue
• Increased body temperature
• Faster breathing and pulse rate

Try adding some flavor to your water to get you excited to drink it! You can create an at-home version of those expensive store-bought flavored waters for almost no cost!

Add any of the following to your water:

• A twist of citrus! Try lemon or lime or even a slice of orange. Throw in a few raspberries for extra flavor and color.

• Small pieces of fruit, like honeydew or pineapple.

• A slice of cucumber with a few gently crushed mint leaves (“bruising” them releases more flavor).

In Conclusion

Don’t let dehydration slow you down this summer. Be sure to drink whenever you’re thirsty. If you’re engaged in physical activity in the heat, be sure to hydrate adequately before starting, take frequent hydration breaks to top off your fluid reserves, and continue to keep it up after you’re done. Water doesn’t have to be boring. Dress it up and drink it up!

Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters and people with medical conditions like diabetes take back control so they can get the healthy body and life they want. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education.