How Fasting Can Radically Change Your Life Forever

Fasting and praying on a regular basis can be a life-changing experience. (Lightstock)

What if one simple act—one singular dedicated effort or sacrifice—could better your life, your soul forever? What if that sacrifice took just an hour or two or even an entire day?

Would you do it? Would you consider it worth it?

What if that very sacrifice could sharpen your focus, open your heart and move the hand of God in others and your own life?

If what I asked has peaked your interest, know that I inquire because I have the answers to these questions based on personal experience. What I have to share has the ability to better your life forever once you make the choice to take the adventure.

Twelve years ago, my friend Wendy and I felt prompted to journey down the road of fasting and prayer together. But why would two average women who love to talk and do typical "girl" stuff, and who also really love food, want to give it up for any period of time? God whispered in the inner places of our being to draw closer to Him in a new way.

Suddenly, we didn't want the status quo anymore. We believed and we studied, but in the hidden parts of our heart, we knew there was more. We wanted to engage in the spiritual realm on a deeper level, one we had not yet experienced. We wanted more … so much more.

So, one day a week, from Monday night after our family dinners to Tuesday night before family dinner, we would fast and pray. We were ready for powerful changes, amazing answers to our requests and nothing short of miracles. What we got was instruction and a thorough look into the condition of our soul.

It was hard, to see what still existed in the corners of our minds and the recesses of our hearts. We found the thoughts, the unforgiveness, and the resistance to righteousness still alive and well. Big and little wrongs, judgments and critical spirits. Excessive self-awareness in danger of becoming narcissistic, fear, striving.

However, we were not bombarded with this all at once. Our God is very gentle, very kind. Yet, He is truth and truth was what He intended to show us.

Did He show us our shortcomings to condemn us? Never! He showed us this to better us, to mature us, and to prepare us to come before Him with those sincere, heartfelt requests we desired to have answers to. Yes, and He was, as Scripture puts it, "doing a good work in us."

When we fasted and prayed, our senses were heightened. We focused on getting alone in our own special designated locations to get quiet, to listen and speak once we had been spoken to. On occasion we would speak first, but that was usually to worship and confess anything that had been revealed by our loving Lord. This spiritual discipline tuned our ears to hear the voice of God so that He could meticulously take the sin, the baggage, the past hurts and present trepidations and give us the peace of His presence. We allowed Him control and, as we relinquished our very lives to Him, He would work His good and perfect will in us to much greater and richer places only found through Him.

As time went on, we grew quickly. No longer did we dread the hours we couldn't eat, nor did we binge the night before just so we were sure we had a reserve to live from.

Instead of hungering for food, we hungered for time alone with God, looking forward to His gentle correction and His drawing near to us in a way that filled us with peace, joy, hope and purpose. We were energized and eager to know more about Him, more about us and use what we learned to help encourage others to do the same.

In both of us, God strengthened our faith for the tough times. This was valuable during times of job loss, illness and relationship issues. Sometimes life's pain can cut so sharply you can't find the words to pray. That's when your fasting friend can intercede for you, giving you peace that your concerns—if not from you own mouth—still reach God's throne with the same intensity. The weighty value these prayers carry for a hurting heart provides hope; the hope that eliminates stress that could lead to irreparable health damage. 

Our book, Fast Friends, The Amazing Power of Friendship, Fasting and Prayer, releases October 1. It is our chosen path, ordained by God and it has forever altered our very existence.

Our lives don't look the same as before. We see people differently; we see life differently. We have new aspirations, new leading and guidance, new eyes with which to see ourselves and the future. It's all because a God who loves us more than we could ever comprehend planted a seed of desire to draw closer to Him. Fasting and prayer was the tool, finely fashioned by the hand of God, and the plan, lived out in the Bible by many of the faithful, for us to follow.

We received answers. Some were yes, some were no and some told us to wait. Some spared us and our loved ones from pain and sorrow of which we are not aware. Some answers are yet to come because God's timing is not ours.

One answer that comes quickly to mind concerns Wendy's daughter, Sydney, who was born with cerebral palsy. When Sydney was 4-years-old, the doctors estimated she would need multiple surgeries until her growing ceased. As we fasted and prayed that God would overrule that diagnosis, Sydney continued to grow. Today, she is 14 and surgery hasn't been required.

Fasting and prayer is a lifestyle. God willing, we will continue to fast and pray together until our time is done.

And that "so much more" we were seeking? It has exceeded our hopes and dreams and manifested in ways we would never have fathomed. If God could empower Wendy and me to live this way, He can do the same for you.

Will you join us and dare to live life in the spiritual realm, where you will meet with and know God in ways that you never thought possible? Will you dare to become everything God wants you to be in order to truly know Him? We can promise you will never regret it.

We were made in God's image and created for more than what this world has to offer, and so were you.

Suzanne Niles is the co-author of the new book Fast Friends, The Amazing Power of Friendship, Fasting and Prayer. Find out more at

Healthiest Fast Food Meals

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD | Here are 10 fast food breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you don't have to feel guilty about for those days you couldn't pack lunch or dont feel like cooking.
So you're trying to eat healthy and/or lose some extra pounds, but you're on the road and in a hurry – so you find yourself in the drive-through line. Not to worry: There is such a thing as healthy fast food (or at least healthier). You can order a meal at most fast food chains with less than 500 calories, moderate amounts of fat and saturated fat, and ample protein and fiber.
Here are 10 of the healthiest fast food meals from some of the top fast food chains. (To make sure your beverage choice doesn't undo the calorie savings, be sure to go for a zero-calorie drink like water, unsweetened tea, coffee, or diet soda.)
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 1. Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Fruit Cup (Chick-fil-A)
Several fast food chains offer a grilled chicken sandwich. The trick is ordering it without mayo or creamy sauce, and making sure it’s served with a whole grain bun.
One of the healthier grilled chicken sandwiches out there is made by Chick-fil-A. Grilled chicken sandwiches at Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s, and McDonald’s are close seconds. The Carl’s Jr. sandwich comes with BBQ sauce, while the Wendy’s sandwich includes a calorie-friendly honey mustard sauce. Make sure you order the McDonald’s sandwich without mayonnaise.
Nutritional breakdown: A Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich (without the honey-roasted BBQ sauce), along with a large fruit cup, has 400 calories, 3.5 grams fat (8% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 1120 mg sodium, 65 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, and 30 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 2. Chili-Topped Potato (Wendy's)
You won’t find a "chili topped potato" on the Wendy’s menu. But you can make this savory and satisfying meal happen by buying the plain baked potato and a small chili. Together, they make a balanced meal with ample protein, carbs, and fat, and half a day’s worth of fiber (12 grams).
A plain baked potato and small chili from Wendy’s has 460 calories, 6 g fat (12% calories from fat), 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 855 mg sodium, 80 g carbohydrate, 12 g fiber, and 21 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 3: Grilled Chicken Breast with Mashed Potatoes, Corn on the Cob (KFC)
When you want something far from standard fast food fare, KFC’s meal deal can be a healthful solution. Choose their tasty grilled chicken breast as your entree, and mashed potatoes and corn as your two sides. This combination offers plenty of protein (41 grams) with a moderate amount of carbohydrate (49 grams) and fat (10 grams).
A meal of grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and 5.5-inch corncob from (KFC) contains 430 calories, 10 g fat (21% calories from fat), 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 905 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, and 41 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 4: Chick-n-Minis Breakfast (Chick-Fil-A)
What’s the best fast food breakfast sandwich? Believe it or not, there are a few contenders. There’s the Breakfast Jack from Jack in the Box, which is fairly low in calories, fat, and sodium (284 calories, 11 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 790 mg sodium). And then there's McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, which has more fiber and protein (2 g fiber, 18 g protein) than many other breakfast sandwiches. But the title goes to Chick-Fil-A’s Chick-n-minis — the lowest in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium among the offerings at the major chains.
Chick-Fil-A's Chick-n-Minis have 260 calories, 10 g fat (35% calories from fat), 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 650 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, and 14 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 5: Chicken Teriyaki Bowl (Jack in the Box)
This dish would be better if it had brown rice instead of white rice, and the sodium is definitely high (1461 milligrams). Still, it's very low in saturated fat yet contains plenty of protein (25 grams) and some fiber (4 grams). I chose the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl over Jack in the Box’s Steak Teriyaki Bowl because the steak option has even more sodium (1739 mg) plus 2 more grams of saturated fat.
The Chicken Teriyaki Bowl from Jack in the Box contains 585 calories, 6 g fat (9% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat (2% calories from saturated fat), 0 g trans fat, 36 mg cholesterol, 1461 mg sodium, 106 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, and 25 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 6: Chargrilled Chicken Cool Wrap (Chick-fil-A)
I think this is the best-looking, best tasting, most satisfying fast food chicken wrap on the market. It doesn’t compare to the smaller wraps made by a couple of other chains. Although you’d probably need two of the smaller wraps for a meal, one of these wraps is likely to satisfy. It’s packed with fiber (9 grams) and protein (33 grams) and moderate in fat and saturated fat. However, it is high in sodium (1,300 mg) and any dressing served with it would add to that. The two Chick-fil-A dressings lowest in fat and sodium are Fat-Free Honey Mustard (60 calories, 0 g fat, 210 mg sodium) and Reduced Fat Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette (70 calories, 2 g fat, 150 mg sodium).
Chick-fil A's Chargrilled Chicken Cool Wrap with Fat Free Honey Mustard Dressing has470 calories, 12 g fat (23% calories from fat), 4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 1510 mg sodium, 64 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 33 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 7: Southwest Salad and Fruit n Yogurt Parfait (McDonalds)
The grilled chicken salads offered at a handful of fast food chains are among the best options — as long as the chicken is grilled, not fried, and the dressing is light. One standout is McDonalds' Southwest Salad, which is the highest in fiber and protein and among the lowest in saturated fat among the major chains' chicken salads.
Another good choice would be the Chargrilled and Fruit Salad from Chick-fil-A, the lowest in fat and cholesterol. (Adding a large bowl of their Hearty Breast of Chicken Soup would make this a filling meal.) Not including dressing, the Burger King Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad is the lowest in calories, and Carl’s Jr.'s Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Salad is the lowest in sodium.
A meal of McDonald's Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken (not including dressing) and Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait has 480 calories, 11 g fat (21% calories from fat), 4 g saturated fat , 0 g trans fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 1045 mg sodium, 61 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, and 34 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 8. Veggie Burger and Garden Salad (Burger King)
Veggie burgers come and go at fast food outlets, and at this moment the best one is also the only one among major chains. You should order Burger King’s Veggie Burger without mayonnaise, but the cheese slice is up to you.
This surprisingly tasty sandwich, which is more like a garden burger than a soy substitute trying to be a beef burger, contributes 7 grams of fiber and 22 grams of protein (25 if you opt for the cheese). Make it a meal by adding a garden salad.
A Burger King Veggie Burger (without mayonnaise), Garden Salad (no chicken) and half a packet of Light Italian Dressing totals 450 calories, 12.5 g fat (25% calories from fat), 4.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 1320 mg sodium, 52.5 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 26 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 9: Veggie Delite Sandwich and Tomato Orzo Soup (Subway)
Another good vegetarian option, particularly if you watching your sodium intake, is the Veggie Delite Sandwich from Subway with 5 grams of fiber and 410 milligrams sodium. Pair it with a bowl of vegetable soup for a filling lunch.
A 6-inch Veggie Delite sandwich plus Fire-Roasted Tomato Orzo soup from Subway totals 360 calories, 3.5 g fat (9% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat , 0 g trans fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium, 69 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 14 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No 10: Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme and Pintos 'n' Cheese (Taco Bell)
Need a protein-and-fiber boost in the middle of the day? The Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme gives you 8 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein with only 21% calories from fat. The sodium is high, however – 1,410 milligrams. If you're looking for a vegetarian choice, Taco Bell's Fresco Bean Burrito has similar nutritional statistics, and goes great with a side of Mexican Rice.
A Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme with Pintos ‘n Cheese from Taco Bell has 520 calories, 15 g fat (26% calories from fat), 5.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 2140 mg sodium, 69 g carbohydrate, 17 g fiber, 28 g protein.
Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is nationally known as “The Recipe Doctor,” for WebMD and the author of 26 books on nutrition and healthy cooking. The 4th edition of her best-selling book, Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Diabetes, was published February 2014. Other recent books include Tell Me What To Eat If I Suffer From Heart Disease and Food Synergy: Unleash Hundreds of Powerful Healing Food Combinations to Fight Disease and Live Well. Magee’s medical nutrition series includes the best-selling Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Diabetes (over 300,000 copies sold), Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Acid Reflux, and four others. The series is being distributed all over the world, including China, Russia, Spain, Indonesia, and Arabic countries.
Read the the original article on WebMD, © 2010 WebMD, LLC. Reviewed by Amita Shroff.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight

Each of us can reach our ideal weight and reclaim our youthful vitality by adopting healthy lifestyle (image by Helen Glen).

A healthy lifestyle involves many choices. Among them, choosing a balanced diet or healthy eating plan. So how do you choose a healthy eating plan? Let's begin by defining what a healthy eating plan is.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, a healthy eating plan:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
  • Stays within your daily calorie needs

Eat Healthfully and Enjoy It!

A healthy eating plan that helps you manage your weight includes a variety of foods you may not have considered. If "healthy eating" makes you think about the foods you can't have, try refocusing on all the new foods you can eat— 

  • Fresh, Frozen, or Canned Fruits ― don't think just apples or bananas. All fresh, frozen, or canned fruits are great choices. Be sure to try some "exotic" fruits, too. How about a mango? Or a juicy pineapple or kiwi fruit! When your favorite fresh fruits aren't in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety of a fresh fruit you enjoy. One caution about canned fruits is that they may contain added sugars or syrups. Be sure and choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in their own juice.
  • Fresh, Frozen, or Canned Vegetables ― try something new. You may find that you love grilled vegetables or steamed vegetables with an herb you haven't tried like rosemary. You can sauté (panfry) vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. Or try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish — just microwave and serve. When trying canned vegetables, look for vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. Commit to going to the produce department and trying a new vegetable each week.
  • Calcium-rich foods ― you may automatically think of a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk when someone says "eat more dairy products." But what about low-fat and fat-free yogurts without added sugars? These come in a wide variety of flavors and can be a great dessert substitute for those with a sweet tooth.
  • A new twist on an old favorite ― if your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling. Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. Ask around or search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish!

Do I have to give up my favorite comfort food?

No! Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while, and balancing them out with healthier foods and more physical activity.

Some general tips for comfort foods:

  • Eat them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month. You'll be cutting your calories because you're not having the food as often.
  • Eat smaller amounts. If your favorite higher-calorie food is a chocolate bar, have a smaller size or only half a bar.
  • Try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare food differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, light cream cheese, fresh spinach and tomatoes. Just remember to not increase your portion size. For more ideas on how to cut back on calories, see Eat More Weigh Less.
Content source:Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the leading national public health institute of the United States. The CDC is a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, a few miles northeast of the Atlanta city limits.
You can read the original article on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site.


Beverage Calorie Comparison Chart

The recommended amounts of calories needed to maintain energy balance varies based on sex, age and level of physical activity (iStock photo)

Very many of us consume a lot of beverages daily. This chart will help you figure out the approximate amount of calories in your daily beverages consumption. Please be aware that the information provided in this article is not meant to replace the advice of a health care professional. If you have specific health concerns, please consult your health care professional.

Common Beverages: Calories per oz. and Calories per 8 fl. oz. serving.

Water & Water Beverages Calories/fl. oz.  Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Bottled Water 0 0
Municipal Water 0 0
Club Soda 0 0
Tonic Water 10 80
100% Juice Calories/fl. oz. Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Apple Juice, canned or bottled 15 120
Carrot Juice, canned 12 96
Grape Juice, canned or bottled 19 152
Grapefruit Juice, white, canned 12 96
Lemon Juice, canned or bottled 6 48
Lime Juice, canned or bottled 6 48
Orange Juice (includes fresh, chilled and from concentrate) 14 112
Pineapple Juice, canned 17 136
Tomato Juice, canned 5 40
Juice Drinks Calories/fl. oz. Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Cranberry Juice Cocktail, bottled 17 136
Fruit Punch Juice Drink, frozen concentrate, prepared with water 16 128
Grape Juice Drink, canned 18 144
Lemonade, powder mix, prepared with water 13 104
Light lemonade, powder (with aspartame), prepared with water 1 8
Light Orange Juice Beverage, bottled 7 50
Orange Juice Drink, bottled 17 136
Vegetable Juice Cocktail 6 48
Milk Calories/fl. oz. Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Whole Milk 18 144
2% Reduced Fat Milk 15 120
1% Lowfat Milk 13 104
Nonfat Milk 11 88
2% Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk 24 192
Soy Beverages Calories/fl. oz. Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Soy Milk 16 128
Chocolate Soy Milk 15 120
Soft Drinks Calories/fl. oz. Calories/fl. oz.
Caffeinated Cola 11 88
Decaffeinated Cola 13 104
Diet Cola, caffeinated 0 0
Diet Cola , decaffeinated 0 0
Mid-calorie Cola 6 45
Ginger Ale 10 80
Grape Soda 13 104
Lemon-Lime Soda 13 104
Cream Soda, non-caffeinated 16 128
Tea Calories/fl. oz. Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Brewed Tea (regular and decaf, black and herb) 0 0
Instant Tea, sweetened with low-calorie sweetener, lemon-flavored, prepared 1 8
Instant Tea, sweetened with sugar, lemon-flavored, prepared 12 92
Ready-to-drink Tea, bottled, sweetened 12 96
Ready-to-drink Tea, bottled, unsweetened 0 0
Coffee & Coffee Drinks Calories/fl. oz. Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Brewed Coffee (regular and Decaf) 0 0
Brewed Espresso (regular) 1 1
Brewed Espresso (decaf) 0 0
Latte with nonfat milk 10 80
Latte with whole milk 17 136
Sports Drinks Calories/fl. oz. Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Sports Drink 8 64
Sports Drink, low-calorie 3 24
Energy Drinks Calories/fl. oz. Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Energy Drink 14 112
Energy Drink, sugar-free 2 12
Alcohol Calories/fl. oz. Calories/ 8 fl. oz.
Beer 15 117
Light Beer 11 81
Red Wine 25 200
White Wine 24 192

There’s more to comparing the nutritional content of beverages than just calories. For a complete nutritional profile of beverages and foods, refer to the USDA online database.

Below are estimated amounts of calories needed to maintain energy balance for various gender and age groups at three different levels of physical activity. The estimates are rounded to the nearest 200 calories and were determined using the Institute of Medicine equation.


   Age (years)

Sedentaryb Moderately Activec Actived
Child 2-3 1,000 1,000-1,400 1,000-1,400


































































a These levels are based on Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) from the Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes macronutrients report, 2002, calculated by gender, age, and activity level for reference-sized individuals. "Reference size," as determined by IOM, is based on median height and weight for ages up to age 18 years of age and median height and weight for that height to give a BMI of 21.5 for adult females and 22.5 for adult males.

b Sedentary means a lifestyle that includes only the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life.

c Moderately active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking about 1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life

d Active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking more than 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life.

Read the original article at The Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness and WebMED


Top 12 Cholesterol-Lowering Foods

by Dr. Josh Axe. What you need to know about cholesterol and the foods that can keep it in check (photo, ECWA Archive).
Cholesterol is often one of the most misunderstood aspects of heart health. For many people, a cholesterol-lowering diet brings to mind low-fat meals that lack flavor. However, as you’ll come to see, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
When it comes to lowering high cholesterol naturally, strictly avoiding all fats is not the answer. Even totally avoiding foods that contain cholesterol itself (like eggs or cheese) isn’t necessary the solution. It’s all about moderation and balance—eating a combination of nutrient-dense foods that fight inflammation and tackle the root of the problem.
You’ll be happy to know that cholesterol-lowering foods include all sorts of great-tasting fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, lean meats, and plenty of healthy sources of fat.
What causes high cholesterol?
First and foremost, it's necessary to clear up common misconceptions about what causes high cholesterol in the first place. For several decades, a widely held belief has been that dietary cholesterol is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). This led government-mandated dietary recommendations to limit cholesterol intake to no more than 300 milligrams per day for healthy adults. However, based on recent evidence, there are some serious challenges regarding the cholesterol limit—leading to discussions about revising the national recommendation.
While factors like genetics, inactivity, diabetes, stress, and hypothyroidism can all impact cholesterol levels, a poor diet is the number one cause for high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the standard American or Western diet is highly inflammatory, which elevates LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL (good cholesterol) in most cases—the opposite of what we want.
How exactly does inflammation cause cholesterol levels to rise?
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance that is present in all of us and crucial for survival. It’s made by the liver and required by the body for the proper functioning of cells, nerves, and hormones. Cholesterol in our body is present in the form of fatty acids (lipids) that travel through the bloodstream. These particles normally don’t build up in the walls of the arteries, but when inflammation levels go up, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) builds up in the arteries and dangerously forms plaque clots, cutting off blood flow and setting the scene for a heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol itself wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous without inflammation. Inflammation is the primary cause of atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries that accompanies plaque deposits, which produces even more inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of most diseases, and heart disease is no exception.
While we used to think that high-fat diets led to high cholesterol levels, we now know that only certain people have problems properly metabolizing cholesterol (which might increase plasma LDL cholesterol levels). Countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Korea, India, and those in Europe don’t include a dietary cholesterol limit in their guidelines. And for good reason—strong evidence demonstrates that dietary cholesterol is not correlated with an increased risk for heart disease in most cases.
Aside from these certain individuals who are more sensitive to dietary cholesterol, it’s estimated that about three-quarters of the population can remain totally healthy while eating more than 300 milligrams per day of cholesterol. In fact, eating plenty of healthy fats will raise HDL cholesterol, the “good kind,” and increase the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio, which are two key markers of general health.
Patients at an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases might need to limit their intake of cholesterol and saturated fats, but everyone else is better off focusing on limiting their intake of processed, packaged junk! Data shows that the impact of lowering dietary cholesterol is small compared to adjusting other important dietary and lifestyle factors.
What do all cholesterol-lowering foods have in common?
There’s no shortage of diet plans available online and in bookstores that promise the ability to lower cholesterol. Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC), for example, is a three-part plan that attempts to lower high cholesterol by focusing on a lower-fat diet coupled with exercise and weight control. Creators of TLC report that following this plan can lower LDL cholesterol by 20 to 30 percent. The DASH Diet, low in sodium and saturated fat, is another option that’s endorsed by the American Heart Association and proven to lower high blood pressure.
What foods do most cholesterol-lowering diets make you say good-bye to, and what can stay?
For starters, foods with trans fats and hydrogenated oils are the opposite of cholesterol-lowering foods and definitely need to stay off the table. Many plans also recommend avoiding foods with saturated fats, however this isn’t always necessary for everyone if the foods are natural and high quality, as explained above. In their place, monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are recommended. These include foods like benefit-rich avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
Aside from switching up your fat sources, one of the key elements to fighting high cholesterol is eating plenty of high-fiber foods. Fiber is found in all types of whole foods including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Where is fiber missing? In processed foods that are refined and full of sugar—including most breakfast cereals, pastries, breads, rolls, pasta, cookies, and granola bars.
When it comes to protein sources, “lean” is usually the name of the game. Healthy lean proteins include pasture-raised poultry like turkey or chicken, fish and other seafood, beans, and, yes, even eggs. While I’m not a fan myself, the DASH Diet and TLC both promote low-fat milk products, including yogurt and reduced-fat cheeses. For the average person, it’s also perfectly healthy to eat grass-fed animal products as part of an otherwise balanced diet, including beef and lamb.
This way of eating is closely related to the Mediterranean Diet—one of the most highly recommended dietary plans that doctors prescribe to their high-cholesterol patients. People in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean region rely heavily on eating what’s sourced and grown locally, rather than packaged foods that are full of refined vegetable oils, sugar, sodium, and artificial ingredients.
Historically, levels of heart disease are much lower in countries other than in the U.S., despite the fact that most people still eat a substantial amount of fat. Because of the diversity, flexibility, and adaptable approach to this style of eating, it’s easy to begin and to stick with. Also, the food tastes great!
Foods to Avoid for High Cholesterol
The key to lowering heart disease risk factors, including high cholesterol, is reducing inflammation. Inflammatory foods include:
  • packaged foods of all kinds
  • sugar
  • refined grain products
  • processed vegetable oils
  • conventional dairy products (nonorganic, homogenized, and pasteurized)
  • farm-raised animal products
  • too much caffeine or alcohol
As mentioned above, fiber and antioxidants are crucial to keeping arteries clear and healthy. Increased intake of dietary fiber is associated with significantly lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease and lower LDL-cholesterol concentrations. Research also shows that some specific compounds found in plant foods, including plant sterol/stanol and isoflavones, can help reduce cholesterol levels. Most processed foods are extremely low in both—and the kinds that do have fiber or antioxidants normally contain synthetic, added types.
Poor quality animal products are highly inflammatory, as are toxic oils that are made using chemicals and solvents. Alcohol, sugar, and caffeine are all stimulants that the liver can use to produce more cholesterol, increasing levels of inflammation. While these can be okay in small doses (such as 1 to 2 cups of coffee or a glass of red wine per day), overdoing it can counteract any cardioprotective benefits these ingredients might normally have.
Top 12 Cholesterol-Lowering Foods
1. Vegetables (Especially Greens!)
No doubt about it, nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory vegetables are one of the most high-antioxidant foods. Loaded with phytochemicals that fight free radical damage, they slow down the aging process and keep arteries flexible and healthy. Many dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale, contain very few calories but offer protection against heart attacks by helping artery walls stay clear of cholesterol buildup. While nearly every type is a good choice, vegetables—including benefit-rich beets, onions, cabbage, broccoli, and artichokes—are especially useful for upping your fiber intake and protecting heart health.
2. Nuts
Nuts of all kinds make a good source of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They also provide a decent amount of fiber. Certain nuts including almonds specifically supply antioxidant flavonoids, plant-based compounds that improve artery health and reduce inflammation. Studies show nuts have a consistent “bad” LDL cholesterol-lowering effect, especially in individuals with high cholesterol and diabetes. They can help prevent damage forming within artery walls and protect against dangerous cholesterol plaque buildup, in addition to fighting weight gain and obesity.
3. Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds
Flaxseed benefits extend to being the richest source of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). They also rank number one in terms of providing hormone-balancing lignans. Both chia and flaxseeds are extremely high in soluble and insoluble fiber, which can support detoxification and gut health and help with weight loss.
The soluble fiber content helps trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it is unable to be absorbed. Bile is then excreted through the digestive system, forcing the body to make more, using up excess cholesterol in the blood and lowering cholesterol overall. Use some seeds on your oatmeal, yogurt, in baked goods, or blended into smoothies.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil benefits include being another anti-inflammatory ingredient that’s full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which lower LDL cholesterol. Use extra virgin olive oil to make homemade salad dressings, add some to sauces, or use it as a flavor-boosting ingredient for stir-fries or marinades.
5. Avocados
Avocados are one of the world’s greatest sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, the type that can help raise HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL. Avocados also contain high levels of soluble fiber and stabilize blood sugar levels, in addition to supplying anti-inflammatory phytochemicals such as beta-sitosterol, glutathione, and lutein. Besides making guacamole, get creative with these avocado recipes and add it to smoothies, salads, eggs, or even desserts.
6. Salmon
As one of the world’s best sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, the nutrition of salmon is also valuable because it’s linked to lower rates of heart disease, cognitive disorders, depression, and many other conditions. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, and herring. All can help raise good cholesterol while also supporting a healthy weight and better brain function.
7. Gluten-Free Whole Grains
One hundred percent whole grains are tied to better heart health, mostly because they are a great source of fiber. However, because gluten is a common sensitivity and can promote inflammation, I recommend focusing on gluten-free grains like quinoa, rolled oats, buckwheat, and amaranth. These tend to be easier to digest, can be used in all the same ways as wheat or wheat flour, and provide plenty of nutrients, too. Oats, for example, contain a compound called beta-glucan, a substance that absorbs cholesterol.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is considered the number-one beverage for antiaging. Not only is it a rich source of cancer-fighting antioxidants, it’s also supportive for heart health since it prevents LDL cholesterol levels from rising. Epidemiological studies suggest that drinking green tea can help reduce atherosclerosis and risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation in arthritis cases, and also improve bone density and brain function.
9. Beans and Legumes
Beans are known for packing in fiber, which slows the rate and amount of absorption of cholesterol. They also contain antioxidants and certain beneficial trace minerals that support healthy circulation. Try nutritious black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, mung beans, and other varieties in soup, salads, and, of course, hummus!
10. Turmeric
Consider turmeric the king of all spices when it comes to fighting inflammation. Turmeric benefits include lowering cholesterol, preventing clots, fighting viruses, killing free radicals, increasing immune health, balancing hormones, and more. Turmeric contains the active ingredient called curcumin, which has been studied in regards to protection against numerous inflammatory diseases including heart disease, cancer, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, and more.
11. Garlic
Garlic is one of the most well-researched heart healthy ingredients available. For example, the benefits of raw garlic has been shown to reverse disease because of its antioxidant, antiinflammatory, antiviral, antidiabetic, and immune-boosting properties! Garlic has been found to lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, and protect against infections, so use some every day however you can, whether in sauces, soups, roasted veggies, or marinades.
12. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes provide a good dose of filling, artery-sweeping fiber in addition to loads of vitamins and antioxidants. They’re also low in calories, low on the glycemic index (which means that they won’t spike your blood sugar), and high in potassium.

Dr. Josh Axe is a C.N.S. Certified Nutrition Specialist, expert in Natural Medicine, a speaker for Fortune 500 Companies (Nissan, Whole Foods) and a doctor of chiropractic. He is a nationally sought-after speaker, bestselling author of The Real Food Diet Cookbook, a Physician for Olympic level athletes (Ryan Lochte, among others) and a regular contributing writer for one of the largest U.S. natural supplement companies, Garden of Life. He’s the founder of, which is the #9 most visited natural health site in the entire world.
Go to Aloha. for the original article.

Close To Half Of People With High Cholesterol Aren’t Taking Medication

A high percentage of  people with high cholesterol are not taking their medication (image © Dr. Peter Osborne)

Cholesterol is one of the health parameters that determine a person’s risk of heart disease. In the U.S. alone, roughly 78 million people are diagnosed with high LDL — or “bad” — cholesterol.

Despite the prevalence of the risk factor, not everyone eligible to take cholesterol-reducing drugs is doing so. This was discovered through a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which went through data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 2005 and 2012.

According to a news release, the CDC report revealed that 36.7 percent of U.S. adults are allowed to take medication designed to lower cholesterol. Unfortunately, only 55.5 percent of this group take this kind of medication. In terms of race and ethnicity, Mexican-Americans have the least proportion of medication takers, with only 47 percent of the eligible group currently taking drugs.

The agency also discovered that only 46.6 percent of people eligible to take cholesterol-reducing drugs changed their lifestyles to include increased physical activity. Meanwhile, 35.5 percent chose not to take medication or make lifestyle changes.

People who are eligible for cholesterol-lowering drugs should have either cardiovascular disease or impairment, or high LDL cholesterol. Adults between 40 and 75 years of age are recommended for medication if they have diabetes and high LDL cholesterol combined.

by   Read Original article at


Relationship of Weight loss and Type 2 Diabetes

Weight loss can help cure diabetes. (iStock photo)

Weight loss effectively cures Type 2 diabetes, according to new research by scientists at Newcastle University.

The findings, published online in the journal Diabetes Care and presented at the World Diabetes Congress in Vancouver this week, show the disease is caused by fat accumulating in the pancreas and that simply losing less than one gram from the organ can reverse the illness and restore insulin production, The Daily Telegraph reports.

"For people with Type 2 diabetes, losing weight allows them to drain excess fat out of the pancreas and allows function to return to normal," said Roy Taylor, a Newcastle University researcher.

For the study, researchers tracked 18 obese people with Type 2 diabetes who underwent gastric band surgery and went on a restricted diet for eight weeks. Over the course of the study, the participants lost an average of 13 percent of their body weight and 0.6 grams of fat from their pancreas, allowing the organ to secrete normal levels of insulin.

At the end of the study, the investigators determined they were cured of their condition. 

The team is now planning a larger two-year study involving 200 people with Glasgow University to confirm the findings. 

For the original article, visit


Warning: Drinking the Wrong Kind of Water Can Drain Your Energy

Are you drinking the right kind of water? (iStock photo)

Lots of people walk around all day with their trusty water bottle in hand to make sure they stay hydrated. But many experts say they are actually making themselves more—not less—dehydrated.

How can this be?

It's because they are drinking water that is too acidic.

The solution is alkaline water, which is surging in popularity and has some people swearing that it has given them a new lease on life.  

Alkaline water—water with a high pH either naturally or because of additives—helps neutralize excess acid in the body, a condition called acidosis. Among alternative practitioners, acidosis is thought to cause a host of health problems, the most common being constant tiredness and lack of energy.

The standard Western diet, which includes exposure to highly acidic water and food, has shifted our bodies' natural pH from an ideal level of slightly alkaline to an adverse level of slightly acidic.

"Most waters out there, either bottled or from the tap, are either acidic or are artificially adjusted in their pH by added compounds like chlorine," says Robert O. Young, co-author of The pH Miracle and other books.

According to Young and other holistic practitioners, no matter how much bottled and tap water a person drinks, it's possible to become increasingly dehydrated.

Young tells Newsmax Health that the earliest stage of acidosis is enervation or fatigue. "We start losing energy. We're tired. We're fatigued all the time."

In extreme cases, acidosis has been associated with body-wide inflammation, the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in coronary arteries, and the development of cancer.

The pH scale is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity. The scale runs from 0-14, with 0 as the most acidic, 7 as neutral, and 14 as most alkaline.

"The pH of our bodies is naturally alkaline at 7.367," Young says.

However, because we constantly consume unnaturally acidic drinks and foods, many of us have flipped our body chemistry to become acidic rather than slightly alkaline. This is where alkaline water can help.

One good source of alkaline water is spring water, which typically has a pH of 8 to 8.5 because it naturally acquires alkalizing minerals as it passes over rocks. When buying bottled water, look for those labeled "spring water."

Another option is to place one or two teaspoons of baking soda into an eight-ounce glass of distilled water and drink two such glasses daily, preferably between meals. If you drink this mixture during meals, you may reduce the effectiveness of your stomach acid and compromise digestion.

Young also recommends juicing chlorophyll-rich green fruits and vegetables such as avocados, cucumbers, green peppers, broccoli and spinach.

"These are foods that not only can help alkalize the blood and tissues but also build and structure stem cells," he says.

You also can alkalize your water by adding three drops of commercial alkaline concentrate to an eight-ounce glass of spring or distilled water.

One such product—AlkaZone Alkaline Booster Drops with Antioxidant—costs about $19 for a 1.2-ounce bottle, which contains about 200 servings. Alkaline concentrates are widely available at health-food stores and through Internet retailers.

Alkaline water, says Young, has both immediate and long-term health benefits:

  • After 20 minutes: Improved mental clarity.
  • After 24 hours: Increased energy.
  • After 72 hours: Lifted mood and improved sleep.
  • In four days: Increased exercise endurance.
  • In one week: Decreased back pain.
  • In two weeks: Decreased joint pain.
  • In four weeks: Weight loss up to 10 pounds.

For the original article, visit


Why All Churches Should Address Depression & Anxiety

Awareness must be created among Church members to deal with depression and anxiety (The Express Tribune with the International New York Times) by Jarrid


It's no secret my past was riddled with mental health issues—ones that kept me from wanting to live for much of my teenage life. I'm very vocal about this truth, and I will continue to be as along as my story may have an impact on others who need to hear it.

And while I do believe today's church is doing better at addressing the issue that is mental health, I believe there can be so much more done than what is currently taking place in regards to depression and anxiety. Let me explain.

I never tried to take my own life in my younger years, but I frequently found myself googling painless ways to commit suicide, and really had no remorse once finding what I was looking for. It was a sad state to hold myself. The reality is that my life was infected with the burden of depression and anxiety, and the only places I could find reliable information from were not churches in my local area.

Why? It's because mental illness wasn't really talked about much.

I felt as if all the "Christian" resources were outdated, and really didn't address the fact that taking medication was okay in the eyes of God. There really wasn't much information at all. It was as if all the answers I was finding were suggesting that I just needed more faith.

Seriously? The last thing someone contemplating suicide wants to hear is, "Just have faith." I understand that Jesus has the power to conquer anything that comes in my way, but please don't throw Christians clichés at me. I wanted real, authentic and practical information, and I assume there are millions in this world who would want the same. It's what Jesus would have done.

I really wanted to find help in the church, but there were no ministries or non-profits working within the walls of local congregations that I could reach. All the counseling and help I received came years after I actually needed it, and it was found in the secrecy of a local medical facility, not a church—where it should have been all along.

Mind you, the church has come a long way since my teen years in regards to helping those with mental illness, but I believe we can still do a lot more.

Some Statistics
1. It is reported that 1 in 10 Americans are affected by depression. 
2. Over 80 percent of people who are clinically depressed are not receiving treatment. 
3. The number of people diagnosed with depression increases by 30 percent every year. 
4. An estimated 121 million people around the world suffer from depression. 
5. In 2013 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans.
6. In 2013, someone died by suicide every 12.8 minutes.


We Need The Church

"Cast all your care on Him, because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7, MEV).

Here's the thing. I understand that there is importance to seeing what many would call a "professional" in the field of mental health issues, but this doesn't mean that the local church shouldn't be prioritizing leadership roles and ministry efforts to help those who deal with these issues. I understand that not all churches lack in this area, but I bet there are more who do than don't.

My wife and I have met with and counseled dozens of young people over the past year. All shared with us the brutal battle that is taking place within their souls. Suicide attempts, cutting, depression, and anxiety are just the beginning of what these young people were facing.

We NEED the church to step up in its efforts to be more vocal in regards to mental illness. Whether that is through a sermon series, free resources, creating non-profits or even a cultivating a designated year-long ministry. Regardless, the church should be on the front lines of this battle. People need a safe place where they can be honest and transparent with what they are going through.

There is nothing wrong with admitting you are depressed, cutting, have attempted suicide or are even contemplating it. There is nothing wrong with seeking medical attention and being prescribed medication to help you along the journey. And, there is nothing wrong with admitting you need help. 

A Few Resources

1. Heart Support.

2. My Broken Palace. 

3. To Write Love On Her Arms.

4. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety or has even thought of suicide, please give them the resources above and do not wait another minute.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Jarrid Wilson is a husband to Juli, dad to Finch, pastor, author, blogger, and founder of Cause Roast. He's helping people live a better story. For the original article, visit


Preventable Disease: Obesity

Obesity – Upgrade Your Health With Sharmita Rideau (Gina Cook)

The world tells us the need to lose weight, but only God's Word can give us the power to lose weight!  

With all the information floating throughout social media, TV and the Internet about the dangers of being overweight, why is it so hard to lose weight?  No one wants to slowly kill themselves eating the wrong food and not taking care of their body.

How did we gain all the weight? This is not something that happens overnight! What is the underlying cause? Why have we allowed food to become our emotional crutch?

Obesity is a lifestyle disease; it is a preventable disease linked to our daily living patterns. Obesity is fast overtaking smoking as the No. 1 preventable disease causing death! This should get our attention!

A study in 2006 found that church members are likely to be overweight or obese more than the general public and by far the heaviest of all religious groups. A 2001 Pulpit and Pew study of 2,500 clergy found that 76 percent were overweight or obese compared to 61 percent of the general population at the time of the study. Unfortunately, I was one of those statistics!

How had I fallen into this trap? Weight had been a struggle for me since childhood. I brought into my adult life bad eating habits. I'm not blaming anyone else, but I never took the time to study nutrition and did very little exercise. I was busy in the ministry traveling to the nations and just didn't have the time.

One day my world changed by five words that I read: "The devil wants you fat!" These words pierced my heart! I hate the devil. I knew John 10:10: "The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." At that time about the only thing I had an abundance of was fat cells!

At the moment I saw the words, "the devil wants you fat," I had an immediate burning desire in my heart to change! It was a moment that brought repentance and an awareness that I was responsible and accountable for the care of my body.

When we have an issue in our life which we cannot control, it is a spiritual problem. As I said, the world can tell us all sorts of reasons that we need to change, but only God's Word can give us the power to change. I had tried all the gimmicks of the world for a quick fix, but not only did I lose finances, I lost hope, dignity and peace.

What brings change? We have to be willing to admit that we are wrong and that we need help. The words that I read brought repentance and an awareness that I had a problem and I needed to change.  

What is the key to weight loss? Repentance! Repentance is sincere regret or remorse according to the dictionary.  Sincere regret. If you truly regret something, your behavior is going to change. You will want to change and make things better.

True repentance is believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth (Rom. 10:9).

"Therefore repent and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).

When I repented and submitted my weight issues to the Lord, He gave me a battle plan that worked from the inside out, taking 90 pounds from my body. It is a daily walk. My testimony is in my book, Why Diets Don't Work – Food Is Not the Problem. This book, and a workbook that goes with it, can be found on my website, It is not another diet plan; it is a battle plan!

Joyce Tilney is an author and conference speaker. Her ministry, Women of God, teaching women of today from women of yesterday, has taken her around the world. She finds women are the same all over the world; they need to be loved and to love, understanding their uniqueness as a woman of God. Visit her websites: wogministries and


Study: Eating This Fruit May Decrease Colon Cancer Risk

Dried plums may drastically reduce risk of colon cancer.
Specific research findings were recently provided to guests at the Experimental Biology Conference (Boston, 2015). The study results provide evidence of reduced risk of these cancers by the addition of dried plums within the nutritional regime.
This supplementation increases the promotion of good bacteria within the colon. According to research professor Dr. Nancy Turner, this outcome provides individuals with a positive health benefit which strongly produces evidence of the reduced risk of developing this type of cancer.
Main Cause of Deaths
Colon cancer is currently the third cause of cancer deaths among men and women (classified in studies separately) in the United States, as distinguished by the American Cancer Society. When viewing statistics of both populations together, this form of cancer is noted as the second leading producer of deaths. Within the United States in 2015, deaths are expected to be close to 50,000 related to this one cancer alone.
Background Information
Within the colon, a very high concentration of bacteria are present; over four hundred different species of bacteria have been previously identified. Good bacteria, as well as bad, are present within the environment at any given time. It is important for the body to have a sufficient amount of good bacteria within the colon to continuously promote good health. Previous studies have shown if the balance of these bacteria is not healthy, inflammation occurs and can further enhance the development of these cancers.
Research Findings
Microbiota, commonly known as "gut bacteria," is positively affected by the consuming of dried plums, within the diet on a regular basis. Research studies also show the metabolism of the bacteria within the colon can be altered based on dietary consumption. This metabolic change is needed to help with healthy disease prevention and it can aid in dietary treatments, as noted by Dr. Turner's research findings.
In order to understand how this positive process works, dried plums hold phenolic compounds which provide various affects towards one's health. First, this specific food contains antioxidant benefits which gives health to the body. Second, the compounds provide the ability to neutralize free radicals present within the body. Free radicals are known to cause potential damage to the body's DNA.
During Turner's research, the hypothesis stated the supplementation of preserved plums in the diet would provide the detainment of microbiota, thereby reducing the risk of cancer developing within the colon. Controlled studies were created with matched macronutrients given to two different groups of rats. Following dietary consumption, the internal colons of each groups were examined.
Positive Results and Strong Findings
The study results provide vigorous health findings which are conclusively positive. The group of rats which were provided a composition of dehydrated plums experienced an increase in Bacteriodetes (rod shaped bacteria) as well as a decrease in Firmicutes. These bacterial levels were contained within the descending colon and sigmoid colon (within pelvic area). On the contrary, the study group of rats which did not consume the dehydrated plums experienced the opposite effects.
Additionally, a secondary observation noted during research studies included the rats who consumed the dried plums had much lower numbers of abnormal tubes within the lining of the colon (known as aberrant crypt foci, ACF). ACF is typically observed as a strong signal which occurs prior to the development of cancers within the colon; they are seen medically as pre-cancerous lesions.
Turner offered this positive assurance: the increase in Bacteriodetes (along with decrease in Firmicutes) gives strong evidence the addition of dehydrated plums within the diet provides substantial health benefits. Healthy gains include the promotion of more good bacteria within the "gut" which helps in the prevention of cancer of the colon. This is in direct correlation with a reduction in the number of ACF seen.
More Research Needed
Although this research study performed at Texas A&M University (along with assistance of the University in North Carolina) shows extremely promising results, further research in the field of science nutrition is encouraged, especially within human trials. It is noted this one dietary change can provide an excellent and beneficial strategy to work against the development of cancers of the colon.
Don Colbert, M.D. has been board-certified in Family Practice for over 25 years and practices Anti-Aging and Integrative medicine. He is a New York Times best-selling author of books such as The Bible Cure Series, What Would Jesus Eat, Deadly Emotions, What You Don't Know May Be Killing You, and many more with over 10 million books sold. He is the Medical Director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida, where he has treated over 50,000 patients. For the original article, visit

5 ways to exercise no matter how busy you are

An Aussie model for the past seven years, in 2013 Hannah started sharing her fitness routine, diet and health tips on Instagram to much success. She launches her workout app this year (
Keeping fit when you've got a jam-packed schedule IS possible, writes Hannah Saul

We've all gone through times when life starts getting in the way of our fitness journey. But whether you work unpredictable hours or your social schedule is getting the better of you, it's still important to stay on top of your workouts. Not only is exercise good for your health for many reasons, but it can also be quite energising – I personally find that working out helps to boost my productivity. Here are the five tricks that I apply to fit in a workout regardless of my schedule.

1. Work out in the morning
I always do some form of exercise in the morning, even if I can only fit 10 minutes in. Something is better than nothing, and for me it's more about making it a habit! I've been doing this every day for about three years and it's a non-negotiable part of my day. If I have an early shoot or an early flight, I do three to four sets of the following:
  • 15 push-ups
  • 15 squats
  • 15 mountain climbers
  • 15 lunges a side, alternating legs because that will help you work your core
  • 15 bicycle crunches

Related story: Australian model Hannah Saul shares her summer body tips

2. Bring your workout gear with you
Not sure when you will have time to train? Bring a small gym bag with you to work. All you will need is your gym gear (obviously): shoes, shorts, socks, top and a comb, dry shampoo, face wipes and mineral foundation to get ready post-workout. This little pack won't take up too much space, but it is essentially all you need to get 'work ready' again.

3. Get an app
Having a fitness app on your phone is a great way to ensure you get your workout done, because you have a library of workouts at your fingertips that you can literally do anywhere, anytime. My fitness app, HANxFIT, has workouts that can be done no matter where you want to train. If you have a lunch break and a park nearby, do a workout from the body weight or abs section. If you want to do a session in the gym, you can refer to the gym or kettlebell workouts. Each workout has a beginner, intermediate and advanced option and there are different length options so you can pick a workout that suits your timeframe too.

4. Get a stretchy band
You forgot to bring your gym gear to work and you missed your morning session. Now you're home, tired and lacking motivation to train. This is when a stretchy band comes into play. I have a band that's about 40cm in diameter and I use it while I'm watching TV. To work your legs and butt, put the band underneath your knees (not on your knees!) and go up into a bridge. Engage your core and make sure you keep your body aligned, as you don't want to hurt yourself. Now alternate between doing little pulses towards the roof and pushing your legs out towards the sides of the room.
Remember it's all about small movements and keeping your muscles under tension. Every time you do a pulse, think to yourself 'out an inch, in an inch'. It might sound a bit dirty, but it works!
5. Embrace incidental exercise
Try to fit in as much incidental exercise as possible. Walk to work or to the train station and if possible try to organise walking or fitness meetings with your contacts. You could also consider getting a standing desk. Applying more healthy practices into your daily schedule can only be good for you, after all.

Hannah Saul is launching her highly anticipated workout app HAN x FIT in October 2015. Pre- register for the app now:
Instagram: @hanxfit