Medicaid Rates So Low, Hospitals Consider It Charity Care

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

Most hospitals have slim margins, and budgets are set based on anticipated average patient reimbursement at Medicare rates. Some private insurers pay higher rates than Medicare, and the differential is often used to offset the cost of treating Medicaid patients. Medicaid reimburses at about half what Medicare pays, which is usually not enough to break even. Out of financial necessity, Medicaid patients are often given limited access to care and services. This is done in some subtle and some not-so-subtle ways. In a recent conversation with an orthopedist friend of mine, he confided in me candidly:

“Some of my colleagues in private practice can’t pay their office overhead if they treat Medicaid patients. So we see poor people with severely arthritic joints left in pain at home. In addition, with bundled payments, the surgeon gets a fixed amount for the patient’s operation and recovery. What incentive is there to send the patient to a rehab facility? It just takes money away from the surgeon. So the poor have to suffer with very long wait times to see someone who will operate on them, and then afterwards they’re on their own for recovery. Patients who go straight home are at higher risk of falling and may have much poorer outcomes. Surgeons get financial incentives for good outcomes, so it becomes a double disincentive to treat Medicaid patients. You don’t get enough for the operation, and you’re likely to get penalized for their poorer outcomes. Some surgeons I know wont touch a patient with Medicaid for any elective procedure. I have ethical problems with that – so I work at a non-profit hospital where we treat everyone. But I have to do higher volume to break even. I work 90 hours a week and barely see my family. I don’t know how much longer I can do it.”

It is common practice among nursing homes to have a limited number of “Medicaid beds.” The facility simply declines to admit more than 20% of patients with Medicaid. I hear case managers on the phone all day long, looking for a post-acute care facility who will accept a Medicaid patient. For the few non-profit facilities who don’t turn them away, deep financial costs are incurred as they struggle for survival.

The reality is that Medicaid rates are so low that having this insurance is not much better than none at all. As I’ve explained previously in the outpatient world (see an example of an insanely low Medicaid reimbursement for eye care), Medicaid is tantamount to charity care. The news that 21.3 million Americans might receive Medicaid coverage in the next decade should not be hailed as a leap forward. As I see it, that’s just a larger group of people with debilitating arthritis who can’t get hip and knee replacements and are left to suffer in pain at home.

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The Importance of Daily Flossing

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

Your dental health is an important component of your physical health. It’s a frequently underappreciated aspect that can have a profound systemic influence. In fact, thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease.

Your mouth is like a window to your health; the soft tissues and your teeth reflect what’s going on in the rest of your body. Inflammation is well-known as a “ravaging” and disease-causing force, and gum disease and other oral diseases produce chronic low-grade inflammation.

When the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system, it causes your liver to release C-reactive proteins, which have inflammatory effects on your entire circulatory system.

Health Risks Associated With Poor Oral Health

People who fail to brush their teeth twice a day may be putting themselves at risk of heart disease,1,2 and advanced gum disease can raise your risk of a fatal heart attack up to 10 times.

There’s also a 700 percent higher incidence of type 2 diabetes among those with gum disease, courtesy of the inflammatory effects of unbalanced microflora in your mouth. Other health effects associated with poor oral health include an increased risk of:3

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Dementia: failing to brush twice a day increases your risk of dementia by as much as 65 percent, compared to brushing three times a day
  • Pneumonia: good oral hygiene has been shown to lower your risk of pneumonia by about 40 percent. Other research has shown that people with periodontitis have a 300 percent greater chance of contracting pneumonia
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED): ED is more than twice as common among those with periodontitis than those without ED
  • Kidney disease and more

Overall, your diet is the most significant determinant of your oral and dental health, but how you clean your teeth can also make a big difference. Flossing, for example, is an important strategy, yet one-third of American adults never floss. If you’re one of them, I’d encourage you to reconsider.

The Importance of Flossing

Flossing is perhaps even more important than brushing because it removes bacteria that are the precursors of plaque, which if left to fester will turn into tartar that cannot be removed by regular brushing or flossing.

Tartar is what eventually causes the damage that leads to decay and tooth loss. Most people are aware that flossing is a recommended practice for optimal oral health, yet nearly one-third of Americans never floss.

Remarkably, 1 in 5 Americans also does not brush their teeth twice a day.4 According to a recent investigation:5

  • 32.4 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 30 never floss
  • 37.3 percent floss, but not daily
  • 30.3 percent floss on a daily basis
  • More women than men never floss
  • Low-income participants are less likely to floss than those in higher income brackets

Flossing Guidelines

Use a piece of floss that is about 15 to 18 inches long, wrapping each end around your index fingers. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it around the side of the tooth in the shape of a “C.”

Scrub the area by moving the floss up and down, and back and forth. Make sure you scrub both sides of the adjacent teeth before moving on to the next set.

If you have wider spaces between your teeth, use Super Floss, which is thicker.6 If dexterity is an issue, use soft plaque removers. Similar to toothpicks, they allow you to clean between your teeth with one hand. A double-pronged floss holder is another option.

While flossing, you can get telltale signs of potential health problems. For example, bleeding gums is a warning sign that you have bacteria in your mouth causing damage, which can easily spread through your blood stream and cause chronic inflammation elsewhere in your body.

The answer is to gently floss and brush more often, until your gums no longer bleed from brushing or flossing. If bleeding persists longer than a week, see a dentist.

Keep in mind that a Waterpik cannot replace flossing. These types of irrigation tools can also be hard on your gums. The truth is, if you brush and floss, you have no need for a Waterpik. That said, it can be beneficial if you have braces.

Tooth Brushing Guidelines

Research suggests the ideal brushing time is two minutes, and the ideal pressure is 150 grams (gm), which is about the weight of an orange.7 Brushing your teeth too hard and longer than necessary can cause more harm than good.

Researchers found that brushing longer than two minutes, and/or using pressure greater than 150 gm does not remove any additional plaque, so there’s a “Goldilocks’ zone” when brushing, and there’s no reason to keep going past that point.

When it comes to toothpaste, I recommend using non-fluoridated versions. There are a growing number of such toothpastes on the market these days, as more people are becoming aware of fluoride’s downsides and dangers.

Other toxic toothpaste ingredients to avoid include triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), propylene glycol and diethanolamine (DEA).

Alternatively, you could make your own toothpaste8 using ingredients such as coconut oil, baking soda (which acts as an abrasive and helps with whitening), and a pinch of Himalayan salt. High-quality peppermint essential oil can be added for flavor and cavity prevention.

The Case for Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice. When combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, I believe it can be a powerful tool to improve your oral health. The high lauric content of coconut oil makes it a strong inhibitor of a wide range of pathogenic organisms, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa.

However, it also helps promote oral microbiome homeostasis, which is really important, as you don’t want to kill all microbes.

Oil pulling is thought to improve oral and physical health by reducing your toxic load. By swishing and “pulling” the oil between your teeth, it helps draw out pathogens that might otherwise migrate into other areas of your body. When done correctly, oil pulling has a significant cleansing, detoxifying and healing effect.

Naturopathic physician and coconut oil expert Dr. Bruce Fife has compared the benefits of oil pulling to changing the oil in your car:9

“It acts much like the oil you put in your car engine. The oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean.

Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our bodies our health is improved and we run smoother and last longer.”

Sesame oil is traditionally recommended, but it has a relatively high concentration of omega-6 oils and the large amounts of unsaturated fats make it particularly sensitive to oxidation and going rancid.

I strongly believe coconut oil is a far superior option. I also think it tastes better. Coconut oil has a lipophilic effect, helping to eliminate unhealthy biofilm from your teeth. As noted by Authority Nutrition,10 it’s particularly effective at killing Streptococcus mutans, an oral bacterium responsible for a majority of tooth decay.

Coconut oil also contains a number of valuable nutrients that help promote oral health. That said, from a mechanical and biophysical perspective, either oil is likely to work.

So how do you do it? It’s quite simple, actually. You simply rinse your mouth with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, much like you would using a mouthwash. Work the oil around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for about 15 minutes. This process allows the oil to dislodge and neutralize pathogens and other debris.

When done, spit out the oil (do NOT swallow it) and rinse your mouth with water. I typically spit mine out on the soil outside of my house, being careful to avoid any plants. If you want, you could dissolve a pinch of Himalayan salt in the water and rinse with that. Himalayan salt contains more than 85 different microminerals, so this is another all-natural strategy that can help promote strong, healthy teeth and gums.

Poor Oral Health Is a Risk Factor for Oropharyngeal Cancers

Poor oral hygiene has also been linked to an increased risk for head and neck cancers. As noted in a recent analysis of 13 studies that were part of the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) Consortium, lack of tooth brushing and low frequency of dental visits consistently raised the risk of head and neck cancers.11,12

Poor oral health is also an independent risk factor for oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which could contribute to oral cancers such as cancers of the throat, tonsils, and base of tongue, if left untreated for long periods of time.

In one 2013 study,13,14 participants with poor oral health had a 56 percent higher rate of HPV infection than those with healthy mouths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 60 percent of oropharyngeal cancers are related to HPV,15 but according to this study it could be as high as 80 percent.

The researchers speculate that good oral hygiene could help prevent HPV infection, thereby lowering your risk for oropharyngeal and other cancers associated with untreated HPV infection.

The Importance of Nourishing Your Oral Microbiome

Part of oral health is attending to your oral microbiome — the colonies of beneficial microbes residing in your mouth. Achieving oral health is really about promoting balance among the beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in your mouth.

And contrary to popular belief, antimicrobial agents and alcohol mouthwashes designed to “kill bad bacteria” actually do far more harm than good in this regard, as they can be indiscriminate killers. The key is to nourish the beneficial bacteria, so they can naturally keep the potentially harmful ones in check.

Your oral microbiome, while connected to your gut microbiome, is quite unique. By promoting oral microbiome homeostasis, you can improve your digestion and salivary immune system, the latter of which helps protect you against disease, such as the common cold and flu. Your oral microbiome even plays a role in making vitamins.

Interestingly, probiotics do not work in the mouth, so it’s not as simple as adding more beneficial microbes into your oral cavity. Instead, as an initial step, you need to cease killing too many microbes in your mouth. Scientists are now starting to recognize that many of the same bacteria that perform beneficial functions can have pathogenic expression when disturbed. So avoiding disrupting the microflora in your mouth is typically more helpful than trying to kill everything off.

Even natural antimicrobial herbs can disrupt your oral microbiome. This includes tea tree oil, tulsi oil and oregano oil. The problem stems from the fact that beneficial bacteria end up having less of a chance of developing a healthy and balanced microbiome when you disturb them too much.

Promoting Oral Health Through Nutrition and Homeopathy

So what are your alternatives? While probiotics do not have a direct effect on your oral microbiome, addressing your gut flora can make a big difference. Fermented vegetables and other traditionally fermented foods are an ideal source, but if you don’t eat fermented foods, then a high-quality probiotic is certainly recommended.

I used to be severely challenged with plaque, but once I started eating fermented vegetables on a daily basis, and doing oil pulling with coconut oil, the plaque buildup was dramatically reduced. Your diet can also make or break your teeth, as it were, by influencing inflammation. Avoiding the following dietary culprits can go a long way toward reducing or preventing inflammation in your mouth and body:

  • Refined sugar/processed fructose and processed grains
  • Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
  • Foods cooked at high temperatures
  • Trans fats
  • Damaged omega-6 fats found in processed vegetable oils

Certain nutrients are very important for optimal gum health. Vitamin C is one. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is another. CoQ10 is a critical cofactor in the Krebs cycle, which is how energy is created in your cells. Bleeding gums, for example, can be a sign of CoQ10 deficiency. There are also a number of homeopathic tissue salts that can be beneficial for oral health, including:

  • Silica
  • Calcarea fluorica (calc. fluor.) or calcium fluoride
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Calcium carbonate

4 Strategies That Can Improve Your Oral Health

Research revealing the connection between the microorganisms in your mouth and cancer (as well as many other health problems) makes it clear that oral hygiene is a necessary prerequisite if you want to be healthy. Major problems can result from the overgrowth of opportunistic oral pathogens, including oropharyngeal cancers. In addition to avoiding fluoride and mercury fillings, my top four recommendations for optimizing your oral health are as follows:

  1. Eat a wholesome diet of real food: fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-pastured meats, poultry, eggs and dairy; nuts and seeds. Minimize consumption of sugar and processed food
  2. Add in some naturally fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, pickles, kimchee or kefir
  3. Brush your teeth twice daily, and floss every day
  4. Oil pulling

When it comes to oral hygiene and preventing cavities, please remember, drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste is not the answer because fluoride is more toxic than lead. Rather it’s about your diet, and about proper dental care: brushing and flossing.

By avoiding sugars and processed foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place. Following up with proper brushing and flossing, and getting regular cleanings will ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy naturally.

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Low-Carb Vegetables to Live By

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

Most vegetables are very low in calories and net carbs, while being high in healthy fiber and the valuable vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimal health. As a general rule, vegetables are a nutritional cornerstone.

However, some are more beneficial than others, which is the focus of this article.1,2,3,4,5

Eating plenty of vegetables can help reduce your risk for many chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. For example, one 2010 study found that eating just one extra serving of leafy greens a day reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent.6

Vegetables also contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else.

Plant chemicals called phytochemicals help reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, remove old cells and maintain DNA. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have:

? Lower risks of high blood pressure and stroke

? Lower risks of certain types of cancer

? Reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss

? Higher scores on cognitive tests

? Higher antioxidant levels

? Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress

? Lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease7

? Lower risk for eye diseases

? Fewer digestive problems

Vegetables Are the Ultimate Among Low-Net Carb Foods

Many of these benefits are actually due to the high fiber content in vegetables. The fiber in vegetables is broken down into health-promoting short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by your gut bacteria, and SCFAs have been shown to lessen your risk of inflammatory diseases.8

Your liver converts these short-chain fats into ketones that nourish your body and provide important signaling functions.

The fiber content also promotes optimal gut health in general by nourishing beneficial gut bacteria. Leafy greens, which have some of the highest fiber content in the vegetable kingdom, also activate a gene called T-bet, which is essential for producing critical immune cells in the lining of your digestive tract.9

These immune cells, called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), help maintain balance between immunity and inflammation in your body and produce interleukin-22 (IL-22), a hormone that helps protect your body from pathogenic bacteria.

ILCs even help resolve cancerous lesions and prevent the development of bowel cancers and other inflammatory diseases, including obesity. So which are the “superstars” within the vegetable kingdom? Here I’ll review five different categories of veggies worth your daily consideration.

Top Performing Sprouts

Sprouts deliver high amounts of nutrients in small packages, including antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes that protect against free radical damage, so in terms of volume you can get away with eating far less.

The vitamin and essential fatty acid content increases dramatically during the sprouting process. Sunflower seeds, for example, typically contain 30 times more nutrients than whole organic vegetables!

The fiber content also improves when sprouting, and the protein becomes more bioavailable. Sprouts can also contain up to 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables, allowing your body to extract more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fats from other foods.

Another boon: sprouts are very easy to grow at home, even in small spaces, allowing you to turbocharge your diet at a very low cost. Three of my favorite sprouts are:

Watercress: Contains more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more vitamin C than oranges. In fact, watercress is at the very top of the list of nutrient dense vegetables, with a perfect 100 nutrient density score!10

Compounds in watercress have also been shown to decrease the risk of lung, colorectal, head and neck and prostate cancers, including a particularly virulent form of breast cancer.

Broccoli sprouts: Three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain anywhere from 10 to 100 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli. Research also suggests broccoli sprouts can help detox environmental pollutants such as benzene.

Sunflower seeds: Rich in vitamin E, copper, B vitamins, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Sunflower seeds also contain one of the highest levels of phytosterols of commonly consumed nuts and seeds.

Phytosterols are beneficial for your heart health and immune system, and may help lower cancer risk as well. Sunflower sprouts are also among the highest in protein.

Leafy Greens Lead the Pack for Healthy Fiber

Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are particularly low in net carbs; the majority of their content being healthy fiber. Among those with the lowest net carb content (i.e. total carbohydrates minus fiber) are:11

Vegetable Total Net Carbs
Asparagus (high in vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, carotene, and protein) 2 percent
White mushrooms (potassium, B vitamins) 3 percent
Cucumber (mostly water and some vitamin K) 4 percent
Tomatoes (high in vitamin C, potassium) 4 percent
Cauliflower (high in vitamins C, K, and folate) 5 percent
Eggplant (high in fiber) 6 percent
Bell peppers (high in fiber, vitamin C and carotene) 6 percent
Broccoli (high in vitamins C, K, and anti-cancer compounds) 7 percent
Brussels sprouts (high in vitamins C, K and other beneficial plant compounds) 7 percent
Green beans (high in fiber, protein, vitamins C and K, magnesium, and potassium) 7 percent
Onions (high in fiber, antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds) 9 percent
Kale (high in fiber, vitamins C and K, and carotene) 10 percent

Top Performing Leafy Greens

When it comes to overall nutrient content, some of my favorite leafy greens include the following. (For more food facts and sample recipes, please follow the hyperlinks provided.)

? Kale

Kale has a 3:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, which is an exceptionally high amount of protein for any vegetable, and one reason why it has been acclaimed as the “new beef.” Like meat, kale contains all nine essential amino acids needed to form the proteins within the human body, plus nine other non-essential ones for a total of 18. It also contains more omega-3 than omega-6, which is almost unheard of in nature.

A 100-gram portion of kale will add a mere 50 calories while providing you with 200 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C, 300 percent of your vitamin A, and an incredible 1,000 percent of vitamin K1. It also contains vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese.

? Beet greens

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, beet greens contain 220 percent of the RDI of vitamin A, 60 percent of vitamin C, 16 percent of calcium, and 15 percent of iron. In fact, beet greens have more iron than spinach. The vitamin K in beet greens also works with calcium to boost bone strength, and may play a role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Overall, beet greens score a respectable 87 out of 100 in terms of nutrient density.

? Arugula

Arugula contains trace minerals and antioxidants that block absorption of environmental contaminants — including some that may have a negative impact on your libido. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A, C (to boost immune function), and K (for bone strength), folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese.

Arugula also provides high levels of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) that help raise HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL. Its flavonoid content can help lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, lower inflammation, and improve blood vessel function.

? Spinach

Spinach, scoring 86.4 on a nutrient density scale of 100, is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Studies have shown spinach helps maintain your brain function, memory and mental clarity. (To retain the rich iron content, cook only lightly, and add a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar.)

? Swiss chard

With an overall nutrient density score of nearly 89.3, Swiss chard is particularly rich in vitamins C, E, and A (beta-carotene) along with the minerals manganese and zinc. The betalin pigments in Swiss chard also support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body.

In addition, Swiss chard contains a flavonoid called syringic acid, which may help regulate blood sugar and provide benefits to those with diabetes, along with kaempferol, a flavonol that may help fight cancer and lower your risk of chronic diseases including heart disease.

? Collard greens

Collard greens provide a whopping 1,045 percent of your RDI of vitamins K, and 308 percent of vitamin A — vitamins needed for strong bones, brain health and sharp eyesight. Collard greens also help lower your cholesterol levels better than any other cruciferous vegetable. The key is its ability to bind to bile acids in your digestive system, which facilitates the removal of excess cholesterol from your body. Just be careful about juicing them as they are very bitter.

The Amazing Benefits of Peppers

Peppers are another group of vegetables well worth your consideration. Sure, they taste great, but did you know they’re also loaded with valuable nutrients? Four deserving of special mention include:

Bell peppers: With twice the vitamin C of an orange (more than 300 percent of your RDI of vitamin C for one whole bell pepper), bell peppers are a great way to boost your immune system and lower inflammation that can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

One cup of chopped red pepper, which also has the highest antioxidant content of the bell peppers, contains 9 grams of carbohydrates, three of which are fiber (for a net carb content of 6 grams per cup). They also provide 93 percent of your RDI for vitamin A.

Banana peppers: Available in both sweet and spicier varieties, banana peppers add a nutritious and flavorful kick to dishes and salads. Like other peppers, banana peppers are very low in net carbs. Despite their sweet flavor, less than 2 grams of a 30-gram sweet banana pepper is carbohydrates, and more than half of that is fiber.12

Poblano peppers: Commonly used in Latin American cooking, a single poblano pepper contains just over half a gram of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrate, more than 1 gram of which is fiber.

One dried poblano pepper also contains nearly 2 milligrams (mg) of iron, or about 24 percent of the RDI of iron for adult men of all ages and women over the age of 51, or 11 percent of the RDI for women under age 51.13 If your iron levels are on the high side, you may need to go easy on poblano peppers, as high iron is highly inflammatory.

Chili peppers: Fiery hot, chili peppers have a number of medicinal properties. It contains capsaicin, which has antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. Red and green chili peppers are also a good source of vitamin C and a number of B vitamins.14

Top Performing Root Vegetables

While many root vegetables are high in starch and net carbs, there are some notable exceptions, such as ginger, turmeric and onions. Ginger has more than 40 documented pharmacological actions, including broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic properties. Ginger is also a thermogenic substance that has a beneficial impact on your metabolism and fat storage.

Turmeric has an even more impressive healing repertoire with over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-cancer activity. It may also be useful against Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections, associated with gastritis, peptic ulcer and gastric cancer.

Raw onion is another potent cancer fighter. It also contains the antioxidant quercetin, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients.15 Perhaps surprisingly, onions are yet another vegetable loaded with vitamin C.

Boost Nutritional Value of Veggies by Fermenting Them

Inflammation from bacterial endotoxins may be a factor helping to drive the obesity epidemic. Sugar and processed foods can quickly make the “friendly” microbe community in your gut unfriendly — even downright hostile. When dysbiosis occurs, bacteria release noxious byproducts called endotoxins. Endotoxins increase the permeability of your gut wall (leaky gut syndrome) and make their way into your bloodstream, triggering system wide inflammation.

To counter or prevent this chain of events, you need to avoid sugary foods and regularly reseed your gut with healthy bacteria, and one of the best ways to do that is to eat fermented vegetables.

Just be careful and start slow. Introduce them at about a teaspoon and work your way up from there. One-quarter to one-half cup of fermented veggies with each meal is ideal. You also can’t beat the price if you make them at home. In addition to helping break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from your body, beneficial gut bacteria perform a number of important functions, including:

  • Mineral absorption, and producing nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin K2 (vitamin K2 and vitamin D are necessary for integrating calcium into your bones and keeping it out of your arteries, thereby reducing your risk for coronary artery disease and stroke)
  • Preventing obesity and diabetes, and regulating dietary fat absorption
  • Lowering your risk for cancer
  • Improving your mood and mental health

A potent superfood trio is a mixture of cabbage, carrots and ginger. I generally recommend eating carrots in moderation because they contain more sugar than any other vegetable aside from beets. However, when fermented they take on healthier qualities.

Besides, the beta-carotene in carrots (and many other vegetables noted above) is important for health, especially healthy vision. Studies have found that the more carotenoids you eat, the longer your lifespan. Savory Lotus16 has a fermented cabbage, carrot, ginger recipe you can try. Besides the benefits already mentioned, the ginger also aids with digestion.

On the whole, you really cannot go wrong with vegetables. Remember, even if 70 percent or more of your daily calories comes from fat, vegetables — being so low in fat and calories — should make up the greatest bulk of your diet. With so many to choose from, there’s hardly any reason to ever get bored. It’s mostly a matter of learning how to properly prepare them. Many can be eaten raw, but fermenting is a great way to boost their health benefits yet another notch.

Also, if you struggle to get enough leafy greens in your diet, consider juicing them. Another alternative is to grow your own sprouts. Packing such an incredible nutritional punch, you don’t need to eat nearly as much of them as you would other vegetables.

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