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Why do we need Vitamin K?

Vitamin K benefits the body in many ways. Most importantly it aids our bodies in blood clotting and coagulation. Prothrombin is a protein that is produced from vitamin K and plays a major role in blood clotting. This means when we cut ourselves prothrombin prevents us from bleeding to death. So it is important that we consume enough foods that will give us plenty of vitamin K. Without it, prothrombin is lowered and the risk of excessive bleeding increases.

Another important benefit of vitamin K is that it promotes the calcification of bones and prevent calcification of blood vessels and kidneys. Therefore it may help to improve bone health and lower risk of osteoporosis. It may even prevent calcium build up in the arteries which is good for high blood pressure sufferers.

But rest assure, having a deficiency in this vitamin is rare for healthy people who eat a balanced diet. However, if your diet restricts the consumption of green vegetables this can inhibit the formation of vitamin K. On the other hand research has shown that there is no toxic side effects in adults who take it via supplement form.

Food Sources of Vitamin K

The main dietary sources are from green leafy vegetables. This would provide vitamin K1. Animal products and fermented foods provide vitamin K2. When we eat any leafy green we are ingesting vitamin K1. Bacteria in the large intestine converts K1 to the storage form vitamin K2 and stores it in the liver or fatty tissues.

Other green sources include broccoli, brussels sprouts, herbs, kale, lettuce, arugula etc. Basically anything that goes through photosynthesis. This list also includes white potatoes, carrots, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and cashews.

Risks to consider

Toxicity is rare and less likely to come from eating foods containing vitamin K. Keep in mind that taking any form of supplement can lead to toxicity. In particular any blood thinners, anticonvulsants or even weight loss drugs can negatively interact with the vitamin. The rule of thumb is to eat a balanced diet so that there is little room for deficiency.

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Medicinal Grapes

Grapes are great for a healthy snack any time of day. But did you know that for centuries they have been used for their medicinal properties than any other fruit? These medicinal grapes are loaded with plenty of antioxidants to keep you healthy for years to come. Most people struggle to eat more foods rich in antioxidants, so eating this sweet and juicy fruit is a good way to increase your intake.

Grapes are a good source of potassium. Potassium is a mineral that helps to balance fluids in our body. If you have high blood pressure levels eat more grapes to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Medicinal grapes are also known to ease inflammation which in turn protect your cells from damage. Did you know that studies have shown that a diet rich in grapes can prevent or even delay the onset of cataracts and glaucoma? These sweet little juicy treats are full of surprises!

Since grapes have a low glycemic index this makes them quite attractive when striving towards your weight loss goals. Foods with a low glycemic index won’t raise your blood sugar levels quickly after consumption instead they will keep you more stable and your sugar cravings at bay.

Are All Medicinal Grapes Equal?

The amount of antioxidants and anthocyanins, aka phytochemicals, present in medicinal grapes depends on the variety. Anthocyanins are in most blue, purple and red skinned fruits. These dark color fruits are also much higher in fiber, polyphenols, and melatonin then green or white grapes. Therefore, it seems that the red or purple color variety of medicinal grapes are better for our bodies.

Medicinal grapes contain Vitamin C, E, and K which are all good for healthy bones and tissues. Vitamin K helps with quick healing of sores and aids the body’s digestion of iron. Vitamin E from the seeds, can help with maintaining healthy hair and skin. Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system.

Red wine, made from red or purple medicinal grapes, is known to have many health benefits. Malbec wine has four times more antioxidants as Merlots and twice as much as Cabernet Sauvignons. However, Madiran wine contains the highest amounts of antioxidants necessary for healthy blood-vessel function. But if your trying to loose weight and still want to benefit from drinking wine, Pinot Noir is ideal. This wine has the lowest calorie count and sugar content per glass than any other red wine!

Enjoy All the Varieties

Grapes come in a variety of colors, such as green, red, black, yellow, purple, seeded, seedless and even cotton candy! Its an all year round fruit that is always available. When selecting grapes from the grocery store, be sure to choose ones that are firm and without blemishes. The most fresh medicinal grapes will have green flexible stems and look quite plump. Alternatively you can always opt for dried fruit versions which are equally as good. Do not buy grapes that have white fur growing on them as this is a sign of mold. Store them in a cool place or refrigerator.

Try this quick sweet recipe to enjoy grapes in a whole new way!

FROSTED GRAPES

image from Dreamstime
  • 1 lb. of red or purple grapes
  • 1 package of strawberry gelatin mix
  1. Remove grapes from stems and wash well in strainer. After pat the grapes dry to remove excess water.
  2. Put the grapes in a 1 gallon zip lock bag with gelatin mix and seal tightly. Shake so that grapes are evenly coated with sugar mix.
  3. Empty sugared grapes onto cookie sheet in a single layer. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and serve.

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Get More Life Saving Vitamin D

life saving vitamin D

Vitamin D is a life saving vitamin of which your body needs plenty of for normal growth and development. Equally important as iron and vitamin C is for our bodies. One of the most important things you can do is to improve your daily intake of this life saver vitamin. it main function is the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus to support the hardening of bones and teeth. This is a nutrient that cuts your risk of cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis by 67% all while lowering your risk of Type II diabetes.

Vitamin D is a water soluble along with vitamins, A, E and K. This means that these vitamins dissolve in fats and lipids which allows them easy passage through a cell membrane. They can also be stored in large amounts in body fat and the liver. Digestion of the fat soluble requires adequate fats to be present in the diet. If you follow a low fat or low calorie diet then you must ensure you are absorbing enough to avoid deficiency. Deficiencies include rickets in small children, soft bones, bowed legs, unhealthy teeth, skeletal deformities, loss of bone density in elderly with increased fractures.

Follow the different ways below on how to effectively increase your intake of vitamin D.

Choose More Sunshine

Simply spending 20 minutes outside in the sun increases your absoportion of the vitamin. It is the sun that helps the body to make its own source of the vintamin using the natural oils in our skin. However, it takes a couple of hours before our skin fully absorbs the newly made vitamin D. To maximize absorption of the life saver into your skin tissues wait at least an house before washing.

Take Vitamin D Supplements

Although natural is best, taking a supplement can work just as well. To better absorb the supplement better try the oil-based brands. Alternatively you can take it with nut, eggs, cheese or butter to increase absorption. Consuming this life saver as a supplement can easily lead to overdosing. Toxicity symptoms include calcium build up in soft tissues, irreversible cardiovascular and kidney diseases, Any amount over 100mcg of vitamin D is toxic. therefore taking both the supplement and sunlight together can cause risk of toxicity.

Include Dietary Sources in Meals

Dietary sources of salmon, tuna, butter, cream, eggs, shrimp are rich in vitamin D. Some foods come fortified with the vitamin like milk and cereals. If you don’t go outside in the sun much then you must increase your dietary sources of the vitamin. Be mindful of how you cook these foods. Choosing different methods of cooking that won’t destroy vitamin D content is best. Sautéing, broiling or poaching good methods to try.

Probiotics Help Absorb Vitamin D

Did you know that increasing healthy gut bacteria with probiotics increases the absorption of Vitamin D? Probiotics help to reduce the side effects like bloating and cramping of eating cheese, milk and eggs.

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How important is Iron for your body?

essential mineral sources

Iron is a mineral. Its main function is to carry oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells in our bodies. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. During this process the mineral takes the form of myoglobin for oxygen storage. The myoglobin is stored in various parts of the body such as bone marrow, spleen or the liver until it is needed.

This minor mineral also helps with the removal of carbon dioxide from the body and energy production. The daily recommended intake for adults is 8 mg per day. However, females of childbearing age require 18 mg per day. Most adults find it difficult to get in the recommended intake on a daily basis.

What happens when levels are low?

When levels are low anemia can set in. Anemia is common and curable. Iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) is a result of an imbalance intake, storage or loss preventing full function of the body. Deficiency occurs in three stages: mild, marginal and IDA. Symptoms include, fatigue, body weakness, lower immune function, dizziness, hair loss and headaches. Despite being a minor mineral, it is essential for our bodies from birth to adulthood for brain development and continued growth. It is so important that our bodies intake enough iron.

On the flip side there is a risk to consuming too much. Excess intake of iron is becoming more and more common as individuals increase their use of multivitamins. The max limit is 45 mg per day. Anything over this will increase the risk of metal toxicity which leads to rosacea, redness of the face and a rare lung cancer, pulmonary alveolar proteinosis.

Are Iron Supplements Safe?

Foods high in the mineral include red meat, poultry, fortified foods, beans, liver, clams and even chocolate. However these may not be enough for some people. In this instance it may be beneficial to take an iron supplement. While taking these, under the supervision of your doctor is generally safe, keep in mind that you may experience some side effects. These can be an upset stomach, nausea or constipation. To relieve the latter increase your daily fiber content and water intake.

Dietary Sources

There are two forms of iron, heme and non-heme. Heme is found in the meat of animals such as meat, seafood and poultry. None-heme version comes from plant based sources such as spinach, beans, grains and nuts. Other great sources are dried apricots, sunflower seeds, sardines, tofu and prune juice.

To increase the absorption of this essential mineral adding vitamin C goes a long way. Overall a balanced diet which includes a variety of foods from different sources is the best way to increase your daily intake.

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