Brain Health

Earthing and barefoot walking improves overall health

Earthing and barefoot hiking

Earthing

It’s time to get back to nature by taking off your shoes and walking on the earth: grass, sand, dirt, on the beach, etc. Barefoot walking is making a come back and for good reasons. It’s called Earthing! It means living in contact with the Earth’s natural surface charge. You are grounded when you are Earthing. By barefoot walking or by just placing your bare-feet on the ground while sitting, you will receive negative electrons from the Earth and your body will feel more relaxed. Inflammation and sore muscles will decrease and your state of mind will be more joyful. There is something magical about barefoot walking on Mother Earth.

Earthing is both a timeless practice and a modern discovery. When you are grounded to the Earth, you receive healing powers from Mother Earth. Our Mother is here to help us heal.

As a kid, I remember going barefoot in the back yard and when I was at the beach. It felt good, but I did not know of the benefits and neither did anyone else. I discovered the re-born aspects of Earthing from a book, called, “Earthing: The most important health discovery ever!” The authors are Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra, MD and Martin Zucker. Clinton and thousands of other people, many who are documented in the book, have seen their health rebound from Earthing. It makes sense as humans for millions of years were connected to the Earth by being barefoot or by wearing shoes that connected to the Earth. Shoes of the past were made from natural plant fibers or animal hides and these shoes had the Earthing connection. Since the invention of plastic shoes, and high-heeled shoes, narrow toe box shoes, etc., the health of humans has declined with aching  joints, bad posture, back pain, foot pain, muscle soreness and overall inflammation. Inflammation is a driving component in illness and disease.

When you start to do some Earthing, take your time and just stand on the Earth’s natural surfaces. Later on, you can walk and before long, you might even go barefoot hiking. The more you do it, the better you will feel from being grounded to the Earth. Even when the weather gets cooler and eventually, cold, you can still do some Earthing. I know as I Earth in all types of weather. Your body will adapt to the ever-changing weather of Mother Earth. I have found when it’s chilly or cold, just stand in place and your bare feet will slowly warm up the ground. Strive to Earth for about 20 minutes or longer if you can. I have felt the best benefits when I Earth for at least 20 minutes, but any amount of Earthing has healing benefits.

Many people who Earth have experienced many awesome healing benefits. Here is a list of some of the health improvements that people have reported: Improved Posture, reduction and sometimes, elimination of back pain and foot pain, better sleep, increase in mental focus and power, healthier immune system, reduction in arthritis, reduction in blood pressure, reduction is stress levels, including a reduction in cortisol, increase in libido, increase in energy, healthier skin, healthier metabolism, and much more.

What are negative electrons and why does the Earth contain them? According to science, atoms are made of extremely tiny particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons are in the center of the atom, making up the nucleus. Electrons surround the nucleus. Protons have a positive charge. Electrons have a negative charge. The natural frequencies of the Earth are made up of waves of energy and the motions of subatomic particles called free electrons cause these waves. Electrons have a negative charge. These electrons give the Earth’s surface a natural, negative charge. There is a constant flow of electrons to the Earth’s surface from rain and lightning strikes. By grounding, we receive and absorb these negative electrons into our bodies. These free negative electrons reduce free radicals in our bodies and reduce chronic inflammation and bring a state of homeostasis to our bodies. Our body’s natural electric state is restored.

Here is some more wonderful information about Earthing. Information!

Best Carbohydrates to Eat for Great Health

Although there are different opinions on how many carbohydrates are needed per day and which types of foods contain the best carbohydrates, from my research over the years, here is a list of what I feel are the best carbohydrates to eat for great health. Before I mention the list, some folks do very well on a very low carbohydrate diet (ketosis) and some folks do not. A lot depends on the health of your endocrine system, especially your adrenal glands. Another interesting point is that if you engage in anaerobic exercise, such as sprinting, intense cross fit or other quick and high intensity movements, your body has to be able to access energy from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates provide good energy for the body and mind and carbohydrates help with brain focus, digestive health and hormonal health. Once you are in touch with your body and mind, you will know how many carbohydrates and which ones to eat on a daily basis. 

What are the best carbohydrates to eat for great health.?

  1. Fresh vegetable juice: Use celery or cucumber as the base and add some carrots, beets, parsley, ginger root, etc. Fresh vegetable juice contains a lot of vitamins and minerals and it will provide for good energy levels and oxygen. Buy a good juicer and make your own juice.
  2. Fruit: Fruit is a fun food to eat and it contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals. Strive to eat fruit in season and buy fresh when possible. Frozen berries are acceptable. Eat fruit with some protein or fat to keep your blood sugar balanced.
  3. Raw Honey: Packed with enzymes and vitamins and minerals, raw honey is a super food, if eaten in small amounts. Eat anywhere from 1tsp to 2tbs a day. Raw honey aids in healthy digestion and a healthy immune system.
  4. Raw or lightly steamed or sautéed vegetables: salads, broccoli, kale, collards, etc. Drizzle with olive oil, pastured butter or coconut oil, add good sea or celtic salt and other spices. Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and other phytonutrients.
  5. Potatoes: for when you need a starch, potatoes are great. They are much easier to digest than grains, beans or bread. Eat russet, yukon gold, red, sweet, etc. Add plenty of pastured butter or coconut oil and enjoy. 

 

Mother Nature is healing!

Mother Nature is just outside waiting for you to embrace her healing benefits. Too many people have lost their way with connecting with Mother Nature. Getting outside and moving your body has many health benefits such as vitamin D production from the Sunlight, improved cardiovascular health, improved mental health and improved joint and muscle health. Spending time with Mother Nature triggers a good balance in various hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and cortisol. When your hormones and neurotransmitters are in balance, you feel wonderful, in body and mind.

The following article goes into more detail about the benefits of spending time with Mother Nature. Here is the link to the article. Get Outdoors! Here is the link to the Author, Amy Whitley. 

Here is the full article about getting outside and spending time with Mother Nature.

The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented, known to reduce stress and increase “feel good” hormones like dopamine. But many of us seeking better mind-body heath overlook the benefits found in simply spending time outdoors. It turns out the age-old adage is correct: fresh air is good for you! While outdoor physical activities such as jogging, trail running, and hiking combine both physical exercise and the outdoors for a mental health boost jackpot, according to both the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School, simply spending time in nature in any form can improve your mental outlook, in addition to providing physical benefits. How refreshing!

Ways in Which the Outdoors Boosts Mental Health

Getting outside and taking a stroll truly can clear your head while also boosting your immune system and elevating your sense of well-being. If you can get outdoors regularly, you can trade seasonal light therapy boxes and artificial indoor lighting for natural light, which floods your body with vitamin D and immediately improves your mood. Just 15 minutes of natural sunlight per day is known to reduce depression and anxiety levels. Perhaps even more importantly, vitamin D and all that natural sunlight helps you sleep better at night. A study out of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine noted that natural sunlight helps set our body’s internal clocks. And the better rested we are, the better our mood and mental state.

But stepping outside does more than offer sunshine. Studies show that those living in urban environments have to contend with sensory overload on a daily basis, causing what researchers call cognitive fatigue. Finding green space or stepping into a park or garden can give the brain a break from urban stimuli. A recent epidemiological study has shown that people who move to greener urban areas benefit from sustained improvements in their mental health, according to Frontiers in Psychology. In fact, a recent Scandinavian study found that office workers with even views of trees or nature had lower stress levels than those who had city views.

Nature improves concentration as well, helping both children with attention deficit disorders as well as elderly citizens combating dementia or Alzheimer’s. Without the rush of man-made stimuli, the human mind is freed up to be more creative, and having lower stress levels allows us to focus on the task at hand better. This is why you might get your best ideas during a day fishing on the lake, or make that breakthrough on a work-related problem while on a walk in the woods.

How to Make it Happen: Getting into Nature

Getting your daily dose of nature doesn’t have to involve traveling long distances or taking up extreme outdoor sports like backpacking or kayaking. While a daily walk or bike ride is ideal, any green space can boost your mood and lower your stress and anxiety levels. Even sitting outside on a patio or balcony can give you access to sunshine and, at the very least, a skylight over your work or living space can provide natural light. Consider walking or biking to work each day, taking a new route through a green space or park instead of along city streets, or opting for the scenic commute instead of the freeway.

While outdoor sports such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, and skiing successfully combine exercise with outdoor stimulation, any form of outdoor living will elevate your mental health. Simply walking through a forest has been proven to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reduce blood pressure and heart rate. So take a daily walk, try your hand at fishing, or simply sit and read in a garden to see benefits.

Attention Restoration Theory

Capitalizing on the restorative properties of peaceful outdoor settings doesn’t mean city life is all bad. Living in an urban environment is a happy reality for many who have chosen to live and work in urban centers, and has many upsides. This is where Attention Restoration Theory (ART) comes in.

The thinking behind ART is that urban settings can have an excess of stimuli (car horns, sirens, people) that demand our attention whether we are consciously paying attention to them or not, whereas natural settings require our attention but also reward us with feelings of pleasure and help restore our attention. For urban dwellers, visiting a setting such as a park can feel like an oasis, in that it provides the feeling of “getting away” even though you may only be minutes away from your office.

Getting outdoors to feel happier and healthier is both intuitive and backed by medical science! Make yourself a promise to spend just 15 minutes or more in a natural environment per day to reap the rewards.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is becoming quite popular these days, and for good reason. What is Intermittent Fasting? For starters, it’s not true fasting, when you abstain from all food and beverages, except water, for a day or two or longer. Intermittent Fasting is when you abstain from all food and beverages, except water, for a period of 16 hours of the 24 hours that make up a day. 

It may sound crazy or impossible to do, but when you are able to do it, Intermittent Fasting will do wonders for your body and mind. It will enhance brain power and focus, decrease any inflammation in the body, allow the digestive system to relax and repair and allow the endocrine system to relax and repair. Other benefits will be experienced based on each individual’s lifestyle. 

Most folks graze all day long, putting a lot of pressure and burden on the digestive system and on the endocrine system. When these systems are tired, inflammation, digestive upsets and hormonal imbalances will occur. 

The best way to ease into Intermittent Fasting is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume and increase the amount of fat and protein, especially fat. This is the only way you will be able to fast for 16 hours as your body and mind will have enough calories from fat and protein to sustain your body and mind. When you eat too many carbohydrates, blood sugar greatly increases and in turn, insulin and cortisol greatly increase causing blood sugar to drop. With this cycle being repeated, you end up eating every 2-3 hours and causing too much work for the digestive and endocrine systems.

For Intermittent Fasting, choose the best 8 hours for you to consume your food for the day. For example: 9am-5pm; 10am-6pm, 11am-7pm or 12-8pm. On your first attempt, if you can’t make the full 16 hours of fasting, it’s okay. Do not force yourself to fast the entire 16 hours if your blood sugar drops. Eat something and attempt it again, another day. 

Some folks see huge benefits from Intermittent Fasting and they do it every day. For other folks, 2-3 days a week is perfect. Experiment and discover what the best plan of Intermittent Fasting is for you.

For more information, watch this video.

 

Hormones!

Do you know what your hormones do for your body and mind? Hormones are chemicals made by the glands that act to control certain actions of cells and organs. They are the messengers and they work in a lock and key mechanism.

Your hormones have a huge effect on many of the bio-chemical actions that take place in your body and brain, on a daily basis. Some of the actions that depend on hormones include: sugar metabolism, brain function, sexual health, cellular communication, immune response, bone health, muscular health, energy levels, sleep patterns and emotional health.

When your hormones are in a healthy balance, you feel wonderful, but when they are out of balance, you can feel down right lousy and experience many unhealthy side effects.

Most adults, and even some children, have hormones that are way out of balance. What is the reason? The main reasons for out of balanced hormones are an unhealthy diet, chronic stress, too little or too much exercise and emotional problems and or trauma.

In addition to correcting the reasons I started in the above paragraph, a very important action to take is to take a blood test and salvia test to see how healthy or unhealthy your hormones are. I offer a salvia test through Alcat Labs to test the adrenal glands and two of the main hormones that the adrenal glands make: Cortisol and DHEA. I offer a blood test through SpectraCell Labs to test the male hormones, the female hormones and the thyroid hormones.

These tests are very affordable and very important. By knowing the results of your test, I can more affectively set a course of action to guide you to better health and healthier hormones. I can have the test kits shipped to you at no extra cost.

Be sure to search my blog for other articles on healthy hormone health!

Sunshine and Vitamin D

It’s time to embrace the beauty of nature, especially the sun and to get outside and do some sunbathing. Sunshine and Vitamin D go hand in hand during certain times of the year, depending on where you live in the world. Be sure to allow the sun to shine on a large section of your body for at least 20 minutes, a few times a week. If you are pale, start with 5 minutes and gradually work up to 20 minutes.
Vitamin D is very important for a healthy immune system, skeletal system and neurological system. It’s helps with the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D can affect as many as 2000 genes. It’s called the sunshine vitamin as the body can covert the UVB rays of the sun to vitamin D through a conversion process done by the liver and kidneys.
When sunbathing to acquire vitamin D, do not wear sun block. After the 20 minutes of sunbathing, if you want to put on sunblock, use natural sunblock with zinc oxide. Sadly, most of the sunblocks on the market are full of toxins and damage the skin.
Embrace the Sunshine and Vitamin D and have a healthy and vibrant day!

Cod Liver Oil

Most people are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids and most people are deficient in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA),docasahexaenoic acid (DHA), Vitamin A, D and K2. These nutrients are essential for proper brain health, nervous system health, bone and teeth health, proper detoxification and overall immune health.

The following article about the benefits of Cod Liver oil is from the Weston A. Price Foundation.

http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil-basics-and-recommendations/#brands

Once a standard supplement in traditional European societies, cod liver oil provides fat-soluble vitamins A and D, which Dr. Price found present in the diet of primitives in amounts ten times higher than in modernized diets. Cod liver oil supplements are a must for women and their male partners, to be taken for several months before conception, and for women during pregnancy. Growing children will also benefit greatly from a small daily dose.


Cod liver oil is also rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docasahexaenoic acid (DHA). The body makes these fatty acids from omega-3 linolenic acid. EPA is as an important link in the chain of fatty acids that ultimately results in prostaglandins, localized tissue hormones while DHA is very important for the proper function of the brain and nervous system. Those individuals who have consumed large amounts of polyunsaturated oils, especially partially hydrogenated oils, who are suffering from certain nutrient deficiencies, or who have impaired pancreatic function, such as diabetics, may not be able to produce EPA and DHA and will, therefore, lack important prostaglandins and necessary fats for the brain unless they consume oily fish or take a cod liver oil supplement.

Buy cod liver oil in dark bottles and store in a cool, dark, dry place. Cod liver oil is easy to take when stirred into a small amount of water or fresh juice.

Dr. Price always gave cod liver oil along with high-vitamin butter oil, extracted by centrifuge from good quality spring or fall butter. He found that cod liver oil on its own was relatively ineffective but combined with high vitamin butter oil produced excellent results. The butter oil contains what he called Activator X, now considered to be vitamin K2, which works synergistically with vitamins A and D. Your diet should include sources of vitamin K, such as good quality butter from grass-fed cows and/or high-vitamin butter oil, fat from grass-fed animals, cheeses from grass-fed animals and duck or goose liver, along with cod liver oil.

 

Butter and Saturated Fat are Healthy

Butter and saturated fat are healthy! As a nutritionist and health coach, I am amazed at the low fat dogma that still persists in society. Once my clients see this dogma, they embrace the butter, coconut oil and eggs and feel much better.

The origins of butter go back thousands of years to when
our ancestors first started domesticating animals. In fact, the first
written reference to butter was found on a 4500- year old limestone tablet illustrating how butter was made. In India, ghee (clarified butter) has been used as a staple food, and as a symbol of purity, worthy of offering to the gods in religious ceremonies for more than 3000 years.
The Bible has references to butter as the product of milk
from the cow, and of Abraham setting butter and milk from a calf before
three angels who appeared to him on the plains of Mamre.
For millennia, people around the globe have prized butter
for its health benefits.
So how did butter become a villain in the quest for good
health?
At the turn of our century, heart disease in America was
rare. By 1960, it was our number one killer. Yet during the same time
period, butter consumption had decreased – from eighteen pounds per person per year, to four.
A researcher named Ancel Keys was the first to propose that
saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet were to blame for coronary
heart disease. Numerous subsequent studies costing hundreds of millions of dollars, have failed to conclusively back up this claim. Yet the notion that a healthy diet is one with minimal fat, particularly
saturated fat, has persisted. While Americans drastically reduced their
intake of natural animal fats like butter and meat, the processed food
industry, particularly the low-fat food industry, proliferated.
When the baby boomers were children, concerned mothers
began to replace butter with margarine. The margarine manufacturers told
them it was the healthier alternative and mothers believed them. In those
days no one asked, “Where is the science to prove it? I want to
know before I give this man-mad stuff to my children. After all we
humans have been eating butter for thousands of years.”
As a result, since the early 1970’s, Americans’ average saturated fat
intake has dropped considerably, while rates of obesity,
diabetes, and consequently, heart disease, have surged.
Reducing healthy sources of dietary fat has contributed to
a serious decline in the health of our bodies and minds. Those of us that speak out against the anti-fat establishment are still largely ignored.
Is Margarine Better than Butter? No! This is a tragic myth. Butter is a completely natural food essential to your health – especially when you eat organic. Please make the extra effort to obtain high-quality organic, raw butter. Margarines, on the other hand, are a processed food, created chemically from refined polyunsaturated oils. The process used to make these normally liquid oils into spreadable form is called hydrogenation. Margarine and similar hydrogenated or processed polyunsaturated oils are very detrimental to your health.

Butter is rich in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A, necessary for thyroid and adrenal health. Butter contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida and butter has the following healing properties:

1. Contains lecithin, essential for cholesterol metabolism.
2. Contains anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage.
3. Has anti-oxidants that protect against weakening arteries.
4. Is a great source of Vitamins E and K.
5. Is a very rich source of the vital mineral selenium.
6. Saturated fats in butter have strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
7. Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
8. Vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium.
9. Protects against tooth decay.
10. Is your only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints.
10. Anti-stiffness factor in butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.
11. Is a source of Activator X, which helps your body absorb minerals.
12. Is a source of iodine in a highly absorbable form.
13. May promote fertility in women.
14. Is a source of quick energy, and is not stored in our body’s adipose tissue.
15. Cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children’s brain and nervous system development.
16. Contains Arachidonic Acid, which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.
17. Protects against gastrointestinal infections

 

Raw butter is an incredible raw fat. It is a top notch healing food for our modern times. It soothes and lubricates nerves, muscles, and mucous membranes, cleanses and strengthens all the organs and glands, heals intestinal lesions, dissolves hardened plaque from eating bad fats, binds with and helps remove toxins and waste products from the body, lubricates bones and joints, cleanses, fuels, lubricates, protects, and rejuvenates cells, and aids in new cellular growth.

Grass fed, raw, Organic Butter is the Best as all the nutrients are available as pasteurization destroys the enzymes, acids and some of the vitamins and minerals. If you cannot obtain raw butter, the best choice is grass fed, organic pasteurized butter.

Check out www.realmilk.com for raw butter, raw milk and other raw dairy products from every state in the USA.

Happiness and Nutrition

Have you ever looked at yourself and asked, “How happy am I?” If so, what did you discover? If not, give it a go and see how happy you really are.

Is there a connection between happiness and nutrition?

How many of your friends and family members are truly happy? Why are some people much happier than others? Can happiness be learned? Should we make being happy a part of our daily lives, like exercise, yoga, meditation, etc.?

What is happiness? Happiness, to me, is that deep down soulful feeling of joy and contentment, where you are constantly striving to see the positive in everyone and everything and to enjoy every moment. I stress the word, striving, because you do not have to be naïve and unaware of the sufferings of the word in order to be happy When a person is truly happy, life becomes like a lovely gentle flowing river. Granted, the river will experience drought and flooding, but overall, it is a steady flow of peace and harmony.

Everyone experiences pain, sadness and challenges in life, but, once again, how many people truly maintain a soulful radiance of happiness?

For my personal perspective, I know very few people that are truly happy, including myself. Yes, I am happy much of the time, but I still feel like I get too easily frustrated and overwhelmed with life and all the craziness of the world.

Therefore, I am on a mission to practice the art of being happy on a daily basis. While practicing the art of happiness, adding the art of objectivity will aid in your quest for happiness.

Here are five actions to help you on your journey with happiness.

1) Practice smiling to everyone you see and meet. You can even practice in front of a mirror.

2) Practice laughing. It may sound crazy, but laughter is so healing and there is not enough of it on our lives. In India there are laughing clubs, where people gather together and laugh. The next big rave could be laughing parties.

3) Focus on the positive, the light. Now a days, you usually hear of what people are against, not what they are for. (Anti-War, Anti-Discrimination, Anti-Poverty, the War against Drugs, the War against Terrorism, the War against Illiteracy, etc.)

All this fear based and negative focus brings more of what you do not want.

You need to focus on what you want. (Pro-Peace, Pro-Equal Rights, Pro-Prosperity, the Parade for Health, the Parade for Peace, the Parade for Literacy, etc.)

4) Practice heart connections with your friends, family and people you meet. Become genuinely interested in all that cross your path.

5) Do what brings you happiness and make sure you know the difference between doing something for happiness and doing something for pleasure. Pleasures are usually short lived and temporary, but things that make you happy transcend time and spring forth deep soul feelings of joy and contentment.

Being a nutritionist, I know there is some connection between happiness and nutrition. I know that eating healthy will aid in your quest to be happier. Good food will improve your digestive tract and there is a big connection between the gut and the brain. Healthy bacteria and strong stomach acid are essential for a healthy digestive system. Consuming lots of healthy fat and protein will supply the brain and nervous system with neurotransmitters ( serotonin, GABA, Acetylcholine, Dopamine and Norepinephrine ), essential fatty acids (EPA, DPA and ALA), hormones (cortisol, DHEA) and  vitamin D. All of these substances are essential for proper brain and nervous system health.

All in all, happiness is like so many other aspects of life; it is a state of mind and heart, a state, which, for most of us, must be practiced and practiced until it becomes a part of us.

 

Sugar from Head to Toe

Sugar is everywhere and it’s a contributing factor for a host of health issues and diseases. Sugar from head to toe means that sugar can adversely affect any part of your body. The following article is from http://www.fix.com/ and the author is Charlotte Hilton Andersen. http://www.fix.com/blog/authors/charlotte-hilton-andersen/

Sugar is so delicious that it can be easy to forget it is essentially a drug 1 that acts on every system in our body. Scientists have consistently found that eating too much of the sweet stuff is not only bad for our waistlines and teeth but can actually harm our bodies from head to toe. Consider this the next time the cookies in the break room are calling your name.

Brain:

Our brains are the most complex organ in our body and keep everything else in line, so it makes sense to keep them in top form. A 2013 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a significant link between high blood sugar and dementia 2. The researchers examined 2,067 older adults and found that the higher a person’s blood sugar levels, the greater the risk of dementia. A separate study published in the Journal of Neurology found that even people whose blood sugar was on the higher end of normal still showed memory loss and cognitive impairment compared to their less-sugared-up counterparts 3. When they looked at brain scans of the participants, the scientists found shrinkage in the hippocampus and the amygdala – areas of the brain associated with memory and cognitive function.

Eyes:

Did you know your eye doctor may be able to spot the early signs of diabetes? According to Brian Francis, an ophthalmologist at the Doheny Eye Center, high blood sugar causes retinal vascular changes and can cause blood vessels in your eyes to hemorrhage. Left untreated long enough, it could cause you to go blind.

  Normal Eye VS. Diabetic Pupil

Face:

Too many slices of birthday cake can make you look far older than the number of candles on the cake, according to a surprising 2011 study from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Pictures of 600 people were shown to independent observers and those who had higher blood sugar levels were consistently marked as looking older – even when factors like sun exposure and smoking were taken into account. The researchers said it was because sugar inhibits the production of collagen and elastin, the stuff that gives our faces that youthful glow.

Heart:

No matter how many miles you run to burn off last night’s dessert, the sugar is still taking a toll on your heart. “Studies suggest that sugar causes the liver to produce more uric acid, and this leads to high blood pressure – the leading cause of death globally because it raises the risk of heart disease and stroke. Sugar also seems to raise cholesterol,” explains cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra 4. “What people don’t realize is that you can develop these problems and have a normal body mass index (BMI). I see it all in the time in my clinic – people aren’t overweight and don’t have diabetes, yet they’ve had a heart attack. I think sugar is one of the main culprits.”

  Rate of Avoidable Heart Disease by State

Liver:

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) may sound like an obscure illness but thanks to rising consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, it now accounts for over 75 percent of all chronic liver disease 5 and affects about 25 percent of people in the U.S. According to Malhotra, if left untreated the liver can become damaged to the point where cirrhosis – irreversible liver damage – begins. Not only can liver failure be fatal, but having NAFLD also increases the risk of dying from cardiovascular causes 6.

Bowels:

Diets high in sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks were found to be a risk factor in developing bowel cancer, said researchers in a 2012 study from the University of Edinburgh 7. In addition, that pint of ice cream may be the cause of your constipation, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues as sugar has been shown to worsen the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome 8.

Bladder:

Answering the call of nature more times than is, well, natural? If you haven’t upped your water intake, you might want to get your blood sugar levels checked, says Muhammad Shamim Khan, MD, a urologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital. “If a patient consumes more sugar than the body can handle, it will be passed out in the urine and it may affect their frequency.” He adds that it is one of the first symptoms of diabetes.

Vagina:

A yeast infection won’t kill you but it can definitely ruin your day, and high sugar intake has been shown to increase your susceptibility to the itchy infection 9. Just like brownies make the perfect welcome gift for your new neighbors, eating a brownie creates the perfect welcoming environment for the bacteria that cause yeast infections.

Legs:

Gout, that the painful condition caused by uric acid build-up in joints, isn’t just for the elderly anymore. A 2009 study published in the British Medical Journal found that the illness, which can lead to full-blown arthritis, is linked to sugar consumption. The researchers found that even a few sodas a week was associated with an increasing risk of gout10.

  Sugar from Head-to-Toe