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The Medicine Cabinet in Your Spice Rack

By Steven V. Joyal, MD, VP of Medical & Scientific Affairs at Life Extension.

Spices add delicious flavors and tantalizing aromas to food, but many people don’t realize that spices offer a variety of beneficial, potentially lifesaving, health benefits. Consider your spice rack as a kind of natural medicine cabinet, and unleash amazing health benefits while you spice up your life with the following five spices!

Cinnamon: Derived from the bark of the tree bearing the same name, cinnamon is high in antioxidant activity. Clinical studies show beneficial changes in blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes dosed with cinnamon spice from one to three grams daily. Experimental research suggests that cinnamon may reduce the likelihood that cells in the colon undergo cancerous changes. Essential oils of cinnamon have antimicrobial activity, too, and this helps provide a scientific basis for cinnamon’s traditional use as a natural treatment for diarrhea.


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Satisfy a Sweet Craving on a Diet

Like all cravings, an urge for something sweet is best handled by practicing moderation. When you’re trying to satisfy your craving, remember to eat slowly and enjoy every bite. Step away from other distractions so that you can focus on your treat.

Make an effort to identify why and when you crave sweets. Focus on new ways to achieve the same pleasure you receive from satisfying your craving. Eliminate your triggers (such as eating before a party or not keeping sweets in your pantry) and allow yourself small, healthy rewards.

Small amounts of fruit-based desserts are often enough to satisfy a sweet tooth. If you crave something sweeter than a bowl full of berries, then use a limited amount of sugar or other sweetener.


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Satisfy a Carbohydrate Craving on a Diet

Carbohydrate cravings can be pretty intense. Although they’re typically associated with stress, carb cravings can hit for a variety of reasons. The true cause of most cravings among dieters is habit. We have a tendency to grow comfortable with the way we handle our cravings and it quickly turns into a way of life.

Let’s take a step into the confessional: I once was so distraught over a fight with my father (a total cliche, but I swear it’s true!) that I drove to the store, bought a loaf of french bread and ate nearly the entire thing while I thought about what I should do- no joke. Needless to say, that wasn’t my proudest moment but we all have demons to face and apparently one of mine is artisan bread.

It took me some time to gather the common sense and knowledge that supplied me with the tools to fight my carb cravings. I’m happy to say that I rarely notice carb cravings anymore. Here are a few of the tips that brought me success. I hope they work for you too!


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Bydureon No Better than Currently Available Diabetes Drugs

diabetes drugA new drug being tested to treat diabetes, Bydureon, has failed to show better performance than existing treatments on the market. The new drug was created by Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, but was shown in a study to be no more effective than its competitor, Victoza.

Both Bydureon and Victoza stimulate the body to use insulin to regulate blood sugar using synthetic versions of the peptide known and GLP-1. These drugs are considered better than insulin treatments because they are less likely to cause low blood sugar, and may help some patients lose weight. Bydureon is administered weekly, whereas Victoza is administered daily.

The study founds that hemoglobin A1C, a measure of blood sugar, was reduced by 1.5 percent for patients who took Victoza and 1.3 percent by patients who took Bydureon.


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RECALL: Defective Glucose Test Strips

Opitum Test StripsThe Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that 359 million blood glucose test strips are being recalled for giving faulty readings. The government agency is working with Abbott Diabetes Care to facilitate pulling the defective strips from the market, which may make blood glucose levels look lower than they really are. The faulty strips were sold in retail stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and were manufactured between January and May of 2010.

The affected glucose test strips are sold under a variety of brand names: MediSense Optium, Precision Xceed Pro, Precision Xtra, Optium, Optium EZ, and ReliOn Ultima blood glucose monitoring systems.

The incorrect readings “can lead users to try to raise their blood glucose when it is unnecessary or to fail to treat elevated blood glucose due to a falsely low reading,” says the FDA, “both scenarios pose health risks.”


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