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Friday's Top 5 Tips and Trends

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Friday's Top 5 Tips and Trends

We’re trying a little something new in our alive blogs - welcome to our first ever Top 5 Tips and Trends.

We’re trying a little something new in our alive blogs—welcome to our first ever Top 5 Tips and Trends. Every Friday, we’ll be bringing you the best of natural health news, trends, tips, and tricks, so you’ll always be up to date on what’s happening in the world of natural health. Enjoy! 1. Could probiotics help fight fat? We know they aid digestion and play a role in immunity, but now scientists are learning that these tiny but powerful bacteria in our intestines may also influence our weight. It turns out that overweight people have different types and amounts of bacteria in their guts than lean people. They also have less bacterial diversity. And when we lose or gain weight, the bacteria change as well. In this new study, when bacteria from lean people were transferred to obese mice, the mice lost weight. Could a personalized probiotics program be the weight loss solution of the future? Possibly, but scientists have a lot of work to do first to figure out exactly how this might work! 2. Hormone-disrupting chemicals “a global health threat” From BPA to phthalates, endocrine (hormone) disruptors are just about everywhere in our environment—in our food, cosmetics, toys, furniture, and more. A new report now states that these invisible but ubiquitous compounds pose a global health risk—both to us and our ecosystems. Hopefully this will spur government and corporate action. In the meantime, we can all do our best to learn about common chemicals and how to minimize our toxic load by choosing natural, nontoxic products. 3. Brightening skin care products gain popularity Dark spots and hyperpigmentation are common symptoms of aging skin, caused by sun damage and abnormal accumulation of melanin. While a compound called hydroquinone used to be popular to help treat these concerns, its safety was contested and researchers looked to other, natural solutions. Now, skin products with “brightening” benefits are hitting shelves—including health food store shelves—big time. Look for ingredients such as licorice extract, vitamin C, B vitamins, and soy. 4. Our brains are too smart for artificial sweeteners When is it bad to be too smart? When our brains can’t be tricked by artificial sweeteners. New research is showing that when we consume something that tastes sweet but our bodies can’t acquire any calories from (as is the case with sugar-free sweeteners), we’ll likely seek out high-calorie foods later. This builds on previous research about “the sweetener paradox”—that non-nutritive sweeteners actually lead to weight gain. Rather than trying to trick our brains even further, our best bet is to avoid artificial sweeteners in favour of naturally sweet foods (such as a whole piece of fruit) or to choose small amounts of natural sweeteners, such as honey. 5. Stock up on walnuts In a new study that involved overweight individuals deemed high-risk for diabetes and heart disease, eating 56 g of walnuts every day (about nine whole walnuts) improved artery health, leading to a reduced risk of these chronic diseases over eight weeks. While this may seem like a lot of fat and calories, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t inherently mean they’re bad for us—the participants didn’t gain weight, and their health improved overall.  Try throwing walnuts into your salad, oatmeal, and healthy desserts.

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