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    Natracure Blog — Holiday

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    The Truth Behind Your Favorite Caffeinated Holiday Drinks

    ‘Tis the season for delicious wintery drinks at your favorite local coffee stop. From lattes to espressos, the options are endless and can make your mouth water. Unfortunately, these drinks have huge prices to pay for your body and health. As we rapidly approach Christmas Day, you may be more tempted than ever to indulge in one of these beverages. But it might not be worth it. The numbers don’t lie and they’re definitely shocking. Vocativ studied holiday drinks from multiple popular food chains in America. The analysis included such celebrated coffee suppliers as Wawa, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Panera Bread. What they found was an unworldly number of calories and a down-right scary amount of sugar. Sadly, even the least sugary of the drinks sampled turned out to be loaded with sugar. It had 60 grams to be exact. That’s 14 teaspoons or 17 packets of sugar. Yes,seventeen. Remember, I’m describing the LEAST sugary drink on the list. So what’s the worst offender? That would be the Mint White Chocolate Hot Chocolate from Wawa. This 16 oz drink checks in with a ridiculous 140 grams of sugar. That’s 33 teaspoons of sugar. You’re better off chugging sugar straight out of the container! As far as packing the most fat, that award goes to the Starbucks’ Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha. That baby weighs in with 26 grams of fat. On a normal 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, that equates to 85% of your daily suggested amount of fat. Basically, with this drink, you shouldn’t have anything with a trace of fat for the rest of the day. Is it really worth it? That’s up to you! Here’s a list of the caloric content of some of the most popular holiday beverages, courtesy of Vocativ. 16 oz. Mint White Chocolate Hot Chocolate Wawa:  760 calories 20 oz. Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Starbucks:  710 calories 20 oz. McCafe Hot Chocolate McDonald’s:  540 calories 16 oz. Signature Hot Chocolate Panera Bread:  480 calories 20 oz. Snickerdoodle Latte Dunkin' Donuts:  460 calories Those calorie counts really are eye-opening. So beware. It is okay to treat yourself, but be sure to do so sparingly. Making these drinks a habit will be detrimental to your health and weight goals. Just stop and ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” It’s a much smarter option to grab a coffee with low-fat milk or a tea. You can still feel the warmth from these beverages and hold your head high knowing you made a healthy choice!   By Pat DeRiso Sources: yahoo.com, vocative.com

    Can Mistletoe Cure Cancer?

    Traditional holiday mistletoe has a relative that packs more than just a big smooch. Studies indicate that the European mistletoe may actually be a viable cancer fighter. As a common plant in Great Britain, mainland Europe and even Western Asia, the twigs and leaves have been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for common ailments in the body. However, the real potential lies in what’s inside the plant. The extract from the semiparasitic plant has been used in multiple studies. Findings concluded that the extract has shown the ability to kill cancer cells. However, studies have not yet proven that the extract can help the human body fight cancer. Studies performed in Europe in 2009 were only performed on animals and in test tubes. That said, the results were very positive. Researchers agreed that the extract could effectively increase survival rates of cancer patients by reducing tumor growth as well as bolstering the immune system. These findings have Europeans using the extract in cancer therapy injections, mainly under the skin. The injections are also sometimes placed into veins or into the tumors themselves. These treatments are used to combat symptoms from malignant tumors in order to improve the quality of life of patients. Encouragingly, these injections have shown few negative side effects. In the United States, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve the mistletoe extract for any medical conditions. Furthermore, it does not allow the import of injectable mistletoe to be imported, sold, or used for anything other than research purposes. It is clear that European mistletoe has proven to provide many benefits to cancer patients, including combating side effects of chemotherapy, decreasing fatigue, and raising morale. But can it actually cure cancer in humans? The answer right now is no. Many human studies have been conducted since the 1960s, but no substantial evidence has been found. However, the findings do provide some hope that the European Mistletoe may someday be the answer. So stay tuned!   By Pat DeRiso Sources: healthline.com, cancer.gov

    5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Sugar

    With Halloween in the rear-view mirror and the holiday season right around the corner, the sugar temptations are in full force. The leftover candy bowls at home and at the office are surely calling your name. Couple this with the enormous amount of holiday cookies that are about to invade and we have a serious sugar epidemic on our hands! Thankfully, there are ways to help fight these sugar cravings. But let’s first look at why our bodies seem to cry out for sweets in the first place. Sugar makes you feel good. It’s that simple. Sugar releases serotonin which helps your brain achieve a bit of a natural high. Sugar also acts a catalyst to release endorphins that further relax you. And let’s not forget that sugar also happens to absolutely delicious! We know all too well that this “high” is extremely short lived. You are bound to crash and feel even lower than before. So the easy fix is to get more sugar, right!? Wrong. Here are 5 ways to avoid the temptation and stay on a healthy track this holiday season. 1. Keep Fruit Close By Fruit is the number one way to combat your cravings for sweets. With fruit, you get natural sweetness combined with essential fiber, nutrients, and anti-oxidants. The key here is to make sure you always have some fruit handy. Make sure candy and treats are far from reach and replace them with nature’s candy instead!     2. Run Away From Your Cravings Seriously. When you feel the need for a donut or candy, get up and change the scenery! Walk around the block or the office to get your mind off the craving and onto something else. The common thought of eating just because you’re bored is not a myth. Stay active and focused on tasks to keep your mind right and steer clear of temptation.   3. H2Over Sugar Many times you are sure your body is calling out to you and begging for sugar. The reality is that you may very well be thirsty. Dehydration is often confused with sugar cravings. Like fruit, keep water close-by at all times. This way, you’ll be sure to keep sipping and fight the sugar urge before it even happens.     4. Naturally Raise Your Serotonin Sugar isn’t the only way to boost your serotonin levels. Healthy lifestyles can raise them too! A strong diet, regular exercise and an effective sleep schedule can all naturally lift you up in the same way sugar does. With increased serotonin in your body, you are much less likely to crave sugar in the first place!     5. Grab Some Sugarless Gum Sugarless Gum is a great way to combat sugar cravings on two fronts. Its sweet taste can satisfy your sugar desires. Also the act of chewing and generating saliva is a great way to fight hunger.     There are many ways to fight sugar. But it all starts in your head. Make a conscious effort to use these tips to fight your cravings and you are sure to have a much healthier and happier holiday season this year!     By Pat DeRiso Sources: webmd, body ecology