Stevia by any other name would taste as sweet

On our Active Wellness blog, we’ve discussed the harmful effects of sugar consumption. We’ve also shown the hard-to-access monk fruit as a wonderful zero-calorie sweetener. But what can we use as a sweetener that doesn’t have harmful effects and is easily available?

Given the dual epidemics of diabetes and obesity, it’s a good thing that there’s a natural sweetener that has shown virtually no side effects with long-term usage. Unlike artificial sweeteners, stevia has the benefit of zero calories but doesn’t produce adverse effects.

The raw leaves of the stevia plant can be 20 to 40 times sweeter than cane sugar, while the powdered derivative is 200 to 300 times sweeter! What this means is that a little bit of stevia goes a long way. For example, a single teaspoon of stevia extract may have the same sweetening ability as an entire cup of sugar. This ratio varies between brands.

The active compounds of stevia are steviol glycodes (mainly stevioside and rebaudioside). Studies have shown that stevia seems to help in balancing blood sugar levels. Usage of stevia by diabetics has shown significant results. In one of the studies, type 2 diabetic patients took either one gram of stevioside with a meal or one gram of maize starch. The group taking stevioside had a reduction in blood sugar by about 18 percent. 1

Does stevia taste as good as sugar when added to beverages and food? It depends: Some are more concentrated, some contain filler, some have artificial flavoring and some are extremely diluted. Some stevia extracts may also leave a bitter after-taste. And, because stevia is so intensely sweet, it’s important to use it sparingly when replacing the sugar that is generally called for in baking. It may take a bit of trial and error before you decide on the form (liquid or powder), the substitution ratio (sugar vs. stevia) and your preferred brand.

Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix uses high quality stevia extract from organic stevia leaves as a sweetener, in addition to the mild sweet taste of the organic brown rice solids. (link to What are brown rice solids blog) Drink to your health!

  1. Soren Gregersen, Per B Jeppesen, Jens J Holst, Kjeld Hermansen, Antihyperglycemic effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic subjects, Metabolism Clinical and Experimental Jan 2004 Vol 53, Issue 1, Pages 73-76.

5 Tips to Help Clear Your Mind

Let’s face it. We all have brain fog once in a while. It’s annoying at best and at worst, can be downright embarrassing. Why not do something about it? Here are 5 tips to keep your mind nimble:

  1. Aerobic exercise. Known simply as “cardio” by trainers, it’s not just good for your heart and circulation. It’s good for your brain. When you get your heart rate up, you are actually helping your synapses fire, too! Try to get in 30 minutes at least 5 times a week.
  2. Weight training. It doesn’t just tone your muscles and make you stronger, but it also keeps your mind sharp. Add resistance training to your workout at least twice a week and you’ll be extending your long-term brain health. You don’t need to join a gym: hand weights for curls and ankle weights for leg lifts will do the trick.
  3. Expand your knowledge. It doesn’t have to be intense book learning as in school or university, but it should be intellectually stimulating. Essentially you are giving your brain a workout and stimulating neurochemicals needed for forming new memories as well as retaining the old.
  4. Master a new skill. Have you ever noticed how quickly a toddler acquires language skills? After age 25, the pace of absorbing information slows, but forcing the brain to learn something new helps keep it focused. Your brain has to make a whole new set of connections in order to learn the new skill—whether it’s driving a car, dancing the tango or speaking a foreign language.
  5. Play games. Solve a crossword puzzle or fill in all the squares of Sudoku. Play checkers or chess. Roll the dice for backgammon. All these games challenge the brain to work, which in turn, might increase the levels of growth factors. These types of thinking games force the brain to focus.

 

Kenzen® Clarity under the NikkenWellness™ line is formulated to help support your brain power. A fermented blend of 100% organic ingredients, Clarity is designed to help you stay focused and mentally sharp. Buy now!

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The Battle Against High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that comes from two sources: our bodies and what we eat. Our bodies, and especially its liver, make all the cholesterol we need and circulate it through the blood, but it cannot be dissolved. It must be transported through the bloodstream by carriers called lipoproteins, which are composed of fat (lipid) and proteins. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. The liver produces more cholesterol when we eat a diet high in saturated and trans fats.

A tendency towards high cholesterol can be caused by a diet that is high in fat, but a person can also be genetically predisposed. In other words, high cholesterol can run in the family. Cholesterol is such a common topic of conversations these days because when it is too high, it is a proven risk for cardiac problems. As a result, cholesterol medication, commonly referred to as statins, are one of the highest sources of revenue for pharmaceutical companies.

Statins work by slowing the body’s production of cholesterol. The body produces all the cholesterol it needs by digesting food and producing new cells on its own. When this natural production is slowed, the body begins to draw the cholesterol it needs from the food you eat, lowering your total cholesterol.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), statins also lower your body’s levels of coenzyme Q10 (“CoQ10”). As your levels go down, the side effects of statins increase. Taking CoQ10 supplements might help increase the levels in the body and reduce side effects caused by statin usage.

The most common statin side effect is muscle pain. It can be mildly uncomfortable pain or bad enough to compromise daily activities. Statins can also adversely affect the liver and kidneys. Some people may develop nausea, gas, diarrhea or constipation after taking a statin, although these side effects are relatively rare. Taking statin medication in the evening with a meal can reduce digestive side effects.

The FDA warns on statin labels that some people have developed memory loss or confusion while taking statins. These side effects reverse once you stop taking the medication. Talk to your doctor if you experience memory loss or confusion. On the other hand, there has also been evidence that statins may help with brain function — in patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and this continues to be studied.

If your diet is the cause of high cholesterol levels, it can be relatively easy to lower levels by making changes to daily consumption of red meat and dairy—and focusing on whole grains, fruits and vegetables. And, if you haven’t tried Kenzen Bergisterol®, you’re missing out on the powers of the bergamot fruit.  For help in maintaining levels of triglycerides, blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol that are within normal limits, clinical studies indicate that bergamot extract helps support cardiovascular health and cholesterol levels that are within the normal range.*

Cholesterol can be both good and bad, so it’s important to know what your cholesterol levels are in order to manage the health of your circulatory system. If you have high overall cholesterol and it’s not genetic, you have a good chance of controlling it via diet. For general maintenance of a healthy circulatory system, Kenzen Bergisterol® would be an excellent selection. Buy Now!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Caffeine-sensitive? Try Kenzen Ten4® with natural caffeine.

Athletes are always looking for that competitive edge. For example, some swimmers shave their entire bodies; many runners swear by carbo-loading; jockeys are known to fast before races; extreme behaviors become run-of-the-mill—all in pursuit of heightened performance and victory. One performance enhancer that is drawing more attention from elite athletes is perfectly legal: caffeine.

Caffeine has always been the perennial best friend of high school and college students—whether as a wake-me-up or a means to stay awake while cramming for exams. Triathletes and distance runners have used caffeine as an energy booster for decades, but in more recent years, those involved in short-burst sports are also taking advantage of this stimulant.

Natural sources of caffeine include seeds, leaves, nuts and berries. In Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix, there are 80 mg per serving of natural caffeine from organic matcha green tea. The caffeine in organic matcha green tea not only may help boost energy, but it also may create a calm type of awareness. In other words, organic matcha green may well provide you with a pick-me-up feeling without the jitteriness that caffeine from other sources may cause. The natural caffeine in organic matcha green tea binds to the naturally occurring phytonutrients to slow down the absorption of the stimulant, giving it a slow release effect, resulting in up to six hours of enhanced alertness or physical performance.

PiMag® Water: Taste the Difference

We love hearing from customers who have wonderful Nikken product experiences. We especially appreciate it when we’re told that a Nikken product not only helps people but may well make their lives more livable. Platinum Pam Barnes sent us a note that one of her customers wrote her:

“Just a little note to let you know how much we appreciate our PiMag® Sport Bottles. We are living in a house on the Zambezi River here in Zambia. The drinking water comes from the river. Although it has passed through three different filters and an ultraviolet light, the taste is horrendous.

“We put this same filtered water* through our PiMag® Sport Bottles and we have great tasting water! When we make tea or coffee with the filtered river water, it tastes bad. But when we use PiMag® water to make coffee and tea, it tastes great. I don’t think we can ever do without our PiMag® Sport Bottles. Thank you!”

*PiMag® products are to be used for filtering potable water only. Buy now!

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