Understanding pH and Healthy Water

A Woman's Hand Filling Water from a Water Purifier

pH What?

Before we delve into the health of water, let’s define a few terms related to this subject.

    • Acidity: Acidity means that an element (in the periodic table) can donate protons or accept electrons. Not all elements can do this, but for those that can donate protons, it happens during chemical reactions. One example is sulfuric acid, which can cause two protons to be donated. So, the underlying idea is to understand that any substances called ‘acids’ have the ability to donate protons in chemical reactions.
    • Alkalinity: This process counters the hydrogen ions that enter a water body or solution. This action helps maintain the pH relatively stable, preventing it from becoming too acidic, which is not good for the environment, specifically drinking water.
    • pH: pH, which stands for “potential of hydrogen,” is a scale that measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Its numeric representation ranges from 0 to 14. Specifically, it indicates the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, while values below 7 are acidic and above 7 are alkaline.

Water’s pH is crucial in determining its quality and potential health effects. Healthy water typically falls within a specific pH range suitable for human consumption. Let’s delve deeper into how pH relates to healthy water and why maintaining optimal pH levels is essential.

pH and Drinking Water

Yes, water can taste good, and it’s related to pH. Let’s take a look. 

The pH of drinking water can vary depending on various factors, such as the original source of the water and the process by which the water is treated. Drinking water with a pH between 6.5 and 8.5 is considered healthy, but water below 6.5 may taste acidic (remember, acidity means atoms that can donate protons). Water with a pH above 8.5 may taste bitter but contain dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Acidic vs. Alkaline Water

pH value scale chart for acid and alkaline solutions. iStock

As mentioned, water with a pH below 6.5 is considered acidic. Water with pH levels on or below 6 is considered lightly acidic and generally safe to drink. However, highly acidic water (below pH 5) can not only be harmful to our health but can cause such things as plumbing fixtures to begin to corrode. And if that’s the case, just think what it can do to your teeth!

Water with a pH above 7 is known as alkaline and in contrast to acidic water,  alkaline water is  known to have some health benefits. One study done in 2020 with mice showed it helped improve the aging process. 

Maybe that’s because our bodies tend to be more alkaline naturally by a slight margin, with pH levels ranging from 7.35 to 7.45. In so doing, water within these levels can help support the body’s natural pH balance and maintain ideal hydration, so it is recommended to stay within this range when drinking water; however, many scientists believe that, in general, drinking alkaline water with a pH level of around 8 may be more beneficial in terms of hydration and bone health. It may also assist in the antioxidant process. But more scientific research is needed.

But let’s not overdo it. Drinking alkaline water excessively may alter the body’s pH balance too much, leading to negative health issues, such as disturbing the digestive system and causing acid reflux, and can possibly cause alkalosis, which can result in various health issues.

Drinking water with a pH that deviates significantly from the body’s natural pH on either side will most likely disrupt our internal processes and can potentially lead to more severe health issues. For instance, highly acidic water may irritate the digestive system and contribute to conditions like acid reflux, while highly alkaline water can also cause digestive issues and skin irritation. 

Water Treatment and pH Adjustment

When living in the Bronx, this author’s father once said, “NYC water is the best water you can drink,” and he’s right. Just think of the consequences if 8.5 million people drink water that is not treated correctly!

Water treatment facilities adjust the pH of drinking water to ensure it meets regulatory standards and is safe for consumption. Common methods for pH adjustment include adding alkaline substances like lime or sodium hydroxide to raise pH or using acids like carbon dioxide or sulfuric acid to lower pH. The water is also tested frequently.

Testing and Monitoring pH

test strip in wate for PH testing

Water treatment plants regularly test and monitor pH to ensure quality and safety. Home testing kits or DIY tests are available if you’d like to test your water’s pH. 


The ideal pH range for drinking water is between 6.5 and 8.5.

pH is a critical factor in determining the quality and suitability of water for drinking. Healthy water typically falls within a pH range of 6.5 to 8.5, which is compatible with the body’s natural pH balance and supports optimal hydration.

In general, water with a pH level below 6.5 is considered acidic, and Water with a pH level above 7 is alkaline. To easily remember which side of the pH scale is acidic and which is alkaline, use the phrase “Highline Alkaline.” This mnemonic links to the famous High Line park in NYC, helping you recall that alkaline substances are on the higher end of the pH scale, while acidic substances are on the lower end.

Proper pH levels in water ensure its safety and taste. Regular testing and pH monitoring help identify deviations from the optimal range and facilitate appropriate corrective measures to maintain water quality and health.



How Healthy is Granola?

Woman eating granola

Granola is a popular breakfast and snack option that has gained a reputation for being a healthy choice that can be added to any meal. However, we need to be watchful of several factors, including its ingredients, serving size, and how it’s consumed, which will have an impact on how healthy this ingredient is. Let’s delve into the components of granola and its nutritional value to better understand its health implications.


Granola typically consists of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, sweeteners, and sometimes additional flavorings like spices or chocolate. Each ingredient contributes to its overall nutritional value. The following list details the usual ingredients found in granola.

    • Rolled Oats: Oats are a good source of fiber, particularly beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. They also provide complex carbohydrates, which offer sustained energy.
    • Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They can contribute to satiety and provide essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids (in walnuts and flaxseeds) and magnesium (in almonds and sunflower seeds).
    • Dried Fruits: Dried fruits offer natural sweetness and can provide additional fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, they are also concentrated sources of sugar and calories, so moderation is key.
    • Sweeteners: Some granolas contain added sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or cane sugar. While these can enhance flavor, they also contribute to the overall sugar content of the granola.
    • Add some blueberries, strawberries, or other fruity items to your dish to make it even healthier.

Nutritional Value

Container of granola with label showingThe nutritional value of granola can vary widely depending on the specific ingredients and their proportions. Generally, granola provides a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Please read the label to confirm what ingredients are in it. Also, it’s important to be mindful of serving sizes, as granola can be calorie-dense.

    • Carbohydrates: Granola is typically a carbohydrate-rich food due to the oats and added sweeteners. Carbohydrates provide energy, but excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates (e.g., granola with high sugar content) may lead to blood sugar spikes and energy crashes.
    • Protein: Nuts, seeds, and occasionally grains in granola contribute to its protein content. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, and promoting satiety.
    • Fat: Granola contains nuts, seeds, and sometimes added oils, which provide healthy fats. These fats are important for brain health, hormone production, and nutrient absorption. However, some granolas may contain unhealthy fats from added oils or processed ingredients.
    • Fiber: Oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits in granola contribute to its fiber content. Fiber is crucial for digestive health, promoting satiety, and regulating blood sugar levels.
    • Vitamins and Minerals: Granola can provide various vitamins and minerals, mainly if it contains nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. These may include vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.

Health Considerations

While granola can be a nutritious addition to a balanced diet, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

    • Added Sugars: Some granolas contain high amounts of sugars, which can contribute to excess calorie intake and negatively impact health if consumed in large quantities. Opt for granolas with minimal added sugars, or choose unsweetened varieties.
    • Portion Size: Granola is calorie-dense, so it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes. A small serving can provide a satisfying crunch and nutrient boost without excessive calorie intake.
    • Processed Ingredients: Some commercial granolas may contain processed ingredients, preservatives, and additives. Choose granolas with simple, whole-food ingredients whenever possible.
    • Allergens: Granola contains nuts and gluten-containing grains. If you have food sensitivities or allergies, be mindful of potential allergens.


Granola can be a nutritious and convenient option for any meal, providing a mix of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, choosing varieties with wholesome ingredients, minimal added sugars, and moderate portion sizes is essential. Be aware of the sugar and calorie intake, especially if you are on a diet or have certain allergies.

By incorporating a balanced amount of granola into your meal or snack alongside other nutrient-dense foods, you can enjoy its health benefits while minimizing potential drawbacks.


What is Aspartame?

Artificial sweetener aspartame on s spoon and its chemical bonds
Photo: iStock


In our previous article on artificial sweeteners, we spoke about the pros and cons of numerous sweetening agents, including aspartame, but there have been many discussions and research on this sugar substitute and subsequently, we will dwell into the specifics of aspartame, its history, controversy and the details of this sugar substitute.

What is Aspartame?

It is a low-calorie sweetener that is used as a sugar substitute in numerous food and beverage products. This sweetener is known for its exceptional sweetness and studies have shown it is about 200 times sweeter than table sugar.

Aspartame is used in diet soft drinks, sugar-free desserts, chewing gum, tabletop sweeteners, and various low-calorie or reduced-sugar food items.  It is a popular sugar substitute that, according to many reports, does not contribute to large increases in blood sugar levels, which benefits those with diabetes and others who are concerned about blood sugar levels.

A Bit of History

Stevia sugar substitute
Stevia sugar substitute. Photo: © SMS

James M. Schlatter is the chemist known for discovering aspartame. Its ingredients contain a peptide (a short chain of amino acids), specifically aspartic acid and phenylalanine that are joined together. It is this combination of amino acids that contributes to its sweetness.

A Weight Loss Alternative to Sugar

Due to its intense sweetness, only a fraction of its calorie intake is required to achieve the same level of sweetness compared to other sweeteners.


There have been claims about potential health effects associated with aspartame consumption, including links to cancer, headaches, and potential neurological disorders, but these claims have not been substantiated after many studies, consequently, regulatory agencies have reaffirmed the safety of aspartame when consumed within the recommended levels.


As of July 2023, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the sweetener in the United States. Aspartame has also been studied by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and these agencies have also concluded that the sweetener is safe when consumed within the acceptable daily intake (ADI) levels.

Safety Exceptions

As with any drug, prescribed or over the counter), some people may experience mild reactions to aspartame, such as headaches, digestive issues or other ailments; however, this is relatively rare and studies have shown that most people do not experience side effects. For the vast majority of the population, aspartame is considered safe when consumed within recommended limits.

Additionally, it should be noted that aspartame may not be suitable for individuals with a rare genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU). PKU is characterized by the body’s inability to metabolize phenylalanine, which is one of the amino acids present in aspartame.  

Those who have this disorder or other health conditions or are unsure if they should use aspartame may want to discuss with their medical professional if it is safe to consume. 


Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is used as a sugar substitute in various food and beverage products. It is composed of two amino acids, asprtic acid and phenylalanin.

It is a low-calorie alternative to sugar, which is appealing to people who are looking to manage their weight. 

It has been evaluated by regulatory agencies around the world for years, and it is considered safe for most people when consumed within recommended limits.  However, it is recommended that individuals with phenylketonuria should avoid aspartame due to its phenylalanine content. As with any food additive, it is essential to consume aspartame in moderation as part of a balanced diet and if you have any health conditions or concerns, it is always prudent to consult with your medical professional before consuming aspartame.

Unlocking the Power of Punkin Seeds: The Surprising Health Benefits of This Superfood

Pumpkin Seed and Pumpkins
Photo: iStock

Who would have thought that the little, orange-shaped seeds we call “pumpkin seeds” could be so powerful? Not only are pumpkin seeds delicious, but they provide an abundance of essential nutrients and health benefits. Studies show that these tiny grains of plant life can help to improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and even aid in weight loss.

Being packed with essential vitamins and minerals, to containing powerful antioxidants, pumpkin seeds are truly a superfood! 

Nutritional Profile 

About 25-30% of pumpkin seed weight is protein. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and iron, which is great for your blood flow. They also contain zinc, which helps to strengthen the immune system, and are rich in vitamins thiamin, folate, and vitamins A, B, and E. Additionally, they are high in beneficial fatty acids, such as linoleic, oleic, and palmitic acids.

Illustration of the parts of a neuron
Cell Structure. BruceBlaus / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

If that is not enough, these plant wonders are a great source of antioxidants, reducing inflammation and protecting against cell damage and disease, and they contain magnesium and potassium. Two minerals that are important for healthy muscle and nerve function.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Here is a breakdown of the benefits that pumpkin seeds can offer you.

Great for Weight Loss

Woman showing how much fat she lost
Photo: Pixaby

The high protein and fiber content of these natural seeds can help to promote fullness and reduce hunger and cravings. Additionally, the healthy fats found can help to keep you feeling satisfied longer. 

Improved Digestion

They are a good source of dietary fiber, which can help to promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation. Magnesium helps to relax the muscles of the digestive tract, which can help to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, healthy fats can lubricate the digestive system and reduce inflammation.

Reduces Inflammation

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. High levels of polyunsaturated fats can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Additionally, they can help to reduce pain associated with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Improves Heart Health

Pumpkin seeds contain healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, all of which can help to keep your heart strong. Healthy fats help to reduce cholesterol levels, while fiber helps to keep blood sugar levels steady. 

How to Add Pumpkin Seeds to Your Diet

      • Snack on them raw: They are a great snack on their own and can be eaten raw or roasted for a delicious crunchy snack.
      • Add them to salads: Puy them into salads for a nutritious and delicious crunch.
      • Sprinkle them on top of yogurt: The crunchy texture and nutty flavor are a great combination.
      • Use them in baking: Punkin seeds can be added to a variety of baked goods, from muffins to granola bars.
      • Add them to smoothies: Add them to smoothies for an extra boost of nutrition.


Pumpkin seeds are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some delicious recipes that make use of pumpkin seeds.

      • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: A simple and tasty snack. Simply toss the seeds in olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake them in the oven.
      • Pumpkin Seed Pesto: This is a great way to add a nutty flavor to any dish. Simply blend them with olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, and lemon juice for a delicious pesto sauce.
      • Granola Bars:  Simply combine them with rolled oats, honey, and nuts for a nutritious treat.
      • Porridge: Add them to your favorite porridge recipe for an extra boost of nutrition.
      • Hummus: Hummus on its own is nutritious. Now add the seeds for a delicious and nutritious dip. Simply blend chickpeas, tahini, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and garlic for a flavorful dip.


Pumpkin seeds are a delicious superfood that is packed with essential nutrients and health benefits. They are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

They can help to improve digestion, reduce inflammation, promote weight loss, and improve heart health. So, what are you waiting for? Unlock the power of pumpkin seeds and enjoy all the health benefits they have to offer!


What Is Serotonin and How Does It Affect Your Mental Health?

Colorful illustration of the brain
Photo: iStock


Before we proceed to discuss the benefits of serotonin, let us review the tasks of neurotransmitters. Simply stated, information from one cell will send information to the next cell by jumping across a synapse (the gap between cells).

If you are unfamiliar with this process, our article on brain cells will help clear up any confusion you may have, but keep in mind that neurotransmitters don’t only function in the brain. 

This article will discuss what serotonin is, how it works, and ways to naturally increase its levels, and we will explore how certain medications can be used to treat serotonin-related disorders. 

By understanding the effects of serotonin, we can help maintain a sound mind and body. So let’s begin.

What is Serotonin?

This is an important chemical found throughout the human body. It is produced in the brain, gastrointestinal tract, and kidneys. It plays a key role in the regulation of mood, appetite, sleep, memory, and learning, and in so doing, it is often coined the “happy hormone”. 

With that said, any serotonin deficiency can have a major impact on your health, especially, your mental health. Once in the synapse, neurotransmitters connect the chemical with receptors on the neighboring cell. This communication between neurons is what allows us to think, feel, and act.

How Does It Work?

Serotonin is produced by a chemical reaction between amino acids and enzymes. Once it is produced, it is stored in specialized cells called vesicles. The serotonin travels out of the vesicles and across the synapse to neighboring neurons and as mentioned, the neurons that serotonin affects are responsible for mood, appetite, sleep, and thinking. Therefore, any changes in serotonin levels can lead to changes in these functions. 

How Does Serotonin Affect Your Mental Health?

Silhouettes of people jumping for joy
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

A person’s cognitive health is affected by many factors. These include genetics, past traumas, relationships, current health, and daily habits. Let’s take a closer look at serotonin’s effect on these functions:

    • Mood: Mood is often the first thing to be affected when serotonin levels start to drop. If its levels drop too low, they may result in a condition known as serotonin deficiency. A serotonin deficiency is often associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
    • Appetite: Serotonin helps regulate appetite by triggering the sensation of fullness. Therefore, increased serotonin levels can result in a lower appetite. A serotonin deficiency, on the other hand, can result in increased appetite.
    • Sleep: A serotonin deficiency can result in insomnia and a serotonin excess can result in hypersomnia (excessive sleep).
    • Thinking: Serotonin is associated with focus and concentration. Moreover, it is also associated with positive or negative moods depending on the situation. A deficiency can result in poor focus and a lack of concentration. This can negatively affect daily tasks that require a higher level of mental focus.

How to Naturally Increase Your Serotonin levels

Two Men Exercising on Mat
Photo: graphic stock

Given that serotonin is so important to mental health, taking steps to increase its levels can have a significant impact on your health. Some ways to naturally increase serotonin levels include:

    • Getting enough sleep: Sleep is essential for serotonin production. Any decrease in sleep can reduce its production and any increase in sleep can increase serotonin.
    • Eating a healthy diet: A healthy diet is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, which are required to produce serotonin. A diet that is rich in these nutrients can help to naturally increase serotonin levels. 
    • Practicing a healthy lifestyle: Regular exercise, meditation, yoga, and other forms of relaxation are known to help increase serotonin levels. 

What Foods Help Maintain a Healthy Serotonin Level?

Photo of foods rich in Serotonin
Some foods for good mood, brain, and happiness. Photo: iStock

Before we list some foods that are rich in serotonin, let us define tryptophan. This is an amino acid that plays a significant role in the production of serotonin and it is important to note that tryptophan cannot be produced naturally in the body. So with that said, let’s take a look at what foods contain this amino acid.

      • Salmon. This healthy fish has been mentioned numerous times on our website. And why? Because of all the nutrients it contains, which includes tryptophan.
      • Eggs: Another all-around healthy nutrient. In addition to all the other benefits eggs have, they are also rich in tryptophan.
      • Green Leafy Vegetables: Any veggies of this type, such as spinach contain a good source of tryptophan.
      • Pineapples: Eat them when they are fresh because they lose their serotonin levels as the ripening wears off.
      • Nuts: All of our favorite nuts contain tryptophan.
      • Tofu and Soy: Soy products are known to be significant in getting tryptophan to increase serotonin production in the body.

One note: Foods that are high in protein, such as salmon and eggs may compromise the serotonin boost even though they contain tryptophan, but if you add carbohydrates (carbs) to your meal, this can help keep tryptophan in the bloodstream.

Some healthy carb foods are brown rice, sweet potatoes, corn, bananas, and apples.

What Medications Can Be Used to Treat Serotonin-Related Disorders

pills in human hand
Photo: Graphic Stock

Some of the most common serotonin-related disorders include depression, anxiety, insomnia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. While some serotonin-related disorders can be readily managed with lifestyle changes, others may require the assistance of certain medications. 

Antidepressants are the most commonly used meds to treat serotonin-related disorders. They are helpful because they increase the serotonin level, but they may also have a negative impact on other neurotransmitters. As a result, it is important to speak to your medical provider before taking any medications on your own.

Takeaways for Better Mental Health Management

Mental health is a cyclical process that is affected by many factors. These include daily habits, current health, genetics, and past traumas. Given the impact of these factors, it is important to take care of ourselves and manage our health more effectively. 

One of the best ways to do this is by understanding serotonin and its effects. When serotonin levels are too low, a person can experience a serotonin deficiency, which can result in several mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, poor sleep, and poor focus.

Fortunately, there are several ways to naturally increase serotonin levels. These include getting enough sleep, eating the right foods, practicing a healthy lifestyle, and discussing with a medical professional. 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Benefits, Sources and More

Illustration of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Source: Free Images


How many of us have heard our parents say “Eat your fish! It is brain food!”? Well, even if you were a spiteful kid and didn’t listen, take note – they are right! 

Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids – a covalent bond that contains four electrons in the outer shell of the atom). They are found in sunflower, and flaxseed oils, as well as fish and walnuts, which are essential nutrients that play a vital role in the functioning of the human body, especially the brain, but your body cannot make these fatty acids. To nourish your body with these important ingredients, you need to eat the proper foods that contain them.

This guide will provide you with all the information you need to know about Omega 3 fatty acids, including their benefits, sources, recommended daily intake, and more. You will learn why they are essential for optimal health and how to incorporate them into your diet. 

With this information, you can make sure you are getting the most out of these nutrients and living a healthier life. Let’s get started!

Starting at the Beginning – What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Plate of uncooked salmon
Image by Piotr Eliasz from Pixabay

As mentioned, these are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) found in certain plants and marine animals.

They are considered essential nutrients for humans because the body is unable to produce most of them and consequently, we must get them from the food we eat. 

There are three types of Omega 3 fatty acids: 

      • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): ALA is found in plants, and is the only type of Omega 3 fatty acid that the human body can produce. However, the human body can only convert a very small percentage of ALA into EPA and DHA. 
      • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): Found in fish and fish oils 
      • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Also found in fish and is an important nutrient for normal brain function in adults. Additionally and even more essential, DHA plays a significant role in the development of the brain of infants. Experts have repeatedly stated that consumption of DHA in your diet will improve your learning ability, and lack of it has been related to a deficiency in learning.

Plant sources are mostly ALA (Alpha-lipoic acid) – A naturally occurring compound, but very little is converted into EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid)Therefore, it is important to consume more ALA foods that convert into EPA and DHA.  


Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential part of the function of the cell receptors. They have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke and may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis,

Besides improved brain health, these healthy fats have additional benefits that include improved heart health, possible reduced cancer risks, and other conditions such as mood and reduced inflammation. Let’s take a look at each of these benefits in more detail.

      • Improved heart health: Helps to reduce triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. These three factors are important for heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
      • Improved mood: Helps to reduce the risk of depression and promote feelings of happiness, and as mentioned, they help to promote brain health and may assist in improving symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 
      • Reduces risk of dementia: Helps to reduce the risk of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. They also help to improve symptoms associated with depression, ADHD, and anxiety
      • Reduced inflammation: Omega 3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to reduced risk of diseases like arthritis. 
      • Other benefits: Helps to reduce blood sugar and blood pressure, improves skin health, and promotes weight loss.


Package of Flax Seeds
Seeds such as Flax and Chia can be found in any major grocery store. Photo: ©SMS

Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, fish, marine algae, and fish are some of the main sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Let’s take a look at the different sources of omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits.

      • Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are a great source of ALA, which can be converted into EPA and DHA. The seeds are also rich in fiber and have a nutty taste and texture. They can be added to salads, baked goods, or other dishes. 
      • Chia seeds: This is a great source of ALA and fiber. They can be mixed into yogurt or added to salads. 
      • Walnuts: Walnuts are a great source of ALA and also provide some protein and healthy fats. They can be added to salads or eaten as a snack.
      • Fish: Fish is the best source of EPA and DHA and can be eaten regularly. Fish is also a great source of protein as well. 
      • Marine algae: Marine algae is a good source of EPA and DHA, but it is much less common than fish. It can be consumed as a powder or in capsules. Marine algae are also rich in other minerals.

Best Fish for Omega 3

Salmon on a plate
Photo: Graphic Stock

Researchers have said that the following are your best sources of omega-3 fatty acids:

      • Salmon
      • light tuna
      • Sardines
      • Cod
      • Atlantic mackerel
      • Herring
      • Trout

Recommended Daily Intake 

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of Omega 3 fatty acids varies between different age groups. The RDI of Omega 3 fatty acids for infants is 0.5 grams, while it is 1.5 grams for adults. 

The RDI increases with age, which is important to remember. It is also important to note that these RDIs are based on ALA, not EPA or DHA. Although the RDIs are based on ALA, it is important to get enough EPA and DHA in the diet to promote health. 

Let’s take a look at how much Omega 3 fatty acids each age group should consume.

    • Infants: 0.5 grams
    • Babies are not able to consume fish, which is the best source of EPA and DHA. Breast milk contains some Omega-3 fatty acids, but it is important to supplement with additional Omega-3 fatty acids. Talk to your doctor about the best infant formula and infant formulas with added Omega 3. – Children: 1.5 grams
    • Children are growing and their brains are developing. It is important to ensure that children consume enough Omega 3 fatty acids to promote proper brain health. Fish is the best source of EPA and DHA and can be eaten regularly.
    • Teenagers and adults: 5 grams – As we get older, we are less able to convert ALA into EPA and DHA. It is important to get enough EPA and DHA in the diet, especially as we age. It is also important to eat a healthy and balanced diet during this time to ensure that the body gets everything it needs.
    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 6 grams – It is important to get enough Omega 3 fatty acids when pregnant and breastfeeding to ensure proper brain development in the baby. Fish is the best source of EPA and DHA and should be eaten regularly.

How to Incorporate Omega 3 Fatty Acids Into Your Diet

It can’t be emphasized enough that the best way to get these fatty acids is to eat more fish and marine algae. 

      • Eat more fish – Fish is the best source of EPA and DHA and can be eaten regularly. You can also eat other marine animals like shellfish, but it is best to limit these.
      • Eat more plant-based sources – Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are great sources of ALA. You can add them to salads, baked goods, or add them to yogurt. – Eat more marine algae 
      • Marine algae is the best source of EPA and DHA. It can be consumed as a powder or in capsules. 
      • Take fish oil supplements. Fish oil supplements can be taken regularly to get the recommended daily intake of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Potential Risks

The main risk is consuming too much fish and not getting enough nutrients from other food sources. It is important to get nutrients from other foods to avoid an imbalance in the diet. Another potential risk is consuming too many marine algae and not consuming enough other nutrients. 

All in all, consuming too much Omega 3 fatty acids is not likely to cause any serious side effects. It is important to consume the recommended daily intake to get the benefits associated with them. Besides, marine algae are rich in minerals and vitamins, so it is unlikely to cause any side effects. Fish oil supplements, on the other hand, are not as rich in nutrients, so it is important to get enough nutrients from other sources to avoid an imbalance in the diet.


If you are having trouble incorporating enough Omega 3 fatty acids into your diet, supplements can be a great option. 


Surprising Health Benefits of Pickles!

A fork in a pickle
Photo: Unsplash

Pickles might make a great addition to your burgers and sandwiches, but did you know that they could also benefit your health? Whether you are a fan of sweet pickles, dill pickles, or even pickled vegetables, these crunchy delights can add more than add flavor to your meals. 

Pickles are a great source of probiotics (good bacteria) and have various other health benefits that you may not have known about. From helping to improve digestion to fighting off inflammation, pickles can be a nutritious and delicious snack in your diet. 

Read on to find out more about the surprising health benefits of pickles that you need to know about.

What are Pickles?

Pickles are food made by the process of fermentation (the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria). They can be made from many different types of vegetables, but the most common are cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, onions, and peppers. 

They can be either sweet or sour and are often eaten on their own as a snack, as a side to a meal, or as a topping for burgers and sandwiches. You can make your own pickles at home or buy them from a store where you can get different varieties like dill, kosher, and garlic. They can be either a sweet or sour side dish that has been made by adding vinegar and some spices to the vegetables.

Nutritional Value 

This veggie is a great side dish that is high in fiber and low in calories, making it not only a tasty option but a healthy one too. A 100-gram serving of pickles provides around 10% of your daily fiber requirement and is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Health Benefits 

Improved Digestion with Probiotics

Pickles are beneficial for digestive health. Eating them can help improve your digestion and has even been used to treat diarrhea and constipation.

Source of Vitamin K

This vitamin is commonly found in cabbage. It plays an important role in blood clotting and has even been linked to reduced risk of certain cancers, and plays an important role in blood clotting.

May Help Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

Eating pickles has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes, and researchers believe that the probiotics found in pickles are responsible for this effect. They have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial for those who are at risk of developing diabetes. 

May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Blood Cells
Photo: Big Stock

The probiotics in pickles have been shown to reduce blood pressure, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

May Help Fight Inflammation

Scientists believe that the probiotics found in pickles are responsible for this effect. Probiotics have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which has many health benefits including helping to relieve joint pain caused by arthritis.

How to Include Pickles in Your Diet

Even though they are healthy, you need to keep in mind that they are still a high-sodium food, so you should not overindulge in them. You should aim to eat pickles as part of a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fiber, and vitamins. 

Eating pickles with your sandwich or burger is a great way to add flavor and is a healthy option for those on a low-carb diet. You should aim to eat pickles as part of a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fiber, and vitamins. Eating them with your sandwich or burger is a great way to add flavor and is a healthy option for those who are on a low-carb diet. 


Pickles are a delicious and healthy snack that you can enjoy as part of a healthy diet. These crunchy delights are not only a great addition to your sandwiches and burgers, they are also high in fiber and provide many health benefits. Pickles are a great source of probiotics, are low in calories, and contain many vitamins and minerals.


Healthest Sugar Substitutes as Sweeteners

July 2023 Update – Aspartame

Note: As of July 2023, aspartame has been approved by the FDA and designated safe for human consumption; however, this doesn’t rule out ongoing studies that say there still can be a cancer risk. 

Taking into account the FDA ruling, it is logical to conclude that although some research hasn’t eliminated the cancer risk, the probability of acquiring this disease is extremely low.

The World Health Organization (WHO) tends to agree with this premise. According to AARP’s article “Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad for You“, WHO was quoted as saying, “an adult weighing approximately 150 pounds would need to drink, for example, between nine and 14 cans of diet soda a day to exceed that limit.” 

In conclusion, there is no hard-core fact that proves aspartame is not harmful in some way, but being that not one of these organizations’ expert researchers cannot substantiate the effects of this sweetener one way or another, taking it should be left at an individual’s discretion.

March 2023 Update – Erythritol

A recent study by the Cleveland Clinic for the artificial sweetener  Erythritol is possibly linked to heart attacks and strokes.

Not only has this sweetener been gaining popularity, but it has been recommended for the Keto diet as well.  This study is very recent, so we are assuming those who are recommending Erythritol will be reviewing these results closely. The findings were published on nature.com.


Spoon in sugar
There are lots of alternatives to sugar as a sweetener. Photo: Pixabay

In our previous article, we focused on sugar substitutes and calorie intake. Now let us delve a little deeper and discuss what ingredients are actually in these sweeteners and the pros and cons they may contain.

Many dieters are looking to improve their health by avoiding refined and added sugar in their recipes. With many turning to popular low-carb diets, sugar substitutes are a must! This food additive has a sweet taste, similar to sugar but contains significantly less food energy. There are many substitutes on the market with some that are natural and some that are synthetic. It is important to know the difference between these sweeteners and how they can differentially affect both your health and blood sugar.

      • Aspartame 
        Please note the updates above, but as an FYI, we have left our previous notation about aspartame below:
        This artificial sweetener sold as Equal and Nutrasweet, isn’t without controversy about its safety. It doesn’t affect blood sugar and contains zero calories and a zero glycemic index, but those with a rare condition called phenylketonuria must avoid aspartame. Studies also found those more susceptible to headaches should also avoid it as well. A study from the University of Liverpool found that when aspartame was combined with certain types of food coloring, it became toxic to the brain cells and could cause undue anxiety. Better to be safe than sorry and avoid this sweetener“.
      • Sucralose – Also known as Splenda, this sweetener might be suitable for diabetics but one study found it may negatively impact the immune system. Sucralose also poses a potential risk to the environment. Researchers are finding that after it passes through our bodies and ends up in wastewater treatment plants, it can’t be broken down. Tests in Norway and Sweden found sucralose in water released from treatment discharge sites. Scientists worry it could change organisms’ feeding habits and interfere with photosynthesis, harming the entire food chain.
      • Sugar Alcohols – Sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol are all sugar alcohols that are popular in sugar-free candy and gum. However, these sweeteners do contain 2.6 calories per gram. They may be less sweet and less caloric than sugar, but large amounts can produce laxative effects and bloating. Excess consumption also raises blood glucose so these types of sweeteners should be consumed in small quantities.
      • Stevia Leaf Extract
        Stevia Sugar Substitute
        Photo ©SMS

        This natural sweetener comes from a plant in South America. Sold under brands such as Truvia and Pure Via, it contains no calories and doesn’t affect blood sugar. Its downside is that it doesn’t taste as sweet as the other substitutes and it doesn’t work well in baking.

        But it is a great natural alternative to sugar. With that said, be sure to check the label as many brands combine stevia with other sweeteners. Also, make sure the ingredients list only stevia extract and inulin fiber or erythritol which is another great healthy sweetener.

      • Erythritol – This sugar alcohol has a positive and rising reputation. It is produced naturally from glucose. In small amounts under 50 grams erythritol doesn’t cause a digestive upset like others in this category. Studies find that with its zero glycemic indexes, it doesn’t affect blood sugar or insulin levels and also doesn’t cause tooth decay. This sweetener is also a perfect candidate for baking and cooking and tastes identical to sugar when mixed with a tiny amount of Stevia. 


No doubt Stevia would be the winner here, but that does not mean you can’t delve into some of these other sugar substitutes if you want a sweeter taste. If you are unsure, talking to your medical practitioner is always a good choice, especially if you have a medical condition associated with these foods.


Healthiest Fish by Type

Salmon on a plate

Nutritionists, health professionals, and virtually all health experts have long promoted the nutritional benefits of eating fish. Both vegetarians and omnivores enjoy fish as a main source of protein. It’s not only high in protein, but fish is also the best source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, B-12, and Vitamin D that fights inflammation. 

Wild or Not?

The recommendation is to only buy the wild variety, as many versions of fish that are farmed contain very low amounts of nutritional benefits such as omega-3s when compared to their wild counterparts. Let’s delve a bit more into this.

Farmed Fish

Farmed fish are also fed unnatural diets that contain animal products, soy, and dye. The essential omega-3 nutrient found in wild fish plays an important role in our bodies. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation in the body such as joint swelling and pain. It’s also been shown to moderately improve ADHD and anxiety symptoms. 

Wild Fish

Unfortunately, wild fish contains varying amounts of mercury which is harmful in large doses. It can cause adverse neurodevelopmental, cardiovascular, and immunological health effects. Pregnant women should avoid eating fish that are highest in mercury at 500 parts per billion and over, while other women and men should avoid eating fish that contains 1,000 parts per billion of mercury. 

With that said, wild salmon is still considered one of the healthiest salmons to eat and provides the following:

      • Omega-3 fatty acids 
      • Protein 
      • Potassium
      • May reduce the risk of heart disease
      • May help in weight reduction

So What Fish Should We Eat? Take Your Pick!

Photo: Pixaby
      • Light canned tuna is a cheap and quick source of protein. It contains only 118 parts per billion of mercury and is very high in omega-3s. 
      • Wild Atlantic cod only contains 70 parts per billion of mercury and is shown to help lose visceral fat and improve blood pressure when eaten once to three times a week. 
      • Almost all shellfish including mussels, shrimp, lobster, and oysters contain very low levels of mercury and are very high in B-12 and omega-3s as well as iron
      • Squid and calamari contain very low levels of mercury and very high levels of omega-3. 
      • Wild trout has very high levels of omega-3s and is a lean protein, but should be avoided because of its moderate polychlorinated biphenyl contamination
      • Wild Atlantic mackerel, wild halibut, Atlantic pollock, canned sardines, and European anchovies make the best choice for fish you can eat daily. All of these fish contain very low mercury levels and very high omega-3 levels. 
      • Fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, northern pike, and albacore tuna should be avoided as they contain high levels of mercury. As a rule of thumb to remember, usually the bigger the fish the more mercury it contains.
      • Every variety of wild-caught salmon from Alaskan salmon to Southeast Alaskan chum, sockeye, coho, pink, and chinook salmon, as well as Kodiak coho and chum salmon, are considered the lowest risk fish for consumption because of their low levels of mercury and other contaminants. 
      • As mentioned, all wild-caught salmon contain very high levels of omega-3s. Recent studies have found that this wonder fish also contains small bioactive protein molecules that may provide special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract. The selenium found in wild-caught salmon decreases the risk of joint inflammation and also helps prevent colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers, and is also important in heart health. 


Eating fish of any type will be a benefit to your health, but be careful with the wild kinds as they may contain a larger amount of mercury which can be harmful to your body.

Of all the types listed here, we believe that salmon would be the most beneficial. If you do want to go for the wild type, such as wild salmon, speak to a medical professional or your doctor first to confirm that it will not be overly harmful to you.





Best Human Food for Your Dog

Beagle Dog
Look how healthy Rover is! If you want him to stay that way, read on. Image by Denise coyle from Pixabay

Since humans and pets are different from one another, we think that both of them like to eat different foods, but that’s not entirely the case. Some human food is loved by your pets, but it has to be the right one. Check out this list of mutual food items you and your dog love. 

Note 1: It should be noted that, like humans, your pet could have allergies or other health issues when eating human-made food, so always check with your veterinarian before giving them any of the treats we love!

Note 2: If you are not already aware, chocolate can be deadly for your pet. NEVER give your dog chocolate or anything that contains chocolate of any portion! You can read more about this danger here.

Now let’s move on to what is considered healthy for your canine buddy!


Bowl of Yogurt

Just like yogurt is good for human health, yogurt can also be a source of protein and calcium for dogs. It has vitamins that are good for the health of both humans and animals, which is why it makes sense for your pet to have too. But before choosing yogurt, you should pick the natural one with no artificial flavors without any sugars or sweeteners.

Also, it should not have any active bacteria because they will act as probiotics. In addition, if your dog is overweight, you should ensure you buy a fat-free yogurt, but not one with fat substitutes, such as olestra, simplesse etc. And when summer comes, why not treat them to some yogurt?


Bowl of Rice
Photo by Jocelyn Morales on Unsplash

Rice is loaded with iron and vitamins B3 and D. It is best to boil the rice until it is well-cooked but sticks with white rice. Brown rice can cause issues for your dog if he/she is having gastrointestinal issues or other health problems. 

White rice has a higher glycemic index than brown rice and can cause blood sugar levels to rise, but it is important to remember that white rice provides a source of starch that can be beneficial to ill dogs. Diabetic pets may still consume a small amount of white rice if they desire, but not regularly.

It is also suggested not to serve your pet rice alone, mix it up with portions of other food for a balanced diet. For healthy dogs, an appropriate portion of white rice should be fine; however, always check with your vet first.

Peanut Butter 

Peanut Butter in a jar
Photo by Tetiana Bykovets on Unsplash

While you may like to spread peanut butter on your bread at the breakfast table, your pooch may be looking right at you, drooling for some of this tasty delight too.

Dogs love peanut butter. It is good if you treat them with a spoonful of unsalted peanut butter daily. 

It is good for their health, but you need to purchase a good peanut butter brand that does not contain xylitol. This can be very dangerous for your pet! 

If your dog is inactive, it is good to feed them peanut butter as it is a source of protein, minerals, and fats.


With Halloween coming, how can we leave out this seasonal squash fruit? Yes, fruit. Not a vegetable, although it may look like a vegetable. 

Pumpkins are rich in vitamins and minerals that include. Protein, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, and iron.

Humans and animals alike can reap the benefits of the delicious fruit.


Eggs can also be a food item that you and your pet can share. If you require proteins and energy, your doctor may recommend you eat eggs. Similarly, when it comes to dogs, eggs can also be a healthy snack. 

Providing dogs with proteins and energy, they can make an unhealthy dog healthy and fat. However, you should keep the quantity small because feeding dogs eggs daily can make them fat and gain weight, making them inactive. 

Now that you know how the people’s food items are also the favorite food items of your pet dogs, you should feed these foods to them too.


Although it is safe for Rover to have some human food, stick with what is recommended and don’t go off giving him/her anything not on the list from veterinarians and/or reputable internet sources. Especially stay away from foods that contain xylitol or chocolate! And always check with canine MD if you are unsure of anything that you want to feed your pet!