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Calcification is a process in which plaque grows progressively harder and more brittle. It occurs when calcium deposits in the blood attach to cholesterol deposits on the walls of arteries, forming a hard and brittle covering over plaque formations.

Calcification may also occur around the heart’s four valves, narrowing the valve and leading to conditions such as calcific aortic valve stenosis.

New tests that measure the amount of calcium in plaque may help diagnose heart disease and the risk for stroke, even when a patient shows no outward symptoms. These new tests are non-invasive, relatively inexpensive and take only about 15 minutes.

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Anti-oxidants are a group of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that help protect the body from forming free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable cells, which react with each other ; are naturally created in the body ; and also caused by factors such as smoking and radiation. They are atoms or groups of atoms that can damage the cells, impairing the immune system and leading to infections and various degenerative diseases.

Examples of anti-oxidants are Vitamins A, C, and E, and the minerals Selenium and Zinc.

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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that's characterized by a collapse of the airway when you go to sleep. The airway behind the tongue, the uvula (that thing that hangs in the back of your throat, and the soft palette), basically collapses in those individuals when they go to sleep, such that they can't breathe.

Sleep apnea means episodes of cessation of breathing during night time sleep that can occur as often as several hundred times in a night. Snoring is a warning that the sleeper may be a victim of sleep apnea.

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Glycemic Load

The Glycemic Index (GI) describes the type of carbohydrate in foods and its potential to raise blood glucose levels. But our actual blood glucose levels - Glycemic Load (GL) - are determined by both the quality, or Glycemic Index (GI), of the carbohydrate and the quantity of carbohydrate. We can predict the effect of a food on our blood glucose level by calculating the glycemic load which is the Glycemic Index x the amount of carbohydrate, divided by 100.

Example : A teaspoon of jam (GI = 51): (51 x 5 grams carb) / 100 = 2.5

  • Low Glycemic Load = 10 or less
  • Medium Glycemic Load = 11-19
  • High Glycemic Load = 20 or over

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Hyponatremia is a condition known as "water intoxication". It is the opposite of dehydration, and is often associated with long distance events like running and cycling and you can develop it in a few hours.

As you consume large amounts of water over the course of a day, blood plasma (the liquid part of blood) increases thereby diluting the salt content of the blood; at the same time, your body also loses salt by sweating. Consequently, the amount of electrolytes available to your body tissues decreases over time to a point where that loss interferes with brain, heart, and muscle function.

You have to replace these electrolytes! They're essential to the normal electro-chemical operation of your nervous system.

Though the condition is opposite to dehydration, the symptoms generally mirror those of dehydration (apathy, confusion, nausea, and fatigue), although some individuals show no symptoms at all.

If untreated, hyponatremia can lead to coma and even death.

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Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. There are two major carbohydrates:
  1. sugars or simple carbohydrates starches;
    There are three major kinds of sugars, which are called monosaccharides. They're glucose, fructose and galactose. Examples are brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, white table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which exist in many juices.

  2. complex carbohydrates;
    A complex carbohydrate is basically sugar molecules linked together in a chain. Examples of complex carbs are rice, bread, pasta, cereal and crackers. But almost all foods contain a mixture of sugars and starches, unless we're talking just plain brown sugar or maple sugar; those kinds of things are just pure sugar.

  3. Fiber, another carbohydrate, is not digested or absorbed by the body. However, it does aid in digestion and offers protection against some diseases.
Simple and complex carbohydrates are broken down differently
During digestion, complex carbs are broken down into sugars. These sugar molecules move into the bloodstream and then into the body's cells where they are converted into energy. Simple sugars do not need to be broken down, so they get absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly than the complex carbohydrates. An exception is fructose, a sugar that's found in a lot of fruits and juices. Fructose gets broken down very slowly, even more slowly than many complex carbs.

The glycemic index is a measure of how rapidly a particular food will cause blood sugar to increase. One would think if you had something sweet like sugar, it would cause your sugar to rise more rapidly than something that's not sweet, like a potato. But this is not always true. For example, potatoes have what's called high glycemic index; that means they cause your blood sugar to rise very quickly.

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'Net carbs' refers to the total number of carbohydrates minus fiber, glycerin and sugar alcohols. In other words, net carbs are the total amount of carbs in food that can be absorbed and digested in the intestinal tract.

The general belief is that fiber, glycerin and sugar alcohols don't raise blood glucose levels. But in reality, glycerin and some sugar alcohols can affect blood glucose.

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Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that we don’t absorb completely. They are naturally present in small amounts in fruits and vegetables and are very similar chemically to sugar.

Sugar alcohols are commonly used as artificial sweeteners and are made by adding hydrogen atoms to sugars. For example, if you add hydrogen to glucose the result is sorbitol. The most commonly used in foods are mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates.

Do sugar alcohols provide calories?

Some do and some don't. Some sugar alcohols are absorbed better than others and that makes them affect blood glucose levels differently. For example, maltitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, are absorbed enough to provide almost 75% of the calories of sugar.

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