Guest Post: The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

Why is it that some people put only pea-sized toothpaste on their brush while others put a lot? Which one is more effective? Does it mean that putting more toothpaste will allow you to maintain healthy teeth a healthy smile?

These are just some of the questions most people think of when using commercial toothpaste. The truth is that the quantity of toothpaste used each time you brush doesn’t determine its effectiveness. Just because you have used a lot of toothpaste at once doesn’t mean you can expect the best results right away.

In fact, it could be the exact opposite. It could damage your tooth enamel or heighten the sensitivity of your teeth. Instead of protecting your teeth, it could lead to more dental problems. Sensitive teeth are a problem as you will feel pain just by drinking something cold or even eating meat.

The good thing is that there are toothpaste brands that are meant to fight sensitivity. Using them regularly means that you will strengthen your teeth. Again, it helps that you don’t put a large quantity on your brush.

If your dental problem persists, it is time to consult your dentist. He might recommend another toothpaste brand which is more suitable to your needs. Your dentist knows your dental history so he can give you the best recommendations.

There are natural methods for cleaning your teeth as well. You can prepare homemade toothpaste by using organic ingredients such as baking soda, sea salt, and peppermint. The process is very easy. You can finish one in just a few minutes.

To help you in maintaining healthy and white teeth, check out the infographic below. It reveals other important information you need to properly take care of your teeth. Take seriously your dental problems before they get worse.

Ultimate Toothpaste Guide: All You Need to Know to Maintain a Healthy Smile

Bananas are a popular fruit

It’s amazing what a banana can do for you

Bananas are a popular fruit

Bananas are a popular fruit

I promise you’ll be shocked when you find out what a banana can do for you, but first some background information you might not know.

Although most people believe that bananas grow on trees, in fact the plant which produces this fruit is a (large) perennial herb. Bananas themselves are classified as berries!

There at least 50 different species of banana, but only one variety (the Cavendish) is usually sold commercially in the West. You might see other fruit that looks like bananas in ethnic markets, but these are almost all what we call “plantains”, not sweet and intended for cooking.

A boost for the ‘active man’

Bananas are a great energy boost often eaten by top athletes, as for example tennis players, which have been shown to improve mood, increase oxygen flow and improve performance. They also contain bromelain, particularly important for male sexual function, increasing both libido and stamina.

The reason athletes eat them is because they provide a consistent energy release before, during and after exercise. Two bananas have been shown to provide enough energy for a 90 minute workout – of whatever type you have in mind!

Bananas are also a source of fiber, high in magnesium and manganese (both minerals which many men are deficient in, but which are important for prostate function) as well as potassium, vitamin B6 and C. They are very low in sodium and saturated fat (less than 0.5g per banana!) and contain no trans fats or cholesterol.

The nutrients in bananas help regulate blood flow, resulting in a better and longer lasting erection.

Please note that excessive levels of potassium can be dangerous, so it’s best to obtain it from natural sources, rather than supplements. You should only consume bananas or other high potassium foods in moderation if you are taking beta blockers, as these medicines can cause potassium levels to rise.

Bananas in the garden

Bananas are a popular house plant in cool areas, and in tropical places make a wonderful garden plant. Banana skins are very useful as a compost material, and can be added directly around the base of flowering or fruiting plants or included in the compost heap.

If you’re going to eat the fruit, it’s important to use organic growing methods because they soak up whatever is sprayed on them. It goes right through the skin and into the fruit. This includes fertiliser, weed killer and any other chemicals used on them.  For the same reason, when you’re buying bananas, look out for organic ones.

Bananas and physical health

Nutritional profile
A ripe medium banana (about 118g) contains 105 calories and an estimated glycemic load of 10 (about 10% of the daily target), 0.29g/3% DV* protein, 27g/12% DV carbs, 0.39g fat, no trans fat, no cholesterol, 3g/12% DV fiber, 10g/17% DV vitamin C, 0.4mcg/22% DV vitamin B6, 3mcg/10% DV biotin, 0.3mg/16% manganese, less than 1% sodium, 422mg/12% DV potassium, 0.09mg/10% DV copper. Also contains useful amounts of riboflavin, folate and magnesium.
*DV = daily value. Source

There are many reasons bananas should be included as a regular part of your diet:

  1. The vitamin content makes bananas helpful for avoiding macular degeneration.
  2. They are rich in potassium, which is important for regulating blood pressure and healthy kidney and heart function. Bananas are well known for their high potassium content, which combined with negligible levels of sodium makes them ideal as part of a low sodium (low salt) diet.
    Sodium and potassium are held in balance within the body, so if you have high levels of sodium, you need to increase potassium intake to offset this. The best way to do this is by eating bananas or other natural sources.
    As well as offsetting sodium, potassium is also a vasodilator, which makes it useful for lowering blood pressure. High potassium intake protects against kidney stones, preserves bones and muscles and reduces calcium loss through urination. This means that eating bananas as a regular part of your diet can protect you from the risk of developing osteoporosis.
    The US FDA recognises bananas for their ability to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke.
    Studies have found that a high potassium intake reduces the risk of dying (from all causes) by 20%.
  3. Vitamins B6 and C, magnesium and fiber are beneficial for the health of your heart, and
    • The vitamin B6 content combined with a low GI helps protect against type II diabetes and aid weight loss.
    • Vitamin B6 also strengthens the nervous system and is helpful for anyone suffering from anemia. It’s vital for the production of red blood cells (hemoglobin) and important to the immune system.
    • Vitamin C is an antioxidant, helping fight free radicals which are known to cause cancer.
    • Magnesium is very important for the regulation of blood sugar levels and blood pressure, maintenance of muscles and nerves, helps regulate the heart, keeps bones strong and maintains a healthy immune system.
    • Fiber is an important part of the diet which reduces the risk of colo-rectal cancer. There are two types of fiber in a banana, the ratios varying according to how ripe the banana is. The water soluble fiber increases as the fruit ripens, and the insoluble fiber reduces. Because of the fiber content, bananas are easily digested and do not impact greatly on blood sugar levels.
    • Part of the fiber in bananas is pectin, which is also known for its ability to remove contaminants from the body including heavy metals, and as a drug detox.
    • Fiber is a natural way to avoid or treat constipation.
  4. Bananas are rich in fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which help maintain the balance of friendly bacteria in the gut, supporting digestive health and improving absorption of calcium.
  5. A banana will help to protect against muscle cramps from working out and night time leg cramps.
  6. Bananas are a good source of electrolytes after a bout of diarrhea, and also soothe the digestive tract, acting as a natural antacid and helping to prevent acid reflux (heartburn or GERD). They are one of the few fruits that can be eaten without distress by people who are suffering from stomach ulcers.
  7. For those trying to lose weight, bananas are a great low calorie snack to satisfy sweet cravings. If you replace candy or other snack foods with a banana, you’ll be getting lots of nutrition and fiber, a delicious and satisfying sweet treat, and all this for only 105 calories!
  8. Irritated skin, insect bites, psoriasis, acne and similar problems can be relieved by rubbing with the inside of a banana peel. You can also use it on warts: rub the inner skin onto the wart, then use a bandage or sticking plaster to hold it in place; replace daily until the wart has gone (about a week).
  9. Bananas are safe for pregnant women and help avoid morning sickness by keeping blood sugar levels steady.

Bananas and mental health

  1. A recent survey by the charity MIND found that many people suffering from depression felt better after eating a banana. This is thought to be because of the tryptophan content. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin by the body, increasing relaxation and improving both mood and memory. It also helps to relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and PMS.
  2. Bananas also contain dopamine, but this does not cross the blood/brain barrier, acting instead as an antioxidant. Although the dopamine in bananas does not work directly to improve mood, recent research has shown a link between inflammation and depression, so the antioxidant action of dopamine and other constituents which act to reduce inflammation may indirectly help to improve mood.
  3. A banana and berry smoothie is apparently great as a hangover cure (if you can stand the noise of the blender while hung over).

I truly think it’s amazing what a banana can do for you. Didn’t I tell you you’d be shocked?

Take Control of your Health


Take Control

I’ve had to retire a couple of suppliers recently. Regular visitors will have noticed a huge drop in the number of items available in the store, but I’ve been busily adding stuff from my new supplier, which is why I’ve been so quiet lately.

I’ve always said that, barring accidents, your health is under your own control. The whole point of Frann’s Alt.Health is to give you the tools to achieve that. So obviously, it’s important to have a wide range of options available, because we’re not all the same. Some of us have intolerances, some of us follow vegetarian, vegan or other special diets, and so on.

It’s not always easy to get what you need, especially if you live in a rural area or are housebound. It’s true that you can get almost anything you want online, but it’s way easier if you can find it all in one place (you save on postage for a start), and that’s why it’s my aim to provide a one-stop shop for your health needs here at Frann’s Alt.Health.

If you haven’t visited for a while, why not pop over and see what’s new? Taking control of your health is so important.


How to lose weight faster


Exercise helps raise your metabolic rate

Low carbohydrate diets have become popular in recent years, originally promoted by Dr Atkins. However, studies have shown that these only work well for about 6 months. After this time, other weight loss methods start to produce equal or better results.

Do low carb diets work?

Dr Atkins followed the diet he promoted for most of his life, and when he died, he had serious health problems (he weighed 258 pounds – 18 stone 6lb – at his death and had a history of heart disease). Clearly, it didn’t work for him.

How to lose weight without risking your health

One of the major drawbacks of the low-carb diet system is the “eat as much fat as you like” philosophy that seems to come along with it. As you know, diets that are high in fat lead to clogged arteries, heart disease, obesity… And reducing carbohydrate intake does not stop these effects. Not something I want to risk, anyway.

The energy content of your food can be measured in several ways. The traditional way is with calories, and now we see the same information printed on packets in kilojoules. But regardless of the measuring system used, the fact remains that your weight goes up or down according to the difference between the amount of energy you consume (in your food) and the amount you use (in your day to day life, and with exercise).

Weight for weight, fat contains three times as much energy as protein or carbohydrate. This means that by reducing your fat intake, you automatically reduce the amount of energy you are taking in, so that you can start to lose weight.

Ten easy ways to reduce dietary fat

  • Eat as much fruit, salad and vegetables as you like
  • Do not put butter on your potatoes, vegetables or bread
  • Choose low fat cheese or cottage cheese instead of standard cheese
  • Do not eat fried food
  • Substitute fruit for snacks like crisps or biscuits
  • If you are still hungry after eating your main course, have a piece of fruit or some fresh fruit cut up with low fat yoghurt poured over
  • Remove skin from chicken
  • Cut down red meat and substitute chicken or turkey
  • Trim fat from meat you eat
  • Substitute low fat dressings or lemon juice for mayonnaise

How to burn up your food intake more quickly

You may know people who seem to be able to eat anything they like, and stay as thin as a beanpole. Others say that no matter if they just look at a cream cake, they put on weight. Why is this?

Not everybody burns food at the same rate, it all depends on your metabolic rate. The ones who stay stick-thin have a higher metabolic rate (they burn their food faster) than the ones who seem to get fat just by looking at fattening foods.

What not many people know is that you can CHANGE your metabolic rate. You can “turn up the furnace” so that you burn calories faster – and lose weight faster.

How do you do this? By taking regular exercise.

It was once thought that exercise could not help with weight loss, because your appetite would increase to use up the calories you burned while exercising. But studies have shown that exercise actually speeds up the rate at which you burn food. So regular exercise is like a magic button, helping you lose weight more quickly.

For this to work, the key is regularity. You need to do about 45 minutes of exercise every 2-3 days (the rise in metabolism starts to drop after about 72 hours). The exercise should be vigorous enough to raise your heart rate – say, a brisk walk (outside or on a treadmill). If you can, get yourself a portable heart rate monitor, so that you can see that you are walking fast enough (and not too fast – no need to risk a heart attack).

When you get back from your walk, resist the temptation to fill up with fatty foods (yes, I know the cream cake is tempting, but if you want to lose weight…).

So there you are. Ten quick weight loss tips, and a bonus. I have lost a couple of stones in this way, at the right speed (do it too fast, it tends to go straight back on again). Put these tips to the test for a month, and I know you will start to see results, as well. And yet another bonus: you will feel healthier, more energetic, and generally better all round.

Research shows autistic symptoms improve on a gluten and casein free diet

Previously published on 100% Gluten Free


Autistic children seem sometimes to be lost in their own world

Researchers in Norway did a year-long study* using 2 groups of autistic children, one group on a gluten and casein free diet and the other on a normal diet. Results showed significant improvements in the diet group.

A study carried out in Norway by Knivsbert, Reichelt, Høien and Nødland and published in Nutritional Neuroscience, 2002 shows some very interesting results which do not yet seem to have hit the mainstream.

The researchers undertook a single blind study in which two groups of 10 children, the diet group and the control group, were tested over a period of one year, with significant improvements observed in the diet group.

Both groups were given access to special educators on a regular basis. The parents of the children in the diet group also received comprehensive written and oral information about the gluten and casein free diet from a dietician.

Although there was some improvement in both groups, the improvement in the diet group was striking. For example, “extreme anxiety… caused by the sound of the school bell, noises from a lawn mower, sleeping in a new bed, or entering a room with many people… [was] drastically reduced in the diet group, but not in the control group.” and the tendency for some children to “dislike and reject physical contact even from their parents… was no longer a problem in the diet group after the experimental period was over.”

The researchers report that no statistically significant changes occurred in the control group except in the development of linguistic skills (though these were not as marked as those in the diet group), but significant positive changes were registered in the diet group for peer relationship, anxiety, empathy, physical contact, verbal communications, eye contact, reaction when spoken to, language peculiarities, judgment of dangerous situations, number of interests, extremes of restlessness or passiveness, attention, social and emotional development, communicative development, cognitive development, sensory/motor development, autistic behavior, non-verbal cognition, linguistic skills and motor competence.

This research was published seven years ago. It seems very strange that it’s virtually been ignored for so long. Is there a conspiracy by the drugs manufacturers to downplay methods of treating autism that don’t involve regular prescriptions? If so, how were they able to achieve this?

* Nutritional Neuroscience, 2002 Vol 5 (4), pp. 251-261 “A Randomised, Controlled Study of Dietary Intervention in Autistic Syndromes” A.M. Knivsbert, K.L. Reichelt, T. Høien and M. Nødland