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JUN

The Gall of Processed Foods

Filed Under: Vitamins and Minerals at 9:06 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Gallstone

We have gained much from processed foods – countless sources of sugar, fat and sodium, the lingering aftertaste of artificially created . . . everything, the need for adorable cartoon characters advertising the individuality of each replicated cereal, fun slogans that abuse the letter r (think grrrrreat), the inability to distinguish between natural food and what we eat, and gallstones. More and more, little balls of pain are appearing in the pits of our stomachs, spreading to our upper backs and causing us if not severe discomfort, enough discomfort to send us to the doctor when we cannot locate the pain’s source. Should the stone be obstructing the bile duct or if it causes multiple attacks, we’re likely to end up in the hospital, recovering from surgery. And, once again, we have processed food to thank for it.

Alright, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. Processed food is not directly to blame every time a gallstone appears, but it may be indirectly at fault. Since the rise of processed food, we have significantly lowered our magnesium intake, which according to recent studies, increases the risk of gallstones. It also, coincidentally, raises triglyceride levels and lowers good cholesterol – two things no one wants to see happen.

If you want to ensure that you are getting enough magnesium (400mgs for men and 310mgs for women daily), you should first try to work more sources of the mineral into your diet. Fortunately for you, magnesium is found in all of those foods you’ve been planning on eating more of, anyway: green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole, unrefined grains. Of course, if you can’t seem to work them into your balanced diet (which is unbalanced if it lacks those foods), you can always turn to magnesium supplements. One little tablet will help keep your body functioning normally, your cholesterol levels healthy and your gallstones less galling.

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