The 2 Healthiest Sweeteners to Replace Sugar and Aspartame

By Health Ambition

With people’s increasing intake of sugary processed foods over recent decades leading to skyrocketing levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease and artificial sweeteners being shown to potentially be even worse, are there any better alternatives?

Ahead are the two healthiest sweeteners that you can use to replace both table sugar and artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

1. Healthiest Sweetener: Raw Honey​

Honey has been used for thousands of years, not just for its sweet taste, but as a healing medicine as well. It’s best to buy raw honey where possible that hasn’t been heated. Heating honey can destroy some of the enzymes and other beneficial compounds.

Unfortunately, most of the regular honey you find in the supermarket has had much of its medicinal qualities heated and processed out of it. It still healthier than sugar, but not on a par with raw organic honey.

Going a step further, if you can find organic raw honey from a local farmer, it is believed to contain beneficial elements that can help your body deal with allergens from the local area. This kind of honey is definitely worth paying a little more for.

Raw Honey Health Benefits

Antifungal, Antimicrobial and Antibacterial Properties – Raw honey is full of compounds that benefit your digestive system and helps boost your immunity against harmful microorganisms. It is also good for healing a sore throat, especially mixed with a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon.

Wound Healing – The same antibacterial properties make raw honey an excellent dressing for treating minor wounds and speeding up their healing. It is often used as a topical acne or eczema skin treatment as well.

Antioxidants and Enzymes – The antioxidant flavonoid pinocembrin is unique to honey and supports proper enzyme activity for improved digestion. Using raw honey is also believed to help slow down your body’s depletion of digestive enzymes for better health in general.

Calming Properties – A teaspoon of raw honey can act as a mild sedative and help you relax. Importantly though, raw honey should never be given to children under one year old as their gastrointestinal system is not mature enough to deal with it.​

2. Healthiest Sweetener: Stevia

The herbal sweetener stevia comes from a perennial bush in South America and has been used for centuries.

Its leaves are around 40 times more sweet than table sugar and when powered up it is around 200 times sweeter.

Benefits of Stevia

Suppress Sugar Cravings with No Calories – Unlike artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which have been shown to promote sugar cravings, stevia is believed to reduce them. It also contains no calories, making it a great replacement for both sugar and artificial sweeteners.

sugar is not good for you

Diabetes Benefits – Diabetes diagnosis has risen rapidly in recent years with the increase in high glycemic processed food consumption. Regular sugar has a high glycemic index of 80 and in large amounts will usually promote excessive insulin production that leads to body fat storage and over time an increase in the risk of diabetes. By comparison, stevia has a glycemic index of zero and is believed to be safe for use by diabetics (though checking anything like this with your physician is always recommended).

Dental Health – Eating sugary foods and particularly drinking sugar saturated drinks can wear away the protective enamel of your teeth, leading to cavities and other dental problems. Stevia can not only replace destructive sugar, substances in it have been shown to actually help prevent mouth bacteria from adhering to your teeth and forming plaque.

Prevent Candida Overgrowth – Candida is a type of yeast in your digestive system that can be beneficial at normal levels, but decidedly dangerous and debilitating when it grows out of control.

Candidiasis can lead to a variety of baffling symptoms that many doctors find difficult to diagnose, ranging from headaches and exhaustion, to digestive complaints, bloating and gas, to problems with immunity and allergies.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is also commonly associated with candida overgrowth.The candida fungus feeds on simple sugars and the primary cause of an overgrowth is believed to be an excess of sugar fermenting in the digestive system.

Stevia is very different structurally to sucrose and is not fermented by the yeast in your digestive tract. Switching to it over sugar were ever possible should greatly reduce your risk of ever having to deal with candidiasis.Read also: What is the best tasting Stevia


So there’s two healthier alternatives to fattening sugar and highly questionable artificial sweeteners. Switching to these can make a real difference in your energy levels, body weight and overall health.

Have you tried using raw honey or stevia before or any other natural sweeteners? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the best way to sweeten foods and drinks without leading to health problems down the track.

The Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

By Dr. Edward Group

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Withania somnifera, better known as ashwagandha or “Indian ginseng,” has been a traditional staple of Ayurvedic medicine for over 3,000 years. The herb has a wide range of activity that promotes physical, emotional and mental health, body rejuvenation, and longevity. It is known to inhibit anxiety and improve energy. Ashwagandha may also promote healthy fertility.[1, 2]

Ashwagandha for Energy

Long distance cycling is an endurance sport that requires aerobic fitness and energy. Many products have been developed to provide energy in a quick, easy form: gel packets, energy chews, sports drinks, and more. Generally, these products just provide extra calories, which are necessary if you’re expending energy but don’t actually support physical ability.

In 2012, the Faculty of Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy at India’s Guru Nanak Dev University conducted an eight-week study in which forty elite cyclists supplemented with ashwagandha. By the study’s conclusion, significant enhancements in both cardiovascular and respiratory endurance were reported.[3]

Perhaps even more importantly, research out of Malaysia found that when ashwagandha root extract was regularly administered to persons receiving chemotherapy, it had potential to relieve fatigue and improve their quality of life.[4]

Cognitive Benefits of Ashwagandha

In Ayurvedic medicine, one of the primary uses of ashwagandha root extract is to enhance memory and improve brain function. One of the mechanisms responsible for this effect is ashwagandha’s antioxidant action. Since oxidative stress contributes to neurodegenerative disorders, lessening oxidative damage may offer neuroprotection.

Multiple studies have been performed to evaluate the neuroprotective properties of ashwagandha root extract on rats and found that it may prevent some instances of memory impairment and oxidative stress on the brain.[5, 6]

Ashwagandha to Relieve Stress

Stress affects both mind and body and can be a strain that leads to underperformance. Most people will also testify that stress affects their quality of life. Ashwagandha has been documented in Ayurvedic and Greek medicine for its stress-combating properties.

The Department of Neuropsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry at India’s Asha Hospital orchestrated a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving sixty-four subjects with a history of chronic stress. After separating the participants into control and study groups, the study group began supplementing with high-concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract. After two months, the study group reported significant improvements in all stress measurements and quality of life; all without serious side effects.[7]

Stress and Male Fertility

Additionally, stress is known to be a contributing factor for male infertility. Along with Tribulus terrestris, Ashwagandha is prized for its stimulating effects on fertility.

The Department of Biochemistry at C.S.M. Medical University conducted a study involving sixty infertile men who, however, did have normal sperm production. Participants were given five grams of ashwagandha root powder every day for three months. At the study’s conclusion, stress reductions and improvements in semen quality were observed and 14% of the participants’ partners ended up becoming pregnant.[8]

Supplementing with Ashwagandha

As a supplement, ashwagandha can be found in liquid and capsule form, sometimes blended with other herbs.

Be aware that ashwagandha may cause drowsiness; if you’re taking any medications that could interact with that effect, it’s best to consult your preferred healthcare provider before starting any new nutritional supplement programs — which, unfortunately, many conventional practitioners disregard. Will we see the day when the medical establishment understands and promotes ashwagandha root? Time will tell.

What have your experiences been with ashwagandha? Let us know in the comments section below, or join the conversation on Facebook.


  1. Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. Withania somnifera: an Indian ginseng. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Jul 1;32(5):1093-105. Epub 2007 Sep 21. Review.
  2. Singh N, Bhalla M, de Jager P, Gilca M. An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011;8(5 Suppl):208-13. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9. Epub 2011 Jul 3. Review.
  3. Shenoy S, Chaskar U, Sandhu JS, Paadhi MM. Effects of eight-week supplementation of Ashwagandha on cardiorespiratory endurance in elite Indian cyclists. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2012 Oct;3(4):209-14. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.104444.
  4. Biswal BM, Sulaiman SA, Ismail HC, Zakaria H, Musa KI. Effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on the Development of Chemotherapy-Induced Fatigue and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients. Integr Cancer Ther. 2012 Nov 9.
  5. Baitharu I, Jain V, Deep SN, Hota KB, Hota SK, Prasad D, Ilavazhagan G. Withania somnifera root extract ameliorates hypobaric hypoxia induced memory impairment in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jan 30;145(2):431-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.10.063. Epub 2012 Dec 2.
  6. Prakash J, Yadav SK, Chouhan S, Singh SP. Neuroprotective Role of Withania somnifera Root Extract in Maneb-Paraquat Induced Mouse Model of Parkinsonism. Neurochem Res. 2013 May;38(5):972-80. doi: 10.1007/s11064-013-1005-4. Epub 2013 Feb 22.
  7. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022.
  8. Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK, Rajender S, Shankhwar SN, Singh V, Dalela D. Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Sep 29.

Recommended articles by Dr. Edward Group:

About the author:

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the internet.

For more information, please visit Global Healing Center.

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Marigold. Image source:

Written by: Patrick Shelley

There is absolutely nothing like having fresh medicinal plants that you can pick and use right on the spot, when you need them.

Plus, you can dry them, and then use a mortise and pestle to grind them and encapsulate your own medicinal plants. You know they were never sprayed with pesticides. And you know all about the nutrients that were fed to them.

You can grow them in decorative planters in the kitchen if you have the lighting for it.

Many people set up a multi-tiered rack that allows planter pots to be set at a forward-facing angle. This allows you to put the back of it against a wall, and the plants grow at a forward-facing angle.

Other people like to use wire hangers and hang the pots from a wall in rows or a pattern. If you’re going to do this, then test the strength of your wall.

If you have a sunroom or a sunroom-like area, these make great growing spaces, too.

Here are seven of the best medicinal plants you can grow indoors:

1. St John’s Wort. This plant will grow year-round with a grow light in the morning or evening to extend the growing hours of the day. If you find that it’s not flowering, then it may need longer hours of light.

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

St. John’s Wort. Image source:

It’s a great-looking plant with attractive yellow flowers and can really brighten up a home.


  • May be as effective as some prescription medication for treating depression1.
  • Helps alleviate the symptoms of PMS and menopause2.
  • May help with the symptoms of ADD (attention deficit disorder)2.

2. Thyme. This is a hearty plant that can be used in cooking, as it’s one of the most popular herbs around. It’s hearty, grows pretty easily and doesn’t require much care at all.


  • Thyme has been shown to aid in the relief of chest and respiratory problems, including coughs, bronchitis and chest congestion3.
  • Thyme has been shown to have a strong antimicrobial activity, neutralizing such bacteria and fungi as Staphalococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Shigella sonnei4.

3. Sage. Its genus name, Salvia, means “to heal.” As long as you give it light, adequate water and good soil, you almost can’t kill it. Sage is one of the herbs that makes everyone look like they’ve got a green thumb.

7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Sage. Image source:


  • May lessen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s 5.
  • Has been shown to lower both blood glucose and cholesterol5.

4. Parsley. Too many people think of parsley as a garnish on their plate. But parsley is one of the best green foods around.

It grows rather easily, and you shouldn’t have a problem so long as you keep its soil damp.


  • Can help with bad breath6.
  • Can help detoxify the brain of ammonia, thereby reducing the feelings of a hangover.
  • May be a potent anticancer agent and has been shown to be chemo-protective7.

5. Marigold. A truly unique and beautiful flowing medicinal, marigold will grow with only just a little bit of TLC needed.


  • The flowers have long been touted to posses near legendary anti-inflammatory properties that have shown to fight eczema and allergic reactions.
  • Relieves pain of arthritis.
  • Can be made into tinctures and ointments that have shown to sooth rashes, bed sores, diaper rash, sun burns and other types of burns.

6. Lavender. This is one of the most fragrant medicinal plants you can grow in your home. Lavender is a little more work to grow inside and it needs a little more space.


  • Put lavender in your pillow to have a restful sleep and avoid insomnia8.
  • Helps with nervousness, headache, stomach nerves, restlessness and stress8.
7 Heal-Anything Medicinal Plants You Can Grow Indoors

Image source:

7. Echinacea. Here you have the granddaddy of all medicinal plants. It grows easily, as long as you give it a grow light.


  • Several studies show that Echinacea helps boost the immune10.
  • Echinacea has shown to be very promising in treating most any kind of infection, from sinusitis to vaginal yeast infections to ear infections10.
  • Shows promise in treating colon cancer and athlete’s foot10.





  3. Kelm MA, Nair MG, Strasburg GM, DeWitt DL. Antioxidant and cyclooxygenase inhibitory phenolic compounds from Ocimum sanctum Linn. Phytomedicine 2000 Mar;7(1):7-13. 2000. PMID:12240.
  4. Bagamboula CF, Uyttendaeleand M, Debevere J. Inhibitory effect of thyme and basil essential oils, carvacrol, thymol, estragol, linalool and p-cymene towards Shigella sonnei and S. flexneri. Food Microbio 2004 Feb;21 (1):33-42. 2004.

Magnesium in Right Doses Completely Reverses Depression: Breakthrough Study

Magnesium is already known by many as a tremendous booster of health. It contributes to sound sleep, helps with digestion and constipation, relieves muscle aches, and even improves heart health and migraine headaches – but here’s a shocker: magnesium in small doses leads to an astonishing reversal of depression.

What is Magnesium and Why Do We Need it?

Magnesium is one of the most important elements in the human body. It is a micronutrient and mineral that is involved in thousands of biochemical processes crucial for the proper functioning of the cardiovascular, alimentary, endocrine, and osteoarticular systems, but oddly, it seems absolutely vital to regulating our mood and levels of happiness.

In a breakthrough study conducted by researchers at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and published in PLoS ONE has found that just 248mg of magnesium per day leads to an about-face of depression symptoms in study subjects.

New clinical research results show magnesium is effective at addressing symptoms and is safer and easier on the wallet than prescription therapies,” reports Science Daily.

Mounds of Research Proving We Need Magnesium to Combat Depression

Research of this kind regarding magnesium isn’t new, but it stands to reinforce what nutritionists, health coaches, and even some psychologists have been stating for decades.

Another study states this about magnesium and depression:

Anxiety related conditions are the most common affective disorders present in the general population with a lifetime prevalence of over 15%. Magnesium (Mg) status is associated with subjective anxiety, leading to the proposition that Mg supplementation may attenuate anxiety symptoms.”

And this study explains that:

After adjusting for all potential confounders, the strength of the association of very low magnesium intake with depression was statistically significant (RR = 1.16; 95% CI, 1.06-1.30).”

Or how about this study which states that the daily consumption of 500 mg magnesium:

“. . . tablets for ≥8 wk by depressed patients suffering from magnesium deficiency leads to improvements in depression status and magnesium levels.”

So, while not all the studies agree on the exact amount of magnesium that we need each day to combat depression, they repeat over and over in hundreds of additional studies, that depleted magnesium levels contribute to depression.

Why We’re All Magnesium Deficient 

Depleted Soil

Why are so many of us magnesium deficient, aside from the fact that many vital micronutrients and minerals we need have been raped from the soil via industrial farming practices, and by adding non-organic, toxic chemical fertilizers and herbicides to the very soil which must grow our food?

Too Much Sugar

We also eat too much sugar. Is this a coincidence? The sugar industry has been hiding the effects of sugar on us for decades – and one of those effects is that sugar eats up our magnesium stores.

Refined sugar causes you to waste most vitamin and minerals in the body, mainly B-Vitamins, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Manganese. Sugar raises CO2 levels in the blood, which causes you to go to bicarbonate stores which buffer it, causing a depletion of minerals like magnesium.


Another culprit is stress – both mental and physical stress, with its related continuous flow of adrenaline, uses up our magnesium stores rapidly. Adrenaline affects heart rate, blood pressure, vascular constriction and muscle contraction— actions that all demand steady supplies of magnesium for smooth function, and without it you can guess what happens.

We also require magnesium to create serotonin, one of the “happy hormones” which prevents depression. Stress causes less serotonin to be created, and replaces it with cortisol and other stress hormones. Stress and depression are inextricably linked. Without enough magnesium we haven’t got a chance at fighting depression naturally.


Magnesium is a powerful detoxifier. It removes everything from heavy metals, to glyphosate and other herbicides from our bodies, as well as thousands of environmental toxins and metabolic toxins. If we become overly toxic, due to a lack of magnesium, we are more likely be depressed as the brain suffers from inflammation it cannot overcome.

Is it any wonder we suffer from the following additional diseases, aside from depression, all of which are linked to magnesium deficiency?

  • Gastrointestinal disorders: Prolonged diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, malabsorption syndromes, celiac disease, surgical removal of a portion of the intestine, and intestinal inflammation due to radiation may all lead to magnesium depletion.
  • Renal disorders (magnesium wasting): Diabetes mellitus and long-term use of certain diuretics (see Drug interactions) may result in increased urinary loss of magnesium. Multiple other medications can also result in renal magnesium wasting.
  • Chronic alcoholism: Poor dietary intake, gastrointestinal problems, and increased urinary loss of magnesium may all contribute to magnesium depletion, which is frequently encountered in alcoholics.
  • Age: Several studies have found that elderly people have relatively low dietary intakes of magnesium. Intestinal magnesium absorption tends to decrease with age and urinary magnesium excretion tends to increase with age; thus, suboptimal dietary magnesium intake may increase the risk of magnesium depletion in the elderly.

How Much Magnesium Do I Need And Where Can I Get It?

So how much magnesium should you take? General dosage recommendations range from about 3 to 10 milligrams per pound of body weight. Experiment with a supplement and you’ll know exactly how much you need.

You can also consume natural sources of magnesium which can be found in foods like:

  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Almonds
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Black Beans
  • Avocado
  • Coriander
  • Salmon
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Yogurt or Kefir
  • Figs
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Banana
  • Cashews
  • Goat Cheese
  • Artichokes

Also, magnesium is the central molecule in chlorophyll – called the lamp of life,” so any plant-based food high in chlorophyll should also help boost magnesium stores it the body to fight depression, along with dozens of other diseases.

By Christina Sarich Christina Sarich is a musician, yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer who channels many hours of studying Lao Tzu, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rob Brezny, Miles Davis, and Tom Robbins into interesting tidbits to help you Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and *See the Big Picture*. Her blog is Yoga for the New World . Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing The Body And Mind Through The Art Of Yoga.

The Sweet Flavor In Cinnamon That Burns Up Fat Like Crazy


By Heather Callaghan | Natural Blaze

A compound found in cinnamon can burn up fat – scientists think cinnamon may be the secret to losing weight after they studied how the spice interacts with fat cells. Hot cider with cinnamon sticks? Yes, please!

IBT reports

The organic compound that gives cinnamon its flavor, cinnamaldehyde, makes fat cells burn calories to create heat, a process known as thermogenesis. Harnessing the cinnamon ingredient’s power to turn fat into energy could be important in fighting obesity.

A study in the journal Metabolism noted that cinnamaldehyde has previously been shown to have an anti-obesity effect in mice, including in preventing hyperglycemia, which is a high blood sugar level. This research looked deeper into the exact mechanism behind this protective quality in cinnamon.

The team treated mouse and human fat cells with cinnamaldehyde. They found that the compound made the cells from both species express genes and enzymes that were connected to metabolic activity.

Our ancestors didn’t have access to high fat or energy-dense foods all the time so fat storage was a survival trait that could be called upon when times were lean, and especially for when temperatures were frigid. Researchers say that today’s “fat storage has become overkill,” however.

Related Article: Proven Health Benefits of Cinnamon

The the study says [emphasis added] that this new research demonstrates a…

…a mechanistic explanation for the anti-obesity effects of [cinnamaldehyde] observed previously and further supporting its potential metabolic benefits on humans.

Given the wide usage of cinnamon in the food industry, the notion that this popular food additive, instead of a drug, may activate thermogenesis, could ultimately lead to therapeutic strategies against obesity that are much better adhered to by participants.

Jun Wu said in the university statement:

Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it. So if it can help protect against obesity, too, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to.



In a medium-large mug, pour hot water over tea bags, leaving room for cream. Stir in sweetener, optional add-ins and creamer, and steep 3-5 minutes. Enjoy.

Spice Up Your Life!

When it comes to fat-burning foods – spices top the list! While cinnamon can burn fat in two ways (the other is by affecting insulin), ginger has also been found to positively affect obesity and is studied for that reason alone. Turmeric fights inflammation which may have an effect on weight since inflammation is followed by swelling. Ginger and turmeric are both great for inflammation and keeping blood sugar down (so be mindful when using!).

Related Article: Make Sure to Get the RIGHT Kind of Cinnamon That Improves Memory, Learning, and Reverses Parkinson’s

Images: Pixabay

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DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

favorite-velva-smallHeather Callaghan is a Health Mentor, writer, speaker and food freedom advocate. She is the Editor and co-founder of NaturalBlaze as well as a certified Self-Referencing IITM Practitioner.

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