Another year has passed and, for the 10th year in a row, Mercola.com remains the most visited natural health site on the Web.
Ever since the inception of Mercola.com, I and my team have been committed to correcting the misinformation and deception of traditional conflicted media and big businesses. Thankfully, this dedication, shared by readers like you, is making a world of difference.
Today, we embark on a new year and a fresh start in our continued journey toward a healthier, happier life. But before we leave 2014 behind, let's revisit the top 10 articles of the past year, based on page views.
These are the articles that captivated you most, and they cover a wide variety of health topics, from how increase your testosterone levels without hormones, exposés on top nutritional myths and the "best and worst" foods on the market, and much more.
If you haven't yet read these top 10 articles, you're in for a treat. And be sure to stay tuned to the newsletter for more empowering health wisdom as 2015 unfolds.
#10: I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream That Doesn't Melt!
There is something unsettling and (literally) unnatural about an ice cream sandwich that doesn’t melt on a hot summer day. Earlier this summer, a woman in Cincinnati noticed that her son’s Walmart-brand ice cream sandwich didn’t melt when he accidently left it outside for 12 hours, in 80-degree F weather.
After one hour and 15 minutes outside in sunny, 80-degree F weather, Walmart’s ice cream sandwich is still remarkably solid.
If you’re shopping at Walmart because you’re on a tight budget, it's a common misconception that buying pre-packaged processed foods is less expensive than eating fresh and cooking from scratch. Don't fall for this notion. When you consider the nutrient value of fresh versus processed-to-death denatured foods and the subsequent health consequences of each choice, it's quite clear that you can eat well and improve your health and still not spend a fortune.
#9: Gut Bacteria and Fat Cells May Interact to Produce "Perfect Storm" of Inflammation That Promotes Chronic Disease
A wide array of health problems, including but not limited to obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, periodontal disease, stroke, and heart disease all have inflammation as a part of the disease.
The majority of inflammatory diseases start in your gut.
Chronic inflammation in your gut can disrupt the normal functioning of many bodily systems. There also appears to be a connection between certain types of bacteria and body fat that produces a heightened inflammatory response and drives the inflammatory process.
#8: 11 Charts That Show Everything Wrong with Our Modern Diet
Three decades ago, the food available was mostly fresh and grown locally. Today, the majority of foods served, whether at home, in school or in restaurants, are highly processed foods, filled with sugars, harmful processed fats, and chemical additives.
During that same time, obesity rates have skyrocketed, and one in five American deaths are now associated with obesity
The featured article contains 11 telling charts and graphs, illustrating how the modern diet has led to an avalanche of chronic disease.
#7: 63% of Americans Actively Avoid Soda
Rates of soda consumption have been dropping for decades, and Americans now consume about the same amount they did back in 1986. Today, 63 percent of Americans actively try to avoid soda, compared to 41 percent in 2002.
Diet soda consumption has seen the greatest drop. While regular soda sales fell two percent in 2013, Diet Coke sales dropped seven percent amidst fears of aspartame’s health risks. However, Coca-Cola Co. has no intention of letting its brands, and its namesake product Coke, fall by the wayside.
To combat flagging sales, Coca-Cola decided to target the teen market directly, by printing 250 of the most common teen names on Coke bottles. The “personalized” drink gimmick worked, increasing North American sales by one percent in three months.
#6: 7 Signs You May Have a Vitamin D Deficiency
Optimizing your vitamin D levels may help you prevent cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, infections, mental health conditions, and much more.
Researchers have pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D3 among the general population could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year. Incidence of several types of cancer could also be slashed in half.
Vitamin D also fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, an estimated 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency.
You’re particularly at risk if you consistently wear sun protection (which blocks vitamin D production) or limit your outdoor activities. Signs you may have a vitamin D deficiency include age over 50, having darker skin, obesity, achy bones, feeling blue, head sweating, and gut trouble.
#5: Top 10 Destructive Nutrition Lies Ever Told
Many nutrition myths get repeated over and over until they are mistaken for truth, especially when perpetually spread by public health authorities. This article reviews my top 10 list of the most widespread, destructive lies typically told by mainstream nutritionists, despite being refuted by science.
For example, millions of people have suffered needless pain and suffering, and premature death, by following commonly recommended low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets. Another nutrition myth is that all saturated fats are bad for you, and the corollary is equally untrue—that cholesterol causes heart disease.
Surprising truths are also revealed about artificial sweeteners, whole grains, eggs, soy, vegetable oils, genetically engineered foods, and why breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day after all.
#4: 15 Natural Remedies for the Treatment of Acid Reflux and Ulcers
Acid reflux affects an estimated 50 percent of Americans. The hallmark symptom of acid reflux is “heartburn”—a burning sensation behind your breastbone that sometimes travels up your throat.
Contrary to popular belief, acid reflux is not caused by excessive acid production in your stomach; rather it’s a symptom more commonly related to hiatal hernia and/or Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.
The problem also typically results from having too little acid in your stomach, which is why proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) typically just perpetuate the problem, and make acid reflux worse.
The answer to heartburn and acid indigestion is to restore your natural gastric balance and function. Eat lots of vegetables and other high-quality, ideally organic, unprocessed foods. Also make sure you’re getting enough beneficial bacteria from your diet by regularly consuming fermented foods. This will help balance your bowel flora, which can help eliminate H. pylori bacteria naturally.
#3: Why I Don't Recommend Retractable Leashes
by Dr. Becker
A retractable dog leash is not so much a leash as it is a length of thin cord wound around a spring-loaded device housed inside a plastic handle. The handles of most retractable leashes are designed to fit comfortably in a human hand. A button on the handle controls how much of the cord is extended.
Retractable leashes are popular among dog owners primarily because they aren't as confining as regular leashes, allowing dogs more freedom to sniff and poke around on walks.
Here are 10 downsides to this type of leash.
#2: What Happens Inside Your Stomach When You Eat Instant Noodles?
Instant noodles are a popular go-to lunch or dinner for those who are strapped for time and/or cash. But by using a pill-sized camera to see what actually happens inside your stomach and digestive tract after you eat instant noodles, researchers reveal why this commonly consumed food item may be best left on the store shelf... Even after two hours, instant noodles remain remarkably intact inside the GI tract.
As a result, your may experience prolonged exposure to the toxic preservative tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) and other additives, like MSG, found in instant noodles. Animal studies have linked TBHQ to a number of adverse health effects, including liver effects at very low doses; cellular mutations; biochemical changes; and reproductive effects. Research also shows that women who consume more instant noodles are 68 percent more likely to have metabolic syndrome than those who eat less, regardless of overall diet or exercise habits.
#1: What You See in the Toilet Can Give You Valuable Insights into Your Health
You can learn a great deal about your overall health by taking a look at your stool and noting its color, size, shape, consistency, odor and other features. Your toileting habits, such as your frequency of elimination and the ease with which you move your bowels, can provide additional clues to your health status. If you know what to look for, you may be able to detect health problems early enough to stop them in their tracks, including serious diseases like celiac disease, hepatitis, urinary tract infections and stones, malabsorption disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, cancer and others.
Most gastrointestinal problems can be prevented or resolved by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. Helpful strategies include removing gluten from your diet, eating a diet rich in fresh vegetables, avoiding artificial ingredients, boosting your gut flora by eating plenty of naturally fermented foods, and more.