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16
AUG

4 Ways Omega Fatty Acids Can Benefit Your Pet

Filed Under: Nutrition,Pet Care at 4:43 pm | By: Paula Fitzsimmons
dog and cat

Omega fatty acids play a pivotal role in companion animal health and may help relieve symptoms related to skin disorders, arthritis, allergies and a variety of other conditions. While more research is needed before omega supplements are considered a mainstream treatment option for cats and dogs, many veterinarians are open to recommending them.

Read on to learn what omega fatty acids are, how your canine or feline friend can benefit from them, and what to look for in a quality supplement. And of course, any discussion about supplements and diet changes should start with your vet.

What Are Omega Fatty Acids and Why Do Pets Need Them?

Omega fatty acids are a type of fat required for normal body functions, explains Dr. Deborah Mitchell, medical director and practice manager at Knollwood Hospital for Pets in Schaumburg, Illinois. “These include building the membranes of our pets’ cells, helping blood clot normally and muscles move properly, and for fighting inflammation of all kinds in our pets’ bodies.”

Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids that play a role in optimal health. “Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the most important for dogs and cats because their bodies can’t make them; they have to come from diet,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinary writer, editor and consultant based in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The three main types of omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are found in marine sources, like fatty fish, while ALA is found in plant sources, such as nuts and seeds.

Omega-3s are incorporated into cell membranes, especially in the brain, the retina and sperm, says Coates. “The body also uses omega-3s and omega-6s to form signaling molecules (called eicosanoids) that have many different functions in the heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system and hormonal system. Increasing the amount of omega-3s in the body relative to omega-6s may also reduce inflammation, which could have a beneficial role in functions like cognition, heart disease and reproduction.”

Omega-6 fatty acid deficiencies are not seen very often, but might be a concern if your pet is on an extremely low fat or calorie-restricted diet, says Coates. Although rare, signs of omega-6 deficiency include: “skin problems like hair loss, scaly skin, and a tendency to bruise easily,” Coates says. “Reproductive problems can be seen in breeding animals, and young animals may grow poorly if there aren’t enough omega-6 fatty acids in their diet.”

Where Do Omegas Come From?

Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include cold-water fatty fish (especially salmon) and oils from fish, krill, algae and flaxseed, says Dr. Nancy Scanlan, executive director of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation.

Flaxseed oil is not an ideal source of omega-3s for dogs, Scanlan explains, because dogs are not very efficient at converting ALA into EPA and DHA. Cats cannot convert ALA at all, so they would require one of the other omega-3 fatty acid sources, she says.

Foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) include flaxseed, grapeseed, borage, evening primrose and black currant seed oils, Scanlan says.

4 Ways Omegas Can Benefit Your Pet

1). Improved Skin and Coat

The most obvious sign of an omega deficiency in pets is a dull, dry or greasy coat with dandruff, says Scanlan. “They itch a lot, even without any signs of fleas. Skin allergies are worse when they need more omega oils.”

Omega-3 fatty acids help the skin by reducing inflammation associated with allergies in dogs when used with other therapeutic agents, says Dr. Susan Jeffrey, a veterinarian at Truesdell Animal Care Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. “Dogs with less inflammation are less itchy and thereby more comfortable.”

In one study of 16 dogs with itchy skin, researchers tested the benefits of a high-dose EPA fish oil supplement to treat symptoms (1). Pups receiving the fish oil capsule (versus corn oil) showed significant improvement.

2). Relief from Arthritis Symptoms

Omega-3s have been found to slow the progression of arthritis, says Jeffrey. Researchers created one study to determine if pet food containing a high level of omega-3s (using fish oils) would relieve symptoms in dogs with osteoarthritis (2). The team studied 127 dogs from 18 separate, privately-owned clinics.

Dogs fed a diet containing 31 times the amount of omega-3s than found in a standard pet food diet significantly improved in several areas, including in their ability to rise from a resting position, play and walk, according to pet owners.

In a separate study of 16 cats, those whose diets were supplemented with fish oil reportedly experienced a higher level of activity, including less stiffness, an increase in walking up and down stairs, and more interaction with their pet owners than those fed the (corn oil) placebo (3).

3). An Option for Heart Health

“Some studies show fish oils can decrease the progression of dogs with heart disease as well as help dogs with abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia),” says Jeffrey, whose professional interests include preventative care.

One of these studies looked at whether fish oil would reduce the occurrence of arrhythmia in Boxers with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, a disease that impacts the ventricles of the heart (4). The findings showed that a six-week course of fish oil supplementation may be useful in reducing arrhythmias in dogs with this disease. Dose and duration still need to be studied further, however.

Additionally, Jeffrey says dogs with heart disease have been found to have lower plasma fatty acid levels than healthy dogs. “Fatty acid supplements such as fish oil will result in plasma fatty acid concentrations equal to healthy dogs.”

4). A Potential Aid for Certain Cancers

There’s some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to slow down cancer growth (5). “There has been a study in dogs with lymphoma (a type of cancer that usually attacks the spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes) who were given omega-3 fatty acids,” Jeffrey says. “They were found to have longer survival times compared to those who didn’t receive the supplement.”

They also help with chronic weight loss and poor appetite seen in cancer patients, which can result in a better quality of life, she says. “Omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease the amount of inflammatory mediators that will inhibit appetite and increase the rate of muscle catabolism.” (Catabolism is a metabolic process that breaks down complex molecules into smaller ones).

What Type of Omegas Should You Feed Your Pet?

Feeding your dog or cat the correct type of omega fatty acid is critical, says Dr. Patrick Mahaney, owner of Los Angeles-based California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness. “As most pets have conditions related to inflammation for which owners seek improvement, I recommend that when providing an omega fatty acid supplement, owners should focus on omega-3,” he says. “Ideally, pets should consume a combination of omega fatty acids from animal and plant sources in their diets. Omega-6 fatty acids are still needed to promote healthy body structures, so do not eliminate them from your pet’s diet.”

For supplements, he recommends omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil (that are formulated for pets). “Deep-caught, fresh-water fish are my recommended source for fish oil and supplements should be free from heavy metals, pesticides, radiation and other toxic substances.” (Animal-based omega fatty acids satisfy their dietary requirements more efficiently than plant sources, he says.)

To ensure you’re purchasing quality supplements, look for products with the United States Pharmacopeia (UPS) seal or verified mark, advises Coates. “The USP sets quality standards for health care products that are sold in the U.S.” Jeffrey recommends looking for products labeled with the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), “as it works with the FDA to ensure safety and quality control standards.”

Proportion is also essential. “Too much omega-6 oil can cause inflammation, especially if the amount of omega-3 is low in the diet,” says Scanlan. Vets recommend an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 10:1 to 5:1. In one study, researchers fed 18 dogs with pruritis (itchy skin) a commercial diet with a fatty acid ratio of 5.5:1 (6). The pruritis was controlled within seven to 21 days of the diet, but returned within three to 14 days after the original diet was re-introduced.

Ask your vet about dosage and duration of omega fatty acid supplements, especially if your pet has a health condition. “Extremely high doses can cause gastrointestinal upset and possibly problems with the immune and blood clotting system, so it is best to only use fatty acid supplements under the direction of a veterinarian,” Coates advises.



15
AUG

5 Food Myths You Should Stop Believing (Plus a Recipe for Banana Protein Pancakes!)

Filed Under: Nutrition,Recipes,Supplements at 12:15 pm | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at Puori.

  • Common food myths can fool people into believing unhealthy foods are good for them.
  • These myths can actually cause the opposite outcome you desire.
  • Do your homework before eating certain foods, and remember we can all have different responses to them.

Let’s face it: we often choose what to buy based on the product’s packaging and advertising. When it comes to food, labels like “organic” and “fat-free” usually give people the impression it is healthier and better for the body. Thus, we readily consume these products only to find out later on that they are not as healthy as they claim.

The tendency to quickly accept manufacturers’ marketing campaigns without proper research results in a number of food misconceptions. Here are five food myths you should stop believing.

5 Food Myths We Need to Squash

1) Diet Food Is Always Healthy

Any food packaged with the word “diet” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great option for safely losing (and keeping off) body fat. Diet soda, for example, contains fewer calories compared to regular soda. However, it’s packed with artificial sweeteners, which could be harmful to your body. This is the same case with other labels like “sugar-free.”

When you remove sugar, fat or other ingredients from “normal” products, they need to be substituted with artificial ingredients. This is to make up for the loss of taste, flavor and texture. For instance, fat gives both flavor, mouthfeel and texture to a product. These functional properties are lost when the fat is removed. Therefore, the diet product needs to be stabilized, emulsified and flavored in some other way: by additives.

2) Carbs Make You Fat

Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy. How much you need largely depends on your level of physical activity.

However, there is truth to the idea that not all carbs are created equal. Good carbs are often found in vegetables, regular and sweet potatoes and whole grains. These things have a lower glycemic index and more fiber (1). They’re called intrinsic carbohydrates. Bad carbs, with high glycemic index, are those found in processed food like white bread, white rice, pastries and candy.

If you’re a more sedentary person, you should enjoy these carbs sporadically. However, if you’re exercising a lot, white rice, pasta and bread are a suitable carbohydrate source to incorporate into your diet. A well-balanced diet and not the elimination of carbohydrates is the key to maintaining a healthy weight.

3) Gluten Is Dangerous

While there is data to support both sides of this argument, there are a few important things to note.

A gluten-free diet is recommended for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, since the consumption of gluten can damage their intestinal cells and result in health complications. These people tend to feel best when avoiding gluten.

If you don’t have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, you don’t have to go gluten-free. In fact, it could be detrimental to your health. One study looked at people who don’t have celiac disease and still avoid gluten. It found they have a higher risk of inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus and thyroid disease (2). This suggests switching to a gluten-free diet merely to improve your health might not be the safest route to take.

4) All Fat Is Bad

Your body needs fat. Fat is a source of energy and helps you absorb necessary vitamins and minerals. Whether it’s good or bad for you depends on the source. Good fats, for instance, include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (3). We can get monounsaturated fats from food like olive oil, avocado and nuts. Some sources of polyunsaturated fats are fatty fish like salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds.

Trans fats, on the other hand, give us no health benefits. Trans fat has harmful cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

5) Only Meat Will Give You Protein

While meat is heavy in protein, it’s certainly not the only source. You can also find significant protein in soy, quinoa, peas, Greek yogurt, lentils and cottage cheese. If you prefer to eat little or no meat, simply make sure you are adequately covering your protein needs elsewhere. You do this with nutritious foods and even supplementation.

Spend time doing your homework before deciding to follow popular food trends. Also bear in mind that we’re all different. What works for one person might not work for another. You’ll probably need to try different diets to see what feels best. Remember, maintaining a balanced diet with sufficient rest and exercise is still a promising course of action.

Banana Protein Pancakes Recipe

Puori PW1 Vanilla recently ranked #1 in Clean Label Project’s test of 133 protein powder products from 52 brands, and works incredibly well not just as a shake, but also in numerous recipes. Download Puori’s PW1 recipe book here, and start cooking. Here’s a taste:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup (90g) of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 serving of PW1 Chocolate, Vanilla or Blackcurrant
  • Butter for frying

DIRECTIONS:

  • Mix eggs, bananas, protein powder, cardamom and blueberries.
  • Top the pancakes with fresh blueberries in a bowl. Whisk until it becomes an airy batter.
  • Add ¼ cup of batter for each pancake.
  • Cook 1-2 minutes on each side until finished.
  • Serve!



15
AUG

Improve Your Memory with These 5 Supplements

Filed Under: Anti-Aging,Mental Wellbeing,Supplements at 11:54 am | By: Michele Shapiro
memory supplements

As you age, it’s common to become a little more forgetful. “Changes in memory are thought to be caused by various factors including changes in brain function, physiological changes in both brain tissue and neurons, and decreased blood flow to the brain,” says Guru Ramanathan, chief innovation officer and SVP for GNC.

In addition, hormones can influence parts of the brain that support memory, so as we age and hormone levels change, “brain fog” can result, says Jenn LaVardera, a registered dietitian for Hamptons RD in Southampton, New York. Changes typically include forgetfulness and taking slightly longer than usual to complete various cognitive tasks, such as balancing your checkbook.

While these types of changes have very little impact on quality of life, “more serious ones can result in memory lapses, cause confusion, and can significantly impact quality of life,” Ramanathan says. Serious changes are scary, so he suggests consulting a physician if you are concerned.

But if “Where are my keys?” or “Has anyone seen my wallet?” have become a common refrain, take heart in the fact that certain supplements have been shown to help with supporting cognitive health and memory function in adults. But before you buy, read on for information on the best memory supplements as well as what to look for on the label.

5 of the Best Memory Supplements

A host of nutrients—from magnesium to choline—and vitamins, including A, C, D and B12, are essential for brain function. “Vitamin C plays an important role in neurotransmitter production and function,” says Ramanathan, who also cites gamma-aminobutryic acid (GABA), choline, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as nutrients that play a major role in memory function. In addition, some studies suggest that botanicals including ginkgo biloba and huperzine A also help keep the brain in top form (though others contradict these findings).

While you can get some of these vitamins and nutrients from eating a healthy diet, certain supplements and vitamins available at your local pharmacy or health food store may specifically help support memory function associated with aging. While a lot of the research that’s out there in regard to the effectiveness of supplements is inconclusive or insufficient, here are a handful of supplements that have shown promise for curtailing memory loss:

Magnesium

Particular brain receptors important for learning and memory depend on this mineral for their regulation, which is why Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical doctor, naturopath, and medical advisory board member for the Nutritional Magnesium Association, says magnesium is “the first supplement to consider for memory problems as well as enhanced brain function.”

Dean cites a 2004 MIT study that describes magnesium as a critical component of the cerebrospinal fluid that keeps learning and memory receptors active (1). Dean warns that not all forms of magnesium are easily absorbed by the body, and that it’s difficult to get enough from diet alone due to mineral-depleted soils. She recommends 600 milligrams of magnesium citrate powder daily. When mixed with water, the powder dissolves and can be sipped throughout the day.

Curcumin

A small 2018 study conducted at the University of California – Los Angeles found that supplements of the substance found in turmeric, the spice that gives Indian curry its bright color, improved both memory and mood in people with mild, age-related memory loss (2). In memory tests, the people taking 90 milligrams of curcumin twice daily improved by 28 percent over an 18-month period. The researchers plan to conduct a follow-up study with a larger number of people.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E, an antioxidant, has been linked to improved cognitive performance. In large clinical trials, high doses of vitamin E have been shown to help people with moderate dementia, albeit modestly. Studies analyzed in a 2014 review published in the journal Nutrition confirmed that vitamin E supplementation (at a dose of 2000 IU/day for an average of two years) is safe and free of side effects in the elderly (3). Researchers confirmed vitamin E’s validity as a nutritional compound to promote healthy brain aging and delay functional decline.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Research suggests that eating foods rich in omega-3’s, such as fish, plant and nut oils, and English walnuts, may lower your Alzheimer’s risk. “They help with communication between neurons,” explains LaVardera. But there’s insufficient research about the effectiveness of fish oil supplements, which come in two varieties, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA. One 2014 study suggests that omega-3 fatty acid supplements have the potential to improve cognitive performance and functional brain activation, but more research is needed to better understand if supplements over a longer period of time might be helpful in terms of preventing thinking skills decline in people without memory loss (4). Taking 1 gram per day of combined DHA and EPA is generally recommended to maintain brain health.

Resveratrol

This antioxidant found in the skin of purple and red fruits like grapes and blueberries has shown some promise in preventing the deterioration of the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with memory, according to a 2015 study (5). How much resveratrol do you need to boost brain function? One study on healthy older adults found that taking 200 milligrams per day for 26 weeks improved memory (6). (An occasional glass of red wine, which contains resveratrol, can’t hurt either!)

All of these supplements have demonstrated potential, but it bears repeating that more research is required as to their brain benefits.

How to Choose Supplements for Memory

When it comes to considering memory supplements, it’s important not to buy into the hype. Due to a legal loophole, dietary supplements do not have to pass the rigorous FDA process to ensure they are safe and effective. In other words, many products that claim to “support” or “help” memory may not. Also, look out for the word “natural” on the label. While the word sounds harmless, it’s one of those marketing buzzwords that raise red flags.

The lack of FDA oversight makes assessing their strength, purity and safety difficult. “In general, steer clear from questionable small-name brands, since larger brands tend to have strict safety protocols,” says LaVardera. “Also, look for the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) seal on the label.” In addition, a third-party certification from the USP (United States Pharmacopeia), NSF International or Consumer Lab shows that these products have undergone rigorous third-party certification to make sure their ingredients meet quality standards.

When it comes to magnesium, Dean suggests steering clear of two forms in particular: magnesium aspartate and glutamate. Both are components of aspartame, which should be avoided. “Aspartame is a neurotoxin,” she explains. Other harmful ingredients include trans fats, artificial colors and flavors, and fillers, which inhibit or slow absorption.

Another rule of thumb when it comes to choosing vitamins: Always opt for natural over synthetics. “If the brackets after a vitamin have a food listed, it’s natural,” says Dean. “If it has a chemical listed, it’s synthetic.” Some products contain both.

Precautions When Talking Brain Health Supplements

The side effects of the unregulated memory supplements market are not well documented. However, from what information is available, they range from mild (e.g., nausea from gingko biloba) to severe. In regard to vitamin E, for instance, a 2005 study (7) raised concerns about an increased risk of death in people who take high doses (> 400 IU/d).

In addition, many supplements interact with medications, often with dangerous results. Ginkgo biloba, for one, should never be paired with blood thinners, blood pressure medications or SSRI antidepressants. If you have an ongoing health condition, always consult a physician before beginning a supplement regimen. Similarly, if you’re pregnant, you’ll want to check with your health care provider because you have different nutrient needs when you’re expecting.

Once your doctor green lights supplementation, it’s important to stick with the dosages on the label because, as LaVardera points out, “it is possible to overdose on any supplement or vitamin.” What’s more, she cautions that supplementation is not a substitute for a poor diet. “Nutrients in isolation don’t always have the same effect as nutrients in food,” she says. “Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and other healthful foods to get the majority of your nutrients, and use supplements to help you meet the recommended amounts.



13
AUG

Summer Drink Recipes to Keep You Cool and Healthy

Filed Under: Recipes,Superfoods,Supplements at 9:38 am | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at Terra Origin.

The summer heat is here, and this year it seems stronger than ever! It can be really tempting to grab sugary beverages to quench your thirst, but before you know it, the calories quickly add up and you haven’t had lunch yet! Lucky for us, Terra Origin offers two great summer drink recipes to cool you down and keep you healthy!

Cool Red Lemonade

This lemonade is a winner for any hot day spent soaking up the sun in your backyard. You can even blend it up and save it in the fridge for later. Surprise your guests with this low-sugar, high-nutrient alternative to a summer classic!

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Combine water, lemon juice, Reds Superfood Kiwi Strawberry in a blender and stir.
  • Add strawberries and kiwis and mix in or add to garnish the drink.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Choco Frappuccino

This is a morning treat that will cool you down and leave you full and energized for you day. The sugar content is extremely low compared to iced coffee beverages bought at coffee shops, so you won’t experience that glucose crash after.

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium-sized frozen banana
  • ½ tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 2 scoops Terra Origin Chocolate Bone Broth Protein
  • 1 cup cold coffee
  • ¼ cup vanilla soy or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Ice to the consistency you prefer

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Add all the ingredients to your blender and mix until it is smooth and frothy!
  • For an extra protein and flavor kick, you can add a tablespoon of almond butter, or the nut butter of your choice. If you want a touch of healthy fats, bullet proof it with two tablespoons of coconut oil!
  • Top your frappuccino with cocoa nibs, shredded coconut or a dusting of cinnamon.

Enjoy a chill summer!



10
AUG

How to Make Chocolate Keto Pancakes in Under 15 Minutes

Filed Under: Recipes,Supplements at 9:30 am | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at Kiss My Keto.

Just because you’re on a keto diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some chocolate-flavored pancakes. Made with coconut and almond flours and enriched with chocolate-flavored collagen peptides, these chocolate keto pancakes are both keto-approved and delicious. They’re also incredibly light and fluffy—as pancakes should be.

Making them is also easy. All you need to do is follow the recipe instructions below (or watch the tutorial) and you’ll have 22 pancakes ready in just 15 minutes. You can even freeze any leftover pancakes for up to a week.

Chocolate Keto Pancakes Recipe

To make these keto chocolate pancakes, you will need a non-stick frying pan, some clarified butter or oil for frying, and 15 minutes of your time.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Servings: 22 pancakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk*
  • 2 tablespoons erythritol**
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almond flour***
  • 2 tablespoons Keto Protein Chocolate Flavor Powder

DIRECTIONS:

  • Lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Add the protein powder after you’ve whisked the other ingredients for easier blending. Your batter should be the consistency of typical pancake batter—not too thick or too runny.
  • Preheat a greased frying pan over low to medium-low heat. Drop a dollop of batter onto the pan until it forms a circle. Wait for bubbles to form on top and flip the pancake. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the other side has lightly browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  • Serve warm with a rich topping such as butter, cream or sugar-free syrup!

RECIPE NOTES:

* Use coconut milk or other keto-friendly dairy substitutes if you don’t have almond milk.

** Substitute erythritol with stevia or another sugar-free sweetener of your liking. You may also skip the sweetener if you’re using Kiss My Keto’s protein powder, as it already has stevia in it.

*** Use blanched and finely ground almond flour for best results.

Chocolate Keto Pancakes Nutrition Facts

These keto pancakes are relatively low in calories but rich in healthful nutrients. If you eat just two of these 3-inch pancakes, you get around 120 calories. If you add a topping, such as butter or sugar-free syrup, you get an additional 40 calories. Their keto macros per two pancakes look like this:

  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Net carbs: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams

Besides these wonderful keto macros, you get plenty of vitamins and minerals from these flapjacks. They’re exceptionally rich in vitamin E from the almond milk and flour. They also provide the daily requirements for vitamin A, iron, zinc, calcium, selenium, folate and other essential vitamins and minerals.

These pancakes can make a great addition to your daily keto meal plan. On a keto diet, you need to eat 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbohydrates. How much of each macro you should eat exactly depends on factors like weight, age, physical activity and dieting goals. Use Kiss My Keto’s keto calculator to get your personalized daily macros and see how these pancakes fit into your daily meal plan.



8
AUG

The 6 Best Probiotic Foods and Their Benefits

Filed Under: Health Foods,Immunity,Nutrition,Supplements at 11:42 am | By: Theodore Loftus
kefir yogurt

When was the last time you thought about the bacteria in your stomach? Probably the last time you came down with a case of food poisoning, right? Well, it’s time to start thinking about what’s going on in your gut more often. That’s because science is unlocking secrets about the powerful connection between the health of the bacteria in your digestive system and your general health.

Good news: If you follow a few simple rules, you can boost your good bacteria (also called probiotics), which may lead to a stronger immune system, a trimmer waistline and improved digestion.

Don’t worry, learning about probiotics is way more fun than coming down with food poisoning.

Promise.

What Are Probiotics and How Do They Work?

Think of your digestive system as a game of checkers. Let’s say you’re playing as the black pieces. Those pieces are the good guys. The red pieces, by default, are the bad guys. And so greater the number of black pieces and the fewer the number of red pieces on the board, the greater the chance you have of pulling off a win.

The same goes for your digestive health. Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, are the good guys. The more you have—and the less bad bacteria you have—the more likely you might be to have success with weight loss, digestive issues and other health problems.

You’re probably most familiar with probiotics because of yogurt. Bacteria helps yogurt ferment, giving it that slightly sour yet pleasant taste. Though there are numerous types of probiotics (bifidobacteria, saccharomyces boulardii, bacillus coagulans and other fun names), yogurt manufacturers commonly use the lactobacillus strain in production.

That said, yogurt isn’t the only game in town when it comes to foods with good sources of the beneficial bacteria. Here are some more probiotic foods you may not know.

6 Best Probiotic Foods 

Kefir

Okay, okay, so it’s also referred to as “drinkable yogurt,” but you should include this probiotic-loaded beverage in your diet even if you already eat yogurt. First off, you don’t need a spoon to consume it, and it’s a great base for shakes and smoothies (just substitute it for milk). Second, like milk and yogurt, it’s also a good source of calcium and protein. Oh, and look for unsweetened varieties. “Some kefirs are super high in sugar, so choose one with as little sugar as possible,” says Abby Langer, a registered dietitian and owner of Abby Langer Nutrition in Toronto. “Also, choose one with a high probiotic count—the highest one you can find.”

Kimchi

This fermented Korean condiment is made from cabbage and can contain ginger, garlic, chile peppers, radishes and other ingredients. Some varieties are spicier than others, but you’ll always taste a tanginess, which comes from the fermentation. Kimchi may help contribute to weight loss and delay the effects of aging, the latter likely due to its antioxidant properties, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology (1). Try some chopped and scrambled into eggs or atop steak tacos.

Sauerkraut

Like kimchi, this condiment also derives its probiotic powers from fermented cabbage. It’s important, however, that you’re eating real-deal sauerkraut, not the shelf-stable supermarket kind in a can. “Unfortunately, the pasteurization process kills off good bacteria,” Langer says. “Try to find fresh sauerkraut. It’s usually sold in delis.” Yes, kraut is great with bratwurst, but it also works well with the flavors of lighter dishes, such as roasted turkey wraps, grilled chicken or homemade coleslaw. Bonus: Two tablespoons of the stuff contain only five calories.

Kombucha

This bubbly, buzz-worthy drink is technically a fermented tea that’s made with probiotic strains of bacteria and yeasts. Sounds gross? The flavor is actually mellower than you might think and, when chilled, it’s refreshing. The antioxidants within kombucha may have the ability to fight bad bacteria, according to a 2016 lab study published by Indian researchers (2), though more research is needed to prove an effect in humans.

Miso

You know this stuff as the primary flavoring to miso soup, but the fermented (seeing a trend here?) soybean paste tastes great in other dishes too. One warning: “If you add it to boiling water, the heat will destroy the good bacteria. Instead, let the water cool a bit before adding the miso if you’re making soup, or use miso paste in salad dressings and other cold sauces,” Langer says. Not only does miso contain probiotics, but soy products in general may help battle diabetes. Study participants who took in more isoflavones, a compound found in miso, tofu and soy milk, had an 11 percent less risk of Type 2 diabetes than participants who ate little, found a 2016 Harvard study (3).

Natto

If you think you’re the master of all things fermented foods, if you believe that there’s no funky-tasting flavor you can’t handle, well, then natto is for you. This fermented bean dish looks a little like it’s been covered in stringy snot and smells a lot like stinky feet. It’s loaded with probiotics, but it’s most definitely an acquired taste.

Probiotic-Enhanced Products

Aside from fermented foods, probiotics can also be found these days in packaged snacks like granola, popcorn and chocolate, as well as in beverages like sparkling water and tea. Unless the probiotic quantity is listed on the nutrition label, however, it’s difficult to determine the potential health benefits of probiotic-enhanced foods and drinks. Probiotic supplements and foods naturally rich in probiotics are likely a surer bet.

Other surprising places probiotics are popping up include face creams, body lotions and deodorants. While there is evidence that probiotic-enhanced skincare products can help restore balance and promote the growth of good bacteria on the skin, the jury is still out on the benefits of probiotic deodorants.

When Should You Take Probiotic Supplements?

The study of probiotics is still evolving in the scientific community, and you won’t find a daily recommended value on your cup of yogurt any time soon either. So until researchers have a better understanding of these beneficial bacteria, don’t put your digestive system under duress eating mounds of fermented foods. Just try to eat a little more. All the foods above aren’t just great sources of probiotics, they’re also just generally great for you.

That said, if you’re suffering from digestive issues, need additional help losing weight or are worried about your immune system, the topic of taking a probiotic supplement may come up. Before doing so, please check with your doctor before purchasing any product. The FDA has not approved any probiotics for preventing or treating any health problem, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And, because there are so many different strains of even the same type of bacteria, it’s tough to tell which supplements are most effective.

“Because probiotics work beyond the stomach, you also want to ensure that the probiotic you choose has been formulated to survive the acidic environment of the stomach so they make it to the right location in the gut to have an effect,” says Langer.

Your doctor will know best.

See Also:

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7
AUG

The Definitive Guide to Cooking Oils

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition at 10:27 am | By: Aly Semigran
cooking oil

When it comes to cooking oils, there is a whole world beyond olive oil. But with so many different options to choose from, how do you know which one to reach for?

While some oils are considered all-purpose, good for sautéing, roasting and more, other varieties are more suitable for salad dressings and marinades. And once you throw smoke points into the equation, it can get pretty overwhelming.

What’s a smoke point, exactly? Something pretty serious, actually. “When an oil is heated above its natural limit, it starts to break down and become oxidized,” explains Liz McKinney, a certified nutritionist at the Counseling & Wellness Center of Pittsburgh. “Oxidation causes free radical production, which damages our cells and can even promote cancerous cell formation.”

When you exceed the smoke point, it’s not only bad for the body upon ingestion, but it can burn the oils, making them taste bad, adds Erin Peisach, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in San Diego, California. “Unsaturated fats are quite fragile,” she says.

That’s where storage of your cooking oils becomes a key element, too. Since light can promote oxidation, McKinney advises keeping oils in dark glass bottles and storing them in a cool, dry, dark place.

From preparation to overall health benefits, here’s everything you need to know about some of the most popular cooking oils out there.

7 Popular Cooking Oils

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A personal favorite of many, including Peisach, the heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants and healthy fats. “It’s one of the highest in monounsaturated fats and doesn’t require chemical or high-heat extraction processes, which can damage the oil,” Peisach says.

A major component in a Mediterranean-style diet, extra virgin olive oil can be used as a dipping oil (hello, bread!) or as a key ingredient in a vinaigrette. It should not be heated past 320 degrees (you can use light olive oil for high-heat cooking). If you don’t love the taste of olive oil, Peisach suggests swapping it with the more neutral tasting avocado oil.

Avocado Oil

This superstar oil is “packed with monounsaturated fats,” McKinney says. With a smoke point of about 520 degrees, avocado oil is equally ideal for sautéing, roasting and searing as it is for dressings and dips.

Coconut Oil

“Primarily a saturated fat and solid at room temperature, coconut oil is an amazing source of caprylic acid, which promotes ketone production, increases HDL cholesterol, promotes brain health and has powerful antimicrobial and antifungal properties,” McKinney raves. With a smoke point of 350 degrees, coconut oil is ideal for frying, baking and sautéing.

However, if you’re not a fan of the taste of coconut, seek out a coconut oil that is refined, as it has a more neutral flavor.

Sesame Oil

Unrefined sesame oil has a smoke point of 350 degrees and should be used sparingly in dishes like stir fries and salads. That’s because it has a high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, which McKinney says “can promote inflammation and damage cells.” (The ideal ratio is 1:1, she says.)

Sunflower Oil

Like sesame oil, sunflower oil should be used sparingly, McKinney says, as it also has a high omega-6/omega-3 ratio. With a smoke point of 440 degrees, it can be used for frying and baking, as well as drizzled on salads.

Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil is best when used on salads, McKinney says, as it has a low smoke point of 225 degrees. “Flaxseeds are a good source of an omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid, which is important for brain health, but it also contains a good amount of omega-6s, so proceed with caution,” McKinney says.

Almond Oil

Almond oil is another good source of monounsaturated fat, McKinney says. With a 420 degree smoke point, it’s ideal for frying, roasting and baking, as well as in cold preparations, such as homemade butters and salad dressings.

Cooking Oils to Avoid

“Oil is part of a healthy, balanced diet, but it’s important to avoid highly processed pro-inflammatory oils,” Peisach advises.

“As a general rule, avoid most vegetable oils,” McKinney adds. “Vegetable oils have a higher omega-6 content to omega-3 content and promote inflammation.”

Oils to use with caution or to avoid using on a daily basis include soybean oil, peanut oils, corn oil, grape seed oil and safflower oil, McKinney says.

What to Consider When Buying Cooking Oils

When shopping for cooking oils, McKinney recommends people look for “organic, non-GMO, cold pressed or centrifuge extracted and unrefined” varieties.

Cold pressed, Peisach explains, “implies a colder temperature was used during the extraction process, which helps retain the oil’s natural properties compared to high-heat extraction that can change the quality of the oil.”

This means that the oil was “not extracted from chemically treated or genetically modified crops, and was not processed at a high heat, which can cause rancidity and oxidation,” McKinney adds. (These can include expeller-pressed oils, which were made via a mechanical oil extraction process, Peisach explains.)

And what’s the difference between refined and unrefined oils? “Refined oils are less nutrient dense than unrefined oils, but when cooking at higher heats, refined oils are a better choice since they have a higher smoke point,” McKinney says.

“When consuming oils and foods that are in the right form, with the nutrient preserving extraction process, our food becomes a kind of therapy and truly nourishes us,” McKinney concludes.



3
AUG

Why We Need Fermentation Now More Than Ever 

Filed Under: Health Aids,Nutrition,Superfoods,Supplements at 10:12 am | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at Genuine Health.

Fermentation’s popularity is growing in culinary and nutritional circles, but it’s been around since the Neolithic Age. We have our ancestors to thank for learning to harness the process, eventually mastering methods to improve the nutrition of their foods, not to mention the taste and more practical aspects like food preservation. Traditional techniques took time, as microbes and enzymes slowly worked in converting carbohydrates in foods to organic acids and/or alcohol—improving their digestibility and nutritional value in the process.

Why We Should Care About Fermentation

But why should we care about fermentation now? Here are just a few reasons:

  • The Standard North American (SAD) diet of processed and refined food is severely lacking in essential nutrients.
  • Industrial agriculture has depleted soil of both nutrients and beneficial bacteria, and transporting food over long distances further reduces nutrient potency.
  • A cultural fear of bacteria, heavy reliance on antibiotics and rampant use of chemical cleansers has resulted in over-sanitization.
  • This trifecta has damaged our food supply, our digestive health and the essential bacteria in and on our bodies—our microbiome—resulting in the rise of dietary sensitivities, allergies, digestive issues and chronic disease in our culture.

Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

With fermentation, you nourish more, digest more and absorb more. Cultured foods may be (very) old news, but how they can nourish us is being brought to light. Research is revealing a significant range of health benefits from fermented foods, in how their unique properties are of enormous benefit to our nourishment and gut ecology, aiding in the prevention of disease by:

  • Partially breaking foods down to rid them of “anti-nutrients”—physical or chemical features that inhibit nutrient absorption, thus readying them for effective human digestion
  • Increasing food’s bioavailability by “unlocking” vitamins, minerals, amino acids and carbohydrates
  • Amplifying the nutritional value of foods by increasing and even generating nutrients
  • Improving digestive health by supporting a strong gut ecology, helping allergies, food sensitivities, weight management, inflammation, skin health, mood and immunity

How to Get the Most Out of Fermentation

While traditional diets were up to 30 percent fermented, in today’s world, it’s not very realistic for it to make up that much of your diet. Some fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and natural sourdough breads can be incorporated into your diet for a dose of fermented fare, but supplementation is an easy and time-efficient way to increase your intake.

In fact, the plant and whole-food based ingredients used in high-quality fermented supplements have been shown to provide specific health benefits. For instance, fermentation intensifies the strength of phytonutrients in superfood supplements, increasing their ability to neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body.

Do vegan or dairy-based protein supplements leave you feeling bloated? If so, select a fully-fermented version, which renders the proteins more tolerable with no bloat. Lastly, seek out unique ingredients, such as VitaFiber, a fully fermented prebiotic fiber that helps to feed your friendly gut bacteria.

So there you have it. If you want to absorb maximum nutrients from your food, support digestion and satisfy your beneficial microbes without the bloat, fermentation is the way to go!



2
AUG

4 Best Shampoos for Dry Hair

Filed Under: Beauty,Personal Care at 3:27 pm | By: Madeline Reiss

Dry, damaged hair certainly doesn’t inspire confidence. Trying to restore luster and shine to dull, lifeless locks can be a frustrating endeavor, especially with a market flooded with shampoos and hair care products all promising moisture and hydration. It’s easy to get caught in what feels like an endless cycle of trial and error.

Even in the natural hair care world, products can do more harm than good if you aren’t using one formulated with the best ingredients for your hair type. So before you start browsing shampoos for dry hair, it’s a good idea to examine what might be causing your dry hair in the first place.

Common Causes of Dry Hair

While hair texture and oil production vary from person to person, chronically dry hair is not a “type” and usually signifies damage. Your current hair care practices could be exacerbating the issue.

“How often you wash your hair should be based on how much oil your scalp produces,” the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends (1). Oily hair can benefit from daily washing, but if your hair is dry or chemically treated, you might want to skip a day or two between washes.

How you clean your hair is just as important as frequency. “When washing your hair, concentrate on cleaning primarily the scalp, rather than washing the entire length of hair,” the AAD suggests (2). “Washing only your hair can create flyaway hair that is dull and coarse.” In addition, always condition your hair after every shampoo. The AAD advises only using conditioner on the tips of the hair and not on the scalp or length of the hair, since conditioners can make fine hair look limp.

The dermatology group also cites other common practices that damage hair, such as frequent heat styling, over brushing and tugging at the hair, tight hairstyles that pull at the hairline, and towel-drying wet hair.

Your outward appearance is also a reflection of your nutrition. “Diet is a major contributing factor to the condition of your hair, skin and nails, and if you’re on point with your nutrition, natural beauty usually follows,” according to the Mayo Clinic (3).

4 Best Shampoos for Dry Hair

Since the goal of shampoo is to remove dirt and impurities, it can be one of the more drying products in a hair care regimen. Our in-house beauty experts hand-picked the best natural shampoos for dry hair that gently clean without stripping away natural moisture:

1). Acure Mega Moisture Argan Oil & Pumpkin Shampoo

This hydrating shampoo uses ultra-nourishing argan and pumpkin seed oil to leave hair silky and shiny. Pumpkin seed oil is rich in zinc, magnesium and calcium—all key nutrients that promote healthy hair. Argan oil contains antioxidants, linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids. When applied externally, it can help boost cell production, resulting in a healthier scalp and hair.

2). Nature’s Gate Shampoo for Thin/Dry Hair

This moisturizing shampoo gently cleanses with a unique blend of jojoba oil, sacred lotus and horsetail extract. Jojoba mimics sebum, the oil produced by our skin naturally, making it a great option for adding hydration to hair. Horsetail contains the mineral silica, which strengthens hair strands, while lotus flower deeply conditions and adds shine.

3). Alba Botanica Hawaiian Hair Wash with Coconut Milk

Made with nourishing coconut milk, an ingredient abundant with natural antiseptic fatty acids, this dry hair shampoo, with the help of papaya fruit, gently removes impurities without over-drying. Coconut milk seals in moisture to help reduce breakage. Bonus: it smells good enough to eat!

4). Desert Essence Coconut Shampoo

Infused with organic coconut oil, this nourishing shampoo provides intense moisture, smooths frizz and restore hair’s natural luster. With continued use, this shampoo can help hair look revived, strong and healthy.

Other Ways to Prevent Dry Hair

In addition to choosing the right shampoo for your hair, finding a high-quality, natural hair mask could help improve the texture of dry, damaged hair over time. Here are two our beauty experts highly recommend:

Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Mask

This deep moisturizing hair mask promises to deliver salon-quality results. It uses nourishing avocado oil and olive oil to replenish dull, lifeless, brittle hair. It also helps repair extreme damage and prevent splits and breaks. After shampooing, massage into hair from root to tip and wait 3-10 minutes before washing out.

St. Tropica Organic Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask

Made with virgin coconut oil and biotin, this hot oil hair mask can help fortify hair and reduce damage to promote thick, lustrous locks. It’s infused with horsetail, amla, hibiscus and green tea—superfoods renowned for their hair-health-boosting properties. To use, warm up the mask for 20 seconds, then apply all over your hair and scalp.

Pro Hair Care Tips

  • Use a light amount of hair oil serum on the length of your hair before blow-drying or any other heat-related hair styling method. This helps seal the hair cuticle and provides an extra layer of moisture so the heat styling doesn’t damage the ends.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner and let hair air dry in the summer months to lock-in some extra moisture.
  • Avoid abrasive ingredients like sulfates, alcohols and artificial fragrances in your products.
  • Beauty starts from within! Getting proper nutrition is key to looking great naturally.



1
AUG

4 Gluten-Free Baking Secrets

Filed Under: Gluten Free,Recipes at 12:21 pm | By: Maggie Marton

Do you want to bake gluten-free goodies but get stuck on the substitutions? Have you tried baking without gluten but couldn’t get the right texture or flavor?

Gluten, a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, gives foods their shape and structure. It helps dough rise and provides that delightfully chewy texture that we all love in baked goods. Recreating those sensations without gluten takes some finesse and, unfortunately, often results in crumbling cookies or heavy hunks of cake.

It’s true: Baking without gluten can feel challenging. But, it doesn’t have to be!

You can successfully bake gluten-free treats at home without sacrificing flavor or texture, assures Shelly Henley, owner of No Label at the Table Food Company in Carmel, Indiana.

Henley created the entirely gluten- and dairy-free bakery to help her son, who is on the autism spectrum, achieve his dreams in the food industry. The company provides employment opportunities and job skills training for people with autism.

Henley’s son has been on a gluten- and casein-free diet since he was a toddler. “Eighteen years ago, no one knew what gluten-free was, so I pulled him up on the kitchen island and we baked,” she recalls. “Baking and cooking are process-driven. You follow the steps and in the end, you get a yummy reward. It’s very satisfying work for him.”

4 Keys to Successful Gluten-Free Baking

Here are some of Henley’s best tips to take the stress out of gluten-free baking:

Convert Recipes to Gluten-Free

The trick to successful gluten-free baking isn’t just to swap one flour for another. Instead, to compensate for gluten’s job of helping dough rise, it takes some additions. While you can find gobs of gluten-free recipes on Pinterest, you might want to convert one of your non-GF faves. There are handy conversion charts on the internet. We like this one because it explains the science and math behind the conversions (and includes a tasty cookie recipe at the end).

Use the Right Ingredients

Not all flours are gluten-free, of course. Beyond the obvious white and wheat flours, some others to avoid include flour made from barley, rye and spelt. For guidance, check out this list of the best gluten-free flours and other baking ingredients. Remember, though, that you can’t swap a gluten flour for a GF flour without some additional conversions.

Some gluten-free mixes are available to take care of those substitutions and conversions for you, but they’re not always a seamless replacement, depending on what you’re making. You may have to trial-and-error your favorite recipes with some of the pre-made mixes available.

Let Your Dough Rest

Allow your dough to take its time before you bake, and you’ll end up happier with the texture and consistency of your treat. “A good tip is to hydrate your doughs,” Henley says. “If you make a batter or dough, let it sit for 20 or 30 minutes. Gluten-free flours need more time to take in the fats and liquids of the recipes.”

Henley also finds that coddling the eggs helps with the process. “Remember in your chemistry class in school, you learned reactions happen faster at higher temperatures. Baking is science, molecular gastronomy.”

Know When to Give Up

Perhaps Henley’s best advice involves giving up. “Give up on trying to buy the perfect blend of GF flour,” she says. “There’s not one. You’ll always need to substitute a couple flours to get your desired result. Breads will need more protein. Cakes more starch.”

Maybe even more important is giving up the idea that you are living without something, Henley says. “Don’t try to recreate your old diet. It was probably making you sick anyway. When you focus on what you can have versus what is off limits, the whole world opens for you.”

Ready to master the art form of gluten-free baking? Check out our 7 Essentials for the Gluten-Free Baker.



31
JUL

Nice Cream Recipe: Mango Nice Cream

Filed Under: Health Foods,Recipes at 3:47 pm | By: Monica Leigh Barnes
Nice Cream Recipe Mango

Life is entirely too short to skip ice cream altogether. But hey, it doesn’t have to leave you filled with guilt of “Why did I eat that?” I’ve got you covered with this nice cream recipe. I’m telling you, you can eat an unlimited serving of “nice” cream, so I recommend taking this recipe and doubling it.  

What Is Nice Cream?

“Nice” cream is your friend.

It’s made without:

  • Dairy
  • Artificial flavors
  • Added sweeteners 
  • Preservatives

It’s actually the most perfect food because it takes like dessert but it’s made with fruit—that’s it.  

Be forewarned, you might feel like you’re indulging in something naughty and delicious, but this is a completely guilt-free, cruelty-free, and plant-based treat. It also contains a total of three ingredients: mango, dates, and a plant-based milk of your choice.  

I recommend using an unsweetened, preferably homemade, milk to keep this recipe super clean.

The Benefits of Mango

Mango, my summer secret weapon (also used in my Detox + Chill smoothie), is so creamy and smooth so it offers up a consistency similar to ice cream. Unlike dairy, mangoes offer a variety of health benefits and an abundance of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.  Mangoes have been shown to alkalize the body, lower cholesterol, clear skin, and improve eye health. Can your ice cream do that? I didn’t think so.

Mango Nice Cream Recipe 

Serves 4 (Remember what I said about eating it all on your own? That’s 100% allowed.)

YOU WILL NEED:

  • High speed blender
  • Tamper (helpful for thick mixtures by pushing the mixture down while blending)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Cups Frozen Mango
  • 2 Pitted Dates
  • ¼ cup favorite plant milk (I love cashew milk, unsweetened)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Place all the ingredients in your high speed blender.
  • Blend until you get a smooth and creamy consistency. Use the tamper stick to press down the mixture. Make sure to not over process; I like mine with small mango and date pieces.   
  • Serve immediately and top with your favorite toppings.  My favorites include: chia seeds, almond butter, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, and granola.  

Enjoy, and seriously, don’t share if you don’t have to.



31
JUL

Navitas Organics Peruvian Superfood Chocolate Mousse

Filed Under: Recipes,Superfoods at 2:38 pm | By: Guest Blogger

Recipe provided by our friends at Navitas Organics

Who doesn’t love a light and airy, delicious dessert?! This Peruvian-inspired chocolate mousse is an antioxidant-packed powerhouse loaded with traditional ingredients and adaptogenic properties that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

INGREDIENTS

3 Cans full-fat Coconut Milk (refrigerated)
1/3 Cup Navitas Organics Cacao Powder
2 tsp Navitas Organics Gelatinized Maca Powder
2 tsp Honey
Sea Salt
1 Pint Raspberries
Optional: Shaved Chocolate or Navitas Organics Cacao Nibs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Scoop the thick cream from the top of the canned coconut milk and place in a large bowl or stand-mixer, discarding the liquid.
  2. Next, using a stand-mixer or a hand-mixer, begin to whip the coconut milk until it becomes light and airy, and takes on the consistency of whipped cream.
  3. Remove roughly 1/3 of your whipped coconut milk and place it in a separate bowl to the side.
  4. Next, add the Cacao Powder, Maca Powder, honey and sea salt.
  5. Gently fold the Cacao Powder into the mixture before whipping again.
  6. Once fully combined, scoop your chocolate mousse into individual serving dishes and top with the whipped coconut milk you reserved to the side.
  7. Top with berries and shaved chocolate or Cacao Nibs and enjoy!

Makes 3-4 Servings



31
JUL

8 Best Vitamins and Supplements for Hair Loss

Filed Under: Nutrition,Personal Care,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 1:57 pm | By: Jodi Helmer

Finding a few strands of hair in your hairbrush or circling the drain is no big deal. You naturally shed between 50 and 100 strands of hair every day; more hair loss could be the sign of a problem—and nutrient deficiencies could be to blame.

Hair loss is common. By age 50, almost 85 percent of men experience thinning hair and hair loss (1); and women make up 40 percent of hair loss sufferers (2), according to the American Hair Loss Association.

8 Vitamins and Supplements for Hair Loss

If you experience hair loss, make an appointment with your health care provider to assess the underlying causes and determine whether one of these eight vitamins or supplements for hair loss could help bulk up your tresses:

Iron

An absence of this essential mineral impacts the hair follicle, impeding hair growth. Pre- and post-menopausal women are at highest risk of iron deficiencies; those with celiac disease and vegans and vegetarians can also lack sufficient iron (3).

While insufficient iron is common, eating iron-rich foods like beef, chicken, tofu, beans, lentils and leafy greens such as spinach can help reverse deficiencies and restore hair growth. Pairing iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C can help enhance iron absorption (4). Iron supplements are also available.

“In some women, iron levels are normal but their ferritin [the protein that stores iron in the tissues] can be low, so we might need to dig a little deeper and check ferritin levels, too,” notes naturopath Lauren Deville, founder of Nature Cure Family Health and author of How To Be Healthy: Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Biotin

This water-soluble vitamin, also known as vitamin B7, is ubiquitous in hair products; too little biotin is associated with brittle hair and hair loss. Research published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that oral biotin supplements helped promote significant hair growth in women with thinning hair (5). Foods like organ meat, fish, eggs, avocado and mushrooms are also good sources of biotin.

“Everyone who comes to see me about hair loss is taking biotin,” Deville says. “But people typically aren’t taking enough. I usually recommended taking 10,000 mcg. If you’re not taking at least that much, it won’t do anything.”

Niacin

A lack of this B vitamin weakens hair structure and impacts hair growth. Niacin deficiencies are linked to alopecia, one cause of sudden hair loss (6). Although there are no known studies on the serum niacin levels in women with hair loss (7), women with thinning hair due to alopecia reported significant increases in hair fullness after using topical niacin for six months, according to research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (8).

Fish Oil

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help nourish hair, making it thicker and shinier. Taking a fish oil supplement can help reduce hair loss, increase hair growth and boost hair density and the diameter of the hair shaft, according to research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (9).

In addition to fish oil supplements, Blake recommends fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel as excellent sources of omega-3s; vegetarians can opt to add eggs and walnuts to their diets to boost their intake of these essential fatty acids.

Zinc

In addition to promoting hair follicle development, zinc also helps synthesize proteins, improving hair growth. Too little zinc is associated with brittle hair and temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium or TE (10). In one study, patients with hair loss, including TE, had lower serum zinc levels (11); research showed that daily oral zinc supplements of 50 milligrams helped with hair regrowth (12).  

Vegetarians and vegans are at higher risk of zinc deficiencies than carnivores because animal products, including meat, are excellent sources of zinc. Moreover, legumes and whole grains that are the staples of plant-based diets can inhibit absorption of the essential nutrient, according to Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian nutritionist and clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University.

Before taking a supplement, get tested for zinc deficiencies. Too much zinc can cause toxic effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, headache and reduced immune function (13).

Vitamin D

This vitamin helps with hair follicle cycling, ensuring that healthy new strands of hair continue growing. Deville calls vitamin D one of the common macronutrient deficiencies that lead to hair loss.

One very small study found that women with TE and female pattern hair loss had significantly lower levels of serum vitamin D2 (14). The researchers recommended screening for vitamin D2 levels and supplementation to correct deficiencies as treatment for hair loss.

Those who are dark skinned or obese are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency (15); a lack of sun exposure is also linked with too little of the so-called sunshine vitamin.

Protein

Hair is made up of proteins; the nutrient is also essential for the production of keratin, which supports the structure of the hair, so it would make sense that a low protein diet would be linked with hair loss. Protein deficiencies could impact hair growth; malabsorption issues that make it difficult to absorb nutrients like protein could also cause hair thinning or hair loss, notes Blake.

Research shows that in the absence of documented protein deficiencies, limited evidence exists on the connection between protein supplementation or protein powder and hair regrowth (16).

Saw Palmetto 

Although the internet has called the medicinal plant a miracle tonic for hair growth, peer-reviewed research on the impact of using tablets, liquid extracts or powdered capsules to spur hair regrowth is limited. One small study on men with androgenic alopecia, hair loss on the front and top of the head, found that applying topical saw palmetto increased total hair count by almost 12 percent (17).

Hair Loss Remedies: Precautions

Although nutrient deficiencies can be a major contributor to hair loss, Deville notes that occurrences are rare in developed nations—and taking the wrong supplements could worsen hair loss. Studies show that too much vitamin A and E are linked with worsening hair loss (18). Before taking supplements for hair loss, consult with a health care provider to determine the root cause of thinning hair or hair loss.

For some common causes of hair loss, including hyperthyroidism and elevated androgen levels, taking a supplement is not enough to trigger regrowth. If supplements could be beneficial, your health care provider can help make recommendations based on your health history so you can restore your lush locks safely.



31
JUL

Navitas Organics Chocolate Goji Granola

Filed Under: Recipes,Superfoods at 1:42 pm | By: Guest Blogger

Recipe provided by our friends at Navitas Organics

This satisfying, chocolaty treat packs a serious crunch and loads of healthy fats, omega-3s and protein from the varied nuts, seeds and superfoods. Great on its own, on-the-go or topped over your cereal or oatmeal!

INGREDIENTS 

2 cups Sliced Raw Almonds
2 cups Raw Pecans
1 cup Raw Walnuts
1 cup Navitas Organics Coconut Hemp Pumpkin Seeds
3 Tbsp Navitas Organics Chia Seeds
1 tsp Ground Cardamom
1/4 cup Navitas Organics Cacao Powder
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
4 Tbsp Coconut Oil
4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
½ cup Medjool Dates, seeded and chopped
½ cup Dried Cherries
¼ cup Navitas Organics Goji Berries

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the nuts, seeds, cardamom, Cacao Powder, and salt.
  3. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla, pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, add dried cherries, dates and Goji Berries and stir.
  5. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  6. Once the granola is visibly browned, remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  7. Store in an air-tight glass container in a dry, cool place. For maximum freshness use within 2 weeks.



31
JUL

Navitas Organics Acai Berry Jam

Filed Under: Recipes,Superfoods at 12:19 pm | By: Guest Blogger

Recipe provided by our friends at Navitas Organics

This jam acts just like boysenberry preserves‚ yet is dense with nutrition‚ low in sugar‚ full of whole superfoods‚ and completely unprocessed. Featuring two all-star superfoods – acai and chia – it’s a fantastic way to sneak extra antioxidants‚ essential fatty acids‚ and vital micronutrients into any diet.

For a stronger fruity taste‚ mix in ¼ cup muddled fresh berries (like strawberries or blackberries) before serving. Use on bread‚ with muffins‚ on top of desserts‚ or enjoy a spoonful solo with zero guilt!

INGREDIENTS

½ cup Apple Juice
2 Tbsp Navitas Organics Acai Powder
2 Tbsp Navitas Organics Chia Seeds
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix together the chia seeds with the apple juice in a small bowl or glass and let sit for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring once.
  2. After the chia has gelatinized, mix in the acai powder, maple syrup, and lemon juice.
  3. For best results, allow mixture to set for 30 minutes before serving. Will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.