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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.



31
JUL

Vegan, Nut-Free, Golden Milk Overnight Oats

Filed Under: Recipes,Superfoods at 10:22 am | By: Madeline Reiss

You’ve heard of the health-boosting elixir golden milk—now you can have it for breakfast! This recipe uses Elmhurst Oat Milk to create a delicious dairy-free, nut-free, easy-to-make overnight oats, packed with the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric. Elmhurst uses zero artificial flavors or colors to create their deliciously creamy oat milk. It’s certified non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free and perfectly compliments the flavor of these golden oats!

INGREDIENTS

½ cup rolled oats-
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch salt
Pinch black pepper
½ cup Elmhurst Oat Milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (from the oats to the black pepper) until combined.
  2. Add in the oat milk and maple syrup and mix well.
  3. Place the mixture in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. In the morning, add on whatever toppings you desire (or don’t!) and enjoy.



27
JUL

7 Essential Oils for Anxiety

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Mental Wellbeing at 9:59 am | By: Aly Semigran

Anxiety is everywhere and if it’s not affecting you, there’s a good chance it’s affecting someone you know. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States every year (1). That accounts for 18.1 percent of the population.

Those numbers in and of themselves are enough to cause you even more anxiety. Whether it’s work, relationships, the news or our genetics (or, for some folks, all of the above), no one is truly immune to anxiety.

Thankfully, natural remedies like essential oils can be used to help ease stress and anxiety. Let’s take a closer look at how chronic stress affects our health and some of the best essential oils for anxiety.

How Chronic Stress Affects Your Health

Clinical aromatherapist Amy Kreydin explains that human beings have two main processes when it comes to stressors: “We can be in an active state or a state of rest.” Or, in other words, “fight-or-flight and rest-or-digest.”

When we’re under chronic stress, Kreydin says, “We can’t tell the difference between big stressors or little stressors.” When those wires get crossed, you might start to react the same way to wildly different issues. (For instance, someone cutting in front of you in line at the grocery store could produce the same reaction as, say, getting into a car accident.)

“Internally, you may chemically produce the same volume of stress,” Kreydin says. This not only has a major impact on your mental health but also your physical health. “If you can’t get into the rest-and-digest mode, you’re getting bad sleep and a bad intake of your nutrition.” Since sleep and diet are an essential part of your health, being in constant fight-or-flight mode “has a snowball effect on the rest of your system,” Kreydin says.

Using Essential Oils for Anxiety

In order to combat anxiety and the many ways it can impact our overall well-being, essential oils for stress are proving to be a source of hope and major help.

“The ability of some essential oils to shift us out of that fight-or-flight and into rest-or-digest influences the chemical shift of the nervous system,” Kreydin says. The direct inhalation of certain essential oils draws them into the limbic part of the brain, where memory is stored and where actions (such as anxiety) are controlled.

By inhaling essential oils that best fit your profile (more on that in a bit), you can start to anchor a certain scent to a certain feeling. And, because these scents are going to the part of your brain where memory resides, you’ll associate that essential oil with a particular feeling.

“Let’s say you inhale a bit of lavender before bedtime. You start to train the brain that lavender is relaxing and it’s time to go to sleep,” Kreydin explains. She notes that you can also use essential oils during the day and pair them with a relaxing activity like meditation. “You are telling your brain, ‘OK, this is downtime.’”

It doesn’t have to be a once-a-day endeavor, either. In fact, it may be to your benefit to use essential oils as much as what works for you. “Just like we exercise our bodies, we can exercise our brain to relax, and integrating essential oils in intervals throughout the day can have a nice ripple effect,” Kreydin says.

7 Best Essential Oils for Anxiety

Whether you decide to visit an aromatherapist or figure out which scents work best on your own, here are seven of the best essential oils for anxiety:

Lavender

One of the most popular essential oils, particularly for stress and anxiety, lavender has been shown time and again to have relaxing effects on people (2). “Because it acts as a sedative, it tells the central nervous system it’s time to relax,” Kreydin explains. While lavender may not be the best option for daytime use in some people (it may trigger sleepiness), it’s a fast-acting essential oil for those who do benefit from it.

How to use it: Kreydin recommends using an aroma stick for lavender inhalation so that it doesn’t overpower entire spaces.

Ylang Ylang

An ideal essential oil if you’re feeling flustered, ylang ylang can help clear out the negative headspace you might be stuck in. In one study, subjects who applied ylang ylang oil rated themselves more calm and relaxed than subjects in the control group (3). Kreydin praises the “cooling effect” ylang ylang has on people, as well as its “affinity for liver energy, which is where we store our anger and frustration.”

How to use it: Since ylang ylang has a powerful floral fragrance, and too much can cause headaches, Kreydin recommends using an aroma stick over a diffuser.

Rose

Though rose is one of the more expensive essential oils, its therapeutic benefits make it worth every penny. A 2017 study observed that rose oil had physiological and psychological relaxation, analgesic and anti-anxiety effects (4). A highly recommended essential oil for women, particularly older women, Kreydin says it can do wonders for those going through menopause and the stressors that can come along with it. Plus, who doesn’t like to stop and, quite literally, smell the roses?

How to use it: Once again, Kreydin suggests an aroma stick over a diffuser when using rose.

Jasmine

When it comes to jasmine—a very floral scent—sometimes less is more. But jasmine offers unquestionable benefits for some people dealing with anxiety. Jasmine oil has a stimulating effect that could be useful for relieving depression and uplifting mood, one study found (5). In addition, jasmine has been revered for centuries for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (6). So, if your physical pain is causing stress, jasmine may be able to help with both issues! Because jasmine has such a strong scent, Kreydin suggests balancing it out with complementary scents like cedarwood or frankincense.

How to use it: As with other stronger scents, it’s best to dilute jasmine if using a diffuser, or use it in liberal doses with an aroma stick.

Peppermint

While peppermint may remind you of brushing your teeth, that might not actually be a bad thing, especially if you find yourself stuck in a negative headspace. Kreydin says that peppermint is as refreshing a scent as it is stimulating. In fact, some studies have found peppermint to enhance memory and increase alertness (7). For some users, peppermint awakens thoughts of, “this clears my brain and I feel good. I have a clean slate.” Peppermint has also demonstrated calming effects in combination with other essential oils. In a study on nursing students, subjects who inhaled a blend of lavender, peppermint, rosemary and clary sage aromas experienced lower levels of anxiety and perceived stress than the control group (8).

How to use it: Users can reap the benefits of peppermint via diffusers and massage oils, or by diluting it in a warm bath.

Petitgrain

Derived from the leaves and small twigs of the bitter orange tree, petitgrain oil has sedative and relaxant properties. A 2017 study suggested that inhaling petitgrain essential oil can improve workplace performance and reduce stress levels through balancing the autonomic nervous system (9). Petitgrain delivers more of a “green and grassy” scent, which Kreydin says is ideal for people who don’t react well to florals. Kreydin likes to mix petitgrain with a sweet and relaxing citrus, such as mandarin or tangerine, to give patients a calming and serene scent profile.

How to use it: Depending on how you respond to petitigrain and its complementary scents, you can put it in a diffuser before bed or use an aroma stick.

Neroli

While citrus scents can give some users a feeling of sunshine and happiness, others may feel overwhelmed by essential oils such as lemon or orange. (And overwhelmed definitely isn’t a feeling you want to have when you’re trying to de-stress.) This is where neroli, which comes from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, comes into play, Kreydin says. For those who respond well to it, neroli can pull double duty as a mood booster and a tension reliever. A 2014 study on postmenopausal women found that neroli oil may have potential as an effective intervention to reduce stress and improve the endocrine system (10).

How to use it: Neroli can be used via diffuser or directly on the skin, but Kreydin warns that the scent may still be too strong for some.

How to Choose an Essential Oil for Anxiety

If you’re a newcomer to the essential oils realm, it’s best to figure out which scents work best for you when you’re in a stress-free state. If you’re in a panic mode, you don’t know what your response is going to be. (For instance, if you’re panicking and a scent like lemon triggers an unpleasant memory, it could make it worse.)

When you’re feeling more even-keeled, do a test inhalation and see how the various essential oils make you feel. For many, it’s different from what they had initially expected, Kreydin says. If you’re used to synthetic scents (like those from candles or detergents), the actual scent may come off as too strong or even unpleasant to you.

That’s why booking an appointment with an aromatherapist may make the most scents— ahem, sense—when it comes to anti-anxiety essential oils and/or essential oil blends for anxiety.

Not only does this allow you to experience essential oils for anxiety in a controlled environment, but an aromatherapist is “someone who understands the chemistry of essential oils, which ones can and cannot interact with certain medications, and how your body will react with them,” Kreydin notes.



26
JUL

5 Natural Appetite Suppressants That Work

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Health Foods,Nutrition at 9:35 am | By: Michele Shapiro

Nobody wants to overeat, but stress, exhaustion, anger and other emotions can get the best of us. The result? The majority of adults are overweight or obese, thereby increasing the risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

When your stomach starts rumbling, ghrelin—known as the hunger hormone—is secreted. This sends “Feed me!” signals to the brain. Another hormone, leptin, is an appetite suppressor that tells your brain you’re full. But if you overeat on a regular basis, you can become inured to the power of leptin, so you continue to eat.

“Hunger hormones must be balanced by satiety hormones if wish not to be hungry or fatigued,” explains biochemist Barry Sears, best known for creating the Zone Diet.

What Are Appetite Suppressants?

For years, appetite suppressants in the form of pills, shakes and supplements have been sold both over-the-counter and by prescription for those who have lost touch with their leptin.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, medications classified as appetite suppressants act upon the body’s central nervous system, tricking the body into believing that it’s not hungry (1). Some examples of prescription appetite suppressants include: benzphetamine, diethylpropion, mazindol and phentermine. These medications generally come in the form of tablets or extended-release capsules.

While the pills sound like a magic bullet for getting rid of those excess pounds, the drugs’ effects tend to wear off after a few weeks. They also can have side effects, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, constipation and insomnia.

“Certain foods are a much better way to control appetite than appetite suppressants,” says Julene Stassou, a registered dietitian based in Fort Lee, New Jersey. “These foods create a feeling of satiety that lasts longer than a pill, without the side effects.”

By eating right and staying active, you’re far more likely to keep your weight—as well as the emotions that lead to overeating—at bay. Here are five R.D.-approved foods for staving off hunger naturally.

5 Best Natural Appetite Suppressants

Almonds

When it comes to smart, satisfying snacking, you can’t go wrong with a handful of almonds. “They go a long way in keeping you full,” says Stassou.

In a four-week randomized study, published in the European Journal of Critical Nutrition, researchers found that those who snacked on almonds weren’t as hungry during meals (2). Even more important, they were not found to increase the risk for weight gain.

An ounce of almonds (about 23 nuts) has heart-healthy unsaturated fat and 6 grams of protein. But when snacking on almonds, portion control is key. A serving has 163 calories. If you’re one of those people who can’t keep your hand out of the bag once you’ve opened it, single-serve packs are a great option, Stassou suggests.

Eggs

At breakfast or as a snack, protein-filled eggs help control appetite while also keeping your body fat in check.

A 2013 University of Missouri study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who ate scrambled eggs for breakfast were less hungry at lunchtime than those who ate cereal (3). Blood tests also showed that those who ate the eggs had lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.

One large egg has about 70 calories and contains about 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 186 milligrams of cholesterol.

The study also concluded that eating breakfast, even if it’s something lower in protein like cereal or toast with butter, staved off hunger in study participants more than it did for those who ate no breakfast at all. But since the high-protein benefits kept those in the study feeling full for longer, Stassou suggests not limiting egg intake to breakfast.

“Hard-boiled eggs are a nutritious on-the-go snack,” she says. Some may also flip over the idea of an omelet filled with fresh veggies for dinner. The versatility of eggs makes them a go-to any time of day or night.

Watermelon

This summer staple is a go-to for suppressing appetite and satisfying your sweet tooth. “It’s a high-volume food,” explains Stassou, which means it’s rife with both water and fiber.

The concept of eating water sounds a bit strange at first, but a Penn State study published in 2000 suggests that water in food is chemically different than water you drink as a beverage (4). It leaves the stomach more slowly, making you feel fuller.

At 85 calories, a serving of watermelon contains 1.1 grams of dietary fiber for digestive health as well as potassium, a mineral that helps keep blood pressure in check. All of this adds up to a dessert that will fill you up without filling you out.

Green Tea

Green tea has gotten a lot of attention in recent years for its healthful properties. When it comes to suppressing appetite, the evidence is mounting that sipping hot green tea or ingesting green tea in extract form may help curtail appetite, leading you to drop some pounds.

The substances in green tea actually increase levels of hormones that instruct fat cells to break down fat. Doing so releases fat into the bloodstream and makes it available as energy. In one study of 60 obese individuals, the group taking green tea extract lost 7.3 pounds and burned 183 more calories daily after three months (5).

However, not all studies pinpoint green tea as a metabolism booster—it really depends on the individual. Still, sipping on a hot cup of green tea is extremely relaxing, so it’s worth giving it a try between meals.

Barley

Turns out that bread made with barley kernels may be preferable to white or whole wheat if you’re trying to eat less.

Researchers at the Food for Health Science Centre at Lund University in Sweden found that certain indigestible carbs, like barley kernels, stimulate gut-derived hormones involved in appetite regulation (6). In the small study, 20 middle-aged participants ate barley kernel bread three times a day for three days. (Others ate white wheat bread.) The participants who were served barley kernel bread experienced decreased blood sugar and insulin levels as well as improved appetite control.

So, when choosing bread, opt for one that’s high in fiber.

Other Ways to Curb Your Appetite

In addition to the foods you eat, your habits can also help manage hunger and cravings. Here are a few habits worth adopting, according to science:

1) Drink More Water
“Drinking water is key,” says Stassou. “Our brain can confuse thirst and hunger, so we want to make sure we drink about eight glasses of liquid that is non-caffeinated, including seltzer and herbal tea.”

2) Get Your Zzzzs
Is a lack of sleep leading you to eat more than you otherwise would? A growing body of research seems to back up that claim. “Poor sleep can increase hormones that control our appetite,” says Stassou. One study found that sleep deprivation has been linked to higher ghrelin levels, increased hunger and higher BMI (7).

3) Stress Less

When your body experiences stress, it unleashes hormones (hello, ghrelin!) that push you to overeat—and chances are you’re reaching for cookies over kale. One published review, which took a close look at ghrelin’s impact on weight, found that stress increases ghrelin, which further stimulates appetite. This, in turn, might impede efforts to maintain your weight after you’ve shed pounds (8). In addition, numerous animal studies report that physical or emotional distress tend to increase intake of fat, sugar or both.

4) Meditate, Early and Late

According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, studies suggest that meditation reduces stress (9). While much of the research has focused on high blood pressure and heart disease, devoting a few minutes to quiet contemplation may also help you become more mindful of food choices. With practice, you will likely pay better attention to the impulse to grab a fat- and sugar-loaded comfort food and inhibit it before you do something you’ll regret.

5) Eat a Balanced Plate

At mealtime, dividing your plate between protein, fat and low-glycemic carbs may make you less likely to feel hungry after lunch or dinner. “The best appetite suppressant is a balanced meal consisting of about 25 grams of protein, about 12 grams of fat and no more than 40 grams of low-glycemic carbs (primarily as non-starchy vegetables) as demonstrated by Harvard Medical in 1999,” says Sears. Stassou also warns against processed food like cakes and cookies, which can spike blood sugar and make you hungrier.

Risks to Consider with Appetite Suppressants

Are there any risks to consider with natural appetite suppressants? First, before altering your diet, speak to your doctor, especially if you have one or more health issues. In addition, keep portion sizes in mind, since too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect, causing you to gain weight.

Lastly, pregnant women or those breastfeeding should avoid using appetite suppressants altogether, particularly those from the local drug store or pharmacy.

“In the short-term, they can affect neurotransmission and increased sympathetic nervous system outputs that may have an adverse [effect] on the fetus,” explains Sears. Keeping your pregnancy pounds in check may be less important than the health of your baby, so definitely talk to your OB/GYN about how to control your appetite when you’re “eating for two.”