When you want to get on a healthier path in life, focusing on what you eat can be a wonderful place to begin. Even though you probably spend a lot of time thinking about what to eat and how to best prepare it for your health, specific food groups tend to contain more negative elements than others. The choice to go vegan, for example, is usually made when a person no longer wishes to consume animal meat or byproducts. Whether you’re making this change for your health or for a moral reason, it can be useful to take a look at what benefits come with the decision.
If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to a vegan lifestyle and need just a teensy bit more encouragement, then now is the time to learn all about the benefits. Changing your eating habits can take time and patience but dedicating your time to the effort has a way of yielding some useful results for your future.
1.) Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Each year, more than a million people are diagnosed with a form of diabetes. While genetics and other factors are involved, more often than not it is a person’s diet that encourages the development of this condition. Studies published in recent years have linked specific fats found in animal products to type 2 diabetes. According to these reports, those who were less likely to include animal fats in their meals were also far less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. These same studies also suggest vegans have a higher sensitivity to insulin.
Plant-based proteins are fantastic substitutes for animal fats. The nutrients found in non-meat options like tofu and seitan have been shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. Additional research in this area also suggests those living with diabetes are able to positively alter how much medication they require on a daily basis by making the switch to a plant-based diet.
2.) Strengthen the Heart
While diabetes can be a serious concern for many, it pales in comparison to stats released about cardiovascular disease. Each year, more people die around the world from heart-related conditions than anything else. These numbers can be frightening and countless people across the globe have begun initiatives to keep their hearts happy and healthy. A great way to achieve this goal is by considering a vegan diet. Switching to a diet comprised mainly of plants and grains has been shown to greatly reduce a person’s chance to developing high blood pressure.
Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels can help to decrease the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, or other debilitating cardiovascular condition. For your heart to truly reap the benefits of going vegan, you want to focus on ingesting the right plants. Add hearty helpings of asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and any kind of leafy green to your daily routine and you are likely to provide your body with the nutrients it requires to keep the heart strong.
3.) Kidney Troubles
Switching to plant-based proteins can also help your kidneys. Though meat or animal byproducts are not directly linked to failing kidneys, there are a number of studies suggesting plant proteins can help to strengthen these organs. Nutrients like potassium are primarily found in plants like beets, bananas, spinach leaves, and chard. Potassium is incredibly helpful for detoxing the kidneys and keeping them functioning at their best. Unfortunately, many people who primarily eat meat do not focus enough on ingesting plants containing the right nutrients.
If you want to go vegan, then you need to make sure you do it in a sensible way. Dropping meat and cheese from your daily routine without replacing the nutritional intake can be a very dangerous choice. Before you make any drastic shifts in your diet, be sure to sit down and look over what nutrients your body needs to obtain through fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains.
4.) Potential Cancer Prevention
Those who eat vegan might also be less likely to develop certain cancers. Though cancer can develop from a number of different conditions, a lack of proper plant-based nutrients can be a huge factor. According to specific studies, those who ingest a healthy dose of fruits and veggies each day are far less likely to develop certain types of cancer than those who do not eat produce regularly. Increasing the level of soy in your diet while decreasing how many animal proteins you eat can also help to lower the odds of developing breast cancer.
Switching to a vegan diet requires a little bit of thought. Though it can be healthier, you also want to make sure you are giving your body the correct daily nutrients. Do a bit more research on your own and see if this shift is the right call to make for a healthier future.
Article written by Joe Palinsky
Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.
Welcome to the latest nature-given health drink: birch water. The latest “hot item” in health food stores, birch water is still a stranger to a many consumers. Let’s do a quick overview on this amazing natural drink.
What is “Birch Water”?
Popular in the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as well as the Scandinavian countries, birch water is a mildly sweet beverage can be considered an electrolyte as this thin syrup-like beverage offers lots of benefits to your health. Birch water nutrients include vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, sodium, zinc, and iron. Its smooth, silky sap that tastes similar to maple syrup, though much lighter, has been drunk as a health tonic for hundreds for years for medicinal purposes as well as a nutritional supplement, thanks to its detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties.
How is it made?
Just like making maple syrup, the trees are tapped in the spring after all the frost is gone. A simple process is performed to extract the tree’s liquid. A hole is drilled with an upward angle approximately three feet from the base of the tree. The sap will begin to flow out almost immediately and is normally collected in a container or large bottle, creating fresh birch water.
What are the Health Benefits?
Birch water is loaded with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and amino acids and is known to provide a variety of health benefits. Research suggests that this nutritious beverage can help regulate cholesterol levels, promote clearer and brighter skin, support liver health, reduce joint pain, support weight-loss, and reduce cavities.
Collagen has been a top-selling product for skin health for many years but did you know that this powerful supplement offers many other health benefits? Let’s look at 4 ways collagen can improve your health.
1. Joint Health
Collagen is a major component in forming your body’s tendons, ligaments, muscles and cartilage. As you age, your body is less able to manufacture a sufficient amount of collagen and supplements can help maintain your body’s repair process. Collagen contains the amino acids glycine and proline, which help repair tissue, lessen inflammation, and provide relief from joint pain. Collagen products are used for treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis.
2. Weight Loss
Collagen supplements can help in weight loss. A great source of protein, collagen provides 18 grams of protein per 2 scoops. Studies have shown that collagen peptides consumed at breakfast are 40% more satiating than other proteins such as whey or soy, and may lead to a 20% reduction of food intake at lunch.
Collagen supplements can help improve digestion by repairing the mucous lining. Collagen soothes and heals the digestive tract and helps break down the protein and fat from foods, making them easier for the body to digest.
4. Athletic Performance
As mentioned above, the amino acids glycine and proline help repair tissue and lessen inflammation. Consequently, supplementation with collagen peptides shortens recovery after exercise and helps with sports related injuries on muscle, tendons, and ligaments.
It’s not an easy task but if you like to take on a challenge, here’s a great one: becoming a morning workout person.
Many people simply cannot exercise in the early hours of the day for different reasons. Some people need a slow start. Some people only start functioning after a cup of coffee or tea. Some people simply don’t have the energy to work out in the morning hours. Plus, the majority of people can’t seem to fit a workout into their busy schedules. Work, school, kids—everything else seems to take up our morning time, but there’s a way to make it happen!
You can wake up earlier, get your workout done and then start your day as you normally would.
Waking up an hour earlier than your usual time may be sufficient, but as we know, this is easier said than done and takes some habit-forming skills. Of course, going to bed earlier is necessary to become a morning person as you still need to sleep enough hours and wake up rested. Making this a habit may actually bring a lot of health benefits for you.
Eating properly is essential. You may choose to eat a light breakfast or a nutritional bar before your workout and then complement with a healthy breakfast once your activity is done. You can also eat a full healthy breakfast and then workout, of course, this option may only work you have enough time in the morning. In both cases, eating well and exercising in the morning hours are two important factors that can help regulate your eating habits, and in some cases, making you less hungry for the rest of day.
Since waking up early and starting a new habit are two, not-so-easy things to do, you can start slowly, exercising just 10-15 minutes, two or three times a week. Once your mind and your body are used to the new workout time, bump up to 20-30 minutes and more frequently if you wish. This way, it may be easier for you to get that great feeling after getting your exercise done in the morning hours without feeling tired during the day.
Remember that it may take time and you may feel like quitting but don’t give up. Once you have established yourself as a morning workout person, you will feel energized every day.
Still getting that morning brain fog, no matter how much coffee you slug? You might need an AM nutrition boost when caffeine alone isn’t cutting it. This smoothie is packed with raspberries, blueberries and acai berries rich in antioxidants that support memory. Walnuts and almonds contain omega-3 fatty acids for improved learning. Bananas that help regulate mood and support cognitive function and raw honey reduces inflammation.
I recommend using Spiru-Tein as your protein source for this recipe because it contains Spirulina, a strong antioxidant packed with energy-boosting nutrients. I always notice improved focus when I start my day with a dose of spirulina!
Place all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth! Garnish with mint and chia seeds or drink as-is. For some added brain power and energy, I add Maca root powder to my smoothie and top with hemp seeds!
Give this recipe a try and let us know how it turns out below!
Hearing a lot of talk about your gut microbiome lately? There’s a lot of information circulating around the wellness world about how important it is to keep our microbiome balanced…but what exactly is a microbiome? In short, it’s the complex ecosystem of microbes—bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc—located in our bodies, the majority of which live in our gut and digestive system.
Why it’s important to keep your gut healthy
So far, researchers have found poor gut health as a root cause for a number of diseases, ailments and health issues. The Standard American Diet (SAD) has been linked to the state of our of digestive health, so what we eat greatly impacts our microbiome. As additional studies about the microbiome continue to surface, we are learning more and more about the different ways our gut can have a serious affect on our overall health.
1. Vitamin production and nutrient absorption
It makes sense that nutrients need a healthy environment to do their job! Research shows that bacteria live in the gut and feed off undigested food, and in turn produce vitamin K for the body to use, as well as B vitamins that help generate and maintain energy. Microbes also help with the absorption of nutrients such as antioxidants, helping the body to fight free-radicals and inflammation.
2. Immune system regulation
According to studies like this one, 80% of our immune system greatly relies on the functionality of our microbiome. Because of this, researchers are able to deduce that autoimmune diseases like IBS, type 1 diabetes, lupus and arthritis can be traced back to an unbalanced and unhealthy microbiome.
3. Mental health and brain function
While not responsible for deep thoughts and understanding, the second brain (a.k.a your gut) is responsible for housing 95% of our body’s serotonin levels. Researchers say there is actually an elaborate system of neurons embedded in the walls of our gut, which can explain why gastrointestinal distress can affect our mental health and create mood swings.
4. Weight management
Some research shows that the condition of our microbiomes can greatly affect weight gain and our ability to lose weight, and obesity has also been linked to an unbalanced gut. Our microbes appear to have influence over appetite regulation, and our diet is crucial in determining the type of bacteria, good or bad, that develops in our gut.
What we can do to keep our gut healthy and balanced
If you have concerns about your digestive health, talk with your doctor about the best approach. Every person’s microbiome is different, so work with a physician to create a plan that suits your specific needs. Below are a few tips to offer guidance and help start a conversation with your doctor.
1. Be wary of inflammation
We are learning more and more that diet and lifestyle play a huge role in maintaining good gut health. Staying away from foods that cause inflammation, like refined vegetable oils, refined carbohydrates and sugars and trans fats can help keep your gut in check. Dairy can cause inflammation and many people find they have sensitivities. Making sure to incorporate high-antioxidant foods and anti-inflammatory foods like cruciferous vegetables, healthy fats, and probiotic-rich foods.
2. Be mindful of stress levels
Too much stress weakens your immune system and causes inflammatory responses in the body. Chronic stress throws off the balance of bacteria in your gut, and when your body thinks it’s in danger you become more susceptible to infections. Try working in some mindfulness meditations in the morning. Even just 10 minutes a day can help keep your stress levels in check.
Speaking of stress relievers, exercise is extremely helpful in reducing the stress that can cause damage to your microbiome. Research shows that exercise is critical for balancing your gut, and sitting at a desk all day can actually negatively impact your gut flora. Try to get up, walk around and stretch every 20 minutes or so, and make an effort to work more intensive exercise into your schedule.
4. Supplement when advised and necessary
When paired with a healthy diet that reduces inflammation and the amounts of bad bacteria in your gut, probiotics can replace the bad with the good. Talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regiments, and make sure to get a good quality probiotic. Getting a healthy amount of antioxidants in your diet is a great way to help to prevent free-radical damage from disturbing your microbiome.
Want to know more about prebiotics and digestive health? Learn more from our ND, Dr. Jeremy Wolf!
These days, everyone is on the hunt for antioxidant-rich, nutrient-packed superfoods—and it’s no surprise why! Purchasing food with the most benefits is not only great for your health but also ensures the most bang for your buck. Acai berries are increasing in popularity—you’ve probably seen vibrant, Instagram-worthy acai bowls all over social media—but are they worth the hype? While new and trendy in American culture, these berries have been used for their medicinal properties in Central and South America for centuries. Let’s explore some of the properties of acai and how you can reap all of their sweet, juicy benefits.
1. Antioxidants, antioxidants, antioxidants…
Acai’s best quality is its amazing antioxidant content. While a lot of berries contain high levels, none quite pack the free-radical fighting punch of acai. According to a study done by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (NSRC), acai has one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits in the world. Because of this, acai has powerful healing properties that earned them the superfood title. Adding Acai berries to your diet will help boost your body’s ability to fight free radicals, helping to prevent cancer and other diseases.
2. Skin health & anti-aging effects
Another amazing result of Acai’s high antioxidant content is its effect on the skin. It can help slow down the aging process caused by oxidative damage to the cells. It also increases the regrowth and regeneration processes in the body due to ample amounts of vitamin C and Iron and can help skin stay firm and youthful due to its fatty acids content.
3. Healthy digestion
If you’re in the process of switching over to a healthier diet, incorporating acai into your new routine can help cleanse the body of toxins collected from unhealthy eating habits. Like other berries, they’re a great source of fiber which helps keep the digestive system functioning properly.
4. Immune system booster
Due to its high vitamin C content, Acai berries are helpful at boosting your immune system. Their phytochemicals and antioxidants help increase the functionality of immune cells, making it easier to fight infections and ward off free radical damage.
5. Energizing effects
Acai berries can help increase the body’s energy levels and stamina. They contain amino acids which are incredibly helpful in boosting energy, as well as other properties that help improve cognitive function and focus—reducing fatigue and brain fog.
The best way to get acai…?
I’m all about the acai bowl craze. Not only do they taste as amazing as they look, but they’re an easy, versatile way to work the beneficial berries into your diet. I opt for the dried powder acai, but frozen works just as well!
Energizing Acai Bowl Recipe
1 tbsp acai powder
1 cup spinach or kale (or another leafy green you prefer)
1 serving of plant protein (This one is my favorite)
1 dash vanilla extract
3-4 drops of stevia if you like extra sweetness
1/2 cup frozen strawberries or blueberries
Assorted fruits, nuts & seeds for toppings (i.e bananas, strawberries, blueberries, almonds etc)
Add all ingredients together and blend away! The mixture should be thick enough so that you can eat it with a spoon. Pour into a bowl and top with whatever you like. I like to keep my sugar intake low, so my go-to toppings are chia seeds, hemp seeds, and sliced almonds, but many people add additional fruits like bananas & blueberries. It’s highly customizable to your nutrition needs!
Have you tried acai berries and experienced the benefits? What are your favorite ways to eat them? Let us know below!
Over the last couple of decades, the Mediterranean diet has been studied by researchers all over the world. The general consensus from these studies revealed that the diet is nothing short of amazing. The Mediterranean diet consists of increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and fish, while limiting red meat and sweets. So, why has this diet become so popular? Maybe because it’s flexible and offers users ease of compliance. Maybe it’s because Mediterranean food is delicious and the diet allows users to drink red wine in moderation. Or, maybe it’s because all of the research over the past couple of decades shows an incredible amount of health benefits. One meta-analysis article showed that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with significant improvement in overall health status.
Benefits of a Mediterranean diet to consider:
Prevention of major chronic diseases
Improved quality of life
Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and obesity
Reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer
Low in processed foods and sugar
May help to lose or maintain a healthier weight
May improve mood and decrease depression
Naturally low-glycemic foods, which may help control blood sugar
Key components of the Mediterranean diet
Base every meal on these foods and eat them daily:
Legumes and Beans: chickpeas, lentils, and fava beans
Olives and Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is preferred
Whole grains and whole wheat pasta
Nuts: cashews, almonds and sesame seeds
Vegetables such as leafy greens, garlic, onion and other non-starchy veggies like eggplant cauliflower, artichokes and tomatoes
Fresh organic fruits such as grapes, apples, strawberries and avocados
Eat these at least two times per week:
Fish (wild caught preferred) and seafood
In moderate portions (daily to weekly):
Low-fat cheese & yogurt
Eat these a few times per month in small amounts:
Organic Mediterranean bean salad recipe
◦ 15 ounce can of dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
◦ 15 ounce can of fava beans drained and rinsed
◦ 15 ounce can of black beans drained and rinsed
◦ 1 cup of organic corn
◦ 1 large organic tomato, chopped
◦ 1 small organic red onion, chopped
◦ 1 avocado, sliced
◦ ½ organic cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped.
◦ 1 cup of organic parsley, chopped.
◦ ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
◦ 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
◦ 2 garlic cloves, minced
◦ ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
◦ ½ teaspoon of cumin
◦ salt and pepper to taste.
In large mixing bowl, combine kidney beans, fava beans, black beans, corn, tomato, onion, cucumber and parsley. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk.
Pour dressing over salad and gently toss together.
Other helpful information:
On top of diet, the Mediterranean lifestyle encourages individuals to be physically active and enjoy meals in a relaxing environment with others vs. on the go. Try to set aside time to sit down and enjoy your meals.
Most of the foods found in the Mediterranean diet can be found on the perimeter of the grocery store.
Eat fruits and vegetables that vary in choice of colors as each color has specific properties and nutrients.
Replace butter and margarine with healthy, unrefined oils as often as possible.
The Mediterranean diet has broad definitions since there are many countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
In summary, the diet should focus on vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Enjoy fresh, wild caught fish and seafood, while limiting poultry, eggs and cheese. Rarely eat red meat and avoid sugar.
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Apple cider vinegar has been a fountain of health benefits for quite some time now. Loaded with acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics, enzymes and polyphenols, apple cider vinegar is known to help weight-loss but it can also help with so much more. Let’s look a 5 benefits of apple cider vinegar.
1. Support Weight Loss and Metabolism
The number one health benefit from apple cider vinegar continues to be weight loss. Researchers have concluded that consuming apple cider vinegar could promote weight loss by reducing sugar cravings, improving detoxification, and reducing body fat up to 10%.
2. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Apple cider vinegar can help lower blood sugar levels and fight type 2 diabetes, characterized by elevated blood sugars, either in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. When avoiding refined carbs and sugar, apple cider vinegar may have a powerful positive effect on regulating blood sugar levels.
3. Detox Your Body
Used by many detox products, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is a liver and lymphatic tonic which can help detox your body. It helps balance your body’s pH and stimulates cardiovascular stimulation, bowel motility and lymphatic drainage.
4. Kills Bacteria
Acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar has the ability to kill pathogens, including bacteria and, at the same time, foster the growth of beneficial bacteria. Because acetic acid kills unwanted bacteria when it comes into contact with it, it essentially acts as a natural antibiotic.
5. Digestive Support
Apple cider vinegar is known to reduce bloating. Vinegar increases the acidity in the stomach, which allows it to digest the food you’ve eaten and helps propel it into the small intestine.
Whole foods, healthy fats and limited carbs and sugars—it’s easy to see the appeal in going Paleo! Shifting your focus to real, unprocessed food is great, but when the time comes to actually restock the fridge it can be difficult to know where to start. What are the best foods to buy? What foods should you not buy? Is there any way to do this on a budget?
We’ve provided a quick breakdown of Paleo-approved foods to help you plan your next grocery trip. Not all the foods on this list are required to go paleo, but many are excellent staples to always have on hand or in the freezer!
The Paleo Rundown:
Say YES to:
– Lean Meats, preferably grass-fed!
– Eggs are approved!
– Vegetables are incredibly important
– Work in some fruit, but keep it light.
– Nuts – except peanuts! They’re classified as legumes
– Unrefined, natural oils like olive, coconut & avocado
Say NO to:
– Sugars, candy and artificial sweeteners
– Starchy veggies like potatoes & corn
– Legumes (peas, beans, lentils, soy, etc.)
– Processed foods & meats (such as hot dogs or spam)
– Grains (cereal, bread, oatmeal, etc.)
– Dairy (cheese, butter, milk, etc.)
The Paleo Shopping List:
__ Coconut oil
__ Extra Virgin Olive Oil
__ Coconut Milk
__ Coconut Flour
__ Almond Meal
__ Dried Fruits
__ Variety of Nuts & Seeds
__ Bone Broth
__ Coffee or Tea
1. Get thoughtful about your grocery list
Walking into a grocery store without a plan can be overwhelming and will make it difficult to successfully stick to the diet. Spend a little extra time planning your week and create a shopping list accordingly. Highlight the essential foods your family eats daily and make sure you’re always stocked. This will also prevent picking up excess items you may not need.
2. Buy in bulk
Try buying the staple foods in bulk—such as the meats and veggies your family likes and eats regularly. Buying in bulk ensures there is always something to thaw out for dinner, and you will often save money in the long run too! Check in with your local farmer, as many sell their meat and produce in large quantities.
3. Meal prep & freeze!
It’s very difficult to grab food on-the-go and stay paleo-friendly. Spend some time on the weekend thinking ahead and cooking up meals for the week. Even if it’s just what you’ll take to work for lunch, it will take the pressure off of breakfast and dinner and save you time. Buying in bulk with a planned and good shopping list will help you at the meal-prepping stage as well!
4. Focus on quality While buying in bulk is a great way to save money and time on the paleo diet, make sure you’re stocking up on high-quality foods. This means aiming for organic veggies when possible and making sure all meat, fish and eggs are unprocessed and preferably free-range and grass-fed.
While the Paleo Diet is incredibly popular and many people have experienced great health benefits, ALWAYS check with your physician before making any major dietary changes!
The secret to paleo is planning and smart shopping. If you’re a seasoned paleo veteran, what are some of your tips for success? Let’s talk about it in the comments below! 🙂
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The MCT oil versus Coconut oil debate is often making the headlines. These two products are considered beneficial and provide many health benefits. Both offer abundant levels of lauric acid, antibacterial properties, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories. The main difference between MCT oil and coconut oil is that MCT oil is more concentrated and, while coconut oil certainly has MCTs in it, concentrated MCT oil is almost entirely MCTs. But what should you take MCT oil for? We present 3 health benefits of MCT oil.
1. Improve Digestion
MCT oil is known for balancing bacteria in the gut microbiota, which in turn has positive effects on digestive symptoms, energy expenditure, and the ability to absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Medium-chain fats can help kill a wide range of pathogenic viruses and strains and bacteria that cause digestive issues, including candida, constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomachaches and so on.
2. Weight Loss
Compared to other types of oils and fats, MCTs seem to have positive effects on fat burning and weight reduction as it helps increase satiety and even raise the metabolic rate at which the body functions. Studies demonstrate that dietary MCTs suppress fat deposition through enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation, helping the body produce ketones, which gives you the same benefits as the ketogenic diet without needing to cut carbs to drastically low levels. MCTs are sometimes called “the ultimate ketogenic fats” because of their heating effect in the body and ability to rapidly be used for energy.
Medium-chain fats are believed to be one of the most easily digested, utilized and protective fatty acids that exists. MCTs may help improve memory problems including Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. It only makes sense that a food that supplies fuel for your brain and also helps you absorb vitamins and minerals better will also make you feel more clearheaded, energetic and positive.
Coconut is great for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair. Individuals with dry skin can benefit from coconut oil as it can improve the moisture and fat content of the skin. Plus, coconut oil can be very protective against hair damage and used as an effective sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Coconut oil is cholesterol-free and can help regulate cholesterol levels. Coconut oil contains healthy saturated fats which may help with lowering bad LDL cholesterol as well as boosting good HDL cholesterol. It may also improve other risk factors and therefore protect against heart disease.
Often associated with weight-loss, the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of other fats. One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day.
Several different studies have shown that coconut oil can be helpful to minimize the effects of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Coconuts are a source of food that the body can easily convert into ketones, essential for stalling the mental decline of Alzheimer’s, like Ginkgo biloba, Vitamin E or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
With new superfoods and alternative health products popping up in the media every day, it’s hard to know what the cleanest, most effective product innovations really are. Dr. Jeremy Wolf N.D., Lead Wellness Advisor at LuckyVitamin.com, breaks down the trends and how to be a savvy wellness shopper this spring.
Everyone is still going cuckoo for coconuts. What may have started as a health trend with using coconut oil for cooking has now turned into a coconut takeover. In today’s market, it seems as if there is no part of the coconut that can’t be used. One of the newest trends for coconuts are coconut wraps. By using the white meaty part of the coconut, coconut wraps offer a vegan, gluten-free and Paleo friendly alternative to traditional wraps. NUCO now featured on LuckyVitamin offers a USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Kosher and raw coconuts wrap to replace traditional bread and tortillas. But it wouldn’t be much of a trend if the uses for coconuts stopped there. While traditional coconut products continue to sell, new coconut products can now be found such as coconut vinegar salad dressings, coconut sugar, coconut aminos, coconut flour and even coconut butter. So why the coconut craze? Coconuts are a healthy alternative to some of the most commonly used foods. They are a rich source of dietary fats, vitamins, fiber electrolytes, enzymes and amino acids.
The Ketogenic Diet
Similar to the Atkins diet, although much stricter, the Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein and low-carbohydrate diet. The diet was first designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder and is commonly used as a treatment for children or individuals with epilepsy. However, many researchers are starting to look at the use of the ketogenic diet for disorders other than epilepsy. This includes other neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, migraines and autism. Like the Atkins diet, it too is also in the spotlight for its weight loss potential. New research has shown on top of weight loss, following a ketogenic diet may also help decrease total cholesterol, increase HDL (the “good”) cholesterol, lower LDL (the “bad”), decrease triglycerides and lower blood sugar levels. Even professional athletes and endurance athletes are catching on to this popular diet. The diet works by forcing the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is the result of ketones building up in the bloodstream when people eat a low- or no-carbohydrate diet. Because the body can’t use glucose for energy, fat becomes the primary fuel source. The diet isn’t as simple as just cutting back on carbohydrates; there are specific calculations that go into figuring out the right percentage of fat to protein to carbohydrate ratio. LuckyVitamin’s new ketogenic specialty page is designed to help support your ketogenic diet needs. It’s important to note that you should be under the care of a trained health care provider during this diet or at least in the beginning.
Over the past few years, there has been an increase in public awareness for the possible health benefits of cannabidiol or CBD. CBD is one of at least 85 cannabinoids found in cannabis and is the major non-psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa. CBD interacts with the body through the endocannabinoid system. This system is thought to play a key role in memory, mood brain reward systems and certain metabolic processes. Possible therapeutic uses for CBD include anxiety, nausea prevention, pain management, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, cancer and more. But how can makers of CBD oil legally sell CBD in the United States when marijuana is illegal? Enter, hemp. The difference in hemp and marijuana lies in the fact that hemp is a low resin, low THC, high CBD form of cannabis. Currently, there are a wide variety of CBD hemp oil extracts products available including pure oils, dark chocolates, gummies and even chewing gum.
What happens when you combine the comfort and convenience of workout clothes with the style and fashion? You get athleisure. Athleisure is a trend in fashion in which individuals wear clothing intended for workouts and other athletic activities in other settings, such as during work as well as casual or social occasions. It has become one of the biggest trends in the fashion and retail industry today and it continues to grow and expand into new venues and marketplaces. LuckyVitamin carries a large selection of fitness apparel for both men and women from top brands such as Chaser, Purusha People, Soybu, Manduka and Teeki. Many of these brands offer products that are not just beneficial to you but incorporate materials such as fair trade cotton and recycled plastic that are also beneficial to the environment.
Mushrooms belong to a unique group of organisms called fungi. While new mushroom trends are emerging in the health and wellness industry, the health promoting benefits of mushrooms are well-known and have been around for a long time. For thousands of years mushrooms have been known to be both nutritious and immune building, and now modern research is beginning to validate traditional herbalists beliefs about mushrooms. Mushrooms are a natural source of vitamin D precursors, contain proteins, minerals and are packed with polysaccharides like beta-glucans which have immune-boosting effects. For years traditional mushroom supplements and extracts have been available, but new trends are popping up everywhere. The new products include mushroom powder, elixir mixes, coffee and hot chocolate all with the same added benefits. LuckyVitamin has a large selection of all the mushrooms products you need to help you be a fun-gi or fun-gal.
Nutrition is a key factor for influencing skin health and its overall appearance. Maybe that’s why the saying goes “beauty comes from within.” This is why nutricosmetics, or the use of supplements to help improve skin health, is a growing trend. At the forefront of the nutricosmetic industry is collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein found in animal connective tissue and it can be found in our muscles, bones, skin and tendons. This is why it is the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen can be found in supplements, protein powders, protein bars and even beauty chews. Shop our top selection of collagen products from NeoCell, Reserveage Nutrition, Primal Kitchen, Vital Protein and many more if you’re looking to give your skin and joints a little health boost.
Plant-Based Proteins Powders
Plant-based protein powders were featured in our 2016 trend report and they continue to dominate the market. With new formulas like chia protein, what was once advertised mostly to body builders looking to get “jacked,” is now marketed to triathletes, marathon runners, weekend warriors, vegans, moms, yoga enthusiasts and even business people constantly on-the-go. Plant-based formulas are often hypoallergenic, free of common food irritants making them easier on the stomach. They contain a blend of foods such as pea, quinoa, artichokes, hemp, amaranth and rice. Because of this blend, they contain an excellent variety of amino acids while also delivering quality protein. LuckyVitamin has a large selection of top brands including Plant Fusion, Garden of Life, Aloha, Orgain and much more.