Recent Posts

Topics

Archives

23
MAY

Everything You Need to Know About Hemp

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Superfoods at 11:33 am | By: Kate Hughes

Humans have been using hemp in some form or another for more than 10,000 years. In fact, evidence of hemp seeds and oil used in food, as well as hemp cord remnants, have been found in modern-day China and Taiwan dating as far back as 8,000 B.C.E. (1)!

In the millennia since, hemp has been used for all kinds of practical purposes—such as a base for rope and paper—as well as a source of nutrition. And, according to present-day nutritionists, it remains an excellent source of protein, amino acids and fiber that many people would benefit from adding to their diets.

Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana

Before diving into the hemp’s nutrition, it’s first worth differentiating between hemp and marijuana, as people often mistakenly conflate the two. “It’s a question we get all the time,” says Jane Schwartz, a registered dietitian who, along with her business partner, Stephanie Goodman, offers nutrition coaching through Princeton, New Jersey-based The Nourishing Gurus. “But while marijuana and hemp come from the same plant family, they are not the same thing at all.”

Hemp and marijuana plants are both part of the cannabis family, but hemp contains a very low amount—less than 0.3 percent—of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis (2). Hemp seeds, from which hemp food products are derived, have absolutely no psychoactive affect on the people who eat them.

Nutritional Benefits of Hemp

What hemp does contain, however, is a boatload of nutrition. “Hemp is rich in healthy fats,” Schwartz says. “It provides essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can be hard to get if you’re not eating fish. These nutrients are good for brain function and cell health, so it’s important that clients work them into their diets.”

She adds that the omega-6 fatty acids are coming from a compound called GLA, or gamma linoleic acid, which can have an anti-inflammatory effect. “Hemp seeds also contain arginine, a specific amino acid linked with reducing the risk of heart disease,” Schwartz says.

Goodman, a certified nutrition consultant, says that another positive attribute of hemp is that it’s chock full of protein. “There are 10 grams of protein in just three tablespoons of hemp seeds,” she explains. “It also contains a lot of leucine, which is really good for muscle protein synthesis. This is particularly beneficial for people who exercise a lot.”

Goodman and Schwartz further explain that hemp also contains a lot of minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, manganese and magnesium, all of which are important in a healthy, balanced diet. “That hemp contains magnesium in particular is fantastic because so few people actually get enough magnesium in their diets,” Goodman says. “Magnesium is good for heart health and bone health, and it’s good for sleep and digestion.”

Adding Hemp to Your Diet

Hemp can be purchased in several forms, but the most popular are seeds and powder. Schwartz notes that while both forms have dietary benefits, there is one marked difference: seeds tend to contain a lot less fiber than powder. This is because seeds are typically sold without their hulls, which is the part that contains fiber. Hemp powder, on the other hand, is composed of whole ground hemp seeds, hulls included. “So if our clients are looking to add more fiber to their diets, we usually recommend sticking to hemp powder,” Schwartz says.

There are other types of hemp food products, including oil and milk. Though, Schwartz is careful to mention that hemp oil is not temperature stable. “You never want to heat it. But it’s great as a replacement for olive oil in salad dressings,” she says.

Due to its many, many nutritional benefits, Schwartz and Goodman recommend hemp to almost all of their clients, and especially those who are vegetarian or vegan and may struggle to eat enough protein. “It’s really easy to add to most dishes,” Goodman notes. “It has a very mild flavor and tends to work well mixed into most foods. We recommend putting the powder in smoothies and sprinkling whole seeds over rice or oatmeal, but really, hemp works anywhere you might include nuts or seeds.”




22
MAY

Garlic May Reduce Risk of Certain Cancers, Study Suggests

Filed Under: Announcements & News,Health Concerns & Ailments,Health Foods at 4:21 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

  • Garlic has long been considered useful in the fight against certain cancers and other serious diseases.
  • Scientists consider sulfur compounds the main force behind garlic’s many health benefits. Unfortunately, the inconsistent nature of these compounds has led to varied research results.
  • Generally, researchers agree that garlic is useful in fighting cancer, but the exact nature of the connection is still mysterious and difficult to repeat.

For millennia, garlic has been used around the world to treat various diseases. Over the years, researchers have typically agreed on the fact that garlic is useful in preventing certain cancers, as well as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Still, a recent study conducted at the University of Nottingham has elaborated on why the composition of garlic makes it difficult to make bold claims about garlic’s impact on our health.

Sulfur compounds found within garlic are what give the vegetable its robust and distinct flavor. Over the years, researchers have also suggested these compounds give garlic its reputation as a cancer-fighting agent. Unfortunately, there seems to be a great deal of inconsistency on how the human body absorbs these sulfur compounds. How the garlic itself is cooked, prepared and consumed can alter the effect of the garlic.

[T]hat’s what makes this research so complex, because we don’t really understand how these compounds are metabolized in humans and it’s very difficult to identify common mechanisms of action for these molecules,” stated Peter Rose, one of the authors of the recent study.

Rose and his collaborators believe there might be a connection between sulfur compounds found in garlic and gaseous signaling molecules found in human beings. These molecules, like nitric oxide and hydrogen sulfide, are responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. Higher quantities of these molecules are usually present when a person is fighting a particular disease. Researchers have also noted that consuming garlic can increase the production of gaseous signaling molecules, which Rose and his colleagues believe might be the answer to how garlic works its health magic.

The researchers said further studies must be conducted in order to figure out exactly how garlic helps to fight cancerous cells. Until then, scientists and researchers alike agree that consuming garlic regularly through your meals and other supplements is an excellent move for your overall health and wellness.




8
MAY

4 Easy Ways to Work Fermented Foods Into Your Diet

Filed Under: Health Aids,Health Foods,Immunity at 5:06 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

Fermented foods seem to have become quite popular in recent months. Whether you’ve heard about the benefits of drinking vinegars or are simply wondering why yogurt is such a hot option for breakfast, you most likely want to know what all the fuss is about. People are clamoring for fermented products lately because these foods and drinks are excellent sources of probiotics.

For those a bit shaky on what probiotics are exactly, it is best to think of them as good bacteria for your gut (1). While you might associate bacteria with germs and other sickness-causing agents, the truth is there are many bacterias your body requires for healthy functions. Probiotics help to encourage digestion by affecting the nerves that control the various muscle movements in the stomach and intestines, keeping a person regular and comfortable (2).

If you feel like you’re ready to explore these options for yourself, you will be happy to learn there are several simple ways to get started. Take a look at these tips on how to work fermented foods into your diet and see which tactics work for your lifestyle.

Eat Yogurt

Do you like yogurt? If you do, then you’re already on your path to including more fermented products in your diet. The cultures found in dairy products like kefir and yogurt can provide your body with the right daily dose of probiotics to encourage a happy gut. Start your morning right by grabbing a bowl of yogurt and topping it with your favorite crunchy granola and fresh fruit slices. You might even enjoy the experience so much that you forget you’re treating your body to a healthy meal.

While dairy cultures are excellent fermented products to include in your daily meals, there are a number of people who cannot eat dairy. For those who are lactose intolerant or vegan, there are other avenues to explore. Coconut yogurt cultures can offer all the digestive power offered by dairy without the discomfort or bloating.

Add Pickles

Yogurt is the centerpiece ingredient for fermented breakfast options, but there are less obvious ways to include probiotics in your meals. Plenty of people enjoy eating quick meals like sandwiches and salads for lunch. For those who want to work more probiotics into lunchtime, consider adding fermented pickles to the mix.

By themselves, pickles do not offer a ton of nutritional value. Though tasty, these briny cucumbers are more for flavor and crunch than anything else. Still, eating a pickle on or with your lunch has been reported to increase the good bacteria in your gut and promote easy digestion (3). While pickles might be an acquired taste, the simple health benefits can make them a lot more palatable.

Use Sauerkraut

Speaking of acquired tastes, sauerkraut is another great option when it comes to eating more fermented foods. Since it is made from cabbage, sauerkraut contains a ton of fiber. This by itself is enough to encourage a healthier digestive system (4). Due to the fermented nature of sauerkraut, it also enhances the digestive experience by introducing healthy probiotics into the mix.

It is also important to note that introducing too much sauerkraut to your system at once can have a negative impact on the way your stomach feels. You don’t want your stomach to turn from the experience, so it is best to use sauerkraut sparingly at first. Increase how much of it you use with time and you’re likely to feel the benefits in your stomach in no time at all.

Switch to Sourdough

Finally, you can do wonders for your diet by switching what kind of bread you eat at home. Unlike other options found at your local grocery store, sourdough bread packs a ton of digestive benefits into one loaf. This type of bread is made with only water, salt and flour, with the rest of the process being more about fermentation than anything else. While sourdough has long been considered a great option for people having trouble achieving glucose homeostasis (5), there are many who are now seeing the digestive benefits.

The longer the dough has been fermenting, the better it will be for your gut. Instead of opting for whole wheat or white, see how using long-fermented sourdough can transform your meals.

Get creative with the way you infuse fermented foods into your day. While you might not want to eat a sauerkraut and pickle sandwich on sourdough with a side of yogurt, you can easily find more practical ways to ingest these helpful sources of probiotics.




7
MAY

5 Surprising Places Probiotics Are Popping Up  

Filed Under: Health Foods,Immunity,Personal Care,Pet Care at 11:01 am | By: Stephanie Eckelkamp

Got diarrhea? Take a probiotic. Irritated skin or acne? Again, probiotics. Bad breakup? Why not try a probiotic!?

There’s no denying that probiotics have a cult-like following. They’ve been taking over the supplement aisle for the past few years, thanks to a surge in research revealing the massive extent to which the health of our gut microbiome influences pretty much every other aspect of our health—from our mood to our digestion to our weight to our skin. Problems in these areas may arise when the “bad” bacteria in our gut start to outnumber the “good.” But some studies—and plenty of anecdotal accounts—suggest taking a probiotic supplement can ease health woes such as diarrhea, yeast infections, urinary tract infections and weight gain by fortifying your gut with good bugs and restoring balance.

But now, probiotics are extending their reach beyond supplements and into the snack, beauty and pet food aisles. Which begs the question, do you really need a probiotic face cream or granola? Or, uh…does your dog? Here, we reveal some of the more surprising new places that probiotics are popping up—and whether they live up to the hype.

Probiotic-Enhanced Snacks

Consuming probiotics via food used to mean opting for naturally fermented stuff like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and yogurt. But now, they can be found in everything from granola to popcorn to chocolate. Essentially, probiotics can be added to anything edible.

Nearly all probiotic-enhanced packaged foods today contain GanedenBC30, which is a proprietary preparation of the probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans (1). The good news: Research has shown that this type of probiotic protects itself in a spore-like casing that allows it to withstand (at least to some extent) the manufacturing process, time spent on a shelf and the acidic conditions of your stomach (2). Meaning, it actually stands a chance of reaching and colonizing your gut.

But does it help you once it gets there? After all, not every probiotic strain treats every ailment. Some studies suggest GanedenBC30 has promising digestive benefits and can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including gas and bloating (3and diarrhea (4). But still, it’s very difficult to know just how beneficial these probiotic-enhanced foods actually are in reality, says Jen McDaniel, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A lot of that depends on whether there’s enough present in the food to begin with (1 billion CFUs is a good minimum number to aim for, she says). But because many foods don’t list a probiotic quantity on the nutrition label, it’s often a bit of a gamble.

Probiotic Waters and Teas

When you think of a probiotic-packed drink, you probably think of kombucha, which naturally contains gut-friendly bugs. But now, you can find probiotics in beverages like flat and sparkling waters, and even in tea bags.

Like probiotic-enhanced foods, many (if not all) of these drinks contain the probiotic strain GanedenBC30. So the benefits are likely to be the same. However, based on our research (aka scrutinizing lots of labels), bottled drinks are more likely to list the number of probiotic CFUs on the package than foods or tea bags, with counts ranging from 2 to 4 billion CFUs at time of manufacture. If you do opt for one of these drinks, just be sure it’s not loaded with sugars, artificial sweeteners or any other questionable ingredients that could counter the probiotic health benefits.

Bottom line: Both foods and drinks containing added probiotics could potentially be beneficial, but probiotic supplements and foods or drinks naturally rich in probiotics likely offer more bang for your buck, says McDaniel.

Probiotic Face Creams and Body Lotions

Turns out, our skin has its own microbiome that’s teeming more than 1 trillion bacteria, many of which are beneficial and help keep your skin clear, vibrant and healthy. But if your skin’s microbiome is out of whack (say, from harsh cleansers or a poor diet), this can compromise your skin’s natural barrier, which could result in painful and embarrassing skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema, according to Whitney Bowe, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center and the author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin (5).

Bowe believes that increasing the variety of healthy bacteria species on the skin can help reduce inflammation and minimize these conditions, and that one way to do this is via quality probiotic-enhanced skincare products (6). A few beneficial bugs to look for in skincare products: Streptococcus thermophilus, which may help retain moisture (7); Bifidobacterium, which may help reduce skin sensitivity (8); and Lactobacillus plantarum, which may help prevent acne (9). Just make sure that the other ingredients in these products are gentle and preferably natural—no harsh chemicals, which will only compromise your skin’s barrier further.

Probiotic Deodorants

So, if probiotics are good for your face, are they good for your pits? There are a bunch of new probiotic deodorants on the market promising fresh underarms without the chemicals. How it supposedly works: The good bacteria in the deodorant fights off the bad, odor-causing bacteria in your armpits, leaving you fresh as a daisy (or something like that). Unfortunately, there are no studies proving this benefit, and the strains of bacteria used in these deodorants (typically Lactobacillus acidophilus) aren’t naturally found on the skin—so, odor experts say, their deodorizing effects would likely be very short-lived (10). And who wants to reapply five times a day? If you’re looking to use a more natural deodorant, that’s cool…there’s just no obvious reason to make it one that contains probiotics.

Probiotic Supplements for Dogs

Probiotics for dogs are a thing now, too. And the research is promising. In a 2016 study, dogs given a probiotic supplement containing various strains of Lactobacillus bacteria maintained their appetite and recovered faster from a bout of acute diarrhea than dogs given a placebo (11). There were also fewer pathogens in the feces of the probiotic-treated dogs, making them less likely to pass on this harmful bacteria to other dogs. In another study, dogs with diarrhea that received a specific strain of Bifidobacterium animalis recovered faster and were less likely to need antibiotic treatment compared to the placebo pups (12). Many vets agree that probiotics are harmless for dogs and likely offer some digestive benefits (13).




26
APR

4 Misconceptions About the Paleo Diet

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Health Foods at 6:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak

The Paleo diet is trending up for a very good reason. It’s a diet simply based on cutting out food that is unhealthy and replacing with foods that are essential to our bodies. The principle of the Paleo diet is that we should eliminate foods that are relatively new to humans and go back to eating more natural, raw foods without the added preservatives and unhealthy ingredients. While relatively new to many people, questions and incorrect information about the Paleo diet have come up, preventing some people from giving it a try. So, let’s look at 4 common misconceptions about the Paleo diet.

1. Meat Is All You Eat

The biggest misconception about the Paleo diet is that all you eat is meat. Of course, meat is a significant part of the diet, as part of the approved food groups on the diet plan. But the Paleo diet also includes lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts. The secret of a successful Paleo diet is to balance different food groups to achieve more benefits.

2. No Carbs

Some people believe the Paleo diet contains no carbs, but that is also incorrect. Paleo excludes grains, sugar and other easily available carbs, but it’s not necessarily considered low carb. In fact, the diet recommends a variety of different carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, wild rice and squash.

3. The Fad Diet Talk

“Fad diet” is a term generally used for a type of diet plan that promises quick weight loss through drastic dietary changes. Fad diets are often very unhealthy and almost always unsustainable, as people cannot seem to live eating one or an extremely limited number of food groups. The Paleo diet is not designed for short-term weight loss. It’s simply a diet program for those searching for a long-term healthy lifestyle, based on feeling well by eating more natural, whole foods.

4. Too Expensive

Unfortunately, every single healthy diet will be considered “expensive,” as natural food often costs more than industrialized junk food. But can it be considered too expensive? Processed junk food might be cheaper at first, but ingesting tons of artificial ingredients can end up costing you in the long run. Of course, organic meats, fruits and vegetables are more expensive, but you will live much better and avoid expenses with your health later in life.




26
APR

Hemp Oil Dressing with Pomegranate Vinegar and Mint

Filed Under: Health Foods,Recipes at 3:57 pm | By: Susan Marque

Hemp is gaining ground for all sorts of uses. The versatile oil made from hemp seeds can be an extraordinary way to enjoy eating healthfully. You get a nice immunity boost from hemp oil, with its high amount of essential fatty acids (EFAs). It is imperative that you get them in some form, because your body can’t produce EFAs on its own. So, you must eat foods that supply the all important omega-3 and omega-6. Hemp oil is a good source of both.

Wondering what other benefits there are to consuming hemp? Great skin, cancer prevention, lowered PMS symptoms, reduced inflammation, and some scientists are seeing improved memory and anti-aging, to name a few. There are a lot of reasons to experiment with hemp oil.

This dressing takes hemp’s nutty flavor into account, adding the delicate sweetness of pomegranate to make a balanced profile, with mint for extra sparkle. The honey and mustard are in quantities that won’t overpower. Instead, they boost up the dominate flavors of mint, pomegranate and hemp oil.

You can easily whip this up in about five minutes, which makes it rival the speed of opening a bottle of store-bought dressing that can be loaded with less healthful ingredients. This dressing won’t weigh you down, and it’s good for your heart.

Experiment with the amounts of the ingredients to get it just right for your own taste. You might want to try the same ratios but swap apple cider vinegar in place of the pomegranate and Dijon in place of the prepared mustard. There are lots of ways to enjoy making salads with hemp oil. Let’s get started!

Gather your ingredients. Assembly can go fast if you don’t have to go back to the cupboard or fridge to retrieve each item.

Chop the mint.

Pour the oil and vinegar into a bowl, along with the mint.

Add the honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Use a whisk to blend the ingredients.

Pour or sprinkle over your salad. And voila!

Hemp Oil Dressing with Pomegranate Vinegar and Mint

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cooking time: 1 minute

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup pomegranate vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons hemp seed oil
Approximately 1/4 cup chopped mint, loosely packed and chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon raw honey
1/4 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!




19
APR

3 Foods That Can Boost Your Skin’s Natural Sun Protection

Filed Under: Health Foods,Personal Care at 5:21 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

Anyone who is 100 percent done with the cold grip of winter will be happy to know that summer is just around the corner. Whether you are looking forward to longer days, afternoons spent unwinding on a sandy shore, or a chance to go on vacation with the people you love, summer has a way of infusing life with a bit of joy and excitement. Unfortunately, it also brings about some serious health concerns, such as skin cancer.

Statistics about skin cancer have not changed much in recent years (1). According to one estimate, more than 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3. million people in the United States each year (2).

While finding the appropriate sunscreen should be at the top of your priority list, there are a few other ways to boost your skin’s natural sun protection. Eating specific foods, for example, can be a simple and effective way to increase your skin’s defenses.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are packed with an assortment of vitamins and nutrients your body can benefit from. You might already know that fruits in this category contain ample amounts of vitamin C, but you might not be aware that citrus also generally contains potassium, vitamin E, copper, vitamin B6 and more.

By giving your body a nice dose of citrus each day, experts say you are significantly less likely to experience sunburn. Since these irritations to the skin increase your risk of skin cancer, citrus can be another line of defense for your body.

One study found that participants who consumed more citrus and citrus peel were far less likely to develop cancerous cells in their bodies (3). Though eating more citrus is not a cure by any means, it’s a preventative step that can help provide an extra layer of sun protection.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a fruit closely associated with summer. Whether you grow them in your garden, buy them from a farmer’s market or order them online, you most likely incorporate tomatoes into many of your meals during the warmer months.  A tomato is not only good for a salad. In fact, a number of studies suggest eating tomatoes regularly might help to significantly reduce the odds of developing certain types of cancer.

The science behind this study is quite interesting. Tomatoes, like almost all red fruits, are said to contain high levels of the carotene known as lycopene (4). Consuming tomatoes and other fruits rich with lycopene on a daily basis might actually help cut your skin cancer risk in half.

This is an easy addition to your routine. All you need to do is cut a tomato into slices for a snack, sprinkle on some salt and cracked pepper, and enjoy the delicious taste and the cancer-fighting properties. Don’t like tomatoes? Red cabbage, grapefruit and peppers are also excellent sources of lycopene.

Wild Salmon

Protecting your skin by eating ample fruits and veggies can be a great move to make. Of course, you might also want to add some meat into your diet. If you are a fan of fish, you’ll be happy to learn that wild salmon contains some incredibly useful nutrients when it comes to sun protection. Salmon, like most fish, are filled with omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s found in most wild salmon are said to actively work toward preventing skin cancer.

The fatty acids of the salmon not only help to increase the skin’s natural protection against harmful UV rays. Studies have shown eating fish rich with omega-3s can also help to prevent collagen in the skin from being damaged, diminished or destroyed by prolonged exposure to the sun (5).

While you don’t need to eat salmon as regularly as tomatoes or citrus, you can benefit from including fish in your weekly meal plan. When used in conjunction with sunscreen, eating a balanced diet can help keep your skin well-protected this summer.




11
APR

Are Drinking Vinegars the Next Kombucha? What You Need to Know

Filed Under: Health Aids,Health Foods at 10:17 am | By: Joe Palinsky

When you’re looking for a bit of refreshment on a hot day, you might not immediately think about tossing back a cup of vinegar. Yeah, it sounds a bit weird at first. Still, drinking vinegars seem to be the newest obsession among people who want to revitalize their bodies.

While drinking this pungent liquid is not an appealing prospect to many, the people behind the brands of drinking vinegars currently lining the shelves have taken some great considerations to make the beverage more palatable.

If you still find yourself shaking your head, you are not alone. Many publications have been discussing how odd this beverage trend seems at first glance and pointing out that many celebrities are getting into the fad (1). Though drinking the tangy beverage might seem unusual, people also turned their noses up at kombucha when it first hit the market. Nowadays, kombucha is a very popular fermented drink for health enthusiasts (2), and it seems like drinking vinegars might be following the same path.

If you want to determine whether drinking vinegar should be a part of your daily routine, here’s everything you need to know.

Digestive Health

We know vinegar is mainly comprised of acetic acid and water, but what else is inside the bottle? Vinegar also contains chemicals called polyphenols. These chemical compounds are naturally found in plants and help them to fight off predators, enhance pigmentation, and strengthens flora against potential infections (3). Beyond these functions, polyphenols have also been shown to be incredibly resistant to rot, whether found in a natural form or within a processed item like vinegar.

Research on polyphenols over the years has revealed some impressive benefits. While there are a number of different types of polyphenols found in the various plants of the world, the types found in vinegar are excellent when it comes to protecting and preserving the functions of the gut. Specifically, drinking vinegars help to strengthen the gut microbiota found along the lining of your stomach and intestinal tract. By using vinegar to keep this bacteria present and active, you are likely to experience improved digestive functions (4).

Antioxidant Awareness

Gut microbiota aside, you might be wondering why people are drinking vinegar when there are so many other sources of this chemical chain readily available in nature. Polyphenols are just one of several antioxidizing components of vinegar. That’s right, vinegar is packed with antioxidants (5). While you’ve been hunting down blueberries and acai extract, there has been a great antioxidant source right in your pantry!

Now, to clarify, you probably should not just grab any bottle of clear vinegar from your kitchen, toss in a straw, and see what happens. In fact, you have to go for the right kinds of vinegar to see the benefits. Of the household varieties of vinegar out there, apple cider vinegar is your best choice. You probably have heard that gargling with apple cider vinegar is good for your throat and the same is true of drinking a small amount and feeling a difference in your gut.

Taste Testing

If you want to test out the drinking vinegar craze, you’re not limited to sipping on the same apple cider vinegar you use to cook with. There are a variety of exciting brands currently on the market made with fruits, herbs and spices. Instead of plugging your nose and hoping for the best, you can explore a wide range of flavors and ingredients, including honey, ginger, turmeric, pineapple and pomegranate.

Whether you jump on the bandwagon or not, there is a lot of science behind the act of drinking vinegar for health. Look more into polyphenols and see what foods and beverages you can find these chemical chains in. If vinegar isn’t for you, then there’s bound to be another option to provide your body with some helpful antioxidants.




10
APR

Healthy Tomato Carrot Juice Recipe

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Health Foods at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Fresh juice recipes are delicious and may contain healthy flavoring ingredients. That’s the case of a popular veggie/fruit healthy combo: tomato carrot juice.

Tomato juice provides a ton of phytonutrients, as this “fruit” contains high amounts of beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and potassium. Known to boost the immune system, tomato juice can also help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Carrot juice is well-known as a vitamin A booster, which is essential for healthy eyes. Red-orange colored foods, such as carrots and tomatoes, contain beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A when consumed by the body. Vitamin A deficiency may result in vision loss or night blindness. Plus, carrots are a great source of antioxidants.

Additionally, tomato carrot juice can help with weight loss. When you drink a cup of this healthy juice, you enjoy a drink low in calories and low in fat, while high in vitamins and minerals. One single serving may contain up to 250 percent of daily requirements of vitamin A. Best of all, it is super easy to make.

Here’s a simple healthy tomato carrot juice recipe.

Ingredients

  • One cup chopped tomatoes
  • One cup grated carrots
  • 5-6 ounces of cold drinking water
  • 2 tablespoon honey

Instructions

  • Place carrots and tomatoes in a blender and process until smooth.
  • Add a little water and 2 tablespoons of honey (if desired). Serve chilled. Enjoy!




2
APR

Fire Cider: The Power of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Health Foods at 5:28 pm | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at Shire City Herbals, makers of Fire Cider.

For centuries, New Englanders have taken a daily spoonful of Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey. You only need a tablespoon a day to benefit from the power of Fire Cider, but if you’re like us, we are more generous and take a whole shot as well as work it into our beverages, marinades, sauces, dressings, dips, etc. The list goes on and on.

Our flavor-packed Fire Cider is based on traditional family recipe and ideas that harness the exquisite flavors and power of raw apple cider vinegar infused with roots, fruits and spices. Specifically, apple cider vinegar, honey, oranges, lemons, onions, ginger, horseradish, garlic, turmeric, habanero pepper, and black pepper, all of which are USDA certified organic. We invite you to explore our three different flavorsOriginal, Honey-Free, and African Bronze—to see which is your favorite and to get adventurous with incorporating Fire Cider into your beverages and recipes.

We created Fire Cider for anyone and everyone interested in a more of-the-earth, connected way of living and in challenging convention. For those who don’t settle. For those who know that healthy equals happy, and happy equals healthy.

At Shire City Herbals, we celebrate harmony, health and happiness. Our certified organic, sustainably sourced apple cider vinegar blend is meant to be incorporated in your daily wellness routine. When you feel great on the inside, it’s amazing how that radiates outward to everything around you!

We recently added black pepper to our recipe. Black pepper is known to increase the bioavailability of turmeric in your body. This means more of the curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) can get absorbed into your bloodstream!

You’re welcome.   

 




27
MAR

5 Reasons to Drink Coconut Water

Filed Under: Health Foods at 4:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak

If you still haven’t tried coconut water, it might be the right time to do it. This incredible beverage is packed with nutrients that can provide multiple health benefits. Extracted from young coconuts, coconut water is 95 percent water and contains a ton of nutrients. Still not sure? Let’s look at five reasons to drink coconut water.

1. Nutrients

A great source of nutrients, coconut water is rich in natural vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Coconut water is a source of five important minerals: potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium and phosphorus. Plus, it contains a lot of B vitamins, and trace elements, such as zinc, selenium, iodine and sulfur.

2. Electrolytes

Coconut water is high in potassium and can help prevent dehydration. One cup of this tropical drink has 295 milligrams of potassium—that’s more than a banana. The human body uses potassium to maintain membrane potential, which is the electrolyte balance your cells need to function properly. Additionally, coconut water can be a great low-sugar alternative to sports drinks, as it contains only about 4.5 percent carbohydrates while other sports drinks can contain 6 to 8 percent.

3. Digestion

Coconut water is considered a good digestive tonic that can treat different ailments, including stomach flu, dysentery, constipation, and parasites. It helps with food absorption and improves digestion via its bioactive enzyme.

4. Immunity

Coconut water boosts the immune system and helps fight infections, as it contains lauric acid. This medium-chain fatty acid contains antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties and it has been found to be effective in treating candida, fungal infections, and hepatitis C.

5. Low Calorie

Coconut water is a great low-calorie beverage, as its 40 calories per cup are well below the amount of some other fruit juices. However, some coconut drinks may have sugar added to them, so make sure to double check if you are trying to minimize sugar intake.




15
MAR

Refreshing Reasons to Drink More Water

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Water Purification and Storage at 4:06 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

Water is the most important beverage available to human beings across the world. In order for a person to live a long and healthy life, experts have stated it is crucial for an individual to drink an average of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Despite this, most people do not drink anywhere near this amount. Not only do most people forget to drink the correct amount of water each day, several surveys have suggested it has always been more likely a person will reach for a soft drink than a bottle of thirst-quenching agua.

Though there are several recent reports showing public attitudes have changed toward water consumption, millions still forget to fill their glasses with the right frequency. While you are probably already familiar with some of the more common reasons to stay hydrated, there are untold benefits that come from making water consumption a part of your daily regimen. Explore these refreshing and original reasons to load your body with H20 each day and see how you can benefit.

Wake Up

Ever have one of those days where you feel sluggish from the moment you wake up until the second you hit the pillow at the end of the night? You are not alone. Millions of people all over the planet suffer from a lack of proper sleep and go about their days in a hazy state. While fatigue might come about for a number of different reasons, several studies have linked exhaustion with dehydration. When your body is not getting the right amount of water on a regular basis, it can eventually catch up to you and make you feel slow and sleepy throughout the course of your daily routine.

Similar studies also suggest water is a mood enhancer. While not drinking enough water can lead to your body operating at a reduced capacity, the same is true of the mind and associated functions of the endocrine system. Without an appropriate daily dose of water, mood-altering hormones are not released in the right way. This means you are not likely to receive any positive mood boosts from endorphins. If you find yourself irritable, anxious, or exhausted on a routine basis, you might want to see if increasing your water intake changes the way you feel.

Strong Muscles

How you feel goes a bit beyond the hormones flowing through your body. While you might feel awake and alert without drinking the right levels of water, you may notice a difference in other aspects of your routine. Most people are aware of the fact that water provides essential lubrication to muscles so they can operate exceptionally well. What they might not realize, however, is that a person needs to drink water in the right way for the full impact to be felt. When you are out for a night of drinking with friends, you most likely keep hydration in the back of your mind. Without drinking enough water, you are far more likely to develop the symptoms of a hangover the next morning.

Dehydration is a key factor in a hangover, which is why so many make sure to order a water or two while at the bar. It might be good to keep water in the mix but you need to pace yourself in the right manner. Drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage you consume and one extra large glass before bed and you’re likely to provide your muscles with ample hydration to beat a hangover.

Mental Integrity

Staying sharp is also a lot easier when you have access to fresh, clean water whenever you require it. Memory can be funny in an age where distractions run rampant. If you find yourself struggling to remember basic facts on a routine basis, it could be stemming from dehydration. Though many of these studies produced varying results, a number of scientific reports conducted on young children reveal some interesting results. According to these studies, children on average were more likely to perform well with visual memory tests after drinking the correct amount of water for their ages and weights.

Though the benefits of water are obvious and powerful, millions still turn away from the clear liquid when it is offered. If you find yourself struggling to drink enough water each day, be sure to take time to research why it is a vital aspect of your existence and get into the habit of refreshing yourself with eight glasses a day.

 




7
MAR

4 Reasons To Go Vegan (Not Related To Diet)

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Food Politics,Health Foods at 11:02 am | By: Guest Blogger

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.




28
FEB

5 Delicious Reasons To Eat More Cacao Nibs (Yay!)

Filed Under: Health Foods,Superfoods at 9:40 am | By: Madeline Reiss

When you feel your sweet tooth start to tingle, you most likely want to satisfy it with something sweet. Unfortunately, the sugary confections and candies you turn to are not always going to be the healthiest. Though this might be disheartening, there is still reason for hope. Chocolate has long been considered a food with health potential, though it tends to go through so many processes it loses most of its health benefits along the way.

To get the most from your sweet snack, opt instead for cacao nibs. Essentially, these little bits of delight are the immediate product of plucking cocoa beans from their original spot, roasting them, and breaking them into tiny bites. If you are hoping to get a boost of nutrition the next time you want to satisfy a craving for something sweet, cacao nibs could be your best bet.

Potassium Push

No matter what you eat, you should always take a moment to consider the nutritional value of the food in front of you. A banana, for example, can make for a perfect snack when you’re hungry because it is light and packed with important nutrients like potassium. Still, there are plenty of people who do not enjoy the taste of banana. Should you want to increase your potassium level without the help of this yellow fruit, cacao nibs might be a good substitute.

Cacao nibs are said to contain a powerful punch of potassium, which can be useful when it comes to improving the condition of your cardiovascular system. Potassium tends to lower blood pressure and strengthen the overall integrity of the heart. If you’re not getting enough potassium and definitely don’t want a banana, grab a handful of some of these tasty little nibs.

Lots of Heart

Potassium might help your heart but there are tons of other nutrients and vitamins found in cacao nibs that help to improve cardiovascular performance. Cacao nibs are said to be an excellent source of flavonoids, which is useful for your heart. Flavonoids are compounds found in many plant-based foods. These compounds operate as antioxidants, specifically helping with lowering inflammation around the arteries. Flavonoids also help to thin blood and improve the way it circulates around the body.

Cacao nibs also contain a number of other useful antioxidants that serve a variety of useful purposes for the heart and related systems. In certain studies, those who ingested cacao nibs for a specific period of time were reported to have lower levels of LDL, which is considered a harmful form of cholesterol responsible for many cardiovascular diseases. If the health of your heart is a top priority for you, see what cacao nibs might be able to do.

 Magnesium Dose

Ever feel fatigued throughout the day even though you got plenty of sleep the night before? This happens to plenty of people and it often can be linked back to a lack of specific nutrients in your system. Magnesium is a vital nutrient people require to stay active and functional on a daily basis but it is also a nutrient most people have a deficiency with. When fatigue is part of your daily ritual, you might want to change your diet around a bit and add cacao nibs into the mix.

Cacao nibs are packed with magnesium, making them an easy and tasty source of this vital chemical. The more magnesium you get each day, the more likely it is you are going to feel energized, alert, and ready for whatever your day is going to bring to you. Magnesium has also been shown to improve overall brain function, so it can never hurt to snack a bit more on cacao for the sake of your mind.

 Mood Boost

Chocolate is a popular snack for many people because it contains ingredients that helps the brain and body to feel good. Specifically, chocolate helps to release serotonin, the chemical responsible for generating feelings of joy. While cacao might be chocolate in a more raw and unrefined form, it still contains more than its fair share of elements that can improve your mood.

Anandamide, for example, can be found in cacao nibs and this fatty acid neurotransmitter is quite impressive. Known far and wide as the molecule of “joy” and “bliss,” eating foods containing anandamide has been said to act as a mood enhancer and even assist a person in combating the negative impacts of conditions like anxiety and depression. You probably already felt chocolate improved your mood on a rough day but you might not have realized how scientific that assumption was.

Fresh and Young

Finally, it is important to focus on the antioxidants found in cacao nibs one last time, specifically the polyphenols. These compounds are important for improving the integrity of your cardiovascular system but they do a lot more. Cacao nibs have the same polyphenols as green tea, which aids the skin in appearing fresh and healthy. Snack on some nibs and fight off the aging process in a sweet and simplistic way.

While you might not need any more excuses to snack on chocolate, the many health benefits associated with cacao nibs can sweeten the deal just a bit. Add these tasty little bits to your daily snacking routine and feel the difference yourself.




22
FEB

7 Ways to Replenish Your Electrolytes Naturally

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,Health Foods at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak

Electrolytes are essential nutrients that help maintain fluid balance and conduct electrical activity. Directly responsible for muscle contractions and neural activity, electrolyte imbalance may happen when you lose an excessive amount of body fluids through sweat, vomiting, diarrhea, or a high fever. Most common symptoms include feeling woozy or experiencing muscles cramps. You can easily get your body back in balance by eating or drinking foods that contain these essential nutrients and avoiding highly processed foods loaded with sodium but lacking important electrolytes such as potassium or magnesium. So, let’s check out 7 ways to replenish your electrolytes naturally.

1. Coconut water

One of the richest natural sources of electrolytes, coconut water is high in potassium as one cup contains about 600mg of potassium as well as 250mg of sodium. Coconut water is also lower in carbohydrates compared to other sports drinks, making it a great electrolyte replacement during or after a workout.

2. Bananas

Need potassium? Go bananas.  Known as the best source of this impotent mineral among fruits and vegetables, one single banana provides over 400mg of potassium which helps control muscles and blood pressure. It’s the perfect snack for pre and post workout.

3. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are also a great way to naturally replace electrolytes. This amazing superfood is loaded with vital nutrients such as omega-3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, vitamins, and lots of minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds are great sources of magnesium and snacking them helps to replenish levels of this important mineral.

5. Salt

It might sound weird, but adding a pinch of salt to a glass of water helps with rehydration by replacing sodium and chloride. Some salty foods, such as broth or vegetable juice, are also good for replenishing sodium levels.

6. Yogurt

Including calcium-rich foods are also important to prevent dehydration and restore electrolytes lost during sweaty workout sessions. Yogurt is an excellent choice not only for the amount of calcium provided but also for the beneficial probiotics.

7. Water

The amount of water you need to drink on a daily basis depends on your age, how often and how intense you exercise, the climate you live in, and even your body size. One thing is for certain: drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.