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10
JUL

7 Surprising Uses for Coconut Oil

Filed Under: Beauty,Nutrition,Personal Care,Recipes at 2:44 pm | By: admin

From a star ingredient in DIY beauty treatments to a nutritious substitute for conventional cooking oils, coconut oil has more uses than we can count. Here are seven surprising uses for coconut oil you may not know about:

1. Coconut Oil Coffee Creamer

Instead of using dairy creamer, try using coconut oil. It’s a natural sweetener, and it could be good for heart health. So try a cup of Coco-Joe!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 cup of hot coffee

1-2 teaspoons organic LuckyEats coconut oil

Natural sweetener (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add coconut oil to your coffee and stir to blend. Add natural sweetener to taste. Sip and enjoy!

2. Coconut Oil Super Smoothie

Add coconut oil to your favorite smoothie for added flavor.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1.5 cups ice

1 medium banana

1 tablespoon Greek nonfat yogurt

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

2 scoops protein powder

1 piece peeled fresh ginger

2 teaspoons black elderberry syrup

1 tablespoon organic LuckyEats coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix all ingredients and blend until smooth. Sip and enjoy!

3. Coconut Shampoo

You can use coconut oil to make a DIY ultra-nourishing coconut shampoo.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 teaspoon organic LuckyEats coconut oil, melted

½ cup unsweetened coconut milk

2/3 cup liquid castile soap

Few drops of your favorite LuckyAromas essential oil

Empty bottle

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Heat coconut oil in a microwave-safe dish for 30 seconds.
  • Pour unsweetened coconut milk and castile soap into an empty bottle.
  • Add the liquid coconut oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
  • Shake vigorously to mix.
  • Shower and see the results for yourself!

4. Swap Out Unhealthy Oil with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a trans-fat-free and tasty substitute for conventional cooking oils, butter or shortening in recipes. Simply replace at a 1:1 ratio. For flaky baked products, use coconut oil at room temperature. To replace vegetable oil and butter, melt coconut oil and use it in its liquid state. Try using it in your favorite brownie mix!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 package of brownie mix

3 eggs

1/2 cup LuckyEats coconut oil, melted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Add brownie mix, eggs and coconut oil in a large bowl.
  • Stir until well blended.
  • Pour batter into baking pan and spread with a spatula.
  • Bake according to brownie mix directions.
  • Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

5. Coconut Oil Deodorant

Whip up an effective natural deodorant using coconut oil!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

2 tablespoons shea butter

3 tablespoons beeswax

1/3 cup arrowroot powder

2 tablespoons baking soda

1/3 cup organic LuckyEats coconut oil, melted

10-15 drops LuckyAromas essential oils

2 empty deodorant containers

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Melt shea butter and beeswax in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir continuously until melted.
  • Once completely melted, remove off heat and whisk in arrowroot powder and baking soda.
  • Add coconut oil and essential oils. Mix thoroughly, but quickly, as mixture will start to thicken.
  • Pour into two empty deodorant containers and let your homemade deodorant sit until completely set. Place on lid.
  • Use as you would any other deodorant!

6. DIY Coconut Sugar Face Scrub

Get super-smooth skin with this all-natural DIY coconut sugar scrub.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 cup of organic sugar

¼ cup organic LuckyEats coconut oil

6-12 drops of LuckyAromas lavender essential oil

8-ounce mason jar

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Add the sugar to a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add the melted coconut oil to the sugar and mix with a spoon until you arrive at a nice, fluffy consistency.
  • Add a few drops of lavender essential oil.
  • Transfer the scrub to the jar.

7. Coconut Oil Hand Soap

Make a super-creamy coconut oil hand soap that’s great for healing chapped hands.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 natural fragrance-free soap bar

Cheese grater

Large pot

10 cups water

2 tablespoons organic LuckyEats coconut oil

20-25 drops of your favorite LuckyAromas essential oil

Liquid soap dispenser

Large mason jar for refills

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Grate the entire bar of soap with your cheese grater and put it in a pot. Add water and coonut oil over the grated soap.
  • Heat the soap, coconut oil and water on medium heat until all the soap and coconut oil have dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool.
  • Add between 20 to 25 drops of your favorite essential oil into the mixture.
  • Let it sit and cool. Stir every hour. After five hours, the soap should be ready!
  • Pour the soap into the dispenser and you can start using it right away.




6
JUL

How to Eat Keto When You’re Vegan

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Nutrition,Supplements at 11:16 am | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at Nuzest and written by Cliff Harvey, N.D., Dip.Fit, Ph.D.

The ketogenic diet is becoming one of, if not the most popular diet in the mainstream right now. Despite this popularity, the ketogenic diet is misunderstood. Many people think that it is solely a carnivore-style diet and that its very nature excludes vegans. But not so! There are plenty of ways to follow a keto diet and still be vegan. In fact, several of my colleagues and students are keto-vegans.

What Is Ketosis?

Ketogenic diets elicit the state of ketosis. Ketosis is when the body produces ketone bodies, mainly from fats (and some amino acids) to use as an alternative fuel in times of fasting or drastic carbohydrate restriction. When stored carbohydrate (glycogen) reserves become insufficient to supply the glucose normally necessary for fuel metabolism and for the supply of glucose to the brain and central nervous system, an alternative fuel source is needed. Ketones (especially β-hydroxybutyrate or BOHB) are created in the liver to supply fuel to the body and brain.

What Is a Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet itself is a form of low-carb, high-fat, low-to-moderate protein diet. Originally developed as a treatment for childhood epilepsy beginning nearly a century ago, keto and other low-carb, high-fat diets are now being studied for their potential use for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Ketogenic diets typically require that you eat around 4-parts fat to 1-part protein and carbohydrate (a 4:1 protocol). This is what leads people to believe that they can’t follow a ketogenic diet if they are eating an entirely plant-based diet.

The Problem with Ketogenic Diet Is Protein

In order to get quality protein, most people rely on meat, fish, chicken and eggs, which are nearly devoid of carbohydrate and packed with complete protein and with (depending on the meat and cut) relatively high levels of fat. This is great if you’re on a keto diet, but not so great if you’re vegan!

So, vegans typically rely on eating foods that contain protein but also have higher amounts of carbohydrate, which is a keto no-no.

How Vegans Can Get Enough Protein for a Ketogenic Diet, Without the Carbs

To be successful on a vegan keto diet, you need to find protein choices that are relatively low in carbohydrate. Fat intake is easy, as any vegan oil is going to fit the bill for keto. Protein is the tricky part.

Some vegan proteins that are relatively low in carbohydrate include:

Food (g per 100 g) Protein Carbs Fat
Firm tofu 8 1.9 4.8
Tempeh 19 9 11
Sprouted lentils* 9 22 1
Almonds 21 22 49
Walnuts 15 14 65
Pea protein isolate 89 2 1

*These are still relatively high in carbohydrate, but as part of a mixed meal, with vegetables, oils added, and other protein sources, can still be part of a keto diet.

Tips for Meal Planning for the Keto-Vegan

1. Plan Your Meals. The key to planning a vegan keto meal is to prioritize lower-carb protein foods, eat a lot of vegetables, and then add oils to the meal to increase the fat: protein/carb ratio. One of the common problems in going lower-carb is that vegan diets often tend to be based on starchy foods such as rice and potatoes. These often make up the greatest bulk of the diet, but in a vegan keto diet, this needs to be reversed, with the greatest bulk made up of vegetables, followed by low-carb protein foods, and then dressed in healthy fats and oils.

So, a vegan keto meal looks a little something like this: veggies + low-carb protein + oils

Example: 3 servings of veggies (kale, spinach, etc.) + mixed nuts, seeds and sprouted lentils + olive oil vinaigrette

2. Boost Ketones with MCTs. One thing that really helps a vegan keto diet is the use of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Ketosis can be achieved with a little more protein and carbohydrate, and less fat, if you supplement with MCTs, as they are taken up into the liver (as compared to entering the body via the lymph) and are then converted into ketone bodies. If you add a tablespoon of MCT oil to smoothies and use it as part of your salad and vegetable dressings, you’ll make your keto-vegan journey a whole lot easier.

3. Use Pea Protein Isolate. There’s nothing magical about protein powder…but it is a convenient, cost effective way to provide high-quality protein to your diet. A protein smoothie can provide a meal, and for vegan keto, this meal can be tailored to exactly the amount of protein and fat you require. For example, a great option could be to have a scoop of pea protein isolate, with a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter, flax seeds, some kale, blueberries and a tablespoon of MCT—a perfect keto meal with around 65 percent of the calories from fat (mostly MCT) and more than 20 grams of protein.

So, a day of vegan keto eating could look a little like this:

Breakfast: Smoothie (as above)

Lunch: Leftovers from dinner

Dinner: Salad or vegetables with tofu, tempeh or mixed nuts and seeds, and dressed with flax and olive oil vinaigrette.

It’s actually relatively easy to give a ketogenic diet a go if you’re vegan. While the keto diet isn’t for everyone, it can be a great diet if you can stick to it. Thankfully, there are more ways to do keto than the old-style, classic keto diets, and if you simply avoid the obligate carbohydrates (grains, tubers and fruits), stick to the tips above, and prioritize non-starchy veggies, lower-carb plant-based proteins and healthy fats, you’ll find vegan keto a breeze.

About the author: Dr. Cliff Harvey is a naturopath and clinical nutritionist, and author and speaker specializing in holistic performance nutrition and mind-body-spirit lifestyle counseling.




5
JUL

Berry Coconut Almond Protein Smoothie Recipe

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Recipes at 12:57 pm | By: Megan Sullivan

Fruit smoothies can be a delicious way to start your day, but they often fall short on protein. This Berry Coconut Almond Protein Smoothie recipe doesn’t skimp on nutrients—or flavor! The secret ingredient? Egg white protein.

By adding a scoop of egg white protein to your smoothie, you’ll get a whopping 23 grams of protein. Egg whites are not only high in protein but also free of cholesterol, fats and carbohydrates.

Non-dairy milk, coconut oil and almond butter provide a healthy fat boost, while mixed berries and banana add fiber and potassium.

Egg white protein is also lactose free, making this smoothie an ideal option for people with lactose intolerance. Here’s how to make it:

Berry Coconut Almond Protein Smoothie 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup frozen mixed berries

½ ripe banana, fresh or frozen

1 scoop MRM Natural Egg White Protein (vanilla)

1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 tablespoon LuckyEats Coconut Oil, melted

1-2 tablespoons Justin’s Honey Almond Butter

Topping: 1 tablespoon coconut flakes (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Place mixed berries, banana, egg white protein and non-dairy milk in a blender.
  • Slowly pour in coconut oil while blending to avoid clumping. Blend until smooth.
  • Drizzle almond butter inside a glass and swirl to coat the sides.
  • Pour smoothie into the glass and top with coconut flakes, if desired. Sip and enjoy!




3
JUL

What Is Moringa and Why Do You Need It?

Filed Under: Nutrition,Superfoods,Supplements at 5:03 pm | By: Jessica Remitz

This piece was created in partnership with our friends at Kuli Kuli.

You’ve likely heard of superfoods—and may incorporate some into your diet already—but it can be challenging to keep up with the myriad of options aimed at improving your health and well-being. Enter moringa, an incredibly versatile, nutrient-dense plant that goes above and beyond the call of duty, even when compared to other superfoods.

What Is Moringa?

Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing, leafy tree that has been utilized in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and is known for its resistance to drought.

“Morgina possibly dates back as early as 7,000 B.C. to the Siddha healers in India who used it as a traditional herb and the Egyptians who used its oil for their skin,” says Matthew Myers, a wellness consultant at LuckyVitamin. “Moringa is native to the southern foothills of northwestern India and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seed pods and leaves are used as vegetables or for traditional herbs. Moringa is now grown all over Southeast Asia, Central America, Africa, the Middle East and even Hawaii.”

In addition to being used as a food, supplement and topical ointment, moringa has also been used to purify water and in the production of biodiesel fuel (1). Many parts of the moringa tree are able to be used in some capacity.

“Moringa’s leaves can be dried and crushed into a powder to be used in soups and sauces, the seed pods can be boiled and cooked, the seeds can be roasted and the roots can be shredded and used as a condiment,” Myers says. “In supplement form, the whole leaf or leaf extract is available in capsules, powder, liquid juice blend, tea bags and even bars. Its seed oil is used for the skin, and it is also found in some personal care conditioners and soaps.”

As a food, moringa contains a large number of nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, K and E, minerals like iron, potassium and calcium, and antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber, Myers says. Moringa also contains the nine amino acids needed to form a complete protein, which is rare among plant sources of food and is generally derived from animal sources.

Moringa Benefits

Moringa offers a number of health benefits, such as boosting the immune system, improving digestion, and supporting skin, muscle and bone health, Myers says. Moringa can also boost energy and promote healthy blood sugar levels in individuals who already have normal ranges, he adds.

A good source of iron, beta-carotene, potassium and calcium, moringa possesses antioxidants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease, some studies suggest (2). In addition, studies have also suggested that the components of the moringa plant can help treat diabetes (3). It’s important to note, however, that more research is needed to further substantiate both of these claims.

Moringa has also been proven as an excellent source of iron for people with anemia (4). Like other leafy greens, moringa contains high levels of non-heme iron (the type of iron found in plants). Moringa has seven times the amount of iron as spinach and six times the amount of iron as kale (5).

As with all supplements and herbs, talk to your doctor or medical care professional before taking any new products, Myers says, as some medications can interact with supplements and natural herbs. In addition, Myers recommends talking to a specialist before taking moringa if you are on any type of hormone-related medication.

Some studies suggest that the leaves of the moringa plant can be used to increase breast milk production (6), however, there is not enough evidence to confirm that moringa is safe for nursing infants. In addition, the root, bark and flowers of the moringa plant should be avoided entirely by pregnant women. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before trying any type of moringa product.

Ways to Add Moringa to Your Diet

Moringa leaves can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked. In powder form, the leaves can also retain their nutritional value for years without refrigeration. Moringa powder can be added to smoothies or mixed into sauces and stews. It can also be found in certain energy shots and health bars.

Used as a seed oil, moringa can help protect and moisturize the skin, Myers says. To use it, wash and pat your skin dry, then apply the oil directly to the face to soothe dry and irritated, skin. It can also be used as a hair oil by massaging two to three drops in damp hair, beginning at the scalp and working toward the ends of the hair, he says.

Myers recommends taking the leaf extract in capsule form and following instruction labels for dosing recommendations.

“All supplements use the leaf and seed part of the plant,” he says. “If you are to consume the actual plant itself in its natural form like in traditional cooking, use precaution when consuming the bark, root and flowers in high doses.”

Moringa Green Tea Lemonade Recipe

Looking for a simple (and refreshing) way to get your daily dose of moringa? Try adding a scoop to a tall glass of green tea lemonade!

Servings: 2

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups boiling water

2 green tea bags

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 to 6 lemons)

¼ cup natural sweetener, such as agave or honey (or more to taste)

2 tablespoons pure moringa vegetable powder

Ice

1 cup sparkling water

Lemon slices for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Add green tea bags to boiling water and steep about three minutes. Remove tea bags and discard.
  • Once tea has cooled a bit, mix in lemon juice, sweetener and moringa powder.
  • Pour lemonade mixture into a pitcher with ice.
  • Top with sparkling water.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and enjoy!




27
JUN

Are You Getting Enough Protein?

Filed Under: Nutrition,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 4:51 pm | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at Bodylogix.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by protein information overload? If so, you’re not alone. And while you may know protein is beneficial for a healthy muscular makeup and optimally functioning immune system, you may not know exactly how much protein you need each day or what the best sources for a healthy lifestyle are.

Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, coined “America’s Fat Loss Doc,” once said, “Protein is king.” In fact, if you don’t get enough protein in your diet, it can have negative effects on your health.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for adults, or 0.36 grams per pound.

Of course, there are a few factors that can affect that number, including lifestyle habits and your activity level. Lucky for you, Bodylogix has created a new app that not only calculates how much protein you need each day, but also provides product recommendations and alternative protein sources. Best of all, it helps you to live a life congruent with your fitness goals by integrating recipes and fit workout inspiration.

High-Quality Sources of Protein

It should be noted that protein, like many other things in life, is not created equal. When it comes to protein, choosing non-GMO animal products free of needless antibiotics and sustainably fished seafood are good options. Examples of alternative, high-quality sources of protein include:

  • Eggs, 6 grams per egg
  • Almonds, 6 grams per ounce
  • Chicken breast, 53 grams per breast
  • Cottage cheese, 17 grams per 6 ounces
  • Greek yogurt, 17 grams per 6 ounces
  • Tuna, 16 grams per 3 ounces
  • Quinoa, 6 grams per 5 ounces

Do I Need a Protein Supplement?

If you find getting enough protein from food is a challenge, you can try supplementing your day and diet with protein products. For example, Bodylogix Vegan Protein contains 25 grams of non-GMO multisource plant-based protein.

Go ahead and play the extra match or book an additional session with your trainer— just do so with a protein mindset. Getting enough protein after your workout will not only help with muscle recovery, it will help to feel your best at work or afterward, hanging out with friends or on-the-go with your family.




26
JUN

3 Protein Powder Recipes for Fueling on the Go

Filed Under: Nutrition,Recipes,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 10:23 am | By: Susan Marque

Protein powders have advanced from being something only a body builder might want to swallow, to a delicious way to have a quick meal. They make for fast fuel that is often assimilated more easily than eating a sandwich or a salad, and are versatile enough to eat anytime. With such a wide variety to choose from, you can get a day’s worth of vitamins, minerals, energy boosters, skin brighteners and more, all in a convenient form.

Forget the old school dehydrated milk or eggs—the newest protein powders have ingredients like bone broth, vegetable concentrates and whole grains. You can find one for most any diet restriction, such as vegan, ketogenic or paleo, or choose for enhancements such as collagen.

Most of the directions say to simply add a scoop or two to water and stir. That makes things easy if you want to leave some of the product at your office or gym locker, but making recipes with your protein powder keeps things fun and delicious.

Here are three different protein powder recipes you can try:

Maple Mango Peach Energy Smoothie

Yield: 1 serving (16 ounces)

The frozen fruits blend up easily with either a traditional or immersion blender. The difference between making a smoothie versus a bowl is simply how much water you add. With maple, mango and peach as a base, you can also add additional fruits such as strawberry or pineapple. Mangos are full of vitamins A and C and are said to beautify the skin. Unlike most fruits, they have iron and thicken a beverage, making it silky smooth and sweet.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

1-2 scoops protein powder

1/2 cup frozen peaches

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/2 cup frozen strawberries (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Blend the ingredients in a blender and enjoy.

Keto Power Bowl

Yield: 1 serving (16 ounces)

Whether you are on a ketogenic diet or not, the chocolate keto performance fuel powder can make a great shake instantly, or pour it into your favorite yogurt for a lightning-quick bowl that is all around satisfying. To stay within the low-carb limits, you can use monkfruit or stevia to sweeten it. If you have room in your diet for a few carbs, add banana to round out the flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

1 packet (2 scoops) chocolate keto protein powder

2 teaspoons monkfruit or other sweetener

8 ounces yogurt (we used a coconut yogurt)

1/2 cup frozen banana (optional)

Berries to decorate (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Blend or mix the protein powder and sweetener into the yogurt. Blend in the banana if using.

Protein Power Bites

Yield: 16 power bites

These are powerful nuggets that you can eat for a snack, dessert or have a few as a meal if you want to. The vanilla protein powder adds a nice hint of flavor along with a whole list of vegetables, grains and legumes. While they taste a lot like a crispy rice treat, the quinoa crisps add even more protein to the mix. The brown rice syrup adds sweetness that works for a wide variety of dietary restrictions.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1-2 scoops vegan vanilla meal replacement powder

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup quinoa crisps

INSTRUCTIONS:

Melt the chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat.

Mix the almond butter, protein powder and brown rice syrup together.

Mix in half of the quinoa crisps.

Roll the mixture into small balls and dip into the melted chocolate.

Sprinkle the rest of the quinoa crisps on top.

Cool in the fridge to set.




25
JUN

When Is the Best Time to Drink a Meal Replacement Shake?

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Health Foods,Nutrition,Vitamins and Minerals at 10:05 am | By: Ysolt Usigan

Meal replacement shakes are marketed to help kickstart a healthier lifestyle, aid in weight loss programs and act as healthier snack options, but can we trust that they are our best choice to achieve these goals?

When you’re on a time crunch and need to eat on the go, sometimes meal replacements are the only option, so who can blame you? A smoothie or shake can be a great go-to—but only if it’s nutritionally balanced.

We talked to the experts to find out how to determine whether meal replacement shakes are your best bet and how to integrate them into your diet.

Meal Replacement Shake Guidelines

So should you integrate meal replacement shakes into your diet? Depending on your eating style, it can be a good idea to have a shake with salad or fruit alongside, given that the shake you choose is an appropriate one for your specific goals.

Eating healthy food is your best option, of course. But for simplicity and convenience—when time is of the essence and you just don’t have a moment to sit and eat—go for the shake that factors:

  • Quality protein
  • Fiber
  • Healthy fat
  • Vitamins and minerals

When It Comes to Replacing Meals

Rachel Kreider, a registered dietitian and supplement formulator for BodyBuilding.com, says that some meal replacement shakes can do just that—replace a meal. Look for shakes that are properly formulated though.

“Meal replacement shakes are a super convenient way to get nourishment,” Kreider explains. “But, look for a product that contains high-quality protein, fiber, healthy fat and a vitamin and mineral blend.”

When It Comes to Losing Weight

While some shakes can effectively help you control your calorie intake, which is a huge part of weight loss, it shouldn’t be your main source of fuel. Not all calories are created equal. In fact, Dr. Lori Shemek, diet and weight loss expert, nutritionist and psychologist, doesn’t recommend meal replacement shakes if you’re trying to lose weight.

“Overall, they tend to be short on calories, nutrients, fiber, healthy fat and protein,” she explains. “In order to lose weight, you must have all of these. If the shake is high in sugar—which, many are—it is promoting the fat storage hormone insulin.”

When It Comes to Snacking

If you’re on the go and need something quick and healthy, meal replacement shakes could be a great idea—given that they’re not packed with sugar or unhealthy fats, says Shemek. And while you can drink a meal replacement shake as a snack, you still have to make sure you’re consuming a balanced diet. Shakes can be a part of that, but not your only source for nutrients.

“All of this is goal dependent,” Kreider says. “If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to make sure you’re not consuming too many calories. If you want to build muscle, a product that contains high-quality protein is key and could be a great pre- or post-workout snack.”

Before You Drink a Meal Replacement Shake

And just like not all calories are created equal, not all shakes are created equal. “Some are packed with sugar, preservatives and troublesome ingredients, not to mention they’re not satisfying, which can lead to hunger and cravings,” Shemek warns.

You should also never confuse protein shakes with meal replacement shakes. If you consume too much protein, your body will increase glucose, which then triggers insulin.

Factor in your goals, understand what your body needs and take it from there. You may realize that a handful of nuts, a sliced avocado, a piece of fruit or a hard-boiled egg are your best go-tos when you’re strapped for time.




20
JUN

Everything You Need to Know About Intermittent Fasting

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Nutrition at 1:46 pm | By: Jessica Wozinsky

Intermittent fasting is the newest healthy eating craze. But the unique aspect of this diet is that you keep track of when you eat, not how much. In fact, it’s technically not a “diet,” since you can eat whatever you want when you’re not fasting. Yet, people that take part in this style of eating often lose weight (1). And studies suggest that intermittent fasting may help you live longer (2) and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease (3).

So, What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is a method of eating that involves abstaining from food for a set amount of time. The fasting periods can range from 12 hours to a full day. Because your body has a break from actively digesting food, your body can burn more fat during the fasting portion.

The dietary approach dates back centuries but became trendy recently. “Many religions fast for various reasons and have been doing so for years,” says registered dietitian Amanda Barnes. “Intermittent fasting gained popularity in 2012 with the book The Fast Diet by Michael Mosley. The book touted that fasting two non-consecutive days per week leads to weight loss and other benefits.”

3 Intermittent Fasting Methods to Try

According to Barnes, there are three different ways to approach intermittent fasting:

  • Alternate day fasting or 5:2: You eat whatever you want five days per week, but don’t consume any calories two non-consecutive days per week.
  • Modified fasting: Similar to the 5:2 method, you can eat whatever you want five days per week. On the other two days, you can take in 20 to 25 percent of your daily caloric needs (approximately 400 to 600 calories).
  • Time-restricted fasting: You fast between 12 to 18 hours per day, but can eat whatever you want during your non-fasting time. Many people skip breakfast and then eat between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day.

What Intermittent Fasting Enthusiasts Love About It

If people you know eat this way, you’ll know about it. Let’s just say people who practice intermittent fasting tend to become devoted to this method of eating. It’s like the CrossFit of nutrition plans. Here’s what intermittent fasting fans love about it:

  • Weight loss: Studies consistently show that fasting leads to weight loss, although Barnes points out that most studies on intermittent fasting have been small (usually 100 participants or less). “If you’re skipping meals or eliminating a day of calories overall throughout the week, you’ll consume fewer calories, which will naturally lead to weight loss,” says Barnes.
  • Lack of meal prep: Most methods of eating healthfully include some form of meal prep or planning. With the time-restricted method of intermittent fasting, you’re eating one less meal per day. That’s one less meal to think about, shop for or prepare.
  • No forbidden foods: Unlike other popular diets, no foods are off-limits, and you don’t count calories. You can eat socially, drink cocktails and have dessert (as long as it’s during your eating window, of course).

How to Practice Intermittent Fasting

Before starting any new eating pattern, it’s important to talk to your doctor and make sure it’s safe for you. And certain people should avoid intermittent fasting entirely. “Fasting can affect blood sugar levels and leave certain populations more at risk. If you’re pregnant, have any health conditions, especially diabetes, heart conditions or are prone to low blood sugar, this diet is risky,” says Barnes. She also recommends that people who take medications (especially those that need to be consumed with food) consult with a doctor before attempting intermittent fasting. “And anyone with disordered eating should avoid following any strict diet, intermittent fasting included,” adds Barnes.

Once your health care provider gives you the go-ahead, here’s how to start:

  • Pick the method that works best for you. Look at your current schedule and eating habits to decide which strategy fits into your life. Do you have some jam-packed work days where you barely have time to eat? Maybe you try the modified fasting method (where you eat limited calories two days per week). If you’re never in the mood for breakfast, you might want to try the time-restricted approach, and only eat in the afternoon and early evening. Start with the system you think will work best, but don’t worry, you can switch to another method if it’s not sustainable for you.
  • Know the obsessive food thoughts will pass. Many newbies to this eating style admit that the first few days can be rough and fantasizing about food is common. But by a week into intermittent fasting, hunger pangs should subside, your energy levels should be consistent and you’ll have a better idea of whether this eating style is something you’ll want to stick with.
  • Take it slow exercise-wise: Most people who practice intermittent fasting work out regularly. “You might feel hungry after a workout, so it might not be enjoyable to do it on a full fasting day. Walking, yoga and stretching might be better on fasting days to avoid any negative side effects,” says Barnes. If you do time-restricted fasting, it might be best to save your exercise session for right before you break your fast for the day.
  • Don’t forget to drink up: It’s important to stay hydrated while fasting, so even though you’re not eating, keep your water bottle handy. And during fasting times, you’re allowed to have tea or black coffee. “Keep in mind that caffeine can have greater effects on an empty stomach, so you might be more prone to shaking or anxiety if you consume too much. Again, listen to your body and how it’s feeling with a new routine.”




19
JUN

10 Surprising Superfoods That Also Taste Amazing

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Superfoods at 11:08 am | By: Theodore Loftus

What makes a “superfood” so super, anyway? Well, sometimes it has more to do with the super-powered marketing team behind the product than the food itself. (Seriously, have you ever tried to enjoy powdered seaweed?) So, starting right now, let’s take back the word “superfood” and redefine it as a food that’s super good for you and also tastes super delicious. Here is our list of top 10 superfoods to work into your diet today.

Top 10 Superfoods

Freekeh

Sick of brown rice? Yeah, so are we. That’s why you should try this supergrain, which has a satisfying chewy texture and is a touch nuttier-tasting than brown rice. Even better, at 7 grams per ½ cup (cooked), freekeh contains twice the protein of quinoa. The same amount also has 8 grams of fiber (a medium Red Delicious apple has 5).”Freekeh has three times the fiber of brown rice,” says Valerie Goldstein, a New York-based dietitian. Serve cooked freekeh as a simple side to steak, pork chops or salmon. It’s also great mixed into meatballs and meatloaf.

Sardines

Maybe your grandfather was on to something. These little fish contain a boatload of omega-3 fatty acids, a good kind of fat that research shows may help your heart. Canned sardines have 500 to 1,000 milligrams of omega-3s per 3-ounce serving, according to Seafood Health Facts (1). Salmon, by comparison, has 1,500 milligrams of omega-3s. But here’s the catch: Salmon is tricky to cook correctly; canned sardines are already cooked. To make them taste great, try a few stirred into your next batch of pasta with red sauce.

Turmeric

You may have seen this yellow-orange powder in the spice aisle. It comes from a root that looks similar to fresh ginger, though it tastes more like an Indian curry. Curcumin, a compound in turmeric, may help fight inflammation, according to a 2017 review of studies published in the academic journal Foods (2). Never tried the spice? When you fry up your next round of over-easy eggs, put a shake or two of ground turmeric into the butter. Then slide the golden eggs onto toast and enjoy.

Cacao nibs

Chocolate is great for your heart, your brain and your happiness (everyone already knows that last part). But there’s a catch: It’s dark chocolate that produces the cardiovascular and neuro-protective benefits, according to a 2017 study review by Italian researchers (3). That’s because milk chocolate strips out the beneficial compounds within cocoa beans called flavanols. Cacao nibs are the dried seed of the cocoa bean. Yes, they are bitter like dark chocolate, but they taste excellent on a peanut butter and banana sandwich, stirred into oatmeal or mixed into homemade granola.

Oysters

These shelled creatures contain a sea’s worth of vitamins and nutrients. There’s zinc, which helps support immune health. There’s iron, which helps your cells do their many jobs. And there’s vitamin B12, which aids your metabolism. “Oysters are pretty much pure protein on a calorie budget. Six medium oysters have around 45 calories and 5 grams of protein,” says Abby Langer, a registered dietitian and owner of Abby Langer Nutrition in Toronto. If you’re squeamish about raw oysters, consider starting first with canned, smoked oysters. Their flavor is meaty and they taste satisfying atop crackers with a little lemon juice, sea salt and fresh chopped chives.

Flaxseed

These teardrop-shaped seeds may look small, but they’re mighty. Eat 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds and you’ll consume 6 grams of stomach-filling fiber—about as much as one medium pear. They’re also a good source of lignans, compounds that may help protect against cancer, diabetes and kidney disorders, according to a 2015 review of studies by scientists in the Middle East (4).  Plus, “Flaxseeds are a good source of plant-based omega-3s, which can help prevent heart disease, among other benefits,” says Langer. Ground flaxseeds are easier to digest than whole, she says. Sprinkle them over yogurt, into smoothies or even atop a salad for a nutty taste.

Mushrooms

We’re not just talking about those white button mushrooms you’ll find in salad bar buffets and atop pizza. We’re talking about the varieties you’ll now see at most good supermarkets: shiitake, oyster, cremini, enoki, chanterelle, porcini and more. Shrooms are the only vegetables that contain vitamin D, a nutrient you usually derive from the sun. But many people lack the vitamin D—and that’s detrimental because D can help defend against cancer, hypertension and diabetes. “Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so saute mushrooms in coconut or olive oil to help increase absorption,” Goldstein says.

Pumpkin Seeds

Don’t want cancer haunting you? Eat more of these. Pumpkin seeds contain gamma-tocopherol, a type of vitamin E that may fight cancer better than other nuts and seeds, according to the USDA (5). “Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, which helps us relax and can also assist with sleep. They’re a source of zinc, and contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats,” Langer says. They’re crunchy and satisfying as a snack, but they also add a pop of nuttiness to soups and stews. And to think that you toss them in the trash every Halloween…

Turnips

These big, beautiful, two-toned root vegetables contain glucosinolate, a compound also found in broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Consuming high amounts of cruciferous vegetables like these may help reduce your risk of several cancers, including bladder, breast and prostate cancers, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (6). Save the turnip greens too! They’re delicious sautéed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper as a simple side dish.

Hemp Hearts

First off, no, partaking in hemp will not produce, ahem, similar effects to partaking in marijuana. Though they come from the same plant, hemp seeds do not contain the “high” producing THC. These seeds do contain protein (about 9 grams per 3 tablespoons) and magnesium, which helps regulates blood pressure. “Hemp hearts are also rich in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which may help lower inflammation and promote satiety,” Goldstein says. Try hemp hearts in your baking. They’re good in muffins, banana bread and cookies.




7
JUN

Frozen Produce May Contain Same Health Benefits as Fresh

Filed Under: Announcements & News,Food Politics,Health Foods,Nutrition at 4:17 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

  • Despite the rise in popularity of buying fresh fruit and vegetables, experts believe frozen produce is just as healthy
  • Obsession with fresh produce has led to a dramatic spike in food waste

When asked to choose between fresh or frozen produce these days, the average consumer is likely to opt for fresh. While some might even believe fresh produce is “obviously” better than frozen, the theory may not actually hold up to scrutiny, NPR suggests. Despite cultural beliefs, there is very little scientific evidence to suggest that frozen fruits and veggies are less nutritious than their fresh counterparts. In fact, fixation on fresh produce has led to an increase in food waste in recent years.

“About 43 percent of all food waste occurs in consumers’ homes,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, advocate of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a 2017 interview with the Washington Post. “It’s the largest single contributor to food waste, and much of that will be fresh product.”

While most people buy fresh produce thinking it will be consumed in a timely manner, evidence suggests otherwise (1). Most fresh produce has a short shelf life and the average consumer tends to buy more than needed in a single trip. Worse still, fear of “imperfections” with fruit and veggies has lead to perfectly-fine items being left to rot on the shelves (2).

Consumers who recognize their own wasteful tendencies might hesitate to switch to frozen due to the current cultural climate of “fresh is better.” In truth, most frozen produce options contain an appropriate dose of vitamins and nutrients (3).

The best way to judge frozen purchases is by looking at the ingredients. Frozen products that contain exclusively produce will boast much more nutritional value than options containing processed seasonings or sauces (4). Additionally, frozen produce prepared through blanching methods should be avoided, as this might reduce the nutritional quality of the product.

Fresh produce might be all the rage, but there is little evidence to suggest frozen produce isn’t just as good. Consumers who want the health benefits of fresh produce without the fear of it going to waste in a crisper drawer may find frozen options offer a practical and efficient choice.




6
JUN

Consumers Prefer Milk Alternatives, Recent Report Shows

Filed Under: Announcements & News,Health Foods,Nutrition at 1:48 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

  • Sales of milk alternatives have risen remarkably over the last five years while traditional dairy milk sales have dropped significantly
  • Plant-based milk options provide many of the nutrients found in dairy milk, but further research is required before bold claims can be made

Traditional dairy milk has long been considered a healthy source of calcium and protein. Still, there has been a pushback in recent years against dairy, and many consumers are turning to plant-based alternatives like soy or rice milk. Dairy alternatives were initially products aimed at individuals with lactose intolerance, though other factors like vegan dieting and animal cruelty concerns have contributed to this shift.

Whatever the exact reasons are for the change in consumer attitudes, it seems to be taking a toll on the dairy industry. Dwindling dairy sales and rising sales of milk alternatives were recently reported by CNBC. The report explains that shoppers are far more likely to gravitate toward almond milk, hemp milk or coconut milk.

Despite the push away from dairy, some experts warn there needs to be more research on milk alternatives before any claims can be made about any actual health benefits. “Nutritionally, cow’s milk and plant-based drinks are completely different foods, and an evidence-based conclusion on the health value of the plant-based drinks requires more studies in humans,” according to a 2016 study testing the health benefits of traditional milk (1).

While there might not be a ton of hard data, milk alternatives still contain a number of essential vitamins. A study released in 2017 compared the nutritional value of cow’s milk with alternatives like soy and almond. Soy milk was found to be rich in protein and a glass can provide the body with a comparable level to that of the same serving of dairy milk (2). Almond milk also proved to be low in calories and balanced in nutritional value. Still, allergies to soy or almond can prevent consumers from taking advantage of these alternatives.

Until more research is conducted, consumers are left to their own judgment on which milk alternative fits their needs best. And, of course, which tastes best with a little chocolate syrup mixed in.




29
MAY

4 Healthy Fats You Should Be Eating More Of

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Nutrition at 2:37 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

Hearing the word “fat” when selecting food can be a red flag for many. If you like to avoid fats while dining, you need to remember that fats are a macronutrient you need to survive. Though it is true that eating the “wrong” fats can lead to certain health complications (1), there are plenty of excellent sources of healthy fats available. All you need to do is explore a few of these options and see which seem the most appealing to your palate!

1. Canola Oil

One of the biggest challenges to healthy eating is learning what oils are best to cook with. While there has been a lot of debate over the years about what oils are “healthy” and what oils are bound to do damage to your body, most experts have agreed that canola oil is a solid choice. When you’re cooking, you mostly want to avoid too many saturated fats (2, 3). Since canola oil is rich in unsaturated fats, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration verified that using this oil could actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications (4).

Canola oil has a high smoke point, allowing you to cook at very high temperatures without worrying about ruining the oil. Unfortunately, canola oil is not going to work for everything. While great for cooking, you might find it lacking in taste for fresh options like salad dressing or to dip bread. Luckily, there are some wonderful salad dressing options on the market to keep your taste buds satisfied.

Canola oil can also be tricky because the products often contain GMOs, which are a huge “no-no” for many. To play it safe when purchasing canola oil, be sure to confirm that the product is labeled non-GMO or organic.

2. Avocado

The avocado gets a lot of weird press, being the unofficial symbol thrust upon millennials. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, the popularity of the avocado is on the rise. The beauty of eating a diet that consists of avocado is that there is a lot of evidence to suggest you’re improving your health with each bite into the rich, green fruit (5).

Avocado’s simple taste and complex consistency make it a great addition to a number of dishes. Since avocado is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which are the “good” fats you hear about, adding this fruit to your diet is a smart move (6). If you don’t particularly like avocado, you can consider using products made with avocado oil to get the benefits.

3. Peanut Butter

Barring a serious allergy, you probably have had a peanut butter sandwich or two in your day. Plenty of people slather peanut butter on apples or sandwiches for lunch because the creamy mixture is an excellent source of protein (7), which can be useful when hitting the gym. Beyond this punch of protein, peanuts contain plenty of healthy fats to keep your diet balanced (8).

It is important to note that you shouldn’t opt for peanut butter brands that are marketed as low-fat. When the fat content is reduced in peanut butter, it is usually replaced with sugars. This can work against your current health plan, so be sure to go for standard or organic peanut butter options with lots of monounsaturated fats.

4. Flaxseed

Seed enthusiasts, rejoice! While the tiny nature of most seeds makes them seem somewhat innocuous, there are plenty of secret benefits hiding beneath the small shell (9). Flaxseed, for example, is said to contain copious amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. While fish like salmon are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, vegetarians and vegans often need healthy alternatives. Whether or not you eat meat, you might find it appealing to learn that flaxseed helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels (10).

What’s more, you don’t technically need to eat flaxseed in its raw form to obtain the benefits. Opting to use flaxseed meal while cooking or baking can provide you with the right level of fatty acids to keep your heart healthy and happy.

Even though many people get nervous when they hear that their foods are rich in fatty acids, it is important to remember you need fats to survive. Get your daily dose of monounsaturated fats and keep your health on the right course.




29
MAY

5 Myths About Fats You Should Stop Believing

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Nutrition at 2:03 pm | By: Deidre Grieves

Fat often gets a bad rap. In the 1980s and ’90s, low-fat diets were touted as a cure-all for combating obesity and maintaining heart health (1). Media and health professionals began to evangelize this type of diet and many American consumers started looking for low-fat foods. But just because something is labeled as low-fat doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

“Low-fat diets can be useful, but as with any diet, it needs to be well-planned,” says Becky Kerkenbush, a clinical dietitian and member of the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Low-fat does not equal low-calorie or healthy. When fat is removed from food, it is often replaced with sugar or sodium.”

But recent studies show that not all dietary fats are created equal and that some fats may actually be beneficial for overall health and wellness (2). “Fat is essential because it plays a role in many body functions.” says Jennifer Kanikua, a registered dietitian and author of The SoFull Traveler. “The key thing is to choose healthy fats and to consume them in healthy amounts.”

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

There are four main types of dietary fats—trans fats, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats—and some of them are better for you than others. Each type of fat has a different chemical structure, says Katrina Trisko, a registered dietitian based in New York.

“Saturated fats remain solid at room temperature, but unsaturated fats remain in a liquid state over a broad range of temperatures. For example, butter, a saturated fat, is a solid at room temperature, but olive oil, an unsaturated fat, remains a liquid even at colder temperatures in the fridge,” she says. “This difference in chemical structure affects how these fats are digested and processed in our bodies.”

Trans fats and saturated fats are considered bad fats by most health professionals. Saturated fats lead to high LDL cholesterol, Kerkenbush says, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and some cancers.

“Be conscious of your intake of foods such as processed meats, red meat and dairy products, as these are packed with saturated fats,” Trisko adds.

But other fats in the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated categories are actually beneficial to overall health and wellness. “Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that can lower triglyceride levels and reduce blood pressure,” Kerkenbush says. “Omega-7 and omega-9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fats that may reduce inflammation, decrease LDL cholesterol and improve insulin resistance.”

Kerkenbush says that foods like lake trout, albacore tuna, salmon, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and canola oil are good sources of polyunsaturated fats, while avocado, olives, olive oil, canola oil and most nuts are good sources of monounsaturated fats.

Common Fat Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

While modern-day research shows that eating healthy fats can have a positive impact on health, there are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding fat in food. We asked our experts to debunk some of these commonly held myths.

Myth 1: All Fats Are Created Equal

As demonstrated above, there are different types of fats and not all of them are bad. So instead of lumping fat into one category and trying to avoid it completely, it’s important to make decisions so that you’re eating the right types of fats instead of the wrong types of fats.

“Fat adds a unique flavor and texture profile and will help you absorb nutrients,” says Kanikua. “Fat is necessary for the body—so our job is to choose the healthy ones.”

Myth 2: All Saturated Fat Is Bad

Most health experts agree that it’s best to avoid saturated fats. But recent studies suggest that some saturated fats like medium-chain triglycerides or medium-chain fatty acids—called MCTs—can be beneficial to brain health (3) and can help increase endurance (4). MCTs are commonly found in foods such as coconut oil, palm kernel oil, cheeses and whole-milk yogurt.

“Saturated fats are not as bad as previously thought, but aren’t protective of our heart health like unsaturated fats,” Trisko says. “You’re better off eating these types of fats in moderation.”

Myth 3: High-Fat Foods Will Raise Your Cholesterol

If your diet mainly consists of processed trans fats and unhealthy saturated fats, you are at risk of raising your cholesterol. But eating a diet high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can actually have the opposite effect. In fact, Harvard Medical School backs up Kerkenbush’s earlier statements about how eating polyunsaturated fats can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and decrease triglyceride levels (5).

And when it comes to cholesterol, there are other factors at play. “Cholesterol levels are highly linked to genetics—which means some individuals are at risk for having high cholesterol regardless of the foods that they eat,” Trisko says. “So if high cholesterol levels are a concern, don’t jump to conclusions and blame the steak that you ate last week, because that’s likely not the culprit.”

Myth 4: Eating Fat Will Make You Fat

Some people are under the impression that eating fat will make you fat. And while it’s true that fats have a higher calorie density than proteins and carbohydrates, gaining weight is not only caused by eating dietary fats—especially if they are good fats.

“Simply eating fat in your diet will not make you fat,” Trisko says. “Our body weight and body fat distribution is determined by our genetics, overall physical activity and caloric intake. The more excess calories we eat, the more energy our body will store in the form of fat—regardless of what macronutrient those calories came from.”

Myth 5: Fats Don’t Have Any Benefits

It’s easy to think about dietary fat as a harmful ingredient that serves no purpose. But, as mentioned above, good fats actually do a lot for our overall health. “Fat is essential for the digestion, absorption and transport of fat-soluble vitamins, the support of cell growth and hormone production, and the provision of energy,” Kerkenbush says.

Fats will also help you feel fuller longer, Kanikua adds. “Having some fat with your food items not only can help absorb some nutrients, but will help slow down digestion, therefore aiding in long-term satiety.”




24
MAY

Watch Out for Sugary Drinks This Summer, Researchers Remind Us

Filed Under: Announcements & News,Diet & Weight Loss,Nutrition at 12:49 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

  • Sugary drinks are popular during the summer, but experts warn against consuming too many of these beverages
  • A recent research paper points out how natural and artificial sweeteners impact an individual’s health

For many, summer is the season to spend outdoors. Whether you’re lounging on the beach or enjoying a day at the park with friends, you’ll most likely want to indulge a bit. Delicious cocktails are a signature of summer, but most people forget that these recipes can often include far too many unhealthy elements, like sugar.

A group of nutrition researchers recently agreed that sugar-sweetened beverages play a unique role in chronic health problems (1). Sugar-heavy beverages like soda and juice have been the subject of research for many years now, with nutrition experts linking the consumption of these sugars to unhealthy weight gain (2).

Very few people want to hear that they are putting on weight when the summer arrives, as it tends to be a popular time of year for hyper-focused diet and exercise. This means you need to stay extra mindful when mixing up a few cocktails while on vacation.

Healthier Summer Drink Alternatives

Luckily, there are many healthier drink options to choose from. Cucumber juice can be an excellent base for a refreshing drink, as cucumber is hydrating, packed with useful fibers and naturally low in sugar (3). Toss in some fresh sprigs of mint or a squirt of lime for added flavor.

Watermelon is ubiquitous in the summer, and it might also be a great option for low-calorie drinks. This fruit is high in water content, low in sugar and easily incorporated into an array of seasonal cocktails and mocktails. Experts believe watermelon might even be able to help with weight loss (4), though the science behind this is still being researched.

Stick with low-calorie options like fresh cucumber and watermelon and be sure to avoid sugary mixers. While there is nothing wrong with indulging now and again, it can be a slippery slope. If you don’t want to double down on your diet due to an unforeseen sugar overload at the beach, explore alternative options and stay healthy while enjoying the season.




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.”