Everyone knows the health risks of regular table salt. For decades, the medical profession has urged us to limit our intake of the flavorful additive. But what you may not know is that all salt is not created equal.
Still not convinced why you should make the switch? Before you get all salty, read below…
Nutrients, nutrients, nutrients
Himalayan salt is so much more than its pretty pink hue. Packed with 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron, it’ll make the transition away from standard table salt seamless. Plus, it’s naturally occurring without chemical processing or refinement. Due to the high mineral content, you actually get less sodium per serving, too. Wins all around.
It’s a culinary thing
Gourmet cooks recommend the exquisite taste of wholesome, natural, pink Himalayan crystal salt for cooking and curing. Compared to table salt, it’s more easily metabolized by your body. Ready to elevate your grilled veggies? Trying cooking on a Himalayan salt slab. Your taste buds will thank you!
Look at the source
Currently, our oceans and waterways are polluted with toxic chemicals. So it’s safe to say that Himalayan salt is a healthy alternative compared to sea salt. About 250 million years ago, the Himalayan mountain range was covered by a primordial ocean. When the ocean floor rose, it created a salt lake that evaporated and formed the salt range across most of Asia where one of our favorite Himalayan salt brands are from. Some believe it to one of the purest forms of salt around.
Remember, everything in moderation – even Himalayan salt. Before you go dousing your food with it, remember to limit your sodium consumption to no more than 2300 mg per day, and if you suffer from high blood pressure, keep it under 1500 mg.
Cream butter and coconut sugar with a mixer. Add flax seed egg, protein powder, quinoa flakes, spelt flour, baking soda, and salt and stir by hand until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips. Form and flatten 3-inch diameter cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake at 375°F for 9 minutes. Cool and serve. Makes a dozen 3-inch small cookies or 6 large sized cookies.
Ever wonder if drinking sparkling water has any health benefits? It sure does. It’s water in a very refreshing form but other than keep you hydrated, sparkling water has also a few other benefits to your health.
Proper hydration is key to optimal health and adding carbonated water to your drinking routine may help you meet your daily fluid needs to stay hydrated. Sparkling water is a calorie and sugar-free fluid that can maintain adequate hydration by helping your body cool itself, keeping your mouth, nose and eyes moist, promoting optimal joint and muscle function, maintaining healthy skin, cleansing your body of toxins, and improving cardiovascular health.
Additionally, sparkling water offers a little more.
It can help improve Indigestion, particularly if you’re feeling sick to your stomach after eating. Drinking a glass of carbonated water might help as it can reduce bloating and nausea, and may even prevent vomiting.
Sparkling water can help alleviate constipation as well. Research has suggested that carbonated water along with the intake of foods high in fiber help when you’re dealing with constipation. Fluids, such as carbonated water, can help enhance the way fiber work in your gut and make stools normal and regular.
Sparkling water is also a healthful alternative to soda as carbonated water is just plain water with dissolved carbon dioxide. When choosing a sparkling water, opt for a variety that’s high in minerals and free from sugar and artificial sweeteners, flavorings and colors. You may add fresh fruit to your sparkling water for some natural sweetness or even mix in with juices such as orange, apple, blueberry, or cranberry. You can also make flavored carbonated drinks with slices of orange, lemon, lime, cucumber, or sprigs of mint.
Over the last couple of decades, the Mediterranean diet has been studied by researchers all over the world. The general consensus from these studies revealed that the diet is nothing short of amazing. The Mediterranean diet consists of increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and fish, while limiting red meat and sweets. So, why has this diet become so popular? Maybe because it’s flexible and offers users ease of compliance. Maybe it’s because Mediterranean food is delicious and the diet allows users to drink red wine in moderation. Or, maybe it’s because all of the research over the past couple of decades shows an incredible amount of health benefits. One meta-analysis article showed that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with significant improvement in overall health status.
Benefits of a Mediterranean diet to consider:
Prevention of major chronic diseases
Improved quality of life
Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and obesity
Reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer
Low in processed foods and sugar
May help to lose or maintain a healthier weight
May improve mood and decrease depression
Naturally low-glycemic foods, which may help control blood sugar
Key components of the Mediterranean diet
Base every meal on these foods and eat them daily:
Legumes and Beans: chickpeas, lentils, and fava beans
Olives and Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is preferred
Whole grains and whole wheat pasta
Nuts: cashews, almonds and sesame seeds
Vegetables such as leafy greens, garlic, onion and other non-starchy veggies like eggplant cauliflower, artichokes and tomatoes
Fresh organic fruits such as grapes, apples, strawberries and avocados
Eat these at least two times per week:
Fish (wild caught preferred) and seafood
In moderate portions (daily to weekly):
Low-fat cheese & yogurt
Eat these a few times per month in small amounts:
Organic Mediterranean bean salad recipe
◦ 15 ounce can of dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
◦ 15 ounce can of fava beans drained and rinsed
◦ 15 ounce can of black beans drained and rinsed
◦ 1 cup of organic corn
◦ 1 large organic tomato, chopped
◦ 1 small organic red onion, chopped
◦ 1 avocado, sliced
◦ ½ organic cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped.
◦ 1 cup of organic parsley, chopped.
◦ ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
◦ 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
◦ 2 garlic cloves, minced
◦ ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
◦ ½ teaspoon of cumin
◦ salt and pepper to taste.
In large mixing bowl, combine kidney beans, fava beans, black beans, corn, tomato, onion, cucumber and parsley. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk.
Pour dressing over salad and gently toss together.
Other helpful information:
On top of diet, the Mediterranean lifestyle encourages individuals to be physically active and enjoy meals in a relaxing environment with others vs. on the go. Try to set aside time to sit down and enjoy your meals.
Most of the foods found in the Mediterranean diet can be found on the perimeter of the grocery store.
Eat fruits and vegetables that vary in choice of colors as each color has specific properties and nutrients.
Replace butter and margarine with healthy, unrefined oils as often as possible.
The Mediterranean diet has broad definitions since there are many countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
In summary, the diet should focus on vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Enjoy fresh, wild caught fish and seafood, while limiting poultry, eggs and cheese. Rarely eat red meat and avoid sugar.
If you’re trying to avoid excess sugar, that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice sweet treats! Xylitol is a wonderful, all-natural sugar substitute with a number of health benefits. It’s metabolized without insulin, giving it a low glycemic index and can even help promote healthy dental hygiene.
This recipe uses xylitol instead of sugar and makes about 2 dozen small cookies.
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric beater to mix the egg, Xylo-Sweet, baking powder and vanilla for about a minute. Then add in the peanut butter and water mix them together. *Note: the mixture is fairly dry. Be sure the peanut butter is mixed well with the other ingredients.
Add peanuts or chocolate chips if using and blend into dough.
Use a large non-stick cookie sheet. Measure out a heaping teaspoon of batter for each cookie, roll into a ball, and then smash down with a fork.
Bake 15 minutes, or slightly longer, until cookies feel firm and are slightly browned.
This is a quick and easy recipe when you’re in need of that sweet fix. If baking isn’t your forte, try these amazing low-sugar, gluten-free, dairy free cookies from Simple Mills.
What are some of your favorite, low-sugar recipes?
Digestive enzymes can improve the functionality of your digestive system and make you feel a lot better after eating a meal. The majority of digestive support supplements contain a blend of enzymes, but with so many ingredients on every label, it can be hard to choose the right supplement for your needs.
Below are three highly effective digestive enzymes to consider when choosing a supplement.
1. Papaya Papayas are a rich source of valuable proteolytic enzymes, such as papain, chymopapain, caricain and glycyl endopeptidase, that can greatly aid in the digestive process. The enzyme papain is one of the most effective at breaking down meat and other proteins, comparable to the enzyme pepsin that we produce in our pancreas.
In fact, papain is often considered a more effective enzyme than pepsin. Eating the papaya enzyme papain in a meal containing meat can significantly speed up its digestion. It may also help with the breakdown of other troublesome proteins, such as the gluten in wheat and the casein in milk, that are often implicated in digestive problems.
2. Bromelain Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem and is known to improve digestion. Used for reducing swelling and inflammation, bromelain has been shown to treat a bowel condition that includes swelling and ulcers. Often used in digestive support products, bromelain can also help improve the absorption of antibiotics. Bromelain seems to cause the body to produce substances that fight pain and inflammation.
3. Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) Hydrochloric acid, also called HCL, is one of the many chemicals released in our stomach when we eat a meal. The role of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, along with the other gastric juices, is to break down foods and cause the release of enzymes that further aid digestion. HCl also protects the body from illness by killing pathogens commonly found in foods.
HCL supplements can aid the stomach’s acid to destroy harmful bacteria as well as relieve the symptoms of heartburn. Low stomach acid causes indigestion, gas, bloating, acid reflux, constipation, and diarrhea. Supplementing with Hydrochloric Acid in the form of Betaine HCL can dramatically help people with low stomach acid. Make sure you choose an HCL product that contains pepsin because, without it, the body can’t break down proteins into the peptides required for proper absorption.
Lucky Vitamin is adding another top quality brand of health food products to our customers: Sophie’s Kitchen.
Sophie’s Kitchen offers a unique and revolutionary product that can be used in vegan and vegetarian plant-based diets. Sophie’s Kitchen creates great-tasting, plant-based seafood products which are delicious and are a great sustainable alternative to seafood from the ocean.
The company believes easy access to delicious, plant-based alternatives will help more people create healthier meals for themselves and the community. These revolutionary, ready-to-eat, vegan and vegetarian plant-based food products are perfect for children of all ages who can enjoy the unique flavors of the ocean without being tempted to eat precious fish.
The current dependence on dwindling foods from the sea should be a concern. The Japanese have traditionally used konjac as a health food with a high source of fiber, and contains very few calories. Also known as Elephant Yam Root, amorphophallus konjac has been used across Asia for centuries, as the base for many products. Asian culture use traditional land and sea plants, such as highly nutritious seaweed, as the foundation of their philosophy and their products.
Sophie’s Kitchen gourmet plant-based seafood meals are designed to be prepared with love, plated with purpose and devoured with joy. A little goes a long way, so add that lemon slice, simmer with Cajun seasoning and garnish with arugula to create a beautiful dish inside and out.
The coconut’s status as one of those elusive “good fats” has skyrocketed in recent years, with the tropical stone fruit being repurposed as a dairy substitute (think coconut milk and butter), beauty product (hair masks, skin lotion) and household cleaner among countless other uses. Coconut oil even has an SPF of 8! Check out some additional ways that the coconut can be added to your health, beauty and healing regimens.
Heart Health According to many studies, lauric acid—a protective type of fatty acid—has been linked with improved cholesterol levels and heart health. Because coconuts contain minerals important for circulation and controlling blood flow, coconut milk is also useful for lowering blood pressure and keeping blood vessels flexible, elastic and free from plaque buildup.
Digestion The Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) in coconuts can help rid your gut of harmful microorganisms. Coconut oil, which can be used in baking and as an alternative to butter and oil for sautéing, is considered an anti-inflammatory food. Those anti-inflammatory benefits help heal injury to the digestive tract in patients who suffer from diseases like Crohn’s. Finally, coconut fats fight candida yeast that lives within the digestive tract.
Skin It’s no wonder that coconut products make the perfect natural additions to add to your beauty regimen. Naturally antibacterial and antifungal, coconut oil is an excellent body moisturizer and it penetrates hair better than other “typical” hair conditioners. However, be careful not to overdo it when applying it to your skin. Coconut oil is comedogenic, meaning it may clog pores.
Immunity Monolaurin and Monocaprin are the naturally occurring fatty acids in coconuts than can boost the immune system. For an example of what they can do, consider that Monolaurin is found in breast milk as a way for mothers to boost the immune strength of babies.
Energy Compared to the long-chain fatty acids found in most of your diet, the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil are metabolized a bit differently, heading from your digestive tract straight to the liver. There they are converted to energy which helps nourish and rejuvenate the body.
The MCT oil versus Coconut oil debate is often making the headlines. These two products are considered beneficial and provide many health benefits. Both offer abundant levels of lauric acid, antibacterial properties, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories. The main difference between MCT oil and coconut oil is that MCT oil is more concentrated and, while coconut oil certainly has MCTs in it, concentrated MCT oil is almost entirely MCTs. But what should you take MCT oil for? We present 3 health benefits of MCT oil.
1. Improve Digestion
MCT oil is known for balancing bacteria in the gut microbiota, which in turn has positive effects on digestive symptoms, energy expenditure, and the ability to absorb nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Medium-chain fats can help kill a wide range of pathogenic viruses and strains and bacteria that cause digestive issues, including candida, constipation, diarrhea, food poisoning, stomachaches and so on.
2. Weight Loss
Compared to other types of oils and fats, MCTs seem to have positive effects on fat burning and weight reduction as it helps increase satiety and even raise the metabolic rate at which the body functions. Studies demonstrate that dietary MCTs suppress fat deposition through enhanced thermogenesis and fat oxidation, helping the body produce ketones, which gives you the same benefits as the ketogenic diet without needing to cut carbs to drastically low levels. MCTs are sometimes called “the ultimate ketogenic fats” because of their heating effect in the body and ability to rapidly be used for energy.
Medium-chain fats are believed to be one of the most easily digested, utilized and protective fatty acids that exists. MCTs may help improve memory problems including Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. It only makes sense that a food that supplies fuel for your brain and also helps you absorb vitamins and minerals better will also make you feel more clearheaded, energetic and positive.
Oats are a whole-grain food, known scientifically as avena sativa. Commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal, which is made by boiling oats in water or milk, oats are very nutritious and contain a good source of carbs and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan. Oats also contain more protein and fat than most grains.
Also often included in muffins, granola bars, cookies and other baked goods, oats are loaded with important vitamins such as B1, B5, B6 and niacin as well as minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron. Whole oats are high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats.
Avenanthramides may help lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide. This gas molecule helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow. In addition, avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects.
Oats contain many powerful antioxidants which may help reduce blood pressure and provide other benefits. For example, it contains large amounts of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber. Beta-glucan partially dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like solution in the gut. It helps reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels as well as blood sugar levels and insulin response. It can also help promote healthy gut bacteria in the digestive tract and increase feelings of fullness.
Did you know that you can get the bone-health benefits of milk without drinking it? Whether you’re lactose intolerant, a vegan (or both!), or just not much of a liquid dairy fan, there are plenty of foods that can help you get your 1000mg — aka your daily intake – of calcium that your body needs.
Almonds – More than just a tasty snack, almonds contain 183mg of calcium per half cup. They are also packed with protein, fiber and other vitamins and minerals. Here’s a fun fact to impress your friends: almonds aren’t technically a nut. They are seeds of the almond tree. The more you know!
Black Strap Molasses – IE, the dark, viscous, syrupy remnants of extracting the sugar from raw sugar cane. This stuff is nutrient dense! One tablespoon contains 137mg of calcium. Plus, black strap molasses boasts other essential minerals like magnesium, which promotes superior absorption of calcium.
Tofu – Pressed, coagulated soy milk curds, aka tofu, are a great source of calcium for strong bones. This low-fat and heart-healthy food is a great alternative to eggs and meat. However, make sure to read the label before purchasing. You can get 20% of your calcium in just half a cup of tofu, but this value depends on the coagulating agent used during the production process. Tofu that is prepared with calcium sulfate will contain far more calcium than tofu made with nigari.
Chia Seeds – These seeds may be tiny, but they bring the calcium in a big way — three tablespoons roughly equal about 233mg of the bone-strengthening mineral. That’s almost as much as a cup of milk (299mg). You can them seeds to yogurt, smoothies or even use them in baking as an egg replacement. It’s no wonder humans have been using chia seeds as far back as 3500 BC!
Sesame Seeds – Here’s another small yet mighty seed whose calcium value exceeds that of milk! One-quarter cup of sesame seeds yields 351mg of calcium. These little guys are also high in zinc, magnesium, copper, vitamin B1, and dietary fiber. When heat is added to the picture, up go the calcium levels. Amazingly, studies have shown that toasting one ounce of sesame seeds equals almost 27% of your daily recommended intake all on their own.
Kefir is a fermented dairy drink known for its gut-friendly benefits. And if you are interested in trying to make your own we sell a great DIY starter kit here. This kit contains healthy bacteria including S. Lactis, S. diacetylactis, S. cremoris, L. casei, L. acidophilus and lactic acid yeast strains which will do your gut some good.
Kombucha known by diehard fans as “booch,” this is another popular fermented drink made using tea and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and sweetened tea. The process of brewing your own is similar to making beer. Kombucha contains antioxidants and the healthy acids created by the fermentation process aid digestion and help detoxify. However, if you’re not a brew master, no worries, you can find plenty of delicious pre-brewed varieties here at LuckyVitamin.
Ginger contains phenolic compounds like gingerol and volatile oils that are hugely beneficial to your digestive system. Herbalists for thousands of years have known of the healing powers of ginger, including Ayurvedic practitioners who have used it to activate the body’s internal energy to help regain balance and harmony.
Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s no surprise this overall health tonic is great for digestion too! ACV can jump start the production of HCL, the digestive juices that help breakdown food. Try adding a tablespoon to eight ounces of water and drink 15 minutes prior to a meal to help ensure that everything goes down smoothly. Did you know that LuckyVitamin makes their own apple cider vinegar? Oh yeah1 Get yours here (it has the “mother” too!)
Coconut Oil is an anti-inflammatory food. Unlike other fats, the medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil are broken down easier by your GI tract. Plus, the anti-viral and anti-microbial properties can help kill the bad micro-organisms that cause inflammation. This explains why many people who suffer from Crohns and colitis use coconut oil as a healing food.
Losing weight isn’t easy. Some people may need all the help they can to shed a few pounds off and one of the best ways to start that is increasing your daily fiber intake.
Low fiber intake may lead to many health issues and proper intake can help regulate the digestive system. Fiber is known to promote weight-loss as it’s slower to be absorbed and digested, filling up your belly and making your feel full. If you are not sure which fiber can help up your daily intake, we present you 3 great sources of fiber.
Flaxseeds are fiber packed seeds that also contain a very versatile omega-3. These delicious flaxseed meals contain 4 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoon serving as well as lignans, a special antioxidant that has anti-estrogenic actions. Flaxseed meals are an excellent way to increase your fiber as when the flax is ground, your body can extract all the nutrients.
A bulking agent which swells considerable when added to liquid, psyllium husks are known to help support healthy gastrointestinal function. Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative and is high in both fiber and mucilage. Psyllium seeds contain 10–30% mucilage and it forms a gelatinous mass that keeps feces hydrated and soft, provided it is taken with sufficient water, resulting in healthy bowel movement. Plus, psyllium husks may help decrease the risk of developing metabolic syndrome as it seems to improve blood sugar levels, insulin, and blood fats.
Oatmeal is a great source of fiber as a quarter cup of steel cut oats contains 5 grams of fiber. On top of that, oats contain a super fiber called beta-glucan, known to have cholesterol lowering effects. It is the beta-glucan in oats that will also help slow down the digestion of your meal.
You continue to hear that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” or if you are trying to lose weight, “eating breakfast is essential”. Both sentences are true but what can you do if you are not hungry when you wake up and do not feel like eating first thing in the morning?
The majority of breakfast bars are calorie-counted treats made to provide nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you would get when you eat a healthy breakfast. Most products contain ingredients such as fruits, oats, granola, low-fat yogurt, nuts, seeds, and other things you would normally eat for your morning meal.
A perfect product for those who are short on time in the morning, breakfast bars are also a great on-the-go meal for those on weight-loss diets. Research suggests people who eat breakfast are slimmer because they tend to eat less during the day, especially high-calorie snacks. However, some people do not feel hungry in the morning but starting a new routine may lead to new habits. For example, eating a breakfast bar every morning can make you feel hungry when you wake up and, after a while, your morning appetite will naturally increase and you’ll probably find you eat less throughout the day, including snacks and unhealthy food choices.
Choose your favorite breakfast bar and start a new routine. With some many choices available, you can be sure to find one that fits perfectly for your needs. Click here to check out Lucky Vitamin’s nutritional bars.