You’ve probably seen it all over shampoo bottles in the store, but what exactly is aloe vera? Well, essentially it is a plant that is used in a lot of cosmetics products, but it can be used for medicinal purposes as well. You’ll find aloe vera supplements as well as makeups, lotions, and potions. It’s a spiny plant that is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and moisture making it ideal for the skin and for natural beauty products. These top 10 health benefits of aloe vera will explain exactly why the plant is so popular, not just in the cosmetics industry, but amongst natural medicine enthusiasts.
1. It does wonders for your hair and skin
When you use aloe vera moisturizers and shampoos, what benefits are you getting? Primarily, you are giving your hair and skin quite a large vitamin and mineral boost. Aloe vera contains a huge amount of vitamins including vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, and E. It’s also rich in choline and folic acid, all of which help the skin regenerate and stay healthy and keep your hair stay strong. The minerals in aloe vera are abundant as well, with calcium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, selenium, sodium, chromium, and many more all coming in natural aloe vera products and extracts. If you want beautiful skin, you can’t go wrong with aloe vera.
2. It assists with your protein intake
Protein is essential in the body for creating new cells and aloe vera is packed full of amino acids which are essential for the creation of proteins. Within aloe vera extracts, you’ll find more than 20 different amino acids that can help with the formation of bone, organ tissue, skin, and more.
3. It keeps your blood healthy
With so many unhealthy foods available from shopping malls and grocery stores these days, it’s easy for our blood to become clogged up with fat and plaque. Aloe vera is a natural defender of the blood providing the body with three different plant sterols. These are fatty acids that protect the blood, particularly HCL, which is a good cholesterol that reduces the amount of fat within the blood. Not only do these fatty acids protect the blood, but they can also reduce the effects of some allergies.
4. It can improve digestion
Poor digestion not only means that your body isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs, it can often cause gastrointestinal discomfort and even cause a number of diseases. For this reason it’s essential for you to take an interest in how well your body digests food. As an adaptogen, aloe vera can help those who have irritable bowel syndrome, it can help relieve constipation, and it can even help stop diarrhea. Essentially, aloe vera is incredibly effective at managing digestion and helping regularity in much the same way as fiber. Help your body out and begin using aloe vera supplements and you’ll find that you benefit from all the nutrients your body can now absorb.
5. It’s great for a detox
Planning on a detox? Aloe vera is gelatinous which means that it is able to move through your intestines and gut more slowly and along the way it absorbs all the toxins that your body doesn’t want. Naturally, the body will get rid of these toxins by itself, but they can cause irritation along the way. Aloe vera can help speed up and improve the effectiveness of a detox.
6. It keeps your heart healthy
As well as being great for the blood, studies have shown that aloe vera is fantastic for the heart as well. Research has shown time and time again that those who have aloe vera in their system enjoy better oxygen transportation throughout the body. This helps the heart as well as all the other organs in the body. The studies involved injecting aloe vera directly into the blood, but the same effect can be achieved by using aloe vera extracts on a long term basis.
7. It disinfects
Aloe vera can help avoid infections internally and externally thanks to its antibacterial qualities. It is a natural bacteria killer meaning it’s fantastic for helping get rid of infections inside your body and can be used as a natural cleaner on your hands and skin. Surprisingly, it’s just as effective in treating viruses, too–so, if you’re suffering from a viral infection, aloe vera is just the thing to help speed up your recovery. You can even use aloe vera extracts on fungal infections. Be sure to source natural aloe vera lotions and use them on external fungal infections if you want the best result.
8. It reduces inflammation
Aloe vera can reduce inflammation of the tissue and joints making it ideal for those who suffer with conditions like arthritis or any other disease or problem that causes stiffness in the body. While aloe vera will not be able to cure the conditions that cause inflammation and stiffness, it can make living with these conditions much easier. Talk to your doctor about medication and be sure to use aloe vera as a supplementary medicine.
9. It helps you lose weight
It improves your digestion, as mentioned, which means that weight loss can be achieved more easily. This is a result of your body being more efficient when it comes to breaking down all the compounds within your food ensuring that it gets all the best bits and can easily get rid of the toxins and bad substances it doesn’t want. By detoxifying your bowels, aloe vera leaves you feeling more energetic which makes it even easier to lose weight.
10. It’s easy to come by
Finally, aloe vera is seriously easy to come by. Whether you’re looking for a supplement to
We know that copper is commonly used in plumbing, electronics and jewelry, but did you know that it’s also responsible for important biological functions as well? In fact, as early as 400 B.C., Hippocrates is said to have prescribed copper compounds for the treatment of diseases. Clearly, he understood that we need copper to maintain our health and develop properly. And because we can’t make copper on our own, we need to rely on foods high in copper to avoid copper deficiency.
Copper is a trace mineral, meaning it is needed in a very small quantity for growth and development. Its primary role is to help form hemoglobin and collagen in the body, but it’s also important for the function of several enzymes and proteins that are involved in energy metabolism, DNA synthesis and respiration.
Copper homeostasis is very important, as getting too much or too little of the mineral can cause major health problems. So adults should opt to consume about 0.9 milligram of copper daily, which can be done easily by eating one to two servings of foods high in copper as part of your healthy diet.
Top 20 Foods High in Copper
Beef liver 1 ounce: 4 milligrams (200 percent DV)
Dark chocolate 1 bar: 1.8 milligrams (89 percent DV)
Sunflower seeds 1 cup with hulls: 0.8 milligram (41 percent DV)
Importance of Copper: Copper Benefits and Signs of Copper Deficiency
Copper is an important mineral because it benefits the health of our bones, nerves and skeletal system. It’s also essential for the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells, and it’s needed for the proper utilization of iron and oxygen within our blood.
We need to eat foods high in copper because the body cannot make the mineral itself and it uses copper frequently, without being able to store it in sufficient amounts.
A deficiency in copper results in poorly formed red blood cells, which is problematic because red blood cells deliver oxygen to our body tissues. Not getting enough copper can lead to major health concerns, and the following copper deficiency symptoms may become noticeable:
fatigue or low energy levels
low body temperature
weak, brittle bones
balding or thinning hair
unexplained weight loss
weakened immune system
Copper deficiency is much more common in malnourished populations where people don’t consume enough calories and are unable to get enough copper-rich foods in their diets. In developed countries, certain people are at a greater risk of copper deficiency, including infants who are fed only cow’s milk formula, premature infants, infants with prolonged digestive problems and adults who are struggling with malabsorption syndromes, like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.
To avoid a copper deficiency, it’s important that copper intake stays in balance with zinc and iron levels. If you consume too much of one, it can throw the other mineral levels out of balance. People who are supplementing with zinc or iron are at a greater risk of copper deficiency and should be aware of this precaution.
Menkes disease or syndrome is a rare, genetic disorder that affects copper levels in your body. Symptoms of Menkes syndrome include failure to gain weight, failure to thrive, developmental delays, weak muscle tone, intellectual disability, seizures, facial droop, and curly, thin and discoloured hair. Symptoms usually develop in infancy and are typically first noticeable with hair changes. A less severe form of Menkes is called occipital horn syndrome, which usually begins in early to middle childhood. For some children with Menkes or occipital horn syndrome, early treatment with copper may improve their prognosis.
Another rare, inherited condition that affects copper levels in your body isWilson disease. But unlike Menkes disease that doesn’t allow the body to absorb copper properly, Wilson disease prevents the body from removing extra copper. This is dangerous because our bodies only need a small amount of copper to stay healthy, and when too much copper builds up in the body, it can become poisonous and can cause life-threatening organ damage over time.
7 Benefits of Foods High in Copper
Boost Brain Health
Promote Healthy Skin, Hair and Eyes
Promote Energy Maintenance and Prevent Anemia
Allow for Proper Growth and Development
Support Your Metabolism
1. Boost Brain Health
High-copper foods stimulate higher-level thought processes and mental functioning. They are considered brain foods because copper helps enable certain neural pathways that promote out-of-the-box thinking. A lack of copper during growth may result in incomplete brain and nerve development.
Research also shows that a copper deficiency may be associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Although the data is mixed, with some studies suggesting that too little copper can lead to Alzheimer’s and others indicating that copper overload may be responsible, it’s clear that copper does indeed play a role in the development of this neurodegenerative disease.
A 2008 study conducted by the Department of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology, Physiology and Therapeutics in North Dakota found that low copper status was associated with decreased cognition and increased brain and spinal fluid that may serve as a plausible cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Promote Healthy Skin, Hair and Eyes
Copper is critical for the proper functioning of almost all tissues in the human body, including your skin, and it’s a powerful antioxidant that protects cells against free radical damage. It can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, enhance wound healing, and it can even improvemacular degeneration symptoms. Copper boosts your skin health by helping build collagen, a substance found in your connective tissue that improves the appearance and elasticity of your skin.
Plus, did you know that copper plays a role in the development of melanin? We need adequate levels of copper to give us our natural pigment and texture of our skin, hair and eyes. Copper also help keep your hair from thinning and turning gray.
3. Promote Energy Maintenance and Prevent Anemia
Copper plays a role in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the primary molecule of energy storage in our bodies. Animal and lab studies suggest that without adequate copper, the mitochondria (the cell’s energy producer) are unable to adequately produce ATP, which can leave us feeling lethargic and tired.
Copper helps us utilize iron properly, which helps reduce anemia that can affect energy levels. Copper helps iron be released into the liver, so you are less likely to have a deficiency, which can lead to anemia symptoms like fatigue and muscle aches.
4. Allow for Proper Growth and Development
In countries where malnourishment is a serious problem and copper deficiency is more common as a result, the negative effects of poor development and stunted growth can be seen in children. This is because copper is responsible for proper oxygenation from red blood cells, and when you have a deficiency, your cells, tissues and organs don’t receive enough oxygen.
Research shows that copper (and iron) deficiency during pregnancy can lead to serious consequences, including abnormal fetal development. These problems may persist into adulthood, potentially causing mental health conditions, hypertension and obesity. This is why foods high in copper are an important part of a pregnancy diet.
5. Strengthen Bones
Copper plays a role in bone health maintenance, which is why a copper deficiency can cause skeletal abnormalities, like osteoporosis. Copper strengthens your bones by promoting bone formation and skeletal mineralization, and increasing the integrity of connective tissue.
According to a review published in Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism, elderly patients with fractures were found to have significantly lower serum copper levels than the participants who served as controls. In addition, post-menopausal women with high serum copper and calcium levels had greater lumbar bone density than those with low calcium and copper levels.
6. Support Your Metabolism
Copper plays an important role in up to 50 different metabolic enzyme reactions that are needed to keep the metabolism runningsmoothly. Researchers from UC Berkeley and the Berkley Lab found that copper plays a key role in metabolizing fat. Using a mouse model, copper was found to be essential for breaking down fat cells so they can be used for energy.
Copper also plays a role in iron metabolism. Eating enough foods high in copper is necessary for normal iron metabolism, which is why anemia is a sign of copper deficiency.
7. Support Immunity
Copper plays an important role in immune system function, and people with a copper deficiency may become sick more frequently than usual. Animal and lab studies show that copper deficiency leads to an increased susceptibility to bacterial infections and impaired neutrophil (a type of white blood cell) function. To help boost your immune system naturally, make sure you are consuming enough foods high in copper daily.
How to Get More Copper in Your Diet + Foods High in Copper Recipes
Usually, a varied diet provides enough copper for you to meet the recommended daily allowance of 900 micrograms (or 0.9 milligrams) per day for adult men and women. The foods highest in copper include organ meats, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, beans, and some vegetables. Consuming one to two servings of these high-copper foods should keep you at healthy serum copper levels.
Copper is also obtained through drinking water because it’s used in many pipes that transport water into your home, which allows a small amount to leach into your water supply. This actually helps you consume enough copper, as does eating foods that are cooked in cast iron pots and pans that are made with natural copper.
Try some of these recipes that contain foods high in copper in order to reach your recommended daily allowance of 0.9 milligrams per day:
Socca Recipe: This Paleo pizza is made with chickpea flour and white mushrooms, two foods high in copper. This is a great recipe for when you want to enjoy the taste and texture of a thin-crust pizza, and it’s Paleo-friendly and includes nutrient-dense veggies.
Almond Butter Chocolate Cookies Recipe: These delicious cookies are gluten-free and made with almond butter and dark chocolate, two high-copper foods.
Almond Berry Cereal Recipe: This is a great alternative to breakfast cereals that are high in sugar and artificial ingredients. It’s made with almonds and flax meal, which also contains a good amount of copper.
Borscht Recipe: Borscht is a soup that originated in Ukraine. The main ingredient is beets, and it’s also made with lentils and chickpeas, two high-copper foods.
Quinoa Kale Salad Recipe: This salad is naturally high in protein and immune-boosting nutrients. It’s made with quinoa and kale, two foods high in copper.
Precautions and Copper Toxicity
We know that copper is an essential mineral that’s needed in small amounts for the body to function properly, but consuming too much copper can be dangerous and may even lead to copper toxicity. So if you’re wondering, “Is copper bad for humans?” — the answer is that it could be when consumed in high amounts.
According to research published in Medicinal Research Reviews, “elevated levels of copper have been found in many types of human cancers, including prostate, breast, colon, lung and brain.” Copper chelators are used in the treatment of these types of cancers as anti-angiogenic molecules.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization have set guideline values for copper in drinking water to be 1.3 milligrams per liter and 2 milligrams per liter, respectively, in order to protect people from copper poisoning through our drinking water.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the levels of copper in surface and groundwater is usually very low, but high levels of copper can get into the environment through farming, mining, manufacturing operations and wastewater releases into lakes and rivers.
If you have high copper levels in your water, which can be checked by certified laboratories that analyze drinking water, you can’t reduce copper levels by heating or boiling the water. You may want to consider using a water treatment, such as reverse osmosis, distillation, ultra-filtration and ion exchange, to remove copper from your water supply. Also, if you are exposed to copper through your plumbing, it’s a good idea to flush your water system by letting the water run (from each faucet) for at least 15 seconds before using it.
For people who have ingested too much copper, symptoms of copper toxicity generally include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. This is your body’s way of naturally expelling the copper overload. Copper poisoning can also lead to liver damage and kidney failure in serious cases.
You may also notice copper deficiency in plants, which causes stunting in plants and wilting. Dieback of stems and twigs and the yellowing of leaves can occur as well. Many plants, however, have natural strategies that are used to respond to copper deficiency, such as regulating copper uptake in root cells and levels of copper proteins. (19)
Copper is a trace mineral that’s needed in very small amounts for proper growth and development, along with the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells.
Copper is involved in up to 50 different metabolic enzyme reactions, needed for the proper utilization of iron and oxygen within our blood, promotes energy maintenance, and supports the health of our neurological and skeletal systems.
It’s important to stick to the RDA for copper, as consuming too much or too little can be problematic. Copper toxicity in humans is possible when levels get too high.
To get more copper into your diet and avoid a deficiency, eat the following foods that are high in copper: beef liver, dark chocolate, dried apricots, sunflower seeds, cashews, chickpeas, raisins, lentils, hazelnuts, almonds, shiitake mushrooms, avocado, sesame seeds, quinoa, turnip greens, blackstrap molasses, asparagus, kale, goat cheese and chia seeds.
Both the berries and the seeds will transform your mind-set for getting in the mood, so pop in a handful a day to keep bedroom boredom at bay. “This phytochemical-rich food enhances both libido and sexual endurance,” say Drs. Anna Maria and Brian Clement, authors of 7 Keys to Lifelong Sexual Vitality and directors of Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. Consume 10 black raspberries or a tablespoon of seeds a few hours before getting busy.
Raw, sautéed, or cooked, toss this vegetable in with your salad or alongside your steak for a bedroom boost. “I suggest it here because of the high vitamin C content,” says Keri Glassman, registered dietitian and author of The New You (and Improved) Diet. “Vitamin C aids in blood circulation to organs and has also been associated with an improved female libido.” If you’re going to pick a veggie at dinner anyway, may as well kill two birds with one sprout and make it this one.
This sex superfood is versatile when it comes to cooking: it can be brewed in hot apple cider, infused in your favorite exotic dish, or added to a chai tea latte. Just make sure to share it with your guy, too. “In India, cloves have been used to treat male sexual dysfunction for centuries,” says Glassman. Research published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine agrees, discovering that clove extracts produced an increase in the sexual activity of normal male rats. “Cloves are also used to rid bad breath, which can’t hurt your kissing skills either,” says Glassman, who also suggests using powdered cloves in Mexican food. Add a little cumin and cinnamon and you’ve got a tasty, multifaceted aphrodisiac.
Want to be completely irresistible the next time your guy sees you? There’s a simple food solution that will have you two acting like teenagers again: Figs. “They’re considered excellent stimulants of fertility and enhance the secretion of pheromones,” say Drs. Clement. Feast on up to five figs before getting it on and find out for yourself.
Chocolate has the reputation of being the age-old aphrodisiac for the sweet lover, but researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada found that this is most likely just a mirage. Though ingredients like phenylethylamine in chocolate may boost serotonin and endorphin levels, there is no link between chocolate and improve sexual performance or arousal. So if you’re really looking for a sweet libido-booster, stick to a slice of watermelon. Although it’s 92 percent water, that remaining 8 percent of fruit is jam-packed with vital nutrients for sexual health. Researchers at the Texas A&M Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center reported finding in 2008 that watermelon has ingredients that delivered Viagra-like effects to the human body’s blood vessels and could even aid in increasing libido. “Watermelon contains a phytonutrient called citrulline, which the body converts to arginine, an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide levels in the body, which relax blood vessels in the same way a medicine like Viagra does,” say Drs. Clement.
Researchers at the University of Hawaii found that women who took a ginseng supplement significantly upped their libido in a month, and 68 percent also said their overall sex life improved dramatically. “Add ginseng into your diet or try one of the many ginseng teas available,” Glassman says. “Just don’t jump at the sight of ginseng, though. Many energy drinks that claim to have ginseng in them also contain chemicals and tons of sugar, and there’s nothing sexy about that.”
A small salad with oil and vinegar as dressing will help your waistline and rev your sex drive. “Iceberg lettuce contains an opiate that helps to activate sex hormones,” say Drs. Clement. Nosh on a bowl at dinner and you’ll be ready to go by the time you turn in for the night.
“King Henry VII and the ancient Asians were astute when using ginger for medicinal purposes,” say Drs. Clement. “In the 21st century, those of us who know about botanical-ceuticals know that ginger helps circulation temperature adjustment, mucoid detoxification (mucus-like residue that can coat your GI tract) and also a libido enhancer.” Whether raw, in supplement form, or added to your favorite recipe or drink, ginger also lends itself to defense against winter’s hard cold and flu season. Because trying to get frisky with a runny nose never ends well.
Libido Killer: Oysters
Oysters have been dubbed as the king of libido boosters, but don’t buy into all the hype. “Oysters are a well-known source of zinc, which plays a central role in the creation of hormones and clitoris sensitivity, but they are also a toxic food,” Drs. Clement say. “Oysters and other shellfish can absorb the toxins and parasites in the ocean, which can often outweigh the benefits of zinc.” Skip the seafood and chow down on spinach for a similar low-calorie, high-zinc option.
Libido Killer: Processed Baked Goods
Yet another reason to avoid sugar-loaded treats: They will zap your sex drive. “Baked goods contain saturated trans fats that wreak havoc on human cells, including the immune system,” say Drs. Clement. “They surround the cells, coagulating them so that vital food glucose can’t be absorbed and remains in the blood, raising blood sugar and lowering libido. The fats also clog ventricles, reducing oxygen to sexual organs, and prevent the spleen from producing enough white blood cells, so eggs and sperm have difficulty multiplying.” Yikes!
Libido Killer: Dairy
Ice cream and cream cheese addicts may want to switch to a lactose-free alternative once in a while. The Clements say that the lactic acid in dairy and oxygen-destroying elements can squash a libido at any level, so try to limit the creamy stuff to three times per week. But don’t forget dairy’s best benefit: Calcium. It’s linked to cell and sexual health. When cells are healthy, they increase sensitivity for better circulation to genitalia, thus giving you more pleasure. Stock up on calcium-rich soymilk, leafy greens, sprouted beans, cabbage, broccoli, and wheatgrass juice.
Originally published by FitnessMagazine.com
Foods That Are Destroying Your Libido
By: Anna Fleet
A bout of lowered sex drive happens to us all…every now and again. However, if “I’m not in the mood, honey” is your constant response night after night, week after week, believe me when I say you should be concerned with more than the frustrations of your partner or spouse.
Look first to your diet for the major culprit behind your decreased sex drive. What you’re putting in your mouth throughout the day can virtually drain your libido. Why?
Because diet directly impacts your hormone levels, particularly your testosterone, the hormone that puts the mojo in your moves, the funky in your monkey, and the tang in your…well, you get the picture. The food you eat directly influences sexual desire and helps puts you in the mood for love (cue the Barry White).
Sure, some people drink a glass of wine or share a bottle to get in the mood. However, too much alcohol will actually quash your sexual prowess. So while a little booze may decrease your psychological inhibitions while increasing your need for love—in the end alcohol is a depressant that can negatively impact your body’s ability to perform sexually. That’s why, if you drink too much; you will reduce your testosterone production and your libido.
2. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, are great if you’re trying to cut out sugar and lose weight. But before you reach for that diet soda keep in mind that the fake sweet stuff also inhibits the neuro-production of dopamine and serotonin (your feel good hormone), leading to much less sexy feelings of depression, irritability, and lowered libido. Instead, reach for natural sweeteners, like honey.
Oh you coffee addicts might think your morning, lunch, and late afternoon pick-me-up puts more peep in your step. However, too much coffee keeps your adrenal glands working and can lead to an overproduction of stress hormones. Over the long term, energy and sex drive will suffer—a good reason to keep it at 2 cups a day and to stop slurping caffeine in the evenings.
Do you eat a lot of cheese? Have you noticed you are a bit irritable? The truth is that most store-bought, cow’s milk cheeses are processed using a mix of antibiotics and growth hormones, which can mess up the body’s natural production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone—the primary hormones associated with sex drive. If you’re a cheese addict; try a non-cow’s milk cheese instead.
Vegetable oils, like canola oil, are high in unsaturated fats. And while some fat is healthy for us, too much leaves the body open to free radicals and oxidative stress, limiting both sex drive and conception in women. Mix up your cooking oils with a combination of peanut, olive oil, and even coconut oil to prevent reproductive damage.
Likewise, the consumption of too many trans-fats, the so-called worst fats, like those used to prepare bagged potato chips and processed snacks will cause oxidative damage to the body, causing disruptions to healthy hormone regulation—leading to weight gain, fatigue, and plummeting libido.
Sodium is your libidos worst nightmare—for one it restricts blood flow to certain essential parts of the body needed for arousal (look down); while secondly, excess sodium can damage the mineralocorticoid hormones (i.e., aldosterone), which regulate sex hormones and sex drive.
If you enjoy a nice, lean cut of steak every few weeks, your lusty loins are probably safe. However, if you consume red meat regularly, you’re consuming excess growth hormones, fat, and antibiotics, which will upset the natural production of semen, sweat, and testosterone—particularly in men. Instead, guys should chow down on leaner cuts of beef round, beef loin, or filet mignon.
5 foods that lower your libido
Some foods that you eat regularly could be affecting your levels of sexual desire. Here’s what to avoid if you’re planning a steamy evening
This sugary plant is often used to make candies as well as some herbal teas and other beverages. The liquorice plant contains phytoestrogens and has been shown to affect the endocrine system. Consumption of liquorice has been linked to lower levels of testosterone, a hormone present in both men and women that strengthens sexual desire.
Soy beans are very rich in a number of nutrients including protein and vitamins A and B. They can be found in various forms: soy milk, tofu, tempeh, natto, miso, shoyu and tamari, as well as in many processed foods. Eaten in excessive quantity, soy can also lower testosterone levels.
Mint is one of the most well-known medicinal plants. It benefits the digestive system and has antiseptic, tonic and stimulating properties. But it can also have repercussions for the libido. Brush your teeth rather than eating a breath mint!
Quinine, used as a flavouring agent in tonic water and some other beverages, is naturally derived from the bark of the cinchona tree and has been used for centuries for its anti-malarial properties. Unfortunately, it has also been linked tosexual function, so think twice before overdoing the gin and tonics.
5. Corn Flakes
If you’re planning breakfast in bed, avoid corn flakes. Developed by Seventh-Day Adventists including Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the breakfast cereal was intended as part of a bland diet that would lower people’s sex drives.
courtesy of besthealthmag.ca
You should also consider fueling up with so-called “super foods” to keep your energy up and stress level down.
7 Superfoods to Boost Energy Levels
Why it’s so special: This fish contains high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, linked to decreased rates of heart disease.
How it helps energize you: Salmon is a good source of protein, which can help improve your alertness and performance.
2. Almonds: Help Curb Cravings
How it helps energize you: Almonds prevent spikes in blood sugar and insulin, which means fewer highs and lows while you’re working.
3. Green Tea: Healthy Coffee Alternative
How it helps energize you:
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and catechins, compounds that may help reduce the risk of heart disease. A smart choice for a midafternoon pick-me-up.
4. Avocado: Improve Your Concentration
How it helps energize you: The dual fiber and fat in this summertime favorite help keep insulin levels steady, making concentration easier. Beneficial for their good fat, avocadoes contain plenty of potassium.
5. Veggies: Avoid a Blood Sugar Crash
How it helps energize you: The fiber in these crunchy vegetables helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin, preventing energy levels from rising rapidly only to crash down.
6. Dark Chocolate: Lower Stress
How it helps energize you: Eating dark chocolate may lower cortisol, a stress hormone associated with increased appetite and weight gain. The flavonoids in dark chocolate help keep blood vessels healthy and reduce inflammation. In addition, the fat in dark chocolate won’t adversely affect your cholesterol levels.(70 percent or more)
7. Berries: Keep You Focused
How it helps energize you: Packed with fiber, berries can keep you focused by controlling your blood sugar levels and helping you avoid a dip in energy. Dark berries, including blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, are packed with antioxidants.
You’re free to eat whatever you want, however, a whole foods diet is recommended over heavily processed and fried foods. The juice recipes created, will offer many health benefits, including weight loss, anti-inflammation, increased energy and a natural boost to immunity.
Day 1: Pineapple Jalapeno
2 Cups Pineapple
5 kale Leaves
½ – 1 Jalapeno (use ½ a jalapeno if you don’t want it to spicy
Day 2: Simply Green
5 Handfuls of Spinach
3 Kale Leaves
3 Celery Stalks
2 Fuji Apples
Day 3: Green Detox
½ Head of Romaine
1 Handful of Spinach
2 Kale Leaves
10 Sprigs of Cilantro
2 Apples (Fuji or Granny Smith)
Day 4: Pineapple Kale Cucumber
1 Granny Smith Apple (Green)
½ Cup of Pineapple
4 Kale Leaves
3 Swiss Chard Leaves
Day 5: Green Citrus
3 Celery Stalks
1 Fuji Apple
Day 6: Pineapple Mint
2 Handfuls of Spinach
4 Kale Leaves
1 Cup Pineapple
1 Small Handful of Mint Leaves
2 Granny Smith Apples (Green)
Day 7:Green Detox
1 Bunch Cilantro
2 Green Apples
Bonus Libido Booster
1 Organic Cucumber
500`750 ml of spring water
2 tblspoons of Ashwaganda root powder
2 tblspoons of Black Maca Powder
1 ripe yellow banana
*Slice cucumber, place in a glass container (500`1 litre) of spring water and leave overnight(or 8hours) in refridgerator. take water(with/without cucumber), then add rest of the ingredients. Blend and enjoy!
Here’s some good news to keep in mind the next time you’re stressed out: Eating may be a stay-calm trick. We’re not talking about stuffing yourself with your typical go-to comfort food, such as mac and cheese or French fries, because that will only leave you feeling guilty and even more anxious. Instead, feed your face with one (or more) of these 10 superfoods to feel at ease fast.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of potassium, which helps regulate electrolyte balance and manage blood pressure.
Eating potassium-rich foods such, as pumpkin seeds or bananas, may help reduce symptoms ofstress and anxiety.
Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of the mineral zinc. One study carried out on 100 female high school students found that zinc deficiency may negatively affect mood.
Zinc is essential for brain and nerve development. The largest storage sites of zinc in the body are in the brain regions involved with emotions.
Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid, and one vegetable that boosts this mood-enhancing nutrient is asparagus. A single cup provides two-thirds of your daily value, and it’s easy to fit asparagus into almost any meal. Some ideas: Sauté some asparagus tips for a tasty omelet. Go with steamed or grilled spears as a side vegetable for meat, fish or poultry. Snack on some steamed spears by dipping in some dressing.
We need B vitamins for healthy nerves and brain cells, and feelings of anxiety may be rooted in a B vitamin deficiency. Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins. Bonus: They’re also high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, which help lower blood pressure. Next time stress has you reaching for a pint of full-fat ice cream, opt for a non-dairy DIY version made with avocado blended with a ripe banana, vanilla extract, nut milk, and nonnutritive sweetener. Freeze, then chill-out.
Experts have long suspected that dark chocolate might help reduce stress and anxiety. A 2014 study found that 40g of dark chocolate helped reduce perceived stress in female students.
Other studies have generally found that dark chocolate or cocoa may improve mood. However, many of these studies are observational, so the results need to be interpreted with caution.
Although it is still unclear how dark chocolate reduces stress, it is a rich source of polyphenols, especially flavonoids. One study suggested thatflavonoids might reduce neuroinflammation and cell death in the brain as well as improve blood flow.
Chocolate has a high tryptophan content, which the body uses to turn into mood-enhancingneurotransmitters, such as serotonin in the brain.
Dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium. Eating a diet with enough magnesium in it ortaking supplements may reduce symptoms of depression.
When choosing dark chocolate, aim for 70 percent or more. Dark chocolate still contains added sugars and fats, so a small serving of 1 to 3 grams (g) is appropriate.
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian and South-East Asian cooking. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. Curcumin may help lower anxiety by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress that often increase in people experiencing mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. A 2015 study found that curcumin reduced anxiety in obese adults.
Another study found that an increase of curcumin in the diet also increased DHA and reduced anxiety. Turmeric is easy to add to meals. It has minimal flavor, so goes well in smoothies, curries, and casserole dishes.
Blueberries may seem small, but just a handful pack a powerful punch of antioxidants and vitamin C, making them mighty stress-busters. When we’re stressed, our bodies need vitamin C and antioxidants to help repair and protect cells. While blueberries are tasty all by themselves (tip: freeze them for a cold berry snack), there’s no better way to boost the nutrition in a serving of yogurt or high-fiber cereal.
Green tea contains an amino acid called theanine, which is receiving increasing scrutiny due to its potential effects on mood disorders. Theanine has anti-anxiety and calming effects and may increase the production of serotonin and dopamine.
A 2017 review found that 200 mg of theanine improved self-reported relaxation and calmness while reducing tension in human trials.
Green tea is easy to add to the day-to-day diet. It is a suitable replacement for soft drinks, coffee, and alcoholic beverages.
Get some stress-relief munching on almonds, which are rich in vitamins B2 and E. Both of these nutrients help bolster the immune system during times of stress. Just a quarter cup of almonds each day does the trick. For variety, spread some almond butter on fruit slices or whole wheat crackers.
There’s a reason orange juice is said to be part of the breakfast of champions: Vitamin C is another vitamin known to lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol. For a quick burst of vitamin C, simply eat a whole orange or drink a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice without added sugar.
Put more fish on your dish to help you feel at ease. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you’re feeling tense. Salmon is one of the very best sources of omega-3s: Consuming 4 ounces at least three times a week goes a long way towards protecting your heart when those stress hormones are surging.
Make like Popeye and fill up on spinach. Leafy greens may not be your idea of comfort food, but spinach can have a comforting effect. Spinach is packed with magnesium, the mineral that helps regulate cortisol levels and promote feelings of wellbeing. A mere cup of spinach fills 40 percent of your daily quota, so slip some in with your morning eggs, swap for lettuce in your sandwich, have a salad, steam it as a side dish,or drop a handful of leaves into your soup.
That sleepy feeling you get after eating Thanksgiving dinner is due to the amino acid tryptophan found in turkey. Tryptophan signals the brain to release the feel-good chemical serotonin, which promotes calmness and even tiredness.
Oatmeal is another food that helps get the calm-inducing hormone serotonin flowing. Go with thick-cut, old fashioned oats that require cooking instead of instant oatmeal. Why? Coarse oats are higher in fiber and so they take longer to digest (meaning their calming effect actually lasts longer).
The next time you feel overwhelmed, eat your way calm by putting these superfoods on your plate.
Other foods that may help
Eat a varied and balanced diet with high quality, nutrient-dense carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Aim for whole foods, vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, and especially fish. Other foods that may help include:
Turkey and other tryptophan-containing foods such as eggs, dark chocolate, cheese, pineapple, bananas, oats, and tofu.
Nuts, especially almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E. Vitamin E deficiency has been linked to mood disorders.
Chia seeds are also a good source of omega-3s.
Protein sources, such as lean meat, fish, nuts, and dairy all provide amino acids, which the body converts into the mood-lifting neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.
Spinach and Swiss chard are both high in magnesium.
Cinnamon provides anti-inflammatory properties
Evidence increasingly shows that diets high in processed foods can increase anxiety.
What to Eat and Avoid on the Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Food List and 7-Day Sample Menu
If you’re looking to get a jump start on your health and fitness goals this year, you may be thinking about trying the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase before — it’s a huge diet buzzword — but aren’t sure what it means. Here’s a primer: The ketogenic diet is an eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source (instead of carbohydrates), says Stacey Mattinson, RDN, who is based in Austin, Texas.
When you’re eating the foods that get you there (more on that in a minute), your body can enter a state of ketosis in one to three days, she adds. During the diet, the majority of calories you consume come from fat, with a little protein and very little carbohydrates. Ketosis also happens if you eat a very low-calorie diet — think doctor-supervised, only when medically recommended diets of 600 to 800 total calories.
The Potential Benefits and Risks of the Keto Diet
There are three instances where there’s research to back up a ketogenic diet, including to help control type 2 diabetes, as part of epilepsy treatment, or for weight loss, says Mattinson. “In terms of diabetes, there is some promising research showing that the ketogenic diet may improve glycemic control. It may cause a reduction in A1C — a key test for diabetes that measures a person’s average blood sugar control over two to three months — something that may help you reduce medication use,” she says.
One major downside to the ketogenic diet regarding diabetes is that you’re eating a lot of fat, and that fat may be saturated, which is unhealthy. Because people with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, there’s concern that the saturated fat in the diet may drive up LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels, and further increase the odds of heart problems. If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor before attempting a ketogenic diet. They may recommend a different weight-loss diet for you, like a reduced-calorie diet. Those with epilepsy should also consult their doctor before using this as part of their treatment plan.
In terms of weight loss, you may be interested in trying the ketogenic diet because you’ve heard that it can make a big impact right away. And that’s true. “Ketogenic diets will cause you to lose weight within the first week,” says Mattinson. She explains that your body will first use up all of its glycogen stores (the storage form of carbohydrate). With depleted glycogen, you’ll drop water weight. While it can be motivating to see the number on the scale go down (often dramatically), do keep in mind that most of this is water loss initially.
But the keto diet can be effective over time. One review suggested the keto diet can spur fat loss in obese people when used for a couple of weeks and up to one year. A meta-analysis noted that one reason for weight loss is likely that keto diets suppress hunger.
The downside to a ketogenic diet for weight loss is the difficulty maintaining it. “Studies show that weight loss results from being on a low-carb diet for more than 12 months tend to be the same as being on a normal, healthy diet,” says Mattinson. While you may be eating more satiating fats (like peanut butter, regular butter, or avocado), you’re also way more limited in what’s allowed on the diet, which can make everyday situations, like eating dinner with family or going out with friends, far more difficult. Because people often find it tough to sustain, it’s easy to rely on it as a short-term diet rather than a long-term lifestyle.
Before starting, ask yourself what is really realistic for you, Mattinson suggests. Then get your doctor’s okay. You may also work with a local registered dietitian nutritionist to limit potential nutrient deficiencies and talk about vitamin supplementation, as you won’t be eating whole grains, dairy, or fruit, and will eliminate many veggies. “A diet that eliminates entire food groups is a red flag to me. This isn’t something to take lightly or dive into headfirst with no medical supervision,” she says.
What to Keep in Mind When Creating Your Ketogenic Meal Plan
If you’ve decided to move forward in trying the keto diet, you will want to stick to the parameters of the eating plan. Roughly 60 to 80 percent of your calories will come from fats. That means you’ll eat meats, fats, and oils, and a very limited amount of nonstarchy vegetables, she says. (This is different from a traditional low-carb diet, as even fewer carbs are allowed on the keto diet.)
The remaining calories in the keto diet come from protein — about 1 gram (g) per kilogram of body weight, so a 140-pound woman would need about 64 g of protein total. As for carbs: “Every body is different, but most people maintain ketosis with between 20 and 50 g of net carbs per day,” says Mattinson. Total carbohydrates minus fiber equals net carbs, she explains.
One thing to remember: “It’s easy to get ‘kicked out’ of ketosis,” says Mattinson. Meaning, if you eat something as small as a serving of blueberries, your body could revert to burning carbohydrates for fuel rather than fat.
A Complete Keto Diet Food Guide to Follow
Wondering what fits into a keto diet — and what doesn’t? “It’s so important to know what foods you’ll be eating before you start, and how to incorporate more fats into your diet,” says Kristen Mancinelli, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet: A Scientifically Proven Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss, who is based in New York City. We asked her for some guidelines.
Liberally: (That said, ketogenic diets aren’t high in protein, they focus on fat, so these should all be consumed in moderation.)
Fish, especially fatty fish, like salmon
Dark meat chicken
Low-fat proteins, like skinless chicken breast and shrimp. These are great to include in your keto diet, but add a sauce on top for some fat rather than eating plain.
Cold cuts with added sugar (read the label!)
Meat that has been marinated in sugary sauces
Fish or chicken nuggets
Oil and Fat
Occasionally: (Limit your consumption, which should be easy to do when avoiding packaged foods, which these are often found in.)
Artificial trans fats
Fruits and Veggies
Leafy greens, like spinach and arugula
Occasionally: (These are still great choices, but you’ll also need to count these carbs.)
Nuts and Seeds
Flax and chia seeds
Unsweetened nut butters (almond or peanut butter)
Trail mixes with dried fruit
Sweetened nut or seed butters
Full-fat cottage cheese
Full-fat plain Greek yogurt
Full-fat ricotta cheese
Sweetened nonfat yogurt
Liberally: Practice moderation with sweeteners.
White and brown sugars
Condiments and Sauces
Lemon butter sauce
Mayonnaise (ensure there’s no sugar added)
Tomato sauce (look for those with no added sugar)
Black coffee (watch caffeine consumption)
Unsweetened carbonated water (limit only if bubbles make you bloated)
Herbs and Spices
Liberally: (All herbs and spices fit in a keto diet, but if you’re using large amounts, Mancinelli recommends counting the carbs.)
Salt (salt foods to taste)
Thyme, oregano, paprika, and cayenne
Occasionally: (These are still great choices, but contain some carbs.)
Herbs and spices are generally okay to use in small amounts to add flavor to foods.
Optional: (These help you produce ketones more quickly, but Mancinelli says she has no opinion either way on recommending you take them or not.)
A Detailed Ketogenic Diet Food List to Follow
Following are some of the best foods to eat on the keto diet, along with their serving sizes and an explanation of why they’re good for people following this eating approach.
Per 1 tablespoon (tbsp) serving: 124 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: This is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 124 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: Research has shown that consumption of canola oil can reduce total and bad cholesterol.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 116 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: While high in saturated fat, coconut oil may increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 115 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: Derived from coconut, MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. Limited research suggests MCT oil may aid in weight loss and help promote ketosis.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 100 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 11g fat
Benefits: Though the serving provides 11g of saturated fat, research has found that butter wasn’t a major factor in increasing risk of chronic conditions, like heart disease or diabetes.
Per 1 slice serving: 113 calories, 0g net carbs, 7g protein, 9g fat
Benefits: Cheese is allowed as you please, but cheddar is a good example of its nutrition stats. One study found that cheese eaters had a 12 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Per 1 tbsp serving: 52 calories, 0g net carbs, 0g protein, 5g fat
Benefits: This is an easy way to add calories and fat into a ketogenic diet.
Per 1 slice serving: 43 calories, 0g net carbs, 3g protein, 3g fat
Benefits: The green light on bacon may be one reason you’re up for sticking to the diet, as it can make eating occasions more palatable. Just watch the sodium content, as it can add up quickly.
Per 1 thigh serving: 318 calories, 0g net carbs, 32g protein, 20g fat
Benefits: Leave the skin on here for extra fat. One thigh is a good source of selenium, zinc, and B vitamins.
Per 1 egg serving: 77 calories, 1g net carbs, 6g protein, 5g fat
Benefits: Eggs contains the perfect duo of satiating protein and fat; they’re also high in the antioxidant mineral selenium.
Per 3-ounce (oz) serving (measured raw): 279 calories, 0g net carbs, 12g protein, 24g fat
Benefits: Ground beef (made with 70 percent lean meat and 30 percent fat) is a higher-fat choice — but that’s the point here. You’ll also get an excellent source of vitamin B12, which is necessary to keep energy levels up.
New York Strip Steak
Per 3-oz serving: 224 calories, 0g net carbs, 22g protein, 14g fat
Benefits: You’ll get an impressive amount of muscle-building protein plus satiating fat in this option. It’s also rich in zinc, a mineral that promotes proper thyroid functioning.
Per 1 cup (raw) serving: 27 calories, 2g net carbs, 3g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Asparagus contains bone-building calcium, plus other minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, which has been linked with blood sugar regulation.
Per ½ avocado serving: 160 calories, 2g net carbs, 2g protein, 15g fat
Benefits: The creamy fruits are packed with fiber, something that you may lack on the keto diet. They also are an excellent source of immune-revving vitamin C.
Per 1 cup (shredded) serving: 9 calories, 1g net carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Chinese cabbage is a rich source of vitamins A and C, plus offers some calcium and energy-revving iron.
Per 1 cup (raw) serving: 25 calories, 2g net carbs, 2g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Provides more than three-quarters of your vitamin C quota in a day; with 3 g of fiber, it’s also a good source of the heart-healthy nutrient.
Per 1 cup (raw) serving: 16 calories, 1g net carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Celery is one of the most hydrating veggies out there. These crunchy spears also contain vitamins A and K, and folate.
Per ½ cup (slices) serving: 8 calories, 2g net carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Cucumbers are high in water, making them a hydrating choice. They’re also a surprisingly good source of vitamin K, a vitamin important for proper blood clotting and bone formation.
Per 1 cup (sliced) serving: 18 calories, 2g net carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Along with more than a day’s requirements for vitamin C, they’re also a good source of vitamin B6, which plays a role in more than 100 enzyme reactions in the body.
Per 1 cup (shredded) serving: 5 calories, 1g net carbs, 0g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Leafy greens can add bulk to your meals for very few calories, as well as skin-strengthening vitamins A and C.
Per 1 cup (raw) serving: 15 calories, 1g net carbs, 2g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: Mushrooms are known for their potential immune-boosting properties, as one study suggested. They’re also an excellent source of B vitamins.
Per 1 cup (sliced, raw) serving: 18 calories, 3g net carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat
Benefits: This is a great way to sneak in additional fiber, and the veggie also offers a good source of manganese, a mineral that helps form bone and aids in blood sugar control.
A 7-Day Sample Menu for the Keto Diet
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs in butter on a bed of lettuce topped with avocado
Snack: Sunflower seeds
Lunch: Spinach salad with grilled salmon
Snack: Celery and pepper strips dipped in guacamole
Dinner: Pork chop with cauliflower mash and red cabbage slaw
Breakfast: Bulletproof coffee (made with butter and coconut oil), hard-boiled eggs
Snack: Macadamia nuts
Lunch: Tuna salad stuffed in tomatoes
Snack: Roast beef and sliced cheese roll-ups
Dinner: Meatballs on zucchini noodles, topped with cream sauce
Breakfast: Cheese and veggie omelet topped with salsa
Snack: Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt topped with crushed pecans
Lunch: Sashimi takeout with miso soup
Snack: Smoothie made with almond milk, greens, almond butter, and protein powder
Dinner: Roasted chicken with asparagus and sautéed mushrooms
Breakfast: Smoothie made with almond milk, greens, almond butter, and protein powder
Snack: Two hard-boiled eggs
Lunch: Chicken tenders made with almond flour on a bed of greens with cucumbers and goat cheese
Snack: Sliced cheese and bell pepper slices
Dinner: Grilled shrimp topped with a lemon butter sauce with a side of asparagus
Breakfast: Fried eggs with bacon and a side of greens
Snack: A handful of walnuts with a quarter cup of berries
Lunch: Grass-fed burger in a lettuce “bun” topped with avocado and a side salad
Snack: Celery sticks dipped in almond butter
Dinner: Baked tofu with cauliflower rice, broccoli, and peppers, topped with a homemade peanut sauce
Breakfast: Baked eggs in avocado cups
Snack: Kale chips
Lunch: Poached salmon avocado rolls wrapped in seaweed (rice-free)
Snack: Meat-based bar (turkey or pork)
Dinner: Grilled beef kabobs with peppers and sautéed broccolini
Breakfast: Eggs scrambled with veggies, topped with salsa
Snack: Dried seaweed strips and cheese
Lunch: Sardine salad made with mayo in half an avocado
Snack: Turkey jerky (look for no added sugars)
Dinner: Broiled trout with butter, sautéed bok choy
Healthy Office Snacks(part 1)
Working eight or more hours a day can make it difficult to eat healthfully unless you plan ahead. Research shows that eating every four hours helps to keep your metabolism charged and your energy level high. Before you dig in your drawer for spare change and head to the vending machine, plan ahead and stash low-calorie, nutritious snacks in a cabinet, drawer, or your briefcase. Each of these snacks has less than 200 calories and are sure to satisfy when the 3 p.m. cravings hit.
Whole Wheat Crackers and Peanut Butter
Save your quarters by skipping the vending machine’s peanut butter crackers and packing your own nutritious snack. For a hunger-curbing option, try 10 multigrain wheat crackers (such as Multigrain Wheat Thins) and a tablespoon of peanut butter. This nutrient-rich snack rings in at just 193 calories and offers 2 grams of fiber. The combination of complex carbs and protein help to keep your blood sugar stable and keep you feeling full longer.
Grab an apple, banana, pear, grapes, or other portable fruit as you dash out the door every morning. If you grab a different fruit every day (and change with the seasons), you’ll obtain a good variety of nutrients plus fiber, and won’t get bored with the same old snack. The average serving of fruit is around 70 calories so pair with a cup of fat-free milk (about 90 calories) for a protein boost as well as extra calcium and vitamin D. This protein and fiber combination will keep you feeling full and prevent mindless eating.
Popcorn with Parmesan
Take regular bagged popcorn to the next level by topping with 2 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan cheese. The nutty flavor of the popcorn pairs well with the rich flavor of Parmesan resulting in a quick, 150-calorie snack. Simply top 3½ cups of 94%-fat-free popcorn with the cheese and your snack is served. If you don’t have an office fridge to stash your Parm, nosh on just the popcorn for only 100 calories. This salty snack counts as one of your three daily servings of whole grains and helps to increase your energy and mood.
Make the swap and choose nuts over chips for a crunchy alternative. Nuts are rich in heart-healthy fats but are calorically dense (about 170 calories per ounce) so measure out an ounce (about 24 almonds) and stick to that amount instead of feasting on the entire bag. Stash premeasured baggies of nuts in an office drawer or in your purse to nibble on when the 3 p.m. hunger pains hit. Almonds and other nuts are a naturally high source of vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and potassium and are rich in protein and fiber.
When you’re in a rush at work and want something warm and comforting, heat a packet of plain instant oatmeal (just 110 calories) in the microwave for a quick and satisfying treat. Choose plain oatmeal and add your own flavorings to control the calorie and sugar content. Top with a 42 calorie mini box of raisins for a sweet flavor and added nutrients or sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Doubling as a fiber-rich breakfast or daytime snack, oatmeal helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Mini Pitas with Hummus
Use mini pita pockets to scoop up creamy hummus. Whether you make your own hummus or choose a favorite brand at the grocery store, hummus is made from chickpeas, a great source of soluble fiber. This soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Pair one serving of hummus, 2 tablespoons, with 3 mini pita rounds for a 150 calorie snack. If you want a protein boost, fill the mini pita pockets with an ounce of low-sodium deli ham or turkey. The fiber and protein combo gives the snack some staying power to keep you feeling full longer.
Want to step your game up? For more out of this world delicious treats…
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 small red onion, diced (1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup drained, rinsed canned black beans, preferably low-sodium
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs and 4 egg whites
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2-ounce) shredded pepper Jack cheese
4 (10-inch) whole-wheat tortillas (burrito-size)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup salsa
1 large tomato, (4 ounces) seeded and diced
1 small avocado (4 ounces), cubed
Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over a medium-high heat. Cook the onions and peppers until onions are softened and peppers are slightly charred, about 8 minutes. Add black beans and red pepper flakes and cook until warmed through, another 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a dish.
Whisk together the eggs and egg whites then stir in the cheese. Spray the skillet with cooking spray, and reheat the skillet over a medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add eggs, scrambling until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Spread each tortilla with 1 tablespoon each sour cream and salsa, then layer with 1/4 of the black bean mixture, 1/4 of the scrambled eggs, some diced tomato and 1/4 of the avocado. Season, to taste, with hot sauce. Roll up burrito-style and serve.
Slice onion thin and soak in hot water and vinegar while preparing rest of salad.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients, adding olive oil at the end, a little at a time.
Wash and dry arugula. Squeeze out excess liquid from onions. Combine onions and arugula and toss with dressing. Sprinkle salad with walnuts just before serving. Top with beets, cheese (optional).
Healthy Cooking Tips:
Make sure your arugula is young and tender as older leaves can be quite bitter.
Arugula Salad with Walnut Croutons
Carrot Coconut Soup
Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 large onion, chopped
1 TBS + 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 TBS fresh ginger, sliced
4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp curry powder
2 cups sliced carrots, about 1/4-inch thick
1 cup sweet potato, cut into about 1/2-inch cubes
5 oz canned coconut milk
salt and white pepper to taste
Chop onion and let it sit for at least five minutes to bring out its hidden health benefits.
Heat 1 TBS broth in a medium soup pot. Healthy Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another minute.
Add curry powder and mix well with onions.
Add broth, carrots, and sweet potato and simmer on medium high heat until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add coconut milk.
Blend in batches making sure blender is not more than half full. When it’s hot, and the blender is too full, it can erupt and burn you. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Return to soup pot and reheat.
Carrot Coconut Soup
15-Minute Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes
1 lb cooked medium sized shrimp (buy still frozen if possible for freshness), remove tails
1 medium-sized tomato, seeded and chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 large clove garlic, pressed
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 large firm avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 TBS chopped cilantro
1 TBS chopped fresh mint
2 TBS chopped pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper to taste
pinch red pepper flakes
extra virgin olive oil to taste
1 head small romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed
Make sure shrimp is completely unfrozen if you buy it already cooked. Pat it dry with paper towels.
Mix all ingredients, except lettuce, in a bowl. For optimum flavor, marinate in refrigerator for 15 minutes or more. It is still very good served right away if you don’t have the time. Serve on bed of chopped romaine lettuce.
Serving Suggestion: Serve with
Zesty Mexican Soup
15 Minute Shrimp and Avocado Salad
15-Minute Maui-Style Cod
Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes
1 1/2 lbs thick cut filets of cod
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2TBS chicken or vegetable broth or water
salt and black pepper to taste
1 TBS minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup finely minced red bell pepper
3/4 cup canned crushed pineapple
1 tsp finely minced jalapeno pepper (or to taste)
1/2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
salt and white pepper to taste
Mix together all ingredients for salsa and set aside.
On stove top, preheat 10-12 inch stainless steel skillet on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Rub 1 TBS fresh lemon juice on cod and season with salt and pepper.
Add broth or water to skillet and heat. Cook fish in heated skillet about 1-2 minutes on each side. Time may vary according to thickness of fish. You do not need oil or liquid for this.
1/1/2 lbs salmon filets, skin and bones removed,cut into 4 pieces
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 TBS finely chopped fresh mint
1 TBS finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 TBS finely minced scallion
1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
1 medium ripe fresh tomato, seeds and excess pulp removed, diced into ¼-inch pieces
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
3TBS fresh lemon juice
salt and white pepper to taste
To Quick Broil salmon: Preheat broiler on high and place an all stainless steel skillet (be sure the handle is also stainless steel) or cast iron pan under the heat for about 10 minutes to get it very hot. The pan should be 5 to 7 inches from the heat source.
Chop garlic and let sit for 5-10 minutes to bring out its health-promoting properties.
Rub salmon with 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. (You can Quick Broil with the skin on; it just takes a minute or two longer. The skin will peel right off after cooking.)
When pan is hot, use a hot pad to pull out the pan from the heat and place salmon on it, skin side down. Return to broiler. Keep in mind that it is cooking rapidly on both sides so it will be done very quickly (usually about 7 minutes for every inch of thickness). Salmon does not need to be turned. Test with a fork for doneness. It will flake easily when it is cooked. Salmon is best when it is still pink inside.
Mix together salsa ingredients in a bowl, and set aside. Serve on top of Quick Broiled salmon.
Aches, pains, and joint stiffness. They come not only with age, but also with arthritis, lupus and other chronic ailments. While many people find help from pain relieving drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen, and other anti-inflammatory medicines, those medicines can be harsh on your body.
Using natural treatments for joint pain and stiffness can make a big difference in the amount of medication you need to take. We’ve outlined some great herbal and homeopathic remedies to relieve stiffness and pain.
Herbal remedies, healthy foods, and exercise are all great ways to help relieve joint pain and stiffness. While it’s important to check with your physician before adding herbs to your existing medications, the herbs listed in this article may help you decrease the amount of prescription medicine you are taking. This in turn can help ease stomach issues and lessen the chances of these medications affecting your liver.
Known for its spicy-hot taste, cayenne makes an excellent topical ointment that relieves joint pain. Rubbing cayenne on the affected area causes a mild irritation, which in turn “distracts” the nerves from the more severe joint pain. Repeated topical applications of cayenne pepper can reduce arthritis pain significantly.
To make a topical paste, mix 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper with 1/2 cup of cocoa butter, lanolin, or coconut oil. Apply it directly to the sore joint. You can also mix 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and soak sore hands or feet for 20 minutes to reduce pain and inflammation.
2. Fruit Pectin & Grape Juice
The combination of pectin, which is found in the cells of many plants, and grape juice can be of great use to people suffering from inflammation and joint pain. Grape juice is loaded with antioxidants, among them, anthocyanins, which are noted for their effect on reducing inflammation. Pectin is also believed to relieve fluid buildup in the joints of arthritis sufferers.
It’s best to purchase pectin from a health or natural foods store for the best quality. You want to make sure to select pectin that is free of MSG and other additives.
Mix 1/2 cup of grape juice with 2 tablespoons pectin. You can add water, if needed. Drink it twice daily for 6 weeks, and then reduce the frequency as symptoms disappear.
Licorice acts much like your body’s own natural corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation. It also decreases free radicals at the site of inflammation and inhibits the enzyme production that’s involved in the inflammatory process. The key component in licorice, which blocks and relieves inflammation, is called glycyrrhizin. It supports the body’s release of cortisol, which suppresses the immune system and eases pain and frequency of arthritis flare-ups.
Licorice comes in a variety of teas, tinctures, or in supplement form. It’s important to note that licorice is not for everyone. People with blood pressure issues should avoid the herb altogether.
Omega-3s are important for a strong immune system, but did you know they also help fight inflammation? Flaxseed is one of the best vegan sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it even more important for arthritis sufferers. Animal fats can often lead to more inflammation, so making the choice to incorporate flaxseed into your diet will help you get the important Omega-3s without adding the animal fat.
Try to include two tablespoons of flaxseeds or flaxseed oil in your daily diet. You can add ground flax to cereals, yogurt, and even sauces and stews.
5. Stinging Nettle
Don’t let the name scare you, nettles are contain protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, along with vitamins A,C, D, and B complex, all in a form that is easy for the body to use. It is also a terrific herbal remedy for all types of arthritis and gout.
The stinging nettle plant has fine hairs on its heart-shaped leaves and stems that are irritating to the skin. Although the hairs of stinging nettle are usually painful to the touch, when placed over a painful area of the body they serve to reduce pain, either by decreasing inflammatory chemicals or by interfering with the transmission of pain signals.
Nettles also have minerals including boron, calcium, magnesium and silicon, which ease pain while helping to build strong bones.
Stinging nettle is available in several forms including teas, capsules, tinctures, extracts, or whole leaf. Recommended dosage for capsule form is up to 1,300 mg/daily. Whole leaves can be applied directly to the painful area of the skin.
6. Turmeric, Ginger and Bromelain
Turmeric, ginger, and bromelain are all effective and natural treatments to relieve stiffness, swelling, and joint pain on their own. But in combination, these three substances each boost the other’s effectiveness. Take these in combination on an empty stomach twice a day for pain relief. All three substances can thin the blood, so those taking blood thinning medicine should first check with their health practitioners.
7. Get Moving
Light weight training and cardiovascular exercise are very important to relieve joint stiffness and pain. While the first thing you may want to do is curl up and lay down when joint pain strikes, it’s a great idea to get up and get moving. I find that a hot shower and some gentle exericise like yoga, Pilates, or light weight training really helps get your joints in motion and reduces the stiffness and pain. Light weight training can also strength the muscles surrounding your affected joint, thus providing it with more support.
Another great form of exercise to get relieve joint pain and stiffness is aquatic exercise. This non-impact workout allows you to slowly moving your joins through their range of motion.
8. Stock Up Anti-Inflammatory Foods
There are a number of foods that can reduce inflammation and swelling, which causes much of the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Foods like nuts and fatty fish, like salmon are loaded with Omega-3s, that will help fight inflammation. Other great sources of anti-inflammatory foods include blueberries, kelp, horseradish, mustard, garlic, onions, watercress, parsley, celery, pickles, lemon, and rose-hip tea.
Did you know you can reverse cavities naturally? Just add these natural ingredients together, and brush after with a natural toothpaste.
-Coconut oil attacks the harmfuk bacteria in your mouth. It can reduce plaque buildup, prevent tooth decay, and fight gum disease.
-Tumeric is most commonly recommended for its anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have evaluated the effectiveness of tumeric in controlling gingival inflammation. Plus it helps whiten your teeth naturally.
-Clove oil is good for toothache pain, its the eugenol(an ingredient within clove oil) that provides relief.
-Eugenol is natural anesthetic and antibacterial, and it works well at reducing inflammation in the mouth.
Take 1/4 teaspoon of tumeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil, 2 drops of essential clove oil, & a pinch of sea salt.
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Then, apply the paste on a toothbrush and brush your teeth with it. Let the paste stay on your teeth for at least 2 minutes to work, then brush your teeth(w/natural toothpaste), and rinse with water.
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