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Spirulina Detox

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Healthy living tips often recommend a detox to eliminate toxins and metals from the body. Without healthy habits such as detoxifying regularly, the liver can become overloading with toxic substances that are filtered from the bloodstream. One of the main metals that find its way into our bloodstream is aluminum, and one of the best ways to cleanse the body of toxic metals is with spirulina.

Healthy living tips suggests ways to counter toxic metals such as aluminum.

The Dangers of Aluminum

Studies show that toxic metals in our environment cause oxidative stress which has been connected to degenerative brains disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. One of the most common culprits is aluminum, which at high levels has been found to cause diseases of the lungs, brain, bone, kidneys and nervous system. It has also been linked to birth defects, which is why many people adopt healthy habits such as a regular detox in their life.

Unfortunately, aluminum is everywhere – in antacids, buffered aspirin, antiperspirants, food additives, dental fillings and fireworks. Coal-fired power plants release traces of aluminum into the atmosphere and it is used in roofing, sidings and airplanes, so no amount of healthy habits can help us avoid some trace contamination.

Related: Sweat Too Much?  Four Ways to Stop Excessive Sweating

Most kitchens have utensils, cooking trays and rolls of aluminum foil. Food and beverage cans also contain this lightweight metal and aluminum is added to certain processed foods including baking powder, flour and anticaking agents. Aluminum salt is added to drinking water to remove suspended impurities in some areas so there is no escaping ingesting or coming into contact with this potentially hazardous metal. In fact, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry estimates that the average adult eats about 7-9 mg of aluminum without realizing it every day!

Healthy Living Tips include Regular Spirulina Detox

Spirulina is a simple micro-algae organism that is revered as a superfood by many societies. It is an effective chelating agent, which means it is able to remove harmful metals and toxins such as mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum and radioactive substances from the body.

A study looked at the protective role of spirulina, a blue-green algae, on mice treated for seven days with aluminum. The scientists measured the hemoglobin of the mice to measure their recovery over the following 90 days when treated with a spirulina supplement. The study showed that spirulina alleviated the toxicity of aluminum during exposure as well as enabling a better recovery afterwards.

This suggests that healthy living tips such as taking spirulina supplements can be a powerful detox which reduces the harmful effects of aluminum exposure, and possibly counters other toxic metals in our environment.

 

 

 

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Best Diet for Stress Relief – Best Foods For Stress

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Sometimes the simplest and oldest ideas for dealing with stress management can also be the most effective. We hear a great deal about superfoods and innovative stress-busting techniques, but when it comes down to an effective diet for stress relief, there are three food staples you need.

Eating these foods can significantly help stress management

Here’s are the best foods for stress:

Whole Grains Aid Stress Management

People who start the day with a bowl of whole grain cereal have lower cortisol levels, according to research. We know that highly refined, processed and fatty foods increase anxiety and mood swings, but whole grains can counter those feelings by providing steady energy levels, high spirits and calm nerves. These benefits come from a variety of sources found in whole grain foods including B vitamins.

Vitamin B is known to have mood-lifting properties which are part of any stress management process. A three-month trial at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia confirmed that a diet high in B vitamins significantly lowers stress levels. Professor Con Stough reported that B vitamins found in whole grains are “integral to the synthesis of neurotransmitters critical to psychological well-being."

Good sources of B-vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid are:

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Durum wheat
  • Wild rice
  • Barley
  • Wheat
  • Buckwheat
  • Millett
  • Oats

Fruit and Vegetables Lower Stress Hormones

Loading your plate with fruit and vegetables at every meal helps neutralize free radicals that are known to be stress-related. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale contain folate which produces dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter that is responsible for reward-motivated behavior and feelings of happiness. A study on 2,800 seniors found that those who consumed more folate had a significantly lower risk of depression.

Related:  Tasty, Versatile Kale is an Antioxidant Powerhouse

A similar study by the University of Otago in New Zealand found that students who ate more fruit and vegetables were calmer, happier and less stressed than their counterparts. They also found that healthy eating predicted a positive mood the following day.

More specific fruit and vegetables to support stress management include blueberries. High in antioxidants and phytonutrients they also promote killer white blood cells in the body that counter stress.

De-stress with Omega-3 Fish Oil

Good old omega-3 fish oils once again come to the rescue when it comes to stress management. The fatty acids found in salmon and other oily foods contain anti-inflammatory properties. According to Lisa Cimperman from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, omega-3 counteracts the anxiety hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

To put the theory to the test, a study on medical students from Oregon State University found that taking omega-3 fish oil supplements lowered anxiety levels by 20%, compared to the control group who took a placebo.

As one 3-ounce serving of cooked wild salmon contains around 2,000 mg of omega-3, it’s easy to follow the American Heart Association recommendation of two servings per week for a healthy heart and sensible stress management.   For consistent daily support, consider omega-3 supplements too.

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Why Spinach May Be the Ultimate Way to Naturally Boost Energy

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Popeye was on to something.  You may not suddenly develop over-the top bulging biceps like he did, but spinach is an effective way to boost energy naturally.  It’s loaded with so many good things, if it’s not on your menu regularly, it should be! 

History of a Superfood

Spinach originated in central and southwestern Asia.  Though it typically did not grow well in hot climates, Arab ingenuity using sophisticated irrigation techniques in the eight century AD enabled it to be successfully cultivated throughout the Mediterranean.  It quickly spread across the globe with mention of it in the 12th century, dubbed “the captain of leafy greens” by the Arab agronomist Ibn al-‘Awwam. It is listed as an ingredient in dishes prepared in the 13th century, as part of vegetable gardens in the 15th century, 17th century, and it remains a hearty vegetable used in dishes around the world.  The French call spinach the broom of the stomach.

The Many Health Benefits of Spinach

Those bright, vibrant green leaves pack a powerful nutritional punch and are renowned for their ability to boost energy naturally.  They are loaded with nutrients like:

  • Vitamin C, K, B12, B1 B2, B6
  • Manganese
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Phytonutrients like beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin
  • Glycoglycerolipids – a compound found to help protect the lining of the digestive tract from inflammation damage

A common cause of low energy is iron deficiency; spinach a good dietary staple as a plant-based source of this important nutrient, which is critical to the production of abundant healthy red blood cells. The vitamin K is important for good bone health and lutein helps in maintaining eye health. Spinach also provides lots of antioxidants to hasten cell repair and is a healthy source of fiber.

Related:  Five Green Veggies You Need to Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet

Many Ways to Enjoy Spinach

You can get spinach canned (Popeye’s preference but the least appetizing), frozen and fresh.  Fresh raw spinach is best, and use organic whenever possible. Choose the bunch with dark green, firm leaves with the stems till attached. Avoid any with a mushy texture or with brown or yellow spots on the leaves. Baby spinach has more tender leaves and a more delicate taste.

Store unwashed spinach in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until you plan to use it, keeping in mind it starts to lose nutrients after four days.  Wash it thoroughly and remove the stems (optional unless you are adding it to a smoothie) and let it drain before eating it raw or cooking it.

You can add spinach to any number of dishes whether they are baked, sautéed or boiled. It’s also a great addition to smoothies, adding nutrients, giving them a lovely color but with a mild taste that combines well with fruit, yogurt and whatever else you blend with it. You’ll boost energy naturally and enjoy a tasty snack in the process.

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When Shopping for Ultra-Healthy Fruits, Think "RED"

by Institute for Vibrant Living

While some people think nutritious eating means cutting back on taste, nothing could be further from the truth.  A daily diet can be both healthy and delicious with the addition of red fruit.  A few red fruits in particular offer so many nutritious benefits they have been labelled as "superfood" among health and fitness aficionados.

When shopping for the healthiest fruit, try raspberries, cherries, cranberries or strawberries.

Cranberries

Cranberries offer much more than a relish for Thanksgiving turkey.  Research shows these small, tart berries help support a healthy urinary tract by ridding it of harmful bacteria like E. coli and H pylori.  Cranberries are a rich source of vitamin C, anthocyanins, catechins, ellagic acid and quercetin, compounds that may help protect the body from inflammation, premature aging and certain types of cancer.  To avoid unnecessary sugar, look for dried or canned cranberries sweetened with apple juice or purchase an all-natural cranberry juice blend for a refreshing beverage.

Related:  Super Berries for Super Memory Enhancement for Older Adults

Raspberries

Raspberries make a good snack or after-dinner dessert for people with diabetes because they don't cause spikes in blood glucose levels like sweeter types of fruit.  These juicy berries are high in vitamins A, C, and E as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds that promote good eye health.

Strawberries

Rich in folate, strawberries make a great fruit for pregnant women.  Consumption of folate helps reduce chances for neural tube birth defects in newborn babies.  In addition to providing high amounts of vitamins C and K, iodine, magnesium and potassium, strawberries contain manganese, a mineral important for regulating blood sugar, metabolism and thyroid function.

Tart Cherries

While all cherries are nutritious, tart cherries offer superfood benefits.  They contain a rich supply of anthocyanins that can help reduce pain and inflammation in the body.  In fact, studies shows that tart cherries have proven to be more effective than aspirin at relieving these symptoms.  Tart cherries also contain melatonin, a compound that helps improve sleep.  According to research, drinking concentrated Montmorency tart cherry juice can increase the duration and quality of sleep.

People don't have to sacrifice taste to follow a healthy diet.  Delicious and refreshing red fruits offer a burst of flavor and powerful nutrition.  Add cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and tart cherries to your shopping cart for significant health benefits.

 

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The Three P’s of Powerful Superfoods

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When it comes to a wholesome diet, certain foods offer more health benefits than others. Dubbed "superfoods" by marketers and health enthusiasts, many contain compounds that reduce risks for certain types of disease, prevent inflammation, improve digestion, increase energy, or all of the above.  People looking for superfoods combining sweet flavor with powerful nutrition should add three fruits that start with the letter "P" to the grocery cart.

The Three P’s of Powerful Superfoods

1. Pineapple

Sweet, juicy pineapple is a fruit containing many health benefits.  It is a rich source of the enzyme bromelain, a multi-tasking compound that acts as a digestive aid by helping to break down proteins.  Bromelain's blood and mucus thinning properties encourage a healthier circulatory system and help relieve asthma symptoms.  Research shows that bromelain also helps with indigestion, and reduces inflammation, so it is often recommended to arthritis sufferers and to people who have just had surgery.  Pineapple also contains rich sources of fiber, vitamins B1 and C, beta-carotene and the minerals copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

RelatedEase Chronic Constipation with Two Tropical Fruits

2. Papaya

Named the "fruit of the angels" by Christopher Columbus, papaya offers a number of powerful health benefits.  It contains an enzyme called papain which also helps in the digestion of protein and helps prevent or reduce inflammation.  Papaya is also a rich source of nutrients with antioxidant properties like vitamins A and C, B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid.

The Three P’s of Powerful Superfoods

The leaves of the papaya plant have shown remarkable effects against cancerous tumors in the laboratory including those of the breast, cervix, liver, lung and pancreas. Dr. Nam Dang from the University of Florida and his research team treated 10 different types of cancer cell cultures with varying strengths of papaya leaf extract, and within 24 hours, tumor growth slowed in all cultures.

3. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C as well as calcium and phosphorus. They also contain unique polyphenols and fatty acids that offer amazing health benefits. 

Many people label certain fruits "superfoods" due to an abundance of beneficial nutrients.

Research from the University of California found that consumption of pomegranate juice might help prevent metastasis (or spread of cancer cells to other areas of the body).  Pomegranate juice also appears to block the development of aromatase, an estrogen-producing enzyme that encourages the spread of breast cancer.

People looking for superfoods can't go wrong when they turn to the letter "P."  Pineapple, pomegranates and papaya offer an abundance of powerful nutrients and disease fighting properties.  They are delicious when eaten individually, included in a smoothie, or mixed together in a tropical fruit salad. 

 

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Green Superfoods You Should Be Eating

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Want to make your daily diet as nutritious as possible?  Try incorporating a few green superfoods into breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Asparagus, barley grass, kale and spirulina help keep bodies in tip-top health due to an abundance of vitamins, minerals and other disease-fighting ingredients. 

Green superfoods like asparagus are packed full of healthy nutrients.

1. Asparagus

People looking for tasty green superfoods should start at the beginning of the alphabet with asparagus.  It contains important nutrients like beta-carotene, folate, iron, manganese, selenium, and vitamins A, B6 and C.  Asparagus is also a rich source of glutathione, an antioxidant that helps flush toxins and free radicals from the body.  High in fiber but low in calories, asparagus makes a great food for weight loss.

2. Barley grass

The soft green shoots of the barley plant offer a host of health benefits.  With more calcium than dairy milk, more iron than spinach, and more vitamin C than orange juice, barley grass rates high on the list for healthful green superfoods.  Nutrients in barley grass include beta-carotene, chlorophyll, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, zinc, iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E and K.  Barley grass helps neutralize heavy metals in the bloodstream, stimulates friendly bacteria in the gut, and helps maintain pH balance in the body.

3. Kale

With only 36 calories per cup and high in fiber, kale makes sense for weight loss.  In addition to containing carotenoids, flavonoids, calcium, copper, manganese, and vitamins A, C and K, kale contains isothiocyanates, chemicals that help prevent cancer by removing potential carcinogens from the body and triggering the production of tumor-suppressing proteins.

Related:  Kale and Spinach Help Prevent Vision Problems

4. Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is cultivated worldwide and used as both a dietary supplement and a food.  Valuable nutrients in spirulina include amino acids, beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, zinc, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).

Research shows that spirulina can help curb cravings and maintain blood sugar levels, making it a good food for people with diabetes.  Test tube and animal studies indicate spirulina may have allergy-fighting and immune-boosting properties as well as antiviral compounds that help fight herpes, influenza and HIV.  Further studies are needed to determine if these results transfer to humans.

People looking for a little extra nutrition can never go wrong with green superfoods.  Adding asparagus, barley grass, kale and spirulina to the grocery cart ensures a bevy of beneficial nutrients.  Asparagus and kale taste delicious sautéed with a little olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and pepper, and barley grass and spirulina add a powerful nutritional punch to fruity or green smoothies.

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Kale: The King of Green Superfoods

by Institute for Vibrant Living

A trend toward health and fitness is on the upswing across the United States, which may explain the rising popularity of kale. A member of the family of cruciferous vegetables, kale offers a number of powerful benefits to the health. One cup of kale contains just 36 calories, zero fat, three grams of protein, and five grams of fiber, making it a go-to veggie for people hoping to lose a few pounds. Kale is chock full of nutrients including folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin. In other words, it is a green superfood worth adding to your grocery cart.

Kale is a green superfood loaded with powerful nutrients.

Eyes, Skin, Hair and Bones

In addition to containing the many nutrients mentioned above, kale is a rich source of beta-carotene, a nutrient that the body converts to vitamin A as needed. Vitamin A is important to the health of body tissues, eyes, and reproductive organs, and it plays a part in the manufacture of sebum, the oil that keeps skin and hair soft and healthy. The vitamin C found in kale helps build and sustain collagen, the protein responsible for the structure of hair, skin, and bones. The calcium in kale helps maintain strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Heart Health

Because of its rich source of potassium, kale may help promote heart health. One study found that subjects who consumed 4069 mg of potassium daily were 49 percent less likely to die from ischemic heart disease than subjects who consume potassium in an amount of 1000 mg or less per day.

Related:  Kale and Spinach Help Prevent Vision Problems

Inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been shown to contribute to an array of diseases. Providing the body with 10 percent of the recommended daily requirement for omega-3 fatty acids, kale helps reduce inflammation in the body.

Types of Kale

Kale comes in a variety of colors and textures. Popular types of the green superfood include curly kale, lacinato (or dinosaur) kale and red Russian kale. As the name suggests, curly kale features curly edges and it ranges from light green to purple in color. Dinosaur kale has longer spear-like leaves and a dark blue-green color, and red Russian kale features large flat leaves with a shape similar to arugula and a reddish color.

Kale Preparation

Kale tastes delicious prepared hot or cold.  Sautee this green superfood with mushrooms, onions and garlic for a delicious side dish or try it raw in a green salad.  Removing the stems from kale helps eliminate bitter flavor when cooking or serving raw.

Kale Precautions

For most people, kale makes a beneficial addition to a dietary plan.  However, the vitamin K in kale can interfere with anticoagulant medicines, so people taking them should consult with their doctor before consuming kale.  Beta-blockers can raise potassium levels in the blood so people taking these may want to limit their consumption of kale due to the potassium it contains. 

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Plant-Based Is the Way to Go

by IVL Products

More and more research is showing that eating a primarily plant-based diet is crucial for good health. This is particularly apt for preserving brain health, reducing your cancer risk and preventing diabetes and heart disease.

The power of a plant-based diet proves to provide nutrients for both great health and disease prevention.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013, researchers found, “Whole grains and nuts and legumes were positively associated with higher cognitive functions and may be core neuroprotective foods common to various healthy plant-centered diets around the globe.”

A November 2002 study found that a vegetarian diet confers some protection against developing cancer. Specifically, the researchers found that a vegetarian diet decreased the risk of developing a gastrointestinal cancer by 24 percent. Further analysis showed that a vegan diet was associated with a 16 percent decrease in overall risk of cancer in men and women combined, and a 34 percent decrease in the risk of female-specific cancers. The researchers also found that lacto-ovo vegetarians had a 25 percent decreased risk of developing a gastrointestinal tract cancer.

Related:  Wheatgrass:  Why They Call it a Superfood

Finally, a study published in October 2013 indicates that a low-fat, plant-based diet impacts cardiovascular risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. The investigators concluded, “When people move toward a low-fat, plant-based diet, HDL levels decrease while other indicators of cardiovascular risk improve.”

So in the interest of good health, try to consume more plants-based foods more frequently.  Aim for five to six servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits per day, as well as good fiber sources like flaxseed.

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The Six Best Brain Foods

by IVL Products

Is it possible that some foods are better for your brain than others? Are some foods truly “brain foods?” The simple answer is yes, but the topic of brain health and nutrition is much more complicated than simply selecting the right foods. 

Those looking to gain the mental edge will want to try brain foods such as Wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and nuts and seeds packed with omega-3 fatty acids.

In order to have a truly healthy brain, it is also necessary to avoid foods such as trans fats and reduce process food intake as much as possible. Processed foods contain brain and DNA damaging compounds such as artificial colors, preservatives, pesticides, sugar, artificial sweeteners and more. Avoiding harmful foods is the foundation of good brain health and good overall health. Let’s take a look at six amazing brain foods!

#1:  Wild Alaskan Salmon

Generally, what is good for the heart is also viewed as being a healthy choice for the brain. One of the healthiest brain and heart healthy options out there comes in the form of wild Alaskan salmon. The reason is that wild Alaskan salmon is packed with brain health boosting omega-3 fatty acids. It is vitally important to remember that the brain consists of fat and it needs the right kinds of fat to be healthy.

When selecting salmon, only opt for wild salmon and preferably wild Alaskan salmon, as it is generally seen as being the healthiest option. You should completely avoid farmed raised salmon, as farm raised salmon typically contains elevated levels of harmful chemicals.

Related20 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

#2:  Sardines

Our second pick is also another fish. Sardines are true natural wonders. These small fish are low on the food chain and that means they bio-accumulate less heavy metals than larger fish such as salmon. Additionally, like salmon, sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines are also low in calories and high in minerals such as calcium. In short, sardines are a true standout and one of the world’s top brain foods.

#3: Purified Fish Oil

Yes, our third brain booster is another fish product. Fish oil can be very high in important brain boosting compounds such as DHA and EPA; however, you should only consume fish oil that has been purified. Un-purified cod liver oil for example can harbor high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. In short, un-purified fish oil should be avoided. Purified wild salmon oil and sardine and anchovy oil is an excellent pick.

#4:  Walnuts

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, don’t worry, as there are plenty of good brain boosting foods for you as well. At the very top of the list are walnuts. Walnuts are an excellent source of protein but that is only the beginning. Walnuts are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

#5:  Nuts and Seeds

In addition to walnuts, all nuts and seeds have brain-boosting benefits. Nuts and seeds are high in vitamins and minerals, as well as compounds that boost overall brain health. Just remember that all most nuts and seeds, while packed with goodness are also packed with calories.

#6:  Blueberries

The fact that blueberries make the list often surprises many, but the simple blueberry is quite the winner. Blueberries work wonders for improving brain health and reducing oxidative stress. Studies have shown that blueberries are something of a superfood when it comes to protecting the brain. Don’t skip blueberries.

Besides, blueberries are super easy to add to any diet. A handful can quickly and easily be tossed into one’s morning cereal, oatmeal, shakes, smoothies and more.

Together these five brain boosters can help you guard your brain health and maybe even improve brain function. Our aging population is becoming increasingly concerned about neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s diseases. Luckily, nature has some great options for helping us protect brain health now and in the future.

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20 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul

by Health News

If you lead a busy and stressful life, maintaining a holistic approach to a healthy body can be overlooked. We offer 20 easy self-care tips that you can do quickly and frequently to ensure your body, mind and spirit remain in first class health.

Holistic self-care includes the body, mind and soul

1. Go cloud watching

There’s nothing more relaxing than lying on the grass watching the sky. It’s the perfect way to relax and empty your mind.

2. Play

Dedicate 5 minutes every now and then to play. Blow bubbles, work at a hoola hoop, leave a song on someone’s email. Anything that makes you smile is a top self-care activity.

3. Do something creative

Play with clay or cookie dough. Roll out worms, make an animal or cut out stars with a cookie cutter.

4. Be impetuous

If it’s 11pm and you feel like a pizza, or 5 a.m. and have the crazy urge to walk on the beach, just do it. It feels good, and life will still be there when you get back.

5. Learn a new trick

Try something new or learn a new skill. Now’s the time to learn to dive, do a cartwheel, learn a few words of a different language or master juggling balls.

6. Yard work

Physical exercise is always good for your self-care. Rake leaves, mow the lawn or plant a tub with herbs or seasonal flowers.

7. Make music

Express yourself as part of your new self-help therapy by playing along to music with a makeshift bongo drum or kazoo. It doesn’t need to be melodic – no-one else is listening!

RELATED:  5 Simple Tips to Naturally Improve Brain Health

8. Declutter

Clear out a drawer, a desk or a whole room. You’ll feel so much lighter as you carry old paperwork and junk to the trash.

9. Superfoods

Research superfoods such as Goji berries—high in antioxidants—and add some to your diet.

10. Word games

Play scrabble with a friend or online. It’s a great mind exercise as you search for new words, providing mental self-care.

11. Start a jigsaw

Have a jigsaw laid out somewhere in your home and add a few pieces every time you walk by.

12. Learn lyrics

Download and learn the lyrics to one of your favorite or most meaningful songs. Then sing it!

13. Meditate

Learning breathing techniques and meditation can be an excellent example of self-care. Yoga classes or meditation CDs can de-stress the mind, relax the body and feed the soul.

14. Fix something

If something needs attention, fixing it is one thing less on your to-do list and provides a sense of achievement, however small the task. Take a screwdriver to that loose handle or doorknob, stick down that curling wallpaper or glue that broken china.

15. Pampering

Take time to soak in a bubbly bath. Dim the lights, close your eyes and feel that healing wrap-around warmth.

16. Star gazing

After dark, take time to look at the night sky. Star gazing is a good way to put problems into perspective.

17. Switch hands

Try using your less dominant hand for simple tasks to stimulate the brain.

18. Eat healthily

You are what you eat. Enjoying a healthy diet with fresh fruit, vegetables and grains should be a vital part of your new self-care routine.

19. Appreciate

Say thank you to someone. A Million Thanks is a campaign to thank serving military personnel for their service.

20. Change direction

Take a new route to work, the grocery store or Post Office. It’s a common self-care practice to exercise the brain.

There are so many ways to provide self-care for your mind, body and inner soul. Practice them all and benefit from every new experience for a healthier happier you!

Everyone Ages. Learn How to Do It Better. Free Resource Guide.

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Three Best Ways to Lose Weight Naturally

by Health News

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 62% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.  Consequently, over 100 million Americans are currently on diets, and revenue brought in by the U. S. weight loss industry tops $20 billion.  People continue to the hunt for a magic pill or potion for shedding extra pounds, but a few ingredients found in any grocery store offer some of the best ways to lose weight naturally.

Simply adding fiber to the diet makes one of the easiest and best ways to lose weight.

Probiotics

A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition showed encouraging results for women looking to lose weight.  Researchers asked 125 overweight men and women to follow a 12-week diet plan and an additional 12 weeks of maintenance.  Half of the participants also took daily probiotic supplements, and the other half took a placebo.

Results showed that women subjects who took probiotics lost almost twice as much weight as women who took a placebo.  During the maintenance period, women taking probiotics continued to lose weight, while women taking the placebo plateaued.  Surprisingly, the probiotics had no effect on the weight of the male subjects.

Fiber

A long-term study from the University of Massachusetts shows that simply adding fiber to the diet makes one of the easiest and best ways to lose weight.  Researchers asked 240 overweight people with metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol) to go on the American Heart Association (AHA) diet or to add at least 30 grams of fiber to their regular daily diet in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

After one year, both groups lost similar amounts of weight, and the people in the fiber group showed similar reductions in blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels as the people in the AHA group.  This study shows that making one easy change (adding fiber to the diet) works as well as a strict eating plan for promoting weight loss and better overall health.

Related:  Green Tea: A- Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

Green Tea

A number of studies show the fat and weight-reducing effects of green tea, especially when combined with exercise.  A study on mice at Penn State University showed that those who consumed decaffeinated green tea and exercised regularly showed significant reductions in body weight and better overall health. 

A group of mice on a high-fat diet ingested green tea extract and engaged in regular exercise for 16 weeks.  Following the research period, these mice showed an average reduction in body mass of 27.1% and an average reduction in abdominal fat of 36.6%.  Additional health benefits included reductions in blood glucose, plasma insulin levels, and insulin resistance, all factors which relate to diabetic health.

With a growing number of overweight people, weight loss has become a multi-billion dollar industry.  While special vitamins and costly exercise equipment boast big results, sometimes the best ways to lose weight are simple and inexpensive.  Find probiotics, fiber, or green tea at any grocery store or your favorite natural supplements website. 

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The Healthy Aging Guide to Blue and Purple Superfoods

by IVL Products

When it comes to healthy aging, anthocyanins and antioxidants play a critical role in keeping your cells healthy and warding off cancer, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.  

Healthy aging with delicious blue and purple superfoods

Anthocyanins are a group of compounds in the flavonoid family (flavonoids, isoflavones, etc.) and are what give foods like grapes, red cabbage and berries a blue, red or purple hue.  They are thought to be powerful antioxidants that help damaged cells repair themselves.  They also appear to reduce arterial stiffness and lower blood pressure to help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

While researchers cannot pinpoint exactly how anthocyanins prevent cancer cells from reproducing, the fact that they do is reason enough to be eating blue and purple foods regularly.

Antioxidants are generous nutrients that give molecules missing an electron (known as free radicals) one of their own. This has the effect of neutralizing the cell-damaging molecules and keeping cells healthy.  Getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet helps reverse sun damage, dampen inflammation and contribute to healthy aging.

Put Out the Fire

Chronic inflammation due to environmental pollutants, an unhealthy diet of high fat, high carbohydrate junk foods and even daily life stressors can be a major cause of disease in this country.  Inflammation damages your heart, and makes you more susceptible to cardiovascular disease. In the brain, inflammation over a long period of time leads to cognitive decline like short-term memory loss and dementia. The compounds in purple and blue superfoods douse the flames like water by lowering levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, a common marker for acute inflammation, and allow the body to heal.  

Related:  Inflammation Testing--a Valuable Predictor of Cardiovascular Risk

The Ultimate List of Blue and Purple Superfoods

Lucky for us there are many rich sources of anthocyanins and antioxidants in a wide variety of blue and purple foods. Below is a list of the best ones to add to your meals for healthy aging:

  • Berries –blue, red, black or raspberries these sweet juicy little fruits are good and good for you. They are rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E as well as good sources of fiber and other nutrients.
  • Grapes – also of the berry family, the purple variety has been linked to living longer. This is thanks to a compound called resveratrol.  Sweet and juicy but very low calorie, eating grapes, nature’s candy, is a good way to slow down the aging process.
  • Plums- they are not as popular as berries and grapes, but they should be if you are interested in health aging. Plums have a long list of healthy compounds and nutrients including vitamins A, C, beta-carotene, potassium and iron.  They are also low in calories and high in fiber so put a few in your grocery cart.
  • Bilberry – these European cousins to the blueberry are known on this side of the pond as huckleberries. For decades they have been taken to improve eyesight, fight inflammation and lower blood pressure.  The potent flavonoids in them support cardiovascular health too.

Color Your World

It’s important to have a colorful diet for healthy aging to lower your risk of many age related diseases like heart disease, arthritis, stroke, and cancer. Eating blue and purple superfoods is one easy way to brighten up your diet and keep you feeling healthy.

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The Dummy’s Guide to Super Foods that are Indigestion Remedies

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Most uncomfortable, unmentionable, stomach and gastrointestinal issues that have you searching for indigestion remedies can be helped by eating a diet of superfoods. These foods are nutrient-dense, filled with vitamins and minerals, and in your neighborhood grocery stores and farmer’s markets.

The world around us consists of fast food menus, vending machine fare, and highly processed diet disasters full of fat, sugar, preservatives.  Yet, the term “superfoods” often conjures up images of acai berries and sardines. What is an acai berry anyway? Sardines every day? No way!

If you are looking for indigestion remedies that are easy and natural, you most likely won’t find them in the corner convenience store, but in abundance throughout your local grocery store.  Many easy to find, delicious and common household food items can ease your tummy troubles and help you be healthier all around.

The Super 7

  1. Berries – blue, straw, black, and raspberries are nature’s candy. These sweet and simple fruits are full of antioxidants that will seek and destroy cell-damaging toxins from preservative-laden fast food meals.  Berries are also packed with fiber to keep your digestive tract humming along to reduce gas and bloating. They are also a great way to increase your fluid intake everyday, which is critical for keeping the GI tract functioning properly.
  2. Oranges – with almost a day’s RDA of vitamin C and antioxidants, these sweet juicy orbs are a must for every healthy diet. Skip the sugar-laden juices and slice up the entire fruit for a delicious snack with lots of fiber and folate.
  3. Broccoli – it’s just good for you! The green spears are full of healthy compounds that fight aging; and fiber that keeps you feeling full and regular. It also has a unique compound called sulforaphane, which stimulates detoxifying enzymes that may ward off cancer.
  4. Beets – these dark purple beauties not only liven up the looks of many dishes, they are mmm, mmm good for you!  The potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C make them “un-beetable” when it comes to keeping a healthy belly.  Beets also boast a good amount of fiber and are a plant source of iron for the vegan and vegetarians in your family.
  5. Spinach – Popeye knew it! Spinach makes you strong and healthy from the inside out. You can eat it raw or cooked in a variety of salads and dishes and the mild taste won’t sour your stomach. These dark green leaves offer vitamin B6, which helps the body metabolize fats and proteins and convert food into energy.  It also boasts a good-sized helping of iron and vitamin C to make it a super food all-star.
  6. Beans – another excellent source of plant-based iron, beans in all colors (kidney, black, pinto, navy) are good for the body. They are rich in soluble fiber to help keep you feeling satisfied longer so you eat less, and lower your cholesterol.
  7. Sweet potatoes –these bright orange potatoes are for more than a sugar-laden casserole at Thanksgiving. Bake them in the oven and top them with a touch of butter and cinnamon for a delicious side dish full of fiber, beta-carotene (aka vitamin A), vitamins B1, B2, and B6. Minerals like copper and manganese are also in the colorful flesh so roast one up today.

Related:  Alternative Protein Sources and Links to Fighting Heart Disease

Eat to Your Heart’s Content

If you are looking for indigestion remedies, the superfood seven is tops on your menu items. They are all mild on the GI tract, will help keep your metabolism humming along, and they are rich in vital nutrients. The best part about eating these superfoods as they are all low in fat, low in sugar, and a source of high quality carbs, so you can eat them every day, as much as you want!

To get the most health benefits eat the entire rainbow of colors these foods come in from red, purple, and black to orange and green. Your stomach and your entire body will thank you for it.

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

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Ten Quick Tips about Superfoods

by Health News

True, superfoods have certain traits that make them, well, super, like vital nutrients, no artificial anything, and are often indigestion remedies. 

1. Marketing Misinformation

According to the health website Medicine Net, “there is no accepted medical definition of a superfood.” It’s really just marketing term that is generally thought to mean that any food labeled super has significant health benefits like reducing one’s risk of certain diseases or improving one’s physical or emotional health.

The Food & Drug Administration does not recognize the term superfood, and across most of Europe the use of the term for food labeling is not allowed without hard scientific evidence to back up the claim. The Daily Beast devoted an article to the term saying that “no food should be labeled as a superfood in the first place.”

So are there really any superfoods? The answer is yes…and no.

2.  Definition of a Superfood

In order for a food to be eligible for superfood status, there are a few things it must be, or at least have:

  • Nutrient dense with several vitamins, minerals and compounds with known health benefits
  • Have absolutely nothing artificial in it. No extra sugar, spray on vitamins, no preservatives of any kind. 
  • The calories count, fat content and carbohydrate amounts are irrelevant because of the foods are so full of essential vitamins, minerals and compounds that the body needs to function properly

3. Nutrient Dense

A true superfood will have more than one healthy compound. Just having a bit of vitamin C is not enough to give a food super status.  Nutrient dense means it has at least three essential vitamins and or minerals along with fiber, or protein or a high quality carbohydrate.

4. Nothing Artificial

More than one or two ingredients on the packaging means step away from the fake food.  True superfoods do not have added anything.  If it is in a box or container, it should need to be refrigerated and have an expiration date within a few days like pomegranate seeds, or a superfood salad with several fruits and or vegetables already prepared in the deli food aisle of your local grocery store.

5. Carbs Calories Fat? Who Cares?

You should be able to eat a serving or two of any true superfood without having to take a photo of it for the calorie counter app on your phone. If your meal consists of true superfoods, you can eat hearty servings of it and will feel full and stay that way for longer than anything offered in a vending machine.

Related:  Are Sprouts Superfoods?

6. Gut Friendly

A true superfood is not going to cause you a lot of pain or discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract (GI). In fact, most superfoods are great healthy indigestion remedies when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.  They usually offer some kind of benefit to your gut by helping you absorb nutrients, keep your colon cleansed naturally and don’t cause cramping or excessive gas (some gas is normal, but a lot is not) and bloating.

7. Disease Fighting Properties

Superfoods originally got the term because of the compounds, vitamins and minerals they contained had some scientific research to back up their effectiveness against certain diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke, arthritis and many forms of cancer.  Antioxidants, phytochemicals, flavonoids, and carotenoids are common in many superfoods and they are all known to help stave off disease.

8.  Not Every Healthy Food Is a Superfood

Onions, apples and carrots are not called superfoods, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be eating them regularly. Many vegetables and fruits may have only one or two health boosting compounds but are good for you.  You shouldn’t avoid a certain fruit or vegetable, especially if you enjoy eating it, just because it’s not labeled as super.

9. Foods That Truly Earn the Title

So what are some true superfoods?  There are three foods that meet all the criteria for being a true superfood and they are not grown on some exotic island in the South Pacific, but readily available at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.

Blueberries – Chock full of anthocyanins, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals you can’t go wrong by tossing a few into your morning oatmeal, lunch salad or stirring them into some Greek yogurt for a snack. With only 80 calories in one cup, go ahead and have seconds. The natural sugar content will keep your energy up, the fiber will fill you up and the phytonutrients and antioxidants will help keep your cells healthy.

Spinach – Popeye was a smart guy. Spinach is truly a superfood loaded with protein, iron, antioxidants, beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin K with lots of hydrating water and filling fiber. It’s been shown in many research studies to have a positive impact on blood pressure, asthma symptoms, bone health and the GI tract.

Broccoli- Mom was right when she told you to eat your broccoli. Those little green spears of goodness have everything you want and nothing you don’t. They are a great source of vitamin C, K and A, fiber, and many other compounds that ward off cancer, help with allergies, acts as an indigestion remedy to keep your GI tract humming along normally and the list goes on and on. Eat some already!

10. The Truth about Superfoods

Always keep in mind that no official regulating body legally recognizes the term, superfood.  It’s a description to denote a food with many health benefits but low in calories, saturated fats and sugar carbohydrates. The honest truth is no one food is a miracle cure-all. But through superfoods, you can gain indigestion remedies and more. 

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The Many Ways Spirulina Benefits the Health

by Health News

With a shift toward health and wellness on the rise, many people are on the hunt for more nutritious foods.  It doesn't get much more nutritious than spirulina.  This blue-green algae is chock full of important nutrients.  Spirulina is sustainable and provides more nutrition per acre than any other type of food.  With 18 amino acids and 62 percent pure protein, it makes a good food choice for vegetarians and vegans.  Because the protein is 95 percent digestible, spirulina benefits people with gastrointestinal issues as well. 

Spirulina offers an abundance of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin B6, biotin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B12 and important minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, and phosphorus.  If that weren't enough, spirulina also delivers important enzymes, essential fatty acids, and carotenoids like beta carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein.  Packed with so many nutrients, it's not surprising this green superfood is often the subject of scientific research.

Allergy and Infection

By stopping the release of histamines, spirulina may offer a protective effect against allergy symptoms according to a number of preliminary test tube and animal studies.  Research in the laboratory also shows that spirulina boosts the production of antibodies that help ward off certain types of infection and chronic disease.  Studies continue to determine if spirulina helps prevent allergies and infection in people.  

Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

A study published in Lipids Health Digest showed that spirulina benefits cholesterol and blood pressure.  Without making any other changes to diet or lifestyle, 36 people consumed 4.5 grams of spirulina each day.  After six weeks, subjects showed lower readings for total cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and body fat. 

Related:  Workout Tips to Lower Blood Pressure

Oral Cancer

People who chew tobacco sometimes develop white or gray precancerous lesions called leukoplakia.  One placebo-controlled study examined the effects of spirulina on these lesions in 77 tobacco chewers.  After taking spirulina supplements for one year, 45 percent of the subjects showed total regression of leukoplakia.  Several animal studies have also indicated that intervention with spirulina results in tumor regression.

Eye Disease

Due to nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, many experts believe spirulina benefits could extend to eye health, especially if combined with astaxanthin, another eye health nutrient.  More research is needed to verify these beliefs. 

Conclusion

Due to a wide range of wholesome nutrients and many proven health benefits, more people than ever are making spirulina part of their dietary plan.  Powdered spirulina makes a popular ingredient in green smoothies, or people can purchase dried spirulina in tablet form.  Before beginning any supplementary regimen, it is wise to consult with a health care provider, especially if on prescribed medication.

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Discover How a Powdered Supplement Benefits the Health

by IVL Products

While many people strive to consume a healthy diet, it is nearly impossible to obtain adequate nutrients every day through eating.  Filling in nutritional gaps with quick and easy supplements helps.  According to research, a powdered supplement benefits the body over pills, tablets, and capsules by offering up to 95 percent absorption when blended into a liquid.  This is because nutrients in liquid form go straight to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive process.  When it comes to pills, tablets, and capsules, nutrient absorption rates fall to around 10 to 20 percent.  In addition to offering better nutrition, liquid nutrients are much easier to swallow.  Three types of powdered supplements in particular make popular choices for supplementary nutrition.  

A powdered supplement benefits the consumer with ease of use and high nutrient absorption

Green Superfood Powder

Green superfood powder creates a beverage packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients when mixed with water.  This powdered supplement benefits the body in many ways with a combination of healthful green ingredients like alfalfa, chlorella, spirulina, and wheat grass and many extras like fruits, vegetables, enzymes, and probiotics.

An animal-based study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that one green ingredient ─ alfalfa ─ offered protective effects for the livers of rats when given in tandem with a known liver irritant.  Animal studies have also shown that alfalfa lowers blood glucose levels in diabetic mice, and this is just one of many healthful ingredients available in green powdered supplements.

Related:  Studies Confirm Benefits of Maca for Women During Menopause

Maca

Originating in Peru, the maca plant offers a host of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and protein through its roots.  Research shows that supplementation with dried maca root powder may increase energy levels in healthy people and those living with various health issues.  In one study, researchers timed a group of healthy cyclists who completed a 40 km bike ride before taking maca and completed the same ride after taking maca for two weeks.  Results showed significant improvements in the completion times of the cyclists, which researchers attributed to increased energy levels.

Protein Powder

People who exercise regularly or who have trouble swallowing often appreciate protein powder that can be blended into a beverage.  Available in a wide array of flavors like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and banana, protein powder comes with varying levels of carbohydrates dependent upon what is needed by the user.  Different types of protein may include soy, rice, whey, or casein protein.

Conclusion

A powdered supplement benefits the body in many ways.  Whether people need the nutritional punch provided by a green supplement powder or the occasional energy lift offered by maca powder, supplementary beverages make a delicious and easy way to obtain valuable nutrients.  Supplement powders can be found at local whole foods and nutrition stores or conveniently ordered online through natural supplement websites. 

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Battle Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with Two Red Superfoods

by IVL Products

Modern life comes with jam-packed schedules, making people more tired than ever.  While occasional fatigue is normal, chronic fatigue is not, especially when severe.  If people experience debilitating physical and mental fatigue that lasts for more than six consecutive months, they may have chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS.  Additional symptoms associated with CFS include poor memory, headaches, sore throat, and pain in the muscles or joints.   

Watermelon contains an array of nutrients that may benefit people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Cause and Treatment

Experts have yet to identify a lone cause, but some think chronic fatigue syndrome may develop from a number of triggers including immune disorder, infection, stress, trauma, or toxins.  While there is no known cure for CFS, treatment involves a number of strategies including cognitive-behavioral therapy, moderate exercise, sleep management techniques, and good nutrition.  A wholesome diet may help prevent or relieve symptoms of CFS.  Two red fruits in particular offer many benefits.

Red Apples

Red apple skins are a rich source of the antioxidant, quercetin.  This potent flavonoid helps fight free radicals that can cause cell damage and disease, and it raises energy levels by enhancing the immune system and increasing the number of mitochondria in cells. 

Studies on trained athletes show that treatment with quercetin supplements can boost endurance.  Another study from the University of South Carolina at Columbia tested the endurance of somewhat-active college students on an exercise bicycle.  After taking 500 mg of quercetin twice a day for one week, cycling endurance improved as well as lung function in all students.  The lead author of this study indicated the results might be good news for people suffering from energy-draining conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome.

Related:  Magnesium Deficiency and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Watermelon

While tomatoes offer a rich source of lycopene, scientists at the South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory (SCARL) in Lane, Oklahoma have shown that watermelon offers even more.  This powerful antioxidant and others in watermelon help fight harmful free radicals that contribute to disease.  Nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin B1, magnesium, potassium, and L-citrulline found in watermelon also help people with CFS by boosting energy levels by as much as 23 percent.

Conclusion

A nutritious diet helps prevent a wide range of health problems.  Additional red superfoods that may help prevent or relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, and raspberries.  In addition to whole fruits and vegetables, people with CFS should add lean poultry, wild fatty fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to the shopping cart.  It helps to eliminate processed foods and sodas and drink plenty of pure, clean water.  People with CFS shouldn't smoke, and they should limit consumption of alcohol.   

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Why You Should Consider Yellow Superfoods

by Cindy Gray

When it comes to healthy aging, your favorite color should definitely be yellow! Many superfoods, fruits and healthy natural foods are yellow. Here are some yellow foods to consider including in your diet and some golden reasons why!

Yellow foods and fruits such as pineapples can help healthy aging

Bananas for Lowering Inflammation

Weightwatchers may have banished bananas from their diet, due to their slightly starchy texture containing slightly higher calories than an apple, pear or other fruits. However, bananas are a wonderful source of potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber and they help lower inflammation. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this low glycemic food has a score of minus 38 when it comes to measuring its inflammatory effect, and actually lowers existing inflammation in the body which may cause arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune disease. Start the day with a banana smoothie or slices of banana on cereal and get the benefits of healthy aging as soon as possible.

Eggs for Omega-3

Eggs, or egg yolks to be specific, can be an effective weapon against thyroid conditions, autoimmune disease and inflammation. Golden egg yolks are packed with essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, calcium, iron and many essential minerals. Egg yolks have a bad reputation when it comes to cholesterol content, but the body actually needs cholesterol in small amounts to maintain healthy cells, adrenals and sex hormones. Balance is the key when it comes to egg yolks; too little can be as damaging to healthy aging as too much.

RelatedHow Breakfast Can Naturally Boost Your Energy

Pineapple for Bromelain

The key enzyme in a juicy sweet pineapple is bromelain, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent for reducing swelling in sore throats, arthritis and gout. Bromelain also helps the body digest protein and research has now shown it to be effective at cancer prevention. A recent study by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research showed that bromelain had clear anti-inflammatory, anti-invasive and anti-metastic properties, reducing tumor size and quantity in mice. As a powerful weapon against cancer, bromelain could be deemed the ultimate aid to healthy aging.

Marigolds for Lutein

Marigolds are an edible plant, but they are more commonly grown for lutein extract and as a natural food colorant. Lutein is an important anti-oxidant found in leafy greens as well as egg yolks, yellow peppers and marigolds. The carotenoid lutein is particularly important for healthy eyes as it is found in the central macula of the retina. Studies show that a lutein deficiency can increase the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration by 57%.   

Now you know what health benefits are found in these yellow foods, add them to your diet as part of your healthy aging plan for a longer, healthier life. 

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The Modern Rules of Plant-Based Superfood Proteins

by Cindy Gray

Vegetarianism and veganism is a growing lifestyle choice, but obtaining a healthy amount of daily protein can be a challenge for many non-meat eaters. While plant-based protein powders can be the answer, but you don't have to be vegetarian to enjoy the benefits of these superfood energy drinks. 

plant-based protein powder

Good Sources of Vegetarian Protein

Protein is essential for repair and restoration of muscle tissue, bones, blood, hair and nails. It is also an important source of energy. The easiest sources of complete proteins are meat, fish and dairy products, but there are other sources available for non-carnivores to include in their diet.

Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, peas and kale contain some protein. Avocadoes are one of the highest protein providers with 10 grams of protein per fruit compared to 5 grams in a cup of broccoli or spinach. These greens are commonly used in plant-based protein powder products.

Legumes are even richer in protein with one cup of soybeans typically delivering 28 grams of protein. Lentils and refried beans provide about half that amount in a one-cup serving. Garbanzo beans, commonly used to make hummus; and pinto, black, or kidney beans are also high in protein.

Nuts and seeds can be a staple for vegetarians. One ounce of peanuts provides 6.5 grams protein while cashews, sesame seeds, walnuts and pistachios are also good sources. Butter and spreads made from peanuts, almonds, and cashews provide a steady supply of protein which can be supplemented with plant-based protein powders for a varied diet.

Related:  Why Amino Acids are Important

The Importance of Amino Acids

Protein is broken down in the digestive process into amino acids which have specific functions within the body. As well as being an important part in the body's metabolism, amino acids are the building blocks of tissue, muscle and other body parts.

28 Superfood Recipes for Everyday

The body can produce 10 of the 20 essential amino acids it needs, but the rest must be provided regularly from the diet. The body cannot store amino acids and if any one of the essential amino acids is unavailable, the muscles and tissue in the body can begin to decline.

Plants have the ability to make all of the amino acids, making plants an ideal source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. It also makes them an important ingredient within any plant-based protein powder.

Health Benefits of Plant-based Protein Powders

Many plant foods have a selection of the complete proteins the body needs, but they may be high in one of the essential amino acids and low in others. The best way to ensure you get a balance of all 20 amino acids is by eating a variety of vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to provide for the body's essential protein needs.

The easiest way to get the supply you need without having to shop for and prepare so many different foods is by enjoying one or two daily energy drinks made from plant-based protein powder. Easy to mix and drink at home, or on-the-go, these protein-rich sources of energy and vitamins are ideal for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike.

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How to Reduce Stress with L Theanine

by Cindy Gray

Learning how to reduce stress in your daily life can have many positive long-term health benefits.  Unlike our caveman ancestors who depended on stress hormones to energize them to escape a saber tooth tiger or thundering herd of mammoths, we rarely need to flee for our lives. Having ascended to the top of the food chain has helped us live longer, but the new stresses of daily life, work, family, traffic, and Wi-Fi are taking a harsh toll on us.

Luckily, through research we have learned that there is an easy way to help keep us calm and relaxed:  Sip a cup of green tea!

L-Theanine

Green tea has numerous health benefits; by drinking it, taking it in supplement form, or by using creams containing green tea are all great ways to improve your health. It’s full of antioxidants that help cells repair themselves and reverse the signs of aging.

Green tea contains another wonderful compound known as L-Theanine, an amino acid that is known to produce a sense of calm and relaxation without making you feel sleepy.  It is also responsible for aiding in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, one of the so-called, “feel good hormones.”  Those who have low serotonin levels often report feeling anxious, unable to cope with life’s daily stressors, and poor sleep habits.

Related:  Green Tea--A Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

While there is still a lot of research that must be done, it’s been observed in clinical studies that L-Theanine appears to boost alpha brain waves, leading to a feeling of relaxation, while staying and alert and calm.  Alpha waves are associated with sleep and relaxation, so drinking green tea with it can also help you feel less stressed out during the day and sleep better at night.

Being stressed out all day, day after day, is linked to poor sleep and outright insomnia. It’s also well documented that sleep deprivation is a major trigger for stress and anxiety, too. So if you’re seeking solutions for how to reduce stress, drink up!

Side Effects and Dosage

There are really no known side effects to consuming tea with L-Theanine. Possible side effects are headache, dizziness or gastrointestinal distress, but these are rarely associated with even the consumption of supplements with L-Theanine.

There are some chemotherapy and cholesterol lowering drugs that should not be combined with L-Theanine, so be safe and check with your doctor before taking any supplement to avoid possible drug interactions.

Getting enough L-Theanine to have positive effect on you is difficult through drinking green tea alone. So a supplement of 200 to 250 milligrams is a good idea for adults looking for ideas on how to reduce stress in their lives.