What Are The Benefits of Acai?

Acai is more popular than milk in South America, and is one of the top ten foods that can help you look and feel younger. But what exactly are the benefits of acai?

Although it just recently gained popularity in the United States, Acai has been around for centuries. Acai is purple berry native to the Amazon rainforest. Acai is found on large palm trees and grows in bunches similar to bananas.

What is so different about the Acai berry is that you don’t actually eat it as you would a blueberry. Instead, the berry is harvested and the pulp is extracted. The Acai berry had been used by Amazon tribes to treat everything from digestive problems to skin irritation.

So why should I use Acai?

Acai is powerful super fruit that contains more antioxidants than blueberries. These antioxidants have been proven through lab tests to stop free radical damage, which have been shown to lead to health conditions such heart disease and cancer. These free radicals also speed up the aging process by damaging our cells.

Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a great way to measure the total antioxidants in foods. Acai Energy Boost™ has an ORAC of 5,000. One serving of broccoli has just 700. Acai Energy Boost™ is also naturally low in sugar so it is safe for people with diabetes.

Sweetened with stevia leaf and under 12 calories a serving, Acai Energy Boost™ is a healthy alternative to typical sugar filled, high calorie energy drinks. Acai  Energy Boost™ contains real Acai pulp that you can see and taste when added to you water. This way you know the flavor is all natural from the fruit, not artificial!

With high levels of antioxidants, B vitamins, green tea, Yerba Maté, Guaraná and even antioxidant-rich dark chocolate extract, Acai Energy Boost™ will give you the energy and health benefits that last longer than the crash and burn of other energy drinks.

Sources:

1. Harpe, Juliet. (Oct 28, 2009). Acai Supplement Benefits. LIVESTRONG. Retrieved June 9, 2012 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/30198-acai-supplement-benefits/

 

7 Essential Nutrients and How They Benefit the Body

Our bodies are not self-sustaining; our various systems need each of the seven types of essential nutrients to keep functioning. These are substances that our bodies cannot manufacture, so we have to get them from outside sources.

Maintaining sufficient amounts of each is one of the keys to staying healthy. The food and water we consume contains these vital ingredients we need to keep our bodies going. Below are seven essential nutrients and their functions.

Water

Our bodies are mostly water, usually ranging from 50 to 75%, depending on age and sex. Water is absolutely essential to the healthy function of our bodies and has a long list of tasks it performs, from general cooling to transporting energy and nutrients.

Probiotics

The term “Probiotics” usually refers to a dietary supplement that contains friendly bacteria in amounts likely to remain viable in our digestive tract after we’ve swallowed the supplement. These beneficial micro-organisms, when in balance in our body, assist and support our digestive system. Diets high in sugar and refined foods and low in fresh vegetables and fruits, set the stage for an imbalance of intestinal flora. This equilibrium is disturbed most when we ingest antibiotics from a doctor or through foods such as eggs, chicken, beef or cows milk, that kill these beneficial bacteria strains. This loss of flora off causes an imbalance that can create digestive upset and bowel irregularity. Probiotics can me found naturally in cultured dairy foods such as yogurt and kefir and in supplement form.

Vitamins

Casimir Funk coined the word “vitamin” in 1912. He combined the words “vital” and “amine,” as in amino acid, because at that time it was thought that all vitamins were amino acids. Since then, research has discovered thirteen vitamins in two categories: fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C). Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored for a while in the body’s fat reserves, but water-soluble vitamins are readily lost with other body fluids and therefore must be replenished on a daily basis.

Minerals

Dietary minerals are essential chemical elements our bodies use to support the biochemical reactions of metabolism. They include calcium, chlorine, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc. Depending on your own diet, you can usually get enough of them in the food you eat, but sometimes supplements are helpful.

Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat

Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for our bodies and can be classed as either simple or complex. It’s better to eat complex carbohydrates because they release energy at a more even rate over a longer period of time, whereas simple carbs (like sugar) result in a quick burst of energy followed by a low blood sugar crash. Reducing sugar intake by replacing simple carbohydrates with complex can help steady your energy level throughout the day.

Proteins are special because they are made of long, complex molecules and are convenient for our bodies because they represent a kind of short-cut. Instead of spending our own energy to manufacture these complex molecular structures, we can simply eat and digest them to make use of them. Proteins are what our bodies use to build and maintain their tissues and essential structures like bones and muscles.

Fat stores energy for us until we need it and then releases it slowly. There was a time in human history when food wasn’t as readily available as it is today, and we had to be prepared to go from hunt to hunt and harvest to harvest without starving. In general, saturated fats come from animal sources, and overuse causes increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and high cholesterol. Unsaturated fats are derived from plant sources and some types of fish, and these can be helpful in preventing some kinds of heart disease and cancer, as well as reducing bad cholesterol.

Sources:

  1. Pick, Marcelle. (September 12, 2011). Digestion & GI Healthy. women to women. Retrieved June 1, 2012 from http://www.womentowomen.com/digestionandgihealth/probiotics.aspx
  2. Wiktionary. Vitamins. Retrieved June 1, 2012 from http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/vitamin
  3. Wikipedia. Dietary Mineral. Retireved June 1, 2012 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietary_mineral

7 Tips To Manage Stress

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Does just hearing the word “stress” make you want to start chewing on your pencil or reach for something sweet? April is Stress Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to learn some relaxation tips and unwind. Stress is a part of everyday life, but when you are able to manage stress, your health will improve. The goal is to work with your stress, rather than avoid it.

Here are 7 healthy tips to positively re-energizing your thoughts and manage stress.

1. Take a Hike
Tell stress to literally take a hike! Get outdoors and enjoy nature. Go on a hike, walk or go on a bike ride. Studies have shown being outside can help reduce stress. Plus, exercise releases endorphins are known to fight stress.

2. Learn to say no
Do you have a hard time saying “no” to every request? If so, all those “yeses” are going to escalate your stress. Learn how to say “no” when you need to without feeling guilty.

3. Meditate
Meditation is known to calm your mind and reduce stress. Learn to control your breathing by trying concentration meditation, which involves focusing your attention on just one thing. Concentration meditation can make you feel simultaneously relaxed, alert and also energized.

4. Identify your triggers
Find out what makes you tick. Positive events like a new job can be just as stressful as negative situations like financial difficulties. Once you know your triggers, you can start making strategies for dealing with them. Even if you can’t avoid the problem, you can find ways to reduce the stressful situation.

5. Maintain a strong social network
To help you through the stress of tough times, you’ll need a strong social support network made up of friends, family and peers. Talking about stressful situations with a friend or loved one and getting their input can be a valuable tool in stress management.

6. Prioritize

What is more important? Getting your taxes done on time or attending that big party? Make a list of all the things you have to do and rate them 1-10 on how important they are, 10’s being most important. Too many things on your plate at once cause easily avoidable stress.

7. Say no to sugar

When your body is under stress, the release of the stress hormone cortisol affects blood sugar. Your body then craves sugar to keep your energy up. It may be a quick fix, but in the long run, eating too much sugar can lead to depression, diabetes , weight and other illnesses.

Sources:

1. Mayo Health Clinic. Stress Management. Retrieved April 4th from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-management/MY00435/DSECTION=stress-relief
2. Roizman, Tracey. What Are The Causes Of Sugar Cravings? Livestrong.com. Retrieved April 8th from http://www.livestrong.com/article/96983-causes-sugar-cravings/
3. Borchard, Therese. 18 Ways to Manage Stress. Retrieved April 8th from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/06/23/18-ways-to-manage-stress/

Celebrate Heart Health Month All Year Around

Love is in not the only thing the air this month. February is Heart Health Awareness month, which means your number one valentine should be your heart! Pamper your heart not just heart health month, but all year round with these tips and tricks. Find out the best and the worst heart foods plus some lifestyle tips to keep your heart healthy. According to the CDC, over 600,000 people die each year from heart disease, making heart disease the leading cause of death in men and women. Making some simple lifestyle changes can keep your heart healthy and cut your risk for heart related illnesses.

 

5 Heart Health Tips:

1. Fatty fish is your friend

Omega-3’s are a heart’s best friend. Fatty fish, such as wild salmon, are full of heart pumping omega-3’s that will help boost your immune system, protect your arteries, reduce blood clots, lower blood pressure and prevent heart attacks. Can your box of Sweethearts do that?

2. Eat your beans

Beans are not only the “musical fruit” but the heart healthy legume. The fiber in beans is not only good for digestion, but may help lower cholesterol. Beans also contain heart healthy chemicals, including flavonoids, which may lower the risk of heart attacks by preventing the bonding of platelets in the blood.

3. Exercise

Make aerobic exercise part of your heart healthy routine. Aerobic exercise consists of running, swimming and even walking. It’s anything that gets your heart pumping. Aim for 30 minutes 5-7 times per week. According to active.com, sedentary people who begin a regular program of exercise reduce their risk of a heart attack by 35 to 55 percent! Before you begin an aerobic workout, make sure to warm up to not only get your body ready for exercise, but help your heart and muscles adjust from a resting state and gradually increase your heart rate. And don’t forget the cool down to help bring that heart rate down.

4. Sub the donut for steel cut oats

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why not make it heart healthy? Steel cut oats contain B vitamins that protect again blood clots and increase good cholesterol. They are also high in iron, which helps the heart transport oxygen to active muscles.

5. Another reason to love chocolate

Of course we had to choose chocolate as a heart healthy food! Chocolate may get a bad rep, but in moderation it actually offers heart benefits. Research has found that eating small amounts of dark chocolate, which is rich in flavanols, has a blood thinning effect which can benefit cardiovascular health. Flavanols also help preserve the function of blood vessels which lower the risk of high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes. So go ahead, enjoy those dark chocolate covered strawberries!

5 Heart Breakers

1. Being a couch potato

Staying active is key in maintaining heart health. Exercising can also help you maintain your weight, cutting your risk for obesity. About one in three Americans are obese. Being obese doubles the risk for coronary artery disease. Obesity also puts you at risk for diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension.

2. Say goodbye to fast food

Fast food is convenient, but deadly. Fast food is loaded with sodium and artery-clogging saturated fat. If you do eat out, try a salad and go light on the dressing.

3. Quit smoking

20-40% off all coronary artery disease deaths are related to smoking. Smoking doubles your chance of having a heart attack and is the leading cause of cardiac arrest. Even if you have been a smoker your whole like, within five to 10 years of quitting, your risk of heart attack decreases to a level similar to non smokers.

4. Skip the salt

If you are a salt lover, try using a flavored seasoning made mostly with herbs and spices. Cutting the salt can help lower your blood pressure to avoid hypertension. According to Active.com, every one-point reduction in diastolic blood pressure, there’s a 2 to 3 percent decline in the risk of heart attack. Try keeping your sodium intake under 2,400 milligrams per day.

5. Sugar isn’t so sweet after all

Drop the cookie- our bodies do not need all that sugar! Sugar has zero nutrients and can lead to obesity and Type-2 diabetes. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily calories allowance. That’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons for men. Switch to Stevia or another natural sweetener to reduce sugar calories. If you are really craving something sweet, have a piece of fruit.

It may be tough at first, but even slow and steady changes to your lifestyle and diet can help lengthen your lifespan.

Sources:

1.Rodriquez, Vanessa. 3 Foods Your Heart Will Love. Active.com. Retrieved January 24th, 2013 from http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/3-Foods-Your-Heart-Will-Love.htm.

2.Myers, Wyatt. (May 5th, 2012). 10 Heart Risks You Can’t Ignore at Any Age. Everyday Health. Retrieved January 25th, 2013 from http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/heart_healthy_diet_center/top_15_heart_healthy_foods

3.Connery, Rochelle. Your Healthy Heart Exercise Routine. Active.com.Retrieved January 24th from http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/Your-Healthy-Heart-Exercise-Routine.htm

4.Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Heart Disease Facts. Retrieved January 30th, 2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

5.University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter. 8 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease. Retrieved January 30th, 2013 from http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/8_Ways_to_Prevent_Heart_Disease.htm

6.American Heart Association. (June 11th, 2012). Sugars and Carbohydrates. Heart.org. Retrieved January 31st from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp

 

 

Bacteria Can Be Good For You- Probiotic Benefits

Who would have thought that taking billions and billions of bacteria would be so good for you? Probiotics, a “good” form of bacteria, are becoming increasingly popular in relieving systems ranging from occasional irregularity to even protecting the body from yeast infections.

What is a Probiotic?

The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro, meaning “promoting” and biotic, meaning “life.” Probiotics are live microorganisms, most are bacteria. Bacteria may not sound like something we would want in our bodies, but there are “good” and “bad” strains of bacteria. Our digestive system works to balance out good and bad bacteria in our bodies. Factors such as the environment, disease and even our diet can disrupt this balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria. Probiotics help regulate the balance.

Probiotic Benefits

Probiotics work to protect our bodies in many ways. One way is by balancing our digestive tract. According to medicinenet.com, stress, poor eating habits, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, drugs, and environmental influences can all shift our digestive balance in favor of bad bacteria. A healthy digestive tract filters out harmful substances such as toxins and chemicals and takes in nutrients our bodies need and deliver them to cells where they are needed. This balance can even help to protect the immune system.

Our bodies do use some “bad” bacteria, but problems arise when there are more bad bacteria than good. This imbalance can cause diarrhea, muscle pain, fatigue and even urinary tract infections.

What are the different probiotic strains?

Lactobacillus is a popular strain of probiotics with over 50 species. Studies have linked Lactobacillus to treating and/or preventing urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, yeast infections, respiratory infections and even skin disorders such as eczema and acne.

Another large probiotic strain is bifidobacteria. There are over 30 species of bifidobacteria. Bifidobacteria makes up about 90% of the healthy bacteria in the colon. Studies have shown that bifidobacteria can help with irritable bowel syndrome, dental cavities and even improve blood lipids and glucose tolerance. Bifidobacteria can also help repopulate normal flora of the intestines after taking antibiotics.

Healthy Belly® is a unique probiotic that can be added to anything! You can sprinkle on your cereal or yogurt or add it to your favorite beverage. It comes in a pouch and unlike many probiotics on the market, does not need to be refrigerated. Healthy Belly® is a convenient and delicious way to get over 20 billion healthy bacteria strains including:

Lactobacillus Plantarum

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus

Bifidobacterium Lactis

Lactobacillus Casei

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Healthy Belly® also has a good source of fiber for even more digestive balance. Use Healthy Belly® daily to give you a happy, healthy belly!

Sources:

1.Kovacs, Betty. Probiotics. Medicinenet.com. Retrieved October 12,2012 from http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm

2.Grey, Charis. What are Various Strains of Probiotics Good For? Livingstrong.com. (November 4, 2012). Retrieved October 12, 2012 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/296228-what-are-various-strains-of-probiotics-good-for/#ixzz22ygGy6Nj

 

What are Antioxidants and Why do I Need Them?

You’ve heard of them. You know they’re good for you. You may even know which foods contain them. But what are antioxidants and why are they so important?

We offers a brief guide to this crucial component of nutrition so that you can be better informed to make good healthy eating choices.

The Science

As your body breaks down food, a series of complex chemical reactions takes place, including what is called oxidation. As part of the oxidation process, free radicals are produced, which can start chain reactions that damage your body’s cells. Free radicals can also enter your body through environmental exposure to things such as tobacco smoke and radiation. Antioxidants are molecules capable of stopping free radicals from causing these chain reactions and protecting your body’s cells from the harm that comes from them.

Where to Look

There are many antioxidants capable of protecting your body from free radicals and many more places to find them. Some of the most commonly known are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These are all found in a variety of foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, but also in nuts, grains, and some meats, poultry, and fish.

Staying Healthy

Free radicals cannot be avoided completely; in fact, the oxidation reactions that your body produces as part of its natural processes are crucial for maintaining life. However, you can minimize your exposure to harmful environmental free radicals by not smoking and wearing sunscreen when you spend time outside. Including a variety of antioxidant rich foods as part of a well-balanced diet is the best way to protect your cells from unwanted exposure to free radicals.

Five Suprising Benefits of Folic Acid

Folic acid is widely known to help prevent birth defects, but it’s not just for pregnant women. Folic Acid, also known as folate or Vitamin B9, has multiple health benefits for women and men of all ages. Folic Acid is found in foods such as leafy greens, pastas, beans and more. According to Men’s Fitness, folic acid helps the body break down, create and use new proteins as well as form new blood cells and create new DNA.

Studies have shown that folic acid may help prevent heart disease, depression, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, type-2 diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.

Heart Health:

How does Folic Acid protect my heart? Folic acid pairs with Vitamin B12 as a coenzyme to help metabolism the amino acids methonine and homocysteine. Without folic acid, homocysteine levels can cause blood to clot more easily than normal and cause cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Studies have shown folic acid may lower homocysteine levels.

Natural Depression Remedy:

Folic acid supplements have been used to help treat depression and enhance antidepressant drugs. Studies have shown that people who are deficient in folic acid have less response to antidepressant medication. Folic acid is also believed to play a part in mood regulation.

Alzheimer’s Disease:

A recent study of 579 men and women ages 60 and up has shown that folic acid may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that participants who regularly consumed the recommended daily allowance of folic acid (400 mcg) through both food and supplements cut their risk of developing Alzheimer’s in half. Folic Acid also may play a key role in preventing overall memory loss associated with old age.

Diabetes Prevention:

Folic Acid may help with the breakdown of triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood that are used for energy. Type-2 diabetes is linked to high levels of triglycerides in the blood. A study by the European Journal of Endocrinology also found when looking at four different groups of women from different geographical locations, those with a BMI of 30 and above also had low levels of folic acid.

Cancer Benefits:

According to The American Cancer Society, low levels of folic acid in the blood have been linked with higher rates of colorectal cancer and some other types of cancer. A large study from 1980 to 1994 found that the women who took more than 400 mcg of folic acid per day were less likely to get colon cancer than those with those who took less than 200 mcg.

Folic acid is necessary to make and repair DNA when creating new cells. Scientists believe that low levels of folic acid may lead to changes in chemicals that affect DNA. This may alter how well cells can repair themselves or divide properly, which may lead to cancer.

Healthy To Go’s Smoothie Complete offers a unique way to get folic acid. Instead of a pill, Smoothie Complete offers an all in one way to get 21 vitamins and minerals, including 400 mcg (100% of your daily value) per scoop.

Sources:

1.Egan, Pamela. The Benefits of Folic Acid. Pamela Egan. Retrieved Nov 27, 2012 from http://www.pamelaegan.com/articles/folic-acid-benefits/

2.Freedman, Lisa. Are you getting enough of this B vitamin? Men’s Fitness. Retrieved Nov 28, 2012 from http://www.mensfitness.com/lisa-freedman/folic-acid

3.Folic Acid. The American Cancer Society. (May 7, 2011). Retrieved November 30, 2012 from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/folic-acid

4.Stoppler, Melissa M.D. The Benefits of Folic Acid for Women. MedicineNet.com. (Dec 6, 2007). Retrieved November 28, 2012 from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=41765

Holiday Weight Loss Guide

The holidays are right around the corner, which not only means it’s time to shop till you drop, but also eat till you pop! Our holiday weight loss guide has some tips that can help you keep off the holiday weight and resist temptation to eat that last piece (or three) of peppermint bark.

1. Eat small meals throughout the day

Studies have shown that eating five small meals throughout the day can help increase your metabolism and control your appetite. According to MayoClinic.com, eating more frequently also may also reduce your risk of obesity by decreasing the blood insulin response to long fasts, which actually increase fat storage and weight gain.

Make Smoothie Complete™ one of these meals by adding it to your favorite milk beverage for a protein packed mini meal.

2. Smaller portions

According to our friend The Healthy Voyager, serve your dinner on a smaller side plate, not a large dinner place. Our stomachs are roughly the size of our fists, not the size of a huge dinner plate. Fool your stomach into thinking you are using a large plate by filling up a small one.

3. More fruits, veggies and heart healthy fats

Fill up this holiday season with fresh fruits and veggies. Sweet potatoes and date plums are in season this winter. Mashed sweet potatoes with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg? Don’t mind if we do! Also in season, fiber filled chestnuts. No wonder there is a song about these holiday nuts.

Find out what else is in season by visiting Fruits and Veggies More Matters

4. Take the stairs

Who doesn’t just love the malls on holidays? Taking the stairs isn’t just a great way to burn extra calories, but you can avoid the crowds of people, and their bags, on the escalators and elevators!

5. Supplement your diet

Don’t forget about supplements that can help you stay on track. Trim Energy® has a good source of fiber than helps keep you full and control cravings. If you cheat on your diet, burn fat with Trim Energy® Green Coffee Bean Extract. Planning a big meal? Take a Neo-Carb Bloc® 30 minutes before a meal to help regulate the digestion of dietary starches found in many of our favorite carb-rich foods like potatoes and bread.

6. Gift wrap at the gym

This one may be a little extreme, but why not bring your gifts to the gym and wrap them on the bicycle? Ok, maybe just hop on the bike AFTER you wrap. Just don’t forget this important part of keeping your body and mind healthy this holiday season.

7. Skip the Full-Fat Nog

Yes, eggnog is delicious, but do you really need those extra calories from full-fat cartons of eggnog? How about make your own at home with our simple low fat recipe

Ingredients

•2 cups nonfat milk

•3 strips orange and/or lemon zest

•2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

•1 tsp vanilla extract

•1/3 cup sugar

•1 teaspoon whole wheat flour (or cornstarch)

•Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Directions

Combine 1 1/2 cups milk and the citrus zest in a medium saucepan or steam. Whisk the eggs, vanilla extract, egg yolk, sugar and flour in a medium bowl until blended together.

Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Place over medium heat and stir with a spoon in until the eggnog begins to thicken (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup milk to stop the cooking. Slowly pour the eggnog to a large bowl, and then chill until ready to serve.

Remove the zest. Garnish with nutmeg and enjoy!

8. Get an extra hour of sleep a night

With all the things you have to do this holiday season, getting extra sleep may be a stretch. But studies have shown that people burn between 50-86 calories an hour while sleeping. According to Live Strong, the exact amount depends on how much you weigh. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds you can burn 51 calories per hour while a 200 pound person will burn 86 calories per hour. And just when we thought sleeping in couldn’t get any better!

Happy Holidays from the Healthy To Go Team!

Sources

1.Scott-Hamilton, Carolyn (TheHealthyVoyager). (2012, 27 September). Healthy Bite Video Tip: Proper Portion Size Made Easy. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqgxnU56Exo

2.Gargulinski, Ryn. (2011, June). About Calories Burned During Eight Hours of Sleep. Live Strong. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/280877-about-calories-burned-during-eight-hours-of-sleep/#ixzz2CFN9UlVE

 

 

10 Signs You Are Gluten Intolerant

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It’s likely you have a friend or relative that has gone gluten free. Most people associate going gluten free with either celiac disease or a new diet craze, but that is not always the case. Contrary to some beliefs, most people who go off gluten are not looking to lose weight, but to improve their health.

Just because you don’t have celiac disease doesn’t mean you can’t be gluten intolerant. Studies have shown that 15% of people in the US are sensitive to gluten and may have an intolerance. This intolerance can lead to a variety of symptoms some people may just shrug off. In fact, 99% of people with a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease are never diagnosed.

Here are ten signs you may be gluten intolerant.

1. Digestive Symptoms

Digestive symptoms such as IBS, acid reflux, bloating, diarrhea or constipation.

2. Skin Issues

Gluten intolerance may lead to skin rashes such as eczema, keratosis pilaris (chicken skin) or dermatitis herpetiformis, an itchy rash with pimple-like bumps, or acne.

3. Inflammation

Inflammation, aching or swelling of joints such as knees, fingers or hips.

4. Mood Issues

Mood swings, depression, anxiety and even ADD can all be signs of a gluten intolerance.

5. Hormonal Imbalances

PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.

6. Autoimmune Diseases

You have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as Lupus, Psoriasis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or MS.

7. Neurological Symptoms

Feeling dizzy or off balance.

8. An “Off” Feeling

Feeling as though you’re constantly in a fog may be a sign your body cannot tolerate gluten. Although this could be related to a number of things, it may be worth considering gluten intolerance as a cause.

9. Pain

Migraines, headaches or joint pain or aches may be a reaction to gluten.

10. Fatigue

Always tired? If you can’t get to the bottom of your fatigue issues, it may be related to gluten intolerance. Especially so if you feel tired after eating something that contains gluten.

You don’t need to have all these symptoms to be gluten intolerant. If you have four or more symptoms or think you may have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, the best thing to do is ask your doctor for a test. Even if testing comes back negative for celiac disease, that doesn’t rule out gluten completely. If you still feel gluten is causing your symptoms, try to eliminate it from your diet for 30-60 days. Keep a journal and jot down how you feel. If your systems have cleared up after 30-60 days of not eating gluten and return once you re-introduce it to your diet, you can probably conclude that you are gluten intolerant and may eliminate gluten from your diet permanently. When going off gluten, don’t forget your body still needs carbohydrates and fiber. Try gluten free grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and rice.

Sources:

  1. Myers, Amy MD. 10 Signs You’re Gluten Intolerant. (January 22, 2013). MindBodyGreen. Retrieved August 13, 2013 from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7482/10-signs-youre-gluten-intolerant.html
  2. Dr. Oz. Gluten Sensitivity Self Test. (September 25, 2012). Retrieved August 13, 2013 from http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/gluten-sensitivity-self-test
  3. Anderson, Jane. Gluten Sensitivity Symptoms. (March 2, 2013). Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity. Retrieved August 13, 2013 from http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/glutenintolerance/a/Gluten-Sensitivity-Symptoms.htm

 

7 Ways To Get Rid Of Belly Fat

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Many of us carry a bit of extra weight around our midsections. Not only is it something most of us do not enjoy, it also can be an indicator of poor health! And unfortunately, sometimes it takes more than just sit-ups to slim down your waist.

And stressing about it isn’t going to help you at all! Stress is one of the primary culprits for high levels of cortisol secretion. Then, we start to gain weight in our midsection when our cortisol levels spike. When this happens cortisol breaks downs lean muscle (the type of tissue that burns calories most efficiently) and also holds on to fat storage in the abdominal region. Stress is also one of the main culprits of disease. Meaning, when stress levels go up, you’re more likely to experience bouts of sickness and the longer term effects of disease.

To make matters worse, crash diets have been shown to increase cortisol levels, making no change in belly fat even with calorie restriction. Not only are crash diets not good for your body, they are also stressing you out leading to suppressed immunity. Talk about a lose/lose.

So how do you shape up your midsection and become a bit healthier in general? Incorporate these 7 things below and you will be on your way to a flatter belly (and more radiant health) in no time!

1. Sleep

Getting a full night’s rest (at least 7 hours) is important to getting and keeping a healthy body shape. If you work late at night, you mess with your body’s natural biorhythms. Losing sleep alters hormone production, affecting your cortisol levels that cause insulin sensitivity, which leads to belly fat. When you’re tired you produce more ghrelin, which triggers cravings for sugar and other fatty foods. Not only that, but you end up eating more to sustain you as you’re working in front of the computer.

2. Interval Training

Yes, crunches may get you strong abs. But what about the ‘pillow top’ resting on top of those abdominal muscles? In addition to the sit-ups, do exercises in short bursts of speed. Run or cycle as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Then take a 90 second break. Continue this 7 more times. That’s it. Dr. Mercola gives you the reason why this works!

3. Stop Eating Sugar

Sugar wrecks havoc on your health, in addition to leading to additional belly fat. A big part of fighting belly fat comes from eating a healthy diet. Fill up on fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains (or perhaps skip the grains entirely! Did you read that link above?). Replace sugar-laden snacks with healthy ones. Next time you’re craving ice cream, try instead a frozen fruit version. Instead of a mega mocha venti latte filled with syrup and sugar and unnatural ingredients, why not make your own latte where you can control the ingredients?!

4. Vitamin C

When you’re under extreme stress, your body secretes cortisol which messes with your insulin production leading to belly fat. Vitamin C helps to balance cortisol spikes. In addition, Vitamin C is good for your and boosts the immune system. There are plenty of food sources that are full of vitamin C including: bell peppers, kale and kiwi.

5. Eat Fat (good fats, that is)

I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it takes good healthy fats to burn fat. Good fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, and salmon. These foods are not only rich in Omega 3’s but are full of nutrients to keep you satiated throughout the day and reducing your hunger cravings.

6. Detox

We store certain toxins in fat cells (like pharmaceutical drugs and pesticides) to protect our bodies from their harmful effects. If you have a high level of toxicity in your body, you will hold onto extra fat as a protective mechanism. Therefore, by engaging in a cleanse a couple times a year you are helping your body to release stored toxins, and as a result, release stored toxins. My favorite quarterly cleanses (performed 4 times a year) are the liver flush and a juice cleanse. But rest assured there are plenty of ways to cleanse. Simply by following an organic, plant-based diet are you already allowing your body to detoxify.

7. Breathe

As a yoga instructor, I can tell you that most of us are not breathing with our full potential. We’re using maybe 20% of our lung capacity. What happens when you feel uptight, stressed-out or upset? Your breathing patterns changes. You start to breathe shallowly or hold your breath. Instead, next time you feel uptight, consciously alter your breathing. Slow it down.

Remember that high stress levels lead to belly fat (via cortisol and insulin)? Slowing down your breath instantly calms you down, getting rid of stress and stress-hormones before they begin.

Implement these 7 changes and I guarantee not only will your clothes fit better, but you’ll experience the benefits of greater health!

Emyrald Sinclaire is a Holistic Nutritionist who specializes in detoxification programs, internal cleanses, and helping clients build strong immune systems. She also travels internationally to do raw food workshops, yoga retreats, and personal coaching. In addition, Emyrald is a Certified Power Yoga Instructor and a Certified Raw Food Chef from the SunKitchen. For more information, visit  PureRadiantSelf.com.