How To Support Your Gut And Change Your Life With Natural Foods

Healthy eating can take on a variety of different forms: consuming fresh and organic fruits and vegetables every day, devouring homemade superfood delicacies, or simply avoiding processed foods with astonishingly high levels of sugar, pesticides, and additives we can’t even pronounce.

Regardless of which way you take, the conclusion is always the same: eating natural foods grown from the earth is the simplest thing you can do for your health to experience so many wonderful health benefits. That is why we are encouraging you to make the commitment to nourish yourself with natural and whole foods.

We have heard and know that a clean, green, fiber-filled diet can skyrocket the overall quality of your health, but how? Read on an learn how plants grown from the ground – especially prebiotic and probiotic rich foods – can drastically transform the health of your gut and your life.

Your Diet Is The Most Important Factor For Your Gut Health

The condition of your gut microbiome affects virtually every aspect of your mind and body, from your digestion and blood sugar levels to your immune system, mental well-being, and the amount of energy you have on a daily basis. So, what does that mean? Optimizing your gut health is crucial if you’re looking to experience a healthy lifestyle from the inside and out.

Did you know that your microbes are constantly under attack from the typical Western dietary habits full of process food and sugar as well as from lifestyle factors? In addition to diet, factors like aging, stress, the presence of antibiotics in our foods and as medicine, chemicals in our hygiene products, and toxins in the environment can all throw your plans of a healthy lifestyle and gut environment out the winder.

The good news is that it is so simple to nourish and sooth your gut when you adopt a diet full of real, whole foods from the earth. It may be obvious that probiotic rich foods can help support your microbiome, but even the probiotics already in your need to be supported in order to thrive. This is where prebiotics come into play.

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are a natural soluble fiber used by your gut’s good bacteria as fuel. Prebiotics are like rain when it comes to the garden that is your digestive tract – they help the gut maintain high quantities of friendly flora. Examples of prebiotic-rich foods are oats, bananas, apples, and pumpkin seeds.

How Do Prebiotics Help Your Gut?

Prebiotics help your good bacteria to flourish. Thanks to their major role in nourishing the good bacteria meant to support all of your bodily functions, prebiotics are considered vital for a happy gut! Prebiotics are crucial for maximizing the absorption of nutrients you consume through natural foods. When your gut is teeming with beneficial bacteria and you’re maximizing the nutrients you’re getting from your diet, you’re supporting your immune system, your energy levels, and the health of your skin. Plus, our gut-brain connection has the food are eating directly impacting how we think and feel, so all the more reason to consciously choose foods that support our overall health.

Go The Natural Way

Start by increasing the amount of probiotics and prebiotics naturally to boost the overall quantity and quality of friendly flora that colonizes within your gut. Choose natural, whole, fibrous foods into your diet. Here are some ideas to get you started:

-Asparagus

-Bananas

-Broccoli

-Brussel Sprouts

-Beetroot

-Cabbage

-Cashews

-Cauliflower

-Chickpeas

-Fennel

-Flaxseeds

-Garlic

-Grapefruit

-Green Peas

-Honey

-Kale

-Kiwi

-Leeks

-Lentils

-Mushrooms

-Oats

-Onions

-Persimmon

-Pistachio

-Pomegranate

-Watermelon

-White Peaches

-Whole Grains

How To Support Your Gut And Change Your Life With Natural Foods 2019-01-17T13:36:44+00:00

7 Essential Nutrients Your Body Needs Every Day

A healthy and balanced diet is the key to a healthy body and life. Having a balanced diet is necessary for you to get the right amount of nutrients your body needs. Nutrients help to provide our bodies with energy, are necessary for body structures, and help to regulate our bodily functions.

To stay healthy our bodies needs natural whole foods that are packed with nutrients. Without these seven nutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, water, vitamins and minerals – our bodies would not be able to survive. In this blog post we will go through each nutrient, where to find them, and why each one is important for your health.

  1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are used for energy. They are broken down into glucose in your gut and are used as fuel for all respiration. Carbohydrates have been blamed for causing weight gain, but this is a huge myth. The truth is that some of the world’s healthies foods are high sources of carbohydrates. While refined carbs may be unhealthy in high amounts, whole food sources of carbs are extremely healthy. Carbohydrates can be found in sweet and starchy foods like bananas, lentils, quinoa, beans, potatoes, and rice.

  1. Fats

Fats are also another source used for energy. Your muscles use a mixture of fats and glycogen to perform movements. Glycogen is the principal stored form of carbohydrate energy (glucose) which is reserved in your muscles. This mixture of fats and glycogen depends on how intense the exercise is, how long it lasts, and ultimately how fit you are. For example, if you start jogging, your muscles will start to use more glycogen then when you are walking. Healthy fats can be found in avocados, eggs, fatty fish, nuts, chia seeds, extra vegetable oils (like olive, avocado, and flaxseed). Coconut oil also provides a great source of plant-based fats.

  1. Protein

Protein are known as the building blocks of our bodies. Normally when we think of protein we think of muscles, but every cell, from your skin to hair, contains protein. Even all of your hormones, antibodies, and other important substances are composed of protein. Our bodies also need protein to build cells, to make blood, and to restore and repair tissues. Proteins are made up of different amino acids. While our bodies are able to create some amino acids on its own, there are many essential amino acids that can only come from food.

While meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of essential amino acids, you can also get protein from plant sources like beans, soy, nuts, lentils, and some whole grains.

  1. Vitamins

Vitamins are essential for supporting the immune system and staying healthy. The body needs these micronutrients to support its functions. There are thirteen essential vitamins that the body needs to function properly, including vitamin A, B, C, and D. Each vitamin plays an important role in the body, and many Americans are not getting enough of them. If you eat a varied, well-balanced diet full of vegetables and fruits, and have a normal and healthy functioning digestive tract, you are more than likely getting a sufficient amount of vitamins from your diet!

  1. Minerals

Much like vitamins, minerals help to support the body. They are essential for many body functions, including strong bones and teeth, regulating your metabolism, and staying properly hydrated. Some of the most common essential minerals are calcium, iron, and zinc. You can find sources of minerals within food, but often times supplementation of minerals is helpful.

  1. Water

You can go for weeks without food, but you can’t last than a few days without water. Water is so incredibly important for every system in your body. It’s also the main thing you are made from – about 62% of your body weight is water! Water helps to support brain function and mood. It also helps to flush out toxins, carry nutrients to your cells, hydrates your body, and promotes healthy digestion.

  1. Fiber

Fiber is a substance called cellulose formed within the cell walls of plants. You cannot actually digest it. It passes straight through the gut and is excreted. There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber which dissolves in water and insoluble fiber that doesn’t dissolve. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive tract, and you can find sources of fiber in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and bran.

Categorize Your Nutrients

With nutrition, we often group nutrients by size or what they do within the body. Let’s start with the two main groups, micronutrients and macronutrients. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are called macronutrients because they’re large, and energy nutrients because they provide the fuel your body needs. Vitamins are minerals are called micronutrients because they’re so much smaller in comparison. This doesn’t mean they are less important – they are still essential for your health, but in smaller amounts. Water and Fiber are typically left alone in their own group.

Maximize The Benefits Of Nutrients

Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and fats, and whole grains is the best way to get enough of these essential nutrients. These micronutrients and macronutrients are vital for your body to function normally and stay healthy!

7 Essential Nutrients Your Body Needs Every Day 2019-01-17T13:36:57+00:00

It’s cold outside! Do your joints hurt?

As you begin to wrap up in your winter woolies, you may notice that your joints are beginning to stiffen up with the cold weather. Stiffness, aches, and pains are often associated with changes in the weather, especially during the falling temperatures of winter. The idea of cold weather causing internal pain seems a bit far-fetched, but it’s not just your imagination. Read on to learn the whys and hows of weather-related joint pain and what you can do to help your body!

Why Does The Weather Affect Our Body?

Changes in the atmospheric pressure in winter can cause our tendons, muscles, and surrounding tissues to expand. When we are cold our body restricts how much blood it sends to our extremities, so that it can focus on supplying our vital organs, like the heart and lungs. This makes the soft tissues around the joints less pliable, so joints often begin to feel tight, stiff, and very uncomfortable. Those who suffer with joint pain often blame the cold weather for making their condition worse, when in fact, this is not the case. The change in barometric pressure, which happens when the weather outside is changing, is what actually causes your joint pain to worsen. On the contrary, high humidity often has a significant impact on the pain in your joints. This is usually caused from dehydration in the body. Either way, weather can greatly affect how our joints are feeling our bodies whether we like it or not.

Are Some People More Susceptible Than Others?

Everyone’s body reacts to fluctuating temperatures and pressure. Joint problems or pain can react badly to the drop in barometric pressure during the winter weather and what may be a dull ache during the summer months, can become a shooting pain during winter when the weather is damp and cold. People that have arthritis and those experiencing chronic pain are more vulnerable to feeling discomfort. As well, the drop in temperature can have a major effect on your mood. When you are feeling down, the perception of pain can also become magnified!

Cope With Joint Pain This Winter

No matter the cause, winter stiffness and achiness are something many people experience. In order to reduce some of the symptoms of stiff and sore joints during the winter months, it is important to make the best effort to act against the cold.

  1. Layer Up

Ease the shock of cold weather on your body by dressing in layers to stay warm, especially if you’re going to be outside. Bundling up in when it’s cold out can help to reduce the shock to your joints and muscles, so don’t forget your hat and scarf to keep yourself insulated.

  1. Exercise

Build up muscle and bone strength through exercise. This reduces pressure on your joints, so they are less prone to injury. Properly warming up before exercise and cooling down helps to decrease tightening in the muscles after exercising. Also, maintaining a healthy weight to decrease stress on your joints, especially your knees. The holidays can be a perfect excuse to put on some “winter weight,” but reducing joint pressure that’s caused by your own body weight is another way to potentially reduce pain levels this winter.

  1. Improve Your Diet

There are a few essential vitamins that help to keep our bones healthy and muscles functioning. Including food sources such as eggs, fatty fish, mushrooms, and milk all support the health and functioning of your muscles and bones. As well, increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains can help.

  1. Stay Hydrated

In the colder weather, you might not drink as much water as you do during the summer, but it’s still important. Drinking water can help keep your joints lubricated, which in turn can help reduce your pain level

  1. Heat

Apply heating pads or taking warm water baths can with easing pain on tender areas. Heat helps relax your muscles and can be super effective when it is colder outside. Also, wearing compression garments or thermal agents may help.

Bust Your Winter Aches and Pains

Act against your achy joints now! This winter doesn’t have to be a pain. Try your best to follow these simple steps that may help to ease your aches and pains this year.

It’s cold outside! Do your joints hurt? 2019-01-04T09:30:29+00:00

Make Yourself Your Number One Priority In 2019

Can you believe that we are nearly at the finish line? 2019 is galloping towards us and we’re more than ready to take our first steps. Whether or not we believe in resolutions, this time of year inspires us all to reflect and figure out ways to improve ourselves. While there is nothing wrong with setting goals, the thought process that goes into our New Year’s resolutions does a disservice in that it doesn’t fully acknowledge the process you made previously. You don’t become a new person overnight. Your story carries over to the new year. Only this time, you’re working to bring to life a better version of yourself. Make yourself a priority in 2019 and remember these words… “New year, same me, but better.”

It is so easy to get bogged down in the craziness of everyday life and push your own needs aside. When you do this, not only do you suffer, but you are not at your best for everyone else around you. You will actually be a better individual if you put yourself first this upcoming year – so start doing these ten things!

  1. Listen To Your Body

You, and practically everyone else, probably don’t listen to your body like you should. Only by tuning in to how you feel each moment can you truly take care of yourself.

  1. Nourish Yourself

Most of us are not nearly mindful enough about what we are putting into our bodies, whether that be food, water, beverages, or what have you. There is a direct connection between the way you feel and what you are ingesting. Pay attention to how you feel and take care of yourself.

  1. Get Your Rest

If you need rest, then rest. It is tempting to push yourself – we all want to be superheroes these days, and society tells us that’s the way to go. Unfortunately, that’s not the real story. If you can make yourself your first priority, that means that sometimes you allow yourself a much need break.

  1. Be Selfish

Being selfish isn’t a bad thing. Don’t push aside your needs for the needs of others. This has such a negative connotation, but don’t be afraid of owning your needs and making sure that you meet them! This is the only way you can truly put yourself first and prioritize your own happiness.

  1. Get Moving

Do. Not. Make. Excuses. Not. To. Exercise. If you need physical activity, make time for yourself and schedule it! This is a huge issue today – no one ever think that their physical health should be prioritized over the other things they have to do. When you put yourself first, you will make time for yourself and realize that your health comes first.

  1. Reflect

Reflect on what you do. The same goes for actions. Think before you do things. This is a great way to learn and understand more about yourself and what you need and want. You can’t prioritize yourself if you don’t understand yourself.

  1. Know Your Limits

It’s okay to have boundaries! It’s actually really healthy believe it or not. Don’t overwork yourself, overshare yourself with others, or exhaust yourself trying to make every else happy. It’s not worth it.

  1. Ask For What You Want and Need

You’d be surprised what you can achieve simply by being honest, direct, and open. It never hurts to ask, and sometimes you might actually get what you want by doing so.

  1. Believe In Yourself

Easier said than done, we know. You can start by making it a priority to work on getting to a place where you truly do believe in yourself. Every little step in the right direction helps!

  1. Trust Your Instincts

They’re there for a reason. If your gut tells you that something isn’t right for you, then take a step back to listen and observe. If you disregard your own instincts, you are not making yourself a priority!

Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet

As 2019 picks up steam, and it will quickly, we encourage you to think about ways you can put yourself at the top of your resolutions list. In fact, go ahead and erase everything else. It doesn’t matter. Where you develop a “You, first” practice, you’ll be able to more truthfully participate in life and the way you want to live it.

Stay tuned for more on the best ways to nourish your body, tips and tricks, recipes, and so much more. We’ll be participating in this journey alongside you, and we can’t wait to share what we learn. We can’t imagine a better way to start the year, and we wish you and your loved ones another year full of health and happiness.

Make Yourself Your Number One Priority In 2019 2018-12-31T12:09:15+00:00

Your Journey To Becoming A Better You

When you carry around a bit more weight that what is recommended, you are not only putting unnecessary stress on your body, but you are also putting your health at risk. Sometimes, it takes a life-altering experience for an overweight person to take action about their health. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Losing weight should be a conscious and consistent effort for it to be effective. Remember, shedding a few extra pounds does not only unburden you, but it also gives you more energy and confidence in pursuing everything that your heart desires. So, instead of complaining about how tired you are, or wishing you could find beautiful clothes that fit you, why not take action now? Don’t put it off for another week, or after the holiday season. When it comes to your health and feeling good, it’s never to late to start.

Why Should I Take Action Now?

  1. Increase Body Positivity

Sweating it out, whether in the gym, at home, or at the park, leads to an increase in the happy hormones in your body. This includes serotonin, which is an important mood-enhancing neurotransmitter that is naturally produced when you exercise. Another positive neurochemical that is released when you are getting active is dopamine, which is the hormone that makes you feel good whenever you achieve something.

  1. Boost Your Mood

When you don’t feel good about yourself, there’s a big chance that you’ll feel less than good about everything in general. Your outlook on life turns negative. However, losing a few extra pounds can be the solution. The effects that physical activity have on your mood should not be questioned.

  1. Increase Energy

Doing yoga, going for a running, or lifting weights at the gym support the production of endorphins in your body. These neurochemical changes trigger positive feelings, often referred to as the “runner’s high”. You push yourself to work harder as you have an increase in energy. This also means that your workout sessions will feel more comfortable and more fun. And as you progress, you will start to feel better about yourself, which will motivate you even more.

  1. Become Healthier

There are many health conditions that can be developed if you are not active and taking care of your body. Your blood pressure can increase, cholesterol levels grow, develop high blood sugar, and even excess fat lingering in certain areas. Sweating it out and engaging in physical activities can help to support your health, and reduce any risks you might be facing.

  1. More Fertile

If you are trying to get pregnant, you could face a potential problem. Women who are overweight have a lower overall infertility rate and a higher rate of miscarriage. Similarly, men who weigh more than their BMI (Body Mass Index) have a lower concentration of sperm which lowers their chances of impregnating their partners.

  1. Feel Younger

Because you start to feel more energetic, you will begin to feel much younger and full of life. As a result, not only will you feel younger, but you will also look more youthful too!

Simple Changes That Will Help You On Your Journey

If you’ve got an extra ten pounds on your frame thanks to college, an active social life, or your nine to five, you might think that losing that weight will be simple. However, this is not the case. People who want to lose weight have likely developed poor eating habits, and it clear what they need to do in order to make a change. On the other hand, if you’re already pretty healthy in general, the shifts you’d have to make in order to reach your target weight are not as apparent. Use these tips and tricks to get started:

  1. Use Your Hands to Measure Portion Size

If your portion size is slightly out of line, then the calories you are consuming will follow. It’s so easy to go overboard don serving sizes but measuring everything you eat can also make you go crazy. A good way to determine the right amount if to rely on your hands as your guide. Aim for two handfuls of veggies, one fistful of whole-grain carbohydrates, a palm full of lean protein, and a slight drizzle of plant-based fat with every meal.

  1. Space Out Your Meals

You might be thinking that going through the day eating a little bit here and there, and then devouring all of your calories in the evening can help to lose those extra pounds. Did you know that the timing of food intake can impact the success of your weight loss journey? Eating early in the day stars firing up your metabolism, so that it can function steadily throughout your day. Eating late at night will give your metabolism a few hours to kick in before you go to sleep.

  1. Write Everything Down

It may feel as if you’ve been making all the right choices but sneaking tings could be adding to your daily caloric intake. To find out what they are, try tracking your food intake, and then analyze the results to see where the extra calories are hiding. This can help you see where you can make further changes.

  1. Get enough rest

Something as simple as lack of sleep might be the source of your weight gain. When you’re lacking sleep, you become less alert at making healthy decision. Lack of sleeps lead to cravings of a carb-heavy breakfast, and in the evening, you’ll feel too tired to cook. However, if you’re getting an adequate amount of rest, you’ll be better equipped to make healthy, lower-calorie, food choices throughout the day and have unbounding energy for your workouts too!

Start Your Journey Now

Making a lifestyle change takes dedication and determination. There’s not shortcut to this journey, even though you’ve been told over and over how easy it is – just take this pill, follow that diet, or buy this piece of equipment, and all of your problems will be solved. This is your journey, and you can start not. It’s ok to not be perfect every day. On the good days, you’ll eat all your fruits and veggies, say no to that pizza, and do your workout even though you are tired. On the bad days, you’ll wake up late, forget to bring your lunch, have an extra piece of pie at your holiday party, or skip your workout. Both the good and the bad days will happen. This trick is to never give up, even when you feel like you are not seeing any results. You are simply a person trying his or her best to make good decisions and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.

Your Journey To Becoming A Better You 2018-12-22T17:05:19+00:00

Boost Your Health This Season With Vitamin D

Where has all the sunshine gone? The changing of seasons brings colder weather and fewer hours of natural sunlight. Here is something to ask yourself – are you getting enough vitamin D? There can be many signs or symptoms that you are not getting enough of the sunshine vitamin in your life, and it’s important to understand how essential this vitamin is for your health.

Why Do I Need Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is best known for supporting the health of your bones. However, this vitamin is also crucial for you overall brain and body health. Optimal levels of vitamin D can help to boost your mood, support your overall brain function, and generally improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Getting necessary amounts of vitamin D can be particularly challenging during the winter season, especially from November to March, when there are fewer hours of sunlight. Due to the falling temperatures, the tendency is to stay inside where it’s warm. Getting lower levels of vitamin D can cause you to not feel like your best self, so check out these four tips and tricks to get more vitamin D in your life.

How To Get More Vitamin D This Winter

  1. Increase Natural Light

Daily exposure to appropriate levels (even just 10-15 minutes a day) of direct sunlight can boost vitamin D3 levels which can help improve your mood. If you have a hard time getting enough natural light during the winter, consider purchasing a vitamin D lamp for your home!

  1. Chase The Sun

If getting enough levels of vitamin D from the sun’s rays is difficult for you during the winter months, consider saving for a vacation to a sunny destination during the winter months.

  1. Quality Sleep

Insufficient and inconsistent sleep can increase irritability and moodiness. To remain on top of your game, it’s recommended that you get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Getting appropriate levels of sunlight during the day, and optimal amounts of vitamin D from foods or supplements can also help maintain your body’s natural production of serotonin. The brain naturally converts serotonin into melatonin, our main sleep hormone that increases your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

  1. Vitamin D – Rich Diet

Food is an essential part for increasing and maintaining your levels of vitamin D. Great sources of vitamin D include eggs, mushrooms, and fish (especially wild salmon, tune, and mackerel). Always aim for wild salmon or wild fish compared to those that have been farmed as the vitamin D levels per serving are much higher.

Beat The Winter Blues With Vitamin D

When it comes to your health and mood, the evidence is clear. The higher your vitamin D levels, the more likely you are to feel happy and healthy. Since vitamin D helps to support your overall health, getting enough of this vitamin can help you get through this gloomy winter season!

Boost Your Health This Season With Vitamin D 2018-12-19T08:17:58+00:00

Keep Your Gut In Check – How Can You Naturally Support Your Gut Health?

Gut health is incredibly important, and a big contributor to your overall health. Providing your digestive system with the nutrients it needs to feel its best is the most powerful form of support for your body! Here are a few things you can ask yourself anytime you think your microbiome needs some extra care.

Am I Getting Enough Prebiotic Foods?

Prebiotics are the indigestible fibers that feed the good bacteria in your gut. You’re most likely familiar with some natural prebiotic foods already – oats, apples, garlic, bananas – are great sources – but the good news is that most plant-based foods contain some amount of prebiotics.

You bacteria need a lot of prebiotic fiber to thrive. The issue with our modern lifestyle is getting enough prebiotics from the food we eat. And without any natural sustenance from the foods we eat, our friendly gut flora faces even more difficulties against harmful bacteria. Some foods we consumer even have the opposite effect – they feed the less hospitable bacteria in your gut instead of the good. These foods included sugar, gluten, dairy, and other processed foods. So try to include plenty of fiber-rich prebiotic foods in your diet!

What’s Your Gut Feeling?

Did you know that your gut is actually connected to your brain? Your brain and gut are in constant communication via your vagus nerve, which means that your brain can help signal your gut to digest properly and can have a direct impact on the way you are feeling.

Changes in your moods can originate in changes in your gut bacteria. When your gut bacteria are in balance, they signal the body to produce the hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for your moods like serotonin and oxytocin. And when your gut bacteria are out of balance, your body tends to produce more of the hormones associated with stress, like cortisol. There are so many things that have an effect on the way you are feeling, but it’s worth paying attention to any big mood swings or overall changes in your mood.

Do I Spend Enough Time Outside?

Spending time outside in nature is one of the best things you can do to help your microbiome thrive. This is happening less and less within today’s fast paced and modern lifestyle, and Americans tend to spend 90% of their time indoors. Whether you are at work, the shopping mall, or your home, being inside so much exposes you to harmful substances from bacteria found in building materials, paint, and even clean products. All of these are damaging to your gut flora and worse, your overall health.

When you are outside, you increase your exposure to new types of bacteria which can then increase your microbial diversity. Spending time in nature also lowers your stress levels and give your body a chance to build up the immune system. This is so beneficial for your microbiome and helps with supporting the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut.

Keep Your Gut In Check

Gut health is extremely important and its simple to start taking steps to improve it. By making a conscious effort to foster your microbiome and doing your best to minimize the things that can send it out of balance, you’ll be able to strengthen your good bacteria in no time!

Keep Your Gut In Check – How Can You Naturally Support Your Gut Health? 2018-12-14T15:08:47+00:00

Gut Feeling? Ease Your Anxiety and Stress Naturally!

When we think about anxiety and stress, we rarely consider what’s going on in our gut. Since there is a connection between our gut and our brain, digestive issues can have an impact on our overall wellbeing. The plethora of microbes living in our gut not only can affect your physical health, but it can also influence your mental health. It is perfectly normal to feel a little anxious and stress from our daily lives. But when these feelings linger on after the stressor has passed, it might be time to explore deeper… all the way into your gut!

There are over four hundred species of bacteria in your belly right now. This can truly be the key to the quality of your health. Disturbances to the microbial balance of your gut can lead to some microbes becoming more present while others are diminished. Think of garden – there are less likely to have weeds growing if you have lush vegetation, but without this vegetation, the weeds could take over and wreak havoc.

How Does the Gut Impact Our Health?

Well they don’t call if the “gut feeling” for nothing. Your brain is connected to your gut by an information super highway known as the vagus nerve. What happens in the brain can transform the way your gut works, and vice versa. Just think about the last time that stress or anxiety left you feeling like your gut was tied in knots.

With trillions of both good and bad bacteria living in our gut, maintaining a natural balance of our gut microbiome is essential for our wellbeing. Good bacteria found naturally inside your gut have a protective effect against other living organisms that enter your body. These good bacteria also helps the body prevent harmful bacteria from rapidly growing in your stomach. A disruption in the balance of the bacteria in our gut can actually cause us to feel anxious or stressed.

Your Mental – Digestive Connection

You may also be surprised to know that the majority of that “feel good” neurotransmitter, serotonin, produced in the body isn’t actually made in the brain. Did you know that serotonin is actually produced in your gut? The connection between your mental and digestive wellbeing all comes down to the trillions of tiny critters that call your gut home.

How Can Probiotics Help?

Probiotics, or the beneficial live bacteria that are in our bodies, have become increasingly popular as a way to improve health and wellbeing. Probiotics work by introducing the friendly bacteria into the gut, which helps to keep the gut healthy and main a balance. By maintain a healthy balance, we can naturally reduce stress and anxiety. If harmful bacteria begin to dominate your intestines, essential vitamins and enzymes are not produced, leading to many health issues, including the development of stress and anxiety.

Your immune system has a major role to play here too. Along with diet and stress, both gut bacteria and the serotonin produced in your gut, can influence the functioning of your immune system. The more healthy bacteria that is present in your gut, the better functioning your immune system will be.

Best Probiotic Food Sources

Can a yogurt a day keep stress away? Cultured dairy products like yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, and kefir are the best-known food sources for getting friendly bacteria in your diet. Equally effective probiotic food sources include cultured/fermented vegetables like cabbage, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, and carrots. Ideally, you should aim to get a good supply of probiotics from these diverse food sources.

A Happy Gut for A Happy You

Your gut isn’t called your second brain for nothing – so treat it well! Eat high fiber plant foods as often as you can, and make sure to also include probiotic rich foods to help support your healthy intestinal flora.

Gut Feeling? Ease Your Anxiety and Stress Naturally! 2019-01-17T13:37:18+00:00

Superfoods for Stress Relief

When work deadlines begin piling up and your social calendar is filling up due to the holiday season, your health habits often get set aside. When it comes to combating increasing stress levels, what you eat actually helps to relieve your tension. What you include in your diet will help you to feel good and stay healthy. Especially when you feel stressed.

When we encounter something stressful, our nervous system and adrenal glands send signals to the rest of our body to help us think more clearly and be ready for a physical response if necessary. Nearly 40% of Americans report overeating or eating unhealthy foods as a result of being stressed. Choosing healthy foods when you’re stressed can impact your mood on a positive note, helping to relieve tension, stabilize blood sugar, and send your stress packing!

Best Foods to Incorporate When Dealing with Stress

Had a long day in the office? Kids acting out all day? Feeling a financial crunch or relationship strain? Grab a plate and dig in to the following stress-busting superfoods.

  1. Leafy Green Vegetables

While it is tempting to reach for a burger when you’re stressed, try going green at lunch instead. Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain B Vitamins and folate, which produces dopamine, the feel-good hormone that helps to keep you calm. B Vitamins and folate can also help you to feel more energetic after dealing with something stressful.

  1. Oatmeal

If you’re a carb lover, it’s likely that nothing can come between you and a doughnut or bag of crisps when stress hit. However, instead of reaching for that sugary cookie, try going for a complex carb! Stress can cause your blood sugar to rise, so a complex carb like oatmeal (which is a good source of magnesium) won’t contribute to your already potential spike in glucose.

  1. Yogurt

As bizarre as it may sound, the bacteria in your gut might be contributing to your stress levels. The secret to improving your mental health is in your gut, and unhealthy gut flora can have a negative impact of your brain – leading to issues like anxiety and depression. Consuming probiotics can help to improve your gut health and bring your microbiome into balance, thusly supporting a positive mood.

  1. Blueberries

Anthocyanins are the pigments that give berries like blueberries and blackberries their deep color. These antioxidants aid your brain in the production of dopamine, the chemical necessary for boosting your mood and making you feel good.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Calling all chocoholics! A regular healthy indulgence (just a bite, not the whole bar) of dark chocolate may have the power to reduce stress levels. Do you best to go for varieties that contain at least 70% cocoa.

  1. Seeds

The mineral magnesium is well-known for its role in helping to regulate emotions and enhance wellbeing. Green leafy veggies, beans, nuts, and seeds (like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds) are excellent sources on magnesium.

  1. Avocados

Avocados are packed with essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B Vitamins, and folate. If you’re having a stressful day, incorporate an avocado into your diet to nourish your body with these healthy vitamins, monosaturated fat, and fiber!

What to Avoid When You’re Stressed

Many people equate “comfort” foods with carbs, but sugars and grains are among the worst foods to eat when you’re feeling stressed out. Read on to learn why!

  1. Sugar

Consuming sugar when you are stressed out can contribute to fluctuations in blood sugar, which can bring on mood swings and other unpleasant feelings. Consumption of sugar also triggers a saccade of chemical reactions in your body that promote irritation. Continuous sugar consumption can lead to disruptions of the normal functioning of your immune system which will affect your overall health and mood.

  1. Gluten

Gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health. Wheat inhibits the production of serotonin. Neurotransmitters like serotonin can be found not just in your brain, but also in your gut. Consumption of gluten can really impact your overall mood and gut health.

  1. Processed Foods

Aside from sugar and gluten, processed foods including trans-fat, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG) artificial sweeteners, and other synthetic ingredients are linked to irritability and poor mood.

What Else Can I Do to Relieve Stress?

Your diet plays an important role in stress management, but there are also many things you can do that will compliment your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life. Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and relaxation techniques (such as meditation) are crucial ways that can also help you manage your stress. It’s time to rethink your comfort foods. By watching our diet, increasing our intake of stress-busting nutrients and limiting our intake of stress-inducing substances, we can feel better about ourselves and our well-being, as well as give our bodies the chance to cope with and recover from stressful situations.

Superfoods for Stress Relief 2018-12-04T14:33:37+00:00

Your Ultimate Guide to Vitamin D

Vitamin D, more commonly known as “the sunshine vitamin” is beneficial for your health, bones, and immune system. Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because our bodies produce it in response to sunlight. But did you know that over 41% of people living in the United States are Vitamin D deficient?

With the change of seasons, getting enough Vitamin D in your diet is crucial. Mid-winter fatigue can make the smallest daily tasks seem challenging. This is often a result of spending more time indoors due to the change in weather. This year, combat your seasonal slump with these helpful tips and tricks!

Why is Vitamin D Beneficial?

Vitamin D is a big deal – are you getting all the vitamin D you really need? Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for your health. The best way for you to get vitamin D is spend time outdoors. However, with the onset of cold weather and increasingly longer nights, it is very important to get sufficient levels of vitamin D from your diet.

  1. Bone Health

Strong bones depend on many things, including vitamin D. You probably already know that calcium is essential for developing and maintaining bone health, but vitamin D is needed to stimulate movements of molecules like calcium and phosphorus. As well, vitamin D is needed to absorb both calcium and phosphorus efficiently!

  1. Healthy Immune Function

Your immune system helps to fight all sorts of unwanted quests in your body. Most of us believe that vitamin C helps to ward of colds and the flue, but vitamin D is just as important for supporting your immune health.

  1. Boost Your Mood

If vitamin D is nicknamed the sunshine vitamin, it stands to reason that one too many dreary days filled with cloudy skies could affect your natural vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is essential for boosting your mood. Vitamin D can affect the function of our two “happiness” neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.

  1. Improve Gut Health

Vitamin D supports the health of your gut microbiome. If you are experiencing abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation, boosting your vitamin D levels may help to alleviate your symptoms!

5 Best Food Sources of Vitamin D

While sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D, the reality is that the majority of us are not spending enough time in the sun. This is especially true during the winter months. So, while exposure to sunlight is the top natural source of vitamin D, adding these foods to your diet is going to ensure you aren’t slipping into deficient levels.

  1. Wild-Caught Salmon

One of the best sources of naturally occurring vitamin D is from fatty fish. Salmon is a great choice, and it is especially important to consumer wild salmon compared to farmed. Wild salmon contains much higher levels of natural vitamin D over farmed salmon.

  1. Raw Oysters

This may not be the most appealing food to some, but raw oysters are low in calories and high in nutrients. In addition to be a great source of natural vitamin D, oysters contain vitamin B12, copper, phosphorous, and zinc.

  1. Mushrooms

Portobello, morrel, button, white and shiitake mushrooms all contain ergosterol, a vitamin D precursor. Did you also know that setting your mushrooms out in the sun can boost their vitamin D content? The UV rays help to trigger photosynthesis, and increases the vitamin D levels, like how it does with humans too! Mushrooms make an incredible source of vitamin D if you are vegetarian or vegan.

  1. Sunflower Sprouts

These nutritious greens contain easily-digested chlorophyll, minerals, and natural sources of vitamin D. Sunflower sprouts also offer all the amino acids needed to form a complete plant protein. This mega-healthy food is a great source for vitamin D if you are vegetarian or vegan.

  1. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds contain large amounts of fiber and omega 3, but did you know that they are also a great source of vitamin D? These tiny seeds pack such a nutritional punch and you should include them if your diet. You can soak, grind or enjoy these seeds whole for a nutritious and delicious boost!

Enjoy the Sun and Your Good Health!

Exposure to natural sunlight is the major source of vitamin D for children and adults. Getting a healthy dose of 10-15 minutes of sun provides the body with ideal levels of vitamin D. However, this isn’t true in the spring and fall when the sun is lower in the sky, let alone in winter months. It is almost impossible for your body to produce its own vitamin D from the sun if you live in colder climates, putting you at risk for vitamin D deficiency. When you cannot spend time in the sun, natural food sources of vitamin D are needed to keep you looking and feeling your best!

Your Ultimate Guide to Vitamin D 2018-11-30T08:13:31+00:00