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! 2018-12-09T09:38:22+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

The Anatomy Of A Diet: How To Tailor Your Diet To Your Needs, Lifestyle, and Goals

A diet should be a lifestyle change if you want it to be effective. With so many options out there, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. Getting clear on your goals and working a nutrition plan into your lifestyle can help you get the best results.

Nutrition Physiology

Your body needs certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for optimal function. There are seven major nutrients required for survival. Other elements, like water and fiber, don’t give you energy but help to keep you alive.

One of the problems with modern foods is that they provide calories without delivering adequate nutrition. You’re probably familiar with the term “empty calories.” Foods with empty calories tend to contain added sugars and fats with minimal nutritional value. Making your diet easy to maintain for your lifestyle can help you stick with it and reach your health goals.

What Are Your Diet Goals?

Eating a healthy diet can help you reach any goal – whether that be weightloss or simply living a healthier lifestyle. Setting a goal also gives you a basis for evaluating your changes and determine whether it’s working or whether you need to tweak something. If you don’t see results, you’re not likely to continue to make lifestyle changes. However, you won’t know what results you desire if you don’t set goals first. Working with a health or nutritional professional can aid you in defining your diet mission and help you stay on track.

The Importance Of Changing Your Habits

Once you have set your diet goals, you can work towards establishing consistency in your diet. When a habit and an intention conflict with each other, the brain is more likely to direct your behavior based on the habit rather than the intention. Therefore, transforming your diet changes into a habit is one of the keys to making this work for your lifestyle.

Once you have established a habit, the decision-making part of your brain is dampened. That’s a good thing when it comes to your diet. Instead of talking yourself into choosing veggies over potato chips, it becomes a no-brainer. It also frees your mind and allows you to focus on more important things so that you’re not thinking about food all the time.

5 Tips For Making Your Diet Work For Your Lifestyle

The following tips will help you set healthy habits that you can stick with for life!

  1. Start Slow

Have you ever run headstrong into a new routine only to find yourself burning out shortly afterward? The key to designing a diet for your lifestyle is to start small. To make a diet part of your life, create a change that’s so miniscule that avoiding it seems impossible.

You can use this idea for eating healthier by consuming just one more vegetable than you normally would. Once you take the first step, your mind will start to let go of its resistance to the idea. Within a few days or weeks, you’ll begin to have a compulsion to build on the habit instead of giving up, which is what can happen if you make too many big changes too quickly.

  1. Give Yourself A Cue

Changing any habit requires planning. You don’t have to spend a lot of time preparing your diet routine though. Using a simple cue can help you automate your behavior change. This works even if you don’t do it every time or forget to do it periodically.

Some cues that you could use include:

  • While I cook, I’ll drink a full glass of water.
  • With each meal, I’ll eat some greens.
  • When I crave sugar, I’ll drink sparkling water instead.

The cues allow you to repeat the behavior in a consistent context, which is one way to solidify habit change. They also give you a chance to adapt to your diet in a way that works with your lifestyle.

  1. Write It Down

Writing down your cues and posting them in a prominent place can help you remember them so that the habits begin to stick. Keeping track of other aspects of your diet, such as daily calorie consumption, favorite quick and easy meals, and cravings, in a journal can also help you modify a diet based on your lifestyle.

You can’t change anything in your life if you’re not aware of it. Recording information about what you eat and how you feel can give you a clear picture of what works and doesn’t work when it comes to your diet. When you know what’s effective, you can focus on creating consistency around it so that you can maintain the healthy habit.

  1. Make It Enjoyable

No matter how effective a diet appears to be, if sticking to it is grueling, you’re not likely to continue. Be flexible, and focus on what you enjoy!

For example, if you’re trying to avoid dairy, you might crave cheese all day. Instead of inwardly complaining that you can’t eat the cheese, focus on the abundant variety of foods that you can eat. Choose fruits and vegetables that you absolutely love, and give yourself a chance to experiment with different ways of cooking and eating them to come up with delicious meals and snacks that you will eventually find yourself craving.

  1. Plan Ahead

Go into every day with a plan. Taking a few moments every evening to prepare for the next day can help you modify a diet for your lifestyle and avoid surprises that might otherwise make you fall off the wagon.

Prepping for a catered lunch meeting by packing your own lunch can prevent you from snacking on cheese cubes and fancy desserts. Knowing what vegetables are in your refrigerator can help you start the day with a healthy breakfast instead of waking up and relying on a sugary granola bar because your cupboards were empty.

You don’t have to meal plan for an entire week if that doesn’t work for you. Just spend a few moments to come up with a diet strategy for every day, and that planning will also become a habit that sets you up for long-term success!

The Anatomy Of A Diet: How To Tailor Your Diet To Your Needs, Lifestyle, and Goals 2018-11-27T08:26:37+00:00

Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally

It’s time to act against adrenal fatigue, because you’re most likely dealing with it. Almost every person can experience adrenal fatigue to some extent during a stressful point in his or her life. The adrenal glands have a major influence on the body, and symptoms of adrenal fatigue can mimic a number of health issues that aren’t easily recognizable. Common adrenal fatigue symptoms include extreme fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and other imbalances in the body. Luckily, you can overcome adrenal fatigue with three simple steps: start an adrenal fatigue diet, include supplements in your routine, and reduce your daily stressors. So, let’s talk about the roles of your adrenal glands and how you can overcome adrenal fatigue naturally!

What are your adrenal glands?

Your adrenal glands are two thumb sized organs that are located on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system and are responsible for rhythmically releasing, producing, and balancing a variety of hormones. The adrenals are involved in producing over fifty hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, that drive almost ever bodily function and are essential for life. However, this rhythm doesn’t always apply when external stressors are involved.

What is adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal glands play a huge role in stress response. Your brain recognizes and registers a threat, whether emotional, physical, or mental. The glands then release cortisol and adrenaline hormones to help you react to the threat, known as the fight-or-flight response. Adrenal fatigue is the overstimulation of the adrenal glands from chronic stress over time due the unbalanced levels of cortisol and other hormones.  Does this sound like your day?

You are unable to function without a significant amount of caffeine, finally feeling a boost of energy during the early part of the day, then your energy levels crash around 3 p.m., go back up around 6 p.m., fall again around 9 p.m., and then finally peak again close to midnight.

What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is a condition where your body and adrenal glands can’t keep up with the high amounts of stress situations many individuals experience daily. Can stress really cause extreme fatigue? The answer is yes. Stress causes the adrenal glands to become overloaded, ineffective, and improperly release cortisol, which depletes the body of energy. Other causes for adrenal fatigue can be: exposure to environmental toxins, lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of exercise, emotional trauma, food sensitivities, and the reliance to stimulants like caffeine.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

What exactly happens when the adrenal glands stop producing hormones efficiently? Every bodily function is affected. Common adrenal fatigue symptoms include: chronic fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, irritability, depression, muscle/bone loss, skin ailments, sleep disturbances, weight gain, and insulin resistance. As you can probably see, there are a number of symptoms that could be associated with other health conditions. The good thing is that all these issues are very similar, and there are now many natural ways to treat and support your adrenal system.

Naturally Overcome Adrenal Fatigue

Treatment for adrenal fatigue involves removing stress on your mind and body, eliminating toxins, and replenishing your body with health foods and supplements. Following these three steps can make a huge different.

I) Adopt a healing diet

Diet is a huge factor with adrenal recovery. There are so many foods that offer adrenal support and will replenish your adrenal energy so your system can come back to full health. However, you must begin with removing any hard to digest foods and toxins in your current environment. Foods to avoid include:

Caffeine:

Caffeine can interfere with your sleep cycle and make it difficult for your adrenals to recover. If you feel like you must drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverage, then limit your amount in the morning.

Carbohydrates:

Many individuals crave carb-heavy foods when they’re stressed, which end up draining your adrenal glands even more. If you are feeling stressed, try removing any gluten and starchy foods to see if you can regulate your tiredness and energy levels.

Sugar:

Many individuals also crave sugary foods when they become overwhelmed and stressed. Avoid sugary foods, cereals, candy, and sweets. Sugar is also an additive in many foods like bread, condiments, and dressings. Try to avoid as much sugar as possible. Alternatives include raw honey or stevia.

Processed Foods:

Processed foods include many preservatives in them that are hard to digest and drain the body’s energy and digestion cycle. The option is to include natural, whole foods, and to prepare your own meals as much as possible.

Hydrogenated Oils:

Vegetable oils like soybean, canola, and corn oil can cause a lot of stress on your adrenals. Try to implement healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee.

Now once you have removed these foods from your diet, you want to add nutritious, healing foods that are easy to digest. These foods help overcome adrenal fatigue because they contain tons of nutrients, they are low in sugar, and have healthy fat and fiber. The top superfoods for adrenal health include:

Coconuts:

Coconuts are easily digested and utilized by the body. They provide a much-needed source of clean energy to help support your overworked adrenals and assist you in getting through your day without feeling constantly tired and sluggish Coconuts also contain an impressively high concentration of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). MCFAs have antibacterial properties, can penetrate and feed our cells more efficiently than other compounds, and they don’t put the liver under unnecessary stress like certain other fats.

Avocados:

Avocados are loaded with potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and fiber. They are also another great sources of healthy fat for your body.

Nuts and Seeds:

Include nuts such as walnuts and almonds as well as seeds like pumpkin, chia, and flax. Grab a handful of these healthy omega-6 packed nuts for a quick snack. You’ll get a dose of protein, fiber, and vitamin E.

Bone Broth:

Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that play an important role in supporting healthy adrenal functions.

Kale:

Kale is packed with vitamins A, C, and K. It contains calcium, an antioxidant boost of quercetin, and omega-3 fatty acids. To reap the benefits of this nutritionally dense green, be sure to top it with something fatty, like a drizzle of olive oil or an avocado.

Fish:

Fatty fish like wild salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, and a powerful load of protein. Other options include anchovies, sardines, Atlantic herring, or Atlantic mackerel.

Fermented foods:

Fermented foods, like kefir, are rich in probiotics. Kefir, a fermented milk product, is a great-tasting source of eight or more strains of probiotics, B vitamins, vitamin K2, and calcium. Because of the bacterial content, kefir is lactose-free. The bacteria break down lactose into galactose and glucose, so your body doesn’t have to do it.

II) Include Supporting Supplements and Herbs

Another important factor for overcoming adrenal fatigue is taking the right supplements with supporting natural hers. Eating the right foods to heal the body can be challenging, and in order to get enough of every nutrient, supplements can help. Include these herbs, spices, and essential oils to help fight adrenal fatigue.

  1. Licorice Root

This spice helps to increase the DHEA in your body, which is the “parent hormone” responsible for the creation of many necessary hormones in the body.

  1. Adaptogenic Herbs

Adaptogenic herbs help with lowering cortisol levels and mediate stress responses within the body. Include herbs like ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, schisandra, and holy basil.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C minimizes effects of stress on individuals as well as reducing the time it takes to bounce back from stressful events.

  1. Lavender Oil

This essential oil has a calming effect that can reduce stress.

  1. Rosemary Oil

This essential oil also has a calming effect and helps to decease cortisol concentrations and reduce oxidative stress on cells.

III) Lifestyle Changes

The last and most important factor to overcoming and healing your adrenal function is to reduce your mind and stress. Really pay attention to your body and be kind to yourself.

  1. Rest when you feel tired
  2. Sleep 8-10 hours a night
  3. Laugh, smile, and have fun everyday
  4. Minimize work and relational stressors
  5. Avoid staying up late, and establish a regular sleep cycle
  6. Eat natural, whole foods on a regular basis
  7. Exercise to reduce stress response
  8. Avoid negative situations, people, and self-talk.

Keep Your Adrenals Strong

The best approach to healing your adrenal fatigue is to make solid lifestyle changes if you want lasting results. Some individuals notice a difference in their overall wellbeing after a few weeks eating natural foods and herbs. A balanced lifestyle with a healthy level of sleep, exercise, fun, and a positive environment, will keep your adrenal system going healthy and strong!

Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally 2018-11-19T15:01:15+00:00

Why Do I Need Probiotics?

There are several lifestyle and environmental factors that can lead to problems with your gut health. Stress, aging, modern American diet, exposure to toxins, and the use of antibiotics (both as medicine and within the food we eat) can all throw off the balance of our microbiome.

Everything from your energy levels and mood to your mental health, weight, and sleep, can be affected by the balance of good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. The effects of an unbalanced microbiome can be serious. When the gut becomes unbalanced with these unhealthy levels of bacteria, probiotics help to bring your gut back to balance.

Probiotics are the “good” bacteria in your gut that support your digestive health and your immune system. These microbes that are present in the lower intestinal tract help us to digest food. They help the body to absorb nutrients, making sure that your body is getting the vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids from the foods that you are eating. Probiotics also keep any harmful bacteria in check. Probiotics do this by crowding out the bad bacteria and preventing the bacteria from living in your gut.

Now that you can see how probiotics help the body, how do you know if your body needs them? Probiotics exist naturally in your gut, but lifestyle and environmental factors can deplete our natural levels. But how do we know if they have been depleted?

Take a look at these 6 signs that indicate you should be boosting your diet with these good guys!

  1. Antibiotic Use

Antibiotic means anti-life, which is the exact opposite of the meaning of probiotic or pro-life. Antibiotics were designed to remove bacteria from the body, including your good guys. Boosting your diet with probiotic rich foods after a round of antibiotics can help to reintroduce the healthy gut flora back into the body.

  1. Food Poisoning

If you have recently suffered from food poisoning or have eaten something that just didn’t agree with your system, these is a good chance that bad bacteria have started making a home in your body. Including probiotic rich foods in your diet can help to fight off these bad guys and get your digestion back to normal.

  1. Digestive Issues

If your gut has not been functioning like it normally does, boosting your diet with probiotic rich foods can be extremely helpful. Oftentimes the small addition of these healthy flora into your diet can put an end to uncomfortable symptoms like bloating and gas.

  1. Skin Conditions

If you are suffering from acne, eczema, rashes, or hives, it is most likely due to poor digestion and an imbalance in your gut bacteria. Start to include probiotic rich foods in your diet to help your skin clear up.

  1. Moody

Are you feeling stressed, anxious, irritable, or depressed? It could be because your intestinal flora is out of whack. Boost your diet with probiotic rich foods to help bring your gut back into balance.

  1. Weakened Immunity

If you feel like you get sick from the flu every year, you’ve used all your sick days at work, and seem to catch any bug that goes around, it’s time to include probiotic rich foods in your diet. Healthy bacteria in the gut supports your immune system, and helps to fight off any foreign microbes in your body.

The Best Food Sources of Probiotics

Are you wondering how and what probiotic rich foods you should add into your diet? You don’t always need supplements to get your daily dose of probiotics. There are so many natural foods loaded with cultures of the good gut flora. The top sources of probiotics include:

  1. Yogurt – especially plain Greek yogurt
  2. Kefir
  3. Fermented vegetables – such as pickles or sauerkraut
  4. Kombucha
  5. Kimchi
  6. Miso
  7. Tempeh
  8. Olives

Create A Healthier You

Including probiotic rich foods in your diet helps to keep up your levels of good flora and is a form of prevention. By incorporating these top eight natural sources of probiotics into your diet, your good bacteria will thrive and help you with living a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Why Do I Need Probiotics? 2018-11-12T12:27:13+00:00

Fight Your Cold This Fall: Boost Your Immune System Naturally

Have you ever heard the phrase, “A capsule of black cumin seed oil a day keeps the doctor away?”

No? Well neither have we… but it’s true. We all get sick. It’s pretty impossible to avoid. Cold and flu viruses are constantly surrounding us, but they’re not the only things to be worried about.

One of the main reasons we get sick, especially in the winter of when adapting to a new environment, is that our immune system weakens. Your immune system isn’t prepared for drastic changes in weather or for encountering new people or places that could carry bugs your body isn’t familiar with.

If you have children, you may remember them getting frequent sniffles, colds, and flus in their first years of school. And it’s not just the children, the first-year teachers and daycare workers often experience the same thing too. When the weather gest colder, there is often an increase in common illnesses among the general population too.

Now, what if you had a way to make sure that your body was prepared for whatever came it way? What if you could boost your immune system and turn your body into an incredible fortress against any harmful pathogens?

Reinforce Your Immunity

Black cumin seed is your all-in-one immune system supporter. This tiny super seed is beneficial to your immune system because it promotes healthy white blood cell levels in the body.  When you get a cold, flu, bronchitis, or fever, your body’s first method of defense is with white blood cells. Your white blood cells are how your body recovers from any illness. Black cumin seed can help boost your natural defense. It soothes the body while strengthening it at the same time. Black cumin seeds bring your immune system to balance by increasing immune function but not encouraging immune reactions against the body’s healthy tissue.

Black cumin seeds are also packed with so many valuable nutrients. They are a significant source of fatty acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and other vitamins and minerals. Ensuring that your body is getting enough nutrients can help to strengthen your immune system. Staying hydrated can help to boost your immune health too. Water helps your body to produce fluid to transport white blood cells and other immune system cells throughout the body.

Add This Super Seed To Your Diet This Fall

Start boosting your immune system this fall with black cumin seeds. Incorporating this super seed into your daily routine is simple. You can try sautéing fresh spinach with ginger, hot chili, plus a teaspoon of black cumin seeds and sprinkle it on fish or chicken before baking or broiling. You can even add a spoonful of black cumin seeds to your smoothies or lentils! You can even make a tea that helps when you are suffering from a cough or cold which helps to ease intestinal gas. Simply crush a tablespoon of black cumin seeds and let them steep with pure honey and warm water. Ready to cook with black seed oil? Here’s an easy salad dressing recipe for you to try.

Black Cumin Magic Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

½ cup ground black cumin seeds or black cumin seed oil

½ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp raw honey

2 fresh chopped garlic cloves

1 tsp. raw ginger

1 tsp. turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a jar or bowl and mix/stir until blended together. Add to salad and enjoy!

Fight Your Cold This Fall: Boost Your Immune System Naturally 2018-11-08T10:49:36+00:00

Improve your Breathing and Lung Health with Your Diet

The lungs are an essential part of human life. Our lungs work almost tirelessly, pulling air in and eliminating out what can’t be used over and over, day and night. Breathing brings in oxygen and expels carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism. Breathing is also essential for our ability to speak and sing.

The lungs are made of hundreds of thousands of branching tubes that end in tiny air sacs called alveoli. Did you know that there are over three hundred million of these tiny sacs in our lungs? All of them work together to keep up with the respiratory demands of the body and maximize the exchange of gases.

Our lungs make up a large part of our immune system too. Pollutants and infectious-causing microbes are captured by mucus in the lungs and are then shuttled upward for us to cough out or swallow. Sneezing is another mechanism that the lungs help us to rid of infection and pollution, often before these invades even pass beyond the sinuses.

The lungs are actually remarkable, and they should be cared for:

First and most importantly, do not smoke. Smoking destroys the cilia that help remove infection and pollutants, resulting in blocked airways.

Second, do your best to avoid pollutants both indoors and outdoors. However, this is difficult and isn’t always possible to do. Try limiting your exposure to environmental toxins. For example, wear a mask or respirator when painting or doing any hobbies that include dust or industrial gases. This helps more than you think!

Exercise is also important. It doesn’t necessarily strengthen the lungs as they rely on the diaphragm muscle, but any improvement of the cardiovascular system making the job of the lungs easier! Get moving for thirty minutes each day to lighten the load on your lungs and increase the efficiency of oxygen transportation and metabolism. These thirty minutes don’t have to be all at once and can even be broken up throughout the day. Try parking further away from the grocery store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get up from your work desk and walk around the office, do some jumping jacks, walk your neighborhood, or even run on the spot for a bit. Anything is better than staying on the sofa!

What we eat can affect the health of our lungs too. For example some foods can create excess mucus that makes it more difficult to eliminate pollutants.

Also, our food indirectly touches the lungs through the cardiovascular system and by supporting the immune system which provides protection.

Eating well goes hand in hand with exercise for keeping your lungs strong and healthy, and not overburdened. Fresh, raw, and unprocessed foods are the best way to get the enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that will keep you breathing easy!

12 Healthy Foods for Healthy Lungs

  • Water

Water plays a huge role in health and is the base of any cleansing action. Pure, clean water is essential to keeping blood flowing to and from the lungs. It also keeps our lungs hydrated and the mucus flowing which moves toxins, microbes, and pollutants out.

  • Garlic and Onions

These pungent foods are great for the heart and thusly the lungs too!

They help to boost the immune system to help fight off any foreign invaders.

  • Ginger and Turmeric

These spices have immune boosting properties and promote the elimination of pollutants from the lungs.

  • Chili Peppers

Peppers are filled with capsaicin, the spicy compound that gives them their kick! Capsaicin promotes blood flow, stimulates mucus membranes and helps to fight off infection.

  • Cruciferous Vegetables

Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale have high levels of chlorophyll that helps to cleanse our blood and support the health of our lungs.

  • Pomegranates

Pomegranates and their juice contain many vitamins that boost the immune system and thusly, the health of our lungs. Pomegranates contain Ellagic acid, a property which is especially important for supporting lung health.

  • Apples

Flavonoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E all support the lungs to function at their best. Apples are rich in all of these properties and promote healthy lungs.

  • Grapefruit

Grapefruit and the flavonoid Naringin which it contains, are especially good at cleansing the lungs after quitting smoking!

  • Beans, Seeds, and Nuts

These all contain rich amounts of magnesium, a mineral that contributes to healthy lung function.

  • Carrots

Carrots are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and lycopene, which are all immune boosters that affect lung health and lower the chances of developing lung disease.

  • Oranges

Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6. These help the lungs transfer oxygen, as well as support healthy immune function.

  • Pumpkin

Pumpkin is another food rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, like carrots.

Improve your Breathing and Lung Health with Your Diet 2018-11-03T18:23:47+00:00

Bring Your Gut Health Back To Balance

Have you been feeling not like yourself lately? With the coming changes in the weather as we transition, it is typical to feel a bit off. Maybe you’re not getting enough sleep, you have low energy, or you’re just feeling blue. Did you know that a huge portion of your gut microbiome is situated in the digestive tract, where nearly 80% of your immune system resides? Thusly, if your gut microbiome doesn’t contain enough probiotics, you may not be feeling like your best self.

The difficult part of your gut health is knowing the signs of an imbalance, because they aren’t limited to troubles with your tummy. Here are the top five signs that your gut and microbiome may be out of whack!

  1. Are you moody?

You may think that your brain is located far from your gut, but did you know that your gut is in constant communication with your brain? This has a huge influence over your mood and emotions. This is because your friendly gut flora work to produce and regulate important mood-enhancing chemicals, like dopamine, cortisol, and serotonin.

  1. Do you feel under the weather?

Since your immunity is reflected by your gut health, where the majority of your beneficial bacteria live, if there is an imbalance going on with your microbiome your immune function is generally compromised and cannot effectively protect you from harmful pathogens. So, if you’re constantly feeling out of it and not like yourself, the root problem may be an insufficient number of the friendly flora in your gut!

  1. Are you low in energy?

If your energy in the morning is gone, and you feel like you’re living in a haze, it is time to consider all that is going on in your gut (or lack thereof). A deficiency of your friendly gut flora makes it a lot harder for your body to properly digest food and absorb the nutrients your body needs. This can leave you feeling worn out and fatigued before you day has even begun! So, before you go to grab another cup of coffee to help get you through the day, think about supporting your gut microbiome first!

  1. Do you feel uncomfortable in your own skin?

Are you continuously experiencing breakouts, irritations, rashes, or itches? Keep in mind that your gut may be responsible for these skin issues! Undesirable bacteria lingering in your intestines can cause a less than optimal complexion. And it’s not just your skin that gets affected – your microbiome can play a big role in whether or not your maintaining a healthy body weight!

  1. Are you experiencing stomach sensitivities?

Although most of the common signs for an imbalance in your gut occur all throughout the body, some signs do actually show up in the gut itself! If you experience bouts of constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or gas, it may be due to a lack of the friendly flora that work to keep the bad guys in check!

Give Your Gut Some Extra Love

If you’re experiencing an imbalance in your guy, there’s no need to let it affect your life and performance. Follow these simple steps to help support your microbiome now!

Get Active

It’s time to get moving! Physically active people tend to have more healthy gut bacteria than those who do not exercise. Working out doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Find a way to move that brings joy to your being. That could be running, swimming, martial arts, hockey, or any other activity that’s fun and raises your heart rate.

Healthy Choices

Eating a diet consisting of natural, whole, raw food (and organic if possible) that is full of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables will keep your entire system strong and your microbiome happy. This is because many plant-based foods – like apples, bananas, asparagus, and oats – are excellent sources of prebiotics, which are fibers that support the growth of your friendly flora. Try your best to avoid sugars, GMOS, processed foods, alcohol, and foods with other artificial ingredients that all deplete your healthy gut flora.

Relax

When you’re stressed out, your healthy gut bacteria may be less helpful since your body goes into its “fight or flight” mode. This can also cause an imbalance within your intestinal bacteria and make you more susceptible to the unfriendly guys. So, find something that truly calms you down such as yoga, meditation, journaling, or any other relaxation techniques.

Support Your Gut Daily 

Strengthening the support of your friendly bacteria encourages a lifetime of vitality for your mind, body, and spirit. After all, a balanced, nourished gut can have you feeling like yourself again, so you can live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Bring Your Gut Health Back To Balance 2018-10-30T23:26:54+00:00

Do You Need More Energy? Boost Your Vitality With Your Diet!

Do you want to feel energetic and vibrant throughout the day? If you’re like most of our readers, you live a fast-paced life. This can leave you feeling tired, worn out, and lethargic.

Fatigue doesn’t always mean that you are tired. Lack of energy can often be related to many health symptoms. Did you know that you can boost your energy and vitality with you diet? The main reason for low energy has to do with shortcomings in your diet and the fact that you are probably not getting enough of the nutrients that you need. Let’s take a look at which vitamins give you more energy and which foods offer them naturally!

The Four B’s

Key vitamins that boost energy include these four B vitamins: B1, B2, B6 and B12. Each of these B vitamins are important for the metabolism of your cells and the formation of red blood cells. They play a part with how your body processes the nutrients you eat and converts them into energy. B12 is especially important. A diet that doesn’t include a lot of B12 foods can result in noticeable fatigue and changes with mood. The good news is that we can get sources of these B vitamins naturally from leafy green vegetables, peas, lentils, beans, as well as from poultry, beef, seafood, dairy and whole grain products.

Iron

Iron is an essential nutrient and part of your hemoglobin that aids your body in transporting oxygen through the bloodstream. Iron plays a major role with creating energy from the nutrients that we consume. Fatigue is often associated with insufficient oxygenation. An Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States. You can get Iron from natural food sources from the foods mentioned above along with pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and even dark chocolate!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another essential vitamin for your health. Vitamin C helps to maintain our blood vessels, play a key role with energy production, mood, maintaining healthy skin, and bones. But did you know that your body needs Vitamin C to make L-carnitine, which helps your body burn fat for energy. Fatigue is often one of the first signs of vitamin C depletion! Natural sources of vitamin C can be found within citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes, as well as kiwis, mangos, papayas, pineapples, and berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries!

Folic Acid

As part of one of the eight B-Vitamins, folate helps the body with converting the food we eat into glucose, which provides our bodies with energy. When combined with vitamin B12, folic acid significantly boosts energy levels within all individuals. Natural sources of folate can be found in black eyed peas, asparagus, lentils, walnuts, spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, peanuts, as well as beef.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Are your calcium and vitamin D levels low? Calcium and Vitamin D are needed for energy production. Deficiencies of these both these vitamins are linked to symptoms of fatigue. Opt for natural foods high in calcium such as salmon and sardines, kale, collards, broccoli, turnips, bok choy, and sesame seeds.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that is vital for energy production. Your body needs magnesium to create energy by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the fundamental unit of energy within the body’s cells. Without proper levels of this mineral, the nutrients that your takin in through food would not be metabolized into energy. Magnesium also supports increased muscle function, and bone quality (when taken with calcium and vitamin D). Natural sources of magnesium include avocados, nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, whole grains, fatty fish, and dark chocolate!

Zinc

Zinc is a vital part of keeping your metabolism running smoothly. Zinc helps to metabolize protein, carbs, as well as fats, and when you don’t have enough, you can experience reduced energy and sluggishness. You can get zinc through natural foods like oysters, which contain more zinc per serving than any other food, as well as poultry, seafood, beans, nuts, and whole grains.

Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace mineral and antioxidant that is vital to good health and physical and mental energy. Unusual lethargy, tiredness, and a lack of energy over several days could all be symptoms of a selenium deficiency. Natural sources of selenium can be found within many natural food sources such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Are you experiencing low energy? Your diet can help.

If you find that you are feeling sluggish, and it is hard for you to get through the day, it is time to take a look at your diet. Fatigue is often related to poor nutrition. Fight your fatigue by including fresh, whole foods, that are high in vitamins and minerals in order to boost your energy levels and vitality!

 

 

Do You Need More Energy? Boost Your Vitality With Your Diet! 2018-10-24T12:47:33+00:00