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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

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

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

What Is Candida and How To Fight It Naturally

When there are balanced levels in the body, Candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion. However, if Candida overproduces, it can become a serious concern that has the ability to cause a wide variety of negative and serious health problems. The best way to reduce and eliminate any symptoms is to change your diet, but what exactly do you need to do? Read on and learn exactly how to combat your Candida overgrowth naturally.

Candida is a fungal infection that can affect men and women of all ages and various parts of the body. It commonly occurs in the mouth, nose, ears, as well as your gut. Due to its many and varied symptoms, Candida is often ignored or misdiagnosed.

Level Up Your Diet – Remove Problem Foods

The good news is that there are many natural candida treatments. The main natural treatment is to make a change in your diet to reduce the overgrowth of yeast. This involves removing the foods from your diet that feed the candida and encourage it to flourish in your body. The top foods to remove include sugar, white flour, yeast, and alcohol. These top offenders are believed to promote the candida overgrowth.

Avoiding sugar in all of its various forms truly is the key to combatting candida naturally. The candida yeast cells need sugar to build their cell walls, expand their colonies, and switch into their more virulent, fungal form. This is why a diet low in sugar is absolutely necessary as part of treating a candida overgrowth.

Moving forward, you want your diet to be centered around vegetables, high-quality protein foods, and gluten-free gains like brown rice and quinoa. Avoiding fruit when beginning any Candida treatment is also recommended because even though fruit is very healthy, the natural fructose gets turned into sugar within your body. For vegetables, you also want to try to avoid these starchy variety: potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, and peas. These veggies have a high carbohydrate content and should be avoided during the start of your candida treatment.

Level Up Your Diet – Boost Your Immunity

You will also want to make sure that you include these top foods on a daily basis in your diet: apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut and other fermented veggies, leafy greens, coconut oil, garlic, chia and flaxseeds, and spices like turmeric and cinnamon!

In order to have success with combatting your candida naturally, you need to boost your immune system which can take anywhere from a week to several months. A strong immune system is crucial for removing excess candida cells. It all depends on you and how strict you are with your diet, and the severity of your candida.

Best Foods to Fight Candida:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

The acid and enzymes in apple cider vinegar help to kill and get rid of excess yeast in your body.

  • Fermented Foods

Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi contain microflora that help protect the intestines. Regular consumption will help improve the immune system and make your body less hospitable for candida.

  • Leafy Greens

Leafy green veggies help to alkalize the body, which fights against the acidic nature of yeast overgrowth. Greens contains zero sugar and high amounts of magnesium, that naturally detox the body, vitamin C to build the immune system, chlorophyll to cleanse the body, B vitamins to energize the body and iron to give the body full support.

  • Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil has antimicrobial properties that kill off harmful candida through ingestion and topical application.

  • Garlic

Garlic contains a number of Sulphur containing compounds that have extremely potent antifungal properties. Raw garlic benefits your fight against candida specifically.

  • Chia and Flaxseeds

Polyphenols found in flaxseeds and chia seeds support the growth of probiotics in the gut and support the elimination of yeast and candida in the body.

  • Turmeric and Cinnamon

Turmeric’s active compound curcumin fights the growth of candida in the body. Cinnamon also has similar properties, so it is best to include these two spices in your diet if you are suffering from a candida overgrowth!

Follow Up Care

Once you’re free of your candida symptoms and the candida itself, then what happens? As you guessed, going back to your old habits and ways of eating will likely just bring the candida back all over again. Sticking to a diet full of raw, fermented, and cooked vegetables is the best way to ensure that the overgrowth doesn’t come back. In general, it is always best to avoid sugary and processed foods. Real, whole, and natural foods are always your best bet!

What Is Candida and How To Fight It Naturally 2018-10-19T14:30:07+00:00

Everything You Need to Know About Getting Enough Vitamin D3

An estimated one billion people are believed to have a vitamin D3 deficiency. Often called “the sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D is essential for proper calcium absorption and to maintain phosphate levels, keep your immunity strong, and stimulate proper bone and cell development.

What Happens if I Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D3?

Not getting enough vitamin D3 can leave you vulnerable to some serious health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure and heart disease
  • Insulin resistance, which can increase the risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
  • Impaired immune function, which can lead to infection
  • Brittle, thinning bones, which can increase the risk of osteoporosis
  • Depression and cognitive dysfunction

You can reduce your risk of developing health issues by maintaining an active lifestyle and eating a balanced diet, including plenty of D3-rich foods. Your immune system relies on D3, which turns on certain peptides that are responsible for combatting microbes. Without adequate amounts of the sunshine vitamin, your body might not be able to adequately fight off invaders, leaving you vulnerable to a full-fledged infection. Of course, D3 is also necessary for the absorption of calcium and other bone-friendly minerals, which means that if you aren’t getting enough, your bones and teeth could pay the price.

How Can I Tell if I’m Not Getting Enough Vitamin D3?

It is not always easy to tell if you are suffering from a vitamin D3 shortage. Symptoms are often subtle and easy to overlook, and the deficiency can be quite severe or long-term by the time symptoms become obvious.

If you do have symptoms, they might include:

  • Foggy thinking, difficulty concentrating, mood changes, depression, anxiety, and irritability
  • Muscle weakness, decreased endurance, unexplained fatigue, and sleepiness regardless of the quantity or quality of sleep you get
  • Increasing or high blood pressure
  • Thinning or weak bones, frequent bone fractures, or osteoporosis
  • Chronic or unexplained pain, unexplained illnesses, or nutritional deficiencies

Because vitamin D3 is essential for healthy brain function, your brain might be the first thing to suffer when these levels drop. You might feel moody or irritable, or you might have a hard time concentrating. If you’re spending more time indoors or not eating a D-rich diet, that may well be the reason for your symptoms.

Vitamin D3 is also necessary for cell growth and development, so if you’re not getting enough, you might feel tired and worn out. You may not recover as quickly after a workout, or you might not be up to working out at all. You could start suffering from unexplained aches and pains, too. Don’t chalk it up to “old age” just yet: You may very well have a D3 deficiency!

If your deficiency is severe enough or goes on long enough, the side effects can become more severe, and your bones and heart could be at risk. Acting now could protect your health in the long run.

Am I At Risk?

Vitamin D3 deficiencies have become more common in recent years. Some people are more susceptible to a deficiency than others, including:

  • Those who wear sunscreen religiously or who have dark skin
  • Those who spend a lot of time inside
  • Those who are obese
  • Those who are elderly
  • Long-term exclusively breastfed babies

Wearing sunscreen protects your skin from UVA and UVB damage, but once the sun’s rays are blocked, your skin’s vitamin D production cannot be stimulated properly. If you’re fair-skinned, just 10 minutes of going in the sun without sunscreen is enough to get plenty of vitamin D. Darker skinned people produce less vitamin D, so they need to spend more time in the sun to get the same benefits. Spending too much time inside has the same effect as wearing sunscreen all the time: Your body just doesn’t have the opportunity to make the amount of vitamin D it needs to stay healthy.

Obese people are also at risk of suffering a shortage of D3. Larger or heavier people need more vitamin D3, but if they aren’t getting it through sun exposure or their diet, they will have a deficiency. Those who are elderly don’t necessarily have an increased need, but their bodies become less efficient at making it.

The Top 10 Reasons You Might Not Be Getting Enough D3

A vitamin D deficiency can happen anytime you don’t get enough vitamin D, either through your diet or when your body doesn’t make enough in response to sun exposure. There are many reasons this can happen, but the most common are the following:

  • Not getting outside enough
  • Eating a strict vegan diet
  • Living in a polluted environment or a far distance from the equator
  • Having poor gut health
  • Suffering from kidney or liver disease
  • Being pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Using medications linked to malabsorption
  • Having a magnesium deficiency
  • Being older or obese
  • Having very dark skin

Since the sunshine vitamin and good health go hand-in-hand, it’s important to make sure that you’re not at risk of suffering from a deficiency. The good news is that vitamin D3 deficiencies are easy to prevent with the right dietary changes and lifestyle habits.

Everything You Need to Know About Getting Enough Vitamin D3 2018-10-16T09:19:05+00:00

What are Prebiotics and Why Are They Important?

Just like how we exercise to keep our physique looking fit and strong, we must also pay attention to our gut to truly be healthy. Providing nutrients and healthy bacteria for your gut will help to create a foundation of health from the inside out, so you can live a happy and healthy lifestyle. A lot of research has been done lately on prebiotics and their crucial role on gut health.  While it is incredibly interesting to learn about how our gut health contributes to our overall health, it can also be overwhelming, especially if you are just learning!

What Are Prebiotics?

While probiotics often get all the attention, prebiotics deserve special recognition too. Prebiotics are to probiotics what sunlight is to a plant. Probiotics are living organisms and prebiotics are indigestible fibers that provide nourishment for the probiotics – like sunlight for a plant.

Our lovely microbes rely on specific nutrient, prebiotic fiber, to keep them going. These soluble fibers can be found in plant-based foods and are actually indigestible by us. This kind of fiber is an excellent prebiotic because of this reason, and its ability to pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract completely undigested. The prebiotic fiber then makes its way into the colon, where it ferments and is used as fuel. Pretty amazing right?

Why Are Prebiotics Important?

Since prebiotics nourish the probiotics in our body, they have a huge impact on our health and wellness. Here are a few benefits that prebiotics have on our health!

  1. Helps Lower Stress Hormone Cortisol

Higher levels of prebiotic in your gut are associated with lower levels of cortisol. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands which are located on top of each kidney. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone released at times of stress. Having high levels of the stress hormone can cause various problems, and lead to weight gain, increase in blood pressure, and low energy. Although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, having sufficient prebiotic levels in the gut can help to naturally lower your cortisol levels.

  1. Helps Improve Nutrient Absorption

Prebiotics can help to enhance magnesium and calcium absorption in the body. These two vitamins are essential for boosting bone health and increasing bone density. Better nutrient absorption also leads to more energy and vitality!

  1. Helps Strengthen Immunity

Prebiotics naturally support immune function by increasing the number of protective microbiome in your gut. This is extremely beneficial because prebiotic help to support the gut barrier against harmful invaders.

Prebiotic Rich Foods

Incorporating foods that are high in prebiotic fibers into your diet is an essential part of the journey toward a balanced microbiome. Prebiotic foods are high in different types of fiber that support your digestive health! It is important to consume these foods raw in order to be effective. The fiber content of these foods can be altered when cooked.

  1. Chicory Root

Chicory root is a great source of prebiotics. Approximately 47% of chicory root fiber comes from the prebiotic fiber inulin. This helps to nourish your gut bacteria and improve digestion.

  1. Dandelion

Dandelion greens can be used in salads and are a great source of fiber. Dandelions also contain inulin fiber which increases friendly bacteria in the gut and helps strengthens the immune system.

  1. Garlic

The fiber content in garlic comes from inulin as well as another naturally occurring prebiotic called fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Garlic acts as a prebiotic by promotion the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria in the gut. It also helps to stop harmful bacteria from growing.

  1. Jerusalem Artichoke

Also known as the “earth apple” the Jerusalem artichoke supports the growth of friendly bacteria in the colon. Additionally, it helps to strengthen the immune system.

  1. Onions

Similar to garlic, the inulin and FOS content helps to strengthen gut flora, break down fats, and helps to boosts the immune system.

  1. Asparagus

Asparagus is another great source of prebiotics. The inulin content in this vegetable helps to promote friendly bacteria in the gut.

  1. Bananas

The prebiotic fiber in bananas has been shown to increase healthy gut bacteria and helps with reducing bloating! Unripe bananas are also high in resistant starch (meaning it is resistant to digestion and functions as a soluble fiber) which has prebiotic effects.

  1. Whole Grains

Whole grains like barley and oats contain high amounts of beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a prebiotic fiber that promotes healthy levels of gut bacteria in the digestive tract. As well, beta-glucan helps to slow down digestion and helps to control appetite, by providing a sense of fullness.

  1. Apples

Apples are a delicious fruit that contains the fiber called pectin. The pectin in apples has a prebiotic effect that feeds the beneficial gut bacteria and lowers the harmful bacteria in your gut.

  1. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are another great source of prebiotics. Flaxseeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber which promotes healthy gut bacteria, regular bowel movements, and reduces the amount of dietary fat you digest and absorb.

Probiotics and Prebiotics Go Hand In Hand

So many factors in our world today deplete the good bacteria that we have in our gut – elements in the air, pesticides in the ground, cleaning supplies in our homes, processed foods, and even antibiotics. Fortunately, you can take care of your gut barrier by making a conscious effort to live a gut healthy life. This includes choosing organic whole foods, regular exercise, and swapping harsh antibacterial chemicals for natural products and cleaning supplies. As well, people who are have an exercise regime have healthier microbiomes than those that are non-active. However, even if we live a stress-free life, eat organic whole foods, and exercise regularly, our lifestyle in the fast-paced world today can inevitably lead to some depletion of our good bacteria. The good thing is that we are able to maintain and replenish our good bacteria through our diets and supplements.  Probiotics and prebiotics are uniquely different – they work together simultaneously to sustain a healthy gut. Although we can make lifestyle changes to improve our gut-health, we must continuously replenish our body with the good guys so that we can live a happy and healthy life!

What are Prebiotics and Why Are They Important? 2018-10-05T08:15:55+00:00