Foods to Increase Your Health

It is important to eat real, whole foods in order to stay healthy throughout your lifetime. It is best to avoid any packaged or manmade food as well as anything that had been processed in a factory. Do your best to make your diet at least 90% whole foods and leave the last 10% for unhealthy snacks.

Lifestyle is also a huge component of overall health. Some lifestyle choices to make that are beneficial are doing intermittent fasting, getting enough (but not too much) sun exposure, as well as avoiding your exposure to electromagnetic fields. This can be done by limiting your time on your cell phone.

Top 6 Brain Foods

When you are looking for foods that nourish your brain, along with your heart health, gut health, muscles, and immune system, think about foods that contain a lot of healthy fat. This makes sense because your brain is actually made up of mostly fat.

1. Avocados

These are a good source of oleic acid, which helps decrease inflammation. They also include almost 20 essential nutrients like potassium.

2. Organic coconut oil

Coconut oil is great for your thyroid and metabolism and is a medium-chain fatty acid. MCTs have a lot of health benefits, including increasing your metabolism and getting rid of pathogens.

3. Grass-fed butter and ghee

About 20% of butterfat is pure short- and medium-chain fatty acids. Your body uses these immediately for energy and they don’t increase your body fat. So, a large portion of the butter you eat is used right away for energy. Ghee is a healthy fat that is great for cooking. It has a longer shelf life than butter.

4. Organic pastured eggs

A lot of the best foods for you are high in cholesterol and saturated fats, including eggs. Your body needs cholesterol to regulate protein pathways that are involved in cellular processes. This is especially important for your brain because it contains about 25% of your body’s cholesterol.

5. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon

Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is important due to their health benefits and they have a low risk of contamination. It is high in omega-3 fats that your body needs for optimal brain and heart health.

6. Organic raw nuts

Macadamia nuts have the highest fat content and lowest protein and carb content out of all of the nuts available, and 60& of the fat oleic acid. One serving of macadamia nuts provides 58% of the recommended daily amount of manganese and 23% of the thiamin you need each day.

Pecans are similar to macadamia nuts when it comes to fat and protein, and they also have magnesium, which acts as an anti-inflammatory, oleic acid, antioxidants, and manganese.

3 Foods to Increase Your Heart Health

Your heart also thrives on healthy fats. Additionally, these three foods are known for their heart benefits:

1. Beets

Research shows that beets are very healthy due to their high nitrate content. Your body produces nitric oxide form nitrates, which enhances oxygen and blood flow. It is also beneficial to the immune systems. Research shows that drinking raw beet juice can lower blood pressure by up to five points in only a matter of hours.

2. Arugula

Arugula contains flavonoids that help improve blood vessel function, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, and decrease inflammation. It also has cleansing properties that can help your body get rid of heavy metals.

3. Sprouts

Harvesting sprouts before they reach maturity will give you a nutrient-dense plant food that fills you up by eating less food. An easy way to improve your nutrition is to swap out lettuce for sprouts in your salad or other foods you typically put lettuce on.

4 Foods for Gut Health

More and more studies continue to show that there are a lot of factors that go into nutrition. One of the components focuses on nourishing health-promoting bacteria in your gut. Having a healthy diet helps create a proper environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive in your gut, while eliminating disease-causing bacteria, fungi and yeast. Some of the best foods to eat for your gut include:

1. Raw, grass-fed kefir

This cultured milk product is full of probiotics. It also has fiber, which also helps to nourish the gut.

2. Fermented vegetables

Stop eating sugars and eat traditionally fermented foods instead. Fermented vegetables are a common choice and you can ferment almost any vegetable that you want by using a starter culture.

3. Organic bone broth

Bone broth is one ancient meal, dating back to the Stone Age. It is also one of the most healing meals. It is easily digested and has amazing immune-optimizing components that are building blocks for the treatment of many diseases.

4. Organic psyllium

Psyllium is a dietary fiber that helps increase the number of healthy bacteria in your gut, while also reducing intestinal inflammation. You should be consuming between 20 and 30 grams of fiber each day.

Anti-Inflammatory Spices

Many foods have anti-inflammatory properties, but spices can also do the trick.

1. Turmeric

Curcumin, the bioactive compound in turmeric, has been found to aid in digestion, modulate about 700 genes, positively control 160 various physiological pathways, improve cell membrane health, and lower inflammation. Turmeric may also have potent anticancer properties.

2. Ginger

Ginger has great medicinal qualities. Studies show that ginger can protect against a variety of chronic diseases, partly due to its positive effects on inflammation and oxidative stress. Ginger has also been found to fight cancer and decrease the size of prostate tumors.

2 Immune-Boosting Foods

Your immune system fights against diseases and a large part of your immune function depends on your gut health. So, every gut-healthy food that has been previously mentioned helps boost immune function as well. Two others include:

1. Allium vegetables

Garlic and onions have health-promoting effects such as reducing inflammation, improving immune function, and improving heart health.

Garlic and onions can also combat up to 14 kinds of cancerous cells, such as brain, breast, lung, and pancreatic. Both sprouted and fermented, black garlic are variations you can try to switch up your diet a bit. Both of these have shown to give additional health benefits over regular garlic.

Onions have a lot of beneficial properties. They are antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antihistaminic, and an antioxidant. Polyphenols are plant compounds recognized for their disease prevention, antioxidant and anti-aging properties.

2. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are high in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin B, vitamin C, and minerals. They are also a great source of antioxidants such as ergothioneine, which is recognized as a “master antioxidant.”

Mushrooms are also an immunosupportive food which is why they can help treat and prevent cancer.

2 Muscle-Boosting Foods

You need protein to build muscle, but eating too much protein can lead to diseases such as cancer. It is best to eat just the right of protein that your body needs.

Typically, people need about 0.5 grams of protein for each pound of lean body mass. To figure out your lean body mass, subtract your percent body fat from 100 and multiply that percentage by your weight. Then divide your lean body mass in half to get your protein requirement in grams. Two of the top foods for protein are:

1. Grass-fed beef

Grass-fed beef has better omega-6 to omega-3 ratios than conventional beef. It also has a higher concentration of conjugated linoleic acid and antioxidants and is less likely to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

2. Whey protein

This byproduct of milk and cheese provides all of the essential amino acids for your body.

3. Anticancer Foods

These foods have potent chemoprotective activity:

1. Broccoli

Broccoli has compounds like sulforaphane, glucoraphanin, phenolic compounds and diindolylmethane, which help reduce one’s risk of cancer.

2. Leeks

This allium vegetable has therapeutic effects stemming from its sulfur-containing compounds. Leeks also have kaempferol, which is a natural flavonol that has been linked to a lower risk of cancer.

3. Black cumin

Black cumin has at least 20 different ways to improve your chances of being able to fight cancer. It has natural antibacterial properties, is an antioxidant, acts as a renal protective, and even has gastro-protective properties.

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The Healthy Habit of Increasing Fiber

Fiber is an important part of one’s overall health, including the fight against cancer and other serious diseases. One study revealed that people suffering from colon cancer who added fiber to their diet likely have a lower risk of death than those who do not eat a lot of fiber.

Eating enough fiber is so crucial that consuming more fiber after getting a cancer diagnosis can positively impact a patients’ prognosis, regardless of how much fiber they ate before their diagnosis.

One study used the data of over 1,500 adults with colon cancer to find out how much fiber they typically ate, then followed half of the participants for eight years. Of that half, 733 of them died, 174 of which were due to their cancer.

The study showed that for each additional 5 grams of fiber a patient ate per day, their chances of succumbing to cancer decreased by 22%. Additionally, those patients had a 14% decreased risk of dying overall compared to those who ate the least amount of fiber.

When someone gets diagnosed with colon cancer and adds dietary fiber to their diet, their survival rate increases. However, it is important to note that the fiber is specifically dietary. Researchers say that certain grains, such as those from cereal, to be one of the most effective ways to increase one’s fiber intake. However, grains raise insulin and leptin levels, which promotes the inflammation of chronic diseases. Some healthier forms of fiber are foods such as produce, berries, flax, psyllium seed husk, and chia seeds.

Biggest Risk Factors to Disease

Family history plays a big role in one’s chances of getting colon cancer, as is a personal history of cancer, a failure to get screened, and gastrointestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis. Lifestyle can also influence one’s risk.

The intestinal flora of cancer patients also plays a big role in whether or not they are able to be treated with immunotherapy. Some people have thought that specific bacteria had to be present for gut health to be positive, however, it is more likely that the diversity of the flora is the important part.

This is important because diets that are low in fiber have little microbial diversity. So consuming a fiber-rich diet will improve the microbial diversity in the gut and allow a patient to have better responses during immunotherapy cancer treatment.

Fiber Should Be a Priority

People don’t usually think about how much fiber they need to eat throughout the day. Often, people are focused more on protein and fats. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that people need to consume 25 grams of fiber each day. Most people don’t even come close to eating this amount. This may require an entire diet transformation for some people.

Fiber helps to move foods along that are stuck in your large intestine and help things pass properly. It also allows the body to distribute nutrients. Additionally, it’s actually your body’s inability to digest some kinds of fiber that makes it important to your digestive process. Soluble fiber, the kind in blueberries and flaxseeds, soaks up water like a sponge and helps foods dissolve into a gel-like texture, slowing down your digestion.

You want your digestion to be slow so you will full longer, allowing you to eat less. Insoluble fiber is found in celery, carrots, and dark green leafy vegetables.

Many whole foods like fruits and vegetables have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Both types of fiber are good for you and have positive impacts on long-term health.

A plant-based diet may result in a wider variety of microbiomes in the gut. Studies have found that the gut microbiome directly affects overall health. One study listed health conditions that can occur with a compromised microbiome. Some of these include:

  • Clostridium difficile infection
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Neuropsychiatric illnesses

It is jarring to realize that your gut bacteria and your diet can have an impact on your mental health. In addition to your diet, other factors come into play such as the chemicals and pollution that you come into contact with. However, your diet is something that you can easily control that has a large impact on your overall health.

Some healthy foods that are rich in fiber include:

  • Acorn squash
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Broccoli
  • Psyllium husk
  • Raspberries
  • Fresh pears
  • Dried figs
  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Prunes
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts

Remember, it is still important to consider all food factors when eating, such as the high amount of natural sugars in fruit and whether or not a fruit or vegetable is organic.

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Everything You Need to Know About Mint

People love to add mint to their foods and beverages due to its sweet smell and cooling flavor. This great herb is very versatile and is used for many reasons in the culinary industry.

However, did you know that mint is also very healthy? Mint has a high antioxidant capacity which helps it alleviate health ailments. Also referred to as mentha, mint is a group of about 20 perennial plant species, with the most well-known varieties being peppermint and spearmint. Mint originated n Asia and the Mediterranean and has been valued for centuries not its elegant aroma, and its medicinal benefits. There are a lot of varieties of mint, including peppermint, catnip, spearmint, bergamot, and lemon balm.

Most mint plants can be distinguished by the appearance of their leaves, stems, and flowers, which are either purple, white, or pink. If you rub a leaf between your fingers, you will be able to notice the distinct and well-known minty smell of mint.

Mint Leaves and Health Benefits

Mint’s high antioxidant content is one of its characteristics that make mint beneficial for one’s health. Mint contains vitamins A, B2 and C, and minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium, and copper.

Menthol, which is also in mint, has analgesic, which acts as a local anesthetic and can help heal irritations. Mint includes nutrients and has health-promoting properties that make it a beneficial herb. Some potential benefits that you can get from using mint leaves include:

  • Alleviate allergy symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Eases digestive problems because of its ability to increase bile secretion and encourages bile flow, which leads to easier and quicker digestion
  • Helps relieve headaches and nausea
  • Helps relieve congestion and some respiratory disorders by soothing the nose, throat, and other parts of the respiratory system
  • Provides pain relief and helps reduce fatigue

If mint is used topically, it can be used for many benefits due to its calming and cooling properties. It can help relieve insect bites, sunburn, rashes, and other skin ailments. Additionally, it can be used as an immediate breath freshener.

It is important to note that certain groups of people should be cautious when using mint. For example, mint can exacerbate the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, so it should be avoided in these circumstances. People who have had gallstones may also want to be cautious to not use this herb for similar reasons.

Uses for Mint

Mint has a lot of uses. For example, ancient Greeks used it to clean their tables and even added it to their baths. Also, the Romans believed that mint’s scent can keep people happy and that eating it can boost intelligence.

Today, mint is used in many products including toothpaste, soothing balms, inhalers, chewing gum, and breath fresheners. There are also a lot of uses for plain mint leaves, including:

  • Flea and tick repellent
  • Foot scrub
  • Room freshener
  • Floor cleaner
  • Mint tea

Due to its many uses, it is a great idea to plant your own mint at home. To do this, plant several plants about two feet apart from each other because they tend to grow. Most mint plants will grow up to 2 feet tall and do not require a lot of care to thrive. However, it is important to note that mint benefits from pruning and picking because the plant usually produces horizontal runners that could take over your garden.

If you don’t have a backyard, you can grow mint inside. Plant some mint in containers that have adequate drainage and put them in an area with indirect sunlight. Because mint thrives in moist soil, be sure to water your plant regularly. Once you have a healthy mint plant, you can enjoy all of its benefits.

Cooking With Mint

Mint works great in appetizers, main courses, and dessert. You can even use it in a salad to add a fresh taste. People often like to add mint to their water to make it more refreshing to drink. It is just important to remember that different varieties of mint taste a bit different, so you want to make sure you are using the one that you intend to use.

To choose the best mint variety for your dishes, consider peppermint’s strong flavor that works well in cooked dishes and desserts or drinks that you want to have a menthol flavor. Alternatively, spearmint has a milder and sweeter taste, which is great for making mint tea, creating sauces, and even making jellies. Orange mint, on the other hand, works well when it is used with fruits such as nectarines, peaches, apricots, and plums.

If you can’t plant mint at home, you can find it at a farmer’s market or your local grocery store. Just make sure that you buy mint that looks healthy and does not appear to be damaged.

How to Store Fresh Mint

If you do not store your mint properly, it can wilt and lose its flavor. You should treat mint like a flower when storing it by putting it into a container with water.

Once you take off the rubber bands that are holding your mint together, trim stems’ ends by cutting off the leaves, allowing some space at the ends. Put the mint stems in a tall container and add water. Cover your plant loosely with plastic and store it in the refrigerator, making sure to change the water every other day.

You can also wrap your mint with a damp paper towel and put it in a plastic bag. However, it is important to be sure that the mint leaves are not crushed and the mint is able to stay together. Store this in your fridge and it will stay fresh for several weeks.

Mint smells sweet, is refreshing, and invigorating. It has several different varieties and it has gained a great reputation in the cooking world due to its fragrance and flavor. Its health issues are also widespread, making mint a very good thing to keep around the house.

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The Power of Blueberries and Dark Chocolate

If you are a chocolate lover, you will likely be happy to know there may actually be a scientific reason for your cravings. Researchers claim that potent compounds in both dark chocolate and blueberries could contain some secrets to staying young. Scientists say these compounds can fight wrinkles because they help rejuvenate old cells.

Lab research has actually been able to show old cells look and act like younger cells by continuing to divide. Using plant chemicals can actually help to switch on the major class of genes that turn off with age, helping restore the function of your old cells. Natural compounds that are found in red grapes, blueberries, red wine, and dark chocolate, specifically the antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory flavonoids, can help you appear more youthful as you age.

Researchers have been surprised by the extent to which the cell rejuvenation happens and how quickly it takes place. Old cells begin looking like young cells, which increases the implications and potential for new research. Scientists hope this information can be used to increase normal, healthy lifespans for people.

One reason that this study is so exciting is that it builds upon old anti-aging experiments that focused on significant genes that “switch off” with age along with dysfunctional cells that build up in your tissues with age.

As you age, your cells are not able to splice as they once did, making them work less effectively. This means they are not able to respond to their environment as well as they could when they were younger. This new discovery has the ability to lead to certain therapies that could help people age better and decrease the degenerative effects of aging. By the age of 85, most people have experienced some sort of chronic illness, and are increasingly likely to experience a stroke, heart disease, and cancer.

The “secret” compound found in dark chocolate and blueberries is one that is getting more and more attention these days. There have been many international studies that have indicated that resveratrol has beneficial effects on long-term health. Studies have also shown that resveratrol can modulate a signaling pathway that has the potential to regulate the splicing of cells, as well as suppress cellular senescence.

While it is exciting to consider the potential of the compounds that are found in blueberries, red wine, red grapes, and dark chocolate, it is important to note that there is already considerable interest in developing drugs that can create senescence for eventual human use. Resveratrol has been noted to have possible protective factors against cancer.

Curcumin is another food that includes resveratrol. Curcumin is a powerful compound that is found primarily in turmeric. One study has shown that curcumin, along with resveratrol and flavonoids has the ability to positively impact a wide variety of diseases. The idea that these plant-based foods might be helpful when it comes to disease intervention, particularly cancer, is very significant.

When the human body is exposed to a stressful environment, cell survival is challenged and the risk of chronic disease increases. The polyphenols found in these plants give you protection against some stress-induced toxicities by modulating intercellular communications that inhibit inflammation, free radicals, nuclear damage, which all have the potential to increase one’s life expectancy.

Antioxidants are the compounds that help decrease oxidation in the body, which is a chemical process that can cause severe damage to your cells. Blueberries and dark chocolate both contain antioxidants and their strength in these foods can be considered impressive.

Oxidation in the body is similar to a rusty bicycle. This is very close to what happens inside your body if you smoke, eat a poor diet, or live in constant stress. These disruptions in your natural oxidation process create unstable and damaging molecules that are called free radicals. Oxygen allows these chemicals to form, and if left uncontrolled, they will damage the body’s cells.

Antioxidants, however, fight the damage from free radicals, making resveratrol a potent compound. Flavonoids, which are in blueberries, have been shown to improve brain function in clinical trials. One study actually found that when a group of older adults drank blueberry juice every day, their blood flow to the brain increased. improving cognitive function.

Studies have shown that the risk of dementia is actually reduced by a higher fruit intake, and cognitive function improves in healthy older adults who have a diet that is rich in plant-based foods.

While flavonoids are commonly found in fruits and vegetables, they can also be found in nuts, seeds, and green tea. Red wine also includes flavonoids, but should only be consumed in moderation. Many studies show the protective exploits of deeply colored foods such as red grapes and blueberries because polyphenols that they contain are plant chemicals that benefit your entire body, including your brain, skin, heart, bones, and gut. They also help to improve blood pressure, reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, and strengthen bones.

There are a lot of flavonoids in dark chocolate, including epicatechin, which optimize brain function and lower your risk for Alzheimer’s and improve your mood and emotional stress. This helps benefit your vascular system and decreases your risk of a stroke.

It is important to note that dark chocolate is the “good” chocolate because, unlike milk chocolate, it doesn’t contain milk products and sugar that other chocolates have in them. Raw cacao nibs are a great choice for a food, which can be eaten whole or ground into powder to put into smoothies or other recipes. When you are looking for chocolate, look for products with higher cacao and a low sugar content.

You may not think about your diet when considering your longevity and overall health, but the compounds that give you the most benefits are found in whole foods such as blueberries and dark chocolate. If you eat foods that can improve your health and help prevent disease, you are more likely to live longer.

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Six Ways to Add Variety to Your Workout

If you have been doing the same workout routine for years, it is likely time to switch it up. This will allow your body to get out of a plateau and will also bring a new sense of enjoyment to your workout schedule.

Whatever your reason is for looking for some new moves, you have obviously hit a workout fatigue that needs some adjusting. You need some new motivation to get to the gym on a regular basis and continue gaining muscle. Boring workouts can result in a willingness to quit, which will not help you reach your goals.

However, you don’t have to completely rework your routine, especially if you still enjoy doing certain parts of it. Making little changes can help you set your routine on the right path. Here are six ways to add variety to your workout to keep your motivation high.

1. Try Some New Moves

While it may be an obvious answer, adding in some new moves to your current routine is one way to switch it up and keep it exciting. You will always resort to doing the exercises that you are used to doing because you like them and they are comfortable for you. Instead, you need to put forth some effort to add in new moves.

This may require giving some things a try that you never really thought you would do. Maybe there is a sport that you have never tried or even a new type of exercise that you have seen people doing. How about a new class that you never considered or even a bootcamp?

Trying new things will not only allow you to have a more well-rounded fitness routine, it will also make you healthier in the long-run. Also, you might discover that you like something that you had never considered doing before.

2. Change Up Your Current Moves

If you really like what you do now, you don’t have to come up with an entirely new routine. You can take what you currently do and just change it up a bit. Make some little tweaks so you don’t feel like you have to give up what you love.

This means that you can change to an exercise that has a new variation rather than trashing it completely. This is a great idea if the reason you want to change is that you keep developing the same injury that is being caused by repetition.

For example, if the back squats that you do hurt your lower back, try doing a front squat or a goblet squat. You can also change your workout by switching your dumbbells to barbells.

3. Change Your Sets and Reps

If you want to keep your old exercises but challenge your body a bit more, try changing up your sets and reps. If you are like most people, you probably tend to do three sets of 10 of your exercises. Instead, try doing 10 sets of three. Just make sure to increase your weight accordingly.

Also, don’t forget about doing drop-sets and getting to the last set until failure. Both of these will stimulate your strength and growth.

4. Make a Variation to Your Rest

You may not be great at sticking to an effective rest schedule. Do you ever find yourself chatting with friends or getting some water when you should be paying attention to how much you are resting between sets?

If you tend to take long rests, shorten them up by holding yourself accountable for only doing 50 seconds of rest. This should equate to a workout rest ratio of 1:1. This will help you build up your muscle endurance and make your muscles more resistant to getting tired.

5. Change Up Your Tempo

Try the time under tension theory when it comes to setting your pace. Consider how long each muscle is under strain during a set to help change things up. While you might be used to trying to finish your move as quickly as possible, this is not the best way to challenge your muscles.

Do the lowering part of your squat for five seconds, then take five seconds to come back up. This will help you increase the amount of time that your muscles are under tension in your workouts.

6. Add in Some Pauses

To make your workout more challenging, add a pause before you lift up from your movement. So, if you’re doing a push-up, lower your chest to the ground and pause before pushing back up. This takes some of the momentum out of your exercise, which will make your muscles work harder.

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Seven Great Recovery Tools

Do you ever feel like you just know you are going to be sore the next day after finishing up your workout? If so, consider getting a head start on that misery and think about some tools that you can use to help prevent your muscles from getting sore.

Here are seven of the best tools available to help you alleviate the pain in all of your muscles before it even appears. These will allow you to feel great the next day after a hard workout.

1. Roll Recovery Roller

Massage rollers are great for any part of your body. You can use them on your IT bands, hamstrings, glutes, shins, calves, and even your arms. Massage rollers can help you get deep movement into your muscles that will allow them to relax, preventing them from being sore the next day.

2. Pro Massage Roller

These rollers are thin and target areas of your body that may be hard to reach, such as your Achilles tendon and your forearm. These rollers are also great for traveling because they can be packed up easily. They allow you to use as much or as little pressure as you feel necessary, so you can either gently or firmly get rid of the soreness in your muscles.

3. Massage Ball Set

Using a massage ball set allows you to loosen your muscles with the freedom to move the balls around as needed. If you need a little more pressure in one place than you do another, these balls are great for targeting exactly what you need in order to feel better. They are good for trigger points and places on your body that are difficult to reach. These balls are also very easy to bring along with you while you travel.

4. Vibrating Foam Roller

Professional athletes often use vibrating foam rollers to help relieve their muscles. With various speeds of vibration, you can allow these rollers to do the work for you while you just relax. After using a vibrating foam roller, you will likely not even be able to tell that you had a tough workout at the gym just the day before.

5. Resistance Band

It is really important to make sure that you stretch after every workout so you don’t develop sore muscles. Resistance bands make stretching much easier by giving you the resistance that you need without requiring that you reach in uncomfortable positions. Resistance bands come in varying degrees of resistance depending on your range of mobility, so find the right resistance for you and use them after every workout.

6. Heated Foam Roller

Applying heat to your affected muscles will allow them to relax while you are stretching them out. Use a foam roller that can be heated up in the microwave to relieve your sore muscles, or even stick it in the freezer to help reduce inflammation that may occur following an intense workout at the gym.

7. Trigger Point Foam Roller

This may be the right tool for you if you find that you constantly have pain in the same place after working out. The 3-D surface of a trigger point foam roller is great for digging into all of the kinks in your muscles. These rollers are not too hard and not too soft, allowing your blood to flow back into your muscles for a speedy recovery.

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The Benefits of Crying

Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling stressed or upset, having a good cry tends to leave you feeling better? It is almost like the act of shedding tears is a physical release for negative emotions. When it comes to these emotional tears, U.S. women cry 3.5 times a month on average, while men only tend to cry 1.9 times.

Emotional crying occurs in response to strong emotions such as stress, sadness, happiness, excitement, physical pain, and more. These emotions cause you to tear up through an intricate connection between your brain and your autonomic nervous system. Specifically, the phenomenon of crying happens because the lacrimal gland, which produces tears, is located between your eyeball and eyelid.

Blinking causes the fluid in your eye to disperse evenly, which then drains through your lacrimal punctum and nose. This is why crying also makes your nose run. However, if you have a lot of tears, they will overflow from your drainage system and flow down your cheeks.

There are several purposes for shedding tears, including reflex tears, which are a form of protection when irritants like dust get into your eyes. Basal tears are also used for protection as they help lubricate your eyes. Crying for emotional reasons also has an important purpose, with research building that it may even offer several physical and mental advantages.

Crying is a form of self-soothing behavior, which means it is something that can help calm you down when you feel upset. It can happen in response to many different emotions, such as watching a movie or seeing the beauty in nature. It also happens when a loved one passes away or a child is born. Crying mainly occurs in situations characterized by separation, helplessness, loss, and feeling overwhelmed by a strong emotion, whether it is negative or positive.

Crying helps provide stress reduction and mood enhancement. It’s been suggested that crying even promotes empathy in adults, increasing social bonding and reducing aggression. It signals to yourself and others that there is an important problem that we are unable to cope with.

Ultimately, it has been concluded that crying increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn causes you to relax. This serves as a benefit to the crier, emotionally speaking, but can also help solicit outside support.

While crying may initially make you feel worse, it ultimately increases your mood and relieves physical pain. Emotional crying triggers the release of oxytocin, which is known as the “love” hormone. In addition to possibly dulling pain, this can help you achieve emotional numbness that can help buffer extreme stress and possibly even pain.

Shedding emotional tears can also help you relieve stress because tears contain a high concentration of the ACTH hormone, which is a chemical that is linked to stress. Some scholars believe that you cry when you’re sad because it helps your body release excess stress chemicals, which helps you feel more relaxed.

Crying can have social implications. Studies show that people tend to see others who are crying as being warm, yet less competent than their non-crying counterparts. In a study of 475 participants who had reported to never cry, they also reported to have less connection with other people, less empathy and tended to experience less social support than those who do cry. However, this did not change their overall feelings of wellbeing.

Age can also have an impact on how you are viewed when you cry. When study participants looked at pictures of people of various ages crying, the images of adults crying made people feel the greatest amount of sadness and sympathy, followed by pictures of children crying then infants.

There is still a lot to learn about why people cry, and why certain people tend to cry more often than others. We all have our unique emotional threshold, which is when our feelings overwhelm us to the point of causing us to cry. It is important to try to let go of untrue conceptions regarding crying. It is healthy to cry because it helps to emotionally clear unwanted feelings. Crying is also vital when trying to resolve grief, when tears come over us after experiencing a loss or another emotional circumstance.

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The Effect of Sugar on Your Cells

Sugar is one of the most dangerous things for your body and can even trigger an addiction. Sugar is present in almost every processed food on the market, and it hides under many different names, affecting your body in many negative ways. While we are all well aware of the dangers of overeating fat and salt, there has been less attention on the overabundance of sugar in the American diet.

The sugar industry tends to bury the evidence that sugar is bad for your health, but it is actually responsible for about 40% of annual health care dollars. Over $1 trillion is spent fighting obesity in the United States, along with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Sugar has a direct impact on all of these diseases.

The foods you eat impact your brain, gut health, and metabolism. These all have an impact on your overall health and ability to be productive throughout the day. While sugar used to be a treat that people enjoyed on special occasions, it’s now found in almost all foods except for whole foods. Aside from its presence in processed foods like snacks, drinks, bread, and sauces, it is also in infant formula and baby food, which triggers the release of “feel good” hormones, leading to one’s desire for more.

Research has shown that eating refined sugar in excessive amounts encourages mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria provide the energy that your cells need, so when they do not function normally, many bodily functions may be disrupted. Researchers have found that sugar damages the function of your cells no matter how healthy you were prior to beginning eating poorly.

Researchers in a study in Surrey had two groups of men change their diets for three months. Initially, one group showed evidence of having a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, while the other group did not. Each man spent 12 weeks eating either 650 calories or no more than 140 calories from sugar every day. The researchers then measured levels of fat present in the blood and liver. They discovered that those who ate 650 calories of sugar each day had higher levels of fat in their blood and liver.

This provided new evidence that eating a lot of sugar can change how your body metabolizes fat in ways that may increase the risk of heart disease. Fat metabolism refers to the process that fats undergo to break down and disperse to the cells around your body. Men who started the study with low levels of liver fat and ate a sugar-rich diet ended up with blood and liver measurements similar to that of men who had diseases related to obesity.

The goal of this study was to research the role sugar when it comes to the metabolism of the liver and how sugar influences heart health. The study found that both groups of men who ate a diet high in sugar showed changes in their fat metabolism that was linked to cardiovascular disease.

In the past, these diseases would typically only show up in adults. However, up to 10 percent of children aged between 2 to 19 are beginning to show signs of these diseases. The reason for this is because high sugar diets begin in infancy. Unfortunately, these children are at an increased risk of developing heart disease unless they change their diet.

The danger to developing children is even greater because their bodies are not able to process or handle the amount of sugar that they consume from candy, sodas, and processed foods. With many years of sugar consumption in their future, their mitochondria will be further damaged along with their cellular metabolism, which can lead to many deadly diseases.

There are also several ways that sugar contributes to changes in mood. Sugar increases insulin resistance, which is directly related to mental health. Over time, this leads to chronic inflammation in your body. In one analysis, researchers concluded that the dietary predictors for depression and schizophrenia are closely related to those of diabetes and heart disease. They all involve chronic inflammation which is primarily caused by the intake of sugar.

For optimal health, it is best to avoid sugar as much as you can. While it may be impossible to cut it out of your diet entirely, try focusing on eating a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and other whole foods to avoid health issues in the future.

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Bananas and Avocados in the Prevention of Heart Attacks

Bananas and avocados both contain a healthy amount of potassium and magnesium. Like all foods, these two powerhouse fruits have a lot to offer in terms of bettering your health, but scientists have found that both bananas and avocados have the potential to prevent heart attacks.

Scientists believe that if you eat a banana and an avocado each day, you could even be fully protecting yourself from heart disease, and more specifically, the hardening of the arteries that leads to a series of health disorders.

Eating these two foods may also lower your risk of having a blockage in your arteries, which may lead to surgery. The potassium in these foods plays a big role in this because it reduces vascular calcification, which is one of the complications of kidney and heart disease.

In a study, mice were fed alternate diets containing various levels of potassium. Those with the highest levels of potassium had much more pliable arteries, while those who had lower amounts had harder arteries. This can be translated equally to humans. When you eat foods that contain high amounts of these minerals, these heart problems can be alleviated, especially the stiffness in arteries that comes before cardiovascular problems.

The stiffness in arteries can lead to problems because it causes your heart to work overtime to pump blood throughout your body. Eating enough potassium can help prevent artery calcification, as well as:

  • Heart disease
  • Metabolic problems
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypertension

It’s no secret that potassium plays an important role in staving off hardening arteries and related diseases. Studies have shown that eating sufficient dietary potassium improves pathological conditions.

Because of this, for these diseases, bananas and avocados are two great foods to add to your diet because they contain the potassium that can lower your risk. When it comes to keeping a healthy heart and properly functioning kidneys, it is also important to have an adequate intake of magnesium. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, and over 600 functions depend on it. This means that getting the right amount each day and avoiding a deficiency is very important in overall health.

Common symptoms of low magnesium include fatigue, muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, eye twitches, and anxiety. However, these symptoms occur for many other reasons, so it may not be obvious that the cause is low magnesium levels at first. Studies show that asthma and osteoporosis could also be involved, along with other deficiencies, including potassium.

Experts urge individuals who have these symptoms to begin remedying them by consuming more magnesium, either with a supplement or food, and maybe both. The good thing is that when you start eating enough potassium and magnesium, such as bananas and avocados, your symptoms will improve and may be reversed. This includes the regulation of your blood sugar, improved sleep, decreased stress, improved mitochondrial function, and increased energy.

Other foods that have a lot of magnesium in them include greens like kale, spinach, cabbage, romaine lettuce, and Swiss chard. Crucifers are also great, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, seeds and nuts, fatty fish like mackerel and wild-caught salmon, spices like fennel, cloves, basil, chives, and cilantro, and fruits such as papaya, watermelon, raspberries, and strawberries, and even grass-fed yogurt.

Some great sources of potassium are beet greens, carrots, cantaloupe, oranges and most of the foods suggested for magnesium intake. If you feel like you have experienced any of these symptoms, try eating a banana and an avocado each day to see if your symptoms improve. If so, then add potassium and magnesium to your diet in one way or another to help keep your body healthy.

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Macro and Micro Nutrients

Have you ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat”? Well, this is actually true. Your body breaks down everything you eat and takes the nutrients from the food and turns it into your own body’s cells. It changes food into its chemical parts and reassembles them into your cells, whether you are eating pizza, chips, fruit, or vegetables. This gives you the energy you use all day.

But, there is a catch. Your body can only be as amazing as the food you supply it to work with. Your food choices and the nutrients that they have (or lack) make a huge impact on your overall health. Each food has macronutrients and micronutrients that are able to keep you healthy.

Macronutrients are structural components of a food that are able to provide your body with energy and the calories that it needs. This includes protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Here is why each of those is important:

Proteins: These are the “building blocks of life, as they make up the basic components of your body. Proteins are made of amino acids, which your body needs to replenish its cells. Some great source of protein include fish, poultry, beef, nuts, seeds, eggs, chia, beets, and avocado. Many people eat too much protein, so limit your protein intake to a maximum of 1 gram per kilogram of lean body mass each day.

Carbohydrates: These are found in all foods in some way. They are made of sugar or starches, which give the body energy. However, excess carbohydrates are converted into fat and stored in the body that way. Limit the amount of net carbs you eat each day (total carbs minus fiber) to 30 or 40 grams. You can eat as many vegetables that are high in fiber as you want. While these are carbs, they are low in net carbs because they are high in fiber.

Fats: These are stored for your body to use in the future. While some people believe they should be avoided, it is actually important to realize that there is a difference between good fats and bad fats, and you actually need good fats in order for your body to properly function.

Good fat sources are almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, olives, grass-fed meats, avocados, organically pastured egg yolks, fatty fish such as sardines and anchovies, and coconut oil.

Micronutrients, on the other hand, refer to the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, trace elements, and phytochemicals that are essential to keeping your body in good health.

The quantity and quality of each type of these nutrients vary in everything you eat, depending on what you choose to eat and even the quality of that particular food. For example, processed foods like chips and pizza have more macronutrients than natural foods like kale and apples. However, they have fewer micronutrients. This is because processing food takes away a lot of the natural vitamins and minerals that are naturally in a food in order to give it a longer shelf life.

This also applies to foods such as cereal grains, candy, breads, sweets, and dairy products. While these foods give you a lot of calories, they don’t give you vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, trace elements, and phytochemicals that are your body needs.

This type of eating leads to many of the diseases that Americans are suffering from today due to a poor diet. While our ancestors ate a diet rich in micronutrients due to their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, with the convenience of foods today, it is easy to forgo the foods that contain these vital nutrients.

So, it is important to keep in mind that it is best to eat high-quality, natural foods that come directly from the earth. Pass on foods that come in packages that sit in your pantry for months without going bad. Eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and meat instead.

Optimal nutrition, including a balanced ratio of macronutrients and micronutrients, makes a big difference for your health. Aside from making necessary lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption, exercising, and getting enough sleep, changing your diet can improve your health in a small period of time.

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