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Category Archives: Health

Healthy Late Night Snacks

Nature has sleeping pills of its own and they work better than most drugs. You just have to find one that is best suited to your problems. Check out these healthy late-night snacks…

Almonds

If you are from the group that has trouble staying asleep, then you should go for almonds. The issue of not being able to stay asleep may be due to a lack of magnesium and almonds are rich in this stuff! Also, almonds do wonders for your bones.

Dairy

You remember how your mom used to push that warm glass of milk before bedtime when we were kids? Turns out milk isn’t the only dairy product that can help you get a good night’s rest. Cheese can do just the same- without the milk after taste! And not just cheese, break out the yoghurt too.

Lettuce

Do you like to get your greens in? Then that salad for dinner can go a long way than just keeping you in good shape. Lettuce has sleep-inducing characteristics. So, if you skipped lettuce in your salad for dinner, then you can always brew a tea. It’s pretty simple and effective; boil a few large lettuce leaves in a cup of water for 15 minutes and add a couple of sprigs of mint. Drink this before bed and you shall sleep like a baby. This phrase has never quite hit home with me, mainly because, I can’t get my baby to sleep… like a baby.

Pretzels?!

If you have an 8 hour window to catch some shut-eye and want to reduce the time it takes to actually fall asleep, then reach for that bag of pretzels. Yes, you read that right- PRETZELS! An increase in blood sugar and insulin levels cuts down the time it takes to actually fall asleep. Whether you can switch that up with a bucket of chocolate chip ice cream? Yeah, that might be pushing it.

Fish

Fish like tuna, halibut and salmon are rich in the vitamin B6 and this is the magical nutrient that helps make sleep inducing hormones, melatonin and serotonin so that you can sleep like a… Koala (Koalas sleep 22 hours a day!)

Chamomile Tea

Living up to clichés, chamomile tea is known widely to have sleep-inducing properties. It also acts as a mild sedative and may help numb the pain from the daily grind. On a serious note, this tea has made it across the centuries, so it’s worth a try, no? If you want to take your chances up a notch, then try adding a spoonful of honey. The sugar from the honey increases insulin levels, making it easier to dose off.

Cereal

Love breakfast for dinner? Now you have a reason with solid scientific back up to indulge in a bowl of cereal every night. Carbs from the cereal and calcium from the milk are two great sources that can help you score some zzz’s.

Start Day With Healthy Habits

Get Up Early-

Make a powerful habit of getting up early in the morning as there is something magical about the morning hours. Steer away from the practice of snoozing your alarm clock every time it starts ringing. Waking up early is an important habit which can set the tempo for your entire day. Once you make a dedicated effort to accomplish this goal, you would realise how much extra work you can fulfil with the extra time found in the morning.

Meditate

Once you have learned to wake up early in the morning, now you should focus on some concentration building ideas to set your intention for the day. Performing meditation for 10-15 minutes can be good practice to train your mind and emotions. It teaches to react positively to challenges which you may experience during the day.

Meditation also gives you a bright idea of how to go ahead with the day. When you breathe deeply during meditation, you let all your worries leave you far behind and experience inner peace. The silence of meditation has a remarkable effect on your mind and soul.

Hydrate Yourself-

Top and famous nutritionists also suggest beginning the day with a glass of water with honey as it helps you to rehydrate your body. Since you have woken up after long hours of sleep, your body may experience dehydration early in the morning. Drinking a glass of lemon water also cleanses your system and removes the toxins from your digestive tract. Moreover, lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C; it helps to combat obesity and freshen breath.

Exercise-

A workout session in the morning helps you to stay fit and active throughout the day. You can opt for yoga, brisk walk, cycling, a quick set of sit-ups and push-ups, jogging or swimming. It also keeps you safe from many deadly lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart ailments and obesity. You may take the help of a trainer to decide the right type of exercises keeping in mind your body structure and other health condition. Exercises improve the oxygen and nutrient level in your blood and energise your mind and body.

Zero Calorie Sweeteners

We already know that sugar has detrimental effects on our blood sugar, insulin and waistline. It is common knowledge nowadays that sweets consumption should be lowered and kept to a minimum. In came, subsequently, those nifty no-calorie sweeteners that promised a similar flavor without all the unhealthy side effects. While initially regarded as safe and approved by the FDA, for some time now research has hinted they are not as benign as touted Now we have even more evidence that they are doing more harm than good.

In this new study, researchers took several groups of rats and either fed them diets high in glucose, fructose, or artificial sweeteners (aspartame or acesulfame potassium). Acesulfame is sold in stores at Sunnett or Sweet One, and aspartame is sold as Equal or NutraSweet. Both are currently approved artificial sweeteners by the FDA.

Within three weeks the researchers found discernable differences between the groups per blood samples collected. They noted that the artificial sweeteners appeared to change the way their bodies processed fat and energy overall. They also noticed that the acesulfame potassium accumulated in the blood and had a negative impact on the cells lining the blood vessels.

Bottom line? Don’t think that switching to artificial sweeteners is the answer. For one, how many thin people do you see walking around drinking diet sodas all day? They don’t seem to work. This study helps us understand why. Also, continuing to drink sweet beverages hinders one’s ability to acclimate to lesser sweetened beverages and foods. It keeps the sweet desire active, per say, and doesn’t solve the problem of cravings. In fact it can make things worse by initiating an insulin response but, with no actual sugar entering the body, you end up with lower blood sugar and a “crash,” so to speak. The craving cycle continues.

The article ends by trying to answer the question, which is better? Sugar or artificial sweeteners? How about neither? My advice is to ditch sweet-tasting beverages altogether and switch to good ol’ water, the way nature intended.

But you hate water you say? If that’s you, think about some simple flavorings such as lemon, lime or other fruits soaked in your H20. Maybe dilute a favorite beverage half and half and keep increasing the water until you desire the sweet taste less and less. Drink club soda and lime if fizzy is your thing. There are ways to make better choices to keep these harmful chemicals out of your bodies for good.

Kidney Friendly Diet

Potassium

Potassium is a very common mineral that features in many different food types. This mineral is beneficial for its ability to help the muscles function properly. However, eating a diet that is too rich in potassium can lead to a variety of problems, such as muscle weakness and cramps. There is no set limit on how much potassium is acceptable to the patient with kidney problems, so it will be necessary to get guidance from your doctor to match the specific needs.

However, there are plenty of very acceptable foods with low potassium content. They can include chicken, white breads, lettuce, peppers, cauliflower, pineapples, cranberries and apples.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a very common type of mineral. It combines with vitamin D and calcium to help maintain the strength of the bones. However, the level of phosphorus is controlled by the healthy kidneys. In the event of the kidneys becoming less effective, there is a risk of phosphorus building up in the blood. Over time this can lead to low bone density.

A simple change in the diet can help to limit phosphorus, but there is also the option to take a phosphate binder which is prescribed by your doctor. When combined with a healthy diet, this is a great option to prevent the phosphorus build up.

Fluids

While a regular intake of fluids is essential to live, the person suffering with kidney disease may benefit from taking proper control on how much is consumed. The less effective kidneys aren’t so useful at clearing excess fluid so drinking less can be helpful. Heart failure, swelling and high blood pressure are a few of the issues associated with too much fluid. Also, there is the risk of the fluid building up in the region of the lungs which makes breathing more difficult.

Focus on Folate

Folate is needed in order to adequately produce red blood cells. Folic acid also works with B12 in reducing dangerous compounds in the body and for driving multiple metabolic processes. Folate is of the utmost importance to women of childbearing age, as folate is integral in the formation of the fetal brain and spinal cord during pregnancy.

Folate is found in green vegetables, such as spinach, asparagus, and broccoli (the word folate is derived from the word foliage). Like most B vitamins, folate is very easily destroyed by cooking and light, and folate levels decrease rapidly once the vegetables are harvested. The good news is that many foods are fortified with folic acid, an easily-metabolized and stable version of folate. Once serving of most fortified cereals contains your daily dose of folate. Lentils and other legumes such as pinto beans are also good sources.

Folic Acid Supplements:

Women of childbearing age should consider taking a folic acid supplement. Birth defects caused by inadequate folate intake can occur before women even know they’re pregnant, and the damage is unfortunately irreversible. As soon as a woman becomes pregnant, her daily requirement for folate doubles and it may be difficult to meet this requirement through diet alone. Folic acid is a commonly recommended supplement during pregnancy and for women who may become pregnant.

Folic acid supplements are just like getting folate from your diet – they are one and the same and your body processes them the same. Most multivitamins sold in the U.S contain 400 mcg, which is the Recommended Dietary Allowance. Check the vitamin’s label to be sure it says 400 mcg or “100%” next to folic acid or folate. Another option is to take a simple folic acid supplement if you prefer.

Herbal Teas

Ginger is well known for helping nausea and to settle the stomach but it is also good for colds and flu.

Chamomile will help you sleep better as it calms your nervous system. It is also good for digestion.

Green tea has become a substitute for normal black tea with many people. Green tea will help boost your immunity as it is an anti-oxidant. If the taste is not to your liking then add a bit of lemon to give it a bit of a lift.

Fennel is a great tea to help you with controlling that sweet tooth. It tastes like liquorice so it can satisfy your cravings for sweet feeds as well as help suppress your appetite.

Lemon grass tones your skin and is also good for digestion and fever.

Peppermint is a great stomach tea for digestion and to help with bad breath, congestion and fluid buildup. Peppermint is a stimulant so is a great tea to have in the mornings instead of that cup of coffee.

Spearmint is a good stand in for peppermint if you find peppermint too strong. Or you can add spearmint in with peppermint and chamomile if you want to make a great mix.

Brahmi tea will help your memory become a lot clearer

Dandelion is for fluid buildup and puffiness as it helps cleans the liver. If you feel unsettled when you drink it though see a naturopath as your liver function may need attention.

Raspberry leaf tea is for expectant mothers suffering from morning sickness and can also make for an easier delivery when baby is due.

So as you can see there are many teas to choose from each with their individual way of assisting you to get healthy. Maybe tomorrow instead of that cup of coffee or black tea, which both contain caffeine, which can be bad for you, try a cup of herbal tea and help clean up your body at the same time.

Amazing Ginger Health

Ginger as a powerful Antioxidant

Ginger is rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants play a vital role in neutralisation of free radicals. The antioxidative defense system of the body balances the free radicle production. Oxidative stress occurs in the event of alterations between reactive oxygen species generation and its neutralisation by the antioxidant defense. Moreover, ginger plays an essential role in the reduction of the lipid oxidation and inhibits the pathogenesis of diseases. 6-Dehydroshogaol, 6-shogaol and 1-dehydro-6-gingerdione are inhibitors of nitric oxide synthesis in activated macrophages. 6-shogaol has potent antioxidant properties due to the presence of unsaturated ketone moiety.

Anti-inflammatory activity

Inflammation is a complex immune process, involving various mediators such as interleukin-1, tumour necrosis factor and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Ginger oil significantly represses inflammation, especially joint swelling. Also, ginger extracts suppress the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines and play a significant role in the inhibition of cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase, essential for arachidonate metabolism, and down-regulating the induction of inflammatory genes.

Anti-tumour activity

Ginger extracts suppress tumour development through up-regulation of tumour suppressor gene, induction of apoptosis and inactivation of vascular endothelial growth factor pathways. The development and progression of tumours involve multiple steps including genetic and metabolic changes. 6-gingerol suppresses the transformation, hyperproliferation, and inflammatory processes that involve in various phases of carcinogenesis, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Besides, ginger constituents induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cell line LnCaP by increasing the expression of tumour suppressor p53 and Bax and also decreasing the expression of Bcl-2. 6-shogaol is effective against breast cancer through the inhibition of cell invasion and reduction of matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression. On the other hand, 6-gingerol stimulates apoptosis through up-regulation of NAG-1 and G1 cell cycle arrest through down-regulation of cyclin D1.

Ginger root extracts and gingerol inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori CagA+ strains, which has a specific gene, linked to the development of gastric premalignant and malignant lesions. 6-shogaol induces apoptosis in human colorectal carcinoma cells via the production of reactive oxygen species and activation of caspase-31, and 6-gingerol inhibited pulmonary metastasis bearing B16F10 melanoma cells through the activation of CD8+ T-cells. 6-gingerol has anti-tumoral activity through induction of reactive oxygen species, which also triggers activation of tumour suppressor p53 and the cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.

Anti-microbial activity

Ethanolic extract, of ginger, prevent microbial growth. Ginger has antimicrobial activity against E. coli, Salmonella typhi, and Bacillus subtilis. Gingerol and shagelol are the active agents. The ethanolic extract of ginger powder and gingerol effectively inhibits Candida albicans. 6-gingerol and 12-gingerol, from ginger rhizome, is active against periodontal bacteria. 10-gingerol is an active inhibitor of Mycobacterium avium and M. tuberculosis.

Smoothies for Immune System

Provide solid nutrition:
Chronic fatigue, dehydration and slow metabolism indicate weak immunity. Researchers prove that dark green vegetables, for instance, broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage, cucumber and arugula are a natural cure for the weak immune system. They are rich in essential vitamin and mineral, antioxidants, alpha lipoic acid, sodium, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and carbohydrate. Green vegetables contain many micronutrients that are essential for our body. However, cooking and processing vegetables can damage them; even can alter the chemical composition. Green smoothies prepared with raw vegetables provide solid nutrition. They help to strengthen our immune system for a long time.

Defend Infections:
Virus infection is a common sickness. Protecting our body from viruses and bacteria is the primary duty of immune system. Some fruit and vegetables are found to be directly useful preventing infections. Smoothies prepared with carrot, broccoli, spinach, kale, coconut, garlic, lemon, pineapple, curd, apples, papaya and tomatoes contain antibacterial components that fight infections naturally without side effects. Smoothies rich in vitamin E provide potent antioxidants that assist our body fight off infections. Drinking smoothies on a regular basis can be great for your kidney and liver health and prevent urinary tract infections as well.

Assist proper digestion:
Digestive system and immune system work together. The digestive malfunction can directly affect our immunity. Soluble fiber and healthy bacteria in the gut are essential for the active digestive system. You can easily find these crucial components in healthy smoothies prepared with fiber-rich fruits such as papaya, banana, apples, raspberries, pears etc. Besides adding kefir and yogurt to smoothies can provide extra benefit since they produce healthy bacteria for the gut and help proper digestion. They fight against digestive disorders including abnormal pain, diarrhea, belching, burning sensation after eating, insomnia, gas, vomiting, stomach infection etc. Drinking fruit smoothies regularly strengthen our digestive system and help our immune system working better.

Balance body weight:
Perfect body weight indicates that you are fit and healthy. Sudden weight loss and weight gain are an abnormal behavior of our body. It happens due to the failure of the immune system. When infections attack the body, the weak immune system gathers all available energy to fight off. This process reduces nutrients absorptions from food and it can result in weight loss. On the other hand, we suddenly gain weight if our body stores fat cells rather than breaking them down for energy. Your body needs balanced nutrition in both cases. Remember that our body absorbs nutrients in food better in liquid form. Smoothies have numerous benefits over solid foods. A blender breaks down fruits and vegetables into tiny pieces keeping the exact nutritional value. Smoothies are rich in soluble fibers and micronutrients that are easy to digest and absorbable for our body. They provide sufficient nutrition to our body and our immune system become stronger. Thus it helps is to keep healthy body weight.

Reduce stress naturally:
Stress is the silent killer. It happens due to problems in our lives and causes many health problems. When we are tensed, stress hormones start to be pumped around the body. These hormones can harm the ability of the immune system, reduce white blood cells, damage tissues and increase susceptibility to infection. No doubt, the pleasant mood is needed for healthy living. Did you know that some smoothies could make you feel happy? Fruits like bananas, apples, mangoes, papaya, coconuts, berries, orange and pineapples are famous as instant stress killer. Make a glass of refreshing smoothies mixing your favorite fruits and drink after a busy day at the office. Smoothies prepared with these ingredients are the excellent source of vitamin B complex, potassium, antioxidant, folic acid, selenium, pectin fiber, zinc, vitamin C and enzyme that help you to be more relaxed.

Natural Detox Diets

The simple but most effective way to detoxify is by drinking plenty of water. Water flushes and purifies the body of any junk inside it. A good way to test for proper hydration is by taking note of the color of your urine. Clear urine means proper hydration but more yellow urine signifies that you should drink more water. A good way to ensure proper hydration is by carrying a water bottle and drinking from it whenever you are thirsty instead of opting for unhealthy drinks. Even drinks that seem natural, like apple juice, may have preservatives and artificial sugars so sticking to water during detox is the best bet. Drinking tea, specifically green tea also has many benefits for detoxification.

Next, there is the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and natural grains. These nutrients are easily processed by the body and most detox diets include high consumption of these items. Red meats, dairy, and greasy foods should be avoided during the detox period. For protein during the diet, fish, chicken and nuts can be consumed. Green vegetables, lentils, and brown rice are also great options. Above all smoking, drugs, and the consumption of alcohol should be avoided during detoxification because these things should be considered toxins.

Although the diet itself is key, exercise is also a very important part of a detox program. When exercising, the body sweats out certain toxins that it might not otherwise expel. The increased body temperature during exercise also helps purify the body. Exercising three times a week for at least half an hour every time is enough to purify the body, but more exercise is always good. The exercise itself doesn’t need to be strenuous; anything that increases heart rate and body temperature will do the job.

There are several higher-budget options for detoxification as well, such as detox drinks and “internal body cleansers” but the tips above work just as well, if not better. The idea of the diet is simply to keep additional toxins out while flushing the body of anything harmful that already exists inside it. If detox diets are done regularly, the dieter will find himself or herself with increased energy, long term health benefits, and clearer skin.

Hydration

The formula to staying hydrated isn’t a complicated equation, but it does vary from person to person. It’s important to replace any fluid that’s lost throughout the day and night, and those variables can change drastically day-to-day and person-to-person. If you’re exercising in extreme heat or humidity, you’re going to lose fluid more rapidly than if you’re chilling at the movies. The color of your urine is a good way to determine your hydration status. If your urine is pale and straw-colored, you’re adequately hydrated. If it’s dark, like the color of apple juice, you’re low on fluids.

Sweat It Out

Dehydration can occur even if you’re not sweating. In extreme heat and cold, your body loses fluid very quickly without sweating at all. You may not realize it, but you even sweat when you’re swimming! Spending the day frolicking in the pool isn’t a preventive measure. Athletes need to be even more aware of dehydration risks. Athletes tend to sweat more overall than people who aren’t as physically fit, and they may push themselves longer and harder, causing even greater fluid losses.

Drink Up

Drinking is the ONLY way to rehydrate. Pouring water over your head or showering to cool off are only superficial – you need to actually drink the water for your body to replenish its stores.

Some early signs of dehydration include:

• Thirst
• Flushed skin
• Premature fatigue
• Increased body temperature
• Faster breathing and pulse rate

Try adding some flavor to your water to get you excited to drink it! You can create an at-home version of those expensive store-bought flavored waters for almost no cost!

Add any of the following to your water:

• A twist of citrus! Try lemon or lime or even a slice of orange. Throw in a few raspberries for extra flavor and color.

• Small pieces of fruit, like honeydew or pineapple.

• A slice of cucumber with a few gently crushed mint leaves (“bruising” them releases more flavor).

In Conclusion

Don’t let dehydration slow you down this summer. Be sure to drink whenever you’re thirsty. If you’re engaged in physical activity in the heat, be sure to hydrate adequately before starting, take frequent hydration breaks to top off your fluid reserves, and continue to keep it up after you’re done. Water doesn’t have to be boring. Dress it up and drink it up!