Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Does Eating Healthy Cost More?

One reason many people say they don’t eat as healthy as they’d like is that it costs so much more to buy the healthier foods at the grocery store. However, according to a new government study that just isn’t the case anymore. Buying fresh foods like fruits and veggies or whole grains normally costs less than the processed foods that are high in fat.

In this study, researchers took a look at over four thousand different types of foods around the country. They took into account different factors such as price per portion, price per calorie and edible weight.

Generally speaking, they found that based price per portion and portion size, the cheaper healthy foods are:

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Veggies
  • Fruit

Less healthy foods and proteins come very close in price. So how can you combat this if you want to eat healthy and follow the government’s recommended dietary allowances? One way is to start thinking of your proteins as an addition to your meals rather than the main focus since meats and proteins are on the higher end. Focus on grains and fresh fruits and veggies that are topped off with or sprinkled with a protein that’s complimentary to the dish.  You can also substitute meats with other ingredients that offer similar nutritional value. Here’s a substitution guide from the Mayo Clinic.

One of the biggest things that you can do is to buy fruits and veggies that are in season and locally grown. Visit your local farmer’s markets. If you find produce that you aren’t used to cooking, that’s ok! Try it. It may become a new favorite, you’ll be helping your local farmers and you’ll eliminate extra costs that come from packaging and shipping. You can use this in-season produce map to find out what’s in season in your area at any given time. What’s even cooler is that it gives you information about each fruit or veggie and possible recipes that can be used with it.

Posted in Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Fitness. Tagged with , , , .

Apples VS Applesauce, Which is Best for You?

Have you ever wondered if applesauce is as good for you as apples since, well, it seems to be pretty much just made up of apples right? Sure, the primary ingredient is you guessed it… apples, but that doesn’t mean that they’re equal in regards to nutrition. They look completely different and that difference leads right into the nitty-gritty, too.

You might assume that naturally raw apples would be better for you and more nutritious. Sure, that may be the case for the most part. But believe it or not, which one you eat (or you decide to give to your kids) might have a lot to do with your dietary preferences and needs. Let’s take a look at some of the points to consider when choosing between apples or applesauce.

Fiber

Fiber is an important part of any diet. Getting enough fiber will help your digestion system work more efficiently and also keep you feeling fuller for longer. Apples and applesauce are both normally a good source of dietary fiber. Both applesauce and apples will provide you the same amount of fiber, 3 grams per cup (cup of raw apple slices or a cup of applesauce). So the question is which you prefer and how much fiber should you be adding to your diet? Men and women are different: men should get about 38 grams daily and women should get about 25 grams.

Calories

Applesauce provides more calories than apples. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you are an active person then you need more calories than someone who isn’t very active. A cup of raw apple slices will only consist of about 65 calories. A cup of applesauce on the other hand, will consist of about 167 calories. If you’re on a diet or a strict calorie-count then apples make the better choice. But if you’re on the go, exercising, training or just a very active person then the applesauce may make more sense.

Carbohydrates

Your body needs carbohydrates since it’s one of the easiest nutrients to transform into energy. In fact, most of your body’s energy comes from what carbohydrates you eat. In regards to carbohydrates, raw apples are the lesser again… if you’re following a low-carb diet then you probably want to choose raw apples. A cup of raw apples will give you about 17 grams while a cup of applesauce will give you about 43 grams.

Potassium

If you need more potassium in your diet, then this time around it’s the applesauce you should likely choose. A cup of raw apples will give you about 134 mg. A cup of applesauce will give you about 184 mg. Potassium is important for many things, such as healthy heart functioning and muscle contraction. It’s recommended that adults get about 4.7 grams per day. However, there are medical conditions that can affect this so talk to your doctor about your potassium levels if you’re unsure.

Vitamin C

Fresh fruits and veggies are well-known for providing plenty of vitamins and minerals we need. Vitamin C particularly helps your body heal wounds more effectively and repair bones and teeth. Women are advised to get 75 mg per day and men 90 mg per day. Apples and applesauce are very close in nature when it comes to Vitamin C. A cup of apples will give you about 5.8 mg and a cup of applesauce will give you about 4.2 mg.

 

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Boost Low White Blood Cell Count and Immune Function Naturally

Low white blood cell counts are indicative of a suppressed immune system and can have many causes. Emotional state and stress, an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, and nutritional intake can all cause lower immune system response and low white blood cell counts. Low immunity can also be caused by a number of health conditions, by surgical or medical treatments and by the natural aging process. Whatever the cause, low immunity and low white blood cell counts prevent the body from being able to have an optimum response to infections and illness. Here are some things which can help prevent low immunity and keep white blood cell counts high:

- Avoid sugar and keep sweet stuff to a minimum. Sugar prevents white blood cells from being their strongest
- Eliminate unhealthy fats. Polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils such as corn, safflower, and sunflower oil are deterrents to a healthy immune system.
- If you are overweight, lose a few pounds. Being overweight is very detrimental to your immune system and studies have shown that overweight people are less able to fight off infection.
- Drink plenty of water to boost the immune system as well as flush out toxins
- Exercise is a proven immune system booster. Exercise is best in moderation, however, since too much exercise may wear the body down and create immune system problems.
- Avoid stress and try to relax. Stress is rightly called the silent killer and too much stress invariably leads to a lowered immune system.

Many food items help boost immune function and white blood cell counts. For example:

Carrots and other red, yellow, orange, and dark-green leafy vegetables contain beta carotene which helps protect the immune system, especially the thymus gland. Beta carotene and other carotenes also strengthen white blood cell production, and foods rich in beta-carotene help the body better fight off infection.

Yogurt can be very beneficial for the immune system. It helps the body produce antibodies and strengthens white blood cells.

A cup of kale will give you your daily requirement of vitamin A. This is an antioxidant that helps your body fight cancer cells and is essential in the formation of white blood cells. Vitamin A also increases the ability of antibodies to respond to invaders.

People who eat more garlic have more natural killer white blood cells.

Other helpful foods include chicken, kale, almonds, guava, crab, dark grapes and navy beans.

Supplements can play a big role in boosting immune function and white blood cell counts. Some examples:

- Oleander extract in herbal supplement form. One herbal oleander based supplement was 100% effective in a clinical trial of raising white blood cell counts in HIV/AIDS patients with extremely compromised immune systems.

- Astragalus root helps stimulate white blood cells and protects against invading organisms. It also enhances production of the important natural compound interferon to fight against viruses.

- Zinc is necessary for white blood cell function and it acts as a catalyst in the immune system’s killer response to foreign bodies.

- Vitamin C is an immune enhancer that helps white blood cells perform at their peak and quickens the immune system response.

- The trace mineral selenium is vital to the development and movement of white blood cells.

- Both Siberian ginseng (eleuthero) and Asian ginseng provide support for the immune system.

- Echinacea helps stimulate the immune system in a variety of ways, including increased white blood cell production.

- Green Tea also stimulates production of white blood cells.

Some other potent immune boosters are pau d arco, suma, medicinal mushrooms, beta glucans and aloe vera.

Sources included:

http://www.herbalist.com/wiki.details/175/category/8/

http://health.howstuffworks.com/home-remedies-for-low-immunity1.htm

http://www.naturalnews.com/023243_Oleander_HIV_placebo.html

About the author

Tony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hostsThe Best Years in Lifewebsite for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including “Cancer’s Natural Enemy” and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group “S.A N.E.Vax. Inc” which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers.
Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone “Ask Tony Isaacs – featuring Luella May” forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group “Oleander Soup” and he serves as a consultant to the “Utopia Silver Supplement Company”.

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/028275_white_blood_cells_immune_function.html#ixzz1xVIDLeDm

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Seven Foods that Will Naturally Cleanse Your Liver

Your liver is probably more important to your health than you think. It provides the main way your body is able to get rid of dangerous toxins in your body. Throughout the day, your liver is constantly working to filter out poisons that enter through your skin, digestive system and respiratory system. At times though, it can get wore down from working too hard. This happens when too many toxins are constantly flowing in.

Bad news. Your liver, as well as other systems in your body get thrown out of whack and you significantly compromise your health.

In order to stay healthy, your liver needs to be able to do its job. So it’s important that you understand how it works and how you can help keep it running properly. If you don’t, your body won’t be able to absorb the important nutrients it needs. It won’t be able to expel toxins. When you consider that the health and condition of your joints, brain, eyes, heart and kidneys all rely on a healthy liver it’s easy to see why it’s so important.

So what can you eat to help keep your liver in good working condition? Here are just a few…

The 4 G’s

Garlic:  Garlic has two potent nutrients that have been shown to provide protection for your liver from toxic damage: selenium and allicin. Garlic also has a number of sulfur-containin compounds. These compounds kick-start liver enzymes that make it possible to flush out toxins.

Grapefruit: Antioxidants and vitamin C play an important role in cleansing your liver and grapefruit has both. A bonus? Grapefuit has naringenin, a flavonoid compound that gives your liver the ability to burn off fat instead of storing it (great news if you want to lose weight).

Green veggies: Leafy green veggies are good for you for many reasons. The most important reason they’re good for your liver is that they break down heavy metals that can otherwise put extensive stress on your liver. Examples of leafy greens to eat include spinach, arugula, mustard greens and gourd.

Green tea: Green tea prevents toxins that can build up and damage your liver. Plus, it also prevents fat from building up on your liver, which of course means it can function better.

 

The Last 3 Foods

Walnuts: Your liver can accumulate unhealthy amounts of ammonia that lead to disease. But you can prevent that with walnuts, as they contain many ingredients that fight against this: amino acid, omega-3 fatty acids, glutathione and l-arginine. An additional benefit is that it helps get the oxygen into your blood that’s needed.

Avocados: Your liver will cleanse more effectively if you eat avocados. In fact, some experts believe that if you can eat just a couple per week for a month and fix a liver that’s been damaged.

Turmeric: We saved possibly the best for last. Not only can turmeric act as a barrier to toxic liver damage, but damaged liver cells can even be regenerated.

 

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Fighting Fatigue – Top Foods, Herbs, Supplements and Tips

It’s no secret that many people experience some level of fatigue on a regular basis. Whether it’s at the office, at home or anywhere else, fatigue can truly make you miserable and it can cause the quality of your work suffer. Fatigue makes you feel both mentally and physically tired and weak. In short, it’s no fun. All too often people that suffer from fatigue reach for an energy drink. While this method may work for the short term, it’s only masking the root cause of the fatigue, while at the same time causing negative health consequences.

A smarter and more permanent approach to beating fatigue is to determine the real cause and start making the changes there. It is safe to say that the primary reasons most people suffer from fatigue are poor diet, lack of nutrients, dehydration, lack of exercise and lack of sleep.

Diet

Here is a list of types of foods that are known to cause fatigue: starchy carbohydrates such as cakes, cookies, doughnuts and foods that contain bleached and processed flour. Any of these types of high-sugar foods that contain lots of simple carbohydrates will give you short-term energy followed by a serious crash.

Certain foods do the opposite and fight fatigue by supplying long term, clean energy with no crash.

Unprocessed complex carbohydrates are the enemy of fatigue. Some of the very best fatigue fighting foods include quinoa, plums, nuts and brewers yeast. Be sure to include sufficient amounts of protein in your diet as well, as a lack of sufficient protein can cause fatigue. If you don’t eat meat, buying either a whey or vegetarian protein powder can make this much easier.

Exercise

Lack of exercise can cause the body to feel tired and fatigued because the metabolism slows down and the body starts storing excess fat. Being overweight alone can cause chronic fatigue. Even mild daily exercise is extremely effective in reversing this.

Going for walks outside during the day will help increase your blood circulation. Poor circulation is a known cause of fatigue. Going for daily walks is an easy way to stay healthy and is extremely useful in weight management. Even if you only have a 10 or 15 minute break at work, going for a short walk outside can make you feel refreshed and re-energized.

Dehydration

Dehydration is an under-recognized leading cause of fatigue. Many people don’t drink water at all during the day; instead they drink soda, energy drinks and coffee, all of which can cause even further dehydration. Dehydration not only causes fatigue, but a variety of negative side effects including:

-Joint pain
-Dry skin
-Muscle cramps
-Bloating
-High blood pressure
-Build up of toxins in the body
-Weight gain

Dehydration is the sole reason may people experience fatigue. Luckily this is an easy one to fix; drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration.

Vitamins, herbs and supplements for fighting fatigue

Supplementing a proper diet and exercise regiment with the right nutrients can give you the edge you need to stay energized and stave off fatigue.

The best fatigue fighting herbs, vitamins and supplements include:

-Ginseng
-Longan berries
-Bee pollen
-Chlorella
-Magnesium
-Carnitine
-B vitamins
-Silymarin

Other causes of fatigue

Other external factors that can cause fatigue include:

-Alcohol
-Caffeine
-Prescription drugs
-Illegal drugs
-Stress

Being sure to get between seven and eight hours of sleep every night is vitally important in the battle against fatigue. If you feel that your diet, exercise regiment, sleeping schedule and supplement regiment are all on track and you’ve ruled out any other external causes of fatigue, but you’re still experiencing fatigue it may have another cause such as anemia, diabetes or a thyroid disorder, which is something that you should visit your doctor or natural health practitioner about.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.healingfoodreference.com/fatigue.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003088.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fatigue/MY00120/DSECTION=causes

About the author:
John Mckiernan is a health and fitness writer. He is the owner ofSupplement Helperwhere he writes about supplements, health, fitness and more. He also managesCNA Info, a small blog that is aimed at answering questions for those interested in becoming nursing assistants. All articles are contributed by Fallon C Clark, California registered CNA.

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/036069_fatigue_herbs_supplements.html#ixzz1xUz8AkGl

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Making Weight Loss Fun!

When you’re trying to lose weight, exercise is pretty much a must. But if you’ve never gotten into any kind of exercise routine then you probably haven’t discovered something that you enjoy. All exercise might seem like work. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is literally an unlimited variety of exercises out there, so there’s bound to be something that you will enjoy.

If you like the outdoors, you could:

  • jog
  • walk
  • swim
  • roller blade
  • play with your dog in the park
  • go whitewater rafting
  • ride a bike

If you aren’t fond of the outdoors, that’s ok too. There are tons of indoor activities you could including:

Try doing different things each week so you don’t get bored with one thing. Yoga is really good for both toning your body, while also reducing stress. Try to substitute that in once a week and you’ll feel great. Regardless of what you choose to do, just make sure you’re doing something several times a week for half an hour at a minimum. Remember that that half hour doesn’t always have to be all at once, either. If you walk for ten minutes, then later in the day play with your dog at the park (actively) for twenty minutes then you’ve gotten in half an hour of activity that day.

The secret to exercising more is finding things that you like to do. So keep trying different things until you find something that’s fun for you. Don’t let it get old and boring once you do, either. If you start to get bored with it, then start trying other things again and come back to it.

 

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Chocolate Lovers Thinner than Others?

Do you find it hard to resist a chunk of sweet, decadent chocolate? If so, there’s good news. According to a new study, it appears that those who regularly consume chocolate are normally skinnier than those who don’t. Although the weight difference is slight, it gives a shimmer of hope to researchers in finding out just what causes it. The exact cause isn’t yet known. On another note, they say it could just be a statistical flute.

The study that shows chocolate lovers as being thinner those who don’t regularly indulge in chocolate consisted of about 1,000 participants. Each participant, nearly 70 percent of which were men, completed a survey. The survey included details about how regularly they ate chocolate and researchers then went to work trying to see what they could find.

On average, the participants had a BMI (body mass index) of about 28. At 28, they’re classified as overweight, but not necessarily obese. As researchers analyzed the data, they figured out that those who ate chocolate the most often actually had a lower BMI than the others.

This is by far not the first time there have been benefits found that relate to eating chocolate. It’s one food that holds quite a bit of mystery for health experts and researchers to still figure out. We know that it’s full of antioxidants. Eating chocolate has also been shown in a variety of studies to hold other health benefits too, such as lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. By reading these studies, you’d never guess that chocolate was full of fat and carries a whopping number of calories…

They said that on average, how often you eat chocolate could account for around a five pound difference in your weight. Before you run off and start chowing down on chocolate, think twice though. For one, it’s a delicate balance to eat enough but not so much that the calories and fat take a toll. For two, they aren’t positive about what kind of chocolate participants ate.

Also, they stress that chocolate isn’t going to help you lose weight.

 

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Boosting Brain Function with Berries

You know how much we love keeping up with superfruits and news about natural health supplements, so it should come as no surprise that we’ve found another great news bit about berries. More than 16,000 women (70-years-old and up) took part in a study that seemed to show a great connection between berries and memory improvement. In fact, those who ate the most berries on a weekly basis kept a better memory for more than years longer than the others.

A researcher by the name of Elizabeth Devore, who currently works at the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said that she doesn’t see any reason why men would have any difference in these kinds of results. And while this study was sponsored by the California Strawberry Commission, it was published by the Annals of Neurology without hesitation. Devore highlighted the fact that the writing, results and data analysis were all done independently and that the strawberry commission played no role in these aspects of the study.

This could be great news since there are an alarming number of Alzheimer patients and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of that slowing down.

Devore recommends that everyone try to include more berries in their diet. In the study, participants were tested every couple of years (1995-2001). Those who consumed a minimum of either half a cup of blueberries each week or two and half cups of strawberries saw amazing benefits over those who ate less than that.

How do Berries Help?

The energy generators for your brain cells are called mitochrondria. They’re also thought to be responsible for producing some toxic substances that often result in Alzheimer’s disease, though. You have probably heard them referred to as free radicals. Antioxidants are known to interact with these substances and prevent them from causing damage. Berries are an amazing source of flavonoids that act as antioxidants, which could be the main reason why there’s such a connection between berries and brain function improvement.

The only thing to take a bit of caution about is that the participants diet were not controlled, but was simply reported by the participants own recollections. You can read more about this study on this CNN Health blog or you can read more about  natural health supplements and the superfruit diet.

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Managing Diabetes with Diet and Exercise

As you probably know, there are two types of diabetes: Type I and Type II. Type II can often be managed and treated with the right exercises and diet. Type I is a completely different monster, though. If you or a loved one has Type I diabetes, here are some tips to help you manage it and stay as healthy as possible through diet and exercise choices.

Carbs

Carbohydrates have gotten a pretty bad rep over the years. It’s not that they’re all bad, though. There are both good carbs and bad carbs. This is especially true if you’re trying to manage diabetes. Including carbohydrates in your diet can give you plenty of health benefits, it’s just you have to be smart about which ones you eat. Some of the carbs that you should generally avoid include:

  • White rice
  • White flour
  • White sugar
  • De-germed cornmeal
  • Fruit juices

Instead of eating any of the above, try to replace them with better, ‘nicer’ carbs. Foods that are generally considered to be good carbs are whole grain foods, brown rice, whole natural fruits and whole cornmeal.

Using Protein to Process Carbs

If you choose your proteins and carbs carefully, you can combine them to keep your blood sugar levels in-check and avoid those nasty spikes that lead to bad situations. While you don’t want to overdo it on carbs, you can usually get away with some of them by eating protein with it. Basically, the protein helps your body process the carbs more effectively and consistent to avoid sugar spikes. Some combinations that you might want to try are:

  • Add some unsweetened, natural nut butter to a piece of whole grain bread or crakcers
  • Top some whole grain crackers with your choice of low fat cheese
  • Cook up some brown rice and add some beans into it
  • Create your own “party mix” – combine some pretzels, peanuts and your favorite whole grain cereal in a bowl to snack on
  • Fill a whole grain pita with lean turkey breast

Good and Bad Fats

Just like with carbohydrates, not all fat is bad. Sure, you want avoid eating too much bad fat, but you want to make sure you’re getting enough good fats in your diet. Bad fat is saturated fat. It’s found in things like butter, sugar and shortening that you find on the shelves of the grocery store at room temp.

Try adding some of the following into your diet if you aren’t already doing so…

  • Fish,
  • Almonds
  • Avocados
  • Replace any of your cooking oils with canola oil

Exercising

Exercise is pretty much considered a must if you want to properly manage your diabetes. One of the most important types of exercise in regards to managing diabetes is strength training. There have been cases where strength training benefits even rivaled that of diabetes medicines.

Aerobics or some type of cardio exercise is also important. You burn calories (even more if you’re strength training too, as muscle burns fat) and you get your heart rate going.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to get in about 30 minutes per day five days per week. You’ll feel better and you’ll manage your weight, which is directly connected to managing your diabetes. Getting enough exercise and staying healthy overall also helps prevent your chances of developing diabetes in the first place.

Posted in Exercise, Health and Fitness. Tagged with , , , .