Whole garlic and garlic cloves on a wooden chopping board

8 Foods for a Stronger Immune System

You have probably heard the term “immune system” so many times throughout your life, but do you know what your immune system actually is? 

Your immune system consists of a network made up of organs, tissues and cells, and these protect the body from foreign invaders and infectious compounds. 

Do you suffer from recurrent infections, digestive problems, inflammation or an autoimmune disease? 

If your answer is yes…

Then this means that your immune system is weak, and would really benefit from a boost.

Around 70% to 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, which is why the food you eat will have a direct impact on how your immune system functions. To really strengthen and support your immune system, here are eight foods that you should try to incorporate into your diet. 

Garlic

Just about every type of cuisine in the world makes use of garlic, and it has long since been used as a method of fighting off infections.

How exactly is it able to do this?

Well, garlic contains a compound known as alliin. When a garlic clove is crushed, or even chewed, the alliin within it turns to allicin.

The allicin within garlic contains sulfur, and this is what gives garlic its distinctive smell. It is also the reason as to why garlic smells its strongest after it has been crushed, compared to when it is a whole clove.

However, allicin is quite an unstable compound, meaning that it doesn’t stick around for too long.

What happens to it?

It turns into other compounds that contain sulphur, and these are what give garlic its medicinal properties.

There is plenty of research out there that shows how garlic is not only able to prevent you from falling sick in the first place, but also affects how quickly you recover when you do fall sick.

Those who consume more garlic will not only have a lower risk of catching a cold or developing an infection, but they will also feel better so much faster.

Of course, in order for the allicin in the garlic to work properly, you need to make sure that you always crush garlic and leave it to stand for ten minutes before you use it. This will enable the allicin to convert into medicinal compounds.

Wondering how much garlic you need to eat in order to experience its immune benefits?

As much as possible! But at least one clove per meal would be ideal.

Blueberries

Blueberries may be small, but they are actually packed with a number of important nutrients, all of which really support the immune system. 

There is one compound in particular that blueberries contain that set them apart from the other superfoods out there…

This compound is known as pterostilbene. When consumed, it boosts the way in which the CAMP gene functions. The CAMP gene, which stands for cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, is responsible for creating specific proteins that protect the body from bacterial infections.

In addition to pterostilbene, blueberries also contain high levels of: 

  • Vitamin A 
  • Vitamin C
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Antioxidants 

Infographic on the benefits of blueberries

Can’t stand the taste of blueberries? 

Other dark berries, such as red grapes, cranberries and mulberries, also contain pterostilbene, although in smaller quantities. 

Cinnamon

Now that the festive season is approaching, cinnamon is a spice that you will likely encounter more frequently, and, in addition to adding a distinct flavor and scent to foods, this spice is also a powerful immune booster.

When consumed, cinnamon is able to increase the amount of T regulatory immune cells, also called Tregs, within the body.

What do Tregs do?

They basically control the way in which the immune system responds to foreign invaders, as well as those that are coming from the body itself. This not only helps to prevent autoimmune diseases, but also strengthens the immune system, enabling it to better protect itself against infections.

Of course, there is one downside to cinnamon…

The majority of popular recipes and dishes featuring this spice tend to be laden with calories and other unhealthy ingredients, all of which will only put a damper on your immune system.

Looking for a healthy way to cook with cinnamon?

Give some of these ideas a try:

  • Cinnamon French toast
  • Cinnamon chicken curry
  • Honey-cinnamon roasted chickpeas
  • Baked cinnamon apple chips
  • Cinnamon muffins
  • Cinnamon almond butter

You may need to get creative when it comes to using more of this spice, but the benefits that cinnamon brings really makes this worthwhile.

Turmeric

You have probably already heard of turmeric being called a superfood lately, with this ingredient becoming increasingly popular in recent years.

Why?

Because a number of studies have now been carried out that prove its many benefits, one of which is the way in which it boosts the immune system. 

How does it do this?

It all comes down to a compound called curcumin, which is what gives turmeric its vibrant yellow color.

While curcumin is mostly known for its anti-inflammatory properties, research shows that curcumin is also able to enhance antibody responses within the body, strengthening the immune system.

However, there is one thing to keep in mind when it comes to consuming turmeric…

Turmeric in its raw form is not easily absorbed by the body. In order to maximize its impact, turmeric should be gently cooked, and mixed with an oil, as well as black pepper.

Why?

The oil helps to carry the curcumin while the black pepper significantly increases its bioavailability.

Turmeric golden paste is a great way to consume the herb, as the recipe takes into account all of the above, and can be cooked up in less than ten minutes. This can then be taken on its own a few times a day, or mixed into your meals.

Turmeric paste in small clay bowls surrounded by turmeric powder

Wondering if you can just take a curcumin supplement instead?

Yes, but you likely won’t experience the same impacts when it comes to the benefits of this. Eating whole foods always tends to be more beneficial for the body, as not only will you be consuming the curcumin, but also the many other medicinal properties that the turmeric contains.

Kefir

Just like some of the other immune-boosting foods on this list, kefir has become quite popular lately. 

What is it? 

It’s a fermented drink made from milk, almost like a thinner and lighter version of yogurt. However, while yogurt contains just a couple of strains of beneficial bacteria, kefir can contain ten times this amount. 

Kefir brings with it a number of different health benefits, and, when it comes to the immune system, these include:

So, where can you get kefir from? 

One option is to purchase it, and you will usually find it at health food stores, with more grocery stores now stocking it too. 

However, there is a downside to this…

In order to be sold commercially, kefir needs to be processed. Even if this is minimal, the heat used ends up destroying a significant amount of the beneficial bacteria within the drink. 

For the very best results, you would be best off making kefir at home. There are several how-to guides out there that will walk you through this easy process.

Green Tea

Just about every type of tea is extremely beneficial for the body, but green tea is especially powerful when it comes to strengthening the immune system. 

Why? 

Because it contains high levels of epigallocatechin gallate, also known as EGCG. This is an extremely powerful antioxidant that has been proven to significantly enhance immune function. 

Wondering why black tea doesn’t contain this antioxidant, since both teas come from the same plant? 

Well, tea leaves for black tea are fermented, whereas tea leaves for green tea are steamed. The fermentation process for black tea destroys a large amount of the EGCG within the leaves, whereas the steaming process preserves this antioxidant. 

Not only that, but green tea also contains L-theanine. This is an amino acid that boosts the way in which your body’s T-cells are able to fight germs. 

Don’t like the taste of green tea? 

Many people find green tea to be too bitter. 

Here are a few tips to counter that: 

  • Use hot, rather than boiling, water, since boiling water brings out the bitter flavors of the tea
  • Add in a small amount of honey to sweeten the tea
  • Add in a few drops of fresh lemon juice to enhance the perfume and reduce the bitterness of the tea 
  • Mix a couple of sprigs of mint in with your leaves before topping with water, which is a common practice in Morocco 
  • Drink it iced, rather than hot, as this reduces its bitterness
  • Purchase a high quality green tea  

Dark Chocolate

Love chocolate? 

Then you will be happy to know that dark chocolate is fantastic for strengthening the immune system. 

Of course, this means that the chocolate needs to contain at least 70% cacao, as this ensures that there are high levels of flavonoids within the chocolate.

What are flavonoids? 

They’re antioxidants that do a number of different things within the body, including increasing the amount of antibodies that the body produces. This then gives the immune system a huge boost. 

Thinking you can eat copious amounts of dark chocolate now that it’s been proven that this is a beneficial food? 

Unfortunately not. You still need to moderate how much dark chocolate you eat, since this food is still high in saturated fat and calories. 

If you know that you shouldn’t be consuming any extra calories on any given day, you could always give some dark chocolate a sniff instead, so long as you can resist the temptation to eat it! 

This may seem cruel, but it’s actually beneficial. 

Wondering how?  

Research shows that even the smell of dark chocolate can trigger the body to produce double the amount of antibodies in just 20 minutes. In the study carried out, this boost in immunity lasted for over three hours, although it did decrease as time went on.

Citrus Fruits

Whenever you’ve had a cold, people have likely advised you to eat oranges, or drink warm lemon water. 

Ever wondered why? 

It’s all down to the vitamin C content in citrus fruits, which amp up the body’s production of white blood cells. 

What do white blood cells do? 

They are cells within the immune system that protect the body from foreign invaders and infectious diseases. These cells flow through the blood all over your body, fighting against bacteria, viruses and other unwanted compounds. 

Vitamin C is extremely important when it comes to creating these. 

Since the body doesn’t produce vitamin C itself, it can be easy to become deficient in the vitamin, meaning that your white blood cell count declines. This weakens your immune system, meaning that you will fall sick faster, and take longer to recover. 

So, in addition to oranges and lemons, what other citrus fruits are there? 

Here are some of the most popular: 

  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarins
  • Pomelo
  • Yuzu

Need another reason to eat more citrus fruits? 

Well, in addition to boosting the immune system, citrus fruits also: 

  • Improve heart health 
  • Protect against, and fight against, cancer 
  • Protect the brain 
  • Reduce the risk of kidney stones 

Wondering if you can just drink the juice instead of eating the whole fruits? 

While citrus fruit juices do contain plenty of nutrients, they are also extremely high in sugar. This can end up causing more harm than good when it comes to your overall health. 

When it comes to keeping your body healthy, your focus should always be on your immune system. In order to keep it strong and working optimally, your diet is so important, so make sure that you are incorporating immune-boosting foods into each meal. 

Key Foods for a Heart-Healthy Life

In the fast-paced world of health and fitness, it seems like there’s a proclamation of new “superfood” every other week. Does it get confusing? We think so. Which is why we’ve narrowed it down to the top eight foods you should be consuming for your best heart (and life).

Leafy Greens

“Eat your greens” is a mantra that should definitely not be disregarded even in adulthood.

Green-hued veggies are among the healthiest foods you can feed your body.

And if you’re not sure where to start in this green sea of health, here is a simple primer on the most beneficial leafy greens.

Spinach, one of the most accessible and user-friendly leafy green is not only supremely tasty, but also great for your immunity, your skin, as well as your mental capabilities.

This is because this particular leafy green is absolutely loaded with all sorts of immunity-boosting minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. These include vitamins A, C and B6, but also beta-carotene, lutein, potassium, zinc and magnesium.

Bonus points: due to its mild flavor, spinach can be consumed fresh, which makes it easier to prepare and incorporate in your day-to-day meals.

Kale, an absolute favorite among wellness enthusiast, has earned it celebrity status for its incredible nutritional stats. Namely, kale is one of the richest sources of Vitamin K, which helps keep your bone healthy and promotes better calcium absorption.

Often overlooked but equally healthy are collard greens, which 

Leafy green nay-sayers might object to leafy greens, either because it might seem like they’re difficult to plan meals around or simply because their taste isn’t exactly palate-pleasing for everyone.

Luckily, both of these issues can be solved, and the only thing you’ll need is a good blender. Smoothies made with leafy greens are not only super quick and easy to make, they can also be made delicious by adding natural sweeteners like banana, mango, berries and other juicy fruits.

Citrus Fruit

Vitamin C is one of the most important components for preserving your health and enhancing your immunity.

As you probably already know, fruits like lemon, orange and grapefruit represent treasure troves of this powerful antioxidants.

Oranges are your first go-to for Vitamin C, but don’t forget about other citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit.

Lemon, which due to its zesty flavor is best consumed in juice form, is known for its incredible detoxifying powers which can effectively flush out the pollutants that your body amasses in day-to-day life.

Nutrients found in lemon water can also promote healthier digestion, liver performance, but also reduce the visibility of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots on the skin.

And if you’re not in the mood for something that sour, you can always go for oranges, which also pack a punch when it comes to health benefits.

This wintertime favorite is laden with Vitamin C, which is crucial for shutting down free radicals that are causing oxidative damage to your cells. Through antioxidant activity, you are helping slow down aging processes and reinforcing your body’s natural protective capabilities. Also, improved consumption of antioxidants like Vitamins C means preventing cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cognitive degeneration.

Grapefruit has been a longtime favorite for people who are looking to shed pounds. Not only does the low calorie count make grapefruit an appealing diet-friendly snack, regular consumption of this citrus can promote your health in ways you couldn’t imagine.

For example, a grapefruit a day can help your body stave off a number of illnesses, including cancer, heart disease and kidney failure. Moreover, grapefruit can also boost your metabolism and contribute to lower insulin levels.

Fatty Fish

Even though the word “fat” carries a lot of negative connotation in the world of health and fitness, this doesn’t mean that all fats are automatically bad.

On the contrary, healthy fats are crucial for keeping your heart, your brain and other organs in your body healthy and shielded from diseases.

The only trick is to source these heart-healthy fats straight from nature.

And one of the principal sources of nature-derived fats is oily fish, which is often talked about when it comes to slowing down aging processes and enhancing immunity.

This is because certain creatures of the sea represent a rich source of Omega-3, powerful fatty acids.

The benefits of Omega-3 for your body are numerous: they promote healthy cardiovascular activity, enhance the performance of lung and the entire respiratory system and that can also help keep you mentally sharp.

On a more skin-deep level, regular consumption of these all natural fatty acids can contribute to a plumper, more glowing complexion.

If the benefits of Omega-3 peaked your interest, you might be wondering which particular fish to go with for your next meal if you want to replenish your body with this nutritional powerhouse.

To help you make that choice, here is the list of fish that contain high levels of Omega-3 acids:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Trout
  • Mackerel

When shopping for fish, try to go for the wild instead of the farmed ones, as they are more likely to contain lower levels of mercury and other harmful pollutants found in water.

Avocado

Avocado? That’s right, you can’t have a list of the healthiest food out there without mentioning the fruit that defined an entire generation.

So, what is it that makes this creamy green treat so appealing?

It might be the fact that avocado manages to combine a plethora of nutritional benefits while remaining supremely yummy at the same time.

And that’s not all; this Central American fruit is also super-easy to incorporate into our busy lifestyles due to its filling flavor and incredible versatility.

There are no limits to what you can do with a single avocado fruit in your kitchen: spread it on a piece of toast, chop it up in a salad, mash it in a guacamole or, simplest of all, toss it in a blender and call it a smoothie-energized day.

If you’re already sold on the idea of more avocado in your diet, you’d be pleased to hear that you will also get a number of health perks from it, as well.

For one, avocado is one of the richest sources of healthy, monosaturated fats, which are essential for keeping heart-related illnesses and other serious medical conditions at bay.

Moreover, avocados happen to contain plenty of carotenoid, which can improve both your vision and your brain function.

Another great thing about avocados is that they are jam-packed with proteins, which makes it an excellent dietary addition for anyone looking to lose weight, build muscle or tone their body.

Nuts

Now that we’re talking about protein rich-foods, it might be a good time to focus on nuts.

This food group is known for its powerful nutritional properties, and your body and immune system would certainly benefit from more of these bite-sized powerhouses in your day-to-day life.

For example, almonds – one of the most easily accessible nuts – is packed with health-restoring nutrients, including zinc, selenium, calcium and magnesium. Still, the most potent nutrient found in almonds is Vitamin E, which is known for its powerful reparative capabilities.

For something a little different, you can also try snacking on more walnuts. This tasty nut is jam-packed with nutrients that can rejuvenate your body in varied ways.

For example, walnuts are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can greatly contribute to cardiovascular health by stabilizing blood pressure and regulating cholesterol levels.

Moreover, walnuts are a treasure trove of antioxidants, which can reduce inhibit growth of malignant cells in the body.

One of the most convenient things about nuts is that they can be pretty much consumed anywhere and at any time. Because of this, walnuts, almonds, cashews and other nuts make for a great post-workout, mid-study or office snack. They can provide an instant sensation of fullness without stuffing your body with unnecessary salts and saturated fats.

Berries

When it comes to suppressing aging processes in your body, it’s crucial that you start consuming more antioxidants in your diet.

And the quickest shortcut to more of these body-rejuvenating components in your everyday life is simply more berries.

Now, don’t be fooled by their size – despite being bite-sized, berries manage to pack a punch when it comes to health-enhancing nutrients.

For example, blueberries, which can be a welcome addition to any smoothie or oat bowl, represent a treasure trove of flavonoids, a potent polyphenol that can be of immense value when it comes to fighting free radicals and reducing oxidative damage in your organs.

Furthermore, the antioxidants found in berries can enhance your cognitive and mental capabilities and stave off degenerative processes in the brain.

And if you’d like to add another berry to your diet, why not make it a blackberry? This summertime treat contains a host of good-for-you nutrients, including the immunity-boosting Vitamin C. In fact, one cup of blackberries a day will already supply you with half of your recommended daily intake of this powerful antioxidant.

Seeds

You’ve probably never given much thought to how much presence seeds have in your diet, but once you take into consideration their immense nutritional properties, we are positive you will be rushing to replenish your meals with chia, flax and other micro superfoods.

To start with, seeds represent a rich source of protein, a substance your body needs in order to regulate insulin and control blood cholesterol.

Moreover, these tiny nutritional powerhouses are loaded with healthy acids such as Omega-3, which means that they can improve your cardiovascular health and notably slow down aging processes in your body.

So, now that you are convinced in the immense health-related power of seeds, you might be wondering which one you should go with first? And how to include them in your meals, exactly?

One of the most hailed sees is flax or linseeds, in no small part because they represent a rich source of an Omega-3 acid called alpha-linoleic acid or ALA. Flaxseeds can be a welcome addition to your morning smoothies, as they can provide your AM meal with more body-energizing fiber and nutrients.

Chia seeds are also popular among the health-conscious crowd, largely because of the high doses of fiber and antioxidants they contain. When it comes to food preparation, chia seeds can be incredibly versatile: you can toss them into any smoothie or salad to add extra crunchiness. Alternatively, sprinkle them on top of your rice or pasta-based dishes for an extra fiber kick.

Sweet Potato

Carbs seems to be the bane of everyone’s existence when we’re talking about attempts at establishing a healthier way of life.

And yet, not all carbs have to be necessarily as evil as weight loss advice resources might make you think.

And one of the most satisfying, delicious sources of the good-for-you carbs is sweet potato, which contains high doses of valuable nutrients.

One of them is Vitamin B6, which can greatly diminish levels of homocysteine, a harmful substance that’s been connected to a number of degenerative diseases.

Sweet potatoes also contain high concentrations of Vitamin C, which can help rebuild your immune system and keep your organs strong in the fight against free radicals.

Thanks to its palate-pleasing, filling texture, sweet potato can be prepared in a number of different ways. You can lightly coat it with olive oil and seasoning of your choice, toss it into the over and – voila – you got yourself a serving of healthy chips.

Alternatively, boil your sweet potatoes and combine them with a bit of butter and thyme to create a tummy-filling mash. 

And there you have it – some of the healthiest ingredients you can start consuming as soon as today! Thanks to all these nature-derived vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, we are sure your body will feel younger, more energized and better equipped to stave off any nasty illnesses.

Goji berries in a wooden bowl

The Vitamin Truth About Berries

If you’ve been paying any attention to the world of health and wellness, maybe you noticed how there isn’t a single health enthusiast out there who isn’t raving about the all-healing power of berries. From hearty oatmeal to colorful fruit bowls to body-charging smoothies, it seems berries have been finding their way into every health-conscious meal plan.

So, how are berries supposed to help our health and beauty, exactly?

Well, these bite-sized nutrients are nature’s very own stockpile of vitamins, which hold a number of immunity-boosting properties that can contribute to your overall well-being. By regularly supplying your body with vitamins, you can help ensure all your vital organs are functioning properly.

Moreover, having more vitamins in your diet doesn’t hurt on the beauty front, either. You heard that right – munching on berries can help you achieve healthy-looking skin, hair and even nails! Read on to find out exactly how.

Strawberries Are a Treasure Trove of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is the undisputable star among body-boosting nutrients.

Even if you aren’t well-versed in health and wellness trends, you probably already know that Vitamin C can do wonders for improving your immune system.

However, the benefits of upping your Vitamin C intake go way beyond that.

For example, did you know that a regular consumption of this Vitamin can also improve your eyesight, fade your age spots and relieve stress?

And that’s only the beginning.

First of all, Vitamin C can be your best friend when you want to fight off those pesky symptoms of common cold, such as sore throat, coughing and fatigue.

Upping your Vitamin C intake will boost your immunity and help your body in the fight against damaging infections.

Consuming foods with high Vitamin C concentration can also be beneficial for keeping more serious illnesses at bay.

Increased stress levels can also deplete Vitamin C levels in your body, so redressing the balance may help with reducing stress-related symptoms such as over-irritability, fatigue and lack of sleep.

When it comes to beauty benefits, Vitamin C is crucial for the production of collagen, that special little substance that keeps your complexion plump and glowing.

By upping your daily Vitamin C intake, you can help smooth out fine lines, wrinkles, but also minimize dark spots and other symptoms of hyperpigmentation on your skin.

Moreover, Vitamin C can reverse the negative effects caused by free radicals and protect it from additional damage causes by UV rays, pollution and other kinds of harmful environmental factors.

So, how do you make sure you are getting enough of this magic Vitamin C in your day-to-day meals?

We have some good news for you: berries are packed with this immunity-pepping antioxidant.

b, everyone’s favorite springtime treat, make for a great source of this body-healing vitamin.

One serving (a cup) of this palate-pleasing treat contains 80 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is around the exact amount of prescribed daily intake.

Raspberries and blueberries are also rich in Vitamin C. To create a trifecta of this illness-fighting vitamin, combine a handful od strawberries, raspberries and blueberries into a delicious fruit bowl.

Vitamin K Found in Blueberries is a Powerful Antioxidant

Vitamin K might have been flying under the radar in the past, but these days, all the health freaks are raving about it.

Why is this the case?

Well, this essential vitamin helps keep your body strong on several fronts.

For example, this nutrient can improve the functioning of your cardiovascular system. Since it can promote blood clotting, it is crucial for your body to be replenished with this vitamin in order to be able to heal from bleeding or bruising.

One of the most well-known benefits of Vitamin K is that it can strengthen your bones, and it does so by boosting the amount of protein needed to preserve bone calcium.

Optimal Vitamin K intake can help prevent occurrence of medical conditions such as osteoporosis and bone fracture.

Furthermore, increasing the presence of Vitamin K in your diet can help relieve PMS symptoms such as cramps and other types of discomfort. It can also help with excessive bleeding during periods.

In combination with other vitamins (such as A, C and D), Vitamin K can also help fight off the bacteria that accumulates on your teeth and gum. As a result, it can be effective in warding off tooth decay, cavities and various gum diseases.

One fruit that is especially loaded with vitamin K is blueberry.

A cup of these tiny nutritional powerhouses can contain up to 28.6 micrograms of Vitamin K, which is more than a third or prescribed daily intake.

And when it comes to introducing blueberries into your day-to-day meals – it’s as easy as it sounds.

You can carry a pack of this delicious fruit with you and snack on the go whenever you feel like a pick-me-up at work or after gym.

Blueberries can also be a great way to infuse your breakfast with the precious Vitamin K – simply throw them in your favorite oat meal and cereal and your dish will instantly become charged with antioxidants.

They can also add a kick of vitamins into your smoothies. They work well for sweetening more bitter ingredients like spinach or kale.

And in you need further inspiration, here’s an idea for a healthy smoothie where blueberry is the star ingredient.

In a blender, combine the following:

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup almond milk

Mix until you achieve a smooth consistency. Voila, you’ve just made an ideal snack to kick-start your body and up your Vitamin K intake.

Vitamin A is Abundant in Acai Berries

It is a well-known fact Vitamin A can be incredibly beneficial for eye health and good vision.

However, not many people know this component is directly or indirectly tied to regular functioning of all the vital organs in the body.

This is because Vitamin A has powerful antioxidant properties, which can assist your body in the purging of free radicals, those harmful agents that cause genetic damage to your cells and trigger a host of medical conditions.

Furthermore, optimal Vitamin A intake can fortify your immunity, which means your body will be better equipped to ward off various illnesses.

Vitamin A can be found in certain animal products, as well as plant-based food, in which case it’s known as beta carotene. 

And one ingredient that is especially rich in this organ-pepping vitamin is the acai berry, a dark-hued fruit that hails from the Amazon region.

Because of its notable medicinal powers, this tropical berry has been consumed by the native people of Brazil for centuries.

Recently, it has become increasingly popular in health and wellness-conscious circles, which hail it as the new superfood du jour.

And for good reason, too: not only does the acai berry have numerous benefits for your body, it can also improve the appearance of your skin.

Due to high concentration of Vitamin A and other antioxidants, frequent consumption of acai berry can stave off various ailments, improve your digestion and cardiovascular activity and boost your energy levels.

When it comes to skin, the active ingredients found in acai berry can help reverse symptoms of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.

The vitamins concentrated in this Amazonian treat can also reinforce skin’s protective barrier, which will help protect it from harmful environmental factors, such as the sun, pollution, harsh weather, etc. 

Due to its rich, slightly bitter flavor, acai berry work well in combination with slightly sweeter ingredients.

It can be added to healthy dessert alternatives when you’re looking to add a punch of antioxidants to your after-meal treats.

The easiest way to consume the Brazilian berry is simply to throw it in a smoothie or breakfast bowl.

For added sweetness, chop up a banana or an apple, so your concoction isn’t too bitter.

Vitamin E in Blackberries Has Immense Reparative Properties

When it comes to reversing aging processes, one antioxidant in particular can be incredibly helpful: Vitamin E.

To begin with, this component can be notably beneficial for your cardiovascular system.

Vitamin E can help balance cholesterol levels and reduce chances of it oxidizing, as well as preventing thickening of the arteries.

Because of its powerful antioxidant properties, Vitamin E can effectively help in the fight against free radicals. This will in turn reduce chances of your body developing all kinds of medical issues, from common ailments to more serious conditions.

Having more Vitamin E in your diet can also transform your skin, hair and nails – making them healthier and more resistant to outside harms.

Due to its reparative powers, Vitamin E can help rejuvenate and heal damaged and irritated skin. Since Vitamin E is potent at accelerating cell regeneration, it can be used to treat sunburnt skin, scars and eczema.

Frequent consumption of this antioxidant will also boost hair growth, but also make your strands thicker and better equipped to fight off environmental damage. It can also do wonders for an itchy, flaky scalp.

And if you’re looking for ways to increase your daily intake of this powerful nutrient, you can always go down the easy road and take supplements.

However, to get the real deal, you should know that this vitamin can only be found in plant-based foods.

Luckily, berries represent one of the richest sources of Vitamin E. 

Blackberries in particular pack a punch when it comes to Vitamin E concentration: one cup contains about 1.68 milligrams of this powerful antioxidant.

When it comes to meal ideas, blackberries can be consumed on their own and make for a great snack when you’re on the run.

However, if your mind the slightly sour flavor, you can always combine them with sweeter fruit (like mango or papaya, which also contain high concentration of Vitamin E) to make a delicious, antioxidant-packed smoothie.

You can also add blackberries to your favorite oatmeal or throw them in a fruit salad.

Other berries that contain high concentration of Vitamin E include:

  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries

These mini bombs of antioxidants are bountiful during warm, sunny seasons and will make for a refreshing meal during scorching summer days.

Goji Berries are Rich in B Complex Vitamins

By B complex vitamins, people usually refer to the following compounds:

  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6 (pyridoxine)
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B9 (folic acid)
  • B12 (cobalamin)

And you’ll be delighted to hear that goji berries, a nutritious fruit that originates form Asia, contain even four of these super-charging agents, including vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B12.

And each of these has its own set of benefits for your health and your body.

For example, Vitamin B1 contributes to healthy digestive tract, but can also improve your nervous system, as well as skin, eyes and hair.

On the other hand, riboflavin or Vitamin B2 helps prevent cognitive decline, and it can also minimize symptoms of depression.

Vitamin B12 found in goji berries is one of the most important components for the healthy functioning of your organs. Regular Vitamin B12 consumption will keep energy levels high, but also regulate your mood.

This particular vitamin also reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Since goji berries are still somewhat mysterious to the casual health food enthusiast, you might be wondering how you can include them in your day-to-day meals.

Luckily, this task is a lot easier than you think!

Just like any other berry, goji can be a welcome addition into various health-oriented meals, including smoothies, breakfast bowls or oat meals.

It can also be consumed on its own; however, if you’re looking to pack a punch of antioxidants, combine your goji berries with a handful of nuts like almonds, cashews or walnuts.

Have you been convinced of berries’ immense vitamin powers yet? Next time you find yourself at the fresh produce section, make sure to stock up on these super-charging nuggets. Your body will soon be thanking you!

Woman enjoying blueberries in a bowl

6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

Other than sunny weather and longer days, spring also brings about all kinds of fresh produce that is either hard to find or simply non-existent during rest of the year.

With the abundance of body-boosting, delicious dietary options, there’s no more excuse to revert to old, damaging food habits.

And to give you some ideas on how to overhaul your diet, we have prepared this guide with essential tips on how to use the sunny season to your advantage and, over time, build healthy habits that you can adhere to during the rest of the year, as well.

Introduce High-fiber Meals

In the springtime, we tend to be more active and spend more time outdoors.

This, is turn, causes us to reach for food items that will please our palates and fuel our body.

And if you’re the type of person who isn’t exactly health-conscious, you may end up gravitating towards instantly filling foods laden with processed carbs and sugars.

Sure, these might feel gratifying short-term, but if you want to build a satisfying, health-oriented diet, then you might want to ditch these processed baddies and go for energizing, fiber-rich options.

What are fibers and why should you include more of them in your meals, you ask?

Fibers are the kind of carbohydrates your body doesn’t digest. Since fiber itself has zero calories and helps boost digestive system, it should be an essential component in every though-out diet plan.

Luckily, foods that are high in fiber are plentiful come spring, which is why this is the perfect moment to load up your plate with these energizing nutrients.

Among the foods that contain high level of fiber are oatmeal, barley, as well as various kinds of legumes.

Fresh green peas are one of most delicious spring foods which are not only super-easy to prepare, but also chock-full of body-fueling fibers.

You can mix your peas with other springtime veggies and cook over garlic and olive oil. Alternatively, you can add them to your favorite pasta or blend them into a delicious puree as a side.

Lentil is another legume rich in fiber, which is also incredibly satisfying and belly-filling. To make your lentils extra-tasty, turn them into a basil-infused soup or mash them with some lemon juice and a couple of garlic cloves for a delicious spread.

If you are looking for a more breakfast-friendly option, you can always equip your kitchen with a box of bran flakes, which are one of the most readily-available sources of fiber. And if the taste of this fiber-rich cereal doesn’t fill you up with excitement, you can always combine it with your favorite leafy greens or fruit and blend it into a mouthwatering smoothie.

Learn to Love Leafy Greens

If you’re looking for the easiest and quickest way to increase your daily dosage of various health-charging nutrients, then leafy greens should be at the very top of your list.

These dietary superheroes are packed with a plethora of vitamins, minerals and other goodies that will not only improve your immunity and overall wellbeing, but also contribute to a healthier appearance of skin, nails and hair. Win-win!

Plus, you’ll be pleased to hear that springtime is when leafy greens reign supreme. 

Leafy green rookies might want to ease their way into their new routine by going for a veggie with a more milder, versatile taste.

Baby spinach is the perfect starter-level leafy green. It can go into any food combo, from omelets to stir-fries to smoothies. Moreover, it has a subtle, refreshing taste, so you won’t have to worry about it overpowering the rest of your meal.

More advanced leafy greens aficionados can enrich their day-to-day meals with a bona fide celebrity among superfoods – kale. This leafy green has become wildly popular in the health and wellness sphere – for good reason, too: it contains high concentration of Vitamin K, which can shield your body from all kinds of illness.

Stir-fried kale in a pan

Even though kale is slightly more bitter in taste than baby spinach, you should have no problems including it into your daily meal prep – it can be blanched, sautéed, baked or blended!

Finally, seasoned leafy green lovers might want to go for something more challenging this spring. If you haven’t done so already, why not try stepping up your veggie game by introducing collard greens into your diet?

These nutritional powerhouses are often overlooked in favor of more accessible leafy greens, possibly because of their somewhat earthy tang and chewy texture.

However, if you know how to prepare them, collard greens can be just as delicious and health-boosting as any other leaf vegetable.

One of the easiest way to soften them up and bring out the flavor is to cook them in a broth with other veggies of your choice. Alternatively, you can drizzle a bit of olive oil over a hot pan and sauté your greens with a couple of crushed and chopped garlic cloves.

Try Out Energy-boosting Snacks

Once gloomy winter days come to an end, you will inevitably feel inspired to spend more time outdoors and on your feet.

And planning meals while you’re busy running errands and catching up with friends might prove to be a little bit challenging.

What’s more, if you don’t have a clear of idea what you’re going to eat and when, you might end up reaching for the least healthy options when you’re running low on fuel.

That’s why it’s very important to always keep body-energizing snacks at hand, which you can nibble on wherever you go.

And if you want to go down the healthy road, spring is the ideal time to start introducing healthy, straight-from-nature snacks that your body will be thanking you for.

One of the most convenient and energizing snacks are nuts and seeds.

They are easy to carry around and whip out whenever you’re feeling peckish.

What’s more, they are packed with a host of healthy nutrients that will replenish your body without adding extra pounds (when consumed in moderation).

One of the most readily available and healthy nuts are almonds, which have many body-boosting properties. A handful of almonds a day can help reduce bad cholesterol and help with high blood pressure.

On the other hand, if you’re more of a pistachio fan, you’ll be pleased to hear that these nuts contain high levels of antioxidants, especially potassium, which are incredibly beneficial for the nervous system.

Cashews can also be a great option for midday snacking, as they can help strengthen your bones and improve your overall immune system.

Fruit and Berries Over Processed Sugar

Most of us know that processed sugars are a definite no-go when it comes to building a healthy diet routine.

And while it’s pretty obvious that your standard candy and soda is loaded with added sugar, sometimes these high-calorie baddies are not that easy to spot.

For example, added sugars could be hiding in your favorite granola bar or that salad dressing you always use in your meals.

Luckily, thanks to the appropriate food labeling, it’s easier to identify those extra sugars found in our everyday groceries.

However, if you want to take the healthy route, spring is the right time to start satisfying your sugar cravings with deserts that have come straight from nature.

In the spring, nature becomes abundant with juicy, delicious fruit which can be a great replacement for your standard go-to treats.

One of the healthiest choices to satisfy your sweet tooth are berries. These bite-sized, vitamin-laden goodies are not only good for you body, they are also super-easy to get a hold of during sun-filled spring days.

Variety of berries in a measuring spoon

For example, strawberries – everyone’s favorite fruit of the season – are not only rich in various health-boosting nutrients, they also contain very few calories, making them a great choice for people looking to shed a few pounds.

Blueberries are also plentiful in spring, and make for a great addition to any smoothie or fruit salad. What’s more, blueberries are packed with phytochemicals, flavonoids and antioxidants which are essential for improving the immune system.

Put More Veggies on Your Plate

If your meals aren’t usually packed with vegetables, spring is the ideal time to change that for the better.

This season brings all kinds of tasty, health-boosting produce which will not only contribute to your overall well-being, it will also make you want to try out more creative, exciting meal options.

All you need to go to the green market and pack your grocery bags with all those delicious spring veggies.

And if you’re not really sure where to start, here are some of the most satisfying, palate-enticing spring superstars that you can incorporate into your spring meals with little to no effort.

One of the most popular springtime veggies is asparagus, a green stalk rich in iron, calcium, as well as vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6.

There are many different ways you can introduce asparagus into your daily recipes; for example, sautéed with eggs for breakfast, thrown into a salad with other veggies and a few slices of of fresh mozzarella for lunch or post-workout snack, or grilled with a slice of salmon for an evening meal.

Brussel sprouts are also great for filling up your belly and supplying you with energy during sunny spring days. These bite-sized veggies are packed with Vitamin C, K and plenty of antioxidants. Fry them for a couple of minutes with a chili or two to give the sprouts a kick; alternatively, roast them with the rest of your favorite veggies for a more rich and smoky flavor.

Don’t Be Afraid of (Healthy) Fats

If you are new to the world of wellness, then seeing the words “healthy” and “fat” in the same sentence might feel odd to you.

But fats don’t have to be necessarily bad for you.

On the contrary – healthy, nature-derived fats are essential for achieving balanced eating habits.

Since fats are higher in calories than proteins and carbohydrates, they will keep you feeling full and sated for long periods of time.

The only trick is to stick to unsaturated, straight-out-of-nature fats and stay away from the nasty, processed stuff.

Fortunately, spring offers plenty of healthy fat options you can incorporate into your everyday meals.

As mentioned before, nuts are a great source of unsaturated fats and proteins; moreover, they make for a great snack in-between bigger meals.

Healthy nuts in two bowls

Another food that is not only supremely delicious, but also high in natural fats is avocado. This nutritious, versatile fruit that originates from Central America can be prepared in countless way. For a quick and easy option, simply scoop out your avocado and spread it on a slice of toasted bread. Alternatively, you can chop it up in your salad or add it to your smoothie for a richer, creamier texture and extra nourishment.

And for something a little more substantial, go for fatty fish. Mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and other creatures of the sea are loaded with unsaturated fats, as well as hearth-healthy Omega-3 acids, which can help with a host of health issues, including blood fat, arthritis, asthma, depression and ADHD. On a more skin-deep level, these acids can contribute to a plump, wrinkle-free complexion.

Spring is also the ideal time to switch to extra virgin olive oil, which is another ingredient that’s chock-full of healthy acids. This staple of Mediterranean diet contains high doses of Vitamin E and K, as well as a number of antioxidants. You can use olive oil in cooking or simply drizzle it over your favorite breads, salads and veggies.

And with this, we are wrapping up out list of essential tips and tricks on how to make your diet healthier and more spring-friendly. Now you can go out and stock up on all these delicious, sun-soaked foods that will ensure your belly is full and your health is in check.

Smiling woman nursing a cup of tea

Here’s Why You Should Be Drinking More Tea

Tea has been around for centuries, and has long since been linked to a wide array of different health benefits. It comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, and true tea types include:

  • Black tea – the highest caffeine content out of all the tea types, and made from fermented tea leaves. Black tea forms the basis for many other flavored teas, such as chai
  • White tea unfermented and uncured, with more anti-cancer properties than the other tea types
  • Green tea made from steamed tea leaves, the benefits of green tea have been widely studied 
  • Oolong tea packed with antioxidants
  • Pu-erh tea made from aged, fermented leaves that have been pressed into cakes
  • Herbal teamade from fruits, seeds, herbs or roots. Lower in antioxidants than other tea types, but the benefits do vary depending on the exact plants that have been used

Wondering how long to steep these teas? Here’s a helpful infographic.

tea steep times infographic

Do you drink much tea?

If not, here are a few reasons to convince you to brew an extra cup each day.

Hydration

First and foremost, tea consists primarily of water, meaning that it is incredibly hydrating.

Yes, there are plenty of myths out there surrounding the fact that tea could potentially dehydrate the body, due to its caffeine content, but these are not true…

In fact, research has found that drinking four to six cups of tea a day is just as good as drinking a litre of water.

Still concerned about the dehydrating effects of caffeine?

The same study concluded that, when consumed in a moderate amount, caffeine has no effect when it comes to keeping the body hydrated. 

Packed with Antioxidants

Tea contains a range of polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant, as well as several phytochemicals. It is these antioxidants that give tea the ability to protect against a number of different cancers, including breast, skin, lung, liver, prostate and oral.

These antioxidants are also essential in the fight against free radicals, which damage everything from the heart to the brain to the skin.

Lowers Cholesterol

For those who want to keep their cholesterol levels low, green tea is the way to go. Traditional Chinese beliefs also revere pu-erh tea for cholesterol, but there is not much scientific data available to back this up yet.

Both LDL and total serum cholesterol can be lowered by drinking tea, with experts recommending at least five cups a day if you want to experience maximum benefits. 

Wondering how this actually works?

When the tea reaches the large intestine, it is able to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol, therefore decreasing the amount of cholesterol that enters your body.

Lowers Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

The connection between tea and heart health is something that has been studied quite extensively, as the effects that tea can have on the heart are quite significant.

Studies have found that those who drink one to three cups of green tea a day experienced a 20% lowered risk of heart attack, as well as a 35% lowered risk of stroke.

Drinking four or more cups of green tea a day enhances these benefits even more.

Not sure you can handle drinking that much green tea a day?

Give matcha tea a try instead. This is made from ground green tea leaves, and contains a nutritional composition similar to that of ten cups of green tea. 

Prevents Cavities and Decreases Tooth Loss

There are so many beverages out there that are bad for your teeth, but tea does not fall into this category.

In fact, researchers in Japan discovered that when tea is consumed, it changes the pH within the mouth. This then helps to prevent cavities, by suppressing the growth of periodontal bacteria, and therefore decreases tooth loss.

Tea also has quite a high fluoride content, which is something else that helps to protect the teeth. Not only is tea usually brewed with water that contains fluoride, but the plant itself also draws fluoride up from the soil in which it is grown in.

Tea also does not erode tooth enamel, which is something that many other beverages are guilty of.

Aids in Weight Loss

Tea is a calorie-free drink, and does not need to have anything added to it, making it such a healthy beverage to drink.

In addition to this, each type of tea is able to help with weight loss in different ways:

  • Green tea – one of the most effective teas to aid with weight loss, green tea has been linked to decreases in body weight and fat. This is likely due to the fact that green tea, as well as matcha, is high in catechins, which can boost metabolism, and the rate at which the body burns fat 
  • Pu-erh tea – while research is limited when it comes to pu-erh tea, the studies that have been done show that this tea has an anti-obesity effect, and can help to suppress weight gain
  • Black tea – high in flavones, black tea has been found, by several studies, to be effective in helping with controlling weight
  • Oolong tea – speeds up metabolism and increases energy expenditure, therefore helping the body to burn more fat
  • White tea – has similar effects to green tea. White tea extracts have also been proven to be able to break down fat cells, while preventing new ones from forming, although this study has only been carried out in test tubes, and not yet on humans 

Try alternating the teas that you drink, so that you can experience the maximum benefits when it comes to weight loss. 

Helps with Sun Protection

While there is nothing that can compare to wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, it always helps when you can boost the effects of this.

Certain foods contain compounds that are able to help reduce the effects of UV exposure, and green tea is one of these foods.

In addition to drinking more green tea, you can also use green tea extracts directly on the skin, to protect against UV damage and reduce the number of sunburned cells in the skin. 

Prevents and Treats Neurological Diseases

As the body ages, brain health begins to decline, and the onset of degenerative neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, become quite common.

However, tea could potentially help to not only prevent these diseases from developing, but also when it comes to treatment…

How?

It is all down to the polyphenols found in tea, especially green tea. These help to boost brain health, while maintaining the parts of the brain that are responsible for memory and learning.

Reduces Cortisol Levels

Many people turn to tea in times of stress, and science has now backed up why this is…

Studies suggest that drinking tea on a daily basis can help drop your cortisol levels back down to normal much faster after a stressful situation has occurred.

What is cortisol?

This is the hormone that your body releases in times of stress. While it is harmless, or even good for you, in small amounts, modern life means that many people now have cortisol constantly running through their bodies, leading to everything from premature aging to belly fat.

Want to control how stressed you actually get during a stressful situation?

Try drinking four cups of tea a day, as this will prevent your cortisol levels from spiking quite so much.

Protects the Eyes

Once again, it is the catechins in green tea that really help to protect the eyes, or the delicate tissues within the eyes in particular.

It has long since been understood that catechins are beneficial to eye health, but experts were unsure as to whether the catechins from tea could actually be absorbed by the eyes.

Well, they soon found out that different parts of the eye absorb different amounts of the catechins, with the retina absorbing the most.

closeup of woman's eyes

They also discovered that the antioxidant activity that the catechins are responsible for can last up to 20 hours after the green tea extract had been consumed.

However, do not get too excited just yet…

The study focused on green tea extract, rather than just green tea. This means that the effects may not be quite as effective when drinking just the tea, but will still be there. The study was also carried out on rats, meaning that human trials still need to be done in order to confirm these theories. 

An Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation within the body can lead to a number of different disorders, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Blindness
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Mental illnesses

In fact, inflammation can be linked to just about every modern ailment out there.

Fortunately, there are many natural ways in which a person can lower the inflammation within their body, and, as you may have guessed, drinking tea is one of these ways.

Thanks to certain active compounds within tea, this beverage is able to lower levels of inflammation, as well as inflammatory reactions.

An Anti-Allergen

Do you suffer from hay fever or any other type of pollen allergy?

If so, you may want to try drinking more tea…

Research carried out in Japan has discovered that EGCG, which is the polyphenol found in tea, can actually help to reduce pollen allergies.

Tea also contains quercetin, which acts as a natural histamine.

Want to boost the way in which tea is able to help with your allergies?

Try adding some local honey to your brew.

Why?

Well, this works in a similar way to allergy shots. By consuming local honey, you will therefore be consuming local pollen. Doing this over time can help you to become less sensitive to the pollen around you, therefore reducing your allergies.

Increases Endurance

Tea, especially green tea, contains catechins, which are antioxidants.

These catechins are able to increase the body’s ability to burn fat, which is why tea is so great for weight loss. But another effect of this is greater endurance, especially when it comes to muscular exercises.

Boosts the Immune System

Green tea in particular is able to boost the number of cells in your body that are responsible for maintaining the immune system.

Research in this area is still quite new, so researchers do not yet quite understand how it all works. However, once they do have a deeper understanding of the processes involved, this could mean that tea could be used to treat autoimmune problems, as well as a wide range of other diseases involving the immune system.

Lowers Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is not good for you, but neither is being completely dependent on medications, especially if you can avoid it.

Studies have shown that consuming black tea can actually decrease a person’s blood pressure.

However, keep in mind that these effects are not enough to bring a person with hypertension back into a safe zone, so do not rely on tea entirely in times of urgency.

Need Some Tea Inspiration?

Thanks to its incredible versatility, tea is actually the second most widely consumed beverage in the world.

Nevertheless, many people tend to fall into a bit of a tea rut, drinking their tea in exactly the same way every day.

While there is nothing wrong with knowing how you like your tea, it is also worthwhile experimenting with other ways in which to drink it.

Why?

Because as you can see from above, different types of tea have different benefits, so it only makes sense to consume a wide variety of different teas.

Here are some tea ideas to try out:

  • Boston iced tea
  • Iced lemon tea
  • Green tea and avocado smoothie
  • Mint tea punch
  • Cucumber tea spritzer
  • Bubble tea

iced lemon tea

Tea consumption is going through quite the trend at the moment. Around half the population of the USA are tea drinkers, and this is set to continue to increase over the next few years. Even if you do not usually like the taste of tea, there are so many different types and varieties out there, making it well worth finding one that you enjoy drinking.

Closeup of a small cup of espresso

The Benefits and Harms of Your Regular Espresso

For years now, there has been so much debate on whether or not coffee is actually good for us. If you are someone that drinks coffee each and every day, here are some of the health benefits that you will likely experience, as well as a few dangers that you need to watch out for.

 

What Exactly is Coffee?

Coffee is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, with 83% of the population of the United States being avid coffee drinkers. Consisting of a powerful collection of biologically active compounds, many people associate only caffeine with coffee, but this drink actually contains so much more than that, and is packed with thousands of complex substances.

Let’s look at the benefits and harms of drinking your daily espresso.

 

Benefits of Your Daily Espresso

 

1. Coffee Can Boost Physical Performance

Coffee has been proven to be able to increase energy and boost physical performance, making this a great beverage to sip on before a workout.

Drinking just one cup of coffee, around an hour before you intend to work out, can improve your performance by up to 12%.

Why?

Well, coffee increases the adrenaline in your blood, which is the hormone that your body produces to help it to deal with physical exertion. An increase in adrenaline levels then increases your energy, as well as the amount of exercise you are able to do.

 

2. Coffee Helps to Burn Fat and Lose Weight

While you should not depend solely on coffee if you are trying to lose weight, this beverage can definitely help you on your weight loss quest.

Coffee is packed with potassium and magnesium, both of which help the body to use insulin and regulate blood sugar levels. By keeping your blood sugar levels steady, you will not experience as many cravings for unhealthy foods and snacks, making it much easier for you to stick to a healthy diet.

But, don’t forget…

Although coffee can help you lose weight, you need to ensure that you are not filling your coffee with calorie-laden creams and sugars, as this will only counter the weight loss benefits that coffee can have.

 

3. Coffee Contains a Wide Range of Antioxidants

Here is a fact that will no doubt surprise you…

Coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, and outranks both fruits and vegetables combined. 

Coffee is absolutely packed with a wide range of antioxidants, including:

  • Polyphenols – key when it comes to disease prevention
  • Hydrocinnamic Acids neutralizes free radicals and prevents oxidative stress
  • Cafestol an anti-inflammatory that protects the brain
  • Melanoidins an anti-bacterial and an anti-inflammatory that also gives coffee its distinct aroma

So, why exactly are antioxidants so important?

Well, the body is constantly being attacked by free radicals, and these cause so much damage to your cells, affecting them as deeply as DNA level. Antioxidants are able to neutralize these free radicals, keeping your body healthier, as well as more youthful, for longer.

free radicals

But, here’s the deal…

The way in which you prepare your coffee will have a significant impact on its antioxidant content. For example, roasted coffee has many more antioxidants than non-roasted coffee, so always opt for coffee that is as high quality as possible.

 

4. Coffee Reduces Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Affecting over 300 million people, type 2 diabetes is one of the most common diseases out there, and refers to blood sugar levels being elevated due to a resistance to insulin.

There have been multiple studies carried out over the years that look at the relationship between coffee and type 2 diabetes, and the results have been surprising…

By drinking coffee on a daily basis, you will be able to reduce your risk of developing diabetes by an impressive 23-67%.

 

5. Coffee Offers Protection for the Brain

As the body ages, neurodegenerative diseases become so much more common.

What is a neurodegenerative disease?

These are brain diseases that occur due to the death of neurons in the brain. These diseases are always progressive, meaning that neurons will continue to die and the disease will only worsen over time.

The two most common neurodegenerative diseases out there are Alzheimer’s, which is also the leading cause of dementia, and Parkinson’s.

brain

Fortunately, coffee can help to protect your brain from both of these…

  • Alzheimer’s – Research shows that coffee drinkers have a 65% lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s Studies show that coffee drinkers have a 32-60% lowered risk of developing Parkinson’s, with this number increasing with the more coffee that you drink

By protecting the neurons in your brain, coffee will also reduce your risk of developing dementia as you get older.

 

6. Coffee Improves Mood and Acts as an Anti-Depressant

The caffeine that coffee contains is a known stimulant, and, each time you drink a cup of coffee, the caffeine blocks the function of one of your brain hormones, known as adenosine.

Wondering what this actually means?

Well, by blocking adenosine, your brain is then able to enjoy an increase in activity, and releases several other neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine.

Here is what this can do for you:

  • Improves your mood
  • A short-term boost to brain function
  • Reduces tiredness and increases alertness

All of these effects then work together to fight depression, with one Harvard study showing that coffee drinkers experience a 20% lowered risk of becoming depressed.

This also relates to suicide rates, with coffee drinkers being 53% less likely to take their own lives.

 

7. Coffee Can Lower Your Risk of Premature Death

Premature deaths can be caused by so many different factors, including all of the health issues mentioned in this article.

By experiencing so many health benefits, it only makes sense that coffee drinkers have a much lowered risk of dying prematurely.

How much coffee do you need to drink for this?

Studies have shown that when drinking four to five cups of coffee a day, men have a 12% reduced risk of premature death, while women have 16%.

However, even just one cup of coffee a day can still reduce your risk of premature death by 5-6%, showing you just how little is needed to make a difference. 

 

8. Coffee Can Reduce the Risk of Cancer

Thanks to its phenolic compounds, coffee can have a significant impact on different types of cancer.

Numerous studies have been carried out over the years. Here are some of the results:

  • A 2012 study found that each cup of coffee a day would lessen your chances of developing endometrial cancer by 8%
  • A 2011 study showed that each cup of coffee a day would reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 4%
  • A 2011 study found that each cup of coffee a day would reduce the risk of bladder, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers by 3%

Here is the best bit…

When it comes to liver cancer, a 2007 study found that drinking two extra cups of coffee a day would lower an individual’s risk by 43%.

 

8. Coffee Can Help with Oral Health

You are probably thinking…

“Coffee is known to stain teeth. How can it help with oral health?”

While it is true about coffee staining the teeth, this is a cosmetic problem, and does not actually signify anything about a person’s health.

In fact, when drank straight black, the antioxidants found within coffee make your teeth less adhesive. This means that bacteria is not able to hold on to your teeth with much strength, not only keeping them cleaner, but also making them easier to clean.

 

Harms of Your Daily Espresso

 

1. Coffee Can Elevate Cholesterol Levels

While coffee does not contain cholesterol itself, it does interfere with the way in which your body produces and regulates cholesterol.

How?

As mentioned above, coffee contains an antioxidant called cafestol. While this compound does have its benefits, it affects the way in which your body metabolizes cholesterol, leading to raised cholesterol levels.

Fortunately, there is a way around this…

There are multiple ways to brew a coffee, but, if you do it in an American-style coffee pot, with a filter, then the resulting coffee will actually have quite low cafestol levels.

Why is this?

Since the coffee only passes through the grounds once, most of the cafestol is left behind in the filter. On the other hand, a French press brews coffee by constantly passing water through the coffee grounds, meaning that the resulting beverage contains quite a bit of cafestol.

However, even if you do like a French press, you may not need to worry too much about raised cholesterol levels…

Research has indicated that you would need to drink around five cups of French press coffee a day to see an increase in your cholesterol levels, so as long as you ensure that your coffee consumption does not become excessive, then you should not have a problem.

 

2. Coffee Can Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease

While coffee does not increase the risk of heart disease for everybody, it does if you have a genetic mutation that slows down the rate at which caffeine is broken down by the body.

Since your body will not be able to metabolize the caffeine quickly enough, this can significantly increase your chances of developing heart disease.

Fortunately, this does not mean that you have to completely avoid coffee…

Try to stick to just one cup a day, as the risks will only come from drinking two cups or more.

 

3. Coffee Can Be Addictive

If you are quite dependent on your daily coffee, then you will already be aware of the fact that coffee is quite addictive. This is due to the caffeine in coffee, with the term caffeine dependence being coined a few years ago.

What does too much caffeine do to your body?

A number of things:

    • Increases anxiety
    • Disrupts sleep patterns
    • Leads to insomnia
    • Increases blood sugar levels
    • Can lead to spinal bone loss if an individual is not consuming enough calcium

 

A Lowered Tolerance

While all of these health benefits that coffee can bring to the body may sound great, keep in mind that many of these effects are likely to only be short term. If you are someone that drinks coffee multiple times a day, then you are likely to soon build up a tolerance to its benefits, meaning that the results will not be as noticeable, and you will be more likely to experience some of the negatives that come with coffee.

So, how much is too much?

Drinking more than eight cups of coffee a day would be considered excessive, and would bring about the negative effects mentioned above.

So, as long as you stay below this guideline, and do not fill your coffee with sugars, flavors and creams, you will be able to enjoy nothing but the many benefits that coffee can bring to the body.

 

How to Make Your Daily Espresso Healthier

As mentioned above, you need to ensure that you do not add sugars and other harmful ingredients to your coffee, as this negates its benefits.

Here are a few other tips to help you to ensure that your daily brews are as health-boosting as possible:

  • Coffee is often sprayed heavily with pesticides, making it worth springing for organic versions
  • For maximum health benefits, drink your coffee straight black
  • Adding a square of 70% cacao dark chocolate to your cup of coffee will give it a chocolatey edge, while bringing you all of the health benefits of the cacao too 

So, how should you brew your coffee?

Well, that all depends on what you are trying to gain from it…

  • If you want a coffee that is as “pure” as possible, opt for a French press
  • If you have acid reflux or a sensitive stomach, go for cold-brewed coffees, as these are much less acidic
  • If you have cholesterol concerns, an American-style coffee pot or an instant coffee may be your best bet

Do not be afraid to experiment with all of the different coffees, as well as brewing methods, that are out there. While you do want your coffee to be as beneficial to your health as possible, you still need to be able to find a brew that truly satisfies your taste buds.

Header of Beginner's Guide to Probiotics

A Beginner’s Guide to Probiotics

Probiotics have been all the rage recently, and there is good reason for this too. For those of you who are new to the world of probiotics, this beginner’s guide will tell you all that you need to know.

 

 

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are often referred to as good bacteria, and they live within your digestive tract, regulating digestion, supporting the immune system and doing so much more.

However, your gut also contains bad bacteria, and when these outnumber the good bacteria, you may experience some of these problems:

  • Digestive disturbances, such as gas, diarrhea and IBD
  • Skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis and eczema
  • Mood swings, excess stress and depression
  • A weak immune system, meaning that you easily fall ill
  • Allergies and asthma

Your gut flora should ideally contain 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria, and, even if you do not suffer from any of the above-mentioned issues, probiotics could still benefit you in a number of ways:

  • Improving digestion, allowing your body to absorb more nutrients
  • Improving immune function, protecting you from illnesses and infections
  • Giving an overall boost to your complexion and skin
  • Aiding in weight loss
  • Increasing energy
  • Reducing lactose intolerance

 

Types of Probiotics 

There are thousands of strains of probiotics out there, and each one will support a different aspect of your health. If you are seeking a general overall boost to your health, try to consume a wide variety of strains, as this will help to cover just about everything.

If you have a specific health problem you are trying to treat, there are particular probiotic strains that would be especially beneficial to you.

  • Immunity and Infections – Lactobacillus casei
  • Gas, bloating and lactose intolerance – Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Liver function and inflammation – Bifidobacterium longum
  • Neutralize toxins – Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Arthritis and Inflammation – Bacillus coagulans

You’re likely thinking…

“Those words don’t make much sense!”

Fortunately, unless you are looking to treat a specific condition, you do not need to worry too much about the various probiotic strains out there. By consuming a wide range of probiotics, you will more than likely be covered.

woman eating probiotics

 

Why Have Probiotics Become So Trendy? 

Historically, people used to have plenty of probiotics in their diet, as they would eat fresh foods, that had been grown on quality soil. Fermenting foods, in order to preserve them, was also commonplace, with the fermentation process itself creating a wide range of good bacteria.

Today, life is quite different…

The food that you eat has likely been soaked in chlorine and then processed and refrigerated, removing any probiotics. Lower quality soil also has a huge impact on this, as do the antibiotics that many foods contain, as these actually kill off any good bacteria that is already in your gut.

 

Who Should Avoid Probiotics? 

Probiotics will generally benefit just about everyone, but there are a couple of conditions that can actually be worsened by probiotics.

If you suffer from short bowel syndrome or immunodeficiency, it would be wise to speak to your doctor before beginning your probiotic journey.

 

How to Increase Your Intake of Probiotics

Now that you understand the importance of probiotics, you can begin to take a look at the many ways in which you can increase your intake of probiotics. Consuming more probiotic-rich foods is the best way to do this, and there are many options out there.

 

Milk Kefir 

Milk kefir is similar to yoghurt, although with a thinner texture, and has been consumed for over 3000 years. Just like yoghurt, kefir is slightly tart tasting, but, when it comes down to the probiotics within the two, kefir wins hands down.

Yoghurt contains between 2 to 7 types of probiotics, while kefir contains an impressive 10 to 35, as well as a number of beneficial yeast strains.

Never tried it before?

Kefir can be purchased in supermarkets and speciality shops, but store-bought versions will never quite compare to flavor that comes from making it yourself at home. Store-bought kefir will also be lightly processed, removing some of its probiotics.

If you want to try making it yourself at home, this is what you will need:

  • Fermented kefir grains
  • Milk
  • A non-metal strainer
  • A glass jar

The fermented kefir grains are mixed with the milk in a jar before being strained out the next day, with the resulting liquid being the kefir. The grains will grow and multiply with each batch that you make, meaning that it will not be long before you will be able to share them with friends and family, so that they can also make their own.

Wondering where to get the fermented kefir grains from?

Getting your hands on some grains can be tricky, unless you know someone that already makes kefir at home. If not, try ordering them online, or join a few kefir groups on social media, as there will always be people happy to post their extra grains to you.

milk kefir

 

Sauerkraut 

Sauerkraut is most commonly made from fermented cabbage, but can also contain a number of other vegetables. While sauerkraut itself does not contain a huge number of probiotics, its organic acids support the growth of good bacteria within the gut.

Just like with kefir, sauerkraut can be purchased from shops, but is far more beneficial when made yourself at home.

All you need to do is:

  1. Thinly slice or shred the cabbage, as well as any other vegetables you want to include. Beets and carrots work particularly well, and also add a beautiful pop of color.
  2. Layer the cabbage into a glass jar, alternating each layer with a sprinkling of salt, with the top layer being just salt.
  3. Cover the jar with a boiled cloth and leave it to sit for a couple of days, until a white scum appears on the top. Skim this off, replace the cloth, and then repeat this process for about two weeks. You will know that your sauerkraut is ready when no more bubbles form within it.

sauerkraut preparation

 

Kimchi 

If you have tried sauerkraut, and would prefer it to have more of a kick, then kimchi may be just the food for you.

Kimchi is often referred to as the Korean take on sauerkraut, as it is also made from fermented Chinese cabbage. However, the difference comes from the addition of other ingredients, including:

  • Radish
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Red pepper flakes

The method of making kimchi is not too different from that of sauerkraut, and, just like with sauerkraut, kimchi is a fantastic accompaniment to so many meals.

kimchi preparation

 

Raw Cheese 

For those of you who love dairy products, you will be happy to know that raw cheese is a great source of probiotics, but you do need to ensure that the cheese has not been pasteurized. In particular, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk cheeses are especially high in probiotics, so try to opt for these if possible.

 

Miso 

If you are a fan of Japanese food, then you are likely already familiar with miso, which has been a staple in Japanese cuisine for more than 2500 years. Miso is a paste that is made from fermented soybeans, barley or rice, and is most commonly eaten in the form of a soup.

However, if you do not tend to enjoy the taste of miso soup, here are a few other ways in which you can use the ingredient:

  • Mixed with sesame oil and spread on fish fillets for a beautiful shiny glaze
  • Whisked into a salad dressing
  • Mashed into potatoes
  • Turned into a mayonnaise or a mustard
  • A marinade for meat
  • Caramelized into a butter

probiotic-rich foods

 

Probiotic Supplements

In addition to consuming more probiotic-rich foods, you could also look into taking a probiotic supplement. If you have already had a look at the supplements out there, you are likely thinking…

“There are far too many to choose from! How do I know which one is best?”

Here are a few tips to help you to make your decision:

  • CFU count – this is something that often confuses people, but is simply a measurement of the amount of live bacteria that a supplement contains. Try to choose one that contains between 5 to 10 billion CFU.
  • Strains – There are 10,000 different strains of bacteria within our gut, so make sure that your supplement also contains a good variety of these.
  • Packaging – Probiotic bacteria can easily be killed by everything from light to air to heat, so look for a supplement that is housed in a thick, opaque bottle if possible, or a blister pack.
  • Expiration date – the supplement industry is not required to put expiration dates on their products, but, without one, it is impossible to know how long the probiotic bacteria in your supplement will stay alive for. If a supplement does not state an expiration date, you can assume that this is because it is of a lower quality, and is best avoided.

 

Combining Probiotic-Rich Foods with Probiotic Supplements 

As mentioned above, the gut contains over 10,000 different strains of bacteria, and it is impossible for a single supplement to match this. While supplements may be convenient to take, these should ideally be supported with probiotic-rich foods in order to experience the best results.

You may be thinking…

“I don’t like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, raw cheese and miso!”

Luckily, there are so many other probiotic-rich foods out there, and there are bound to be at least a couple that you will enjoy. Here are some more ideas for other probiotic-rich foods you could try:

  • Kombucha – a fermented black or green tea
  • Tempeh – a fermented soybean patty with a nutty, mushroom-like texture
  • Pickles – make sure that these are fermented in water and salt, rather than vinegar
  • Green olives – brined in salt water, green olives undergo a natural fermentation process
  • Sourdough bread 

 

What About Prebiotics? 

Put simply, prebiotics are the food source for probiotics, and help to keep probiotics alive.

Prebiotics can be found in such a wide range of foods, such as:

  • Vegetables – garlic, onion, beetroot, green peas, Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus
  • Fruits – white peach, grapefruit, pomegranate, nectarine, dried fruit
  • Legumes – baked beans, red kidney beans, soybeans, chickpeas, lentils
  • Nuts – pistachio nuts, cashew nuts

So, do you need prebiotics?

Well, it is likely that, if you have a balanced diet, you are already consuming a fair amount of prebiotics. Nevertheless, it never hurts to add in a few more, so do try to increase your consumption of the foods mentioned above.

Some probiotics, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, also contain prebiotics, making them twice as powerful. Some probiotic supplements also contain prebiotics, and this is commonly labelled as inulin, so keep an eye out for this.

probiotic foods

 

Other Ways to Boost Your Gut Health 

The health of your gut is so important, and while probiotics, as well as prebiotics, can really help with this, these on their own are not enough to guarantee a healthy gut. You should also:

  • Decrease your consumption of fast food and sugar
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Cut back on your consumption of meat
  • Regular exercise
  • Stress management

Both of these are extremely detrimental to your gut’s microbial balance, so you need to take control of this if you really want to balance out the good and bad bacteria in your gut.

healthy green smoothie

 

Take the First Step 

If you are still feeling a little confused about the world of probiotics, the best way to begin your journey is by picking a couple of probiotic foods and incorporating them into your diet as much as you can. If you make them yourself at home, you will gain a much deeper understanding of the fermentation process, but there is nothing wrong with purchasing probiotic-rich foods from a store, especially if you only want a little taster to begin with.

Nuclear family enjoying dinner together

The Profile Of A Healthy TV Dinner

The original frozen dinners were literal recipes for disaster. Take the fact that they were first introduced  in the 1950’s when a nutritious dinner was defined by meatloaf and mashed potatoes with pie for desert. Add to that the fact that they catered to bachelors, whose main goals of eating were to fill their stomachs. Then, consider that the food had to be preserved, which adds a boatload of sodium to the equation. Put it all together, and you get a 1,040 calorie chicken pot pie, with 62 grams of fat, 26 grams of saturated fat, 1,480 mgs of sodium, and 14 grams of sugar.

As you may have guessed, there has been an appropriate amount of backlash. With the increased knowledge of nutrition, it comes as no surprise that sooner or later someone was likely to come up with a slightly more balanced way of preparing dinner instantly. Here are some of the kindler, more gentler versions of the original enemy of the artery.

Chicken and Harissa Chickpeas

The ingredient list in this meal is so healthy, you might start feeling stronger just thinking about it.  This North African option blends chicken, broccoli, butternut squash, chickpeas, brown jasmine rice and kale, topped with harissa, a spicy paste consisting of garlic, hot chili peppers, coriander, and caraway seeds, known to blast away fat. Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives the sauce its kick, is a proven appetite suppressant and metabolism booster, and the regular consumption of the caraway seed is associated with weight loss as well.

Quinoa Bowls

You may not know how to pronounce it, but you have probably seen quinoa popping up on restaurant menus and in health food stores quite a lot recently. Why are the bowls popular? They provide an easy way to combine flavors and spices with protein, healthy grains, and produce. The South American inspired quinoa bowl mixes meat free proteins, such as black beans, and red quinoa, for a meat free answer to high protein.

The Profile Of A Healthy TV Dinner

Thai Stir Fry

With all the new super foods on the market, tofu almost seems to get taken for granted. However, its still a very healthy option and can be the basis of a smart frozen dinner choice. Try an organic heat and eat, mixing tofu with a rainbow of veggies, including carrots, cabbage, broccoli, jalapeños, zucchini, and hot pepper for a low fat, high protein boost.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Ravioli in the microwave! How revolutionary! These protein and vitamin A filled ravs are stuffed with ricotta and butternut squash, and topped with kale, roasted tomatoes, and a sage garlic and lemon sauce. Wait til you tell your coworkers what was on the menu at your house last night!

Black Bean and Mango Bowl

This is an exotic combo for a frozen dinner. The entree is served on a bed of whole grain and sesame pilaf, comprised of brown rice oats rye, red wheat, barley, and sesame seeds. Top that with black beans, peppers, carrots and roasted onions, and you’ve got a bowl loaded with fiber and protein. Add some mango, ginger, and other seasonings, and you have preservatives that keeps the sodium content down for better heart health.

What is your best frozen dinner recipe? Let us know how you do health in front of the TV!

Woman preparing kimchi in clear jars

This Side Dish Is Great For Your Health

Sauerkraut. It may be thought of as cole slaw’s less appreciated distant cousin. Both are made from sliced cabbage, yet, it may be said that sauerkraut takes a more acquired taste. However, that’s not to say the sour side dish does not have its own cult following. Dyed in the wool New Yorkers couldn’t imagine their beloved Reuben sandwich without the distinctive taste of the fermented cabbage, and a baseball game just wouldn’t be the same without a tangy heap of the condiment topping traditional the hot dog. It may not surprise you to know, that there may be a reason for the less favorable comparison the less favorable comparison to cole slaw.
Although both dishes are vegetable based, cole slaw is smothered in processed mayonnaise, whereas coleslaw get its taste from more natural sources, which actually, makes it surprisingly good for you. Here are some of the reasons sauerkraut may be giving coleslaw a run for the money/

  • Sauerkraut is Packed With Vitamins

Sauerkraut is packed with vitamin C, a vital antioxidant that joins forces with vitamin K, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous to give sauerkraut its vitamin packed punch. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which helps the body defend itself from stress and damage from free radicals. Vitamin K is know to support healthy clotting of bloods, while fermentation makes minerals easier for the body to absorb.

  • Sauerkraut Is Good For Digestion

Sauerkraut is a probiotic, which means it contains beneficial bacteria that help to protect against toxins and less beneficial bacteria. In other words, probiotics fuel the good bacteria in the gut to improve digestive health, which can lessen bloating, diarrhea, gas, constipation and even symptoms linked to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

  • Sauerkraut can Assist In Weight Loss

Fiber filled and low in calories, sauerkraut can make you feel full longer which makes it a perfect snack for in between meals and an excellent aid in weight control. Its tangy potent taste also stays around for a while to keep taste buds satisfied, and at only 15 calories in two thirds a cup, it would be hard to gain a significant amount of weight on a sauerkraut diet.

  • Sauerkraut Can Reduce Alzheimer’s

Studies show a link between gut health and brain health. In fact, a recent study done by Lund University in Sweden found that unhealthy flora in the intestines can speed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Additional research on mice showed that probiotics have a positive effect on the memory.

  • Sauerkraut is Heart Healthy

Researchers have found that sauerkraut reduces triglyceride and cholesterol levels while boosting antioxidant levels that help to rid the body of oxidative agents that can damage the blood vessels and heart. The fiber in sauerkraut helps rid the walls of the arteries and blood vessels of cholesterol by forming a bond with the fats and cholesterol and removing them from the body, resulting in lower cholesterol absorption by the bloodstream.

What ways are you finding to include more sauerkraut in your diet? Let us know your best sauerkraut recipes!

Woman about to take omega-3 pill

Reduce Inflammation With This Fatty Acid

You may have been hearing a lot about omega-3 fatty acids lately, and you may be wondering, what exactly are Omega-3 fatty acids? You’ve probably heard they were good for you; are they vitamins? Minerals? Animals? To clear up your confusion, or to add to it, omega -3 fatty acids are, well, fatty acids, which may not sound like something that’s good for you at all, but they are. That’s because they’re essential fatty acids, and we need them for normal metabolism. Now research shows that omega-3s have anti inflammatory properties that can help ward off a number of health concerns. What could this mean to the field of medicine? Take a look at what some experts are finding out about the inflammation- Omega-3 connection.

Omega 3 and Inflammation
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been studied for their extensive health benefits, many of which stem from their powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Since the reduction of inflammation has been associated with the risk for diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, it is suspected that omega-3s may have disease fighting benefits. Here are what investigations of the fatty acid has revealed so far in regard to disease prevention.

Heart Disease
Because omega-3 fatty acids can increase levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of bad cholesterol, it is being investigated as having the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease. Although omega -3s have not been shown to lower rates of heart attacks, directly, they have been associated with maintaining good heart health.

Arthritis
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus, may all be able to find a little comfort in increased omega-3 intake. Research suggests that the anti-inflammatory power of the fatty acid could reduce swelling, pain, and joint stiffness. A 2012 study showed that patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis were able to decrease the dosage of anti-inflammatory medications they were taking by supplementing with omega-3s.

Cancer
The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cancer are still under investigation, but preliminary findings indicate that they may help reduce colorectal cancer, in particular, and also may help to increase tolerance to chemotherapy.

Diabetes
Insulin resistance is a condition at the root of diabetes, in which the cells in the body to not respond properly to the effects of insulin. Although further investigation on whether or not Omega-3s can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes is needed, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve sensitivity to insulin in some studies.

Getting Your Omega-3s
After reading all this powerful evidence, you may be wondering how you can get your daily dose of omega-3s. Unfortunately, the body cannot produce its own omega-3s, but they can be gotten in certain foods. Fish is the best source of omega-3. The World Health Organization recommends consuming two servings of fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines per week.

For those concerned about intake of heavy metals, or to whom fish does not appeal, omega-3s can also be found in plant sources, including flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Add these to your cereal or smoothie to up omega-3 intake.

Are you getting your omega-3’s? Let us know what your sources are and how they’re helping you.

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