Woman enjoying a salad while working on her laptop

11 Superfoods That Will Boost Your Brainpower

As you might have already known, your brain is in charge of everything.

It is like a conductor of a big and complicated orchestra.

Now, imagine if the conductor was feeling a bit woozy because they haven’t eaten anything? Without the necessary cues, the trombone flips, the violin storms off the stage, and the piano simply crashes.

If you want a healthy and happy body, you need to have a healthy and happy mind. And one way you can ensure that is by providing proper nourishment.

Food for Thought

Many of us don’t even think about the food we eat on a daily basis. However, food is what gives our body energy, food is what gives it health and helps it develop.

But it is often that we forget this fact and choose something that is fast and easy.

If you want to truly boost your brainpower for a longer period of time, you should definitely try to encompass at least some of these foods on a regular basis.

No, we don’t mean every day.

However, it is definitely also recommended that you talk to a nutritionist before making any large dietary changes.

1)   Coffee

Yes, yes, we decided to start with coffee, since it’s something that most of us like.

But, we are not talking about a tall latte with caramel drizzle (even though we would definitely like it, this is not the healthiest choice). We are talking about the essence of coffee.

There are truly numerous benefits of coffee, but the ones we are most concerned with have to do with the brain.

Woman's hands holding a small cup of coffee

Now, if you’ve ever had to study under pressure (and you most certainly have, otherwise you’ve missed on an adventure!), you know that coffee is simply divine when your bed is calling your name.

We all know that coffee works wonders for alertness and focus. In fact, caffeine in coffee blocks adenosine, which can make you feel sleepy.

However, there is yet another benefit to coffee – it increases your brain’s capacity to process information. Some recent studies have found that caffeine increases the brain’s entropy.

Another good thing about coffee is that it can actually support your brain health as you get older. Longer consumption of coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

However, always be mindful that too much coffee can lead to other health issues, so it is advisable not to drink more than 3-4 cups a day. If used excessively, it can even trigger a migraine. And then you can kiss all your brainpower goodbye.

2)   Dark Chocolate

Yes, you’ve guessed it, we’re hittin’ you with the good stuff so you don’t hate us too much afterwards.

And no, milk chocolate doesn’t count.

Yeah, as we said – don’t hate us.

Cocoa contains flavonoids that actually improve blood flow to the brain. You know what that means – improved memory and focus. Cocoa can also prevent mental decline linked to old age.

Dark chocolate is full of organic compounds that function as antioxidants, which means that it’s also incredibly healthy in many other ways.

And we don’t even need to mention what chocolate (yes, even dark chocolate) does to your mood.

However, even though dark chocolate is healthier than its milkier version, it also has more calories. So, don’t eat too much of it, just enough to get that brainpower started.

3)   Olives and Olive Oil

For a long time now, researchers have been pointing to the health benefits of olive oil. There are so many, that we can’t even name them all.

The bottom line is this – olive oil=health galore!

Olive oil on wooden table

Now, some studies have even shown that regular consumption of olives and olive oil leads to less brain deterioration over time because of the mono-unsaturated fat that olives have. This is the healthy fat which actually increases the transportation of oxygen to the brain.

Olives can be eaten as snacks, you can put them in salads and even on pizza! Also, you can use olive oil for cooking (although it loses some of its healthy vibe when cooked), marinades and many salad dressings.

Truly, olives and olive oil are so versatile that they can be incorporated at least once a week in your regular diet.

4)   Fish

No, tuna’s not gonna cut it.

You need the good kind of fish, that is, fatty fish, which includes:

  • Trout
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Kippers
  • Sardines

Yeah, not the nicest-smelling bunch in the b(r)ook, but hey, your brain’s going to be really grateful for your nose’s sacrifice.

These types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. And guess what your brain’s made of? (Well, not entirely, but to a great extent.)

This means that eating these types of fish not only boosts your brainpower, but it also helps protect your brain against mental decline. Some studies have found that not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is linked with depression and even learning impairments.

So, it’s a good idea to incorporate fish into your diet. Try to eat it at least twice a week. That is, if you’re not allergic to fish, since it’s a common enough food allergen.

Which brings us to our next superfood.

5)   Nuts

Nuts are great in all sorts of ways. You can have them in salads, as a snack on the go, you can even put them in cakes.

Talk about versatility!

Now, don’t go nuts here. While they are truly healthy, they are also packed (and we mean packed) with calories. So, if you’re on a restrictive diet, you might want to use them sparingly.

Cup of mixed nuts

Most experts recommend a handful a day (to keep the doctor away) to get the most benefits without ingesting too much. 

You might have heard that nuts are in general great for you heart. But did you know that eating nuts on a regular basis can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases and improve cognition significantly?

Nuts are full of healthy fats and antioxidants. They are also rich in vitamin E, which shields cell membranes from free radical damage. This, in turn, slows down mental decline.

When it comes to the type of nuts you should eat – walnuts take the cake! They are full of fatty acids, copper, iron, calcium, manganese, folic acid, antioxidants, etc. Walnuts are the rulers of nuts everywhere.

However, nut allergy is truly widespread so, if you aren’t sure whether you have it, consult your doctor before you start eating  of the aforementioned kinds on a regular basis.

6)   Wholegrain Foods

Yeah, we told you you’d hate us.

We know, we know, nobody particularly enjoys eating wholegrain food. But have you ever wondered why the sudden popularity, then?

Because it is incredibly, incredibly healthy.

We kid you not.

Aside being great for digestion, whole grains are also a source of vitamin E, which, as we’ve mentioned, slows down mental decline by preventing free radicals from damaging cell membranes.

There are numerous ways you can incorporate wholegrain food into your diet. You can eat oatmeal, or wholegrain bread, or even use wholegrain pasta (which, we have to admit, does not actually taste that bad).

Why are whole grains good for the brain?

Well, the body works more to break them down, thus releasing energy in the form of glucose, into the body at a slower pace. This, in turn, extends your energy levels, increases your mood and concentration.

And, another perk is that you’ll feel full for longer.

So, instead of cramming down bacon or pancakes for breakfast, try a nice oatmeal or wholegrain toast. That will raise your energy levels and improve your concentration just when you need it most!

7)   Pumpkin Seeds

Just like nuts, pumpkin seeds are also great as a snack, filling you up for a longer period of time. Again, you can use them in salads or eat them just without anything.

Just. Like. That.

However, they’re also great if you want to put them in your wholegrain bread. This is an awesome way to combine several things that are great for brainpower.

You might not have thought about them, but pumpkin seeds are truly beneficial to your overall health.

But why are they good for your brain?

They also have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which, as we’ve mentioned, support brain function. But, they also have magnesium (which is essential for learning and memory), B vitamins and tryptophan (which is a precursor for serotonin, improving good mood). Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, as well, which enhances memory and critical thinking, according to certain studies.

So, next time you’re thinking what healthy, brainpower-boosting snack to try out, the choice is simple!

But, again, not more than a handful.

8)   Berries

Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring

My summer wine is really made from all these things.

Nancy Sinatra knew what she was singing about.

And she knew how to use it to her benefit.

The song notwithstanding, berries are really a wondrous gift from the earth. Many of them contain flavonoid antioxidants, which can improve communication between brain cells, boost learning and memory, and reduce cognitive decline.

Assorted bowls of berries

When it comes to the type of berries you should be munching on, these include, as Nancy sang, strawberries, of course, but also mulberries, blackberries, blueberries and black currants. These are all great for brainpower, and great for your immune system in general.

And they are certainly versatile when it comes to incorporating them in your diet. You can literally do anything with them, and they’ll still taste good.

Making fresh juice? Great!

Putting them in pie? Awesome!

Making a ham glaze? Why not?

There’s no reason why you should deprive your brain (and your body) from the gloriousness that are berries.

As the saying (that we’ve made up) goes, a new day, a new berry.

9)   Leafy Greens

Tastes differ, but many people apparently share a distaste for this particular type of food.

Ever since we were little kids, our parents had to make us eat spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.

The monsters!

It’s like they wanted us to be healthy or something!

But all jokes aside, the health benefits of leafy greens are well-known and we are now (a little) less reluctant to eat them.

They are simply overflowing with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants good for your entire body. But when it comes to the brain, they have a lot of iron, which improves attention, learning and memory, as well as vitamin K, which increases cognitive function.

Basically, your parents were right.

You should eat your veggies.   

10)    Avocados

Avocado is also great for a number of reasons.

Yes, it’s a bit on the high-calorie side.

Okay, a bit more on the high-calorie side.

However, it is a great source of unsaturated fat. This type of fat reduces blood pressure, which is linked with cognitive decline. They are rich in omega-2 fatty acids, which improve blood flow to the brain.

Woman presenting avocado

Now, if you’re not certain how to incorporate avocados into your regular diet, we have one word for you – guacamole!

11)    Eggs

Eggs are great for a number of reasons. Those reasons mostly include a vast array of ways to prepare them.

But, as it turns out, they also include some health reasons, as well.

Eggs are, in fact, a good source of some nutrients that have been linked with improved brain health – vitamins B6, B12, as well as folate and choline.

B vitamins can delay cognitive decline, while their deficiency has been linked to depression. As some research has shown, folate deficiency is common in the elderly suffering from dementia.

But choline is the star when it comes to eggs. Eggs are some of the richest sources of choline we can get. Choline is particularly important for the development of the memory center. The body uses choline to create acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and memory.

An average egg yolk has about 200 mg of choline, but that doesn’t meet our daily needs. Women need 425 mg per day, while men need 550 mg.

Small jar of flax seeds on grey stone table

Health Benefits Of Flaxseed

Flaxseed. It’s health benefits have been known for ages. In fact Charlemagne was so confident in its powers that he passed laws all members of his court to incorporate it into their daily diet. So where has it been for the past thirteen centuries? Why did we not all grow up eating this wonder food? Apparently, flaxseed was first used in North America to make textiles, so when cotton came along, it was bye bye flaxseed, until some nutritionists rediscovered the seeds, phenomenal health properties, and now its back on the market in everything from oatmeal to crackers, to frozen waffles. So what are the fax on flax? Here are some of flaxseeds many health benefits.

Major Components of Flaxseed
Although it may be tiresome to go through all of the many health components found in the flax see, here are the main three:

  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids: These are the “good fats’ you’ve been hearing about. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 1.8 grams of the heart healthy plant omega-3s.
  •  Lignans: Lignans have antioxidants, and contain estrogen. Flaxsees has 75 to 800 times the lignans found in other plant foods.
  •  Fiber: Flaxseed has both insoluble and soluble fiber types.

Health Benefits

Cancer
Recent studies suggest that flaxseed may help to prevent colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. Animal studies have shown the ALA, the plant omega-3 fatty acid found in flax seed, inhibits the growth and development of tumors. Other studies suggest that exposure to lignans may help increase survival rates among breast cancer patients. Lignans ability to protect against cancer is thought to be due to its ability to block enzymes involved in hormone metabolism and interfere with the onset and growth.

Cardiovascular Disease
Research finds that the plant omega-3s can benefit the cardiovascular system by normalizing the heartbeat and through anti- inflammation action. Kelley Fitzpatrick, director of health and nutrition with the Flax Seed Council of Canada, says that flaxseed can have significant effects on lowering blood pressure and studies suggest that flaxseed rich diets can help to prevent hardening of the arteries. Daily consumption of flaxseed has also been linked to to decrease in LDL or “bad cholesterol in menopausal women.

Diabetes
Preliminary research shows that the daily consumption of the lignans in flaxseed may improve blood sugar, as measured in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Inflammation
The ALA and lignans in flaxseed may be effective in reducing inflammation associated with deceases such as asthma and Parkinson’s by blocking the release of pro inflammatory agents. The reduction of inflammation associated with the buildup of plaque in arteries may be another way that flaxseed is beneficial in the prevention of strokes and heart attacks.

Hot Flashes
According to a 2007 study of menopausal women, 4 tablespoons per day of ground flaxseed cut occurrence of hot flashes in half, and the intensity of the incidences dropped by 57%.

Where has flaxseed been all of your life? Tell us how flax seed is contributing to your diet and what you think its been doing for you.

Pregnant woman stretching

Exercises That Keep Your Pregnant Body In Great Shape

There was a time when pregnancy was thought of as the ultimate “get out of exercise-and-dieting free” card. Being with child entitled you to nine months of lying on the couch with your swollen ankles propped up surrounded by gallons of ice cream and jars of pickles. Well, that was all well and good until women began realizing that the more time they spent engaging in that behavior, the less likely they were to return to anything resembling their original shape. Although pregnancy should be a time to avoid strenuous activity, it is important for most pregnant women to remain moderately active to maintain healthy vital conditions. Here are some exercises to keep your pregnant body in great shape.

Stretching Exercises

Pregnant women in fitness class

Neck Rotation
Neck rotation can be helpful in relieving neck and shoulder tension. Drop your head forward and slowly rotate it toward your right shoulder. Bring it back to the middle, and then over to the left. Repeat four times slowly in each direction.

Thigh Shift
It is important to keep legs flexible to maintain balance during pregnancy. Start the thigh shift by standing with one foot about two feet in front of the other with your toes pointed forward. Lean forward supporting your body weight with your front thigh. Change sides and repeat, doing four stretches on each side.

Shoulder Rotation
Rotating your shoulder helps to maintain range of motion. Bring your shoulders forward, rotate them up toward the ears and back down again. Reverse direction pulling shoulders back up toward the ears and back down. Do four rotations in each direction.

Ankle Rotation
Ankle rotation is a good way to minimize swelling of the foot and ankle associated with pregnancy, increasing circulation and decreasing fluid buildup. Sit with legs extended. Rotate feet in large circles using your entire ankle and foot. Rotate four times on your right and four times on your left.

Leg Shake
Leg shakes are helpful in maintaining circulation in your lower body. Sit with legs and feet extended and move legs up and down in a shaking motion.

Swim
Swimming motions can help you to remain flexible while reducing tension. Begin with your arms at your sides. Bring your right arm up, stretching your body forward while twisting slightly to the side, as if you were swimming. Repeat using your left arm, completing the entire sequence 10 times.

Kegel Exercises

Pregnant Exercises

Tailor Sit
Sit on the floor in a cross legged position. Lean forward keeping your back relaxed and straight. Assume this position throughout the day as often as possible.

Tailor Press
Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together. Hold ankles and pull feet toward your body gently. Put your hands under your knees and inhale. Press knees against your hands while pressing hands up against your knees to create counter pressure. Hold for a five count.

If you’re pregnant, congratulations! And let us know how your exercising to keep your pregnant body beautiful and healthy.

Woman snacking

The Science Behind Your Snack Attacks

When you get a snack attack, most probably the only science you’re thinking about is how you can most efficiently get a bag of chips into your stomach. However, when it comes to cravings, there really is a good amount of science behind them, and it doesn’t just concern the rate of food traveling to your tummy. The fact is, certain foods, especially those high in sugar, salt, and fat, trigger a release of dopamine, which means they are hitting the pleasure center in your brain at the same time they are hitting the hunger center in your belly and the reaction is an unfailing, “Give me more!” Here are some of the most addictive foods and how they work their magic.

Cheese
Besides being high in fat and cholesterol, cheeses also contain a high level of casomorphin, which binds to the feel-good receptors in the brain. According to Neal Barnard, MD, mice aren’t the only ones susceptible to the lure of a good cheddar. “Casmorphins attach to neurotransmitter in our brain and release dopamine, feel-good chemicals that often lead us to wanting more.” Apparently, Americans are getting cheesier as time goes on. The doctor notes that the average American consumes 30 pounds more cheese per year than he or she did 100 years ago.

Woman eating chips

Carbs
It’s the quick glucose release of carbohydrates like potato chips and pretzels which keep our hands going back to the bag to reach for another. Celina Jean, nutritionist, says, ” Simple carbohydrates are seen as an addictive because they cause a quick glucose release, and this quickly increases a person’s energy. The energy will quickly be used up, and the then you’ll be forced to eat more simple carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar raised.”

Sugary Drinks
Not only do sweet sodas, lemonades, and iced tea provide us with empty calories, a 12 ounce can of the stuff can contain up to 35 grams of sugar. Sodas also trigger dopamine release. That, along with the caffeine jolt can provide a quite a hit of energy. Ashvini Mashru, registered dietician warns, “Once you’re hooked on caffeine, you can suffer symptoms of withdrawal if you try to stop, including sluggishness, headaches, and emotional distress.

French fries

French Fries
Crisp, hot, and salty, french fries have all the classic ingredients of addictive food. Mashru tells us that the fat content in the fries sends signals to our gut and brain telling us to eat more. He says, “Those little potato sticks are also a comfort food. Therefore, every time you go through a line in a restaurant and see them on the menu, you may find the urge to order them as a side to your entree irresistible.”

Chocolate
Chocolate gives you kick because it binds to the same pleasure centers in your brain as drugs and alcohol. A study conducted by Drexel University found chocolate often provides a nice “mouth feel” which triggers the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Dan Defigio, author of Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies, explains, “Over time, our brains start looking for that dopamine hit, and every time we eat chocolate, it reinforces that wiring.”

What foods are you addicted to? Tell us your shocking stories of how your battles with food addictions. We want to know!

Sad woman with cup of tea

Causes of Adult Malnutrition

Malnutrition. It is defined as an excess or deficiency in intake of nutrients It refers to both the overweight and the underweight and, for the first time in centuries, the numbers are getting close. While feeding the hungry has always been always a priority, it is increasingly becoming the case that hunger is merely being traded for obesity, with one form of malnutrition simply being replaced by another, resulting in heart disease, cancer, chronic illness and shorter life expectancies. Ironically, at time when out nation has the most potential to eliminate the epidemic, it has boosted to record levels. Here are some of the most common causes of adult malnutrition.

Poor Diet
One of the leading causes of malnutrition is a poor diet. When an individual does not eat enough food, or if the food they do eat does not provide them with the nutrients required for good health, malnutrition may occur. Improper diet my be cause by several factors, including dysphagia, which is a difficulty swallowing due to an illness.

Sad woman

Mental Health Disorders
Poor mental health is often linked to a malnutrition. Depression may interfere with healthy eating habits and patients with eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, may also suffer from malnutrition.

Limited Mobility
Individuals who have a hard time getting around may become victims of malnutrition because of difficulty getting out to go shopping or simply finding food preparation difficult.

Digestive disorders
Despite eating properly, certain people have health conditions which prevent their bodies from absorbing the nutrients necessary for good health. Examples include individuals with ulcerative colitis of Crohn’s Disease.
Patients with Celiac disease have genetic disorders that make them gluten intolerant. This results in an increased risk of damage to the lining of their intestines. This condition also results in poor food absorption.

Woman drinking

Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a long-term disease that can result in gastritis or pancreatic damage. These conditions interfere with the body’s digestion and prevent the body from absorbing vitamins and producing hormones necessary for the regulation of metabolism. In addition, the calories supplied by the alcohol may reduce food cravings, and result in the person’s lack of desire for food. Consequently, the person’s meager diet may not supply him or her with essential nutrients.

Food Shortages
Poor and developing nations often suffer food shortages due to lack of agricultural technology, such as fertilizers, pesticides, and advanced methods of irrigation.

Food Prices and Distribution
Shockingly, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 80% of malnourished children live in nations that actually produce a surplus of food. In these cases, economist blame high food prices and problems with distribution of food to the needy.

Lack of Breastfeeding
Certain experts believe that much of the world’s malnutrition in children and infants is due to lack of breastfeeding. Some women are of the belief that bottle feeding is better, while other mothers, usually in the developing countries, abandon breastfeeding because their babies do not latch on properly, or the mothers find breastfeeding to be painful and uncomfortable.

Do you have any ideas for combatting malnutrition? Let us know how you believe this worldwide epidemic can be addressed. We’d love to start the conversation.

Woman working at desk

The Downside Of A Desk Job

For artistic Gen Xers, the desk job was the ultimate sign of failure. The death sentence. Rebellious rock and rollers and artists would claim that suicide was preferential, much to the dismay of their concerned parents. If those Gen Xers know how dangerous desk jobs were, they might have been more kindly disposed toward them.

You may have heard the currently circulating slogan, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Suddenly, every activity associated with excessive sitting, desk jobs included is labeled as not only unhealthy, but also dangerous. Rebellious Gen Xers may have a legitimate excuse! However, if you consider the new mantra, a little bit of an over exaggeration, judge for yourself.

Side effects of sitting for an extensive time period may include:

Organ Damage

Heart Disease
While you are sitting, your muscles are burning less fat and blood flow is slowing down, allowing fatty acids to clog the heart. Sitting too long can cause high cholesterol and blood pressure and chronic sitters are twice as likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than more active people.

Over-productive Pancreas
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that carries glucose to cells, providing them with energy. When cells are idle, they don’t respond as well to insulin, causing the pancreas to produce more which can cause diabetes, among other diseases. In fact, according to a 2011 study, insulin response begins to decline after just one day of sitting.

Muscle Degeneration

Abdominal muscles
When you slouch on a chair, your abdominal muscles go unused. That along with tight back muscles can create a condition called hyperlordosis, or swayback.

Tight hips
Your hips help you to keep balanced, but sitting calls for such few opportunities to stretch hip muscles, that they become tight, limiting range of motion.

Upper Body

Brain Fog
You need to move your muscles to get blood and oxygen to your brain and trigger the release of mood-enhancing chemicals.

Neck Strain
Craning your neck forward to type on a computer keyboard or cradling a phone while you type, while can strain your cervical vertebrae and causing posture imbalance.

Spine Stiffness
As we move, discs between the vertebrae contract and expand soaking up nutrients and fresh blood. However, when we sit, these discs are squashed into uneven positions causing collagen to harden around ligaments and tendons.

Legs

Poor Circulation
Long periods of sitting slows blood circulation, causing the fluid in the leg to pool, resulting in everything from varicose veins and swollen ankles to dangerous blood clots.

Soft Bones
Physical activity that incorporates the lower body stimulates hip and lower body bones to grow stronger. Hence, lack of activity can lead to decrease in bone density, and has even been attributed to cases of osteoporosis

What can we do?

If you are destined to sit behind a desk for long periods of time, there are some things you can do to keep from ending up hunched and unfocused. Here are some expert recommendations.

1. Sit on something wobbly. Sit up straight on an exercise ball or backless stool with your feet flat on the floor.
2. Stretch hip flexors. Once a day, three minutes easy side
3. By walking during commercial, couch potatoes can burn twice the calories of sitting, even at a pace of 1 mph.
4. Alternate between standing and sitting at your desk or workstation, or stand up and walk at regular intervals.

What do you think? Is sitting really the new smoking? Let us know! And tell us your strategies to give up the sitting habit.

Closeup of woman's blue eyes

The Connection Between Accurate Vision and Nutrition

In September of 1937, pulp magazine Spicy Mystery Stories introduced the world to Olga Mesmer, the Girl with X-ray Eyes. Olga was a comic book character who owed her X-ray vision and super strength to experiments done by her mad scientist father on her Venusian mother, Margot, during which Margot was exposed to radiation. Thusly endowed, Olga’s superpowers, “dormant in childhood, burst into light” leading Olga to “embark on a remarkable career.”

If there is anything to be gotten from this, it is clearly that good vision leads to greatness. However, not all of us are born to an extraterrestrial mother and mad scientist father. Luckily, there is an alternative way of keeping our vision in tip-top shape: proper vitamins. Here are a few of the best vitamins for healthy eyes.

Lutein
Not just any eye vitamin, lutein is “the eye vitamin.” Lutein is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant found in egg yolks, green, leafy veggies, orange veggies and citrus fruit. Once it enters the body, it gets transported to parts of the eye called the lens and macula. Harvard University Researchers found that six milligrams of lutein daily can decrease the likelihood of macular degeneration by about 43%, so let’s make lutein our routine!

Zeaxanthin
Out of the 600 carotenoids in nature, only 20% effect the eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin top the list as heavyweights because the macula receives them in the highest quantities. Zeaxanthin protects eye tissue and helps to clear the vision and prevent light sensitivity, glare, and cataracts.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps to fight free radicals and helps the body to absorb nutrients and minerals. A long term study done on 3,000 adults, aged 43-86, found that cataracts were 60% less common among people whose multivitamins contained vitamin C and vitamin E.

Vitamin E
Combined with vitamins A and C, vitamin E works to keep tissue and cells in good health and protected from inflammation. These antioxidants can help to lower the risk of macular degeneration related to aging and the combination of vitamins E and A can promote healing and improve the effects of laser eye surgery. Studies show that people who consume 400 IUs of vitamin E daily lower their risk of macular degeneration by 25% and another showed that high levels of vitamin E and lutein were associated with a decreased risk of cataracts. Plus, it works wonders for your skin!

Zinc
Studies showed that, when combined with other vitamins, zinc can protect the retina and decrease the likelihood of macular degeneration. It is good for the tissues in the eyes because of the roles it plays in cell growth and division, the maintenance of good circulation, the balance of hormones used to counter autoimmune reactions, and the control of inflammatories that attack the tissue. Since zinc is not naturally made by the body, it needs to be gotten by grass fed meat, organ meat, fish, and nuts.

So, if you want a life of adventure and greatness without exposure to radiation, these vitamins may be just the thing! Let us know what works for your eyes and we would also love to hear what Olga Mesmer is up to these days if anyone knows.

Woman working out while looking at wrist watch

Tips For Meeting Your Body Goals

If you are a follower of the latest celebrity news, you’ll have seen a lot of pretty incredible body transformations. You’ve probably seen Jennifer Hudson shrink a few sizes and Al Roker lose a good percentage of himself. You’ve seen Oprah go down, then up, then down, and Jessica Simpson go from a Renaissance painter’s dream to a biker’s fantasy. You bore witness to Cristina Aguilera’s triumphant return to hot pants. And of course, you’ve seen the “Revenge Body” of Khloe Khardashian whose astonishing slim down left her sisters wondering who was really ‘ the fairest one of all.’

Okay, so these are celebrities, and they do have access to personal trainers, dietitians, and Photoshop, but hey, you don’t get results without hard work and commitment. If they can achieve their body goals, so can you, and here are some pretty good tips on how you can do it.

1. Muscle Up
There are more ways to build muscle than weight-lifting. Resistance training can sculpt your body with lean muscle using your own body weight, resistance bands, and medicine balls. Begin with resistance training three times a week and try downing a protein shake or hard boiled egg within 45 minutes after your workout. Protein will help to keep the muscle on. Boot camp classes offer a variety of exercises and tools to help members reshape their bodies into lean muscle.

2. Stick to The Plan
Having a plan could make all the difference in actually achieving your goal. No one gets anywhere without a solid blueprint of how to get there. Arrange meetings with your friends for workout sessions or pencil visits to the gym on your daily planner. You’ll be more likely to commit if you have a realistic arrangement that will fit into your lifestyle.

3. Consider the Benefits
Of course losing weight and looking good are always motivating factors in pursuing a healthier lifestyle; however, it is also a good idea to think about other perks, such as increased flexibility and coordination, better health and a higher level of fitness. The more reasons you have to exercise, the more likely you are to stick to your plan.

4. Hydrate
A good workout equals a good sweat, and while a good sweat is a great accomplishment, it can also be responsible for the loss of fluids, nutrients, and minerals. Coconut water mixed with regular water is a great way to replace lost electrolytes and keep the body hydrated. A good way to determine the amount of water you should be getting daily is to take for weight and divide it in half. The number you get will be the number of ounces of water you should be getting every day.

5. Be Prepared When Cravings Hit
Cravings can be caused by thirst, exhaustion or lack of nutrients. Try to get a nap or drink some water rather than reaching for a bag of chips. Recognize that cravings may really be symptoms of something other than lack of food.

6. Pick Something You Enjoy Doing
Nothing is surer to dissuade you from sticking to your fitness goals than a boring exercise routine. If you like dancing, Zumba is a great way to get that calorie burn. If you love the outdoors, consider running or hiking. Sports and swimming are also valid options.

If you’ve got any tips for sticking to exercise goals, let us know how you did it, We welcome comments and suggestions.

Woman eating burger but holding her tummy in pain

The Connection Between A High Acid Diet and Kidney Stones

Kidney stones may have been plaguing humans since the beginning of time.  In 1901, archeologist E. Smith found a bladder stone from a 4500-5000-year-old mummy in El Amrah, Egypt.  The Hippocratic Oath, historically taken by newly trained physicians and initiated in the 4th century BC, mentions kidney stones. A painting from 1655 by Carel de Savoyen portrays Jan van Doot, a Dutch blacksmith and amateur kidney stone remover holding a knife and bladder stone after a successful extraction. Luckily, today’s surgeries are a lot less DIY.

Aminerals is a piece of material that forms when substances in the urine, like salt and minerals become highly concentrated.  Small ones can pass with little or no pain.  Larger ones can get stuck along the urinary tract, blocking the flow of urine  and cause severe pain and bleeding. There care four types of kidney stones.  Each requires different dietary plans to follow in order to lessen their occurrence.  Uric acid stones are the product of a high acid content in the urine and require an alkaline diet to balance the high acidity level

Purine
 Red meat and shellfish contain a chemical compound called purines.  Purines are acidic in the body and lead to a lower urine pH, which means urine is more acidic, enabling the formation of uric acid stones.

 To prevent uric acid stones, it is suggested that suffered swap high purine foods for a diet high in fruits and veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.  Sugar-sweetened foods and drinks contain phosphorous and high fructose corn syrup which can increase acidity in urine. Alcohol and crash diets should be avoided as well as rapid weight loss increases uric acid.

Proteins
You’ll want to limit your protein intake, as proteins are high in purine.  You can safely eat 6 oz of poultry, fish, beef, lamb , veal, and eggs,  Limit your intake of beans and peas to two servings per week.  Avoid organ meats like liver, anchovies, mackerel and lobster.  Try incorporating nut and nut butter into your diet as a vegetarian protein alternative.

Dairy
While dairy products tend to be acidic in the body, they provide a great source of calcium and should not be eliminated from your diet. In order to keep the acid level down, choose low-fat or fat-free options when eating milk, yogurt, and cheese.  Saturated fat decreases the elimination of acid and can worsen kidney stones.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies are always a really good choice for a low acid diet.  They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, limit your intake of spinach, mushrooms, asparagus and cauliflower to two servings per week.  They are a bit higher in purine.

Grains and Starches
Carbs are great for neutralizing acid.  Indulge in bread, pasta, cereal, rice potatoes and winter starch.  Limit your oats to 2/3 cup per day and wheat bran and wheat germ to 1/4 cups per day and be sure to read the ingredient list on products to check for these.  If they are  near the top of the list, chances are the food is pretty high in concentration of the ingredient. You’re best off skipping that one.

Healthy woman jogging outdoors

Immune System and Metabolism Boosters

“If you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing!” We’ve all heard this saying, or something similar to it, at some point in our lives. And it’s very true. If we’re not healthy, being happy or even functional can be extremely difficult. That’s why it’s so important to take care of both our metabolisms and our immune systems. But being healthy is not that difficult if you follow these strategies that will ensure a healthier you.

Our immune system does a great job of fighting disease causing microorganisms. But it’s not always successful. So how can you intervene to make your immune system stronger? Although there is a lot that researchers still have not discovered about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response, healthy living strategies are a good way to give your immune system the upper hand. Here are some recommended lines of defense as offered by Harvard Medical School.

Don’t Smoke
Eat a healthy diet high in fruits vegetables and whole grains. Avoid saturated fats. Deficiencies of zinc, selium, iron, copper, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, C and E can lead to lowered immunity. If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs, you may want to start taking a multivitamin and mineral supplements.

Maintain a Healthy Weight
Exercise regularly. Exercise can promote good circulation which allows cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

Control Blood Pressure
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Get Regular Medical Checkups and Screenings
Metabolism has been defined as “all of the chemical reactions that take place in a living organism every day to keep it alive”. It is the process of converting calories into usable energy in the body. A strong metabolism is tied to a more svelte body and also benefits the immune system, lowers chances of disease, contributes to having more energy, brain functionality, longevity and much more. There are many signs that you may be in need of a boost to your metabolism including ongoing fatigue, cold body temperature, irregular periods, thinning hair, and more.

Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT)
This is a form of exercise that features intervals that may vary from all out effort to short period of rest. It is known to boost the metabolism better than steady workouts.

Lift Weights
This builds lean muscle mass which naturally uses more calories than body fat does.

Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Inflammatory foods can slow down the digestive processes. These include sugary drinks, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and low-quality dairy and animal products. Add metabolism power foods which help the body use and expend energy better. These include high protein snacks, green tea, garlic, spicy foods and apple cider vinegar.

Get Adequate Sleep
We don’t even need to stress how important sleep is in your everyday life!