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!

Squat and swing

Improve Your Appearance and Strength

You don’t have to want the look of a professional bodybuilder to benefit from using weights to improve both your appearance and strength. Dumbbells are an incredibly accessible, affordable and effective piece of exercise equipment that you should have in your home. Lifting weights not only builds muscle, but it can help you slim down, stick to a healthy eating plan and reduce stress. If you still need convincing, keep reading to learn why you should be grabbing some hand weights pronto.

Increased Weight Loss
Cardio exercise is important for your health and your weight, but cardio is not the king of weight loss. Studies have shown that, on average, 75 percent of weight loss is fat and 25 percent is muscle loss in groups of individuals who do not lift weights. While dropping muscle mass will reduce the number you see on the scale, it doesn’t necessarily enhance your appearance and it makes the weight way easier to gain back.

Calorie Burning
One of the absolute greatest benefits to using hand weights is that your body continues to burn calories after lifting. A study from Arizona State University found that exercisers who completed strength-training reps burned 79 percent more calories than those who didn’t use weights at all. “Think of that afterburn as your metabolism working overtime while you lounge,” says celebrity trainer Brian Nguyen. What all of this means is that when you’re done with your hand weights, your body continues to burn calories without you having to do any additional work.

Strong Bones
It isn’t just your waistline and your muscles that reap the rewards of using dumbbells; your bones also see benefits from strength training. As you age, your bone mass decreases which increases your risk of serious bone fractures. Research has shown that four months (16 weeks) of strength-training increased bone density and raised blood levels of osteocalcin (a bone growth marker) by almost 20 percent.

Windmill exercise

Exercise Ideas with Hand Weights
If you aren’t quite sure where to start, use these two moves that will help you increase your strength and improve your appearance:

  • Squat and Swing – Begin by standing with feet hip-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend forward slightly from the hips and bend knees into a half-squat. Keep your back flat, and your arms by your sides. Push through your heels forcefully to stand up and as you do this, use the momentum to swing arms to chest level, then return to half-squat position. Do three reps of 15-10 swings. This exercise targets your shoulders, biceps, core, hamstrings and butt.
  • The Windmill – Begin with a dumbbell in your right hand, standing with your feet wide. Point your right foot forward and your left foot to the side. Extend your right arm overhead with your palm facing forward and side bend to the left at the waist reaching fingertips of your left hand to your foot. As you do this keep your right arm pointed upwards and your right leg straight. Reverse the motion to your starting position. Do eight reps, then switch and do the exercise using your left arm. Repeat for three sets.

You don’t have to lift for hours a day every single day of the week, a few simple exercises using hand weights can have a huge impact on your appearance and your strength. If you’ve never lifted before, begin with five-pound weight and gradually work up to 10 or 15 pound dumbbells. Watch your body transform and your strength improve as you continue to workout using hand weights.

Woman with an apple in hand lying on hay.

Resveralife Eat Well: The Hay Diet (Your Guide to Food Combination)

Sometimes necessity really is the mother of invention. William Howard Hay, a New York physician, began developing what later became known as the Hay Diet in 1904. Hay was suffering from numerous medical issues including a dilated heart. Determined to improve his health and extend his life, Hay began researching the impact of diet on overall health. Through his research he created a diet plan meant to remedy his health conditions. In a period of about three months, Hay dropped 50 pounds and was free from his medical problems. Sound intriguing?

Potatoes with a meat dish on a serving plate.

What is the Hay Diet?
To combat his medical issues, a kidney disease, dilated heart and high blood pressure. Hay’s diet consisted largely of meat and potatoes, a staple at dinnertime for many families not only in the past. Many of us still prepare dinner with meat as the protein and some form of carbohydrate as a side dish. Hay decided to go vegetarian as his first plan of attack. He eliminated two meals from his day and only ate vegetables for the third. When Hay reached a weight he considered appropriate, he did not stop the diet. Rather, he continued working on it and researching the link between diet and health.

All of his research and personal experience lead to the conclusion that health is impacted based on the body’s natural chemical process, digestion. The Hay diet claims to work by separating food into three categories:  acid, alkaline and neutral. The body uses an alkaline digestive process for carbohydrates, The digestion of protein is an acidic digestive process. Hay suggested that if alkaline food and acidic food was consumed at the same time, the acid process interrupted the alkaline process. Hay presumed that the combination of incorrect foods caused people to retain excess fluids, gain weight and “drain vitality.” Thus, the Hay diet relies largely on eating according to what type of food you are ingesting.

Fresh vegetables overflowing from a basket.

Following the Hay Diet
This Resveralife Eat Well Guide shows you how to follow the Hay diet. To follow the Hay diet, you must learn which foods are acidic, alkaline or neutral. Hay classified starchy foods and sweets as carbohydrates while fruits were classified as acidic. Vegetables were classified as neutral foods which meant that they could be eaten at the same time as both alkaline and acidic foods. When following the Hay diet, it is no longer advised that you skip two meals per day. We know that food fuels our bodies and as such, we need to feed it. You can still use the Hay diet to your advantage by following the basic tenants of the diet.

  • No meat. The Hay diet as it originally existed when introduced in 1911 forbade meat. You can find protein from other sources such as tempeh, quinoa or in a smoothie by using pea protein powder. Alternatively, if you aren’t willing to forgo meats,  modern applications of the diet allow for lean meats consumed sparingly.
  • Know your food types. Acidic foods (fruits) are divided up into acidic fruits, sub-acid fruit and sweet fruits. Further, melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe are in their own category.
  • As with the acidic foods, alkaline foods are split into separate categories. There are low and non-starchy vegetables and carbohydrates/starches.
  • Identify fats and use sparingly within your diet.
  • Never mix alkaline foods with acidic foods. Ever.
  • Vegetables are neutral and you are free to, and encouraged, to eat them with all meals.

The Hay diet, like any eating plan, has it’s critics. Still, there are numerous advocates for learning what foods alkalize your body and what foods produce an acidic response. Is it really possible to eat yourself thin? Give it a try and find out.

Child painting different colors on a sheet of paper.

Resveralife Live Well: Can Colors Help You Lose Weight?

Think you’ve tried absolutely everything to lose weight? It might be time to reconsider. You know that the key to sustained weight loss is a sensible, healthy diet and regular exercise. However, perhaps you want a bit of a jump start on your weight loss or you want to lose those stubborn last five pounds. New research indicates that the color of your plate and food may help you reach your weight loss goals. This Resveralife Live Well Guide shows you how colors can help you to lose weight.

Woman enjoying a color therapy session in her bath.

Color Therapy
Color therapy, also known as chromotherapy, has been acknowledged for centuries as a way of healing the body. The National Center for Biotechnology Information provides a cursory view of the hypothesis behind chromotherapy:  “The human body, according to the doctrine of chromotherapy, is basically composed of colors. The body comes into existence from colors, the body is stimulated by colors and colors are responsible for the correct working of various systems that function in the body.” Every organ in the body has a distinct color. In addition to our body being composed of color, the atoms, cells and organs co-exist in the form of energy, and each has its vibrational or frequency energy. Each organ and energy center harmonizes and vibrates with the frequencies of these colors.

Exotic image of a food dish with red tomatoes and greens in the background.

Why Color Matters to Your Waistline
Okay, so our bodies are a veritable rainbow of frequencies and energies, but what does that have to do with losing weight? Researchers suggest that colors create fields of energy or electric currents that activate hormonal and biochemical processes in the human body. Some colors are more likely to increase our appetite while others decrease our appetite. So what colors help your weight loss quest and which ones can be harmful? According to ColorMatters, “blue is an appetite suppressant.” Experts theorize that this is because blue is not a common color of natural foods. With the exception of blueberries and some types of potatoes, there are very little naturally occurring blue foods. Because of this, experts believe that we are less likely to associate blue with hunger. To use the color blue to your advantage experts recommend a few tricks.

  • Add blue food dye to your food to decrease the amount you ingest.
  • Swap the light bulbs in your fridge to blue ones. This will help decrease your desire to snack when you open the doors.
  • Use a blue plate for your meals.

The color most likely to derail your progress is red. Red increases your appetite, so get rid of red dishes or placemats and use the more mellow color of blue. It is worth noting that red also increases metabolism as well as appetite, so it can be useful when used properly. Consider using red water as a tool in your healthy eating routine. The LiveStrong organization suggests making red solarized water by “wrapping a clear glass with red cellophane paper and putting the glass in the sunlight. After a few hours, the water will be energized with the color red and ready to drink.” Using color therapy may just be the trick you need to help you with your weight loss mission.

If you aren’t quite ready to jump into dyeing your food blue, you can still use color to your advantage in the kitchen. Use plates that contrast highly with the food that you are eating to help you be more satisfied with less food. For instance, keep salads away from green plates and spaghetti dishes away from red. Picking a plate that contrasts with your food can be a great start to using color to help you lose weight.