Health & Wellness Blog
Live a happy & healthy lifestyle
Benefits of Drinking Tea
Tea is a daily drink consumed in green, black, white, or herbal forms nearly everywhere around the world. Yet tea is often underrated compared to other nutritional products, pills, and supplements. Here are a few of the tried and tested health benefits of drinking tea.
Teas act as natural immune-boosters because of their anti-microbial properties. In particular, green tea has been shown to kill bacteria that cause infections and dental plaque formation in addition to reducing bad breath. However, the down-side of tea’s anti-microbial effects means that certain teas, such as rosehip and pomegranate, may interact with certain antibiotic medications. To be safe, if you are on anti-biotics, consult your physician before beginning a tea-drinking regime.
Productivity with less caffeine
Teas contain a different blend of stimulants compared to coffee, which often has a higher dose of caffeine. This caffeine in coffee can produce jitters, heart palpitations, digestive unrest, and a sense of being “wired” that can interfere with productivity for some. On the other hand, green tea been shown to improve concentration, memory, and overall brain function while producing fewer of the negative side effects associated with caffeine. Thus, for those who are sensitive to caffeine, tea can be an important alternative to coffee in improving work productivity.
Physical performance with fewer calories
When tea is consumed on its own, it generally contains fewer than 10 calories. Rather than add to the waistline, certain teas are thought to improve fat-burning. For example, research has shown that green tea may enhance metabolism while improving physical performance in endurance activities. However, the caveat to this information is that sugar-sweetened teas counteract these effects. Sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases. Thus, for optimal health consume tea sugar free, either on its own or with a splash of lemon or non-dairy milk.
How Sugar Affects Your Health & Body
Carbohydrates are essential for the proper functioning of our body since they are the main source of energy. More than 90% of the energy used by the brain and other vital organs comes from the metabolism of carbohydrates.
The liver and muscles store carbohydrates in the form of long chains of glucose called glycogen, which at the necessary time, is transformed into glucose for energy production. Carbohydrates provide 4kcal / g and are available in foods such as table sugar (sucrose), fruits (fructose), vegetables, cereals and legumes (starch), Dairy products (lactose), among others.
While the intake of carbohydrates is essential for an adequate body metabolism, high sugar intake is associated with various pathologies such as overweight, obesity, liver disorders, behavioral disorders, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver, some types of cancer and dental caries. In addition, the consumption of sugars can contribute to the development of psychological disorders such as hyperactivity, premenstrual syndrome and mental illness.
Benefits of Sugar Consumption
Carbohydrates facilitate the metabolism of fats and prevent oxidative degradation of body proteins. In addition, the balanced intake of carbohydrates reduces the absorption of cholesterol, causing a decrease in plasma levels of this lipid, which helps to reduce cardiovascular risk in people over 50 years.
Carbohydrates are involved in the regulation of various gastrointestinal functions such as the maintenance of an adequate gastrointestinal transit and the development of a favorable bacterial flora which prevents the intestinal proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms.
Carbohydrates have an important structural function since they are a fundamental part of the formation of DNA and RNA.
Effects of Excessive Consumption of Sugar
Insulin Resistance & Diabetes
There are several studies that show a clear relationship between excessive sugar and insulin resistance. High levels of blood sugar lead to an exaggerated secretion of insulin by the pancreas, if this situation is chronically controlled to reduce their sensitivity to insulin which prevents the entry of glucose into the cells leading to the elevation of plasma glucose. The consequent overstimulation of the pancreas leads to a reduction or suppression of insulin secretion favoring the development of diabetes mellitus.
Currently, the role of sugar intake in the development of obesity is attracting considerable interest in the global scientific community. Several studies have shown that the excessive caloric intake due to a high intake of sugar leads to the storage of this energy molecule in the liver as glycogen if the glycogen reserves are saturated the ingested sugars are stored in the form of fat which promotes weight gain and development of obesity.
Anxiety & Depression
A trial published by University College London in the United Kingdom found that people who maintained high sugar intake are more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. This is because sweet foods raise blood sugar very quickly but it also drops almost immediately. This sudden change generates stress in our body which responds by secreting hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can produce anxiety or depression over time.
Fatty liver is characterized by the accumulation of free fatty acids and triglycerides in the liver tissue, one of the main etiological factors related to this pathology is excessive alcohol consumption. However, in recent years, several studies have found that the maintenance of an unhealthy diet (rich in fats and sugars) is the main risk factor for developing non-alcoholic fatty liver.
Recommendations to Reduce Sugar Consumption
Adequate intake of sugar is essential to maintain a healthy life. For this, it is essential to determine the proportion of daily sugar that should be consumed in the framework of a balanced and healthy diet.
To this end, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends reducing energy intake from added sugars to 100-150 kcal/day, expressed in grams of sugar, corresponding to 25 to 37.5 grams per day (no more than six teaspoons per day).
Below are some recommendations to reduce daily sugar consumption.
Happy Earth Day!
Benefits of Chocolate - Yummy!
Chocolate is a delicious substance that was consumed as a “nectar of the gods” in Mayan ceremonies for its supposedly sacred properties. Centuries later, chocolate lovers continue to celebrate the treat for its tempting taste and its melt-in-your-mouth texture. Yet aside from its sensory appeal, dark chocolate is also becoming lauded for its health benefits. Here are the top 5 health benefits of dark chocolate.
Rich In Antioxidants
Protects Heart Health
The blood pressure-lowering effects of flavonols may also improve heart health. In addition to lowering blood pressure, dark chocolate has also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and to increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Collectively, these effects may contribute to the decreased risk of heart disease that is seen in observational studies of individuals who consume dark chocolate.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of chocolate is that it simply makes us happy. Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is known to release endorphins in our brains. Endorphins are the feel-good chemicals whose release can be found in other pleasurable activities, such as aerobic exercise and sex. Additionally, chocolate stimulates the release of serotonin, a mood-lifting neurotransmitter that is often found to be low in individuals with depression.
Stimulates Sexual Arousal
For those who experience a lack of libido or who simply want to enhance a romantic evening with their partner, dark chocolate may be a way to enhance the experience. Chocolate has been used since its Aztec origins as an aphrodisiac. The arousing properties of dark chocolate may occur because of the appeal of its silky-smooth texture. Aside from its aesthetic value, dark chocolate consumption can also trigger the release of oxytocin, which is the pair-bonding neurotransmitter that is associated with building intimate relationships.
These powerful health benefits of dark chocolate are a wonderful excuse to buy a bar. However, before stocking your shelves, it is important to understand that many of these positive health effects can be negated by overconsumption of chocolate or eating chocolate with a high sugar content. For best results, seek out dark chocolate with 70% or higher cacao content that contain minimal added ingredients.
Boost Your Immunity!
Health headlines are frequently flooded with findings on the latest miracle product to boost immunity. With the constant flux in information, which claims can we truly trust?
Rather than following the trends, follow a healthy lifestyle. Here are five natural ways to strengthen our immune system to stay healthy.
Meditation can be practiced through visualization, through repeating a mantra, or through mindfulness, among other techniques.
Activity is closely related to immunity. Physical activity functions as a natural cleansing process for the body by flushing out bacteria from the lungs and airways. However, increasing duration or intensity of exercise is not necessarily better for individuals who already have a regular workout routine because heavy, long-term exercise (e.g. marathon running and competitive athletics) may actually compromise immunity. For ideal immune functioning, exercise regularly at a moderate level or simply maintain an active lifestyle.
Get Outdoor & Smell the Roses
A sizeable number of key ingredients in drugs developed today are either isolated from plants or replicated from chemicals in plants. Thus, being outdoors brings us home to the millions of immune-boosting chemicals that we may attempt to replace in the form of pills.
Avoid False Claims
As it stands, there is limited regulation in marketing and producing “immune-boosting” herbs, supplements, or other pills. For the majority of supplements that are sold, there is weak or limited evidence behind the effectiveness of the properties that they promise. Rather than take these compounds in the form of a pill, it is often more beneficial to go with our gut and go to the source. Select a diet full of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and other compounds that build immunity without boasting bolded claims.
Rest Nightly & Sleep Well
Sleep is fundamental to our natural immunity. Inadequate sleep is associated with a long list of physical health problems associated with immunity. In particular, sleep deprivation suppresses immune function, making us more susceptible to colds, flus, and bacterial infections. Researchers recommend around 7 hours of sleep per night for best protection from disease.
For improved immunity, stick with natural, lifestyle ways to enhance overall health, such as stress reduction, physical activity, and sleep, rather than seeking out “immune boosters” in the form of pills.
April Fool's Day (April 1) Pranks
Essentially, April Fool’s Day is an annual day where pranks are played on people. Although the main goal is to ‘fool’ someone with what would be considered a credible hoax or harmless trick, there are times when the practice tends to go overboard. In today’s world of new technology, the ‘pranking’ part has become far easier to pull off for many media outlets that often create elaborate hoaxes in an effort to fool as many people as possible with a single prank.
The prank ideas we are going to explore here are going to be simple in nature, harmless and intended to be family-friendly. Remember, do not pull an April Fool’s prank on someone who will not be amused and do not play a trick of any kind that may cause hurt feelings.
Here is our list of favorite April Fool’s Day pranks:
The Classic Alarm Clock Trick
You have two choices here. If you are trying to just have a fun prank, set their alarm clock to go off an hour or more earlier than normal. Setting their alarm to go off later than normal may cause problems that could create friction between you. So, be careful.
The Not-So-Hard Boiled Egg Trick
This is also a fun reversible prank as well. If there is someone in your household who prefers hard-boiled eggs for a snack or a sandwich, switch the eggs they use for fresh ones. You may want to stand out of the way when they start rolling the eggs on the counter to crack them.
Fake Vomit/Dog Poop Trick
This is a real classic prank that has several variations and can cause several different reactions. Naturally, be careful who you choose to prank and be sure that if you pull this one on someone that they will see the humor in it and won’t be upset or that the sight of fake vomit doesn’t cause them to get sick, either.
You can play this one by simply placing the props in unusual places, like on the floor, on a countertop or wherever they will get noticed quickly but not too quickly. You’re goal is to have the element of surprise working in your favor here. If there are little kids in the family, they are sure to get a laugh out of the fake props regardless.
Things That Go Missing When You Are In The Shower
The Fogged Up Glasses Trick
Here’s another harmless fun April Fool’s prank that is sure to amuse most. If there is someone close to you who wears glasses, one way to add a bit of fun to the day is to smear a thin film of petroleum jelly across the front of the glass lens.
You can improvise with fingerprints if you don’t have the jelly. The idea here is to give the prank victim blurry vision the moment they put their glasses on. Be sure to time this one carefully. You don’t want to have them behind the wheel of a vehicle when they slip on their glasses nor do you want them to fall down a flight of stairs or bump into things. It’s a fun trick to play, but has to be carefully planned to work right.
Provided your prank victim isn’t running late for work or an appointment, you can get a few minutes of laughter out of this particular prank. Be sure to replace what you remove.
Shrinking Wardrobe Trick
If you can find shirts and more, go for it but in order for this prank to be effective, the ‘no-longer-fits-me’ clothing items have to be ones selected for that day for work or play. Have fun with this one.
Spiced Drink Trick
Everyone likes coffee and if your morning can’t get off to the right start without a steaming hot cup of Joe, then you’ll truly appreciate this tasty April Fool’s prank.
All you basically have to do is add some hot sauce or pepper spice to the brewing pot of coffee. Once ready, your intended victim will get a slightly warmer cup of coffee than they bargained for.
Naturally, be sure that whoever you do this to can handle the intensity of spicy hot coffee and that they don’t happen to have any allergies to hot peppers. You may be surprised to find that adding a bit of spice to a cup of coffee may become a new favorite morning kick start beverage to start the day.
Fake Lottery Win Trick
This is a fun prank that can be played on several people with each person ‘winning’ a different kind of prize that has to be claimed before 12 Noon or they forfeit their win. You may be able to get away with this one.
The Disconnected Internet Trick
If there is someone you know who can’t live part of a day without their online connections, this will be a fun prank to play. All you need to do is gain access to the power source of their modem and turn it off.
This works great if you are a visitor the night before and as you leave late in the evening before April Fool’s you slip into the pantry or office and switch off their internet. It’s a no-brainer for most of us, but how many of you would actually check to see if your modem is working before calling your internet provider due to an ‘outage’ of service? Not all of us will do that and this is what makes this particular prank so effective and easy to pull off.
Be Careful To Not Become The April Fool Yourself
Although the pranks here that we have outlined are generally easy to execute, you always risk the possibility of one of them backfiring on you. This is a possibility in any kind of pranking activity and is why we stress that you have to be careful who you choose as your prank target.
Generally speaking, everyone expects something to happen early on April 1st, just be sure to keep it safe, fun and family-friendly so everyone can get a laugh to start off the new month with. It is never a good idea to use a prank that can become dangerous, may damage property or is illegal in nature.
The idea behind April Fool’s Day is to have fun, and to be safe when doing so.
Lose that Belly - Feel Healthy & Look Slimmer
Are those stomach rolls ruining your looks?
Believe it or not, belly fat isn't just an aesthetic problem. In fact, it's just as harmful as smoking. It puts you at risk for heart disease, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, and premature death. On top of that, it's the last to go.
Even skinny people can have big bellies. This type of fat surrounds their vital organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. Over time, it doubles death risk and disrupts endocrine function, causing damage to your brain, metabolism, and immune function.
The good news is that you can lose belly fat through lifestyle changes. Your diet and exercise habits have the biggest impact. First, let's see why stomach fat is so dangerous and how it affects your health.
The Hidden Dangers of Belly Fat
Belly fat isn't just unsightly but harmful too. Also known as visceral fat or active fat, it is stored deep within the abdominal region. Subcutaneous fat, by comparison, is found right beneath the skin's surface.
Studies have linked belly fat to colon and endometrial cancers, atherosclerosis, dementia, and hypertension. According to science, obese people are 35 percent more likely to develop dementia compared to their peers. Other studies have found that belly fat may cause a decline in language and memory.
Furthermore, this type of fat increases cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, and triglycerides. It also causes inflammation of the blood vessels, contributing to cardiovascular problems. In clinical trials, women with a waist circumference over 39 inches had rates of death double than normal. Similar findings applied to men with waists exceeding 47 inches.
As you see, the size of your waist can tell a lot about your health. Even though some belly fat is normal, too much of it could kill. A waist circumference of more than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women shouldn't be ignored.
How to Get Rid of Belly Fat for Good
The truth is that there's no quick fix to lose belly fat. Depending on your age, weight, and body shape, it can take months or even years to shrink your waistline. Crunches and sit-ups are pretty much useless. These exercises strengthen your core muscles but have little impact on fat deposits.
So what does it take to get rid of belly fat for good?
Here are a few strategies that actually work:
Manage Your Insulin Levels
When it comes to fat loss, the hormone insulin can be your best ally or your worst enemy. Stress, bad eating, lack of exercise, and certain diseases trigger insulin resistance, which in turn, contributes to belly fat. This relationship goes both ways. Visceral fat causes insulin resistance, and vice versa.
The best way to lose inches from your waist is to effectively manage insulin levels. As a rule of thumb, avoid high-sugar foods like candy, ice cream, bread, pasta, white rice, white potatoes, soda, grains, and most fruits. Fill up on foods with a low glycemic index, such as:
Certain foods have few or no carbs, so they lack a GI value. These are ideal for those with belly fat, insulin resistance, diabetes, and other related conditions. Make sure your diet includes plenty of meat, lean fish, low-fat dairy, eggs, unrefined vegetable oils, seafood, herbs, and spices.
Beware that cooking techniques can change the GI. For example, French fries boast a higher glycemic index than boiled or steamed potatoes. In general, the longer food is cooked, the faster its carbs are processed and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Train for Your Goals
Diet and physical activity are equally important. Regular exercise not only burns fat but also keeps your insulin levels within normal limits. On top of that, it triggers a positive hormonal response, offsetting the harm caused by visceral fat.
You may have heard that little exercise is better than none at all. However, when it comes to losing fat, some training methods are more effective than others. Contrary to popular belief, cardio isn't the key to leanness. In fact, it can do more harm than good, especially when struggling with belly fat. The explanation is simple.
HIIT, which stands for high intensity interval training, has emerged as the best way to burn fat. It’s particularly effective against visceral fat and has none of the adverse effects of traditional cardio. A single session will skyrocket your metabolism for up to 48 to 72 hours.
Last, get more rest and avoid stress at all costs. Stress and belly fat are strongly connected. Whenever you're angry, nervous, or anxious, your cortisol levels go up. Prolonged or chronic stress keeps your body in the fight-or-flight mode for weeks or even months, leading to obesity, heart disease, and insulin resistance.
Squeeze more "me" time into your daily routine. Get at least eight hours of sleep per night and allow your body to recover after exercise. Make health a priority and stop over-committing yourself.
These lifestyle changes can go a long way toward better health. You’ll not only get leaner but also feel better, think clearer, and have greater energy. A few months from now on, belly fat will be just a bad memory.
Guide to Keto Diet
Many of you have probably heard a friend mention the Keto Diet. It is a new diet that has been spreading quickly. But it is funny that while the name hasn’t made its way out, the exact details that make this diet effective haven’t. In this guide we are going to help you understand the Keto Diet and with that, introduce you to how you can engage in the diet.
What Is The Keto Diet?
When the body intakes a low amount of carbs and only a moderate amount of proteins, your body is triggered to start producing ketones from your intake. The reason you are only eating moderate proteins is due to the fact that protein itself can be made into blood glucose, the fuel for your body that you are trying to replace.
Ketones don’t just power the body, they power the brain.
The idea behind this is that instead of burning insulin or other energy sources, you are burning fat. Essentially, the ketones force your body to burn fat 24/7. The fat that is burning? That is your weight burning off. But you get more than that. You get the added benefit of increased energy and reduced hunger. Reduced hunger means you also add less fat to your body along with less bad things, such as snacks.
Studies have shown that over 90% of people who are on ketogenic diets can reduce the amount or completely stop taking diabetes related medication. It is important to keep in mind that it depends on many factors, including how long you have had diabetes for.
While fasting gets you into a ketosis state where you are burning fat around the clock, it is very hard to fast. And in order to fast for a continued period of time, you are losing out on other needed nutrients. The Keto Diet achieves the same effect but in a healthier way. A way that is easily sustainable.
It is important to note that you might burn fat by just going through the Keto Diet. But you will not burn the maximum amount. To burn the most fat possible, you should mix your Keto Diet with exercise. A proper exercise regimen should be developed and this is often a place that a fitness coach can help you.
However, mixing in regular activity such as runs, time at the gym, swimming, or other calorie/fat burning activities will help greatly.
When To Avoid The Keto Diet
In general, the Keto Diet is safe for most people. You aren’t required to take any medications or reduce good intake on your body. Those who should avoid the Keto Diet are those with diabetes (type I), high blood pressure, or those who are breastfeeding. If the Keto Diet still sounds like something you want to do, speak with a doctor before undertaking the diet.
Added to those, anyone with a very serious medical condition might want to speak with their doctor about the Keto Diet. It is important to note that we aren’t medical professionals and any time you feel unsure about a diet, we suggest speaking with a doctor and/or nutritionist.
How Do You Eat On A Keto Diet?
When on the Keto Diet you generally want to keep the number of digestible carbs that you take in to a low. That means eating low carb options. For the best results possible you want to have under 20 grams of carbs per day. In order for the state of Ketosis to be reached though, you must be under 50 grams per day. So there is some wiggle room.
Here is a list of food that you can eat for Keto Diet:
As you will have noticed, most of the food on this list are those that are healthy for you anyways. The importance is that you eat the right amount of them and the right foods that are healthy for you.
What you are looking for is reduced carb foods. It is okay if those foods contain fats, especially healthy fats, but by eliminating carbs, you are eliminating most of the food that aren’t healthy for you anyways.
What Can You Drink?
Some diet soft drinks are acceptable, and a glass of coconut water is okay if you calculate the 9 carbs that it will add to your daily carb intake.
As far as other alcohols go, you can have any zero carb alcohol such as whiskey, brandy, tequila, dry martini, or vodka. Mixed drinks become complicated as they often involve adding carbs to the alcohol. For example, a small margarita is 8 grams of carbs or a cosmo is 13. Gin and tonic? 16.
What Foods Are You Going To Avoid?
We have already mentioned what you want to avoid in context of nutritional ingredients: carbohydrates. But what foods have bad levels of carbohydrates? Let’s take a look.
What it comes down to is avoiding processed foods, sugary foods, and foods with gluten in them.
Do I Need To Start Counting Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrate counting is very beneficial in the beginning. It helps you get an idea of what you can take in and what you can’t while you get a feel for the diet. The reason this helps is it shows you that you can’t have any “bad” foods.
Once you get on the diet though and start using the list of approved foods, you will find that there isn’t a need to track your intake. The foods you will pick off the list for the most part are free of carbs. What you might want to track is the amount of alcohol or other drinks that you take in.
Modifications To The Diet
You can make modifications to the diet and there are some specialized Keto Diets that already exist. These diets have specific targets. Such as creating a diet cycle, targeting carbs for workouts, and increased protein diets. Most of these haven’t been studied though.
The only two diets that are well studied are the standard diet that we talk about in this article, and a high protein ketogenic diet.
The High Protein Keto Diet
Just to provide context on the high protein Keto diet since it also shows results is that you are balancing in more protein. You want to aim for a specific balance of proteins, fats, and carbs. Fats should make up about 60% of your intake, protein about 35%, and finally, carbs only about 5%.
A Keto Diet is a very simple diet to undertake in order to start losing weight. The amount of weight that will come off is great, as long as you combine your diet with proper exercise. It doesn’t even take much work to stay on the diet, as once you get in the grove, you don’t need to count your caloric intake. Those looking to lose weight, increase energy, improve memory, reverse diabetes type II, or just improve their body should consider the diet.
Informative blog posts about health, wellness, diet, nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle tips to live a happy and healthy life.