Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness

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6 Superfoods You Need To Know About

Here is a list of six superfoods that pack a nutritional punch. Try and incorporate them into a healthy, whole food diet to experience a wide array of health benefits.

1. Chia Seeds – These seeds originally gained popularity back in the 1990s when they were spread on ceramics and sprouted to grow Chia Pets. Chia seeds are now being raved about in the health community because of the nutritional boost they will provide when added to your diet. They are mineral rich and are loaded with antioxidants. Chia seeds are a good source of healthy fat (omega-3s) and protein. They have lots of fiber which helps bulk up stools. The fiber will also slow down digestion leaving you feeling full for a longer period of time after eating a meal containing chia seeds.

2. Acai Berry – This berry is one of the healthiest berries on the planet. Acai is extremely high in antioxidants which help eliminate free radicals in the body. It increases the overall blood circulation in the body which may contribute to a boost in sex drive, especially in men. Acai is extremely high in ellagic acid and vitamin C which together boost the immune system. This positive effect on the immune system has been shown to suppress the growth of cancer. For centuries acai has been eaten by the people in Brazil to treat skin conditions. If the berries are eaten regularly they can give your skin a healthy glow.

3. Kale – This dark leafy green is a nutrition powerhouse. Kale is packed with vitamins (including vitamins A, C and K) and minerals. It provides the body with omega-3 fatty acids which our body doesn’t produce on its own. We need to get our omega-3s either through the diet or supplementation. Kale is high in iron which is used to produce hemoglobin in the blood. Per calorie kale has more calcium than cow’s milk so it is helpful in preventing osteoporosis.

4. Cacao/Chocolate – I know it may be hard to believe but chocolate in its pure form is a superfood. Cacao is packed with vitamins and minerals including magnesium and zinc. It is loaded with antioxidants, containing ten times as many antioxidants as blueberries! Cacao contains a couple of special chemicals named phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide. PEA is produced naturally in our bodies when we get excited and brings on a similar feeling as when you fall in love. Anandamide makes you feel excited and alert.

5. Broccoli – Broccoli contains an abundance of vitamin C which aids in relieving the symptoms of the common cold and helps with iron absorption. It contains indole-3-carbinol which can help prevent hormone related cancers such as prostate and breast cancer. Broccoli contains sulforaphane that helps increase the level of certain enzymes in the body that block cancer. It is also rich in fiber which helps lower cholesterol.

6. Coconut Oil – This food is diverse in the number of ways it can be used. You can cook with it (very heat stable), use it as a body lotion or add it to your morning smoothie. The lauric acid (saturated fat) found in coconut oil increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and builds up the body’s immune system. Lauric acid will also destroy harmful viruses and bacteria in the body. Applied topically coconut oil provides UV protection by blocking around 20% of UV exposure. Coconut oil can be used as an all natural and chemical free sexual lubricant. Even though coconut oil is over 90% saturated fat it is great for weight loss. It is minimally stored as fat in the body and increases the body’s metabolism to burn more calories.

Enjoy experimenting with this list of superfoods. Always remember – You are what you eat!

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Top 5 ways to boost your metabolism naturally

By Dr. Joey Shulman

Learn how to boost metabolism the natural way by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle.

If you think back to your own personal health history, I am confident you can pinpoint a time in your life when the weight just started to “creep” up on you. Whether it was an emotional or stressful trigger that started the number on the scale to climb or the hectic pace of life which caused health to take a back burner position – one day you wake up and realize just do not feel like the vibrant, fit person you were meant to be. The good news is, the body has an amazing forgiving and restorative nature – given the proper foods, nutrients and conditions, it responds positively in a very short time.

The question that researchers and doctors have been investigating for years is whether metabolism can be altered through various lifestyle and dietary changes. If you have difficulty losing weight, it is thought that you are one of the unlucky ones that have a “slow” metabolism dooming you to a future of continued weight gain and weight loss struggles. If you have a “fast” metabolism, you may be among one of those lucky few who can eat anything and everything they wish never gaining a pound.

With great strength, science demonstrates that metabolism can indeed be increased with a variety of natural steps. The key is to strike a fine balance between caloric intake, proper food choices and exercise.

The top 5 ways to boost your metabolism naturally are:

1. Do not skip breakfast! Picture your metabolic rate shaped as an ice cream cone. In other words, starting at the top – it is at its highest in the morning and starts to decline on a gradual level as the day progresses.

Unfortunately, most of us have a backwards approach to eating when it comes to weight loss and meals. We skip breakfast for a variety of reasons such as lack of hunger, a busy schedule or to save on calories. While this may seem to make sense from a pure “calories in, calories out” theory, research has demonstrated time and time again that this approach will result in weight gain. Whether it is a protein shake, a yogurt and granola parfait or slow-cooking oatmeal – you need something to start your day off right.

2. Eat more protein! The hormone glucagon is released in response to dietary protein, such as egg whites, low-fat cheese, lean meats, chicken, fish and protein powder. Glucagon signals fat cells to release fat into the blood, thereby promoting its use. In other words, more fat is burned and more weight is lost when you eat more protein.

3. Say good-bye to refined grains. Products made from refined grains, such as many breads, pastas, cookies and cakes, cause most people to oversecrete the hormone insulin. Insulin has the opposite effect of glucagon. Of its many functions, insulin is secreted from the pancreas to facilitate the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells.

Glucose (a.k.a. blood sugar) is derived from carbohydrates and is the main source of fuel for the body. When too many of the wrong types of carbohydrates are consumed, such as refined white sugar and/or white flour, excess insulin is secreted to deal with the sugar. In short, excess insulin = excess fat.

4. Stick to low glycemic index carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains (breads and pastas) and beans. Do not be scared of eating bread! Research demonstrates very clearly that whole grains are beneficial for weight loss and the prevention of type II diabetes, colon cancer and constipation.

5. Go for green! Instead of your morning coffee, opt for some green tea. Green tea has many health benefits, from helping to fight diseases such as cancer and heart disease, to aiding in weight loss. Studies show that catechins, the antioxidants in green tea, help increase fat burning. Research also shows that green tea may lower blood sugars by inhibiting enzymes that allow the absorption of starches, and it may reduce the absorption of fat from the intestine. Typical dosage is three or four cups per day or a 300 to 400 mg capsule of green tea extract daily.

Take home point
Your total metabolic rate is not fixed. In fact, there is a certain part of it that is flexible and when given the proper foods, hydration, exercise and supplements can rev up and help you slim down naturally. Bon appetit!

Dr. Joey Shulman – www.drjoey.com