THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON CHALKBOARD MAG.
YOU MIGHT NOT REALIZE how big of a role blood flow plays when it comes to brain health — we certainly didn’t, until we started thumbing through the pages of the new Memory Rescue by brain health pioneer, Dr. Daniel Amen.
According to Dr. Amen, the most crucial thing we can do to maintain and improve brain health over time is to increase blood flow to the area through regular exercise and targeted nutrition. Keeping our blood flowing throughout the day is so important for our cognitive longevity that its the first topic addressed in Amen Clinics new BRIGHT MINDS Program (“B” is for blood flow), which identifies and treats the eleven top risk-factors for aged-related brain conditions.
Straight from the pages of Memory Rescue, we’re sharing Dr. Amen’s top recommendations for blood flow-boosting foods to consume and those to avoid…
Foods to Choose.
SPICES: cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander and cardamom, cinnamon, rosemary and bergamot (cholesterol-lowering properties).
ARGININE-RICH FOODS: to boost nitric oxide and blood flow eat more beets, pork, turkey, chicken, beef, salmon, halibut, trout, steel-cut oats, clams, watermelon (l-citrulline that boosts arginine), pistachios, walnuts, seeds, kale, spinach, celery, cabbage and radishes. Drinking nitrate-rich beet juice has been found to lower blood pressure, increase stamina during exercise and, in older people, boost blood flow to the brain.
VITAMIN B6, B12 AND FOLATE-RICH FOODS: leafy greens, cabbage, bok choy, bell peppers, cauliflower, lentils, asparagus, garbanzo beans, spinach, broccoli, parsley, salmon, sardines, lamb, tuna, beef and eggs.
VITAMIN E-RICH FOODS: these widen blood vessels and decrease clotting. Green leafy vegetables are major sources of vitamin E, in addition to almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds.
MAGNESIUM-RICH FOODS: these relax blood vessels. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, sesame seeds, beet greens, summer squash, quinoa, black beans and cashews.
POTASSIUM-RICH FOODS: these help control blood pressure: beet greens, Swiss chard, spinach, bok choy, beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, celery, cantaloupe, tomatoes, salmon, banana, onions, green peas, sweet potato, avocado and lentils.
FIBER-RICH FOODS: these have been shown to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels
MACA reduces blood pressure.
VITAMIN C-RICH FOODS: boosts immunity.
OMEGA-3-RICH FOODS: reduces inflammation.
Foods to Lose.
CAFFEINE: while that daily morning espresso might seem like a life-saver at 7am, caffeine has been shown to constrict blood flow to the brain so moderation is key.
SUGARY SODAS: learn more about what they do in your health here. If you’re still lusting for bubbles, try probiotic-rich water kefir instead.
BAKED GOODS: too much can lead to clogged arteries, hypertension and heart failure. If you quit, try making healthier versions of your fave recipes by eliminating dairy, grains and/or refined sugar.FRENCH FRIES: fries and other foods fried in vegetable oils can cause inflammation and sticky arteries. These baked sweet potato fries are a cleaner and more nutritious option.
TRANS FATS: just say no to margarine and powdered coffee creamers.
ALCOHOL: No more than a moderate amount of alcohol; I recommend no more than two to four normal glasses a week.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON MOTHER EARTH LIVING.
This mineral broth will fulfill your taste buds while your gut thanks you for all the nutrition that comes along.
Clean Soups (Penguin Random House) by Rebecca lays out the building blocks for creating delicious and balanced soups, guiding readers to create their own concoctions. Rounding out the book are recipes for soup toppers that can be mixed and matched to enhance and change the flavor of every soup in the book.
You can purchase this book through theMother Earth Living store: Clean Soups
This is my signature savory broth. Its creation was that wonderful moment when everything came together in the kitchen to create something truly healing. (I must have been channeling someone’s grandmother!) Literally thousands of people have spoken with me about the positive impact this broth has had on their lives. You’ll be amazed at how revitalizing it is. With carrots, onions, leek, celery, potatoes, and more, it’s a veritable veggie-palooza and can be used as a base for nearly all the soups in this book. In a bowl or sipped as a tea, it’s the perfect cleansing broth.
- 6 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
- 2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
- 1 leek, white and green parts, cut into thirds
- 1 bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
- 4 unpeeled red potatoes, quartered
- 2 unpeeled Japanese or regular sweet potatoes, quartered
- 1 unpeeled garnet yam (sweet potato), quartered
- 5 unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
- 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 (8-inch) strip kombu
- 12 black peppercorns
- 4 whole allspice or juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 quarts cold, filtered water, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more if needed
- Rinse all of the vegetables well, including the kombu.
- In a 12-quart or larger stockpot, combine the carrots, onions, leek, celery, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, garlic, parsley, kombu, peppercorns, allspice berries, and bay leaves. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for at least 2 hours, or until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. As the broth simmers, some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out.
- Strain the broth through a large, coarse-mesh sieve (use a heat-resistant container underneath), and discard the solids. Stir in the salt, adding more if desired. Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON VITACOST.
Cleanses can be a huge boon for your brain and body. Whether you choose to substitute solid meals with vitamin-rich juices or opt for an elimination diet that shuns gluten and sugar, learning how to detox your body can help recharge your energy, promote clearer thinking, elevate mood, enhance liver function and boost digestion.
But detoxes—which, let’s face it, can be a bit daunting if we don’t have the right knowledge and mindset—may lead to failure if you fall prey to some of the common errors found in cleansing.
Here are 5 mistakes not to make when you’re doing a detox cleanse:
1. Relying on laxatives
Colon cleanses have long been a top choice for those who hope to drop a size in the nick of time—as well as for those who are keen on cleaning out their intestines.
But be forewarned. Laxatives—whether lubricant, saline or comprised of a bulk-forming product—do not provide sustainable weight loss and may lead to a number of health hazards.
Chief among them? Dehydration. Laxatives deplete your body of water and can result in life-threatening electrolyte imbalances. What’s more, laxatives might cause bowel perforation—it’s as agonizing as it sounds—and are particularly perilous for people with heart or kidney problems. Laxatives can also become addictive: they can worsen constipation as the digestive tract loses its ability to operate normally.
A saner, safer and more enduring approach? Eating a diet rich in fiber, exercising regularly and drinking lots of water. It might not seem trendy, but it works. Who wants to spend the dazzling new year running to the bathroom, anyway?
2. Not consuming adequate nutrients and calories
Rushing into a detox program and attempting too much too soon—such as drastically downsizing your intake and eating zero protein—may leave you feeling moody, deprived and prone to splurging.
Why? Fasting and/or not taking in sufficient calories almost always leaves dieters famished, fatigued…and, well, feeling a little crazy.
“Calories fuel the tissues of your body like your brain, heart, liver and kidneys,” explains Dr. Rachele Pojednic, a professor at Harvard Extension School. Consume too few—and not receive proper nourishment—and your mind and body will suffer. (#hangry has become ubiquitous for a reason.) What’s more, when you refuse sustenance and the key nutrients it supplies, you put yourself at risk of giving into temptation and overindulging, thereby potentially setting yourself on a path of yo-yo dieting that can be treacherous.
Rather than prioritizing caloric intake as an essential part of your detox program, focus instead on nurturing yourself well. You’ll feel the difference and will have the gusto and energy you need to stay committed to your cleanse.
Most important of all? That you approach detox from a place of self-love, not as a form of punishment. This should be reflected in the nourishment you put into your body—not in what you deny giving it.
3. Detoxing only your body
Detoxes present an excellent opportunity to adjust more than your sugar consumption. There are a number of things that comprise your quality of life, and diet alone won’t accomplish physical, mental and emotional prosperity. In fact, the genuine benefits of detoxing are discovered only in examining every major area of your life—and removing what’s necessary.
Consider, for example, your surroundings. Some of the pollutants you hope to eradicate from your tissues may come from consumer products you’re exposed to in your own household.
The solution? Finding natural alternatives for as many items as you can that may release toxic chemicals in or around your home—including cleaning products, cookware, personal-care products, food-storage containers and more. Replace your Teflon pans (which have been linked to cancer) with stainless-steel and cast-iron cookware, scrutinize all those chemicals in your personal-care products (be especially careful of sulfates and parabens), switch to BPA-free containers, avoid dry-cleaning and swap your chemical-laden products for organic substitutes (vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, castile soap, borax and salt are all smart options).
And don’t forget to decontaminate your personal life: that friend or social obligation that brings you more anguish than elation might be as toxic for you as artificial sweetener and palm oil.
4. Eating dairy and egg products
You may love cream in your coffee, garden frittatas, chocolate and cheese (who doesn’t?). But for a successful cleanse, endeavor to avoid dairy and egg products entirely.
Sound impossible…or imprudent? Think again. Cows and other animals remove toxins from their bodies, in part, by excreting milk—so when you consume dairy products, you may subject yourself to increased toxins that can hamper your health and undo your hard work. Dairy products can also be particularly high in allergens; many people have low-grade allergies to both without realizing it. Eliminating them during your detox gives your digestive system a break from potentially unhealthful symptoms—and will allow you to determine if you need to eschew them for perpetuity.
5. Not sweating it out
Addressing your diet without tackling your physical activity is akin to spring-cleaning your house but keeping all of the windows closed.
Exercise, particularly aerobic, is an indispensable part of all effective detoxes—and a vital component of holistic health. It increases the blood flowing through your body (including your liver), releases toxins through perspiration and encourages detoxification by bringing more oxygen to your tissues. At the same time, exercise improves the circulation of your lymphatic fluids, which assists in the removal of pollutants and bacteria, while also bolstering happiness, energy and self-empowerment. Exercise also inspires a closer, more loving relationship with your body. Because while cleanses and resolutions may come and go, your body is yours for life—and what a wonderful existence you’ll have if you take care of it.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON MIND BODY GREEN.
Want to supercharge your metabolism to finally lose that weight and keep it off for good?
Join Fitness Expert and NYT Bestselling Author JJ Virgin in our newest class Boost Your Metabolism: Lose Weight, Balance Blood Sugar & Increase Your Energy where you’ll learn the secrets to revving up your metabolism to make sustained lifestyle changes for a healthier life.
Counting calories is an outdated weight loss approach. As I’ve often said, your body is not a bank account—it’s a chemistry lab! It’s all about where your calories come from. Different foods cause different metabolic responses in your body. Just as the wrong choices can make your metabolism sluggish, the right foods can help you rev up your metabolism so you can find your happy weight effortlessly.
Here are my top 10 picks:
Coconut oil is made up of healthy fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) that help your body burn fat. MCTs also control your blood sugar and naturally dampen your appetite, so adding this food to your diet can make it easier to pass on snacking between meals. I like to scoop a tablespoon into my morning protein shakes, and it’s also a great swap for vegetable oils when cooking.
The superstar weight loss ingredient in green tea is antioxidants known as “catechins.” Catechins fight obesity and protect against type 2 diabetes. These powerful antioxidants are also known to stop the inflammation that can lead to premature aging, weight loss resistance, and weight gain. As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, green tea also amps up your primary fat-burning hormone! Drink it hot or cold—just hold the sugar and artificial sweeteners and switch to decaf after lunch so you still sleep well.
I’m definitely a big coffee lover, and I start every morning with a half-caf Americano with coconut milk. Studies show that coffee burns fat by activating hormones that melt away stored fat and speed up your metabolism. When shopping, buy quality beans and watch out for mycotoxins in your coffee. It’s also key to pass on the artificial sweeteners and sugar so you only get the good stuff with no sugar impact!
Like your food hot? It’s time to spice things up! It’s the capsaicin in chili peppers that give it that distinctive flavor kick. And capsaicin has been shown to boost metabolism, fight obesity, and keep your appetite under control. Add cayenne to your meals or choose dark chocolate with added chiles for an extra health boost.
These healthy nuts are packed with protein, vitamins, and omega-3s. They’re also easy to take with you anywhere! Studies have shown that adding almonds to your diet can lead to increased weight loss, while also lowering your risk of heart disease. I like to swirl some almond butter into my chocolate shakes to make them taste like a candy bar, only healthier and guilt-free!
A recent study showed that a daily serving of lentils can result in both weight loss and lower cholesterol levels. In addition to its high protein content and nine essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, the fiber in lentils helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. Lentils are also super versatile in soup or as a savory side dish!
Full of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber—what’s not to love about this amazing food? Avocados combat metabolic syndrome on many levels, and its anti-obesity effects have been noted in several studies. Though most folks consider them a vegetable, avocados are actually big berries! And they’re super useful in every meal of the day, whether you add them to your morning smoothie, make a batch of spicy guacamole, or top a bowl of soup with a few creamy slices.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are natural anti-inflammatories. Research proves that eating salmon also promotes weight loss and lowers belly fat. Including this clean, lean protein in your diet keeps you feeling full longer and helps you maintain muscle as you burn fat! Remember to choose only wild-caught salmon, not farmed—it’s better for both you and the environment.
High-fiber superfoods like spinach are great for boosting metabolism and keep you feeling full for hours. It’s also rich in vitamins, minerals, and even some protein. A handful of spinach in your breakfast shake is a great way to increase fiber and rev up your metabolism at the start of your day!
This popular and versatile spice has been shown to have many health benefits, including increasing insulin sensitivity, which helps to prevent your body from storing fat. Cinnamon is also rich in manganese, which is great for metabolizing fat and carbs. Adding cinnamon to your diet is easy—try sprinkling some cinnamon in your oatmeal or spice up your coffee with a pinch of this rich, warming spice!
If you’re serious about quickly reaching your weight loss goals, these 10 foods are definitely great additions to your grocery list. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and try burst training to really kick up your metabolism and feel energized throughout your day!
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON MIND BODY GREEN.
Don’t you push yourself enough? This January, nurture yourself with Nourishing New Year.
Instead of focusing on flaws to fix, this January we’re nurturing ourselves back to balance with simple, grounding steps. For the next two weeks, mindbodygreen will share with you a story a day inspiring you with simple ways to nourish yourself, your community, and our world through eating, moving, giving, creating, and loving. Follow these common-sense principles along with us for the next two weeks and start the new year with a calm mind, connected spirit, and balanced body. Check out the full plan here!
Eating lower sugar is an easy, obvious health commitment that many of us make in the New Year. The only problem? With sugar lurking behind every corner, it can be tricky to discern when you’re actually eating sugar. Beyond that, even if you have the willpower of an ox, you will, at some point in your low-sugar journey, find yourself unable to think about anything but sugar. Sugar is a real addiction—according to holistic psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora, it’s 20 times more addictive than cocaine—so step one is to allow that it’s a real struggle and forgive yourself for not easily letting go of the white stuff. After that, try these seven easy steps to make sure you’re aware of your sugar consumption and help you kick your cravings for sweets when you do have them:
The easiest way to break your sugar addiction is to know when you’re actually consuming the stuff. Even food that looks healthy and organic can pack a whopping amount of sugar. The shorter the ingredient list, the easier it is to find hidden sugars and know exactly what you’re getting, which is why we love brands like siggi’s, which have simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar (plus a ton of delicious flavors to satiate any cravings you’re having).
2. Limit artificial sweeteners.
A huge part of cutting back on sugar is resetting your taste buds, and beyond health concerns about artificial sweeteners (including Stevia!), their powerfully sweet flavor makes it hard to acclimate your palate. While it’s tempting to go high-sweet, no sugar, try to just cut back on the amount of sweetener generally—you’ll be thankful at the end.
Hopefully, in recent years, any fear of fat you’ve had has subsided, but beyond being a reborn health food, fat is a powerful ally in your fight to cut back on sugar. Fat fills you up, turns off your hunger hormones, and satiates you so that you’ll be able to say no to a plate of cookies in front of you. Go for full-fat food when given the option, add healthy fats like avocado and hemp seeds to your smoothie, and keep a stash of fat balls in your freezer to nosh on when sugar cravings strike.
Not only does fermented food help balance your gut bacteria, which will ultimately help you crave less sugar in the long run, the tangy flavor resets your taste buds in a way that instantly eliminates cravings. Reach for low-sugar, simple ingredient yogurts like siggi’s, or keep a stash of your own fermented vegetables in the fridge. When sugar cravings strike, simply eat a tablespoon or two of your fermented food of choice and wait 10 or 15 minutes to see how you feel. You’ll be surprised by the difference!
5. Think in terms of adding rather than taking away.
Instead of telling yourself “no dessert,” fill yourself to the brim with fiber-packed vegetables and good fat, so you’re too satiated to reach for dessert. Think of new ways to add fats, fibers, and protein to every meal, so you’re too stuffed for a piece of chocolate. Try adding cauliflower or zucchini to your green smoothies, filling your plate with a huge pile of leafy greens drizzled with olive oil at lunch, or blending up a veggie-filled (aka highly fibrous!) soup to sip on throughout the day.
Often, eating sugar can be more of a sign of boredom than anything else. Having something else to do with your mouth can be a great way to prevent mindless snacking. Sparkling water with a dash of bitters is a great way to entertain your mouth (and boost digestion!), and teas come in a ton of different flavors sure to keep you from getting bored. If you always have a cup at hand, you’ll always be too occupied to reach for a snack.
7. Get out of your regular habits.
Often, our sugar habit is just that—a habit. If you switch up your regular routine, you’ll often switch up what you eat and when you eat it. Try intermittent fasting for a week, change where you sit at work, and if you normally go out, cook and vice versa. By switching it up, you’ll reframe sugar’s place in your life, making it effortless to eat less of it.