Nuts for Nuts!

Aw, Nuts!

Eating nuts have already been linked to reducing the risk of chronic disease, but now it’s clear consumption reduces inflammation.

In Boston, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital have done several studies on the positive health effects of eating nuts. They, along with other scientists, have noted how the risk of developing chronic disease decreases when we consume nuts. For this study, the researchers wanted to figure out why this is true.

The lead epidemiologist at the hospital stated, “Our new work suggests that nuts may exert their beneficial effects in part by reducing systemic inflammation.”

The recent study revealed that eating at least five servings of nuts per week is incredibly helpful. Even adding nuts to meals three times a week showed to reduce biomarkers for inflammation.

The study states: “Researchers found participants who ate five or more servings of nuts per week or substituted red meat, processed meat, eggs or grains with nuts in three meals per week had reduced markers of inflammation than those who didn’t.”

Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other chronic diseases can be triggered or made worse because of inflammation. If nuts are proving to reduce inflammatory biomarkers, then it makes sense that eating them will keep you healthier overall.

Many nuts contain similar properties such as fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats, etc. The scientists can attest that consuming nuts decreases inflammation. However, they still cannot pinpoint which element in nuts is to be thanked most for this discovery. It could be L-Arginine, unsaturated fat, fiber, something else, or a combination of a few.

That’s Just Nuts!

Here are some nutritional highlights about various types of nuts:

One ounce of almonds provides about 9% of daily adult recommended calcium and 27% of magnesium. They also contain zinc and vitamin E.

Cashews have a lower caloric content than many any nuts. They’re high in iron, zinc, and potassium.

Hazelnuts provide copper, biotin (great for hair and nails), and vitamin E.

Macadamia nuts are high in manganese and natural antioxidants.

Peanuts contain resveratrol (the compound in red wine that promotes healthy aging.)

Pecans contain the alpha and the gamma forms of vitamin E.

Pine nuts offer potassium, iron, copper, and zinc.

Pistachios– two ounces provide more potassium than a big banana.

Walnuts contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

There are over 50 different types of nuts from all over the world. Mix and match, consume and help keep your body inflammation-free.

For more articles on health, nutrition, and avoiding disease, check out www.GetThrive.com

Try This Efficient Formula to Lose Weight Safely

Everyone knows that being overweight or obese can be detrimental to your overall health. What you don’t hear enough of, however, is that losing weight too rapidly or engaging in certain types of diets can be dangerous, too. If you want to lose weight safely, read on as we share an efficient formula that is definitely worth trying.

 

Safety, Safely First

The decision to lose weight is generally accompanied by determination and enthusiasm. Usually, we get so annoyed that we can’t fit into our jeans, and then realize it’s time to take action. We make a choice to “diet” and off we go, idealistically, into a program with full gusto.

The problem with hastily moving forward on a weight-loss quest is that we can encounter several pitfalls if we’re unprepared. Our blood sugar, heart rates, and metabolism can become imbalanced if we lose too much, too soon. If we overdo it with exercise, there’s a likelihood injury could occur, actually creating a setback on our mission.

The key, henceforth, is to keep in mind three important elements when embarking on a safety-prioritized diet. They are:

 

  • Preparation
  • Consistency
  • Mindfulness

 

A Fantastic Formula

With preparation, consistency, and mindfulness, you can be successful at dropping pounds in a healthy fashion. Along with following and adhering to several dietary and lifestyle adjustments, you now have a formula, which can be both safe and efficient. The adjustments recommended to maximize your weight-loss goal are:

 

  • Improving sleep quality and quantity
  • Increase protein intake
  • Increase fiber intake and hydration
  • Increase good fats intake/ Reduce or avoid bad fats intake
  • Increase physical movement

 

SLEEP

Lack of sleep makes most people grouchy, brain-fogged, and prone to physical injury. Additionally, researchers report that those who sleep less than seven hours each night, not only have a more difficult time losing weight, but often wind up gaining weight over time.

Poor sleep quality also leads to poorer decision-making. You may “give up” on your diet if you get cranky enough. You need proper rest to maintain willpower and clear thinking. Behavior control can be compromised, and that’s not safe.

Stress is a killer (literally), and especially of weight-loss plans. Our bodies suffer and hold onto fat when they get in the “fight or flight mode.” Cortisol, the hormone produced and released during stressful moments, keeps us from losing unwanted extra pounds.

Get between 8 and 9 hours of sleep per night and your body will start processing nutrients in a beneficial way, helping you to efficiently drop weight. 1) Prepare your day so you can get to sleep on time. 2) Be consistent with your sleep times. 3) Be mindful and make your space conducive to restful sleep.

 

PROTEIN

High protein foods may be higher in calories, but we actually burn more calories from the process of digesting them. Protein helps boost our energy level and builds muscle. We also feel fuller faster and longer. These are extremely beneficial factors for efficient and safe weight-loss.

Some excellent examples of nutritious, protein-rich foods are:

 

  • organic lean poultry (chicken and turkey)
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • low-fat cheese (feta and goat)
  • fish (tuna and salmon)

 

1) Shop ahead to prepare for your meals. 2) Eat high-protein foods consistently, daily. 3) Be mindful that your proteins are organic, locally farmed, and/or void of any preservatives.

 

FIBER AND WATER

Fresh fruits and vegetables are incredible sources of natural fiber. Eating 20 to 30 grams of fiber daily will help with your weight-loss program as well as help lower your blood pressure. (High blood pressure is not safe.)

Proper fiber intake also helps balance blood sugar. This makes for more efficient fat-loss as well as reducing risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Drinking half your body weight in ounces of water daily is one recommendation. Other experts suggest keeping a full bottle of water by your side all day and consistently sipping from it. Staying hydrated, all the time, should be your priority. And when increasing fiber to your diet, increasing your water consumption is a must.

1) Prepare by shopping at farmers’ markets or in the organic produce section of your grocery store. 2) Be consistent by making half your plate, each meal, full of vegetables—and drinking lots of water. 3) Be mindful of where your fiber and water is coming from. Avoid hidden, added sugar.

 

GOOD FATS/BAD FATS

Good fats are generally unsaturated (mono or poly) and can contain Omega 3- and/or 6- fatty acids. Some examples are: avocados, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, hemp oil, almond butter, and seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin, etc.)

Bad fats are ones with saturated fats, especially polysaturated and hydrogenated oils. These are processed products that contain no nutritional value and actually are dangerous (ie. carcinogenic and toxic). Some examples include: vegetable oil, margarine, many chips, frozen dinners, deep-fried and fast foods, etc.

1) Prepare your diet by checking labels and having “good” foods around the house. 2) Be consistent about what foods you allow yourself; cheating never feels good afterwards. 3) Be mindful of how great you feel when you eat healthy foods.

 

EXERCISE

Physical activity is a necessary component to healthy, safe, and effective weight loss. Weight loss and weight management are about balance. Your body won’t be able to handle drastic physical change without rebelling. Your exercise induction must bear the three elements: preparation, consistency, and mindfulness.

There’s no need to start running marathons. Simply increasing physical movement on a daily, consistent basis will increase your metabolism and help your body adjust accordingly. Overdoing workouts can be very unsafe. You could be putting your heart at risk as well as your bones and muscles. Injury is bad and will only set you back physically and mentally.

1) Prepare by knowing your physical limits, but also pushing them slightly. 2) Be consistent; slow and steady wins the race! 3) When exercising, be mindful of all parts of your body—your breathing, heart rate, muscle strength, and flexibility.

 

There are thousands of “diets” and a plethora of materials about how to lose weight. The unfortunate thing is that many of those don’t take into account your safety. With this efficient formula, you can relax while allowing your body to free itself from its overload. Stay the course, and keep in mind that if you don’t have your health, what do you have?

We are on your team and cheering for your success. See other articles on GetThrive for more tips and information on how to keep you and your family the healthiest they can be!

 

Sources:

https://healthyeater.com/carb-protein-fat-rich-foods

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/sleep-weight-loss

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/making-one-change-getting-fiber-can-help-weight-loss-201502177721

https://getthrive.com/weight-loss-quiz-know-whats-working-whats-not/

https://getthrive.com/effective-healthy-eating-tactics-2018/

 

 

 

Tips for Eating a Healthy Breakfast On the Go

Most of us lead busy lives. And many think this means there is no time to eat the right foods for a healthy lifestyle.

However, eating does not have to be sitting around a table and dining for hours. If you are strapped for time, of course, you have to eat, but why not do so while in traffic on your way to work or elsewhere? With a little planning and creative thinking, you can make eating a healthy breakfast a priority and a possibility…and here are some tips on how to make this happen.

1. Plan Ahead

Be sure to plan your breakfast, but more importantly give yourself at least 15 minutes to fix your meal prior to leaving the house. Planning means that you should decide exactly what you are going to eat.

Planning your breakfast the night before can also be quite helpful. You could also save yourself some time by putting the items on the kitchen counter or in the fridge in a bag the night before.

2. Pack Healthy

Pack a bag with healthy foods and this will help you to stay far away from the donuts and vending machines at the office. In fact, you could put the foods in portion containers and label the containers for each day of the week. Most dietitians would recommend quick foods like:

  • Grapes
  • One ripe banana
  • Small carrots
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit
  • Strawberries
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Plums
  • Oranges
  • Whole grain crackers and cheese (make sure the cheese is low fat)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Kiwi fruit

For additional fiber, don’t peel your fruit. Instead, eat fruits like apples with their skin.

3. Don’t Look for a Fast Fix

Breakfast for many people is a fast fix while trying to get to the car. Some people even skip this very important meal, which is not a good idea. It is not recommended to use packaged foods because of the heavy dose of sugar and saturated fats.

Why not bake some muffins on the weekend so you can use your own healthy ingredients such as nuts, fruits and whole-wheat flour? And then you have an easy to grab breakfast for the whole week.

4. Making Options

Another quick and healthy breakfast foodis instant oatmeal, adding nuts and/or berries. Most are sold in small packets, which make it easy to take with you on the go.

Make a smoothie with fruits and/or veggies. Put in your favorite covered cup and sip while waiting in traffic. You can make it the night before so you are out the door in time the next morning.

Make a quick tuna sandwich and take with you to eat in your car or at your desk. Other portable items that you should consider are granola or whole grain breakfast bars.

Take time to eat a healthy breakfast, even on the go! It will help you start your day the best way possible.

Referral Sources:

Greatist, Healthy Fast Breakfast Recipes

BuzzFeed Life, 28 Easy And Healthy Breakfasts You Can Eat On The Go, Deena Shanka, June 1, 2014

Cooking Light2 Smart Ideas for Breakfast On the Go, Nicci Micco

 

Nutrition Quiz: Are You Really Eating Healthy?

How much do you really know about healthy eating? We believe certain foods are good (or bad) for us, but then, sometimes, we find out otherwise. Advertising and/or outdated studies can often misguide us in our quest to eat nutritiously. Take the quick Healthy-Eating Quiz and see how well you’re doing!

 

  1. Which are “good fats”?
  2. Saturated fats
  3. Trans fats
  4. Monounsaturated fats
  5. Polyunsaturated fats

 

  1. Which are whole grains?
  2. Oatmeal
  3. White rice
  4. Barley
  5. Quinoa

 

  1. What nutrients do eggs contain?
  2. Protein
  3. Vitamin B12
  4. Vitamin D
  5. Lutein

 

  1. Which are great sources of fiber?
  2. Artichokes
  3. Chia seeds
  4. Pancakes
  5. Black beans

 

  1. Which are low in sugar content?
  2. Tonic water
  3. Vanilla yogurt
  4. Bananas
  5. Almond butter

 

Now check and compare your answers with ours.

 

Answers:

1.) c and d. The worst are trans fats, for example, hydrogenated oils. Saturated fats aren’t horrible when eaten in slim moderation. These include: cheese, whole milk, and red meat. Your good fats will be monounsaturated (i.e. olive oil, avocados, sunflower oil) and polyunsaturated fats, which are essential fats (omega-3 fatty acids, salmon, seeds, nuts, etc.)

2.) a and c. Whole grains contain bran, germ, and endosperm—the entire grain kernel. That is precisely what oatmeal and barley are. White rice is processed and not a whole grain; however, brown and wild rice are considered whole grains. Quinoa, although quite nutritionally potent, is really a seed (though some still categorize it as a grain).

3.) a, b, c, and d. Two medium eggs offer about 14 grams of protein. Over 50% of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin B12 is included as well. Eggs are a great source of vitamin D for bone health and lutein for eye health.

4.) a, b, and d. Pancakes, especially those prepared with white, refined flour have virtually no fiber benefit. (If they were made with a whole grain, like Buckwheat, now we’re talkin’.) One medium artichoke has about 10 grams of fiber—and brother broccoli is not far behind. Chia seeds, as well as flax and other seeds, can have up to 6 grams of fiber in one tablespoon. Black beans (and lima and lentils) are fiber royalty with up to 15 grams per cup, cooked.

5.) d. Almond butter made solely from nuts (with no sugar added), may have as few as 2 grams of sugar per serving. (Other nut butters without additives are also low in sugar. Generic tonic water and flavored yogurts can have up to 40 grams of sugar per serving. Yikes! Bananas are one of the most calorie-dense fruits. Of course because the sugar is from a natural source, it is better for your health any day over eating a processed food with added sugar.

Keep seeking out and following your path to healthy eating. You will feel rewarded in body, mind, and spirit!

 

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good

https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/grain-month-calendar/quinoa-%E2%80%93-march-grain-month

https://www.nutritionfoundation.org.nz/nutrition-facts/nutrition-a-z/Eggs/What-do-eggs-contain-

https://greatist.com/health/surprising-high-fiber-foods

 

 

 

 

Grocery List Essentials for Your Plant-Based Diet

It’s really exciting to make a conscious choice to eat more plant-based foods. It can also be daunting if you’re not sure what to fill your pantry with in order to prepare or cook yummy new dishes.

Additionally, you can find yourself spending a bit more in your budget to catch up on the basics, like nuts, seeds, and herbs. Plant-based chef Miranda Hammer (who also happens to be a registered dietician) has some great ideas for stocking up, especially if this is a new venture for you at home.

The idea is to flavor-up what could be bland. Using fresh produce is the start. Dress it up with dried, nonperishable, nutritious items. Your goal is to keep all your foods whole and unprocessed.

Hammer suggests shopping in the bulk bins at your local health food store or market. Since they need to turnover the products in a timely fashion, if they’re not all sold, they will often offer a decent discount.

Texture, Fiber, and Good Fats

Nuts and seeds are amazing sources of protein, fiber, and other healthy supplements. They are both terrific snacks alone, but the chef recommends using them as toppers on salads, oatmeal, ice cream, or cooked veggie dishes.

Get them raw and unsalted. Some preferred nuts are: walnuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews, and, of course, the go-to nut—peanuts. Tasty seeds include: chia, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, and flax.

Herbivore Alert

Dried herbs and spices are must-haves if you want exotic tastes. As we are hearing more often, many spices and herbs contain anti-inflammatory properties, which adds further benefit to their use.

You can also avoid using too much salt by incorporating another interesting spice instead. Hammer suggests investing in: cumin, oregano, turmeric, ginger, coriander, and thyme.

Beans, Grains, Oils, and Stand-bys

Another staple for plant-based pantries are beans and legumes. Some of these include: lentils, black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, and split peas. Of course any grains you buy should be “whole”—like in cereal, quinoa, brown rice, spelt, and bulgur.

Coconut, extra-virgin olive, avocado, and sesame are Hammer’s favorites. And delicious for dressings, sauces, or to dip in, balsamic vinegar, tamari, raw apple cider, and Dijon mustard are the recommendations.

Stock up on these items little-by-little. They should last in your pantry for a short while (some longer than others.) Buy your produce fresh and organic. With the combination of these items, you can make yourself some fabulous, healthy meals right in your own home.

Is a Liver Cleanse the Right Thing for Me?

Some of the latest health trends are various types of “cleanses.” Detoxification programs, diets, and supplements claim to benefit the liver, kidneys, and other organs.  But are you in need of a good spring cleaning, internally speaking?

Get “Organ”-ized: What exactly DOES the Liver do?

In simple terms, the liver is a giant filter for your body. But it does so much more.  It processes your blood and cleanses toxins, but also does so much more. Did you know that your liver performs over four hundred functions in the body? Talk about an overachiever!

Here are just a few things the liver does:

  • It makes bile, which cleanses waste and processes fats
  • It creates clotting factors in your blood
  • It stores and releases glucose for blood-sugar balance
  • It creates proteins and iron for blood
  • It helps control and create blood cholesterol to manufacture hormones.
  • It helps you stave off infection and disease by producing immune factors and removing bacteria
  • It processes and also stores nutrients from everything you eat, including fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals

The liver filters neutralizes and clears everything you absorb, including toxins and other waste.  These waste products include chemicals, many medications, harmful hormones, and alcohol.  So with all that work to do, it’s no wonder the liver is such a truly vital organ.

Cleanliness is Next to Healthiness…

Well, do I need to perform some form of liver cleanse? Many doctors maintain that since the liver regenerates itself rapidly, there is no need to perform a special “cleanse.”

Still, other medical professionals, naturopaths, and homeopaths disagree.  They maintain that because we live in such a toxic environment everyday and eat heavily processed diets, our liver easily gets overtaxed.  At the very least altering your diet will to help lighten the load on your liver. But still, many swear by a more formal liver cleanse and detox regimen.

Do I Need a Liver Cleanse or Not?

One thing all medical professionals agree upon is that we should take better care of our liver by watching what we eat.  Avoid heavily processed food, fried or overly fatty foods, overeating and excessive alcohol consumption.

However, you might want to consider taking more effective steps if you suffer from any of the following chronic symptoms:

  • Constipation, heartburn, bloating and/or gas
  • Weight gain, tiredness/sluggishness
  • Headaches
  • Pain in right side
  • Bruising or skin and eye discoloration/yellowing
  • Depression, anxiety, or moodiness

Of course, you should always consult a professional to accurately diagnose any symptoms and create a treatment plan.

Fifty Ways to Love your Liver

Keeping your liver in top form is not a difficult task. Some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you stay cleansed and healthy.  First, as mentioned, revamp your diet.

Exercise is also beneficial, as it aids in the regulation of your insulin levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, and numerous other metabolic functions where your liver plays a part.

One Liver, Hold the Onions!

Actually, onions and garlic are among the many beneficial foods that help keep your liver cleansed, so add them to your diet, along with the following:

  • Vegetables: particularly leafy greens, spinach, cruciferous veggies, cabbage, beets, carrots, asparagus, tomatoes, and the aforementioned garlic and onions.
  • Fruits: especially citrus like grapefruit and lemon; apples and avocados.
  • Alternative or ancient grains: quinoa, millet, spelt, and other low-gluten or gluten-free grains are best.
  • Healthy fats: nuts (walnuts in particular) and nut oils, seeds and seed oils, and olive oil. Avoid corn and soy oils, however.
  • Lean protein: seafood, poultry, eggs, lean pork and grass-fed beef are all good options.
  • Other supplements: green tea, turmeric, dandelion root, milk thistle, B vitamins, and artichoke leaf are all said to offer benefits to the liver.

Is a liver cleanse the right thing for you? Only you and your physician can make that decision. In the meanwhile, making healthy diet and lifestyle choices can only aid you overall.

 

Alkaline Your Gut with a Berry Smoothie

Does your belly burn, especially after eating? A berry smoothie may just be the meal your gut needs to help it heal. Here’s some info (and recipe ideas) that can replace those antacids you’ve been taking.

Berry Smoothie Yummy, and Good for the Tummy!

Fruit, specifically berries, promote balance in our gut. With the ingestion of processed foods, fatty meats, and refined grains, our digestive system can become overly acidic. Raw fruits and veggies help to re-establish an alkaline state.

Why Alkaline? Why Smoothies?

An alkaline environment in the gut has been shown to provide many excellent health benefits. First off, that constant burning or gassy sensation will eventually disappear. Your metabolism will increase, giving you lots of energy and help you lose weight if that’s what you want. Your immune system will also strengthen. Eating berries are part of the process, and putting them into your smoothie is easy and can work wonders.

Healthiest Berries Around

Nutritious berries grow all around the world. Blackberries, for example, can grow wild in your backyard. But the Goji berry, for instance, is from Tibet and Nepal. They are both part of a list of the healthiest berries you can find in your garden or at a market that sells fresh produce. Others are:

  • Acai berry (from Brazil – extremely high in antioxidants; ten times more than grapes)
  • Blueberry (considered one of the healthiest because they’re packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and other nutrients.)
  • Strawberry (an excellent source of potassium, fiber, many B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and copper.)
  • Cherries (contain melatonin, a natural chemical that aids with healthy sleep patterns)

Using Berries in a Smoothie

Think of your fruits and vegetables as your base. If you really want to help your gut and alkaline your system, for fruits only use only berries, lemon, or green apples. Others are too acidic. The best vegetables to include are the leafy greens like spinach, kale, and even wheatgrass.

Other Additions to Create a Delicious, Effective Smoothie

Sure you can add ice cream, candied pecans, or sweetened fruit juice—but that defeats the purpose of keeping it “healthy.” If your intent is to make a berry smoothie work to your tummy’s advantage, then there are other items you can add that are more beneficial. Some are:

  • Protein powder made from a pea protein base; no whey or soy; no artificial sweeteners or sugar added. Stevia is a natural sweetener that is OK if added in small amounts
  • Greens powder supplement; same rules apply in the ingredients as in the protein powder
  • Seeds: Chia, flaxseed, millet, pepita (pumpkin)
  • Good fats: peanut or almond butter, avocado
  • Liquids: Almond or coconut milk, water, lemon juice (to detoxify and as a diuretic)
  • Yogurt, Greek or a probiotic powder

Putting Your Berry Smoothie Together

Making smoothies with berries and incorporating some of the above ingredients will add protein and Omega 3s. Fresh fruits and veggies are easily digestible, allowing your metabolism to soar. Adding yogurt gives the drink a great texture and also provides probiotics, which aid in digestion. Here are some recipe ideas:

#1- 1 cup Strawberries, ½ cup almond milk, 1 tbsp. Flaxseed oil, 1 ½ scoops vanilla pea-protein powder, handful of spinach, 2 basil leaves, squeeze of lemon juice, 4 ice cubes, and blend

#2- ½ cup Acai berry puree, ½ cup coconut milk, 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil, 1 ½ scoops chocolate pea-protein powder, a pinch of chia seeds, a handful of kale; a squeeze of lemon juice, 4 ice cubes, and blend

#3- 1 1/2 cup mixed blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, 2 tblsp. Plain Greek yogurt, dash of cinnamon, 2 sprigs mint, 1 ½ scoops of pea-protein powder, 1 tablsp. Almond butter, ½ cup almond milk, 4 ice cubes and blend.

As you can see, you can mix and match a wealth of healthy ingredients to make your alkaline berry smoothie. Try having two each day and then eat fish or lean meats and other veggies at your sit-down meal of the day. In no time, your gut will thank you. For other healthy food tips, check out www.GetThrive.com