February 2019

10 Stress Relieving Super Foods

by Michelle on February 27, 2019

So much is going on this time of year…work, family, shopping mayhem, social engagements…it’s no wonder that the stress we’re under begins to take a physical toll.  Being short on time seems to make it nearly impossible to avoid the drive-thru or difficult to cook healthy food at home, so it’s no wonder pre-packaged items are the easy go-to.  However, if you try to add some of the following items into your daily diet you might notice you’re stress is less noticeable and you’re feeling physically better as well.

Here are some of the best “super foods” to help you feel calm and healthy:

  1. Green Leafy Vegetables: they contain folate, which produces dopamine (a pleasure-inducing brain chemical) which helps you keep calm.
  2. Turkey Breast: contains tryptophan, which may have a calming effect as well as amino acids (found in protein rich foods) and it helps produce serotonin (which regulates hunger & feelings of happiness and well-being).
  3. Oatmeal: a complex carb that won’t contribute to your already potential blood sugar spike in response to stress as well as keeping you full longer.
  4. Yogurt: full of calcium and protein in addition to probiotics that helps restore good gut bacteria (which is reduced when you’re stressed) so your digestive system runs well.
  5. Salmon: the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have anti-inflammatory properties that may help counteract the negative effects of stress hormones such as adrenaline & cortisol.
  6. Blueberries: the antioxidants and phytonutrients in this berry work in your defense, helping improve your body’s response to stress & in fighting stress-related free radicals.
  7. Avocado: might help shut down stress-eating by filling you up and making you feel more satisfied; also a great source of healthy fat.
  8. Pistachios & Cashews: pistachios have heart-health benefits and may reduce acute stress by lowering blood pressure & heart rate, while the zinc content in cashews may help reduce anxiety.
  9. Seeds: flax seed, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all great sources of magnesium…a mineral that may help regulate emotions and has been shown to help alleviate depression, fatigue, and irritability.
  10. Dark Chocolate: a small piece (about a 1 inch square) has been shown to reduce stress hormones, including cortisol; the antioxidants in cocoa also trigger blood vessel walls to relax, lowering blood pressure & improving circulation.

Try incorporating some of these items into your daily diet and see if you’re feeling calm and healthy soon!

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I’m sure you have heard a lot going around these days about the multiple health benefits of Turmeric…and they’re all true!  But have you ever tried it?  Turmeric a cousin to ginger, is a staple in curries, and is used to impart color to mustards…but its uses extend far beyond the culinary world.

Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds.  The active compound, Curcumin, is known to have a wide range of biological effects beyond being anti-inflammatory which include antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral activities.  Chinese medicine has used it for centuries in the treatment of various infections and even as an antiseptic and turmeric also appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases with virtually no side effects.

These are some of the many benefits of Turmeric that warrant giving it a try:

  • Supports healthy joint function
  • Helps improve digestion
  • Promotes healthy, radiant skin,
  • Helps the immune system
  • Aids in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
  • Promotes healthy blood and liver functions
  • Supports the absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

There are many recipes online for things like Turmeric Tea, Turmeric Milk, and recipes incorporating this multi-faceted compound that can make it easier and tastier while adding it to your daily diet.

Another use for turmeric is in beauty treatments.  Here are some of the benefits:

  • High in antioxidants that slow down cell damage and can help wounds heal
  • Widely used as a skin exfoliant and improves skin’s texture
  • Helps with inflammatory skin conditions like acne, dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema
  • Aids in reducing pigmentation and evens out skin tone
  • Can help diminish wrinkles

An internet search for “turmeric masks” will yield several results that you can try to reap the benefits of using this spice topically.

With so many positive attributes associated with the use of turmeric, both internal and external, doesn’t it warrant giving it a try?  Start slow and maybe add it to scrambled eggs, soups, etc. and work up from there.  Please check with your doctor and/or pharmacist about any health conditions and medications before using turmeric or any new food item if you have particular concerns.  And don’t worry, using turmeric on the skin is not known to make you turn yellow or orange but as always, test in a small, unnoticeable area first just to make sure.

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What exactly is a healthy diet?  The dictionary definition is simple…”A diet that contains the proper proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water necessary to maintain good health”.  Okay, that’s easy enough…but what exactly does that mean?  Is it really something you can put into action without details?  Probably not, and that’s why people tend to fall short of eating enough healthy foods to reap the benefits…and also where supplements come in.

It’s important to remember what the difference is between a vitamin, a mineral and a supplement.  This should help:

Vitamins & Minerals:  Natural substances usually found in food that help the body remain healthy.

Supplements:              Products taken orally that contain one or more ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc. that are intended to “supplement” one’s diet; not considered food.  Meant to “fill in the gaps”, so to speak, of what you require for good health and what you’re actually eating to meet that requirement.

Many people take vitamins and minerals in either a type of multi-vitamin or in larger individual doses to cover a specific area they know they’re deficient in to make sure they are getting the proper amounts.  Whether doing it for the specific diet they eat that doesn’t provide all of the necessary nutrients, to help naturally treat specific conditions, or just to aid in the general functions of the body, taking vitamins and minerals definitely serves a purpose.  However, each one might only address one or two things.        

Supplements, on the other hand, serve a different type of purpose.  Many of the ingredients in supplements are meant to promote a certain type of action or even reaction in the body based on the functions of the different ingredients as well as having them work together to achieve an intended result.  Take for example our Liver Formula…a product containing powerful ingredients that on their own provide beneficial elements, but working together perform in multiple areas.  They aid in detoxifying the liver and body, protecting the liver from damage with antioxidants that aid in helping it function more efficiently, and aiding in liver repair and regeneration.

Many people prefer supplements to just vitamins or minerals as they get the individual elements in the proper amounts to achieve the intended result from the product without taking so many of them separately.  Just remember, vitamins and minerals are individual items that are found in foods and sometimes eating these foods can give you the beneficial amount each day.  Supplements are a combination of vitamins and minerals intended to achieve a specific result…eating foods to get the same amounts as the ingredients in the supplement is not something realistic you can do.

As always, do your research before taking any product so you know what the ingredients are intended to do and that they’re in the proper doses in the product that are considered beneficial for results.  That research must also include checking with your doctor about your personal health situation that might prohibit taking supplementation and asking your pharmacist about any type of interaction with your medications.

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A nice cold drink on a hot day is very satisfying but not something you might want when it’s freezing outside.  While water is always vital for your health regardless of the season, staying hydrated during the colder months is crucial if you want to remain healthy.

Your body needs water to not only stay hydrated but it also helps regulate body temperature and is essential to the function of cells, tissues, and organs.  Water can also give your immune system a boost and help you keep from getting sick during peak cold and flu season along with increasing your metabolism and helping you feel full longer.

Many people don’t like “plain water” and want to use flavor “drops” or “powders” to get in the necessary hydration.  While these aren’t that terrible they do add unnecessary elements that sometimes cause bloating and adverse reactions.  You can try adding lemons or limes for flavor and even berries, cucumber, mint, etc. if plain water just isn’t for you.

Hot beverages count towards your water content as well.  Tea, hot water with lemon or a nice cup of green tea not only keep you hydrated by are known to boost your metabolism as well.  Be cautious of powdered hot drink mixes as most contain a lot of sugar.

You can also eat your water!  Several fruits and vegetables have a high water content that can help you reach your daily intake goals.  Broccoli, celery, cucumbers, mixed greens, strawberries, watermelon, pears, and grapefruit are just a few of the foods that help you stay hydrated.

Don’t drink the wrong things either!  Caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate your body and so can soda and coffee.  Many people feel that wine isn’t going to dehydrate them but that’s just not the case…wine still isn’t a good option for hydration so limited consumption is advised.

Remember too that a humidifier is useful in adding moisture to the dry winter air and can help keep you hydrated while preventing a scratchy throat and dry skin.  It’s crucial to stay hydrated in cold weather and with a little bit of forethought and planning it’s really not that difficult to do.

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