Category: Healthy Eating

10 Natural Sleep Remedies

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Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can be a godsend, but they can only promise to energize one so much. For the restless and sleepless, the central nervous system stimulant will deliver a sufficiently energy boost before concluding with an inevitable crash Fortunately, there are numerous natural remedies to deal with profound exhaustion and restlessness.

Reports show that we’re getting far less sleep than we were just three decades ago, most Americans acquiring an average of about 6.7 hours of sleep during any given weekday. This escalating trend of American being tired seems tireless. National Sleep Foundation has confirmed that the number of people getting eight hours or more is dwindling, leading to stress, which is associated with sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. December 2013, Gallup communicated that 40 percent of Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep.

Serotonin, melatonin, 5-hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP), and tryptophan are necessary for the body’s biological clock to run smoothly and for a restful night’s sleep. Interruptions to that conversion of serotonin into melatonin mean less time resting in your cozy bed and more time obsessing over why others are getting more rest than you. The following natural remedies should help with that:

Turn off the Lights: It’s a fact that our bodies are programmed to produce higher levels of melatonin when it is dark, lessening when there is light. So, you’ll be better able to sleep if there are no lights and no screens.

Drink Tart Cherry Juice: Cherry juice is a natural sleep aid that’s filled with tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid. It’s the only amino acid that can convert serotonin into melatonin, which helps prompts drowsiness, lowers the body temperature, and syncs the central nervous system to the biological clock. But remember lights off. This process is inhibited by light.

Valerian: The roots of the Valerian plant can be used as a sleep aid and a sedative. It manages to regulate the action of nerve cells, offering a calming effect by increasing the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid),.

Consider Feng Shui: So much more than rearranging your space to look appealing, rearranging a space maximizes the flow of good energy and it can lead to a restful night’s sleep. The bed should be easily accessible from all sides, the air in the room should be kept pure, natural light should be allowed in, the bed should be positioned so that it faces the door, and the room should be kept clear of clutter.

Acupuncture: The traditional form of Chinese medicine has long been considered an important healing practice in the world. The insertion of thin needs can open up blocked channels, and signal the release of neuroendocrine chemicals, which helps you to fall asleep.

Remove Your T.V. From the Bedroom: Simple as that. Remove your T.V., which distracts you from receiving the luxurious sleep that you absolutely deserve.

Warm Bath: A few drops of aromatic essential oils added to a tube of warm water can help to wash away the day’s stress. So, you may want to relax into a pool of sudsy water to ease your mind ahead of sleep.

Set A Schedule: If you relax into a schedule it will be easier for you to transition from being awake to being asleep because your body craves ritual. Meditate every night, drink tea every night or read a passage from a good book every night.

Chow Down On a Banana: Bananas aren’t only delicious, but they contain tryptophan, and potassium and magnesium as well, which is just excellent. Magnesium helps to relax your muscles.

Eat Healthy Carbs: This doesn’t mean you should run for the pasta with a side of garlic bread. Instead eat apples and veggies loaded with carbs, such as corn, carrots, and apples. Carbs and the release of insulin make it easier for tryptophan to cross the barrier into the cerebrospinal fluid.

Some other tips include making a lavender sleep sachet, sipping chamomile, using lemon balm, drink down some hops (not in the form of beer), sip warm milk, try a sleep mask, and create a sleeping schedule. The Sleep Cycle app, which is an alarm clock that tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you during the light sleep, is yet another response to the sleep deprivation experienced by the public.

Is Breakfast Overrated?

Aaron E. Carroll, MD has a problem with breakfast. Not the food, but the idea. That is, he doesn’t believe that a designated period each morning should be set aside for eating, especially when he isn’t hungry anyway. Or rather, the science doesn’t back it up.

At first, this seems to fly in the face of modern dietary convention. For years, we’ve been reassured that breakfast keeps us at a healthy weight, alert at school and work, and in overall good shape. But Carroll argues that these studies suffer from confirmation bias— that is, they supported what the researchers want to see proven in their studies. He speaks to two popular studies: one which shows an inverse correlation between skipping breakfast and obesity and another that reveals a link between a lack of breakfast and coronary heart disease. These studies are widely cited, but often times the causation/correlation line is blurred, confusing readers.

Carroll then cites several other studies that contradict common breakfast-time beliefs. One that found getting breakfast eaters to skip breakfast while having breakfast skippers eat it makes no discernible difference in weight loss efforts.

Of great importance is the fact that many studies praising breakfast are funded by manufacturers of breakfast foods. Of course, he says, Quaker oats will fund a study that suggests eating oatmeal will reduce cholesterol and weight… when certain conditions are met.

It’s not that breakfast is bad for you or a waste of time. Instead, Carroll says that we overestimate its importance; for better or for worse, its consumption is not a panacea for the ills that come as a consequence for unhealthy habits. If you’re hungry in the morning, satisfy yourself. But if not, don’t break your back trying to whip something up. The evidence that it will make that much of a difference is scant, at best.

The Other Superfoods

“Superfoods”. The word itself conjures up images of overhyped foods that somehow deliver enough nutrients in a single package to make your life instantly better. But we already know that a balanced diet is only one component of a healthier and better life; it should also be combined with good exercise and sleep habits, as well as good mental health.

However, that doesn’t mean that some foods aren’t worth adding to your diet. If you find that you are lacking in a certain nutrient, some superfoods can give your body the boost that it so desperately needs. Other foods may reduce certain cravings for unhealthy victuals, or may help keep you feeling fuller for longer— which means fewer unhealthy snacks!

While some “superfoods” are already embedded in our minds (think salmon and almonds, for instance), others are a bit more obscure. Fortunately for all, Real Simple recently decided to compile an awesome list of some of the lesser-known superfoods. Below are the profiles of several foods of note.

Açai Berries

It’s pronounced “a-SIGH-ee”. Now that the tricky part is out of the way, we can get into what this fruit can do for your system. These berries are full of antioxidants, which can help fight various cancers. It also contains oleic acid, which is a rarity for fruit— olives are one of the only other fruits that have it. The unfortunate catch is that açai berries are rare in supermarkets, and the açai that is most available is usually found in the form of sugary drinks. So, if you can find it, opt for the unsweetened frozen açai that you can blend into your own homemade shakes and smoothies.

Cacao

Yes, chocolate can be good for you, especially when it’s in its purest form— cocoa powder. Cacao is heavy in flavonoids, which can aid in lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to vital organs. Like açai, you must be wary when you buy it. Many products labeled “cacao” may be quite high in sugar. Avoid labels that read “Dutch” or “alkalized” cacao. These products contain cacao, but are missing a lot of the antioxidants that make it so healthy in the first place.

Black Garlic

Imagine garlic that is not off white in color, but instead black. Black garlic has long been used in some cuisines throughout Asia, but the West is just now coming around to appreciating its particular benefits. The garlic is blackened through a fermentation process that involves high heat and humidity and, like Acai berries, it is loaded with antioxidants, so you would do well to use it in your next sauce or dip!

5 Healthy Resolutions for the New Year

It’s the new year and that means that it’s time for the new year’s resolutions to be made and then broken within the span of a few weeks. The sad truth is that many people don’t follow through with their resolutions, regardless of how well-meaning they may be. That being said, here are 5 of the healthiest resolutions for men out there. Good luck sticking to them!health and wellness

  1. Get fit and in shape: This is the standard new year’s resolution — the nebulous and esoteric “get in better shape”. That being said, this is a great one to work towards and everyone should try to be healthier. Don’t just focus on weights though; make sure that you include cardio into your exercise routine for a balanced workout.
  2. Watch what you eat: Instead of eating just meat and potatoes (probably the most stereotypical “manly” food there is), try to eat a balanced diet. Not only will this help you lose weight and look better, but you’ll also just be healthier and happier. I bet there are nutrients you’re currently missing out on that you didn’t even know about.
  3. Go to the doctor: There is no pride to be gained from getting sick just because you didn’t feel like you needed to go to the doctor. If you feel as though something is wrong, don’t try to just shake it off. Go to a professional and make sure that it is taken care of.
  4. Quit smoking: While it’s common knowledge that smoking is bad for you, addiction doesn’t pay attention to logic. Quitting smoking is the first step towards a healthier you and you’ll see the benefits across all aspects of your life, especially when you’re able to breath easier.
  5. Ease your stress: Stress is a killer and a leading cause of both unhappiness and unhealthiness. One of the first things you can do to get yourself on the right health track is to find ways to healthily mitigate and get rid of the stress in your life.

All of these resolutions are obviously easier said than done. That being said, once you get started on them you’ll notice an active difference in your quality of life and health. That will make it even easier to continue! If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

5 Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch

How many times have you complained to yourself about not bringing a healthy, packed lunch to work? I know the feeling — I’m sure that everyone knows that feeling well. Below are five tips to help make packing lunch easier and not an experience that deserves avoidance and excuses. Getting lunch delivered to your office or from a place nearby is an easy and mindless habit to fall into without even noticing. Even when you try to order healthy (such as salad), the reality is that it will never be as healthy as something you prepare yourself.salad, sandwich, wellness, healthy eating

  1. Plan ahead: One of the best things about getting delivery or takeout at work is the minimal amount of effort required to feed yourself — one of the main issues with preparing a packed lunch. Plan ahead and prepare all of the necessary ingredients and packing items so that you can cut down on the work you need to do. Cook enough food to have leftovers for the next day or dedicate an evening to preparing lunches in advance; just plan ahead!
  2. Keep it simple: Healthy doesn’t have to mean complicated. Keep simple healthy ingredients on hand so that you can whip up simple and healthy meals without needing to think so hard.
  3. Add variety: They say that variety is the spice of life and healthy food has the potential for so much variety! Avoid getting bored of your lunch by paying special attention towards trying new recipes and using new flavors in interesting ways. There are so many delicious ways to eat healthy — can you find them all?
  4. Partner up: They say that misery love company! That’s a joke! But seriously though, company makes everything better and that includes eating healthy and packing lunch. Get your partner or spouse to join you in preparing lunches for the week. Turn it into a fun bonding ritual that also helps keep you in better shape.
  5. Stock up at work: Do you like snacking at work? Stock your desk with healthy snacks and options so that you can pack less for lunch and just supplement your lunch with snacks throughout the day.

These are just five ways to make packing lunch easier than it is. Use these tips to double down on your healthy routine and keep moving towards the improved you that you’re aiming for! Click here for the article.

A Breakfast Worth Waking Up For

Dave Pflieger Breakfast

We’ve all heard it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It starts you off with high energy, an alert mind, and a general feeling of well-being. Starting your day on the right side of the bed makes adapting to daily demands much easier and you’ll be thankful you have the fuel to power you through a difficult morning.

But what’s the right thing to have for breakfast? How do put together the right meal? Is there something light enough to not bog us down for the hours after, but substantial enough to keep us energized?

Most experts agree that eliminating simple sugars and instead eating foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates is the way to go. This means no partaking in iconic traditions like pancakes and waffles, and you’ll want to skip that side of bacon with the omelette.

One classic combination that has become a recent trend is a bowl of greek yogurt with fruit and granola. Greek yogurt provides a substantial amount of protein while fruit adds a series of vitamins and minerals that are difficult to find elsewhere. They are also low in fat and do not add any extra cholesterol to your diet. (Certain fruit like avocado mimic the nutritional value of nuts—reputably high in protein, fiber, and good fats—and makes it easy to switch out certain fruits and nuts for others.) With the sheer number of granolas and nuts available on the market and the colorful variety of fruits, it’s easy to form a reliable and healthy habit that never becomes monotonous. Switch up your fruits, switch up your nuts. Just make sure to avoid nuts that are cooked in oils or are otherwise flavored as they often carry unwanted extras like sugars and saturated fat.

Another excellent option for protein is the egg. Eggs are a staple breakfast food ranking as one of the most nutritious foods out there. Authority Nutrition says it better than anyone: “A whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken.” Loaded with proteins, fats, and vitamins, the egg is indubitably the most well-rounded single contributor to a healthy breakfast. They also raise good cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The versatility and ease in preparing eggs also makes them one of the more fun foods to eat. Omelettes, for example, open up many options as they can be carriers of meats, vegetables, and cheeses, and healthy fats like avocados.

Breakfast starts every day so try and start your day with positivity. Establishing a good routine doesn’t mean leaning on a boring routine. The variety of fruits and nuts and egg preparations gives you endless options for creative cooking. Enjoy!