What to Eat for Healthy Skin

There are so many things that can go wrong with the skin: dryness, redness, blemishes, etc.

There are many creams and cosmetics to put on top of your skin. But there are also lots of things you can do to nurture and nourish your skin to better health from the inside. Healthy skin is a reflection of internal health.

How better to do this than with food?

Your skin needs many nutrients: water, essential fats, vitamins, and amino acids. Here are five foods (and drinks and lifestyle tips) I highly recommend if your goal is healthier-looking skin. As a bonus, I have included a short list of some key foods to consider avoiding.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Skin Food #1 – Water

No doubt hydration is key for healthy-looking skin! Water and other hydrating fluids are great to help your skin stay moist and supple. And for a bit of an extra anti-inflammatory hydrating boost, try boosting your water with anti-inflammatory green tea (sugar-free if possible). (more…)

Vitamin K: The Amazing Nutrient You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Vitamin what? K?

Yep!

Why’d they skip vitamins F, G, H, I & J?

Great question!

That’s because the “K” stands for “koagulation” which is the Danish spelling for “coagulation.” Vitamin K is the vitamin that helps the blood to clot or coagulate. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this amazing, underappreciated vitamin does for our bodies.

It’s one of the four fat-soluble vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E & K.

Let me tell you about all those functions this little powerhouse does for us. Then I’ll list out some vitamin-K rich foods.

Once you read this post, you can consider yourself officially in the know about this little-known vitamin. (more…)

6 Great Substitutes to Help You Go Dairy-free

If you’re reading this, you likely are considering going dairy-free. You may have an intolerance, have been told to eliminate dairy, or just want to have less of it.

Either way, dairy is not an essential nutrient, and there are lots of things you can have instead. And it’s not just milk, but also yogurt, butter, Parmesan, and even pudding and ice cream!

Dairy-free products are becoming more and more popular. Nowadays you can easily find them in the grocery store. But read your labels! Some contain way too much sugar, or other ingredients you may not want to eat or drink.

I’ve put together some simple recipes to make delicious dairy-free foods right in your kitchen.

Go ahead and try these dairy substitutes.

Dairy-free milk

Dairy-free milk is easy to make and flavor yourself. You can make milk out of just about any nut or seed. You can even make alternative milk out of grains like rice, oats, or quinoa. And you can flavor them too.

It just takes a high-powered blender, some water, and cheesecloth to filter out any remaining bits.

For flavoring, you can add a pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, or vanilla extract. You can also sweeten your milk with soaked dates, maple syrup, or honey.

To make a super-simple dairy-free milk just soak ½ cup of almonds, coconut, or even hemp seeds for a few hours (if you have the time). Soaking is optional, but it will make the blending process easier and the final milk creamier. Then drain the soaking water, rinse, and add to a blender with 2 cups of fresh water. Blend on high until smooth (about 1 minute). Add your flavorings, if desired. Then strain through a nut milk bag, fine mesh strainer, or a few layers of cheesecloth.

If you want to make a dairy-free cream, just blend your nuts, seeds and/or grains with 1 cup of water instead of 2 for a thicker, creamier, dairy-free milk. (more…)

Protein – How Much is Enough?

Protein is not just for great skin, hair, and nails; it’s critical for health. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to repair damage, digest food, fight infections, build muscle and bone, create hormones, and even think and have good moods. Higher protein diets can help fight high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Not to mention protein’s great benefits for metabolism boosting, satiety (feeling full after a meal), and weight management.

Protein is important, and this is a given.

There are a few factors to consider when calculating how much protein we need. I’ll go through those calculations with you and then list the amount of protein in some common foods.

How much protein is enough?

There isn’t a real rule that applies equally to everyone. There are a few factors to consider when figuring out how much protein you need.

Start with the minimum recommendation of 0.36 g/lb. (0.8 g/kg) per day. So, for a 150 lb. (68 kg) healthy non-athlete adult, this is about 55 g protein per day.

Mind you, this is a minimum to prevent protein deficiency. It’s not optimal for good repair, digestion, immune function, muscle/bone building, hormones, thinking, and great moods. It’s not enough for athletes, seniors or those recovering from an injury, either. If you fall into one of these camps, you may need to increase the minimum protein intake. Aim closer to 0.6 g/lb. (1.3 g/kg) per day.

Athletes need more protein for energy and muscle mass. Seniors need more to help ward off muscle and bone loss that’s common in old age. And injured people need more for recovery and healing. (more…)

I’m Sick. What Can I Do (Naturally)?

Getting a cold doesn’t have to be so…common. And with summer time colds just around the corner there are things you can do naturally to make getting sick less likely.

But, if you do happen to get sick, there are things you can also do to help support your body to fight it off.

Good hand hygiene and overall healthy habits can reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. And good nutrition can help your immune system fight off a cold quicker. Imagine your germ-fighting immune cells all hungry and tired, versus them being nourished and full of energy.

And that’s what this post is all about.

First, I’ll give you some tips to reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. Then, I’ll let you in on some of my strategies to recover from that cold you may still get from time to time.

Natural tips to reduce your risk of sickness

Here are some great ideas to incorporate into your daily life to reduce your risk of getting sick.

1 – Wash your hands. A LOT. Your hands can trap and transport all kinds of microbes that cause sickness. And I’m not just talking about colds here, but lots of different germs.

NOTE: Antibacterial soap is not recommended! Not only is it no more effective than regular soap and water, but it can contribute to antibiotic resistance. (more…)

Exercise: The True Health Benefits

Exercise. It can improve your health on all levels. We’re not just talking about being fitter and stronger. We’re talking about overall health and longevity.

Regular exercise improves your heart health, brain health, muscle and bone health, diabetes, and arthritis. Beyond those, it also reduces stress, boosts moods, increases your energy, and can improve your sleep.

Convinced yet?

The benefits of exercise come from improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation and blood sugar levels. They come from moving your muscles (including your heart muscle) and pulling on your bones.

You don’t need to go overboard on exercise to get these amazing health results. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days/week is enough.

And you don’t have to do a particular kind of exercise. All four types of exercise have health benefits. They are:

  • Endurance (brisk walking, jogging, yard work, dancing, aerobics, cycling, swimming)
  • Strength (climbing stairs, carrying groceries, lifting weights, using a resistance band or your body weight, Pilates)
  • Balance (standing on one-foot, Tai Chi)
  • Flexibility (stretching, yoga)

Don’t forget, all exercise counts, even if it’s not doing a sport or in a gym. Weekend hikes, walking to the store and doing household chores also count towards your weekly exercise goal.

Let me take a minute to prove to you how healthy exercise really is. Here are a few key points. (more…)

What is the Satiety Index?

Have you ever noticed that some foods keep you feeling full longer? And others give you the munchies an hour later? That can make the advice to “stop eating when you feel full” a bit tricky if you’re picking foods that aren’t filling. What the heck is up with that?

It’s called satiety. It’s the feeling of fullness, of being satisfied and satiated. It’s is the opposite of hunger and appetite.

The satiety index is a rating of foods that have been tested for the satiating effect (fullness) in a 240-calorie portion size. The scale scores foods based on whether people feel extremely hungry, hungry, semi-hungry, no feeling, semi-satisfied, satisfied, or extremely satisfied. Yep all that. Similar to the glycemic index, the response to white bread was set to be 100. Foods that are more filling have numbers higher than 100 and foods that are less filling have numbers lower than 100.

High satiety index food characteristics

There are common characteristics of highly satiating foods.

  • Foods that are more filling tend to have more protein. Protein is considered to be more filling than either carbohydrates or fats.
  • They also tend to have more fiber. Because fiber is not digested, it provides bulk. This bulk tends to help you feel full longer because it slows down emptying of the stomach and digestion time.
  • Highly satiating foods tend to have more volume for the same amount of calories; this means they tend to take up more space with water or air.
  • They tend to have less fat.
  • They are also generally whole and less processed.

If you think about the feeling of fullness, it makes you not want to eat at that moment. It wards off the feeling of hunger. Eating more foods that have a higher satiety index are more filling, and therefore can help you to eat less overall.

This is one strategy to use if you feel hungry all the time, or if you’re trying to lose weight. (more…)

Which Foods Can Help With Blood Pressure?

Guess how many people have high blood pressure?

A BILLION!

It’s said to be the “#1 risk factor for death and disability in the world.”

If you have high blood pressure, it’s best that you are monitored by your healthcare professional. And if you’re on medication for high blood pressure never change that without speaking with a medical professional.

Today, we’ll talk about what exactly blood pressure is, and which foods and lifestyle factors can help with it.

What is high blood pressure?

It’s something your doctor commonly checks. You can even do it yourself in many pharmacies, or purchase at-home blood pressure monitors. There is an inflatable tube placed around your arm that gets blown up and tight. It measures how hard your blood is pushing against the walls of your blood vessels.

If your vessels are stiff, the pressure increases. It’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly because for many people there are no symptoms as it slowly creeps higher and higher.

This measurement is important because elevated high blood pressure for too long can cause serious damage. In extreme cases, it can result in blindness, kidney damage, stroke, or even a heart attack.

Here are a few of the foods and drinks that can help with blood pressure. (more…)

Mindfulness and Meditation…Do They Really Work?

Well…yes, they do really work. The fact is, science shows definite health benefits for people who use mindfulness and meditation.

Before we dive in, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when we say “mindfulness” and “meditation.”

“Meditation” is the ancient practice of connecting the body and mind to become more self-aware and present. It’s often used to calm the mind, ease stress, and relax the body.

Practicing “mindfulness” is one of the most popular ways to meditate. It’s defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

Mindfulness meditation is well studied in terms of its health benefits. I’m going to talk about a few of them below, and refer to it as “mindfulness” for the rest of the post.

The link between mindfulness and health = stress reduction

Have you heard the staggering statistics on how many doctors’ visits are due to stress? Seventy-five to ninety percent!

So, if you ask me, it makes a ton of sense that anything that can reduce stress can reduce health issues too.

Mindfulness reduces inflammation, reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and improves sleep. All of these can have massive effects on your physical and mental health.

I’ll briefly go over the research in three main areas: mood, weight, and gut health. But know that the research on the health benefits of mindfulness is branching into many other exciting new areas too. (more…)