Why You Should Consume Coconuts

why-you-should-consume-coconuts_path_webIt’s all about coconuts! From your health to your skin, the coconut is proven to be a versatile commodity that works wonders. With its nutritious source of fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, the coconut packs a good punch.

The Health Benefits

The coconut offers a wide range of health benefits including, but not limited to:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Aiding weight loss
  • Boosting energy
  • Increasing athletic performance
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Reducing fatigue

The coconut packs a good punch because the coconut’s many properties aid different parts of the body. For instance, coconut oil’s antioxidant properties slow down the aging process, while coconut meat’s supply of calcium, potassium, and magnesium helps support the development of strong, healthy bones and teeth.

Adding Coconuts to your Diet

There are many ways to implement coconuts into your diet. Here are some of the more popular ways.

  • Drinking coconut water/milk
  • Using coconut sugar as a sweetener
  • Cooking with coconut oil
  • Baking with coconut flour
  • Eating the raw coconut meat

With its versatile nature, you can get very creative incorporating coconuts into your diet. Try different recipes to see what you like and don’t like, and keep what works for you.

More Ways to Add Coconuts to your Life

The kitchen is not the only place you’ll find coconuts in. In fact, many people use coconut oil on their body and hair. From a facial scrub to a moisturizer, there are countless uses for coconut oil.

With so many ways to consume coconuts and a ton of health benefits associated with the fruit, it’s no surprise more and more people are including this magical fruit in their lives.

Breathing Techniques to Aid Relaxation

breathing-techniques-to-aid-relaxation_path_webDo you ever feel like you have multiple tabs opened in your mind? Nowadays, many of us are physically overscheduled, which can take a detrimental toll on our mental state. If you wish to be fully present and appreciate each passing moment, breathing techniques could be useful.

A Natural Remedy

Breathing techniques are natural remedies for a hyperactive mind that help reduce stress and anxiety by realigning the body, mind, and spirit. For example, deep breathing in a controlled and regulated manner has a proven positive impact on health.

Some of the benefits include lower:

  • heart rate,
  • blood pressure,
  • and stress levels while increased metabolism, circulation, and blood oxygen levels

Breathing techniques also aid detoxification and clear thinking. In fact, according to the American Lung Association, “Like aerobic exercise improves your heart function and strengthens your muscles, breathing exercises can make your lungs more efficient.” Pursed lip breathing slows down the rate in which one breathes, allowing the most carbon monoxide out and oxygen in. It relieves shortness of breath by keeping airways open for a longer period of time.

4-7-8 Technique

A simple breathing exercise that takes up very little time and can be done anywhere.

  1. Completely exhale through your mouth
  2. Inhale through your nose to a mental count of four (while keeping your mouth closed)
  3. Hold your breath to a mental count of seven
  4. Completely exhale through your mouth to a mental count of eight

…and that’s it! Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

The 4-7-8 technique is only one of many breathing techniques. Other recommended exercises include Breath Counting, Stimulating Breath, Equal Breathing, and Abdominal Breathing. Looking to step up your breathing exercises? Consider powerful breathing techniques Nadi Shodhana and Kapalabhati.

The benefits of Morning Mantras

the-benefits-of-a-morning-mantra_path_webDo you ever feel like you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? The thoughts that you fill your mind within the morning are essential for planning how the rest of your day will unfold. Of course, the future is unknown for the most part. This is why mentally setting yourself up in a positive, self-reassuring manner can boost your confidence and help you conquer whatever may be in store. Crafting the perfect mantra, which is a phrase or affirmation, can set you up for success.

According to empowerment coach Kelsey Patel, who is LA-based, “A mantra is a word, prayer, or sound vibration that’s repeated to create a state of concentration, consciousness, and connection.” She insists that having her clients repeat daily morning mantras to themselves has boosted their self-confidence, focus, and connection. Desiree Pais, a meditation guide, adds to the conversation, “It can change how you feel about yourself, which is the most important thing to be able to change.”

The process of choosing or crafting your own personal morning mantra may be different for you than for your friends and family members. First, in picking a phrase, consider what kind of encouragement you specifically need to hear. Maybe you are fresh out of college and you just got employed with your dream company. This type of transition, while exciting, could cause fears and anxieties. Therefore, a good morning mantra for someone in this scenario may sound something like “Be bold. Be brave. Be brilliant.” or something as simple as “You got this!”

Starting Your Day with Hot Lemon Water

starting-your-day-with-hot-lemon-water_path_webAre you sick of drinking coffee every morning before work? Is tea too acidic for your stomach? A great energizing replacement for both coffee and tea is a nice refreshing glass of hot lemon water! If consumed in the morning hours, lemon water can aid digestion throughout the day, which could increase the probability of weight loss. This type of weight loss is caused by the body’s increase in temperature, which kick-starts your metabolism. Additionally, your appetite may become slightly suppressed. The citric acid found in lemons is less harsh than the acid found in some teas. This is beneficial because the acid in teas can greatly off balance your stomach causing both pain and discomfort.  

 

Additional benefits and nutritious elements:

  • Hydration
  • Quality of skim
  • Fresher breath
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Enzymes (aids liver functions and waste elimination)
  • Vitamin C (an antioxidant that counteracts free radicals)
  • Flavonoids (antioxidant properties)
  • Potassium (aids cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure)

For those who switch from coffee or tea to lemon water, an obvious benefit would be a decrease in teeth stains as well. For those who are naturally anxious and don’t necessarily need the extra adrenaline boost that caffeine provides, lemon water provides a more natural, toned down solution. If you are interested in beverages with more flavors, you can add a variety of ingredients, such as honey, to spice it up. If you are looking for a chilled version of this drink, especially later on in the day, grab a pitcher and REALLY spice it up.

Additional ingredient ideas:

  • Cucumber
  • Mint
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ginger

Heart Healthy Berries for Valentine’s Day

heart-healthy-berries-for-valentines-day-_path_webFirst and foremost, happy valentines day! By mid-February, it’s quite possible that some of your new year’s resolutions have fizzled out – most likely the ones about a new fit lifestyle, diet, etc. While that may be a sour thought, a sweet thought is that it’s never too late to implement a new habit that can help your cardiovascular health. If you are looking to increase your antioxidant and polyphenols intake, a strong recommendation is to increase the number of berries you consume. 

Benefits of berries:

  • Blackberries
    • high in fiber and vitamin C
    • contains polyphenols, iron, calcium, and vitamin C
  • Blueberries
    • high in fiber and vitamin C
    • low in fat
    • aids blood flow
    • decreases the risk of heart attack
  • Strawberries
    • helps widen arteries
    • lessons buildup of plaque
  • Raspberries
    • high in polyphenols
    • low in fat
    • decreases the risk of heart disease
  • Acai berries
    • high in fiber
  • Cranberries
    • increase HDL cholesterol

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted and published an eight-week study consisting of 70+ individuals, all near middle age. This group of people altered their daily diets by adding almost a cup of mixed berries per day. The results found an increase in HDL cholesterol, which is considered the ‘good’ cholesterol, and a drop in blood pressure. Both of these results being heart healthy. Foods that are high in antioxidants, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, help protect your body against both heart and blood vessels disease. Additionally, polyphenols are special chemical compounds that double as antioxidants in the sense they decrease risks associated with heart disease.

Ways to utilize berries nutrients:

  • Yogurt topping
  • Blended in a smoothie
  • Baked into a pie
  • Spread in a jam
  • Juiced
  • Freeze-dried

The Sunshine Vitamin

the-sunshine-vitamin_path_webVitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, can enter your body through skin exposure to the sun or through a variety of food and supplement options.

Food items that contain great amounts of Vitamin D:

  • Fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, caviar)
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified tofu, yogurt, and breakfast cereals
  • Fortified milk, milk substitutes, and orange juice
  • Pork Chops
  • Eggs

More than 80% of the vitamin D that enters your system originates from the sun. For medical purposes, it can also be made in a laboratory. Vitamin D absorbs calcium and promotes the development of strong and healthy bone structures. It’s used simply to boost one’s immune system but can also help conditions ranging from heart and blood issues (high blood pressure and cholesterol) to skin issues (vitiligo, scleroderma, psoriasis, actinic keratosis, and lupus vulgaris). 

The 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test can be administered at your local blood lab to determine the most accurate measurement of vitamin D in your system. For the 25-hydroxy test, vitamin levels are categorized by nanograms/millimeters. To be considered healthy and vitamin D sufficient, your levels should stay anywhere between 20-50 ng/mL. Vitamin D deficiency occurs when the level drops below 12 ng/ML. If you are not being exposed to enough vitamin D, low blood levels of the vitamin can increase the risk of a variety of health problems.

Health problems that can arise due to vitamin D deficiency:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Asthma
  • Cancer

According to Harvard’s school of public health, lack of vitamin D exposure could be caused by a variety of reasons:

  • Lifestyle
  • Sunscreen use
  • Geographic location
  • Skin tone
  • Age
  • Body weight

Bye-Bye Bloating

bye-bye-bloating_path_webWhat is abdominal bloating?

Abdominal bloating occurs when there is a formation of excess air or gas within one’s stomach. Symptoms can be experienced by both adults and children and are often painful causing discomfort throughout the day. Indicators include feeling a full or tightening sensation. Additionally, flatulence, burping, or stomach gurgles may take place depending on the cause. If there is an infection present or inflammation occurs, a fever may transpire. In severe cases, weight loss, ascites (the buildup of fluid), and even bloody stools have been reported due to medical concerns such as hemorrhoids.

What are the causes?

There are a variety of causes of abdominal bloating which range from indigestion, lactose intolerance, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), gastrointestinal distress or obstruction, pregnancy, etc. If one is exposed to a food allergen, this can negatively impact the gastrointestinal tract and can trigger the immune system to feel attacked. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), most allergic reactions are caused by cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, fish (bass, flounder, cod), shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp), tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), wheat, and soy products.

How to relieve or prevent it

Changing one’s diet can help curve the frequency and severity of abdominal bloating. Become more attuned to how much you eat per meal and how frequently. Eating at a slower rate allows yourself more time to chew and therefore break down your food making it easier for your body to digest. Eating smaller portions throughout the day will help you to avoid overeating as well. Preventing constipation is important when it comes to bloating, therefore you should eat foods high in fiber, stay hydrated, and develop a more active lifestyle. You should incorporate foods into your diet with high-potassium and spices such as those found in cayenne peppers, which help to minimize discomfort.

Try:
  • Almond or coconut milk  (alternatives to cow’s milk)
  • Lemon water (to aid digestion)
  • Ginger, peppermint, or detox tea (to aid digestion)
  • Massaging the area (to promote circulation)
  • Turmeric or curcumin supplements (to reduce inflammation)
Avoid:
  • Sodium (can cause water retention)
  • Artificial Sweeteners (the human body does not digest)
  • Gum (can give you gas, can make you swallow air, and can contain artificial sweeteners)
  • Carbonated drinks (can add mint, lemon, lime, or cucumber for flavor instead)
  • Excess of “gassy greens” (broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower)

If minor abdominal bloating occurs, you can also seek over the counter help at your local drug store or supermarket. If it occurs on a regular basis or for a prolonged period, it is highly recommended that you visit your doctor to relieve any pain and to rule out any serious diagnoses.

Cleanse with Chlorophyll

cleanse-with-chlorophyll_path_webWhat is Chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is a green light-absorbing pigment, containing both vitamins (A, C, E, and K) and antioxidants. It is found in plant leaves and stems and is a great source of protein, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Chlorophyll molecules, located inside of chloroplasts along with thylakoid membranes, pass energy through the photosystems to the central chlorophyll molecule. This is how photosynthesis occurs. Not only does this green pigment aid plant life, it’s also beneficial for human health. Chlorophyll is known to fight cancer, detox vital organs such as the liver, support healthy digestion, and revitalize and purify skin. The increase of oxygen intake and circulation it can cause also helps to minimize head, muscle, and joint discomfort.

Green leafy vegetables that contain a significant amount of chlorophyll:

Spinach
Parsley
Watercress
Green beans
Arugula
Leeks
Endive
Sugar snap peas
Chinese cabbage

While consuming chlorophyll helps you to manage weight control, you can also utilize the benefits of this superfood in a variety of ways. An alternative method is to orally take chlorophyll capsules or to add liquid droplets into your beverages. You can also use an organic chlorophyll face mask, which is available for all skin types. This method protects your skin cells from further damage and prevents free radicals. Common organic face mask ingredients include Spirulina Powder (blue-green algae), Wheatgrass Powder, Chlorella Powder (freshwater green algae), and Ylang Ylang Oil. If you purchase bath bomb molds, you can combine 1 TB of these face mask ingredients combined, with those listed below, and even create your own chlorophyll bath bomb!

Bath bomb ingredients to mix with chlorophyll face mask:

1 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Citric Acid
1/2 Cup Epsom Salt
3/4 Cup Arrowroot Starch
2 TB Olive Oil
2 tsp Water
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Can Spending More Time with Your Loved Ones Help You Live Longer?

The answer is YES! Nurturing a healthy, consistent relationship with your family members, friends, or significant other can greatly improve your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s vital that you take the time to “live a little” each day and not live to work. Regardless of age or status, organizing time for the important people and relationships in your life can lead to less isolation for both parties involved. Nurturing interactions with children typically result in higher confidence levels and revitalizing communication with elders creates a boost of social support. Both of these scenarios can significantly strengthen one’s willpower. 

547431236533563-sdcjvtesdllepatojk2o_height640Benefits of a strong work-life balance may include an increase in:

  • happiness
  • self-esteem
  • self-control
  • productivity
  • motivation
  • positive thoughts
  • healthy lifestyle
  • support systems
  • lasting bonds

The company of a close companion is especially important in times of struggle or pain.  Keep in mind, burying yourself in your work does not only negatively impact your life and wellbeing but the lives of those around you. This can lead to missing valuable life experiences, such as your 10-year anniversary dinner or your child’s first dance recital.

Detrimental effects of a poor work-life balance may include an increase in:

  • anxiety problems
  • sleep deprivation and fatigue
  • depression
  • stress levels
  • absenteeism
  • weight gain
  • irritability
  • headaches
  • risk of cardiovascular disease, substance abuse, and/or sexual health problems

Recommendations:

If your schedule is too hectic to squeeze in extra plans and activities, a wise recommendation is to fit your family and friends into your day-to-day endeavors. For example, invite a friend over for wine on a Wednesday as you meal prep. Encourage your significant other to go on a 6 AM jog with you before work. Include your children in more tasks around the house, for example, laundry, which simultaneously results in fewer chores for yourself. Can’t go wrong there! You can even create new traditions, such as a monthly family movie night or a periodic picnic in the park.

Substitutes for Milk

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  • Soy milk is made from whole soybeans or soy protein isolate. It has a creamy, mild taste and is the most similar in nutrition to cow’s milk. Soy milk is often seen as controversial, though drinking soy milk in moderation is unlikely to cause harm.
  • Almond milk has a light, sweet, nutty flavor and is low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. On the downside, it is low in protein and contains phytic acid, a substance that limits the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium.
  • Quinoa milk has a distinct flavor and is slightly sweet and nutty. It contains a moderate number of calories, protein, and carbs compared to other non-dairy kinds of milk. It’s a good option for vegetarians and vegans since it contains high-quality protein.
  • Coconut milk has a creamy, milk-like consistency and a sweet, coconut taste. It contains no protein, little to no carbohydrates and is high in medium-chain triglycerides, a type of saturated fat.
  • Oat milk has a mild, sweet flavor. It is high in protein and fiber, but also high in calories and carbohydrates. Oat milk contains beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic non-dairy milk. It is low in fat and protein yet high in carbohydrates. Rice milk contains high levels of inorganic arsenic, which may cause some potential health problems in those who consume rice as a main food source.
  • Macadamia milk is a relatively new milk to the market. It’s made from macadamia nuts and has a rich, creamy taste. Macadamia milk is high in monounsaturated fats and low in calories and carbohydrates.
  • Cashew milk has a rich and creamy taste and is low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. On the downside, it contains very little protein, and may not be the best option for those with higher protein requirements.