Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

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All fats are not created equal. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of false information out there that may lead people to misunderstand about whether fat is good or bad, and how much you should really be eating. Today we’re breaking down all different types of fat, how good each one is really, where to find them, and how often you should be eating them. Curious to find out more? Keep on reading!

The Good

“Good” fats are the type of fats that are recommended as part of a healthy and balanced diet. With that said, you should still take into consideration that fat is more calorie-dense than carbohydrates and protein. Fat contains about 9 calories per gram while carbohydrates and protein contain 4, thus making it easier to unintentionally over consume fat.

Monounsaturated Fats and Polyunsaturated fats are generally considered “good” fats due to their heart health benefits. Monounsaturated fats are known to help decrease the chances of cardiovascular disease. Monounsaturated fats are found in different foods and oils. Polyunsaturated fats, or essential fats, are necessary due to the fact that our body does not produce them but needs them. They are known to help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These are typically found in plants and oils.

Sources of Monounsaturated Fats:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Nut butter

Sources of Polyunsaturated Fats:

  • Fatty Fish
  • Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Vegetable Oils
  • Tofu and Soybeans
  • Soft Margarine

The Bad

Where there is good, there is usually bad as well! With that said, there are certain types of fat that should be avoided and only consumed rarely. Among these type of fats are saturated fat and trans fat. These type of fats are more damaging to your health than beneficial, and should not be consumed regularly as they can increase blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. While saturated fat is not as damaging to our health when compared to trans fat, it should still be consumed sparingly.

Sources of Saturated Fat:

  • Fatty red meat
  • Dark poultry
  • Coconut oil and cocoa butter
  • Full fat dairy
  • Eggs

Sources of Trans Fat:

  • Fried foods
  • Baked goods such as cookies and cakes
  • Processed snack foods
  • Vegetable Shortening

Overall, fats are definitely an essential part of a healthy diet. It’s important to know which type of fat is good for your health though in order to enjoy its benefits. Additionally, keeping the amount of fat you consume at moderate levels should also help keep unwanted weight off.

Are You Sleep Deprived?

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Humans thrive on food, water, and sleep. Believe it or not, sleep is the most important factor when it comes to reaching optimum health. Sleep is vital because without it, our body functions begin to fail and this leads to a number of problems that affect both our physical and mental health.

On average, adults should be sleeping anywhere between 7 to 9 hours. Experts recommend establishing a sleep schedule and sticking to it in order to get the most out of these reparative hours. When we lose sleep, whether it’s due to insomnia, a demanding job, or other obligations, the hours begin to accumulate and affect our health. The following are commons symptoms of sleep deprivation:

  • Sleepiness
  • Hunger and cravings
  • Mood swings, becoming overly emotional, and irritability
  • Tired, dull looking skin
  • Trouble focusing, making decisions, or thinking clearly
  • Loss of memory
  • Weight gain
  • Clumsiness
  • Lowered immune system response, getting sick often
  • In extreme cases: paranoia and hallucinations

A lack of sleep can have negative consequences. People who do not sleep enough often suffer from issues relating to their immune system, mental health, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and hormone production.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of lack of sleep is the first step to taking better care of yourself and getting the proper amount of rest your body needs in order to function properly. While there are a number of reasons why someone may be sleep deprived, there are multiple ways to tackle the issue in order to find a solution that works for your individual needs. The following are some options to try that may help:

  • Practicing good sleep hygiene by forming a routine and sticking to it
  • Try relaxation techniques to reduce tension
  • Limit stimulating activities (i.e. electronics use) prior to bedtime
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Medication, whether prescribed or over the counter

Sleep deprivation should be taken seriously. Not only does it affect your physical and mental well being, but it can also have negative consequences on others. Too many accidents caused by drowsiness occur every year, and these incidents can happen to anyone. If you feel you are sleep deprived, make sure to take the steps necessary in order to improve your sleep health. The good news is that the signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation are reversible and you will feel much better when your body is rested and repaired!

What is Low Impact Exercise?

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Did you know that different types of exercises may have more or less impact on your bones and joints? For people with joints conditions or injuries, certain types of exercises may be more difficult or even impossible to do. For this reason, experts recommend trying out low impact exercise in order to stay active and avoid increased pain or risking more injuries.

Low impact exercise is any form of physical exercise that puts a minimal amount of stress on the joints including the hips, knees, and ankles. This type of physical activity ensures that you get the exercise you need in order to stay healthy while reducing the risk of worsening any conditions.

While many believe that low impact exercise is a light form of activity that doesn’t yield major results, this is actually not true. Many forms on low-impact exercises can still help people get in shape or maintain their fitness level by raising their heart rate. In other words, low-impact is a healthy and effective part of an exercise routine for anyone trying to stay fit or lose weight whether you suffer from joint pain or even if you’re athletic.

The following are some forms of low-impact exercise:

  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Elliptical
  • Rowing
  • Kayaking
  • Stairmaster
  • Water Aerobics
  • Tai Chi
  • Rollerblading

Who should consider doing low-impact exercises:

  • Beginners
  • Women who are pregnant
  • The elderly
  • Those suffering from obesity
  • Those with injuries
  • People who suffer from bone or joint pain and issues

Keep in my mind that low impact exercises still contribute to a healthy routine that will help maintain or lose weight, increase cardiovascular health, and help you work on both strength and endurance. If you do not suffer from any joint or bone injuries, don’t be afraid to cross-train between high impact and low impact exercises. Just be sure to work harder during low-impact activity in order to reach your desired heart rate for effective results.

Benefits of Stretching

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Stretching is an important part of physical and mental health that is often overlooked. Whether you are an athlete, a newfound fitness enthusiast, or someone who doesn’t exercise at all, stretching is an activity that should be incorporated into your daily routine for better overall health. The best part is it doesn’t have to be time-consuming activity in order to work. Keep reading to find out the many benefits you can enjoy when you begin to stretch regularly!

  1. Increased performance: This is particularly important for those who already exercise because stretching can greatly reduce the chances of injury and improve overall performance by warming up the muscles, cooling them down, and aiding with recovery between workouts.
  2. Improved mobility: Even if you don’t exercise, stretching can help keep your muscles loose and pain-free as you age.
  3. Stress relief: Stretching can benefit mental and physical health by relieving tension, which often has a mental and physical connection. Exercises like yoga or simple stretch sessions at home which incorporate breathing techniques are proven to help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  4. Better posture: Stretching can help your body by providing a better balance between the muscles. Again, by reducing tense and stiff areas, you are more likely to have better alignment and less discomfort.
  5. Increased blood flow: Stretching improves circulation and also helps to break down lactic acid that forms in the muscles after a training session. Stretching helps oxygen to flow back into the muscle to help break down the lactic acid, the process not only speeds up recovery but also helps reduce tension.
  6. Prevent pain: Stretching, as mentioned, helps reduce tension and stress. This results in less back pain, tension headaches, and other pain associated with tightness of the muscles.

Stretching comes in many forms including yoga, dynamic stretching (best done before exercise), static stretching (best done following exercise), foam rolling, and more. Stretching has a number of physical and mental benefits for anyone. So what are you waiting for? All it takes is 5 to 10 minutes per day to start enjoying the benefits and lead a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Benefits of Drinking Tea

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Tea has been around for thousands of years and even though some cultures have the beverage more deeply embedded into their lifestyle, there is no doubt that it comes with a number of health benefits that anyone around the world can enjoy.

Many studies have been done in order to explore the health benefits tea has to offer, and overall, the results are positive. Although many people who consume tea also happen to lead healthier lifestyles, there is no doubt that the properties found in it are as healthful as it gets.

True tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and consists of four types: green, white, back, and oolong. There are also herbal infusions, sometimes referred to as tisanes, which are made using a variety of spices, flowers, and different leaves. The main component known to provide health benefits in tea are polyphenols, which contain antioxidants and high anti-inflammatory properties. The following are a few of the health benefits that true teas have to offer when consumed regularly:

Mental Benefits

  • Tea helps you stay alert and concentrated with about less the amount of caffeine compared to coffee
  • L-Theanine, an amino acid found in tea, helps keep the mind calm
  • Lowers stress hormones
  • Can help memory and insomnia

Physical Benefits

  • Lowers risk for heart disease and diabetes
  • Lowers risk for cancer
  • Tea helps fight free radicals in the body
  • It may help as a preventive treatment for certain neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s
  • Increases your metabolism
  • Can help your skin, teeth, and bad breath
  • Helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Strengthens your immune system

These are only a few of the benefits that tea may have. In order to enjoy the benefits that will help you the most, make sure to research what each type of tea can offer individually. You may just find your new favorite health-boosting beverage!

How To Keep Your Mind Healthy and Sharp

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It’s normal to forget small things such as where you placed your keys or wallet from time to time. In fact, this can happen at any point in our lives. As we age, our brains tend to shrink and blood flow to the brain lessens, causing minor changes in cognitive function.

Many people associate growing older with cognitive impairment, though minor changes are normal and should not interfere with daily activities. Other people may experience significant changes due to conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease which are not a normal part of the aging process.

Although there is no way to stop aging and the natural processes of the human body that comes with it there are a number of scientifically proven ways to help keep your brain at its optimum. The following are a few strategies you can start implementing today in order to keep your brain and mental health in good condition!

  1. Exercise: maintaining good blood flow to the brain is important, and it may help lower the risk of dementia as we age.
  2. Eat a balanced diet: cognitive decline is associated with nutrition, maintaining a healthy diet consisting of good fats, antioxidants, and whole foods is proven to maintain our brain function.
  3. Get mental stimulation: mentally-stimulating activities such as reading, doing puzzles, and learning a new language (or learning new things in general) may help cell regeneration as you continually work your brain and keep it challenged.
  4. Stay creative: implementing creative activities such as writing, journaling, drawing, painting, and crafts and using all of the body’s senses are healthy for the brain.
  5. Maintain a close social circle: staying positive and having strong social ties has been linked to longer life expectancy as well as reduced risk of dementia and other conditions.
  6. Avoid tobacco, excessive drinking, and drugs: all of these increase the risk of dementia and are best avoided.
  7. Stress less: keeping stress at bay by practicing mindfulness, meditation, and other relaxing activities can help cognitive function and overall better quality of life as you age. Activities such as meditation can improve memory and stillness and are also proven to help both physical and mental health.

Sleep enough: getting proper sleep is not only important for your physical health but it also has an effect on both short term and long term cognitive function and memory.

How Exercising Benefits Heart Health

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When we exercise we typically work to lose body fat and improve muscle composition. The heart, like other muscles, also needs to be exercised in order to stay healthy for as long as possible.

Although most people believe that tough exercise is required in order to maintain a healthy heart, that’s actually not the case. According to research, 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can improve heart health. This totals to about 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 days a week, or whatever exercise you choose to do.

Different Types of Exercise

Walking is considered a form of aerobic exercise, the best type of exercise to improve heart health. While most people enjoy going for a walk, some people prefer different types of activities. The following are all the different forms of exercise that improve heart health:

  • Aerobic: as mentioned before, this type of exercise is great for improving heart health due to its heart-pumping qualities. Aerobic exercise includes brisk walking, running, swimming, jump rope, cycling, etc. This form of exercise is great for improving circulation and helping reduce the risk of heart diseases such as high blood pressure.
  • Strength Training: Resistance training with weights, bands, and machines can help improve body composition and in turn helping to reduce chances of heart diseases. When combined with aerobic exercise, these two can lead to an overall healthier body and lifestyle.
  • Flexibility: Although exercises such as yoga and mobility stretching don’t directly impact the heart, they lead to better performance for aerobic and strength exercise and are therefore necessary to incorporate into your routine.

Benefits for the Heart

Exercising has a number of benefits for heart health including the following:

  • Lowering Stress
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improve heart function
  • Reducing risk of heart disease
  • Reduce LDL (bad cholesterol)

Precautions

Always make sure to warm up before beginning any form of exercise in order to reduce or avoid injury. Additionally, if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous, get help as soon as possible.

It’s important to check with your doctor in order to ensure you are okay to exercise. Muscle soreness is also normal and decreases with time as your body adjusts.

Can You Actually Get Sick from Cold Weather?

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On Average, adults catch a cold about two times a year in the United States. The winter season tends to bring about a higher number of people who get infected and suffer from the common cold and the flu. This pattern has caused confusion about the role temperature plays when it comes to the body and sickness. Despite its name, the common cold is not actually caused by cooler temperatures.

Why people believe this Myth
For years we’ve been told to that when it’s cold out we need to avoid leaving the house with wet hair and exercising outside. The reality is that none of these things can actually make you catch the common cold. Cold weather related illnesses include frostbite, hypothermia, and asthma complications.

What Actually Happens
Researchers have concluded that cooler weather does not actually give you a cold. Cold weather and dry air do impact the immune system, though, making it weaker and more susceptible to catching a virus. Additionally, the viruses responsible for causing cold and the flu thrive in these conditions.

This, combined with spending an increased amount of time indoors where the air is dry and people may be sick, can lead to higher chances of catching a virus.

Causes and common symptoms of the cold and flu
The cold and the flu come from two different viruses and have slightly different symptoms. Another myth that seems to circulate around during peak cold and flu season seems to turn many people against getting a flu shot. Contrary to popular belief, getting the flu shot does not make you catch the flu.

The common cold comes from Rhinovirus and are commonly spread through human contact and aerosols that are inhaled. Common symptoms include:
Congestion
Runny Nose
Sore Throat
Sneezing and Coughing

The Flu comes from the Influenza Virus and has slightly more severe symptoms including:
Fever and chills
Head and body aches
Muscle pains
Common cold symptoms

Prevention and Home Remedies
The best way to prevent the cold and flu is to wash your hands often, avoid close contact with those who are sick, eat healthy, exercise, and get quality sleep.

Common home remedies for the common cold and the flu include:
Drinking tea often
Consuming warm soup
Implementing more vitamin C into your diet
Clearing congestion with steam

Flu Prevention Tips

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Flu season is well underway, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to it. Although most people catch the flu or a cold once a year when peak season rolls around, there are those who know how to follow a few simple tips in order to avoid it.

It’s important to care for yourself and your family in order to avoid getting sick, especially young kids. Keep reading to learn what you can do to keep your health in check, help stop germs, and avoid a few trips to the doctor this season!

  1. Get vaccinated: there are multiple flu viruses, but the yearly vaccine protects against the most common types that are spreading around.
  2. Get enough exercise: exercise is proven to boost your immunity system which helps keep you healthy and less likely to get sick.
  3. Eat right: Eating an abundance of food with antioxidants can also help your immune system stay healthy and ward off any viruses and infections.
  4. Hydrate: drinking enough water can help you stay healthy all the time, including during cold and flu season.
  5. Reduce stress: practice stress reduction exercises as stress can weaken your immune system and increases the chances of getting sick.
  6. Practice good hygiene: washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose, and avoiding touching your eyes and face with your hands can all greatly reduce the chances of a virus entering your system.
  7. Clean: make sure to keep your home and work spaces clean and disinfected to ensure you stop the spread of harmful bacteria.
  8. Avoid contact: avoid close contact with people who are sick in order to reduce your risk of catching a virus.
  9. Go home: if you feel like you are getting sick, go home and rest.
  10. Teach your kids: teaching your kids about proper hygiene and how to describe their symptoms can help stop the spreading of germs and viruses.

Many of these tips seem self-explanatory or obvious, but nonetheless, the majority of people forget to follow them. By staying mindful of these tips you can help stop the spreading of germs and avoid flu outbreaks at home, work, and school. And remember, if you do catch a cold or the flu don’t wait to visit your doctor and get treatment as soon as possible.

Immunity-Boosting Foods to Eat This Cold and Flu Season

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The cold and flu season peak is officially among us, and no one wants to be the next victim. Although we sometimes feel like we’re not going to get sick, there are a number of mistakes that can increase our chances of falling ill.

Some of the most common culprits include not washing our hands, not getting enough sleep, and not keeping our stress under control. Additionally, failing to keep our immune system in check through proper nutrition can also increase the chances of catching a cold or the flu.

Avoid discomfort and a trip to the doctor, stay healthy this cold and flu season by fueling your body with these immunity-boosting foods:

  1. Citrus fruit including oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, clementines, lemon, and lime
  2. Kiwi
  3. Papaya
  4. Blueberries
  5. Apples
  6. Ginger
  7. Turmeric
  8. Garlic
  9. Spinach
  10. Broccoli
  11. Kale
  12. Green Tea and black tea
  13. Sunflower seeds
  14. Nuts
  15. Red bell peppers
  16. Tomatoes
  17. Yogurt
  18. Raw honey
  19. Salmon and tuna
  20. Water

Although food can play a huge role in keeping your immune system healthy and warding off a cold or the flu, there are also a few other things you can do to help. Make sure to:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day
  • Keep stress at bay
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Avoid smoking
  • Maintain good hygiene practice
  • Get the flu shot