Do Food Labels Make Your Head Spin?

Let’s face it, Nutritional Labels are as confusing as they are necessary.  But how to decode the information?  Thankfully, UC Davis Health System (and Jeff Novick, MS RD) have come to save the day!  The UCDavis Integrative Medicine Program has created this wonderful Nutrition Cheat Sheet to make reading food labels less intimidating while at the same time, helping us make sense of the information.  Dr. Jeff Novick took it a step further explaining what each of the ingredients mean.  So now that you have the code… go ahead and shop with confidence!Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.22.45 AM Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.22.58 AM

Don’t Like What You See In The Mirror? These 3 Things Are Ruining Your Skin.

skin ruined Switching to a healthy diet is the right way to tackle weight problems and health issues, but it can also make you look years younger by improving the appearance of your skin. There are many foods that can make you look older and less healthy, so be sure to eliminate these items from your daily diet.

Fast Food

If it’s fast and it came from a drive-thru, it probably isn’t good for you. Burgers, fries, and other foods served by fast food chains are high in fat, grease, dyes, and plenty of chemicals that you probably can’t pronounce. Eating fast food can cause acne, strip your skin of moisture, and cause premature wrinkling of the skin.

Cola

Colas are bad for you for a host of reasons, but the high fructose corn syrup and acids found in cola can damage your skin, leaving it dry and dull. Drinking this type of beverage regularly can also ruin your teeth, which will also add years to your appearance.

Coffee

Everyone knows that coffee can stain your teeth, but it can also have similar results for your skin. Drinking too much coffee—or anything else containing high levels of caffeine—can lead to wrinkles, thin skin, fine lines, dehydration, and a dull appearance.

Eating a well-balanced diet rich with healthy plant-based foods can help reduce the signs of aging leftover from poor eating habits. Changing your diet today and removing these harmful foods from your life can have positive effects on your health that you will feel almost immediately.

 

Losing your MIND? Try These Memory Boosting Superfoods!

memory loss1Memory loss can occur with age, but you don’t have to accept this part of aging without putting up a fight. There are several foods that contain natural memory-boosting properties that can help you keep your mind clear while offering additional health benefits. Instead of looking for prescriptions and supplements to stave off memory loss, try adding these foods to your diet.

Kale

Kale is a hot super food right now because of its many health benefits, and boosting brainpower is just one reason to add it to your diet. Folic acid found in kale can prevent the death of nerve cells in the brain. Kale is also thought to be an essential part of a heart-healthy diet, and it’s versatility makes it easy to enjoy in many different dishes and juices.

Nuts

Nuts, contain omega-3 fatty acids making them ideal for boosting your memory. They also contain protein, vitamin B6, and vitamin E, all of which promote better health of the nervous system and can lead to better brain performance. Go Nuts! and consider adding peanuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts to your daily diet.

Blueberries

While many berries can help improve your memory, blueberries are rich in antioxidants that promote brain health. Some experts even believe that blueberries can help to prevent Alzheimer’s. Add some blueberries to your diet and get a  memory boost!

With so many healthy foods that can help you think more clearly, remember things without having to write them down, and reduce brain fog, there really is no need to look toward store-bought nutritional supplements. You can get everything you need from delicious, natural foods.

 

Can eating More Veggies Save Your Eyesight?

eyesight

Your eyes are among the most complex and important tools your body has to offer, and eating the right foods will keep them healthy and working their best for years to come. While eating a diet that is packed with veggies is always good for your body, certain vegetables are known for being able to help your eyes stay focused and strong.

Spinach

Popeye had the right idea when he ate his spinach, but he probably didn’t know that he was giving his eyes the chance to stay strong. Spinach contains zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which prevent cell and retina damage. Other leafy green vegetables work just as well as spinach.

Broccoli

Broccoli also contains zeaxanthin and lutein, but it is also packed with vitamin C and other nutrients. Together, this combination can ward off macular degeneration that can affect eyesight later in life.

Carrots

The beta-carotene found in carrots is one of the best nutrients to promote eye health, and it also helps your eyes adjust to different levels of lighting. If you aren’t a fan of carrots, you can still keep your eyes healthy by looking for any vegetables that are orange, including different types of squash and sweet potatoes.

There are many other vegetables that promote eye health. When you shop for produce, make sure to look for veggies that contain plenty of vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These nutrients are the key to preventing cell damage and reducing the risks of macular degeneration and cataracts later in life.

Don’t Have Breakfast Without One of These Three!

woman with 3 fingersEveryone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what you put on your plate can determine just how much you will benefit from your morning meal. Eating fruits with your first meal of the day aids the digestive system and can even be a natural way to wake up without caffeine. Here are some of the best fruits to eat as you “break the fast” every morning.

Apples are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, which allow your body’s digestive system to regulate and can even help lower your cholesterol levels. The natural sugar in apples helps you wake up and face the day, and the antioxidants give your body protection against a wide range of diseases and ailments.

apples strawberries and kiwi

Kiwis are perfect for people who want an extra boost of vitamin C but are sick of oranges. Both fruits contain the same amount of vitamin C, and kiwis can also help you prevent macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye problems. The vitamin E found in kiwis promotes healthy, younger looking skin.

Strawberries contain anthocyanins, which boost your short-term memory, making you more productive throughout the day. They are low in calories and high in nitrates, making them perfect for anyone looking to lose weight.

Adding a simple fruit juice or salad with these ingredients to your breakfast every morning will give you a boost of energy and plenty of natural healthy benefits. Before you grab a donut on your way to work, consider these sweet and natural alternatives.

 

Beautiful Skin Starts From Within!

As we age, the skin on our faces can be like a roadmap to how we’ve lived our lives. Signs of aging show up in lines and creases, and we develop circles under our eyes that make
us look tired and older than we are. Even acne and blackheads can occur at any age. One trick to a better-looking complexion lies in the foods you eat.

Beauty-Foods-For-Beautiful-Skin

Almonds are the seeds of a fruit, and are loaded with plenty of Vitamin E, which is a powerful sun blocker. Eating about 20 almonds can reduce your sensitivity to the sun, because Vitamin E is an antioxidant that blocks the damage caused by free radicals. It protects skin cells from the damage of UV light and other environmental factors. If you don’t have almonds, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or a half cup of broccoli will do the trick.

Any orange-colored fruit or vegetable, like carrots and sweet potatoes, are a good source of carotene. In the body, carotene is transformed into Vitamin A, another antioxidant. This antioxidant is responsible for fighting cancer and slowing the appearance of wrinkles. Vitamin C, which is found in oranges, can help make skin appear more elastic and supple, because it helps stabilize collagen found in the skin.

Blueberries have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of all foods. A serving of one half cup per day can help you beat the effects of smoke and other toxins, and leave you with healthier and younger-looking skin.

Wheat germ is a powerhouse for the skin because it is packed with B vitamins, Vitamin E and Selenium. The B family is essential for combating the hormone responsible for causing blemishes and for cell regeneration. Vitamin E is described above, but, when combined with Selenium, lowers the chance of skin cancer and premature aging.

Virtually all fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds have health benefits, many of which work directly on your skin. So, indulge in Mother Nature’s Bounty and your skin will thank you for it!

 

Acid Reflux? The Solution Is In Your Refrigerator!

 

acid reflux man

Does your acid reflux make you feel like this?

When you have acid reflux, it is easy to turn to a bottle of antacids, but there are better, more natural ways to restore balance to your body. Instead of using chemicals to ward off acid reflux, consider looking in your refrigerator and changing the way you eat by adding these foods to your diet.

Ginger

Ginger is a staple of natural healers, and it is used to promote gastrointestinal health and reduce acid reflux. It is a versatile ingredient that can be added to meals and desserts, or you can simply incorporate it into a healthy smoothie every day.

Bananas

Bananas are known to help fight acid reflux because of their neutral pH level. Eating a banana every day or after a meal high in acids can help ease stomach discomfort.

Fennel

Fennel has a relatively neutral pH level and it helps with overall stomach function. It can easily be used in salads, soups, and stews, or it can be grilled on its own to make a sweet side dish.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Whether you eat a salad with every meal or snack on these veggies, eating kale, lettuce, and collard greens will help you keep acid reflux in check. Other green vegetables, such as broccoli, can help as well.

Making smart choices about the foods you eat can help prevent digestive problems such as acid reflux. In general, you should look for foods that have neutral pH levels to help balance out any foods that are high in acidity, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits. Finding the right balance of natural foods will prevent you from having to reach for the bottle of antacids after every meal.

 

A Healthy Valentine’s Day Sweet Alternative

From October to February, we are overrun with a series of holidays that mandate overeating and over-indulging, particularly of sweets and chocolate. We kick it off with the candy-fest known as Halloween and wrap it up with the love-fest celebrated with rich, decadent chocolates, Valentine’s Day.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may be looking for healthier options to satisfy your fondue with fruitsweet tooth. That doesn’t mean you have to give up chocolate completely, but a switch to dark chocolate is a smarter move than you might think. With just 170 calories per ounce -not to mention it’s antioxidant health benefits-, you can afford an indulgence (or two) this Valentine’s day.

Satisfying your sweet cravings with a more natural option like fruit is not such a foreign concept.  Fruit tarts, chocolate covered strawberries and caramel apples have been decorated with hearts, wrapped and gifted for many years. This year, go all out by inviting your sweetheart to share some dark chocolate fondue.  Dip some of your favorite fruits like strawberries, bananas, mango, and pineapple and indulge in the decadence of this natural Valentine’s day dessert that can easily outshine any of its sugary rivals. You’ll feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven, and you won’t have completely blown your diet.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be another excuse for overeating and binging on sweets. There are many ways to revel in the sweetness of the day the natural way, so think creatively (or look online) and surprise your Valentine with a fruity treat that won’t tip the scale!

Want to Burn Belly Fat? Eat This!

 

belly fat before and afterBelly fat is stubborn and annoying, and it often seems like your belly fat refuses to go away. You can add extra reps of abdominals to your workout every day, or you can eat foods strategically to help you burn that belly fat naturally. Here are some of the best foods for beating belly fat.

Avocados

Avocados are rich with fiber and protein, and they contain an acid that tells your body it isn’t hungry. Eating a quarter of an avocado can help you feel more full in between meals and help you shed that unwanted belly fat.

Dark Chocolate

It’s about time that people start realizing the many benefits of this tasty treat. Dark chocolate is loaded with zinc, which helps control hormones in your body to regulate energy levels, reducing your appetite, and controlling how you store fat.

Blueberries

Blueberries contain antioxidants that help your body improve the function of many different systems, but it’s the catechins found in these berries that are key to burning belly fat and increasing your metabolism.

Apples

Like blueberries, apples contain catechins that burn belly fat. Apples can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent some forms of cancer. Snacking on these fruits will also help you to control your appetite.

There you have it. Adding extra workouts at the gym isn’t the only solution to losing those last few pounds. Adding the right foods to your diet can help you burn belly fat faster, allowing you to reach your target weight quicker.

how-to-lose-belly-fat

 

7 Everyday Foods You Didn’t Know Hurt Your Kidneys

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Did you know that the kidneys filter approximately 200 quarts of blood every day removing more than 2 quarts of waste and excess water as urine?  That means that your kidneys process the equivalent to 2 and-a-half tanks of gas each day!

Knowing that your kidneys work so hard makes it essential to keep them healthy and in working order.  Unfortunately, there are many foods that can harm the kidneys rendering them inefficient and sometimes flat out ineffective.

Here are the 7 worst offenders: 

1-    Animal Protein:    Metabolizing animal protein places a heavy load on the kidneys, making it difficult to eliminate waste effectively.

2-    Salt:  Eating too much salt (especially the processed kind) places a heavy load on your kidneys, as they’re retaining water in order to dilute it in the bloodstream and maintain proper heart function.

3-    Genetically Modified Foods (AKA: GMOs):  Metabolizing GMOs places a heavy load on the kidneys and create a state of kidney and liver toxicity.

4-    Artificial Sweeteners:  Place a heavy load on the kidneys and kidney function decline is directly correlated to their consumption.

5-    Carbonated Drinks:  Place a heavy load on the kidneys and are associated with the formation of kidney stones.

6-    Dairy Products: Like animal protein, dairy products place a heavy load on the kidneys and have also been associated with the formation of kidney stones

7-    Caffeine:  Places a… well…. You get the picture

 

How can you protect your kidneys?

The best way to protect your kidneys is drinking lots of water and consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables especially loaded with potassium and magnesium -whether raw, cooked, or juiced-  such as:

-       Spinach

-       Kale

-       Beets

-       Sunflower seeds

-       Pumpkin seeds

-       Bananas

-       Cucumbers

-       Cranberries

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