If you’ve recently had a conversation about dieting and weight management, then you’ve probably heard talk of intermittent fasting. But what is intermittent fasting? And is it healthy? Currently, this is quite an under-researched topic, with limited research in humans.
In other words, the answer is a little complicated, but let’s break it down together.
The Science of Going Without
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It’s a way to manage your weight and promote overall health, not by limiting what you eat, but by limiting when you eat.
There are several different intermittent fasting methods, such as:
Daily intermittent fasting: 16-hour fast followed by an eight-hour eating period each day.
Alternate day intermittent fasting: Cycle between 24-hour periods of eating and fasting.
The 5-2 method, eat regularly for five days during the week and restrict food during 2 days to about 500 to 600 calories during the fasting days.
How does intermittent fasting work? To put it simply, when your body is digesting food, it’s in the “fed state.” This typically lasts three to five hours after your last meal. During this state, your body doesn’t burn fat as efficiently because your insulin levels are high and you are getting needed energy from food.
But if you don’t eat for around eight to 12 hours after your last meal, your body will enter the “fasted state.” Your insulin levels are low because your body has stopped absorbing food and, as a result, your body burns stored food energy (fat) more easily.
The Pros and Cons
So we know what intermittent fasting is and what it does, but the real questions are—is it healthy? Is it safe? Is it something you should do?
Your body is unique. And so is everyone else’s. Many people have tried intermittent fasting with great results, and they happily want to share their success with others.
But for many people, intermittent fasting is not the answer they’re looking for. For some people, it could even be a danger to their long-term health.
Let’s look at just a few of the many possible pros and cons of incorporating intermittent fasting into your daily life.
Promotes health and weight management. Some studies show intermittent fasting may be a promising way to lose weight and improve metabolic health.
No calorie counting. With intermittent fasting, you don’t have to change what you eat in order to stay under your daily calories. By controlling when you eat, you have the freedom to eat what you want.
It’s simple. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler. When on a fasting program, you plan for and cook less meals. Some people find this simplicity liberating, as they have more time to devote to other activities they love.
You could develop bad eating habits. Intermittent fasting can be very stressful for some people. This, coupled with a lack of satisfaction, means they end up eating much more than they should during non-fasting periods.
Dangerous for people with certain conditions. While safe for most people, intermittent fasting can have negative effects if you have diabetes, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or take certain medications. Make sure to always consult your physician before introducing any fasting routine or change in diet as part of your everyday life.
The Choice Is Yours
At the end of the day, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to prove or disprove intermittent fasting as superior to traditional dieting, nor to prove or disprove it promotes long-term health better than counting calories. On the flip side, there also isn’t any strong evidence it’s harmful to average adults, either.
A powerful combination of comprehensive nutrition—plus advanced formulas for healthy aging—will help you live well, every day.
It’s easy to get the micronutrients you need morning and night with USANA HealthPak. The 28-day supply of core supplements in convenient daily packets delivers advanced nutrition when and where you want it.*
This expertly formulated combination provides a comprehensive nutritional foundation for your cells. Plus, the innovative formulas made with USANA InCelligence Technology® give you powerful support for looking and feeling good today and aging healthfully in the future.*
Each packet contains the following:
Two Vita-Antioxidant tablets
Two Core Minerals tablets
One MagneCal D tablet
One CellSentials Booster
Made with the highest quality, bioavailable nutrients, HealthPak delivers the total health support your body needs to help you keep up with your busy lifestyle.*
One of the most important aspects of achieving vibrant health is maintaining consistent, optimal levels of nutrients in your body. But when you’re on the go, a balanced diet and good lifestyle habits are often the first thing to suffer.*
In a world of fast food and pre-packaged meals, an advanced nutritional supplement can help fill the gaps. And by taking those supplements twice a day, you can help ensure your cells are nourished all day, every day. With convenient AM and PM packets of supplements, HealthPak makes it easy for you to get the right nutrition your cells need to thrive.*
Great overall health starts from a foundation of great nutrition. The CellSentials have you covered with a broad range of vitamins and minerals, from A-to-Z. And the added phytonutrients, InCelligence Complex, and other vital nutrients make Vita-Antioxidant and Core Minerals the cornerstone of any daily supplement routine.*
Magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D are three nutrients you may not get enough of. If you limit your dairy intake or don’t eat many leafy greens, it is likely you can benefit from a supplement that delivers more. HealthPak includes one tablet of MagneCal D in each packet to deliver added support for your cellular health, strong bones, muscle function, and energy metabolism.*
With HealthPak, you get even more.
The CellSentials and MagneCal D provide you with the basic nutrition you need if you lead a generally healthy lifestyle. But the effects of stress and poor diet—plus growing levels of pollution, chemicals, and toxins in the modern world—may increase your body’s demands for active cellular defense. That’s because all of those things cause oxidative challenges that can increasingly overwhelm your body’s natural defenses.*
The result? You may start feeling older than your years, as your cells and DNA suffer increasing damage from free radicals.*
Your cells and DNA can use a boost of targeted nutrients to help keep them healthy and restore normal, youthful function. The InCelligence Complex in Vita-Antioxidant contains some of these aging fighters at levels you would get in a generally healthy diet. But the CellSentials Booster, available only in the HealthPak, delivers a concentrated dose of powerful cell-defending ingredients.*
YOUR CELLULAR SUPER PROTECTOR–THE CELLSENTIALS BOOSTER
The CellSentials Booster is a unique supplement formulated entirely with USANA InCelligence Technology. This means all of the ingredients were carefully selected because they can influence distinct cell signalingpathways that help fight the cellular aging effects of the modern world.*
It includes four cell activating ingredients:
Olivol® Olive-Fruit Extract
Get the benefits of the Mediterranean diet with USANA’s patented Olivol. The extract contains phenolic compounds (a type of antioxidants) from olive fruit and by-products of olive-oil production that aren’t found anywhere else in nature. The CellSentials Booster combined with the InCelligence Complex delivers a total of 50 mg of Olivol’s powerful cellular protection per day.*
Pterostilbene is a premium ingredient that is chemically similar to resveratrol but with significantly higher activity in the body. Each CellSentials Booster tablet contains 50 mg of pterostilbene from the heartwood and bark of Indian Kino, a large tree that commonly grows in India and Sri Lanka.*
Pterostilbene belongs to a group of phytonutrients known as stilbenoids. Plants make stilbenoids in response to stresses to protect themselves. The natural extract contains several polyphenolic compounds (a type of antioxidants). And, because of its concentrated activity, pterostilbene is a superior modulator of the cell signaling pathways targeted by the CellSentials Booster.*
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid is a medium-chain fatty acid naturally made in the body by breaking down linoleic acid. It‘s considered one of the most effective antioxidants. Not only is it a precursor to glutathione, it also helps regenerate other antioxidants. Plus, it’s water- and fat-soluble, which means it works in all cells and tissues throughout the body.*
Most foods are very low in alpha lipoic acid, so supplementing is the best way to increase levels in the body. The CellSentials Booster contains more than twice the amount of alpha lipoic acid as the InCelligence Complex to give you a total of 250 mg per day.
There is nearly twice as much quercetin in the CellSentials Booster as is found in the InCelligence Complex. That’s because it’s a highly effective signaling compound. This plant flavonoid is found in many fruits and vegetables, including onions, grapes, and apples.*
Quercetin has been linked to many health benefits. It also interacts with other nutrients to maximize activity. The CellSentials Booster and the InCelligence Complex are both made with quercetin dihydrate, which has the best bioavailability. When taken together, you get a total of 180 mg of quercetin per day.*
FEEL HEALTHIER, LONGER WITH ADVANCED CELLULAR PROTECTION
You can actively help reset your cells to their normal, youthful state and protect against premature aging with the exclusive CellSentials Booster. It does this by targeting a broad network of cell-signaling pathways.*
Its four powerful nutrients build on the protection and renewal activity targeted by the InCelligence Complex in the CellSentials:*
Sparking mitochondrial renewal. It targets the cell-signaling pathway that initiates mitophagy, which breaks down and removes damaged mitochondria (the part of your cell that produces energy) left behind after the production of cellular energy. This helps preserve cellular efficiency for optimum cellular-energy production.*
Stimulating cells’ production of their own antioxidants, such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase. Endogenous antioxidants (those made in your body) are a powerful defense mechanism against oxidative damage, which can protect the health and longevity of cellular function.*
The ingredients in the CellSentials Booster have demonstrated effects on additional signaling pathways. And with the advanced levels of active ingredients, in addition to those in the InCelligence Complex, you could experience significantly greater benefit.*
The CellSentials Booster targets a cell signaling pathway that supports a normal, healthy response to stress. It also helps keep some cell signaling pathways clear. This is important so that molecular messages are sent and received to maintain healthy, normal cellular function.*
Perhaps the most important pathway influenced by the CellSentials Booster is one associated with regulating the cell’s lifecycle.*
In very simple terms, cells maintain something called homeostasis, which basically means they maintain a balanced, steady state. They are constantly monitoring the environment and responding or reacting to maintain that balance. As proteins are made, other proteins are degraded. When one cell dies, another cell is made. It’s a very complex process that is tightly regulated by the body.*
The goal is to maintain this normal, steady balance. When you’re young and healthy, it’s normal for your cells to maintain this balance. As you age, preserving this function is vital, so when healthy cells divide into new cells, those new cells are healthy.*
There is a transcription factor (a protein that binds to DNA to start or stop a cellular function) that acts like a cellular monitor. It oversees the cell lifecycle. Its job is regulating the normal expression of genes and other messenger molecules that affect many important healthy cellular processes. However, with age this transcription factor can lose its ability to function optimally.*
The CellSentials Booster targets the pathway for this cell-monitoring function to help ensure it stays healthy. So your cells, genes, and DNA will keep acting youthful and remain normal.*
Using InCelligence Technology to affect the signaling pathways mentioned above (and likely many others still to be revealed) can help redefine some of the declines normally associated with aging. The CellSentials Booster helps your body adapt to stress and protect long-term healthy cellular function. That’s how it offers benefits to many aspects of your health, including the following*:
Brain and Nerve Health
There’s no need to think twice about the importance of protecting your brain health! Protecting your brain cells, especially as you age, is important for memory, behavior, mood, and mental sharpness. The ingredients in the CellSentials Booster have been shown to protect normal brain and nerve function. *
Supporting healthy blood flow and mitochondrial health with the CellSentials Booster is also important for delivering blood, nutrients, and cellular energy to your brain to help power cognitive function. Maintaining healthy nerves is essential for sending and receiving messages from the brain throughout the body.*
Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health
Give your heart the love it deserves. The CellSentials Booster is full of ingredients that have repeatedly been shown to support healthy, normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels—as long as they’re already in the healthy range.*
Healthy circulation, or blood flow, is also an important aspect of cardiovascular health. Oxidative stress can decrease the bioavailability of nitric oxide in vessels. Nitric oxide is produced by the endothelium—cells that line your blood vessels. When it is released, nitric oxide tells the blood vessels to relax, so that blood can flow through easily. The ingredients in the CellSentials Booster help protect endothelial cells from oxidative damage.*
Maintaining healthy blood glucose is also important for protecting the long-term health of your nerves and blood vessels. And you can help keep it level with the CellSentials Booster. A number of the ingredients in this powerful supplement have been shown to help maintain healthy blood glucose levels, already in the normal range.*
Be beautiful inside and out. Your outer appearance is influenced by your environment, the products you use on your skin, and the nutrition you put in your body. The CellSentials in HealthPak provide the essential nutrients you need to support the health of your skin cells. And the cellular antioxidants produced within your body can also help defend your skin cells from the damaging effects of the sun from within.*
A lot of what we do here at USANA revolves around helping you develop the right habits to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you go through our blog catalog, you’ll see that’s not really a secret. (If it were, we’d be really bad at secrets.) We talk about developing good, healthy habits a lot. In fact, we have a whole subsection of What’s Up, USANA? dedicated to it.
Our obsession for helping you develop healthy lifestyle habits is kind of like yours for helping your teen (or teens) develop their own. And that starts with making sure they get all the nutrients they need to be at their mental and physical best.
Teen Nutritional Needs
Only three of the essential vitamins we need—vitamins D and K and biotin can be produced within the body (in varying amounts). This means you should be getting the vast majority of the essential elements—vitamins and minerals—that make up your nutritional requirements through diet. While this is true regardless of age, teens are at particular risk of dietary shortfalls.
As a group, teens are more likely to skip breakfast, consume much of their food outside the home, and have sodas, snack foods, and fast foods instead of low-fat milk, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources than at any other age.
This is where vitamins for teens come in. A vitamin tuned specifically for the needs of teenagers can help pick up the slack when their diet falls short. Specifically, vitamins can help make up the nutritional difference in teens who:
Are picky eaters
Have a selective diet, such as veganism or vegetarianism
Have a poor appetite or erratic eating habits
Are experiencing periods of rapid growth
Are very physically active
Does your teen fall into any of these categories?
Choosing Vitamins for Teens
A couple things to consider when choosing vitamins for your teen is not all vitamins are created equal, and not all vitamins are right for every situation. Although teenagers can use a regular multivitamin—starting at about age 12— they do have slightly different nutrient needs than adults.
When looking for a vitamin, check the daily percent values to ensure your teen will get a broad range of beneficial nutrients. And you’ll want to look for a quality guarantee or Good Manufacturing Practices certification to make sure all the ingredients listed on the bottle are actually in the product and the product is free from harmful contaminants.
Lucky for you (and your teen), we have you covered. USANA’s Body Rox™ is specifically formulated to help fill the gaps in a poor diet and help meet nutritional needs of growing teens. It is a convenient way to help your teens obtain the optimal amounts of micronutrients they need to perform at their mental and physical best every day.*
Now the question is how to get your teen to establish healthy dietary habits that will last a lifetime. There’s no one answer, but studies show that parents who encourage healthy behaviors are more likely to have children who develop good eating habits, are more active, and are healthier overall.
One way to help teens develop great eating habits is by cooking as a family. Teaching teens good cooking skills develops healthier eaters. And cooking and eating with your kids also helps you set an example for healthy eating that kids can mimic (sensible portions, good choices, and more).
By assessing your own diet, supplementation, and lifestyle, this can help your teen do likewise and put them on the path toward establishing lasting, beneficial habits.
East Coast Life Solutions is dedicated and interesting to helping families become more healthy. We offer 28 Day Plans for Health Lifestyle Living. Inquire through our contact information. Body Rox
Green grass is beginning to show, tulips are starting to bloom, and the snow is melting. Springtime is finally here. Huzzah!
With the changing of the weather comes good ol’ fashion spring cleaning. If you’d like to mix it up this year, leave the dirty details of your house to a cleaning service, and spring clean your body instead.
Here are three easy ways you can get started on spring cleaning your body.
1: Pantry Purge
If you have a goal to eat healthier foods and snacks, let’s begin in the kitchen. For starters, how long has it been since you de-junked your pantry? Chances are you have graham crackers way past their expiration date (gross) and bags of potato chips and pretzels that make it too easy to graze on empty carbohydrates.
This might be a little difficult, but it’s important to get rid of the junk and replace it with healthier snacks and foods . We’ll get to the healthy replacement foods later.
If you’re worried about wasting food, you can donate any non-perishable items to your local food pantry or soup kitchen. You can also give perishable items away to your friends. As for the rest? It’s going in a big, black garbage bag.
Food for Thought: This doesn’t mean you can never enjoy your favorite treat. It just means that instead of stashing them in your home like a squirrel collecting nuts for the winter, you’ll have to head to the bakery to purchase that single, gooey, chocolate and caramel brownie you love.
Out with the Old
With your first sweep of the cupboards and pantry, get rid of all the stuff you know is horrible for your health. This will be the candy bars, sugary juices, chips, gummy bears, soda—it’s all gotta go.
It may feel like you’re rubbing sugar in your wounds, but it’s important to completely rid your house of poor food choices. Otherwise, you’ll continue to fall back on old, unhealthy eating habits. Because let’s be real—if there are Hostess cupcakes in the cupboard, you and I are both going to eventually cave and eat them.
Later, you’ll feel better about your decision to pantry purge. Especially when you experience the many health benefits that come from eating nutritious meals and snacks. (And how awesome your figure looks in the mirror!)
Next, check out the ingredient listing on the remaining products in your pantry. If you see sugar, salt, or unhealthy fats listed as one of the first ingredients, it’s a safe bet this isn’t a healthy food option. This should go in the trash.
Don’t forget to check your freezer too—just in case you’ve stocked up on frozen pizzas and ice cream.
In with the New
It’s time to go grocery shopping. Since you’ll be emptying your cupboards of junk food, you need to replace it with healthier alternatives. This is the time to think about what kinds of foods and flavors really tickle your taste buds.
For instance, you’re gonna hate life if you try replacing your Cool Ranch Doritos with celery sticks. But if you find something comparable and tasty, you’re more likely to enjoy and stick with it.
Eat This Instead
Here are just a few healthy snack options you can fill your pantry and fridge with:
Nuts—Almonds, pecans, walnuts, and natural peanut butter are all great sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats if eaten in moderation. A yummy trail mix is another nutty option. Stick with unsalted for less sodium.
Air-popped popcorn—It might not be movie-theater style popcorn that’s swimming in butter, but you can season it yourself. And it is a much healthier alternative to potato chips.
Hummus—A good quality hummus is rich in protein and fiber, and in my opinion, it seriously tastes amazing with carrots and bell peppers or other veggies. Guacamole and pesto are other savory dipping sauces that are on the healthier side.
Hard-boiled eggs—They’re super easy to prepare and provide you with a good source of proteins and fats. Plus, you can sprinkle a little sea salt for extra flavor.
Berries—Whether fresh or frozen, you can never go wrong with a handful of delicious raspberries, blueberries, or plump strawberries.
Greek yogurt—If you’re craving something sweet, try adding some berries or banana slices along with a drizzle of honey.
Did you know that the microbial cells in the gut outnumber human cells 10 to 1? Yeah, I didn’t know that either. Learn something new every day and all that jazz. To further illustrate this point, think of the microbiome as a tropical rainforest living in your gut. Just as there is a wide diversity of plant types in the rainforest (which all play a different role in the ecosystem), each microbe (bacteria) in your gut also plays an important role.
So basically, your microbiome is pretty vital when it comes to your gut health.
Eating Healthy Takes Guts
When we eat certain processed foods, the delicate microbe balance in the stomach can be disrupted and thrown out of whack. Obviously, you don’t want that. To help keep the right balance of microbes thriving in your gut, consider the following tips:
Cut back on sugars and starches—If you think you love sugar, it’s nothing compared to a bad bacteria’s sweet tooth. Sugar is their favorite food. To keep bad bacteria from building up in your gut, avoid consuming anything with refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. And take care to reduce the amounts of starches you’re eating (think bagels and white bread, corn-based foods, potatoes, etc.).
Nosh on whole, unprocessed foods—The more healthy, whole foods you eat, the better. This would include fibrous fruits and veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Chow down on fermented and living foods—Now I’m personally not a fan of sauerkraut or pickles, but foods like these and fermented dairy products like kefir and yogurt (made through natural fermentation with good bacteria) can actually help to increase the rainforest of friendly bacteria in your gut.
Supplement with a good probiotic—This can go a long way in keeping your gut on track by repopulating healthy bacteria. Try taking USANA® Probiotic This probiotic supplement helps bring balance to your belly and digestive tract with a blend of good bacteria—Bifidobacterium BB-12 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG.*
3: Move Yo’ Body
Part of spring cleaning your body includes getting regular exercise. Think about it—our bodies aren’t designed to sit around all day. (Why do you think your adorable toddler runs around all day and is a hurricane of energy?)
Yet far too often we slump down in our desks all day at work, and then go home to slump some more on the couch while we binge-watch Netflix.
Incorporating daily movement into your lifestyle can have major positive health benefits. Even 30 minutes of moderate movement can help rid your body of toxins through perspiration.
Easy Ways to Move More
If you work in an office setting at a desk all day, you can still get daily movement in:
Park further away in the parking lot so you have to walk a bit
Always take the stairs over the elevator (unless there’s like 20 floors, in which case I say screw it and take the elevator)
Use a standup desk so you’re not sitting on your butt all day
Take work breaks and go for a 10–15-minute walk outdoors, or even walk laps around the building in colder weather
As for exercising, you don’t have to join a gym or train for a marathon (especially if you’re like me and you hate running). There are tons of fun and easy ways you can get your daily movement in and also get your heart rate up.
Here arejust a few different enjoyable ways you can exercise:
Walking the dog
Playing Pokémon GO
HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training)
Mud Run 5K
Mowing the lawn
Rollerblading (does anyone else love watching the roller-bladers at the park?)
Whether it’s wearing a fitness tracker and getting 10,000 steps a day or taking a daily bike ride, find what works best for you and get movin’.
Spring Forward with Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning your body doesn’t have to be difficult. But by incorporating these simple tips into your daily routine, you can start off this spring season with a fresh pep in your step.
You probably are aware that there is a lot of information on how to support healthy brain function via what you eat.
Well, rest at ease, because this guidebook is intended to do some of the heavy lifting for you.
Here you will find a quick snapshot of the top 5 posts that show up on Google results for boosting brain power with nutrition.
First, I have gone through and done a thematic analysis and compiled the easy-to-read results for you. I’ll explain which foods or nutrients, in particular, were common in each of the posts.
Second, I also provide the list of foods that were only mentioned once in only one of the articles to give a more extensive list of options to make sure you find something valuable to your personal lifestyle.
Finally, I expound on the findings and provide a little spin with the easy list on other items that may aid you in your endeavor to keep your brain healthy.
By the end, you will not only be an expert in the ways of eating healthy for powerful brain function, but you will also be given easy tips that you can do today to help you support healthy brain function.
I’m not going to tell you that reading this post will change your life in a very important way, but I will go as far to say that there are tips here that will support the health of your brain quickly and easily.
Some of the tips are so easy you won’t have to think twice about including them in your diet.
The superfoods and nutrients below have been compiled from the following posts. We have deemed these posts as the winners of invaluable information on this topic as chosen by popularity, readability, as well as valuable content.
The following foods have been compiled from the posts in the order of popularity. Keep in mind, just because a food was mentioned in each post does not make it more or less valuable than another that may be mentioned in only one.
One might say that the more popular options serve as more available or with higher utility, but no such claims are made here. Each food or source from each post had a clear description of its value, and some were backed by additional researched sources.
All five articles mentioned some source of vitamin E. Four of the articles mentioned nuts in general. Of those, three of them said walnuts specifically. Vitamin E, as specified in several of the above sources, is an antioxidant that serves the purpose of protecting the cells from oxidative damage. In turn this antioxidant process helps defend the brain from normal cognitive decline.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
All five articles mentioned a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Three of the articles specified wild salmon, one said oily fish in general, and one specified chia seeds.
According to these articles, Omega-3 fats serve several purposes for the brain, let alone throughout the body. According to “Boost Your Brain Power With Nutrition”, Omega-3 fatty acids are “critical in brain development in all ages, as they are the building blocks for the brain.”
“10 foods to boost your brainpower” says that omega-3s offer increased levels of DHA and that that fight against normal loss of cognitive function and memory loss.
3. Coconut Oil
Three of the articles mentioned coconut oil (20 Foods, Top 7, 12 Best) Without getting too in-depth on the chemistry and anatomy of coconut oil and our brains, our brain needs fuel to function properly. Coconut oil helps provide the good fats “medium-chain triglycerides (MCT)” to help fuel the brain properly.
Three of the articles said blueberries (20 Foods, 10 Foods, Top 7). Blueberries are another great source of antioxidants while also being relatively low in fructose.
Three said Turmeric (20 Foods, Top 7, 12 Best) Turmeric is a spice often found in curry and supports healthy brain function.
Three said broccoli (20 Foods, 10 Foods, Top 7). According to the articles, broccoli is a great source of vitamin k and choline, both of which are known to support healthy brain development.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Three said pumpkin seeds (20 Foods, 10 Foods, 12 Best). Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc which has shown to help support memory and thinking.
8. Dark Chocolate
Two said dark chocolate (20 Foods, 12 Best). Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids supporting normal/healthy blood vessel function and in turn supporting healthy blood flow to the brain aiding in proper cognitive function and memory.
Flavonoids may not be the easiest to get if you aren’t a fan of dark chocolate or do not drink red wine. Because of their vital importance, USANA has a supplement that not only helps you get all the benefits from the flavonoids, but do so with a yummy grape flavored coding. Proflavanol® C100 may be a supplement worth looking into! To learn more, check out the product here.
Two said spinach (20 Foods, 12 Best). This is an additional source of many vitamins including vitamin K and some B vitamins acting as “brain-protecting antioxidants.”
Two mentioned exercise *even though these are food posts (20 Foods, 10 Foods *as a note afterword). I only include it here on my own synopsis because good, consistent exercise is not only imperative to support healthy brain function, but serves so many invaluable purposes for our overall health. Plus, this is a comprehensive list compiling allthat these articles said, so . . .voila! Here it is.
More Foods For Thought
The rest are foods that were only stated once by only one of the articles, and I will not be going into their value further as much of it overlaps with the sources already mentioned.
If you would like further information on any of the following items, feel free to go right to the source abbreviated on the side of each item. You can find links to each article listed in the “Articles Included” section above.
–Olive Oil (20 Foods)
–Eggs (20 Foods)
–Dandelion Greens (20 Foods)
–Kimchi (20 Foods)
–Jicmaca (20 Foods)
–Avocado (20 Foods)
–Red Wine (20 Foods)
–Almonds (20 Foods)
–Whole Grains (10 Foods)
–Tomatoes (10 Foods)
–B6, B12, B9 (Folic Acid) Specifically (10 Foods)
–Blackcurrant Boost (10 Foods)
–Sage (10 Foods)
–Anthocyanin (Berries, Eggplant, Red Cabbage) (Boost Your)
–Bee Pollen (12 Best)
–Bone Broth (12 Best)
–Beets (12 Best)
–Maca (12 Best)
The Easy List
I hope the above comprehensive list will help you with options and ideas to include in your diet. However, while all of these foods contribute to some function of our brain, there is value in ease and utility. Our lives are busy, and there are many components to our bodies that we need to pay attention.
In the name of simplicity and reality, I’ve provided you with an easier list to digest. Below are three options/ideas that if you only chose to include one of in your daily routine, you’ll be contributing to the health of your brain right now, and may even see noticeable change within a short period of time.
1. The two birds with one stone approach.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a triple threat. Or more for that matter. Choose foods and routines that kill two or more birds with one stone (don’t go kill any birds).
Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t hard to get anymore, even if you don’t like fish. If you’re going to be focusing on your health at all, let alone specifically your brain function, don’t hesitate to start including Omega-3s in your diet now.
Fortunately, the science on the Omega-3 supplement has come a long way. USANA is one supplement provider you may want to look into if you know you’re not getting enough of this important nutrient.
Do you hate fish so much that you’re afraid of even the smell or aftertaste? Me too. This is not a problem with USANA’s product. Infused with lemon oil, all you get when you swallow this easy capsule are light and refreshing lemony reminders you’ve been healthy today. Click here to find out more and get yours today!
2. Keep it simple.
Go nuts for nuts. Again, while there are many foods and nutrients out there that help our brain function properly and support overall health, the more we can accomplish with less, the more likely we’ll be to do it, and to keep doing it.
When in doubt, snack on nuts. Eating nuts will do a variety of good for supporting a healthy brain function as well as supplying the nutrients necessary for healthy cells as they decrease the antioxidants on a cellular level.
If you have some extra time, and you’re not familiar with nutrition on the cellular level, watch this video that goes into the science of having healthy cells. So, you’re interested in learning more or buying USANA’s CellSentials™? Click here for additional information.
3. Easy help.
Sometimes the best approach when trying to begin a new healthy habit is to take the thought out of it. Be well informed and research your products, but after you’ve done so and committed to the new product, make the action as easy to keep doing as possible.
Sometimes we don’t want to think about what to cook for dinner that will not only be yummy and different, but will also get us the nutrients we lacked in the day.
For tired nights and long days when you tend to just “make what you have,” or heat up leftovers, and so many other times that we simply aren’t getting all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need, adding supplements to your meals are one great answer.
USANA Health Sciences’ product Ginkgo-PS™ is a specific supplement designed to aid healthy brain function.
For centuries, many cultures have supplemented with Ginkgo biloba to promote mental acuity. USANA took the highest quality Ginkgo extract and paired it with phosphatidylserine, another unique ingredient with an important role specific to brain function.
This advanced formula helps you stay on top of your game. From remembering where you parked to focusing on that big project, make brainwaves with Ginkgo-PS. Click here to learn more and get yours today!
To recap, there are many nutrients you can take to help support healthy brain function. We believe that when you simplify, you are more likely to add something to your daily routine or diet.
The more likely you are to add a superfood or supplement to your daily routine and diet, the more likely you are to make it a habit. In turn, the more likely you form a healthy habit, the more likely you are to see quick and dramatic changes.
The three steps we’ve provided above are ways you can make a change in your health today and see results quickly. These steps coupled with the compiled list of five top sources on boosting brain power via nutrition gives you a complete guide on changes you can make today to boost your brain power.
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You’ve probably heard the phrase “eat pretty” recently. It’s the popular idea that nutrition is a key factor of inner and outer beauty, both feeling and looking good through the foods we eat. As we’ve written about before, there are many ways to promote healthy-looking skin, and food is certainly a factor. Today, I want to share some recipes with you that incorporate foods that may promote healthy skin and general health, including a delicious dessert using cocoa.
That’s right: dark chocolate is on the approved list. So go grab a piece and let’s get to it.
I’m a big fan of baking instead of frying when possible, and this low-grease recipe is a skin superstar with omega-3-rich salmon. Plus, less grease, along with reducing added sugars, could promote that coveted glowing skin.*
2 lb. salmon
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
3 large lemons
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Add olive oil to a small mixing bowl.
Chop the fresh herbs and add to the olive oil.
Zest two of the lemons into the olive oil herb mixture.
Add the minced garlic.
Squeeze in the juice of two lemons and whisk well.
Place the salmon skin side down in a shallow baking dish.
Top with the lemon herb mixture.
Thinly slice the additional lemon and place on top of each piece of salmon.
Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator for an hour to marinate.
Remove from the refrigerator and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant compound that protects against oxidative damage.* This tomato sauce recipe will stay good for five days, meaning you can make it over the weekend and enjoy it during the week with pastas, fish, or grilled chicken.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. dry red wine
½ tsp. dried basil, crumbled
½ medium red onion, minced
14 oz. diced tomatoes in juice
½ tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
Coarse salt, to taste
In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic.
Cook, stirring frequently until softened (about 7 minutes).
Stir in tomatoes and juice, wine, oregano, and basil.
Simmer 8 minutes or until lightly thickened.
Season with salt to taste.
Lemon Avocado Toast with Eggs
My breakfast seven days a week. Kick off your morning with a high-protein, high-fat (the good kind) meal that will you give you plenty of sustained energy and antioxidants. As my friend Rich mentions in his blog post, eggs contain proline, which is used for collagen production and help normal skin cell regeneration.* Bet you didn’t think trying to eat pretty could taste this good.
1 slice whole-wheat bread
Olive or avocado oil
Feta cheese (optional)
Cook eggs to taste in medium skillet using oil (I prefer fried eggs for this recipe). Add feta halfway through cooking to melt.
Toast whole-wheat bread while eggs cook.
Spread/mash avocado over toast and apply lemon juice liberally.
This salad combines lots of fresh ingredients like kale, which contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other phytonutrients. Carrots aren’t my favorite, but they blend in well with the great variety of other ingredients. Sometimes the best way to eat something you don’t like is to trick your taste buds!
For the salad:
2 cups mixed greens (spinach, kale, rocket, chard, romaine lettuce), roughly chopped
2 peaches, stone removed, cut into thin slices
2 carrots, cut into thin ribbons
1 small onion, finely diced
5–7 small mint leaves
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into small chunks
½ cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia)
For the dressing:
½ lime, juice only
½ lemon, juice only
2 tsp. organic mustard
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1. Toss all the salad ingredients in a large bowl to combine.
2. Add the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend to a creamy sauce.
3. Pour dressing over the salad and mix to combine.
Dark chocolate fans, rejoice: these brownies are more fudge than cake and will satisfy your sweet tooth without the added sugars. Have your cake and eat pretty, too.
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ tsp. vanilla stevia (adjusted to taste)
¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
¾ cup nonfat milk
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly coat an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, vanilla, and vanilla stevia.
Stir in the Greek yogurt, mixing until no large lumps remain. Stir in the milk. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated.
Spread the batter onto the prepared pan. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 13–16 minutes.
Cool completely to room temperature in the pan, and let the brownies sit for at least six hours at room temperature for the fudgiest texture before serving.
Beauty from the Inside
Essential beauty means different things to different people. To “eat pretty” is to look at beauty from the inside as it expands to the outside. To me, it’s that good feeling after eating a healthy meal, knowing that I’ve contributed to healthy-looking skin down the road.
My go-to recipe is the one I make every day, the lemon avocado toast (paired with generous amounts of coffee, another rich source of antioxidants). What are your favorite foods and recipes that follow the Eat Pretty mantra? Leave a comment below.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
I’ve gone through each of these stages throughout my life.
Picky, bored, and stressed led to body image issues as a teenager. Cautious helped me lose weight—perhaps not the healthiest way. Now, being seven months pregnant, I want to eat constantly. (I tend to get “prangry”—pregnant, angry, and hungry—a lot.)
After getting over morning sickness, I’ve started following internal cues regarding food. If I feel hungry, or my tummy rumbles, I eat—which happens quite frequently these days.
This physical internal cue is called intuitive eating. Rather than rely on emotions (eating due to depression or boredom) or the environment (eating due to food odor), intuitive eating follows satiety signals.
Intuitive eating is a relatively new nutrition philosophy—at least when it comes to research. However, it shows the potential to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Often called the non-diet or conscious eating, intuitive eating relies on listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, while understanding when to eat and how much. Additionally, you can reconnect with food by not allowing it to control you. This also means trusting yourself around foods you would normally consider off limits. (I’m looking at you, chocolate cake.)
Listen to Your Body—If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat.
This is the basic principle of intuitive eating.
It seems simple enough. However, emotional or environmental factors can overpower the ability to listen to your body. It takes time to understand when you’re hungry and when you’re not, especially if you’re “required” to eat.
Parents encourage their children to “clean their plates” during meals. And if you go out to eat with friends in a social setting, they might question why you’re not eating. That pressure to eat is part of the problem.
If you’re thinking this will cause you to overeat, pay more attention to when you’re hungry. By eating foods you like when you’re hungry, you may be less likely to binge eat.
For me, I’m almost always hungry at the same times every day, so I have snacks—mostly healthy—for when hunger hits.
2.Develop a Healthy Relationship with Food—We live in a diet-obsessed society. South Beach, Atkins, and Slim Fast are some of the more popular diets. The issue comes when people can’t stick with them.
Dieting, especially if started at a young age, can have a negative impact on healthy behaviors. In fact, dieting can have the opposite effect and lead to weight gain.
Simply taking away the stigma associated with restricting a certain food or food group from your diet—and not putting limitations on eating—can promote a healthier relationship with food.
Intuitive eaters are more mindful of what they eat and when. Focusing on the food’s nourishment, or the satisfaction of “forbidden” foods, provides a healthier approach to eating. With intuitive eating, there are no good foods or bad foods—and nothing is off limits.
3. Trust Your Mind—But don’t focus on “brain hunger.”
In order for intuitive eating to work for you, you have to be mindful and trust yourself. Don’t take hunger cues from your brain, but from your body (like it was mentioned in No. 1).
Eating intuitively can help you focus on the foods that make you feel good (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) instead of those that may not. That’s not to say you can’t ever eat sweets when hungry, but listen to your mind and body when you eat certain types of food.
If it makes you feel good and gives you lots of energy, eat more of it when hungry. If it makes you feel lethargic, maybe don’t eat so much of it. Eat that cake, but stop when you’re full.
How Can I Lose Weight if I Eat Anything?
This is one of the downsides to intuitive eating. There’s no structure. With an “anything goes” mindset, it can be easy to binge or overeat—especially on junk food.
But the point of this eating philosophy isn’t necessarily to lose weight. It’s about getting better in tune with your body and your hunger cues and enjoying food again, especially if you’ve had a negative relationship with it in the past.
Like anything, learning how to eat intuitively can take time. While this may not be the non-diet for everyone, it can at least help you listen to your body.
Editor’s note: The following was written by USANA Fitness Ambassador Erin Oprea.
The holidays can be a crazy time of year. From huge family gatherings to office parties and even colder weather, there are a lot of excuses floating around that can ruin your diet and fitness plans. But these aren’t reasons to lose hope and fall into lasting bad habits.
With the right plan in place, you can absolutely enjoy yourself while sticking to your healthy lifestyle.
Here are a few tips to help limit the impact the holiday season may have on your fitness.
Keep Fitness Fun and Family Oriented
The holidays are a great time to get your family involved in fun fitness activities. Grab your family and find a local 5K to get everyone out, moving, and enjoying the season together. My family and I run a 5K every holiday. It’s good bonding and it’s a great way to burn some calories before we eat a bunch of food. And holiday runs are just a fun environment.
Obviously not all family members are going to be at the same level of fitness—it’s just a matter of going out there together and enjoying the festivities. Some people are going to walk and some are going to run, and some might not finish. But the important thing is knowing you all got out there, got fresh air, and enjoyed it together.
If running isn’t your thing, nothing beats a good old-fashioned jump rope. When there’s no snow or ice on the ground, that’s my go-to favorite thing to do outside because it’s such a versatile piece of equipment. It’s something you can do anywhere. And you can easily do it in short bursts in a Tabata workout to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping.
I love Tabata so much that I gave it an entire section in my book, The 4 x 4 Diet. Tabata is 20 seconds of high-intensity moves followed by 10 seconds of rest, done for eight rounds—a total of four minutes. There are lots of free Tabate time apps. Take a few minutes to look around and pick the one that works best for you.
After you have your timer, grab your friends and family, bundle up, head outside for some fresh air, hit start, and get some work done. Make a game out of it.
It’s OK to Enjoy Holiday Treats, Just Plan Ahead
Eating well during the holidays can be hard, but it’s possible. It’s all about planning ahead and picking and choosing.
Here are my favorite tricks.
Take something healthy to share at holiday parties.
This means you’ll have at least one healthier option. And then just have little bits of all the other goodies. Enjoy a little bit in moderation, but have something you feel good about eating.
Don’t stand next to the food table.
I have to repeat this one: Don’t park yourself right next to the food table. Those temptations are endless and you’re doomed for failure.
Eat before you go to parties.
Never go to a party hungry. This isn’t just for the holiday season; this is a rule I live by. If you’re not starving when you go out, you can have enough to satisfy you and not feel like you have to eat everything. Food always looks better when you’re hungry.
If you drink, drink in moderation.
Alcohol is not our friend, especially sugary, high-caloric drinks. Drink in moderation. Have a cocktail and then have a full glass of water before you go on to your next one. That will slow you down quite a bit.
Make Fitness Goals, Not Resolutions
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions this year, set small, attainable goals.
If you make a goal to lose 50 pounds but only see two pounds come off the first week—even though that is healthy weight loss—you’re going to think 50 pounds is forever away and that there’s no way you’re going to get there. That kind of negativity will just lead to failure.
But if you make small, attainable goals, such as focusing on drinking more water and less soda, you have something to build on the next week. Over time, those small, accomplished goals add up to huge results. And then when you attain those goals, you reward yourself. But not with food.
To me, the best reward is new workout clothes. But I’m not most people. I have clients who set weekly goals and put $5 in a jar when they hit them. And when they hit a monthly goal, they go out and buy something big with it.
But the most important trick about keeping up with your fitness goals through the holidays is to plan ahead. You have to plan out your activity. You have to plan out your food. You even have to pick and choose what days you’re going to be bad. That way, you’ll know in advance what days you’re going to be good.
And then all you have to worry about is having a fun, safe, and fit holiday.
Health is often understood as the absence of disease or sickness. While this definition is valid, it lacks the comprehensiveness of a broader approach. So start assessing your holistic health and wellness on a wider spectrum. This means wellness depends on more factors than simply avoiding the flu each year.
Holistic health and wellness is sustained by eight pillars: physical, nutritional, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, financial, and environmental.
The pillars will give you a sense of how to work toward your optimal wellness, but it’s by no means prescriptive. The path to wellness is not one-size-fits-all. The journey is unique and different for each individual.
Your biology, personality, and environment will determine what wellness means to you. That’s why your approach should be personalized. The common thread for everyone is that wellness requires a holistic approach.
So, let’s learn more about each pillar and how you can strengthen each one.
Most people immediately think of exercise when they hear “physical wellness.” Regular physical activity is an important part of the equation that can’t be ignored. But it’s not the only aspect deserving of attention.
Your body needs more than movement alone. Physical wellness also includes appropriate sleep, hygiene, and a healthy diet (more on this in the next section). If you’re evaluating your physical health, ask these questions: Are you getting enough quality sleep? And if not, what barriers keep you from achieving regular and restful sleep?
Researchers published an update to The National Sleep Foundation’s recommendations for adult sleep requirements. Their study reaffirmed the idea that adults should get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
For college students, parents, and workaholics, this can be a tough number to meet. But simple strategies can ensure the sleep you get comes easily and goes on uninterrupted.
Avoid screens 30 minutes before bedtime.
Incorporate a relaxing wind-down routine each night. This can include dimming lights in your home, turning on calming music, and even light stretching.
Block out unnecessary light and noise. This can be done with blackout curtains and a white-noise machine.
Though nutrition is intimately tied to physical health, it’s so important and must be represented by its own pillar. This is especially true because nutrition must be personalized based on age, sex, activity level, and body chemistry.
A balanced diet requires that you consume nutritional foods that feed your body and mind. The USDA recommends that during meals, adults fill half of their plates with fruits and vegetables. The other half should be dedicated to mostly grains, along with a modest portion of protein and a side of dairy.
Diversifying your plate with appropriate amounts of each food group will help you acquire the necessary macronutrients for day-to-day energy, muscle growth and recovery, and other bodily processes.
Strengthening this pillar requires careful attention to your diet and appropriate supplementation. Life’s stressors and time commitments can make these tasks difficult. But nutritional improvements will help strengthen the other seven pillars of holistic health and wellness.
Consume a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Diversifying this portion of your plate will ensure you get the micronutrients your body needs.
Pay attention to portion sizes to help with weight maintenance and adherence to MyPlate guidelines.
Replace refined grains with their whole counterparts to ensure you get enough fiber.
Emotional wellness encompasses the ability to navigate your feelings. This means identifying, assessing, and effectively sharing those feelings with others.
Why is this important? The ups and downs of life can take you on an emotional rollercoaster. But the better you understand, process, and manage those feelings, the smoother the ride will be.
Create a list of those who support you and how best to contact them. When the going gets tough, it can be hard asking for help. Having this quick reference at hand may make it that much easier to reach out.
Seek out a therapist or counselor. Often a third party’s insight can help you navigate rough waters.
Journaling is an easy way to identify and process your feelings, especially if you’re not comfortable sharing them out loud. It’s always a great way to measure your progress or growth. And reminders of your past obstacles and successes will only be a few pages away.
Social wellness is about connecting with others to form positive relationships. And if those falter, it’s about dealing with any conflicts appropriately.
Social relationships create support systems that can carry you through life’s struggles. Harvard’s Study of Adult Development ran for 80 years, collecting data on hundreds of participants. A recent study on a subset of this population—surviving octogenarians—investigated the connections between marital satisfaction, social lives, and happiness. Researchers found that participants who spent more time with others reported greater levels of happiness.
The impact of surrounding yourself with those that care for you can’t be understated. When the demands of life increase and stress mounts, the ability to turn to someone for support and understanding is powerful. Building and maintaining these networks take time and energy, but the work is worth the effort. And it will continue to serve you throughout your life.
Meet new people through social networks like Meetup.com, community events, or volunteer service.
Schedule a recurring time weekly to reach out to out-of-state friends and family. Connect with someone new each week to keep those relationships strong.
Revisit the idea of pen pals and snail mail. Connecting with loved ones through handwritten communication can really strengthen bonds.
The spiritual pillar will look different for everyone because it’s such a personal piece of overall wellness. It will play a stronger role in one person’s life more than another, depending on how each person defines it.
Spirituality is commonly viewed as a sense of purpose, direction, or meaning, without which, values can slip to the wayside, upending life’s balance. Many cultivate their spirituality through meditation, prayer, or other activities that foster a connection to nature or a higher power.
Maintaining your spiritual wellness will look different for everyone. It’s not about a specific religion or belief system. Spiritual health is about personalizing your journey. Some people might practice mindfulness as a way of checking in with their intentions, guiding their actions, and maintaining a values-based approach to life. How you choose to strengthen your spiritual health is up to you.
Dedicate a small chunk of time each day to yourself. Make this time a priority, free of distractions, interruptions, and major activities. This time can be used to relax, reflect, meditate, or pray.
Keep a journal. Writing regularly can help clear your mind and keep you accountable to the goals you’ve set.
Choose your top three values in life and write them down. Reflect on them often. Keeping these values in the front of your mind will help guide everyday decisions—big and small. This practice will make it easier to say “yes” to things that matter, and “no” to things that don’t align with your values.
Intellectual wellness is strengthened by continually engaging the mind. Doing so can help you build new skills and knowledge that inspire and challenge you, and help you grow. You might choose different ways to keep your mind sharp—depending on your mood. For some, that’s brain games and puzzles, or scholastic endeavors. Even simply engaging in intellectually stimulating conversations and debates can strengthen this pillar.
Some experience intellectual boons through self-discovery and personal advancement. Academic efforts, involvement in community activities, or other avenues of personal growth are just a few you can try.
Look for continuing education classes through a local community college or university.
Join a book club or visit your local library and sign up for a card.
Take up journaling or another self-reflective activity.
To be financially well is to live within your means and plan for the future appropriately. It can be tough to accomplish, but small steps can pay off big-time in the long-run.
Financial wellness might sound the least exciting. But pursuing betterment in this area will surely strengthen the other pillars of holistic health and wellness. After all, financial troubles are one of the top stressors that Americans report. Taking small steps to control spending and save money can really lighten the burden on your everyday life.
Make paying off debt a priority.
Create a budget with the help of an online system like Mint or a personal financial planner.
Set aside a fixed amount of money every month for non-essentials, like entertaining, dining out, and recreation.
Environmental wellness is concerned with your immediate personal surroundings and the larger community where you live and work. Specifically, environmental wellness is determined by the reciprocal relationship between an individual and their environment. How do you support your environment? And in return, how does your environment support your health, well-being, and safety?
The effects of strengthening your environmental wellness can be felt personally, and by your larger local and global communities. The more you care for and respect your natural and built environments, the better they can support and sustain your daily life.
Individual: Keep your workspace clear. A clutter-free workspace inspires creativity and productivity.
Neighborhood: Join local clean-up efforts. This could include: producing less waste, recycling, and picking up litter in your neighborhood.
Larger community: Cut back on car trips. Whether it’s combining errands or replacing motorized transport when possible, each small effort can add up to a large impact.
Build Up Your Pillars of Holistic Health and Wellness
Wellness means different things to each individual. And being well gives each person the ability to reach their personal goals. After all, when your body, mind, and soul are cared for holistically, you’re able to pursue and meet your goals with less resistance.
To determine your personalized approach to wellness, reflect on the eight pillars of holistic health and wellness. Figure out which ones most require your attention. And remember, strengthening each one will provide a great foundation for living your best, healthiest life.
Special Thank You to Jenna Templeton
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You don’t have to memorize the nutrient content of all your foods. You can thank nutrition facts labels for that. It isn’t necessary to recall the sodium content of your breakfast cereal off the top of your head every time you shop. But getting the most information from reading nutrition facts labels can be tough, too.
Here’s six tips for pulling out the facts that matter most to you:
Start with the Serving Size
Every number on that nutrition facts label means nothing without some context. The serving size provides the context you need.
All the amounts that follow are based on that servings size. Sometimes the whole package of food is a serving, but that’s not always the case. That’s why you have to be careful.
Relying on the label’s serving size is a good idea because you can’t trust your judgment. It’s not an insult to you—in general, people are terrible at gauging serving sizes. Research indicates the average person’s estimations are off somewhere between 40-150 percent. So, you could be eating double the number of calories you think you are.
Please fight the urge to skip right to calories or fat content. Don’t start down the label without checking the serving size to put everything else in context.
Figure Out the Type of Fat
Reading nutrition facts is often a dive into the macronutrient content of the food. That’s a helpful way to break things down and give you the information you need. But the raw numbers might not be enough to make good decisions.
This is especially true with fats.
Paying attention to the type of fat and where that fat comes from can be more important than the total number. You want to avoid trans fats, but saturated fat can be more nuanced. That’s why you need to look at the ingredient deck to figure out if the source of fat is vegetable-based (usually healthier) or animal-based (usually unhealthier). Going the extra step will help you make the healthy determination.
Check the Sugar and Find the Fiber
Fats aren’t the only macronutrient that requires extra investigation. When you’re reading nutrition facts labels, look at carbohydrates, but also note the sugar and fiber amount.
While you might avoid sugar, your diet can benefit from more fiber. These complex carbohydrates aid in healthy digestion and keep you feeling full for a longer time. And you only absorb about half of fiber’s calorie content. All these combined effects help fiber support your weight-maintenance efforts. Make sure to find the fiber when reading nutrition facts labels.
Pay Attention to Protein
Just because it’s the final macronutrient mentioned doesn’t mean protein you should ignore it when reading nutrition facts. Far from it. If you’re managing your weight or exercising, protein is key.
A lot of studies have shown dietary protein’s ability to support weight-management programs. An analysis of 51 studies found that a sufficient increase in protein—over 58 percent per day, on average—showed favorable weigh-management results.
A similar analysis showed that dietary protein increases showed favorable effects for muscle and strength during resistance training.
So, protein is a big plus for those focusing on diet and exercise. But it’s also important for general health. Dietary protein provides the essential amino acids your body needs to carry out its daily functions.
Don’t Miss the Micronutrients
The essential vitamins and minerals are listed on the label. This will help you see how much nourishment you’re actually getting from what you’re eating.
On most labels, you’ll also see a percentage of daily value. That number is based on recommended daily allowances, which are about avoiding deficiencies. It doesn’t consider optimal amounts needed to live your best life.
Sodium is one micronutrient you won’t find with the other vitamins and minerals. It’s typically listed with the macronutrients. And if you’re watching your sodium intake, check this important number.
Keep Your Health Goals in Mind
Every person is different. Everybody has different health goals. That makes each label look different to each individual.
You have to look at labels through the lens of your own health goals. When you do that, each number starts to take on new meaning. Here’s one example: if you’re managing your weight, a low-calorie count might be intriguing. But if you’re a body builder, high calories might be more important.
And don’t lose sight of the big picture. Put what you’re about to consume in the context of what you will or have eaten over the course of an entire day. Think of nutrition as a daily bank account. What have you put into your nutritional savings account and what will you be withdrawing?
Reading is Fundamental
Get in the habit of reading labels and learning about the nutritional composition of your food. Over time this becomes easier and eventually will become second nature. You’ll never have to memorize every detail. But at some point, you intuitively begin to know the nutrient content of the food choices in front of you. Educating yourself will help you reach for healthier alternatives to fuel your life.
This is all part of getting serious about your food. In coordination, you should write down your health goals. Then ask how you want food to fuel your life, and what ratios of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) make you feel the best and help you achieve the health you desire? After you have your health goals, utilize a nutrition facts panel to help you achieve them.
But, remember, there is still no substitute for eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible, exercising, choosing healthy sources of protein, and ensuring you get optimal amounts of all essential micro- and macro-nutrients your body needs for optimal health.