Have you ever wondered what all the hype is about kale? Have you ever tried it? Kale is a nutrient-packed leafy green that has lots of health benefits. In fact, kale makes spinach pale in comparison to its nutrient content.
Kale has lots of fiber, which can benefit both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. A high fiber diet helps keep blood sugar levels down in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and people with type 2 diabetes may have improved cholesterol and insulin levels. Kale also contains an antioxidant, known as alpha-lipoic acid, that has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, prevent oxidative stress changes, and decrease neuropathy.
Butternut squash is a member of the gourd family and has lots of nutritional benefits. Its skin is yellow-beige, but inside its bright orange. Its brilliant color comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant you’re your body turns into vitamin A. Studies show that vitamin A helps keep your eyesight sharp by deterring macular degeneration. It also helps prevent breast cancer.
Benefits of Chasteberry
Chasteberry is a normalizing herb for female sex hormones. There is some scientific and anecdotal evidence that it is especially beneficial during menopausal changes, although more scientific studies need to be conducted. Its benefits are believed to include:
Do you have a fitness tracker that you rely on? If you hoping it will help you lose weight, you may be disappointed. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association seems to prove that other methods of encouraging weight loss is better than a fitness tracking device.
The Study on Weight Loss and Fitness Trackers
The study followed almost 500 young adults who had conditions ranging from overweight to obese. All the participants were prescribed a low-calorie diet, increased exercise, and counseling for six months. After this time, half the participants were give a fitness tracker armband to wear that would automatically upload their diet and activity to a website. The other half of the participants had to report their diet to staff via a website manually.
Do you reach for that bag of potato chips or a handful of Oreos when you get stressed? Eating these kinds of foods may be worse for you than when you eat them when you are not stressed! Stress can even upset the way your body handles both healthy and unhealthy foods.
The Research on Stress and Diet
A new study from Ohio State University has revealed that stress affects the way your body processes food. A stressful day can actually lower your metabolism and increase your insulin.
If you are like me, sometimes it seems that sometimes you just don't have the strength to keep going. When you feel that way, its a good time to just take a breath. Take a minute out to do something restorative, like reading something inspirational that will give you the courage and strength to keep going. This Bible verse is one that has given me much inspiration through the years.
Whether it be a friend, co-worker or family member, someone else on your journey will keep you motivated and accountable. Perhaps it can be someone who will go to the gym with you or someone who is also trying to stop smoking. Talk about what you are doing.
Consider joining a support group. Having someone with whom to share your struggles and successes makes the work easier and the mission less intimidating.
If you are married, it is important that your spouse knows who your accountability partner is. Usually a spouse is too close to you to make a good accountability partner.
Choose someone who will be brutally honest with you. You need someone who will hold you accountable. Look for someone who has the qualities you lack.
Do you just love to have some fresh garlic on your pasta? Well, that’s good! Fresh garlic is much more beneficial for your heart than dried garlic, a study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found. There is a chemical released when fresh garlic is cut, called hydrogen sulfide, which relaxes blood vessels. Garlic is commonly used to help treat hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Some people also use it to help prevent colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and breast cancer.
The compounds in garlic break down easily due to heating or being cut. A study in Japan compared garlic preserved in water, alcohol, vegetable oil and fresh garlic. They were measuring a compound known was allicin, which is garlic’s main active ingredient and what gives garlic its strong smell. They found that allicin dissipates quickly once garlic is cut. Scientists believe that allicin has antibacterial properties that may help prevent food poisoning and bacterial infections. Allicin may also help prevent blood clots and certain cancers. Even though allicin breaks down quickly, scientists believe that the compounds it breaks into may still be beneficial. So get out your garlic crusher and mince away!
Light plays a big part in alertness and energy. Bright light wakes up your brain, especially blue light. Sunlight contains UV light and blue light. Light helps regulate our wake/sleep cycles. Just fifteen minutes in the sun can help you feel less sluggish. Leave your blinds open or step outside to absorb some light!
Blue light can help keep you awake, so find a light bulb in the healthy spectrum and put it in your desk lamp if possible. You can also use red light to keep you awake, but be aware that it can cause more of an edgy alertness. Blue light causes more of a calm alertness. For example, red light is more like drinking coffee, while blue light is like drinking a cup of green tea. Blue/turquoise light, which is from 465 nm to 495 nm, is the healthiest form of blue light.
Bright light is a great way to wake up in the morning. A study found that people who were exposed to bright light were more alert and had more activity in the parts of their brain that dealt with cognitive processing. Getting outside for a walk in the morning is a great way to combine more than one energy boosting tip!
A bonus to getting early sunlight is that it helps you sleep at night!
Other health benefits to getting outside in the sunshine include enhancing your mood and memory, and increasing your vitamin D levels, which can help fight depression.
Gardening not only gives you exercise, but it gets you outside in the fresh air and sunshine. If you don’t enjoy other forms of exercise, gardening is a great way to get exercise without even realizing it! Doing something you enjoy is one of the best ways to get sustained energy.
You have heard of grounding the energy in your house. The human body needs to be grounded as well, and gardening provides that. By gardening with your gloves off (and even your shoes) you let positive ions go into the soil and negative ions into your body from the soil. This is called “earthing” and may sound far-fetched, but being outside has been proven to improve energy. To learn more about positive and negative ions and how they affect your body, check out this article: What Are Negative and Positive Ions?
Getting your skin in contact with the dirt also helps fight oxidative stress, which in turn gives you energy.
I am a Duke Integrative Medicine trained Health Coach located in Charlotte, NC. I hold a B.S. and M.A. in Wellness Management. I have a passion for health and for helping others achieve the healthy life they desire.