Want a nutritious snack that can also pass as dessert? These gluten-free peanut butter oat bites contain the delicious combination of dark chocolate and peanut butter, making for a satisfying snack, and the rolled oats add a bit of soluble fiber. What I love most about these bites is the secret ingredient of matcha green tea powder, which packs in more antioxidants.
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon matcha powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut creamer (or coconut milk)
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients: rolled oats, chia seeds, matcha powder, and cinnamon. Stir the mixture to combine well.
Add in the peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir again until mixture is thoroughly combined. Place oat mixture into the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Take the oat mixture out of the refrigerator and roll them into balls, using a heaping tablespoon. This will make about 12 balls. Place back in the refrigerator for another 10 minutes to harden before dipping into chocolate.
In a small sauce pot, add the chocolate chips, vanilla, and coconut creamer or milk. Turn heat to low and slowly melt the chocolate, stirring often. Cook on low until mixture is completely smooth. Be careful not to burn the mixture—keep an eye on it and don’t walk away!
Take the oat bites out of the refrigerator and carefully dip each one into the melted chocolate on one side. Lie them flat on a baking sheet lined with foil after they have been dipped in chocolate. Place in the freezer to harden.
Keep them in the refrigerator and enjoy when wanted. You can also keep them stored in the freezer if you want to enjoy them at a later time.
Ingredient Variations and Substitutions
These balls are scrumptious with peanut butter, but any nut butter would be equally as delicious. If you have a nut allergy, consider using sunflower seed butter instead. You can also feel free to use chunky instead of creamy peanut butter for an additional crunch.
Although dark chocolate slightly increases the nutritional value of these bites, you can melt your personal favorite chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate is a good choice since it is not too sweet, given you already have ample sweetness from the maple syrup in the mixture.
To make these naturally sweetened, swap out the maple syrup and use mashed up dates.
To sweeten with dates, pour hot water over the dates in a small bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes so they can soften. Drain excess water and mash up the dates with a fork until a smooth paste is formed. Add this paste into the oat mixture. You can also try using mashed ripe banana as an alternative natural sweetener. Alternatively, to cut down on sugar, use half the amount of maple syrup and add in unsweetened applesauce.
The matcha powder flavor is almost undetectable but if you would like a stronger presence, simply add in another half teaspoon or so. If you have trouble finding matcha powder, omit altogether.
Cooking and Serving Tips
This recipe is very simple and requires no baking. It is especially great in the summer time.
To minimize the number of dishes used, mix all the ingredients for the oat mixture in one bowl. You can also save time by using chocolate chips—they are convenient to melt instead of having to chop up chocolate.
The oat bites do not need to be refrigerated for any food safety reasons, but the chocolate will melt otherwise.
Plus, it keeps the balls intact. Store them in the freezer, as you may not always finish the whole batch within a few days. This way, you can take one or two out as needed and they are as delicious frozen as they are thawed out. Enjoy these as a snack mid-day or for a light dessert in the evening.
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that your body needs to regulate calcium absorption. Deficiency can result in weakened, brittle bones. Children who don’t get enough may end up with a disease called rickets, and adults with vitamin D deficiency are at a greater risk for osteoporosis.
The adequate daily intake of vitamin D is from 200 to 600 International Units (IU); however, some experts believe those numbers should be increased. Three ounces of salmon contains about 800 IU, a cup of milk has just over 100 IU, and one serving of fortified breakfast cereal usually has about 40 IU vitamin D.
Please know that milk also destroys some Vitamin D too,
People with vitamin D deficiency may experience bone pain and muscle weakness although the symptoms may be very mild at first.
Children who have rickets suffer from soft bones and skeletal deformities. Deficiency in adults will cause osteomalacia, which is a condition that makes your bones weak. Your health care provider can order tests that measure the levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D.
Insufficient levels of vitamin D in the blood have been associated with a variety of other health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and some forms of cancer. However, more research is needed to determine if vitamin D can prevent or treat any of these disorders.
Not eating foods that contain vitamin D and not getting enough sun exposure may lead to vitamin D deficiency. Breastfed infants, older adults, housebound individuals, and people with dark skin are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Individuals who have fat absorption problems due to conditions such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, gastric bypass surgery, or have liver or kidney conditions may not get enough vitamin D from their diets.
You need sun exposure to make vitamin D, but it only takes 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure on your face, arms, legs or back twice each week without sunscreen to stimulate sufficient vitamin D production. Excessive sun exposure increases your risk of skin cancer, so it’s important to use sunscreen and limit your use of tanning beds.
Vitamin D is not naturally present in many foods; however, oily fish and especially cod liver oil are rich in vitamin D. Beef liver, eggs, and cheese also contain small amounts. Vitamin D is added to some foods like milk and fortified breakfast cereals.
Can You Get too Much Vitamin D?
Your body stores fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D, but excessive sun exposure will not cause vitamin D toxicity. It would be tough to get too much vitamin D from foods—even fortified foods—unless you consume large amounts of cod liver oil.
Vitamin D is available as an over-the-counter supplement. But since your body stores fat-soluble vitamins for a long time, taking large amounts of vitamin D can lead to a toxicity that causes nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss.
High blood levels of vitamin D may also raise your blood levels of calcium, possibly resulting in mental confusion and abnormal heart rhythms. So, if you have any health conditions, it’s important to speak with your doctor before taking vitamin D supplements. And follow the label directions unless your healthcare provider tells you differently.
Make an appointment with us, to help you follow a regiment of Vitamin that is RIGHT for you. One thing to ask…. which Vitamin D do I take, and what do I take with it? If you get the answer of anything on the shelf, or just the standard vitamin D and they do not tell you what to take with it, then they are so wrong. And now you know it!
While pumpkins are chock full of beta-carotene (the pre-cursor to vitamin A), and fiber, they are also low glycemic, meaning that pumpkin does not cause blood sugar levels to rise, helping you lose weight. Pumpkin is also great for your eyesight, beautiful smooth skin and has powerful disease-fighting capabilities.
However, keep in mind we are talking about pure pumpkin, not that pumpkin spice muffin you’re eating or your pumpkin spice mocha latte frappe! The sugar and refined flours cancel out the benefits of the pumpkin.
That beautiful bright orange color of pumpkins comes from the antioxidant, beta carotene, which not only turns to vitamin A in the body, but is a powerful antioxidant that protects against heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In fact, a recent study from Brazil showed that diabetic rats fed beta carotene reduced oxidation stress that helped prevent heart disease and disease processes caused by diabetes.
Beta-carotene is not the only diabetes-fighting nutrient in pumpkins. Two other compounds found in both pumpkins and fenugreek, trigonelline and nicotine acid, have been shown in studies to be effective in lowering blood sugar levels by improving insulin resistance, according to researchers in Japan.
Pumpkin’s high fiber helps you feel full longer, which is a great aid in weight loss. And it’s low glycemic properties also help to keep your body in fat-burning mode—not fat-storing mode. Pumpkin’s powerful antioxidants also help fight off cancer and boost the immune system. A pumpkin-protein smoothie can be the perfect post-workout recovery food—since pumpkin is also full of potassium, along with its vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
Pumpkin can be eaten roasted, baked or steamed, similar to sweet potatoes or squash. It is a delicious addition to curries and soups as well. Don’t forget to eat the pumpkin seeds, too, which are best lightly roasted. Pumpkin seeds are known to boost levels of serotonin, the ‘feel-good’ brain chemical.
Try this amazing pumpkin smoothie!
1/2 cup (approximate) organic pumpkin, canned or fresh baked
1 small or 1/2 regular/large tart apple
Protein powder of choice (vanilla works best with this recipe)
1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
Handful of greens if you wish—baby kale, spinach, chard, etc.
Your milk of choice: real raw milk, coconut milk, almond milk, etc.
1 Tbsp of coconut oil
Mix in blender until smooth, add milk until desired consistency. Add a few ice cubes if you like it cold.
You should also know that this recipe is an almost perfect low-glycemic snack for Diabetics, due to it’s blend of fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, and a reasonably low amount of sugars and carbs that impact blood sugar.
1 medium sweet potato (about 10 ounces), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large egg
1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, roughly chopped
4 ounces spicy Italian sausage
1/4 cup pizza sauce
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil.
Add the sweet potato cubes to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until coarsely ground, similar to the texture of coarse salt.
Add the ground sweet potato, almond flour, Parmesan, salt, garlic powder and egg to a bowl and stir until combined. Transfer the sweet potato mixture to the prepared baking sheet and form into a 12-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Brush with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Bake until browned around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.
For the toppings: Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath. Blanch the broccoli rabe in the boiling water, then transfer to the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
Set a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon into crumbles, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Remove the crust from the oven and top with the pizza sauce, broccoli rabe, sausage, goat cheese and pepper flakes. Place back in the oven and cook until the toppings are warmed through and cheese is melted, another 8 to 10 minutes.
Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables is an easy and healthy meal that’s perfect for a busy weeknight! Homemade teriyaki sauce makes this dish, and you can use your favorite veggies!
For the sauce:
2teaspoonstoasted sesame oil
1tablespoon+ 1 teaspoon cornstarch
For the stir fry:
1 1/4lbschicken breastcut into 1-inch pieces
1red bell peppercut into1-inch pieces
salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce:
Place the soy sauce, water, garlic, ginger, honey, brown sugar and sesame oil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil.
Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water until dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and boil for 1-2 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Set sauce aside.
For the stir fry:
Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and red peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables have started to brown and soften. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook, until water has evaporated. When your vegetables are crisp & tender, remove them from the pan and set aside; cover to keep warm.
Wipe out the pan. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan over high heat.
Place half of the chicken in the pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Set the first batch of chicken aside and repeat the process with the rest of the chicken.
Add all of the chicken and vegetables back to the pan. Pour the sauce over the top and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat until warmed through.
Jealousy has struck all of us at some point in our lives. In fact, we might have been under the spell of jealousy even before our very first memories. Jealous behaviors can be observed in human beings as early as infancy, but it’s one of those things that we likely won’t outgrow. Jealousy can intensify with age because the only thing worse than jealousy is romantic jealousy.
Think you’re too old or too “experienced” in relationships to be swept away by romantic jealousy? That’s unlikely. It can happen to anyone at any age. Jealousy usually has an interesting way of afflicting even the most (self-proclaimed) super-confident, “non-jealous” types.
The funny thing about romantic jealousy is that a) It’s never funny to the afflicted person, and b) People act like admitting to being jealous is like confessing to a crime. This could occur for various reasons, but it’s likely that the jealous person is already humiliated enough to discover that they can’t hide their jealousy (resulting in someone noticing it and pointing it out), therefore admitting to being jealous is only intensifying those uneasy feelings.
Like most things in life, romantic jealousy is okay in moderation. But what if you’re romantic jealousy goes overboard or even becomes obsessive in nature? This can not only affect your relationship, but also rob you of your happiness (and your sanity).
Below are 10 ways that are more than just band-aid solutions for overcoming romantic jealousy. Jealous feelings flare up for a reason and it’s important to look at yourself a little deeper and think about why you’re having these feelings. Romantic jealousy might begin a process of self-discovery and allow you to make some positive changes to not only better your relationship, but increase your overall happiness and wellbeing.
1. Don’t compare yourself
This tip is number one for a reason because if there is one thing that jealous people have in common it’s comparing themselves to others. The point of comparison is typically the individual that we believe our romantic partner is interested in or “likes” better than us. The danger with engaging in this downward-spiral habit: It feeds into negative things like low self-esteem, bitterness, cynicism, envy…you name it.
What to do: We all give in and compare ourselves to others once in a while, but it’s important to combat this by acknowledging our positive traits and qualities. If you find yourself looking to another person and comparing your life to theirs, this could mean that you need to take some time to celebrate your own accomplishments and recognize your own uniqueness.
2. Focus on your relationship
Romantic jealousy not only takes up a lot of your mental space, but also physical space between you and your partner. When your conversations with your partner are characterized by arguments related to jealousy, you’re taking up time and energy that you can be spending and enjoying together.
What to do: One of the mysteries behind romantic jealousy is that the core fear of the jealous person is losing their partner, but the very acts that accompany jealousy can make that possibility come true. In other words, your biggest fear is losing your partner, but by letting jealousy interfere with your relationship, you might be pushing your partner away from you. Give your relationship priority over your jealousy.
3. How do you see yourself?
Self-esteem issues are an important root cause of romantic jealousy. Working on increasing self-esteem can be a lifelong process for some, but you can start by thinking about how your jealousy is influenced by your beliefs about yourself. If you feel you are not “enough” for your partner (i.e., smart enough, good looking enough, funny enough, rich enough, etc.) then you are prone to suffering from romantic jealousy.
What to do: One of the most effective ways to work on increasing your self-esteem is by participating in one (or more) activities or hobbies that you enjoy that provides you with a sense of meaning and accomplishment. This is not as complicated as it sounds. This hobby or activity can be anything you enjoy (e.g., cooking, singing, drawing, swimming, dancing). The point is that you’re doing something that makes you feel good about yourself, something that reminds you that there is more to you than the list of “enough’s”. You have many positive qualities and abilities that make you a special person. Practice acknowledging and celebrating this fact.
4. Forgive and forget
Romantic jealousy is often ridden with not just jealousy about things going on in the present, but things in your partners past as well. These “things” can be anything from baggage from a past relationship to an ex that is still somehow in your partner’s life. Forgetting the past is not an easy task, but it is critical if you want to enjoy a positive and lasting relationship with your partner.
What to do: There is a prerequisite, though, in your quest to forget your partners past: You must accept your partner for who they are. Neither you nor your partner can change what happened in the past. If you are accepting to be in a relationship with your partner, you should also agree to accept and respect the “life baggage” that they carry.
5. It might be you, not them
Oftentimes, people who are jealous fail to accept their own role in the problem and feel that it’s their partner who is triggering the jealous feelings and actions. In your pursuit to overcome romantic jealousy, consider that these feelings might actually have nothing to do with your partner.
What to do: In many cases, jealousy is a personal, internal state of insecurity and self-doubt. You could be trying to ease the burden on yourself by blaming your partner for “making” you jealous. Taking responsibility is key in order to begin addressing the problem.
6. Talk to your partner
Discussions between couples about romantic jealousy often appear more like an interrogation than an actual dialogue. Your partner will likely become defensive, tune you out, label you “jealous,” and dismiss anything you have to say.
What to do: If after you have thoroughly thought about your role and responsibility for your jealous behaviors you continue to feel like your partner is partly to blame, then it’s time to talk about it. This conversation should occur at a “neutral” time (i.e., not during or shortly after an argument or disagreement) and should consist of the following:
Express your feelings to your partner. This is not the time to pretend that you’re not jealous. Your partner already knows you are, so leave the pride aside.
Be specific about what bothers you. Don’t make general or arbitrary statements that leave your partner guessing or confused.
Try to arrive at a solution together. Talking about a problem without participating in offering a solution comes off like you’re just complaining. Tell your partner how you would like to resolve your concerns and let your partner come up with solutions too.
7. Who you surround yourself with
A couple went for marriage counseling for issues unrelated to jealousy. After a few months of counseling, the wife suddenly began to bring up issues related to romantic jealousy. It was later revealed that the couple had recently rekindled an old friendship with another couple. The wife in the other relationship was extremely jealous towards her husband and would vent all of her jealous suspicions to her friend.
What to do: We all know the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive people, but we really understand this when we notice someone else’s issues or negative qualities rubbing off on us. If you are struggling with romantic jealousy, having a group of friends who either egg you on or speak negatively about relationships in general will only bring you down. Strive to surround yourself with other people that you would like to emulate.
8. Stop stalking…
People struggling with romantic jealousy often spend hours trying to dig up information on their partner. They search emails, social media sites, personal belongings, cell phones, or even try to secretly follow their partner. Finding no evidence to substantiate their jealousy theories does not discourage them. It only seems to make them search longer and harder. Stalking feeds into the obsession aspect of romantic jealousy. It is time consuming and distressing for the jealous partner. When the other partner finds out about the stalking behaviors, they might feel angered at the mistrust and the violation of privacy.
What to do: Think about how you are investing your time, the way it makes you feel when you are stalking your partner, and what else you can be doing with your time instead. This can help put things in perspective. If you ask someone who has overcome romantic jealousy, they will likely tell you that they took a “let the chips fall where they may” approach to their relationship: If their partner is doing something wrong, sooner or later the truth will be revealed. They refuse, though, to let negative behaviors rob their happiness and well being.
9. …so you can stop and smell the roses
Imagine yourself enjoying your relationship without putting in all the energy that jealousy takes from you. Once you free yourself from some of the negative thoughts and behaviors that accompany romantic jealousy, you will be amazed to rediscover all of things you’ve been missing. You will also find that you are enjoying your partner and your relationship so much more.
What to do: Visualize what your ideal relationship with your partner would look like. Write your ideas down if needed. Once you set the intention to work on yourself you will be more likely to actively put effort towards your goals.
10. Confidence is key
When we want to make personal changes, sometimes there is an inevitable focus on the negative: Your issues, your problems, and your negative traits. Change can also successfully take place by focusing on and building upon something positive that will counter or outweigh the negative behavior that you want to change. Confidence is the direct opposite of jealousy. When you build self-confidence, feelings like jealousy, doubt, and insecurity don’t have room to grow. Those feelings will always be present to a certain extent because we’re human, but your confidence and belief in yourself will prevail.
What to do: Developing and increasing your self-confidence works in much the same way as the other tips on this article. You must acknowledge and accept your own uniqueness and dedicate your time to activities that make you feel good about yourself and give you a sense of purpose. If your self-confidence is based on what others think or say about you or what you think your partner expects from you, then your beliefs about yourself will likely be unstable and ever changing. When your self-confidence is based on what you feel and know about yourself, then you alone are in charge of your own happiness.
Study proves that people who eat organic have 25% lower risk of cancer
If you’ve ever doubted whether organic food is worth the higher price tag, a study that was recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine should put your concerns to rest. In the study, French researchers showed that people who consume organic food have a 25% lower risk of cancer.
The study, which was carried out under the guidance of epidemiologist Julia Baudry, looked at the diets of nearly 70,000 French adults with an average age in their mid-40s. The volunteers were divided into four categories according to how often they ate 16 organic products that included vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, prepared meals, condiments, dietary supplements, vegetable oils and other products.
After an average follow-up time of 4 ½ years, the researchers looked at how many of the participants had developed some type of cancer. After comparing the volunteers’ organic food scores with the cancer cases, they were able to determine that those who ate the most organic food were 25 percent less likely to develop cancer than those who did not eat organic food. When it came to specific types of cancer, the group who ate organic was 73 percent less likely to go on to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 21 percent less likely to go on to develop postmenopausal breast cancer.
It might be tempting to assume that the group who ate organic food would be more health-conscious overall and likely had a healthier diet in general, and that may be responsible for the lower cancer risk. However, the researchers say that simply is not true; even those who ate a low- to medium-quality diet yet opted for organic enjoyed the reduced cancer risk.
The authors concluded that should the findings be confirmed, promoting the consumption of organic food to the public could serve as a good strategy against cancer.
Pesticides have long been linked to cancer
The co-author of the commentary that was published alongside the study, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Associate Professor Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro, called the findings “incredibly important” and pointed out that they are consistent with the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s finding that pesticides cause cancer in humans.
The study’s findings are also supported but other studies have shown a negative relationship between the consumption of organic food and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in particular.
Agricultural chemical firms like Monsanto have long insisted their products do not cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma. However, in August, Monsanto was ordered to pay a school groundskeeper who was terminally ill with the disease $289 million in damages, and they are facing class-action lawsuits on behalf of countless other cancer patients who have developed the disease from exposure to glyphosate.
Yes, organic is worth it
Although the study does leave some questions unanswered, the authors believe that the negative relationship between organic food consumption and cancer risk comes from the “significant” decrease in contamination exposure that takes place when people replace conventional food with organic varieties.
Defenders of conventional agriculture and those who profit from pesticides may argue that the study was flawed, but it’s hard for many people to justify continuing to take such a gamble with their health. In the past decade, the organic food industry has more than doubled. Last year, the Organic Trade Association reports that organic food made up 5.5 percent of all the food sold in the U.S. Although more people are making this healthy choice, it’s clear that more progress needs to be made in spreading the word about the benefits of choosing organic.
Sticking to a healthy diet is tough — we need all the extra motivation we can get. Adding fat-burning foods to your meals ‘n snacks does double duty: They’re healthy additions in and of themselves, and they help burn calories. Try the following:
Berserk for Beans
One bean, two bean, red bean, blue bean. And when I say “red” and “blue,” I mean “pinto” and “navy.” Whatever type of bean is your personal favorite, you can count on one thing — experts insist it’ll be great at helping your body burn fat. Beans are all-around amazing because they contain lots of protein and fiber. Eating protein is one of the very best ways to encourage your body to burn fat: It boosts your metabolism and helps you feel full and energized. Where does the fiber come in? Studies show that dietary fiber can help regulate your appetite and slow down your digestion, both of which are great for weight control. Aside from those navy and pinto beans, stock up on other fat-burning beans like soybeans, garbanzo beans, black beans, white beans, kidney beans, and lima beans.
Bonus:Beans are incredibly budget friendly. Who doesn’t love that?
Fired Up for Fish
But not just any fish! While most types of seafood are smart choices, they’re not all fat-burning superstars like salmon and tuna. You’ve probably heard that salmon and tuna are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Why should you care? Because not only do omega-3s help grow your hair and nails, they stimulate a protein hormone in your body called leptin, whichjumpstarts your metabolism and regulates your appetite. Who’s up for sushi?
Hungry for Whole Grains
Are you cuckoo for carbs? Well, then, allow me to introduce your new best friends: quinoa, brown rice, oat, and corn. These foods are considered whole grains (not to be confused with refined white carbs, which are basically the opposite of fat-burning foods), and chowing down on them fuels your bod with much-needed fiber and complex carbohydrates. It’s the “complex” part that helps burn fat: 1) Complex carbs break down more slowly than the simple variety, meaning your energy levels won’t crash, and 2) They hold your insulin levels steady, which is good because insulin spikes encourage your body to hang on to fat. Rise and shine and burn fat with one of our staple recipes, the growing oatmeal bowl.
If quinoa is your new best friend, yogurt should come in at a close second. Dairy products contain both protein and calcium, which help keep your muscle mass intact while promoting weight loss. Another tidbit of good news about dairy: Studies show that of two groups of participants on low-calorie diets, the group that included dairy in their diets lost more weight than the dairy-free group. And, as if you need more reason to grow a milk mustache, research shows that probiotics found in some light dairy fights fat.
Dairy can be scary because it usually contains fat, but it’s not difficult to stick to fat-free and light varieties of milk, yogurt, and cheese. There are so many delicious options out there.
Ready for Red Grapes (and Wine)
As if we needed another reason to drink red wine. I’ve saved the best for last: A recent study suggests that red wine (from extracts found in a certain type of red grape) may help your body fight fat. The study found that people who ate a high-fat diet accumulated less fat when they also consumed Muscadine grapes. Conversely, the group that also ate a high-fat diet but didn’t consume the red grapes accumulated the amount of fat that would be expected based on their food choices. The results are attributed mostly to something called ellagic acid, a compound found in Muscadine grapes. Muscadine grapes are grown primarily in the southeastern United States, and they’re used to make certain American wines. Cheers!
Please NOTE: It is not correct for everyone to eat all of these food groups mentioned. If you are having problems with digestion, or anti-inflammatory problems please send us a note. Prevention is the best path to travel. Let us help you out with that!
In the U.S., an estimated 1 in 3 has high blood pressure (hypertension); another 1 in 3 has prehypertension.1 A blood pressure reading of 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) is considered healthy.
High blood pressure is typically considered anything over 140/90 mmHg, although updated guidelines2 from the American Heart Association now have 130/80 mmHg as the cutoff for a diagnosis of hypertension. Elevated systolic pressure (the top or high number) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia.3
While drugs are typically the first-line treatment for hypertension, they’re associated with a number of problematic side effects. For example, research4 published in 2017 found hydrochlorothiazide — one of the most popular drugs used worldwide to treat high blood pressure — raises the risk of skin cancer sevenfold.
Diuretics, also commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, have the side effect of leaching both sodium and potassium out of your body, and maintaining a healthy sodium-to-potassium ratio is really important for the normalization of your blood pressure.5
Potassium is also needed for proper muscle movement, including the contractions of your heart, and if your level gets depleted it can trigger muscle cramps and heart problems. So, what can you do beside popping a daily pill? The good news is exercise can go a long way toward normalizing your blood pressure.6,7,8
Increasing Insulin Sensitivity Is the First Line of Treatment for High Blood Pressure
Over 80 percent of the U.S. population are insulin resistant and this metabolic dysfunction causes a boatload of problems, such as an increased risk of obesity and diabetes. There are many well-reported links between obesity and high blood pressure.9 Most, but certainly not all, those with hypertension are overweight, and in those circumstances losing weight is associated with lowering of their blood pressure.
So, if you have high blood pressure your first strategy is to regain your metabolic flexibility and be able to burn fat as a primary fuel once again. This will not only decrease your insulin resistance and help optimize your weight, but also radically decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.10
Exercise Is Another Potent Therapy for High Blood Pressure
Inactivity and blood pressure are also closely related — so closely that exercise is actually considered a first line of treatment by several health authorities, including the World Health Organization, the International Society of Hypertension and the U.S. Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, just to name a few.11
Research shows inactive individuals have a 30 to 50 percent greater risk for high blood pressure than their active counterparts.12 As noted in a literature review13 on exercise and hypertension, published in Australian Family Physician:
“An evidence based literature analysis by the American College of Sports Medicine indicates that an isolated exercise session (acute effect) lowers BP [blood pressure] an average of 5 to 7 mmHg … [T]he average BP reduction with regular endurance exercise for hypertensives not normalized by drug therapy in the literature review is 7.4/5.8mmHg …
Depending upon the degree the patient’s BP has been normalized by drug therapy, regular aerobic exercise significantly reduces BP the equivalent of 1 class of antihypertensive medication (chronic effect) … Overall, resistance training has a favorable chronic effect on resting BP, but the magnitude of the BP reductions are less than those reported for an aerobic based exercise program …
For most hypertensive patients, exercise is quite safe. Caution is required for those over 50 years of age, and those with established cardiovascular disease (CVD) (or at high CVD risk) and in these patients, the advice of a clinical exercise physiologist is recommended.”
Try These Exercises to Lower Your Blood Pressure
The key to affect your blood pressure is to do physical activity that raises your heart rate, making your heart beat faster and increase blood flow. This is also known as cardiovascular or aerobic exercise.
As you might guess, just about any physical movement can achieve this, depending on your current state of fitness. Even yard work can be a cardiovascular exercise. Raking and mulching, for example, takes some effort and will get your heart pumping. Other aerobic exercises include:
Brisk walking and/or running — Research14 published in 2013 found moderate-intensity brisk walking produced similar reductions in blood pressure as vigorous-intensity running.
Swimming and/or water aerobics — In one study,15 adults aged 50 and over who swam three to four times a week for 12 weeks improved their vascular function and reduced their systolic blood pressure by an average of nine points.
Bicycling — A 2016 study16 showed that people in their 40s through 60s who bicycled to and from work were less likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or prediabetes. After 10 years of follow-up, bicycle commuters had an 11 percent lower risk for hypertension than nonbikers.
Weightlifting and/or body weight exercises — A small 2012 study,17 which included middle-aged men diagnosed with high blood pressure who had previously exercised less than two hours a week and were not using antihypertensive medication, showed that after weight training for 45 to 60 minutes (three sets of 12 repetitions for each of seven exercises), systolic blood pressure was reduced by an average of 22 mmHg and diastolic pressure by an average of 8 mmHg.
Sports such as tennis, soccer and ultimate Frisbee
Isometric Handgrip Training Lowers Blood Pressure in Older Adults
Isometric handgrip exercises have also been shown to have a positive impact on blood pressure in older adults.
Interestingly, a 2013 systematic review18 concluded improving your handgrip strength was even more effective for lowering systolic blood pressure than conventional endurance and strength training programs.
Other studies19,20 have also confirmed the benefit of both handgrip and leg extension exercises on blood pressure. As noted in one of them:21
“Isometric resistance training lowers [systolic blood pressure], [diastolic blood pressure], and mean arterial pressure. The magnitude of effect is larger than that previously reported in dynamic aerobic or resistance training. Our data suggest that this form of training has the potential to produce significant and clinically meaningful blood pressure reductions and could serve as an adjunctive exercise modality.”
Boosting Your Nitric Oxide Level Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Another excellent exercise is the Nitric Oxide Dump. This and other high-intensity exercises help normalize your blood pressure by triggering production of nitric oxide in your body. It involves just four movements — squats, alternating arm raises, nonjumping jacks and shoulder presses — which are done in repetitions of 10, with four sets each. In total, it takes just three to four minutes. Ideally, you’d do these exercises three times a day, a few hours apart.
Nitric oxide is a soluble gas stored in your endothelium (the lining of your blood vessels) and acts as an important signaling molecule throughout your body. Along with promoting healthy endothelial function, nitric oxide also supports heart health by helping your veins and arteries dilate, which promotes healthy blood flow.
Nitric oxide also plays a protective role in your mitochondrial health, the energy storehouse of your cells, responsible for the utilization of energy for all metabolic functions. Even your skeletal muscle, which is made up of only about 1 percent to 2 percent mitochondria, depend on these energy powerhouses to fuel your daily movements.
When you exercise and your muscles ache, it’s because you’ve run out of oxygen, which your body compensates for by releasing nitric oxide. But here’s the secret that’s not widely known: When you exercise, it takes only about 90 seconds for your blood vessels to run out of stored nitric oxide and begin the process of making more.
This is why working major muscle groups for as little as 90 seconds can be so effective.22 You can also take advantage of the nitric oxide-boosting power of vegetable nitrates, which serve as precursors for nitric oxide. Arugula is the highest source but fermented beet powder can have up to 500 percent greater concentration of nitrates.
How Much Exercise Do You Need to Help Normalize Your Blood Pressure?
As a general recommendation, aim for moderate-intensity activity 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.23 The higher the intensity of your exercise, the lower the frequency needs to be, so if you’re doing more vigorous aerobic activity, you can get away with doing just three days a week. In addition to that, it’s recommended to perform some sort of muscle strengthening exercise two days a week.
If you have high blood pressure, chances are you’re not exercising enough at present. If that’s the case, start slow and build your way up. For example, start taking a walk a few times a week, and increase the frequency as you start feeling more able. Over time, also step up the intensity, and be sure to add some form of strength training — especially if you’re insulin resistant — as well as isometric handgrip exercises, which can easily be done while watching TV or otherwise relaxing.
I also recommend training yourself to breathe through your nose when exercising, as mouth breathing during exercise can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, sometimes resulting in fatigue and dizziness.
Other Lifestyle Strategies for Lowering Your Blood Pressure
Aside from exercise, here are several additional suggestions that can help lower your blood pressure naturally.
Optimize your vitamin D level — Vitamin D deficiency is associated with both arterial stiffness and hypertension.24 For optimal health, maintain a vitamin D level between 60 and 80 nanograms per milliliter year-round.
Mind your sodium to potassium ratio — According to Dr. Lawrence Appel, lead researcher on the DASH diet and director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins, your diet as a whole is the key to controlling hypertension — not salt reduction alone.
He believes a major part of the equation is this balance of minerals — i.e., most people need less sodium and more potassium, calcium and magnesium. According to Appel,25 “Higher levels of potassium blunt the effects of sodium. If you can’t reduce or won’t reduce sodium, adding potassium may help. But doing both is better.”
Indeed, maintaining a proper potassium to sodium ratio in your diet is very important, and hypertension is but one of many side effects of an imbalance. A processed food diet virtually guarantees you’ll have a lopsided ratio of too much sodium to potassium. Making the switch from processed foods to whole foods will automatically improve your ratios.
Intermittent and partial fasting — Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to normalize your insulin/leptin sensitivity, which is a root cause of hypertension. My new book, Keto Fasting which goes into great detail about partial fasting comes out next spring.
Walk barefoot — Going barefoot will help you ground to the earth. Experiments show that walking barefoot outside (also referred to as Earthing or grounding) improves blood viscosity and blood flow, which help regulate blood pressure. So, do yourself a favor and ditch your shoes now and then.
Grounding also calms your sympathetic nervous system, which supports your heart rate variability. This in turn promotes homeostatis, or balance, in your autonomic nervous system. In essence, anytime you improve heart rate variability, you’re improving your entire body and all of its functions.
Address your stress — The connection between stress and hypertension is well documented, yet still does not receive the emphasis it deserves. In fact, it has been shown that people with heart disease can lower their risk of subsequent cardiac events by over 70 percent simply by learning to manage their stress.
Suppressed negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness can severely limit your ability to cope with the unavoidable every day stresses of life. It’s not the stressful events themselves that are harmful, but your lack of ability to cope.
The good news is strategies exist to quickly and effectively transform your suppressed, negative emotions and relieve stress. My preferred method is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), an easy to learn, easy to use technique for releasing negative emotions. EFT combines visualization with calm, relaxed breathing, while employing gentle tapping to “reprogram” deeply seated emotional patterns.
Essential oils — A number of essential oils can also be helpful, including lavender, ylang-ylang, marjoram, bergamot, rose, frankincense, rosemary, lemon balm and clary sage. In one study,26scientists found exposure to essential oil for one hour effectively reduced stress as measured by a reduction in the participants’ heart rate and blood pressure.
The effect was only temporary, however. In another, similar study,27 inhalation of a blend of lavender, ylang-ylang, neroli and marjoram essential oils was associated with a reduction in blood pressure and cortisol secretion, which is often elevated during stress.