Category Archives: Healthy Life

22 benefits of jogging

Jogging is a fairly gentle sport that allows you to get all the benefits of exercise without putting your body under huge amounts of strain. There are many benefits of jogging that go far beyond the obvious associations we make with it.

In fact, a surprising amount of these benefits are unknown to the majority of us, and even those that do jog may only feel some of them. However, this does not mean that the first associations we make with jogging are any less beneficial, so they are a good place to start in this list.

1. Respiratory System

Jogging is an aerobic activity, which means that the use of oxygen features heavily. This is the opposite of sprinting which is anaerobic, as no oxygen is involved; sprinters generally hold their breath for the duration of the sprint. In aerobic activities each cell in the body requires oxygen and produces carbon dioxide as a waste product.

The respiratory system is responsible for the intake of essential oxygen and the release of waste carbon dioxide. Of course, this is an ongoing process every time you breathe, but jogging helps make it a much more efficient one. The tidal volume, or the lungs’ capacity, increases overall, and as this increases the amount of oxygen your muscles need decreases due to their improved efficiency.

The lungs also grow more alveoli, which is where gas exchanges are made between the blood and the lungs, so that the extra intake of oxygen can be used effectively. The overall increase in your body’s intake and efficiency with oxygen has huge benefits that we will see later.

2. Cardiovascular System

The cardiovascular system is responsible for transporting blood around the body and consists of the heart, veins, arteries, and capillaries. It is through the blood that oxygen and carbon dioxide as well as other nutrients are transported between the lungs and every cell in the body.

The burning of cholesterol reduces blood pressure which subsequently lowers the risk of heart disease and strokes. Just like the lungs grow extra alveoli, capillary density will increase around the body to ensure that the oxygen is getting to new muscle and to already existing parts of the body.

Capillaries are where exchanges are made between the blood and cells, resulting in each cell receiving the oxygen and other essentials in greater quantities and speed, as well as more easily passing off waste. Each cell is therefore functioning to a much greater degree of efficiency.

3. Heart

The heart benefits hugely from jogging. It is arguably one of the most important organs in the body and is responsible for pumping blood. The improvements to the cardiovascular system have knock on effects for the heart. The heart is a muscular organ, so the more it works, the stronger it becomes.

Clearly a strong heart reduces the risk of heart disease in later life. Regular exercise, such as jogging helps to strengthen it.

4. Muscles

New muscle will grow and existing muscle will become stronger and more efficient. The muscle that gains the most benefit aside from the heart is the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle which controls your breathing and separates your lungs and heart from the abdominal cavity.

Every time it contracts, your lungs draw in air. This is going to happen a huge amount of times during a jog, which means that it gets much stronger, and can help your lungs fill with more air as well as cope with any further strenuous activity.

The legs are clearly worked a lot also, and jogging does more than what simply walking  does (stretching the muscles). Because jogging is a gentle sport, your legs will complete a large number of low weight extensions. This strengthens them without getting them to grow massive.

5. Brain

The organs of the body benefit enormously from the increase in oxygen, and although all are important, the most impressive improvement is in the brain. Experiments have shown that jogging leads to new neurons being created in the brain. Neurons are cells in the brain, and an increase in their number has shown to lead to better learning and memory capabilities while tackling diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease.

However, there are far more benefits for the brain than we would expect. Increased neuro-plasticity as a result of jogging means that the brain is more capable of adapting to changes, such as pregnancy. The brain also increases its cognitive ability and releases hormones that improve your mood and self-motivational abilities as well as many other psychological benefits.

6. Psychological Health

After introducing jogging to your regular routine, you will notice several improvements to your psychological health and energy levels. Jogging is often advised to those suffering from depression or addiction, although you do not need to be suffering from either of these two to notice the benefits.

Jogging causes a state of euphoria known as ‘runner’s high’ which comes after a period of moderate exercise. This feeling of euphoria is due to the release of endorphins. Jogging is also known to act as an anti-depressant, reduce stress, and increase energy levels, meaning that for those feeling low on energy and struggling with day to day activities, a gentle jog will increase your capability to deal with daily activities. This is essentially what fitness is all for.

7. Immune System

As with everything else, the immune system also increases in functionality. Your body becomes stronger and can resist infections, like the common cold. However, this is not the case for marathon runners who exert themselves to such an extent that their body is weakened.

This improvement is because of increased physical strength, stronger filtering devices in the trachea and increased production of white blood cells, as well as lower levels of stress, depression and fatigue. It is worth bearing in mind that putting your body under too much strain will weaken your immune system temporarily.

8. Bones

Jogging can strengthen the bones and may help prevent certain bone diseases from forming. Having healthy bones is important for a number of reasons. For example, red blood cells are produced by bone marrow. Jogging could also contribute to building stronger and more flexible joints.

9. Weight Loss

One of the major reasons that people start jogging is to lose weight. I mentioned earlier that cholesterol is burnt in veins and arteries, and it is true of fat in the body as well.

If you are jogging as part of a weight loss program it is important to be sensible and to take it slowly, run with good shoes and try to run on softer surfaces such as grass to lessen the pressure on your knees.

A good weight loss diet together with regular jogging can work wonders!

10. Anti-ageing

Everything mentioned above contributes to slowing the effects of age. After a relatively short period of jogging you will be in a better state both physically and mentally, and higher levels of energy and positivity help maintain a youthful outlook on life. More blood and oxygen gets to your skin, giving it more colour and firmness, thus slowing down any developing wrinkles.

11. Any Time, Any Place

Starting to jog only takes a little motivation and it can be done from anywhere at any time. Jogging in green areas is good for the sense of ‘runner’s high’ because you feel as though you are out in nature, something that is good for your psychological health.

However, if you live in a city and aren’t near a park, jogging down streets will still give you all the benefits listed above. Jogging can be done any time of the day at any time of year for the same benefits. It is sensible to wear warm clothes in the winter.

12. It is Free

Jogging incurs no extra cost other than buying a good pair of trainers. No other equipment is needed and no membership fee has to be paid to go for a run. Your health can be improved substantially, for free!

13. Improves Energy Levels

I mentioned earlier how increased energy levels are psychologically healthy, but this will also have huge benefits for all other areas of your life. Not only will you have more energy to be able to exercise longer, but your overall productivity will increase, be it at school or work.

14. Confidence

Jogging will drastically increase your confidence too. Many people look at their bodies with a very critical eye, and when you see the physical improvements, a greater self worthiness will be another reward. This is also due to the anti-depressive and stress reducing qualities of jogging.

15. Thought Organisation

Jogging has been shown to help people organise thoughts. When a stressful or complicated situation arises, a jog will help you feel as though you are physically moving through your thoughts and help you to reach a solution. This may be because you are spending time completely alone and with your body, that you feel you get closer to what is important to you.

16. Self-Sufficiency

Self-sufficiency is an important thing to learn in life. You have to know what you are capable of alone, and jogging not only helps you find that, but also helps you push your capabilities. This is because when jogging, it is completely up to you to meet targets and no one else can help you. If you are unfit, jogging will make you realise that and encourage you to push the limits of your capabilities.

17. Perseverance

Jogging teaches you that no gain can be achieved without perseverance. As with other areas of life, you will need to put work in to see any results. These results will be being able to run further, as well as the extensive health benefits listed above. When it is just you and the road, there is no choice but to just keep going, and this is a lesson that can be implemented in other areas of life.

18. Increase Attention to Health

Jogging reveals to you exactly what state of physical health your body is in. When we don’t exercise we do not see the damage that is caused by drinking, smoking and unhealthy foods, because we do not push ourselves beyond our comfort zones.

If you go for a jog after a long period of no exercise, the strain and pain in your heart and lungs will encourage you to stop smoking and drop other damaging habits and focus on starting a healthier lifestyle. This is good because although jogging is extremely healthy, it is not the only thing that can help your health.

19. Damage Reduction

When you exercise, the damage of living an unhealthy lifestyle can be reduced. Clearly this is not the best attitude to have because living in an unhealthy way is not recommended, but if you want to run to lessen the damage of an unhealthy meal or night, then you can! You should of course try to maintain a healthy lifestyle whenever possible.

20. Social Sport

Although jogging requires your own physical and mental strength, there are many groups that organise jogging sessions. This is a good way to meet active people and can be encouraging, as well as providing a less lonesome way of exercising regularly.

21. Improved Sleep

Your sleep will improve not only because you will be physically tired, but also because negative thoughts and stress that tend to keep us up at night are significantly lessened as a result of jogging. This will have further benefits in your life, and help maintain high energy levels.

22. Increases Life Span

All of the health improvements that come from jogging contribute to a longer life. All the physical and mental problems that jogging helps to overcome are serious problems that deteriorate your health, whether it be stress and depression or a weak heart.

Moreover, jogging will ensure that the extra years of your life are more likely to be free of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and it also counteracts the steady degradation of our bones, which happens to all of us as we age.

5 Key Benefits of Swimming

Inspired by Adam Peaty’s gold medal-winning performance in the pool in Rio this summer? That’s great news for your health. Swimming is a great way to help you shed body fat and maintain a healthy weight, but the benefits don’t stop there. It will also help improve your resting heart rate and blood flow, relax your mind and build endurance – and with much lower impact on your joints than running, your risk of injury is lower too.

Hitting the pool to do some laps is one of the most effective cardio workouts because it keeps your heart rate high for long periods. It’s also a muscle workout, as the water provides consistent resistance as you power through the pool to work your arms, legs, glutes, core and back, building strength and endurance.

Taking a dip is perfect for shifting your bad mood too – a major study found that swimmers increased positivity by 35% after putting in some lengths. Swimming releases endorphins and relaxes your mind in a similar way to yoga – but with more intensity, the fitness benefits are much greater.

The best thing of all about swimming? It’s ideal for any level of fitness. Pools are split into fast and slow lanes, which means they cater for anyone – whether you’re just starting to get fit to or training for a triathlon. So dive in today.

1. Muscle toning

As water is 12 times as dense as air, swimming is a far more effective way of toning your muscles than any other form of cardiovascular exercise that you can do on land. When you swim you get the cardio part of your workout while also working on an even body tone. Working out in water provides a certain amount of water resistance, which has a similar effect as using a light weight on a resistance machine at the gym. However, submersion in water creates a more even, controlled resistance on the body so there’s no concern about having to count or equalise repetitions when it’s time for lifting. The amount of resistance involved will be relative to the force you are pushing the water with, which allows you to control how hard you’re working with ease.

2. Forces you to work on your breathing

There is a far higher level of moisture present in the air when you’re at a swimming pool in comparison to the dry air that you’ll experience at a gym. The moisture in the air makes it far easier to breath, perfect for those that suffer with asthma and find cardio in the gym or in the park that bit too hard on their lungs. Studies have shown that swimming can vastly improve asthma symptoms, even a whole year after your swimming routine stops. Swimming is not only beneficial to asthma sufferers however, it can also help to increase your lung volume and force you to learn better breathing techniques that can aid you when lifting weights or running.

3. Work out for longer with less stress on your body

As water has the handy habit of supporting your bodyweight, it serves as a great way for people with injuries or those suffering from obesity to get a good workout, without risk of over doing it and causing further physical issues. Swimming is also one of the few sports that doesn’t cause any stress to the skeletal system. When you workout in a pool you are far less likely to make contact with any hard surfaces that may put a strain on your body as all of your motions will be cushioned by the protective barrier of the water. Even better, if you’re swimming in a heated pool, the heat will loosen joints and muscles that will help prevent injuries during your workout.

4. Get flexible

When you’re at the gym you’ll tend to use isolation machines that work specific areas of the body, where as swimming allows you to use a lot of the bodies muscles at the same time. The strokes that utilise a wide arc such as front crawl target a lot of the arm muscles that are missed in basic exercises, while the scissoring movement made with your legs forces your body to use more of your leg muscles in a plethora of fluid motions. Swimming is also really helpful as a way to elongate and stretch out your whole body as you keep reaching further out with your strokes.

5.  Mental tranquility

Unsurprisingly the idea of endlessly running around a track or cycling on a stationary bike doesn’t appeal to a lot of people and can actually prove to be quite stressful. Swimming actually boosts endorphins in the body that increase feelings of wellbeing. Studies have shown that swimming produces the same “relaxation responses” as yoga, and the stretching and contracting of your muscles can heighten this experience. Not only does swimming increase relaxation chemicals, it is also highly conducive to meditation.

6 Health Risks and Dangers of Hot Baths

A hot bath may be relaxing at the end of a long day. But depending on the temperature of your bath water and duration of bathing, it can hold several health risks. The bathroom is known for being dangerous mainly because of wet floors being slippery and often resulting in falls. For the elderly, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous areas of the house with more accidents happening in the bathroom than anywhere else. However, the act of bathing itself may further contribute to the likelihood of accidents in the bathroom.

Whether it is a shower or a soak in a bath, very hot water can be dangerous. Bathing in water above 39C (102F) can have various physiological effects on the body that may lead to some serious consequences. Some people prefer hotter water than others when bathing. However, even personal preference should have a limit. There is no specific bath water temperature that is ideal but it should not exceed 43C (110F) to be within safe limits. Babies should be bathed in much lower temperatures than what would be acceptable for an older child or adult. Water temperature should be as close to normal body temperature (37C/98.6F) especially for newborns.

There are various possible health risks that can occur in the bathroom. It can vary greatly with each situation. Having a shower is often seen as a better option since standing detracts from long baths and the body is not immersed in water. Furthermore, a person can quickly react and step out of very hot shower water rather than having to stand up to exit a bath tub. Here are some of the more common bathing dangers.

Burns and Skin Injuries

Most of us know when water is too hot for us to tolerate. The temperature receptors in our skin immediately signal us and we then act to get away from the danger of very hot water. However, burns from hot bath water is not uncommon. Babies and the elderly are at a greater risk. Babies have much more delicate skin and a negligent caregiver may use too hot bath water from which the baby cannot escape. The elderly are the other high risk group especially when they have conditions like diabetes. Damage to the nerves (diabetic neuropathy) can affect the temperature sensation, especially on the legs. In these cases burns may occur without the diabetic even being aware of the injury. Hot water may also worsen certain skin diseases and irritate open wounds on the skin.

 

Drop in Blood Pressure

Heat causes the blood vessels in the skin to dilate (vasodilation). As a result the peripheral vascular resistance (the resistance by the wall of the vessels to blood flow) lowers and the blood pressure drops (hypotension). However, depending on the extent to which the blood pressure decreases, the heart may try to compensate by pumping harder and faster. Not only can this strain a diseased heart but even in a healthy person it can be extreme enough to lead to lightheadedness. In severe cases it may possibly result in fainting. For obvious reasons, loss of consciousness in a bath of water can be very dangerous.

Dizziness and Poor Balance

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As mentioned above, the changes in blood pressure with hot water may affect the blood flow to the brain. A person usually experiences this alteration as lightheadedness or dizziness. As a result the sense of balance may be impaired. Even a slight alteration in normal balance can affect a person’s ability to safely get out of a bath tub. Coupled with wet floors in the bathroom, dizziness and poor balance can increase the likelihood of falls. A severe fall can lead to a fractured bone or even worse a person may bump their head on a hard surface in the bathroom. A serious fall of this magnitude can lead to a loss of consciousness.

Body Heat Loss and Gain

Internal heat is dissipated primarily through the skin. If there is a build up of heat, then the blood vessels in the skin dilate and heat is dissipated into the environment. The opposite occurs to retain heat when the body temperature is too low. However, when in hot water the skin cannot dissipate heat sufficiently. As a result the body can become overheated especially if the water is very hot and the bath too long. Even without extreme overheating (heat illness/hyperthermia), the dilated skin vessels from a hot bath may allow a the body to lose too much of internal heat afterwards. This can result in hypothermia after a hot bath if the environmental temperature is very low (cold climates) and the body’s thermoregulatory mechanisms do not compensate quickly. It is more often a problem for the elderly.

Nausea and Vomiting

Some people experience nausea after a hot bath, especially when soaking in a bath tub possibly due to changes in blood flow to the brain. It is often more likely to occur after eating and then taking a hot bath which may be a result of blood flowing away from the digestive tract to the skin. Pregnant women also tend to find that their nausea can worsen with a long hot bath. It can be severe enough to even lead to vomiting. In most instances the nausea will quickly subside after stepping out of the bath tub or shower.  Vomiting is usually not severe enough to lead to dehydration and other complications but is nevertheless an adverse effect of bathing in hot water.

Intoxication During Bathing

Intoxication be it from alcohol, prescription medication like sedatives or illicit drugs can be a dangerous mix when bathing. These substances alter blood pressure and heart activity which can be further  exacerbated by the effects of being in hot water. Furthermore dizziness and poor balance from intoxication can increase the chances of mishaps in the bathroom. More severe intoxication can also alter a person’s level of consciousness and ability to respond when the head is immersed in water. It can even lead to accidental drowning in a bath tube. Having a shower may therefore be a safer bet if a person has to bathe while being intoxicated. However, bathing alone should be avoided in severe intoxication.

10 Health Effects Caused by Smoking You Didn’t Know About

By 1964, it was official: The U.S. Surgeon General confirmed that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. But in the 50 plus years that followed, we learned that smoking is responsible for a heap of other awful diseases, contributing to the tobacco epidemic we face today.

Here are some health consequences of smoking you might not have heard before…

  1. Going Blind

    Smoking doesn’t do your peepers any good. Smoking increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 65.

  2. Type 2 Diabetes

    Smoking contributes to type 2 diabetes and increases the risk of complications from the disease— including poor blood flow to legs and feet. This can lead to infection and result in the need to amputate a limb. Yep–you could lose your foot or leg!

  3. Erectile Dysfunction

    Male sexual function is affected when you smoke. Tobacco causes narrowing of blood vessels all over your body, including those that supply blood to the penis. Good news is that quitting will make a big difference.

  4. Ectopic Pregnancy

    Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening reproductive complication in women that is more likely in smokers. It occurs when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus. The egg can’t survive and it puts mom’s life at serious risk.

  5. Hip Fractures

    Smokers lose bone density at a faster rate than non-smokers which puts you at risk for breaking body parts like your hip. Putting down the cigarettes can help slow down this process and keep you breaking a sweat, not your bones, on the dance floor.

  6. Colorectal Cancer

    Colorectal cancer, which forms in your intestines (colon or rectum), is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. One of the reasons? Yup, cigarette smoking. Smoking is linked to an increased risk of developing and dying from this type of cancer.

  7. Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease more common in women that affects the joints in your hands and feet. It causes painful swelling that can eventually result in bone loss and joint deformity. Smoking is one of the causes, and is also associated with developing the disease at an earlier age.

  8. Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

    These birth defects, commonly called orofacial clefts, occur when a baby’s lip or mouth doesn’t develop properly during pregnancy. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with orofacial clefts.

  9. Fertility Issues

    Moms-to-be take note: Smoking can affect your ability to conceive. It causes reduced fertility in women and can contribute to other problems during pregnancy.

  10. Gum Disease

    As if potentially losing a limb isn’t enough (see #2), you also risk losing your teeth from smoking. Smoking contributes to periodontis—a gum infection that destroys the bone that supports the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

10 Shocking Facts about the Health Dangers of Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is convenient but many have raised doubts concerning the safety of unseen forces that permeate everything around us. Since the introduction of Wi-Fi in 1997, researchers have performed dozens of studies to explore the subject. The results are clear and shocking — Wifi can negatively affect overall health and brain health, especially in children.

Perhaps most shocking is that this information is not new or even that controversial. In fact, in 2008 the well-renowned publication Scientific American ran a piece called “Mind Control by Cell Phone” which explained the danger Wi-Fi has on the human brain. [1] Let’s further explore the potential dangers of Wi-Fi with these 10 facts.

1. Contributes to the Development of Insomnia

Have you ever felt more awake after using Wi-Fi or even struggled to sleep through the night? Reports of these phenomena have been frequent and even prompted a study in 2007 that evaluated low-frequency modulation from cell phones and its impact on sleep. Participants were exposed to the electromagnetic signals from real phones or no signal from fake phones. Those exposed to the electromagnetic radiation had a significantly more difficult time falling asleep and changes in brainwave patterns were observed. [2]

It’s been suggested that sleeping near a phone, in a home with Wi-Fi, or in an apartment building with many Wi-Fi signals can create chronic sleep problems as the constant bombardment of Wi-Fi pollution interferes with falling asleep and sleep patterns. For many, sleep deprivation is just the start for larger problems. The development of depression and hypertension have also been linked to inadequate sleep. [3]

2. Damaging to Childhood Development

Exposure to non-thermal radio frequency radiation from Wi-Fi and cellular phones can disrupt normal cellular development, especially fetal development. A 2004 animal study linked exposure to delayed kidney development. [4] These findings were supported by a 2009 Austrian study. In fact, the disruption of protein synthesis is so severe that authors specifically noted, “this cell property is especially pronounced in growing tissues, that is, in children and youth. Consequently, these population groups would be more susceptible than average to the described effects.” [5] In short, bathing the developmentally young in Wi-Fi increases their risk of developmental issues.

3. Affects Cell Growth

When a group of Danish ninth graders experienced difficulty concentrating after sleeping with their cell phones by their head, they performed an experiment to test the effect of wireless Wi-Fi routers on garden cress. One set of plants was grown in a room free of wireless radiation; the other group grew next to two routers that released the same amount of radiation as a cell phone. The results? The plants nearest the radiation didn’t grow. [6]

4. Derails Brain Function

Just as the Danish high schoolers noticed problems with concentration, scientists have begun to look at the impact of 4G radiation on brain function. Using MRI technology, research performed just last year found that persons exposed to 4G radiation had several areas of reduced brain activity. [7]

5. Reduces Brain Activity in Females

A group of 30 healthy volunteers, 15 men and 15 women, were given a simple memory test. First, the entire group was tested without any exposure to Wi-Fi radiation — no problem. Then, they were exposed to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi from a wireless access point for about 45 minutes. During that portion of the testing, brain activity was measured and the women had a noticeable change in brain activity and energy levels. [8] Sorry ladies! But guys, don’t get too comfortable…

6. Neutralizes Sperm

…Because we’ve known for a long time that the heat generated by laptops kills sperm. Well, now it turns out that heat isn’t the only threat to a man’s virility. Research has found exposure to Wi-Fi frequencies reduce sperm movement and cause DNA fragmentation. [9]Both human and animal testing has confirmed that exposure negatively affects sperm. [10][11]

7. May Impact Fertility

And, it’s not just sperm. The results of an animal study suggest that some wireless frequencies may prevent egg implantation. During the study, mice exposed 2 hours a day for 45 days had significantly increased oxidative stress levels. The cellular damage and impact on DNA structure from exposure suggest a strong possibility of abnormal pregnancy or failure of the egg to implant. [12]

The Karolinska Institute in Sweden released a warning in 2011, stating:

  • “Pregnant women are cautioned to avoid using wireless devices themselves and distance themselves from other users,”
  • “Current US [and Canada]…standards for radio frequency and microwave radiation from wireless technology are entirely inadequate,” and
  • “Safety standards also ignore the developing fetus…” [13]

8. Provokes Cardiac Stress

If you think your heart races when surrounded by wireless networks or 3G or LTE cell phones, it may not be in your head. A study involving 69 subjects reported that many of them experienced a real physical response to electromagnetic frequencies. Exactly what was the physical response? Increased heart rate — similar to the heart rate of an individual under stress. [14]

9. Linked to Cancer?

This is extremely controversial but we can’t ignore that plenty of animal models indicate that exposure to electromagnetic radiation increases the risk of tumor development. While human studies are rare, reports and case studies abound. One such case involves a young 21-year-old woman who developed breast cancer. What makes this case unique was that her family did not have a predisposition to breast cancer… and she developed the tumor right on the spot she carried her cell phone in her bra. [15]

10. You Can Protect Yourself

Although mainstream outlets may ignore the proven dangers, especially in the US and Canada, researchers have identified several methods that can offer a level of defense. First off, reduced melatonin seems to correspond with exposure. Thus, increasing melatonin through supplementation may help offset some of the effects. [16] [17] [18] In animal tests, L-Carnitine provides antioxidant support for nutrients negatively affected by 2.4 GHz radiation.

Top 10 Slimming Tips

  1. Don’t go on a diet . . . successful slimming is more likely to be achieved by subtle changes in your eating habits and lifestyle. Changes that you can live with and come to enjoy.
  2. Eat slowly and you’ll eat less . . . put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls, sip water with your meals and take smaller bites. It takes a while for your body to recognise that it’s had enough food – the slower you can eat, the less you’ll want. Don’t feel like you have to ‘clean your plate’ especially when you’re eating restaurant-sized portions.
  3. Don’t ban any foods . . . from your slimming plan – especially things you like. Enjoy a small portion from time to time. Banning foods is a sure-fire way to make you crave them.
  4. Visualise how you’re going to look . . . when you reach your slimming goal. What will you be doing? How will you feel? What clothes will be in your wardrobe?
  5. Never give up . . . on a goal because of the time it’s going to take to get there – the time will pass anyway.
  6. Keep a food diary . . . preferably calorie counted. It will enable you to identify which foods/drinks you need to have a bit less of; times/circumstances when you’re likely to over-eat, and whether you’re getting a varied diet with enough fruit and veg.
  7. Don’t go shopping . . . when you’re hungry – if you buy it, you’ll most likely end up eating it. Most of us hate throwing food away.
  8. Be nice to yourself . . . if you have a bad day, don’t beat yourself up. Congratulate yourself on how many good days you’ve had and realise that one bad day isn’t going to spoil it all.
  9. Get some exercise . . .successful slimmers tend to make exercise part of their plan. It doesn’t have to be hard – even 20-30 minutes of fairly brisk walking a day will pay dividends. Add two weekly sessions of resistance training (which helps you burn more calories even whilst you’re asleep) and you’ll be looking great that much quicker. Every little helps – look for opportunities to be more active in your daily life.
  10. Reward yourself . . . give yourself a treat for each pound and stone you lose. New clothes make a great incentive when you’re slimming – you could put £x per pound lost into a secret stash!

25 Delicious Vegan Sources of Protein

Protein is important to our health, our workouts and recovery, and our brain function; without it, we wouldn’t function at our best and our bodies wouldn’t be able to support us long-term. However, the problem with the view of protein in our country is where we’re getting the majority of our protein from: animals. Regardless of different opinions out there about including meat as a part of our regular diets, we can’t ignore the fact that meat consumption is causing our  major environmental, health, and humanitarian problems. When you put all the pieces together, it is stime we start looking for a real sustainable alternative. Say hello to plants!

The Myth About Protein in a Plant-Based Diet

There used to be a myth that we needed to consume different types of foods to form “complete proteins” in the body. While this shouldn’t necessarily be ignored completely, it’s also not as important as we once thought. There are plenty of complete sources of plant-based protein that we can eat. Our bodies can also make complete proteins when we eat a variety of higher protein foods, even if those foods aren’t necessarily eaten together (such as rice and beans, a classic example of protein pairings). One struggle, however, is that many people aren’t sure how to replace the meat on their plate with a plant-based protein they’ll love and enjoy as much as meat. So, the simple thing is to quit focusing on just what our plates look like at dinner.

How to Rethink Protein Once and For All

Get rid of the picture of a dinner dish in your mind that shows a piece of meat, veggies, and a whole grain. While there’s nothing particularly wrong with eating protein at a meal, it’s also not mandatory for getting what you need. You can incorporate protein all throughout the day on a plant-based diet, especially in snacks, where it’s most often overlooked, without really needing a massive source at every meal. You can also eat foods that contain smaller amounts of protein at each meal that the body can use efficiently to form proteins on its own, even if these foods aren’t as high as the proteins in meat. Remember, the body can only use so much protein at one time anyway. What it can’t digest the rest of during a meal can go to waste and even be harmful to the body. A little here and there throughout the day (especially focusing on protein at breakfast to regulate blood sugar) is ultimately best.

Try these 25 plant-based proteins and see just how satisfying they really can be!

1. Lentils

Lentils are a protein favorite of many, especially those on vegetarian and vegan diets looking to pump up the protein fast. Lentils add 9 grams of protein to your meal per half cup, along with nearly 15 grams of fiber! See our lentil recipes here for tasty ways to use these little meaty legumes!

2. Tofu

What used to be seen as a boring vegan protein source has now been transformed into everything from breakfast to entrees, and yes, even desserts too. This protein source’s main attractive nature is that it can be flavored however you want and adds a rich, creamy texture or chewy texture to your food depending on if you buy firm or soft tofu. See our tasty tofu recipes to add  a whopping 10 grams of protein (check labels) per cup of chopped tofu.

2. Black Beans

Black beans are one of the richest sources of antioxidants and one of the healthiest beans of all beans and legumes. Their dark color indicates their strong antioxidant content and they also have less starch than some other beans. One favorite way to enjoy them is to make black bean burritos, but that’s not the only way to use them. Try these delicious black bean recipes to add 8 grams of protein per 1/2 cup of these beans to your plate.

3. Quinoa

With 8 grams per cup, this gluten-free seed-like grain is a fantastic source of protein, magnesium, antioxidants, and fiber. You can cook it, bake it, and even stir into stir-fry dishes and more. Check out our quinoa recipes here for all types of ways to use this healthy pseudo-grain!

4. Amaranth

Amaranth is similar to quinoa and teff in its nutritional content, though much tinier in size. This ancient pseudo-grain (also a seed) adds 7 grams of protein to your meals in just one cup of cooked amaranth. It’s also a fantastic source of iron, B vitamins, and magnesium. Try it in these yummy burgers that pair amaranth with lentil and all types of different spices.

5. Soy Milk

Love soy or hate soy, it’s actually the controversial little legume, isn’t it? Soy milk, if bought organic, can be a part of a healthy diet. There is conflicting research regarding its effects on cancer, but many studies show it can help actually prevent cancer rather than causes it (unlike meat). The key is to buy non-GMO soy and not to buy it in the form of highly processed soy protein isolates. Try soy milk, which packs 8 grams of protein in just one cup, offers 4 grams of heart-healthy fats, and is rich in phytosterols that assist with good heart health. Buy organic, unsweetened as the healthiest option. Look at all these delicious ways to use it!

6. Green Peas

Packed with protein and fiber, peas are so yummy! They contain 8 grams of protein per cup, so add a little of these sweet treats throughout the day. Bonus … peas are also rich in leucine, an amino acid crucial to metabolism and weight loss that’s hard to find in most plant-based foods. Pea recipes for the win!

7. Artichokes

Containing 4 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup, artichoke hearts are a great way to boost fiber, protein, and they are filling but low in calories. See some tips for cooking with them here!

8. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a complete protein that are hard NOT to love. Packing 13 grams in just 3 tablespoons, these tiny seeds are easy to add anywhere. See our favorite recipes ideas here.

9. Oatmeal

Oatmeal has three times the protein of brown rice with less starch and more fiber. It’s also a great source of magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins. See Why Every Athlete Needs Oats here and our favorite oatmeal recipes too.

10. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of the most overlooked sources of iron and protein out there, containing 8 gram of protein per 1/4 cup. They’re also an excellent source of magnesium as well, not to mention pretty tasty and oh so crunchy! See more benefits of these seeds here and some ways you can use them more often.

11. Chia Seeds

Chia, chia, chia … what can’t this super seed do? Chia has 5 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons and is also a complete protein source. Try it all kinds of ways besides just chia pudding in our chia recipes!

12. Tempeh

Tempeh is a fermented form of soy that’s high in protein, easy to digest, and rich in probiotics. A favorite among many people, it’s a meaty ingredients you should at least try. Tempeh it up with these protein-rich recipes for 12 grams per cup!

13. Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is becoming more and more popular just like other plant-based milks. You can make your own at home or try buying it at the store. Hemp milk packs 5 grams in one cup. You can make your own by blending 1/4 cup hemp seeds with 2 cups of water, straining, and using like you would almond milk. You don’t have to soak hemp seeds like you do almonds, and can adjust the ratio of seeds to water depending on how rich and creamy you’d like your milk.

14. Edamame

Filled with antioxidants and fiber, not to mention protein, edamame is the young green soybean and so delicious! It’s filled with a nutty sweetness and packs in 8.5 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup. Add to salads, soups, burgers, soba noodles, and more. You can even snack on it raw and roast it like chickpeas for a crunchy snack.

15. Spinach

Filled with 5 grams of protein per cup, spinach is a great leafy green to enjoy as much as you can. We don’t have to tell you how to use it though … we’re sure you’re already loving this green plenty. Just in case, here are some recipes you might not have tried yet.

16. Black Eyed Peas

Black eyed peas might seem boring, but they pack 8 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup. Like most other beans, they’re also a great source of iron, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. You can use them in soup or anywhere else you’d normally use beans. Their mild and nutty flavor makes a great hearty dinner!

17. Broccoli

This lovely veggie contains 4 grams of protein in just 1 cup, which isn’t too bad considering that same cup also contains 30 percent of your daily calcium needs, along with vitamin C, fiber, and B vitamins for only 30 calories. Let us count the ways we use broccoli!

18. Asparagus

Filled with 4 grams per cup (about 4-6 stalks, chopped), asparagus is also a great source of B vitamins and folate. We love it so much, we just can’t stop using it in all kinds of ways!

19. Green Beans

Green beans pack 4 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup, along with vitamin B6, and they’re low in carbs but high in fiber. See all our green bean recipes here!

20. Almonds

Almonds have 7 grams per cup of fresh nuts or in 2 tablespoons of almond butter. And what’s not to love about this healthy nut? Here’s how to make your own almond butter, and some tasty ways to use almonds here.

21. Spirulina

This blue green algae may look a bit scary to newbies, but it’s so easy to use, especially if you add it to a smoothie with other ingredients like berries, cacao, or some banana. Spirulina adds 80 percent of your daily iron needs and 4 grams of protein in one tablespoon; it’s also a complete amino acid source … who knew!? See some other ways spirulina does the body good!

22. Tahini

This yummy spread that can be used anywhere nut butters can is just filled with filling protein. Containing 8 grams in two tablespoons, tahini is also a fantastic source of iron and B vitamins, along with magnesium and potassium. See Why Every Green Monster Needs Tahini in Their Life for all types of ways to use it.

23. Nutritional Yeast

Who knew this cheesy ingredient was packed with so much nutrition? Nutritional yeast contains 8 grams of protein in just 2 tablespoons! Here are 10 tasty ways to use it for all kinds of helpful tips and tricks.

24. Chickpeas

Not just for hummus, a 1/2 cup of chickpeas will also give you a nice dose of protein (6-8 grams depending on the brand). You can also use hummus, though note that it’s not as high in servings as chickpeas since it contains other ingredients. Try incorporating chickpeas into meals more often when you can … here are some tasty ideas to start!

25. Peanut Butter

A favorite pre-workout food of many, peanut butter is a classic American staple everyone loves. Thankfully, just 2 tablespoons also gives you 8 grams of pure, delicious protein too! Try these peanut butter recipes for all kinds of tasty way to use this healthy staple.

10 Benefits of Rising Early

Recently, reader Rob asked me about my habit of waking at 4:30 a.m. each day, and asked me to write about the health benefits of rising early, which I thought was an excellent question. Unfortunately, there are none, that I know of.

However, there are a ton of other great benefits.

Now, let me first say that if you are a night owl, and that works for you, I think that’s great. There’s no reason to change, especially if you’re happy with it. But for me, switching from being a night owl to an early riser (and yes, it is possible) has been a godsend. It has helped me in so many ways that I’d never go back. Here are just a few:

  1. Greet the day. I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ “
  2. Amazing start. I used to start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing to get myself and the kids ready, and rushing to drop them to school and come in to work late. I would walk into work, looking rumpled and barely awake, grumpy and behind everyone else. Not a great start to your day. Now, I have a renewing morning ritual, I’ve gotten so much done before 8 a.m., my kids are early and so am I, and by the time everyone else gets in to work, I’ve already gotten a head start. There is no better way to start off your day than to wake early, in my experience.
  3. Quietude. No kids yelling, no babies crying, no soccer balls, no cars, no television noise. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favorite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe.
  4. Sunrise. People who wake late miss one of the greatest feats of nature, repeated in full stereovision each and every day — the rise of the sun. I love how the day slowly gets brighter, when the midnight blue turns to lighter blue, when the brilliant colors start to seep into the sky, when nature is painted in incredible colors. I like doing my early morning run during this time, and I look up at the sky as I run and say to the world, “What a glorious day!” Really. I really do that. Corny, I know.
  5. Breakfast. Rise early and you actually have time for breakfast. I’m told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry at lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. The fattier and sugarier, the betterier. But eat breakfast, and you are sated until later. Plus, eating breakfast while reading my book and drinking my coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more enjoyable than scarfing something down on the way to work, or at your desk.
  6. Exercise. There are other times to exercise besides the early morning, of course, but I’ve found that while exercising right after work is also very enjoyable, it’s also liable to be canceled because of other things that come up. Morning exercise is virtually never canceled.
  7. Productivity. Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of day. I like to do some writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email or blog stats. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it with family.
  8. Goal time. Got goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them and do your goal tasks than first thing. You should have one goal that you want to accomplish this week. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today to move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning.
  9. Commute. No one likes rush-hour traffic, except for Big Oil. Commute early, and the traffic is much lighter, and you get to work faster, and thus save yourself more time. Or better yet, commute by bike. (Or even better yet, work from home.)
  10. Appointments. It’s much easier to make those early appointments on time if you get up early. Showing up late for those appointments is a bad signal to the person you’re meeting. Showing up early will impress them. Plus, you get time to prepare.

7 Most Energizing Foods

For certain people, eating is the most cheerful act of all time but it comes with its own repercussions. The impacts of eating wrong foods can be in the form of swelling, exhaustion, fatigue or even lead towards a state of depression. Shifting your daily diet en route for highly energetic foods makes you look ravishing and positive throughout your day. Here are seven most energizing foods which should be a part of every one’s daily diet!

DATES

 

Dates are mistakenly undervalued due to the presence of high sugar content but most importantly the sugar present in them is not exactly the same as added in artificially sweetened items. Additionally they contain fibers that assist in maintaining long lasting energy. Dates are an excellent and rich source of energy and can be eaten on daily basis even as a substitute for artificial sugar.

AVOCADOS

 

Avocados are one of the energizing foods, rich in vitamin B, mono-saturated fats and fibers. Vitamin B helps enhancing the energy levels of a person whereas mono-saturated fats are directly consumed by the body to produce energy instead of accumulating as lipids.

ORANGES

 

Presence of abundant fibers and antioxidants are considered as “Hallmark” ingredients as far as oranges are concerned. These antioxidants neutralize the notorious free radicals of the body, keeping it disease free and highly refreshing while the fibers play immense role in digestion process as well as in energy boosting.

BANANAS

 

Bananas are believed to be amongst highly energizing foods enriched with fibers, natural carbohydrates and sugars which help maintaining steady energy rates. As in the case of dates, these sugars are also different than the processed ones and does not lead to an instant increase in sugar levels rather follow the stable and long-lasting route of energy preservation of the body to avoid any collapse later on.

SPINACH

 

Spinach is a great solution to many nutrient inefficiencies as it comprises of numerous minerals, vitamins (most abundantly vitamin B) and electrolytes that are essential for the body. All these food components are consumed that ultimately produce huge amount of energy for the body to avoid energy crashes.

WATERMELONS

 

Supplemented with electrolytes and vitamin B, watermelons are light and energy boosting food loved by most of the people. They not only help you cover your nutrient deficiencies but also keep your digestive system in good place. Watermelons are abundantly supplied with water content that completely fulfills body’s hydration requirements.

ALMONDS

 

Raw almonds are tremendous source of minerals, vitamins and amino acids (commonly tryptophan). Moreover fibers, proteins and god fats furnish your body with stable energy to combat fatigue and lethargy. Almonds are effective for vitamin deficiencies and considered nutritious among other energizing foods.

These energizing foods assure a healthy, fit, light and energized lifestyle because food consumption directly relates to the energy status of the body. They help you minimize the use of processed food. Emphasizing these nutritious and wholesome diets will certainly provide you lasting energy.

5 Best foods for Diabetics

Dark chocolate

Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, and research shows that these nutrients reduce insulin resistance, improve insulin sensitivity, drop insulin levels and fasting blood glucose, and blunt cravings. But not all chocolate is created equal. In a 2008 study from the University of Copenhagen, people who ate dark chocolate reported that they felt less like eating sweet, salty, or fatty foods compared to volunteers given milk chocolate, with its lower levels of beneficial flavonoids (and, often, more sugar and fat, too). Dark chocolate also cut the amount of pizza that volunteers consumed later in the same day, by 15 percent. The flavonoids in chocolate have also been shown to lower stroke risk, calm blood pressure, and reduce your risk for a heart attack by 2 percent over five years. (Want more delicious, healthy, seasonal foods? Click here.)

Broccoli

Broccoli is an anti-diabetes superhero. As with other cruciferous veggies, like kale and cauliflower, it contains a compound called sulforaphane, which triggers several anti-inflammatory processes that improve blood sugar control and protect blood vessels from the cardiovascular damage that’s often a consequence of diabetes. (Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes, so this protection could be a lifesaver.) Sulforaphane also helps flip on the body’s natural detox mechanisms, coaxing enzymes to turn dangerous cancer-causing chemicals into more innocent forms that the body can easily release.

Blueberries

Blueberries really stand out: They contain both insoluble fiber (which “flushes” fat out of your system) and soluble fiber (which slows down the emptying of your stomach, and improves blood sugar control). In a study by the USDA, people who consumed 2 1/2 cups of wild blueberry juice per day for 12 weeks lowered their blood glucose levels, lifted depression, and improved their memories. Researchers credit these results to anthocyanins in the berries, a natural chemical that shrinks fat cells and also stimulates the release of adiponectin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels, among other things. Increasing adiponectin levels can help keep blood sugar low and increase our sensitivity to insulin.

Steel-cut oats

You may not think of oatmeal as a superfood, but it can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Oatmeal contains high amounts of magnesium, which helps the body use glucose and secrete insulin properly. An eight-year trial showed a 19 percent decrease in type 2 diabetes’ risk in women with a magnesium-rich diet, and a 31 percent decreased risk in women who regularly ate whole grains. Steel-cut oats are just as easy to cook as quick-cooking oatmeal, but when grains are left whole they are filled with the fiber, nutrients, and bound antioxidants that challenge digestion in a good way, allowing blood sugar to remain more stable.

Fish

Fish is a slimming star: rich in protein, it will help to keep you satisfied; but also, fish contains a special type of fat that helps cool inflammation. Thousands of studies show that people with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids have less body-wide inflammation, the very inflammation that leads to and worsens diabetes and weight problems. A fish-rich diet can also reduce your risk of developing health problems, especially stroke, as a result of your diabetes. People who ate baked, broiled, or steamed fish reduced their odds for a stroke by 3 percent, as reported in a 2010 Emory University study. (However, fried fish—such as fast-food fish sandwiches, fish sticks, and fried seafood of any type—increased risk.)

Olive oil

Following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in olive oil helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 50 percent compared to a diet low in fat, according to a recent Spanish study. Independently, researchers at Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of Vienna found that olive oil improved satiety the most when compared to lard, butter, and rapeseed (canola) oil. In addition to being a standout source of health-promoting monounsaturated fats, olive oil is also rich in antioxidant nutrients that protect cells from damage, and prevents the development of heart disease.

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Psyllium husk

This fiber supplement, long used for constipation relief, is proven to help people with diabetes control blood sugar better. A 2010 review from the University of California, San Diego, published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, confirms this benefit. People who took psyllium before a meal saw their post-meal blood sugar levels rise 2 percent less than those who didn’t use the supplement. One caution: The researchers recommend waiting at least four hours after taking psyllium before taking medications, because psyllium can decrease their absorption.

Cannellini beans

Packed with protein and cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, legumes such as tender, white cannellini beans are slow to raise blood sugar. As part of a 2012 University of Toronto study, 121 people with type 2 diabetes followed a healthy diet containing a daily cup of beans or whole grains. After three months, the bean group saw their A1c levels—a check of average blood sugar levels—fall nearly twice as much as the whole-grain group.

Spinach

Spinach is one of many leafy greens that have been shown to drop the risk of developing diabetes; collards are another great choice. People who consume more than one serving a day of spinach and other leafy greens slashed their risk by 14 percent, compared to people who ate less than 1/2 a serving daily, found one British study. This green is particularly rich in vitamin K, along with several minerals including magnesium, folate, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. It’s also a good source of the plant chemicals lutein and zeaxanthin, and various flavonoids. Although spinach is technically a rich source of calcium, another nutrient in spinach called oxalic acid prevents much of that calcium from being absorbed, but you can blanch spinach (boil it for just one minute) to reduce this chemical.

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Sweet potatoes

One analysis found that sweet potatoes reduce HbA1c measures between 0.30 and 0.57 percent and fasting blood glucose by 10 to 15 points. Sweet potato also contains anthocyanins, which are the natural pigments that give the sweet potato its deep orange color and the antioxidants believed to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial qualities.

Walnuts

The most widespread tree nut in the world, walnuts contain the polyunsaturated fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which has been shown to lower inflammation. The L-arginine, omega-3s, fiber, vitamin E, and other phytochemicals found in walnuts and other tree nuts make them potent: scientists have found them to have antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, and anti-high cholesterol actions. These powers can help stop and reverse the progression of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Snack on walnuts in their shells; the time it takes to crack them open can help you slow down, so your body has more time to register the food and you feel full with fewer calories.

Quinoa

Quinoa tastes like a grain, but it’s more closely related to spinach than it is to rice. Contrary to most grains, quinoa is a dense source of “complete” protein (14 grams per ½ cup!), boasting all nine essential amino acids. One is lysine, which helps the body absorb all that fat-burning calcium and also helps produce carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. One of the most fiber-rich grain-like foods, quinoa contains 2.6 grams per 1/2 cup, and fiber helps to balance blood sugar levels and keep you fuller, longer.

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Cinnamon

Several studies show that this delicious spice can help reduce blood sugar. One, published in the journal Diabetes Care, noted how people with type 2 diabetes who’d taken one or more grams of cinnamon daily had dropped their fasting blood sugar by a whopping 30 percent, compared to people who took no cinnamon. They also reduced their triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol by upwards of 25 percent. Here’s why: Cinnamon is rich in chromium, a mineral that enhances the effects of insulin. It’s also loaded with polyphenols, antioxidants that gather up all the free radicals in your blood to protect you from cancer and also lower systemic inflammation, further guarding you from diabetes and heart disease.

Collard greens

Dark green leafy vegetables like collard greens are excellent sources of vitamin C, which helps lower cortisol in the body and consequently reduces inflammation as well. Collard greens (and other cruciferous veggies like kale and Brussels sprouts) are also a good source of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), a micronutrient that helps the body deal with stress. When scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University gave aging rats ALA, they found that the animals’ bodies created their own antioxidants, making them better able to resist toxins in the environment, and to reduce inflammation. Good news for diabetes: ALA also helps reduces blood sugar and can help to strengthen the nerves damaged by diabetic neuropathy. Just be careful not to overcook it, which creates a strong sulfur smell. Just five minutes of steaming, and you’re done.

Turmeric

Turmeric may have been protecting the health of an entire Indian subcontinent for about 5,000 years. A traditional Indian diet features white rice and flour breads, which as rapidly digested carbs would ordinarily raise blood sugar dramatically. But the presence of turmeric—the yellow spice that lends its color to many curry dishes—helps to manage the potent impact on blood sugar. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is the compound believed to regulate fat metabolism in the body. Curcumin acts directly on fat cells, pancreatic cells, kidney cells, and muscle cells, dampening inflammation and blocking the nefarious activities of cancer-causing tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6. Experts believe the combined action of all of these factors together gives curcumin the power to reverse insulin resistance, high blood sugar and high cholesterol, and other symptoms linked to obesity.