There’s a saying that says our nails, hair, and skin often tell us how healthy we are, and are signs of how healthy our diet is. Foods that inflame our cells and cause a breakdown and end up tearing apart the collagen, keratin, and elastin that provide supple skin, strong and silky hair, and strong, fast-growing nails. Toxic overload, stress, and poor diet all contribute to lackluster skin, dry and brittle hair, and brittle nails that never seem to grow. There are 5 Everyday Superfoods For Your Nails, Hair, and Skin and those are oats, almonds, raw organic pumpkin seeds, orange root veggies, and greens.
1. Almond Lover’s Hummus
Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that supports collagen production and provides anti-inflammatory benefits for the body. Almonds also contain a large amount of plant-based protein, rich in amino acids that are needed to support collagen growth and strengthen the body. Almonds are also a great source of calcium, which provides nutritional support for our bones, hair, skin, teeth, and nails. You should try this delicious Almond Lover’s Hummus.
2. How To Make Homemade Almond Butter
Learn How To Make Homemade Almond Butter, so you can use it anytime you want. Soaking the almonds neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors and increases beneficial enzymes. You don’t really know if this step has been taken when you buy store bought almond butter, so when you make it yourself, you know it’s as nutritious as possible.
3. Protein Rich Green Smoothie
Your body soaks up the nutrients from green foods like a magical nutritional sponge! Vitamins A, C, E, K, and even B vitamins and iron are all provided to your body when you eat leafy greens. Green foods such as spinach, broccoli, kale, watercress, and collards also contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Try this Protein Rich Green Smoothie!
4. Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Chickpeas, Kale, Sprouts, and Seeds
Purple sprouting broccoli is in season and a perfect addition to a winter vegetable plate. The vegetable provides many benefits, including Vitamin A and C, iron, fiber, and calcium. If you can’t find purple sprouting broccoli, no problem, replace them with regular broccoli. Try this Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Chickpeas, Kale, Sprouts, and Seeds!
5. Sweet Potato Salad
Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and winter squash all contain high amounts of Vitamin A which support your nails, hair, and skin as well. These foods are also rich in Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant that lower stress which can weaken collagen, elastin, and keratin in the body. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant to combat free radical production that can lead to aging. So, try this delicious and easy Sweet Potato Salad.
6. Roasted Veggies With Buttery Garlic and Spinach Salad
9. Roasted Cauliflower and Coconut Overnight Porridge Pots
Oats are one of the most inexpensive superfoods you can eat. Even if you don’t digest glutinous grains well, gluten-free oats are there to save you. Whole grains are important for most everyone’s diets. Opt for our Roasted Cauliflower and Coconut Overnight Porridge Pots. This make-ahead friendly and plant-based bowl is wonderfully creamy, sweet, and belly-filling in all the right ways.
(Healthline) The popular uses range from teeth whitening to acne prevention, but here are some health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar you probably didn't know about. Packaged bottles ofApple Cider Vinegar (ACV)are quickly disappearing off supermarket shelves due to its recent surge in popularity. Despite this, the list of benefits has been known for a long time - as far back as 5000 B.C. In ancient Greece,Hippocratesprescribed it mixed with honey as a cure for coughs and common cold. ACV is made from fermented apple cider to produce raw enzymes and probiotics. This natural helper has been said to keep blood sugar in check, amp up weight loss and even improve the appearance of acne and scarring. Prescribed dosage: One or two tablespoons of ACV in a cup of water for injestion. For skin care, mix equal parts of water and ACV i.e. the same amount of ACV and water.
Below are eight benefits of taking ACV that are supported by scientific research.
A spoon of apple cider vinegar is rich enough in high acetic acid to prevent germ growth that cause nasal congestion. It also contains potassium which thins mucus, thereby, giving your immune system a quick boost when you’re feeling under the weather.
2. High in acetic acid, ACV can kill many types of harmful bacteria
ACV can act as a disinfectant and natural preservative as it can help kill pathogens, including bacteria. Traditionally, it has been used for cleaning and disinfecting wounds, treating nail fungus, lice, warts, ear infections, etc.
Vinegar can also be used as a natural way to preserve food because it inhibits bacteria from growing in food and spoiling it.
Each tablespoon contains just 3–5 calories and very minimal sugar.
The acetic acid increases satiety and suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism, and reduces water retention. If paired with a high-carb meal, you get increased feelings of fullness and can take in substantially less calories over the course of the day. Although the amount of weight loss from ACV is minimal, it is still encouraged to go along with healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
4. Lowers cholesterol levels
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2006 found that rats who had acetic acid, the main component of ACV, in their diets lowered their bad cholesterol (LDL) and raised their good cholesterol (HDL). Another research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2011, also discovered that ACV can help control triglycerides.
ACV also acts as a natural toner. Mix equal parts of the vinegar and water, and apply by dabbing with a cotton ball. Leave for a while and then rinse. The malic acid in ACV contains antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties that keep the skin clean, balanced and free of acne while encouraging it to heal itself. The mixture helps to even out skin tone, balance skin pH and even battle breakouts.
6. Maintains pH balance
Acid-alkaline balance is essential and the body is constantly striving to achieve that equilibrium state. So many bodily functions occur at a particular pH level so a simple small change in pH can have a profound effect on body functioning. As most people are acidic in nature, consuming ACV with meals has an alkalizing effect on the body, thereby keeping the balance needed for healthy living.
Also, ACV is rich in probiotics which ward off vaginal yeast infections, urogenital infections, and bacterial vaginosis by keeping the vaginal microbiome and pH in balance.
7. Prevents Indigestions and boosts gut health
Beneficial bacteria contained in apple cider vinegar can enhance the health of your digestive system and improved ability to digest and absorb nutrients. A glass of properly diluted ACV can also aid relieve upset stomachs, diarrhoea, intestinal spasms thanks to its antibiotic properties.
8. Relieves heartburn
Heartburns are a result of low levels of stomach acids. Taking a diluted shot of ACV right before meals can increase levels of stomach acid to prevent backflow into the esophagus and reduce symptoms of heartburn.
Healthy between-meal nibbles don't have to be bland and boring. If you're trying to eat healthy (and tired of noshing on Kale chips), check out these ten scrummy snack options that'll satisfy your hunger without seriously tipping the calorie count:
Gluten-free cookies: Prepare a batch of these Paleo chocolate chip cookies over the weekend for guilt-free snacking throughout the week. And if you're a fan of oatmeal, check out this easy-peasy Vegan oatmeal cookies recipe. Alternatively, you can choose ready-to-eat options like Quest Nutrition'sprotein cookies. The gluten-free sweet treats are packed with fiber and contain less than two grams of sugar. These chewy cookies come in four different flavors - peanut butter, double chocolate, oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip (my personal favorite). The brand also has a range of protein bars in delectable flavors like cookie and cream, birthday cake and crunchy chocolate caramel pecan.
Whole Grain Toast Triangles With Hummus:Packed with protein, fiber, magnesium and iron, the savory snack is perfect for a quick, healthy bite. Get the recipe here.
Basil And Olives Egg: High in protein, this easy-to-make snack will keep you fueled till your next meal. It's also a good source of vitamins, healthy fats and antioxidants. Oh, and you can whip up this Instagram-worthy dish in less than 15 minutes! Here's the recipe.
PB&J Breakfast Muffin: Made with bananas and all-natural peanut butter, these healthy breakfast muffins will satiate your sugar cravings without wreaking havoc on your waistline. Check out the recipe here.
Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bites: Healthy eating can't get easier than this. The sweet treat is chock full of vitamins, iron and potassium. All you need is a medium ripe banana and some melted dark chocolate chips. Here's the recipe.
Mediterranean Cauliflower Pizza: Who says pizza can't be healthy? This gluten-free pizza is packed with the goodness of cauliflower, sun-dried tomato, olives and oregano. Feel free to play around with different toppings to add more flavors. Get the recipe here.
Baked Portobello Mushroom Fries: This healthy twist on traditional French fries is both filling and scrumptious. Other than being low in sodium and fat, mushrooms are a good source of nutrients like Vitamin B6, protein, folate, zinc and manganese. Serve them with horseradish mayo. Here's the recipe.
Chocolate Almond Butter Bites: Satisfy your sugar cravings (without ruining your diet) with these yummy, choco-licious bites. Just grab a bar of dark chocolate and homemade almond butter and you're good to go. You can also swap almond butter with cashew or walnut butter. Get the recipe here.
Popcorn: If popped right, it's a perfect go-to snack option for healthy eaters. A 3-cup serving of fresh-popped popcorn has just over 90 calories. To jazz up the bland flavor, try this Mint Chocolate Chip Popcorn recipe or check out this Mexican churro popcorn recipe. Alternatively, you can go for healthy store-bought options like Doc Popcorn. Their fresh-popped popcorn comes in different flavors (apple crisp, honey BBQ, triple cheddar, etc.) and contains no trans fat or preservatives.
Creamy Green Bean Bites: This appetizing snack is loaded with essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, iron and dietary fiber. Plus, the whole thing comes together in just 15 minutes. Get the recipe here.
It’s that time of year again—the time where we struggle to whip our bodies into beach-ready shape. While some people may be successful in this endeavor, others can be left frustrated by the absence of six-pack abs or sculpted arms. But the reality is, not everyone has the time, money, or energy to devote to countless hours at the gym, especially nurses. Sure, exercising to be physically fit has its upside, but there are more reasons to exercise than to look good.
If you feel like you’re in a fitness slump, maybe these often overlooked benefits of exercise will change your perspective and reinvigorate your workouts. Hopefully, you’ll discover a newfound love of fitness in a way that feels right to you, your body, and your exercise goals.
1. Exercise boosts your mood.
Exercise increases levels of the feel-good chemicals in your brain like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which can elevate your mood almost immediately. Additionally, research has indicated that exercise may be a useful component of treating anxiety and depression. If you find you’re feeling down, an exercise session might be just the thing you need to enhance your sense of well-being.
2. Exercise can improve sleep.
Having trouble falling asleep or struggling with insomnia? Vigorous bouts of aerobic exercise (like walking or running), in particular, have been associated with a decrease in the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, an increase in the amount of time spent sleeping, and an overall improvement in sleep quality, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Although there’s still much to learn about the connection between sleep and exercise, it’s worth giving exercise a shot if you spend more time counting sheep than you do catching some shut-eye.
3. Exercise can increase memory and alertness.
The life-saving skills that nurses perform day in and day out require alertness and a sharp memory. Researchers from the University of British Columbia discovered that consistent aerobic exercise could increase the size of the hippocampus, the location of the brain that manages your verbal memory and learning. Even though the study was performed on women ranging in age from 70 to 80 years old, it’s encouraging research that suggests exercise may improve the function and structure of our brains. At present, it’s not clear which activities are the best to bolster cognitive health, but experts agree that some exercise is better than none at all.
4. Exercise may increase your chances of living longer.
“Science shows that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers,” reports the CDC. Furthermore, exercise is one of the few lifestyle modifications you can do to increase your chances of a long, healthy life. Just how much activity do you need? The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity to reduce your chances of premature death.
Don’t have time to complete a full-length exercise session or class with your jam-packed schedule? No problem! You can still experience the benefits of it with short bursts of exercise throughout the day—so, find something you like and get moving!
Many people don’t think of obesity as a disease, but rather as a moral failing. But Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and researcher and practicing physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center, points out that obesity is a complex, chronic disease. Stanford’s recent fascinating and informative presentation explains how the body uses and stores energy, and describes the complex interplay of the genetic, developmental, hormonal, environmental, and behavioral factors that contribute to obesity.
Obesity isn’t just “calories in versus calories burned”
Obesity isn’t just about energy balance, i.e., calories in/calories out. “That’s simplistic, and if the equation were that easy to solve we wouldn’t have the prevalence of obesity that we have today,” Dr. Stanford explains. She goes on to say that not only is the energy balance theory wrong, but the focus on that simplistic equation and blaming the patient have contributed to the obesity epidemic. Stigma, blame, and shame add to the problem, and are obstacles to treatment. Indeed, over 36% of adults in the United States have obesity, and the world is not far behind.
She describes her research and experience in the treatment of obesity, including several cases from her own clinic. These are the cases that capture my attention, as they demonstrate most clearly the effects of different treatment approaches (and combinations) to obesity: diet and lifestyle (i.e. behavioral), medications, and surgery. Stanford has seen remarkable, long-lasting positive results with all, but she always emphasizes diet and lifestyle change first and foremost. The program (called Healthy Habits for Life) offered at the MGH Weight Center is a huge commitment, but it can help reframe a person’s relationship with food, emphasizing a high-quality diet, and not calorie-counting.
The components of a successful treatment for obesity
Abeer Bader is a registered dietitian and the lead clinical nutrition specialist at the center. She described the program to me in more detail: it’s a 12-week group-based education and support program with a structured curriculum and frequent contact with patients. The classes are 90 minutes long and led by a registered dietitian, and cover everything from the causes of obesity to healthy eating to debunking popular diet myths, plus recommendations for dining out, grocery shopping, meal prep, physical activity, and more. “The goal of the HHL program is to provide patients with the education, support, and tools to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
The diet they promote is loosely based on the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet, as these eating plans are rich in vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and whole grains. They use the Harvard Healthy Plate to illustrate a healthy, well-balanced meal.
But it’s also a highly individualized program. “We work closely with the patient to put together realistic goals. I think the most important part of approaching goal-setting and behavior change is to first determine what it is that they would like to improve. Often as providers we tell patients what they need to do, but when you allow the patient to highlight an area that they would like to work on, you may see better adherence,” says Bader.
Other similar comprehensive programs have been shown to help patients achieve lasting diet and lifestyle change, lose weight — and avoid diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program helps those with obesity and risk of developing diabetes lose 5% to 7% of their body weight, and decreases their risk of diabetes between 58% and 71%.
As Bader states, “I think it’s important to note that the diet that “works” is the diet that a person will adhere to for the rest of his or her life. We really emphasize the importance of lifestyle change versus short-term diet fix in order to have the greatest success in achieving a healthier weight.” This statement is evidence-based, as a recent review of multiple research studies looking at different weight loss diets found that all worked about equally as well.
Medications to treat obesity
What can surprise people (including doctors) is how helpful weight loss medications can be, though it can take some trial and error to figure out what will work for someone. “These medications affect the way the brain manages the body’s weight set point, and how the brain interacts with the environment. But sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason why one medication works for someone, but another doesn’t.” Unfortunately, as research shows, weight loss medications aren’t prescribed often enough.
In summary, obesity is a complex, chronic disease with many contributing factors. Primary care doctors and obesity specialists can guide treatments that include lifestyle approaches like diet, exercise, and addressing emotional factors that contribute to obesity. For some people weight loss surgery may be an option (a subject for another post).