How to Detox Your Body Naturally

During the stay-at-home order, we all had to make significant adjustments to our lifestyle. Between being unable to go to the gym and limiting our trips to the grocery, take-out may have become the new normal and our exercise routines likely took a back seat. Understandably, self-isolation has been a hindrance to our health. If you’re struggling with stress eating or simply want to hit your body’s reset button, a natural detox may be just what you’re looking for.

What is a detox and how does it work?

For some people, the term “detox” brings a feeling of skepticism. But it’s not nearly as intimidating as you may think. Detoxification has been practiced for decades as a way to cleanse the body. While your body can naturally filter blood, process nutrients, and remove toxins on its own through the liver (among other organs), a detox can help support this process. Here is a list of a few of the health benefits you may experience during and after a detox:

  • Increased energy and less fatigue
  • A stronger immune system
  • Clearer skin and healthier hair
  • More balanced hormones (ie. less frequent mood swings, headaches, etc.)
  • Improved digestion

How do I detox naturally?

A common misconception about detoxification is that you have to drink green juice all day to reap the health benefits. Like anything else, a detox can be taken to the extreme by fasting, juicing, food restricting and consuming an excessive amount of supplements. But don’t let these deter you from trying. Here are six simple and natural ways to detox the body:

  • Eliminate food and beverages that irritate the gut. This includes caffeine, gluten, alcohol, saturated fats, and processed sugar. The first few days may be difficult, but after a week, your body will start to adapt. Try removing these products from your diet for 21-30 days.
  • Introduce more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet that are high in antioxidants, like broccoli, kale, grapefruit, avocados, and cauliflower. This can be an exciting opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and try new recipes throughout the week.
  • Drink a glass of warm water with fresh lemon as soon as you wake up in the morning and continue to stay hydrated throughout the day. If you normally start your day with coffee, opt for green tea instead. This will contribute to clearer skin, better digestion, and stronger joints.
  • Move your body. As the weather gets warmer, there will be plenty of ways to get fit outdoors. Whether it’s yoga in the park or a jog around your neighborhood, sweating is a great way to detox the lymphatic system.
  • As long as you’re removing the toxins from your body, you might as well work on cleansing your mind as well. Yoga, meditation, or journaling are great tools to help you focus on your mental health, remove negative thought patterns, and restore your mind.
  • Soak in the tub for 15 minutes before bed. For added relaxation, drop in a 1/2 cup of baking soda, a few tablespoons of ground ginger, 1 cup of Epsom salt, and 5-10 drops of essential oil.

Above all else, it’s important to practice detoxification safely. If you have questions, please reach out to your holistic health practitioner or medical physician. Please contact us to learn more about bringing balance and vitality back to your life.

4 Ways to Support your Mental Health Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

During times of uncertainty, it’s normal to experience feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Right now, many of us are concerned about how coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact our physical health. But that’s not the only thing at risk. Beyond the fear of becoming ill, lies concerns about our finances, our loved ones, and our future. Which raises the question: How do you address your mental health during a pandemic?

If you are struggling to cope with coronavirus anxiety, here are four ways you can support your mental health.

Limit News Consumption

When there’s nowhere to go and not much to do, it’s no surprise that we frantically turn to our devices to keep up with the latest news. But if what you hear and read makes you feel more anxious than informed, it may be time to set some boundaries. Moving forward, rely on just 1-2 credible news sources for information and set time limits to avoid a downward spiral. For example, you may choose to scroll social media while your coffee brews in the morning, watch your local news during lunch, and catch up with the national news after you put the kids to bed. Creating a schedule will allow you to be more intentional with your time, limit distractions, and protect your sanity.

Develop a routine

Whether you’re adjusting to a work-from-home lifestyle or trying to manage a house full of children again (or maybe even both at the same time), this “new normal” has likely disrupted your everyday routine. We’re navigating an ever-changing environment, so be patient with yourself and find the silver linings. These unique circumstances give us an opportunity to reevaluate the ways we manage health and well-being for ourselves and our families. 

Carve out time each week for meal prep, meditation, exercise, and sleep. To limit trips to the market and keep your healthy diet on track, try a grocery delivery service. To lower your stress hormones, commit to 15 minutes of meditation per day. While gyms are temporarily closed, there are many home workouts available online. If you can maintain 6-foot distancing, you may even consider a brisk walk around your neighborhood. At the end of the day, practice good sleep hygiene by removing technology from your bedroom and making a cup of tea or journaling to calm your mind. Above all else, stick to a consistent schedule.

Stay connected to loved ones

Social distancing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, but it can very quickly lead to feelings of loneliness. Now more than ever, people are turning to apps like FaceTime and Skype to keep in touch with friends and family. Through the unprecedented challenges that coronavirus is forcing us to deal with, we’re presented with a unique opportunity to connect in new ways. This may mean hosting a virtual happy hour or book club with colleagues, coordinating an online trivia night with your neighbors, or mailing a hand-written letter to your elderly family member.

Discover a new hobby

Feeling a bit stir crazy? You’re not alone. Self-isolation has left us with an abundance of free time, but choosing how to spend it has proven to be a challenge. Whether you need a positive way to cope or a self-esteem boost — try picking up a new hobby or rediscovering an old one. Sinking into a book or podcast, organizing your home, baking, and crafting have all shown therapeutic benefits. No matter what activity you choose, let it bring you while you stay healthy and safe indoors. 

For the latest coronavirus information and resources, visit the CDC website.

Immune-Boosting Tips: How to Strengthen your Immune System with a Healthy Lifestyle

Looking to boost your immune system? With most of society currently staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, many of us are wondering what we can do to strengthen our immunity to these types of viruses.

First, it’s important to understand that taking a mega-load of vitamins can’t boost your immunity in a matter of days. Rather, a healthy diet and habits build up and improve your immune system over time.

That said, it’s never too late to get started!

While there is no magic pill that will coat your immune system in an armor of protection, there are important ways you can take care of yourself and boost your immune system through diet, rest, exercise and stress management.

Foods and Vitamins that boost your immune system

A healthy, immune-boosting diet should be high in fiber and consist of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed and sugary foods. Each day, you should be eating a rainbow of color in fresh produce.

And, ideally, you’ll want to eat a variety of fresh veggies and fruits that supply your body with the following immune-boosting vitamins and minerals.

VITAMIN A: High in helpful carotenoids, you’ll find vitamin A in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash.

VITAMIN B6: Find it in salmon, tuna, leafy greens and chickpeas.

VITAMIN B12: While B12 can be found in salmon, yogurt, eggs and meat, it’s harder to get for vegetarians and vegans. If you avoid meat and eggs in your diet, be sure to supplement B12 with a quality supplement to avoid deficiency.

VITAMIN C: Long heralded as a friend to the immune system, Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, kale, spinach and broccoli. Try to get it through whole foods rather than a supplement.

VITAMIN D: Many Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, especially in regions that don’t get as much sunlight. What’s more, studies have shown that people who take in high doses of Vitamin D are 40% less likely to develop respiratory infections. Be sure to eat plenty of foods that contain Vitamin D, such as salmon, tuna, fresh eggs and mushrooms. Cod liver oil is also an excellent supplement.

VITAMIN E: A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds and dark greens such as spinach and broccoli.

ZINC: Zinc is an important mineral to your immune system. Get this essential trace element in yogurt, salmon and eggs.

A high-quality probiotic is also a great way to keep your gut health happy and increase immune health. You’ll find it in fermented foods such as Greek yogurt, kimchi and kombucha. If you opt for a supplement, look for one in the refrigerated section at your local nutrition store, and be sure it has a wide variety of strains and cultures available.

And avoid alcohol and sugar whenever possible. Excess alcohol consumption wears down the immune system, as it reduces the number of microbes in the gut microbiome. And sugary and processed foods can really wreak havoc on your entire system.

The importance of rest, relaxation & exercise

Many studies have shown that stress and lack of quality sleep are major factors contributing to health problems and disease.

While the coronavirus outbreak has stress levels high for all of us, we don’t have to let that stress go unchecked. Now more than ever, it is crucial to have a solid stress management plan in place and to create healthy daily habits to foster a sense of peace and wellbeing.

Check in with yourself throughout the day to focus on taking long, deep breaths. Make a mental checklist of everything you are grateful for. Start or maintain a mindfulness meditation routine. And be sure to practice self care, whether that is a hot bubble bath or a morning yoga session.

It’s also incredibly important to get enough sleep each night. Aim for 7-8 hours per night for optimal health and stress management.

If you find anxiety keeping you awake, you can try a natural supplement like CBD or melatonin, or, do a yoga session  and or exercise routine just before bed to tire your body and brain. If insomnia or restlessness persists, consult your physician.

And speaking of exercise — be sure to get at least 20-30 minutes of moderately strenuous activity per day. Whether that’s a brisk walk or job around your neighborhood (maintaining appropriate 6-foot social distancing), a run on the treadmill or a yoga session, keeping active is key to heart, lung and immune health. Plus, it’s a natural stress reliever!

Healthy Meals Made Easy: The Scoop on Meal Delivery Services

If you’re like most of us, you’re busy. You know that eating healthy is crucial to your health, hormone balance and energy level. You know that eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains will benefit your health — and that reducing processed foods loaded with added sugars, carbs and hard-to-pronounce ingredients will help you feel better in the long run. 

But finding time to plan out, shop for, prepare and cook wholesome meals can be a challenge. It’s the very reason so many of us find ourselves reaching for the nearest convenience food despite our best intentions. 

Recently, a plethora of online meal services have set out to solve that problem by delivering healthy, whole-foods based meals right to your door, taking planning and shopping off your list. Some of them even do the cooking for you!

But how do these programs work, and are they really worth the cost? We explore a few of the most popular options below. Whether you use one of these services as your main meal strategy or as a quick fill-in to complement your own meals planning, there are a variety of options to suit just about every diet. Best of all, you can customize your weekly meal plans, and skip any weeks you won’t be needing it (ie, you’re going on vacation).

Like to Cook But Lack the Time?

If you’re someone who enjoys cooking but lacks the time or willpower to find healthy recipes, shop for weekly ingredients and prep time-intensive meals, a service like Hello Fresh or Purple Carrot may just be the extra bit of help you need to keep your healthy diet on track. Both services curate your recipes and ingredients for you, leaving you to simply take care of a little meal prep and cooking.

Hello Fresh offers ten new recipes each week, so you never have to fall into a dinner rut again. You’re also in the driver’s seat — you choose whether you want meals based on meat and veggies, low-calorie recipes, or a plant-based menu. Customize your weekly meal plan to accommodate the number of people you’re feeding, and enjoy healthy meals for as low as $5.66 per serving.

Meanwhile, for $7.49 per serving, Blue Apron offers chef-designed meals from balanced Mediterranean dishes to quick and easy one-pan dinners. Choose from meat, fish, or vegetarian focused menu plans. They even offer special diabetes-friendly recipes.

Need Fast, On-The-Go Meals?

Whether cooking isn’t your forte, or you just need quick, easy morning and lunch options, there are a number of ready-to-eat meal services on the market. Unlike the options mentioned above, these services do the prep and cooking for you, so all you need to do is drink your breakfast, or heat up your meal.

Fairly new to the scene, Daily Harvest delivers soups, smoothies, oats and harvest bowls that are pre-made and arrive frozen. Smoothies come in ready-to-sip bottles and include a variety of nutritious options, such as Banana & Greens, blended with fresh ingredients like kale, spinach, wheatgrass, cucumber and banana. These make for a nutrient-dense kickstart to your day, or work great as a post-workout meal or afternoon snack. The harvest bowls (such as Brussels Sprouts and Tahini) and soups (such as Green Chickpea & Kale or Cauliflower & Leek) give you wholesome, filling lunch options that are easy to heat and eat during a busy day. No more drive-through food for you!

This service also allows you to focus on your particular dietary needs, including vegan, gluten-free and even ketogenic options. Daily Harvest can be spendy (many options run over $7 for serving) but can be worth its weight in gold for keeping your diet and health on track.

If you’re looking for a healthy and easy vegan and gluten-free meal plan, Splendid Spoon focuses on delivering nutrient-dense whole foods in the form of smoothies, soups and grain bowls. From breakfast smoothies like Carrot Ginger and Green Matcha to fresh soups, it’s a quick and easy way to get plenty of fresh, whole foods and nutrients on the go. 

Their hearty grain bowls also make a great lunch or dinner option, with delicious options like Brown Rice Taco, Moroccon Spiced Buckwheat and Carrot Lentil Curry bowls. Weekly meal delivery runs $65-135 per week, depending on whether you want morning smoothies only, or a more complete breakfast/lunch meal plan.

A Commitment-Free Way to Kickstart Healthy Eating

Even if you don’t plan to use a meal-service long term, one of these options can be a great way to kickstart healthy diet changes. If you find yourself still grabbing fast food or heavily processed foods, using one of these meal services can help you create healthier habits with little additional effort. 

Whether you use these options as a stepping stone to creating your own healthy meal plans, or determine that these are great long term options to keep your diet and health on track, we can all use a helping hand.

And if you decide a service is not for you, you can pause or cancel your deliveries at any time.

Here’s to healthy eating!

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail (And What to Do Instead)

It’s late January, and most New Year’s resolutions created with the best of intentions have already fallen to the wayside. That’s right–nearly ⅔ of all new year’s resolutions are forgotten by February. 

In fact, according to University of Scranton Psychology Professor John C. Norcross, Ph.D, less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are actually ever achieved. Ouch.

So why don’t resolutions work, and what should we do instead?

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

One reason that new year’s resolutions fail is because they are too vague and are not measurable. Let’s say your doctor wants you to lose weight. A broad resolution of “lose weight” does not offer any specific goals to reach and offers nothing to hold you accountable to that goal. 

Another reason resolutions often fail is that we set too many. After all, it’s overwhelming to try and juggle six goals and much more effective to focus on one or two truly vital goals.

Do This Instead…

Instead of setting broad, undefined resolutions (ie, “lose weight”), set smaller, more attainable action goals. 

For example, you might set the specific goal to walk 20 minutes every morning, to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or replace your cream-and-sugar morning coffee with green tea. 

Each of these smaller action goals will help you reach the larger resolution (in this case, to lose weight) but committing to smaller behavior changes breaks a large, overwhelming goal into more easily changed habits.

Say you want to save money for a trip to Italy. Break that into smaller action goals in order to work toward that objective. For example, you might choose to limit your dining out to twice a week instead of four, or replace your morning coffee shop run with making your own at home. Small changes add up, and as each smaller goal becomes a habit and is reached, you can add more smaller goals

Replace Old Habits With New Ones

They say old habits die hard, but it’s easier to nix them when you replace them with new habits–or, add onto current hood habits.For example, if you already walk 20 minutes every morning, what’s another 10? Set a goal to add 10 minutes to each morning walk, and before you know it, a 30-minute walk is your new habit.

If your old habit is to eat sugary cereal each morning, replace that with a bowl of hot oats and fresh berries. This simple, smaller behavior change is much more attainable than setting a resolution to “eat healthier”

Measure Your Success

Find a way to track your mini-goals and your successful habit changes, whether it be on a whiteboard, calendar or journal. Check off as you meet each goal. When you find a goal becoming a natural part of your routine, add in another small goal. Keep stretching toward that big-picture resolution, but stay focused on the baby steps.

Before you know it, new, healthy habits will have you on your way to feeling healthier and happier!

 

6 Ways to Fight Seasonal Depression

Feeling the winter blues? You’re not alone — and there’s a reason. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is very real, and it affects an estimated 10 million Americans.

SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, often starting in the late fall as the days get shorter and darker. If most often begins to lift with the coming of spring and increased daylight.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Healthcare professionals believe that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a result of a few triggers. The first is the disruption to your circadian rhythm or biological clock. Less sunlight and longer hours of darkness in the fall and winter may disrupt your body’s internal clock, leaving you to feel more tired and depressed. 

Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin levels, a brain chemical that affects your mood. The reduction of this feel-good neurotransmitter can leave you feeling blue. Lack of sunlight also means a drop in melatonin levels, which can affect mood and sleep.

What Are The Symptoms Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SAD symptoms go beyond the occasional “feeling blue”. They may include:

  • Feeling depressed most days
  • Loss of interest in things you normally enjoy
  • Feeling sluggish and fatigued
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Feeling hopeless, unworthy or guilty
  • Increased irritability
  • Weight and appetite loss or gain
  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating
  • Brain fog or trouble retaining information
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

 

6 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Follow these 6 tips to get back to feeling like yourself!

1. See your doctor.

It’s normal to have occasional days when you feel down. But if feelings of depression are plaguing you for days at a time, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Your doctor may run blood tests to see if you are deficient in Vitamin D or other essential nutrients, as well as go over your symptoms and life changes. Together, you can determine the best course of action.

2. Try light therapy.

Phototherapy, or light therapy, is often the first defense against seasonal depression. It’s been a popular treatment for SAD since the 1980s. 

A full-spectrum light box mimics the sun’s rays to offset the lack of sunlight in the winter. Symptoms of seasonal depression may be relieved by sitting in front of a light box first thing in the morning each day throughout the fall and winter months. On average, you will need at least 20-30 minutes of exposure to 10,000 lux of cool-white fluorescent light per day.

While there are a plethora of light boxes available for purchase on the Internet, not all light boxes are created equally. It’s best to get a recommendation from your doctor prior to purchasing one.

The Mayo Clinic offers tips for selecting a light box here.

3. Commit to regular exercise.

One of your biggest weapons in the fight against depression is simply activity. Even when you don’t feel like crawling out of bed, taking a short walk around the block or doing 20 minutes of yoga can help restore health and wellbeing to your body.

Moderate exercise such as walking, jogging, climbing stairs and yoga release endorphins and serotonin to the brain, which elevate your mood and health. Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.

4. Try mind-body techniques.

Mind-body techniques such as meditation, tai chi or yoga can help you better cope with the onset of depression. Focusing on gratitude can also help you steer your thoughts from helplessness to hope.

Take a class at a local community center, or try a morning meditation practice in the comfort of your home.

5. Stick to a schedule.

While you may be inclined to oversleep or binge-watch television on the couch, establishing and maintaining a schedule can help you be consistent with activity from day-to-day. Try your best to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day, schedule in your meals and exercise. Getting into a routine will help your body learn to navigate the winter months in a more productive and healthy way.

6. Enjoy nature or a getaway.

If you’re able, take a vacation to a warmer, sunnier place to give your body some extra Vitamin D and sunlight therapy. If that’s not possible, try getting away to a new town for a weekend. The new sights and sounds can build feelings of excitement and joy, renewing your energy and mood. 

It can also help to get out into nature, regardless of the weather. Suit up and go play in the snow, or don a raincoat and take a misty hike through the forest. Immersing yourself in the calm beauty of nature can do wonders for the soul.

5 Tips to Ease Holiday Stress

While holiday tunes may wish you a “Holly, Jolly Christmas” the truth is that the holidays may leave you feeling frazzled. In fact, a survey by the American Psychological Association shows that 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays. In some cases, the increase in stress and anxiety may even lead to depression. 

 But you don’t have to let the holidays get the best of you. In this month’s blog, we’re sharing 5 tips for avoiding and easing stress so you can enjoy the season and all of its gifts.

1. Maintain Healthy Habits

All too often when the holidays arrive, we toss healthy habits out the window. Make an effort to stick to any healthy habits you have already created: a healthy diet, afternoon walks, morning meditation. Schedule these practices into your day if needed, but don’t abandon them for the overindulgence of the season.

Going to a party? Eat a healthy snack before you go, so those sugary sweets won’t be as tempting. A hectic day of shopping and activities? Start your day with a healthy breakfast smoothie and ten minutes of meditation

Of course, you’ll want to partake of holiday treats and activities, and indulging a little here and there is to be expected! Working to maintain regular, healthy habits throughout the season will keep you focused and you’ll feel less guilty when you do have a slice of that cheesecake.

2. Know When to Say No

The holiday season can be chaotic, and your calendar can fill up before you know it. But while you may be tempted to accept every party invitation that comes your way, it pays off to pace yourself. 

Say yes to gatherings and activities that truly bring you joy, and don’t be afraid to politely decline all others. Stagger outings with days of self-care in between. Taking time to rest and recharge will reduce stress and keep you going well through the New Year.

3. Set a Spending Budget

Finances are one of the biggest stressors during the holiday season. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, the average American family spends more than $1,000 on Christmas gifts and decorations.

It’s easy to go overboard, especially when there are kids and grandchildren to buy for, and before you know it, you’ve racked up a mountain of holiday debt. 

Start the season right by taking an honest look at your finances, then set a realistic budget for holiday spending. Track your spending on paper or via an app like You Need A Budget and ensure that you don’t go over your limit. It will give you peace of mind and ensure that your finances don’t go off the rails.

4. Strengthen Healthy Bonds

Sometimes, less is more. Rather than spreading yourself too thin at multiple parties, create a special time for strengthening close connections with the family and friends that mean the most to you. Have a quiet meal and conversation, take a walk to see Christmas lights. 

Sometimes we’re so busy running around all season that we realize we didn’t have time to simply enjoy being with the ones we love. Don’t get so caught up in the festivities that you forget to just connect

5. Plan Ahead

Hosting a gathering? Create a plan and checklist, then delegate tasks to share the workload. Carve out your schedule for the week, setting blocks of time aside for self-care. Plan your menus ahead of time so you’re less tempted to give in to junk food.

A little prior planning and preparation will help you feel more focused and steady so you can make the most of the holidays with the ones you love.

 

 

The Importance of Micronutrients in your Diet

If you’re making the effort to eat better and be healthier, considering your intake of key micronutrients is vital. According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, micronutrients have a major impact on our health and wellbeing. Are you getting what your body needs?

In this month’s blog, we take a look at what exactly micronutrients are, why they are important to our health, and how to ensure we get enough in our diets.

What Are Micronutrients And Why Are They Important?

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are only required in small quantities by our bodies, but have a big impact. In fact, micronutrients are essential for a number of different bodily functions, including growth and development. 

Although micronutrients are only required in trace amounts, becoming deficient in these micronutrients can cause a variety of problems in the body. And it happens easier than you may think. In fact, micronutrient deficiencies are quite widespread, affecting a third of the world’s population. 

Vitamins A, B6, C, D, and E are all examples of micronutrients, as are iron, magnesium, iodine, and zinc. 

Micronutrients are essential for maintaining your brain, muscle, bone, circulation, skin, and immune system. Failing to get enough micronutrients leads to deficiency, which can contribute to a number of health problems ranging from fatigue, depression, muscle weakness, and headaches to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis.

How To Obtain Micronutrients

While a plethora of studies offer conflicting and often confusing suggestions about micronutrients and nutrition (including the effectiveness of certain supplements) one thing is certain: the best way to get vitamins and minerals is from a well-rounded diet, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and lean sources of protein, along with healthy fats, such as nuts and olive oil.

“You should ideally try to meet your vitamin and mineral needs through your diet rather than supplements,” says Dr. Howard D. Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Medical Editor of the Special Health Report Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy.

If your diet consists of highly processed foods filled with sugar and salt, and if your diet lacks a well-balanced variety of fresh produce, you may be at risk for micronutrient deficiency.

Choose Fresh Foods Rich In Micronutrients

Five micronutrients in particular play vital roles in maintaining immune function and overall health: vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. While these and others are often sold as daily supplements, there is no evidence that such supplements have any more benefits than simply  following a fresh, healthy, wholesome diet. Adjusting your diet to include a variety of whole foods is always preferred to popping a supplement every day. 

Harvard Medical School suggests the following foods as great ways to get some of these essential micronutrients:

Obtain Vitamin B6 from…
Chicken, cereals, bananas, potato skins, chickpeas, tuna, salmon

Obtain Vitamin B12 from…
Fish, chicken, eggs, low fat cheese and milk

Obtain Vitamin C from…
Tomatoes, citrus fruit, sweet peppers, broccoli, kiwi

Obtain Vitamin E from…
Sunflower seeds and oils, almonds, peanut butter

Obtain Magnesium from…
Whole wheat, legumes, nuts, seeds, avocados, spinach, quinoa

Obtain Iron from…
Chicken, turkey, oysters, kale, collard greens, swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, legumes

Are You Deficient In Micronutrients?

If you’re concerned that you may be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, or if you’re feeling extra sluggish or have possible symptoms, contact Exceed Hormone Specialists today to schedule a consult. 

Dr. Chauhan and Dr. Pearson are trained to evaluate your vitamins and supplements based on your medical history, complete evaluation, lab studies, and a clear understanding of your nutrition and performance goals.

Our specific recommendations will be based on core medical knowledge and the latest reliable research. We will then tailor the recommendations to your particular situation and needs. Such an approach ensures that your ongoing supplement and vitamin choices are aligned with your individual health situation, your needs, and your aspirations.

 

Healthy Eating Habits to Balance Menopause Symptoms

Hot flashes. Sleep disturbances. Mood swings. The onset of menopause symptoms (known as perimenopause) can leave you feeling out of balance and overwhelmed. As your reproduction system begins to wind down during middle age, your body experiences a drop in estrogen and progesterone, which can take a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. 

Declining hormone levels can lead to bone density loss and osteoporosis and shifting metabolism can often cause weight gain. 

If you are starting to experience signs of menopause, contact us for a consultation so we can help you through this time of change. 

It’s also important to pay close attention to your diet during this time, so we’ve rounded up some foods to avoid — as well as ones you’ll want to make sure you’re getting on a daily basis.

Foods to Avoid During Menopause.

Quit caffeine. Although menopausal symptoms may leave you feeling fatigued, that cup of coffee may do more harm than good. In fact, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, caffeine intake can worsen vasomotor symptoms during menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes. 

If you need a natural energy boost, opt for a healthy smoothie, increase water intake, get plenty of sleep and be sure to exercise 30-60 minutes at least 4 days a week. 

Fight sugary carb cravings. Lowered levels of estrogen and progesterone can increase sugar cravings and send you running for the nearest pasty. However, calorie-loaded carbs and sugars will leave you feeling drained and can cause unwanted weight gain due to slower metabolism during menopause. Try your best to avoid processed, sugary foods.

Ditch the alcohol. Insomnia is a common symptom of menopause, due to decreased levels of estrogen, decreased melatonin production and increased night sweats. Alcohol lowers melatonin production even further, making it hard for your body to regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

The good news? Your risk of cardiovascular disease begins to drop soon after quitting tobacco use! And the risk drops significantly after one year of being tobacco-free.

Increase these Foods to Balance Hormones During Menopause

Eat plenty of fresh produce. Eating a variety of fresh fruits and veggies helps to balance your hormones, boost energy, and keep you feeling your best throughout menopause. Be sure to get lots of dark, leafy greens (such as kale, spinach, mustard greens and collard greens) as well as bananas and other magnesium and calcium rich foods to keep bones strong and healthy as your body goes through this mid-life transition. Avocados are a favorite for providing healthy fats and a health boost!

Sprinkle those seeds! Flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and healthy fats, making them a great addition to fresh salads or smoothies. 

Love your legumes. Chickpeas, lentils and other beans are full of protein and also aid in bone health.

Have a helping of healthy fats. Limit your oil intake to healthy, plant-based fats such as avocado and olive oils. Avoid fatty, red meats and opt for leaner meats such as fish or chicken.

Switch out your snacks. When salt and sugar cravings hit, opt for a healthy snack pairing such as apple slices with almond butter, raw veggies with a low-fat dip, or hummus with whole grain toast or crackers.

5 Strategies for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is a killer. In fact, it’s the number one cause of death globally, claiming an estimated 18 million lives each year. 

But what exactly defines cardiovascular disease? “Cardio” refers to the heart, while “vascular” refers to blood vessels. Therefore, cardiovascular disease includes heart conditions such as coronary artery disease and heart failure, as well as vascular problems such as high blood pressure and narrowing of arteries.

Most often, the term cardiovascular disease refers to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which is the underlying cause of most heart attacks and strokes. 

Fortunately, cardiovascular disease can often be prevented by making healthier choices in your daily life. September 29th is World Heart Day, so we’re sharing some key strategies for maintaining cardiovascular health and preventing disease. Here’s to a happy heart!

1. If you use tobacco, stop. Today.

Smoking and tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. The toxins in tobacco damage your heart and blood vessels, putting you at an increased risk for a heart attack.

The good news? Your risk of cardiovascular disease begins to drop soon after quitting tobacco use! And the risk drops significantly after one year of being tobacco-free.

2. Get your heart rate up through moderate exercise.

Committing to moderate exercise (just as walking at a brisk pace or riding a bike) for 30 minutes each day–or at least 4 to 5 days a week– goes a long way toward preventing cardiovascular complications.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommendations of 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

And it’s not all or nothing. Busy week? Any exercise is better than none!

Find ways to work extra cardio conditioning into your daily tasks. If you’re able, opt for the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Give the dog an extra walk. Making exercise a top priority will not only help fight off heart disease; it also promotes hormone health, better energy levels and weight loss while reducing the risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.

3. Commit to a heart-healthy diet. 

Ditch the junk food and reduce your reliance on sugar and salt laden processed foods. Aim for a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains. Try to get five to ten servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.

If you eat meat and dairy, opt for lean meats, fish and low-fat dairy products. Limit saturated and trans fats, and opt for healthy fats and oils from plant-based sources, such as avocados, nuts, and olives.

4. Get plenty of quality sleep.

Sleep deprivation does more than give you an afternoon case of the yawns. It also puts you at risk for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart attack.

The average adult requires seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re struggling when your alarm goes off each morning, you’re not getting enough rest. 

Make a healthy sleep schedule a top priority. Set a bedtime and waking time, then stick to it as often as possible. Unwind away from electronic devices for an hour before you head to bed. Read a book, take a warm bath, spend a few moments in meditation, or enjoy a hot cup of herbal tea. 

If you find that anxiety and worry is keeping you up at night, talk to your doctor about ways to better manage stress. Keep in mind that a healthy diet and exercise will help to relieve stress as well!

5. Get regular health checkups.

Cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure and high cholesterol can seemingly sneak up on you. Regularly scheduled health screenings with your doctor will ensure that any warning signs are caught early on.