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Wednesday
Dec162015

What Makes Lemons So Healthy?

Lemons are in-season now – learn more about why you should eat lemons, and try our tasty Lemon Olive Oil Cake recipe!

Available year-round, lemons are at their peak in May - just in time for homemade lemonade. A citrus fruit, lemons are a good source of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that helps to keep the immune system strong.

Lemons come in both sour (Eureka and Lisbon) and relatively sweet (Meyer) varieties. Look for a lemon that is heavy for its size, which indicates less skin and more flesh. The peel should have a finely grained texture and be fully yellow. You can use both the flesh and the peel (as a zest if the lemon is organic) in all types of dishes, so enjoy - we like them in the Lemon Olive Oil Cake recipe.

And don't limit the lemons to cooking - lemons make an effective, natural cleaning product for your home. To clean and polish wood furniture, add two tablespoons of lemon juice to 10 drops of (real) lemon oil and a few drops of jojoba oil.

Monday
Dec142015

Feeling Shaky?

Essential tremor is a common condition, affecting millions of people worldwide. Characterized by the involuntary shaking of the hands, head, neck or other body parts, the symptoms and severity can vary from day to day, even hour to hour. Some people experience tremors when in certain positions, or when writing or eating. Unfortunately, no one knows the exact cause, though it is known that stress, anxiety and fatigue may worsen the shaking.

If you experience essential tremor, try the following. Each may help to reduce the duration and frequency of the shaking:

  1. Eliminate consumption of caffeinated beverages including coffee, cola and caffeinated tea.
  2. Limit alcohol. (A small amount of alcohol may temporarily reduce tremor, but should never be used to treat symptoms.)
  3. Know the side effects of prescription drugs or herbs you are taking. Amphetamines, lithium or stimulants can all exacerbate shaking.
  4. Begin a regular practice of relaxation techniques such as relaxation breathing, meditation or tai chi.
  5. Consider cranial osteopathy or some form of energy medicine such as Therapeutic Touch or Reiki. You might also experiment with acupuncture, hypnosis and massage.
  6. Consider herbal-based relaxants such as valerian. Follow the dosage directions on the product labels. Caution is recommended for those with liver problems.
Friday
Dec112015

4 Healthy Beverages

Yesterday we looked at unhealthy drinks to avoid – and today we cover four that you should add to your diet. Each offers health benefits, and tastes great too!

Yesterday we discussed four unhealthy drinks that you should minimize or avoid. Today we cover four healthy beverages - experiment to find the best ways to incorporate them into your daily routine: 

  1. Green tea. Dr. Weil's beverage of choice, green tea is a potent source of catechins - healthy antioxidants that can inhibit cancer cell activity and help boost immunity. Look for an organic and fair trade version. Replace your morning coffee with a cup of tea for a healthier wake-up, and drink iced green tea throughout the day.
  2. Cranberry juice. Cranberries are a rich source of vitamin C and contain a substance that hinders the attachment of bacteria to bladder walls, which can help prevent urinary tract infections. Instead of cranberry juice cocktail, opt for unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate and dilute with water or sparkling water. Diluted blueberry juice is a healthy choice as well.
  3. Red wine. The antioxidant activity of red wine has been linked to heart health benefits, reduced stress, and even preserving memory. If you enjoy an occasional drink, limit your intake to one to two glasses a day. If you don't drink, don't start - there are other ways to get antioxidants in your diet, including fresh whole fruits and vegetables.
  4. Pure, filtered water. Staying well hydrated is essential to optimal health and overall functioning. Sip water throughout the day, and in the warmer months, be sure to drink water before and after exercising to avoid dehydration.

 

Wednesday
Dec092015

4 Beverages to Avoid

Unless you want to add unnecessary calories and sugars to your diet, avoid these common, popular drinks.

Whether you are watching your weight or just want to eat healthier, taking a look at what you drink is key. Empty calories can lurk in all types of beverages - especially these:

1.   Coffee drinks with extras such as sugar or flavored syrup. These deliver a concentrated dose of quick-digesting carbohydrates that can lead to weight gain. A better option is a plain coffee with a little half-and-half, or, better yet, enjoy antioxidant-rich green tea instead of coffee.

2.   Frothy summer cocktails. Whether it's a margarita or a piña colada, sugary drinks pack a double dose of calories due to alcohol and sugar - some can top 800 calories in one drink! A better option is a glass of red wine (60-100 calories), a light beer (about 100 calories) or spirits with club soda and a lime.

3.   Juice and non-juice "juice drinks." These products are no better than drinking sugared water. If you want to enjoy the juice of a fruit, it’s best fresh, not bottled, and made partially or wholly from vegetables rather than entirely from fruits. If you consume fruit juice, I recommend adding purified or sparkling water to reduce the sugar content. 

4.   Soda. There just isn't anything nutritious about soda, whether it's diet or regular. If you're a soda addict, breaking the habit is among the best moves you can make for your weight and your health. Consider switching to sparkling water with a slice of citrus.

Don't miss my next post when we cover four healthy beverages.

Thursday
Nov192015

4 Foods to Boost Your Metabolism

If your metabolism is slowing down, don’t fret: your diet and lifestyle can have a big impact on keeping your weight at an ideal level. See what Dr. Weil suggests for boosting your metabolism.

As we age, our metabolism slows down, which can lead to weight gain. But small dietary adjustments can help minimize unwanted pounds in our middle years. Try these suggestions:

 

  1. Choose healthy carbohydrates. Replace refined, high-glycemic index carbs with unrefined, low-glycemic choices such as sprouted grain breads or beans and lentils. The latter do not cause the spikes in blood glucose levels that encourage the storage of fat.
  2. Use spices. Capsaicin (the compound that gives chili peppers their bite), black pepper and ginger all boost the generation of heat in the body, leading to more calories burned.
  3. Drink green tea. The main antioxidant polyphenol in green tea, known as epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, stimulates the body to help burn calories. Dr. Weil recommends drinking a few cups of quality green tea every day.
  4. Get hungry. Many people believe that eating five or six small meals daily boosts metabolism, but recent research indicates that's probably false. To increase fat metabolism, allow yourself to be slightly hungry now and then. The best way may be to eat two or three modest meals daily, with no snacks. Eat until you are satisfied and no longer hungry, not necessarily until you clean your plate.

 

In addition, get regular physical exercise, with some sessions being as intense as your body allows, like interval sprinting in the yard or on a bike – is another way to keep your metabolism functioning properly.

Tuesday
Nov172015

Foods for Healthy Blood Sugar Levels, Part 2

Last blog post covered five foods for healthy blood sugar levels, including okra and onions. Today we look at five more - add these foods to your diet, as they may help lower blood sugar levels.

 

  1. Maitake mushrooms. One of Dr. Weil's favorites, maitake not only contain compounds that enhance immune function, but appear to lower blood sugar levels as well. Cook some up and serve as a side dish!
  2. Underground vegetables. Also known as tubers, veggies such as leeks, potatoes and yams have been shown in studies to lower or return to normal high blood sugar levels.  
  3. Brewer's yeast. Rich in essential amino acids and B vitamins, brewer's yeast may also lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, and may improve glucose tolerance, increase insulin sensitivity, and lower cholesterol as well. Shake some on your next batch of popped corn!
  4. Prickly pear. The green pads of this plant are called nopal, a staple of Mexican cuisine that is very low on the glycemic index and may have blood-sugar-lowering effects. Look for it at specialty or ethnic grocers.
  5. Bitter melon. When cooked and added to other dishes, bitter melon will impart a unique flavor that may help glucose tolerance in people with type 2 diabetes, and help keep blood sugar levels in the normal range.

 

Wednesday
Oct212015

Want Healthy Blood Sugar Levels? Eat These

A healthy diet is the most effective route to stable blood sugar levels. Use today and tomorrow’s Daily Tips for information on the right foods to keeping blood sugar and insulin under control!


To keep blood sugar levels stable, regular exercise is helpful - but a healthy diet is a must. Add these foods to your diet, as they may help lower blood sugar levels.

  1. Green, leafy vegetables. Broccoli, spinach, and kale are good sources of fiber - which helps regulate blood sugar levels - and are high in vitamins A, C, and K. Plus, some studies have shown that eating vegetables can help prevent diabetes, so aim for four to five servings per day.
  2. Beans and legumes. Beans of almost any variety, as well as lentils, are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium and soluble fiber - and are low-glycemic-load foods. Make sure you get one to two servings per day.
  3. Cabbage. A very low-glycemic index food (near zero!), cabbage is high in fiber, low in calories, inexpensive and versatile. It's especially useful for stabilizing blood-sugar levels because it converts to sugar very slowly in the body. Try eating more slaw, sauerkraut or kimchi.
  4. Okra. This southern staple is high in soluble fiber - which slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and can help stabilize blood sugar - and is also a low glycemic-index food. Try adding it to your next pot of soup.
  5. Onions. This kitchen staple is more than a tasty addition to many dishes - onions offer blood-sugar lowering effects.

Don't miss tomorrow's tip when we cover five more foods that are beneficial to healthy blood sugar levels!

Monday
Oct192015

Want to Add Years to Your Life?

A long, healthful life is a goal for many. And one thing can have a big impact on whether that goal is achieved  – find out what it is!

Want to add years to your life? Make regular, moderate exercise part of your healthy lifestyle routine. Physical activity is good for the body, mind and spirit; helps maintain and improve the health of your heart; reduces the risk of diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's; promotes energy, quality rest and a healthy weight; helps manage unhealthy stress; and may alleviate mild to moderate depression.

So why isn't everyone exercising?

People can always find excuses not to exercise, but really - there is no good reason. To reap all these benefits, all most people need is 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least four days a week, including at least two days of strength training, and a stretching routine.

It's simple to begin: rent fitness DVDs, download a workout app as a guide, join a gym, make an appointment with a personal trainer or simply get some friends together for daily walks.