What can I do to speed up my metabolism?

It’s not unusual to hear people blame their weight gain on a slow metabolism. They’ve cut down on calories and they’re more active, but they’re not losing weight. Could the culprit be a slow metabolism? What can I do to speed up my metabolism?

What is metabolism?

Metabolism describes all the chemical processes that go on continuously inside your body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food.

These chemical processes require energy. The minimum amount of energy your body requires to carry out these chemical processes is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Your BMR accounts for anything between 40% and 70% of your body’s daily energy requirements, depending on your age and lifestyle. A “slow metabolism” is more accurately described as a low BMR.

There are lots of online calculators that can work out your daily energy needs. Look out for those that use the Harris-Benedict equation.

Do some people have a faster metabolism than others?

Body size, age, gender and genes all play a role in the speed of your metabolism.

Muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, so people with more muscle than fat tend to have a faster metabolism.

As we get older, we tend to gain fat and lose muscle. This explains why your metabolism may slow down as you get older.

In general, men tend to have a faster metabolism because they have more muscle mass, heavier bones and less body fat than women.

Your metabolism may be partly determined by your genes, although this isn’t yet fully understood.

Genes definitely play a role in muscle size and your ability to grow muscles, both of which affect your metabolism.

Am I fat because of a slow metabolism?

People who struggle to lose weight often blame a slow metabolism. But there’s little evidence to support this claim.

Research actually shows that overweight people have faster metabolisms than thinner people. Larger bodies require more energy to carry out basic bodily functions.

Putting a “slow metabolism” to one side, something else may be at play here.

Research suggests people tend to eat more than they think they do. When asked to write down everything they’ve consumed in a day, many people tend to report eating far less than they actually do.

More often than not, the reason you’re putting on weight isn’t because of a slow metabolism, it’s because you’re eating and drinking more calories than you’re burning.

It may be hard to accept, but staying on top of the number of calories you eat is key to losing weight and keeping it off.

Can losing weight too fast slow my metabolism?

Crash diets and other calorie-restricted diets can slow your metabolism.

With some diets, your body is forced to break down muscle to use for energy. The lower your muscle mass, the slower your metabolism.

With less muscle and a slower metabolism, it then becomes a lot easier to put body fat back on after coming off the diet.

What can I do to speed up my metabolism?

It’s claimed that certain foods and drinks can boost your metabolism, including green tea, black coffee, spices and energy drinks. The evidence behind these claims is weak.

While you don’t have much control over the speed of your metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity.

The more active you are, the more calories you burn.

Some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are probably just more active – and maybe more fidgety – than others.

Here are the 3 most effective ways of burning calories:

Aerobic activity

Aerobic exercise is the most effective way to burn calories. You should aim to do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity, such as walking, cycling and swimming, a week.

You can achieve this target by doing 30 minutes, 5 days a week and breaking down your activity sessions in chunks of 10 minutes.

To lose weight, you’re likely to need to do more than 150 minutes a week and make changes to your diet.

Strength training

Muscle burns more calories than fat, so increasing your muscle mass will help you lose weight.

Aim to do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on 2 or more days a week.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights and high-intensity bouts of exercise. Heavy gardening may also do the job.

Be active

Try to make activity part of your daily routine. That could include walking or cycling all or part of your journey to work. You could also take the stairs instead of the lift. 

Can certain medical conditions cause a slow metabolism?

Some diseases and conditions can slow a person’s metabolism, such as Cushing’s syndrome and hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid).

But more often than not, people’s weight is a matter of consuming more calories than they burn.

If you feel you may have a problem that’s not responding to lifestyle changes, speak to a doctor.

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8 Factors That Slow Your Metabolism

How many times have you thought to yourself, “I can’t lose weight because of my slow metabolism?” Over the past two decades as nutritionists, we’ve heard that time and again from our clients. How do you know if your metabolism is actually slow? Can it be fixed? And is the problem really your metabolism? Simply put, metabolism is the way your body converts the food and drink you consume for energy, and is usually measured in calories. We can determine how many calories your body burns each day by plugging information into a variety of formulas that have been designed to measure this. Click here to access the formulas and see what you get. As there is no single calculation that is considered the best, we recommend that you do all of the formulas, which will give you a range in which your metabolism may fall. A more accurate way is to have your metabolism measured through indirect calorimetry, which uses a machine to measure oxygen consumption. In less than 10 minutes you can know your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Metabolism is a complex process that’s affected by more than just what you eat and how much you exercise. There are 8 factors that slow your metabolism, and you might not even know it.

1. INCONSISTENT MEAL TIMES

When your meals times come at regularly spaced intervals, your body uses up the calories for fuel and burns more calories in between meals. If your eating pattern is erratic, your body gets confused and isn’t quite sure when the next meal is coming, so it goes into conservation mode. Calorie burn is reduced and more food is put into storage (fat cells and glycogen stores).

2. GETTING TOO LITTLE SLEEP  

Numerous studies have shown that sleep is a key factor in gaining and losing weight. When you do not get enough sleep, hormones that control hunger and fullness go haywire. Too much ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and too little leptin (the fullness hormone) get produced, which leaves you feeling hungry all day and you lose the ability to know when you are full. Plus, more cortisol gets produced, which increases cravings for starchy, sugary and fatty foods. Recent studies on chronic sleep deprivation suggest that the calories you eat are burned less efficiently. Aim for 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

3. NOT EATING ENOUGH

If you are “dieting” to lose weight, eating too few calories can actually backfire and keep you from achieving your goal. Yes, creating a calorie deficit will help you lose weight, but there is a point in each individual that cutting calories too low will put the body into starvation mode and slow down metabolism to keep you alive. Make sure you get enough calories and a balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) to keep your metabolism from crashing. Read more about how to determine your macronutrient needs

4. SKIPPING OUT ON STRENGTH TRAINING 

Most people make the mistake of only doing cardio (aerobic) exercise because it burns a good amount of calories while it’s being done. But after the exercise is over, calorie burn returns to resting levels. Strength training is a key component of metabolism because it is directly linked to muscle mass. The more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate. Whether you lift weights, use resistance bands or use your own body weight for resistance, resistance creates microtears in the muscle tissue. As your body repairs these tears, muscle tissue grows and requires more calories to stay alive. One of the best ways to strength train to get the best response from your muscle is to focus on the eccentric (or lowering) portion of any move. Eccentric moves are more muscularly damaging and require more effort to repair than concentric movements (the lifting portion of a move), and thus increase metabolism more. So, slow down when you strength train to increase your metabolism.

5. SITTING TOO MUCH

If you exercise an hour a day, but spend the other 23 hours sitting or lying down, your metabolism will slow down. Sitting for longer than 20 minutes can put your body into a more relaxed, non-energy-burning state. If your job keeps you chained to a desk or behind the wheel, get up once an hour to move around for a few minutes. Periodically moving is shown to help decrease triglycerides, blood sugar, waistlines and cholesterol as well as cause a small spike in metabolism.

6. WHAT YOU DRINK

Consider this tip a two-for-one: Drinking too little water leads to dehydration, which can cause you to burn up to 2% fewer calories. All your body’s cellular functions require water, so sip it often. Drinking ice cold water can increase your metabolism by a few calories as your body heats the water to body temperature. Aim for at least 2 liters of water a day; drink more during hot and humid weather and when you sweat. At the other extreme, too much alcohol can impact your metabolism because excessive alcohol causes your liver to focus on breaking down alcohol molecules instead of burning fat. Plus, the calories from alcohol can add up quickly and impact weight.

7. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH CALCIUM

The mineral best known for building strong bones plays a key role in fat metabolism, which determines whether you burn calories or store them as fat. Some of the best dietary sources of calcium come from dairy—organic milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese—which also benefit muscles because they contain whey and casein, proteins that help to build muscle and prevent muscle breakdown. Research from McMaster University showed that women who consumed more dairy lost more fat and gained more muscle mass than those who consumed less.

8. STRESS

We’ve saved the best for last. Stress is probably the number-one factor impacting metabolism. It increases the production of cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite and makes us reach for comfort foods. It can decrease our desire for exercise, even though exercise is a powerful stress-buster. Stress slows digestion, causing a lower need to metabolize calories. Plus, stress can impact both the quality of sleep and number hours we sleep, which, as described earlier, can decrease metabolism and promote weight gain

To find 10 mistakes that slow your metabolism click here.

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Why Fitness is Mandatory for Your Health?

With the advancement of technology and busy lifestyle, most of the individuals are living a sedentary lifestyle which welcomes a number of diseases, even at a young age. These days fitness is a term heard by most people, but hardly a few of them have taken the steps to work on it or tried to understand the importance of it. Many of us just go through a good & fancy fitness lifestyle tips daily but don’t apply the tips in our lives. Have you ever taken a time-out from your busy schedule and tried to think about the importance of fitness in your life? It is not surprising if there is a denial of it because hardly one is bothered about it. Let’s go through important reasons why fitness should be mandatory for your health and well-being. If these simple but fruitful steps are followed, you will easily attain a healthy lifestyle for you and your family members.

Keeps you focused

When a person is physically fit, then he/she is capable to focus at the workplace or business. It helps them to improve their performance and scale to a great extent. To accomplish your personal or professional goals consistent efforts is a must and requires continuous concentration to achieve it. A healthy person can keep the focus on the aim and try to achieve it in any situation. 

Improves Your Immunity

Being fit and fine has a direct impact on keeping your immunity strong. The immune system of our body is essential to keep the body in a good state and to fight against diseases in the body. If you have read any fitness lifestyle blog you must know that a fitness regime keeps the immunity strong and helps to keep your body away from unwanted such as cold, flu and fever.

Wave Exorbitant Medical Bills

It is said that “An Apple a Day keeps Doctor Away”. It is the same with your immunity system. It will reduce your uncertain and expensive medical bills. As prices of medicines are ramping up this is going beyond our limits. So if fitness is maintained, you might curtail down your high medical bills.

Adequate Sleep

It is said that early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise. It is important to have a fit body so that you have sound sleep and can stick to your sleep schedule. Adequate sleep of 8 hours is mandatory for a human body to rejuvenate for the next day. It keeps you fresh and energetic for the next entire day. 

Better Mental Health 

It is seen that people these days are struggling from depression and it has increased to a great extent. Lack of physical activities and doing the same work constantly impacts mental health and causes issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety. Better mental health can be achieved through a daily workout, yoga, meditation, and a healthy routine.  

Daily Food Habits

We have always been given the preaching from our ancestors to eat a healthy diet always. You must be aware by now what a healthy diet means and it’s a responsibility of parents to set an example for the children to eat healthy food. You can stop your kid by eating junk food only if you stop yourself by doing the same. It is not important to enter into the technical aspect of each food that you eat, but spreading awareness amongst your children is sufficient. By sharing useful information about food and with a little creativity in cooking, you can give your family a healthy meal every day. 

Daily Workout

It is a myth amongst people that being health conscious about meal and fasting will make you healthy. But, the fact is that daily exercise is important to curb the unnecessary fats from your body to give your body a shape which it deserves. A family can even plan a daily exercise which encourages their children to join to understand the importance of it in their daily life. Teaching your children a simple workout rather than strenuous exercise is sufficient to maintain health and well-being. It is quite essential to keep obesity at bay by getting into other outdoor activities to avoid weight problems. 

Makes you Optimistic and Reduces Stress

To enjoy a healthy lifestyle, it is utmost important to have an optimistic attitude in life. Whatever activity you do, make sure the positivity remains until the end, which helps you to reduce stress. In addition, having a positive attitude leads to a healthier immune system. Your subconscious mind responds to the signals and constantly feed your body that it is healthy and happy. Soon you start believing that your mind and body are becoming fit. Also, if you stay positive, it reduces stress and makes you feel better about yourself. 

In a nutshell, proper exercise, eating habits and mental health are the key factors to determine a healthy lifestyle these days. Start taking steps toward a healthy lifestyle today. Make sure to set reasonable goals and start with baby steps towards your healthy lifestyle for a happy living.   

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Why Physical Activity is Mandatory for Health

We know that staying active is one of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy. But did you know it can also improve your overall well-being and quality of life? Here are some reasons Why Physical Activity is Mandatory for Health.

It’s a natural mood lifter.

Regular physical activity can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger. You know that “feel good sensation” you get after doing something physical? Think of it as a happy pill with no side effects! Most people notice they feel better over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of their lives.

It keeps you physically fit and able.

Without regular activity, your body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function properly. It’s like the old saying: you don’t stop moving from growing old, you grow old from stopping moving. Exercise increases muscle strength, which in turn increases your ability to do other physical activities. 

It helps keep the doctor away.

Stand up when you eat your apple a day! Too much sitting and other sedentary activities can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. One study showed that adults who watch more than 4 hours of television a day had an 80% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
 
Being more active can help you:

  • lower your blood pressure 
  • boost your levels of good cholesterol
  • improve blood flow (circulation)
  • keep your weight under control
  • prevent bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis

All of this can add up to fewer medical expenses, interventions and medications later in life!

It can help you live longer.

It’s true, 70 is the new 60… but only if you’re healthy. People who are physically active and at a healthy weight live about seven years longer than those who are not active and are obese. And the important part is that those extra years are generally healthier years! Staying active helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging. So active adults maintain their quality of life and independence longer as they age.

Here are some other benefits you may get with regular physical activity: 

  • Helps you quit smoking and stay tobacco-free.
  • Boosts your energy level so you can get more done.
  • Helps you manage stress and tension.
  • Promotes a positive attitude and outlook.
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • Improves your self-image and self-confidence.
  • Helps you spend more time outdoors.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. You can knock that out in just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. And every minute of moderate to vigorous activity counts toward your goal.

So, this is easy! Just move more, with more intensity, and sit less. You don’t have to make big life changes to see the benefits. Just start building more activity into your day, one step at a time.

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How can you maintain your healthy lifestyle

If you want to be a well-rounded, healthy individual, read this thoroughly because In this article I discussed about, How can you maintain your healthy lifestyle?

Maintain a regular exercise routine

No, you do not have to force yourself into intense workouts at the gym but you need to keep as active as possible. You can stick to easy floor exercises, swimming, walking, or simply keep yourself moving by doing some household chores. Do what your body allows you to do.

What is important is that you continue exercising. Give at least twenty to thirty minutes a day to exercise at least three to five times a week. Have a routine; see to it that you have enough physical activity each day.

Be conscious in your diet

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to keep eating healthy. Add more fruits and vegetables in your diet and eat less carbohydrates, high sodium and unhealthy fat. Avoid eating junk food and sweets.

Avoid skipping a meal—this will only make your body crave more food the moment you resume eating. Remember to burn more calories than you eat.

Engage in the things you are passionate about

Every now and then, to keep the stress and the demands of life from taking over, take a break to do something you love doing.

Surround yourself with positive energy

In order to have a sound mental and emotional state, you must surround yourself with positive energy. Yes, not all problems can be avoided. But it helps to face such obstacles with an optimist outlook. Surround yourself with encouraging friends and people that will provide you with constructive criticism every once in a while to help you improve.

Make it a habit to always look at the brighter side of life. Even if you find yourself in the worst situation, there is always an upside to it—something good and positive. Dwell on these things instead.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not that difficult, nor does it require a lot of work. Just keep doing what you do and apply the staying healthy tips listed above—surely you will be a well-rounded individual in no time.

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10 Mistakes that slow your metabolism

Metabolism is the ability of our body to burn calories from the consumed food and convert them into energy. If your metabolism is slow, you can’t lose those extra pounds no matter how hard you try. Apart from weight issues, a slower metabolism has a negative impact on health too. It is really important to maintain a good metabolic rate to stay healthy. Though base metabolism differs from person to person and slows down with aging, there are few mistakes which negatively affect metabolism. In this article i discussed about 10 Mistakes that slow your metabolism.

You don’t eat Enough

To lose weight it is important to cut calories, but this shouldn’t be overdone. When calories are cut down drastically in a short period of time, people may feel lighter and thinner initially. But in reality, they are losing good weight and key nutrients but not fat. Eating too few calories forces the body to go into starvation mode and uses muscle mass as fuel which slows down metabolism. This even leads to nutritional deficiencies and can have a negative impact on health.

You don’t Drink Enough Water

Metabolism depends on the amount of water you intake. When the body lacks adequate amounts of water, metabolism slows down and decreases the number of calories burnt. So, make sure to drink 8 glasses of water per day to boost up your metabolism.

You binge on processed Foods

Processed foods are packed with preservatives and chemicals that make food last longer. But these offer nothing good to our body except the toxins which slow down metabolism.  Besides slowing down the metabolism, consuming a lot of processed foods leads to weight gain, insulin resistance, and type-2 diabetes.

Your food is coated with Pesticides

The chemicals present in the pesticides that cover your food has adverse effects on metabolism. Exposure to pesticides has been linked to thyroid problems. This leads to slow down the metabolism, as thyroid is responsible for regulating it.  So try to get as much organic food as possible to make keep the metabolism going.

Your diet lacks Protein

The amount of protein in the diet changes the way the body stores the calories. Protein has a huge impact on body-fat percentage. Muscle mass increases the metabolism while fat slows down it. So, watch the amount of protein in the diet that helps build muscles, which in turn increases the metabolism.

You completely cut out Carbs

One should take a low-carb diet in order to lose weight. But this doesn’t mean that you completely eliminate carbohydrates from the diet. Carbohydrates are that source of energy which builds muscle by using protein from the diet. They are essential to absorb the protein present in the consumed diet and grow muscle. Without carbohydrates, metabolism slows down and protein cannot be absorbed. People who exercise regularly require enough carbs as muscles demand glycogen from carbohydrate stores in the body during exercise. If they don’t consume enough carbohydrates, the glycogen levels drop which decreases the energy levels required for exercise.

You don’t include Dairy Products

Calcium deficiency has been linked to slowed metabolism. Calcium present in the dairy products may reduce the absorption of fat from other foods. Dairy products are a rich source of quality proteins that help to build muscle mass which is essential to boost metabolism and maintain the lean muscle.

You lack Quality Sleep

Deprived sleep leads to many health issues and slows down the metabolism. This can burn fewer calories and increase the appetite which in turn increases the cortisol levels, the hormone that stores fat. One should take at least 8 hours of quality sleep every night for good metabolism. Staying up late at night and using electronics an hour before going to sleep disrupts the sleep patterns and slows down the metabolism.

You lead a Sedentary Lifestyle

Being physically active is really important to boost metabolism. People who are inactive at work and sitting down at the desk all day have a slower metabolism. Though a balanced diet and a daily workout can keep the metabolism functioning, it is important to get some time to take a walk every hour to keep it going. Besides regular cardio workout, a strength training workout helps build muscle mass and can actually boost the metabolism.

You are Vitamin D deficient

Vitamin D is important to maintain metabolic health. People who get the most sunlight early in the day have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) when compared to those who get it later in the day. Vitamin D helps to preserve the muscle tissue that speeds up the metabolism. Hence one with vitamin D deficiency has a slower metabolism.

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6 Herbs Could Boost Your Immunity

It’s that time of year — time to break out the boots, light up the fireplace, and restock your over-the-counter cold medicine. But maybe this year you’re not so keen on the de rigueur drowsiness that comes with Tylenol Cold or the sugary aftertaste of Emergen-C. If so, consider the power of plants to up your immunity and help you hedge infections. Yep, this is how to build a cold/flu season first aid kit with herbs. Remedies made from herbs and plants are a modality full of powerful allies for your health and immunity, explains Sarah Corbett, Atlanta-based clinical herbalist at Rowan and Sage — and science is starting to agree: “Research is beginning to confirm the efficacy of folk medicines people have been using for hundreds of years,” says Corbett. Here are 6 Herbs Could Boost Your Immunity and you can add to your medicine cabinet (or fridge, as it may be) for a prevention booster, or as a healing aid.

1. Elderberry

Chances are, you’ve already tried elderberry in some form or another, as this deep-purple berry has definitely gone mainstream in the past few years.

Also called sambucus, elderberry is antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial, so it’s good at knocking out any kind of crud you’ve got going on. There’s evidence that elderberry is effective at treating the flu, as well.

It’s most commonly found as a syrup (it will make your kitchen smell divine if you DIY), but tinctures (a plant extract made with alcohol or glycerin), lozenges, and even gummies can work too.

Corbett advises taking this remedy once per day if you’re trying to prevent sickness, and then much more frequently once you’re already sick — every few hours or so.

Elderberry is considered safe, but don’t chug a whole bottle or anything like that — a teaspoon to a tablespoon of syrup at a time will work. Keep syrups in the fridge, as they aren’t shelf-stable. If you have any autoimmune disorders, it’s probably best to stay away (because it stimulates the immune system).

2. Echinacea

Another well known immune booster is echinacea, aka coneflower. It works by stimulating the immune system to produce natural killer cells and other sickness-fighters.

2015 meta-analysis concluded that echinacea may benefit folks with low immune function the most, even reducing the risk for a cold up to 35 percent.

Corbett suggests echinacea is most effective used right when you start to feel that tickle at the back of your throat, rather than when a full blown sickness has already taken hold.

A tincture is the best way to take it, she says, but teas won’t fail you either (especially since you’ll be hydrating your system in the meantime). Look for Echinacea angustifolia or a whole plant extract, because it’s the most chemically bioavailable (easily absorbed and used by the body).

It’s important to note that if you have a ragweed allergy, you may also be sensitive to echinacea — so if you feel any telltale allergy symptoms like itchiness, hives, or increased congestion, stop taking it immediately.

Note: If you have an autoimmune disorder, skip echinacea.

3. Ginger

Yes, ginger will soothe an upset stomach, but it’s also great for boosting your overall immunity during cold and flu season.

This versatile plant (which has been shown to be antimicrobial, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory) lends its natural fire to many different uses — sip on a ginger tea, head to the juice bar for a fresh ginger shot if you’re feeling icky, or just add more ginger to your cooking.

It’s pretty safe when used in cooking and remedies, but pregnant people shouldn’t ingest more than 2 grams of dried ginger per day.

4. Garlic

Garlic’s powers go well beyond making food taste delicious. It’s thought to stimulate the immune system and boost the efficacy of white blood cells, though studies are inconclusive.

Garlic is really easy to use — eat it every day to keep yourself feeling top notch. Up your garlic intake when you’re actually sick, too. Make a super garlick-y soup (don’t skimp on the bone broth, either), eat a couple of raw garlic cloves, roast a garlic bulb, or pack it into a jar of honey and let it sit for a few weeks to infuse.

Dietary doses of garlic are pretty safe. It would be difficult to take enough to harm you, but if you’re on anti-clotting medications, be cautious. (And brush your teeth if you find yourself going high on the hog with raw garlic, too!)

5. Fire cider

This intense liquid, sometimes also called the Master Tonic, is kitchen medicine at its best: an intense mixture of garlic, ginger, onion, horseradish and hot peppers (plus any number of other immune-boosting ingredients like turmeric, or tasty ones like lemon or rosemary) marinated in apple cider vinegar.

Fire cider gets its efficacy from the communal power of these sinus-clearing, warming, infection-fighting plants — plus an extra boost from the fermented ACV. And yes, this immune brew will burn (in a good way!) going down.

It’s ridiculously easy to make, so whip up a batch and toss it on your salad every night, sprinkle it on rice or quinoa, or take a shot when you feel a cold coming on. If handcrafting isn’t your jam, you should be able to find some from a local herbalist or at a natural food store.

6. Adaptogens

You’ve probably heard this wellness world buzzword in the last few years — adaptogens — but may not be clear on what exactly it means.

Essentially, adaptogens are therapeutic herbs that support the body in combating and adapting to stress. They’re great to use for people who get sick often, says Corbett, or in times of heavy stress, travel, or extra exposure to pathogens (rather than for every day maintenance or prevention).

Ashwagandha, reishi (both of which stimulate your infection fighting lymphocytes, or white blood cells,) and holy basil (stimulates the immune system and also fights viruses) are all good choices for immune support, explains Corbett.

Buy reishi as a powder and mix it into anything you’re eating or drinking — it’s safe to take in small doses (like a scoop of powder or a squirt of tincture). Ditto for ashwagandha — although steer clear of ashwagandha if you’re taking thyroid hormones like Synthroid.

Holy basil can be made into an infusion and sweetened with honey (don’t take it if you’re pregnant, though, says Corbett). Research some other options, try a few, and see which ones work for you.

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How Seed Cycling Supports Women Hormonal Health?

The human body is truly a wonderful apparatus, full of promise and complexity. While both male and female bodies experience regular hormonal fluctuations, females are understood to be unique in their experience of a monthly menses. The menstrual cycle itself is a carefully constructed dance played out monthly in the female bodied with the goal of releasing a single egg or mature oocyte. With intricate hormonal interplay, a single egg is chosen from thousands of possibilities to be released for potential fertilization. In this article I discussed about How Seed Cycling Supports Women Hormonal Health?

Follicular phase

The first half of the cycle, considered the follicular phase, begins with the onset of menses. At the beginning of this phase, the uterine lining is thick with nutrients to support and nourish an embryo. Should no embryo be present to nourish, female hormones estrogen and progesterone levels are decreased. This allows the thickened inner uterine lining to breakdown and to be shed, resulting in menses. At the ovarian level, follicle stimulating hormone levels increase during this phase, stimulating the development of several follicles within the ovary. As follicle stimulating hormone levels decrease, a single follicle continues to develop above the rest.

Luteal phase

The second half of the cycle, or the luteal phase begins 14 days into the cycle with ovulation and the expression of a single mature egg from the chosen follicle. Following the release of an egg, the follicle expresses female hormone progesterone. Progesterone aids in the preparation of the uterus for potential implantation. Estrogen remains high throughout this aspect of the cycle. Should fertilization and implantation not occur, the follicle degenerates, progesterone and estrogen decrease and menses occurs.

This elaborate interplay of hormones is susceptible to disturbances and it is estimated that more than 20% of women experience irregular cycles. Practicing seed cycling throughout the monthly cycle has been shown to support female hormonal health anecdotally for many years. In modern times, the practice is gaining scientific backing and greater understanding as a tool to support fertility and reproductive health.

The practice of seed cycling involves rotating seeds into the diet throughout the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle, with the intention of supporting the correlating hormones. The seeds involved are high in essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are necessary for regular hormone production. The seeds can also be helpful in binding and excreting excessive hormones.

In the first half of the cycle, or days 1-14, seeds that are supportive of estrogen such as flax seeds or pumpkin seeds are ingested daily. Flax seeds contain lignans which can bind to excess estrogen in the body allowing for more efficient elimination. The second half of the cycle, or days 15-30, includes seeds focused on supporting progesterone such as sunflower seeds or sesame seeds. Seeds can be easily incorporated in raw or ground form into a daily diet in smoothies, yogurt, or protein snack balls. Including seeds in a daily diet is a uniquely simple and economical way to support hormonal health for women of all ages.

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Top 13 Immunity Boosting Foods

 The immune system consists of organs, cells, tissues, and proteins. Together, these carry out bodily processes that fight off pathogens, which are the viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies that cause infection or disease. When the immune system comes into contact with a pathogen, it triggers an immune response. The immune system releases antibodies, which attach to antigens on the pathogens and kill them. Incorporating specific foods into the diet may strengthen a person’s immune response. Read on to discover Top 13 Immunity Boosting Foods.

Which foods boost the immune system?

A healthful, balanced diet plays a vital role in staying well. The following foods may help to boost the immune system:

1. Blueberries

Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can help boost a person’s immune system. A 2016 study noted that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system.

Researchers found that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection, or common cold, than those who did not.

2. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called theobromine, which may help to boost the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules that the body produces when it breaks down food or comes into contact with pollutants. Free radicals can damage the body’s cells and may contribute to disease.

Despite its potential benefits, dark chocolate is high in calories and saturated fat, so it is important to eat it in moderation.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a yellow spice that many people use in cooking. It is also present in some alternative medicines. Consuming turmeric may improve a person’s immune response. This is due to the qualities of curcumin, a compound in turmeric.

According to a 2017 review, curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

4. Oily fish

Salmon, tuna, pilchards, and other oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

According to a 2014 report, long-term intake of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

RA is a chronic autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body.

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is another source of vitamin C. It also contains potent antioxidants, such as sulforaphane. For these reasons, it is a good choice of vegetable to eat regularly to support immune system health.

6. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, a type of antioxidant that gives the skin of the potatoes its orange color.

Beta carotene is a source of vitamin A. It helps to make skin healthy and may even provide some protection against skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

7. Spinach

Spinach may boost the immune system, as it contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, including:

  • flavonoids
  • carotenoids
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E

Vitamins C and E can help support the immune system.

Research also indicates that flavonoids may help to prevent the common cold in otherwise healthy people.

8. Ginger

People use ginger in a variety of dishes and desserts, as well as in teas.

According to a review, ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties and is likely to offer health benefits. However, more research is necessary to confirm whether or not it can effectively prevent illness.

9. Green tea

Green tea contains only a small amount of caffeine, so people can enjoy it as an alternative to black tea or coffee. Drinking it may also strengthen the immune system.

As with blueberries, green tea contains flavonoids, which may reduce the risk of a cold.

10. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds can make a tasty addition to salads or breakfast bowls. They are a rich source of vitamin E, an antioxidant.

In the same way as other antioxidants, vitamin E improves immune function. It does this by fighting off free radicals, which can damage cells.

11. Almonds

Almonds are another excellent source of vitamin E. They also contain manganese, magnesium, and fiber.

A small handful or a quarter of a cup of almonds is a healthful snack that may benefit the immune system.

12. Oranges or kiwifruit (kiwis)

Oranges and kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is the vitamin that many people turn to when they feel a cold developing.

While scientists are still not sure exactly how it helps, vitamin C may reduce the duration of common cold symptoms and improve the function of the human immune system.

13. Red bell pepper

For people trying to avoid the sugar in fruit, red bell peppers are an excellent alternative source of vitamin C.

Stir-frying and roasting both preserve the nutrient content of red bell peppers better than steaming or boiling, according to a study on cooking methods.

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8Nutrients that are essential for our immune system

Who doesn’t want a healthy immune system? (Raise your hand. No one?) But did you know the role your diet plays in keeping it in top shape to protect you from toxins and infections? Sadly, too many of us don’t eat enough of the fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods we need to keep ourselves healthy year-round. You can’t just eat an orange or grapefruit and expect one quick burst of vitamin C to prevent a cold. A truly healthy immune system depends on a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals over time, plus normal sleep patterns and a hefty dose of exercise. With some exceptions, it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from your food rather than in pill form. Here are some 8Nutrients that are essential for our immune system.

Vitamin C

You probably know about vitamin C’s connection to the immune system, but did you know you can get it from much more than just citrus fruits? Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, strawberries and papaya are also excellent sources. In fact, vitamin C is in so many foods that most people may not need to take supplements unless a doctor advises it.

Vitamin E

Like vitamin C, vitamin E can be a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection. Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are all high in vitamin E. So are spinach and broccoli if you prefer to increase your intake through meals rather than snacks.

This important vitamin — part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in your body — is critical in how your immune system functions. Foods high in vitamin B6 include bananas, lean chicken breast, cold-water fish such as tuna, baked potatoes and chickpeas. Bring on the hummus!

Vitamin A

For vitamin A, go colorful. Foods that are high in colorful compounds called carotenoids — carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe and squash — are all great options. The body turns these carotenoids into vitamin A, and they have an antioxidant effect to help strengthen the immune system against infection.

Vitamin D

As mentioned above, it’s best to get most of your vitamins from food, but vitamin D may be the exception to that rule. You can increase your intake through foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines) and fortified foods such as milk, orange juice and cereals. Many people have a hard time absorbing vitamin D from food, so if you have a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor about supplements.

Folate/folic acid

Folate is the natural form, and folic acid is the synthetic form, often added to foods because of its health benefits. To get more folate, add more beans and peas to your plate on a regular basis, as well as leafy green vegetables. You can also get folic acid in fortified foods (check the label) such as enriched breads, pastas, rice and other 100 percent whole-grain products.

Iron

Iron, which helps your body carry oxygen to cells, comes in different forms. Your body can more easily absorb “heme iron,” which is abundant in lean poultry such as chicken and turkey, plus seafood. But never fear, vegetarians: You can get other forms of iron in beans, broccoli and kale.

Selenium

Selenium seems to have a powerful effect on the immune system, including the potential to slow the body’s over-active responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer. You can find it in garlic, broccoli, sardines, tuna, brazil nuts and barley, among other foods.

Zinc

You can find zinc in oysters, crab, lean meats and poultry, baked beans (skip the kind with added sugar), yogurt and chickpeas. Zinc appears to help slow down the immune response and control inflammation in your body.

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