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The Widespread Health Benefits of Yogurt

Despite it’s incomparable health benefits, yogurt is often overlooked by today’s dieters and health fanatics.

First and foremost, yogurt is rich in easy-to-absorb calcium. One cup of yogurt can provide the body with the nutrients needed to build, strengthen maintain the bones each day. The fact that low-fat dairy products minimize the risk of bone disease and fractures has been recognized for many years.

Yogurt is also loaded with complete proteins, providing the body with all the different amino acids it needs to function. In addition, yogurt contains numerous vitamins and minerals, as well as low fat content.

Lactose intolerance is a common issue, one that leads many people to believe that they must live without milk products. Not so for yogurt, since the bacteria it contains breaks down the lactose into more tolerable components.

The bacteria in the food have other advantages as well. They are capable of restoring the proper balance of ‘good’ bacteria within the body, especially in the case of antibiotics. Healthy bacteria populations strengthen the immune system, and also improve digestion and the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body.

 

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The Many Benefits of Honey

Everyone knows that honey is a healthy ingredient to add to your tea or salad…. What most people don’t understand is just how beneficial the substance really is.

Rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, honey is very good for the skin. It also retains moisture thanks to its humectant properties, while remaining completely oil-free.

Interestingly, honey is also a highly effective acne fighter. When mixed with water, its components break down and react to form hydrogen peroxide, a natural antiseptic that increases the skin’s immunity and fights acne-causing bacteria. In addition, the substance contains strong anti-inflammatories, which can reduce the appearance of blemishes as they heal, and even minimize scars.

Honey can also be used to prevent skin issues, not only to treat them. Probiotics, the healthy bacteria found both in the body and outside it in foods like yogurt and miso, provide stiff competition for harmful bacteria. Honey contains prebiotics, complex carbohydrates that boost probiotic growth in the digestive system when eaten, and on the skin when applied directly. The skin’s probiotics are under constant stress from varying temperatures, moisture, invading bacteria, dirt and clogged pores. The prebiotic complex found in honey nurtures their growth and maintains a healthy balance of bacteria in the skin.

Lastly, honey, like green tea and argan oil, contains potent antioxidants such as caffeic acid and catechins. These help protect the body’s cells, boost healing and rejuvenation, and significantly slow down the aging process.

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Losing Weight and Staying Healthy Into Your 40s

During a woman’s younger years, she may find it easier to eat a little less, exercise a little more, and maintain a steady dress size while occasionally snacking on her favorite chocolate or ice cream. Then, suddenly, she’ll hit forty and realize that her body just can’t balance itself out the same way, and that her schedule is really too busy to start working on a new, all-inclusive health regimen.

The fact of the matter is, as a person ages their body’s metabolism becomes increasingly slower. A woman’s metabolic rate falls 5% every decade starting at the young age of 20. Of course, proper nutrition and exercise throughout those years can slow the process, but the nature of things is eventually inevitable.

As you reach your forties and become more concerned with both your looks and your general health (cholesterol, heart disease…) here are a few simple tips to get started. Remember, the process will most likely take a while, and results will be slower than they were when you were 25. Don’t give up easily, and don’t get discouraged- the better your body feels, the better your mind will feel.

  • Beware of Stress Fat: a lot of the weight gained at this age shows up around the waist. This is often a result of the stress hormone cortisol, which urges the body to store energy in case of an emergency. High levels of cortisol (and with it, fat) can lead to heart disease, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes and even cancer. It is important to deal with stress and anxiety in order to begin losing this weight.
  • Watch the Time: Over-eating during the evening, as the whirlwind of the day winds down and time becomes available, is a number one cause of slow metabolism and weight gain. These hours are often mindless or stressful, leading to large, often instant meals and additional cups of coffee.
  • Plan Your Meals: Instead of snacking on little tidbits throughout the day with plans to eat a large meal at night, make sure to set up three or four smaller, healthy meals to eat each day. Pack a lunch if you know you won’t have time to prepare one later, and make sure to get a real breakfast in within an hour of waking up. These meals will allow you to monitor your eating throughout the day, avoid unhealthy snacks, and eliminate the large late-night meals.
  • Exercise, Exercise, Exercise: Of course, physical activity is key in maintaining a healthy, fit body. Though you’ve heard it countless times- skip the elevator and use the stairs. Do jumping jacks or jump rope when you get a private moment, or maybe sign up at the gym. Go swimming, walk the dog, run on the treadmill, ride a bike… All of these activities will not only burn calories, but also improve your general health, as well as significantly reduce stress and improve your mood.

 

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Avoiding Bloat This Holiday Season

Holiday season is now advancing in full throttle. You have outfits picked out for every occasion, new shoes, and have even managed to maintain that diet (for the most part). Why, then, do your clothes only seem to sit well on some days, while on others you feel and look so bloated?

Don’t panic. A bloated stomach is almost never related to weight gain, and it is often easily remedied. First, cut back on salty foods before your event. This does not only mean avoid adding salt to your dish; sodium is a primary ingredient in most processed foods. Salt is the number one cause of bloating in an otherwise healthy body, because it triggers water retention throughout the system. When your body retains water, it will inevitably look and feel bloated. To avoid such retention, cut back on salt intake. Other ‘diuretic’ substances also dehydrate your body, encouraging it to retain water. These include alcohol, fizzy drinks, caffeine and even fruit juice.

The best way to avoid the bloated feeling is to avoid too much of any of these substances. Try eating fruits, vegetables and lean proteins instead, at least for the day or two before your big event. Make sure to avoid sprouts and vegetables like broccoli though, as those also contribute to bloating. Milk products are also a common irritant in the human digestive system, and can linger in the stomach for hours.

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Fatty Foods Vs. The Blues

A great number of people instinctually reach for the ice cream or chocolate during times of stress, and this phenomenon has been widely attributed to the sweet tooth. However, a recent study has shown that there is more to it.

Fatty foods do grant the consumer a degree of comfort, but not only because they are pleasurable to eat. The digestive system actually sends signals to the brain while digesting these foods, according to research conducted by scientists at the University of Leuven in Belgium.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the study used MRI scans to map the effects of fatty acids on emotions when they are injected directly into the stomach.

12 volunteers were exposed to sad music and images before receiving fluid through a feeding tube. Some received a dose of fatty acids, and others; a saline solution.

The participants then rated their moods, without discovering which substance they had digested.

Those given fatty acids proved to be 50% less sad than those who received the saline solution, despite the sad atmosphere.

Lukas van Oudenhove, the scientist who led the research, said “Eating fat seems to make us less vulnerable to sad emotions, even if we don’t know we’re eating fat. We bypassed sensory stimulation by infusing fatty acids directly into the stomach, without the subjects knowing whether they were getting fat or saline.”

The study may have an impact on the studies of obesity, eating disorders and depression.

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