10 Ways to Make Food Healthier

The fats in avocado are heart-healthy, and they add a rich flavor, creamy texture and an extra dose of nutrients to meals. One avocado supplies one-fourth of your daily need for magnesium, folate and vitamin A, plus lots of B vitamins and trace minerals.
- See more at: http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/healthy-eating/10-ways-make-food-healthier#sthash.ld2dDWQ8.dpuf

Suppress Hunger with Cardio

You might think that the harder you work out, the hungrier you’ll be afterward, but a study in the International Journal of Obesity suggests the opposite could be true. People who completed 30 minutes of very high-intensity exercise, like running up stairs, consumed 116 fewer calories at their next meal than those who finished a moderate half-hour session. Researchers think that it’s because a vigorous workout suppresses the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin while increasing the levels of lactic acid and glucose in the bloodstream, which could help curtail noshing. How’s that for motivation? - See more at: http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/fitness/suppress-hunger-cardio#sthash.VGR7Srw6.dpuf

Transform Your Walk

THERE ARE PLENTY OF REASONS WHY, every day, millions of people take to the streets--and the parks, the trails, even the mall. If you're looking to boost your fitness, reduce stress, and manage your weight, walking is a natural choice that really works. In fact, walking just 2,000 extra steps a day, or about a mile, is enough to keep most people from gaining weight, according to research by James O. Hill, Ph.D., director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver and co-author of The Step Diet Book. "Building a little bit more walking into your day can prevent that 1 to 2 pounds that people tend to gain each year," Hill says. And while putting one foot in front of the other is simple enough, it helps to have a few tricks of the trade to make your walks more effective and pleasurable. Here, a team of exercise experts answers our questions about how to transform a simple stroll into a savvy fitness strategy.

Where should I walk? 
Just about anywhere will do fine. But if walking forms your cardio foundation, be sure to vary the surfaces you walk on to keep your routine well-rounded. "On a treadmill you can do high-intensity speed intervals and hill climbing in rapid succession, allowing the treadmill's absorbable surface to reduce impact," says Debbie Rocker, a Los Angeles-based walking coach and creator of the Walkvest training system. "Trails provide a softer surface and environmental stimuli so workouts stay interesting. Sand walking is strenuous, providing maximum cardio building and toning benefits." (Sand walking does involve constant shifting, which can be hard on sore backs.) Street surfaces allow you to walk faster, but lights, curbs, and traffic make it difficult to walk unimpeded for long periods. To lessen the street's hard impact, Rocker suggests visualizing your legs as shock absorbers. [pagebreak]

What's a good pace? 
Different goals require a range of walking speeds. Try these pacing tips from Shirley Archer, health and wellness educator at the Health Improvement Program at Stanford University Medical School and author of Walking Deck: 50 Ways to Walk Yourself Healthy:
* For better health, stride comfortably at a steady pace, breathing easily. You'll feel like you've exercised without being overworked.
* To improve fitness and/or lose weight, you need to train efficiently by combining steady, brisk walking with intervals that alternate short, intense bursts of walking very fast and one to five minutes of walking at a moderate pace. Breathing should be manageable yet somewhat challenged at the moderate pace, and harder on the intervals. And if you're not breaking a sweat, you're not walking fast enough.
* For stress management, maintain a comfortable, rhythmic pace that allows you to focus on a mantra or your breath. [pagebreak]

How long do I need to walk to benefit? 
As long as you mix up the pace and include some brisk walking, two or three 10-minute sessions a day can definitely improve your health and fitness. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that three 10-minute bouts of walking throughout the day delivered health and fitness benefits comparable to a single, 30-minute walk. "If you're unfit or overweight, a 10-minute walk is a great place to start," says Rocker. You can work your way up to two or three sessions throughout the day. [pagebreak]

How can I use walking to lose weight? 
To lose weight, plan to walk five to six days a week. Vary the duration, intensity, and terrain to keep your body challenged. For example, a 145-pound woman burns 109 calories walking 3 mph for 30 minutes. Up the pace to 4 mph and you'll burn 164 calories in the same amount of time. Add hills and you'll burn 197 calories. Using intervals is particularly good if you're just getting started and can't sustain a fast pace for long. [pagebreak]

Do I need high-tech gear like a pedometer? 
"Gadgets are great if they're easy to use and enhance your training," says Rocker. The trick is to choose the right tool for your needs. A heart-rate monitor lets you track whether you're in your optimal training zone so you can adjust your intensity. Pedometers are amazingly simple, functional, and inexpensive. "The benefit of pedometers is self-motivation; they give you an easy measuring system," says Joy Prouty, a Reebok master trainer and ACSM-certified health fitness director. One caveat: If gear is too complicated or detracts from walking pleasure, leave it at home. [pagebreak]

What's the best stride for maximum efficiency (and comfort)? 
Walk with a slight forward lean, feet parallel, toes pointing straight ahead. Strike the ground heel first, foot flexed, without locking your knees. Keeping your hips centered under you, roll through the midfoot, pushing off the ball of your foot and using your legs to propel yourself forward. Continue to roll through as you transfer onto your other foot and take your next step. Swing your arms naturally by your sides or, to increase the intensity, bend your elbows to 90 degrees and drive them forward. Look straight ahead, glancing down from time to time to scan the terrain.
1. DO drive your elbows directly forward and back alongside your torso.
2. DON'T overstride (it's better to take quicker rather than longer steps).
3. DO keep your hips and shoulders squared and facing front.
4. DON'T sway your hips, swing your arms across your body's midline, or rotate your torso - See more at: http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/fitness/transform-your-walk#sthash.SLiCIqDX.dpuf

Home Remedies for Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are generally associated with pregnancy, but they can be caused by other reasons too.For instance, they may develop due to changes in body size brought about by puberty, rapid weight gain or weight loss, gain in muscle mass, etc.In addition, some individuals have a genetic tendency to develop stretch marks faster.

More often than not, they appear on the chest, stomach, upper arms, hips, thighs, and calves. The appearance of stretch marks, however, can vary slightly from one individual to another.

For instance, they appear as pale pink streaks or scars on fair-skinned individuals. On dark skin tones, they are fairly light. These marks usually take time to fade.Moreover, it is difficult to diminish mature stretch marks. Therefore it is best to take steps to reduce stretch marks as soon as you notice them. Basically, they are scars on deeper layers of skin.

How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks
Here are 10 ways to get rid of stretch marks.

Cocoa Butter
  • Rub cocoa butter on your skin.
  • Massage for one minute or longer.
  • Wrap the area in gauze to lock in the moisture.
  • Repeat this two times a day for several months.
  • Cocoa butter is perhaps the most popular natural cure for stretch marks, even though it has not been proven scientifically.
Coconut Oil
  • Mix coconut oil with a few drops of tea tree oil.
  • Massage it into your skin.
  • Repeat this regularly to improve the appearance of stretch marks.
  • Coconut oil is useful for healing stretch marks by restoring skin’s elasticity.
Coffee Grounds
  • Mix sufficient organic olive oil or aloe vera gel in coffee grounds to form a paste.
  • Smear this paste on your stretch marks and leave it for about 20 minutes.
  • Repeat this treatment daily, at least for a few weeks.
  • It is believed that coffee grounds help reduce stretch marks.
Aloe Vera Gel
  • Add the contents of vitamin A and/or vitamin E capsules to aloe vera gel.
  • Massage the affected area with this mixture.
  • Repeat this regularly for best results.
  • Aloe vera gel is helpful to reduce stretch marks. It also improves sunburn. Vitamin A and vitamin E enhance the effectiveness of this remedy.Vitamin A improves the elasticity of skin and vitamin E helps maintain soft, smooth, and healthy skin.
Note : You can create your own stretch mark cream by combining aloe vera gel, olive oil, and wheat germ oil.

Castor Oil
  • If too thick, add a little almond oil or olive oil to the castor oil.
  • Massage the affected area with the oil.
  • Place a hot pack on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the oil to penetrate your skin.
  • Castor oil is a wonderful natural cure for stretch marks.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • Apply grapefruit seed extract to the affected area.
  • Massage for at least one minute.
  • Repeat regularly for best results.
  • The application of grapefruit seed extract is considered effective in minimizing stretch marks because it helps generate elasticity and collagen for skin repair.
Tretinoin Cream (Retin-A)
  • Apply as directed on product directions.
  • Using 0.1% tretinoin cream, like Retin-A to boost collagen productionis particularly good for fresh, rather than old, stretch marks. Tretinoin is basically an acid derivative of vitamin A.
Dry Brushing
  • Use a soft, natural bristle brush.
  • Brush the affected area briskly towards the heart for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Repeat daily for best results.
  • This remedy’s benefits include reducing visible cellulite, detoxifying your body, removing dead skin cells, and helping you lose weight.
Laser Treatment
  • If the stretch marks are deep and nothing else works, you may consider laser treatment. There are usually two alternatives in this regard: vascular laser and laser resurfacing. You will have to discuss these options with your dermatologist. Alternately, you could try microdermabrasion.
Tips to Prevent Stretch Marks
  • Keep your skin moisturized to avoid stretch marks.
  • Apply a combination of castor oil, coconut oil, and olive oil on the abdominal area during pregnancy to prevent stretch marks considerably.
  • Exercise is highly beneficial for preventing stretch marks because it improves circulation and helps the skin retain its elasticity.

Essential Oils to Prevent Wrinkles

When we reach our 30's and 40's we want to look as young as we can for as long as we can. However, we can't halt the aging process. That is much too severe. But as we do age, we see that ever so slowly, as age creeps up on us, our skin starts to change. Fine lines appear. We start looking at the price of cosmetic surgery. We consider chemical peels.

During this time in our lives, we start paying attention to the things that harm our skin: We pay attention to cleansing our face ever so gently with natural moisturizers that hydrate the skin. We know the best fruits for anti-oxidants, and we include them in our diet. We start wearing hats and applying SPF products when we are in the sun. We drink less alcohol, think seriously about ways to manage our stress, and find a program to quit smoking that works. We increase our intake of water to include at least glasses of water every day. We cut out the late-night show so we can get more sleep. We check carefully for any unusual blemish, lump or change in the way the skin looks or feels. Most skin problems are not cancerous, but it is important to get checked by your doctor if you notice any suspicious changes.

And last, but certainly not least: we look at an Essential Oil Reference Guide to find essential oils to help maintain collagen and regenerate new cells for our skin. To counteract wrinkles and dry, mature skin, essential oils are most effective when combined with nutrient packed nut and seed oils to aid in moisturizing and protecting the skin. Did you know that skin cells replenish every 28 days or so? When you try a new product, give it at least a month to see if it works or not.

Floral waters and facial mists are wonderful for aging skin, and are a good product to prevent the signs of aging. Use them periodically during the day to add moisture to your skin, and as a part of your nightly routine. Use them prior to applying oils. This way, you will be adding a layer of moisture to the skin surface while gently toning the skin. A very good floral water is myrtle. You can make your own facial mist by adding 15-20 drops of myrtle essential oil to 4-6 ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle. Be sure to shake the bottle before each use. The moisture in the spray will help your fingers glide easily during the facial massage. Avoid alcohol-based mists.

There are several recipes available for skin care. We want one that we can use to massage our face and neck. Here is one for reducing wrinkles no matter what your age:

Skin Wrinkle Reducing Oil
  • 5 drops Sandalwood
  • 5 drops Helichrysum
  • 5 drops Geranium
  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 5 drops Frankincense
  • 1 Tbsp. Sweet Almond or Apricot Kernel carrier oil
Dilute the essential oils in the Sweet Almond carrier, put in a 1-ounce dark glass bottle. Cap the bottle and mix gently. Label with the ingredients and instructions. Apply 2-4 drops of the blend onto your fingertips, and apply to a moistened face and neck. Work upward, gently massaging the facial tissue. Avoid pulling or over-manipulating the tissue. Be gentle.

And now finally, here is the wrinkle prevention oil specifically for people over 30:

Wrinkle Prevention Oil If You Are Over 30
  • 1 Tbsp Jojoba Oil
  • 1 tsp Macadamia Oil or Kukui Oil
  • 1 tsp Rosehip Oil
  • 3 Drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil
  • 4 Drops Niaouli Essential Oil
  • 3 Drops Myrtle Essential Oil
  • 3 Drops Geranium Essential Oil
  • 1 Drops Patchouli Essential Oil
  • 2 Drops Frankincense Essential Oil
Combine these ingredients in a 1-ounce dark glass bottle. Cap the bottle and mix gently. Label with the ingredients and instructions. Apply 2-4 drops of the blend onto your fingertips, and apply to a moistened face and neck. Work upward, gently massaging the facial tissue.

How to Eat Right for Your Blood Type

There’s a lot of knowledge to conquer in the realm of health and fitness. You might have figured out your metabolism and caloric intake but do you understand yourself as a biochemical individual? Renowned naturopathic physician Peter D’Adamo’s concept of the blood type diet puts a new spin on the way we approach a healthy lifestyle.Don’t let fancy words like biochemical and naturopathic convince you this diet is science fiction nonsense. D’Adamo, a former physician of the year and accomplished professor, uses research from glycobiology, biochemistry, and several other physicians in his diet book Eat Right 4 Your Type to support the theory.
Due to the blood type diet’s recency there hasn’t been many studies conducted to support D’Adamo’s theory. But for every skeptic there is an enthusiastic fan impressed by D’Adamo’s enthusiasm and more than ten years of work put into the book. It also is a New York Times best seller with more than 7 million copies in print, so he must be doing something right.

The Premise

So what exactly does this new diet entail? And what sets it apart from other “fad” diets?
D’Adamo’s theory is that each person responds differently to certain types of food according to their blood type. He asserts that Lectins, a carbohydrate-binding protein found in foods, cause different interactions in each blood type. If particular lectins interact with blood type related antigens it could have unfavorable effects on your health.
The diet divides the food you should focus on and avoid into 16 groups. The groups are essential foods for a healthy diet – milk, lean meat, beans, vegetables, etc… – but the recommended amounts of each group differs greatly in each blood type.

The Four Groups

You may already know your blood type. If not, you can ask your physician who may already have it on file, purchase a test kit, or donate blood at the nearest clinic. Here is D’Adamo’s broad classification for each type:
Type O “The Hunter” – This is the oldest form of blood type according to D’Adamo. It can be traced back more than 30,000 years and requires more protein than other types.
Type A “The Agrarian” – D’Adamo believes this type began with the development of agriculture around 20,000 years ago. Because of this the diet focuses mostly on vegetation.
Type B “The Nomad” - Estimates put the dawn of this type at around 10,000 years ago. They have a versatile digestive system and handle dairy products considerably well compared to other types.
Type AB “The Enigma” – This is by far the most recent type at about 1000 years old. As the letters suggest the diet requirements for this type lie between those of types A and B.

Foods for Each Type

Type O
Safe to Eat: If you’re a meat lover and type O, then you’re pretty much set for life. This diet focuses on protein sources like red meat, seafood, and poultry like chicken and turkey. Some vegetables that are acceptable for this type are kelp, spinach, kale and broccoli.
Stay Away From: Type Os should gravitate away from wheat and grains in their diet. Legumes like peas, beans, peanuts, and lentils should be avoided. They also might have digestive issues with dairy and egg products.
Type A
Safe to Eat: The type A’s effective digestive enzymes make it the ideal choice type for vegetables and grains. Focus on healthy whole grain sources of bread and pasta and avoid simple grains. Fruits like apples, nectarines, berries, avocados, and figs are good choices. For vegetables your spectrum is hardly limited but you should look for plant protein from sources like soy and nuts.
Stay Away From: A lot of A types don’t like to hear that their meat protein consumption needs to be strictly limited. Most types of bird, fish, beef, and pork don’t sit well with the limited meat digesting enzymes. Dairy products and kidney beans should also be avoided.
Type B
Safe to Eat: The B type is considered a balanced omnivore with the easiest dietary maintenance. For meats you should focus on red meat, turkey, and fish. Grains, green vegetables, and fruits are friendly additions with a few exceptions listed below.
Stay Away From: Corn, lentils, and seeds of any sort should be avoided. For meat you should avoid chicken. It’s also advised that you steer clear of buckwheat and peanuts if you fall under this type.
Type AB
Safe to Eat: Borrowing from two other types, an AB type should focus primarily on vegetables, fish, and turkey. Seafood, tofu, beans, and legumes are great protein sources. Fruits like watermelon, figs, apples, and bananas are acceptable.
Stay Away From: Red meat should be avoided when possible because ABs borrow type A’s level of stomach acid. Like type Bs you should steer clear of buckwheat and corn. ABs are also vulnerable to excessive levels of alcohol and caffeine.

Benefits of the Blood Type Diet

As mentioned earlier, the effects of this developing diet are still under rigorous study for definite results. One study did prove that the people on the diet did experience significantly healthy levels of cholesterol. Millions of others that have tried the diet claim it is one of the most effective weight loss techniques they’ve tried.
What most people need when it comes to dietary changes for weight loss is discipline. They need concrete details on food intake and exercise guidelines. The cookbooks and guides written by D’Adamo for each type are comprehensive guides that leave little room for you to cheat yourself from success.
The foods in the diet are all healthy when consumed in proper amounts. Any food with little to no nutritional benefit is omitted from the guidelines. Because of this you are bound to experience health benefits if you can commit to the dietary change. You’ll feel more energetic, build a healthier future, and improve your physique and well-being.

Potential Problems

The biggest problem people have run into while trying the blood type diet was the restrictive guidelines for each blood type. Someone that is used to eating steak everyday generally doesn’t want to turn into an herbivore because they’re a type A. If you’re personal tastes coincide with the restricted foods, you might have trouble adjusting to the diet.
The strict guidelines also may deprive you of essential nutrition. A person that has to cut back on dairy might have to search for a way to get sufficient calcium. People that have to cut meat consumption might lack the proper amount of protein to maintain muscle.
Before deciding to try this diet consider whether or not you’re ready to commit. It will take hard work, patience, persistence, and make your grocery list a bit more specific and expensive. That being said it is also a huge trend that shows exciting promise when it comes to naturally enhancing your health.
If you have tried this diet, share your experience with the readers. How did it affect you? Have you noticed any changes? We would love to hear your story.

Top Signs That You Have Magnesium Deficiency and What to Do About It

agnesium is all over the place. It’s one of the top ten most abundant minerals on the entire planet. It’s also one of the top five most abundant minerals within the human body, about half of it found within the bones. It’s everywhere but somehow millions of people suffer from insufficient amounts of this important and abundant mineral in their daily routine.
Over 300 different reactions in your body require the right amount of magnesium. High amounts of it are found within the soft tissue of the brain and heart, two major systems that depend on the mineral to operate efficiently. It helps regulate your body temperature and rid the body of toxins. The list of health benefits is far too lengthy to detail, but here are a few key advantages attributed to magnesium intake:
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Reversing osteoporosis
  • Preventing heart disease
  • Treating diabetes
  • Alleviating depression and anxiety
  • Curing sleep disorders
  • Strengthening bones
  • Creating proteins
  • Helping weight loss
  • Encouraging healthy circulation
  • Treating asthma
  • Preventing stroke

Reacting with Calcium and Vitamin D

We’ve all heard how important calcium is for strong bones and immunity but without the right amount of magnesium, calcium can actually be dangerous. Once the body has benefited from calcium the magnesium helps flush it out of the cells. Without enough magnesium the calcium accumulates and acts as a toxin rather than being absorbed into the bones healthily.
Just as calcium depends on magnesium, magnesium depends on vitamin D for proper absorption. Magnesium isn’t absorbed well during digestion so if you’re low on vitamins you could be consuming magnesium but not getting all the benefits. Finding a balance between these three essentials is ideal for maintaining health.

How to Identify a Magnesium Deficiency

It’s not terribly difficult to determine if you’re deficient since the overwhelming majority of people on the planet are. It is estimated that 68 to 80 percent of Americans weren’t getting the proper amount of magnesium in their system. A magnesium test checks the level of magnesium in the blood. However most of the magnesium in the body is found in the bones and inside the cells and only a tiny amount of magnesium is normally present in the blood. Hence there aren’t many accurate tests out there to find out if you’re in dire need of magnesium, but there are symptoms that indicate your body would benefit from it.
Some small indicators include a lack of focus and energy throughout the day. You may tire easily and find difficulty concentrating. Magnesium deficient people tend to be irritable and experience heightened levels of stress and anxiety. Listed below are some common symptoms of deficiency:
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Sleep disorders
  • Infertility
  • Frequent headache
  • Digestive issues
  • Depression
  • Temperature swings
There are also more serious indicators. You may experience a lack of appetite or feelings of sickness. If left unattended symptoms can worsen into abnormal heartbeats, seizures, and drastic mood swings.

Diseases Caused by Magnesium Deficiency

Since magnesium is so essential to bodily processes, a lack of it can contribute to a wide variety of health issues. Without the right amount of this crucial mineral you could be putting yourself at risk for some serious health issues.
Because of the way it interacts with calcium, a lack of magnesium could contribute to the development of osteoporosis and frail bone health. There has also been a connection with the prevention of heart disease and heart attacks. Sudden heart attack death victims are commonly found to have low levels of magnesium.
A lack of magnesium could also contribute to the development of kidney stones. The mineral makes calcium dissolve much more effectively in the urine. Without this you could prevent painful kidney stones from forming. Some other diseases caused by magnesium deficiency include PMS, high blood pressure, menstrual cramping, insomnia and cancer.

How to Stay Magnesium Sufficient

The first step in maintaining healthy levels of magnesium is identifying the root of the problem. For most people, it lies within a restricted diet. New advances in farming have drained crops of magnesium and ruined foods that were once great sources. Water used to also be a good source of magnesium but the fluoride being added makes it harder for the body to break down the minerals.
There are also several habits that contribute to magnesium depletion. Drinking caffeine daily (especially with loads of sugar), eating too much processed foods, and drinking lots of alcohol are all habits that can lower mineral levels. There are also certain types of medication like birth control pills and diuretics that deplete magnesium. Consult your physician if you’re taking any medication and concerned about your magnesium levels.

What You Can Do

The best food sources for magnesium are usually vegetables and nuts. There are plenty of fruits and whole grains that can also give you a magnesium boost. Next time you go shopping consider some of the following items for your list:
  • Dark Leafy Greens (like spinach and kale)
  • Sunflower/Pumpkin Seeds
  • Lentils and Beans
  • Brown Rice
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Dark Chocolate Bars or Powder
Sadly now that farm soil has been depleted of minerals we can’t rely on diet alone for proper magnesium intake. If you can, gravitate toward foods that are organic and non-processed. If you have trouble eating vegetables try finding a juicing routine that fits your taste. Some people have turned to the use of supplements. Magnesium supplements can be found in powder form, liquid, capsules or tablets. Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of your health care provider.