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19 Amazing Benefits of Mangosteen (Mangustan) For Skin and Health

Considered to be a native fruit of Indonesia, Mangosteen (or Garcinia mangostana), is oftentimes referred to as the “Queen of the Tropical Fruits”, most especially in the South East Asian regions. It is divided into 3 major parts: the deep purple rind, the white edible flesh, and the seeds. Although its outer shell is hard, it can be opened easily.

Mangosteen Health Benefits

For a long time now, mangosteen has been a part of traditional medicine among many Asian countries. Since the 18th century, mangosteen has been known for its health benefits. It is full of essential nutrients that our body needs for normal growth and development. Below are some of its health benefits:

1. Antioxidants

Xanthones, a type of naturally occurring polyphenol is found in mangosteen. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial against many heart diseases. Furthermore, these antioxidants heal cells that are damaged by free radicals, and thus slow down aging.

2. Low Calories

With only 63 calories per 100 grams, mangosteen is considered to be low in calories. Moreover, it has no saturated fats. What mangosteen has are dietary fibers which are essential for people who want to lose some weight.

3. Vitamin C

Consuming mangosteens is good for you. The fruit is rich in vitamin C which is important for building resistance against various diseases and infections.

4. Blood Flow

Mangosteen consumption can prevent cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, heart congestion, and severe chest pains by improving the blood flow through the dilation of blood vessels.

5. Reduces Cholesterol

Since it is packed with powerful nutrients, mangosteen is effective in reducing our body’s cholesterol level. Aside from this, it controls our triglycerides level, making sure that our heart is working properly.

6. Tuberculosis

Besides improving our immune system, mangosteen contains strong antibacterial and antifungal properties which aid in fighting tuberculosis.

7. Cancer

It’s good to know that by eating mangosteen, you can reduce your chance of getting cancer. Due to its being a strong and effective antioxidant, it fights against free radicals that destroy our cells.

Mangosteen is full of essential nutrients that our body needs for normal growth and development | PicHelp

8. Blood Pressure

Mangosteen also contains potassium which protects our heart from diseases. This leads to healthy heart rate and blood pressure.

9. Anti-inflammatory

If you’re suffering from sciatica pains, eating mangosteen for 2 to 3 times a day will relieve your pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties and cox-2 inhibitor effects.

10. Alzheimer’s

Studies found out that putting mangosteen into our everyday diet can help improve our cognitive function and memory. Mangosteens are capable of reducing amyloid beta plaques and tau proteins. Furthermore, the presence of xanthones in mangosteen inhibits the activity of cholinesterase which catalyses certain neurotransmitters breakdown which is important for optimal memory function.

11. Acne

Are you suffering from acne, skin blemishes, oily or dry skin? If yes, then start eating mangosteen. This fruit contains antibacterial and antimicrobial compounds which will help you with your skin problems.

12. Cell Repair

When compared to other fruits, mangosteen has the highest amount of xanthones, which repair damaged cells in our body and then protect them.

13. Body Weight

Mangosteen can help you reduce your weight. The xanthones present in this wonderful fruit prevent weight gain by burning down fats.

14. Gum Disease

The gel found in mangosteen helps cure the gum disease called periodontitis.

15. Menstruation

Did you know that women in Malaysia use mangosteen to regulate their menstruation? Aside from this, consuming mangosteen can reduce PMS symptoms like dizziness, mood swings, and hypertension.

16. Stomach disorders

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, mangosteen leaves and barks are used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, thrush, and urinary disorders.

17. Anti – Aging

As abovementioned, mangosteen is richly filled with antioxidants. One of these antioxidants is called catechin, which fights free radicals. So if you want to stay looking young, start eating mangosteen!

18. Energy Booster

Mangosteen will make you look and feel more refreshed and energized through its various nutrients.

19. Viral infections

Mangosteen’s xanthones attack fungal and viral infections naturally. They also aid in inhibiting attacks of certain carcinogens on your skin.

13 Foods to Eat When You’re Pregnant

During pregnancy, a woman’s body needs to be as healthy as it can be. Hence, having a proper, balanced diet is a YES. A pregnant woman needs additional minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. In particular, she has to get extra 300 to 500 calories per day once her baby reaches the second trimester. Poor diet negatively affects the baby’s development. Plus the fact that it increases the mother’s chance of getting gestational diabetes and other complications.

So if you’re pregnant, start eating nutritious foods that will help you and your developing baby stay healthy. Besides, good diet will allow you to lose your pregnancy weight after you give birth sooner.

Here are 13 foods you should eat when you’re pregnant:

1. Dairy Products

As your baby grows inside you, you need to consume additional protein and calcium. Dairy products, such as yogurt, are super beneficial for you. Specifically, greek yogurt does not only provide calcium, but also probiotic bacteria that aid in digestion. It is also more friendly to those who are lactose intolerant than any other dairy products. Furthermore, probiotic supplements reduce the probability of complications like allergies, preeclampsia, vaginal infections, and gestational diabetes.

2. Legumes

Eating legumes during pregnancy can do wonders for your baby. These plants are very rich in calcium, folate (B9), fiber, iron, and protein. Specifically, folate (B9) is super important during the first trimester. It lessens the risk of your baby having brain and spinal cord defects. Unfortunately, most pregnant women do not get sufficient amount of it. So put in more effort to include legumes in your daily diet. Just to be sure, you can take folic acid supplements too.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a plant compound which your body converts into Vitamin A. This vitamin is essential for your baby’s cell growth and development. This is why you should increase your vitamin A intake by at least 10%. However, you must avoid consuming large amounts of animal-based sources of Vitamin A. In excess, these types of vitamin A cause toxicity.

4. Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids are very important for the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. Luckily, you can get omega-3 through eating salmon. Also, you can get vitamin D from it. Nevertheless, it is best to limit your salmon intake to two times a week only because mercury and other contaminants may be found in this fish as well.

5. Eggs

Eggs are such an amazing healthy food! They contain almost all the nutrients you need. For one, eggs are an excellent source of choline which is needed for various body processes like brain development. Therefore, an insufficient amount of choline during pregnancy may boost the probability of your baby getting neural tube defects.

If you’re pregnant, start eating nutritious foods that will help you and your developing baby stay healthy | PicHelp

6. Broccoli and Dark, Leafy Greens

If you want to add calcium, folate, fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K in your diet, eat lots of broccoli and dark green, leafy vegetables! Truly, consuming these can help you with your digestion problems during pregnancy. And aside from what’s mentioned, these veggies are also rich in antioxidants.

7. Lean Meat

Of course, you need to eat meat! Lean beef, pork, and chicken meats are superb sources of high-quality protein. Moreover, lean meats are rich in iron, which your body needs in high amounts during pregnancy. To be specific, iron is used by red blood cells in order to deliver oxygen to every cell in our body. And since your blood volume is in increasing now that you’re pregnant, you need more iron too.

8. Fish Liver Oil

Fish liver oil is mostly often made from cod. It is abundant in EPA and DHA, which are omega-3 fatty acids that are necessary for your baby’s brain and eye development while inside your womb. Aside from this, fish liver oil is rich in vitamin D. This vitamin decreases the risk of preeclampsia, which is a complication characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of hands and feet, and protein found in urine.

9. Berries

Berries are considered to be a great snack for pregnant women. Loaded with water and fiber, they give flavorful nutrition with relatively few amounts of calories. Berries are also packed with vitamin C which helps your body absorb iron and boosts your immunity. And even though berries taste sweet, they are treated as low-GI foods. Thus, your blood sugar levels won’t be a problem when you consume them.

10. Whole Grains

Since being pregnant requires you to take in more calories, consuming whole grain foods can help you with it. Whole grains are packed with fiber, magnesium, protein, and B vitamins.

11. Avocados

Avocados are a fruit that contains healthy fats, folate, and potassium. Hence, they are a great addition to a pregnant woman’s diet. The healthy fats assist in your baby’s skin, brain and tissue buildup, while folate prevents development of neural tube defects. Potassium, on the other hand, helps relieve you from leg cramps. They are also rich in fiber and vitamins B, C, E, and K.

12. Dried Fruit

A serving of dried fruit can already fill most of your daily recommended intake of various vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, and potassium. It is as nutritious as the fresh fruit, but only smaller and without all the water in it. Particularly, prunes are fiber-rich fruits which act as natural laxatives that may help in relieving constipation. However, take note that dried fruits usually have big amounts of sugar in them. Thus, always eat them in moderation.

13. Water

You need to stay hydrated now that you are pregnant because your blood volume is increasing up to 1.5 liters. Once dehydrated, you may feel some of these symptoms: anxiety, bad mood, headaches, reduced memory, and tiredness. It is therefore advised that pregnant women should at least drink 2 liters of water per day. Always drink when you are thirsty and until you have quenched it. Don’t forget that you can also get water from fruits, vegetables, and other beverages.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, whatever you eat during pregnancy may affect both you and your baby’s well-being. Choose to eat nutritious foods to increase the chance of having a healthy baby.

10 Best Fruits for a Diabetes-Friendly Diet

One of the popular diabetes myths is that fruits should be avoided when you want to keep your blood sugar level within the normal range. This is not true and, in fact, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), many fruits are actually good for those who have diabetes. These fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as fiber which can regulate blood sugar levels and thus keeps you from getting type II diabetes. Moreover, fiber can make you feel full, repressing unhealthy cravings and inhibiting overeating.

Nevertheless, just like any other food, you should eat these fruits in moderation. It is best to consume them in their natural form. In addition, avoid eating processed fruits with added sugar.

1. Berries

If you love blueberries, strawberries, or any other berries, then this is good news for you: berries are considered as diabetes superfood! They are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Plus, they are treated as low-GI foods.

2. Tart Cherries

Just like berries, tart cherries are low-GI foods and are packed with antioxidants. It helps you fight heart disease and cancer besides diabetes.

3. Peaches

You should welcome peaches in your diabetes-friendly diet. These fragrant, juicy fruits contain vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. Peaches are yummy smoothies so go and make one now!

4. Apricots

Being a good source of fiber, sweet-tasting apricots are a wonderful addition to your diabetes diet plan. Make your everyday cereal extraordinary by putting apricots into it. You can also add these to your favorite salad.

Berries are considered as diabetes superfood! | PicHelp

5. Apples

Apples are a go-to snack for those with diabetes because they are filled with fiber and vitamin C. If you can, do not peel your apples. Their skin is packed with antioxidants which are good for you.

6. Oranges

Oranges are amazing! Eat one, and you’ve already completed your daily dose of vitamin C. Additionally, oranges help to normalize blood pressure due to their folate and potassium content.

7. Pears

Another great addition to your diabetes diet plan are pears. These are a superb source of fiber and vitamin K. Moreover, they become more delicious after they are picked.

8. Kiwi

Inside its brown fuzzy skin is a yummy bright green fruit. Kiwi is a delicious source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Also it is available throughout the year and lasts up to 3 weeks if placed inside a refrigerator. Kiwi is indeed a wise addition to your diabetes-friendly diet.

9. Pomegranates

Of all the fruits, pomegranates have the best combinations of antioxidants, thus shielding you from free-radicals and other chronic diseases. Having such excellent phytochemical compounds, it is easy to enjoy these fruits.

10. Guava

Feel free to snack on guava, a low-GI food! It is super rich in dietary fiber which helps lessen constipation and risk of developing type II diabetes.

Being diabetic should not hinder you from eating delicious fruits. Just make sure to eat those that are fresh and diabetes-friendly.

9 Best Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergy Relief

Seasonal allergies are miserable. They take the fun out of what is otherwise a fun transition in season. Many people suffer from one or more types of seasonal allergies. In fact, 1 in every 4 person suffers from some type of allergic disorder.

This can range from enduring rashes at height of summer heat or suffering from runny noses during cold months. Luckily, there are a number of natural remedies you can depend on to get relief from your seasonal allergy.

But first, what really causes seasonal allergies?

Allergy is your immune system’s response to certain triggers, be it from air, water, food and other sources. It’s your body reacting to different allergens. Its effects can be very minimal or it can be severe that it can even cause death.

How symptoms of allergy start?

Allergic disorders happen when your body responds to a usually harmless substance negatively. This reaction often includes constriction of the bronchial tubes, mucus secretion, and increased vascular permeability – severe reactions can sometimes result to death or other complications.

There are trigger variations, but one thing is certain, if your body’s first immune response is not enough to contain your body’s reaction, further activation of leukocytes and Type 2 T helper cells will occur. This stronger immune response is what people often call severe allergic reaction, and it manifests in any of the following symptoms:

  • fatigue (sometimes extreme)
  • shortness of breath
  • rashes and skin bumps
  • hay fever (runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion)
  • nasal drip
  • digestive upset and nausea
  • eczema
  • asthma
  • anaphylaxis – rapid in onset and may cause death

Yes, there are extreme allergies that may take your life and there are some, seasonal ones that just cause discomfort. And those simple allergies are what we intend to solve with natural remedies.

Check the following natural remedies against seasonal allergies you can find right in your home.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Top on our list is ACV. It has ton of health benefits and have been a regular member list of natural remedies you can use, and that’s actually a good thing. Apple cider vinegar is reliable in treating many health problems, and that includes allergy.

Why is it effective? Apple cider vinegar is able to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system.

2. Wash Your Nostrils

This simple method of washing your nostrils can prevent much of the offending allergen to enter your airways.

Neti Pot

Using a neti pot to rinse debris or mucus from your nasal cavity is one natural remedy. It might be scary to pour things on your nose, but many people swear of its effectiveness. It is assumed that you flush out allergens from your sinuses when you use a neti pot that contains a sterile saline solution. Remember not to use tap water because it may have parasites along with it.

To Use:

Buy an already-made saline rinse or make your own solution. For your own solution, dissolve 1 teaspoon of Himalayan or plain sea salt in 1/4 boiled, distilled water. Let it cool down completely before putting it in the neti pot. Pour the solution in one nostril and then let it drain out from the other.

Saline Spray

Saline nasal spray is another natural remedy for allergen attacks. So if you don’t want to use a neti pot, you can take this spray as an alternative. This spray helps in soothing nasal cavity inflammation and in opening airways. Also, you can buy it without prescription.

To Use:

Use saline spray regularly by spraying it directly into your nostrils. You can do this whether you are experiencing symptoms or not.

3. Quercetin

Quercetin is a plant pigment, or bioflavonoid, that is found in many foods such as apples and berries. It is found to aid in the stabilization of mast cells, keeping them from histamine release. Furthermore, it is a great antioxidant that helps in reducing inflammation. In fact, many people start using quercetin weeks before the allergy season to prevent any symptoms.

However, it is important to keep in mind that you should ask your doctor about using it, most especially if you have or are one of the following: liver problem, pregnant, or on hormonal contraceptives.

Many people suffer from one or more types of seasonal allergies / PicHelp

4. Nettle Leaf

Another natural antihistamine that effectively blocks the body’s ability to produce histamine is nettle leaf. Although it grows in many different places and can be made into a tea, it is best to take it in capsules.

If you want to drink it as a tea to soothe your allergy symptoms, it’s better to combine it with other herbs such as peppermint leaf and raspberry leaf.

5. Probiotics

When there’s an imbalance in the immune system, our body becomes strongly reactive to stimuli, causing allergies. In fact, studies found that there’s an indirect relationship between the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut and the number of allergy incidence. Evidence further shows that presence of bacteria in a mother’s gut during pregnancy and nursing has a significant effect on the child’s probability of developing allergies throughout his or her life.

With this knowledge, it is therefore best for us to consume a variety of foods that can help improve our gut bacteria. We should also take probiotic supplements.

6. Local Honey

Even though there aren’t enough scientific studies to back this up, many people claim that consuming honey from where you live helps your body to adapt to the environmental allergens found there. It is supposed that the local honey acts like an allergy shot with no downside.

7. Anti-inflammatory Foods

Anti-inflammatory foods (teas and spices, too) may have a function in lessening unpleasant allergy symptoms. One 2016 study that was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that orally taken ginger helps reduce sneezing, congestion and mast cell response among mice subjects. Moreover, studies involving green tea showed similar results. Hence, why not increase your intake of food and drinks that have herbs and spices now?

8. Diet Changes

Believe it or not, it is oftentimes that changes in our diet could be the solution to our allergy problems. Little by little, change your diet into a healthier one. You’d be surprised of its wonderful effects!

9. Gut Testing

If you have persistent allergies and you think that your gut is the main culprit, consider getting yourself tested in order to see what is really going on in your gut and find solutions to whatever problem it has. You can either go to a doctor or lab to get tested, or you can buy and use advanced home testing kits.

When to Use Chaga, King of Medicinal Mushrooms

We’ve covered a lot of superfoods in this blog, but medicinal mushrooms, not so much. That’s why we decided to feature both a superfood and a medicinal mushroom at the same time.

Chaga mushrooms is a popular medicinal mushroom and has been called names like the “gift from God,” “king of herbs,” and “king of medicinal mushrooms.” This mushroom looks like burnt charcoal on the outside. It has rusty color, soil-like texture when you break it into pieces. The mushroom has long been popular in Russia and Canada and has been consumed as a coffee or tea substitute or add-on.

Traditionally chaga mushroom is used in the following ways:

  • regulate hunger
  • boost the immune system
  • promote clarity of thinking
  • detox the body
  • improve endurance
  • increase productivity
  • calm upset stomach and ulcers

A closer look however reveals that chaga can still do more. Here are some of chaga mushroom health benefits that you’ll be delighted to know:

1. Chaga as a Superfood

They didn’t call it the king of medicinal mushrooms for nothing. Chaga mushroom is actually a superfood. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals such as:

  • vitamin D
  • vitamin B2
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • betulin
  • phytosterols
  • calcium
  • iron
  • sulfur
  • potassium
  • silicon
  • manganese
  • zinc
  • chromium
  • copper
  • selenium
  • phytosterols

2. Chaga Regulates Immune System

Chaga contains important polysaccharides and these polysaccharides as also called “biological response modulators.” They are chemicals that can either suppress or boost your immune system, depending on what your body requires. Yes, you read suppress right. But why would you want your immune system to be suppressed? This goes to people who may have autoimmune diseases, one where your immune system attacks your own organs.

A study in 2005 reveals that chaga mushroom has potent immune booster without negative side effects. This means that when your body needs it, it can improve your immune response and combat diseases more effectively.

3. Chaga Prevents Cancer

We know this is a bold claim, but researches have shown that the phytosterols and the polysaccharide beta-glucan contents of chaga mushrooms can reduce cancer incidence significantly.

These chemicals have the following properties:

  • improve the production of macrophages to naturally kill cancer causing cells
  • prevent formation of tumors by acting against genotoxic carcinogens
  • improves immune system response to fight cancer naturally

In 2016 a study learned that chaga extract can shrink tumors by as much as 60 percent.

Chaga has positive effect against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) / PicHelp

4. Chaga as Antiviral

Chaga’s role in boosting your immune system is undeniable. In a study in 2015, it’s been shown that chaga has positive effect against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Another study showed its effectiveness against Hepatitis C virus and even herpes.

5. Chaga Improves Metabolism

Chaga is rich in botulin, a compound that is indigestible in its natural form but is digestible after being converted by the mushroom.

Betulin is shown to dramatically lower bad cholesterol in the body. It also helps prevent obesity and insulin sensitivity and is being considered to be more effective than currently commercially available anti-cholesterol drugs.

6. Chaga Improves Strength and Endurance

Chaga has long been popular in Russia and Canada and has been used there to boost strength and endurance. A study in the Journal of Chinese Medicine in 2015 showed that mice given china outperformed their counterparts in swimming. Researches said that the mushroom improved the subject’s ability to utilize oxygen and reduced lactic acid formation in the bloodstream.

The Best Vitamins for Women

Eating a healthy balanced food diet allows you to get the vitamins and minerals you need. However, studies found out that women, in particular, still have the possibility of getting at least one type of vitamin deficiency despite being healthy eaters. As a matter of fact, there are 13 vitamins that are important for women to take regularly. Some of these vitamins are vitamins C, A, D, E, K, and B (such as B12 and thiamine).

The risk of having vitamin deficiency among women increases as they age. Research further shows that an estimated 75 percent of women are at risk of developing certain vitamin deficiencies if they do not take daily supplements. Specifically, the Population Referee Bureau published a report regarding vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition in women, and it says: “It weakens women’s ability to survive childbirth, makes them more susceptible to infections, and leaves them with fewer reserves to recover from illnesses.” Moreover, it is discovered that women who are at post-menopausal stage are likely susceptible to osteoporosis when they lack vitamins K and D and calcium, and to vision loss when they are in need of vitamins A and C.

So to prevent these vitamin deficiencies and their complications, here’s a short list of the best and most important vitamins that women should take:

1. Antioxidant Vitamins (Vitamins A, C and E)

It is supposed that free radical damage is the elemental cause of aging and various diseases that affect our brain, eyes, heart, and skin. Thankfully, vitamins A, C, and E, which are known to be fat soluble antioxidants, effectively fight off free radical damage. To be specific, vitamin C boosts our immunity against colds and infections, and protects our vision and skin from damage caused by UV light and other environmental pollution. Therefore, be sure to eat foods that are rich in vitamin C. Meanwhile, vitamins A and E similarly protect healthy cells and impede cell mutations. Additionally, a National Eye Institute research shows that the lack of these vitamins can cause age-related macular degeneration and cataracts among women.

2. Vitamin D

Are you afraid of a little sun exposure? Don’t be! Being exposed to the sun for a sufficient amount of time gives you vitamin D. Aside from the sun, you can get this vitamin by eating eggs, mushrooms, and dairy products. Staying indoors for long periods of time would only put you at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. Also, it is important to remember that vitamin D keeps your bones and brain healthy and prevents you from having mood disorders and hormonal imbalance. This is due to the fact that this vitamin acts similarly to a hormone when inside our body.

3. Vitamin K

Currently, the top cause of death among American women is heart disease. This can be prevented by increasing the amount of vitamin K daily intake. Besides lowering the risk of cardiovascular mortality, this vitamin builds and maintains strong bones and allows blood clotting.

There are 2 types of vitamin K, and both can be acquired through foods. The first type is vitamin K1 which is found in vegetables, and the other type is vitamin K2 which is found in dairy products. Hence, it is recommended to eat a lot of vegetables (like broccoli and cabbage), fish, and eggs.

4. B Vitamins including Folate

B vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and folate, are essential for women’s metabolism. They also prevent fatigue and improve cognitive functions. In addition, B vitamins aids in various cellular processes, including growth and energy expenditure, by working together with other minerals like iron to form red blood cells and to transform calories into energy.

Folate, in particular, is very crucial for a healthy pregnancy for many reasons, i.e. it prevents birth defects by helping to build the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Thus, it is extremely dangerous for pregnant women to have folate deficiency. For additional knowledge, folate is also called folic acid when it is synthetically created.

Furthermore, B vitamins can be obtained from eating eggs, fish, meat, milk, and yogurt. Meanwhile, you can get a high amount of folate from eating spinach, asparagus, citrus fruits, and beans.

The risk of having vitamin deficiency among women increases as they age / PicHelp

Although the nutrients mentioned below are not considered as vitamins because they are minerals and fatty acids, it is still necessary for women to take them in order to avoid deficiencies:

1. Iron

Iron deficiency and anemia are one of the most common nutritional deficiencies, especially among young women. One function of iron is to create a type of protein called hemoglobin, which transports oxygen through our blood, starting from our lungs to other tissues in our body. Moreover, there are 2 types of iron: heme and non-heme. Likewise, the most absorbable and easily used iron by our body is the type that is found in eggs, fish, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables, and beans.

Although young adolescent women are considered to be the ones most at risk for iron deficiency, women, in general, need to get enough iron since they experience blood loss during their menstrual period. In fact, throughout the world, it is discovered that about 50 percent of all pregnant women suffer from low levels of iron. Nevertheless, those women who have enough levels of iron and vitamin B12 are less likely to experience fatigue, bad immunity and deadly infections, high-risk pregnancies, and bleeding episodes.

2. Iodine

If you’re currently trying to conceive or you’re already pregnant, then it is important for you to take in iodine because it helps in the brain development of a growing fetus. Furthermore, iodine is necessary to produce adequate amounts of hormones T3 and T4, which are thyroid hormones responsible in controlling your metabolism.

Besides consuming iodine from iodized salt found in packaged foods and refined grain products, you can get enough of it naturally from eating sea veggies and seafood. Having a proper amount of iodine in your body can prevent you from suffering hypothyroidism, goiter, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, and pregnancy troubles.

3. Magnesium

Magnesium, an electrolyte, is an essential mineral in our body that helps in the regulation of calcium, potassium and sodium, and is vital for more than 300 various biochemical body functions. At present times, worldwide soil depletion has led to many crops producing lower levels of magnesium. Aside from this, a person’s magnesium levels can also be decreased if he / she is suffering from health conditions like digestive disorders, leaky gut syndrome, and chronic stress.

Among women, the older ones are at a greater risk of magnesium deficiency. Research has shown that older people tend not to eat high-magnesium foods; that’s why they are prone to urinary loss. Some other signs of magnesium deficiency are leg cramps, insomnia, muscles spasms, anxiety, headaches, and constipation. So make it a habit to consume green leafy vegetables, sea veggies, beans, and seeds in order to get sufficient levels of magnesium.

4. Omega-3 Fish Oils

You better take a 1,000mg omega-3 fish oil supplement every day if you are not fond of eating seafood like salmon, mackerel, sardines, halibut, or tuna so you can counter deficiency. Furthermore, a ratio of 2:1 of omega-6 and omega-3 respectively is best at preventing arthritis, heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s.

5. Calcium

Do you know that calcium isn’t just for bone strength? It is also important for a regulated heartbeat, muscle function, controlled blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and many more. Studies have shown that calcium, when paired with other nutrients such as vitamin D and magnesium, offers protection against heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancer, which are some of the greatest threats to women’s lives. A person who has vitamin D and magnesium deficiencies is most probably going through calcium deficiency as well. Make sure to have sufficient amount of calcium in your body by consuming milk, yogurt or kefir, collard greens, kale, broccoli, okra, and beans. You can take calcium supplements too, but ask your doctor about it first.

Top 15 Fat-Burning Foods

We all have that body goal. It may often sound superficial, but we want to achieve that dream body which we can dress up with our favorite trunks or bikinis during summer. Hence, we try lots of things that can help us lose some of our weight. Because let’s be honest: who doesn’t want to look and feel great, right?

To begin with, eating fat-burning foods can benefit us in so many ways. Besides cutting down our weight, these foods reduce our risk of obesity, diabetes, and cancers. Additionally, they give us some extra energy and make us feel better about ourselves in general.

Try these 15 fat-burning foods and personally experience their wonderful effects!

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

You can reduce your sweet cravings with the help of apple cider vinegar. Furthermore, ingesting this vinegar before every meal allows you to feel full without eating so much food. Also, it acts as a natural detoxifier, balancing your stomach’s pH level. However, remember to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water to lessen its acidity before drinking it up.

2. Bone Broth

Don’t throw away those bones yet! Do you know that bone broth is amazingly nutritious? It contains abundant amino acids which prevents the breakdown of your muscles, assists in burning down fats by increasing your metabolism, and detoxifies your body.

3. Cayenne Pepper

Turn your body fats into energy by eating a spicy seasoning named cayenne pepper. It helps you burn fats rapidly by increasing your body’s metabolism. So make it a habit to add it to your favorite foods and detox drink.

4. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds, which are initially grown in Mexico, are one of the fat-burning foods that you will surely love! Aside from giving you energy boost and endurance power, these seeds slow down your body’s digestion. No wonder you suddenly feel full and don’t have sweet cravings after eating chia seeds.

5. Grilled Chicken Breast

Due to its protein and calorie content, eating grilled chicken breast is an effective addition to your daily diet meal plans. It reduces your hunger by making your stomach full, and this is by taking in 102 calories only. Furthermore, 3 ounces of chicken breast already gives you 19 grams of good protein.

6. Coconut Oil

Fats from coconut oil are one of the healthiest and most natural fats that we can find. Using coconut oil, instead of other vegetable oils, in cooking your food aids in decreasing your body weight and fats. Additionally, it helps maintain your thyroid to run smoothly.

These foods reduce our risk of obesity, diabetes, and cancers / PicHelp

7. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are also considered as fat-burning foods. These low-calorie foods are packed with nutritional benefits. So go and eat your heart out in consuming these vegetables!

8. Ghee

Ghee, a clarified butter which originated from India, is surprisingly considered as a great fat-burning food. When you use it in cooking your food, its high smoke point keeps the phytonutrients in it. Ghee helps you burn fats because it contains medium-chain fatty acids. Moreover, it is good for lactose- and casein-sensitive people.

9. Grapefruit

Have you heard the news? Grapefruit is not just delicious, but it is also a major fat-burning food! It contains enzymes that aid in the breaking down of sugar, and thus it boosts your metabolism. Of course, this increased metabolism makes it easier for us to lose pounds.

10. Grass-fed Beef

One of the widespread misconceptions is that eating red meat is unhealthy for us. On the contrary, consuming a high quality, grass-fed beef allows you to nourish your body with high amount of protein, helping your body to lose weight. Also, grass-fed beef is found to have lower fat content when compared to other types of beef. Hence, you can reduce your bad cholesterol level with it. Besides protein, it has high level of vitamins, antioxidants, and good fats.

11. Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are packed with nutrients and iron. They help our muscles to function properly and burn calories after a workout. Furthermore, they are also full of vitamin K, which makes our bones strong and fights off osteoporosis. Thus, they assist our body to move normally well until we grow old. Examples of green leafy vegetables are spinach, collard greens, and Swiss chard.

12. Matcha Green Tea

Drinking a cup of matcha green tea regularly has many benefits for us. It soothes us, reduces our body fat, and lowers our cholesterol levels. In addition, it bolsters rapid body repair after an intensive workout like burst training.

13. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented yogurt-like drink that is loaded with medicinal benefits. Since it is packed with probiotics, it aids your body in fighting infections and in losing weight.

14. Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea has been popular in the weight loss community recently. Containing flavonoids and phytochemical, it has become one of the ultimate fat-burning foods because to helps you increase metabolism and decrease weight. So, as an alternative to your everyday tea, why not try drinking rooibos tea instead?

15. Whey Protein

Putting whey protein into your daily diet is a great way for you to lose some weight. In addition to weight benefits, whey protein increases your muscle tone, boosts your energy levels, and stabilizes your blood sugar. Isn’t that amazing? Hence, make it a habit to drink smoothies with added whey protein and take whey protein supplements.

What is Dry Brushing for Skin: Why You Need to Do It Now

It’s normal for us to brush our hair and teeth. But do you know that you can also brush your skin?

Dry Brushing for Skin

The habit of brushing your skin is becoming popular these days. This is due to its various potential benefits, which range from skin care to lymphatic drainage. Dry brushing is typically done before taking a shower. It is brushing your skin with a dry brush, starting from your extremities and up towards your chest.

Benefits of Dry Brushing

Aside from making your skin softer and smoother, dry brushing has other benefits too:

1. Lymphatic Support

Lymphatic vessels are structures found in our lymphatic system, just below our skin. They mainly transport lymph toward the center of our body. By means of dry brushing, it is believed that lymph flow stays in order, and thus it helps our body to detoxify itself naturally.

2. Exfoliation

You can gently remove your dead skin cells through dry brushing. This exfoliation method leaves your skin soft and smooth every time you do it.

3. Clean and Smaller Pores

Besides the benefit of gentle skin exfoliation, dry brushing also helps clear away oil, dirt, and residues from your pores. If you’re going to do dry brushing on your face, make sure to use a smaller and softer brush.

4. Reduced Cellulite

Although this still hasn’t been scientifically proven, many people have testified that regular dry brushing has helped them reduce cellulite.

5. Natural Energy Boost

Do you want an extra energy boost in the morning? If yes, then do dry brushing before you take a bath. Since it increases blood circulation, it is assumed as well that it increases energy.

You can gently remove your dead skin cells through dry brushing / PicHelp

Selecting a Dry Brush

In selecting a dry brush, it is best to go for a set of different brushes so you have options. For starters, use a soft-bristled brush because your skin has not been used to it yet. Meanwhile, a brush with a long handle is great to use because it would allow you to easily reach for your back, legs, and feet.

How to Dry Brush: The Method

You can do dry brushing every day to your entire body. It is best to do it in the morning before you take a shower. To start, use a soft-bristled brush and apply a gentle pressure on your skin. Over time, you can use a firmer brush and apply a stronger pressure when dry brushing.

Here’s How to Dry Brush the Skin:

  1. Start dry brushing at your feet, working up to your legs in long and smooth strokes. Brush them at least 10 times before moving upward.
  2. Do the same procedure for your arms. Start at the palms of your hands and work your way to your arms. Remember to always brush towards the center of your body, to your heart.
  3. For your stomach and underarms, dry brush in a circular motion.
  4. Dry brush your face in a circular motion too. Be gentle.

Tips

  1. Always be gentle to your skin when dry brushing it. If it hurts, apply a weaker pressure. Your skin must never sting.
  2. Dry brush before showering in the morning. Apply lotion after showering.
  3. Replace your brushes every six to twelve months. Clean them every two weeks to remove accumulated dead skin cells.

10 Best Health Benefits of Kombucha

Also known as “tea of life” or “mushroom tea,” kombucha entered mainstream attention for the very good and healthy reason – the need for an organic and natural source of probiotics.

Of course there is more to kombucha than just a being a good source of a probiotics. It is categorized as a “functional beverage”, or a nonalcoholic beverage. This fermented concoction of tea, sugar, healthy bacteria, fruits, enzymes and other ingredients pack a lot of benefits.

Check 10 of the best kombucha health benefits below:

1. Detoxification

Due to its enzyme and good bacterial acids, kombucha can detoxify your systems naturally.

Gluconic acid, a compound found in kombucha (and in some fruits and vegetables) can bind to toxins, aiding in their elimination from the body. It is also found to boost your liver efficiency, thereby increasing the rate at which your body eliminates waste.

2. Improved Digestion

It is a known fact that probiotics improve your digestion. This is the very reason kombucha became popular in the first place. But even better news is kombucha has more than just probiotics, it also contains organic acids and enzymes that can help your digestive tract further.

Your gut needs to be healthy for you to be healthy. According to research, your body needs three to five pounds of healthy bacteria and microbes for it to be efficient. Unhealthy lifestyle, especially alcohol use and stress can deplete these friendly organisms. So by drinking probiotic-rich drinks like kombucha, you’re sure to replenish your gut with healthy organisms that can keep your digestive system working properly.

3. Strengthening of Immune System

Your gut flora has direct relation to your immune system. Researchers have found out that people with weak or compromised immune system have unbalanced or disturbed gut flora. Drinking kombucha may help strengthen your immune system as it increases the quantity of healthy bacteria in your gut. Probiotics, like kombucha can improve your natural defense against harmful bacteria and other disease causing microorganisms.

When your gut flora is lacking, harmful bacteria such as those that can cause ulcer or even cancer can proliferate. Kombucha stops the bad bacteria from taking a hold of your digestive tract.

4. Arthritis Prevention

Arthritis is an illness that proves prevention is better than cure. Luckily, kombucha is rich in glucosamine, a special compound that is found to treat all types of arthritis. Glucosamine works by improving production of hyaluronic acid – a body chemical that may help protect cartilage and alleviate arthritic pain.

5. Cancer Prevention

Nature International Weekly Journal of Science reported of the role of microbiome in preventing cancers. Kombucha is rich in good microorganisms that can boost our natural defense against free radicals and some types of cancer.

Researches have highlighted the capability of glucaric acid (an acid found in kombucha as well as sour fruits like grapefruit) to reduce cancer risk.

Good bacteria Lactobacillus, also found in kombucha may also stimulate your body’s natural defense against cancer cells.

There is more to kombucha than just a being a good source of a probiotics / PicHelp

6. Reduction of Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol in your body – good and bad.

The good cholesterol or also known as high density lipoprotein aids in removal of bad cholesterol, also known as low density lipoprotein. Bad cholesterol clogs up your arteries, resulting in high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack among other things.

Kombucha helps your body regulate bad cholesterol (LDL) by increasing the quantity of good cholesterol (HDL).

7. Boosting of Energy

Kombucha contains energizing B vitamins and iron that can help boost your energy in an instant. The iron helps by increasing your hemoglobin, and thereby improving blood oxygenation, resulting in to more energy.

This is why there are people who treat kombucha as an energy drink. But unlike commercial energy drink that contains addictive chemicals like caffeine and tons of sugar, this one’s all natural and healthy.

8. Weight Loss Aid

A healthy gut with well-balanced biome prevents obesity and diabetes. This is how kombucha became dubbed as a weight loss drink. Natural acids and antioxidant found in kombucha also directly promotes loss of fat.

The vinegar content of kombucha also increases your metabolism. Some varieties of kombucha, specifically those that used black tea have high antioxidant content and can help you eliminate those free radicals that contribute to your unnecessary weight gain.

9. Improved Athleticism

People heavy on physical activities who regularly consume kombucha reported experiencing a boost in their performance. According to them, the drink improves their energy levels during exercise and aids them in recovery by reducing joint and muscle pain.

10. Mood enhancement

Kombucha packs vitamins and minerals that can help you improve your mood, defeat anxiety and improve your general well-being. Take for examples B vitamins, specifically B1, B6, and B12 – these vitamins are known to help combat depression, improve mood and focus. Kombucha is also rich in vitamin C which besides improving your immune system can also regulate the stress hormone cortisol.

Kombucha has small traces of alcohol due to fermentation and it can reduce your stress and give you positive feeling of happiness.

10 Most Amazing Magnesium Rich Foods and Proven Benefits

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in your body. From a microscopic process like synthesis of DNA to prevention of diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s – magnesium plays many important functions in your body.

There are many delicious and easy to find source of magnesium. Superfoods like avocado, almond, figs and other vegetables offer enough quantity per serving to combat magnesium deficiency.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a naturally occurring element and mineral. It makes up your body’s electrolytes. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and is therefore critical to many aspects of one’s health.

Your bones, muscles and tissues contain about 99 percent of your body’s magnesium and only 1 percent can be found in your blood. There is strong correlation between low levels of magnesium and diseases and conditions like Alzheimer’s, insulin resistance, migraines, type 2 diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hypertension and heart disease.

Spinach and other green leafy vegetables are among the best sources of magnesium. Even plants that grew with magnesium fertilizers have been reported to absorb increased levels of magnesium in the soil, and thereby transferring them to your body when you eat them.

There are also magnesium supplement available in the market. Magnesium citrate and magnesium oil can be purchased by those looking to augment their magnesium source.

The Top 10 Magnesium Rich Foods

Below are the best 10 magnesium rich foods. They are rank according to daily recommended value per specific amount of serving.

Superfoods like avocado, almond, figs and other vegetables offer enough quantity per serving to combat magnesium deficiency / PicHelp

Spinach, cooked — 1 cup: 157 milligrams (39 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Swiss chard, cooked — 1 cup: 150 milligrams (38 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Dark Chocolate — 1 square: 95 milligrams (24 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Pumpkin seeds, dried — 1/8 cup: 92 milligrams (23 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Almonds — 1 ounce: 75 milligrams (19 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Black beans — 1/2 cup: 60 milligrams (15 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Avocado — 1 medium: 58 milligrams (15 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Figs, dried — 1/2 cup: 50 milligrams (13 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Yogurt or Kefir — 1 cup: 46.5 milligrams (12 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Banana — 1 medium: 32 milligrams (8 % DAILY RECOMMENDED VALUE)

Top Proven Benefits of Magnesium

1. Alleviates PMS Symptoms

To say that Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS makes being a woman hard to same would be an understatement. It is a group of painful and uncomfortable symptoms that occur to women one to two weeks before their monthly period. According to research, mood swings, food cravings, weight gain, water retention, bloating, fatigue, sore breasts, irritability and digestive issues are just some of the most prevalent PMS symptoms.

A 2010 study however have shown that magnesium when combined with vitamin B6 may be able to reduce the aforementioned symptoms. A separate study by Journal of Women’s Health moreover learned that 200 milligrams of magnesium daily can help reduce the severity of some PMS symptoms like bloating, weight gain, swelling and breast tenderness.

2. Reduces Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can lead to a number of cardiovascular complications including heart disease.

Magnesium is found to lower blood pressure and therefore keep your cardiovascular system in check.  This is why you need to make sure you have enough magnesium in your diet. You also want to add potassium. Doing so will keep your electrolyte levels in check and your blood pressure in good balance.

Filling your diet with magnesium-rich foods may be able to help keep your blood pressure in check to promote better heart health. A study in Mexico even found that taking magnesium supplementation reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults with high blood pressure. (6)

3. Boosts Performance

Good levels of magnesium have a positive impact on your physical performance. During intense physical activity such as exercise, your body’s magnesium requirement doubles.

Numerous studies have shown that athletes who took magnesium supplements performed better versus their counterparts who didn’t.

4. Relieves Inflammation

A low level of magnesium is correlated to inflammation based on a number of studies. In a study in 2014 for instance, both low magnesium intake and low magnesium levels in the blood were seen to have high correlation with inflammation markers.

The results can be attributed to the fact that inflammation is a common immune response and is often brought by infection or injury. Magnesium has been shown to improve immune system.

It can also be noted that many of the top anti-inflammatory food have high concentration of magnesium.

5. Prevents Migraines

Low levels of magnesium have been shown to contribute to regular occurrence of migraines. Consequently, magnesium supplementations have been shown to cure or at least reduce it.

6. Improves Blood Sugar

Taking magnesium supplement can lower your blood sugar, protect against diabetes and even prevent insulin resistance – a problem experienced by people who eat lots of carbs and refined sugar.

According to the journal Diabetes Care, oral magnesium supplementation improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar levels in diabetic patients with low magnesium levels.

7. Fight Against Depression

Low intake of magnesium has been found to be associated with high risk of depression. This supports earlier studies that show magnesium to have mood-boosting properties.

There are also some researches that suggest magnesium to be as effective as antidepressants in dealing with depression. This is based on a study conducted by Magnesium Research which compared magnesium supplements with antidepressant medication.

8. Improves Sleep Quality

Recent studies have shown that there could be connection between magnesium levels in the body and sleep.

A study conducted in Iran proved that taking magnesium supplement can reduce insomnia severity. It has also improved sleep time while reducing the amount of time needed to fall asleep of the subjects.

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