Lifes Abundance content relating to 'Health'

5 Considerations When Choosing Supplements

happy-healthy-dieting-couple

There are many wonderful ways to give your health a dietary boost these days, but determining which supplements are best for you can be daunting. The choice for the perfect supplements for your needs really depends upon who you are ... your body’s unique requirements and your personal goals.

If we know anything it's that the internet is rife with unsubstantiated claims and, frankly, bunk recommendations for healthy products that don’t come anywhere near to living up to their hype. Before you start buying nutritional supplements, please carefully consider the following five criteria.

1. Medicinal Intake
Consider your current health and any medicines you’re taking because they might leech your body of necessary vitamins and minerals. For instance, if you regularly take an antibiotic, you might need a probiotic supplement to help keep your gut flora healthy. Or if you’re taking hydroxychloroquine for an autoimmune issue, you’ll need to monitor your folic acid intake. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist when prescribed a new medication to see if you need to supplement your diet during the course of treatment. Additionally, you would be wise to ask if the supplements you are already taking might be contraindicated by your medications.

2. Prevention Goals
Some of us might be worried about a specific ailment (such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, etc.) and seek a supplement that could possibly aid in prevention. If this is something you’re concerned about, do your research! Learn which supplements contain the nutritional benefits you are seeking and whether or not there’s science to back up any benefit claims. But don’t trust just anyone, make sure your decisions are based on quality information. A good place to start is the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health or consult your doctor.

senior-couple-healthy-diet-shopping

3. Age
As we grow older, our bodies require additional levels of certain nutrients to stay healthy. Older women tend to experience bone loss (which can lead to an increased risk of fractures), so adding extra calcium is usually a good idea. Older men might need extra dietary fiber if Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are sources of worry. If you’re older than 50, ask your doctor or you might want to check out the National Institute on Aging for helpful vitamin and mineral recommendations (they have loads of other great nutritional information as well)!

4. Gender
The fact is, men and women have different dietary needs. Women tend to need more iron and calcium, while men are often deficient in, well, quite frankly, just about everything. So taking your sex into consideration could be more important than you think.

5. Current Diet
This is really the baseline for everything. Maybe you are strictly following a ketogenic diet (low-carb, high fat), or you’re a vegan or you eat whatever you please. No matter what foods you consume, you should keep close track of your diet for a week and then analyze it to identify any nutritional gaps. Common deficits include fiber, vitamins D and E, probiotics and fish oils. For example, one person may eat a lot of fish and white rice, but forget to add fibrous fruits and veggies. Another might regularly eat veggies and fruits, but not enough protein. This is a healthy exercise in that, once you see what you might be lacking, you can make a more targeted effort in your meal planning. Furthermore, now that you recognize your dietary deficits, you'll be much better equipped to determine which quality supplements (such as a multivitaminfish oil caps or plant protein) you need to maintain balanced nutritional intake.

online-shopping-for-supplements

Once you've had time to run through all of these considerations, you will be so much more confident that your next steps will actually be tailored to your needs. When you're ready to shop for nourishing supplements, we hope you'll keep Life's Abundance in mind to help fulfill your nutritional supplement needs!

Drinking Wine For Your Health

Wine-for-Your-Health

You know how it goes. Your doctor tells you that overall, you’re pretty healthy, but your bad cholesterol is creeping up and your good cholesterol isn’t where it should be. You already live a heart-healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising and minimizing stress. What more can you do? If you’re anything like us, you look for answers anywhere you can ...

The Discovery

… like the internet. Wine is good for the heart! It says so right there on Instagram, next to that photo of a smiling, fit, bikini-clad influencer hoisting a glass of pinot noir. She looks healthy AND happy. Clearly this is something you must investigate further.

The Deep Dive

You Google “why is wine good for your heart,” and you are not disappointed in the results. “Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and prevents blood clots. Some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a lower risk of inflammation and blood clotting, which can lead to heart disease. But other studies found no benefits from resveratrol in preventing heart disease.”

You choose to ignore that last sentence and create a game plan. Better health starts now.

The Field Test

A friend agrees to meet you at a local wine bar. It’s happy hour, and you’ve never been happier to embark on a new wellness regime. Two glasses of cabernet in, you’re feeling awfully good about your commitment to yourself. “Polyphenols are red compound modifiers that help your blood vessels,” you offer knowingly between sips. “Reservanoid fights blood clotting in flamingoes.”

You settle your tab, leave a generous tip and call a cab. You are warm. Content. Your body is thanking you already.

The Letdown

It’s 6 a.m., and you’ve woken up with a splitting headache. Your mouth feels like the sticky side of masking tape. And it dawns on you ... perhaps I've made an unfortunate mistake.

The Lesson

You remember the old advice: “Know your limits.” You acknowledge that perhaps three (okay, four) glasses of red wine falls well outside your limit. After you’ve guzzled two cups of strong coffee and a giant glass of water, you settle back in front of your computer. This time, you actually finish the article you glossed over before and read, “Neither the American Heart Association nor the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that you start drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease.” Furthermore, they advise, “If you already drink red wine, do so in moderation."

So what does that mean exactly for healthy adults? We're so glad you asked.

  • Up to one drink a day for women of all ages.
  • Up to one drink a day for men older than age 65.
  • Up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. The limit for men is higher because men generally weigh more and have more of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol than women do.

Fine. FINE. You realize that as fun as a glass of pinot can be, you really might be better off finding a hangover-free source of antioxidants. And maybe on the way home from work, you'll also buy some grapes.

Reference:

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281

Convenient Health Foods For Time-Strapped Eaters

convenient-health-foods-family

Most nutritionists encourage people to choose lean protein over fatty meats, and vegetables over french fries. But when it’s 6:45 p.m. and you’re staring down at a solid block of frozen chicken breast that you forgot to thaw overnight, the temptation to order pizza is strong. So strong.

Drive-through and fast-casual restaurants are in heavy rotation in many American homes. The truth is, we cook less than pretty much any other developed nation. But it’s to our own detriment, as a strong correlation exists between cooking at home and better nutrition. Among the main reasons we don’t cook? We just don’t have enough time. Fortunately, there is such a thing as a healthy convenience food! From the humble rotisserie chicken to a bag of mixed vegetables, these time-saving items are also super nutritious.

Rotisserie Chicken

Available at most supermarkets for well under the cost of a large hand-tossed Meat Lover's, these ready-to-serve birds make dinner a snap. Just add a side of vegetables and heart-healthy grains, and you’re good to go. One caveat: Some brands are heavy on salt, so either factor that into your choices for the rest of the day, or find a plain-cooked variety like those sold at higher-end grocery stores.

Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

Yeah, we feel pretty self-satisfied toting a basketful of fresh produce up to the checkout counter, too. But that quickly turns to guilt when we have to toss three-quarters of it in the trash a week later because "life happened." Chopping fruit and vegetables takes time we’d rather spend elsewhere, and the pre-prepped servings you’ll find at the store are often come with a significant markup. We’ve found our salvation a few aisles over, in the freezer section. Washed, cut and ready for action, frozen vegetables are the ultimate time-saver for stir-fry dishes, soups and sides. Or pop half a cup of frozen berries into the fridge overnight for a quick-and-delicious yogurt topper. Lest you worry that this convenience comes with diminished nutrition, know that frozen produce is processed at peak ripeness, and nowadays you can even find organic options in most supermarkets.

Prepackaged Oatmeal

We love a mason jar filled with elaborate overnight-oat concoctions as much as anyone, but when it comes to saving time and energy, there’s nothing like a single-serving packet of the instant stuff. The main advantage of traditional oats is their comparatively low glycemic index score (55 versus 70 for instant, which means they’re less likely to raise blood sugar). Whether you prepare your oatmeal the old-fashioned way with boiling water, or heat it in the microwave, within minutes you’ll have an fiber-, iron- and protein-rich bowl that’s delicious plain or with accoutrements. Just make sure to choose a brand without added sugar and sodium.

Canned Beans

Beans are near the top of many experts’ health-food lists, but by the end of a long day, the only thing we feel like soaking is our own bodies, in a hot bathtub, preferably within grasping distance of some dark chocolate. Good thing canned beans are nutritionally equivalent to dry beans, provided you choose products without added salt or sugar (or at least rinse them thoroughly to remove said salt or sugar). Canned beans make Meatless Mondays a snap. Simply mash them with a fork and spread them on a corn tortilla with melted cheese for a quick and tasty dinner. Simmer a can or two of black beans for 20-30 minutes in some pre-packaged broth along with a bag of frozen vegetables for an easy protein-filled soup. Or combine them with corn, olive oil and cilantro for a yummy side dish!

Canned Fish

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends we eat at least two servings of seafood a week. That might be easily achievable if you live on one of the coasts, but affordable fresh fish is harder to come by in many communities — and potentially labor-intensive to prepare regardless of where you live. Widely available canned tuna and salmon is already cooked and ready to eat or cook straight out of the tin. It’s also often cheaper than fresh while boasting the same high protein content and omega-fatty acid profiles. Mix it with salsa for a zesty sandwich topper or stir in plain Greek yogurt for a nutritious take on tuna or salmon salad. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, whip up a quick batch of five-ingredient salmon croquettes. #Drool.

How do you save time while eating well? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Sources

https://www.livescience.com/13930-americans-cook-obese.html
https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/get-cooking-at-home
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379714004000
https://www.kcet.org/food/grocery-store-economics-why-are-rotisserie-chickens-so-cheap
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/05/17/611693137/frozen-food-fan-as-sales-rise-studies-show-frozen-produce-is-as-healthy-as-fresh
https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/glycemic-index-good-versus-bad-carbs#1
https://www.forksoverknives.com/why-should-we-eat-beans/#gs.oZn3KuU
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/salmon-croquettes-recipe-1952311

Red, Green or Cooked: It’s Apple Season

kids-at-the-orchard

There’s been a lot of ruckus lately about the decline of the Red Delicious. For the past 50 years, the Red Delicious apple has been number one in America. But according to the U.S. Apple Association, its reign has been usurped by Gala — and it seems there are many people out there who are pretty pleased by this news. “It’s the beginning of the end,” apple historian Tom Burford crowed to The New York Times. “How are you going to market a tasteless apple when the consumer has tasted so many good apples?”

Amen to that. Forget those waxy mealy red orbs you can find in every grocery store, gas season or public school cafeteria. It’s apple season, and anyone who has ever been apple picking knows there is a whole world of flavor out there in those orchards. Some apples are crisp with a honeyed bite; some are juicy and tart; and some taste like earthy brown sugar.

But did you know that just as every apple has a distinct flavor profile, each variety has varying levels of healthy properties? In other words, not every apple will necessarily keep the doctor away.

According to a 2009 study, researchers determined that the 800-year-old Pendragon apple has the highest levels of health-promoting plant compounds. The Pendragon’s rivals in the study were 12 organic apples and three conventional ones, including the Golden Delicious, Royal Gala and Cox. “Of all the organic varieties, Pendragon was the best apple variety and contained seven of the eight kinds of healthy components at the highest levels,” study author Michael Wakeman told the Telegraph. “In contrast, the non-organic apples consistently had low levels…in both the flesh and the peel.”

Because the top apples in the study were grown organically, Wakeman surmised that they naturally had more phenols to protect against infection. Many studies have shown that polyphenols — a type of antioxidant — in apples help fight inflammation.

apple-tree

So, more antioxidants in organic apples — especially the elusive Pendragon, which apparently you can only find in a small courtyard in England — are a good thing. But there’s another reason to only buy organic apples. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “90 percent of conventional apples had detectable pesticide residues [and] 80 percent of apples tested contained diphenylam, a pesticide banned in Europe.”

Yuck. Even worse — those apples were all washed.

This fall, stick to organic apples. Try out a local farmer’s market and taste the variety. And even if you can’t find the Pendragon, remember that the average organic apple is loaded with fiber (which helps with weight loss), vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants. According to Medical News Today, apples have been credited with reducing the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

Just remember that if you’re baking your apples, they’ll lose a bit of their phytochemicals. Oh! And if you’re worried about whether to choose green or red — don’t worry about it. The differences between the two (slightly more antioxidants in red, slightly less sugar and more fiber in green) are negligible.

No matter which variety you love, be sure to enjoy your pickings!

HELPFUL TIP: For those times you can’t make it to the farmer’s market, you can get antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients from our premium supplement line.

REFERENCES:
http://usapple.org/after-50-years-red-delicious-falls-to-2-as-most-grown-u-s-apple-gala-takes-1-spot/
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/6151010/800-year-old-apple-healthiest-to-eat.html
https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290.php
https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/05/16/is-there-a-nutritional-difference-between-red-and-green-apples_a_22088567/

7 Common Causes of Chronic Headaches

tension-headache

Chances are, you've interacted with more than one person today who's suffering from a headache. There are likely a number of people reading this post right now who have a headache. That's because millions of Americans suffer from mild-to-intense headaches. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 20 people in the developed world suffer from chronic headaches on a daily basis.

For those who have more days per month with a headache than without, life starts to feel like an endurance test more than anything else. Between the pain, the throbbing and the pounding, folks with chronic headaches will begin to have difficulty concentrating. This lack of focus can prove quite dangerous, especially if your job puts you in hazardous situations.

If your headaches began all of a sudden and have lasted for three months or longer, you may be experiencing what experts refer to as New Daily Persistent Headaches (NDPH). Such head pain may grow or slack off in intensity, but they are constant. There are medications to provide relief for such round-the-clock headaches, as well as relaxation techniques and biofeedback which have had some success in treating NDPH's.

Do you or someone you know have chronic headaches? Here are seven common causes, along with some idea about how to remedy such triggers.

1. Medications
Some prescription medications may have the potential to trigger a headache. It may not be just one medication causing the problem, but rather an interaction between prescriptions or even over-the-counter medications. If you've recently switched up your prescription routine, and seen a corresponding increase in headaches, please consult with your doctor.

2. Stress & Anxiety
Stress can take a toll on you, and it's a common cause of tension headaches. If you can avoid stressful situations, great. If not, learning to cope with stress and be more chill could really help. If you're unfamiliar with breathing exercises, just Google it! They're easy to find online and take very little time and effort to yield results. Breathing and relaxation exercises may ease anxiety in stressful situations and prevent possible headaches. Just remember to breathe, relax and maybe take a stroll if your present environment is causing you undue stress.

bad-headache-day

3. Auditory & Visual Causes
Loud, repetitive sounds can definitely lead to bad headaches ... just ask anyone who has lived nearby a construction site. But it's not just super-loud sounds, even low levels of continuous noise can trigger head pain. Calming music playing over noise-cancelling headphones may help. Brightness from your computer screen, sunlight or overhead lights can ramp up the pain. Turning down your screen brightness, or simply switching your devices to night-mode, could make a significant difference.

4. Hormonal Changes
The sad truth is that women are more likely to suffer from chronic headaches than men. When estrogen levels drop, especially right before a period, you may be more likely to develop a headache. Keep track of your cycle in a journal or diary. By analyzing the data, you may be better able to plan for future headaches. We recommend that you share your diary with your doctor, especially if the patterns indicate a correlation between your cycle and chronic headaches.

headaches-ruin-perfect-days

5. Poor Posture
Believe it or not, but your parents were right. Maintaining good posture can have a noticeable effect on your health. This is no laughing matter, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time looking down at our phones (text neck, it's a thing). Whether you're in your office chair or on your couch at home, sit up straight and raise your device to eye level to keep your blood flowing. Be sure to get up and move around every so often, especially if you spend hours hunched over your desk. Just as it is important to be aware of your posture during the day, you should also be mindful of your body position when you sleep. Don’t sleep in an strangely contorted position - especially in a cold room – as this can lead to painful muscle spasms. No one enjoys waking up in excrutiating pain, especially if you're already sleep-deprived, so take this suggestion to heart!

6. Too Little or Too Much Exercise
Since Ancient Greek times, thinkers and philosophers have cautioned us with variations on the phrase, "moderation in all things." Both physical over-exertion and not getting sufficient exercise can increase your risk for headaches. If you're leading a mostly sedentary life now and plan to begin an exercise routine, just be sure to start things off slow at the gym. Pushing too hard can result in an exertion headache from the swelling of blood vessels in your head, neck and scalp. To avoid such a scenarios, talk to your doctor before beginning or revising any exercise regimen.

7. Poor Nutrition
Food and drink release neurotransmitters, which can cause headaches in some people. Such triggers include aspartame, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, alcohol (especially red wine), cheese and others. Skipping meals or eating junk foods can deprive your body of sorely needed nutrition. Doctors recommend focusing on a healthy balanced diet, with a good mixture of slow-release energy foods (taken in small, evenly spaced meals) and limiting your intake of refined sugars. To ensure that you're getting all of the nourishment you need, we encourage you to check out our selection of premium health supplements. Each innovative product was carefully formulated with registered dietitian, healthy cooking expert and author Keri Glassman, founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life.

Word of caution ... if you have eliminated all of these potential causes as the trigger of your head pain, be aware that there are other serious causes that can lead to a sudden headache. You should make an appointment with your doctor right away. GP's may order imaging tests - such as an MRI or a CT scan - to rule out more serious conditions that require immediate treatment.

Have you discovered a way to overcome your chronic headaches? We're interested to learn how. Please leave your helpful tips in the comments section below!

7 Tips to Help You Sleep Like a Baby

perfect-night-sleep

Are you one of the millions of Americans who tosses and turns every night? It might be that, without even realizing it, you’re breaking the cardinal rules of sound sleep.

Stress, lack of exercise, poor diets and more play a significant role in insomnia. But since those are all “big things” to deal with, we’re focusing on low or no-cost, simple strategies you can try tonight to help you sleep like a baby. Here are seven simple adjustments you can make in your nighttime routine to help you drift off quickly and slumber more soundly.

Think Herbal. People all over the world have been using herbal remedies to get a good night’s sleep. Melatonin is produced naturally by the body, but if your schedule’s out of whack, taking a melatonin supplement can prove beneficial. Additionally, valerian has been used for centuries as a remedy for various sleeping disorders.

Be Comfy. There’s really no understating the importance of a quality mattress and pillows. Also, discover your perfect sleep temperature, which according to experts is between 60-67 degrees. 

Turn Off Your Screens. When you’re in bed, the light from your phones, tablets and laptops can seriously affect your circadian rhythms. That’s because these devices emit light that’s on the blue end of the visible spectrum, which can make it harder to fall asleep. If you can’t give up your devices, be sure to use “night mode” to avoid disruptive lighting. Some believe that the electromagnetic interference from these devices can cause sleep deprivation, so it’s better not to sleep by a charging device.

expose-your-feet

Mind Your Feet. Have you ever woken to find at least one foot exposed? Though we’re not exactly sure why this tip works – most connect it to your body’s unconscious desire for a cooler temp – some find that leaving one or both feet uncovered will actually help you drift off faster.

Eat & Drink for Sleep. Everyone knows, don't eat a big meal before bedtime. Same goes for not eating, as your body has built-in protections against hunger which manifests as discomfort. And lay off the caffeine and alcohol. Even if you don’t feel jittery, caffeine’s effects can last for hours. While a nightcap might make you feel sleepy, it has a seriously negative effect on your body’s ability to remain soundly asleep.

Embrace Ritual. To prepare your body for sleep, adopt a new ritual! Having a regular task – like reading, listening to calming music or a hot bath – can be an unconscious signifier to your body that it’s time to enter “sleep mode”. Drinking herbal tea or warmed milk with honey is easy, quick, and not to mention, tasty.

Be Predictable. Champion sleepers swear by sleep schedules, allocating no more than eight hours for sleep (healthy adults typically require at least seven hours). Again, keeping to the same schedule will subconsciously train your body to sleep when you’re ready.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping after trying these tips, we advise that you speak with your physician.

Have you found a reliable solution to your insomnia? Be sure to leave your personal insights in the comments section below!

What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease

bright-eyed-pupper

If you’ve ever had the displeasure of finding a tick on your pet, you know how revolting they are. The first time I found one on my Golden Brody, I was petting him when I felt what I thought was a skin mass. When I looked closer I found to my horror that it was a huge, engorged tick. We had just moved to another part of the county a month prior; in our previous home we never had a tick issue, so I was using just a flea and heartworm preventive. That changed quickly!

Which brings up a couple of points. First, as gross as ticks are, the bigger concern here is that they carry a variety of diseases that can negatively impact your pet’s health. The most prevalent of these tick-borne diseases is Lyme disease. Second, even within relatively tiny geographical regions, the parasite risk can vary tremendously. If you read last month’s blog post on heartworm disease, you’ll remember this trend of microclimates combined with two years of hot, wet weather has created a huge increase in the prevalence of heartworm in areas where they were never a problem before. The same goes for fleas and ticks.

If you haven’t heard of the Companion Animal Parasite Council (capcvet.org), bookmark their site now. It has the most comprehensive parasite data available. Although it’s geared towards veterinarians to help them educate clients, you can absolutely use and share this wonderful resource with your pet parents friends. It's an invaluable tool for assessing the specific risks in a particular geographic location.

sad-pupper

Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. It affects both pets and people, but it is not transmitted to you directly from your companion animal. A bacterial disease, symptoms begin with headaches, fatigue and fever, but it can progress throughout the body and negatively impact multiple organ systems if left untreated. Because the signs are so vague, many cases are left undiagnosed for a very long time. For more detailed data about its symptoms, visit cdc.gov/lyme/signs_symptoms/index.html.

The CAPC just released their 2018 Parasite Forecast, and it’s got some bad news about Lyme disease. As the tick population has spread, so has the incidence of Lyme disease. While veterinarians in the northeast are well-versed in recognizing signs, it is becoming a much bigger problem in areas such as the Dakotas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. It may not even be on the radar for most people who live in these areas, but it should be.

The data is so specific that you can click on your state and find the statistics by county - how many pets were tested for Lyme and how many came back positive. As a well-informed pet parent this is invaluable if you find a tick on your pet. It can help you answer questions like "should I tell my vet?" and "should I really pay for the test?" We encourage all of our readers to search the database, available here: capcvet.org/maps/#2018/all/lyme-disease/dog/united-states.

reading

But it’s not all bad news! Once diagnosed, Lyme disease can be treated with a course of antibiotics. And there’s plenty that you can do right now! First, be aware of the risk in your specific area. Second, use a good tick medication. You have choices ranging from monthly spot-ons to collars and even oral medications available from the vet. They are all quite effective, so it’s a matter of personal preference and what works best for you. There is a vaccine as well. If you live in a Lyme endemic area, talk to your vet about whether the Lyme vaccine is a good option for you.

And mostly importantly, check your pet for ticks, especially in the areas where they like to hide: under ear flaps, between the toes and in the armpits. Removing ticks promptly decreases the risk of Lyme disease, as most cases of transmission occur when the tick has been attached longer than a day.

Fortunately for us, Brody’s tick issue was a one-time affair. From that day forward for the rest of his life, he was on year-round prevention. As soon as Dakota hit the weight limit for the preventive I wanted to use, I started him on tick prevention as well. I check him every day but so far all I find are little burrs from his rolling around in the grass. Hopefully it stays that way!

We love sharing our collective knowledge and experiences here at Life’s Abundance. Have you ever had a pet diagnosed with Lyme disease? How was it diagnosed? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Dr V
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Six Principles of Eating Clean

Clean-breakfast

Everything old is new again, as is common with all sorts of trends, but now Millenials are seeking out a simpler, more nourishing philosophy of food. Thanks to their renewed commitment to health, the principle of "eating clean" has found a home in this demographic. And, for some of their parents as well.

Eating clean is a new way of referring to a relatively longstanding mindset. In the 1960's, the natural food movement rejected processed foods, which were wildly popular at the time, not for health reasons, but rather for ethical ones. Today, it's about choosing more nourishing options than those offered by giant corporations that use unrecognizable chemical ingredients.

The whole idea behind eating clean is a reliance on healthy, whole and unprocessed food. Rather than counting calories, or restricting oneself to one kind of food (like, for instance, only those low in carbohydrates), this guiding philosophy is more a lifestyle, a consciousness about what qualifies as nutritious. Those who practice it find that it gives you more energy, and because it's flexible and thus adaptable, regardless of your unique routine. For our modern times, where people generally feel pressed for time and always in need of quality fuel to burn, it's the perfect fit.

Colorful-salad

To adopt the "eating clean" mindset, you won't have to keep up with complex formulas or calculations. Fortunately, you'll only need to understand six essential principles of this dietary philosophy, as follows ...

1. Stop eating processed foods in favor of whole, natural foods. A simple rule to remember is that if it comes in a box, can or brightly colored packaging, it's probably processed. Your grocery cart should be full of color, but only natural colors - fruits, veggies, nuts ... you get the idea.

2. Just say "no" to refined foods. Obviously, it takes a great deal of effort to do this 100% of the time, but committing to a daily intake of whole grains from sources like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet is definitely the way to go. And don't forget legumes and beans, as they're great vegetarian sources of protein. You'll also want to end your consumption of high fructose corn syrup, opting instead for sugars from maple syrup, honey and dehydrated sugar cane juice.

3. Say "goodbye" to meals with huge portions. Instead, spread out your consumption with 5-6 small meals evenly spaced throughout your day. These meals don't have to be all exactly the same size. A less drastic change for people who are accustomed to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is to have three primary meals with small snacks in between. By adopting the small-snack strategy, you'll be less inclined to overeat at your main meals. Additionally, you'll find that spacing out your meals and snacks will help keep your energy up and your blood sugar levels even.

Fruit-salad

4. Every meal should include proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Most Americans don't need to be told to consume carbs and fats, but we often fall short when it comes to protein intake. Not only is protein essential for healthy muscles, it's great for curbing your appetite. Like with almost anything in life, balance is key.

5. Don't overdo it when it comes to the consumption of sugar, fat and salt. Don't worry, it's not that difficult when you eliminate processed foods from your diet. As you live with your new mindset, you'll soon find this is true, because clean foods are typically low in all of these ingredients.

6. Remember to move your body. Just as important as consuming clean foods is using that fuel to power regular physical activity. Establishing an exercise habit may be challenging at first, but within just a few weeks, it'll become second nature. Not only will you feel better, you'll sleep better too! And when you're burning that healthy fuel, you'll be decreasing your body's store of fat while also building your muscles. Soon, you'll be burning more energy even when you're resting, with the added benefit of improving your heart, lung and bone health, too!

We hope you'll start adopting some of these super healthy clean food attitudes and habits. We guarantee that once you commit to living healthier, you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of clean eating.

Heart Health in Humans & Pets

canine-cuddle

When we think of February, Valentine's Day sucks up all the holiday energy in the room. With so much attention paid to the affairs of the heart, it's no accident that February is also Heart Health Awareness Month! And while the human heart plays the star role in these holidays, many of us care just as much (and maybe even more) about the healthiness of our companion animals' heart.

Most people have a basic understanding of the risks of heart disease in humans, but when it comes to canine and feline heart health, these areas remain a tad more mysterious.

In the following FAQs, we’ll look at some of the similarities between humans, dogs and cats, hopefully resulting a better appreciation of these amazing feats of biological engineering.

1. How Widespread is Heart Disease?

Humans: In America, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Annually, about 610,000 people die of heart disease, accounting for a quarter of all deaths.

Dogs & Cats: Even though reliable statistics are not readily available for adult felines or canines, we do know that heart disease is not nearly as common as in humans. Only about 10% of dogs ever develop valvular heart disease. As with many maladies, risks for heart disease increase with age, especially for dogs over the age of nine (later for some breeds). Tracking heart disease in cats has proven challenging, as felines exhibit very few if any physical symptoms due to this condition.

2. What’s the Most Common Form of Heart Disease?

Humans: In adults, coronary artery disease is the most prevalent kind of heart disease. The main type involves accumulation of arterial plaque, which affects blood flow to the heart. As the layers of plaque thicken and harden, blood flow can be further restricted.

Dogs & Cats: The biggest difference here is that companion animals are not at-risk for coronary artery disease. While that’s good news, keep in mind they can face other medical conditions. For example, dogs can suffer from mitral valve disease or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Mitral valve disease describes a condition where a valve on the left side of the heart fails to close properly. The problem with this is that blood pools into the left atrium, rather than exiting the left ventricle. Older, small breeds are more likely to develop mitral valve disease, a condition that can be aggravated by periodontal disease. DCM weakens the heart muscle so that it pumps less vigorously and regularly, a condition more common in large breeds. Cats, on the other hand, are more likely to experience hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Here, the walls of the heart thicken, resulting in reduced muscle flexibility which decreases the volume of blood pumped. HCM is a genetic disease that is found in both pure and mixed breed cats.

kitten-big-eyes

3. What are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?

Humans: Symptoms vary depending on the disease, but patients with coronary artery disease often have chest pain, arm pain and shallow breathing. As the condition deteriorates, there’s a risk of heart attack.

Dogs & Cats: Dogs typically exhibit signs such as low energy, general discomfort, labored breathing and even a low-pitched, chronic cough. On occasion, they might actually pass out. Cats may also become lethargic, sleeping excessively or hiding for extended periods. It's also not uncommon for cats to lose their appetite. Some may even be at risk of blood clots, which in some cases may lead to pain and possible paralysis.

4. Is Exercise Equally Beneficial?

Humans: Yes, definitely! Exercise lowers the risk of heart attack and reduces stress, another risk factor for heart disease.

Dogs & Cats: The kinds of heart disease commonly found in cats and dogs can't be avoided through exercise. But, as with people, regular exercise will improve overall health and help prevent obesity in pets, which certainly factors on heart health.

boxer-paw-forward

5. One Thing Everyone Can Agree On - Eat Healthy!

It’s hard to overstate the importance of quality food for humans and for companion animals. While significantly more research has been done on the benefits of essential fatty acid supplementation in humans, the science demonstrates similar results for dogs and cats, too.

But how can you be certain that you and your companion animals are getting plenty of omega-3’s and omega-6's? By taking an ultra-refined supplement daily! To ensure you are getting the quality you and your pets deserve, choose an omega supplement that has an IFOS 5-Star Rating. This independent, third-party testing validates that you are getting a safe and effective supplement that you can feel confident giving to any member of your family! If you're in the market for a superior supplement, look no further than Life's Abundance Fish Oil Supplement for people and Ultra-Pure Fish Oil Supplement for dogs and cats!

Take care of your heart and it'll help take care of you!

Dr Jane Bicks  

Dr. Jane Bicks

Overdoing Multivitamins? Is That Even Possible?

healthy-table

Almost everywhere - from Facebook to the pretty pages of your favorite magazine to the packaging of your go-to foods - you’ll read that getting your vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies is an important aspect of living a Nutritious Life1. And, that’s spot on! 

However, we don’t live in a perfect world, so while it would be ideal to get all of the things we need from our diet, this often is easier said than done. 

Supplementing your healthy diet that’s packed with fruit and veggies (and whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein!) is often necessary. However, there is such thing as too much of a good thing.

Unlike water soluble vitamins that dissolve in water and are excreted by the body if taken in excess, fat soluble vitamins go through your digestive tract, into the lymph system, and then into the blood to be stored in fat and liver cells. Since theses vitamins can’t be excreted, over accumulation of them can lead to toxicity and negative health side effects. What’s a healthy wannabe to do? 

berry-overload

Vitamins A, D, and E are all considered fat soluble (K is too!), and should be supplemented with caution. 

Hypervitaminosis of vitamin A can cause bone pain, changes in vision, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, jaundice, and itchy or peeling skin2. If it becomes a prolonged chronic problem, accumulation of vitamin A can even lead to liver damage. 

Overconsumption of vitamin D has even been shown to cause hypercalcemia3 (too much calcium in the blood), which can weaken the integrity of your bones and cause complications in both your brain and heart. 

In one study, intake of vitamin E over 400 IU per day was associated with increased overall risk of death4, and high doses through multivitamins have been known to cause nausea, vomiting, fatigue, blurred vision, or rashes5

Fortunately, there's a simple solution. Life’s Abundance Multivitamin provides these critical vitamins and minerals, but was developed and formulated to ensure that the nourishing ingredients are in amounts you need to simply SUPP-lement the diet, not overdo it. 

Unlike some competing brands that overload their supplements, Life’s Abundance knows that more is not always more! You don’t want to bombard your body with an endless list (and amount) of vitamins and minerals that will only be excreted out, or end up causing you more harm than good. 

An extra bonus? Our proprietary spice blend and black pepper fruit extract in this multi will supply you with an additional boost of nutrition!

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

References:

  1. http://nutritiouslife.com
  2. http://www.healthline.com/health/hypervitaminosis-a#diagnosis6
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3191699
  4. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2004/11_10_04.html
  5. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-954-vitamin+e.aspx