Thursday, February 28, 2013

5 Foods to Help You Burn Belly Fat



Bathing suit season is upon us (as if you needed a reminder, right?)! One of the most common concerns I hear this time of year from the Beauty Detox community is banishing belly fat.
The gut/belly area is certainly is a sensitive body zone for even the most confident. Let’s explore this “middle” ground:

Losing Weight in the Abdominal Area

belly fat


Retaining fat around your stomach is often a sign of toxic buildup in your system. When your body is toxic from chemicals in the foods you eat and your environment, it seeks to protect you as best it can. One of the ways this happens is that your body retains fat in order to store the toxins so they are insulated from your organs. Detoxifying, then, is a great step towards losing weight in your abdominal area. Let’s look at some steps you can take to detoxify your system.
  • Eat organic foods
  • Minimize or eliminate processed and fast foods
  • Eliminate refined sugar
  • Eliminate carbonated beverages and energy drinks and drink pure, fresh water instead
  • Start each day with a glass of warm water containing organic lemon
  • Eliminate dairy and gluten grains
The foods you eat (and the order in which you eat them) can also contribute to bloating, which can make your stomach look as if it is carrying belly fat. While we cover food combining and eating strategically in-depth in The Beauty Detox Solution, here are a few simple rules for minimizing belly bloat:
  • Drink water/liquids 30 minutes before or 60 minutes after meals, not while eating
  • Take probiotics and eat probiotic-rich foods
  • Simplify your meals as much as possible
  • Avoid slow and difficult to digest foods
  • Eat fruit on an empty stomach
Start to notice which foods really make you bloated afterwards. For me, gluten is a real doozey. I recently ate at a vegetarian restaurant, and one of the dishes had ground seitan in it, which is basically pure gluten. After eating some of it, I got so bloated that my balloon of a belly started pushing against my pants so hard (it was screaming to me: let…me…free!!) that I had super horizontal red marks from my pants when I got home. It sort of ruined my whole night. So no, I won’t eat suspicious dishes like that again where I don’t know what exactly I am eating…and where I might unknowingly consume super bloating ingredients.

Along with these simple rules, you can also work on blasting belly fat by eating healthy foods that will help keep your stomach region slender.

1. Glowing Green Smoothie

ggs
 
I realize this is almost always my top recommendation, but there’s a reason the GGS is my signature drink. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with nutrition. That means it fills you up and provides you with the nutrients and enzymes your body needs for peak performance. Because it is blended, it also allows your body to minimize the energy necessary for digestion so it can be used for beauty energy and fat burning.

2. Chia

chia seeds
 
 
These nutritious little seeds are great for fat loss, because they help stabilize blood sugar,contain lots of fiber, and improve your sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is one of your body’s main fat storage hormones, and improving insulin sensitivity can reduce the amount of insulin circulating in your bloodstream, which can lead to fat loss. Chia is also rich in Omega-3 fats, and the seeds are filling because they contain fiber. Try a few tablespoons of chia in unsweetened almond milk with some vanilla and stevia for a delicious and filling beverage.

3. Cayenne

Cayenne powder
 
The great thing about cayenne is that it is so easy to incorporate into meals. Spice up a salad, some quinoa pasta, or soup with a pinch of cayenne, and you’ll increase your body’s thermogenesis. Cayenne contains capsaicin, which has been shown in studies to enhance burning of belly fat.

4. Oat Groats

oat groats


Oat groats are oats in their most basic form – a true whole grain. Research has shown that eating whole grains can help increase weight loss. Oat groats are also gluten-free and well tolerated, meaning they are less likely to cause belly bloat. Soak them overnight, rinse, and blend with water, stevia, and a little cinnamon for a healthy oatmeal.

5. Greens

dark greens


Like your glowing green smoothie, fresh greens will help fill you up, giving your body the enzymes it needs for full digestion. Greens are also high in fiber and nutrition and they don’t raise your blood sugar. Greens go well beyond lettuce and spinach. Try kale, arugula, cabbage, endive, fennel, purslane, parsley, and other nutritious, organic greens for a delicious way to rid yourself of fat.

How the GGS is Superior to Juice

 
 
Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie


Ingredients
  • 12-16 oz Filtered Water
  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 3 Celery Stalks
  • 1 Apple (cored)
  • 1 Pear
  • 1 Banana
  • Juice ½ Lemon
  • 1 cup Ice
 
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in the jar in order listed
  2. For Blendtec: Press the Soup Button
  3. For Vitamix: Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 1½ minutes or until smooth.
Notes
For Blendtec Wildside jar or Vitamix 64oz jar, otherwise halve the recipe Kimberly recommends to use ALL ORGANIC produce Optional ingredients for further cleansing/detox: ½ cup Cilantro OR ½ cup Parsley.
 
 
 
 

I’m a huge fan of the Glowing Green Smoothie (GGS). It’s my own recipe of course, but I do really love it. I drink it daily, and have all my clients drink it daily. It’s packed with so many nutrients, enzymes, and fiber. That’s why it’s the cornerstone of my Beauty Detox System, as well as my signature drink.

One question people often ask, however, is how the GGS compares to juice and juicing. After all, when you juice fresh fruits and vegetables, the nutrition and enzymes are still there. The secret to the GGS, however, and why I feel it is nutritionally superior to juice can be summed up in one word: fiber. 32 ounces of the GGS has around 12 g of fiber. That’s around the amount (or less!) that the average American gets in a whole day.

When you juice fruits or vegetables, what you are left with is NOT a whole food anymore. Nature grows fruits and veggie with its juice and fiber intact. So while fresh juices are still beneficial, it is important to note that when you consume a juice you are not eating a whole food anymore; the produce has been processed. If you only drink green juice and never the GGS, you are sorely missing out on removing the fiber, which is incredibly important. Sure you can get some fiber from other plant foods you eat later in the day, but why remove it it in the first place? I want as much as I can get! Fiber is 0 calories, and adds roughage to cleanse digestive tract and also helps you feel more full. Most all of us would benefit from increasing our fiber consumption.
Let’s look at all of the reasons fiber is so important in the diet.

Protects against Disease

Numerous studies exist showing fiber’s protective nature.
Fiber intake has been linked to protection against many diseases, including:
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Colon cancer
  • Diverticular disease
Likewise, fiber scrubs intestines and helps promote healthy bowel movements.

Works with the Liver for Detoxification

Fiber has no calories, and it helps remove circulating fats and toxins, and escorts them out of your body. Detox is an important part of maintaining health and beauty, and fiber plays a key role in this process.

The liver is the major fat burning organ in the body and regulates fat metabolism by a complicated set of biochemical pathways. It can also pump excess fat out of the body through the bile into the small intestines. If the diet is high in fiber, this unwanted fat will be carried out of the body via the bowel actions. Thus the liver is a remarkable machine for keeping weight under control, being both a fat burning organ and a fat pumping organ.

If the diet is low in fiber, some of the fats (especially cholesterol) and toxins that have been pumped by the liver into the gut through the bile will recirculate back to the liver. This occurs via enterohepatic circulation. The term enterohepatic circulation describes the recirculation of fluids (consisting mainly of bile acids) from the gut back to the liver. The enterohepatic circulation is very large, with approximately 95% of the bile acids being reabsorbed from the last section of the small intestine (ileum), into the portal vein to be carried back to the liver. The liver re-circulates these bile acids back into the small intestines.

The entire bile pool recycles through the enterohepatic circulation six to eight times a day. If this recirculated fluid is high in fat and/or toxins, it contributes to excessive weight. A high fiber diet will reduce the recirculation of fat and toxins from the gut back to the liver. A juice has no fiber to help push the toxins and fat out of the body.

This is vitally important for those with excessive weight, toxicity problems and high cholesterol. The inclusion of plenty of whole, fibrous raw fruits and vegetables as well as ground-up raw flaxseeds, as well as chia seeds will increase both soluble and insoluble fiber in the gut, reducing recirculation of unwanted fat and toxins. Some people find that rice or wheat bran, psyllium husks, and unprocessed homemade muesli can boost fiber efficiently.

If toxins damage the liver filter, or it is clogged up (blocked) with excessive waste material, then it will be less able to remove small fat globules (chylomicrons) circulating in the bloodstream. This causes excessive fat to build up in the blood vessel walls. This fat may then gradually build up in many other parts of the body, including other organs, as well as in fatty deposits under the skin. Thus, you may develop cellulite in the buttocks, thighs, arms and abdominal wall. Not fun! If the liver is dysfunctional, it will not manufacture adequate amounts of the good cholesterol (HDL), which travels out of the liver to scavenge the unhealthy cholesterol (LDL) from the blood vessel walls.

If the liver filter is healthy, it allows dietary cholesterol to be shunted into the liver for metabolism or excretion through the bile. A healthy liver filter is essential to properly regulate blood cholesterol levels. Poor liver function may increase your chances of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

Fights Fatty Liver

If the liver does not regulate fat metabolism efficiently, weight gain tends to occur around the abdominal area and a protuberant abdomen (pot belly) will develop. This is not good for the waistline! Likewise, belly fat has been linked specifically to a host of health problems including heart disease, stroke, and insulin resistance.

Another sign can be a roll of fat around the upper abdomen, which I not-so-affectionately call the “liver roll.” This is often a sign of a fatty liver. It can be almost impossible to lose this abdominal fat until the liver function is improved. Once this is done, the liver will start burning fat efficiently again and the weight comes off gradually and without too much effort from you. It is not necessary to make yourself miserable by following a low fat, low calorie diet. What is effective in the long term is to eat the correct foods and nutrients for the liver to improve its fat burning function.

Many middle-aged people with excess fat in the abdominal area have a “fatty liver.” In this condition, the liver has stopped burning fat and has turned into a fat storing organ. It becomes enlarged and swollen with greasy deposits of fatty tissue. Those with a fatty liver will not be able to lose weight unless they first improve liver function, with a liver cleansing diet and a good liver tonic.

If you have a fatty liver it is vital to be patient, as it can take between 3 and 12 months, depending upon the amount of fat deposited in the liver, to remove the excess fat from the liver. After this accumulated liver fat has been removed, weight loss will occur easily. If you have a very severe case of fatty liver it can take several years to lose all of the excessive weight. However, this is very successful in the long term and provides the best chance of restoring your figure and your health.
Fatty liver is common and doctors often tell their patients with this problem not to worry too much because it is not serious. I disagree with this, because if you have a fatty liver, your chances of high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are significantly higher. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to find a fatty liver in adolescents who consume a diet high in processed foods and soda pop.

So, as you can see, while juice provides many nutrients and benefits, it lacks a very important ingredient that can make a huge difference in your overall health. By having a GGS, you’re not only getting nutrients and enzymes for good health, but you’re getting loads of fiber, which can protect you from disease, help detoxify your body, contribute to easier and sustained weight loss, and help you look and feel your best.
Don’t remove the fiber- you need it. Enjoy your GGS!

Pain Relieving Foods





1. Dark leafy greens

Greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are high in antioxidants and nutrients that fight oxidative stress. According to Arthritis Today, eating greens can also help prevent the painful condition, osteoporosis. This is because greens create a state of alkalinity in your body, which helps to balance out acidity without demineralizing your bones, and helps your body maintain these minerals.



2. Raw walnuts

Walnuts are high in omega-3 fats, which can help to balance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which fights inflammation and pain. Try pulsing them in the blender or food processor with some fresh basil and other herbs for a yummy nut pate that you can top salads with.




3. Avocado

These fruits are high in vitamin K. In their book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James and Phyllis Balch describe how vitamin K reduces pain and other arthritis symptoms.








4. Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables like kelp and dulse contain fucoidans – polysaccharides that studies have shown to reduce pain. Sea veggies are also great for providing lots of trace minerals, as well as B vitamins and iron.




5. Acai

These delicious berries are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are powerful pain fighters. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which can damage cells and cause pain, while omega-3 fats fight inflammation. At Glow Bio we have a smoothie called Rainforest Acai Beauty, which pays homage to this amazing berry.


 

 


6. Ginger

A recent study showed that ginger decreased muscle pain by 25 percent. Ginger can also soothe stomach pain, and evidence also exists showing ginger may be effective at relieving the pain of osteoarthritis. Try making my Detox Tea!





7. Cherries

Studies have shown that tart cherry juice is high in anti-oxidants and may relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. Since they aren’t in season right now, you could try getting some organic, frozen cherries and making a simple smoothie out of them.




8. Turmeric
According to the National Institutes of Health, turmeric may be effective for relieving stomach upset, as well as the pain of osteoarthritis. I love the taste of turmeric. Try working it into your dishes, or try my Curry-Turmeric Veggie Quinoa dish.





9. Flaxseed
Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, and therefore pain. Try grinding 1 Tbs. fresh and topping soups and salads with it.
I hope these tips have been helpful for you, and that you can start eating your way to feeling better and better!

Dr. Fuhrman's nutrient-packed "Skinny Shake"

Strawberries and pomegranate help to regulate your blood sugar and fill you up without packing on the pounds. Enjoy this summer treat from Dr. Fuhrman as a shake or make popsicles by pouring it into paper cups and popping them in the freezer.
 
 




Antioxidant phytochemicals:
  • Anthocyanins (the most abundant antioxidants in berries) provide antioxidant protection on their own, plus they increase the production of cells’ own antioxidant enzymes. A 1.5 cup serving of strawberries increased antioxidant capacity in the blood of human subjects, building protection against oxidative damage.
  • Pomegranate contains a unique antioxidant called punicalagin; it is the most abundant antioxidant in pomegranate, responsible for more than half of the antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice. Pomegranate juice has been found to reduce oxidative stress markers in healthy humans.
Detoxification:
  • Ellagic acid, an antioxidant derived from berries and pomegranate interacts with a protein called Nrf-2 to increase expression of the body’s natural detoxification enzymes.
Anti-cancer effects:
  • Strawberry and pomegranate extracts slowed cell growth and induced cell death in human cancer cells from several cancer types.
  • Pomegranate and strawberries are both anti-angiogenic – strawberry extracts help to prevent growing tumors from acquiring a blood supply – preventing those tumors from receiving the nutrients that would allow them to grow larger.
  • Pomegranate is one of the few foods (mushrooms are another) that contain natural aromatase inhibitors – this means that they inhibit the production of estrogen, which can reduce breast cancer risk.
  • Strawberries and pomegranate have anti-inflammatory effects that may protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Patients with precancerous esophageal lesions ate strawberries each day for six months. The results were amazing – 29 out of the 36 patients in the study experienced a decrease in the histological grade of their lesion – this means that the progression toward cancer began to reverse, and the risk of the lesions becoming cancerous had decreased.
Cardioprotective effects:
  • Higher strawberry intake is associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
  • Human trials have found that daily consumption of strawberries decreases total and LDL cholesterol, and pomegranate phytochemicals reduce LDL oxidation (a contributor to atherosclerotic plaque development).
  • Strawberry and pomegranate phytochemicals have blood pressure-reducing properties.
  • In a study of patients with severe carotid artery blockages, after one ounce of pomegranate juice daily for one year, there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. In striking contrast, in the participants who did not take the pomegranate juice atherosclerotic plaque increased by 9 percent.
Anti-diabetes effects:
  • Strawberry and pomegranate phytochemicals have actions on certain digestive enzymes that can result in reduced glucose levels following a meal.
  • Ellagic acid, which can be derived from berries or pomegranate, reduced secretion by fat cells of an inflammatory molecule that is thought to contribute to insulin resistance.
  • Adding strawberries to a meal was shown to reduce the insulin response in overweight adults.

LOTUS LEAF AND WEIGHT LOSS


 
Lotus leaf is a flowering aquatic perennial that grows widely throughout tropical regions of Asia and the Middle East. The pale green leaves are flat and broad, reaching up to 18 inches in diameter. The leaves are usually collected in the summer and autumn and dried before being cut into small pieces, powdered or processed into pills. Lotus leaves are touted to be useful in treating a variety of conditions, including heavy bleeding, diarrhea and muscle spasms.
 

 
 

HISTORY

The lotus has historically played an important role in both the religion and medicine of many cultures. According to Plant Cultures, the lotus "has been held sacred in Asia and the Middle East for over 5,000 years." Texts from India dated to the 11th and 12th centuries discuss meals that feature lotus leaves. The resilient plant was considered a symbol of immortality for the ancient Egyptians who also made use of it in their diet.

EXPERT INSIGHT

The long history and varied claims have led to extensive research on the potential use of lotus leaf. According to a study in "Nutrition & Metabolism," lotus leaf extract, when combined with L-carnitine, "might represent a treatment option for obesity-related diseases." The mixture was shown to prevent adipogenesis, the formation of fatty tissue. Research conducted by Japanese scientists had similar results. The study monitored the effects of lotus leaf extract on obese mice for five weeks. The results showed that lotus leaf slowed the absorption of fat and carbohydrates, increased energy expenditure and accelerated lipid metabolism. Lotus leaf also prevented the increase of body weight.

POTENTIAL

Lotus leaves contain high concentrations of phytochemicals, compounds produced by plants to defend themselves against bacterial and fungal infections. The substances found in lotus leaf extract include alkaloids, flavonoids and tannins. The isoquinoline alkaloids in lotus leaves have sedative and antispasmodic properties, which may aid in digestion. Both flavonoids and tannins are powerful antioxidants that have been connected with weight loss and cardiovascular health.

USES

Dried lotus leaf can be used in preparing a meal, though it has a bitter flavor. The leaves can also be brewed into a tea. Lotus leaf is also available in capsule and pill form, which can be taken as an alternative to the bitter leaves.

WARNING

There is a lack of research regarding the effects of lotus leaf in pregnant women and it should be avoided. Lotus leaf may cause gastrointestinal irritation. Lotus leaf may increase the risk of bleeding and should not be used in conjunction with blood thinners, including aspirin. Consult your doctor before beginning treatment.









WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEYSUCKLE?




Two types of honeysuckle commonly are used for medicinal purposes: European honeysuckle, Lonicera pericylmenum and Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica. Herbalists use honeysuckle primarily for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and calming properties. Consult a qualified health professional before using honeysuckle medicinally.
 





TRADITIONAL MEDICINAL BENEFITS

According to the Healthline website, Japanese honeysuckle has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine to treat a number of health conditions. Naturopathy Digest writes that different parts of honeysuckle are used to treat different health conditions. Honeysuckle flowers were traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat fevers, inflammation, diarrhea and skin infections.

 SKINCARE BENEFITS

According to the Healthline website, honeysuckle can be used to treat skin rashes, such as poison oak, cuts and abrasions on the skin. Honeysuckle stems are the preferred part of the plant to use in the treatment of skin care. Apply an infusion of honeysuckle to treat skin care conditions that are subject to infection. Be aware that some individuals may experience skin irritation from the application of honeysuckle.

 ANTI-INFLAMMATORY BENEFITS

Honeysuckle has antibiotic properties, and Healthline advises that Japanese honeysuckle can be used to treat infections caused by streptococcal bacteria. You can treat other types of inflammations and infections with honeysuckle, as well.

 RESPIRATORY AND BACTERICIDAL BENEFITS

Honeysuckle is believed to be an expectorant. Julia Lawless, in "The Aromatherapy Garden," writes that an infusion of European honeysuckle flowers can be drunk as a tea to treat coughs and colds. Honeysuckle can also be used to treat upper respiratory tract infections and asthma. Health Line advises combining honeysuckle with chrysanthemum flowers to treat a cold.

 OTHER BENEFITS

Jeanne Rose, in "The Aromatherapy Book: Applications and Inhalations," writes that honeysuckle can be used as a massage oil, as it is relaxing and calming. Although there are no known side effects in the use of honeysuckle, consult a health professional before using honeysuckle as a herbal medicine, tincture, oil or remedy to treat any health conditions.









SENNA LEAF HEALTH BENEFITS




Senna, also known as Cassia angustifolia or Cassia senna, is a two foot high shrub native to North Africa and Arabia. Used for centuries as a laxative, cathartic and purgative, senna's leaves and seeds are medicinal, but should be used modestly and under supervision. Like cinnamon, senna comes from the cassia plant family. It can be taken in tea form, or in capsules or tablets. According to Herbs 2000, it is best to take senna with aromatic herbs such as cardamom, peppermint, fennel and ginger, which help to diminish flatulence that can ensue due to the herb's strong purgative actions.
 







STOOL-SOFTENING PROPERTIES

Senna leaf acts on the intestinal walls, causing contractions that lead to bowel movements. In this regard, it can be used to effectively relieve even the most severe cases of constipation. Because of its glycoside content, which helps transport electrolytes, it helps to cleanse the colon creating a bowel movement that usually occurs within six to 12 hours after it is taken. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, senna leaf, also called Fan Xie Ye, helps to clear away heat accumulated in the large intestine, helping rid the body of stagnant food that has accumulated in the organs. Considered sweet, bitter, and cold in nature, it is not to be used during pregnancy or menstruation or by nursing mothers.

SOOTHING ANAL FISSURES AND HEMORRHOIDS

Anal fissures occur when the rectum has split close to the sphincter, causing pain during bowel movements. Because senna leaf helps to soften the stool, it makes defecation less painful when lacerations or other painful obstructions are involved, such as hemorrhoids. Because senna leaf is an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, it also helps to reduce swelling due to irritation, thus helping to soothe the area back to health.

 ALLEVIATING SKIN CONDITIONS

Senna leaf contains essential oils, resin and tannin. Its acetone and ethanol content help to fight against microorganisms that can cause skin irritations such as acne. In Ayruvedic medicine, an ancient and time-tested natural healing protocol, senna leaf is made into a paste and used as a compress to help heal ringworm, Pityriasis versicolo, and other similar types of skin conditions. Though senna leaf is a well-known laxative, cleansing agent and anti-inflammatory, it is essential that you consult your health-care provider before using it for any condition. Using senna leaf for more than two weeks consecutively can lead to lazy bowel syndrome, where elimination cannot be performed without outside stimulation. Senna can potentially create other complications as well, such as chronic diarrhea.






Tuesday, February 26, 2013

15 Easy Ways to Detoxify Your Body Today

 
 
 
Every now and then I read or hear someone say that the body doesn't need to detoxify.  This is an appalling statement since the body cannot live without effective and efficient detoxification, which needs to occur in the lungs, liver, skin, intestines, kidneys, lymphatic system, and other areas of the body every minute of every day.

Our bodies are surprisingly good at detoxification but these processes can easily become overwhelmed due to the volume of toxins to which we're exposed from our air, water, food, pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs, and many other sources.These detoxification processes also rely on many critical nutrients (you'll discover which ones below) to function properly.  Fortunately, there are many easy things you can do to help your body eliminate harmful toxins. 

Here are 15 easy ways to detoxify today based on the book, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan:

1. Eat pectin-rich organic apples.  Pectin binds to toxins in the intestines to escort them out of the body.

2. Drink a freshly-made veggie juice daily.  This can be as easy as throwing a couple of handfuls of leafy greens into a blender with some frozen berries and water.

3. Drink a large glass of purified water with the juice of one fresh lemon in the morning.  Lemons have over 20 proven anti-cancer compounds.

4. Eat blueberries daily.  They are rich in anthocyanins that reduce inflammation in the body and brain, as well as help reduce allergies and excess weight.

5. Remember to breathe.  Oxygen kills bacteria, viruses, and helps us to feel more energized.  Breathe deeply as much as possible.

6. Eat at least a half cup of legumes daily.  If they cause you gas, build up slowly and add a digestive enzyme with cellulase (breaks down the fiber in beans).  Fiber in beans helps keep the bowels eliminating properly.

7. Find the positive in every day.  Smile and laugh.  A positive attitude reduces the number of stress chemicals in the body.  And, as the adage says, "laughter is the best medicine."Discover one of the most powerful liver healers that stops fat-storage in the liver…

8. Take turmeric daily (a teaspoon in a small glass of water), added to soups or stews, or in capsule form.  It contains the phytonutrient curcumin that is one of the most powerful liver protectors and healers.  The liver is largely responsible for detoxification.

9. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables.  They contain enzymes that aid digestion and improve nutrient absorption.  Many nutrients are needed for efficient detoxification, including:  beta carotene, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B12, pyridoxine, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, copper, germanium, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, sulphur, and zinc, among others.

10. Switch from chemical cleaning products to natural ones.  Chemical cleaning products contain toxins like formaldehyde, chlorine, petroleum products, ammonia, perchloroethylene ("perc"), and many other harmful chemicals that research links to cancer, skin conditions, asthma, and other serious health conditions.  Baking soda, vinegar, or orange oil work well.  No chemical cleaner removes stains as well as orange oil.

11. Eat at least three of the best detoxifying foods daily: broccoli, garlic, spinach, cabbage, sprouts, blueberries, and ginger.

12. Drink plenty of pure water to help flush toxins from your body.  Almost every process in your body depends on proper hydration to function smoothly.

13. Help remove toxins in your intestines by using aloe vera juice (about a quarter cup) or drinking a few cups of slippery elm bark, marshmallow root, or rhubarb root tea (about one teaspoon of the dried herb per cup of  water).

14. Take a probiotic supplement with live cultures on an empty stomach daily (morning or evening works well).  The beneficial bacteria kill harmful bacteria and yeasts and help to heal the lining of the intestines.

15. Get at least 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity daily.  Sweating is one of the best ways of removing harmful toxins, including heavy metals, from the body.

Friday, February 22, 2013

5 ‘healthy’ habits that are making you fat

5 'healthy' habits that are making you fat
 
 

Cutting fat from your diet

Hands up who's ever checked a packet and then rejected your food choice based on the fat content? If you've ever been on a diet, we're guessing your hand is probably up. For many dieters, fat seems like the ultimate enemy. However, opting for low fat products can be much more of a diet disaster than opting for those that contain moderate amounts of fat.
Firstly, many low fat meals are packed with sugar to compensate, meaning that they can still inevitably lead to weight gain. Furthermore, contrary to what you may think, not all fats are good for you, and studies have found that eating good monounsaturated fats – found in olives, nuts and avocados – can actually help to promote weight loss.

Drinking water

Drinking plenty of water is undoubtedly good for you; helping you to stay hydrated and energized and to keep your organs and digestive system in good condition. However, studies have shown that the chemicals found in water could also be making you fat.
Not only have research results published in PLoS ONE shown that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastic water bottles encourages the body to create more fat, our drinking water can also contain the hormone estrogen, which affects the way our bodies store fat. The more we are exposed to these chemicals, the harder it becomes to lose weight. However, there's no need to panic just yet – while ditching water clearly isn't an option, experts suggest that filtering your water or using a reverse osmosis purification system can limit the chemicals you are exposed to.

Exercise

While exercise is essential for good health and, when approached correctly, can help you to shed excess pounds, many exercisers make vital mistakes that can lead to them gaining weight. Firstly, research has found that relying solely on exercise to manage your weight can actually be ineffective. Studies have shown that exercise, when not combined with dietary changes, does very little in respect to losing weight.
Additionally, many of us overestimate the amount of calories burned through exercise and adhere to the myth that exercise continues to boost the body's ability to burn fat well after our workout is over. Therefore, we often end up overcompensating for workouts with pre- or post-workout snacks, leading to weight gain. For maximum weight loss benefits, try to incorporate both exercise and dietary changes into your day.

Looking on the bright side

While impulsive and optimistic people may be happier (and therefore have stronger immune systems) than their more anxious and pessimistic counterparts, research suggests that they could also have more trouble losing weight.
According to research by America's National Institute on Ageing, impulsivity is the strongest predictor of who will become overweight. Furthermore, researchers from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan studied obese women and men partaking in a six month weight loss program and found that those who were more positive and optimistic in their outlook lost the least weight. It is believed that positivity may cause weight gain by causing optimists not to worry enough about their weight to resist temptation and stick to a strict healthy eating and fitness regime.

Snacking on fruit

Fruit is undoubtedly nutritious, being packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. However, due to its healthy properties, many people overindulge on fresh fruit, juices and smoothies, forgetting about the fact that many fruits are also high in calories and sugar. Although fruit is healthy, remember that a calorie is still a calorie, and the ones in fruit are as likely to make you overweight as the ones in any other food.
Furthermore, research results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that fructose (the sugar found in fruit) can help to trigger overeating, as after consuming fructose the brain doesn't register feelings of fullness and satiety as it does when we consume glucose. While it is still important we feed our bodies with the nutrients found in fruit, those struggling with their weight should ensure they don't go overboard. You should also try to obtain some of these nutrients and fiber through vegetables, which are lower in sugar and calories

Thursday, February 21, 2013

6 Clever and Safe DIY Bathroom Deodorizers

 
 
What is worse than bathroom smells? The choke-inducing chemical smell of spray air freshener layered on top of it. Holy smokes, it can leave you gasping for air. For bathroom deodorizing, natural, non-toxic deodorizers are actually better at masking bad smells. They're also a lot friendlier to people who are allergic or sensitive to synthetic perfumes.

If you have persistent bad smells in your bathroom that are not related to going to the bathroom, you might need to call in a plumber. For example, Jimmy Cash, a plumber in Dallas, says that bathroom smells can be attributed to pipe leaks or drain seals. These bathroom deodorizers are not a substitute for keeping plumbing in working order.

Also, having an HVAC contractor install a proper vent fan in your bathroom is beneficial in a few ways: A vent fan can pull out routine bathroom smells, but it also can prevent mold and mildew growth, which has its own nasty smell. While my favorite way to deodorize the bathroom is to open the window or turn on a vent fan (duh), sometimes the air just doesn't move fast enough and you need a little help. So here you go; help is on the way.

Water and essential oil in a plug-in: While your standard plug-in air freshener is filled with chemical perfumes, the concept of an electrical scent diffuser is not bad in and of itself. Empty out, wash, and dry the bulb from a plug-in air freshener. Then fill with water and a few drops of essential oil.

Add essential oil to cedar chips to make potpourri: Cedar chips are aromatic on their own. To kick them up a notch, add a few drops of an essential oil, like lavender or lemon, to cedar chips and place in a bowl or cheesecloth sachet.  Add essential oil drops to the inside of a cardboard toilet paper tube: Your toilet paper tube itself can become an air freshener. Add a few drops of a nice-smelling essential oil to the inside of a toilet paper roll tube.

Put a couple drops of eucalyptus oil in the toilet before you poo: Crunchy Betty, one of my favorite green lifestyle bloggers, posted this tip. Put a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil into the toilet before you go number two. She claims that short of total-horror-show-number-twos, once you flush the smell of the number two will totally disappear.

Simmer scent pots: Simmering water and aromatic herbs and fruits is a sure way to pleasantly scent the air. There are small, portable ways to simmer a small bowl or cup of water and aromatics in the bathroom, like a coffee cup warmer or a candle-fueled scent diffuser. Mason jar of baking soda: Baking soda as a deodorizer, on its own, has its supporters and detractors. As a medium for essential oils, it's excellent.  Maggie, from the blog Smashed Peas and Carrots, made cute and clever baking soda and essential oil air fresheners in Mason jars. Put baking soda and a few drops of a fragrant essential oil into a small Mason jar with a ring lid. Instead of using the metal plate that goes inside the ring of the lid, she used perforated craft paper, which allows the scent to diffuse.








Wednesday, February 20, 2013

9 Easy Ways to Boost Your Energy


Boosting your energy doesn't have to cost a lot or feel like work. Just by learning a few simple tricks you can have a great impact on your energy for the rest of your life.

1. Start the day out with the juice of one lemon squeezed into pure water. Not only do lemons contain over 20 anti-cancer compounds, they help to quickly restore your body's pH.  While lemons are acidic, when the juice is metabolized with water, it alkalizes your body to help reduce pain or headaches, improve your energy levels, and optimize your body's natural enzyme processes.

2.  Eat fresh fruit. Fresh fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and of course, enzymes. We tend to deplete our bodies' own stores of enzymes by overeating and eating primarily cooked or processed foods.  Adding fresh, raw fruit allows your body to divert its own digestive energy to other functions in your body.  When eaten on an empty stomach the fruit passes through your digestive system quickly to provide you with a quick boost of energy.  Don't overdo on extremely sweet fruit like pineapples or bananas if you're trying to lose weight.

3.  Snack on raw, soaked nuts and seeds throughout the day. By soaking raw nuts for at least an hour (but preferably overnight) and then draining them, you help to quash enzyme inhibitors found in nuts while increasing the nutrient-content. Soaking them increases their water content and digestibility, helping to make sure your body can assimilate their rich calcium, magnesium, zinc and Omega 3 fatty acid stores. Nuts also make a great snack because they help to keep blood sugar levels stable and that means weight loss, greater energy and balanced moods for you.

4.  Keep a tray of crudités (raw veggie sticks) to snack on or add to your meals. You'll be far more likely to eat them on a regular basis if they are already cleaned, cut, and ready to go.  Raw veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

5.  Eat a large raw salad at a minimum of one meal a day. That doesn't include iceberg lettuce topped with a starchy tomato. I'm talking about a large green salad, either Romaine, mesclun mix or your favorite greens—just be sure they are actually green. But your salad doesn't have to be a boring plate of greens. Top with some fresh berries, garlic and ginger crisps, brown rice noodles, salsa, roasted vegetables or raw walnuts. I've observed many converts go from salad haters to salad lovers with a little creativity and some delicious recipes.  And greens are among the most nutrient-dense food you can eat so it's worth the effort.

6.  Sip fresh juice. Enjoy a smoothie made with fresh fruit and almond milk. Drink a freshly-made veggie and carrot juice between meals. It's easier and more delicious than you think to drink fresh juices. Once you get in the habit of having fresh juice, you'll never want packaged or concentrated juices again. The added energy they'll give you over time will be reward for the minimal effort required to make them.

7.  Make a salad smoothie. Sounds disgusting but you'll be surprised how delicious, filling and nutritious this power drink can be. Toss a large handful of mild greens like Boston lettuce, Romaine lettuce or spinach along with berries, frozen banana, almond milk or other smoothie ingredients and blend for an instant "green drink" and salad. I opt for a salad smoothie when I'm pressed for time or am just feeling a little lazy and want my salad in a hurry.

8.  Add sprouts to salads, wraps, sandwiches, noodles or stir-fries after they've finished cooking. Sprouts are diverse and versatile.  They are nutrient- and enzyme-powerhouses, giving your body a serious boost when eaten on a regular basis.  If you don't like one kind, try another.  There are many different varieties, including but not limited to:  mung bean, onion, broccoli, alfalfa and red clover. Sprouts are serious energy-boosting superfoods.

9.  Eat only until you are full. For many people eating has become a pastime rather than something to nourish their appetites and bodies. Reducing the amount you eat may increase longevity. Research shows that even slightly restricting caloric intake increases the lifespan of laboratory animals so this benefit may transfer to humans as well. Eat until you feel full but not heavy. It may take some time to adjust to this concept. Most people eat until they are bloated and heavy feeling and mistake that as feeling "full." Stop well before that. You'll use a lot less energy to eat only until you are full than you would if you keep on eating.  And that frees up energy for other things.  That doesn't mean you should starve yourself, go hungry, or use this advice as an excuse to support an eating disorder. Snack later if you become hungry again, but pay attention to your body's signals, not just to your eyes and taste buds.








Monday, February 18, 2013

Be prepared in case of emergency

 
 
Despite our best efforts to avoid injuries and accidents, they can – and do – happen, often at home. A well-stocked first aid kit will help you take action – whether you have to deal with a cut or bruise, or quickly ‘stabilise’ an injury before you head to the emergency room. Here’s what your home kit should include:
 
 
 
 
 
Getting started
 
Ready-assembled first aid kits come in different shapes and sizes, and are available from various outlets including pharmacies, and sports, or outdoors stores. Choose one that suits your family’s needs, or tailor-make your own kit. If you decide to do the latter, opt for a durable, water-tight container that’s big enough to fit all the items you may need. Look out for containers with dividers to help you keep the contents organised.
 
 
 
 
The essentials
 
When buying a kit or putting together your own, make sure that it contains these basics:
 
•For wounds and injuries
 
Different types of bandages (including elastic wraps), compress dressings, gauze, and plasters in various sizes, as well as hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and clean wounds, and an antiseptic or antibiotic solution. And don’t forget the adhesive cloth tape. Adding a cold pack to treat injuries and burns is also a great idea.
 
•For bites, stings, and irritations
 
Include an oral antihistamine, hydrocortisone cream (for rashes), calamine lotion, aloe vera gel, and even a saline solution which can be used as a sterile eye wash. Drugs to treat allergic attacks e.g. bee stings (as prescribed by your doctor) should also be included.
 
•For common symptoms
 
Your kit should contain over-the-counter pain relievers for all ages, anti-diarrhoea and anti-nausea medication, as well as cold and cough remedies. Always store medications in their proper containers.
 
•Other must haves
 
A thermometer, cotton balls, disposable gloves, plastic bags to dispose of items, safety pins, scissors and tweezers, and medicine spoons. You can also include an instant hand sanitiser, sunscreen, and after-sun lotion.
 
•For emergencies
 
Pack a flashlight (with extra batteries), candles and matches, emergency space blanket, and a first aid manual. And remember the updated list of emergency contact numbers – just in case.
 

 
Be kit savvy
 
Now that your kit is assembled, remember to follow these tips:
 
•Your first aid kit should be easily accessible. Older children should know where to find it (and how to use items), but it should be stored out of very young kids’ reach.
•Check the kit every three months to make sure that it still includes everything you need and to replace items that have reached their expiration dates.
•Include and update family members’ medical information, e.g. allergies and a list of their chronic medication, as well as copies of identity documents, and medical aid details.
•Consider enrolling for a first aid course. Learning basic first aid techniques can also prepare children for emergencies.
•It’s also a good idea to pack a similar first aid kit for your car.
•If any symptoms don’t improve or worsen, the best advice is always to seek a medical opinion. The same applies if an injury is serious.

Benefits of a magical minty plant

 
Peppermint is available in many forms, from the fresh and aromatic herb growing in your garden, to capsules, oils, and tinctures available at your local pharmacy. This plant has been a popular medicine and food for years.
 
Health benefits of peppermint
 
The menthol in peppermint gives it that crisp flavour and has many health benefits. Importantly, there is no menthol in spearmint, which is often confused for peppermint. Peppermint is useful for treating:
 

 
•Stomach complaints
 
Peppermint is useful for treating and alleviating the symptoms of various gastric intestinal complaints. This is because the pungent oil is a powerful relaxant, and can help to relieve stomach cramps. It also helps to reduce flatulence, as well as relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint is used in over-the-counter antacids because it assists in healthy digestion by stimulating the flow of digestive juices, and eases bloating. Peppermint for stomach complaints is best taken orally in a capsule, because it releases the menthol in the bowels, where it is most needed.
 

 
•Bad breath
 
Peppermint provides a tasty and natural remedy for bad breath. It is useful when put into food to aid in digestion, as well as keeping the breath fresh. Chew a few fresh leaves, or put a few drops of peppermint oil on your tongue.
 

 
•Nausea and motion sickness
 
Peppermint has the ability to soothe the lining of the stomach, reducing the effects of nausea and motion sickness. It is best taken as a fresh tea, rather than chewed in this instance. Dowse a few fresh leaves in hot water and leave to steep for a few moments, covered. Strain and drink.
 

 
•Pain
 
Primarily as a result of the relaxing effects of peppermint, it is also a very good remedy for aches and pains. Diluted peppermint oil, or fresh peppermint ground fine with a pestle and mortar, rubbed on to the affected area will relieve pain. Peppermint is also effective in treating headaches, by rubbing it on the temples and forehead.
 

 
•Coughs
 
Studies have shown that peppermint relieves coughs and soothes sore throats. Peppermint is often added to cough syrups to improve the flavour, but they also act to calm the cough reflex. A few drops of peppermint oil, or a few fresh ground leaves in boiling water, produce a minty vapour, that when inhaled, provides relief from coughs. Peppermint tea has also been reported to reduce the tightness in the chest associated with asthma.
 

 
Side effects
 
The fresh herb, whether crushed and inhaled or eaten, eaten whole, or rubbed on the skin, does not have any side effects. However, peppermint oil can cause headaches, dizziness, heartburn, or muscle tremors when ingested. Rubbed onto the skin it can cause rash, or mouth and eye irritation. Always use supplements in the recommended dosage to prevent side effects.
 
In addition to being delicious and smelling great, this hardy little herb has many uses in your medicine cabinet.
 
Peppermint grows easily and has many interesting variants. So start growing and using peppermint today!

10 foods you should add to your diet in 2013


 

 
Eggs: While egg whites are loaded in proteins, the yolk is rich in vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown that if you eat eggs for breakfast, you will end up consuming lesser calories throughout the day! Eggs also contain choline, which is considered to be brain food.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yoghurt: An important part of the Indian diet, yoghurt works wonders for your digestion, immunity and skin. Yoghurt contains more calcium than any other dairy product. So have a cupful every day, add fresh fruits of your choice for added flavour!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Beans: Good for your heart, great for diabetes! These natural wonders are packed with soluble fibre, which fills you up and insoluble fibre which helps lower your cholesterol. Proteins, carbohydrates, magnesium, potassium! You name it, this super food has it. The recommended intake is 3 cups weekly.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sweet potatoes: Substitute your regular white potato with a sweet potato and you will automatically be adding vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium and potassium to your meal. Sweet potatoes also contain beta carotene which helps every cell in your body to stay healthy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nuts: Yes they have a high fat content, but they are all good fats which makes them excellent for your heart! In small doses, they can lower cholesterol and aid in weight loss. And with so many varieties of healthy nuts around (almonds, peanuts, walnuts) you’ll be hard-pressed to find a healthier snacking option!
 
 
 
 
 
 
Berries: Whoever said that all good things come in small packages could have been talking about berries. Berries, be it any kind, are loaded with antioxidants, extremely low in calories, high in water content and fibre which makes them great for diabetes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sprouts: Sprouts are a really good source of proteins and vitamin C. They also contain more nutrients than the seed that they germinate from. Apart from their high nutritional value, they are also easier to digest than the original seed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pomegranate: This tasty treat helps your body fight conditions like cancer and Alzheimer’s. It is also a rich source of antioxidants. Pomegranate protects your arteries, lowers cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. Do we really need to say more?
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bananas: These fruits are available in abundance in our country and are loaded with antioxidants, potassium, vitamin B6 and carbohydrates. Potassium helps lower the blood pressure and carbohydrates are great for refuelling your body before and after your workout.
 
 
 
 
 
Apples: Crispy, crunchy, sweet and delicious! Apples are rich in a number of minerals and pectin, which is a kind of soluble fibre. Pectin helps in maintaining digestive health and in reducing cholesterol. Two apples a day are recommended to derive maximum benefits. Experts maintain that while eating these super foods is extremely beneficial, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet. So ensure you are getting enough of all food groups. Here’s to eating healthy this year! Cheers! Join our diet discussions on facebook. Like us!
 

5 foods with superpowers


 


 
Tomatoes

If tomatoes were a superhero they would definitely be Superman because, like this spandex-wearing superhero, tomatoes have more than one superpower. A recent study conducted by the Tianjin Medical University found that people who ate tomatoes two to six times a week were 46 per cent less likely to suffer from depression than those participants who only ate tomatoes once a week. 
 
The researchers believe that the antioxidant called lypocene, which is found in tomatoes, might be the ingredient that helps protect against depression. However, the researchers also found that tomatoes could reduce people’s risk of developing heart attacks and prostate cancer. Therefore they could not conclude whether participants were less depressed as a result of the lypocene, or whether they were less depressed because they were not developing these fatal diseases.
 
How to eat: Add some fresh tomatoes to a stew, to your sandwiches or to a salad.   
 
 
Spinach

If you want to find a food with superpowers then look no further than spinach. This green stuff is low in calories but rich in nutrients and has a wealth of benefits for you and your body. Not only does spinach contain heaps of vitamin A and K, it also keeps you young. The green leaves contain iron and vitamin C and both of these nutrients encourage collagen production, which keeps your skin looking youthful.
 
Apparently spinach can also protect your brain from the ageing process because it stops the oxidation process, which can lead to age-related problems such as dementia.
 
How to eat: Swap the lettuce you normally add to your salads for spinach, or whip up a tasty spinach curry.   
 
 
Blueberries

When you hear that a food is full of antioxidants and phytoflavinoids you know that it is going to be a food with real life superpowers. Although small, blueberries are packed full of antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, which means they have many health benefits. One big health benefit you get from eating blueberries is that they can lower your risk of heart disease. 
 
Blueberries can help to protect your heart because they help to reduce inflammation, which can cause many serious chronic illnesses, such as heart disease. Research into the health benefits of blueberries lends support to this theory. Researchers found that women who ate more than one and a half cups (or three servings) of blueberries or strawberries were at a lower risk of a heart attack. It is thought that the berries improve ‘good’ cholesterol and reduce inflammation, which both help to reduce your risk of heart disease. 
 
How to eat: Make a blueberry smoothie or eat blueberries for breakfast with some nuts, natural yoghurt and honey.    
 
 
Salmon

If you want to lose weight, you should think about tucking into some salmon. Salmon contains high levels of protein (in every 4oz serving you can get 58 per cent of your recommended daily intake of protein) and this protein helps the body to maintain the metabolism levels it needs to encourage weight loss. Also salmon helps you to shed the pounds because the high levels of protein keep you fuller for longer, which means you won’t feel the need to eat as much.
 
How to eat: Serve salmon with a squeeze of lemon, green beans and new potatoes. Or you can add salmon to a salad along with sweetcorn and new potatoes.     
 
 
Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds taste amazing and are full to the brim of useful nutrients such as: phosphorous, iron, copper, zinc, protein, vitamin K and magnesium. Fantastically each of these nutrients is useful for something. Zinc, for example, improves your thinking skills and it is also great for your memory. The magnesium and phosphorous present in pumpkin seeds can help to keep your bones strong, whilst the protein present in pumpkin seeds has antimicrobial benefits, which means that it can destroy or limit the effects of those microorganisms that can cause disease.
 
How to eat: Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to your muesli or eat pumpkin seeds as a snack.
 

Top 5 flat-belly foods


 


 
Flat stomach food 1: Flax seeds
 
Flax seeds (often referred to as linseeds) are nutritious seeds packed with monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) - which are actually a lot more diet-friendly than they sound. Monounsaturated fats, unlike saturated fats (the "bad" fats found in junk food), not only lower cholesterol levels but they can also help to reduce body fat. Liz Vaccariello, author of The Flat Belly Diet, advocates these healthy fats for those wanting to specifically target belly fat. 
 
Not only will these super seeds tackle love handles, but they are great for those suffering from bloating. Flax seeds provide high levels of fiber and can help to keep the digestive system running smoothly, helping to banish bloating, constipation and other digestive problems. Try adding a tablespoon of freshly ground flax seeds to your morning cereal, lunchtime salad, or homemade smoothie to start enjoying their belly-flattening benefits.
 
Flat stomach food 2: Berries
 
Blackberries, blueberries, acai berries... what do these fruits have in common? They could all help you to squeeze back into your skinny jeans. Studies have suggested that those wanting to lose their belly fat should opt for fruit that is blue or red in colour (such as cherries, red grapes and many types of berries). In fact, it is the chemicals that are responsible for giving these fruits their colour (anthocyanins) that, according to recent research, also burn abdominal fat.
 
Flat stomach food 3: Yoghurt
 
Not only is yogurt low in fat and calories, so good as a weight loss food, but many yogurts also contain active cultures (probiotics) which promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut and help with digestion, excess gas and bloating. Yoghurt is luckily easy to fit into any diet plan as part of a meal or a snack between meals. You could also try combining natural yogurt, berries and flax seeds in a morning smoothie or bowl of cereal, getting you off to a great tummy-trimming start before you even leave the house. 
 
Flat stomach food 4: Whole grains
 
Whole grains are great for weight management and shedding those excess pounds. Not only are they a low-fat source of slow-release energy but, due to their high levels of fiber, they will help to regulate the digestive system and also keep you feeling fuller for longer. Eating whole grains also helps to lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and insulin in the body, both of which encourage fat to be stored around the belly.
 
Many people, however, instinctively opt for wheat as their primary source of whole grains, which is often not the best choice. Not only is wheat difficult to digest - which can cause bloating in some - but it is better to eat grains in their natural form rather than as a processed flour. Good alternatives to try are brown rice, oats, buckwheat and spelt. Quinoa - although technically a seed - is also a nutritious alternative that can be used in the place of grains such as pasta and couscous.
 
Flat stomach food 5: Water or other still drinks
 
While it's not technically a food, a lack of water in your diet could be the one thing still standing in your way of a flat belly. Bloating is something that affects many women and the problem is often worsened - or even instigated - by a lack of fluids in the system. Drinking water will help to flush toxins out of the system, curb hunger, improve the digestive system and reduce fluid retention, all of which will leave your stomach looking flatter.
 
If you are aiming for a flat belly, it is important to drink a minimum of eight glasses of liquids a day. Although this does not have to be water, it is best to go for liquids that are still (fizzy drinks can cause bloating) and low in calories. If you don't fancy plain water, a good alternative is green tea - which is also rumoured to have fat burning benefits - or fennel, dandelion or peppermint teas, all of which can combat bloating.
 

11 Surprising Uses for Yogurt


Yogurt, the versatile dairy product made by fermenting milk with bacteria (AKA yogurt cultures) has a number of applications aside from the morning meal. It has a whole host of uses for health issues and can be employed in a few beauty formulas as well. Yogurt. It's not just for breakfast anymore. (That was painfully cliché, I know, but it's true!)

Fermentation of lactose by one or more varieties of bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Enterococcus faecium, Streptococcus thermophilus, and others) produces lactic acid  which turns milk into yogurt and gives it its texture and tangy taste. Those cultures also give yogurt its health-boosting qualities. Look for yogurt labeled with a "Live and Active Cultures" seal from the National Yogurt Association, indicating the product reliably contains at least 100 million active cultures per gram of yogurt. Opt for organic if you can afford it and it's available–and buy it in large containers to save on packaging, or make your own. 

1. Lower cholesterol

Taking yogurt that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus and a combination of Enterococcus faecium and Streptococcus thermophilus seems to lower cholesterol for people with borderline to moderate high cholesterol levels. This type of yogurt is thought to lower total and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol but does not raise "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
 For lowering cholesterol, according to WebMD: Several different doses have been tried depending on the preparation. A typical dose of 200 mL of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus per day has been used. A combination product of 125 mL (approximately 4 ounces) Lactobacillus acidophilus yogurt with 2.5% fructo-oligosaccharides three times daily has also been used. A dose of 450 mL daily of yogurt containing the Causido culture (which contains Enterococcus faecium and two strains of Streptococcus bacteria) has also been used. 

2. Help with lactose intolerance

 As an alternative to milk, eating yogurt with live cultures seems to improve lactose tolerance in children and adults who cannot absorb lactose.

3. Enhance your immune system

According to the International Journal of Immunotherapy, yogurt with active cultures enhances the body's immune system by increasing the production of gamma interferons, which play a key role in fighting certain allergies and viral infections. Other studies indicate that yogurt can help prevent gastrointestinal infections (lactic acid helps inhibit the growth of food-borne pathogens, and yogurt cultures produce bacteriocins which restore natural intestinal cultures).

4. Relieve diarrhea

Antibiotics may kill good bacteria in addition to the ones they're meant to kill, leading to stomach discomfort and diarrhea–but the Lactobacillus acidophilus in yogurt produce bacteriocins which restore natural intestinal culture. Which is why yogurt I s used for restoring normal bacteria in the intestine after antibiotics and for treating antibiotic-related diarrhea and acute diarrhea in children. Yogurt formula given as a replacement for milk formula in infants and young children seems to relieve persistent diarrhea.

For preventing diarrhea due to treatment with antibiotics, WebMD recommends: 125 mL (approximately 4 ounces) of yogurt containing Lactobacillus GG taken twice daily throughout the antibiotic treatment course. Some researchers recommend taking 240 mL (8 ounces) of other. yogurt preparations twice daily. Take yogurt at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after antibiotics. 

5. Treat yeast Infections

Along with the healthful bacteria which may help restore the normal bacteria in the digestive tract, the same can work for vagina yeast infections. Yogurt is. used for treating and preventing vaginal yeast as well as bacteria infections, and for preventing urinary. tract infections.

Some women use yogurt inside the vagina for treating yeast infections and bacterial infections in pregnancy, but most studies have looked at consuming yogurt orally for this purpose. The March 1992 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that daily. consumption of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures results in a three-fold decrease in the incidence of candida vaginitis (yeast infections).

For preventing vaginal yeast or bacterial infections WebMD recommends a typical dose of 150 mL Lactobacillus acidophilus yogurt by mouth per day. 

6. Use for a DIY facial

Lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid, using it on your face as yogurt is so mild that even highly sensitive skin can take it. Yogurt can even out skin tone, fade freckles over time, and do a wonderful job to tighten pores and. cleanse skin. Clean your face, apply a thin layer of plain yogurt to face, throat, and chest, and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. You can use this treatment every day.

7. Soothe canker sores

Eat two servings of yogurt a day until. the sores clear.

8. Soothe sunburn pain

To soothe sunburn pain, spread yogurt on affected area and let sit for twenty. minutes–then rinse clean with lukewarm warm water.

9. Make yogurt cheese

Yogurt cheese has a consistency similar to cream cheese, but is lower in fat and has all that healthy bacteria. It is used as a spread for bagels, toast, and crackers, or as a healthy substitute for cream cheese in many recipes calling f or cream cheese, even cheesecake. To make yogurt cheese, empty a pint of yogurt into a large, fine-meshed. strainer or colander lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth, a coffee filter, or yogurt strainer. Place a bowl under the strainer to catch the liquid (whey) that drains from the yogurt. Cover the remaining yogurt and refrigerate for eight to 24 hours (texture will vary depending on how long it drains). (Save the calcium-rich whey, it's a health bonanza: read The Healing Properties of Whey.) Makes about one cup of yogurt cheese.

You can also use yogurt cheese to make a great and healthy pie crust:  

Yogurt Cheese Piecrust

This is an excellent all-purpose piecrust.
Compare the fat – just 3.6 grams per 3-inch wedge, versus traditional crusts ranging from 5 to as much as 10.5 grams of fat per slice.

Ingredients

¾ cup whole wheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons canola oil, olive oil or butter at room temperature
6 tablespoons YoChee

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
Using a pastry blender, wire whisk or fork, cut in the oil or butter until it is thoroughly incorporated.
Work in the YoChee and then gently knead the dough with your hands to form a ball of soft dough. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
Place the dough on a pastry cloth or waxed-paper-lined surface.
Roll into an 11-inch circle.
Drape it into a 9-inch pie pan or tart pan, or cut for individual tarts.
Press gently into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Crimp or flute the edges as desired.
If there are any tears in the pastry, they can be easily mended by pressing on a thin overlay of the dough.
Bake as directed in recipes.
Makes 1 0-inch shell or 8 to 10 I ndividual tarts. 

10. Make your french toast healthier

 Here's a surprising way to make french toast that is quite clever and tasty. By replacing whole milk and whole eggs with low-fat yogurt and egg whites, you remove much of the fat and swap in a little extra life. Hurray.

6 ounces low-fat yogurt (plain, or any flavor)
1/4 cup water
2 egg whites
6 slices day-old multigrain bread (or 12 slices if you are using a skinnier baguette)
3 teaspoons olive oil
Fresh fruit (optional)
Mint for garnish (optional)

1. If yogurt has chunks of fruit in it, blend with water in a blender.
2. In a pie pan or other shallow pan, whisk together yogurt, water, and egg whites; dip bread on both side in the yogurt mixture.
3. Heat a small frying pan to medium- high heat and spread 1/2 teaspoon of olive in the pan.
4. Cover and cook soaked bread in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes on both sides, or until lightly browned.
5. Continue with each bead slice, adding 1/2 teaspoon olive oil per slice.
6. To make a quick fresh fruit "compote," toss together mixed berries or fruit of your choice with a small splash of maple syrup and let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The fruit will soften slightly and begin to make a juicy syrup that is prefect with the french toast.

Garnish with mint if you have a pinch on hand. 

11. Make a super soothing smoothie

In her book, The Spice of Vegetarian Cooking, Martha Rose Shulman offers a recipe for an unusual minty yogurt drink that is refreshing and combines both mint , cumin, and yogurt for a superb tonic. Here's how:

1 cup yogurt
½ cup water
12 mint leaves
½ teaspoon cumin
8 ice cubes
Whole fresh mint leaves for garnish

Blend together all the ingredients except the ice cubes and whole mint leaves for the garnish until smooth in a blender.
Add the ice cubes and continue to blend another 20 to 30 seconds.
Pour into glasses and garnish with the mint leaves.
Serve.Serves 2