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DIY: Goji Berry Smoothie

Goji berries are known to have anti-aging benefits, boost immune function, protect vision, and prevent heart disease. Goji berry extracts may even boost brain health, mood and protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s so eat them up! They are perfect to add to any smoothie like this one loaded with potassium, vitamin A, fiber and good essential fatty acids, or as a snack.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. goji berries
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup of raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Directions

    1. Soak the goji berries in coconut water overnight or for a few hours (optional)
    2. Combine all ingredients in a blender
    3. Blend & enjoy!
6 Ways To Run Faster

Running gives you a world-class workout. When your legs hit their stride they squeeze blood toward your heart, which in turn forces it to pump the blood right back. The faster you run, the harder your heart works and the stronger it gets. In return, you will stress less, fight cancer, and boost your bones.

Nail good form. The key to running (at any speed) is to practice proper running technique. That means keeping the upper body tall yet relaxed, striking the ground with the mid-foot landing under the hip, and swinging the arms forward and back (not side to side!) at low 90-degree angles.

Count your steps. Get familiar with stride turnover, or the rate of steps taken while running, regardless of pace. The fastest, most efficient runners have a cadence of around 180 steps per minute and keep their feet close to the ground with light, short n’ speedy steps. To find your magic number, run for one minute, count the number of times the right foot hits the ground, and multiply by two.

Get low, get high. Short on gym time? Quick! Try speed training! Interval training, or alternating periods of high and low intensity while exercising, are just one way to build speed and endurance — and burn major calories in less time too!

Stride right. There’s a reason you see all those “real runners” doing short sprints before the big road race. Striders (or strides) are a series of comfortable sprints (usually eight to 12, between 50 to 200 meters each) to improve acceleration technique.

Run the ‘mill. Feel the need for speed?  Chase it down on the treadmill! Because the speed belt assists with leg turnover, it’s actually easier to run faster. Plus, the power to push the pace is right at your fingertips. A word of advice these geniuses could have used: Get on the machine before turning up the dial.

Stretch it out. The jury is still out on whether static stretches before running really prevents injuries [1]. But leaders of the pack know stretching daily (target those hip flexors!) increases flexibility for better strides.

Foods That Fight Inflammation & Belly Fat

When eaten on a regular basis, foods with anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation in the body, helping to prevent the long-term health consequences associated with it — but only if you also eliminate the foods that cause inflammation. When inflammation is under control, not only will you have more energy and feel better overall, but you’ll also find that weight loss and reduction of belly fat both become easier!

Remember staying hydrated is essential to flushing inflammation-causing toxins out of your body. So always aim for 64 ounces of water per day. Add an additional 8 ounces of water for every 30 minutes of exercise as well.

Try adding anti-inflammatory foods into your meal plan on a daily basis. The more often you eat these foods, the less inflammation that will be present in your body. The following foods and nutrients can fight inflammation:

Fruits and vegetables. All fruits and vegetables, due to their rich nutrient and fiber content, help to combat chronic inflammation, so make sure to include adequate amounts of these foods daily. Some types of fresh produce, however, are even more potent than others.Some terrific anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables to include in your meal plan include apples, berries, broccoli, mushrooms, papaya, pineapple, and spinach.

Green tea. This mild beverage is great for helping shrink your waistline as well as for decreasing inflammation. The flavonoids in this tea have natural anti-inflammatory properties. And the compound EGCG in green tea has been shown to help reduce body fat.

Monounsaturated fats. These heart-healthy fats help raise your healthy HDL cholesterol levels and reduce overall inflammation. Great sources include olive oil, almonds, and avocado.

Spices. Certain spices, including garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and chili peppers, have potent inflammation-reducing capabilities, so try adding them to meals as often as possible.

Whole grains. Rich in fiber, whole grains help control the insulin response in your body. The high B vitamin content of whole grains also helps reduce the inflammatory hormonehomocystine in the body.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that a diet with a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids and a low percentage of omega-6 fatty acids has been linked with decreased inflammation. Food sources of omega-3s include walnuts, flaxseed, and fish, such as wild Alaskan salmon.

 
Superfood Recipe: Lentil-Parmesan Hummus

 Superfoods build bones, prevent chronic diseases, improve your eyesight, and even keep your mind sharp. But did you know new evidence suggests these foods can also help you get—and stay—slim?

Sometimes it's hard to get inspired to actually cook with superfoods. Say no more.. try our Lentil-Parmesan Hummus recipe! This knockoff may look close to the chickpea original, but the creamy lentil-and-yogurt mixtures makes for a skinnier dip, with less fat but more protein, fiber, and iron. Lentils are a great source of satiating protein and fiber. A half-cup serving delivers 3.4 grams of resistant starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism and burns fat. 


Superfoods: Lentils, Olive Oil, Parmesan, Yogurt

Serves 8

  • 1 cup dry brown lentils
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons prepared tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mild or hot chili powder
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into matchsticks

Preparation 

Rinse the lentils under cold running water.  In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add the lentils and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the liquid has been absorbed. 

Transfer the lentils to a food processor.  Add the yogurt, lemon zest and juice, Parmesan, tahini, and garlic cloves.  Process until a thick, chunky mixture forms.  Add the water and process 10 to 15 seconds, until he mixture lightens in color and is smooth.  Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder.  

Serve immediately with the crudités or store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

    Nutritional Facts

    167 calories, 11 g protein, 5 g fat (2 g saturated), 23 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 125 mg sodium

    7 Health Benefits of Strawberries

    Strawberries are called ‘the queen of fruits” in Asian countries, because they are packed with health benefits. Yummy, juicy and mouth-watering, we love to enjoy strawberries in the form of ice creams, shakes, smoothies and other desserts.

    Compared to fruits like apples, oranges or bananas, strawberries have the highest amount of nutrients. Strawberries are rich in vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These juicy heart-shaped delights have much more to offer beyond sweetness and flavor.

    7 Health Benefits of Strawberries

    Helps burn stored fat. The red coloring contains anthocyanins, which stimulate the burning of stored fat. When a group of animals was fed a high-fat diet along with anthocyanins, they gained 24 percent less weight than the animals eating the high-fat diet without added anthocyanins. The compound nitrate found promotes blood flow and oxygen in our body, which is great for weight loss.

    Boost short term memory. The anthocyanins boost short term memory by 100 percent in eight weeks. 

    Ease Inflammation. Strawberries lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a signal of inflammation in the body. In a study, women who ate 16 or more strawberries per week were 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of CRP. 

    Lower cardiovascular disease. Flavonoids — which are responsible for the colour and flavour of strawberries — lower the risk for heart disease.

    Promote bone health. Strawberries contain potassium, vitamin K and magnesium which are important for bone health.

    Anti-aging properties. Strawberries are filled with biotin, which helps build strong hair and nails. They also contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which protects the elastic fibers in our skin to prevent sagging.

    Promote eye health. Eating three or more servings of fruit like strawberries may lower the risk of macular degeneration, a condition resulting in vision loss.


    The Amazing Health Benefits of Coconuts

    We're crazy for coconuts! Not only are they extremely nutritious and their content is quite rich in fiber, but they are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The coconut palm is actually viewed as the tree of life. And thankfully, its (very) long list of health benefits that is passed on from a generation to another has now for the most part been validated by modern science.


    Coconut oil,  most popular form of Coconut is used around the world to treat a vast spectrum of health conditions for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It’s medicinal uses are many and varied...


    TIP: Buy organic, unrefined, cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil.


    Heart-Healthy. Coconut oil is beneficial for the heart since it contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in actively preventing various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as you commonly find in vegetable oils.


    Skin Care. Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry and mature skin. Its high moisture retaining capacity keeps the skin from cracking or peeling off. Try rubbing coconut oil on wrinkles and sagging skin can help rejuvenate it by strengthening the tissues. Applying the same method is also a great way to fight off skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.


    Immunity. Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties.


    Weight Loss. Coconut oil is very useful for weight loss. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system. Further, it increases the body’s metabolic rate by removing stress on the pancreas, thereby burning more energy and helping obese and overweight people lose the weight.


    Sources:

    • "Health Benefits of Coconut Oil." Organic Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.
    • Simard, P. "Coconuts Are the 'wonder Food' with a Multitude of Uses." NaturalNews. N.p., 27 July 2013. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.
    • Zelman, Kathleen M. "The Truth About Coconut Water." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.
    Tips for Getting Your Best Sleep

    Think of your daily activities. Which activity is so important you should devote one-third of your time to doing it? Probably the first things that come to mind are working, spending time with your family, or doing leisure activities. But there’s something else you should be doing about one-third of your time—sleeping.


    Although sleep needs vary from person to person, the average adult (including the elderly) require 7-9 Hours of sleep nightly. Many people view sleep as merely this as “down time” when their brains shut off and their bodies rest. So..People may cut back on sleep, think­ing it won’t be a problem, because other responsibilities seem much more important.


    While you sleep, your brain is hard at work forming the pathways necessary for learning and creating memories and new insights. New research shows that a recently discovered mechanism that removes waste products from the brain is mainly active during sleep. This revelation could transform scientific understanding of what sleep is for, and shows that a number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help people stay healthy and function at their best.


    You are probably aware of the health risks of not getting enough exercise or eating a nutritious diet, but what about the risks of not getting enough sleep? Sleep deprivation can be a result of a medical condition, psychological condition, or even from another person and the effects on your overall health can be pretty serious. Growing evidence shows that a chronic lack of sleep increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovas­cular disease, and infections. Without enough sleep, you can’t focus and pay attention or respond quickly. A lack of sleep may even cause mood problems.


    Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

    • Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. As creatures of habit, people have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns. Sleeping later on weekends won’t fully make up for a lack of sleep during the week and will make it harder to wake up early on Monday morning.
    • Exercise is great, but not too late in the day. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days but not later than 2–3 hours before your bedtime.
    • Wind down.  Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as a relaxing shower, reading, and avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night. Using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain.
    • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than 20 minutes or if you are starting to feel anxious or worried, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.


    Sources:
    • "Healthy Sleep Tips." Sleep Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.
    • "Sleep Helps 'detox' the Brain." Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.
    • "Your Guide to Healthy Sleep." NHLB Institute. National Heart, Lung, Blood, n.d. Web.
    Rootology Tips: Top Heart-Healthy Foods

    Can you guess… what drains from our face when we’re shocked, flushes our cheeks when we’re embarrassed, heats our veins, and is chilled by bad news? Blood.

    Many people don't think much about their blood until they cut themselves, but in fact the blood is constantly performing a number of very essential tasks. Your blood carries nutrients, hormones, immune cells and oxygen throughout your body but also removes wastes, toxins, and helps conserve and disperse heat. Blood components are meant to be used or disposed of rapidly, resulting in high cell turnover and also high nutritional requirements. Blood is life’s most basic building block, and yet most of us never even think to feed it. Certain foods are especially high in blood-building nutrients:


    High-Protein Foods

    Protein is necessary for antibody production and blood clotting vital for transporting other molecules and maintaining proper fluid balance. Hemoglobin is a protein molecule, as are the many hormones that circulate throughout the body in the bloodstream. Protein is plentiful in plant foods, such as quinoa, eggs, soy milk, and peanut butter. Aim to consume about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of your body weight per day.

    Low-Cholesterol Foods

    Low-cholesterol foods and foods that help decrease cholesterol levels help keep your blood and circulatory system healthy. High-fiber foods also help keep your blood cholesterol levels down by binding to cholesterol in your intestinal tract and preventing it from being absorbed. A handful of Walnuts, almonds and other nuts a day can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as apples, pears, barley and prunes.

    Complex Carbohydrates

    A diet low in refined sugars and processed carbohydrates can help keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits. High blood sugar levels can lead to oxidation, which damages molecules, and promotes inflammation. Foods low on the glycemic index include fresh fruits, leafy greens, brown rice and surprisingly, pasta.

    Sources

    • "Harvard Health Publications" 11 Foods That Lower Cholesterol. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.
    • "University of Michigan Health System." Hemoglobin A1c Fact Sheet. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.
    • "Use Glycemic Index to Help Control Blood Sugar." Harvard Health Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2014.