Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are the key to better digestion and absorption. They assist in the chemical breakdown of food into macro and micronutrients, so they can be absorbed into the body. Digestive enzymes are essential in the breakdown of foods. They help in the process of amino acids being extracted from proteins, fatty acids and cholesterol from fats and simple sugars from carbohydrates. All of these steps to break down food help make DNA and boost metabolism.

There are many different digestive enzymes in the body, starting with salivary amylase in the mouth. Salivary amylase helps breakdown food into smaller molecules before the food enters the stomach. Then the gastric amylase helps break down partially digested food into chyme. Chyme is the mass of digested food that flows through your gut. Once the chyme enters the small intestines, the hormone secretin is released. This then notifies the pancreas to release bicarbonate, bile and other pancreatic enzyme, like amylase, lipase, trypsin and nuclease. Bicarbonate changes the acidity of the chime, so the food can be degraded and broken down further.

Taking a digestive enzyme supplement can help maximize digestion, prevent gas, bloating and indigestion and help promote a healthy intestinal environment. As we know, your gut helps improve many other areas of your health, so taking a digestive enzyme may have other health benefits like the ones below:

Stress: anything and everything can affect your stress levels. Since stress is important to handle right away, your body will trigger hormones to deal with your mood. This can put pressure on your digestive health and slow down digestion.

Leaky Gut/ food sensitivities: When you have a food sensitivity or leaky gut, your digestive enzymes are not as healthy as they should be. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement may help improve your immune system and protect your body from inflammation in your gut.

Fatigue, migraines: When you have overgrowing bacteria and inflammation in your gut, it can send inflammatory signals to other areas of your body, like your joints and head. This can impair digestion and lead to nutrient shortages, and in turn cause migraines and fatigue.

Anxiety, low mood, sleep issues: inflammation in the gut can lead to anxiety, low mood and sleep issues. Without digestive enzymes, amino acids can not be derived from proteins. Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids and are responsible for alertness, happiness and having a good mood all around.

 

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Sore Muscles? You May Need to Take Magnesium

Magnesium has certainly become more popular in the recent years, and for good reasons. Magnesium deficiency is one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in adults. Magnesium is vital for helping keep your heart and muscles working correctly, blood pressure in a normal range and keeping your bones strong. It also assists in regulating your body’s temperature.

When your body is low in magnesium, you are certain to feel various negative symptoms. Some symptoms include, muscle aches or spasms, poor digestion, anxiety and trouble sleeping. It can then lead to more serious symptoms, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and kidney and liver damage.

Magnesium is not naturally produced in the body, so you need to consume it daily. The daily-recommended allowance for magnesium is 400-420 mg/day for men and 310-320 mg/day for women. Magnesium is found in many foods, such as dark leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Fortified breakfast cereals and grains, flax seeds and sesame seeds are also good sources of the mineral.

Magnesium is beneficial for various common day-to-day ailments:

Ease Sore Muscles: Magnesium reduces lactic acid, which is somewhat responsible for sore muscles. It can help your muscles relax.

Better Sleep: Since magnesium has a calming effect, it has been shown to improve sleep and promote a more restful sleep. It may be beneficial to take a magnesium sleep supplement before bed with other calming herbs.

PMS Symptoms: Magnesium may help reduce cramping without any significant adverse events. It works by relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus and reducing the prostaglandins.

Types of Magnesium and how they are absorbed in the body:

Magnesium Chelate: highly absorbable by the body and found in foods naturally

Magnesium Citrate: magnesium combined with citric acid. It may cause a laxative effect in some cases.

Magnesium Glycinate: highly absorbable. Less likely to cause a laxative effect

Powers of Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is a type of honey that comes from New Zealand and Southeastern Australia. The bees gather nectar and pollen from the flowers of the Manuka tree, hence where the honey got its name. As many of us know, honey is known for its antibacterial properties; however, this specific honey has even stronger benefits.

Some studies show that Manuka honey contains methyglyoxal, which lends the honey its antibacterial properties. This agent is not effected by heat, light or any substance bin the human body, giving this type of honey a special power. It has also been assumed that the honey has an osmotic effect, drawing moisture from the environment and dehydrating bacteria (Kasprowicz, 2015). Likewise, it has an acidic natural which inhibits the growth of microorganisms.

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So what is this honey used for?

Healing minor cuts and burns

Honey has the ability to absorb moisture from wounds, sucking the impurities and protecting the body against infection. It also prevents bacteria from growing on the wound.

Soothing coughs and symptoms of the common cold

Due to the honeys anti-bacterial properties, adding a spoon full of Manuka honey to a cup of tea can improve common cold symptoms or a cough. It has been shown to be more effective than regular honey. A study reported that when the colonies of strep throat were treated with Manuka honey, the bacteria count fell by up to 85 percent, while other studies have reported that it can help inhibit staph, pneumonia, and salmonella (Battis, 2014).

Digestion

Manuka honey has been shown to reduce bloating, digestive upsets, indigestion and gastric reflux. It has also been helpful for people with IBS. You can add Manuka honey to your diet in many ways, like adding it to your yogurt or spreading it on toast.

Beauty

Other than Manuka honey boosting energy and making you feel good during the day, but its nutrient-dense nature can help improve skin tone and texture. It has anti-inflammatory properties to calm redness or other skin issues. You can make an exfoliating face wash, to improve your complexion by decreasing the bacteria, or make a hair mask to enhance the natural shine of your hair.

Face wash recipe:
1/3 cup castile soap
1/3 cup Manuka honey
3 tbsp distilled water
2 tbsp jojoba oil

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References

Kasprowicz, S., M.D., & Siegel, Daniel Mark,M.D., M.S. (2015). A honey of a healing agent. Dermatology Times, 36(10), 14. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.montclair.edu:2048/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.montclair.edu/docview/1805206909?accountid=12536
Tweed, V. (2016). Super honey. Better Nutrition, 78(9), 26-26,28. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.montclair.edu:2048/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.montclair.edu/docview/1820269732?accountid=12536
Battis, L. (2014, 11). Don’t get sick this season. Men’s Health, 29, 111-112, 114, 116. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.montclair.edu:2048/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.montclair.edu/docview/1679938631?accountid=12536

National Nutrition Month

March is busy month for me, as it has both my mother’s and father’s birthdays, my boyfriend’s birthday and my sister is getting married at the end of the month. Furthermore, it is National Nutrition Month! The theme for 2018 is “Go Further With Food.” This includes reducing calories, daily exercise, making better food choices, and reducing food waste.

Reducing Calories:

Eating less can be difficult and unhealthy, so it is important to focus on keeping calories from drinks to a minimum. A Gatorade or bottle of soda not only has extra sugar, but can have as much as 150 calories per serving. Focus on fresh fruit, vegetables and lean proteins to keep you full and nutrient rich.

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Daily Exercise:

I always work out at least five to six days a week. It is part of my routine and I actually get upset when I can’t fit a workout into my day. If I know I’m going to have a busy day, I set my alarm early and get a quick run in before I start my morning. Not only is it healthy, but also it can keep you happy, help with weight loss and can increase your energy levels.

Making Better Food Choices:

Making better choices can help strengthen bones, muscles and increase nutrient intake. It is ideal to choose foods that are nutrient rich like fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, and lean protein, while avoiding foods that are calorie dense. Making half your plate fruits and vegetables can help you eat fewer calories and fill up on nutrients. Furthermore, portion size can help decrease over eating.

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Reducing Food Waste:

40% of all food is wasted, while many people are starving across the world. Saving food is easy and can be done every day! It is ideal to save left overs, don’t over serve yourself or others, store food correctly, and keep track of what you throw away.

Easy Ways to Reach 10,000 Steps Every Day

Lately, I have been trying to up my step count on my fitbit and I have found there are many easy ways to increase steps. Not only does this increase the amount of calories you will burn throughout the day, but also it will make you more active and energetic. At work, we have Virgin Pulse. It allows you to record the steps you take and daily activities like what workouts you do during the day and how many glasses of water you drink. It is associated with our health benefits, so we can earn extra cash throughout the year. I have been trying to walk more to earn more cash and benefit my health.

We sit more than we think. We sleep around eight hours a day, sit while commuting to and from work and then sit for another eight to nine hours working. Not only can this increase body weight, but also it takes a serious toll on our joints. You can develop hip, knee and neck pain from the way you sit. The static pressure on tissues for long periods puts weight on your lower back, stressing the joints and muscles. Similarly, it can cause obesity. Sitting without contracting your muscles for long periods can slow the metabolism and cause weight gain, while also increasing the risk of many diseases associated with obesity, like diabetes, heart disease and more.

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How to increase your steps throughout the day:

Drink more water:
Not only is drinking more water good for your health, but you can increase your steps by the frequent walks to the fridge or water fountain, as well as the restroom.

Walk on your lunch break:
During my lunch break, I always go for a walk or run outside or on the treadmill. This is a great way to get a workout in, as well as increase steps.

Take the stairs:
Take the stairs at home, work or the mall.

Park far way:
Park at the other side of the parking lot to increase steps

Create a walk at work:
During the warmer months, many people at work create a group to walk for 20-30 minutes in the middle of the day. It is a great way to make more connections, while increasing steps.

Take a walking break:
Throughout the day, take 5-10 minutes to get up and walk. It can help increase brain flow and gives you a break during the busy workday.

Get a dog or cat:
Playing outside with your furry friend can help increase your steps

Take the long way:
Go to the farther bathroom or go the long way to your office

Use a stand up desk:
Stand up desks can help lower your risk of obesity, heart disease and more.

Set reminders on your phone:
You can set reminders for every 2 hours to make sure you walk for five minutes.

 

 

 

Turmeric Benefits

Growing up, my father put turmeric on everything, from eggs to pasta. It was such a common spice in my household that I thought everyone used it as much as we did. Until I went away to college, I never realized how diverse this spice actually was. To my astonishment, none of my roommates have ever seen it in real life, let alone tasted it, and have only heard of it through social media. Now, it is one of the most popular spices as it is popping up everywhere for its abundant nutritious properties.

Turmeric is a yellow root that comes from the Curcuma longa plant. It has been used for over 4,000 years.  It grows in India and Southeast Asian countries. Turmeric contains a compound called curcuminoids and the active substance in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is a polyphenol that has many health benefits. The amount of curcumin in turmeric varies from species to species, growing conditions, and timing of growth and harvest.  Many studies look at the health benefits of curcumin itself instead of the whole turmeric. Turmeric has much more beneficial qualities than its popular active substance.

Health benefits of turmeric:

  • Inflammation: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory substance. Chronic inflammation can stress the body, causing your body to age more quickly and lead to many health problems including a poor immune system. It causes wrinkles and forces your organs to not work as well as they should. Similarly, consuming turmeric daily can help reduce arthritis pain caused by inflammation.
  • Decreased cancer risk: Since the spice is a natural anti-inflammatory, it has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. It can halt the growth of blood vessels in tumors, reducing the risk of cancer spreading throughout the body.
  • Detoxifies the body: Turmeric has been shown to improve liver function and reduce toxicity in the body. The antioxidants in turmeric can remove toxic materials and reduce ailments in the liver.
  • Natural pain reliever: the curcuminoids in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, while curcumin is a natural pain reliever. It has been used for centuries as a topical agent; however, it does stain clothes and skin. It is also more effective when mixed with black pepper since the pepper helps your body absorb the curcumin.
  • Weight loss: curcumin has been shown to speed metabolism and aid digestion, while also detoxifying the body. It has also been shown to prevent fat accumulation in adipose tissue, reducing weight gain.

You can purchase turmeric in powder form, capsules, and tablets. It is ideal to look for products that state 95 percent curcuminoids. I use turmeric in my cooking rather than taking it in capsule or tablet form.  Turmeric root that is purchased from the grocery store can also be juiced or added to smoothies.  It goes great when sautéing onions and other vegetables.

Ketogenic Diet 101

The Ketogenic diet is the newest fad diet that has been buzzing around the news. Although this diet seems new to us, it has actually been practiced for decades. It is based on science and physiology, so it has been shown to work well for many people.

So what is it and why is it so popular?

The Ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet that is intended to help you lose weight and improve your health. The notion of this diet is to put your body in the metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis is when your body breaks down fat for energy. This is a natural survival state your body initiates when you are low on food. During this process, your body produces ketones in the liver when it breaks down fats. Since your body’s main source of energy is from carbs, when you do not eat adequate amounts of carbs, your body looks for other sources of energy, like fat and protein.

This diet does not force you to count calories or reduce portion sizes, it is a different approach to weight loss. It is basically changing your main sources of food, so your body reacts differently, causing you to lose weight.

Benefits:

Weight loss: since your body will be using fat for energy, your body will burn more amounts of fat than usual. It has been shown that this diet has better results than a low-fat diet.

Blood sugar: since you will be eating minimal carbohydrate and sugar, your blood sugar levels will drop. This may be a helpful way to manage diabetes when compared to other diets.

Acne: Since you will be consuming less processed foods and sugar, you may have less acne.

What can you eat?

Healthy fats: 80% of your diet
Olive oil
coconut oil
grass-fed butter
some nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds)
MTC oil (medium chain triglycerides oil from coconuts)

Non-starchy vegetables:  5% of your diet
(aka low carb veggies)
leafy greens
cucumbers
zucchini
asparagus
avocados
tomatoes
onions

High protein foods: 20% of your diet
Grass-fed meat
cage free eggs
bone broth
wild caught fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
Full-fat dairy products (butter, cream)

Foods to avoid

Sugary foods (soda, cake, etc)
grains or starches
fruit
root vegetables and beans
Alcohol

Example meal plan:

Breakfast: eggs with tomatoes, onions, and cheddar cheese
Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken, almonds, and veggies
Dinner: Zoodles with tomato sauce and mozzarella