The Best Healthy Eating Advice For 2019

The Best Healthy Eating Advice For 2019

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Gut Trouble? Here’s A 1-Day Detox To Get Your Digestion Back On Track

Gut Trouble? Here’s A 1-Day Detox To Get Your Digestion Back On Track


It’s that time of the year again! Holiday meals and parties are filling up your social calendar, and everyone’s in the mood to celebrate. And that’s a great thing! But it can also be hard on your gut.

As a Energy 4 Life wellness coach and nutritionist, I often recommend a gut reset to my clients. It can help them get back on track in a way that addresses the root cause of digestive upset—without resorting to pills, tricks, or shortcut promises. This real-food, science-backed approach to resetting your gut is something you can do any time but is especially helpful to call upon over the next couple of months.

The foods that will help you reset your gut.

During your gut reset, you should be including foods from four major categories, including:

1. Prebiotic fibre from vegetables

Vegetable fibers like those in broccoli and artichoke are essential for the gut. These types of plant-based fibres are actually food for the good gut bacteria. To make it easy on your stomach, make sure that when you eat these foods they are well-roasted or steamed.

2. Leafy greens

Leafy greens like spinach contain fiber and are very easily digestible. They are also a great source of antioxidants to help neutralise free radicals from processed foods and sugar—which will likely find their way into your gut more than once in the next month.

3. Spices

Certain spices like turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon have been shown in medical studies to be anti-inflammatory and great for gut health. They also have calming effects after the frenzy of the holidays.

4. Fermented foods

Eating tiny amounts of miso, kimchi, or pickles is a great way to reset the gut. Study after study shows that food-based probiotic bacteria is hardy and does not get degraded by the time it gets to the colon! Adding more fermented foods is a great way to get those gut bacteria back in action.

Other foods like healthy fats from avocado have also been shown to be beneficial for the gut both for their fibre content and fatty acid profile. 

Exactly how to reset your gut in one day

Since we’re trying to reset the gut and give it a rest from all the digesting it’s been doing, the first thing you should do is try to fast for at least 16 hours, which means you leave 16 hours between your last meal of the day and breakfast. This is called intermittent fasting, and it’s a great way to give the gut a rest and improve hormone and bacterial balance. The other essential lifestyle component for natural detox is sweating and nature—which are all included in the detailed plan below.

So without further ado, here’s exactly how your one-day gut detox plan might look. Feel free to adjust based on your activity level and personal health goals.

First thing in the morning: Drink water and apple cider vinegar

Wake up and drink one full glass of water, then go outside (barefoot for at least two minutes is best) and stretch in nature. Getting two minutes of sunlight in the morning can help reset your circadian rhythm and energise you for the day. A little later on, take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar dissolved in water; it’s been shown to have blood-sugar-balancing properties.

For lunch: Break your fast, and break a sweat

Break your fast after 16 hours with roasted or steamed vegetables and berries. At some point during the day, break a sweat. This can take the form of warm or hot yoga, a workout, or sitting in a sauna for 20 minutes. If you want to snack throughout the day, stick to fermented veggies.

At dinnertime: Make some soup, and take some extra magnesium

For dinner stick to soup and root vegetables like sweet potato. If you can, go for a brisk nature walk after dinner. When you’re getting ready for bed, try a five-minute meditation and a magnesium supplement—which you can get in a powder, capsule, or even in the form of an Epsom salt bath—to help you wind down and get a good night’s sleep. As an added bonus, spend time with positive family, friends, and pets that bring joy into your life. This will help bring down your anxiety, which can help your gut recover and decrease inflammation and is the perfect way to end your 24-hour gut detox.

You can do this gut detox as often as you’d like over the next couple of months. It should help mitigate the negative side effects of indulging a little too much, while still allowing you to live in the moment and enjoy the holidays and time with family and friends.

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Top 11 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Top 11 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds may be small, but they’re packed full of valuable nutrients.

Eating only a small amount of them can provide you with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc.

Because of this, pumpkin seeds have been associated with several health benefits. These include improved heart health, prostate health and protection against certain cancers.

What’s more, these seeds can be easily incorporated into your diet.

Here are some top health benefits of pumpkin seeds (and the good thing is that they are supported by science!!)…

1. Full of Valuable Nutrients

Pumpkin seeds are also known as “pepita” — a Mexican Spanish term.

Unlike the hard white seeds from a carving pumpkin, most pumpkin seeds bought at the supermarket don’t have a shell. These shell-free seeds are green, flat and oval.

One oz (28 grams) of shell-free pumpkin seeds has roughly 151 calories, mainly from fat and protein.

In addition, a 1-oz (28-gram) serving contains:

  • Fibre: 1.7 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s)
  • Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 42% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
  • Iron: 23% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 14% of the RDI
  • Copper: 19% of the RDI

They also contain a lot of antioxidants and a decent amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and folate.

Pumpkin seeds and seed oil also pack many other nutrients and plant compounds that have been shown to provide health benefits.

SUMMARY Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium and many other nutrients. An ounce (28 grams) contains about 151 calories.

2. High in Antioxidants

Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E.

Antioxidants can reduce inflammation and protect your cells from harmful free radicals. That’s why consuming foods rich in antioxidants can help protect against many diseases.

It’s thought that the high levels of antioxidants in pumpkins seeds are partly responsible for their positive effects on health.

In one study, pumpkin seed oil reduced inflammation in rats with arthritis without side effects, whereas animals given an anti-inflammatory drug experienced adverse effects.

SUMMARY Pumpkin seeds are full of antioxidants that may help protect against disease and reduce inflammation.

3. Linked to a Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers

Diets rich in pumpkin seeds have been associated with a reduced risk of stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers.

A large observational study found that eating them was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Others studies suggest that the lignans in pumpkin seeds may play a key role in preventing and treating breast cancer.

Further test-tube studies found that a supplement containing pumpkin seeds had the potential to slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells.

SUMMARY Some evidence suggests that pumpkin seeds may help prevent certain types of cancer.

4. Improve Prostate and Bladder Health

Pumpkin seeds may help relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges, causing problems with urination.

Several studies in humans found that eating these seeds reduced symptoms associated with BPH.

In a one-year study in over 1,400 men with BPH, pumpkin seed consumption reduced symptoms and improved quality of life.

Further research suggests that taking pumpkin seeds or their products as supplements can help treat symptoms of an overactive bladder.

One study in 45 men and women with overactive bladders found that 10 grams of pumpkin seed extract daily improved urinary function.

SUMMARY Pumpkin seeds may reduce symptoms of benign prostate enlargement and an overactive bladder.

5. Very High in Magnesium

Pumpkin seeds are one of the best natural sources of magnesium — a mineral that is often lacking in the diets of many Western populations.

The recommended daily allowance for of magnesium for adults in the UK is 300mg a day for men and 270mg for women. 

Around 79% of adults have a magnesium intake below the recommended daily amount!

Magnesium is needed for more than 600 chemical reactions in your body. For example, adequate levels of magnesium are important for:

  • Controlling blood pressure.
  • Reducing heart disease risk.
  • Forming and maintaining healthy bones.
  • Regulating blood sugar levels.    

SUMMARY Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium. Healthy magnesium levels are important for your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, as well as heart and bone health.

6. May Improve Heart Health

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants, magnesium, zinc and fatty acids — all of which may help keep your heart healthy.

Studies have also shown that pumpkin seed oil may reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels — two important risk factors for heart disease.

A 12-week study in 35 postmenopausal women found that pumpkin seed oil supplements reduced diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a reading) by 7% and increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels by 16%.

Other studies suggest that pumpkins’ ability to increase nitric oxide generation in your body may be responsible for its positive effects on heart health.

Nitric oxide helps expand blood vessels, improving blood flow and reducing the risk of plaque growth in your arteries.

SUMMARY Nutrients in pumpkin seeds may help keep your heart healthy by reducing blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol.

7. Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Studies have shown that pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed powder and pumpkin juice can reduce blood sugar. This helps to keep our moods on a level!

This is especially important for people with diabetes, who may struggle to control their blood sugar levels.

Several studies have found that supplementing with pumpkin juice or seed powder reduced blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

The high magnesium content of pumpkin seeds may be responsible for its positive effect on diabetes.

An observational study in over 127,000 people found that diets rich in magnesium were associated with a 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in men and a 34% lower risk in women.

More research is needed to confirm these beneficial effects of pumpkin seeds on blood sugar levels.

SUMMARY Pumpkin seeds may help reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed.

8. High in Fibre

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of dietary fibre — shelled seeds provide 1.1 grams of fiber in a single 1-oz (28-gram) serving.

A diet high in fibre can promote good digestive health.

In addition, high-fibre diets have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

SUMMARY Whole pumpkin seeds are a good source of fiber. Diets high in fiber are associated with many health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

9. May Improve Sperm Quality

Low zinc levels are associated with reduced sperm quality and an increased risk of infertility in men.

Since pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc, they may improve sperm quality.

Pumpkin seeds are also high in antioxidants and other nutrients that can contribute to healthy testosterone levels and improve overall health.

Together, all these factors may benefit fertility levels and reproductive function, especially in men.

SUMMARY The high zinc content of pumpkin seeds may help improve sperm quality and fertility in men.

10. May Help Improve Sleep

If you have trouble sleeping, you may want to eat some pumpkin seeds before bed. They’re a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help promote sleep.

Consuming around 1 gram of tryptophan daily is thought to improve sleep.

However, you would need to eat around 7 ounces (200 grams) of pumpkin seeds to achieve the needed amount of tryptophan.

The zinc in these seeds can also help convert tryptophan to serotonin, which is then changed into melatonin, (the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle).

In addition, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium. Adequate magnesium levels have also been associated with better sleep.

Some small studies have found that taking a magnesium supplement improved sleep quality and total sleep time in people with low magnesium levels.

SUMMARY Pumpkin seeds are a good source of tryptophan, zinc and magnesium — all of which help promote good sleep.

11. Easy to Add to Your Diet

If you want to experience the benefits of pumpkin seeds, they’re easy to incorporate into your diet.

In many countries, they’re a popular snack that can be eaten either raw or roasted, salted or unsalted.

Besides eating them on their own, you can add them to smoothies, Greek yogurt and fruit. This year though I will be roasting some of mine and adding them to the top of my pumpkin soup recipe.

You could incorporate them into meals by sprinkling them into salads, soups or cereals. Some people use pumpkin seeds in baking, as an ingredient for sweet or savoury bread and cakes. 

However, as with many seeds and nuts, they contain phytic acid, which can reduce the bioavailability of some nutrients you eat.

If you eat seeds and nuts regularly, you may want to soak or sprout them to reduce their phytic acid content. Roasting them may help as well.

SUMMARY Pumpkin seeds can be easily incorporated into your diet as a snack or ingredient in meals or baking.

To sum up…

  • Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and packed with powerful antioxidants.
  • Eating them can help solve dietary deficiencies and may protect against various health problems.
  • In fact, pumpkin seeds have been shown to improve heart health, blood sugar levels, fertility and sleep quality. They may even protect against certain types of cancer.
  • In addition, their rich nutrient content may provide other health benefits, such as improved energy, mood and immune function.
  • What’s best, they can easily be added to your diet, allowing you to reap their many positive effects.

So what are you waiting for? Go grab your pumpkin seeds and be creative…

Which Foods Lower Blood Pressure?

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