Top 5 Foods To Improve Your Memory

Find out which foods to include in your diet to improve your memory!

We know that there are certain foods that help certain parts of our body, but there are also specific foods that are great for our brains!  Read the list below to find out 5 great foods that will improve your memory!

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Avocados

This fruit is such an amazing food, especially for your brain!  They often get the bad reputation of having a high fat content, but it’s important to remember that the fat contained in avocados is the good fat (monosaturated!), which happens to be amazing for your brain!  It’s also great to for healthy glowing skin and for stabilizing your blood sugar levels!  Because they contain vitamin K and folate, they’re also great at preventing blood clots in the brain and improving cognitive functioning (key to memory!).  On top of all that, they’re rich in Vitamins B and C, which your body doesn’t store and thus must replace daily!  Try it smashed on toast, in your smoothies, or on top of a salad!

 

Broccoli

Even if it’s not your favorite vegetable, this veggie is so versatile that it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find a way to enjoy it.  It’s high in vitamin K and choline, which are great for boosting your memory.  It’s also packed with vitamin C!  Eat it raw as a snack or in your salad, roast or grill it with other veggies, toss it in a stirfry, grate it into meatballs– the possibilities with broccoli are truly endless!

 

Dark Chocolate

Put that snickers down and listen up!  Dark chocolate is full of flavanols, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.  They help lower blood pressure levels and improve blood flow to the brain and the heart.  The rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the better.  Opt for a minimum of 70% cacao to get their full benefit!

 

Salmon

Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your brain and thus, your memory!  Be aware that the health benefits of salmon apply to wild-caught Alaskan salmon, not farmed salmon.  A filet of salmon is a super versatile ingredient– broil it, pan fry it, put it into croquettes, serve it in a salad or in pasta– there are a ton of ways to enjoy a healthy piece of salmon, and you should aim to have 3-4 servings of fish per week anyway!

 

Beets

 

One of the easiest veggies to prepare (literally boil them until they’re soft), these guys are literally crammed with nutrients!  They reduce inflammation and are packed with cancer-preventing antioxidants.  On top of that, they’re packed with nitrates that help boost the flow of blood to the brain, which will absolutely boost your memory!  Add them to your salads or eat them as a side dish to get their benefits!

 

What foods are you trying to include in your diet to benefit your brain?

Find out which foods to include in your diet to improve your memory!

 

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Top 7 Breakfast Ideas for Gym Goers

The best breakfast ideas for morning workouts!

Going to the gym early in the morning has plenty of benefits– it helps you mark off the gym from your to-do list instead of procrastinating, it gives you an early dose of feel-good endorphins, and can help you feel more alert and energetic for the rest of the day.  But if you wake up early to go to the gym, what should you eat for breakfast?

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Yogurt Parfait

It looks fancy, but it will take you less than two minutes to put your greek yogurt, berries, and granola in a cup! It’s a quick breakfast with a bit of protein and natural sugar and carbs to get your body ready to run!

 

High-Protein Oatmeal

Your body will need the carbs and the protein to power you through a high-intensity workout, so make your oatmeal the way you like it, but add nuts and the nut butter of your choice!  This will help to fuel your body throughout your workout and after, and you won’t feel lightheaded or dizzy while pumping iron in the morning!

 

Protein Smoothie

 

If you don’t have much of an appetite in the mornings but you KNOW you need to kickstart your metabolism for the day, try having a protein smoothie.  It can be as simple (milk, greek yogurt, protein powder, fruit) or as complicated as you want to make it, but get some calories in you!  Better yet, start your day with a good dose of protein to make the most of the exercise you’re about to do!

 

Apples and Peanut Butter

It won’t take you but 2 minutes to put together, but it will stay with you throughout your workout.  Slice an apple and top each slice with some peanut butter, raisins, chia seeds, or other chopped seeds or nuts that you like to add to your dishes.  This can be eaten on the run, too, if you have room in your gym bag for a food container!

 

Avocado and Egg Toast

If you boil your eggs ahead of time, this breakfast will take about as long as it takes to toast your bread!  Mash your avocado on top of your toast and slice your hardboiled egg on top.  You can add salt or pepper, paprika, olive oil, sri racha, or whatever else you’d like on top to boost the flavor level of your breakfast!  The healthy fats of avocado, complete protein of the egg, and the healthy carbs in your whole grain toast are the winning combination for a healthy breakfast!

 

Omelette

Eggs are always cheap and fast to cook.  Throw in a bit of leftover protein from last night’s dinner, any veggies you might like to include, and tada!  Full of protein and a great vehicle for other ingredients, omelettes are a great breakfast to get your  day started with, especially if you need a protein fix after a workout!

 

Freezer-Friendly Prepped Breakfasts

You can make tons of options ahead of time and then freeze them, ensuring that you always have something healthy that’s ready to go when you are!  Bacon, egg, and broccoli cups made in muffin tins are a great option!  Turkey and egg breakfast sandwiches are a classic, and breakfast burritos with your favorite proteins are popular, too!  In one sitting, you could easily prepare breakfast for 2 weeks if you take the meal-prepping + freezer route!

 

What’s your favorite pre- or post- gym breakfast?

The best breakfast ideas for morning workouts!

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5 Steps to Changing Your Taste Buds

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

Taste is one of our most important senses, and it can get us in trouble if we have cravings for certain tastes!  Potato chips, chocolate, or sugar– the list of tastes we love (but that are actually bad for us) goes on and on!  But did you know that you can CHANGE your taste buds?  I’m serious!  Use these five steps to reprogram your taste buds to keep you from craving foods that will derail your progress!

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Fight the Addiction.

Addiction?  What addiction?  Let me tell you:  science says that the serious overdoses of sugar and fat in our diet are addictive to our taste buds, and that they also dull them!  That means that you’ll crave those tastes but constantly need more and more to get your fix, and you might not be able to register new tastes as they actually are.  So step 1 to changing your taste buds is to make a serious commitment to swearing off large amounts of these ingredients.  You don’t have to go cold turkey!  Try weaning yourself off of them and finding enjoyable replacements for fatty or sugary foods and drinks.  Over time, it will get easier to avoid (but warning: you might pass a couple of grumpy days as your body and brain adjusts!).

Try it Again and Again.

It can be difficult to try foods that we’re sure we don’t like, but it’s an important step in reprogramming your taste buds.  If you have bad memories of hating broccoli as a child, maybe it’s time to try it again.  And if you find that you don’t like it, you’re not done!  Try it with a minimum of 2 ways of preparation:  Maybe you don’t like sauteed broccoli, but you might like it roasted, in a creamy soup, or raw in a salad.  Sometimes we think we don’t like the taste of something when really it’s the texture.  When it comes to vegetables, texture can change so much just by cooking ingredients differently.  Set a goal to try 3 foods each week that you normally don’t eat.  Kale, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, and lentils might be a great place to start, but go with what will work for your personally!

 

Trick your Brain!

If you’re still not a fan of something that you KNOW you should be including in your diet, try and pair it with something that you do like.  For example, if you’re still not a fan of brussel sprouts, try sprinkling them with parmesan cheese after cooking.  At first you’re just masking the taste a bit, but you’re brain will start to associate BOTH tastes with happy feelings instead of just the cheese.  After trying this magical combo a few times together, you’re likely to find that brussel sprouts are a new dish in your regular rotation!

Become a Mouth Breather.

A big part of our sense of taste comes from our nose (shocking, right?), so sometimes you may think you don’t like the taste of something, but what you actually don’t like is the smell!  Quite a few vegetables have scents that are different from their actual tastes, but if you’re smelling it in front of your mouth for 15 seconds while you debate whether you’re going to eat it or not, all you ever get is the disagreeable smell.  Take stinky vegetables and try boiling or roasting them to help remove the sulfurous compounds that cause their odors.  Another good tip?  Your sense of smell is weakest in the evening, so save dinner for the time of day when you get wild and adventurous with new and healthy foods. Try to avoid taking huge whiffs of food before taking a bite if you know it’s a food that you have a complicated past with.

 

Spice Things Up!

If you’re really craving salty, fatty, or sugary flavors but you’re being so so good by avoiding them, try to keep your mouth entertained with other flavors!  Soy sauce, chili pepper, sri racha, vinegar (and all of its variants!  Rice vinegar is a great and interesting taste to add depth to stirfrys, for example), mustard, lemon, and fresh herbs are all great ways to create interesting tastes that will liven up any pot of green beans or lentils!

Make Small Changes

If you consider yourself a really picky eater, this is an important step to consider.  If you’re a fan of butter, don’t drop straight into dark olive oil– try a lighter one to ease yourself into the transition.  If you’re a chocolate lover, don’t move from milk chocolate to 80% pure cacao!  Start with smaller percentages of cacao and work your way up.  Water down your juices or sodas with a bit of water until eventually you don’t need such intense sugary tastes to get your sweet fix!  Sometimes making huge and sweeping changes is really setting yourself up for failuer.  Humans are creatures of habit and that’s ok.  Start small but stay constant and you’ll end up where you need to be!

 

What are your best tricks for trying new foods and tastes?

 

 

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

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What to Eat After a Heavy Workout

So you went to the gym and you KILLED your workout.  Now what?  What you eat next could make a big difference in your fitness results and your recovery time.  Keep reading to get the best tips on what to eat after a heavy workout!

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First let’s start with what you shouldn’t eat:

You want to avoid fat right after a heavy workout.  Fat by itself isn’t always bad, of course, but you shouldn’t eat fat right after a workout because you want to get carbs and proteins into your body as fast as you can.  Including fat in that post-workout meal with slow your digestion, and you want to start digestion your protein and carbs quickly to get the maximum effect from them!

 

When should you eat?

We know that there’s a window of about an hour after a workout that’s the ideal time to refuel your body, so it’s important to take advantage of your time and make sure you’re feeding yourself after a workout.  If you want a shower first, go for it– it doesn’t have to be the second you drop the weights.  But you don’t need to shower, go to your car, run some errands, then get home and cook.  Do what you need to do (meal-prepping, anyone?) to find a way to eat a healthy meal post-workout.

 

On to protein and carbs:

You know why you want protein (muscle building woot woot!) but do you know why your body needs carbs after a workout?  They aid in the recovery system for your muscles!  You need a good meal after an intense workout that consists of easy to digest (which means faster digestion time) food.  Here are a few options to consider:

Eggs

Don’t let the Rocky movies trick you– there is no benefit to consuming raw eggs.  In fact, your body will be able to absorb even more of their protein by cooking them.  Hard-boiled (easy to prep ahead!) or scrambled, make them however you want to meet your protein goals for your post-workout meal!

Whole Grain Pita and Hummus

Carbs? check.  Protein? check.  Add your favorite spices to your hummus to keep things exciting, and dip away post-workout to make sure your body has what it needs to recover and grow!

Sweet Potatoes

A baked sweet potato has the perfect dose of healthy carbs to kick your body’s recovery functions into full gear.  Pair this with your favorite go-to protein and remember to hydrate yourself!

Rice or Potatoes

While we’re often warned against white starches, they can be helpful right after a workout because the lack of fiber (the reason we’re told to avoid them) actually helps your body to digest them faster, helping you to quickly access the carbs your body needs to begin recovery.  Chicken and rice or potatoes is a dish you can even pack ahead of time if you’re really serious about getting that meal in right after your workout is finished.

 

What’s your favorite post-workout meal?

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6 Super Healthy Breakfast Grains

Find some new healthy breakfast inspiration here with these 6 healthy breakfast grains!

Breakfast can be one of the most challenging meals of the day to prepare, simply because mornings can be so hectic sometimes.  The temptation to eat processed foods, junk, or to just skip the meal altogether is REAL!  Check out these six healthy breakfast grains that can be prepared in advance to help you get a quick and healthy breakfast every day!

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Quinoa

You may have seen it in salads, but did you know that you can whip this grain up for breakfast, too?  Quinoa is a great breakfast grain because it can be prepared in bulk in advance!  Treat it like a cereal and mix it with your favorite milk– whole milk, coconut milk, or almond milk– and heat it.  Add your prepared fruit on top and you’ve got an instagram-worthy healthy breakfast bowl!  The protein in quinoa will help you to stay full until lunch, and you won’t be loading up on highly processed or sugary stuff from a box!

 

Buckwheat

This is a great gluten-free option if you’re craving oatmeal, because you can prepare it the same way.  You can go sweet or savory depending on the ingredients you decide to toss in.  The texture of buckwheat porridge is a bit creamier and less lumpy than traditional oatmeal, and has a slightly nutty taste to it!

Steel-cut oats

A traditional breakfast staple, steel-cut oats make a great start to your day.  Heart-healthy and quick to make on the stove or the microwave (or overnight in the fridge!), buying steel-cut oats gives you more fiber than the instant version.  Add your favorite nuts and fruits to boost the nutrients count!

Muesli

You might not have tried this dish, but you really should give it a shot!  Try this:  warm muesli with ricotta (or greek yogurt) and honey.  It’s quick and savory, and you can add other fruits or nuts if you’d like!

 

Brown Rice

I know that in the western world, rice isn’t a common breakfast, but hear me out:  I had a friend who hated breakfast foods. She’s not a big fan of fruit and doesn’t like honey or yogurt.  She loves savory breakfasts, like eggs and bacon and toast.  So when she went on a stricter diet, her nutritionist suggested she make brown rice bowls for the morning– stirfried veggies that can be batch prepped at the beginning of the week, mixed with brown rice that can also be batch prepped at the beginning of the week– TaDa!  Unconventional?  Absolutely.  Did it work for her? Absolutely.  Maybe you should give it a try!

 

Freekeh

An Arabic grain that you might not have heard of before, this stuff acts as a prebiotic that helps to grow healthy gut bacteria.  It also offers up over 4 times the amount of fiber than brown rice!  Serve it warm with fruit, ricotta (or yogurt), and honey to get your day started right!  You can find this grain in your local arabic supermarket.

 

What are your favorite breakfast dishes?

Find some new healthy breakfast inspiration here with these 6 healthy breakfast grains!

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Food Labels– What Do They Really Mean?

Make sure you know how to understand food labels and ingredient lists!

Understanding food labels can be tricky business– serving sizes might be half of a container that otherwise looks like a single serving to you, and ingredients can go be disguised by other names that you don’t recognize.  Read up below on how to understand food labels, and make sure you’re informed about what you’re putting in your body!

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Serving Size

At the top of the nutriton information panel on the back of each product, you’ll see the serving size.  This might come in grams or another unit of measurement that you don’t keep handy in your brain, but it should also estimate about how many servings are in that container.  Don’t just assume that a small container is one serving– check this information first so you can then inform yourself about the balance of nutrients listed below.

 

Calories

Once you know the serving size, check how many calories are in each serving.  Remember to do the math on how many calories you’re actually consuming if you double up on portions.  A common problem in the U.S. is that many people eat more calories than necessary each day, and even with all of those calories they still don’t meet the ideal nutrients intake recommended by the FDA.  Checking out the calories (as well as the calories that come from fat) is an important step to deciding if this is a food that you want to include in your diet. The nutrition information panel is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.  The FDA suggests that 40 calories per serving size is low, 100 calories is moderate, and 400 calories is high.  Take this into consideration when checking out the back of the box or can!

 

Avoid These Ingredients!

Try to avoid products with trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.  These can contribute to problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure.  By limiting these in your diet as much as possible, you can achieve a more balanced diet and better health.  It’s important to note that these ingredients often appear in processed foods, so you may be able to avoid many of these ingredients by taking the long route of cooking a meal from scratch instead of buying the convenient boxed versions that fill our supermarkets!

Look for These Ingredients!

Try to opt for items that are high in Vitamins A and C, Calcium, Iron, and Dietary Fiber.  Many Americans don’t get enough of these nutrients, despite their high caloric intake.  You can see the percent daily value available on the back of each box (based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet) which can help you to better understand how well a certain food may help you meet the necessary daily intake of specific vitamins and nutrients.

 

Check the Ingredients!

The other aspect of the food label that’s important to understand is the ingredient list.  The most important piece of information to know about the ingredient list is that ingredients are listed in order of quantity.  You want the first several ingredients of any packaged food to be whole ingredients that you recognize, not chemicals or fillers.  If the first ingredient on the list is something you can’t pronounce, it’s probably not very nutritious.

 

Watch Out for Sneaky Names

The next detail to be aware of when reading the ingredients list is that many undesirable ingredients go by different names.  For example, sugar can be listed as plain sugar, but it can also be listed as corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup, barley malt syrup, agave nectar, or dehydrated cane juice (and those are just a few!).  Sodium also has several different names that can appear on a label.  Trans fat, something we want to avoid, might not appear at all!  Instead, ingredients that are high in trans fat (partially hydrogenated oil and hydrogenated oil, for example).

Don’t Fall for Gimmicks!

Health food labels on the front of foods can also be quite deceptive, so watch out! ”No added sugar” might make you think that a food is sugar-free, but some foods are naturally high in sugar.  ”Natural” doesn’t mean the same as organic.  It only means that the product began as something natural (such as pears or grains), but it doesn’t denote what may have been done to those natural ingredients on the way to making the product.  Low-fat and sugar-free options often are high in other undesirable areas in order to compensate for the lack of taste that comes with cutting out fat or sugar.  It’s important to read up on the labels that denote ”healthy” food, because they are designed to entice those of us that want to eat healthily!  It’s a sales gimmick!

 

Opt for Whole Foods

We know that the best way to avoid nasty ingredients and increase our intake of quality nutrients is to eat whole foods.  This doesn’t mean everything that comes in a box or a bag is off limits or terrible, but those products DO require a close look at the food label!

 

Those are my top tips about checking out food labels!  What’s your biggest difficulty understanding food labels or ingredient lists?

Make sure you know how to understand food labels and ingredient lists!

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6 Nutritionist Rules to Live By

Try implementing these 6 simple rules that nutritionists swear by and see how your life changes!

We’d all love to live a perfect healthy life, but it can seem unattainable at times.  Between working, raising kids, studying, keeping up with family and our relationships, and everything else that life throws at us, nutrition often takes a back seat and is seen as a luxury.  It doesn’t have to be that way, though!  Try implementing these 6 nutritionist rules to live by in your own life and see what healthy benefits you get in exchange!

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Rule 1: Choose whole foods that are close to their natural source.

If it comes in a box or bag, only requires heating, and foods that you recognize don’t appear in the first 5 ingredients, it’s probably not something you should put in your body.  Opt for easy-to-cook foods and 3-5 ingredient recipes that won’t take you long to cook and still resemble their ingredients when done.  Chickpea curry, Greek salad, pumpkin soup, vegetable stirfrys– they look like their original ingredients even after you’re done cooking them!  Aim for meals like that and you won’t end up putting a bunch of mystery chemicals in your body.  You’ll also avoid a lot of added sodium, fat, and other undesirables.

Rule 2: Eat the rainbow.

The more (natural) colors on your plate, the wider array of vitamins and nutrients you’re getting.  Opt for 3-4 different colors in each dish at minimum.  Think of carrots, peppers, and greens for a simple side salad, then have a fruit salad for dessert.  There are many sneaky ways to get lots of different colors in your meals.  Challenge yourself to get a certain amount of colors in your produce aisle next time you’re there, and see what kind of amazing combos you come up with at meal-times!  The benefit, of course, is that it increases your vegetable intake in general, and specifically your variety of vitamins.

Rule 3: Control your portions at restaurants.

Restaurant meals are almost always bigger than what we would have served ourselves at home, but it’s hard to leave it on the plate and stop eating halfway through, especially when you’re about to pay for that food!  Restaurant food is also often packed with salt and butter and sugar, so the calories a simple meal out can pack could be astronomical!  Try asking for lunch sized portions, asking for healthy substitutes (a side salad instead of fries), or do the old faithful trick:  When your plate arrives, ask for a to-go box immediately.  Before you take even the first bite, put half of it in the to-go container.  Now you’ll be eating less and when your eyes see you’re empty plate, you’ll know you’re done (without having eating the whole.dang.thing.) and you’ll have a lunch or dinner ready to go for tomorrow!

 

Rule 4: Shop the Perimeter.

Grocery stores are tricky places!  The freshest ingredients are usually around the perimeter, and if you get sucked into the cereal vortex of the middle of the store, you’ll also be hit with tons of other processed foods.  Even on the frozen veggie aisle you might be tempted by pizza bagels and ice cream, so keep your will strong!  You may need to venture into the center for other products such as peanut butter, flour, or other staples, but try to get most of your food from the meat counter and produce section and you’re almost guaranteed to leave with fewer processed and high-calorie foods.

Rule 5: Watch out for calorie traps.

Things that we add to food for flavor also often include a calorie or sodium bomb.  Try to avoid sauces that are cream based (including salad dressing!) and stick to dressing your foods in hot sauce, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, lemon, herbs, and spices! Your meals will feel (and truly be) lighter and you’ll avoid piling on empty calories to each meal.

 

Rule 6: Go for the fiber of whole fruit.

Juicing has been a popular trend for a while now, but consider swapping juices for fruit, especially if you don’t make the juice yourself.  Many store-bought juices don’t contain as much of the fruit as the claim and often include added sugar or artificial sweeteners.  The benefit of swapping out fruit juice for the whole fruit is in the fiber, which many of us don’t get enough of.  Try eating an apple or an orange at breakfast and start the day with water or green tea instead of the typical glass of juice!

 

What’s your favorite healthy eating tip that you swear by?

Try implementing these 6 simple rules that nutritionists swear by and see how your life changes!

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Are You Eating Enough Protein?

Make sure you're getting enough protein to maximize your workouts and nutritent intake!
We all know that protein is an important part of a healthy diet, but do you know if you’re eating enough of it? Different sources say different things, and the amount ultimately depends on your body and your physical activity level, but it might be time for an information tune-up to make sure you’re doing the most you can to stay on track with your fitness and nutrition goals!

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Proteins are the building blocks of the body. They make up our muscles, tendons, organs, and skin.  They are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and several other tiny molecules that serve important functions.  Proteins are essential to not only growing our bodies or muscles, but also in maintaining them.
An important thing to remember about protein that it’s nott just about quantity. It’s also about quality.
Generally speaking, animal protein provides all the essential amino acids in the correct ratio for our bodies to make the best use of them.  If you’re eating animal products (like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy) every day, then you’re probably already doing pretty well, protein-wise.  If you don’t eat animal foods, then it can be slightly more challenging (and requires a bit of research and planning) to get the protein and essential amino acids that your body requires.

So how much should you be consuming?

Adults in the U.S. are encouraged to get 10% to 35% of their day’s calories from protein foods. That’s about 46 grams of protein for women, and 56 grams of protein for men.  It’s not hard to get this amount if you eat two to three servings of protein-rich foods a day, according to the CDC.
  • A 3-ounce cut of meat has around 21 grams of protein. A normal 8-ounce cut of meat could have over 50 grams of protein.
  • One 8-ounce yogurt container has around 11 grams of protein.
  • One cup of milk has 8 grams of protein.
  • One cup of dry beans has around 16 grams of protein.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, specifically for women.
Pregnant women are encouraged to get around 10 grams of protein extra while pregnant, and it’s recommended that 20-30 grams of their entire protein intake for the day come from low-fat dairy products, as the calcium and Vitamin D are good for the bone health and development of both the mother and the baby.
Nursing mothers are recommended a 20 gram increase in their protein intake per day.  Both of these recommended increases are small and don’t have to mean a lot of extra calories or food.  An additional serving per day of greek yogurt or beans will often be enough to help meet these increases.
Making sure you’re meeting your body’s protein requirements is a great way to maintain and build lean muscle, which will help your body to burn more calories by simply maintaining it.  You just have to watch it because some forms of protein also come with high amounts of fat and other not-so-great additional ingredients.  Try monitoring your protein intake every day for a month, with the goal to reach your maximum daily requirement, and see if you don’t see a difference in your muscle definition, energy, and even in your skin and hair!
What’s your favorite way to add more protein into your meals?
 Make sure you're getting enough protein to maximize your workouts and nutritent intake!

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Health Benefits of Nuts

Easy to find in supermarkets (or in your own backyard!) and versatile enough to go in almost any meal, nuts are a superfood all their own.  Though tiny, they pack a powerful punch of health benefits!  Find out the health benefits that you can add to your diet by simply adding nuts to your meals and snacks!

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Almonds

Rich in Calcium and Vitamin E, these little nuts are a great addition to salads, yogurt, or oatmeal.  They make a great snack on their own, too!  Bonus points if you eat whole almonds with their skin, as the skin is full of heart-protecting flavanoids!

 

Brazil nuts

A great source of the mineral selenium, which helps produce the active thyroid hormone.  Selenium also helps wounds to heal and is great for people with thyroid problems.  Try adding it to your breakfast– you only need 3-4 brazil nuts per day to get all the selenium you need!

 

Cashews

High in protein and packed with iron, magnesium, and zinc, these guys make great toppings on salads and stirfrys, or can be made into a delcious nut butter.  The magnesium content in these nuts can help improve recall and mental delays, so pack them into your lunches, snacks, and dinners whenever you can! Because they contain so much good stuff, these nuts are ideal for people that follow a vegetarian diet!

 

Hazelnuts

A great source of folate, which is especially important for women!  Try hazelnuts in a nut spread or eat them whole or chopped in stirfrys and salads!

 

Macadamias

This nut has the highest fat content of all nuts, but it adds great texture and flavor to meals.  They supply a great level of the healthy type of fat (mono-unsaturated) and are rich in fiber, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.  You can stash these anywhere from cookies to salads to home-made bread or muffins.  They go great in salads and stirfrys too!

 

Pecans

These guys are packed with sterols, a compound that helps lower cholesterol.  That makes them super heart friendly, and because they’re rich in antioxidants, they can help prevent hardening of the arteries!  They are rich in oleic acid, which is also found in avocados and olive oil.  Because they are rich in Vitamin B3, these make a great snack to fight exhaustion.  They go well in salads, desserts, stirfrys and soup toppings, on top of fish, and even plain!

 

Pistachios

 

Rich in vitamin B6, these guys are great at keeping hormone levels regulated.  They contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which contribute the eye health.  They also contain potassium and fiber, making them a great snack option.  These go great in salads and stirfrys as well, and like most other nuts, can be crushed and used as a pre-bake coating for fish or chicken!

 

Walnuts

These guys are packed with antioxidants, making them useful in the fight against cancer.  They also contain heart friendly fat and can help to lower LDL cholesterol.  They’re also rich in omega-3, so if you’re going a day without fish or avocados, try to sneak these guys in where you can!

What’s your favorite nut and how do you eat it?

 

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WELLNESS

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10 Minute Yoga Sequence For Relaxation & Stress Relief

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8 Healthy Things Every Child Should Learn From His/Her Mother

Healthy and unhealthy habits are learned at a young age.

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Health and unhealthy habits are formed at a young age. Whether positive or negative, most children learn these habits from their parents. Here are 8 Healthy Things Every Kid Can Learn From Their Mom to help them be healthy in the future.

1. How to enjoy healthy eating 

The foods we eat as children are closely related to the foods we eat as adults. Kids that grow up eating junk food on a regular basis can carry the habit into adulthood. They’re likely to pick up fast food and soda when there’s no time to make dinner.

A child with a bad diet is more likely to crave food with trans fats and added sugars as an adult. Processed ingredients can be as addictive as cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling. Refined sugars act like a drug. The more we eat, the more we crave.

A healthy diet starts early. One thing a child can learn from their parents is that fruits and vegetables are satisfying, flavorful parts of our diets. Fruits can be just as sweet as desserts, and seasoned vegetables can taste much better than greasy french fries.

2. Drinking water instead of soda

Sodas and most fruit juices are filled with addictive processed sugars. When sugar hides in our drinks, we often don’t realize how much we’re consuming! The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat no more than 25 to 37 grams of sugar in a day. A single 20 oz bottle of soda contains around 65 grams.

It’s easier to start avoiding soda at a young age than to reverse an addiction later on. Kids should learn the importance of drinking water. You can add slices of citrus or cucumber to water for a refreshing natural flavor.

3. The importance of breakfast 

Making breakfast a morning ritual raises the chance that your child will continue to have breakfast every day throughout college and adulthood.

Skipping breakfast has been linked to lower performance at school, weight gain, and higher junk food consumption. On the other hand, kids who eat a healthy breakfast tend to concentrate better, perform well at school, and have more energy for sports.

4. Love for the outdoors 

Television, laptops, tablets, cell phones: there’s no lack of indoor entertainment. But too much time inside can be bad for your kids. Staying indoors can result in vitamin D deficiency and a sedentary lifestyle that leaves people vulnerable to obesity and heart disease.

Kids should learn from their parents how to enjoy time outside. Children that spend all their free time in front of a screen will see this as the norm and likely continue this habit into adulthood. Children that lead a more active lifestyle are more likely to crave physical activity as adults. They’ll learn to enjoy things like hiking, running, and biking.

5. Reading 

The love of books grows from seeds planted early. The more a child reads, the better the child becomes at reading. The better a child is at reading, the more likely he or she is to enjoy books. Soon your kids will pick up books on their own, explore the genres that intrigue them, and learn all kinds of interesting things along the way.

6. The importance of family time 

Whether it’s nightly dinners or Sunday outings, family time is a tradition that will stay with your kids forever. Quality bonding time makes tons of great childhood memories and gives children the confidence to know that they have backup. Teaching your kids that there are people who will love them even when they make a mistake is a priceless gift.

7. How to say you’re sorry 

We all mess up at some point in our lives. We break things, forget important dates, and accidentally hurt the people who love us most. When we inevitably make mistakes, it’s important to know how to give a heartfelt apology. Oftentimes, there’s nothing we can do to fix what we’ve broken – but saying sorry can heal a lot of hurt. You can teach your children how to make amends at a young age.

8. How to dream big 

When you’re a child, imagination comes easy. There’s monsters hidden under the bed and fairies in the backyard. A broken broom can be anything from a galloping horse to an all-powerful magic wand. Nothing is impossible. But as we grow up, we lose the ability to see the fantastic in everyday life. There’s only dust bunnies under the bed and bugs in the backyard. A broken broomstick is only a broken broomstick.

Encourage your kids to dream big when they’re young, and the promise of possibility will stay with them forever.

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How to Dodge Afternoon Drowsiness

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Everyone has suffered from a post-lunch crash that makes you want to nod off into dreamland. Despite a productive morning, something sucks your energy away and drags you into an afternoon slump.

Your internal clock paired with fluctuating blood sugar levels are to blame for this normal PM response. Lucky for you, ways to combat afternoon drowsiness exist!

Bad foods and hurtful habits can have you dozing away at the office. We’ve gathered some tips and tricks that’ll help you avoid the two o-clock droop and keep your energy levels from spiraling.

1. Eat For Energy
High-glycemic foods like white bread and sugary cereal can cause the dreaded energy drop. Foods with refined carbs, especially processed foods, are digested quickly, triggering immediate blood sugar spikes followed by a dramatic plummet.

2. Get Some Sun
Take a quick break and change up the atmosphere! Removing yourself from your work for a few minutes can refresh and motivate you. Going outside to soak up a few rays will boost your mood and get you out of that stifling office. Exposure to bright light presses the reset button on your internal body rhythms and helps convince your system that it’s time to get a move on!

3. Do Some Cardio
Ironic as it might sound, squeezing in a little exercise when you feel a crash approaching will jumpstart your energy levels and wake you up. Short bursts of energy can promote blood flow to the brain and rev up your system. Anything to get your muscles moving and your heart pumping will increase mental clarity. Try these do-anywhere workouts for a quick cardio pick-me-up!

4. Hydrate
If you don’t drink enough water, dehydration can take a toll on your mood, ability to think, and, worst of all, your energy levels. Your body’s organs need water to function properly. Adequate hydration will improve your mental and physical performance. So drink up!

5. Sniff Citrus
Citrus scents stimulate alertness and revitalize your senses. Just one whiff of a grapefruit, orange, or lemon can boost your mood and kick-start your energy levels. Thanks to their high vitamin C content, these fabulous fruits eliminate irritability and fatigue while revving up your engine. For a quick energy fix, keep an orange at your desk or apply some citrus-scented lotion.

6. Go Easy on the Coffee
Coffee has its upsides, like helping you perk up quickly. Unfortunately, the beloved beverage comes with some extra baggage. The highly acidic substance acts as a diuretic, which can have a dehydrating effect on your system. The energy it gives you is only temporary. You might enjoy an initial state of alertness, but you’re bound to crash later. Limiting your coffee intake will also prevent carb cravings!

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5 Easy Changes for Better Sleep

5 small changes to better sleep!

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Nobody deserves to go through life tired, but we often yawn and rely on coffee to get us through the day. Many of us lack energy because of improper sleep. Sleep is necessary for your brain and body to recover from day-to-day activities. It’s the time when we regenerate brain cells and rebuild muscle.

Part of leading a healthy lifestyle is getting enough sleep. If you’re having sleeping problems, check out these 5 Small Changes for Better Sleep.

1. Eat dinner 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
A full stomach can disturb sleep. When you sleep, your body shuts down certain processes so it can focus on recovery. Digesting prevents your body from stopping certain metabolic processes and affects your quality of sleep. Likewise, going to bed with a rumbling stomach can be uncomfortable. You want to eat early enough to have digested most of your food, but not so early that you’re already hungry again. If you must, have a light snack before bed, but steer clear of anything with added sugars or high calorie content.

2. Don’t have caffeine in the evening.
Everyone’s body processes caffeine in different ways. Some people can drink a single cup of coffee and be up for hours, while others can sip espresso right before bed. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try stopping caffeine consumption in the early afternoon. Give your body enough time to process any caffeine you’ve consumed during the day and avoid having any more. This includes black and green tea, energy drinks, regular coffee, and even decaf coffee.

3. Read a book instead of browsing the internet.
The bright light from your laptop or cell phone screen fools your brain into thinking it’s earlier than it is. This makes it difficult for you to fall asleep. Try cutting yourself off from all tech devices about an hour before bed. Your body will relax and understand it’s time to rest. No more wasting time tossing and turning!

4. Keep a regular sleep routine.
Keeping an irregular sleep cycle can mess up your internal clock. If you go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, you’ll find that the habit becomes natural. You’ll be able to fall asleep on time every day.

5. Don’t keep clutter on your bed.
A cluttered bed is common among college students and other people who live alone. This clutter includes laundry that needs to be put away, books, school notebooks, electronics, or superfluous pillows. All of this limits the amount of space on your bed. You want your brain to associate bed with sleep, not chores or work. Keeping these items away from your bed will help you get better, more restful sleep.

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5 Secrets From Healthy People

Top tips to supercharge your immune system.

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No strategy can help every person stay healthy 100% of the time. However, there are lifestyle changes you can make to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of falling prey to every illness-producing bug. You’ll notice that these changes are the same ones that help you lose weight and improve your overall well-being. If you’ve been putting off adopting a healthier lifestyle, you now have one more reason to join the club: fewer sniffles, sneezes, and heaves!

1. Healthier people manage stress.
Long-term stress produces high levels of cortisol and epinephrine, hormones that damage the body over time by weakening the immune system. You have plenty of options for managing stress. For example, research showed that people who meditated over eight weeks had significantly more flu-fighting antibodies than those who didn’t meditate [1]. Become one of those people who rarely gets sick by doing

2. Healthier people eat fewer processed foods.
Nutrition plays an important role in how well our bodies are able to fight off bacteria and viruses. Processed foods, like boxed dinners, are often stripped of the nutrients that support the immune system. Minimally-processed and whole foods offer all the nutritional goodness Mother Nature has to offer, from antioxidants to phytonutrients.

3. Healthier people move.
Exercise boosts immunity in several ways. It causes white blood cells, which fight off disease, to circulate more rapidly to kill bacteria and viruses. Working out also lowers levels of the stress-related hormones that trigger illnesses.

4. Healthier people get shut-eye.
Getting good quality sleep in the proper amounts is essential to staying healthy. During sleep, the body reboots the immune system so it’s better able to fight off invaders.

5. Healthier people connect with others.
People with social networks are less likely to suffer colds and the flu than those without social connections. Connected people have better survival rates when they do experience illnesses [2]. If you want to help prevent sickness, shut off the glowing screens and spend quality time with friends and/or family.

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8 Ways to Naturally Lower Anxiety

Relax the natural ways.

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A little anxiety can be good when it pushes us to make positive changes or perform better. However, too much anxiety can wreak havoc on our health and well-being. Sometimes anxiety triggers symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, moodiness, or sweating. It affects the body internally, raising blood sugar levels and triglycerides (unhealthy blood fats), as the body tries to make more fuel available for perceived threats.

These ways to lower anxiety will help you relax and restore your emotional well-being. If anxious thoughts regularly interfere with your ability to live the life you want, please talk with your family doctor or a mental health professional.

1. Choose good mood foods.
Bad carbohydrates, like packaged chips, crackers, and refined sugar, impact brain function and blood sugar. Give your brain and body the foundation it needs to operate at its peak by choosing healthy foods to support better moods — foods like Greek yogurt or dark chocolate.

2. Make ZZZs a priority.
The body reboots itself during sleep. Lacking in the shut-eye department can wreak serious havoc on your moods.

3. Make time for tea.
Tea time isn’t just a quaint custom you read about in books. Herbal teas have long been used to lower anxiety levels and improve moods. Research also suggests people who consume green tea have lower levels of depressive symptoms

4. Sweat it out.
Working out several times a week reduces stress hormones. If it’s been awhile since you’ve broken a sweat, get started!

5. Give yoga a go.
Yoga combines physical movement with controlled breathing exercises to naturally lower levels of stress hormones. One study suggests yoga can reduce emotional distress, including anxiety. What’s more, study participants reported better sleep, fewer headaches, and less back pain.

6. Limit alcohol.
Alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories and, sometimes, refined sugar, but they also affect levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters that play a role in mood.

7. Go alkaline.
Acidic foods don’t just trigger heartburn. They can raise the body’s pH enough to cause problems like weight gain and anxiety.

8. Spend time with friends.
Social support is one of our favorite ways to lower anxiety naturally. Numerous studies show that healthy social connections help people better cope with stress and anxiety [3]. Grab a pal or loved one and take a long walk.

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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Apple Cider Vinegar

Who Knew?

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Coined “mother nature’s perfect food”, apple cider vinegar is more than just regular vinegar flaunting an apple-themed profile. With its incredible health and beauty benefits, the vinegar’s powers are borderline magical, making the condiment a must in any pantry.

So where does the oh-so-wonderful apple cider vinegar come from? The super tart liquid comes from fermenting apple cider. The fermentation process exposes the apple’s natural sugar to bacteria and yeast, causing it to break down into alcohol, and then vinegar.

People trying to slim down swear by its weight loss affects, while beauty enthusiasts attribute their luscious hair and clear skin to the condiment. We’re here to give you the 4-1-1 on apple cider vinegar, and why it’s so much more than just a salad dressing!

1. Lose Weight with ACV
People swear by apple cider vinegar as a weight loss aid-no wonder it’s been widely admired and applauded for centuries. ACV will certainly lend a helping hand when you’re on the road towards a slimmer you! Its nutrients, enzymes and organic acids act as an appetite suppressant, controlling your cravings and giving you a feeling of fullness. At the same time, ACV speeds up your body’s metabolic rate and reduces water retention, all of which can accelerate the weight loss process!

2. Get Healthy, Gorgeous Hair with ACV
For beautiful, shiny hair, mix one cup of warm water with a tablespoon of vinegar and rinse hair with the solution after washing. Not only does the process make your hair silky smooth and glossy, it also clears grease build-up and soothes itchiness. This works because the vinegar balances the PH in your hair while sealing the cuticle. So if you’re longing for luscious locks, forget the beauty store- make a trip to your kitchen!

3.Relieve Aches and Muscle Pain with ACV
The acetic acid in Apple Cider Vinegar can help soothe sore muscles after that crazy intense workout or ski trip your friend mistakenly agreed to go on. Thanks to the acetic acid, ACV can provide temporary relief by penetrating and warming muscles. The vinegar aids in the electrical exchanges of the body, reducing the risk of cramping. At the same time, it regulates your body’s fluid levels, which maintains balance and reduces muscle cramp intensity. Simply mix with water and rub over affected areas, and you’ll let out that sigh of relief in no time!
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4. Clear Your Skin with ACV
If you desire clear, healthy skin, bust out that ACV for a simple solution that will blow you away. The vinegar balances the pH in your skin due to its natural antiseptic properties, making it an effective, refreshing facial toner. It also has antibacterial abilities, so dabbing the dressing on blemishes or pimples help will help remove them. At the same time, wave goodbye to those frustrating acne scars you waste loads of makeup trying to cover. ACV helps reduce inflammation and infection in the skin, so dilute some with water and dab over scars to see results!

5. Treat Acid Reflux with ACV
Countless people swear by apple cider vinegar’s ability to relieve acid reflux. It sounds ironic-relying on something so acidic to treat acid reflux; but hear us out. The natural remedy inhibits acid reflux by breaking down fats and improving digestion. At the same time, it has acetic acid, an acid weaker than the type your stomach produces, so it helps buffer the acidity level in your stomach and aid in acid production. To keep these symptoms of indigestion at bay, mix two tablespoons with a cup of water and drink up!

6. Boost Your Energy Levels with ACV
Forget coffee-put some pep in your step with ACV! The tart liquid will deliver a healthy boost of energy- minus the crash. Research claims that raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar improves stamina due to the combination of its incredible immune system benefits and the powerful alkalizing effects. So what are you waiting for? Turn that lazy afternoon into a productive, energy-driven day by mixing a couple tablespoons with water.

7. Fight Infection with ACV
When fighting off a frustrating cold or healing an infection, look no further than Apple Cider Vinegar! ACV knows what’s up when it comes to strengthening your immune system. It promotes your body’s production of friendly bacteria, which improves conditions in the body and enhances your overall immunity. At the same time, the presence of malic acid in ACV works as a powerful antiviral, which battles cold or flue-like symptoms. The golden liquid just keeps on giving!

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7 Foods That Tackle Stress

Gain control over your stress levels before they control you. It starts with what you eat.

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We all get stressed from time to time. Unfortunately, this powerful emotion can have destructive effects on your body. The anxiety from stress triggers your hormones to behave in different ways. Shoving your stress under the rug like it doesn’t exist will only make it worse. The good news is you can eat to beat stress! We don’t mean turning to comfort food and mindlessly guzzling down mac & cheese and brownies. Certain foods have calming properties and the ability to lower anxiety levels. They’re also highly nutritious.

1. Asparagus
Asparagus is rich, delicious, and helps you chill out on the days you’re feeling, well, the total opposite of chill. Green vegetables like asparagus boast countless health benefits, but the key to their calming capabilities lies in B vitamins. These nutrients are essential for regulating emotions, lowering anxiety, and fighting off depression. A serving of these fleshy green spears delivers a substantial amount of B vitamins, along with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

2. Blood Oranges
The name might have a spooky ring to it, but we promise that these tasty citrus fruits only have helpful qualities. Blood oranges are full of vitamin C, containing a higher amount of the essential vitamin than their bloodless counterparts. Foods with high doses of vitamin C lower blood pressure and reduce concentrations of cortisol, the stress hormone. Kick back, prop your feet up, and peel yourself one of these fabulous fruits..

3. Milk
A glass of milk is the perfect remedy when you’re feeling physically anxious and fidgety. Milk contains the protein lactium, which lowers blood pressure and has a calming effect on your system. It contains substantial amounts of potassium that can relieve stressed muscles and tension. Pour yourself a glass to ward off anxiety!

4. Almonds
Stress takes a toll on your immune system. Combat this by munching on a few almonds! Almonds are an ideal stress-relief snack because of their amazing health benefits. They contain high amounts of vitamin B2 and E, which lower anxiety levels. These nutritious nuts also boost your immune system.

5. Salmon
A little salmon on a stressful day might be all you need to reduce your anxiety levels. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that can completely reverse stress symptoms. These nutrients boost serotonin levels and lower anxiety hormones like cortisol. You’ll finally regain control of your emotions and return to your productive, stress-free self.

6. Oatmeal
A warm bowl of oatmeal soothes the soul, comforts the tummy, and induces feelings of tranquility. The timeless breakfast food stimulates production of serotonin thanks to its nutrient-rich complex carbs, which have a powerful calming effect on your system. Oats are a slow-digesting food that your body takes time to absorb. Because of this, their stress-fighting effects last longer.

7. Walnuts
There’s a host of reasons for you to befriend the wonderful walnut. One of them is its powerful ability to lower high blood pressure and keep your blood pressure levels stable. If you’re prone to stress, you might have higher levels of adrenaline and anxiety than others, which can wreak havoc over time. Avoid this by munching on some walnuts here and there. They’ll do your heart and system a favor.

 

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6 Ways to Beat the Bloat

Beat the bloat with these simple steps.

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We’ve all experienced a nasty belly bloat. Bloating makes you feel ginormous, and it’s not just in your head. Your tummy actually looks larger when you’re bloated. But fear not, because SkinnyMs. is here to help you bloat no more! We’re sharing 6 Ways to Beat Bloating.

Bloating has a number of causes. Some of them are medical, like stomach bugs or food allergies. However, many cases of bloating are trigged by how and what we eat. The good news is that making a few simple changes can reduce bloating and help you look and feel better.  These no-bloating tips will help you get started.
1. Drink more water.
When you’re dehydrated, your body conserves water by retaining it, leading to bloating. Avoid carbonated beverages and sugary sports drinks, and instead hydrate with H20.

2. Slow down while eating.
Take your time during meals and snacks. Eating too quickly can make you swallow excess air, which contributes to bloating. Another benefit to slow eating is that chewing starts the digestive process. Chewing food fully allows digestion to work more efficiently, which will help prevent bloating (and an upset stomach).

3. Eat 3 small meals and 2 healthy snacks each day.
Consuming too much at one sitting increases the risk of bloating. Instead of eating a traditional three large meals per day, eat three smaller meals and two nutritious snacks.

4. Pack in the probiotics.
Probiotics are natural bacteria that support healthy digestion and balance out bad bacteria in the digestive tract. Yogurt is a rich, versatile source of probiotics.
5. Boost potassium intake.
Potassium is a mineral that plays a role in regulating body fluids. Potassium also flushes out excess sodium, which increases water retention. (Sodium is a common ingredient in processed foods.) Potassium-rich foods include dark leafy greens, bananas, sweet potatoes, lentils, and salmon.

6. Add diuretic foods to your menu.
Diuretics are substances that cause the body to produce more urine. Eating these types of foods is a wonderful way to beat bloating because they help flush extra fluid from the body.

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Top 18 Motivational Quotes for Everyday Success

Check out these highly motivational quotes.

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These motivational quotes are a great way to reignite the spark in your health and wellness journey, and in other areas of your life, as well. Don’t just read them and click away, either. Bookmark these quotes or pin them to your Pinterest motivation board. Save an image and make it the background on your phone or tablet. You can even print out these motivational quotes and post them on your fridge or vision board, so that you can revisit these bits of wisdom when the path gets rough or steep.

  1. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. Gloria Steinem
  2. A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true. Steven Covey
  3. Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. Tony Robbins
  4. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. Zig Ziglar
  5. I never dreamed about success. I worked for it. Estee Lauder
  6. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Arthur Ashe
  7. Invent your own next chapter. Seth Godin
  8. Nothing will work unless you do. Maya Angelou
  9. I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. Florence Nightingale
  10. Fall seven times and stand up eight. Japanese Proverb
  11. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. Dalai Lama
  12. Don’t make a habit out of choosing what feels good over what’s actually good for you. Eric Thomas
  13. Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. Oprah Winfrey
  14. When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful. Eric Thomas 
  15. I’m fearless, I don’t complain. Even when horrible things happen to me, I go on. Sofia Vergara 
  16. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” Audrey Hepburn
  17. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. Zig Zigler
  18. It is our choices, far more than our abilities, that show what we truly are. J.K. Rowling.

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Tips to Heal and Prevent Stretch Marks

You do have options!

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Are stretch marks stretching your mouth into a frown? There’s no doubt about it, regardless of age or ethnicity, these unsightly marks afflict many women, including an estimated 9 out of 10 pregnant women. This is your guide to understanding stretch marks and how to prevent and heal them.

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are actually a type of scar that occurs when the body grows faster than it can create new skin. The growth causes the elastic fibers beneath the top layer of skin to break, creating that familiar mark. Reasons for rapid growth include:

-Puberty
-Weight gain
-Pregnancy
-Fast muscle growth through intense bodybuilding

Initially, stretch marks appear purplish or reddish, but they often fade over time. Marks on women with lighter skin typically fade to light pink or a silvery color, while the scars on those with darker complexions may become a tone lighter than the surrounding skin.

Disheartening but true, stretch marks can appear virtually anywhere. The breasts and stomach are common problem areas, but marks can also pop up on the upper arms, hips, thighs, or butt.

Stretch Mark Prevention & Healing Tips

While total stretch mark prevention may not be possible, we can take steps to reduce our risk as well as help these marks heal better.

1. Stay hydrated.
Dry skin loses elasticity, so one way to help reduce the chance of developing stretch marks is to drink water regularly throughout the day. Another way to stay hydrated is to eat foods with a high water content, such as grapefruit, apricot, and cauliflower.

2. Keep skin moisturized.
A good moisturizer improves and hydrates skin, which may help prevent stretch marks. Lotions with vitamin C, in particular, may stimulate collagen production and help skin regain elasticity. Apply moisturizer once or twice a day, ideally following a shower or bath, while the skin is still damp.

3. Try a nourishing scrub.
Because they occur underneath the top layer of skin, it can be a challenge to treat stretch marks topically.  There’s a good variety of body scrubs designed for this purpose. Check them out online for largest selection.

4. Get up and move.
Regular exercise promotes blood circulation, allowing skin cells better nourishment and more efficient detoxification, which tones skin and reduces the appearance of stretch marks.

5. Consider using retinoid products.
If you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding, a retinoid product, like those used for anti-aging, may boost cell turnover and spark collagen growth. Over-the-counter retinols will take longer to work than the prescription retinoid called tretinoin. Always consult your doctor before using retinoid products on any part of your body. 

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