10 Natural Foods That Promote Muscle Gain

Increasing your muscle tone sounds easy enough, right? You just need to lift weights and do bench presses, and you’re good to go! Except… it’s actually a lot harder than most people think. Gaining muscle depends on many factors, but your diet is the most important thing to consider when bulking. If you’re doing all the right exercises without the right diet, all your effort will be for nothing.

A diet rich in lean proteins and amino acids is a crucial step when bulking, but not many people know what to add to their diets and what to exclude. And that’s exactly why we’ve compiled a list of the ten best muscle-building foods. Read on to learn all you need to know!

Why Is Diet So Important For Muscle Gain?

Building muscle isn’t just about hitting the gym for hours every day. To see the results you’re after, you need to start with your diet. What you eat and how much you eat is essential for muscle development. Dietary proteins, amino acids, and leucine are crucial for muscle building. So while we agree that strength training is important for muscle gain, it’s also important that you have the proper nutrition you need to go along with it. Without a good diet, you could lose muscle tissue rather than building it.

Essential amino acids and leucine are just as important as protein in your diet because they stimulate protein synthesis (the building of new muscle) and prevent your body from breaking down existing muscle to use as fuel during workouts.

Is Protein The Only Way To Bulk?

Without a doubt, protein is the most important thing your body needs for successful bulking. This is because our muscles are made up of proteins, and our bodies need a proper amount of protein not only to build new muscle but also to sustain existing muscle. But protein alone isn’t enough to fuel your body.

Many people trying to get “shredded” are also trying to lose fat, which usually means restricting the number of calories they consume. But this could have an adverse effect on muscle building. You don’t just need the right amount of protein, but the right amount of calories too. Otherwise, your body may burn your existing muscle to use as fuel.

Carbohydrates and fats are also important dietary necessities for building muscle. Unfortunately, most bulkers see carbs and fats as the enemy, but really, it’s just highly processed carbs that you should avoid. Carbohydrates found in wholegrains, legumes, fruit, and veg will help fuel your body during your workout to achieve the results you’re after.

10 Natural Muscle-Building Foods

Knowing what to eat to gain muscle is the first step to successful bulking. Below, we’ve compiled some lists of foods you should add to your diet to get the gains you’re aiming for.

eggs on toast
Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay: Eggs are rich in protein and essential amino acid, and are among the best natural foods that promote muscle gain.

Proteins For Muscle Building

1. Eggs

Eggs are rich in protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. They also contain a large amount of the amino acid leucine, which is incredibly important for muscle gain.

2. Beef

Beef is rich in high-quality proteins, minerals, B vitamins, and creatines. Some studies have shown that adding lean red meat to your diet can increase the lean mass gained from strength training.

3. Salmon

Salmon is another excellent source of protein for muscle building. Every three ounces of salmon contains approximately 17 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, and a few important vitamin Bs.

4. Chicken

Chicken breast is a great source of lean protein. In just three ounces of chicken breast, you’ll find about 27 grams of protein. This is also one of the cheapest protein options available.

Fruits & Vegetables For Muscle Building

5. Green Peas

Green peas aren’t just a delicious dinner side, but a protein-packed one as well. For every 200 grams of peas, you’ll find about 9 grams of protein.

6. Spinach

Spinach is an excellent source of protein. After all, it was Popeye’s favorite food! Each cooked cup (about 30 grams) of spinach contains approximately 5 grams of protein.

7. Corn

Corn on the cob is a BBQ favorite and a great way to get extra protein. In 150 grams of sweet corn, you will find about 4.7 grams of protein.

spinach on toast
Image by Lisa Fotios on Pexels: Vegetables for muscle building are often an overlooked but excellent source of protein.

Grains, Legumes & Other Foods For Muscle Building

8. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt can be used to make high-protein snacks for muscle gain, especially protein smoothies. In 100 grams of nonfat Greek yogurt, there are about 10 grams of protein.

9. Soybeans

Perfect for vegetarian and vegan bulkers, there are about 16 grams of protein in just 86 grams of soybeans!

10. Protein Powder

Supplements are also a great way to get the nutrients your body needs. If you’re having trouble getting enough protein, try protein powders. Whey protein is the most popular variety, but options are available for folks who don’t consume dairy.

They say that the perfect physique starts in the kitchen, and they’re right. If you want to build, tone, and shape, you need to start with what you eat!

Featured image by Григорий Калюжный from Pixabay

6 Natural Foods That Promote Fat Loss

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is essential for various reasons. When someone is at a higher weight than they are comfortable with, it can drastically affect their mental wellness and overall self-esteem. Aside from improved mental health, losing fat is also a great way to ward off preventable chronic diseases brought on by obesity. Such conditions include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.

The health risks alone are enough to encourage a change to eating habits. But where to start? Many suggest going on crash diets or working out incessantly, but those tactics don’t really work for sustainable fat loss. If you want to lose fat and keep it off, you’ll have to put most of your focus into food. So can the food you eat help you lose weight? And if so, what are some natural foods that promote fat loss? Let’s investigate. 

Food to promote weight loss 

Food and fat loss may not seem to go hand in hand, but no matter what you weigh, you still have to eat to fuel your body. That is why avoiding overeating isn’t the only factor, but also focusing heavily on what you do eat. All foods give you energy, even “junk food.” That said, the right foods will offer your body the nutrients and other substances it needs to burn fat on a cellular level. When losing fat, food can be your best friend. 

Image by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash: What foods help burn belly fat? 

What are the best fat loss foods? 

Choosing the right foods for fat loss doesn’t have to be an arduous guessing game. A few will help your body do what it needs to do to get rid of excess fat while you limit weight-gain foods and move your body more.

1. Fatty fish 

Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel are all great options if your goal is to lose fat. The primary nutrient in these types of fish is omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can contribute to a reduction in inflammation as well as a reduced risk of heart disease.

When it comes to losing fat, studies have found that eating fatty fish helps fat loss because of its effect on cortisol. Cortisol is one of the body’s stress hormones. When you have high levels of cortisol, the body holds on to fat. However, eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to lower cortisol levels, making it easier to lose fat.

These types of fish are also high in protein, a nutrient that increases metabolism and makes you feel fuller for longer. 

2. Coffee

Coffee is a day starter for many people because of its caffeine content – caffeine can help people become more alert in the morning. The substance can also improve mood and increase mental and physical performance.  

Studies find that when people consume caffeine before working out, they burn almost twice as much fat as those who do not. Because of this increase in physical stamina, fat loss during exercise is much easier. Caffeine also boosts the metabolism by as much as 13%, which gives the body more fat-burning power even at rest. 

3. Eggs

Eggs are often overlooked as a healthy food because they are high in cholesterol. However, they are actually nutritional powerhouses because of all the essential vitamins they contain. 

Research finds that people who eat eggs for breakfast are less hungry throughout the day and eat less. Because of this, it is easier to lose fat.

Eggs also contain high amounts of protein, which, as mentioned above, helps increase your metabolic rate and encourage fat burn during downtime. 

4. Green tea

Green tea is hailed as a health food because it has many benefits. Aside from the more commonly known effects, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and protecting against cancer, green tea also provides caffeine and an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). 

EGCG is crucial for fat loss because of the way it promotes fat burning, especially in the belly area.  

red chili peppers
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5. Chili peppers 

Chili peppers add spice to foods. Consuming chili peppers can be great for your health, too. Antioxidants in chili peppers have been shown to reduce inflammation while protecting your cells from damage that could lead to chronic disease because of the ingredient capsaicin.  

Capsaicin can also help promote fat loss for several reasons. The substance reduces overeating because of its ability to make you feel fuller for extended periods. People limiting their calorie intake to lose weight may slow their metabolism. However, adding chili peppers with capsaicin counteracts that slowing of metabolism, which can encourage more fat burn throughout the day. 

6. Olive oil 

Olive oil is a healthy fat, and while eating fat may seem counterintuitive to losing fat, it’s actually a vital piece of the fat loss puzzle. Olive oil can reduce triglyceride levels, raise good cholesterol levels, and encourage the body to produce more of a hormone that helps you feel fuller longer. 

Studies also found that people who consume extra virgin olive oil with their meals burn more fat for a few hours following the meal. That means that olive oil helps you eat fewer calories and encourages your body to burn more when you’re at rest. 

Eating to lose fat is an integral part of the weight loss puzzle. You just have to know what foods to eat to ensure that your body continuously burns more fat. 

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5 Naturally Detoxifying Foods

Food is fuel. If you’re eating healthily, you’ll get all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to run at its most optimal levels. However, that’s not always the way things work. Between busy schedules and the plethora of delicious (yet not-so-healthy!) foods available, eating a healthy diet 100% of the time is near impossible. 

However, your body may begin to suffer when you regularly eat heavily processed foods or foods that lack adequate nutrition. A poor diet can also lead to toxin buildup in the body, which means too many toxic substances are floating around. The good news is that there are foods you can eat to counteract this buildup. Let’s take a look at some naturally detoxifying foods and how to use them to your benefit.

What does detoxing mean? 

Detoxing can have two meanings: refraining from consuming toxic or unhealthy substances, or taking action to get rid of toxin buildup that is already occurring within your body. While detoxing can be healthy, most people opt for a lesser version such as a juice cleanse or other similar short-term solutions. However, if you want a long-term solution to your toxin buildup, you’ll need to turn to food. 

fresh berries
Image by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash: What foods help flush out toxins?  

How do I detox my body naturally? 

There are many ways you can detox your body naturally that don’t revolve around food. For example, you could refrain from eating anything (otherwise known as fasting) for one to three days. Fasting can clean you out while you avoid consuming anything that may hinder the process. (It’s important to always consult your doctor about this process before diving in.)

You could also opt for the juice cleanse mentioned above, which replaces all solid foods with fruit juices, smoothies, or vegetable juices for a period of time. Another way to detox is to drink salted or lemon water. But while these methods work, depriving your body of the nutrients it needs for any given period can be harmful

So, what’s left? Using naturally detoxifying foods to aid your body in the detox process. This way, you can give your body what it needs and still get the same cleansing effects.

What are good detox foods? 

If you want to use food to detoxify your body, there are many options. Let’s take a look at the top five types of detox foods. 

1. Antioxidant-rich foods 

Antioxidants reduce or balance out the number of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are molecules that can, in high amounts, cause damage to cells and drive oxidative stress. Oxidative stress sends your body into chronic inflammation, which is terrible for your overall health.

When you eat foods high in antioxidants during a detox, you can help keep these free radical levels down and oxidative stress at bay. Antioxidants can also aid the body’s attempts to get rid of toxins, so consuming them provides a two-fold health benefit.

Some of the best antioxidant-rich foods to choose from include: 

  • Berries 
  • Nuts
  • Cocoa and chocolate 
  • Spinach 
  • Carrots 
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Squash 
  • Pumpkins
  • Collard greens
  • Artichokes 
  • Cabbage
  • Asparagus 
  • Avocados 
  • Beetroot
  • Radish
  • Kale 

2. Prebiotic-rich foods 

The gut aids in the natural way your body detoxes itself. When your gut health is balanced, it helps eliminate toxins and other substances not needed by the body. However, if that action is compromised, your body cannot detoxify as effectively. Because of that, eating foods high in prebiotics can keep your levels of good gut bacteria where they need to be so they can perform.

Excellent food sources of prebiotics include: 

  • Tomatoes
  • Artichokes 
  • Bananas 
  • Asparagus 
  • Onions
  • Garlic 
  • Oats 

3. Sulfur-containing foods 

If you suffer from heavy metal toxin buildup, eating foods rich in sulfur can combat the effects. Sulfur aids the liver in creating glutathione, an antioxidant that helps rid the body of toxins. Without enough of it, the liver will struggle, and your detox will not be as effective.

Some of the best sulfur-containing foods include: 

  • Onions
  • Broccoli 
  • Garlic 
  • Lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and fish 
  • Nuts 
  • Whole grains
  • Chickpeas
  • Eggs 
  • Beef 
fresh vegetables in basket
Image by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash: How do I detox from processed foods? Stick to a wholefood diet instead.

4. Spices and herbs 

Spices do more than add a little something extra to your meals – they can also aid in the detoxification process, but you have to choose the right ones.

Cilantro is an excellent option for people who wish to get rid of toxins because of the way it enhances the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself. Other herbs and spices that can help to rid the body of excess toxins include: 

  • Turmeric 
  • Red clover 
  • Milk thistle 
  • Dandelion 
  • Stinging nettle
  • Burdock root 
  • Spirulina 

5. Algae

Algae isn’t always a popular choice when it comes to food. However, it can pack a punch when it comes to getting rid of toxins.

One specific type of algae known as chlorella aids in detoxification because of its nutrient content. It works by binding to toxins and heavy metals, flushing toxins out of your system and giving the body a fresh start. 

Naturally detoxing your body using food may seem like a lengthy process as opposed to a three-day cleanse. However, it is the best possible option for long-lasting maintenance. If you wish to detox your body naturally, the best way to do it is through your diet. 

Featured image by Kim Daniels on Unsplash

Natural Foods That Boost Energy Levels

Food is a vital piece of the health puzzle – without it, of course, the body would cease to function. In this day and age, eating means more than simply fueling your body. From social gatherings to family bonding, eating has become a centrepiece in many people’s lives.

When it comes to energy levels, diet is the be-all-end-all. Without eating the right foods, the cells in your body will not have the fuel they need to perform, and you will end up feeling tired and fatigued. But what foods are best to keep your energy up? Let’s take a look at some of the different natural foods that boost energy levels. 

Foods for energy

Food is essential for all bodily functions but crucial for your energy levels. Everything you eat contains certain nutrients or substances that can make or break your energy. If you eat a wholefood-rich diet, you’re likely getting the vitamins and minerals the body needs to function correctly. However, if a lot of what you eat has additives or is heavily processed, you’re consuming substances that will eventually harm how well your cells perform their jobs, leading to fatigue.  

The good news is that changing your diet to help boost your overall health and energy levels isn’t difficult, and you don’t have to give up everything you love to eat. You can treat yourself in moderation while incorporating good energy-boosting foods to help you ward off those pesky and lingering feelings of tiredness. 

fresh apples
Image by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash: What is the best energy booster food?

What foods boost your energy levels naturally? 

Various wholefoods provide the energy you need to tackle your daily life. Foods that contain energy-boosting nutrients such as protein, iron, potassiumCoQ10, B vitamins, carnitine, and creatine are your best option. Let’s delve into some of the foods that contain these nutrients.

Animal-based proteins

Animal-based proteins contain essential vitamins and minerals that are required for energy. The best animal proteins for the abovementioned key nutrients include: 

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs 
  • Cheese 
  • Milk 

Other animal proteins such as beef and pork also offer nutrients, but they also contain other substances, such as excess amounts of fat, that could stall energy production in your body. That is why it’s best to stick to leaner meat products if you want to reap the benefits of energy-boosting nutrients. That way, you will avoid excess substances that could cause more harm than good. 

Plant-based proteins 

Plant-based proteins are often used as substitutes for people who don’t want to consume much or any meat. However, most plant-based proteins are incomplete, meaning they don’t contain all the amino acids required to build protein in the body. Because of this, you will need to eat more of them to get the same benefit as their animal-based counterparts. 

The nutrients mentioned above can be found in the following plant protein foods: 

  • Almonds
  • Amaranth
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Quinoa 
  • Sesame seeds
  • Walnuts 
  • Black beans
  • Edamame
  • Soybeans 


Fruits are an essential part of any healthy diet for many reasons. When it comes to energy levels, fruits contain vital nutrients that help cells in the body stay energized. The best way to consume fruit is fresh and whole.

If you want to battle fatigue, you can choose fruits such as: 

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bananas 
  • Blueberries
  • Dates
  • Goji berries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Raisins
  • Strawberries 

These contain vitamins and minerals such as CoQ10, magnesium, potassium, and iron – all of which will fuel your cells to perform appropriately. 

wholegrain bread
Image by Young Shih on Unsplash: What food improves energy?  


Similar to fruit, vegetables should be included in everyone’s diet. While each vegetable contains its own nutrient content, all veggies have something to help power your cells with what they need to get things done. When it comes to energy levels, some vegetables may be better than others.

Some good vegetables to incorporate into an energy-boosting diet include: 

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Squash 
  • Sweet potatoes 

Magnesium and potassium are found in all of the foods mentioned above. Others contain extra nutrients such as iron, CoQ10, and protein to help increase the boost you’ll get when eating them regularly.  


Wholegrains are complex carbs. They are broken down by the body slowly, with the nutrients used more effectively. They also contain more nutrients than simple carbs and are lower on the glycemic index.

Because of their vitamin and mineral content, wholegrains are a perfect addition to an energy-boosting diet. Some of the best options include: 

  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal 
  • Whole wheat 
  • White rice 
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

When it comes to fortified cereal, you’ll want to choose an option with the least amount of sugar. Too much processed sugar can hinder your energy levels in the long run. 

Dairy substitutes 

Eating dairy alternatives can be a great way to get high levels of potassium, magnesium, protein, and B vitamins for people who wish to avoid dairy products. All these nutrients are vital to your overall energy levels. Some of the best options for dairy alternatives include: 

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Oat milk
  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk
  • Ice creams and yogurts made from a milk alternative (try to stick with low-sugar options)

If you want to boost your energy levels, regularly incorporating any of these foods is a great way to do it!

Featured image by Maksim Shutov on Unsplash

11 Natural Foods That Promote Immune Health

Having a healthy immune system is vital to avoiding illness and disease – but it can also be easy for your immune system to become compromised. There is little more important than diet when it comes to the health of your body’s defense system. Food fuels the immune system with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best, and if you eat the right things, you can promote overall good immune health now and for years to come. Let’s take a look at some natural foods that promote immune health.

What foods boost your immune system naturally? 

Many nutritious foods can help you boost your immune system and keep yourself safe from outside pathogens. They include: 

1. Citrus fruits 

Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, a nutrient that helps increase white blood cells. White blood cells are vital players in the fight against pathogens. Some of the best citrus fruits you can eat if you want to improve your immune health include: 

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Clementines

The body doesn’t store vitamin C, so it’s important to incorporate fruits like these regularly into your diet. 

2. Red bell peppers

Another great way to get the vitamin C you need is through red bell peppers. Bell peppers of the red variety contain three times the amount of vitamin C as one orange. If you don’t want to eat a citrus fruit every day or need variety to get your daily needs, adding some red bell peppers to your meals is a great way to accomplish that. 

3. Broccoli 

Broccoli contains several nutrients that can keep your immune system healthy. It has vitamins E, C, and A, and antioxidants that help reduce widespread inflammation. When there is inflammation in the body, especially chronic, it can weaken your defenses. By eating more broccoli, you can gain the nutrients your body needs to fight off pathogens and keep inflammation down when you are not contending with an illness.  

4. Garlic

Garlic has been used for centuries as a flavorful addition to food and medicine. Garlic is excellent for the immune system because it contains the compound allicin. Allicin has the ability to both help the body fight off viruses and regulate the immune system for better overall functioning. 

Image by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash: Is garlic an immunity booster food? Yes! 

5. Ginger

Ginger is another food many people turn to when ill because of its medicinal properties. Ginger contains antibacterial and antiparasitic properties. The root vegetable is also a diaphoretic, which can help the body sweat out colds or cases of flu faster. Research has shown that ginger can reduce inflammation in the body and fight off oxidative stress, which can help the immune system to become better regulated. 

6. Spinach 

Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients. It contains high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta-carotene. All these nutrients can increase the immune system’s ability to fight off infection and stay better protected against disease. 

7. Yogurt 

The health of the immune system and the gut go hand in hand. Roughly 80% of all immune cells are found in the stomach, so when it is healthy, the immune system generally is, too. This is why eating yogurt regularly can promote good immune health.

Yogurt contains beneficial live bacteria that help to stimulate the cells of the immune system in the gut to fight off disease effectively. As one of the best foods for immune health, the cultures in yogurt also help to keep the gut bacteria balanced in a way that improves not only immune health, but overall bodily health. 

8. Almonds

Almonds contain high levels of vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant within the body. According to research, vitamin E is one of the best nutrients for immune health because it modulates immune function. When the immune system is regulated correctly, it responds better to harmful pathogens. 

sunflower seeds
Image by Zobia Shakar on Unsplash: What food improves immunity? 

9. Sunflower seeds 

Similar to almonds, sunflower seeds also contain high levels of vitamin E. Along with this nutrient, the seeds also contain selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B6, each of which is important to overall immune function.

Selenium acts as an antioxidant, reducing overall inflammation levels and enhancing the immune response. Phosphorous plays an essential role in immunity because of its ability to create barriers against pathogens in the body, and magnesium can strengthen the action of white blood cells. When you get enough magnesium, your immune cells can better find and destroy pathogens. 

10. Turmeric

Turmeric has long been used in the natural medicine world because of its ability to combat illness and treat various types of arthritic diseases. The substance that gives turmeric its medicinal properties is curcumin. According to research on curcumin and immunity, the spice can influence how well immune cells function. That influence helps the immune system maintain readiness for fighting off infections. 

11. Green tea 

Green tea is another immune-friendly food touted for its health benefits. Green tea contains flavonoids, which are great for regulating the immune response. The compounds help immunity because they can inhibit the activation of specific immune cells that harm how well the immune system functions. 

An antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is also found in high amounts in green tea. Research has shown that this particular antioxidant can boost the immune system.

Incorporating these foods regularly into your diet will ensure you get all the nutrients your immune system needs to keep you well protected now and in the future.  

Featured image by Bruna Branco on Unsplash

10 Foods That Support Liver Health

Your liver is one of your hardest-working organs. It plays a role in many essential bodily tasks such as storing nutrients, producing proteins, and even regulating cholesterol. The liver is also your natural detox organ in the sense that it breaks down certain toxic substances and sends them out of the body.

Without a healthy liver, your body will begin to suffer in various ways. That is why it’s important to take care of your liver so it can take care of you. But how can you do this? One way is through diet – so let’s take a look at some of the foods that support liver health.  

How do I make my liver healthy?

According to the American Liver Foundation, various aspects of your lifestyle are involved in maintaining and improving liver health. They suggest the following steps to help keep your liver as healthy as possible:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Keep up with a regular exercise routine
  • Avoid toxic substances such as alcohol and illicit drugs
  • Practice safe sexual encounters
  • Practice good personal hygiene
  • Never misuse or overuse medications
  • Get vaccinated against certain conditions such as hepatitis A or B if possible

Another great thing you can do for your liver health is fuel your body with healthy foods. But what foods help with liver health?

sliced grapefruit
Image by Rayia Soderberg on Unsplash: How to improve liver function naturally? Eat some grapefruit!

What foods are good for liver repair and function?

While many foods can ensure that your whole body is running at its best, there are some that stand out from the rest when it comes to the health of your liver specifically. They include:

1. Coffee and tea

While it might be surprising to see coffee on a list of liver health foods, it’s here for good reason! Studies have found the popular beverage helps protect against liver disease in both healthy people as well as those who already have chronic liver disease.

Staying on the caffeine train: tea is also hailed for its many health benefits, but many people don’t know just how good it can be for the liver. The type of tea you drink matters when it comes to liver health, though, with green tea being the best option. One particular study found that blood markers of liver health improved after people drank 10 cups of green tea per day.

2. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is often considered a “diet food”, but did you know it’s packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can boost your liver health? Two antioxidants that are dominant in grapefruit are naringenin and naringin, and both have been shown to protect the liver from damage and injury by reducing inflammation.

3. Blueberries and cranberries

Blueberries and cranberries contain high amounts of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These have been shown to protect the liver from damage as well as prevent the development of lesions on the liver, which can lead to various issues.

4. Grapes

Red and purple grapes contain a plant compound known as resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to increase antioxidant levels in the body, prevent damage, and reduce inflammation, all of which can improve the function and health of the liver.

5. Prickly pear

Prickly pear is a type of cactus that you can eat. While it has been used in alternative medicine for centuries, many modern medical researchers are now looking at its use in the traditional medicine. Studies done on the prickly pear have examined how it can affect the health of the liver following alcohol consumption, finding that it reduces inflammation caused by drinking.

6. Beetroot juice

Beetroot juice contains many healthy substances such as nitrates and betalains, which are antioxidants that have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and widespread inflammation. When it comes to liver health specifically, beetroot juice has been shown to reduce damage and inflammation to the liver at the same time as increasing the organ’s ability to detox the body by increasing production of enzymes tasked with this job.

bowl of brussels sprouts
Image by Sebastian Coman Photography on Unsplash: Are cruciferous vegetables good for liver health? You bet!

7. Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and mustard greens provide many health benefits to the body because of their high nutrient and fiber content. Research has shown that eating these types of vegetables regularly can help to maintain and improve liver function by protecting the organ from damage at the same time as increasing its ability to detox the body.

8. Nuts

Nuts contain high amounts of plant compounds and antioxidant vitamins that are good for overall health. When it comes to the liver, studies have found that people who included nuts more in their diet had a lower risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease than those who skipped out on eating nuts altogether.

9. Fatty fish

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish, are strongly associated with the reduction of inflammation. While this is typically connected to heart health, research on omega-3 fatty acids has found that adequate amounts can help to lower the amount of fat in the liver in people who already have an existing liver disease.

10. Olive oil

Olive oil is a type of fat, but it’s considered a healthy fat because of its many health benefits. Studies have found that consuming a small amount of olive oil every day can help improve the levels of fat in the liver as well as the amount of liver enzymes available to help with the detoxification process.

Your liver deserves all the good attention it can get because of how hard it works for your body. By introducing some (or all!) of the above foods into your diet on a regular basis, you can maintain and improve your liver health for years to come.

Featured image by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

What Does “Detoxing” Actually Mean?

Detox diets have become mainstream in recent years because of all the promises they make in regards to improving overall health. Various claims include getting rid of harmful toxins from the body, cleaning the blood, and even helping to jumpstart weight loss. Detox diets are also purported to aid in the healing process of many health issues including digestive diseases, autoimmune disease, allergies, bloating, obesity, chronic fatigue, and inflammation.

The jury is still out on the detox diet because of a lack of clinical research. The detox diet studies that do exist are also flawed in nature, so it’s uncertain whether these diets work or if the people who have done them and claimed to feel better afterward were experiencing a sort of placebo effect. There are various types of detox diets, all of which offer the same claims of improved health. Read on for all you need to know, including the answer to the important question: what does “detoxing” actually mean?

What does detoxing mean? 

The word “detox” essentially means to get rid of unhealthy or toxic substances. Typically, detoxing used to be a process reserved for people who had been exposed to toxic chemicals or substances such as illicit drugs. Nowadays, though, detoxing is often used in the health space as a way to rid people’s bodies of harmful substances through a variety of methods.

The most common detox method is fasting; other common methods include limited diets where you only consume fruits, vegetables, or fruit juices and water. In some cases, a detox diet may involve use of supplements or colon cleanses/enemas to flush waste from the system.

The way detox diets are said to work is by giving the organs time to rest while stimulating the liver to detox more efficiently. They are also said to improve circulation and ensure that healthy nutrients are being reintroduced into the body.

fruit and vegetable juices
Image by Zlatko Durić on Unsplash: What kind of detoxes are there? Read on to learn more.

What kind of detoxes are there?

Although all detox diets are said to have similar benefits as well as the same end goal, there are various ways a person can participate in a detox diet. They include:

  • Fasting: The fasting that is done in a detox diet typically occurs for as little as one day up to as many as three days.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables: Many detoxes focus solely on consuming fresh fruit and vegetables in juice form. Smoothies, water, and tea can also be consumed while on this type of detox diet.
  • Drinking specific liquids: Other than fruit juices or smoothies, some detox diets instruct people to drink only one type of special liquid, such as salted water or lemon juice.
  • Elimination: Elimination detox diets aim to remove things that may cause issues with a person’s health, such as foods that contain heavy metals, allergens, or other contaminants. Other things that are commonly eliminated during detox diets include alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, and refined sugar.
  • Supplementation: In some cases, people may have to take herbs or other supplements during a detox to help reintroduce healthy substances into the body.
  • Getting rid of waste: A big part of a many detox diets is getting rid of waste. This is often achieved through the use of laxatives, colon cleanses, or enemas.
  • Exercise: During a detox diet, emphasis is often placed on having a regular exercise routine.

The length of time a detox diet lasts and how intense it is will vary depending on the person and their goals.

Is a detox the same as a cleanse?

Both detox diets and cleanses follow the same sort of routine; however, cleanses are more focused on digestive health, whereas detoxes are likely to take the approach of aiding the body generally by removing toxins.

There are a few areas where some research has found detoxing to be of benefit. They include:

  • Weight loss
  • The avoidance of dietary sources of heavy metals
  • More exercise, which is better for overall health
  • The introduction of healthier foods into the diet
  • Avoiding heavily processed foods that are bad for the body
  • Drinking more water or tea and being more hydrated
  • Limiting stress levels, which can help improve sleep

With that being said, if you were to follow certain elements of a detox diet such as focusing on whole and nutritious foods, eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and exercising regularly, you would likely see similar benefits – simply because these elements are part of a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle regardless of whether you are detoxing or not.

detox juice
Image by Juguslocos on Unplash: How can you tell if your body is detoxing?

Should I detox my body?

While detoxing is a personal choice, the body has its own detoxification process that gets rid of toxic substances all on its own, so you really don’t have to participate in one at all. Your body is constantly making sure it has no buildup of harmful substances. The natural detox process is done by the liver and through the excretion of feces, urine, and sweat. The liver itself actually manages to take toxic substances and make them harmless, and then sends them out of the body.

While detoxing may be beneficial in some ways, it does not take a special diet to get rid of harmful toxins from your body. Your liver and other processes do this for you already. The idea of a detox diet, however, can be helpful in changing your lifestyle in a way that helps you prevent illness and the consumption of certain substances such as heavy metals or alcohol. If you do choose to detox, it’s important that you speak to your doctor first to ensure that your body can withstand the potential effects of your chosen detox diet.

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Why Certain Foods Speed Up Your Metabolism

Whether you feel as though your body isn’t burning as much fat as it should be, or you’re aiming to lose weight and can’t seem to keep it off no matter how hard you try, you may start to believe that your metabolism is simply against you. While there is some truth to fast and slow metabolism affecting weight, having an ill-functioning metabolism can affect more than just your weight.

In fact, every single thing you do (from thinking to breathing to sleeping) relies on a properly functioning metabolism. But what is your metabolism, exactly? How does it work? And are particular foods better for boosting metabolism than others? Read on to learn all you need to know, including why certain foods speed up your metabolism.

What is your metabolism?

Metabolism is a bodily process that converts the food you eat into energy that can be sent throughout the body. For example, when you eat an apple, its components are broken down and divvied out through the metabolism process. Metabolism combines the food’s calories with oxygen, which aids in the release of energy.

While some people may believe that you only need energy when you’re engaging in an activity, that’s not true. Your body requires a certain level of energy to perform even its most basic functions, such as breathing, growing and repairing cells, and circulating blood.

When we talk about speeding up the metabolism, the conversation is usually more geared toward to weight loss or maintenance.

spoons with spices
Image by Calum Lewis on Unsplash: What ingredients speed up your metabolism?

What is the metabolic rate?

As mentioned above, when the body is at rest, it still needs energy. This means you could be doing nothing but lying down and breathing and you’ll still be burning calories. Your metabolic rate, also referred to as your basal metabolic rate, is how many calories you need for those basic functions. Not to be confused with your basal metabolic rate, your resting metabolic rate is how many calories your body burns while at rest.

When you’re thinking about speeding up the metabolism with food, you’re looking to increase your metabolic rate so that your body burns more calories when you’re not working out or moving around.

How does food affect your metabolism?

Every time you eat, digest, or store food, your metabolism increases because of the thermic effect of food. The thermic effect is a boost in metabolic rate after you eat due to the energy it takes the body to chew, swallow, and digest food. This means that regardless of what you eat, you’re still boosting your metabolism at every meal.

Different foods will offer a different type of boost, because each food comes with its own thermic effect and therefore boosts the metabolism in different ways. For example, eating a large steak will have a much more powerful boosting effect than eating a few small pieces of fruit.

Other factors that affect metabolic rate

While food plays a role in your metabolism, there are other factors to be taken into consideration when figuring out how to boost your metabolism. Your age, for example, is a key factor, because as you age, your metabolism begins to slow down naturally. This is due to a variety of reasons, including less physical activity, a decrease in muscle mass, and simply the natural aging process of the internal components that make up the metabolism.

Your hormones, overall weight, muscle mass, and body composition also play a vital role in metabolism.

What foods make your metabolism faster?

While all foods will provide a brief boost in metabolism because of the thermic effect of food, some are better for this purpose than others. The best metabolism-boosting foods include:

Protein-rich foods

Foods rich in protein such as lean meats, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and legumes have been shown to help boost the metabolism because of they have the highest thermic effect of food. Plant-based protein sources such as beans also have the same effect and can aid in boosting metabolism.

Mineral-rich foods

Foods that contain high levels of iron and selenium are important for metabolism boosting because of the way they affect the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland helps to regulate metabolism, so when it is running as it should, it helps speed metabolism up. Foods that are rich in minerals include nuts and seeds, shellfish, cruciferous vegetables, and organ meats.

people holding coffees

Image by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash: What foods make your metabolism faster?

Chili peppers

Chili peppers can help to boost metabolism because of capsaicin, a chemical they have in abundance. Research has found that eating chili peppers or using supplements can help to boost the metabolism so much that it burns an extra 50 calories per day.

Coffee and tea

Caffeine has been shown to help the body burn more fat for energy as well as boost the metabolism so much so that the body burns up to an extra 100 calories per day. It does this by stimulating the body’s system to burn more calories.

Tea can also boost the metabolism because it contains catechins, which are compounds that promote overall health. Tea, especially green and oolong, increase the body’s ability to burn more calories and use fat stores for energy.


While many people may not think of water as a metabolism-boosting food, it has been shown to increase the speed of metabolism because the body needs to use more energy to heat the water up to room temperature – a process known as induced thermogenesis.

While all foods have an effect on metabolism after you consume them, some are more effective than others at boosting the metabolic rate. So why not include some of the above metabolism-boosting foods in your next meal?

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Winter Immunity Diet Guidelines

When many people think of a winter diet, their mind goes directly to warm comfort food. In some cases, such food is just that: comforting. However, it can also be full of not-so-good-for-you ingredients such as extra fats, excess carbohydrates, and sugar. Unfortunately, even if these types of foods taste good, they’re doing your body a disservice, especially when it comes to your immune health.

During the winter months, there are fewer things more important than keeping your immune system running optimally. With cold and flu season and the added concern of COVID-19, immune health this winter has never been more important. The good news is that even during the winter months you can do certain things to keep your immune system functioning at its best, keeping your body in fighting shape if you do happen to encounter a virus or other pathogen.

How can I boost my immune system in winter?

There are many things you can do during the winter months to keep your immune system ready for battle, so to speak. They include:


Exercise has been proven to help boost immune function. While most types of exercise will do, it’s best to keep it at a moderate pace and do it regularly. This could include lifting weights for roughly 30 minutes a day or going for a walk brisk walk outside. The only thing you’ll want to avoid is pushing your body too far, because exercise that’s too intense has actually been shown to have negative effects.

winter foods
Image by Davies Designs Studio on Unsplash: Are there any winter foods that boost your immune system? Read on to find out!

Get enough sleep

In the winter months, your sleep schedule may be compromised due to a lack of sunlight during the day and what feels like less time to accomplish the things you need to do. But sleep and immunity go hand in hand, so it’s important that you get the right amount of quality sleep during the winter months to ensure your immune system is ready to go if faced with infection.

Reduce stress where possible

Stress isn’t always avoidable – it’s often just a part of life. The unfortunate thing about this is that stress can actually hinder your immune system’s ability to ward off infection. To make sure you have the strongest immune system possible during the winter months, you’ll want to practice stress reduction techniques as much as possible to keep your stress levels at bay. Why not try a yoga practice or meditation session to keep yourself calm?

Get enough vitamin D

Vitamin D is vital for immune health. But there’s less sunshine in the winter, and that means your body isn’t getting the same amount of vitamin D that it does the rest of the year. If you can’t get outside as much in winter because of where you live, you might want to supplement with vitamin D or ensure that your diet has a lot of vitamin D-rich foods to keep your levels up.

What should I eat to stay healthy in winter?

What you eat during the winter to stay healthy is very similar to what you need to eat all year round to keep your body in good shape. Wholefoods, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources are all good options to keep your body in fighting shape.

The foods that are most important when it comes to a healthy and well-rounded winter diet include:

  • Colorful fruits and vegetables: These have high levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. If you can’t get fresh fruit and veg, opt for frozen over canned, as frozen options retain much of their nutrients more effectively.
  • Healthy fats: Healthy fats play a role in the cellular response and function of immune cells. Healthy fats in the diet can include olive oil, avocado, and salmon.
  • Fermented foods: Fermented foods help keep the gut bacteria balanced, which is important for immune health. Some fermented foods to add to your diet include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir.
  • High-fiber foods: Wholegrains and legumes are great fiber sources. Fiber helps to keep the gut healthy, which in turn helps the immune system. 
  • Spices: Spices such as turmeric, black pepper, garlic, and ginger each possess their own immune-boosting properties.
  • Lean means: Protein is vital for immune function, and lean meats are a great source.

As mentioned above, your body gets less vitamin D in the winter, so eating food that is high in vitamin D is also a great place to start for your winter immunity diet. Foods high in vitamin D include:

  • Salmon, herring, and sardines
  • Canned tuna
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D such as orange juice, oatmeal, and some milks

When getting enough vitamin D through diet, you’ll always want to ensure that you’re getting enough calcium as well. Vitamin D is vital for calcium absorption in the body, so if you aren’t getting enough of it, your body won’t be able to absorb the calcium you do eat – which is not a good thing, because both these elements are important for immune health.

plate of winter food
Image by Mark DeYoung on Unsplash: What should I eat during winter?

The immune system relies heavily on various nutrients to ensure that it runs properly. These include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D (as mentioned above)
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Protein

To ensure you’re getting enough of each, try to make sure you’re eating some or all of the aforementioned foods. For example, lean meats can provide you with a good amount of protein, zinc, selenium, and iron. Good choices would be lean beef, turkey, chicken, shrimp, lobster, or fish. Vitamin C can be found in colorful fruits and vegetables, which you can serve alongside your protein.

You also want to make sure you’re staying hydrated in winter. While it can be tempting to stick to hot cocoa and other warm winter beverages, plain water is best. If you do wish to have a warm drink, try mixing warm water with lemon and honey for the perfect winter beverage to help you stay warm and hydrated.

The secret to a winter diet that’s good for your immune system? Getting all the important nutrients the body needs all year round. Happy cooking!

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5 Delicious Winter Foods That Aid Fat Loss

For many people, the chill in the air that hits right before wintertime is a signal to go into a form of personal hibernation. This means less time outdoors, more time spend doing sedentary activities, and possible weight gain. That being said, there is no obligation to pack on the pounds during the winter months – remember, you aren’t actually hibernating!

The arrival of winter doesn’t mean you have to give up fresh fruit and vegetables in exchange for foods that are not going to be kind to your waistline. In fact, there are plenty of in-season winter foods that are great for losing weight or keeping your weight maintained, even during the cold and dark days of the season. Read on to learn more about some delicious winter foods that aid fat loss.

How can I lose fat in winter?

The key to losing fat in the winter is to eat healthily and exercise. While it may seem harder to eat healthily because the freshest produce isn’t available to everyone (especially those in colder climates), it can still be done.

The most important step to losing fat in the winter is maintaining your exercise program. If you usually exercise outside and can’t during the winter months, consider joining a gym or getting a piece of cardio equipment for your home. That way, any type of exercise you would have done in the great outdoors can still be done from the comfort of your own living room.

Once you have managed to keep your exercise routine in check, you can figure out what types of foods you should be incorporating into your diet so that not only is the produce fresh, it is also good for your waistline.

What should I eat to lose weight in winter?

Eating a diet rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes is the best way to make sure that your weight loss journey stays on track throughout winter. Eating local and in-season is always better, because the further away from harvest a food is, the less nutrient-dense it becomes.

butternut squash
Image by Viviana Rishe on Unsplash: What foods help burn fat faster? 

So, what winter foods should you be adding to your diet for an extra weight loss boost over the winter season?

1. Butternut squash

Butternut squash isn’t only low in calories – it’s also high in filling fiber that will help keep your appetite regulated so you’re not tempted to overeat. A cup of butternut squash will cost you just 87 calories in exchange for 7 grams of fiber.

The type of fiber in butternut squash is important, too. The vegetable contains both insoluble and soluble fiber; soluble fiber keeps you fuller and reduces your appetite. Research has shown that diets higher in dietary fiber could help to reduce overall levels of body fat and promote weight loss.

2. Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are nutrient powerhouses and contain complex carbohydrates. This means the carb is linked with three or more different sugars, including fiber. While you won’t be able to scarf down sweet potato fries and still see fat loss, eating sweet potatoes the right way can help to promote fullness and reduce cravings, which aids in the reduction of calorie intake overall throughout the day.

3. Carrots

Carrots are a great in-season option, and not just because they’re versatile and delicious. Carrots contain high levels of nutrients and are low in calories, so they are able to help decrease cravings and encourage feelings of fullness. As is the case with butternut squash, it’s the fiber content of carrots that really helps aid in a reduced appetite.

4. Kale

Kale is one of the best foods you can eat when you’re trying to lose fat. The low-calorie vegetable has a high water content, and because of this combination, it has a low energy density. This means that you can eat a ton of kale and the calories won’t add up in the same way as other foods. Low energy density foods have been shown to significantly help with weight loss.

bunch of kale
Image by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash: How can I reduce my belly fat in the winter? Snack on some kale!

5. Beets

Beets are another in-season vegetable with a low energy density that can aid in weight loss. They also contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function at its best. Because of their high nutrient content, beets can help you keep off the fat; for example, the fiber they contain has been shown to aid in weight loss.

Beets may also help to improve athletic performance because of the nitrates they contain. Nitrates have been shown to improve the efficiency of certain parts of cells known as the mitochondria, in turn helping to fuel every cell in your body with the energy it needs to push you through a tough workout.

When the seasons change, it can be difficult to keep up with a routine. This is especially true when the days grow shorter and the nights longer, and the air gets a little too chilly to enjoy. While the winter does come with its downsides, the plus side is that you don’t have to give up on your weight loss journey just because the season has changed. Add the aforementioned foods to your diet this winter and you can reap nutritional benefits that will aid in fat loss all season long.

Featured image by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

Satisfying Winter Meals That Are Low In Calories

Eating healthily is important regardless of your weight. You want to give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs so you can feel good and stay protected from illness and chronic disease. While there is no shortage of healthy meals for you to incorporate into your diet to keep your body nourished, when winter rolls around and the temperatures drop, it’s easy to reach for hearty (but less-than-healthy) comfort foods.

That being said, winter doesn’t have to put a damper on your healthy eating routine. For those who are trying to lose weight, healthy eating in the winter is especially important because we tend to exercise less and become more sedentary during the colder months. Luckily, there are plenty of great meal ideas for you to try this winter that are low in calories as well as satisfying and comforting.

Weight loss and nutrient levels

Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why it’s important to think about long-term sustainability when it comes to losing those excess pounds. If you want to lose weight in a healthy way, you have to address some key issues: nutrient depletion, sleep habits, and hydration. Hydration and sleep may not be highly affected in the winter because it’s easy to keep up with your patterns even when the seasons change, but nutrient depletion can affect you without you even realizing it.

Take vitamin D, for example – otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin. In the wintertime, most people get less sun exposure. When that happens, vitamin D levels may plummet. Research has shown that there may even be a connection between low levels of vitamin D and weight gain. This is only one example, of course, but eating healthily in the winter is vital to make sure that your nutrient levels are where they need to be for your body to work for you and not against you on your weight loss journey.

winter stew
Image by W on Unsplash: What are some good dinner ideas for winter nights? A hearty stew is always a good option.

Low-calorie winter meals

A calorie deficit means you expend more energy than you consume, which is what leads to weight loss. To do this, you’ll have to make sure you’re adding some healthy, low-calorie, nutrient-dense meals into your diet. Below are some healthy winter recipes for weight loss that are bound to help you shed those extra pounds.

Vegetarian chili

Nothing says comfort food quite like a loaded bowl of vegetarian chili. It’s that warm, delicious mix of flavors that satisfies both your waistline and your tastebuds. To make vegetarian chili, you can choose your own variation of vegetables: sweet potato and black bean, butternut squash and red kidney beans, or even just your favorite bean mixed with carrots, celery and anything else you have on hand. Most vegetarian chilis can come in well under 450 calories per serving, and they’re so filling that you won’t even think about needing another bowl.

Slow cooker meatballs with zoodles

There’s nothing quite spending a winter’s day relaxing while your slow cooker does all the heavy lifting for you! A good slow cooker meatball recipe is just the trick to have a healthy meal without having to put a lot of work in. Use ground turkey instead of beef to make this meal even leaner and combine it with a pinch of paprika, a clove of garlic, and your low-calorie breadcrumbs of choice.

In the meantime, chop some onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley, combine with tomato paste, and gently fry for about a minute before putting them into the slow cooker. Top the vegetables with your meatballs, set it on low, and spend the next five hours living your life! Once the meatballs are done, serve them over some zucchini noodles and voila: a healthy and hearty winter meal under 400 calories.

making zucchini noodles
Image by Igor Miske on Unsplash: What are some good healthy winter meals on a budget? Top zucchini noodles with meatballs for a tasty low-calorie dinner!

Good old-fashioned stew

Would it even be winter if you didn’t make a stew at least once? Similar to chili, the great thing about stew is that you can really make it your own. You can use any type of protein mixed with your favorite vegetables to create a low-calorie yet hearty meal.

To keep things simple and lean, try a chicken barley stew. You’ll need some boneless, skinless chicken, barley, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, potatoes, chicken broth, white wine or white wine vinegar, and the herbs of your choosing (typically, thyme, rosemary, and sage add a nice winter flavor).

Cook the chicken, then shred it with forks and set aside. Then sauté your vegetables, deglaze the pan with your white wine or vinegar, and add everything together to simmer for a good half hour to an hour. While this recipe may take some time, it’s high in protein and is less than 350 calories per serving.

These are just a few dinner ideas for winter nights that you’ll love to add into your rotation after you try them. Eating healthy, low-calorie meals doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the heartiness you enjoy when the temperature drops! Losing weight in the winter is entirely possible, and with the right meals, you’ll be that much closer to your goal by the time the last frost melts.

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5 Vitamins And Nutrients That Build Muscle & Burn Fat

Often, when people want to lose fat, they also want to build muscle to have a leaner and more defined appearance. This combined approach to fitness can be difficult, because it’s not always easy to burn fat and build muscle at the same time. In fact, when losing weight, muscle is often lost along with fat. This is called weight-loss-induced muscle loss, and it can increase the risk of developing a too-low muscle mass condition known as sarcopenia.

If you’re wondering which supplement is best for fat loss and muscle gain, unfortunately it can be hard to find one that works for both. That’s because many people typically suggest that you cannot lose fat while building muscle. But while that can be true in some instances, it’s not always the case. Losing fat while building muscle is entirely possible if you perform the right exercises, stick to your workout plan, and get enough of the right vitamins and nutrients in your diet.

What vitamins are best for muscle growth?

There are many supplements marketed towards gaining muscle or losing fat, but rarely are they targeted towards both. When it comes to tackling both these areas at the same time, the following five supplements can help to get you to the physique you’re working towards.

1. Creatine

The molecule creatine is naturally occurring in the body. This means it is created and used by the body to help provide energy to muscle and other tissues. People often take it as a dietary supplement because of these effects. As a supplement, it has been shown to help increase creatine content in the muscles by up to 40%. This increase can help to improve exercise performance and affect muscle cells in a way that promotes the gaining of muscle.

Research has also known that creatine can help to improve muscle strength. Having stronger muscles will increase exercise endurance, which in turn leads to even more muscle mass in the long term. Research has also found that creatine can also increase hormones that are tasked with helping to grow muscle, and decrease protein breakdown within the muscles.

woman lifting weights to build muscle
Image by Sergio Pedemonte on Unsplash: A question we get asked a lot is: “How do I build muscle and lose fat?”

2. Protein

Another nutrient that is vital to gaining muscle is protein. This is because muscles are largely made of proteins. They are also dynamic in the sense that they are constantly broken down and built back up again. If the body doesn’t get enough protein, when the muscles break down, they won’t have the nutrients they need to rebuild, leading to loss of muscle mass. To help gain muscle, you’ll need to be able to consume more protein than is broken down. There is a myriad of different supplementation to try in this area, all of which come with their own type of protein (whey, casein, soy) and other ingredients that can help give them flavor or a particular consistency.

Protein has also been shown to help people lose fat. This is because it can help regulate hormones that help lead to fat loss, boost the metabolism, and reduce appetite to help you eat less calories throughout the day.

3. Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine is an amino acid the body uses to help increase stamina when it comes to exercise.Research has shown that by taking beta-alanine while on an exercise regimen, you can increase your lean muscle mass by about one pound over the course of a six-week period.

Although there is nothing in beta-alanine that will specifically target fat loss and muscle building, the way it affects a person’s ability to train and perform during exercise can ultimately lead to both fat loss and muscle gain.

4. Branched-chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs are a group of three different amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are typically found in protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, and eggs and are vital when it comes to building muscle.Studies have shown that taking BCAAs as a daily supplement can help to both improve muscle gain and reduce the amount of muscle lost during weight loss.

BCAAs may also help to burn fat while keeping muscle mass in check. Research has shown that when people take BCAAs, they are shown to lose more weight than those who are taking protein supplements.

BCAAs can also help with muscle soreness.  

assortment of healthy food dishes
Image by Shayda Torabi on Unsplash: Should I build muscle or lose fat first? Truth is, you can do both at the same time with the right diet and nutrients.

5. Vitamin D

Many people might not consider vitamin D to be an integral part of a fat loss/muscle building plan. However, research has shown that the nutrient plays a vital role in protecting muscle mass while eating in a calorie deficit. This is especially true when it is combined with protein and leucine.

Having adequate levels of vitamin D in the body has also been correlated with a deduction of body fat. On particular study tested out this theory on two groups of women. By the end of the study, the women who were in the vitamin D group had lost an average of seven pounds more than those who did not take vitamin D during the course of their weight loss regimen.

Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time may seem like a difficult task, but that’s only if you don’t know how to approach it. Some people like to cut and then bulk, whereas others want to do everything at the same time. The good news is that both options are fine! However, if you fall into the latter category, getting enough of one of the above nutrients or vitamins in your diet will surely help you reach your fitness goals. 

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Nature’s Scrubbing Brush: Why Dietary Fiber Is Essential To Fat Loss & Overall Health

Dietary fiber is an important part of overall health. It refers to the parts of plant foods that the body isn’t able to digest or absorb, which are passed through the body relatively intact. Fiber goes through the stomach, the small intestine, and the colon before it is passed out of the body, and on its journey, it doesn’t break down the same way that other nutrients like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates do.

There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gel-like substance. It is typically found in foods such as oats, peas, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, and psyllium. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and is designed to help other material move through the digestive tract. It is found in foods like whole-wheat flour, nuts, cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes. But why is dietary fiber so important, exactly? Read on to find out why dietary fiber is essential to fat loss and overall health.

Why is dietary fiber important for the body?

There are many health benefits of getting enough fiber in your diet. Fiber can act as “nature’s scrubbing brush” in the sense that it helps the body to clean out any waste that may be stuck within the digestive tract, smoothing everything along.

loaf of whole wheat bread
Image by Sergio Arze on Unsplash: A high-fiber diet for weight loss should consist of whole-wheat bread.

Some specific health benefits of having dietary fiber in the body include:

Maintaining bowel health

By increasing the amount of fiber in the diet, you can effectively help to lower the risk of developing certain health conditions such as hemorrhoids and diverticular disease. Fiber may also lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Since it acts as a bulking agent, it can help to increase the size and weight of the stool so that it passes more easily through your body.

Can help to lower cholesterol

Soluble fiber is a particularly helpful aid when it comes to your cholesterol. The type that is found in beans and oat bran can help to lower levels of lipoprotein – a type of bad cholesterol. As well as lowering cholesterol levels, fiber can also help with heart health, and studies have also shown that it can help reduce blood pressure and inflammation.

Can help to control blood sugar

Eating enough dietary fiber has been shown to help the body digest other foods more slowly, which can decrease the absorption rate of sugar. In people with diabetes, this is especially important because it can help maintain proper blood sugar levels. Studies have also shown that it may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

What happens if you don’t eat enough dietary fiber?

The health benefits of dietary fiber are clear, but not getting enough fiber can also be detrimental to overall health. Certain health repercussions can happen if your diet is lacking in fiber. They include:

Constant bloating

Since fiber is great for digestion and helps move things along, without enough of it in the system, the digestive tract will suffer. Certain foods that cause bloating and gas can include alcohol and processed foods. If you eat too much of these and don’t get enough fiber, you may deal with a constant bloated feeling.

Irregular bowel movements

Having a healthy bowel routine is important, and not getting enough fiber will significantly decrease the chances of this. If your system lacks fiber, your body will be unable to eliminate stools in the way that it should.

Blood sugar spikes or drops

Since fiber helps to regulate blood sugar, a lack of it can lead to unhealthy spikes or drops.

Low energy and foggy brain

Having too little fiber in the diet can lead to fatigue, because the balancing act that fiber contributes to becomes out of whack with other nutrients you’re consuming. Fiber also helps the body feel full, and if there isn’t enough of it, you may start to crave sweet foods to help you feel more full after eating. This high intake of sweets affects blood sugar, which in turn leads to a lowered ability to concentrate and think clearly.

cauliflower as a source of dietary fiber
Image by Jennifer Schmidt on Unsplash: Cauliflower is a great source of insoluble fiber.

Does fiber help with fat loss?

Fiber has been shown to help aid in fat loss; however, soluble fiber is the one you’ll want to get more of if you’re looking to shed a few pounds. It helps with this in a few ways. The first is by aiding your gut bacteria. Fiber helps to feed the trillions of bacteria within your gut that are designed to keep your digestion on track. Certain species of these bacteria help to play roles in weight management. When they are fed properly with soluble fiber, they can contribute to a healthy weight.

Fiber can also act as an appetite regulator, meaning that it can help to decrease cravings or overeating by helping the body feel satiated for longer. Studies have shown that viscous fiber specifically is good for helping to reduce cravings and increase feelings of fullness, which will lead to weight loss over time. Pectins, psyllium, guar gum, and glucomannan all contain viscous fiber.

Studies have also suggested that the fat loss that is most common in those who increase their fiber intake is belly fat. This type of fat is often the most dangerous kind, as it can lead to the onset of disease and a heightened risk for developing chronic illness.

Eating more high-fiber foods can help to reduce overall weight. However, there are so many more health benefits than just fat loss. Upping your fiber intake will help to keep your digestive tract running smoothly and lead to an overall healthier you.

Featured image by Melissa Di Rocco on Unsplash

Natural Highs: How To Use Diet And Exercise To Achieve An Endorphin Rush

Many people who vigorously exercise on a regular basis know about that feeling after their workout. The one where you feel as if you’ve just conquered the world. The most commonly used phrase to describe the sensation was coined by avid runners and is known as the “runner’s high.”

While many people are not quite sure why this sensation happens, as it turns out, that overall feeling of euphoria after a satisfying exercise session comes down to biological science. It is caused by neurochemicals known as endorphins, which are made primarily in the hypothalamus and pituitary glands of the brain. The pituitary gland is a vital component to brain health because it influences all other parts of the body. But what exactly are endorphins? And how do they affect you?

We’ll examine this below, as well as delving into how to use diet and exercise to achieve an endorphin rush and feel like you’re on top of the world.

What are endorphins?

As mentioned above, endorphins are neurochemicals. More specifically, they are a large group of peptides that act on the opiate receptors in the brains. Opiate receptors are designed to act as a switch in the brain that triggers reward systems as well as addictive behaviors. When endorphins are released within the brain and stimulate the opiate receptors, it leads to feelings of pleasure, wellbeing, and even a reduction in pain.

The most common time endorphins are released into the body naturally is in stressful situations or if you are experiencing pain. The body naturally releases these endorphins to help cope with the experiences, with the aim being to combat the negative outcomes that accompany high levels of stress or pain by maximizing pleasure.

It’s not only stress or pain that can lead to the release of these neurochemicals, though. Other activities such as eating, sex, and exercise can all play a role in endorphin release. Because of the body’s ability to create endorphins during those times, it is said that their release can help modulate appetite, trigger the release of sex hormones, and increase the efficacy of the immune response.

woman wild swimming in natural waters
Image by Seth Doyle on Unsplash: Being in nature helps to produce endorphins.

What are the benefits of endorphins?

Aside from being able to help you deal with painful injuries or stressful situations, endorphins have been shown to promote overall wellness, especially when it comes to mental health. Studies have shown that participating in activities that boost endorphins can lead to the reduction of symptoms in those with depression and anxiety. Endorphins can also help to boost self-esteem because they lead can lead to a more positive and optimistic demeanor.

Other studies have shown that an endorphins have a role in weight gain or loss. This is because of their appetite regulation abilities. It’s also possible to be deficient in endorphins, leading to a range of potential symptoms, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness
  • Aches and pains
  • Addiction
  • Trouble with sleep
  • Poor impulse control

Does exercise increase endorphins?

Any type of physical movement will cause the body to produce endorphins. This is because exercise stimulates the body’s stress response. When you increase your heart rate or start to move your body in an active way, the body can see this as a sign of stress and begin to release stress hormones. When that stress hormone activation occurs, your brain counteracts it by releasing endorphins. This counteraction is why people can feel euphoric or a general sense of happiness after a good exercise session.

What activities increase endorphins?

You don’t have to wait for a stressful situation or injury to occur to take advantage of the happy chemicals in your brain! There are many activities you can partake in that will lead to a rush of endorphins. Running is perhaps the most common activity when it comes to endorphin release, but any type of exercise will do the job. Workouts with a higher intensity are more likely to give a rush, because they put more stress on the body and thus elicit a higher response to combat that stress. Wild swimming, for example, is another physical activity that sends stress signals throughout the body that will induce endorphin production and release.

Aside from exercise, some activities that will drive the release of endorphins include:

spicy red chilli
Image by Aliona Gumeniuk on Unsplash: Eating spicy food can help to trigger endorphin release in the body, research says.

What foods help release endorphins?

Since appetite regulation is an important part of food consumption and endorphins play a role in appetite, it’s no surprise that eating and endorphin release are connected. Eating good foods have been shown to trigger the release of the feel-good chemical that leads to those satisfied feelings of fullness and happiness after eating something you truly enjoy.

So which types of foods can trigger the release? Well, some are better than others. The best foods to eat if you want to give yourself an endorphin rush include:

Although these foods have been studied and shown to help boost overall feelings of happiness, simply eating your favorite food can also do the trick.

The endorphin rush is a natural high that everyone can benefit from – it’s great for the body, the mind, and overall levels of health.

Featured image by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

Spring Clean Your Gut! 6 Foods To Include In Your Spring Detox

In many places, the winter months are cold and unwelcoming. People often spend much more time indoors, eat comfort foods more often, and indulge in holiday meals and snacks. So when the spring finally arrives and it’s time to get back outside again, your gut health might be a little off because of all that overindulgence. The good news is that a few additions to your diet may be all you need to help your body detox after your stint in hibernation mode.   

Why do people detox in spring?

Spring cleaning is a commonly used term that often refers to people getting rid of old things and letting go of all the things they no longer need, wear, or have room for in their house. It’s also a time to do a deep clean that may have been neglected over the course of the winter months. Spring cleaning doesn’t just have to be done on material objects, though. Your body can also benefit from its own version of this new-season principle.  

During the winter, it’s easy to exercise less and eat a little less healthily than you would in the warmer months. All that extra food and reduction in exercise often leads to an excess in weight as well as a build-up of toxic substances in the body. This could be why people often feel sluggish and tired at the beginning of the spring season. By doing a spring detox, you can help to eliminate all that heaviness that you’ve accumulated over the course of the cooler months. This, in turn, will make it easier to get more active during spring and start feeling lighter and healthier ASAP.

berries for spring detox diet
Image by Cecilia Par on Unsplash: If you find yourself wondering what snacks to eat when detoxing, look no further than a delicious and sweet bowl of in-season berries.

How can I clean my gut naturally?

Since digestive health is a huge part of overall health, it’s vital to make it a priority. Cleaning the gut naturally can be done with a few simple dietary steps. The first is to stay hydrated. The digestive tract needs water to help move foods along and absorb nutrients, and drinking enough water each day will help to keep your digestion regulated. Eating foods with a high water content can also be a great help.

Adding fiber into your diet will also help to move the food along through your digestive tract and ensure that anything the body doesn’t need gets flushed out as waste. A cleanse or detox routine can also help to clean the gut naturally, so let’s take a look at what a spring detox might involve.

What are the best foods to eat when detoxing?

Eating whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is the best way to help your body flush out any harmful build-up or extra toxins that may have accumulated throughout the winter. Although many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein sources can help to detox the body, some foods are better than others for the process.

1. Beets

Beets are a great spring food to add to a detox diet because of their ability to activate liver enzymes and increase the level of bile within the body. This heightens the liver’s detoxing ability and helps toxins get flushed out of the body at a higher rate.

2. Berries

Berries are full of antioxidants.Spring berries such as strawberries are a great addition to the diet because their antioxidants can help to balance the levels of free radicals within the body. This balancing act ends up contributing to the body’s heightened ability to flush out toxins.

3. Asparagus

Typically, grocery stores pack asparagus all year round, but it’s especially great for detoxing in the spring, as that’s when it is in season. The vegetable acts as a diuretic, which helps the body get rid of excess substances such as salt. It can also help flush out toxins from the kidneys, leading to an overall body detoxification.

seasonal spring beets
Image by Emma-Jane Hobden on Unsplash: Many people don’t immediately think of beets when they think of a detox, but their ability to help the liver do its job is what makes them a great addition to a detox diet.

4. Grapefruit

Grapefruit used to be hailed as a superior diet food. Some people may have even tried the “grapefruit diet”, which involves eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice with every single meal.Even though that diet was really just a trend, there is some truth to the health benefits grapefruit can provide, especially when it comes to detoxing.

The natural sugars in grapefruit are easy to digest and the high water content will help to flush out toxins. Studies have also shown that when people eat grapefruit on a regular basis, it helps them increase their intake of other healthy foods that could help in a detox.

5. Kale

Kale is another spring season vegetable that you should be eating more of during your spring detox. This leafy vegetable has a high content of phytonutrients, which are molecules in plants that provide some great health benefits when consumed.

One specific phytonutrient known as sulfurophane helps with liver health, which in turn leads to the strengthening of the body’s natural detox process. Kale also contains high levels of antioxidants that also help the body get rid of all those toxins it doesn’t need.

6. Green Tea

Green tea is available all year round, but that doesn’t make it any less important when it comes to your spring detox. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and contains liver-protecting properties that can keep your natural detox process running as it should.

A spring detox is a great way to help shed that heaviness and tiredness that winter left behind, and including the aforementioned foods in your diet can help you speed up the process.

Featured image by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

14 High-Energy Foods That Give You A Natural Boost

Having low energy levels can hinder your performance throughout the day. Whether you need to be sharp for a work presentation or your afternoon workout routine, having a good amount of energy is vital. Since food is your body’s energy source, it’s only natural to assume that any type of food will give you the energy levels you need to get through your day. However, there are some foods that provide much more energy than others.

If you’re wondering “What can I eat to give me a boost of energy?”, look no further than the following 14 foods, which are proven to give you that stamina you’re looking for.

Which foods give you energy quickly?

Not all foods are created equal when it comes to energy. This is because of different nutritional content. Certain foods with a high level of quality nutrients will be far better for that energy increase you need. To incorporate more energy-rich foods into your meals, try consuming the following things.

1. Fatty fish

Salmon and tuna are types of fatty fish that are packed with energy-providing nutrients such as protein, fatty acids, and B vitamins. Vitamin B12, in particular, is especially important for energy levels because of its ability to produce red blood cells and help iron do its job in the body. A single serving of fatty fish provides all the vitamin B12 you’ll need throughout the day, and this is what helps to increase energy.  

2. Brown rice

Brown rice is nutritious for a variety of reasons, but when it comes to energy, it’s the high amount of manganese that really helps keep you alert and ready to take on any task. Manganese helps enzymes break down foods in the body to turn them into energy.

3. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes also have a high amount of manganese that is vital in keeping energy levels up. Because they are also nutrient-dense and classified as complex carbohydrates, they digest slower. This gives the body more stable energy levels.

4. Quinoa

Quinoa is high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. It also has a good amount of minerals and vitamins the body needs for different processes. It is low on the glycemic index, which makes it a great source for sustained energy throughout the day. It also contains manganese, magnesium, and folate, all of which are important for energy levels.

5. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is the breakfast of choice for many people because of its health benefits. What some people may not know is that it’s a great energy booster. This is because it is full of B vitamins, iron, and manganese as well as beta glucan. Beta glucan is a soluble fiber that can aid the digestive system and its absorption of nutrients. This keeps energy levels stable and consistent throughout the day.

oatmeal - high-energy foods
Image by Alex Motoc on Unsplash: Oatmeal has been proven to provide a good boost of energy.

6. Lentils

Lentils are typically eaten as a plant-based protein, but the legumes are great for increasing energy and keeping levels steady. They are high in both carbohydrates and fiber, as well as manganese, zinc, and iron. The combined nutrient value of lentils is what helps to give the body the boost it needs.

7. Beets

Beets may not be a favorite food for everyone, but with their health benefits and the many different ways you can incorporate them into meals, everyone should be trying to get a little more beet into their diet. Beets are high in antioxidants, which help to improve blood flow; they also contain nitrates, which help in the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps oxygen flow throughout the body and can increase energy levels. 

What snacks are high in energy?

For many people, snacking is a big part of their energy intake. Leading a busy life can often have people skipping meals or foregoing healthier meal options for quick takeout when time is scarce. There are, however, some great snack options that will help to keep energy levels up throughout the day.

8. Bananas

Bananas are full of complex carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin B6, all of which can give the body the energy boost it needs to help ward off fatigue throughout the day.

9. Coffee

Coffee is typically the first thing people reach for in the morning to wake themselves up, and for good reason. Its caffeine content passes through the blood into the brain quickly. There, it stimulates the production of epinephrine, a hormone that stimulates both the body and the brain, leading to higher energy levels.

10. Eggs

Eggs are great in both meals and snacks; however, on their own as a snack, an egg can provide the body with a good amount of protein. Eggs also contain an essential amino acid known as leucine, which gives the body a boost of energy.

11. Apples

Apples are nutrient-dense and contain natural sugars and fibers. This helps the body to release energy slower, thus keeping a steady stream flowing throughout the day. Their antioxidant content also helps to boost energy because antioxidants have been shown to lead to slower digestion, thus releasing energy for longer periods of time.

12. Dark chocolate

This sweet treat is great for energy levels for a few reasons. It is full of antioxidants, which help to maintain steady energy release, increase the flow of blood to aid in oxygen delivery, and reduce mental fatigue.Dark chocolate also contains caffeine and theobromine, which are stimulants designed to enhance energy levels.

dark chocolate - high-energy foods
Image by Jason Leung on Unsplash: What is the best natural energy booster? Dark chocolate is high on the list.

13. Goji berries

Goji berries are nutrient powerhouses. They are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all of which help to provide energy to the body.

14. Edamame

Edamame is a great snack for those looking for an energy boost because of its high levels of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It also contains manganese and folic acid that can help increase energy.

By adding these foods into your meal and snack schedule, you can help give your body the energy boost it needs as well as keeping energy levels steady and consistent throughout each day.

Featured image by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Are Appetite Suppressants Safe?

Having a healthy appetite is a good sign that your body is working as it should be. The appetite is your body’s way of telling you that it’s time to refuel. It helps to regulate food intake for peak performance, and is designed to keep your body full of the energy and micronutrients it needs. In healthy individuals, this built-in mechanism is the perfect signalling service. 

However, for those who are overweight, obese, or experience extreme hunger for any number of health issues (such as a lack of protein, inadequate sleep, or high levels of stress), the appetite can be their worst enemy. This is because feeling hungry when you know that your body has had enough food can lead to overeating, weight management issues, and the inability to lose weight. There are some supplements or medications marketed to help regulate your body’s natural appetite signals. But what are appetite suppressants, exactly? And are they actually safe to use?

What are appetite suppressants?

Appetite suppressants are drugs that belong to the anorectic drug class. They are designed to reduce appetite so that people consume less food throughout the day, and are typically used by those looking to shed pounds. They can work by eliminating hunger pangs altogether or by causing feelings of fullness after only a small amount of food has been consumed. When they are sold over the counter (OTC) they are often referred to as diet pills.

These types of medications essentially trick your brain by utilizing a couple of different tactics. One such tactic is to increase levels of serotonin, which leads to feelings of fullness. This is because serotonin is a natural appetite suppressant and can actually turn off feelings of hunger. Appetite suppressants can also target the adrenal gland and block the brain from communicating hunger signals to the rest of the body.

Vital RX - weight loss
Image by I yunmai on Unsplash: Appetite suppressants can be effective, but they don’t work for everyone.

Do appetite suppressants work?

Appetite suppressants have been shown to be effective; however, they may not always work for everyone. Research has shown that people who use appetite suppressants in combination with a healthy diet plan and exercise regimen were able to lose roughly three to nine percent of their starting weight in the 12 months following the beginning of their weight loss journey. But this number is an average, and does not take into account those who may not have had any success with the drug.

Is it safe to take appetite suppressants?

Back in the 1990s, doctors discovered the appetite suppressant “fen-phen”, which worked wonders for melting fat away. But in the years that followed, some of the patients who had taken the drugs were found to have heart valve damage that led to heart failure and pulmonary hypertension. These damages were fatal in some people. This revelation about the appetite suppressant caused the pills to become feared rather than revered.

Since then, new appetite suppressants have been created in their place. The drugs that are now in use have been deemed safe to use without the risk of serious side effects such as the ones that came with the use of fen-phen; however, they may not be safe for everyone. For example, those with glaucoma, heart disease, liver disease, or hypothyroidism should not use appetite suppressants at all. They are also deemed unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding people.

What are the risks of appetite suppressants? 

Before taking appetite suppressants, everyone should know the risks that are involved. This is because the risks can sometimes outweigh the benefits, especially for those who are not looking to lose weight for health reasons. There are many complications that can arise; for example, some people have developed pulmonary hypertension even while using the latest in appetite suppressants.

Appetite suppressants have also been shown to cause gastric upset in many people. This could lead to unwanted side effects such as constipation, nausea, and vomiting. Another big risk factor that goes along with taking appetite suppressants is liver disease. Though the condition may be rare, it can be incredibly dangerous.

Other more common side effects of appetite suppressants include:

  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Change in taste
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia or other sleep-related issues

Appetite suppressants can also interact with certain medications such as anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants. Those who wish to begin taking appetite suppressants for weight loss should always speak to their doctor to discuss any medication interactions or potential side effects.

Vital RX - appetite
Image by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash: Appetite suppressants can help people lose weight, but are best combined with a healthy lifestyle plan.

Are there any effective alternatives to appetite suppressants?

If you want to explore other options for losing weight in the form of natural appetite suppressants, there are many options available to you. One simple way to suppress your appetite is by increasing your fiber intake. Fiber has the ability to decrease cravings, control blood sugar levels, and help you lose weight.  

You could also try using supplements that increase levels of serotonin in the brain, such as 5-HTP. By increasing serotonin levels, you will feel less hungry. An increase in serotonin levels has also been shown to decrease carbohydrate intake, which leads to weight loss. Other natural appetite suppressants that are simple, easy to consume, and don’t come with many side effects include green tea, garcinia cambogia, and coffee.

Appetite suppressants may lead to weight loss, but they can also pose some serious health risks if they are not approached correctly. Speak with your doctor prior to beginning any new regimen with appetite suppressants.

Featured image by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

8 Foods That Can Help Boost Your Metabolism

The metabolism is a very important bodily process. It is tasked with turning the calories a person takes in from food and beverages into energy. It does this by converting sustenance into specific nutrients that are then used in different ways. The calories that are consumed are combined with oxygen and released as energy into the body. That energy is required for every other process – which is what makes the metabolism so vital.

Even when the body is doing nothing at all, it needs energy. Everything from breathing and blood circulation to hormone levels and cell growth and repair all rely heavily on how much energy is within the body. The basic functioning carried out while the body is completely at rest is called the basal metabolic rate.

When a person is active, the level of required energy changes. This is why those who move more often require more calories to function. There are varying degrees of metabolic function, too; those with a higher-level metabolism burn more calories at rest than those with a low metabolism. But can you boost your metabolism yourself? And if so, what foods can you eat to do this?

Can you boost your metabolism naturally?

The rate of your metabolism is genetic, so what you’re born with is generally what you’re stuck with. Of course, there are some caveats, such as age. As people get older, their metabolism tends to slow down. This can be attributed to some factors such as less activity, muscle loss, and certain cellular processes that lose efficiency as you age, thus slowing down your metabolism.

However, there are certain ways the metabolism can be manipulated into switching into a higher gear. Metabolism is greatly affected by exercise levels, so by moving more, you can increase your metabolic rate. Research has shown that exercises such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a great metabolism booster. You can also use the food you eat for energy as a way to boost your metabolism.  

VitalRX - avocado
Image by Estudio Bloom on Unsplash: What fruits help boost metabolism? Avocado is a great choice.

Metabolism-boosting foods

Not all calories are created equally; some can help to keep your metabolism burning at a higher rate. If you’re wondering what foods can speed up your metabolism, you have to look at the key nutrients and vitamins in each type of food. These play a vital role in all bodily processes, and can help to determine the difference between a slow or fast metabolic process.

1. Protein-rich foods

Foods that are high in protein are a great addition to the diet if you’re looking to boost your metabolism. Foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts and seeds are all great sources of protein. The reason protein is so important for metabolism is because it uses more of the body’s energy to digest. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). Studies have found that when the body digests protein and uses that additional energy, it can raise the metabolic rate by 15–30%.

2. Iron, zinc, and selenium-rich foods

These essential minerals play vital roles in many processes, but they are particularly great aids in speeding up the metabolism. This is because they all contribute to the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Since the thyroid gland regulates metabolism, foods such as meat, seafood, legumes, and nuts and seeds can all aid in boosting metabolic function.

3. Capsaicin-rich foods

Capsaicin is a chemical compound found in chili peppers. Research has found that the compound can lead to an increased metabolism by increasing the amount of calories the body burns per day.

4. Caffeine

Caffeine can be found in many beverages, such as tea and coffee, as well as chocolate. Research has shown that consuming 270 mg or more of caffeine per day can lead to an extra 100 calories burned. When it comes to tea, the best kinds to choose from for metabolism-boosting effects are oolong and green tea. Research has shown that both of those teas can lead to a 4–10% increase in metabolism.

5. Spices

Ginger is a spice that is well-known for its effects in soothing nausea, but it can also help to boost metabolism. Other spices that have been shown to help boost metabolism include grains of paradise and cayenne pepper.

VitalRX - oysters
Image by Charles Koh on Unsplash: What vitamins help metabolism? Zinc is one, so be sure to include zinc-rich foods like seafood in your diet.

6. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has been used widely in recent years because of the many health claims surrounding it. It can be used topically (i.e. on the skin) or with food. When consumed, it can help to speed up the metabolism because of its high level of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Research has shown that MCTs increase metabolic rate.

7. Water

Water may not seem like a metabolism-boosting food, but research has found that staying hydrated with H20 can actually increase metabolic rates by 24–30%. This is likely due to the fact that the body needs to use energy to heat the water to body temperature. However, the effects of water on the metabolism are typically temporary.  

8. Avocado

Avocado is considered a “superfruit” because of its many health benefits. It can also help to boost metabolism because of its high content of healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats are burned at a higher rate than other types of fats, thus speeding up the metabolism.

Boosting the metabolism isn’t always easy, especially considering the complex nature of the process. However, consuming certain foods can be a helpful aid in increasing the rate at which the body burns calories, particularly when combined with other lifestyle factors such as exercising.

Featured image by Mark DeYoung on Unsplash

Which Vitamins Are Fat Soluble?

The body needs a group of essential nutrients for it to work properly. These include minerals, trace elements, and vitamins. Vitamins, specifically, are needed to help with many different processes and to hinder the development of chronic illnesses. For example, vitamin D is essential for bone health because it aids in the absorption of calcium, another vital nutrient.

There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve quickly in water whereas fat-soluble vitamins need fat to be absorbed into the body. Both groups have different rates of absorption and storage capabilities. So which vitamins are fat soluble?

What is a fat-soluble vitamin?

Fat-soluble vitamins are nutrients that dissolve in fat and are stored in the tissues of the body. They are absorbed into fat globules and taken where they need to go when those fat globules make their way around the body through the small intestines. Since no two vitamins are alike, each fat-soluble vitamin gets stored in different places and for different lengths of time. Some stay in the fatty tissues, others in the liver; they can be stored between a few days up to six months.

Fat-soluble vitamins are kept in the body so that when it needs them, they can be used from its stores. They are best stored and absorbed into the body when they are taken with high-fat foods; however, they are not as easily excreted out of the body as water-soluble vitamins, so they can be absorbed with all meals.

Vital RX - bones
Image by Harlie Raethel on Unsplash: What happens if you don’t have enough fat-soluble vitamins? Your bone health could suffer.

What are the benefits of fat-soluble vitamins?

There are four different kinds of fat-soluble vitamins, all of which have their own benefits. Each and every fat-soluble vitamin plays a vital role in overall health, some even helping with a variety of different processes.

Retinol (Vitamin A)

Retinol, or vitamin A, is primarily used in the body for eye health, immune health, and bone health. Retinol is used to help convert light that enters the eye into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. Studies have found that the first symptom of a retinol deficiency is typically night-blindness.

Retinol also helps the immune system function by maintaining mucous barriers in areas such as the eyes, lungs, gut, and genitals to help ward off or trap bacteria and other pathogens. It also can help to protect bone health. Research has shown that those without adequate levels of retinol in their system have an increased risk of bone fractures.

Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Tocopherol acts a powerful antioxidant which is crucial in overall health. Without adequate antioxidant levels to bind to free radicals, the body can accumulate dangerous levels of free radicals, leading to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can then encourage chronic disease. By decreasing oxidative stress in the body, tocopherol can also enhance the life of your cells.

Ergocalciferol/Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3)

The sunshine vitamin has a variety of different health benefits. It encourages bone health by increasing the absorption of essential nutrients calcium and phosphorous, which are required for healthy bones. It also plays a vital role in immune function and can decrease the risk of developing illnesses such as the flu.

The vitamin is also a powerful mood regulator and studies have shown that it can help to ward off mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Vitamin D deficiency has also been shown to bring about many health problems, so getting enough is of the utmost importance.

Phytonadione (Vitamin K)

Phytonadione plays a vital role in bone health, cognitive health, and heart health. When it comes to cognition, the nutrient has been shown to help boost memory in older adults. In terms of heart health, phytonadione is thought to decrease blood pressure because of its ability to lower mineralization that could build up in the arteries around the heart.

When should you take fat-soluble vitamins?

Since fat-soluble vitamins dissolve within the body using fat, the best time to take them is with a meal, usually in the evening. Saturated fats are the best type of fat to take these types of vitamins with because they increase the absorption rate and help the vitamins get to the fatty tissues and liver so they can be stored for future use.

Can you overdose on fat-soluble vitamins?

The risk of overdose is higher when it comes to fat-soluble vitamins than water-soluble vitamins, but only if you are taking much more than the recommended daily dose. This is because of their high storage abilities in the body. Toxicity levels will depend on the type of vitamin and how much was taken.

When it comes to retinol, for example, the symptoms of an overdose can include nausea, intracranial pressure, coma, and even death. The symptoms of having too much vitamin D in the system include weight loss, appetite loss, and irregular heartbeat. Having too much vitamin D has also been shown to cause organ damage because it raises the level of calcium in the blood.

Tocopherol taken in high doses can lead to stroke and interfere with the blood’s ability to clot. When it comes to phytonadione, the risk of overdose is low; however, it can still cause health problems if it is mixed with certain medications such as antibiotics or blood thinners.  

Vital RX - olive oil
Image by Pixabay on Pexels: Do you need to eat fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins? It definitely helps. 

Getting the right amount of fat-soluble vitamins is important for the overall health of the body. They are required for a variety of functions, and deficiencies can lead to the onset of a plethora of different chronic diseases. The important thing to remember when taking fat-soluble vitamins is to not go overboard. The body stores these vitamins, so unless you are severely deficient, you may risk taking too much if you go over the daily recommended amount.

Featured image by Candace Mathers on Unsplash

Which Vitamins Are Water Soluble?

Vitamins are essential for each and every bodily process to run as it should. They provide different nutrients, all of which are required to either prevent chronic illness or encourage overall health.

Not all vitamins are made equally, though. They all have different rates of absorption, also known as bioavailability, as well as different rates at which they are excreted from the body. All vitamins fall into one of two main categories when it comes to where they are stored in the body: water soluble and fat soluble. So which vitamins are water soluble?

What does it mean if a vitamin is water soluble?

A water-soluble vitamin is dissolved in water and is essentially easy to be absorbed into the body. This readily available absorption allows the vitamins to be used immediately by the body once they reach the tissues. They are not stored, and thus require daily doses to help keep up with the body’s demand of each specific nutrient.

Since the body only needs a certain amount of each water-soluble vitamin, it typically takes what it needs when it arrives into the body and flushes out the rest so that there is no overaccumulation.

Vital RX - water
Image by Manki Kim on Unsplash: Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water, whereas fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat within the body. 

Water-soluble vitamins vs fat-soluble vitamins

A fat-soluble vitamin is different than a water-soluble vitamin in that it dissolves in fat to be absorbed into the body. The specific type of fat required for these nutrients to be absorbed is fat globules. When the vitamin enters the fat globule, it is then distributed to where it needs to go when the globule makes its way through the small intestines. These types of vitamins are stored for much longer than water-soluble vitamins and can be typically found in the liver and fatty tissues. This storage leaves them readily available for when the body needs them in the future. The best way to absorb fat-soluble vitamins is if they are taken with high-fat foods.

Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are not stored as mentioned above, and thus need to be replenished more often. Although all vitamins have different daily recommended amounts, there is no difference in the general need for both fat- and water-soluble vitamins, as all the essential vitamins are required in their own respective amounts.

Are most vitamins water soluble?

The majority of vitamins are water soluble, with only four being fat soluble. Specific vitamins that are water soluble include:

  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
  • Biotin (Vitamin B7)
  • Folate (Vitamin B9)
  • Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
  • Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)

These vitamins are essential to overall health, but without storage capabilities, they need to be consumed every day to ensure that a person is getting enough and reaping the health rewards of having full levels of nutrition.

The four fat-soluble vitamins are:

Fat-soluble vitamins pose more of a toxicity risk than water soluble vitamins because they are stored within the body for much longer periods of time and are less readily excreted. Taking more than the body needs could result in an overdose.

When should you take water-soluble vitamins?

The most optimal time to take water-soluble vitamins will depend on their type; however, they are best absorbed on an empty stomach. By taking them in the morning half an hour before eating or two hours after a meal, you’ll get the most out of the vitamin when it comes to nutrient absorption.

Taking the B family of vitamins in the morning can also help to boost energy and mood levels and help with stress management for the upcoming day. Vitamin C can be taken at any point throughout the day, and it is typically safe to take other water-soluble vitamins at the same time.

Vital RX - vitamin supplements
Image by Pina Messina on Unsplash: Water-soluble vitamins are generally safe to be taken together and should be done on an empty stomach for the most benefits.

Can you OD on a water-soluble vitamin?

As mentioned above, water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. This leaves the chance of an overdose of the vitamin very low. This is especially true for vitamin C, which the body will push out of the system prior to a dangerous overdose. If vitamin C is taken in great excess, it can cause upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea, but it is unlikely to cause any other negative health effects. 

The water-soluble vitamins that pose the most risk when it comes to an overdose are certain B vitamins, such as B3 and B6. These have been shown to cause adverse health effects such as jaundice, elevated liver enzymes, and nausea and nerve damage when taken in excess.

Each body is different and requires different amounts of water-soluble vitamins depending on overall health levels, any chronic conditions, or medications that may deplete or hinder the body’s ability to absorb certain vitamins. To find out how much you need, it’s important to speak with your doctor.

The water-soluble list of vitamins is essential to the overall function of many processes within the body – for example, B vitamins are often referred to as the “building blocks” of health, and the daily target needs to be met for things such as cell metabolism, energy levels, and brain function. Being sure you’re getting enough water-soluble vitamins on a daily basis is the best way to keep up with your health and avoid any complications that can arise from being malnourished.

Featured image by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

Why Soil Depletion Has Made Dietary Supplementation A Necessity

A nutritious diet is a key component in overall health. What you put into your body plays a vital role in how it functions. Everything from physical elements such as cardiovascular and respiratory health to how well you sleep and your psychological state can be greatly affected (both positively and negatively) through diet.

Many people fail to get enough of the essential vitamins and nutrients they need through diet alone for many reasons. Today’s fast-paced lifestyle can make it near impossible to avoid unhealthy eating habits. Furthermore, the cost of some healthier options versus their less nutritious counterparts can make eating well that much more difficult.

How food is produced can also affect nutrition values in even the healthiest of foods. The soil that food grows in is just one step of the entire production process, but it has made a huge difference in the nutritional value of food today because of soil depletion. So, what is soil depletion, exactly? And what does it have to do with supplements?

Here’s why soil depletion has made dietary supplementation a necessity.

What is soil depletion?

Soil depletion is the process of the soil losing its nutrient content. When foods such as vegetables are planted in the ground, they take from what’s around them to build up nutrients within themselves as they mature. The nutrients that are in soil make a huge difference in how much the specific vegetable gets throughout its growth process.

Soil gets its nutrients from many different sources including decomposed animals and animal waste, bacteria conversions, weathering of rocks, and the atmosphere. The main nutrients found in soil are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Magnesium, sulfur, and calcium can also be found in soil.

Vital RX - soil
Image by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash: Many studies have shown that soil depletion is a big problem when it comes to nutrient density of crops.

Why does soil become depleted of nutrients?

There are many reasons why soil gets depleted. When it comes to crops, this can happen because the plants need to take nutrients from the soil to grow and mature. It’s a natural process designed to encourage proper growth, but if those nutrients are not replaced back into the soil, that depletion continues, and the next crop grown in the same soil will suffer from a lack of proper nutrients.

Depletion of the soil can also occur because of soil erosion. This happens when the upper layer of soil is displaced. It is a natural process driven by the activity of erosive agents such as water, ice, snow, air, plants, animals, and humans.

Nutrient depletion in food

Research has shown that each generation of new crops grown in soil that was depleted from the last is less nutrient-dense. One specific study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that there were steady declines in nutritional values of vegetables grown in the same soil. The nutrients in question were protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B2, and vitamin C.

The study monitored crops from 1950 until 1999 to see just how steady of a decline it was, and the results suggested that the nutrient depletion was caused by a push for improving the size, growth rate, and pest resistance of the crops. There was no focus on the soil or the nutritional content of the crops. When this happens in wider agricultural practices, food becomes less healthy over time.

The aforementioned study isn’t the only one to find that there is a steady decline in the nutritional value of crops. Many others have found that to get the same amount of nutrients from the same vegetables as they would have in the past, one would have to eat a lot more. In fact, an article in Scientific American cited one study that found that the vitamin A content of one orange when your grandparents were young was equal to how much vitamin A can be found in eight oranges today.

Why do we need dietary supplements?

Although many doctors suggest that food should be the first choice for nutrients, when your diet isn’t giving you everything, you need to turn to other means. The only other surefire way to get all the essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements one needs today is through supplementation.

Basically, eating eight oranges just to get a good amount of vitamin A is just not a feasible option for most people. And since oranges aren’t the only food suffering from a lack of nutrient density, it’s safe to assume that many servings of fruits and vegetables are not providing the nutrients they’re supposed to.

Vital RX - supplements
Image by Christina Victoria Craft on Unsplash: Supplementation is key to getting all the nutrients a person needs on a daily basis.

This isn’t to suggest that you should not continue to eat healthily, because wholefoods are still full of nutrients. Rather, managing levels of your vitamins and minerals will be a great place to start when it comes to knowing what nutrients you’re just not getting enough of. Once you figure that out, you can start supplementation.

Gaining everything we need through diet as density of nutrients continues to decline will become an even bigger uphill battle if the soil depletion problem isn’t addressed properly. The good news is that many supplements, such as Vital RX’s, are created with high-quality ingredients designed to offer the best bioavailability and nutrients to give your body everything it needs.

Featured image by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

4 Easy Steps To A Simple Winter Detox

As the body’s largest organ, the liver has a pretty big job to do. Along with over 500 other different functions, it provides the body with the much-needed exit door for toxins. It does this by filtering out all the blood that comes through the digestive tract and sorting through different nutrients, toxins, and hormones.

Since the liver is a detoxifier all on its own, it can be hard to imagine how you can help the process out. But some detox programs can actually give the liver a little boost when it comes to getting its job done properly. During winter, a specific type of detox may be especially important because the what the body needs during those cold months of the year is different than in other seasons. So, what is a winter detox, exactly, and how can you do it for optimal health? Read on for our easy steps to a simple winter detox.

What is a winter detox?

In the simplest terms, a winter detox is just a detoxification program that occurs in the winter season. There’s much more to it than just doing your simple juicing and cleansing, though. A detox is designed to reset and rejuvenate the body to help battle fatigue and other unhelpful symptoms that happen when the body is weighed down by too many toxins.

When it comes to winter detoxification, the idea is to focus on eating better, moving more (even though it can be hard to get outside exercise), and balancing your body and mind. A winter detox should include foods that have warming properties to ensure that the optimal metabolic state is reached. It’s important to keep warm in the winter for overall health because when the internal temperature is stable, the body is more likely to be able to fight off viruses and infections.   

Vital RX - winter soup
Image by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash: How can I detox my body at home naturally? Start with your diet.

What are the benefits of a detox diet for winter?

When the seasons change, the body undergoes some changes, too. This is because it has to prepare itself to adapt for the colder temperatures. Processes like metabolism, hormone levels, and circulation all need to adjust when colder temperatures roll in. Lifestyle changes such as more indoor time and the consumption of heavier comfort foods can also lead to changes in the body. With all these different changes come all-new toxins for your body, some of which it might not be used to.

The biggest benefit of doing a winter detox is to help your body adjust to those changes. Since there will be new toxins to eliminate, the body will need to be ready and able to get rid of them so that any side effects from being over-toxified don’t set in. Think of it as a fresh start for your liver.

How can I detox my body in winter safely?

If you want to do a detox, it might be tempting to look up a quick three-day program so you can get it over with. However, the safest way to detox the liver is by taking your time. This is because toxins need ample time to be released from the body or they may end up sticking around and triggering an inflammatory response. This can lead to flu-like symptoms (and the feeling that you’re hurting your body more than helping).

You don’t want to end up overloading your detox pathways so that nothing can get out, so you’ll also want to pay close attention to what you’re putting into your body during a detox. If you’re trying to eliminate toxins but continue to consume others, it’s a losing game. You have to be tuned into your body and really listen to it. If something doesn’t feel right, chances are you should slow the detox program down.

How do you do a simple detox?

Here are our four key steps to a simple winter detox.

1. Start with your diet

Eating a proper diet is vital to a winter detox. You’ll want to eat warming foods designed to help keep the body’s temperature where it needs to be during long bouts of cold weather. Start by eliminating sugars, processed foods, and caffeine from the diet, and eating winter detox foods such as healthy soups, walnuts, fruits like blueberries and cranberries, Brussels sprouts, and salmon.

2. Practice mindful relaxation

Mental or emotional health is just as important as physical health during a detox. When stress is at an all-time high, the body can have a more difficult time removing toxins, as the overabundance of stress hormones slows the detoxification process.Taking a long mineral bath or doing an online yoga class from the warmth and comfort of your own home can go a long way toward reaching a nice and relaxed state.

Vital RX - winter
Image by Clint Patterson on Unsplash: A winter detox can be as simple as just a few lifestyle changes.

3. Stay warm

Feeling sluggish in the winter happens to everyone. Less vitamin D, coupled with the fact that circulation suffers in cold temperatures by trying to preserve warmth for the internal organs, can lead to winter tiredness. Stay cozy with warm socks, blankets, sweaters, or heating options when you’re in your home.

4. Supplement where necessary

Even if your diet is ideal and your winter detox is going smoothly, supplementation can help make sure that your body is getting what it needs while it’s hard at work getting rid of what it doesn’t. Riboflavin is a great supplement to take because of its immune supporting benefits, and milk thistle, dandelion root, and turmeric can all help the liver get the toxins out.

Doing a winter liver detox can help you rid the body of the toxins that build up over the course of the colder months, and keep you healthy throughout a season where many people are more susceptible to illness.

Featured image by Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho on Unsplash

What Proper Hydration Does For The Body

The human body is made up of roughly 60% water. From this figure, it can be generally assumed that water is pretty important when it comes to overall health. The role of water within the body isn’t assigned to one process, but rather all the processes that occur in organs, tissues, muscles, and even bones.

The entire body depends on hydration to be able to sustain its level of health, and without enough water, things can begin to malfunction. But what does hydration really mean, and why is it so important? Let’s investigate what proper hydration does for the body.

What is hydration?

A hydrate is something that contains water or similar elements. These hydrates are found in copious amounts in the human body. Cells, tissues, and organs are full of hydrates; this is why water makes up so much of the human body.

Hydration simply means every hydrate within the body is stable, or has the appropriate amount of water to maintain its structure. When the water molecules in each specific atom are forced out, whether it be through sweat, tears, or urination, the body begins to lose the balance of water it needs. When this isn’t counteracted with taking in enough fluids, the body becomes dehydrated.

Vital RX - water
Image by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash: Flavoring your water can be a great way to ensure you’re getting enough and thus reaping the benefits of hydration.

Why is hydration important?

Hydration plays a role in every bodily system. If organs such as the lungs, heart, and skin are not hydrated enough, they begin to malfunction. In the case of the heart, blood circulation begins to suffer; when the lungs aren’t getting enough, they can thicken and become sticky, leading to increased vulnerability to illness and the slowing of respiration. Dehydrated skin can become dry, itchy, dull, and lifeless. Severe fluid loss can even lead to a loss of consciousness, because the body can’t handle itself without proper hydration.

Water can also act as a solvent to help dissolve certain materials within the body. Things such as nutrients, vitamins, and even salt need to be dissolved so they can move freely to where they need to go. Body temperature regulation is also heavily reliant on the amount of water one has in their system, and when dehydration sets in it can lead to fever-like symptoms as well as hypothermia. Water also plays a key role in things such as the prevention of infection, sleep quality, and brain health.

What are the benefits of hydration?

The benefits of staying hydrated are vast. Physical performance, for example, is one area where hydration is vital. While the body moves, it begins to lose water through sweat, and those water stores need to be replenished. A person only needs to lose as little as 1–2% of their body’s water stores before it becomes a hindrance on physical performance by stalling temperature regulation and encouraging the onset of fatigue.

Hydration is equally important for brain function. Following the loss of water, the brain becomes impaired, but when hydration is continuous, things like mood, concentration, and other cognitive abilities are sharper. Staying hydrated can also reduce the amount of headaches a person gets.

Digestion is also heavily reliant on the amount of water a person has in their system. Water is needed to help break down food properly for the absorption of nutrients. It can also help with colon health by giving the intestines enough fluid to help pass stools.  

The joints, too, need their fair share of H20 to function properly. Cartilage is made up of 80% water, and it needs to fluid to help absorb shock from movement in the joints. Having proper hydration can contribute to optimal joint health.

Other benefits of staying hydrated include the following:

  • Proper oxygen circulation throughout the body via the blood
  • Skin health
  • Cushioning for sensitive tissues such as the spinal cord
  • Flushing waste from the body
  • Helping the kidneys regulate fluid throughout the body

To put it simply, water is a vital component to the health of every part of the human body and plays a role in every system, function, or movement.

Vital RX - water bottle
Image by Bluewater Globe on Unsplash: Carrying water with you everywhere you go will help you stay hydrated throughout the day.

Tips for staying hydrated

It might be hard for some people to stay hydrated throughout the day, depending on how much water they lose, how much they drink, and their own personal lifestyle choices. However, there are some easy tips that can be implemented to help you stay hydrated.

Start your day off with a glass of water

Skip the coffee first thing and have water. It will set you up for hydration success throughout the day (and you can always get your caffeine afterwards!).

Keep water on hand at all times

It might be cumbersome to carry around a water bottle everywhere, but it’s important to always have access to fluids. Pick a bottle that you like and keep it with you everywhere you go.

Add some flavor

Sometimes the taste of water is what turns people off. Infuse your water with some fresh or frozen fruit and it’ll taste better.

Eat your water

You don’t have to be sipping water all day long to stay hydrated. There are plenty of foods that the body can pull fluids from, such as cantaloupe, strawberries, spinach, and watermelon.

Since staying hydrated is crucial, it’s important to find a way to do it that works for you and stick with it. If you become dehydrated, your body will suffer, so be sure to find a way to get into good hydration habits and stick to them.

Featured image by Nigel Msipa on Unsplash

14 Immune-Boosting Winter Foods To Fight Off Illness

The immune system can always use an extra boost, but that is especially true in the winter months. During the winter, colds and flus typically affect people in higher numbers because people are more likely to stay in enclosed spaces for longer and because viruses thrive in the cold, low-humidity conditions.

Making sure your immune system is up to par when flu season rolls around is crucial to warding off illness and keeping yourself healthy all year round. There are plenty of things you can do to stay on top of your immune function – including eating some immune-boosting winter foods.

What are home remedies to boost your immune system?

There are a few things you can do for your immune system that require little effort and can be done from the comfort of your own home. Getting enough quality sleep is vital to immune health because the less quality sleep a person gets, the more likely their immune system will weaken, leaving them open to illness.

Moderate exercise is also a great way to help improve the functionality of the immune system. Research has shown that people who engage in moderate exercise regularly, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, light hiking, and biking, show an improvement in the way their immune system functions. The one caveat is that the activity shouldn’t be too intense, as intense bouts of exercise can actually suppress immune function.  

Staying hydrated is also a simple way to keep the immune system up to par. Dehydration can cause a variety of ailments such as headaches, mood imbalances, and heart and kidney issues, and when the body is fighting to stay healthy on its own, it has a hard time fighting off pathogens. It’s also worth noting that keeping stress levels down can have a positive effect on immune function. You can reduce stress through relaxation exercises such as meditation or yoga.  

Vital RX - winter exercise
Image by Einar H. Reynis on Unsplash: How do I boost my immune system to fight a cold? Try some moderate exercise such as jogging.

What foods boost your immune system when sick?

Diet is the best way to ensure that your immune system is running at its best. If a cold or flu has already taken hold of your body, there are specific foods that can lessen the duration and severity of the illness by boosting your immune function and getting you back to health.

  1. Broths. Broths are great when you’re sick because they keep you hydrated, are easy to stomach, and contain vital nutrients that the immune system needs to be ready for battle.
  2. Garlic. Garlic has both antibacterial and antiviral effects, so it’s a great addition to your diet if you’ve caught a cold. It has been shown to help stimulate the immune system.
  3. Honey. Honey is full of antimicrobial compounds, which give it antibacterial effects. This has led to honey being used to help people ward off illnesses and get over common flus and colds.
  4. Oatmeal. Oatmeal is bland enough to eat while sick but also packs a punch when it comes to helping you get over that pesky cold. Oats contain beta-glucans, which stimulate the immune response.
  5. Berries. The immune-boosting effects of berries come from polyphenols, a type of antioxidant.
  6. Green leafy vegetables. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach have vitamin C, beta carotene, and antioxidants. When consumed regularly, they can give the body a better chance at fighting off infection.  
  7. Citrus fruits. Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, a vital nutrient for immune health. The vitamin plays a role in the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infection. Having more white blood cells will make the immune response stronger.
  8. Yogurt. Natural yogurt is high in vitamin D, a nutrient that helps regulate the immune system and its response to outside invaders.Vitamin D can also be found in supplement form, and in Vital RX’s Immune Health Subscription Box.
  9. Bell peppers. Bell peppers have both vitamin C and beta-carotene, two crucial nutrients for optimal immune health.
  10. Sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are a great immunity booster because they are full of nutrients that help immune function, such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
  11. Kiwi. When the body is fighting off an infection, it needs all the nutrients it can get. The kiwifruit is a superfood of sorts and is full of essential nutrients such as folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
  12. Almonds. The immune system requires vitamin E to do its job; almonds are packed with this nutrient.
  13. Papaya. Another vitamin C-packed fruit that you can eat while sick is papaya. The fruit also contains a specific digestive enzyme known as papain that lowers inflammation throughout the body.
  14. Shellfish. Shellfish may not be your first thought when considering immune-boosting foods, but they are a great food to eat when sick. This is because they have a ton of zinc, a mineral that helps immune cells function properly.

This list, although not exhaustive, is a great place to start when thinking about boosting your immune system this winter. The important thing to remember is the vital nutrients that are needed to help ward off infection and keep the immune system running strongly.

Specific nutrients that are vital to immune health include:

  • Vitamin C. (Spinach, kale, strawberries)
  • Vitamin E. (Nuts, seeds, oils)
  • Vitamin A. (Carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash)
  • Vitamin D. (Salmon, tuna, fortified cereals)
  • Folate/Folic acid. (Enriched foods such as pasta, bread, and rice)
  • Iron. (Red meat, chicken, turkey, beans, broccoli)
  • Selenium. (Seafood, poultry, cottage cheese)
  • Zinc. (Baked beans, yogurt, chickpeas)
Vital RX - shrimp
Image by Elle Hughes on Unsplash: Shellfish such as shrimp pack a lot of iron, an immune-boosting food.

If the immune system is functioning properly, it becomes a lot harder for pathogens to infiltrate the body. Eating immune-boosting foods all year round is a great way to keep your health up to par, but adding them in when temperatures start to drop can be a great immunity boost in winter.

Featured image by Bluebird Provisions on Unsplash

How To Fast-Track Your Fitness And Drop That Holiday Weight

The holidays are typically the time of year where everyone loosens their restrictions around diet and exercise. After all, with all the get-togethers and fun seasonal treats, it’s hard not to overindulge.

Research finds that the average person gains anywhere from 1–2 pounds during the holidays, which is much less than most people suspect. The main reason for the discrepancy in how much weight people actually gain and how much they think they gain is how they feel. Temporary bloating following heavy meals and lots of snacks can be the culprit behind feeling 10 pounds heavier.

Since weight gain can vary from person to person, only you will know how much weight you’ve put on over the holidays. The good news is that two to three weeks of overindulgence doesn’t tend to lead to too much weight gain. It can, however, lead to difficulty getting back into the swing of your diet and fitness routine. So, how can you get back on track after all the holiday fun is over?

Here’s how to fast-track your fitness – and how to drop holiday weight along with it.

Vital RX - dancing
Image by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash: Dancing can be a fun activity to burn calories and lose that holiday weight.

How can I lose holiday weight fast with exercise?

The holiday weight you gained may be a little or a lot, depending on how relaxed you chose to be about your diet. The good news is that no matter how much weight you gained, there are some simple tips and tricks that can help you drop holiday heaviness. Since losing weight generally comes down to a combination of a calorie deficit and adequate exercise, focusing on what you eat and how much you move can lead to a quick reduction in that weight gain.

To get started with exercise in the new year, it can be helpful to add a new activity that you enjoy into your routine. The addition of something you’ve never done before will stimulate the mind, hold your interest, and provide you with a fun way to exercise. Research has shown that people who partake in physical activities that they enjoy and that provide more benefit than just healthy weight were more likely to stick to a routine, as well as to report higher levels of physical activity overall.

Exercises such as running or jogging, dancing, hiking, bicycling, and water sports can all lead to a high calorie burn. It’s all about finding something you love and sticking with it.  

How can I lose holiday weight fast with diet?

When it comes to diet, it may be hard to make the switch between all those sugary and salty treats you consumed over the holidays for plates of vegetables and low-carb foods. But it’s not impossible. There will be a period of adjustment, because sugar addiction is a real thing and it can be tough to deal with. The good news is that it passes relatively quickly, especially if you are someone who stays away from sugars for the better part of the year.

Cutting down on your sugar or refined carbohydrate intake, you’re likely to experience less hunger, which will lead to fewer calories eaten throughout the day. Adding in protein sources, vegetables, and healthy fats such as olive oil will also keep you satiated for longer, leaving you without the snack cravings that often come with the territory of overindulging in refined carbs and sugars.

If you want to lose the weight fact, restrictions will need to be set in place. Once you’ve dropped those extra couple of pounds, you can begin to slowly reintroduce some extra foods in moderation. After all, moderation is vital in limiting the chances for binge-eating unhealthy foods.

Some supplements can also be of great assistance when trying to lose weight after the holidays. Vital RX’s Fat Loss Subscription Box contains a combination of peptide supplements, vitamins, and nutrients to help kickstart a healthy weight loss journey.

How can I get workout results fast?

It’s crucial to take small steps in the right direction when it comes to changing diet and upping your workout routine. Research has shown that doing too much too quickly can lead to injury, burnout, or a stress response within the body. To get results quickly, you’ll have to improve your nutrition first.

Then, you’ll want to focus on the right type of exercise. An hour-long walk is good for you; however, an high-intensity 20-minute workout may help speed up results. This is because these types of exercises lead to the body’s improved ability to metabolize foods, leading to higher calorie burn in less time.  

Vital RX - holiday weight gain
Image by Samuel Ramos on Unsplash: Many people believe they gain more weight over the holidays than they actually do – the typical amount is one to two pounds.

How long does it take to get fitness levels up?

Fitness level improvements will vary depending on your starting point. If you work out all year round and just skipped the holidays, you will suffer from loss of muscle mass starting about two weeks after your last workout. Easing back into things will make it easier to keep up with form and prevent injury.

The first week back at your regularly scheduled routine will be harder than you remember, but your fitness levels are likely to be completely restored within one to two weeks. For those who are just starting a new routine, it may take a lot longer. Beginners can expect around eight weeks of hard to work to get to a moderate level of fitness.  

Taking a few weeks off every year to enjoy life and let loose can be good for the mind, which in turn is good for the body. It’s important to remember that those few weeks of holiday indulgence aren’t causing too much damage, and getting back into your healthy lifestyle is easier than you think. Motivation is crucial following the off time, and dropping holiday weight can be done by following the above tips closely.

Featured image by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

What Is The Goal Of Lifestyle Medicine?

Health is the most important thing a person can have, but in today’s convenience-based world, it can also be one of the easiest things to take for granted. Modern society has the majority of the American population moving less due to sedentary work, eating more processed foods that lead to inflammation and chronic disease, and dealing with unprecedented levels of stress and mental health issues.

Traditional forms of medicine tackle these issues with treatments after the fact. Traditional medicine treats rather than prevents, and often hopes for the best in cases of serious illness. But lifestyle medicine is a different form of health care altogether, and its big goal is to prevent health problems entirely before they come to fruition.

What is lifestyle medicine?

Lifestyle medicine is a form of health care that operates under the umbrella of a few different processes. The first part of lifestyle medicine revolves around diet. The diet of the typical American citizen is full of processed foods that offer little to no nutritional value, and often contains high levels of sugar, carbs, and salt. Lifestyle medicine aims to change this into a wholefood, plant-predominant diet so that the body is being fueled with nothing but what it needs.

Lifestyle medicine also has a heavy focus on regular exercise routines that ensure people are moving as much as they should be. Another big focus area is sleep and stress. Since busy schedules and high-stress lives are commonplace for Americans, lifestyle medicine encourages stress management and restorative sleep as a key component in the way people take care of themselves.

Finally, lifestyle medicine also aims to have people establish positive social connections within their community while avoiding harmful substances.

How does lifestyle medicine differ from traditional medicine?

As mentioned, traditional medicine does not usually take a proactive approach to one’s health. Certain measures that could be considered traditional do act as preventative measures, such as cancer screenings and the encouragement of healthy lifestyle, but they tend to fall on the second tier of health care.

Lifestyle medicine is the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Its entire goal is to create a healthy population not through advancement of medications or other technologies that can help treat disease, but through the elimination, reversal, or prevention of disease altogether. Since many chronic diseases can be prevented, lifestyle medicine aims to arm the population with the knowledge they need to avoid getting sick in the first place.

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Image by EllaOlsson on Unsplash: Eating healthily is one of the six pillars of lifestyle medicine.

What are the pillars of lifestyle medicine?

There are 6 pillars of lifestyle medicine, all of which play a specific role in the prevention of disease and in the attempt to sustain healthy living well into old age. They are:

1. Healthy eating

By choosing a diet that is full of nutrients the body needs to function at its best, a person can avoid certain health conditions that can be brought on by nutritional imbalances.

2. Increased physical activity

Many jobs and lifestyles involve people sitting at their desk or on the couch for long hours. This level of sedentary living is not healthy for any individual. If a person is not exercising adequately, it can lead to many health issues.

3. Strategies to manage stress

Stress can put a huge burden on bodily processes and lead to a wide variety of different health conditions, such as cognitive disfunction and psychiatric disorders. Stress management is a key part of lifestyle medicine because dealing with stress properly can help lower the risk for these conditions.

4. Improvement of sleep

The brain needs to sleep to help the brain process the events of the day and the body repair itself. When a person doesn’t get adequate sleep, it can lead to a decline in overall levels of wellness, including cardiovascular health and immune function. Lifestyle medicine aims to improve sleep to avoid these complications.

5. Avoidance of risky substances

As much as lifestyle medicine is about giving your body what it needs, it is also about avoiding what it doesn’t need. Things such as alcohol and drug use should be avoided to help prevent disease in the future.  

6. Formation of good relationships

People need others to help them get through life, and research has shown that healthy relationships have a direct impact on overall levels of wellness.

When used in conjunction with one another, these six pillars of lifestyle medicine can lead to optimal health and a lowered risk for developing chronic health issues in the future.

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Image by Keegan Houser on Unsplash: Stress management is another pillar of lifestyle medicine that can go a long way when it comes to warding off chronic disease.

What is a lifestyle medicine doctor?

Any medically licensed doctor can practice lifestyle medicine, but that doesn’t mean all of them are properly equipped to do so. A true lifestyle medicine doctor is well versed in the areas of health coaching and nutrition, and takes the time to understand a patient’s personal situation in order to address all the things that may be contributing to the onset of chronic disease.

Studies suggest that five out of the seven major causes of death in the United States can be attributed to lifestyle-related diseases. Lifestyle medicine doctors are there to help lower those statistics through the use of different techniques and coaching practices, as well as collaboration with other health care professionals and their patients.

What are the benefits of lifestyle medicine?

Lifestyle medicine holds many benefits, the most obvious being a better level of overall and optimal health. Taking care of oneself using the six pillars of lifestyle medicine can lead to an increased lifespan and a better quality of life.

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11 Supplements That Are Great For Detoxing

The human body is a marvel of chemical processes. Every organ has a specific job, and when they’re all functioning optimally, overall health is at its best. The liver, specifically, is used to help rid the body of toxins that can accumulate over time. If the build-up is too much, it can lead to chronic illness and other health complications.

Proper functioning of the liver is vital to the natural detoxification process, but sometimes, it can’t manage against the overabundance of heavy metals and bio-accumulated pollutants. This is where detox support supplements can come in to play to help restore the liver to its full capacity. Below we’ll take a look at some supplements that are great for detoxing.

What is detoxing?

The increased numbers of bio-pollutants and the use of heavy metals in everyday life have led to an increased risk of toxicity within the body. Detoxing is the process by which those harmful substances are neutralized and eliminated. Generally speaking, detoxification is a natural process that manages itself, but when the liver isn’t functioning at its best, it could use a little help.

This is where other forms of encouraged detoxification come from. From changing a diet to help reduce the amount of toxins being ingested, to participating in detoxification methods such as chelation therapy and sauna therapy, there are many ways one can encourage their body to reach optimal health through detoxification.

What is heavy metal poisoning?

Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements that the body can use in trace amounts for a variety of functions. These heavy metals, such as zinc, iron, and copper, need to be present for bodily functions to perform as they should. But when the soft tissues in the body accumulate too much of these heavy metals – or others that the body does not need, including mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic – it can cause a wide variety of health repercussions.

Symptoms will vary depending on the level of toxicity as well as the type of metal ingested, but often include:

  • Gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Tingling in the hands and feet

Although this is not an exhaustive list, these are the general symptoms that accompany many types of heavy metal poisoning.

What are bio-accumulated pollutants?

Pollutants can be found everywhere: in the air, in the food you eat, and in water sources. Examples of harmful pollutants that can build up within the body and cause chronic health issues include:

  • Nitrate
  • Fluoride
  • Organic chemicals such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and solvents
  • Radionuclides such as uranium
  • Asbestos
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Aerosols
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Fossil fuels
  • Fertilizers

Different bio-accumulated pollutants will have varied effects on health. For example, when too much fluoride is ingested, it can lead to neurotoxicity.

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Image by Tim Bogdanov on Unsplash: Having a healthy liver can make all the difference to your overall levels of wellness.

Supplements that are great for detoxing

Milk thistle

Milk thistle is used as a detox supplement because of its positive effect on liver function. It’s a common component in the treatment of liver disease damage because it can help to restore the natural detoxification effects of the organ.


One study found that spirulina has protective benefits for those who suffer from chronic liver disease. It was found that spirulina acted as an antioxidant, helped rid the body of free radicals, encouraged the chelation process, and prevented further damage to the liver.


Chlorella can be found in detox supplements for extra support of liver function because of its ability to bind to heavy metals within the body.

Barley grass

To help improve liver function, barley grass reduces inflammation that can often be induced by alcohol consumption.


Gut bacteria have an effect on all bodily processes, including liver function. Having optimal microbiota health can improve harmful interactions in people with hepatic disease.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is widely known as an immune-boosting supplement, but it earns its spot on the list of best supplements for a detox diet because of its ability to protect the liver against hepatoxic substances.

Activated charcoal

Most notably used in to help treat poisoning and overdoses, activated charcoal gets its liver-boosting properties from its ability to bind to drugs and toxins in the body and eliminate them.


Zeolite has been used in a variety of ways, including medicine, cosmetics, manufacturing, and ecology. It aids in the detoxification process by binding to harmful substances in the gastrointestinal tract and removing them from the system.


Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that occurs naturally within the body. It aids in the prevention of oxidative stress by promoting balance between free radicals and antioxidants. It has also been shown to help improve cell function in those who have fatty liver disease.

Calcium-D glucarate

The binding of calcium and d-glucaric acid give this particular supplement its liver-protecting benefits. Research has shown that it does this by encouraging the liver’s natural processes, as well as protecting against toxin build-up and excess levels of steroidal hormones.

Licorice root

Studies suggest that licorice root can support detoxification at the same time as limiting early liver cell death.

Vital RX - vitamin C
Image by Freestocks on Unsplash: Looking for a supplement for detox support? Vitamin C is a great assistant when it comes to restoring healthy liver function.

If the liver is functioning as it should, the use of supplements for detox isn’t generally necessary. Also, certain supplements may work better or worse depending on the level of health of the liver overall. But in those with liver disease, supplements to help improve symptoms and decrease the progression of the illness are best, whereas in those with a one-off build-up of toxins can benefit from supplements that bind to heavy metals and pollutants. This way, the liver will be able to flush out toxins on its own and return you to optimal health.

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What Is Preventive Medicine?

Modern medicine has come a long way to help people treat a variety of different conditions. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that a human-made antibiotic was even discovered to help treat something as common as a bacterial infection. Since then, medications have been widely available to treat everything from a typical headache all the way through to a serious case of cancer.

For centuries, though, people have incorporated different methods of treatment, like holistic therapies or Chinese medicine, into health care. With the rise of chronic diseases, preventive medicine is now being more commonly used by medical professionals to focus on staving off future illnesses as opposed to simply treating existing ones.

The history of preventive medicine

The history of preventive medicine goes as far back as the 5th century BC, although many societies largely ignored the efforts to adapt to a preventive type of lifestyle. Through the centuries, many principles of preventive medicine were passed aside for more modern solutions. It wasn’t until the 1300s that officials started to take the movement seriously, and in 1388 a sanitary act was passed in England.

In the centuries that followed, other orders were made for quarantine-type preventions during the first plague, and the study of epidemiology was begun in the 1700s. These initial instances of preventive medicine paved the way for societies to devise methods of avoiding illness rather than just treating it.

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Image by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash: Preventive medicine aims to treat populations as a whole to help keep citizens healthy.

Why is preventive medicine so important?

Preventive medicine is a vital contribution to an overall healthy society because many chronic illnesses are entirely preventable. Instead of waiting for an illness to take hold, the main goal of preventive care is to limit or abolish the risk of getting sick in the first place. Its importance lies in its ability to really change the way populations live and take care of their own wellbeing.

In the health care system, preventive medicine has been put into second-tier care, which can be a reverse way of looking at how to achieve a good level of health. Things like eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and knowing what your genetic dispositions are for certain chronic illnesses can all be great ways to avoid developing serious and chronic disease in the future.

What does a preventive medicine doctor do?

Instead of focusing on an already developed illness, a preventive medicine doctor will play the role of avoidance specialist. This means they spend the majority of their time developing new ways to prevent injury and illness as opposed to coming up with new medications and/or treatment plans.

Preventive medicine doctors divide their specialties among communities, individuals, and specific populations to help improve the health of an area. They do this by teaching new medical staff how to prevent the spread of disease, developing health programs, and finding causes for diseases based on new research and symptoms. These medical professionals work largely in government agency settings to help with disease surveillance and preventive programs.

What is an example of preventive medicine?

Many things could be considered preventive medicine. The first and foremost preventive medicine is diet. For example: cardiovascular disease affects 18.2 million American adults. The role of diet in preventing heart disease is a big one, because dietary changes can help to lower the risk factors that lead to development of the chronic illness.

Other forms of preventive medicine include primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Vaccines and other forms of immunizations fall under the umbrella of primary preventive medicine, while screening tests for things such as breast and ovarian cancer will fall into the secondary category. Tertiary prevention is designed to help those with already existing chronic disease improve their quality of life by way of rehabilitation and treatment plans.

Other examples of preventive medicine include lifestyle modifications such as early detection of disease, the implementation of supplements or exercise routines, and new health legislation to help communities as a whole battle endemic-type health crises.

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Image by the CDC on Unsplash: Vaccines are a form of primary preventive medicine.

The future of preventive medicine

As more medical professionals and associations begin to realize the benefits of preventive medicine for society and the health care system, it will garner more recognition as the first line of defense against unhealthy populations. The change in how people are cared for – and how they care for themselves – is much needed to bring the rampant numbers of chronic illness down for Americans.

With the rise of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and mental illness, there has never been a more crucial time to adapt to a new system of health care and disease prevention. Research has shown that providing people with educational programs and access to services that could help them lead a healthier lifestyle is the first step in making preventive medicine well utilized.

The only way towards a thorough preventive care system is by the conscious collaboration between populations, the food industry, the health sector, and the environmental sector. 

Subscription boxes

Vital RX has created a line of subscription boxes that can be used as part of your preventive medicine program. Boxes are curated to deliver real results for people suffering from low immune health, obesity, low energy, toxification, and low levels of fitness. 

These boxes are not meant to replace medical treatment, and when starting a new supplement regime, you should always consult with your doctor first to see if it’s right for you and your current state of health.

Featured image by Andrew Welch on Unsplash

What Are Lifestyle Medicines And How Do They Work?

A new era of health care may be upon us, and that means that the old traditional ways of chemical medications and treatments could become secondary acts on the road to optimal health. Healthy eating and lifestyles are on the rise, especially in younger generations, because many Americans have realized that fast food and sedentary living aren’t working in their favor.

Studies have shown that just the simple act of making better choices when it comes to your health can extend life expectancy by as much as 14 years. This fact alone has led to the more widespread adoption of the practices involved in what are called “lifestyle medicines”.

What are lifestyle medicines?

Lifestyle medicines are categorized as ways of living that can dramatically improve one’s overall level of health, adding years to their life and improving their quality of life.

To actively engage in lifestyle medicines, a person has to practice specific habits. They include:

  • Exercising regularly to promote physical and mental fitness.
  • Making good food choices and eating a diet rich in wholefoods, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Reaching and sustaining a healthy body weight.
  • The complete avoidance of smoking.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day.
  • Avoiding or limiting overall stress.
  • Getting adequate and regular sleep.
  • Participating in relationships that are good for one’s mental and physical health.

Lifestyle medicines operate under the level of preventive medical care. The above factors should be adhered to at all times to help keep balance within the body, ultimately avoiding unnecessary disease and health issues later in life.

This type of daily routine is also a form of biohacking, which is a hot-button topic when it comes to lifestyle medicines. The concept is designed to give the power back to you when handling and controlling your health. It does so by allowing you to gain the health knowledge you need to essentially “hack” your system via trial and error with nutrition, exercise, and other health regimes.

Vital RX - nutritious food
Image by Brooke Lark on Unsplash: Eating a well-balanced diet is just one of the keys to maintaining overall health.

How do lifestyle medicines work?

“Lifestyle medicine” may sound like a new-age term, but there is plenty of evidence to support its popularity in recent years. For example, in terms of the diet portion of this type of care, research has found a direct link between what we eat and how likely we are to develop chronic disease later in life. Some studies have even suggested that certain foods can eliminate or cure certain health ailments altogether, especially when it comes to mental health.

Mental health isn’t the only thing affected by lifestyle medicine, though. Weight loss, autoimmune disorders, fitness levels, sexual performance, cardiovascular health, and the onset of new chronic diseases can all be greatly impacted by different levels of healthy living. The process behind lifestyle medicine is simple: if you take care of your body before you become ill, it will take care of you.

Types of lifestyle medicines used today

Different lifestyle therapies can help enhance one’s overall health. For example, nutrition involves the consumption of foods that fuel the body with vitamins and minerals. However, sometimes nutrition is inadequate. This is where supplementation comes in. Many supplements offer to help balance out deficiencies that could lead to chronic disease if left unchecked.

Intravenous therapy is also used to help balance out deficiencies or increase the body’s overall level of hydration. It is used to efficiently get what the body needs directly to the source, as opposed to oral applications that could take longer and have to go through the digestion process, essentially limiting their absorption.

What is peptide therapy?

Peptide therapy is a broad term used to describe the number of therapies involved in different peptide usage. The body creates peptides naturally, and the small chain amino acids have different jobs. Some slow aging, while others can help increase muscle mass.

Research suggests that people undergoing peptide therapy receive supplementation of a lack of natural peptides, thus balancing out hormone levels within the body. The most notable form of peptide used in therapy is insulin.

Does peptide therapy work?

Peptides have been used since the early 1900s as a health remedy, and research has shown that they have the ability to work similarly to natural pathways.

Certain peptides that have been included in the treatment of various diseases include:

  • Insulin to treat diabetes.
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone for seizure control.
  • Calcitonin to treat osteoporosis.
  • Oxytocin (synthetic) to manage pain.
  • Vasopressin (synthetic) to treat dehydration caused by loss of water through urination.
  • Octreotide (synthetic version of somatostatin) to help treat cancer.
  • Leuprorelin (synthetic version of gonadorelin) to help treat prostate cancer.

These peptide therapies have been known to work in correlation with other forms of treatment in the past, or on their own depending on the condition.

Vital RX - managing stress
Image by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash: Managing stress is one of the pillars of lifestyle medicine and can be done through massage therapy.

What does the future of lifestyle medicines hold?

Lifestyle medicine continues to evolve as more and more people look to develop healthy habits as opposed to, or in addition to, receiving better treatment. Research has been hyper-focused on identifying different disease markers and risks that could be associated with the onset of new and chronic conditions.

Specific areas of study and interest in the future of lifestyle medicines include:

  • Diet.
  • Physical activity levels.
  • Behaviors.
  • Body weight.
  • Adhering to treatment plans.
  • Stress management.
  • Coping mechanisms.
  • Mind-body correlation and exercises.
  • Substance abuse (including tobacco).

Along with medical advancement and new knowledge in the area, lifestyle medicine could eventually become a cornerstone in health care. With over 63% of world deaths being attributed to avoidable diseases, the time for lifestyle medicines is now.

Featured image by Omid Armin on Unsplash

How To Improve Fitness Levels Through Diet

The human body is a symbiotic system. All its functions rely heavily on one another to run properly, and when one part breaks, the others are bound to suffer the consequences. For example, at first glance, one might not think that the brain and the gut have much in common. But research has shown that it’s quite the opposite, and that the bacteria in our gut has a direct effect on our mental wellbeing.

The mind-gut connection isn’t the only known integration when it comes to the health of the human body. The cardiovascular system works in conjunction with the lymphatic system and urinary tract to keep balance over the body’s levels of water, and the respiratory, muscular, and cardiovascular systems all play a role when it comes to regulating temperature. This commingling of organs and systems is what keeps you healthy.

The same can be said for fitness levels and the diet you consume. They may appear only tangentially related, but they can in fact have a huge impact on one another.

What’s the connection between fitness and food?

Fitness is sometimes considered to be synonymous with overall healthy body weight. This is due to the assumption that an obese person is less likely to be physically fit, and that they aren’t generally eating foods that fuel their body well enough (or they’re eating far too much of them). However, there’s more to the story when it comes to weight and fitness levels – and when considering physical fitness, so many more factors need to be taken into consideration.

Research out of the University of Texas at Austin found that there was a direct link between exercising regularly and healthier eating habits. When participants were more active, they made better food choices. The study came to the conclusion that moderate exercise could reduce cravings for high-fat foods by encouraging changes in dopamine levels in the brain.

Vital RX - fitness
Image by Alexander Redl on Unsplash: The respiratory system relies heavily on many processes in the body to be at its healthiest.

What systems are most affected by exercise?

It’s been long known that the efficiency of the cardiovascular system is directly related to how much cardio exercise one gets (it’s right there in the name, after all!). Research has suggested that people who exercise more regularly are less likely to develop heart disease in the future because of stronger hearts, lowered cholesterol, and better circulation.

The respiratory system also benefits greatly from exercise. When you work out, your lungs bring much-needed oxygen into the body while releasing carbon dioxide. The two systems – the lungs and the heart – work together to bring in oxygen, release carbon dioxide, and then send oxygen to the muscles being used. This extra boost of oxygen to your muscles is what gives them the energy to keep moving.

The immune system also benefits from regular exercise. It does this by encouraging the proper processes of disease-fighting cells, as well as slowing down negative changes caused by ageing that could lead to a weakened immune function. It has also been proven that participating in physical activity can boost mental health by increasing blood flow to the brain and encouraging communication between several areas involved in mood regulation.

How can you improve your eating habits to improve your fitness levels?

Nutrition is said to be the most important part of fitness for one specific reason: weight loss. It’s no secret that eating well and losing weight go hand in hand. But being at an ideal weight isn’t the only reason to eat well when it comes to being physically fit.

Proper nutrition plays a huge role in optimal levels of health. Foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals give the body and its processes the energy needed to perform mentally and physically. Having these essential systems running smoothly will allow the body to perform better, thus enhancing your overall level of fitness.

Eating a wholefood diet with adequate levels of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins and minerals will also encourage apt performance when it comes to digestion, oxidation, and energy levels. This will allow you to put more energy into your exercise.

What should I eat if I work out every day?

There are many health claims that contradict one another when it comes to what to eat before or after working out to optimize fitness levels. Some people will swear by the keto diet, which is high-fat and low-carb, while others subscribe to plant-based diets, eliminating animal products. While there may be some truth to the benefits of both diets, it’s not that cut and dry.

There are, however, many things that a person should be eating if they want to build, maintain, or improve upon their level of fitness. For example, peptides are a type of hormone that get released during exercise to encourage proper levels of muscle energy and higher endurance. Taking a peptide supplement has been shown to increase stamina and lead to a more effective workout.

Other examples of vitamins and minerals that could help if taken every day are:

  • Iron. Having sustained amounts of iron helps to increase oxygen circulation and keep the heart rate at healthy levels.
  • Protein. This is responsible for the building and repairing of muscles.
  • Antioxidants (Vitamin C, E). Vigorous exercise can often lead to oxidative stress. When this happens, the body is thrown off balance. Ensuring your body is getting enough antioxidants will help limit this lesser-known side effect of intense exercise.
Vital RX - berries
Image by Cecilia Par on Unsplash: Berries are among the best fitness foods, full of antioxidants that can help boost fitness levels by reducing oxidative stress throughout the body.

What is the best food for fitness?

There is no one best food for fitness, but there are plenty of foods that should be eaten to have a well-rounded diet and a system that functions well enough to become more physically fit.

These foods include:

  • Wholegrains
  • Bananas
  • Chicken or lean fish or turkey
  • Olive oil
  • Beans (black, kidney, pinto, white, red)
  • Berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  • Hummus
  • Greek yogurt
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews)
  • Green tea
  • Eggs
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli

This list is not exhaustive; however, it can help you begin your journey to fitness through diet.

Featured image by Lily Banse on Unsplash