Supplements

Maca Powder: The Best Thing You’ll Find in the Supplement Aisle

If you’re looking to decrease stress, stabilize your hormones, boost your sex drive, neutralize the acidity of your body, and blast your system with nutrients, look no further than that section at the health food store you always ignore: the supplement aisle.

I know what you’re thinking: Supplements? Aren’t those the often untested, unapproved sorta drugs that always seem too good to be true. For the most part yes—I largely avoid most of the powders, pills, and formulas available in this section of the health food store. But there’s one supplement that’s definitely worth picking up for any of the above conditions: Maca powder.

maca

Maca-what?
Maca powder has also been called “Peruvian ginseng”. Although it’s thought of as a supplement, researchers suspect this South American staple has been consumed for around 2,000 years. The Incas considered maca to be a gift of the gods, due to its superior nutritional value, and it’s one of the only plants to thrive in the tough conditions of the Andes mountains. Maca powder comes from the root of the plant. (more…)

Nature’s Best Nutrition Secret is Raw Cacao

I get many funny looks when I tell my health coaching clients that I whole-heartedly endorse a fully stocked chocolate supply in every household. Afterall, it’s one of the most important food groups!

We’ve all heard about the benefits of dark chocolate, but you can get even more nutrition by eating the beans themselves. Raw, unprocessed cacao is one of nature’s best nutrition secrets.

cacao

It’s super food with super powers:

  • Loaded with tons of magnesium for muscle and nerve function and to stabilize heart rhythms
  • More antioxidants and disease fighting properties than red wine or green tea!
  • Improves focus and pleasure: cacao stimulates the euphoric neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Aids in calcium absorption 
  • Stabilizes mood swings (more…)

Don’t Believe the Hype of Super Food Powders! Dietitian Says They Aren’t Worth It

Lucuma, camu, maqui – their names alone sound like something exotic and wonderful. In fact, they’re some of the more common “super food” powders that many people are adding to their diet for added nutrition.

superfood powders

However, they may not be as beneficial as claimed. Many of these powders aren’t quite what they appear to be. Dr. Mike Roussell discussed some of the reasons to avoid these powders in Shape Magazine.

“The trap that we fall into with many of these super food powders has to do with their exotic origins and the nutritional buzzwords attached to them,” he told the magazine. “There is something alluring about these foods being used by ancient cultures in faraway jungles that causes us to assume that they must be better for us than the ‘regular’ foods we are currently eating.”

That’s really the gimmick of super food powders. Sure, some of them may include nutrients that do wonders for the body, but those nutrients aren’t exclusive to the powders. They can be found in more common foods as well. (more…)

Apple’s Upcoming Health App Predicted to Break Boundaries

With the growing popularity of virtualized health tracking apps, Apple is sure to have something coming down the pipeline soon not only to compete, but to surpass.

9-to-5 Mac  released details on Monday regarding their new project, and is projected to be “a tipping point for mobile healthcare”. They’re calling it Apple Healthbook and it’s designed to track blood sugar (huge factor for those with diabetes!), heart rate, breathing rate, weight, hydration, sleep, nutrition,  physical movements, and health test results, among other stats.

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 8.07.02 AM

How will this app stand out from the rest? One company, for example, offers over 40 health and fitness iPhone apps alone. It is said that virtual health tracker and resource apps can significantly reduce healthcare costs and are predicted to one day be subsidized by healthcare providers to promote their usage. (more…)

Saturated Fats Don’t Cause Heart Disease? New Research Revealed

Are saturated fats inherently bad for you? For years, the idea drilled into our heads has been that the saturated fats found in meat, cheese, and butter are to be largely avoided due to the increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease. But now we’re not so sure.

sat fat

A new analysis of research was released in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine this week, and reported by the New York Times health blog here, cast doubt upon this guideline.

The new research reviewed over 80 studies that looked at what the participants reportedly ate, plus blood test results that measured fatty acids and cholesterol levels. This analysis did not find increased heart disease in those who ate less saturated fat, nor did it find less disease in those eating more unsaturated fat—the good stuff found in natural foods like olive oil, fish, and avocados. It did, however, notice a benefit in those taking Omega-3 fish-oil supplements in preventing the onset of heart disease. (more…)

Oil Pulling: Is it Legit?

Surely you’ve all heard about oil pulling by now, right? It’s the latest natural health trend that has blown up over the last several weeks. You’ve probably seen the images all over Facebook as so many have been experimenting with this seemingly odd practice of swishing cooking oil in the mouth to improve a myriad of symptoms. The technique is ancient, but does that mean it’s effective?

oil pulling

For starters, oil pulling is a simple procedure. You choose a vegetable based oil, like coconut, sesame, sunflower, or olive oil, you take anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon, put it in your mouth and swish it around for up to 20 minutes.

Depending on the source, people claim the art of oil pulling whitens teeth, strengthens gums, improves the pain associated with sensitive teeth, prevents cavities, eases the symptoms of migraines, detoxes the body, clears out the sinuses, improves sleep, improves halitosis, and even aids in the recovery of a hangover. The list could go on and on…

The practice of oil pulling is believed to be about 3,000 to 5,000 years old. The technique falls under the blanket of Ayurvedic medicine, referring to ancient Indian medicine created in India.

Being a granola-head with loads of skepticism, I was anxious to try oil pulling and research the validity of it’s claims at the same time. So, that’s what I did. I swished organic coconut oil around in my mouth for several evenings, while I read articles and reached out to experts. (more…)

Teatoxes: Probably Not the Next Big Thing

If you name any food or drink, there’s probably a detox out there that centers on it. One of the more recent, and more reputable sounding, detoxes is one that centers around tea; the teatox.

tea

Teatox plans usually add a variety of ingredients to the beverage which allegedly help with weight loss, detoxification, and increased energy.

It sounds like a pretty good deal for those of us who already love tea. Tea is good. Cleanses can be good. So the two of them together should be good.

Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. According to Shape, teatoxes really won’t help you slim down. “There’s no published research to show teatoxes are safe or effective for weight loss or anything else.”

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Looking to Shed Post-Baby Pounds on a Juice Cleanse? Think Again.

baby juice

New moms everywhere are following the recent trend of celebs like Fergie and Jessica Simpson who have shed post-baby weight by juice cleansing. Women inside and outside of Hollywood to lose weight are under pressure every day but are under special scrutiny to rush back to their pre-baby body. But is this dramatic weight loss safe for mamas and their new babies?

Today Shape Magazine posted about the popularity and potential harms of postpartum juice cleanses. Juice companies now market this new fad and have created specialized cleanse programs for these women. The verdict?

“No!” says Registered Dietitian Mary Hartley. “Don’t even attempt to diet until the baby is at least 8 weeks old.” New moms who breastfeed need at least 1600-1800 calories per day to get the nutrients both baby and mom need. Juice cleanses typically only provide about 1200 calories, and nursing moms need at least an extra 500 calories for breastfeeding alone according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. “After 8 weeks, to make sure the baby is growing well and mom is not excessively hungry, mom shouldn’t attempt to lose more than one pound a week,” cautions Hartley. Juice cleanses would shed pounds much too rapidly for any adult to sustain, let alone a nursing mother and her newborn. (more…)

The Morning-After Pill for Your Food Baby is Available OTC

Food baby is the cutesy term for your feeling and appearance after overeating. Whether your baby was conceived due to gas or while binging at the buffet, the result is the same: a bloated stomach that makes you appear pregnant.

pain from bloating

As most of us can attest, this bloating experience is uncomfortable and can last for quite a while. If you’re facing this phenomenon, the best thing you can do is treat it as soon as possible. And know that relief comes sooner than nine months!

Shape Magazine reports today a few things we didn’t know about our bundles of food baby joy. For one, there’s a morning-after pill of sorts for your food baby, although they recommend not waiting that long. Using an over-the-counter antacid may help relieve your food baby symptoms almost immediately. Acid reflux is one of the main side effects from overeating, and popping a Mylanta or Zantac will help neutralize any extra acid your body is producing.

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Finally! The Feds Create BS-Free Nutrition Label, Give Americans Reality Check

The White House and the Food and Drug Administration have announced their plan today to update the nutrition facts label on food packages, a move that is being heralded and praised by nutrition experts and enthusiasts alike.

new nutrition label

Proposed changes include:

  • Calories displayed more prominently. Congress and the FDA are pushing for a larger, bolded font for calories and all parts of the label that affect obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Serving Size. Have you ever noticed a bottle of soda actually contains 2.5 servings, while the average American drinks the whole thing in one sitting? Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert, thinks this means we are all in for a big reality check. The new label will change the serving size from what we should eat to what people actually consume.
  • Detailed sugar labeling. The improved labels will have a new line for “added sugars,” or sugars not occurring naturally and have been including only after chemical processing (think naturally-occurring lactose in yogurt vs. added aspartame in a Yoplait). What does Hartley have to say about that? “Finally.” (more…)