Health Ambition http://www.healthambition.com More Energy, A Better Body And A Healthier Life Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:53:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 5 Habits That May Be Sabotaging Weight Loss http://www.healthambition.com/habits-that-may-be-sabotaging-weight-loss/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=habits-that-may-be-sabotaging-weight-loss http://www.healthambition.com/habits-that-may-be-sabotaging-weight-loss/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:48:04 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=7108

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Weight loss is perhaps the biggest topic in the health world. It’s a multifaceted process within your body that, when healthfully done, should mean that your body is detoxifying and decreasing its fat mass.

Knowledge of your own body is key in successfully losing weight. That said, a lack of body awareness, knowledge about food and understanding of how daily habits effect weight loss can ultimately sabotage your big plan to lose weight.

Many of these things you may be doing idadvertently, unaware of the repercussions. Luckily, you can morph these bad habits into healthy eating habits for weight loss. Thus, you will optimize the rate at which you shed pounds the healthy way.

1. Not Getting Enough Sleep

sleepy woman

Sleep is your body’s time to rejuvenate, recuperate, revive and heal itself. You’ve likely heard it a million times: get more sleep. It’s repeated often for a reason. It’s crucial to your health and overall well being–especially for weight loss.

Sleep deprivation is a huge contributor to a slow metabolism. Since metabolism (the sum of all your body’s processes) is responsible for weight loss, this is a big deal. When you aren’t adequately rested, your body goes into “preservation mode”, in which it’s desperate to hang onto all necessary energy needed to function properly throughout the day. When this happens, your body puts weight loss on the backburner, so to speak. When this happens, it’s much harder to lose weight.

To solve this, make sleep a priority. Going to bed an hour earlier every night is an effective, small way to become more rested.

2. Eating All The Time

eating junk food

There is a multitude of conflicting arguments on how often you should eat during the day. What’s certain is that every time you eat, your blood sugar elevates and so do your insulin levels. Doing this too frequently can create imbalance in your body.

Every body is different and may require different approaches to make a weight loss plan successful. Try experimenting with a different number of meals during the day. You may find that keeping it to 3 meals a day will cause your body to rely on fat when it needs energy. Pay attention to how your body feels when you eat 6 small meals a day. Do you feel sluggish? Do you feel revitalized? Gauging how your own body responds to food can help you create the eating approach that works best for you.

If you feel that implementing the 3-meal-a-day approach feels best for you, this will help solve your constant spikes in blood sugar. Weight loss may be a bit easier for you that way.

This approach means that you will only be eating when you’re truly hungry–with minimal snacking. Also, your meals should be big enough that you are satisfied for several hours.

3. Eating Too Much Fruit

fresh fruits

Nature’s sweet treat, fruit, can be all too enticing when you need a quick snack. It’s certainly a viable option when you’re on-the-go. Eating a variety of different fruits will help you take advantage of each unique nutrient profile that each type of fruit offers.

Though fruit can be described as a healthy snack option, it’s helpful to remember that you can overdo anything. Fruit is no exception. Fruit should not become the enemy, rather it should be consumed in moderation. Think balance.

A great way to take advantage of nature’s bounty of nutrients is to give vegetables a turn as well. Swap your banana for a bag of carrots, or your apple for cucumber slices. These simple changes will decrease the amount of sugar you’re consuming, while keeping it robust with nutrients.

4. Eating too much processed dairy and grains

ice cream

So many suffer from food intolerances. These foods, when consumed, often cause digestive issues and inflammation within the body. Processed dairy and grains are two very common food allergens.

Cow’s milks and unmanipulated grains are hearty, nutrient rich foods that (in a perfect world) would be great options. Unfortunately, what most have access to today is milk that has been heated, injected with hormones and combined with synthetics vitamins and minerals.

The vitamins and minerals that are naturally occurring in raw milk are denatured and stripped through pasteurization and processing–then replaced with artificial, cheaper alternatives that reduce the cost of producing and bottling the milk. Commercial grains go through processes as well that make them not as readily digestible to your body.

With that, know that your body likely reacts to commercially pasteurized & processed milk and grains because they are not in their raw and natural state. So, unless you have access to raw milk (it’s not sold in most states), then look to make your own plant-based milk from almonds or coconuts. Store-bought almond or coconut milk works, but note that many of these (even organic) contain preservatives and other agents like carrageenan to increase the shelf life and manipulate its viscosity.

5. Skipping Your Veggies

junk food

With the increasing awareness and buzz about juicing and healthy eating, there’s no excuse to not be eating or drinking your vegetables. Eating a few portions of vegetables every day is one of the best weight loss habits.

Vegetables, especially greens like spinach, kale, chard and spirulina, are amongst the most nutrient dense foods you can possibly get your hands on. Foods like this are a dream for those who want to lose weight.

The list of benefits that these (and most other vegetables) offer is expansive and impressive. All you need to do is get them into your system. These foods will help detoxify your system, ease digestion and make your body more alkaline. Having your body’s internal pH more alkaline than acidic will help ward off disease, as an acidic body is a breeding ground for illness.

Integrating vegetables in your daily diet will help keep you healthy and lose weight more easily. Vegetables help make weight loss more efficient because they insure your body is in good working order and is properly nourished (not in preservation mode).

Be creative with how you prepare them to prevent boredom with your routine. Raw is best, but if you need or want to cook your veggies, that is better than not eating them in the first place.

Being mindful of these 5 things and making these changes will allow you to achieve greater success with your weight loss program. Most importantly, you will get to know your body better and enhance your body’s overall health in the process.

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5 Simple Ways How to Stop Cravings Naturally http://www.healthambition.com/how-to-stop-cravings-naturally/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-stop-cravings-naturally http://www.healthambition.com/how-to-stop-cravings-naturally/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:06:54 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=7066

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Cravings often have a bad reputation for causing us to over-indulge, or reach for unhealthy food. The reality is that cravings are often a signal indicative of your body lacking something. It may be certain vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, water or sleep. Eating a diverse diet that is rich with fruit, vegetables, lean protein and good fats will help eliminate or curb most of the nutritional related cravings you experience.

Finding an effective way to stop sugar cravings is perhaps the most prevalent concern in regards to cravings. The key is finding balance in your diet. Restricting or depriving yourself completely of sugar is likely to make cravings worse. Let yourself consume it occasionally in small amounts.

In addition, you may experience cravings as your body’s way of coping with anxiety, stress, depression or lack of sleep. This could also be reffered to as emotional eating. Taking note of when you experience these cravings can help you determine what is causing them. Then, you can take measures to solve those issues. Some examples of this include implementing meditation to reduce stress & anxiety, or schedule more sleep into your day to insure adequate rest.

Luckily, there are several natural ways to stop the majority of cravings from happening on a regular basis. Integrating this plan of attack will leave you feeling more able to control your cravings when you do have them, as well as improve your overall state of health and balance.

1. The oh-so-redundant phrase, “drink plenty of water”

water

You’ve heard it many times, but are you doing this every day? Your body is comprised of mostly water. Thus, we need to take in plenty of it throughout the day to feel lively and replenished. It makes sense that your body craves something when your water intake is low. Your body is not recieving the hydration it needs, so it feels that you’re lacking. Thus, it searches for satiability.

Water deficiency is often the one big thing to keep in mind when addressing how to stop cravings. Drinking more water is a simple change that will improve every facet of your health as well as combat cravings.

2. Load up on nutrient-dense foods

organic food

Doing this will target nutritional cravings at your core. With an adequate amount of nutrients, your brain won’t need to send your body signals that you’re missing vital vitamins and minerals.

Shop for whole, real foods like fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans, wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs and free-range beef. Frequently try new foods and mix it up to insure that your diet will provide you with all of the nutrients your body requires to function optimally.

Stay away from processed foods that contain preservatives, added sugar and artificial flavors. Seek organic, non-gmo options when possible.

3. Drink Kombucha

cup of tea

This sweet, healthy, digestive booster helps curb cravings because its effervescent nature gives your stomach the illusion that you’re full. Created using the fermented product of cane sugar, black tea and fruit juice, kombucha tea is an excellent replacement for those mid-day soda cravings.

The reason that soda only temporarily satisfies your cravings is because it only gives your body a jolt of sugar–no nutrients. Soda is an empty-calorie drink, meaning it provides sugar but has no positive nutritional value. On the other hand, Kombucha provides you with nutrients from raw fruit and probiotics from the symbiotic culture of bacteria & yeast that kombucha contains. That might sound like a scary combination.

But, think of this way: your stomach needs good bacteria in order to properly digest and absorb food. Thus, the culture in kombucha is help keeping the good bacteria level in your stomach maintained. By choosing a natural drink to help curb cravings, you’re truly addressing the craving and not just satisfying your desire for sugar.

Starting a habit of of regularly consuming a kombucha a day will help you effectively stop sugar cravings and improve digestion in the process.

4. Don’t skip meals

skipping meals

When you take on a healthier approach to eating, don’t develop a fear of food. Getting into a routine where you eat very little is ultimately not an effective way to improve your health. In fact, your body needs a sufficient amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat to keep the metabolism up–which is responsible for energy levels, weight management & elimination.

If you are skipping meals, be it a time constriction, busy schedule or a purposeful attempt to cut back on calories, stop doing it. That is one of the quickest routes to develop frequent cravings.

When you skip meals, your metabolism slows and often so does your energy. Being in a state in which you lack energy is the prime time for cravings to hit you. Eating several healthy meals (3-5) throughout the day will revitalize you, replenish your energy, and reduce the prevalence of cravings.

Aim to eat a lot of nutrient dense, organic foods. This will help your body to feel full and complete with the foods it needs to function its best. When your body is satisfied in this way, your cravings will diminish.

5. Make sleep a priority

sleeping girl

Some lean on food when tired or fatigued. This is mainly because your body is looking for a quick fix of energy. Refined sugar will do the trick and that’s perhaps why you look to it.

Take inventory of your sleeping habits and determine if that could be a contributor. Pay notice to your sleep patterns and see if you can improve upon them. Go to bed an hour earlier or take a nap during the day (if possible) to get an extra bit of sleep every day.

Know that sleep can also impact your stress levels and mental state. Getting enough rest will help alleviate stress and emotional eating. Eating when you’re overwhelmed, sad, emotionally taxed or stressed can happen more frequently if you allow yourself to be sleep deprived.

Collectively, those struggles can activate your cravings and steer you down a unhealthy path of impulsive eating. That’s not to say that the occasional splurge is unhealthy. Rather, the goal is to be eating for health and balance, not to mask a lack of sleep or a stressed mindframe.

It’s also important to realize that lacking motivation, being depressed, or enduring a recent trauma or stressful event could perhaps be the cause of your emotional eating. These cravings are your brain and body’s way of leaning on something reliabale and satisfying to cope with this mental strife. Thus, tackling these types of cravings might mean you need to address the deeper physchological issues beneath them.

Getting enough sleep every night will decrease the chances that your eating is due to energy deprivation. Combined with drinking plenty of water, eating nutritious foods, incorporating kombucha, and eating meals every few hours, you will be equipped with how to stop cravings the natural way.

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6 Healthy Smoothie Ingredients for your Daily Smoothie http://www.healthambition.com/healthy-smoothie-ingredients-for-your-daily-smoothie/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=healthy-smoothie-ingredients-for-your-daily-smoothie http://www.healthambition.com/healthy-smoothie-ingredients-for-your-daily-smoothie/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:00:46 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=7078

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Smoothies are one of the most nutritious ways to consume a large dose of nutrients quickly and conveniently. You can control the ingredients for a smoothie, unlike store bought drinks. Each day can bring a new profile of flavors when you experiment with different foods and smoothie ingredients. In doing this, you won’t grow bored of your morning smoothie routine.

The best way to be inventive with your smoothie making is to think outside the box. Don’t restrain yourself to just fruit and milk. Open your mind up to different, healthy smoothie ingredients. Perhaps, think of foods you don’t normally consume by themselves but are beneficial to your health.

In a smoothie boasting robust flavor, you can “hide” these ingredients in your smoothie and still gain the nutritional benefits. Also, you can use certain foods to ramp up the current flavor of your favorite smoothie recipe like herbs and spices.

There is a multitude of foods, some already in your pantry, that will give your smoothie a tasty, healthful boost.

1. Cacao Powder

cacao powder

Don’t confuse cacao powder with overly processed cocoa powder that you’ll find in grocery store baking isles. Cocoa powder has often been heated and combined with preservatives to increase the shelf life. The product to look for is raw, organic cacao powder. This rich, decadent superfood will give your smoothie a chocolatey flavor without the fat and sugar that comes in a candy bars.

Chocolate in its natural form (cacao) is a powerful superfood loaded antioxidant-dense phytonutrients. Areas of the world that consume large quantities of cacao are also recorded as having the lowest prevalence of diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Using up to a tablespoon of cacao powder in your smoothie is adequate to receive its nutritional benefits as well as add sufficient flavor. Cacao powder goes well with ingredients like banana and coconut.

Many health food stores carry organic cacao powder and nibs. Purchasing cacao in an organic form might cost a few more dollars but it will be worth it knowing you’re making your smoothie as clean as possible. Organic cacao powder can also be used to make a healthy version of a traditional cup of hot chocolate.

2. Cinnamon

cinnamon

As a promoter of blood sugar balance, cinnamon is more than just a robust spice. It is one of the best smoothie ingredients because of its health benefits. Blood sugar balance is helpful for those seeking weight loss, which may make cinnamon a favorite for weight conscious individuals.

Cinnamon can be used as a natural way to lower bad cholesterol, treat arthritis-related pain and enhance brain function. Cinnamon pairs well with many fruits including bananas, nectarines, peaches, pears. It also tastes great when combined with chocolate or vanilla flavored protein.

Invest in organic cinnamon, which you can buy for a reasonable price at most health food markets. Using organic cinnamon will ensure that this cinnamon was grown free of pesticides–making it no burden for your body to digest and detoxify.

3. Maca

maca powder

Maca, from the radish family, is derived from the maca root and is known for its ability to naturally balance hormone production. It can benefit the entire endocrine system by optimizing the production of hormones from the adrenal gland, pancreas, pituitary gland and thyroid. This is especially important for weight-conscious individuals with thyoid problems (whether suspected or diagnosed), as this gland is involved largely in metabolism and weight.

In women, maca can help alleviate menstrual cycle related symptoms such as cramps, irritability, hot flashes and anxiety. In men and women and alike, maca can help increase libido and enhance fertility. It’s a fantastic ingredient to use in a “his and hers” smoothie.

Maca powder can be found in the supplement section of most health food stores. It’s also available in capsule form.

4. Raw Honey

honey

Raw honey is one of nature’s many nutritious, tasteful, sweet products. When you consume honey, it’s important that it’s raw–especially if you are wanting to take advantage of its nutritional offerings. The reason that it’s important to eat it raw is multifaceted:

  • Heat denatures the nutrients that the honey is comprised of.
  • Honey bees, as a part of their honey producing routine, fan the hives with their wings to keep the honey at a certain temperature. It seems as if nature does it this way for a reason–to preserve the honey.

Check your local area for local honey farms to get the freshest, raw honey available. If that’s not applicable to you, you can look to your local health food store, who is likely to carry it.

5. Oat Fiber

oats

Oat fiber is just what is sounds like: the fibrous, rough part of the oat. It contains no fat, no sugar and no protein and no gluten. It is simply fiber.

This makes a great addition to a smoothie if you have trouble feeling full or maintaining that full filling after a meal. 2 tablespoons (at most) will make your smoothie noticeably more filling and satisfying.

Oat fiber can be found in some health food stores in the supplement section near other detox and fiber products. It is also readily available in bulk from several online sources.

6. Zucchini or Cucumber

fresh cucumber

Don’t knock this one until you try it.  Adding zucchini and cucumber to your smoothie is a great way to satisfy your suggested daily vegetable intake.

These vegetables won’t add a strong flavor, rather they will add a light and fresh flavor to your smoothie. They go well with a wide range of ingredients like berries, apples, peaches and bananas.

Merely any fruit combination you could dream up will be complimented well by these veggies. The sugar in the fruit will mask any slight green flavor that comes through. What you’ll be left with is a delicious, energizing smoothie that is a bit heartier with healthy vegetables.

In Conclusion

Drinking a smoothie once a day might sound like a boring, bland way to fit in a meal. But, it certainly doesn’t have to be. Add some of the aforementioned ingredients for smoothies that will kick up the flavor and zest of your concoctions. Experiment with different combinations and amounts and you’ll soon look forward to your daily, power-packed smoothie.

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5 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Metabolism http://www.healthambition.com/ways-to-naturally-boost-your-metabolism/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ways-to-naturally-boost-your-metabolism http://www.healthambition.com/ways-to-naturally-boost-your-metabolism/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:52:16 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=7064

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Briefly put, your metabolism is the sum of all processes (anabolic & catabolic) that results in waste elimination, energy production and growth. Genetics, dietary intake and environmental factors all play roles in establishing your metabolism.

Since there are so many variables including multi-faceted processes, it’s complicated to directly target your metabolism and improve it. However, diet and exercise play enormous roles in this. Needless to say, both of these things are under your control. Thus, you can effectively impact and improve upon your metabolism by making a few changes by implementing these natural metabolism boosters.

There are several natural ways to boost metabolism, many of which are simple daily changes that will effectively and realistically improve the rate at which your body processes and burns calories. In doing this, you may notice you have a larger appetite. This is likely due to the fact that you’re increasing your calorie deficit as your metabolism kicks it into high gear.

This means that you can potentially eat more calories and maintain your same weight. This is evident in the fact that many individuals appear to eat endlessly without gaining weight. One of many reasons that is the case is because their metabolism is cranked up.

Note that implementing these changes doesn’t guarantee your unique body and make up will suddenly become lean. However, integrating these daily habits will help optimize the metabolism that your individual body is meant to function with.

1. Make Breakfast Your Biggest Meal

smoothie

Skipping breakfast is one of the biggest contributors to a slow metabolism. When you wake, your body needs a hefty dose of nutrients to get moving and feel energized for the day ahead. Even if it means getting up 30 minutes earlier, make it a point to make breakfast happen every morning.

A quick, nutritious, convenient meal to consume for breakfast is a smoothie. Pack it full of fresh fruit, powdered protein and a healthy fat like chia seed for a balanced meal that will equip you with a robust dose of morning nutrients.

2. Take the stairs

Simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, standing up at a counter while browsing the internet on your laptop, or commuting to work on a bicycle instead of using your car are fantastic ways to consider ramping up your metabolism by demanding more from your body.

Along with burning more calories, these activities will be energizing and will help keep you able to take on a full day’s work. The better shape you’re in and the higher rate  our metabolism is cranking, the more you are able to take on.

3. Make sure you eating balanced macros (carbs, protein and fat)

running

50 percent protein, 35 percent carbohydrates and 15 percent protein is a rough estimate for the ideal ratio of macros you should be consuming through your diet. Use these numbers to give yourself an overall picture of what your food intake should look like.

Don’t obsess over making your diet perfectly abide by these numbers. On the contrary, simply know that it’s optimal to eat a bit of protein, carbs and fat with each meal–not overdoing any of them.

4. At least once a day, drink green juice

green juice

The phytonutrients in leafy greens such as chard, kale and spinach are powerful metabolism elevators–as they help alleviate digestive issue, increase energy, encourage detoxification. These are all facets of our health that affect the metabolism.

Thus, greens are mighty & natural metabolism boosters. Don’t be afraid to venture out and try new greens. Some great axamples of lesser used greens include beet greens, dandelion greens and collard greens. Fresh herbs like peppermint and rosemary make great, flavorful additions to your drink.

There are several ways to consume your daily green drink.

  • The most convenient way to get your daily green drink is to stop by your local health food store and scour their drink section for a cold-pressed, organic, raw juice. You can expect to see all kinds of flavor combinations. Aim for drinks that look green and contain mostly vegetables, if possible.
  • The simplest homemade way is to fill up your blender with water, then add a few handfuls of greens (use a variety). Blend this combination thoroughly. It should be a consistency that is drinkable with the occasional bit of fiber in your gulp. Experiment with different water and greens ratios to make this drink work for you.
  • A more time consuming, complex (but delicious and fresh) way to consume your daily green drink is to juice your own produce. Though this is called a “green drink”, don’t be afraid to use other veggies and fruit. A flavor combination to try juicing is kale, apple and carrot. Try out different combinations and find one that you enjoy. Since not much juice comes from greens, juicing can be expensive. You can save money on juicing by only buying produce that is on sale.

5. Don’t Skip Resistance Training

running

Falling into a routine that only consists of cardiovascular activites like walking, running, cycling or using the elliptical trainer can, unfortunately, make your fitness progress plateau. This happens because you may tend to do these activities in a long, slow manner. Exercising this way is a routine that your body and heart rate get used to. You develop muscle memory and a certain level of fitness where your heart rate and body are not guessing what’s next.

The key to boost metabolism naturally through exercise is to keep your body guessing. Do exercises like squat jumps, lunges or push-ups with little rest in between. To increase the intensity (thus, increase your metabolism), add weight to these movements. You body will be more challenged and your heart rate will skyrocket. This will up your metabolism and make you happier with your fitness program.

You can optimize your time spent doing resitance training by performing moves that target your upper and lower body at once. For example, holding a weight, you can perform a squat followed by a shoulder press. Within this dynamic move, you’ll be incorporating your thighs and glutes as well as your shoulders and arms.

In all of this, remember that you do have genetics at play. That will affect the rate at which you see changes in your energy and weight. Don’t let yourself get frustrated–just trust that healthily is the right way to amp up your metabolism and stay commited at adhering to these daily habits.

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7 Delicious Green Juice Recipes http://www.healthambition.com/delicious-green-juice-recipes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=delicious-green-juice-recipes http://www.healthambition.com/delicious-green-juice-recipes/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:50:22 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=7054

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Green drinks are quickly proving themselves to be more than just another neat health fad. The addition of leafy green vegetables to fresh pressed juices not only gives the health beverage a cool color, but it adds a powerful punch to its nutritional quality. It’s an easy way to make sure you are giving your body what it needs to live with vitality.

Green juice recipes can vary in flavors, but will always provide a vast amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep your body feeling great. Incorporating kale, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, romaine lettuce and other green vegetables into your juicing routine will ensure that you aren’t overloading your system with an influx of natural sugars from fresh pressed juices that include mostly fruits.

Incorporating green drinks into your healthy regimen will lend many great benefits. Adopting this healthy habit will not only ensure that you are getting the required nutrients for good health, but it will also help to keep you focused on living a healthy lifestyle.

Green drinks are an easy way to get in the benefits of many fruits and vegetables with ease. You can create one juice from the same amount of vegetables contained in three salads. The process is an extremely simple way to hydrate your body, provide nourishment and promote additional healthy eating habits.

Through incorporating green drinks into your healthy lifestyle you will:

  • Get a large amount of nutrition to improve and maintain your overall health.
  • Get quick absorption of those nutrients into your body because your digestive system doesn’t have to work overtime to break any substances down.
  • Aid your body in its natural detoxification process by giving your digestive system a break and cleaning up your diet.
  • Encourage your body to crave healthy foods and more fresh pressed juices daily.
  • Lose and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get clear and glowing skin as your body flushes toxins.
  • Restore balance to your body by returning it to an alkaline state.
  • Enjoy the flavors of countless green juice recipes and have fun as you experiment with different combinations for green drinks.
  • Discover an easy way to keep your body on track.

Here are 7 green juice recipes that will add benefit to your health journey.




Kale Lemonade

This beverage is a cooling treat that not only improves overall health but also provides nourishment for your hair and skin. Pineapples have amazing health benefits that help support a strong immune system and healthy heart.

Ingredients:

  • 2 spears pineapple
  • 5 kale leaves
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon

Preparation:

1. Peel Lemon

2. Chop pineapple spears into chunks

3. Wash other produce thoroughly

4. ​Slowly feed produce through juicer (juice greens first)

5. Stir mixture before drinking

6. ​Rinse and clean juicer immediately


The Green Thing


With spinach operating as the leader of this green drink, you are sure to get a major dose of vitamins A, K, D, E and omega 3 fatty acids. This drink is great for alkalizing the body and can be incorporated into your daily meal plan.

Ingredients:

  • 5 handfuls of spinach
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 apples

Preparation:

1. Wash produce thoroughly

2. Core and chop apples into chunks​

3. ​Slowly feed produce through juicer (juice greens first)

​4. Stir mixture before drinking

5. Rinse and clean juicer immediately​


Kale Kicker




Cayenne pepper and ginger add a nice kick to this super food drink. With benefits that increase blood circulation, detoxify the body, purify the blood and support skin health, this drink is a must have for a healthy lifestyle.

Ingredients:

  • ½ Lime
  • 5 apples
  • Handful of kale
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ inch piece of ginger

Preparation:

1. Wash produce thoroughly

2. Core and chop apples into chunks

3. Slowly feed produce through juicer (juice greens first)

4. Add pinch of cayenne

5. Stir mixture before drinking

6. Rinse and clean juicer immediately



Glow Green



Are you looking to keep that healthy glow that radiates from the inside? The Glow Green juice is a wonderful recipe that provides benefits for optimal health. Parsley gives this juice a great source of antioxidants and the ginger helps to ensure that the nutrients are effectively absorbed for maximum benefit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lime
  • 1 cucumber
  • 7 kale leaves
  • 2 apples
  • ½ inch piece of ginger

Preparation:

1. Wash produce thoroughly

2. Core and chop apples into chunks

3. Slowly feed produce through juicer (juice greens first)

4. Stir mixture before drinking

5. Rinse and clean juicer immediately


The Detoxifier

Your body has a natural ability to detoxify itself, but sometimes it needs a boost to help rid the toxins that accumulate from daily activity. This green juice recipe is a simple way to help with that process. Drink it in the morning, on an empty stomach, to assist your body with its cleansing process.

Ingredients:

  • 2 green apples
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 Lime
  • Handful of Kale

Preparation:

1. Wash produce thoroughly

2. Core and chop apples into chunks

3. Slowly feed produce through juicer (juice greens first)

4. Stir mixture before drinking

5. Rinse and clean juicer immediately



Green Giant

green juice

Don’t get in the habit of only juicing kale and spinach for good health. The Green Giant proves that venturing out and exploring other green leafy vegetables will prove beneficial to your overall health and your taste buds. Romaine lettuce is a great source of protein, iron, calcium, water and omega-3 fatty acids.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 lacinto kale leaves
  • ½ lime
  • 3 apples

Preparation:

1. Wash produce thoroughly

2. Core and chop apples into chunks

3. Slowly feed produce through juicer (juice greens first)

4. Stir mixture before drinking

5. Rinse and clean juicer immediately



Mean Green Citrus

This green drink is perfect for any time of day. Use it to start your morning off or to give you a mid-day kick. Full of vitamins B and C, the Mean Green Citrus is a great “pick me up” and gives you a great deal of nutrients in a small serving.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Swiss chard leaves
  • Handful of parsley
  • 2 apples
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ cucumber

Preparation:

1. Peel oranges

2. Wash produce thoroughly

3. Core and chop apples into chunks

4. Slowly feed produce through juicer (juice greens first)

5. Stir mixture before drinking

6. Rinse and clean juicer immediately


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A Simple Green Tea Smoothie for Better Health http://www.healthambition.com/green-tea-smoothie-better-health/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=green-tea-smoothie-better-health http://www.healthambition.com/green-tea-smoothie-better-health/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:06:57 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=6999

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Matcha is a super powered version of green tea with a soft and refreshing flavor and some incredible health benefits. Made from the finely ground shoots of green tea leaves that are specially grown in the shade to enhance their nutritional content, Matcha green tea is one of the healthiest beverages available.

Aside from brewing up the tea, you can also use Matcha to make a green tea smoothie and ahead is a great tasting and extremely healthy recipe for it. It’s quick and simple to make and is a delicious breakfast or a potent mid afternoon pick me up.

3 Reasons Why is Matcha so Healthy

matcha green tea

Here are the 3 main reasons why Matcha green tea is so good for you and well worth adding to your diet for more energy, disease prevention and better health in general.

1. L-Theanine

The rare amino acid L-Theanine is found primarily in the Camellia Sinensis tea plant and has the unusual ability to promote a sense of calm and alert energy and mental clarity.

L-Theanine has also been studied for promoting lower blood pressure, improved cognitive abilities and memory, stimulating alpha brainwave patterns and even enhancing the quality of your sleep.

Matcha green tea is by far the best natural source of L-Theanine and the smoothie recipe ahead is full of this powerful nutrient.

2. Chlorophyll

The bright green color of a high quality matcha tea like this one I drink is a testament to the exceptional levels of chlorophyll found in the young green tea leaves.

Chlorophyll is the great alkalizer and blood detoxifier and a big part of why green leafy vegetables and wheatgrass are considered so healthy.

3. Antioxidants

Matcha has one of the highest antioxidant ratings of any superfood with an ORAC ranking of 1384 TE/g. This is higher than even acai berries at 1027 TE/g and over 10 times more powerful than pomegranates at 105 TE/g.

The abundant antioxidants in Matcha neutralize free radicals formed in your body from dietary and environmental toxins. Many studies conclude that the more antioxidant rich foods in your diet the lower your risk of life-threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

There’s much more on the rich antioxidant content of Matcha green tea and its many other health benefits here.

Matcha has a gentle, almost creamy flavor without the aftertaste of some cheap green teas. One of the easiest and best tasting ways to have it regularly is in the high-powered smoothie recipe next.

A Simple Green Tea Smoothie Recipe

smoothie

 

Here is a satisfying, easy to make and incredibly healthy Matcha green tea smoothie recipe. It’s great for a quick breakfast when you need your energy levels and focus to be at their best. It also makes for a powerful afternoon pick me up if you’re lagging (though due to the small amounts of caffeine it isn’t recommended too close to bed).

You’ll need a good blender to make up this smoothie and many of the other nutritious recipes here on Health Ambition. I’ve used this one for many years and can highly recommend it for getting the job done.

Smoothie Ingredients for 2

Optional Extras

green smoothie

  • Berries like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are high in fiber, quite low in sugars and full of antioxidants. They make a great tasting addition and in the case of blackberries or raspberries will turn this green smoothie a beautiful deep pink.
  • Ground flaxseed adds a subtle nutty flavor and an abundance of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Another option is chia seeds, also full of 0mega-3s and healthy digestive fiber that swells up. A few teaspoons of chia seeds will turn your smoothie the consistency of a frothy dessert mousse.
  • Green leafy vegetables. To really green up this green tea smoothie you can add a handful of mild tasting greens like spinach or kale. They’ll blend up so well you won’t taste them but they’ll certainly increase the amount of detoxifying chlorophyll and anti-cancer compounds you’re drinking.

Instructions

Start with roughly chopped avocado, apple and any optional extras in the bottom of your blender. Throw in the green Matcha tea, pour the yogurt or milk over the top, add a couple of drops of Stevia and blend it all up on high until the consistency looks good to you. Drink immediately for the best taste and most health benefits.

I hope you enjoy my green tea smoothie recipe and feel free to add any other healthy foods you think would go well with it.

Drinking Matcha tea instead of cortisol raising coffee or especially fattening soda is a highly beneficial dietary change to make. Blend up this green tea smoothie regularly as well and you’ll be on your way to a higher level of health and energy in each day.

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5 DIY Homemade Facial Masks Using Common Kitchen Ingredients http://www.healthambition.com/5-diy-homemade-facial-masks-using-common-kitchen-ingredients/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-diy-homemade-facial-masks-using-common-kitchen-ingredients http://www.healthambition.com/5-diy-homemade-facial-masks-using-common-kitchen-ingredients/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:00:00 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=6995

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Dawning beautiful, bright, glowing skin doesn’t have to mean purchasing expensive, chemical-filled potions from your local department store. There is an abundance of items that you likely already have in your kitchen pantry that will work wonders for your skin, sans the toxic ingredients.

Pure and simple food items are just what your skin needs for a healthy boost that you can see and feel. It may surprise you the common foods you can use to create a diy facial mask.

These recipes are some basic and simple ideas on how to incorporate everyday foods into skin care. Be creative with other foods as well. If you know it to be healthy to ingest, it’s likely healthy and beneficial to your skin.

For example, nutrient dense foods like kale and strawberries are full of antioxidants and healing plant compounds called phytochemicals. Thus, when used on your face, these foods can give your skin healthy boost of nutrients. Your skin will thank you.

Simply Honey

honey

Honey is one of the single most nourishing skin care ingredients. Especially when used in raw form, honey naturally moisturizes and can help improve a multitude of stubborn skin conditions. It also has antimicrobial properties, making it an effective acne fighter. Honey’s capability of keeping skin looking and feeling young is superior, as it is robust with antioxidants.

Honey works as dual-acting agent, as it both cleanses and moisturizes skin. In other words, you can apply this mask and wash it off without a need for a serum or moisturizer. The honey will help balance your skin’s oil production with regular use. It’s truly one of nature’s best skin ingredients for homemade face masks.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp of raw honey

Instructions:

  1. Slather a generous amount of honey onto your face, avoiding your eyes (only for ease of clean up)
  2. After 5-10 minutes, rinse the honey off with warm water and a washcloth, if needed.

Lemony Fresh

lemons

Lemons naturally detoxify your body and balance your internal pH, and they have the same positive effect on skin. They help release impurities and their citric acid helps rejuvenate your top layer of skin, safely and gently. Using lemon juice in this diy facial mask will give your skin a fresh and vibrant glow.

The greens in this mask provide something for the juice to hold onto, so you’re able to apply it to your face. However, greens also pack a punch. Chock full of phytochemicals that fight against skin damage, powdered greens give your skin the same excellent benefits as they provide the inside of your body.

As with all of these homemade face masks, remember to always use organic ingredients when you can. This will insure that your skin is not absorbing toxins and chemicals from pesticide usage.

You can typically find powdered greens located in your local health food store’s supplement section. Aim for greens that are not flavored.

Ingredients:

  • Juice of Half a Lemon
  • 1/2 Tbsp of powdered greens

Instructions:

  1. Combine the lemon juice and powdered greens in a small bowl
  2. Apply to face, avoiding the eyes (the lemon juice will give them an unwanted sting)
  3. Let the mask sit for 5 minutes, then rinse off with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Oat to Joy

oatmeal honey facial mask

This breakfast staple provides a wide range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Oats are effective at soothing dry, itchy or irritated skin conditions. They also alleviate acne breakouts, as oats absorb excess on oil on the surface of skin. Powdered oats provide a gentle and effective means of exfoliating your skin and unclogging pores. You can find them in merely any grocery store. Purchase whole oats or powdered oats if your store carries them.

If you can’t find powdered oats, you can certainly make your own. Simply put the desired amount of whole oats into a food processor or coffee grinder until the particles are finely ground, like flour.

Raw honey is used in this mask as a way to create a paste with oat powder. As with merely all homemade facial masks, keep in mind that honey can be used as the foundation of the recipe. It enhances the health of your skin while helping all of the ingredients combine for easy application.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp powdered oats
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey

Instructions:

  1. Combine the powdered oats and raw honey together until it’s paste-like
  2. Apply to entire face
  3. Let soak into skin for 5-10 minutes, rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Cinnamon Spice It Up

honey cinnamon

The robust flavor and zip that cinnamon provides is not all that this bark has to offer. Internally, cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar and even naturally boosts your metabolism. On your skin, cinnamon acts as a stimulator of blood flow, thus leaving your skin feeling and looking alive, awake and rejevenated. When combined with honey, cinnamon makes for a very effective healing concoction for many skin problems.

Keep in mind, putting too much cinnamon in this mask will make your skin feel irritated and warm. This is due to the increase in blood flow–thus, you are not being harmed. Rather, its just uncomfortable. So, aim to keep the cinnamon content as suggested.

You can find powdered cinnamon merely anywhere. However, invest in organic cinnamon for the best results. You can also use organic cinnamon sticks. Similar to oats, you can powder your own cinnamon using a food processor or a coffee grinder.

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp of raw honey

Instructions:

  1. Combine the cinnamon and honey thoroughly
  2. Apply to face, avoiding your eyes. The pungent cinnamon can be irritating ot them.
  3. Leave on for 3-5 minutes. It won’t take long for you to feel this one working.
  4. Rinse off completely with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Eggs & Joe

egg

This duo might sound interesting, or maybe too interesting. You’re likely using to drinking your coffee and eating your eggs separate from one another. Regardless of how odd it sounds, coffee and eggs are two skin care ingredients that can truly nourish and revive your skin.

A fantastic ingredient to comprise a diy facial scrub is coffee. You can repurpose and recycle already brewed coffee grounds to improve your complexion. When mixed with an egg, coffee grounds combine to make a mask that doubles as a diy facial scrub.

The protein and nutrients found in free-range, organic eggs help preserve and protect skin, keeping it tight and young looking. With frequent use, you may see improvements in wrinkles and fine lines.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg (make sure it’s free range & organic for optimum benefits) OR 1 Tbsp raw honey (if you don’t like the idea of using egg)
  • 1 Tbsp of fine coffee grounds

Instructions:

  1. Combine the egg or honey with the coffee grounds, making sure to break up the yolk.
  2. Apply the mixture to your face, avoiding the eyes.
  3. Let soak into skin until it dries.
  4. To add in an exfoliating step using the coffee grounds, rub the mixture into circular motions when you are washing it off. Your skin will feel fresh, as you’ve gently removed dead cells off the surface of your skin.
  5. Wash thoroughly and pat dry with a clean towel.

In Conclusion

Homemade facial masks are an inexpensive and creative way to achieve healthier skin. This way, you know what’s going onto and being absorbed into your skin and you’re finding a way to be creative and think outside the box in regards to food and skin care. Premade jars of these masks (sans the egg mask) make for great, unique, handmade gifts.

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7 Foods That Ramp Up Depression (Plus Alternatives That Boost Morale) http://www.healthambition.com/7-foods-that-ramp-up-depression/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-foods-that-ramp-up-depression http://www.healthambition.com/7-foods-that-ramp-up-depression/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:01:29 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=6993

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We’ve all heard it said that eating your fruits and vegetables does a body good. We have even heard mention of certain foods that give a great boost to mood and energy. On the flip side of things, we know which ones are Debbie Downers when it comes to going full speed for the long haul of a day.

But what about people prone to or suffering from depression? What foods are likely triggers? And which ones are great for keeping one’s feelings of self worth in tip top shape? Here’s a list of some usual suspects that wreak havoc on depression, and a list of healthy alternatives to whip your esteem back into fighting shape.

The World Health Organization reports that Unipolar Depression is the leading cause of “disease burden” in high income countries. That’s to say where famine may be a scourge in our third world counterparts, depression certainly is ours. Why the huge prevalence of depression?

One glaring factor seems to be lifestyle. We live in a rat race world, shuttling from one meeting to the next deadline to the next coffee and cigarette break, hunched before a desktop computer, donut or microwaved meal in one hand, expense report in the other.

We’ve not made the time in our busy days to factor in a healthy meal nor any healthy interaction with our families, friends and colleagues. Instead we reach for comfort foods to ride shotgun with us throughout our day.

What Is Unipolar Depression?

Unipolar depression can manifest itself in varying episodes from lack of appetite and irregular sleep, to feelings of low self worth, guilt, anxiety, lack of energy and activity. It can be brought on by a myriad number of causes.

But what is sure is that there are certain things that go a  long way to help treat and prevent it. We know that exercise even for the elderly can be a good weapon in the battle against depression.

In fact a healthy lifestyle buoyed by good sleeping and eating habits seems to stave off the threat of mild depression. In instances where depression is much more severe medical treatment is usually involved.

full refrigerator

But for our purposes, we know we can help ourselves by being better to ourselves. Eating less of the wrong foods and more of the right ones will strengthen our bodies as well as our emotional well being.

In fact over the course of 12 years, researchers studied the eating habits of women and found that women were 41 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression after eating more refined grains and sugar, alcohol and red meat (all of which cause inflammation) than those who ate green and yellow leafy vegetables, drank wine and coffee instead of other forms of alcohol, and used olive oil.

1. The Usual Suspects: High Fat And Sugary Foods

depression sugary food

Those high fat foods like sugary donuts from your convenient donut chain around the corner from the office, savory combo meals dripping with grease and trans fats at your local fast food restaurant, or saccharine sweet bon bons in a grab bag are all sure to add inches to your waistline, stress to your heart, and equally throw your levels of self worth off kilter.

depression eating sugar

High fat foods disrupt sleep cycles and your metabolism. And the correlation between those two components and depression is clear. Depression and lack of sleep go hand in hand.

Your sugar rush is bound to come crashing down throughout the course of the day. And yet your fatigue will never lead you to restful sleep. If anything you’ll rouse from a turbulent slumber totally discombobulated, dragging a spare tire with you back to the grind.

In fact, though we love comfort foods, these high fat saboteurs grind our metabolic gears to a halt. And you know what it feels like when you’re not running on all cylinders, like a slow day from hell.

depression sugar

Sugar for its part ages cells in the brain, corrupts memory function, stimulates belly fat, can cause inflammation of the skin and is as equally toxic to the liver as is alcohol. But psychologically sugar wears us down by boosting us up only temporarily.

The infamous sugar crash we feel after having eaten a candy bar, and its short-lived buzz of an hour or less, saps our energy levels and reactivity. We end up feeling worse for wear and our morale goes out the door.

The Remedy:

depression nuts

Eat whole foods like nuts and grains, fruits and vegetables. These are high in folic acid and Vitamin B. Both are extremely powerful agents in the fight against depression and fatigue.

You’ll feel full but also you’ll feel full of energy and vigor. Your body and mind will respond more positively to physical and emotional challenges that present themselves throughout the course of the day.

2 – 4. Alcohol, Caffeine and Nicotine.

depression alcohol

What can be said about these troublesome three? Sure we all have our vices. And sure an occasional glass of wine to end the day with a nice hearty meal is actually good for you.

But going overboard on the cigarettes, binge drinking and taking too many double espresso shots are not. Aside from the more than obvious damage these three wreak upon your adrenal glands, liver, and heart; they also play havoc with your state of well-being.

Caffeine and nicotine can produce feelings of anxiety and panic. And all three can lull you into a false sense of security when it comes time to go nighty night. But truth be told, you’ll get anything but a full night’s sleep when they’re done playing games with your z’s. The next morning you’ll be dehydrated and completely worn down.

depression nicotine

Special Cases:

depression coffee

However, research makes a special case for red wine and black coffee. Ignoring the advent of 1000 calorie sugar-laden frappuccinos from your favorite boutique coffee shop or skinny cocktails from your favorite reality TV housewife, coffee without sugar and red wine actually can aid in fighting depression and possibly even heart disease.

Two to three cups maximum in the first half of your day is a good barometer to go by. Anything in the late afternoon will run the risk of disrupting your sleep patterns later that night. And getting no sleep is a huge factor in running the risk of suffering from depression.

Caffeine, particularly in coffee, fights inflammation, promotes brain function and concentration. And many of the great minds in research suspect a long running correlation between dietary inflammation and depression. So naturally, coffee would be a great remedy.

Red wine is highly potent as well for its heart health boosting effects. There seems to be a strong correlation between heart disease and depression in women. One may lead to the other.

The Remedy:

seeds

Eat foods rich in tryptophan which aids in boosting feelings of self-worth and promotes good sleep (milk, nuts, seeds, bananas, honey, eggs). Tryptophan is an amino acid that combines with vitamin B6 to form serotonin, thus helping blood circulation, boosting memory, lowering cholesterol, and above all promoting good sleep.

In fact studies have shown that increasing levels of serotonin and tryptophan aids in reducing depression without the side effects usually attributed to medical aids.

dairy product

There’s a reason why people claim to feel a little sleepy after eating turkey. Turkey has a healthy amount of tryptophan in fact. And so do fish, cheeses and fruits and vegetables. It also occurs in red meat. But we’re going to avoid adding red meat to our list for reasons you’ll see later.

Drink green tea.

It’s a nuclear weapon when it comes to whipping you into tip top form with antioxidants, mood and energy boosters. It’s also a great boost to the immune system which when ailing can lead to bouts with depression.

5. Gluten.

pasta dish

Who doesn’t love bread? Heck a meal at a European table without a baguette is almost sacrilege. And an Italian meal without pasta is like a day without sun in sunny California.  But here’s the skinny on barleys, rye and wheat. Those of us prone to celiac disease or allergic to gluten face an 80% chance increased risk of depression.

In other words don’t smother your troubles in footlongs or breadsticks. You’re more than likely exacerbating the problem. There’s more than just good discipline behind your personal trainer or nutritionist telling you to lay off the breads. There’s science. Besides the fact that breads cause inflammation and can give your otherwise cheery youthful face a puffy appearance, they bog down your sense of self-worth.

The science behind the studies speculates that gluten may inhibit the absorption of certain nutrients into the brain. Nutrients, remember, are important for aiding in maintaining proper organ function. Nutrients which comprise essential vitamins and proteins are key factors to proper brain health.

Imagine depriving your brain of all the sorts of vitamins that keep it concentrating at 100 percent or that stave off perceptions of guilt, paranoia, low self-esteem, all the negative factors that can otherwise be avoided with proper nutrition. That, folks, is what your daily baguette may be doing to you.

The Remedy:

Stop eating high gluten foods like pastas and breads. You may even be allergic and not even realize it. Further, nothing in high gluten foods is so good for you that it outweighs the risks of the bad. Instead go outside. Get your Vitamin D in healthy doses.

New studies show that getting outside to clear your head, work a little or play a little ramps up your mood booster defense against depression. Go green in fact. Sunny spaces in lovely green places are just what the doctor ordered.

vegetables

Get your phytonutrients. In other words eat more vegetables. Getting in your leafy greens like spinach is not something to be left to Popeye alone. Greens really have a powerful effect on positively changing the body.

Think about depression as not merely psychological but physical. The better you feel physically, the better you will feel psychologically.

6. Red Meat.

meat

Red meat, glorious as those backyard grilled steaks may be, should be a red flag for women for a number of reasons. If we run a grocery list of items that have been linked to red meat, it would read something like this: breast cancer, ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and for our purposes anxiety and depression.

Sure it’s high in protein and iron. Sure it goes great with potatoes and a Sunday football game. But this is not enough to overlook its damning risk factors.

red meat

However we should be clear here. Not all red meats are created equal. The red meat typically responsible for the above risk factors is fatty red meat. It’s a given that removing any sort of fatty meat from your diet will improve your heart health. But now studies show that reducing fatty red meat will also improve your chances of eliminating depression from your life. 29 to 41% or a research pool of 40,000 women who before the study were not clinically depressed were likely to suffer depression after following a diet rich in fatty red meat.

Does that mean you give up red meat altogether? No. Lean cuts of beef may actually be good for your happiness unlike their fatty cousins. According to a study that preceded the aforementioned one, women who completely removed red meat from their diets were equally at risk of suffering depression.

What can we take away from these two studies? The common denominator is fat. We can agree that removing fat from the diet, be it fatty meats or fatty sugary foods, is beneficial to your self worth and overall physical health. There are some other takeaways as well. How you cook your meat can also be a determining factor in how much of a risk you are taking.

Grilling pumps carcinogens into your meat, the very same risk factors that may lead to cancer. Frying saturates the meat with artery clogging oils that ultimately lead to heart disease. Neither of these things bodes well for brain function. And healthy brain equals a happy brain.

The Remedy:

legumes

Limit your red meat intake to one to two times a week. Make sure you are only getting fresh lean cuts that are not GMO, salted, or riddled with chemical preservatives. Oven roast your meat and always try to couple with fresh vegetables.

7. The X Factor: Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate

This category would apply to anything on this list that is both good and bad for you. Some items are extremely good for you within reason to moderation or time of day. Chocolate, we’re looking at you. A morsel of dark chocolate a day is a phenomenal source of good vibrations funneling into the brain, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities that are wonderful for a long list of reasons.

But that doesn’t include chocolate steeped in sugar and other additives. Pure dark chocolate like black coffee is what we’re referring to here. Any other incarnation can be lumped into the sugary candy family mentioned above.

But for all its amazing properties, dark chocolate can also pose one critical risk. Never eat your chocolate close to bedtime. Why? It can disrupt your sleeping patterns and cause you serious bouts with fatigue that may ultimately lead to depression. If you limit your intake of dark chocolate to hours between 8 am and 4 pm, you’ll maximize the benefits that come with it.

Your metabolism will equally be running on all cylinders during those hours, so you’ll run into far less a risk of not properly digesting it. Anytime close to the hours in which you sleep can wreak havoc on your deep dreaming. Chocolate has caffeine as well. And we already know that caffeine can be our best friend or our worst enemy depending on what time of day we have it and in what quantity.

The Remedy:

Go light on dark chocolate. Limit it to a small morsel a day between 8 am and 4 pm. Try to limit your indulgences, giving yourself an occasional window for those chocolate binges we are all guilty of.

Honorable mentions:

peppermint

Have a peppermint before you begin a daunting task or start a day. The peppermint has been shown to jumpstart your self-esteem. And sure, coupling it with a small morsel of pure dark chocolate is a great catalyst for releasing our endorphins and keeping you zen. Make love not war. Getting intimate with the one you love is great for powering up your sense of well-being and happiness.

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4 Things You Can Do Now to Improve Your Health http://www.healthambition.com/things-can-now-improve-health/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=things-can-now-improve-health http://www.healthambition.com/things-can-now-improve-health/#comments Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:02:33 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=6997

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Recovering or maintaining your optimal health can be a seemingly daunting task to many. You think you’ve got to have it all together, all at once, every day. Often times, this perfectionist mentality is not only stressful, but it’s not effective because it sets you up to fail.

Humans, by nature, are not perfect. Knowing that, we should perhaps strive to be balanced, not perfect. There are many simple ways to improve your health that are doable; all while maintaining a upbeat, positive, healthy mind frame.

Part of balance is actively making small strides to better our health. These can be small habits or bigger tasks that we take on. Here are four ways to improve your health that you can implement into your healthy lifestyle, today, to get on the road to your best, balanced self.

1. Practice “Percentages”

Don’t trade your unhealthy eating for an unhealthy mindset. In other words, as you become more diligent about eating wholesome, real, organic foods, don’t obsess. Don’t overanalyze. Don’t be neurotic. Don’t develop a a fearful relationship with food.

It’s counterproductive to morph into a health eater who is on the verge of a full flegded mental disorder in regards to food. You’ve traded one problem for another. You don’t need to short fuse if what you’re eating isn’t organic, raw, gluten free, low fat and vegan. Simply make good choices 80-90 percent of the time.

The other 10-20 percent of the time, let yourself go to your favorite Italian restaurant, enjoy a glass of wine, or order a pizza. Optimum health should mean that you are your most balanced self. This means letting go of perfect eating and occasionally enjoying the foods you enjoy, guilt free. This is how to get healthy and maintain your sanity.

2. Surround yourself with healthy food

healthy food

Hunger or the urge to snack can hit you at any time. It’s helpful to know this ahead of time and plan accordindly. Shop for and fill your pantry, refridgerator and kitchen up with healthy, nutritionally dense foods that you would be proud of eating. This way, when your hunger strikes, you are prepared and equipped to make healthful choices.

When shopping for food, think whole, real foods. Aim for lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans–and if you eat meat, free range beef & chicken, cage free eggs and wild caught fish. Stay away from processed products that contain preservatives, added sugar and artificial ingredients. Buy organic as often as possible to maximize the healthy benefits of the food you eat.

Local farmers markets are a fun, great way to get fantastic, organic food often times for less than big box stores. Make shopping for food a fun family experience to get your whole family involved and on board with healthy eating.

On this healthy journey, it may also help you to familiarize yourself with some new, exciting recipes. Just because you want to eat healthy doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice flavor. There are plenty of online resources that can help you get acquainted with cooking foods you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box and perhaps you’ll discover foods you didn’t know you liked.

3. Stop Drinking Soda

soda can

Health is indeed about balance, but some foods need to be eliminated all-together, or only allowed in your 10-20% window. Soda, for example, is nutritionally stripped and loaded with sugar. This popular drink hinders your health, especially when consumed on a regular basis. Furthermore, there is a plethora of other, healthful, convenient, affordable alternatives to soda that you can consider.

Kombucha fermented tea is a fantastic substitute for your daily soda habit. There are several kombucha brands that have created an organic, raw beverage that you can find in your local health food store. Kombucha is a healthy elixir that aids digestions, encourages detoxification and leaves you feeling satiated via it’s naturally effervescent nature.

Keep in mind, diet soda is perhaps much worse than your typical sugar-sweetened soda. The negative effects of artificial sweeteners are endless. As scary as that sounds, you don’t have to get overly caught up in how ‘this and that’ are bad for you. Just take them out of the equation and you’ve solves the problem. Shift your focus towards the good stuff. Choose good food. Support good brands who are creating organic, healthy foods. Make it a positive transition that you feel great about.

4. Start Lifting Weights

weight lifiting

You’ve likely heard it a million times that lifting weights is good for you. But, what does this really mean? How, precisely, is it good for you? Does it make me morph into a inflated-looking bodybuilder? Does it make it develop a six pack? Does it make women appear more masculine?

The reality is that lifting weights and doing resistance training provides real, palpable benefits for individuals of all ages, male or female.

To clarify, resistance training (loosely referred to here as lifting weights) encompasses many disciplines or exercise beyond just dumbbells and barbells. Resistance training can simply mean using your own body weight to do squats, doing rapid body weight movements called plyometrics, using the resistance of water in a pool, or using the range of weight machines or free weights at the gym.

Pick a discipline that feels right for you. You want it to be challenging, but not infringing on your safety.

The physical results that you can notice in the mirror will likely take a minimum of 4 weeks to see a significant difference. However, you will feel the results right away. Initially, it may be muscles tightness, fatigue and soreness. But before long, you will feel stronger, more confident, more empowered.

Regular resistance training offers a laundry list of benefits that include:

  • Improved muscle tone and endurance
  • Increased lean muscle mass (not bulky–unless you are consuming a large amount of calories, including protein)
  • Control of depression and chronic illnesses like heart disease and back pain
  • Improved self-esteem, confidence and overall sense of well being
  • Better, more fulfilled sleep pattern

In conclusion

If you’re looking for how to get healthy, try making these four simple changes in your life. You may experience immediately positive results including an elevation in energy and increased motivation. Embrace the experience as a beautiful and rewarding challenge.

Running on organic fuel and implementing a fitness routine complete with resistance training will do a lot for your body’s health. Better yet, you will be developing healthy habits that will stick with you as you get older.

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Red, White or Rose. Which Wine Should You Be Drinking and Why? http://www.healthambition.com/red-white-rose-wine-drinking/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=red-white-rose-wine-drinking http://www.healthambition.com/red-white-rose-wine-drinking/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:54:54 +0000 http://www.healthambition.com/?p=6945

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Wine is truly one of the greatest alcoholic beverages to grace our humble planet! There’s nothing quite as good as a chilled glass of rose wine on a hot day, some white wine with a tasty chicken meal, or a bit of rich red wine served with steak and pasta.

Of all the alcohols, wine is probably the only one that does more good than harm. While most alcoholic beverages just give you more sugar, calories, and toxic alcohol, wine actually offers some health benefits.

But which wine is the best? In this post, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know…

What You Need to Know About Wines

red white or rose

There aren’t just three types of wines, but actually there are six:

  1. Red wine — Black grapes are used to make red wine, including the skins to add pigment. The main difference between red wines and the others is the presence of tannins, which come from the skins.
  2. Rosé wine – Rosé wine is also made from the dark black grapes, but the skins are removed after only brief contact. This wine contains very few tannins, hence the naturally sweet taste.
  3. White wine — White grapes are used to make white wines, though some are made with black grapes. There is no contact with the skin, hence no color.
  4. Sparkling wines -- These wines can be made from nearly any grape type, and they contain carbon dioxide bubbles–hence being fizzy. Most people call this type of wine Champagne, but only sparkling wine made in the region of Champagne can actually be labeled thus.
  5. Fortified wines – These wines aren’t just traditional wines, but stronger spirits like Brandy are added into the wine. The addition of stronger alcohol causes a higher sugar content, and there is less fermentation.
  6. Dessert wines — These wines are higher in sugar, as they are either harvested late or dried on straw mats to concentrate the sugar. They are sweet, and thus served as a dessert.

All of these types of wine are tasty, but not all of them offer the same benefits.

Who Drinks What?

wine

Did you know that studies have been done examining the types of people who drink certain types of wine? According to one study:

  • Those who drink red wine tend to drink more frequently than those who drink white or rosé wine.
  • Those who drink white wine tend to be content with their career position.
  • It’s more common for red wine drinkers to be married and have a degree.
  • White wine drinkers tend to be content to stay at home and love holidays.
  • Red wine drinkers are usually more relaxed when it comes to wine preferences.
  • Rose wine drinkers like to try new and different things.
  • It’s common for white wine drinkers to drink the same vintage regularly.
  • 55% of rosé wine drinkers have left school at the age of 18.
  • 86% of red wine drinkers are in a happy, stable marriage.
  • 85% of rosé and white wine drinkers are either single and not looking for a relationship or in a happy, unmarried relationship.

What does your wine preferences say about you?

The Healthiest Wines

wine bottles

We all know that wine is healthy, but do you know how healthy? Some wines offer greater health benefits than others, so here are the wines you should definitely be trying:

  • Cabernets/Madirans — These two types of wine come from tannat grapes, which are known to contain very high levels of antioxidants known as procyanidins. The antioxidant can improve the health of your heart and vascular system, and has even been proven to increase your life expectancy.
  • Pinot Noir — Of all the wines, Pinot Noir has the highest concentrations of the cancer-fighting compound resveratrol, particularly the ones grown in cool climates that receive a lot of rainfall.
  • Merlot/Syrahs — The flavor of these wines are different from Cabs and Madirans, and they contain more procyanidins as well. Syrah is made with black currants added into the wine, and Merlot is made with blue grapes.

These are the three wines you want to drink A LOT of, as they offer the best health benefits. Yes, there are many other types of red wines, but these listed above are the best of the reds.

When it comes to rosé and white wine, you get a lot of sweet flavor, but almost nothing in the way of antioxidants.  The dark red color of red wine is the proof of the antioxidant content, but white and pink wines have almost no color. It’s like comparing a purple cabbage with a regular green cabbage–there’s still some value, but nowhere near as much!

Dry or Sweet?

Did you know that dry wines offer greater health benefits than sweet wines?

Red wines that have a drier flavor profile tend to have higher levels of antioxidants like flavonoids and procyanidins. These antioxidants are produced by the tannins that come from the skin of the grapes, and they are the ones that offer all the health benefits. Cabernets and Madirans are the ones with the highest levels of flavonoids, though all red wines are loaded with the antioxidants.

Sweeter wines usually have lower levels of flavonoids, offering fewer health benefits. If you’re looking for a heart smart wine, it’s better to go dry every time!

Health Benefits of Red Wine

red wine glass

So, we know that most of the health benefits come from red wine, but what benefits can you obtain by drinking more wine?

  1. Increase Energy — Did you know that wine contains live cultures similar to the ones inhabiting your intestines? Wine is a form of probiotic, and drinking wine helps to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestines. It can unlock more energy in your body.
  2. Extend Lifespan — You’d be interested to know that drinking red wine is the best way to live longer. While dark beers can offer a few health benefits, only red wine offers a longevity increase.
  3. Prevent Aging — Red wine contains polyphenols, which have been proven to fight the effects of aging. A glass or two of red wine per day can help to keep your skin young, fight off toxins, and reduce the toll your age takes on your body.
  4. Reduced Diabetes Risk — Interestingly enough, those who drink a glass or two of red wine per day have a 30% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who don’t drink at all. With diabetes being one of the major threats in our country, it stands to reason that drinking wine is the smart way to go!
  5. Slowed Mental Decline — For drinkers of red wine, you can expect your brain function to decline much more slowly as you age.
  6. Fight Cholesterol — Red wine contains special antioxidants that can help to not only lower your total cholesterol level, but can even increase the production of the “good” cholesterol. Increasing good cholesterol even slightly is the best way to lower your bad cholesterol overall, and it will help to protect your arteries against damage.
  7. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease — According to the Mayo Clinic, studies in mice have discovered that red wine can help to reduce the risk of both clotting and inflammation. Clotting as a result of arterial damage is what leads to heart attacks and strokes, and inflammation usually leads to high blood pressure and other heart conditions. By reducing these two problems, red wine drastically reduces the risk of heart disease.
  8. Boost Immunity — Hard to imagine that drinking a glass of red wine is the key to fighting that cold, right? Oddly enough, the antioxidants in your glass of wine boost your immune system, reducing your risk of common colds by as much as 40%. This is due to the fact that antioxidants fight infection, prevent cellular damage, and eliminate free radicals.

Pretty amazing stuff, right? Time for me to pop open that cork and pour myself a glass of good health!

Did You Know: Red wine stimulates your appetite, so it’s best when drunk with a bit of food.

How Much Wine?

wine glasses

Now comes the tricky part: knowing how much to drink.

All of the health benefits listed above aren’t the result of drinking five or six glasses of wine per day (Sorry, ladies of The View!). In fact, almost all of the studies into the benefits of red wine have proven that just ONE glass of red wine per day is the best way to go.

The studies will always use the term “moderate” when describing wine consumption, and that means between one and two glasses per day. More than that, and you start to lose the health benefits due to an increase in calorie intake and alcohol’s effects on your body.

With just one glass of red wine per day, you’ll stay healthy without overdoing it on alcohol!

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