Clean Up Your Diet in 3 Easy Steps

By Andra Picincu

Looking to boost your health and maybe drop some weight? Wonder what to eat to stay in shape? Start by cleaning up your diet! Ditch the junk and make smart food choices on a daily basis.
Whole, natural foods nourish your body from the inside out. Plus, they contain no chemicals or hormones that affect health and well-being.
What are you waiting for? Follow these three easy steps to clean up your diet and stay lean year round:

 

Eliminate Sugar

Sugar is often called the sweet poison for good reason. Believe it or not, it’s one of the most toxic ingredients out there. It not only makes you fat but also contributes to diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance, and metabolic disorders.

Researchers have found that people who took 17 percent to 21 percent of their daily calories from sugar had a 38 higher risk of heart disease compared to those consuming eight percent of their calories from sugar.

Steer clear of candy, cake, cookies, soda, bread, and other foods rich in sugar. Processed meats and ready-made meals may contain this ingredient too.

Beware of hidden sugars, such as maltose, molasses, dextrose, fructose, coconut sugar, agave syrup, and glucose. In fact, many so-called healthy foods are packed with sugar in one form or another.

 

Go Organic

Organic food is your best choice. Unlike conventionally produced food, it’s free of additives, preservatives, and growth hormones. Meat, for instance, contains antibiotics and growth hormones that disrupt your endocrine system and promote the formation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

If you can’t afford to go organic, at least avoid conventionally grown soy, spinach, strawberries, and other foods on the Dirty Dozen List. These have the higher pesticide content and pose the greatest health risks.

 

Make Smart Substitutions

Now that you know what not to eat, find healthier alternatives to your go-to foods. Stevia, pureed fruits, cinnamon, and vanilla are excellent substitutes for sugar. Avocado and Greek yogurt can replace sour cream, mayo, and heavy sauces.

Almond, coconut, and Konjac flour are healthier and lower in carbs than white flour. The same goes for flax meal, which is a great source of fiber and good fats.

Always choose foods are raw or minimally processed. Cook your own meals and check food labels. Once you make these changes, your health will dramatically improve. Your skin will look younger, your energy will go up, and you’ll find it easier to maintain your weight.

Top 5 Energizing Alternatives to Coffee

By Andra Picincu

The health benefits of coffee have been known for ages. This beverage not only increases your energy but also boosts mental focus, exercise performance, and metabolism.

The downside is that not everyone can tolerate caffeine, its active compound. Those who are sensitive to caffeine may experience chills, restlessness, and insomnia.

Luckily, coffee isn’t your only option. There are plenty of other energizing beverages that contain little or no caffeine.

 

Yerba Mate

This herbal beverage is made from the plant with the same name. It tastes just like green tea and has similar benefits to coffee, but without the jitters and sleep problems.

Yerba mate boasts potent antioxidants and amino acids that support overall health. Theobromine, for instance, improves circulation and has relaxing effects.

Replace your morning cup of joe with this nutrient-dense beverage to keep your brain sharp and get the energy needed for a long day!

 

Coconut Water

Ever wondered why athletes drink coconut water? This beverage is rich in potassium, magnesium, and electrolytes that fuel your energy and help your body recover from stress. It’s a healthy alternative to energy drinks and has just a few calories per serving.

In fact, a single serving of coconut water boasts more potassium than four bananas and less sugar than fruit juices. It keeps you energized, improves digestion, and supports exercise performance.

 

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha green tea has only one-fifth the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Additionally, it contains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that slow down aging and boost immune function.

The caffeine in this beverage is slowly released into the bloodstream, providing steady energy with no crashes. Its effects last for as long as four hours. Plus, matcha contains l-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation and improves memory.

 

Wheatgrass Juice

Wheatgrass is best known for its detox properties. However, it does a lot more for your health! This herbal beverage can naturally boost your energy, slow the aging process, and scavenge free radicals.

Chlorophyll, the primary compound in wheatgrass juice, improves blood flow and supports cardiovascular health. It also delays the aging process due to its high content of enzymes.

 

Siberian Ginseng Tea

Another healthy alternative to coffee is Siberian ginseng tea. Rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, it improves mental focus, wards off fatigue, and increases your energy levels.

Ginseng tea also supports digestive function and relieves nausea. For this reason, it’s an excellent substitute for coffee, especially during pregnancy.

Have you tried any of these energizing alternatives to coffee? What was your experience like? We want to hear from you!

5 Foolproof Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

By Andra Picincu

Ever wonder why some people never gain weight? It’s because they have a fast metabolism. A high metabolic rate makes it easier to stay lean and keep the pounds off.

Unfortunately, not everyone is born with a fast metabolism. Additionally, certain lifestyle factors, such as menopause, hormonal disorders, and stress, affect our ability to burn calories.

However, just because you have a slow metabolism, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to gain weight. Here are five foolproof ways to ignite your fat-burning engine:

Fill up on Protein

High-protein foods, such as poultry, tuna, and eggs, take longer to digest and break down. Your body works harder to process them, so you’ll burn more calories during digestion.

Studies show that protein increases metabolism by as much as 30 percent. Plus, this nutrient keeps you full longer and helps preserve lean mass.

 

Go Heavy in the Gym

When it comes to a faster metabolism, nothing beats strength training. This workout method promotes lean muscle growth and burns fat while increasing your metabolic rate. More muscle equals a higher energy expenditure.

You’ve probably seen those super fit super people in their 40s and 50s who look fitter and leaner than their younger peers. Despite their age, they have a fast metabolism and burn calories around the clock.

Their secret? Clean eating and heavy lifting.

 

Drink Green Tea

Green tea is so popular for a reason. This beverage not only promotes fat loss and revs up your energy but also boosts your metabolism.

The benefits of green tea are due to its high antioxidant content. This drink is rich in catechins, which increase fat oxidation and improve your liver’s ability to turn fat into energy. It also contains caffeine, which further elevates your metabolic rate.

 

Spice up Your Meals

Hot peppers, mustard, ginger, and other spicy foods raise your body’s core temperature, leading to a faster metabolism. Chili peppers, for instance, are rich in capsaicin, a natural compound that boosts energy expenditure and reduces energy intake. Basically, they improve your ability to burn calories and help you eat less throughout the day.

 

Get More Sleep

Sometimes, all you need to rev up your metabolism is a good night’s sleep. Skimping on sleep increases ghrelin and cortisol levels, which in turn, affects your metabolic rate.

Get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Take a warm bath, drink a cup of hot tea, and create a bedtime routine to catch more Zzz’s. The results might surprise you.

4 Things to Do Daily to Boost Your Brainpower

By Andra Picincu

A sharp brain makes it easier to focus at work, make smart decisions, and reach your goals. Despite your best intentions, there are times when you simply can’t think clearly or complete the tasks at hand. Stress, poor sleep, and daily worries keep you from functioning at your peak.

The good news is that you can naturally boost your brainpower by making simple lifestyle changes. Small things, such as reading more often and meditating 10 minutes per day, can go a long way toward brain health. Consistency is the key.

Do these things daily to keep your brain sharp and functioning optimally:

Meditate

Meditation triggers positive changes in the brain. It also improves its resiliency under stress, boosts memory, and even raises IQ.

This ancient practice has been shown to activate and sync both brain hemispheres, leading to greater processing power. At the same time, it stimulates the brain areas associated with creativity and learning.

To reap the benefits, meditate for at least 10 minutes every day. Do it at home, on your lunch break, or whenever you have some quiet time.

Do Something New

Whenever you do something new, your brain creates new neural pathways. This results in greater intelligence and improved learning abilities.

Try a new activity, solve puzzles, or learn a new language. Commit to doing something new on a daily basis.

Get More Exercise

Exercise benefits both your mind and body. It promotes the growth and development of nervous tissues, which helps improve brain function. Plus, it relieves stress and anxiety.

Studies indicate that exercise keeps your brain sharp and boosts your productivity. In the long run, it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and cognitive decline.

To keep your brain healthy, stay active throughout the day. Hit the gym, go jogging, or practice yoga. It’s that simple!

Eat Brain Foods

This may come up as a surprise, but what you eat affects brain health. Certain foods, especially those rich in omega-3 essential fats, protein, and antioxidants, can boost brainpower and sharpen your memory.

Coconut oil, for example, fuels your brain and scavenges free radicals. Due to its high fat content, it maintains the function and integrity of brain cell membranes.

Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that prevent inflammation in the brain and neutralize oxidative stress. This lowers your risk of neurodegenerative disorders.

Make sure your diet includes wild salmon, tuna, avocado, eggs, turmeric, walnuts, and other brain foods. Leafy greens, nuts, and berries are an excellent choice too.