Coconut Oil Could Help To Get Rid Of Acne

coconutsAcne is an embarrassing condition that millions of people, especially teenagers, across the world suffer from every day. While there are some good remedies for the condition on the market, many of them can contain harmful chemicals that are not good for your body. Many people would like to be able to use a natural alternative for treating their acne as many anti-acne creams contain harmful chemicals, and some may even irritate the skin and cause more breakouts to appear later on. However, when it comes to natural alternatives, many of them often fail to measure up for people with severe cases of acne.

One such natural alternative for treating acne is coconut oil. Although some people suffering severely with acne may still also need to use a strong chemical-based solution as advised by their doctor/ Coconut oil may also provide additional benefits in fighting the condition and bring about a more healthy complexion.

The Benefits Of Coconut Oil For The Skin

Coconut oil is an excellent skincare remedy because of its natural hydrating and antibacterial properties. Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties. This essential oil can do wonders for your complexion and also doubles as a great hair care product as many people claim that coconut oil can also nourish and even thicken the hair, although this depends on what type of hair a person has. It is always worth finding out if coconut is beneficial for your hair type before using it for this reason. There are also studies that indicate that coconut oil may also help to nourish the brain and spinal cord when ingested. However, it is important for the individual to bear in mind that it needs to be a high quality extra virgin coconut oil with no added chemicals for this use, such as this one.

Understanding What Causes Acne

Acne can be resulting from a variety of different things. Breakouts are the results of sebaceous glands producing too much oil, which clogs your pores and causes acne. Sebaceous glands can become overstimulated because of hormonal imbalances, which is why many teenagers often suffer from the condition. However, dry skin can also play a role. Hydrating your skin on a daily basis with coconut oil will help restore a natural balance and should reduce the amount of oil produced by your sebaceous glands.

Getting Rid Of Bacteria

bacteria from acneSome breakouts are caused by a bacteria known as Propionibacterium. There are many different types of bacteria present on the human skin, and this is perfectly reasonable, but since propionibacterium gets nutrients from sebum, therefore, overactive sebaceous glands can throw off the natural balance of your skin fauna. You can restore this balance by using an antibacterial soap, but these products often cause your skin to become dry. The best way to get rid of the bacteria that can cause acne is to use coconut oil since this natural oil will eliminate bacteria while hydrating your skin.

Healing Acne Scars

When it comes to treating acne, many sufferers find that they become rather apprehensive over continuing to apply harsh chemicals to their skin in order to counter their embarrassing skin condition. Therefore, many acne sufferers are looking into treating acne with natural means. One such solution it to apply a layer of coconut oil to their skin, which has been found to be effective due to it’s anti-bacterial properties. Besides this, coconut oil also helps to cool and soothe inflamed skin. Sometimes it can take a while for acne scars to fade, so coconut oil may be applied to help with the healing process.

Applying a little of the coconut oil to the scars may help to soften and nourish the skin at the site of the scars and assist with faster healing. Further studies are needed in this area, but there are many testimonials from people stating that coconut oil has helped their scars to heal considerably.

Treating Cystic Acne

Cystic acne can be difficult to get rid of. This condition is caused by the bacteria mentioned above and by clogged pores. It’s hard to cure because the inflammation typically occurs within the deeper layers of the skin. Most anti-acne products will only make cystic acne worse since chemicals can contribute to inflammation. Some people claim that coconut oil is the best way to treat cystic acne because it has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can be gently massaged into the skin to reach the deeper inflamed layers.

Coconut oil should be your natural go-to anti-acne treatment. This is a very affordable home remedy that will not irritate your skin, and that can help to eliminate breakouts efficiently. You can add a few drops of coconut oil to a moisturising cream or apply coconut oil directly on your skin to get results.

Here is more information on healing acne from Dr Axe. Dr Axe is a renowned authority on natural health and provides a lot of good information on his website and YouTube channel.

Top Ways To Help With Back Pain

a man suffering with back painMany times, when it comes to back pain, there is not one cure that works every time for all kinds of pains related to the back. The back is quite a complex structure and pain can be due to several factors. However, the back does have several areas which are prone to injury.

Often, back pain treatment requires trial and error approach to find the best treatment solutions for each particular case. Traditionally medical approaches tend to focus on looking over anatomical issues in the back to determine if the injury is muscular or structural based.

That being said the pains would be best kept at bay with a more multifaceted approach to facilitate the support of the affected area and the overall recovery of the injury and the surrounding structures and tissues.

Here are a few management techniques for chronic back pain that are not very emphasised and even can be overlooked in the world of traditional medical treatments:

1. Sufficient Restorative Sleep

The leading cause of insomnia is pain. This can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Therefore, the majority of those people suffering from chronic back pain also deal with some form of sleep disorder. As a result of sleeping inadequately, back pain can worsen. This type of cycle can make it difficult to treat the back pain solely. If you are experiencing problems with sleep, those issues must be addressed as well to improve your overall well-being and enable to back the best chance of recovery.

2. Use Cold and Hot to Ease the Pain

Many times the simplicity of applying a hot and or cold pack to reduce that back pain and speed up recovery is overlooked. However, to do this effectively, one must know whether hot or cold is the appropriate compress for the particular type of back pain.

As a general rule, if the pain is due to inflammation then a cold compress can be useful as the cold can help to take down the inflammation.

If however, the pain is due to contract, stiff or locked muscles, then a hot compress is recommended. The heat can help to soothe the locked or contracted muscles and bring an increase in blood flow to the area.

Cold Therapy

There are two main benefits to cold therapy:
Inflammation is reduced, inflammation is usually to blame for a lot of back pain.
Cold therapy works as a local anaesthetic; it does this by slowing down the nerve impulses; this prevents your nerves from spasming which can cause pain.

Heat Therapy

There are two main benefits to heat therapy:
The blood flow is stimulated, this helps to provide the nutrients that are needed to heal the affected area of the back.
The pain messages which are being sent to the brain are inhibited.

3. Exercise the Core

The muscles that play a critical role in supporting the back are your ab muscles. These are not muscles that are exercised on their own as the day goes by, they must be targeted during exercise. There are a variety of exercises which can be performed throughout the day to help strengthen your core, take the time to find the ones that would work best for you or speak to a physiotherapist or pilates instructor to find the best exercises that will suit your injury.

a person stretching her legs4. Stretch Your Hamstrings Twice a Day

Tight hamstrings can contribute to a back pain; this is something that is very often overlooked. If the hamstrings, which are found on the back of the thighs are too tight the rest of the back, as a result, could also start to get tight over time. You should carefully stretch your hamstrings twice every day.

5. Keep the Brain Engaged

Pain is not absolute, it is more than just a sensation, this is something that pain specialists have understood for a long time. A paramount role in how the pain is perceived is played by the way that the brain interprets and of course, processes the pain signals. There are ways in which a person can learn to control the pain to a certain degree by correct use of the mind. The mind is a powerful instrument, and can play an important role over how much pain a person may need to experience overall.

Seeking Help

The first point of call for back pain for most people is the local GP. However, most GP’s are not trained extensively in this kind of pain management, so they will often refer you to a physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath or even an acupuncturist.

Seeing a Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy is a common form of treatment for back pain and is based locating the cause of the injury, applying various techniques to help to alleviate the pain and also incorporating exercises or the muscles to help to free tension, stretch tight muscles and enhance movement.

Seeing a Chiropractor

A chiropractor is a practitioner who specialises in problems arising from the spinal column itself. They work to correct issues of the spine that may be causing referred symptoms in other areas of the body.

Seeing an Acupuncturist

Acupuncture therapy is now also more commonly being referred to by Western doctors. Acupuncture has been found to be effective for certain types of back pain and can help to lessen the severity of the pain experienced, increase blood flow to the area and assist with other therapies.

Seeing an Osteopath

Osteopathy is also a physically manipulative therapy, like chiropractic. However, osteopathy works on a more generalised system of the whole body, rather than having its focus on the spine.

Natural Remedies to Help Migraine Pain

a man suffering from a migraine headacheUnless someone has experienced a migraine first-hand, it is very difficult to describe just how debilitating this condition can be. Often, simple pain meds such as paracetamol or ibuprofen don’t even come close to tackling a full-blown migraine leaving the victim to face the harshness of specially prescribed medication to help combat the condition.

However, many migraine sufferers report dissatisfaction with many drugs prescribed for the condition. Besides, many migraine meds also carry a risk of nasty side effects that include, weight gain, insomnia, nausea, depression and low blood pressure to name but a few.

So what are the alternatives? Can anything be done naturally to help with the symptoms of migraine intensity and frequency?

Here are five natural remedies that may be effective for a migraine.

1. During Plenty of Water

Although scientists do not yet fully understand the causes of a migraine attack, it has been established that dehydration can facilitate the onset of an episode. So stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid caffeinated drinks, which cause a person to become dehydrated more quickly.

2. Regular Exercise

During a migraine attack, the neck muscles can often tighten up and cause considerable tension and stress on the neck and scalp muscles. Therefore, it is advised that migraine sufferers should take regular exercise to help keep their neck and shoulder muscles supple, which may be able to lessen the frequency and intensity of an attack.

3. Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency has been directly linked to the occurrence of migraines in several clinical studies. Magnesium has a relaxing effect on the body and works to soothe muscles and nerves and also helps to prevent nerves from becoming over-stimulated.

Magnesium is effective for both a preventing migraine before they occur and also helping to minimise their severity once onset starts.

As our bodies do not produce magnesium naturally, we must ensure we are getting enough of this essential mineral from our food or through supplements.

However, magnesium is notoriously difficult to absorb. Therefore, it is recommended to be taken in a powder form mixed with calcium and dissolved in hot water before drinking. This way the calcium will help to facilitate the absorption process of the magnesium into the system.

4. Omega 3

Studies have shown that migraine sufferers are greatly benefited by the continual and frequent supplementation of omega three fatty acids.

Omega 3 is a substance derived from fish oil, which has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Therefore, it is suspected that these oils can also help to reduce the inflammation of the nerves and muscles that become inflamed during a migraine attack.

One Scandinavian study reported that as much as 87% of participants of one trial reported a notable improvement with their migraines since incorporating omega three into their diet on a daily basis.

5. Acupuncture

Many migraine sufferers seek out the help of an acupuncturist for their condition, with a large number of them reporting significant improvement in both the intensity and frequency of their attacks.

Some clinical trials have shown that the use of acupuncture treatment for a migraine can bring about the long-lasting effects of prescription drugs for the condition, but without the nasty side-effects that the drugs bring.

picture of an acupuncture needle in a persons scalp for headaches“Often, we find that migraine sufferers have considerable tension in the neck and shoulder area or are dehydrated without being aware of it. For others, the condition may be related to a hormonal imbalance, all of which seem to respond very well to acupuncture”, says Stephen West, an acupuncturist from the UK.

Stephen also explains that from a Chinese medicine perspective, congestion in the liver and gall bladder can cause irritability and muscle tension. Therefore, it is also advisable for those patients who are suffering in this way to take hot water with lemon on a daily basis to help move the congestion in the liver. A person may also use natural herbs such as calendula or milk thistle to achieve the same effect.

Source: http://acupuncture-tunbridgewells.com
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Summary

There are several natural alternatives that one can consider when wanting to find natural ways to help with migraines. Over time, it may be possible for some sufferers of this debilitating condition, to start reducing the medication that they are taking to alleviate the condition.

However, when considering to reduce medications of any kind, it is highly advisable that you consult your doctor before doing so and follow their guidance on the best protocols for reducing your drugs.

Rhinitis And What To Do About It

allergic rhinitisRhinitis affects thousands of people in varying degrees. Symptoms can vary from constant sneezing, running or blocked nose to difficulty breathing, sinus headaches and chronic pain. It is due to irritation of the sensitive mucous membrane that becomes inflamed within the nasal cavity. The inflammation can cause the nasal passage to not only become sore but in some cases it can also swell and obstruct the airways, making breathing difficult. Due to the inevitable obstruction that often occurs, mucous can also build up in the nasal cavity making it more difficult to breathe.

Rhinitis is categorised in three ways:

  • Infective rhinitis
  • Non-allergic (vasomotor) rhinitis
  • Allergic rhinitis

Infective rhinitis

This is due to bacterial infections affecting the nasal passage. The infections can be of both an acute and chronic nature. There are various viruses that can cause this, including the common cold. With this type of rhinitis sneezing is often a typical symptom for the sufferer.

Non-allergic rhinitis

This type of rhinitis is typically characterised by a running nose but not due to a bacterial or viral infection of any kind. This type of rhinitis is often triggered in sensitive people by things such as a change in the air temperature or pressure, the presence of odours, a fluctuation in emotional state or various food factors that one may have an intolerance to.

Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is also more commonly known as hay fever, irritating the sufferer seasonally (typically in spring or summer) with the presence of pollen. In some people, dust or animal fur such as cats, dogs and horses can also be a trigger. When these types of irritants enter the nasal passage they trigger the release of histamine by the body. The histamine is trying to get rid of the irritant however, it gets out of control and causes the sneezing, running nose and swelling of the nasal passage.

Treatment options

Medication: For the lucky ones, there is a range of medicines and pharmaceutical products that can help for rhinitis conditions and there are also several natural remedies that many people find effective too. These products can range from simple nasal sprays to decongestants that actually help to break down accumulated mucous in the nasal cavity and sinus area. Other medications work to destroy and eliminate bacterial and viral infections and some act to inhibit the action of histamine once it’s release is triggered by the body.

Surgery: For people with a more severe case of rhinitis or if they have any structural damage or miss-alignments then surgery may be necessary. This doesn’t have to be a scary prospect and you will probably find several qualified and highly experienced Rhinoplasty surgeons in your area who can perform the operation for you.

If you live in the San Francisco area then this may be a concern to you, due to the reasonably high pollen count that affects this area in the state of California. However, rhinoplasty surgery is not cheap and many people may be on a budget. So if you are looking for the cheapest San Francisco rhinoplasty surgery then you may want to spend some time looking into pricing options and various other factors that may make the procedure more affordable for you.

Alternative Healthcare

drugsIt is becoming increasingly popular now a days that more and more people are turning to what are known as ‘alternative’ or ‘complimentary’ health care. This could partly be due to the global consciousness making a shift to a more health and body conscious way of thinking and shying away from the often harsh and side-effect ridden pharmaceuticals often prescribed by a general practitioner.

This collective awakening to a more holistic approach to our health has seen a steady and noticeable increase in the use of such practices including homeopathy, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, kinesiology and hypnotherapy to name but a few.

With this in mind, it seems that more people are now willing to try ‘natural’ methods of healing first and foremost before they would decide to pop a pill.

Is this a good thing?

Certainly, considering the side affects that  come along with many prescription drugs, it would be advisable for one to consider more carefully what they are putting into their mouth. If you read the paper slip enclosed with prescription medications regarding the potential side effects of the products you may be shocked and a little scared by what you read.

Should people be turning away from prescription drugs completely then? The answer is no, absolutely not. In many cases it is of course necessary to take these drugs, albeit their side effects. If a person were to be suffering from a serious or life-threatening condition then of course they will need to be under strict observation from their doctor and other healthcare specialists and following their guidance with regards to their treatment.

However, there are also many conditions not necessarily deemed as life-threatening that can potentially be treated very effectively with natural means, affording the person to avoid many potentially dangerous side affects of drugs that may be a rather exaggerated solution.

It is for these kind of ailments that people are generally starting to seek alternative help with. If a person can experience relief or even a cure to their symptoms through natural means then all the better.
 

 

Popularity brings scientific testing

This global phenomenon of increased popularity in Complimentary and alternative healthcare (CAM) has been attracting the spotlight of scientists, researchers and skeptics. Many of these tests have shown encouraging evidence that the various CAM practices under scrutiny do in fact carry some weight in an effective capacity, whereas others have either brought back inconclusive or unimpressive results.

However, with the rapid advancement of modern day science, researchers are more frequently proving the effectiveness of many of the alternative practices that come under the microscope.

Conclusion

If your condition is not life-threatening and you are more than a little concerned about the potential side effects of the pills that are prescribed for your condition, then perhaps you may wish to consider a more natural solution to your condition.

When looking for a suitable method of natural treatment however, be sure to do your due diligence and research the methods in question. Look for note worthy studies that have been carried out concerning your aliment that have yielded successful results. Furthermore, when it comes to choosing a practitioner of your chosen discipline to administer the treatment for you, be also sure to check into their credentials. Make sure they are fully qualified and registered with their appropriate governing body and carry the appropriate and necessary licenses and insurance certificates before getting on their table.

 

Acupuncture, a growing trend in the modern world

acupuncture-656578_640With the growing interest in ancient healing traditions, there seems to be a general trend with regards to the public shying away from alopathic medicine for minor ailments. So many times we hear people are now becoming more conscious about the pharmaceutical pills they are putting into their body.

One such practice to benefit from this collective, shifting mind-set is acupuncture.

Acupuncture is an ancient form of healing, dating back to around 5,000 years. It is one of the worlds oldest known medical systems and has been used for centuries to both prevent and heal illnesses of all kinds.

It’s exact origins are unknown however, it is strongly believed that this form of medicine hails from Asia and more specifically, China where it is common practice even in hospitals and doctors surgeries.

Extraordinary Results

It has been known for many years that the Chinese use to use acupuncture as a means of anesthetic and to control the flow of blood during operations and surgical procedures. The technique of inserting tiny needles into very specific locations on the body and then applying continuous stimulation to bring about a state of temporary paralysis and at the same time, minimise the flow of blood to the area in order for the physician to perform the surgical procedure.

Today in China acupuncture is often used in hospitals to assist surgical procedures in the same way. This astounding method has been built upon and developed and acupuncturists using this technique will also send an electric current down the needle to intensify the stimulation of the points.

This method is now offered to Chinese patients for procedures as serious as open heart surgery and even open brain surgery. During these procedures, patients who opt to have acupuncture as their method of pain control as opposed to general anesthetic enjoy a recovery rate from their operation at a rate of around six weeks faster compared to patients requesting general anesthetic.

Western Appeal

Although the western world may not be as open to the idea of having acupuncture as their means of pain control for major operations, the practice of this healing art has gained wide-spread popularity in many countries including the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Germany, Israel and Greece to name but a few.

The use of acupuncture has also become rather trendy among several note-worthy celebrities.

A person may visit an acupuncturist for many reasons from simple back and knee pain to issues of the digestive tract, sleep disorders, stress, headaches and migraines and even infertility. Due to the stresses of modern day life, acupuncture treatment for migraines have become increasingly more popular as this if a condition often(but not always) associated with a stressful lifestyle.

With a seemingly growing number of people choosing acupuncture as a method of treatment, it’s no wonder there is also an increase in acupuncture colleges and institutions springing up in the west. Professional governing bodies have emerged to govern the industry and help to provide a high and consistent standard of training across the board. In the UK, there are now several noteworthy training facilities where one can study acupuncture; it is now no longer necessary to travel half way around the world to the Orient in order to get an education in this form of alternative medicine.

Students are all trained in house in the colleges own training clinic, where local members of the public come to have treatment from the students while under the supervision of their teachers.

While there have been several colleges in the UK that have come and gone over the years, ICOM is one acupuncture college that is going from strength to strength each year as it continues to attract students from all over the world.

Scientific Studies

Acupuncture has been under constant scrutiny since it’s introduction in the West around sixty years ago. Although studies are consistently being conducted in China, scientists in the West are also wanting to conduct their own experiments using different means. One of the most impressive studies of the use of acupuncture is with he use of thermography to recored the level of inflammation before, during and after an acupuncture treatment and subsequent sessions, as shown in this video below.

Summary

Acupuncture is certainly a fascinating subject and seems to have a large amount of credence behind it. With a large portion of the modern world adopting this method of healing as the norm, it seems like acupuncture is here to stay.

You may not be as trusting as the Chinese to opt to have the treatment as part of a surgical operation however, keeping an open mind and trying the treatment for a minor ailment such as back pain, headache or irritable bowel syndrome may very well stand you in good stead.

Foods You Should be Eating To Help You Lose & Manage Your Weight

a tape measure on a chopping boardManaging your weight can be a tricky business, we need to keep in mind not only what we are putting into our mouths but also when and how much we are eating is also critical to effective weight loss and management. Here are some foods that are good for you to eat and will also assist you in both losing body fat and maintaining a healthy weight.

Water

Water is really the only drink our body truly needs and is what our bodies are primarily made of. Drinking enough water regularly will keep our bodies hydrated, assisting with our overall energy, well-being and support our immune system. However, you can also use water to help yourself to lose weight. By two glasses before each meal will help to fill up your stomach, tricking your brain into thinking that it does not need as much food. consequently, you will not feel the need to eat as much during meal times.

Using this trick to eat less will add up over time and assist with your weight loss.

green tea

Green tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water. Green tea is not only packed with high amounts of antioxidants that help to benefit our bodies in many ways, it also has a stimulating effect on our immune systems to help us burn more fat. Specifically, green tea targets fat that accumulates around our bellies as it has a stimulatory effect on the metabolism. One of the antioxidants in green tea also acts within the small intestine and helps to limit the amount of fat that gets absorbed through the intestinal wall.

One antioxidant in particular found in green tea is EGCG. Scientists believe that it is this antioxidant that works together with the caffeine in green tea to have a beneficial and stimulatory effect on the metabolism and therefore, make the system more efficient at durning fat.

When choosing a green tea to help you burn fat, be sure to choose a good quality tea as these will generally be higher in antioxidants and have a better effect. Personally, I like a Japanese green tea called Sencha as it is usually of good quality and has a smooth taste. However, there are many different varieties of green tea that you can try.

Green tea also has a wide range of other health benefits. Click here to learn more.

Porridge oats

Porridge oats are a great way to start your morning, either by making them into a nice, warm bowl of porridge or adding them to a smoothie. Porridge oats are slow to digest in the system, enabling you to feel full for longer. Maintaining this feeling of fullness for a longer period of time will help you to resist the temptation and the need to snack in between meals.

It is important to choose a natural and preferably homemade porridge and avoid the brands that have added sugar and flavourings.

Also be aware of how you make your porridge. Most people do prefer the flavour of porridge with milk, however, this really increases the fat content and the amount of calories you will be consuming. A good alternative is water, although porridge with water can have a slightly bitter flavour. Personally, my favourite and a good compromise is to use rice milk. Mice milk has less calories than cows mild and also has a slightly sweet flavour so helps to enhance the flavour of the porridge.

Organic peanut butter

This one may sound counterintuitive, but studies have shown that peanut butter, although fairly high in fat can actually assist with weight loss, provided it is of the organic variety. Non-organic peanut better can be very high in salt and other additives so be sure to only go for the 100% organic brands. Researchers believe that it could be due to the presence of monounsaturated fats in the peanut butter that help with the reduction in weight and body fat.

Furthermore, due to the presence of niacin (Vit B3) in peanut butter, it can help assist in reducing abdominal bloating. As mentioned previously, peanut butter does also contain quite a bit of fat so be sure to limit yourself to around 2 teaspoons per day.

If you want to know more about peanut butter and it’s effect on weight loss, here is a great article for you to read.

a piece of red grapefruitGrapefruit

Eating grapefruit or drinking it’s juice is also an effective and natural method to help you lose weight. Grapefruit is said to act on the metabolism and help burn extra calories. However, grapefruit also interferes with some medications so be sure to consult your doctor if you are taking any prescription drugs.

Grapefruit is a low glycemic food so when consumed it does not spike a persons insulin levels. This means that the sugars from grapefruit do not get stored as fat.

It’d not necessarily a good idea to just eat grapefruit all day and nothing else in order to lose weight as a person would not be benefiting from all the other important nutrients that the body needs from other food sources. However,if you are able to eat grapefruit then it is excellent to have in the morning for breakfast.

Beans

Beans are great to add to your diet if you are trying to lose weight. Firstly, they are a great filler and help you to fell full for longer. Secondly, beans contain high levels of protein which will also assist with your weight loss. Studies have now shown that a person with a high protein intake will burn more fat and have their metabolism sustained at a higher rate for a longer duration of time. However, we do not want to add copious amounts of meat to our diet in order to get the extra protein. Beans such as Pinto, kidney and black beans all provide a high amount of protein so you don’t necessarily have to consume more meat to up the ante.

an avocado cut in halfAvocados

Although avocados are high in fat they can actually help you to lose weight! Firstly, avocados contain good fat so there is no problem at all eating them with regards to your health. Avocados contain something called ‘Oleic acid’, which is a monounsaturated fat now believed to actually reduce hunger. Avocados are easy to incorporate into your diet in many ways for example, in salads, spreading them on ryvita or adding them to smoothies. You only need around 1/4 – 1/2 an avocado a day top make a difference.

Dark Chocolate

Yes that’s right chocolate can actually help you to lose weight! Well, dark chocolate that is. Dark chocolate has been found to slow down the digestion process, meaning you will feel fuller for longer and will be more likely to resist the temptation to snack between meals. Dark chocolate also contains good fats that can help to increase your metabolism.

Studies have shown that it is the coco found in dark chocolate that has all the health benefits. If you are wanting to eat dark chocolate to help shed those unwanted pounds then make sure you go for the natural, organic and unsweetened versions, generally the darker the better! It is important not to over-do it though so be sure to only eat a little dark chocolate at a time.

Almonds

Similar to avocados, almonds also contain high amounts of healthy fats that can help you to slim down and maintain a healthy weight. Almonds are great for a quick snack on the go between meals so be sure to add a hand-full to your lunch box!

Many body builders attest to eating almonds as a snack if they get hungry between meals as they are a great source of protein. Almonds are also a great snack to eat in the evening if you get hungry but you do not want o put anything heavy in your stomach that could site there during sleep and then be stored as fat.

Boost Your Metabolism!

Eating the right foods and avoiding the bad ones are just a few important things you need to do in order to lose weight effectively. Many of these foods help to act as a filler in order to help prevent you from snacking between meals, others will help increase your metabolism so you can burn fat more efficiently throughout the day. However, it is also important to pay attention to your lifestyle and exercise routine as well.

For many people, changing their diet is the only thing they change in order to drop the pounds. However, exercise is also an important component and for most, a necessary one. When combined with a health diet, exercise can greatly help to speed up the metabolism and reduce fat much more quickly and efficiently. Besides this, regular exercise also makes you feel great!

The timings of when a person eats are also important. For example, many experts believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it helps to get the metabolism going. Fitness trainers also suggest eating a high protein snack in the afternoon around 3pm as this helps to get the much needed energy during this lull period. Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when it comes to timing is not to eat too late at night and especially avoid foods high in carbohydrates like bread, potatoes and pasta.

8 Foods You Should Definitely Avoid For Good Health & Effective Weight Management

four cheese burgersMany people are wanting to eat more healthy now a days, but it can sometimes be difficult to tell the good foods from the bad if no one has told us what we should be eating and what we should be avoiding. The danger is that many foods that are actually bad for us are packaged and marketed as healthy options or at least, they are made to appear that way.

Here is a list of some foods that you definitely want to avoid.

Bad foods

Margarine

For a long time, margarine was actually touted as a healthy alternative to butter however, it is actually far worse for us and many countries have started to ban margarine being sold. Margarine contains loads of trans fats, which is a type of unsaturated and is only produced artificially. Too much trans fats in a persons diet has been linked to coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s diseased, various forms of cancer, diabetes, liver dysfunction, obesity, female infertility, depression and various behavioural disorders.

Processed Meats

Studies have shown that there is a link between processed meets and an early death.  Processed meats are now suspected to lead to various life threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Processed meats contain a high amount of salt and lots of chemicals such as meat glues that are partially responsible for the severe health risks.

Fizzy Drinks

Fizzy drinks have been found to not only be very high in sugar, causing rapid weight gain but they also contribute to diabetes and alter the growth and structure of our muscles. Not only this, but there is also now evidence that these drinks can increase hypertension, heart disease and liver failure.

Caffeine

A high consumption of caffeine can lead to high blood pressure and also put extra stress and pressure on your kidneys and adrenal glands. Caffeine also causes the body to become dehydrated. Coffee is notorious for its caffeine content and now a study conducted in partnership with the Mayo Clinic showed a link to early death for people drinking 4 cups or more of coffee per day, increasing their mortality rate by 21%.

As if that alone wasn’t enough to make you think twice before having a caffeinated beverage, caffeine consumption has now also been linked to attacks of gout, incontinence, insomnia, indigestion, headaches, type 2 diabetes, female infertility, more severe menopausal symptoms and more forceful contractions of the heart.

some white breadWhite bread/white flour

White bread and flour is high in empty carbs that can cause a sharp spike in your blood sugar. Not only that but it also turns to fat very quickly in your system. It is far better for you to go for brown bread and whole grains instead. White bread also contains a protein called gluten. Once ingested, the gluten affects the walls of our intestines and causes significant damage that can lead to intestinal pain, inconsistent stools, bloating and excessive tiredness. Studies have now also shown a link between whole wheat and heart disease.

Cereals

Contrary to popular belief, breakfast cereals are definitely not healthy or good for us! The process by which breakfast cereals are produced is called extrusion. This process destroys pretty much all the nutritional value and also renders various amino acids as toxic, which can damage our system.

Ready meals

Ready meals and microwave meals are really bad for us! Due to their processing, pretty much all the natural vitamins and minerals in the food have be altered or destroyed. To compensate, the ready meal companies add synthetic vitamins and minerals but these are not as good for us as natural vitamins and minerals and they are also not so easily absorbed by our bodies. Besides this, these meals are also full of chemicals to unnaturally preserve the food for longer, enhance the colour, flavour etc. These meals are also full of added sugar, salt and fat.

Added to this, once these meals are put in the microwave or oven in their plastic packages, as they heat up the plastic containers begin to leach more chemicals into the food, which is also very toxic to our health.

some artificial sweetenerArtificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are purely chemicals and can damage our nervous system and alter our taste buds. They are far worse for us than sugar. There have now been studies conducted that show that artificial sweeteners can actually increase your appetite, causing you to eat more. One very common artificial sweetener is Aspartame. Aspartame is in many ‘diet’ products but research has shown that it has a whole host of nasty side effects including, seizures, hallucinations and even brain tumours.

There are several other artificial sweeteners all with their own host of scary side effects. To read more about why you definitely should not be using these products, click here.

 

Managing a Healthy Lifestyle

two red applesWhen first starting out to embark on a healthy lifestyle, you will find many things that come along to try to pull you off your new track. Don’t worry, this is totally normal and mainly due to your mind and body not yet being use to the changes in your lifestyle and your routine. It will take a little time to adjust and can feel a little uncomfortable or strange at first. You may have times when you feel that it is too hard to maintain the changes. Don’t be hard on yourself, it is far more important to make these changes in a way that allows you to enjoy the process as well as to feel and see the benefits. For this reason, it is advisable to make the changes slowly over time, gradually eliminating the bad habits and incorporating the good.

A healthy lifestyle can be broken down into three main areas:

  1. Diet
  2. Exercise
  3. Routine

To live a healthy and balanced lifestyle we must ensure that we are eating well, taking regular exercise and have a balanced routine. Point number three really refers to:

  1. Your eating routine
  2. Your exercise routine
  3. Your sleeping routine

Yes, your sleeping routine is also very important. Our body repairs and renews itself when it is at rest and if it is constantly deprived of good sleep then it will not be able to recover itself as efficiently. In time this will lead to depleted energy levels and a weakened immune system.

Here are some practical tips you can follow that will help you along the way and make your journey not only easier but also a far more enjoyable one.

Prioritise your health

stretchingYour health is one of, if not your most valued possession. Who wants to go through life not being able to do the things you really want to do because of a health condition? We all have to grow old but we don’t necessarily need to grow into a sick and worn down body. Taking action now and incorporating healthy lifestyle habits will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. Yes, some people will suffer various illnesses regardless of what they do and are due to our genetics. However, these people will not experience the illness as severely as they might given a healthy lifestyle. Prioritising good health in your life will also mean that you will usually be able to recover far more quickly from illnesses and injuries if they were to befall you.

Prioritising your health does not mean that you have to never again eat a cheeseburger or a doughnut. No, you can still have these things but do it sensibly. Why do we eat bad foods? Well, generally because we enjoy the taste, they can make us feel good temporarily and they are often convenient. To prioritise your health it is a good idea to strike a balance with your lifestyle that leans in the favour of healthier choices. For example, when it comes to your diet, aim to have around a 80:20 ratio. That is, to ensure that around 80% of the food that you are consuming are healthy foods that will actually benefit your health and the other 20% can be foods that may not be so good but they are things you like and food items that give you pleasure.

Sticking to this ratio will allow you the treats whereas most of your food consumption will be healthy and a benefit to your body.

 

Planning for better health

a bowl of cerialAs we mentioned earlier, routine is so important to good health and will also make it easier for you to form the good habits and make them stick. Plan when you go to bed and get up in the morning, when you take your exercise and when you eat. You don’t have to stick to it religiously and always go to bed at 9:30pm no matter what, no, that’s no fun! For example, set a bed time for between 10-11pm for example. This hour will give you the flexibility should you need it to complete final tasks for the day, catch up on that book you’re reading or if you need the time to just unwind and relax. Yes of course there will be nights when you go to bed far later for various reasons, but try to keep these to a minimum and stick to your decided bed time for the most part.

Scientists believe that every hour you sleep prior to mid-night actually counts for 2 hours after! So if you can, make use of these precious earlier hours where possible and be sure to get your beauty sleep.

Let people know about your new lifestyle choices

Telling people, your friends and loved ones what you are doing will not only help you stay focused but you will also find great support from those who love you. This support can be really encouraging and can often make the difference between sticking to your new, healthier lifestyle and slipping back into bad habits when it really matters. You may even find that one or two people want to join you along your healthy journey. If this happens then welcome it with open arms and count it as a blessing as your new allies will not only support and encourage you, they will also share with you valuable information that they may learn along their own journey that can also greatly benefit your life as well.

Having health buddies can make it far easier when you visit restaurants together too and some of them may even become an exercise buddy at your local gym! One of my health buddies loves to share delicious and healthy recipes with me when she finds them, while another loves to come to the gym with me to work out. We constantly find inspiration and motivation in each other and greatly value the information that we share.

How to start a healthy lifestyle

Here’s a helpful video on how to start a healthy lifestyle