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6 Powerful Foods You Might be Overlooking

  1. Beans

Beans, an often an overlooked food, are very healthy as they contain high amounts of fiber and protein, but are low in carbohydrates which make them a great choice when you’re trying to lose weight.  They also are a great source of antioxidants to reduce inflammation which helps slow the aging process.  Look for higher antioxidant options like red, black or pinto beans.   Let beans take center plate.

  1. Turmeric

There cannot be enough great things said about turmeric.  This bright yellow spice widely used in Indian curry dishes, contains extremely high levels of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds to both aid digestion and slow the aging process.  Turmeric is available in most grocery stores and can be added to soups sauces and stews.  Don’t be afraid to spice it up.

  1. Garlic

Garlic has many age-defying properties and is recommended to prevent heart disease and hypertension.  This alone qualifies it as an anti-aging super food.  Probably the most important thing garlic contains is allicin, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound it is believed can boost the immune system and even prevent cancer.  It is important to recognize that allicin, which is formed when the garlic is crushed or minced, is highly unstable so it is recommended to mince or crush the garlic just before adding to your food for the highest health benefit.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate is an ultimate superfood.  You must find chocolate with a high cocoa content, which will contain the highest anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonal, a type of antioxidant abundant in dark chocolate, can reverse the cognitive aging process according to research.  

Though a healthy food, you must eat dark chocolate sparingly as it is still high in sugar, fat and calories. Avoid milk chocolate or “Dutch processed” chocolate as this can significantly reduce the flavanol content thus negating the anti-aging benefits.  

  1. Eggplant

Eggplant doesn’t get the attention it deserves.  Known for its bright purple skin, it gets its anti-aging label for high content of nasunin an extremely powerful antioxidant that has proven helpful in prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Additionally, research suggests nasunin may slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Eggplant should be stored carefully and not cut until just prior to preparing to maintain its antioxidant level.  Incorporating eggplant into your diet should be fun.  Cube it and add to any baked or curry dish.   A food this powerful is worth the effort.

    6. Red Bell Pepper

Red Bell Peppers are ripened green bell peppers and are an antioxidant super star.  Containing roughly 60 percent more vitamin C than the green bell pepper, it packs more powerful anti-aging properties.  One medium red bell pepper provides two-times the daily need for vitamin C plus nearly all the daily needs of vitamin B-6.  Additionally, being low in calories and having high fiber content make the red bell pepper a great option for attaining weight loss goals.

Choose brightly colored red bell peppers with firm, tight skin to get the most health benefit.  You can chop red bell peppers to top salads or add to soups and sauces.  An all-around super food, it makes sense to add a daily dose of red bell pepper to your diet.

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Signs of Hormonal Imbalance

Hormone is a word that is typically associated with women, but hormonal changes have real effects on everyone throughout their entire lives.

Women see the biggest changes when they reach their 40s and 50s, but in some women changes can come as early as their mid-30s. Hormonal changes are being seen earlier and earlier because of our lifestyles and diets, but also as a result of pollution, toxins, and xenoestrogens that we are exposed to. These can lead to a hormonal imbalance, which have several key symptoms to look out for. 

The first of these symptoms is a persistent weight gain. Aside from lifestyle, diet, and exercise (or lack thereof), hormonal imbalances can make it extremely difficult to stay at a healthy weight. One of the most common forms of these imbalances is emerging insulin resistance. Luckily, you can make appropriate changes in your diet to counteract this problem. Removing processed foods, sugars, and wheat can be a great first step. Additionally, when the endocrine system is stressed, some hormones see an underproduction while others see an overproduction. These hormones lead to the body storing more fat for future use, meaning more belly fat. 

Another sign of hormonal imbalance is lowered libido. Hormonal imbalances can disrupt our quality of sleep. If you are lacking proper sleep, the production of the sex hormone can be diminished. They key to boosting your libido back up is to try to get more sleep. 

Fatigue can also be an indicator of a hormonal imbalance. If you begin to feel sluggish or mentally foggy in your day to day, something may be off. These may be from a hormonal imbalance. The fix is as simple as making appropriate dietary changes. Try to stabilize your blood sugar by removing wheat and grains from your diet. 

Mental issues such as anxiety, irritability, and depression may also be signs of a hormonal imbalance. These mental issues can also mean that you are overworked, stressed out, and may not be providing your body with the proper nourishment that it needs. Take whatever actions you think are necessary if you have these problems. Try proper eating and exercise, working less, or seeking help from friends, family, or a doctor. 

Finally, sweating can be an uncomfortable warning of a hormonal imbalance. Sweating and hot flashes can be a big clue that there may be a problem. You do not need to take drastic measures, such as hormone replacement therapy, but you should begin monitoring what you are eating and drinking, your emotions, and your physical health. Emotions are generally what cause the rise in internal temperature. During future hot flashes, be sure to try to carefully monitor the emotions going through your mind. 

Hormonal imbalances can cause many problematic symptoms, but they can be managed or fixed. Working on your diet, digestive health, stress management, sleep, and physical activity can help keep you healthy and in the clear. Keep in mind that these symptoms on their own do not necessarily indicate a hormonal imbalance, as they can be signs of other physical problems. If some of these symptoms appear, it may be a good idea to get a simple blood test to find any concerns.

Aimee Harris-Newon, Psy.D., D.A.B.P.S., C.Ht

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New Study: Eat Less Salt for a Healthier Body!

Lay off the salt! If you don’t want high blood pressure, decrease your salt intake. 

A new 25-year study found salt to increase the risk of premature death. 

The study discovered that having a half teaspoon more than the recommended 1.5 teaspoons of salt daily may increase your odds of dying early by 12%. However, the risks increase by 12% for every extra 1000 mg of salt added to your daily diet. 

Fortunately, there’s some good news. 

Taking a huge chunk off your salt consumption may save your life. Restricting salt consumption seemed to lower the risk of premature death by 15%, according to the study. However, the research lacked the conclusiveness required for statistical significance. 

According to Nancy Cook, the lead researcher of the study, "Consuming lower levels of sodium, as advocated by the American Heart Association and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, will lead to lower blood pressure, lower risk of cardiovascular disease and lower subsequent mortality." Cook is a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.  

Cook’s team discovered a 25% lower risk of dying in people who consumed less than one teaspoon of salt every day, compared to those who consumed 1.5 teaspoons or 3600 mg per day. 

According to the American Heart Association, the average American eats over 3,400 mg of salt every day. 

Cook explained that most of the sodium we eat is found in processed food, especially in chips, and other packed goods. She added, "The FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] has now recommended a gradual reduction in sodium content in many such foods, which should lead to lower rates of hypertension as well as cardiovascular disease and deaths.”

The report, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, should open your mind to decreasing your sodium intake to lower your risk of premature death. 

The most optimal amount which is perfect for your heart is 1,500 mg of salt each day. 

Consume less salt for a healthier body! 

Aimee Harris-Newon, Psy.D., D.A.B.P.S., C.Ht

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