5 Good Reasons To Drink Coffee Every Day For Better Health

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By contributing author– Rudy Caretti (biography below)

“So, you love coffee? You are not the only one. Fortunately, an everyday dose of coffee in the right quantity is attributed to various health benefits.

5 Reasons To Drink Coffee Every Day

1. Coffee helps you perform better during workouts.

You may already know, but most supplements taken by athletes contain coffee extracts such as caffeine. There is a scientific reason behind this. Caffeine has several effects on the human system that causes one to do better during physical activity. When taken 30 minutes before any physical activity, black coffee promotes the release of endorphins. These hormones are responsible for our happy moods and adrenaline. These two hormones cause the body to respond positively to any training, leading to better results.

Besides, caffeine alters the way the nervous system responds to pain. This causes the body to endure more strenuous reasons to drink coffeesituations. In this case, your muscles will tolerate longer sessions of intensive endurance- and strength-building exercises.

In a nutshell, caffeine can propel one to train harder, thus improving their results. No wonder scientific research has found coffee can improve athletic performance by about 11-12%.

2. It is loaded with minerals and antioxidants.

The red berry is one food substance packed with many essential nutrients. If you prepare your cup rightly, you are sure to ingest these into your body.

Also, some of the nutrients obtained by drinking coffee include:

  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • niacin
  • riboflavin
  • pantothenic acid

Coffee also contains more antioxidants than a single serving of fruits and vegetables combined.

3. Coffee can keep diseases at bay.

Research shows coffee can help keep dangerous diseases away. Some of these diseases have claimed the lives of many people. Others do not have any known cure. Luckily, one can lower their chances of contracting such ailments by drinking coffee. Some of the said ailments are listed below.

  • Parkinson’s disease: According to Mayo Clinic, “Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually.” A 2002 report published in the Annals of Neurology showed those who drank java daily lowered their chances of suffering from Parkinson’s by 32% and 60%. This finding was unique to those who enjoyed caffeinated coffee only.
  • Diabetes II: A study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers looked at information collected over 4 years on people with diabetes II and some without. The study was divided into 3 sections. The researchers were interested in finding the relationship between type 2 diabetes and the kind of diet the study subjects were eating. The results showed that among the 7,269 subjects, the people who took at least one cup of coffee each day for those 4 years decreased their chances of developing diabetes II by 11%.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: Contrary to the popular belief that caffeine in coffee can lead to high blood pressure and consequently endanger your heart, research has shown the effect is dismal. Regular intake will not only cause the blood pressure risk to disappear, but also lower your chance of developing heart disease by 20%. This finding was upheld by a Korean study published in 2014. The study found that taking coffee in moderate amounts reduces one’s disposition to coronary artery calcium (CAC). CAC is a key indicator of possible cardiovascular disease.

With the burden of such ailments off your shoulders, you are likely to lead a long, healthy and happier life. No wonder, another benefit you could be enjoying by simply sipping your cup of Joe is the possibility to live longer.

4. It makes your skin and hair blossom.

As mentioned earlier, coffee is packed with many antioxidants and minerals which could help keep your skin healthier and glowing. When the body is getting rid of various toxins successfully, one part that is likely to blemish is your skin. Also, the vitamins and minerals cause your hair to grow faster. Also, did you know you can treat your hair with a cool brew of a strong pot of coffee to make it shiny, stronger and healthier?

reasons to drink coffee5. Coffee improves your mental health.

Good mental health is a result of a combination of several factors. However, the most important one is happiness. Most benefits of coffee discussed above work together to make you a happier person. In this regard, you are likely to enjoy better mental health. There are other ways, however, coffee could be good for your mental well-being.

Based on a 2011 Harvard study, people who enjoyed at least 4 cups of coffee daily lowered the risk of falling into depression by 20%. Depression is one of the many mental disorders that can deprive one the joy of leading a fulfilling life.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, coffee is a delicious beverage many of us enjoy each and every day. There are many reasons to drink coffee including health benefits for our skin, hair, mental health and disease prevention.

For more about coffee, you might like you check out: reasons to drink coffee


Author, Rudy Caretti, has more than 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, a passion that started in Italy within the family business and brought him to found Gimoka Coffee UK and G Coffee Pod with a group of friends, who share the same passion.

Since he roasted his first batch of coffee seeds as a teenager, he was fascinated by the many ways it can be processed to get the many distinctive flavors we all love.

As a coffee connoisseur, Rudy has always been aware of the vital role coffee plays in people’s social life. And he is especially active through the company’s social media and blog. He loves sharing his knowledge with readers around the world, writing and posting articles that range from the coffee brewing techniques to raising awareness of the importance of responsible production to help protect the rights of farmers and protect the environment.

Facebook | Twitter | Google+


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Top 20 Best Healthy Snacks

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Who can deny that snacking is an American tradition (at least in my family it is)? What we graze on during the day has a big impact on our health.

Do you have a favorite snack food? Chips, Oreos, Cheetos or Twinkies perhaps? No judgement here. My snack choices haven’t always been perfect either.

Just some food for thought….

As you probably guessed, the best snacks are those packed with nutrients and protein, which fuels the body until the next meal. These snacks are full of flavor, and dare I say, even fun to eat!

I used to teach preschoolers, what can I say? 🙂

20 Healthy Snacks

  1. Nut Butter

    Peanut butter, peanut butter, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways….but, I digress.

    Seriously, who can resist the creamy, nutty confection that is peanut butter?! And don’t forget the lesser known nut butters: hazelnut, cashew, almond and walnut.

    According to the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source, several large studies over the past few years “have shown a consistent 30 to 50 percent lower risk of heart attack, sudden cardiac death or cardiovascular disease associated with eating nuts several times a week.”

    Plus, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter has 7 grams of protein and 180 mg of potassium. Just make sure to check out the ingredient list and avoid added sweeteners and trans fats, especially “partially hydrogenated oil”. Also, don’t bother buying the “low-fat” nut butters. Manufactures of these products simply replace the fat with sugar.

  2. Cottage Cheese

    Once considered a “diet food”,  cottage cheese is now a fan favorite of weight lifters, other athletes, and health foodies alike. This is no surprise considering the whopping 28 grams of casein protein in each cup of cottage cheese.

    A summer favorite of mine is eating a sliced tomato, straight from the garden, topped with cottage cheese and plenty of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. Sounds weird, tastes great! You also might like to try cottage cheese with fresh pineapple. Delish!

  3. Berries

    healthy snacks
    Berries are a low-sugar, antioxidant-rich snack.

    Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, gooseberries and elderberries just to name a few…They are colorful, juicy, sometimes sweet, and full of vitamins and antioxidants (1).

    Enjoy a cup of berries with a splash of cream for a decadent treat.

  4. Whey Protein Shake

    Whey protein can help you gain muscle, lose fat, and increase strength (2). I sometimes drink one as a meal replacement and I’m amazed how long it satisfies my hunger. You might like to try My Favorite Peanut Butter Protein Shake.

    Most people tolerate regular whey protein concentrate, but if you have digestive symptoms you might find that isolate or hydrolysate is better suited for you.

  5. Hard-Boiled Eggs

    Eggs are incredibly nutritious (3). Like, the perfect food. They are high in protein, healthy fats and amino acids.

    They’re also high in cholesterol, but despite what you may have heard in the past, eating high-cholesterol foods does not increase cholesterol for the majority of people (4).

  6. Plain Greek Yogurt

    It’s creamy and rich in protein and probiotics. It can also cut the appetite and help with weight loss (5).

    You may want to add berries, other chopped fruit or nuts to raise the vitamin and fiber content.

  7. Cheese

    Cheese has many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, zinc and vitamin K2. Eating it can help prevent osteoporosis and heart disease (6). And the fat in cheese can help you feel full longer, preventing cravings and helping you make it to the next meal.

  8. Jerky

    Jerky is meat, such as veal, beef, turkey or venison which is dried and cut into strips. It is low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

    The healthiest kind is made at home. But the kind you see at the grocery store has all sorts of added preservatives and sugar so please keep this in mind.

  9. Dark Chocolate

    healthy snacks
    Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and makes the perfect snack.

    Are you surprised chocolate made it to this list of healthy snacks? Pretty cool, huh?

    Studies have shown that dark chocolate eaters have a lower risk of heart disease (7). Eating chocolate can also improve brain function.

    Choose dark chocolate with a 70-85% cocoa content (minimum). Any less and you’re looking at a lot of sugar.

  10. Deli Rollups

    Simply take a slice of meat, such as turkey and a slice of cheese. Roll it up, and voila! Another favorite is spreading cream cheese on the turkey and wrap it around a dill pickle. You can slice it first, or simply eat it like this.

  11. Canned Tuna

    Another high-protein snack, tuna is a great choice if you’re on the go. Just be sure your office buddies are cool with the smell if you decide to pop open a can in the afternoon.

  12. Veggies And Hummus

    If you’ve never tried hummus I encourage you to give it a try. Some might say it’s an acquired taste, but I’ve loved it from my first taste and make my own from home.

    I throw some white beans, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and olive oil in the blender and it makes the most delicious hummus in no time.

    Here’s a similar recipe you might like to try:  Super Easy Hummus

  13. Protein Bar

    Homemade ones are the best, in my humble opinion. But if you like to have prepackaged ones on hand I recommend you try the Luna, Kind and Quest ones.

  14. Kefir Smoothie

    Kefir (pronounced like “Kiefer Sutherland” the actor in 24, love that show) is full of tummy-loving probiotics and protein.

    On its own, kefir is tart (and perhaps a little “gloppy”), and many prefer to drink it in a smoothie.

    I love this handy Mix-And-Match Kefir Smoothie Chart for creating tasty smoothies, chock full of delicious flavor and nutrition.

    (You can read more on probiotics in What Are Probiotics And Where Can I Find Them? and 7 Reasons To Take Probiotics)

  15. Seeds

    Pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, flax and chia seeds give you quick, long-lasting energy and satiety. They can be eaten by themselves or in smoothies, oatmeal or granola. One serving of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) has 7 grams of protein.

  16. Bean And Cheese Mini Quesadilla

    Smash 1/3 cup of black beans and spread it on a small tortilla. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons of salsa. Warm in a skillet or pop it in the microwave for a few seconds just until the cheese melts.

    This is a tasty mini-meal/snack that stays with you.

  17. Milk (2% Or Whole)

    Milk is a great source of high-quality protein, as well as vitamin D, calcium and B12. It is linked to higher bone density in humans (8).

    Do not, I repeat, do not worry about the fat in whole milk. As long as you drink a serving size you’ll be fine. The fat keeps you satisfied longer. More importantly, growing research shows a myriad of health benefits of consuming full-fat food versus low-fat (10).

    According to Dr. Mercola, “Accumulating research is showing, however, that this switch to low-fat has not only caused rates of chronic disease to skyrocket; it’s also been making people fat.”

    Please keep in mind, some people are allergic to the sugar in milk, lactose. If you’re lactose-intolerant you’ll want to stay away from milk and other dairy products. There are dairy-free milks on the market, such a coconut, soy and cashew milk which should be fine for you to drink.

  18. 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Energy Bites

    Liv over at Healthy-Liv.com posted this easy recipe for these incredibly yummy energy bites.

    I just made them for my family to enjoy. But let me warn you, it’s hard to eat just one!

  19. Frozen Grapes

    The perfect sweet treat!

    The anthocyanins and resveratrol in grapes reduce inflammation and lower your risk for disease (9)

  20. Homemade Guacamole And Tortilla Chips

    My personal favorite. 😉 I can eat an entire bowl of freshly made guacamole all by myself…it’s that’s good! (Not that I’m recommending you do this, just keepin’ it real.)

    Here’s my favorite recipe:

Quick And Easy Guacamole

Quick And Easy Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 medium avocados
  • 1/4 to 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 firm tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the avocados open lengthwise. Remove the pit with a large knife. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
  2. Mash the avocado flesh with a fork, to your liking.
  3. Chop and stir the other ingredients.
  4. Enjoy the guacamole right away.
  5. Store in the fridge, tightly covered with plastic wrap to help prevent browning (if you have any leftover)
http://www.lorigeurin.com/top-20-best-healthy-snacks/

The Takeaway

There are so many delicious snacks to choose from. And the best ones are those that help you become the healthiest, strongest version of yourself.

What are your favorite healthy snacks? Please share below in the comments.

Also, you may want to check out this video below for more great healthy snacking ideas.


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The Health Benefits Of Rebounding On A Mini Trampoline

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* This post may contain affiliate links.

What’s airborne and wears a big smile?

You…jumping on a mini trampoline!

Corny jokes aside, rebounding is one of the healthiest (and most fun) activities you can do.

It improves lymph flow, is easy on the joints, increases strength and bone mass and is great for detoxing.

The NASA Rebounding Study

Astronauts lose muscle and bone mass in space due to the weightlessness they experience in the zero gravity environment.

NASA was looking for an exercise which would help astronauts regain bone and muscle mass. As you probably know, weight-bearing exercise increases bone mass.

In 1980 NASA studied the benefits of rebounding. They learned it is a highly effective weight-bearing exercise which is easy on the skeletal system and joints.

When rebounding the pressure, or G-force, is more evenly distributed throughout the body. In contrast, when you’re running almost all of the pressure is at the ankles, which can lead to injuries.

These findings were recorded in The Journal Of Applied Physiology.

And more good news for those of you who despise running — NASA’ s research showed that rebounding can be twice as effective as running on a treadmill! (1) 😉

Benefits Of Rebounding

1. Improves balance

In a study of elderly women, significant improvements in postural balance were recorded after the women completed trampoline workouts for 12 weeks. (2).

2. Relieves stress

Turn on some upbeat jams and jump your worries away!

Once your blood starts pumping you’ll forget about your to-do list.

3. Circulates oxygen to the tissues

Oxygen is vital for survival and strengthens our cells.

In one study, participants jumping on a trampoline showed increased oxygen uptake. Because of gravity changes that take place when rebounding, more oxygen is able to get to the cells. (3)

4. Improves lymphatic circulation and detoxification

Our lymph system is in charge of moving the “junk” out of our bodies.  And exercise encourages this full-body detox.

The up-down movement of rebounding is one of the best ways to increase lymph flow, helping move toxins out.

Many holistic doctors recommend it for their patients.

You may want to read more about the lymph system here.

5. Improves the resting metabolic rate

As your muscles grow stronger, your body burns more energy when it is at rest. This can help if you’re trying to lose weight.

6. Strengthens the heart and other muscles

Rebounding provides cardiovascular benefits and strengthens the heart muscle.

According to James White, Ph.D., director of research and rehabilitation in the physical education department at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), jumping offers many benefits to other muscles as well:

Rebounding allows the muscles to go through the full range of motion at equal force. It helps people learn to shift their weight properly and to be aware of body positions and balance.

7. Increases bone mass

As I mentioned above, the NASA study showed astronauts returning from space had improvements in bone density after doing rebounding workouts.

8. Strengthens the immune system

The rebounding movement stimulates the body’s immune system due to the increased G-force.

The immune cells include the macrophages and T-lymphocytes. Their job is to rid the body of harmful bacteria, viruses and cancer cells.

How To Do A Rebounding Workout

If you’re just starting out, I suggest taking it slow.

Rather than jumping too high, you can start with small bounces, keeping your feet in contact with the trampoline or mini trampoline.

As you get used to the feeling of being on the trampoline you can jump a little higher, increase the intensity, or try a variety of different moves such as high knees, jumping jacks and trampoline squats.

But if you like to keep it simple, feel free to do a basic bounce.

I usually rebound 5-15 minutes a day for detox.

The Takeawaybenefits of rebounding

Rebounding on a mini trampoline has some pretty impressive health benefits. These include increased muscle and bone mass, enhanced digestion, detox and lymph drainage.

Purchasing a mini trampoline is a small investment. I bought mine through Amazon.com and it only cost $27.22 (with Prime shipping). I’m really happy with it.

You can see the one I bought here.

Academy Sports has a good selection of trampolines also.

Do you own a trampoline? Can you think of more benefits to add to this list?

If you enjoyed this article, you might like to read:

Here’s a beginner’s rebounding workout you might like to try.

 

 


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7 Tips For Coping With Chronic Illness

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This article was originally published on GriefLossHope.com, a website dedicated to sharing stories of grief and loss and giving hope and encouragement to help others who are going through similar situations.

Having a chronic illness can impact your life in countless ways. The life you knew before your illness may seem like a distant memory, especially when you’re dealing with many symptoms and concerns.

You could in constant pain and unable to get a good night’s sleep. You might have to quit your job and suffer financial problems.

Your appearance may change. Or you may look the same, making it even harder to explain your illness to the outside world. Your interpersonal relationships can change, when suddenly your spouse or loved one takes on the roll of caregiver.

All of these changes can cause stress and strong feelings of anxiety, fear and anger. Many people feel a lack of control and uncertainty about the future.

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics a chronic disease lasts more than 3 months, cannot be prevented by a vaccine or cured by medicine, and does not disappear.

I have learned first hand what it’s like to have a chronic illness, beginning in the spring of 2012.

My Journey From Health To Chronic Illness

Before the illness I was healthy and active, a wife to my wonderful husband, mom to four amazing kids, teaching Special Education full-time at a local public school.

But, then I was bit by 2 tiny ticks and everything changed.

I initially became so sick with a mind-numbing headache and crippling nausea that I was in bed several days trying to recover. I was so weak I could barely walk. My coloring was pale and ashen. It felt like the worst case of the flu I’d ever experienced. I was so out of it that I don’t remember much from those few days.

Unexplained Symptoms

When I had recovered enough to go to the doctor I asked him about Lyme disease. At this time I didn’t know much about it, other than it was a tick-borne illness.

The doctor asked if I’d traveled to the northeastern United States, but the furthest I’d been that direction was North Carolina. He then told me, “You can’t get Lyme disease in Missouri”. He said I had “tick fever”.

Tests were not ordered. Prescriptions were not written.

The doctor told me it would take time, but I would feel better eventually.

But in the months between the tick bites and my eventual Lyme disease diagnosis (18 months later) I felt like I had the flu nearly every day.

As a teacher, I was around children all day. Inevitably, I came into contact with many germs on a daily basis.

I was exposed to many illnesses over the years due to having four children of our own. And I didn’t remember getting sick so often. In fact, my resistance to illness had always been strong.

So I initially thought perhaps I was getting sick a lot due to exposure to all the germs I came into contact with . I usually just pushed through my illness knowing my family and students were depending on me. I figured I’d improve with time.

But, as the weeks and months passed, I began to experience other concerning symptoms I couldn’t ignore. An unrelenting pain began coursing throughout my entire body. The pain was so strong and constant I couldn’t sleep.

I felt exhausted all the time, had trouble breathing, and experienced frequent, intense migraines.

Lethargy and extreme weakness became the norm.

I developed a heart murmur and had frequent heart palpitations, even while lying in bed.

Memory Problems And More

And I started forgetting things and stumbling for the words I wanted to say. The brain fog was so great at times it was starting to worry me.

I was driving one morning and came upon a traffic light feeling confused. As I sat at the intersection a few seconds, I struggled to remember whether the green or red light meant to stop or go. The driver behind me showed frustration with my indecision. He started honking for me to go.

Also, I recall getting lost a few times when I was driving.  And I started calling our children by the wrong names.

I wondered if I was getting Alzheimer’s.

During these 18 months leading up to my diagnosis I went to multiple doctors including several specialists. They gave me a variety of tests and innumerable blood work all in an effort to figure out what was wrong with me.

I was placed in a Holter monitor for 36 hours to test for heart problems.

My doctor ordered months of Physical Therapy due to muscle weakness and wasting. I had lost 20 pounds in a short time for no apparent reason.

My doctor and Physical Therapist expressed concerns about Multiple Sclerosis. Thankfully, I was tested and MS was ruled out.

Searching For Answerscoping with chronic illness

I was diagnosed eventually with multiple chronic and autoimmune conditions including:

  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
  • Tularemia (another tick-borne illness)

I had multiple allergic reactions to a variety of foods, ran a fever nearly every day and would get hives and strange rashes on my face, neck and torso (where the tick bites occurred).

I developed mild dyslexia for a time and had difficulty reading numbers. As an avid reader I developed a great frustration when reading text.

Around the same time I started having twitching and tremors in my hands, arms, legs and abdomen.

I recall one time when I had been bedridden for several days, running a high fever and missing several days of work.

I could barely walk anymore without extreme effort and felt as though I was dying.

And I didn’t understand why all of this was happening. I had always been so healthy before the tick bites.

I wanted to find out the root cause of my illness. But each time I went to the doctor, it seemed like they only wanted to treat my myriad of symptoms. It was incredibly frustrating.

But I knew everything had to be related to the tick bites. And I persisted in sharing this with my doctors until they listened and gave me the recommended tests.

Psychological Stages Of Chronic Pain And Illness

According to Jennifer Martin, PsyD, there are Seven Psychological Stages of Chronic Pain and Illness:

  • Denial
  • Pleading, Bargaining and Desperation
  • Anger
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Loss of Self and Confusion
  • Re-evaluation of Life, Roles and Goals
  • Acceptance

I found myself going through these stages, sometimes between two or three at a time.

Questioning God

At this point I started losing hope in ever finding out what was wrong with me.  And I began questioning God.

I asked Him, “God, if you truly love me then why is this happening to me and my family?” I felt confused, angry and forgotten.

I’m humbled to admit I reached this low point in my life journey. I never would have predicted that I’d one day question the very existence of the God I’d believed in and loved as long as I could remember.

Nevertheless, it’s part of my story, and I want to be real. 

Facing my health crisis tested my limits. And I was confronted with my mortality.

I now believe that God was testing my faith throughout my illness. Sometimes I kept my eyes on Him, and sometimes I was stubborn and went my own way.

Isn’t it amazing how we can learn so much from the past, but when we’re living in the moment it isn’t always that clear? (At least this has been my experience)

He Was With Me All Along

Lately God has shown me how He was there for me, even when I was living through the most painful days.

I see now how He has been with me every step of the way, when I was crying out to Him for help and healing — and even when it seemed like God was being silent.

As God reveals Himself to me I see now that part of my story is a renewed faith in Him and hope for His plans for my future.

 I love, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (or what you’re going through), for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you (emphasis mine)” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

I’m thankful He promised “He will never leave you nor forsake you”. I love what Jon Bloom says about our human perceptions:

And when we feel forsaken by God we are not forsaken (Hebrews 13:5). We are simply called to trust the promise more than the perception.

coping with chronic illnessIn the midst of the trials, and despite His faithfulness to me and our family, I still felt alone much of the time. I learned this is common for people confronting chronic pain or illness.

I believe God was and is saying to me , “Take up your cross and follow me…(no matter what) (emphasis mine)” (Matthew 16:24).

I may be a slow learner, but I’m so thankful for His grace and patience with me through it all. And I’m looking forward to what He’s going to do in the coming years. He continues to bring beauty from ashes.

My illness has taught me to take time to slow down (although this is still a challenge). I’m learning to refocus my priorities. For me, this includes prayer and having real, meaningful conversations with the people I love.

I hope you will learn from my mistakes and be encouraged in whatever challenges you experience in life.

coping with chronic illnessTips For Coping With Chronic Illness

1. Educate Yourself

Read, study and learn as much as you can about your condition or disease. While doctors are highly trained professionals, please conduct your own research before believing everything you hear.

I’m pleased with the team of doctors managing my medical care and treatment. If you aren’t happy with the level of care you receive consider getting a second opinion or switching doctors.

Before I have an appointment I make a list of questions to ask the doctor. This helps me be more efficient, prioritizing my essential questions first to make sure they’re addressed.

Also, consider using the internet to research. Sometimes the internet gets a bad reputation for providing hokey information. But, if you search medically reputable websites, I’ve found you can learn so much useful information.

I’m a bit of a research nerd, so this process is actually fun for me. If you’re not sure what sites can be trusted, you may want to ask your doctor for recommendations.

2. Express Gratitude

Say “thank you” to your loved ones, friends, and family. Being chronically ill isn’t easy for them either, especially if they are taking on more responsibility.

My dear husband has helped take our children to multiple practices and events. This is in addition to his full-time job as a High School Principal.  It is  difficult for him to see me sick. But he cares for me throughout my most difficult days. I’m forever grateful to him for his love and support.

In addition to expressing gratitude to others, I recommend keeping a Gratitude Journal. I try to jot down one or two things I’m thankful for.

Sometimes I’ll write down a favorite verse, Motivational Quote or Power Phrase. I can come back later and read what I’ve written for encouragement and reflection.

3. Do Not Let Your Illness Define You

You can take charge and manage your disease instead of letting it define you. In the midst of chronic illness, do not lose your identity.

Face your fears. Take one day at a time.

Don’t give into the temptation to have a pity party.

Instead, reframe your negative thoughts.

Think of a way to help someone else, even if you are bedridden. Maybe you could text or call an old friend or loved one who is facing their own crisis. Strive to be an encouragement to others.

Keep moving forward.

4. Give Yourself Grace

A wise friend gave me this advice when I was in the throes of my Lyme battle. I was trying to keep up with my duties as a wife, mom, daughter and friend.

But it was not possible for me to maintain the level of busyness I’d been accustomed to my entire life.

I had to learn to give myself grace. When feelings of guilt would creep in (because I was not able to do many of the things I did when I was healthy) I had to remind myself of this. I had to find a new normal.

Releasing myself from the pressure of being a do-it-all wife and mom allowed me to focus on what was really important.

5. Make Healthy Choices

Follow a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If necessary, lose weight. (17 Ways To Lose Weight Faster can help you get started.)

Get fresh air and soak up the sun to increase vitamin D production. Exercise, if possible, to keep your body strong and flexible.

coping with chronic illnessConsider using essential oils as a natural treatment for pain and insomnia.

Learn how coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and other natural ingredients can help improve your health.

Look into intermittent fasting and find out if it might help you with symptoms.

6. Be An Advocate For Your Health

This is one of the most essential things I’ve learned. When I was going through the most serious, painful time of my illness no one could tell me what was going on.

The doctors and specialists prescribed multiple prescriptions (many of which I never took). One suggested watching a video about walking. They told me to get a massage, get more rest, eat a gluten-free diet etc.

They meant well, but their suggestions didn’t address the root cause of my illness.

Thankfully, (albeit 18 months later) I tested positive for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illness co-infections.

This was a turning point in my illness.

We felt relieved to have an explanation why my body was deteriorating. Even though no one wants to hear they have a chronic illness, we finally knew what we were dealing with. And that helped bring peace to the situation.

7. Seek Support

Building a support system is vital. Talking with supportive family and close friends can help. You might consider joining a support group or message board where people who have the same condition share experiences and hopes for the future.

I have a few friends who have Lyme disease. We communicate via Facebook, email and talking on the phone. We share our progress and treatments that have helped and encourage each other.

If you’d like to learn more about my story you may want to read:

Also, you may like to read about The Spoon Theory in Chronic Illness: What’s A Spoonie Anyway?

Can you relate to any of the Psychological Stages Of Chronic Illness And Pain?

Do you have more tips for dealing with chronic pain and illness? Please leave your comments below. I love hearing from you!


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20 Reasons To Try A Kettlebell Workout

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Are you a part of the kettlebell revolution?

Yep, it’s a real thing.

Although it may seem like a fitness fad, it’s been around for years and has research-backed benefits for strength, balance and flexibility.

Kettlebells look like cannonballs with a handle on top.

They are made of cast iron or vinyl-coated and filled with sand, concrete, or gravel.

Kettlebell training focuses on whole-body functional training, not just the isolated muscle movements you get with weightlifting. No one is knocking weight training here at all, because it is beneficial too.

But if you want to see amazing strength gains and you’re short on time,  you may just want to try a kettlebell workout for yourself.

It’s my new favorite!

20 Reasons To Try A Kettlebell Workout

1. It’s Functional Strength Training

Training your body this way can help you do everyday activities.

2. Doesn’t Take Up Much Space

Kettlebells are compact and portable.

Compared to a weight bench and a set of free weights, they take up minimal room. You can stick them in the closet when they’re not being used.

3. Improved Posture

Did you know having poor posture can actually steal your body’s energy?

When your posture is out of alignment it stresses your body by trying to keep it upright. This can cause back pain.

When using a kettlebell focus on your hips, core and shoulder movements to correct your posture.

4. Great For Busy People

They give an intense workout in much less time than most others. Some people see incredible results with as little as 10 to 20 minutes twice a week!

Although many of us are busy, most people can carve out 10 minutes in a 24-hour day.

5. They’re For Everyone

Anyone can do it.

Whether you’re a muscled-up weightlifter or a 50-year-old couch potato (no judgement here), you can learn the proper form and train with kettlebells.

(Please check out the instructional video at the end of this article for help with your form.)

kettlebell
Kettlebells are filled with a variety of materials and come in different weights.

6. Increased Strength

The strength gains are quite impressive! (1)

And because it gives you a whole-body workout your entire body gets stronger.

This can help you do everyday tasks such as housework, yard work and lifting boxes. Being strong can also protect against injury.

7. Fat Loss And Calorie Burn

By increasing muscle mass, your body will burn more fat, even when it is at rest.

Some say you can burn up to 20 calories or more per minute training with kettlebells.

8. Combines Strength, Cardio And Flexibility For A Full-Body Workout

The strength and cardio gains are real! And the fluid full range of motion movements increase flexibility.

This is one of the best quick workouts you can do for your health!

9. It’s Fun!

If you’re like me, you get bored doing the same workouts all the time. But, I’ve never been bored with my kettlebell.

There are so many different types of workouts you can do.

10. Saves Money

I spent around $40 for my vinyl-coated kettlebell. You can easily find them on Amazon and in sporting good stores.

Compared to a gym membership or purchasing a weight bench and dumbbells, they’re much more cost-effective.

11. Ladies Won’t Bulk Up

Some of you girls might be concerned if you do any form of weight training you’ll end up looking like the Hulk. I used to have this same concern.

Fortunately, kettlebelling (my made up word) builds long, lean muscles, not bulky ones. 😉 So, never fear, your kettlebell is here! (You get the point.)

12. Easy On Your Joints

The ballistic physics at work when you perform different kettlebell movements actually protect your joints from injury. They encourage natural movements.

13. Simplicity

If you’re into simplicity and minimalism the kettlebell is perfect for you!

With just one simple movement, such as the swing, you can experience amazing strength and cardio improvements.

14. Great For Core Strength

When you do kettlebell movements correctly your core stays engaged. This results in a stronger, shredded core.

15. Engages The Entire Body

When you lift weights isolated muscles are used. But with kettlebells your entire body is activated and involved.

16. Can Help With Lower Back Pain

This is a big one for many people who suffer with low back pain.

Your back was not intended to compensate for weak hips and glutes. When it does your back hurts.

By strengthening your core (not to mention all the other muscles in the body) kettleballing engages the hips and glutes. This trains the body how to correctly lift objects and do everyday tasks more efficiently.

17. Relieves Body Pain And Stiffness

Kettleballing is my go to when I’m dealing with chronic pain. If you have ongoing pain you might try it and see if it helps you too.

18. Boosts Weight Loss

Because so many muscles are involved you can get a serious calorie burn.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin‚ La Crosse have studied how many calories are burned during a workout. They equate it to running a 6-minute mile!

19. Improves Balance

A recent study conducted by ACE Fitness experts found that training with kettlebells significantly improved balance. (1)

20. Superior Results

kettlebell
INFOGRAPHIC: 20 Reasons To Try A Kettlebell Workout

Because training with kettlebells involves the entire body, results are impressive. It’s a fierce cardio-respiratory workout which involves all the major muscle groups.

People often see faster gains doing a kettlebell workout twice weekly than doing just about anything else.

Kettlebell Weight?

Depending on who you talk to, here are some general recommendations:

  • For men, start with a 16-kg (35lb) kettlebell
  • For women, start with an 8-kg (18 lb.) kettlebell.

Please keep in mind that everyone is different. These weights are merely suggestions, but if you are already strong and fit you may want to start with more weight.

Alternatively, if you are chronically ill or have recovered from an illness or injury you might need to start with less weight. Use your judgement.

Special Considerations

If you haven’t exercised in a while you may want to consult with your physician before training with kettlebells.

Please watch the instructional videos below to learn proper form and prevent injuries.

kettlebellThe Takeaway

Kettlebell workouts offer an intense workout and incredible results for the entire body. They increase overall body strength, burn calories and deliver impressive cardiovascular improvements.

Have you tried working out with a kettlebell? Please leave your comments and questions below. I love hearing from you!

Kettlebell Swing Tutorial

This short video shows how to do the basic swing move with proper form.

 

Beginners Kettlebell Workout

If you enjoyed this, (you health nut, you) you might like to check out:


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Top 10 Habits To Help You Live Longer

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Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” I tend to agree.

On the other hand, there is something about being human that causes us to want a long life.

Live Longer

The average life expectancy has been steadily increasing for years. Many people think genes and heredity play a major role in determining how long they will live. But, genetics are not as influential as we once thought.

It appears that other factors, such as eating habits and lifestyle are much more important. This is great news, since it means we can affect the quality and length of our lives by making healthier choices.

Here are 10 habits that will help you live longer:

1. Drink Coffee Or Tea

live longer
Drink coffee to increase longevity.

Do you love your morning cup of joe as much as I do?  If so, you can reap some impressive benefits!

Coffee and tea are full of antioxidants. Drinking coffee and/or tea may help prevent chronic disease, which can lead to early death.

Drinking green tea was shown to cut the risk of major disease, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes (1, 2. 3).

Drinking coffee is linked with a reduction in the risk of brain diseases (like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease), cancer, and type 2 diabetes (4, 5, 6).

Please keep in mind that coffee and tea contain caffeine (unless you drink decaf). Drinking them too late in the day may interrupt your sleep.

Also, if you consume too much caffeine you may feel jittery, so you might want to limit your intake to 4 cups of coffee a day.

You may want to try this recipe for my favorite healthy coffee drink. It has coconut oil, which might sound strange at first…until you try it!

2. Don’t Overeat

If you’re like me, you might thinking, “That’s easier said, than done”. (especially when it comes to chocolate)

But, research has shown that reducing caloric intake may increase your life expectancy (7).

Eating fewer calories has also been linked to a reduced chance of chronic disease, lower body weight and healthy change in body composition (8, 9).

Some of the oldest people in Japan eat until they feel about 80% full and then they stop (10).

Obviously, starving yourself is not the goal here. Neither is it recommended. 🙂

But, dishing out smaller servings of food, eating on a smaller plate, chewing slowly or leaving food uneaten are all things we can do to reduce our calorie intake and help prevent overeating.

3. Exercise And Be Active

live longer
Stay active and keep moving.

Studies have shown the ill effects of being a couch potato and not getting enough exercise.

According to Health.com, a 2010 study linked watching too much TV to early death:

The study followed 8,800 adults with no history of heart disease for more than six years. Compared to those who watched less than two hours of TV per day, people who watched four hours or more were 80% more likely to die from heart disease and 46% more likely to die from any cause. All told, 284 people died during the study.

Another study showed a link between sitting too much and premature death (11).

Exercise is essential to living a long and healthy life (12).

You might even be able to increase your lifespan by exercising as little as 15 minutes a day (13).

The more you exercise and stay active, the more you can reap the benefits (14).

Exercising more than 150 minutes a week has the most benefits, but any time you move is good for your health and can help increase longevity.

If you’re just starting out with a fitness plan, focus on gradually increasing the time you spend exercising.

For example, the first week you could set a goal of walking 15 minutes (or 5 or 10 minutes, whatever works for you), 5 days a week. Then the following week you can increase your goal to walking 20 minutes a day. Continue increasing your goal each week until you’re walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. By then you’ve reached your 150 minutes a week of exercise!

You might want to try this stand and sit test which can predict longevity.

Warning: It’s not for the faint of heart. My husband and I just tried it out. Lol!

Let me know how you do!

4. Don’t Smoke

Smoking is linked to a decreased lifespan.

A study of women in the UK showed that smokers may lose 10 years of their lifespan and are much more likely to die prematurely (15).

The good news is that it’s never too late to quit smoking. Here are some resources to help people quit smoking.

5. Include Spices In Your Diet

Consuming spices such as turmeric and cinnamon can help you live longer.

Turmeric has a bright yellow chemical compound called curcumin. It’s a member of the ginger family.

Curcumin has many antioxidants which protect the body from oxidative stress (16).

Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory which fights against cardiovascular, pulmonary and autoimmune diseases  (17).

Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and smells great! It’s an anti-inflammatory and lowers blood sugar.

Here’s a recipe for Cinnamon Tea.

 

6. Manage Stress

Reducing stress and anxiety are essential skills to learn for increasing your lifespan.

Everyone experiences stress in one way or another. People experience different types of stress and anxiety, and in varying amounts.

The key is learning skills to manage the stress in our lives so it doesn’t negatively impact our health. Having a positive outlook is often part of this.

You might like to check out these tips for managing stress.

Studies show that laughter and having a positive outlook is good for you and may actually add years to your life (18).

7. Sleep Well

When you’re sleeping your body works hard to heal and rejuvenate.

Developing a regular sleep routine is essential to your health. Relaxing habits such as taking a warm bath and reading a book can help you fall asleep faster.

It’s also important to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. I realize this is a challenge for those with small children, or a job where you’re constantly changing the hours you work. But, it’s a good idea to keep your sleeping schedule as regular as possible.

The recommendation is to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleeping much more or less can shorten your life expectancy (19).

Please keep in mind that we all go through seasons of life that we get more or less sleep than others. Many times this cannot be helped. So try not to stress if you’re in one of those times now.

8. Eat Nuts

Amazingly, eating nuts just might add a few years to your life!

Nuts are chock full of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and protein.

One study showed that people who ate at least 3 servings of nuts per week lowered their risk of premature death by 39% (20).

Eating nuts has to have a therapeutic effect on inflammation, heart disease, some cancers and diabetes (21).

Here are some healthy nut recipes you might like to try.

9. Eat Your Fruits And Veggies

live longer
Fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables.

Filling your diet with lots of plant foods is a healthy choice for many reasons.

Several studies have connected a prolonged lifespan with eating a Mediterranean diet. This way of eating was shown to cut down on cancer and cardiovascular disease (22, 23).

There are many ways to get your fill of fruits and veggies each day:

  • add them to smoothies
  • eat veggies raw with hummus or your favorite dip
  • roast vegetables in the oven with seasoning
  • make fruit kabobs
  • make a fruit and yogurt parfait
  • ferment your veggies to get a healthy dose of probiotics
  • stir fry
  • make a giant salad

10. Do Things That Make You Happy

We may not be able to control bad things that happen to us in life (you can read about my experience here if you like). But, we can control how we respond to difficult situations.

We can mope around feeling sorry for ourselves. (been there, done that, boo!) But, it’s been my experience that this never helps.

Choosing to live life with joy is contagious!

I’m not saying you need to become Pollyanna. But a little happiness never hurt anyone, right!?

If we frame our thoughts in a positive way, we can keep ourselves on track and stay hopeful. When we take the time to look up from our own problems, we are better able to see other people who need support and encouragement.

When we are intentional about keeping a positive mindset, it can actually add years to our life. One study found a correlation between feelings of happiness and an increase in longevity (24).

One of my favorite verses that gives me perspective when I need it the most is “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. (Nehemiah 8:10)

Do you have a favorite verse, song or activity that helps you stay positive and find joy and happiness in everyday life.

The Takeaway

Genetics play a small role in life expectancy. But, we can develop healthy habits that will greatly decrease our risk of disease and help us live longer.

What do you think about this list? Do you have healthy habits you would add?

You might like to watch this short video about a 110-year-old man and the 5 foods he recommends eating for a long, healthy life.

 

 


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12 Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

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Chia seeds are one of the healthiest superfoods you can find anywhere! These tiny seeds have amazing health benefits.

Typically, they are grown organically and do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

They are black or white. If the seeds are brown they are not yet ripe.

They grow natively in South America. Ancient Mayans and Aztecs used them for many purposes, including medicine.

In ancient Mayan culture, “chia” means “strength”.

They are sometimes compared to flaxseeds because they have similar in nutritional value.

Advantages of chia seeds over flax seeds include:

  • They do not go rancid as quickly as flaxseed.
  • They do not have to be ground before eaten.

Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

1. Incredible Nutrition

A 1-ounce (28.4 gram or about 2 tablespoons) serving of chia seeds provides: (1)

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 4.7 grams of protein
  • 17% RDA of calcium
  • 12% RDA of iron
  • 23% RDA of magnesium

They also contain phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fats) and are rich in antioxidants.

2.  Gluten-Free

They are a “whole grain” food and are safe for people who have celiac and those who are gluten intolerant.

This is great news for those who have to severely restrict their intake of grains. Eating chia seeds, they don’t have to worry about suffering from side effects of foods with gluten.

3. Easy To Include In Your Eating Plan

Because they are bland, you can put them in just about anything. Simply Google “chia seeds recipes” and you’ll find over 2,000,000 results!

health benefits of chia seeds
Chia Seeds with Yogurt and Fruit

I enjoy them in my favorite Peanut Butter Protein Shake. They have a slightly nutty taste and take on the flavors of the foods they’re incorporated with. If you’re wanting to eat a healthy diet, chia seeds are an easy, nutrition-packed food you can use in a variety of dishes.

They are a delicious addition to Greek yogurt and fruit.

Many people enjoy them for dessert in puddings.

And how about adding them to stir-frys or casseroles?

4. Reduce Cancer Risk

Due to the high fiber content in the seeds, they can help with digestive health and lower your risk of colorectal cancer.

The high amounts of alpha linoleic acid (or ALA) found in chia seeds can limit cancer cell growth in cervical and breast cancers. The ALAs also caused the cancer cells to die and didn’t harm normal cells. (3)

They help the skin heal and repair quickly. That means healthy, glowing skin and fewer wrinkles. And who doesn’t love that?!

6. Bone Health

Chia seeds provide more than 18% of the RDA of calcium, and that’s in merely 1 ounce! They’re a great alternative to dairy products for people who are allergic to dairy, or are simply looking for other options.

They contain many vital nutrients that promote bone health. These include:

  • phosphorus
  • calcium
  • boron
  • magnesium
  • protein

7. Satiety

The high amounts of protein, healthy fats and fiber reduce appetite and cravings. Also, when liquid combines with chia seeds, the outer layer absorbs the liquid, causing the seed to swell and form a gel, which further increases satiety.

Satiety, or feeling full, can help with weight maintenance or weight loss. When we feel full and satisfied we’re much less likely to overeat.

8. Regulates Blood Sugar

A study of Type-2 Diabetes patients (done in 2007) showed chia seeds significantly lowered their blood pressure, a risk factor for diabetes. (4)

They have also been shown to cause a drop in blood sugar.

Check out another way to lower blood sugar here.

health benefits of chia seeds
Building Muscle

9. Muscle-Building Protein

With close to 14% protein, they provide a good amount of this muscle-building macronutrient.

Eating plenty of high quality protein, like chia seeds, can greatly reduce your appetite and help with weight loss. (5)

10. Low-Carbohydrate Food

Are you watching your carb intake? If so, you’re not alone. Due to their high fiber content, chia seeds contain only 1 net carbohydrate gram per ounce.

11. May Lower Risk Of Heart Disease

According to studies done on rats, chia seeds can reduce inflammation, raise HDL (the good cholesterol) and lower triglycerides. (6)

They have also been found to lower insulin resistance and decrease belly fat. (7)

12. Increase Energy And Metabolism

A recent study showed that chia seeds provided enhanced sports performance when given to people who trained more that 90 minutes. (8)

Consuming a serving of chia seeds per day can also increase your metabolism and burn belly fat.

How To Eat Chia Seeds

If you want to get the greatest nutritional value from your chia seeds you may want to grind or soak them. This makes their rich nutrients more readily available for absorption.

If you choose to soak them, here’s what you need to know:

  • Mix about 1.5 tablespoons of chia seeds in a glass with 1 cup of water.
  • Let them soak for about 1 to 2 hours, or until they become gel-like.

Side Effects

I have heard of people swallowing a tablespoon of raw, unsoaked chia seeds. But based on what I’ve read, I’d advise against this. Because the seeds absorb water, they can stick together in a clump and become difficult to swallow.

Please always drink plenty of water or other fluids (such as milk, juice or incorporated in a smoothie) when eating your chia seeds.

There are so many excellent health benefits of chia seeds!

Please let me know how you like to eat them.  🙂


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