Health Tips

14 Natural Ways to Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity

1. Get More Sleep A good night's sleep is important for your health. In contrast, a lack of sleep can be harmful and increase your risk of infections, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Several studies have also linked poor sleep to reduced insulin sensitivity. For example, one study in nine healthy volunteers found that getting just four hours of sleep in one night reduced insulin sensitivity and the ability to regulate blood sugar, compared to getting eight and a half hours of sleep. Fortunately, catching up on lost sleep can reverse the effects of poor sleep on insulin resistance. 2. Exercise More Regular exercise is one of the best ways to increase insulin sensitivity. It helps move sugar into the muscles for storage and promotes an immediate increase in insulin sensitivity, which lasts 2–48 hours, depending on the exercise. For example, one study found that 60 minutes of cycling on a machine at a moderate pace increased insulin s...

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Is Pink Himalayan Salt Better Than Regular Salt?

What Is Salt? Salt is a mineral largely consisting of the compound sodium chloride. Salt contains so much sodium chloride — around 98% by weight — that most people use the words “salt” and “sodium” interchangeably. Salt can be produced by evaporating salt water or extracting solid salt from underground salt mines. Before it reaches your grocery store, table salt also goes through a refining process to remove impurities and any other minerals besides sodium chloride. Anticaking agents are sometimes added to help absorb moisture, and iodine is often included to help consumers prevent iodine deficiency. Humans have used salt to flavor and preserve foods for thousands of years. Interestingly, sodium also plays an important role in several biological functions, including fluid balance, nerve conduction and muscle contraction. For this reason, it’s absolutely necessary to have salt, or sodium, in your diet. However, ma...

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Potatoes: Healthy or Unhealthy?

What Are Potatoes? Potatoes are a type of edible plant tuber eaten around the world. Scientifically known as Solanum tuberosum, they belong to the nightshade family of plants. Originating in the South American Andes, potatoes are now cultivated in 160 countries worldwide, with 1,500–2,000 different species that range in color, size and nutrient content. Nevertheless, many varieties are similar in composition, consisting of a starchy flesh covered by a thin, nutrient-rich skin. Potatoes can be boiled, steamed, fried, baked or roasted and used in a wide assortment of dishes. Potatoes Are High in Many Nutrients There are many types of potatoes that include an array of different nutrient sets. One medium (6.1 ounces or 173 grams) Russet baked potato, including the flesh and skin, provides the following: Calories: 168 Fat: 0 grams Protein: 5 grams Carbs: 37 grams Fiber: 4 grams Sodium: 24 milligrams Vita...

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Do Nutrient Deficiencies Cause Cravings?

Cravings are defined as intense, urgent or abnormal desires or longings. Not only are they very common, but they’re also arguably one of the most intense feelings you can experience when it comes to food. Some believe that cravings are caused by nutrient deficiencies and view them as the body’s way to correct them. Yet others insist that, unlike hunger, cravings are largely about what your brain wants, rather than what your body actually needs. This article explores whether specific nutrient deficiencies cause food cravings. Proposed Link Between Nutrient Deficiencies and Cravings A growing number of people believe that food cravings are the body’s subconscious way of filling a nutritional need. They assume that when the body lacks a specific nutrient, it naturally craves foods that are rich in that nutrient. For instance, chocolate cravings are often blamed on low magnesium levels, whereas cravings for meat or cheese are often seen a...

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7 Health Benefits of Eating Cucumber

1. It’s High in Nutrients Cucumbers are low in calories but high in many important vitamins and minerals. One 11-ounce (300-gram) unpeeled, raw cucumber contains the following: Calories: 45 Total fat: 0 grams Carbs: 11 grams Protein: 2 grams Fiber: 2 grams Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI Vitamin K: 62% of the RDI Magnesium: 10% of the RDI Potassium: 13% of the RDI Manganese: 12% of the RDI Although, the typical serving size is about one-third of a cucumber, so eating a standard portion would provide about one-third of the nutrients above. Additionally, cucumbers have a high water content. In fact, cucumbers are made up of about 96% water. To maximize their nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten unpeeled. Peeling them reduces the amount of fiber, as well as certain vitamins and minerals, in a serving. 2. It Contains Antioxidants Antioxidants are molecules that block oxidation, ...

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11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory

1. Fatty Fish When people talk about brain foods, fatty fish is often at the top of the list. This type of fish includes salmon, trout and sardines, which are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. About 60% of your brain is made of fat, and half of that fat is the omega-3 kind. Your brain uses omega-3s to build brain and nerve cells, and these fats are essential for learning and memory. Omega 3-s also have a couple additional benefits for your brain. For one thing, they may slow age-related mental decline and help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. On the flip side, not getting enough omega-3s is linked to learning impairments, as well as depression. In general, eating fish seems to have positive health benefits. One study found that people who ate baked or broiled fish regularly had more gray matter in their brains. Gray matter contains most of the nerve cells that control decision making, memory and emotion. Overall, fatty fish is an excell...

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How Eating Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight

Nuts Are High in Fat And Calories Nuts are high in calories. This is because a large part of them is fat, which is a concentrated source of energy. One gram of fat contains 9 calories, while one gram of carbs or protein contains just 4 calories. Nuts contain mostly unsaturated fat. This type of fat is associated with protection against many different diseases, such as heart disease. The calorie and fat contents per one-ounce (28-gram) serving of some commonly eaten nuts are shown below: Walnuts: 183 calories and 18 grams of fat Brazil nuts: 184 calories and 19 grams of fat Almonds: 161 calories and 14 grams of fat Pistachios: 156 calories and 12 grams of fat Cashews: 155 calories and 12 grams fat Because they are high in fat and calories, many people assume that adding nuts to their diet will lead to weight gain. However, as discussed below, scientific studies do not support this. Regularly Eating Nuts Is Not Linke...

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7 Health Benefits of Plums and Prunes

1. They Contain Many Nutrients Plums and prunes are impressively high in nutrients. They contain over 15 different vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber and antioxidants. Here is an overview of the nutrition profiles of plums and prunes. Plums Plums are relatively low in calories, but contain a fair amount of important vitamins and minerals. One plum contains the following nutrients: Calories: 30 Carbs: 8 grams Fiber: 1 gram Sugars: 7 grams Vitamin A: 5% of the RDI Vitamin C: 10% of the RDI Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI Potassium: 3% of the RDI Copper: 2% of the RDI Manganese: 2% of the RDI Additionally, one plum provides a small amount of B vitamins, phosphorus and magnesium. Prunes Prunes are higher in calories than plums. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of prunes contains the following: Calories: 67 Carbs: 18 grams Fiber: 2 grams Sugars: 11 grams Vitamin A:...

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Why Tempeh Is Incredibly Healthy and Nutritious

What Is Tempeh? Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from soybeans that have been fermented, or broken down by microorganisms. Following fermentation, the soybeans are pressed into a compact cake that is commonly consumed as a vegetarian source of protein. In addition to soybeans, tempeh may also be made from other bean varieties, wheat or a mixture of soybeans and wheat. Tempeh has a dry and firm but chewy texture and a slightly nutty taste. It can be steamed, sautéed or baked and is often marinated to add more flavor. Much like other meatless sources of protein, such as tofu and seitan, tempeh is a popular choice among vegans and vegetarians because it’s packed with nutrients. Tempeh Is Rich in Many Nutrients Tempeh boasts an impressive nutrient profile. It is high in protein, vitamins and minerals but low in sodium and carbs. A 3-ounce (84-gram) serving of tempeh contains these nutrients: Calories: 162 Protein:...

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Top 6 Types of Creatine Reviewed

1. Creatine Monohydrate The most common supplement form is creatine monohydrate. This is the form that has been used in the majority of research on the topic. This means that most of creatine’s beneficial effects, such as improved upper and lower body exercise performance, have been observed almost exclusively when creatine monohydrate was used. This form is made up of a creatine molecule and a water molecule, though it can be processed in a few ways. Sometimes, the water molecule is removed, resulting in creatine anhydrous. The removal of water increases the amount of creatine in each dose. Creatine anhydrous is 100% creatine by weight, whereas the monohydrate form is about 90% creatine by weight. Other times, the creatine is micronized, or mechanically processed to improve water solubility. In theory, better water solubility could improve your body’s ability to absorb it. Despite these minor differences in processing, each of these forms is probably equa...

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