Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

benefits of coconut oil

Coconut oil is possibly nature’s greatest creation. Why not? It’s a superfood. It has a lot of health benefits. Here are some of them.

It prevents Alzheimer’s disease.

Coconut oil contains MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides, which are different from the usual long-chain fatty acids. The body metabolizes MCTs differently. Upon entering the bloodstream from the digestive tract, they are transported to the liver, where they are turned into ketones that fight Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.

There is a long held belief that saturated fat causes heart disease. However, recent studies show this may not be the case. It’s the trans fat that’s bad for your cardiovascular system. This vindicates coconut oil from the old myth that its saturated fat makes it a bad choice health-wise.

It makes your body burn more fat.

Again, coconut oil owes its fat-metabolizing property to its MCTs, which increase the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis. Consuming 15-30 grams medium-chain fatty acids a day boosts the amount of burned calories by 5 percent.

It helps you lose weight.

Aside from making you burn more calories, MCTs suppress hunger. This is why people who consume coconut oil tend to eat less than people who don’t. As a result, they consume less calories, which aid in losing weight.

It prevents heart disease.

Do not worry about the saturated fat content of coconut oil. As mentioned earlier, studies have already disproved the supposed bad effects of saturated fat on the cardiovascular health. In fact, the fatty acids found in coconut oil reduce chances of getting heart disease by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the body and raising levels of good cholesterol.

It helps you fight infection.

One of the components of coconut oil is lauric acid, which kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The antimicrobial properties of lauric acid is still under research. But numerous published studies have already provided significant information about the antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties of lauric acid. This is why coconut oil has become a popular natural remedy for throat infection, gum disease, athlete’s foot, and other common infections.

It has cosmetic properties.

Coconut oil locks in moisture to the skin and helps keep it from drying. A thin layer of coconut oil on the skin protects it from sun damage. In so doing, it helps delay signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. Your hair can benefit from it too. It also acts as a protective layer on the hair, not only keeping it sleek and shiny but also protecting it from harmful UV radiation from the sun.

Consumption of coconut oil has many other benefits. It aids digestion. It helps you get rid of belly fat. There are also studies that suggest it has anti-cancer properties. If you have food allergies, you may want to 3 tbsp of coconut oil every day, ideally spread out on every meal. That’s 1 tablespoon every meal.

According to some research, coconut oil also has antiparasitic effects. People in India use it to combat tapeworms and eliminate head lice. There are also studies that show it works against Giardia.

So there you go. With all these benefits from coconut oil, you probably should include it in your daily health regimen.

Good Sources of B12 for Your Diet

sources of b12

Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is involved in many physiological processes. The body uses it to produce red blood cells, neurotransmitters, and energy. This is why when you run low of this vitamin for a long time, you tend to suffer from anemia, fatigue, neuropathy, and even brain damage. A balanced diet should provide you with enough Vitamin B12, but some people (especially vegans) tend to miss this micronutrient.

The type of your diet plays a major role in whether you are getting enough B12. People who include fish and meat in their diet most likely do not have any problem getting enough of this vitamin. In fact, if you’re not a vegan, you have nothing to worry about because you’re likely getting enough B12.

But what if you’re not getting enough of it? Here are some foods to check out.

Shellfish

Cooked clams, oysters, and mussels have lots of this micronutrient. For instance, 100 grams of cooked clams has 98.9 mcg of B12. That’s 16 times the daily recommended intake. That makes clams the best source of this vitamin in terms of density. No other food source yields the same amount of cobalamin per serving. The same amount of oysters yields about 28.8 mcg of this vitamin; mussels, about 24 mcg.

Liver

Beef liver also tops the list for having the most B12 per mass. Cook a hundred grams of beef liver, and it will give you 83.1 mcg of this B vitamin. That’s more than 13 times the amount you need for a day. But don’t worry. Your body tends to store the rest in case you run low of it in the coming days.

Fish

Fish is a good source of so many macro and micronutrients. If you’re concerned about its B12 content, worry not. Mackerel, for instance, has 19 mcg per 100-gram serving. The same amount of smoked salmon has 18 mcg; tuna, 10.9 mcg; herring, 13.1 mcg; and trout, 7.5 mcg. Even canned sardines is rich is B12. A 100-gram serving has 8.9 mcg.

Don’t even ignore caviar (fish eggs). A hundred grams gives you 20 mcg. That’s nearly twice the amount of B12 you get from the same amount of tuna!

Lean Meat

Lean beef and lamb are good sources of B12 too. A 100-gram serving of lean beef has 8.2 mcg of B12, while lean lamb has 3.7 mcg.

Crab

It seems that the best sources for Vitamin B12 come from the sea. Crustaceans also top of the list of the best sources of this vitamin. A hundred grams of crab meat gives you 11.5 mcg of cobalamin. That’s almost twice the amount you find in 100-gram serving of red meat. Other crustaceans are shrimp (1.7 mcg per 100 grams) and lobster (1.4 mcg per 100 grams), but as you see they have significantly lower amounts of cobalamin per serving.

Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient-dense food. One reason you may want to include them in your diet is because of their B12 content. A 100-gram serving gives you 2 mcg of B12.

For even more food ideas, check out this list of sources of B12.

What You Need To Know About Juice Fasting

juice fasting for beginners

Juice fasting is gaining steady popularity among health enthusiasts because of its colon cleansing and fat busting benefits. But this form of fasting takes a lot of patience. A lot of people quit after a day or two because they are not used to it.

Why juice fast?

People who juice fast have different reasons for doing so. Many of them want to lose weight, and juice fasting seems the ideal way for them to shed off pounds. Other people simply want to detoxify their bodies for a few days. Others find his form of fasting as a great way of resetting their metabolism and cleansing their digestive system.

For beginners, being on fruit and vegetable juices and shakes can be off-putting. Many people don’t last longer than a day. It’s a complete challenge, taking much willpower. It’s not for the faint-hearted. But once you get used to it, the benefits are awesome. It’s actually really good for your body.

What are the benefits anyway?

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories but high in amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You get a lot of benefits while taking a respite from your regular meals. You allow your digestive tract to take a break from the hard stuff that keep it worked up constantly every day. It’s like allowing your stomach and intestines to lay low for a while. This type of fasting also puts your body into less stress because you introduce less sugar, less fat, and less protein. Your liver and kidneys are going on a sabbatical for while.

According to proponents of juice fasting, it has a slew of awesome benefits, including skin hydration, body rejuvenation, cellular detoxification, and reduced inflammation. Read what one doctor has to say about it.

Basics of Juice Fasting

You can buy pre-processed, ready-to-consume juices or shakes, but they are expensive. You have to prepare them yourself. Buy raw fruits and vegetables. Remove the pulp and other unneeded stuff. Chop them or dice them. Then put them in a juicer. That’s it, pretty simple. You can put the shakes into a jug and take it with you at work. During your juice fasting week, you will not consume anything aside from the juices to ensure the effectiveness of the fasting.

The length of time you fast depends on your goals and experience. Beginners should try doing it for 2 days, preferably during the weekend. This site has some good tips for beginners. Some people go for a month on a juice fast, but it’s not usually recommended, as your body gets depleted of the macronutrients, which you get from regular food sources.

Downsides and Precautions

1. Seriously low calories. That means you will be on an energy slump during the duration of the fast. So make sure you don’t do it on hectic weeks.
2. Fruit and vegetable juices are not complete in macronutrients. You don’t get lots of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They are good for weight loss and occasional detox, but not as your everyday source of energy.

3. Some preparations remove lots of fiber. Fiber is a great cleansing agent. Removing it removes much of the benefits of juice fasting.

4. It shocks your system. So go easy and start slow!

How To Stay Motivated When You’re Dieting

dieting stay motivated

Dieting sucks! At least, the first few weeks does. Who said it doesn’t? How many times have you tried to control your diet and choose the food you eat only to surrender before your first week because it’s so tough and it’s not fun? We’ve been through that. But if you’re dedicated, if you really want to turn your health and life around, you will have to go through the tough part. You’ll thank yourself once you’re back in your old jeans and people start noticing your great build.

What do you do?

1. Expect that weight loss diet is hard.

Let’s not sugarcoat this by saying you can still eat lovely stuff and trim down. Yes, but most people don’t have time to cook fancy low fat recipes and all that kind of stuff you see in magazines. No, the principle of weight loss is simple–eat less than your daily caloric expenditure. This isn’t starving. You’ll instead have to eat a few hundred calories that your daily energy expenditure.

It’s tough! If you’re used to eating huge meals, you will have to shock yourself by halving your food intake, perhaps, depending on how much you used to eat every day. You will have to abandon soda and junk food. It’s hard.

2. Keep in mind that you’ll get used to it.

As mentioned, the first week or two is really dreadful. You may feel hungry all the time, because your stomach isn’t used to less food volume. Keep doing it because it’ll pay off and soon that healthy amount of food is going to feel just right. As long as you’re not starving yourself, like eating only 1000 calories a day, you’re fine.

3. Willpower is everything.

In weight loss, the first thing you will have to deal with is your mindset. If you’re not set up for this new frontier, nothing is going to happen. You will attempt to control your diet and you’ll be back in the binging game again. Put in your mind that you need to do this, for various reasons–health, fitness, looks, and whatever.

4. Expect realistic goals.

Stop looking at those silly ads about products that promise to slim you down without dieting and exercise. They are not effective. Some of them have seriously bad side effects. More importantly, healthy weight loss means losing 1-2 pounds per week. That doesn’t seem big enough, but watch yourself in 3 months. Depending on how overweight you are when you started, expect results within three months up to a year. Don’t be intimidated by those fit, sexy people you see running through the park. It took them a while to get in shape too.

5. Keep in mind that everyone had to start somewhere.

So because you saw that skinny girl helping herself to french fries doesn’t mean you’ll have to abandon your diet regimen and go back to your old eating habit. No! Well, some people have good genes. They burn fat quite easily. Others don’t, and they’ll have to work harder at getting and staying fit. Mind you, skinny people with bad eating habits will soon go fat! And fat people who are turning their lives around by making healthier food choices will soon trim down and look great. You will have to start from somewhere. Don’t be discouraged if you see fit guys and girls. Some of them used to be overweight too.

Tips To Help You Avoid The Flu This Season

tips to avoid the flu

Colds and flu are notorious illnesses that strike anytime. Viruses that cause these contagious diseases are everywhere, in the air, on the train grab bars, on door knobs, or public toilet faucets. Apparently, you have different ways to keep yourself from getting infected.

Keep your hands clean.

The thing about your hands is that they’re the first part of your body that comes in contact with anything. You shake hands, touch the doorknob, and then rub your nose. Your hands are the reason why you get sick most of the time.

The good thing is it’s easy to sanitize your hands. Hand sanitizers work excellently. They’re handy if you want to keep your hands clean whether you’re in the office or on the bus. Washing your hands with soap and water is still the best way to get rid of flu-causing viruses and keep yourself from spreading pathogens to other people.

Stop touching your lips or nose.

In fact, do not put any object, which might have flu viruses on them, into your nostrils or anywhere on your face. Sounds like paranoia, but you’re better off a paranoid than a bedridden person who can’t go to work because of flu. Your hands are probably the dirtiest part of your body, because as mentioned, they come in contact with anything first. Unless you just washed your hands, don’t put them anywhere near your mouth or nose.

Exercise regularly.

Regular exercise has a long list of health benefits. One is that it builds a strong immune system. Couch potatoes get sick more often than active people. You don’t have to hit the treadmill for 2 hours. Even 30 minutes of walking every day is good enough. Just do not overdo your workout to the point of extreme exhaustion, because that is counterproductive and harmful. Make fitness a habit and you will keep the flu at bay each year.

Eat more vegetables and fruits.

Many veggies and fruits, particularly the dark green, red, and yellow ones, have lots of phytochemicals and Vitamin C, which boost your immune system. In fact, there are a lot of micronutrients in fruits and vegetables that bolster your immunity. These nutrients do not necessarily make you less prone to flu, but they may make your body more capable of fighting disease-causing agents, including flu viruses. Check out these foods that fight the flu.

Throw away your cigarettes.

How many times have experts warned about the dangers of tobacco smoke? It’s notoriously bad. Cigarette smoke has a direct effect on your nasal passages. It dries up your mucus membrane and immobilizes the cilia (tiny hairs that line your nasal passages). These two effects in turn sabotage the natural defenses of your nasal passages against pathogens and foreign bodies. This is why heavy smokers become sufferers of frequent upper respiratory tract infections.

Nix the drinks.

Another thing that you should cut back on or eliminate completely is alcohol. One of the effects of alcohol upon ingestion is dehydration. Fluid loss is bad for your whole body, including your immune system.

Get a flu vaccine.

This is probably the most important preventive measure for boosting your immunity against common flu viruses. Ask your doctor about flu vaccination if you are interested. Of course, for this year the CDC has said the vaccine is not as effective, so check that out too.

Control stress.

Stress does a lot of things in the body. It causes obesity. It causes cardiovascular problems. It also causes a decline in the function of your immune system. This is why when you’re often stressed out, when you lack proper sleep, and when you’re always fatigued, you tend to suffer easily from colds and flu. Relax! Get enough sleep. If possible, take a break from work.

Ways To Lower Blood Pressure By Changing Your Diet

High blood pressure is not to be taken lightly. If you are suffering from chronic high blood pressure or hypertension, your doctor may advise you to do many things, including changing your diet. It is not surprising that so many diseases people suffer from today are due to their diet. According to the CDC, approximated one-third of adult Americans now have been reported to suffer from hypertension. The number is increasing every year, and more young people are becoming part of the statistics.

Chronic hypertension is a product of poor diet and lifestyle. You have to change these two to reverse the problem and abate complications of the condition (cardiac arrest, stroke, and kidney failure). This article will discuss recommended diet modifications.

Avoid simple sugars.

Simple sugars, which you find in sweets and sugary drinks, are a major contributor to high blood pressure and Type II Diabetes. According to studies, there is a link between frequent excessive consumption of simple carbohydrates, insulin resistance, and hypertension. People with hypertension tend to have high blood sugar too. Reducing the consumption of sugary foods and drinks and refined grains should curb these problems. Get your carbohydrates from complex sources, like whole grains and starchy vegetables.

Amp your mineral intake except sodium.

You need more potassium, magnesium, and calcium. A high potassium diet is beneficial in keeping your blood pressure within the normal range. While you do not need to ignore sodium altogether, you should make sure you are getting sufficient supply of other minerals. The good thing is many good sources of complex cards, like vegetables, are also excellent sources of potassium and magnesium. Apples, bananas, broccoli, carrots, dates, grapes, green peas, kale, mangoes, oranges, peaches, pineapples, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, and tomatoes are all rich in potassium and magnesium as well as fiber. Nuts, seeds, poultry products, and lean meat are good sources of magnesium. You can get your calcium from fish and leafy veggies as well as dairy products.

Eat fish.

Fish is a good source of protein. In fact, it is probably the best because it does not put too much bad fat into your body. Certain types of fishes (e.g. tuna and salmon) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been said to be excellent for the heart. Omega-3 is good fat. It reduces your risk to high blood pressure and heart disease. Several studies have proven that.

Have herbal tea.

Certain types of tea, like the hibiscus and hawthorn tea, are known to manage the blood pressure. People suffering from mild hypertension should try hibiscus tea, which is rich in flavonoids and minerals. You can drink it cold or hot. You can add honey to sweeten it. Hawthorn has earned a good reputation for centuries. It improves blood circulation by dilating blood vessels. Of course, the popular green tea, which you can get from stores, is well known for lowering blood pressure.

Avoid caffeine.

Caffeine excites the central nervous system and raises the body’s stress response mechanism. This means elevating blood pressure. If you are already suffering from high blood pressure, drinking caffeinated beverages is not a good idea. If you are a habitual coffee drinker, withdrawing from it can cause headaches. Ask your doctor about managing caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Or you can gradually withdraw by reducing your intake slowly over a month.