FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS
0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Total

    Natracure Blog

    Blog Menu

    5 Foods To Fight Fatigue And Boost Energy

    Five energy-boosting foods to fight fatigue, from chia seeds to milk. We've all heard our moms, babysitters, and nutritionists tell us "we are what we eat." We don't actually turn into the bagel with cream cheese we ate for breakfast, but the nutritional content of the bagel will determine the composition of the cells in our body. This is why our bodies are only as healthy and balanced as the food we feed them. Forexample, when we feel fatigue, the body is lacking energy from nutrients it needs to adequately function. In the United States, women are more prone to feeling very tired or exhausted than men. Among women aged 18 to 44, women are nearly twice as likely as men (15.7 percent versus 8.7 percent) to feel extreme fatigue. In some cases, fatigue is intense enough to interfere with living a normal life. Marci Clow, a registered dietitian and director of research and quality at Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems, believes what we fuel our body with is certainly related to feeling more energetic and less tired all the time. Therefore, when we're tired, eating nutritious whole foods is essential to boost energy and help us stay alert. "Foods that are nutrient dense and combine complex carbohydrates, healthy fat and/or protein are essential; the protein or healthy fat will keep you full and delay the absorption of carbohydrate into your bloodstream plus the carbohydrate will give you a boost of energy” Clow told Medical Daily. Below are 5 foods that help fight fatigue and keep us energized for longer. Nuts Nuts are an excellent source of energy and are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, andhealthy fats. Macadamia nuts have the most saturated fat of all nuts, with 80 percent of their fat content being monounsaturated, which has shown to lower triglycerides and have beneficial effects on LDL and HDL cholesterol. According to Clow, you can eat them by the handful for a snack, sprinkled over yogurt, on a salad or on a stir-fry, baked into quick breads, or as nut butter. Chia Seeds Chia seeds have been touted as the ultimate fuel for running due to the use of Aztec and Mayan tribes who used chia seeds soaked in water as fuel for distance running. A 2011 study found chia seeds can be just as effective as Gatorade before running a race. They contain the antioxidant quercetin, which has been shown to enhance athletic performance and recovery. However, even for people who are not runners, “the anti-inflammatory omega-3’s are essential for peak organ function and essential immune function,” Darshi Shah, a board-certified nutritional therapist and health coach told Medical Daily. Oatmeal A good hearty breakfast is one that is super versatile and perfect for fighting fatigue. Oatmeal is a soluble fiber that actually protects against blood sugar spikes and crashes later in the day. This is because it dissolves in the intestinal tract and forms a filter that slows the absorption of sugars and fats. Oatmeal is full of fiber and has some protein, which both contribute to satiety. It also contains quality carbohydrates that are stored in the body as glycogen, and provide fuel for your brain and muscles and help stabilize blood sugar throughout the day, according to Clow. Milk Milk has a bad rep with studies about dairy constantly showing positives and negatives. Dairy has been linked to acne and weight gain, but it actually supplies the body with water, helping us maintain electrolyte balance while we sweat. A 2012 study found drinking casein, a protein in milk, at bedtime, helps relax the muscles and lull us to sleep. However, Shah doesn’t recommend a glass of cow’s milk before bed. “Today’s dairy products are not the healthiest to consume (unless you are buying organic dairy products or managing your own cow!).” Therefore, she says the same concept of going to bed with a little protein can still be applied – a small handful of almonds, sunflower seeds, or a cup of organic Soy milk or organic yogurt (protein + probiotics) will do the trick. Watermelon This summertime staple can stop us from feeling dehydrated or feeling foggy and fatigued, according to a 2011 study. At 92 percent water content, it provides fuel for our bodies, and makes it a great source of water to fight feelings of fatigue. For example, when a person is mildly dehydrated, energy levels and the ability to think clearly can be effected, which are the same symptoms that can be experienced when blood sugar levels drop. Eating a slice of watermelon will boost energy by providing glucose (fuel), plus providing hydration. “Additionally, watermelon contains an amino acid called L-citrulline which has been suggested to reduce feelings of fatigue” said Clow. By Lizette Borreli via MSN Health

    Most Vitamins Are Useless, But Here Are The Ones You Should Take

    It seems like simple, obvious advice: Eat your vegetables, get some exercise, and — of course — take your vitamins. Or not. Decades of research has failed to find any substantial evidence that vitamins and supplements do any significant good. In fact, recent studies skew in the opposite direction, having found that certain vitamins may be bad for you. Several have been linked with an increase in certain cancers, for example, while others have been tied to a rise in the risk of kidney stones. And a large new study out Wednesday suggests that despite this growing knowledge, Americans' pill-popping habits have stayed basically the same over the last decade. So here are the vitamins and supplements you should take — and the ones you should avoid: Multivitamins: Skip them — you get everything you need with a balanced diet. For decades, it was assumed that multivitamins were critical to overall health. Vitamin C to "boost your immune system," Vitamin A to protect your vision, Vitamin B to keep you energized. Not only do you already get these ingredients from the food you eat, but studies suggest that consuming them in excess can actually cause harm. A large 2011 study of close to 39,000 older women over 25 years found that women who took them in the long term actually had a higher overall risk of death than those who did not. Vitamin D: Take it — It helps keep your bones strong and it's hard to get from food. Vitamin D isn't present in most of the foods we eat, but it's a critical ingredient that keeps our bones strong by helping us absorb calcium. Getting sunlight helps our bodies produce it as well, but it can be tough to get enough in the winter. Several recent study reviews have found that people who took Vitamin D supplements daily lived longer, on average, than those who didn't. Antioxidants: Skip them — an excess of these has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, and you can eat berries instead. Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants found in plentiful form in many fruits — especially berries — and veggies, and they've been touted for their alleged ability to protect against cancer. But studies suggest that when taken in excess, antioxidants can actually be harmful. A large, long-term study of male smokers found that those who regularly took Vitamin A were more likely to get lung cancer than those who didn't. And a 2007 review of trials of several different types of antioxidant supplements put it this way: "Treatment with beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E may increase mortality. Vitamin C: Skip it — it probably won't help you get over your cold, and you can eat citrus fruits instead. The Vitamin C hype — which started with a suggestion from chemist Linus Pauling made in the 1970s and has peaked with Airborne and Emergen-C — is just that: hype. Study after study has shown that Vitamin C does little to nothing to prevent the common cold. Plus, megadoses of 2,000 milligrams or more can raise your risk of painful kidney stones. So get your Vitamin C from your food instead. Strawberries are packed with the nutrient. Vitamin B3: Skip it and eat salmon, tuna, or beets instead. For years, Vitamin B3 was promoted to treat everything from Alzheimer's to heart disease. But recent studies have called for an end to the over-prescription of the nutrient. A large 2014 study of more than 25,000 people with heart disease found that putting people on long-acting doses of Vitamin B3 to raise their levels of "good," or HDL, cholesterol didn't reduce the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, or deaths. Plus, people in the study who took the B3 supplements were more likely than those taking a placebo to develop infections, liver problems, and internal bleeding. Probiotics: Skip them — the science isn't advanced enough yet for them to have a significant benefit, and you can eat yogurt instead. Probiotics — pricey bacterial supplements that can cost upward of $1 per pill but are found naturally in smaller amounts in yogurt and other fermented foods — have become a big business with a market of roughly $23.1 billion in 2012. The idea behind them is simple: Support the trillions of bacteria blossoming in our gut which we know play a crucial role in regulating our health. But putting that idea into actual practice has been a bit more complicated. So far, the effects of probiotics have been all over the map. Sometimes they help, sometimes they don't. So rather than shelling out for a pill that promises to be a cure-all, snack on a parfait. Zinc: Take it — it's one of the only ingredients linked to shortening a cold. Unlike Vitamin C, which studies have found likely does nothing to prevent or treat the common cold, zinc may actually be worth it. The mineral seems to interfere with the replication of rhinoviruses, the bugs that cause the common cold. In a 2011 review of studies of people who'd recently gotten sick, researchers looked at those who'd started taking zinc and compared them with those who just took a placebo. The ones on the zinc had shorter colds and less severe symptoms. Vitamin E: Skip it — an excess has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, and you can eat spinach instead. The antioxidant Vitamin E was popularized for its alleged ability to protect against cancer. But a large 2011 study of close to 36,000 men found that the risk of prostate cancer actually increased among the men taking Vitamin E compared to the men taking a placebo. And a 2005 study linked high doses of Vitamin E with an overall higher risk of death. So if you're looking for more Vitamin E, make yourself a fresh spinach salad and skip the pill. Dark greens like spinach are rich with this stuff. Folic acid: Take it if you're pregnant or if you might want to get pregnant. Folic acid is a B vitamin which our bodies use to make new cells. The National Institutes of Health recommends that women who are currently pregnant or who want to get pregnant take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily because their bodies demand more of this key nutrient when they are carrying a growing fetus. Additionally, several large studies have linked folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy with decreased rates of neural-tube defects, serious and life-threatening birth defects of the baby's brain, spine, or spinal cord. By Erin Brodwin via MSN Health

    11 Foods That Lower Cholesterol

    If your diet gave you high cholesterol, it can lower it, too. It's easy to eat your way to an alarmingly high cholesterol level. The reverse is true, too — changing what you eat can lower your cholesterol and improve the armada of fats floating through your bloodstream. Doing this requires a two-pronged strategy: Add foods that lower LDL, the harmful cholesterol-carrying particle that contributes to artery-clogging atherosclerosis. At the same time, cut back on foods that boost LDL. Without that step, you are engaging in a holding action instead of a steady — and tasty — victory. In with the good Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol. 1. Oats. An easy first step to improving your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber. (The average American gets about half that amount.) 2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver. 3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take awhile for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That's one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices — from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food. 4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber. 5. Nuts. A bushel of studies shows that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways. 6. Vegetable oils. Using liquid vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower, and others in place of butter, lard, or shortening when cooking or at the table helps lower LDL. 7. Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits. These fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL. 8. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body's ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies are adding them to foods ranging from margarine and granola bars to orange juice and chocolate. They're also available as supplements. Getting 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%. 9. Soy. Eating soybeans and foods made from them, like tofu and soy milk, was once touted as a powerful way to lower cholesterol. Analyses show that the effect is more modest — consuming 25 grams of soy protein a day (10 ounces of tofu or 2 1/2 cups of soy milk) can lower LDL by 5% to 6%. 10. Fatty fish. Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3s reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms. 11. Fiber supplements. Supplements offer the least appealing way to get soluble fiber. Two teaspoons a day of psyllium, which is found in Metamucil and other bulk-forming laxatives, provide about 4 grams of soluble fiber. Out with the bad Harmful LDL creeps upward and protective HDL drifts downward largely because of diet and other lifestyle choices. Genes play a role, too — some people are genetically programmed to respond more readily to what they eat — but genes aren't something you can change. Here are four things you can: Saturated fats. Typical sources of saturated fat include animal products, such as red meat, whole-fat dairy products, and eggs, and also a few vegetable oils, such as palm oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. Saturated fat can increase your levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol. But it has some benefits, too — it lowers triglycerides and nudges up levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. The role of saturated fat in heart disease is currently under debate. For now, it's best to limit your intake of saturated-fat-rich foods. Trans fats. The right amount of trans fats is zero! Trans fats are a byproduct of the chemical reaction that turns liquid vegetable oil into solid margarine or shortening and that prevents liquid vegetable oils from turning rancid. These fats have no nutritional value — and we know for certain they are bad for heart health. Trans fats increase LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels while reducing levels of HDL cholesterol. Recently, the FDA banned trans fats from the U.S. food supply. The phasing-out process is expected to take three years. The encouraging news is that many major food suppliers and restaurants have already substituted healthier fats for trans fats. Weight and exercise. Being overweight and not exercising affect fats circulating in the bloodstream. Excess weight boosts harmful LDL, while inactivity depresses protective HDL. Losing weight if needed and exercising more reverse these trends. Putting it all together When it comes to investing money, experts recommend creating a portfolio of diverse investments instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods that fight high cholesterol in different ways should work better than focusing on one or two. A largely vegetarian "dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods" substantially loweredLDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols; oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber; soy protein; and whole almonds. Of course, shifting to a cholesterol-lowering diet takes more attention than popping a daily statin. It means expanding the variety of foods you usually put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. But it's a "natural" way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins. Just as important, a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure in check. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. It's good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health. Via Harvard Health Publications

    8 Foods That Help Improve Your Memory

    Forgot what you’re looking for? Bad with names? Writing down a lot of lists but then misplacing them? Like most people, you’re experiencing some memory loss—and growing older doesn’t help matters. Luckily, researchers all over the world are scouring the earth looking for ingredients that might organically improve human recall. Scan the menu of ingredients below and, if you make the right diet changes, you too could develop a champion’s memory. Salmon There’s a reason that fish is called brain food, says Lauri Wright, PhD, RD, LD, and assistant professor of nutrition at the University of South Florida and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Several studies have shown that a diet containing generous amounts of omega-3 fatty acids leads to decreased rates of dementia and improved memory recall,” she says. Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago followed more than 6,000 people for four years to see how diet affected their memory. The frequent fish eaters (at least once a week) had a 12 percent slower memory decline than those who did not eat fish. The fish eaters also saw a 60 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Wright suggests three four-ounce servings each week of omega-3-rich fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Curry Plan a weekly Indian takeout night: Researchers have found that curcumin, a primary ingredient in turmeric and curry powders, slows the formation of plaque deposits and even destroys accumulations in mouse brains. These plaque deposits—known as amyloid plaques—have been linked to the development of Alzheimers. Curry has also been proven to help prevent cancer and heart disease. Blueberries and Grapes "Berry fruits and vegetables contain compounds that are important for optimal function and resisting decline with aging," says Robert Krikorian, PhD, who leads the Cognitive Aging Program at the College of Medicine at University of Cincinnati. One of his studies found that those who drank blueberry juice every day for two months significantly improved their performance in learning and memory tests. In another study, he found similar results with Concord grape juice. Beets Not only are beets super trendy these days, they’re also loaded with nitrates. Great—but what are nitrates? “Nitrates are a form of nitric oxide, which is a natural compound that is involved in vascular dilation (and associated blood pressure lowering),” explains Krikorian. So the nitrates increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, thus improving mental performance. Spinach and Kale Leafy greens contain antioxidants and they’re also loaded with a significant amount offolate. “Studies have shown that folate-rich foods improve memory by decreasing inflammation and improving blood flow to the brain,” says Wright. Folic acid has also been proven to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to a higher risk of heart disease. In a study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, researchers followed 321 men for three years and tracked their levels of homocysteine; those with higher levels showed memory decline and those who ate foods rich in folic acid seemed to fight memory decline. Chewing Gum If you’re on deadline at work, try popping a piece of Trident into your mouth. During a 2013 study, researchers at Cardiff University had two groups of people each listen to a 30-minute recording of a sequence of numbers. When asked to recall the sequence later, the group that chewed gum had higher accuracy rates and faster reaction times than the group without the gum. “This suggests that chewing gum helps us focus on tasks that require continuous monitoring over a longer amount of time,” the lead author of the study, Kate Morgan, explained. Coffee Can’t remember where you put your phone? (Oh, that’s right, it’s in your hand …) Have a cup—or three—of Joe. Researchers from the University of Innsbruck in Austria found that the caffeine equivalent of about two cups of coffee increased brain activity in two locations, one of which is involved with memory. And a study by researchers at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research found that women over 65 who drank three or more cups of coffee a day were better at recalling words than women who consumed little or no coffee. Chocolate You can swap in a cup of hot chocolate for coffee if you prefer: A 2013 study found that older adults (73 years old, on average) who drank two cups of cocoa every day for a month had improved blood flow to the brain and performed better on memory tests. Or try a bar of dark chocolate (with at least 70 percent cocoa), which is a good source of flavonoids, antioxidants that have been linked to brain health. By Lisa Freedman via Yahoo Beauty

    5 Ways Diet Soda Makes You Gain Weight

    If you think diet soda is a cure for weight gain, think again. A new study suggests that it not only doesn’t protect against obesity, it might actually be driving you to eat more junk food. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign looked at the dietary habits of more than 22,000 U.S. adults, and discovered that the more diet beverages you consume, the more of your daily calories come from foods high in salt, sugar, fat and cholesterol. And it’s not because you don’t know any better: oddly, the more educated you are, the more likely you are to fall into the trap, the study found. Although diet-beverage drinkers consumed fewer overall calories each day than people who drank sugary drinks, a larger percentage of their calories came from junk foods. The diet sodas seemed to be driving them to eat more bad-for-you foods, according to University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An. To get a definitive answer on the virtues and vices of diet soda, the editors of Eat This, Not That! looked at the research and discovered the truth about zero-calorie beverages. DIET SODA SECRET #1 IT TRICKS YOU INTO THINKING YOU’RE HEALTHY Because choosing a zero-calorie beverage gives you an instant health halo, you may be more likely to feel justified reaching for a bag of chips or a carb-heavy muffin, An says. “If people simply substitute diet beverages for sugar-sweetened beverages, it may not have the intended effect because they may just eat those calories rather than drink them.” In fact, people who consume diet beverages tend to be less healthy, overall, than people who do not, according to an earlier study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. DIET SODA SECRET #2 IT SENDS YOUR BODY SEEKING CALORIES “Artificial sweeteners affect our sense of satiety,” says Isabel Smith, MS RD CDN, of Isabel Smith Nutrition. “Our bodies have evolutionarily developed to expect a large amount of calories when we take in something exceedingly sweet, and those artificial sweeteners are from 400 times to 8,000 times sweeter than sugar. It causes a couple things to happen: The muscles in your stomach relax so you can take in food, and hormones are released. With artificial sweeteners, your body says, ‘Wait a minute, you told me you were going to give me all this high-calorie food.’ It can actually send some people searching for more food, out of lack of satisfaction.” DIET SODA SECRET #3 IT TRAINS YOUR TASTE BUDS TO CRAVE SWEETS Consuming super-sweet beverages — even if that sweetness comes without calories — may lead to a high preference for sweetness overall. That means you’re more likely to choose the bread with more sugar, the peanut butter with more sugar, the ice cream with more sugar… And the effect may be more pronounced from diet drinks than from sugar-sweetened drinks, because artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than real sugars. DIET SODA SECRET #4 IT CAUSES YOU TO STORE FAT A University of Texas study found that people who drank two or more diet sodas a day had waist-size increases that were six times greater than non-drinkers. Diet drinks are loaded with deceptively sweet artificial sweeteners, which, researchers say, trick the metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way, spike insulin levels, and shift the body from a fat-burning to a fat-storing state. DIET SODA SECRET #5 IT MAKES YOU MISS OUT ON NUTRITION While diet drinks are calorie-free, they’re also nutrition-free. That means you’re making the choice to get nothing when you could be getting something from healthy beverages like smoothies or teas. In fact, when Taiwanese researchers studied more than 1,100 people over a 10-year period, they determined that those who drank green tea had nearly 20 percent less body fat than those who drank none. By Eat This, Not That! via Yahoo Beauty