We usually think of bone mass issues as something that affects older people. While that’s usually true, the time to “invest” in bone health is when you’re young in order to avoid future issues. Children build 40% of their bone mass between the ages of 9-14 and reach 90% of their peak bone mass by age 18 for boys and 20 for girls. The younger years are critical! Here are the main nutrients to look for to build strong bones:
•Calcium - Great sources of calcium are dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, figs, and calcium-fortified foods such as cereals.
•Vitamin D - While you can absorb Vitamin D from the sun, it usually doesn’t provide you with enough, and can have harmful effects on your body. Foods that can help are egg yolks, salmon, and tuna as well as fortified foods such as orange juice and milk.
•Magnesium - For this mineral, think avocados, peanut butter, black beans, spinach, and almonds.
•Vitamin K - You can find lots of this vitamin in leafy greens such as kale, cabbage, spinach, and broccoli. Peas and green beans are also good sources.
As you can see, a healthy diet plays a huge part in a child’s bone health. Check back later this week as we look at other ways to boost bone health even further and things to avoid that may harm their growth.
Snacks are a way of life in most houses. All ages from preschool to teenagers to adults will need some nourishment between meals from time to time. Snacks can help you feel more in control and have a steady source of energy between full meals. Here are some quick tips for smart snacking in your family:
•Have a set area for snacking - This helps to be aware of how much you’re eating and focus on the food, instead of being distracted by something else and eating while zoned out.
•Snacks aren’t meals - Healthy snacks should be between 200-300 calories to be satisfying, but not too large.
•Eat off a plate or bowl - Avoid sitting down with an entire box/bag of something since it can be hard to tell how much you’ve had. Instead portion your snack out on a plate and then go for it.
•Pick protein and fiber - Snacks with protein and fiber will help satisfy you more and keep you feeling full longer, among other benefits.
•Be ready - Having healthy and portioned snacks ready to go will keep you from rage-eating a barrage of different foods that may not have been great choices.
•High/Low Combo - Combine a small amount of something that’s high in healthy fats such as peanut butter or avocado, with a larger amount of something light such as carrots or celery.
Carbonated/sparkling water is currently enjoying a big boost in popularity. Drinks like LaCroix, Bubly, Topo Chico, and San Pellegrino are helping people cut sodas out of their lives. They’re calorie free, naturally flavored, and give you that sharp and bubbly bite without all the bad stuff that comes along with soda.
•It’s just as hydrating as water.
•Carbonation doesn’t add calories.
•It doesn’t leach calcium from your bones. This rumor got started from a study showing that cola affects bone density, but this study wasn’t looking at sparkling water. Later studies showed that neither the water nor carbonation had any impact on bones.
•Sparkling mineral water usually contains more minerals than still/flat water, but this varies by location.
•Some varieties of carbonated water such as club soda have small amounts of sodium (3% DV).
•Carbonic acid (a byproduct of water and carbon gas) gives carbonated water its slightly tangy taste. The acid is weak though, and so is the impact on your teeth. Flavors of the citrus variety may also have increased acids, but it was found they’re no more acidic than fruit juice.
•Carbonated water will fill you up faster, which may keep you from drinking as much water as you need to stay fully hydrated.
So the biggest negatives found in sparkling water are that the bubbles will fill you up faster than flat water and acids may be higher than flat water, but still not bad. It’s still a great choice instead of sugary sodas. Be on the lookout for ones that add sweeteners (and also calories) though, and make sure to also drink plenty of regular flat water.
Massage is a form of healing therapy that’s been around for thousands of years and provides the recipient with both physical and mental benefits. There are many different types of massage techniques that have developed over time such as Swedish, deep tissue, reflexology, sports, and acupressure. Here are some of the proven benefits of treating yourself to a massage:
•Pain relief - The massage therapist can focus on specific areas that cause you problems and help reduce stiffness, inflammation, and chronic pain. Massage can provide relief for anything from a sports-related injury to arthritis to Fibromyalgia.
•Relaxation and hormonal balance - Being tense and stressed leads to high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol can lead to weight gain, indigestion, headaches, and sleeplessness. Massage has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and increase serotonin in the body and improve mood.
•Immune system support - Massage stimulates increased bloodflow in your body, which also helps to circulate sickness-fighting white blood cells.
•Time-out - If you’re constantly putting the needs of others first and yourself last, scheduling a regular massage is a great way to block out some “me time” and get away from your responsibilities for a bit.
•Brain-power boost - A study found that those who received a 15-minute chair massage twice a week had increased levels of alertness and increased speed and accuracy at solving math problems.
•Lowers high blood pressure - Another study found that those who get regular massages had lower mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings than those who didn’t.
Ezekiel bread is another name for a type of bread known as “sprouted grain”. It’s made from a combination of organic whole grains including wheat, millet, barley, spelt, and legumes such as soybeans and lentils but contains no flour. It’s gained massively popularity because it’s much higher in nutrients and processed less than most other breads. Here are some other reasons this type of bread is great:
🍞Higher in protein - 4g per slice, which is double the amount of white bread
🍞Complete source of plant-based protein - this means it has all the essential amino acids your body needs but contains no eggs or dairy
🍞High in fiber - 3g per slice compared to 0.7g found in white bread
🍞No added sugars, preservatives, or artificial ingredients - there’s nothing in the ingredients list you can’t pronounce
🍞Easier to digest - the sprouting process of the grains makes it easier for your body to process them and increases the absorption of their nutrients
🍞Low-glycemic - it’s been awarded the Diabetic Friendly Seal by The Glycemic Research Institute and doesn’t cause the sugar spike that most breads do
🍞More satisfying - the high amounts of fiber make this bread more satisfying per slice
Just remember that while Ezekiel/sprouted grain bread is more nutritious than other types of bread, it still contains carbs and calories and needs to be balanced with other whole foods.
Throughout your day, you should be drinking more water than anything else. Staying hydrated will positively affect so many aspects of your life and how you feel, think, and even act. If you’re still working on improving your water-drinking habits, here are some tips that might help:
•Daily milestones - Try and set different daily events as a way to gauge whether you’ll meet your water-drinking goal or not. Maybe you want to have your first bottle of water gone before you get to work in the morning. Lunchtime may mean you have to finish your third glass before heading out.
•Water before eating - Before you eat a meal or while you’re preparing it, try and drink 12 ounces of water. This will help make sure you’re staying hydrated and also work as an appetite suppressant to help avoid overeating.
•Just the right temperature - Find the temperature that works for you and that you enjoy the most. If ice water makes you cold or hurts your teeth, try increasing the temperature a bit so you’re more likely to keep drinking.
•Use an app - For some people, getting good habits started are easier and more fun if they have a tracking app. There are plenty of apps you can get for your smartphone that are solely designed to help you track water consumption. A couple of free apps are “Daily Water” and “Waterlogged”.
•Sparkling over soda - If you’re trying to cut out soda completely (good for you!) but still find yourself wanting the crisp burn of carbonation from time to time, reach for sparkling water or mineral water instead of going back to soda. You’ll learn to appreciate the subtle flavors of drinks like La Croix or Topo Chico over time and eventually won’t even want soda.
•One-to-One for alcohol - A simple rule to follow when imbibing is to drink a glass of water for each alcoholic drink you have. It’ll ensure you’re hydrated, help set your pace, and even fight off the effects of a hangover the next day.
•Refill immediately - As soon as your cup/bottle is empty, fill it back up right away. You want to make sure you always have water available.
If you wake up each morning not feeling rested, wake up in the middle of the night, or have trouble falling asleep, you may need to look at your sleep hygiene - which is made up of the rituals and behaviors you have surrounding bedtime. Your quality of sleep has a huge impact on your mental and physical health, so it’s important to make the time you spend sleeping count. Here are some tips for improving your sleep hygiene:
•Wind Down With a Routine - Try and only do relaxing activities close to bedtime to signal to your body that it’s almost time to sleep. A routine such as a warm shower or reading a book can help. Avoid emotionally intense conversations and media right before bed.
•Exercise for Better Sleep - Exercising during the day, even for 15 minutes, will help improve your quality of sleep. It’s usually best to avoid strenuous exercise within a couple hours of bedtime, but find what works for you.
•Light and Dark - Your sleep/wake cycle will be much stronger if you get adequate sunlight exposure during the day and keep your bedroom dark at night. This transition from light to dark is another cue to your body’s rhythms that it’s time to sleep.
•Avoid Disruptive Food and Drink - Fried, spicy, and tomato-based foods eaten shortly before bed can lead to heartburn that will disrupt sleep. Either avoid the foods or take preventative meds. Remember too that sleeping on your left side is a natural way to help combat heartburn.
•Limit Naps - Naps during the day can be helpful for a boost in alertness and productivity, but napping for more than 30 minutes can interfere with getting a good night’s rest later on.
•Beware of Uppers and Downers - Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol will all affect your sleep. Obviously caffeine and nicotine will make it harder to fall asleep. Alcohol will make you drowsy and more likely to fall asleep easier, but it doesn’t make for restful sleep as it interferes with achieving REM sleep.
Today we’re comparing the leafy greens that are the main components of most salads and sandwich toppers - lettuce (specifically iceberg lettuce as it’s what most restaurants use in salads) and spinach. Eating leafy greens is always a good idea; but is one better than another? Let’s take a look at an ounce-per-ounce comparison of iceberg lettuce 🥗 versus spinach 🌱:
Calories 🥗4 🌱6
Carbs 🥗1 🌱1
Protein 🥗0.3g 🌱0.8g
Fat 🥗0g 🌱0.1g
Fiber 🥗0.3g 🌱0.6g
Calcium 🥗1% 🌱3%
Iron 🥗1% 🌱4%
Potassium 🥗1% 🌱4%
Vitamin A 🥗3% 🌱53%
Vitamin C 🥗1% 🌱13%
Magnesium 🥗0% 🌱6%
Lutein+Zeaxanthin (eye health) 🥗77.5mcg 🌱3,415mcg
The winner in this showdown is definitely spinach. It comes out ahead with double, triple, and even higher amounts of most nutrients. That’s not to say lettuce is a bad choice - it still has nutrients! But if you’re about to eat a big bowl of greens and you have the choice, go with spinach over iceberg lettuce to maximize your nutritional boost. Keep in mind that the darker the leafy green is, the better the nutrition will be. Another common variety of lettuce is “green leaf lettuce” and it ended up in the middle of the two, but it’s also slightly darker than iceberg.
It’s not uncommon to break out in a sweat when you eat really spicy foods. This reaction is from the temperature in your body rising as it processes the food. So can this reaction really help you burn more calories? Read on to find out:
1️⃣ A recent study from Purdue University found that cayenne pepper increases your body’s core temperature
• This creates a thermogenic effect in your body - meaning you generate heat as digestion occurs
•This leads to a boost in metabolism as well as additional calorie burning
•This boost was more effective in people that don’t usually eat spicy food as much
•They also found that participants ate less of other foods after having something spicy first, so it acted as an appetite suppressant
2️⃣ Another study found that taking a capsaicin pill (capsaicin is the active component of chili peppers that give them their kick) caused participants to burn 116 more calories in a day compared to those who took a placebo pill.
So, results vary by person, and it’s not a miracle cure to obesity, but adding some spice to your foods from time to time definitely couldn’t hurt.
Bone broth is a nutrient-dense liquid that’s slow-cooked and made from the bones and connective tissues of cows, chickens, pigs, or even fish. The extended cooking time results in the breakdown of the tissues and releases their healing compounds. Here are some awesome benefits of bone broth:
•Protect joints - Bone broth is a great source of natural collagen and gelatin, which help to restore cartilage in your joints.
•Gut health - Gelatin also helps to create a strong gut lining and reduce food sensitivities. Other compounds like glutamine and arginine help to reverse leaky-gut syndrome as well.
•Healthy skin - Collagen promotes the creation of elastin and other compounds that affect the texture and tone of skin and give it a youthful glow.
•Immune system and energy - The combination of compounds and amino acids in bone broth have been shown to help with inflammation, improve your immune system, boost energy during the day, help you sleep at night, and even improve your mood.