14 Foods to Help You Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

If you’ve ever thought about eating your way to wellness, high blood pressure is a great place to begin. As is true with so many ailments, high blood pressure is directly related to diet and can be treated through adding healthy, nutrient-dense foods to the daily program.

If you have high blood pressure and are looking for smart ways to combat it naturally, here are fifteen foods you’ll want to add to your diet today.

1. Low-Fat Dairy 

Low-fat dairy has been shown to reduce the risk of hypertension and help you maintain a healthy weight. Chock-full of protein, low-fat dairy products like yogurt and milk give you the calcium and peptides you need to remain healthy, fit, and within a normal blood pressure range. What’s more, the calcium in low-fat dairy products will help you enjoy healthy, strong bones as you age.

2. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is ideal for reducing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels when consumed over a six-month period. One 2013 study, which was published in the journal Hypertension found that even people who took blood pressure medications benefited from the addition of Flaxseed to their daily diets. This is largely because flaxseed contains four heart-healthy components: peptides, fiber, alpha linolenic acid, and lignans.

Confused about how to eat flaxseed? Add it to homemade breads, cereal, and yogurt for a fiber-packed punch of good heart health.

3. Dark Chocolate

While most people believe staying away from chocolate is critical for good health, recent studies have shown that dark chocolate rich in flavanols can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with pre-hypertension symptoms, or existing hypertension.

In fact, most people are shocked to learn how pronounced the heart-protective benefits of chocolate can truly be. According to one Harvard study, people who consumed dark chocolate products that were at least 50-70% cocoa saw lowered blood pressure, particularly if they were already suffering from hypertension. 

For best results, add one small square of dark chocolate to your daily diet, in the form of an afternoon pick-me-up or post-dinner treat.

4. Olive Oil

While olive oil is a fat, it’s a very healthy fat that has the potential to reduce blood pressure rates. According to a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, olive oil not only decreases blood pressure, but can improve the function of the heart tissues in people suffering from mild hypertension.

With this in mind, add olive oil to your daily diet, either in the form of a cooking oil or as a drizzle across salads, bread, or hummus.

5. Pistachios

Pistachios are a heart-healthy food that are also a tasty snack. Studies have shown that people who eat one or two servings of pistachio nuts once a day for four weeks experience dramatic reductions in systolic blood pressure.

For best results, look for unsalted pistachios, available at your local whole foods or health store.

6. Pomegranate

Pomegranate is a superfood that can also help lower blood pressure and keep it within a healthy range. While similar fruit juices, like grape juice, have shown heart-protective benefits, pomegranate juice is much more powerful in much lower quantities.

For example, one clinical trial revealed that consuming just 2 ounces of pomegranate juice each day helped to lower high blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. Part of the reasons pomegranate juice is so valuable for this is that its flavonoids make it a powerful antioxidant and that it works as an anti-inflammatory compound which can help improve the cholesterol profiles.

7. Fish

Fatty fish varieties, like salmon, have been shown to reduce diastolic blood pressure by providing a heart-healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers recommend consuming salmon at least three times a week to enjoy its heart-healthy benefits. Leaner fish like cod have not been shown to have the same heart-protective perks, although varieties like anchovies and sardines are a good stand-in.

8. Whole Grains

Whole grains are a critical part of any heart-healthy diet. Capable of lowering systolic blood pressure and improving cholesterol profiles, whole grains are an essential building block in a healthy lifestyle. What’s more, since they offer fiber and protein, they can help you maintain a healthy weight for years to come. For best results, eat three servings of whole grains each day.

9. White Beans

A single serving of white beans provides 30% of the magnesium, 13% of the calcium, and 24% of the potassium you need in your daily diet. For best results, toss them into side dishes, entrees, and soups. Don’t forget to keep them healthy by opting for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties.

10. Kiwi

Kiwi contains more vitamin C than an orange, and is fantastic for keeping your heart healthy and maintaining positive blood pressure. Find this tasty little treat in grocery stores, and eat it on its own, or sliced up on top of Greek yogurt, alongside some granola.

11. Bananas

Bananas are a rich source of potassium, and are the ideal snack for anyone looking to reduce their blood pressure. In addition to helping your body keep sodium levels in check, bananas also reduce stress hormones and provide a helpful dose of bone-strengthening calcium in your daily diet.

12. Kale

Kale, raw or cooked, is a power-packed vegetable filled with calcium, magnesium, and potassium – all of which play critical roles in keeping your heart healthy. For best results, throw a handful of shredded, de-veined kale into a smoothie, stir-fry, or spaghetti sauce for a boost of nutritious goodness in your daily life.

13. Broccoli

Broccoli is a tasty vegetable that offers powerful cancer-fighting benefits for people who eat it. Find frozen varieties in the grocery store and toss them into side dishes or steam a whole head as a vegetable side for an entrée.

14. Sweet potato

Sweet potato (with the skin left on) is a great source of magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Use these tasty root vegetables in place of normal potatoes, or throw them into smoothies or side dishes for an added boost of nutrients.

Eating Your Way to a Healthy Heart

If you’ve ever wanted to eat your way to heart health, the process starts here. By incorporating these delicious and heart-healthy options into your daily life, you can enjoy a more varied diet and a boost in health all at once.

Prevent High Blood Pressure Using these 5 Daily Practices

Right now, about 75 million Americans – roughly 29% of the adult population – have high blood pressure. Left untreated, high blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can lead to heart attacks, arrhythmias, and more. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent high blood pressure, and they don’t involve overhauling your life or habits.
By adding five simple, daily practices to your schedule, you can combat high blood pressure and enjoy good health for years to come.

Read on.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force your blood exerts against artery walls as it circulates through the heart and body. Typically, blood pressure gets higher or lower throughout the day, depending on circumstances, stress, activity level, and diet. While occasional spikes are normal, blood pressure can quickly become dangerous if it rises above normal levels and stays there for a long time.

Who is at Risk for High Blood Pressure?

The risk factors for high blood pressure are numerous, and include the following:

Race. High blood pressure disproportionately affects African Americans, and tends to develop at earlier ages in the black community than it does in other races. Complications like stroke and heart attack are also more common in African Americans.

Age. The risk of high blood pressure increases with age. High blood pressure is more common in men after the age of about 45. Women, on the other hand, tend to develop high blood pressure after reaching age 65 or older.

Genetics. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you’ll be more at risk for the condition than someone with no family history of the condition.

Body Composition. People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of high blood pressure. This is because the heart needs to work harder to supply an overweight or obese body with oxygen and nutrients, and this increases the pressure of the blood on artery walls.

Tobacco Use. Tobacco use is a large factor in high blood pressure risk. While smoking or chewing tobacco creates a temporary boost in blood pressure, it also damages the arterial lining, and causes them to narrow, which increases blood pressure.

High Levels of Sodium or low Levels of Potassium in a Diet. People who eat lots of sodium and not enough potassium are at increased risk of high blood pressure. Sodium causes the body to retain fluid, while potassium helps balance sodium levels.

Alcohol Abuse. People who abuse alcohol or simply drink too much are at risk for high blood pressure. Heavy drinking damages the heart and can affect the blood pressure over time.

How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Five Daily Tips

If you have a family history of high blood pressure, or you just want to prevent it from befalling you, bring these five lifestyle changes into your daily routine:

1. Consume a Balanced Diet

Diet is one of the largest factors in blood pressure levels. The more balanced your diet is, the less likely it is that you’ll suffer from high blood pressure any time soon. For best results, eat a diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products. Aim to limit foods that are high in sugar, trans fat, cholesterol, and saturated fat, as these can spike blood pressure or lead to new hypertension problems in people who have never had them before.

2. Cut Your Salt Intake

While many doctors recommend salting food to taste, people who are very at risk for high blood pressure may need to reduce their salt intake to control blood pressure. Generally, experts recommend that you consume fewer than 2,300 milligrams of salt each day, although that number may be lower if you already have high blood pressure and don’t want it to get any higher.

Remember that sodium isn’t just present in table salt. Instead, it’s present in packaged foods and fast foods, which can blow your daily sodium intake levels out of the water.

Talk to your doctor about where your sodium intake should lie, and find creative ways to cut salt from your diet, if need be. Common solutions include switching to unsalted butter and looking for low-sodium varieties of common condiments, like soy sauce.

3. Exercise Routinely

Exercise is a smart way to keep your blood pressure low. If you already have high blood pressure, regular exercise will help reduce it. If you don’t have existing high blood pressure problems, daily exercise can help prevent it from happening.

In addition to keeping your blood pressure in check, regular exercise also keeps your weight at a healthy level and reduces stress, all of which are ideal for a healthy heart and good blood pressure. Most doctors recommend getting at least 30 minutes of cardio each day, and using strength training and flexibility exercises to supplement and enhance your ongoing fitness regimen.

4. Stop Drinking, or Limit Alcohol Intake

While drinking alcohol in moderation isn’t harmful to your overall health (in fact, it may even have some health benefits), it can lead to high blood pressure and other complications if you start drinking outside the normal range. For women, one drink per day is considered “normal,” while that number rises to two drinks per day for men.

While you may enjoy having a few glasses of wine with dinner, cutting that number to a single moderate tumbler will help your heart stay healthy and resist artery damage both now and in the future.

5. Manage Stress

Stress is one of the biggest culprits in hypertension. Here’s why: people who are stressed experience temporary perks in blood pressure levels. In some cases, stress can also trigger conditions that can damage health, including overeating, binge drinking, and smoking, all of which boost blood pressure.

With this in mind, develop a plan for monitoring and managing your stress levels. Common practices include yoga, meditation, breathing, and regular activity, all of which have been shown to reduce stress levels in adults.

Lower Blood Pressure Starts Here

While the battle against high blood pressure can feel impossible, these five simple, daily changes can help your blood pressure stay in a healthy range and stave off many of the complications involved with hypertension or high blood pressure.

At the end of the day, good health comes down to a series of small lifestyle changes, and these five tips are a great place to start.





Why Seniors Should Avoid Eating These 10 “Healthy” Foods

Healthy eating is an important part of maintaining optimal health and ensuring an active lifestyle throughout the years, but did you know that there are many “healthy” foods seniors shouldn’t be eating?

Many of these foods are off-limits due to their high bacteria content or food poisoning potential, which may compromise the health and safety of seniors in their older years. For seniors who want to stay healthy and cut down on the likelihood of food-borne illnesses, it’s generally best to avoid the following foods:

1. Sprouts

Sprouts, the sprouted greens of broccoli, alfalfa, or bean seeds, are generally considered a health-food wonder and are consumed by people all over the world due to the fact that they provide a huge variety of nutritional and digestive support and many needed vitamin and minerals.

Sprouts are dangerous for seniors, however, because they are a virtual breeding ground for illness-inducing bacteria. When seeds sprout, they can grow bacteria like salmonella and E-coli, which then gets trapped inside the seed. When seniors ingest contaminated seeds, they can become very ill, which may lead to dangerous secondary conditions like pneumonia or weight loss. In order to get all the benefits of sprouts without the dangerous risk of bacteria, seniors should consume plenty of leafy greens like Kale, collard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard instead.

2. Soft cheeses

Soft cheeses like Brie, chevre, Camembert, and blue cheese are generally unpasteurized and, as such, they can allow bacteria to breed in large amounts. While these soft cheese varieties may not be as much of an illness threat for younger people, they can harm seniors with a compromised immune system or a delicate stomach. It is important to note, however, that cheese offers a good dietary source of Vitamin D and seniors can get all the health benefits of cheese by eating varieties like cheddar, Monterey jack, and Swiss rather than soft varieties.

3. Raw meat

Some raw meat dishes, like Carpaccio (which consists of thin slivers of raw filets of beef) or steak tartare, are considered delicacies, but seniors should generally avoid them. The reason for this is that these foods are uncooked, which means that any bacteria present in the meat has not been killed by heat. This can make seniors very ill and can lead to the development of secondary conditions. Instead of eating raw meat, seniors should opt to consume lean white meat like chicken and regular portions of high-quality, cooked seafood to support optimal brain function and healthy joints.

4. Sushi

Sushi is eaten around the world and is considered a health food due to its high levels of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. While seniors can safely enjoy consuming cooked sushi varieties (such as those that use smoked salmon or cooked shrimp, for example), it is generally wise for seniors to avoid eating raw (sashimi) varieties as these may harbor dangerous bacteria that can make seniors very ill.

5. Oysters, clams, and mussels

For those who love them, oysters, clams, and mussels are a popular form of raw seafood that is packed with vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, they can also pack a serious bacterial punch, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration in seniors. Because these foods are raw and sourced from around the world, it can be difficult to assure their quality and purity, and if a senior eats a bad one, it can have disastrous health consequences. If seniors want to eat these foods, they should always be cooked and should come from a reputable source, although it’s wise to talk to your doctor beforehand.

6. Raw eggs

We’ve all seen images of people consuming raw eggs in order to build muscle and have more energy, but raw and undercooked eggs can actually be very dangerous for seniors. This is because raw eggs present a salmonella risk and can have unfortunate health consequences for seniors.

In light of this, seniors shouldn’t eat raw eggs and should avoid foods like unpasteurized eggnog, French toast, homemade Cesar dressing and hollandaise sauce, all of which include undercooked eggs in some form or another. Eggs on their own are a healthy food filled with important nutrients but in order to be safe for seniors they need to be cooked or baked fully, as in scrambled or hard-boiled eggs.

7. Unpasteurized milk

Unpasteurized milk is often revered as a health food due to its intact mineral levels and high levels of beneficial fats, but seniors should avoid it altogether. This is because unpasteurized milk breeds and harbors bacteria in higher levels than pasteurized milk, which is super-heated to kill dangerous bacteria and keep the milk safe for human consumption.

While this doesn’t mean that seniors need to steer clear of milk altogether, it does mean that they should stay with pasteurized whole-milk varieties.

8. Unpasteurized juice

Unpasteurized juice has long been considered a health food due to the fact that the lack of pasteurization (high heat) leaves the juice’s nutrients intact. Unfortunately, however, anything that is unpasteurized leaves itself open to dangerous bacteria development and seniors who drink unpasteurized juices are at increased risk of food-borne illnesses and diseases.

Fortunately, seniors can get all of the same health benefits of unpasteurized juices by drinking high-quality pasteurized fruit and vegetable juices.

9. Multigrain bread

This “health food” comes with a caveat: while multigrain bread can be good for seniors, it’s important to look at the ingredient list when making bread purchasing decisions. If the bread is made with a collection of refined flours, it’s likely that it doesn’t pack much more of a nutritional punch than Wonderbread and, if it’s made with high-fructose corn syrup, it is likely to do more harm to a senior’s body than good.

To ensure that seniors are purchasing and consuming healthful multigrain bread, it’s important to look for varieties that are made with whole wheat flours and to ensure that they don’t have any high fructose corn syrup within them. Bread is an important staple for seniors and high-quality, multigrain varieties can support the health of a variety of body systems.

10. Low-fat foods

While the war on fat has been raging for years, it’s not generally wise to avoid foods with natural levels of fat in them. Healthy fats, like those found in fish, nuts, and olive oil, have heart-protecting benefits and can help seniors stay healthy and alert for many years. That said, it’s important to opt for full-fat varieties in things like milk and yogurt. These healthy fats offer brain and joint protection and support that low-fat varieties never will.


What’s good for one may not be good for all and seniors will do well to avoid these 10 “health foods” as they age. Doing this helps seniors reduce the risk of contracting food-borne illnesses and helps keep seniors healthy, happy, fit, and active throughout their golden years.



How To Make Your Next Trip To The Supermarket Healthier

When people toy with the idea of changing up their eating habits and having a healthier diet, they are usually daunted by the task. Let us tell you now that it is in fact extremely easy to have a healthier diet. All you have to do is to make a few different choices during your next trip to the grocery store and you would have achieved your goal. The following are some tips on how to easily make your next grocery shopping trip healthier.

Make a grocery list

It is very helpful to make a shopping list before heading to the grocery store. This way, you know exactly what you need to buy, and you won’t have to walk down every single aisle. This ensures that you do not buy more than you need, and you will also be less tempted to purchase any additional unhealthy snacks.

Of course, you should then make sure that you follow your list, as much as possible. It also helps if you do not shop hungry, because that only increases your tendency to purchase additional unnecessary items.

Look for high-fiber foods

Dietary fiber is an important part of your diet. It can help to lower your bad cholesterol levels, control your blood glucose levels, and also maintain good bowel health. In other words, it is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. You can obtain your dietary fibers from a wide variety of foods, but some of the richest and most convenient sources of dietary fiber include fruit and vegetables. For instance, having a meal containing carrots, potatoes and peas, or having an apple for a midday snack, ensures that you get your daily requirement for dietary fiber.

Shop the perimeter of the store

This may seem a little silly to you at first, but think about it. Have you ever noticed that the perimeter of the store is where the healthier foods are? Because of that, the perimeter is where the majority of your purchases should come from. Of course, you don’t have to buy 100% of your food from the perimeter. A good ratio is to get 70% of your purchases from the perimeter, and allow yourself about 30% from the center aisles. This is really one of the easiest ways to ensure that you are purchasing healthy foods. Skipping the middle aisles ensures that you won’t be tempted to buy junk foods such as chips and cookies.

Look for short ingredient lists

Before purchasing an item, have a quick look at its ingredient list. If it has a long ingredient list, set it back on the shelf and look for an alternative with a shorter ingredient list. A professor of nutrition at New York University, Marion Nestle, has said that ‘almost always, the shorter the better’. Do note that we are talking about the ‘Ingredient’ list and not the ‘Nutrition Facts’ list. This is because when packaged foods have long ingredient lists, most of the time these ingredients are mostly various kinds of sugars and chemical additives. In simple terms, the more ingredients there are, the more processed the product probably is, and you would be better off avoiding it.

Be as colorful as possible

No, we don’t mean what you’re wearing. Making your cart and your purchases as colorful as possible ensures that you are getting some variety in your diet. The University of North Dakota recommends that you eat fruit and vegetables from all over the color spectrum. This is because different natural colors in foods usually indicate the presence of different vitamins. For example, orange plants contain carotenoids and green plants are good sources of folate. So if you ensure that you get foods of different colors, you will know that you are getting a good range of nutrients and vitamins in your diet.

Take note of serving sizes

Serving sizes can be quite misleading. The labels on the front of food packaging usually represent only one serving and not the entire package. This is a marketing trick to make you think you are getting fewer calories than you really are. For example, a candy bar might say 100 calories on the front, but it may actually contain two servings, which would mean that the bar really contains 200 calories. To avoid getting tricked, make sure that you check the ‘serving size’ line at the back of the package.

Avoid watery foods

When a food product uses water as a major ingredient, you can almost always be sure that the food will contain a long list of additives and chemicals. This is especially so in the case of soups and even salad dressings. Since oil and water don’t mix, the manufacturers have to use a bunch of additives to hold everything together. Also, manufacturers have to add a lot of chemicals to give the water some taste and texture. Because of that, you would be better off choosing an alternative product instead as ingesting too many chemicals and additives is not good for your health.

Avoid meats that are high in fat

Yes, it is always good to have some meat in your diet. This is because meat is a great source of protein, which is important for muscle maintenance and growth. However, not all meats are equal. Some meats are high in saturated fat, and you should try to avoid those kinds of meats. For example, Michigan State University suggested eating goat meat as a lower-fat alternative. This is because goat meat typically contains only half as much fat as beef, and about 40% less saturated fat than chicken. Of course, we are not saying that you cannot eat beef or chicken. You can still do so, but it may be a good idea to choose certain cuts of meat over others. For instance, chicken breast contains less saturated fat than the thigh does.











How to Keep Your Aging Bones Strong


As we age, many people fall prey to bone loss and osteoporosis. Both of these conditions can cause bones to deteriorate and, eventually, may result in painful bone fractures. As it stands now, osteoporosis-related fractures are one of the leading causes of senior disability in the U.S. Fortunately, osteoporosis doesn’t have to be a part of the aging process and there are many ways that seniors and older adults can work to keep their aging bones strong and healthy as they age.

The Dynamics of Bone Density

For most people, bone mass levels peak at age 30 and begin to decline steadily afterward. Although bone remodeling continues to take place, people who are older than 30 lose more bone mass than they are able to build back. Bone loss rates are more pronounced in some people than they are in others and there are a variety of factors that affect how much bone mass a person will loose with age. These include factors the following:

How Much Calcium You Consume

People who eat a diet that is very low in calcium are likely to suffer more bone loss than people who eat a calcium-rich diet. Calcium deficiency can often lead to decreased bone density, premature bone loss and a higher risk rate for fractures and breaks.

Lack of Physical Activity

Physical activity is one of the most important factors for keeping bones strong and people who live sedentary lifestyles are likely to suffer bone loss and fractures at a higher risk than more active people.

Smoking or Drinking

Smoking cigarettes or consuming more than 2 alcoholic drinks each day greatly increases the risk of developing osteoporosis due to the fact that alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to retain and absorb calcium. Similarly, tobacco products make it difficult for the body to transport nutrients to the bone, which makes them brittle and vulnerable to breaks.


As a general rule, women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis than men due to the fact that, on a genetic level, women have less bone tissue than men. Additionally, both women and men who have a body mass index of less than 19 have less bone mass, which means their bones may become brittle more rapidly with age.


Your family history and race both have a great deal to do with bone loss rates. People of Caucasian or Asian descent are at increased risk for developing Osteoporosis, as are people from all races who have an extensive family history of bone loss.


Hormones play a large role in bone loss rates. People with excessive levels of thyroid hormone will experience more bone loss, as will women experiencing reduced estrogen rates as a result of  menopause. Additionally, women who suffer from amenorrhea and men with low or declining testosterone levels will suffer a loss of bone mass.


People who have been using a long-term corticosteroid medication or an anti-seizure medication may be at increased risk of bone loss due to the medication’s ability to interfere with the body’s dispersal of nutrients.

Preventing Bone Loss: What You Can Do

Although bone loss will inevitably happen as people age, it doesn’t need to be so severe as to lead to osteoporosis. Fortunately, there are many preventative measures seniors and aging adults can take to keep their bones healthy and strong all throughout life’s later years.


Nutrition is one of the most important parts of maintaining bone health. Specifically, people need to be sure to they are consuming enough calcium- and Vitamin D-rich foods in their diets. When it comes to calcium, women after the age of 50 and men after the age of 70 should be consuming 1,200 mg of calcium on a daily basis. Keep in mind that the best sources of any nutrient are generally whole food sources and people can find ample levels of calcium in foods such as dairy products (whole milk, yogurt, cheese), nuts, leafy greens such as kale, salmon and soy-based products such as tofu. If, after switching to a calcium-rich diet, you still find yourself low on the calcium intake, consider adding a calcium supplement to your diet.

Vitamin D, on the other hand, should be consumed at a rate of 800 international units (IU’s) per day for adults beyond the age of 71. Food sources of Vitamin D include egg yolks, tuna and Vitamin D-fortified milk. Additionally, spending time in the sun aids in the body’s production and synthesis of Vitamin D.


In addition to ensuring adequate nutrition, people who are concerned about keeping their bones strong should pay extra attention to exercise. When it comes to maintaining bone health and decreasing bone loss, there are two types of exercise that people should focus on. These include the following:

Weight-Bearing Exercise

Weight-bearing exercises are particularly important for bone health and can actually help slow the bone deterioration rate in people already affected by osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises stretch and pull muscles and bones more than everyday activity and, thus, can help strengthen bones in the long-term. Great option for weight-bearing exercises for seniors and older adults include Tai Chi, Yoga, walking, golf, ballroom dancing, moderate hiking and racket sports such as tennis and squash. These activities all provide weight-bearing activity that allows the bones to adjust to moderate force and, in turn, become as resilient and strong as possible.

Muscle-Strengthening Exercise

Muscle-strengthening exercises maintain muscle flexibility and condition and, as such, can actually slow the rate of bone loss and prevent related fractures. Generally, muscle-strengthening exercises include functional movements that involve lifting the body’s own weight. Forms of muscle-strengthening exercises may include utilizing elastic exercise bands, using free weights for low-impact workouts and using weight machines to build and maintain lean muscle. Additionally, people who suffer from joint pain or stiffness may find swimming helpful, as it is low-impact and also offers all of the muscle-strengthening, stretching and flexibility benefits of the above exercises.

Lifestyle Adjustments

In addition to adopting a healthy diet and ample exercise, people who want to prevent bone loss should also limit alcohol and stop smoking. These two changes alone will go a long way toward increasing bone health and limiting the risk of painful fractures.

Although bone loss is a reality of aging, osteoporosis doesn’t have to be. With these easy dietary and lifestyle changes, seniors and older adults can ensure that their bones stay strong, healthy and capable throughout all stages of life.


Importance and Benefits of Vitamins for Seniors

What are vitamins?

Vitamins are organic chemical compounds that organisms get from food. What is special about these compounds is that organisms’ bodies are able to produce them, but are not able to do so in adequate quantities for normal metabolism, hence the need to get additional amounts through foodstuff. If the body does not receive sufficient amounts of vitamins, deficiency diseases may develop.

There are two main types of vitamins – fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins.

Fat-soluble vitamins

These vitamins are stored in organisms’ livers and in fat tissues. They are absorbed through the intestinal tract. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body for long periods of time. Hence, there is no need to consume fat-soluble vitamins on a daily basis.

Examples of fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamins A, D, E and K. They are found mainly in fatty foods and animal products.

Water-soluble vitamins

The important thing to note about water-soluble vitamins is that they are not stored in the body for very long; any excess water-soluble vitamins are quickly expelled from the body as a component of urine. As such, we need to replace the water-soluble vitamins in our bodies often to ensure that our bodies have a constant supply.

Examples of water-soluble vitamins include Vitamins C, B (i.e. all the B vitamins) and folic acid. They can be found in a wide variety of foods. For instance, dairy product, fruit, vegetables and grains all contain water-soluble vitamins. However, water-soluble vitamins are easily destroyed by heat, so cooking foods causes some vitamin loss.

Why should seniors and aging adults take vitamins?

People of all ages need vitamins, but they are especially important in the case of seniors and aging adults. This is due in most part to physiological changes linked to aging. This explains why organizations such as the Institute of Medicine have separate nutrient recommendations for people aged 70 and above; it is done in order to cater to the increased micronutrient requirements of this group of people.

When one ages, one faces decreased needs for energy intake. This is partly due to decreased physical activity level, hence requiring less food due to the lowered metabolic rate. Older persons may also face decreased appetites or have financial problems, rendering them unable to acquire adequate nutrient-dense foods (i.e. foods that have high levels of essential nutrients per food unit). For example, one study found that 50% to 75% of residents in German nursing homes have low energy intake. However, one’s requirements for micronutrients remain the same despite the decreased need for energy intake. In fact, an older person’s micronutrient requirement is, in some cases, even higher than that of a younger person (this will be explained later on). The reduced food intake is then unable to keep up with the constant (or increased) needs for micronutrients, even if the senior or aging adult consumes nutrient-dense foods.

Additionally, the ability of older adults’ bodies to absorb and utilize micronutrients is lower than that of a younger person’s. With less efficient absorption and utilization, it is crucial for older adults to have increased nutrient intake in order to ensure that the body is still receive sufficient amounts of micronutrients. As if all that were not enough, chronic conditions and medications can also affect nutrient requirements. A large percentage of older persons have to take medications for chronic conditions, and some of these medications cause nutrient wasting interactions, especially in the case of the Vitamin B family.

A study has shown that when an older person regularly uses supplements, his or her risk for having a nutrient intake below the Estimated Average Requirement is reduced by four times.

What happens if seniors and aging adults don’t get enough vitamins?

In general, when one is unable to meet the required levels of micronutrients, this results in the development of deficiency diseases. The types of health-related problems that arise from the deficiency of different micronutrients vary. The following is a non-exhaustive list of some of the problems that may arise from micronutrient deficiency:

Degenerative diseases

According to the European Food Safety Authority, Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant for the human body. When one is deficient in Vitamin E, various chronic degenerative diseases can develop. The risks are especially high in the case of elderly persons. These degenerative diseases can affect many parts of the body, include the skeletal and muscular systems.

Central nervous system function disorders/Immune system disorders

The central nervous system metabolizes dopamine and noradrenaline. This process requires certain levels of Vitamins B2, B6 and B12. It also requires folate and Vitamin C. As such, if a person does not have enough of these micronutrients, the central nervous system will not be able to function properly. The synthesis of neurotransmitters and amino acids also require certain micronutrients.

The immune system will also be affected, causing the person to be more susceptible to common viruses and infections. In the case of seniors or aging adults, these seemingly minor illnesses could possibly lead to more major health complications.

Cognitive function disorders

The process of energy production in the brain depends heavily on several micronutrients. These include but are not limited to Vitamin B2, B6, B12 and C. These vitamins play an important role in the glycolysis and the respiratory chain.

Certain vitamins are also crucial for proper brain functioning. Insufficiencies may lead to age-related cognitive decline and, in extreme cases, Alzheimer’s disease.










What Causes Diabetes and How to Prevent and Treat It

What is diabetes?

Diabetes – I’m sure we’ve all heard about it, but how many of us actually know what it means? The term diabetes actually refers to a group of diseases that can arise due to a rage of causes. In general, people who have diabetes have high blood glucose. This state can also be referred to as high blood sugar or hyperglycemia.

Diabetes can be classified into two common main types – type 1 and type 2. They are brought about by different causes.

Diabetes can be classified into two common main types – type 1 and type 2. They are brought about by different causes.

What are the causes of diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks and destroys its own beta cells even though its normal function is to protect the body from infection by destroying viruses, bacteria and other harmful foreign substances. Diabetes then occurs when there is insufficient insulin due to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children and young adults, although it is possible for it to occur in persons of any age.

Genetic Susceptibility

One important factor in determining a person’s likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes is heredity. Many genes that are passed down from biological parent to child have been found to be influential in determining susceptibility to and protection from type 1 diabetes.

Autoimmune Destruction of Beta Cells

Research has suggested that insulin itself might be an important trigger for the immune system attacking the beta cells. Put simply, people who are susceptible to developing type 1 diabetes have immune systems that respond to insulin as if it were an antigen (or foreign substance).

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can play a significant role in the development of type 1 diabetes. Possible factors include food ingested and toxins present in the environment. It has been suggested that environmental factors can trigger the immune system’s attack on beta cells.

Viruses and Infections

Viruses alone are unable to bring about type 1 diabetes, but there has been a correlation between viral infections and diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. This suggests that there is a link between the two. Also, type 1 diabetes often develops during the winter, which is also the period of time in which viral infections are common.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes – more so than type 1 diabetes. It can be brought about by a number of factors. A person with type 2 diabetes is unable to utilise insulin effectively, and at the same time is unable to produce enough insulin to compensate for the impaired ability to use insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is most common in middle-aged and older people who are overweight. However, it can also be found in obese children and adolescents.

Genetic Susceptibility

Genes are one of the most critical factors regarding susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. This is proven by the high rate of type 2 diabetes in families, especially in the cases of identical twins. Also, there are distinct variations in type 2 diabetes prevalence by ethnicity – namely, African Americans, American Indians and Pacific Islander Americans are amongst the ethnic groups that seem to be most susceptible to type 2 diabetes.

Genes can also affect a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing his or her tendency to become overweight.

Obesity and Physical Inactivity

If your caloric intake is much higher than your level of physical activity, this can lead to obesity, which causes insulin resistance. This then contributes to susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. It is alright to have a high caloric intake, but do ensure that you have a relatively high level of physical activity to go with it.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is common amongst people who are overweight, have excess abdominal fat, and are not physically active. Because of these factors, their liver cells respond ineffectively to insulin. The pancreas is then stimulated to produce extra insulin. The combination of ineffective insulin utilization and beta cell dysfunction causes blood glucose levels to rise, resulting in diabetes.

How can I prevent diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, but you can prevent type 2 diabetes by making the following healthy lifestyle choices.

Be more physically active:

Try to get about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Choose to take a walk instead of the bus, or the stairs instead of the elevator. Or you could take a nice relaxing swim after a long day at work. It will go a long way in preventing obesity and hence diabetes.

Lose excess weight:

If you are currently overweight, do try to get your weight down to a healthy range. A good guide is to aim to lose 7 percent of your body weight. So if you are currently weighing in at 90.9 kilograms (200 pounds), simply aim to lose 6.4 kilograms (14 pounds) and you would have reduced your risk of diabetes.

Have a healthy diet:

Reduce your consumption of foods that are high in calories and fat content. Choose instead to have more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Lean meats are a good idea as well.


Oral medication for diabetes can help to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Such drugs include but are not limited to Glucophage and Glumetza.

How is diabetes treated?

Diabetes used to be a fatal disease a long time ago, before insulin was discovered. But with advances in medical technology and knowledge, people diagnosed with diabetes are able to lead a normal life.

The most important aim of diabetes management are the following – keeping blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control. To do this, you need to lead a healthy lifestyle – have a healthy diet, get adequate physical activity – and take insulin. Regarding the taking of insulin, it is important to balance your insulin intake with the amount of food you eat. Your level of physical activity also affects the timing and quantity of insulin you need to take.

Other things to take note of:

Monitoring your blood glucose levels:

You should go for regular blood tests to monitor your blood glucose levels in order to ensure that it isn’t fluctuating too widely.

Monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol levels:

Although these aren’t directly related to diabetes, diabetics tend to be at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. As such, it is essential that you monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in order to prevent developing cardiovascular disease. Eating healthily, doing frequent exercise and avoiding smoking will help as well..










All About Organic Food and What’s the Big Deal?!

Demand for organic produce has jumped substantially in the past few decades. Increasingly, more supermarkets dedicate a section to solely organic produce and business at farmer’s markets, where local and fresh produce flourish, is blooming. Sales data quantify the popular demand of such produce – in fact, “organic sales increased from $3.6 billion in 1997 to over $39 billion in 2014” (1), and a 2015 publication states that “51% of families are buying more organic products than a year ago” (2). This “organic movement” has gained momentum on an international scale as well. As a whole, the U.S. exported more than $550 million worth of organic products in 2014 and imported over $1.2 billion (3).

What fueled this “organic movement”?  

The move to organic produce by consumers has partly been fueled by beliefs that organic produce may be better for health than conventional produce, concerns over health hazards potentially associated with pesticide usage, or that organic farming methods have a lesser environmental impact.

Agricultural pesticide usage and public perception

Before the 1920s, farming methods were largely pesticide-free (5). It was not until WWII that scientists discovered “chemicals designed as nerve gas…were also capable of killing insects” (5) and chemical pesticide usage in farming methods were not used until after WWII (4), when synthetic pesticides like DDT were made available to the public. Touted as a “fix all”, agricultural workers were ecstatic about its success in improving crop yields, reduction of pests, and its inexpensive price.

Not much about the adverse effects were known at the time, but the dangers of some chemicals, notably the pesticide DDT, were later espoused by conservationist Rachel Carson in her book called “Silent Spring” in 1962. Carson had been researching the effects of pesticide exposure on “non-target creatures (organisms other than those that the pesticide is intended to kill)” in areas where the pesticide had been applied (4). Her publication included sound evidence of the death of animals in those regions and the persistence of the chemicals in the environment, which would continue to harm wildlife over time. She also noted that these chemicals could accumulate and reside in the tissue of the exposed being, including humans, and contribute to cancer or genetic damage in certain cases (6). Carson’s book was monumental in its broadening of public knowledge and shaping of perception towards pesticide usage and the potential damage it carries.

Within the following decades, “the growing consumer interest in health and nutrition, the growth of the green movement, the focus on conservation and environmental issues stimulated the development of the organic market and encouraged farmers to adopt organic methods” (5).

However, concern from organic producers and others also grew regarding the hazy conditions surrounding the term “organic”. This spurred the passage of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990, which allowed the Agricultural Marketing Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create national standards for foods certified as “organic”. It also created a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and a regulatory agency called the National Organic Program (NOP), which oversees the production and handling of organic items.

Health benefits of organic produce

There has been much debate over whether organic foods or conventional foods are “better” for overall health. And despite the research that has been undertaken, the evidence is not yet conclusive. Although more research needs to be conducted, the current literature contains findings similar to these following quotes: an article from Science Direct states that “in public health terms, there is insufficient evidence to recommend organic over conventional vegetables” (7) and another study states that the “results at present do not make it possible to formulate a general conclusion on a higher health-promoting value of organic vegetables in comparison to those grown by conventional farming methods” (6).

So why the craze for organic?

Although the evidence regarding overall health is not yet conclusive, organically grown produce does still have certain favorable benefits over its conventionally grown counterpart.

  1. More of certain vitamins and minerals may be present in organic products.

A study found that, from analyzing 33 studies of the micro-nutrient content of organically versus conventionally grown plant foods, “the absolute levels of micro-nutrients were higher in organic foods more often than in conventional foods (462 vs 364 comparisons, P = 0.002), and the total micro-nutrient content, expressed as a percent difference, was higher in organic (+ 5.7%, P < 0.001) as compared to conventionally grown produce” (8).

Other studies simply find that micro-nutrient levels can vary. One found that “potatoes marketed as organic had more copper and magnesium (p < 0.0001)”; however, they also had “less iron (p < 0.0001) and sodium (p < 0.02)” (9).

  1. Organic farming has less of an environmental impact.

Organic agriculture focuses on “renewable resources, soil and water conservation, and management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological balance” (10). It utilizes “cover crops, green manures, animal manures and crop rotations to fertilize the soil, maximize biological activity and maintain long-term soil health” (10).

  1. Reduced exposure to pesticides and other chemical additives

One research states that “two studies reported significantly lower urinary pesticide levels among children consuming organic versus conventional diets” but also acknowledges that “studies of biomarker and nutrient levels in serum, urine, breast milk, and semen in adults did not identify clinically meaningful differences” (11). This study states also that “consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to…antibiotic-resistant bacteria” (11).



(1) http://ota.com/sites/default/files/indexed_files/StateOfOrganicIndustry_0.pdf

(2) http://ota.com/sites/default/files/indexed_files/PolicyConference2015_Infographic_8.5x11_1a_0.pdf

(3) http://ota.com/sites/default/files/indexed_files/OTAJaenickeMay2015_TradeDataReport.pdf

(4) http://people.oregonstate.edu/~muirp/pesthist.htm

(5) http://theorganicsinstitute.com/organic/history-of-the-organic-movement/

(6) http://www.nrdc.org/health/pesticides/hcarson.asp

(7) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691510005028

(8) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408391003721701?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed#.VdkAlJEQbGs

(9) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22022779

(10) http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml

(11) http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1355685


Reducing Stress and Enhancing Quality and Longevity of Life

Everyone might be familiar with stress but not everyone is aware of just how dangerous it is for one’s health. In fact, the top causes of death around the world: heart disease, cancer, lung problems, cirrhosis of the liver, accidents, and suicide are all related to stress.

Moreover, seventy-five to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are due to conditions and complaints that are stress-related. Even the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has asserted that stress is one of the threats in the workplace.

What is stress?

Stress is the body’s normal response to situations that make a person feel upset or threatened. It is the body’s way of protecting itself.

During periods of stress, the body starts pumping adrenalin, the heart rate goes up, blood vessels dilate, breathing and sweat production increases, metabolism slows down, and muscles become tense. These reactions are part of what is called the body’s “fight-or-flight response.”

Stress doesn’t always produce negative effects. For some, it could lead to better performance because pressure can help you stay alert, energetic, and focused on the tasks at hand. Exposure to constant stress, however, could take a toll on your health and can adversely affect the different areas of your life.

What are the signs of stress?

It’s not difficult to determine whether you’re stressed or not. Almost everyone is familiar with the effects of stressors, the catalyst that causes stress. Nonetheless, you may still be surprised at just how extensive the effect of stress is on your body. If you’re not careful, it might be too late to undo the damage that it has caused.

These are some of the specific symptoms of someone who is suffering from stress:

Psychological signs

  • Poor memory
  • Lack of concentration
  • Confusion
  • Pessimism
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Constant worrying
  • Inability to solve problems

Physical signs

  • Chest pains
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Persistent colds
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Stomach upset
  • Aches and pains in general

Emotional signs

  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Depression
  • Sense of helplessness
  • Indifference

Behavioral signs

  • Eating disorders
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Antisocial attitude
  • Use or abuse of cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs to calm down
  • Nervous habits
  • Disregard for one’s obligations or responsibilities


Apart from the effects stated above, recent studies have shown that stress shrinks the brain, makes kids age prematurely, triggers the development depression, and could affect the genes of your future children.

Moreover, several researches have also shown that unexpected emotional stresses can provoke arrhythmias, heart attacks, and even death. This is why people who are at risk of heart disease should try to reduce stress as early as possible.

What can you do to reduce stress?

Stress affects people in varying degrees because some deal with stress better than others. In any case, it is important to remember that reducing stress will not only affect your well-being at present, it will also benefit your health in the long-term.

Here are some examples of what you can do today, which will make your older self thank you later:

Determine the factors that cause stress

The first step to reducing stress is pinpointing the exact cause/s of stress in your life. Keep a diary where you can write down your emotions and thoughts whenever you feel stressed. At the end of a few days, you should be able to identify some of the major stressors and you’ll get a sense of what you need to do to deal with them.

Build positive connections with the people around you

One of the best ways to effectively deal with stress is to have family and friends who could provide you a strong support network. Because loneliness and isolating yourself from others are symptoms of stress, it is all the more important to build positive relationships with the people closest to you.

Learn to condition your attitude and mindset

It is possible to train your mind to dwell on more positive thoughts than negative ones, which is crucial in your becoming more resistant to the effects of stress. People who suffer from the negative effects of stress think that they are victims of circumstances and that they have no control. While it is true that we can do nothing about a lot of the situations we are in, we have control over how we allow the situations affect us. Having a sense of humor, the ability to embrace challenges, and the willingness to accept change all go a long way in successfully dealing with stress.

Learning relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga will also help you have better control over your attitude and mindset. This leads to reduced stress and improved health.

Know that preparation is key

It pays to know everything you can about a stressful situation you will face because this allows you to prepare. When you’re prepared, you are better equipped and able to cope with the challenges or difficulties that the situation entails. This, in turn, reduces the possibility of stress.

Acknowledge the wisdom in walking away

There will always be situations that can’t be dealt with easily and immediately. In those instances, you’ll probably be tempted to give in to anger and frustration but before that happens walk away even for just a few minutes. If you can’t physically walk away from a stressful situation, delay your reaction by taking a deep breath, having a sip of water, or counting to 10. These actions will give you the opportunity to organize your thoughts and allow you the chance to react in a more positive way.

Listen to music

Take a break from a stressful situation by listening to relaxing music. Doing so can affect the brain and the body positively by making you calm, lowering your blood pressure, and reducing cortisol. Most people usually find classical music calming but you could also listen to nature sounds if that’s your thing.


The saying “laughter is the best medicine” is especially true when it comes to fighting stress because when you laugh, the levels of stress-aggravating hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenalin) are lowered and feel-good hormones, such as dopamine, are released.

Get enough sleep

Many emotional disorders have been related to disrupted sleep. If you’ve been feeling angry, sad, exhausted, and generally stressed for no apparent reason, you might not be getting enough sleep. Admittedly, stress could be what is making it difficult for you sleep but if you don’t do something about it, this vicious cycle will continue. The National Sleep Foundation provides some tips on how you could develop healthy sleeping habits. Try some of the tips to see which works best for you.

Incorporate stress-busting super foods into your diet

When you’re stressed, you’re more prone to eating food that are bad for your health, such as those high in fat and sugar. Although your first instinct might be to reach for these comfort foods during stressful situations, turning to healthier alternatives could not only help relieve your tension but will benefit your overall health as well.

The next time you feel stressed, try consuming the following:

  • Grapes, berries, nuts, and green tea

These contain antioxidants that help increase the body’s ability to respond to stress. They also combat free radicals brought about by stress.

  • Spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, and romaine lettuce

These are some examples of leafy greens that contain folate, which regulates the production of dopamine, a chemical that induces pleasure and helps keep you calm.

  • Oatmeal, whole-grain pasta and breads, corn, and peas

These are examples of complex carbohydrates, which help the brain create serotonin without adding to your body’s already elevated blood sugar level caused by stress.

  • Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help offset the adverse effects of adrenalin and cortisol.
  • Fortified milk, fortified cereal, and egg yolks

These contain vitamin D, which is believed to increase happiness. In studies, people with high levels of vitamin D in their system exhibited a reduced risk of panic disorders.

  • Yogurt, nuts, fish, and leafy greens

These are great sources of magnesium, which has been shown to aid in relieving irritability, depression, and fatigue.



Exercise is not only essential if you want to stay fit, it’s also a great way to relieve stress since it boosts the production of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural chemicals that leads to euphoric feelings, regulation of appetite, and the strengthening of the immune system. If you’re having a stressful day, try taking a walk or spending at least a few minutes at the gym and see how different your mindset will be when you return to work.

Recognize when it’s necessary to seek professional help

When you’ve tried everything you can to deal with stress on your own and you still feel overwhelmed, it may be time for you to ask the help of a professional. A psychologist or other licensed mental health professional can teach you ways to effectively handle stress.

Stress is an everyday occurrence but it doesn’t have to be part of your life so follow the practical tips in this article if you want to live longer, healthier, and happier.


Natural Anti-Inflammatory Foods | Staying Healthy When Aging

Inflammation provides a necessary function in the human body, as inflammation is a natural reaction of the immune system when battling infectious agents and removing damaged cells. Though inflammation is necessary for healing the body, too much inflammation can also pose a problem.

Particularly, inflammation is a concern when the body “overreacts” or instigates inflammation even when there are no harmful pathogens present, as characteristic in many autoimmune disorders, such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Too much inflammation in the body can lead to discomfort, including redness or stiffness of the inflamed area, rashes, heat, pain, and swelling (1). Furthermore, long-term chronic inflammation has also been linked to increased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain kinds of cancer.

Some foods contain components that promote inflammation, while others reduce inflammation. Consumption of these foods below containing anti-inflammatory agents may help alleviate the symptoms and discomfort of inflammation, as part of a healthy diet.

1. Carrots

Vitamin A deficiency can increase the body’s inflammatory response and a sufficient intake of vitamin A is beneficial both in the prevention of disease and as a potent anti-inflammatory agent (2). Vitamin A is also essential in curbing night blindness and needed for proper immune system function. As carrots contain high amounts of vitamin A, eating just a small amount of carrots is sure to fulfill your recommended intake for the day. In fact, just 1/4 cup of chopped carrots contains the recommended daily value of vitamin A!

However, although sufficient amounts of vitamin A are essential for proper health, it is important not to get too much. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and excess amounts are stored in the liver. Detrimental effects caused by acute or chronic vitamin A toxicity include cracked fingernails, ulcers, respiratory infections, liver abnormalities, and intense headaches.

2. Ginger

Ginger contains components that can reduce inflammation, as has also been known to decrease nausea and alleviate upset stomachs. It’s a great choice due to its versatility – it can be seeped in tea, cooked in soup or with fish, incorporated in salad dressings, and much more.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in the antioxidants flavonoids and carotenoids, which work in the body to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress to cells. Reducing or delaying oxidative stress caused by free radicals is important because it causes damage to cells, DNA, proteins, and genes. In order to retain most of broccoli’s nutritional value, avoid steaming or boiling it for more than 4-5 minutes.

4. Flaxseed

Apart from the necessary inflammation present in the immune response, a large imbalance of omega-6 consumption versus omega-3 consumption contributes to an internal environment optimal for inflammation. This is because foods containing high amounts of omega-6 are generally pro-inflammatory, while those containing omega-3 are mostly anti-inflammatory. Flaxseed (as well as fatty fish and walnuts in particular) contains high amounts of omega-3 that are necessary in combatting inflammation.

5. Basil

Basil contains eugenol, a volatile oil capable of blocking the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX-2) (3). COX is part of the pathway that produces compounds called prostaglandins, which is perceived by nerve endings as pain in the human body. Thus, suppressing the activity of COX is particularly beneficial to those with rheumatoid arthritis or joint aches.

6. Spinach

Spinach contains flavonoids, which also can decrease the activity of the COX-2 enzyme. Furthermore, it contains vitamin E, which functions as an antioxidant. As a tip, dark leafy vegetables generally contain more vitamin E than vegetables with light-colored leaves. Spinach can be easily incorporated in the diet by baking it as part of a low-fat quiche or adding a half cup of spinach into a fruit smoothie.

7. Cinnamon

Used as a traditional medicine in ancient times, cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which are useful in preventing oxidative damage. Cinnamon has other therapeutic effects – it has been used as part of a remedy to treat diabetes, Alzheimer’s, gastrointestinal disorders, and has some antibacterial and anti-fungal properties (4). Sprinkle cinnamon in a hot cup of tea for a kick of flavor or bake halves of pears with honey and cinnamon at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until soft.

8. Turmeric

Turmeric is an herb that originated from Southeast Asia and has been used in India both as a spice and as part of religious ceremonies for over 4000 years (5). Its therapeutic properties of being anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial have been discovered more recently, within the past 25 years, and have been used for rheumatoid arthritis, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and wound healing (5).