Exhausted? Eat These

Don’t accept fatigue as the price of a full life, says Holly Phillips, medical contributor to CBS News and author of The Exhaustion Breakthrough (Rodale, 2015). Her solution: Aim to eat two of these edible energizers daily.

► Oats (1 cup cooked): High in fiber and protein, oats eaten for breakfast help stabilize blood sugar all day.

► Salmon (3 oz.): This fish’s hefty dose of protein speeds metabolism, which increases energy.

► Almonds (1/3 cup): They’re packed with magnesium, which helps convert sugar into energy. Protein and fiber provide sustained energy without a crash.

► Quinoa (1/2 cup cooked): Protein and amino acids in this gluten-free grain aid in muscle repair and post-workout recovery.

► Avocado (1/2 avocado): The fatty acids lower inflammation linked to fatigue-causing conditions.

► Lentils (1/2 cup cooked): High in fibe, lentils help regulate blood sugar levels, while their selenium enhances mood.

► Turkey (3 oz.): B vitamins help metabolize food into energy, while the amino acid tyrosine can keep you more alert.

► Blueberries (1/2 cup): Potent antioxidants combat free radicals that can injure cells and lead to fatigue. Healthy carbs rev energy without adding too much sugar.

► Goji Berries (1/4 cup): They may help improve blood flow and alertness

► Kale (1 cup): Yep, its superfood status extends to energy. Credit protein, fiber, and crazy levels of antioxidants.

Your Body On A Juice Cleanse

Your Body on a Juice Cleanse Spoiler alert: With only a few fleeting benefits* —and nothing that will lower your disease risk—the liquid lifestyle is looking pretty lackluster. Some crazy things happen when you drastically cut calories, fat, and protein.

◘ Mood Swings: Without the carbohydrates, fat, and protein your body needs to make the neurotransmitters that keep you even-keeled, anticipate some irritability.

◘ Muscle Shrinkage: Your body doesn’t know it’s missing out on protein and will metabolize it as normal—by taking it from your muscles. A week long cleanse can cause significant muscle loss

◘ Weight Loss: You can expect to lose several pounds of water weight. You’ll gain it right back post-cleanse.

◘ Energy Drain: You’ve drastically cut back on calories, but your body doesn’t stop burning them, so you may feel weak.

◘ *Potential Heart Perks: Fasting for a few days may lower blood sugar, improve insulin function, and reduce blood pressure, but results last a few weeks at most.

◘ Tummy Trouble: Fruit-heavy fluids can pack a ton of sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that pulls water into your intestine, causing a laxative effect, dehydrating you and giving you diarrhea.

Superfoods for You!

Kefir: It’s kind of like yogurt, but it has more protein and less sugar. It does, though, have that same creamy texture, great taste, and the helpful probiotics of yogurt. Those probiotics are a healthy type of bacteria that strengthens your immune system. Kefir can be substituted for yogurt in salad dressings and other recipes. It can be found in the dairy aisle of your grocery store.

Jicama: It’s a root vegetable and has a slightly sweet taste and a crunchy texture. It also has insulin, which can help get rid of belly fat and promotes good bacteria in the gut. Jicama also has a lot of vitamin C for boosting collagen and fighting wrinkles. It can be eaten raw or stir-fried. You can find it in farmers markets and Mexican groceries.

It’s jam-packed with fiber, calcium, and omega-3s, as well as iron, which some women can be low in. Sprinkle on salads, soups, cereals, or to thicken stews. Find it at natural or whole food groceries.

Black garlic: Due to fermentation, the garlic acquires a sweet, caramel-like flavor, and the natural antioxidants are double those found in regular garlic. It’s great in lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer. And—it doesn’t give you icky breath!

Kelp: It’s loaded with vitamin K, calcium, and other nutrients that are powerful agents against breast cancer. It also has a type of fiber that blocks the development of fat. Good in meatballs and soups, or try kelp noodles (www.kelpnoodles.com).

Nutritional yeast:
Low calorie and cheese flavored, what’s not to like? It’s also full of protein and B vitamins for energy, de-stressing, and preventing chronic diseases. Use as a dairy-product substitute, for example sprinkle some on baked potato, popcorn, or pasta. Find it in health food stores.

Barley: The starring nutrient in barley is niacin, which promotes healthy hair and skin. It also fights cancer and keeps cholesterol low. It’s a great substitute for pasta, rice, or oatmeal. You can usually find it in the baking goods section of the grocery store.

Seven Liver Healthy Foods

Short of joking about the occasional weekend damage, many of us never really give much thought to one of the largest and most important organs in our body. Our liver has numerous functions including, but not limited to, break down and build up of essential nutrients such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Our liver helps produce digestive enzymes, sex, steroid and stress hormones, is integral in maintenance of our blood sugar, and has at least 300 other essential functions.

In terms of long-term health, the wellness of our liver cells in many ways equals the expression of our overall health. The toxins and chemicals we are exposed to day to day, intentionally or not, can tax our detoxification organs, including our liver. It is worth taking the time to provide our system with nutrients that help enhance the well functioning of our liver.

Wherever possible it makes sense to both reduce our toxic load by minimizing or limiting our exposure to harmful toxins and chemicals, and to provide our system with an abundance of nutrients that help our liver perform its job. Not surprisingly, it is nearly impossible to find a vegetable or fruit that does not asist the function and maintenance of a healthy liver. Eat your favorite local fruits and vegetables and consider incorporating the following seven powerhouse foods into your eating for healthy liver function.

Garlic: Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate our liver enzymes, which are responsible for flushing out toxins from the bod. This bulbous relative of the onion also contains allicin and selenium, two powerful nutrients proven to help protect the liver from toxic damage and aid it in the detoxification process.

Grapefruit: Grapefruit is rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. Like garlic, grapefruit contains compounds that boost our production of liver detoxification enzymes. It also contains a flavonoid compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it.

Green Tea: Green tea is loaded with catechins, a type of plant antioxidant that has been shown in studies to eliminate liver fat accumulation and promote proper liver function. This powerful herbal beverage also protects the liver against toxins that would otherwise accumulate and cause serious damage.

Green Vegetables: Leafy green vegetables such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens,spinach, mustard greens, and chicory also contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals, which can bear heavily on the liver. Leafy greens also eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body and spur the creation and flow of cleansing bile.

Avocado: Avocados are valuable in helping our liver burn fat rather than store it, and helping to reduce LDL and raise HDL levels in the blood. Moreover, avocado contains nutrients that make up the precursor for one of the most potent antioxidants in our body, glutathione.

Glutathione is needed by the liver to repair cells and clear toxins from our body. People with chronic liver disease are found to be low in glutathione levels.

Walnuts: Walnuts, which contain high levels of l-arginine, an amino acid, glutathione, and omega-3 fatty acids, also help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Walnuts also help oxygenate the blood, and extracts from their hulls are often used in liver-cleansing formulas.

Turmeric: Turmeric, one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ.

Wherever possible choose local and/or organic versions of the above. This can make a big difference as spray-free fruits and vegetables are up to 70 percent higher in the beneficial antioxidants.The longer fruits and vegetables travel, and the more heavily they are sprayed, has a direct effect on the content of beneficial nutrients. Interesting, research shows, the harder our plants are challenged to fight for their own survival, the greater the level ofantioxidants present in the plant. The more they are sprayed, the more they can depend on the spray for their protection and slack off on the production of antioxidants. Like the plants, when we slack off on the production of whole fresh foods, and choose to depend on a primarily refined and processed diet base, it has a negative effect on our own survival. Small changes to diet can translate to a much greater ability for our body to thrive and adapt to our environment. Start with the liver-friendly seven and begin to enjoy how your system thanks you.

Eating Healthy Keeps the Body in Tune

By Susan Kasik-Miller, registered dietitian with HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital

When people learn that I am a registered dietitian for HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, the questions come fast and furious: What should I be eating? How can I be healthier? What the heck is quinoa? Is chocolate really that bad for you?

Choosing the right foods for a healthy lifestyle can be a daunting task, but it’s worth the time and effort. “Healthy” food does share a direct correlation to good health. Study after study shows that a good diet does lead to better health. Eating a balanced diet has proven to diminish complications from chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and a whole host of others.

But what is healthy food, and what constitutes a good diet? The quick answer is fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and whole grains.

Some might recall the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food pyramid from decades ago. The pyramid got a face lift in the form of a dinner plate. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to view the updated dietary guidelines now recommended by the USDA. Building a healthy plate not only requires edibles from the major food groups, but also portion mindfulness. The USDA gives tips and techniques to keep portions under control, which keeps calories within the suggested range for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To build a healthy plate, make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, switch to a low-fat milk, and vary protein choices. Cut back on foods that are high in fats and added sugars and salt. We all know that fat and sugar aren’t good, but what’s with the salt? Sodium is not so great. Many things change in the body when an influx of sodium is consume —fluid retention, an increase inblood pressure, and the kidneys have to work overtime, just to name a few. We’re not talking about table salt, here. Well, we are, but the few shakes you put on your green beans isn’t the problem. It’s the sodium found in the can of green beans.

“But wait,” you say. “You just told me to eat more vegetables.”

Yes, but be aware of the sodium that comes with canned or processed foods. If you are only able to purchase canned vegetables, then canned vegetables are better than no vegetables at all. However, if you are able to visit the local farmers markets in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and Menomonie to purchase fresh vegetables, you will be able to avoid added sodium.

The key is to buy fresh if possible, and if not, look at the package. Think about what’s in there. Avoid salty snacks and processed food like chips, sausage, and ready-to-eat frozen meals (I like to call them “heat and eats.”). Stay away if possible.

In my profession, I work with people who are sick with heart disease or cancer. They’re looking for any way to feel a little better physically and mentally. I think one of the things about a healthy diet is that people who are battling a disease feel more in control when they make good food choices. Some patients have said that fueling their bodies with better food makes them feel that they are able to control a portion of their well-being—that they are able to control what’s next in life.

When we think of good health, we think of the body, but some patients have found that eating well also helps one’s mental state. The mental aspect is important in any kind of treatment the patient endures.

And when healing from surgery, eating healthy helps the body heal.

Getting adequate amounts of calories and nutrients fuels the body to heal. Low-fat meats and dairy products are imperative to the healing process. A wide variety of foods coupled with fruits and vegetables that are at their peak of ripeness is important. I always suggest vegetables, beans, eggs, dairy, fish, chicken, beef,and pork as well as wild game and venison if available.

Those are excellent sources of low-fat protein filled with iron. I’ve heard all of the excuses in the book as to why people do not follow a healthy diet. The number one excuse is that people can’t afford it, and for some people that is legitimate. But many people buy foods that aren’t cheap—they drink a six to twelve-pack of soda daily. That $3 or $4 could be spent on vegetables at the grocery store, or a sack of potatoes at the farmers market. Again, if buying fresh isn’t an option, canned or frozen vegetables are inexpensive and better than other options.

It sounds silly, but remaining healthy is the best way to stay healthy. Share a healthy eating mindset with your friends and family. Make it a continued goal from day to day, week to week. Eat bad-for-you foods in moderation, but always keep healthy eating at the forefront of the mind, and your body will thank you for life.