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diabetes diet Food health benefits heart health

A Beginners Guide to Flexitarian Diet

The terrific aspect of the flexitarian diet is it doesn’t pigeon hole into a single way of eating-neither; its too restrictive but offers more flexibility. The open-ended nature of this diet makes it easier to stick to. Flexitarian diet is not only pocket friendly but environmentally friendly too. 

What is the Flexitarian diet?

The name is a combination of the words Flexible and vegetarian -flexitarian.

Flexitarian diet is mostly an eating style that promotes plant-based food while allowing meat, fish, eggs, and dairy in moderation. It will enable more flexibility in eating than vegan or vegetarian diets. 

This diet is the brainchild of Dawn Jackson Blatner, a famous dietician. Her motto is to help people to obtain the health benefits of a vegetarian diet while eating animal products in moderation. 

Flexitarians are not considered vegans or vegetarians because they eat animal products. Flexitarian diet is more than a diet-its lifestyle. You don’t need to follow any dietary patterns or recommended calories to practice this diet. But it insists on some basic principals.

  • Concentrate on proteins from plants instead of animals
  • Mainly focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
  • Avoid processed foods and eat natural forms of nourishment.
  • Limit added sugar and sweets.
  • Include animal and meat products from time to time. 

Possible Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diet

Apart from being flexible, it offers some incredible health benefits.

Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes

Scientific literature states that a vegetarian diet was more effective in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Since the flexitarian diet is more vegetarian friendly, this diet will be helpful for people with diabetes. 

In a study seventy-four research participants consumed the same number of calories for six months. Some followed a vegetarian diet while others followed a diet that stressed a reduction of fats, carbs, sugars, and cholesterol.

 Interestingly people who ate a vegetarian diet lost a lot of intramuscular and subcutaneous fat. The intramuscular fat can affect your insulin resistance and can even lead to diabetics. 

Another study states that flexitarians had a lower risk of diabetes when compared with non-vegetarians. 

May lower cancer risk.

Nutrients and antioxidants that fight cancer are present in vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. Research studies point out that vegetarian diets are linked with an overall incidence of reduction of cancer, especially colorectal cancer. A well planned plant-based diet is helpful in protection against various types of cancers.

Aids in weight loss

Flexitarian diet has a massive following because it helps you to follow a vegetarian diet without altogether avoiding meat. Studies show that plant-based eating plans help to lower the risk of stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure. A research review points out that a semi-vegetarian diet leads to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, increased metabolic health, as well as short and long term weight loss. 

Another notable research study says that a low-calorie vegetarian diet helps reduce body weight and fat and improves heart health.

A recent research study published in 2018 notes that plant-based diets like vegetarian diets help to reduce the risk of diabetes while increasing the quality of life and psychological wellbeing of people living with diabetes.

Possible health risks 

The quality of plant-based foods is essential when it comes to healthy eating. However, there’s a hidden danger of nutritional deficiencies when people cut back on meat and other animal products. The risk of dietary deficiencies that may arise due to a flexitarian diet include 

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B12
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Calcium

Downsides to eating a vegetarian diet include risk of stroke, deficiency in choline that may affect brain health, hair loss, and mood problems. 

So how do you get started with a flexitarian diet

Actually, its relatively easy to shift into the flexitarian diet. Just follow these three steps.

Re-portion your plate

Experts advise you to downsize meat and grains while increasing the quantity of vegetables. Aim to include 25 percent from whole grains, for example, quinoa, brown rice, and whole-grain pasta—fifty percent from fruits and vegetables and the last 25 percent fish, meat, and poultry. 

Reinvent old favorites

Swap meat for chickpeas, lentils, or beans -these protein-rich foods are less expensive than pork, chicken, and beef. Also, you can use low sodium sauce, potatoes, mushrooms, green tea, and tomato sauce for enhancing the flavor of vegetarian foods.

Refresh your recipe repertoire 

Liven up your recipe collection by grabbing recipes from the internet, through various vegetarian magazines and cookbooks, ask your friends for their favorite dishes, and scroll through old family cookbooks. Call up your grandma or aunts for unique vegetarian recipes. Introducing a new flavor or cooking a different dish will unknowingly increase your vegetarian intake.

Foods to include

  • Proteins: legumes, lentils, tofu, soybeans
  • Starchy vegetables: peas, corn, winter squash, sweet potato
  • Fruits: oranges, apples, grapes, apples, berries
  • Non-starchy vegetables: bell peppers, greens, green beans, cauliflower, carrots
  • Whole grains: teff, quinoa, buckwheat, farrow
  • Plant-based milk alternatives: coconut, hemp, soy milk, unsweetened almond
  • Herbs, spices, seasonings: oregano, mint, thyme, basil, cumin, turmeric, ginger
  • Condiments: apple cider vinegar, mustard, salsa, reduced-sodium soy sauce, nutritional yeast, ketchup without added sugar
  • Beverages: tea, coffee, still sparkling water 

Also, add to your diet.

  • Free-range or pasture-raised eggs
  • Organic, free-range or pasture-raised poultry
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Grass-fed or pasture-raised meat
  • Organic dairy from grass-fed or pastured animals

Foods to limit

Avoid processed meat, refined carbs, added sugars and sweets, and fast foods.

  • Some examples are bacon, bounce, sausage,
  • White rice, white bread, croissants, bagels
  • Fries, burgers, chicken nuggets milkshakes
  • Cookies. Candies, soda, cakes, and doughnuts.

Is it easy to follow the flexitarian diet

It’s easy to follow, the secret is not about perfection, but all about progress. You don’t have to follow any strict rules. Luckily eating out is allowed in this diet. But don’t order foods that mention crispy, fried, breaded, creamy, scalloped, or sautéed. Instead go in for baked, broiled, grilled, roasted, poached and steamed. 

Flexitarian diet is flexible, easy to follow, helps you to lose weight, reduces your risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. However, you need to plan and include high-quality plant-based food sources to prevent nutrition deficiencies. 

If you’re interested to know more about flexitarian diet you can buy it online on RedShelf.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

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behavioral health cholesterol depression diabetes exercise

Top Health Conditions That Affect Millennials – And How to Treat Them Naturally


As a millennial, you may be busy juggling your family, career, and other commitments, but may forget about your behavioral wellness. It seems millennials are affected by problems relating to behavioral health. Behavioral wellness helps to improve your self-awareness, make healthy choices, and achieve proper balance in all areas of your life. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) says millennials may become less healthy as they age. Millennials are those born between 1981 to 1996. Although they may seem to have a more excellent investment in health and wellness than generations before them, they seem to be less healthy as they age. 

The research points out that they have a double-digit increase in the top 10 health conditions. Sadly they are affected mostly by behavioral health conditions with numbers skyrocketing in depression and hyperactivity.

So here are the top 10 conditions affecting the millennials.

Depression

Substance use disorder

Alcohol use disorder

Hypertension

Hyperactivity

Psychotic conditions

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

High cholesterol

Tobacco use disorder

Type 2 diabetes

Deborah Serani, PsyD, professor at Adelphi University and award-winning author of “Living with Depression,” explains in Healthline that the circumstances that millennials grew up may be the culprit.

Things such as technological advances, media overload, the school of thought that everyone wins, the two-income households, and undefined work schedules may have contributed to this scenario.

If you’re suffering from any of these conditions, visit your doctor immediately. Also, you can improve the quality of your life by making suitable lifestyle changes. Let’s see how we can treat most of these conditions naturally.

How to treat depression naturally?

Depression can thwart you away from your routine, so set up a timetable and follow a method. Set goals for yourself even though it’s minimal because depression increases a sense of worthlessness and makes you wander without a purpose. 

One of the best ways to treat depression naturally is through exercise. Exercise releases the feel-good chemicals endorphins and rewires your brain in positive ways. 

Foods also play a positive role in reducing depression. Foods such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. 

 Folic acid, rich foods, such as spinach and avocadoes, are also beneficial. All these foods help to fight depression and boost your brain health.

Other helpful ways include rest and taking on challenges. Try to get enough sleep. Take on new responsibilities. When you’re depressed, you’ll want to shrink back from what life has to offer you. 

Staying involved will give you a sense of accomplishment. Try to do something new, such as visiting a museum, volunteering or participating in a race, etc. It will increase the secretion of dopamine, which improves enjoyment, pleasure, and learning. 

Schedule some time to do things that you enjoy. It may be cooking, gardening, or anything, just relax and have fun.

How to treat alcohol use disorder naturally?

Alcohol use disorder is not easy to control; just only by your will power. It’s a brain disease that makes changes to your brain, and leaving it becomes dangerous. To overcome it, get professional advice from your doctor. Give a complete detox to your body to remove alcohol from your system and allow it to heal naturally. 

Get the advice of a counselor or therapist. Build a reliable support system, manage your stress. Set goals and try to achieve them. Work on the behaviors that trigger you to drink alcohol. You can go in for focus counseling or one on one therapy session. 

Join a group therapy or a support group. The people you meet there will thoroughly understand your problems, and you’ll find people whom you can relate to. 

Recovery can take a long time. If the disorder relapse, never feel that you’ve failed. Visit your doctor, and continue to take steps to fight it, surely you will-just give yourself some time.

How to treat substance use disorder naturally?

Developing an addiction is not a sign of weakness, but it takes more than will power to overcome it. Decide you want to change. Keep track of the drug use.

 Addiction treatment options include detoxification, behavioral counseling, medication, long term follow up, or medical treatment. Whatever treatment options you chose first involve yourself in a sober social network, build up a support system of friends and family.

Keep your drug triggers and cravings in check. Move away from friends who use it, avoid clubs and bars, and practice caution while taking prescription drugs. 

Distract yourself by involving in a creative hobby. When you experience a craving, remember all the negative consequences of drugs. 

Build a meaningful life by enjoying nature, adopting a pet, getting involved in community activities, setting a goal, looking after your health, and enjoying arts.

How to treat hypertension naturally?

Hypertension can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. You can lower your blood pressure even without medication. Exercise or walk regularly, reduce your sodium intake, include potassium-rich foods in your diet.

Reduce your alcohol intake, cut back on caffeine, reduce your stress levels, and eat dark chocolate. They are rich in flavonoids; they’ll dilate blood vessels, thus boosting blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

Reduce your weight, quit smoking, cut back on added sugar and refined carbohydrates. Practice meditation and deep breathing, eat a lot of berries, and include calcium-rich foods in your diet.

Natural supplements like aged garlic extract, whey protein, berberine, hibiscus, and fish oil can also prove beneficial. Adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet relaxes and lowers blood pressure. 

How to treat hyperactivity naturally?

Medications for hyperactivity has been increased in recent years. These medications may cause side effects, but alternative therapies can be a good option. Here are some natural ways you can control the symptoms of ADHD. 

Forego preservatives and food colorings. Avoiding potential allergens may improve the behavior of ADHD. So cut back chemical additives and preservatives such as BHT, milk and eggs, chocolates, and foods containing salicylate.

Join a yoga or taichi class. Research has shown that yoga has brought about significant improvements in anxiety, hyperactivity, and social problems in boys having ADHD. 

Spend some time outside in nature, just 20 minutes of breathing in the fresh air, enjoying the greenery, and being with nature can improve concentration significantly.

Behavioral therapy also gives good results. Likewise, treatment with supplements forms significant alternative treatment. Supplements such as L-carnitine, vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium prove useful. Also, you can try herbs like ginseng, ginkgo, and passionflower to calm hyperactivity. 

However, supplementation can be dangerous without a doctor’s guidance, seek medical assistance before supplementation with nutrients or herbs.

How to treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative disease naturally?

Pay attention to your diet. Beware of gluten foods such as bread, pasta, and sauces. Avoid spicy and fried foods and dairy. Include fiber-rich foods in your diet.

Probiotics help to improve your symptoms of digestion. So include probiotic foods such as kombucha, yogurt, kimchi, kefir, miso, pickles, tofu, and sauerkraut.

Prebiotics act as a healthy fertilizer and help in the growth of good bacteria. Including sources such as banana, asparagus, legumes, chicory root, dandelion greens, and Jerusalem artichokes helps to stimulate the growth of good bacteria. 

Go slow with prebiotics; if you’re experiencing any flareups. The fiber present in prebiotoics may worsen the condition. Include anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy veggies, virgin olive oil, fatty fish, and fruits. 

Some helpful herbs to include are aloe vera juice, slippery elm bark, turmeric, and glutamine. If you have a flareup, give your body time to heal. 

Take a liquid diet and provide some rest for your bowl. Get some extra sleep, minimize stress, avoid intense exercise, and take adequate naps. 

Avoid large portions and eat smaller meals to put less stress on your digestive system. Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration, especially if you had a bout of diarrhea. Also, add electrolyte based fluids such as coconut water or broth. Steer clear of sweetened beverages and carbonated drinks.  

How to treat high cholesterol naturally?

High cholesterol is a significant risk factor for heart disease. A healthy lifestyle helps to manage your blood cholesterol effectively. To control cholesterol naturally, quit smoking, try to reduce weight, and exercise daily. 

Include foods that are rich in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats. Eliminate stress, drink alcohol in moderation, and avoid trans fats at all costs. 

Natural remedies for high cholesterol include Astralagus, hawthorn, flaxseed, fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, garlic red yeast rice, and plant sterol and stanol supplements. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements. 

How to treat tobacco use disorder naturally?

Watch out for cravings; they usually last less than five minutes. During those times, keep your hands busy, go for a walk, do the dishes, or have a healthy snack. 

Exercise regularly, join a support group, eat regular healthy meals, identify your triggers such as people, places, or situations, and stay away from them. 

Alternative medicine treatments such as acupuncture, hypnosis, meditation, and herbs such as St. John’s wort and supplements such as the dietary supplements SAMe, silver acetate can prove beneficial. 

To stay smoke-free, practice positive self-talk, remain motivated, and don’t get discouraged even if you slip. Identify your primary smoking triggers and seek support. Similarly, set smoke-free boundaries, avoid alcohol, review the benefits you’re getting from being smoke-free and reward yourself. 

How to treat type 2 diabetes naturally?

Alternative treatments can be beneficial, but some may be harmful. Always talk to your doctor before you try any remedy. 

Acupuncture, biofeedback, guided imagery are beneficial alternative treatments to treat diabetes. 

Natural supplements like chromium, magnesium, vanadium, Coenzyme Q10 are helpful. Herbs such as ginseng have a sugar-lowering compound that may be useful. 

People with type 2 diabetes may concentrate on buckwheat, brewers yeast, broccoli, and other greens, cloves, cinnamon, coffee, okra, sage, fenugreek greens, and sage. 

Improve your diet, with fresh or frozen veggies, whole grains, lean meats, beans, and low fat or fat-free dairy. Eat nonstarchy vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and lettuce.

Avoid high glycemic index foods; they are usually processed foods. Likewise, limit fast foods and focus on healthy snacks.

Reduce especially your belly fat to help lower your glucose levels. 

Exercise regularly; the more intense you exercise, the better; instead of jogging, you could do high-intensity interval training. Also, control sleep apnea to manage sugar spikes and dips.

Reduce stress by practicing yoga and deep breathing before going to bed. Maintain a slightly cold temperature in your sleep environment. Block out all sound and noise and establish a sleep schedule. 

Discussed in this post are mostly lifestyle modifications; you must get medical treatment and supplement lifestyle changes to lead a healthy, optimistic, and happy life. 

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diabetes

Benefits Of Walnuts In The Diet For Diabetes

Do you suffer from diabetes? Then including walnuts in your diet can help you a lot. Here are the details.
Walnuts
These crunchy nuts are great for reducing the risk and symptoms of diabetes. Research studies show that walnuts improve the functioning of the lining of blood vessels. Scientists found that if you eat 30 grams of walnut for one year, it will significantly reduce your fasting insulin levels.
Walnuts do improve your blood lipid profile. Lipid profile means the ratio of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol to low density lipoprotein cholesterol. If you consume a low-fat diet along with 30 grams of walnuts you can positively improve your lipid profile.
Walnuts are a great source of alpha-linoleic acid. These fatty acids help to reduce diabetic neuropathy where the nerves get affected. Research shows that 600 milligrams of ALA are the optimal dose for treating diabetic neuropathy. 1 ounce of walnuts contains approximately 2.5 grams of ALA.
New and beneficial about walnuts
You should consume walnuts along with the skin because 90% of health-promoting phenolic substances are present in the skin. Walnuts contain high levels of vitamin E that provides significant protection to your heart.
Above all these, walnuts have cancer-fighting properties, it boosts your heart health, contains rare and powerful antioxidants which keep you looking young and beautiful, it helps in weight management and sharpens your brain.
Take care

Swarnam
Take care,
Swarnam
Categories
diabetes diet

Watch Out For That Salt In Your Diet!

‘Pass me that salt shaker’ is one worst form of request at least in the dictionary of health. It is good that you reduce salt in your diet in case if you are one of the persons who often ask for a salt shaker.

Salt is a mineral which is comprised of sodium chloride. The amount of our intake of salt directly affects our health and blood pressure the higher the salt intake, the higher the blood pressure. High intake of salt causes water retention in the body which leads to swelling in ankles and weight gain. It also worsens osteoporosis, asthma and kidney disease. High salt intake is closely related with stomach and mouth cancer.

Nutritionists have recommended one teaspoon or less of salt per day for adults. For kids it should be lower than one tsp. Be warned that salt comes from prepared foods like breads, crackers, canned and frozen foods, ready to eat breakfast cereals, cheese and restaurant foods.

Eating unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, wild fish, chicken, egg and milk increases your potassium content which is a good thing. It also adds vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, fiber and healthy fats.

But for those who cannot live without crisps there is an interesting piece of information. Food scientists have found a way to reduce salt content in chips without compromising the taste. And I hope these will be available in the market very soon.

Take care,
Swarnam