The Best Sunscreen for Your Skin

Remember when a day in the sun called for baby oil and a reflective screen to maximize your tan? I do, too.

What were we thinking??

The National Cancer Institute reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. The good news is that wearing sunscreen cuts your risk of developing it in half. If that’s not enough reason to hit the sunscreen aisle (and seriously, it should be), covering up also prevents skin discoloration, dark spots and premature aging.

Ready to stock up on sun protection? You have three main options.

Spray Sunscreen

Spray sunscreen is my favorite sunscreen because it’s so simple to apply. Perhaps more importantly, it’s also easy to reapply.

Wind can carry the spray, though, so if it’s brisk in your backyard, spray the sunscreen into your hands and apply it the old-fashioned way. This technique is also how you should apply spray sunscreen to your face, whether it’s windy or not, as well as to children’s skin. Doing it this way avoids accidental inhalation and lung irritation.

My go-to spray sunscreen is Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Clear Spray SPF 50. It smells delicious (although, ironically, not like coconuts), goes on smoothly and provides excellent coverage.

Lotion Sunscreen

If you want to ensure that you’re thoroughly covered, lotion sunscreen is your best bet for the simple fact that you can see exactly where you’re applying it. Generally, you should slather on roughly one teaspoon to every area or part of your body, i.e., one teaspoon on each arm, one teaspoon on your back and so on.

Two of my favorite lotion sunscreens that are easy to find at virtually any drugstore are Coppertone Ultra Guard SPF 30, which smells like a day at the beach and leaves behind only a little bit of residue, and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 30, which hydrates your skin while shielding it from UVA damage.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreen, often referred to as natural sunscreen, is sunscreen that doesn’t include chemicals such as oxybenzone or avobenzone. Instead, it protects your skin using zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of the two.

While mineral-based sunscreens are generally less effective than lotion or spray sunscreens, they do block some of the sun’s most harmful rays.

The keyword there is “some.” Often, a mineral sunscreen that offers fabulous UVA protection doesn’t provide enough SPF protection; the reverse is true, too.

Because of mineral sunscreen's lack of active chemicals, more parents are turning to it to guard their kids’ skin against sunburn. My grandkids are fans of Blue Lizard Sensitive sunscreen. This Aussie lotion provides broad-spectrum protection, is available in SPF 30 and SPF 50 and — here’s what the kids love — has a bottle that turns bright blue when exposed to harmful UV rays.

Other Sun Protection

While any type of sunscreen is better than no sunscreen at all, for maximum protection you need more weapons in your skincare arsenal. Whether you’re soaking up the rays at brunch or sweating through another weed-pulling session in your garden, you should:

  • Wear a hat that shields your face from direct sunlight.
  • Wear sunglasses to avoid the crow’s feet that accompany Clint Eastwood-style squinting.
  • Cover your skin, especially burn-prone areas such as your shoulders, with light clothing.
  • Stay out of the sun, period, when it’s at its strongest (roughly 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

The sun doesn’t discriminate. No matter how light or dark your complexion is, you need protection. You may not get that deep tan that you got when you were 25, but you’ll also lower your chances of developing cancer or being mistaken for a leather handbag in your golden years. Choose a sunscreen that fits your lifestyle and your budget, and don’t forget to reapply it as directed.

Why I Love Cold-Pressed Salad Dressings

A normal juicer generates heat, which ends up destroying many nutrients in fruit and veggies.  A cold press juicer is different. It “squeezes” and grinds ingredients, so the juice keeps its vitamin content. You can use this to create delicious salad dressings that are packed with nutrients.

Cold Pressing Is Amazing

Cold-pressed juices and smoothies give you way more benefits:

  • More vitamins and minerals
  • More enzymes and prebiotics
  • More juice
  • More fiber
  • More flavor

Cold-pressed juice has more pulp, too, so it’s thicker and creamier. Homemade salad dressings made this way taste incredible, and they do your body good.

Cold-Pressed Salad Dressings Are Really Healthy

Many scientists suspect that the secret to why people in Mediterranean cultures seem to live longer and stay healthier is their diet, especially fresh olive oil. Cold-pressed olive oil is rich in antioxidants that protect your heart and help to prevent diabetes and cancer.

In fact, the antioxidants in cold-pressed olive oil can even reduce inflammation and improve immune health. That helps sore muscles recover faster and painful joints feel less pain. It also has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels.

Cold-pressed juices make a great addition to healthy salad dressings, too. They have prebiotics and enzymes that benefit your digestive health.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


My Favorite Cold-Pressed Salad Dressings Are Easy To Make

1. Miracle Mediterranean Vinaigrette

Bring the healing power of the Mediterranean diet to your table:

  • 1 cup cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw, organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary, oregano, basil or any herb you like
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

Just mix the ingredients and let them chill in the fridge for a few hours or days. This vinaigrette is a great salad dressing base that you can add to with many different fruit or veggie combinations. For example, add a pop of orange with some grated orange zest.

2. Vegan Ceviche Dressing

Looking for a punch of flavor from South American cuisine? Follow the vinaigrette recipe above, but add cold-pressed orange juice and a generous squeeze of lime. Instead of other herbs, use a pinch of fresh cilantro for a Latin twist. I love using this dressing with salads that have some chopped avocado.

3. Tangy Apple & Ginger Dressing

I make this dressing when I’m having company over and everyone goes crazy. 

  • 1 lb. red apples
  • 1/3 cup peeled orange
  • 1 tbsp ginger root
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

First, put the fruit and ginger into the juicer. Then, add the honey and apple cider vinegar. Mix well and serve! Personally, I like using this dressing with Asian-inspired carrot/lettuce/cabbage salads, sprinkling some crushed peanuts on top.

4. Winter Beet Vinaigrette

Think outside of the box with your cold-press juicer! Get creative with seasonal ingredients: fennel, beets, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and more!

  • 1 lb. beets
  • 1/3 cup fennel
  • 1 cup peeled orange
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Handful of fresh parsley

Beets are naturally sweet, so I pair them with fennel, orange, parsley and balsamic vinegar to balance them out. Add 1 cup plain yogurt (or ½ cup buttermilk and ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise, but you didn’t hear that from me) for a creamy version with probiotics for your tummy.

Whether you like smoothies for breakfast, fresh juice for an afternoon treat or cold-pressed salad dressing to spice up meals, you have a lot of ingredients to choose from. Go wild and benefit from the vitamin boost!

Understanding Ketosis and Its Effects of the Body: Positive and Negative

It is no secret the health and diet industry is a crowded place, and it is often the loudest voice in the market that gets the most attention. Recently, many people are turning to a keto or ketogenic diet to lose weight, and it depends on a metabolic process called ketosis. There is no denying the effectiveness of the diet; many people are using it successfully, but is it healthy?

Understanding Ketosis

Glucose or blood sugar is the standard energy source in the body; it is often referred to as fuel. A ketogenic diet alters the body's preferred fuel source by limiting the available glucose through the drastic reduction of carbohydrate intake. 

When the body does not have excess blood sugar to convert into energy, it focuses on fat, transforming it into ketone bodies through ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process, often occurring during pregnancy and infancy, but it can also be a product of fasting or starvation, which leads to some concern over long-term ketogenic diets.

Ketosis and the Brain

A common concern of prolonged ketosis is how a lack of glucose will affect the brain. When carbohydrates are restricted, as they are in ketogenic diets, the body can lose one of the easiest methods for producing glucose, a substance needed by specific brain cells. Fortunately, carbs are not the only resource for glucose production. 

Gluconeogenesis is a natural process in the body. During this process, your body uses other proteins and molecules to produce essential glucose to the brain. It is important to note, your entire brain does not need glucose, only specific cells; glucose is only a preferred fuel source. Most of the brain can convert to ketones without issue.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Ketosis and Weight Loss

Ketogenic diets focus on low carb and high fat intake. According to some research, the diet, which promotes ketosis, is more beneficial than those diets focusing on low fat intake and calorie counting. For those who get aggravated counting calories, a ketogenic diet is a good option because research suggests people feel less hungry, leading to fewer reasons for calorie counting due to ketosis.

Commitment is a concern when following such a restrictive diet. While it is easy to think that reducing carb intake is not that bad, consider you only have an allowance of between 20 and 50 grams, depending on age, weight, height, etc. For most people, the ketogenic diet requires the removal of grains, candy, and sugary drinks. It also means significantly cutting back on potatoes, fruit, and legumes. Because of the restrictions, many people find the diet to be unsustainable.

Is Ketosis Healthy, and Is a Ketogenic Diet Right for You?

Ketosis is a natural metabolic state. While many researchers and medical professionals disagree on the long-term benefits of ketogenic diets, most research suggests they are safe for most people. It is necessary to highlight the phrase “most people” because a ketogenic diet is not suitable for some. Before committing yourself to such a restrictive diet that reduces an entire food group, consult your primary care physician. They can tell you if the diet is a safe option for you, and they can monitor you during it to determine its overall effectiveness.

Do you have any experience with the ketogenic diet, positive or negative? Leave a comment below and keep the conversation moving.

3 Steps To Building Your Perfect Home Gym

Many people want a home gym, but they don't know where to start; they often purchase equipment that is too big or too advanced. There are three steps to building a home gym that is useful and motivational.

1. Find Right Space

The problem most home gym enthusiasts run into is inadequate space for the equipment they already purchased. Never buy gym equipment without knowing where it will go, and make sure that you measure the space.

You do not need a huge space for your workout, depending on the exercise routine you have or plan on using. However, some workouts do require more area, such a HIIT. If you are just starting out, you can likely make room within a bedroom, garage, basement, or another unused space in the house. Depending on your climate, you can even try setting up something outside.

2. Purchase Quality and Effective Equipment

People often assume that quantity leads to a better quality setup, but that is not always true, especially in a home gym. Most homes do not have space for multiple pieces of heavy, bulky equipment, so you need to focus on the necessities. When thinking about the equipment you want to purchase, consider the following three categories:

  1. Strength
  2. Cardio
  3. Recovery

When people think of strength training, they jump to the cumbersome weight and cable machines. There is no need for such large pieces of equipment, especially in a beginner’s gym. Instead, focus on small, portable weight training solutions, like kettlebells, dumbbells, resistance bands, stability balls, or balance discs. None of this equipment is particularly expensive, and it is more than enough to get you started.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


When it comes to cardio, the typical purchase is a treadmill, which is an excellent machine if you have the money and space for it. However, if you are tight on space or cash, consider picking up a jump rope — perhaps a weighted one for added resistance. Cardio is meant to increase your heart rate, which requires movement. If you do not want to spend any money on equipment, go for a jog or go up and down your basement stairs, anything to get your heart pumping.

Unfortunately, many people neglect equipment for recovery. Sure stretches are a decent way to cool down after a workout, but you can help your muscles a lot by investing in some foam rollers. According to some research, rolling out your muscles after a workout can reduce soreness and muscle fatigue.

3. Create an Inviting and Motivational Space

Your gym must motivate you to work out. If you do not even like to walk into the space, how will you feel about working out in it several times per week? Your gym should be filled with bright lights and colors. It would help if you filled the walls and gym with things that make you feel energized for a workout, including a playlist. 

Remember, without action, a home gym is just decorative and pointless. The entire reason to bring the gym home is to encourage physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. How do you plan to make your gym a place you want to be, and do you have any tips for the rest of the Smarter Science of Slim community? Leave a comment below.

6 Foods That Combat Inflammation

In one sense, inflammation is a useful tool of the body to combat infection and injury, but it can also lead to chronic issues and disease if left unencumbered. Inflammation is a sensitive defense mechanism that can be triggered in a number of ways: stress, a sedentary lifestyle, and even food. That’s right, diet can trigger the protective process, essentially misfiring the system and creating problems. Thankfully, there are several foods that can combat inflammation.

1. Mushrooms

While not most peoples’ favorite food, mushrooms are among the best anti-inflammatory foods in existence. Its low-calorie count and nutrient-dense makeup help mushrooms take the number one spot for inflammation combatting foods. While mushrooms grow everywhere and include a diverse collection of species, edible mushrooms make up a small percentage of that whole. Only a few mushrooms are produced commercially, and the bulk of those include truffles, shitake, and portobello.

2. Berries

Some of the most powerful fruits in the war against inflammation are berries. While berries are high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, they also contain the antioxidant anthocyanin that also reduces the risk of disease. Additionally, a study on the effects of daily blueberry consumption in men found that the fruit aided in the production of natural killer cells that promote healthy immune function. The regular consumption of strawberries showed a reduction in markers associated with heart disease in adults. 


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


3. Fatty Fish

While all fish contain some level of omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish contain long-chain omega-3s specific to combatting inflammation: EPA and DHA. The fatty fish considered the best sources of these omega-3s includes:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines

The fatty acids in these fish lead to a reduction in heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome risks. 

4. Peppers

While most peppers are beneficial in moderation, chili peppers and bell peppers show particular promise in anti-inflammatory properties. Chili peppers can reduce inflammation and possibly lead to healthier aging because they contain ferulic and sinapic acid. Bell peppers can reduce oxidative damage in sarcoidosis patients because of the antioxidant quercetin. While these specific compounds lead to some anti-inflammatory effects, both chili and bell peppers have multiple antioxidants contributing to their abilities.

5. Grapes

Grapes are not only delicious, but they can also reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and eye disorders. One of the contributing compounds to grapes’ effects is resveratrol. Researchers have found that people consuming grapes routinely experienced decreased inflammatory gene markers and an increase in adiponectin levels. Low levels of adiponectin can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of cancer.

6. Turmeric

Turmeric is a source of curcumin and other anti-inflammatory compounds. Several studies suggest that consuming turmeric can lead to a reduction in inflammation related to several chronic conditions, including diabetes and arthritis. However, the most beneficial anti-inflammatory found in the spice, curcumin, might require the addition of a supplement into your diet because it would be hard to gain an effective dose through turmeric alone.

What are some other foods that can help combat inflammation and disease? While this list is a good start, it is not exhaustive. If you know of any other foods, spices, or drinks, leave a comment below and continue the conversation.

Prescribing Nature? Why Some Experts Say That Nature Is the Key to Staying Healthy

Everyone loves vacation. Some families prefer tropical getaways and others adore the Rocky Mountains. My favorite memory is a time our family visited the Amazon rainforest, swimming in a cove with lush plants and waterfalls. These trips all have something in common: beautiful nature.

What Are the Health Benefits of Nature?

The effects of nature are so positive that doctors are starting to write prescriptions for ecotherapy, or nature trips:

  • Fighting stress and depression: One of the biggest benefits of being in nature is that it improves your mood. Stress, anxiety and depression practically disappear. You feel relaxed, positive and energized.
  • Increasing your sense of wellbeing: Studies show that people who spend time in nature are more likely to feel deep satisfaction, meaning and joy in life.
  • Protecting your body: People who spend time outdoors every week have a lower risk of heart disease, respiratory problems, diabetes and overweight.
  • Strengthening your immune system: An excursion into the woods or a weekend at a national park can boost the effectiveness of your immune system, helping you stay healthier.
  • Relieving pain: When you get plenty of sunlight, it can trigger pain relief for your entire body. In fact, these rays may even increase healing, curing cuts and some injuries more quickly.

You don’t need to go it alone to improve your health. An enjoyable outing with friends or family members can actually increase the mental, physical and emotional benefits you receive.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Why Is Nature So Good for You?

Think back to the last time you visited a park, beach or forest. First, imagine the sights. Do you see gorgeous fields of wildflowers, colorful hummingbirds or majestic mountains?

The reason beautiful vistas are calming is because they interrupt the negative thoughts that stress makes you replay over and over in your mind. Nature captures your attention and gets you to focus on something positive, interesting and wonderful instead.

Now, remember the scents. Do you smell a salty ocean breeze, fresh green plants, delightful roses or irresistible cedar?

These aromas do more than tempt your nose. They contain natural aerosols, tiny bits of essential plant oils, that can trigger certain hormones in your body. That’s one reason why pine forests are so calming.

What about the sounds? Can you remember the chirping of birds, the gentle rustling of leaves or the smooth crashing of waves at the ocean?

Nature sounds are proven to have a soothing effect on your brain, making you feel relaxed and helping you sleep better at night. Even the absence of sound is enjoyable, that total peace and quiet you only find in nature. 


Where Can You Go?

Going outdoors doesn’t have to be complicated. The important thing, according to studies, is to get at least two hours of ecotherapy every week. The two hours can be split into 20 minutes every day or a full morning on the weekend.

Go for a walk in the park or plan a bonfire with friends in the country. National parks are the purest form of nature, but not everyone lives close enough to go regularly. If you have woods near your house, enjoy a hike through nature trails. Take a trip to the beach or the lake.

Get as far away from the noise pollution and air pollution of the big city as possible. You can even get benefits by working in your garden or watching hummingbirds on your patio. Don’t plan too much — just do it!

Do you have a favorite nature getaway you want to share? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Why I Prefer Exercise Out of the House

It’s no secret that exercise is good for the body and mind, but when I see so many people choosing to exercise indoors on treadmills or stationary bicycles, I don’t understand it. While I may be a little old-fashioned, I think there’s nothing better than getting your heart pumping while enjoying the great outdoors. Here are some of the reasons why I prefer to exercise out of the house.

It Helps With Insomnia

Now, hear me out. When you exercise outdoors with natural sunlight surrounding you, it helps to regulate your body’s internal clock (also known as your circadian rhythm). If you’re always inside soaking up artificial light, your body can become confused and you may have trouble sleeping at night. Plus, breathing fresh air regularly may help improve the quality of your sleep at night!

It Helps Your Body Create Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for your body’s immune system. It also helps the body absorb calcium from dietary sources. Unfortunately, many adults in the United States have low levels of vitamin D, which can lead to a deficient immune response and can affect bone health in a negative way. Since exposure to the sun is necessary for our bodies to create vitamin D from cholesterol, regular outdoor exercise sessions are important.

You don’t have to do typical “exercise” to benefit from the sun, either. Working in the garden, doing yardwork or playing with grandkids outside are all great ways to get outdoor exercise and boost your vitamin D levels without feeling like you’re “working out.”

It Provides a Natural Mood Boost

If you’re feeling grumpy or sad, spend some time outdoors on a lovely day and watch how quickly your mood improves. There’s no doubting that natural light and fresh outdoor air help provide the mind and body with positive energy. I’ve noticed that when I regularly exercise outside of my house, I’m less likely to feel down or depressed. Being outside is one of Mother Nature’s most under-utilized natural mood-boosters.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


It’s Free!

The cost of a gym membership adds up over time. If you’re looking for ways to save money, ditch the membership and ride your bike or take a walk outside. It’s completely free of charge!

It Reduces Stress and Lowers Blood Pressure

Whether you take a simple stroll outside or you engage in a vigorous hike, you’re doing your body good in a lot of ways. Studies show that people who engage in physical activity outdoors lower their heart rate and blood pressure. If you’re not in peak physical activity, just take things slow to get started. As your cardiovascular health improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer and harder than before.

It’s Fun

I’ve tried working out on a treadmill with dozens of other people working out on either side of me. I got bored really quickly. Even when you have a television show in front of you, walking on a treadmill without going anywhere just seems like a waste of time. Walking outdoors, on the other hand, is always interesting and fun. Whether you take a stroll around your neighborhood or along a walking trail at a nearby park, you’ll find plenty of people to talk to or small creatures to watch. The entire experience is much more fulfilling than exercising indoors, in my humble opinion.  

These are just a few of the top reasons why I think exercising outside is one of the best things people can do for their health and sanity. If you’re not convinced, give it a try! I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll decide exercising outside is a better choice than working out in your home.

Personal Trainers: Are They Worth It?

There’s no shortage of ways to work out. From smartphone apps and hi-tech bikes to boot camp classes at your local gym, it’s easier than ever to pursue a vibrant path to fitness.

One approach you may have considered is working with a personal trainer. If so, you know that it can be a difficult decision to make. On the one hand, working with a trainer is often a great way to meet your fitness goals. On the other hand, trainers can be expensive and, for some, cause feelings of insecurity or self-consciousness.

In my opinion, there are some scenarios where hiring a personal trainer is almost always totally worth it — provided you can find one who fits your budget, of course.

1. You Haven’t Worked Out in a Long Time — Or Ever

Whether you’re brand-new to fitness or you’ve spent the past few years — OK, decades — on sabbatical from the stair-stepper, working out with a personal trainer is a great way to get into the swing of things at the gym. There are certain things an educated professional can do that, in most cases, you simply cannot. For example, he or she can:

  • Honestly assess your level of fitness
  • Accurately determine your strengths and weaknesses
  • Create an exercise regimen that minimizes injury
  • Explain what all those machines do
  • Teach you the proper form for various exercises

Covering the basics with a seasoned pro sets you up for success, whether you continue working with a trainer or decide that you’re ready to venture onto the floor alone.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


2. You’re Bouncing Back From Illness or Injury

After an injury or illness, two things are vital to the physical rehabilitation process: safety and smarts. Working with a trainer ensures you get both. Your trainer can develop a workout plan that will strengthen the muscle groups and other areas that need it without leading to additional aches and pains. In fact, just like physicians, many fitness professionals receive special training in certain disciplines, such as knee or back injuries.

3. You Need To Be Accountable to Someone

How many times have you uttered one of the following statements (or similar) to yourself?

  • “I’ll just walk an extra half-an-hour tomorrow.”
  • “I don’t have enough time to work out today.”
  • “All my leggings are in the wash. Guess I can’t go the gym.”
  • “I can’t go to the gym. It’s raining.”
  • “It’s National Tater Tot Day? Really? I bet that means the gym is closed.”

If your Miss America talent would be making up reasons not to exercise, then working with a personal trainer is a great way to force yourself to face the gym. Your trainer can offer tips for staying motivated. He or she can serve as a sounding board if you grow discouraged. If nothing else, the fact that you’re likely paying for your trainer’s know-how is usually excellent motivation to get to the weight deck and get your money’s worth.

4. Leaving Your House Is Difficult

If you have mobility issues, making it to the gym to work out can be nearly impossible at times. Enter the personal trainer — literally. Many personal trainers will come to you for your workout sessions or provide instruction and encouragement via video. Free from the burden of logistics, you can focus on what really matters: your health.

If you think all personal trainers are order-barking gym rats like you’ve seen on TV and in the movies, think again. They’ve changed with the times. It doesn’t matter when, where, why or how you want to work out: There’s likely a trainer who can work with you to develop and implement a personalized plan for lasting success. All you need to do is call your local gym to start the search.

Fish Oil and Its Fascinating Effects on Brain Health

It seems that every day there is some new research telling people about a new brain enhancing supplement or food. While most information floating around is spouted from the mouths of charlatans, there is reason to believe some information, especially when obtained through credible research and studies. 

Fish oil is not exactly new. For decades, nutritionists and scientific researchers have been touting the need to include fatty fish in human diets. The reason for the inherent need is the nutrients that are only found in fish and that are essential to healthy brain development and possible memory retention. The remainder of this article will identify the specific nutrients found in fish oil and explain how recent studies suggest memory and mental health benefits to consuming fatty fish or fish oil supplements.

Understanding Fish Oil Omega-3s

In an overwhelmingly meat-and-potatoes society, it should come as no surprise that most people do not meet the dietary guidelines for fish intake, specifically fatty fish. Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, or anchovies, contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. EPA and DHA are necessary for development and health, but they are not found in most food sources, primarily fish.

While the human body can convert another omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid, it cannot do so efficiently. Even if the body could convert more than 10% of ALA into EPA and DHA, which it can't, people tend to neglect foods with the nutrient, such as flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, chia seeds, soybean oil, and canola oil. Leaving the most evident way of consuming necessary omega-3s to supplement form.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


The Role of Omega-3s in Development

EPA and DHA are crucial to cardiovascular development, disease prevention, weight management, and cognitive function. While more research is needed to determine the level of the contribution these omega-3s have to the brain, early indicators suggest a connection to intake and improved memory in people experiencing minor cognitive decline. These chemicals also contribute to several developmental stages of adolescents. Unfortunately, even when consuming fish, the human body has trouble producing some omega-3s, meaning a supplement is useful.

Fish Oil Can Combat Minor Cognitive Decline and Improve Mental Health

Research shows that low levels of omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, can lead to accelerated brain aging, contributing to functional deficits. Fortunately, studies also show that consuming appropriate doses of these omega-3s, through a combination of supplements and dietary choices, can improve brain function in those experiencing a minor decline.

Better still, people suffering from depression might experience reduced symptoms if they add a fish oil supplement to their diet. However, the supplement formula should contain higher levels of EPA, and for the best effect, should be taken with anxiety medication.

Is Fish Oil Right for You?

In a healthy adult, the consumption of fish oil does not show any significant effect on the subject's brain, but that does not mean it is worthless. Every person needs omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, which you can obtain through the consumption of fatty fish or supplements. However, keep in mind that fish oil supplements can affect blood clotting, so speak with your doctor first.

Do you eat enough fatty fish or take fish oil supplements? Please leave a comment below explaining why or why not.

Is the Raw Diet a Fad or Healthy Long-Term Option

Many people believe the raw food diet is some new-age trend, but its roots date back to the 1800s. Granted, support and interest are surging now but does its historical perseverance suggest significance. Should dieters trust the principles and opinions of a diet that has existed for more than 200 years only because it has maintained the test of time?

While it is true that most of what scientists know about diet and nutrition has not evolved significantly in the last few decades, surely, 200 plus years has given time for assessment and insight. The remainder of this article will dive into the specifics of the raw food diet and its claims, trying to uncover the truth between fact and fiction.

Understanding the Raw Food Diet and Its Core Value System

The premise of raw foodism or raw veganism is that completely raw and unprocessed foods are healthier than other cooked options. The guidelines stipulate that food is considered raw if it has never reached a temperature over 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

The primary ingredients of a raw food diet include plant-based foods, but some participants include raw eggs and dairy. While the consumption of raw fish and meat is also acceptable, it is not a popular option. While supplements are generally encouraged on many vegetarian diets to ensure adequate nutrition, the raw food diet discourages such additions.

Proponents of the raw food diet believe that it improves vitality, increases energy, promotes weight loss, and can improve chronic conditions. They also believe that cooking food strips it of its nutrient content and destroys natural enzymes, reducing the "life force" of the meal.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Raw Food Is Not Fundamentally Healthier Than Cooked

Despite the core beliefs of diet supporters, there is no evidence to suggest that raw food is healthier than cooked. Research has shown, time and time again, there are health benefits to consuming both cooked and raw foods.

The argument that cooking destroys the natural enzymes in food is overrated. True, cooking does cause enzymes to denature, but the same thing happens in the acid of the stomach. In truth, the body produces its own enzymes, facilitating necessary chemical processes. making the argument moot.

Proponents of the diet also argue that cooking strips away essential nutrients from the food, particularly B vitamins and vitamin C that are water-soluble. However, while some nutrients are diminished through cooking, the process promotes access to other nutrients and antioxidants. Cooking also makes food safer and healthier to consume by eliminating harmful compounds, such as phytic acid or lectins found in grains and legumes. Harmful bacteria also cannot survive the cooking process.

None of this is to say that you should not eat raw food. The scientific information currently available merely suggests the healthiest diet contains a mix of both raw and cooked foods.

The Raw Food Diet Is Not a Long-Term Solution

The raw food diet presents several potential risks, but the most significant is the lack of caloric intake. While people can find success in losing weight on this diet, that weight loss is not particularly healthy if it results from caloric deprevation. Granted, all weight loss programs are focused on calorie restriction, but being too strict and not receiving adequate nutritional support can result in health problems and eating disorders.

Do you have any experience with the raw food diet? If so, how was your experience, and do you have any advice for others that wish to try it? Leave a helpful and supportive comment below about your nutritional journey.