Best and Worst Cooking Oils for Your Body

Walking through the cooking oil aisle of the supermarket can feel like visiting an exotic marketplace. There are so many to choose from: peanut oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and many others. What are the best and worst cooking oils?

The Best (and My Favorites)

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is at the top of every nutritionist’s and doctor’s shopping list. EVOO is packed with healthy fats and antioxidants that protect your heart. It’s rich in a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which reduces inflammation and lowers your risk of chronic diseases.

I love using olive for Italian and Mediterranean dishes because of its deep flavor. EVOO is also delicious as is. Use it to make homemade salad dressing or sprinkle some on top of pizza (with fresh basil) for an aromatic, nutritious treat.

2. Avocado Oil

Another nutrient superstar, avocado oil gives you a ton of vitamin E and a range of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. It’s like putting an avocado slice on your toast in the morning. Once you’ve tasted it, I guarantee you’ll be hooked. Avocado oil has a creamy texture that’s irresistible.

It’s excellent for stir-frying, sautéing and searing because it can stand up to high temperatures without problems. The only downside? It can be expensive.

3. Canola Oil

Canola oil is low in saturated fats, which is good for your body. On the other hand, it doesn’t have many nutrients, so it’s not as healthy as EVOO or avocado oil.

The mild flavor of canola oil complements any cuisine, from meat and potatoes to curry chicken. Personally, this is my go-to cooking oil, because it’s relatively inexpensive and really versatile.

Excellent in Moderation

4. Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is tasty. It lowers bad cholesterol, has vitamin E and may help you control blood sugar levels. The reason I put it in the “with moderation” category is that it can contribute to inflammation if you eat too much.

That’s not usually a problem, though, because most people don’t want every meal to taste like peanuts. Try peanut oil with Chinese, Thai or Indian food. The pop of nutty flavor is incredible.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has become popular as a way to boost your body’s fat burning abilities. It has a type of fat called MCT, which turns into energy instead of getting stored as belly fat. A spoonful of coconut oil can work wonders for kickstarting the metabolism in the morning.

Coconut oil has a high smoke point, so it also makes stir-frying and sautéing easy. The slightly sweet taste enhances the flavor of any recipe.

The Worst

6. Vegetable Oil

If you see vegetable oil at the store, keep on walking. This oil usually contains a blend of several oils, such as sunflower, canola, soy and others. But because it’s so highly processed, it doesn’t have any healthy nutrients. Manufacturers often use a small amount of normally healthy oils such as sunflower to hide cheaper oils (palm or corn oil) that contribute to higher cholesterol.

The Bottom Line

Don’t fall for the trick of mixed vegetable oils. Fresh, organic, nutritious oils are always better for your health. Cold-pressed options cost more, but they often have a higher amount of antioxidants and vitamins.

Also, think outside the box with recipes. Oils aren’t just for frying! Use them to give flavor and nutrition to every meal.

My Thoughts on “Cycle Syncing”

OK ladies, who here feels like nutrition and health information is constantly changing? You can’t see me, but I’m raising my hand over here! It seems like every time I think I understand the “right” way to lose weight and obtain optimal health, I’m suddenly told my “right” way is now the “wrong” way, and there’s a new-and-improved “right” way out there!  It can be pretty confusing. That’s why I was wary when my neighbor first told me about this new thing she is doing, called “cycle syncing.”

To put it simply, cycle syncing is the practice of altering your exercise and diet routine depending on where you’re at in your menstrual cycle. Many ladies swear by it, so I decided to see what all the hype is about. Here’s what I found out about this new trend.

Understanding Cycle Syncing

When it comes to hormones, women have it rough. One day we may feel energetic, happy and unstoppable. The next day we may feel completely drained of energy, grumpy and unmotivated. We have our hormones to thank for these very real dips and spikes in our mood and energy levels.

The idea of cycle syncing is to help women “maximize their hormonal power” with the help of certain activities and foods. The term “cycle syncing” was first coined by Alisa Vitti, who is a functional nutritionist. She is also the author of the book WomanCode and is the founder of the FloLiving Hormone Center.

How Cycle Syncing Works

Though there is not yet a lot of research confirming the benefits of cycle syncing, there are many women who claim the practice has changed their lives for the better. Here’s how to do it properly.

Track your cycle. You need to know which phase you are in (menstrual, follicular, ovulatory or luteal) in order to follow a cycle syncing lifestyle. It’s recommended that you download some sort of cycle-tracking app to make things easier. Here’s what to do during each phase of your cycle:

  • Menstrual: Your estrogen is rising during this phase, which can lead to cramps and other unpleasant symptoms. During this time, avoid fatty or salty foods, caffeine and alcohol. Opt for warming soups and stews and nutrient-rich foods instead. Focus your exercises on muscular activation rather than intense cardio, since your energy levels are low during this phase.

  • Follicular: During this phase, your energy levels will start to rise. Try eating fresh, lightly prepped foods (such as steamed vegetables and sauteed fish or chicken). Eat plenty of vegetables, seeds, lean proteins and dense grains that will help sustain your energy. You now have the energy to do more cardio-based workouts and lift heavier weights.

  • Ovulatory: You’ll probably notice an increase in strength and endurance during your ovulatory phase. To support your energy while protecting your muscles against breakdown, eat a lot of leafy green, fibrous foods. You’ll also feel physically powerful and should make the most of your workouts by engaging in HIIT, plyometrics (if your joints allow it) and other high-energy workouts.

  • Luteal: This is the phase we ladies don’t like so much. It’s when you start to feel more sluggish than usual and your motivation starts to wane. To help you combat PMS symptoms, eat foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium, b-vitamins and vitamin D. Plan to eat more calories during this time to help you fight cravings. Scale back your exercise intensity and give yourself more time to rest.

This is a simplified version of cycle syncing. Although it requires a lot of thought, I’ve heard it becomes easier with time. My thoughts on this practice are that it seems to show a lot of promise for women who become frustrated because they have a difficult time sticking with their eating and exercise habits during certain times of the month. So I say give it a try and see if it helps you!

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kelp and Its 10 Incredible Uses

In general, people tend to overlook the benefits of the natural environment. There seems to be a tendency to make life as complex as possible, forgetting life's simplicity. Kelp is a marvel of the natural world. Its composition holds biological benefits too many to expand on here. There are at least uses for kelp when it comes to health and wellness.

1. Bone Health

Kelp is an excellent source of calcium, even more so than milk and dairy. The daily intake of the plant can reduce the risks of osteoporosis and other bone density issues. In fact, the regular consumption of kelp can strengthen bones.

2. Thyroid Regulation

Iodine is a mineral essential to thyroid regulation. When a person does not have enough iodine in their system, the thyroid glands tend to swell, leading to a condition known as goiter. One of the first uses for kelp in the medical community was treatment for goiter because it helped reduce swelling.

3. Immunity Boost

When the body's acidity levels are too high, it can lead to indigestion or ulcers, sending your immune system to high alert. Most sea kelp forms contain an ionic salt, alkali, which helps to balance the acidity levels in the body, relieving stress on the immune system and allowing it to perform efficiently.

4. Anti-Inflammatory

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or rheumatism, you might want to add a daily dose of kelp to your diet. Kelp contains the complex carbohydrate fucoidan, a powerful anti-inflammatory. When consumed, it can reduce painful swelling and inflammation in the joints or achy muscles.

5. Circulatory Health

Found in cold water climates, kelp is naturally high in nitrogen. The chemical makeup of kelp means it is capable of strengthening blood vessel walls and reducing artery deposits, improving circulation. Kelp also helps to lower cholesterol levels in the body.

6. Skin Care

The antioxidant-rich and mineral makeup of sea kelp means it is perfect for skin care. The plant is useful as an exfoliation and moisturization tool. When used as a skincare element, kelp can reduce the appearance and frequency of breakouts. It also helps retain moisture in the skin.

7. Weight Loss

Kelp is a nutrient-dense food low in calories and fat. Some products, like kelp noodles, contain no sugar, cholesterol, fat, or protein in serving sizes of 10 calories or less. Plus, kelp contains a natural fiber alginate, which blocks fat absorption.

8. Workout Recovery

After a vigorous workout, your body needs to recover. Kelp can help. With its multitude of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, the sea plant helps increase your energy levels post-workout. It can increase the speed of muscle repair and rebuilding in the body. 

9. Cancer-Fighting

While it still needs further study, the regular consumption of kelp is linked to reduced cancer-risks, especially in women. Women who consume kelp as part of their diet seem to have less risk associated with breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.

10. Overall Wellness

Kelp is a nutrient-dense food. It is also a natural diuretic, meaning it helps the system eliminate excess water and harmful toxins. 

When you want to improve your health and wellbeing, look no further than the natural environment. The natural world has so much to offer, and kelp is only one of its miracles. Do you know of any other natural health options? Leave a comment.

These Are the Colors You Should Be Eating

Did you know that natural foods get their colors from vitamins? These healthy nutrients that come from plants are called phytochemicals. “Phyto” means “plant.” Phytochemicals protect your thyroid, heart, liver, joints, eyes, and other organs. Just by taking a quick glance at the color of a fruit or vegetable, you can tell exactly what type of antioxidants you’re getting!

The Best Colors for Your Body

1. Red

This is one of the best colors for your health. Intense red fruits and veggies get their color from lycopene and other antioxidants. These superstars help increase your defenses against heart disease, prostate cancer, color cancer and other cancers. If you want to have a strong, energized heart for your entire life, definitely eat more red fruit and veggies.

2. Purple and Blue

These gorgeous colors are a sign that you’re getting lots of cancer-preventing, disease-fighting anthocyanins. People who tend to get urinary tract infections can benefit a lot from eating more blues. These colors also take great care of your brain, increasing memory and concentration while helping prevent strokes.

3. Green

If there’s one color people think of for healthy eating, it’s green. And with good reason — leafy green veggies are packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, folate and fiber. They can prevent osteoporosis, reduce joint inflammation, take care of your gut and help you lose weight! An antioxidant called lutein is so powerful it can prevent age-related eye problems and keep your mind sharp.

4. Yellow and Orange

Do you remember your mother telling you to eat more carrots for your eyesight? She was right. Yellow/orange fruits and veggies contain antioxidants called carotenoids. They rejuvenate eye tissue, keep your vision healthy and improve your immune system. Any time you need vitamin A or vitamin C, turn to yellows and oranges — they’re the best sources.

5. White

In the plant world, white is a color, too. White fruits and vegetables get their color from anthocyanins. These antioxidants are the reason garlic is so good for you. They don’t take the place of antibiotics, but they do help your body fight diseases more effectively, protecting against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. They also lower your cholesterol levels.

Eating Your Way Across the Rainbow

Including more colors in your diet gives you lots of vitamins. It also makes your meals look more exciting and appealing:

  • Green: kiwi, lime, cabbage, spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, celery, asparagus, green peppers, peas, green beans, avocados

  • Blue/purple: Blueberries, blackberries, grapes, figs, plums, dates and prunes

  • Yellow: Sweet corn, grapefruit, yellow peppers, yellow tomatoes, pineapples and apricots

  • Red: Rhubarb, pink grapefruit, red peppers, beets, radishes, tomatoes, apples, cranberries, strawberries, cherries and watermelons

  • Orange: Carrots, papayas, oranges, peaches, mangoes, pumpkins and sweet potatoes

  • White: Cauliflower, garlic, onions, potatoes, bananas and pears

Trust me, adding more colors to your diet is a smart investment. You can feel the difference right away, from your energy levels in the morning to the quality of your sleep at night.

Tips for Getting More Color

Having trouble getting fresh fruit? Too busy to prepare fresh veggies with every meal? A good compromise is to choose frozen fruit and vegetables. They contain many of the same nutrients as fresh.

Another of my favorite tips is to follow the seasons. This guarantees you the freshest fruits and veggies, and it also gives you more variety of nutrients. Feast on tangy strawberries in summer, juicy oranges in winter, tasty sweet potatoes in fall, and crunchy asparagus in spring!

The Truth About Celery Juice

It seems like every generation has its own miraculous wonder diets, tonics and treats. I’ve written before about the grapefruit diet that was all the rage in the ‘80s. The 21st century brought us even more health kicks and food fads than ever before: Paleo. Keto. Kefir. Kombucha. The list goes on and on.

Now, celery juice is having a moment. Some folks claim it can cure everything from acne to cancer. Skeptical? You should be. Let’s break down what celery juice can and cannot do.

What Celery Juice Can Do

Chugging a cold glass of celery juice does several things for your well-being. Most of them are good; some of them are not. Here are five things that celery juice can do for you:

Boost Your Nutrient Intake

Celery juice is rich in an assortment of nutrients, including vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium, folate and several others. In fact, juiced celery is filled with more nutrition than a stalk of celery itself since the majority of its fiber has been removed. More on that in a bit, though.

Keep You Hydrated

Because the neon green juice is mostly water, it’s supremely hydrating. It’s also a healthier alternative to sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit juices. A cup of celery juice contains only 5 grams of naturally occurring sugar and roughly 40 calories.

Reduce Inflammation

Celery juice may also be able to reduce inflammation thanks to the presence of flavonoids, which are powerful plant compounds that act like antioxidants. Research suggests that eating a diet that’s loaded with antioxidants can decrease your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

Raise Your Sodium Intake

While celery is high in a host of helpful nutrients, it’s also high in sodium. If you’re on a low-sodium diet, you should probably look for another beverage. Even if you’re not, you should limit yourself to only one glass, maybe two, of celery juice each day to remain within the recommended daily allowance of sodium for most men and women.

Cause You To Eat More

As noted above, celery is low in fiber. On the one hand, that’s good because it allows other nutrients to shine. On the other hand, that’s bad because your body needs fiber; it’s instrumental to gut health, healthy blood sugar levels and low cholesterol. It’s also what helps you feel full after eating or drinking. Swap out a healthy lunch with celery juice, and you may find yourself snacking all the way to suppertime.

What Celery Juice Cannot Do

In recent years, the power of celery juice has taken on an almost mythical quality. In reality, it’s vegetable juice. More specifically, here are two things celery juice cannot do for you:

Cure You of Anything

While antioxidant-rich foods and beverages including celery juice may lower your risk of developing certain cancers, celery juice is not a cure for cancer — or anything else. What’s more, the research that suggests it may be effective in fighting diabetes and obesity is still relatively new and limited in scope. Science may one day find that downing a glass of celery juice cures everything from acne to male-pattern baldness, but that day has yet to arrive.

Rid Your Body of Toxins

Celery juice is not, as some diet scams claim, a detoxifier. Going on a celery juice cleanse won’t do anything but leave you hungry, fatigued and wishing you had a Bloody Mary to shove that celery into instead. Your body has its own system for removing toxins. It’s powered by your kidneys, liver, lungs and intestines, not by juice.

The Final Verdict on Celery Juice

Having a glass of celery juice every now and then is a great way to boost your antioxidants and cut down on sugary drinks. It’s not a tonic that will cure what ails you, though. For optimal health, the nutritional song remains the same: Eat whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats and a colorful array of fruits and veggies — including celery.