Is Dairy Really the Best Way To Get Calcium?

Dairy has gone through a lot of marketing changes over the years. At one point milk was touted in commercials as the solution for everything from achieving smooth skin to fending of bullies (yes, really!) Remember the old slogan “Milk: It Does a Body Good” from the 1980s? Back then, milk could do no wrong.

But more recently, dairy products have started to get a bad reputation. Not long ago, dairy was blamed for a wide variety of problems, including acne, weight gain, digestion issues and more. So which is it? Is dairy a caped crusader or a masked foe? The answer is that it’s likely somewhere in between.

Though milk probably isn’t as miraculous as the 1980s led us to believe, it’s also not as bad as some modern activists try to convince us it is. One of milk’s primary health claims is that it strengthens bones due to its calcium content. While it’s true that dairy products contain calcium, are they really the best source of this important component of bone health? Surprisingly, the answer is no! Here are several foods that contain more calcium than a glass of milk (which contains about 300 mg of calcium).

Almonds

Who doesn’t love to snack on almonds? I know I do! I feel even better about it now that I know ¾ cup of almonds contains 320 mg of calcium. So if you’re trying to get more of this important nutrient in your diet, feel free to enjoy a serving of almonds each day. Just don’t eat too much, since these tasty little nuts are also high in calories and can derail your weight loss goals if you aren’t careful.

Kale

If you weren’t already convinced that kale is a superfood you should consume regularly, consider the fact that it’s packed with calcium. Though it can be hard to consume sufficient kale when it’s raw, cooking it makes it easier to eat more. Two cups of cooked or sauteed kale will provide your body with 359 mg of calcium.

Bok Choy

If you haven’t tried bok choy yet, you’re missing out! This delicious Chinese cabbage is a little reminiscent of broccoli in flavor, but it looks more like lettuce. Just two cups of this vegetable can provide you with 316 mg of calcium. Try chopping it up and adding it to salads or stir-fries.

Tofu

Like it or hate it, tofu is a great source of calcium. But you have to find the type of tofu that’s made with calcium sulfate. Extra-firm or firm tofu provides up to 300 mg of calcium per 6-ounce serving. The firmer the tofu, the more calcium it typically contains.

Calcium-Fortified Orange Juice

It’s usually best to cut back on fruit juices because they contain a lot of sugar and calories. But if you feel the need to indulge occasionally, choose orange juice that’s fortified with calcium. An 8-ounce glass of calcium-fortified orange juice can give you approximately 350 mg of calcium. It contains other healthy nutrients, too!

Canned Salmon (With Bones)

Before you cringe at the thought of eating salmon bones, hold on for just a minute! The bones in canned salmon are very difficult to detect because they’ve been softened by sitting in a moist can. The bones themselves are packed with calcium and are great for your body. Try eating canned salmon on top of a green salad, in rice bowls, or on top of pasta. It’s an effective and tasty way to improve your daily calcium consumption.

What do you think of this list of calcium-rich foods? If you don’t like dairy or are lactose intolerant, these are all great alternative foods to help you meet your daily calcium intake needs.

Do Legumes Help With Weight Loss?

Legumes (pronounced “leh-gyoomz”) are the seeds or fruits of a certain type of plant family called Fabaceae. The legume family includes lentils, peas, peanuts and beans. Legumes have a very rich nutritional profile and they are full of protein and healthy fibers. They also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are good for the body and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

I’ve always liked the way legumes taste and the way they keep me satiated for long periods. But I had no idea they could help me lose weight until recently. But like many good things in life, there is some controversy surrounding legumes. I’ll go over that information and why I think it isn’t a big deal, and I’ll also show you the astonishing information I learned about using legumes as a weight-loss tool.  

Why Do Legumes Have a Bad Reputation?

There are a couple of things people don’t like about legumes. First, they contain phytic acid (we’ll talk about why that matters in a minute. Second, they tend to cause intestinal distress in people who aren’t used to eating them.

Though legumes have an exceptional nutritional profile, that profile is somewhat negated by certain antinutrients. Legumes contain phytic acid, which can inhibit optimal absorption of certain minerals (such as calcium, zinc and iron). But phytic acid is not unique to legumes. In fact, it’s found in all edible plant seeds.

Generally, the only people who need to worry about the phytic acid content in legumes are those who eat little o no meat. This is because people who eat meat get sufficient minerals to offset the potential negative impacts of phytic acid from legume consumption.

Additionally, you can reduce the phytic acid content of the legumes you consume by sprouting them, soaking them or fermenting them. Incidentally, these preparation methods can also help you avoid the intestinal discomfort associated with legume consumption.

How Can Legumes Help With Weight Loss?

Now that we’ve gotten the controversial aspect of legume consumption out of the way, let’s dive right into what we really want to know: how do legumes assist with weight loss? It turns out they help in multiple ways, including:

  • Helping you feel full longer
  • Curbing cravings
  • Lowering blood sugar

As I mentioned earlier, legumes are full of protein and fiber. Both are great for helping you feel full longer so you don’t spend so much time snacking. They also help curb cravings so you have an easier time sticking to a healthy diet.

Finally, legumes can help you avoid spikes in blood sugar. Since legumes are low on the glycemic index, they do not raise blood sugars rapidly as white flour and breads do. Low-glycemic foods are associated with improved weight loss.  

How To Enjoy Legumes

Now that you know how important legumes can be on your weight-loss journey, it’s time to talk about how to enjoy them. Just remember that before using any of these methods, soak your legumes to lower their phytic acid content.

  • Add legumes to soups, casseroles and stews
  • Add cooked beans to your burgers and/or meatballs
  • Puree beans and seeds to use as vegetable dips
  • Sprinkle a few black beans, lentils or chickpeas onto a fresh green salad

These are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy legumes in my daily diet. Give them each a try to see which option you prefer. You can also sprout your legumes to enjoy maximum nutritional benefits. It’s pretty easy to find sprouting guidelines online for different types of legumes. Remember to also exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, and consume other healthy foods to get the greatest weight-loss benefits from your legume consumption.

5 Reasons Restrictive Diets Will Never Work

A restrictive diet is one where you lose weight by giving up certain foods. Sometimes, this is a healthy choice, such as avoiding junk food. But most of these diets tell you to cut out entire food groups, such as carbs. Some force you to carefully measure the amount of calories you take in. The big question is, do restrictive diets work?

Why Don't Restrictive Diets Work?

According to expert nutritionists, any diet that is restrictive is practically doomed to fail from the very beginning. Why?

  1. Old habits: As I think most of know from personal experience, restrictive diets tend to be a temporary thing. No one really wants to eat cabbage soup every day or give up on chocolate for good. After 3–6 months, most people go back to eating how they used to, which adds on all those pounds again.

  2. Cheating: Let’s face it, denying yourself things that taste good is hard work. It feels like you’re punishing yourself. That opens up the door to “cheating,” weekend splurges that undo a whole week’s worth of progress.

  3. Unrealistic expectations: Any diet that sets your caloric intake really low is never going to work long term for most people. When you start to experience extreme hunger, nausea, headaches, dizziness and other symptoms, you’re probably going to give in to what your body is telling you: “I need more energy!”

  4. Changes in metabolism: You can try to fight your body with restrictive diets, but it’s a losing battle. Your metabolism starts to work against you. Burning calories takes longer because your energy production slows down. It’s like your body is saying: “You think you can starve me? Think again!”

  5. Band-Aid “fixes”: Restrictive diets don’t work because they’re superficial. They only focus on food, completely overlooking other causes of weight gain: stress, sleep problems and low activity levels. Ignoring these underlying issues makes weight come back sooner rather than later.

Overall, eating tasty, nutritious foods is good for you. It makes you happy, and it should. This healthy feeling goes against the rules of restrictive diets, so it’s always going to be hard to follow this type of diet.

How Can You Lose Weight for Good?

If you really want to lose weight, you need to focus on making long-term changes, not following short-term fad diets. It’s absolutely possible to stay slim, love your body and feel happy at the same time.:

  • Choose a balanced diet that you can realistically live with: Make sure you have a wide range of healthy options for meals. Then, stick with this type of eating.

  • Eat food that's naturally good for you: Include more fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, probiotics and lean proteins.

  • Get more physical activity: This is one of the biggest keys to long-term weight loss. It’s better to burn up those 2,000–2,500 calories by exercising for 15 minutes a day than to eat an unrealistic 1,000-calorie diet.

  • Drink plenty of water: Many people feel hungry when they’re actually thirsty. Avoid weight gain by drinking a full eight glasses of water a day. That’s good for your kidneys and heart anyway.

  • Use healthy proteins to calm the munchies: The next time you have the munchies, don’t say "no." Say "yes," but eat filling protein instead of junk food. Grab some almonds, pistachios, Greek yogurt, cheese, hard-boiled eggs or smoked salmon.

One diet did work great long term in studies. The Mediterranean diet. It helps you stay slim because it’s focused on heart-healthy, natural foods.

Are “Teatoxes” a Good Idea?

There are so many new diet fads and discoveries coming out all the time that it seem nearly impossible to keep up with them all. One of the most recent fads I’ve heard about is the “teatox.” I like a nice, refreshing cup of tea now and then, but I’d never considered that tea could potentially be used as a cleanse to detoxify the body.

Luckily, I have friends who hear about and try different cleanses and diets before I do, so I get to rely on their experience a bit. One of my friends tried a teatox recently and told me that although she felt very fatigued while she was doing it, she felt much more refreshed and healthy afterward. So I decided to look into the practice a bit before trying it myself. Here’s what I found out.

What Is a Teatox?

A teatox is the practice of drinking teas infused with various things (such as stimulants, laxatives and diuretics for as much as 30 days (or even more!) For optimum results, you’re supposed to exercise eat lightly throughout the process (so it’s not a tea-only detox).

Consumers are showing a lot of interest in this practice, according to the energetic response to this new diet and detoxing fad. But are teatoxes safe, or should we be worried about them? That’s what I set out to learn, and the answer is a little bit fuzzy. But first, let’s dive into what a teatox is purported to do.

What Can a Teatox Do?

When done correctly, a teatox is purported to do the following:

  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Boost energy
  • Reduce bloat
  • Speed weight loss

It’s the last benefit in the above list that has people flocking to this new practice. This doesn’t really surprise me, though, considering that many of us have such a difficult time losing weight (myself included!) If there’s a practice that can help boost our efforts, many of us will give it a try!

What’s in a Teatox?

There are a variety of teatox products out there, and the type you choose depends on your primary goals. Whether you go with the Skinny Fit Tea, Flat Tummy Tea or any of the other cleverly-named teatox products out there, you’ll probably find the following ingredients in common between them:

  • Laxatives (such as senna leaf or senna)
  • Guarana (a stimulant)
  • Caffeine (in some cases, up to four times the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee!)

Different teas may contain additional ingredients, such as cinnamon, licorice, burdock root, milk thistle and other herbs. It’s not the herbs that are of concern, though. Herbs tend to be good for physical health. It’s the high amount of stimulants and laxatives in these products that should be looked at with a wary eye. Of course you’ll lose weight if the small amount of food you’re eating while on the teatox diet is very quickly eliminated from your body in the form of urine or diarrhea.

Is a Teatox Appropriate for Everyone?

So, it seems like Teatoxing can help you lose weight more quickly. But at what cost are you getting off those extra pounds? When you take laxatives over long periods, your body may not have adequate time to absorb nutrients from the food you eat. This could eventually lead to nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, overuse of laxatives has been linked to liver damage according to LiverTox website.

Finally, too much caffeine and other stimulants can potentially cause nausea, vomiting and rapid heartbeat. For these reasons, I don’t particularly recommend using a teatox to help you lose weight. There are just too many negative side effects that might come along with these popular new weight-loss products.

Is It Good or Bad To Eat Something Before Bedtime?

It’s amazing how many different opinions people have about eating before bed. Some people say it’s great for dealing with insomnia and others warn that it’s the reason you have trouble sleeping in the first place. What’s the truth?

Does Eating Before Bed Affect Your Sleep Quality?

If you have trouble sleeping at night, eating a lot of food before bedtime may be the reason why. Men are affected by this, but women are affected even more:

  • Making it harder to fall asleep
  • Waking you up in the middle of the night
  • Interrupting normal sleep cycles
  • Decreasing the amount of time you spend in restful sleep

It's important to emphasize that sleep issues are mainly caused by foods that are high in fat, sugar or calories. Snacking on potato chips, ice cream, nachos, pizza or pie — or eating a big meal right before bed — can definitely affect sleep quality.

Do Certain Foods Make You Sleepy?

The good news is that not all foods are bad for bedtime. In fact, some are great for falling asleep. Foods containing tryptophan, serotonin or melatonin can help you unwind, feel calm, and sleep better. Here are my favorite nighttime superstars:

  • Kiwi slices
  • Tart cherries/tart cherry juice
  • Almonds
  • Milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Chamomile tea
  • Passionflower tea
  • Valerian root tea

I'm serious. Eat a kiwi before bed for a week and let me know how it goes. I didn’t believe it either, but it works wonders!

Does Nighttime Snacking Make You Gain Weight?

Some people gain a LOT of weight when they eat at night. Others actually lose weight! Why the difference?

It all comes down to portion control and calories. If you know you get hungry around bedtime, making yourself a healthy turkey sandwich an hour or so before bed won’t add to your waistline. In fact, it may help you eat more balanced meals the next day.

Some people like to eat a bowl of cereal, some fruit, or Greek yogurt. I prefer grabbing a portion of mozzarella cheese or some nuts.

Does a Healthy Diet Help You Sleep Better?

Do you remember how amazing you felt the last time you woke up completely refreshed? That’s how sleep is supposed to be all the time, but stress and health problems get in the way.

A healthy diet supports good sleep by giving the body has enough nutrients to produce lots of sleep hormones. Fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and antioxidants are all needed. Omega-3 fatty acids increase production of melatonin, the brain chemical that controls your sleep cycle.

To get plenty of omega-3s, add fresh fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.) to your diet a couple of times a week, or take a supplement. Eating a Mediterranean diet with lots of fresh veggies, fruit, olive oil and lean meats can be a great help, too.

Do You Really Need To Worry About Sleep Quality?

Your body doesn't start to repair itself at night until stage three of sleep (deep sleep). Stage four (REM sleep) is essential for brain health and memory. What this means is that waking up at night makes you miss out on health benefits.

That’s why you feel exhausted, sore or irritable. It’s why you have trouble concentrating or remembering. Your immune system suffers, too.

Falling and staying asleep is no joke. This is a pillow fight you need to win!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Colonics: Does This Odd Practice Really Work?

Let’s talk about a subject that might make a few of us a little squirmy. Colonics (also known as colonic irrigation) is a procedure that involves irrigating the colon using water or a combination of water and other safe liquids. This practice is typically done by a hydrotherapist or colon therapist. Though it may seem strange to allow someone to clean out your digestive system through your rear-end, it’s a fairly common practice that may offer some impressive benefits.

Many people confuse colonics with enemas. These are two very different things. An enema is just a one-time infusion that can be done at home. Colonics involve more than one infusion done in different sessions. Each session typically takes anywhere between 45 minutes and one hour. During the procedure, up to 16 gallons of water and other fluids are pumped into the body through the rectum. I know, it sounds extremely unpleasant, but here’s why I am thinking about giving it a try.

Benefits of Colonics

There are a variety of reasons people choose to do colonics. Here are a few of the health advantages this procedure may offer.

  • Improved digestion. When you remove toxins that can get caught in your digestive system like sludge, you can improve your digestion. One study shows that gastrointestinal symptoms can, indeed, be improved after colonic irrigation. This is specifically in patients who have irritable bowel syndrome. Since IBS can be very challenging to treat effectively, some patients may choose to try alternative treatment methods such as colonics.
  • Weight loss. If you feel like you’re stuck and can’t seem to lose weight no matter what you do, colonics may be able to help. It does this in a couple of ways. It removes weight immediately by getting rid of toxic sludge (i.e. excess waste) caught in your body. It also helps with weight management by improving digestion s your body runs more efficiently and processes food more effectively.
  • Increased energy. Though it seems strange that washing out your colon could lead to increased energy, that’s exactly what some people report after receiving a colonic treatment. This benefit may be due to the release of pent-up toxins inside the body. Once these toxins are physically removed, your body doesn’t have to put so much effort toward trying to push the waste out when it’s sticking to your intestinal walls. Some people who receive colonic treatments claim that they experience improved energy, more restful sleep and better blood circulation.
  • Supports regularity. If you’re like me and struggle sometimes with constipation, you may find that colonics helps. This is one reason why I am considering trying this practice myself. Some people report that cleaning their colons out leads to improved regularity and fewer side effects of constipation (which include fun things like varicose veins and hemorrhoids).

These are just a few of the top benefits people report after receiving colonics treatments. Other touted benefits include improved concentration, better absorption of nutrients, and improved whole-body wellbeing.

How the Procedure Feels

Colonic irrigation may seem like a highly unpleasant procedure. However, those who do it regularly explain that it really doesn’t hurt. Instead, it causes mild side effects such as minor cramping and a feeling of fulness in the lower abdomen. These feelings typically subscribe as soon as the treatment is complete. The tube is small enough that it only causes minor discomfort when it’s inserted and removed.

Given the fact that the procedure isn’t painful as I first supposed and that it can offer a variety of health benefits, I’m seriously considering adding it to my list of things to do this month. At the very least, I’m interested in learning more about this ancient procedure and its potential effects on the human body.