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Pure Vitamins Blog

  • Healthy Fudge Brownies

    Chocolate, chocolate everywhere!

    Its Easter time again and if you want to keep your Easter Brownieshealthy but still indulge in something decadent and delicious we have the perfect recipe for you!

    With their moist, fudgy texture, and their rich chocolaty taste, these gluten and dairy free brownies are sure to be a favourite in your household.

    Preparation time: 30 minutes and 1 hour to set.

    Makes: 25 brownies

    Ingredients:

    425g Dried dates

    150g Goji berries

    400mls Boiling water

    200g Raw cacao powder

    125g Cacao butter, grated

    1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

    Pinch of salt (Himalayan rock salt preferably)

    200g Cacao nibs (Optional. Can be replaced with walnuts for crunch and less of a rich chocolate taste)

     

    Method:

    Soak the goji berries and dried dates in a bowl with the boiling water, and leave aside for 20 minutes until they have softened. Meanwhile, slowly melt the cacao butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Blend the goji mixture in a food processor until combined and place back into the bowl with the cacao butter, cacao nibs, cacao powder, salt and vanilla powder. Mix well until they are well combined.

    Press the mixture into a greased brownie tin, (try coconut oil instead of butter for greasing if you’re dairy free), and pop in the fridge to set for one hour.

    Once set, cut into squares and enjoy!

  • Should I eat Raw foods for healthy skin?

    Raw foods Raw foods

    If you’re looking for ways to try and achieve clear skin, you could consider incorporating raw foods into your diet. Raw foods will benefit all the organs of your body, especially the largest organ, the skin.

    When adding more raw foods to your diet, it may only take three weeks to notice some positive changes in your complexion. Here are five reasons to start incorporating more raw foods into your skin-friendly regime.

    1. Raw foods have more enzymes than cooked foods.

    Enzymes help repair skin cells and are crucial for all of the body's biochemical reactions. Without enzymes in your diet, toxins can build up, dulling your complexion and decreasing the renewal of skin cells, leading to accelerated aging.

    Between the loss of water and high temperatures when cooking produce, many of the natural enzymes are destroyed. By eating raw food, you're able to absorb more enzymes to help metabolic processes. This is not to say cooking should be avoided entirely. Cooking assists in the absorption of important vitamins and minerals in produce such as tomatoes and carrots, but most greens should be consumed raw or cooked at a low temperature to preserve enzymes.

    The best greens for your skin's health are radicchio, arugula, dandelion, watercress, swiss chard, and kale. Some other great enzyme-rich foods are pineapple and fermented foods such as pickled vegetables.

    2. Raw foods are rich in phytoestrogens.

    Phytoestrogens, which are found in plant foods, mimic the effects of oestrogen. Some studies have shown that this helps the appearance of skin by slowing down the loss of collagen and elastin.

    Foods that are rich in phytoestrogens include raw flaxseeds, green beans, nut and seeds, and pomegranates. Flaxseed contains the most lignins, a phytoestrogen that is highly anti-inflammatory.

    3. Raw foods assist your liver.

    The liver helps to detoxify the body, so it is important to look after it when it comes to keeping your skin healthy. When the liver becomes overloaded, it can eliminate excess toxins through the skin, messing with your complexion.

    Raw foods make the liver work less than animal products because they don't contain toxins, hormones or antibiotics. Raw foods also have good amounts of fibre, water, antioxidants, and nutrients that help the liver function.

    The best raw foods for the liver are garlic, lemon, beetroot, onion, bitter greens, and apples. These foods promote bile function to assist in the removal of toxins. These foods can be easily incorporated into your diet through salad dressings or smoothies.

    4. Raw foods contain a lot of water.

    In order to have healthy skin, it is important to hydrate from the inside out. Because the skin is about 64% water, hydration is one of the most important factors in avoiding aging skin.

    A lot of water is lost in cooked produce. Because of this, eating raw foods actually increases your hydration because you are able to benefit from the water in the foods. Also, soaking raw foods such as nuts and seeds in water to increase their water concentration will have a direct positive result on your skin.

    While drinking water is the easiest way to hydrate, some raw foods that have a high water content are watermelon, cucumber, celery, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, and green cabbage.

    5. Raw foods are rich in fibre.

    Increasing your intake of fibre sweeps the intestines of unwanted debris and is a great way to flush out your system.

    Some raw foods that include a healthy amount of fibre are flaxseed meal, chia meal, almonds, raspberries, and wheat bran. They fibre and omega-3s in these foods work wonders to make the skin healthy. The benefit of chia and flax in particular is that they do not tend to cause bloating, as other sources of fibre may do.

  • Jogging and life expectancy

    joggerWant to increase your life expectancy by 6 years? Then give a gentle jog a go.

    Here’s some extra motivation to get you out there and going for that jog! A recent study published in the renowned Cochrane review, found that joggers could increase their life expectancy by 6 years, compared to those that didn’t jog. The study, called the Copenhagen City Heart Study, and was a prospective cardiovascular population study that followed the jogging habits of 17 589 Danish healthy men and women ages 20-98 years between the years of 1976 to 2010. The study measured the association between jogging and long term mortality. It also looked at the effects of jogging frequency, pace and quantity.

     

    Jogging can give you extra years!

    This long term study showed that jogging was associated with a significant increase in survival for both men and women, and a substantially lower all-cause mortality risk. Of the 17 589 participants in this study, 1878 people (1116 men and 762 women) were classed as joggers. Of these joggers, there were 122 deaths, while there were 10 158 deaths among non-joggers. Survival rates took into consideration increases in general life expectancy of the 35 year follow up period. This age adjusted increase in survival with jogging was 6.2 years in men, and 5.6 years in women. The age adjust hazard ratio for death from joggers was 0.56 for both men and women.

     

    Keep it slow and steady

    • The most optimal quantity of jogging per week, associated with increased levels of survival and decreased mortality risk, was between 1-2.4 hours per week. The results of the study were not clear about mortality risk at quantities higher than 2.4 hours per week.
    • Results also suggested that a lower to average jogging pace was the desirable pace for a lower mortality risk. However due to the small amount of deaths between joggers, these results were also not confirmed.
    • The best frequency for jogging associated with lowest mortality risk was 3 or less times per week, although again further studies are required to confirm this data.

     

    Slow and steady wins the race. See if you can incorporate between 30 – 48 minutes of slow to average jogging up to 3 times weekly. Time to pop those running shoes on, and jog your way to a longer life!

    Reference

    Schnohr P, Marott JL, Lange P, Jensen G P. Longevity in Male and Female Joggers: The Copenhagen City Heart Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2013.177(7):683-9.

  • Healthy Hummus Recipe

    Hummus is a great healthy snack which will keep you going throughout the day, and packs a punch of protein, good fats, iron, calcium and fibre to boot! This easy recipe incorporates a choice of fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, coriander or mint which add in a bonus of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to keep you snacking super healthy. Serve with carrot and celery sticks, or wholegrain crackers for a healthy snack, or add to your sandwich or pita bread wrap as a delicious spread. PV-Dec-blog

    Makes approx. 450g

    Ingredients

    400g canned chickpeas or 400g dried chickpeas*(see bottom page for how to prepare dried chickpeas NB: if you would like to cook from dried chickpeas you will need to start the recipe one day ahead of time)

    1 heaped tablespoon unhulled tahini

    1 lemon juiced

    1 -2 cloves of garlic

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 bunch parsley or basil or coriander or mint (washed, stems removed)

    Method

    1. Place chickpeas in food processor, blend until smooth.
    2. Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic cloves, olive oil and herb of choice.
    3. Take the lid of food processer and test consistency of hummus with a spoon. If it is too dry add a small amount of water or oil until a smooth consistency is reached.

    To prepare chickpeas from dried:

    NB: You will need to soak chickpeas overnight, so ensure you start the recipe one day ahead.

    1. Place dried chickpeas in a large saucepan, cover with cold water. Make sure the level of the water is 10cm above the chickpeas as they will absorb the water and swell overnight. Add 2 tablespoons bicarb soda, leave to soak overnight.
    1. Rinse chickpeas well, and return to saucepan with same amount of water as the day before. Bring to boil and then simmer for approximately 1-2 hours, until chickpeas start shedding their skin and are soft. Drain the water and allow chickpeas to cool.
  • Top Tips On How To Protect Your Skin From The Sun

    After a long cold winter, all any of us want to do is get outside and enjoy the warmth of the summer sun!  However it is important that we try to protect our skin as best as we can from the sun’s powerful rays. PV-Nov-blog

    Interestingly enough the skin is the body’s largest organ.1 It covers the entire body and comprises of many layers but let’s look at the primary layers specifically, the epidermis and dermis.1

    Epidermis

    The epidermis is the upper layer of our skin which is visible and can be touched. This layer is comprised of multiple layers of skin cells that are constantly shedding to replenish and protect our skin from our external environment.1 This includes providing protection from ultra violet light, infection, damage associated with trauma and creates a barrier to prevent harmful substances from entering into the body.1

    Dermis

    The skin’s second primary layer is known as the dermis which contains sweat and oil glands that balance our skin’s natural oil production to keep our skin hydrated.1  This layer also contains hair follicles, nerve ending and small blood vessels.1   This layer’s main function is to keep our skin strong and firm because it contains collagen and elastin fibres.1  

    Ultraviolet light

    Australian’s are exposed to some of the highest ultraviolet (UV) rays worldwide!  So let’s take a look at the different types of ultraviolet light and what affect they could have on our skin if it is left unprotected. The two types of ultraviolet light that we need to be concerned about are called UVA and UVB.4  UVA is responsible for tanning the skin because it has the ability to penetrate into deeper layers of our skin.4  UVB have shown to be responsible for causing sunburn because it penetrates the first layer of skin.4

    It is important to note that UV rays are always present and completely invisible so even on a cloudy day you still need to be cautious to avoid getting sunburnt!  Prolonged unprotected UV exposure has shown to contribute to premature skin aging leading to wrinkles, fine lines, brown freckles and changes your skin’s natural appearance and feel.6  If this doesn’t sound bad enough UV exposure can also cause sun spots, pigmentation issues, leathery skin, cellular skin damage, eye damage and even skin cancer. These are pretty serious consequences so you need to make sure that you are taking the proper precautions to protect your skin from the sun at all times! This information may make you think twice if that temporary sun kissed glow is really worth it?! Remember no tan is worth dying for.

    So as you now can see it is important to maintain the health of your skin!  So how do we do this?  Follow these top tips adapted from the Australian Cancer Council!

    1. Slip

    If you are going to be outside in direct sunlight make sure that you cover up your skin as best as you can by wearing thin clothing with long sleeves and a collar.  Materials with tightly woven fibres such as cotton, linen or hemp may help to reflect UV rays.  You may also wish to wear lighter coloured fabrics to stay cooler.  If you are going to the beach try using beach wraps and sun safe rash shirts.

    1. Slop

    During the summer months sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes so you need to make sure that you wear sunscreen even if you are going outside for a short time period!9  Apply sunscreen liberally to all areas of the body that are going to be exposed to direct sunlight.  The Australian Government Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency suggests that individuals should apply sunscreen 20 minutes prior to going outside and every 2 hours after that.5 Select a sunscreen formula that will be specific to your needs.  This should not be too difficult because there are a variety of sunscreen formulas available on the market such as sport formulas, infant and children formulas, sensitive skin formulas, water resistant formulas, oil free formulas, sunscreen with insect repellent, tinted foundation formulas and everyday formulas. There are also many types of administration methods such as sprays, roll on, tubes, pump packs and lip balms to suit your needs.

    When selecting a sunscreen make sure that you follow the allocated directions on the bottle and always check the following:

    *Sun Protection Factor (SPF) number. The higher the SPF numbers the greater the sun protection.  The Cancer Council of Australia suggests that individuals purchase sunscreens with SPF numbers between 30+ and 50+.3

    *Provides broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

    *That the sunscreen has a valid expiry date.

    1. Slap

    Wear hats that provide extra coverage for your face, ears, head and neck such as broad brimmed sun hats or bucket hats.

    1. Seek

    Sit in a shaded area or create your own shade!  We all want to be outside in the sun but it is important that we try to stay in the shade as much as possible so that we can protect our skin from UV exposure.  If you are unable to find a shaded area, you may wish to create your own shade by using a sun safe shade tent, small tarp, folding chair with a shade canopy or beach umbrella.  This way you can still enjoy the sunshine and your skin is staying protected!

    1. Slide

    On a sunny day of course sunglasses are a must!  Follow these top tips to protect your eyes!

    *Source sun glasses that fully cover your eyes, wrap around style is best!

    *Ensure that the sunglasses you choose meet Australian standards by referring to the swing tag that should state AS/NSZ 1067:2003.

    *Ensure that you check your sunglasses eye protection factor rating which protects our eyes from UVA and UVB ray’s.  The highest rating’s in Australia are factor 9 and 10.

    *Source sunglasses that are polarised because they help to reduce glare and may be more suitable while driving.

    1. Look at the UV forecast

    Keep up to date with the UV forecast and certain times of the day that you may require additional sun protection.  This information can be accessed daily by the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology website, see here http://www.bom.gov.au/uv/.7  This way you can ensure that you are prepared for the weather conditions in advance each day to take additional precautions to protect your skin.  You may also wish to make plans to be outside during hours of the day that have lower UV rays!

    1. Get your skin checked regularly

    Have your skin checked regularly by a healthcare professional. Make sure that if you notice any moles, sunspots or pigmentations on your skin to get them checked out by your doctor who will be able to refer you onto a dermatologist if need be.3 It is important to self-monitor your skin and existing markings for any changes in size, shape, colour or texture.3 This way you can ensure that you are staying in tune with your skin health!

    1. What should you do if you do happen to get a sunburn?

    *Apply a cool compress to the affected area or take a cool bath.9

    *Avoid using soaps on the affected area because this may aggravate your sunburn further!9

    *Apply aloe vera gel liberally to the sunburnt area to provide a soothing effect and replenish your skin’s moisture to reduce skin peeling and itchiness.9

    *If your skin is blistered seek medical attention and do not pop sun burn blisters because they may become infected.9

    *Stay out of direct sunlight until your sunburn has completely healed.9

    * Drink water, it is highly important to keep hydrated and the cool the body.

    1. Nutrients that support skin health

    UV light exposure can generate harmful free radicals that can damage skin cells and contribute to premature skin ageing. Let’s take a look at some nutrients that can be used to support our skin health.

    *Collagen- Helps to promote our skin elasticity and suppleness. Collagen may also help to minimise the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.   

    *Vitamin C- When the skin is exposed to UV light it reduces the skin’s vitamin C availability.10  So how can vitamin C help keep your skin healthy?  Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps to rebuild collagen and neutralises free radicals that may have been produced during UV light exposure, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines to reduce premature skin ageing.10

    *Silica- Helps to rebuild and regenerate connective tissue to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.  Silica is also beneficial for the growth of strong hair and nails!

    So now you know how to protect your skin, what measures need to be taken if sunburn occurs and  what nutrients you can use to support your skin health, so now you can get outside and enjoy the weather this summer but stay sun safe!

  • Superfood Energy Bars Recipe with Chia seeds & Coconut oil

    Boost your energy levels by making this handy nutritious superfood energy bar - fantastic for when you're on the go:

    PV-Oct-Blog-image

    Ingredients:

    2/3 cup of chia seeds (black or white)
    12 large dates – pitted
    4 tbsps of extra virgin coconut oil
    4 tbsps of raw cacao powder
    4 tbsps of shredded coconut (fresh or dried)
    ½ cup dried berries – you could use cranberries or we recommend you try goji berries for a superfood boost
    1 tsp of vanilla extract

    Equipment:

    Food processor or blender
    Large bowl
    Baking tray
    Baking paper

    Method:

    1. Soak the dates and your dried berries in warm water for around an hour, or until they are soft.
    2. Add all the ingredients except the chia seeds into your food processor or blender and mix until they are well combined and have formed a paste-like dough.
    3. Combine the dough and chia seeds together in a large bowl and mix well.
    4. Line a baking tray with baking paper and press your mixture evenly into the baking tray. Use a knife to pre-cut the energy bars into squares or sticks.
    5. Place the baking tray in your fridge for the mixture to set – around 3 hours should be enough or overnight is ideal.

    This recipe makes around a dozen energy bars which can be stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.

  • How To Purchase Organic Foods When You're On A Budget

    We all know what it's like when we are in the produce isle of the grocery store and we see the "organic section."  The first thing that pops into our minds is dollar signs and then this is usually followed by the question, "Is the cost of organic food worth it?"  My response to you is, absolutely!  There are many health benefits associated with eating organically grown foods.  They are exposed to no synthetic chemicals, pesticides or artificial fertilisers during the growing process and you can have peace of mind that they contain no genetically modified ingredients, or are exposed to irradiation. PV-September-blog

    Organically grown foods have shown higher levels of certain nutrients, especially vitamin C and selenium. It is believed they have this stronger nutritional constitution because they are grown in soils such as compost and manure which are rich in nutrients.

    Organic farming also has the health and protection of the environment and existing ecosystems at the forefront of their practice. Sustainability is key, as is working together with the current environment and eco-systems to ensure renewable resources are used and the conservation of energy, water and soil is paramount.

    Organically raised livestock is also preferable because you can ensure that the animal has not been exposed to antibiotics, growth-regulating medications, steroids or hormones, and they are not fed animal by products.  These animals are also treated humanely and have a better quality of life because they are given organic feed and are able to graze freely outside in the natural sunlight and not kept in cages or feed lots.  They are free range. 

    An additional thought to consider is that organic farming practices are better for the environment as they don’t deplete the soil of nutrients, no genetic modification is use and there is less chemical involvement which reduces air pollution and helps to protect wildlife and residents that may reside in the growing area. 

    We all want to make the best food choices to support a healthy lifestyle but unfortunately eating healthy comes with a cost.  We all have different financial means and there is no doubt about it that eating organically grown foods can be expensive but here is some useful tips to help purchase quality foods when you’re on a budget.

    • Do your research 

    Find out where you can purchase organic foods in your local area.  Make sure that you shop around so that you can compare prices and get the best deal possible.  Also look for vouchers that may help to keep the cost down.

    • Eat organic produce that is in season

    This should go for all types of produce, but eating organic produce that is in season is more cost effective because there is an abundant supply available and there are less cost overheads associated with the growing process.  Organic produce in season also has a high nutrient content because it is picked fresh and does not have added preservatives to make it last longer.

    The next question that springs to mind is how do we know which foods are in season?  Well this has been made easy for us by Seasonal Food Guide Australia which has provided a breakdown of which fruits and vegetables are in season during spring, summer, autumn and winter.  Since Australian NaturalCare is located in Sydney, New South Wales I have chosen to use the seasonal food guide for New South Wales.  See what foods are season for New South Wales this year below!

    Spring

    Fruit: Cherries, lemons, mandarins, nectarines, oranges, peaches, plums and strawberry's. 

    Vegetables: Globe artichoke, Asian vegetables, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, cucumber, leek, lettuce, mushrooms, parsley, potatoes, radish, rhubarb, silver beet, spinach,  squash, tomatoes and zucchini.

    Summer

    Fruit: Apricots, berries, melons, nectarines, peaches, plums and strawberries.

    Vegetables: Asian vegetables, beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, celery, chillies, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, parsley, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and zucchini.

    Autumn

    Fruit: Apples, berries, kiwifruit, pears, persimmons and strawberries.

    Vegetables :Asian vegetables, beans, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, cauliflower, chillies, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, parsley, pecans, pumpkins, radish, rhubarb, tomatoes and white turnip.

    Winter

    Fruit: Lemons, mandarins and oranges.

    Vegetables: Asian vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, Lebanese cucumber, leek, lettuce, parsley, potato, radish, rhubarb, silver beet, spinach and white turnip.

    Don't worry if New South Wales is not your local area because Seasonal Food Guide Australia also provides information about seasonal produce in every state across Australia!  Simply follow this link and select the state that you live in to see what produce is in season in your local area, http://seasonalfoodguide.com/

    • Buy in bulk

    Buy larger quantities of produce that is in season at more cost effective prices and freeze it, or join a food co-op.  Buy in bulk for a group of people and share the buy at a reduced cost.  Foods that are frozen when they are still fresh generally hold their nutritional value.  According to Food Safety Information Council frozen products can hold their nutritional value for up to six weeks when using a fridge and freezer combination and three months or more if using a chest freezer as long as the temperature is maintained at approximately -18°C.  According to National Center for Home Food Preservation foods should be frozen in containers that are not too large because this slows the freezing process and could affect the nutritional content of the food.  If using containers they should be durable, leak proof and moisture vapour resistant.

    Alternatively you may wish to use flexible freezer bags or moisture vapour wrapping materials to package the food prior to freezing.  Ensure that you remove as much air as possible before placing these in the freezer.  According to the Food Safety Information Council it is also beneficial to blanch your vegetables by putting them in boiling water prior to the freezing process because this eliminates any bacteria that may be present.   It is also beneficial to purchase spices, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds in bulk quantities because this can be more cost effective.  You can then store them in a dry sealed jar or container to ensure that they stay fresh.

    • Source a farmer's market in your local area

    Sourcing a farmer's market is a great way to support our local farmer's and to purchase fresh, organically grown foods directly from the source.  Ways to source farmer's markets are to read your local newspaper and to watch for flyer's that may be mailed out to you or displayed in your local area.  Alternatively check out the Seasonal Food Guide Australia website which provides information about local farmers markets across Australia, simply follow this link to locate the nearest farmer's market near you, http://seasonalfoodguide.com/

    • Grow your own

    Growing your own produce is the best way to know what quality of produce that you are actually getting because you helped to create it!  Before you go ahead and plant your vegie patch, have your soil assessed first.  Just to make sure it is good quality and there are no nasties that need to be dealt with before you get started!  If you don't have access to a yard you may wish to source a local community garden.  To source local gardens in your local area, use the Australian City Farms and Community Garden Network Website to source local community gardens near you!

    • Get it delivered

    Take the hard work out of it all and get someone to deliver your organic produce straight to your door!  Here are some great companies to check out:

    https://www.doorsteporganics.com.au

    http://www.lettucedeliver.com.au/

    https://www.aussiefarmers.com.au/fresh-to-your-door/pick-your-own/organic/

    https://www.farmfreshgrocer.com.au/products/SET+BOXES-9

    http://www.harrisfarm.com.au/collections/organic

  • Simple Paleo Diet Tips

    Australia's latest diet craze, the paleo diet, has quickly gained popularity. Based on the dietary intake of people from the Stone Age, the paleo diet focuses on eating healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole foods while cutting out processed and refined foods. To some people, this diet may seem too strict; however, the paleo diet has many benefits, and it offers some healthy eating tips that anyone can follow. August-article

    Choose Foods That Have an Expiration Date

    Imagine the life of those who lived several generations ago. These people did not eat greasy potato chips or shelf-stable dessert pastries. If a food comes in modern packaging and can stay good for years, try to avoid buying it. Focus on adding natural, whole foods to your diet.

    Do Not Fear Fats

    Ironically, foods that have a “fat-free” label are usually the foods you should avoid. In moderation, healthy fats are satisfying and beneficial. Healthy fats can include avocado, olive oil and coconut oil. You can also cook with coconut oil, which can be cooked at a high heat without any negative effects. However, if calorie intake is concern, oil does have a lot of calories, so use it sparingly.

    Eliminate Refined Sugar

    In the Stone Age, sweet food made with refined sugar did not exist. In today's world, people everywhere enjoy and even crave these types of food every day. Your body might find it hard to cut out all sugar at once. Instead, slowly decrease your sugar intake by using dried fruit, honey, Stevia and other natural sweeteners.

    Embrace Vegetables

    Paleo is no different from other healthy, sensible diet plan recommendations that tell people to eat plenty of fresh vegetables. Current food guidelines state that everyone should have at least two fruit servings and five vegetable servings each day.

    Exercise Does Not Cancel Out Unhealthy Food Choices

    Some people think that by burning calories on the treadmill, it will be as if the heavy dessert they ate last night never existed. Unfortunately, exercise does not cancel out unhealthy food choices. It is true that proper diet and exercise are crucial to leading a healthy lifestyle, but maintaining weight consists of 20 percent exercise and 80 percent diet. This is the reason many people find the paleo diet to be successful.

    Get Moving

    While you do not need to start a strenuous exercise regime, it is important to include a little bit of exercise in your daily routine. Being more active helps people not only manage their weight, but also improve their mood and digestion.

    Have Sweet Treats in Moderation

    Concentrated sugar sources were rare in the caveman days, so sweet foods were not part of the typical meal. There is no need to eat sweets or desserts every day. Partake in sweet treats every once in awhile during special occasions, such as a birthday parties.

    Stop Counting Calories

    Those who count calories know that it is a frustrating and tiresome task. To get the same result without the hassle of watching your caloric intake, simply focus on eating sensibly portioned, quality foods.

  • Increase Your Testosterone Naturally by Eating These Foods

    Testosterone is an anabolic hormone that helps people reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass when they work out, helping them to improve their physique. Although men's bodies produce more testosterone than women's bodies, each gender needs testosterone. July-article

    Around 20-years-old, a man's testosterone level peaks. From that point, production of this hormone begins to slowly decline. A significant drop in testosterone may result in decreased energy levels, physical strength and libido. However, the natural decline of testosterone does not have to adversely affect your life. By adding foods with certain nutrients to your diet, you can boost your testosterone levels.

    Amino Acids and Whey Protein - Ricotta Cheese

    Recent findings from the University of Connecticut show that diets with whey protein contribute to a reduced production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that can pack on the belly fat and lower sex hormone levels. High levels of amino acids and whey protein, essential nutrients for muscle growth, can be found in ricotta cheese and:

    • Kefir
    • Milk
    • Whey protein powder
    • Yogurt

    Magnesium - Wheat Bran

    Wheat bran is full of Magnesium, which is ideal for those who love high-intensity workouts. Put wheat bran in protein shakes or pancake mixes to easily increase your testosterone. Other Magnesium-laden foods include:

    • Almonds
    • Cocoa powder
    • Green leafy vegetables
    • Oat bran
    • Sunflower seeds

    Saturated Fat - Coconut

    A published study in “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism”* states that men who took high-fat foods out of their diet and replaced them with low-fat options experienced a decrease in testosterone. Saturated fat from plants like coconut, or fat from meat that accounts for no more than 10 percent of total fat intake, is a healthy way to add fat into a diet without increasing health risks. Some healthy fat sources for testosterone production include:

    • Avocados
    • Dairy
    • Lamb
    • Steak

    Vitamin C - Strawberries

    Strawberries are known for their powerful antioxidant properties that decrease cortisol production during heavy workouts, allowing the body to make more testosterone. These berries are also an amazing source of Vitamin C. This vitamin can be found in other foods besides strawberries, such as:

    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Kiwi
    • Pineapple
    • Red bell peppers
    • Tomatoes

    Vitamin D - Seafood

    Seafood is an excellent source of Vitamin D, which is key to testosterone production. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, men whose bodies have high levels of Vitamin D also have increased testosterone levels. Adding seafood to your diet can help counteract the effects of decreased Vitamin D levels from inadequate sunlight exposure that often happens in the winter. In order to boost your Vitamin D intake, you can also eat:

    • Cage-free eggs
    • Cod liver oil
    • Herring
    • Mackerel
    • Salmon

    If you are concerned about having low vitamin D levels, please speak to your GP about having your levels tested.
    Zinc - Pumpkin Seeds

    Zinc is an essential mineral to hormone production and other enzymatic functions. It has been found that men with zinc deficiency have decreased testosterone levels and sperm counts. Pumpkin seeds are a versatile food that can either be eaten plain or added to salads and muesli. To get more Zinc in your diet, try:

    • Cashews
    • Crab
    • Lentils
    • Oysters
    • Steak
    • Wheat germ

    *Dorgan JF, Judd JT, Longcope C, Brown C, Schatzkin A, Clevidence BA, Campbell WS, Nair PP, Franz C, Kahle L, Taylor PR. 1996. Effects of dietary fat and fiber on plasma and urine androgens and estrogens in men: a controlled feeding study. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Dec;64(6):850-5.

  • Easy Ways To Kick Your Sugar Habit

    Refined sugar has no nutrients, but it does have a lot of calories. Consuming excess refined sugar can lead to tooth decay, weight gain, and other health problems. This four-week plan is designed to help you reduce your intake of refined sugar. The idea is that by cutting sugar slowly across a month your body won’t react negatively to the sudden change in your diet. PV-June-Sugar-Habits

    Week 1: Sugar-Free Snacks and Desserts

    The easiest thing to do first is to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of your snack and dessert food. Contrary to popular belief, there are many delicious healthy snack options out there. Avoid cakes, cookies and sweetened yogurts. Instead, opt for nuts, fruit, natural yogurt, veggie sticks, and nut butter. When it comes to desserts, refined sugar for cake can be replaced with agave syrup, rice syrup, or raw honey, or try making cakes with almond or coconut meal for a little extra sweetness.

    Week 2: Improve Your Breakfast

    The best way to combat sugar cravings is to ensure you have a healthy, protein packed breakfast that won’t give you a sugar low half way through the morning. Firstly, go through your pantry and get rid of any packaged or canned foods that have refined sugars, corn syrup, sucrose, glucose or fructose.

    Sugary cereals should be replaced for whole grains, brown rice, buckwheat, and other nutrient rich grains. Sweeten them by adding dried or fresh fruit.

    Increase the protein content in your breakfast to stop mid-morning hunger pangs by adding nuts or by eating an omelette or a protein smoothie as opposed to eating cereal. Chromium supplements taken along with breakfast can help control your blood sugar levels in healthy individuals.

    Week 3: Cut the Sugary Drinks

    Remove sugar from your tea and coffee. Cut the amount of sugar you add to these beverages in half every day until you no longer need it. If you need the sweet fix, replace sugar with natural substitutes, like stevia. Soft drinks (including diet soda), flavoured milk and fruit juice should ideally be removed from your diet completely. Replace these drinks with fresh water and a dash of lemon or with herbal teas.

    Week 4: Review your sauces, spreads and bread products

    Sugar filled jams, chocolate spreads and chutneys should be replaced with sugar-free fruit spreads, natural nut butters and home-made relishes. Eating an avocado spread, or a spread made of mashed bananas or hummus can be just as enjoyable as eating sugar filled jam. Making something at home means you know exactly what goes into it.

    Next, look at the bread you are eating. Does it have additional sugar? If so, replace it for bread that is made with whole grains. Sourdough bread, mountain bread, and pita bread made with whole grains are good options.

    Store-bought or canned sauces are usually laden with sugar. Start making your own. For example, make pasta sauce by adding fresh herbs to cooked tomatoes. Salad dressings can be made by mixing extra-virgin olive oil with mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and some fresh herbs.

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