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Healthy Lifestyle

Can Superfoods Help You Sleep?

Can Superfoods Help You Sleep?

                                    Can Superfoods Help You Sleep?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 adults don't sleep enough. This happens despite the constant reminders from medical experts that at least 7 hours of sleep is needed by the body to fully recover. Sleeping less than 7 hours a day is associated with the increased risks of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity.

“As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, M.D. and director for CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need,” he added.

Apart from the aforementioned tips from Dr. Giles, experts recommend eating superfoods. This is especially important for people who struggle to sleep. If you have insomnia or are simply finding it hard to sleep at night, here are some superfoods that you may want to keep in your kitchen.

 

Carrots

In a study presented by the Pennsylvania University, it was mentioned that consuming alpha-carotene, which are nutrients found in carrots, leads to better sleep. Diets that do not contain this type of nutrient were linked to poor sleeping habits. It’s also worth noting that carrots contain the most potent sources of alpha carotene compared to other vegetables.

There are plenty of ways that you can enjoy carrots. Drinking carrot juice a few hours before sleeping can aid in helping you sleep better. In addition, you can also slice raw carrots and add them to your salad. If you need salad recipes, you can read Green Apple's ‘3 Healthy Summertime Salads’ post. Sprinkle slices of carrots on any of the three salads, and you will have a quick and healthy meal that will also help you sleep.

Apart from alpha carotene that aids sleep, carrots also provide other sleeping nutrients such as vitamins A and B6.

 

Banana

Bananas include a number of healthy chemical elements including potassium and magnesium that are natural muscle relaxants. When the muscles are relaxed the body finds it easier to fall asleep.

Leesa revealed a number of healthy midnight snacks including one that uses bananas as one of its main ingredients. They call the recipe a "Poor Man's Crepe," which is a take on the classic European crepe. With one of the core ingredients being a banana it means you are also consuming plenty of amino acids that the body will convert to serotonin, which is a relaxing neurotransmitter.

Apart from being a superfood that can help people sleep, bananas also have many other benefits. Food Matters published an article entitled ‘25 Powerful Reasons to Eat Bananas’ and you can check it out if you want to see how bananas can have a big impact on your health and overall wellbeing.

 

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is a mineral important for sleep. Lycopene is also an antioxidant, which is great for bone health and avoiding heart diseases. A glass of tomato juice during the day is a good way to ensure you get all the benefits.

If you don't like tomato juice, you can always have some tomato-based pasta for lunch to help you sleep later at night. Or if you like them raw you can eat them as part of a salad. Apart from lycopene, tomatoes are also great sources of potassium, vitamins C and K, and manganese.

 

Remember, healthy sleeping patterns also depend on the food you eat. If you are struggling to sleep you may want to consider eating the aforementioned superfoods every day to improve the chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

 

Author: Niamh Warren

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Green Apple Active Guest Post: Top 5 Tips for Lean Abs

Green Apple Active Guest Post: Top 5 Tips for Lean Abs

We are so excited to share this super informative post from fitness professional Sara Holliday!

Are you concerned about your abs? Besides looking attractive, having lean abdominals reduces your risk for other health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.  Use these top 5 tips to flatten your abs and improve your overall health. ~Sara Holliday MFT, CPT
1. Defy the abdominal crunch myth. Thousands of sit-ups do not equal flat abs! You can exercise your abdominals every day and have strong abs, but you won’t see definition until you lose body fat. The best way to see definition is through a combination of cardio and healthy eating. Just remember this equation: Increase your cardio=increases calories burned=decrease in body fat= muscle definition
2. Do the flat abs combo of kickboxing and yoga. Kickboxing boosts your heart rate so you lose body fat, plus the kicks firm the waist, thighs and buttocks.  Yoga is a wonderful form of exercise to lengthen your muscles while incorporating the core muscles.
3. Increase your fat burning power with high intensity intervals. For example, incorporate stair climbing for a few sets, or take your power walk to a jog for a few minutes. These high intensity intervals will boost your heart rate and work multiple muscles so you burn more calories and lose body fat.
4. Keep your metabolism revved up with healthy snacks.  Be sure to pack healthy snacks such as Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal, a banana with peanut butter, a cheese stick with an apple, and or nuts. If you keep your body fueled you’ll have fewer cravings and you’ll burn calories throughout the day. In addition you’ll have more energy and improved digestion.
5. Don’t mistake hunger for thirst. Often times we’re dehydrated and think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Make sure you’re hydrated before you eat- drink a glass of water before you have a bite.  When you’re body is hydrated you’ll eat less and have more energy. Bio: Sara Holliday, MFT, CPT, HHP is a licensed marriage-family therapist, certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and holistic health practitioner. She has a Masters Degree in Psychology and a Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology and maintains certifications and/or licenses in a multitude of health and fitness disciplines. As an expert in health and wellness, Sara has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows including Oprah Radio, Martha Stewart Living Radio, Playboy Radio, PBS Radio, KABC, KNSD,KTLA, KUSI, Fox 5 & 6, and she regularly appears as the fitness and wellness expert in videos for Ehow.com.
Read more great articles by Sara Holiday on her blog at or check out her site at fitbysara.com

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Yoga: Not Just for Staying Fit!

 The ancient practice of yoga is more than just a series of exercises to improve flexibility; it is a deeply spiritual experience that reawakens the mind at the same time as soothing the body. Similar to meditation, practicing yoga can help people to enter an intensely focused state of mind which is alert but at the same time free from worries or stress. Regular practice of yoga not only exercises the muscles of the body, improving posture and core strength, but also leads to a greater awareness of how the body works and how it responds to the stresses of daily life. This bodily understanding can help the practitioner to manage and experience relief from physical symptoms that have a psychological trigger, while the physical movements can support the healing of physical injuries. Yoga also offers many mental health benefits and can support people recovering from eating disorders or mental illnesses.   Physical Healing Through Yoga     As with any form of exercise, great care must be taken when doing yoga with an existing physical injury. Hatha yoga – a low-impact form of yoga involving stationery postures and deep breathing – is one of the best forms of exercise for injury sufferers due to its controlled pace and emphasis on correct alignment of the joints and muscles. Staying mobile during recovery from an injury helps to prevent muscles from stiffening up, but it is essential to follow the fundamental yogic principle of listening attentively to the body and not pushing beyond its limits.   Yoga can help to reduce the pain of long-term physical conditions. A medical study published in 1998 found that people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome were helped by adopting a twice-weekly yoga routine designed to balance and strengthen the upper body. Unlike conventional treatments that only focus on the wrists and hands, yoga works on the understanding that all the parts of the body and the mind are connected; therefore improving overall posture or teaching new patterns of movement in the arms and shoulders can relieve the pain in the wrists of carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers.   The aim of the holistic yoga instructor is not simply to guide his or her students through a series of postures, but to give them a new way of using and relating to their bodies that will spill over into their daily lives. The yogi’s increased awareness of his or her body can help in the treatment or prevention of many physical injuries.     The Physio-Psychological Connection   Many conditions that have distressing physical symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome, actually arise from a mental trigger. Our daily lives are filled with fears and worries and there never seems to be time to unwind. Setting aside a couple of hours a week to practice yoga means making time to look after your mental health.   In vinyasa yoga, which is also known as flow yoga, postures are connected by smooth transitions to create a flowing sequence of movements that is repeated several times during each session. While the body is working, the mind can relax; troubling thoughts drain away while the awareness remains lightly focused on the physical movements and sensations arising in the body. Some people are able to experience great relief from their physical symptoms by developing this powerful combination of a strong body and a calm mind.   Spiritual Healing and Recovery   Recovering from a mental illness or eating disorder is tough, while slipping back into old patterns of self-destructive behavior is far too easy. Research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health concluded that yoga is a promising therapy for eating disorder recovery, while numerous studies have noted the anxiety-reducing benefits of regular yoga practice. Yoga is much gentler than other forms of exercise and therefore places less stress on a body that may be fragile as a result of self-destructive behavior, but it is the mental health benefits of the practice that really make it a valuable part of holistic healing. Yoga moves the mind’s focus away from unhealthy preoccupations and brings it back to the here and now, restoring great psychological power to the practitioner. Reclaiming such great mental strength can be extremely helpful in recovery from depression, anxiety or addiction.     References Marian S. Garfinkel et al, Yoga-Based Intervention for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, JAMA, 1998, Vol 280, No. 18. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=188150 T. Rain Carei et al, Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Yoga in the Treatment of Eating Disorders, Journal of Adolescent Health, 2010, Volume 46, Issue 4, Pages 346-351. http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(09)00334-6/

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