Posts Tagged ‘discount blood lab tests’

What is the best nut butter?

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What is the best nut butter?

Peanut butter is the most popular nut butter, but it may have some competition. To name a few there is almond butter, sunflower butter, and cashew butter. Most of these provide protein, magnesium, vitamin E, zinc, and copper. It is becoming increasingly popular to add things like collagen, omega-3s, and coconut to nut and seed butters for added health benefits, but are all of these additives necessary? The answer is, it depends. The most important thing when determining if a nut butter is healthy is reading the label. Look for nut butters that have no more than 3 grams of added sugars, less than 3 grams of saturated fat, 6-8 grams of protein, less than 150 mg of sodium.

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A good rule of thumb when reading food labels is if you can pronounce the ingredients, then there is a good chance that it’s a good option. There are also options that are similar to nut butters for those that are allergic to nuts such as sunflower butter, soy and pea butter, and tahini. When looking for the healthiest versions of these nut-free butters look for options with minimal ingredients. Lastly, you should beware of spreads that resemble nut butters, but are actually spreads with more sugar than nuts. A few examples include cookie butter, chocolate spread, and granola butter. Overall, nut butters are a great snack option full of vitamins and nutrients, but it is important to select options made with clean and minimal ingredients.


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Why Low-Fat Diets Fail?

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Why Low-Fat Diets Fail?

One of the most common misconceptions people have when trying to lose weight is that they need to cut out fat or eat foods that are labeled low-fat in order to achieve their goal or live a healthy lifestyle, however by doing this you could actually be doing more harm than good. Reducing fat often leads to a higher intake of refined carbs, and cuts out healthy fats that your body needs. Research has found diets with high amounts of saturated fats are associated with a higher risk of heart attacks and high blood cholesterol levels.

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So, instead of taking an approach that completely eliminates or significantly reduces fat, you should opt to include healthy unsaturated fats in your diet. Healthy fats are actually an essential macronutrient because they help your body absorb nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, and antioxidants. Omega-3 fats optimize heart, nerve, and brain function. You should include healthy fats into your diet like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish, and try to limit your consumption of “reduced-fat” fat foods that are high in refined carbs and added sugars. A healthy diet includes healthy fats, primarily unrefined carbohydrates, and protein.


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What type of water should you be drinking?

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What type of water should you be drinking?

There is no question that staying hydrated is key when it comes to your health, like reducing fatigue, preserving sensitive tissues, and keeping your immune system healthy. There are many options when it comes to your drinking water such as:

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  • alkaline,
  • spring,
  • purified,
  • mineral, and
  • artesian,

but does it matter which one you are drinking?

Mineral water natural water that contains at least 250 part per million total of dissolved solids. Artesian water is acquired from a well that taps a layer of rock or sand. Spring water is derived from an underground source in spring. Purified water is highly treated through distillation, and deionization in order to meet certain standards. Lastly, alkaline water just has a higher pH than tap water,  with a pH of 8 or 9 as opposed to tap water’s pH of 7. So with all of these choices, which one is the best one? There is not much evidence that one type of water is superior to others, however, there is proof that states everyone is drinking enough water. It is recommended that men drink 125 ounces and women drink 91 ounces. That’s about 15 cups of water for men and 11 cups of water for women. Your body is made up of water, so it is important to stay hydrated regardless of your choice of water.


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Why you should care about Carotenoids

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Why you should care about Carotenoids

Carotenoids are substances in fruits and vegetables that give them their bright colors. They are prevalent in many orange colored vegetables. Typically, more carotenoids are in foods that have a darker pigment. Carotenoids act as antioxidants which prevent damage to our cells. It is easy to add antioxidants, especially carotenoids to your diet from the following produce:

  1. carrots
  2. sweet potatoes
  3. pumpkin
  4. cantaloupe
  5. apricot
  6. papaya
  7. red and orange peppers
  8. tomatoes
  9. beets

It has been found that women with the most carotenoids in their blood are less likely to develop breast cancer than those with lower levels.  Lycopene is the best carotenoid to protect against breast cancer. Tomato products are loaded with lycopene.

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So, besides the red and orange colored fruits and veggies in your diet, you can add tomato sauce, salsa, fresh tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. Carotenoids are fat-soluble, it is important to add a little healthy fat to your diet.  An example of healthy fat is adding olive oil to your salad or vegetables or saute some garlic in olive oil before simmering tomatoes in the sauce. This will allow the body to absorb the nutrients and providing the benefit of lowering the risks of cancer. You can order your own lab tests to measure carotenoids with a simple blood test for Vitamin A


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Are Food Labels Tricking You?

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Are Food Labels Tricking You?

There are a plethora of options at the grocery stores that make claims like “No Artificial Colors”, that increase the want for the product because they are seen as the “healthier” option, however, this may not always be the case. The food manufacturers choose the wording on their products’ packages very carefully to increase the desirability of their products as long as it fits in the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration.

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Often times the claims that are made on food labels are not what the consumer thinks they are getting. For example, a product could say it is low in sodium, but according to the FDA, it just means it has 140 mg or less per serving. Another example would be when the words ‘simple’, ‘natural’ or ‘free from’ are plastered on food packaging, it is not verified by the FDA. In this case, be sure to check the fine print to see what the company’s definition is for the terms they have on their food packaging. Unfortunately, it is up to the consumers to figure out if a product is healthy or not. You have to read the nutrition label on each package in order to tell if the product is actually a healthy option or not. When reading a nutrition label, pay close attention to sodium, type of fat, sugar and whole grains.


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How to Improve Sleep Hygiene

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How to Improve Sleep Hygiene

Getting enough quality sleep is such an important aspect of good physical health. It is the time where your body heals and repairs itself. Sleep deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Your ability to function during the day depends on the amount and quality of sleep you are getting. The following are steps you can take to better your sleep hygiene:
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  • Set up a healthy and realistic sleeping schedule
  • Stop eating 2 hours before bedtime
  • Don’t drink fluids after your last meal, this will decrease the chances you’ll have to wake up to use the bathroom
  • Reduce the amount of blue light you get an hour before you go to bed. Bluelight comes from computer, television, and phone screens, and this type of light arouses the brain.
  • Avoid napping throughout the day. If you do take a nap, make sure it is before 3 pm, so that you are tired by the time it’s time to go to bed.
  • Ensure your room is a tranquil space for you, especially your bed
  • Establish a nighttime routine
  • Set up relaxation techniques you practice before going to sleep
  • Wake up at the same time every day
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine, especially close to the time you go to sleep

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Your Morning Routine Can Help Increase your Productivity throughout the Day

The start of your day can be a crucial part of your productivity for the rest of your day. Setting up a good morning routine can set the rest of your day up for success, even if you are not a morning person. In fact, it can even help you become a morning person! Having a good morning makes you feel accomplished and will motivate you to complete the next task of your day, and so forth. It will help maximize your energy and keep a positive mindset. It is important to be consistent in order for you to start seeing benefits, it takes about 21 days to create a habit. The following are some steps you may want to include in your morning routine:

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  1. Wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Practicing this will establish a sleeping schedule and prevent procrastination throughout your day.
  2. Open your blinds, getting natural light first thing in the morning will reinforce your circadian rhythm; it will help you wake up.
  3. Drink 16 ounces of water. Doing this on an empty stomach will kickstart your metabolism, flush out your toxins, and it hydrates you.
  4. Start meditating. It has been shown that meditation helps reduce anxiety, improves concentration, and helps set a positive tone for the rest of your day.
  5. Write morning pages for 15 minutes. You essentially just write whatever comes to mind for 15 minutes straight, this helps to clear your head of all unnecessary and unproductive thoughts.
  6. Complete a workout. This will help you release endorphins and feel accomplished after you have finished. You also don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day, so it’s one thing you can cross off your to-do list.
  7. Avoid using your phone in the morning, this puts you in a reactive state instead of a proactive one.

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Why do Women have Testosterone?

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Why do Women have Testosterone?

All healthy women produce testosterone.  As a woman ages, testosterone levels can lower and can have symptoms such as depression, loss of muscle strength, and lack of sexual desire.  If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may be diagnosed with the Female Androgen Insufficiency syndrome. Female Androgen Insufficiency syndrome is most common for menopausal women or those that had early menopause due to having their ovaries removed.  The most common treatment is estrogen replacement to postmenopausal women and those who have had their ovaries removed may find that this often causes and worsens this syndrome.

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Another important hormone that can produce Female Androgen Deficiency is DHEA-S.  You can order your own lab tests to check your hormone levels – there are inexpensive lab tests for DHEA-S, testosterone and other important hormones that regulate the body.  If you have any of the symptoms such as muscle weakness, osteoporosis, pain during intercourse or lack of libido, look at your testosterone and DHEA-S hormone levels and have your physician determine the best protocol.

Note: If your doctor prescribes male hormones, you should not take them longer than a few months and your doctor should discuss all the potential side effects with you.


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How Stress is Affecting your Overall Health

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How Stress is Affecting your Overall Health

You may be living a fast-paced life which could mean you are under constant stress. The effects of chronic stress can be detrimental to your overall health. Some symptoms of chronic stress include anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, and irritability. The following are possible effects of stress on different systems in your body:

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  • Immune system: Chronic stress means you are releasing stress hormones constantly and this can weaken the immune system and decrease your body’s response to viruses and bacteria. A weakened immune system also means the recovery period of an illness or injury is longer.
  • Digestive system: The liver creates extra glucose when under constant stress, which could increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. It can also cause an increase in stomach acid and this can increase the chances of getting an ulcer or for existing ulcers to act up.
  • Cardiovascular system: The heart pumps blood faster when under stress, thus raising blood pressure and increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Muscular system: Muscles tense up when under stress, however, if the stress does not subside, the muscles will not relax. Tense muscles can cause headache, and body ache, and in the long run, this can lead to a reduction in exercise.
  • Central nervous and endocrine systems: The central nervous system is responsible for your flight or fight response which is activated under stress. The hypothalamus sends signals to the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones increase heart rate and send a rush of blood to your heart, muscles, and other important organs. Chronic stress can also cause eating disorders, social withdrawal, and alcohol/drug abuse.

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How to practice flexible dieting

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How to practice flexible dieting

With the start of a new year, you may have a few health goals you’d like to reach this year. Many people resort to trying all sorts of fad diets because they think it’ll help them reach their goals, but often times they will just gain the weight back after they complete these fad diets. It is important to understand that living a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment, which is why fad diets don’t work. Some have a misconception that living a healthy lifestyle means that you can never indulge in any of your favorite foods. The idea of eating super clean 100% of the time and restricting yourself from enjoying any of your favorite foods is actually not healthy and, in the long run not very sustainable. Restricting yourself can actually lead you to overindulge later.

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For example, if you’re craving a cookie and eat a rice cake instead, you might end up eating 10 cookies later when you could’ve just satisfied your craving from the beginning by eating a cookie or two. Flexible dieting is tracking the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats)  you consume in order to attain your goal body composition. There are many apps and websites you can use to help you determine how much of each macro you should be consuming daily to reach your specific goal, and it might take some trial and error since everyone’s body is different. Once you figure out the right amount of macronutrients for you, you should opt for 80-85% of your diet come from nutritious whole foods, however, you may also include your favorite treats and foods into your diet. After a while, tracking your macros will start to seem easier and maybe even become more intuitive for you. Benefits of following a flexible diet are that it is both effective, sustainable, and you can tailor it to reach your specific goals


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