You Should Eat These 3 Things to Decrease Your Risk of Cancer

Cancer is terrible. Truly.

What else is terrible? The fact that 1/3 of cancer cases are preventable. This means 5 million cancer cases in the United States each didn’t need to happen.

There are evidence-based ways to decrease cancer. And I feel it’s my duty to share this knowledge with you.

Three foods can really and truly decrease your risk of common cancers.

CANCER PREVENTING FOOD #1: Fruits

banana-berries-berry-775031.jpg

This is good news for you.

Fruit tastes delicious, has great nutritional value, and prevents cancer. Really.

What counts as fruit in these studies? Fresh, frozen, canned, raw and cooked fruits. This doesn’t count nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.

Fruit consumption decreases the risk of esophagus, stomach, and lung cancer.

Fruit probably decreases the risk of other cancers — such as nasopharynx, colon, and rectal cancer.

Fruit works it’s cancer protecting magic through many mechanisms. Polyphenols and carotenoids contained in fruit have antioxidant and antiproliferative effects. Not only do they have these effects, but they also modulate hormone metabolism, immune function, and play an important role in DNA synthesis.

Load up on fruits everyday for cancer protection! Some of my favorites include organic blueberries, mangoes, apples, bananas, and huckleberries.

CANCER PREVENTING FOOD #2: Non-Starchy Vegetables

agriculture-basket-beets-533360.jpg

Your mom was right. You should eat your vegetables.

Why?

Because vegetables convincingly decrease the risk of several cancers such as mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Furthermore, vegetables probably decrease the risk of other cancers (think nasopharynx, colon, lung, and rectum).

This is great news for several reasons. One, vegetables are more affordable than many other food groups (like dairy and meat). Two, you can grow you own if you want to. And lastly, vegetables have a whole host of other health promoting benefits.

So what counts as vegetables in terms of cancer prevention? Primarily, the non-starchy ones. This means all vegetables excluding potatoes and pulses (beans, lentils, and peas). And it includes fresh, frozen, canned, raw or cooked varieties.

CANCER PREVENTING FOOD #3: Dietary Fiber

agriculture-beans-close-up-176169.jpg

Dietary fiber. Not the sexiest sounding of all the foods. However, dietary fiber can pack a serious cancer preventing punch.

Colon, rectal, and breast cancer can all be prevented by eating sufficient dietary fiber.

Overall, dietary fiber prevents cancer by preventing insulin-resistance, decreasing inflammation, and by optimizing colonic microflora. Specifically, it is hypothesized dietary fiber reduces the levels of circulating steroid hormone, therefore playing a protective role in hormone-dependent cancers. In terms of colorectal cancer, dietary fiber is thought to increase stool bulk and dilute carcinogens through water binding, decrease intestinal transit time and carcinogen activity, as well as having anti proliferative properties.

You may be wondering exactly what counts as dietary fiber. That is an excellent question.

Many different foods contain dietary fiber. Fruit and vegetables contain dietary fiber. So do beans and legumes. Whole grains (wheat, brown rice, quinoa, popcorn, etc.) also count. Nuts, especially almonds, walnuts, and pecans, are higher in dietary fiber. Oat bran is also a source.

How much dietary fiber is considered sufficient? At least 25 grams a day.

FROM KNOWLEDGE TO POWER

Now you know the three foods to eat NOW to prevent cancer. Fruit, vegetables, and dietary fiber.

How do you plan to maximize cancer prevention through diet? Maybe it’s adding a green smoothie to your morning. Or trying my morning glory oatmeal (hint: it contains fruit and dietary fiber sources). Maybe you add up how much dietary fiber you’re getting.

Whatever you decide, may it help you (and your loved ones) prevent cancer.

xo,
Skye

Looking for more cancer prevention? Check out The ONE Thing You Should Do this Weekend to Prevent the Most Common Cancers.

 

The Carcinogen Hiding in Your Garage

Have you ever seen a litigation commercial? These are the ones that ask if you or a loved one have used a product and had a negative outcome. They encourage you to contact their law firm ASAP to see if you are eligible for a settlement.

I’m used to seeing these commercials for adverse effects related to medications (for example blood clots associated with a certain brand of birth control).

But recently I saw a litigation commercial for a different product. A product that most of us have in our garages. A product that almost all Americans have been exposed to on a semi-consistent basis.

Roundup.

You know, the weed killer. The one you spray in your yard that does a really good job at making sure weeds die.

It turns out Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, doesn’t just kill weeds.

Roundup may be killing people.

How? Because glyphosate is a known carcinogen (aka causes cancers). And exposure to glyphosate is associated with other aliments such as steatohepatitis (fatty liver) and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.

While this news is taking many by surprise, I’m not shocked. And if you’re a long time reader, you’re probably not shocked either.

Because I did an entire series on the hidden health havoc of chemical exposures last year. Check out the intro, part II, part III, and part iv (where I share the 5 products you need to change immediately to decrease your exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptor chemicals).

We now know glyphosate causes a blood cancer called non-Hodgkins lymphoma. And law firms are encouraging folks with the diagnosis to contact them to see if Roundup was the culprit.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to Roundup?

It’s safe to assume you’ve been exposed to Roundup. Roundup is the most commonly used herbicide today. And use has increased dramatically in the last twenty years. Roundup is used in commercial farming practices, on the grass in parks, and in most people’s yards.

Instead of asking if you’ve been exposed, the better questions are how to minimize your exposure and protect yourself.

I’m providing three ways to protect yourself and decrease your Roundup exposure.

How to Protect Yourself

1. Eat Organic

Roundup is commonly used as an insecticide in commercial farming. If you you want to decrease your risk of exposure through eating, choose organic foods.

Organic farming practices do not allow for the knowing use of glyphosate. When you buy (or garden) organic, you are drastically decreasing your risk of glyphosate exposure.

2. Buy Foods with the “Glyphosate Residue Free” Label

glyphosateseal_1.png

While eating organic decreases your risk of consuming foods with glyphosate, this practice does not completely protect you. Why? Because glyphosate use is widespread and may contaminate foods that are not directly exposed to the herbicide. This can include organic crops. Additionally, foods labeled as "organic" can  be up to 5% non-organic.

If you want more certainty, look for the “Glyphosate Residue Free” label. This label indicates a product or crop has undergone further testing to verify it is free of glyphosate.

Do you want to see more foods with the “Glyphosate Residue Free” label? Write to your favorite food companies and let them know! As consumers, we have the power to elicit change.

3. Stop Using Roundup or Other Products that Contain Glyphosate

Even minimal glyphosate exposure is linked to health problems. Avoid using Roundup or similar herbicides in your personal gardens and yards.

A Change is In the Air

The health risks associated with glyphosate are gaining widespread attention. And there is positive forward motion in eliminating exposure.

California now officially lists glyphosate as a known carcinogen.

The French president said he will take all measures necessary to ensure glyphosate is banned within three years.

However, do not wait for government change to protect yourself! Use my tips above to help keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy.

In health and happiness,
Skye

 

Is Happy Hour Giving You Cancer?

Don’t get mad at me, please.

Alcohol is a tricky subject and a rather polarizing one. You may love your drinks, totally oppose drinking, or fall somewhere in the middle.

Regardless of your personal (and likely valid) opinion, there is evidence about alcohol and cancer. Even though I know you may be mad about this post, I truly feel it’s my duty to share it with you.

Because, as we covered last week, cancer is preventable. Approximately 5 million (you know . . . the number five with six zeroes after it) cases of cancer can be prevented each year from lifestyle changes alone.

As one of my readers, you know I am absolutely passionate about preventing illness. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing I hadn’t shared an important part of the cancer prevention picture.

So today’s cancer prevention is all about alcohol.

How to Get Cancer: Drink Alcohol

Eek. I may have just caused you major stress/annoyance/incredulousness. But hear me out.

Alcohol can act as a carcinogen. It’s true. The mechanism of alcohol-mediated carcinogenesis has to do with the metabolites of ethanol. When you consume an alcoholic drink, the ethanol is changed into several metabolites. Acetaldehyde, one to the main metabolites, is a carcinogen. Further effects of alcohol consumption that are thought to contribute to cancer are redox changes, formation of free radicals, liver injury, elevation of sex hormones, folate deficiency, and an interaction with smoking.

There is compelling evidence to suggest alcohol consumption increases the risk of several specific cancers.  One of these cancers is breast. That’s right. Alcohol consumption is associated with a probable increased risk of breast cancer. See my chart below for specifics.

Cancer Chart.jpg

You may be wondering where this data came from. It came from over 100 scientific studies and meta-analyses. References can be found in this review article from 2016.  

So . . . What counts as an alcoholic beverage?

Good question. According to the studies used to correlate cancer and alcohol consumption, the following beverages were considered alcoholic:

  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Spirits
  • Ciders (alcoholic)
  • Local drinks (such as sake and mead)

Action of the Week: Decrease Your Alcohol Intake or Abstain

What does this information mean for you? It means that if you want to decrease your risk of cancer (specifically breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophageal, liver, and colorectal), you want to limit your alcohol intake.

And studies show no alcohol is even better for some cancers.

How do you feel about this? Shocked? Annoyed? Onboard? Enlightened?

Whatever you are feeling, it’s okay.

And what you do next is entirely up to you.

But at least you can go forward armed with the scientific evidence.

If you drink and are open to cutting back, I have some ideas for you. Try a mocktail (cocktail without alcohol) instead of your normal cocktail. Have a shrub. Experiment with various sparkling waters. Add fresh fruit or herbs to your water. Get crazy. Have fun!

If you drink to relax, brainstorm other activities to help you destress. Maybe it’s meditation, taking an exercise class, baking, cooking, reading a book, or making a relaxing cup of tea. Trial things out and see what works for you.

Give it a try this week! And stay tuned for more on the cancer prevention series!

In health and happiness,
Skye

How to Get Cancer - Part I

We all know someone who has cancer. And maybe even someone that has died from cancer.

If it seems like cancer is everywhere that’s because it is. Roughly 15 million new cancer cases are diagnosed worldwide each year.

While cancer treatment has improved tremendously in the last decade, still there is no absolute cure. You probably already knew that.

But did you know one third of cancer could be avoided by changing lifestyle and diet habits?

IMG_4627.JPG

That’s right. What I just said is cancer is preventable in many cases. Really and truly.

Because I would prefer to prevent cancer, I’ve done the research and incorporated the evidence into my life. And today I’m starting a cancer prevention series just for you. Over the next few weeks I will lay out the evidence and offer simple and sustainable ways for you to make lifestyle changes to prevent cancer.

I’m always shocked when people I work with don’t realize that some cancers can be prevented. Knowledge is power and cancer prevention is one of my passions. If you have a friend, family member, or other loved one that you want to help, please refer them here.

Each week, I will offer you one or two action-oriented methods to prevent cancer and the evidence to back it up. In return, you will use the next week to take action and make changes.

Without further adieu, let’s dive in and get started!

How to Get Cancer: Eat Ultra-Processed Food

processed foods.jpeg

It should come as no surprise that processed foods are bad news. We know they are linked to obesity, increase blood pressure, and heart failure exacerbations.

Now we know consumption of processed foods increases the risk of cancer.

A little over a month ago, a study was published that assessed the association between ultra-processed food and cancer. This study include over 100,000 participants that were followed for six years. The results were startling.

A 10% increase in ultra-processed food intake was associated wth greater than 10% increase risk in overall cancer and breast cancer.

Why? First of all, processed foods are high in total fat, saturated fat, added sugar and salt. Secondly, processed foods contain contaminants that are carcinogenic (such as acrylamide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Third, processed foods often are packaged in materials that are carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting (such as bisphenol A). Lastly, processed foods often contain nitrites, which are hypothesized to be carcinogens.

Which foods were considered to be ultra-processed this the study?

  • Mass produced packaged breads and buns
  • Sweet and savory packaged sweets
  • Mass produced confectionery and desserts
  • Sodas and sweetened beverages
  • Meat products with preservatives other than salt (such as meatballs, chicken nuggets, and fish sticks)
  • Instant noodles and soups
  • Frozen or shelf stable meals
  • Food products made mostly from sugar, oils, fats, and processed oils

Action of the Week: Ditch Ultra-Processed Foods. Immediately, If Not Sooner.

What does this study mean for you? It means that if you want to decrease your risk of cancer (overall and breast), you must decrease your consumption of ultra-processed foods.

So take an inventory. Do you eat any of the ultra-processed foods mentioned above? If so, say sayonara to them. Instead, replace the ultra-processed foods with organic vegetables and fruit. Drink water, sparkling water, or tea instead of sodas and sweetened beverages.

Give it a try this week! And stay tuned for more on the cancer prevention series!

In health and happiness,
Skye

 

How to Skip a Hangover — An Evidence-Based Approach

So . . . Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. And in America, we basically use this as an excuse to don green, crack out our worst and most offensive Irish accents, and give our livers some exercise.

It’s a holiday that precipitates celebratory libations of the alcoholic variety, really.

You know what comes after that?

The dreaded hangover. You know. The pounding headache. The dry mouth. Generally feeling like total poop.

Obviously, the best way to prevent a hangover is to abstain or only drink a bit. But despite your best intentions, every now and then the celebrating may get away from you. And boom. Hang over.

What can you do that can REALLY help a hangover? This a topic where old wives tales abound. But guess what? There is actually scientific data on this.

And I’m giving you five evidence-based ways to help you skip a hangover.

1. Hydrate.

Water.jpg

Water, water, and more water. Before you drink, while you drink, and most certainly after.

Hydrating before and during drinking can actually help curb the amount of alcohol you consume. Chugging water AFTER can make a huge difference in the dehydrating effects of alcohol.

2. If You Love the Grapes, Go Organic

Grapes.jpeg

If you drink wine, choose organic. Not only are you keeping your system clear of pesticides, you are guaranteeing what you’re imbibing in is free of added sulfites. Sulfites are notorious for making you feel bad.

3. Rosé (and White) All Day  

Wine.jpg

A study conducted in 1973 (you know, before medical study ethics were a thing) discovered which alcoholic beverages were most and least likely to cause a hangover.

The worst wine? Red.

If you want to avoid a hangover, try white or rose.

4. For Spirits, Lighter is Better

Vodka.jpeg

This has actually been studied.

A study published in BMJ in the 1970s looked at hangover risk associated with bourbon and vodka (each group drank 1.5 g/kg of body weight of alcohol). The result? Three percent of the vodka drinkers experienced hangover while 33 percent of the bourbon drinkers did.

Do you prefer spirits? If so, vodka (which just contains alcohol and water) is probably your best bet. Other spirits such as rum and bourbon contain congeners, which are toxic byproducts of the fermentation process that add flavor and color. Congeners are associated with hangover symptoms.

5. Skip the Pre-Celebratory Pain Relievers

Pills.jpeg

I know the idea of taking a pre-drinking aspirin, acetaminophen (generic for Tylenol), or ibuprofen (generic for Advil or Motrin) can be tempting.

But don’t.

When you mix aspirin or ibuprofen with alcohol, you can increase your risk of a stomach (GI) bleed. Trust me, you don’t want that.

And the seemingly innocent Tylenol? It can precipitate liver damage if you drink too much.

If you really want to do something pre-emptive, drink a glass of water and eat a good meal.

Cheers!

Now you know the evidence on hangover prevention. Next time you celebrate, remember to hydrate, go organic, go for lighter wines and spirits, and skip the pre-drink pain reliever. Wishing you a happy and healthier St. Patty’s Day!

In health,
Skye

 

THIS Snack Food Can Help You Lose Weight

Do you snack? If you said “yes”, you are in the majority. Most of us snack — nearly a third of calories in the average American diet comes from snack food. Which is a problem because most snacks are low in nutrition and high in salt, fat, and sugar. Basically our snacks are full of empty calories that pack on the pounds.

But not all snacks have to sabotage your health.

And if you are trying to lose weight, there is one snack that can actually help you LOSE weight.

This weight shedding snack isn’t some expensive bar or protein powder. Nor does it taste like cardboard and give you indigestion.

The snack food that can help you lose weight is simple and comes straight from nature. It tastes delicious and is definitively nutritious.

So what is this secret snack?

Almonds.

Let me tell you more.

The Evidence

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity first shed light on the weight loss accolades of almonds.

All the study participants were overweight and were given the same liquid diet for the majority of their calories. However, one group received almonds as their daily snack while the other group ate complex carbohydrates (such as whole wheat crackers, baked potatoes, or air-popped popcorn).

Old school thinking would make you guess both groups lost the same amount of weight. However, this study blasted the “all calories are equal” theory. Because both groups had the exact same number of calories and protein each day. But one group lost significantly more weight than the other — on average nearly 20 pounds more. That same group also had a greater reduction on waist circumference.

It was the almond group.

Why Almonds Help You Lose Weight

Almonds.jpeg

Why do almonds decrease weight and fat?

The mechanism is not fully elucidated. However, there are some compelling theories.

The first has do with fat absorption. Other theories are almonds make you feel fuller and can reduce feelings of hunger. And still more theories think insulin may have a role.

How to Add Almonds to Your Life

Now that you know almonds can help you lose weight (especially if you’re snacking on grain-based carbohydrates), how would you add almonds to your life?

The study I referred to above had people eating 3 oz of almonds, which is around 375 calories worth. Specifically, whole, unblanched, unsalted almonds were used.

Translation for you: three ounces of whole, raw, and unsalted almonds instead of carbohydrate-based snacks.

From Knowledge to Action

Now you know the snack food can help you lose weight. If you’re looking to lose weight and are ready to revamp your snack routine, almonds may be the answer.

Are you looking for more information on the health benefits of almonds? Check out this post.

I challenge you to made a difference — either make a change yourself or share this information with someone you think it could help.

Happy Snacking,
Skye

Should You Shop at Trader Joe's? And My Current Favorite Picks.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been teaching on nutrition. I’ve been working with my group on food basics and dietary myth-busting. Basically I’m helping people make realistic, delicious, and wellness-giving diet makeovers.

All of the people I’m working with right now lead busy lives — they have ambitious jobs, full family lives, and the stresses of daily living. So helping them live happier and healthier lives needs to flow seamlessly into what they are already doing.

For most of them, this means planning healthy meals that are fast. And one serious way to do this is to grocery shop smartly.

This is what brings me to Trader Joe’s. It’s one of my favorite places to recommend people shop.

Why Do I Recommend Trader Joe’s?

grcoery.jpg

It’s no secret - I personally have a love affair with Trader Joe’s. I love to shop there and I go every week.

First of all, Trader Joe’s has pre-washed, pre-cut, and pre-cooked options that make eating well easier. They have pre-washed organic spinach and mixed greens, pre-cut organic butternut squash, and pre-cooked and frozen organic brown rice. Who doesn’t want that? In my decade of working in health and wellness, I have NEVER had anyone say they didn’t need time-saving in the healthy eating area.

Second, Trader Joe’s has high quality organic produce. I LOVE that. And while I always try to eat local, where I live right now doesn’t grow much in the winter. So I don’t feel bad getting non-local produce. (If you live somewhere with warm winters and lots of fresh local produce, the Trader Joe’s selection probably won’t impress you. But I live in the mountains in a dessert with lots of cold and snow. From where I’m sitting, the produce at TJ’s is strong.)

Third, the prices are fantastic. Especially when you compare them to other high-quality natural grocers. Even national chain ones. Healthy and affordable? What more could you want?

Fourth, Trade Joe’s is unique. They have rare seasonal offerings that can spice up your food repertoire. I love that. Who wants to eat the same old things all the time?

Fifth, the employees seem to genuinely enjoy working there. They smile, joke, and give off good vibes. It makes me feel good knowing I spend my money somewhere that creates and promotes a positive environment for the workers and the shoppers.

Also, did I mention the flowers? Just this week I showed my daughter all the different floral varieties. There were potted hydrangeas, lilies, orchids, succulents, and tulips. Not to mention the wide variety of fresh cut florals.

I should probably pause right now and let you know I have NO financial interest in Trader Joe’s. I don’t hold stock in them or make any money promoting them. I just truly love them.  

What Makes Me Nervous About TJ’s

For complete transparency, there are things I don’t love about Trader Joe’s.

For all the fantastic options, there are an equal number of non-fantastic options. To put it bluntly, there are lots of UNHEALTHY options at Trader Joe’s. In fact, sometimes it's trickier at Trader Joe’s because the unhealthy choices can be cloaked as “healthy.”

For example, I’m not wild about most of their frozen pre-made meals. They are often full of sodium, preservatives, and other wellness sabotagers.

There is TONS of sugar in many of their packaged offerings.

And the meat and seafood sections gross me out.

Why I’m Outlining My Current Picks

Because there are such great and not-so-great options, I made this list for you.

I want you to know the healthy go-to’s — the items you can buy knowing you are doing your health a favor.

So here we go!

Unsulphured Dried Apples

If you find yourself coming home from work famished and rifling though the cupboard for the first snack you can get your paws on, dried apples will be your new best friend. They are a fantastic snack option and superior to chips, crackers, and cookies.

These ones have a good texture (not too mushy, not too dry) and come in a clear package. I love the packaging because you can see them and reach for them right away (before you find the chips). The also obtain no sulfites, which is another bonus in my mind.

Organic Hearts of Romaine Lettuce

Now that the E.coli outbreak with mixed greens is over, I’m a HUGE fan of the organic hearts of romaine at Trader Joe’s. They last much longer than the mixed greens this time of year, taste great, and are a money saving value.

The bags come with three hearts and I typically cut them all at once, regardless of how much I need at the time. Next, I wash and dry them in my trusty salad spinner. Then I store what I don’t use in a glass container in the fridge with a lid. I find when I do this, the cut romaine lasts for a good week (though I eat so much it doesn’t normally stay in the fridge more than a few days).

Organic hearts of romaine are ALWAYS on my weekly shopping list.

Raw Almond Butter and Peanut Butter

peanut.jpg

Nut butters can be EXPENSIVE. Especially when you venture into the organic and raw domaine (which I highly recommend).

Trader Joe’s has a great raw almond butter option without salt. It’s ingredients are top notch, it has a great taste, and the oil doesn’t separate out too much.

Ditto for the peanut butter.

These are typically on my weekly grocery list.

Organic Raw Cashews

Cashews are used weekly in my household. Most commonly, I add them to soups and blend them in the Vitamix for a creamy and rich taste and consistency sans dairy. Or I throw a few in with my smoothies.

Organic and raw nuts can be $$$. It’s nuts, really (sorry, but I can never resist a pun).

That’s why I love to buy them at Trader Joe’s. They tend to be fresh (even fresher than the ones I recently bought at Whole Foods) and at a fair price.

Organic Frozen Brown Rice

With a baby in the house, cooking time is at a premium. That’s why I LOVE these frozen brown rice packets for when I’m in a pinch. They are organic and pre-cooked. You just zap them in the microwave for 3 minutes and voila! You have brown rice ready to go.

I’m usually not thrilled with microwaving, but if time is a true issue I say go for it.


Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats

oats.jpeg

If you like oatmeal for breakfast, this is a real treat.

If you’re a longtime reader, you know my thoughts on oatmeal and the breakfast mistake most people make. Hint: it involves microwavable oats from packets with added sugar.

Trader Joe’s helps take the time out of cooking steel cut oats. This option takes 8-minutes (instead of the typical 30 to 45) to make on the stove, as well as offering a microwave option.

Are you looking for a delicious oatmeal recipe? Try my Morning Glory oats (pictured above).

10 Minute Barley

This is another time saving savior from Trader Joe’s. Mushroom barley soup is a regular in my household this time of year. And having barley that cooks in 10-minutes is a life saver for me.

The Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Barley is partially pre-cooked. This means the barley still remains a whole grain, but just cooks faster. It cuts 40 minutes off cooking time and still tastes great.

Organic Pomegranate Vinegar

pome.jpeg

If you want a quick salad dressing, this is it for you. Pomegranate vinegar has a delightful flavor, but is free of oil and added salt. It’s great splashed on a bed of greens or used instead of vinegar in recipes.

What Will You Try?

Now you have a list of Skye-approved Trader Joe’s food choices that can save you time and money.

What will you try next time you’re there?

Or did I forget one of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Happy grocery shopping,
Skye

Three Foods to Get You In the Mood

I know this post is a bit out of my wheel house.

But I get asked this question from friends (and friends of friends) every year around this time. You know — because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

“Can certain foods really act as aphrodisiacs or make you fall in love?”

heart-wood-love-wooden-161711.jpeg

The simple answer: YES.

So even though this goes outside the bounds of my usual topics, I present three foods that can get you in the mood.

Maca Powder

Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable used for centuries. It is most commonly found in the powder form, which has an earthy flavor and warm vanilla-like aroma.

Maca is known to increase energy, boost fertility, and enhance libido. Additionally, maca is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals.

It’s easy to add a teaspoon of maca powder to your smoothie of choice; alternately, you can sprinkle maca powder into your oatmeal or add it to your favorite bar recipe. Just remember maca powder can be energizing so beware of using it before bedtime unless you know how you react to it.

Tip: Trader Joe’s sells maca powder — you can typically find it near the smoothie protein powders and in the baking section.

Dark Chocolate

pexels-photo-675955.jpeg

You know I’m a HUGE chocolate fan (for the taste and the health benefits).

But did you know dark chocolate can help you fall (or stay) in love? This property is attributed to dark chocolate’s phenylethylamine, an endorphin released when people fall in love.

This — coupled with chocolate’s ability to stimulate production of “feel good” hormones serotonin and and dopamine — helps explain why chocolate is the stereotypical Valentine’s Day food.

Chili Peppers

pexels-photo-112780.jpeg

Chili peppers have special properties that can be exploited for more than just taste.

Chili peppers contain an ingredient called capsaicin. Capsaicin stimulates nerve endings, causing a tingling sensation, and ultimately causes the release of endorphins and adrenaline. In fact, capsaicin is used medicinally in topical products to help reduce pain.

The endorphin release caused from eating chili peppers can increase feeling of happiness and love.

The Truth - There Are Foods that Stimulate Love & More

Maca, dark chocolate, and chili are three foods that can stimulate good feelings and love.

Do you want even more good feelings for Valentine’s Day this year?  Try combining these feel good foods together for your special someone.

The flavors of chocolate and maca go together nicely. In fact, one of my favorite smoothie recipes utilizes them both.

If you prefer something you can buy premade, Theo chocolate makes a dark chocolate and chili bar. Three different chili peppers are combined with 70% dark chocolate in a delightful tasting way.

Sending you x’s and o’s,
Skye

 

Thank YOU! And 2017’s Best Of List.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thank you for being part of A Better Way Wellness. Thank you for helping me share real, truthful, and action-oriented health information. Thank you for making living a happier and healthier life a priority.

It’s been a year for the books and I wouldn’t be doing what I  am truly passionate about without you.

Thank you.jpg

So THANK YOU!

And as a small token of my appreciation, I am giving you a list of my most popular posts this last year.

It’s A Better Way Wellness’ Best Of 2017 List. It’s short, sweet, and full of health boosting tidbits. So have at it!

1. How to Use Supplements to Boost Happiness

If you want to be happier and want supplements to give you a boost, this is the post of you.

2. Healthy Happy Hour Part I and Healthy Happy Hour Part II

Do you love happy hour? And love feeling great? If so, click the links above to find out how.

3. How to Burn Fat in 15 Minutes

Who doesn’t want to burn fat fast? I know I do . . . if you do, too, check out this one.

4. How to be Happier at Work

Do you want to feel better and happier in the workplace? If this is you, I have actionable tips to help.

5. The Smoothie that Tastes Like Dessert, But Feels Like Medicine

Yes, please! Recipes that taste rich and luxe, but make you “feel like a million bucks” are my favorite. This one is easy-peasy. Give it a try!

6. My Fall Beverage Secret: The Sunshine Latte (Recipe Included)

I know it’s not technically fall anymore, but the Sunshine Latte will still please your mouth, mind, and body.

7. The Truth About Chocolate (& the Best Way to Eat It)

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Chocolate is GOOD for you and I show you the best ways to have it in this post.

8. 5 Products to Change Immediately to Decrease Exposure to Carcinogens and EDCs

Consider a New Year's resolution around this one. Swap out one (or all!) of these products to protect yourself from carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

Non-Depressing Health Alert: Chocolate is GOOD for Your Heart

Are you struggling with the holidays?

Maybe you can’t turn down those chocolate truffles your co-worker put in the lunch room.

Maybe the box of Candy Cane JoJo’s calls your name when you’re shopping at Trader Joe’s.

Or maybe your husband brought home a package of dark chocolate dipped pretzels that you can’t resist. (Welcome to my life).

Are you feeling food guilt or frustration?

If so, I have FANTASTIC (and evidence-based) health news for you. News that will make you feel better, lose the guilt, and start enjoying the holidays.

Are you ready?

Because it may blow your mind away.

Chocolate is good for your heart.

Seriously.

chocolate.jpeg

Eating chocolate is correlated with reductions in heart disease.

So are things like exercising and eating fruits and vegetables. But isn’t eating chocolate a little more fun? I think so. And I think a healthy life SHOULD be fun.

A recent study published in the journal Heart may give us a look into WHY. The study conducted in Denmark showed chocolate consumption was associated with a lower risk of atrial fibrillation, a common arrhythmia that can lead to stroke and other serious heart problems.

Those who had one to three one-ounce servings of chocolate each month had a 10% relative risk reduction in atrial fibrillation. And people that ate more chocolate (one serving a week) had a 20% reduction.

The not as good news? Those that had one or more servings of chocolate a day did not have a statistically significant risk reduction.

So enjoy those chocolate truffles — but try to keep it to once a week to maximize heart health benefits.

OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE

There are other health benefits to chocolate. Studies show chocolate consumption is also associated with:

  •  Lower blood pressure
  •  Improved insulin response
  •  Improved mood

So you can feel good (and healthy) about that dark chocolate truffle you just ate.

THE BEST TYPE OF CHOCOLATE TO EAT

If you want to maximize the health benefits of chocolate, I have a motto for you.

Darker is smarter.

The darker the chocolate, the higher percentage the cacao or cocoa.

The cacao or cocoa is the part of the chocolate that we think has the health benefits. Not the added sugar or milk.

If you need a little help on picking the best types of chocolate, check out this post. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see my favorite chocolate brands. 

NEXT STEPS

So go forth and enjoy your holidays! Eat your chocolate and savor each bite — knowing you are helping your heart.

 

With love,
Skye