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sâmbătă, 21 mai 2011

Natural Bad Breath Fixes

Mints and mouthwash aren’t the only way to freshen up. The truth is, they only mask the problem.A host of natural bad-breath fighters that will help you smile big. 

Cinnamon Gum

Cinnamon gum contains cinnamic aldehyde, a plant essential oil used for flavoring. This oil doesn’t just cover up bad breath, it actually reduces the amount of bacteria in your saliva by 50%.

Fish Oil Supplement

It may seem counterintuitive, but the omega-3s in fish oil are proven to reduce inflammation and bacteria in the mouth that cause bad breath. Either take a fish oil supplement or incorporate more fish into your diet to experience these benefits. Click here to quiz yourself on additional benefits of fish.


Magnolia Bark Extract

This natural ingredient contains the compounds magnolol and honokiol, which have potent antibacterial properties. This extract has been shown to kill most oral bacteria that cause bad breath within 30 minutes. It’s often found in mints and toothpaste.


Celery is good at fighting bad breath because it’s full of fiber. Fiber-rich foods help produce saliva, which helps to wash away plaque build-up, a cause of halitosis. Carrots and apples are other good, fiber-rich snack options.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can help prevent gum disease and gingivitis – major causes of bad breath. By eating foods rich in vitamin C, you also create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. Chow down on citrus fruits like oranges, or grab some berries and melons to get your daily dose of vitamin C.

Black Tea

Black tea helps keep your breath smelling sweet because it is full of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that stop plaque from clinging to your teeth. Plaque build-up leads to bad breath, among another dental problems. Studies have also found polyphenols inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth, thus minimizing the foul-smelling compounds that those bacteria produce

Lunch Mistakes That Are Making You Fat

You may think you’re eating a healthy lunch, but some diet destroyers are hard to spot. Learn the 4 most common lunch mistakes you could be making and how to avoid them.

Lunch Mistake 1: Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

When you take the fat out of peanut butter, there needs to be something added back in to make it taste good. Low-fat peanut butter has added sweeteners, such as the fine sugar used to make icing. Every tablespoon of reduced-fat peanut butter has a teaspoon of sugar in it. It’s better to go for the real thing. Just be careful about portion size.

Lunch Mistake 2: Whole Grain Chips

Whole grains provide valuable fiber that can aid digestion and clear toxins out of your system faster. However, whole grain chips can pack a lot of calories and fat in one bag. It’s crucial to read the nutrition label to see the total amount of fat and calories you’re ingesting. Some bags of chips can pack as many as 300 calories and 14 grams of fat per serving. That’s more calories than you’ll find in French fries.

Lunch Mistake 3: Tuna Salad

The mayonnaise in tuna salad can pack on 500 calories and 30 grams of fat. Make a healthy version by skipping the mayonnaise in favor of healthier alternatives like lemon juice, a small amount of low-fat mayonnaise or a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

Lunch Mistake 4

Minestrone Soup Salt is the secret saboteur in this dish. One bowlful can contain as much as 600 grams of sodium. That’s more than one-quarter of the recommended daily amount – 2300 grams. The healthiest soups are from puréed vegetables, like butternut squash soup.


The Power of Purple Foods

If you’ve heard you should “eat the rainbow,” you’ve received good advice. Colorful foods are packed with important antioxidants and nutrients. Learn how you can reap the benefits from purple food powerhouses.

Purple foods contain anthocyanins, which are health-promoting chemicals that help protect cells and heal your body. Research suggests they play active roles in promoting eye and heart health, decreasing cancer cell proliferation and more. Anthocyanins are predominant in teas, honey, wines, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, cocoa and cereals.

Include these purple fruits and vegetables into your diet at least 4-5 days a week along with dark green, orange and yellow foods for maximum benefits

Purple Potatoes

Living up to their royal hue and lineage, purple potatoes have long been considered the food of gods — 7,000 years ago they were reserved for Incan kings in their native Peru. Today, purple potatoes are now grown in thousands of varieties in the US.  

According to the USDA, potatoes with the darkest colors have more than 4 times the antioxidant potential than other potatoes. Purple spuds score as high as Brussels sprouts, kale or spinach on the antioxidant power scale. These potatoes are also a good source of complex carbohydrates, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid and iron.

Purple potatoes are available year-round, but less so January through April. You can find them in some grocery stores and farmers markets.

Plums and Prunes

Plums are a very good source of vitamin C, which can help with iron absorption. They are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B2 and potassium. In addition, plums are a good source of dietary fiber. A recent study found that regular prune consumption may decrease blood pressure and LDL (the bad) cholesterol. Additionally, both plums and prunes are full of phenols, natural compounds found in plants, which have protective properties.

Plums are available from May to October, and prunes are available year round at grocery stores and farmers markets.

Purple Carrots

Purple carrots were first grown in the Middle and Far East, along with white, red, yellow, green and black versions. They are high in anthocyanins and pro-vitamin A carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants. They may also help with weight management and glucose control, and in one study, those with high levels of carotenoids had about half the risk of diabetes.

You can find purple carrots year-round in farmer’s markets and some grocery stores and specialty stores.

Purple Cauliflower

Purple cauliflower is actually a type of broccoli that is purple and turns green upon cooking. Cruciferous vegetables have been touted for their cancer-fighting powers. Cauliflower has antioxidants and sulfur compounds that help your body get rid of the toxins that can damage cells and increase the risk of cancer.

Purple cauliflower season begins in late February; it can be found in specialty grocery stores and farmers markets.

joi, 19 mai 2011

The Highs and Lows of Cholesterol

Of all the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, high blood cholesterol takes the cake. Even the slightest elevation of certain types of cholesterol can put blood vessels at risk for dangerous and sometimes deadly narrowing. It is estimated that 8% of Americans have no idea they have a cholesterol problem; they are a ticking time bomb because a heart attack or stroke may already be in the works. Learn the numbers that tell you where you stand.

Of all the substances in the human body, cholesterol is one of the most critical to human existence. One hundred years of research has been dedicated to this ubiquitous compound. It is found in the membrane of every human cell, it protects our nerves and it is necessary for the manufacture of vital hormones, vitamins and substances that aid digestion. It would probably be the end of the story if it weren't for one problem – it can also kill.

News of cholesterol's dark side surfaced at the beginning of the 1900s when a German chemist Adolph Windaus discovered that the concentrations of this fatty substance were 20 times higher in narrowed aortas – the largest artery in the body – than in non-narrowed vessels. Decades later it was clear that cholesterol could also collect inside vessels supplying the heart and brain. Today the link between blood cholesterol, heart attack and stroke is undeniable, and the medical community has been keenly obsessed with finding ways to straighten cholesterol levels ever since.

Measuring cholesterol in the blood can help predict who is more likely to have a fatal event. The numbers are so important doctors urge patients to treat them as one of the body's security codes. Because along with reducing obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking, normalizing one’s cholesterol can be the difference between life and death.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is used to make steroid hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and the stress hormone cortisol. It's needed to make bile salts, a necessary component for digestion of fats, and it allows liquids and gases to go in and out of a cell's membrane. It also helps make vitamin D.

There are 2 sources of cholesterol, the cholesterol you make and the cholesterol you eat. The body produces about 75% of cholesterol, mostly in the liver. The rest comes from food.

Since blood is mostly water, and cholesterol is fat, it needs help getting to where it needs to go, so it hitches a ride on lipoproteins. There are 3 cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins that are particularly important. These are the ones you and your doctors should keep close tabs on.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the lousy type because it isn't very good at its job. It tends to hang inside of arteries and that can narrow or block the flow of blood. At first LDL just lays down fatty streaks, then over time, it gets thicker and harder turning into plaque. Plaque can become unstable and flake away. It also damages the vessel's lining which triggers a chain of chemical events that makes it ripe for clot formation and inflammation, another risk for heart disease. Blood vessels stiffen, making them less able to respond to changes in blood pressure and get blood where it needs to go.

The higher the level of LDL in the blood, the greater the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. The less "lousy" LDL in the blood, the better.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) however, is the healthy type of cholesterol. It takes its job more seriously. It moves cholesterol around nicely from other parts of the body to the liver where it is discarded or recycled as needed. The more "healthy" HDL, the better.

Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) carrying triglycerides is another blood lipid that is used as a high-risk marker. Like LDL, it can negatively impact cardiovascular health.

How do you know your cholesterol situation?

There are some hints that could suggest cholesterol problems; for example, the presence of yellow fatty cholesterol lumps on the skin of the eyelids (xanthelasma), elbow or knees, or the inability to reach your toes with a straightened leg, a maneuver that could indicate blood vessels are stiffened by plaque. But mostly, people with abnormal cholesterol levels don't look or feel sick.

The only way to know is to measure cholesterol in the blood. A lipid profile is an estimation of LDL, HDL, triglyceride and total cholesterol. This will let you know where you stand along the risk spectrum.

Everyone over the age of 20 should get a blood lipid profile at least once every 5 years, more often if you have risk factors for heart disease or have been diagnosed with high cholesterol before. A small sample of blood is removed with a needle or finger stick after a 9-12 hour fast. Taking the test during any illnesses, infection, pregnancy, or after recent weight loss, surgery, trauma, stressful event or change in usual diet may skew the results. It's best to wait 6 weeks to stabilize. Women should arrange to get the test a few days after ovulation when estrogen and LDL levels are lowest. Some medications such as anabolic steroids, beta-blockers and oral contraceptives can increase cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels can fluctuate so it is best to repeat the test several weeks to months apart before beginning medication.

LDL Values

Optimal – Less than 100 mg/dL
Near optimal – 100–129 mg/dL
Borderline high – 130–159 mg/dL
Risky – 160 –189 mg/dL
Very risky – 190 mg/dL and above

HDL Values
Optimal – 60 mg/dL and above
Borderline – 40–59 mg/dL
Risky – 40 mg/dL and below

Triglyceride Values

Optimal – 150 mg/dL or lower
Borderline – 150–199 mg/dL
Risky – 200–499 mg/dL
Very Risky – 500 mg/dL or higher

Total Cholesterol Values (this number alone is not a good gauge of cholesterol health)
Optimal – Less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline high – 200–239 mg/dL
Risky – 240 mg/dL and above

What can be done to normalize cholesterol?

LDL cholesterol is the most worrisome because even when LDL is slightly elevated, blood vessel narrowing occurs. And if is very high, it deposits much faster. Treatment is primarily focused on lowering LDL to an optimal level.

The first stop is adopting a healthy lifestyle and this includes the usual approaches:
Maintaining a health weight, BMI and waist circumference. Losing just 10 lbs can reduce LDL up to 8%. 
Engaging in a regular program of daily exercise. 
Reducing stress
And stopping smoking

Above that, people with abnormal cholesterol should eat less of the foods that increase LDL, and eat more that lower it. There is no good and bad dietary cholesterol. It is all just cholesterol.

Here are some food rules for people with high LDL:
Reduce intake of saturated fats to less than 7% of your total calories. These fats are found in animal products – butter, meat, eggs, whole milk dairy and cheese products – and certain oils, processed foods and baked goods. Reducing saturated fat can reduce LDL by up to 10%.
Don't eat more than 200 mg of cholesterol a day. It creeps up quickly so do your math. (The average American diet contains 400 mg of cholesterol a day.)
Eat more LDL-lowering foods like plant sterols and stanols (found in many grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sterol/stanol enriched products) and soluble fiber like oatmeal, psyllium and bran. Eating the leafy green purslane, and the Goji berry fruit might also have cholesterol-lowering effects.
Limit salt and sugar.

Strict adherence to the Therapeutic Lifestyles Changes (TLC) diet designed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health can reduce LDL cholesterol 30%, equal to that offered by medication.

Medication Approaches

For people who are unable to control cholesterol with diet or have other risk factors for heart disease – such as cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, the need for blood pressure medication, or a family history of heart disease – medications might be necessary.

The most popular cholesterol-lowering drug class called statins work by stopping a key enzyme involved in the making cholesterol. (Some studies show that the supplement red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus) may work similarly to lower cholesterol.) Other drugs work to decrease absorption, breakdown or elimination of cholesterol in the body. Some lipid-lowering agents are combined with other medicines for heart disease.

Food for Healthy Diet and also Tasty!!

      Asparagus Risotto 

Enjoy this creamy and rich dinner. Make this recipe as directed or use white wine instead of lemon juice and swap spinach for the asparagus


Makes 6 (1 cup) servings

1/2 tsp table salt, for cooking water  

1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces  

Cooking spray  

1 tbsp unsalted butter  

3 small shallot, minced  

1 cup uncooked arborio rice  

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice  

4 cup canned chicken broth  

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, such as Parmigianno-Reggiano  

1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste  

1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste 


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add asparagus to pot; blanch for 2 minutes. Immediately remove asparagus from pot and place them into ice water (to stop them from cooking and help retain their bright green color); set aside.

Coat a medium pot with cooking spray and set over medium heat; melt butter. Add shallots; cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add rice and toss to coat; cook for 2 minutes. Add lemon juice; cook, until all lemon juice has been absorbed, stirring continuously so rice does not stick to sides of pot, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, bring broth to a simmer; keep warm. Add 1/2 cup of hot broth to pot at a time; stir until absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth, making sure each addition of broth is absorbed before adding more. This process takes about 20 minutes.

When rice turns creamy and just done (should be slightly chewy and not mushy), remove pot from heat; add cheese and stir well. Stir in asparagus; season with salt and pepper.

Food for Healthy Diet and also Tasty!!

                        Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a good source of protein and makes a wonderful substitute for rice in salads. Buy the pre-rinsed variety to save time.  

Food for Healthy Diet and also Tasty!!

Orzo Salad with                                                   Watermelon    
                                  and Feta


Makes 6 servings

1 cup uncooked orzo  

2 cup watermelon, seedless, diced  

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, French, Hungarian or Greek varieties  

1 Tbsp olive oil, extra virgin  

1/2 cup basil, fresh, thinly sliced  

1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste  

1 tsp table salt, or to taste  


Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Stir in orzo and return to a boil; cook until done, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain orzo and rinse under cold water; allow to drain completely.

Once orzo is cool, toss with remaining ingredients in a medium serving bowl. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.


Bon appétit!!!

luni, 16 mai 2011

Health News, Body Language

In February, I explored some of the science behind the human smile in my post Show Your Smile! Putting a smile on your face will boost your mood and increase your potential for long-term happiness.

A genuine smile also sends the message to others that we are likeable, trustworthy and dependable – the kind of person others want to do business with, engage in conversation, or build meaningful relationships with.

Here’s the catch … your smile has to be genuine! The human brain can and will spot a fake smile; it is biologically programmed to be instantly wary of the fake smile – and the person behind it.

Though your noggin does some of the work for you, there are ways in which you can consciously spot a fake smile – and take precautions when needed.

According to recent research, the one surefire way to spot a spontaneous smile is by paying close attention to the eyes of the person in question. Researchers at Bangor University in Wales have concluded that the “contraction of the orbicularis oculi, the muscle surrounding the eyeball,” is the best way to tell if a smile is real – or not.

Listen, they don’t say that they eyes are the window to the soul for nothing – like many modern colloquialisms, this saying is less old wives’ tale and more honest to goodness solid advice!

This particular study also led researchers to the conclusion that individuals who smiled more frequently, and with greater sincerity, were selected as partners in their “game show”-style game more often – even when the cash payouts were greater with players displaying polite, or non-genuine, smiles.

A real smile (with less cash) was deemed more valuable than the fake smile (and more cash).

This is an important concept to note and utilize for all your relationships – personal and professional.

If you think you are being duped by the grinning used-car salesman, your teenager who swears she’s heading to the library, or the hubby that’s promising your dress doesn’t make your ankles look fat – take a look at the corners of their eyes.

Unless you see some wrinklage there – no matter their age – you’ve got yourself some suspicious circumstances. Time to start asking questions.

Plastering on a smile is easy – making the eyes cooperate is something else entirely.

And remember this the next time you feel a “polite-ness” coming on that isn’t in line with your true feelings. Chances are good your audience may be on to you.

QUICK! Think of something happy and let your smile ring true!

by Janine Driver

Something Sweet!!

Post Grape-Nuts Carb Bars

This cereal-based bar is sure to curb your appetite and replenish your energy and for hours. Make your carb bar fruity by stirring in 1 cup dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, cherries or dried fruit bits, along with the cerea


1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup reduced fat peanut butter

4 cups Grape Nuts Cereal

Microwave corn syrup, sugar and peanut butter in large microwavable bowl on high for 2 minutes, or just until mixture boils, stirring every minute. Add cereal; mix well.

Line 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Press cereal mixture firmly into prepared pan. Cool. Lift cereal mixture from pan, using foil handles. Cut into 30 bars. Wrap bars individually with plastic wrap. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

duminică, 15 mai 2011

Post Grape-Nuts Frozen Yogurt

Cool off with this refreshing frozen snack. Grape-Nuts Cereal adds great texture and crunch to this innovative new frozen yogurt flavor.


Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup Grape-Nuts Cereal

1 pt. (2 cups) frozen vanilla low-fat yogurt, softened


Mix cereal and yogurt in freezer proof bowl; cover. Freeze until firm. Store leftovers in freezer.


Post Raisin Bran Fruit Crumble

Warm up with this easy-to-make, fat-free fruit dessert. The mixed textures of the fruit and the cereal compliment each other almost as well as the delightful flavors of cinnamon and peaches.

Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup canned sliced peaches, drained
1 tsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup Post Raisin Bran Cereal


Place peaches in a small microwavable dish; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Top with cereal. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until heated through.

Broccoli Bean and Leek Soup

f you're like many Americans struggling to eat enough vegetables, then you could benefit from “hiding” your veggies in some of your favorite dishes. A recent study out of Pennsylvania State University found that adding puréed vegetables to entrées reduced the number of calories in meals (by around 300 calories a meal) without sacrificing texture or taste. Get stealthy with your vegetables by making this dish.

Makes 10 Servings
5 cup Water
2 1/2 tsp Vegetable Base
2 cup Broccoli, bite size florets
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 cup Sweet Onion, small dice
2 tsp Fresh Garlic, minced
1 cup Leeks, white part only, wash medium dice
1 1/2 cup Cannelli Beans, rinsed
1 lb Broccoli, chopped
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper

In cook pot add 5 cups water and vegetable base, mix and bring to a simmer. Add 2 cups broccoli florets and blanch until just tender, remove from stock, set aside and save both broccoli and stock.

In another pot sauté onions on medium heat in olive oil until transparent, add garlic and with out browning stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add diced leeks and sauté 4 minutes. Add saved vegetable stock, increase heat, bring to a simmer, add chopped broccoli and simmer on medium heat until broccoli is just tender.

Then add cannelloni beans and simmer until beans are heated through, about two minutes.

Turn off heat and blend with a vertical stick blender until completely pureed. Garnish with blanched broccoli florets and serve.

Nutritional Information per serving
Calories: 80
Sodium: 360mg
Sugars: 3g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Saturated Fat: 0g
Fiber: 4g
Protein: 4g
Carbohydrate: 13g

Chicken Cutlets and Sautéed Kale

Healthy eating doesn’t have to break the bank. This dinner costs under $5 per serving, and is only around 350 calories. Instead of eggs, this recipe uses skim milk – a cheaper and healthier alternative.


4 chicken cutlets pounded very thin

4 oz Italian bread crumbs

2 heads of dinosaur kale, stems and ribs removed, leaves chopped

1/3 oz garlic powder

1 lemon

4 oz skim milk

5 cloves of garlic

Olive Oil

Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Salt and pepper


Dip chicken in skim milk and then coat with bread crumbs combined with a bit of grated parmesan cheese. Bake chicken at 350°F for 20 minutes. When you turn the chicken over add lemon juice over top of each piece. Put on plate and keep warm.

In another pan, heat olive oil and sauté the 5 whole cloves until lightly browned. Add washed kale to pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve along side of chicken.

Chicken Roll-Ups

This dish combines multiple food groups in a healthy way. It’s also easy to tailor to be a Greek, Italian or Asian-style dish by mixing up the ingredients. At less than $5 for the whole meal, there’s no reason not to get rolling on this delicious dinner.


Makes 2-4 servings

1 (1/4 lb) of chicken breast, sliced thin

4 slices of low-salt, low-fat lean ham

4 slices of fat free/low-sodium swiss cheese

1/4 of extra virgin olive oil (or 1/4 cup of fat-free mayo)

3/4 cup of bread crumbs or 1 cup whole grain cereal flakes grinded in mini food processor


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lay cutlets on saran wrap, cut into long pieces and pound until thin. Fold ham and cheese and half and lay over the chicken. You can add to taste sliced garlic, basil, rosemary and vegetables like tomato or asparagus before rolling.)

Start at the narrowest end of cutlet and the roll up. Secure with a toothpick or be sure to lay them seam side down once breaded.

Dip pastry brush in extra virgin olive oil and brush on chicken rolls. Quickly put the entire chicken roll into bowl of bread crumb and use your hand or a spoon to press crumbs firmly onto chicken roll.

Transfer the rolled cutlets to a baking dish. Then, using a teaspoon, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over each chicken roll. (If on hand, pour a little white wine in dish to cook with chicken and then spoon on when finished) Bake for 15 - 20 minutes in the middle of the oven. In the last few minutes switch your oven to "broil" and move your baking dish to the rack closest to heating element. In 1-2 minutes, the high heat will brown up the crumbs. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Make the Most Out of Your Meals

You've swapped red meat for poultry, french fries for salads, white rice for brown, and you’re wondering, can you get even more out of your healthy dinners? The answer is yes! You can get the most out of your meals by knowing the best way to prepare them.

With these simple tricks, you can not only improve the taste of your favorite health foods, but you can enhance their nutritional value as well.

Turkey Burgers

You know that turkey burgers are better for you than traditional beef, but did you know you can make them even healthier? Next time you serve turkey burgers, top them with some capsaicin-rich chili peppers or Tabasco sauce. Capsaicin is a spicy compound found in foods like chili peppers, jalapenos and Tabasco sauce that is known to fight against fat and decrease inflammation.


Whether you like it cooked or raw, you can make your favorite spinach dishes even healthier with a few small changes. If you like cooked spinach, you’re in luck: steaming spinach releases additional anti-oxidants. For extra flavor, add some garlic that’s been chopped and left to stand for 10 minutes. This rest period allows the garlic to release a chemical called allicin that can help lower your risk of heart disease.

While raw spinach is a great source of vitamin K, calcium and iron, studies have shown that plant-based iron is not readily absorbed by the body without the assistance of vitamin C. If raw spinach is your preference, get the most out of your salads by dressing them with vitamin C-rich citric toppings like mandarin oranges and lemon vinaigrettes.

Brown Rice

An excellent source of magnesium, iron and B vitamins, brown rice is a staple side dish for many families. It’s delicious with chicken and veggies, but for optimum health benefits, try serving it with black beans. Both brown rice and black beans are incomplete proteins that, when combined, provide all of the nine essential amino acids your body needs.

Tomato Sauce

With concentrated flavors from sundried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and a very hearty texture, this sauce refuses to be ignored.


1 medium tomato, chopped

1/2 clove garlic

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (not the ones packed in oil)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp fresh thyme

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Add the tomato and garlic to the blender first, then add the rest of the ingredients. The tomato and garlic are easier to purée when they start near the blades. This creates a sauce at the bottom of the blender, which will then catch the sundried tomatoes and make them easier to purée.

The amount of water added will depend on how thick or thin you want the sauce. You may also need a bit more water if your blender is not especially powerful. Always start with just 1 tablespoon or so. You can add water as needed, but you can’t take it out once it’s in the sauce.

If you want to keep it simple, don’t worry about trying to guess the amount of water and go with just one cup. It will produce a thick sauce, and the amount of water is generally enough to get most blenders to properly purée the sauce.

Top 10 Daily Essentials

Top 10 most essential habits you need to carry out on a daily basis for optimal health.

10. Eat a Hard-boiled Egg

Eggs are protein powerhouses that provide 13% of your daily protein and only 4% of your daily calories. These excellent, inexpensive protein sources fight frailty. Rich in choline, they also reduce inflammation in the brain, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s. Cook up a week’s worth in advance and take them with you on the go. If you’re not a fan of hard-boiled eggs, eat one a day scrambled, poached or any other way you like it.

9. Check Your Poop

First, your poop should never appear white. If this occurs, it could mean lack of bile, indicating a blockage or a problem with absorption. Second, keep in mind that the range for bowel movement occurrence is very broad – anywhere from 3 times a week to multiple times a day is considered normal.

8. Make Vegetables Half of Every Single Meal

Vegetables are chockfull of vital nutrients and most of us do not get enough of them. Make them half of every single meal. Get your veggies in the morning by tossing them into an omelet. At lunch and dinner, eat more veggie-based salads and soups; divide your plate into two halves with your main course, say chicken or fish, taking up one side and vegetables the other.


7. Take Half Multivitamin in the Morning and the Other Half at Night

A multivitamin serves as an insurance policy, guaranteeing your body gets everything it needs. However, your body can’t absorb all these nutrients at once, and you wind up eliminating a portion of them via your urine or bowel movements. To maximize absorption, split your multivitamin in two and take half in the morning and half in the evening. Better yet, try and purchase a brand that offers a daily dosage in various pills.

6: Supplement With a Bone-Boosting Cocktail

To protect your bones, a multivitamin is not enough. You need a bone-boosting cocktail comprised of:
Vitamin D3, 1000 IU
Calcium, 600 mg
Magnesium, 400 mg

Today, most drugstores now sell this combination all in one pill, and here’s why you need all three combined: Vitamin D aids calcium absorption to keep bones strong. Magnesium also counteracts blood vessel constriction and constipation caused by calcium

5. Get at Least 7 Hours of Sleep

A brand new study shows that people who don’t get enough sleep are not as sharp the next day and most alarmingly, they don’t even realize it. Here are 4 ways to help you sleep better and get to sleeper faster:
Read a book before bed. Reading acts as a soothing balm that helps you fall asleep.
Instead of an overhead light, which stimulates the brain to wake up, use a reading light.
Turn your alarm clock away from view so it won’t stimulate the brain’s pineal gland, which senses light.
Use an eye mask to keep light out and increase sleep quality.

4. Have Sex

You already know that a healthy sex life with your partner helps you stay bonded and also provides a good workout. Now a new study shows that sex is also good for your brain, leading to improved interconnections in the brain and stress reduction.

3.Breathe and Stretch for 5 Minutes

Five minutes of breathing and stretching each day creates a powerful stress buster that can add years to your life. When you wake up in the morning, try the “hippie” stretch: Reach down and try to touch your toes. Relax your hips and let your head go loose. Now alternate relaxing your left and right knees and walk around a bit. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Five minutes later, you’re loosened up and good to go

2. Eliminate Simple Sugars

Simple sugars are the reason behind America’s obesity epidemic. If it’s white or processed, you need to eliminate it. In addition, practice reading labels and avoid products containing “hidden sugars” such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), evaporated cane juice and brown rice sugar. 

1. Sit Less, Move More

Groundbreaking research shows that for every hour a day you spend sitting, your risk of death increases by 11%. Even small movements throughout the day, such as fidgeting, can add up to major health benefits. Dr. Oz recommends getting 10,000 steps a day. To do this, invest in a pedometer so you can keep track of each step you make toward optimal health.




Find Your Healthy Body Type

Women put pressure on themselves in countless ways – but few perceptions influence their relationships and confidence like the way they view their bodies. Ironically, what women consider to be their ideal shape is significantly smaller than what men consider to be the ideal shape. Use this scale to evaluate your body shape in a healthy way.

When asked what their ideal body shape would be, most women respond types 1, 2, or 3. However, men prefer body shapes in the 5, 6 or 7 area. Women also often view their body types as a higher number than their partners perceive them.

Out to discuss your shape with your partner. An open dialogue about your body can boost confidence and reinvigorate your sex life.

Foods That Make You Beautiful

Stop buying drugstore creams and potions that promise whiter teeth, healthier hair and brighter skin – you can achieve your beauty goals by changing your diet. Beauty comes from within, so treat your body right and eat your way to better looks with these healthy foods.

Whiter Teeth: Celery

Want to brighten up your smile? Swap your whitening strips for a crunchy midday snack. Celery contains fibrous cellulose which scrubs away teeth stains as you chew it

Healthy Hair: Beans

Any well-balanced diet should contain a substantial amount of protein but this is particularly true for those looking to improve the state of their hair. Try eating protein-rich beans for stronger, healthier hair that won’t break

Flawless Skin: Squash, Liver and Salmon

The key to flawless skin is what you put into your body – not what you smear on it. The antioxidants responsible for glowing, youthful skin – called carotenoids – can be found in squash and other colorful fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids fight free radicals and help to protect skin against damage and disease, while vitamin A-rich foods like liver will help prevent dry skin.

For the best defense against wrinkles make sure to pack your diet with omega-3 fatty acids. Found in great quantities in food like salmon, omega-3s reduce inflammation in the body as well as reinforce cell membranes, improving their ability to retain water, yielding softer, smoother skin

Secret Weapons to Fight Cellulite

If you think there’s nothing you can do to fight cellulite, think again. There are powerful secret weapons to fight this nagging beauty problem that almost all women face. From the top-selling anti-cellulite products on the market to diet tips, get the facts on what works and what doesn’t once and for all.

If you have cellulite – those lumpy, bumpy, dimply areas of skin that often resemble cottage cheese or orange rinds – you’re not alone. Nearly 9 out of 10 women have some degree of cellulite on their thighs, buttocks, bellies and arms. Today, women spend upwards of $12 million a year on anti-cellulite treatments ranging from fancy creams to risky surgery. With so many products and procedures out there, it’s downright dizzying to try and figure out what really works.

What exactly is cellulite? Cellulite occurs when pockets of fat push up against connective tissue underneath the skin. This bane of many women’s existence is seen much less frequently in men. That’s because female skin tissue is thinner and less porous; therefore, when fat cells push up, they’re more noticeable.

While there is no known cure to completely banish cellulite, there are ways to help minimize its appearance, so you can don your bathing suit and head to the beach with confidence.

Secret Weapons to Fight Cellulite                                      
Cellulite and Diet

Avoid Too Much Salt and Sugar

By eating a healthy diet, you can help reduce cellulite. First, avoid too much sugar, which gets stored in fat cells and causes them to expand. Second, limit salt intake, since sodium causes fluid retention, making cellulite appear even worse. Consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar each day, and stay away from foods containing more than 200 mg of sodium.

Drink 8-10 Glasses of Water Daily

Water helps flush out toxins that hide in the fat layers beneath the skin and make cellulite lumps even more visible. Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day. Hydration also works to plump the skin and make it look less lumpy.

Kelp contains fucoxanthin, a xanthophyll compound found in green plants with chlorophyll, which helps the body burn fat. Studies show that ingesting kelp can help facilitate a 5-10% loss in body weight, thus reducing the appearance of cellulite. Add kelp to your diet regimen. You can purchase dried kelp for about $7; try adding it to miso soup or crumble it into stir-frys and salads. Or, you can get your kelp in 300 mg capsule form (about $10 a bottle) at your vitamin store.

Cellulite and Topical Creams

Aminophylline Cream

This cutting-edge anti-cellulite cream contains the organic compound aminophylline, also used in many inhalable asthma drugs. When applied topically, this compound helps break down fat in cells so it can burn easier. Aminophylline cream, available online for about $40 a bottle, should be applied to the affected area on a daily basis. To supercharge this treatment, add vitamin C, which helps to build collagen. Make sure you get 75 mg of vitamin C each day. One kiwi or a cup of strawberries will do the trick.

Retinol Cream

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that reduces the presence of free radicals responsible for the breakdown of collagen. Retinol helps maintain skin smoothness and makes cellulite bulges less visible. Look for 100,000 IUs of vitamin A per 2-ounce jar. For best results, use 100% retinol cream with added vitamin A, C and E.

Non-elastic Underwear

Elastic underwear pinches on the cellulite, exaggerating its appearance. Switch to non-elastic undergarments made of smooth fabric with an invisible edge. You’ll create even pressure on the skin, increase blood flow, and prevent fat from being pushed up and deposited in unwanted areas. Thongs and capri-length undergarments that reach just below the knee are also good choices.

The Truth Behind Top-Selling Cellulite Products

Most anti-cellulite products promise miracles in no time. But how many of these actually deliver? Here’s what you need to know:

Massage Devices

Massage devices actually DO work. Here’s why: Cellulite develops because fibrous connective bands between the skin and fat pull the fat to the surface, creating a rippled skin appearance. By creating friction, you can loosen or soften those bands temporarily. Massage helps by stimulating circulation and draining excess fluids. When the fat cells aren’t as “full,” the lumps appear smoothed. Try a massage product with battery-powered rollers.

Diuretic Herbal Supplements

Diuretic herbal supplements DO NOT work. While they may reduce fluid buildup and make fat cells appear smaller for a very brief period of time, you’re basically only getting more expensive urine as they flush through your system. What’s more, these supplements can negatively impact your digestive system and other parts of the body.

Caffeine Creams

Caffeine creams DO work. Caffeine works on the spot by breaking down fat cells, making skin smoother and less lumpy. The caffeine actually dehydrates the area where the cellulite is, tightening and firming the skin for a temporary smooth appearance. When purchasing these products, examine the ingredients, which are always listed in order of concentration. You want to choose a product with about a 5% caffeine concentration. Caffeine creams typically range in price from about $20-$100.

The bottom line: There’s no permanent cure for cellulite, but there are ways to reduce its appearance. Don’t throw your money away on expensive products or treatments. Try one of these affordable, effective secret weapons first.