Organic Grocery Shopping Tips

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Many people would like to buy and eat organic food for its health and environmental benefits, but they rarely purchase it because of the prices. Fortunately, it is possible to minimize the cost by following these helpful organic grocery shopping tips. This advice can also reduce consumption of excess packaging materials.

1. Buy produce during the right season and look for it at a local farmer’s market. In-season fruits and vegetables cost considerably less. Organic products are sometimes even less expensive than the alternatives. Produce is often most costly in the winter; try to cook and freeze some vegetables beforehand.

2. It frequently costs less to purchase organic foods in large packages at wholesale clubs, such as BJ’s or Costco. It is true that this option does not benefit local shops and remains less likely to support nearby farms. However, it does make healthy meals more accessible to people with limited incomes.

3. Another way to reduce food expenses is to organically grow vegetables in a garden. Some of the easier options include cucumbers, squash, kale and green beans. People in apartments or condominium units can still benefit from growing edible indoor plants, such as herbs or mung bean sprouts.

4. Create meals or mixes by putting together separate natural ingredients. For example, it costs much less to make things like muffins or granola from scratch. Look for an organic cookbook. Another possibility is to put together a delicious party mix by combining separate chips, pretzels, nuts and similar items.

5. When following tip #4, purchase the ingredients in bulk. Things like oats, flour and rice cost considerably less if people buy them this way. Manufacturers can cut prices because they do not have to use as many packaging materials when they distribute these goods. Less excess material also enables shoppers to use fewer trash bags.

Hopefully, these organic grocery shopping tips will help people enjoy more natural meals without overspending. This healthy eating choice not only prevents medical problems but improves the taste of food and reduces harm to the ecosystem.

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Natural Foods That Fight Inflammation

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Many people are unaware that inflammation is the cause of most health problems. Inflammation is an immune response to fungi, viruses, bacteria, foods you are allergic to, chemicals, radiation and injury. The most common symptoms of inflammation are loss of function, swelling, pain, redness and heat. Physicians often prescribe medications to treat symptoms but drugs rarely address the root cause. One way to combat this common health problem is to consume natural foods that fight inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids are among nature’s best ant-inflammatory substances and there are plenty of them found in fatty fish, including salmon. DHA and EPA are the two types of omega-3s found in fish that the body uses. Because the body does not need to expend energy to convert them to a usable form, they are easy to digest and beneficial to health right away.

Kale, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin E, a nutrient that protects tissue from cytokines, which cause inflammation. These foods contain other nutrients that promote good health, including fiber, phytochemicals, iron and calcium.

Tumeric is a spice used often in Indian cuisine. It gets its golden-orange color from curcumin, which is helpful in blocking certain enzymes that cause inflammation. Curcumin offers the same benefits as many drugs, including non-prescription pain medications, phenylbutazone and hydrocortisone with none of the unwanted side effects.

Almonds are a great source of vitamin E. When compared to other nuts, they provide more of this healthy nutrient in addition to niacin, riboflavin, calcium and fiber. Vitamin E offers protection against the damage to tissues caused by inflammation. Fiber can help reduce C-reactive protein in the body. C-reactive protein is a protein produced by the liver that is released into the circulatory system in response to inflammation, infection and tissue injury.

Most people suffer with inflammation in one form or another. If you are among them, the nutrients found in the foods listed above can provide relief. To get the full benefits it is important to add these to your daily diet because the healing effects will not be noticeable overnight.

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Health Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet

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What are the benefits of a Healthy Mediterranean Diet? Well, it was already known that a healthy Mediterranean diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts and legumes as well as other staples of healthy eating is able to drastically reduce the number of heart attacks in individuals. Existing studies have shown that people following a Mediterranean diet are 30% less likely to fall victims of strokes or heart attacks or other heart-related diseases.

However, a new study has shown that the diet is also capable of sharply reducing chances of breast cancer in women—especially a Mediterranean diet which is rich in olive oil. This study evolved out of PREDIMED, a landmark clinical trial in Spain, tells us that women who follow an olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet stand at far lesser risks of contacting breast cancer than women following simply a low-fat diet.

Let us look a bit closer at this. The trial was carried out with three groups of women aged 60 to 80 and there were in all 4,300 women who participated in the trial. The first group was put on an olive oil-rich diet, the second group again on a Mediterranean diet but with extra servings of megs and nuts and third group simply on a low-fat diet.

At the end of the trial, 35 women were found with breast cancer and it was shown that those in the olive oil diet had 62% lesser chances of breast cancer. There was not much of a difference when it came to the other groups.

As it happens though, we cannot say that these findings are definitive since other factors besides diet could have led to the disease, too, and at any rate, no definite conclusion can be drawn on the basis of a paltry number of 35 cases.

However, according to the physicians working in the field, it should be little surprise if it is really found that an olive-oil rich healthy Mediterranean diet succeeds in bringing down the chances of breast cancer. At any rate, they opine, that the upsides of such a diet are huge compared to almost no downside.

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How Is Yogurt Made?

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There are lots of treats that could be hiding in your refrigerator, but none is creamier and tastier than yogurt. Whether it’s plain or fruity, it’s a healthy alternative that will make your parents proud. Plain yogurt may seem boring, but you can take it to a whole new level. It makes the perfect snack and it’s a great source of dairy that contains live bacterial culture. Although it can be bought in stores, it can also be made at home with fresh, wholesome ingredients and without any preservatives.

How Is Yogurt Made?

The bacteria added to the fresh milk must be heated so the lactose (sugar) becomes converted into lactic acid, which then thickens and gives it its tangy flavor. This all must happen in a controlled environment. Use a food thermometer to reach the ideal temperature when heating the milk in a pot, and again when it’s left to cool before it’s poured into the yogurt maker. A thicker, tangier yogurt will result the longer the bacteria is allowed to ferment. Yogurt can be made without a yogurt maker, but such a small appliance can simplify the process to ensure better results.

For a creamier texture, add gelatin. Sweeteners, fruit, and other flavorings may be added once the desired consistency has been achieved. For an even thicker consistency, consider straining the yogurt. This will result in what’s commonly referred to as Greek yogurt.

Enjoy a fun snack by making a yogurt parfait with your favorite fruit. Try adding raspberries and pineapple, or substitute them with others for a change. Keeping it fresh is the best way to go. Yogurt, topped with crushed walnuts, cinnamon, and organic honey can be an extremely healthy and hearty breakfast, too.

Yogurt is a delicious, healthy snack because it’s chock full of protein and minerals. Don’t avoid yogurt if you’re lactose intolerant, as the lactose can be broken down in the intestines, thanks to its special enzyme. It can also be made with whole milk, low- or non-fat, and other varieties, and with the milk of other animals.

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Quit Eating Junk Food: Easy Steps

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Almost all of us are aware that junk food is no good for the body. Over consumption of such unhealthy food items can lead to a host of health issues. Junk food can be addictive and it might not be very easy to quit it. Here is some guidance on how to quit eating junk food.

Find a reason why you want to quit – Once you have understood the many dangers of eating junk food, think of why you want to quit it. Maybe you want to lose your excess kilos or you want to get rid of the pimples on your skin or maybe you just want to start making healthier choices. No matter what the reason, pondering over it is the first step to quit eating junk. You can also write down your thoughts about quitting on paper. It may motivate you better to stop eating it as soon as possible.

Make a plan – After you have figured out the reasons why you want to forego junk food, make a commitment to yourself. You can make a list of all the foods that you do not wish to eat anymore. You can also write down your plan to deal with the cravings for these foods. It is important to be specific in your writing so that you know where you are headed. Keep the contract within easy view so that you are reminded of it time and again.

Remove junk food from home – Once you have taken the decision to stop junk food, throw away all such items from your house. Stay away as much as possible from places where you would be tempted to indulge in such foods. Stock your house with plenty of your favorite healthy food items. You can try whipping up delicious recipes to stay put on your commitment towards healthy food.

Keep yourself hydrated – Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It will keep you full and help control those unhealthy binges. It will also keep you away from carbonated drinks.

During the moments when you are tempted to eat junk food, do some activities to distract yourself from the craving. You can also confide in a friend at those moments to help you tide over the situation.

Foods That Help Fight Inflammation

An anti-inflammatory diet is a great benefit to you, especially when it wades off the immense suffering from diseases like eczema, Parkinson’s disease, asthma or Crohn’s disease. Besides acting as inflammation treatment, these foods are also rich in nutrients that help fight cancer, boost body energy levels and even help in weight loss. Here are some of the foods in the market rich in inflammatory properties:

Nuts

Nuts are rich in nutrients that help in inflammation treatment. Almonds are some of the nuts with high content of these nutrients followed by walnuts, cashew nuts and ordinary peanuts. You can have a healthy serving of nuts anytime—whether it’s during the main meals or in between meals.

Avocados

Besides their richness in healthy fats, avocados are also highly regarded for their anti-inflammatory properties. Joint pains directly caused by obesity can be alleviated by introducing the healthier fats into the body while the bad ones get shed off. Avocadoes can be eaten as they are, together with meals, add up to salads or blended with fruits for a refreshing smoothie.

Apple Cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar will not only boost the flavor in food but has also been discovered to relieve intestinal inflammation. It will help you with digestion and also reduce the pain from conditions like gastroenteritis and spastic colon. Apple cider vinegar can be added to meals as you cook or smoothies before you drink them. Not only does digestion improve but you will also manage your weight better.

Basil

Basil is a spice which can substitute the many unhealthy processed spices bought in malls. Used together with rosemary and parsley, basil will improve the taste of your meals and help fight inflammation as well. It is the ideal reinforcement for a meal reach in anti-inflammatory foods.

Cabbage

Cabbages are rich in compounds known as anthocyanin which are said to be essential in inflammation treatment. Go for red cabbage which is richer in anthocyanin and a great addition to homemade soups. Not only do they improve inflammation pains, they also boost your digest tract.

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Health Benefits Of Bananas

Bananas are wonderful fruits that have a sweet taste and creamy consistency. They also come with a host of nutrients that provide multiple health benefits. Eating them on a regular basis can result in:

Improved Athletic Performance

All athletes from the recreational weekend warriors to the most dedicated elites usually incorporate bananas in their daily intake. It helps them avoid cramps and other problems when they go out to compete. By making sure their bodies have the proper electrolyte balance, they are able to focus on their task and give 100% effort. It’s also a great light snack for training breaks when they need energy but don’t want to feel full. In marathons and other long races, aid stations are likely to have bananas for the participants along with water and electrolyte drinks. Runners rely on these to get them through the tough course.

Better Heart Health

Bananas are known for being an excellent source of potassium. There is no other food that has this nutrient in such a high level that is convenient and pleasant to eat. Potassium is important as it helps to regulate blood pressure. It also keeps the heart functioning well. Those who are suffering from high blood pressure are often asked to make bananas a regular part of their daily diet. It can prevent conditions like atherosclerosis as well. The fruit can even reduce the chances of stroke. Consuming just a single banana of average size will give the body an additional 400 mg of potassium. Just remember not to eat too much as this will have its own negative consequences.

Good Digestion

Bananas have a good amount of fiber at 3 grams per piece. Fiber helps to make people feel full for longer so they don’t overindulge and gain weight. It also makes digestion flow smoother. People who are having digestive issues may want to incorporate the fruit in their meal plans. However, it should be stressed that moderation is key. Bananas are so delicious that it is easy to eat more than you need to and this may backfire in the form of constipation.

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