Naturalife https://naturalife.org Health & Wellness Made Easy Tue, 20 Apr 2021 05:09:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.25/5d1.fa8.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/cropped-Naturalife-Favicon-32x32.png Naturalife https://naturalife.org 32 32 The Best Wood Watches of 2021 Review https://naturalife.org/reviews/best-wood-watches https://naturalife.org/reviews/best-wood-watches#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2021 02:54:00 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=3184 Wood watches are becoming an increasingly popular fashion trend. And for good reason, they're beautiful! So here are the 10 best wood watches you can buy for both men and women.

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Got wood?

If not, consider treating yourself or a loved one to a wooden watch.

Wooden watches have become a top choice for those who are passionate about nature-inspired products and love everything natural.

But the thing is, some wooden watches can tend to be clunky, low quality, and unsophisticated.

So I painstakingly went through all of the wooden watches that are out there. In the end, I hand-picked and reviewed a list of the 10 the best wood watches.

These 10 wood watches bring together style, class, and tremendous quality.

When you pair one of these beauties with the right outfit, your friends and colleagues will be absolutely envious.

Expect lots of comments. More so than you would with a thousand dollar designer watch!

That being said, let’s take a ride into the world of wooden watches, and help you find the perfect fit for your needs.

The Best Wood Watches for Men Overview

click the product to jump to the description

The Best Wood Watches for Women Overview

click the product to jump to the description

Why Wood Watches?

Wooden watches are a one-of-a-kind accessory that you can wear for years to come.

I especially love them because they’re the perfect way to spice up boring work attire.

And despite most of them being hand-crafted, they are significantly cheaper than most watches out there.

No more racking up your credit card debt just to look stylish.

An Eco-friendly Option (sometimes)

Finally, environmental enthusiasts have an accessory for them. When you wear a wooden watch, you combine the characteristics of a beautiful, durable, and environmentally friendly accessory.

You’re probably wondering how wooden watches help the environment, right?

Watches made from materials such as bamboo come from sustainable forests, where every tree that is cut down is replaced by a new one that is planted.

But not all wood watches are made of bamboo, which is a fast-growing sustainable resource. So if the environment is a concern for you, stick to the bamboo watches mentioned here.

Skin Sensitive to Metals? No Problem.

Some people are allergic to the metals used in standard watches. It usually causes itchy or painful rashes.

Most wood watches don’t use any metals that could trigger an allergic reaction.

This makes wood watches the perfect fit for those who have skin that’s sensitive to metals.

Insensitive to Heat

Say goodbye to scorching hot metal watches in the summer.

Unlike metal watches, wooden watches don’t retain heat. Plus, they are more comfortable to wear, and much lighter.

That being said, let’s explore some of the best wooden watches that are out there for both men–click here if you’re looking for women’s watches.

The Best Wood Watches For Men Reviewed

 JORD Frankie Series II Wood Watch

Ebony and Gold Wood watch made by JORD - Frankie Series II

JORD is well known for producing high-quality luxury wood watches. While they may have a slightly bigger price tag, the quality of these watches is out of this world.

What sets Jord apart from other brands is that they get their wood from sustainable sources.  A great majority of the wood for their watches comes from furniture remnants. Small pieces are recovered to contribute to watch links and cases that would otherwise end up in the waste cycle.

But they don’t let their dedication to the environment compromise the quality of their product. Their watches are built well and look fantastic. Plus, they have a wide range of options to suit your budget.

I’ve reviewed a lot of wooden watches over the past 3 years and this brand is the best by a longshot.

Get It Here

Pros

  • Even though it’s wood, this watch looks professional and classy
  • You can get custom engravings on the back of most of their watches
  • If you’re not a fan of the dark appearance, there are several additional options to customize your look.
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty
  • Comes with an ultra-slim case
  • Features a Quartz (battery) Swiss watch movement.

Cons

  • When you order, you must provide your wrist size. If you’re not spot on with your measurements, it’s difficult to remove links from the band yourself which means you’ll have to bring it to a jeweler.
  • Their logo is engraved on the side of the watch as seen in the image. I wasn’t a huge fan of that since the logo is already on the face.


 Bewell Men’s Wooden Watch Analog Quartz

Bewell zebrawood wood watch

Most wooden watch enthusiasts are well aware of this gem. In fact, this Bewell watch is one of the single most popular wooden watches on the market. And for good reason.

Each Bewell watch is beautifully handcrafted from 100% natural wood materials. It’s also lightweight, comfortable and elegant despite its rustic design.

Get It Here

Pros

  • It’s beautiful. I mean come on… look at it!
  • Each watch is a hand-crafted work of art
  • Despite its rustic appearance, it maintains a vibe of elegance (and it’s comfortable to wear)
  • Over 800 positive reviews and counting–so you know it’s high-quality
  • Band size is easy to adjust, and it comes with an adjustment tool

Cons

  • Straps are sensitive to snapping and breakage if you wear it during physical activity (e.g., don’t decide to try kickboxing with this on)
  • Sensitive to prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Can break when dropped on its glass face


Treehut Walnut & Ebony Wood Watch


Want to stand out from the crowd? This walnut and ebony watch from Treehut will help you do just that.

When I wear this watch, I always manage to get at least a few compliments, which is way more than I ever get with standard watches. That’s when you know it’s a nice watch 😉 .

In addition to the brown wooden face and straps, the quartz display also lies against a dark brown backdrop that emphasizes nature to its core. Who thought that a brown on brown look would look this good?

Get It Here

Pros

  • Unique and attractive color design
  • Handcrafted from 100% natural wood
  • TreeHut is one of the most reputable brands out there for wood watches

Cons

  • Brown quartz backdrop slightly reduces visibility in certain lightings
  • Doesn’t fare well with continued water exposure
  • Front glass can’t endure a beating


Holzkern Shanghai Series

Holzkern Wood Watch

This wooden watch by Holzkern is hands-down one of the most beautifully crated watches I’ve ever laid my eyes on. It’s handmade in Austria and offers an elegant, yet rustic look that will surely turn some heads.

The face is constructed of maple wood whereas the border and wristband are made from zebrawood. The quality of this watch is unmatched by any other. Holzkern kindly sent me this watch so I could see it in person and give my honest opinion on it.

Pros

  • Intricate design perfect for that professional, yet rustic look
  • State-of-the-art gearing system (automatic movement by Citizen)
  • It’s the king of high-end wooden watches
  • Comes in a beautiful wooden box to store it in

Cons

  • Considerably more expensive than the other watches (but you get what you pay for!)
  • The band contains metal (stainless steel) so if your skin doesn’t like it, this watch isn’t for you.

Get It Here


Treehut Bamboo Watch — Leather Strap

The Treehut men’s bamboo watch features an eco-elegant design that emphasizes environmental consciousness.

The face of the watch features a minimalist design, with an analog layout that strikes a balance between earthy and classy.

What makes this watch even better is that Treehut doesn’t fall short in the quality department. It has a 3 ATM water resistance, and the bamboo face adds an extra layer of heat resistance as well.

Get It Here

Pros

  • Durable design with 5-year battery life
  • Exceptionally affordable
  • Handcrafted for a unique and stylish appearance
  • Wood textures and colors get better with time

Cons

  • Leather straps get worn out over time if you wear it like it’s your job
  • Not fully water-resistant (but no wood watches are)
  • The slightly thick dial diameter (1.3inches) can poke against your arms


LeeEv EV1001 Men’s Natural Black & Zebra Wood Watch


An affordably priced and eco-friendly solution, the LeeEV wooden watch is a stylish handcrafted zebra sandal watch that incorporates a vintage design. It’s a truly timeless look, emphasizing nature and sophistication.

Unlike some other wood watches, the face is white making it easily visible in all lighting.

Get It Here

Pros

  • The protective glass is hardened and scratch proof
  • Each watch has a unique look
  • Adjustable strap to fit different sized arms

Cons

  • Thick dial may poke against your arm
  • Face of the watch is slightly undersized

The Best Wood Watches for Women Reviewed

JORD Cora Polaris Series

Jord Cora Women's wooden watch with gold wristband and a teal faceplate
Nature meets style and elegance with the JORD Cora Series wooden watch for women. Although it has a higher price tag, this is THE wood watch to own.

It features 100% natural and sustainably sourced zebrawood, which gets finer and more attractive over time–like a fine wine.

The hands and band are made of genuine rose gold. The face is exceptionally durable (and eye-catching) since it’s made from sapphire glass (crystal).

If you’re looking to make a statement, this is the watch to get.

Get It Here

Pros

  • The open-heart dial gives you an incredible glimpse of the inner mechanics
  • Made from 100% handcrafted zebrawood
  • Comes with a box and maintenance kit to keep it looking amazing as it ages.
  • The watch is automatic and requires no battery!

Cons

  • Higher price, but the quality makes up for it.


Bioston Uwood Fashion Casual Watch


Want to combine the elegance of a traditional watch with a subtle earthy vibe? The Bioston Fashion Casual wooden watch is a great option for you. It’s a handmade natural wooden watch, featuring materials that are specially designed for people with sensitive skin and allergies. The watch is made of eco-friendly and natural zebra.

This is the perfect watch for those who think there’s too much wood on most wooden watches.

Get It Here

Pros

  • Made of natural high-quality zebra wood
    100 wooden design, including straps
  • Small 36mm dial increases comfort
  • You can pick between 3 different color variations

Cons

  • Bands sensitive to snapping
  • Excessive spots on some watches due to natural bamboo
  • Front glass sensitive to breakage



Viable Harvest Sandalwood Watch With White Face


This watch is another perfect fit for those who like wood watches but still want them to look modern and sleek.

Viable Harvest does a fantastic job with achieving a minimalistic, yet elegant design with this watch.

It features Japanese quartz movement, so it stays on time consistently.

Nearly every person who reviews this watch seems to absolutely love it.

Get It Here

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable due to leather straps
  • Minimalistic white allows the watch to go with almost any outfit
  • You can get a variant of this watch (it’s just bigger) for men.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer different colors or wood types


WeWood Date Watch

If you like things that are more floral or artsy, this watch may be the right one for you.

While it may not be as elegant as some of the other watches I mentioned here, it has an eye-catching design that’s truly unique to any other watch.

It’s also 100% hypo-allergenic, meaning people with metal or chemical sensitivities will have no problem wearing this watch.

Even the paints used are free of toxic chemicals.

And to top it off, the face is made of scratch-proof mineral glass.

Get it Here

Pros

  • Made of 100% natural wood
  • Scratch-proof mineral glass face
  • A truly unique artistic design

Cons

  • Some people complain that the floral design isn’t vibrant enough


CUCOL Women’s Wooden Bamboo Watch With Leather Strap


Women are certainly not left behind in the wooden watch fashion trend. The CUCOL wooden bamboo watch comes with a stylish and authentic bamboo case, and a face that features a slender, circular design.

There’s also no distracting emblem on the surface. Some brands will make their logo obnoxiously big on the watch’s face. And this clearly is not the case with CUCOL.

This watch captures the essence of minimalism, but still manages to be eye-catching at the same time.

You can easily mix and match the CUCOL watch with many different accessories thanks to its neutral colors.

Get It Here

Pros

  • Comes with authentic bamboo case for proper storage
  • Lightweight, stylish design
  • Attractive quartz crystal layout

Cons

  • Leather straps can get worn out
  • No emblem on the face makes it look plain. Some like this and some don’t

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21 Ways to Increase BDNF for a Supercharged Brain https://naturalife.org/mind/increase-bdnf https://naturalife.org/mind/increase-bdnf#respond Wed, 12 Jun 2019 14:07:37 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=4902 BDNF is a powerful molecule that promotes the growth of new brain cells and enhances your cognitive function. Here's are 21 effective ways to increase BDNF.

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BDNF is like fertilizer for the brain.

BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, is an incredible protein that supercharges your brain. It’s one of the most important molecules for keeping you mentally sharp through all stages of your life.

The problem is, BDNF levels naturally decline as you get older (1). BDNF levels also decrease with things like chronic stress, eating too many processed foods, depression, and anxiety.

Which means many of us are at-risk for low BDNF. That’s why taking steps to increase your BDNF is an excellent idea if you want to optimize the function of your brain.

Before we get into the different ways to increase your BDNF levels, let’s take a look at how BDNF can benefit you.

What are the Benefits of Increasing BDNF?

Smart man studying at a library

For the most part, BDNF benefits your cognitive function. In other words, it can improve your how well your brain works.

Studies have found that BDNF specifically…

  • Promotes Neurogenesis: BDNF is one of the few known compounds that can stimulate the production of new brain cells. In doing so, it helps maintain healthy nervous tissue in the brain (2).
  • Enhances Learning and Memory: By promoting brain plasticity, BDNF may increase your capacity to learn new skills and improve your memory (3, 4).
  • Prevents Brain-Related Disease: Since BDNF helps grow and maintain healthy brain cells, it plays a big role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s (5). This is why it also helps keep your brain young.
  • Improves Your Mood: Scientists have found that brain-derived neurotrophic factor is low in people with mood disorders like depression. Increasing BDNF levels may therefore have positive effects on your mood (6, 7).
  • Enhances Sleep: Some evidence suggests that BDNF can help you get more deep and restorative sleep (8). This, in turn, can help further improve your cognitive function and overall health.

Now that you know how BDNF can benefit you, let’s take a look at the best ways to increase BDNF.

The Best BDNF Supplements


Get The Best BDNF Supplements

Hand-picked for maximum results

1. Coffee Fruit Extract

Coffee fruit for a BDNF supplement

Coffee fruit is a red fruit that surrounds coffee beans while they grow on the plant.

Research suggests that coffee fruit extract is one of the most powerful supplements to boost your levels of BDNF.

One study published in the journal Food and Nutrition Sciences, found that 100 mg of coffee fruit extract increased the levels of BDNF in blood by almost 200% within 60 minutes of consumption (9). That’s a massive increase in BDNF to say the least.

Another study echoed these findings and discovered that those who consumed coffee fruit extract experienced a 143% increase in their blood values of BDNF (10).

The Bottom Line:

Evidence suggests that coffee fruit extract can substantially boost BDNF levels by up to 200%. This makes coffee fruit extract the single most effective supplement for BDNF.

2. Lion’s Mane

lion's mane mushroom in the woods

Lion’s mane is a large edible mushroom that is famous for its white, shaggy appearance.

This incredible mushroom is one of the best natural nootropics (brain-enhancing compounds) that exists.

Studies have found that lion’s mane can…

  • Improve your mood and boost BDNF (11).
  • Stimulates the growth and regeneration of new neurons (12)
  • Enhance your memory (13).

So if you’re looking to increase your BDNF and overall brain function, adding a high-quality lion’s mane powder to your supplement stack is a must.

The Bottom Line:

Lion’s mane is a popular brain-enhancing mushroom that is shown to boost BDNF and enhance your memory.

3. Polyphenols

organic blueberries

Polyphenols are powerful antioxidant naturally found in plants. They are largely found in superfoods like berries, cocoa, cloves, peppermint, and flaxseeds.

Among their many other benefits, studies indicate that polyphenols can raise your BDNF levels.

In one animal study, scientists isolated the polyphenols from olives and found that the consumption of these polyphenols increased the amount of BDNF in the hippocampus of the brain—a region associated with the formation of new memories and learning (14).

The evidence isn’t just limited to animal studies either. Clinical research also found that a polyphenol-rich grape seed extract increased the blood levels of BDNF by 30% (15).

If you’re looking to stack (combine) BDNF supplements, I recommend picking up one of the following:

The Bottom Line:

Polyphenols are powerful plant compounds that are shown to boost BDNF levels by around 30%.

4. Omega-3 Fats

different types of omega-3 supplements

Getting plenty of omega-3 fats in your diet is critical for your overall health. They can help you maintain healthy blood pressure, combat inflammation, reduce the chance of heart disease, help manage autoimmune disease, and even prevent cancer (16, 17).

There’s also a growing body of evidence that shows that getting omega-3 fats in your diet can boost your BDNF levels in a number of ways.

  • Omega-3 fats can improve mental health and fight depression which are intimately tied to your BDNF levels (18, 19).
  • Animal and human studies show omega-3 supplementation can normalize levels of BDNF in the brain, improve cognition, enhance brain plasticity, and protect the brain from oxidative damage (20, 21).
  • Obesity is suggested to down-regulate BDNF gene expression. Animal studies show that omega-3 supplementation is shown to reverse the negative effects of obesity on BDNF (22).

The Bottom Line:

Getting omega-3 fats through food or supplementation can normalize BDNF, improve cognition, and help manage several conditions that are known to negatively affect BDNF.

5. CBD Oil

CBD oil

CBD oil is a widely popular supplement thanks to the rapidly growing body of evidence that supports its benefits.

A few studies have found that CBD oil can increase BDNF expression and decrease inflammation in the central region of the brain (23). Since inflammation is shown to decrease BDNF gene expression, it’s possible that CBD oil increases BDNF by decreasing inflammation in the brain (24).

Another study with mice found that CBD could moderately reduce the symptoms of depression by elevating levels of BDNF (25).

The Bottom Line:

CBD oil may increase BDNF levels by decreasing inflammation in the brain. Inflammation decreases BDNF gene expression.  

6. Curcumin (Turmeric)

A few studies indicate that the curcumin in turmeric can increase BDNF.

One study, for example, found that supplementing curcumin exerted anti-depressant actions and increased BDNF in the brain (26).

Another study with rats found that curcumin could counteract the BDNF-lowering effects of chronic stress (27). This means curcumin supplementation could be a great choice if you’re under frequent stress.

For maximum absorption, just make sure you get a curcumin supplement that contains bioperine. Or even better, get a micellized curcumin supplement—since bioperine can interact with many medications.

The Bottom Line:

Curcumin may increase BDNF by fighting depression, inflammation, and reducing the effects of chronic stress. At this point, most studies on the topic are with animals, so more research is needed.

7. Vitamin B12

foods rich in vitamin b12 or cobalamin

Scientists believe that vitamin B12 might be an important cofactor involved in the production of BDNF (28).

This could explain why vitamin B12 and omega-3 supplementation was found to increase BDNF and improve cognitive performance in rats (29).

Another study proposed that vitamin B12 deficiencies play a role in reduced BDNF levels (30).

While the evidence isn’t strong, it makes sense that vitamin B12 would play a role in BDNF since it’s involved in DNA production and nerve health.

Many people have genetic mutations that prevent them from making use of several B vitamins, so I’m a huge fan of taking a methylated vitamin B complex.

The Bottom Line:

Vitamin B12 could play an important role in BDNF production. So if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, your body could have a difficult time making BDNF.

8. Honorable Mentions

There are several other compounds that are shown to increase BDNF, but the evidence is still in its early stages.

But if you want to go full throttle with BDNF, here are a few additional supplements worth considering:

  • Magnesium: A large number of people (up to 80%) are deficient in magnesium. Animal studies suggest magnesium supplementation can increase BDNF (31).
  • Taurine: An amino acid that plays a role in mental disorders like depression. Some evidence suggests it may help improve mood disorders which can deplete BDNF. One study also found that taurine could increase BDNF in rats (32, 33).
  • L-Theanine: An amino acid commonly found in green tea. L-theanine boosts BDNF, which is shown to ease depression and anxiety in studies with mice (34).
  • Cordyceps: A popular mushroom supplement that is known for its ability to boost physical endurance and enhance brain function by increasing BDNF expression (35). Cordyceps can be a bit expensive though, so I recommend trying some of the others first.
  • Bacopa: Another popular herb that is well-known for its ability to enhance cognitive function. One study found bacopa increased BDNF by around 30% (36).

Magnesium, L-theanine, and bacopa are my favorites on this list.

Get The Best BDNF Supplements

Hand-picked for maximum results

9. Exercise

deadlift exercise

Without taking supplements into consideration, exercise is one of the single best ways to boost BDNF. And there’s a solid amount of research to support this connection as well.

Researchers have discovered that exercise increases the release of an endogenous molecule called β-hydroxybutyrate. This molecule is shown to switch on genes that are responsible for the production of BDNF (37).

Even a single session of exercise increases BDNF, so every little bit helps (38).

But if you’re looking to get the best results, you should try high-intensity workouts that bring you to the point of exhaustion.

That’s because the amount of BDNF released from exercise seems to be intensity dependent (39). In other words, higher intensity workouts release more BDNF.

Additionally, BDNF mRNA expression peaks in recovery after exercise, suggesting consistent exercise is ideal for a cumulative effect (40).

The Bottom Line:

High-intensity exercise to the point of exhaustion produces the biggest increases of BDNF. To get even better results, it’s important to exercise on a regular basis.

10. Master Stress Management

relaxing completely stress free people with coffee and a pug

Stress is the #1 enemy of BDNF.

But it’s not just any type of stress.

Studies indicate that chronic or constant stress can substantially lower BDNF (41, 42).

Acute or short-term stress, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have a negative effect on BDNF (43).

This suggests that it’s okay to get stressed from time to time. But if you’re always stressed out, it can plummet your BDNF levels.

So if you’re chronically stressed, it’s essential that you look into some stress reduction techniques.

The Bottom Line:

Constant stress can plummet your BDNF levels. If you want to maximize your BDNF, learning some stress management tricks is a must.

11. Sun Exposure

Man sitting on mountain top sun bathing

Daily sun exposure is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of wellness. Which is a shame considering the fact that something so simple can increase your vitamin D production, improve your mood, enhance the immune system, and even decrease the risk of skin cancer—granted you don’t get too much sun (44).

Scientists have also discovered that sun exposure is directly correlated with how much BDNF your body has (45).

Of course, if you live in a cold climate, this can be a huge challenge during the winter. If this is the case, try to get some exposure by taking a walk outside, going snowshoeing, or participating any other activity that will force you to get some sun exposure.

That being said, even if you can manage to get outside in the winter, it often isn’t enough. That’s why I personally take a high-quality vitamin D supplement because it’s a huge challenge for me to get enough sun in the winter months.

The Bottom Line:

Evidence suggest sun exposure is directly correlated with how much BDNF you have. Be sure to get at least 15 minutes of direct sun exposure every day. If you live in a colder climate, you may need to supplement vitamin D during the winter months.

12. Socialize

couple holding hands

If you want to keep your BDNF levels as high as possible, spending time with friends, family, or loved ones is another important factor.

Specifically, evidence seems to suggest that social isolation decreases the levels of BDNF in the brain.

One animal study, for example, found that socially isolated rats had a decreased ability to learn, slower brain cell generation, and had significantly lower BDNF levels in the brain (46).

Social isolation also can be a big contributor to depression, which is strongly associated with decreased BDNF levels (47, 48).

The Bottom Line:

Social isolation decreases BDNF. Try to socialize with family, friends, or loved ones at least once a week.

13. Wim Hoff Breathing

There’s some evidence that temporary hypoxia or oxygen deprivation can spike your BDNF levels (49, 50).

One of the best ways to do this is with Wim Hof breathing. This process involves controlled breathing cycles that bring a large amount of oxygen into your body. At the end of a cycle, you then hold your breath for a couple minutes which causes temporary hypoxia

The Bottom Line:

Wim Hoff breathing can result in temporary oxygen deprivation which may increase BDNF.

14. Meditation

Hiker meditating on a mountain

Much like exercise, a consistent meditation practice can also provide a considerable boost to your BDNF levels.

One study followed 38 people on a 3-month yoga and meditation retreat. The researchers found that the participants experienced a notable increase in BDNF following the retreat (51).

It’s possible that this increase of BDNF was due to the effects meditation has on stress and cortisol.

Several studies support the notion that meditation reduces stress as measured by decreased levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol can have a negative impact on BDNF (52, 53). So it makes sense that decreasing cortisol with meditation results in higher levels of BDNF.

To get the benefits, you must meditate at least once a day. Meditating every now and then will probably not provide much of an effect on BDNF.

The Bottom Line:

Meditation may provide a minor boost in BDNF by improving your ability to cope with stress.

15. Get Quality Sleep

quality sleep

Sleep impairment and insomnia are associated with decreased levels of BDNF (54). Interestingly enough, the study also found that partial sleep deprivation, on the other hand, can result in a spike of BDNF in the blood.

I imagine this means that you should take whatever steps you can to improve the quality of your sleep. But don’t get upset if you get disrupted sleep from time to time since it is shown to positively affect your BDNF levels.

Read more on how to improve the quality of your sleep here.

The Bottom Line:

Low quality sleep can cause your BDNF levels to take a nosedive. Take steps to improve the quality of your sleep by avoiding blue-spectrum light at night, exercising, and avoiding caffeine after 2:00 pm.

16. Cold & Heat Therapy

Cold and heat therapy are rapidly becoming widely popular in the ‘biohacking’ and beauty communities due to its ability to help with weight loss, inflammation, and muscle tension.

There’s limited evidence with animal studies that suggests cold and hot therapy (saunas) can increase BDNF (55).

But the jury is still out since there aren’t any studies that involve humans (that I’m aware of). Given that cold and heat therapy provide several other benefits though, it’s certainly worth giving a try unless you have any medical conditions that would make it dangerous.

The Bottom Line:

While more research is needed, cold and hot therapy could provide a minor boost to your BDNF levels. Consider taking cold showers and regular infrared sauna treatments.

Increasing BDNF Through Your Diet


17. Eat or Supplement Prebiotics

garlic

Prebiotics are specific types of dietary fiber that feed and support the friendly bacteria in your gut. This includes foods like chicory root, dandelion greens, garlic, asparagus, and jicama.

There’s some evidence out there that suggests prebiotics can increase the amount of BDNF in the brain (56). Polyphenols, as covered earlier, can also serve as effective BDNF-boosting prebiotics as well (57).

It’s possible that prebiotics have this effect on BDNF because your gut microbiome can influence BDNF function and expression (58).

To get this benefit, consider taking a prebiotic supplement like this one or consume more of the prebiotic foods mentioned above.

The Bottom Line:

Prebiotics may increase your BDNF by nourishing the healthy bacteria in your gut.

18. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is when you don’t eat for a set amount of time every day. Most experts seem to believe that 16 hours without eating produces the best results. This means if you finished eating dinner at 6:30 pm, you wouldn’t eat again until around 10:30 am.

Among the many benefits of intermittent fasting, it appears that the practice can help elevate your levels of BDNF (59). One study with mice put on an intermittent fasting diet found that it normalized glucose metabolism, increased BDNF, and prolonged their lifespan (60).

One of the primary ways in which intermittent fasting produces its benefits is through increasing the body’s production of β-hydroxybutyrate—a compound used as an energy source by the brain when blood sugar levels are low (61).

A large scientific review revealed that β-hydroxybutyrate has a powerful effect on BDNF (62). More specifically, it induces BDNF expression in hippocampal and cortical neurons.

The Bottom Line:

Restricting the window of time you eat can spike BDNF levels by increasing a compound called β-hydroxybutyrate.

19. Consider the Ketogenic Diet

macronutrient basics of the ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a high fat and low carbohydrate diet.

Among its many other benefits, the ketogenic diet is shown to have positive effects on BDNF.

A study that evaluated the effects of the ketogenic diet found that it could increase BDNF expression, decrease inflammation in the brain, and improve mitochondrial function (63).

Much like intermittent fasting and exercise, the ketogenic diet increases β-hydroxybutyrate. In doing so, it can boost BDNF.

The Bottom Line:

A high fat and low carbohydrate diet like keto can increase BDNF expression and decrease inflammation (which inhibits BDNF).

20. Reduce Sugar Intake

There is some evidence that suggests consuming too much sugar can decrease BDNF production.

Animal studies have found that just two months of a diet high in fat and refined sugars resulted in reduced levels of BDNF in the brain (64).

So how do you know it’s the sugar and not the fat that affects BDNF?

Another study found that a diet high in fat actually increases BDNF (65). So sugar is most likely the culprit.

Things can get even worse when you eat high amounts of refined sugar over long periods of time. That’s because long-term refined sugar consumption can contribute to insulin resistance which leads to type 2 diabetes (66).

When the body cannot properly metabolize glucose (sugar) as is the case with type 2 diabetes, it could lead to even lower levels of BDNF (67).

The Bottom Line:

A diet high in refined or processed sugars can have a negative impact on your BDNF production. Limit your intake of refined sugar whenever possible. 

21. Dietary Zinc

roasted almonds in a cup

Zinc is an important mineral that’s involved in healthy neuronal and brain activity.

The research out there is a bit of a mixed bag at the moment. Some research suggests that zinc supplementation can increase BDNF levels, whereas other studies have found that high doses of zinc can actually decrease BDNF in the brain (68, 69).

Most of the studies are also done with rats or mice. With that in mind, I don’t think there’s enough research out there to recommend zinc supplementation. Especially since higher doses are shown to decrease BDNF.

So your best bet is to make sure you include foods that naturally contain zinc in your diet. Try eating foods like 100% grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, shellfish, legumes, seeds, and nuts.

The Bottom Line:

Low doses of zinc can provide a minor boost in BDNF. Since high doses can have the opposite effect, you should only get zinc through food.

One Last Fringe Way to Boost BDNF

Psychedelics

While they may be controversial, more and more scientists are beginning to look at the responsible use of psychedelics for their therapeutic uses. For the most part, this includes psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and LSD.

Among the several different therapeutic benefits, scientists have found that…

  • Psilocybin may be able to combat depression by “resetting” the activity of key brain circuits involved in depression (70). As explained earlier, depression is associated with decreased BDNF levels.
  • Psilocybin and LSD increase the expression of BDNF by activating 5-HT2A receptors (71).
  • Psychedelics promote brain plasticity which is the ability for the brain to rewire and learn. They were found to have a dose-response relationship with BDNF (72).

Of course, it’s important to note that psychedelics are illegal in many regions. So it’s probably not a good option for you unless you are able to become a participant in a scientific study. Irresponsible misuse can also cause psychological harm.

But for scientific purposes, I felt it was important to mention this one either way.

Making the Most of Your Increased BDNF

Once you take steps to increase your BDNF levels, you’re not done.

There’s one more thing you need to do to maximize the effects.

Make sure you’re mentally stimulated every single day.

If not, all that increased learning and memory potential will be put to waste. This means you should invest time into learning a new skill, read a book, study, or participate in anything else that is mentally engaging.

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13 Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency https://naturalife.org/nutrition/vitamin-b12-deficiency https://naturalife.org/nutrition/vitamin-b12-deficiency#respond Tue, 14 May 2019 21:24:57 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=4843 Vitamin B12 or cobalamin deficiencies can result in a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. Here are 13 of the most common red flags of a B12 deficiency.

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Do you struggle with constant fatigue? Or how about brain fog, depression, or frequent mood changes?

If you experience one or more of these issues, it could be a sign that you are among the 40% of people who are deficient in vitamin B12 (1).  

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a highly energizing vitamin that plays a vital role in your health. It’s required for healthy blood, DNA, and proper nervous system function.

So, if you’re not getting enough vitamin B12 through your diet, a wide range of issues can naturally arise. And since many of the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency are often dismissed as a “normal part of life,” people can suffer for years without even knowing their life could be improved by supplementing vitamin B12.

That’s why being aware of the common signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency is crucial—so you can avoid needless suffering.

Here are 13 of the most common signs that your body is not getting enough vitamin B12.

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Signs of vitamin B12 Deficiency Infographic

1. Fatigue & Weakness

Fatigue and general weakness are, hands-down, the most common symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Your body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, which transport oxygen to all parts of your body (2).  So when you don’t have enough vitamin B12, your whole body can be starving for oxygen due to a lack of red blood cells—doctors call this anemia.

This lack of oxygen results in constant fatigue and weakness.

2. Numbness or Tingling

When vitamin B12 deficiencies go on for long periods of time, it can result in a considerable amount of nerve damage (3).

That’s because vitamin B12 is an important compound involved in the production of myelin.

Myelin is a protective sheath that surrounds your nerves. This sheath protects, insulates, and improves the function of your nerves (4).

Without myelin, your nerve health begins to degrade over time. This can result in symptoms like paresthesia (the sensation of pins and needles) and numbness.

3. Depression & Mood Changes

Studies have found that people who experience mood disorders like depression, mood swings, and anxiety are often deficient in vitamin B12 (5, 6).

Doctors believe that vitamin B12 deficiencies can spike the levels of an amino acid called homocysteine (7). Elevated homocysteine levels can result in brain tissue damage and disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. This, in turn, can result in mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

The good news is, people with vitamin B12 deficiencies often experience relief from mood disorders after supplementing vitamin B12 (8, 9).

4. Brain Fog

According to the prestigious Harvard University, vitamin B12 deficiencies can also cause a considerable amount of brain fog (10).  In other words, it can make it difficult to think, reason, and negatively impact your memory.

Since vitamin B12 plays such an important role in brain health and neurotransmitter regulation, it makes perfect sense that your brain function would be subpar if you’re not getting enough B12 through your diet.

So if you feel as if your brain is “in the clouds” or it is sluggish, you should certainly consider vitamin B12 supplementation after talking to your doctor.

5. Loss of Balance and Coordination

When your nerves begin to degrade due to a vitamin B12 deficiency, it can also negatively impact the way you move.

This is most often characterized by a lack of coordination, balance issues, and/or frequent falls. In people over 50-60, this can be a serious concern since the bones tend to weaken as you get older.

6. Swollen Tongue & Mouth Ulcers

One of the more specific symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency is a swollen and inflamed tongue—doctors call this glossitis (11).

Some people with glossitis also experience discoloration and a burning sensation on their tongue.

In other cases, people can experience mouth ulcers or an odd itching sensation in the mouth or on the tongue.

Scientists believe this is somehow linked to the anemia and nerve complications that arise from a vitamin B12 deficiency.

7. Blurred Vision

Your eyes heavily rely on the communication between the optic nerve and your brain. When you are deficient in vitamin B12 for a longer period of time, the optic nerve may not function properly.

When the optic nerve doesn’t function as it should, it can alter the signal that travels from your eye to your brain. This results in visual symptoms like blurred vision or the inability to see fine detail.

While this symptom is rare and scary, evidence suggests supplementing vitamin B12 can resolve this issue relatively quickly (12).

8. Short of Breath & Dizzy

If you feel dizzy or short of breath, it could be due to the anemia that’s caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.

As explained earlier, when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells, virtually all cells in the body don’t get the oxygen supply they need to function.

It’s important to note, however, that breathlessness and dizzy spells can be caused by other health complications. So it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing these issues. You can also talk to them about the possibility of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

9. Pale Skin

Another issue that can arise from the anemia caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency is pale or yellow-tinged skin.

When your body cannot produce enough red blood cells, it changes the color of your skin. A vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause the liver to break down red blood cells more quickly which releases a substance called bilirubin.

Bilirubin is the compound that gives the skin a yellowish tone and is a common characteristic of jaundice.

10. Headaches or Migraines

If you frequently experience headaches or migraines, it could be another sign that you are not getting enough cobalamin or vitamin B12.

Some researchers believe that elevated homocysteine levels can lead to headaches or migraines (13). As explained earlier, vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause elevated homocysteine levels. This would explain why headaches are a common symptom of those who have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

If vitamin B12 doesn't do the trick, I have a lot of luck with taking a CBD oil to manage the pain.

11. Fast Heart Rate

Having a fast heart rate, or tachycardia, may be another sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

When your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells due to a lack of vitamin B12, your heart adapts to help give your cells the oxygen they need. Specifically, the heart increases its rate to push a greater volume of blood through the body.

12. Nausea & Heartburn

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, heartburn, bloating, and a loss of your appetite (14).

While scientists are not quite sure why this happens, they do recognize that these symptoms can occur.

13. Weight Loss

Since B12 deficiencies can cause digestive discomfort like nausea and a loss of appetite, it can also cause you to lose weight.

Who is At-Risk for Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

If any of these criteria apply to you, vitamin B12 supplementation may be even more important:

  • You are over the age of 50
  • You have gut discomfort or gut complications; compromised gut bacteria could contribute to a B12 deficiency (15)
  • You got genetically tested and you have the MTHFR gene mutation
  • You are on the drug metformin for diabetes
  • You are on a vegan or vegetarian diet
  • You take heartburn medication (proton pump inhibitors)
  • You had surgery that removed the small intestine

Why Do We Need B12? 

Like any other vitamin, B12 is not produced by the body and therefore must be sourced from your diet.

As suggested above, B12 can be used as a supplement to improve symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and depression, chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, anemia, cardiovascular disease, and many other conditions. Some research even suggests that low B12 levels affect the brain and nervous system first when B12 levels are in the low-to-normal acceptable range determined by laboratories.

That being said, here are the systems in the body that rely the most on B12. 

Red Blood Cells 

B12 works together with B9 (folic acid or folate) and iron to form your red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body. If you do not have enough B12, you will have many different sizes of red blood cells on your lab work. B12 tells red blood cells when to start and stop growing (16).

Brain and Nerve Function 

B12 is a crucial ingredient in the production of myelin or the protective coating of your nerve fibers that run throughout your body. Once again, in conjunction with B9, Vitamin B12 helps with nervous system development in fetuses and helps prevent deficiencies that are associated with mood disorders and dementia in the elderly, as well as peripheral neuropathy (17).

Methylation 

Methylation is a molecular process that helps us process genetic information and affects a multitude of functions throughout the body. Some people are genetically poor methylators, which can contribute to issues from migraines, hormone imbalances, heart disease, and more. Supplementing B12 can make the methylation cycle run much more smoothly for these people. A functional medicine practitioner can help you determine whether you have a methylation deficit.

How Do You Get B12 From Your Diet? 

B12 is most commonly found in the highest quantities in animal products such as eggs, dairy, and meat. One of the highest plant sources of B12 is nutritional yeast—a food additive adored by vegans and nutritionists alike. Its umami flavor means it is used liberally in vegan cooking where cheese needs to be substituted. But if you have gut issues or candida, consume nutritional yeast in moderation.

While getting B12 from your diet is ideal, for many it remains a struggle to maintain adequate levels, so additional Vitamin B12 dietary supplementation is needed. Of course, the cause of chronic B12 deficiency should first be investigated by a doctor to ensure your B12 levels are within a safe and adequate range.  

What If I Suspect I’m B12 Deficient? 

If you suspect you have a B12 deficiency, you should check with your doctor to see just how deficient you are. Depending on your blood levels, he or she may prescribe B12 injections or oral supplementation.

Recent research suggests that oral supplementation is superior to injection to replete deficiency, which is good news for the needle-phobic. If you’re supplementing orally, you need to know that there are different kinds of B12, and not all are created equal 

Which Form of Vitamin B12 to Choose? 

Many cheaper forms of B12 are called cyanocobalamin because they are complexed with a small amount of cyanide. This is not the preferred form of B12 for any condition involving B12 deficiency or to raise B12 levels into the optimal range.  

The preferable form of B12 is methylcobalamin, the activated form the body finds easy to use and absorb; and may reap the most benefit from. Plus, methylcobalamin is also an excellent choice for people who have methylation deficiencies as mentioned above.  

If your energy is lacking and your mood is low, you may want to try a B12 supplement, but to get the most benefit, look for the methylcobalamin form. And remember to discuss whether you’re a candidate to get your B12 levels tested with your healthcare practitioner, to help make sure your body is in the normal range. This will help ensure you have healthy energy levels, normal cognition, and stable moods. 

Contributing Author Bio 

Vital Nutrients is dedicated to manufacturing high-quality supplements that promote health, wellness, and vitality. Our stringent standards and extensive laboratory analyses have led to our supplements being used and trusted by hospitals,healthcare practitionersand consumers worldwide. Nothing is more important than the quality of our supplements. 

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Additional References:

Devalia V, Hamilton MS, Molloy AM; The British Committee for Standards in Haematology. Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of cobalamin and folate disorders. Brit J Haematol 2014;166:496–513.

Imbard A, Benoist JF, Blom HJ. Neural tube defects, folic acid and methylation. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013;10(9):4352-89. Published 2013 Sep 17. doi:10.3390/ijerph10094352

Andrès E, Loukili NH, Noel E, et al. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency in elderly patients. Can Med Assoc J 2004;171:251–9.

Oh R, Brown DL. Vitamin B12 deficiency. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Mar 1;67(5):979-86. Review. PubMed PMID: 12643357.

Halfdanarson TR, Litzow MR, Murray JA. Hematologic manifestations of celiac disease. Blood. 2007;109(2):412-21.

Shipton MJ, Thachil J. Vitamin B12 deficiency - A 21st century perspective . Clin Med (Lond). 2015;15(2):145-50.

Thakkar K, Billa G. Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency-methylcobalamine? Cyancobalamine? Hydroxocobalamin?-clearing the confusion. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jan;69(1):1-2. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2014.165. Epub 2014 Aug 13. PubMed PMID: 25117994.

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Beginner’s Guide to The Ketogenic Diet https://naturalife.org/nutrition/beginners-guide-ketogenic-diet https://naturalife.org/nutrition/beginners-guide-ketogenic-diet#respond Tue, 07 May 2019 14:49:29 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=4819 The ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet that trains your body to break down fat as a main source of energy, resulting in rapid weight loss and several other health benefits.

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The ketogenic diet, popularly called keto, has taken the health and wellness spotlight for the past couple of years.

The popularized diet triggered a huge shift in how we view nutrition. People following the keto diet are ditching carbs and loading up on fat. All with the goal of slimming one’s waistline and improving overall health.

But how is it possible that a diet low in carbs and high in fat will produce these benefits? Doesn’t that defy everything we know about healthy nutrition?

As counterintuitive as keto seems, there are countless studies to back up its many health claims. And if you ask keto dieters, the diet works better than many others.

Keto Diet Basics

The keto diet is by definition a very-low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein diet. The cornerstone of this diet is its macronutrient ratio, which looks like this:

  • 5-10% calories from carbohydrates
  • 20-25% calories from protein
  • 65-75% calories from fat

It’s also usually recommended to eat 20-50g net carbohydrates daily since this seems to work for most people.

Net carbohydrates are digestible carbohydrates. You can calculate them by subtracting the grams of dietary fiber from a food’s total carbohydrate content. Some carbs are indigestible, so they don’t really count.

Shifting The Metabolism to Focus on Fat

During the first week of a keto diet, it will create a temporary energy crisis. That’s because the body normally relies on carbohydrates to make energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

On a keto diet, carb intake is too low to support your body’s energy demands. As a result, it’s forced to use protein and fat as a source of energy.

When the body starts using fat for energy, it converts some of that fat into ketones.

Ketones are compounds that work as fuel substitutes for glucose (carbs). There are three types of ketone molecules: acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. When some of your body’s energy comes from ketones, you are in a metabolic state called ketosis – the main goal of the ketogenic diet.

Keto Diet Food – At a Glance

salmon for a protein on salad

The keto diet looks strikingly different from your standard Western diet. This diet turns the food pyramid upside down, making fats the base of the diet and carbohydrate-heavy food at the very end. Foods that keto dieters are encouraged to eat as their staples are:

  • Fatty cuts of meat (always choose grass-fed/finished, pasture-raised, and organic)
  • Fatty fish (get wild-caught when you can)
  • Full fat dairy
  • Eggs
  • Avocados
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Healthy oils/fats (cold-pressed olive oil, avocado oil, lard, or tallow)
  • Low-carb vegetables (e.g., leafy greens, asparagus, cucumber, cauliflower)

On the other hand, dieters are told to avoid the following foods completely:

  • Cereal grains
  • Legumes
  • Most fruit
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Sugar and honey

Sticking to these food rules will help you reach ketosis. By avoiding foods high in carbohydrates and eating foods high in fat and moderate in protein, you’ll easily be eating within the ketogenic macronutrient ratio.

Many dieters look for recipes online or search for keto cookbooks when starting their keto diet. Below is an example of how a full day of eating keto looks like.

One Day Keto Diet Meal Plan


Breakfast:

Bulletproof coffee

Cream cheese omelet with butter and bacon (I suggest getting this grass-fed butter & cream cheese, pasture-raised or local eggs, and heritage breed or organic bacon).

Lunch:

Salmon salad (wild-caught salmon, avocado oil mayonnaise, low-carb vegetables, salt, and pepper) on a bed of romaine lettuce.

Snack:

Three pieces of string cheese or goat cheese which is more easily digested

Half an avocado with salt and pepper (if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, the “everything spice” is simply amazing on avocados).

Dinner:

Keto-friendly buffalo wings with sugar-free blue cheese dressing and celery sticks (for a healthier option you can try to find raw and/or grass-fed cheese).

Dessert:

Whipped coconut cream with organic fresh or frozen berries

The Keto Diet Has Become Easier

Since the keto diet has been out for quite some time now, there are countless low-carb replacements for comfort carb-heavy meals like pasta, pizza, and mashed potatoes. That means keto dieters can enjoy some of their favorite meals, which makes it way easier to stick to the diet.

Besides sticking to keto macros by eating only keto-friendly foods, some keto dieters like to include MCT oil and intermittent fasting to their dieting regimen.

MCT oil is a supplement containing nothing but medium-chain triglycerides. It has been used with keto since the 1970s. When you consume MCT oil, it boosts ketone body production more than any other dietary fats.

Intermittent fasting is used with keto to help deplete glycogen stores quicker but also lower blood glucose levels for greater ketosis. I highly recommend combining intermittent fasting with keto for the best results.

Benefits of the Keto Diet

The keto diet was originally designed in 1921 to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children. However, researchers have since been exploring other potentials of this diet. So far, there is strong evidence the keto diet can help with the following (1)

There is also emerging evidence that keto can help manage the following conditions:

  • Acne
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Neurological conditions
  • Cancer

Most people who are interested in using keto to manage any of the above problems want to know how the diet works.

According to a fairly recent review article from Current Opinion in Neurology,  the keto diet works through the direct effects of ketones and glucose restriction, and because of the ways these interact with receptors, channels, and metabolic enzymes (3). The diet also seems to work by affecting a person’s genes.

To better understand keto’s mechanisms of action, let’s take a look at how it addresses each of the above conditions.

Rapid Weight Loss

working out with TRX bands

When you are in a state of ketosis after being on a keto diet for a week or so, the body starts to break down fat to make energy (4).

Your body will first break down the fat from the food you eat. When that runs out, it will target the fat stored on your own body. This is why so many people experience rapid fat loss on the ketogenic diet. It trains your system to metabolize the fat on your body.

In ketosis, your body also converts some of the protein you eat into glucose—a process called gluconeogenesis.

Now you may be thinking, “but wait, shouldn’t I avoid glucose on the keto diet?”

Normally, yes.

The thing is, gluconeogenesis is energy costly. It burns around 400-600 calories daily, which boosts the weight-loss effects of this diet (5). Since not all the protein you eat is converted into glucose, it’s perfectly fine with the keto diet.

To top it off, the keto diet can also suppress hunger due to drops in insulin, its fat content, and the ketones themselves. This can help prevent overeating and excessive snacking.

Cardiovascular Disease

healthy heart in hands

Normally, fat is linked to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), but research suggests that’s not the case with the keto diet.

Studies have found that this diet addresses some of the greatest risk factors for CVD such as excess weight, high blood sugar, elevated insulin, and even elevated cholesterol (6).

There’s also evidence that the keto diet can lead to a rise in HDL cholesterol and LDL particle size (6).

But there’s a catch. To get these benefits, you must consume plenty of unsaturated fats. You can find unsaturated fats in nuts, seeds, cold-pressed olive oil (do NOT cook with it), avocados, and fatty fish.

Type 2 Diabetes

Because keto is low in carbs, it naturally leads to drops in blood glucose levels as well as insulin.

Studies comparing keto to other diets for diabetes control found that keto achieved greater improvements in blood glucose stability and a reduced need for diabetes medication (7).

Because keto also leads to weight loss, it further addresses a common problem among those with this condition. Another great thing about weight loss is that it also increases insulin sensitivity (8). This, in turn, can lead to improved blood sugar stability.

Epilepsy

The anti-seizure effects of the keto diet are believed to come from ketones (9).

Researchers came to this conclusion after experiments showed that the administration of ketones could reduce seizure frequency.

And because seizures are often linked to high glucose uptake by the brain, the drop in glucose and switch to ketone metabolism in the brain may also explain how the diet works for epilepsy (10).

If you’re particularly interested in this benefit, CBD oil is also shown to be incredibly effective for reducing the frequency of seizures.

Acne

There’s a strong link between insulin and acne (9).

So diets that lead to lower insulin levels should, in theory, help combat acne.

Elevated insulin levels often lead to hormonal imbalances which cause the skin to produce excess sebum and shed rapidly – one of the main causes of acne. Besides lowering insulin, ketone bodies also have an anti-inflammatory effect, which may further help with acne.

If the keto diet isn’t enough on its own, look to manuka honey. This stuff is like a miracle for acne.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that’s often linked to high insulin levels, insulin resistance, and weight gain (11).

Since the keto diet addresses all three of these issues, it could help women with this condition. Studies have found that the ketogenic diet leads to decreased androgen secretion caused by elevated insulin in women with PCOS (12).

There is also evidence the diet can improve depression in women with PCOS.

Neurological Conditions

Because keto was found to be effective for epilepsy, which is a neurological condition, researchers examined how this diet could work for other brain disorders like brain cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, sleep disturbances, headaches, migraine, pain, autism, and multiple sclerosis (13).

The therapeutic efficiency of keto in these disorders has to do with improvements in energy metabolism on this diet. Since the brain is the most energy-hungry organ, it makes sense that improving the way it uses energy can make it work better.

Reduced oxidative stress from switching to ketosis may also explain why keto has a positive impact on brain health.

Cancer

There is reason to believe that keto can be effective as an adjuvant cancer therapy, and there is even evidence to support this notion (14).

Researchers have long ago noticed that cancer cells metabolize glucose at a higher rate than normal cells. They also noticed that most cancer cells can’t survive on ketones.

So, depriving cancer cells of their main source of energy makes sense when fighting cancer. Lowering blood glucose levels also causes drops in insulin and insulin-like growth factor, which are two other drivers of cancer proliferation. The greatest benefits were seen in brain cancers, likely because the brain uses most of the ketones produced during ketosis.

Troubleshooting the Keto Diet

While there’s ample evidence that keto can be an effective remedy for a wide range of conditions, it isn’t perfect. The keto diet can cause short-term and long-term problems. Luckily, most are easy to manage with a bit of diet tweaking. Problems you may come across on keto include:

The Keto Flu

The keto flu is a popular way of referring to flu-like symptoms experienced in the first week of starting keto. These symptoms may include

  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Nausea and constipation

The keto flu is believed to be a result of electrolyte imbalances and mild dehydration caused by glycogen depletion when your body enters ketosis for the first time (15).

To treat and even prevent the keto flu, keto diet experts recommend consuming plenty of fluids with electrolytes, especially sodium (3-5g), potassium (3-4g), and magnesium (400mg). You can get these electrolytes from sea salt, organic bouillon cubes, low-carb vegetables, nuts, seeds, and mineral water.

Hormonal Dysregulation

Weight loss and low insulin levels can help balance out hormones in conditions like metabolic syndrome and PCOS. However, chronically low insulin levels with a keto diet may cause problems with thyroid hormones in some people (15) and even increase cortisol levels (16), which may promote weight gain, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease in the long-run.

To counteract this, many keto dieters opt for occasional carb-refeeds instead of long-term ketosis. A keto diet variant that includes weekly carb refeeds is called the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD).

The CKD involves eating a standard keto diet for 5-6 days a week followed by high-carb eating for 1-2 days a week. During carb refeed days, dieters are advised to stick to foods like:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Brown rice (soaked for 24 hours before cooking)
  • Legumes

These foods will help increase your carb intake to up to 300g per day while also providing adequate amounts of fiber and micronutrients. Carb refeeds are said to temporarily raise insulin levels and, in this way, curb any possible side effects of long-term ketosis.

Another benefit of carb refeeds is that they help increase muscle glycogen for better workouts.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons people go on a keto diet, but the most common ones seem to be weight loss, diabetes control, and better overall health.

In medical practices, however, this diet is used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy. Many people following this diet want to know the mechanisms behind its efficiency. And so far, most evidence points to the improved energy metabolism and the therapeutic effects of ketones on this diet. Research on keto has yet to unveil just how this diet works to fight problems like excess weight and seizures, but at least we know that it does work.

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What Is Bulletproof Coffee and How Can You Use It to Achieve Peak Performance? https://naturalife.org/natural-life/bulletproof-coffee Tue, 26 Mar 2019 15:31:17 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=4807 Start off your morning with a huge boost of long-lasting energy and mental clarity using Bulletproof coffee.

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There are plenty of buzzwords out there, especially in the wellness and productivity industries, but there are some creations that are worth the hype and are going to be a standard for years to come.

Bulletproof Coffee is one of them. And, before you roll your eyes and reach for another sip of your current coffee (that makes you jittery, has you crashing in the middle of the afternoon, and saps you of your energy before you have tackled your to-do list), you need to understand that Bulletproof Coffee is not your average cappuccino.

Read on to learn more about Bulletproof Coffee and how you can use it to achieve peak performance.

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

First and foremost, it is essential that you are introduced to the story behind Bulletproof Coffee, including how and why it came to be created.

It all began with the biohacker and successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey. In 2004, he was on a trek in Tibet (at 18,000 feet above sea level, no less) when he recognized that he was losing energy — fast. Needing sleep, he went into a traditional Tibetan guest house and was presented with a mug of yak butter tea.

At this moment he began to learn that yak butter tea is a major staple for people living in rugged, high altitudes. Dave instantly started to feel the benefits of this local concoction and used the strength he gained from the yak butter tea to complete his trek.

Over the next five years, Dave researched endlessly to refine this basic Tibetan yak butter tea recipe and finally introduced it to the world in 2009 as Bulletproof Coffee.

In other words. Bulletproof Coffee is a high-performance drink that has an extensive influence on your energy, power and cognitive function. If you feel like you are always lacking energy and aren’t able to have the ability or mental clarity to get what you need to do done, to move your life forward, then Bulletproof Coffee will be a highly impactful addition to your lifestyle.

How do you make Bulletproof Coffee?

making coffee in a french press

To make Bulletproof Coffee, you need:

  • Freshly ground organic coffee beans. I highly recommend this brand since it is tasty, high in antioxidants and tested to be extremely low in mycotoxins.
  • Brain Octane MCT Oil
  • Grass-fed unsalted butter or ghee

First, you brew (preferably in a glass French Press) one cup of eight to twelve ounces of your chosen organic coffee beans and two and a half tablespoons of freshly ground Bulletproof Coffee Beans.

Next, add one to two teaspoons of Brain Octane Oil. Bulletproof brain octane oil’s central ingredient is MCT (medium chain triglycerides), which ensures it is a pure MCT oil. This oil was created specifically to ensure that your brain is adequately fed and is not being harmed by any gaps in your nutrition.

This oil not only aids in protecting your brain from degenerative diseases, but it also manages blood sugar, lowers high cholesterol, lessens symptoms connected to inflammatory bowel disease or IBS, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, offers proven cancer-fighting and tumor-fighting properties, enhances your metabolism, and inhibits muscle loss (1).

And, if that weren’t enough, it makes hair and skin feel soft and smooth, decreases signs of aging, reduces skin inflammation, and is a potent antifungal agent. 

Finally, add one to two tablespoons of grass-fed butter or ghee (just ensure it is unsalted) and put the mixture into a blender for 20 to 30 seconds until you are left with the foamiest looking coffee drink imaginable.

Bear in mind, if this seems like too much work (or you are running unusually late one morning), you can also use an instant variant of Bulletproof that merely needs water to be added for the magic powers to start.

What are the benefits of Bulletproof Coffee?

Bulletproof Coffee was designed to ensure that everyone who drinks it starts their day off right, and has sustained energy throughout the rest of the day (2). The combination of these ingredients is what provides your body with a wide assortment of health benefits, such as:

  • Enhanced mood
  • Extended energy
  • Suppressed hunger
  • A boosted metabolic rate
  • Elevated physical endurance
  • Greater mental clarity

However, it has to be highlighted that the most significant benefits from Bulletproof Coffee come only when the exact ingredients are used.

Never add sugar to your coffee as it severely impacts your blood sugar levels and hinders you from burning fat. Even putting honey or maple syrup, which many consider healthy because they are natural, can prevent you from being the person you want to be.

You don’t want to use something other than grass-fed butter as it is a crucial aspect of this type of drink and is also far healthier for you than other butter alternatives. Similarly, not using Brain Octane Oil and instead using a different oil will decrease your body’s capability to foster ketones. These are a selection of fuels that your brain utilizes to increase your metabolic rate and mental clarity — in other words, precisely what Bulletproof Coffee wants to achieve (3).

When should you drink Bulletproof Coffee?

For the most part, it is suggested that you drink Bulletproof Coffee in the morning as a breakfast replacement meal as it has a significant amount of calories, but also guarantees that you are starting your day filled with many of your essential nutrients and antioxidants such as B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, among others.

Bulletproof Coffee is the perfect breakfast because it fills you up, gives you the healthy fats thanks to the grass-fed butter and Brain Octane Oil, but won’t leave you with a jittery insulin spike and crash that inevitably come after consuming fruit, smoothies, cereal, or bread products.

The beauty of Bulletproof Coffee is that it is nourishing and exceptionally good for you, but also uncomplicated to make and simple to transport and consume while on the move.

That being said, brain octane oil doesn’t just need to be added to your morning beverage; instead, you can incorporate it into your day-to-day in a variety of ways. For example, combine it with your teas, smoothies or salad dressings, or cook with it in place of other oils. As it is utterly flavorless, odorless, and tasteless, adding it to a drink or a meal will only bring you significant health benefits and won’t change the taste of what you are consuming.

How can you use it to achieve peak performance?

The best way to see if Bulletproof Coffee makes a difference in your day-to-day energy levels is to try it and commit to making it a part of your day for a set period of time.

Decide to forgo your usual breakfast and consume Bulletproof Coffee instead every day for a week and observe how you feel (keep in mind that it may take your body some time to readjust to burning fat for vitality instead of sugar and carbohydrates). All you need to do is purchase some Bulletproof Beans, grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee, and Brain Octane Oil.

Then, proceed with your lunch and dinner like you usually do. However, for the best results, combine your morning Bulletproof Coffee with the Bulletproof Diet. By following this diet plan, you are well on your way to losing fat, gaining muscle, and being better equipped to handle each day productively and in peak performance, more than ever before.

Are you trying to step up your morning routine? Have you ever tried Bulletproof Coffee? If not, what is stopping you? Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

AUTHOR BIO
Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.” Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.

The post What Is Bulletproof Coffee and How Can You Use It to Achieve Peak Performance? appeared first on Naturalife.

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21 Genius Salad Toppings for Exceptional Flavor https://naturalife.org/nutrition/healthy-salad-toppings Tue, 15 Jan 2019 17:15:05 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=4755 Never have a boring salad again with these 21 genius and healthy salad topping ideas.

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Eating a salad every day is one of the easiest ways to kick ass in life.

Think I’m kidding?

Far from it.

A well-balanced salad delivers a burst of nutrients, antioxidants, and inflammation-busting compounds. All of which can help your mind and body perform at an optimal level. It gives your body the fuel it needs to thrive.

But there’s a problem… most salads are boring, contain few nutrients, and are downright disgusting.

This is why people either don’t bother eating salad or simply force it down their throat while resisting the urge to gag.

The good news is, with a bit of creativity and nutrition know-how, salads can become delicious and incredibly nutritious.

This list of simple salad toppings and upgrades will help you make a salad you can’t stop eating—no matter what diet you’re on.

1. Glazed Pecans

Glazed pecans as a healthy salad topping

The reason why salads often taste bland is because they‘re monotone in flavor. This is why glazed pecans are perfect.

They provide a nice punch of salty, crunchy, fatty, and sweet flavor. Because they hit so many flavor notes, glazed pecans are one of my favorite ways to bring a dull salad to life.

You can either make it yourself or pick some up at the store. Just make sure they aren’t made with too much sugar, or you’ll defeat the whole purpose of eating a salad.

2. Salty & Crunchy Toppings

Roasted Chick Peas for a salty salad topping

When you experiment with different salad toppings, you’ll come to find that crunchy and salty foods can completely transform a salad.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Roasted Chickpeas: Flavorful, packed with protein, and you can buy a variety of spice combinations from most stores.
  • Granola: While most people assume granola is reserved for yogurt or cereals, it also makes a great salad topping. Here’s an example recipe if you can’t picture it working.  
  • Plantain Chips: Unlike regular chips, plantain chips are a bit thicker. Making them perfect for salads.
  • Mary’s Gluten-Free Super Seed Crackers: Delicious, crunchy, salty, and a nice boost of protein thanks to the seeds. These are one of my favorite salad toppers.

Most of these salad toppers I use are way cheaper if you get them through Thrive Market. Even compared to your local grocery store. It’s literally my favorite place to get healthy food–especially since I’m on a budget.

Lucky for you I was able to get a discount for my readers:

Get 20% off your first 3 orders at Thrive Market (click the link to grab the offer before it expires)

3. Sea Salted Avocado Slices

salted avocado on a colorful salad

Avocados are an amazing source of healthy, unsaturated fat. Contrary to popular belief, quality sources of fat are an essential part of any healthy diet. Plus, the fat will help keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. As a result, avocados are one of my top go-to healthy salad toppings.

I typically add Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to my sliced avocados. It makes a huge difference in the flavor. If you don’t like how mushy avocados get in your salad, add the slices after you put dressing on.

4. Cassava Root Chips

A post shared by Plant Snacks (@plantsnacks) on

Maybe this should have gone under salty & crunchy toppings. But these cassava four chips are so good, they deserved their own spotlight. I take a handful of the vegan goat cheese chips, crumble them a bit, and top my salad off with them. They are completely grain free and dairy free which makes them perfect for a wide variety of diets.

The only downside is that these things taste too darn good! I have a hard time stopping myself from devouring an entire bag in a day.

Get the Cassava root chips on Thrive Market and get a FREE bag of organic breakfast blend coffee.

5. Organic Berries or Fruit

fresh berries on salad

Adding fruits or berries can help sweeten up a salad, which adds another dynamic of flavor. Fruit also deliver a wide variety of antioxidants which can protect your body from inflammation and disease.

Here are the fruit I most often use:

  • Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, bilberries
  • Clementines & blood orange (great with Thai-inspired salads)
  • Pomegranate seeds (one of my favorites!)
  • Dried cranberries; watch out for the sugar content in these
  • Sliced Apple or Pear

Just make sure you don’t go overboard. Too much sugar, even when it’s from fruit, can cause you to pack on the pounds. Berries, however, are significantly lower in their sugar content. So if you’re watching your sugar levels or looking to slim down, berries are a better option than most fruit.

6. Vegan Parmesan Cheese

If you can’t have dairy, this one is lovely. It closely resembles parmesan cheese, without having any dairy. I have a jar of this stuff lying around at all times since it adds a nice touch to so many meals, including salad.

To make vegan parmesan cheese simply combine:

  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. organic garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. Himalayan salt

Pulse in a ninja blender (works much better in my opinion) or food processor and it’s done!

7. Fresh Herbs

fresh herbs to upgrade a salad

Minced fresh herbs bring a nice bright flavor to your salad. In fact, many higher end restaurants will use fresh herbs in their salad options to provide extra flavor.

Mint, cilantro, basil, chives, parsley, and dill are the most popular choices. It’s a bit of challenge knowing which herb to use when. This guide on Plated will tell you which herbs pair best with common salad ingredients.

8. Jicama With Lemon

jicama slices on a cutting board

You may not have heard of this one. Jicama is a tasty and crispy root vegetable that’s a rich source of inulin–an important compound for healthy gut bacteria. Jicama tastes best with a bit of lemon juice sprinkled over it.

It’s often found in the produce section of grocery stores with the other root vegetables. Some stores even offer it pre-sliced.

9. Hummus

A great source of healthy fat and protein. Anytime I have a Mediterranean-inspired salad, I love adding a big dollop of garlic hummus.

But if you have a job where you’re worried about scaring people away with your garlic breath, there’s plenty of other hummus flavors that will also do the trick.

If you’re an overachiever, biohacker, or nutrition nerd, you can take this one step further. Make your own hummus with soaked and sprouted chickpeas. Your digestive system has a MUCH easier time digesting and absorbing the nutrients from soaked and sprouted chickpeas.

10. Spiced Legumes

Kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, peas, and aduki beans are another great way to boost the protein content of your salads. Plus, adding them will help you feel full long after eating a salad.

It certainly beats getting famished 30 minutes after chewing on some lettuce and celery.

If you add beans to your salad though, I highly recommend that you soak them for 24 hours so you don’t get indigestion or gas. For extra flavor, you can spice them up with things like garlic, cumin, and turmeric followed by a quick saute. Then the beans can be stored and used on your salads for the rest of the week.

11. Roasted Veggies

roasted assorted vegetables

Roasted vegetables bring huge flavor to otherwise bland vegetables. Once I discovered how amazing roasted veggies taste, it became my go-to way to cook vegetables. Steaming is incredibly bland in comparison.

To roast your veggies, preheat the oven to around 400 F, line a roasting pan with some parchment paper, coat your cut veggies in a high-quality olive oil or ghee with spices, and roast until they are ever so slightly charred.

Some of the best roasted vegetables on salad are…

  • Asparagus (my favorite)
  • Brussels sprouts (they taste way different roasted, so give them a try! The smaller they are the better they taste.)
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Potato
  • Beets
  • Broccoli

Experiment with different spice combos to find what you like the best. I love adding nutritional yeast or the vegan parm to my roasted vegetables. There are plenty of recipes out there if you need ideas.

12. Nuts & Seeds

roasted almonds in a cup

Nuts and seeds are another great way to boost the flavor and nutrition of your salad. They’re packed with protein, healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins.

Much like beans though, they should be soaked and then roasted for optimal nutrition.

Here are some of my favorite nuts and seeds for salad toppings:

  • Pumpkin seeds or pepitas
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almond slivers
  • Roasted cashews crumbled (I’m a big fan of curried cashews)
  • Crushed hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts

There are plenty of options here. But I would not suggest using peanuts since they can increase inflammation and they are often contaminated with a toxic byproduct of mold called mycotoxins.


Get 20% off any bag of nuts at Thrive Market

13.  Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes add a surprising depth of flavor to salads. They’re a little tangy and deliciously savory.

Just make sure you get them organic since tomatoes typically have a high amount of pesticides and herbicides on them.

14. Quinoa

A small scoop of quinoa mixed into a salad can make a big difference. Since quinoa is a source of carbs, it gives your taste buds the sense you’re not just eating empty calories. Which makes a big difference when you eat a lot of salad.

Just be mindful of using too much quinoa. If you use 80% quinoa and 20% vegetables, you’re missing the point here.

15. Capers

Capers are one of those things I never expected to be a good salad topper. It sounds weird, right? But man was I wrong.

Capers provide a nice boost of salty goodness to your salads. Since salads typically have very low amounts of salt (unless you use store-bought salad dressing), capers add that much needed dynamic of flavor to the mix.

16. Garlic Stuffed Olives

black and green olives for salad

While they’re not the cheapest thing in the supermarket, garlic stuffed olives are one of my favorite “treats” to add on top of a salad. If you love olives already on salad, these will take it to the next level.

17. Water Chestnuts

Sometimes salad needs an extra crunch. Water chestnuts are the kings of crunch and crisp. So if you find yourself looking for that texture, try adding some chopped water chestnuts to your salad.

18. Mushrooms

mushrooms for salad

Mushrooms are loaded with beneficial compounds that help fight cancer and balance your immune system. This is why I love adding fresh or cooked mushrooms to my salads.

Plus, when mushrooms are cooked, they provide what’s called umami flavor. Which is the flavor you associate with proteins like beef, fish, and chicken. This is why so many vegan meat substitutes use mushrooms like portobello.

19. Peapod Puffs

Peapod puffs taste a bit like cheese puffs, but healthier. Their salty taste and puffy texture make them a perfect salad topping. Peapod puffs and cassava flour crisps are two of my favorite salad “hacks” to elevate boring salads.

Just make sure you add the puffs after pouring the salad dressing. If you add the salad dressing last, the puffs can get soggy and just plain nasty.

20. Try a New Protein

salmon for a protein on salad

No salad is complete without a source of protein. The problem is, most people get stuck in a rut. They forget that there are other sources of protein beyond chicken, beans, and falafels.

Here’s a list of my favorite options:

  • Grass-fed steak tips
  • Goat Cheese (goat cheese is more easily digested compared to standard dairy)
  • Nuts, seeds, and spiced legumes (beans)
  • Wild Salmon Jerky or Lox (brined salmon)
  • Taco Seasoned Turkey (great with avocado)
  • Nitrate-free bacon bits (make your own)

21. Don’t Underestimate Your Salad Dressing

spinach salad

A good salad dressing can make or break a salad. Unfortunately, most dressings you’ll find in the store are loaded with harmful ingredients or just taste bad.

Luckily, there’s a company called Thrive Market that carefully selects only the healthiest foods and products. So they have a great selection of salad dressings that are both healthy (unless you get ranch of course) and tasty.

I was able to get a 20% off deal for my readers. You can redeem the discount here.

If you’re the motivated type, you can make your own dressing in bulk. That way you’ll have enough for several weeks. Simply search “healthy salad dressing” on Pinterest and you will have plenty of ideas if need be.

What to Do When You’re Too Busy to Eat Salad

Eating a salad every day is one of the best ways to give your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. But we live a busy life. So eating a salad every day isn’t always practical.

I have this issue too. Which is why I consume green juice powder on the days I don’t end up eating salad. It helps fill any nutritional gaps I get from not eating the way I should. This is especially handy when traveling.

The green juice powder I use contains over 50 different superfoods, is all organic, and tastes pretty darn good (especially in a smoothie). As an added bonus, it provides a nice boost of energy since it’s packed with so many nutrients.



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Hemp Oil for Arthritis & Joint Pain Relief: Everything You Need to Know https://naturalife.org/health/hemp-oil-for-arthritis-joint-pain Tue, 18 Dec 2018 17:25:55 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=4729 Suffering from arthritis or joint pain can make life a chore. The good news is, evidence suggests that hemp oil can make all the difference.

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Hemp oil, or CBD oil, has become one of the single most popular medicinal compounds in the world.

Why?

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that it has an incredible list of benefits. Most notably, researchers have found that CBD-rich hemp oil can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, ease stress, and even enhance your immune system.

All of which can make a huge difference with painful or stiff joints. Not to mention that these benefits can improve your overall health as well.

Read More: The 5 Best Hemp Oil Products Reviewed

How Hemp Oil Benefits Arthritis & Joint Pain

While arthritis and joint discomfort can have several different causes, the symptoms remain the same. If you’re reading this, you’re probably all too familiar with them…

Your joints are painful, stiff, sore, and difficult to move. It’s a constant thorn in your side.

Luckily, you can find significant relief if you can manage the pain and control the inflammation.

And that’s exactly what a CBD-rich hemp oil does, according to the latest scientific research.  

Still not convinced? Here’s a deep dive into why CBD oil shows great promise for relieving joint discomfort…

CBD Oil for Arthritis & Painful Joints Infographic

CBD May Be a Powerful Analgesic

One study suggested that the CBD in hemp oil reduces pain by stimulating the adenosine receptor A2A (1). When this receptor is stimulated, evidence suggests it strongly inhibits the sensation of pain (2).

Another study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD suppresses neuropathic pain in rodents (3). Neuropathic pain is a chronic (constant) type of pain that’s often caused by tissue damage.

Since joint pain is often chronic and caused by damaged joints, hemp oil is a perfect match. One scientific review even stated that the “use of cannabis-based medications [like hemp oil] deserves serious consideration to alleviate the suffering of patients due to severe pain.” (4

The Bottom Line: The CBD in hemp oil may help dull the pain associated with arthritis or achy joints by stimulating the adenosine receptor A2A.

Hemp Oil Soothes Inflammation

girl suffering from inflammation

Another obstacle to arthritis and joint pain is inflammation.

Not only does inflammation worsen joint pain, it also can make your joints stiffer and more immobile (5).

In fact, when most people look for arthritis and joint pain relief, they end up taking an anti-inflammatory drug such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, or Aleve (6).

Sure, these drugs provide relief, but they come with some nasty side effects if you take them too often.

Research has found that hemp oil is an effective way to control inflammation without the undesirable side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.

One study, for example, found that CBD can modulate the body’s inflammatory response by promoting apoptosis in activated immune cells while simultaneously suppressing pro-inflammatory cell activity (7).

If all that science talk went over your head, all this means is hemp oil can soothe inflammation by decreasing the activity of cells that promote inflammation. Due to the way CBD reduces inflammation, hemp oil is incredibly effective for stiff or painful joints.

CBD-rich hemp oil also contains other cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory properties, which build on the effects of CBD. Cannabichromene, for instance, is a cannabinoid that is shown to have potent anti-inflammatory properties (8).

If you’re looking for other ways to fight inflammation, consider these potent anti-inflammatory herbs.

The Bottom Line: Research suggests the CBD in hemp oil can reduce inflammation by modulating the activity of specific immune cells.

Hemp Oil Balances the Immune System

sick due to weak immune system

Sometimes joint issues can be caused by an overactive immune system that mistakenly attacks your body’s own tissues. This is what’s called rheumatoid arthritis, a type of autoimmune disease (9).

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, some research suggests that it hemp oil could provide significant relief.

That’s because CBD has a unique effect on the immune system. It doesn’t boost or suppress the immune system. Instead, CBD (hemp) oil balances it.

Specifically, researchers have found that CBD can help balance and alleviate TH17-dominant autoimmune diseases (10).

TH17-dominant autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto’s, Graves, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Since CBD is also an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, it could also slow down the proregression of rheumatoid arthritis, which can cause permanent damage to your joints over time (11). But there are currently no studies to support this correlation, so more research is needed to confirm.

The Bottom Line: Researchers have found that CBD oil can help relieve TH17-dominant autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

How to Use Hemp Oil for Arthritis & Joint Pain

CBD oil

When it comes to selecting a CBD oil for joint pain, you’re faced with two options: get CBD orally through a hemp oil (I highly recommend this brand) or get a CBD balm that you can directly apply to your sore joints.

Both options are great. But since everyone is different, some people experience better results with the oral hemp oil whereas others have better luck with the topical balm.

To get the most relief, I like to use both at the same time.

For dosage, it’s usually wise to start with the recommendations on the packaging. Once you have a feel for how you react, you can increase or decrease your dosage accordingly.

Don’t forget to consult your doctor before taking any supplement including hemp oil. That way you can work out the best dosage for you and make sure it won’t conflict with any medications you’re taking.

The Bottom Line: To use hemp oil for joint pain, experiment with a CBD-rich hemp oil and topical CBD oil balm.

Selecting the Best CBD-Rich Hemp Oil

Selecting the right hemp oil for arthritis or joint pain can be a real challenge. There are different delivery methods, formulas, carrier oils, extraction processes, potencies, and so on.

It can really make your head spin.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to get your CBD through a quality hemp oil product. Unlike CBD isolates, hemp oil contains other beneficial compounds that synergize with the CBD to make it more effective.

Furthermore, you should make sure the product is

  • Safe (free of harmful contaminants)
  • Organic
  • Bioavailable so your body can absorb it
  • Rich in CBD

If you don’t want to dive deep into the research yourself, Hemp and Soothe are two products I recommended in the section above. They both meet all the criteria for a high-quality CBD supplement.

The Bottom Line: When selecting a CBD oil product, make sure it’s bioavailable, organic, free of contaminants, and rich in CBD. This will ensure the best possible results.

Summary

Suffering from arthritis or joint discomfort can make life a chore. It causes you to be in constant pain, it prevents you from enjoying anything that involves physical activity, and it is just a plain nuisance.

This is why so many people take anti-inflammatory drugs like they’re candy. Because they want to live a pain-free life.

The problem is, the long-term use of these drugs can exacerbate several chronic diseases such as heart disease or even lead to stomach damage and ulcers (12).

To get away from these side-effects, many arthritis and joint pain sufferers have looked to hemp oil for relief.

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33 Healthy Breakfast Recipes to Kick Start Your Day https://naturalife.org/recipes/healthy-breakfast-recipes https://naturalife.org/recipes/healthy-breakfast-recipes#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 17:48:06 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=4587 Breakfast can easily become dull, boring and repetitive. This list of healthy breakfast ideas will bring flavor and nutrition to brighten your mornings.

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To me, nothing feels better than a satisfying breakfast to nurture and empower the body to prepare for the day ahead.

The thing is, as an American, I find it difficult to come up with healthy and original breakfast ideas. That’s because so many people are convinced that breakfast is boring. And that it only consists of staple foods such as eggs, microwave sausage, processed cereal, and sugary foods.

So I set out to create a list of breakfast recipes that are both delicious and healthy. I  tried my best to include something for everyone. There are options for the perpetually busy, the weekend breakfast adventurers, the motivated morning people (yeah, those lucky ones), and for those who have dietary restrictions.

With 33 different healthy breakfast recipes listed here, at least one of them is bound to appeal to your taste buds and dietary requirements.

Okay, I rambled on enough. Let’s move on to the list of recipes.

1. Smoked Salmon Baked Eggs in Avocado

smoked salmon egg stuffed avocado

freshplanetflavor.com

Not only does this recipe look amazing, but it is also filled with healthy mono & poly-unsaturated fats. A breakfast like this should certainly hold you over until lunch thanks to the healthy fats and protein packed in this recipe.

2. Matcha Vanilla Protein Smoothie

matcha vanilla protein powder smoothie for breakfast

Smoothies are fantastic for busy mornings or if you’re looking to shed a few pounds. The protein powder helps you stay full and the matcha green tea provides a nice boost in energy. It’s the perfect breakfast to start your day. For this reason, this recipe is one of my favorites!

If you try this recipe out, I would highly suggest trying the protein powder mentioned in the recipe. It’s one of the best plant-based protein supplements out there because it uses sprouted and fermented ingredients. This means a happier and healthier gut!

You can get the recipe here.

3.  Chia & Flax Green Protein Pancakes

Green protein powder pancakes

Pancakes typically are not among the healthiest of breakfast choices you can make. But these nutrient-dense pancakes are a completely different story.

This recipe, created by pro golfer Belen Mozo, contains a superfood green juice powder that has over 50+ superfoods, plant-based protein, and it’s gluten-free. Nutritionally speaking, it’s the best way to start your day with a bang.

You can get this delicious pancake recipe here.

4. Mixed Berry Smoothie Bowl

mixed berry smoothie bowl with raspberries and walnuts

supergoldenbakes.com

This recipe is just heaven in your mouth. I mean come on! Look at it! That being said, it’s a bit high in sugar, so I would not suggest having this every single morning. Get the smoothie bowl recipe here.

5. Time-Saving Frittata Bites

Breakfast fritatta bites with vegetables

nutritiontwins.com

I have personally found these to be great if you cook them on a Sunday. That way, you will have a prepared breakfast that saves time and can be taken on-the-go. You can honestly add any vegetable or meat to this recipe. It is quite versatile. Get the recipe here.

6. Avocado & Hummus Toast

Avocado toast with tomatoes and rosemary

healthynibblesandbits.com

Instead of sugar-filled jams/jellies, try something different like mashed avocados and hummus. By using foods with less added sugars, your energy will actually be sustained longer throughout the day. Sugar (especially without any fats or protein) spikes your blood sugar and makes you crash soon after. To make this healthier, I would highly suggest that you use Ezekiel bread with this recipe. It uses only sprouted grains, seeds, and legumes to ensure your gut digests it easily.

Get the recipe here.

7. “Hot Chocolate” Banana-Nut Oatmeal

Hot Chocolate Banana Nut oatmeal for breakfast

foodnetwork.com

Anytime I see chocolate added to a healthy breakfast, you can count me in. Remember to minimalize the amount of sugar you add and try to use dark chocolate that is at least 70% dark (the darker it is, the better it is for you). Get the recipe here.

8. Flourless Pumpkin Muffins

flourless pumpkin muffins

foodbymars.com

While these may look naughty at first glance, these delicious pumpkin muffins are actually quite healthy. They are completely grain-free and use maple syrup as a natural sweetener. Check out the recipe here.

9. Coconut Banana Smoothie Bowl

coconut banana oats smoothie bowl

halfbakedharvest.com

This delicious gem is filled with healthy fats from coconut to keep you feeling full. It’s topped off with a scrumptious quinoa and almond granola. You can get the recipe by Half Baked Harvest here.

10. Kale and Tomato Eggs Benedict

Healthy kale and tomato eggs benedict

foodnetwork.com

Feeling adventurous? Try this kale and tomato benedict. To make it healthier, try hash browns or roasted sweet potatoes the bottom instead of bread (I actually prefer hash browns). Get the recipe here.

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The Best Green Juice Powder You Can Buy https://naturalife.org/natural-product-reviews/best-organic-green-superfood-juice-powder https://naturalife.org/natural-product-reviews/best-organic-green-superfood-juice-powder#comments Fri, 02 Nov 2018 14:00:27 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=1661 Touchstone Essentials has the best organic superfood juice powder you can buy on the market. It provides a wide range of health benefits and is a high quality product.

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Touchstone Essentials Super Green Juice

The most powerful green juice money can buy.

What Makes It The Best?


  • Condenses 52 organic superfoods, probiotics, & digestive enzymes into one tasty scoop.
  • Provides a substantial boost to energy and focus. Even professional athletes use this stuff.
  • Designed to fill in common nutritional gaps so you can feel your absolute best
  • Contains immune-boosting mushrooms and probiotics for a healthy gut
  • 100% organic and made using low-heat processing which means more nutrients per serving
  • Unlike most green juice powders, it tastes pretty darn good — especially in smoothies!

Summary: Touchstone Essentials developed the holy grail of green juice powders. It’s simply unmatched by any other brand out there that I’ve tested.

It features some of the world’s healthiest superfoods, powerful adaptogenic herbs, immune-enhancing mushrooms, and probiotics to encourage a healthy gut. This is the only product that I know of that stuffs this many health-boosting substances into a single powder.

And what really separates them from other green juices is their quality. All ingredients are organic and they use gentle processing methods to ensure that the maximum amount of nutrients are preserved (this is important).

While it may have a slightly higher price tag than other green juices, you get what you pay for: a superior quality and downright effective product with a difference you can feel.

If you’re still not convinced, scroll down to see my deep-dive review of the product. I explain how I use it, why it’s the best, and most importantly all some of the benefits you can expect to see from using it.

What is Green Juice Powder and Why Use It?

the 9 health benefits of super green juice

Drinking juiced superfoods is regarded as one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. It’s one of the best ways to deliver a variety of health benefits in a single serving.

But juicing isn’t easy.

It’s messy. It takes a lot of time. And most importantly, if you’re looking to get a specific health benefit out of juicing, it can be really difficult to know what ingredients to use.

If any of these things prevent you from juicing more often, let me introduce you to something called juice powders.

Juice powders have everything you would expect to find in your standard superfood juice plus a whole lot more. They make it easy to get high concentrations superfoods into your diet without having to eat a large amount of food.

“Super Green Juice [powder] fills a major void—most people find it hard to get enough superfoods in their daily diet. As we age it is difficult to eat all that our body needs without gaining weight. This organic superfood juice powder will help to keep us trim and in dynamic health for many more years.”Darrell Hestdalen, DC, DIBAK, FASA

Simply put, they provide all the health benefits of juicing, without the hassle.

The only downfall of using powder is it’s not fresh. It’s a small compromise for how convenient it is and how much money you save in the long run.

Like most health products on the market, there are a ton of options when it comes to superfood juice powders. But very few of them are high quality and contain a wide range of health-enhancing ingredients.

And the super green juice by Touchstone Essentials is one of the few.

Their superfood organic juice powder transcends all other juice powders making it, hands-down, one of the best juice powders out there. In this review, I’m going to explain what makes this juice powder the best.

But first let me show you the best ways to use the powder.

How I Use It

Touchstone Essentials recommends you combine a single scoop with water or your favorite juice / smoothie.different ways to drink superfood juice powder

In all honesty, it tastes a little rugged when you only mix it with water. Mixing it with water is great if you’re in a rush, but otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it.

I really took the time to experiment with different things to drink the juice powder with and here’s what I liked best:

  • By far my favorite way to consume this juice was to mix it with my Garden of Life protein powder. It’s really invigorating after a long workout or run.
  • It’s fantastic in most smoothies. When mixing it with juices, however, you should keep the flavor of the juice in mind to make sure it doesn’t clash with the powder’s taste.
  • When I have a really busy morning and only have time to eat sprouted toast for breakfast, I like to gulp down some of this powder with water or coconut water to make up for my lackluster breakfast.

There are many other ways to drink this powder, but these are definitely the moments I enjoyed it the most.

If you’re really not into experimenting and trying new things, here are a couple recipes that use the powder:

That way you will have plenty of ways to try it, so you can see what works best for you.

Why It’s The Best Superfood Juice Powder

I have really high standards when it comes to health supplements.

I mean, you really have no other choice but to have high standards because there are so many low quality health products out there.

You see if you’re not careful with selecting the right health supplements, they can end up doing way more harm than good.  For example, this problem is common with fish oil supplements. Low quality fish oil supplements can actually cause inflammation rather than reduce it.

That’s why I always suggest my guide to selecting a quality omega-3 supplement.

Since quality is always an issue with supplements, I spend a long time researching products, evaluating their quality, and even digging into the company (because that often reveals a lot about the product).

To give you some perspective, I spent a week researching this juice before I even considered giving it a try! And then I tried this product myself for another 2 weeks before I decided to review it.

I even talked to the CEO, Eddie Stone (he’s a great, down-to-earth guy by the way), to learn more about the quality standards the company adheres to.

Why am I saying all this?

To show you I don’t promote just any product. I only promote the best.

Heck, I’m not even getting paid for this review—so this review is 100% honest.

That being said, here’s what makes this product the best of its kind:

  • Flawless quality. Touchstone essentials has set strict quality standards for their products. All ingredients are organic and non-GMO. And there’s no sketchy preservatives.
  • An exceptionally wide range of health benefits. The 50+ ingredients in this juice powder have some impressive properties including digestive support, immune enhancement, cancer prevention, energy enhancement, and much more. All of which are supported by scientific evidence.
  • It tastes better than most juice powders. Although I still would suggest consuming it with a smoothie or some other flavored drink, it tastes much better than most green juice powders out there. Whatever you do, just don’t judge it by its smell.

Ok now that you have seen the ways you can consume this super green juice and what makes it so great, let’s explore how it can benefit your health in several different ways.

The Health Benefits of This Superfood Green Juice Powder

The organic super green juice powder by Touchstone Essentials is designed to nurture several aspects of your health.

Touchstone Essentials claims their juice powder can aid your health in the following ways:

the 9 health benefits of super green juice

But if you look at the back of the container, they have the ingredients broken down into 4 different blends which are designed to benefit specific areas of your health.

To keep this review as simple and organized as possible, I’m only going to evaluate the 4 different blends to see if the contents will truly provide health benefits.

The 4 different blends are:

  • Super greens alkalizing blend
  • Detox energizing blend
  • Digestive support blend
  • Antioxidant & immune support blend

Normally I’m skeptical when a product claims to provide that many health benefits.

And rightfully so as most products out there either have ingredients that don’t always agree with the scientific evidence that exists. Or they’re prepared in such a careless way that ends up making it cause more harm to your body than good.

That being said, let’s dive a little deeper into each of the blends to see what the science says about them and what makes this super green juice powder so impressive.

Super Greens Alkalizing Blend

The idea of alkalizing (raising your body’s pH) your body is a bit of a controversy at the moment.

Some claim that alkalizing your body through foods or herbs can provide a number of health benefits such as cancer prevention.

On the other hand, some experts claim there’s no evidence that an alkaline diet prevents cancer or benefits your health by altering your body’s pH (making it more alkaline). They believe that alkaline diets have no effect on your health because your body has a natural pH buffering system that’s always working to maintain an ideal pH despite what you’re eating.

It’s a huge debate, and I’m not going to get into it here. But the point is, even if diet has no significant effect on your body’s pH levels, the foods that are supposedly “alkalizing” are quite healthy on their own.

For example, when someone is put on an alkaline diet, they are told to primarily eat plants, and avoid sugar & wheat. That’s a good foundation for a healthy diet.

The point is, even if alkalizing foods don’t significantly change your body’s pH, the foods are healthy anyways so you’re likely to improve your health one way or another.

Let’s take a peek at a few of the ingredients in the super greens alkalizing blend to show you what I mean:

  • Organic barley grass juice
  • Organic alfalfa grass
  • Organic oat grass

barley grass

All of these ingredients deliver an impressive list of health benefits even if they don’t alkalize your body.

For instance, while organic barley grass is thought to help your body become less acidic, it also is a powerful antioxidant, it bolsters your immune system, prevents cancer, and even protects your body from radiation damage.

If you looked into all the other alkalizing blend ingredients, you would see a similar trend.

So if you’re concerned about the alkalizing controversy, just ignore it for the purposes of this product? The “alkalizing” ingredients are going to benefit your health one way or another.

Detox Energizing Blend

Like alkalizing your body, detox is a controversial word because experts argue whether it’s a myth or if detoxing foods really help your body get rid of toxins.

What is agreed on, however, is certain foods can strengthen your liver, which can help your body become more efficient in getting rid of toxins. The blend does have ingredients which can give your liver a performance boost such as broccoli and spirulina.

But in order to keep it simple, let’s just ignore the word “detox” for now and focus on the energizing characteristics of this blend. Because like the Alkalizing blend, most “detox” foods or substances are healthy in their own right–even if they don’t detox your body.

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to natural remedies that can boost your energy. That’s because there was a time in my life when I was fatigued beyond belief on a constant basis.

At one point, I was fed up with feeling the way I did.

So I dug deep into studies, clinical trials, anecdotal testimonials, you name it.

In my research, I came across countless substances which claimed boost your energy.

And guess what?

Very few of them actually worked. But the substance that do work, can be found within the energizing blend.

Touchstone Essentials has clearly done their research with this blend because most of the ingredients have been shown in studies to enhance endurance and energy. Among the blend’s ingredients are several adaptogenic herbs, which are the kings of natural energy enhancement.

Adaptogens such as eleuthero, rhodiola rosea, and ginseng have been shown by a number of studies to support your adrenal glands.

Your adrenal glands are responsible for producing cortisol, a hormone that controls how the body makes and uses energy.

Simply put, these herbs (adaptogens) can help you cope with stress and have more energy throughout the day.

The blend also contains other “superfood” substances such as spirulina, which among many other health benefits, has been shown to unlock sugar from your cells to give you an energy boost.

Digestive Support Blend

Digestive health is, hands-down, one of the most underestimated aspects of wellness. In fact, the root of most diseases (besides genetic diseases) can be traced back to an unhealthy gut.

That’s why it’s essential to keep a healthy and happy gut.

The digestive support blend in this superfood powder contains several ingredients that can boost your digestive health such as:

  • Digestive enzymes to help you digest your food properly
  • 5 different probiotics to balance out your gut bacteria
  • Inulin to nourish the bacteria already in your gut (it’s a prebiotic)

All of these ingredients are essential for a healthy gut.

If this blend were to be ideal, however, it only lacks one ingredient: collagen / bone broth

Collagen or bone broth are needed for healing something called leaky gut syndrome which silently affects a large number of people—plus they are good for your digestion anyway.

Their reason, however, for not adding collagen or bone broth is because they wanted to keep the powder vegan-friendly. And I totally respect that. So if you still want bone broth / collagen, I would just suggest making your own and getting it in your diet that way.

Antioxidant Immune Blend

Antioxidants are molecules which prevent oxidation, a process that produces something called free radicals.

Free radicals often cause damage to cells and have been linked to aging, cancer, diabetes, and countless other diseases.

The bottom line is, antioxidants prevent your cells from getting damaged and help keep your body free of disease.

So, as you can imagine, getting antioxidants into your diet is critical to keep a healthy, disease-free body. And that’s exactly what this blend provides: a good dose of antioxidants from a variety of foods, herbs, and mushrooms.

In addition to the blend’s antioxidant properties, it also has substances to keep your immune system in tip top shape such as

All of these substances have been shown in various studies (click the links above to view the studies) to strengthen your immune system.cordyceps

Most of the substances found in the blend also provide health benefits well beyond disease prevention and immune enhancement.

Cordyceps, for example, has been shown to improve the functioning of the heart, prevent aging, and even fight off fatigue.

Turkey tail contains cancer-blasting compounds.

And tremella mushrooms have been suggested to prevent the buildup of plaque in arteries and protect the liver.

Overview of the Organic Juice Powder’s Health Benefits

The potential health benefits of this superfood juice powder go well beyond what the blends have been formulated for (alkalization, energy enhancement, digestive support, free-radical protection, and immune support).

That’s because Touchstone Essentials has done a phenomenal job in the formulation of their blends.

While consuming this juice powder on a normal basis, I noticed an effect after a little more than a week for drinking it every other day.

I felt more energized, clear-headed, and it even reduced my post-workout fatigue.

Considering how it made me feel and all of the scientifically supported health benefits of the blends, I would highly recommend this product to anyone who is looking to vastly improve their health. And in all honesty, I have never seen a supplement packed so full of health-enhancing substances.

It’s truly a superfood of superfoods in its own right.

Are Green Juice Supplements Worth it?

At first glance, I thought superfood juice powders were a complete ripoff. But the price is deceivingly high. Because in reality, it’s a huge bargain for what you’re getting.

If you’re still not convinced, bear with me and consider this:

If you were to buy a normal vegetable juice at a store, you’re looking at $7-12 for 1, maybe 2 servings. Since the super green juice contains 30 servings, you would end up paying $210-360 for the same amount of juice.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather pay $56 than $210 for the same amount of green juice.

And there’s a high chance that this juice won’t contain nearly as many ingredients to boost your health as the Touchstone Essentials green juice does.

I’m betting that if you bought the same ingredients found in the Touchstone Essentials green juice, you would spend well over $360 for 30 servings.

Taking the servings into consideration, that the powder is high quality, and it contains significantly more ingredients than fresh juices, the super green juice is more than worth it. It’s a bargain if you can get past the initial investment.

Warnings

Like with any health supplement or anything you put in your body for that matter, you need to tread carefully.

First and foremost, it’s always suggested that you talk to your doctor before you try any supplement.

This is because there are several substances, although natural, that can negatively interfere with any prescription drugs you’re on or any conditions you may have.

Cordyceps, for example, can lower blood sugar levels. This can cause some issues for diabetics which is why I would suggest consulting your doctor before taking any supplement.

Another concern I have is pregnancy safety. Since many natural herbs and supplements don’t have the funding for testing, they haven’t been adequately tested for safety with pregnant women. That doesn’t mean it’s unsafe to take, but it does mean that it’s not worth the risk to take while pregnant because the scientific community simply doesn’t know whether it is safe or not.

Product Suggestions and Complaints

While I am overall impressed with this juice powder, nothing is perfect.

Through all the extensive research I have done and experimentation, I have come to some ideas as to how this product can be improved.

  1. I would love to see the brand invest a little into some absorbability research. In other words, nothing on the packaging states whether the product should be consumed with or without food. This could be brought even further and they could investigate whether the juice powder is absorbed better with healthy fats (as I anticipate it would be). They then could put these findings on the packaging to increase the effectiveness of the juice.
  2. Although it doesn’t say on the packaging, I was told that it may be a good idea to store the powder in the refrigerator to help protect the integrity of the ingredients. Refrigeration isn’t necessary but it may be a good idea if you will take a while to finish the container. If you plan on using up all the powder in 1-2 months, however, refrigeration isn’t necessary.

Other Honorable Product Mentions

There are a few other products worth mentioning and you can see them below. If you choose to check them out, you will quickly realize that the Touchstone Essentials green juice powder is, by far, the best option.

But I figured I would at least provide a list of the top runner-ups to Touchstone Essentials.

Super Greens Superfood Powder

Naturo Sciences Natural Greens

Amazing Grass Green Superfood

The Bottom Line

There are several other green juice powder options out there, but most of them fall flat in comparison.

The Touchstone Essentials organic super green juice transcends all other products of its kind due to its large variety of health-boosting ingredients and its superior quality standards.

After heavily researching this product, looking into its quality standards, speaking to the company’s CEO about their quality assurance measures, and trying the product for more than 2 weeks, I can truly say that this product is the best organic green juice powder on the market.

But if you don’t want to take my word for granted, that’s understandable. Give it a try or do the research yourself.

I simply created this review to prevent people from wasting their money on a poor quality product and to educate others in hopes that they don’t have to spend a week researching the product like I had to 🙂

I would also like to remind you that I have not been paid to create this review. The contents of this review are 100% based on my personal findings and experiences.

That being said, I do make a small amount of money if you decide to pick up the product on Amazon through my link. It’s not much, but it really helps cover the costs of running this blog and maybe my rent (if I’m lucky).

If you decide to support me and purchase the super green juice through my link, you have my sincerest thanks! I couldn’t do this without people like you.

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The 5 Best Teapots With Infusers Reviewed https://naturalife.org/reviews/best-teapots-with-infusers Thu, 01 Nov 2018 16:56:58 +0000 https://naturalife.org/?p=4551 5 toxin-free teapot infusers that will turn anyone into a tea-drinking aficionado.

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The perfect cup of tea transports you to another world. It will melt away stress, give you laser-like focus, or lull you into a deep sleep.

If your tea doesn’t do this, then you’re brewing it wrong.

You see, there’s a massive difference between an average cup and a perfectly brewed cup of tea.

While brewing that perfect cup of tea can have a learning curve, there is one simple trick you can use to take your tea to the next level of bliss: use a high-quality teapot with an infuser.

You may be wondering, “but does a teapot with an infuser really make that much of a difference?”

Absolutely.

The Best Teapots with Infusers – Quicklist

click the product to jump to the description

And here’s why…

Without getting too much into the detail, teapots allow you to have more control over your tea and provide more flavor (you can read more on this here).

But there’s a catch …

If you just randomly pick a teapot because it’s cheap or pretty, you could be making a big mistake. Many teapots with infusers out there are made from low quality materials. So when you put hot water in it, toxic substances leach into your tea.

Not only does this affect the taste, but it can also cause significant damage to your body.

That’s why it’s important to pick the right teapot infuser.

To save you time, I painstakingly reviewed countless different teapots using these criteria:

  • Safety of materials – None of the teapots with infusers on this list contain any known toxins or heavy metals.
  • Quality – Nobody wants a product that breaks after a few uses.
  • Brew – How good is the teapot at brewing a brilliant cup of tea.

Okay, now onto the 5 best teapots with infusers you can find on Amazon…

The Best Teapots With Infusers Reviewed

1. Glass Teapot Kettle and Warmer by Willow & Everett

This teapot infuser by Willow & Everett is the best of its kind.

Since it’s made out of glass, you can rest assured that absolutely no chemicals or toxins will leach into your tea. This is why I usually recommend glass teapot infusers to anyone who wants to look after their health.

Better yet, this teapot has over 1,000 positive reviews. That in itself is a reason to pick this one over some other popular brands.

Get It Here

Pros:

  • Microwaveable, dishwasher safe, spill & rust proof.
  • Comes with a removable cozy to keep tea cold or warm for longer.
  • Features a fine-mesh infuser so no debris enters the tea.
  • It’s made from glass so there’s no toxins or heavy metals to worry about.

Cons

  • Some people have complained that the zipper on the cozy can get stuck.

  • If you pour too slowly, the spout can drip a little.

  • Not designed to go on a stovetop or burner.


2. Traditional Tetsubin Japanese Cast Iron Teapot with Infuser

If you’re an avid tea drinker, getting a traditional Japanese tetsubin cast iron kettle is a must. It’s the holy grail of tea infusers.

The cast-iron provides a rich flavor that’s highly sought after by tea enthusiasts.

But it’s important that you don’t get a cheap tetsubin. Cheaper tetsubin kettles are usually fakes, made in China, and have an enameled inside so you don’t get the flavor benefits of the cast iron. Plus, enameled coatings on cheaper products are often made with toxic materials.

This tetsubin teapot, however, is the real deal. No enamel coating.

While it costs more than the average teapot, it’s totally worth the money if you’re a tea drinker; you will have this thing for the rest of your life.

Get It Here

Pros

  • A beautiful rustic design.

  • Cast iron is the most durable material as far as teapots go.

  • It provides a better flavor.

  • It’s stovetop safe and iron holds the heat so it stays warm for a long time

  • It’s made in Japan as any real tetsubin should be.

Cons

  • Not a lot of reviews because very few people know what a real tetsubin is, so they buy the cheaper knockoff versions.

  • If you’re a guy and use other cast-iron cookware, you may want to avoid overusing it since men can easily get too much iron in their diet.
  • It also costs slightly more than the average teapot (but totally worth it).


3. Forlife Tea Pot with Infuser

Forlife sells one of the most popular and sought-after teapot infusers on the market. It’s high-quality, durable, and features an extra-fine infuser so that no debris gets into the water.

This teapot really lives up to the name “Forlife,” as you should have this rugged thing for the rest of your life without worrying about it breaking.

Get It Here

Pros

  • Dishwasher safe and made from a lead-free material– this is important!

  • Offers 10 different color options.

  • Has a silicone ring around the lid to prevent spilling.

  • Features an extra-fine mesh infuser so that no tea leaves end up in the water.

  • It also doesn’t drip at the spout when pouring the tea which is a common complaint with teapot infusers.

Cons

  • Not designed for stovetop use.  You must boil water in another vessel, then pour that water into the pot.  Some people claim it’s fine to use on a burner, but you risk cracking it over time.

  •  They don’t explain what the coating material is made from. While they say it’s lead-free, they don’t say it’s free of toxins. It could be perfectly safe, but this is why I prefer glass over other materials.


4. Cusinium Glass Teapot With Infuser

This 32 oz. teapot is slightly bigger than the other teapots mentioned here.

Much like the other glass teapot infusers mentioned here, it got fantastic ratings. It comes with a cozy and features a more practical design that prevents spilling and leaking.

What really sets this apart from other glass teapots with infusers is that it’s more durable. The glass is thicker than your average teapot. In fact, I couldn’t find one person who complained about it breaking, which is really impressive for a glass teapot!

Get It Here

Pros

  • Thick and durable glass

  • Spout doesn’t leak or drip

  • Dishwasher safe

  • Infuser is removable and it holds more tea than the average glass teapot infuser.

Cons

  • Glass doesn’t provide flavor like a Japanese tetsubin.

  • It’s NOT safe to use on the stovetop or it may break.


5. Hiware Teapot With Infuser

This glass teapot infuser has an incredible Amazon rating, it’s made from glass, and it comes with an impressive 2-year guarantee.

This teapot has a slightly more elegant design. The only reason why this one rated lower because a small number of people seem to complain about the glass cracking. But both products are fantastic choices nonetheless.

Get It Here

Pros

  • Stovetop, microwave, and dishwasher safe.

  • Features a fine mesh infuser.

  • Handcrafted from heat-resistant borosilicate glass.

  • An elegant design yet affordable pricing.

Cons

  • A small number of people have issues with the glass cracking or breaking.

  • If you don’t dry off the stainless-steel infuser after washing, some people complain about it rusting after a few months of use. The spout can leak if you pour too slowly.

How to Use a Teapot with an Infuser

Making tea in a teapot with an infuser requires you to use loose leaf tea. And when it comes to loose leaf tea, it’s all about nailing the ratio and steep time.

Get it right, and you will have an incredible cup of tea. Do it wrong, and you can get a bitter or downright disgusting tea.

I admit it can be difficult to master because every tea has different steep times and temperatures. Most people just wing it, but it doesn’t taste nearly as good this way.

That being said, I highly suggest following this guide for brewing the perfect cup of tea. Combine this with the tetsubin kettle and you can turn anyone into a tea-drinking aficionado.

Why Teapot Infusers are Amazing

Drinking tea that’s been infused in a teapot comes with so many amazing advantages that once you start drinking naturally infused tea, you’ll never want to go back to tea bags.

Variety is the Spice of Life

When it’s time to stock up on tea at the market, do you settle for the same kind of limited flavors available in teabags? Do you long for something different? More variety in your daily tea drinking regime?

With teapot infusers, the sky’s the limit when it comes to variety.  Imagine waking to a cup of Organic African Nectar loose tea or a cup of Egyptian Chamomile right before bed.

There are an endless number of options when it comes to loose leaf tea. With some trial and error, you can discover the perfect tea for every situation.

Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

Whenever you make tea using a teabag, your setting yourself up for a subpar cup of tea.

That’s because, much like coffee, the amount of tea you should use varies according to how much water its steeped in. A teabag doesn’t allow you to control how much tea you’re using. So the ratio of tea to water will almost always be off the mark.

But if you use loose-leaf tea with a teapot infuser, you can use the precise amount of tea needed for how much water you’re using. The result is a smooth, aromatic, and divine cup of tea.

Infusing is More Affordable

Not only does using loose-leaf tea provide more flavor, but it’s also much more affordable than buying tea bags.  This is because it is usually sold in bulk at specialty stores.

Bulk is always cheaper. Plus, when you get teabags, you’re paying extra for the bags and the processing required to get the tea into the bags.

While tea bags may be convenient, brewing loose-leaf tea in a teapot with an infuser is the way to go.

Infusing is Healthier

The benefits of using a teapot with an infuser don’t end there.

You see, many teapots, kettles, and other tea brewing devices contain toxic chemicals. When you brew your tea, the toxins leach into your tea water making it a big hazard to your health.

That defeats the whole purpose of drinking tea!

For example, some contain plastic which contains chemicals like BPA that are shown to cause cancer (1). Cheaper teapots will also have an enamel coating which often contains heavy metals like lead.

Fortunately, all of the teapots mentioned here were heavily researched and shouldn’t contain any harmful substances that can get into your tea water.

What to Look for In a Quality Teapot Infuser

If you’re for some reason not enthused with my picks here, I’ll show you exactly what you need to look for in a teapot infuser. That way you can pick out your favorites and see if they check off all the quality requirements.

Any teapot with an infuser should be…

  • Durable and well-built: Scan the reviews of the product to see if people often have problems with it breaking or wearing down.
  • Safe and free of toxins: If the teapot is glass, you’re pretty much in the clear. Just make sure there’s not plastic on it. With other materials, I would avoid the enamel coating unless the brand states that it’s free of toxins. They should also be able to provide a report that verifies the safety of their product.
  • Size: Pay attention to the size. Some are just big enough for one person. But if you will be brewing tea for multiple people, you will certainly need something bigger.
  • Fine-Mesh Stainless Steel Infuser: The infuser should be made of stainless steel so that it does not rust. It should also be a fine mesh so that no debris gets into the water.

The Bottom Line

When comparing and contrasting the above 5 teapot infusers I chose the Glass Teapot Kettle and Warmer by Willow & Everett because it hit on so many features that a teapot should have. It is durable, affordable, and people have given it incredible ratings.

That being said, if you’re a true tea aficionado, I highly suggest giving the genuine tetsubin a try. It brings tea to a whole new level!

The post The 5 Best Teapots With Infusers Reviewed appeared first on Naturalife.

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