At Utzy we are dedicated to providing truthful, honest information that helps you to live a healthier lifestyle
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (1).
In fact, approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease every single year. That’s one in four deaths (2).
Fortunately, there are many lifestyle and dietary changes you can incorporate today that can help support your health.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in our body’s cells that's necessary for our bodies to function properly (3).
There are three types of cholesterol. These include:
Having an elevated low-density lipoprotein (or LDL) or very low-density lipoprotein (or VLDL) is associated with an increase in heart disease. That’s because these types of cholesterol cause the build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries, which blocks or reduces blood flow and oxygen to the heart (4).
High-density lipoproteins (or HDL) on the other hand, are considered the “heart-healthy” fat because it helps remove cholesterol from the bloodstream. Higher levels of HDL are associated with a lower risk of heart disease (5).
Eating a healthy diet is key to reducing your risk of heart disease and lowering your cholesterol. The following are ten foods that can help lower your cholesterol today.
1. Dark Leafy Greens such as kale, broccoli, spinach, and Brussel sprouts help bind to bile acids and excrete more cholesterol from the body (6).
How to use it: Use greens in salads, scrambled eggs, or smoothies.
2. Berries including blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries contain phytochemicals that can help decrease the risk for health complications such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and strokes (7).
How to use it: Top plain yogurt with berries, or have as a snack with some nuts.
How to use it: Top salads with avocado or use in replace of butter.
How to use it: Add fatty fish such as salmon or tuna into your weekly menu at least twice per week.
How to use it: Add garlic to sauces, soups, or meats.
6. Oats contain beta-glucan which has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. In fact, consuming just 3 grams per day can decrease LDL by 3-5% (14).
How to use it: Make a balanced oatmeal bowl with oats, nut butter, and plain yogurt.
7. Cocoa Powder has been shown to lower LDL and increase HDL due to the polyphenols it contains (15).
How to use it: Use to flavor smoothies or sprinkle on top of fruit.
8. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, one study with over 7,000 participants found that supplementing with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the risk for major cardiovascular events (16).
How to use it: Use for homemade salad dressings, or for low-heat cooking.
9. Walnuts contain a nutrient called alpha-linoleic acid which helps fight off inflammation in the body. Additionally, studies have found that daily nut consumption can decrease LDL cholesterol values (17,18).
How to use it: Top walnuts on salads or bake low-sugar muffins with them.
10. Chia Seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to reduce elevated triglyceride levels (19).
How to use it: Sprinkle on top of yogurt, oatmeal, or add to smoothies.
1. Fried Foods such as French fries, fried meats, cheese curds, and donuts have been associated with an increase in waist circumference, and a decrease in HDL levels (20).
2. Processed Meats found in foods such as salami, hot dogs, sausage, pepperoni, and deli meats have been associated with an increase in cardiovascular disease and cancer (21).
3. Products with High-Fructose Corn Syrup such as soda, candy, sweetened yogurt, salad dressings, juice, and breads are associated with an increase in cardiovascular disease. In fact, one study found that consuming large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup for just two weeks increased risk by 25% (22).
Along with incorporating the ten cholesterol-lowering foods, and eliminating the three foods listed above, there are also other ways to improve cholesterol values.
Those include (23):
High cholesterol can increase the risk of developing heart disease.
Fortunately, there’s a variety of lifestyle and dietary changes that can help improve your cholesterol and heart health.
Try incorporating these ten cholesterol-lowering foods while eliminating the top three harmful foods to improve your health today.
February 03, 2020 | 0 comments
CoQ10 (or coenzyme Q10) is an antioxidant that is vital for your body’s ability to create energy. It is important because it is present in every cell in your body.
Maintaining optimal Coenzyme Q10 levels is crucial for maintaining overall health and wellness.
We’ll dig into the basics of CoQ-10 below.
Coenzyme Q10 is a lipid-soluble antioxidant found in every cell in your body. It plays an important role in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency your body depends on (1).
This may sound complex, but this simply means that CoQ-10 is crucial for the production of energy in your cells. When your body is able to produce more energy at a cellular level, it creates more energy throughout your whole body.
CoQ-10 has the prefix "Ubiqui-" because of its ubiquity in your body since it is found in every cell of your body.
Since CoQ-10 is involved in the production of energy in the cell (ATP), maintaining optimal levels is important for maintaining energy levels. High energy levels increase overall health and wellness.
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential component of cellular energy production, its antioxidants properties have been shown to extend cell life and benefit high-energy systems. This includes the cardiovascular, neurological and immune systems (2).
Optimal levels are especially important for heart health. The heart is the body’s largest energy user. Without enough CoQ10, your heart can’t pump blood as efficiently as it should (3).
This means that Coenzyme Q10 is absolutely crucial for overall cardiovascular health.
Additionally, CoQ-10 helps too:
Your body naturally produces CoQ10 throughout your life, but production drops off as you get older. This drop-off in Coenzyme Q10 production tends to happen between the ages of 35-40 (4).
Supplementation with CoQ-10 around this age (between 35-40) is best for maintaining healthy levels as you age.
The right form of CoQ-10 is important for effective results. There are two forms of Coenzyme Q10, Ubiquinol and Ubiquinone.
Which is the best form of CoQ10 to take?
Ubiquinol is the form of CoQ10 naturally found in your body. Since it's in a natural state, it’s easier for your body to use and absorb. You can grab a bottle of Utzy naturals Ubiquinol here.
Ubiquinone is the other form of CoQ10. When you take Ubiquinone, your body converts it to Ubiquinol where it is then used by your body. The problem is that your body's ability to convert Ubiquinone decreases as you age.
Regardless of the form, make sure that the Coenzyme Q10 supplements that you buy are delivered in a highly bioavailable, oil-based soft gel. For best absorption, CoQ-10 must be dissolved and transported with a lipid carrier.
The best dosage for a healthy individual is 50-100mg per day. Make sure to take a highly bioavailable form of CoQ10 so that you can get the full benefits.
Timing is important when supplementing with coenzyme Q10, see the section below for the best time of day to take CoQ10.
Your body best absorbs CoQ10 when it is taken in small amounts (of 50mg-100mg). That being said, CoQ-10 should be taken throughout the day, in divided dosages if possible.
Coenzyme Q10 is more easily absorbed with food, especially fatty foods such as avocados or nuts. This makes taking it with meals is a great option.
CoQ10 is safe when up to 3,000 milligrams is taken by mouth daily for up to eight months in healthy people (5).
Use cautiously in high doses in people with liver problems. Doses of greater than 300 milligrams daily may affect levels of liver enzymes.
Use cautiously in people who are taking blood thinners (such as warfarin). Coenzyme Q10 may reduce the effectiveness of blood thinners.
That being said, the large body of evidence supporting CoQ10 supplementation has been embraced in virtually every corner of the medical and scientific community.
As always, it is best to get a recommendation from your doctor before taking any type of dietary supplement, especially when pregnant or nursing.
CoQ10 is naturally found in high levels in organ meats such as liver, kidney, and heart, as well as in beef, sardines, and mackerel.
Vegetarian sources of Coenzyme Q10 are also available through foods such as spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower. Legumes such as peanuts and soybeans also contain beneficial amounts.
Supplementation is also a good option, see recommended products below.
To improve absorption, our CoEnzyme Q10 has been dissolved and transported with a lipid carrier. Click on the image below to learn more!
Heart health is one of the main concerns for both men and women in the United States.
Research shows us that diet and exercise play a major role in heart health (1), but how can we integrate these activities into our busy schedules?
Below are five ways to maintain your heart health today:
This type of fat is the worst type to consume due to its harmful effect on heart health (2).
Unfortunately, avoiding trans fats isn’t as simple as it seems.
That’s because food companies are allowed to use the claim “contains 0 grams of trans fats” on the label as long as the product contains less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving.
Tip: Don’t be fooled by false advertising. Keep an eye out on the ingredient list for words such as “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” oils which are alternative words for saying that the product contains trans fats.
Studies have found that individuals who have a higher amount of belly fat (also known as visceral fat) have a greater risk of heart disease (3).
Visceral fat surrounds the body's internal organs and can lead to a host of health issues, such as insulin resistance and high blood pressure (4).
Tip: Focus on reducing belly fat through healthy eating, getting enough sleep at night, managing stress, and exercising on a consistent basis.
Most people sit for around 10 hours each day. From answering work emails to eating dinner with family, most of our day involves sitting.
Unfortunately, all of this sitting is causing damage to our collective health.
Some experts are calling sitting the new "smoking" because of its negative impact on heart health, weight, mood, and our muscles and joints (5).
Tip: Incorporate more movement throughout the day by getting up and stretching every hour, get off the couch during commercial breaks, stand while talking on the telephone, or get a standing desk for work.
As motivational speaker named Jim Rohn once said:
“you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
That means when you surround yourself with positive people, chances are, you will have a more positive outlook as well.
A positive outlook can help improve your eating habits, reduce anxiety and depression, lower stress, and increase your sense of purpose. All of which can help improve your heart health.
In fact, one piece of research published in 2016 showed that having a positive outlook on life was a common trait amongst centurions, that is, people who have lived 100+ years (6).
Tip: Make a list of positive people in your life and aim to spend more time with them. Additionally, focus on following more positive people on social media, and unfollow those who are negative.
We all have some type of stress in our lives, so it’s important to learn to manage it in a healthy way.
Too much stress can lead to an increase in blood pressure, an increase in insulin levels, weight gain, physical inactivity, and poor sleeping habits. All of which can take a toll on our heart health (7).
Tip: Find a way to manage stress. This could be physical activity, such as going on a walk or taking a bath; or it could be a mental activity, like writing in a journal or talking with a friend (8).
To maintain heart health it’s important to consume a nutrient-rich diet, incorporate daily movement, practice stress management techniques, and surround yourself with positivity.
If you aren't already, focus on incorporating at least one of these tips to support your heart health today.
1. Keep Your Heart Healthy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/heart-health/keep-your-heart-healthy
2. Dhaka, V., Gulia, N., Ahlawat, K. S., & Khatkar, B. S. (2011, October). Trans fats-sources, health risks and alternative approach - A review. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3551118/
3. Belly fat in men: Why weight loss matters. (2019, June 13). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/belly-fat/art-20045685
4. TodayShow. (2012, August 27). Belly fat worse for your heart than obesity, study suggests. Retrieved from https://www.today.com/health/belly-fat-worse-your-heart-obesity-study-suggests-966373
5. Hamza Ali, special to C. N. B. C. (2014, August 25). Why your chair might be killing you. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2014/08/18/why-your-chair-might-be-killing-you.html
6. Schneiderman, N., Ironson, G., & Siegel, S. D. (2005). Stress and health: psychological, behavioral, and biological determinants. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/
7. Schneiderman, N., Ironson, G., & Siegel, S. D. (2005). Stress and health: psychological, behavioral, and biological determinants. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/
8. Stress and Heart Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/stress-and-heart-health
Toxins are everywhere.
From the foods we eat, to the body products we use, to the water we drink, to the products we clean our homes with (1).
Toxins can be detrimental to our health for many reasons.
For example, pesticides in food have been linked to ADHD in children, parabens found in many body products may promote growth of breast cancer, and exposure to phthalates has been linked with obesity, changes in sex hormones, reduced fertility, and allergy and asthma symptoms (2, 3, 4).
It’s impossible to avoid toxins completely, but there are plenty of ways to help reduce your exposure to them.
Follow these six ways to reduce toxins today.
Buying organic vegetables and fruits can help reduce exposure to pesticides.
If you aren’t able to switch to 100% organic, choose organic for produce found on the “Dirty Dozen” list.
This is a list from The Environmental Working Group (EWG) that contains the non-organic produce that has been tested highest in pesticide residue.
Although the 2019 list has not come out yet, the produce listed on the 2019 Dirty Dozen list includes (5):
If you plan on buying any of the fruits and veggies on the Dirty Dozen list, make sure to buy the highest quality versions that you can find
Many processed foods can contain added preservatives and chemicals to help increase shelf life.
Therefore, reading ingredient lists on products can be very helpful when trying to reduce toxins.
Although this is not a comprehensive list, avoid buying products that contain these common additives (6, 7, 8, 9):
•Trans fats: Trans fats are not always clearly labeled, and are often disguised as other words such as “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” oils.
•Vegetable Oils: Although these may sound healthy, these oils are often highly refined and should be avoided. Vegetable oils include canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil.
•Sodium nitrates: A preservative used in meat products and may increase risk for certain cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Look for products that don’t contain “sodium nitrates” in the ingredient list.
•High Fructose Corn Syrup: An artificial sugar used to sweeten many food products. It is easily stored as fat in the body and can be associated with weight gain.
•Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): This is a flavor enhancer added to canned vegetables, soups, meats, and Chinese food. Intake of MSG may be linked to symptoms such as numbness, heart palpitations, chest pain, headache, and weakness.
Water is essential for our health and can help flush out toxins in the body.
To make sure you are drinking enough water, aim to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
And don’t forget to use filtered water, because some tap waters may contain contaminants.
In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency found that about 85% of the population was drinking tap water that contained over 300 contaminants.
That’s why it’s best to filter your water with a water filtration system such as a water pitcher, countertop filter, or install a filtration system in your home (10).
Plastic is the go-to material for many products such as kitchen equipment and storage, toys, bags, and water bottles.
Not only is it harmful for the environment, it can also leach toxins into your food and skin.
Below are some tips to help reduce your plastic use:
Body products are poorly regulated and often contain toxins that have never been tested for safety. Avoid using body products that contain these common toxins:
We love Tanna Beauty + Wellness, a company that makes all-natural, raw beauty products.
Cleaning products don’t have to disclose what ingredients they contain, which means that the products you use to spray, wipe and scrub with could contain potentially harmful toxins (11).
Replace toxic cleaning products with things like white vinegar, baking soda, borax, castile soap or essential oils.
Check out these recipes for some DIY cleaning products recipes.
Although toxins cannot be completely avoided, you have the power to decrease them from the foods you eat, to the body products you use.
Try incorporating these six ways to reduce toxins to make this new year a much healthier and less toxic one.
Written By: Autumn Enloe, MS, RD, LD, CLT
Your gut health impacts almost every aspect of your health.
It's responsible for turning the foods you eat into the energy. Needless to say, having a healthy gut is vital for overall health and wellness.
Below we dig into the importance of gut function, as well as tips for improving your gut health.
The gut is comprised of over 100,000 billion micro-organisms that make up what is called the gut microbiome.
It plays a critical role in our health considering it’s the site for digestion and absorption of food, where our metabolism begins, where the majority of our immune system is found, and where brain chemicals (such as serotonin and dopamine) are created.
Research related to gut health is constantly evolving, and scientists are discovering the important role that the gut microbiome has on health; especially in areas such as metabolism, immune system and mental health.
The composition of the gut microbiome can change over time. That’s because the environment that we live in, the foods we consume, and how we manage stress in our lives can either have a positive or negative impact on our gut.
As Hippocrates said, “all disease begins in the gut,” and that’s why improving the health of the gut is one of the first steps to improving your overall health.
Our gut microbiome is comprised of “good” and “bad” bacteria. Good bacteria thrive off of a healthy lifestyle while “bad” bacteria thrive off of an unhealthy one.
To have a healthy gut composition, it’s important to have more “good” bacteria than “bad” bacteria.
Pretty simple, right?
So how can we develop an environment with more “good” bacteria than “bad?” Below are some ways to do this.
Consuming foods high in sugar can feed the “bad” bacteria and kill off “good” bacteria. Unfortunately, sugar is found in a variety of foods, so it’s important to be mindful of sugar consumption.
Some common foods that may be high in sugar include baked goods, candies, sports drinks, low-fat yogurts, cereal, flavored coffee drinks, and fruit juices. Sugar can also be found in foods that you may not think of: including ketchup, BBQ and spaghetti sauces, salad dressings, canned soups, and Vitaminwater.
It can be helpful to read the nutrition facts label and ingredient list on products to help reduce your sugar consumption. Pay attention to the number of grams of sugar per serving in products, as well as look in the ingredient list for sugar with a less obvious name.
Common alternative names for sugar to be aware of:
In addition, any word that ends with “ose” is another name for sugar (such as fructose and sucrose).
Having a stressful lifestyle can alter the health of the gut microbiome in a negative way. That’s why focusing on stress management is extremely important for a healthy gut (7).
How can you manage stress?
Below are some tips for managing your stress levels:
Along with practicing stress management techniques, taking a magnesium supplement may also help promote relaxation.
Sleep can have a large impact on the health of our gut because our gut microbiome is affected by circadian rhythms, stress, and diet.
Getting adequate sleep at night allows our body to rest and recharge, and when we don’t get enough of it, it can put stress on our body and cause an imbalance in the circadian rhythm.
In addition, when we don’t get enough sleep at night, our appetite hormones can become imbalanced and lead to a higher consumption of processed and sugary foods.
Consumption of those types of foods may impact gut health in a negative way by fueling the “bad” bacteria instead of the “good” (8).
Aim to have at least eight hours of good quality sleep at night.
Improving the quality of your sleep can happen by avoiding electronics an hour before bed, keeping your room on the cooler side, not eating or drinking right before bedtime, and cutting caffeine in the afternoon.
In addition, if you find you need more support to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, check out our natural sleep aids for additional support.
That’s why having a positive outlook may help improve the health of the gut.
How can you practice positive thinking?
Below are some ways to integrate positive thinking into your life:
Things that may wreak havoc on the gut:
Now that we’ve discussed ways to support your gut, let’s talk about things that may influence the gut microbiome in a negative way.
Please note: There will always be stressful moments in our lives, and we may not always eat the most healthy foods or always have a positive mindset, and that’s okay. The goal is to try to incorporate more lifestyle habits that will help feed the “good” bacteria vs. the “bad” bacteria.
The gut is an important part of our overall health, and as you can see, the health of the gut depends on the health of our lifestyle, diet, and moods.
Try incorporating these five tips for supporting your gut and notice the difference that it makes.
Our sole purpose at Utzy is to help you live a healthier lifestyle.
Our motto, “Supplement with Confidence” isn’t just a marketing quip; it's a promise to deliver the highest quality and most effective products possible.
Products that you can have confidence in.
At Utzy, we firmly believe that supplementing is a very important action towards overall wellness. Your body needs essential vitamins and minerals to function and flourish.
But supplements are just a piece of the health puzzle....
In addition to supplementation, there are other healthful habits and actions that you should do daily that will assist you on your journey to feeling better and having a more productive life.
Around here we refer to them as "The Seven Principles For Healthy Living".
Read on below...
Hippocrates, known as the founder of medicine, was quoted as saying:
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"
This idea is just as true today.
Your diet is the foundation of your health.
Live by a “pay the grocer – not the doctor” mentality. Try to consume only REAL FOODS – organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes; as well as natural, pasture-raised, grass-fed meats.
Make sure to get enough daily fiber.
An excellent way to get quality food is by supporting your local organic farmers as much as possible. Eat high-quality foods. Eat until you're satisfied, and stop there.
A sedentary lifestyle is a proven killer.
Get to the gym – and get your heart rate up. Try to get some form of exercise every day; this could be as simple as going for a walk on your lunch break.
While there are many different approaches to exercise, the biggest step is to simply do something. Park further away, take the stairs, look for small ways every day to move it!
Almost daily, we see in the news that millions of Americans have problems with sleep.
If you are one of them, make a commitment to getting better sleep.
You can try following our article on 10 sleep tips for your best night of rest.
We all need adequate amounts of restful sleep – health professionals recommend 7-8 hours a day.
Turn electronics off before bed so that you can wind down. Look for ways to eliminate unnecessary stress in your life and live at peace with others.
Your "toxic load" is the amount of chemicals and toxins that your body has to process on a daily basis. Processing these pollutants is stressful on your body, so look for ways to reduce your load.
•Use natural green medicine as a first choice (rather than turning to harsh, synthetic drugs)
•Avoid using harmful household chemicals and cleaners
•Use clean beauty products on your skin and hair
•Drink plenty of water (this help to flush toxins out at a quicker rate)
Your body is resilient and able to process off toxins, so you don't have to live in fear. That being said, make sure to do your best to create a safe environment that lessens your exposure to toxins.
It turns out that the old saying - “as a man thinketh so is he” - is true!
The gut-brain connection is a real thing, so work on having positive thoughts.
Science backs up the notion that laughter does a heart good. In fact, happiness and positivity are linked to a “wide variety of forms of well-being,” according to a recently published study (1).
A major key is to show gratitude toward the people who have benefited your life. Take thankfulness walks. Regularly count your blessings.
Build a community of family and friends that you can rely on, and they you.
Having a "Do Unto Others" focus goes a long way to relational wholeness.
Living by the Golden Rule is a must in building meaningful relationships and a more positive outlook on life.
As an example, instead of going on a walk by yourself, invite a friend or family member long. You'll get the benefits of exercise along with the bonus of good company.
Without a plan, chances are you will fail. Address your problems, create a strategy to change, and find people that can assist you on your journey.
Creating a plan is the first step on your path to feeling more vibrant, and becoming healthier.
The first steps may include:
•Seeing that doctor for that physical you’ve been putting off
•hiring a trainer
•finding a good nutritionist
•and building a team to support you.
Start small and be consistent!
The 7 principles listed above are foundational to our core beliefs of what is necessary to build a healthy lifestyle and future of wellness.
Think of ways to integrate them into your daily life. Doing so will help you to live your life to the fullest!
Daniel Powers (co-founder of Utzy Naturals) is a health fanatic and writer. Obsessed with optimizing every aspect of life, he is passionate about teaching others how to live a healthier, happier life.
(1). Cohn, M. A., Fredrickson, B. L., Brown, S. L., Mikels, J. A., & Conway, A. M. (2009). Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience. Emotion, 9(3), 361–368. doi: 10.1037/a0015952
Plant-based meats are gaining popularity, but are they really all that they’re hyped up to be?
Many people go to plant-based meats to help reduce their red meat consumption and improve their health.
Unfortunately, these plant-based products may do more harm than good.
If you go to the supermarket, or see commercials on TV, many places are promoting plant-based meats as a healthier option.
Some common plant-based meats(1) include:- Impossible Burger
- Beyond Meat
- Beyond Sausage
- Tyson’s Plant Based Nuggets
- Good Catch Fish-Free Plant-Based Tuna
Although plant-based products are claimed to be healthier, it’s important to look at what’s actually in them (2).
Furthermore, when it comes to an ingredient list, it’s best to keep it as simple as possible.
Below is an example of an ingredient list for a common plant-based burger (the Impossible Burger) (10):
Whereas, the ingredient list for an organic, grass-fed beef patty is one simple ingredient:
Focusing more on meats with one, minimally processed ingredient provides more nutrient value, while not providing any additional additives which may be harmful for health.
Lastly, plant-based burgers can contain more sodium and saturated fat than traditional beef.
For example, the Beyond Burger has 390 mg of sodium, whereas a 85% lean beef patty has only 80 mg. Saturated fat content for the Impossible Burger is 8 grams per 4 ounces, whereas an 85% lean beef patty has 6 grams of saturated fat (11).
Many people avoid red meat to reduce their saturated fat intake, but it’s important to look at the diet as a whole, versus just one piece of it.
Also, research has found that saturated fat is not the major issue; it’s a combination of excessive carbohydrate intake, sugar consumption, stress, quality of sleep and movement that play a role in developing cardiovascular disease (12, 13).
Ultimately, it’s our lifestyle that either improves or health or reduces it, not just one nutrient or food.
So you might be wondering, what should you eat instead of plant-based meats? I always recommend going back to the basics and focusing on foods that are minimally processed.
Grass-fed beef is highly nutritious and made with just one simple ingredient.
Grass-fed beef also contains a higher amount of Omega-3 Fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce heart disease risk, reduce inflammation in the body, and may potentially reduce the risk for certain types of cancers (14, 15, 16).
Additionally, grass-fed beef contains higher levels of antioxidants from Vitamin A and E, which also helps promote health (17).
If you’re looking for other options besides red meat, opt for some of these options below:
- Organic chicken or turkey
- Wild-caught fish
- Organic eggs
- Organic dairy
- Beans and legumes
Plant-based meats are most likely not going anywhere anytime soon, so educating yourself on the ingredients they contain is key.
When it comes to our health, remember that keeping it simple is best.
Focus on foods with the least amount of ingredients, in their whole form, and not man-made.
1) TodayShow. (2019, August 8). Want to try out plant-based meat? Here are our top 10 product picks. Retrieved from https://www.today.com/food/what-plant-based-meat-here-are-our-top-10-product-t160303.
2) Gmo. (2019, November 1). Rat Feeding Study Suggests the Impossible Burger May Not Be Safe to Eat. Retrieved from https://www.gmoscience.org/rat-feeding-studies-suggest-the-impossible-burger-may-not-be-safe-to-eat/.
3) Divi, R. L., Chang, H. C., & Doerge, D. R. (1997, November 15). Anti-thyroid isoflavones from soybean: isolation, characterization, and mechanisms of action. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9464451.
4): Avila-Vazquez, M., Maturano, E., Etchegoyen, A., Difilippo, F.S. and Maclean, B. (2017) Association between Cancer and Environmental Exposure to Glyphosate. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8, 73-85. https://doi.org/10.4236/ijcm.2017.82007
5) GMO Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nongmoproject.org/gmo-facts/.
6) Berger, M. E., Smesny, S., Kim, S.-W., Davey, C. G., Rice, S., Sarnyai, Z., … Amminger, G. P. (2017, August 29). Omega-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio and subsequent mood disorders in young people with at-risk mental states: a 7-year longitudinal study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5611753/.
7) Schafer, M. G., Ross, A. A., Londo, J. P., Burdick, C. A., Lee, E. H., Travers, S. E., … Sagers, C. L. (2011). The establishment of genetically engineered canola populations in the U.S. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3187797/.
8) Methylcellulose (Laxative) Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6391/methylcellulose-laxative-oral/details.
9) Farris, A. L. (2010). The "natural" aversion: the FDA's reluctance to define a leading food-industry marketing claim, and the pressing need for a workable rule. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24475548.
10) What are the ingredients? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://faq.impossiblefoods.com/hc/en-us/articles/360018937494-What-are-the-ingredients-.
11) Gelsomin, E., & Mla. (2019, August 8). Impossible and Beyond: How healthy are these meatless burgers? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/impossible-and-beyond-how-healthy-are-these-meatless-burgers-2019081517448.
12) Malhotra, A. (2013, October 22). Saturated fat is not the major issue. Retrieved from https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6340.full.
13) Malhotra, A., Redberg, R. F., & Meier, P. (2017, August 1). Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions. Retrieved from https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/15/1111.
14) Peter, S., Chopra, S., & Jacob, J. J. (2013, May). A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away! - A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3712371/.
15) Calder, P. C. (2006, June). n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16841861.
16) Zhong, X., Fang, Y.-J., Pan, Z.-Z., Li, B., Wang, L., Zheng, M.-C., … Zhang, C.-X. (2013, September). Dietary fat, fatty acid intakes and colorectal cancer risk in Chinese adults: a case-control study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23377001.
17) Descalzo, A. M., Rossetti, L., Grigioni, G., Irurueta, M., Sancho, A. M., Carrete, J., & Pensel, N. A. (2007, February). Antioxidant status and odour profile in fresh beef from pasture or grain-fed cattle. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22063662.
December 10, 2019 | 0 comments
It’s estimated that women put an average of 168 different chemicals on their body before they even walk out of the door in the morning (1).
From shampoo, to lotion, to mascara; toxic chemicals are found in a variety of products that we’re using on a daily basis.
Although women typically use more products than men, there are also toxic chemicals found in men’s shampoos, soaps, aftershave cream, etc.
This article will talk about how there’s a lack of regulation related to chemicals in beauty and skincare products, the top chemicals to avoid, and some clean beauty brands to switch to instead.
It’s been over 80 years since Congress last voted to regulate cosmetics (4).
The current laws that we do have don’t even require cosmetic products and ingredients to have FDA approval before going on the market (5).
According to the FDA, “Cosmetic manufacturers have a legal responsibility for the safety and labeling of their products,” but not all companies have our health as their priority (6).
Although the FDA does ban eleven toxic chemicals from being used in beauty products, that number is way too low.
In fact, some countries ban a lot more. For example, Europe bans 1,400 chemicals from their product (7).
It’s obvious there’s a lack of regulation, which is why we need to educate ourselves
Since there’s a lack of regulation, it’s important to be your own advocate and pay attention to the ingredients that are used in your everyday products.
Below are the top ten ingredients to look out for.
BHA and BHT are used as a preservative in products such as lipsticks and moisturizers. BHA is classified as a potential carcinogen for humans, and a hormone disruptor. Studies using mice have found these ingredients to be toxic (8).
Parabens are also used as a preservative in products. They have been shown to mimic estrogen in the body, and have been detected in breast cancer tissues. Parabens can also interfere with male reproductive functions (9).
Phthalates are found in a variety of products including shampoos, facial lotions, and body wash. It acts as an endocrine disruptor and may impact human development (10).
Retinol is used in many anti-aging products and sunscreens. The Environmental Working Group recommends avoiding products with these ingredients while being in the sun since they can increase sun sensitivity and be carcinogenic (11).
Fragrance is used in nearly all beauty products, especially perfumes, colognes, lotions, and deodorants. Studies have found that fragrances to be associated with allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms. Additionally, this ingredient can build up and cause damage to the environment (12).
Petrolatum (also known as petroleum jelly) is a mineral oil jelly that is used to lock in moisture. Petrolatum can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are associated with skin irritation and allergies and can be carcinogenic (13).
Triclosan is a preservative and anti-bacterial agent used in many deodorants, cleansers, and facial tissues. It may interfere with hormone function, and scientists have found Triclosan in 75% of individuals tested. It can also cause irritation to skin and eyes, and also be very harmful for the environment (14).
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in a wide array of products such as nail polish, toothpaste, and baby care products. It’s considered a carcinogen, and can also negatively impact air quality (15).
PEG's are petroleum-based compounds that are often used in face creams, which have been shown to cause irritation and toxicity in the body. Lastly, its function is to increases skin absorption, thus increasing the negative health risk (16).
These chemicals are used as emulsifiers and foaming agents in products such as mascaras, body washes, shampoos, soaps, facial cleansers, and bubble bath. These ingredients have been associated with skin irritation, allergies, and organ toxicity (17, 18).
Although many cosmetic brands use the ingredients listed above, more and more clean beauty brands are coming out and creating products that aren’t harmful to your health.
•Attitude: https://attitudeliving.com/ - they offer personal care products such as hair cair, body washes and soaps, hand soap, moisturizers, and skincare.
•Beautycounter: www.beautycounter.com - they offer personal care for women, men, and children including skincare, shampoo and body wash, lotions, and makeup. If you’re interested in learning more about products from Beautycounter, contact me here.
•Inna Organic: https://innaorganic.us/ - they offer skincare including facial oils and serums, facial masks, and body lotion.
•Juice Beauty: https://juicebeauty.com/ - they offer different skincare solutions as well as makeup products.
•Primally Pure: https://primallypure.com/ - they offer deodorant, dry shampoos, body butters, bath soaks, and baby products.
Along with choosing cleaner beauty brands, The Environmental Working Group has a website and app called “Healthy Living” where you can scan and search for products to verify safety. They use a scale from 1-10 to show safety based on various health areas.
Many people use beauty and skincare products on a daily basis. Unfortunately, they aren’t all safe for us, and the U.S. has a lack of regulation on what ingredients can be used in products and which ones cannot.
It’s best to be your own health advocate and look at the ingredients used in the products you’re using daily. Additionally, use the resources such as the EWG’s Healthy Living App and website to check the safety of your products.
It may seem overwhelming to change out everything all at once, so focus on switching out one product at a time; first focusing on the products you use the most.
What’s one product that you can swap out today?
Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients we know of.
It plays a key role in many different bodily processes, including: immune support, bone health, and muscle function (among many others).
Read on below to learn more about how vitamin D impacts your health, and how to ensure that you get enough through the winter months.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, since our bodies make it when our skin comes into contact with sunlight.
Vitamin D is nutrient that many people are lacking in; especially in climates without a lot of sunlight.
It’s suggested to get your Vitamin D level tested on a yearly basis, and opt for levels between 40-60 ng/mL for both adults and children.
Anything under 30 ng/mL is considered a deficiency (5).
Vitamin D can be obtained in several different ways including sunlight, foods, or supplements.
We'll detail below how each of these methods can help to boost your vitamin D levels.
Exposure to sunlight provides the best quality Vitamin D, and you don’t have to be outside for very long to reap great benefits (6).
Just 10-15 minutes of sunlight can provide 10,000-25,000 IU of Vitamin D alone.
Of course there are many factors that can affect how well your body will absorb Vitamin D from the sun.
Another option would be to get a light therapy lamp to use during the winter months.
This is a great option if you live in a location where sun exposure is limited (8).
Keep in mind that too much sun exposure can be dangerous, and it’s important to limit being outdoors for long periods of time without sunscreen.
Too much unprotected skin exposure may lead to dehydration, pain, early aging, and skin cancer.
There are very few foods that contain natural sources of Vitamin D.
That’s why Vitamin D is often fortified into foods such as milk or orange juice.
Even though fortified foods can be helpful, aim to consume the majority of your Vitamin D from foods that naturally contain it.
Another way to increase your Vitamin D intake is to take a high-quality Vitamin D supplement.
A supplement can be especially helpful for individuals who are not exposed to much sunlight during the winter months (such as in the Midwest), and for those who want to increase their Vitamin D levels more quickly.
Not all supplements are created equal, and there are many things to consider when choosing a Vitamin D supplement.
If you're interested in a high quality vitamin D supplement, Utzy offers a couple of different options.
Our product line includes:
Vitamin D plays a critical role in our health, so it is important to get your levels tested on a regular basis.
If you find that your levels are low, incorporate Vitamin D-rich foods, get some sunlight or light therapy, or a take a Vitamin D supplement to help improve your levels.
When you think of what it takes to lead a healthy lifestyle, gratitude probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
But it should be.
Incorporating gratitude into your life transforms the way you view yourself, the world, and the people in it.
Practicing gratitude reminds you that goodness does exist in this world.
When you take the time to reflect on the good you’ve received - either from other people or higher powers - you will be better off because of it.
People who are intentional about counting their blessings often enjoy improved physical, social, and emotional health.
Simply being grateful can dramatically improve the quality of your life and relationships.
Ready to learn how?
Want to get the best sleep of your life?
Try counting your blessings every day.
While getting enough sleep each night is essential for good health, the quality of your sleep is equally important.
Gratitude journaling is one of the most effective ways to count your blessings and cultivate gratitude. Researchers in the UK recruited healthy young women to either keep a gratitude journal or fill out a survey each night.
The women who kept gratitude journals were instructed to write down three people and three things that made them feel grateful.
After only two weeks, gratitude journalers reported boosts in their sleep quality.
To see if gratitude journaling may help improve your sleep, try to follow the “Three Good Things” practice when you journal. Jot down three experiences that you feel grateful for, how each experience makes you feel, and why you think each experience happened.
Set aside at least 10 minutes each night to write these experiences down. Writing is a necessary part of the process - don’t just think about it and say you did it.
For the best benefits, aim to journal at least three times per week.
It probably comes as no surprise that optimists tend to live healthier and happier lives.
But what if you’re not an optimist? Being grateful may be your golden ticket.
People who have higher levels of gratitude tend to report lower levels of stress.
Gratitude may allow you to bounce back more quickly from life’s ups and downs with a more hopeful, positive, and resilient outlook on life.
Being grateful can literally turn you into an optimist.
One simple way to cultivate more gratitude and optimism is through prayer. Researchers have found that prayer is an effective way to boost optimism and reduce negative emotions.
For the most powerful impact try to focus on giving thanks for the good in your life while you pray.
Keep at it and over time you may begin to see that glass a little more full than empty.
Do you crave deeper and more meaningful connections with those around you?
Think of it as the “social glue” that helps strengthen relationships with others.
Being grateful for those around you may motivate you to be more kind, more social, and more giving.
Gratitude may even nudge you toward finding new friends or partners when you recognize how thoughtful other people can be.
Remembering ways those you love have been good to you can help you view your relationships in a deeper and more positive light.
Subconsciously, this means you might start to seek ways to be a better friend or partner, which can really improve the quality of your relationships.
To begin reaping some of these benefits, try writing a letter of gratitude to someone important in your life.
Be very specific in terms of what this person has done to impact your life and why you are grateful.
Present the letter in person if possible and actually read it out loud to them.
Watch how the benefits of this simple exercise will blossom in your life and relationship.
70% of American workers report hating their jobs according to a recent Gallup poll.
If finding another job is not an immediate option, practicing gratitude in the workplace might make those 2080 hours per year more tolerable, fulfilling, and engaging.
Happier employees tend to be more successful.
What may surprise you is that happiness itself may lead to career success and not the other way around. The cultivation of gratitude can lead to more positive emotions, including contentment and happiness, which can make you a better employee. Who knows, you may even get a raise!
Be intentional about being grateful in the workplace.
Take a moment to genuinely thank a coworker. If your workplace has a “kudos” program, you could also nominate someone for a job well done.
Send a thank you note to your supervisor.
Or block out 5 minutes before work to say a short prayer of gratitude.
When you leave work, reflect on the good, not the bad.
Being more intentional about acknowledging the good in your workplace, whether it’s people or experiences, helps you cultivate more positive emotions at work and in general.
The leading cause of death in America, heart disease, is responsible for nearly 1 in 4 deaths each year.
In addition to not smoking, following a healthy diet, and being physically active, consider practicing gratitude to reduce your risk of succumbing to this silent killer.
One study reported that healthy volunteers who experienced feelings of appreciation had measurable improvements in heart rate variability (HRV). Having high HRV means your heart might be better able to handle stress and function better overall.
In another study, patients with heart failure experienced significant reductions in inflammation after an 8 week gratitude journaling intervention.
Inflammation may also be related to your risk of developing heart disease.
Keep that heart healthy by keeping a running list of people, experiences, and places that make you grateful.