One of the challenging aspects of losing weight is cutting back on calories. Many low-calorie foods can leave you feeling hungry, making it more tempting to overeat and indulge. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy foods out there that are filling, . . .
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Health Benefits of Almonds
1. Rich in Nutrients
Almonds have an impressive nutrient profile. A one-ounce serving (28 grams) of almonds contains:
• Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI
• Magnesium: 20% of the RDI
• Manganese: 32% of the RDI
• Fat: 14 grams
• Fiber: 3.5 grams
• Protein: 6 grams
RDI = Reference Daily Intake
They also contain vitamin B2 (riboflavin), copper, and phosphorus.
2. High in Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a family of fat soluble antioxidants. It tends to build up in the cell membranes in the body, protecting cells from oxidative damage. Almonds are among the best sources of vitamin E, with just one ounce providing 37% of the RDI.
Studies have linked a higher vitamin E intake with a lower incidence of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Help Lower Blood Pressure Levels
The magnesium in almonds may help lower blood pressure levels. High blood pressure is a leading driver of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. A deficiency in magnesium is linked to high blood pressure.
Studies show that addressing magnesium deficiency can help reduce blood pressure. If you don’t meet the dietary recommendations for magnesium, try adding almonds to your diet.
4. Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
High levels of LDL cholesterol (also known as bad cholesterol) in the blood is a known risk factor for heart disease. A person’s diet can have a major impact on LDL levels. Some studies show that almonds can effectively lower LDL.
5. Good for Heart Health
Almonds may help improve lipid levels in the blood. This can be beneficial for heart health. A 2014 study found that almonds reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow, and increased the levels of antioxidants in the bloodstream. The participants were healthy males 20 to 70 years of age who took 50 grams of almonds per day for four weeks.
Researchers believe this may be due to the vitamin E, healthy fats, flavonoids, and fiber in almonds. To obtain these benefits, they recommend eating a handful of almonds each day.
6. Can Assist
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How to Boost Your Immune System
1. Reduce your stress levels
It’s normal to feel stressed once in a while. But if stress drags on for a long time, it can make you more vulnerable to illness, from colds to other infections. Chronic stress suppresses your immune response and stimulates the release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol interferes with the T-cells’ (a type of white blood cell) ability to reproduce and receive signals from the body. This hormone also reduces IgA (Immunoglobulin A), which lines the gut and respiratory tract, and is the first line of defense against pathogens.
To keep your stress in check, include meditation or yoga in your regular routine. Another thing you can do is to practice breathing exercises like the 4-7-8 technique. Here’s how to do it: Empty your lungs of air. Inhale quietly through the nose for 4 counts. Hold your breath for 7 counts. Exhale through the mouth, making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 counts.
2. Eat more vegetables
Vegetables are loaded with nutrients that are essential for a healthy immune system. For a healthy liver, include cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, and cabbage to your diet. A healthy liver is important in the body’s natural detoxification process. To boost your immune system, make sure to also eat a balanced diet.
3. Make sure you get enough vitamins and minerals
Vitamins A, B6, C, D, E, and the mineral zinc can help boost the strength of your immune system. In particular, vitamin C is well-known for supporting a healthy immune system as well as being an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, and spinach.
4. Consider herbs
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Harmful Effects of Smoking
Cigarettes are bad for the lungs because of the nicotine and other chemicals that they contain. One of the most harmful effects of smoking is that it increases the risk of developing lung cancer (25 times greater for men, 25.7 times greater for women). The CDC reports that approximately 9 out of 10 lung cancer deaths are linked to smoking.
Also, smoking cigarettes presents a higher risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), causing 80% of COPD deaths. Cigarettes are linked to chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and can trigger an asthma attack.
Smoking cigarettes can damage the heart and blood vessels. The tar and chemicals in cigarettes can increase the risk of atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque in the blood vessels). This limits blood flow and can lead to potentially life-threatening blockages.
Furthermore, smoking increases the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD), which occurs when arteries to the arms and legs narrow, restricting blood flow.
Having PAD increases the risk of:
• blood clots
• angina (chest pain)
• heart attack
If you smoke, you’re more likely to have a stroke than someone who does not. Smoking can increase the risk of having a stroke by 50%. One way that smoking can increase the risk of a stroke is by increasing the chances of developing a brain aneurysm, a bulge in a blood vessel caused by weakness in the blood vessel wall. This can burst or rupture, which can lead to a serious condition known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a type of stroke that can cause brain damage and death.
The good news is, within 2 years of stopping smoking, the risk of stroke is reduced to half that of a smoker and within 5 years, it will be the same as that of a non-smoker.
4. Mouth and throat
Smoking causes problems such as stained teeth, bad breath, gum disease, and damage to the sense of taste. But the more serious concern is an increased risk of cancer in the lips, tongue, throat, voice box, and esophagus. Approximately 93% of oropharyngeal cancers are caused by smoking.
Stopping the use of tobacco, even after many years of use, can greatly reduce the risk of developing head and neck cancer. Once you’ve been smoke-free for 20 years, the risk of head and neck cancer becomes the same as that of a non-smoker.
5. Fertility and reproduction
In males, the more and longer a person smokes, the higher the risk of erectile dysfunction. Also, smoking can affect sperm quality and therefore reduce fertility. In females, smoking can damage a female’s reproductive system. It can also make it more difficult for a woman to get pregnant. This is because tobacco and other chemicals in cigarettes can affect hormone levels. Smoking can affect pregnancy and a developing fetus in several ways, such as:
• increasing the risk of ectopic pregnancy
• reducing a baby’s birth weight
• increasing the risk of pre-term delivery
• damaging a fetus’s lungs, brain, and central nervous system
• increasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome
• contributing to congenital abnormalities
Smokers have an increased risk of having stomach cancer and ulcers. Smoking may weaken the muscle that controls the lower end of the esophagus and allow stomach acid to travel back up, a condition known as acid reflux.
Smoking cigarettes can cause eye problems and increase the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Other vision problems associated with smoking include glaucoma, dry eyes, and diabetic retinopathy.
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Types of Tea
After water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world. There are different types of tea, but it can be categorized into those that come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, and those that come from the leaves, roots, and flowers of other plants (herbal teas).
Examples of teas that come from Camellia sinensis include green tea (popular in Asia), black tea (popular in the US and has the highest caffeine content among teas), oolong tea (popular in Southern China), and white tea (uncured and unfermented tea). Some examples of herbal teas include chamomile tea (derived from the plant’s flowers) and peppermint tea (derived from the leaves of the peppermint plant).
Health Benefits of Tea
1. May reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
This is one of the health benefits of tea which has the strongest evidence.
According to a Harvard report, a study found that participants who drank more than five cups of green tea a day had a 26% lower risk of death from heart attack or stroke than people who drank less than one cup of green tea a day.
Another study published in 2016 found a 20% reduction in the risk of heart attack and a 35% reduction in the risk of stroke among those who drank 1 to 3 cups of green tea a day.
You may also get similar benefits by drinking matcha tea, made from ground green tea leaves.
2. May boost the immune system
Studies have shown that tea can help immune cells reach their targets quicker. For centuries, Ayurvedic practitioners used holy basil or tulsi tea to help keep their immune system strong after injuries or illnesses because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Contains antioxidants
Antioxidants help keep us young and help protect our cells from damage due to pollution. Load up on antioxidants with green tea or white tea. White tea is less processed than green or black tea and contains a high amount of beneficial antioxidants.
4. Has less caffeine than coffee
Herbal tea blends generally have no caffeine. Traditional teas, on the other hand, have less than 50% of the caffeine typically found in coffee. If you are trying to switch from coffee to tea, you can try chicory root tea, which has a flavor similar to coffee. Chicory root is known to help reduce stress and is also a prebiotic, so it may be helpful to your gut.
5. May help with weight loss
Some studies suggest that the catechins (a type of flavonoid) and caffeine in tea may help with weight loss. Note that green tea is especially high in the most potent type of catechin, called EGCG. However, decaffeinated green teas didn’t seem to produce the same weight loss results. Though research on caffeinated green teas look promising, there are still lots of unanswered questions.
But, for example, if you swap out a coffee containing milk and sugar and replace it with a green tea with lemon, you could definitely reduce calorie consumption, and this can lead to weight loss.
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