Why Power Walking Beats Running: 3 Hidden Benefits

Back in our younger days, we were probably avid runners. Running track and cross country could be an easy task for some, while some even joined 5k mud runs or color runs for great causes. These days, however, all that high-impact running has taken a toll on our knees. This is why you’ll love power walking!

Here are some of the benefits.

What Is Power Walking?

Power walking, or speed walking, is more than just a brisk walk. When power walking, you walk at a speed at the upper end of the natural pace for walking. A normal walking pace for most is 3 mph, so for power walking, aim for anywhere between 4 to 5.5 mph.

Power walking requires that you have at least one foot in contact with the ground at all times. This means that if you are standing still, you will not be able to walk at a normal pace.

During power or speed walking, your heart rate increases. The number of calories burned by power walking can be the same as running without all the high impact on your joints!

Power Walking vs. Running

Running can provide you with many health benefits, and it is one of the cheapest ways to exercise compared to other types of workouts. Its intensity promotes fitness and efficiently burns more calories than other activities. However, running is a high-impact exercise that can frequently lead to injuries if you’re not careful, and it won’t do much in developing your upper body.

Runners can be at a particular disadvantage because they can develop numerous injuries quickly from all the impacts on their feet, knees, ankles, and other joints, such as:

  • Shin splints
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Stress fractures
  • Achilles tendonitis

Power Walking vs. Jogging

Power walking or speed walking, on the other hand, is different from running, jogging, or traditional walking because of its increased intensity emanating from arms movement, longer strides, and a faster pace. This allows you to get all the benefits of running without the abovementioned disadvantages.

Hidden Benefits of Power Walking

It’s just so amazing that power walking is a form of exercise that requires no expensive equipment, no special athletic ability, no apps or technology, and no gym membership.

Power walking can be done in any open area, and it’s easy to do. Let’s take a look at why you should start power walking now.

1. Improved Cardiovascular Health

Power walkers have increased heart rates, especially when done at a moderate to high-intensity level. Exercise that boosts your heart rate is excellent for combatting heart disease and other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, a new observational study shows that taking more steps each day – even if you walk at a regular pace – is linked with living longer.[1]

Power walking puts a higher demand on your cardiovascular system because it requires more steps per minute and more involvement from your major muscle groups.

If you are new to working out, starting with a regular walk can help ease into a new routine. Walking at any pace will still help you burn calories and improve your cardiovascular fitness, and when you are ready, you can increase your pace to power walking levels.

2. Reduced Risks

Power walking at 4.5 mph for an hour would burn the same amount of energy as a 30-minute run without all the impact on your joints. Making power walking the perfect exercise for individuals of all ages and fitness levels.

While power walking and regular walking work the quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, and hip abductors, power walking also tones the shoulders, upper back, and glutes!

Power walking helps burn calories while toning your muscles more than a regular walk would. It is even a great core workout. The more intense you move your arms during power walking, the more you can engage your entire body, challenging your balance and stability.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a regular brisk walk can help you maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat.[2]

3. Improved Bone Health

Power walking is also good for your bones. A recent study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found an hour per day of moderate-intensity exercise like power walking prevents disability in people who have symptoms of joint problems in their lower extremities.[3]

The faster, farther, and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits!

How to Power Walk

It’s important that you use proper form and posture while power walking. This helps to prevent injury and ensures you can keep up the proper pace. You want to ensure you’re using the proper muscles in the right way to turn the energy you’re expending into steps and calories burned rather than risk rolling an ankle or tweaking a knee.

Keeping proper posture is always important while walking, but when power walking, it’s especially important. Your eyes should look ahead, your shoulders should be back, and your head should be upright. Set your gaze about 20 feet ahead, and don’t slump forward.

If you realize your posture is off or you’re slumping forward, correct your posture right away, even if it means slowing down. The better posture you can maintain, the faster you can walk, and the more steps you can get.

Take some time to work on your posture because proper posture allows you to walk faster and tire less quickly.

Starting Your Routine

If you’re new to exercise or increasing the intensity of your walks. Start slowly and gradually—and you’ll still get great benefits from it. Try this interval walking plan to get started. Exertion is rated from level 1 to 10, with 1 being in a rested state and 10 being on the verge of breathlessness.

Pyramid Style

This simple interval session gradually builds in intensity to a peak, then eases back down.

  • 5-minute warmup walk (level 5)
  • 5-minute typical walk (level 6)
  • 4-minute brisker than usual walk (level 7)
  • 2-minute fastest possible walk (level 8)
  • 4-minute brisker than usual walk (level 7)
  • 5-minute typical walk (level 6)
  • 5-minute cool-down walk (level 5)

Always speak to your primary care physician before starting a new exercise routine.

How Much and How Often?

When it comes to any exercise routine, the duration and intensity depend on your schedule. Ideally, 30 minutes of power walking 3 days per week is a great starting point.

Walking at a steady state can get boring, and it also limits the calories you can burn. Adding in intervals can burn more calories during and after your workout by increasing your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

There’s no wrong way to do interval training. You can increase your pace for a certain number of minutes or a certain distance. For example, pick a landmark in the distance, like a stop sign, and walk at a faster pace where talking becomes difficult until you get to it. Then, keep alternating that way between easy and harder efforts. Or, you could walk with exaggerated arm movements, like holding your hands overhead, until you get to the landmark.

For an extra challenge, you can do power walking hill sprints. Walk at a comfortable pace to a nearby hill, then walk at an effort where it’s hard to talk up the hill, and recover at an easy pace downhill and repeat. Just keep in mind that you don’t have to go all out at once.

Tips for Implementing a Power Walking Routine:

To get the most out of power walking, consider these tips:

  • Get the right gear: Unlike running shoes, which may be slightly thicker at the heel, your shoes should have good arch support and a flat sole.
  • Make sure you’re visible: Walk on a path or sidewalk where you’re safe from traffic. If you’re walking at dusk or in the dark, use reflective tape or clothing, or bring a flashlight.
  • Make it fun: Walk with a friend or colleague. Walk somewhere you find beautiful and restorative. Walk while listening to music you like – just make sure you can also hear traffic sounds. Do whatever makes it fun for you!
  • Know the terrain: To keep from falling, notice uneven sidewalks, tree roots, and other obstacles.

Hidden Health Benefits of Power Walking That Beats Running

4 Actions

Power walking is better than running because it burns the same amount of calories yet eliminates the risks of running.
Power walking improves cardiovascular health. It engages more muscle and requires more steps per minute. This boosts your heart rate, which is excellent against heart diseases and other chronic illnesses.
While running can burn more calories, power walking is a much safer choice to maintain the health of your joints. 
Given that your joints are engaged in a safer routine, you can then improve the health of your bones.

The Bottom Line

If you haven’t tried power walking or speed walking, now is the time to give this low-impact, effective exercise a try. This go-anywhere exercise is great for all fitness levels. The reduced risks of joint deterioration and injury make it more appealing to most age groups.

If you want to stay fit, become fit, or get back at getting fit, adding this movement to your exercise regime today will be a great investment in your body!

Featured photo credit: Sincerely Media via unsplash.com

Reference

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What Are the Warning Signs of Prediabetes in Adults?

Prediabetes is a common condition. The CDC reports that 96 million Americans or 1 in 3 people or about 34% of adults have prediabetes.[1]What’s alarming is that over 84% or 8 in 10 of people have prediabetes and don’t know they have it.

Are you among this group?

Here are some relevant details and facts on prediabetes and the action you need to take to stay healthy. The first step in managing prediabetes is understanding what a prediabetes diagnosis means. Read on to learn more about this diagnosis and what you can do.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Prediabetes?

What’s Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is named as it is a precursor or an early stage of type 2 diabetes.[2] It means you have a higher than normal blood sugar level, but it’s not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes are also referred to as:

  • Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) indicating a higher-than-normal blood sugar after a meal.
  • Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) indicating a higher-than-normal blood sugar in the morning before eating.

A normal blood glucose level is less than 70 mg/dL. If you have prediabetes, your blood glucose levels will rise to 100 mg/dL-125 mg/dL. When your blood glucose level goes above125 mg/dL, you are diagnosed with diabetes.

What Causes Prediabetes?

The prediabetes condition, which is marked by abnormally high blood sugar or glucose, is because your body doesn’t use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas which regulates the blood sugar levels for energy.

The glucose in your body comes from food. Your pancreas releases insulin into the blood when you eat. During digestion, sugar enters your bloodstream. Insulin lowers the sugar levels in your blood and facilitates its entry into your cells.

When you have prediabetes, this process doesn’t work, and your body doesn’t respond to insulin normally. It means people with prediabetes cannot process blood sugar or glucose properly. Sugar starts to build up in your bloodstream because of the following reasons:[3]

  • Your cells become resistant to insulin
  • Your pancreas may not make enough insulin
  • Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get your cells to respond
  • Increased metabolic disturbance because of a combination of worsening hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.

Apart from the above insulin-related causes of prediabetes, your family history, genetics, and lifestyle are also contributing factors.

5 Warning Signs Of Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a serious condition. Without intervention, people with prediabetes have up to a 50% chance of developing Type 2 diabetes within the next 5-10 years. Having prediabetes also puts you at an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke.[4]

As you know, prediabetes is an early stage of type 2 diabetes. You could have prediabetes for many years and yet show no symptoms at all. This is because prediabetes rarely has any symptoms.

So, like most people with prediabetes, the chances are that it often goes undetected until you develop serious health problems.

The good news is that prediabetes is completely reversible, provided you take the right action, which can only be possible if you know the warning signs.

If you have prediabetes, here are the common warning signs you should look out for. You may have some or all of them.

1. Risk Factors For Prediabetes

Unless you know the risk factors for prediabetes, you may not be able to talk to your doctor in the early stages to reverse your prediabetes condition.

Here are some of the risk factors for prediabetes:[5]

  • Being 45 years and above older
  • Being a smoker
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high blood sugar levels
  • Having low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • Having high levels of triglycerides
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Leading an inactive lifestyle
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Having obstructive sleep apnea
  • Had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Giving birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds
  • Consuming a heavy diet with processed, red meat and sugary beverages
  • Having certain drugs, steroids, antipsychotics and HIV medications.
  • Having hormonal conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome and acromegaly.
  • Belonging to certain ethnic races such as African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American race or Pacific Islander.

If you have the above risk factors for prediabetes, talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar checked regularly.

If you’re still not sure if you’re at risk for prediabetes, you can take this 1-minute online prediabetes risk test. Alternatively, you could ask your doctor about getting a blood sugar test.

2. Changes In The Appearance Of Your Skin

One of the warning signs of prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes is changes in the appearance of your skin. Some of them include:

  • Skin tags: If you have prediabetes, you may notice skin tags or small skin growths on your body, especially on the eyelids, neck, and armpits.
  • Open Sores, Wounds, and Blisters: People with diabetes can develop open sores, wounds, and blisters on their hands, feet, arms, and legs. Having prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage and poor circulation, making it hard for your body to heal wounds.
  • Skin infections: If you are prone to getting skin infections, you may have diabetes. You may notice symptoms such as hot, swollen, itchy, dry, or scaly skin with rashes and blisters that may also be painful. You could have a white discharge and experience irregular periods and frequent yeast infections.
  • Acanthosis Nigricans: Acanthosis Nigricans is a sign of insulin resistance related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It does not happen in every case of PCOS, though. When you get Acanthosis Nigricans, you will notice the development of dark, thick, and velvety patches on your skin. You will see this darkened skin or discoloration usually around the knees, elbows, neck, armpits, and knuckles.[6]

3. Blurry Vision

Prediabetes and diabetes can affect your vision and put it at risk. Diabetes is the leading cause of the latest cases of blindness in adults. Retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataract are some of the common eye diseases caused by diabetes.[7]

Retinopathy can develop in the prediabetic stage. Retinopathy refers to the eye condition when the blood vessels in the retina become swollen, leak, or shut off completely. Abnormal blood vessels can grow on the retinal surface area and cause bleeding that obscures vision, the formation of a retinal detachment, advanced forms of glaucoma, and eventual blindness.

Blurred vision is a prominent warning sign of prediabetes. If you experience any vision changes, it’s time to get your blood sugar levels tested.

Sometimes, you may not experience any visible signs of vision problems and yet have prediabetes. Your best bet is to schedule regular preventive eye exams to avoid vision loss.

4. Fatigue

You may feel unusually tired all the time if you have prediabetes. One of the first symptoms of prediabetes is feeling tired all the time.

People who have prediabetes often feel exhausted even when they have done no strenuous activity. They also sleep more than usual, even during the daytime. Tiredness and fatigue may have to do with the high and low blood sugar levels combined with the inability of your body to use insulin effectively.

5. Weight Gain

Another sign of prediabetes is weight gain or being overweight.

You may be having insulin resistance. People with insulin resistance tend to put on weight easily. As a result, they will probably also see an increase in their waist circumference.

You could also notice having fat around your waistline if you have prediabetes. This may be because of weight gain and a loss of muscle mass owing to insulin resistance.

When To See A Doctor

If you’re prediabetic, you should regularly get your blood glucose screened.

Additionally, if you follow an unhealthy and inactive lifestyle or have a family history of diabetes, it’s a good idea to schedule a screening.

If you’re 45 years and above, you should get a blood glucose screening once every three years. If you already have diabetes, keep in regular touch with your doctor to adjust your insulin or medicine dosage.

Final Thoughts

Prediabetes refers to the condition when you have higher than normal blood sugar levels but not high enough to be considered as type 2 diabetes. Unmanaged prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes doesn’t always have symptoms, but it comes with the listed warning signs in this article.

Early diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle changes can return your abnormal blood sugar levels to a normal range, effectively delaying and even preventing type 2 diabetes.

So it’s critical to visit your doctor regularly and get your blood sugar levels tested, especially if you’re at risk for prediabetes.

TL;DR

Don’t have time for the full article? Read this.

Prediabetes refers to the condition when you have higher than normal blood sugar levels but not high enough to be considered as type 2 diabetes.

The prediabetes condition, which is marked by abnormally high blood sugar or glucose, is because your body doesn’t use insulin properly.

One of the warning signs of prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes is changes in the appearance of your skin

Retinopathy can develop in the prediabetic stage. Retinopathy refers to the eye condition when the blood vessels in the retina become swollen, leak, or shut off completely.

If you follow an unhealthy and inactive lifestyle or have a family history of diabetes, it’s a good idea to schedule a screening.

Reference

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What Is Prediabetes?
[2] Mayo Clinic: Prediabetes
[3] Cleveland Clinic: Prediabetes
[4] Cleaveland Clinic: How to Protect Your Heart When You Have Prediabetes
[5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Type1 Diabetes
[6] U.S. National Library of Medicine: Acanthosis nigricans
[7] American Diabetes Association: Diabetic Retinopathy Risk Test

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WTF Fun Fact 12892 – McDonald’s Bubblegum-Flavored Broccoli

McDonald’s almost added pink broccoli to their Happy Meals. Click to read the full fact.

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Migraine Headaches: 8 Pressure Points For Migraine Relief

When a migraine headache hits, it can rapidly become debilitating. It’s as if the world stops and all we can think about ending the pain as soon as possible. Our ‘quick fix’ culture tells us there’s no better option than popping a pill for fast, effective relief from migraines (or minor headaches, for that matter). This simply is not the case. In fact, there are drug-free alternatives, including acupuncture and pressure points for migraines that are proven to work better than medications.[1]

Migraine headaches have many different causes. These include everything from environmental factors – like air quality, climate, and food sensitivities – to lifestyle aspects like nutritional deficiencies, stress, and physical inactivity. Hormone fluctuations are another known contributing factor for migraines, especially in women.[2]

This goes way deeper than the dull throbbing of a headache. Migraine sufferers can experience additional symptoms associated with these headaches. Getting to the root is helpful, but you can tailor immediate relief to these specific migraine symptoms.

Choosing the Best Pressure Point For Your Migraine Symptoms

Migraine-associated symptoms vary widely from person to person and across each individual’s spectrum of episodes. This can cause confusion and frustration for sufferers seeking reliable treatment solutions.

Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, sensitivity to light, sound, and smells; intense vice-grip-like pain in the forehead, neck, face, and eyes; nausea and/or vomiting; neck stiffness; lightheadedness/dizziness; nasal congestion; irritability; and ocular auras (visual migraine symptoms including light flashes, zigzagging patterns, blind spots, or ‘stars’/shimmering spots).

Some of these symptoms can even be worsened by over-the-counter headache medicines or pharmaceutical migraine treatments.[3] Thankfully, acupuncture can provide both prevention and treatment of several headache types, including migraine.[4]

IMPORTANT NOTE: Acupuncture (using insertion of needles) must be performed by a licensed professional. For self-treatment, you can use the pressure points listed in this article to apply acupressure (firm pressure on a specific median/nerve point).

How Does Pressure Point Treatment Work?

Acupuncture is an ancient method practiced by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) healers for thousands of years. It uses application of needles to specific points along meridians (energy channels that run beneath the surface of the body). There are 14 meridians, which have long been known and treated by various Eastern practitioners, including those of TCM as well as yoga therapy.

Acupressure is an alternate form of stimulating these energy channels. Instead of inserting needles, the points are activated by using firm pressure and/or massage with the fingers. When a pressure point is pressed, that impression travels along the meridian and directs energy throughout the body.

Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa explains from a yogic perspective in his book, Meditation as Medicine,

“For thousands of years, yogic healers have prescribed various postures and movements to change the energy flow of the meridians and help people heal.”

In other words, their technique may be slightly different, but the functionality and outcomes are congruent with TCM’s practice of meridian stimulation therapy.

He adds,

“From the Western perspective, the postures and movements activate the calming, parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, which releases chemical milieu [environment] that produces relaxation.”

In fact, Western medicine is beginning to catch up and has been able to document the existence of these channels through modern medical technology such as MRI and CT scans.[5] One theory of the effectiveness of this practice is that pressure on certain points actually reduces stress hormone levels in the nerves.[6]

At the core of this practice, regardless of origin or discipline, is the understanding that all forms and functions of the human body are interconnected. This means that it’s possible to stimulate one part of your body to activate or align another body part. It also means that we can activate calming in our nervous system via manipulation of specific external touchpoints. Relaxation is a key component for pain relief, especially as related to migraines.

8 Pressure Points for Effective Migraine Relief

Manage migraine headaches fast with these proven symptom-specific pressure points:

1. For Migraine with Dizziness, Anxiety, and/or Fatigue

  • Pressure Point: GV20
  • Pinyin Name / English Translation: Baihui / Hundred Meetings (Convergence), Governor Vessel
  • Location: Highest point of the head.
pressure point
Credit: Governing Vessel via MYT Clinic

Draw an imaginary line from the center of your forehead back toward the base of your neck. Draw another imaginary line from the top of your left ear over to the top of your right ear. The point at which these two lines intersect is GV20.

2. For Migraine With Dizziness, Anxiety, And/or Runny Nose

  • Pressure Point: GV24
  • Pinyin Name / English Translation: Shenting / Mind Courtyard (Spirit Court)
  • Location: Half a thumb’s width above the hairline at the mid-forehead. Please refer to the infographic for point #1 above for the pressure pouint GV24.

3. For Migraine With Dizziness And/or Vomiting

  • Pressure Point: GB8
  • Pinyin Name / English Translation: Shuaigu / Leading Valley
  • Location: Above the top of ear, two forefingers’ width into hairline.
shuaigu
Credit: GB 8 Acupuncture Point Location via PeakMassager

4. For Migraine With Eye Pain, Facial Pain, Ringing in Ears (Tinnitus)

  • Pressure Point: SJ20
  • Pinyin Name / English Translation: Jiaosun / Minute Angle (Angel Vertex)
  • Location: Directly above the top of ear, at the hairline. Please refer to the infographic for point #3 above for the pressure pouint SJ20.

5. For Migraine With Dizziness, Neck Stiffness, Eye Pain, Aura/Vision Disturbances, Congestion

  • Pressure Point: GB20
  • Pinyin Name / English Translation: Fengchi / Wind Pond
  • Location: Base of skull, just at the top of the back of neck, in the soft depressions to either side of the thick trapezius tendons.

To find it easily, make a triangle shape with your hands in front of you (thumb tips touching to form the bottom, index fingers touching at top to form the side angles, palms facing away from you).

Keeping your hands in this position, move them behind your head and place your thumbs at the base of your skull. Slide your thumbs apart in a downward motion, past the base of your skull and you should feel two slight indents on either side of the vertebrae, in your neck muscles.

gb20
Credit: GB 20 Pressure Point Location via Phoenix Rises Acupuncture.

6. For Migraine With Tension, Anxiety, Irritability, And/or Menstrual Pain

  • Pinyin Name / English Translation: Shenmen / Spirit Gate
  • Location: Upper part of each ear in the triangular-shaped valley.
shen men
Credit: Shen Men via Miridia Acupunture Technology

7. For Migraine With Tension/Pressure in Neck and Head; Pain in Face, Neck, Sinuses, Jaws, And/or Ears

  • Pressure point: LI4
  • Pinyin Name / English Translation: Hegu, Joining (Union) Valley
  • Location: In the web or fleshy depression between the thumb and the index finger.
L14
Credit: L14 via ScienceDirect

8. For Migraine With Pain in the Back of Head, Neck Pain, Earache

  • Pressure Point: SI3
  • Pinyin Name / English Translation: Houxi, Back Stream (Ravine)
  • Location: The outer blade of the hand, in the depression of the hand just below the pinkie finger.
Credit: SI3 via Miridia Acupunture Technology

Natural Migraine Relief Remedies for the Win

It can be tempting to run to the medicine cabinet every time we are hit with the agonizing pain and discomfort of a migraine. Thankfully quick, effective migraine relief without troublesome side effects is possible, using little more than our fingers.

Reference the proven pressure points above next time you’re suffering from a migraine. You’ll be happy to get easily accessible relief to all of your migraine symptoms, no pills required.

Featured photo credit: Hermes Rivera via unsplash.com

Reference

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What is Intuitive Eating And Its Benefits (Go-to Guide)

If you’ve ever heard about intuitive eating as a new approach toward effective weight loss, you’re not alone. Every day, more people are tuning in to this new eating lifestyle that has many benefits for physical and mental wellbeing.

But what is intuitive eating and where did it come from? Does it really work? How is it different from traditional diets?

If these questions have been on your mind lately, keep reading.

In this article, you’ll discover what intuitive eating is, what some of the benefits of this trending approach are, and if it is really effective for weight loss and wellness.

What Is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is a behavior or approach that allows you to tune in to your body while enjoying various foods without guilt or shame.[1] It is commonly known as the “no diet” diet.

Intuitive eating also helps you organically identify foods that work for your body and which do not. It also goes further by letting you embrace your hunger and fullness signals, developing a healthier relationship with food.[2]

With intuitive eating, you won’t feel it necessary to measure or count calories and macros.

Intuitive eating is not a new thing. It was a behavior first promoted by two dietitians in 1995, and now many people are becoming more aware of it.

Moreover, more health professionals like me are using this approach to help people develop a healthy mindset around food and fitness, have realistic expectations around body weight changes, and enjoy the process more positively rather than restrictively.[3]

Does Intuitive Eating Work for Weight Loss?

The good news is that intuitive eating works wonders for weight loss and fitness. The reason is simple: this approach becomes natural to you. Intuitive eating helps you get in shape.

Studies show that most people who learned to eat intuitively were able to develop a healthier relationship with food, had less food anxiety, and achieved a healthier weight.[4]

Your approach toward healthy eating positively changes. It’s a fact that the “dieting mindset” in which you constantly track calories, measure foods all the time, and obsess with portion control only leads to eating disorders.

More Facts About Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is the perfect strategy to get rid of the vicious cycle of chronic dieting. It is a fact that most people who have been on diets over and over again will gain their weight back. This is the infamous yo-yo effect.[5]

Coupled with that is the toxic mindset around labeling foods as “good” and “bad,” the guilt and shame that traditional diets cause around certain foods.

Therefore, intuitive eating helps you experience freedom from food anxiety and embrace your body’s biological needs while making sound food choices.

Intuitive eating also promotes a mentality that is free from food deprivation. Usually, our bodies tend to crave foods that we are deprived of. Demonizing foods is a way of saying, “you don’t have a right to enjoy chocolate chip cookies because you’ll get fat!”

Guess what will happen: eventually, you’ll overindulge in those, causing you this sense of guilt and weight gain. Because of this, intuitive eating is more realistic in that it embraces the act of enjoying varieties of foods.

Believe it or not, this behavior is what helps you choose to balance and keep a healthy weight in the long term.

Ditching the “Dieting” Mindset

If one thing is true, it’s that there is no single food that will make you fit and neither is there one that will make you fat.

All you need to do is to make solid food choices based on what feels natural to your body.

It has already been proven that when you’re free from food obsessions, you make better food choices and are at peace with food in general.[6] Then, you naturally start shedding those extra pounds and trimming your waistline.

It’s all about balance and the right mindset.

Nutritionists have seen too many people fall into the trap of “fad diets.” Even though “dieting” may work for a short period, this fails in the long term.

To avoid frustration and body hate, you should prioritize eating in a way that works for you. There isn’t a “one size fits all” approach.

Everybody is unique. We all have different preferences and metabolism.

In fact, “dieting” without proper guidance and supervision from a nutritionist. does more harm than good. Trust me. That’s why many people have the infamous yo-yo effect.

So, instead of following the media cleanses, fasting methods, and quick fixes, you should start learning how to tune in to your body. It is also essential to identify how your body responds to your foods. You’ll notice better-lasting results.

Main Principles of Intuitive Eating

For the most part, some of the principles of intuitive eating have been already covered in this post. But let’s summarize some other important facts.

1. Honor Your Hunger and Fullness Levels

This seems to be a no-brainer, but we often overlook this behavior. When you eat intuitively, you eat when you’re naturally hungry and stop eating when you are full.

Remember that proper nutrition is key to keeping your body nourished at all times. In this way, you’ll avoid the deprive-binging cycle and keep your calorie intake in check.

2. Intuitive Eating Is Being at Peace With Food

This is one of the most important principles of intuitive eating. There’s no love and hate relationship with food that exists in your mind whatsoever. No food demonizing is done.

You understand that there are varieties of foods with their own nutritional value and benefits. Then, you develop a healthy relationship with food that allows you to make conscious decisions. You embrace balance.

3. It Allows You to Discover Your Satisfaction

Who doesn’t enjoy eating real food? That’s the principle behind intuitive eating.

Even when you indulge occasionally, you can still stay healthy and in shape. There is that sense of pleasure when you eat that will automatically help you identify when “you’ve had enough.”

4. It Is About Respecting Your Body

Why hate your body when you can embrace your journey and have a good relationship with food?

Eating intuitively is all about having a judgment-free zone. The best thing is that you understand you’re on a journey to achieve a better version of yourself physically and mentally.

Plus, getting in shape takes time and patience. Therefore, we should love our bodies while enjoying the present moment.

5. Exercise According to Your Body’s Needs

Following the same train of thought, train according to your body’s needs. The fitness industry is booming, and we should take advantage of the different ways we can exercise.

Just as with food, there is no specific routine that works the same for all. Focus on learning which active lifestyle is good for you. Discover new workout routines that will give you results.

It’s your body; it’s about you. It’s essential that you find professional guidance in this area.

6. Cope With Your Emotions Without Relying on Food

It’s no secret that we’ve all gone through situations in which anxiety and stress are at their peak. However, you must identify those triggers and learn to cope with your emotions the right way.

Too many times, we tend to rely on food to make us feel better while the problems are still there. This will also keep you on the weight gain cycle and make you feel worse about yourself.

So, be more compassionate with your emotions and your body. Learn to deal with your feelings positively. Some good ways to not cope with food are exercising, journaling, or talking to a friend or therapist.

How to Eat Intuitively

Embracing intuitive eating all starts with the right mindset. It’s time to release the fears around eating healthy and food in general. This is the key to a healthier lifestyle.

Intuitive eating is not a diet. It’s neither something that you develop overnight nor a quick fix. Instead, it is behavior that, over time, will make you develop positive emotions around eating, food, and preparation.

Intuitive eating is a natural way to nourish your body to stay in constant balance and harmony. You will be able to get lasting results without fear of “falling off track.”

Start with baby steps. Don’t follow what others are doing. Just go with what works for you. Educate yourself on the importance of eating a variety of foods.

Stop labeling foods as “good” or “bad”. Identify that each food has its unique value and nutrients. If you listen to your intuition, your body will accept nutritious foods in more proportion to others.

The same thing happens with exercise. Eating and exercising should not be a burden or punishment for your body. You should enjoy both as ways to achieve better health.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking to improve your health naturally, eating intuitively might be a good strategy for you. Set realistic goals. Get into the habit of pampering and loving yourself more

Also, make sure you look for proper guidance from a certified nutritionist.

TL;DR

Don’t have time for the full article? Read this.

Intuitive eating is a behavior or approach that allows you to tune in to your body while enjoying various foods without guilt or shame.

Studies show that most people who learned to eat intuitively were able to develop a healthier relationship with food, had less food anxiety, and achieved a healthier weight.

Intuitive eating is not a diet, but a behavior that will make you develop positive emotions around eating, food, and preparation.

Main principles of intuitive eating: honoring hunger and fullness levels, coping with emotions without food, respecting your body, being at peace with food, discovering satisfaction, and exercising according to your body’s needs.

Featured photo credit: Muhammad Ruqi Yaddin via unsplash.com

Reference

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12 Foods That Can Keep You Awake At Night (Besides Caffeine)

If you ever find yourself restless at night, it could be because of something you just ate. Not every meal qualifies as a good late-night meal, and many foods have hidden ingredients and properties that can actually keep you up, causing you sleeping trouble, which can be annoying and uncomfortable.

When it comes to some of the foods that keep you awake, you’d be surprised to find that certain vegetables can cause your tossing and turning. I have made a list of 12 such foods that can keep you awake at night, so you know to avoid them if you aren’t trying to stay awake too long.

Let’s dive in.

12 Foods That Can Keep You Awake At Night

1. Alcohol

Now, this can be a bit confusing, as alcohol might put people to sleep if taken just before bedtime. But alcohol does not qualify as a depressant. When people fall asleep after drinking alcohol, they do not get the best quality sleep for that night and end up waking between sleep periods.

The circadian rhythm of the body is one of the ways in which the body regulates sleep. Alcohol interferes with this rhythm, giving the body a bit of difficulty knowing when it is bedtime and when it is not.

A published study confirms that alcohol might reduce sleep time, having a negative impact on REM sleep.[1]

REM is short for rapid eye movement sleep. This is an important phase of sleep where there are random and rapid eyeball movements. This phase is essential for healthy rest.

Every healthy human being requires at least seven hours of REM sleep every night, and alcohol may have a negative impact on that, hence, reducing the quality of rest you get every night.[2]

2. Fatty Foods

There is evidence that fatty foods have a negative impact on your sleep. In 2016, a study agreed that taking large amounts of saturated fats made sleep feel superficial and insufficient. [3]

This happens because our digestive systems are not very active when we are asleep. So, fatty meals can cause a bit of a problem when you’re ready to turn in for the night because it’s difficult to digest.

Avoid greasy and heavy foods like fried chicken, french fries, mozzarella sticks, and potato chips

3. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are considered to contain large amounts of spices like chili peppers, mustards, curry, etc. Spices illicit a sensation that borders around pain and pleasure.

As tasty as spicy foods may be, they are not exactly good for bedtime as they will keep you awake at night. There are many reasons why this happens. Some include indigestion, acid reflux, and heartburn.

In 2019, a study found that spices do impact the quality of sleep negatively.[4]

When you have a meal rich in spices, you may notice a slight increase in your temperature. This increase might be small, but it does affect sleep. For the body to properly initiate sleep, it has to maintain a temperature between 66 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above or below this range may impact sleep negatively. [5]

Rich spicy meals can also affect people with digestive problems like peptic ulcers or heartburn, as they can cause very uncomfortable sensations. With peptic ulcers, spicy foods are going to cause pain. And with heartburn, spicy foods may cause a bit of discomfort around the chest area.

This discomfort might keep you awake for longer hours, interrupting your sleep time.

If you must have spicy food, keep some space between your bedtime and the time you consume the food.

4. Celery

Celery is such a rich vegetable. It contains virtually everything you need, from vitamins to antioxidants, etc. It can also reduce inflammation.

But here is why it passes as a food that can keep you awake at night: It has diuretic properties. Many consider the meal a natural diuretic.[6]

This means after a meal of celery, you may want to use the bathroom more often. Disruptions in sleep like this will surely impact the quality of your sleep.

5. Foods Containing a Lot of Salt

Salt makes food tastier. A meal without the right amount of salt will make you not want to go on with eating. Similarly, a meal without too much salt will negatively impact your sleep.

An article published by the European Society of Endocrinology agrees that salt impacts the quality of night sleep a person gets. This article discovered that people who eat salt-rich foods before bedtime had more “superficial” sleep and were prone to sleep disturbances. [7]

They either woke up earlier than usual or woke up in the middle of the night to drink water. They woke up feeling less satisfied and wanted to sleep more during the day, as they felt a bit drowsy and sleep-deprived.

The reason this happens is that salt causes water retention, especially when taken in large quantities.

Give some gap between when you take salty foods and when you fall asleep.

I’d add that salt has an impact on blood pressure. It is best you stay away from salty foods if you have any issues with your heart. [8]

An increase in blood volume, which closely follows the intake of large amounts of salt, will put more demand on your heart tissues. Also, stay away from salt if you have underlying kidney issues.

6. Cruciferous Vegetables

Some examples of cruciferous vegetables include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts . These vegetables are essential for your body and must include veggies in your meals as they add so much to your body.

But the problem is they may reduce your sleep and keep you awake at night because they will have you feeling fuller, just like beans.

The indigestible sugars in cruciferous vegetables can also make you bloat since the body has a bit of a problem breaking them down.[9]

Instead of some late-night vegetables, why don’t you just stick to having vegetables for breakfast or lunch?

7. Beans

Beans are one of the richest edible legumes out there. It is loaded with health benefits as it contains a high amount of protein and just enough fiber.

At the same time, ironically, it can have a negative impact on your sleep.

For many people, eating beans causes “gassing,” a feeling of being fuller than you normally would. You will definitely have problems with sleeping better at night when you feel too full like you have to use the bathroom every three minutes. [10]

Having much gas in your stomach may make you burp more and may also make finding a comfortable sleep position quite stressful. If you must have beans, then try to have beans for lunch. When sleep time nears, then it is time to have only foods that don’t make you gas.

Having foods containing fiber may improve your sleep, especially if you do not have gas problems after eating fiber-rich foods.

8. Dairy Products

This is especially true in people who have lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance, simply put, is an impaired ability to digest lactose. It is caused by a deficiency in the enzyme lactase.

Lactose intolerance presents symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and sometimes diarrhea when people take products rich in lactose. It is best to avoid dairy products or anything containing a high amount of lactose, particularly when it is time to go to bed.

You should also avoid drinking much milk, even if you have lactose intolerance, as it might keep you feeling full for long periods after taking them.

9. Meat (Cured Meats)

When it comes to foods to stay away from at night, cured meats should be top of the list if you have asthma symptoms.

A study has shown that processed meat may worsen asthma symptoms, and since asthma symptoms are worse at night, this spells trouble boldly. [11]

Processed meats are rich in tyramine; this is an amino acid that causes the release of norepinephrine from the body.

Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that prepares the body to act. It is lowest when we are at sleep. So, any substance that increases its concentration during bedtime might significantly disrupt sleep.

10. Foods With a High Glycemic Index

Foods with a high glycemic index, simply put, are foods that increase our blood sugar levels. They can span across various meals, like bread, processed meals, foods rich in processed sugar, etc.

Eating foods that contain a rich amount of processed sugar has been linked, and rightly so, with insomnia. [12] The rise and fall in your sugar levels make your body release hormones that can cause disruptions in your sleep by altering hormone levels in your body.

If you have diabetes, high sugar food can cause you to want to pee more often—that means you will wake up from sleep more, which disrupts sleep quality.

11. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are anti-inflammatory foods that help boost immunity, but just like processed meat, tomatoes contain a large amount of tyramine. [13]

This protein causes your brain to release the neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, making your brain more active than it should be when you are asleep. [14]

12. Water

You may already know about this, but water can hinder your sleep. If you drink a lot of water just before bedtime, you will feel full and urged to use the bathroom. Waking up in between naps can reduce the quality of your sleep.

Final Thoughts

Sleep is a valuable thing that our bodies need, so we should try our best to get as much sleep as possible. If you’re having problems sleeping at night, look at the 12 foods on this list, and you might find the cause.

Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.com via pexels.com

Reference

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6 Collagen-Rich Foods For Healthier Joints And Skin

Collagen is all around us, from our groceries to cosmetics to pills, and even in the unlikeliest places like our cup of coffee. Suddenly, they are touted to be the best thing for your health, especially for your joints and skin.

But what’s the truth about collagen? Is collagen worth your money and health? Should you buy collagen-rich foods without paying attention?

Breakdown of Collagen and Types of Collagen-Rich Foods

Collagen gets its name from the Greek word “kólla,” which means “glue.” Collagen is the most important protein in our body, with the primary role of gluing it together.

The most abundant protein found in our body is, in fact, a family of proteins with a primary fiber-like structural framework of connective tissues.[1]

It is most commonly found in our:[2]

  • Skin
  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Bones
  • Ligaments
  • Cartilage
  • Blood vessels
  • Intestines

There are several types of collagen, categorized by their amino acid composition.

The most common type of collagen is Type 1, mostly found in the skin, tendons, internal organs, and organic parts of the bone.[3]

The vast majority of the remaining collagen in the body is categorized either as Type 2 collagen, which is found in the cartilage[4], and Type 3 collagen, which is found in the bones and lymphoid tissues.[5]

How Is Collagen Linked to Joint and Skin Health?

Collagen is the building block of your body and supports joint health. It helps maintain healthy cartilage and tendons to keep your joints moving smoothly, absorb shocks, and reduces the risk of injuries. It can also help reduce joint pains and aches.

We often mention collagen in skin care, especially aging. Collagen makes up most of your skin’s weight.[6] It renders youthfulness to your skin as it maintains your skin’s structure, suppleness, texture, and resilience.

When Should You Be Concerned About Collagen?

The collagen production in your body decreases with aging. The collagen levels start dipping as you get older and can further be accelerated because of other factors, such as poor diet, lifestyle, genetics, and excess sun exposure.[7]

Also, each year after you hit 30, your body not only loses collagen but also its ability to produce high-quality collagen.

So, now, the collagen in your body goes from a tightly organized network of fibers to a disheveled maze. Environmental exposures can damage collagen fibers, reducing their thickness and strength, leading to wrinkles on the skin’s surface.

Collagen comprises nearly 60% of the cartilage, which surrounds your bones and protects them from the shock of high-impact movements.[8]

A deficiency in collagen could lead to a loss of cartilage and joint problems. Some signs include:[9]

  • Wrinkled and crepey skin
  • Stiffer, less flexible tendons and ligaments
  • Shrinking and weakening muscles
  • Injuries, joint pain, and even osteoarthritis
  • Gastrointestinal problems because of the digestive tract lining in your digestive tract

How to Increase Collagen in Your Body

Your body combines amino acids and the nutrients you get from food to produce collagen. So, if your body doesn’t have the necessary elements, it cannot produce enough collagen. Also, with age, your body may not absorb and synthesize nutrients as efficiently as before.

So, the primary reasons there could be a collagen deficiency are poor diet, lifestyle, and aging.

While aging is a natural process of life, you can take control of your collagen intake.

There are two ways to increase your collagen levels. First, by improving your diet, and second, by dietary supplements.

When you increase your collagen intake, be it via food or supplements, the extra protein accumulates in the cartilage between your joints.

What’s even more interesting and beneficial is the fact that your collagen intake can stimulate your body to create more collagen naturally. The result is that you can have better mobility and flexibility and lesser pain and inflammation.

However, please note that your collagen intake cannot magically repair or regrow damaged cartilage or joints or even reverse its natural depletion because of aging. It can only stimulate new collagen production in your body.

The Truth About Collagen Supplements

Despite its abundance in our bodies, collagen has become a top-selling supplement purported to boost our joint and skin health.

There are many things you should know about collagen supplements before purchasing.

First is that most collagen supplements—known as “Hydrolyzed collagen” or “Collagen peptide,” usually available as powders, pills, and in certain foods—are sourced from animal parts, such as eggs, fish scales, bovine bones, and skin.

If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or allergic to eggs or fish, rethink your purchase decision.

Hydrolyzed collagen is broken down forms of collagen, and it dissolves easily in your food and beverages.[10] These supplements contain amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and can also have additional nutrients that are beneficial for skin and joint health.

However, the challenging part about “Hydrolyzed collagen” ​​is that you can never tell which type of collagen is in the commercially available collagen powders. So, you can’t identify the right collagen supplement that will help improve your joint and skin health unless it’s specifically mentioned.

Another myth is that the ingested collagen supplements will go directly to improve your joints and skin. Instead, the collagen is broken down into its building blocks during digestion as it is not built to survive the pH changes in the gut.

Collagen products are also advertised as a miracle cure for several skin problems. Collagen is not naturally found on your skin’s outer layers, but in the deeper layers.[11]

Collagen fibers from topical skin creams are too big to sink in through the skin’s outer layers. Even shorter collagen chains such as peptides cannot permeate through the skin’s outer layers, which makes the tall claims of collagen products being a skin wonder cure unbelievable.

Skin creams with synthetic collagen might work as it forms a film-like layer on your skin to reduce water loss as a protective skin barrier.[12] However, it’s still no comparison to healthy eating with collagen-rich foods and using sunscreen for great skin health.

As per a comprehensive meta-analysis comprising 19 studies published in the International Journal of Dermatology, hydrolyzed collagen supplementation stimulates fibroblasts or the collagen-producing cells and can improve skin hydration and elasticity and reduce wrinkles.[13]

Other studies have shown how collagen supplements can improve joint mobility and decrease joint pain, stiffness, swelling, tenderness, and even osteoarthritis.

But there’s a catch about the research on collagen supplements. Most, if not all, research studies on collagen supplements to date have been fully or partially funded by related industries that could profit from them.[14]

Another fact is that a regulatory body like the U.S. Food & Drug Administration cannot approve collagen supplements like all other supplements.[15] So, you can never be sure of its safety and can only believe what the manufacturer tells you.

Taking a collagen supplement can also prove detrimental to your joint and skin problems in the long run, as it could be an excuse for poor eating, sleep, and lifestyle habits.

Any collagen supplement is not a suitable replacement for wholesome protein from high-quality, healthy food. If you’re already on a healthy and well-balanced diet, you don’t need supplements in the first place as your body will make sufficient collagen naturally.

Top Collagen-Rich Foods for Your Joint and Skin Health

Fortunately, collagen is freely available in many of our daily foods.

Many high-protein foods contain amino acids like glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline that aid collagen production.[16] Your body also requires nutrients such as zinc, vitamin C, and copper to produce collagen.[17]

Here are the top collagen-rich foods that you can include in your diet to get high-quality collagen for strong joints and a glowing and healthy skin.

1. Animal Sources

Collagen is found mostly in animal proteins, especially in meat and fish that contain connective tissue.[18] For example, we find them in tough cuts of meat or the skin and bones of fish.[19]

Meats such as beef are high in zinc, an essential element for collagen production. Beef, contains glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, the three types of amino acids that constitute collagen.

There’s a good reason why chicken forms the main constituent of several collagen supplements.[20] Chicken, especially the neck and cartilage parts, is a great source of collagen. As per a study in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, the neck and cartilage parts of the chicken can help treat arthritis.[21]

The meat of the fish contains less collagen in comparison to the other meats. But here’s the catch: Fish and shellfish have ligaments and bones rich in collagen.

What makes fish and shellfish preferable is that fish collagen is absorbed 1.5x times more efficiently than other collagen sources of meat like pork and beef.

Ironically, the fish parts such as the scales, skin, eyeballs, and head, which are the highest in collagen, are less consumed.[22] So, make sure to include these fish parts in your diet.

Speaking of seafood, oysters are another great addition to your diet as it’s rich in copper which aids in creating collagen.

Collagen is naturally found in animal bones. Animal bones are a natural source of gelatin, which comes packed with collagen. This explains why one of the best and most popular collagen-boosting foods is bone broth.

While the egg yolks contain collagen, the egg whites contain high amounts of proline, the amino acid that is vital for collagen production.[23] Have them whichever way you prefer—boiled, poached, fried, scrambled, or omelet.

Dairy products contain many nutrients that help boost collagen production.[24]

Here is a list of animal source collagen boosting foods:

  • Eggs
  • Ribeye steak
  • Pot roast
  • Chuck steak
  • Chicken wings
  • Bone broth
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Oysters
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese

However, we usually do not recommend a high intake of animal products as part of a long-term healthy and environmentally sustainable diet.[25][26] So, please consume in moderation, keeping in mind the above factors.

2. Vegetables

Consume more leafy greens as they are rich in vitamin C and chlorophyll, which are great for antioxidant properties and collagen production.[27] You can also include bell peppers as part of your healthy diet.

Bell peppers contain antioxidants, amino acids, vitamin C, and other minerals that boost collagen production. They also contain capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that helps reduce the signs of aging.

Among the bell peppers, the red variety is the most beneficial because of its high Vitamin C content, which helps regulate the synthesis of collagen. It also contains Vitamin A, which helps boost your skin and joint health.[28]

Broccoli is another vegetable that you can include in your diet as it is rich in Vitamin C and contains some amounts of zinc and copper, which aid in collagen production.

Here are some suggested vegetables that can help aid collagen production:

  • Spinach
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Collard
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Bell peppers
  • Green peas
  • Broccoli

3. Fruits

Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that play a major role in collagen production. Vitamin C helps in linking the amino acids during the production of collagen production. That’s why getting your Vitamin C is crucial. It also helps you achieve a glowing skin as it flushes out toxins and fights skin inflammation.

Apart from being known for their antioxidant properties that are good for your skin, berries are another excellent source of vitamin C. In fact, strawberries contain more vitamin C than oranges.[29]

Tropical fruits are also rich in vitamin C, copper, and zinc which boost collagen production.

Tomatoes including sun-dried and grape are high in vitamin C, which boosts collagen production, and also contains lycopene, an antioxidant that’s great for your skin health.

Here are some collagen-rich fruits that you can include as part of your healthy diet:

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Clementine
  • Mango
  • Banana
  • Guava
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberry
  • Blueberry
  • Blackberry
  • Tomatoes

4. Legumes and Beans

Legumes and beans are high-protein foods containing amino acids that aid collagen production. They also contain Genistein, a collagen-promoting isoflavone.[30]

Legumes and beans contain several minerals and nutrients like zinc, copper, and vitamin C, which are great for skin health. Some legumes and beans that boost collagen production naturally are:

  • Soybeans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Fava beans
  • Kudzu

5. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are excellent collagen-rich foods. They provide the essential amino acids for collagen that our bodies cannot produce on their own.

There are many different ways to incorporate them into your diet. You can eat them as quick snacks. You can try adding one of these foods to your next meal. Think soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, stir-fries, smoothies, and more.

Here are some nuts and seeds-based collagen-boosting foods for you:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Plant-based milk, such as soy and almond milk

6. Whole Grains

Whole grains are protein-rich foods. They contain several collagen-building nutrients including zinc and copper. The protein and nutrients aid in the amino acid-to-collagen transformation.

It is generally recommended to switch over from refined grains to whole grains for more wholesome nutrition because refined grains are stripped of several essential nutrients for our body during processing.[31]

Here are my recommended collagen-boosting whole-grain foods:

  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Whole Wheat

However, apart from including the above foods, you also need to watch your sugar and water intake particularly.[32]

Sugar is collagen’s foe. Two of the most common types of sugar, glucose and fructose, link the amino acids in collagen and elastin to create harmful compounds called AGEs (Advanced glycation end) products.[33] AGEs are known to damage collagen and cause inflammation.

Water is collagen’s friend. Researchers have shown that water is an integral part of collagen binding tightly to its helical shape.[34] In its natural state, water accounts for 60% of collagen by weight. So, make sure to drink plenty of water every day.

Final Thoughts

For the production of high-quality collagen, have a balanced diet comprising whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meat, seafood, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

You can make the foods listed above part of your daily diet to help promote collagen production in your body.

Since we’re yet to have non-industry-funded research on collagen supplements, it’s best to consult your doctor if you choose to take that route. However, we suggest consulting your doctor on the best diet and lifestyle plan to help boost your collagen production naturally.

Featured photo credit: MART PRODUCTION via pexels.com

Reference

[1] University College London: Collagen family of proteins
[2] Harvard School of Public Health: Collagen
[3] Healthline: Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements
[4] PubMed Central: Undenatured Type II Collagen (UC-II) in Joint Health and Disease: A Review on the Current Knowledge of Companion Animals
[5] Healthline: Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements
[6] PubMed Central: COLLAGEN STRUCTURE AND STABILITY
[7] Harvard School of Public Health: Collagen
[8] PubMed Central: The Basic Science of Articular Cartilage
[9] Cleveland Clinic: The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen
[10] PubMed Central: Hydrolyzed Collagen—Sources and Applications
[11] Harvard School of Public Health: Collagen
[12] Cleveland Clinic: The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen
[13] PubMed.gov: Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis
[14] Harvard School of Public Health: Collagen
[15] US Food and Drug Administration: FDA 101: Dietary Supplements
[16] PubMed.gov: Roles of dietary glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline in collagen synthesis and animal growth
[17] National Institutes of Health: Vitamin C
[18] Harvard School of Public Health: Collagen
[19] PubMed Central: Skin, bone and muscle collagen extraction from the trash fish, leather jacket (Odonus niger) and their characterization
[20] Healthline: 13 Foods That Help Your Body Produce Collagen
[21] PubMed Central: Ingestion of BioCell Collagen®, a novel hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract; enhanced blood microcirculation and reduced facial aging signs
[22] Scientific Research: A Novel Enzymatic Method for Preparation and Characterization of Collagen Film from Swim Bladder of Fish Rohu (Labeo rohita)
[23] PubMed Central: Effects of Egg White Protein Supplementation on Muscle Strength and Serum Free Amino Acid Concentrations
[24] Cleveland Clinic: The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen
[25] Harvard School of Public Health: Strategies to reduce red meat and elevate your plate
[26] Harvard School of Public Health: Plate and the Planet
[27] Healthline: What Is Collagen, and What Is It Good For?
[28] PubMed Central: Vitamin Variation in Capsicum Spp. Provides Opportunities to Improve Nutritional Value of Human Diets
[29] Healthline: 13 Foods That Help Your Body Produce Collagen
[30] PubMed Central: Dietary Management of Skin Health: The Role of Genistein
[31] Harvard School of Public Health: Whole Grains
[32] Healthline: 13 Foods That Help Your Body Produce Collagen
[33] PubMed.gov: Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation
[34] Max-Planck-Gesellschaft: Collagen: powerful workout with water

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