10 Benefits of Dates: From Improving Bone Health to Promoting Beautiful Skin

From the time it was discovered, which was thousands of years ago, dates were known to have healing powers. And while science has proved that for sure, we love to eat them mostly because of how delicious these dark fruits are. According to history, date palmis known to have come from what is now Iraq, however Egyptians were known to have made wine with dates a lot earlier as well.
Thanks to trade, dates traveled to southwest Asia, Spain, northern Africa, and were later also taken to Mexico and California. Today it continues to be one of the most important ingredients in Middle Eastern cuisine. While there are at least 30 kinds of dates that are found around the world, they pretty much fall under three broad types – soft, semi-dry, and dry, and the differentiation is made according to the glucose, sucrose, and fructose content. One of the most coveted dates incidentally are found at The Gaza Strip, as their produce is known to be exceptionally red, and sweet. Some of the other popular varietals are the Zaghloul, found exclusively in Egypt. It has a dark red skin, is longish in structure, and crunchy in texture. It’s also quite high on the sweetness scale. The Sukkary from Saudi Arabia is one of the most expensive kinds of dates. It has a dark brown skin, a soft flesh, and uniquely sweet. And then there’s the Khadrawy, a soft and dark date that’s also quite popular among the Arabs. And this is just the beginning; it’s said that Iraq has more than 100 kinds of dates available!
Cuisines across the world use dates in small and large quantities, but it’s also important to note that the fruit of the date palm tree also comes with a lot of healthbenefits. The umpteen health benefits of dates has made the delicious fruit of the most sought after foods ij the world of health and nutrition. Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, energy, sugar, and fiber. It also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

Benefits of dates: Contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc

Health benefits of dates: Here are only a few of the reasons why you should eat dates regularly:

1. Lowers cholesterol

Did you know that dates are free from cholesterol, and contain very little fat? Including them in smaller quantities in your daily diet can help you keep a check on cholesterol level, and even assist in weight loss. So start loading up on dates today.

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Dates are free from cholesterol, and contain very little fat

2. Protein rich

Looking to load up on proteins. Adding some dates in your diet may help. Dates are a strong source for proteins that help us in staying fit, and even keep our muscles strong. A lot of regular gym goers are asked to eat a couple of dates every day as part of their daily routine.

3. Rich in vitamins

Dates contain vitamins such as B1, B2, B3 and B5, as well as A1 and C. If you have a few dates every day, you won’t have to take vitamin supplements. Not only will it keep you healthy, there will be a noticeable change in your energy levels as well because dates contain natural sugars such as glucose, sucrose, and fructose, too. So it works really well as a quick snack.

Health benefits of dates: Dates contain vitamins such as B1, B2, B3 and B5, as well as A1 and C

4. Improves bone health

Dates could do wonders for your bone health too. Yes, you heard us. Dates are rich in selenium, manganese, copper, and magnesium, and all of these are required when it comes to keeping our bones healthy, and preventing conditions such as osteoporosis.

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Dates could do wonders for your bone health too

5. Strengthens the nervous system

Date are loaded with potassium, and yet contain little sodium, and that goes a long way in keeping your nervous system in order. The potassium helps to reduce cholesterol, and keeps the risk of a stroke in check.

6. Rich in iron

Apart from the fluorine that keeps your teeth healthy, dates also contain iron, which is highly recommended for those who suffer from iron deficiency. Severe iron-deficiency anemia may cause fatigue or tiredness, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Plus it’s great for blood purification as well.

7. Promotes digestion

If you soak a few dates in water and chew on them daily, your digestive system will behave itself very well. Due to it’s high fibre content it is also recommended for those who have trouble with constipation.

Dates have high fibre content

8. Improves skin

The vitamins C and D works on your skin’s elasticity, and also keeps your skin smooth. Plus, if you suffer from skin problems, incorporating dates into your diet might help you in the long run. Plus dates also come with anti-ageing benefits, and prevent the accumulation of melanin in your body.

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Dates have decent amount of vitamin C, one of the most skin friendly antioxidants

9. Fixes hangovers

While we haven’t exactly tried it out, but it’s said that dates are an excellent way to control inebriation. And similarly, it also helps to cure hangovers. But for best results, you have to rub the skin a bit, and soak it in water overnight and then eat it.

10. Assists in weight gain

The sugar, proteins, and other vitamins in the fruit help in weight gain, especially when you need it. Incidentally, it’s said that when eaten with cucumber, dates help to keep your weight at a normal level. Now that’s what we call flexibility!

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The sugar, proteins, and other vitamins in dates help in weight gain

Cooking with Dates

Dates are best eaten by themselves. The sweet fruit makes for an excellent breakfastsnack, or in cereals and porridges. Plenty of people have even switched to date syrup instead of refined sugar. Jaggery made from date palm tastes delicious with black coffee, and dried dates can be added to cakes, bread, and other dishes. Keep a box of seeded or seedless dates in your refrigerator, and make sure to have a few every day. It will also prevent you from overeating.

5 Essential Tips To Reduce Climate Change

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It’s not up to governments alone —there’s plenty you can do to help fight climate change on a day-to-day basis. It’s our responsibility to future generations, to nature, and to ourselves to take these steps as soon as possible (if you haven’t already).

If you think climate change won’t affect you directly, you’re wrong. Maybe you won’t get to see an extinction-level event in your lifetime (your grandchildren might, though, and they’ll blame you), but you will start seeing more and more problems and your own quality of life could be dramatically reduced over the next few decades. Already we’re seeing record-high temperatures around the world, the ice caps are melting, and fresh water outflow in the oceans (which have a very delicate balance of salt and fresh water) is starting to change the currents. We’ll start experiencing more and more disasters as climate change progresses, and as reported by The New York Times, the situation is more dire than we had previously estimated. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change indicates that we might start seeing dramatic changes to our way of life and a devastating blow to the economy by 2040, much sooner than scientists had thought.

Governments need to step up their game, and we can all put pressure on them to do so. Furthermore, if you’re wondering what you can do on an individual level, here are five things you can do in your everyday life. Keep in mind we’re consuming more resources than the earth is able to generate. This is what unsustainability is all about, and it means future generations will be in a lot of trouble. Even if climate change weren’t a problem —which it most assuredly is—, sustainability is still an issue, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t implement these five changes.

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1) Be energy-efficient

This means reducing your overall use of electricity. Whenever you do use energy, do it sensibly. Specifically, you should switch off lights when not in use, buy energy-efficient light bulbs, unplug electronics when you don’t need them. When possible, wash clothes in cold water and dry them naturally —and when not possible, turn on the washing machine only when the load is full. Finally, take shorter showers (and perhaps you should also consider showering fewer times a week to let your natural oils do their job). And remember, implementing these changes has the added advantage of saving money!

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2) Use renewable energy and avoid fossil fuels

Burning fossil fuels is the leading source of greenhouse emissions, and unfortunately, most of the energy we use today is obtained through this harmful process. Not only that: it also causes urban pollution, which affects our health in all kinds of ways, including an alarming reduction in IQ. So, it’s only sensible to start moving away from fossil-based energy and into renewables instead. Use a bike, walk, or try to carpool to reduce the amount of cars on the streets. If possible, install solar panels in your home. Try to fly less often too —traveling is great, sure, but don’t do it at the planet’s expense!

You should also consider investing in renewable energy in order to promote companies to shift more and more towards this path. Look for environmentally friendly suppliers, and support sustainable technologies whenever you can.

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3) Reduce consumption

The most effective way to reduce the amount of waste in our planet is to simply stop generating waste in the first place. So, buy just what you need. Don’t waste food and compost your kitchen. Ideally, you should grow your own vegetables, but if not, try at least to buy packaging-free products. Also, get in the habit of making the most of what you’ve got: take care of your clothes, make them last, and mend them whenever you need. In short, buy as little as you can. Consider that the more products of any kind you buy, the more waste there will be. If you’re skeptical about the damage you can cause, just multiply your habits by 7 billion and you’ll get an idea of what’s actually happening in our over-populated world.

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4) Be careful about what you throw away

We already suggested buying less. Now, whatever you do buy, make sure you are aware of how to dispose of it. If you buy packaging, check it’s biodegradable. Recycle as much as you can —separate your garbage, reuse materials, and throw away as little as possible. Also, avoid throwing plastic away by minimizing its consumption, since recycling it might not actually be a solution. As urged by Scientific American, eventually we must simply stop using plastic altogether.

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5) Mind what you eat

The meat industry is responsible for most of the human-induced animal suffering in the world and for much of the greenhouse emissions today. Regardless of whether we’re carnivores or not, we should all strive to eat as less meat as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to go vegan or vegetarian. It simply means you should take greater care of where you obtain your meat, and try not to eat it daily. Support organic farmers, demand responsible suppliers, and let the meat producers know they can’t get away with harming us or other species for profit. Buy local whenever possible, and please don’t waste food!
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Even if you doubt climate change is exacerbated by humans (which you shouldn’t, since the evidence for this is overwhelming), living sustainably will still yield nothing but good results. Simply put, there’s no good reason not to do it. Whatever your political or economical leanings, it’s time we changed our ways to more reasonable and sensible habits of consumption. If not for other species, if not for future generations, then do it for you and your own health.

Easy & Delicious Halloween Party Food Ideas for Your Big Bash

Banana Mummy Pups

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INGREDIENTS
4 bananas
1 lb. white chocolate
4 oz. white chocolate
16 mini m&m’s
4 oz. milk chocolate chips
8 Lollipop sticks
DIRECTIONS
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Skewer each banana half with a lollipop stick and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
  2. In a large microwave-safe measuring cup, melt 1 pound white chocolate in the microwave according to package directions. One at a time, dip the bananas into the chocolate to coat, shaking off any excess. Return to the baking sheet and immediately place two M&M candies near the top for eyes.
  3. Melt the remaining white chocolate in the microwave according to package directions and fill a small piping bag fitted with a small, round nozzle tip. Pipe zigzags over the banana to form bandages. Repeat this step with the milk chocolate, if using. Chill or freeze until ready to serve.

Candy Corn Fudge

INGREDIENTS
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
2 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 c. white chocolate chips (about 18 oz)
2 c. mini pretzels or broken pretzel pieces
1 c. dried cherries
1 c. candy corn
DIRECTIONS
  1. Line an 8- or 9-in. square pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes; beat in the vanilla.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave according to package directions.
  4. Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold in the pretzels and cherries. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and top with the candy corn. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  5. Using the overhangs, transfer the fudge to a cutting board and cut into 1-in. pieces. Serve in mini cupcake liners, if desired.

Coffin Cake

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INGREDIENTS
Oil, for the pans
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 c. sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. buttermilk
FOR THE FROSTING
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 candy eyeballs for serving
DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil two 8œ x 4œ-in. loaf pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper, leaving at least 1 in. of overhang on the two long sides.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. In a second large bowl, beat together sugar, butter, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk and mixing in between addition to combine.
  4. Divide mixture between the prepared loaf pans and bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 65 to 70 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before using the parchment overhangs to remove cakes to a rack to cool completely.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl on low speed until smooth. Add sugar, beating until just combined. Add heavy cream and vanilla and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Spread a thin layer of frosting (about Πcup) over the top of each cake. Transfer remaining frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large flat tip, then pipe lines back and forth on a diagonal to create mummy bandages. Place two candy eyeballs at one end of each cake.

Bite-Size Eyeballs

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INGREDIENTS
1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted butter
Kosher salt and pepper
1 c. all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
4 oz. GuryÚre cheese, coarsely grated
Cream cheese, Persian cucumbers, and pimiento-stuffed olives, for decorating
Sriacha or ketchup, for decorating
DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place butter, 1 cup water, and œ tsp salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add flour and stir vigorously until mixture comes together and looks smooth and shiny, about 1 minute. Continue stirring for 1 minute, then transfer mixture to a large bowl and let sit until no longer hot to the touch, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat, using a wooden spoon, until mixture comes back together and is smooth. Add Πtsp pepper and cheese.
  4. Using a 1-Tbsp cookie scoop, drop small balls 2 in. apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking until light golden brown and set, 12 to 17 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make eyeballs, use cream cheese as glue to place slices of cucumber and olives on top of each puff. Squeeze sriracha or ketchup into lines around the sides.

(Halloween)5 of the Best Horror Movies to Stream Right Now

It’s nearly Halloween season and now is the time to get your scary movie binge-watching lists in order. Watching Hocus Pocus during Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween and Halloweentown 1-3 on Disney Channel a bajillion times is all well and good, but it’s nice to branch out and watch some other horror gems this holiday season.

1. The Babysitter

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movie talk about a boy who learns his attractive babysitter is part of a satanic cult that’s plotting to kill him.

2. The Conjuring

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This film focus on a poltergeist case from the files of real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

3. Let Me In

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A bullied, lonely boy befriends his new neighbor, only to learn she’s actually a vampire. 13 Reasons Why star Dylan Minnette stars as the ringleader of the bullies.

4. The Strangers

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A couple is stalked by three unknown assailants wearing super freaky masks in a remote cabin. The ending will leave you gutted (and making sure all your doors and windows are locked up tightly)!

5. The Lost Boys

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This 1980s masterpiece is perfect for fans of Strangers Things — or just fans of classic horror movies in general. When two brothers move to a new town, they accidentally discover a nest of vicious vampires and must fight to survive.

Inspiring Motivational Quotes for Being Happier

When things look dark, we can all use a simple reminder of what is truly important. We can all use a small burst of inspiration.

Tweet them. Share them.

But most important, pick one you like best and place it where you’ll see it every day… and let it help make your day a little brighter.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” James Dean
“Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.” Frank Tyger
“Be happy with what you have. Be excited about what you want.” Alan Cohen
“Life is a journey, and if you fall in love with the journey, you will be in love forever.” Peter Hagerty
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” David Allen
“We forge the chains we wear in life.” Charles Dickens
“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” Lao Tzu
“Everything is a gift of the universe–even joy, anger, jealously, frustration, or separateness. Everything is perfect either for our growth or our enjoyment.” Ken Keyes Jr.
“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.” Richard Bach
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” Andrew Carnegie
“Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.” Chinese Proverb
“For me it is sufficient to have a corner by my hearth, a book, and a friend, and a nap undisturbed by creditors or grief.” Fernandez de Andrada
“You cannot judge what should bring others joy, and others cannot judge what should bring you joy.” Alan Cohen
“The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than growing with them.” Bernard M. Baruch
“Our capacity to draw happiness from aesthetic objects or material goods in fact seems critically dependent on our first satisfying a more important range of emotional or psychological needs, among them the need for understanding, for love, expression and respect.” Alain De Botton
“If you start to think the problem is ‘out there,’ stop yourself. That thought is the problem.” Stephen Covey
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” Denis Waitley
“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” Margaret Lee Runbeck
“Security is when everything is settled, when nothing can happen to you; security is the denial of life.” Germaine Greer
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Greg Anderson
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, then there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” Anne FrankInspiring Motivational Quotes for Being Happier

8 Self-Love Strategies To Lower Your Stress Levels Naturally

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De-stress, pamper and support your body through daily stresses with these holistic self-love strategies to have you feeling incredible in no time.

1. Pour Yourself A Cuppa

But not just any cup of tea
 Choose a calming chamomile! This soothing herbal brew has been used for centuries to create calm, settle an anxious tummy and reduce nervous tension. Chamomile naturally contains chemicals that interact with the same receptors in the brain that are affected by valium.

If you’re looking for a more sedating benefit, a herbal brew containing valerian, passionflower, and hops can further help you relax and access better sleep. (A kind word of warning here – never combine herbal supplements or teas with sedating drugs. Passionflower is also not recommended for use of longer than one month.)

2. Turn Up The Heat 
 In A Relaxing Way

Warmth relaxes muscle tension and can lower anxiety naturally. It is believed that heat may impact the neural circuitry that influences mood and increase our levels of the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter called serotonin. Plus, being warm can just feel downright comforting.

You don’t need to live in the desert to feel this benefit. There are many alternative ways to de-stress with heat! You may enjoy a hot tea, sauna, exercise, spa, an enticing patch of sunlight, a cozy fireplace, a comforting hot water bottle or a warm bath filled with relaxing essential oils. If it’s warm and feels good, chances are it’s helping you to de-stress!

3. Tap Into Acupressure

Ancient people have practiced acupuncture for centuries and documented its benefits. Today, we can still access its powerful benefits! It is believed that two acupuncture points located between the skull and neck may be especially helpful for reducing stress and tension headaches. The trial this simple exercise to release stress in just a few minutes:

  1. Position thumbs at the top of your neck, just below the junction where your neck meets the skull.
  2. Apply firm but gentle pressure.
  3. As you press, inhale deeply and slowly at least three times.
  4. Float hands into your lap.
  5. Slowly drop your chin into your chest.
  6. Take another deep, peaceful breath and smile!

4. Enjoy Some Stress-Busting Superfoods & Stabilize Your Blood Sugars

Food affects our very brain chemistry and therefore impacts our mood. We can, therefore, make dietary choices to support our stress.

To start with, most people get more cranky, irritable and stressed when they feel hungry! Therefore, include low Glycaemic Index (GI) carbohydrates at each meal to regulates your blood sugar levels and maintain good energy levels. There are also a few extra foods you could include for some extra benefits:

Almonds: A good source of protein to help you feel full and focussed, almonds also offer B Vitamins, Vitamin E, Zinc, Magnesium and healthy fats that help to maintain brain function and regulate mood.
Blueberries: Offering Vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium and manganese to support a stressed brain, these beautiful berries are lower in sugar and won’t disrupt your blood sugar levels.
A small piece of dark chocolate: Rich in magnesium and trace minerals to support stress and fatigue, dark chocolate contains compounds that boost mood and feel-good brain chemicals! (Just stick to a small quantity, as the natural caffeine content may also stimulate anxiety.)
Omega-3 Fats: These natural fatty acids are absolutely integral to brain function and may help to lower anxiety. Natural sources include salmon and oily fish, flaxseeds/linseeds and walnuts.

5. Get Outdoors

In a phenomenon known as ‘biophilia’, humans are naturally programmed to feel peaceful in nature. Plants and natural scenery have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. Therefore, a regular dose of the great outdoors is good news for our mental health!

You don’t need to become a keen hiker to get your natural nature high. Simply grounding your feet in a space of natural earth is a great start. Perhaps you can step outside for five minutes during your daily lunch break and lift your face to the sun. You may also like to start a small garden or regularly buy yourself a bunch of flowers. Anything that makes you feel more connected to the world outside is likely to lower your stress.

6. Move Your Beautiful Body

Exercise is a natural antidote to stress and anxiety. Raising your heart rate instantly increases blood circulation, oxygenates your brain and gets those feel-good endorphins pumping! Furthermore, exercise engages your brain into focusing on each movement; this diverts our thoughts away from a stressful space and into the present moment.

Aim for at least thirty minutes of movement each day, in a modality that preferably makes you huff and puff a little (providing it is safe within your current health to do so). Aerobic exercise makes us produce higher levels of norepinephrine – the super stress-busting brain chemical! Try also to choose something that you enjoy and can actually look forward to. (And if you haven’t already, please try yoga – it’s the ultimately mind-body healing form of exercise.)

7. Discover Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to support the body both mentally and physically. In modern times, essential oils are particularly powerful for reducing stress. This is because the sense of smell bypasses the cognitive brain which processes worry.

Lavender is particularly renowned for its relaxing qualities and is an ‘emotional anti-inflammatory’. Massage a little into your temples or burn some in an oil diffuser to instantly unwind. Look for the pure variety that is derived from plants, not the artificial fragrances that are often chemically produced.

8. Pamper Yourself At Home

Daily rituals of self-kindness and small pleasures can go a long way towards cultivating inner peace. So often we make time to go above and beyond to help others out but fail to recognize -or make- small windows in our schedules to give some TLC for ourselves.

Whilst pampering may make you think of spas and health retreats (which are great if you can afford to do so!), there are other simple, inexpensive opportunities to pamper yourself with self-kindness. You may like to try:
Giving your face a mini-massage in the shower – it increases blood flow to the brain, is wonderful
for your skin health and feels simply divine.

Saying a few positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror as you prepare for your day.
Creating a simple, luxurious body scrub using coarse sea salt and coconut oil. Alternatively, use leftover coffee grounds as an invigorating scrub to wake you up and feel refreshed for the day.

Soaking your feet in a bucket filled with warm water, Epsom salts and a few drops of peppermint oil.
Buffing your nails – it’s natural, lasts longer than nail polish and showcases a part of your body that is visible all day long!

Even if you choose to do one of the above regularly, you’ll notice an incredible reducing in your stress levels. So this year, make it your year to give yourself some extra love and TLC – your body will thank you in so many ways.

10 Foods You Should Never Keep In The Fridge

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Often we believe that keeping our food in the fridge is the best way to maintain freshness and longevity. While this is the case for many day-to-day food items, there are several common foods that are far better left out of the refrigerator, both for taste and nutritional value. Cold temperatures can actually accelerate the decomposition process in some foods and cause them to lose their original flavor and vital enzymes. Keeping these items in the fridge won’t cause any serious harm, yet being aware of the most beneficial ways to store your food will help to prosper your own health, as well as help to lower food waste. We are all globally responsible for 4 billion tons worth of food wastage per year. So taking small precautionary measures to understand food storage can have a bigger impact than simply having great tasting tomatoes on hand!

Here are the top ten items that are best left out of your refrigerator.

1. Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes or Yams

Keeping potatoes in cold temperatures can turn the starch into sugar, which will affect their texture and also cause them to taste sweet once cooked. More importantly, The Food Standards Agency explains that when cooked, these sugars combine with the amino acid asparagine present in the potatoes and produce the cacogenic chemical acrylamide. Potatoes need to be stored somewhere cool and dry in paper or canvas bags. Keep them unwashed and well-ventilated; if you wash potatoes before storing them, the moisture can spark decay. It’s also important to keep your potatoes separated from onions as potatoes give off gas and moisture that can make onions decay.

2. Tomatoes

Cold air prevents tomatoes from ripening and ruins the tomatoes’ taste and consistency. Tomatoes love the heat and dislike the cold, and even once they have been harvested, they still hold their aversion to cold climates. According to Mercola, placing tomatoes in the fridge changes their chemical structure and reduces the amount of volatile compounds in the fruit, which affects their flavor. Stored in temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius breaks the membranes inside the tomato walls, which means you end up with a soft fruit with a mealy texture.  They may still be good for cooking, but not the best for eating fresh.
Store tomatoes on the counter at room temperature out of direct sunlight and enjoy when they are ripe.

3. Tropical Fruits

Fruits like bananas, mangoes, pineapples, and papayas are very sensitive to the cold. Low temperatures weaken their tissue and cancel out the enzymes that allow them to mature, causing them damage on their surface, and a loss of flavor. Instead, these fruits can be kept on the counter until they ripen where they will retain the most nutrients, says the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. When it comes to bananas, placing green bananas in the fridge will halt the ripening process and the fruit will remain green for a very long time. Bananas have no natural defence against the cold in their cell walls. These become ruptured by cold temperatures, causing the fruits’ digestive enzymes to leak out of the cells, which is what causes the banana’s skin to turn completely black. Even when you remove green bananas from the fridge, they will not ripen easily. Bananas are always best left at room temperature. Taking a quick look at melons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that melons lost some of their antioxidant (lycopene and beta-carotene) content when refrigerated. Melons are best stored out of the fridge to maintain their nutritional content.

4. Avocado

Avocados don’t start to ripen until after they’re picked from the tree. When you purchase an avocado from the store, it will most likely be hard and solid, and will require a considerable amount of time to ripen properly before being ready to eat. Storing avocados in the fridge will completely stop the ripening process. Store avocados at room temperature until they soften and are ready to eat. If you have a perfectly ripe avocado that you’re not ready to use, storing it in the refrigerator may work to your advantage by prolonging your window of opportunity to use it before it becomes overripe.

5. Olive Oil

It’s best to keep olive oil in a dark, cool place to prevent any changes in flavor and texture. Cold temperatures will condense and harden the oil, giving it the consistency of butter. To keep your olive oil in a state that is easy to use and maintains its full-bodied, fresh flavor, keep it out of the fridge.

6. Honey

The Canadian Beekeepers’ Association says that honey should be kept in a tightly closed container at room temperature in a dry place. Honey’s acidic pH and sugar content keeps any spoiling microorganisms at bay. Refrigeration can cause crystallization, making it hard to pour or spread. Honey will store in your cupboard for an indefinite period of time as honey is a naturally preserved food and will maintain its freshness for decades.

7. Onion

Much like tomatoes, onions tend to become incredibly mushy or moldy if left in the fridge for too long. Onions don’t come out of the ground with their protective papery skin. To develop and keep that dry outer layer, they need to be “cured” and kept in a dry environment. Onions also require good air circulation and are best stored away from potatoes, which, as mentioned above, give off gas that will quickly spoil onions. According to the National Onion Association, the only times onions should be kept in the fridge is if they are bought peeled or pre-cut. Onions that have been cut can be kept in a sealed container for up to seven days in the fridge.

8. Garlic

Storing garlic in the fridge or in plastic bags will cause it to spoil quickly. The best way to store garlic is to keep it at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has ample air circulation and with little light to avoid the bulbs sprouting. Keeping garlic in the fridge will also leave you with rubbery textured cloves. The changes are not visible to the eye due to the garlic skin; it is only when you remove the skin you will be confronted with discoloration or mold. To be safe, keep your bulbs out of the fridge.

9. Basil and Aromatic Herbs

Like tomatoes, basil loves the heat, so extended periods of time in a cold environment like a refrigerator will cause it to wilt prematurely. Basil is best stored on your counter and treated as you would fresh-cut flowers. Fresh herbs also love to absorb smells around them, and when in the fridge, they will quickly lose their beautiful natural aroma and original flavor. You can try wrapping them tightly in newspaper or placing them in an airtight container if they must be in the fridge, yet room temperature is always preferable.

10. Coffee

In its ground or bean form, coffee should never be stored in the fridge. Coffee very readily and eagerly will absorb any smells around it, so if placed in the fridge, the coffee will begin to absorb different aromas and will never return to its original arabica flavor. The instant change of temperature in a fridge also causes moisture to leach out of the coffee, which desaturates the flavor right out of the bean. Ground coffee and beans need airtight containers and a cool, dry and dark space to retain their flavor and freshness.

Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth.

O

ats are among the healthiest grains on earth.

They’re a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits.

These include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Here are 9 evidence-based health benefits of eating oats and oatmeal.What Are Oats and Oatmeal?

Oats are a whole-grain food, known scientifically as Avena sativa.

Oat groats, the most intact and whole form of oats, take a long time to cook. For this reason, most people prefer rolled, crushed or steel-cut oats.

Instant (quick) oats are the most highly processed variety. While they take the shortest time to cook, the texture may be mushy.

Oats are commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal, which is made by boiling oats in water or milk. Oatmeal is often referred to as porridge.

They’re also often included in muffins, granola bars, cookies and other baked goods.
1. Oats Are Incredibly Nutritious

The nutrient composition of oats is well-balanced.

They are a good source of carbs and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan (1, 2, 3).

They also contain more protein and fat than most grains (4).

Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds. Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains (5):

Manganese: 191% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
Copper: 24% of the RDI
Iron: 20% of the RDI
Zinc: 20% of the RDI
Folate: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)

This is coming with 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber, but only 303 calories.

This means that oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.
2. Whole Oats Are Rich in Antioxidants, Including Avenanthramides

Whole oats are high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats (6).

Avenanthramides may help lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide. This gas molecule helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow (7, 8, 9).

In addition, avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects (9).

Ferulic acid is also found in large amounts in oats. This is another antioxidant (10).
3. Oats Contain a Powerful Soluble Fiber Called Beta-Glucan

Oats contain large amounts of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber.

Beta-glucan partially dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like solution in the gut.

The health benefits of beta-glucan fiber include:

Reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels (1)
Reduced blood sugar and insulin response (11)
Increased feeling of fullness (12)
Increased growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract (13)
4. They Can Lower Cholesterol Levels and Protect LDL Cholesterol From Damage

Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. One major risk factor is high blood cholesterol.

Many studies have shown that the beta-glucan fiber in oats is effective at reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels (1, 14).

Beta-glucan may increase the excretion of cholesterol-rich bile, thereby reducing circulating levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Oxidation of LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol, which occurs when LDL reacts with free radicals, is another crucial step in the progression of heart disease.

It produces inflammation in arteries, damages tissues and can raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

One study reports that antioxidants in oats work together with vitamin C to prevent LDL oxidation (15).
5. Oats Can Improve Blood Sugar Control

Type 2 diabetes is a common disease, characterized by significantly elevated blood sugars. It usually results from decreased sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Oats may help lower blood sugar levels, especially in people who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes (16, 17, 18).

They may also improve insulin sensitivity (19).

These effects are mainly attributed to beta-glucan’s ability to form a thick gel that delays emptying of the stomach and absorption of glucose into the blood (20).
6. Oatmeal Is Very Filling and May Help You Lose Weight

Not only is oatmeal (porridge) a delicious breakfast food — it’s also very filling (21).

Eating filling foods may help you eat fewer calories and lose weight.

By delaying the time it takes your stomach to empty of food, the beta-glucan in oatmeal may increase your feeling of fullness (12, 22).

Beta-glucan may also promote the release of peptide YY (PYY), a hormone produced in the gut in response to eating. This satiety hormone has been shown to lead to reduced calorie intake and may decrease your risk of obesity (23, 24).
7. Finely Ground Oats May Help With Skin Care

It’s no coincidence that oats can be found in numerous skin care products. Makers of these products often list finely ground oats as “colloidal oatmeal.”

The FDA approved colloidal oatmeal as a skin-protective substance back in 2003. But in fact, oats have a long history of use in treatment of itch and irritation in various skin conditions (25, 26, 27).

For example, oat-based skin products may improve uncomfortable symptoms of eczema (28).

Note that skin care benefits pertain only to oats applied to the skin, not those that are eaten.
8. They May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in kids (29).

It’s an inflammatory disorder of the airways — the tubes that carry air to and from a person’s lungs.

Although not all children have the same symptoms, many experience recurrent coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Many researchers believe early introduction of solid foods may increase a child’s risk of developing asthma and other allergic diseases (30).

However, studies suggest that this doesn’t apply to all foods. Early introduction of oats, for example, may actually be protective (31, 32).

One study reports that feeding oats to infants before the age of 6 months is linked to a decreased risk of childhood asthma (33)
9. Oats May Help Relieve Constipation

Elderly people often experience constipation, with infrequent, irregular bowel movements that are difficult to pass.

Laxatives are often used to relieve constipation in the elderly. However, while they’re effective, they’re also associated with weight loss and reduced quality of life (34).

Studies indicate that oat bran, the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain, may help relieve constipation in older people (35, 36).

One trial found that well-being improved for 30 elderly patients who consumed a soup or dessert containing oat bran daily for 12 weeks (37).

What’s more, 59% of those patients were able to stop using laxatives after the 3-month study, while overall laxative use increased by 8% in the control group.How to Incorporate Oats Into Your Diet

You can enjoy oats in several ways.

The most popular way is to simply eat oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast.

Here is a very simple way to make oatmeal:

1/2 cup of rolled oats
1 cup (250 ml) of water or milk
A pinch of salt

Combine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the oats, stirring occasionally, until soft.

To make oatmeal tastier and even more nutritious, you can add cinnamon, fruits, nuts, seeds and/or Greek yogurt.

Also, oats are often included in baked goods, muesli, granola and bread.

Although oats are naturally gluten-free, they are sometimes contaminated with gluten. That’s because they may be harvested and processed using the same equipment as other grains that contain gluten (38).

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, choose oat products that are certified as gluten-free.
Oats Are Incredibly Good for You

Oats are an incredibly nutritious food packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

In addition, they’re high in fiber and protein compared to other grains.

Oats contain some unique components — in particular, the soluble fiber beta-glucan and antioxidants called avenanthramides.

Benefits include lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, protection against skin irritation and reduced constipation.

In addition, they are very filling and have many properties that should make them a weight loss friendly food.

At the end of the day, oats are among the healthiest foods you can eat.

Written by Hrefna Palsdottir, MS

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