Facts About Flax Seeds You Might Not Already Know

If you’re trying to improve your health and maintain a healthy diet, you may want to start incorporating flax seeds into your meals. These tiny seeds are said to be great for digestion and vascular health, and they may even help to prevent certain types of cancers. Here are just a few fun facts about flax seeds that you might not know.

  1. Flaxseeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than any other foods in the world. These acids remain stable for up to three hours in the oven, which means that you can bake flaxseeds into breads and muffins without losing the omega-3s.
  2. Flaxseeds have the highest amount of lignans of any other food. Lignans are fiber-related polyphenols that offer benefits similar to antioxidants and fibers, and they are beneficial to all humans.
  3. Flaxseeds provide support to the intestinal tract through their mucilage, or “gum” content. This water-soluble gel improves nutrient absorption into the small intestine.
  4. Flaxseeds are proven to reduce metabolic syndrome. Studies show that people who eat 30 grams of flaxseeds each day had a 20% decrease in metabolic syndrome over a 12-week period.
  5. By eating more flaxseeds, you can improve your cardiovascular system. These powerful seeds help prevent excessive inflammation in the blood vessels, keeping your blood pumping and keeping the body safe from diseases.

Flaxseeds [Vegetarian]
What's New and Beneficial About Flaxseeds [The World’s Healthiest Foods]
Flax for Consumers [Ameriflax]

Feel the Burn With These 6 Low-Impact Workouts

Whether you’re recovering from an injury or simply looking to begin a workout routine from scratch, low-impact workouts are often just as beneficial as more explosive styles. Here are a few low-impact workouts that will take it a bit easier on your body while still showing major results.

  1. Kettlebell swings. Any exercise that burns up to 600 calories in just 30 minutes should be on your list, and that’s just what you’ll get with kettlebell swings.
  2. Swimming. If your gym has an indoor or outdoor pool, try swimming some simple laps to get in a great cardiovascular exercise that burns fat without putting much impact on your body.
  3. Barre classes. This trendy, ballet-inspired workout actually lives up to the hype. Barre’s sequences of pliés, squats, and repetitive arm movements are proven to burn major calories, and they also go easy on your joints.
  4. Cycling. If you love running but simply can’t handle the strain that it puts on your knees and ankles, try cycling instead. The average hour-long class burns between 600 and 750 calories.
  5. Power yoga. While all types of yoga are beneficial to your health, more traditional styles don’t particularly burn a lot of calories. If you’re looking to lose weight, try a power yoga class instead.
  6. Fast-paced walking. Speed up your usual walk to torch calories without going too hard on your joints.

Low-Impact Exercises That Burn Major Calories [SparkPeople]
8 Low-Impact Workouts That Still Burn Major Calories [Shape]
8 Low-Impact Workouts That Torch Calories [Prevention]

Bottoms Up! How to Drink More Water Every Day

Did you know that there's a miracle drink that helps to improve your skin tone, promote weight loss, and even prevent headaches? It’s true—and it’s water! Drinking enough water is very important, and not just to keep dehydration at bay. Here are a few simple ways to drink more water every day.

  1. Invest in a refillable water bottle that you’ll actually want to use. There are a number of different kinds on the market today, and some even contain cages in the middle that you can fill with fresh fruit to make your own all-natural flavored water.
  2. Replace your coffee with an herbal tea. Because teas like chamomile and mint don’t contain caffeine, they won’t detract from your water intake in the way that coffee does.
  3. Replace soda with sparkling water. You’ll still get the same refreshing, bubbly taste without all of the added sugar and calories.
  4. Eat more fruit or drink fresh fruit smoothies. Because fruit is filled with water, you’ll get a double dose of healthy each time you eat it.
  5. Make your own infused ice cubes by filtering fresh herbs and fruit through some water using a strainer or French press, then freeze in your usual ice cube tray. Pop them into your glass of water for an extra kick of flavor.

How to Get More Water in Your Daily Diet [Healthiest Life]
How-To Get More Water Into Your Diet [Skinny Ms.]
Benefits of Water: How to Incorporate More Water into Your Diet [P&G Everyday]

Confused About Cholesterol? Learn More About It

How much cholesterol should a person really consume in a day? Are some types of cholesterol worse than others? There are a number of confusing “facts” floating around about the mysterious topic of cholesterol, and it may seem difficult to decide which ones are true. Here are a few definitive statements that will set the record straight and put you on the right track toward lower cholesterol. (Remember to consult with your doctor for medical advice!)

  1. Women should worry about their cholesterol just as much as men. Although many people think that cholesterol is man’s problem, once women enter menopause it affects them just as much. Menopause causes a woman’s “good” HDL cholesterol levels to decrease and their “bad” LDL levels to increase, which puts them at just as much risk.
  2. Everyone should practice a healthy diet and regular exercise routine to prevent high cholesterol. While being overweight or obese does put you at a much higher risk for high cholesterol, genetics are to blame for many instances of high cholesterol, as well. No matter how thin or physically fit you are, all adults should be concerned with their cholesterol levels.
  3. Whole foods are always better than packaged foods. There are many packaged foods that claim to be low in cholesterol, but they are often filled with other things (such as trans fats) that can also increase your cholesterol levels. Fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are always a better choice.

Common Misconceptions about Cholesterol [American Heart Association]
The Top 5 Cholesterol Myths [Health]
4 Dubious 'Facts' About High Cholesterol [Everyday Health]
Common Misconceptions About Cholesterol, Foods and Fats [Natural Therapy Pages]

Are You Making These Three Face Washing Mistakes?

Lather. Rinse. Dry. It seems so simple, right? But did you know there's actually a wrong and right way to wash your face? The key to getting the most from your skincare routine is to adopt a regimen that's custom tailored to your personal skin type and issues. You can start by avoiding these common face washing mistakes:

1) Washing with dirty hands.
Your hands contain dirt, dead skin cells, germs, and oil that can end up on your face if you don't wash them first. Avoid transferring any gross stuff to your face by first giving your hands a good lathering.

2) Ignoring your skin type.
Your skin type should dictate how you care for your face. There's no "one size fits all" solution to skincare, so don't use products that aren't working for you. For example, if you have sensitive skin, steer clear of perfumed cleansers or lotions. If you're prone to acne, listen to your skin and ditch any products that cause breakouts. Have oily skin? You might need to wash more frequently. Trust your instincts.

3) Washing with water that's too hot.
Because hot water can sap skin of moisture, only tepid water should be used to wash your face. After massaging a coin-sized amount of cleanser into your skin using gentle circular motions, rinse thoroughly with cooler water, which will help close pores. Pat your skin dry using a clean towel, and remember to always be extra gentle around the delicate eye areas.

How To Wash Your Face: 7 Ways To Keep Your Skin Healthy [Huffpost]
How to Wash Your Face Properly [Popsugar]
How to Wash Your Face [Howstuffworks]

How to Fight Insomnia and Get a Better Night’s Sleep

If you spend most nights tossing and turning for hours, you likely spend your days feeling tired, irritable, and unable to concentrate. Insomnia affects more people than you might think, but these proven tips can help you get a good night’s sleep.

  1. Set a schedule. If you often go to bed at very different times, it could be a cause of your insomnia. Try to set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it so that your body gets used to falling asleep at the same time each night.
  2. Give yourself 15 minutes. If you can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes of going to bed, get up and do something else. Lying awake for hours could cause you to stress out more, so try to tire yourself out by reading or washing the dishes.
  3. Change your diet. Don’t eat right before you go to bed, but try not to go to bed hungry, either. You likely already know that you shouldn’t drink caffeine before bedtime, but try to avoid alcohol, as well.
  4. Create a comfortable sleep space. If you still have trouble sleeping, it may be your surroundings. Wear earplugs if the outside noise is too loud, replace your blankets to suit your temperature needs, or add a mattress pad if your bed is uncomfortable.

20 Ways To Sleep Better Every Night [Prevention]
Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep [Mayo Clinic]
How to Sleep Better [Help Guide]
Healthy Sleep Tips [National Sleep Foundation]
How To Get A Better Night's Sleep [Sleepless in America]

Craving Potassium? Load Up on These Superfoods!

Filling your diet with the proper amount of potassium prevents against fatigue, hypertension, and increased blood pressure, and it also helps to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance throughout your body. If you’re unsure of which foods to eat in order to take in enough potassium, these two recommendations can help.

  1. White beans. These lightly textured, creamy beans are packed with fiber and protein, and they’re also incredibly rich in potassium. White beans contain approximately 1,189 milligrams of potassium per cup, which can easily be obtained through eating a bowl of chili, making a simple bean salad, or just eating white beans as a side dish with any meal.
  2. Leafy greens. If you thought that leafy green vegetables couldn’t possibly be any healthier, their potassium levels will make you think again. On top of their wide assortment of vitamins and minerals, greens also contain an impressive amount of potassium. For example, just one cup of Swiss chard contains 961 milligrams of potassium, which is more than double the amount in a banana. Beet greens also contain around 1,300 milligrams in a cup, while spinach has approximately 839 milligrams.

Top 10 Foods Highest in Potassium [Healthaliciousness]
15 Foods That Are High in Potassium [Health.com]
Foods With More Potassium Than a Banana [Huffington Post]
Potassium and Your CKD Diet [National Kidney Foundation]

Limit Fat and Sugar with These Easy Tips

Fat and sugar are best enjoyed in moderation, but they're found in so many food that it can be very hard to avoid them.

If you want to take control of your diet, these simple tips from the NIH website can help you reduce the amount of fat and sugar your eat:

  • Just because a food is low-fat or fat-free doesn’t mean it’s also low in calories. Those foods can have a large amount of sugar, causing them to also have a large number of calories.
  • Many people don’t consider the added sugar in beverages like soda or juice, but these can also cause you to gain weight. Some studies show that people who cut these sugary drinks out of their diets noticed significantly reduced weight gain.
  • Sugars found naturally in foods like fruit or milk are beneficial to your body, and fresh fruit can make a healthy alternative to other sugary snacks.

You can find more tips about managing your fat and sugar intake on the NIH's website.

Move Over, Dairy! These Foods Are Surprisingly High in Calcium

You learn from an early age that calcium builds strong bones and teeth, but it has a number of other health benefits, as well. This beneficial mineral also helps to regulate your blood pressure, maintains healthy blood vessels, and even aids in preventing Type 2 diabetes. Now that you know why you should eat calcium, here are a few lesser-known ways to get it.

  1. White beans. Beans get a good reputation because of their high levels of protein, but white beans are also very high in calcium, as well. In fact, just one cup of canned white beans provides 191 milligrams of calcium, which is about 19 percent of your daily value. These creamy, mild legumes are great in a hearty chili or mashed as a chickpea substitute in homemade hummus.
  2. Sardines. While these tiny fish may have made you squeamish as a child, sardines are actually one of the healthiest fish that you can eat! Like a lot of seafood, they’re rich in omega 3s, but they also provide 321 milligrams of calcium in just seven sardine filets. Many people choose to eat them plain, but if you prefer to cut down on the fishy flavor, you can also add sardines to a salad.

18 Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium [Greatist]
18 Surprising Dairy-Free Sources of Calcium [HuffPost Healthy Living]

How to Get More Folic Acid in Your Diet

Folic acid stimulates cell growth and regeneration, enhances red blood cell creation, and even prevents against depression, which is important for people of all ages. Pregnant women benefit even further from folic acid because it prevents against fetal deformities. If you want to take advantage of the many benefits of folic acid, here are a few of the best food sources.

  1. Dark, leafy greens. Dark green colored vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens are some of the very best sources of folic acid, and even just one large salad filled with these leafy foods can provide you with enough folic acid for the entire day. Spinach is especially beneficial, as it contains 65% of your daily value in only one cup.
  2. Citrus fruits. Oranges, grapefruits, and other citruses have more folic acid than all other types of fruits. One papaya alone offers 115 mcg of folic acid, which is about 29% of the average person’s recommended daily intake.
  3. Beans, peas and lentils. While not all of these foods are high in folic acid, there are a few beans, peas, and lentils that contain impressively large quantities of the B-complex vitamin. Lentils are especially high in folic acid, containing over 90% of your daily intake in just one cup. Pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans are also very good sources.

Surprising Sources of Folic Acid [Yahoo! Shine]
Foods High in Folic Acid [Prenatal Vitamin HQ]
15 Foods High in Folic Acid [Global Healing Center]
18 Foods High in Folic Acid to Prevent Cancer & Birth Defects [Bembu]

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