Hydrate with Food

All we hear during the summer months is “Stay hydrated!” So we automatically assume to grab a glass or a bottle of water and start chugging. Well we don’t just have to drink to stay hydrated, we can eat too (yes!) No more feeling water bloated (and having to run to the bathroom all the time) this summer to just stay hydrated! Let’s look into the top 5 hydration foods to add to our everyday meals.

Cucumbers Cucumber_and_cross_section

This summer veggie has a 96.7% water content. Add cucumbers to a salad, puree it with a non-fat yogurt with some herbs and make a cucumber soon, or just dunk them in your favorite hummus. Simply adding cucumbers to a meal will help you keep hydrated.

CeleryCelery-Stalks

This stalk packs in fiber, folate, Vitamin A, C and K. 95.4% water content, celery can help us all keep hydrated when we are sweating a lot of our liquids out. Remember that rumor that celery had negative calories? Well that isn’t entirely true since it does have 6 calories per serving, but this low-calorie veg helps maintain and balance our stomach acids. A few celery stalks a day can help with blood pressure, asthma, and helps keep the urinary tract clean. Celery is a perfect beach snack to dip in peanut butter, chop into a salad, or to throw into a light tuna salad.

Radishesradishes-02

Still high up there on the water content with 95.3% ranking, radishes can pack a punch for this summer. Radishes can had a sweet and spicy flavor to any dish you make this summer. Every crunch packs on the antioxidants found in radishes. Radishes can help with sinuses, stimulates appetites, and cleanses the kidneys. A simple radish coleslaw made with olive oil and lemon juice is a perfect side dish, or radish can be garnished on any salad this summer.

Tomatoes29tomato1-superJumbo

For those of us that live in the Philadelphia area, we all know that summer time is the perfect time for Jersey Tomatoes. Tomatoes have 94.5% water content. Ripe and in season tomatoes are easy to put into any dish: putting a few slices on a sandwich for the beach, cut into wedges for a salad, or sliced and ready to eat with a little salt a pepper YUM! Not only are tomatoes a great hydrating food they contain so many vitamins and antioxidants in them. Tomatoes can also help to prevent cervix, bladder, and pancreas cancers.

Green Peppersgreen-pepper

Green for go! Load up on the green peppers at your local farmers markets and grocery stores. Though all bell peppers contain high water content the green pepper comes in at the top of the list with 93.9% water content. Green peppers make the perfect snack for anytime, on kabobs, or stuff them up with your favorite quinoa recipes. Getting your daily dose to peppers can help improve your hair, skin, and nails!

These are just 5 simple fruits and veggies that can help us keep hydrated when our water gets a little bland. They also pack in lots of nutrients and vitamins, along with other added health benefits. Remember to also make sure the kiddies that you’re spending time with keep hydrated while they are in and out of the water, building sand castles, and riding bikes. You can also add your favorite fruits, veggies, and herbs to water to add a little flavor without added sugar. Some of our favorites: cucumber and strawberry, lemon and ginger, or mint.

There are plenty of ways to stay hydrated this summer – be creative and have fun with it!

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5 Natural Remedies for Allergies

Here we are in the beginning of June and congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes are still lingering. Allergies, your time has come and gone now-  please leave! Summer is here and we want our beach bags full of good reads and magazines, NOT tissues. We heard it for the past few months-  this spring season would be extremely heavy with pollen and other allergens, but we didn’t expect it to hang around for this long.

Relief is on the way with 5 natural remedies for allergies.

1) Apple Cider Vinegarapple211

Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a tall glass of water 3 times a day and it will work its magic, naturally! Apple cider vinegar reduces mucous production and cleanses the lymphatic system. The congestion and runny nose that we are all used to will slow down with the apple cider vinegar ability to reduce the mucous. Allergy symptoms and allergy attacks can all be prevented with this simple remedy.

2) Neti Potskh042-seeking-health-nettie-the-elephant

l/../3) Nettle-Peppermint Tea

Nettle leaf is a natural antihistamine meaning that it natural blocks the body from making histamine. The peppermint leaves contains flavonoids such as luteolin-7-0-rutinoside  which helps inhibit the growth of anti-inflammatory enzymes. While the leaves work together they help reduce the discomfort of the brutal side effects of allergies.

You’ll need:
1 teaspoon of dried pepperment leaves OR 1/4 cup of fresh chopped peppermint leaves
1 teaspoon of dried nettle leaves OR 1/4 cup of fresh chopped nettle leaf
8 ounces of water
*honey and lemon

4) Probioticssoy1_600x450

This may sound a little different but let’s boost our gut bacteria! Having more of a balanced gut bacteria can help prevent some of the symptoms that come along with allergies. Adding more beneficial bacteria to our diets will help balance our immune systems. Some probiotics that can be added are kombucha and kefir. There are also supplements to buy, simply take one a day. Probiotics have numerous health benefits including a healthy digestive tract, better immunity, help control moodiness, hormonal imbalances, and much more.

5) Citrus DrinksIMG_5601

The vitamin C packed in lemons, oranges, and grapefruits can boost your immune system when allergies are taking over. A drink that contains two or more citrus fruits can pick up the immune system and allow our bodies to fight the sneezes and itchy cough. Squeezing a half of a lemon, two oranges and adding some local, raw honey will fulfill the vitamin C craving your body needs to fight off the allergies.

Other foods to include in your everyday diet during allergy season:

Dark, leafy greens

Deep yellow and orange vegetables

Onion, garlic, cayenne, ginger, and horseradish

Renew Week Superfood Day 4: Coconut Oil

Today’s superfood: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an amazing superfood filled with so many health benefits and nutrients. It contains antioxidants, helps to absorb nutrients and vitamins, has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, (which are attributed to the laric, capric, and caprylic acid specific to coconut oil). It is made up of mostly Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), which unlike Long Chain Fatty Acids, are sent straight to the liver for energy production. It also kills candida growth, helps with hypothyroidism, and helps speed metabolism. Diets high in MCFAs are known to improve glucose tolerance and reduce body fat accumulation when compared to diets high in LCFs.  Although it is high in saturated fat, the lauric acid found in coconut oil allows for it to not raise the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and is actually known to improve heart health.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

coconut-oil

– Increases metabolism

– Aids in digestion

– Improves healthy hair and nails

– Improves heart health

-Aids in weight loss

-Strengthens immune system

-Maintains healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels

– Improves bone health

-Aids in healthy functioning of thyroid and endocrine system

-Kills candida growth

It is important to look for unrefined, pure, and/or virgin coconut oil when purchasing. This maintains the integrity of the oil, allowing you to gain all of the benefits the natural oil has to offer. Coconut oil is also great to cook with,as it is not damaged by high heat levels (as olive oil and other medium heat oils can be). You will find coconut oil is solid in room temperature, however it is easily blended when added to a smoothie.

Note: it is important to make sure you add a healthy fat to your smoothies, to properly absorb all of the benefits of the veggies and fruits added. Coconut oil also gives smoothies a nice creamy texture and a subtle tropical taste. It’s a smoothie superfood staple in our household, I highly recommend it for everyone!

Summer’s Bounty

Did you know some of our staple summer produce holds some of the most nutritious vitamins? Here they are right in front of us, in bulk, at our grocery stores and farm stands! They are as fresh as can be and less expensive compared to the colder months. Now that we have all of these fresh and nutritious options at our finger tips lets gobble them in before it’s too late! Some things to keep in mind when buying produce is to consider organic. We can understand that buying 100% organic can be expensive. The “Dirty Dozen List” is a list of fruits and vegetables that are at the top 12 pesticide infested fruits and vegetables, and therefore should be priority when choosing which foods to purchase organic.  Going organic for these 12 are definitely worth your pretty penny!

The Dirty Dozen

Apples Strawberries Grapes Celery Peaches

Spinach

Sweet bell peppers Nectarines Cucumbers Potatoes Cherry tomatoes

Hot peppers

If there is produce available that is organic and locally grown, that’s a double whammy! Buying local doesn’t only benefit you, but the people around you. Your produce will taste better if it is locally grown because it doesn’t have to go through being picked before being ripe and shipping. Local food also promotes energy conservation by decreasing our carbon foot print by traveling miles to grocery stores. Buying local helps local farmers and builds the community as a whole.

One of my favorite summer fruits are BLUEBERRIES. I could go through a carton all by myself, no shame. Blueberries are low in fat with only 80 calories per serving. They are also full of dietary fiber, which helps keep your body regular during digestion, keeps our heart healthy and keeps our cholesterol in check. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help with cardiovascular disease, cancer and other age related diseases. These small little blueberries carry a lot of Vitamin C on their shoulders; Vitamin C helps with collagen formation, maintains healthy gums and capillaries and boosts that immune system. Manganese can also be found in blueberries which aids with bone development and with converting proteins, carbs and fats into energy. Who would have thought blueberries came with such a punch?!

Nothing says summer like a juicy peach. Taking the first bite of a perfectly ripened peach is a force to be reckoned with. You are bound to get peach juice all over your cheeks and then it starts to drip down your hand and then it somehow ends up on your lap, but…it’s all worth it. When there is nothing but the pit left you could go in for another peach. Not only are they delicious this time of year, they benefit our bodies. Peaches contribute to our eye health because they have beta carotene in them which improves eye vision by increasing circulation of blood. Peaches can make our skin glow! They are packed with Vitamin C, which can help with dark circles and wrinkles. Hallelujah. Peaches are a rich source of antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants help with the immune system and fiber keeping our digestion regular.

watermelonA slice of watermelon is always a special treat during the summer because we all know winter watermelon and summer watermelon don’t even compare. Watermelon helps with cardiovascular and bone health because it improves blood flow and  it’s also rich in potassium which holds onto calcium in the body, therefore promotes healthy strong bones. Watermelon is known to reduce body fat with its partner citrulline that reduces the accumulation of fat in our fat cells. Along with the other fruits, watermelon contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support.

 These are just a few of summer’s special treats to us. Whenever you feel a sweet tooth craving come in, give in with fresh fruit! Looking for something a little more complex on your tastebuds? Check out some simple healthy recipes using our favorite summer treasures!

 

Blueberry Peach Cobbler 

Ingredients

  • 5 lb peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup organic cane  sugar or coconut sugar, divided
  • 3/8 tsp salt, divided
  • 6 3/4 oz plus 2 tbsp 100% whole wheat flour, divided (or brown rice flour for GF + 1/4 tsp xantham gum)peach
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup organic butter or EarthBalance soy-free vegan butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk (or dairy free with 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl, toss peaches with lemon juice, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and 2 tbsp flour.  Arrange peaches in a 9×13-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and remaining 1/4 tsp salt.  Place the butter and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Add the flour and buttermilk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour.  Stir in the blueberries.  Pour the batter over the peaches and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar.
  4. Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.

 

Watermelon Blueberry- Mint Popsicle 

Ingredients

  • 6 heaping cups diced seedless watermelon (or remove the seeds)
  • 3 tablespoons agave or honey
  • ½ tablespoon lime juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint leaves
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. In a blender, puree watermelon along with sugar, lime juice, and salt until smooth.
  2. Add mint and blend briefly to finely mince the mint and get it mixed in.
  3. Pour puree into popsicle molds. (You should be able to make at least 10, but it will depend on the size of your molds.)
  4. Freeze until hard.

 

 

Day 4… did somebody say chocolate?

Yum. Today’s smoothie is packed with a ton of health benefits and anti-oxidants from the mix of berries and raw cacao powder. Cranberries are highlighted in this smoothie, not only are they in season and deliciously tart, they contain loads of detoxifying properties!

Super Antioxidant Berry and Cacao Smoothie

3/4 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries)
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened (or your choice of non-dairy milk)
1/4 avocado, optional (I included to add more protein and healthy fat, also helps to keep you fuller, longer)
1 slice green apple, optional
1/2 cup filtered water
1 Tbs raw, organic cacao powder (or more to taste)

Image
Health Benefits

Cranberries – they contain one of the highest count of antioxidants of all berries. They also contain high amounts of fiber and phytonutrients. These phytonutrients give cranberries their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties, In fact, cranberries have been shown to provide crucial anti-inflammatory benefits for the cardiovascular system and for many parts of the digestive tract (including the mouth and gums, stomach, and colon). Cranberries help to balance out the good and bad bacteria in our stomach and are proven to reduce the risk of urinary track infections (because they contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), which fight certain ‘bad’ bacteria, including E.coli). They help to keep the kidney functioning well and flush out unwanted waste and bacteria.

Raw Cacao Powder – (another superfood!) is high in magnesium and iron content, and contains other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese. It is loaded with antioxidants, protecting and neutralizing against free radicals and contains heart-healthy fat  oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat.  Cacao improves digestion, stimulating the body’s production of digestive enzymes, helping with elimination (essential for a detox).
Certain components of cacao powder help to stimulate the central nervous system and dilate blood vessels, causing you to experience elevated energy boosts. Also, certain chemicals, referred to as “bliss” chemicals,  improve circulation, increasing the amount of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps to improve mood and fight depression.

Berries  – in general berries contain the highest amount of antioxidants of fruits. Specifically blueberries and cranberries.   They contain anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, as well cancer fighting components. They also contain high amounts of Vitamin C and fiber, which as we know is great for eliminating during a detox. The high fiber and other components of berries help cardiovascular health and decrease the LDL levels of cholesterol.

You can find the health benefits of apples and avocados from our Day 1 smoothie recipe this week.

Who knew raw cacao and the taste of chocolaty goodness had so many amazing health benefits. Add it to smoothies and desserts for the added health benefits and decadent taste.

Enjoy!

natural tips to keep that immune system BOOSTED this cold season

Do you feel a cold coming on? Everyone hates getting sick and let’s face it- none of us can afford to in our busy lives.

Here are some of my favorite preventative measures to avoid getting sick this fall and winter.

  • Herbal teas such as lemon, lavender and bergamot enhance the production of infection fighting white blood cells, know as leukocytes. I drink them plain or add lemon, honey and/or ginger for added benefits. Echinacea is also a great tea for fighting colds and pumping up that immune system.
  • Green, white or black tea, which contain large amounts of antioxidants.
  • Lots of garlic! Supplements or raw. Garlic is a great immune booster as well as an anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. It also contains a sulfuric compound called allicin which produces powerful antioxidants.
  • Fennel and anise seeds- cook with anise seeds or steep in tea, eat fennel cooked or raw in salads. They are both natural expectorants, which hell clear congestion in the chest and soothe a cough.
  • Make some of my mineral broth to sip in throughout the day. This really boosts immunity and enhances vitality as well.

..and then there is the obvious immune boosters and all around nutrient-dense foods like leafy greens and veggies.  Also, carrots, sweet potatoes and other foods containing beta-carotene, which is eventually converted to Vitamin A are great for the immune system.

Be sure to get plenty of rest as well. Try to practice a few of these each day to stay healthy and avoid those annoying fall and winter sicknesses.

What are some of your favorite immune boosting practices?personal trainer in campbell cold and flu fighter