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HEALTHIEST DRIED FRUIT AND NUTS: PROPERTIES AND BENEFITS

Is dried fruit healthy? It is rich in nutrients and should be part of a diet plan based on the concept of healthy eating. Therefore, the answer is yes!

The food experts recommend the consumption of dried fruits and nuts throughout the year because, being rich in mineral salts, vitamins, fiber and unsaturated fats, has countless properties that make it an ideal food. However, what is the healthiest dried fruit?

Before getting into this question, it is essential to understand the distinctions between the two different categories: oily dried fruit and fleshy fruit.

 

Varieties and characteristics of dried fruits and nuts

Dried fruits and nuts can be divided in:

1) Nuts or oily dried fruits, rich in fat and low in sugar, such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts;

2) Fleshy fruit, or dehydrated fruit, high in sugar and low in fat, such as apricots, prunes, sultanas, dates.

Let us look at their characteristics.

 

As regarding oily dried fruit, they are high fat content (about 90%) which, however, are found in the form of unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (especially Omega-6 and Omega-3). They help to lower blood cholesterol levels and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Regarding the fleshy fruits, it is characterized by the high content of sugars and fibres. It is also rich in minerals and vitamins.

 

In order to answer to the question “Is dried fruits and nuts healthy?”, let us discover its properties and benefits.

Continue reading.

 

Dried fruits and nuts properties and benefits

Dried fruits and nuts offer numerous properties that are good for our body and for our health. Among the most important are the following:

  • They help to reduce bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and increase good cholesterol levels (HDL), thanks to its high content of unsaturated fats, oleic fatty acids, linoleic and Omega 3 and Omega 6. These substances help balance cholesterol levels in the blood, carrying out a protective action on the cardiovascular system;

 

  • Since dried fruits and nuts contain many antioxidant elements (such as vitamins C and E), they are ideal for fighting free radicals, substances responsible for the development of degenerative diseases and premature aging;

 

  • Excellent for reducing stress, fatigue and premenstrual syndrome, thanks to its high folic acid content, very effective, in turn, to increase the defenses of our body;

 

  • Dried fruits and nuts, finally, provides us with many fibers, a few saturated fats and many unsaturated, a large amount of vegetable proteins and many bioactive compounds such as flavonoids. Dried fruits also provides us with many minerals, including iron, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and potassium.

 

We have seen what the properties and benefits of dried fruits and nuts are, but what is the healthiest dried fruit?

Let us find out together.

 

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Healthiest dried fruit and nuts

Here is a list of the five healthiest oily dried fruit for our health:

  • Walnuts are defined as a super nourishing food because they contain many Omega 3 fatty acids, whose best-known properties are: improving cholesterol levels, avoiding weight gain, protecting the heart, reducing bone deterioration. For this reason they are one of the healthiest dried fruit.

  • Almonds are the second healthiest dried fruit. By eating 23 almonds, we can cover our daily requirement of vitamin E. Almonds are also great for defending ourselves from free radicals, as well as helping us to absorb fat.

 

  • Pistachios are very useful to calm that greedy hunger that catches us before dinner. This type of dried fruit contains many nutrients and benefits for our health and for our body. For example, pistachios help us to reduce the risk of suffering muscle deterioration, which is often the main cause of blindness in older people.

 

  • Thanks to their high folic acid content, hazelnuts are considering one of the healthiest dried fruit. They are valuable allies in the prevention of cardiac and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. They are also very useful to make the blood more fluid and to relax the blood vessels, as well as to appease hunger.

  • Even if peanuts belong to the leguminous family, most of us know them as dry fruit. They contain a lot of folic acid, which promotes brain development and protects it from cognitive impairment. They are particularly recommended during the cycle and for those who follow a vegetarian diet, as it contains folic acid, vitamin E and healthy fats.

 

When is it recommended to consume dried fruits or nuts?

Corning its consumption, dried fruit should be consumed in moderate quantities and away from meals. It should be avoided especially in the evening at the end of a meal, as it slows the digestion and provides an excess of calories. It is, instead, a cure-all for health at breakfast or as a snack between meals.

Non-oily fruit can be taken in the morning (as a snack) or in small quantities after training, to speed recovery through the re-synthesis of liver glycogen.

Oily fruit, on the other hand, is excellent for delaying the sense of hunger, adding it in small doses as a snack.

Contraindications: who should avoid its consumption

Experts advise against the consumption of dried fruit in the case of the presence of digestive system diseases, such as colitis, ulcerative recto colitis, gastritis, ulcer and Crohn’s disease.

In addition, the intake of fleshy fruit, given the high amount of sugar, is not recommended for diabetics or for those who follow a low-calorie diet or suffer from kidney problems.

 

Did you know that inside ProLon there is the delicious L-bar made of dried fruit? Start now your Fasting Mimicking Diet!

 

 

Back pain: symptoms, causes, remedies

We call it “the disease of the century” because, according to existing studies, no less than 80% of the population will suffer back pain at some point in their lives. The term back pain encompasses numerous problems, such as chronic low back pain, sciatica and disc herniation, all with one element in common: pain is localized in the spine.

Almost all people may incur back pain that interferes negatively with work, daily activities or leisure.  Back pain can be caused by various causes such as poor posture, psychophysical stress or overweight. Let’s find out more about different types, its causes and remedies.

 

Types of back pain

Back pain can be classified into three groups. If the pain is localized in the upper back or in the neck bones (cervical column) it is said in medical terms neck pain. If the pain is localized in the lower back, around the lumbar vertebrae, it is called lumbago (lower back pain. Finally, if the pain is localized in the central part of the back, around the thoracic vertebrae, it is called dorsalgia (upper back pain).

  • Cervicalgia (neck pain) is a pain that affects the cervical column that usually passes in a few days and is often associated with a wrong posture or stress.
  • Lumbar pain affects the lower back and can prevent even the smallest movements. It is often caused by sudden or prolonged movements or by staying in the same position for too long. It is the most common type of back pain.
  • Upper back pain is the pain that affects the central part of the back up to the base of the neck, around the thoracic vertebrae. The thoracic spine, which acts as a support structure for the thoracic cage, is composed of vertebrae that are less mobile than the others and any problems in this area may cause pain and/or a feeling of stiffness or restriction in movement.

 

Back pain causes

Back pain is usually the result of multiple causes, sometimes joined together. It may be due to:

  • an incorrect posture held for a long time;
  • excessive muscle tension due to psychophysical stress;
  • a problem related to the consequences of overweight and sedentariness;
  • cold, humidity, muscle tears, excessive efforts.

The diagnosis of back pain is definitely clinical and requires an accurate medical examination that can be supported by instrumental examinations (X-ray, MRI and CT). The doctor will indicate the most suitable therapeutic path: physical therapies (such as laser, tecar, ultrasound, etc.), individual motor rehabilitation therapy, therapeutic massages, vertebral manipulations, manual therapies with vertebral mobilizations, infiltrative therapies, medical gymnastics classes.

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How to relieve back pain

To avoid back pain it is necessary to take and maintain correct postures. Only a correct postural attitude allows you to distribute the weight of the body more evenly avoiding the stretching of the muscles. If you are standing, you should keep your head high, with your eyes looking in front and not on the ground. In this way, the neck is erect and the weight of the head well distributed throughout the column.

Sitting incorrectly can lead to back pain. The desk or work table should not be too high or too low, so as not to force you to tilt forward or backward. The chair should be adjustable in height, to allow the feet to rest well on the ground, and should have a slightly curved backrest at the height of the lumbar region of the spine.

In case of overweight, it is helpful to try to lose the extra pounds through both physical activity as well as proper nutrition. A natural diet is able to support the healing processes of the organism. You should prefer whole grains, legumes, fish, oilseeds, vegetables and seasonal fruit than unnatural foods such as packaged foods, sugary drinks and anything containing additives.

A plant-based pescatarian diet may help your body to physiologically fights against chronic inflammation.

 

Exercises for lower back pain

It is essential to avoid prolonged inactivity and to maintain a minimum level of physical activity. Swimming, for example, is particularly recommended for the back but activities such as yoga or pilates, which strengthen the center of gravity and promote stretching, are also highly recommended.

Stretches for the lower back pain is extremely important to prevent it. It is advisable to focus on exercises that strengthen the upper back, such as press-ups, and improve the flexibility of the spine with exercises that involve the curling and relaxation of the back being on all fours (“cat and cow position”).

With regard to stretches for the lower back pain, we suggest two simple exercises reminding you that they must be performed with delicacy and precision:

  • First exercise. Lie on the ground on your backs. Bring your knees to your chest, bringing them as close as possible with the help of your arms. Hold the position for 20 seconds and then relax for a few seconds. Repeat twice more.
  • Second exercise: On the ground on all fours (in genuflection, place your hands forward, resting them on the floor at shoulders height). Exhale by bending the spine upwards until the lungs are completely emptied. Inspiring you return slowly to the starting position flattening your back. Repeat 5 times.

 

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calories-burned-calculator

CALORIES BURNED CALCULATOR AND THE BEST EXERCISES AT HOME

The calories burned calculator is not only one and you can use the results to lose weight, gain weight, keep it constant or have more detailed information on your body needs.

If a person introduces a higher or lower amount of calories than consumed during daily activities, then weight will increase or decrease, respectively. If you learn to calculate how many calories you burn in a day, you can keep your weight within the normal ranges or monitor your progress in physical exercises.

Let us discover what calories are, how many calories you can burn in a day and the best calorie burning exercises at home.

 

Calorie definition

Regardless of what activity our body does – whether it’s pumping blood or lifting weights – it needs energy – in the form of calories – to achieve it.

Calorie is a unit of measurement of energy. Humans need a specific caloric requirement per day. This is defined as the amount of food-based energy needed to compensate for the energy expenditure that everyone sustains for physical and mental activities that are performed everyday. The daily energy requirement is measured in calories. In common language, the word “calories” usually means kilocalories.

The amount of energy (calories) in a specific food depends on how many proteins, fats and carbohydrates it actually has. Each gram of protein or carbohydrate in a food provides 4 calories to your body; however, fat contains almost twice – 9 calories per gram – and that is why fatty foods are termed “substantial”.

How many calories do you burn in a day? It is an interesting question, and we have the answer!

Keep reading to know the calories burned calculator.

 

How many calories do you burn in a day?

The human body is a kind of engine that constantly consumes fuel, namely calories, even during sleep. The basal metabolism indicates the number of calories burned by the body in a day to simply keep itself alive.

Basal metabolism varies according to age, sex, height and genetic factors. To get a reliable value of the calories consumed each day, start finding your basal metabolism.

Use the following calories burned calculator:

Calculation of Basal Metabolism

To get a precise figure of daily energy consumption you need to calculate how many calories you burn with physical activity. People have a different calorie requirement based on the energy expenditure required by the exercise.

 

In order to obtain a specific calories burned calculator, you need to multiply the basal metabolism according to these criteria:

-If you do not train or follow a very sedentary lifestyle, multiply the basal metabolism by a coefficient of 1,2;

-If you perform moderate physical activity (1-3 times a week) or are slightly active, then the coefficient is 1,375;

-People who train 3-5 times a week or follow an active lifestyle must multiply their basal metabolism by 1.55;

-If you exercise almost every day and do very physically intense work, then multiply the figure of basal metabolism by 1,725;

-If you exercise every day (even more than once) and do a very hard job, multiply the figure by 1.9.

 

Until now, we have seen the calorie burned calculator and that it also depends on physical exercise. Let us find out together the exercises that burn the most calories.

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Exercises that burn the most calories

Exercise is one of the best habits to adopt to keep fit and ensure good physical and mental health. Physical activity, in fact, increases the body’s energy consumption and allows you to get rid of calories excess, which is often the main cause of overweight.

As if it is not enough, exercise helps to keep the muscles and joints in good condition, making them more and more resistant.

Nowadays, there are different types of training and physical activity that allow you to exercise without necessarily going to the gym. Here are some calorie burning exercises at home:

-Going up and down stairs (even at work, instead of taking the elevator) as exercise can help you burn from 300 to 500 calories, based on the time you dedicated to this activity.

-Running without stopping helps you burn from 350 to 450 calories (with an average of 1.6 km in 8 minutes).

-Squat not only helps you burn fat, but also strengthens the muscles of the buttocks, legs and abdomen. To burn 80 calories, we recommend 8 series of 20 repetitions with a break of 45 seconds between each other.

– Cycling is an excellent exercise for cardiovascular health. It also strengthens different muscle groups in our body. An intense session of 45 or 60 minutes can help you lose 300 to 400 calories.

-Few people know that an activity as pleasant as that of dancing is also an effective way to train the body and lose weight. Depending on the intensity and rhythm, dance helps you lose from 180 to 200 calories each session.

 

Did you find our calories burned calculator useful? Share it with your friends, start immediately to burn calories, and get in shape with our exercises to do at home! :)

If you need any help or nutritional information, our Scientific Team is always at your disposal.

 

 

FASTING BENEFITS AND THE NUTRITIONISTS

 

Let us discover together what the fasting benefits are, what are the expectations of a new diet and the importance of the figure of a nutritionist figure into this.

In our daily life, we eat and assimilate food regularly. When fasting, the body stops to assimilate: it eliminates full-time reserves, stocks and damaged tissues. It invests its energies in the renewal and repair of all biological functions.

Today it is not necessary to fast completely, because there is the Fasting Mimicking Diet.

The Fasting Mimicking Diet is the first and only meal program that has gone through clinical trials at the University of Southern California. This fasting program provides scientifically researched micro- and macro-nutrients in precise quantities and combinations that nourish you. Following a particular biochemical way, they are not recognized as food by your body and therefore they can mimic a fasting state.

Let us discover together what the fasting benefits are, what are the expectations of a new diet and the importance of the figure of a nutritionist figure into this.

 

The Importance of knowing the Fasting Mimicking Diet

The fasting diet, also known as the Fasting Mimicking Diet, requires a controlled intake of protein (9-11%), carbohydrates (43-47%) and fat (44-46%) for an overall caloric reduction of between 34% and 54% compared to the canonical contribution.

Before the beginning of the day and after the last meal, even the smallest snack is avoided, in order to accustom the organism to live and to work in conditions of reduction of the satiety. In doing so, you also avoid accumulating energy at the end of the day, which happens to those who are used to having dinner very late, without having time to burn the accumulated energy just before going to bed.

The main fasting benefits concern the preservation of a correct state of cells health, at the level of all organs. The process is made possible by the depletion of glucose reserves and the use of fat as an energy source. What are the main fasting benefits?

Continue reading to learn more.

 

Fasting benefits

The main fasting benefits are:

  • Enhance Performance. Feel greater focus, clarity and energy, through the benefits of a leaner body;
  • Weight Loss. It can induce a controlled weight loss while protecting lean body mass. The rate of weight loss may change from subject to subject;
  • Enhance cellular renewal. Trigger the beneficial effect of fasting and promote rejuvenation from within;
  • Metabolic health. Help maintain metabolic health to support overall wellness.

 

Expectations of the diet: what effects the new diet will bring

Starting a diet is never easy.

Thousand questions come to mind: do I need to lose weight? What does food represent to me? And if that doesn’t work?

It is right to ask questions, because only by fully knowing your own motivations, fears and difficulties, is it possible to live this choice not as a sacrifice, but as an extraordinary opportunity to love yourself.

The preoccupation with not being able to follow a precise diet is connected to many factors: not reaching the desired weight, not being able to resist food, having to avoid social events, not being able to spend time cooking, spending too much money to buy healthy food of better nutritional quality.

People are linked to the dietary scheme, which is considered the only way to stay healthy and reach an individual goal. This is strongly influenced by the diet culture in which we live, which loves thinness and makes it equivalent to health and promotes weight loss by ensuring you get a better status.

Instead, you should understand that you do not need to eat perfectly to be perfectly healthy. This is what you should expect from a new diet. And regarding the Fasting Mimicking Diet? You will also expect the fasting benefits we mentioned before. 😃

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How to go back to normal eating after a diet

After going on a diet, it is important to continue the dietary path towards a specific food education.

After weeks of fatigue and renunciation the first reaction is to start doing and eating what you did and eat before. Nothing could be more wrong!

The diet, in fact, should not be seen as something temporary, but as a new and healthy way of seeing and living food and life. A lifestyle to take care of yourself, your appearance and your health.

How to go back to normal eating after a diet? Also thanks to the help of the nutritionist and this also applies to the Fasting Mimicking Diet.

 

The importance of the figure of a nutritionist

The figure of the nutritionist has a fundamental role in all this process. The nutritionist is the one who assists the person in the pre, during and post diet phases.

The assistance of the nutritionist, in fact, is fundamental:

  • to formulate a daily diet which is more in line with the person’s lifestyle, without encountering difficulties in applying it;
  • to give support during diet;
  • to direct the person towards a healthy lifestyle.

 

Regarding the Fasting Mimicking Diet, our nutritionists of the Scientific Team help people to understand when to start and how to face the possible symptoms associated with the simulation of fasting, e.g. tiredness, hunger, nervousness, insomnia.

Before starting, Scientific Team explains people all the fasting benefits, what is not recommended to do during the cycle and when the diet should not be done (for example when you are pregnant or have certain diseases).  Once the cycle has started, they are always at the customer’s disposal to support him/her and answer specific nutritional questions.  At the end of the Fasting Mimicking Diet, they advise you what to eat on the sixth day, the transition day, to go back to normal eating.

If you want to know more about the Fasting Mimicking Diet, the fasting benefits, specific nutritional information, you can contact our Scientific Team at scientificteam@lnutra.it or get your free copy of “The Longevity Diet” book written by the prof. Valter Longo.

 

best-foods-for-skin-prolon

BEST FOOD FOR SKIN

Food makes you beautiful… but not everything. For an always-perfect skin, it is better to get your fill of vitamins, enzymes, unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidant active ingredients. However, what are the best food for skin? Let us find out together the best foods for skin repair.

 

BEST FOODS FOR SKIN

Several foods are good for the skin, keeping it healthy and hydrated. Many common and inexpensive foods are excellent allies of beauty.

Let us remember that the Mediterranean diet is always on the podium for its health benefits. Here are the best foods for skin repair.

 

What foods are good for you skin?

The secret of the best food for skin? It is in omega 3 and omega 6, antioxidants and vitamin E.

Fish, especially blue fish, such as herring, sardines and salmon, can be beneficial to the skin because it is an abundant source of omega-3. A diet that is rich in it can help reduce inflammatory symptoms and make the skin less UV reactive. In addition, fatty fish also provides vitamin E, which protects against inflammation and free radicals.

Approximately the same benefits are given by nuts, that are considered one of the best food for skin among the richest sources of omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids, while almonds are rich in unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. Among the seeds are mentioned sunflower, which contain considerable amounts of zinc and vitamin E, and flax, rich in an omega-3 called alpha-linoleic acid. A tasty tip? Adding them to salad can be an easy way to keep your skin healthy.

Potatoes, the ones that since the dawn of time have fed our ancestors, and not the French fries. So put away that package! They are a concentrate of benefits for skin and for the general well-being of our body. Moreover, there is little salt, and for this reason, they are an excellent ally to fight water retention.

Continue reading to discover other best foods for skin.

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Among the best food for the skin, there are whole grains: a low glycemic index diet, without refined foods, can reduce the sebaceous component of the skin and therefore reduce acneic manifestations. Probably because low glycemic index foods keep insulin stable, while refined carbohydrates and sugars cause peaks with an effect on lipid synthesis.

One of the best food for skin is onion. The only thing wrong with it can be the bad breath of those who ate it. It is a little thing that we forgive considering the other innumerable benefits it brings. It is made up of 90% water, is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, essential oils and flavonoids. It also has antibiotic and antibacterial properties, helps to lower levels of bad cholesterol and to control hypertension, is diuretic and therefore excellent against skin imperfections such as orange peel skin caused by water retention.

Asparagus is a portentous elixir of long beauty: it contains very few calories and carbohydrates and instead abounds in vitamin K. By eating many asparagus, the elasticity of the skin improves as well as the silhouette.

Among the oils, extra virgin olive oil can be considered one of the best food for skin repair and the healthiest choice for the skin. In particular, the effects of photo aging on the face are reduced.

Green tea instead is full of antioxidants called catechins, which increase blood flow to the skin thus ensuring fresh oxygen and nutrients.

 

Other best foods for skin? Fruits! Read more.

 

Fruits for healthy skin

Avocado is one of the best anti-aging foods: it ensures a hydrated skin because it contains unsaturated fatty acids and it is especially rich in vitamin E, which helps your skin to be more elastic. Have fun making exotic salads!

If you eat blueberries, you will have “forever” a young skin! It is not a legend, because it is known that the consumption of blueberries tones the blood vessels, improves microcirculation and brings oxygen to the tissues favoring their regeneration. You can have fun eating it with a low-fat yogurt or in fruit salad.

Apricots and all orange-colored fruits and vegetables (except oranges) contain beta-carotene that counteracts the production of free radicals and, at the same time, shields the skin from sunlight and air pollution, keeping it bright and young longer.

 

LAST TIPS FOR A HEALTHY SKIN

In addition to the best skin food, here are two other important basic rules to follow to keep your skin healthy and hydrated:

1 Avoid junk foods that contribute to skin aging. You need to prefer foods that stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, moisturize in depth, and protect the capillaries. Proper nutrition helps to control skin aging and prevent wrinkles;

2 Drink a lot of water. Cells are composed mainly of water, and if you are dehydrated, the effect is evident because of flaking and skin dryness. In addition to water, the best drink that can be consumed is green tea, given its anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.

 

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how-to-improve-the-immune-system

HOW TO IMPROVE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

It is our natural shield against external aggression. The immune system is the set of sophisticated mechanisms that defend our body from the onslaught of external threats, such as viruses, bacteria or other harmful substances that could damage our body.

Let us discover through this article what the immune system is, how it works and the best ways to improve it.

Keep reading!

 

What is the immune system?

Our organism is equipped with an efficient defense system against agents extraneous to the organism: it is the immune system, composed of different cells, each one with specific functions, and circulating molecules that work together to recognize and eliminate foreign agents such as bacteria, parasites and viruses but also cells infected with pathogens and cancer cells.

Different cells, each one with specific functions, make up our immune system. Our immune systems are naturally alert and ready to intervene in case of emergency, putting into practice the necessary countermeasures to defend the organism and keep it healthy.

It is hard to see, but these attacks are common in our daily lives. When the immune system intervenes and manage to defeat the invader before it can spread, we feel no change. When our defenses do not immediately recognize the nature of the enemy, there are several symptoms that indicate the body is trying to cope with the infection.

 

How does the immune system work?

The immune system has three main functions:

-protects the organism from pathogens (external invaders causing diseases);

-removes damaged or dead cells and tissues and aged red blood cells;

-recognizes and removes abnormal cells, such as cancer cells (neoplastics).

Two types of internal immune response have been identified:

-innate immune response: general defense mechanism, present from birth, acting quickly (minutes or hours) and indiscriminately against any external agent;

-acquired immune response: develops slowly after the first encounter with a specific pathogen (within a few days), but retains memory to act more quickly following further future exposures.

Let us go figure out how to improve the immune system.

 

How to improve the immune system

How to improve the immune system? It is a good question. Improving the immune system is a need to provide when it is compromised or weakened by several factors such as stress, certain diseases, the excessive use of antibiotics, cold, season change, improper nutrition, inadequate night rest etc. In this case, the low immune defense leads to a greater susceptibility to infections (diseases caused by infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites).

Today, the main causes of the weakening of the immune system are stress, some pathologies, the excessive use of antibiotics, various environmental factors (eg: cold, humidity, change of season, excessive sun exposure etc.), improper feeding, inadequate night rest, sedentary, physical fatigue, and advancing age.

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How to boost immune system naturally

According to the unanimous opinion of the medical-scientific community, the best way to boost the immune system is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. With the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, any organ, apparatus and system of the human body – including the immune system – works better and more effectively.

Following some basic principles that provide a perfect combination of virtuous habits can help us in understanding how to improve the immune system.

A healthy lifestyle involves a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, do not smoke, do not exceed in the use of alcohol, keep under control body weight and blood pressure, sleep at least 7-8 hours per night, and scrupulously observe the rules of proper personal hygiene.

Let us deepen briefly these basic principles on how to improve the immune system:

-Physical activity. Sport helps to understand how to improve the immune system, but it is important to practice it in an intelligent and balanced way and without excesses;

-Maintenance of the normal body weight. This is closely connected with a balanced diet and constant exercise;

-The limitation of alcohol. Alcohol abuse seriously harms health and has a depressive effect on the immune system.

-Do not smoke. Among the innumerable damage caused by smoking, it is included the weakening of the immune system;

– Get enough sleep. During night sleep, the human body processes the proteins introduced with the diet and uses them to combat potential pathogens. Who do not sleep enough during the night, cannot use the proteins for this purpose, so they are more vulnerable to infections.

-Maintenance of normal blood pressure.

-Observe the rules of proper personal hygiene.

 

What about nutrition? Read on to learn about the immune system booster foods.

 

Immune system booster foods

The habit of consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains and yogurt, perhaps associated with the intake of prebiotics and probiotics (lactic ferments), and the good habit of limiting the intake of foods rich in saturated fats, are the basis of a correct diet that is able to improve the immune system.

There are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods that are particularly protective against feverish states: some examples are garlic, green tea without sugar, or spices such as turmeric and cinnamon that boost the immune system and have positive effects on health in general.

In fact, resistance to infections (which can be caused by viruses or bacteria) can be improved by providing the body with foods rich in antioxidants.

Have you read our article on the importance of antioxidants? Find it here!

Antioxidants are molecules that help our body to defend against the attack of harmful agents. They are able to prevent or repair the damage produced by free radicals.

The most powerful antioxidant foods that can help improve the immune system are kiwis, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and chicory, broccoli, cabbage, pineapple, tomatoes, peppers, vegetable oils (peanuts, corn, sunflower, extra virgin olive oil), hazelnuts, carrots, dried apricots, pumpkin, parsley and ripe.

 

If the correction of eating habits, sport, limitation of alcohol consumption etc. are not sufficient to boost the immune system, it is possible to use some resources that nature has always offered to the human being: medicinal plants with immunostimulant and adaptogen action. Another solution may be the use of vitamins for immune system.

 

Vitamins for immune system

There are specific vitamins useful to boost the immune system. Do you know the antioxidant power of vitamin C that is useful to improve the immune system? Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all. In fact, a lack of Vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick.

Another vitamin that is considered helpful is vitamin D. It is advisable to use a vitamin D supplement in autumn, when there is little sunshine and this vitamin cannot be produced because there is no exposure of the skin to sunlight.

It would therefore be useful, following the advice of your doctor, to use a supplement of vitamin D and vitamin C in the period in which the flu is more widespread, or it would be better to use multivitamin supplements at low dosage throughout the year.

 

As we have seen, immune well-being also depends on diet, lifestyle and individual constitution. Take care of yourself and put these valuable tips on how to improve the immune system into practice. Did you find this article interesting? Let us know! 😊

YOGA FOR BEGINNERS: HOW TO START

You’re thinking about starting yoga but you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, because fears and doubts are completely normal among those who want to approach yoga for the first time.

This article aims to clarity this aspect. The goal is to furnish an overview about yoga for beginners and provide indications on how and why to start practicing. Let’s get started! 😊

 

 YOGA FOR BEGINNERS: WHAT IT IS + BASIC NOTIONS

Yoga is a millennial discipline that combines breathing, movement and meditation. Developed in India, health benefits of yoga are now renowned all over the world.  Scientific research has shown that yoga can help manage stress, relieve depression and anxiety, and improve mood and sleep quality. In addition, thanks to constant practice, benefits of daily yoga are multiple: it improves flexibility, balance and coordination, reduces pain of any inflammation and strengthens muscles and bones.

Since this is an article about yoga for beginners, you should know that a yoga class can last from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. It starts with breathing and warming exercises. After, it continues with the execution of a series of yoga positions (called asanas) and ends with final relaxation and in some cases even with a few minutes of meditation.

Yoga clothes

Yoga, in its wisdom, teaches us to make room and eliminate all the superfluous, so even the outfit can           be simple and essential and you will not necessarily use an Indian clothing. Just wear a pair of pants or leggings, a top or a t-shirt and a sweatshirt. You don’t need special shoes because yoga is practiced barefoot. You can also wear a pair of yoga socks with non-slip rubber pads to avoid slipping. Our advice, however, is to try to practice barefoot. 😊

 

YOGA FOR BEGINNERS: DIFFERENT KINDS OF YOGA

The best way to learn yoga is to do it, but if you are nervous to attend a yoga class right away, the best way is to start studying and getting information about it.

Kinds of yoga

There are many kinds of yoga, so to understand which type is most suitable for you, you have to read the descriptions of each one:

-Hatha Yoga tends to be the best kind of yoga for beginners, especially for those who have been living a sedentary lifestyle for a while, as it is a slower practice than other styles;

-Ashtanga, Power and Vinyasa yoga can be more challenging, but there are also Vinyasa yoga lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced. While during the lessons of Vinyasa and Power yoga, the sequences always change, in the Ashtanga the yoga positions are always the same;

-Iyengar yoga strongly focuses on correct alignment and often uses objects and supports to help participants perfect the execution of yoga poses;

-Hot yoga is yoga practiced in a warm and the heat makes the bodies more flexible. It is not good for those who suffer from health problems such as heart problems or for those who are particularly sensitive to heat;

-Kundalini yoga is often used as a type of healing yoga and lessons may incorporate elements of meditation, singing and spirituality.

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YOGA POSITIONS

It is said that yoga has as many positions as there are human beings. What yoga positions to start with? Let’s see together the best yoga positions for beginners:

-Standing positions: upright positions are often done first in order to warm-up the body;

-Balancing positions: these positions for yoga beginners are an important way to build the strength needed to perform advanced postures. Though they may seem difficult, you can improve considerably thanks to regular practice;

-Backbend: Talking about yoga for beginners, you will start with a slight flexion and extension of the spine, and then move to deeper positions. Since we rarely move like this in everyday life, backbends are essential for the health and longevity of the spine;

-Sitting positions: Sitting stretches are generally performed towards the end of a yoga class. Placing a folded blanket or a block under your butt is a good way to feel more comfortable in these postures;

-Resting positions: It is important to know the resting poses, especially the baby pose, which you can do whenever you need a break during a yoga session. Among these positions, there is Savasana, or the position of the corpse, that is useful for the final relaxation of both mind and body.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGA

The health benefits of yoga are numerous. Many teachers and people who practice it are convinced about it, but also scientists and doctors.

In the last 30 years almost a thousand studies have proven that combining yoga positions (asana), meditation and breathing (pranayama) has benefits not only on your body but also on your mind and can give relief to many diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, etc.  Of course, you need to do it consistently to enjoy these health benefits of yoga.

What are the benefits of daily yoga?

Practicing Yoga in a constant way, within a few months, you can get the benefits that this millennial technique is able to give.

The main benefits of daily yoga are:

– Reduction of stress and anxiety;

– Improving the capacity to relax;

– Increase in concentration;

– Development of breath awareness;

– Increased elasticity and flexibility;

– Increased strength and resistance;

– Correction of body and muscle imbalances;

– Harmonization of posture;

– Improvement of coordination;

– Improving balance and stability;

– Raising body awareness;

– Improvement of harmony between mind and body

 

Yoga combines flexibility, strength and balance giving the benefits of a synergistic and complete training.

 

YOGA FOR BEGINNERS: ONE LAST TIP

Yoga is a very personal practice. What is safe and effective for one person may not be safe or effective for another.  One of the principles of yoga is non-violence. Non-violence towards your body, respecting its limits and health. Acceptance is always part of yoga practice. Many yoga positions need some strength and an excellent balance that take time to develop. Start by practicing basic yoga positions and take your time to train. Everything will come at the right time, don’t get discouraged!

We’ll just have to wish you the best for the beginning of this new journey. Namastè! 😊

health-benefits-of-potatoes

HEALTH BENEFITS OF POTATOES AND CEREALS

Cereals and potatoes are important sources of complex carbohydrates and fiber in our diet. In particular, they have in common the presence of starch molecule, which constitutes a supply of prolonged energy for our organism over the time. Together, they form the group of foods from which we have to draw about half of our daily energy and they are therefore one of the pillars on which the Mediterranean diet is based.

Cereals and potatoes group includes pasta, bread and bakery products, rice, barley, corn, as well as other minor cereals and tubers such as sweet potatoes and topinambur. In our daily diet, these foods are the most important source of starch, carbohydrates and easily usable energy.

Let’s get to know the health benefits of potatoes and cereals.

 

What are cereals?

Cereals, in the form of pasta, bread, rusks and bakery products, are the main source of carbohydrates in our diet, but they also contain a good amount of vitamins B and a sufficient percentage of proteins. Many times, we eat refined cereals, that are depleted of minerals but above all of fiber, which is important for its many beneficial effects on the organism.

Cereals have been the basis of human nutrition for millennia, also thanks to their great versatility that has allowed obtaining a wide range of products processed according to the different eating habits and traditions in the world. The term “cereals” refers primarily to:

-Wheat;

-Rice;

-Corn;

-Barley;

-Oats;

-Rye;

-Sorghum;

-Millet.

Is cereal healthy? Although different from each other, these cereals have important nutritional properties in common: as mentioned, they are in fact an excellent energy source, thanks to the high amount of carbohydrates, and a discreet source of protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber.

Wheat, cultivated since the antiquity, is one of the main food resources of man. From this, through milling, you get semolina and flour. Its fruit, which takes the name of caryopsis, consists mainly of starch (about 70%) and proteins (10-15%). In the caryopsis is not present already-made gluten, which is formed with the hydration of the semolina and flours during the obtaining of the different dough. This famous protein is present not only in wheat, but also in other cereals such as barley and rye and is responsible for celiac disease, a permanent intolerance to gluten that manifests itself with chronic inflammation of the small intestine.

Pasta is a product obtained from flour through refining processes. It is deprived of a part of fiber, so this food is less satiating than cereals consumed as such. Pasta also contains more carbohydrates and gluten. Starting a strict diet, you think you have to completely eliminate pasta… Pasta lovers, don’t give up! You must never eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. It will be enough to prefer the whole-wheat pasta, which has a greater satiating power than the pasta obtained by refining, because it contains more fibers.

Bread and bakery products are part of a very heterogeneous category of foods, but they have the same basic ingredients, which are generally: flour, water and leavening agent. Bread contains, for the same weight, fewer carbohydrates than pasta. Wholemeal bread is preferable for the reduced amount of glycemic carbohydrates. Finally, it is better to avoid bread if you eat pasta or rice, in order not to exceed the intake of carbohydrates and keep blood glucose levels under control.

Rice is native to Asia and has interesting nutritional properties. In addition to containing starch in abundance, it has decent levels of protein. These are present in smaller quantities than other cereals but have a high nutritional value, because they are rich in the essential lysine amino acid. Besides being extremely digestible, rice does not contain gluten and for this reason, it is also indicated in case of coeliac disease. It is also able to satiate much more than other foods, because during cooking its volume can even triple.

 

Some good habits about cereals

-Do not consume bread if you eat pasta or rice;

-prefer whole cereals (spelt, barley, millet, rice, etc.) to pasta or other bakery products, because they provide the right amount of carbohydrates and they are more tolerated by the intestine;

-prefer whole grains because they have a higher fiber content than refined ones, they satiate more, help intestinal motility and control the uptake of glucose and cholesterol.

Keep reading to know the health benefits of potatoes.

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What are potatoes?

Often considered as “vegetables”, health benefits of potatoes are similar to those of cereals and their derivatives. Potatoes are tubers and, like cereals, they consist mainly of starch (a chain of glucose molecules, which are freed during digestion). Potato starch is digested and assimilated very quickly, especially in freshly cooked potatoes. When it becomes cold, starch begins a process that makes it less digestible and therefore, even if in a small part, less digestible. Potatoes are practically fat-free, but they absorb them easily from the seasonings.

Tubers are more or less elongated globose-looking vegetal structures. They are mostly underground but also aerial, depending on the enlarged part of the plant in which they form.

In addition to potatoes, less known is the topinambur, a tuber that contains water-soluble fibers, such as inulin, able to promote the control of glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood at the end of meals. This tuber is also useful when you want to lose weight: its high fiber content facilitates the feeling of satiety and, if you also drink a lot of water, reduces water retention and promotes intestinal motility. Moreover, topinambur does not contain gluten and for this reason, those who are celiac or sensitive to gluten can use it in the form of flour.

 

Some tips about potatoes

They should be stored in cool and dry places to take advantage of health benefits of potatoes and prevent them from sprouting. In the potatoes are present some toxic and antinutritional components: the glycoalcaloids (the most famous is the solanine). These substances are mainly found in the peel, but they are also produced in the buds and in the areas surrounding the sprouted part (easily detectable by the green color due to the presence of chlorophyll). They are also found in the black areas that form as a result of bumps and infections. All these parts should therefore be carefully and abundantly removed before eating the potatoes. Cooking does not completely suppress the presence of solanine, so if there is too much, it can remain a dangerous amount even after cooking.

 

How to take advantage of health benefits of potatoes and cereals

All these foods (such as bread, pasta, rice, bakery products, foods composed of flour, pizza, potatoes) containing starch, and therefore consistent doses of carbohydrates, are part of the broad group of glycemic carbohydrates. This group includes all foods that can have a clear influence on blood sugar levels, as well as sugar, honey and sugary drinks. On the contrary, non-glycemic carbohydrates, such as those contained in vegetables, do not lead to excessive increases in blood sugar. For this reason, it is essential to correctly choose the carbohydrates that are introduced in our diet, without eliminating them but controlling their doses.

saturated-and-unsaturated-fats

SATURATED AND UNSATURATED FATS: DO YOU KNOW ALL THE DIFFERENCES?

More and more often, when we talk about fat, we use a negative meaning. In fact, we are making a big mistake, because not all fat should be considered a damage to our health. It is therefore important to make a clear distinction between good and bad fats, or saturated and unsaturated fats. The first are extremely useful to our organism and can be taken as nutrients. The latter, however, are harmful especially if taken over time. Knowing how to distinguish them is essential to live in a healthy way, with a varied and balanced diet and without sacrificing to eat foods with lipid content.

 

All fats consist of organic molecules that are not soluble in water, with a high-energy power of about nine kcal per gram. Depending on the state in which they are at room temperature, they are divided in solids, such as butter, lard, and margarine, and in liquids (or oils) such as olive oil, sunflower oil, etc. Saturated and unsaturated fats have different origins: the animal ones, such as butter, cream and lard, and those of plant origin, obtained from the pressing of fruits or various seeds.

 

Why does our body need fats?

Saturated and unsaturated fats are also part of the macronutrient category and should never be lacking in a well-balanced diet. They are often considered as unhealthy elements, but good fats help maintain an excellent health level and general well-being. Just like proteins and carbohydrates, fats also play a key role in our diet and act as a fuel for the body’s vital activities. In fact, they represent nutrients with the highest caloric density and energy in our diet. This makes them a key element in our body’s energy process.

Even if some diets promote a low-fat content, they are essential for our survival and are a vital component of a healthy diet. Obviously, it is necessary to select good fat and consume them in a measured way.

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Difference between saturated and unsaturated fats

The most important difference between saturated and unsaturated fats is the chemical structure of molecules, which can be saturated (richer in hydrogen) or unsaturated, which are healthier. Saturated fats are generally solid and are found mainly in land animals. Unsaturated foods are generally liquid and are mainly contained in vegetables and fish. However, there are exceptions. Palm oil, for example, is semi-solid at room temperature and consists predominantly of saturated fats.

 

What is saturated fat?

It is established that an excess of saturated fat is bad for our health and for the cardiovascular system. Saturated fats are difficult to metabolize and tend to accumulate in the blood. They can therefore cause an increase in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (commonly known as bad cholesterol) with the natural consequence of a greater predisposition to cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack or stroke. Saturated fat tend to raise the cholesterol level in the blood even more than the dietary intake of cholesterol itself. These include mainly dairy products (cheese, whole milk, cream, and butter), red meat and its derivatives and certain vegetable oils (palm oil and especially coconut oil).

 

What is unsaturated fat?

Saturated fat foods do not raise cholesterol level in the blood as saturated ones.

Some unsaturated fat examples are found in products of vegetable origin such as olives, olive oil and dried fruit, but also in blue fish, salmon, mackerel, which are not harmful to our body, rather they are essential.

Unsaturated fatty acids are considered good fats to be included in our diet, as they do not fatten and promote all-round well-being. They are recommended for a healthy diet and, if consumed in moderation, they bring benefits to our body without any risk. In turn, they are divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

 

Monounsaturated fats are present in various foods and oils and it has been shown that their consumption allows increasing the level of HDL (good cholesterol) in the blood, thus preventing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, are also known as essential fats, as our body is not able to produce them autonomously and therefore, they need to be introduced through food.

 

Our advice for you

Saturated and unsaturated fats: our advice is to reduce as much as possible foods very rich in saturated fat. It is important to replace them with foods that are sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as dried fruit, blue fish and complex carbohydrates, capable to perform the important function of balancing bad cholesterol, fight inflammation, excess of triglycerides and reduce blood pressure.  The Longevity Diet designed by prof. Valter Longo follows this line. Do you want to know more? Buy the book here!

flat-tummy-exercises

FLAT TUMMY EXERCISES TO FEEL BETTER

Have you always wanted a flat tummy and a sculpted abs? Do not despair, we have the right solution for you: if you practice the exercises that we propose 3 times a week, you will get the much desired flat tummy.

How to get a flat tummy? Follow our tips and perform our flat tummy exercises.

 

Diet for a flat tummy

Obviously it is important to follow some small tricks also at the table:

-drink as much water as possible, even up to 2 liters per day;
-avoid alcohol and soda
-eat slowly and in small quantities.

What are the perfect flat tummy foods? To keep the line, it is necessary that the diet is rich in vegetables that have beneficial properties. For example, fennel is considered a vegetable with deflating properties. It is important to enrich the diet with healthy pasta and brown rice-based dishes, useful to regulate the intestine and also eat fish, especially the blue fish, rich in omega-3. In addition to water, during the day and after meals teas and deflating infusions are an excellent digestive.

 

Flat tummy and healthy bowel: diet, aerobic and abdominal exercises

A lot of people think the key to get a flat tummy is exhausting yourself with abs. Unfortunately, this is not the right solution: abs are needed but they are not enough on their own. Making only the abdominal muscles work, in fact, does not allow you to burn enough calories to allow a significant reduction in fat at the abdominal level.
It is important a complete flat tummy workout. The perfect mix to achieve results is to combine the abdominals, essential for toning, a proper nutrition and aerobic training (such as running) to burn fat and calories and give a boost to the metabolism.

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How to get a flat tummy in a week

Flat tummy in a week with focused exercises? If you also fall into the category “I wish I could, but I can’t”, here is an intensive training that will allow you to take the first step to get back in shape. It seems an unattainable goal, but the results much depend on the starting point: if you are overweight, you have just come through one or more pregnancies or do not do specific exercises for years, then the goal to achieve needs more time. If it is about deflating your tummy and getting your abdominal muscles moving again, then 7 days is the perfect time.

 

Best exercises for flat tummy

Here are the best flat tummy exercises:

-Crunch: lying on the ground, legs bent and feet on the ground. Raise your head and shoulders slightly – which must remain aligned – holding the arms crossed in front of them. Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions.

-Crunch with knees to your chest: lying on the ground and keep your hands at your sides. Bring your knees and pelvis towards your face and stretch your legs without touching the floor. Do 4 sets of 20 repetitions.

-Standing abdominal: upright position, legs slightly apart and hands behind your neck. Perform lateral bends keeping shoulders and back straight. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

-Bicycle: lying on the ground, touch the left elbow with the right knee and, vice versa, the left knee with the right elbow. The head stays raised, and feet never touch the floor. Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions.

– As mentioned before, aerobic training is also important, such as running, cycling, step, Zumba, spinning.

Another important tip is, alternating with flat tummy exercises, a fast-paced walk of 40 minutes per day: it will help to burn fat and redefine your hips.

 

What are you waiting for? Start now and let us know your results!