To Top Skip to content

Archives

Improve Your Memory With a 10 Minute Walk!

In a day and age where so many of us are overworked, overscheduled, and overcommitted, do you have 10 minutes to spare? Hopefully you do, because evidence suggests that as little as 10 minutes of very light exercise daily can be good for your brain! A bit of exercise can help sharpen your memory, and facilitate neuronal changes that enhance learning and thinking. Research indicates that yes – you can actually improve your memory with just a short 10 minute walk!

Stepping towards a healthier mind

There are plenty of reasons for being physically active. Regular exercise helps prevent and manage countless chronic conditions, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It also promotes good sleep, improves your mood, boosts your sex life, and helps you stay at a healthy weight.

But perhaps the ultimate benefits of working out daily are its long-term effects on memory and cognition, as well as its ability to protect your brain against neurological conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In a 2018 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers asked a group of 36 college students to sit on a stationary bike for 10 minutes and do nothing. At a separate date, they were told to pedal leisurely for 10 minutes, at a pace so subtle it barely raised their heart rate — about 30% of their maximal oxygen consumption. The participants were asked to take computerized memory tests immediately following both sessions (exercise and non-exercise).

Surprisingly, the results of the study showed that, as short and undemanding as it was, the effects of the exercise were beyond question. Right after gently pedaling for a mere 10 minutes, the students fared better remembering the images shown on the memory tests, especially those that were harder to discern. M.R.I tests also confirmed that specific portions of the participant’s brains associated with learning seemed to communicate better after being physically active.

 

Improve Your Memory and Brain Health

 

Furthermore, a study of older adults who agreed to donate their brains to science when they passed, also found significant cognitive improvements among active individuals. Participants of the longitudinal research study underwent annual medical and mental evaluations for about 20 years when they were alive. They also wore wrist devices that measured their daily activity levels around the clock.

During the postmortem phase of the study, researchers analyzed 454 brain autopsies of deceased participants, looking for clues on whether physical activity could be associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other brain conditions.

As expected, results showed that the more active a lifestyle the individual led prior to his or her death, the better their cognitive function. And those who moved more also had fewer odds of dementia and other brain pathologies. In technical terms, for every one standard deviation increase in physical activity, there was a 31% lower risk of dementia in the time leading up to the individual’s death.

The findings of these and other studies show that exercise can quite literally change your brain for the better. And what’s more, these effects are immediate and long-lasting. In other words,  you don’t have to break your back at the gym for months on end to protect your brain and improve your memory.

Moving your body can have powerful effects on your brain

Regular physical activity benefits your brain in several ways. Mainly, it is an excellent remedy against the many factors that negatively affect cognition, such as:

Improve your memory with a 10 minute walk

 

Some research also suggests that people who work out often also seem to have a larger hippocampus and more gray matter, compared to sedentary folks. The hippocampus is a critical region of the brain deeply involved in emotion processing, learning, and memory formation.

Help improve your memory – try it for yourself!

So what can you do to reap the brain-changing benefits of physical activity and improve your memory? Just start moving more! Research shows that being physically active — regardless of workout type and duration — not only enables your brain to age better; it also increases its ability to withstand neurological damage and keeps your memory sharp and agile.

And if you’re looking to give your thinker an extra hand, try our new and improved Calm & Clever daily supplement, formulated with scientifically proven all-natural ingredients shown to support cognitive function, reduce cortisol levels, and enhance memory.

 

Pumpkin for Health, Pumpkin Seeds, Weight Loss & More!

Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin for Health – Healthy Eyes, Heart, Skin, Hair, Weight Loss & More!

Commonly viewed as a vegetable, pumpkin is scientifically a fruit, as it contains seeds. However, nutritionally it’s more similar to vegetables than fruits. Pumpkin has a range of fantastic health benefits, including being one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene.

Eye Health:  Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant. It also gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color.  The body converts any ingested beta-carotene into vitamin A.  Vitamin A is essential for eye health and helps the retina absorb and process light. One cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it an outstanding option for optical health.  Studies show that vitamin A can also strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. (1) (2)

High Antioxidant Content:  Free radicals are molecules produced by your body’s metabolic process. Though highly unstable, they have useful roles, such as destroying harmful bacteria.  However, excessive free radicals in your body create a state called oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Pumpkins contain antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells.  Pumpkin may lower you risk of cancer. (3)  (4)

Heart Health:  Pumpkin contains a variety of nutrients that can improve your heart health.  It’s high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, which have been linked to heart benefits.  For instance, studies have shown that people with higher potassium intakes appear to have lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of strokes which are both risk factors for heart disease. (5)

Weight Loss:  Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer.  It is low in calories as it is 94% water and contains only 50 calories per cup (245 grams).

Healthy Skin:  Pumpkin is great for the skin for many reasons.  Studies show that carotenoids like beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock. (6)
Once ingested, carotenoids are transported to various organs including your skin. Here, they help protect skin cells against damage from harmful UV rays (7).
Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which is essential for healthy skin. Your body needs this vitamin to make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy. (8).
Moreover, pumpkins contain lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and many more antioxidants that have been shown to boost your skin’s defenses against UV. (9) (10)

One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains:

Calories: 49
Fat: 0.2 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
Potassium: 16% of the RDI
Copper: 11% of the RDI
Manganese: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
Iron: 8% of the RDI
Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.

When making pumpkin dishes… Don’t throw away the seeds!

PUMPKIN SEEDS ARE POWER SEEDS

Pumpkin Seeds for HealthPumpkin seeds were discovered by archaeologists in caves in Mexico back in 7,000 B.C.  North American Indian tribes were the very first to observe the dietary and medicinal properties of pumpkin seeds.  The nutrition in pumpkin seeds improves with age; they are among the few foods that increase in nutritive value as they decompose. Pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months increase in protein content. They can be consumed raw or toasted, plain or tossed in salads and other fresh or cooked dishes.  Containing a variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are extremely healthy and are a good source of B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates), magnesium, iron and protein.  100 grams of pumpkin seeds contains about 30 grams of protein. They are the most alkaline-forming seed.

PUMPKIN SEED BENEFITS

Heart Healthy:  Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of healthy fats, fibers and various antioxidants that are beneficial for the heart.  The high levels of essential fatty acids help maintain healthy blood vessels and lower unhealthy cholesterol in the blood.  Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

Healthy Sleep:  Pumpkin seeds contain Serotonin, a neurochemical which promotes health sleep.  They are also high in Tryptophan, an amino acid that further converts into Serotonin in the body, to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Prostate Health:  High in zinc these seeds are useful for promoting men’s fertility and preventing prostrate problems. The oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.  Pumpkin seeds also have DHEA (Di-hydro epi-androstenedione) that helps reduce the chances of prostate cancer.

Stabilize Blood Sugar – Pumpkin seeds help improve insulin regulation in diabetics and decreases oxidative stress. These seeds are a rich source of digestible protein that helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Hair Growth:  Pumpkin seeds consist of cucurbitin, a unique amino that may be responsible for hair growth. They also contain vitamin C that also plays a crucial role in hair growth. Apply pumpkin seeds oil on scalp to see the results or just consume a handful of them daily.

Bone Protection:  High in zinc, pumpkin seeds are a natural protector against osteoporosis, since zinc deficiencies can lead to higher rates of osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source vitamin E; they contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per 100 g.

Other benefits of eating pumpkin seeds for health:  According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.  These seeds reduce inflammation and counter arthritis pain without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.  They are also used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.

Take advantage of the abundance of pumpkins during the fall season and give your health a boost. Eating pumpkin for health is easy and delicious with these healthy pumpkin recipes!

 
PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE
Pumpkin for Health - Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass and will satisfy all your pumpkin cravings.  It combines pumpkin purée with almond butter, milk, delicious spices, and honey. It’s an excellent source of filling protein and fiber, plus it provides eye-helping beta-carotene. (Can’t get enough pumpkin?

 

 
Ingredients:
1 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup or honey
4 ice cubes
Directions:  Blend ingredients together, and enjoy! Serves 1.

 

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins - Pumpkin for HealthHEALTHY PUMPKIN MUFFINS (No Flour, Sugar Free, Oil Free, Dairy Free Gluten Free)
Healthy pumpkin muffins are a better-for-you alternative to traditional pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread.
Gluten free, sugar-free, oil free, and dairy free. Your taste buds will love the healthy fall flavors.

Prep Time – 20 min
Cook Time – 20 min
Total Time – 32 mins
Servings: 14 muffins
Calories: 123  calories

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (toasted & ground) * 9.3 ounces
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats (toasted, 2 Tbsp reserved for muffin tops) * 2.8 ounces
1 1/8 cups pumpkin puree * 10.7 ounces
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
6 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
3/4 cup canned coconut milk or dairy milk (full fat, skim or 1 %,)
2 tsp real vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 ½ tsp pumpkin spice (or 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 ground nutmeg)
½ cup walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
Preheat oven to 325. Place all oats on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, stirring once (about 4 to 6 minutes).
Let cool to room temperature. (If you are in a hurry you can skip this step and use plain old-fashioned oats, however the toasting adds flavor.)
Place 2.5 cups of oats in a food processor and blend/pulse until they reach a rough, flour like consistency.
Combine pumpkin puree, eggs, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Add both ground and unground oats to wet ingredients and allow to sit for 10-20 minutes (this allows the oats to soak and soften).
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just incorporated. (The batter will be very thick.)

Optional: Fold in approximately 1/2 c walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, or dried cranberries.

Scoop batter into muffin tin, lined with muffin wrappers (makes 12-14 muffins). Fill the muffin tins 7/8 full.
Bake at 350 for about 23 – 25 minutes, a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean and the top of the muffin should feel firm.
Recipe Notes
Use parchment muffin liners or lightly spray liners lightly with oil to make the baked muffins easier to remove.

 
GREAT PUMPKIN SOUP
Great Pumpkin Soup - Pumpkin for Health

Ingredients
1 small pumpkin
1 onion
3 to 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1.5 cups of vegetable broth
1.5 cups of coconut milk
1/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Olive oil (to brush on pumpkin flesh)
Pumpkin seeds and fresh rosemary (to garnish)

Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F before cutting your pumpkin in half. Spoon out the strings and seeds, saving the seeds for roasting.

2. Using olive oil, brush the flesh of the pumpkin and place the halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately one hour — a fork should be able to pierce the skin. When cooked, allow to cool.

3. On your stove top, saute garlic and onions until translucent — then add turmeric to toast slightly.

4. Add all remaining ingredients (pumpkin flesh, broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper) and bring to a simmer.

5. Once incorporated, use an emulsion blender to create a smoother consistency and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.

6. When ready to serve, garnish with rosemary and pumpkin seeds. If you’d like to roast your own, simply toss seeds in olive oil and salt, baking for around 40 to 45 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Spice Bedtime Drink (Vegan)

For more great recipes, visit BrenDid .com

 

 

How to Roast Nuts – Tasty Roasted Nut Recipes

Roasted nuts are delicious and make healthy snacks, party treats, and great gifts.  Roasting nuts deepens their flavor making them even more nutty and complex.  Nuts are a good source of healthful fats, fiber, and beneficial micro and macronutrients. Nuts are also among the best source of plant-based proteins and have numerous health benefits and .including increased longevity.  Each type of nut offers different nutritional benefits.  Studies have shown that dry roasting of most nuts does not reduce their health benefits.

Dry Roasting vs. Roasting
There are two basic ways to roast nuts in the oven-dry or with a small amount of oil. Roasting nuts with a touch of oil is a really nice way to add flavor and crispness. You can use a neutral oil like grapeseed oil, or match the oil to the nut such as almond oil or walnut oil. Various spices can also be added to the oil for flavored nuts. Roasting in oil is great when adding nuts to salads, or when using as a garnish. Dry roast the nuts if they are going to be used in baking recipes because the extra oiliness can throw off the recipe. If a recipe requires chopped, roasted nuts, chop AFTER roasting as it is easy to burn chopped nuts during the roasting process. Warm nuts also chop more cleanly and with less flaking.

ROASTING NUTS IN OIL

Ingredients:

  • Nuts (any amount)
  • Oil (a neutral oil such as olive oil, grapeseed, or nut oil such as almond or walnut oil).

Equipment:
Heavy baking tray or cake pan
Plate or tray for cooling

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Spread nuts in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  3. If you are roasting the nuts with oil, drizzle a small amount over the nuts and toss to coat evenly. A cake pan can be used for small amounts allowing you to shake the pan to evenly distribute them.
    Use as little oil as possible, starting with just a teaspoon or two.
  4. Leave plain or sprinkle with your favorite herbal spices (Italian spice blends are easy to buy and taste great)
  5. Roast in the oven for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove after 5 minutes to check, and stir so that the outer nuts are moved towards the middle and the middle nuts are moved towards the edges. If using a cake tin, gently shake to redistribute.
  7. Check the nuts again after 3 minutes. You are looking for the color to be a few shades darker. Return to the oven and check again in 3 more minutes. If they need longer, give another stir. Nuts rarely take longer than 15 minutes to properly roast, usually closer to 8 to 12 minutes.
  8. Check for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool by immediately transferring to another plate or baking sheet. DO NOT COOL ON THE TRAY THEY WERE BAKED ON or you run the risk of scorching them.
  9. ENJOY!

Note: While roasting, nuts can go from “just right” to “burnt” in under a minute… so monitor carefully.

Tasty Variations – Roasted Nut Recipes
Sweet and Spicy Party Nuts, Roasted Almonds with Honey and Cinnamon, Spiced Rosemary and Thyme Nuts, Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts, Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds, Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans, Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds and more…

You may use any type of nut or combination with the recipes below.

Recipe #1 – Roasted Almonds with Honey and Cinnamon

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 12 ounces shelled almonds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner. In a skillet warm honey, cinnamon and ginger over low heat, stirring until combined. Add almonds and stir to coat almonds. Remove from heat. Sprinkle in brown sugar and salt and combine. Spread coated almonds on lined baking sheet and bake at 325-degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Slightly adjust cook time to toasted/roasted preference. Allow to cool, tossing a couple of times as they cool to avoid them sticking together. Break apart once cooled before storing.

Recipe #2 – Spiced Rosemary and Thyme Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. large whole nuts – such as 1 c. cashews, 1 c. pecans, and 1 c. almonds
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300°. Place nuts in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour oil into a small heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat until warm. Do not let it get too hot – the oil will burn. Add rosemary and thyme and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in cumin and cayenne pepper. Pour the flavored oil over the nuts and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and black pepper. Stir again. Transfer to a jelly roll pan or a baking pan with sides. Bake for about 15 minutes total, stirring after the first 10 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Recipe #3 – Italian Rosemary Garlic Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you could cut the amount of olive oil in half, if preferable)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix up the nuts in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix the olive oil with the seasonings. Pour the oil mixture over the nut mixture and stir to coat all the nuts. Spread the nuts out onto a rimmed baking sheet. A 11 x 15 jellyroll pan works really well for this. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Recipe #4 – Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 (6-ounce) packages pecan halves
  • 1 (6-ounce) can whole natural almonds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle seasoning
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • Cooking spray

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine pecans, almonds and next 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in maple syrup and egg whites, stirring well. Spread evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated well with cooking spray. Bake at 325 F for 10 minutes. Stir mixture and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Cool and break into pieces, if needed.

Recipe #5 – Pumpkin Pie Spiced AlmondsIngredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:
Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, pour 1 cup almonds into a large mixing bowl. Add your cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt — toss to coat. Drizzle the agave and vanilla extract on the almonds and stir until all almonds are coated with the spices and sweetener. Spray a foil lined cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the almonds on the sheet in a single layer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping once, until almonds are roasted. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Recipe #6 – Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces raw pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B – the darker, more flavorful syrup)
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • pinch of ground ginger

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Place nuts in a single layer on a parchment or Silpat lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until fragrant about 10 minutes. Flip once during with a pair of tongs. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Turn off the heat. Toss roasted pecans in the mixture with a heat proof spatula. Evenly spread the pecans back onto the lined cookie tray. Be sure they are in a single layer. Bake nuts for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let the nuts cool before serving. Store in a air tight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe #7 – Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup untoasted walnut halves
  • 1 cup untoasted pecan halves
  • 1 cup unsalted, dry roasted almonds
  • 1 cup unsalted, dry-roasted cashews
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine walnut halves, pecan halves, almonds, and cashews in a large bowl. Add salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper; toss to coat. Heat the sugar, water, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat. Slowly pour butter mixture over the bowl of nuts and stir to coat. Transfer nuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Bake nuts in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Stir nuts until the warm syrup coats every nut. Spread into a single layer, return to the oven, and bake until nuts are sticky and roasted, about 6 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

Recipe #8 – Rosemary Roasted Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups walnuts

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the olive oil, rosemary, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine well.

Recipe #9 – Barbecue Roasted Mixed Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts etc.)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Instructions:
Heat oven to 325°F. Line 15x10x1-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, extending foil over edges.
Melt butter in oven in foil-lined pan. Combine sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Place egg whites into bowl. Beat at high speed, scraping bowl often, until soft peaks form. Continue beating, gradually adding sugar mixture, until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in nuts and orange zest. Spread nut mixture over melted butter in pan. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, 25-30 minutes, or until nuts are browned and no butter remains. Cool completely. Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Recipe #10 – Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom (for a more subtle cardamom flavor, use just 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 cups raw almonds

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper, and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, cardamom, and salt. Whisk to remove any lumps. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla bean paste until frothy. Add the almonds and toss in the egg mixture. Pour the sugar and cocoa mixture into the almonds and stir until the almonds are evenly coated. Transfer the almonds to the prepared baking sheet, and spread into an even layer. Roast for about 40 – 45 minutes, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet, continuing to stir occasionally. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe #11 – Chai Spiced Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • Few drops of water
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chai spice mix (or half cinnamon, half ginger would work)
  • Pinch salt

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white, vanilla bean paste, and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, chai spice mix, and salt. Add the almonds to the whisked egg mixture and stir to evenly coat all of the almonds. Add the sugar and spice mixture, and toss until all of the almonds are covered. Spread the almonds out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring twice. Spread the almonds out on waxed paper or parchment paper to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Not only are roasted nuts great snacks and party treats, but they also make great gifts. Place in small half-pint mason jars, labeled and decorated, or in plastic bags tied up with ribbon.

 

To learn more about the amazing health benefits of nuts… CLICK HERE

 

7 Natural Herbs, Vitamins and Minerals for Youthful Knees

When it comes to knees and other joint comfort and health, this amazing combination of 7 supplements will make a big difference.

Boron
The trace mineral boron has been shown to support joint mobility and flexibility while promoting joint comfort. Boron stimulates the bone-growing and strengthening processes.*

Feverfew
Puracol® Feverfew is a proprietary combination of whole leaf feverfew high in naturally occurring phytochemicals and a special feverfew extract. Researchers have found that the herb feverfew can inhibit the release of enzymes from white cells found in inflamed joints, which is of particular support for joint comfort.*

 

feverfew

feverfew

Boswellia
Boswellia has long been used in traditional medicine. Modern clinical research has shown that boswellia supports a healthy inflammatory response and is beneficial to joint health and integrity.*

Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid binds to water to support lubrication and acts as a joint shock absorber. Its main functions are to maintain collagen, retain moisture, and encourage elasticity and flexibility.*

Vitamin C – Ascorbic Acid
In terms of joint health, vitamin C is critical for the production and maintenance of collagen, the major component of connective tissue throughout the body. Our joints are largely made of the fibrous protein “collagen”, supporting both flexible and strong joints.*

Magnesium
Magnesium helps promote a healthy inflammatory response, improves calcium absorption, and reduces oxidative stress. The sufficient intake of magnesium is particularly important for maintaining muscle and nerve function, which also contributes to the structural development of bones—especially important to those involved in sports, the elderly, and anyone of any age with joint issues.*

Ginger
Ginger has been widely used as a traditional medicine for centuries. Science-backed clinical studies show ginger to support a healthy inflammatory response, joint flexibility, mobility, and comfort and boost overall immunity. Akeso’s Cerevasc™ Ginger is a proprietary complex of ginger root and whole plant constituents.*

For a combination dietary supplement containing all 7 of these ingredients, click HERE.

 

 

 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit disorder (ADHD) is not just a childhood problem. Learn what adult ADHD looks like and discover your natural options for improving attention, focus, and clarity.

Understanding Adult ADHD

Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neuropsychiatric condition characterized by inattention, restlessness or hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. ADHD is relatively common in childhood, affecting more than 16 million children in the United States ages 2 to 17. In fact, it was once regarded as a mental health condition that occurred exclusively during childhood. However, ADHD is now considered a life-long condition, with about 5 percent of children carrying on their symptoms into adulthood, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

It is estimated that less than one-quarter of adults with ADHD seek professional help for their symptoms, meaning that the majority of adult ADHD cases are never diagnosed or treated. Untreated ADHD can lead to personal and professional difficulties like trouble meeting deadlines, unstable relationships, impulsive behavior or temper, and more.

Adults with ADHD are more likely to have comorbid or coexisting conditions that can make diagnosis and treatment more challenging, including:

  • Depression and persistent depressive disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Sleep disorders

Signs and symptoms of adult ADHD

For both children and adults, ADHD is typically marked by inattention and hyperactivity or impulsivity. However, most adults experience fewer symptoms as they age, and the intensity of the symptoms tends to dwindle down as well – especially hyperactivity and impulsivity. In adults, ADHD inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity might look like:

 

adhd

Do you suffer from adult ADHD?

Inattention

  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention
  • Procrastinating
  • Struggling to complete even seemingly simple tasks
  • Poor listening skills
  • Frequent daydreaming
  • Frequent careless mistakes
  • Difficulty with organization
  • Losing things easily
  • Struggling to follow instructions
  • Difficulty meeting deadlines
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dislike for activities that require sustained mental effort
  • Hard time remembering details
  • Poor planning and/or time management skills
  • Difficulty multitasking

Hyperactivity/Impulsivity

  • Being excessively restless
  • Mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sleeping issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Poor self-control
  • Addictive tendencies
  • Irritability/short temper
  • Getting bored easily
  • Fidgeting
  • Talking excessively even during inappropriate times
  • Multitasking but not getting anything done
  • Difficulty waiting for turns
  • Constantly interrupting others
  • Reckless driving
  • Trouble relaxing
adult adhd symptoms

Do you have poor self-control?

Treating adult ADHD

Physicians often prescribe medications to treat ADHD during childhood and adulthood, but it is important to understand that while drugs can help some people cope with their symptoms, they often come with side effects and are not a cure or a solution for this condition.

Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are the most commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD.  CNS stimulants work by increasing the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine and stimulating brain activity. These drugs help individuals with ADHD to stay focused. Two common CNS stimulant choices prescribed to both children and adults are methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamines (Adderall). Both drugs are controlled substances available by prescription only because they potentially can be misused or abused.

Stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD have known side effects that range from non-serious to severe, including:

  • Anorexia or appetite loss
  • Trouble sleeping
  • High blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Increased irritability
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Increased restlessness
  • Addiction

Therapy

Adults are typically better equipped than children to implement structured strategies to successfully manage their ADHD symptoms. After learning how to identify unhealthy patterns and how to address them, many may not even need medication or outside intervention, if their symptoms are not disruptive or dangerous for themselves or others.

Psychological counseling or talk therapy can provide adults with ADHD with the tools they need to gain control over their symptoms. For example, mental health counselors or coaches can teach individuals how to set goals, prioritize, manage time, and stay organized. There are several types of therapy available for adults with ADHD, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Biofeedback

Natural Alternatives for ADHD

Research shows that alternative therapies can also be useful for reducing ADHD symptoms. The following evidence-based supplements have been shown to help improve attention, focus, and clarity and calmness.

Magnesium: Individuals with ADHD have been observed to have lower levels of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for brain health. In a study evaluating 50 children diagnosed with ADHD, researchers found that those who received a magnesium supplement for six months showed a significant decrease in hyperactive behaviors.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Researchers have also observed that individuals with ADHD appear to have lower omega-3 levels.

Zinc: Decreased zinc levels have been linked to trouble concentrating, reduced learning abilities, and ADHD. Research suggests that used in combination with amphetamines, zinc may help reduce the dosage needed to treat ADHD.

Iron: Iron deficiency has been noted to increase the risk of psychiatric disorders, including ADHD. Iron-deficient children and adults who suffer from ADHD may benefit from supplementing with iron to help control their symptoms.

Vitamin D:  Research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is more common in people experiencing a lack of attention. A 2018 study helped clarify the mechanism responsible for lower vitamin D levels, as it revealed that children with lower vitamin D levels, also had lower vitamin D receptor levels.1 Recent research has also suggested that vitamin D may have an impact on dopamine levels in the brain.2  Dopamine is a brain chemical called a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters accommodate signaling between nerve cells (neurons). Dopamine is used to modulate certain physiological functions – including memory, motor movement, sleep, cognition, and addiction. It is also responsible for regulating mood, pleasure, and the reward cycle.  Vitamin D supplementation improves cognitive function and inattention.

 

Bacopa Monnieri:  Bacopa is a well-known herb frequently used in Ayurvedic traditional medicine and is widely studied and used as part of herbal preparations to improve memory and intelligence. Clinical studies suggest that bacopa may improve learning rate, ability to process data/information, retention of learned facts, and memory. Over 4 weeks bacopa was shown to reduce nervousness and irritability in humans diagnosed with anxiety. Bacopa helps the elderly as well. In a patient population whose average age was 62, bacopa was shown to improve working memory/recall and improve attention as well as cognitive processing.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a universal nutrient building block for cell membranes that are especially concentrated in the brain’s nerve cells. It covers and protects the cells in your brain and carries messages between them, playing an important role in keeping your mind and memory sharp. Phosphatidylserine also helps to improve attention and the ability to cope with stress.

Saffron Extract: Saffron (stigma, 2% safranal) is an impressive botanical known in traditional medicine for mood balance and has been clinically studied for evidence of improving positive mental outlook, nervous system health, support for healthy stress levels, and increased brain dopamine levels.

The Sleep/ADHD Connection

People with ADHD often have a hard time falling or staying asleep. Everyone needs 7-9 hours of proper sleep each night to feel productive and well during the day.  Feeling tired makes ADHD symptoms worse, and that makes it harder to sleep the next night. This cycle repeats.  While sleeplessness and ADHD were once thought to be separate issues, some scientists believe symptoms of ADHD may be a problem associated with a lack of normal sleep patterns. Approximately 75% of children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are believed to have sleep problems.  Therefore, reestablishing healthy sleep patterns is key for anyone with symptoms of ADHD.

The following supplements are beneficial for reestablishing healthy sleep patterns:

Magnesium is a mineral with wide-ranging effects including an influence over some of the processes that promote sleep. Magnesium helps the body maintain healthy levels of GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain and, in part, can help calm the body and mind while preparing for sleep

Pyridoxal 5-phosphate is the active form of vitamin B6 and the necessary cofactor for the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin. Serotonin promotes sleep. In conjunction with other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin influences when, how much, and how well you sleep. In addition to boosting mood and confidence, serotonin also helps sustain the body’s 24-hour rhythms and promotes deep and sustained sleep. It helps regulate your emotions and circadian rhythms, signaling the body to go to sleep or wake up at about the same time each day. Vitamin B6 deficiency has been linked to irritability, emotional disturbances, confusion, and disturbed sleep.

L-Theanine – Found in green tea in significant amounts, L-theanine is an amino acid that has a calming effect and is used to improve cognitive and mental performance. Alpha-wave predominance in the brain is associated with a state of relaxation, and theanine supplementation produces a shift toward more alpha-wave production within 40 minutes of taking it at amounts of 50 to 200 mg. The effects appear to last up to eight hours and are dependent on the amount taken. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on boys that failed to pay attention or had periods of occasional sleeplessness demonstrated that L-theanine significantly increases sleep efficiency as well as time spent asleep.

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our circadian rhythm, which synchronizes our sleep-wake cycle, and is one of the most popular supplements used by people who have trouble falling asleep. The role of melatonin has been studied in people who have occasional sleeplessness, delayed sleep onset, and nighttime awakening issues.

Lemon Balm Extract– Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has been used in traditional medicines as a sleep-inducing, and memory-enhancing nutrient. Human trials have provided scientific evidence for the impact of lemon balm, demonstrating its ability to improve mood, reduce stress, and help induce sleep. For instance, one study that investigated the impact of lemon balm extract over a 15-day period found that occasional anxiety was reduced in 70% of the study participants and occasional sleeplessness was reduced in 85% of the participants.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to dietary supplements, and getting proper sleep (both quantity and quality), the following lifestyle changes can help with ADHD.

Eat Healthily
A healthy diet can have a powerful, positive effect on your cognition, mood, memory, and behavior. The wrong diet can aggravate ADHD symptoms.   Limit foods with sugar and trans-fat and eat plenty of foods with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. Salmon, blueberries, spinach, nuts, broccoli, and dark chocolate (in moderation, of course) are all examples of foods that can improve focus.  Impulsivity leads many people diagnosed with ADHD to eat the wrong things too often. In fact, impulsivity is associated with unhealthy weight gain, which has been shown to be bad for the brain. Eat only high-quality calories. Avoid junk food and sugar as much as possible.  Eating sugar and processed food, even in small amounts, leads to craving more food and feeling less energetic.

It is important to start each day with protein to boost your focus and concentration. Protein helps balance your blood sugar, increases focus and gives your brain the necessary building blocks for brain health.  Great sources of high quality, lean protein include wild fish such as salmon, skinless turkey or chicken, beans, raw nuts, and vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. Protein powders can also be a good source of protein but it is important to read the labels. Many protein powders contain sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

Drink Plenty of Water
Your brain is 80 percent water. Anything that dehydrates it, such as too much caffeine or alcohol, impairs your cognition and judgment. Stay well hydrated every day.

Get Up and Get Moving
Regular exercise is just as healthy for the brain as it is for the body. It increases blood flow to the brain and improves concentration. It also boosts energy levels and can help you or your child become more alert and productive. There’s no need to run a marathon every day to reap the benefits of exercise. Simply go for a walk around the neighborhood, take a yoga class, swim, or cycle.

Control Stress
Since stress can make paying attention and staying focused even more challenging, it is important for you or your child to keep stress levels under control. One of the best ways to control stress is to exercise regularly as doing so can increase the brain’s serotonin levels and combat the stress hormone, cortisol. Meditating, breathing deeply, listening to soothing music, participating in a hobby, and spending time with positive friends and family members can also help.

Avoid Multitasking
Juggling several tasks at once can make staying focused even more difficult. Rather than multitasking in an effort to save time, you should concentrate on one task at a time. Create a to-do list each morning with only a few tasks so that you know what to focus on and avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Inattentiveness and impulsivity can interfere with all aspects of life.  Following the right regimen can have multiple benefits and lead to greater productivity, improved performance at work and/or school, healthier relationships, better sleep, and therefore increased longevity and a higher quality of life.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ADHD  – DOWNLOAD FREE WHITE PAPER for an up-to-date evaluation of the existing data and research as it pertains to ADHD and current information on the pros and cons of existing mainline treatments and other potential adjunctive or stand-alone options.

Blue Tea: 10 Benefits of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea + Recipes

This best-kept secret and trendy tea with endless health perks has been declared as this year’s hit by Good Housekeeping, Kitchen Theory, and Food & Wine Magazines. From tasty drinks to smoothies, blue rice, and cake pops, Butterfly Pea Flower adds a blue or purple splash to any occasion.  The latest food trend is using natural ingredients to showcase bright and bold colors in food, and butterfly pea flower is leading the way.

The blue tea itself tastes slightly similar to a watered-down green tea but add 2 tablespoons honey, a dash of salt, a splash of lemon or lime, and the blue tea first turns purple than pink and is very tasty. The tea or blue ice cubes can be added to any drink such as lemonade or a favorite cocktail and used as a natural color additive for dishes such as blue rice, cakes, muffins, ice cream, and smoothies.  When ground into a powder, it is known as “Blue Macha”.

This tea is great for unwinding in the afternoon or evening because it acts as a relaxing anxiolytic as well.

Butterfly Pea Flower Recipes

What is butterfly pea flower tea?

Blue tea has been around for centuries. It’s brewed from the bright blue flowers of the Southeastern Asia-native Clitoria ternatea plant, also known as blue butterfly pea plant or Asian pigeonwings. The vibrant petals are a common ingredient and natural food dye in countries like Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam, and even Australia lending its unique purplish hue to sweet and savory rice dishes like pulut inti and nasi kerabu.

The experience of drinking blue tea for the first time is nothing short of mesmerizing. Butterfly pea flower tea changes pH levels when you add certain ingredients to it, changing its original blue to bright purple, and pink tones. Acidic add-ins, like a few drops of lemon or lime juice, are ideal for turning the sapphire tea into a vibrant magenta.

Place a few of the dried flowers into hot water. Drink it hot or pour the infusion into a glass of ice and take an exploratory sip without adding anything else. Then squeeze in a few drops of lemon and sweetener or sweetener without lemon whichever you prefer for a summery refreshing drink on a hot afternoon and it is a blast to look at.

Science-backed health benefits of blue tea

While dried butterfly pea flowers are common in Southeast Asia, the petals have become a coveted and exotic ingredient in the US. Color-changing drinks made with blue pea tea ice cubes and gin, rum, or tequila are mixed with lemon juice and other ingredients to create multicolor cocktails that make you feel like you landed in an Alice in Wonderland movie. 

But color-changing capabilities aside — though that’s reason enough to brew yourself a cup right now and watch the magic happen, — the Clitoria ternatea plant and its flowers are rich in antioxidants and boast an impressive nutritional profile. And although research on blue pea is still in its infancy, recent studies show that butterfly pea flower tea may have various health benefits, including:

  • Antimicrobial properties
  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Anti-diabetic properties – a cup of blue butterfly tea taken in between meals will inhibit the intake of glucose from the diet and lower blood sugar. Antioxidants in the tea may also help the body lower risk of infections.
  • Potentially promotes weight loss
  • Supports hair growth – contains anthocyanin which increases blood flow in the scalp, strengthening hair follicles.
  • Enhances skin health – blue pea flower has anti-glycation properties, which is excellent for the skin and helps prevent skin aging. Furthermore, it contains some flavonoids which increase collagen production, accelerating skin elasticity.
  • Helps reduce inflammation
  • May protect heart health and increase blood flow
  • Fights free radicals – blue pea flower is a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to minimize damage to the cells of the body also lowering the risk of cancer.
  • May help reduce stress and anxiety, uplifting mood
  • Is considered a nootropic, protecting the brain and boosting its activity and function

Side effects 

So far, there aren’t any reported side effects of drinking butterfly pea flower tea. However, people with sensitive stomachs may experience nausea or diarrhea from drinking large quantities of blue tea. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

How to brew butterfly pea tea

Whether you want to brew a delicious cup of blue tea or are looking to make your own psychedelic cocktails, the first step is to steep in hot water the dried flower petals to make blue tea. Here’s how:

1 serving 

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dry butterfly pea flowers

Bring water to a boil and pour into a teapot. Add butterfly pea flowers, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add honey and lemon to taste (optional). Drink immediately or let cool completely and pour into an ice tray to make blue tea ice cubes if using for drinks or cocktails.  You should only steep the butterfly pea flower tea for 3-4 minutes. Any less and you’ll get some color, but not much flavor, and any more will leave you with an almost black tasting tea as the flowers have been “cooked.” 

If you plan to make beverages for a crowd, keep all components in separate pitchers until you are ready to serve. Have guests watch or pour their own drink so they can witness the hypnotic transformation firsthand. 

A final word

When you talk to great chefs and bartenders, you might hear a common theme about how we not only eat (or drink in our case) with our taste buds, but we also eat and drink with our eyes! Butterfly pea flower tea, or blue tea, allows you to make delicious and awe-inspiring colored beverages and dishes without dangerous ingredients like synthetic food dyes. And while its potential health benefits warrant more investigation, blue pea flowers are chocked-full of so many healthful compounds, that we think it’s definitely worth a sip. 

You can buy dry butterfly pea flowers to make blue tea in most tea stores, health food stores, online, and on Amazon.

RECIPES:

BLUE RICE

Blue Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry Jasmine ricerinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water1 or 2 tablespoons less would be ok as well
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Butterfly-pea flowers
  • 1/2 stalk lemongrassbeaten, knotted, or 1/2 teaspoon of lemongrass powder (optional).Put rinsed rice in your rice cooker along with the lemongrass (optional) and flowers.
    Add the water, press cook on the rice cooker, and let it cook until it switches to warm. For added flavor, you can use powdered lemongrass. Once the rice cooker switches to warm, just let it sit for about 10-20 minutes covered on the warm setting. Mix with a spoon, you can just mix the flowers in, or you can remove them. Spoon some rice into a small bowl, place a plate on the top and tip the plate, and bowl over, perfect serving portion. Great with fish.

BUTTERFLY PEA LEMONADE

Butterfly Pea Lemonade
This magical color-changing lemonade gets it’s natural color from the butterfly pea flower, changing from rich blue to vibrant magenta right before your very eyes!

Ingredients:
5 cups filtered water, divided
1 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
1/2 cup (1/4 ounce) dried butterfly pea flowers
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 8-10 lemons)

Instructions:
In a saucepan, combine 3 cups filtered water with sugar. Stir in butterfly pea flowers. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids. Set aside to cool.
In a jar or glass measuring cup, combine lemon juice and remaining 2 cups of water.
To serve, fill glasses with ice. Pour cooled butterfly pea syrup into glass, filling about half way.
Pour lemon mixture over top, and watch the magic happen! Where the lemon meets the syrup, the color will change from blue to pink. Stir to combine the two mixtures until the color is pink throughout and enjoy!

GALAXY MAGIC MULE

blue mule cocktail

Ingredients

Magic Blue Ice
8 flowers of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
2 cups hot water

For the Galaxy Magic Mule
2 oz vodka
.50 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
4-6 oz ginger beer
crushed ice
Crushed “Magic Blue Ice”

Instructions
For the Galaxy Magic Mule
Partially fill the mug with crushed clear ice then top with crushed Magic Blue Ice.
Add lime juice, vodka, and ginger bear. Top with additional Magic Blue Ice.

For the Magic Blue Ice
Add hot water to the Butterfly Pea Flowers. Allow to steep for 3-4 minutes. Strain out flowers. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Crush ice and use in cocktail.

BUTTERFLY PEA LATTE

butterfly pea latte

Ingredients
2 cups ice
2 cups water
1/3 cup half & half
2 butterfly pea flower tea bags
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
Boil water.
If using an electric kettle with  temperature setting, set it to 180°F. Use filtered water if possible.
Put tea bags or loose dried flowers (depending on the form you are using) into the teapot and add hot water and steep for 5 minutes.
Let cool.
Combine half & half, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract.
Stir to mix and set aside.
Pour cooled butterfly pea flower tea into 2 cups filled with ice.
Slowly pour in vanilla sweet cream into each cup.
The sweet cream will swirl around then settle to the bottom, leaving a pretty gradient.

MORE FAVORITE RECIPES

Butterfly Pea Flower Lime Tart

Butterfly Pea Flower Coconut Ice Cream

8 Color Changing Butterfly Pea Flower Cocktails

Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Cooler

 

 

Heat Headaches – How to Avoid Them and Get Rid of Them Quickly

Summer’s here and life’s finally feeling normal again, which means it’s time to whip out your bathing suit and sunscreen for some fun in the sun. Unfortunately, for those of us who are prone to migraines and headaches, warmer temperatures may also mean more frequent attacks.

But, is there really a connection between higher temperatures and migraines? And if there is one, is it possible to avoid heat-induced headaches during the summer months? Here’s what the research says. 

What causes heat headaches?

A heat headache or migraine, like the name suggests, is a headache that develops after being exposed to the sun or hot temperatures for extended periods. You may have gotten one before, even if you don’t suffer from migraines, perhaps after falling asleep at the beach or from walking in the sun on a hot day for too long.


But the evidence on whether temperature changes really do cause headaches or migraines is scarce and conflicting. For instance, one theory is that heat itself may be a trigger, as evidenced by a 2009 study with over 7,000 participants.

Investigators reported that, during hot weather months, the risk of developing a heat-induced headache rose by about 7.5% for every 5 degree Celsius (9°F) increase in ambient temperature. There was also evidence of increased risk of headache when the barometric pressure, sometimes called atmospheric pressure, was low for 48 to 72 prior to the headache or migraine attack.

Conversely, a 2011 study conducted in Taipei noted an increase in headaches during the coldest months of the year, particularly in instances of cold fronts that made the temperature drop significantly and reduced sunshine duration. But investigators didn’t find any associations between heat and head pain. 

Dehydration may be a risk factor

While we don’t have a clear answer on why headaches seem to be more frequent and severe in warmer temperatures, we do know that dehydration — which is extremely common during the summer — is a major migraine trigger and may play a role in heat-induced headaches. 

 

hydration

Keep hydrated!

 

Simply put, dehydration happens when you don’t drink enough water. It also occurs when you lose more fluids than you take in, like during exercise or after sitting in a sauna for too long. You can also lose more water than usual from vomiting, diarrhea, having a fever, or peeing a lot. 

A dehydration headache can feel like an intense migraine or a dull, painful headache. You may feel it anywhere in the head, and there may be other symptoms present, like:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dark-colored urine

Is a heat headache the same as a heatstroke?

A heat stroke, or sunstroke, is a potentially fatal condition that happens when your body overheats, typically as a result of being exposed to high temperatures for an extended period. Heatstrokes are extremely dangerous and should be considered a medical emergency. If left untreated and your body temperature exceeds 104°F (40°C), it can quickly — and sometimes irreparably — damage internal organs like the brain, heart, muscles, and kidneys.

Heat headaches are not the same as heat strokes, but a throbbing headache is a common symptom of this condition. Other signs and symptoms of a heat stroke may include:

  • Elevated body temperature (104°F or higher)
  • Confusion, slurred speech, irritability, seizures, loss of consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Red skin
  • Rapid breathing and racing heart

Heat exhaustion is a less severe type of heat injury that can quickly progress to a heat stroke if left untreated. It occurs when your body overheats and cannot cool itself down. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and confusion. It usually improves by getting out of the heat, preferably to a cool place, and drinking plenty of fluids. Taking a cool shower or using cold compresses may also help.

Symptoms of a heat-induced headache

The main symptom of a heat-induced headache is dull, throbbing head pain. It may also be accompanied by muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, fainting, extreme thirst, and sensitivity to light. In some people, migraines caused or worsened by heat may be more intense and last longer than regular attacks. 

Preventing a heat headache 

While you may not be able to dodge every heat headache and migraine, you can help yourself by avoiding triggers as much as possible. Here are some of our favorite summertime tips for preventing summer migraines:

 

sunglasses

Pack along your sunglasses!

  • Drink plenty of water – more than you think is necessary, even!
  • Wear head protection outdoors; this could be anything from a baseball cap to a broad brim beach hat.
  • If you exercise, try working out indoors or after the sun’s gone down. 
  • Wear sunglasses to reduce glare.
  • Avoid being out or running errands during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Keep your medications and supplements on hand. 
  • Drink plenty of water – yes, we said this already, but it’s so important it’s worth repeating! 

How to get rid of a heat headache 

In most cases, you can treat a heat headache like you would treat any headache or migraine at home. Additionally, you can try these natural remedies for added relief:

  • Massage your temples with lavender or peppermint essential oils — or try a migraine stick 
  • Try an ice pack – click here for instructions on how to make your own at home (DIY)
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Try fast-acting MigreLief-NOW, Akeso’s “as-needed” supplement  containing, boswellia, ginger, magnesium and Puracol™ feverfew for on-the-spot neurological comfort

A Final Word on Heat Headaches

While it still isn’t clear how summer weather is related to headaches and migraines, dehydration seems to be one of the biggest offenders. Avoid heat-induced head pain by staying hydrated, limiting your time outdoors on hot days, and prioritizing your well-being by making healthy lifestyle choices. If you experience symptoms of a heat stroke, seek emergency medical help immediately.

Sunlight Exposure Linked to Fewer COVID-19 Deaths, Study Finds

We’ve already talked about the health benefits of breathing fresh air in another post (which you can read here). Among others, they include cleaner lungs, improved mood, and faster healing times. 

But as it turns out, clean air is not the only wellness benefit you can reap from heading to the great outdoors; a new study published in the British Journal of Dermatology reported that increased exposure to sunlight could protect against severe COVID-19 and COVID death, serving as a potentially free and straightforward public health intervention against the virus.

Nothing wrong with a little sunlight

When we think of the sun, the mind instantly jumps to a laundry list of damaging effects, particularly those that happen after spending too much time under it. And yes, there’s no getting around the fact that sunlight can be harmful to your health: extreme exposure to the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays can damage your eyes, skin, and even immune system. This is why to protect yourself against its harmful consequences, it’s important to limit your exposure and cover your skin with sunscreen and protective clothing.

sunblock

Protect your skin: wear sunscreen

But despite its drawbacks, we humans actually need a few hours of sunlight each day, much like nearly every other living being on the planet, to grow and metabolize energy. This could be one of the many reasons why sunbathing therapy, aka limited and strategic exposure to the sun, has been around for thousands of years, as far back as ancient Greece. Light therapy, which comes in a broad selection of colors and wavelengths, is thought to promote sleep, improve migraines, boost cell reparation, and so much more.  

We are wired to be in the sun

Though there are still loads we need to learn about COVID-19, experts know that temperature, seasonality, UV radiation, and humidity are closely linked to several respiratory viruses. One example is flu season, which in the U.S. begins around October and reaches its peak during February and March. 

Contrary to the belief of millions of moms and grandmas all around the world, you can’t catch a cold or the flu from going out in the cold without a coat or with wet hair. So it’s not really the cold temperatures making the virus stronger or more transmissible. Instead, studies show that the influenza virus is more common during the winter because people are more likely to stay indoors, breathing in the same air as someone who might have the virus and receiving significantly less sunlight.

To see if the same proved true with COVID-19, investigators from the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, analyzed all recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S from January to April 2020 and compared them with UV levels of nearly 2,500 counties during the same period. The study controlled for factors known to be associated with an increased likelihood of severe COVID, including age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

The results of the analysis showed that sunnier regions of the country had lower COVID death rates compared to places with lower levels of UV rays — i.e., cloudier areas. Interestingly, the risk reduction couldn’t be explained by higher levels of vitamin D (regions with UV levels that were too low to produce significant levels of vitamin D in the body were excluded). Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin as a result of sunlight exposure. However, the outcomes of the present study suggest that sun exposure itself, regardless of vitamin D status, might also provide some protection against severe COVID-19.

One theory that might explain the lower death rates is that sunlight exposure triggers the release nitric oxide, a naturally-occurring molecule that promotes circulation and lowers blood pressure (a limited ability to produce nitric oxide is linked to heart disease and other chronic conditions). In fact, in preliminary studies, nitric oxide has shown promise as a potential treatment for severe COVID-19. 

Naturally, since the study was observational and only took into account retrospective data, more evidence is needed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between sunlight and decreased COVID risk, if one does actually exist. Still, the researchers carried out similar analyses in Italy and England and the results were strikingly similar, making the findings all the more compelling.

How to get more sun (safely)

It’s entirely possible to soak in some much-needed sunlight without harming your skin or health, but you do need to take some precautions before you head out to your next sunbathing session:

  1. Time of day: avoid being outside when the sun rays are strongest, between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. 
  2. Sunscreen: you already know this, but it’s worth repeating – always wear sunscreen, regardless of whether it is cloudy or if you’re only going to be in the sun for a few minutes. And remember to reapply every two hours or after coming out of the water. 
  3. Duration: the length of exposure matters as well. In the summer, aim for 15-20 minutes of unshaded sun exposure, tops. In the winter, you can hang around in a sunny spot for about 30 minutes. 
  4. Shade and protection: have sunglasses, protective clothing, a hat, and some sort of shading – like an umbrella or a tree – nearby to protect your eyes and skin. 
  5. Water: drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and heat strokes.
sunlight

Practice sun safety: wear sunscreen, hats, sunglasses

A final word

While excessive sunlight exposure can harm your health, humans need some degree of natural light exposure to avoid disease and promote healthy functioning. Avoid basking in the sun when it’s at its strongest, and make sure you are well-protected by wearing sunblock and long-sleeved clothing. Reapply every couple of hours or whenever you take a dip in the water and drink plenty of water to ward off heat exhaustion, but don’t avoid the sun altogether; after all, it is that big, bright, ball of fire that’s keeping us alive above everything else. 

Related Articles – Vitamin D & Covid- The best mask is a strong immune system.

Immune PatrolCombination nutritional supplement for a resilient immune system

 

 

How to Lower Your High Cortisol Levels Like a Meditating Monk

Who do you think has the lowest levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the image below?

Not everyone can live the lifestyle of a monk or even meditate daily to control the negative effects of stress such as increased cortisol in the body. For many people, being overly busy has become a way of life and the dangers stress causes to health and longevity is often ignored.

Monk and stressed woman

Serum cortisol and total protein levels, blood pressure, heart rate, lung volume, and reaction time were studied in 52 males 20-25 years of age practicing Dhammakaya Buddhist meditation, and in 30 males of the same age group not practicing meditation. It was found that after meditation, serum cortisol levels were significantly reduced, serum total protein level significantly increased, and systolic pressure, diastolic pressure, and pulse rate significantly reduced.

Working stress relief into a busy schedule is not always an option and many busy people are often concerned with the time required to learn new stress-relieving habits such as yoga, meditation, or an exercise routine. Luckily, there are still things you can do to help relieve the symptoms of stress and reduce your cortisol levels to reduce the negative impact of stress.

If you are not sleeping well at night, have brain fog throughout the day, seem to be putting on weight, experiencing digestive upsets, and increased anxiety or mood swings,  your cortisol levels may be too high.

What is cortisol?

Cortisol is our body’s built-in alarm system.  It is one of the stress hormones created by our adrenal glands, the small triangular organs on top of our kidneys. Cortisol works with certain parts of the brain to control mood, motivation, and fear. In the morning it is supposed to be higher to give you that boost to get up and get going.  However, it should drop in the evenings for you to relax and sleep well. This often does not occur appropriately in people that are constantly stressed.

The adrenal glands release cortisol in response to stress or fear as part of the body’s fight or flight response, which is a series of near-instantaneous reactions that prepare you to either stay and deal with the problem or escape to safety. The cortisol hormone triggers a flood of glucose that supplies an immediate energy source to your large muscles. It also inhibits insulin production so the glucose won’t be stored but will be available for immediate use. When the immediate threat is resolved, cortisol levels return to normal.

This is all well-and-good if you’re being chased by a tiger and want to getaway. But what about elevated cortisol levels due to everyday stress?

Millions of people simply accept stress as being a normal part of their daily life and don’t recognize the threat to their well-being. Ongoing stress that you have become accustomed to is the most dangerous kind of stress because it raises your cortisol levels and your body never receives a clear signal that the threat has passed so cortisol levels never return to normal.

What does cortisol do?

There are cortisol receptors in most cells in your body. They receive and use cortisol in different ways and your needs change from day today. Cortisol plays an important role in many bodily functions including:

  • Manages how your body uses carbohydrates, protein, and fat
  • Affects your immune function
  • Affects your inflammatory response
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Increases your blood sugar (glucose) & releases insulin
  • Controls your sleep/wake cycle
  • Boost energy so you can handle stress and restores balance afterward

What happens if you have too much cortisol?

While cortisol is important for your body to function normally, too much cortisol can be bad for your health.

Normally after the pressure or danger has passed, your cortisol level should calm down. Your heart, blood pressure, and other body systems will get back to normal.  But if you’re under constant stress and the alarm button stays on, it can derail your body’s most important functions. It can also lead to a number of health problems, including:

Why much cortisol is bad for you

If you’re under constant stress, your cortisol levels will stay elevated and can derail your body’s most important functions. It can also have many negative effects and lead to many health problems, including:

  • Increased blood sugar levels. Insulin typically helps the cells convert glucose to energy. As your pancreas struggles to keep up with the high demand for insulin, glucose levels in your blood remain high and your cells don’t get the sugar they need to perform at their best
  • Weight gain. As your cells are crying out for energy, your body may send signals to the brain that you are hungry and need to eat. Studies have demonstrated a direct association between cortisol levels and calorie intake in populations of women. False hunger signals can lead you to crave high-calorie foods, overeat and gain weight. Unused glucose in the blood is eventually stored as body fat.  Gaining weight around your abdomen especially can be an indicator that your cortisol levels are higher than we’d like, especially when you are eating healthy and “doing everything right.”

High levels of cortisol could lead to false hunger signals and overeating.

  • Suppressed immune system. Cortisol’s positive action to reduce inflammation in the body can turn against you if your levels are too high for too long. Elevated levels may actually suppress your immune system. You could be more susceptible to colds and other contagious illnesses. Your risk of cancer and autoimmune diseases increases and you may develop food allergies.
  • Digestive problems. When your body reacts to a threat, it shuts down other less critical functions, such as digestion. If the high-stress level is constant, your digestive tract can’t digest or absorb food well. It’s no coincidence that ulcers occur during stressful times and people with colitis or irritable bowel syndrome report better symptom control when they get their stress under control. Nausea, abdominal cramps, heartburn, diarrhea, or constipation may be a result of too much cortisol.  It is also important to recognize that 90% of your serotonin, your happy neurotransmitter, is produced in the gut. An imbalanced gut can lead to low serotonin, irritability, depression, and anxiety.
  • Heart disease. Constricted arteries and high blood pressure can lead to blood vessel damage and plaque buildup in your arteries. They could be setting the stage for a heart attack or stroke.
  • Sleep disruption.  Our cortisol levels are supposed to drop at night time to allow us to relax and go into a deep sleep. Chronically high cortisol levels contribute to sleep disruption.  Poor sleep leads to many chronic health problems and shortens your life span.
  • Memory and concentration problems – Studies found that elevated cortisol was associated with poorer overall cognitive functioning, as well as with poorer episodic memory, executive functioning, language, spatial memory, processing speed, and social cognition.
  • Headaches & migraines. Increased cortisol levels affect neurotransmitters, the messengers in our nervous system. When they are imbalanced, it again affects our nervous system as serotonin  GABA, and dopamine levels are too high or too low, making migraines and headaches more likely as well as anxiety and depression.

If you are experiencing daily stress and increased cortisol, consider this effective combination nutritional supplement:

A dietary supplement combining vitamins, minerals, and herbs that have proper scientific studies backing their effectiveness on cognitive function and/or reducing stress is a good place to start.  Akeso Health Sciences “Calm & Clever” contains:

(2 capsule serving)

Bacopa Monnieri (50% Bacosides)
Ashwagandha
Vitamin C
Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate)
Pantothenic Acid
Huperzine A
Ashwagandha Extract  (KSM-66, 5% withanolides)
Sage Extract (Salvia Officinalis) (standardized 2.5% Rosmarinic acid)

Bacopa Monnieri Extract is an adaptogen that has been used in Ayurvedic traditional medicine for centuries for a variety of health-related purposes, including improving memory and reducing occasional anxiety. Bacopa health benefits are backed by innumerable scientific studies:

  • Helps alter the activity of certain enzymes involved in the stress response, suggesting that Bacopa could allow the brain to be prepared to cope with stress
  • Boosts brain function and alleviates occasional anxiety and stress
  • Promotes positive cognitive effects findings include mood, as well as a reduction in cortisol levels
  • Is commonly used as a nootropic
  • Improves memory retention
  • In a 2016 study of 60 college students, researchers found that six weeks of Bacopa (300 mg per day, as found in Calm & Clever) led to improvements in tests relating to cognitive function

LEARN MORE about the benefits of all 8 ingredients in Calm & Clever for reducing the effects of stress and living a happier, healthier life.

CBD Oil for ADHD: Evidence, Benefits and How to Use it

These days, it seems like you can’t throw a rock without knocking over a bottle or two of CBD oil. This naturally occurring chemical derived from the marijuana plant is everywhere right now, from wellness supplements to skincare products, and even pet supplies.  

So, what exactly is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, an active ingredient found in the Cannabis sativa plant. When we hear the word “cannabis,” we automatically think of marijuana — aka weed, pot, ganja, etc. But that’s not always the case. 

There are over 100 active chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. The most abundant are CBD and THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is what gives marijuana its mind-altering effects and the characteristic “high” or euphoric sensation that also decreases pain, promotes appetite and reduces nausea. CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive. In other words, consuming CBD in any form (topically, orally, smoked, etc.) won’t get you high or impair your motor skills in any way. 

There’s been a lot of research on the topic of cannabis — particularly CBD oil — lately. The soundest scientific evidence is for its effects treating two severe and rare forms of childhood epilepsy that don’t respond well to anti-seizure medications. In fact, back in 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever cannabis-derived medication for treating individuals with these complex and devastating disorders. 

And there’s also evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, that CBD oil may help treat or at least improve many health concerns, like:

  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep issues
  • Migraine
  • Nausea
  • Chronic pain
  • Drug addiction or withdrawal
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • IBS and IBD

CBD oil for ADHD: What the science says

To date, there hasn’t been a ton of research done on the subject of CBD and ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, is typically treated with a combination of prescription medications and behavior therapy. The goal is to manage disruptive behaviors and learn ways to channel energy to avoid instances of impulsivity and inattention.

Is CBD oil a treatment for adult ADHD?

Although there’s no evidence that CBD oil or cannabis use can treat ADHD, advocates of CBD hemp oil for mental health believe cannabidiol may indirectly help relieve some symptoms of ADHD. 

According to a 2020 review of studies in the Journal of Cannabis Research, CBD oil may improve many of the symptoms associated with neurological disorders. More specifically, the researchers reported that CBD showed promising results as a therapy for generalized anxiety, social anxiety, hyperactivity, and insomnia — all of which are common effects of ADHD. 

A 2013 study of more than 2,000 participants also found that adults with ADHD that used cannabis products reported less hyperactivity and impulsivity. Nevertheless, several randomized-control clinical trials have concluded with inconclusive or non-relevant results. 

Is CBD for ADHD safe? Are there side effects?

Just because CBD products are legal (when they contain less than 0.3% THC) and easily accessible, it doesn’t mean they’re always safe. For starters, it’s important to remember that there haven’t been any studies showing the safety or effectiveness of cannabis products for ADHD. 

The quality, potency, and pureness of the CBD oil you purchase will also play a huge role in how your body responds to it. Only buy products that have a third-party certificate analysis, or COA, that confirms that whatever’s written on the label are the true ingredients and concentration of the product. 

Side effects of CBD oil tend to be mild and short-lived, but until more research is conducted, we won’t know the potential long-term effects of using it to treat ADHD. That being said, top-quality CBD oil seems to be well-tolerated at doses up to 1,500 mg in both children and adults. 

Common side effects of CBD oil include:

  • Interactions with other medications
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches

How to use CBD oil for ADHD 

If you want to try CBD oil as an alternative treatment for ADHD, it’s important to remember that:

  • There isn’t any scientific evidence that CBD or other cannabis derivatives directly improve ADHD.
  • CBD oil is not a substitute for your regular ADHD treatment, whether it is medications, therapy, or both.
  • Quality matters; just because a CBD product says it’s “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Always buy from reputable sources and talk to your doctor before taking a new supplement. 

The easiest and most popular way of consuming CBD is as an oil extract. You may also find CBD-infused products like gummies, lollipops, and beverages online or in some pharmacies and health stores. 

 

 

ADHD and Sleep Problems

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a medical condition that affects around 8.4 percent of US children and 2.5 of adults. People with ADHD often have differences in their brain structures and neurological activities that negatively impact their attention span and impulse control.

Sleep deprivation and ADHD

Like many other neurological conditions, the exact causes of ADHD are not entirely clear. Experts know that several factors, including genetic predispositions, issues in the central nervous system, and environmental triggers like exposure to certain toxins, play a role in the development of ADHD. In school-aged kids, ADHD is often first identified in the classroom because children with ADHD often have trouble staying focused on tasks and get distracted easily.

Most children and teens only have trouble falling asleep from time to time, and chronic sleep disorders are rare in kids. Among children with ADHD, however, sleep problems are extremely prevalent. In fact, it is estimated that up to 70 percent of kids with ADHD experience sleep disturbances like having trouble falling and staying asleep, among others. Sleep issues are so common among children with ADHD, that older versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) listed “sleep problems” as a part of the diagnostic criteria for this condition.

Sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality can significantly worsen ADHD symptoms. One recent literature review of sleep problems among school-aged children noted that children with ADHD who reported high levels of daytime sleepiness were more likely to be rated as having poor academic competence. But poor sleep also has negative consequences on children without ADHD.

Because children react differently to sleepiness than adults, it’s not uncommon to see kids who experience chronic sleep deprivation be misdiagnosed with ADHD. While adults usually become fatigued and drowsy, kids can turn unfocused, hyperactive, moody, and impulsive when they don’t get enough sleep.

A study published by the Journal of Sleep Research looking at the sleep habits of 2,463 first to ninth graders, showed that disorders like dyssomnia (difficulty falling asleep), parasomnias (night terrors, sleep-waking, bedwetting, etc.), and sleep-related breathing problems were all associated with ADHD-like symptoms even in children without the condition. A recent study also found that poor sleep quality can mimic ADHD behaviors in children without ADHD.

Treating ADHD-related sleep problems can sometimes turn into a bit of a catch-22 situation. ADHD symptoms like restlessness and hyperactivity can delay sleep onset latency and increase the chances of waking up in the middle of the night. However, the most common treatment used to manage symptoms – stimulant medications – are known to cause side effects like insomnia. For that reason, many parents choose to avoid prescription medications or complement them with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), social skills training, and nutritional supplements.

Fortunately, research has shown that some alternative therapies can be effective at reducing ADHD and poor sleep symptoms. These are five evidence-based supplements that have been shown to help manage ADHD and sleeplessness:

Iron: iron deficiency has been noted to increase the risk of psychiatric disorders, including ADHD. Iron-deficient children and adults who suffer from ADHD may benefit from supplementing with iron to help control their symptoms.

Magnesium: children with ADHD have been observed to have lower levels of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for brain health. In a study evaluating 50 children diagnosed with ADHD, researchers found that those who received a magnesium supplement for six months showed a significant decrease in hyperactive behaviors. Other studies have shown that magnesium can improve insomnia and reduce sleep onset latency.

Melatonin: while melatonin has not been shown to have any effects on ADHD, this naturally-occurring hormone is a popular ingredient in sleeping aids because it can shorten the time needed to fall asleep and can help regulate the body’s internal clock.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: another brain-friendly supplement, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity in children with ADHD. Researchers have also observed that children with ADHD appear to have lower omega-3 levels than their peers.

Zinc: decreased zinc levels in children have been linked to trouble concentrating, reduced learning abilities, and ADHD. Research suggests that used in combination with amphetamines, zinc may help reduce the dosage needed to treat kids with ADHD.

Quality sleep is key to both physical and mental health. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. It is an essential function that allows the body and mind to recharge, and be refreshed and alert each day. Improving sleep quality has the potential to reduce ADHD problems and to have a positive impact on the everyday life of those struggling with this disorder as well as their families. Teens and adults with sleep issues may consider a natural sleep supplement with a combination of ingredients proven in clinical studies to support deep restorative sleep.

 

 

Ashwagandha for Weight Loss: What the Science Says

To be completely honest, most of us have gained a pound or 10 over the past year and a half.  Matter of fact, more than half of Americans have gained weight according to the latest report by the American Psychological Association. 

Experts believe that social isolation and sedentarism were mostly to blame, but the constant and unyielding stress we’ve all been experiencing during the pandemic is also a major contributing factor. 

If you are looking to lower stress and maybe help your body drop a few pounds naturally, you’ve come to the right place. This article looks at the traditional and modern uses of Ashwagandha and its potential effects on weight loss and stress relief. 

Ashwagandha Benefits

What is Ashwagandha?

There are hundreds of medicinal plants in Ayurveda. Yet, Ashwagandha is one of just a handful of herbs that successfully crossed over to modern medicine thanks to its countless benefits for health and well-being. 

Ashwagandha, an evergreen shrub of the Solanaceae family, is one of the central herbs of Ayurvedic medicine. It has been used for over 4,000 years to treat all kinds of ailments, from stress and sleep problems to inflammation and sexual dysfunction. 

Western medicine classifies it as an “adaptogen,” which are natural substances that help the body adapt to stress. Studies show that extracts from the roots and berries of the Ashwagandha plant may boost memory and cognition, support normal thyroid functioning, and may even promote weight loss. 

Stress and weight gain — is there a connection?

Nothing throws off your inner balance — i.e., your metabolism, circadian rhythm, hormones, etc. — like chronic stress. Each morning when you wake up, your adrenal glands release normal levels of cortisol, sometimes called the “stress hormone,” into your bloodstream. It also gets released when you perform strenuous activities, like high-intensity exercise which is critical to the control and regulation of energy metabolism and thus exercise performance capacity.

But your body also secretes higher levels of cortisol when you are under stress in order to activate your “fight or flight” response. This temporarily halts your regular functions and slows down your metabolism. If you are under continuous stress, this reaction becomes chronic and puts your body in a constant state of alert.  Unfortunately, many people consider stress as just a part of normal everyday life and don’t recognize it for what it is, a threat to one’s health and longevity. 

Weight gain is one of the most common side effects of chronic stress. Under normal circumstances, when your adrenal glands secrete cortisol, the hormones trigger an influx of glucose to deliver a quick shot of energy to your large muscles (in case you need to fight or flight). 

But when this process becomes chronic, your cells need more and more energy, which manifests in the form of cravings for sweet, fatty, and carb-rich foods. In fact, studies have shown that there is a direct association between increased levels of cortisol and higher calorie intake. All that unused energy (the calories you ate from that milkshake craving) is eventually stored as body fat.

Do you eat more when you’re stressed?

How can Ashwagandha help with weight loss?

Although Ashwagandha is not directly associated with weight loss, experts believe that this mighty herb may support shedding unwanted body fat through the following mechanisms:

Adaptogenic effects: chronic stress wreaks havoc in each of your bodily functions, including metabolism. Ashwagandha is labeled as an adaptogen because it helps fight the physiological effects of tension in the body, including weight gain. This was demonstrated in a 2016 study of individuals under chronic stress, where participants who took 300 mg of Ashwagandha daily reported improvements in body weight, BMI, cortisol levels, and happiness scores

Antioxidant activity: when your immune system is weak or compromised, your metabolism slows down, and your body loses its ability to burn fat effectively. Ashwagandha is loaded with antioxidants that support and strengthen the immune system, promote better fat burning, and support digestion to help you lose weight in a faster and more sustained way. 

Energy boost: if your problem is that you just can’t find the energy and motivation to work out, Ashwagandha might help with that, too. In a study in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integral Medicine, 40 elite cyclists reported increased endurance and aerobic performance after taking 500 mg Ashwagandha daily. Adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha seem to naturally boost energy levels by stimulating the central nervous system and decreasing high cortisol levels, which can cause chronic fatigue, sleep issues, and obesity. 

Takeaway

Alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise, taking an Ashwagandha supplement could enhance your weight loss efforts and help lower stress — something we all desperately need these days! But also keep in mind that not all Ashwagandha supplements are created equal. 

For maximum safety and potency, opt for full-spectrum Ashwagandha supplements extracted from the roots alone and not the leaves or the stems. Like Akeso’s Calm & Clever supplement, our expertly curated formula that contains 600 mg of KSM-66 Ashwagandha — the most clinically studied Ashwagandha on the market — and a carefully curated blend of adaptogens, vitamins, and herbs that counter the effects of tension and stress on the body and support healthy cognitive function.