Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Benefits of Seaweed (And When To Avoid It)!

Most of us are familiar with seaweed in our sushi, and the accompanying miso soup. But beyond the delicious taste, have you ever wondered about the health benefits of seaweed?
Incredibly rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, seaweed packs a serious nutritional punch.

What Is Seaweed?
Seaweed, or algae, belongs to a group of plant-like organisms that grow in the sea.
Some algae are one-celled organisms such as microalgae, which means that they are more like bacteria that also generate energy through photosynthesis.
Most of the seaweed that we consume as food have many cells. Seaweed is part of a healthy diet and is used in herbal medicines in many traditional cultures.

What Are the Different Types of Seaweed?

Scientists have categorized types of seaweed into different categories based on their pigments, cell structure, and other traits. The groups (or phyta) of seaweed that are commonly consumed include:

How to Cook and Eat Seaweed

If you live near an Asian market or Chinatown, you may be able to find fresh seaweed. Otherwise, you may find many types of dried seaweeds in the supermarket and online, such as on Amazon.
Dried seaweed would need to be soaked in hot water, and rinsed well before use. Some thicker and tougher seaweed like kombu might be better sliced thin or boiled.
Seaweeds are very versatile. Here are a few different ways to enjoy them:
  • Snacking out of a bag – Nori and dulse can just be eaten out of a bag. You will want to check the labels and watch out for some brands of snacking nori that contain a lot of MSG though. Seasnax is a good brand for this that uses seaweed from Korea and clean ingredients.
  • Salads – Most types of seaweed can be made into a Japanese-style salad with vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. 
  • Soups – Seaweed tastes delicious in bone broth, which makes it seaweed soup.
  • Sprinkled on other foods – Seaweed flakes can be sprinkled on salads, rice, soups, or any other dishes.
Most seaweed is not bitter. Some types are a bit sweet and may even have umami flavors, which means that it may be easier to get some picky eaters to eat seaweed than vegetables.

Benefits of Seaweed

The unique properties of seaweed make it beneficial to the body in several ways:

Vitamins and Minerals

Seaweed is much more nutrient dense than any land vegetables. It is an excellent source of micronutrients including folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and selenium. More importantly, seaweed is a great source of iodine.

DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids

Unlike land plants, seaweed contains preformed omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, so seaweed or algae oil can be a reliable source of omega-3 for vegetarians.

Aids in Digestion

Beans can cause gas and stomach upset for many people. This can be easily fixed by adding kombu, a particular kind of seaweed, to the beans when cooking.


Seaweed contains many antioxidants. As part of a healthy diet, seaweed can help protect against oxidative stresses and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and digestive problems.

Fiber and Prebiotics

All plants contain fiber, but seaweed also has other odd types of carbohydrates that we lack the digestive enzymes to digest. These include carrageenan, fucan, galactan, and many more. These carbohydrates then become foods for the bacteria. What you eat directly influences which bacteria dominates in your gut. The types of bacteria that can feed best on the foods you choose to eat will grow better (read more on this fascinating topic here). This explains why some cultures handle different types of food better than others. In fact, scientists found that the gut bacteria in healthy Japanese people are higher in bacteria that can digest the types of carbohydrates in seaweed (source).

Potential Risks from Eating Seaweed

There are a couple potential concerns to be aware of when consuming seaweed:

Too Much Iodine Can Cause Thyroid Problems

Iodine is a very important mineral for thyroid functions, and seaweed is a great source of iodine. While the thyroid can adjust to higher intakes of iodine, it is possible to develop thyroid problems from too much iodine. This may be especially true if you are susceptible to thyroid issues (like me).
Japanese study found that women who regularly consumed 15 – 30 grams of kombu had elevated TSH, and reduced free T3 and T4. When these women stopped consuming seaweed, then their TSH and thyroid hormone levels returned to normal. Therefore, the authors of this study recommended not to exceed 3 mg of iodine (a serving of seaweed typically contains 20 – 50 mg).
Asian cuisines typically serve seaweed along with foods that contain goitrogens that inhibit iodine absorption by the thyroid. These include the common Asian staples such as tofu, soy milk, and cruciferous vegetables. This might explain why most Japanese and other Asian people can consume seaweed without any problem (source).
Those with existing thyroid disease (or those predisposed to it) should monitor total iodine intake. This is especially important for those who live in countries that fortify foods and table salts with iodine. Generally, consumption of seaweed on occasion (2 – 3 times a week) as a condiment (1 – 2 tablespoons) generally will not exceed the 3 mg limit of iodine.
To be safe, monitor thyroid hormone levels with your doctor as you introduce seaweed into your diet to see if eating seaweed will possibly cause a thyroid problem for you.

Digestive Problems from Seaweed Carbohydrates and Fibers

Seaweed contains many types of carbohydrates our digestive system can’t digest. These carbohydrates are passed down to our gut bacteria. For people prone to digestive problems or with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, these carbohydrates cause significant issues.
The food industry widely uses these carbohydrates, such as carrageenan and agar, to stabilize or texturize foods in the food industry. Carrageenan, in particular, is very problematic. It causes inflammation both in the gut and throughout the human body. It is therefore very wise to avoid carrageenan as a food additive.
While pure carrageenan has been linked to health problems, there is no study linking carrageenan in whole food sources to the same problems that have been linked to carrageenan in isolation. It is perhaps best to avoid seaweeds that are higher in carrageenan content such as Irish moss and occasionally enjoy other seaweeds in moderation.

Radioactive Levels from Fukushima Radiation

A high iodine diet can protect against radioactivity. This is why when the Fukushima nuclear plant melted down, the Japanese government gave iodine supplements to aid workers and evacuees.
Chris Kresser discusses the topic of Fukushima radiation in Pacific seafood in this blog post. He states that the levels of radiation in the US Pacific coast are rather insignificant when compared to other background sources of radiation that already exist in the US, or compared to our exposure flying on an airplane. Bottom-feeding fish near the coasts of Japan show more contamination, but even then the levels of radioactivity fall below the international dose limit.
In fact, Maine Coast, a seaweed purveyor that regularly tests their products for toxins, found that their products only have background levels of radioactivity even right after the Fukushima event in March 2011 (source).
Because seaweed is at the bottom of the food chain (where it is eaten by other animals), the concentration of toxins in seaweed is much less than in fish or other animals that eat the seaweed.

Toxic Heavy Metals

While rich in beneficial minerals, seaweed also can contain toxic metals. This likely depends on the type of the seaweed, where it is harvested from, and the variation of toxin levels in the water. Several reports detail the heavy metal content of seaweed:
  • Heavy metals in laver, seatangle, sea mustard, hijiki, and gulfweed from the South Korea coast are below safety limits (source, and source).
  • Hijiki, regardless of brand, contains arsenic that is above the safety limit (source).
  • A Spanish study extensively compared various types of seaweed imported from Japan, China, Korea, and Chile that are sold in Spain. They concluded that most seaweed products are safe with respect to WHO guidelines. However, some species such as Hijiki and H. fusiforme may be high in arsenic (source).
Heavy metals levels in seaweed can really vary from batch to batch. The best way to know for sure is to purchase your seaweed from companies that regularly third-party lab test their products for heavy metal levels. One company I like that does this is Maine Coast. They publish their test results on their website here.
Remember that heavy metal exposure also comes from other sources like the environment and foods like fish and seafood. Everyone’s ability to remove these heavy metals from their bodies differs. If you are concerned about heavy metal levels, it might be wise to avoid seaweed and seafood altogether.

Seaweed as a Superfood: How It Stacks Up

  • There are many benefits of seaweed and it is a very nutritious food.
  • Healthy people can enjoy seaweed as a condiment a few times a week.
  • If you have concerns about thyroid health or digestive function, you may want to speak to your doctor about monitoring your condition as you introduce more seaweed into your diet.
  • With a few exceptions, radioactivity and heavy metal toxicity are of low concern for seaweed.
  • In general, seaweed harvested from the Korean coast is quite safe.
When in doubt, purchase your seaweed from a reputable company that tests their products for contamination, such as Maine Coast.WM-Seaweed-InfoGraph
What is your experience with seaweed? Do you have any concerns about its safety? Please share in the comments below.

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Friday, 19 January 2018

Not sleeping? Write a to-do list before you go to bed!

If you suffer from insomnia, writing a 'to-do' list for the following day just before you go to bed could help you get a proper night's sleep.
The procedure seems to clear the head and stops people worrying or over-thinking when they get into bed, researchers have discovered.
It works better than another approach to writing down everything that has happened that day.
It seems counter-intuitive because thinking about what has to be done the following day might be expected to increase worry—but it doesn't, say researchers from Baylor University's Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory.
They tested both approaches on a group of 57 university students, who were given five minutes before going to bed to either write about the day that had passed or what they had to do the following day.
Monitoring brain activity once the students were in bed, the researchers found that those who wrote down a 'to-do' list slept more deeply and for longer. "Writing a 'to-do' list seems to offload thoughts and reduce worry," said lead researcher Michael K Scullin.
Around 40 percent of adults suffer some problems falling asleep at least a few times a month. Although none of the students were insomniacs, Dr. Scullin thinks the practice could help those who are.

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From antioxidants to iron absorption: how to make the most of your cup of tea!

ive millennia on, tea is still delighting scientists who want to prove slightly obvious things. The latest news on that front is that it can make us more creative. In the journal Food Quality and Preference, Yan Huang, from the Psychological and Cognitive Sciences Department of Peking University, illustrates how his 50 subjects performed better when “trying to come up with a cool name for a noodle bar”, among other tasks, when given a cup of tea instead of a glass of water. As marvellous as this info is for the noodle bar franchising industry, the health and cognitive benefits of tea certainly don’t end there. We’ve all had the debate about how to make the tastiest cuppa. But what about the healthiest? Here are some tips:

Theanine, an amino acid, is at the core of how tea relaxes us. It is extraordinarily useful: good for anxiety, for high blood pressure, and preventing Alzheimer’s. It is also used to make cancer drugs more effective. There is more theanine in the stems than in the leaves. In that sense, pricey loose-leaf teas picked from the topper-most leaves in Nepalese villages are less valuable than those stems that are mashed into a standard builder’s brew.Use cheap, bagged tea
Avoid milk
Or not. Tea contains about 10 times as many antioxidants as fruit or vegetables, so it’s worth some thought either way. Some studies have shown that milk reduces the bioavailability of the antioxidants within tea. Others, however, suggest there is no difference. Jury’s out.
Prefer green
Black, white and green teas all come from the same plant: Camellia sinensis. The difference is simply the timing of the harvest and the level of oxidisation. Catechins, associated with cardiovascular health and weight maintenance, exist in all teas, but they’re affected by oxidation, so are highest in unoxidised green and white teas.
Don’t shake
Or tap, or otherwise whisk the tea around in the receptacle. That can increase the quantity of tannins released, which aside from being bitter, can bond to iron molecules in any food recently eaten, preventing them from being absorbed.
Brew for 20 minutes
Which is the point at which 80% of the “bioactive” – catechins, theanine, etc – are extracted? A tad inconvenient? Possibly disgusting? Settle for two to three minutes, when 60% of the catechins and 80% of the theanine will be absorbed. Alternatively, stewing for 30 seconds, then putting your mug plus the bag in the microwave for a minute (medium) will bring the levels up to a three-minute equivalent in half the time.

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Benefits of Exercising Naked!

When it comes to exercise, we’re often told which different types of sporting clothing we should wear to enhance our workout. From the latest breathable technology that will keep your body temperature regulated, or trainers that will guarantee to help you improve your running times, we’re bombarded with new and innovative types of workout clothing from a host of different stores. It can be difficult to know what you need to purchase to ensure an effective workout regime. What if we told you that you can have an extremely effective workout wearing only your birthday suit? Training naked might sound a little off-piste, but it can offer you a host of different benefits, helping to maximise your workout time and time again. Here are the benefits of training naked:

1. You’ll be comfortable in your own skin One of the reasons that many of us exercise is to feel happy in our own skin. We work out to feel good, to be healthy and to achieve our body goals. When working out naked, you’re forced to examine your body and to come face to face with yourself, exactly how you look. By consistently doing this, you’ll be getting used to your body, slowly getting more comfortable in your own skin.

2. You’ll be able to notice progress By regularly observing yourself in the nude as you work out, you’ll be able to notice every bit of progress your body is making within your exercise routine. There’s nowhere to hide when you’re not wearing clothes, and by knowing the ins and outs of your human form in the nude thanks to consistently observing it, you’ll notice even the most minor changes. This will help to keep you motivated and to show you that your hard work is paying off! Similarly, consistently looking at yourself naked will inspire you to make healthy choices to see changes in your body.

3. Watch your body work Without a doubt, one of the biggest benefits of exercising naked is that you can actually watch your bodywork. Without clothes, you’ll be able to see the different muscle groups in all their glory as you exercise. You will be able to actually see how strong you are, to visualise the impact of each exercise you do and to marvel at how fantastic the human body actually is. Dr. David B. Agus states that ‘The skin acts as an indicator of the state of the entire body, and external skin discolorations, blemishes, lesions, rashes, blotches, or other unsightly marks can be signs of underlying internal disease. Once in a while, take a visual inventory of every square inch of yourself, including your hair, nails, and the inside of your mouth’ - which means that observing your naked body whilst working out can be incredibly beneficial for your health too.

4. Letting your skin breathe If you wear clothes whilst you work out, believe it or not, you are technically not giving your skin enough room to breathe. According to Dr. Lance Brown, an American DERMATOLOGIST, workout clothing can restrict the blood flow and act like a sponge, collecting all of the sweat you produce - which of course, should be a decent amount if you’re working out with gusto! Going bare gives your skin a chance to breathe. When you sweat, your body releases toxins, and by wearing tight workout clothes, you’re actually weakening your skin by reabsorbing the sweat that is released by the body as you sweat.

5. Do your body good Without the restriction of workout clothes as you exercise, your body is likely to be a little more flexible, allowing you to truly maximise your workouts. This could result in improved calorie burn, as you’re truly getting the most out of your workout. Similarly, being naked will allow your skin to truly breathe as you exercise.
A study conducted also found that running barefoot helps to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s in adults. Dr Sunesara, GENERAL PHYSICIAN from Mumbai says that the stimulation, which is created in the sole of the foot encourages our brain to boost more neuron connections. Not only this, but it’s been claimed that ‘ditching the workout clothes allows exercisers to get a better sense of their alignment in exercises, which can mean more gains from the workout’ - which of course, is super important! Whether you’re getting naked for a home workout or attending one of the innovative and exciting new naked exercise classes we’re seeing popping up around the globe - working out in the nude can bring a myriad of physical and psychological benefits, so if you’re brave enough, why not give it a go?

 RIGHT PATH FITNESS is a team of London-based Personal Training specialists committed to helping CLIENTS reach their full fitness potential in the most efficient and effective time possible.

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Thursday, 18 January 2018

10 Fennel Tea Benefits You Must Know!

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10 Fennel Tea Benefits You Must Know
  • Fennel Tea offers you various benefits
  • It helps in boosting immune system
  • Fennel Tea is rich in vitamins like A, C and D
Fennel seeds are packed with benefits that have been known since ancient times. It is said to prevent many diseases and can improve the overall health to a great extent. They can either be consumed raw or in the form of tea as well. Also known as Foeniculum vulgare in scientific language, fennel is an aromatic plant which is used both for cooking and medicinal purposes. Essential oil found in the fennel seeds are used in medicine. Making fennel tea is quite an easy task. Simply boil the seeds in water, making sure that the essential oil has also blended well. There are various factors which make the fennel tea extremely beneficial. Apart from being rich in vitamins like A, C and D, fennel tea has many antioxidant properties which also improves the digestive functioning and eye power to a great extent. Here's a list of 10 benefits that fennel tea offers. Read on to know more
Benefits of fennel tea

1. Aids Weight Loss

Since it enhances the body's digestion process, it can stimulate the nutrient intake in a better manner. This way, it can keep you away from the unnecessary bingeing. It can also help in maintaining the glucose levels in the body. It also terminates the appetite and removes extra fluid from the body.

tummy fat
2. Promotes Heart Health

A healthy liver is known to break the cholesterol in a more accomplished way. Fennel is known to be that one food which helps the liver in functioning properly and improves the heart rate.

3. Improves immune system

Fennel seeds are extremely rich in vitamin C, which is said to be a strong antioxidant as well. Fennel seeds are also high in antimicrobial properties which automatically improves the immune system.

4. Improves Eye Health

Fennel seeds are beneficial in improving eye-sight as well. Vitamin C plays an important role in improving eyesight. It can also be used to treat conjunctivitis, by washing eyes with fennel seeds water.

5. Reduces Acne

Fennel contains essential oils, all of which manifest anti-inflammatory properties to treat skin conditions like acne. Fennel also helps to throw out the surplus liquids from the skin, which might convert to acne pimples.

6. Fights Against Diabetes

Fennel seeds have alleviated diabetic properties which helps in fighting diabetes. Due to its high source of nutrients like vitamin C and Potassium, it helps in lowering the blood sugar levels and also helps to increase insulin reactivity resulting in balancing the sugar.

type 2 diabetes
Photo Credit: iStock
7. Kills Internal Parasites

Its laxative properties help in flushing out the parasites from the system as it is said to be a sedative for worms inside the stomach.

8. Promotes Gum Health

Fennel has excellent antimicrobial properties which keep the gum strong and prevents it from inflammation.

brushing your teeth
9. Treats Respiratory Ailments

The herbs present in fennel seeds help in treating respiratory ailments. They also settle the contraction in the respiratory system and clears the passage.

10. Prevents Cancer

Fennel tea has many antioxidants that can keep you away from cancer. Since it's high in fiber and vitamin C, it can boost the immunity system to a great extent.

Fennel tea can do wonders for your body. Including it in your daily diet can provide you with numerous benefits.

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Hello, hibiscus!

Around the globe, hibiscus is held in pretty high regard.  
It’s the national flower of Haiti, with other versions also representing South Korea and Malaysia, and in Hinduism, red hibiscus is the flower of the goddess Kali.  
While in Hawaii, where the hibiscus is the state flower, the pretty bloom can be worn to show if a woman is single or not; placed behind the left ear, it shows a lady is married or on a relationship, while wearing it behind the right represents being single.  
In Chinese medicine, it is revered for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and emollient properties, which also makes the flower a powerful player in beauty and skincare. If you’re not already familiar with it, now is the time to say hello to hibiscus!  
Also known as Rose Mallow, more and more beauty brands are turning to it thanks to hibiscus being a natural source of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), a hero product when it comes to exfoliating, reducing wrinkles and curbing the visible effects of ageing on the skin. Plenty of popular skincare brands use chemical forms of AHAs, though these can often be too harsh for some complexions, whereas the natural form is much gentler.  
Eminence Organic Skincare tapped into the visage boosting the power of the flower with its Hibiscus range, which includes the Instant Line Filler, Ultra Lift Eye Cream, and Ultra Neck Cream because the ingredient increases elasticity. These products are moisture rich and truly keep skin hydrated and supple.  
Similarly, the high vitamin E, antioxidant and omega content of the flower is what inspired Aurelia Probiotic Skincare to use it in the botanical rich Restorative Cream Body Cleanser, and new British brand Nakin have included Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Extract in the Anti-Ageing Performance Face Serum and Anti-Ageing Eye Cream Complex, calling it “natural Botox”.  
No7’s brand new Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum Foundation chose to use hibiscus extract, taken from the seed of Hibiscus Abelmoschus because it’s rich in peptides and amino acids, which helps to support collagen production and makes skin look and feel smoother.  
And Jimmy Choo has zoned in on the delicate scent of hibiscus for the L’Eau perfume, as has fun new brand Being, from the makers of Sanctuary Spa, using it for one of its signature fragrances, pairing it with coconut water for a nine-piece range of bathroom goodies, including a body butter, shower gel and hand cream. 

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Nutrition Powered Calisthenics

Nutrition powered Calisthenics class in conjunction with the Beckenham Gym!💪.
Here students are nutritionally nourished at the beginning of the class to see them last the pace of the class which leads to gains!🤔.
You too can come along and get your body nutritionally nourished whilst getting in shape. DM for class details!🙌.
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