Health Benefits of Humming

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The topic for this blog post came about through a series of synchronicities.

After picking up my teenage granddaughter Aubrey from school one afternoon, she commented that I always hum in the car. She is right. I typically hum, almost under my breath, whenever I’m driving or riding in the car. Aubrey said she liked that I did. It is a comforting sound and something she has heard me do all of her life.

I thought more about my humming the next day and remembered that I hummed to my children when they were babies and to my grandchildren, to help them fall asleep. I didn’t hum a song. Instead the hum was very low, more of a vibration than a musical sound. And anytime I am alone, I softly hum a song or create my own.

That afternoon, I saw a tweet from a friend of mine on Twitter, now called X. He shared that he also hums and explained that there are actually good reasons to. That led me to do research which resulted this post.

I was surprised by what I discovered. You might be too.

Here are the very real health benefits of humming.Health Benefits of Humming title

The Practice of Humming

When scientists explored the science behind sound healing, they discovered that conscious, self created sounds, such as humming, can literally rearrange molecular structure and bring healing to the body.

This phenomenon is called the humming effect and these are the benefits.

Humming Calms the Nervous System

Humming creates a vibration within the body that in turn triggers positive shifts. One of the most important effects is the stimulation of the vagus nerve which governs the body’s parasympathetic rest and digest states, lowers anxiety and causes the release of powerful relaxation hormones and endorphins.

A stimulated vagus nerve helps us to regulate emotions, ease stress and better handle bouts of depression or anxiety.

Humming also moves you out of “fight or flight” mode and into relaxation.

Humming Boosts Cardiovascular Health

When we hum, the level of nitric oxide in our nasal passages increases greatly. Nitric oxide naturally relaxes constricted blood vessels, lowering stress on the heart and vascular system and reducing blood pressure.

Blood vessels that are more open better deliver oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the body’s organs and tissues which reduces inflammation and supports healing.

Higher levels of nitric oxide also to clear up and prevent sinus infections. My friend on Twitter claims this happened for him.

Nitric oxide also relaxes the muscles in the lungs and widens airways, making breathing easier. And because nitric oxide has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antifungal properties, it boosts the immune system.

Humming Relieves Pain

Authors Jonathan and Andi Goldman, who co-wrote the book The Humming Effect, suggest that humming can help reduce pain, especially when the sound is consciously directed toward the part of the body experiencing discomfort.

Remember that Frequency + Intention = Healing.

For example, if your elbow hurts, visualize your elbow surrounded by a bright, white light as you hum.

To feel better overall, visualize the body’s cells being charged with healing energy as you hum.

Humming Helps You Fall Asleep

Humming causes the body to release the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep in the body. Right before bedtime, prepare for sleep by softly humming.

This fact both surprised and delighted me. The low humming I instinctively did as I cradled a baby against my chest always soothed them into sleep.

Health Benefits of Humming better sleep
Health benefits of humming – helps you fall asleep

Humming Detoxifies the Body

By allowing greater flow in the lymphatic system, humming helps to cleanse and detoxify the body. A strong lymphatic system helps to defend against infections.

Humming Grounds You

Humming is similar to meditation in that it grounds the body. It also roots the voice in the diaphragm, creating a pathway for expressing yourself authentically.

For grounding, sit comfortably in a chair and allow the vibrational sound to rise and ebb naturally. Allow the humming to take you out of your head and into your body, into yourself.

How to Bring Daily Humming into Your Life

Humming is easy. Anyone can do it. We often hum subconsciously as we work or drive.

For the purpose of healing, consciously hum.

Bring air in through the nose and then hum in the back of the throat as you slowly exhale. The vibration should be low and deep enough to reach the chest. Place your hand on your chest and make sure you can feel the vibration there as you hum. If you can, you are creating the most benefits.

Hum for at least five to ten minutes, two to four times a day.

You can sit quietly and hum, as part of a meditation practice. Or hum while you walk outdoors, do housework, rock a child to sleep or my favorite, while you drive.

Are You a Hummer?

Knowing now the benefits of humming, I am much more intentional about it. It’s become a part of my daily practices for improved health and wellbeing.

Are you a hummer like me? Did you know that you can create greater health with your humming?

Health Benefits of Humming driving
Health benefits of humming – hum while driving or riding in the car

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

Health Tips for Road Trips

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It’s the season of road trips. School is out, summer approaches, adventure beckons. It’s the perfect time to load up the car and head off down that highway. I just recently completed my first road trip for the year, to beautiful Blue Ridge, Georgia in the mountains.

As Greg and I prepped for a 700 mile drive across five states to reach our destination, I did more than pack clothes and fill my daily medication holder with supplements. I also prepared for a long ride in the car, with the desire to make it as supportive of my health as possible.

The trip was a success, in terms of the enjoyment I experienced exploring a new to me place and doing well riding for hours in the car.

Try these simple health tips for road trips on your next long distance adventure.

Healthy Tips for Road Trips title

Wear Comfy Clothing

As with flying, when riding for miles and hours confined in a car, it’s important to wear loose fitting, comfy clothing. This isn’t the time for constricting clothes that can cause discomfort by interfering with blood flow. Lightweight, flowing pants or shorts, a loose fitting shirt and sneakers are perfect.

If you have trouble with restless legs or muscle cramps in calves while riding long distances, try compression socks. There are cute ones available, if that lessens the perception of wearing compression socks. They help with circulation, and prevent swelling, which can keep legs more comfortable as you travel. I bought these before my last international flight and they helped so much!

For extra fun, wear a graphic travel tee with ADVENTURE spelled out across the front of it or has ROAD TRIP vibes.

Protect Eyes with Sunglasses

Eyes are exposed to sunlight and glare while riding in the car. Protect them with sunglasses. Polarized with UV protection is a good choice. Amber, grey, brown or grey are the best lens colors, to reduce brightness while not distorting colors. Blue and yellow lenses cause color distortion.

Additionally, reducing glare with sunglasses increases visibility while driving, keeping you and other drivers safer.

Health Tips for Road Trips sunglasses
Health Tips for Road Trips – wear sunglasses for eye protection and better visibility

Buckle Up

Along with wearing comfy clothes and protective sunglasses, wear a seatbelt. It just makes sense for everyone in the car to wear a seatbelt while traveling. The cross body and around the hips belts keep the body from being thrown around the car in an accident, or worse, ejected through the windshield. Seatbelts also prevent injury or even death from a rapidly inflating air bag.

The bottom line is, seatbelts save lives and prevent getting stopped for a violation. Ensure you arrive safely to your destination by buckling up.

Stay Hydrated

To feel your best while traveling, stay hydrated by drinking enough water. I know. Most people on a long car trip do the opposite, fearful that drinking water makes them have to stop too often for bathroom breaks. First of all, that’s the next tip: stop every couple of hours to stretch and move. And secondly, drinking enough water while on road trips helps the body to function better meaning you feel better.

Adequate hydration regulates body temperature, keeps those joints that are often bent while riding in the car lubricated, delivers nutrients to cells and keeps all your organs functioning properly.

You’ll feel less tired when you arrive at your destination and less thirsty as well.

Health Tips for Road Trips stay hydrated
Health Tips for Road Trips – stay hydrated

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

Sun exposure happens while riding in the car, especially on the face and arms. Use an SPF 50 sunscreen. It’s more about protecting the skin than preventing sunburn. A good rule of thumb is, when outdoors, use sunscreen.

Pack Healthy Snacks

One of the fun activities while road tripping is munching on snacks. Instead of bags of potato chips, cookies or candy bars, take along healthy choices to fuel your body.

Good suggestions include fruit such as apple slices, bananas, grapes and oranges, cut up veggies, nuts, unsalted airpopped popcorn and low sugar treats such as Munk Pack bars.

As a bonus, I packed groceries for our trip since we knew we would arrive late to our accommodations. The cabin offered a full kitchen and groceries on hand meant I could easily cook healthy meals there. However, more than once on the drive we broke into our box of groceries for a light meal.

Health Tips for Road Trips healthy snacks
Health Tips for Road Trips – pack healthy snacks

Take Breaks to Stretch and Walk

While it might seem like it takes too much time away from the journey to stop every couple of hours, getting out of the car even for a few minutes is good for the body.

Stretching, walking and moving gets blood circulating, eases tight, stiff muscles and keeps you alert, especially when you are the driver. It’s a great time to take that bathroom break as well, after drinking your water. Stretch out the spine, roll shoulders, walk around the car or into a convenience store or restaurant. Loosen up those muscles and you’ll ride better when you return to the car.

Put the Phone Down

If you are the driver, this is a must. Keep attention on the road and traffic and off of the phone. A driver is 23 times more likely to have an accident while sending text messages than if he or she is driving only.

You can still use your phone’s GPS for driving directions by starting the app and then placing the phone in a holder or the console. Listen to music or podcasts but don’t text or try to use the map while driving. Designate a passenger in the car as the message sender, map adjustor, music selector and keep eyes alert and attention focused.

Do You Have Other Tips?

Are you headed out on a road trip this summer? What is your destination?

I hope these health tips for road trips are helpful. Do you have other tips that you find useful? Add them to the comments.

Health Tips for Road Trips no texting
Health Tips for Road Trips – have a designated phone person to text, FaceTime and adjust the map. No texting and driving.

 

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Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil

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There’s a lot of confusion out there about cooking oils. In recent years, we were encouraged to use vegetable oils, with canola oil at the top of the list, since they are high in unsaturated fats and low in the saturated ones.

However, saturated fat content doesn’t tell the whole nutrition story. And, in fact, canola oil is NOT the best oil to use for several reasons. Want to get the scoop on why this oil may be causing you health issues?

Read on for the concerns about this popular oil and discover healthy substitutes for canola oil.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil title meme

What is Canola Oil?

This neutral tasting oil comes from crushing the seeds of the canola plant.

The canola plant, however, originated as the rapeseed plant. That plant contains toxic compounds, making it unsafe for consumption. Canadian scientists learned to remove those toxic compounds through the targeted cross breeding of plants and came up with the canola plant, so named for Canada – can, and oil – ola. Most canola crops are also genetically modified (GMO). GMO products can create inflammation in the body.

Extracting oil from the canola plant is a long process that includes using chemical solvents such as hexane or a combination of chloroform and methanol. That extraction step removes most polyphenols, a healthy compound that promotes longevity.

The high heat used during the process can also affect the stability of the oil’s molecules, turning it rancid and destroying the omega-3s. The addition of synthetic antioxidants increases shelf life.

Canola oil may also contain small amounts of trans fats, which can lead to harmful effects on health.

How Canola Oil Can Impact Health

Canola oil can impact health in negative ways.

Those synthetic antioxidants, which include BHA, BHT and TBHQ, when consumed over time are toxic and carcinogenic.

Canola oil contains a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, while consuming too much omega-6 contributes to inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Canola oil’s ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 2:1, adding to the overconsumption of omega-6s that’s common in the typical American diet. Most in the US consume these two fatty acids in a 20:1 ratio.

The spike in inflammation that canola oil can cause contributes to many chronic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and colitis.

Recent studies show that canola oil can cause impairment in cognitive function and memory. Plus it can worsen hypertensions and damage blood vessel function, especially when the oil is combined with salt when frying foods.

Beware of studies and reports claiming canola oil is a healthy oil to use. Most of those are funded by the Canada and US Canola Associations. There are better oils to use.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil

Try one of these oils, if using oil is a part of your diet.

Sesame Oil

Use sesame oil to sauté veggies or add to marinades and dressings. It comes from sesame seeds and is one of the earliest known crop based oils.

Health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, boosts heart health and protects skin from sun damage.

Avocado Oil

Made from the pulp of the avocado, this oil is rich in oleic acid, a healthy omega-9 fatty acid. Use avocado oil as a high heat cooking and frying option and in baking.

Benefits include reduces cholesterol and improves heart health, supports eye health, enhances the absorption of nutrients and reduces symptoms of arthritis.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil avocado
Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil – avocado oil

Peanut Oil

Made from peanuts, this oil is ideal for cooking at high temperatures. It’s high in unsaturated fats, antioxidants and phytosterols, a plant compound that blocks the absorption of cholesterol from foods.

Highly refined peanut oil is free from the allergen that causes a reaction. However, if you have a peanut allergy, do not use cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil. Always ask your health care provider for guidance.

Health benefits include lowers bad cholesterol, reduces risks for heart disease and strokes and maintains immune system and metabolism.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil comes from the coconut palm fruit. It’s a white solid fat that melts easily at room temperature, turning into a clear liquid. Use for frying, baking and DIY skincare and haircare recipes.

Coconut oil contains rich fatty acids and antioxidants.

Health benefits include fights against Alzheimer’s, reduces risks for heart disease, boosts liver health and energy and aids digestion.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil coconut
Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil – coconut oil

Flaxseed Oil

This oil is made from ground flax seeds. Use for cooking, dressings, sauces and frying and also as an ingredient in DIY skincare recipes. Flaxseed oil is high in omega-3s.

Benefits include reduces inflammation, improves heart and skin health, lowers blood pressure and may help reduce cancer cell growth.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Also called pepita oil, this rust colored oil is extracted from pumpkin seeds. It’s versatile as a cooking oil and also as a supplement. And it’s rich in nutrients, fatty acids and phytoserols.

Health benefits include lowers cholesterol, eases symptoms of an enlarged prostate, lowers high blood pressure, eases menopausal symptoms and improves urinary tract health.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This well known oil comes from olives. Use it for cooking, frying, baking and salad dressings.

Look for cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil as it is the least processed and often considered the healthiest oil to use. It contains heart healthy fats and antioxidants and possesses a rich flavor.

Health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, supports heart health, promotes longevity, helps manage blood clotting, lowers blood pressure, lowers the risk of cancer and reduces the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil olive
Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil – olive oil

Which Oil Do You Use?

If you prefer not to use oils, you can substitute applesauce or mashed bananas in baking recipes. Use a small amount of water or vegetable broth when sautéing.

I’ve lightly used olive oil, since going plant based. However, since embracing the Blue Zones lifestyle, I use more than I used to, and love it. Look for the best quality cold pressed olive oil, for the most health benefits.

Do you use oils? Which is your favorite to use?

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil peanut
Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil – peanuts for peanut oil


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

52 Ways to Walk

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Greg recently brought home a book from our local library, because he thought it might interest me. And does it ever interest me!

The book, 52 Ways to Walk by Annabel Streets, carries the subtitle “The surprising science of walking for wellness and joy, one week at a time.” I appreciate the “wellness and joy” aspects of the book. And, I absolutely love the format. My imagination immediately fired up as I read through the book.

I’m excited to put this book into practice. And I’m equally excited to share the book with you.

52 Ways to Walk title meme

Meet the Author, Annabel Streets

Annabel grew up in a carless family. Her father never learned to drive and her mother failed her driving test seven times. The family lived in remote places without access to public transportation, so if they needed something, they walked to obtain it.

As a young adult, Annabel bought her first car and enjoyed driving it around her little town. She also accepted a desk job. Soon she noticed changes in her body and wellness level.

Her body grew rounder, softer, achier, stiffer and more stooped. And Annabel felt more anxious, unsettled and discontent. She chose to reconnect with the simple joys of walking, to reclaim her health and wellbeing.

As she returned to walking frequently, she made two rules for herself: walk instead of using the car, unless absolutely necessary and convert as many sedentary activities as possible into walking activities.

52 Ways to Walk was born out of Annabel’s reconnection with walking and the desire to encourage others to rethink walking and reclaim it from their molecular memories.

52 Ways to Walk cold
52 Ways to Walk – Week 1 Walk in the Cold

How to Use the Book

Each chapter in the book is an opportunity to discover a new way of walking. The chapters roughly coincide with annual weather conditions, colder at the beginning and end of the year, and some universally recognized events.

However, the chapters and modes of walking can also be accessed randomly, choosing a chapter here and the next week, flipping to another section of the book.

To best use the book, whether chronologically or randomly, first skim through the chapters and prepare for the variety of walks. During cold or rainy weather, have coats, scarves, umbrellas and proper footwear available. Download map apps and online sites for walking in new areas.

Walking shoes and boots should fit properly. Purchase new ones if they don’t. Quick drying, breathable socks are a must as well. A stout walking stick is helpful for walking in nature. And keep a backpack ready to go with bandaids, snacks, water, sunscreen, wipes, antiseptic, insect repellent and pain relievers.

Pick a week to start, choose your first walk and head out the door!

52 Ways to Walk lost
52 Ways to Walk – Week 41 Walk to Get Lost

Examples from 52 Ways to Walk

Each short chapter includes the type of walk to go on, the benefits from the activity and the science to back the reasoning. At the end of each chapter is a TIPS section with ways to get the most from the walk.

Here is a sampling of walks found in the book.

Walk, Smile, Greet, Repeat

Walking allows us to experience chance encounters with others. Greeting the people we meet with a smile while walking in a neighborhood makes us feel better and return home happier.

Walk in the Rain

Rather than using a rainy day as an excuse to stay home, this week’s activity encourages us to walk in the rain and reconnect with the elements. The falling rain, increased moisture and persistent pounding of raindrops causes specific compounds to be released and combined with the air we breathe. Inhaling those compounds produces a profound sense of well being in the body.

52 Ways to Walk rain
52 Ways to Walk – Week 12 Walk in the Rain

Take a Silent Stroll

A decade ago, scientists discovered that loud noises stopped new neurons from forming in the brain, in the regions linked to memory and learning. Two hours of silence every day produced new neurons. Walking in a quiet place allows the body to reset and the brain to create new neurons.

Amble Amid Trees

in the 1960s biologists realized that the bluish haze often seen over landscapes is a vast cloud of molecules and gases produced by trees and plants. Those emissions benefit earth’s atmosphere. Now we are discovering that they deliver positive benefits to us as well, when we walk in the woods. Health benefits include reduced risks for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, early death, high blood pressure and stress.

52 Ways to Walk woods
52 Ways to Walk – Week 19 Amble Amid Trees

Walk with Your Nose

Our sense of smell is the most primitive of the senses. To fully activate that sense and awaken the other senses, walk in an area rich in aromatic plant life. Walk slowly, occasionally closing the eyes and placing hands over the ears and be guided by the nose.

Follow a River

Landscapes with running water have a restorative effect on the mood of the walker. The mind unwinds and the brain relaxes, helping us to feel tranquil and energized at the same time. Tote along lightweight binoculars for watching wildlife along the river and wear sunglasses to protect eyes from glare off of the water.

52 Ways to Walk river
52 Ways to Walk – Week 17 Follow a River

How I Intend to Use the Book

Since the copy I am currently reading came from the library, I’m ordering my own copy from Amazon.

I love the easy to use format and the mix of tips, stories, science and fun in each chapter. Walking as an exercise is important to me. The health benefits are many plus it is a recommended activity for the Blue Zones lifestyle.

What I appreciate also about the book is the ability to keep the walks interesting by playing a random game. One of the primary reasons people don’t continue a walking practice is boredom. And I get it. Walking the same route the same way becomes more of a mindless activity. I love that 52 Ways to Walk offers a fresh walking activity every week.

My intention is to write out each week’s walk on a slip of paper, fold those 52 slips up and drop them into a container. Each week I’ll draw out a different walk to experience. If the walk doesn’t match the weather or requires something I’m not able to do that week, then I’ll return that slip to the container and draw out another one. This is a form of creative play that I enjoy immensely.

52 Ways to Walk dogs
52 Ways to Walk – Week 18 Walk with a Dog

Pick Up Your Copy of 52 Ways to Walk

Is walking an important form of exercise and relaxation for you? Then you would enjoy this book as well. The activities are so varied and the information in each chapter is well presented and motivational.

I appreciate that the book contains a full year of weekly walks. And it inspires me to create other interesting walks as well.

Pick up your copy of 52 Ways to Walk by clicking this LINK or by clicking on the photo of the book below. And watch for future posts. I’ll share occasional highlights of some of the walks.

52 Ways to Walk gait
52 Ways to Walk – Week 2 Improve Your Gait

 

Click photo below to order book:

 

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Try These Superfoods in 2022

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March’s National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to raise the nutritional value of your meals. One way to do that is by choosing foods that are considered nutritionally dense and contain powerful antioxidants.

To give your body the best fuel possible, try these superfoods in 2022.

Try These Superfoods in 2022 title meme

What is a Superfood?

By definition, a superfood is one that is rich in compounds, such as antioxidants, fiber and fatty acids. And a superfood is nutrient dense, supplying maximum levels of vitamins and minerals to the body.

When talking about superfoods, there is an emphasis on plant based foods as they provide a variety of health benefits. This is proving to be especially true during a pandemic, as we learn the importance of a strong immune system. In the next year, embracing food as medicine is one step toward improving immunity and increasing overall health and wellness.

Try These Superfoods in 2022

These superfood status foods provide health benefits along with powerful nutrients.

Wild Blueberries

Although domestic blueberries provide some benefits, the Maine wild blueberry is the real superstar superfood. Wild blueberries possess extremely high levels of antioxidants, bringing healing to any damaged part of the body. These little powerhouses blueberries eradicate heavy metals and other toxins from the body. They are a powerful brain food and amazing at restoring the liver. Antioxidants protect cells against damage from free radicals, protecting the body against diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Try adding frozen wild blueberries, available in the freezer section at the grocery store, to smoothies, pancakes, smoothie bowls, oatmeal and chia pudding. Or simply add thawed wild blueberries to a bowl of sliced strawberries, raspberries and blackberries for a naturally sweet dessert.

Avocados

By providing an excellent source of healthy omega-6 fatty acids, avocados help heal the brain and central nervous system. They contain antioxidants and other nutrients that improve bone health, eye health and skin health while lowering cholesterol. Avocados are easy to digest, making them helpful for soothing and healing the digestive tract. They have anti-inflammatory properties that behave like aspirin, without thinning out the blood. This reduces narrowing and swelling in the linings of the stomach and intestines.

Try adding chopped avocado to salads, mashing for avocado toast or simple guacamole or blending with your morning smoothie.

Try These Superfoods in 2022 avocado
Try These Superfoods in 2022 – avocados

Exotic Fruit

This year, try something a bit out of the ordinary such as exotic fruit.

Acai – pronounced ah-sigh-ee, this berry grows in South America. These blueberry sized berries are rich in fiber and antioxidants that improve brain health. Use in smoothies and smoothie bowls or add dried acai berries to homemade granola.

Dragon fruit – this prickly looking fruit grows on cactus in Central and South America. Scoop out the bright pink or white flesh, which is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and add to fruit salads and smoothies or eat alone. Dragon fruit helps keep gut bacteria healthy, boosts immunity and improves cardiovascular health.

Golden berries – these berries from South America contain antioxidants and fatty acids that help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Eat golden berries as you do cherries or add them to fruit salads.

Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants, including polyphenols and catechins. These compounds protect cells and molecules from free radicals that damage the body and cause diseases. This soothing tea reduces inflammation throughout the body, protects the skin against harmful UV radiation and fights skin cancer by repairing DNA. It also protects the brain’s neurons and improves memory, making it helpful in preventing dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

In addition, green tea supports the immune system, prevents infections and aids in weight loss by boosting metabolism and eliminating fat from the body. This tea reduces the risk for diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and lowers bad cholesterol.

Drink a cup of hot green tea daily, brew, chill and serve over ice or try this powerful turmeric green tea recipe.

Try These Superfoods in 2022 green tea
Try These Superfoods in 2022 – green tea

Nuts

Nuts add protein, fiber and rich nutrients to the diet. Try pistachios, which are high in antioxidants that keep eyes healthy and protect against cancer and heart disease. Or choose almonds that provide healthy fats, protein and a fat soluble antioxidant that protects cells against oxidative damage while supporting the immune system and improving heart health.

Eat a small handful of nuts daily. Eat alone, add to homemade granola or sprinkle on oatmeal or salads.

Quinoa

This ancient grain that’s actually a seed is loaded with fiber, nutrients and all nine essential amino acids that the body needs. Quinoa’s antioxidants help calm inflammation throughout the body and provide anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-depressant properties. It’s high fiber content reduces the risks for constipation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diverticulosis. Plus quinoa’s high iron content supports blood health, energy and cell function, connective tissue health and muscle metabolism.

Cook quinoa in the same way as rice and add to veggie bowls, cover with stir fried veggies, use in tacos or add to a breakfast bowl with berries.

Try These Superfoods in 2022 quinoa
Try These Superfoods in 2022 – quinoa

Kale

Dark leafy greens are excellent sources of protein and antioxidants. Kale is especially beneficial with its high fiber and folate content, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, C and K. This dark leafy green boosts immunity along with eye and bone health, aids in the prevention of chronic disease and improves blood clotting. Plus kale contains folate, a B vitamin that is key for brain development.

Add chopped kale to salads, include in veggie bowls or try this delicious navy beans, brown rice and kale recipe.

Chia Seeds

These little seeds deliver big health benefits. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, vitamins E and B complex, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. They are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than any other food and especially beneficial for chronic inflammation, heart disease, brain function, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Chia seeds also combat diabetes by helping to stabilize and control blood sugar levels.

Add chia seeds to smoothie and oatmeal bowls, salads and smoothies. Or create chia pudding for breakfast or a simple dessert.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Their orange flesh is packed with carotenoids. Those phytochemicals are powerful, drawing radiation from the body and protecting against skin, breast, reproductive, stomach, intestinal, esophageal and rectal cancers.

Sweet potatoes are also wonderful for the digestive system. They promote productive bacteria in the stomach, small intestine and colon, while starving out unproductive bacteria and mold. They enhance the body’s production of B12. And they help to prevent megacolon, an expansion of the large intestine due to bacteria, and alleviate narrowing of the intestinal tract due to chronic inflammation.

Enjoy baked sweet potatoes or cube and add to stir fries, roast in the oven or try these yummy sweet potato and black bean tacos.

Which Superfoods Will You Try in 2022?

These superfoods are easy to add to the diet. It’s fun to create delicious, highly nutritious meals using these foods. And the benefits to health are incredible.

Which superfoods caught your interest? And will you try them this month or this year?

Try These Superfoods in 2022 sweet potato
Try These Superfoods in 2022 – sweet potatoes

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

The Connection Between Gratitude and Health

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November is National Gratitude Month. It’s a fitting time to practice gratitude, every day, and embrace the power it brings into our lives.

Gratitude is more than saying “thank you”, although that’s a start. Showing appreciation for what we have, even the small things, is a wonderful way of expressing gratitude. And it’s a response to kindness, help and generosity from others.

Expressing gratitude became a life changing experience for me, a little more than a decade ago. In the swirling chaos that surrounded my life at that time, including the death of my father and the suicide of a friend, I found my way through by starting a gratitude journal. That daily practice was the beginning of a new way of life for me.

It turns out gratitude improves health and wellness also.

Check out the connection between gratitude and health in this post.

The Connection Between Gratitude and Health title meme

The Health Connection

Research shows that gratitude dramatically improves overall health and wellness levels. That makes practicing gratitude a habit worth cultivating…and not just during November.

Below are ways that gratitude transforms us.

Gratitude Relieves Pain

How we think influences how we feel. And studies show that people who regularly express gratefulness…and truly feel it…experience fewer aches and pains.

This study found that the simple practice of listing three gratitudes at the end of each day resulted in fewer headaches and less stomach pain.

Grateful people also tend to take better care of themselves. They move their bodies more, eat better quality foods and practice self care. All of these contribute to less pain and greater feelings of wellness.

Gratitude Improves Cardiovascular Health

People who feel grateful and express that gratitude experience lower blood pressure and less chronic inflammation, a condition that damages the lining of blood vessels. That damage raises the risk of heart disease.

Keeping a daily gratitude journal not only lowers inflammation levels in patients with asymptomatic heart failure, it also improves heart rhythm.

The Connection Between Gratitude and Health cardiovascular health
The Connection Between Gratitude and Health – less pain and greater cardiovascular health

Gratitude Promotes Better Sleep

We all know how important sleep is to health. Studies discovered that those who made nightly lists of their gratitudes slept better and awoke feeling more refreshed, than those who didn’t. Focusing on the things we are grateful for at night increases a feeling of calmness that helps us fall asleep.

One of my favorite ways to drift off into sleep is to express gratitude by listing them mentally for all the blessings of the day, large and small.

There’s also a correlation between lack of sleep and lack of gratitude! When we don’t get enough rest we feel cranky and crankiness doesn’t tend to support feelings of gratitude.

Gratitude Improves Emotional Health

When in the midst of stress and/or anxiety, pausing to express gratitude shifts our thoughts from the negative to the positive. Feeling grateful snaps us out of detrimental loops of guilt, dread or pessimism and brings us fully back into the present moment.

Additionally, stress contributes to inflammation in the body and chronic illness. Over time, gratitude boosts the immune system, helping to fight off illness.

A gratitude practice, such as journaling or expressing the day’s blessings, also improves depression, helps us release toxic emotions, strengthens relationships and fosters empathy for others. Check out other ways to improve emotional health HERE.

The Connection Between Gratitude and Health stress relief
The Connection Between Gratitude and Health – stress relief

Ways to Practice Gratitude

Creating a gratitude practice is easy and doesn’t take much time. To see the greatest shifts in health and life, express gratefulness daily.

Try any of these gratitude ideas.

  • write daily in a journal, expressing gratitude for the day’s blessings
  • every night at bedtime, speak aloud or mentally list at least three gratitudes from the day
  • create or join a Gratitude Challenge, which are common during November
  • practice self gratitude
  • meditate, focusing on the day’s gratitudes, allowing great joy to fill your heart
  • intentionally look for things to be grateful for…and more will find you
  • take a gratitude walk, in nature, and express thankfulness for what you see
  • create gratitude art…try this fun gratitude pumpkin that I did a few years ago
  • write out favorite gratitude quotes and keep them where you can see them
  • list “I am” gratitudes… such as “I am grateful for a strong body”
  • learn to say “thank you” in American Sign Language and use that gesture throughout the day
  • write five or more thank you notes or texts a day and send them to people you are grateful for
  • practice telling others that you are grateful for them…make eye contact and be sincere

How are you practicing gratitude this month? And have you seen a shift in your life and health because of gratitude? Share with me in the comments below.

The Connection Between Gratitude and Health nature walk
The Connection Between Gratitude and Health – gratitude walk in nature

 

Gratitude Sparkers from Amazon:

 


 

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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Wellness Tips

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With Halloween celebrated and Thanksgiving later this month, we are well into the holiday season.

It’s my favorite time of year! The weeks between the beginning of fall and the start of a new year are full of joy, excitement and connection. However, they can also bring stress, unhealthy practices and overwhelm.

Enjoy the best of the season and make healthy choices that support well being, rather than depleting it.

These holiday wellness tips will help!

Holiday Wellness Tips title meme

Holiday Wellness Tips

To maintain the optimal level of health, through the holidays and beyond, into the new year, try these tips.

Practice Healthy Eating Habits

At the end of the holiday season, the number one health regret people have is overindulging. It’s easy to do, with holiday parties, family gatherings, special events and always, an abundance of sweet and savory treats on hand.

Create a strong, healthy eating plan. Write up menus in advance that include extra fruits and veggies. Swap out traditional holiday snacks that are full of sugar and fat for healthier versions. This vegan and gluten free gingerbread is a perfect example.

Make wise food choices during the holidays, saving treats for a few special occasions. And if you do overindulge, forgive yourself, move on with fresh determination and make better choices next time.

Mindful Drinking

This time of year, egg nog, spiked punch and special cocktails liven up the holidays at gatherings of all kinds. Be mindful of the number of alcoholic drinks consumed. They pack calories that can quickly add up. Plus alcohol severely impedes mental abilities, reduces fertility and impairs memory.

Consume adequate amounts of water, especially when drinking alcoholic beverages, as they can cause dehydration. Try hot herbal teas as well during these cold months, to warm up the body and boost health.

Holiday Wellness Tips practice healthy eating
Holiday Wellness Tips – practice healthy eating

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for health year around. During the holiday season, it’s especially crucial. Holiday induced anxiety increases when we are short on sleep. Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep for the brain to function properly. Plus enough sleep ensures we have the energy and vitality to enjoy all the events special to this time of year.

As much as possible, maintain regular sleep habits. And if you haven’t already, establish a nighttime routine that prepares the body for sleep.

Prioritize Self Care

While busy shopping, creating wonderful holiday meals and decorating the house, don’t forget to take time for you. It’s not selfish. Self care is necessary to reduce stress and anxiety and restore the body.

Set aside at least half an hour a day, to relax. Do something you love such as listening to music, reading, sipping hot tea or coloring. Take a nap. Sit in the sunshine for a few minutes. Do whatever feels restorative to you.

Holiday Wellness Tips self care
Holiday Wellness Tips – take care of you

Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones

The holidays are made merrier when we spend time with those we love. It can feel overwhelming, however, trying to make enough time for everyone on your friends and family list.

Don’t overburden your time. Think quality over quantity. Create holiday memories with those dearest to you. Call others, send a text or mail a holiday card with a handwritten note.

And be mindful of those who are alone during this season. A thoughtful message, cheerful phone call or meeting for a hot drink means much to those who are isolated or on their own. If you feel lonely during the holidays, consider volunteering, organizing a get together with others who may feel alone or reaching out to others with a message or call.

Stay Active

Colder weather can make getting enough exercise a challenge. During this season try incorporating normal activities into the holidays. Play with the kids who are home for the holiday break. Go for walks through the leaves or snow. Visit Christmas markets, villages or neighborhoods bright with holiday lights. Clean house and decorate to Christmas music.

Resist the temptation to “hibernate” and eat high carb foods.

Holiday Wellness Tips stay active
Holiday Wellness Tips – stay active

Reduce Stress

The holidays can create stress. Family gatherings, gift buying, financial strain and being off regular schedules all contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Set boundaries to protect your time and resources. Avoid family conflicts. Focus on what you can control…your thoughts and your actions. Create a Christmas budget. Don’t overdo on the sugar. And as mentioned above, practice self care and get enough sleep.

Have Realistic Expectations

The holidays can feel disappointing when expectations are too high. Be realistic with goals and intentions. Plan out the holiday you hope to have. Keep it simple this year, for a change. And know that everything won’t go the way you want. That’s okay. Accept or even embrace imperfections.

Start a new family tradition that is meaningful to you. And most of all relax. Accept what is and go with the flow.

Have a Healthy Holiday

I hope these simple tips help you have the best holiday season ever, full of joy, love, family and robust health. How we finish the year…is how we begin the next one.

Which holiday wellness tip will you adopt this season?

Holiay Wellness Tips realistic expectations

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

 

 

Keys to Emotional Wellness

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

October is Emotional Wellness Month. Emotional wellness refers to the ability to process our feelings in healthy, positive ways and manage everyday stresses. Because how we handle our emotional well being affects overall health.

Mental and emotional stress creates negative responses in the body such as high blood pressure, headaches, chronic illness and a weakened immune system.

Emotional Wellness Month, celebrated annually in October, serves as a reminder to take care of our emotions. Discover the following keys to emotional wellness, for a healthier state of being.

Keys to Emotional Wellness title meme

Be Who You Are

For emotional well being, it’s crucial to know who you are and live authentically as that person.

Sounds simple, right? However, many of us learn as children to please the adults in our lives…parents, grandparents, teachers…forgetting who we are as we grow older. We can lose that strong sense of self by the time we are adults, becoming habitual people pleasers.

However, we can’t please others at the expense of being who we are, otherwise we live a lie. It’s essential to spend the time doing the inner work required to reconnect with who we really are.

Remember the things you loved as a child. Try different things to see what you enjoy and what feels in alignment with your heart and soul. Journal and free write. See this post from my other blog, Creating a Strong Sense of Self, for more help. And this one, Finding Your Big Why, to learn more about your purpose in life.

Keys to Emotional Wellness be you
Keys to Emotional Wellness – be who you are

Be Aware of Emotions

It’s helpful to check in with how you are feeling, emotionally, every day. How do you relate to your emotions? Do you tend to “stuff” them away? Do they overwhelm you and erupt inappropriately?

Learning to feel and express emotions in healthy ways keeps them from escalating to an out of control level. Some experts recommend a technique called scaling emotions.

How strong are your emotions? Rate them on a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being low and 10 high. The idea is that by practicing awareness with emotions, you can keep them in the 2 – 5 range. Checking in allows us to intentionally bring emotions back into balance.

For example, if anger suddenly escalates to an 8, your awareness allows you to take deep breaths, pause or question feelings to bring the level down.

And it helps to keep an emotional journal to track…and name…feelings. Knowing what you are feeling helps you to talk about them more openly.

Keys to Emotional Wellness emotions
Keys to Emotional Wellness – be aware of emotions

Pay Attention to Physical Health

The two are connected, emotional and physical health. And the state of one affects the other. Increasing your physical health level positively improves emotional health.

Eat highly nutritious foods, including an abundance of fruits and veggies. Drink water. Get enough sleep. Stay active doing things you enjoy such as gardening, dancing, biking, walking or playing with grandkids. Exercise reduces stress hormones while boosting endorphins, the feel good ones.

Limit alcohol and do not smoke.

Learn to manage stress. Slow down and take a break. Practice deep breathing, yoga or meditation. Learn to relax tense muscles.

Keys to Emotional Wellness physical health
Keys to Emotional Wellness – physical health…eat highly nutritious food

Connect With Others

We need positive connections with others. In the last two years, we’ve had to learn different ways to stay connected to others, as we navigate a pandemic. Many experienced…and continue to experience…a sense of isolation and disconnect from others.

  • schedule regular calls, zoom meetings or facetime calls with family and friends
  • text or message friends with recommendations such as podcasts to listen to, videos to watch or books to read
  • stay in touch with friends and family through social media
  • play online games with others
  • watch tv shows with others, while connected via the internet or on the phone
  • walk together outdoors
  • if you feel comfortable, meet with family and friends for lunch dates, museum visits, zoo trips and other fun excursions
  • say hi to people while out and smile
  • consider adopting a pet for companionship
Keys to Emotional Wellness connect
Keys to Emotional Wellness – stay connected to others

Stay Positive

Focus on the good in your life, expressing gratitude for small and large blessings. Collect affirmations to read each day or write your own. Accept the past and let it go, without blaming yourself. Forgive yourself.

Pay attention to what you think about. Actions follow thoughts. Dwelling on negative thoughts leads to negative actions. Shifting thoughts results in a change in actions as well.

Emotional Health

Creating emotional health doesn’t mean you feel happy all the time. It means you are more aware of your emotions and the impact they have on your overall health. When you feel anger, stress or anxiety, you manage those feelings.

Emotional health allows you to cope well with life’s challenges without getting out of balance. You gain fresh perspectives and recover more quickly from setbacks. Emotional wellness helps you feel good about who you are and fosters healthy relationships.

I hope these keys to emotional wellness help you create a state of well being that supports the amazing life you desire to live.

Keys to Emotional Wellness positive thoughts

Helpful books from Amazon:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The purpose of this health campaign is to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into the cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

In the US, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Although rare, men can get breast cancer too. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, behind skin cancers.

In the prevention of breast cancer, as with many other kinds of cancer, lifestyle habits and diet have a positive impact. This post offers foods to eat and avoid to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer title meme

Leta Moore

Although I don’t have personal experience with breast cancer, my mother in law, Leta Moore, survived breast cancer twice. I observed the impact the disease had on her. And I am grateful that she triumphed, joining the millions of other breast cancer survivors in the US. This dear woman ultimately passed away from Alzheimer’s in 1999.

Leta’s birthday is in October. So the month brings her to mind along with the brave battles she fought against breast cancer and dementia.

This post is in her honor. She would love knowing the benefits lifestyle can bring in reducing the risk for this disease.

Foods to Eat to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

The following foods and drinks can help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Foods Rich in Fiber

Foods such as whole grains and legumes provide fiber. Studies suggest that fiber helps to protect against breast cancer.

Excess estrogen can be a factor in the development of breast cancer. Eating enough fiber helps eliminate estrogen, along with other toxins, from the body. Fiber binds to estrogen in the digestive tract, preventing the absorption of too much of the hormone.

Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes provide antioxidants in the form of beta carotene and vitamins C and E.

Antioxidants help prevent many diseases, including breast cancer, by reducing free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause damage to cells and can contribute to the development of cancer. Antioxidants track down and neutralize free radicals. Brightly colored fruits and veggies, such as tomatoes, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, berries and citrus fruits are high in antioxidants. Nuts, seeds and beans deliver disease fighting antioxidants as well.

Fruits and Vegetables

A plant based diet can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 28%. Fruits and veggies contain flavonoids and carotenoids that interfere with the growth of cancer cells and vitamins and minerals that help protect against the disease as well.

Include the following in your diet as often as possible:

  • onions and garlic
  • dark leafy greens such as spinach, arugula and kale
  • cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower
  • asparagus
  • celery
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • radishes
  • beans and lentils
  • citrus fruits such as oranges, limes and lemons
  • berries such as strawberries and blueberries
  • grapes
  • peaches
  • apples
  • pears
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer pear
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – eat pears

Healthy Fats

Obesity contributes to the development of cancers, including breast cancer. However consuming healthy fats in moderation is beneficial.

The polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, seeds, nuts and avocados lower the risk for breast cancer. These omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body, which is a contributing factor for breast cancer.

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices contain plant compounds that help to protect against breast cancer. These compounds include antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamins. Add the following herbs and spices to your daily diet:

  • oregano
  • turmeric with curcumin
  • ginger
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • parsley
  • burdock root
  • chaga mushroom
  • nettle leaf
  • curry

Green Tea

Green tea contains polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. The body easily absorbs this compound that helps keep inflammation down in the body and fights free radicals. This drink, which may be served hot or cold, strengthens the immune system as well.

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer green tea
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – drink green tea

Foods to Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Avoid the following foods and drinks, as they increase the risk of cancer, including breast cancer.

Alcohol

Studies identified a link between drinking alcohol and an increased risk for breast cancer. Alcohol can increase estrogen levels in the body and cause damage to cell DNA. Three alcoholic drinks a week increase the risk of breast cancer by 15%. The risk continues to rise by 10%, with each additional drink a day.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are common in processed foods and studies link it with a higher risk of breast cancer. These unhealthy fats are found in fried foods, some crackers, donuts and packaged cookies, pastries and snacks.

Refined Sugar

A diet rich in added refined sugar contributes to the formation of cancerous tumors in the breasts. These tumors are more likely to metastasize as well. Sugar also increases inflammation in the body, another leading cause of cancer, and boosts enzymes connected to the growth and spread of cancer.

Also avoid sugary drinks such as sodas and energy drinks.

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer sugar
Foods to Eat and Avoid to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer – avoid refined sugar

Red Meat

Studies also found a link between red meat and breast cancer. Red meats include beef, pork, veal and lamb. Plus, cooking meats at a high temperature releases toxins that contribute to cancer.

Processed Foods

Processed foods such as lunch meats, bacon and ham are high in fat, sodium and preservatives. These substances all increase the risk of breast cancer.

Fast Foods

Fast foods, which are often fried and high in fat and sodium, bring an increased risk for breast cancer along with heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Fast food
Avoid fast foods

Keeping Those Breasts Healthy

Eating healthy foods and avoiding those that contribute to disease go a long way toward lowering the risk for breast cancer. Other lifestyle factors that help include drinking plenty of water, getting enough exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, not sitting for long periods of time and avoiding smoking.

Visit the National Breast Cancer Organization HERE for more information and tips to keep you…and your breasts…healthy.

Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon

Breast Cancer Awareness Items from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

We can blame all kinds of circumstances on a poor night’s sleep: staying up too late, stress, worry, bed partner snoring. too hot, too cold or electronics. However, there is a common contributor to a restless night that many people overlook: the foods they eat before trying to fall asleep.

What you eat in the evening can directly affect how well you sleep. If trouble falling asleep and staying asleep plagues you, take a look at these best and worst foods to eat before bed.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed title meme

Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed

Let’s start with the worst foods to eat before retiring for the night.

Some foods are definitely better than others, for inducing and protecting sleep. And some foods provide too much energy or burden the digestive system. The following foods are the worst to eat before bed.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes and other acidic foods can create problems for those with acid reflux. The burning pain and discomfort in the esophagus when lying down keeps sleep at bay.

Enjoy tomatoes earlier in the day and balance their acidic nature with non-acidic foods.

Cheese

Strong or aged cheese, along with other preserved foods, contain high levels of the amino acid tyramine, which makes us feel more alert. Tyramine causes the adrenal glands to release the “fight or flight” hormone that stays in the body for several hours, hampering the ability to quickly fall asleep.

Additionally, cheese has a higher fat content which slows the digestive system and directs blood flow to the stomach. This causes the body to shift energy to digesting food rather than sleeping.

Spicy Foods

Go easy on the curry, hot sauces and chili peppers in the evening. These foods can trigger acid reflux as well, keeping you awake at night. Plus some spicy foods contain capsaicin, a chemical that elevates the body’s core temperature, disrupting sleep and making you feel alert rather than sleepy.

Chocolate

The high level of caffeine in chocolate, especially darker chocolates, not only keeps you wide eyed, it also affect REM sleep. REM, or rapid eye movement, occurs more frequently with caffeine in the body, making you feel groggy the next morning.

Also avoid drinks with caffeine in them before bed, such as coffee, tea and energy drinks.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed chocolate
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – chocolate

Ice Cream

Some people enjoy a bowl of ice cream before bed, or a bowl of cereal. For the best night’s sleep, avoid both.

These foods are high in sugar and too much of the sweet stuff affects your ability to stay asleep. Sugar creates a spike in blood sugar levels. Then the crash occurs, while you sleep. The adrenal glands perceive that crash as an emergency, which cause them to increase cortisol levels and wake the body from sleep.

Plus, if you have a dairy intolerance, ice cream (and cheese) can cause inflammation and bloating, making it even more difficult to get comfortable and fall asleep. (Click HERE for symptoms of dairy intolerance.)

Chips

Potato and other kinds of chips dehydrate the body due to the high salt levels. The body responds by retaining water, causing thirst, which may wake you or create restlessness. The next morning the body feels tired and fatigued.

And researchers found that greasy foods, like chips, contribute to nightmares. Those bad dreams may wake you, heart pounding in fear. With adrenaline pumping through the body, it can take hours to go back to sleep.

High Protein

Foods high in protein make it difficult to fall asleep. Those heavier foods sit in the stomach and make you feel overly full. Plus they require more energy to digest, causing the body to focus on the stomach rather than falling asleep.

Wine

Wine is often consumed for its relaxing effect, however, it can hinder sleep.

While you may fall asleep initially, after a glass or two of wine, it keeps the body from full REM sleep, which is where deep rest and dreams occur. You are also more likely to wake frequently during the night, after drinking wine. And it can lead to snoring as it relaxes muscles. Snoring disturbs your sleep and others’ rest also.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed wine
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – wine

Best Foods to Eat Before Bed

And now for the best foods to eat, to encourage a great night’s sleep.

Cherries

Tart cherries act as a natural sleep aid, thanks to their high melatonin content. Melatonin is a hormone that lets the body know it’s time to sleep. Tart cherry juice works just as well as a cup of fresh cherries.

Kiwi

Besides being rich in antioxidants, carotenoids and vitamins C and E, kiwi contains serotonin. This sleep hormone contributes to healthy REM sleep. Low levels of serotonin may cause insomnia.

Kiwi also provides folate, which helps prevent insomnia as well.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas do not have the caffeine that keeps the body stimulated and awake. Plus herbal teas such as lemon balm, passionflower and chamomile offer sedative effects that reduce anxiety and soothe the body toward rest.

Walnuts

These healthy nuts not only boost brain and heart health, they promote a good night’s sleep also.

Walnuts are an excellent source of melatonin. Plus they provide ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that’s converted to DHA in the body. DHA increases serotonin levels, which helps the body relax into sleep.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed walnuts
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – walnuts

Spinach

This power food is a great source of tryptophan, and also rich in folate, magnesium and vitamins B6 and C, all key factors in creating serotonin and melatonin.

Spinach also contains glutamine, an amino acid that stimulates the body to release cellular toxins that can create sleeplessness.

Bananas

High in potassium and magnesium, bananas help muscles relax, which allows the body to fall asleep.

The magnesium in bananas affect quality of sleep as well, by extending the amount of time spent sleeping. Bananas contain tryptophan too, that the body uses to create serotonin and melatonin.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain vitamin B6, which boosts melatonin and prepares the body for sleep. Eating a sweet potato in the evening helps you feel relaxed and sleepy.

Peanut Butter

This food is another one that contains tryptophan, which promotes the creation of serotonin and melatonin. Make sure it is low sugar or better yet, sugar free. For a great evening snack, pair peanut butter with sliced bananas or apples.

Bonus food: apples are excellent sources of potassium and vitamin B6, both helpful for promoting sleep. Plus the vitamin C in apples lowers blood pressure, manages blood sugar levels and improves breathing, all of which contribute to a good night’s sleep.

Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed peanut butter
Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed – peanut butter

How is Your Sleep?

How are you sleeping? If falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up refreshed are problematic for you, pay attention to what you eat before bed.

Knowing which foods negatively affect sleep…and which ones promote it…allows you to make healthy choices for night time snacking. As a result, you may find yourself falling asleep faster and sleep longer.

Did one of your favorite foods fall into the best or worst food categories? Awareness helps you make a difference!

Good night's sleep

 

Pick up these herbal teas from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.