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The best exercises for joint problems

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If you suffer with joint pain and joint stiffness, exercise and adding stretching into your daily routine could be particularly helpful to reduce the symptoms.

Exercise not only helps to relieve these symptoms but could also reduce any unwanted weight and improve your mood. Though some people may think that exercise will aggravate joint pain and stiffness, that’s not the case. Lack of exercise actually can make your joints even more painful and stiff. Keeping your muscles surrounding your joints strong is crucial to maintain support for your bones. Not exercising can weaken those supporting muscles, creating more stress on your joints.

As well as improving your mood and fitness, exercise can also:

  • Strengthen muscles around your joints
  • Help you maintain bone strength
  • Give you more energy
  • Make it easier to get a good night’s sleep
  • Help you to control your weight
  • Enhance your quality of life
  • Improve your balance

Exercises that can help reduce the symptoms of joint problems such as arthritis can include:

Stretching

Not only can stretching improve flexibility, it can also reduce stiffness and increase the range of motion of your joints. Stretching daily can help to relieve joint pain and stiffness. A typical stretching routine may consist of:

Warming up by walking on the spot or pumping the arms while sitting or standing for 3 to 5 minutes. Holding each stretch for 10-20 seconds before releasing it. Repeating each stretch 2-3 time.

Walking

Walking is a low impact form of exercise that can help with aerobic conditioning, heart and joint health, and mood. It is sensible to walk slowly initially and then increase the pace when possible.

Tai Chi or Yoga

Both Tai Chi and yoga combine deep breathing flowing movements, gentle poses and mediation. They increase flexibility, balance and range of motion whilst also reducing stress.

Pilates

Pilates is a low impact activity that stabilises the muscles around them. People new to Pilates should begin with a routine that uses a mat rather than a machine to build muscle safely.

Water exercises

Water helps to support body weight, which means that water exercises do not impact heavily on the joints. Swimming or water aerobics and other gentle water exercises can increase flexibility, range of motion, strength and aerobic conditioning. They can also reduce joint stiffness.

Cycling

Riding a stationary bike can be a safe way to get the joints moving and improve cardiovascular fitness. In addition to improving aerobic conditioning, cycling can reduce stiffness, increase range of motion and leg strengthen and build endurance.

Strength training

Strengthening the muscles around the affected joints can help to increase strength as well as reduce the symptoms that come with joint problems.

Gardening

As well as being a form of exercise, gardening offers the benefit of improving your mood. People should be gentle with their body, work slowly and avoid overstraining the muscles and joints.

You might notice some pain after you exercise, if you haven’t been active for some time. In general, if you are sore for more than two hours after you exercise, you were probably exercising to strenuously. Trust your instincts and don’t exert more energy than you think your joints can take. Take it easy and slowly increase your exercise length and intensity as you progress.

Before starting a new exercise routine, it is best to consult your GP, or a fitness expert who will be able to offer advice on the best exercises and routine to meet your needs.

 

What are the best foods for arthritis and joint problems?

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When keeping your joints healthy, one of the important aspects is maintaining a healthy diet to ensure you get key nutrients and vitamins. A healthy diet can also help to lose any unwanted weight that could put pressure on your joints.

Although there is no diet cure for joint problems there are a number of foods that have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones and boost the immune system. Along with a balanced diet, adding all or some of these foods to your diet may help to ease the symptoms.

To help maintain health joint function, we’ve highlighted some of the best foods for arthritis and joint problems:

Fish

Certain types of fish are packed with inflammation fighting omega 3 fatty acids and experts recommend at least three to four ounces of fish twice a week. Omega 3 rich fish can include salmon, tuna, mackerel or herring.

Cherries

Studies have shown that cherries help to reduce the frequency of gout attacks and research has shown that the anthocyanins found in cherries have an anti-inflammation effect. Anthocyanins can also be found in other red and purple fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

Dairy

Low fat dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese are packed with calcium and vitamin D, both found to increase bone strength. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and it has been shown to boost the immune system.

Broccoli

Rich in vitamin K and, broccoli also contains a compound called sulforaphane, which researchers have found could help prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis (OA). Broccoli is also rich in calcium, which is known for its bone-building benefits.

Green Tea

Green tea is packed with polyphenols, which are antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. Studies also show that another antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin -3 -gallate (ECCG) blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Citrus fruits

Fruits like oranges, grapefruits and limes are rich in Vitamin C and research shows that getting the right amount of vitamin can aid the prevention of inflammatory arthritis and maintain healthy joints.

Oils

Extra Virgin Oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats, as well as oleocanthal, which has properties similar to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. However, it’s not the only oil which contains health benefits, Avocado and Safflower oils have shown to lower cholesterol and Walnut oil has 10 times Omega -3 than olive oil.

Grains

Whole grains are known to lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. CRP is a marker of inflammation associated with heart disease, diabetes and joint problems. Foods like oatmeal, brown rise and whole grain cereals are excellent sources of whole grains.

Beans

Beans are packed with fibre, a nutrient that helps to lower CRP. They are also an excellent and inexpensive source of protein, which is important for muscle health. Some beans are rich in folic acid, magnesium, iron, Zinc and potassium, all known for their heart and immune system benefits. Look for red beans like Kidney and Pinto beans.

 Garlic

Studies have shown that people who regularly at foods from the allium family, such as Garlic, onions and Leek, shared fewer signs of joint disease. Researchers believe the compound Diallyl disulphine, which is found in garlic, may limit cartilage damaging enzymes in human cells.

Nuts

Nuts are rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E and immune boosting alpha linolenic acid (ALA), as well as filling protein and fibre. They are heart-healthy and beneficial for weight loss. Try walnuts, pine nuts and almonds.

 

Although there is no cure for joint problems such as arthritis as it is a degenerative disease, eating a healthy diet and taking natural, nutritional supplements can reduce the symptoms and manage pain that comes with joint stiffness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits of stretching

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There are many health benefits of stretching and incorporating it into your exercise routine, from increasing flexibility to reducing stress and body aches.

Stretching can be an important factor to help keep your joints moving. Stiff joints and joint pain is a common complaint felt by many people worldwide. Taking a few minutes each morning to stretch and warm up your muscles and joints can give you a great start to your day. We have highlighted 9 key benefits of stretching:

Increases your flexibility

Regular stretching can help to increase your flexibility, which is important as flexibility helps you to perform everyday activities. It can also help to delay the reduced mobility that can comes with aging.

Increases your range of motion

Stretching on a regular basis can help to increase your range of motion. Being able to move a joint through its full range of motion gives you more freedom of movement.

Improves your performance in physical activities

Performing dynamic stretches before any physical activity has been shown to help prepare your muscles for the activity.

Increases blood flow to muscles

Stretching regularly may improve your circulation. Improved circulation increases blood flow to your muscles, which can shorten your recovery time and reduce muscle soreness.

Improves your posture

Muscle imbalances are common and can lead to poor posture. Slouching and poor posture can put extra pressure on your joints.

Helps to heal and prevent back pain

Tight muscles can lead to a decrease in your range of motion. This can then lead to an increased chance of straining the muscles in your back. Stretching can help to heal existing back injuries by stretching the muscles. Regular stretching can also help to prevent future back pain.

Helps with stress relief

When you’re experiencing stress, there’s a good chance your muscles are tense. This is due to your muscles tightening up in response to emotional stress. When stretching you should focus on areas where you hold your stress, such as you neck, shoulders and upper back.

Calms the mind

Regular stretching can help to calm your mind. While you stretch, focus on mindfulness and meditation exercises, which gives your mind a mental break.

Helps to decrease tension headaches

Tension and stress headaches can interfere with your day to day life. In addition to a proper diet, adequate hydration and plenty of rest, stretching may help reduce the tension you feel from headaches.

Stretching tip

If you are new to stretching take it slow and let your body get used to the new routine. Aim to stretch for around 5-10 minutes per day, even if you don’t plan on exercising that day. Try to focus stretches on areas that help with mobility, such as calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and quadriceps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 simple steps for better health

Step 1: Nutrition

Good nutrition is essential. As they say “you are what you eat”. Therefore make a conscious effort to gradually improve your eating habits, eating more of the good foods (nuts, berries, peanut butter, olive oil, greens, chicken, whole grains, etc.) and less of the bad foods (fried food, saturated fat, fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, etc etc.). Reading the label of what you are eating can tell you a lot.

You might think you lack the needed will power, but you’ll be amazed at what happens when you start to gradually improving your eating habits.

Step 2: Nutritional Supplements

It can be very difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs through just food alone, but if you combine proper nutrition with appropriate nutritional supplements is becomes a lot easier.

The one supplement everyone should be taking is a good multivitamin. Look at it as added insurance – eating well is crucial, but now that you’re also taking a one a day multivitamin, you can rest assured you’re getting the nutrients your body needs consistently and easily.

Step 3: Exercise

Exercise is often the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to better health. There are so many benefits of exercising, including stronger bones, stronger heart and improved libido – it’s almost a no brainer to not start doing it. Your goal should be to exercise 3-5 times a week with a combination of cardio exercises and strength training (but no more than 1 hour per workout session).

It’s been measured that if you add 3 pounds of muscle to your body, this added muscle will burn as many calories as if you ran 1 mile because muscle burns calories!

Step 4: Stress Management and Sleep

Stress management and getting a good nights sleep each night are crucial to better health. Until you find a way to manage your stress, it will continue to do damage to your body. Two tips that can be done include prioritising your day each morning and practicing deep breathing exercises (you probably already knew this, but have you tried it?).

Getting enough sleep each night is equally important when you consider your body uses this time to repair itself. You should aim for 7-9 hours each night. Two tips you might want to implement include exercising and avoiding late night eating.

If you take on board these basic tips you’ll start to improve your overall health and well being and feel a lot better for it

diet and exercise

Diet and exercise: getting the right balance

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We all know the hard slog of wanting to shed a few extra pounds that might have crept on over Christmas or whilst on holiday. It’s important to understand that diet and exercise go hand-in-hand when you’re trying to lose weight.  For some however, getting that balance right between nutritional meals and sufficient activity can be tricky. Being on a diet doesn’t mean that you need to starve yourself or follow some fly-by-night fad diet. It simply means you should eat smaller portions, and your meals should be balanced, consisting of healthy foods from every food group.

You might try only cutting down on all the high-calorie foods and skip the exercise.  You may cut down on your portion sizes and, the weight will eventually might come off.  However, if you also include exercise in your weight loss program, you’ll discover that not only will the weight come off, but your metabolism will improve, and your fat will be replaced by lean, muscle tissue. You will also feel more energetic and mentally alert, and keeping the fat off will be more manageable.

The human body was created to be active.  Unless your health prohibits you from getting some sort of exercise each day, you should make an attempt to focus on the amount of physical activity you engage in.  After all, most of us don’t get nearly enough physical exercise during the course of a day, as we’re all too busy sitting at our desks or in front of our televisions. Even small changes can make a big difference, such as walking to work or getting off the bus an extra stop from home, even taking the stairs instead of the lift can help.

By the same token, if you’re like the average Joe Bloggs, who thrives on fast food or other high-fat, high-calorie meals, a change in eating habits is advised.  You can still enjoy eating! But, if you’re serious about losing those extra pounds and keeping them off, you’re going to have to replace the greasy chips with some healthy, fresh veggies.  Instead of fizzy carbonated drinks, try to drink more water. Experts suggest that we should be drinking between 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. If you’re not keen on plain water, you could add a slice of lemon or lime to your water, or drink hot water infused with a fruit tea.

Try to include more fish in your diet, which is full of essential nutrients such as protein and vitamin D. Fish is also the best source of omaga-3 fatty acids, which are essential for both your body and brain.  You’ll be surprised at how much better you look and feel, when you replace those heart-clogging, fat-producing calories with better, healthier food choices. Don’t skip meals!  Although fasting has been suggested to work in some diets, regularly skipping meals leads to your metabolism slowing down, you’ll feel sluggish, and your body is more likely hang onto those extra pounds as protection against starvation. Skipping meals could also lead to binge eating in order to reduce hunger. By eating regularly, your metabolism works better, and helps you to better manage your weight loss.

Yes, diet and exercise are important ingredients to successfully lose weight but it doesn’t have to be a miserable process. Here are a few tips to remember if you want to shed those pounds and keep them off:

  • Don’t starve yourself.
  • Eat regularly to ward off hunger.
  • Focus on eating smaller portions (perhaps several small meals each day would work best for you).
  • Make sure that the calories you consume are nutritious and include foods from each food group.
  • Find an activity or two that you enjoy, so that exercise time isn’t dreaded.  If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll be more likely to stick with your exercise routine.

You don’t have to make big changes, just a few healthy lifestyle changes can make all the difference to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It is advised that before beginning any diet or exercise program you should consult a medical professional.

4 simple health tips

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To combat the large increase in obesity that is ongoing at present we find all sorts of companies selling “quick fix” pills, powders, and lotions. However these often do nothing to actually help people take the fat off and keep it off.

Of course the same could be said of the diet industry as well. There are so many different diets going around now you could pick one a month and in a years time still have a long list to choose from.

What is truly needed are some sensible proven weight loss tips that people can implement no matter what their present physical condition is. so here are some simple common sense tips:

  • #1  Drink more water. All too often people are borderline dehydrated and so their bodies are working on the water starvation reflex and not flushing the toxins and junk out.
  • #2  Eat more often. I bet you thought I was going to say eat less. Well while it is true that to lose weight you need to eat less calories than you expend… you need to eat more often to get the metabolic furnace stoked up and burning right. Get it out of starvation mode. So start the day off with breakfast. Even an instant breakfast drink and a piece of fruit as we head out the door in the morning.
  • #3  Move more. Depending on your physical condition you need to be moving more. Use the stairs rather than the elevator, park further away from the office or the shops, go for a walk around the block, go dancing, play with your kids more. Make it fun. Running is not the only way to burn more calories.
  • #4  Finally, determine “Why”. Decide why you want to discard fat. Make your reason big enough to motivate you through the slumps that invariably happen.

Whatever your motivation for losing weight it doesn’t need to be hard work but just simple common sense changes can be effective

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Eating healthy on holiday

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It’s very tempting when on holiday to abandon your good sense of eating healthy. You may strive for healthy eating, but it’s easy to drift off and get an ice cream here and there.  There are however, ways to watch what you while on eat on holiday.

It’s simple to request a low fat or vegetarian meal on aeroplane flights. Driving to your destination can be a bit more difficult and the quest to find healthy food can get a little harder depending on where you are able to stop for food. So rather than simply relying on greasy foods and takeaways, pack some nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables, yogurt and healthy sandwiches and take them with you on the road.

If your hotel offers a continental breakfast, stick to fruits, cereals, and proteins. If your hotel has a cooker or microwave, look at bringing your own healthy food with you.

If you do eat out, restaurants will usually serve large portions, so be careful and don’t be afraid to not eat everything on your plate. If you do eat a little too much on a meal, simply cut back on the next one.

Try to fit in smaller meals or snacks rather than 3 square meals, as your body needs fuel every four hours or so. When you eat out, avoid starters and don’t miss meals.

Try to avoid eating large meals at night as your body gets ready for sleep and slows down, it also burns calories at a much slower pace. Never eat bread before bed, and make sure to avoid the butter.  Choose fish or poultry for your meal instead, and include vegetables as a side dish.

Even though it may sound hard, eating healthy on holdiay isn’t really that difficult. All you have to do is use a little will power, and pass up
on foods that you know aren’t good for you. This way, you’ll enjoy healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle wherever you go.

The next time you go away, always remember that eating healthy is a way of life.  You can afford to get something you crave, although you shouldn’t make a habit of it.  One ice cream or a pizza isn’t going to matter – as long as you know when to stop.

 

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How to change your eating habits

As you’ll probably know, not fueling up with the right nutrients can affect how well your body performs and your overall fitness benefits. Even though healthy eating is important, there are myths that hinder your performance if you listen to them.

1.  Working out on an empty stomach

If you hear a rumbling noise in your stomach, the rumbling is trying to tell you something. Without listening to them, you are forcing your body to run without any fuel. Before you exercise or do any physical activity, always eat a light snack such as an apple.

2.  Relying on energy bars and drinks

Although they are fine every once in a while, fruits and vegetables are your best bets, as they are loaded in vitamins, minerals, fluid, and fiber.

3.  Skipping breakfast

Skipping breakfast isn’t ever a good idea, as breakfast starts the day. Your body needs fuel as soon as possible, and without it, you’ll get hungry throughout the day.

4.  Low carb diets

Your body needs carbohydrates for your muscles and the storing of energy.

5.  Eating what you want

Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t give you a pass to eat anything you want. Everyone needs the same nutrients whether they exercise or not, as well as fruits and vegetables.

6.  Not enough calories

Although losing weight involves calories, losing it too quickly is never safe. What you should do, is aim for 1 – 2 pounds per week. Make sure that you’re getting enough calories to keep your body operating smoothly. If you start dropping weight too fast, eat a bit more food.

7.  Skip soda and alcohol

Water, milk, and juice is the best to drink for active people. You should drink often, and not wait to be thirsty before drinking. By the time you get thirsty, your body is already running a bit too low.

Changing how you eat is always a good step towards healthy eating and it will affect how your body performs. The healthier you eat, the better you will feel. No matter how old you may be, eating healthily is something you should strive for. Once you give it a chance, you’ll see in no time just how much it can improve your life.

 

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Exercise for your complexion

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We all know (and hear all the time) that exercise is good for you.  It can help you to stay trim, tone muscles and help to boost your energy levels too. But what you probably don’t know, is the fact that exercise can actually help improve your complexion too.

It’s true that regular exercise will nourish the skin all over the body with fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients. As well, the increased blood flow and circulation that comes with working out will also help to draw toxins out of your body and improve the condition of all your vital organs, including the epidermis.

Many people believe that sweat can trigger acne flare ups. But the fact is, sweating is great for any type of congested skin, as it helps promote the flushing of impurities from the epidermal layer and will clean out the pores. As well, vigorous exercise can actually correct the hormonal imbalances that can trigger blemishes, thus reducing the likelihood of outbreaks.

Any kind of physical exercise that you like to do, such as yoga, running, biking, spinning, pilates, boxing etc, will help to lessen the stress that you encounter on a daily basis and help to prevent stress related acne.

Do keep in mind that exercise may not be a miracle cure for everything though, as you may still experience breakouts from time to time although your acne is likely to be less severe and last for a much shorter time frame.

Exercise is also great for other skin conditions that may or may not have to do with the presence of acne. Your skin losing its elasticity or becoming thin and less resilient is something that we all encounter.  This is a problem for many of us as we get older, because as we all get older, we start to lose collagen, which will make us look tired. As many of us don’t know, physical activity can actually help to promote the growth of collagen in your skin cells, which will plump up your facial skin and make you look younger and more vibrant.

If you are worried about wrinkles, you should consider relaxation that comes after you exercise. This has the effect of making your muscles, facial muscles included, soften up. What this means is that your lines will appear less pronounced thus helping to contribute to the youthful look that you’re trying to achieve.

Exercise can help you achieve a smaller waist, better muscle tone, softer skin, fewer blemishes, and an overall younger, more fresher look. If you’ve wanted to add or change to your complexion, you shouldn’t hesitate to start exercising. Exercise will help you feel more positive as well as improve your body.

All you need to do is take a little time out of your schedule to start exercising and it’s as simple as that.

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5 Tips for Keeping Your Sanity while Losing Weight

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If losing weight is your goal (like it is for many people throughout the world) then simply wishing the pounds away isn’t likely to work. Unfortunately, losing weight takes determination, a commitment to a healthy diet and exercise plan and even a little patience. So, what can you do to lose weight and keep your sanity? The following five tips should help you out.

Tip #1 Lower your expectations

Once you begin an exercise or diet plan, or both, that you’ve heard will make you lose incredible amounts of weight in no time at all and then it doesn’t happen, you will feel let down and won’t have the same dedication to carry on. However, if you’re more realistic and understand that most people will only lose 1-2 pounds per week on a healthy exercise and diet regime then you’ll be better informed and can expect these types of results ahead of time rather than feeling like a failure or that plan isn’t working.

Tip #2 Don’t tell everyone you are on a Diet

When first starting on a diet often people tell everyone they are dieting and explain their great weight loss plans. However this can work against you because people will then talk and judge your progress and so make you feel uncomfortable, especially when you eat something others don’t believe is part of your diet plan. This can give you a complex. Simply start your diet and if you feel you need to let some people know then inform close family and friends for support, then keep your dieting to yourself and you won’t go crazy.

Tip #3 Don’t stop eating from a food group

Often if you eliminate a complete food group from your diet you’ll feel like you’re sacrificing too much and will simply lose your sanity and so your diet will fail. On the other hand, if you eat a well balanced diet and allow yourself small treats along the way you will lose weight and keep your sanity as too.

Tip #4 Household Support

When you start a diet you need to make sure the entire household is going to support your efforts. If you are not eating sugar but your spouse continues to come home with sweets, ice cream, and chocolate then you’ll have a hard time sticking to the diet and you won’t feel like you are getting much support plus it will drive you crazy. So, make sure your family is ready to support you and if they choose to eat unhealthy ask them to do it away from you.

Tip #5 Work Out

Losing weight takes time, which can really test your patience. However, if you include a work out routine and a weight loss supplement with your diet then you’ll see much quicker weight loss, have more energy, sleep better, and simply feel better in yourself. This will also help keep your sanity and so you don’t lose the plot while trying to achieve your weight loss goal.

If you follow these five tips you’ll be able to keep your sanity while staying on your diet and exercise plan better than if you give it a try all on your own.