5 Easy Ways to Enhance Digestive Health
(Family Features) As your social schedule picks up steam and you attend more social gatherings and celebrations, you may find yourself with an unexpected issue: digestive troubles. Problems like this can have a negative impact on your overall wellness, so it’s important to make healthy digestion a priority.
According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of how to live long and be healthy, the health of the digestive system is the core of optimum health. Ayurvedic medicine asserts the digestive system is based on the strength and balance of its Agni (fire), which enables the body to absorb, digest and assimilate food. The teachings suggest an imbalanced Agni creates undigested residues, which form toxins that create imbalances and can lead to disease.
Some of the dietary guidelines for healthy digestion and strong Agni include:
- Allowing 4-6 hours between meals
- Avoiding eating between meals
- Avoiding foods with cold, wet and heavy qualities
- Drinking ginger tea or hot water to stimulate the Agni
- Starting a meal with pungent (hot), sour and salty flavors
- Consuming a small amount of bitter taste before a meal to increase the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach
Take steps to protect and nurture your digestive health with these tips:
Add Fiber to Your Diet
Plant-based foods that are high in fiber fill you up faster, so you’re less likely to overeat, and they also help with digestive regularity. Increase your intake of high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Take a gradual approach to avoid upsetting your digestive tract and bump up your water intake as you go since fiber will absorb it and decrease the likelihood you experience gas or cramping.
Keeping your body well hydrated is like making sure your car’s engine is well lubricated. It keeps all your moving parts in sync and operating for top performance. Some fluids can also help with detoxification, which can be especially beneficial when your social calendar is full and your opportunities to overindulge are greater.
An option like Buddha Teas’ Detox Dharma contains detoxifying herbs that stimulate your digestive system. Strengthening and soothing herbs are also incorporated into this balanced formula resulting in an effective yet gentle detox tea. For another solution, Turmeric Ginger Tea contains enough black pepper to make curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) bio-available in hot water, helping build healthy Agni.
In today’s busy world, it’s easy to scarf down a meal in record time. However, slowing down gives your body more time to process food. You’ll give your brain more time to communicate with your stomach and be more aware of when you’ve satisfied your hunger.
If you need one more reason to get moving, your digestive health could be it. Regular physical activity promotes better digestion. However, if you jump into a workout too quickly after eating, you could actually do the opposite. Eat light before exercising then have a protein-rich balanced meal for recovery afterward.
Too much stress can manifest multiple physical problems, including interrupting your digestion. Try mindful meditation or another method of relaxing and relieving stress. Getting plenty of rest can also help keep stress in check. If you’re looking for a good night of sleep, consider Buddha Teas’ CBD Sleepy Buddha Blend. Herbs for calming and relieving stress are paired with organic, water-soluble, THC-free CBD to leave you feeling restored and rejuvenated.
Find more solutions for enhancing your digestive health at buddhateas.com.
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Top Tips to Get Ready to Run
(Family Features) You’ve made the decision to get in shape, and whether your goal is a full marathon or simply a few laps around the neighborhood, there are a few steps to consider taking before you strap on those shoes and head toward the finish line.
Here are a few tips to help get you ready for the big race:
Seek Quality Sneakers – Feet come in a variety of widths and sizes, so visit a specialty running store to find perfect-fitting sneakers. These may come with a hefty price tag, but there are no shortcuts for comfort and support while running long distances.
Make a Schedule – Try to aim for at least 10 hours of training per week, including three days where you run and two or three days of other physical activity such as cycling or strength training. To avoid exhaustion, be sure to include at least 1-2 “rest” days per week.
Stick with Water – Avoid sports drinks that are loaded with preservatives and sugars. You can’t go wrong with the hydrating power of water. As a rule, try to consume at least 6-8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes you run. Proper hydration after the run is also vital.
Go Online – Many websites have training guides for various skill levels or different types of races. If you have a smartphone, look for apps that can take you through day-by-day workouts to get you marathon-ready.
Nutrition – Filling your body with the proper amount of fuel can help ensure finish-line success. Load up on quality carbohydrates, such as beans, peas, whole-wheat pastas, whole-grain cereals, apples, brown rice and root vegetables. Protein also plays an important role in a runner’s nutrition, so fill up on lean meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, peanut butter and soy protein sources, as well.
By following these general rules, you’ll be able to focus on achieving your goal and enjoy the thrill of finishing the race. Find more tips for a healthier lifestyle at eLivingToday.com.
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5 Cooking Swaps to Help Manage Cholesterol
(Family Features) When cooking, keep in mind small changes that can make a big impact on heart health.
High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease and stroke, with about 38% of American adults diagnosed with high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. It can be managed by getting levels regularly tested and making lifestyle changes like eating a heart-healthy diet.
- Reduce saturated fat – Select lean cuts of meat or opt for plant protein, limit processed meats, broil or bake rather than pan-fry meats and remove skin from poultry before cooking.
- Eat more fish – Fish can be fatty or lean, but it’s still low in saturated fat. Choose oily fish like salmon or trout, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Use liquid oils in place of solid fats – For roasting, sauteing and more, use non-tropical liquid vegetable oils like canola, safflower, soybean or olive instead of butter, lard or shortening.
- Lower dairy fats – Low-fat, fat-free or non-dairy milk can be used in many recipes instead of whole milk or half-and-half.
- Increase fiber and whole grains – Add high-fiber vegetables to meals, serve fruit instead of juice and try brown rice instead of white.
These simple tips and better-for-you recipes like Chicken Tortilla Soup and Air Fryer Crispy (Un) Fried Chicken can help you eat healthy without sacrificing taste.Find tips for managing cholesterol and other risk factors at heart.org/cholesterol.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
This recipe is reprinted with permission from "Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook, 2nd Edition." Copyright 2018 by the American Heart Association. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, visible fat discarded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
- 2 cups fat-free, no-salt-added chicken broth
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added, diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ancho powder
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 corn tortillas (6 inches each), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
- 1 corn tortilla (6 inches), torn into pieces
- 2-4 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup finely chopped avocado
- 1/4 medium red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips
- In slow cooker, stir chicken, corn, broth, tomatoes, onion, sugar, ancho powder, garlic and salt. Cook, covered, on low, 6-8 hours, or on high, 3-4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- On baking sheet, arrange tortilla strips in single layer. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until crisp. Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack. Let strips stand 15 minutes, or until cool. Transfer to airtight container and set aside.
- When soup is ready, transfer 1 cup to food processor or blender. Stir in tortilla pieces. Let mixture stand 1 minute. Process until smooth. Stir mixture into soup. Stir in cilantro.
- Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with avocado, bell pepper and reserved tortilla strips.
Air Fryer Crispy (Un) Fried Chicken
Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2-1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/2 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), visible fat discarded, flattened to 1/4-inch thickness, patted dry with paper towels
- nonstick cooking spray
- reheat air fryer to 390 F.
- In shallow dish or pie pan, whisk flour, parsley, oregano, pepper and cayenne.
- In separate shallow dish or pie pan, whisk buttermilk and hot sauce.
- In third shallow dish or pie pan, stir panko and Parmesan.
- Place dishes and large plate in row. Dip chicken in flour mixture then buttermilk mixture then panko mixture, turning to coat at each step and gently shaking off excess. Using fingertips, gently press panko mixture so it adheres. Place chicken on plate. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Lightly spray chicken with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange chicken in single layer in air fryer basket, working in batches if needed. Cook 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and coating is golden brown, turning once halfway through and lightly spraying with nonstick cooking spray.
American Heart Association