Eating healthy and working out isn’t just meant for losing weight. In fact, these are important aspects of keeping your body healthy and happy for a longer life, and who wouldn’t want to add a few years onto their life? While a generic nutritious diet and workout regime will help with adding those years, there are a few foods you can focus on that will actually help boost your chances of living a longer life. One of the most popular—and one of the sweetest—foods you can eat include berries! Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are full of antioxidants that have anti-aging properties that have been scientifically proven to give you a few more years.
First, let’s look at why antioxidants are important. According to a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Antioxidants help to protect your cells against free radicals, which is where the development of chronic diseases can develop such as cancer or heart disease. Typically these free radicals cause oxidative stress in your body, which can damage those important cells and cause some of these diseases, as well as Alzheimer’s, asthma, hypertension, arthritis, and more. Including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet is an important way to continue to neutralize those free radicals and lower your risk. Fruits and vegetables are certainly on the list, as well as other dark chocolate, mushrooms, and walnuts.
So does this mean any of these antioxidant-rich foods can lead to a longer life? They certainly do help! However, in a study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, berries and pomegranates were specifically chosen over 25 antioxidant-rich foods as one of the best sources of antioxidant intake for your body. Berries are an easy source of antioxidants to get into your meal plan, especially because they are tasty toppings in some of your favorite breakfast foods—like oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies.
Is there one type of berry that’s considered the best?
If you had to compare the antioxidant levels of berries, you would be shocked to know that blueberries would be considered the best berry to eat in terms of antioxidant levels and longevity. A study published by the Journal of Nutrition showed how blueberries were able to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels for obese people by 27% in an 8-week span! This is due to the polyphenols in blueberries which are particularly helpful for cardiovascular health. These polyphenols have also been proven in the journal Nutrients to limit the effects of the aging of your cells.
Regardless of the type of berries you love to eat, berries include a high amount of fiber compared to other fruits and they are a great source of vitamin C for your day. Eating a cup of mixed berries is a great way to ensure your body is getting the vitamins and nutrients it needs to live a longer life.
These fruit infused water recipes will show you how to make fruit flavored water at home. Therefore, solving the problem of how to drink more water when you don’t like it. Then, you can stay hydrated all day while saving money and improving your health.
I know I should be drinking more water. Even during the summer, I have a hard time drinking plain water. I don’t know why. Unless I’ve just worked out or been outside in the heat, water is not normally the first drink I choose. I like juice, Gatorade, and fizzy juice drinks, but I know I shouldn’t drink those all of the time. I wanted to know how to drink more water when you don’t like the taste of plain water. To help solve this problem, I’ve been making fruit infused water at home to help me drink more water every day.
HOW TO DRINK MORE WATER EVERY DAY
I know of many people that don’t like the taste of plain water. So, they want to find easy ways to drink more water ever day. Because of this, I’ve been experimenting with different fruits and herbs. I have been having fun making fruit infused water recipes at home. If you want to try making your own fruit infused water, then start with different combinations of fruit for your flavored water (bananas don’t work so well). In addition, you can add a variety of spices and herbs.
HOW TO MAKE FRUIT FLAVORED WATER AT HOME
First, to make your fruit infused water recipes, you’ll need some jars. I bought a bunch of Mason jars online that I use to make my fruity water. On Amazon, there’s a deal on this 9 pack of Ball Wide-Mouth Mason Jars with Lids and Bands.
WHAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE GOOD TO PUT IN WATER?
Start experimenting with your favorite fruits and veggies. Yes, vegetables make good infused water too. Some of the best fruits and vegetables for making infused water are lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers, and carrots.
PREPARING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES FOR FLAVORED WATER RECIPES
Before you use the fruits and vegetables, be sure they are thoroughly cleaned. Wash your fruits and veggies before cutting them because cut foods can lose more vitamins and minerals during soaking and cleaning.
HOW TO ADD FRUITS AND VEGETABLES TO WATER
To make your infused water, you will want some type of containers for brewing and storage. I like to make and store my flavored water in Mason jars. Although, there are also infuser water bottles and infuser water pitchers that make the process a little easier.
INFUSER WATER BOTTLES AND INFUSER WATER PITCHERS
In these infuser water bottles and infuser pitchers, there are compartments to keep the fruit separate from the water. Because of this, it is easier to remove the fruit and fruit particles after use. Now, they even make fruit infuser sport water bottles you can take with you along to workouts.
HOW LONG SHOULD INFUSED WATER SIT?
Infuse your water anywhere from 2 hours to overnight. After your water has been infused, removed the fruits and vegetables. Then, store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for 3-7 days.
For best results, drink your infused water within about a day or two.
If you would like some examples of fruit infused water, then here are a few of my fruit and vegetable combinations.
Strawberries and Lime infused water.
Watermelon, Cucumber, and Lime infused water.
Cherries, Strawberries, and Lemons infused water.
MORE FRUITY WATER RECIPES
For more, check out these recipes for fruit infused water.
DIY Fruit Infused Water Recipes For Weight Loss on Femnique
The New Year always sparks my resolve to eat more vegetables. I have not made this cashew cabbage recipe in a long time, but the flavors are wonderful, plus it’s versatile – you can use what you have on hand.
2 Tbspcooking oil, for high heat
1 smallonion, thinly sliced
2 stalk(s)celery, thinly sliced
1carrot, peeled and cut julienne
1 csliced mushrooms
1bell pepper, cut julienne
1 cwhole cashews
1/4 cwhite wine
1/4 clow sodium soy sauce
1 to 2 lbfinely shredded green cabbage
1-2 dash(es)dark sesame oil
1-2 dash(es)garlic powder
·fresh ground black pepper (if desired)
How to Make Cashew Cabbage
In a wok or large deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry onion, celery, and carrot for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, pepper, and cashews, and stir-fry another 3 minutes.
Add wine, soy sauce, and cabbage. Stir well, cover, and steam until cabbage wilts slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in sesame oil and garlic powder.
Continue stirring until cabbage is done to your liking. May season with black pepper if desired.
Believe it or not, when you chow down on a meal, you’re not the only one eating. Your gastrointestinal system is home to trillions of microbes that help break down food (an average of 60 tons over your lifetime), but the beneficial bacteria among them are picky eaters—and they only flourish if they’re fed certain nutrients.
When you consume sugary, processed, and packaged foods, your good gut bacteria don’t have the fuel they need to prevent the bad guys from overpopulating, which can wreak havoc and cause digestive issues, illness, and more.
But, when your gut is populated with good bacteria, these microscopic organisms work day in and day out to benefit your health—and you can increase their productivity by eating fermented foods.
What exactly are fermented foods?
“Fermentation has been a staple of the human foodways for centuries and was initially used as a way to preserve foods,” explains registered dietitian Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN of Maya Feller Nutrition. It’s a process where natural organisms (like bacteria and yeast) break down sugars and starches in food to create alcohols, gas, or acids. “Fermented foods and beverages are produced through controlled microbial growth and enzymatic action—which gives fermented foods their distinctive tart taste,” says Feller.
One thing to note: there are many benefits to eating fermented foods, but “for people with a sensitive stomach, it’s helpful to be mindful of the quantity consumed as there could be some intestinal upset,” says Feller, who suggests having one serving a day.
1. You can take fewer probiotic pills.
2. Your digestion will be enhanced.
3. Your skin health will get a boost.
4. Your immune system will be optimized.
5. Inflammation may be lowered.
6. Your heart can get healthier.
7. Your blood sugar levels will be more balanced.
8. You can lose excess weight.
9. You’ll absorb nutrients more easily.
10. You may be able to think more clearly.
11. Your mood could get a lift.
For reading more indepth information about these benefits, Read the original article on Eat This, Not That!
The Mayo Clinic recommends these (and the rest of the foods that follow) because they are bland and easy-to-digest.
Simple, but that’s the point.
Make it dry and white, if you can. Now is not the time for fancy butter or spreads. Nor is it the place for whole-wheat or seeded bread. Fiber is your friend, but not when your stomach needs a rest.
There’s a reason why hospitals serve Jell-O (or whatever the generic hospital equivalent is). Gelatin is an tasty vessel for easily-digestible carbohydrates that can help you put down a foundation of calories for recovery.
4) A Banana
More easily digestible carbohydrates here too. Remember: Go easy at first. Try half a banana, pop the other half in the fridge, give it a beat, and then return to the banana as needed.
If you’re figuring out that eating like a toddler can help your stomach feel better, you’re on to something.
6) White Rice
Not brown rice. Not wild rice. Not black rice. Not red rice.
What about forbidden rice?
Just stick with white rice, which is very low in stomach-taxing fiber.
7) Plain Chicken Breast
Okay now this is more advanced. Unlike the other foods on this list, chicken breast is protein instead of an easily digestible carb. That means that your stomach is going to process it a little differently, a little more slowly than the others.
So if you’ve tried a few other items on this list and things are going okay, maybe it’s time to try a little chicken.
One easy test if you’re ready: If you can look at the accompanying picture of chicken and think that it looks like something you might want to eat, then you can probably eat it without issue.
When you get a high blood pressure reading at the doctor’s office, it might be tough for you to understand exactly what impact those numbers can make on your overall health. After all, high blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension) has no unusual day-to-day symptoms.
But the truth is that having high blood pressure is a serious health risk—it boosts the chances of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. What’s more, high blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for nearly 500,000 people in 2018, per the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Even scarier? One in five U.S. adults with high blood pressure don’t know they have it, per the CDC. If you haven’t had your numbers checked in at least two years, see a doctor. Anything above 130/80 mmHg is considered high. (Systolic blood pressure is the top number; diastolic, the bottom.)
Although medication can lower blood pressure, it may cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. The good news is that most people can bring their numbers down naturally, without using drugs. “Lifestyle changes are an important part of prevention and treatment of high blood pressure,” says Brandie D. Williams, M.D., a cardiologist at Texas Health Stephenville and Texas Health Physicians Group.
You’ve quit smoking. You’re paying attention to your weight. Now, try these natural ways to lower your blood pressure—no pills necessary.
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1. Get more exercise.
Regular exercise, even as simple as walking, seems to be just as effective at lowering blood pressure as commonly used BP drugs, according to a 2018 meta-analysis of hundreds of studies. Exercise strengthens the heart, meaning it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood. Dr. Williams recommends shooting for 30 minutes of cardio on most days. Over time, you can keep challenging your ticker by increasing speed, upping distance, or adding weights. Losing even a little weight will also help ease hypertension.
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2. Let yourself relax.
Our bodies react to stress by releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can raise your heart rate and constrict blood vessels, causing your blood pressure to spike. But breathing exercises and practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi can help keep stress hormones—and your blood pressure—in check, Dr. Williams says. Start with five minutes of calming breathing or mindfulness in the morning and five minutes at night, then build up from there.
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3. Cut down on salt.
Although not everyone’s blood pressure is particularly salt-sensitive, everyone could benefit from cutting back, says Eva Obarzanek, Ph.D., research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The American Heart Association recommends aiming for 1,500 mg of sodium in a day, and certainly no more than 2,300 mg (about a teaspoon). Obarzanek suggests treading with caution around packaged and processed foods, including secret salt bombs like bread, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches.
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4. Pick potassium-rich foods.
Getting 2,000 to 4,000 mg of potassium a day can help lower blood pressure, says Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. (The nutrient encourages the kidneys to excrete more sodium through urination.) We all know about the potassium in bananas, but foods like potatoes, spinach, and beans actually pack more potassium than the fruit. Tomatoes, avocados, edamame, watermelon, and dried fruits are other great sources.
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5. Adopt the DASH diet.
Alongside the Mediterranean diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is consistently ranked as one of the absolute healthiest eating plans—and it was developed specifically to lower blood pressure without medication. The diet emphasizes veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy, capping daily sodium intake at 2,300 mg, with an ideal limit at that all-important 1,500 mg. Research shows DASH can reduce BP in just four weeks and even aid weight loss.
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6. Indulge in dark chocolate.
The sweet is rich in flavanols, which relax blood vessels and boost blood flow, and research suggests that regular dark chocolate consumption could lower your blood pressure. Experts haven’t determined an ideal percentage of cocoa, says Vivian Mo, M.D., clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Southern California, but the higher you go, the more benefits you’ll get. Chocolate can’t be your main strategy for managing blood pressure, Mo says—but when you’re craving a treat, it’s a healthy choice.
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7. Drink wisely.
Too much booze is known to raise blood pressure—but having just a little bit could do the opposite. Light-to-moderate drinking (one drink or fewer per day) is associated with a lower risk for hypertension in women, per a study following nearly 30,000 women. One drink means 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of spirits. “High levels of alcohol are clearly detrimental,” Obarzanek says, “but moderate alcohol is protective of the heart. If you are going to drink, drink moderately.”
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8. Switch to decaf.
A 2016 meta-analysis of 34 studies revealed that the amount of caffeine in one or two cups of coffee raises both systolic and diastolic blood pressure for up to three hours, tightening blood vessels and magnifying the effects of stress. “When you’re under stress, your heart starts pumping a lot more blood, boosting blood pressure,” says James Lane, Ph.D., a Duke University researcher who studies caffeine and cardiovascular health. “And caffeine exaggerates that effect.” Decaf has the same flavor without the side effects.
9. Take up tea.
It turns out that lowering high blood pressure is as easy as one, two, tea. Adults with mildly high blood pressure who sipped three cups of naturally caffeine-free hibiscus tea daily lowered their systolic BP by seven points in six weeks, a 2009 study reported. And a 2014 meta-analysis found that consuming both caffeinated and decaf green tea is associated with significantly lowering BP over time. Tea’s polyphenols and phytochemicals (nutrients found only in fruits and veggies) could be behind its benefits.
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10. Work less.
Putting in more than 40 hours per week at the office raises your risk of hypertension by 17%, according to a study of more than 24,000 California residents. Working overtime takes away time for exercise and healthy cooking, says Haiou Yang, Ph.D., the study’s lead researcher. Not everyone can clock out early, but if you work a 9 to 5, try to log off at a decent hour so you can work out, cook, and relax. (To get in this habit, set an end-of-day reminder on your work computer and peace out as soon as you can.)
11. Sit less, too.
In the age of working from home, it’s easier than ever to accidentally sit at your desk all day. Study after study after study has shown that interrupting prolonged sitting time at work can reduce hypertension, working in tandem with other practices like exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep. Simply get up for a bit every 20 to 30 minutes, and at least every hour—even non-exercise activities like standing and light walking really can lower BP over time, especially if you start to sit less and less.
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12. Relax with music.
The right tunes (and a few deep breaths) can help bring your blood pressure down, according to research out of Italy. Researchers asked 29 adults who were already taking BP medication to listen to soothing classical, Celtic, or Indian music for 30 minutes daily while breathing slowly. When they followed up with the subjects six months later, their blood pressure had dropped significantly. Louder, faster music probably won’t do the trick, but there’s no harm in blissing out to an ambient track or two.
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13. Try fermented foods.
A 2020 meta-analysis of over 2,000 patients found that eating fermented foods—specifically supplements made from fermented milk—was associated with a moderate reduction in blood pressure in the short term. The culprit could be the bacteria living in these foods, which might produce certain chemicals that lower hypertension when they reach the blood. Other fermented foods, including kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut, haven’t been studied in the same way, but they probably can’t hurt.
14. Seek help for snoring.
Loud, incessant snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder that causes brief but dangerous breathing interruptions. Up to half of sleep apnea patients also live with hypertension, possibly due to high levels of aldosterone, a hormone that can boost blood pressure. Fixing sleep apnea could be helpful for improving BP, says Robert Greenfield, M.D., medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology & Cardiac Rehabilitation at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute.
15. Focus on protein.
Replacing refined carbohydrates (like white flour and sweets) with foods high in soy or milk protein (like tofu and low-fat dairy) can bring down systolic blood pressure in those with hypertension, findings suggest. “Some patients get inflammation from refined carbohydrates,” says Matthew J. Budoff, M.D., F.A.C.C., professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine and director of cardiac CT at the Division of Cardiology at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, “which will increase blood pressure.”
You probably know that what you eat can have a huge impact on your mood. Considering the fact that 90% of serotonin receptors are located in the gut, it’s no wonder that some gut-healthy foods can be real mood-boosters, while others can put a real damper on your day. Now, researchers have determined the number one food most likely to put you in a bad mood, and the Homer Simpsons of the world are going to be seriously disappointed.
A study commissioned by the natural food brand Kallo and conducted by market research company OnePoll, asked 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom which foods or beverages have the most positive impact on their emotions, and which have the most negative. It turns out that the single worst food for your mood, according to the poll, is donuts.
Maybe it’s because we tend to eat them in the morning, with a whole day in front of us to experience the resulting sugar crash. Maybe it’s the combination of simple carbs and heavy oils, two well-known gut health disruptors. Either way, if you’re like most people, you’re generally going to want to skip the run to Dunkin’ if you want to feel your best.
Many of the other bad mood–causing foods on the list are somewhat predictable. The silver and bronze go to alcohol and soft drinks respectively, with energy drinks coming in fourth place. Most of the foods on the list beyond that are highly processed meals and snacks, full of simple carbs and saturated fats which can cause inflammation, sluggishness, indigestion, and other negative physical side effects.
When it comes to mood-improving foods and drinks, the study finds that coffee is the number one choice, with dark chocolate coming in second place, and grapes in third. For more foods that will help you live your best, happiest life, check out our 13 Mood-Boosting Snacks to Make Your Day Better.
Nothing is quite as tragic as finding that your precious, vibrant green avocado has browned overnight — your breakfast plans have been foiled.
However, rest assured that you can prevent your avo from turning into brown mush whether it’s whole or already sliced. Find out how to keep avocado fresh and green with these simple yet effective hacks.
1. Add an Acidic Ingredient
Sprinkling an acidic ingredient onto your avocado is a surefire way to keep the fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) from turning brown, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table.
Avocados turn brown because of a process called oxidation, which is when the inside of the fruit is exposed to air, Taub-Dix tells us. Sprinkling your cut avo with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar creates an extra barrier between the air and avocado flesh. Citrus fruits are full of ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C), which halts the oxidation process.
You can even save the gorgeous green color of your guacamole by squeezing some extra lime juice on top and sealing it in an airtight container, Taub-Dix says.
2. Keep the Pit in the Fruit
Keeping the pit in your avocado as long as possible can also help keep the fruit fresh after it’s been cut, Taub-Dix says. Like the lemon juice or vinegar you squeeze onto the fruit flesh, keeping the pit in creates an additional barrier between the avocado and oxygen.
Plus, you can sprinkle your acidic ingredient on top of the pit half of the avocado to maximize results.
3. Store Cut Avocado in Clean Water
No lemons on hand? Storing the cut fruit in clean water is another way to prevent your precious green avocado from browning, according to the California Avocado Commission.
Like acidic ingredients, water also acts as a barrier to prevent the avocado from oxidizing. And don’t fret — the avocado won’t absorb any of the water, so you’ll still be able to spread it on your toast or smash it up into a delicious bowl of guacamole.
4. Keep Ripe Avocados in the Fridge
Unless you’re whipping up an avo toast right after your grocery store trip, you’ll want to place any ripe avocados in the fridge to keep them as fresh as possible, Taub-Dix suggests.
Depending on the ripeness of the fruit, the avocado can stay fresh in the fridge for anywhere between three and five days.
However, if you’ve cut your ripe avocado in half, you’ll want to add an acid like lemon or lime juice or vinegar and seal it properly (more on that below) to prevent browning and keep the fruit as fresh as possible, Taub-Dix says.
5. Store Face-Down and Sealed
Storing your avocado in the fridge with the cut side facing down will also help keep the air from entering the flesh of the fruit, per the California Avocado Commission.
Sealing the fruit away from oxygen is a crucial element in preventing oxidation, according to Taub-Dix. While an airtight container will certainly do the trick, you can also place the two halves back together and wrap them in plastic wrap if you’ve prematurely sliced your avocado.
If your avocado or guac does brown a little bit, scraping off the top should reveal fresh green flesh and won’t change the taste of the fruit.
Or, consider testing an avocado hugger. Whether or not these are effective is still up for debate — Taub-Dix hasn’t tried one herself.
Long before it made its way to the West, green tea was sipped in East Asia, with its earliest roots traced to China in the twelfth century. Its many health benefits were recognized from the start and green tea has always played a strong role in Traditional Chinese Medicine. To this day, China is still the number one producer of green tea.
Because green tea is one of the most popular teas in the world, it’s also one of the most studied by scientific researchers. There are thousands of studies on the health benefits of green tea and how drinking it on a regular basis affects cardiovascular health, brain health, as well as the body as a whole. Here, registered dietitian NevaCochran, RD, explains what exactly those benefits are. She also details exactly how much green tea you need to drink a day to experience the benefits as well as tips for buying it. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
What are the health benefits of green tea?
1. It’s good for your heart
If you’re looking for something to sip on throughout the day for heart-protective benefits, Cochran says green tea is a great option. “Green tea is high in flavanols, which is a type of antioxidant, and these flavanols have been linked to reducing LDL cholesterol, also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol,” Cochran says. This, she adds, means it can lower the risk of heart disease.
A scientific article published in the journal Nutrition Review says that observations in southeastern Asian countries show a connection between green tea consumption and a decreased number of cardiovascular health problems. It also says there has been a connection between regular green tea drinking and reduced body fat, which is also connected to cardiovascular health.
2. Green tea is good for your brain
Drinking green tea does more than just support a healthy heart; Cochran says it benefits the brain, too. This, she says, is credited to its caffeine content as well as catechins, which are a type of polyphenol and antioxidant. “Catechins help protect the body from free radicals. This benefits the whole body and of course the brain as well,” Cochran says.
An article published in the journal Phytomedicine that took into account 21 separate studies on green tea found that its consumption was linked to better attention and memory. The researchers say they believe this to be connected to the caffeine and l-theanine (an amino acid associated with calm and focus) in the tea. Between the catechins, caffeine, and l-theanine, clearly there are several components in green tea that make it such a brain health-boosting beverage.
3. Drinking green tea could improve your mood
The same paper published in Phytomedicine found that green tea was linked to feeling less anxious. “This is likely because of the l-theanine in green tea,” Cochran says. “Many scientific studies have found a connection between l-theanine and mood as well as with cognitive function,” she says. The combination of l-theanine and caffeine leads to a feeling of cognitive alertness without the jitters that some can experience with coffee.
4. It can help you feel more alert
Another benefit of the caffeine in green tea: it can help you feel more alert. While some teas, like chamomile or lavender, are more associated with feelings of relaxation or sleepiness, the caffeine content in green tea makes it more of a good one to sip throughout the day, not in the evening. Another benefit: it doesn’t have the crash that drinking coffee causes many to experience.
5. Green tea could protect against certain cancers
Cochran says green tea’s antioxidant content also means that sipping it on a regular basis could protect against certain cancers, but she also adds a major caveat to this benefit. “Green tea is by no means a silver bullet and The National Cancer Institute does not recommend for or against the use of tea to reduce the risk of any type of cancer.” Disclaimer in place, there are some components in green tea that may lessen the risk. A paper published in the journal Cancer and Metastasis Reviews says that green tea’s EGCGs (a type of beneficial catechin) have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.
While this finding is noteworthy, Cochran says some of the other claims of green tea and cancer prevention may be overblown. “[For example], a meta-analysis with eight studies on green tea and breast cancer found reduced risk in three studies but no reduction in five studies,” she says. “There is also a lack of evidence for green tea and lower risk of prostate cancer and no significant association between endometrial cancer risk and green tea consumption.”
6. It could help lower blood sugar levels
“In a meta-analysis of 22 studies with 1,584 subjects, green tea catechins significantly lowered fasting blood sugar levels,” Cochran says, adding that it may also help prevent type 2 diabetes. “[This is because] green tea can inhibit digestive enzymes that help break down sugars in the gut to slow down the absorption of sugars so blood sugar levels rise more slowly,” she says.
7. Drinking green tea is good for your bones
One benefit of drinking green tea that Cochran says is often overlooked is that it’s good for your bones. “Tea polyphenols enhance bone formation and inhibit bone breakdown resulting in greater bone strength,” she says. As one scientific paper published in Nutrition Review says, “epidemiological evidence has shown an association between tea consumption and the prevention of age-related bone loss in elderly women and men. Ingestion of green tea and green tea bioactive compounds may be beneficial in mitigating bone loss of this population and decreasing their risk of osteoporotic fractures.” In non-science speak that means milk isn’t the only bone-benefitting beverage.
8. It’s hydrating
Cochran says that because green tea has caffeine, many don’t think it’s truly a hydrating drink, but that’s not the case. “Especially for people who don’t like the taste of plain water, green tea can be extremely helpful in helping someone meet their hydration goals,” she says.
Additional nutrient content, dosage, and side effects
Clearly drinking green tea comes with many benefits. But in terms of hitting your nutrient goals for macronutrients like protein, fiber, and healthy fats, you’ll have to get them elsewhere. There are none of these nutrients in green tea. So while green tea is connected to many health benefits, it shouldn’t be mistaken as something to be consumed in the place of nutrient-rich foods.
In terms of how much green tea you have to drink to actually experience the benefits highlighted above, Cochran says the majority of scientific studies of green tea range between four to six cups a day. In terms of side effects, drinking too much could cause a headache, primarily because of the tea’s caffeine content. But other than that, it’s a low-risk beverage in terms of unwanted side effects.
There’s nothing sexier than feeling healthy and being at a happy weight, except, well, sex itself. Hormones and heart health (yes, really) are the two primary players in desire, sexual performance, satisfaction, and fertility. Sure, you could pop a pill to boost your testosterone or rev your libido, but these types of drugs can have some pretty scary side effects, ranging from drowsiness, nausea, and dizziness to heart disease and even death—so not worth the risk.
The good news is that you can boost your testosterone, improve blood flow to your nether regions, or get in the mood naturally, simply by altering your diet with these weight-loss-promoting foods. So grab a pen, jot down a grocery list of the testosterone- and circulation-boosting foods below, and get ready to have the best sex of your life
An apple a day may help keep the doctor away, but a recent Italian study suggests it can do much more than that! Researchers divided more than 700 female subjects into two groups: those that ate apples daily and those that didn’t. They found that those who regularly consumed the fruit—which is rich in the sex-boosting phytoestrogens, polyphenols, and antioxidants—had more enjoyable and pleasurable sex than those who didn’t.
Apples can do more than just improve your sex life, they can also help you look better in your lingerie! So much so, in fact, that they made our list of the Best Fruits for a Better Body.
2. Brazil nuts
Bikinis, models, nuts … Is there anything Brazilian that’s not sexy? Selenium is a trace mineral found in Brazil nuts that plays an important role in hormone health. You only need a tiny bit for healthy sperm, but a tiny deficiency can be catastrophic for reproductive health. In one study, men who had lower testosterone and were infertile also had significantly lower selenium levels than the fertile group. Supplementing with the mineral improved chances of successful conception by 56%!
Ginger—one of our go-to spices for fat loss—can improve your sex life with its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. The spice has been shown to boost levels of testosterone and sperm viability in men.
4. Dark chocolate
A study of Italian women and their chocolate-eating habits found that women who regularly nibbled on cocoa wanted and enjoyed sex more than women who barely touched the stuff. This may be because chocolate increases both serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, making us happy and lowering our stress level—both “mood” boosters if you know what we mean. Another theory from the study, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, is that cocoa increases blood flow through the arteries and relaxes blood vessels—sending blood to all the right regions. Whatever the reason, chocolate is never a bad thing, just be sure you’re noshing on one of our go-to Fat-Burning Chocolates.
5. Pomegranate juice
Rev up your sex life with a refreshing pomegranate juice spritzer. Studies have found that pomegranate juices, like POM Wonderful and PomeGreat, have positive effects on erectile dysfunction and testosterone. Pomegranates are also loaded with antioxidants that support blood flow, which can help boost sensitivity and pleasure. Just be sure to water your juice down a bit: One cup of the stuff has 31 grams of sugar, which won’t do your scantily clad bod any favors.
Oysters are full of zinc, and women with higher levels of zinc in their system have been shown to have a higher sex drive than those with lower levels. And guys can reap the benefits, too. One study showed that six-months of zinc supplementation among slightly zinc-deficient elderly men doubled serum levels of testosterone. Research has also shown deficiencies in zinc to be a risk factor for infertility caused by low testosterone levels. Get your shuck on at happy hour (and stick to one of these low-calorie cocktails to maintain your flat belly). Just a half dozen oysters on the half shell will provide you with 33 milligrams of zinc, nearly three times the 12-milligram RDA for adult men.
Watermelon has even more lycopene than tomatoes, and lycopene rivals Viagra in its ability to relax blood vessels and improve circulation to certain, ahem, areas of the body.
It turns out all those Starbucks daters may be onto something—coffee may just be the best libido booster around. It contains a stimulant that has been shown (in animal studies) to put females in the mood. Grab a cappuccino and brace yourself for a long, lucky night.
Eating spinach, a green rich in appetite-suppressing compounds, can not only give you a lingerie-ready figure but also put you in the mood by increasing blood flow below the belt. “Spinach is rich in magnesium, a mineral that decreases inflammation in blood vessels, increasing blood flow,” registered dietitian Cassie Bjork, RD, LD tells us. Although that may not sound sexy, you’re sure to enjoy the effects. “Increased blood flow drives blood to the extremities, which, like Viagra, can increase arousal and make sex more pleasurable,” says psychotherapist and sex expert Tammy Nelson, Ph.D. “Women will find it is easier to have an orgasm, and men will find that erections come more naturally. Having good sex is the best aphrodisiac.”
10. Red wine
Looking for a tasty way to boost your libido? Pour yourself a glass or two of red wine—but be sure to cut yourself off there. Women who drank one to two glasses of the stuff had a higher sexual desire and sexual function than those who didn’t down any vino, a Journal of Sexual Medicine study found. Unfortunately for you wine lovers out there, there was no additional benefit to drinking more than two glasses—which is the most health experts suggest we drink on a daily basis anyway. What makes the elixir so beneficial? It contains flavonoids that increase blood flow to key areas of the body (you know the ones).
11. Grass-fed beef
If your crazy-busy schedule is to blame for your lack of libido, you’re not alone. “One of the primary reasons couples stop having sex is because they’re tired, fatigued, and stressed. But sometimes, there’s a biological component at play,” says Nelson. One of the causes of fatigue in women is iron deficiency. The condition can zap energy, which may result in a low sex drive, explains Nelson. Bjork concurs, adding, “Iron deficiency is common and can result in feelings of exhaustion, weakness, and irritability, which doesn’t make anyone feel like getting intimate.” Bjork says remedying the situation requires a two-part approach: “If you think your diet lacks iron, focus on eating more spinach, grass-fed red meat and liver, all foods rich in the nutrient. Then, ensure sure your body is able to utilize the iron,” she says. “Consuming probiotic-rich yogurt, fatty fish, and an L-glutamine supplement can improve gut health and help your body to absorb iron more efficiently,” says Bjork.
Eggs often come up in reproductive health discussions. This time we’re talking about dietary eggs, as in omelets, and the role they play in boosting testosterone. That comes primarily from the yolks, which are rich in dietary cholesterol, plus mono- and saturated fats—nutrients once demonized by health experts that have since proven to positively influence waistlines and hormone health. In fact, studies on vegetarian and low-fat diets both show they reduce testosterone levels by around 12%. Higher-fat diets—in which fat is at least 40% of calorie intake, with greater consumption of saturated fat—show increased testosterone levels. Why? It’s not rocket science. Cholesterol makes up the building blocks from which testosterone is formed; without it, the hormone can’t synthesize. Organic eggs are one of the best dietary sources. In addition to essential fatty acids, a whole egg is rich in aspartic acid, an amino acid that triggers the production of testosterone
Whether they’re the white or the sweet variety, potatoes are a great source of potassium. This nutrient counteracts salt’s bloating effects and boosts circulation, which can help you look better in bed and also boost your bedroom pleasure. It’s a win-win!
14. Fatty fish
It’s no secret that oily coldwater fish like wild salmon, sardines, and tuna are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, but here’s something you may not know: The nutrient not only benefits your heart but also raises dopamine levels in the brain. This spike in dopamine improves circulation and blood flow, triggering arousal, Bjork and Nelson explain. There’s more: “Dopamine will make you feel more relaxed and connected to your partner, which makes sex more fun,” says Nelson.
15. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in compounds called catechins, which have been shown to blast away belly fat and speed the liver’s capacity for turning fat into energy. But that’s not all: Catechins also boost desire by promoting blood flow to your nether regions. “Catechins kill off free radicals that damage and inflame blood vessels, increasing their ability to transport blood,” says Bjork. “Catechins also cause blood vessel cells to release nitric oxide, which increases the size of the blood vessels, leading to improved blood flow,” she says. Blood flow to the genitals = feeling of sexual excitement, so sipping the stuff will, well, make you want to get it on. Bjork suggests drinking four cups a day to feel the full effects.