Need a Better Booty?

 

Not getting the booty exercise results you are aiming for can leave you feeling like you should be joining Saggy Butts Anonymous, rather than reaching for that sexy new bikini you bought last year.

While you may not be striving to be as ‘Bootylicious’ as Destiny’s Child, you may be wondering how can I increase my glute strength? How can I get a perkier butt? How can I lose the chicken butt?

Getting the right butt exercise results is the #1 thing that I see girls struggle with. Either they are quad dominant or hamstring dominant, and they do not know how to change this. Any attempts to build a perky butt just results in their thighs getting bigger or leaving them with back pain.

What are you talking about Courtney?

My bad, let me explain.

When you are quad or hamstring dominant, it means that you transfer the force of your workouts into these areas instead of your butt, so you do not see the booty exercise results that you should.  This is part of the reason I had so many issues for a while, my glutes simply would not fire.

If you have ever finished a booty workout and found that the next day either your hamstrings or quads are suffering, then you more than likely fall into this category.

Or, you could be suffering from sleepy butt syndrome…

WHAT IS SLEEPY BUTT SYNDROME?

When you sit for extended periods of time (as is extremely common in many lines of work), your booty can fall into a kind of ‘booty amnesia’. This is otherwise known as sleepy butt syndrome.

Your gluteal muscles ‘sleep’ due to being inactive and overstretched, and other parts of your body such as hips, shoulder and pec muscles become overactive to compensate.

This can transform into your workouts, and we can relate this back to being quad or hamstring dominant as well.

Not activating your glute muscles effectively means that other parts of your body do all the hard work, and your butt just gets… well… lazy…. and you have consistently weak glute muscles.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR GLUTES ARE NOT ACTIVATED?

As I mentioned earlier, you will certainly know if you are not activating your glutes if you wake up with sore hamstrings or quads after a butt workout.

You may also have that tired and achy muscle feeling in your butt after prolonged periods of sitting.

And now I hear you asking – “how do you work your glutes?”

HOW TO ACTIVATE YOUR GLUTES

Focusing on contracting your glute muscles is key when you are doing butt-focused exercises.

Taking a moment to tense and contract your butt before and during exercises will help activate your booty.

One glute activation exercise that you can do whenever you are standing around is this:

  • Stand with your knees slightly bent
  • Focus on your glutes and use them to lift one leg out to the side. If you are not feeling it in your butt, then try again.
  • Lower the leg slowly, still working your butt. Then change legs. Do a set of 15 for each leg.

You can try this exercise while cooking dinner, or even in the morning while you are waiting for the coffee to brew.

Some great exercises that you can do for butt exercise results are:

  • The clam
  • Single-leg glute bridges
  • Superman flutter kicks
  • Straight leg hydrants

WHAT DOES GLUTE ACTIVATION DO?

Glute activation ensures that it is indeed your glute muscles that are working. Unless you are powering the movement you are doing through the glutes, your body might rely on your hamstrings or quads to do the hard work.

Glute activation helps you fix hamstring domination or quad domination problems.

Some other things you can do to help are:

  • Including hip bridges and glute isolation movements into your workout warmup.
  • Focusing on mind-muscle connection
  • Doing glute isolation exercises at the end of your workout.
  • Working with a foam roller to reduce quad tightness

You may also want to consider booking a session with a personal trainer, so they can check if you have any bad workout habits that are letting you down.

WHAT IS THE BEST BOOTY WORKOUT?

I’ve had a bunch of questions from my girls and Instagram followers about specific butt isolation workouts. Girls tend to ask what exercises lift your buttocks and what exercises make you bum firmer.

Well, luckily for you, I have a great bootylicious workout that you can start today! Check out our 80 Day Obsession program. 

These workouts are great isolation exercises for your booty. They are easy to do in the comfort of your living room or bedroom too!

I recommend doing these workouts and following the timed nutrition, and you should start seeing results within a couple of weeks.

And if you want a little more help, let’s chat about joining one of my accountability groups. This will give you a better understanding of mentally connecting with your muscles for more effective workouts, learning how to eat for muscle gain, and accountability to keep going strong. .

NOW, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Now that you have a better idea on how to get those butt exercise results you have been dreaming about, it is time to get to it.

And please do not forget, you are beautiful no matter how big or small your butt is, and no matter how many songs about big butts you hear!

Have a bootylicious workout!

 

Where does fat go when you lose weight?

“What’s the best diet for weight loss?”

“How do I lose fat, not muscle?”

What is water weight?”

With more than two in three adults in the U.S. overweight or obese — and about 50 percent of those folks actively trying to lose weight — it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting the most accurate information about weight loss.

The foundation, of course, is a healthy, balanced diet with consistent, challenging workouts.

But have you ever wondered where all that fat that you’re working so hard to lose actually goes?

Where Does Fat Go When You Lose Weight?

While burning more energy than you take in is the root of weight loss, when fat is burned, the vast majority of it is exhaled as carbon dioxide into thin air. (mind=blown)

According to Australian researcher and physicist Ruben Meerman, Ph.D., and colleagues, 84 percent (or 8.4 of every 10 pounds) of fat burned is exhaled as carbon dioxide.

The remaining 16 percent leaves the body as water through urine, sweat, tears, breath, and other bodily fluids. And no, before you ask, you can’t lose weight simply by breathing more.

(Pro tip: Need some ideas on how to lose that fat? Here are 100 Ways to Lose Weight.)

Woman eating french fries

Where Does Fat Go When You Gain Weight?

Ever wonder where fat goes when you gain weight? If so, consider yourself lucky because most of us know exactly where it goes. (Hello, face and hips!)

In younger women, excess fat tends to accumulate in adipose tissue located around the hips, thighs, and buttocks (think: “pear-shaped”), as well as the breasts. Females store fat all over but tend to carry it predominantly in the hips, thighs, and buttocks when they’re younger (i.e., premenopause). During and after menopause, excess fat increasingly begins to accumulate around the abdomen.

Men tend to take on more of an “apple” shape, storing excess fat predominantly around their belly region. Unlike women, this typically doesn’t change during their lifetime — bad news for those growing beer bellies.

Of course, if you’re doing strength-training workouts like those in Body Beast and eating well, you’re probably gaining weight that isn’t fat: It’s muscle.

Contrary to popular belief, muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat — a pound is a pound regardless of its composition. The confusion stems from the fact that muscle is more dense than fat, so it appears to weigh more by volume. In other words, a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat.

So, if you’re getting stronger and you’re smaller in size, but you’re seeing the number on the scale go up a bit, it’s likely due to the “lean mass” (aka muscle) you’re building.

The Two Types of Body Fat

Just as all bodies are not created equal, not all body fats are equal, either. Pears, apples, and other shapes aside, the color and the location of your body fat are probably just as important as the amount you’re packing when it comes to your health.

You’ll be pleased to know not all body fat is bad. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of body fat:

White Fat

White fat makes up the majority of fat in your body. Its primary purpose is energy storage, but white fat also pads and insulates the body, helping protect vital organs and maintain body temperature. It also produces a form of estrogen and several appetite-regulating hormones.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, healthy body fat percentages range from 20 to 32 percent for women and 10 to 22 percent for men.

While body fat percentage can provide information regarding overall health and disease risk, getting an accurate reading typically requires expensive, hard-to-find equipment.

The good news is that body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference correlate well with fat mass percentage in large populations.

Waist circumference, which is an indicator of belly fat, should be less than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered within normal range, while those above are classified as overweight or obese.

Keep in mind BMI alone can be misleading for some individuals. If you’re muscular, BMI is a useless measurement, as it doesn’t distinguish between lean mass and fat mass, for example.

As such, it’s a good idea to consider additional factors like body composition, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as insulin levels, when discussing your health with your doctor.

The Two Types of White Fat:

1. Visceral fat

Visceral fat is found deep within the abdominal cavity, close to and surrounding vital organs like the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. When such organs are surrounded by fat, they have a hard time doing their jobs effectively.

But perhaps the most insidious quality about visceral fat is that it’s metabolically active, releasing hormones that can lead to inflammation and promote insulin resistance, which can increase your risk of diabetes. This kind of fat is also associated with a higher risk for heart disease.

Men are at greater risk for packing on visceral fat since they tend to store fat predominantly in their abdomens.

2. Subcutaneous fat

Subcutaneous fat lies just beneath the skin. When you “pinch an inch,” it’s subcutaneous fat you’re grabbing.

You might hate the appearance it sometimes takes — such as muffin tops and dimpled thighs (aka, cellulite) — but subcutaneous fat is less dangerous than visceral fat. It’s also beneficial in moderate amounts, as it both protects and insulates the body.

Of course, too much subcutaneous fat can be problematic, too, since carrying excess weight puts stress on the body, including the joints, heart, and circulatory system.

Brown Fat

While white fat stores energy, brown fat converts energy from food to heat. In other words, brown fat burns calories, which is why it’s often referred to as the “good fat.”

Brown fat is more abundant in newborns and young children, and significantly decreases with age. Adults who manage to hang on to more of this beneficial fat tend to be leaner and have greater insulin sensitivity.

Research suggests there may be ways to boost your brown fat stores in adulthood. A study on mice showed that exercise can convert white fat to “brown-like” or beige fat.

Beige fat is another type of fat — distinct from white and brown fats — that also burns calories, like brown fat.

Another study on humans showed that regular exposure to colder temperatures may activate brown fat to burn more calories.

Short of moving to colder climes, this may not have a practical application in your daily life, but understanding the process of how white fat turns into calorie-burning brown (and beige) fat may help scientists find new ways to fight obesity.

3 Tips to Lose Body Fat

1. Cut back on added sugar and sweetened beverages

Studies show that excess sugar, particularly the high amounts of fructose found in sweetened beverages, can increase the accumulation of visceral fat.

Instead, quench your thirst with plenty of water; not only is it better than any kind of beverage with tons of sugar and additives, but your body also needs it to stay strong and healthy.

Not a fan of plain water? Dress up your water by adding your favorite fruits or herbs like mint and basil.

2. Pay attention to portion sizes

It sounds simple, but we all know looks can be deceiving, particularly when high-calorie foods come into play. If you’re not sure what a healthy portion looks like, try using Portion Fix containers to take the guesswork out of mealtime.

And don’t forget to vary your diet — quantity and quality are key elements to a healthy, balanced nutrition plan. Make sure you’re eating foods from all of the food groups.

3. Exercise regularly

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training like LIIFT4 top the list of the most effective forms of exercise for fat loss, but just about any exercise can make a difference.

The key is to do it regularly and to combine it with a balanced, healthy diet. Together, diet and exercise cannot only help you lose weight, but they also prevent weight regain once you hit your goal.

Originally published through the Beachbody Blog : https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/where-does-fat-go-when-you-lose-weight

New Mom’s Guide to Losing Baby Weight

No fitness and weight-loss plan to help you lose baby weight is complete without nutritional adjustments. Getting back to your pre-baby weight may be your first goal; however, the most important thing to consider at this time is fueling your body for this next stage of motherhood.

We’ve compiled the most updated expert recommendations to commonly asked questions asked by new mommas who are eager to lose baby weight.

How Many Calories Should You Eat to Lose Baby Weight?

Fun fact: Your body uses more energy to produce a sufficient milk supply for your little one than it did throughout the pregnancy. In fact, your body requires more calories — approximately 500 calories for the first six months depending on body fat and extent of breastfeeding — than your pre-pregnancy needs. That’s about 200 calories more than your doctor likely advised you to consume during the second and third trimesters.

La Leche League International advises breastfeeding moms to wait at least two months before making a specific effort to lose weight in order to allow your body to recover and ensure a steady milk supply. But you may be able to start a program for losing baby weight sooner if you aren’t breastfeeding or if your doctor gives you the OK.

For those impatient mommas, know that breastfeeding women naturally lose one to four pounds per month without even lifting a finger. OK, to be fair, you’re doing quite a lot to nourish and care for your baby; it’s incredibly demanding work to nurture a newborn! Add that on top of the burn from your new workout routine, and you can safely lose weight while you continue to bond with and nurse your baby.

Just like any other stage of your life, your diet should be healthy, balanced, and varied. An adequate intake for nursing mothers who are trying to lose weight is ideally at least 1,800 calories or more to continue producing a healthy milk supply. Mothers who are unable or choose not to breastfeed don’t need these extra calories.

To find out how many calories you should eat to nurse, stay healthy, and start losing weight, Portion Fix can be adapted easily to meet these needs for new moms following a variety of Beachbody On Demand programs.

To determine which calorie bucket you fall into using Portion Fix, follow this formula:

  • Current weight x 11 = Caloric baseline
  • Caloric baseline + 400 + 500 = Maintenance calories during lactation
  • Maintenance calories during lactation – 750 = Calorie target

*If your maintenance calories or calorie target is less than 1,800 calories, round up to 1,800 to ensure adequate nutrient intake to meet your daily needs — especially if you’re within the first six months of breastfeeding (to ensure a healthy milk supply).

how to lose baby weight, baby weight, lose weight, weight loss

What Should You Eat to Lose Baby Weight?

There are no “magic” weight-loss foods for nursing mothers, so using the food lists in the Portion Fix guide is a great resource when choosing healthful options.

To maintain a balanced diet while increasing your total daily intake if you’re breastfeeding, it’s best to introduce additional foods from all macronutrients instead of loading up on foods from just one category (no matter how hard that pancake or ice cream craving strikes!).

You can approach this in one of two ways: If you’re using the Portion Fix Container System, we recommend jumping up two buckets. So if you were in Plan C, go to Plan E.

Another option is to add a container from each group:

  • Start with one more protein (red)
  • Add another healthy fat (blue)
  • Add a carb (yellow)
  • Add a fruit (purple)
  • Add one more oil or nut butter (tsp.)
  • Eat two more veggie (green) portions.

This will help you meet these four criteria: healthy, balanced, variety, and — if necessary — adequate intake (the 500 additional calories needed during lactation).

An important point to remember when losing weight while breastfeeding: Slow and steady wins the race. Gradual weight loss can help ensure you’re receiving enough energy to produce breastmilk as well as keep that milk supply safe.

By keeping your milk “safe,” we mean avoiding drastic, rapid weight loss because this may interfere with the quality of your breast milk. Chemicals and pollution in the environment combined with ones we encounter day to day, such as toxins in cosmetics, certain plastics, and pesticides in our food, are fat-soluble and stored in adipose tissue (fat cells). As you lose weight, fat is broken down and these toxins are released.

Your body is extremely efficient and can clear many of these toxins before they reach your little one through breast milk; however, if your weight drops too fast, it could be a larger burden on your system and higher toxin levels may end up in your milk.

Incremental amounts of toxins from normal exposure haven’t been shown to affect babies’ brains or development so there’s no reason to stop or avoid breastfeeding. But it’s best to be mindful of these sources and choose safer alternatives such as natural cleaning supplies, re-usable BPA-free water bottles, and organic produce. Overall, the antibodies, nutrients, and other benefits of breastmilk far outweigh any potential risks.

how to lose baby weight, baby weight, lose weight, weight loss

Nutrition Tips for Moms Who Want to Lose Baby Weight

Stay hydrated

Mothers often feel extreme thirst while nursing. First and foremost, keep a glass or bottle of water by your side throughout the day, and drink enough to satisfy your thirst. According to the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes, adequate intake (AI) for water during lactation is 3.8 liters (about 16 cups) a day of total water, which is made up of the water in food plus 3.1 liters (about 13 cups) as total beverages, including drinking water.

If you’re working out, you may need additional water, depending on your sweat rate and the intensity and duration of your workout. Clear, light-colored urine can help indicate proper hydration.

Is it safe to have caffeine and/or alcohol while nursing?

Need a little coffee or tea in your life? According to La Leche League International, a little bit of caffeine shouldn’t pose a problem for most mothers and babies. The kicker is to keep it to a reasonable amount, less than 24 ounces (approximately 285 milligrams caffeine) of coffee, and possibly hold off until three to four months postpartum, as this is when the baby develops the ability to metabolize caffeine. If you notice your baby is fussy, wide-eyed and too alert, forgo the tea, coffee, chocolate, and other sources of caffeine.

If three to four months sans caffeine seems horrific, especially in your sleep-deprived state, just think back to the nine (plus) months you went without alcohol. Which begs the question, “Is it safe to ‘pump and dump’ or even have a glass while breastfeeding?”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s advised to avoid habitual use of alcohol during the nursing stage; however, moderate use with ample time before the next feeding or pumping (at least two hours per drink) will allow the body to process and rid itself of the alcohol.

But alcohol clearance time varies for each individual, so be mindful of your unique response. In addition, alcohol can modify the taste of breastmilk, which your baby might reject. This could ultimately reduce his or her nutrient intake.

Are supplements safe?

In all likelihood, the intensity of your post-pregnancy workout routine won’t constitute a need for any specific sports-performance supplements. Nursing mothers should always consult their medical professional before beginning any fitness program or taking any supplement or meal replacement product, including those created by Beachbody, such as the Performance line and Shakeology).

Eating more food will most likely supply the additional macro and micronutrients necessary for milk production, as long as the meals are balanced and contain a wide variety of foods to supply a range of vitamins and minerals.

In general, women who are nursing compared to non-pregnant/non-nursing women need additional vitamin A, folate, iodine, and zinc. Other vitamins and minerals of concern include vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and certain B vitamins. Your doctor may suggest a post-natal multivitamin or specific supplements according to your personal health needs.

The Bottom Line

Remember that while some days you may feel desperate to get your old body back, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. Try to make slow, incremental changes as your body and mind adjust to this major life change.

Eating healthy and exercising will not only make you feel better in the long term, but it’ll also make you a better mom because you’re taking care of yourself. What’s more, as your baby grows, he or she will see and mimic your active and nutritious lifestyle — and that’s a gift that will just keep on giving.

 

Originally published on the Beachbody Blog on  

Eating Healthy On A Budget

If you compare the price of organic meat to non-organic, or a bag of almonds to a candy bar, you would think that healthy eating is only for the rich and famous. But when you look at the big picture, eating healthy is much more affordable than you might think.

Tips for Keeping Your Grocery Bill Down While Eating Healthy

The first, and possibly most important, step to eating healthy on a budget is to plan your meals and snacks. The second is to write a grocery list and then stick to it. And the third is to prepare your own meals as much as possible.

Those three basic principles will take you far, but we’ve got a bunch more tips to keep your food and your finances healthy.

D.I.Y. Making Homemade Waffles

1. D.I.Y.

To get the most bang for your buck, tap into your inner Martha Stewart. To begin with, cook your own dinners and pack your lunch instead of eating out. Next, think outside the box — figuratively and literally.

I’m not suggesting you churn your own butter or make your own pasta, but a lot of packaged foods can usually be made more cheaply and healthfully at home — like popcorn. Instead of buying the portioned-out bags of microwavable popcorn, just buy a container of loose kernels, dump a couple tablespoons in a brown lunch sack, fold it over, and pop it in the microwave for two minutes. It’s still convenient, and quite a bit cheaper! You also have full control over what you add to it. Olive oil and sea salt is definitely a healthier option than a chemical-laden artificial butter.

Other examples:

  • Instead of buying frozen waffles, make your own.
  • Skip the packaged cookies, and bake your own instead, using healthier ingredients.
  • Make your own salad dressings and dips.

Buy Whole Foods Mom Buying Greens

2. Buy Whole Foods

A tip you may have heard before is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s because most of the processed/prepackaged foods are stocked in the middle aisles, while the healthier foods are kept in the outer aisles.

The whole foods you’re looking for include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Dairy

Buy Foods Whole Woman Cutting Apples

3. Buy Foods Whole (Not Pre-cut)

Buying whole fruits and veggies is much cheaper than buying them pre-cut. This also applies to meats and cheese. Buy of a block of cheese, and shred it or slice it yourself. Buy a whole chicken, and prep and freeze it instead of buying individual chicken breasts. Buy grains in bulk (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc.).

Choose Less-Expensive Protein Options Variety of Beans Foods

4. Choose Less-Expensive Protein Options

Meat is not the only source of protein. There are a lot of healthy protein options that are much less expensive than meat, like:

  • Beans
  • Cottage cheese
  • Edamame
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Quinoa
  • Tofu

Stock Up on Canned Frozen Foods Frozen Peas

5. Stock Up on Frozen Foods

Frozen fruits and veggies are still just as healthy — as long as no sugars or other unhealthy ingredients have been added. You can stock up on it when it’s on sale and, unlike fresh produce, you won’t find yourself throwing half of it away when it turns moldy in your refrigerator. Money-saver all around.

Choose In-Season Produce Variety of Vegetables

6. Choose In-Season Produce

It’s economics 101 — supply and demand. The fruits and vegetables that are in-season are easier to get, so they’re less expensive. Don’t know what grows when? Check out this seasonal ingredient map. You can also consider growing some of your own fruits, veggies and herbs by starting a container garden.

Make the Most of Your Leftovers

7. Make the Most of Your Leftovers

Don’t throw away leftover food at the end of a meal! Pack it for lunch the next day. Freeze it, and have dinner for another night. You might even want to invest in a vacuum sealer like FoodSaver® to keep your leftovers fresher, longer.

Look for Discounts Cutting Coupons

8. Look for Discounts

Discounts are everywhere; you just have to look:

  • Participate in your store’s customer loyalty savings program and use coupons.
  • Check out your local farmer’s market, where prices can be as much as 50 percent less than stores.
  • Look into rebate apps, like SavingStar®.
  • Check out online retailers, like Thrive Market. They can offer up to 25 to 50 percent savings.

Make the Swap Yogurt Cup

9. Make the Swap

Sometimes it’s just an even swap. Instead of buying white rice, buy brown rice. Instead of buying regular milk, buy a non-dairy option. Instead of buying regular yogurt, buy Greek yogurt. A lot of times, the prices are about the same for the healthier alternatives.

Eat Out for Less Father Daughter at Restaurant

10. Eat Out for Less

It’s easy to save money at restaurants when you eat healthy. Stick with water instead of pricier, and often calorie-loaded, alternatives. Skip the appetizers and desserts. You can even order just an appetizer instead of a pricier entree. Or order a big meal, and share it with someone else.

The Shocking Number Of Calories In Your Favorite Coffee Drink

If you’re not ordering regular coffee, there’s a good chance your morning cup has more calories than you think

For many, a cup of coffee is an integral part of their morning ritual.Shower, pack lunches, drop the kids off at school, pick up a cup of coffee and head to work.

Unfortunately, if we aren’t careful, this ritual can sneak hundreds of calories into our mornings. As you can see in the infographic, the calories in your drink can add up quickly, depending on what you order. Not only can the calories make a dent in your daily allowance, but also, most of them come from sugar.

In fact, many of these drinks have the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke; in some cases, it’s twice as much.

If you’re not careful you’re going to start your day with a sugar spike, which can leave you feeling drowsy — pretty much the opposite of what you want from your morning coffee.

Not only that, but if you order the same drink every weekday morning — say, a white chocolate mocha — this can add up to over 2,000 calories a week!

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite coffee drinks. By using the tips outlined below, you can successfully reduce the amount of sugar and calories you consume in your coffee:

Nix the Whipped Cream

Removing the whipped cream on top of your drink can save you about 70 calories and half the fat.

Lighten Up the Milk

Instead of 2 percent or whole milk, opt for nonfat milk or coconut, soy or almond milk. Oftentimes, dairy alternatives will have no-added-sugar options, too.

Drink in Moderation

By reducing your drink size from 24 to 16 ounces, you can cut a third of the calories. A switch to 12 ounces will cut sugar and calories in half. Plus, do you really need a drive-through coffee every morning (and afternoon)? Making that cup of joe at home will help your health — and your wallet.

Ditch the Syrup

Instead of using flavored syrups for flavoring, add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger to help add flavor.  You can also add a drop of your favorite flavor extract.

 

10 foods that will spice up your sex life. Natural libido boosters recommended by nutritionists.

Originally shared via Parisa Hashempour @ bodyandsoul.com.au JANUARY 21, 20197:38AM

It’s the middle of a sweltering summer, which means you may not feel like getting hot and sweaty under the duvet with your significant other. Plus, thanks to factors like hormonal changes, low energy, stress, alcohol, drugs and even low self-esteem, at certain times in our lives, our libido can feel as though it’s lagging a little. In fact, research from The American Sexual Health Association has shown that 30-50 percent of people will deal with having a low sex drive at some point in their life.

If you’re feeling this way, team Healthista has got your back. We spoke to three experts about the best natural libido boosters and ways to rev up your sex drive. So in the words of Marvin Gaye, ‘let’s get in ooonnnn.’

Oysters.

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Unsplash.Source:BodyAndSoul

Zinc for a bit of chemistry

Oysters – that age old libido-boosting remedy that has staff at seafood restaurants rolling their eyes daily. Well, there might just be something to it. All thanks to one little mineral – zinc. Nutritionist Rob Hobson explained that ‘oysters are the historical sign of aphrodisiac because they look like female genitalia – this view was especially common in the Edwardian days when they were incredibly cheap to buy. These days, we know it actually has more to do with the high zinc content in the shellfish. If you have low levels of zinc this could lead to a low sex drive as it helps with testosterone production. It’s especially helpful for men as they also use the mineral to make sperm cells – so it’s also something to consider if you’re trying to get pregnant.’

Nutritionist May Simpkin agrees that zinc is a good call if you’re looking to up your libido. ‘Zinc is such an important mineral because it’s involved in so many chemical reactions in the body. If you want to really maintain your health and performance you’ve got to have a lot of zinc. That’s why when you don’t eat meat (which is a really great source of zinc) you’ve got to find it elsewhere and it’s not always easy… Oysters have really high levels of zinc but there’s also beef and lamb and sometimes fortified cereals will even have it as well. But if you’re not a meat eater I would say try and eat nuts, chickpeas and mushrooms.’

NHS guidelines suggest women have 7mg of zinc a day. If you feel as though you might not be getting enough zinc from your food, it might be an idea to try a supplement.

4Image:BodyAndSoul

Vitamin E to increase sex hormones

Another micronutrient that can help with testosterone production is vitamin E, found in plant oils, nuts, seeds and wheatgerm. ‘If you’re lacking interest in sex or lacking desire, I recommend Vitamin E. Vitamin E is important for sexual desire because it increases testosterone levels, which therefore increases stamina and also raises desire. For men, it also raises sperm count and motility which is important as well. Increased testosterone levels also help with blood flow, oxygenation of the body and this makes it one of the key vitamins to enhance sexual performance,’ said Hay.

5 iStockSource:BodyAndSoul

Good cholesterol to help your hormones

Good cholesterol is found in flaxseed, soy foods and fatty fish and Simpkin explained that it is essential in keeping our hormones balanced. ‘Cholesterol is actually the building block of our sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. So the whole concept of eating zero cholesterol and reducing it to very low levels could damage this. Eating foods that are high in good cholesterol helps in the production of female hormones and that does include testosterone, even though as women we have less testosterone – but that is what gives you that oomph.’ So Simpkin recommends getting your hands on foods like avocados, nuts, seeds and even eggs.

‘That’s why there is so much hoo-ha about statins [medication taken to help prevent heart attack]. They reduce your cholesterol level but they can sometimes reduce them too low and then you just don’t have enough to make all your sex hormones so then your hormone levels are all haywire.’

6iStockSource:BodyAndSoul

Fish oil to fix your mood

Nutritionist Rick Hay clues Healthista in on another great way to improve energy levels. ‘Research has shown that Omega 3’s and their benefits on mood and their ability to decrease anxiety and depression which in turn means that if these two are decreased your desire will be increased. Bio-Fish Oil can help to increase dopamine levels. Dopamine will improve mood but also help to trigger arousal. Omega 3 can also help with the moisturization of the skin and also help to moisturize mucus membranes which help to reduce dryness and create lubrication during menopause and hormonal changes.’

Dried Ginseng slices, capsules and roots. 7: iStock.Source:BodyAndSoul

Ginseng for an energy boost

And if you’re looking for a natural remedy boost – Hobson has the herbal remedy for you. ‘Ginseng is known to have a restorative effect and improve physical and mental energy as well as stamina. In China, it’s always been revered as a libido booster and I think that’s down to its energy boosting quality. Ginseng might be great for somebody that’s got a low sex drive that is linked to stress or fatigue to boost their overall wellness and energy levels. You can either have this herb as a tea or a capsule.’

St John’s Wort. Image. 8.Source:BodyAndSoul

St John’s Wort for a pick-me-up

St John’s Wort is another natural remedy that’s been described as being helpful for a flagging sex drive. While Hobson explained that a lot of natural remedies for libido are anecdotal rather than based on stacks of scientific evidence he does say that ingredients like this have stood the test of time. ‘Remedies like this have approved health claims, just down to the fact that they’ve been doing this job for a very long time. St John’s Wort has always been something that has been regarded as helpful as a natural alternative for depression. The idea is that if you treat your depression, you’re more likely to get your sex drive back.’

Chamomile. 9 iStock.Source:BodyAndSoul

Chamomile for a good night’s kip

Simpkin stressed that getting enough rest is essential for revving up your sex drive. ‘If you’re constantly fatigued and you’re constantly lacking in sleep you’re going to be exhausted and that’s going to have an effect on your energy levels which is not going to help your libido.’ Hay suggests products which include ingredients that help aid sleep such as chamomile. ‘Chamomile seems to have the ability to connect to GABA receptors in the brain which promote the production of melatonin – a hormone that helps you sleep better.’

10 Gingko.Source:BodyAndSoul

Gingko for better blood flow

Hay explained exactly how herbal remedy Ginko helps to improve your blood flow and why this makes it useful to improve libido. ‘It’s a botanical and as a herbalist, I’ve used it for many years successfully with my clients. Ginkgo aids blood circulation and it’s crucial to have good blood circulation to the sexual organs to help with good sexual function. BioCare Ginkgo Biloba is one supplement that I recommend. Ginkgo also reduces platelet aggregations which means that it helps to clear blood vessels and promotes vasodilation [which helps with blood flow to sexual organs]. Ginkgo contains terpenoids and ginkaloids, these are the chemical factors that help Ginkgo to produce its sexual enhancement results – it’s one of my favorite botanicals.’

11iStockSource:BodyAndSoul

Peanut butter for a protein punch

Energy levels have a huge impact on mood particularly with getting you in THE mood. Simpkin revealed that the most important thing you can do for your energy levels is to learn to control your blood sugars. ‘Control them so that your energy levels are not dipping. Make sure you’re combining your protein with carbohydrates and avoiding processed sugars like cakes, sweets and biscuits. They’ll give you a boost but you’ll come crashing right down as your blood sugars are removed and that’s not going to help with your energy levels.’

To avoid these energy dips, Simpkin suggests opting for foods that are high in protein. ‘You want to eat something that will release sugar more slowly, a good snack would be nut butter with oat cakes.’

 

8 Veggies You Can Turn Into Noodles

Spiralizing can be a fun way to use everyday vegetables in new and exciting ways. In about 5 minutes, you can have the start of a perfect pasta dish or the base for a vegetable-heavy salad. Make healthier homemade curly fries to serve up with your favorite protein, like steak or grilled sausage. Many of the vegetables that you can spiralize do not even need to be cooked before using.

In terms of spiralizers, there are a few on the market ranging from a $15 hand-held machine to a $30 tabletop spiralizer, all the way up to an $80 stand-mixer attachment. The tabletop spiralizers often offer the most versatile size options for the price, with attachments for small and large noodles and a straight blade for ribbon cuts. Once you find your spiralizer, get to know what you can spiralize!

Related: The Best Spiralizer for Making Vegetable Noodles

How to Spiralize with a Spiralizer

Step 1: Wash Your Veg

To start spiralizing, choose your vegetable then give it a good wash.

Step 2: Peel & Trim

Peel the vegetable if it has a thick outer layer (e.g., winter squash and broccoli stems), then trim both ends to create a flat base.

Step 3: Choose Your Blade

Machines typically come with variations on three options:

  • thin noodles
  • thick noodles
  • flat noodles

The thin blades create spaghetti-size noodles while the thick noodles look more like pappardelle or curly fries and the flat blade works for ribbon-width noodles. Most vegetables can be spiralized with any-size blade but most recipes will specify which to use. Also, your given machine’s guide will have in-depth information about the blades included and how to safely use them.

Step 4: Spiralize!

Once you assemble the spiralizer and safely secure the blade, push one end of the vegetable onto the spiralizer to secure it in place, then start spinning. Having just the right touch is important while spiralizing—push too gently and your noodles won’t form; push too hard and your noodles will break and the machine will clog. Push forward with a firm, steady grip, but allow the machine to naturally guide the vegetable through versus forcing it. If you need to trim down the length of your noodles for slaw or salads, place a loose pile on a cutting board and chop every few inches or so with a chef’s knife.

How to Spiralize without a Spiralizer

If you don’t have a spiralizer, there are a couple of ways to get noodle-like strips with items you might already have in your kitchen.

  • Vegetable peelers can achieve the flat noodles. Run the vegetable peeler down the length of vegetable, creating long strips.
  • Julienne peelers look like vegetable peelers with teeth, allowing you to create thinner, spaghetti-like noodles.
  1. Beets

When it comes to spiralizing beets, any variety will do. However, yellow and Chioggia have less chance of staining compared to the red beet. Beets can be spiralized without peeling, but peeling the beets creates a nicer presentation. Once the beets are spiralized, use them raw in salads or sauté or roast them to use as noodles or a side dish.

Recipe to Try: Spiralized Beet Salad

  1. Broccoli

Spiralizing gives you the perfect reason to look for broccoli with the stems. Broccoli stems can be every bit as delicious as the florets. To spiralize broccoli, trim the ends flat and peel the outer layer. Broccoli stems are best used fresh as the older, softer stems do not spiralize as well. Use the spiralized broccoli raw or sautéed.

Recipe to Try: Use-All-the-Broccoli Stir-Fry

  1. Butternut Squash

If you’re looking for an alternative to pasta, spiralized butternut squash is the perfect veggie solution. Peel butternut squash before spiralizing and use the neck of the squash only, reserving the hollow part for another use. Avoid older, late-season squash; they tend to be too soft to work with the spiralizer.

Sauté or roast the spiralized squash for a solid pasta or side dish. Butternut squash can also be boiled or cooked in a soup; however, overcooking will make the noodles fall apart.

Recipe to Try: Coconut Curry Cup of Noodles with Butternut Squash Noodles

  1. Carrots

Similar to beets, any variety of carrot will work when spiralizing. However, it’s often easier to spiralize the larger varieties. Scrub the carrots well and you can get by without peeling. Spiralized carrots are great sautéed, steamed or roasted but are also delightful raw. Use the raw carrots in noodle bowls, spring rolls or salads.

Recipe to Try: Fresh Tomato Salsa Shrimp With Carrot and Squash Noodles

  1. Potatoes

Homemade oven fries are reason enough to invest in a spiralizer. The vegetable slicer allows you create perfect even-thickness curly fries ready for the oven in minutes. Use the larger noodle attachment and start slicing—you don’t even need to peel potatoes before spiralizing. Beyond fries, potatoes are great sautéed or roasted for hash browns.

Recipe to Try: Oven-Baked Curly Fries

  1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are the perfect vegetable noodle that can be steamed or boiled, just be sure not to overcook the sweet potato noodles if boiling. The noodles should be cooked just long enough to be tender but not falling apart.

Recipe to Try: Sweet Potato Carbonara with Spinach & Mushrooms

  1. Summer Squash & Zucchini

The most forgiving vegetables for spiralizing, zucchini (aka zoodles) and summer squash can be spiralized into every size and used in about every way. They don’t need to be peeled before spiralizing.

noodle

Summer squash and zucchini are wonderful raw or cooked as salads, noodle bowls, tossed in a stir-fry. If you plan on using the noodles raw, you can skip salting. If you plan to cook the noodles, lay out the spiralized squash on a tea towel or paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let the moisture draw out of the squash and pat it dry before using.

Recipes to Try:
Pad Thai with Spaghetti Sauce
Pesto Zucchini Pasta

  1. Turnips

This often-overlooked vegetable is one of the easiest to spiralize. Trim the ends and peel if the outside looks rough or thick. Spiralized turnips can be used raw, roasted or sautéed. Try them raw in salads or use as noodles. Turnips are also great when added to a stir-fry.

Recipe to Try: Turkey Ramen Bowl

 

 

Recipe: Pumpkin Bars

These dense, moist bars are sweet enough to satisfy a craving but they won’t send you into a sugar rush. Bonus: There are no refined grains in this recipe. Only nutrient-rich ingredients make this a treat that’s not only delicious, but one that will also give you energy to keep you going.
Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package dates ¾ cup walnuts ¾ cup almonds ¾ cup peanuts 3 tablespoons hemp seeds 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup 2 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 1½ teaspoons ground allspice

Directions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and continuously pulse until the mixture is thoroughly combined but some chunks of nuts remain.
  2. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving an inch or two of overhang of paper on two opposite sides for easy lifting.
  3. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan, using a spatula to firmly press it down against the bottom of the pan.
  4. Allow it to set for 30 minutes in the refrigerator, then use the paper overhang to lift the entire slab out of the pan.
  5. Cut into bars.
Nutrition information (per serving)

Makes 7 servings.

Calories: 397 Total fat: 26.7 g Saturated fat: 5.1 g Trans fat: 0.0 g Cholesterol: 0.0 mg Sodium: 4.2 mg Total Carbohydrate: 36.2 g Fiber: 7.6 g Sugars: 25.3 g Protein: 10.4 g

Source: Skinny Liver: A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse the New Silent Epidemic — Fatty Liver Disease by Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, with Ibrahim Hanouneh, MD (© 2017 Da Capo Lifelong Books)

This article was written by Digestive Health Team from Cleveland Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

4 Easy Ways to Sneak in More Vegetables

Pop quiz: How many vegetables do you eat in a day? If you’re well below the two to three cups that doctors recommend, well, you’re in a very crowded club. A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nine out of 10 American adults are missing the mark, when it comes to eating their veggies.

1025X746 More Vegetables Blog 01

That’s an especially hard stat to swallow when you consider that “vegetables are the most nutrition-packed food group,” said Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, a registered dietician in Chicago and nutrition consultant for the Chicago Cubs. “They have fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical plant compounds that can protect us against all kinds of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”

Does eating salad feels like a chore? Chomping on carrot sticks feel like a snore? Instead, try adding vegetables to dishes you already eat regularly, suggests Wendy Bazilian, PH, RD, a San Diego-based nutritionist and author of The Superfood Rx Diet“This approach is kind of like playing a game: finding new ways to put together a dish so you can have a delicious meal — and well-lived life.” And as you eat more vegetables in familiar dishes, you may grow to love their tastes and textures — and eat them even more, she says.

Be a Sneak! Think your fave foods can’t be veggified? Try these 4 tips:

1. You crave: fried rice. Reach for: cauliflower.

Any trip through the grocery store will confirm that, when it comes to subbing in veggies, cauliflower is king. The versatile veg is easy to mash, roast and — yes — even rice. After washing and drying the head of cauliflower, simply chop it up either by hand or pulse in a food processor until it resembles rice, says Blatner. Every serving of this cruciferous vegetable packs almost half of your daily value of Vitamin C, as well as a healthy dose of fiber and protein.

Recipe inspiration: Fried cauliflower rice with carrots, cashews and corn or rainbow cauliflower rice bowl recipe

2. You crave: burgers. Reach for: mushrooms.

You’ve seen mushroom burgers on plenty of menus, but did you know that you could put diced mushrooms directly into the meat patty? “Even the heartiest meat lovers rarely notice the difference,” says Bazilian, because the mushrooms add both moisture and umami. For most recipes, you can swap about one-third of the meat for diced mushrooms without having to make any major changes, Bazilian says. And that sneak will lower the burger’s saturated fat and calories, while upping its fiber.

Recipe inspiration: Beef and mushroom burgers

3. You crave: pasta. Reach for: zucchini.

Zoodles are all the rage these days — with reason, says Blatner. Spiralized zucchini has a spaghetti-like quality that’s versatile enough for most pasta dishes. Yet it’s less calorically dense than traditional pasta and won’t give you the usual blood sugar spike, says Bazilian. It also boasts a good amount of potassium, which can help control blood pressure and may lessen your risk of stroke. You can find zoodles in the freezer aisle at the grocery store or, to make the shape at home,  use a mandolin or spiral vegetable slicer to cut the squash into ribbon-like strips.

Recipe inspiration: Asian sesame zucchini noodles or zoodles and turkey meatballs

4. You crave: mac and cheese. Reach for: butternut squash.

This comfort dish usually gets its richness from a double whammy of cheese and butter. But subbing in some pureed butternut squash can add a similar silky creaminess — with far fewer calories and less saturated fat, says Blatner. Butternut squash is also high in fiber and potassium, and it lends a subtle sweetness to the dish. “It’s really phenomenal,” she says. Subbing in some pasta made from chickpea, lentils, or black beans can add some fiber and protein.

Our latest program, The Ultimate Portion Fix, has over 300 pages of recipes to incorporate your favorite foods and healthy alternatives the entire family will enjoy.  Send us a message if you are ready to change your nutrition!

17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly important.

They have many powerful health benefits for your body and brain.

In fact, few nutrients have been studied as thoroughly as omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are 17 health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids that are supported by science.

1. Omega-3s Can Fight Depression and Anxiety

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world.

Symptoms include sadness, lethargy and a general loss of interest in life (12).

Anxiety, also a common disorder, is characterized by constant worry and nervousness (3).

Interestingly, studies indicate that people who consume omega-3s regularly are less likely to be depressed (45).

What’s more, when people with depression or anxiety start taking omega-3 supplements, their symptoms improve (678).

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA and DHA. Of the three, EPA appears to be the best at fighting depression (9).

One study even found EPA as effective against depression as a common antidepressant drug (10).

SUMMARYOmega-3 supplements may help prevent and treat depression and anxiety. EPA seems to be the most effective at fighting depression.

2. Omega-3s Can Improve Eye Health

DHA, a type of omega-3, is a major structural component of the retina of your eye (11).

When you don’t get enough DHA, vision problems may arise (1213).

Interestingly, getting enough omega-3 is linked to a reduced risk of macular degeneration, one of the world’s leading causes of permanent eye damage and blindness (1415).

SUMMARYAn omega-3 fatty acid called DHA is a major structural component of your eyes’ retinas. It may help prevent macular degeneration, which can cause vision impairment and blindness.

3. Omega-3s Can Promote Brain Health During Pregnancy and Early Life

Omega-3s are crucial for brain growth and development in infants.

DHA accounts for 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in your brain and 60% in the retina of your eye (1216).

Therefore, it’s no surprise that infants fed a DHA-fortified formula have better eyesight than infants fed a formula without it (17).

Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy is associated with numerous benefits for your child, including (181920):

  • Higher intelligence
  • Better communication and social skills
  • Fewer behavioral problems
  • Decreased risk of developmental delay
  • Decreased risk of ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy

SUMMARYGetting enough omega-3s during pregnancy and early life is crucial for your child’s development. Supplementing is linked to higher intelligence and a lower risk of several diseases.

4. Omega-3s Can Improve Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Heart attacks and strokes are the world’s leading causes of death (21).

Decades ago, researchers observed that fish-eating communities had very low rates of these diseases. This was later linked to omega-3 consumption (2223).

Since then, omega-3 fatty acids have been tied to numerous benefits for heart health (24).

These benefits address:

  • Triglycerides: Omega-3s can cause a major reduction in triglycerides, usually in the range of 15–30% (252627).
  • Blood pressure: Omega-3s can reduce blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure (2528).
  • “Good” HDL cholesterol: Omega-3s can raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels (293031).
  • Blood clots: Omega-3s can keep blood platelets from clumping together. This helps prevent the formation of harmful blood clots (3233).
  • Plaque: By keeping your arteries smooth and free from damage, omega-3s help prevent the plaque that can restrict and harden your arteries (3435).
  • Inflammation: Omega-3s reduce the production of some substances released during your body’s inflammatory response (363738).

For some people, omega-3s can also lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. However, evidence is mixed — some studies find increases in LDL (3940).

Despite these beneficial effects on heart disease risk factors, there is no convincing evidence that omega-3 supplements can prevent heart attacks or strokes. Many studies find no benefit (4142).

SUMMARYOmega-3s improve numerous heart disease risk factors. However, omega-3 supplements do not seem to reduce your risk of heart attacks or strokes.

5. Omega-3s Can Reduce Symptoms of ADHD in Children

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity (43).

Several studies note that children with ADHD have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids than their healthy peers (4445).

What’s more, numerous studies observe that omega-3 supplements can reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

Omega-3s help improve inattention and task completion. They also decrease hyperactivity, impulsiveness, restlessness and aggression (46474849).

Recently, researchers observed that fish oil supplements were one of the most promising treatments for ADHD (50).

SUMMARYOmega-3 supplements can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children. They improve attention and reduce hyperactivity, impulsiveness and aggression.

6. Omega-3s Can Reduce Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions.

It includes central obesity — also known as belly fat — as well as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high triglycerides and low “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

It is a major public health concern because it increases your risk of many other illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes (51).

Omega-3 fatty acids can improve insulin resistance, inflammation and heart disease risk factors in people with metabolic syndrome (525354).

SUMMARYOmega-3s can have numerous benefits for people with metabolic syndrome. They can reduce insulin resistance, fight inflammation and improve several heart disease risk factors.

7. Omega-3s Can Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural response to infections and damage in your body. Therefore, it is vital for your health.

However, inflammation sometimes persists for a long time, even without an infection or injury. This is called chronic — or long-term — inflammation.

Long-term inflammation can contribute to almost every chronic Western illness, including heart disease and cancer (555657).

Notably, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the production of molecules and substances linked to inflammation, such as inflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines (5859).

Studies have consistently observed a connection between higher omega-3 intake and reduced inflammation (86061).

SUMMARYOmega-3s can reduce chronic inflammation, which can contribute to heart disease, cancer and various other diseases.

8. Omega-3s Can Fight Autoimmune Diseases

In autoimmune diseases, your immune system mistakes healthy cells for foreign cells and starts attacking them.

Type 1 diabetes is one prime example, in which your immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas.

Omega-3s can combat some of these diseases and may be especially important during early life.

Studies show that getting enough omega-3s during your first year of life is linked to a reduced risk of many autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diabetes and multiple sclerosis (626364).

Omega-3s also help treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis (65666768).

SUMMARYOmega-3 fatty acids can help fight several autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis.

9. Omega-3s Can Improve Mental Disorders

Low omega-3 levels have been reported in people with psychiatric disorders (69).

Studies suggest that omega-3 supplements can reduce the frequency of mood swings and relapses in people with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (697071).

Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids may also decrease violent behavior (72).

SUMMARYPeople with mental disorders often have low blood levels of omega-3 fats. Improving omega-3 status seems to improve symptoms.

10. Omega-3s Can Fight Age-Related Mental Decline and Alzheimer’s Disease

A decline in brain function is one of the unavoidable consequences of aging.

Several studies link higher omega-3 intake to decreased age-related mental decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (737475).

Additionally, one study found that people who eat fatty fish tend to have more gray matter in the brain. This is brain tissue that processes information, memories and emotions (76).

Keep in mind that more research is needed on omega-3s and brain health.

SUMMARYOmega-3 fats may help prevent age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease, but more research is needed.

11. Omega-3s May Help Prevent Cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the Western world, and omega-3 fatty acids have long been claimed to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Interestingly, studies show that people who consume the most omega-3s have up to a 55% lower risk of colon cancer (7778).

Additionally, omega-3 consumption is linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. However, not all studies give the same results (798081).

SUMMARYOmega-3 intake may decrease the risk of some types of cancer, including colon, prostate and breast cancer.

12. Omega-3s Can Reduce Asthma in Children

Asthma is a chronic lung disease with symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing.

Severe asthma attacks can be very dangerous. They are caused by inflammation and swelling in the airways of your lungs.

What’s more, asthma rates in the US have been rising over the past few decades (82).

Several studies associate omega-3 consumption with a lower risk of asthma in children and young adults (8384).

SUMMARYOmega-3 intake has been associated with a lower risk of asthma in both children and young adults.

13. Omega-3s Can Reduce Fat in Your Liver

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is more common than you think.

It has increased with the obesity epidemic to become the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the Western world (85).

However, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids effectively reduces liver fat and inflammation in people with NAFLD (8586).

SUMMARYOmega-3 fatty acids reduce liver fat in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

14. Omega-3s May Improve Bone and Joint Health

Osteoporosis and arthritis are two common disorders that affect your skeletal system.

Studies indicate that omega-3s can improve bone strength by boosting the amount of calcium in your bones, which should lead to a reduced risk of osteoporosis (8788).

Omega-3s may also treat arthritis. Patients taking omega-3 supplements have reported reduced joint pain and increased grip strength (8990).

SUMMARYOmega-3s may improve bone strength and joint health, potentially reducing your risk of osteoporosis and arthritis.

15. Omega-3s Can Alleviate Menstrual Pain

Menstrual pain occurs in your lower abdomen and pelvis and often radiates to your lower back and thighs.

It can significantly affect your quality of life.

However, studies repeatedly prove that women who consume the most omega-3s have milder menstrual pain (9192).

One study even determined that an omega-3 supplement was more effective than ibuprofen in treating severe pain during menstruation (93).

SUMMARYOmega-3 fatty acids can reduce menstrual pain and may even be more effective than ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.

16. Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Improve Sleep

Good sleep is one of the foundations of optimal health.

Studies tie sleep deprivation to many diseases, including obesity, diabetes and depression (94959697).

Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with sleep problems in children and obstructive sleep apnea in adults (9899).

Low levels of DHA are also linked to lower levels of the hormone melatonin, which helps you fall asleep (100).

Studies in both children and adults reveal that supplementing with omega-3 increases the length and quality of sleep (98100).

SUMMARYOmega-3 fatty acids — especially DHA — may improve the length and quality of your sleep.

17. Omega-3 Fats Are Good For Your Skin

DHA is a structural component of your skin. It is responsible for the health of cell membranes, which make up a large part of your skin.

A healthy cell membrane results in soft, moist, supple and wrinkle-free skin.

EPA also benefits your skin in several ways, including (101102):

  • Managing oil production and hydration of your skin.
  • Preventing hyperkeratinization of hair follicles, which appears as the little red bumps often seen on upper arms.
  • Reducing premature aging of your skin.
  • Reducing the risk of acne.

Omega-3s can also protect your skin from sun damage. EPA helps block the release of substances that eat away at the collagen in your skin after sun exposure (101).

SUMMARYOmega-3s can help keep your skin healthy, preventing premature aging and safeguarding against sun damage.

The Bottom Line

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for optimal health.

Getting them from whole foods — such as fatty fish two times per week — is the best way to ensure robust omega-3 intake.

However, if you don’t eat a lot of fatty fish, then you may want to consider taking an omega-3 supplement. For people deficient in omega-3, this is a cheap and highly effective way to improve health. Check out my recommendations over on Shop My Favorite Things Page!