Exercising to Benefit Your Brain

The benefits your body experiences due to exercise are well known. From joint lubrication to muscle growth to burning of fat, exercise can do a lot of good for your body and your general well-being. How often do you think about what exercise can do for your brain, though? From boosting memory to fighting mental health issues, exercise can help the brain in so many ways. Here are just a few of the ways exercise helps brain health.

Fights Depression – Working out causes the body to produce more serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals in your brain that are used when experiencing joy. These chemicals help combat depression or anxiety, among other things.

Improves Blood Flow – Improving blood flow sends more oxygen and glucose to your brain while pulling away waste chemicals. In turn, this helps overall blood flow of the body and reduces inflammation, as the brain is often the trigger for inflammation.

Boosts Memory – The more you work out, the more your brain produces brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to stimulate growth of brain cells. This is particularly true in the region of the brain responsible for memory, the hippocampus.

Builds Brain Cells – As physical exercise helps to stimulate the production of BDNF for the production of new brain cells focused on memory, it also helps to produce new cells that can affect learning.

Fights Disease – As exercise helps produce more brain cells and neural connections, the brain can, in turn, better prevent the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Boosts Mood – Endorphins are released when your body works out. These feel-good chemicals help improve your day-to-day mood, which benefits overall mental health.

Regular exercise not only improves your mood but helps the brain in so many other ways, potentially fighting off disease and other ailments. As with any activity intended to improve your physical or mental well-being, it’s best to consult a doctor before beginning any sort of routine. What are some ways you’ve seen exercise improve your memory or mood or responsiveness? Share with us in the comments below.

Collagen – What Skin Benefits Can You Expect?

Collagen has been called the fountain of youth. Thats a pretty tall order….. yet, its pretty much true! And unlike some other ways to turn back the clock (leeches?!), collagen is all natural and safe for most people.

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Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body – it is what gives skin its structure and elasticity. As we age, beginning around 30, our collagen levels decrease and our skin loses elasticity, fitness and moisture. Protein Essentials Collagen Peptides boosts collagen production from the inside. Beauty from within.

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Protein Essentials exclusively uses Peptan® Collagen Peptides. As the worlds leading manufacturer of collagen, Peptan® is recognized due to the substantial scientific evidence that backs it up.

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Studies show that Protein Essentials with Peptan® increased skin hydration as much as 28% after eight weeks of intake. Collagen helps counteract the appearance of dry skin typical in aging by increasing the skin’s moisture levels. Peptan® can counteract the effects of aging and promote a more youthful appearance by supplying a boost and restructuring effect on the skin’s collagen network. Hydrolyzed Collagen w Scoop

Protein Essentials Collagen Peptides are an easy, safe and natural way to turn back the clock. Easily digestible, non GMO Protein Essentials is gluten and dairy free. Simply add 1-2 scoops of our flavorless collagen powder to your favorite hot or cool drink. You won’t even know its there. You can even stir Protein Essentials into yogurt or oatmeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Potato Salad Ever

This delicious vinegar based potato salad is a potato forward, light side dish. It is a simple, tasty crowd pleaser!

5 lbs red potatoes
1 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c InstaBroth
3 T vermouth
1/2 c white wine vinegar
3 t dijon mustard
3 t salt
1 t pepper
1 T coconut sugar
1/4 c parsley, chopped
2 bunches scallions, white & green parts, chopped

Scrub the potatoes. Add them to a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cooking time is determined by the size of the potatoes. Potatoes may simmer anywhere from 7 to 20 minutes; test for doneness after 7 minutes. If a fork easily goes through the potatoes, they are done. Drain.

Meanwhile in a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients.

Slice the potatoes. Add them to the liquid. Gently fold. Refrigerate. Allow the flavors to marry for at least one hour. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Enjoy!

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Best Potato Salad Ever w InstaBroth

 

 

Recovering From a Joint Injury

knee-injuries-pfps-tendonitis-itbsIt happens to the best of us: We’re performing a seemingly simple task around the house or loading groceries into the car, then we take a funny step and our knee buckles. Recovering from an unexpected joint injury takes patience and care to make sure you heal properly and don’t re-aggravate the joint in the process. Here are a few simple ways you can promote faster recovery from a joint injury.

  • Ice the joint if you experience swelling. When your muscles swell, they are inflamed and need cryotherapy to relax them. Try an ice pack (wrapped in a towel) for about 15 minutes every hour.
  • Take baths to stimulate blood flow. Warm water can work wonders for an achy joint.
  • Massage the joint with some balm to strengthen the muscles around it. Stronger muscles around a weak joint will help pick up the slack, as it were, for the joint.
  • Add supplements to your diet. A supplement full of amino acids will help build muscle around the weak joint while improving lubricity of the joint itself. Powders can be added to a morning smoothie or shake for a quick, delicious intake of amino acids.
  • Get involved in low-impact exercising. We recently discussed swimming as a great exercise option, but you can also explore activities such as walking, stationary bike riding or yoga to gently strengthen your recently injured joint.

Whether you slightly tweaked your knee or injured your shoulder doing some heavy lifting, injured joints require patience and slow, steady progress. Taking your time and giving the joint and its surrounding muscles some extra attention is a great way to strengthen and prevent future injury. What are some techniques you like to use when recovering from a joint injury? Share with us in the comments below!

The Health Benefits of Swimming

Happy senior man swimmingThe heat of the summer makes it hard to find a comfortable time to exercise outdoors. In addition, as we age it becomes more difficult to find ways to exercise without putting a lot of strain on joints, muscles and bones. Luckily, low-impact swimming is a fantastic way to address these concerns, exercise many parts of the body and beat the summer heat. Let’s look at a few of the major health benefits of swimming for exercise.

  • It’s good for the heart – Over time, swimming can help lower your heart rate and improve blood pressure and circulation. It has even been prescribed by doctors for patients recovering from heart failure or artery disease.
  • It’s easy on joints – While running gives a great cardiovascular workout, the impact of your heel hitting the ground can be very rough on hips and knees. The buoyancy of water removes that impact, allowing your joints to strengthen more slowly and safely.
  • It works all the muscles – Swimming (especially lap swimming) is a full-body workout, exercising muscles in your core, arms, legs and back without the risk of improperly using heavy weights.
  • It’s great for pregnant women – Every woman’s pregnancy affects her body differently, but most expectant mothers experience joint pain and muscle discomfort during their pregnancy. Water aerobics are a perfect way to work out some of that pain and ease discomfort from tight muscles.
  • It helps manage cholesterol – If a trip to the doctor’s office reveals your cholesterol levels are high, hop in the pool! Swimming helps reduce LDL cholesterol while improving HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
  • Warm water is great for achy joints – The higher temperature helps soothe problem areas during your workout, making it a great choice for water aerobics exercises.
  • Cold water is great for controlling blood pressure – While you swim, your body inevitably starts to heat up as energy is transferred to your muscles. A cold pool will help keep your blood pressure from escalating too quickly.

Achy joints and sore muscles don’t have to keep you away from exercise as you age. With a slow, methodical approach and some care, swimming can positively impact your health in a number of ways. As with any workout routine that’s new, be sure to consult a medical professional before trying swimming for exercise. Your health needs may differ from others, requiring certain precautions or changes to the way you swim. How do you like to use swimming to stay healthy? Share with us in the comments below!

5 Healthy Fourth of July Snacks

Independence Day is always full of fireworks, flags, friends and food. Whether you’re hosting a get-together this year or you’ve been invited to a patriotic party, the snacks need to fit the holiday. This year, try mixing up your usual routine of hamburgers and sugary sweets with some healthy options that are just as tasty and just as American. Here are five we love.

Spicy Turkey Burgers – Try to find the leanest ground turkey you can to cut down on saturated fat per serving. Since ground turkey doesn’t have as much natural flavor as beef, adding spices such as red pepper flakes or cumin gives the meat a great kick. Skip the condiments and top it with some red onions and avocado!

Homemade Healthy Turkey Burgers

Potato Salad – Yes, you read that right. By swapping out fat-heavy mayonnaise for non-fat Greek yogurt or homemade mustard vinaigrette, you can make a potato salad that’s just as tasty with so much less guilt. We like using purple potatoes for a touch of color and garnishing with chives or some other type of fresh greens for presentation.

Potato salad

Patriotic Cake – Arranging berries in the style of the American flag is a staple of Fourth of July foods. To cut down on fat, make a whipped cream from egg whites and fat-free dry milk. Also, there are plenty of recipes for moist, delicious gluten-free cakes that are low in sugar. Try adding hydrolyzed collagen peptides to the mixture for a gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free supplement that supports healthy skin, bones, joints and muscles!

Patriotic American flag cake with blueberries and strawberries

Watermelon Cocktails – A nice, light liquor like gin would make a great base for a summery cocktail, and nothing says summer like watermelon. We recommend keeping it simple by modifying the classic gin & tonic drink, but how you make it is up to you. The natural sugars of the watermelon give the drink a nice sweetness, and a wedge of lime adds a touch of Vitamin C.

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Red, White & Blue Yogurt Pops – With a little food coloring, you can make healthy, patriotic treats for all your guests. Just layer the yogurt (try vanilla flavor for a sweet, subtle taste) in each frozen pop holder and leave in your freezer overnight.

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Just a few small substitutes can turn your 4th of July foods from filling and heavy to light and refreshing. What are some of your favorite snacks for Independence Day, and what are your favorite ways to substitute fatty, sugary ingredients? Share with us in the comments below!

 

Mocha Protein Bar Smoothie w Maca

Delicious use of bars that have been hanging around the pantry for a while! This protein packed smoothie combines strawberries, Protein Essentials Mocha Collagen Protein Powder, maca, cacao nibs, chia seeds and a bar that may or may not be past its peak freshness. *

5 strawberries
1 scoop Protein Essentials Mocha Collagen Protein Shake
1 T Warrior Vitality Blend (chia, maca & cacao nib blend)
1 Kind Bar or any similar small bar
1 c almond milk
4 ice cubes

Add everything to blend and blend until desired consistency is achieved. Enjoy!

*According to the US Department of agriculture website http://www.fsis.usda.gov:   A “Best if Used By/Before” indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date. A “Sell-By” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. … A “Use-By” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality.

Stawberry Mocha Bar Smoothie edited

 

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Protein Essentials Collagen Peptides Sports Nutrition Benefits

It has long been known that protein is key for sports nutrition, specifically muscle building. Nutrition plays an important role as athletes prepare to reach optimum performance levels. The essential function of proteins is well known to competitive athletes as well as recreational athletes.

fullsizeoutput_12dProtein Essentials Collagen Peptides can offer important advantages beyond muscle building. Collagen benefits include improving athletic performance, protecting connective tissues, supporting healthy joint maintenance and helping to reduce the risk of injury.

With a unique amino acid profile, Protein Essentials Collagen Peptides contain high levels of the amino acids glycine, hydroxypoline, proline, alanine and arginine – providing specific nutritional benefits not found in other protein sources.

Protein Essentials Collagen Peptides deliver numerous health and nutritional benefits to athletes both during and after exercise: aiding muscle contraction, muscle restoration, performance energy, joint and connective tissue protection and weight management. csm_Peptan_Sports_Nutrition_small_845735a288

Pure, natural, easily digestible and absorbable, Protein Essentials Collagen Peptides are easy to use. Protein Essentials Collagen Peptides are gluten and dairy free. This is important for athletes with dietary restrictions and paleo athletes. Products range from unflavored collagen peptides, to Chocolate & Mocha Collagen to fruit flavored Perform 100.

http://www.proteinessentials.com

 

 

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Dog Days of Summer: Keeping your Dog in Good Health During the Hot Season

Every dog owner has been there: You grab the leash and before you can even finish muttering the words “Do you wanna go for a walk”, your dog comes bounding down the stairs, tail wagging ferociously with the familiar look of sheer joy and impassioned intensity stamped across his face. It’s no secret that dogs get excited over the simplest things in life, and perhaps that’s part of the reason we love them so much. Arguably one of the happiest animals out there, dogs have it pretty good: They lounge around all day and spend hours running around in their fiery spirits all afternoon and evening.

Many people are surprised when that same word—“walk”—warrants the same unyielding eagerness in even the oldest dogs. While it seems as though the fiery spirit of a dog never fully burns out, it is extremely common for a dog’s enthusiasm to get dampened by a variety of health issues as they get older. Some of these issues—which often include overextension, joint trouble, and even sun damage—can be directly attributed to the years of reckless abandon your dog enjoyed right in your own backyard! These health-related issues mean that taking the necessary precautions before heading out to the park, backyard, or pool are more important than you may think. But don’t fret—there are several easy and effective ways to maintain your dog’s good health. Listed below are 5 easy tips any dog owner can take to ensure their dog lives a long, happy, and pain-free life (with hopefully many walks).

1) Maintain a Proper Diet

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Credit: thepawfectionist.com.au

We know how hard it can be denying your furry little friend a scrap from the dinner table. However, saying “no” to those longing puppy-dog eyes can help them live a much happier and pain-free life in the long run. Dogs who are overweight run a much higher risk of developing joint pain and arthritis than dogs at normal weights. Make sure to read the nutritional facts before purchasing your dog food and try to seek out healthier alternatives. Additionally, it is important to note that the amount of food you feed your dog per day depends heavily on its size and activity level. Older dogs who don’t exercise as much as puppies or younger dogs typically don’t require the same amount of food each day. Speak with your veterinarian to create a specific dietary plan that will meet the nutritional and health needs of your dog’s specific breed, size, and activity level. Gelatin supplements, like our Canine and Feline Gelatin Supplements, are affordable and effective in stimulating joint fluid and promoting proper joint health. Gelatin is noted to have anti-inflammatory and brain-protective affects that are especially important during a dog’s aging process. Gelatin also has been found to increase a dog’s ability to utilize the proteins found in its food. It protects the lining of the stomach, soothes upset stomachs, and helps other digestive ailments as well!

2) Avoid Over Exercising

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Credit: hellonuzzle.com

This may seem counterintuitive, but over exercising your dog can lead to overextension and can either develop or worsen preexisting joint problems. While regular exercise is highly recommended, too much can put an unwanted strain on your dog’s limbs and may cause injuries. Injuries can be extremely hard for dogs to recover from and often regress into serious arthritis issues. Dogs are especially prone to overextension and joint pain is they spend their weekdays with little-to-no activity and play for prolonged periods during the weekend. Be sure to be aware of your dog’s expressions as they play and exercise: if they look fatigued or in pain, stop immediately.

3) Treat Injuries Promptly

Female Veterinary Surgeon Treating Dog In Surgery

Credit: wapitilalabsinc.com

Injuries are not to be taken lightly with dogs. It can take a dog much longer to recover from an injury than a human and can have a much bigger toll on their overall health. Arthritis, one of the most prevalent health issues among dogs, almost always develops from a previous injury that either went untreated or didn’t receive sufficient care. Over exercise, jumping, and running too long and too hard can put a heavy strain on your dog, especially if they are a puppy, and can easily result in health complications later in life.

4) Go Easy on the Trimming Shears and get the Proper Shade

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Credit: onegreenplanet.org

Next time you’re at the beach and rub in some sunscreen, save some for your dog! Many people don’t realize that dogs can also be negatively affected by the sun—and yes—they can even get sunburns! Dogs with coats that are white or naturally thin and short have particularly sensitive skin and can be readily affected by the sun’s intense rays. People who shave or trim their dogs should also take caution when doing so and make sure that they leave a long enough coat to shield from the sun’s powerful beams. Sunburns and even skin cancer can result if your dog doesn’t get enough shade (or even sunblock) and can be a costly medical issue to fix. Next time you’re by the pool or lounging on the beach, make sure the shade under your umbrella reaches your dog and dab a little sunscreen on their nose, ears, or other bare skin. There is no need to buy specialty sunblock for your dog, for you can use the same brand that you use on yourself!

5) Make Your Dog Comfortable

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Credit: sweatexercisestudio.com

Dogs spend an awful lot of time laying around, and many even lay on hard surfaces like title or wood floors. Along with other factors, stress on joints is one of the leading causes of arthritis among dogs. If your dog spends a lot of time laying on hard floors, they may be putting unwanted pressure on sensitive bones and joints. Many dogs choose to lay on tile or wood floors in the summer because it is a much cooler option than sleeping on their bed. An easy and affordable solution is to buy mats, which have a cool surface your dog can enjoy and provide them with the cushioning they need to support their sensitive joints.

With a little bit of planning and a watchful eye, you can make sure your dog enjoys all the excitement and benefits of an active life well into their senior years. What are some ways you help your pup look and feel his or her best? Share with us in the comments below!

Five Healthy Snacks for Your Memorial Day Get-Together

The observance of Memorial Day to remember and respect those lost in the line of military duty has, over the decades, become a way for friends and family to reconnect and pay their respects as a group. A gathering always means food, which means you have some decisions to make if you’re hosting this weekend’s gathering. It may be tempting to load up on fatty, sugary foods, but here are five healthy substitutes you can add to your spread.

  1. Guacamole – Skip the cheese dip and go with this tried-and-true dip. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), fat-soluble antioxidants, omega-3s and almost every vitamin letter you can name. You can add virtually anything you want to a guacamole recipe, including black beans, pineapple, balsamic vinegar, red onion and more. Mix it up!Guacamole
  2. Roasted Asparagus – Instead of French fries on the side, go with this fiber-loaded vegetable. Asparagus is also packed full of folate and vitamins A,C and K. Prep a hot pan with olive oil and minced garlic before adding the stalks and cooking until the skin begins to blister. Garnish with salt and serve.Grilled Asparagus on White Plate using Selective Focus
  3. Grilled Shrimp – This delectable seafood is a great way to get protein into your diet without the guilt of fat that comes with red meat. On average, one ounce of shrimp features just 30 calories and has 6g of protein. Shrimp are also full of B-vitamins and vitamin D. Marinade and dress them however you wish to match the cuisine’s theme.Grill prawns Large Shrimps on Skewer
  4. Red Sangria – Light, refreshing and undeniably summer, sangria is a great way to give guests an alcoholic option without loading them up with sugar. Be sure to fill your pitcher with plenty of limes, oranges and lemons to give your adult beverage a healthy dose of vitamin C.Homemade Delicious Red Sangria
  5. Yogurt Pops – Cool and refreshingly sweet, frozen yogurt pops make a great dessert option without the sugar and fat of normal popsicles. Take your favorite non-fat yogurt, fill up a freeze pop or ice cube tray, add some store-bought wooden sticks and wait for them to freeze. You might even add in a kick of protein with our hydrolyzed collagen peptides!BLUEBERRY YOGURT POPS

You can serve a Memorial Day weekend meal from beginning to end without over-indulging and expanding your waistline. Consider substituting ingredients or replacing sugary, fatty menu items for lean, heart-healthy options. The result? You and your guests will be full, content and happy on this reflective, important holiday. Share some of your Memorial Day recipes with us in the comments below!