Superfoods: Legit or Marketing Hype?

Nowadays, superfoods are everywhere and growing in popularity with more and more people becoming conscious of their health. Not only this, if you want to ensure your health is in top form you can also carry your doctor around in your pocket. With telemedicine in the U.S. becoming more popular, you can have access to health advice through your phone as well as your laptop/computer. The potential of illness prevention by consuming superfoods and expertise advice via telemedicine means that more people could be healthier and happier much more easily.

What exactly classifies as a superfood, and do they really make any real difference to one’s health? Or is it all a dieting myth in the name of getting us to dig deeper into our wallets? Most of us know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. Superfoods, however, are types of food that are supposedly more nutrient-dense than your average apple and banana, and can provide various health benefits such as lowering the risk of cancer, shielding our bodies from cell damage, and removing toxins. Kale, blueberries, and avocados are examples of superfoods you can easily find in the supermarket. While these are more common and well-known, there are an increasing number of more exotic superfoods that are becoming something of a trend.

For example, chia seeds, which are native to Mexico, have been one of the most popular superfoods in recent times. At first glance, they may not seem like anything special, but looks can be deceiving as chia seeds actually hold great nutritional benefits. Chia just so happens to mean “strength” in the Mayan language and this is exactly the reason why Aztec warriors would consume the seeds before a battle. Furthermore, research has shown that chia seeds help promote a healthy heart and digestive system in addition to being a good source of omega 3, which we all need for good sleep, skin, and cognitive function. Moreover, chia seeds are a good substitute for ingredients such as eggs in baking, and as they can absorb up to 30 times their weight in water, they are excellent for hydration and maintaining electrolyte balance.

Divan Medical - quinoa

Superfoods can be a great addition to your regular healthy diet.

Quinoa is actually a type of seed and, just like chia, it comes from South America and was eaten by the Incas. It was known as the mother of grains and its great benefits explain why. It is a good source of plant-based protein and holds all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Quinoa is also high in fiber, iron, manganese, magnesium, and folate, to name a few. If you’re following the trend of going gluten-free then quinoa is a good alternative to wheat, barley, and rye. On top of this, other proven health benefits include helping with blood sugar control as it is a low GI food, and being high in antioxidants, which neutralizes free radical damage and fights ageing – something that most people desire.

The mighty acai berry is known to have more antioxidants than blueberries and can boost the immune system as well as give you clear glowing skin by slowing the damage caused by free radicals. Acai has become somewhat the queen of berries, especially in the beauty industry, and not just because of the benefits it provides to the skin; it can also boost weight loss by suppressing the appetite and controlling blood sugar levels. It can also cleanse your digestive system and help your liver and kidneys remove waste and toxins from the body.

Spirulina may not be as popular as the other superfoods we’ve mentioned, but this blue-green algae is not something new to the scene of superfoods. In fact, it has been around for an estimated 3.5 billion years and is known for its amazing nutritional profile. Various studies have proved that spirulina increases the production of antibodies and other cells to help with immunity and therefore the prevention of certain diseases and illnesses, including cancer. If this wasn’t enough, this freshwater plant also helps to detoxify the body of metals, reduces cholesterol, and lowers blood pressure, too. Spirulina is also high in protein, making it a great option for vegans or vegetarians.

Divan Medical - coconut oil

Check with your telemedical professional to find out which superfoods could benefit your health.

The coconut oil craze has been around for a while and people are still obsessed with this superfood. The reason behind its popularity is due to its many diverse uses. Not only can you consume it by using it as cooking oil, in place of butter in baking recipes, or for your bulletproof coffee, you can also use it externally as a natural alternative for hair and skincare. The surprising benefits of coconut oil include reducing hunger, improving blood cholesterol levels, and killing harmful microorganisms.

There is no doubt that these superfoods can give your health that extra boost. However, it is possible that the dramatic increase in attention and sales of these superfoods are also likely linked to the fact that they are not only marketed as miracle foods, but also as exotic and luxurious – meaning retailers can charge that bit extra. Furthermore, it is not always necessarily the case that the more expensive the fruit, the healthier it is for us, although the nutritional profiles of these superfoods are very impressive. It is worth noting that just like other “domestic” foods, superfoods are not all made equal and checking the source and growing practices is a good idea. Ultimately, the legitimacy of superfoods may be questioned, but if you are curious as to whether they can truly improve your health, the only sure way is to try for yourself.

6 Top Tips to Help You Succeed in Your New Year’s Weight Loss Goals

During the festive season, mince pies are everywhere and the mulled wine is flowing. Everybody loves to indulge over Christmas time, and why not? This is the time of year where we get to eat endless amounts of delicious treats and then relax on the sofa with a few buttons undone without feeling guilty. Once this period is over, people tend to all have the same goal, which is to lose weight. This is not surprising. Many problems come with being overweight, to the point it can be difficult to travel to medical care. In this case, telemedicine can come to the rescue. Telemedicine, where you can access a doctor for advice online through your laptop or phone, is taking off in the U.S. Of course, prevention is better than cure, so the other option is to try to lose weight yourself first. While some are successful, others struggle to fulfil their resolution and revert to old habits. Here, we will list some useful ways to help you get on track and see your weight loss goals to the end.

Preparation is key

As the saying goes, if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail! Stay organized and create a workout plan for yourself so you know what kind of exercises to do and when, or even better, invest in the help of a personal trainer if your wallet allows it. They can give professional advice and help you create a plan while also providing that motivation most of us need.

Divan Medical - healthy food

Diet as well as exercise is important in achieving your weight loss goals.

You are what you eat

Most of us know that nutrition goes hand-in-hand with exercising when it comes to weight loss. You could be sweating it out at the gym for hours a day, but if you’re reaching for the takeaway menu after each session, then it will most likely hinder your ability to shed weight. Moral of the story: you can’t outrun a bad diet. A good idea if you have the time is to do meal preparations. Not only will this save you time and money, it will help you stay on track with your new diet because if you know you already have food ready to eat, you’ll be less tempted to order that pizza.

Stay hydrated

Water not only keeps us alive and hydrated, it’s also great for our metabolism and can help curb cravings. You may have heard before that a lot of the time when we feel hungry, we are in actual fact just thirsty. Furthermore, if you’re working out a lot, it’s important to replenish the fluids lost. Being dehydrated can also affect your exercise performance, so it’s ideal to keep a water bottle at hand before, during, and after your workouts.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

It’s normal to relapse and go back to old ways. This is extremely common, so try not to be so hard on yourself! You may have one bad day where you’ve perhaps missed a gym session or eaten a hamburger instead of a salad. The important thing is to allow yourself a cheat meal at least once a week and have a rest day from working out. Not only will this ensure you stay on track, but having a break from exercising will allow your body and muscles to recover, therefore making your next session more effective. It’s all about balance and moderation.

Divan Medical - measuring stomach

Don’t beat yourself up if you have a weight loss setback – just keep going with your plan!

Spread the word

If you are living with other people, whether it be your family or friends, it could be a good idea to tell them about your goals. This way, you can gain some support and consideration when it comes to meal times and keeping snacks in the house. Who knows, you may also inspire others to join you in leading a healthier lifestyle. If you live with others who are not as health-minded, there’s always the option of using social media and joining support groups with likeminded people who are on the same path.

Drink less or no alcohol

It’s all good and plentiful during the festive period or even just on the weekends, but alcohol is actually foe, not friend, when it comes to weight loss. Alcohol slows down the fat-burning process because, once consumed, it is the first fuel to be burned, and fat has to wait and take a backseat. Not only this, alcohol contains empty calories, meaning there are not many nutritional benefits at all. All this being said, remember that everything in moderation is okay, and having that one glass of wine at the end of the week as part of a cheat meal shouldn’t send all your progress downhill. However, many diet gurus recommend refraining from alcohol altogether when it comes to losing weight, so it is perhaps best to wait until you have reached your goal.

Achieving weight loss goals is no easy task. You may hit plateaus, the struggle will be real, and it may seem like you are making no progress at all. Remember to give yourself credit and record your progress in a diary so you can see how far you’ve come. Having a positive and determined mindset, staying organized, and seeking that extra support where you can will ensure that you will finally reach your News Year’s weight loss goals.

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