Coconut Water with a Conscience
Harmless Harvest Harmless Organic Coconut Water, harvested in rural Thailand, is going beyond Fair Trade to help local communities thrive. The company is certified Fair for Life, which requires fair treatment of people and long-term investment in farming communities, in addition to paying fair prices. It sustainably employs more than 200 farmers and factory workers and provides additional benefits. In the past year, they've provided:
- 386 school uniforms, which are required for school attendance, to local schoolchildren
- Mobile health checkups for nearly 1,000 local residents
- More than $39,000 reinvested in rural Thai communities
For more information about Fair for Life certification, visit fairforlife.org.
Senior Moments? Pump Some Iron
Researchers down under have found that weight training twice a week, intense enough to build some muscle, improves mental function in people who are having memory problems. The study, published in the Journal of American Geriatrics, examined people with "mild cognitive impairment," which can be a precursor to dementia. The Australian researchers
compared the effects of computer-based mental exercises, stretching exercises, calisthenics, weight training, and placebo-type activities such as watching nature videos. Only weight training improved mental function.
The number of organic farms in the U.S. reached 14,979 in 2016, which was 1,000 more than two years earlier. And, organic farmland totaled 4.1 million acres, according to The Mercaris Organic Acreage Report.
UC II Protects Joints
Weekend warriors, anyone starting an exercise program, and anyone with achy joints might benefit from UC II, a unique form of collagen that calms inflammation and protects joints. Studies have found that UC II reduces pain and stiffness among people with arthritis, and it enhances the ability to exercise in healthy people. One study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, found that after taking 40 mg of UC II daily for four months, healthy people could perform a strenuous stepmill routine for a longer period without experiencing discomfort in their joints.
Astaxanthin Enhances Energy
Feeling a bit worn-down by mid-afternoon? Astaxanthin, a nutrient that gives salmon its pink color, may help. A Japanese study of 39 people, published in the Journal of Clinical Therapeutics & Medicines, found that taking 12 mg of astaxanthin (the amount in 2 kg of salmon) daily for 8 weeks significantly improved both mental and physical energy when facing typical daily challenges. Benefits included better concentration and mood, and less physical stress and fatigue. Saliva tests showed lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. The study tested a natural form of astaxanthin (AstaReal), which comes from algae and is an ingredient in a variety of supplements.
Resveratrol Helps Women with PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) increases risk for diabetes by disrupting insulin function, and raises levels of testosterone, which can impair menstruation and fertility and stimulate growth of facial and body hair. Supplementing with resveratrol, found in red wine, red grapes, peanut butter, and other foods, can help restore hormones to healthier levels, according to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Taking 1,500 mg daily of resveratrol, for 3 months, reduced levels of testosterone by an average of 23 percent and levels of insulin by nearly 32 percent. Researchers believe the supplement works in part by increasing cells' sensitivity to insulin, which improved by an average of 66 percent.
Necessity Inspires Paleo Tortillas
Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo tortillas aren't easy to make, especially if your grandmother's recipe is the gold standard. But that's just what Veronica Garza did after being diagnosed with multiple autoimmune conditions, and discovering that a grain-free, dairy-free diet reduced inflammation and helped relieve achy joints and fatigue.
She experimented with different flours, such as coconut, almond, and cassava, as well as chia seeds and other ingredients, until she created tortillas that even her grandmother loves. And a thriving business was born.
Siete tortillas are available in the refrigerated sections of natural food stores and at sietefoods.com. Choose from Almond Flour, Cassava & Coconut, and Cassava & Chia tortillas.
Drinking more than two sodas daily doubles the risk for type 2 diabetes, according to research published in the European Journal of Endocrinology. Both sugary and artificially sweetened drinks produced equal damage.
Most Popular Supplements
Approximately 7 out of 10 American adults take dietary supplements, according to a survey of more than 2,000 people, age 18 and older, conducted for the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Overall health and wellness is the most popular reason, and energy ranks second. These are the most popular supplements:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- B vitamins
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin E
- Green tea
3 Reasons to Get Enough Sleep
Skimping on sleep is always a bad idea, but especially if you're trying to lose weight, recent studies found. People who didn't sleep enough:
- Ate an extra 385 calories, on average, the next day
- Were more likely to drink sugary, caffeinated beverages (e.g., sodas and energy drinks)
- Experienced changes in gut bacteria that are associated with obesity and diabetes
Get Inspired by Our Experts
Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO
"What do you love most about your life? Look at health as a way to increase your capacity to experience or create that."
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
Chad Larson, NMD, DC
"I know that my health in the future is determined by the decisions I make right now."
Kasra Pournadeali, ND
"We all aspire to do better, but there's no perfection, so we have to be reasonable and kind to our inner child."