Red-Hot Wellness Trend: Infrared Saunas

If you follow celebrities like Busy Philipps on Instagram, then you may have already heard about the latest red-hot wellness trend: infrared saunas. Celebs have been posting sweaty selfies from under crimson colored lights to extol the virtues of sitting in the wood-lined rooms. So we asked health and wellness experts to weigh in on why sitting in an infrared sauna can be good for you, and if a visit is worth your sweat equity.

Infrared saunas use the light from infrared rays to warm your body from the inside out. The small room gets hot, but the heat is moderate enough that you can comfortably stay inside the sauna for up to 45 minutes.

The longer you can last, the more you’ll soak up the sauna’s benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, people suffering from issues such as congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis have found infrared saunas to be helpful in their treatments. Another study published by the National Center for Biotechnology found that participants who spent fifteen minutes a day for two weeks in an infrared sauna saw an impressive drop in their blood pressure.

The light-filled sauna can also help with everyday issues, too. According to Katie Kaps, the co-founder of Higher Dose, a boutique sauna spa in New York City, clients visit the sauna to detox, relax and burn calories. “You burn up to 600 calories per session,” she says. “It’s like a workout, without working out.” Skin improvement is also another bonus from regular visits to the sauna. “It increases blood flow and boosts collagen, which leaves you with a healthy glow,” Kaps adds. Many of the saunas also feature chromotherapy therapy, where you can choose a hue based on what outcome you’re hoping to achieve during the session. Red, for example, is said to give you energy; yellow is supposed to inspire creativity.

Businesses like Higher Dose are popping up around the country, and at-home saunas are becoming top sellers at places like Home Depot and Amazon. Kaps says popularity is growing because it’s easy to get hooked on the treatment after one visit. “Most people are amazed at how much better they immediately feel,” she says. “You can go in the sauna feeling crabby or stressed and come out feeling like a new person and ready to take on your day!”

If you want to give it a try, here are some other top infrared “hotspots” worth checking out:

Boston: Cabral Wellness Institite [ http://ift.tt/2qpPVhk

Chicago: Allyu Spa

Dallas: Skin Body Soul

Los Angeles: Shape House

Seattle: City Sweats

 

Kevin Aeh is a New York City-based writer and editor. He has written for Time Out New York, Refinery29, New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, Furthermore from Equinox and more.

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Rhubarb, Beyond Pie

One of the few truly seasonal foods, rhubarb is available now through the summer. Long red and green stalks of rhubarb are often used as a fruit – think pie, jam, and sweet-tart sauces – but it is actually a vegetable.

Rhubarb facts

Perennial rhubarb plants must be subjected to a hard freeze in order to grow and flourish in the spring. Hearty Midwestern and Northern gardeners are rewarded for making it through the winter when rhubarb is one of the first plants – along with asparagus – to emerge from their gardens.

Rhubarb color varies by growing method and variety. At the supermarket in early spring, you may see thin stalks of bright, ruby-red rhubarb, which was probably grown in a hot house and often has a milder flavor. In late spring and summer, when many farmer’s markets open, don’t pass up the fat stalks of dull olive-green with streaks of pink. This heirloom variety rhubarb was probably grown in a garden patch and subjected to outdoor elements, thus giving it a bolder grapefruit-tart taste for which rhubarb is known.

In terms of food history, rhubarb was reportedly used in China as early as 2700 BC as a medicinal herb. According to The Rhubarb Compendium, rhubarb was introduced to America in Maine around 1800 and became popular in just two decades. During the hard times of World War I, some people were encouraged to consume rhubarb leaves because other vegetables were in short supply; unfortunately, a few people perished as rhubarb leaves are poisonous.

The stalks, however contain good nutrition. One-cup of raw rhubarb contains a good amount of vitamin C (almost 10% of the recommended daily value) and fiber (2 grams,) with only 26 calories. And yes, you can eat it raw.

What to do with rhubarb

If your grandmother was from New England or the Midwest (especially Minnesota!) you may have heard tales of how rhubarb pies were so prized, they were used as currency and swapped for services. Today, most would probably agree that a salmon-pink, sweet-tart strawberry rhubarb pie is indeed worth its in weight in gold.

But uses for rhubarb go way beyond pie. Because rhubarb stalks are 95 percent water, they stew down quickly. A pot of chopped rhubarb with only a spoonful of water and a sprinkle of sugar will turn into a jam-like sauce in less than 10 minutes. Take that sauce in a sweet direction by adding more sugar and vanilla extract, then spoon over hearty whole wheat pancakes, waffles, or a Greek yogurt parfait. For a savory sauce, season with ginger, garlic and Chinese five-spice powder to top pork, fatty fish or chicken.

Chopped rhubarb naturally turns jammy when added to cakes, quick breads, and muffins. It can be mixed with raspberries, blueberries, apples and pears and baked into a big dish of cobbler, crisp, slump, bars or bread pudding.  Because rhubarb tastes lemony, it pairs well with citrus and honey. Orange zest is often added to rhubarb compotes. Rhubarb roasted with olive oil, honey and lemon is served as a side. Balsamic rhubarb quick pickles add a splash of color on a platter of charcuterie.

Rhubarb cocktails are trending. Not only does rhubarb syrup lend a pretty pink hue to a glass, but it adds natural acidic flavors to balance libations.

 

Recipes to try

Rhubarb Compote

Crepes with Blueberry Stuffing and Rhubarb Compote

Sauteed Duck Breast with Rhubarb Cherry Sauce

Pork Chops with Rhubarb, Onion and Raisin Chutney

 

Serena Ball, MS, RD is a food writer and registered dietitian nutritionist. She blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com sharing tips and tricks to help families find healthy living shortcuts. Follow her @TspCurry on Twitter and Snapchat.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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Wanted: Feedback on Ways to Measure the Implementation and Use of Interoperability Standards

In our everyday lives standards enable tasks to be completed more efficiently, reduce configuration costs, and add predictability in markets that can help the lower barriers to entry for innovative products. However, experience has shown that just because technology includes “standardized” capabilities they are not necessarily used to their fullest extent nor are they always […]

The post Wanted: Feedback on Ways to Measure the Implementation and Use of Interoperability Standards appeared first on Health IT Buzz.

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The Dietary Perils of Being a Night Owl

Are you a morning person — awake early with the larks and sparrows — or a night person who stays up late with the owls? If you answered the latter, you may make less healthy dietary choices and be at a greater risk for obesity, a new study indicates.

Researchers in Finland who studied the behavior of 1,854 participants between the ages of 25 and 74 determined that, even though morning and night people tended to take in the same amount of calories, the timing of their intake and the kinds of foods they ate differed.

On weekday mornings, night people tended to eat less in general, but consumed more sugary foods than morning people. Meanwhile, in the evenings, late-night types tended to take in more calories overall and especially sugar, fat and saturated fats than morning people.

On weekends, the differences between early risers and late-night types were even more stark – with night people eating more calories overall as well as more sugar and fat. They also ate more frequently and at more irregular hours than morning people. (Hello, late-night snack attacks.)

“Postponed energy and macronutrient intake timing of evening types with unfavorable dietary patterns may put them at higher risk of obesity and metabolic disturbances in the future,” the authors of the study, published in the journal Obesity, concluded.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence indicating that the “timing of meals is very important for our health and all calories are not created equal,” Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, the owner of Nutrition Starring You, LLC, tells Healthy Eats.

“People who eat more in the earlier part of the day and less in the latter part lose more weight and have improved glucose, insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism compared with those who eat the same exact food but in the opposite order,” she says, citing a 2013 study conducted by researchers in Israel.

Skipping meals during the day, when our bodies are most active, and snacking unhealthily at night as we watch TV or surf the web, may affect the way calories are processed or stored. What’s more, we tend to make less healthy food choices at night – chips, ice cream and the like – which in turn may make us less hungry for nutrition-dense breakfast foods, like oatmeal, yogurt, eggs and fruit.

So what’s a night-owl to do? Harris-Pincus generally suggests her clients stop eating at least three or four hours before they hit the sack in order to curtail “mindless” nighttime snacking. Still, she allows, “Each person needs to make choices based on what works for their lifestyle.”

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. Her work has appeared in publications including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Glamour and Marie Claire, as well as Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.

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Must-Try Recipe: Shakshuka

It’s pronounced “shak-shoo-ka” but no matter how you say it, it’s downright scrumptious. Hailing from North African and the Middle East, this spicy tomato-based sauce with poached eggs may also be known as eggs in purgatory. You’ll be shocked how easy it is to prepare this vitamin-rich dish, so get your shakshuka on with these tips and tasty recipes

 

Health perks

Most shakshuka recipes include tomatoes, onions, peppers and. This veggie-heavy one-pot meal is relatively low in calories, but is packed with fiber and inflammation-fighting antioxidants. Canned tomatoes are commonly the star ingredient, which are higher in the antioxidant lycopene than fresh varieties. Eggs add healthy protein to make for a satisfying meal. Experiment with other protein-rich add-ins like beans and small portions of meat to add interest texture and flavor. Some recipes call for hefty doses of salt, so consider swapping in salt-free flavor boosters like spices and fresh herbs.

 

Ways to enjoy

A nutritious and impressive looking batch of shakshuka can be prepared in about 30 minutes using the stove top or a combo of stovetop and oven. For an extra speedy kitchen hack use jarred marinara sauce like number 18 in our “50 Things to Make with Pasta Sauce” guide.

 

Recipes to try

Shakshuka with Chickpeas

Giada’s Eggs in Purgatory

 

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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Sneaky Ways Supermarkets Get You to Spend More

If you’re like most folks who are on a food budget, you head to the supermarket with a list in hand. Oftentimes, however, you end up leaving the store with a cart filled with items that you had no intention on bringing home. Supermarkets are in the business of getting you to spend more, and many folks fall into their trappings. Here are 5 ways to help minimize overspending at the market.

Oversized carts

When you hit the grocery store to purchase a few items and are wheeling around a huge cart, adding a few more items may seem harmless. Those large carts filled with only a few items also makes you feel like you aren’t purchasing enough, playing on your feeling of guilt.

Instead: Use a hand-held basket, or many supermarkets now offer smaller sized carts that offer fewer items.

Hidden staples

How many times have you gone to grab milk and eggs and added just a few more items to your cart? To get to many perishable items on your shopping list, you’ll need to walk through other aisles which tend to be filled with snack foods and sugary beverages.

Instead: When walking through aisles filled with junk-type foods, focus only on what you need to buy. Also, make sure you eat before heading to the supermarket, so you don’t make these types of impulsive buys. Lastly, keep your kids at home if they tend to whine and beg for junk foods when you’re running through those middle aisles (my eldest son was one of those kids).

Variety

I just attended the Natural Food Expo West, where I saw thousands of new healthy food products, and there have never been so many options for exciting new options. With so many new healthy products hitting stores, you can’t help but want to try them all.

Instead: Choose one or two items a week to try. Choose a smaller sized or individual-size bag to start to check if you actually like it.

Healthier items are tougher to reach

Every time I’m looking for low-sodium canned beans they’re in the most obscure places. I can find all the traditionally canned beans (filled with sodium) and as I almost give up, I find the low or no-added sodium cans I’m looking for. Most folks aren’t as patient, and will grab whatever is within reach.

Instead: Take the time to find supermarkets that sell what you are looking for. Once you familiarize yourself with the placement of the healthier items, you’ll have an easy time finding it enabling you to make better choices.

Shelving chaos

How many times do you know exactly where each item is…and then the supermarket moves things around? The Trader Joe’s by me is famous for pulling this trick once or twice a year. This will make you spend more time in the store re-familiarizing yourself with everything, and hopefully have you picking up a few more items too.

Instead: Each time foods move around, take an extra five minutes to familiarize yourself with the new set up.

 

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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4 Surprising Sleep Hacks You Haven’t Heard Before

File this under news you probably could’ve guessed: According to a January study in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the quality of your sleep determines whether or not you’re going to be in a positive or negative mood the next day. It’s not exactly surprising news, but it serves as a good reminder that getting a good night’s sleep is very important to your health. (And, according to The New York Times, a good night’s sleep is the new status symbol.) So while you know that avoiding caffeine and electronics before bedtime will help you catch some quality zzz’s, we asked a handful of sleep experts for their favorite — and most unexpected — sleeping tips:

Focus on staying awake
“I know it sounds counterintuitive,” says Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program and sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm, “but it actually works.” Dr. Kansagra says this technique known as paradoxical intent. “It lessens anxiety, giving your mind a chance to relax enough to fall asleep,” Kansagra says. Science backs this theory up: According to a 2005 study at the University of Glasgow, participants who focused on staying awake had an easier time falling — and staying — asleep than those who focused their efforts on trying to sleep.

Try magnesium spray
Magnesium is one of those vitamins that is known for its sleep-friendly properties. And while it can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds and even dark chocolate, you can also get your fix another way: Via a spray. Magnesium oil is said to be even stronger than when it’s found in food or pill forms. “It helps relax muscles and decrease cortisol levels,” says Martin-Rawls-Meehan, CEO and founder of sleep technology and mattress company Reverie. “A few sprays on the forehead and chest before going to bed really works,” he adds. And because magnesium naturally helps your muscles relax, the oil could also help with those suffering from restless legs syndrome—another cause of sleeplessness.

Separate your sheets
If you sleep with a partner then you know then you’ve probably had to deal a case of stolen covers in the middle of the night. Waking up sheetless can seriously disrupt your sleep, but Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute in North Carolina has a simple solution: Separate your sheets. “Avoid a fight over the blankets by using your own,” he says. “You can have one fitted sheet, but for each side of the bed use your own top sheet and blanket,” he adds. “Simply cover it with a duvet, and no one will see the difference.”

Pour a glass of tart cherry juice
According to Dr. Caroline Apovian, the Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, tart cherry juice is the perfect pre-bedtime drink. “It’s the world’s richest natural source of melatonin,” she says. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and in a recent study, participants who drank tart cherry juice (about 1 ounce of juice concentrate mixed with 7 ounces of water) saw an increase in their melatonin content as well as significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency.

 

Kevin Aeh is a New York City-based writer and editor. He has written for Time Out New York, Refinery29, New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, Furthermore from Equinox and more.

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