The Goodness of Grains: How These 19 Wholegrain Recipes Benefit Your Health | The Health Sessions

The Goodness of Grains: How These 19 Wholegrain Recipes Benefit Your Health

Grains have gotten a bad reputation over the past decade. Considered the cause for intestinal problems, leaky gut syndrome and brain fog, a growing number of people are choosing to avoid bread, pasta and other grains. Especially gluten are seen as the culprit – although the scientific verdict is still out on whether gluten should be avoided if you don’t suffer from celiac disease.

There’s something to be said for over-consumption of wheat. Wheat’s the grain that forms the base of many foods. You might be thinking you’re eating a varied diet when you’re having granola for breakfast, toast for lunch and pasta for dinner, but they probably all contain wheat.

Also, most grain products on the supermarket shelves – white bread, white rice, flour tortillas, cereal, crackers, pastries – are made from refined grains. Refined grains are stripped of their hull, which contains the fibers and nutrients.

Whole grains in their natural form, on the other hand, contain valuable vitamins and minerals. Thanks to the dietary fiber, whole grains are slowly digested, gradually releasing their energy. What’s more, research also shows that regularly eating whole grains lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure, which decreases your chances of heart disease. The fiber in whole grains may also help improve insulin sensitivity and prevent constipation.

Unless you suffer from certain medical conditions, whole grains can be part of a healthy diet.

To get the most benefits – and shake things up in the kitchen – you could incorporate a wider variety of grains into your diet. Take a look at these 11 whole grains, with 19 delicious sweet and savoury recipes to get you started.  

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11 Natural Ways to 'Detox' Your Body Without Depriving Yourself | The Health Sessions

11 Natural Ways to ‘Detox’ Your Body Without Depriving Yourself

After months of cocooning indoors and indulging in heavy meals, early spring is a great time to get out of hibernation mode and shed your ‘winter coat’. And not just those dead skin cells from the dry winter air – your sluggish digestion and lymph flow can use a boost too.

Over the last few years, detoxing has become a major buzz word. The idea is that our modern world contains so many toxins – in our food and water, cleaning and beauty products, in the air we breathe – that your body doesn’t have enough capacity to fully flush them out. Especially not when your sedentary lifestyle with too much processed foods and too little sleep puts an extra burden on your body’s natural detoxification process.

So these toxins build up over time, clogging up your gut and internal environment, leading to common symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, irritated skin, bloating and digestive problems.

The solution? Doing a detox to cleanse your body. 

Or at least, that’s what the thousands of detox programs and juice cleanses available tell you to do.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with the general concept of detoxing. Yes, your body naturally detoxes every day, but it makes sense to want to optimize that process – especially if you lead a typically Western lifestyle and suffer from (minor) health problems.

But although some people have had specular results from juice cleanses, I don’t think going on a detox is right for everyone.

Most detox programs focus on a variety of juices, sometimes supplemented with raw fruit and vegetables. Even though (veggie) juices contain lots of vitamins and minerals, they don’t pack enough protein, fiber, fat and calories to sustain a person in the long run. That doesn’t have to be a problem when you’re on a health retreat. But if you try following a detox program while balancing work and family, you might feel hangry and tired instead of revitalized.

A ‘3-day detox’ or ‘master cleanse’ also feels like a quick fix for a bigger problem. First we overeat during the holidays and then ‘compensate’ by restricting ourselves. This cycle of binge-eating and fasting might lead to a disordered relationship with food. Of course, a short detox program can also be a great kickstart of a healthier lifestyle. But when you make drastic changes, it’s easy to fall back into your old habits – hello cookie cravings! – as soon as your juice cleanse ends.

So can you support the natural detoxification of your body without depriving yourself? Sure! Take a look at these 11 simple ways.

Read more >11 Natural Ways to ‘Detox’ Your Body Without Depriving Yourself



How to Reset Your Internal Clock | The Health Sessions

10 Natural Ways to Reset Your Internal Clock

You know how you often feel tired and groggy in the afternoon? That’s your internal clock at work.

You might be more in tune with your work schedule than your body rhythm, but all of us are governed by a biological schedule. Circadian rhythm refers to the countless changes your body experiences over a 24-hour period. From your sleep-wake cycle to hormone production and daily fluctuations of alertness, circadian rhythms affect every aspect of your functioning.

The master internal clock that controls the different clocks throughout your body is a group of nerves in the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Each morning, light enters your eyes and travels along the optic nerve to signal to the SCN that it’s time to start the day’s circadian cycle.

For thousands of years, humans organized their days around their biological clock. But now that we are no longer getting up at sunrise, spending our days outdoors and going to bed when it gets dark, our body clocks get disrupted. And this can cause serious troubles. Research has linked disturbed internal clocks to anything from an increased chance at injuries and accidents to chronic health problems like obesity, heart disease and cognitive decline.

Read more >10 Natural Ways to Reset Your Internal Clock



11 Smart Food Combinations to Maximize Your Nutrient Absorption | The Health Sessions

11 Smart Food Combinations to Absorb More Nutrients

You know you should eat a wide variety of colorful foods to get all the vitamins and minerals you need to function well. But simply consuming these nutrients isn’t enough – your body has to absorb them first.

The percentage of vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients that makes it into your bloodstream after ingestion is called bioavailability. The bioavailability of nutrients is influenced by how you cook your food, your biological makeup and how you plan your menu.

Your menu? Yes. Because when you add certain ingredients together, that combination maximizes your body’s ability to absorb the available nutrients. Take a look at how you can get the most nutritional value out of your meals by making smart food combinations.

Read more >11 Smart Food Combinations to Absorb More Nutrients



9 Coffee Alternatives to Try If You're Cutting Back on Caffeine | The Health Sessions

9 Coffee Alternatives to Try If You’re Cutting Back on Caffeine

Does drinking (too much) coffee make you jittery, anxious or makes it harder to fall asleep? You’re not alone.

There’s a lot of conflicting evidence about coffee. Some research states that a moderate caffeine consumption may actually be good for you, while other studies found adverse side-effects of excess caffeine, like insomnia, anxiety and heart palpations.

One of the explanations for these mixed results may lie in your genes. Thanks to genetic variations, some people produce a less active version of the enzyme responsible for metabolizing caffeine than others. If that’s the case, caffeine will stay in your body and brain for a longer period of time. As a result, the physiological effects of caffeine will be more pronounced. That’s why slow-metabolizers experience are more sensitive to consuming caffeine than fast-metabolizers.

And of course, things like your liver health, use of oral contraceptives or being pregnant also play a role in caffeine sensitivity. 

Whatever your reasons for wanting to cut back on caffeine, you can still wake up to a warming, energizing drink. Try these 9 coffee alternatives to start your day off with a bang. 

Read more >9 Coffee Alternatives to Try If You’re Cutting Back on Caffeine