Five Foods to Combat Psoriasis Naturally

Fight psoriasis flare-ups with your diet.

Any psoriasis sufferer will tell you that flare-ups of itchy, scaly skin can happen at any time. Triggers for psoriasis flare-ups vary widely, and are often difficult to diagnose or track.

Common psoriasis triggers include infections, dry weather, skin injuries, smoking, alcohol, and stress. While most of these triggers are hard, if not impossible to avoid, you can help counteract them through measures that you can control, such as stress levels and diet.
Everyone’s dietary needs are different so there is no magical cure-all for psoriasis treatment. That being said, changing your diet can have positive effects on your overall health, and your stress levels; two things which are tied to psoriasis flare-ups.
Your best bet to combat psoriasis through your diet is to adopt a plant-based, clean diet with lots of whole foods, including the following:
Fruits and Veggies- Vegetables with a high fiber content tend to be anti-inflammatory. You should also aim for foods that contain antioxidants. Leafy greens, winter squashes, blueberries, radishes, and yellow beets are good examples.
Omega 3-fatty acids- Omega-3’s help to lower inflammation, cholesterol, blood pressure, and stress. So foods like salmon, shellfish, flax seeds, walnuts, and soybeans will help keep your psoriasis in check.

READ MORE: Three Ways to Add More Fiber to Your Diet

Protein- High-quality proteins like eggs, beans, nuts, and wild fish can help reduce inflammation, thereby fighting flare-ups.
Dietary Fats- Unsaturated fats, like the kind the come from avocados, coconut oils, and olive oils can help reduce the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. They can also improve your overall health, and combat psoriasis symptoms.
Vitamin D- Vitamin D is generally considered to be a treatment for psoriasis in topical form, however ingesting it could also help to prevent flare-ups. Foods like eggs, fortified orange juice, and salmon are high in Vitamin D.

Five Foods That Fight Inflammation

We should all do everything we can to combat inflammation.

As you may or may not know, inflammation is the body’s response to injury and infection. Technically inflammation is a good thing because it is part of the natural process of healing. That being said, it can also happen as a result of your diet, sleeping schedule, cortisol levels, and overall lifestyle.

Chronic inflammation can lead to all kinds of illnesses like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

We should do everything we can to fight inflammation naturally, through our diet. Luckily, here are five foods to help you do just that.

Turmeric- Turmeric spices help protect your brain health, and fight certain disease like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. The active ingredient is called curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

READ MORE: How to Drink Your Antioxidants

Dark Chocolate- Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavanols, which protect blood vessels from heart disease and oxidation. The more bitter the dark chocolate, the better, just FYI.

Ginger- Ginger contains 6-shogaol and 6-gingerol, compounds that help reduce obesity-induced inflammation, arthritis, and cognitive decline. 6-shogaol (whole ginger extract) also reduces chronic lung inflammation.

Passion Fruit- Passion fruit contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties such as piceatannol and triterpenoids, which help to lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

Cinnamon- Cinnamon helps to reduce cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels. It can also help reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance.

The moral of the story is, adding these ingredients to your diet may help reduce inflammation and support your overall health. Which is good news, because most of them are pretty delicious!

Does it Matter What Time of Day You Work Out?

The time of day you work out matters more than you think.

It is widely accepted knowledge that people who work out get better sleep. The stress-relieving benefits alone are enough to help you get a better night’s rest, to say nothing of your overall health. That being said, working out right before bed isn’t recommended because the rush of endorphins can keep you awake.

Exercising early in the morning works for many people, but that timeframe is so far away from your bed time that you are unlikely to reap the other benefits of exercise. Exercising in the morning will also train your body to wake up at a certain time, which can be problematic if you don’t get to sleep at the same time every night.

The best time to exercise for sleep is about 5 hours before you hit the bed (after work, for most people). Exercising around this time will release endorphins and give you energy, but you will have plenty of time to burn that energy and eat before bed. You are also more likely to work out harder at the end of the day than at the beginning.

READ MORE: Having Trouble Sleeping? Five All Natural Sleeping Aids

1-2 hours before bed, your body temperature drops slightly as part of the winding down process. Exercising during this timeframe will only make you stay up longer.

Everyone is different, so naturally everyone’s workout window will differ slightly. If you have problems sleeping though, consider rearranging your workouts to the evening, and see if it makes a difference in your sleeping routine and overall health.

How to Jump Back Into a Sport After an Injury

Getting back into a sport after an injury can be a huge mental hurdle.

Any athlete will tell you that injuries are almost impossible to prevent. If you are very into sports, chances are at one point or another you will get an injury, from something as small as a sprained ankle to something more serious like a torn ACL.

Any athlete will also tell you that it’s a lifestyle, and quitting a sport, even after an injury seems almost unthinkable. That being said, there are often huge mental road blocks involved, when getting back into a sport after an injury. Even if you’ve been competing your entire life, your body changes after an injury, and jumping back into a sport often comes with fear and a lack of confidence.

The most important thing is that you face your fear. Even if you will never be as good as you once were, just the simple act of getting back on the field or court will be good for your self-esteem and help replace some of the confidence you may have lost.

READ MORE: Five Foods to Help You Recover from a Sports Injury

I will say that your health is the most important thing. You should only return to your chosen sport if your doctor gives you the green light. You should also be gentle with yourself, so if your injury was very serious, don’t expect that you will be able to just jump back in without any physical or mental obstacles.

Here are five ways to get back into a sport after an injury.

Start Slow- Showing up is half the battle. If you even show up to the field or court, you should consider it a win. If you can do a drill or two, even better. Don’t expect to be back in the game at full force. Being there at all is a victory.

Celebrate Small Victories- Think of an injury as a complete reset. Everything you do to get back into the game, no matter how small should be considered a victory, and celebrated. Confidence needs to be built back slowly, piece by piece.

Mind over Matter- Any athlete can tell you the truth of this. If you just focus on the end goal (which in this case, is just showing up), then any other gains you make are a bonus. It is probably going to hurt a little. However, pain leads to gains, as long as you are being safe and not overdoing it.

Supplement Your Diet- Eating foods with plenty of protein, and drinking lots of fluids will help keep your body running at an optimal level. The idea here is to give your body the best chance it has of healing properly, and easing back into a life of physical fitness.

Consider Physical Therapy- If your injury was serious, chances are physical therapy will be part of the healing process. If it  wasn’t, consider working with a physical therapist anyway, especially if you have mental blocks about getting back on track. Physical therapists will not only keep your body safe, but address the mental issues you may face as well.

The challenges to jumping back into a sport after an injury are both mental and physical. If you address both of these safely, you will be back on the field or court in no time.

Five Foods to Boost Collagen Production Naturally

Collagen is the key ingredient to youthful looking skin.

It should come as a shock to no one that we live in a society obsessed with youth. The entire beauty industry is based on our desire to look younger, and people will go to extreme lengths to maintain and their youthful good looks.

Collagen is a protein that contributes to the youthful elasticity of our skin. As we get older, our bodies produce less and less of this protein, which is why collagen is featured in so many beauty products and supplements.

One of the best ways to supplement your collagen production is through the foods you eat. Your diet is the quickest way to introduce proteins like collagen into your body.

Collagen is created using three amino acids: glycine, lysine, and proline. The following foods contain these compounds, so introducing them into your diet will help support collagen synthesis and keep your skin looking supple and youthful.

Chicken- Chicken is high in protein, and the connective tissue in poultry is a great source of collagen.

Bone Broth- Bone broth contains collagen, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chondroitin, and amino acids. The process of boiling the bones in water extracts the collagen, making it easier to digest.

READ MORE: Five Natural Remedies for Puffy Eyes

Citrus- Getting enough vitamin C is integral to collagen production, and citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are a great source.

Egg Whites- Egg whites are chock full of proline, one of the amino acids that helps with collagen production.

Garlic- Garlic is high in Sulphur, which helps to synthesize collagen and prevent it from breaking down. So basically this is good news for your skin, and bad news for your love life.

If you want to ensure your skin stays youthful, you can also take collagen supplements, although many supplements aren’t approved by the FDA, so its actually safer to get your collagen from your diet.

Should You Become a Plant Parent?

Taking care of plants has been shown to have positive effects on your mental state.

If you’re like me, you coped with the past two years of pandemic by seeking out as many self-care strategies as possible. One of the ways many people practiced self-care during this time was by becoming plant parents.

As an actual parent, I can tell you that taking care of plants is a lot less maintenance than taking care of children. I would also say that it’s probably better for your mental health, since plants can’t disobey you or try your patience.

Studies have shown that becoming a plant parent can have a slew of positive side effects, especially if you suffer from anxiety and/or depression. So if you are thinking about dipping your toes into the waters of plant parenthood, here are six reasons to jump in!

Lowered Anxiety- Just the feeling of being around another living thing has a calming effect on the brain.

Self-Care Reminder- Taking care of your houseplants will remind you to also take care of yourself.

READ MORE: Five Ways to Cope with Loneliness

Mood Booster- Seeing your plants doing well is an automatic mood booster on days when you are feeling low.

Self-Esteem- Even if you aren’t feeling great about yourself, helping your plants thrive will give you a small confidence boost when you need it.

Better Air Quality- Plants help to clean the air in your home, which can also have a positive effect on your mental state.

Improved Memory- Studies show that taking care of plants can increase your memory retention by up to 20%.

An ÖTILLÖ Swimrun 2021 Recap

The ÖTILLÖ Swimrun is a different kind of marathon.

By now you probably know this about me, but when it comes to sports, I like to try out all kinds of different things.

The ÖtillÖ (island-to-island) Swimrun is a marathon that originated in Sweden. For a full breakdown of what it is, read this.

Suffice it to say, the Swimrun involves swimming, and running. You rinse and repeat several times, with the goal of finishing the race. The ÖtillÖ Swimrun is more about camaraderie than competition, so it’s a great thing to do with friends.

I recently participated in the Swimrun held in Greenwich, Connecticut. Together with two of my friends, we ran, then swam, then ran, then swam, until our legs couldn’t take any more abuse.

As you can imagine, we got a lot of stares running around Greenwich, in soaking wetsuits, with squishy shoes. I was wearing my favorite wetsuit by Roka, some minimalistic Nike Frees, and of course, my Garmin watch.

One of the weirdest parts of a Swimrun is that you swim in your shoes, and that is a singular experience all on its own. We also swam through a boat mooring area, and had to dodge buoys and recreational boaters.

READ MORE: Three Best Marathon Recovery Foods

My favorite thing about the ÖtillÖ Swimrun is the bonding. It isn’t like a normal marathon, and all the crazy obstacles make for great memories.

The original ÖtillÖ Swimrun began with a bet between two drunken friends, and was supposed to end at a bar where the loser bought all the drinks. The participants were too tired to drink after the race, and so were we.

It isn’t about the competition, but let’s just say that if we had ended up going out for drinks, I wouldn’t have been the one paying for them!

If you’re looking for adventurous new ways to test your endurance, the ÖtillÖ Swimrun is an excellent option.

Five Foods to Help You Recover from a Sports Injury

The food you eat can help speed up recovery time.

When you’re a lifelong athlete, it’s almost an expectation that at some point you will have to deal with an injury. Sports injuries are part of the package when you are constantly pushing your body to the limit and trying to maintain your physical fitness.

The human body is very resilient, and most of the time it will heal on its own without the need for surgical intervention. However, whether or not surgery is necessary, you can support your body and speed up your healing time with proper nutrition.

Many foods have anti-inflammatory, immunity supporting properties that can help get you back into fighting shape sooner.

READ MORE: Should You Apply Ice or Heat Your Injury?

Here are five foods to eat while recovering from a sports injury:

Eggs- Eggs are high in protein, which helps your muscles repair and rebuild. Eggs also contain vitamins A, B12, zinc, iron, and selenium which help support your immune system and healing process.

Leafy Greens- Kale, arugula, spinach, and other leafy greens help fight inflammation, support immunity, and speed up wound healing. Leafy greens also contain vitamin C, magnesium, folate, manganese, and vitamin A, as well as antioxidants to fight free radicals.

Nuts and Seeds- Walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, and other nuts and seeds are a great source of zinc, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium, which support your body’s immune response and help fight cellular damage.

Fresh Berries- Berries like strawberries and blueberries help create collagen, contain vitamin C, and are full of antioxidants to help with immunity and inflammation.

Salmon- Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B, zinc, iron, and selenium which helps your body heal faster.

Long story short, if you are in recovery from a sports injury, put down the Haagen Dazs and make nutritional choices that support your healing!

7 Things You Should Know About the Mu Variant

The new Covid-19 variant Mu is called a ‘variant of interest’.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently announced a new Covid-19 variant. This is to be expected, as the viruses tend to come with variants.

We have already heard of the Delta variant, and luckily vaccinated people have thus far been able to fight off this variant without too much trouble.

Every new variant brings about a new set of challenges however, and the possibility always exists that a new variant will be resistant to vaccination or treatment.

READ MORE: Watch Me Get the Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine

WHO is referring to Mu as a ‘variant of interest’, so we should definitely keep our eyes on it. Here are seven things we currently know about the Mu variant:

-The Mu Variant was identified for the first time in Colombia, in January 2021.

-Outbreaks of Mu have occurred in South America, the US, the UK, Europe, and Hong Kong.

-According to WHO, Mu has ‘a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape’.

-Currently, Mu makes up less than 0/1% of Covid-19 infections around the world.

-In Colombia, Mu makes up 39% of cases.

-In Ecuador, Mu makes up 13% of cases.

-Variants are always being generated, and the fact that it was first discovered in January and is only now being recognized could be a good sign.

How to Snap Yourself Out of a Mental Funk

You must be mindful of your mental health.

The past five years or so have been a real test for the mental health of all Americans. Between the stress of politics and the pandemic, depression rates have skyrocketed, and mental health has come to the forefront in terms of the public discussion of overall wellness.

The term self-care has also become a much more frequently used term, and people are paying more attention to their emotional and mental state.

All of this is a good outcome of a very bad situation. It is very important to check in with yourself, survey your mental state, and be proactive about mental funks and depressions.

“Going through it” is a phrase I often use because minor depressions are typically temporary, and will go away on their own, given time. The only way to actually get “through it” is to keep going, however. So if you find yourself in a mental funk, here are a few ways you can counteract it, and get back to a good mental space.

Get outdoors- Hiking, biking, walking, or driving outdoors are a few of my favorite ways to relieve the stress of a mental funk. Taking yourself out of your surroundings allows you to process emotions, and reflect on your life from a different vantage point. Being in nature will also activate your gratitude, and you will return to your normal life with a fresh perspective.

READ MORE: Mental Health Benefits of Nature

Laugh- This may sound counter-intuitive since you probably won’t feel like laughing if you are depressed, but sometimes watching a comedy special on Netflix will force your mind into a better place.

Journal- Journaling is by far the best way to self-reflect and process your feelings although it can be hard to get into for some people. My advice is not to think about it too much—just start writing and don’t censor yourself.

Lean into it- Sometimes sitting at home in the dark binge-watching is the best way to get through a depression. Leaning into it, and allowing yourself the space to feel crappy can sometimes be exactly what you need to snap out of it.

Sing- Artistic expression and being creative is one way to channel your depression into something positive. Singing can be especially cathartic, especially on a long drive in the car.