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7 Signs You Have a Quality Friendship

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Research backs up what many of us know instinctively: Quality friendships are good for our health. Many studies, including the landmark Nurses’ Health Study, show that social interaction with friends can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol, and an Australian study of older people found that those who had a large network of friends lived much longer than those with the fewest friends.

Take a moment to think about your friends. How many do you have? How many of those do you consider really close friends? Chances are you have fewer than a handful of friends who you would turn to in times of trouble. Now, think about how those friends regard you. How many of them would rely on you in tough times? Because really, that’s the true measure of a quality friendship. When you need them, they are there, and when they need you, you don’t let them down.

Easy Kimchi Recipe for Ultimate Gut Health

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Kimchi is one if those dishes that I'd always been a little wary of.  At first, it was fear of the unknown—I had never had kimchi, but I figured the strong fermented flavor wasn’t for me. Oh, how wrong I was! After I finally caved and gave kimchi a shot, I was instantly hooked. The tang, the spice, the crunch. I couldn't get enough!

If you’re unfamiliar with kimchi, let me explain. Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented food. It usually consists of cabbage, daikon, or radish, all soaked in garlic and spices and allowed to ferment for anywhere from a few days to a few months, until it achieves a unique spicy, sour flavor. Not only is kimchi the perfect complement to just about any Asian-flavored dish, it's also very healthy, particularly for your gut. Kimchi, and fermented foods in general, are full of good bacteria that help to balance out the bacteria in your digestive tract. If you’ve been suffering from indigestion or other gut-related ailments, adding kimchi to your regular diet could help tremendously.

Which Nut Butter is Right for You?

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Whether on toast, atop a banana, or straight out of the jar, nut butters are delicious. But which nut butter is the healthiest? Are some, in fact, bad for us? Does it all depend on who you are or who you ask? Without someone to lay it out for you, things can get a bit, well…nutty! (Sorry, couldn’t help it!)

To simplify things, here’s a primer on the most common nut butters to help you choose the healthiest nut butter for you!

Peanut Butter

Rich in vitamins E and B3 and manganese, peanut butter also contains some powerful antioxidants that may help fight stomach cancer. Plus, it’s high in fiber, helping to keep you feeling full for hours! While peanut butter is rich in protein, it lacks the amino acid lysine, which means you’ll need to eat an additional lysine-rich protein food source to get the most from this nut butter. On the negative side, peanuts are technically legumes (aka a no-no for those on a Paelo diet), and are fast becoming known as “the allergy nut” because of the high incidence of peanut allergies. Keep this in mind if you’re reintroducing peanut butter into your diet.

May I Suggest: A lysine-rich banana goes great with peanut butter, for both taste and nutrition!

What Foods Make Your Hair Grow Faster?

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Hi, I’m Maria Marlowe, a Certified Health Coach and author of Detox without the Deprivation. This is my weekly “Ask Health Coach Maria” series, in which I answer frequently asked questions that relate to health and wellness. Have a question? Ask me here

Hi Maria,

I recently cut my hair short and hate it! Is there anything I can do to make it naturally grow faster? Do those hair and nail pills really work?

-Carla, Kentucky

Carla, we have all been there. A few too many snips of the scissor and it seems as if we’re left with a permanent bad hair day. The one consolation is the knowledge that it grows back.

Normal hair growth is about half an inch per month (give or take), or 6 inches a year. But since diet plays a role in hair growth, you can give this a little nudge by ensuring your hair is growing to it’s maximum potential.

5 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling

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Most of us tend to stray from our normal healthy routine when on a trip, and personally, I’m okay with that.

But when I’m en route to my destination, that’s a different story. On travel days, whenever possible, I try to avoid eating foods that make me feel lethargic, bloated, and overall pretty lackluster—especially right before a flight. 

This is harder than it sounds. It can be difficult to fight the temptation to stop at fast food restaurant in the airport, load up on unhealthy treats to snack on mid-flight, or over-caffeinate to prepare for your action-packed trip. But all it takes is a little planning to avoid these common pitfalls so that you step off the plane feeling refreshed, healthy, and ready to start your adventure.

 Here are 5 healthy travel tips that will make a big difference in how you feel and look the next time you travel:

1. Snack Smarter

The Best Healthy Macaroon Recipe [VIDEO]

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Passover began on Monday, which means that observant Jews are spending this whole week avoiding any sort of food with leavened wheat, rye, barley, spelt, or oats. Matzoh becomes a staple to take the place of bread, but what about when it’s time for dessert? Even the healthiest cake or cookie recipes often contain chamtez, the leavened grains forbidden during Passover. Thankfully, there’s a delicious alternative: macaroons!

Not to be confused with the French confection macarons, macaroons are small, deliciously chewy little cakes, often made with coconut and sometimes dipped in chocolate. They’re incredibly simple to make, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser year-round, whether you’re hosting a Passover meal at your house or don’t have a clue what a Seder is!

In this video, Shana from Wellness Today shares her favorite coconut macaroon recipe. Watch her demonstrate how incredibly simple they are to make, and to see the irresistibly delectable outcome. You’ll want to whip up a batch of your own as soon as the video ends!

Tap the Powerful Health Benefits of Castor Oil—Without Drinking It!

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Castor oil may get a bad rap for its less-than-yummy taste, but it has tons of significant health benefits that mean you shouldn't turn your nose up at it. While it's most widely known as a laxative, its healing properties can be felt in tons of other ways as well. We already covered how castor oil can be used as an effective but delicate natural cleanser for your face, but some of its most powerful benefits are felt beneath the skin. The amazing benefits of castor oil include:

Juicing vs Blending: Find Your Ideal Summertime Green Drink

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Summer is fast approaching, which means many of us are starting to come out of our wintertime hibernation in search of lighter foods and fitness tips that will get us into bikini season shape. Smoothies and juices are nutrition-packed and super energizing, making them both great warm weather additions to your diet. 

Choosing between the two can be tricky, since each has its own undeniable health benefits. Whether you stop by the local juice bar or fire up your blender will depend on your personal preferences and requirements, as well as what you need at any given moment. Next time you’re asking yourself “to blend or to juice?” consider how smoothies and juices stack up against each other across these essential categories:

Troubleshooting Your Paleo Plan

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Are you one of the millions of people who are rocking a Paleo diet these days, yet not seeing any results in your body?  Let’s talk about some of the deeper reasons as to why you’re not making the progress you’d like, and what you can do about it. A number of causes could be at play, but here are some of the most common culprits:

You’re Toxic.  Because we women carry more body fat than men, we make better storage houses for toxins. Fat is where they like to hang out. And the more toxic we are, the more fat we store in an effort to dilute those toxins. Work with a nutritionally-oriented MD to get a workup done if you suspect you’re toxic.

You’re Intolerant.  In simplifying your diet and purging processed carbs from your pantry, you can overexpose yourself to staples like meat, eggs, and fish, and then develop intolerances to those foods. This can cause low levels of inflammation throughout the body, making it difficult to drop body fat. Eggs, nuts, soy, corn, wheat, and dairy are the most common allergens found in food, but make sure you rotate all your proteins, fats, fruits, and vegetables as much as possible to avoid developing intolerances.

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