Should You Try These Health Trends?
New health trends seem to arise almost constantly, so much so that it can be difficult to even keep track of the latest craze. On top of that, it can be hard to decipher what is actually healthy and beneficial, especially when many of these trends promise everything from weight loss to reducing your cancer risk.
When it comes to health trends, the only thing you can know for sure is that there is widespread confusion in terms of health. One day someone says something is good, and then the next day they say it's bad. Some of the recent trends like juicing, antioxidant supplements and coconut oil, just to name a few, are some of the most popular health habits, at least for now. So, is it just hype, or should you give these trends a try?
Juicing might improve absorption of some plant nutrients, but it also leaves out a lot of fiber and nutrients contained in whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing removes the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables, producing liquid that contains most of the vitamins, minerals and chemicals found in whole fruit. All in all, this can be a helpful way to get more fresh produce into your diet.
But, juicing may not live up to the real thing—whole fruits and vegetables. One of the most valuable nutrients of fresh produce, fiber, is removed during most juicing. On top of that, juicing often removes the peels of fresh produce, which are often rich in antioxidants and vitamins. When juicing, the idea is to drink more concentrated calories, but it may not leave you feeling as full afterward, which can spur on extra eating.
Antioxidants help to prevent and stop the damaging affect free radicals have on cells throughout the body. While we are exposed to environmental free radicals in the environment, like pollution, smoke, even alcohol, our body actually produces them in the form of oxidants as well. Needless to say, antioxidants can provide your body with numerous benefits; however, more and more people are turning to high-dose antioxidant dietary supplements instead of whole fruits and veggies. While these supplements may not hurt an already healthy diet, they certainly don’t provide all the benefits that antioxidant-rich foods do.
- Vitamin A (eggs, milk, butter and liver)
- Vitamin C (citrus fruits, strawberries, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts)
- Vitamin E (nuts (especially almonds and pecans), seeds (especially sunflower), nut oils, kale and spinach)
- Beta-carotene (peas, carrots, apricots, peaches, sweet potatoes, beet greens and kale)
- Lutein (leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, as well as papaya, corn, peas and oranges)
- Lycopene (pink and red fruits and veggies, such as watermelon, tomatoes, pink grapefruit and apricots)
- Selenium (fortified cereals, bread, pasta, legumes, meat, fish, poultry, eggs and cheese)
Coconut oil has quickly become one of the most popular oils that you can use in everything from cooking to skin and hair care, but there is some doubt to its true health benefits—at least when it comes to eating it. Unlike some other healthy oils, like olive and other vegetable oils, it is incredibly high in saturated fat. Many coconut oil advocates support the notion that it contains healthy saturated fat that can help boost HDL (healthy cholesterol), promote weight loss and provide antioxidants, but these benefits are still debatable at best.
On the other hand, coconut oil’s health benefits for skin are apparent. Not only is coconut oil antibacterial and antifungal, it’s able to penetrate skin and hair better than many oils and moisturizers. Because it is so moisturizing and soothing for skin, it can be a useful addition to nearly every beauty ritual from shaving your lets and caring for dry hands, to repairing damaged hair and softening irritated skin.
Navigating Your Health