Healthy Recipe: Magnesium-Rich Smoothie

Last week we discussed the importance of magnesium and shared the staggering statistic that 68% of Americans don’t get enough of this important nutrient. We know that life gets busy and it can be difficult to always plan well-balanced meals that meet all of your nutritional needs, so we’re here to help. This smoothie takes only minutes to prepare and provides a whopping 156 milligrams of magnesium. That’s more than half of your entire needs for the day if you’re a woman, and 40% of your needs if you’re a man.

magnesium smoothie

What You Need:

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (42)
  • ¼ cup spinach (6)
  • One-fourth of a medium avocado (14.5)
  • 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder (unsweetened) (26)
  • ½ medium frozen banana (16)
  • 5 frozen strawberries (10)
  • 1 cup almond milk (15.2)
  • 2 pitted Medjool dates (26)

What To Do:

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. If smoothie is too thick, add more almond milk until you reach your desired consistency.

Magnesium: a Mineral that Could Change Your Life

When you hear the word “magnesium”, what comes to your mind? You may know that it’s a mineral and one that you’re supposed to be eating, but do you know how incredibly important this one nutrient is for good health? If you don’t, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. A lot of people focus on carbohydrates, protein, fat, and calories for good health, but there are lots of other vital players, like magnesium, in the game.

magnesium rich walnuts

What Does Magnesium Do?

Every single organ in your body, but especially your heart, lungs, and muscles, relies on magnesium to work properly. The mineral is involved in other 300 different biochemical reactions that range from converting the food you eat into energy to creating new proteins to making your nervous system work. Magnesium does so much for you and yet, according to research, more than half (68% to be exact) of Americans don’t get the recommended minimum daily requirement. To add insult to injury, around 19% of Americans don’t even consume half the recommended amount. So why is this such a problem?

Risks of Deficiency

As we mentioned earlier, having enough magnesium in your body is essential for allowing your organs to function properly. According to research, adults who don’t get enough are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Low levels of magnesium have also been linked to type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, migraines, asthma, and colon cancer.

Signs of a deficiency can be widespread and non-specific, but the most common include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation/irritability
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia/sleep disorders
  • Hyperventilation
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abnormal heart rhythms

I know this all seems like bad news, but here’s the good part: you can get all the magnesium you need by including magnesium-rich foods in your diet every day. The other good news: one of the magnesium-rich foods is dark chocolate.

Magnesium-Rich Foods

The best way to get enough magnesium in your diet is to make sure that you’re eating a variety of different magnesium-rich foods every day. By varying your food choices, you’re not only making sure your magnesium needs are met, you’re also making sure that you’re getting enough of all the another important vitamins and minerals that you need. The current recommendation is 310-320 milligrams for adult females and 400-420 milligrams for adult males per day.

The following foods are especially rich in magnesium:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Spinach, boiled
  • Swiss chard
  • Dark chocolate (70–85% cocoa)
  • Black beans
  • Quinoa
  • Halibut
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Mackerel
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Avocado
  • Salmon

Magnesium Supplementation

Although it’s always best to try to get all the nutrients you need from food, that can be difficult in today’s world. Fortunately, there are many supplements available over the counter. Magnesium supplements come in several different forms, but the forms your body can absorb most effectively are citrate, gluconate, and lactate. Magnesium supplements are generally safe, but always make sure to discuss any new supplements with your doctor before taking them.

Product of the Month! Pure Encapsulations Liver GI Detox

Are you thinking the same thing we are? Holy moly it’s almost summer! Now before you start to panic, trust us when we say there’s still time to get in shape before we say goodbye to winter and hello to warmer months (and less clothing). And of course, we’re here to help.

As always, our monthly special includes:

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
MetaBlast Supplements
Craveaway Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

And for the special product for March: PURE ENCAPSULATIONS LIVER GI DETOX!

Liver GI

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed above for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200) – and we’ll throw in the Liver GI Detox for FREE!

How Liver GI Detox Can Help Get You Summer Ready

Your liver is one of your body’s major detoxification pathways. It cleans and filters your blood, breaking down substances like ammonia, alcohol, chemicals, medications, and other waste products, so that your body can kick them to the curb.

Your gastrointestinal (or GI) tract is another major detox pathway. It allows you to absorb the good stuff (like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals) and then prepares the waste products for excretion (we won’t go into further detail here, but you can probably guess what we’re talking about).

When either of these detoxification pathways isn’t working properly, toxic waste can build up in your body. Over time, this toxic buildup can make it harder for you to lose weight. The Pure Encapsulations Liver-GI Detox helps make sure both the liver and GI pathways are working well so that your body is properly removing toxins as it should.

The supplement contains N–acetyl–l–cysteine and alpha lipoic acid — two antioxidants that help bind heavy metals and boost the production of glutathione (another antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage). The supplement also contains:

  • Sulforaphane — a compound that comes from broccoli sprouts and helps maintain healthy colon function.
  • Glycine, taurine, and methionine — amino acids that help neutralize toxins.
  • L–Glutamine — an amino acid that helps you absorb nutrients and keeps your intestinal tract healthy.
  • Artichoke extract — promotes healthy flow of bile, supports liver cells and blood flow in the liver, and helps move things along the digestive tract for elimination.
  • Chlorella — a green “superfood” that helps clean and purify the blood.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this special offer and signing up for our monthly special, drop in or call us at either one of our locations to find out more!

North Phoenix: 602-374-3374
Phoenix: 602-441-3305
Tempe: 480-968-5673

5 Morning Habits to Start Your Day Off Right

It’s been said that what you do in the morning sets the tone for your entire day. If that is, indeed, true (and based on our experience, it is), that first hour after waking up is crucial time that’s often spent pretty poorly.

morning wake up
Picture this: your alarm goes off, you hit snooze, and then you roll around in bed for the next 9 minutes counting down the time until the alarm goes off again, all while dreading having to get up for work. By the time you actually peel yourself from your bed, you’ve snoozed three times. Now you don’t even have time for a shower, let alone breakfast, so you run your fingers through your hair, throw on whatever clean outfit is closest to you, and run out the door. You run into a convenience store to grab a quick cup of coffee that you can drink while stuck in morning traffic. By the time you get to work, you’re frazzled because you have 3 minutes to spare. You put in a few hours before taking your lunch break. Since you didn’t have time to prepare a healthy lunch, you hit the pizza shop next door for a sandwich and chips or a couple slices of pizza. We’re not going to run through the rest of the entire day, but you get the point, right?
Now picture this: Your alarm goes off an hour early (because you set it that way), you stretch and then lie still, visualizing three things that you’re grateful for. You get out of bed, without hitting snooze, and sit down on the living room floor where you do some yoga stretches for 15 minutes. After stretching, you make yourself a quick smoothie, set your coffee to brew, and then you hop in the shower. When you get out of the shower, you pour yourself a cup of coffee and sip it while you’re getting dressed. After you get dressed, you prepare yourself the day’s lunch by transferring some leftovers from your healthy dinner the night before into a to-go container. As you drive to work, you sing along to your favorite songs on the radio because you have plenty of time to get to work, even with traffic.
Now which morning sounds better to you? We’re not psychic, but we’d bet that you chose the second morning. It invokes feelings of calm and relaxation, while just reading about the first morning leaves us feeling tense and stressed out.

Changing Your Routine

Changing your morning routine can take some time and practice, especially if you’re not a self-proclaimed “morning person”, but it’s worth the effort. A well thought out morning not only leaves you feeling calmer, it can help balance your hormones and lead to more productivity throughout the day. If your morning looks more like the first one, you may have a long way to go, but focus on making small changes – they’ll add up to big results down the road.

1. Don’t Snooze

We know it’s tempting to hit that snooze button and get that extra nine or 18 or even 27 minutes of sleep, but don’t do it. You may feel like it’s a good thing to get more sleep, but snoozing is actually working against you. According to Robert Rosenberg, the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona, when you hit the snooze button, you’re putting your body into a new sleep cycle that you’re not going to have enough time to finish. In addition to that, the sleep quality is poor, since you’ll only get about nine minutes until you’re jarred awake again. When you wake up, your body needs time to process and set the physiological processes that signal “awake” in motion. Waking up and then going back to sleep for a short time causes sleep inertia – the groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling you get when finally pull yourself from the sheets. Instead of snoozing, go to bed earlier and get up the first time your alarm signals that it’s time.

2. Practice Gratitude

If you lie in bed in the morning thinking “UGH, I don’t want to get out of this warm bed and go to work”, you’re not alone; unfortunately, however, this is doing you a huge disservice. By thinking these negative thoughts first thing in the morning, your setting your nervous system up for tension and stress. Instead, when you wake up, think of three things that you’re grateful for. Better yet, keep a small notebook next to your bed and write them down.

3. Let Those Emails Wait

It’s tempting to immediately check your inbox or Facebook notifications when you first wake up, especially if your alarm is on your phone, but resist the urge. Instead of checking in with the outside world, focus on yourself and easing into the morning. If you’re glued to your phone, keep it outside of the bedroom and get an alarm clock that wakes you up gently, without allowing you to check in on social media.

4. Eat Breakfast Within an Hour of Waking Up

No, coffee doesn’t count. As you may have heard, breakfast can be the most important meal of the day, but many skip it because their morning routine is just too hectic. Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy; but it’s important to get some nutrients in your body after the fast that occurs while you’re sleeping. We like to prepare little smoothie bags in advance, so that breakfast is a breeze. Take a plastic sandwich bag, fill it with berries, a half of a banana, spinach, and a handful of nuts. Place the bag in the freezer. In the morning, empty the contents of the bag into the blender along with some protein powder and coconut milk, and you’re done!

5. Exercise

Before you run off on us (pun intended), give us a chance to explain! We’re not suggesting that you do some form of high impact exercise first thing in the morning, but moving your body after you get out of bed is an important part of starting your day off right. It helps get your metabolism moving and eases any aches or stiffness you might have from the night before. Try 15 minutes of yoga or stretching before jumping into a hot shower.

Healthy Recipe: Crushed Almond Mug Cake

Mug cake has been quite the trending topic, especially in the Paleo world, for some time now; and for good reason. They’re a single serving and they curb your sweet tooth in a way that’s actually good for you. Not to mention the fact that they take about 3 minutes to prepare (including cooking time).

mug cake
Instead of a lot of refined sugar, this mug cake has no calorie stevia and almond and coconut flour, which provide both protein and healthy fats to satsify that sweet tooth while also keeping you full.

What You Need:
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 teaspoon granulated stevia
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon crushed almonds
What to Do:

1. Mix all ingredients together in a microwave-safe mug, making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
2. Microwave on high for 90 seconds or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to sit for one minute before serving.

Seltzer Water and Weight Loss: The Skinny on the Bubbly

There’s this major company that makes seltzer drinks. And let’s just say that every time said company comes out with a new flavor, there’s also a major uproar. We’re talking uproar in a good way. People go nuts; and oftentimes, the new flavors start selling out so fast that they become extremely difficult to find in stores. When this happens, we also start to get a lot of questions about whether or not seltzer drinks are conducive with a weight loss goal. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, so it’s no wonder you’re confused. Some weight loss programs allow seltzer, while others tell you to steer clear, so which is it? Can you drink seltzer water when you’re trying to lose weight?

seltzer water

What is Seltzer Water?

It’s simple really. Seltzer water is plain water that has carbonation added to it. To do this, manufacturers take carbon dioxide gas and add it to the water under pressure. Now this is where it gets a little tricky, so pay attention. Although the terms “seltzer water”, “club soda”, and “tonic water” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.
While seltzer water is simply water and carbon dioxide, club soda generally has sodium and other minerals like potassium bicarbonate or potassium sulfate added to it. Tonic water contains a compound called quinine, which gives it its signature bitter taste, along with sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup.
For the purposes of this article, we are discussing seltzer water only. Club soda comes with its own concerns and tonic water, which as just as much if not more sugar than soda, is completely off limits when trying to lose weight.

Dispelling the Myths

Because seltzer water contains no calories and no sugar, drinking it won’t cause weight gain or stall weight loss; but there is a murky area. As you probably know, carbon dioxide is a gas. When you introduce excess gas into your stomach, what happens? Yes, you guessed it. Bloating. While drinking seltzer water counts toward your daily water intake, unlike flat water, drinking too much can leave you feeling uncomfortably full and bloated. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean actual fat pounds gained, but it’s something to consider when trying to fit into those skinny jeans.
There are also a few other concerns regarding bone and dental health. The pH of seltzer water is around 3 to 4 (flat water falls around a 7), making it slightly acidic. Because of this, there are concerns that regularly drinking seltzer water could destroy the enamel on your teeth, making you more prone to cavities, and prompt your bones to release minerals into the blood to increase the pH of your body. Studies have shown that both of these concerns are unfounded; seltzer water is safe for both your bones and teeth. On the other hand, when combined with sugar, as is the case with tonic and soda, carbonated beverages do have the potential to cause enamel erosion.

Benefits of Seltzer Water

In addition to dispelling these myths about seltzer water, some studies went so far as to research added benefits of drinking the bubbly stuff over flat water. One study found that drinking seltzer water over flat water may help you feel full longer. This can prevent overeating and actually lead to weight loss. In this study, researchers concluded that seltzer water may trigger food to stay in the upper portion of the stomach longer, which translates to feeling full for longer.
Another study found that drinking seltzer water may help alleviate digestive problems like constipation and stomach pain (associated with indigestion).

The Verdict

If you want to add seltzer water to your diet plan, you can do so with peace of mind. The bubbly stuff won’t inhibit weight loss or cause weight gain; and your teeth and bones will remain as healthy as ever. Just make sure that you’re staying away from tonic water or any flavored carbonated drinks that contain added sugar of any kind (we’re looking at you high fructose corn syrup).

Product of the Month! DaVinci Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketones

Love is in the air this February and what better way to celebrate than by showing yourself the love you deserve? Whether you’re just starting with your weight loss goals this month or continuing on with your New Year’s resolutions, our monthly special can help. This February, we’re offering one of our best selling supplements – Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketone – as our FREE product of the month as part of our monthly special.

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed below for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200)!

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins Meal Plans FDA Approved Medications Meta-Blast Supplements Crave-away Supplements Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12 Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

Plus, Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketone ABSOLUTELY FREE!

mangoplex

There is a reason Mango-Plex with Raspberry Ketone is one of the top selling supplements here at Valley Medical. It contains several beneficial ingredients, including African mango seed, green tea, green coffee bean; but the star of the show is the raspberry ketones. Raspberry ketones get a lot of attention for their ability to boost metabolism and support weight loss*, but many people are not entirely sure what they are or how they work. We’re here to clarify.

What Are They?

Raspberry ketones are natural substances that give raspberries their smell. Cranberries, kiwis, and blueberries also contain small amounts of raspberry ketones, but the concentration is highest in raspberries. Some processed foods use raspberry ketones in small amounts as a natural flavor; but weight loss supplements like Mango-Plex contain higher doses.

How Do They Work?

Researchers became interested in raspberry ketones as a weight loss supplement when they noticed that the molecular structure was similar to that of two other substances already known to boost metabolism: capsaicin and synephrine. Because of the similar structures, researchers concluded that raspberry ketones would work in the same way. Then they set out to test that theory.

The Science

Researchers’ suspicions were backed up when a 2010 animal study reported that raspberry ketones can help increase the breakdown of fat and stimulate the release of adiponectin, a hormone that helps boost metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels. In most cases, thinner people have higher adiponectin levels than people who are overweight. On the other hand, low levels of adiponectin are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Summary of Benefits
  • Aids in weight loss by increasing metabolism*
  • Lowers cholesterol levels due to the high fiber content helping to remove bad cholesterol*
  • Improves diabetes control by enhancing metabolic pathways linked to insulin resistance*
  • Regulates blood pressure by affecting the blood vessels*
  • Can have anti-cancer potential*
  • May have antibacterial properties*

If you want to see what Mango-Plex can do for you, take advantage of our February monthly special by visiting any of our locations. No appointment necessary!

DISCLAIMER * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Ashwagandha: Nature’s Stress Reliever

Last week, we discussed adaptogens and how they help your body respond to stress. We got a lot of questions about ashwagandha, a specific type of adaptogen that’s been getting a lot of press recently; so we wanted to dive in a little deeper and give you more information about this important herb.

ashwagandha

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a traditional herb that has been used in Ayurvedic, Indian, and African medicine for centuries. In Sanskrit, the name ashwagandha translates to “the smell of a horse”. Many do say that the herb smells “horse-like”, but don’t let that scare you away. Some refer to Ashwagandha as Indian ginseng, but it doesn’t really belong to the ginseng family; it’s part of the tomato family. The herb is native to Africa, India, and the Middle East, but farmers now also grow it in United States.

Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha’s major claim to fame is its ability to help the body cope with stress, but the benefits reach much further than that. Ashwagandha may also:

  • Boost the immune system*
  • Improve learning and memory*
  • Reduce anxiety and depression*
  • Stabilize blood sugar*
  • Lower cholesterol*
  • Improve energy and decrease fatigue*
  • Improve concentration*
  • Decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation*
How to Include Ashwagandha in Your Diet

The most common way to consume ashwagandha is in capsule form, but it’s also often available as part of multi-vitamin nutritional supplements or protein powders or as a tea. Typically, the recommended dose is 600 to 1,000 milligrams twice per day. The adaptogenic herb is readily available at most health food and supplement stores.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to prevent, cure, treat, or diagnose any medical condition.

Adaptogens: Your Secret Weapon Against Stress

What if we told you that 75 to 90 percent of all doctor’s visits are due to stress-related illnesses? Even worse, what if we told you that stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death?

In recent years, stress has developed into a $1 trillion health epidemic. That’s more expensive than the cost of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. So what can you do? How can you manage stress in an era that seems to glorify the concept of “busy”?

While it’s true that you can’t get rid of stress completely (some stress is actually good), there are many things that you can do to manage it. You probably already know about the big guys — meditation, yoga, and deep breathing, for example — but there’s another player in the game that frequently falls off the radar, and that’s adaptogens.

intramax

What are Adaptogens?

The term adaptogens was first coined by a Russian pharmacologist named Lazarev in 1947. He defined an adaptogen as any agent that helps an organism counteract any physical, chemical, or biological stressor by generating a nonspecific resistance. In simpler terms, an adaptogen is a substance that helps reduce stress levels by acting on the body as a whole.

In addition to helping reduce stress, adaptogens also:

  • increase energy and stamina
  • improve strength and mental focus
  • boost the immune system
  • balance mood
  • support a healthy weight
True Adaptogens

Many herbs are credited with being adaptogens: but in order to be considered a real adaptogen, a substance must meet three criteria:

  1. It must be non-toxic to the person taking it.
  2. It must act on many organs and body systems (rather than just one) and allow the person taking it to better adapt to biological, chemical, and physical stressors.
  3. It must help the body maintain homeostasis (or normal functioning).

Examples of true adaptogens include:

  • American Ginseng root
  • Ashwagandha root
  • Asian Ginseng root
  • Cordyceps
  • Dang Shen root
  • Eleuthero root
  • Holy Basil herb
  • Jiaogulan herb
  • Licorice rhizome
  • Reishi fungus
  • Rhaponticum root
  • Rhodiola root
  • Wu Wei Zi Berries/Seeds
  • Maca Root
  • Astragalus
How to Take Adaptogens

Luckily, many of these adatogens are easily accessible. Some of them are available as teas, while others are added to protein powders or liquid multi-vitamin products. Intramax, which is dubbed the “crown jewel of multi-vitamins” contains a stress management matrix that offers Ashwagandha, licorice, astragalus, and ginseng all in one place.

The best stress management program combines several methods of stress relief and management, but adaptogens should definitely be a part of that puzzle.

Apple Cider Vinegar: 2017’s Hottest New Superfood?

Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly a “superfood”, but the year just started and there’s already been a lot of talk about apple cider vinegar, or ACV, as the regulars are calling it. For years, celebrities like Megan Fox and Miranda Kerr have sworn by ACV as a weight loss aid. Both beauties claim that drinking the vinegar daily is at least in part responsible for their svelte figures. That all sounds promising – and easy enough – but could it be too good to be true? To find out, we did some research on what the experts had to say.

apple cider vinegar

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help you Lose Weight?

The research on whether apple cider vinegar can actually contribute to weight loss is lacking; but one study out of Japan in 2009 found that drinking two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar twice a day with meals helped participants lose four pounds in a period of 12 weeks. Researchers think that this benefit could be attributed to acetic acid, one of the main components in apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid can help speed up metabolism, contributing to weight loss. Another study found that drinking apple cider vinegar may help reduce appetite; however, researchers speculated this may be due to the fact that some participants felt nauseated after taking it. Although the research is promising, it would take more studies to really make a claim about whether apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss.

Other Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

While it may not be a magic potion for weight loss, apple cider vinegar does have plenty of health benefits, so it’s worth including in your daily diet. It’s rich in beta-carotene, calcium, and potassium, as well as probiotics, and enzymes, which contribute to a healthy gut and digestive system. Apple Cider Vinegar is also rich in antioxidants, which help fight off the substances (called free radicals) that contribute to cancer.

Choosing an Apple Cider Vinegar

As with most foods, the apple cider vinegar available for purchase differs. Some is highly processed, which leaves it lacking in the nutrition department. When choosing an apple cider vinegar, it’s best to choose a raw version that has the “mother” intact. The “mother” is a cloudy substance that consists of cellulose and acetic acid. It’s the mother that contains most of the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and enzymes of the vinegar. You’ll be able to spot it right away because the ACV will look cloudy and a bit murky. This is a good thing!

How to Drink It

When drinking apple cider vinegar, it’s best to dilute it in 8 to 10 ounces of water. This makes it easier on the stomach and your tooth enamel, which can respond negatively to the acidity of the vinegar. After drinking the diluted apple cider vinegar, swish warm water in your mouth; and then wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.