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What Are Antioxidants, Why Care About Them?

by Le-Vel 0 Comments
What Are Antioxidants, Why Care About Them?

We’re always hearing about antioxidants these days, usually in reference to the nutrient-rich “superfoods” that contain them. They’re not just another passing fad; there’s legitimate science at work here.

To understand antioxidants, you have to start with free radicals, something we all have and would be better off without. Free radicals are unstable molecules – usually oxygen molecules — with unpaired electrons. They don’t want to remain unpaired, though, so they wander around the body in search of electrons to “steal” from other molecules. When they take electrons from other molecules, those molecules in turn often become damaged themselves and transform into harmful free radicals. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

You’ll find plenty of antioxidant-rich sources in many of the foods you may already eat, but you still may have nutritional gaps that need to be filled.

It’s tough to stay on track with your nutritional goals if you’ve got a busy lifestyle. A good supplement can help you fill in the gaps. The THRIVE 8-Week Experience is formulated with high quality antioxidants, along with plant extracts, vitamins, minerals, probiotics and much more — to provide the nutritional support you need to live life on all cylinders and fight free radicals. In addition, THRIVE Activate, in all three delicious flavors, was designed to, among other benefits, provide your body with support against free radicals.

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Vitamins C and E are both antioxidants, as are the minerals selenium and manganese. You can also find plant compounds, like beta carotene and lycopene, that act like antioxidants. Good food sources of antioxidants, which have been dubbed “superfoods,” include wild blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, dark chocolate, kidney beans, pecans, artichokes, strawberries, raspberries, black beans, Red Delicious apples, Granny Smith apples, russet potatoes, black plums and Gala apples. Several herbs also are high in antioxidants: cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, cilantro, basil, oregano, cocoa and ginger among them.

When free radical production gets out of control, our health suffers. The term oxidative stress describes the state at which the body’s defenses can no longer keep up with the production of free radicals.

What drives up production of free radicals? Several triggers, including:

  • Carcinogens like cigarette smoke, air pollution, water pollution, pesticides, herbicides and asbestos
  • Alcohol
  • Deep-fried food; smoked and barbecued food
  • Fatty foods including meat and cheese
  • Excessive stress
  • Radiation and sunlight
  • Some medications, as they break down in the body

So where do antioxidants enter the picture? They help protect the body from the damage these free radicals cause.

Many of us just don’t get enough antioxidants in our regular diet, and that’s where supplements come in.  With THRIVE and a healthy antioxidant-rich diet, you can get more of the fuel your body needs to fight free radicals.

 

 

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Conquering Belly Bloat

by Le-Vel 0 Comments
Conquering Belly Bloat

We’ve all been there, struggling to zip that zipper or button that button with that full, uncomfortable feeling that a bloated belly can get.  Unfortunately, with what most of us eat on a regular basis and our behaviors, belly bloat is a common, yet annoying and uncomfortable condition. What causes it and how can you get rid of it?

A number of factors can contribute to it, most of which are avoidable:

Salt and fat. Consuming too much sodium can lead to water retention, while too much fat can delay the stomach from emptying. The result: You’ll feel uncomfortably full … and bloated.

Carbonated drinks. Those fizzy drinks, including carbonated water and sodas, cause gas to become trapped in your stomach, leading to belching and bloating.

Eating too fast. A good rule of thumb is to spend 30 minutes per meal. Rushing your meals makes you take in more air. If you’re inhaling your breakfast in the car in five minutes, your waistband may be tight later.

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You’re not drinking enough water. Water is probably the last thing you want when you’re already feeling uncomfortably full. But it’s exactly what you need to keep things moving in there. If you don’t drink enough, your body hangs on to what it has, leading to water retention and bloating.

Lactose intolerance. Dairy products can cause stomach issues in those who have trouble digesting lactose, or milk sugar.

Chronic stress. Anxiety can cause hyperventilation, which causes increased air intake. Over the long term, stress also negatively impacts your hormone balance as well as your digestion. The brain is an amazing organ – in times of stress, the “fight-or-flight” response kicks into high gear, and the brain “re-prioritizes” functions. Digestion moves to the back of the line, and as it slows down, bloating occurs.

So what can you do to put a stop to this irritating condition? Here are a few tips:

Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of three large ones. Your digestive tract will thank you.

Regain your Balance. Thrive Plus Balance is specifically formulated to supply digestive, immune and intestinal function support, improve nutrient absorption, and help you achieve your weight management goals. This powerhouse product also helps reduce toxins and pollutants in your system and increase your body’s naturally generated energy. Use it in conjunction with the Thrive 8-Week Experience for best results.

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Visit the doctor. If bloating seems to occur after you consume milk or carbohydrates, you might consider a trip to the doctor to ensure that lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance/celiac disease isn’t the root of your problems.

Exercise daily. Whether it’s a quick stroll or a full-on exercise class, regular activity keeps you, well, regular.

Belly bloat can make your days very uncomfortable, but they don’t have to be!  Use these tips to reduce bloating and you may start to see and feel the difference.

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Tips for Healthy Habits at Work

by Le-Vel 1 Comment
Tips for Healthy Habits at Work

When you’re sick or stressed, reduced productivity and missed days impact your work.  Americans are busier than ever, and that takes a toll. It’s possible to take control of your well-being, though, when you follow some preventive measures to keep yourself happy and healthy.

Tidy up your workspace daily. Over the years, numerous studies have claimed that your smartphone, desk phone, keyboard and tablet have more germs than a toilet seat. Keep some antibacterial wipes at your desk, and wipe down surfaces daily. A can of disinfectant spray will also help stave off the germs.

Drink lots of water. Keep a large water bottle nearby, and refill it several times a day. Not only will you help keep yourself hydrated, you’ll have to get up to make frequent trips to the bathroom, and a little exercise never hurt anyone.

Get up every 30 to 60 minutes. Working on a big project? Stand up, and move around a bit. Pace around your office if you have one or take a walk around the block.  When you simply get up and stretch, it keeps your body moving.

Go with light lunches and snacks. A workday isn’t the time to load up on pasta or other heavy fare for lunch. Instead, think lean protein, vegetables and fruit. A light snack, eaten during late morning, afternoon or both, can help fuel your body and mind. Aim for between 150 and 200 calories – and follow it with plenty of water.

Keep your energy going all day with the THRIVE 3 Simple Steps.  The 3 step THRIVE Experience is a great way to start your day and keep thriving so you can be productive all day.  Don’t miss these steps every morning.

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Make your workspace a mini gym. Keep light hand weights or bands at your desk, and use them periodically – while you’re brainstorming for a project, for example. It might just inspire a brilliant idea.

Ban the candy bowl. Lots of folks keep bowls of candy on their desks. Sure, a good piece of chocolate helps on a stressful day. Problem is, you’re forming an everyday habit. Make a new one focused more on healthy snacks like fruit or nuts.

Skip the deskside lunch. If you can step away from your desk at lunchtime – you’ll be better off. Your brain needs a break, and in fact, studies have shown that productivity increases among employees who leave their desks at lunchtime. Getting outside is best; spending time in nature reduces anxiety and can stimulate creative thinking. Your lunch hour is also a great time to squeeze in a walk.

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Nothing feels better than getting the blood pumping after sitting in an office chair for a stretch, and movement is sure to get your brain in gear for the remainder of your workday.  For Le-Vel Brand Promoters, Le-Vel’s Cloud Office makes it easy to stay plugged in when you’re on the go, so there’s no need to sit at a desk for lunch.

Walk and talk. Got a one-on-one meeting with a colleague? How about scheduling a walk instead of sitting on the phone? It may just lead to a more productive, relaxed and candid conversation.

Take the stairs. Make it a point to take the stairs any time you have the opportunity – as you’re moving between meetings or leaving in the evenings. Each flight of stairs adds up to one healthy habit.

When it comes to health, an “all or nothing” approach will only set you up to be discouraged. Instead, seek out opportunities throughout your day to make smarter choices. You’ll be happier and healthier for it.

 

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How to Relieve Stress Quickly: 1-Minute Stress Busters

by Le-Vel 0 Comments
How to Relieve Stress Quickly: 1-Minute Stress Busters

Sure, a yoga retreat, beach vacation or spa treatment would be nice to take whenever you start to feel stressed.  But most people have to determine how to relieve stress quickly without those dreamy options.  With a few easy techniques, you can actually learn how to relieve stress quickly and by taking your stress level down a notch or two in just one minute – and without spending a dime. Try these burnout-busting techniques for quick results and you’ll be feeling less stress in no time.

Tips on How to Relieve Stress Quickly

Slow, deep breaths. Breathing from the abdomen can induce the relaxation response, so your heart rate and blood pressure slows, while blood flow increases and muscles relax. You can try deep breathing from your office chair. Put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth. The hand on your abdomen should be moving more than the hand on your chest.

Neck stretches. Clasp your hands behind your head, and gently pull forward. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Or, for a side stretch, let the right arm hang down while you place the left arm on the right side of your head, and pull to the left gently. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Shoulders down. Most of us never notice how high our shoulders are. Simply lowering your shoulders can reduce your tension.

Look out the window. The view outside sure beats the computer screen. Turn your gaze outside, and take a few moments to observe the sights. Shifting your attention provides a momentary distraction from your stress.

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Close your eyes. You may not be able to take a vacation now, but you can travel anytime in your mind. Most of us have a “happy place,” or a destination where we’d happily travel on a moment’s notice if given the opportunity. Visualize that place and all of its sights, smells, sounds and textures.

Change your screensaver. This is particularly effective if you don’t have a window nearby. Whatever kind of scene relaxes you, you can probably find a screensaver that captures it, and some feature rotating images. Take a few moments to enjoy those scenes when you first log on to your computer in the morning, and periodically throughout your day.

Music or nature sounds. For many of us, it’s best to skip the lyrics and stick to instrumental music; lyrics can be distracting and otherwise clutter the mind. Think quiet background music that’s not intrusive. Slow classical music, for example, has been shown to slow the pulse, lower blood pressure and decrease stress hormones.

Quick burst of exercise. While stress reduction often results from slowing down, sometimes getting the heart rate up can also calm us down. Grab a jump rope or run in place for 60 seconds of cardio. The activity will get your endorphins flowing.

Laugh. Recall an occasion that you made you laugh hard, and relive it in your mind. Or find yourself a good cat video. Even a few seconds of laughter can help lighten your mental load.

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Take a moment of gratitude. Gratitude shifts your attention away from negativity, puts life into perspective, and reminds you that life is bigger than a single moment.

Pay someone a genuine compliment. Get out of your own head, and focus on someone else. You may have just made someone’s day in the process.

One more tip on how to relieve stress quickly: Whenever you’re tempted to let stress rule your day, ask yourself whether this will matter one year from now, one week from now, or even tomorrow.  Often daily stressors feel big in the moment, but will not affect us long term.  It’s best to focus on the long game and where your future is headed.

Do you have tips on how to relieve stress quickly?  Comment with your ideas.

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Rest at Night, THRIVE by Day

by Le-Vel 0 Comments
Rest at Night, THRIVE by Day

Good sleep is elusive for a lot of us. Whether you’re not getting a restful night’s sleep, or not sleeping soundly throughout the night, poor sleeping habits can negatively impact your physical and mental health.

Impacts of Poor Rest

When we’re not fully rested, we’re just going through the motions, only able to squeak out the bare minimum of our energy reserves. We’re not able to concentrate, recall information or make sound decisions as easily as we would after a good night’s rest.

Sleepiness has been linked to weight gain, as well. Studies have shown that when people don’t get enough sleep, they have increased levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and decreased levels of leptin, the hormone that triggers the feeling of fullness.

Still, many of us are squeaking by on minimal sleep. Pounding coffee throughout your day will almost assuredly affect your ability to fall asleep later. It’s a vicious circle.

Tips for Better Rest

If you’re ready to get serious about better sleep, take these tried-and-true suggestions into consideration:

Institute bedtime rules. No talking about work or other daytime stresses within an hour of bedtime.

Enjoy a relaxation routine. In keeping with your no-stress-before-bed rule, take the time to wind down before you turn off the light. Wash your face, enjoy a book or listen to relaxing music, for example. Your smartphone and/or tablet should be banned from your bedroom. No scanning the news headlines or venting about the day’s events.

Another smart choice: Try THRIVE Rest, part of Le-Vel’s THRIVE nutritional supplement line. THRIVE Rest is a Sequential Gel Technology product that provides maximum absorption and delivers benefits like stress management, relaxation support, and a calming and restful effect. This dual-action formula helps the body get a restful night’s sleep – so you can wake up refreshed and give life everything you’ve got.

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Don’t let the light in. According to the National Sleep Foundation, exposure to artificial light after dark can send wake-up messages to the brain, suppressing the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, and making it harder not only to fall asleep, but to stay asleep.

Keep it cool. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a room temperature of between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Consider a white noise machine. A passing car or the sound of a neighbor’s dog three doors down can rev up your brain if you’re already wired.

Establish a regular sleep routine.  Most people need 6-8 hours of sleep every night.  Make sure you get to bed and wake up on a regular schedule each day.  If energy is a problem for you, it might be due to nutritional gaps.

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Workout as early in the day as possible. Nighttime exercise is great, but you’ll want to stop at least four hours before bed. During and after your workout, your body’s temperature rises, so you want to give yourself adequate time to cool down before hitting the sheets.

Pay attention to nutrition. We know that heavy meals before bed can interrupt sleep, since the body is working hard to digest food. A light snack of crackers and cheese, or a slice of toast with almond or peanut butter, a cup of whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk, cottage cheese or yogurt with chopped banana and a few walnuts are all great choices. You’re aiming for a few carbs and a bit of protein.

Sleep is an important part of healthy living, just like eating right and exercise.  So make it a priority!  You can learn more about THRIVE Rest on the Le-Vel website.  Sweet dreams, everyone!

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