Vivoo pH Box

Vivoo’s pH box measures urine’s acidity and alkalinity level, which is an indicator of dietary acid–base load as well as fruit, vegetable, and meat intakes.

What is pH?

pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of water-based fluid. Although blood pH is usually maintained in a tight range between 7.35 and 7.45, every fluid in the body has a unique pH range. The stomach has the highest acidity (pH of 1.35 to 3.5) to aid in digestion and protect against opportunistic microbial organisms. The skin and the vagina are quite acidic as well (pH 4–6.5) to provide an acid mantle as a protective barrier to the environment against microbial overgrowth. Saliva normally has a pH range of 6.2-7.6, which prevents bad bacteria from growing and neutralizes acids in foods. Maintaining the pH values of different organs is critical for their function and the body’s pH balance. ph box


The human body has an amazing ability to maintain a steady pH in the blood due to very well-designed compensatory mechanisms. Indeed, it is not possible to change blood pH significantly through the diet; excess acidity is continuously removed from the body through the breath and urine to balance pH. However, even a slight increase or decrease in blood pH can be dangerous. 

Urine also has a unique pH range. The normal range for urine pH is between 4.5 and 8. A neutral pH is 7 with any number below that considered acidic. A urine pH above 7 is alkaline. The kidneys help keep the blood pH by filtering acids and alkaline compounds from the blood and releasing them into the urine.

Why Urine pH is Important? 

Urine pH carries valuable information about how your diet is affecting your body and how effectively your kidneys are working. 

In general, diet is the major factor that determines the pH. However, certain drugs and diseases can also have an effect.

Although more precise methods exist for the measurement of acid-base balance, urine pH is a reflection of this balance. In other words, the dietary acid-base load which is calculated from the acidity and alkalinity of foods consumed affects urine pH. Generally, a more alkaline diet (low dietary acid load), with a high fruit and vegetable intake and lower consumption of meat, is associated with a more alkaline pH. On the other hand, the high consumption of protein-containing foods, such as meats, cereals, and dairy foods, along with a low fruit and vegetable intake, forms high dietary acid load, thereby, a high acidic pH.

          Vivoo measures your urine pH without the need for comparison with a color scale and tells if your urine is acidic, alkaline or optimal. The advantages of measuring urine pH with Vivoo include convenience, cost, and the ability to test pH at home. What’s more, Vivoo suggests which foods to eat in order to balance your pH and help improve your health.

 

References:

  1. Schwalfenberg G. K. (2012). The alkaline diet: is there evidence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health?. Journal of environmental and public health, 2012, 727630. doi:10.1155/2012/727630
  2. Welch, AA, Mulligan, A, Bingham, SA, & Khaw, KT. (2008); Urine pH is an indicator of dietary acid-base load, fruit and vegetables and meat intakes: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk population study. The British journal of nutrition 99(6):1335-43.
  3. Applegate, C, Mueller, M, & Zuniga, KE. (2017); Influence of Dietary Acid Load on Exercise Performance. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 27(3):213-9.
  4. Remer, T. (2001); Influence of nutrition on acid-base balance–metabolic aspects. European journal of nutrition 40(5):214-20.
  5. Remer, T. (2000); Influence of diet on acid-base balance. Seminars in dialysis 13(4):221-6.
  6. Remer, T, & Manz, F. (1995); Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 95(7):791-7.

Vivoo UTI Box

Vivoo’s UTI box shows the possibility of a Urinary Tract Infection by looking at leukocyte and nitrite parameters in your urine.

What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection where part of the urinary tract is affected by bacteria, most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli).

 

UTIs happen when bacteria enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract. The infection can affect several parts of the urinary tract, but the most common type is a bladder infection (cystitis). Urinary tract infections can easily be detected by urine tests. Urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection in the human body. UTIs occur more often in women but can affect men, too.

They cause more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers and affect more than 150 million people worldwide every year. Women have a 50% risk of UTIs over their lifetime. Among a generally healthy population, the risk of having an uncomplicated UTI is 50 times higher in adult women than in adult men.

 

UTI Symptoms & Risk Factors

There are many factors that can place you at a higher risk of getting a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). These include:UTI

 

  • sexual intercourse
  • poor hygiene
  • gender (being female)
  • kidney stones
  • diabetes
  • a weakened immune system
  • pregnancy
  • a previous UTI

When we look at the symptoms of UTIs, the most common ones may include:

  • a burning sensation when urinating
  • abdominal pain
  • frequent urge to urinate (but little urine comes out)
  • increased urgency of urination
  • fever

 

Whether you feel any of these symptoms or not, using Vivoo strips will help you to easily detect a UTI in the early stages. Then you will receive advice accordingly.

How does Vivoo detect a UTI?

Urine is a key health indicator for many diseases, mainly urinary tract infections (UTI). Normally, urine contains chemicals called nitrates. When bacteria enter the urinary tract, they reproduce rapidly and convert nitrates into a chemical called nitrites. If there are nitrates in urine, it may mean that you have a UTI.

Sometimes urine may contain leukocytes. A leukocyte is a white blood cell (WBC) that is essential for the immune system’s defense against infections. Normally, they do not occur in large numbers in the urine. Higher levels of leukocytes in urine may indicate that your body is trying to fight off an infection somewhere in the urinary tract.

The presence of nitrites and/or leukocytes in the urine usually means that there’s a bacterial infection in the urinary tract. Vivoo strips detect nitrites and leukocytes in urine to measure the possibility of a UTI. Also, if you have any risk of a UTI, the Vivoo application gives you personalized hygiene and nutritional advice to ward off infection.

 

References:
  1. Suskind, A. M., Saigal, C. S., Hanley, J. M., Lai, J., Setodji, C. M., & Clemens, J. Q. (2016). Incidence and Management of Uncomplicated Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in a National Sample of Women in the United States. Urology, 90, 50–55. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2015.11.051
  2. Silverman, J. A., Schreiber, H. L., Hooton, T. M., & Hultgren, S. J. (2013). From Physiology to Pharmacy: Developments in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections. Current Urology Reports, 14(5), 448–456. doi: 10.1007/s11934-013-0354-5
  3. Nosseir, S. B., Lind, L. R., & Winkler, H. A. (2012). Recurrent Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections in Women: A Review. Journal of Womens Health, 21(3), 347–354. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2011.3056
  4. Aydin, A, Ahmed, K, Zaman, I, Khan, MS, & Dasgupta, P. (2015); Recurrent urinary tract infections in women. International urogynecology journal 26(6):795-804.
  5. Flores-Mireles, A. L., Walker, J. N., Caparon, M., & Hultgren, S. J. (2015). Urinary tract infections: epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 13(5), 269–284. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3432
  6. Al-Badr, A., & Al-Shaikh, G. (2013). Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women: A review. Sultan Qaboos University medical journal, 13(3), 359–367.
  7. Urinary tract infection. (2015).
    cdc.gov/getsmart/community/for-patients/common-illnesses/uti.html

 

Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101

Have you heard about the anti-inflammatory diet that has become very popular these days? How can you use this diet? What should you eat, and what should you avoid? Let’s talk about it.

An anti-inflammatory diet consists of foods that reduce inflammatory responses. This diet involves replacing refined foods, sugar, trans fats, and many processed foods with whole, nutrient-rich foods.

This diet also contains increased amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to reduce the number of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules in the body that damage cells and increase the risk of certain diseases. That’s why an anti-inflammatory diet is considered to be healthy. Even if it doesn’t help with your condition, it can lower your chances of having other problems.

What is Inflammation?

Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognizes anything that is foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This often triggers a process called inflammation. If the inflammation becomes chronic, meaning if it lasts for weeks, months, or even years, it can lead to illnesses like cancer, diabetes, obesity and many more.

Certain dietary habits can promote inflammation. High amounts of sugar, refined carbs like white bread and white rice, fried foods and many unhealthy foods may contribute to inflammation.

What Conditions Can an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Help?

When you have chronic inflammation, your body’s inflammatory response can eventually start damaging healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring. An anti-inflammatory diet can help to reduce or even prevent inflammation. This type of anti-inflammatory diet involves eating certain foods and avoiding foods that cause inflammation in order to minimize the symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases. In the long term, an anti-inflammatory diet can help many major diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart diseases, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and Hashimoto’s disease. Additionally, it can help reduce the risk of certain cancers.

According to a study, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet may also be an effective intervention or preventative means of reducing the risks and symptoms of depression.

Foods to Eat

An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
  • Fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries and oranges
  • Whole grains like brown rice and bulgur wheat
  • Spices like turmeric, ginger, and curry

Particular fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and leafy greens, are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols, and studies have associated nuts with reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Foods to Avoid

Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:

  • Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and white pasta
  • Fried foods like French fries and, fried chicken
  • Soda and sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Red meat and processed meat
  • Excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Processed snack foods and desserts

Eating processed and packaged foods that contain trans fats have been shown to promote inflammation and damage the endothelial cells that line your arteries.

Other Helpful Tips

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep
  • Drink green tea, which is high in antioxidants
  • Drink more water

Sample Menu

Here is a one-day sample menu of an anti-inflammatory diet to get you started.

anti-inflammatory diet

Breakfast

2 egg omelet with spinach, cooked with olive oil

1/4 avocado

1 cup of strawberries or raspberries

Green tea or water

Lunch

Grilled salmon

Green salad with olive oil and lemon

anti-inflammatory diet

Snack

1 cup of blueberries or cherries

1 cup of yogurt

10-15 almonds

Dinner

Turmeric chicken, cooked in the oven

Boiled broccoli and cauliflower

Note: The amounts on the sample menu vary from person to person. based on sex, age, weight, height and other factors. Don’t forget that each diet must be personalized.

5 Must-Try Halloween Recipes

Halloween is here!

And while we carve our pumpkins to spook the neighborhood, there are so many pumpkin-inspired sweet and savory recipes that will make us want to bundle up in those comfy sweaters and enjoy the warm flavors of fall. 

Here are 5 of our favorite creations:

1- PUMPKIN SOUP

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Gluten-Free)

With exceptional flavor and creamy texture, this pumpkin soup will warm up your body.

Halloween Soup

Ingredients:

  • 13 cups of pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 13.5 fl oz. coconut milk
  • 30 fl oz. vegetable stock
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the pumpkin in a roasting pan with half the oil, then roast for 30 minutes until golden and tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the remaining oil in a pan with the onion and garlic. Gently cook for 8-10 minutesmins until softened.
  3. Stir in the roasted pumpkin, lemon juice, coconut milk, stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Cool for a few minutes, then blend until smooth with a blender.

 

2- PUMPKIN ALFREDO

(Nutrition profile: Vegetarian)

Super creamy and super simple fall comfort food.

Alfredo for Halloween

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups of fettuccine egg pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Cook the fettuccine according to package directions.
  2. Heat the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant. Add the pumpkin and heavy whipping cream. Simmer until slightly thickened. Add the cheese and stir to combine.
  3. Toss the pasta in the sauce. Top with additional cheese.

 

3- PUMPKIN PANCAKE

(Nutrition profile: Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)

These fluffy, gluten-free pancakes will become your favorite breakfast.

Pancake for Halloween

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter), melted
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ground ginger

Instructions:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, milk, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Beat in the eggs.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
  3. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. With a big spoon, stir just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Do not overmix! Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet/non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Lightly oil the surface of your pan with coconut oil, butter or cooking spray. If you’re using a non-stick electric griddle, you might not need any oil at all.
  5. Once the surface of the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on it, pour ¼ cup of batter onto the pan. Let the pancake cook for about 3 minutes, until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the cake.
  6. Once the underside is lightly golden, flip it with a spatula and cook for another 90 seconds or so, until golden brown on both sides.

 

4- PUMPKIN SPICED LATTE

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Here is a rich flavored pumpkin spiced latte with real pumpkin puree, spices and almond milk.

Pumpkin Spiced Latte for Halloween

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups almond milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups hot brewed espresso or strong brewed dark roast coffee

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except coffee in a large saucepan.
  2. Stir while cooking over medium heat until heated through.
  3. Stir in hot espresso.
  4. Pour into warm mugs. If desired, top with whipped cream and additional nutmeg.

 

5- PUMPKIN COCKTAIL

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Gluten-Free)

It is a delicious cocktail made from dark rum, pumpkin puree and spices.

Pumpkin Cocktail for Halloween


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • 1 big lemon, juiced
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of allspice or cloves
  • 3 ounces dark rum (Myer’s)

Instructions:

  1. Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend well.
  2. Fill two double old fashioned glasses with ice.
  3. Pour the mixture over ice and garnish with a dash of cinnamon.

 

Here is also our 5 Healthy Reasons to Eat Pumpkin at Halloween blog.

Why are Plant-Based Diets on the Rise?

Vegetarianism is one of the most popular diet trends recently and generally describes a diet in which one eliminates meat and meat-derived foods. Vegan and vegetarian products, even whole sections of products, are increasingly easy to find in supermarkets. So what’s the appeal? In fact, there are many reasons people choose to become vegetarians, including personal preferences, ecological problems, religious beliefs, and various diseases (especially cardiovascular diseases).

With any diet, the main goal should be nutritional adequacy. When compared nutritionally, vegetarians consume more carbohydrates, omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, carotenoids, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, and magnesium. However, they consume less protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, zinc, and calcium than non-vegetarians. Therefore, vegetarian diets may offer a few advantages, including lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol caused by animal-based foods.

Vegetarianism to Veganism

It’s not a big jump. A vegan diet involves cutting out all animal-based foods such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, etc. Because of its similarity to vegetarianism, veganism is considered a subclassification of vegetarianism.People choose to be vegan for many of the same reasons they might choose to be vegetarian. Sometimes certain allergies (such as an allergy to egg whites) can also motivate people to go from vegetarianism to veganism. The vegetarian and vegan portion of the world is estimated at 2%. But do they get what they need? Let’s figure it out! Protein is an essential micronutrient for the body’s building, maintenance, and repairing of tissues. Vegetarians can meet their protein needs through a well planned plant-based diet which includes a variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables.

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for cardiovascular health, eye health, and brain development. For vegetarians and vegans, they can be found in several plants. Especially those which contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), such as walnuts, flaxseed oil, hemp seed, and soybeans. Vitamin B12 intake is often low for vegans because it is mainly acquired through animal-based foods. Very low B12 levels can cause anemia or nervous system damage. Unfortunately, deficiency symptoms usually take years to manifest, making this a major problem which is also hard to detect. 

Although plant-based diets have low levels of iodine, it is possible to maintain a healthy level of iodine. Table salt is often fortified with iodine, and vegetables that grow in deep ocean water (such as seaweeds) are high in iodine. In order to maintain a healthy level of iron, vegetarians and vegans should stay away from phytates, calcium, tea, coffee, and cacao, which all decrease iron absorption. Rich plant sources of iron include dark green vegetables, soy products, legumes, whole grains, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and unrefined molasses. Consuming these foods is key, and adding food high in vitamin C will enhance absorption.

Zinc is important for the immune system and it is not found in large amounts in plant foods. However the richest plant sources are legumes, nuts, seeds, and oatmeal. Calcium can be found in dark green vegetables, beans, tofu, tahini, sesame seeds, almonds, figs, seaweeds, unrefined molasses, and fortified soy milk. Keep in mind that phytates and oxalates, which are mainly found in plant foods, can inhibit calcium absorption.

Low vitamin D blood levels and bone density may be major problems for vegetarians and vegans. This is because vitamin D is necessary for regularizing calcium metabolism. Nutritional requirements are different for every single person. If any person, whether vegetarian or vegan or omnivorous, has a nutritional deficiency, they should seek the advice of a dietitian and/or doctor in order to meet their dietary needs.

Nutrition in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very important time for a woman. The feeling of a new beating heart inside her body and experiencing the change of her body day by day is definitely amazing. Every pregnancy experience is like a fingerprint, even for the same woman, from one pregnancy to the next. The symptoms range from being temporary and mild within the period of the first few months, or a mother’s discomfort may continue up to birth. Managing the symptoms and sustaining health is mostly related to getting enough nutrition support.

Pregnant women also feel some aversions and cravings for special foods. Chocolate, starch, potatoes, pizza and spicy foods are some more commonly craved foods for pregnant women. Some pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting. When she is dealing with these early symptoms, an expectant mother can eat a small piece of ginger to help to stop nausea. Also, eating dry, salty things or eating before getting out of bed in the mornings can also help in dealing with morning nausea. During the first months of pregnancy, as a result of changes in her hormone balance, women may encounter some appetite problems, like feeling irritation with the odors of cooked foods, like red meat. This can affect the consumption of red meat negatively, and iron deficiency may occur. 

In pregnancy, the body needs additional energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It does not mean “eat for two”, and while her nutritional requirements may vary, it should not be that much. Poor eating habits affects a baby’s development negatively, and as a result of not getting enough nutrition, a baby may encounter birth anomaly. Additionally, excess weight gain is also a huge health risk for both mother and baby. The mother may develop gestational diabetes because of excess calorie intake. This condition threatens the baby’s growth. It may also cause growth retardation, congenital anomalies, and premature birth. Most pregnant women are concerned about their weight gain during pregnancy, and their concern is never getting back to their pre-pregnancy body. Recently, the ketogenic diet has been a very popular diet, which is mostly used for weight loss. In pregnancy, trying to lose weight is an unhealthy approach because growing a body needs extra energy for the second and third trimester. The weight gain should be between 20-40 pounds up to the delivery, depending on the weight of the mother before pregnancy. If a woman is very overweight, her doctor may want her to lose weight before planning a pregnancy. 

Nutritional needs also change in the pregnancy period. When we consider the development of bones, mother should consume dairy products, which provides important minerals, like calcium and phosphorus. Dairy products also contain vitamin B and zinc, which is very crucial for the mental development of the baby. Some fermented dairy products like Greek yogurt or kefir are excellent sources of probiotics, which have regulatory functions on the digestive system. Iron is used by your body to make a substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen to your organs and tissues. During pregnancy, women need more iron than she did before pregnancy. This extra iron helps the pregnant woman’s body make more blood to supply oxygen to the baby. Not having enough iron is called iron deficiency anemia. Anemia increases the risk of certain problems, including preterm delivery and having a low-birth-weight baby.

Red meat and poultry are very good sources of protein, iron, and choline. Eating foods rich in vitamin C, like oranges, bell peppers, and berries increases the absorption of iron from meals. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein, iron, and zinc. Egg protein is a high quality protein, which means all of it is useable for making body proteins. It includes choline, which is very important for the body and the baby’s brain and nervous system development. Insufficient choline intake during pregnancy may increase the risk of neural tube defects. A single whole egg contains roughly 113 mg of choline, which is about 25% of the RDI for pregnant women (450 mg). 

Carbohydrates must be a main source of energy in a pregnant woman’s diet. Before it is metabolized by cells, it’s broken down into simple sugars, like glucose, which pass easily across the placenta and provide energy to feed growing the baby during pregnancy. Low carb diets, like ketogenic diets, are detrimental  because the fetal brain requires glucose for function and development. Forcing the developing brain to convert to a ketone energy supply has potential adverse effects. The ketogenic diet is mostly a fat based diet, which means at least 90% of dietary intake is fat. When babies are growing, they need macros differently. They need 55-60% carbs, 12-15% protein, and 25-30% fat. Ketogenic diets are very restrictive diets in which you can not eat enough fruits and vegetables, which is very important for a healthy baby.

Mice studies showed that low carb diets in pregnancy were associated with preterm birth and low birth weight. These diets also negatively affects development of organs, which causes cardiovascular diseases later in life of the fetus. Around a third of daily food intake should be starchy carbohydrates. Oat, whole wheat breads, rice, maize, breakfast cereals should be chosen instead of refined carbohydrates (white) such as pasta and noodles. Women should consume high fiber foods, like whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice.

When we think about the mental development of the baby, omega 3 fatty acids are very essential. The mother should consume two portions of fish a week with one portion being oily fish like salmon, sardines, or mackerel.  Some types of fish are harmful for pregnant women, like shark, swordfish, and marlin. These fishes may contain higher amounts of mercury, which is very harmful for brain and nervous system development. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that pregnant women eat 340 grams of a variety of seafood lower in mercury a week. That’s about two servings. Also, when a woman is planning a pregnancy, she should avoid consuming these fish more than two times a week. It can accumulate in tissues. Legumes are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and folate. Folate vitamin B9 is an essential nutrient which is required for DNA replication and as a substrate for a range of enzymatic reactions in amino acid synthesis and vitamin metabolism. During pregnancy, demands for folate increased because it’s also required for development of the baby. Folate deficiency is associated with abnormalities in both mother (Anemia, neuropathy) and fetuses (congenital abnormalities, like neural tube defects in the spine or in the brain).

Moms should be aware of the importance of folate supplementation in the first months of pregnancy and before pregnancy. Pregnant women need at least 600 micrograms of folate. Nuts, dark leafy vegetables, and eggs are good sources of folate. WHO (World Health Organization) recommends daily oral iron and folic acid supplementation with 30 mg to 60 mg of elemental iron and 400 µg (0.4 mg) folic acid for pregnant women to prevent maternal anemia, puerperal sepsis, low birth weight, and preterm birth.

 One of the most common problems for a pregnant women is constipation. Due to changing hormone levels in early pregnancy, intestinal movement slows down the movement of stool through the bowel. Mother should increase her fiber consumption, which mostly comes from leafy vegetables and fruits. Five portions of fruits and vegetables are recommended for them, with at least 2 portions of vegetables and 3 portions of fruit. Drinking enough water and increasing liquid consumption is another solution for constipation.  

In summary, pregnant women should be aware of her healthy nutrition pattern during pregnancy. Poor nutrition in pregnancy threatens both mother and baby’s health.  Staying active is also important for general health, reducing stress, boosting mood, and sleeping better. Pregnancy exercise class or 20 min walking at a moderate pace may be enough. If you are planning a pregnancy, just focus on healthy nutrition with daily exercise and enjoy the journey! 

What to Do After Cheating on Your Diet

This has happened to all of us… you have been dieting for a while and going to the gym 2-3 times a week, and one night, you ate chocolate, or you drank alcohol at a party, or you ate a hamburger on the weekend, and cheated on your diet. You felt guilty, and you don’t know what to do. First of all, this is a common experience that all dieters have. It doesn’t mean everything you have done is wasted about your diet. That’s why shouldn’t regret that indulgence.

One chocolate, ice cream, or cookie won’t ruin your day. You shouldn’t give yourself permission to erase the whole day. “That’s it, I ate a chocolate, I give up.” Can you imagine doing this in any other situation? “That’s it, I snoozed my alarm and slept 10 minutes more, I won’t go to work at all.” Of course not. When you make a little mistake, you just have to deal as best as you can. That’s exactly how it should be with your diet. You can have a fresh start the next day!

So here are some tips for after a cheat meal or cheat day.

Increase water consumption

Drink at least 2.5-3 liters of water a day. This step is one of the most important things to do after a cheat on your diet. Drinking water will help you lose the water weight you gained.

Drink herbal teas

Green tea, rosemary tea, fennel tea and cherry stem tea will also help you lose water weight. Drink 2-3 cups of herbal teas a day.

Reduce sodium intake

Excess amounts of sodium will also result with edema (fluid retention). That’s why you should try to decrease your sodium intake. Stay away from processed foods, pickles, and broths that are high in sodium.

Cut off carbs

Excessive intake of carbohydrates and sugar will increase water retention. This is one of the main reasons why you weigh more than another day after a cheat meal. That’s why you should reduce white sugar, white rice, white bread and white pasta. Instead of carbohydrate rich foods, eat more protein and fat. For example, a breakfast with eggs and a lunch with chicken salad will be better.

Increase fruit and vegetable intake

Foods like cherries, pineapple, zucchini, apricot, cucumber and parsley that are high in water will help you lose weight easily.

Exercise but do not exaggerate

Exercise is a great idea. After a cheat day, exercising will help you recover easily. Try not to over exercise and burn all the excessive calories you just ate. Stick to your normal exercise routine.

Skip the scale

After a cheat meal you may weigh more than usual. It’s not because you have gained fat, but rather because you’ve gained water weight after you ate foods that are higher in carbs and salt. Don’t forget that this weight is temporary.

The most important thing to remember in this is that there is no one who is unsuccessful, there is only the one who gives up. There can be some bumps on the road to your goal. Only you can achieve your goal if you don’t give up on yourself. So stay positive and focused! Don’t create excuses!

 

Breakfast Eater or Skipper: Here are 5 Quick Breakfast Ideas

Oh, hey there! Are you one of the breakfast eaters or are you a skipper?

Of course, this breakfast should be an ideal (a.k.a healthy) meal, not a poor quality one!

It seems that we are obliged to skip our breakfast meal for reasons like early morning working hours, being stuck in traffic, tough working conditions, or just being unwilling to prepare breakfast.

If we look from the scientific perspective, recent studies show that the ideal breakfast meal should meet 20-35% of our daily energy consumption. It includes adequate macro and micronutrients for better appetite control, feeling more active mentally and physically the rest of the day, higher cognitive performance (which is really important in our work life), good levels of well-being, and generally higher quality of life.

However, I can hear you say, “We, the people who work hard, do not have time for it!” Well, this writing leads you to eat, not to skip, and shows that there is no excuse! 

But how?

Let’s figure it out!

Here are 5 healthy but quick breakfast ideas!

1. Savior: Overnight Oats!

We all know that oats are one of the easiest ways to feed ourselves. It’s not a worldwide traditional food, but it’s becoming trendier day by day.  It’s a savior for us, the people who are working hard, who don’t have enough time for taking care of our health, but have grumbling stomachs!

Let’s see what’s in it:

  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 200 ml milk (If you want lower calories, you can choose skim or semi-skim milk; or if you’re vegan, you can choose plant-based milks, such as coconut milk, almond milk, etc.)
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 2 thin slices of pineapple OR 1 handful of blueberries OR 10 strawberries OR 1 middle-sized apple OR 1/2 banana 
  • 5-6 almonds or hazelnuts, a pinch of coconut flakes or 2 walnuts (chopped)
  • Cinnamon, if desired
  • 1 teaspoon cacao or ground coffee, if you want to be more awake and energetic!

Mix them all in a small jar, and close it up tightly. Put it in the fridge. Your amazingly delicious overnight oats will be ready for the next morning! You can enjoy it at home or at work. Enjoy!

2. To Ketogenic Lovers: Puffy Muffins

Yes, you’ve heard right! Muffins for ketogenic lovers, but muffins made in the ketogenic way. Healthy and quick breakfast options for the ketogenic people may be hard sometimes, but not impossible. 

Here is the recipe;

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1/4 avocado, mashed
  • Greens, such as parsley, green onion, dill, etc., chopped

Mix the eggs well, then add coconut oil and avocado, then stir. Take a muffin pan, spray some oil, or you can use coconut oil instead. Put some chopped greens in the pan, then pour the egg mix into it. Then, put it right into the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Your puffy muffins will be ready. 

Meanwhile, you can get ready for work while it’s cooking!

3. The Trendiest: Smoothie Bowls

Are you looking for fresh and nourishing options at the same time? Or different options other than classic breakfasts? Well, smoothies would be a good fit for you. And quicker! 

Meal prep is always a good idea, therefore put the fruits you like in the freezer the night before. The next morning, take out the fruits, slice them into pieces. Add them in the blender. Blend it until smooth and creamy. Add yogurt or kefir or milk (also vegan milk) and blend again, then pour it to a bowl, and top with healthy snacks. 

Here’s sample smoothie bowl recipe:

  • 1 handful of frozen berries
  • 1/2 frozen ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoon yogurt or 100 ml kefir/milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond/nut flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

The whole process will be done in 5 minutes maximum!

4. Delicious Duo: AvoBread and NutBread 

Are you one of the people who love salty and sweet meals together? Great! Because I have a breakfast option for you all. Remember, there are always healthier ways to feed our body.

For the perfect duo;

  • 2 slices of bread (especially the healthy and full of fiber ones with whole grain or rye or buckwheat etc.)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1,5  teaspoon peanut butter (no added sugar or homemade sugarless ones)
  • 1 egg, hardboiled or cooked in pan
  • 1 teaspoon jam (no added sugar or homemade sugarless ones)
  • A pinch of black seeds, flax seeds, poppy or chia seeds

Mash the avocado, coat one slice of healthy bread. Divide the boiled egg into two, put it on the bread with mashed avo. And then, sprinkle some seed. It’s ready to enjoy!

Second, coat the other slice of healthy bread with peanut butter, then with jam. You can also use fresh fruit instead of jam. If you like, sprinkle some seed on that, too!

With a cup of herbal tea or filtered coffee, it’ll also be the perfect trio!

5. Last, but not least: Healthy Burrito 

Want a tasty burrito? A healthier one? Even at breakfast? Well, why not?

Then, here is your recipe:

  • 1 tortilla with whole grain or rye
  • 3 slices of smoked turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 30 gr cheese
  • A pinch of salt and blackpepper
  • Fresh vegetables, such as bell peppers, tomatoes and greens

Make an omelette with the egg, milk, and cheese. Add some spices into the omelette. After that, take the tortilla, and spread the omelette down the center of the bread. Add the rest of the ingredients above. Fold each opposite side, then roll it up. And done! Enjoy your burrito!

What You Should Eat While on Your Period

The menstrual cycle can be hard. Do you get extremely irritated by things that usually would not bother you? Your hormones are to blame! Our hormones definitely impact our bodies in many different ways. Between the bloating, the cramping, the cravings, and the mood swings, that time of the month is usually not the best week in any woman’s life. Still, you don’t have to let these problems control your life. Lifestyle adjustments can help you reduce or manage the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. To get through your menstrual cycle with much less stress, scroll through to find out the best foods to focus on while you are on your period. As a registered dietitian, I will give you some tricks about which foods to eat and avoid on your period. Here are a few tips to modify your diet!

   1. Satisfy your sweet tooth

Women tend to crave junk food before and during their period due to the fluctuation in hormones. Most women are well aware that processed sweets are not great, but anyone who has experienced a sugar craving before their period will tell you it is tough to make smarter choices. There are options that give us the opportunity to fight sugar cravings. For instance, dark chocolate is a great treat while on your period. Try creating a combination of dark chocolate and almonds! Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and magnesium, which reduces mood swings by regulating serotonin.  Make sure you find the highest percent dark chocolate in the store. The higher the better, because it won’t contain as much sugar.

Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, which can also relieve period cramps. As you know, processed snacks are pumped full of added sugars. Swapping sugar for natural alternatives like dates or prunes would be a great idea for fighting sugar cravings. They are definitely something to consider if you’re looking to swap out anything processed. It is time to get creative, try to add dates or prunes to your diet by creating new recipes at home.

   2. Focus on drinking plenty of water

Sugary, carbonated drinks like soda contribute to bloating. Avoid sparkling water too. Just like soda, the carbonation will increase bloating. Caffeine is also one of the main foods to avoid on your period. When you have caffeine, it increases your bloating discomfort and irritates your uterus, which worsens your cramps. Stick to water instead! Upping your water intake will actually ease bloating. Make sure you keep track of your water consumption throughout the day by using Vivoo. 

    3. Load up calcium

Yogurt is one of the best foods to eat on your period, as it is a good source of calcium. Consuming calcium reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, which can prevent mood swings. You can increase calcium intake by adding yogurt to your diet. Try yogurt parfaits, they are actually a very healthy option for breakfast and snacks. If you are looking for a non-dairy source of calcium, try broccoli or kale instead. Any food that contains calcium can be considered a helpful food for your menstrual cycle. 

   4. Get magnesium boost 

Research shows that magnesium helps relieve PMS symptoms such as headaches and cramps. Whole grains are an excellent source of magnesium, which helps to reduce muscle tension as well as mood swings. Also, bananas and peanuts are one of the best mood-boosting foods, which are rich in potassium and magnesium. Try starting your day with a bowl of whole-wheat breakfast cereals or muesli, then have a light snack with a banana and a handful of peanuts. It’s that easy to increase our magnesium levels, and start feeling better fast!

salmon fish

Salmon fish

    5. Maximize your dietary iron intake

Women’s nutritional needs change during menstruation. Women need more iron than men to make up for the amount of iron they lose in their menstrual period. Around 1 mg of iron is lost for every day of bleeding. The best source of iron is red meat. There are smaller amounts in chicken and fish too. If you don’t consume meat, be sure to choose leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens to replenish your body’s iron supply. 

 

Please share your feedback below about your experience and your choice of food during your period.

Take Vivoo of yourself!

5 Healthy Snacks to Beat Afternoon Cravings at Work

In recent years, everyone has become aware of the benefits of snack meals. They are not only necessary for losing weight, but also essential for feeling good and dealing with long work hours. Most of us feel our energy waning around 3 p.m. or 4 p.m on workdays. But it can be hard to come up with healthy and creative options for snack meals to replenish energy. So if you’re tired of constantly eating walnuts and hazelnuts, check out these 5 healthy snack alternatives which are easy to find and prepare:

1. I don’t have time to prepare anything.

Convenient, pre-packaged foods can be your savior for snack meals, but you should read the labels very carefully because today’s supermarkets are full of unhealthy industrial foods. You should choose snacks without sugar or food preservatives and with at least 3 grams of protein. An energy bar with about 100-400 Kcal (you can choose your snacks’ calorie count based on your current weight and your target weight) is generally the best choice. When you are bored at the office during the afternoon, stay away from the nearest chocolate wafers. Instead, give the coffee and energy bar duo a try. You will observe your work performance by getting better.

healthy snack

  2. It’s really hot out there! Give me some refreshing desserts! 

If you have never tried making ice cream at home you may think that it is tasteless and hard to prepare. Give it a chance; you will see how delicious it is even without sugar! Slice 1 medium-sized banana, put it in a plastic bag, and let it rest in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once the banana slices are frozen, toss them in the blender and add 1 teaspoon of peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of cocoa, and a few hazelnuts.

  3. I’ve been feeling very hungry lately, and the usual snacks just don’t fill me up.

When the usual snacks just don’t cut it, it’s time to seek out an option with more protein, such as a sandwich with spreadable curd cheese and smoked turkey slices on rye or whole-grain bread. You can add some avocado too if you are very hungry. This sandwich contains about 8-10 grams of protein and is a great snack to carry to work in your bag. Have a sparkling mineral soda with it for a refreshing twist; you will not feel hungry until dinner time!

  4. Yogurt + Granola Mix 

Here is another easy option that you can prepare at home or at the office. Mix together a small portion of yogurt (you can have probiotics if you choose) and sugar-free granola. If you prefer, instead of granola you can prepare yourself a portion of muesli mix: 2 tablespoons of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon of raisins, 5-6 raw almonds, and half a teaspoon of cinnamon.

healthy snack

5. Fave Couple: Milk Coffee and Dark Chocolate 

Sometimes you may not feel very hungry during snack time and think that just drinking some coffee is enough. But, it’s easy to be tempted by the little treats that we often eat alongside coffee, such as donuts, pastries, or chocolates. Every now and then we all make excuses such as, “It’s just a small piece, so it’s okay.”Here’s a healthy suggestion: You can have 1-2 small pieces of dark chocolate alongside a cup of coffee with plain, soy, or almond milk. This combination will trigger the happiness hormone (serotonin) thanks to the magnesium in the dark chocolate, but you won’t be consuming the extra fat of other kinds of chocolates or sweets.