The Complex Relationship Between Sleep and Weight

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This blog is guest written by Sheila Johnson at .

Are you struggling with stubborn body fat while suffering from insomnia? Or perhaps you’ve gained a few pounds and aren’t sleeping as well as you used to. It’s easy to write these connections off as coincidence, but there’s a complex relationship between weight and sleep. Not only does your weight affect how well you sleep, but sleep also impacts your ability to maintain a healthy weight. Wild Flowers Grow invites you to read on if you’re ready to get better sleep and lose weight. 

How Weight Affects Sleep (and Vice Versa)

Excess weight is linked to sleep disorders

Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes the airway to become obstructed during sleep. Because sleep apnea reduces sleep quality, it can lead to further weight gain due to sleep quality’s impact on appetite, exercise, and metabolism.

Poor sleep makes you hungrier

Sleep deprivation causes the body to release more appetite-stimulating hormones and suppresses leptin, a hormone that tells your brain when you’re full. If that’s not bad enough, insomniacs are also more likely to reach for high-fat, high-sugar, and high-calorie foods.

Poor sleep makes it harder to exercise

People are less likely to exercise when sleep deprived. Even if you work up the will to hit the gym, workouts tend to be shorter and less intense when you’re not well-rested.

Poor sleep leads to weight gain

There’s also research that suggests poor sleep lowers resting metabolism and increases insulin resistance, two things that make it even harder to lose weight.

These facts are scary, but you can break the cycle of insomnia and weight gain.

How to Sleep Better with Excess Weight

Before you get serious about losing weight, you need to address your poor sleep quality. These are some things you can do to sleep better when you’re carrying extra weight:

Get a supportive mattress

If you’ve gained weight, your old mattress might not be as supportive as it used to be. Many heavier individuals find foam mattresses don’t provide enough support to align their spine, which can lead to back pain and difficulty sleeping. If you’re on the heavier side and tend to toss and turn most nights, switching to a larger size innerspring mattress for more support could be the perfect solution to help you achieve better sleep.

Avoid eating and drinking before bed

Overweight people are more likely to experience acid reflux. To reduce nighttime heartburn, stop eating and drinking three hours before bed. If you’re a side sleeper, sleep on your left side.

Exercise more

Exercise is proven to improve sleep. Vigorous aerobic exercise like running or HIIT is best for sleep, but even moderate-intensity exercise makes a difference. However, avoid intense exercise right before bed. If you’re looking for a nighttime workout, try a mindful yoga routine instead. Better yet, making yoga a regular activity can enhance your ability to feel more relaxed since it’s a great stress reducer. If you need some extra motivation, use discounts to splurge on some new activewear from stores like Nike or Finish Line. 

Talk to your doctor

Sleep apnea and snoring may go away with weight loss, but in the meantime, it’s important to address sleep disorders that leave you waking up groggy. Talk to your doctor about sleep apnea. You may be prescribed a sleep study and a PAP machine.

Weight Loss Tips for Better Sleep (and Health!)

Now that you’re sleeping better, it’s easier to conquer your weight loss goals. There are tons of weight loss tips out there, but these simple tips are at the core of any weight loss plan:

Eat filling foods

Controlling your appetite will be a challenge at first, so avoid empty calories and instead, focus on filling foods like proteins, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.

Find exercise you enjoy

Consistency is the most important thing when it comes to exercise, so find something you can commit to. Again, yoga is fantastic when you’re starting a weight loss journey because it’s low-impact, beginner-friendly, and adaptable to every body.

Focus on the dos, not the don’ts

It’s common to approach weight loss by taking things away — junk food, calories, lazy nights on the sofa. Instead of focusing on what’s off-limits, work on building healthy behaviors. Planning your meals, eating more vegetables, and getting active are positive goals that build you up.

It’s hard to find the motivation to get healthy when you’re not sleeping well. Unfortunately, poor lifestyle habits also make it harder to catch quality rest. If you’re stuck in the cycle of sleep loss and weight gain, use these tips to get your sleep and your health back on track.

Image via Unsplash

This blog is written by Sheila Johnson at . For more info and to contact her directly, head over to her website and see what she has to offer! 

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9 Immune-Boosting Foods

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The topic of immune health is quite popular, especially during times of the year when it feels like we are highly susceptible and don’t have time to get sick.

Getting sick and being sick can feel like your world stops — everything is put on hold. And that is part of why we get so intense about the extra measures taken to NOT get sick in the first place.

*Cue in all the health books, wellness podcasts, and immune boosting products…

Keeping a strong immune system was once thought only important during the cold weathered months when catching a cold or the flu was high. What you may not know is that a strong immune system proves to be important at all times of year and at all stages of life. Getting and being sick is not just about the germs we encounter. It starts way before that and with the rise in sugary drinks and processed, packaged foods dominating the store shelves, protecting your immune system is a key component to long-lasting vitality and health for years to come. 

Did you know?  Taking care of your gut health is key when wanting to boost your immune system — 70% of immune cells are in the digestive tract. We want to keep the gut strong and feed the body the nutrients it needs, all at the same time. 

Here are 9 foods that are power-packed with immune-boosting health benefits:

  1. Dark green leafy vegetables: Naturally low in sugar and high in life-giving chlorophyll, green leafy vegetables give you more sustained energy. They are also high in fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K. Eat a variety of greens such as kale, spinach, mustard greens, dandelion, collard greens, beet greens, swiss chard, just to name a few. 
  2. Vegetables: Vegetables are packed with a variety of immune builders and it pays to eat a variety. They are high in prebiotic fibers which help to nourish the growth of good bacteria that exist naturally in your gut by contributing to an environment that is optimal for good digestive health. Gut health is critical for immune health. Vegetables are also high in Vitamins A, B6, C, K, copper, and polyphenols. Try foods such as broccoli, carrots, brussel sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, kale, onion, root vegetables, and seaweed.
  3. Bright colored fruit and berries: Even though fruit can be high in sugar, they still give your body a healthy dose of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and polyphenols. And, foods like apples, bananas, and berries are loaded with prebiotic fibers. Since fruit can be high in sugar, stick to 1-2 servings of fruit a day. Try noshing on guava, kiwi, currants, or any other fruit that fits your tastebuds. 
  4. Nuts and seeds: These gems are not only loaded with heart-healthy fats, but they are also high in Vitamins B6, E, thiamine, selenium, and zinc. Boost your immune system with almonds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, and pistachios. 
  5. Fish/Seafood: Choosing a high-quality fish or seafood is an excellent source of protein that nourishes the immune system as well as the heart and the brain. These are high in Vitamins B12, D, selenium, phosphorus, and zinc. Make sure to buy wild-caught instead of farm-raised. Try mixing it up with fish, sardines, mackerel, cod liver oil, oysters, salmon, and trout. 
  6. Fermented foods: Like prebiotic fiber, fermented foods are good for gut health. They help to boost the good gut bacteria and create a stronger gut lining, important for a strong immune system. Try foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, fermented and/or cultured foods, etc. 
  7. Bone broth: Bone broth improves your gut health, enabling the immune system cells there to function effectively and prevent pathogens from moving from your digestive tract throughout your body. It also helps to restore the intestinal lining, resulting in improved intestinal functioning.
  8. Herbs and Spices: Busting at the seams with antioxidants, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and/or antiviral properties, herbs and spices are likes the icing on top of the proverbial cake — they boost the power of your food. They are also abundant in Vitamins A, C, B6, E, K, folate, and iron. Try chili, cayenne, tarragon, garlic, turmeric, thyme, basil, bay leaf, curry, oregano, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, etc.
  9. Beans and Lentils: Not only are beans delicious, but they are also rich in fiber to keep things moving along. Eat a serving of beans and you will also get folate, thiamine, and iron. Try aduki beans, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils.

Want to really get the best bang for your eating buck? Eating these foods locally and seasonally will boost your immune system even further. Seasonal foods are at their freshest and most dense in nutrients, giving you the biggest bang for your buck. And the local food benefits? Not only do they support your community and local farmers, but they have less travel time and can be picked when they are at their ripest! 

Are you looking for a quality probiotic to help get your gut health (and ultimately your immune system) in better balance? I use and love Just Thrive probiotic.  If you want to try it, you can get 15% off with the code Tansy15 !

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5 Healthy Fat Tips To Slash Inflammation And Boost Health

Did you know that healthy fats can fight inflammation?
Contrary to the American diet of the 1980s, and even up until a few years ago, eating a low-fat diet can actually cause you more problems than not. But all fats are not created equal!
The Standard American Diet (SAD), or diets that resemble it, is extremely high in the wrong types of fat: highly-saturated fats and refined oils. These types of fats have a negative effect on the inflammatory status of the body. Over time, this way of eating increases free radicals in the body and greatly increases risks of chronic inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Yikes! It’s no surprise that these disorders are on the rise with the influx of processed, unhealthy food options.
Even though it is becoming more en vogue to live a green lifestyle and choose healthier recipes, there is still some great confusion about which fats are healthy options — and decrease inflammation. Here is a breakdown to what fats supports the body, what fats breaks down the body, and what fats you should incorporate more into your diet. Let’s start slashing inflammation!
Just want the 5 tips? Scroll down to get them now…

The Omegas

Omega-3 and omega-6 are both essential fatty acids and are polyunsaturated fats. This means that they can not be produced by the body and need to come from our diet. The way our bodies respond to each is different and produces a massive difference in internal inflammation. 
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital. They help to reduce inflammation and increase your HDL cholesterol. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are two necessary dietary omega-3’s. You can find these abundant in wild caught salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, oysters, and cod liver oil. There are plenty of vegetarian sources for omega-3’s, but they do not contain EPA and DHA. They are abundant in ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) — flaxseeds, chia seeds, avocado, algae, and walnuts.
Omega-6 fatty acids are also important for the body, especially because they also help to produce hormones. They do differ from omega-3’s and that’s important to know. They tend to increase inflammation, cell proliferation, and blood clotting. Eicosanoids, a type of omega-6 increases inflammation— the more of them, the more inflammation you might have. This is why it is so important to consciously eat more omega-3’s. We can easily get omega-6 fatty acids in our diet and if we are not counterbalancing them with foods that are anti-inflammatory, we could have big health problems.

The Good

Monounsaturated fat’s (MUFA) are quite important and considered a key player in healthy fat eating. It helps with weight loss, heart health, insulin control, and decreasing inflammation. One of the best MUFA is cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. It is high in oleocanthal, known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. If you aren’t into olive oil, here are a few other foods that are high in MUFA:
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Olives
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pork
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Eggs
Curious to learn more about MUFA’s? Check out this website.

The Not So Good 

Refined vegetable oils and saturated fat’s are full of eicosanoids and are void of the anti-inflammatory, heart healthy benefits. These are abundant in processed and prepackaged foods and should be reduced or eliminated from your diet.

What about coconut oil? 

Coconut oil gets a bad reputation because of its high amount of saturated fat. Many in the medical field still consider all saturated fats to cause heart disease. But, not all saturated fats are created equal. Coconut oil has been linked to increasing HDL (good cholesterol), weight loss, increasing energy, promoting healthy skin, improving your immune system, and supporting proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Want to know more? Click here.

5 Key Points To Slashing Inflammation 

  1. Add in more omega-3’s to your daily eating plan. Opt for wild caught salmon, sardines, anchovies, or any of the other fish mentioned above. If you don’t do fish, look for hemp seeds, walnuts, avocado, flaxseeds, and chia seeds for more anti-inflammatory properties.
  2. Choose more monounsaturated fats from sources like avocados, nuts (see list above), olives, and eggs.
  3. Replace saturated fats that come from conventional fatty red meat, unskinned poultry, and dairy products; these products are high in saturated fats and have been linked to many inflammatory diseases. When eating these foods, choose pasture raised, organic meats and dairy and eat them in moderation.
  4. Reduce intake of refined polyunsaturated omega-6’s, such as sunflower, safflower, corn and soybean oil.
  5. Just say no to trans fats! These are found in most processed, pre-packaged junk food. You can also see them pop up in products such as margarine, vegetable shortening and any oil that is hydrogenated —partially or otherwise.

The key with boosting your healthy fat intake is to remember that eating fat is vital for a healthy, balanced body — if it is the right kind of fats. And, when choosing the right kind of fats, greatly decreasing inflammation will be a quite the reward. Even though inflammation is a very complex issue and food alone will not completely take care of the issue, it is an essential place to start. The more inflammation in the body, the greater our risk for disease and health complications. Consistently taking your dietary fat makeover one step at a time and building a solid foundation will allow you to quickly see great results!

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5 Heart Healthy Foods You Need To Know

It is said that when the heart aches, the entire body feels the effect.

Maybe whoever said that was referring to the likes of love and emotions – but it also rings true of the physical heart.

A weak ticker makes for a weaker body and a weaker body makes for no energy!

Think back to the last string of days where you didn’t treat your body or your heart so kindly.

Maybe you were on a binge of health depleting foods. Or, maybe you decided that exercise was not worth the time investment.

You probably didn’t feel your best and your energy was waning. There are other factors that could have contributed to low energy levels, but the true of the matter is…the stress on the heart and the lack of healthy nutrients to support it was not helping the cause.


Let’s get real…

The health of your heart is so important!

As the heart beats, it pumps blood through a system of blood vessels (the circulatory system) and it carries oxygen and nutrient to your body’s tissues. It also takes carbon dioxide and waste products away from the tissues and it is vital to sustain life and promote the health of all the body’s tissues.

The heart  pumps oxygenated blood throughout the entire body. On average, this happens in about 1 minute!

Pretty impressive, right?

Since adequate levels of oxygen are vital for energy stores, then having a healthy heart that is circulating the oxygenated blood and ridding the blood of carbon dioxide and waste products is something you want.

Of course it is!

Feeding your body the right foods to help support the heart and to help it do it’s job more efficiently is one of the first steps in boosting your heart health.



Foods that create energy

Here are 5 heart healthy foods that you want to start eating now:

  1. Eat fish that are high in omega-3’s. Think salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout. Fish is a super-duper heart health booster! If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, opt for ground or milled flaxseeds to boost your omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Berries are chock full of heart-health phytonutrients and soluble fiber. Try blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, or raspberries in your smoothies or on your organic yogurts. raspberries-215858_1280
  3. Color matters. Try red, yellow, and orange veggies to boost your carotenoids. Reach for carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and acorn squash. They are also high in fiber and vitamins to support your heart.salad-1224102_1920
  4. Crisp, fresh broccoli florets are loaded with nutrients such as vitamin C and E, potassium, folate, calcium, and fiber. Try dipping them in hummus for a yummy heart-healthy treat!
  5. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, and folate, all which makes for a healthier heart. It is also high in polyunsaturated fats. Eat them unsalted or with sea salt, of course.

Keeping the health of your heart strong is often overlooked.

That is proven by the most recent statistics showing heart disease to continue being the number one cause of death here in the United States.

Number one cause!

So with heart disease being so prevalent and your desire to live a long healthy, vibrant life, taking action to improve your heart health is that important.

And, that easy to get started.

Start with your nutrition!

Are you curious about how to set your day up for less stress on you and your heart? Get my instant download of the “5 Simple Morning Tips To Instantly Create Your Distressed Day” (It’s Free!)


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