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Simple hack to curb excess sugar intake

Many people are unaware that sugary foods are not very healthy for our body. Some even go as far as taking more than required sugary foods without realizing how dangerous it could be to their health.

According to a report released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Americans consume an average of 17 teaspoons of added sugar daily while the recommended daily intake is 6 teaspoons for women and about 9 teaspoons for men by the American Heart Association.

Research has shed light on how sugar affects the brain in a way that resembles that of cocaine addiction.  Eating sugar will trigger the release of dopamine, a feel good chemical, which will leave the person wanting more.

Eating too much sugar have been implicated in health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and heart diseases.

Similarly, eating less sugar is responsible for better overall health and improved physical appearance, consistent energy levels and a reduction in the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.

Having seen the effects sugar have on our health, with a simple diet change and lifestyle modification, you can reduce the amount of sugar intake into your body. These changes are explained below.

Eat whole foods that contain natural sugar

Cutting back on added sugar is a good start to a healthy living. Always consider fresh fruits instead of buying beverage with added sugar. You can as well buy plain yoghurt and add fresh berries instead of getting for yourself a flavored yoghurt packed with sugar.

Try a clinical proven lozenge

Sweet defeat, a plant based lozenge has been attributed to helping reduce sugar consumption.

Indulge with dessert, not a sugary snack

Fight your sugar cravings by substituting them with desserts, if a completely sugar free life is not for you. When taken after a meal of lean protein, carbohydrate and healthy fats, desserts won’t have insignificant effect on your blood sugar level.

Consume foods high in minerals

It is advisable to consume those foods which are high in minerals like magnesium, zinc, chromium. These minerals are needed if the body is to perform very well. Their functions include regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels, maintaining a healthy heart and maintaining optimum insulin and glucose levels.

Walk it off

Whenever you feel the urge to take some sugary snack or hit the vending machine to get something sweet, take a walk instead. A simple couple of minutes’ walk is all you need to kill that urge and reduce that cravings for added sugar substances.



Using the right amount of salt

Salt is a very popular condiment. It is almost impossible for anyone to go a day without sprinkling salt in his food. This underscores the important of salt to our lives and we will examine it in detail below.

Health benefit of salt

Most times, doctors advise we cut down on salt consumption in order to lower sodium intake because most of us get too much without trying. While it is good to keep an eye on salt, it wouldn’t be advisable to completely ignore it, as salt plays an important role in how our body functions.

It helps the thyroid function properly

The thyroid plays an important role in metabolism, but for it to function well, the body needs iodine. Iodine is found in many foods including salt. Symptoms of iodine deficiency include constipation, difficulty in thinking and enlarged thyroid.

Keeps the body hydrated

Our body need adequate amount of salt and water to perform very well. Salt helps to maintain a good balance of water and electrolyte and prevent us from dehydration.

Prevent low blood pressure

Sodium, which is a component of salt helps to prevent low blood pressure.

Improves cystic fibroid symptoms

People suffering from cystic fibrosis tend to lose more water than the average person. They need salt in their diet to help them prevent dehydration.

How much salt is okay?

The daily recommended limit for sodium is 2,300mg for adult and children, however, Americans consume about 3,400mg of sodium daily which is clearly above the recommended limit. For those who have diabetes and African Americans, their daily sodium intake is further reduced to about 1,500mg.

Health risks of eating too much salt

Increases water retention

If you eat too much salt, it means more sodium into your body, consequently, there will be sodium build up. Your body would require more water to dilute it because your kidney may not be able to filter excess sodium from your bloodstream. This will lead to water retention.

Damages cardiovascular health

Too much salt in your body may lead to heart diseases and stroke because the retained excess water in your body would put pressure on your heart and blood vessel.

Higher risk of osteoporosis

Consuming too much salt will cause your body to lose calcium through urination. Unfortunately, if your body is lacking calcium, your body will take it from your bones and this consequently over time, lead to osteoporosis.



Things You Should Know About Nuts

Everyone loves nuts, Paleo dieters eat lots of them, but almost none of us know why we eat them so here are the most surprising facts about this wonderful snack.

The best Nut of All Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are high in fibre, magnesium and selenium which wards of prostate cancer. One ounce of brazil nuts provides more than 700% of the daily selenium our bodies need, which means only a few offers all the nutritional properties. In general, everyone takes it that Brazilian nuts come from Brazil, although it comes from the northern region of Bolivia.

Peanuts

Peanuts are legumes and not nuts, these are highly allergenic, and several people are extremely sensitive to them. During the last fifteen years, the number of humans allergic to peanuts have tripled, which indicates that the problem is now going away. The most toxic mycotoxin in peanuts are Aflatoxin B1 present in cooking oils and peanut butter, and this is the main reason why those full-on the Paleo lifestyle avoid peanuts completely.

Cashew Nuts

The shells of cashew nuts are dangerous and even if you never thought of cashews as hazardous their shells contain urushiol. This toxic is the same as found in poison ivy and therefore all the cashew nuts available are steamed and processed.

Pistachios

What most finds hard to believe is the fact that pistachios are not nuts but fruits, these are a seed of a fruit, and during processing, the outer fruit gets removed. Pistachios are rich in carotenes and vitamin e and a great source of phytochemical substances. Due to their antioxidant richness, pistachios are green.

Almonds


Almonds are a great way to balance gut bacteria that are beneficial, several studies have revealed that it offers lots of prebiotic properties. They a great option for anyone wishing to add some crunch to their diet.

Macadamia

Mostly referred to as the king of nuts, macadamia nuts have omega 3 and omega 6 great for inflammation fighting, while it also contains huge amounts of monounsaturated acids. With regular consumption of this delicious nut, you could expect lower cholesterol. Even though macadamias are great for human consumption, they are toxic to dogs and cause depression, vomiting and weakness.

Cashews

Another treat seen as nuts, yet again this is a fruit that comes from cashew trees. Though several processes it eventually takes on the form of a nut although it is a fruit.

Interesting Facts:

Worldwide 40% of all nuts are purchased by manufacturers of chocolate, and a quarter of a cup of almonds is equal to 180 calories, 15g of fat and 7g of protein. If your weight loss on Paleo plateaued the reason could the number of seeds and nuts consumed. When it comes to nuts and seeds the best for human consumptions, include pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, Chia seeds, pecans, almonds and cashews, the difficult part is to limit yourself to only a few a day, especially when you want to lose weight.



Eating garlic and reaping its health benefits

Garlic is used in almost all cuisines as a strong flavoring agent. It is also used for medicinally purposes sometimes, to prevent chronic health problems.

Nutritional facts

Garlic is a low calorie food that isn’t rich in all the nutrients our body needs daily. It is most useful as a spice or for bringing out flavors of other healthy foods. Below is the nutrition facts of garlic as released by the United States department of agriculture based on a one teaspoon serving estimates.

  • Calories – 4
  • Protein – 0.18g
  • Fat – 0.01g
  • Carbohydrates – 0.93g
  • Fiber – 0.1g
  • Natural sugar – 0.03g
  • Calcium – 5mg
  • Iron – 0.05mg
  • Magnesium – 1mg
  • Potassium – 1mg
  • Vitamin C – 0.9mg

It is also thought that garlic is a source of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, which can help our body build muscle and enzymes that will help to protect our health

Health benefit of eating garlic

Garlic has be employed in the treatment and management of several ailments and health conditions. These ailments and health conditions include cough, depression, constipation, high/low blood pressure, loss of appetite, Diarrhea, fever, intestinal parasites, infections, muscle pain, menstrual symptoms, sea sickness, rheumatism, wounds, skin diseases and so on.

As of today, many researches support some of these medicinal benefits of garlic. However, some have remain inconclusive.

Eating garlic has also been proven to help in providing antioxidants that are helping to fight some types of cancers, but such benefits is not derived from the intake of garlic supplements. Some of the cancers which eating garlic can help fight include colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and stomach cancer.

In like manner, chewing garlic has a profound benefits for our cardiovascular health when compared to the non-effect it had when it is being swallowed.

Tips for cooking garlic at home

Garlic have intense smell because of the sulfur compounds it contains. These glycosides are emitted when you peel the bulb or when crushing or cutting them. Garlic is sliced before you add them to your cooking. You can also opt for garlic powder which are easily available at your local store.

Side effects of garlic

Some people eat garlic without having to complain of any side effects while some people will eat and have allergies. Spice allergies is not as common as food allergies, but if you have an allergy to garlic, then you may as well have allergies to other related spices. Symptoms of allergies to garlic may include facial swelling, breathing difficulty and hives. Also sensitivity to garlic may cause gas, bloating and other gastrointestinal problems.

Eating garlic or its supplements may also cause, heartburn, bad breath, burning sensation in mouth and throat, stomach upset, body odor ulcer, vomiting and diarrhea.



Losing Weight On a Budget

With the holidays fast approaching, just like any other year, it’s always a problem as it brings major damage to your waistline as well as your budget. It’s for this reason that we rounded up the best ways to cut back earlier without the need to break the bank. It’s highly recommended that you skip the sky-high membership at the gym, the fancy workout equipment, and the misleading “health” foods. Instead, use our range of simple techniques to start losing unnecessary weight without having to burn a hole in your pocket.

Avoid the Beef

The best way to save money and knock off pounds is to simply go meatless for at least one night during the week. Rather look for healthy and hearty substitutes that you can eat instead of meat, such as mushrooms or even beans. For instance, you can buy dried beans that you simply need to hydrate yourself to save even more money, and it will eliminate all the sodium from canned beans.

Buy Bulk When It Comes To Healthy Foods

There is obviously both cons and pros when it comes to buying bulk. However, it’s a fantastic way to budget over the long-term when it comes to weight loss and savings. For instance, you can purchase a full chicken for the evening along with steamed veggies, and use the leftover chicken to make a delicious salad the next day.

Avoid the Salad Bar

Instead of spending $10 on a fancy salad bar, rather purchase whole veggies when they are in season. They will also be at a far lower price. You can then use it to create your own unique salads at home. Should the veggies not be in season, and you got a real hankering for sweet potatoes or butternut squash, make your way to the frozen veggie section as an alternative.

Avoid Convenience Food

Portion control is a big factor when it comes to weight loss, but purchasing those helpful calorie packs are simply a budget suck. Furthermore, these innovative calorie packs are far more expensive than you realise and therefore it’s better to simply use a measuring cup to control your portion intake.

Price Tags

When you browse through a grocery store, looking for healthy foods, don’t only consider the price on the sticker. Look for the cost per ounce in order to compare it to other products. For instance, a box of cereal will be $0.25 per ounce. You can then compare it to other boxes of cereal to see which is cheaper in terms of weight.

Switch to Exercise Channels

There are loads of cable networks, such as Comcast and Time Warner that offer free exercise channels that usually run around the clock. This is an extremely easy, cost-effective way to lose those few extra pounds while also saving loads of money. This ensures you don’t have to sign your life away with a gym membership and you’ll be in the convenience of your own home.



Guide to following a vegetarian diet

Vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular among Americans these days. About two percent of Americans are vegetarians and this number is increasing at a faster rate. This increase may be due to that fact that experts believed and are advising that eating more plants is a good thing no matter the vegetarian diet you are observing. Additionally, vegetarians are believed to be living a heathy lifestyle by incorporating exercise in their routine.

What it means to be a vegetarian?

Vegetarians eat meals that are based on plants, including nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. There are many different types of vegetarians, but the most popular definition is those who do not eat meat.

There are different reasons why someone may decide to become a vegetarian. Some people do not think that it is a good thing to kill an animal for food, so they switched and became vegetarian. Other believe that a plant based lifestyle is heather while other may have decided on becoming vegetarian due to religious beliefs.

Different types of vegetarian diets

Someone who is a vegetarian eat foods which are fee of meat, including chicken and fish, but there have been many different versions of the vegetarian diets and they are discussed below.

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians – They eat eggs and dairy foods but do not eat meat, fish or poultry meat.
  • Lacto-vegetarians – Eat dairy foods but don’t eat eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarians – They eat eggs but don’t eat dairy foods.
  • Pollotarians – They eat poultry food but do not eat any other meat, dairy and fish.
  • Pescatarians – They eat fish but do not eat meat.
  • Semi vegetarians – they eat chicken and fish but do not eat red meat.
  • Flexitarians – They eat vegetarian diets most of the time and occasionally eat meat.
  • Vegans – This set of people are the strictest type of vegetarians because they do not eat animal meat or its byproducts such as dairy foods, eggs, honey and anything made with gelatin.

Foods vegetarians eat and foods they avoid

Most vegetarians eat mostly plant based foods and avoid any form of meats and any other foods depending on the type of vegetarian they are.

Foods on vegetarian diet list

Most types of vegetarians eat grains, vegetables and fruits.

Foods to avoid when on a vegetarian diet

Depending on the type of vegetarian you are, you may eat egg if you are an ovo-vegetarian or fish if you are a pescatarian. But strict vegetarians will avoid eating meat, fish and any form of poultry meat.



Drinking coffee may make you live longer

Scientist from the national Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Health, in a largest study of its kind, discovered that the more the coffee you take, the longer you may live.

It was reported that there was an inversely proportional relationship between coffee drinkers and mortality. It does not matter what kind of coffee you take, be it filtered, instant or decaffeinated, the result is the same. According to the report, those who take a cup of coffee a day, had a 8 percent lower risk of early death while those who drank eight or more cups a day, will lower their risk by almost 14 percent when compared to those who don’t drink coffee.

Growing Evidences that coffee is healthy

Researches in the past few years have all point to the fact that drinking coffee in moderation help to lower the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, stroke and Parkinson disease.

One surprising thing according to the result, is that heavy coffee drinkers appear to have a lower risk of death from heart disease and cancer than those who take few cups a day. Also, some smaller studies carried out earlier have inferred that drinking as few as three cups a day may not be so good to our heart.

What is the role of Caffeine in all this?

Researchers are surprised to found out that the genetic differences affecting caffeine metabolism did not affect the results as it made no difference as far as longevity is concerned. People’s bodies process caffeine slower or faster depending on their genes.

How coffee appears to increase longevity

Studies have suggested that it is the non-caffeine components of coffee that might be responsible for this inverse proportional relationship coffee drinkers have with mortality. There are more than a thousand components in coffee including antioxidants and other substances that may affect inflammation and energy metabolism.

Antioxidants in coffee do not only reduce inflammation but also help to improve sensitivity to Insulin and help to normalize how the blood vessels function in the heart and other organs. The report concluded by providing further reassurance that coffee drinking can be a part of a heathy diet and lifestyles. So, for everyone who enjoys a good cup of coffee and have experienced no side effect while taking it, it is advisable you continue to enjoy it and derive the maximum heath benefit it has to offer.

 



How an athlete should plan his daily nutrition (Part 2)

In this part, we will continue our discussion on what constitutes a good diet for an athlete and round it off with the best way to plan meal and tips on timing.

Fats

Fats are divided into three distinct groups, namely unsaturated, saturated and trans-saturated fatty acids. Saturated fats should always be kept to a minimum as any point in time, while unsaturated fats should form the bulk of the athlete fatty acid consumption. During exercise, these unsaturated fats acts as a secondary sources of energy and have an important role to play in the production of hormones such as adrenalin and growth hormones which are required for maximum performance.

These fats can further be divided into polysaturated fats such as omega 3 and omega 6 and monosaturated fats like omega 9. Omega 3 fats are very important in the diet of every athlete because they provide energy, stabilize blood sugar levels and have an anti-inflammatory effect. They are of two forms, ALA and EPA/DHA. For better intake, a supplement is always advisable.

Examples of unsaturated fats include:

DHA – Fish such as sardines, salmon, fresh tuna and mackerel.

ALA – linseed oil, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, canola and walnuts.

Omega 6 – Sunflower seeds, walnuts, evening primrose, safflower and whole grain.

Omega 9 – olive oil, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts and avocado.

Micronutrients

These are nutrients which are required in small quantities. They perform a diverse range of functions and are very important. Such functions they perform include helping to maintain healthy bones, protecting cell damage, maintaining eye sight, aiding the production of glycogen and so on. They include vitamins and minerals found in foods.

Below are some of these micronutrients that are important to athletes and foods you can get them from.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants include beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. They help to reduce the effect of harmful free radicals caused by exercise and their sources of food include dried apricots, liver, black currants and beans.


Vitamin B complex

They help the body convert carbohydrates into energy the body can use during physical activities and its food sources include banana, eggs, milk, nuts and yeast.

CO Enzyme Q10

They help the heart functions well by boosting cardiovascular activities and energy levels. The food source includes red meat.

Potassium

It is an electrolyte that should be replaced after each physical activities by taking foods such as banana, parsley, cashew nuts and cabbage.

Chromium

Chromium helps the body in stabilizing blood sugar levels and can be found in foods such as mushrooms, whole grain and yeast.

The best way to plan meals

Start by creating a schedule to ensure you are eating regularly and what you take in is in accordance to your body requirement. You can write down the timing of each meal as that will help you in selecting what to eat and when to eat it. This will help ensure that what you are eating is balanced.

Tips on timing

  • Eat more around exercise.
  • Eat more during the day.
  • Eat big meals, then followed by smaller meals.
  • Balance blood sugar


How an athlete should plan his daily nutrition (Part 1)

Many athletes are training so hard to be in top shape for their career. This training need to be complimented with the right set of diet in order for any athlete to achieve their aims. With good diet, and adequate training, coupled with quality supplements which are ready available in the market today, an athlete can soar to the top of his career in a very short time.

In this two part article, we will be examining how best to approach the diet issue with the hectic schedules of most athlete. We will also look at the best supplements available and how to get the best out of your diet when you don’t have all the food available at your selection.

The perfect planning

Before discussing the topic in full, let look at what constitutes a good diet for an athlete.

Macronutrients

Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrate is a very important component in every athlete diet. Glucose is the primary source of energy for their body during physical activities. Ensure you are getting enough of carbohydrate from your meal. About 50-75 gram or more during and after training is recommended. Sources of carbohydrate include whole grain bread, oats, whole wheat pasta, brown rice and barley

Protein

Protein rich foods are equally important in an athlete diet. Athletes required as much as twice of the protein intake of an average adult and it provide them with the essential amino acids that their body would need during training and to help them in recovering and healing of cells and muscles tissue that might have been damaged as a result of their engagement in physical activities.

Athletes are required to take up to one gram per pound of body weight and more if they are interested in adding to their muscle mass. You should try and eat about 25-39 grams per meal, which is equivalent to 100grams of protein gotten from consuming carbs. It is advisable that athletes select foods with complete ratio of amino acids, such as those from animal sources over vegetarian. It is always a good idea to combine two food groups such as beans and whole grain, together to always ensure that the amino acid content is complete. Examples of foods rich in protein include lean cuts of red meat, fish, nuts and seeds, chicken and turkey and legumes.

This is all for this part. In part two of this article, we will continue to examine how an athlete should plan his daily nutrition by continuing on our discussion on what constitutes a good diet for an athlete and finally capping it with how best to plan meals and tips on timing.



Why good nutrition is important for your children

Children are at a point in their lives where they are rapidly growing and learning new things. In order for them to grow well and assimilate very well, they would need to eat a well-balanced diet. A well-balanced diet combines all food groups in the food guide pyramid for the proper development of the child. It is advisable to eat the recommended servings from each of the five food groups in order to get the best energy and nutrition for them to learn and grow.

The important meal of the day, especially for children, is the breakfast. Just as car cannot function without fuel, a child cannot learn and assimilate well without breakfast. Helping your children to start the day with a nutritious, well-balanced meal allow them to concentrate, assimilate and learn to their full potential.

It is therefore incumbent upon parents to ensure that their children eat properly and incorporate all the groups of foods from the food guide pyramid in order to ensure a healthy living.

Steps to raising healthy children

  • Start their day with a healthy, nutritious breakfast like yogurt Parfait. Children need energy to learn and concentrate.
  • Pack your children’s lunch, if the school they attend don’t provide a nutritious lunch.
  • Ensure that there are variety of healthy snacks available, like fresh fruit, yogurt, raw vegetables and peanut butter.
  • Doing away with fatty snacks is the best. Some may claim that they are formulated with reduced fat. However, reduced fat doesn’t translate to low calories and many of these snacks may contain high sugar content with little nutritional value. Fresh fruits are better and you should encourage them to take more of it.
  • Don’t deny your children the opportunities of participating in grocery shopping, meal planning and meal preparation. These will present them with the chance to learn about good nutrition and how they can practice them.
  • Do not over restrict your children from taking sweets because you would want them to develop a healthy attitude towards them. Help them to indulge in moderation.
  • Always discourage your children taking snacks while watching television.
  • Encourage your children to participate in physical activities. Allow them the opportunity to discover a physical activities they find enjoyable.
  • Never punish your children for any wrongdoing by denying them their meal at any particular time. Children who are denied meals when necessary, will over=eat when possible for fear of missing the next meal.



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