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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.



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.



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.


Healthy Diet and You

A healthy diet does not necessarily need to be very expensive to prepare. Eating well simply means sticking to fresh foods while cutting down on repackaged and processed foods.

This may not appeal to most people because we always want results as soon as possible. But if you are interested in a program that works in the long run, you may need to adjust to a lifestyle you can live with and also like. That means planning and committing yourself to a diet that is nutritious and delicious.

While most people believe that staying slim is a big part of good health, weight lost does not always translate to better health. Your newly found diet that has aided your weight lost could be harming you if it lacks some essential food groups. This will mean that, you will have to rely on supplements to augment what you are lacking from your new diet.

Some people are so desperate to shed that excess weight that they would do anything to achieve that slim figure at any cost, and at that point thinking normally would become a problem. They simply don’t care about how unhealthy their recommended diets are, as long as that are losing pounds of weight regularly. They will be happy with the result and their physique but their body isn’t so happy. This approach ultimately leads to weight regain the shortest of time.

Most iet with high nutritional value and scores from dietitians, are very similar to each other. One important component that is recurring across diets that are great for healthy living is calories supplied by heavy load of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. A modest amount of lean protein, non-fat dairy and healthy fats, are equally beneficial to one’s health.

Plants should be the basis of your diet and the menu should be built around minimally processed meals made from scratch. This is because plant based eating patterns are so helpful and growing in popularity especially in the United States.

Foods like Paleo, Raw Food, fast, Dukan, Atkins and whole30 diets are overtly unsafe or greatly deficient nutritionally. These foods are simply too restrictive and their nutritional values is among the worst in many diets tested. The meat-heavy paleo diet do not include grains and diary in its preparation, so it is not easy to get enough calcium and vitamin D your body required to function well daily from consuming these kinds of diets. Atkins which have significantly reduce carbohydrates in its diet, now have more than the required recommended total for saturated fats. In the same vein, raw food diet may contained less than the recommended intake for calcium, vitamin B12 and D. Additionally, its restricted coking period may put you at the risk of eating undercooked diet.

If you are in doubt about any diet’s nutritional content, pay attention to your body. Aches, fatigues and sleeplessness are all potential warning that sometime isn’t right.




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