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Archive for January, 2012

Superfoods can really contribute to your good health because they have so much to offer you. The more that you consume on a regular basis the stronger will be your immune system and the greater your energy and vitality levels. To optimize your health you owe it to yourself to include these foods in your new year’s meals!

In my last post I shared two superfoods for the New Year here, but there are lots more but not enough space for them all.

Here we look at three more superfoods that you will want to start enjoying – or more of – this year.

Chia Seeds:

Chia seeds are very much like flaxseeds. They are a source of soluble fiber which is good for the heart. They are also high in protein and high in essential omega-3 fats. They are also rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. You only need a small portion of chia seeds to give you a boost of energy and to balance out your blood sugar.

Chia seeds make a great addition to your breakfast cereal, a bowl of oatmeal or a bowl of yogurt. These small health enhancing seeds contain six times more calcium than milk, three times more iron than spinach, two times more potassium than bananas and 15 times more magnesium than broccoli.

Pomegranates:

Pomegranates are a perfect food for the winter because they are most readily available during the late fall and the early to mid-winter months. Often thought of as the “jewels of winter” this colorful and tasty fruit can add variety to your salads and your desserts.

Pomegranates are rich in an antioxidant known as ellagic acid which can help to combat inflammatory health conditions such as atherosclerosis, arthritis and a number of infections. Pomegranates and pears make for a tasty treat when eaten together.

There is a trick to eating a pomegranate. Submerge it is a bowl of water as you go about the task of taking off the outer rind and the white pith. This will cause the seeds of the fruit to sink to the bottom of the bowl. When you eat the seeds directly from the opened rind of the fruit you become conscious of how many you are consuming which makes eating too many highly unlikely.

Green Tea:

If you are a coffee drinker then it would not hurt you to give green tea a try. While coffee does have some health benefits, green tea also has its share of benefits that can do your body good. Both coffee and green tea contains antioxidants and help to promote weight loss. However green tea has also been shown to be an effective cancer fighter.

Approximately one-third of a green tea leaf is composed of antioxidants known as catechins. The main catechin is called epigallocatechin gallate. Due to its long name it is most often referred to by its acronym, EGCG. Research studies have shown that EGCG is effective in terms of boosting metabolism and it also is able to prevent the development of certain types of cancers, in particular these include bladder cancer and prostate cancer.

But the goodness of green tea does not end there. It also contains an amino acid called L-theanine which helps to relieve stress and anxiety and supports a relaxed and calm state of mind. Green tea is good in general (green ginger mint tea is quite a savory treat!)  but if you wish you can choose the most potent form of it known as matcha. This type of green tea is finely milled and very tasty to the taste buds! Yum!

Becca

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A new year provides an opportunity to look at your health and to decide how well you are doing in terms of your eating habits. Instead of starting this year off being negative and looking at the habits you should not be doing or the foods you should not be eating, why not turn the tables and focus upon the foods you want to start adding to your daily meals?

Adding superfoods to your diet plan is always an excellent way to spruce up your health and to give you more of the antioxidants you need to stay healthy and strong.

If you do not know what a superfood is then here is a quick explanation of it. Superfoods are foods that contain compounds that have been found through medical studies to prevent the onset of disease. They are also capable of optimizing your overall level of health and well-being. Superfoods are fabulous and health enhancing!

Here are two delicious superfoods to think about adding eating more of to your diet in the coming year:

Eggs:

Many years ago eggs were blamed for contributing to high cholesterol levels and we were told that we should limit the number of eggs we ate per week. With time has come knowledge and we now know that it is saturated fats and trans fats that raise cholesterol levels and that eggs are not such villains after all.

Eggs are a superfood that you need to make sure you eat regularly to improve your health. Eggs are very high in protein – most of it in the white and not the yoke – and provide up to seven grams per serving. This helps to make you feel full and it also helps to break down fat in your body. If you have no cholesterol problems whatsoever then eating six to eight eggs per week (omega-3 free range eggs are best) is perfectly fine. However if you are looking for ways to reduce fat in your diet then eat only the egg whites.

Greek Yogurt:

If you have always found yogurt kind of a blah food then you have not been introduced to Greek yogurt yet! This type of yogurt is creamy and tastes more like an appetizing dessert. In fact for non-yogurt lovers you may not even realize that you are eating yogurt because it tastes so darn good!

Greek yogurt is high in protein, full of probiotics and is low in fat. It is also very thick in its consistency which gives it the creamy taste. What makes Greek yogurt different from regular yogurt is an extra straining process it is put through that gets rid of the liquid that it is common to see resting on top of regular yogurt. The fact that Greek yogurt does not have this liquid means that it is thicker and is also more concentrated in regards to the amount of protein and calcium that it contains. Consuming one half cup will provide you with 18 grams of protein and 50 percent of the daily dietary requirement for the mineral calcium.

Add berries to your yogurt for breakfast and any time of the day. Mix in some flaxseed powder, some wheat germ or some granola. Adding a tiny amount of honey to fat-free Greek yogurt can also give it an extra special taste!

Becca

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In part one we looked at what it means to make New Year’s resolutions for your health and what research has to say about them. We also looked at how there is a divide between starting to change your behavior and the actions that are needed to maintain them.

Now we will look at some tips and tricks to help you to do what you have resolved to do at the start of a brand New Year.

Be realistic in your goal setting:

If you want to think big such as “I want to lose 20 pounds this year” or “I want to get killer abs” or “I want to give up smoking completely” then think big but then you must be realistic and reasonable in breaking down your goals into smaller more attainable steps. You want to start with peanuts, which means to start small and then to work from there. If you do not break down your goals into smaller more manageable ones then you will lose focus right away and you will feel like you are facing a huge mountain that you cannot climb and you will give up.

On the other hand if you create smaller goals for yourself then you can chart your progress and you can use positive reinforcement to keep yourself going. Think of small but significant ways to reward yourself once you have reached each one of the smaller goals.

Please note – if you are trying to lose weight then do not reward yourself with food! Perhaps a massage or a movie with a friend would be better choices!

Schedule in your positive changes:

There are vague intentions that end up getting lost in your busy schedule and then there are planned actions that get done. Write things down in your calendar and make sure that you make time to do them. Whether it is going to the gym, taking a walk around the block or researching some healthy meal ideas if you do not schedule time to devote to these things then they will not happen and will get allocated to the back burner of your life.

Walking hand in hand with scheduling time to make your New Year’s resolutions come true is making them a priority. Only you can make them matter in your life so do that!

Keep a progress diary or journal:

Staying motivated is so much easier if you write down your progress. You can use a diary, log, journal or a wall calendar. Whatever you choose make sure you write in it faithfully and keep it close at hand. When you are feeling low and unmotivated then look at your progress so far and this should help to bolster your efforts. It is the “You go girl!” or “You go boy!” mentality at its best!

Keep going!

There may be times when you feel discouraged because results do not seem to be showing themselves as quickly as you had hoped that they would. When this happens just keep going and do not give up on your resolutions! Slip-ups and going two steps back before moving two steps forward are sometimes par for the course.

Do not be too hard on yourself. Realize that these may happen to you and then carry on. If you wallow in self-pity or spend too long pointing an accusing finger at yourself then you are more likely to give up. Instead use the slip-ups as an opportunity to challenge and motivate yourself and then get on with it!

Samantha

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A new year can mean a new start for your health. You can think of it as turning to a brand new page and starting fresh.

With this clean slate comes the need to be committed to achieving your health related goals.  Even if in years gone by you never kept the resolutions you made for yourself at the start of the year, this year can be different for you because you can change that!

The good news about making New Year’s resolutions for your health is that they are within reach of attaining. According to University of Scranton psychology professor John C. Norcross, Ph.D. and the co-author of the book Changing for Good, approximately 40 to 46 percent of those who set resolutions for themselves at the start of a new year will be successful once they reach the six month halfway point of the year. While it would be nice if that percentage was higher it shows that making and keeping resolutions is most definitely doable!

The research also shows that those who make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to make positive changes in their lives as compared to those who do not make resolutions but who have similar goals and the motivation to achieve those goals.

It would appear then that you set up the appropriate mindset in your brain when you resolve to institute healthy changes in your life at the start of a new year. The motivation and drive can be even stronger when you begin on January 1st!

Starting and Maintaining are Not the Same Thing:

What then makes some people fail in their efforts and others succeed (and be in the 40 to 46 percent group)?

You need to understand that starting and being motivated in the first few days and weeks is not the same as what keeps you pressing on towards your goal and it is not what maintains the behavior in the long-term. Practically anyone can resolve to quit smoking, eat healthier, exercise more frequently or shed excess pounds. The real challenge is maintaining what you have started. How do you stick to it?

The stick to it attitude and mentality is thought of as adherence and is all about complying with the choice you have made and finding ways to maintain it. The exhilaration, enthusiasm and excitement of starting down this track of making a positive change in your life will wear off before long and what then are you left with?

It takes roughly three to six months for a change you are making in your life to become a part of your life routine. In part two we will look at some ways you can make sure that you honor your New Year’s resolutions and make those health changes that will better your life now!

Samantha

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