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Archive for the ‘diet’ Category

If you think that you are in for another blasé meal then you need to infuse it with something super – super healthy and super delicious that is!

You need a whole lot of super right here and now!

We do not always associate healthy foods with yummy tasting foods. We also do not always associate delicious tasting foods with foods that help us to lose weight. But what if you could get all of these elements in a group of foods? Just think – healthy, tasty and weight worthy all rolled into one. Sounds like a bit of a dream doesn’t it?

Actually it is very real and very possible.

These foods are known as super foods (sometimes written as one word- superfoods) and they are yours for the taking and the serving. Family meals will never be the same again!

Super foods are a group of foods that promote health and well-being of the body and the mind. They are a rich source of numerous nutrients that fight sicknesses and diseases such as cancer. Just as they are super healthy they are also temptingly tasty and can make any meal of the day more delightful!

But the benefits of this special category of foods do not end there. Super foods must live up to their super status and they most definitely do that! They have no excess calories. You will feel full after eating these foods which means that you will not be hungry for quite a while afterwards.

Incorporating these foods into your daily meals is simple once you get the hang of it. Putting your culinary side to the test will be a joy with super foods and not a chore. Even the finicky eaters in your life will come to love the taste that these super foods have to offer!

Every day you need to be eating nutritious foods that can provide you with the essential elements you need to maintain your health and keep you strong. You cannot just eat one healthy food and think that you are done for the day. You need to make healthy nutritious foods a vital part of your eating tapestry – this includes both your meals and your snacks.

Keep in mind however that even when it comes to fruits and vegetables, portion control always matters. These foods may be super foods but they must be eaten in sensible portions and not in huge quantities.

One example of this is nuts.

While nuts make the list of super foods and are full of nutrients, they are also high in their fat content. They should be eaten but only in small portions. Be sensible about your intake and you won’t have to worry about adding to your waistline!

Becca

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When one thinks of the holiday season images of food and drinks often come to mind. The holidays are a season of parties, get together’s and plenty of socializing and entertaining.

With this come lots of foods to indulge in and enjoy. There are family parties, work functions and holiday cheer enjoyed amongst close friends. With all of the food choices available it can be difficult to stay away from unhealthy choices. After all this is the season when fattening and sugar laden foods and beverages abound!

If you are watching your weight, trying to get down to your goal weight or have made a promise to yourself to pursue the path of healthy living then the holidays can throw you off track.  No one wants their efforts sabotaged just as the year is coming to an end. It does not have to be that way. Here we offer you some healthy eating tips for the season. Some may be ones that you already know and already use while others may be new to you all together!

Eating healthy during the holidays is not that difficult if you know what things you can do to make it happen.

One of the most important ways to not overeat is to follow the old adage, “Everything in moderation.” To do this, trick your mind – use a smaller plate to eat your meals. Your mind will think that you are eating out of a full plate and you will be satisfied with the amount that you have eaten.

During the festive season if you go to a party or some other type of social gathering and there are plenty of choices then to ensure you are eating a well-balanced and healthy meal choose a selection of many different foods as opposed to piling your plate with only one or two types of foods. You do not want to consume the bad type of carbs or a kind of food that is really fatty.

You need to use the moderation rule when it comes to what you drink as well.

For every alcoholic beverage you consume (or every soft drink) you should then have a glass of water. Water is good for you in many ways and has so many benefits. It has no calories and there are no adverse side effects. It does not cost very much and it cleans the toxins out of your system. It also makes you feel full.

If you are the one throwing a party then make your own mixed drinks for your guests with real fruit juice as opposed to using canned fruit drinks.  Do not put out an overabundance of food for your guests if you plan to have a buffet. You do not want your guest to over serve themselves or over eat. Let’s face it; you are not the only person who wants to maintain your commitment to healthy eating over the holidays and beyond!

Keep these things in mind as you meander through the food minefield of the holiday seas. We’ll have more healthy choice tips for you next post.

Becca

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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a health condition that can affect your eyes. You can do your part to prevent this disease from affecting you by protecting your eyes.

One way to do that is to make salads a regular part of your daily eating habits.

What is AMD?

AMD is an eye disease that mainly affects those over the age of 60. It is a progressive disease that develops in the retina and over time damages and destroys the vision that was once clear and sharp. But all is not lost when it comes to the health of your eyes.  Recent research studies suggest that nutrients found in an assortment of vegetables can do what is necessary to prevent AMD from destroying the clear vision that you enjoy and want to continue to enjoy.

Age-related macular degeneration is found in two types. There is dry AMD and there is wet AMD.

The former has the tendency to develop over a longer span of time and very often individuals who suffer from it do not notice the changes in their vision because it takes place on a gradual basis. On the hand the latter progresses in a speedier manner and may lead to central vision being lost in not just one eye but both. The development of wet AMD is often noticed by the sufferer fairly quickly as vision changes are rapid in nature.

Recently published studies point to the fact that consuming enough vitamin D, beta carotene, omega-3 fats, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc has the ability to reduce the risk that AMD will set in. In particular making sure your diet contains enough of these nutrients is essential for those individuals who have inherited a tendency to develop this disease of the eyes.

Keep Your Eye on Nutrition – Think Salads! 

To keep your eyes in the best shape possible you need to increase your dietary intake of carotenoids. This means that you should consume plenty of carrots on a regular basis as well as leafy green vegetables.

These foods contain high quantities of beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin which are all connected to a lessened likelihood of developing macular degeneration.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important as well when it comes to the health of your eyes. Add tuna to your meals whenever possible and toss some nuts on top of your salads. Diets that are high in nuts and fish oils have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of this serious eye problem. Other foods that can stop AMD in its tracks include coldwater fish such as salmon and sardines. These foods also contain adequate amounts of vitamin D3 which is also beneficial in this regard.

Zinc supplements have been demonstrated in studies to reduce the potential for this disease to occur. However you should speak with your physician before you start taking a zinc supplement. If you do decide to take a supplement of zinc then look for one that also contains the B vitamins including B6, B12 and folic acid. To get more zinc into your diet through the foods you eat consider including kidney beans and sunflower seeds to your green garden salads.

Becca

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PMS or premenstrual syndrome affects as many as 85 percent of women.

If you are one of them then you know all about the many symptoms that can add up to feeling just plain miserable. If you wish you could skip over that time of the month then you are not alone as many women wish for the same thing. What you need to know is that there are foods you can eat that can help to keep you as PMS-free as possible.

Researchers compared the diets of over 1,000 women who suffered from PMS regularly with those who did not. What they discovered was that high levels of vitamin B1 (thiamin) as well as vitamin B2 (riboflavin) reduced the potential for PMS symptoms by as much as 35 percent. One such food that contains high amounts of these two vitamins is spinach.

If you make spinach one of your regular foods and eat it like Popeye then you may be well on your way to not feeling so icky when the time for PMS rolls around. A cup of spinach will provide you with 15 percent of your recommended daily/dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin B1 and 25 percent of your RDA for vitamin B2. Spinach is also an excellent source of the mineral iron.

More research into the role of the B vitamins in terms of PMS relief is needed but the results obtained so far are very promising. It is believed that both vitamins B1 and B2 have the ability to increase two neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters are known as dopamine and serotonin. It has been hypothesized that a lack of these neurotransmitters can contribute to the onset of PMS symptoms.

If you think that you can take a supplement and be done with it then that is not going to work. In studies conducted researchers noted a reduction in symptoms only when subjects consumed foods high in B1 and B2. It is also worth noting that those women who reduced their PMS symptoms by as much as 25 to 35 percent ate twice the RDA for what is currently required of these two nutrients.

Other B1 and B2 Rich Foods for PMS Sufferers:

To get more of these two B vitamins into your diet there are other foods that you should be consuming as well.

Yogurt is beneficial when it comes to supplying you with an adequate amount of vitamin B2. A serving of yogurt can give you 32 percent of the recommended daily allowance of this B vitamin. It is also high in vitamin D and calcium which are also believed to diminish PMS discomfort. Not to mention the fact that the friendly bacteria found in yogurt is good for the digestive tract.

Increasing your intake of legumes is smart if you suffer from PMS. This includes black beans, lentils, peas, navy beans and pinto beans. All of these foods contain a plentiful supply of vitamin B1. For examples, one cup of black beans will supply you with 28 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin B1. Experiment with different menu ideas to incorporate more legumes into your meals.

Tuna is rich in vitamin B1. A serving of tuna will offer you 38 percent of the RDA of vitamin B1. Just make sure you do not over consume tuna as then you run the risk of taking in too much mercury.

Becca

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Once you understand what gluten is then you can decide for yourself if you should adopt the gluten-free lifestyle of if you should continue to  eat nutritiously and not concern yourself with whether or not you are eating foods that contain gluten or not.

How do you know what you should do? If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or if you have gluten sensitivity then the answer is simple – it is essential for your health and well-being that you give up gluten for good. However for those who have no problems with gluten and are just thinking of trying it as a means of eating healthier, it can turn out to be a huge pain in the neck.

Giving up gluten is not as simple or as basic as eating less pasta or deciding not to eat bagels or bread. Gluten is an ingredient that is found in a tremendous amount of foods. It makes many foods thicker, not to mention tastier. Gluten is not just found in bread products but also in seasonings, salad dressing and soy sauce. Giving up gluten can be a lot of work for the person who does not have any health problems with it.

Not only can it be a study in patience to give up gluten but it is can also lead to nutritional deficiencies which can open the door to serious health problems. Do not make the mistake of assuming that gluten-free is automatically healthy. In fact researchers say that you can end up missing out on many important nutrients such as the B vitamins, fiber and the mineral iron when you decide to do away with such things as vitamin-enriched products and whole grains.

If you decide to try gluten-free living then do not become preoccupied with foods that state that they are “gluten-free.” Instead focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, dairy and lean proteins. The best grains to choose for gluten-free individuals include amaranth and quinoa.

Could it Be You?

It has been theorized that more than 2.5 million individuals may be living with celiac disease yet of these only an estimated 150,000 have been diagnosed with it by their doctors. The reason for this is because it is easy to be asymptomatic for many years. The symptoms common to this disease can often be confused with the symptoms of other health problems which can explain why it takes so long for a proper diagnosis to be made.

If you suspect that you may suffer from celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity do not give up gluten until you have been checked out by a physician. If you stop eating gluten then it will be hard to tell by the tests if you have it or not.

According to the Celiac Sprue Association, a not-for-profit organization for those who suffer from the disease, there are hundreds of symptoms. However some symptoms are more common than others. These include abdominal pain and bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation, anemia, fatigue, infertility and weight loss that is unexplained.

For those considering going gluten-free to lose weight you need to know that doing this will not help the pounds melt off any faster. If you do decide to continue on a gluten-free diet then don’t give up your taste buds and look for your favorite foods such as gluten-free pizza at your local restaurants or online recipes.

Gluten-free is not the same as fat-free by any means. Those who do lose weight when they choose to subscribe to a gluten-free diet are likely to do so because they have limited their food choices and therefore are not as inclined to overeat.

Samantha

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Many of the new buzz words in the health community are not ones that everyone is familiar with.

For instance are you aware of what prebiotics and probiotics are? Before we can delve into this topic it would help to get a little background. For that we must turn to the digestive system.

We all have bacteria living in our digestive systems. Some of these bacteria have the potential to make you ill (bad bacteria). We also have bacteria that are useful and can contribute to keeping you well (friendly, good or healthy bacteria). The good bacteria’s job is to keep bad bacteria and yeast from developing in the intestinal tract and leading to health problems. This friendly bacteria also helps in the production of vitamin K and aids the immune system in working to its highest capacity.

Most of the time there is an abundance of good bacteria in the intestinal tract. However such things as taking a course of antibiotics, stress and making unhealthy food choices can lead to what is known as intestinal dysbiosis. This condition is a bacterial imbalance that leads to the overgrowth of yeast and bad bacteria.

Dysbiosis is more common than you might think. However most health issues that result from this problem are called by other names. For instance this condition has been connected to disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), yeast infections and rheumatoid arthritis.

Antibiotic therapy is a common reason that dysbiosis occurs. This is because when you take an antibiotic to get rid of an infection not only does it destroy the bad bacteria but it also affects the levels of friendly bacteria that reside in the digestive system.

This brings us to the topic at hand – prebiotics and probiotics. What are they and how can they help our bodies to function better?

Both prebiotics and probiotics are able to restore the balance of bacteria that exists in the digestive tract. Probiotics can be defined as beneficial or healthy bacteria that are found in a selection of foods and/or can be taken as supplements. There are different strains of probiotics but the two most common families of bacteria include Lactobacillis and Bifidobacterium.

Prebiotics on the other hand are foods that are non-digestible that are able to make their way through the digestive system. The job of prebiotics is to support healthy bacteria to grow and to multiply in numbers. Think of it this way- prebiotics see to it that good bacteria remain healthy and plentiful in order to fight any bad bacteria that they encounter.

Prebiotics:

The prebiotics in your system that is responsible for being a food source for friendly bacteria mainly come from carbohydrate fibers known as oligosaccharides. These fibers are not digested and for that reason they stay in the digestive tract and encourage good bacteria to grow.

The sources of oligosaccharides include fruits, whole grains and legumes. You can also find supplements known as fructose-oligosaccharides that you can consume. Yogurt with prebiotics is made with bifidobacteria which in turn contains oligosaccharides. Check the yogurt label to make sure of this before you purchase it.

Probiotics:

Probiotics or probiotic bacteria such as lactobacilli are naturally occurring in foods that are fermented. Examples of these include sauerkraut and yogurt. There are some types of foods that will have probiotics added. Always check your labels.

You can also buy supplements such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus.

Becca Scott

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Feeling tired is a universal problem. Every day about 2.2 million Americans complain of being wiped out and exhausted.

While many people are convinced this is because of their jam packed schedules the reality is it’s more likely connected to the way they eat or don’t eat. Here we look at some of the top ways to fight fatigue and to prevent you from wanting to go back to bed as soon as you’ve gotten up.

Your mother was right – breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it fuels you up and gets you in gear for the day ahead. Even if you do not feel hungry when you get up have something nutritious to eat. Research studies have shown that those who consume breakfast function better and feel better both physically and mentally. Researchers at Cardiff University in London have also discovered that the stress hormone cortisol is lower in those who eat a small bowl of breakfast cereal or oatmeal in the mornings.

Instead of eating three large meals a day change things up by eating three smaller meals and two snacks throughout the day. This will help to keep your blood sugar at a stable level and by so doing it will also keep your energy level where it is supposed to be. Be aware that eating big meals requires more of your energy to digest and can leave you feeling very tired. What you need to do when you eat your mini meals is to make sure that you eat a mix of protein, carbs and healthy fats (such as seafood, nuts and olives).

You need an adequate amount of fiber to not get run down.

Fiber works with carbohydrates to release them into the bloodstream at a slow rate that is better for the body’s metabolism. What this serves to do is to keep your energy at a high level. Most people consume only 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day despite the fact that the daily recommended dosage is 25 to 30 grams. To add more fiber to your diet eat an apple with the skin on, eat air-popped popcorn, whole-wheat spaghetti or black beans and cheese wrapped in a multigrain tortilla.

There is no substitute for drinking water. Hydration is the name of the game in keeping tiredness at bay.

You may wonder why this is the case. Approximately 83 percent of our blood is made up of water. The water found in the blood helps to digest food, control body temperature and transport waste out of the body. The majority of other bodily fluids are also composed of water. Mild dehydration thickens the blood and then forces the heart to work harder to deliver blood to the organs and the cells in the body. Unfortunately this causes tiredness because the heart is pumping faster and more intensely.

You do not just have to drink water to increase your intake of it. There are foods that contain ample amounts of water that you should be eating as well. These include broccoli, carrots, grapefruits, oranges, watermelons and yogurt.

Samantha

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