Superfoods – Spotlight on Avocado

What does it take to be called a superfood? For one, it should be packed with nutrients almost making it a must eat for a healthy body. And if this is one of the yardsticks used for measuring superfoods, it seems that avocado makes a strong case since it is definitely loaded with essential nutrients.

Before you go overboard and start grabbing avocados every time you have the opportunity you must first understand that a single avocado contains approximately 215 calories. And when you mention calories into the mix, especially with this amount people might start thinking weight gain. Yes, avocados do contain more than the average calorie content for most fruits but this is of the healthier kind.

The recommended daily intake for avocados is 30 grams or a fifth of the fruit. But consuming half the fruit or 68 grams is still considered to be within healthy limits. On average an avocado contains:

Amount per 100 grams

Calories 160
% Daily Value
Total Fat 15 g 23%
Saturated fat 2.1 g 10%
Polyunsaturated fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated fat 10 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 7 mg 0%
Potassium 485 mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 9 g 3%
Dietary fiber 7 g 28%
Sugar 0.7 g
Protein 2 g 4%
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 16%
Calcium 1%
Iron 3%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B-6 15%
Vitamin B-12 0%
Magnesium 7%

 

Avocado Health Benefits

  1. Keeps the heart healthy – avocados do contain a healthy share of fats but most of these are of the healthy kind. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats which prevent the development of arteriosclerosis or the hardening of arteries.
  2. Healthy, glowing skin – avocados are nature’s answer to moisturizers. It can be used to keep our skin looking young and healthy. It is also rich in antioxidants which fights against toxins and helps protect our skin against harmful UV light. Avocados are also rich in monounsaturated and fat-soluble vitamins that helps the skin and hair glowing.
  3. Helps you lose weight – diets low in carbohydrate and high in healthy fats actually improve weight loss. Fat rich food helps you feel fuller longer. These make you feel fuller and decreases the frequency of meals.
  4. Lowers your risk for cancer – some studies have suggested the correlation between phytochemicals in avocado and cancer. Phytochemicals in avocado help prevent further growth of cancer cells. Avocado is also rich in antioxidants that prevent unhealthy toxin buildup which reduces further risks for cancers.
  5. Helps improve digestion – avocados are rich in fiber. This helps improve digestion and reduces risk for colon cancer. It also helps get rid of toxins in the intestines keeping them healthy.

Losing Weight and Aging

Remember those times when we could almost get away with eating anything and still manage to keep our figures slim? It seems that each year brings more and more hurdles making it difficult if not impossible to keep those fat deposits at bay.

The easiest solution is to deny ourselves the pleasures of eating often opting to take a small bite of our favorite cake. Keeping slim has become so difficult that even our best efforts seem futile. Each year we grow older seems to add a corresponding inch to our waistline making weight gain synonymous with growing old.

Accept this change

The first step towards keeping a slimmer body is to accept these changes and plan accordingly. Preparing yourself mentally for the difficult tasks ahead will give you a better perspective of your condition. In the past, aging did not mean gaining weight. This was because people were actively had more active lifestyles and the food was generally healthier.

With all these modern conveniences that makes people soft and all the abundance of processed foods and sugary drinks keeping our body slim has become a challenge. Be conscious about the changes that aging brings and live your life accordingly.

Medical conditions

Weight gain may not be the direct result of aging. An underlying medical condition such as metabolic related diseases could be the culprit. Years of abuse on our body caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits can be responsible for weight gain in our advanced age.

Metabolic conditions such as those associated with the thyroid makes it almost impossible for people to lose weight. One of every five people over the age of 40 suffer from hypothyroidism. This tiny gland is responsible for regulating metabolism or how effectively we digest food. Visit your doctor regularly and have a thorough medical exam. You might never know if your weight gain is the symptom of a medical condition.

Eating Schedules

Living a healthy lifestyle is not denying or starving yourself. If you’ve already switched to a healthy diet and don’t see any results then eating small frequent meals could do the trick. Accept that your body might not be as efficient in digesting food. Eating small frequent meals makes it easier for your body to convert food into usable energy rather than converting it into fat deposits. A light breakfast followed by a healthy snack before lunch is recommended. Just remember to keep this within 3 to 4 hour intervals.

Keep yourself satiated, extreme dieting could lead to binge eating which only makes your weight condition worse. Food taken after 8 pm is more likely to go into in your waist or belly. Never skip breakfast. It still remains the most opportune time for our metabolism. Breakfast fuels our body for the rest of the day.

Aging and our Body

Reaching 40, our body undergoes numerous physical changes which can affect how our body works. This is evident not only in our outward appearance but more importantly our internal processes. The changes are subtle and are not readily seen. This is mainly due to hormonal changes, other factors that affect digestion and metabolism.

Spinach – Muscle Builder and More

Mention the word spinach and images of Popeye chomping down on a can of this vegetable instantly comes into the mind of children. Well, this might not be far from the truth as spinach is definitely one of the healthiest sources of nutrients and protein for building muscles.

But spinach is more than building muscles. This vegetable is also an excellent minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients.  Aside from being a rich protein source for building muscles, spinach also helps improve eyesight, keeps the heart healthy, promotes optimum child growth and keeps the skin healthy.

Better Brain Functioning

Spinach is a potent antioxidant, contains potassium and folate all of which contributes to keep the brain healthy. Folate helps reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Potassium on the other hand helps improve blood flow to the brain. More blood flow means more energy and oxygen is sent to the brain for optimum functioning.

Stronger Bones

Spinach contains Vitamin K which helps the bones retain calcium. Improved calcium retention leads to bone mineralization. Spinach also contains copper, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese. This keeps our bones strong and healthy and reduces our risk for developing osteoporosis.

Optimum Child Growth

Protein is an important building block of the body. This is why parents are encouraged to include spinach in their growing child’s diet. Spinach is also rich in minerals and phytonutrients all of which is essential for a growing child’s body.

Cancer Prevention

Spinach contains tocopherol, folate and chlorophyllin. These are currently being studied as a possible treatment for prostate, lung, bladder and liver cancers. Spinach is also being studied as a method for reducing tumor activity and preventing the spread of cancer in the body. However, one sure thing is that spinach contains antioxidants which are very effective in eliminating cancer-causing toxins in the body.

Reduces Inflammation

Painful conditions such as arthritis and gout are caused by severe inflammation. Instant relief for these conditions can involve taking anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pressure. Spinach is a rich source of natural anti-inflammatory compounds which helps reduce inflammation in the body. This is not only effective against arthritis and gout but also protect the heart from inflammation.

Ulcer Prevention

Vegetables in general has been proven to keep our digestive system healthy. It helps prevent colon cancer and prevents gastric ulcers by protecting the mucous membrane of the stomach.  Various compounds found in spinach has also been found to strengthen the digestive tract lining. Its anti-inflammatory properties also prevents harmful conditions from developing in this area.

Muscle Builder

Spinach is one the healthiest and riches sources of protein. It helps feed those protein-hungry muscles while keeping almost every part of the body healthy. Spinach is certainly a healthy and cheaper alternative to meat and expensive protein supplements.

Cinnamon – Surprisingly Healthy

Spices has long been used in bringing that much needed flavor to some of the best dishes in the world. But some of these spices were not originally meant for the kitchen. In Ayurvedic medicine for example, some spices were used for treating respiratory and digestive problems.

Cinnamon brings its own unique taste and fragrance to some of the tastiest pastries. And this is something that ancient Egyptians and Romans commonly used in creating essential oils or masking bad odors.  While there’s no contesting how good cinnamon smells, it might come as a surprise to many how this could also have beneficial effects on our health.

Reduce your Risk for Cancer

Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant. It helps reduce the buildup of toxins in the body which can have a degenerative effect on cells. By getting rid of wastes, cinnamon helps keep our cells healthy. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties. Which protects our body against cellular-level damage.

Alzheimer and Dementia

Cinnamon contains Cinnamaldehyde, a compound responsible for giving its signature smell and Epicatechin, a powerful anti-oxidant. The exact mechanisms for the development of Alzheimer and Dementia are not clearly known but cinnamon’s anti-oxidant properties can prevent the development of plaques and tangles. Because of its powerful anti-oxidant properties, cinnamon can protect us against oxidative stress which is a major factor in the development of Dementia.

Better Heart Health

Cinnamon can be used to reduce the level of cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol all of have a negative effect on our heart’s health. It helps control the level of bad cholesterol while increasing the levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. Cinnamon also help lower blood pressure which combined with healthy levels of cholesterol contributes to a healthier heart.

Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Cinnamon helps maintain normal blood sugar levels. It also helps reduce insulin resistance which is responsible for metabolism and proper energy use. Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels by decreasing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after eating. This is done by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion. Cinnamon also works like insulin by improving the uptake of glucose by the cells.

Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungi Properties

Cinnamon oil based solutions has been proven to kill common bacteria such as E. coli and streptococcus. Cinnamaldehyde, a compound found in cinnamon helps fight infection. It also has a negative effect on the growth of bacteria. Cinnamon oil can also be used to treat fungal infections in the respiratory tract. Cinnamon also helps prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath by fighting bacteria in the mouth.

Little Known Health Benefits of Exercise

We all know how exercise helps improve overall strength and heart health. But aside from strengthening those muscles and giving you stronger bones, it also provides little known benefits such as improved hearing and fewer cold episodes.

Exercising is a great way to keep us healthy and there’s no contesting that. But if you’re still searching for a little push then this little known health benefits is certainly a welcome. It can give that extra motivation the next time you find yourself too lazy to workout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say Goodbye to Colds

Okay that is certainly an overstatement but people who exercise swear that they’re immune from colds or so they say. Exercises generally strengthen the body and in this case the immunity system. People who regularly exercise have good health habits and are more conscious of what they eat.

There is no direct link between fewer colds and exercise. However, studies have shown that between people who regularly exercise and those who don’t, the percentage of inactive participants suffering from colds are higher.

Prolonged, intense exercises however increase our risk for colds. This is because strenuous exercises increase the body’s levels of cortisol and adrenaline. Which can suppress the immune system thus increase the chances for cold.

Keep your Eyes Healthy

Exercises do not directly improve eyesight but it does lower your risk for developing eye problems such as cataracts. Exercising decreases inflammation which is a known cause for cataracts. Exercising regularly normalizes blood sugar levels. The eyes contain very fine blood vessels and abnormally high blood sugar levels can damage these blood vessels. This is why people with diabetes are at high risk for developing eye problems.

Better Hearing

No muscles to build here. Just like keeping your eyes healthy, exercise improve overall blood flow in the body. Better blood flow to the cochlea, the ear structure that converts sound into nerve signals that are sent to the brain can explain this. Overall, the body needs a healthy supply of all blood in order to function properly.

Listening to music during a workout or a quick run through the park is a good way to keep ourselves upbeat and in pace with our routine. But some go overboard and blast their ears with music which can have a damaging effect on hearing health. So keep those beats at a minimum and give your ears a break.

Sleep Better, Easier

Exercising is a great way to release stress and you don’t have to hit the gym to get this benefit. The home is an excellent place to workout. Simple home appliances and furniture can be excellent exercise equipment.

Sleep is never overrated. The body does not showdown instead goes into the process of repairing and recuperating after a hard day at work or a gruelling exercise routine. People who sleep better are more likely to perform better the following day.

Ketogenic Diets – Is It For You?

Ever wondered what a Ketogenic Diet is? This type of diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. Its food ratio consists of 60% to 80% total calories from fat, 15% to 35% total calories from protein and 5% or less calories from carbohydrates.

A Ketogenic Diet is similar to other strict low-carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins or LCHF Diet. However, one major difference is it restricted when it comes to protein. A Ketogenic Diet reduces the levels of insulin thus increasing fat burning dramatically. This in turn makes it easier to burn fat stores helping you lose weight more easily.

The Upside of a Ketogenic Diet

Several health benefits have been attributed to a Ketogenic Diet. This includes increased energy levels and improved weight loss. A Ketogenic Diet also reduces our risks for some health conditions.

  • Reduced Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

People suffering from pre-diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and are not on insulin medication can reverse their condition by switching to a Ketogenic Diet. Medical research has shown that low-carbohydrate diets that limit the intake of sugar and process grains can have a positive effect on people suffering from diabetes.

  • Reduces Cancer Risks

Studies show that highly-processed, low-nutrient, and pro-inflammatory diets feed cancer cells which makes it easier for them to develop and multiply. Some studies suggest that a Ketogenic Diet may actually starve cancer cells and prevent it from growing rapidly. Generally, diets that encourage us to eat healthy reduce our risks for cancer.

  • Improved Weight Loss

Diets are designed to keep people healthy but one of the most popular reasons is to shed weight. A Ketogenic Diet is highly effective in helping people lose weight. Low-carbohydrate diets keep you feeling fuller longer and speeds up the fat burning process. With less insulin released, the body does not store extra energy in the form of fat. Instead, it focuses on burning existing fat stores for energy.

Foods You Should Eat on a Ketogenic Diet

Vegetables

  • Cabbage (3g)
  • Avocado (2g)
  • Cauliflower (4g)
  • Zucchini (3g)
  • Spinach (1g)
  • Brussels Sprouts (5g)
  • Kale (4g)
  • Green Beans (4g)
  • Broccoli (4g)

Fruits

  • Blackberries (Half a cup which contains 3 grams of carbs)
  • Plum (One medium-size contains 6 grams of carbs)
  • Kiwi (One medium-size contains 8 grams of carbs)
  • Raspberries (Half a cup which contains 3 grams of carbs)
  • Blueberries (Half a cup which contains 6 grams of carbs)
  • Strawberries (Half a cup which contains 6 grams of carbs)
  • Clementine (One medium-size contains 7 grams of carbs)
  • Cantaloupe (One cup contains 11 grams of carbs)
  • Peach (One medium-size contains 13 grams of carbs)
  • Cherries (Half a cup contains 9 grams of carbs

Snacks

  • Zucchini Chips
  • Salami and Cheese Chips
  • Tortilla Pizza
  • Onion Rings
  • Sesame Crispbread
  • Keto Garlic Bread
  • Egg Muffins
  • Cinnamon and Cardamon Fat Bombs
  • Kale Chips

Nuts

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Hazel Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pecan Nuts
  • Macadamia
  • Peanuts

Break a Sweat with this Office Workouts

The office is probably one of the most unlikely places to get healthy. Spending hours lurking in that office chair doesn’t do anybody any good except build those love handles. Taking care of our careers is one thing but keeping our body healthy is equally important.

Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can have a damaging effect on our health. Sitting in the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. can be likened to a couch potato minus the TV. Some studies even showed that sitting for long periods of time can increase a person’s risk for cancer by 60%.

Starting your journey to a healthier life can be done with a few simple changes. Switching to a healthy snack or deciding to take a little more veggies during lunch is just one of those little things that all up to being healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking a sweat in the office is possible and it doesn’t involve bringing in gym equipment. So the next time you find yourself hitting a wall and just need to release stress why don’t you make this an opportunity to get those sleeping muscles working. Below is a few simple exercises that you can do in your downtime.

Stretching

  1. Back and Legs

Lean forward from a standing or sitting position bringing the chest towards the thighs. Try to straighten the legs slowly stretching the hamstrings.

  1. Arms and Shoulders

Pull the arms across the chest and hook the other arm around it to pull the tension out of the upper back and rear shoulders.

  1. Neck

Tilt the head slowly towards the shoulder and hold it for ten seconds on each side. Do this on a slow and easy pace.

  1. Calves

Stand and lean into the desk with the heels on the floor. Bend the knees slightly to stretch the Achilles tendons.

  1. Thighs

Sit on the left edge of the chair. Grab the left ankle and pull it upward towards the buttocks. Do it also on the other side.

10-Minute Office Cardio Workout

  • Push-Ups

Get into a plank position with feet firmly on the ground and hands on a chair. Bend the arms to go down and bring the body back up. Go as low as your body can reach and press the back up to a tall position. The core should be tight and the routine should continue for at least one minute.

  • Broad Jumps

From squat position, bend down and jump forward landing again in a squat. Turn around and hop the other way. Continue hopping back and forth for one minute focusing on the distance instead of the height.

  • Tricep Dips

Facing away from the chair with the hands gripping the edge, place the feet out in front of you with knees bent at ninety degrees. You should feel the effect on the shoulders and triceps as you dip down and back up. Do the routine for one minute.

  • Squats

From wide stance, squat down and tap the butt to the chair, then come up. The pace should be fast to get the heart rate up. Extend the body as you rise up and squeeze at the top to engage the muscles.

  • Walk Lunges

Bend the knees in an alternate pace as you lunge-walk through the hallway. Do it in a nice and low position so that the quads with feel it by the end.

Fiber – Must Eat Food for a Healthy Body

Eating fiber-rich food is an important element when it comes to weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Fiber is commonly found in vegetables, whole grains, fruits and legumes. Food sources that have always been associated with numerous health benefits.

Fiber from plant-based foods, also known as roughage is something that the body can’t easily breakdown. It passes through the body undigested keeping the digestive system clean and healthy. This is why it is perfect for preventing and relieving constipation. It helps improve bowel movements as well as flush cholesterol and harmful carcinogens out of the body. Fiber also helps lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Two Types of Dietary Fiber

  • Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that easily dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. This type of fiber can be found in nuts, beans, peas, and oats. Soluble fiber also helps in weight loss because it is not easily digested staying in the stomach much longer. This in turn makes you feel full for longer periods of time after eating.
  • Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through the digestive system and increases stool bulk. This can help individuals suffering from constipation and irregular stool movement. Insoluble fiber can be found in wheat cereals, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and whole grains.

Health Benefits of a Fiber Rich Diet

  1. Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels – soluble fiber lower blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein or commonly known as bad cholesterol.
  2. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels – eating soluble fiber slows down the absorption of sugar and improves blood sugar levels. It regulates glucose levels by slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
  3. Normalizes Bowel Movements – fiber increases the bulk of stool and facilitates its passage through the intestine more quickly. It adds more water to the stool making it softer and easier to eliminate. For those with loose and watery stools, fiber can also help solidify stool.
  4. Helps in Weight Loss – fiber rich foods are more filling which makes you feel fuller and eat less.
  5. Reduces Risk for Certain Cancers – fiber has anti-cancer effects that help reduce the risk for colorectal and breast cancer. It’s is also rich in anti-oxidants and phytochemicals that helps reduce overall risks for cancer.
  6. Healthier Gut Bacteria – fiber rich foods support the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Fiber which passes through the small intestine undigested are fermented by flora in the large intestine for food.
  7. Healthier Bones – fiber helps increase the absorption of minerals like calcium.
  8. All-natural Detox – high fiber diets naturally scrub and help eliminate toxins. It also soaks up potentially harmful compounds like unhealthy fats and excess estrogen before it can be absorbed by the body.

Stress Fighting Foods

STRESS.  We all deal with it at some point in our lives.  But having too much stress in your life can be very harmful to your health and can make you more vulnerable to everything from colds to high blood pressure and even heart disease.

Stress management is a valuable tool to learn when it comes to your overall wellness.  While there are many ways to cope with stress, eating stress-fighting foods is one good way to start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From boosting serotonin levels to lowering stress hormones, there are a number of foods that actually counteract the impact of stress on our lives.  The following foods should be part of your diet for stress management:

Complex Carbohydrates – All carbohydrates give a signal to the brain to produce that “feel good” chemical, serotonin.  To keep a steady flow of serotonin, dieticians suggest complex carbs like whole grain cereals, breads and pastas and oatmeal.

Oranges – Because they are a wealth of vitamin C, studies show that oranges are great stress-busting foods, as well as a great immune system strengthener.  Experts suggest taking 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C before a stressful event.

Spinach – It’s the magnesium in spinach that helps to regulate cortisol levels that particularly get depleted when we are in stressful situations.  Not enough magnesium can trigger headaches, adding to stressful situations.  One cup of spinach is the recommended amount, as the magnesium goes a long way.  Can’t do spinach? Try cooked soy beans or salmon instead, for the same effects.

Fatty Fish – Omega-3 fatty acids are important to prevent surges in stress hormones, as well as protect against heart disease.  Try fatty fish like salmon or tuna for your Omega-3’s.

Black Tea – Good for lowering levels of cortisol following stressful events, many experts swear by the healing powers of black tea.  Black tea helps you to recover quickly following stresses and helps you to remain calm.

Bug Management

Just like we have been cooped up all winter, so have been a number of those creatures that we’ve come to despise: insects.

With summer in full bloom, insects are also in full swing and are ready to attack when necessary.

So, what do you do to avoid these nasty creatures biting you?

Environmentalists suggest that the best way to deal with insect bites and stings is to prevent them before they happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ways that you can avoid or prevent bug bites include:

  • Applying repellents to exposed skin. Do not apply repellents directly to your face, instead spray the repellent into your hands and apply to your face that way.
  • Wearing shoes when walking around outdoors.  Avoid going barefoot whenever possible.
  • Do not swat or attempt to hit a flying insect.  This will only make them mad and attack you more frequently.
  • Covering food when it is outdoors. Insects flock to food and the less chance you give them to get to the food, the greater your chance of avoiding them all together is.
  • Avoiding bright colored clothes when you are outdoors for extended periods of time as insects are attracted to bright colors.
  • Trying not to wear heavy smelling perfumes outdoors as insects are also attracted to the smells.

Keep these tips in mind before you head outdoors and you won’t be dealing with insects biting or stinging you this summer.

Bug bites are going to happen now and then, but enjoy your summer while it lasts …winter will be here before we know it!