Archive for September, 2014

Recharging our Body Naturally

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

couch potatoEnergy and power drinks are a common way of boosting our energy levels after a long day at work or a grueling workout. These are quick fixes that don’t provide any real solutions to long term problems. You end up relying on energy foods each time you end up feeling exhausted.

A drop in your energy levels should not be ignored. It does not only leave your body feeling weak but it can also affect your psychological well being. Fatigue increases your stress levels which affects the quality of work and relationships.

Rather than relying on over the counter energy foods and drinks, energy boosting Superfoods can be a more reliable option. What it gives you is a steady source of energy to power your body throughout the day.

Negative Effects of Fatigue

The brain sends different signals when it feels the body is experiencing fatigue. It is manifested both physically and mentally.

  •  Sleepiness
  • Poor concentration
  • Stress
  • Decreased coordination
  • Irritation
  • Slow reaction time
  • Poor judgment

Fatigue and Poor Sleeping Habits

The incident of fatigue increases with aging. This is natural but could be minimized with the right amount of sleep and diet. Sleep allows the body to repair itself and stock itself with energy. A healthy diet provides the fuel for repairing and restoring energy levels during sleep.

Energy Boosting Superfoods

Spirulina Powder

Spirulina is power packed with nutrients. It is rich in iron, magnesium, B12 and protein. All of these are needed for giving your body a steady supply of energy daily. Having Spirulina in its powder form makes it easy for you to mix this with fruit or vegetable juice. It could also be used in shakes, salad dressing and soups.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains MCTs (multi-chain triglycerides), fats that are actually good for your health. These are easier to digest and could be easily converted for providing energy. Coconut oil is a flexible ingredient and can be used for baking and raw food recipes.

Cacao Powder

Cacao powder is a good substitute for those with sweet cravings. It helps satiates your cravings without the bad fats contained in common sweet delights. Cacao is rich in iron and magnesium that are essential for producing energy. It can also give that “sugar rush” to help elevate your mood. But just like its other sweet counterparts, too much cacao can be unhealthy.

Chia Seeds

Keep your energy levels charged up with Chia seeds. It helps sustain your body’s batteries to give you that extra energy. Chia seeds are loaded with calcium, magnesium, iron and good fats (omega 3). Chia seeds may appear small in stature but could easily double up when ingested helping you feel fuller.

Maca

Coffee has a natural effect of stimulating the brain and revitalizing the body. But for people searching for a healthier alternative, Maca has been proven to be quite as effective in providing a natural boost. It stimulates the production of energy to replace lost reserves.

Lifestyle Changes

Aside from eating a healthier diet there are simple lifestyle changes that could reinforce the change in eating habits. Maximize your energy levels by following these lifestyle changes.

  • The Numbers Game – you may not be aware that some foods actually require more energy to burn than what they give. Instead of feeling refreshed after a meal, you might actually feel tired and lethargic. Switch to unprocessed or whole foods and back this up with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein.
  • Stick to an Eating plan – we may not have the same working schedule. Some people’s working day start much, much earlier while others start in the evening. Develop an eating schedule that covers the three major meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner). These can be customized according to your workday. Try eating meals at 3-4 hours to provide enough energy and keep you focused.
  • Avoid Quick Fixes – minimize your coffee, energy bars and drinks consumption and consider these as a last resort. Switch to healthier options like dried fruits, vegetable salads and nuts. These contain the same amount of energy without the added poundage.
  • Hydration – liquids are lost as we try to keep our body’s internal temperature cool. 2 liters of water a day is recommended. Make this healthier by adding fruit juices into the mix.
  • Exercise regularly – regular physical activities keeps your mind and body prepared for any emergency. It keeps your mind and body fit and ensures that is ready for a grueling day at work.

Live Healthier by Managing your Salt and Sugar

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Yearly, 2.3 million death are attributed to excess salt intake while its 180, 000 death are attributed to sugar consumption. The salt statistics comes in second after alcohol and followed by car accidents as a cause.

Every year, the average American consumes 130 lbs sugar. Two of its major source is sodas and candies. And refined sugar found in many food people consumed today is linked to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, nervous tension, hypoglycemia, depression, headaches, acne and violent behavior.

Salt on the other hand, is consumed in excess by 9 out of 10 Americans. Too much of it may result to stroke, heart failure, kidney stones, osteoporosis, kidney problems and headaches. Its major sources include supermarkets and convenience store products and food in restaurants. Its recommended daily intake is 1,500 mg or less.

So say you are threatened by these mentioned medical conditions, how do you address this? Cut back on both. How? There can be simple yet effective ways to reduce salt and sugar intake.

Tips to Cut on Salt

Here are some simple ways to cut on salt.

  1. Reduce fast food. Fast foods such as hamburgers, pizza can carry a whooping amount of salt. Eat less fast-food, consume little salt.
  2. Ask for it. When eating in fine restaurants, you can request the chef to use or even omit salt from your menus. You can do the sating in your own through a controlled amount form the shaker.
  3. Read your labels. Sodium is always present in the goods you buy. When you have the option, choose those that have lesser ones compared to others. Your sodium intake as suggested should be below 2300mg per day.
  4. Use spices. Instead of salts, sue spices to keep up with your palates needs. Have some parsley, ginger, lemon grass, chives, etc instead. Dried spices are also recommended. It may help hide strange tastes from meat which what needs to sodium in the first place.
  5. Go for the frozen instead of the canned. Canned vegetables may contain sodium to help preserve it. Frozen ones are just frozen to preserve it and won’t need food to protect the food.
  6. Choose the right sauce. Some sauce contains more salt than the others. Or you can try to cut down on sauces.
  7. Practice to love less salty foods. Have yourself get use to foods that are less salty, reduce salt slowly everyday nod in no time you may find all foods enjoyable even minus the sodium.
  8. Put away the salt shaker. Salt shaker in the table is always a temptation. Keep it and use it wisely.

Tips to cut on Sugar

  1. Cut on sauce. Same with the salty sauce, many sauce options are filled with sinful sugary components.
  2. When craving, chew a gum. You can’t help it when you crave for sweets. But you can overcome it by keeping a chewing gum in your pockets. Chew n it as it can give you the initial sweetness.
  3. Instead of artificial sweeteners, go for dried berries and cinnamon instead. Their naturally sweetening and are healthy as well.
  4. Instead of a dessert, go for a fruit.
  5. Limit your daily sugar intake. Discipline mostly is the key. Have a daily quota and stick with it.
  6. Have some rules. Like no desserts for lunch or for dinner or both. Or you can only have it on weekends or odd days of the month. Until then, you may try to lessen and lessen sweets in your over-all diet.
  7. Don’t keep ice creams at home. An ice cream tub in the freezer is a temptation.
Image credit: “Fleur de sel1″ by Christian Mertes (Mudd1 12:26, 18 April 2007 (UTC)) – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fleur_de_sel1.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Fleur_de_sel1.jpg

Vitamin C Power-packed Foods

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

oranges vitamin c pills and orange juiceThere’s no shortage of natural supplements and vitamins that seem to contain all the Vitamin C we will ever need in a day. Some of us might ask why we should even go to the trouble of knowing which type of foods would be a good source of this all important vitamin.

First of all, no amount of supplement or vitamin could ever give us the feeling of being satiated or refreshed like good old food. Another good argument would be that vitamin C rich foods do not only contain this in good abundance but they’re also packed with other nutrients that are essential for a healthy body. But if you’re answer is that popping in a pill is simply more convenient then not having the time to appreciate the beauty of eating says a lot about the quality of life you’re living.

Why Take Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is not produced by the body and could only be taken by eating foods that naturally contain this vitamin. It is a water-soluble vitamin and is easily flushed out in our urine. It couldn’t be stored in the body hence a regular supply is required to maintain the recommended amounts in our body.

Boost your Immune System

Taking your recommend dosage of Vitamin C strengthens your immune system. This is not only great way of preventing common ailments but also keeps your body’s natural defenses working in tiptop shape.

Growth and Healing

Vitamin C is essential for proper wound healing. It is required for proper tissue repair. It is an essential component in the skin, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments. It also works with protein to build healthy bones, teeth and cartilages.

Anti-oxidants

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent dangerous toxin and chemical buildup. It could block free radicals that can cause cancer and other ailments. This has been found out to be a contributing factor to heart disease and arthritis. Free radical buildup could also hasten the aging process.

The Best Sources of Vitamin C

Plants and even some animals contain Vitamin C. However, the best food sources of Vitamin C remain to be plant foods. Although animals contain Vitamin C these amounts pale in comparison to their plant counterparts.

The first thing that comes into mind whenever rich sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, and grapefruits). These are the most recommended because they are not only rich in Vitamin C but are also refreshing and do not need any preparation. Other excellent non-citrus sources of Vitamin C include strawberries, kiwifruit, raspberries, watermelon, apples, bananas and pears. In fact, almost every fresh fruit could be used as a daily source of vitamin C. Having a wide choice of fruits makes these a healthy snack choice.

Fruits are not the only top sources for Vitamin C vegetables are also contain this vitamin in high amounts.  Vegetables in general contain large concentrations of vitamin C as well as other nutrients making them a well-rounded food choice. Winter squash, green beans and carrots are among the best. Herbs and spices are also rich sources of Vitamin C. With all the wide choices you might end up asking if you’re vitamin C supplements are really necessary.

Keep them fresh!

The amount of nutrients or Vitamin C contained in these food sources takes a drop as soon as it is picked. However, this could be slowed by proper storage techniques such as cooling. Studies have shown that food sources lose more than fifty percent of their Vitamin C content when allowed to sit at room temperature for a few days.

Canning another popular way of long term storage also has a detrimental effect on the amount of Vitamin C. Canned fruits and vegetables stored for more than half a year lose the original amount of Vitamin C contained before canning.

Cooking or the action of heat contributes to the loss of nutrient content. The amount of loss varies on the amount of heat applied and cooking time. Steaming vegetables for example is a good way since this reduces the amount of Vitamin lost. But when food is exposed for prolonged periods to heat even during steaming, its vitamin C content drops significantly. Steaming should be kept to a minimum or never more than 5 minutes.

The best way of maximizing the amount of vitamin C is to eat these as fresh as possible. Enjoy the natural flavor while getting that much needed dose of Vitamin C.

 

20 Minute Workouts for a Healthier You

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

spring exerciseThe key to jumpstarting your 20-minute workout and ending up with something that provides you quantifiable results is variation. Never underestimate your body’s ability to adapt to routines. Your brain has been hardwired to become receptive to habit formation. In terms of exercise, that’s a bad thing simply because if your body is used to a pattern, you’ll get less muscle-building benefits from your repetitive regimen.

If you become too used to a given exercise, you’ll end up burning fewer calories or gaining less muscle mass because your body has “efficiently” adapted to it, letting you do the same exercise with less metabolic impact and energy used. Ergo, when doing the following exercises, don’t forget to switch them up so that you won’t fall into any patterns and your body is constantly undergoing new routines before it gets too used to old ones.

At any rate, the true challenge of a 20-minute exercise routine is the motivation to do it. In order to end up looking halfway decent with your shirt off, you need to do a lot of work. Besides which, your washboard abs won’t appear until you’ve won against the battle of the bulge and lost enough weight to make your abdominals visible.

To be more specific, you need to have a fat percentage within the single digits in order to get those model-like midsections you see on television. That takes a lot of work and discipline, so celebrities have personal trainers that push them to get in shape. Meanwhile, you only have yourself and your own determination to help you make a change for the better. All the same, you don’t need to go to the gym all day to exercise.

As long as you do a superset of exercises within a short period of time… about twenty to thirty minutes a day… you’re good to go. Each cycle of the superset takes two minutes, and by repeating this daily, you would’ve done enough reps to make yourself look buff, cut, and ripped. Take note of what each superset contains and do them.

The pushup and crunch superset includes ten left to right crunches, ten tricep pushups, ten crunches, ten wide pushups, ten crunches, and ten regular pushups. Meanwhile, the leg and ab superset requires you to repeat five cycles of twenty crunches, twenty calf raises, ten crunches, ten lunges per leg, twenty crunches, and twenty squats. As for running and walking, check out how much you can do within a thirty minute period.

Some can walk two to three miles and others can run double that amount of miles. When running, you can have this menu of things to do. You can jog a quarter of a mile, do three sets of quarter-mile sprints within a period of fifty to a hundred seconds, and jog a mile within seven to eight minutes. You can also do six sets of a sprint covering an eighth of a mile or jog with the same amount of miles.

The rule of thumb here is you can do lengthy walks or sprints with fewer repetitions or do shorter-distance walks or sprints with a greater number of reps. Don’t forget to alternate between indoor and outdoor exercises to keep your body from getting used to either regimen.