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In the News: Bottled Water Versus Tap Water

At one point or another in our lifetime we have been given the choice of bottled or tap water. Which did you choose? Why did you make that choice? Could you taste a difference?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studies show that most people have made the switch from tap water to bottled water in the last four years. But tap water is just as safe as bottled water research from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows.

Because of the rigorous standards placed on tap water by public health organizations, under normal circumstances bottled water is not necessarily any safer or cleaner than tap water.   Plus tap water does not come with any additional waste or cost that is associated with bottled water.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop drinking bottled water all together.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs the quality of bottled water and the regulations are as stringent as the EPA standards for tap water.  But since bottled water can get costly, here are some suggestions to make sure your tap water is of the finest quality.

  • Consider using a filter like Brita or ZeroWater, that specifically targets the contaminants in water.
  • Find out where your tap water is drawn from – if it’s a private well, then it isn’t regulated as strictly as a public well.
  • Find out what kind of pipes your home has – if it was built before the 1970s, your home may have lead-lined pipes that could throw off the quality of your water.

Jalapenos Hot and Healthy

Want to add some spice into your life? Then adding peppers is literally a quick way of adding some much needed spice to your food that is. When it comes to peppers, Jalapenos is one serious hot spice. But what gives Jalapenos its kick?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capsaicin

Peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical that gives its spicy flavor. This is found in the fruits of plants in the Capsicum family which includes bell peppers, jalapenos and chili peppers in general. The greatest concentration of capsaicin can be found in the white membranes of the pepper and the fleshy part contains less.

The Scoville Scale is used to measure the capsaicin content in chili peppers. This is expressed as Scoville Heat Units. Surprisingly, Bell peppers do not contain capsaicin and measures zero in the Scoville Scale. Capsaicin is the source of heat in chili peppers. But besides giving its signature taste, capsaicin can also cause a burning skin sensation. And when not careful, it can even irritate or burn the eyes.

Health Benefits

Jalapenos score high in the Scoville Scale and this is due to its high capsaicin content. And the many health benefits of Jalapenos can be traced to this. Capsaicin helps people lose weight, stop bacterial growth, fight cancer, improves vision and stops the common cold. So the next time you have a craving for Jalapenos take a look below at is many health benefits.

Helps You Lose Weight

Eating chili is an easy way to raise your body temperature a few degrees higher. The capsaicin contained in pepper helps you raise your core body temperature and boost your metabolism. Capsaicin also helps you burn more calories after a meal. Eating Jalapeno and other spicy foods also reduces your appetite causing you to eat less. By raising your metabolism, helping you burn more calories and reducing your appetite Jalapenos can certainly help you lose weight.

Fights the Common Cold

A natural way of getting rid of colds is to load yourself with Vitamin C. And aside from containing capsaicin, Jalapeno is also loaded with Vitamin C. A serving of Jalapeno contains 60 percent of the recommended dose of Vitamin C which makes it one of the best sources for this vitamin. Jalapeno contains more Vitamin C than an orange making one of the top sources of Vitamin C.

Vitamin C powers the immune system helping fight off infections and even the common cold. It helps build white blood cells, the immune system’s workhorse.  Taking Vitamin C rich foods strengthens the body’s immune system reducing episodes of colds. It helps us loosen mucus and hastens the recovery process.

Better Eyesight

Another Vitamin which Jalapenos contain in good amounts is Vitamin A. in fact, it contains 17% of the recommended daily allowance for this vitamin. Aside from Vitamin A, Jalapenos also contain phytonutrients and lutein. These important nutrients are essential for good eyesight and are needed by the retina. Getting your recommended daily allowance of these nutrients prevents eye problems later in life.

Cancer Fighter

Capsaicin contained in Jalapeno reduce cancer cell growth by turning protein which fuels it growth. This has been especially effective in people with breast cancer.

Migraine Treatment

Capsaicin when applied topically or as a cream can help eliminate migraine. Capsaicin promotes the release of pain peptides which help reduce pain. Those who used topical capsaicin helped reduce pain intensity from mild to moderate.

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.

Heart Health: Obesity and Your Risk Factor

It’s a well-known fact that being overweight increases your chance of being at risk of a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.  But research shows that even a small amount of weight loss can lessen your risk of falling victim to these deadly diseases.

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Research also shows that, unfortunately, eating just 100 more calories a day than you should, can cause your body weight to be in the obese category and not just the overweight category.

To determine whether or not you are overweight or obese, use a BMI Calculator.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight; a BMI between 30 and 39.9 is considered obese.  If your BMI is greater than 25 and you are older than 30 years old, you should strongly consider losing weight to reduce your risk of heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.

Pilates Moves to Help You Get Bikini Ready

Fitness for All

pilates

Pilates is one of the best ways to tone the hips, thighs, waist and abs… all places that you want tone when you are donning your bikini on the beach this summer.

Here are the some Pilates moves that you should be doing for that beach bod…

“The Hundred” – Start lying on your back and lift your legs 45 degrees off the mat and lengthen out through your arms as you lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor. Pump your arms vigorously up and down five times on an inhalation and five times on an exhalation. Repeat 10 times for 100 pumps.

“Single-leg circles” – Start lying on your back and lift your right leg up and keep your body still as you make 8 clockwise circles, then 8 counter-clockwise. Repeat with your left leg.

“Single-leg straight-leg stretch” – Start lying on your back and lift your head, neck, and shoulders up. Kick your left leg straight up and pull twice with your hands as you lengthen your right leg, then switch and pull the right leg. Continue alternating legs for 8 reps.

“Double leg stretch” – Pull your knees to your chest and lift your head and neck off the floor. Extend your arms overhead and your legs out to 45 degrees, then circle your arms around and pull your knees back in to your chest. Repeat 8 times.

“Small circles” – Start lying on your side with your legs slightly in front of your hips. Lift your top leg a few inches, turn your toes up to the ceiling. Circle your leg forward 8 times then backwards 8 times, making tiny circles. Don’t let your body rock at all–stay solid in your center. Repeat on the left side.

Eating Schedule – Before and After Workouts

personal trainer
Dedicating yourself to a healthy lifestyle by eating the right diet and living a more actively seems simple. But it entails a lot of discipline and a little know how. This is true especially for those who are planning to spend a couple of hours at the gym.

The body needs a steady source of energy and nutrients. This holds true for those planning to lose weight or adding muscles. Energy is needed to power your various workout exercises and getting enough energy is essential to proper functioning in the gym. What happens after workouts is also essential. It determines the most safest and opportune time to eat and help your body in the recovery process.

Before Workouts

If you’re planning to go on a workout it is important for you to adjust eating times accordingly. Working out with a full stomach could have a negative effect on your workout. The body spends energy digesting, energy which is needed during a workout. This only makes you tire easily as your body divides itself between digesting and providing you with energy during workouts.

Working out in the gym entails focus both mentally and physically. And a full stomach could make you feel lethargic or overly relaxed. Lifting weights especially free weights can be taxing mentally and needs full focus. Hard to do when your body is still busy digesting a meal.

Eating after Workouts

Your body’s natural reaction after a workout is to replace lost energy stores. Strenuous workouts may have caused minor muscle tear which require immediate repair. Feelings of hunger is triggered, signaling you that your body is in need of instant nourishment.

If you’re about to go through a long workout, one or two hours for example. Be sure to have something handy to provide you with a quick energy source. Eat snacks rich in protein and carbohydrates. Bring snacks in the gym to immediately replenish energy and jumpstart the repairing process. Water is also essential. This is needed to prevent dehydration after a grueling workout.

A 15 minute minimum is required after exercising before you eat.

For those not hungry

For some especially for those whose goal is losing weight, eating after your workout could be detrimental to your weight loss efforts. Eating after a workout actually helps the body restock lost fats which might have been lost during the workout. If you feel hungry, only consume that which is enough to keep you going through the day.

Drink water, pure fruit juices or an energy drink to prevent dehydration and replace lost electrolytes. Even when you’re not feeling hungry or trying to lose weight, replacing lost electrolytes is essential for maintaining proper energy levels.

Eating habits before and after workouts

Working out in the gym is one of the best and fastest way to a healthier body. But it entails an extra sense of discipline. This includes proper eating habits to maximize every second you spend in the gym. So the next time you plan on going to the gym, take note of this simple guide on eating before and after workouts.

Improving Brain Functioning through Healthy Eating

Healthy food
You can’t deny the fact that as we age, our body ages right along with us. Research shows that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain if you add “smart” foods to your daily regimen.

Blueberries

Studies shows that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Diets rich in blueberries also improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to younger rats, as shown in some studies. Researchers also recommend adding at least 1 cup of blueberries a day in any form.

Wild salmon

Salmon, a deep-water fish is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. Wild salmon is recommended for its “cleanliness” and it is in plentiful supply. Anti-inflammatory substances are also found in omega-3s. Sardines and herring also provide the benefits of omega-3. A 4-ounce serving, two to three times a week is recommended.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are foods rich in vitamin E. Higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. An additional ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower needs, sesame seeds, flax seed and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini.

Avocados

In promoting brain health, avocados are almost as good as blueberries. Avocado is a fatty fruit, a monounsaturated fat that contributes to healthy blood flow. It also lowers blood pressure. Add ¼ to ½ of an avocado to one daily meal as a side dish because avocadoes are high in calories.

Whole grains

Whole grains like oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can reduce the risk for heart disease. Whole grains release glucose slowly into bloodstream that keeps you mentally alert throughout the day.

Beans

Beans stabilize glucose levels. The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel and it can’t store the glucose as it relies on a steady stream of energy that beans can provide. Add ½ cup of lentils and black beans every day.

Pomegranate juice

This fruit offer potent antioxidant benefits that protect the brain from the damage of free radicals. Citrus fruits and colorful vegetables are on the list of the “brainy” foods because of their anti oxidant properties. Approximately 2 ounces is recommended daily diluted with spring water or seltzer.

Freshly brewed tea

Hot or iced, two to three cups a day of freshly brewed tea contains a modest amount of caffeine. It can boost brain power by enhancing memory, focus and mood. It also has potent antioxidants, which promotes healthy blood flow. Tea bags do count too.

Dark chocolate

This food has a powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants that includes caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration and it stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. To provide all the benefits you need, take one-half ounce to 1 ounce a day. You have to do this in moderation.

Addicted to Junk Food

junk food addiction
According to a recent study published in the journal “Nature Neuroscience,” a high-calorie diet, including junk food, may be as addictive as drugs like nicotine or even cocaine. The study, conducted on rats, shows that overconsumption of high-calorie foods can trigger addiction-like responses in the brain, thereby turning the rats into compulsive eaters.

Decreased levels of a specific dopamine receptor – a brain chemical that allows a feeling of reward – have been found in these overweight rats, as they are found in humans with drug addictions. The research was conducted in conjunction with the announcement that obesity-related diseases cost the U.S. and estimated $150 billion each year and an estimated two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are obese or overweight.

Researchers say that eating snack foods are okay to eat from time to time; it’s when we repeatedly overindulge that the problems begin.

Food Tip: Halt Cravings With Pleasant Mental Images

outdoors mood booster
Tired of your food cravings getting the best of you?  A new study shows that you can curb cravings with one simple step – mental images.  Just picture something, anything that isn’t food-related – a white sandy beach, a starry sky, a beautiful mountain range, the sight of your significant other.

Studies have shown than when people have a craving for food if they picture something that makes them happy, but isn’t that hot fudge sundae, that they can actually curb their cravings on their own without caving in.

Researchers suggest that by enlisting the help of your other senses and picturing some enjoyable activity that it takes the edge off their food urge.

While those studies didn’t resist their cravings each and every time, it did help to prevent them from giving in each and every time.  Over time using mental images just may help to keep off those extra pounds.