Monday, September 15, 2014

10 Tips To Become Your Fittest Self

Do you want to become as fit as you possibly can? Doing 100 sit-ups won't make that happen! Understanding the link between body fat and cortisol levels is key. When cortisol levels go up, so do the inches around your waistline.

So how do you win the next round? Extreme dieting isn’t the answer. What you eat is 80% of the equation. Incorporate the tips below and you'll be on your way toward a flat stomach and fit bod. 

1. Get enough sleep. If you're skimping on Zs, please reconsider. You eat more when your biorhythms are off. When you’re tired, you produce more ghrelin, which triggers cravings for sugar and other fat-building foods. Getting 7 hours of sleep a night is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

2. Drink oolong tea. Oolong tea is a metabolism booster, meaning it helps you burn fat faster. Oolong's unique combination of catechin, an antioxidant, and caffeine ignites your body’s fat-burning furnace and raises your metabolism for up to 2 hours after drinking it. Oolong tea also contains polyphenols that help block fat-building enzymes. Studies have shown that drinking oolong tea supports weight loss.

3. Perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Many people turn to endurance-type cardio workouts, slaving away on the elliptical machine, when trying to lose weight. The problem with this approach: a 45-minute elliptical workout at a consistent pace may help you shed pounds at first, but soon your body will adjust and you'll stop seeing the results.

A better and more effective way to tone your body? HIIT training — or high-intensity interval training. Research has proven that this is the most effective way for losing body fat and changing your body composition because it raises your heart rate while also taxing your muscles. For a 30 day HIIT challenge try Neila Rey's program

4. Eat good fats. Yup, that's right! It takes fat to burn fat. Sugar makes you fat, not fat. Good fats include foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like flaxseed, spinach, and halibut. These foods are nutrient dense and will keep your hunger at bay all day long.

5. Meditate. Feeling stressed leads to your body pumping out more cortisol which can lead to shopping for bigger sizes. To put the brakes on that, try meditation. In a UC San Francisco (UCSF) study, doctors found that those who received training and most actively practiced meditation and mindfulness lost the most body fat. 

6. Lift weights. Lifting weights creates micro-tears in muscles that take more energy (i.e. burns more calories) in the healing process, which can last up to two days after your training session. Try challenging your muscles by lifting heavier weights than you think you can once a week. You will be amazed at what you can actually do.

7. Say NO to sugar. As mentioned above, having a healthy diet is 80% of fat loss. Fill up with protein, vegetables, whole grains, and replace bad habit snacks with good ones. A great trick is putting a sprinkle of cinnamon in your morning coffee or oatmeal (this spice has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar). It also slows the rate at which food exits the stomach, which helps you feel fuller for longer.

8. Get enough vitamin C. When you’re under a lot of stress, your body releases more cortisol hormone. Vitamin C helps balance the cortisol spikes that occur when your body starts churning out too much. Besides being a good way to prevent a cold, Vitamin C is also essential for making carnitine, a compound used by the body to turn fat into fuel, making this vitamin your secret weapon for fighting belly fat. Try eating kiwi fruits, kale or bell peppers. Believe it or not, these pack in even more Vitamin C than oranges!

9. Remember the "F" word. Fiber, people! The bulk takes up more space in your stomach which makes you feel full longer and therefore eat less throughout the day. So try eating more oatmeal, beans, and veggies to get your fiber intake up!

10. When it comes to greens, get bitter. Bitter greens like kale, arugula, mustard greens, collards and escarole are diet staples that aid in digestion and de-bloating. Bitter foods are also known to stimulate and support better digestion. These dark greens are packed with vitamins and fiber that your body needs to stay lean. Most bitter greens are also great anti-inflammatories, which means they can help fight bloating and water retention.

Article courtesy of MindBodyGreen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Your Daily Dose of Turmeric

Turmeric has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. It is widely used in cooking and gives Indian curry its flavor and yellow color.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, studies suggest that turmeric may be helpful for the following conditions:

Indigestion - controlled studies found that turmeric reduced symptoms of bloating and gas.

Heart Disease - early studies suggested that turmeric may help prevent atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that can block arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke.

Cancer - there has been a lot of research on turmeric's anti-cancer properties, but results are still very early. Evidence suggests that curcumin, the active substance in turmeric, may help prevent or treat several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon cancer. Its preventive effects may be because it is a strong antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. 

Turmeric and curcumin can be consumed as supplements and are considered safe when taken at the recommended doses. However, please consult your health care provider if you're currently taking medication or have any of the medical conditions mentioned in the source link below.

Note: Because bromelain increases the absorption and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, it is often combined with turmeric products. 

Source: Turmeric | University of Maryland Medical Center

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

3 Must-Have Apps Before Hitting the Grocery Store

Below are 3 apps to equip you with the information and resources you need to keep filling your shopping cart with fresh, healthy foods.
Fooducate - Using this app will make you think twice about buying your favorite “all-natural” granola bar. This app gives you the good, the bad, and the ugly of popular grocery store products.
ShopWell - The personal nutritionist you’ve always wanted is here, and FREE, in app form. The app lists products that will help you meet your goals, whether you're trying to go gluten-free, lose 20 lbs, or lower your blood pressure.ShopWell has more than 1.3 million users.
True Foods - Genetically engineered foods are a rising concern and should be on your radar when you’re picking up groceries. “Upwards of 75% of processed foods on supermarket shelves contain genetically engineered ingredients,” according to the Center for Food Safety. This app makes it easy to search for food brands with no genetically modified ingredients.
This article courtesy of TakePart, a host for news and lifestyle stories by the world’s foremost thought leaders, journalists, academics, and activists.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cacao is the new superfood, but what the heck is it?!

Cacao is essentially raw chocolate, also called raw cacao nibs, and it provides important benefits to your intestinal regularity, heart and blood vessels and blood sugar level.
Dietary Fiber - Cacao may help to keep your bowel movements regular. A 1-ounce serving of raw cacao nibs contains 36% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, or 9 grams.
Cardiovascular Health - One of the main health benefits of cacao is for the arteries in your heart and brain. Consuming cacao foods may decrease your likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack, according to clinical studies published in the "Journal of the American College of Cardiology" and the "Journal of Internal Medicine."
Polyphenols - Cacao polyphenols may improve the health of your heart and brain arteries by serving as antioxidants and inhibiting blood platelets from forming a clot. If your blood cholesterol is somewhat elevated, cacao polyphenols may also lower your “bad” cholesterol, and raise your “good” cholesterol levels.
Blood Pressure and Glucose - The fiber and polyphenols in cacao may work together to help control your blood pressure and blood glucose levels, as suggested by a recent clinical study in "Food and Function."
Wild Blueberry & Cacao Smoothie
- 1/2 cup kale, finely chopped
- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
- 1 T raw cacoa powder
- 1/2 cup liquid - either coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk OR water
- 1 T chia seed
Mix in a blender and enjoy!

Monday, February 24, 2014

5 Numbers to Know for Good Heart Health

We all have a lot of numbers in our heads, but heart experts at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center say there are 5 you need to know to help keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
1. Blood Pressure - A normal blood pressure is under 120/80. Talk to your doctor if it's higher than that. Simple life-style changes can help lower it.
2. Waist Circumference - Fat carried around the abdomen increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Measure your waist at the belly button.Women should be at least less than 35 inches and men less than 40 inches.
3. Cholesterol - It's important to know your total cholesterol number and your LDL number. LDL is the bad cholesterol that can cause problems. A healthy cholesterol number is below 200, and a healthy LDL number is below 100.
4. Blood Sugar - This indicates how much glucose is in the blood. High levels can cause diabetes, which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. A healthy fasting blood sugar number is under 100 after not eating for 8 hours.
5. BMI (Body Mass Index) - This number indicates if you're at a healthy weight based on your age and height. Use an online BMI calculator to get your number. A BMI less than 18.5 is underweight; below 25 is normal; 25 through 29.9 is overweight; 30+ is considered obese.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., killing about 600,000 Americans each year.
If you can reduce any of the above numbers, you can lower your overall lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease.
Article courtesy of Epoch Times

Monday, February 10, 2014

Like humans, all organisms have genetic material. When scientists alter genetic material, or DNA, it's called genetic modification (GM). Historically, crops have been genetically tweaked to be herbicide-resistant or insect-resistant, and scientists are stacking traits to address both pest and weed problems.

Market watchers estimate that upwards of 70% of processed foods in your local supermarket contain genetically modified ingredients.

Here’s a look at the major genetically engineered foods that have made it onto the dinner plate.

Corn - Number 1 crop in the U.S. Nearly 88% of corn is genetically modified. In addition to being added to innumerable processed foods, genetically modified corn is a staple of animal feed.

Soy - 93% of soy is genetically modified. Soy is a staple of processed foods under various names including hydrogenated oils, lecithin, emulsifiers, and proteins.

Cottonseed - 94% of cotton grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. Cottonseeds are culled from cotton, and then used for vegetable oil, margarine or frying foods, such as potato chips.

Alfalfa - Farmers feed alfalfa to dairy cows, the source of milk, butter, yogurt, meat and so much more. Alfalfa is the fourth largest crop grown in the U.S., behind corn, soybeans, and wheat.

Papaya - 75% of the Hawaiian papaya crop is genetically modified.

Canola - 90% of the U.S. canola crop is genetically modified. Canola oil is used in cooking, as well as biofuels.

Sugar Beets - 54% of sugar sold in America comes from sugar beets. Genetically modified sugar beets account for 90% of the crop.

Statistics and information provided by the US Department of Agriculture and the Huffington Post.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Goji Hemp Milkshake with Raspberries

1 cup shelled hemp seeds, soaked overnight 
3 cups filtered water 
1 tsp pure vanilla powder or 1/2 vanilla bean 
1/2 cup dried goji berries, soaked overnight 
1 cup raspberries 
3 Tbsp raw agave nectar or other raw sweetener
1) Strain water from soaked hemp seeds and goji berries and place them in a high speed blender along with remaining ingredients. 
2) Blend until you get a smooth, creamy texture. 
3) Pour in glasses, garnish with goji berries and sprinkle with hemp seeds.

BENEFITS: Research shows that eating berries -- like blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries, and cherries -- offer definite health benefits. It may be because berries like the goji berry are filled with powerful antioxidants and other compounds. Goji berries also have compounds rich in vitamin A. Antioxidants minimize damage from free radicals that injure cells and damage DNA. When a cell's DNA changes, the cell grows abnormally. Antioxidants can take away the destructive power of free radicals.