Friday, December 30, 2016

Morning glory muffins


Healthy baking ingredient swaps

Take a cue from this muffin recipe and learn how to make healthy adjustments to your favorite baked goods.
Who doesn't love warm cookies or muffins right out of the oven? Feel good about indulging in these occasional treats by swapping in healthier ingredients. As you can see from the before-and-after muffin recipe below, making a few small changes can make a big difference in the amount of fat, calories and salt in a serving.

Recipe makeover: Morning glory muffins

*Makes 18 small muffins
Original ingredients Healthier options Comments
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat flour Substituting whole-wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour will increase the muffins' fiber content.
1 1/2 cups sugar 3/4 cup sugar Cutting the sugar in half reduces calories, and there are ways to make up for the sweetness with spices.
2 teaspoons baking soda No change Don't reduce the baking soda, a leavening agent, or the muffins may be too flat or dense.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon Doubling the cinnamon enhances the sweetness on your tongue, helping make up for halving the amount of sugar.
1/2 teaspoon salt Omit You can get rid of the extra sodium from the salt because the baking soda contains sodium and provides leavening.
3 large eggs 3/4 cup egg substitute Replacing each egg with 1/4 egg substitute will reduce saturated fat and cholesterol.
1 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce Cutting the oil in half and making up the difference with unsweetened applesauce, will reduce fat and help keep the muffins moist.
1/2 cup coconut Omit Leaving out coconut will cut saturated fat and calories.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Doubling the vanilla will enhance the sweetness and more than make up for cutting the amount of sugar.
2 cups peeled and chopped apple 2 cups chopped apple (unpeeled) Leaving the skin on the apples is an easy way to increase the muffins' fiber content.
1/2 cup raisins No change Don't increase the amount of raisins. Raisins are calorie/energy dense, meaning they have a lot of calories in just a small portion.
1/2 cup grated carrots 3/4 cup grated carrots By bumping up the amount of carrots in your recipe, you'll increase nutrients, such as vitamin A and fiber, and compensate in flavor for the omitted coconut.
1/2 cup chopped pecans 2 tablespoons chopped pecans Cutting back on the pecans will reduce fat and calories.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Whisk to blend evenly. In a separate bowl, add the egg substitute, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in the apples, raisins and carrots. Add to the flour mixture and blend just until moistened but still slightly lumpy. Spoon the batter into muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and bake until springy to the touch, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool completely.

 Note: If 18 muffins are too many, freeze the ones you won't eat to preserve the freshness. Then grab them from the freezer as needed and pop in the microwave to warm up slightly before serving.
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Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Surprising Reasons Why Yoga is Better Than Going to the Gym

Yoga, being an all-round exercise, assures a healthy body, mind, and spirit. It is also a cheaper and more convenient way of working out, as it can be done anywhere and at any time. With these, and many more arguments, yoga actually fares much better than going to the gym. 

While deciding any type of exercise over the other, your approach and purpose behind making a choice is very important. Let's say yoga is the best. But, it is not like an intensive 15-day routine that will help you lose five pounds a week. Although, if you seek complete health, then it is the perfect option for you.

In this age of race and competition, what we continuously aim at is achieving a balance. That is what yoga teaches us. To balance, not only through physical postures, but throughout several facets in our life. According to Patanjali, yoga is 'Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha', or the cessation of mental fluctuations. Calming the mind is what yoga is all about. So gym or yoga? Which is better? Let's find out.

Why Yoga is Good For You


Going to the gym mostly trains only the physique. It strengthens the muscles and makes the body sturdy and well-built. Yoga, on the other hand, tones the body as well as the mind. Flexibility is attained when you practice different asanas (postures); these make you lean. But yoga is not merely about the asanas, as it also includes various breathing practices that ensure a healthy and peaceful mind.

No Equipment Needed
Except for the fact that you must be awake, yoga requires no preparation, nor any heavy equipment for a workout. It can be practiced anywhere. If I feel like doing some asanas early in the morning at 4 o'clock, I can. All I need is myself, and perhaps a mat (a carpet works too). That is definitely affordable, right? 

No Risk of Injuries
Another point where yoga wins over training in the gym, is that it is free from any risks of physical injury. You do not have the chance of accidentally hurting yourself because you lifted weights, or because you were in an uncomfortable position. In yoga, you move and stretch with ease, and only where you can.
Improves Metabolism
Metabolism refers to the chemical processes within our body that break down matter (food) to produce energy components like proteins. Digestion is an important element of metabolism. Yoga improves your digestive system. If you do not feel hunger, you would start to, or if you tend to overeat, you would begin to cut down on some comfort food.

The environment in a gym is different, where you tend to compare yourself with the people around you. How much faster, how much better than others can I do, is the goal while you are walking on a treadmill or in an aerobics session. You tend to simply follow the group in a gym routine. On the contrary, yoga requires you to focus on yourself, no one else matters. You may be a little bulkier than others, but the shape of your body is not important here.
A Stress Buster
After a heavy workout at the gym, you may experience fatigue and tiredness. Alternatively, with yoga, which mostly ends with a few minutes of breathing and meditation, you don't experience that. It is a powerful stress buster, as it heals you from both, the outside and inside.
Healthy Eating Habits
A routine in the gym may make you feel hungry after exercise, and also stressed out at times. You may end up consuming as much calories as you burned, or even more. The goodness of yoga lies in that it naturally directs you to healthy dietary habits. You tend to eat at the right times, and the right quantities of highly nutritious foods. All because you know the rhythm of your body.

Breathing Connects the Mind and Body
Mindfulness, being in the present, and introspection occurs, of course, when one practices yoga. Any change in our emotions alters our breathing pattern. So, our breath is the only powerful tool to control our emotions, that further helps us maintain a healthy body. We learn about our body through a variety of postures. The mind-body union, which is the basic underlying concept of 'yoga' ('yuj' the root term meaning union), also improves memory and the ability to concentrate. 

Saves Time and Money

saves Time and Money
One of the simplest reasons of why yoga is good, is that it saves a lot of time and money. You need not waste your time in traveling to the gym, nor adjusting yourself to the gym timings. Also, the fees you pay to get in shape seem a waste when you again put on weight, because you discontinued the exercise. Yoga saves you all that trouble.
Physical exercise combined with meditation inculcates happiness and peace within. So, especially today, when most of the stress is mental and psychological, yoga provides a better way to find your own self, and accept it happily... READ NEXT ARTICLE

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

7 Clear Signs You Could Have High Blood Sugar


You’ve got cotton mouth

When your kidneys can no longer filter out glucose, the body becomes dehydrated. And while a little thirst may seem like a minor inconvenience, over time dehydration damages the body and leads to other symptoms, including a spike in blood sugar levels as the body revs up adrenaline, a natural insulin blocker. Not sure if you’re dehydrated? Check these unexpected signs of dehydration

You’re hitting the bathroom—a lot

 Although it seems illogical, increased thirst is related to frequent urination. When blood sugar is high, the body directs excess fluid to the kidneys, causing them to work overtime to filter the blood and produce extra urine output. Since increased thirst may lead to increased drinking, you might not notice at first, but if urine output seems to be more than what you’d expect based on what you’re drinking, it may point to high blood 

You’ve got brain fog

Much like cars need gas, the human body requires fuel in order to operate optimally. Glucose is the fuel that powers the body, and when there isn’t enough insulin to move that fuel through the body properly, the body doesn’t get the power it needs. That often leads to general fatigue and trouble concentrating. Check out these tips for regaining your focus. 

Everything’s blurry

When blood sugar levels are too high, the lens of the eye swells, making vision blurry. Lowering the blood sugar should return vision to normal.  Diabetics are recommended to receive regular eye exams for this reason, as extended and severe high blood sugar can cause permanent damage, even blindness.  

Scrapes and bruises are sticking around

 Having high blood sugar can slow the natural healing processes of the body. When blood sugar is high, arteries stiffen, causing a narrowing of blood vessels and decreased blood flow throughout the body. In turn, blood does not reach wounds as quickly, so they get less oxygen and nutrients to help fight infection and promote healing. Wound ulcers are common when blood sugar is too high. Try these 10 herbs and spices to speed 

Your pants are looser

 Although it might seem like a positive side effect, weight loss caused by high blood sugar is extremely unhealthy. When weight loss results from high blood sugar, it’s because the body turns to burning fat instead of using glucose for energy, and because large amounts of glucose leave the body through urine. If you’re losing weight without changing your diet or exercise habits, it could be a sign of high blood sugar

You could use a nap

because high blood sugar causes the body to waste glucose, the fuel that normally powers the body, you may feel tired. It’s even worse if you’re also waking up multiple times during the night to pee. If you start reaching for high-carbohydrate snacks to boost your flagging energy, you’ll only further hike your blood sugar levels in a vicious cycle. Instead of reaching for pizza and pasta, try these quick-hit tips to beat fatigue in just minutes.

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Healing Herbs and Spices



capsaicin, the oily compound in cayenne and its peppery cousins, is the active ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter creams, ointments, and patches for arthritis and muscle pain; it's also used for treating shingles pain and diabetes-related nerve pain. Cayenne is thought to act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Sprinkle some onto your chicken soup to turbocharge that traditional cold remedy, since cayenne shrinks blood vessels in your nose and throat, relieving congestion. It's also a metabolism booster, speeding up your calorie-burning furnace for a couple of hours after eating. Studies find that it also has some anticancer properties, and researchers are exploring its potential as a cancer treatment. Finally, in at least one study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that people with diabetes who ate a meal containing liberal amounts of chile pepper required less post-meal insulin to reduce their blood sugar, suggesting the spice may have anti-diabetes benefits. 


Cinnamon is actually one of the most powerful healing spices, and has become most famous for its ability to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. As little as 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon a day could cut triglycerides and total cholesterol levels by 12 to 30 percent. Cinnamon can even help prevent blood clots, making it especially heart smart. Like many other spices, cinnamon has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It's been shown to conquer E. coli, among other types of bacteria. Researchers have even discovered recently that it's rich in antioxidants called polyphenols—another reason it's good for your heart. It's also high in fiber (after all, it comes from the bark of a tree) and can reduce heartburn in some people.


Cloves contain an anti-inflammatory chemical called eugenol. In recent studies, this chemical inhibited COX-2, a protein that spurs inflammation (the same protein that so-called COX-2 inhibitor drugs such as Celebrex quash). Cloves also ranked very high in antioxidant properties in one study. The combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties spells heaps of health benefits, from boosting protection from heart disease to helping stave off cancer, as well as slowing the cartilage and bone damage caused by arthritis. Compounds in cloves, like those found in cinnamon, also appear to improve insulin function. Have a toothache? Put a couple of whole cloves in your mouth. Let them soften a bit, then bite on them gently with good molars to release their oil. Then move them next to the painful tooth and keep them there for up to half an hour. Clove oil has a numbing effect in addition to bacteria-fighting powers. In test tubes, cloves also killed certain bacteria that were resistant to antibiotics. 


Coriander seeds yield cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley, a staple herb in Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian cooking. The seeds have been used for thousands of years as a digestive aid. Try making a strong tea from crushed seeds (strain before drinking). The herb can be helpful for some people with irritable bowel syndrome, as it calms intestinal spasms that can lead to diarrhea. Preliminary studies in animals support another traditional use for coriander—as an antianxiety herb. Its essential oil appears to fight bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. It's also being studied for its potential cholesterol-reducing benefits and has been shown to lower cholesterol in animals.Like many other herbs, this one acts as an antioxidant. According to one study, cilantro leaves provide the most antioxidant punch. 


Smash a clove of garlic; the odor comes from byproducts of allicin, the sulfur compound believed to be responsible for most of the herb's medicinal benefits and what gives garlic its bite. When eaten daily, garlic can help lower heart disease risk by as much as 76 percent: it moderately reduces cholesterol levels (between 5 and 10 percent in some studies), thins the blood and thereby staves off dangerous clots, and acts as an antioxidant. Garlic's sulfur compounds also appear to ward off cancer, especially stomach and colorectal cancer. The compounds flush out carcinogens before they can damage cell DNA, and they force cancer cells that do develop to self-destruct. Strongly antibacterial and antifungal, garlic can help with yeast infections, some sinus infections, and the common cold. It can even repel ticks. 


This root has played a major part in Asian and Indian medicine for centuries, primarily as a digestive aid. Today researchers are most excited by ginger's ability to combat inflammation. Several studies have found that ginger (and turmeric) reduces pain and swelling in people with arthritis. It may work against migraines by blocking inflammatory substances called prostaglandins. And because it reduces inflammation, it may also play a role in preventing and slowing the growth of cancer. Ginger's still good for the tummy, too. It works in the digestive tract, boosting digestive juices and neutralizing acids as well as reducing intestinal contractions. It's proven quite effective against nausea. In fact, at least one study found ginger to work just as well as Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) and other nausea-stopping drugs, with the added benefit that it doesn't make you sleepy. The trick is to take it before you think you may become nauseated. It's also an effective, short-term treatment for morning sickness. 


 Mustard is made from the seeds of a plant in the cabbage family, a strongly anticancer group of plants. It contains compounds that studies suggest may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Mustard also packs enough heat to break up congestion, the reason it was traditionally used in chest plasters. Like cayenne pepper, it has the ability to deplete nerve cells of substance P, a chemical that transmits pain signals to the brain, when used externally. A mustard compress also brings more blood to the fingers of people with Raynaud's phenomenon, a circulatory problem that causes frigid fingers. Mustard is also said to stimulate appetite by increasing the flow of saliva and digestive juices. A bit of mustard powder added to a footbath helps kill athlete's foot fungus. Don't eat too many mustard seeds or more than a teaspoon of mustard powder; the former has a strong laxative effect, while the latter can induce vomiting


Like cloves, nutmeg contains eugenol, a compound that may benefit the heart. Some historians link its popularity in the spice trade to the hallucinatory effects that result from ingesting large amounts. The euphoria, which is due to nutmeg's active ingredient, myristicin, is described as similar to that caused by the drug ecstasy. But it also packs some nasty side effects, and nutmeg poisoning is a very real risk. Medically, nutmeg (the seed of an evergreen tree) and mace (the covering of the seed) have strong antibacterial properties. It's been found to kill a number of bacteria in the mouth that contribute to cavities. Myristicin has also been shown to inhibit an enzyme in the brain that contributes to Alzheimer's disease and to improve memory in mice, and researchers are currently studying its potential as an antidepressant. 


 Perhaps it's no coincidence that 'sage' describes a wise person; the herb is a known memory enhancer and has been shown in some lab studies to protect the brain against certain processes that lead to Alzheimer's disease. In at least one human study, a sage-oil concoction improved the mood of participants, increasing their alertness, calmness, and contentedness. In a British study, healthy young adults performed better on word recall tests after taking sage-oil capsules. Like so many other herbs and spices, sage has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as anticancer actions. One of its phytochemicals is thujone, best known as a chemical in the liquor absinthe that is said (falsely) to have hallucinatory effects. Today sage shows potential as a diabetes treatment. It appears to boost the action of insulin and reduce blood sugar. As a result, sage is sometimes called nature's metformin since it performs like the common antidiabetes drug. Some researchers have already suggested that sage supplements may help prevent type 2 diabetes.


Turmeric, the spice that gives curry powder its yellow hue, is used in Indian medicine to stimulate the appetite and as a digestive aid. But lately it's getting attention as a potentially powerful cancer fighter. The chemical responsible for turmeric's golden color, called curcumin, is considered a top anticancer agent, helping to quell the inflammation that contributes to tumor growth and working in much the same way as broccoli and cauliflower to clear carcinogens away before they can damage cellular DNA and to repair already damaged DNA. Lab studies show turmeric helps stop the growth and spread of cancer cells that do form. Research suggests that it may protect against colon cancer as well as melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey are investigating a combination of curcumin and phenethyl isothiocyanate (the anticancer compound in cruciferous vegetables) as a possible treatment for prostate cancer. Studies have also linked turmeric to reduced inflammation in a number of conditions, including psoriasis. In animal studies, curcumin decreased the formation of amyloid, the stuff that makes up the brain deposits characteristic in people with Alzheimer's disease. 
Article from readers digest


Mediterranean white fish steaks





  • 2 large tomato(es)
    cored and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 small onion(s)
  • 2 tablespoon capers
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon oil, olive
  • 1/4 cup(s) cheese, feta, reduced-fat
  • 1 medium zucchini
    trimmed and thinly sliced into rounds
  • 4 fillet(s) fish, white fish, firm flesh
    (4 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning, salt free
    Serves 4
    Set the best 4 tomato slices aside. Chop the remaining tomatoes into small cubes. Place the tomato cubes into a bowl and add the onion, capers, vinegar, olive oil and feta cheese. Stir to mix.
    Place the oven rack in the upper position and preheat broiler to high. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Place zucchini rounds in a single layer on one baking sheet and fish fillets on the other sheet. Spray the top sides with cooking spray.
    Place the zucchini under the broiler for about 1 minute. Turn and season with half the lemon pepper. Broil for another minute and move the baking sheet to the bottom of the oven to keep warm.
    Place the fish fillets under the broiler for about 3 minutes. Turn and continue broiling until the fillets spring back to light pressure, about 3 to 6 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets. Season with the remaining lemon pepper.
    Place 1 tomato slice on each of four plates. Arrange zucchini in an overlapping circle on top of the tomatoes. Place a fish fillet on the zucchini and top with the diced tomato mixture.
    Serving size: 1 fillet with vegetables


5 Healthy Breakfast Smoothies That Taste Like Desserts



  Desserts are arguably one of the best parts of the Life. As much as we'd love to gorge on all our favorite treats, it's not exactly the best idea for your waistline.

Luckily, you can get your dessert fix in record time by turning your morning smoothie into a sweet treat. These delicious and healthy breakfast smoothies taste just like your favorite  desserts   but come with a fraction of the calories. Plus, they're loaded with good-for-you ingredients that will keep you full and fueled till lunchtime. These weight loss smoothies may taste like you're being naughty, but I  promise you'll stay on the healthy list.




Apple Pie Smoothie What you'll need:

1 frozen banana
1/2 apple (whatever type you want), cored, peeled and chopped
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

What to do: Add ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth.

Source: PaleOMG


Banana Cream Pie Smoothie What you'll need:

1 cup sliced ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
2 tablespoons whole-wheat graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ice cubes (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons whole wheat graham cracker crumbs, plus additional for garnish
What to do: Add ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth.

Source: Maureen Callahan



Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pie Smoothie What you'll need:

1 large frozen banana
2-3 large ice cubes
1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
1 scoop whey chocolate protein powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Optional: 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips

What to do: Add ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth.

Source: Fit Foodie Finds




Salted Caramel Smoothie What you'll need:

1 frozen banana (if not frozen, add 1 cup of ice to smoothie)
2 tablespoon Tate+Lyle Caramel Pure Cane Syrup
1 cup milk
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream and caramel sauce, for topping (optional)

What to do: Add ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth. 

Cinnamon Roll Smoothie What you'll need:

1 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 frozen banana (or fresh, but add in 3-4 ice cubes)

What to do: Add ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth.

Source: Family Fresh Meals

Source: Family Fresh Meals
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Why You Should NEVER Eat Fried Food

 Fried food at restaurants is often a health disaster. Most people have been warned away from eating fried food for one reason or another, all revolving around the fact that it is simply bad for you. The problem with eating fried food outside of your home is that restaurants don’t have the incentive to invest in healthier types of oils, and that the way things are cooked is out of your control.
Below are 5 key reasons of why eating fried foods at restaurants or buying pre-packaged fried foods can be a very unhealthy choice.

Fried Foods Increase Binge Eating

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found a positive correlation between how often children eat fried foods and their body mass indexes. On top of that, those who ate fried foods often also consumed sugary foods and soda more often, had higher trans-fat and calorie intakes, and ate fruits and vegetables less often. The unfortunate psychological fact is that eating unhealthy foods encourages us to eat more unhealthy foods.

The Effects of Overcooking

Fried foods are often overcooked and/or cooked at high temperatures, and eating very cooked food actually has negative effects on the body. It makes sense that the nutrients in the food become less digestible when overcooked; researchers at the University of California found that overcooked food stays in the digestive tract longer than uncooked or lightly cooked food does. In simple terms, it seems that the body doesn’t recognize the food as food due to just how altered the chemical structures are.
The food stays in the digestive tract longer as your body tries to get nutrients out of it. In many cases when this occurs, it is a highly processed food product that contains toxins. The longer the food stays in your body, the more effect the toxins will have.
It is also true that certain chemicals and toxins begin to develop in the food when it is being cooked for too long, and that the chemical structure of the food changes at high temperatures, including the temperatures that foods are normally fried at.

The Frying Oil

Again, there are ways that you can make fried food at home that aren’t so bad, and some that are even rather healthy. However, restaurants have the incentive to use the cheapest kinds of oil that they can and to re-use that oil over and over in industrial fryers.
Being frequently heated to high temperatures, allowed to cool, then heated up again is not good for the oil, and it even sounds gross to think that you’ve eaten food fried in old oil. Re-heating creates new chemical compounds in the oil, some of which are pretty awful for our bodies.
At least one of these falls into a group called aldehydes; this is a broad chemical group, but contains quite a few health bad guys. Some aldehydes are linked to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Researchers at the University of the Basque Country in Spain found that when oils are reheated, the fatty acids begin to break down and produce toxic aldehydes.
On another note, some of the most commonly used frying oils are either genetically modified or synthetic and often contain pesticides, including canola oil. On top of all of the other cons of fried food, canola oil in general is simply bad for you.

Rancid Fats & Oils

The oils become damaged quickly when exposed to high temperature, making them rancid, leading to free-radical oxidation and creating free radicals.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can initiate chain reactions of chemical disruption, destroying cell membranes, enzymes, and DNA. They can cause a wide range of health issues such as heart disease, neuro-degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, inflammation, and even aging.

The Risk of Cancer

All right, so just about everything these days besides raw food comes with a risk of cancer, but that doesn’t mean that it should be dismissed. According to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, frequent consumption of fried foods has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer (probably among other types, too).
They propose that your risk starts to grow if you eat fried foods more than once a week, but that’s at least a little bit arbitrary. Others have suggested that the negative effects on the body caused by eating fried foods can be partially offset by eating healthy foods, or more specifically, raw foods like fruits and vegetables.
The study mentioned earlier on that looked at how eating fried or overcooked foods affects the body also found that those who consume healthy foods at the same time as fried foods have fewer harmful effects.

Alternatives to Restaurant Fried Food

- Fry your own food at home if you really want fried food. In almost all cases, what you make at home is healthier that what you get at a restaurant as long as make an effort. Healthier types of oils include coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.
- Choose non-fried alternatives when eating out. Grilled chicken is a much better alternative to fried chicken, and don’t even both with the fried mozzarella sticks – they may be tasty, but they’re packed with unhealthy junk.
- Sautéing food in a pan can create a similar taste to fried food, yet is much healthier. Toss out the fried fish sticks and replace them with wild-caught salmon sautéed in olive oil and lemon juice – yum!
Although these 3 alternatives can be better choices compared to fried food, keeping you healthy and strong…

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Why Blood Sugar Matters

For most of us, even when blood sugar skyrockets after a big meal, our bodies can bring it back to normal in a few hours with no problem. Only people with untreated diabetes have blood sugar levels that stay quite high most of the time. 
Logically, for a long time, doctors thought that only those people needed to be concerned about the effect of food on blood sugar. Now we know that even in healthy people, high blood sugar after meals can, over time, damage the body, even if it never causes diabetes. In short, it’s no longer just certain people who need to worry about their blood sugar; it’s pretty much everyone. It should concern you even if you’re thin and healthy, and especially if you don’t get much exercise (does that describe you? It describes most people) or you carry extra weight around your middle.

By now you’re wondering, “How can I get off the rollercoaster?” Take heart: It’s not that difficult — and we’ll show you how. Later, we’ll get into much more detail about how our diets contribute to unstable blood sugar (hint: foods like white bread, white rice, potatoes, and sugary drinks are major culprits) and which foods can help solve the problem. But for now, let’s take a deeper look at why you should care.
When you eat a big meal, especially one with a lot of starchy or sugary foods, the food makes its way through your stomach and intestines and then is converted into glucose, the main fuel for your muscles and even your brain. Voilô, instant energy!
But a big starchy meal can give the body more glucose than it needs. In fact, it can raise blood sugar levels twice as much as another, healthier meal would.
Most people’s bodies can bring blood sugar down fairly quickly, within an hour or two of eating. The body does this by releasing insulin, a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin signals the body to let that blood sugar into cells to use as fuel and to store the rest in the muscles.
But if you eat a huge pile of French fries or a big piece of bread, your body has to deal with a serious flood of blood sugar, so it overreacts, pumping out too much insulin. If you’re overweight, it may pump out even more. All that extra insulin brings blood sugar down — too far. And it hangs around a long time, keeping your blood sugar low for hours. As a result, you can fall into a semi-starved state. Indeed, your blood sugar may be even lower than it was before you ate! Now you’re really dragging. Your energy is low. You may get a headache.
Your body recognizes that your blood sugar is too low, so it reverses course, spewing out hormones that raise blood levels of sugars and fats (the kind that could trigger a heart attack). Your brain also sets in motion signals that tell you that you’re hungry. Even though you ate more calories at lunch than you really needed, your blood sugar is so low that your body thinks it needs more food. Those doughnuts in the conference room sure look attractive right now.
It’s not just low blood sugar but also rapidly falling blood sugar that triggers a powerful hunger signal. In 16 studies, 15 of them found that meals that raise blood sugar quickly resulted in feeling hungrier before the next meal. For example, in a study of 65 women, those whose meals were designed to keep blood sugar stable reported feeling less intense hunger and less desire to eat, especially during the afternoon.
These kinds of meals increase levels of leptin, a hormone that decreases hunger (and boosts fat burning) and lowers levels of ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger. The women who ate blood sugar-boosting meals reported that they felt hungrier sooner.


Ways To Beat Fatigue Just Minutes

When that sleepy feeling hits, must of us turn to one of two things to fix it: grab some caffeine or surrender to a nap. But what does an exhausted person do when she can’t grab a triple latte or 15-minute snooze? Here are some instant remedies to afternoon energy slumps.
1. Get outside. Find an area that’s free from cigarette smoke and pollutants and take a few deep breaths. Oxygen provides natural, safe energy. If you’re breathing deeply enough, you’ll send all of that good energy throughout your body, waking it up in no time.
2. Try a cold water splash. A little cold water is all it takes to head-off that sleepy feeling that makes it feel as though your whole face is asleep. Oddly, this remedy also helps subdue nervous energy. Give it a try the next time you need a no-cost pick-me-up.
3. Make the bed. If you happen to be home when your body starts its slow decline into slumber, it’s going to be way too tempting to pass up an unmade bed. Prevent the kind of nap that turns into a deep sleep with this preventative measure: Make your bed. Bonus: Shaking out the sheets gets your arms moving above your heart, boosting your heart rate and invigorating your body.
4. Grab a healthy drink. Try Drive, a Vitamin Water Zero blend of blood orange and berry that’s infused with yerba mate, a source of natural caffeine. The no-cost alternate is plain old cold water.
5. Have a smart snack. Think of smart as an alias for balanced. When deciding on snacks, avoid refined carbs and sugars – they mess up your body’s blood glucose levels and ultimately intensify fatigue. Greek yogurt topped with honey and a handful of almonds is an excellent example of a quick energizing snack. Honey is freshest during the summer and experts say that to get the greatest benefit from this natural energizer, choose raw honey labeled “100% Pure.”


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7 Unexpected Signs You’re Dehydrated


Thirst—duh. And yes, dark pee means you need to drink up. But your breath, mood, and need for sweets may also be telling you you’re dehydrated.


You have stinky breath

 Saliva works 24-7 to wash away food particles that collect on your tongue, between your teeth, and along your gums after you eat. If your mouth is dry, those itty bitty leftovers allow bacteria to grow, thrive, and give you bad breath. Sip water throughout the day to help keep your mouth moist. And if you need a little extra freshening: chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking candy (also sugarless) helps stimulate saliva. 

You’re cranky

Actually, that’s probably the right word if you’re a guy. For women, skimping on fluids may put you in full-on you-know-what mode. Researchers at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory tested the mood and concentration of 25 women who drank healthy amounts of water one day, and then didn’t over the next two days. When slightly dehydrated, the women reported fatigue, irritability, headaches, and difficulty focusing. In a separate test, men who were mildly dehydrated also experienced fatigue and had a tough time with mental tasks. But when it came to mood changes, women’s soured much more than men’s, according to the study. Scientists are still trying to figure out why. (Good luck with that.)

You crave cookies

You might mistake needing to drink for wanting to nosh, especially after exercise. “After a strenuous session, we are not only dehydrated, but our glycogen stores are depleted,” says Kim Larson, RDN, sports dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Glycogen is a form of stored carbohydrates that our body uses as fuel; the cravings are just our bodies telling us we need more of it. “Not everyone wants sugar after exercising, but when you are tired, it’s tempting to reach for it!” says Larson. Better choices: Fruits and dairy foods deliver the quickest, most nutrient-rich carbohydrates to supply energy when glycogen stores are low; plus, many fruits and yogurt have a high water content to also help you rehydrate. Here are other

Your skin does this weird 'tent-ing' thing

Pinch the back of your hand and hold for a few seconds; when you let go, your skin should snap back into position pretty quickly. If it’s slow to return to normal, take that as a cue to hydrate. “Skin turgor—a measure of skin elasticity—begins to decrease with a fluid loss of about 5 percent, which is considered mild dehydration,” explains Chris G. Adigun, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. With more moderate or severe dehydration, the pinched-up skin will remain “tented” in place. You know why else you should stay hydrated? To help you look younger. “Especially as we age, the visible appearance of the skin of the face improves with superb hydration,” adds Adigun

You have a crappy workout

 Dehydration reduces blood pressure and makes the heart work harder, which impacts how much you can push yourself, explains Larson. “Even a 2 to 3 percent fluid loss affects your ability to get a good workout,” she says; “and more than 5 percent dehydration decreases exercise capacity by about 30 percent.”

You drive like you’re drunk

You pee before you hit the road and barely sip your bottle of water en route, all in the name of avoiding pit stops. We get it. But according to research published in Physiology and Behavior, driving while dehydrated may be just as dangerous as getting behind the wheel intoxicated, in terms of how many mistakes you could make on the road. British researchers had study participants take two-hour drives (using a simulator): when they were well-hydrated, there were 47 driving errors; dehydrated, slips-up—including lane drifting and late braking—more than doubled to 101. Dehydration causes fatigue and affects our cognitive abilities, like clear thinking and reaction time, says Larson.

You feel woozy when you stand too fast

Blood volume and pressure drops when you’re dehydrated, which can leave you feeling dizzy or faint, or bring on that rush of light-headedness after you quickly get up from sitting or lying down.

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Lose weight with mindful eating


How many calories do you consume without even realizing it? Bring awareness to your meals with these tips.


Mindful eating is an effective weight-loss strategy that encourages you to slow down and pay attention to your food, noticing each sip or bite you take. It helps focus your senses on exploring, savoring and tasting your food, and teaches you to follow hunger cues. Put mindful eating into practice with these ideas as you prepare and eat meals. It gets easier over time!

  • Practice acceptance. Be aware of critical or judgmental thoughts about food, your eating habits and your body. Concentrate on the moment. Accept your body as it is.
  • Make a conscious decision to eat. Before you eat, ask yourself, “How hungry am I right now? Am I eating out of hunger, habit, boredom or emotion?”
  • Reserve time for your meal. Don’t eat on the run. If you’re eating with others, involve them in preparing the food to make that time social.
  • Avoid distractions while eating. Eat at a table. Turn off the TV and put away your phone, work, books and magazines until you are done.
  • Appreciate your food. Start your meal by taking a moment to express your gratitude for the food in front of you.
  • Breathe. Before and during your meal, consciously take a few deep breaths.
  • Use all your senses to fully experience your food and drinks. Observe the smells, textures, sounds, colors and tastes. Ask yourself how much you’re enjoying the food and how appealing it is.
  • Choose modest portions to avoid overeating.
  • Eat small bites, and chew slowly. Appreciate that your food fills you up and makes you healthy.

Of course, there will be times that you have to rush through a meal to get to an activity or an appointment. But if you can practice mindful eating on a regular basis, it can help you reach your weight-loss goals.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

How Tai Chi may improve your health

You may have seen the flowing postures and gentle movements of tai chi and wondered what it’s all about.
Tai chi is an ancient mind and body practice. While more research is needed, studies suggest that it may have many health benefits.
Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation.” There are many types of tai chi. They typically combine slow movements with breathing patterns and mental focus and relaxation. Movements may be done while walking, standing, or sitting.

“At its root, tai chi is about treating the whole person and enhancing the balance and crosstalk between the body’s systems,” says Dr. Peter Wayne, a longtime tai chi researcher at Harvard Medical School.
“It’s a promising intervention for preserving and improving many areas of health, especially in older adults.”
Several studies have found evidence that tai chi can increase balance and stability in older people and reduce the risk and fear of falls. Each year, more than 1 in 4 older adults falls, and 1 out of 5 of these falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
“Trying to be careful can make you more prone to falls,” Wayne says. “Tai chi may help you move more confidently and safely again.”
Some NIH-funded research suggests that tai chi may also improve balance and prevent falls in people with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease.
Research suggests that practicing tai chi might help improve posture and confidence, how you think and manage emotions, and your quality of life. Studies have found that it may help people with fibromyalgia sleep better and cope with pain, fatigue, and depression.
Regular practice may also improve quality of life and mood in people with chronic heart failure or cancer. Older adults may find that tai chi can help improve sleep quality and protect learning, memory, and other mental functions.
Further study will be needed to fully evaluate and confirm the potential benefits of tai chi. But since the practice involves moving slowly and mindfully, there’s little chance of harm when done correctly.
“Whether you’re interested in trying tai chi to help with a chronic health issue or the stresses of everyday life, tai chi—if taught properly—can be a great complement to other ways of healthy living and rehabilitation,” Wayne says.
“I think we’re all looking for tools to help us live productive, long lives with a little more grace and ease.”
There are different styles and ways to practice tai chi, Wayne says. If you’re interested in trying it, you can start simply.
For instance, try standing behind and holding onto a sturdy chair for support, then mindfully rock back and forth to build awareness of all the parts of your body and their connections. Eventually, you might move on to practice more complex movements or sequences.