Great Foods That Alleviate Stress

Being a human being is a difficult task, especially when you have stress from work, family, friends or other external circumstances that have a negative affect on how you operate sometimes. But, there is some awesome news–believe it or not, there are some foods out there that actually help with stress. You heard me right! Healthy, delicious food that will make you feel better about whatever forms of stress are affecting your day to day life.


In addition to being an awesome insoluble fiber (lowers cholesterol and overall glycemic index), oatmeal is a great start to decrease stress. This breakfast food is a healthy choice to decrease belly fat while using serotonin for a calming solution to sooth any anxiety.


German researchers found that consuming Vitamin C actually reduces elevations in cortisol, which is the most common stress hormone in your body. Oranges are also awesome for maintaining your system’s immune system and fighting sickness.


Omega-3 anyone? Fish like salmon is a great nutritional source to reduce stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from increasing when faced with a situation that really gets under your skin. A study at Ohio State University highlighted the fact that omega-3 fatty acids decrease anxiety by 20%. Pass that fish over!


Due to their high potassium content, avocados have been shown to help reduce stress-related high blood pressure. These creamy gems contain more potassium than bananas–who would have thought right?


Broccoli contains folic acid, a vitamin that has been proven to reduce not only stress,  but also anxiety, panic, and depression. Not to mention that there are also a great source fiber any time of day.


Nothing says relief like almonds, right? These gems are loaded with a ton of vitamins that increase serotonin to help relieve stress or anxiety.The zinc and magnesium combination in these nuts has been shown shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and improving its overall quality. I mean no one wants to fall asleep at their desk in their morning, right?


Loaded with antioxidants, blueberries are also rich in Vitamin C and also help reduce elevations in cortisol. These berries not only taste delicious, but also have a very low glycemic index which is a great plus!


Some Foods That Reduce Stomach Fat

For decades, we have always been told that fat is simply “no good” for you and only causes weight gain among other negative results. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is no reason to view fatty foods poorly anymore. When looking at the food pyramid with grains as the foundational part of any “healthy diet,” it is clear that many times consuming an abundance of wheat actually causes high blood sugar. High blood sugar in turn results to poor insulin sensitivity, thus producing excessive abdominal fat accumulation which has the potential of becoming cyclical for many Americans.

When some people think of “fatty foods,” often times cake or a pastry comes to mind, but there are tons of foods high in natural fat that are loaded with vitamins and minerals. It is sometimes easy to overlook different produce that are a lot healthier for you, so I’m here to shed light on a few that you can start using in your day to day eating habits. The following fatty foods help to maintain a solid fat-burning hormone balance by replacing heavy, wheat foods (bagels, bread) with less processed food that make you feel great after a meal.

Some of our top “fatty foods” to reduce belly fat accumulation are: whole eggs, nuts (e.g., almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews), seeds (e.g., sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia), avocado, olive oil, fatty fish (e.g., mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout), and coconut oil. Nuts are super high in natural fat and protien with low calories, fish has high omega 3 levels and avocado or olive oil contains minerals that help heart functions. Seeds such as flax or chia are key components in regulating your intestinal system and providing great amounts of energy, along with maintaining fullness after consumption. These foods will help to not only maintain an overall healthy day to day diet, but also help increase energy levels.


The Secrets of Leucine and Boosting Metabolism

Everyone wants to boost their metabolism. From the most in-shape athletes to those just starting to pay attention to their health. Boosting your metabolism can help you burn excess fat, decrease your resting heart rate, and many other functions that increase your overall health.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to boost your metabolism is to increase your protein intake. Protein-rich foods increase metabolic rates over 3 times more than carbs and fats. What’s more, studies show that high protein diets can lead to greater weight loss and fat loss than calorically identical diets with lower protein.

When researchers at the University of Illinois compared the effects of high-protein diet to a standard reduced-calorie diet, they found that people who consumed more protein had a 62% higher fat loss ratio, even though both groups consumed the same number of calories. Essentially, you can consume more calories and lose more fat. The secret to that? Leucine.

Leucine is an amino acid found in protein rich foods. It’s key to preventing the loss of calorie-burning muscle when you’re trying to lose fat and age-related muscle loss.

Why is Leucine so important? Basically, muscle loss contributes to a decreased metabolism. Looking “skinny fat” and rapid rebound weight gain when resuming a normal eating routine after a diet are all things you definitely don’t want.

So how do you consume more leucine? The most leucine rich foods are Lean red meat, chicken breast, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt. If you consume one of these things with each meal, your metabolism will be in great shape!

Research also shows that leucine, when paired with intensive training can be even more beneficial. In skeletal muscle, there’s a decrease in leucine during exhaustive aerobic exercises. While those are great for burning fat, incorporating muscle building weight training into your workouts is a great way to keep your leucine production up. Which, in turn, will keep your metabolism and help you burn fat and stay in shape.

Don’t Eat Vegetables Without Olive Oil!

We all know that veggies are awesome for your health, your waistline, and your dinner plate. Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant phytochemicals. However, it’s sometimes not enough to just crunch away at these vegetables without adding another very important nutrient. The good news is, it’s a delicious one.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that participants who added olive oil to their salads and veggie dishes absorbed much greater amounts of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Those who skipped adding the healthy fat (or chose a fat-free dressing) absorbed almost none.

Why does olive oil matter? Well, the phytochemicals are what help to fight off inflammation, defy aging and control appetite. If you’re not absorbing phytochemicals, you may as well not be eating vegetables at all, since you’d be throwing away the vast majority of what makes them healthy and nutrient.

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which have been shown definitively to increase veggie nutrient absorption. If you want to get the most out of your veggie intake, top off your salads with olive oil and vinegar. Also, add olive oil to your veggie side dishes and cook your vegetables in olive oil.

Olive oil has many other health benefits. For one, it can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Traditionally, a low-fat diet has been prescribed to prevent heart disease, diabetes and other risks associated with fat. However, more important than avoiding fat altogether is eating the right type of fat. A diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as those found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds actually protects from many of these chronic diseases.

Older individuals who consume olive oil every day can protect themselves from strokes, according to a study from France. The study looked at over 7,000 individuals with no history of stroke. After 5 years, they noticed that the participants who didn’t have strokes were also the individuals who used olive oil regularly for cooking and dressing food.

Olive oil has also been shown to slow down the aging of the heart. As we grow older, the heart goes through its own aging process. Arteries may not function as well as they once did, and that can lead to a host of other health problems. In a recent study, Spanish researchers found that an olive oil rich diet or other monounsaturated fats could improve the arterial function of elderly individuals.


How You Can Pull The Plug On Your Emotional Eating

Image of Emotional EatingOne of the best things about living in today’s society is that technology has made information infinitely more accessible that it once was. For people passionate about learning and embracing better eating habits, the data is right there at your fingertips. The answers to most of your health and fitness questions are only ever just a few clicks away. However, when it comes to our eating habits, there is usually much more at play than just logic. Emotional eating, when you consume for a purpose beyond simple sustenance, can be incredibly disastrous for any diet plan.

The most common cause of emotional eating is poorly managed stress. When there is too much on your plate, whether it be in the office or at home, you may have been conditioned to use a special treat to escape momentarily. The foods we enjoy most as distractions are, unfortunately, almost always exactly the ones that are most likely to expand our waistlines dramatically. This reflex needs to be recognized and remedied if you are serious about taking control of your health.

Stress will most certainly remain a part of every person’s life in some shape or form. We all deal with it in a regular basis. So, the question is not whether we will tackle stress, but how we will choose to do so. You can choose to face it head-on in either a negative or positive way. Choose the right way by actively embracing better ways to process stress when it pops up. Otherwise, you are liable to reflexively fall back into negative coping habits…like binge eating junk food, for example. Here are two popular, effective ways to smash those sorts of poor responses to stress in favor of much healthier options.

Get Moving

One of the tell-tale signs of stress is a heaviness on your mind. Your many responsibilities can sometimes feel like they are weighing you down, perhaps even physically. The best thing to do, then, is literally shake it off and get going. Break away from that sense of being burden by moving! This can mean going for a long walk, a jog, or even a drive. Exercising when you are stressed has two major benefits – on the one hand, you have some time and space to process the inputs that are stressing you out. On the other, chances are you will be so busy working through your thoughts that you will barely register the good things that are happening for your body with this impromptu workout. The endorphins that start pumping are an added benefit. If you cannot move yourself, then hop in the car and go for a calming drive.

Nod Your Head To Some Jams

Almost everyone loves music. The exact type of music that gets you going is likely to vary considerably from person to person, but the important thing is that you have something you enjoy. Music by itself has the power to alter your state of mind and take you away from your problems, but when you combine it with movement you are sure to leave your problems in the dust.

The Food Making You Fat That Nearly Half of Americans Eat Every Single Day

Image of a SandwichWith this country in a the midst of a full-blown health crisis when it comes to obesity and health troubles which can be directly traced to poor eating habits, many Americans are increasingly committed to embracing better lifestyles. Some foundational knowledge is pretty widely understood, like cutting out candy and eating more vegetables. Slightly more advanced health enthusiasts understand the importance of eating organic, consuming enough protein, and eating regularly throughout the day. However, there are a few extremely common habits that you may be surprised to learn are nothing short of disastrous for losing weight and staying trim. One of these is particularly dangerous. Simply by virtue of being so pervasive in kitchens across the country, this one food has become a sort of culinary reflex that nearly every man, woman, and child knows well. However, we should all be wary of it. This food – the sandwich.

This may initially be something of a shock. Sandwiches are both simple and wildly diverse. You might presume that least some permutations should be pretty healthy. However, the kind of sandwich that does not do more damage than good for your waistline is nearly mythical. This is true mainly for two reasons:

Processed Wheat Wrecks Weight Loss

The first simple cause for concern is that the one universal ingredient of every sandwich, no matter what recipe you opt to enjoy, is also guaranteed to be bad news – the bread. Store-bought breads are absolutely awful for your health as a general rule. That is because processed wheat is incredibly difficult to avoid. And, by its very definition, the contents of a sandwich (however healthy they might be) lie smack dab into between multiple servings of it. The carbohydrates in most bread has been so processed that they enter your bloodstream quickly, spiking glucose levels and requiring minimal output from your body to consume. Even the supposedly “healthy” options, like whole-wheat bread, are not doing you any favors. Although whole-wheat does involve a higher amount of fiber per serving, it still elevates blood sugar to undesirable levels.

Condiments Are Catastrophic

One of the most popular parts of a sandwich is topping it off with a seemingly innocent dab of sauce. That might include a dressing of sort, mustard, mayonnaise, or any one of hundreds of unique options. However, nearly all are certain to be high in fat, sugar, and calories. They might be delicious, but prepare to let one serving shoot your body’s production of insulin, the fat-storing hormone, into the stratosphere. That does not even begin to address the fact that most sandwiches involve way more than just one serving size of condiment, opting so slather it with the sauce in question instead.