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.

Oatmeal

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.

Oranges

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.

Salmon

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!

Avocados

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

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.

Almonds

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?

Blueberries

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!

 

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.

5 Foods To Eat After Your Workout

What do you do after an intense sweat session? Post-workout, athletes tend to shower, change, then grab a bite to eat. This is a good thing, since it is beneficial to eat 30-60 minutes after a workout in order to efficiently recover. However, not every food optimizes recovery. Grabbing a candy bar after a lifting session, for example, will not do much to help your body.

So what should you be eating after a workout? The fact is, recovery all comes down to protein and carbohydrates. Both give your body helpful nutrients to absorb, and replace all that was broken down during exercise. Here are five examples of food you should be eating as post-workout snacks:

Pineapple

Pineapple

I know what you’re thinking. Pineapple? Really? The truth is, we do not normally think of fruit as being loaded with carbohydrates but they are carbohydrate-packed. They also have specific enzymes that help the body transfer nutrients from food to muscles. Pineapple in particular is a good post-workout snack because it has all the benefits of fruit with the addition of anti-inflammatory effects to help your muscles recover more quickly.

Eggs

eggs

This may go without saying, but eggs are packed with protein. Hard-boiled or in omelette or scrambled form, they are a perfect way to help your muscles recover. If you want to go the extra mile for your body, consider eating the eggs with vegetables. You will not only get a necessary protein kick, you’ll also introduce extra vitamins into your recovering body.

Greek Yogurt

GreekYogurt_main

Greek yogurt is a perfect post-workout snack because it has both protein and carbohydrates. It is superior to regular yogurt in that it contains twice the protein that your muscles need. For some extra nutrients, and a taste kick, add some fruit to your yogurt for a double-whammy recovery snack.

Whole Grain Cereal

bowlcereal

Can you say carbohydrates? Whole grain cereal and milk after a workout will give you a little bit of protein and a lot of necessary carbohydrates. Try to eat a type of cereal without a lot of sugar, because the sugar will delay your progress. Your muscles will thank you.

Quinoa

tricolor-quinoa-1024x683
A more unconventional grain, quinoa contains a ton of vitamins and nutrients, and also a fair amount of protein. It will give you the carbohydrate and protein kick your body needs, and only takes a few minutes to prepare. Remember to add in some vegetables for extra vitamins!

4 Foods You Can Eat Before Bed

late_night_snackMost people have heard that eating before bed isn’t a great idea if you’re looking to lose weight. This fact has broken a few hearts, especially for those of us who love a tasty late night snack. Well, here’s some good news: hope is not lost.

Not every food that you eat past 7 PM will go straight to your hips. In fact, there are certain foods when eaten late at night that can actually help you lose weight. So what are these magical tasty treats, and how exactly does all this work?

First, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat. And that’s carbs. Carbohydrate consumption causes a significant rise in insulin (i.e. the storage hormone), which stops fat burning. In the late evening hours your metabolism is winding down, so an insulin spike is the last thing your body needs if you are looking to lose weight.

So what should you reach for instead? Slow-digesting, high-quality protein.

Slow-digesting proteins don’t cause an insulin spike, plus they provide your body with a steady flow of amino acids as they breakdown slowly throughout the night. Amino acids help you recover from exercise and maintain your calorie-burning lean muscle as you lose fat.

Now, ready for some prime snack options?

1. White Meat Protein (not red meat) – Chicken and turkey are great pre-bed meal choices because they digest slowly and have a very low insulin release. They also promote the release of another hormone, glucagon, that helps the body break down carbs and fat to be burned for energy. DO NOT have red meat. Red meat has a significantly higher insulin response.

2. Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese is slow digesting and stimulates glucagon release. Just make sure you’re eating plain cottage cheese. Flavored varieties come with a lot of added sugars, which aren’t what you want at any time, but especially before bed.

3. Green Vegetables – Technically not a protein, but they contain virtually no calories, are high in fiber, and very filling. You can’t go wrong with a nice plate of fresh veggies.

4. A Protein Shake – Protein in a pretty pure form. If you’re having this before bed, make sure it’s slow-digesting protein and low in carbs. Many people even make having one of these before bed a nightly ritual. Just make sure you’re not having whey protein. Research has shown that it causes more of an insulin release than even white bread! Opt instead for a a time-released blend that includes a blend of slow-digesting, high-quality proteins.

Anyone else hungry, now?

Beware the Blender: Drinking Better Smoothies

When the seasons change and the weather gets warm, everyone should make staying hydrated a priority. It is common knowledge that steering clear of sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and fruit juices is a critical component of a healthy diet. However, what many people might be surprised to learn, is just how bad one of the alternatives, the fruit smoothie, can be. How bad is it? Fruit smoothies can actually have as much as three times more sugar (so approximately 120 grams) in them than a can of soda!

Popular smoothie franchises do great business by advertising their products as a delicious way to help you trim down your waistline. That simply is not true. Even the small sizes can have as much as 100 grams of sugar. That is the equivalent of twenty-five teaspoons. It is difficult to find that amount of sugar in almost any food, of any variety. It is nothing short of shocking that these allegedly “healthy” smoothies can pack so much bad news in one cup.

The good news is that the recipe for smoothies should be easy enough for anybody to master. You just need a blender! Creating a better alternative to your favorite store-bought smoothies is as easy as reading the whole fruits that store claims to use, then going home and making one for yourself. It may not be quite as sweet as what you would be able to buy pre-made, but that is exactly the point. Fruits naturally pack more than enough sugar for most people to enjoy them as an actually healthy, nutritious source of fuel for the day. To take your snack or meal replacement to the next level, throw in some vegetables as well! Cucumbers, celery, carrots, and leafy greens all make excellent additions, because they are gentle on your taste buds but still deliver a sizeable heaping of vitamins and minerals.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.

That’s Nuts: The Surprising Reality of Trail Mix

One of the best things you can do to keep yourself in good health over time is to ditch the idea of fitness as a short-term project or temporary goal and shift your emphasis on to leading a healthier (and happier) lifestyle. A fantastic activity that’s both enjoyable and often inspiring is hiking. Fitness enthusiasts who take on tackling mountain trails get to savor the fresh air and breathtaking views. However, in order to fuel your body appropriately for these treks, consumers need to be extremely careful about the snack to which turn.

Trail mix would seem to be an easy answer for an ideal source of energy. Easily packed, easily eaten, and lightweight, most trail mix options are a logistical slam dunk for hikers. Ingredients usually include some combination of nuts, dried fruit, and some kind of chocolate. That is why campers even know trail mix as GORP – good ole’ raisins and peanuts. However, when you investigate the ingredients even slightly, some really troubling facts come to light.

The nuts in trail mix are almost always predominantly nuts and the chocolate is rarely, if ever, the healthier kind. Essentially, this means most trail mix is surprisingly high-carb, high-fat, and heavily processed. Most people have no idea how calorie-dense a treat it is. This means you’re extremely likely to unknowingly consume far more than a single serving which usually tops off at about…one ounce.

Small servings of dark chocolate or appropriate amounts of nuts can be great snacking options, and they even help fight fat. However, you need to be sure that you choose organic, raw nuts. They are much more densely packed with nutrients than the regularly processed brands, which are usually fried in oil and saturated with Omega-6 fatty acids.

A great way to get around the misinformation regarding trail mix is to make your own at home! You have the power to create a mix that is loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Consider adding a combination of walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and/or almonds. Some cacao nibs are a great secret ingredient add for flavor. Called “nature’s chocolate chips,” cacao nibs are sweet, but also extremely rich in antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. They are even a source of theobromine which research indicates may well have properties that encourage natural appetite suppression! That would definitely be a mix you want with you on the mountain.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.

The Foods You Should Be Eating Before Bed

This article is based on Joel Marion and Tim Skwiat’s The 4 Best Foods to Eat Before Bed check out the full piece to get a more in-depth picture.

Late Night Snack

It’s not as much about the time you choose to eat, but the foods you choose.

There are many myths that have been circulating in the world of dieting and nutrition for years.  One of the most pervasive is that there is a magical cutoff time after which you should no longer consume any food.  Some pundits say don’t eat after 6PM, some say 7PM.  Who can even remember the rule anymore?  While late-night eating can certainly be detrimental to weight loss and belly fat burning efforts, this doesn’t mean that eating anything past the late afternoon is completely off limits.  In fact, there are some late night snacks that can actually encourage and accelerate weight loss and help you to finally achieve your body composition goals.  Let’s dive in!

Set Yourself Up to Succeed

Recent psychological research has suggested that willpower is a finite resource that we can only expend so much of.  By imposing a hard stop for when you can and can’t eat, you may be unnecessarily spending some of your precious willpower that could be better used elsewhere.

So What Should I Eat?

The original article lays out some of the ways that the hormones insulin and glucagon cause physiological reactions that make the following foods better choices before bed so definitely check it out.  In the meantime, let’s talk about what foods you should actually be eating if you want a nighttime snack.

Protein Rich Foods: If presented with the choice between protein rich or carbohydrate rich foods before bed, choose the protein every time.  Foods that are high in protein are not only excellent choices for preventing weight gain, they also promote fat burning.  How?  Proteins help repair and maintain our lean muscle which is one of our body’s tools to burn calories.  Let’s get specific.  Here are a few of the best pre-bed foods for promoting weight loss.

  • White Meat Protein and Eggs: White meat animal protein sources such as chicken, turkey, as well as eggs are great choices before bed.  These types of proteins are digested slowly by your body, causing the sustained release of amino acids which ultimately leads to feeling more satisfied longer
  • Green Vegetables: While vegetables are classified as carbohydrates, they are low glycemic which means they won’t cause too much of an insulin response.  Adding a little protein and some vegetables to your late night snack routine should go along way toward helping you achieve your fat burning goals.

These are just a few quick tips to help you make smarter choices when it comes to snacking before bed.  Remember, you can stay healthy and promote fat burning without unnecessary self-deprivation.  Remember to check out the full piece for even more tips and continued reading.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.