Bembu http://bembu.com Tips for Your Health & Happiness Mon, 29 May 2017 03:51:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 The Mediterranean Diet: Why It Works and How to Get Started http://bembu.com/the-mediterranean-diet/ http://bembu.com/the-mediterranean-diet/#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 23:30:51 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12300 When you think of going on a diet, you probably start to worry about how hungry and bored you’re going to be while following a plan. Yet all the experts are saying this diet or that program will help you lose weight, burn fat, and keep your heart in excellent shape. What’s so great about […]

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When you think of going on a diet, you probably start to worry about how hungry and bored you’re going to be while following a plan. Yet all the experts are saying this diet or that program will help you lose weight, burn fat, and keep your heart in excellent shape. What’s so great about heart-healthy diets, anyway? Do they really work? It depends on whether or not you’re willing to try one out. If you’re ready for a big but worthwhile lifestyle change, the Mediterranean Diet might be the right choice for you.

In 2017, the Mediterranean Diet was ranked No. 2 in the U.S. News & World Report’s best diets overall, just behind the DASH diet. Not only is this diet good for your heart, but it’s also proven to be extremely effective for large numbers of people. The best part about this diet is that it’s not difficult to follow. There aren’t strict rules for when and how much you should eat. No food groups are completely off limits. There is no membership fee. You don’t have to track your intake if you don’t want to, either.

All you have to do is learn which foods experts recommend you should eat the most, and which ones you should eat the least. You can then apply this knowledge to your daily eating habits. Let’s take a closer look at what the Mediterranean diet is all about.



 

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

People who live in regions of the world like Italy and Greece are known for living longer than those who live elsewhere. Those residing in these Mediterranean regions also tend to contract fewer chronic diseases, like heart problems. That’s why so many, experts and non-experts alike, claim this diet is one of the best you can try. Take a look at the many benefits of this omega-3, fiber, and whole grain-rich way of eating to see for yourself.

Benefits

  • You’ll have a healthier heart. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, those at higher risk of developing heart disease and related issues can benefit significantly from the Mediterranean diet. The diet includes a variety of healthy fats and carbs, which keep your heart in its best shape possible.
  • You’ll have fewer metabolic problems. Research has suggested those who closely follow this diet for an extended period of time are better able to manage issues related to metabolism, including but not limited to obesity, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure.
  • You’ll engage in regular physical activity. The Mediterranean diet includes regular exercise as an important component. Exercise can reduce stress, improve your sleep quality, put you in a better mood, and help you burn fat and build muscle while you continue to fill your body with the foods that keep it healthy.
  • You won’t get bored. This diet emphasizes adding healthy varieties of flavors to your food without increasing your salt and saturated fat intake. There are very few whole foods you shouldn’t eat on this diet. While you’ll have to cut back on your processed food intake, it’s likely after a few weeks that you won’t even miss it.

This diet isn’t as hard to follow as you might think. Take a look at the guidelines and see for yourself. You might already be eating a number of the foods suggested — it’s just a matter of choosing the best options possible in each food group.

Guidelines

The Mediterranean diet does not tell you when to eat or exactly which foods you should have on any given day. However, there is a general set of guidelines that are simple to follow. Adjusting to a new diet can seem complicated, but if you take these new rules to live by one at a time and incorporate them gradually into your meals and snacks, you’ll find it’s not as challenging as you first thought it might be.

Populate your plate with plant-based foods

The benefits of plant-based foods are widely studied, and great indicators that you should eat more plants regardless of which diet you decide to adopt next. Plants are free of saturated fats and only contain healthy, natural sugars that are essential for energy and overall health. Plant-based foods also tend to be high in fiber, which is good for digestive health.

Fruits and vegetables are the most important staples on a Mediterranean dieter’s plate. However, they aren’t the only plant-based foods you can eat to reel in the benefits. Beans, chickpeas, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are also extremely healthy examples of foods that don’t come from animals. You don’t have to go totally vegetarian on this diet, but the majority of what you eat — about three quarters of your plate at each meal — should come from plants.

Replace the salt shaker with something better

A consistent, high sodium intake eventually raises blood pressure, which can severely damage your heart. While you might not think you’re sprinkling that much salt into that pot of boiling water or onto your baked potato, it adds up more quickly than you realize. Besides, sodium is added to most processed foods to add flavor and extend shelf life. If you’ve never taken a close look at a nutrition label, check the food packages in your fridge and pantry and look at how much sodium is in each one. As a frame of reference, experts recommend you consume no more than 2,300 milligrams in a single day.

The Mediterranean diet doesn’t just swoop in and say, “No more salt” and force you to eat flavorless foods for the rest of your life. Instead, it suggests a much healthier alternative: herbs and spices. Everything from pepper to basil to garlic and thyme can add unbelievable flavors to your meals without raising your blood pressure to unreasonable heights.

Replace the primary sources of fat in your diet

Sometimes, we throw a lot of shame at people who like to eat bread. While it’s true that white breads and other refined products are severely deprived of beneficial nutrients, whole grain products — as long as they aren’t heavily processed — are actually good for you. Often, it’s what we spread onto these breads — or the things we choose to dip them in — that pose greater health risks. When it comes to bread, you should already know the major culprit: butter, and its not so healthy partner in crime, margarine.

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The Mayo Clinic Diet: What It Is and How to Succeed http://bembu.com/the-mayo-clinic-diet/ http://bembu.com/the-mayo-clinic-diet/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 13:00:42 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12286 You’re about a diet away from giving up. Nothing ever works. Every time you try to eat healthy and start exercising, the whole thing falls apart. One doughnut, and it’s all over. Again. Losing weight, eating right, exercising — it’s all too much. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re feeling burned out and […]

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You’re about a diet away from giving up. Nothing ever works. Every time you try to eat healthy and start exercising, the whole thing falls apart. One doughnut, and it’s all over. Again. Losing weight, eating right, exercising — it’s all too much. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re feeling burned out and betrayed by a dozen diets gone sour, you just haven’t tried an effective, credible diet that works yet. If that’s what you’re looking for, you might want to consider giving The Mayo Clinic Diet a try next.

The Mayo Clinic Diet is ranked No. 4 on the U.S. News & World Report’s list of best diets, and for good reason. Instead of trying to help you lose massive amounts of weight quickly — which usually ends in weight regain not long after a short-term diet ends — it teaches you how to transform healthy habits into a healthy lifestyle that lasts forever.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes this diet one of the best. The experts don’t lie — you’re going to love the results you’ll get. It’s a diet that’s simple to follow, and you won’t even have to give up the foods you know and love. We’ll even provide a one-day sample menu to show you how easy it is.

What is the Mayo Clinic Diet?

The Mayo Clinic Diet is not your stereotypical fad diet. Created by experts affiliated with the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, this diet is an evidence-based approach to adopting healthy habits for life. What does that mean? It means this diet isn’t going to tell you to do something that doesn’t work. Mayo claims this is “the last diet you’ll ever need,” claiming that if you follow the resources you’re given, eating healthy will stop feeling like a diet and start feeling like normal life.

The Mayo Clinic Diet can be beneficial for a number of reasons

Benefits

  • Heart health. On the Mayo Clinic Diet, you are encouraged to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates (e.g., whole grains), protein, and healthy fats, all common recommendations for maintaining a healthy heart.
  • Weight loss. This diet will help you develop healthy habits and provides the tools that will help you choose better foods and prepare healthier recipes. As long as you follow the guidelines, weight loss is a given.
  • Blood sugar control. Eating excess refined sugars, discouraged on the Mayo Clinic Diet, can lead to blood sugar spikes. Skipping snacks and meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop to dangerous levels. You will learn healthy eating habits that have positive side effects, like keeping your blood sugar in check.

Above all, this diet is fairly simple to follow. There are no long lists of rules or detailed lists of “approved” and “unapproved” foods. You have a lot of freedom to make this diet work for you, your preferences, your schedule, and your budget.

Guidelines

Unlike many diet programs out there, the Mayo Clinic Diet and all its resources are free. Tools offered include recipes, sample menus, tips, and even a downloadable iOS app that can help you keep track of your habits, make better choices, and see how you’re improving. All you have to do is sign up for a profile and you’re cleared to get started.

Once you set up your free profile, you begin the first of two phases of the Mayo Clinic Diet. Don’t worry: the rules aren’t going to take over your life. In fact, you’re probably going to learn more about healthy eating and exercise in the first phase of the diet than you thought you ever needed to know. Let’s go over how these two phases work.

Phase I: Lose it

As the title implies, the first phase of the Mayo Clinic Diet focuses on positive habit-forming and its resulting effects on weight loss. During this phase, you will typically lose anywhere from 6 to 10 pounds over a two-week period (results differ with every person). This is a much healthier, safer, and more realistic approach to weight loss than diets that tell you losing 10 pounds in a week is effective long-term. It’s still not an easy feat to achieve.

However, Mayo doesn’t just give you a list of “good” and “bad” foods and send you out into the wilderness to fend for yourself. The diet actually teaches you to pinpoint and work on overcoming your diet-sabotaging habits. You’ll learn to develop new, healthy habits to replace the old, less healthy ones — a positive weight loss approach you’ll come to love.

Phase II: Live it

Now that you know the best techniques and strategies for losing weight and living healthfully, it’s time to really put your knowledge to good use. During this life-long phase, you will continue to lose one to two pounds per week on average until you reach your goal weight. You’ll use everything you learned in the first phase of the diet, plus a continued abundance of resources, to maintain a healthy weight and continue living as healthy of a life as possible.

This isn’t a diet that has a fixed endpoint. It’s meant to teach you how to apply everything you learn to your everyday routine. Health isn’t a one-week expedition you return from after a set time frame: it’s a journey that lasts a lifetime.

The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid

The Mayo Clinic Diet’s healthy eating and activity guidelines are based on the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid. This looks a little like the now outdated Food Guide Pyramid, except it’s arranged with the foods you should eat the most on the bottom (fruits and veggies). It also combines Protein and dairy and separates healthy fats from sweets, an important distinction to make when choosing the right meals and snacks to incorporate into your day.

These are the pyramid’s groupings:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Physical activity
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein/Dairy
  • Fats
  • Sweets

The idea is to eat more foods from the base of the pyramid and fewer from the top. Therefore, fruits and vegetables should make up the majority of your diet, while sweets should make up a very small portion of your daily calories.

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How to Lose Weight Fast Without Feeling Hungry http://bembu.com/how-to-lose-weight-fast/ http://bembu.com/how-to-lose-weight-fast/#comments Sun, 21 May 2017 13:00:31 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12275 Everyone wants to know how to lose weight fast. How quickly you’re actually able to lose weight really depends on your own personal definition of “fast.” However, you can start to shed pounds in no time not just by cutting back on processed foods and working out regularly, but also by choosing the right foods and […]

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Everyone wants to know how to lose weight fast. How quickly you’re actually able to lose weight really depends on your own personal definition of “fast.” However, you can start to shed pounds in no time not just by cutting back on processed foods and working out regularly, but also by choosing the right foods and establishing healthy habits that last a lifetime.

There are several keys to effective weight loss, and there aren’t any smoothies, soups, or magic pills involved. All you need is some protein and fiber, a whole lot less sugar, and a healthier balance between your fitness, your food, your sleep, and your stress. In this article, we’ll discuss how all of this fits together to create your fast (ish) weight loss plan that won’t leave you starving.



 

Pack on the protein

According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating more foods high in protein actually does make you feel fuller. Though more research is needed to better understand exactly why this is, hormones are likely a key player. When you’re full, your body produces a hormone that essentially triggers that feeling of fullness you’re so familiar with. Eating more quality sources of protein is likely an important part of this process.

The best sources of protein for weight loss

  • Lean meats, such as turkey, chicken, and beef
  • Eggs (both yolk and egg whites)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans
  • Seafood, such as tuna or shrimp

Eat more fiber

Studies have shown diets high in fiber are generally associated with lower body weight. Fiber is a slow-digesting type of carbohydrate, which means eating foods rich in fiber will slow down your digestion and keep you fuller for longer periods of time. Vegetables, for example, tend to be high in fiber as well as other nutrients. You are much less likely to overeat at meals if you include a serving or two of grilled, baked, or steamed vegetables on your plate.

how to lose weight fast

How to lose weight fast with fiber

  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole wheat breads and pastas
  • Turnips
  • Acorn squash
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Quinoa
  • Chia seeds

Don’t eat refined sugars

Carbohydrates are generally either simple or complex. Complex carbohydrates include dietary fiber, which helps your food digest more slowly and keeps hunger at a distance. Simple sugars usually refer to refined or added sugars, including those found in many processed foods. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, sugars like fructose are less effective than glucose at signaling to your body that you’re full and don’t need to eat more.

The glucose found in fruit and honey is the good kind of sugar. The high fructose corn syrup found in 90 percent of your favorite junk foods should be avoided as much as possible when you’re trying to lose weight. Calories from added sugars add up quickly, especially when it comes to sugar-sweetened drinks, like sports drinks and soda.

Foods with the most refined sugar per serving

  • Store bought cookies, pies, and cakes
  • Candy (Skittles, M&Ms, chocolate bars, candy corn)
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit punch
  • Sports drinks
  • Store bought orange juice

Work out less, but harder

Working out for two hours straight actually isn’t all that effective, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. The other issue here is that many people don’t work out because they don’t have the time to spend two hours at the gym. You don’t have to spend hours sweating every day to see results, though. In fact, you’re much better off powering through a 15-minute high intensity workout, which requires you to keep your heart rate up and your body moving almost constantly, but for a much shorter amount of time.

Experts generally recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t typically work out this much, or at all, this is where you should start — 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, with two rest days somewhere between. The key to working out and sticking to it is starting slow and going harder the more you adjust. Combine both strength and cardio training for the best muscle-building and fat-burning results.

Don’t eat more after you exercise — eat right

The old “calories in, calories out” dieting mindset doesn’t carry much weight these days — no pun intended. Just because you burned 500 calories while jogging this morning doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to 500 extra calories of dessert after dinner tonight. Weight loss doesn’t work like that. You need to eat the right foods, in addition to engaging in moderate exercise, to see results. Working out, but eating a ton of junk food afterward, won’t do anything to help you lose weight.

While it’s true that you have to eat fewer calories to lose weight (about 500 less than your normal daily requirement, to be exact), the quality of the calories you continue to eat also matters. 200 calories of vegetables is not the same as 200 calories of french fries. Therefore, it’s important to choose low-calorie foods full of protein and fiber — especially because, at first, eating less will throw you off balance. You will be hungrier than normal. This will not last forever.

The best post-workout snacks

  • Greek yogurt
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Half a bagel with nut butter
  • Cheese and whole grain crackers
  • Cottage cheese with fruit

An important note about hunger

Many people don’t even try to change the way they eat because they associate healthy eating with hunger. Extreme hunger is not a normal part of a healthy lifestyle. Rather than depriving your body of nutrients, healthy eating is supposed to include eating more healthy food, and less junk food. There’s a balance to it that can take time to figure out. This is one reason why, for some people, weight loss can take months — even years.

Do not confuse hunger and appetite while you are trying to make positive lifestyle changes. Your appetite is your body’s way of trying to trick you into giving in to your food cravings. Hunger is your body’s distress signal that it needs nourishment — or else. If you notice you are craving a specific food, it’s probably your appetite talking. If your stomach is growling, you’re hungry — you can, and should, eat.

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What Is In Your Junk Food? http://bembu.com/what-is-in-your-junk-food/ http://bembu.com/what-is-in-your-junk-food/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 13:00:49 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12201 For many people, junk food is simply a part of life. Every single one of us takes advantage of any opportunity we can find to eat cake … or cookies, or brownies, or whatever our go-to snack of choice may be. We know it’s not good for us. Yet we just keep eating it. Though […]

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For many people, junk food is simply a part of life. Every single one of us takes advantage of any opportunity we can find to eat cake … or cookies, or brownies, or whatever our go-to snack of choice may be. We know it’s not good for us. Yet we just keep eating it.

Though you might know junk food is bad for you, if asked, you most likely couldn’t explain exactly why. Is it the calories? The sugar? The fat? It turns out most junk foods have specific ingredients hidden deep in their labels that act as the most dangerous culprits here. Let’s look into the worst junk foods you can get, and what makes them so terrible for your body.



 

The junk food ingredients you need to avoid

Not all components of your junk food are bad. Ice cream, for example, has a few grams of protein and a little bit of calcium in every serving. However, it’s so packed full of sugar and artificial ingredients that the good things almost don’t even count. These are the most common ingredients you will find in your junk food — and why you should do your best to stay away from them.

High fructose corn syrup

Too much fructose in your diet can have serious health consequences. It increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease, can cause you to gain weight, and virtually contains zero nutrients that benefit your body in any way. High fructose corn syrup is found in a variety of junk foods, including canned fruit, breads made with refined grains, candy, salad dressings, and granola bars. Even your breakfast cereal likely contains high fructose corn syrup.

A whole lot of salt

Overloading your system with salt is bad news. You likely already know this. According to the American Heart Association, diets high in sodium increase your risk for developing high blood pressure and related heart problems as a result. Part of the problem is that you probably don’t realize how much salt is actually in the foods you’re eating — it’s not just in junk food. However, large amounts of it are often found in your junk food, as it’s used as an additive for both flavor and as a preservative to make the food last longer.

Artificial flavors and colors

Many of the ingredients you’ll find in your junk food do not occur naturally in the environment. Instead, they’re created synthetically in a lab. As you can probably guess, many people’s bodies don’t respond well to this — especially when it comes to yellow dye #5. You’ll find this in everything from macaroni and cheese to candy corn, but that doesn’t mean eating too much of it is OK. More and more companies are finding alternatives to potentially harmful flavorings and dyes. It’s going to be awhile though before we have to stop keeping an eye out for them in our favorite foods.

Trans fat

Believe it or not, some brands of junk food still have traces of trans fats in them. The United States Food and Drug Administration now recognizes that trans fats are unsafe, and now requires manufacturers to remove them from their products by 2018. This is because research has found trans fats to be a risk factor for heart disease. Trans fats are stealthy. If a product has 0.5 grams or less of it, companies are allowed to say on the nutrition label that it has 0 trans fat. However, an item’s ingredients list reveals trans fat’s go-to alias: partially hydrogenated oil. Do your best to avoid foods that are still made with trans fats.

junk food

The worst junk foods you can buy

Believe it or not, some junk foods are better for you than others. The worst of the worst are not only the least healthy — they also tend to be the most addictive. Before we get into why you can’t stop eating junk food no matter how hard you try, let’s look at the industry’s worst offenders.

Deep-fried foods

Many fast food establishments still fry their food in partially hydrogenated oils, which is just a fancy name for one you’re likely much more familiar with: trans fat. Donuts, onion rings, even french fries often fall victim to the food industry’s most stealthy villain. Yes, fried food tastes amazing. That’s why you crave it so often, and can’t seem to stop eating it once you get your hands on it — that’s the point. You don’t have to stop eating fried food completely, but you really shouldn’t eat it more than a few times a month at most.

Ice cream

A scoop of ice cream has 137 calories, 14 grams of sugar, and about 4 grams of saturated fat. Many brands of ice cream, depending on the flavor, are also full of artificial colors and flavors. Ice cream may technically be a dairy product, but it has nowhere near the same amount of benefits as milk or Greek yogurt.

Macaroni and cheese

If anyone’s ever told you macaroni and cheese counts as a real meal, they lied. Homemade macaroni and cheese isn’t so bad, but the stuff that comes from a box — yellow powder and all — is just as bad as eating cake for dinner. It’s full of artificial coloring, and the majority of the ingredients found in that cheese powder aren’t even real cheese. One cup of macaroni and not-actually-cheese has 3 grams of saturated fat. It also has 3 grams of sugar, and almost 1,000 milligrams of sodium — about half of the amount experts recommend you’re supposed to eat in an entire day.

Potato chips

A serving of potato chips, on average, has 10 grams of fat and 360 milligrams of sodium per ounce. You’ve never eaten just one ounce of potato chips in a single sitting, and you know it. They may be crunchy, and they may satisfy all your cravings for something salty, but any ounce of nutrition that might be left over in those potatoes isn’t nearly enough to make them worth eating. Homemade potato chips aren’t quite the same, but if you bake them, the potatoes actually retain a lot of their original nutrition. Give it a try!

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Yoga For Pregnancy (The Latest Research, Instructions & Videos) http://bembu.com/yoga-for-pregnancy/ http://bembu.com/yoga-for-pregnancy/#respond Mon, 15 May 2017 06:09:13 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12251 Many doctors recommend prenatal yoga to their patients, and with good reason. Research has shown the benefits of yoga for overall health, with some studies also specifically looking at its benefits for pregnancy. Here’s a guide to first, second and third trimester yoga, with some basic poses to try at home, and video classes…   […]

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Many doctors recommend prenatal yoga to their patients, and with good reason. Research has shown the benefits of yoga for overall health, with some studies also specifically looking at its benefits for pregnancy. Here’s a guide to first, second and third trimester yoga, with some basic poses to try at home, and video classes…

What you need to know about prenatal yoga in your first, second and third trimesters...



 

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is not just a physical exercise – it is a spiritual and mental practice as well, and can even extend to a way of life, with diet and meditation playing a major role in this ancient system as well. However, during pregnancy, you can make it whatever you want it to be. You can simply reap the physical benefits, including flexibility and opening the hips, or you can reap the relaxation and deep breathing benefits, which will help during labor.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years in India, but was not recognized in the West for its many benefits. However, the last few decades have changed that with scientists, medical doctors and fitness experts embracing yoga as a healing, beneficial practice. It has been proven in Western researchers for its many benefits, including:

Pregnancy yoga

  • Increased flexibility
  • More strength
  • Better balance
  • Improved posture
  • Toned muscles
  • Healthier joints
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • Better sleep
  • Calmer mind
  • Improved lymphatic system
  • Improved respiratory function
  • Better circulation
  • More energy
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved memory
  • Better mood
  • Better digestion
  • Increased bone strength
  • Better sex

Prenatal yoga

What Not To Do When You’re Pregnant

It is important to err on the side of caution when doing any physical exercise during pregnancy. However, there were a number of yoga poses and techniques that were considered dangerous to practice when pregnant, that have since been okayed by the experts. A US study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology looked at 25 healthy pregnant women in their third trimesters. They practiced 26 yoga poses, including stretches, twists and standing poses, during guided one-on-one sessions. Researchers found that downward facing dog, happy baby and corpse pose were all safe to practice, as long as women had healthy pregnancies and no high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Those poses had previously been considered dangerous to practice during pregnancy. The study avoided inversions, however, because those poses risk falling.

Downward dog

Therefore, prenatal yoga still does not include inversions, as well as poses that require you to lay flat on your belly, including locust and bow pose. Having said all that, in the first and second trimester, it’s important to be even more cautious and would generally be advised to avoid strong twists and bends.

First Trimester

While all pregnancies vary, and some mothers-to-be breeze through this trimester, while others struggle to keep anything down. To understand what’s happening, and why this time can see the biggest adjustment, let’s look at what’s actually happening. For the first three months, the body has to suddenly develop a life-support system for the baby. Hormones are released, blood volume increases, blood pressure decreases, and joints and muscles loosen to accommodate a stretching uterus. This is a delicate time when pregnant women are at their highest risk of miscarriage, so precautions need to be taken when doing any form of exercise. During the first trimester, women tend to be tired because of the physical exhaustion from the body internally working over time. That means a gentle hatha or restorative class (with prenatal precautions) are some of the more appropriate yoga options.

Second Trimester

It’s important during this stage of your pregnancy not to over stretch your abdomen. One of the particularly beneficial during this stage to work on strength, so focusing less on flexibility in poses, and more on engaging muscles. That means using every opportunity to delve further into the strength of a pose. In standing poses, for example, when your instructor says, ‘lift your knee caps’, use your upper thigh muscles to do that. Or if you are instructed to subtly draw your ankles towards each other in a warrior pose, use your inner thighs to get that extra engagement.

Prenatal yoga class

If you are in a regular yoga class rather than a specific prenatal class, make sure you firstly tell the teacher you’re pregnant, and how far along you are. But secondly, you can make your own little adjustments. For example, in forward folding poses, don’t compress your belly – make sure you create space. In uttanasana, you could use a yoga block for your hands in order the create that space, and in child’s pose, open your thighs apart to create space for your belly in between them.

In balancing poses, the most important thing is not to fall or over strain your core to save yourself from falling. If you are comfortable trying balancing postures, like tree pose, do so near the wall so that you always have the option of steadying yourself or stopping yourself from falling or straining. You will notice during these poses that your balance is different, because your center of gravity will be shifting, so be prepared to feel less balanced than you did before in yoga and work through it slowly and carefully.

Third Trimester

By this stage, you will be very aware of the little person living and moving inside. Every kick and movement can be felt, and, let’s be honest, the body is under a large amount of pressure. This is the time when lower back pain can crop up, as well as sore feet and over-curving the back. Yoga is one of the most beneficial things you can do at this stage for your comfort. What you want to try and focus on if you are suffering from some of those issues is relieving them through specific poses and sequences. Not only that, but I yoga class or session can be a much-needed escape from the mental pressures of the third trimester as labor approaches. You can use this time to look inward and prepare yourself mentally for giving birth, practicing focus and breath. During your third trimester, exercise is safer than it was, particularly in the first trimester. The biggest obstacle to get over is the big bump that can get in the way, and the extra weight you have to carry and hold in poses. However, you should still avoid inversions, strong twists, backbends, intense abdominal work and any poses that involve lying on the belly.

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Coconut Butter: Everything You Need to Know http://bembu.com/coconut-butter-nutrition/ http://bembu.com/coconut-butter-nutrition/#comments Thu, 11 May 2017 19:20:47 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12210 If you have a craze for all things coconut as much as I do, you’re probably familiar with coconut butter. Or, maybe you’ve seen jars of the creamy, whitish coconut product at the grocery store. But do you know what sets coconut oil and coconut butter apart? How about the health benefits of coconut butter? […]

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If you have a craze for all things coconut as much as I do, you’re probably familiar with coconut butter. Or, maybe you’ve seen jars of the creamy, whitish coconut product at the grocery store.

But do you know what sets coconut oil and coconut butter apart?

How about the health benefits of coconut butter? Is this pricey product really worth its price tag? Or is it a jar-full of ‘artery clogging’ saturated fats?

And how do you use coconut butter? Or store it?

This article will cover all the questions you may have about coconut butter. Plus, I’ll also share a do-it-yourself video to try at home – this will save you a lot of money over time.

Have you ever tried coconut butter? Discover the top 6 reasons why you should + lots of delicious recipes.

Coconut butter vs. Coconut oil: One and the same?

Short answer: Not at all. But it is quite common to confuse the two, especially when coconut oil is in its solid form.

Although they both come from the coconut, coconut butter, and coconut oil are very different. Just like peanut butter and peanut oil are very distinct products. Coconut butter is a spread that is made by blending the meat of a coconut. On the other hand, coconut oil is, well, the oil that is extracted from the coconut meat.

In cold climates, coconut oil is usually a hard solid with a nutty flavor that sticks around even after you’re done cooking. When the weather is warmer, coconut oil becomes a semi-soft solid at room temperature. If you live in a hot climate like I do, the oil will turn into a thick liquid unless you refrigerate it.

If the weather is hot, coconut butter is likely to be a semi-soft solid. During cooler months, or when refrigerated, coconut butter becomes quite hard. The texture of coconut butter will depend on how well it has been blended – blending for 15 to 20 minutes or using a high-end blender will usually yield a very creamy paste.

Coconut butter vs. Coconut oil: Nutrition facts

Unlike coconut oil, coconut butter still contains some protein and fiber. According to the USDA Food Products Database, 1 tablespoon (16g) of pure, unsweetened coconut butter made from the whole coconut contains:

  • 105 calories
  • 1g of protein
  • 5g of fat
  • 4g of carbohydrates
  • 5g of fiber
  • 1g of sugar
  • 54g of iron

1 tablespoon (16g) of virgin coconut oil contains:

  • 121 calories
  • 0g of carbohydrate (0g of sugar)
  • 0g of protein
  • 5g of fat
  • 0g of fiber
  • 0 g of iron

The other names of coconut butter

As far as I know, coconut butter has three other aliases namely:

  • Coconut manna
  • Coconut concentrate
  • Creamed coconut – this one usually has a grainy texture

Top 6 proven health benefits of coconut butter

1. Can help reduce inflammation

Did you know that the fat in coconut butter contains various antioxidants known to lower inflammation? In a lab study involving rats with induced arthritis, rodents given coconut fat experienced a reduction in inflammatory markers (substances that cause inflammation). They also healed faster.

Why should everyone care about reducing inflammation?

Simple: low-grade, persistent inflammation has been linked to a host of diseases ranging from autoimmune conditions to heart disease, accumulation of fat around the organs, and even depression.

2. Can strengthen the immune system

Have you heard of lauric acid, the medium-chain fatty acid found in coconut butter? Well, it is most well-known for its antimicrobial properties. You see, when you eat coconut butter, you’re also ingesting lauric acid which enzymes in your digestive tract will transform into monolaurin.

Monolaurin has been found to prevent the proliferation of harmful bacteria thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. In other words, lauric acid can indirectly help to keep the gut healthy. And since about 85% of our immune system resides in the gut, this fatty acid can therefore boost your immunity.

3. May improve insulin resistance

In a nutshell, insulin resistance occurs when cells are no longer able to respond appropriately to the hormone insulin. When this happens, blood sugar levels tend to become erratic. This can pave the way for diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease among other complications.

And that’s where coconut butter can help. Thanks to the healthy fats it contains, coconut butter can help improve insulin function by:

  • Improving the function of the hormone insulin
  • Preventing blood sugar spikes – this, in turn, lowers the need for insulin
  • Repairing the cell walls, thus allowing the cells to respond better to insulin

4. May facilitate weight loss

You’re probably asking yourself ‘How can fat help you lose weight?’ Well, coconut butter is not just any fat.

Contrary to popular belief, weight gain and accumulation of body fat is not necessarily caused by eating too much or not moving enough. You can actually gain weight if:

  • You can’t sleep well
  • Your gut is unhealthy
  • Your hormones are out of whack
  • You’ve developed insulin resistance
  • You’re unable to deal with stress well
  • Your immune system is constantly being triggered
  • You’re in a state of chronic low-grade inflammation

And the list goes on.

How can coconut butter help?

Consuming coconut butter can make it easier for you to lose weight by helping to (i) decrease inflammation; (ii) heal the digestive tract; and (iii) improve insulin resistance as discussed earlier.

Moreover, coconut butter is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fat that has been shown to:

  • Boost the metabolism (that is, help your body burn more energy even when you’re not doing anything)
  • Nourish muscles and facilitate muscle recovery after training. This can make it easier for you to increase your muscle mass. And the more muscle you have, the more energy your body will burn. This being said, you won’t turn into Rambo even if you eat one jar of coconut butter daily.
  • Reduce the appetite by balancing appetite-controlling hormones and by facilitating the production of ketone bodies by the liver.

5. Can decrease risks of heart disease

Yes, I am fully aware that coconut butter, like all coconut products, contains saturated fats. But consuming saturated from whole foods can, in fact, increase HDL-cholesterol which is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.

6. May offer protection against viruses and bacteria

As mentioned earlier, coconut butter contains lauric acid which is then transformed into monolaurin in the digestive tract. Monolaurin also possesses anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties – it can disintegrate the fatty envelope that enclose the virus or bacteria. Since this envelope protects the virus or bacteria, breaking it apart exposes the organism.

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Most Addictive Foods and How to Treat the Addiction http://bembu.com/food-addiction/ http://bembu.com/food-addiction/#respond Mon, 08 May 2017 02:49:57 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12176 For you, going back for seconds at dinnertime is never enough. Not a snack session goes by that doesn’t involve entire bags or boxes of food “disappearing.” Day and night, it seems, all you can think about is food. The question claws at the back of your mind as you reach into the refrigerator, again: […]

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For you, going back for seconds at dinnertime is never enough. Not a snack session goes by that doesn’t involve entire bags or boxes of food “disappearing.” Day and night, it seems, all you can think about is food. The question claws at the back of your mind as you reach into the refrigerator, again: could you have a food addiction?

Food addiction is more common than you think. Several studies have only begun to investigate the prevalence of this condition in the United States, though it’s impossible to estimate the percentage of Americans that might be addicted to food. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has yet to classify food addiction as a mental health problem, making it difficult to diagnose and treat.

Therefore, it’s important that you’re able to recognize if you or someone you know might have a food addiction. Some foods are more addicting than others, but it’s about more than just willpower or cutting them out of your diet. Tackling a food addiction takes some major adjustments to your lifestyle. But it’s not impossible.

Let’s take a closer look at what an addiction to food looks like, the foods you’re most likely to become addicted to, and how to kick your addiction once and for all.



 

What is food addiction?

Like an addiction to alcohol or drugs, a food addiction occurs when someone becomes emotionally and physically dependent on food. Usually, they eat large quantities of food without being able to control their behavior. Often, someone with an addiction to food experiences a psychological response to eating that makes them crave and consume food even when their bodies don’t want it.

Wondering if you might have a food addiction? The most common symptoms of this condition are as follows.

Symptoms of food addiction

  • Nonstop food cravings, even when full
  • Always thinking about where you’re going to get food next and what you’ll eat
  • Continuous binge-eating or compulsive overeating despite health consequences
  • Losing control over what, how much, how often, and where you eat
  • Needing to consume more food to satisfy your craving
  • Multiple attempts and failures to stop overeating
  • Eating behaviors start to affect work, school, and social life

What can cause food addiction?

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • A personal history of substance abuse
  • Experiencing trauma early in life
  • Co-occurring mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Co-occurring dependence on alcohol or other substances

What makes some foods so addicting?

Ever wonder what makes you feel happy? That would be your neurotransmitters — chemicals in your brain that basically control everything you do. Dopamine is one of these chemicals, and when you eat certain foods, it floods your brain and activates feelings of pleasure. Your brain runs on a “reward” system. The more you do something that triggers your brain’s pleasure centers, the better you feel. The better you feel, the more you’ll want to continue a specific behavior — like eating junk food — that makes you feel good.

Let’s say you eat a piece of chocolate when you’re stressed about an important meeting coming up at work. After you eat that chocolate, you feel better. Guess what? Your brain will remember that. The next time you feel stressed about something, your brain will prompt you — via a very intense, hard-to-resist craving — to eat a piece of chocolate. Based on how that chocolate made you feel better the last time you were stressed, your brain will assume the same thing will happen again.

Over time, our brains come to recognize that certain behaviors make us feel good. We begin to “crave” those behaviors, because in a way, they make us feel “high.” Unfortunately, what happens to people who abuse alcohol can happen to someone who abuses food, too. They’ll start to crave it nonstop. What’s worse, they’ll need to eat more and more food to achieve the same “high” they used to before this all started.

The world’s most addictive foods

If you think you might be addicted to food, don’t worry — there is hope. One way to stop your obsessive food cravings is to stop eating the foods that flood your brain with too much dopamine. Before you can do that, though, you need to know what these foods are.

According to research, foods high on the glycemic index — mainly processed foods full of added sugars — most often release chemicals like dopamine into your brain in large amounts. You can start by eating the following foods less often.

Processed foods

Pizza, ice cream, bacon — what do all these foods have in common? You can’t stop eating them, sure — but that’s because they’re heavily processed. Processed foods contain mounds of added ingredients like dyes, salt, and a thousand different types of synthetic sugar. If it comes in a box or package, it’s probably processed. You’re currently thinking, “But I don’t WANT to stop eating pizza.” Of course you don’t! It’s addictive!

Here’s the good news: most of what you can buy at the grocery store, you can make yourself at home — and it’s much healthier that way. Even still, if you can’t stop eating junk, it’s not your fault. The chemicals in this stuff is messing with your head — literally.

Added sugars

Of all the foods that can oversaturate your brain with dopamine, sugar is one of the most dangerous. Not the kinds of sugar in fruit, but the sugars added to cookies, cakes, ice cream, even potato chips and granola bars. Sugar is added to your food to make it sweet, but that only tells your brain it needs more, more, more. Cut back on processed foods loaded with added sugars, like cookies, brownies, breakfast cereals, and ice cream.

Artificial sweeteners

“Fake sugar” has been a controversial topic for decades, and it looks like it will continue to be that way for awhile. Animal studies suggest artificial sweeteners might contribute to food addiction, though more research needs to be done in humans to be sure. Still, we’re just not sure what these chemicals might be doing to our bodies, and how they might affect us in the long-term — especially when it comes to food addiction. Your sugar-free soda might seem safe, but if you can’t stop drinking it, artificial sweetness might be to blame.

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Understanding Vitamins & Their Health Benefits (+ How They Work) http://bembu.com/what-are-vitamins/ http://bembu.com/what-are-vitamins/#comments Sun, 30 Apr 2017 03:25:29 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12133 We hear a lot about vitamins and how important they are to things like immunity. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K are essential nutrients that need to be consumed every day to maintain body function through healthy cells, nerves, skin and tissues. This guide explains why you need each of these vitamins, what foods to […]

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We hear a lot about vitamins and how important they are to things like immunity. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K are essential nutrients that need to be consumed every day to maintain body function through healthy cells, nerves, skin and tissues. This guide explains why you need each of these vitamins, what foods to get them from, and what to eat with them in order for your body to absorb and utilize them.



 

 

What Are Vitamins

Vitamins are both organic compounds and essential nutrients. Organisms require vitamins daily to function, but in limited amounts. They are essential for normal metabolism and deficiencies of certain vitamins can cause medical conditions. There are currently 13 recognized vitamins. Let’s take a look at the function of each of them and what food sources to get them from…

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important to maintain healthy skin, protect against infections, improve night vision and boost the immune system. It also helps protect against some cancers. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and its chemical names include retinol, retinal and certain carotenoids, including beta carotene. There are a number of health issues that may suggest a vitamin A deficiency. They include mouth ulcers, poor night vision, acne, dry skin, dandruff, diarrhea and a poor immune system, or, frequent colds or infections.

Vitamins

Best Food Sources

Foods high in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potato, cabbage, pumpkin and squash, beef liver, melons, mangoes, tomatoes, broccoli and apricots.

B Vitamins

There are a number of important B vitamins. Let’s look at each of them.

B vitamins

B1 (Thiamine)

B1 is not a Banana in Pyjamas character, and neither is B2 for that matter. Not in this context, anyway! (That’s an Australian reference, for those who are feeling confused right now). Thiamine helps the body use protein in an effective way, and is essential for brain function, digestion and energy. If your muscles feel particularly tender, or if you have pain in your eyes or stomach, constipation, irritability or poor concentration, you may have a B1 deficiency.

Best Food Sources

Foods high in vitamin B1 include watercress, kale, squash, zucchini, yeast, sunflower seeds, oranges, lamb, asparagus, mushrooms, peas, capsicum, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, beans and lettuce.

B2 (Riboflavin)

This water soluble vitamin helps the body use fats, sugars and proteins for energy, and is needed to repair and maintain healthy skin, nails and eyes. Gritty eyes, sensitivity to bright lights and cataracts may be signs of a deficiency. Other signs may include a sore tongue, dull or oily hair, eczema, split nails and dry, cracked lips.

Best Food Sources

Get your daily dose of vitamin B2 from mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, cabbage, asparagus, bananas, chard, yogurt, eggs or fish.

Riboflavin

B3 (Niacin)

Niacin is essential for energy production and brain function. It is a water soluble vitamin and is also vital to maintaining healthy skin. It helps balance blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, and it plays a role in digestion and controlling inflammation. A vitamin B3 deficiency may cause diarrhea, insomnia, headaches, poor memory, anxiety, depression, bleeding gums and dermatitis.

Best Food Sources

Foods rich in niacin include mushrooms, tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, lamb, cabbage, tomatoes, zucchini, squashp, cauliflower, avocado, nuts and legumes.

B3

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

B5 is another water soluble vitamin that is involved in energy production and in controlling fat metabolism. Your brain and nerves need this vitamin to function and it helps make natural steroids in the body, as well as maintaining healthy hair and skin. If you suffer from muscle tremors or cramps, poor concentration, tender heels, nausea, exhaustion from light exercise, lack of energy or anxiety, or ‘pins and needles’ in your extremities, you may have a pantothenic acid deficiency.

Best Food Sources

Good food sources include broccoli, avocado, mushrooms, alfalfa, peas, lentils, cabbage, celery, tomatoes, strawberries, eggs, squash and whole wheat.

Strawberry

B6 (Pyridoxine)

This water soluble vitamin is essential for the body to digest and utilize protein. It is also important for brain function and hormone production. It is often associated with easing PMS and menopause symptoms because of its anti-depressant properties and its role in helping to balance sex hormones. Water retention, tingling hands, anxiety, depression, muscle tremors and cramps, anemia and low energy levels could be signs of a pyridoxine deficiency.

Best Food Sources

Get your vitamin B6 supply from nuts, bananas, watercress, cauliflower, cabbage, red kidney beans, eggsbe, squash, broccoli, turkey, lentils, tuna, onions and asparagus.

Red kidney beans

B7 (Biotin)

Another water soluble vitamin, B7 helps the body metabolize proteins and process fatty acids and glucose. Like all essential nutrients, biotin cannot be synthesized by the human body, and therefore has to be consumed. This B vitamin is made by bacteria, yeast, algae, mold and certain plants. Biotin deficiency is rare, but symptoms may include dermatitis, hair loss, lack of appetite, depression, fatigue, insomnia and intestinal inflammation.

Best Food Sources

Foods with biotin include liver, yeast, cheddar cheese, salmon, sardines, peanuts, avocado, raspberries, banana, cauliflower, eggs and mushrooms.

Biotin

B9 (Folic Acid Or Folate)

Folate is a water soluble B vitamin and a vital nutrient. It is particularly beneficial to women trying to get pregnant. It is critical for the development of the brain and nerves of a fetus during pregnancy. A folate deficiency can potentially cause serious problems, including birth defects and blood diseases. Folate is also essential for brain and nerve function, and is needed for protein utilization and the formation of red blood cells. Anemia, eczema, cracked lips, anxiety, low energy levels, stomach pains and severe headaches may be signs of a folic acid deficiency.

Best Food Sources

Beans, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, baker’s years, liver, legumes, leafy vegetables, nuts, sprouts and avocado are some of the best folate foods. In some cases, a doctor might also recommend people take a folate supplement, especially women trying to get pregnant.

Folic acid

B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

The body needs B12 in order to make use of protein. It is also essential for energy because it helps the blood carry oxygen around the body. The brain and nerves need it to maintain proper functionality, and the body needs it for DNA synthesis. There are a number of deficiency symptoms, including dull hair, eczema, sensitivity in the mouth, irritability, anxiety, low energy levels, pale skin, constipation and anemia.

Best Food Sources

Fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, eggs, milk, yogurt, lamb, cottage cheese and cheese are some of the best cyanocobalamin food sources.

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Worst Processed Foods You Can Eat (and What to Eat Instead) http://bembu.com/worst-processed-foods/ http://bembu.com/worst-processed-foods/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 06:17:55 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12034 Do you know how much of the food you eat every day is processed? According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, over half of the average American’s daily calories comes from highly processed food. All food goes through some form of processing — even vegetables from farms are washed and sorted. The more processing […]

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Do you know how much of the food you eat every day is processed? According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, over half of the average American’s daily calories comes from highly processed food. All food goes through some form of processing — even vegetables from farms are washed and sorted. The more processing a food goes through before it gets to you, though, the worse it is to eat. That’s why so many fad diets these days actually encourage cutting out highly processed foods — the foods that go through the most processing in a factory or lab.

These foods, though they often taste great, have very little nutrition, and plenty of added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat. There are healthier alternatives for all the dangerous you love to eat. It doesn’t take as much effort to cut highly processed foods from your diet as you think. In some cases, it’s just a matter of swapping one prepared form of a food for another.

Some of the worst processed foods out there are foods you eat on a regular basis.

1. Pickles

Pickles are the perfect burger or sandwich topper, giving your dinner the juicy crunch it needs. While pickles are technically made from cucumbers — a vegetable — they’re not as healthy as you think. To transform a cucumber into a pickle, you have to soak it in a solution called brine. Brine is a mixture of vinegar, spices, and salt … a lot of salt. This is what gives them their delicious, sour flavor. The excess salt in the average pickle might not be worth the taste, though.

There are about 833 milligrams of sodium in one medium-sized pickle (it varies slightly by brand and type). However, this is almost 40 percent of your daily recommended salt intake — in one pickle. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per person per day. Even if you quarter a whole pickle to fit on your sub sandwich, that’s still more sodium than one person needs in a single meal.

What to eat instead: Scoop a small amount of pickle relish onto whatever food you’d normally add a pickle to. It’s not the healthiest condiment you can eat, but it has far less sodium per serving than a whole pickle. A small amount will still give your sandwich the sour, crunchy kick you’re looking for.

breakfast cereal

2. Breakfast cereals

Eating breakfast gives you the energy you need to ace your morning routine — right? Not if you try filling up on breakfast cereal. Though TV ads try to convince you otherwise, breakfast cereals are anything but nutritious. One cup of Corn Flakes has 24 grams of carbohydrates, about 3 grams of which come from sugars. And that’s just what they include on that part of the label. Ingredient lists reveal much more: added sugars.

Added sugars are, as the term implies, sugars added to foods to enhance their flavor. Humans haven’t been eating these kinds of foods for that long. Only within the last decade have scientists started to realize how dangerous these kinds of sugars can be. According to research, eating too many foods with added sugars is bad for your heart. It’s also addicting — weight gain is common in people who eat excessive amounts of added sugar because they just can’t stop eating it.

What to eat instead: If you still need something cold and crunchy, combine raw oats, almond milk, almond butter, and cinnamon and leave them in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. It’s sort of like cereal, but much better for your heart.

TV dinners

3. Frozen TV dinners

A good way to evaluate how much you depend on processed foods for nourishment is to count how many sealed boxes and bags end up in your cart after a grocery shopping trip. Foods in packages are created to last in your freezer and cabinets, but your health never benefits from this much processed junk.

Frozen dinners are prepped, frozen, packaged, and sold to save you time — but their lack of nutrition is appalling. A chicken fettuccini Alfredo dinner from Stouffer’s alone has 570 calories, 27 grams of fat, nearly 900 milligrams of sodium, and 55 grams of carbohydrates. You can’t escape the sauce: it’s poured on top of your entree and frozen without your consent. The majority of these frozen meals are not healthy. They may be convenient, but they won’t leave you feeling satisfied.

What to eat instead: If you are short on time during the week, prepare several meals on Sunday you can “recycle” throughout the rest of the week. Some frozen TV dinners are healthier than others, but in the end, it’s always best to leave them in the grocery aisle.

ice cream

4. Ice cream

It’s the summer treat you crave even when summer’s still months away. It’s also a frozen, cream-based dessert that’s definitely not healthy just because it’s a dairy product. Dairy products in general tend to be higher in fat. This one’s a dessert, high in fat, and has the potential to be extremely addicting.

Saturated fat isn’t quite as bad as experts used to think. It’s not the major cause of heart disease studies once led scientists to believe. Ice cream is a common source of it: you’ll get only about 4 grams of saturated fat — 22% of your daily recommended amount — per 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream, which isn’t bad compared to other foods on this list. However, the same amount of ice cream will also yield 182 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids, which studies suggest should be avoided as much as possible.

What to eat instead: Start with 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt, sans toppings. This might be enough to satisfy your craving for something sweet. If it doesn’t, you can make your own ice cream, which won’t have nearly as much sugar or fat as the stuff you get at the store.

frozen pizza

5. Frozen pizza

Don’t ruin pizza night by shoveling something frozen into your oven. Frozen pizza is one of the most heavily processed foods you can find, peppered not just with cheese and other toppings, but synthetic chemicals as well.

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A Guide To Good & Bad Oils (Which Should You Choose & When?) http://bembu.com/healthy-oils/ http://bembu.com/healthy-oils/#comments Wed, 19 Apr 2017 01:20:12 +0000 http://bembu.com/?p=12037 Whether you’re frying a piece of fish, drizzling it on a salad, or using it as a binding agent when baking, oil has a number of uses. While all oils make food taste great, the reality is, some oils are healthy and some are not. We take an in-depth look at some of the best […]

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Whether you’re frying a piece of fish, drizzling it on a salad, or using it as a binding agent when baking, oil has a number of uses. While all oils make food taste great, the reality is, some oils are healthy and some are not. We take an in-depth look at some of the best options, and explain why some are not such great choices for your health!

Don't be afraid of oil, but make sure you're choosing the right ones...



 

What Is Oil?

The dictionary definition of edible oils goes something along the lines of: ‘a greasy hydrocarbon liquid substance, formed by natural resources or the breakdown of fats’. We take a look at some of the best, and worst, options for your health.

‘Good’ & ‘Bad’ Oils

We certainly don’t like to dis fat anymore in the health world, but there are definitely good fats and, well, not so good fats, to put it politely. There are many cooking and edible oils on the market, and, for many years, they were considered detrimental to weight loss. That was when fat-free everything took over the supermarket shelves when fats were considered the enemy. Lots has changed in the nutrition world since then, and, while there are unhealthy oils that are commonly used, there are also oils that come with a number of health benefits, including aiding weight loss!

cooking oil

Coconut Oil

This is the go-to oil that every health conscious person knows and loves. Touted as a weight loss ingredient, a metabolism booster, a shampoo and even a toothpaste, it is definitely flying off the grocery shelves around the world. This ‘health fad’, as it was called a few years ago, hasn’t disappeared yet and probably won’t because it really is a winner on all fronts – it’s versatile, healthy, yummy and easy to use. Like any food, you should not overconsume it, but it should definitely have a place in your pantry!

Nutritional Information (100 grams)

Calories – 862
Total Fat – 100g
Cholesterol – 0mg
Total Carbohydrates – 0g
Sugars – 0g
Fiber – 0g
Protein – 0g
Sodium – 0mg

coconut oil

What’s So Great About Coconut Oil?

Where to begin… Lots of research has gone into this white, or, translucent when fully melted, oil recently. Some studies have found it could potentially help people lose weight because of its unique combination of fatty acids that boost metabolism, burn calories and keep you feeling fuller for longer. A study out of the University of Geneva found men who ate one to two tablespoons of medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) before meals increased energy expenditure by 5%, losing about 120 calories per day. Another two-week study found healthy men who ate a diet high in MCFAs immediately ate 256 fewer calories per day.

How To Use It

As studies have shown, coconut oil can be a beneficial ingredient in meals to keep you fuller for longer. But it also has some other benefits. Coconut oil can also be used as a hair conditioner or treatment. And, in the popular Ayurvedic tradition of oil pulling. That involves swishing the oil around your mouth when you first wake up in the morning for 10 to 20 minutes. The fats in the oil mix with the biofilm and other substances in your mouth, cleansing oral cavities and trapping bacteria. You then spit it out and rinse your mouth. Sesame oil and ghee were traditionally used in Ayurvedic culture for oil pulling, and today, people also substitute with sunflower oil or olive oil. However, a study from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland found coconut oil to be the best option because of its effectiveness in preventing Streptococcus Mutans from binding to the enamel and damaging it.

coconut

Avocado Oil

If you’re not on the avocado bandwagon yet, you should jump on it quick smart! This green fruit packs a seriously powerful nutritional punch, brimming with healthy fats, important vitamins and essential minerals. If you’re not a fan of dealing with the squishy flesh, however, you can reap the benefits from the oil.

Nutritional Information (100 grams)

Calories – 884
Total Fat – 100g
Cholesterol – 0mg
Total Carbohydrates – 0g
Sugars – 0g
Fiber – 0g
Protein – 0g
Sodium – 0mg

avocado oil

What’s So Good About Avocado Oil?

There are so many good things about avocado oil, it needs its own post to cover them all. Oh wait, we have one of those already! To summarize, it can potentially lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce arthritic symptoms and boost nutrient absorption, to name just a few of its benefits.

Nearly 70% of avocado oil consists of oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. That’s where it gets its cardiovascular disease fighting powers. Oleic acid has been proven to help lower high blood pressure and lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, known as ‘bad’ cholesterol. At the same time, it can increase high-density lipoprotein, or, ‘good’ cholesterol. Moving onto nutrient absorption, and one study found the consumption of avocado or avocado oil increased the absorption of carotenoids from salad. That’s because the salad vegetables need lipids to help the body absorb their goodness. The salad on its own is low in lipids, so by adding avocado oil as a lipid, nutrient absorption was significantly increased.

How To Use It

The best way to use avocado oil is by simply drizzling it on fresh salads. However, you can also get creative and turn it into a dressing, by adding vinegar, such as apple cider or coconut, as well as your choice of herbs and maybe a little lemon juice and maple syrup. Because it has a high heating point, you can also use it to shallow fry foods and marinade food in before cooking it.

avocado

Olive Oil

Moving away from the newer healthy oil fads, and this ancient Mediterranean food staple is still one of the best options to keep in your pantry. It is full of healthy fatty acids and antioxidants and is proven to reduce the risk of a number of diseases and conditions. In fact, this golden liquid is an important and widely consumed food in some of the world’s healthiest populations.

Nutritional Information (100 grams)

Calories – 884g
Total Fat – 100g
Cholesterol – 0mg
Total Carbohydrates – 0g
Sugars – 0g
Fiber – 0g
Protein – 0g
Sodium – 0mg

The post A Guide To Good & Bad Oils (Which Should You Choose & When?) appeared first on Bembu.

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