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NUTRITION

6 Incredible Clean Carbs Sources That Build Muscle and Improve Performance

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Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your brain, body, and overall athletic performance, but not all carbs are created equal. Clean carbohydrate sources, aka complex carbohydrates, provide the long-lasting, sustained energy you need for prolonged workouts, such as running, cycling, and high-intensity functional training. They also help you build more muscle and optimize workout recovery. The question is, what carbohydrates are best for building mass, optimizing body composition, and improving performance?

The Problem with Simple Carbs

Chances are you’ve had a snack or chugged a sugary carb drink before a workout or run and found yourself gassed-out midway through your training. Simple carbohydrates and supplements such as maltodextrin, dextrose, and cyclic dextrin spike your insulin, which can lead to low blood sugar, leaving you feeling fatigued and lethargic.

Most people, athletes included, will have some kind of simple carbs an hour or two before their training session to get that midday pick-me-up. This stokes a vicious cycle that we call the blood sugar roller coaster.

After you finish your pre-workout snack, your body is flooded with carbohydrates, resulting in a short boost of energy, followed by a devastating crash and burn. Your body releases the hormone insulin to regulate the amount of sugar, or glucose, in your bloodstream. Insulin sends the sugar out of your blood into the liver and muscle and stores it as body fat, resulting in low blood sugar, which translates to low energy.

As a result, you have mood swings, feel hungry all the time, and/or become fatigued and have low energy. Maintaining steady insulin and blood sugar levels depends on the type of carbohydrates you consume. When you hear that certain carbs are “high on the glycemic index,” it means that they will spike blood sugar and insulin more quickly than other types of carbohydrates.

You Need Complex Carbs

Complex carbs digest much more slowly than simple carbs, due to their longer-chain molecular structure. Complex carbs are also made of sugars, but they do not spike blood insulin; they keep your blood glucose stable and provide a sustained energy release. These types of carbohydrates work best for prolonged training, improving endurance, building more muscle, and optimizing body composition. Complex carbs slow the absorption of sugar, slowing digestion, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer. There’s no blood sugar roller coaster with complex carbs.

Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, bread, and oats.

What are the best clean carbs for building more muscle and performance?

1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have naturally occurring sugars and are full of dietary fiber and micronutrients. They are chock-full of vitamin B6, which can help maintain brain health, improving mood and energy levels. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of beta-carotene. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which can help with immune health and eye health.

2. Yams

Nutritionally, yams resemble sweet potatoes. Both are low on the glycemic index, making them good choices for long-lasting, sustained energy without spiking blood sugar. Yams, however, have a higher vitamin C content than sweet potatoes but not nearly as much vitamin A.

3. Oats

Oats are an amazing source of complex carbohydrates and protein that can help build more muscle and optimize body composition. Oats are classified as a soluble fiber, which can help suppress appetite and slow digestion. Several studies have shown that oats can also protect against heart disease, reduce chronic inflammation, improve gut flora, help with inflammatory bowel disease, and provide sustained energy.[1-4]

4. Clean Carbs

Swolverine’s Clean Carbs is different from other carbohydrate supplements. Other products use maltodextrin, dextrose, and simple carbohydrates that spike blood sugar, creating more body fat and giving you an energy crash.[5] Clean Carbs is made with 100 percent natural whole foods from pure complex carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes, yams, and oats. Research indicates that your body burns rapidly through glycogen stores during high-intensity functional training, resistance training, and endurance workouts. Replacing glycogen after strenuous exercise is vital for optimal performance and faster recovery.[5]

5. Brown Rice

Brown rice is another great clean carb for mass building and weight management. Whether you’re shredding down or looking to increase size, brown rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates and will sustain a low insulin release for longer-lasting energy. Although similar, white rice is stripped of most of its nutrients and will trigger a blood sugar spike, as opposed to stable glucose levels.

Brown Rice

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the only plant-based carbs that is considered a complete protein. With all the essential amino acids present, in addition to micronutrients such as manganese, magnesium, and iron, quinoa is a great clean carb source for athletes.

References
  1. Chappell, A. J., Simper, T., & Barker, M. E. (2018). Nutritional strategies of high level natural bodybuilders during competition preparation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 4.
  2. Rebello, C.J., Johnson, W.D., Martin, C.K., Xie, W., O’Shea, M., Kurilich, A., Bordenave, N., Andler, S., Klinken, B.J.W.V., Chu, Y.F. and Greenway, F.L. (2013). Acute effect of oatmeal on subjective measures of appetite and satiety compared to a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal: a randomized crossover trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(4), 272-9.
  3. Valeur, J., Puaschitz, N. G., Midtvedt, T., & Berstad, A. (2016). Oatmeal porridge: impact on microflora-associated characteristics in healthy subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 115(1), 62-67.
  4. Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods-a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 52(2), 662-675.
  5. Alghannam, A. F., Gonzalez, J. T., & Betts, J. A., (2018). Restoration of muscle glycogen and functional capacity: role of post-exercise carbohydrate and protein co-ingestion. Nutrients, 10(2), 253.

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NUTRITION

6 Clever Ways to Use Protein Powder (That Aren’t Shakes)

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Protein shakes and smoothies are as much a part of the fit life as a closet bursting with spandex. For many of us, shakes are a non-negotiable daily ritual.

Getting enough protein is critical for building muscle, burning fat, and boosting recovery after strenuous workouts, and a powder that delivers 20-plus grams in one shot, shaken with water, is the straightest line between you and your daily protein goals. But you don’t have to live on shakes alone. After all, you do have teeth. There are plenty of other ways to use protein powder in healthy, energizing foods that will keep you (and your muscles) nourished and fueled throughout the day.

Use these protein hacks in your routine as a break from shakes. Just be cautious: Not all protein powders behave the same way when you bake and cook with them. Start with our suggestions or whatever you already have on hand, and then experiment to fine-tune your recipes.

1. Soups and Stews

“Collagen is the hottest type of protein powder on the market,” says dietitian Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, who recommends using it in savory dishes like soups and stews.

What’s great about collagen is that it’s easy to toss in when you’re cooking, and it doesn’t compromise flavor.

Soup

“It’s virtually tasteless and even one small scoop can be a nice protein booster to thicken soups and sauces,” Rizzo says.

Just stir in the amount you like until you reach your preferred thickness, and you’re set.

Try it with: MuscleTech Platinum 100% Hydrolyzed Collagen

2. Chia Seed Pudding

If you’re looking for a way to make your chia pudding thicker and creamier, add a scoop or two of whey protein powder.

“For a simple recipe, combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 1 cup of your favorite milk and 1 scoop of protein powder,” Rizzo suggests.

Let the mixture chill until it jells up from the chia seeds. Then add toppings, such as nuts, seeds, or fresh fruit.

Try it with: Bodybuilding.com Signature 100% Whey Protein, Chocolate

3. Muffins

Generally, muffins don’t contribute much to a healthy diet, but when there’s some protein added to the mix, you get a much healthier treat.

“If you want to add a protein boost to your muffins, you can substitute about 1/3 cup of flour with 1/3 cup of protein powder in most recipes,” says Rizzo.

Muffins

She suggests using an unflavored variety for this type of baking, which won’t affect the taste of the muffins.

Try it with: Isopure Whey Protein Isolate, Unflavored

4. Pancakes

“Pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast meals!” says dietitian Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, CPT. “But as much as I love carbs first thing in the morning, without a dose of protein, I find myself getting hungry within an hour or two.”

Protein powder is the solution.

“Simply add the powder into the mixing bowl when you add the flour, and combine with your traditional ingredients like milk, eggs, and baking powder,” Shaw says.

For pancakes, you may want to use a flavored protein powder.

“I highly recommend pairing the flavor based on your choice of pancakes,” Shaw says. “For instance, a more traditional pancake tastes great with a vanilla flavor while something more creative like carrot cake pancakes pairs well with a cinnamon roll flavored protein powder.”

Try it with: Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey Protein, Vanilla Ice Cream

5. Energy Bites

Sure, you may have seen a thousand different recipes for energy bites on Pinterest, but the ones that really help satiate athletes who are burning insane amounts of energy during training are those that pack protein, too.

Protein Energy Bites

“While nuts provide a plant-forward source of protein and healthy fat, used solo, one bite will typically have under 4 grams of protein, which leaves individuals eating more than perhaps they’re comfortable with to meet their post-workout protein recs,” says Shaw. “Instead, try mixing 1-2 scoops of chocolate or peanut butter protein into your bites. This will create a satisfying snack filled with protein.”

Try it with: Natreve 100% Vegan Protein, Fudge Brownie Sundae

6. Proats

If your cooking skills are at the toast-and-ramen level, we got you. “Proats,” or “protein oats,” is your entry-level protein recipe. Make oatmeal, stir in protein powder. Boom. Any protein powder will work here. Use a little extra water when you cook your oats, though, or it can turn out gluey.

Try it with: REDCON1 MRE Lite, Dutch Apple Pie

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FITNESS

Living Alone? Here are 6 Ways to Handle Self-isolation Like a Pro

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Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic gripped the world, self-isolation has become a norm and people are being asked to remain in the security of their homes to break the chain of transmission. But for social animals, such as us, staying apart from our loved ones for long, can be a traumatic experience. 

Feelings of anxiousness, sadness, depression, frustration, and loneliness can seep in and affect your mental health and overall wellbeing. There are many ways how you can move past the loneliness phase, and try to embrace the current changes in your life, without letting any negative emotion get to you. Once you put aside your doubts and indulge in some of the tips mentioned here, you’ll find that coming out of loneliness or even embracing this time is beneficial for you. But, before that let’s get ourselves to understand what negative effects of self-isolation would be like –

Negative Effects of Self-isolation

Negative Effects of Self-isolation

To ensure that you go through this pandemic without suffering any kind of mental illness, we are here to tell you what are the negative effects loneliness could bring to your life, and how you can fight the situation and come out victorious in the face of adversity. 

  • Living alone or feeling lonely can lead to episodes of anxiety and depression, which can either have short-term or long-term effects
  • Lack of adequate sunshine and outside air due to self-isolation might also result in increased hair fall, changes in the menstrual cycle, and higher instances of irritation and short-temperateness
  • Loneliness also leads to declining immunity, which in turn would invite several diseases and illnesses that are not right for any person living in the Corona time
  • Overall, self-isolation that turns into loneliness induces behavioral, biological and psychological changes, which impacts your immunity and wellbeing 

6 Ways to Self-isolate Without Feeling Lonely

We know that self-isolation in the time of COVID 19  is necessary. No matter how much you want to venture outside, if you want to stay healthy and virus-free, you’ll have to put up with isolating yourself and maintaining social distance. But staying away physically need not turn out to be keeping an emotional distance from your friends and family. On the contrary, make use of mobile phones and video calling features to connect with your family and friends. Share your stories and ask them theirs because social distancing does not mean emotional distancing.

Here are all the ways you can handle self-isolation like a pro without beating yourself up:

#1 Indulge in a hobby

Indulge in a hobby

In this fast-paced world that is constantly moving, stopping to experience your hobby is quite impossible, but self-isolation is a good option to take out those painting brushes or that unfinished book. You must be feeling pressured due to continuously working from home and not knowing when you’re completing your office work, and when you’re transitioning to a homemaker. In such times, indulging in your hobby, be it craft, reading, dancing, or exercising is good for your mental and physical well being.

#2 Organize your thoughts

Living alone can be quite exhausting when you have to manage household and office work. Eventually, the tiredness would get to your mind and body. But one way to tackle such exhaustion is to keep a journal and write about your day. It has always been considered good practice to organize your thoughts and write them down to get it out of your mind.

#3 Eat healthily

Eat healthily

While many don’t believe that eating influences our mental health, in reality, it does. Eating oily, spicy, or any kind of junk food often leads to drastic changes in hormones thereby affecting our mood. Hence, for a better part of your self-isolation duration, eat fresh fruits and a protein-rich diet to ensure that your body’s hormonal balance is maintained.

#4 Connect with your loved ones

Connect with your loved ones

We always blame technology for tearing us apart from real life, but when you’re in self-isolation, technology is what will bring you closer to your family and friends. Make a video call and conference with your family members. Show them the new painting you made or the new dish you tried. Make video calls to your friends and siblings, and reminisce your old days together until you meet them again. This way you not only beat the feeling of negativity but also feel connected and in-touch with your loved ones. 

#5 Travel virtually

Travel virtually

The most affected area due to Coronavirus and social distancing is travel. We understand that all the past trips with your friends and family are making you nostalgic. So, we recommend that you try going on a virtual trip with them. Explore the deepest of mountains and the highest of space with your loved ones through the computer screen. Share past stories and drink your favorite beverage while you virtually travel the world with your family and friends. 

#6 Soak in the sun

Soak in the Sun

One of the worst scenarios of self-isolating is staying away from the sunlight for a number of days. As the primary source of Vitamin D, sunlight keeps our skin, hair, and other internal organs nourished with Vitamin D. We recommend you enjoy your morning tea/coffee in your balcony to soak in the sunlight of the new day. You can also go for a short walk on the terrace of your home to avoid crowded places or outside environments.

Summary

Self-isolation can be quite a daunting and exhausting experience when you’re not staying with your family or friends. Not only would loneliness take shape in such situations, but negative thoughts, anxiety, and depression could also come to light. However, there is no reason to give in to such thoughts. You can always turn to your trusted people, loved ones, and family members to take the load off your mind and talk to them whenever you feel down.

Besides, you can always turn to other factors, such as healthy foods, video calls, journal keeping, and many more, to keep your spirits up while you self-isolate yourself to others. With time, you can go back to your normal life, and enjoy being around people, provided you follow the rules to stay healthy and away from this deadly virus.

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HEALTH

6 Health Benefits of Ghee You Should Know About

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Ghee is a healthy source of saturated fats that can deliver many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to the body. A kind of clarified butter, ghee is made by simmering butter until it reaches a high temperature of around 485°F. At this temperature, milk solids and water get separated leaving behind a light-colored liquid called ghee.

Traditional to India and a staple across Indian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines, the health benefits of ghee, its aromatic flavor and slightly nutty taste has turned this ingredient into a fan favorite across many households worldwide. 

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Is Ghee Good for your Health?

Is Ghee Good for your Health?

Ghee is a source of saturated fats. And the role, saturated fats have to play when it comes to cardiovascular diseases is a continuing topic of debate among health experts. However, the human body cannot function without any saturated fats either. 

While an excessive amount of saturated fats is unhealthy, it is essential in limited quantities. Saturated fats and proper brain functioning are closely related. So while ghee does contain saturated fats, using a limited amount of ghee can both enhance the flavor of the food and deliver essential fats to the body. 

What this shows is that most normal people will experience, little to no health problems from consuming ghee. However, this may not hold for people who are already predisposed to certain hereditary diseases like heart diseases. This predisposition can result from genetic factors or other factors. 

6 Health Benefits of Ghee You Should Know About

Ghee is not just an ingredient used in cooking, but a part of India’s heritage in traditional medicine – the Ayurvedic tradition of healing. In ancient times, ghee was considered to be food sacred to the Gods. And this was how ghee started finding use in everything from lighting lamps, to being used in religious rituals, to being consumed as a health supplement. 

As it turns out, ghee has a lot to offer healthwise:

#1 Positively affects the nervous system

positively affects the nervous system

Ghee positively affects not just the central nervous system in the brain, but also the enteric nervous system in the gut. Ghee contains many vitamins and minerals that regulate and repair the gut lining which in turn is important for brain health as well. 

#2 Rich source of Butyric acid

Ghee is a rich source of butyric acid. Butyric acid is a kind of short-chain fatty acid that improves and supports probiotic bacteria that is present in the stomach. Ghee also has additional benefits, such as balancing the amount of hydrochloric acid present in the stomach and assisting the production of bile in the liver. 

#3 Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids

Ghee is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids

These are also known as essential fatty acids that the body cannot make and need to be supplied through food. Ghee is rich in DHA, a type of omega 3 fatty acid, which has been linked to brain development, reducing inflammation, slowing down the aging process, and many more functions. 

 #4 Important source of fat-soluble Vitamins

Ghee is a rich source of important fat-soluble vitamins

Ghee is a rich source of important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E, K2, and D. The body absorbs fat-soluble vitamins best when a person eats them with higher-fat foods like ghee. These vitamins have many functions like improving immunity, good vision, and good antioxidant effects.

#5 Conjugated linoleic acid

Also known as CLA, this acid is known for its ability to reduce tumors in the body, lower the amount of blood cholesterol, and improve and stabilize blood pressure. Ghee is a good source of CLA. 

#6 Powerful antioxidant abilities

Ghee has powerful antioxidant abilities

The presence of vitamin E provides ghee with powerful antioxidant abilities. Ghee is also known to be good for the skin, as well as the hair. People don’t just consume ghee, but use it to make homemade face masks, hair masks, and more. As ghee retains its structural integrity at very high cooking temperatures, it becomes a great ingredient to be used in dishes that involve frying, sauteing, and other techniques that involve cooking on high heat. Ghee is both a popular source of essential nutrients, as well as an important flavoring ingredient in many contemporary dishes. Popular dieting programs, like the Keto diet, among others, have already led many people towards this delicious ingredient. 

How to make ghee at home – Recipe

Ghee can be expensive to buy, but it can be made at home easily by following a few simple steps. 

How to make ghee at home
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes 
  • Cooking Time: 15 mins approximately

Ingredients: 

  • Butter – 250g
  • A saucepan
  • A strainer
  • Cheesecloths 

Method:

  • Cut the butter into equal cubes. 
  • Place them into the saucepan. 
  • Heat the butter on medium heat until the butter melts. 
  • Bring the pan to a simmer and allow the butter to reduce for fifteen minutes maximum.
  • Watch out for foaming during this time. 
  • When the contents of the pan foam for a second time, turn off the heat. 
  • Leave to rest for 3 minutes. 
  • Strain the contents through a wire mesh lined with cheesecloth. 

The golden yellow liquid you get is ghee. 

Summary

Ghee is an important source of essential nutrients, fat-soluble vitamins, and good saturated fats. Ghee has also been linked to fat loss, so anyone looking to maintain a healthy diet without losing out on important fats should turn to ghee.

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FITNESS

Star Fruit: Top 6 Benefits; Nutritional Facts, and Healthy Recipes

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Star fruit is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. It has gained popularity across the world for its myriad of uses and benefits. Biting into the star fruit is extremely satisfying as it is both crunchy and juicy. In some areas, it is relished as a local delicacy, while other areas consume it as a delightful exotic fruit. Every region has incorporated this fruit uniquely into its local cuisine. The Chinese prefer it with fish. Australians pickle it. Jamaicans dry it. Filipinos eat it, simply with salt, while Indians prefer the fruit in the form of juice. As the fruit is deliciously diverse, it can be consumed in so many different wonderful ways.

In appearance, the star fruit is an oval-shaped fruit with five ridges that stretch longitudinally across. It is these very ridges that give it the appearance of a star when viewed cross-sectionally, hence, the name – Star Fruit. The fruit is both sweet and sour based on the variety you choose. Some sour varieties even turn sweet over time as they ripen. In addition to these many characteristics, the fruit possesses several nutrients that will not only provide the body with essential nutrients but also keep you healthy for the long run.

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Nutritional Value of Star Fruit

Star fruit is a low-calorie but high- fibre food that makes it exceptionally healthy. It is also low on fat but loaded with Vitamin B, Vitamin C, sodium, potassium, iron and several important antioxidants making it an all-round healthy snack.
For every 100g of serving, you consume:

  • Fat 0.3g
  • Carbohydrates 7g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.8g
  • Protein 1g 

Health Benefits of Star Fruit

Star fruit is both delicious and nutritious at the same time. Its sweet and tangy taste can be savoured without any guilt because it comes power-packed with several health-enhancing nutrients. Below are some of the advantages of consuming star fruit.

1. Prevents Inflammation

The star fruit is a good source of vitamin C. A single serving of this fruit can take care of 57% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. Vitamin C cleanses your body toxins, and its anti-inflammatory qualities help with skin conditions like dermatitis. It also helps your body to fight against flu and common colds. Consuming such a rich source of vitamin C can significantly build up your tolerance for cold and strength against infections.
Furthermore, vitamin C is also required by the body to make collagen found in bones, muscles and cartilages. It also helps in absorbing another essential nutrient – iron. Deficiency of vitamin C can lead to scurvy, bad skin, slow tissue healing and fatigue. Incorporating star fruit in your diet will ensure your vitamin C levels are always optimal.

2. Good for the Heart

heart health

Star Fruit is loaded with important minerals like sodium and potassium that regulate your blood pressure. Healthy levels of both these minerals will ensure that your blood pressure never fluctuates radically and your heartbeat rhythm stays stable. It also contains calcium that is again very beneficial for your heart. Healthy amounts of calcium in the body can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases like strokes and cardiac arrests. It ensures robust blood circulation and fluid balance in the body, thus reducing your chances of developing heart diseases.

3. Fights Diabetes and High Cholesterol

100g of star fruit contains 2.8g of fruit fibre that helps check your blood sugar level. Fruit fibre curtails glucose-release that happens after you eat something. By doing this, it helps regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels. Eating food that is high in fibre can prevent diabetes and can also actively help people already suffering from diabetes. Since star fruit is so easy to eat and rich in fibre, it makes for a healthy, guilt-free snack for both diabetic and non-diabetic people.
Being high in fibre also helps in tackling high cholesterol and resulting in susceptibility to heart ailments. Moreover, every 100g of this fruit contains just 0.3g of fat, making it extremely suitable for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

4. Better Digestion and Metabolism

healthy digestion

The rich presence of dietary fibre in this fruit has another health advantage- it improves your digestion. It helps in regulating the size and softness of your stool, making it easy to pass through your system. People suffering from constipation will find relief as this fruit stimulates your digestion and betters your bowel health. Good bowel health will also ameliorate other symptoms of poor digestion like cramps and bloating.
The fruit is also a rich source of Vitamin B that is crucial for normal cell functioning and development. Star fruit contains two types of Vitamin B- riboflavin and folate also referred to as folic acid in dietary supplements. Both these vitamins regulate your metabolism and make sure that your hormone and enzyme levels stay within the normal range.

5. Healthy Hair and Skin

helps improve skin and hair

The rich presence of antioxidants along with vitamin B and C in starfruit aids healing of skin and hair cells which in turn leads to shining hair and glowing skin. More particularly antioxidants like gallic acid and quercetin display immense anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties.

6. Regulates Weight

Aids weight management

Being low in sugar makes the star fruit an ideal snack to munch on without worrying about gaining weight. The high fibre content also makes your metabolism work fast, ensuring you burn your calories quickly. Foods that are higher in fibre are also more filling than their low fibre counterparts, thereby making you satiated for long.

Can Star Fruit be Consumed by Anybody?

Despite its numerous health benefits, star fruit should be avoided by people suffering from kidney ailments. It contains neurotoxins that are harmless to people with normal functioning kidneys but not so much for people suffering from kidney ailments. Such people are unable to flush the neurotoxin out of the body resulting in severe illness.
However, the rest can enjoy this fruit without any compunction.

Healthy Ways to Consume Star Fruit

You can use some of the below-mentioned healthy recipes to savour the fruit and reap all its health benefits.

#1 Star Fruit Strawberry Smoothie

Star Fruit Strawberry Smoothie

This nourishing vegan smoothie is a great way to curb those incessant hunger pangs while making sure your body gets all its necessary vitamins and minerals.

Prep time: 5 minutes; Cooking time: 2 minutes

  • 1 cup star fruit
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup mango Process: –
  • Chop all the fruits and put them in the blender.
  • Once blended to your preferred consistency, serve 

#2 Star Fruit Shrimp Salad 

Star Fruit Shrimp Salad

This delicious dish is a beautiful amalgamation of different flavours and textures. It is crunchy, juicy and refreshing- a great dish by itself or an equally great accompaniment to regular lunch/dinner options.

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked shrimp
  • 5 star fruits
  • 1 cucumber
  • ½ cup red onions
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

Method:

  • Put the cooked shrimp in the salad bowl.
  • Add star fruits along with chopped cucumber, onion and fresh mint leaves into the bowl.
  • Prepare the salad dressing by mixing lemon juice, fish sauce, salt and pepper. 
  • Mix it well and pour over the salad.
  • It is best served fresh.

#3 Star Fruit Pickle

Another way to truly enjoy star fruit is to pickle it, the Indian way.

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: 45 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 6 star fruits
  • 5 tablespoons mustard oil
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 4 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
  • 1 – 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder

Method:

  • Wash and dry star fruits. Later cut them up into star shapes.
  • Roast and grind mustard and fennel seeds.
  • Add the ground seeds’ mixture along with the star fruits and spices in the pickling jar.
  • Let it sit for a day.
  • After a day has passed, heat some mustard oil and pour into the pickle jar.
  • Keep in sunlight for at least 4 days before using.

Summary 

The succulent star fruit is as delicious to eat as it is beautiful to look at. This fruit is extremely healthy. It is packed with several important nutrients such as Vitamin C and Fibre, which will keep you in good health and shape. Its consumption is also associated with a myriad of health benefits such as:

  • Improved Digestion
  • Increased Metabolism
  • Healthier Skin and hair
  • Prevents heart and blood-sugar related disease

It is also a very versatile fruit that can be prepared in a variety of ways, thus making sure you never get bored of eating this incredible fruit.



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FITNESS

6 Benefits of Adding Nuts to Your Diet: HealthifyMe Blog

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In an ever-growing, health-conscious society, people are always looking out for the next superfood that can contribute towards better health. Nuts are regarded as an excellent food that can contribute towards a healthy body when eaten regularly.
This article will highlight ten healthy nuts to look out for next time you are in the grocery store and their nutritional profiles. In addition, it will also detail four incredible benefits of consuming nuts and specify three nuts that may contribute to weight loss.

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10 Nuts that are Good for your Health and their Nutritional Values

Nutritional value of nuts

Adding nuts to your diet doesn’t have to be complicated. They can be eaten alone as a snack or can be added to an array of dishes. The following ten nuts can bring about significant benefits to your health and wellness. As you will notice, not all nuts are the same; some contain more calories and different macronutrient ratios (carbs, protein & fat) than others.

The following nutritional values are based on one 28g serving:

Nuts Total Calories Carbs (In grams) Proteins (In grams) Fat (In grams) Fiber (In grams)
Almonds 161 6 6 14 3.5
Cashews 155 9 5 12 1
Chestnuts 69 14 0.9 0.6 1.3
Hazelnuts 176 6 6 9 3.5
Macadamia 200 4 2 21 2.5
Peanuts 176 5 4 17 3
Pecans 193 4 3 20 2.5
Pistachios 156 8 6 12.5 3
Walnuts 182 4 4 18 2
Brazil Nuts 182 3 4 18 2

Benefits of Consuming Nuts

By adding nuts to your diet, a number of significant changes to health can occur. This section will highlight a number of benefits associated with consuming nuts regularly.

1) Consuming Healthy Fats

Nuts contain high amounts of good fats. Many believe that consuming a large amount of fat has a negative impact on the body and can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases. However, the understanding that fats are bad for you is obsolete.
It’s important to recognize that there are four different types of dietary fat-saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and trans fats. Trans fat is found in processed food items and is detrimental to health. However, the other three types of fat are perfectly safe for consumption. Nuts are especially high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are fats that have been linked with a number of health benefits.
These “good” fats provided the body with energy, allow for the absorption of key vitamins and minerals, maintain immune and nervous system function, insulate the body, and regulate blood pressure and clotting. Also, nuts are an excellent source of omega 3 and 6 and therefore, consuming nuts regularly can ensure that the body functions optimally.

2) Consuming Nuts Improve Heart Health

Improves heart health

Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats appear to have a substantial impact on heart health by reducing cholesterol levels. In a similar way to fats, cholesterol has been demonized over the past number of years as is often seen as the cause of a number of heart-related conditions. It is true that having a high level of cholesterol may increase your risk, however, this is dependent on the type of cholesterol.
There are two types of cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (or LDL’s) and high-density lipoproteins (or HDL’s). Having an elevated level of LDL’s in the blood can cause plaque to build-up within the artery walls and increase the risk of cardiac-related diseases. However, having a high level of HDL’s in the blood is no cause for concern and can actually reduce the risk.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood and having a high triglyceride level can increase the risk of developing heart-related diseases and problems in a similar way to LDL’s. In addition, a high triglyceride level may also lead to high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose levels, and obesity. Extremely high levels can even begin to interfere with the liver and pancreas. Studies have shown that by regularly consuming nuts, it may be possible to reduce triglyceride levels thus reducing the risk of developing chronic illnesses.

3) Facilitates Weight Loss

weight loss

Despite being high in fat and calories, nuts are incredibly healthy. Regularly eating nuts as part of a healthy diet is not associated with weight gain, and may even help you lose weight. Nuts are high in unsaturated fats, which, according to some studies, increase the oxidation of fats and thermogenesis, helping turn calories into energy at a faster rate. Also, nuts are high in fiber, which can increase the feeling of satiety and delay stomach emptying, thus suppressing hunger and making the person feel fuller for longer.

4) Nuts Contain a wide range of micronutrient

Micronutrients are simply vitamins and minerals that the body needs to regulate and maintain bodily function. An array of nutrients are required in order to produce energy and bring about nerve impulses and muscular contractions. Furthermore, micronutrients are needed for maintaining organ, bone, and immune health and function. Nuts contain a vast range of micronutrients including substances such as vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, folate, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Therefore, consuming nuts often can significantly contribute to maintaining good health and function.

5. Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that prevent damage from occurring at a cellular level. By ensuring that you consume a large number of antioxidants, you can boost your immune system and reduce the risk of developing illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinsons’, Alzheimers, and cancer. Several nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, and chestnuts, contain an extremely vast number of antioxidants and may, therefore, be useful in preventing a number of these diseases.

6. High in Fiber Contents

Fiber is a type of non-digestible carbohydrate that can be found in high quantities in plant-based foods – including nuts. Fiber is essential for digestion and therefore, it is important that you consume a diet that is high in fiber. Failure to consume an adequate amount of fiber may lead to a range of digestive issues such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and diverticulitis.
Along with aiding digestion, fiber also plays a key role in stabilizing glucose and cholesterol levels. Therefore consuming fiber is especially important for those who suffer from diabetes and high cholesterol. In addition, consuming a high amount of fiber has been found to benefit the heart. A number of studies that have investigated high-fiber diets have indicated that fiber may reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and cancer.
It can be concluded that by consuming nuts regularly, you can increase the amount of fiber that you consume each day thus consequently improving your digestive health and reducing the risk of illness.

3 Best Nuts For Weight Loss

As stated earlier, for weight loss to occur, calories need to be restricted, yet, a number of studies that have indicated that a selection of nuts may accelerate the weight loss process.
This section will review the specific weight loss benefits associated with almonds, pistachios, and walnuts.

1) Almonds

almonds and weight loss

There have been many studies conducted on the consumption of almonds and weight loss. Consistently, results have indicated that the nut helps to promote weight loss. One particular study looking at overweight females found that those who ate almonds lost three times the amount of weight and dropped waist sizes more quickly when compared to those who didn’t. 

2) Pistachios

Pistachios

Pistachios have also been documented to bring about positive changes in body weight too. One study not only indicated that pistachios can contribute to weight loss, but it is also found that it brought about a decrease in triglyceride levels.
Along with hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios contain the highest amounts of protein per serving at six grams. Protein is an important component when it comes to weight loss as protein consumption affects satiety levels; by eating a high-protein diet, you will feel fuller for longer. Remaining fuller for longer may help to reduce snacking, eating frequencies and portion sizes. By reducing all three of these, you can significantly restrict your daily calorie consumption and successfully bring about weight loss.

3) Walnuts

Walnuts

Walnuts are the final nut that may facilitate weight loss. A study carried out on walnut consumption found that significant weight loss progress can be made, providing they were consumed while a calorie deficit was maintained. The authors of the study also concluded that the healthy fats contained within walnuts served to substantially reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol & triglyceride levels.

Note: Although the total number of calories may not be absorbed by the body, nuts do still contain a relatively high number of calories. Therefore, if you consume a large amount of nuts every day, you will likely be consuming many calories which may take you out of a calorie deficit. Therefore, while adding nuts into your diet is recommended, however, ensure that the quantity isn’t extremely high. A useful recommendation to follow is to consume no more than one serving of nuts per day (28 grams). This is equivalent to approximately twenty almonds, sixty pistachios, or ten walnuts.

Summary

Nuts not only serve as a nutritious snack, but research suggests that nuts may improve heart health, increase the rate of weight loss, and generally prove beneficial for health and function. Therefore, it is absolutely recommended to add nuts into your diet, however, be conscious of portion sizes and ensure that an appropriate number of nuts are consumed. 



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FITNESS

6 Yoga Mudras for Weight Loss

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Yoga has been practiced for centuries in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Yoga has become a symbol of peace, wellness, and mindfulness today, finding new fans every day across the globe. Yoga originated from Yogis, who used their mind, body, and breath to discover certain postures and positions that could help the body remain healthy. Yogis also discovered yoga mudras to be incredibly effective and began to incorporate them in all yoga practices.

Yoga mudras are basically simple hand gestures that activate the flow of energy within the body. Mudras are also often used in classical dance forms, as a means to convey the story or articulate emotions. Mudras in yoga are known to provide healing powers to the body in order to alleviate physiological and emotional ailments. Using the correct yoga mudras is also known to help people lose excess weight and remain fit.

Yoga Mudra for Weight Loss

Yoga has traditionally been practiced as a way to keep the body and mind healthy. The breathing techniques taught by yoga helps to improve concentration and mindfulness. While yoga has evolved through the years, it remains true to Ayurveda at its core. Yoga considers the five elements, namely – ‘Jal’ (Water), ‘Prithvi’ (Earth), ‘Akash’ (Space), ‘Vayu’ (Air), and ‘Agni’ (Fire), to be the core focus points in our body. Any imbalance caused by these elements results in illnesses or poor health in general. Yoga mudras help to restore the balance between these elements and prepare the body to fight against any future illnesses.  
Here are some of the most effective yoga mudras that have been practiced and passed on from generations. These mudras are known to assist in healing chronic diseases as well as improve the overall mental health of a person. These mudras are known to boost the weight loss process and help a person achieve good health and fitness –

1. Surya-Agni mudra

The Surya Mudra or the Agni Mudra, as it is known traditionally, represents the fire element. Performing this mudra activates the fire energy in the body, and allows you to restore the fire balance. Doing the mudras allow the fingers to form connections and facilitate the flow of energy in the body. 
In the weight loss process, several people find difficulty in reducing fat due to poor digestive health. The fire element present in the Surya mudra is known to improve digestion by boosting the metabolism in the body. Regular practice can significantly aid in fat loss.
You can perform the Surya mudra at the comfort of your own home. First, sit upright with the back straight. Move the ring finger towards the palm of the hand and join it with the thumb. Place your hands on your thighs and knees and remain seated in this position. In the meantime, you can perform breathing techniques or meditation. The Surya mudra is to be performed for 45 minutes each day, and with 15-minute intervals between each time. The Surya mudra yields more benefits when practiced early in the day. 

2. Kapha-Nashak Mudra

The three temperaments of the body are known as Vayu, Kapha, and Pitta. The Kapha and Pitta elements represent fire and earth, respectively, whereas Vayu represents air. The Pitta element in the body represents fire and is known to speed up the metabolism in the body. The Kapha element represents earth, too much of which could indicate excess weight in the body. The Kapha-Nashak mudra aims to remove the excess of the Kapha element from the body and restore the balance amongst all other elements. The Kapha-Nashak mudra improves the functioning of the digestive system by boosting metabolic activity through the generation of fire.  
To perform the Kapha-Nashak mudra, you will need to sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Bend the ring finger and the little finger towards the palm, and join them with the thumb. Exert pressure as long as it is comfortable for you and remain in this position. You will need to practice this mudra for 30-45 minutes every day, with repetitions of 15 minutes to feel the complete benefits of the mudra.

3. Linga Mudra

The Linga mudra is also often known as Lord Shiva’s mudra. Yoga is intertwined in Hindu and Buddhist religions in an immense manner, with many believing that the Gods practiced yoga and meditation. The Linga mudra is an effective mudra that works to channelize inner conflicts. The Linga mudra symbolizes the victory of positivity over negativity. Practicing this mudra awakens the fire in the body, which in turn produces energy that can revitalize the organs. The digestive system is activated, and energy flows through it in order to balance out any gut issues. Linga mudra helps in weight loss by improving the body’s metabolism. The heat generated with this mudra obstructs the growth of a toxic substance called ‘Ama,’ which is known to accumulate fat in the body. 
To perform the Linga mudra, you will need to first sit in a comfortable position with the legs crossed. Keep your eyes closed to improve concentration and avoid distractions. Next, interlock the fingers of both hands, with the palms pressed against each other. Remember to keep the Left  thumbs upright. It is advisable to practice this mudra for 20-30 minutes each day. Increasing the pressure against the palms helps to generate more heat, thereby strengthening the effect of this mudra.

4. Vaayan Mudra

The Vaayan mudra is the mudra that is closely associated with the element of air. The body is required to energize itself with air properties that help in improving the nervous system in the body. When practiced correctly, Vaayan mudra is known to help people become more self-aware and practice a higher range of consciousness. With the mind on board, it becomes easier to control weight and cut down on fat effectively.  
In order to perform the Vaayan mudra, you will need to be seated on the floor in a secured and ventilated space. Keep the spine erect and eyes closed to begin the process. You will need to bend your index finger and middle finger towards the palm and join them with the thumb. Apply slight pressure and hold this position. Practice this position for 15-20 minutes on a daily basis to feel the positive effects of the Vaayan mudra.

5. Gyan Mudra

The Gyan mudra, as the Sanskrit name suggests, is also known as the mudra of knowledge. The Gyan mudra is meant to be practiced alongside other yoga positions and breathing exercises. The Gyan mudra is known to improve the concentration of the mind and allows the bodily and mental functions to flow better. The Gyan mudra is also known to help people suffering from irregular sleep, and facilitate a natural and healthy sleep cycle in the body. Lack of sleep is often considered to be a large cause of weight gain. The Gyan mudra looks after the rest needed by the body, allowing you to boost metabolism and shed off the excess weight. During the process of practicing yoga mudras, it is important to keep a positive frame of mind in order to reap the maximum benefits of these age-old traditions.  
To practice the Gyan mudra, you will be required to sit on the floor, preferably with your legs crossed. Keep the back straight and eyes closed. Next, touch the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb while keeping the other fingers outstretched. Place your palms on the knees and remain seated in this position for 30 minutes in order to avail of the benefits of this mudra.

6. Prana Mudra

prana mudra

The word ‘Prana’ means ‘life.’ The Prana mudra essentially means the ‘mudra of life’. This mudra holds superiority as it is believed to represent life itself. The Prana mudra helps the individual to activate energy in the body and allow the organs to function efficiently. With regular practice of the Prana mudra, the root chakras become activated, which allows energy to flow throughout the body without any hassles. Prana mudra, when performed with Pranayama yields the best results. 
To perform the Prana mudra, sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Keep the back straight and eyes closed in order to improve concentration. The mudra is supposed to be performed with both hands. Join the tip of the thumb to the tips of the ring finger and little finger, and repeat with the other hand. Hold the position for 20-25 minutes to feel the effect of the Prana mudra. 

In addition to performing these mudras, there are a few other lifestyle changes that are to be made to activate the effects of these mudras and aid the weight loss process. Here are a few tips that can be followed –

  • Remember to follow a nutritious, balanced diet. Try to eat home-cooked meals as much as possible.
  • Avoid excess consumption of sugary drinks and juices.
  • Maintain an active lifestyle and try to remain on your feet for a major portion of the day.
  • Exercise regularly to facilitate the fat burning process. Introduce variations in the daily workout regimen to keep the mind and body interested.
  • Try to find a yoga group or even opt to practice yoga in the comfort of your home. Yoga helps to strengthen the body and also helps relieve stress and negativity. 
  • Just like the mind and body, the breath needs to be monitored as well. Incorporate a few breathing exercises along with the mudras to improve the breathing process.
  • Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day to flush out the toxins.

Summary

Practicing these mudras and following the above-mentioned lifestyle tips can go a long way in keeping the body and mind healthy, and also helping you reach your weight loss goals.



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FITNESS

Stretches For Runners: 6 Moves To Help Speed Up Your Recovery

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Everyone knows you should do some stretching after a run, just like everyone knows you should eat at least five servings of fruit and veg a day. But knowing something and doing it are very different things. Most people just want to take off their trainers and hit the shower as soon as they finish a run.

However, spending five minutes stretching after your training will help your muscles recover and prepare them for your next workout. To help you do the right thing after your next run, we enlisted Richard Tidmarsh, strength and conditioning coach and founder of Reach Fitness, and Chris Magee, head of yoga at Another_Space, for some great post-run stretches.

You’ll find Tidmarsh and Magee’s stretches below, and once you’ve tried them and started to realise how much a little stretching and mobility work can benefit your running, check out some of our other running articles on the topic. We have round-ups of great yoga poses and Pilates stretches for runners, as well as a foam rolling routine you can use to ease any aches and pains in your muscles after a run.

If you then decide short routines like these are no longer enough for you, check out our YouTube round-up of the best post-run stretches and yoga routines for runners. As keen runners ourselves, we’ve followed a lot of YouTube stretching videos and it can be a very hit-and-miss experience, so skip the searching and use our carefully-compiled list of great stretching sessions.

Twisted Lizard

You start this stretch in the runner’s lunge position, which just happens to be another great stretch. From a standing position, put your hands either side of your feet. Then take a big stride back with one foot so the back leg is straight and your front knee is bent at a 90° angle.

“From the runner’s lunge position, drop your back knee to the floor and untuck your toes,” says Magee. “Turn your chest in the direction of your front leg. This may be enough of a stretch for your quad and hip flexor – if so, stop here and breathe. If you need more of a stretch, bring your back foot up and reach your hand back to catch your foot. If you can’t reach your foot, use a belt or strap. Hold the pose for a minimum of 30 seconds.”

Seated Forward Fold

Start this stretch by sitting down with your legs straight out in front of you.

“Keeping your and your feet feet flexed, sit upright so your spine is as straight as possible, then fold forwards over your thighs,” says Magee. “Focus on lengthening your lower back while squeezing your quads. Grab your toes and pull your elbows back towards your hips to go deeper into the pose. If you can’t grab your toes, use a belt or strap around the balls of your feet. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.”

Pigeon

“From a press-up position, bring your right leg up and place it so your knee is by your right wrist and your right foot is by your left wrist, with your shin parallel to your chest,” says Tidmarsh. “From this position sit down into the stretch, initially keeping your chest up and making sure your hips are square with your shoulders. Then slowly drop your chest forwards and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. You will feel a deep stretch in your right glute and lower back. Breathe, stretch and enjoy. Then repeat on the other side.”

Jiu jitsu

“This is a great move to open your hips and stretch your quads after a run,” says Tidmarsh. “Sit on the floor with your legs out straight. Then bend your right leg and place the sole of your right foot on your left thigh. Then bend your left leg out to the left. Then place your right elbow on the floor behind you (if you can) and feel the stretch in your right hip and left quad. To increase the stretch, place your elbow further away from you. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.”

Scorpion

“The scorpion is a great way to stretch a long chain of muscles all the way from your quad to your upper back,” says Tidmarsh. “Lie on your front with arms spread to create a T shape. Lift your left leg and move it over your right in a wide arc, aiming to land your left foot as close to your right hand as possible. Do two or three reps to create distance, then hold at your maximum range for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.”

J hang

“This is a simple and effective way to stretch your entire posterior chain, lengthening your back and hamstrings,” says Tidmarsh. “Stand on a small step, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Tuck your chin into your chest and slowly “roll” your spine forwards to your full extension, with your arms hanging in front of you. Keeping your chin tucked, take six deep breaths, trying to increase the depth of the stretch on the exhale.”

Training on Demand is a series of video workouts devised by Richard Tidmarsh. For more info visit r4reach.com

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NEWS

The Physicians Foundation launches interoperability fund in association with 6 state medical societies

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interoperability, rope, braid

In association with six state medical societies, The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on advancing the work of practicing doctors, has revealed the creation of an interoperability fund.

Aptly called The Physicians Foundation Interoperability Fund, it will aid medical practices in sharing clinical information with other doctors and hospitals through health information exchanges. It’s launching with $500,000 in funding.

The six participating societies are the Connecticut State Medical Society, Medical Association of Georgia, Louisiana State Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical Association, Medical Society of New Jersey and the South Carolina Medical Association.

Interested practices with an EHR in participating states can receive funding on a first come basis.

Together, the six societies will collaborate on a physician-led program aimed at improving the sharing of clinical information. Through the fund, health information exchange participants can access patient data regardless of where the patient received care. Ultimately, the aim is to improve clinical outcomes, boost patient safety and reduce inefficiencies.

“Our national survey of physicians tells us EHRs are the least satisfying part of physicians’ jobs, and oftentimes, a leading factor in burnout among America’s physicians,” The Physicians Foundation president Gary Price said in a statement. “The Physicians Foundation is proud to lead an initiative that will help alleviate unnecessary burdens on both physicians and patients. Through improved information sharing, The Physicians Foundation Interoperability Fund will further enable physicians to be their patients’ strongest advocate and partner in decision-making for their care.”

Interoperability continues to be a hot discussion topic in the healthcare world.

Earlier this year, a total of seven hospital groups — including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Federation of American Hospitals — released a report encouraging stakeholders to advance data sharing. It outlines six elements of the pathway to interoperability, including security and privacy, efficient solutions, a cost-effective infrastructure, standards that work, connecting beyond electronic health records and shared best practices.

The government is also weighing in on data exchange. Last month, HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued the second draft of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, which outlines principles to support the nationwide exchange of health information.

Also in April, HHS also said it is extending the public comment period by 30 days for two proposed interoperability regulations. The new deadline for comment submission is June 3. The proposed rules were originally announced in February.

Photo: JamesBrey, Getty Images

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6 Ways to Save on Prescription Drugs

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6 Ways to Save on Prescription Drugs – Health

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