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NUTRITION

Intermittent Fasting: The Best Foods for Breaking a Fast

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Intermittent fasting is not a diet; it’s a pattern of eating. You eat during a certain period of time every day and don’t eat during the rest of the time. It’s simple and straightforward. The most popular fasting pattern is the 16/8 method, in which you eat during a designated 8-hour period only. People often ask, what are the best foods to eat to break a fast if you want to lose weight more effectively?

The answer is to ease your body back into eating with easy-to-digest foods that are wholesome and nutrient dense. Plan your meals ahead of time and stick with the basics, incorporating nutrients from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. When you eat healthfully during your 8-hour window, you ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.

Here are some of the best foods for doing that.

Protein

Choose your protein from fresh, lean, minimally-processed sources. Many of these will come from animal proteins, but if you are a plant-based eater and prefer meatless meals, lentils and other legumes are good sources of minimally-processed protein. If you do eat meat regularly, lentils and beans are also considered to be a source of carbohydrates.

Protein

Examples of protein: Eggs and egg whites, fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, bison, pork, wild game, cultured cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, and tempeh.

Complex Carbohydrates

Choose complex carbohydrates that are whole, minimally-processed sources that pack a lot of nutrition and fiber. It’s also important to include a variety of starches and colorful fruits in your total carbohydrate intake. If you want a fast, convenient way to get your complex carbohydrates, try Swolverine’s Clean Carbs.

Examples of complex carbs: Sweet potatoes, yams, beans and lentils, oats (steel-cut, rolled, old-fashioned), plain non-fat Greek yogurt, kefir, fresh and frozen fruit, corn, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, whole or sprouted grains (bagels, breads, muffins, pastas, wraps), and whole-grain rice (brown, black, wild).

Healthy Fats

These fats will come from a variety of sources like nuts, nut butters, and oils, sticking with anti-inflammatory oils like extra-virgin olive and avocado. Unless you’re following a specific diet, healthy fats shouldn’t exceed more than 30-35 percent of your daily calories.

Examples of healthy fats: Oils (extra-virgin olive, walnut, avocado), marinades made with anti-inflammatory oils, cheese aged more than 6 months, egg yolks, seeds (chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame), nuts (cashew, walnut, almond, peanut, brazil, pecan, pistachio), natural nut butters, pesto made with extra-virgin olive oil, and unprocessed coconut.

Vegetables

Vegetables come in all sorts of shapes, colors, flavors, and textures. There are so many to choose from that there’s really no reason not to eat vegetables every day. Aim for two palm-sized portions of vegetables in every meal, regardless of whether they’re fresh or frozen, raw, steamed, sautéed, or microwaved. Make sure half of your daily vegetable intake comes from leafy and other cruciferous vegetables.

Vegetables

Examples of vegetables: Beets, broccoli, tomatoes, radishes, onions, peppers, cabbage, squash, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant, salad greens (spinach, arugula, kale, baby kale, collards, spring mix, etc.), celery, green beans, and cucumbers.

Fermented Foods

These are a staple of any healthy-gut diet. Not only do fermented foods boost the number of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, in your gut, but they also contribute to improved health, digestion, and absorption of nutrients from your other foods—fruits, vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates, for example. Choose fermented foods that are unsweetened, as those are the best to break a fast with.

Examples of fermented foods: Kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, cabbage, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, and probiotic yogurt.

Fresh Fruit

It’s no secret that fruit is a staple of any healthy diet and that some fruits are more nutritious than others. If you’re looking to boost your intermittent fasting weight-loss results, stick with fruits that are lower in sugar than others.

Fresh Fruit

Examples of lower-sugar fruits: Apples, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pomegranates, oranges, cherries, grapefruit, apricots, peaches, prunes, oranges, and kiwi.

What Foods Should You Avoid When Practicing Intermittent Fasting?

These foods will keep you from losing weight efficiently when you’re practicing intermittent fasting. They’re short on nutrients and harder on the digestive tract than their fresh, wholesome counterparts.

  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Fried foods
  • Highly processed foods
  • Simple carbohydrates
  • Inflammatory oils
  • Excessive caffeine

Breaking Your Intermittent Fast: The Takeaway

Of course, you don’t have to choose any of the foods on this list to break your intermittent fast, but you’ll miss out on their benefits. Eating healthfully will help you maximize your intermittent fasting efforts as well as increase your overall health, reset your metabolism, and help you lose weight faster.

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NUTRITION

Eating to Grow: The Top 10 Foods for Building Muscle

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If you’re trying to gain size, you can spend two hours in the weight room, hammering out set after set, but it won’t mean much if you aren’t eating a muscle-focused diet.Size gains come from two foundational actions: tearing the muscle down with training, and building it back up with nutrition. And nutrition means protein.

Below are the top 10 protein-packed foods you can eat to support muscle growth. But before you dig in, take a minute to figure out how much you need to eat.

Eat More Than You Burn

To build muscle and gain size, you must eat more calories than you burn—the opposite of a fat-burning diet. An easy way to calculate your daily caloric needs is with an online calorie calculator.

Based on your goals and current physical activity level, you’ll get a calorie range to achieve each day, usually 200-300 calories more than your maintenance level, meaning the number of calories you must eat to maintain your current weight.

If you find yourself struggling to get enough calories and protein just from whole foods, supplements such as whey protein can help you to reach your daily caloric needs.

Top 10 Muscle-Building Foods

Now that you know how much you need to eat, here are the best animal- and plant-based foods you can enjoy after your workout to help you achieve your muscle-building goals. Since protein-rich foods contain the most amino acids, the building blocks of muscle tissue, we’ll focus on the healthiest foods with the highest protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving. Many of them also contain heart-healthy fatty acids, digestion-supporting complex carbohydrates, and micronutrients such as zinc and magnesium.

1. Chicken Breast

Chicken breast

Is there any food more associated with bodybuilding and muscle growth than the chicken breast? Cost effective, easy to prepare, and packed with protein, chicken breasts are the ideal muscle-building food. We recommend buying a large pack, cooking them in bulk, and dividing them up for lunch and dinner meals throughout the week.

  • 32 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

2. Hemp Seeds

Many plant foods must be mixed to form a complete protein; for example, eating brown rice with peas. Hemp seeds are an exception, giving you 32 grams of completely bioavailable protein per 100-gram serving. Take note of the fat content: The same serving has almost 50 grams of healthy fats.

  • 32 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

3. Lean Pork Chops

Back to animal sources. Use lean pork chops as you would chicken breasts. You can cook them in bulk and interchange them throughout the week for lunches or dinners.

  • 31 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Like hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds are a complete protein source and are high in fatty acids, making them excellent to snack on throughout the day.

  • 30 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

5. Canned Albacore Tuna

Another bodybuilding staple, canned albacore tuna is also a convenient, cost-effective option for supporting your muscle-building goals. We highly recommend buying only brands associated with responsible and sustainable fishing practices to avoid dangerous levels of heavy metals. Examples include Safe Catch, Wild Planet, and Trader Joe’s.

  • 27 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

6. Wild Salmon

Famously high in omega-3 fatty acids, wild salmon also contains 25 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce serving. Wild salmon is recommended, but farmed salmon is OK, too. Just be sure to limit your consumption of farmed salmon.

  • 25 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

7. Eggs

One egg contains around 6 grams of protein along with zinc and healthy fats. If you’re like most people, you eat more than one egg at a time, so the protein count adds up quickly. Opt for brown eggs over white.

Eggs
  • 13 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

8. Soybeans

Soybeans have been shown to support cardiovascular health. We highly recommend eating only fermented or sprouted soybeans; avoid the processed stuff.

  • 13 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

9. Greek Yogurt

Carbohydrate free and packed with protein, Greek yogurt will quickly become a favorite muscle-building snack.

  • 10 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

10. Chickpeas

Ckickpeas

Chickpeas are great on their own, as a side dish, or blended to make hummus.

  • 10 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

Do You Have a Favorite Muscle-Building Meal?

What does your bodybuilding meal plan look like? Is there a favorite lean-mass food that we missed? Need more ideas for what to eat in order to gain size? Let us know in the comments!

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HEALTH

Top 9 Foods to be Included in your Diet For a Safe Monsoon

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Monsoon has started pouring in. Season change from extreme hot to pleasant and refreshing rainy season is surely soothing. But, rains also bring along its share of health concerns. From food poisoning, diarrhea, infections, cold, and flu to many other health risks, we can fall prey to a host of health issues in this season. And, when COVID-19 is wreaking havoc all over the world, monsoons could be even more dangerous to your health. Therefore, you need to make sure that the food you eat strikes the best balance between nutrition and immunity. 

Immunity being the keyword in the current scenario, all we want now is to ensure that our innate immune system can take care of itself. So, eating right and being positive is the best way to go. Here we have rounded up nine food items that you should include in your monsoon diet to keep your immune system at its best!

#1 Turmeric 

Turmeric

Drink it as Haldi-Doodh at bedtime, add turmeric powder to your everyday food, or have freshly grated ginger-turmeric blend as a sidekick to your platter; turmeric, in any form, is excellent for your health. Not only during the monsoons, but it should be your go-to in every season. 

It has antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder turmeric is called the golden spice of the kitchen. Not only does it boost your natural immunity, but it takes care of your overall health. The active potent compound in turmeric is curcumin that helps us keep healthy and fight infections. 

#2 Probiotics and fermented food 

Probiotics and fermented food

You should include more probiotics and fermented food, like yogurt, buttermilk, pickled veggies, in your diet to make sure that your gut flora is happy. Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in our gut or intestinal tract. These bacteria can help fight off disease-fighting germs as well as bad bacteria from thriving in our bodies.

#3 Lemon: Pulp + Zest

Lemon: Pulp + Zest

Lemon is pure vitamin C, and it is great for your immunity, the need of the hour. It fights infections, eases digestion, strengthens bones, and does a lot more good things for your body. 

And did you know that lemon zest is as nutritious as the flesh? Full of bioactive compounds and flavonoids, lemon pulp+lemon zest is an incredible addition to your monsoon diet. Sprinkle lemon juice on your food,  grind lemon zest to a dish, or simply drink a glass of lemonade, this citrusy delight will take care of your nutrition and immunity.

#4 Indian masala chai

Indian masala chai

When the perfect olio of spices, like ginger, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, tulsi leaves, and dried black pepper, goes into the boiling water with the right proportion of tea leaves and milk, a natural immunity-boosting brew goes in the making.  

Cardamom and cloves are effective against many infections, and peppercorns prevent and soothe symptoms like cold and flu. Cinnamon is a bank of medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties too. So, even if you are not a tea drinker, consider masala tea as a medical concoction and steer the side effects of monsoon away.

#5 Garlic

Garlic

Also named as the stinking rose, garlic comes with loads of health benefits. It fights the cold and flu-causing viruses and gives a boost to your immune system. Studies show that eating garlic on a daily basis increases the number of T-Cells in the blood, thus helping to protect you from viral infections like cold and flu. Alliin is a compound found in whole garlic. And, when you pound or bite garlic in raw form, alliin changes to allicin, the most potent ingredient found in garlic. 

These compounds are loaded with medicinal properties and said to increase the disease-fighting response of your body. You can reap the best benefits of garlic by eating it raw.

#6 Nuts and dry fruits

Nuts and dry fruits

Munching on dates, almonds, and walnuts is a good idea, no matter what the season. However, as these nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals, these are great options to add to your monsoon diet. Rich in riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamin E, these food items help to strengthen your immunity. Also, Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which helps in keeping your cells healthy. 

 If you are thinking of binge eating replace junk food and add nuts, dry fruits and seeds in your diet and make your nutrition complete with the bliss of immunity

#7 Spinach 

Spinach

Spinach is a superfood. It is a good source of vitamin A, E, and C, beta carotene, folic acid, and fiber. All these nutrients and antioxidants help your body to carry on its functions properly and bestow you with a great immune system thereby preparing you for the monsoons. Although you may find many references saying it’s not good to have leafy veggies during monsoons owing to the mud and dirt sticking to them, you can always make sure to wash them really well before cooking.

#8 Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd

Although the very mention of this veggie might make you hide inside your wardrobe, bitter gourds are rich in Vitamin C, and antiviral as well. So, the next time your mother cooks it, do taste it. You can have it boiled, stewed with other seasonal vegetables, or fried. Whichever form you like or don’t like, make sure to add it to your monsoon diet.

#9 Ginger

Ginger

Ginger is an excellent herb with antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. It is also rich in antioxidants. No wonder, it is a go-to remedy for cold and cough, sore throat, body ache, among others, integral to every household. Ginger is also useful in boosting your immunity level. You can have it by steeping in water as ginger tea, or add it to soups and curries or have it with turmeric and milk as a soothing Haldi doodh.

Foods to Avoid During the Monsoon

Foods to avoid during monsoon season

Like we have the do’s for monsoon diet, we also have the don’ts. Let’s take a look at the foods you should avoid eating during the rainy season. 

  • There is an irresistible string attached between the rains and pakoras and samosas, and everything fried and crisp. Munching on your favorite fried food might make you feel the bliss from inside your mouth, but these could make your tummy bloated. Humidity tends to slow down your metabolism, hence affecting your nutrition and immunity.
  • Frizzy carbonated beverages are tempting. However, these tend to lower the minerals’ level in your body, resulting in lower enzyme activity and a weak digestive system. So, whenever you feel like quenching your need for a cold drink, reach for a glass of nimbu paani, your daily dose of vitamin C.
  • Cravings of paani puri and papri chaat might comfort your taste buds, but these dishes are certainly not the right choice during monsoons considering the hygiene factor, with the air of the global pandemic surrounding us.
  • As the rainy season happens to be the breeding time for sea fish, it’s better to avoid eating sea fish and have fresh-water fish and other forms of meat like chicken and mutton.

Summary

Always remember, your nutrition and immunity depends on the food you eat. Therefore, you should be conscious of what you are feeding in. In this tough time of the pandemic, when keeping your immunity uptight is highly crucial, do have a focus on your diet and safety as well.

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FITNESS

Causes and 7 Foods that will Help Rev It Up!

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Are you among the many men who feel tired when completing even the most basic tasks? Trust us when we say you are not alone in this. Today, increasing number of men, both young and old, have started to experience low energy levels. And this chronic tiredness doesn’t just mean that you can’t jog the 3km that you used to. When you lack energy, you may not be able to concentrate or may feel sleepy all the time leaving you unproductive, extremely demotivated and unhappy in life.

Luckily, low levels of energy don’t ‘just happen.’ There are always reasons behind it, and once you know the cause, you can come up with a well-planned solution to fix the problem.

Table of Contents

Reasons Why Men Feel Low on Energy: 

1. Your Diet Could Be Off Kilter

offtrack on diet

Your diet dictates your strength – remember that! A healthy diet plan should include proteins, minerals, and vitamins present in the right proportions. While the odd cheat day won’t mess up your energy levels, a diet that is entirely devoid of these nutrients could cause a host of problems, beginning with a feeling of fatigue. Additionally, a bad diet doesn’t just refer to a lot of junk food. Therefore, it is always advised that you discuss your diet plan with a certified dietitian before restructuring your food regimen.

2. Low Testosterone Levels

As you grow older, the amount of testosterone present in your body reduces drastically. Testosterone is a male hormone responsible for maintaining your sex drive, bone density, weight gain, self-esteem levels, and so on. A drop in your testosterone levels could lead to several issues such as weight gain and insomnia, which could result in low energy levels.

3. Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency anemia is a common condition, and while pregnant women and women with heavy periods are more prone to it, men can also experience it. With men, iron deficiency anemia is caused due to problems with the stomach and intestines. These problems could be caused due to ulcers and the overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). The type of fatigue that could be experienced here is more towards the motivational side. You will find yourself not wanting to do anything, and even when completing a task, your muscles will feel tired and heavy.

On the flip side, a large amount of iron in your body could also lead to feelings of fatigue. This condition is known as hemochromatosis and is referred to as an iron-overload disorder. This condition is a rare inherited one and is said to affect men between the ages of 30-60.

4. Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition wherein the individual experiences small interruptions in their breathing cycle when they sleep. There are different kinds of sleep apnea, and obstructive sleep apnea is the one that is most commonly experienced. Here, the upper airways collapse on themselves for a few seconds, which causes the brain to jolt you awake. This condition is often characterized by snoring, and it can cause the individual to feel tired the next day.

5. You Don’t Exercise Enough

you Dont exercise enough

It is common for men to notice a decrease in energy levels if they don’t exercise for a long time. Exercising is good for losing weight, but it also increases the adrenaline levels and energy in the body. Without exercising for a long time, your muscles will get weak, and you will notice an increase in fatigue and the inability to perform even the most basic tasks without tiring.

6. You May Have Thyroid Issues

The thyroid gland is a hormonal gland that is required for one’s development. These hormones also regulate various body functions and even provide one with the energy to complete their day-to-day tasks. Hypothyroidism or reduced levels of the thyroid hormone in the body is a condition that is usually caused by an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is one that causes the immune system to attack the individual’s thyroid. While women are more prone to experiencing this condition, men can also be affected by it. Moreover, a lack of thyroid in the male body could also lead to the reduction of testosterone, which could result in a reduction of energy.

7. You Could Have Coeliac Disease

celiac disease

This condition is one that lasts a lifetime and occurs through the reaction of the individual’s immune system to gluten. Gluten is a mixture of proteins that are found in different grains, as well as cakes, cereals, and bread. One of the main symptoms of coeliac disease is low levels of energy. Other symptoms include diarrhea, anemia, bloating, and a loss of weight.

7 Foods Men Should Add to their Diet to Rev Up Energy Levels

A great way to solve your fatigue problem would be to add the following foods to your diet. 

1. Bananas

bananas

Bananas are a fantastic source of energy and contain a ton of vitamin B6, potassium, and carbohydrates. Each of these nutrients works towards boosting your overall energy levels. In a study conducted by David C Nieman and the team, it was proven that eating a banana was as efficient as drinking a shake filled with carbohydrates.

2. Honey

honey

Low levels of testosterone could lead to fatigue. As such, it is essential to include foods that directly improve your energy and eat ingredients that increase your testosterone levels. Honey is one of these ingredients. Packed with boron, honey is an amazing product that works towards improving your testosterone levels while also strengthening your bones and muscles.

3. Fatty Fish

fatty fish

A proper diet should include a daily dose of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin B-12 and folic acid work together to improve the work done by iron in the body. On the other hand, Omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the inflammation of the body, which could cause fatigue. Fatty fish, like tuna or salmon, are excellent sources of both vitamin B3 and Omega-3 fatty acids, so you should try consuming it as much as possible.

4. Almonds

almonds

Almonds contain biotin, commonly known as vitamin B3. This vitamin helps boost one’s metabolism, which is required to create energy from food, which, in our opinion, beats a bag of chips any day.

5. Garlic

garlic

Can you think of an Indian dish that doesn’t have garlic in it? We can’t! Garlic contains a component called allicin which is known for its ability to reduce one’s cortisol levels. The same gland produces cortisol and testosterone, and when you’re stressed, it can negatively impact different body functions, including the production of testosterone, which could cause you to feel tired. By adding garlic to your meal plan, you are sure to keep your testosterone and metabolism checked.

6. Brown Rice

brown rice

It has long been proven that brown rice is healthier than white rice. This type of rice is not as processed as white rice is and has a more substantial nutritional value. Additionally, brown rice contains fiber and manganese. Manganese helps break down the proteins and carbohydrates and converts them to energy. In contrast, the fiber content helps regulate your level of blood sugar and steadies your energy level throughout the day.

7. Oatmeal

Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains fiber, protein, and calcium, all of which are required for boosting your energy levels. It is an excellent addition to yogurt or can be used to create an energy bar as well. Therefore, not only is it delicious to eat, but it is also incredibly healthy and will fill you up for hours on end.

Summary

Be it, man or woman, it is imperative that we put our health and well-being first. Although men and women go through different kinds of stress levels and energy fluctuations, we all must make sure to eat right, sleep right, and exercise regularly. Adding the above-mentioned foods in their diet can especially help men in maintaining good energy levels, stamina, and overcome daily stress-related problems.

So, if you are among the many men going through tiredness, fatigue, or any other discomforts with regards to your energy levels, then make sure to add these foods in your diet and exercise regularly, for a healthier and fitter tomorrow.

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HEALTH

Top 9 Foods That Will Help Reduce Stress Levels: HealthifyMe Blog

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Did you know that the food you consume determines your stress level? Consuming unhealthy and junk food on a regular basis will not only increase your stress levels but also lead to anxiety. However, there are foods that can help relieve you from stress and also keep you hale and hearty. This is one of the main reasons why dieticians and several mental health experts suggest people to consume healthy foods to stay fit as well as to achieve overall being. 

Here are some foods that you should include in your diet if you are looking for ways to relieve yourself from stress:

#1 Herbal Tea

Herbal Tea

People have been using herbs for thousands of years to treat many health conditions. Scientific studies indicate that certain herbs may help to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Herbal tea also makes a great contribution in reducing as well as in eliminating stress. Mainly, adaptogens present in herbs help your body adapt to stress and work with your body to help find the perfect balance for you. Some help you to relax, some help you to sleep and some help prevent headaches.

They provide various nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are important to calm your mind and lighten up your mood. Herbal teas also contain essential oils that are known to cool down the nerve. In addition, these warm herbal teas improve blood circulation and boost the detoxification process in your body, which in turn improves your overall mood. Few herbal teas that will be your best companions are Kehwa,  Rose tea, Peppermint tea, Chamomile Tea, Sage Tea, and Holy Basil tea.

#2 Dark Chocolates

Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolates are found to be useful to improve your mood and relieve stress. When sugar levels of your body go below a certain level, you feel irritated and begin to stress your mind. Low sugar-level can be brought to normal by consuming foods that restore your blood-sugar-level. Dark chocolates are rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids which helps improve insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and overall mood. Studies have shown that consuming 40g of dark chocolate a day would be more than enough to keep you happy and free from any kind of stress.

#3 Whole Grains

whole grain

If you are looking for the ingredients that must be included in your everyday meal, then one of the most important ingredients are whole grains. They are rich in complex carbohydrates and provide the body with the required energy to your mind and body, but it will also control the hormones that make you feel stressed. Your focus as well as concentration while performing a particular task will also be enhanced since the whole grains increases the levels of serotonin in your body.

If you can consume the foods which add fibers along with your carbohydrates in your meal, then this combination can be quite beneficial in relieving stress. Some of the examples of such food products include cooked potato, millets, whole grain, and brown rice.

#4 Avocados

Avacados

Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B in avocados are responsible for giving your mind relief from stress. Vitamin B6 helps the body make several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which influences a positive mood. Deficiencies of these vitamins have been linked to increased anxiety in some people. Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B6 vitamins and heart-healthy fats that may help to lessen anxiety. It is medically proven that avocados can relieve stress. Several health problems, such as high blood pressure and obesity, can also be regulated by consuming avocados.

#5 Fish

Fish

We all know that eating fish can make your heart healthy. Apart from this, the presence of omega-3s in fish can also help you to reduce inflammation, anxiety, and eliminate stress from your mind. Several nutrients present in the seafood will interact with the neurons in your brain and make you feel a lot better.  In addition, oily fish can block and, in some cases, counteract stress biomarkers as well. Oily fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation, a common result of stress, and they have a good variety of vitamins that keep the body strong and enhance the brain’s functioning power.

#6 Warm Milk

Warm milk

It may sometimes happen that you are unable to sleep because of the stress. Lack of sleep can make the conditions worse. Consuming a small cup of warm milk before going to bed helps a lot. Milk boasts of the ingredient – tryptophan, an essential amino acid, which is a key ingredient in making serotonin. The milk sugars, like all carbohydrates, act on serotonin in the brain which helps in a better sleep cycle. Moreover, warm milk makes your body relaxed and keeps your mind calm. The calcium present in the milk not only helps in keeping up your bone density, but it also gives strength to your muscles which will, in turn, relieve stress.

#7 Nuts

Nuts

Nuts are small in size but have several nutrients embedded in them. Stress can mostly be caused due to the absence of vitamins and healthy fatty acids. The lack of these elements can be fulfilled by consuming a good amount of nuts. Studies have proved that consuming nuts will not only relieve stress but also keep your body’s blood pressure in control. 

#8 Seasonal Fruits

Seasonal fruits

Amongst the several benefits of the fruits, one of the major ones is that consuming seasonal fruits helps in eliminating stress from your mind. Fruits, especially the ones which have a rich content of citric acid will help you to fight stress. They contain flavonoids and other essential vitamins and nutrients that are required by your mind to function properly.

Apart from fruits, you should also consume a good amount of green leafy vegetables for they help keep the mind sharp and increase the ability to deal with the toughest situations. Therefore, make sure to include seasonal fruits and leafy vegetables to relieve stress and build energy.

#9 Turmeric

Turmeric

Consuming turmeric not only heals your physical wounds but also heals you mentally. Turmeric can eliminate anxiety as well as stress by reducing inflammation. The reason behind anxiety and depression can be oxidative stress. One of the best ways to add turmeric to your diet is to have a cup of warm turmeric milk, popularly called the Golden drink to boost sleep, immunity, and kick stress away.

Summary

If you ensure consuming the above-discussed food products on a regular basis, relieving stress wouldn’t be tough to achieve. All the negative effects in your overall mood and behavior that occur due to stress will also cease to exist. You will not only be able to live a happy and peaceful life, but a stress-free life too!

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HEALTH

Top 10 Foods to Build your Immune System: HealthifyMe Blog

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The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus has disheveled the lives of people across the globe. According to doctors and scientists, the best defense against the coronavirus is to have a healthy immune system that can fight off the virus. While maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise helps in keeping your immune system stronger, there are also certain foods that contain essential nutrients and minerals that can help your body fight off pathogens, which are foreign bodies like bacteria and viruses, causing infection or disease. Our immune system contains proteins, tissues, and organs that carry out bodily processes and fight off harmful viruses. When our body comes in contact with a pathogen, our immune system triggers an immune response that releases antibodies that helps in killing the virus. Therefore, incorporating certain foods in your diet can be helpful in warding off deadly viruses including novel coronavirus. 

These immunity-boosting foods are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that help in keeping the cells active and healthy. Sadly, the majority of people these days don’t eat enough foods that are rich in such nutrients, thereby becoming more susceptible to several diseases and illnesses. Moreover, you have to understand that you can’t just eat a specific food and expect a quick boost in immunity. A truly healthy immune system depends on a well-adjusted combination of minerals and vitamins over a period of time, in addition to regular exercise and normal sleep patterns. 

With that said, let’s discuss the top foods that you must include in your daily diet if you want to maintain a healthy immune system. 

10 Foods that will Help Build Immunity

While there are plenty of health supplements available that contain the required daily dosage of minerals and vitamins for your body, it is advised to get them through natural food sources as much as possible. The following are the best foods to consider for immunity boosting: 

#1 Spinach 

Spinach

Green leafy vegetables like spinach are rich in iron and vitamin C. They are essential for fresh blood production and keeping blood impurities at bay. Moreover, spinach is packed with nutrients like beta-carotene and antioxidants that improve your body’s disease-fighting ability. Thus, including spinach in your diet can help your immune system health. You can add spinach to a number of dishes. However, make sure that the leaves are properly cooked, as raw spinach can be hard to digest for some individuals. Spinach should also be included in your kids’ diet mandatorily as it provides them with essential nutrients to grow and secure a healthy immune system. 

#2 Turmeric 

Turmeric is a spice that has been a part of Indian cooking for centuries. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that help in treating inflammation of the muscles and bones. Most importantly, turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin which is a great modulator of the immune system. Several studies have reported that curcumin can modulate the proliferation and activation of T cells, and can inhibit oxidative stress-induced inflammation. 

#3 Ginger 

ginger

Ginger is a great food with excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is a popular spice that can help reduce inflammation-related issues as well as help in the treatment of sore throat. Ginger has antiviral properties and can also improve digestion, and help maintain a healthy gut thereby strengthening the immune system. 

#4 Citrus Fruits 

Last but not least, citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruit, and tangerines, among others, are packed with vitamin C that helps in boosting the production of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells are essential in fighting diseases and infections. It also helps in removing free radicals from the body, preventing cell damage, which ultimately reduces your chances of having cancer.

#5 Almonds 

almonds

Of all the nuts, almonds contain high concentrations of vitamin E that plays a crucial role in keeping the immune system healthy. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that requires fat to be absorbed properly. Almond contains healthy fats that eases down the process of absorption. Vitamin E aids the production of red blood cells that boosts the blood flow to all parts of the body. This keeps your immune system stronger. You are advised to consume 4-6 almonds daily. You can eat it whole or soaked in water or add some crushed almonds in your milk for a tasty milkshake. 

#6 Yogurt 

Yogurt is considered a probiotic that is essential to your immune system’s health. It directly affects your gut, helping the good bacteria to thrive. Your gut health is directly associated with your immune system. Therefore, a healthy gut means a healthy immune system. While there are plenty of flavorful yogurts available in the market, you are advised to consume plain yogurt. Plain yogurts are free of any sugars, additives, and artificial flavors that can degrade the overall quality of the food. The best way to consume yogurt is plain or with rice, or you can drizzle some honey and also add your favorite fruits to it. 

#7 Kiwi 

Kiwi Fruit

Kiwi is one such fruit that contains vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate in abundance. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and prevent cell damage. It also helps in boosting the production of white blood cells that fight infections. You can consume kiwi on a daily basis. The fruit contains tiny seeds that are edible and full of nutrients as well. You can simply eat it alone, put it in fruit salad, or make a smoothie out of it – the options are endless. 

#8 Papaya 

Just like kiwi, papaya is naturally full of necessary nutrients and minerals like folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium. Potassium in papayas is known for keeping the heart-healthy. At the same time, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that boosts the production of white blood cells that helps in fighting infections and ward off diseases. 

#9 Green Tea 

Green tea contains excellent antioxidant properties that help the body detox toxins and other harmful elements. Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant called EGCG or epigallocatechin that has been shown to boost immune system function. Green tea, since it is not fully processed, holds back the majority of its nutrients and minerals in the leaves. Experts suggest that you should consume 3-4 cups of green tea in a day as it will not only keep you hydrated but also helps in flushing out the toxins and other waste materials from the body while keeping the immune system healthy. 

#10 Sunflower Seeds 

sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients and minerals, including vitamin E, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and phosphorus. Vitamin E is considered a potent antioxidant that is beneficial for the immune system’s health. The best part about sunflower seeds is that it also enhances the flavor of the food you are preparing, due to its spicy punch. You can add sunflower seeds to your salads, soups, seasoning of certain foods like chicken, for sautéing, and more. 

3 Simple Recipes that will help Build Immunity 

Now that you have understood the best immunity-boosting foods, let’s discuss some recipes that will help you with the process.

Immunity boosting chicken and turmeric soup

chicken and turmeric soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 large carrots peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup broccoli chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1  boneless skinless chicken breast chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder or fresh grated turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup spinach leaves chopped

Method:

  • Heat ghee in a pan over medium heat. 
  • Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add the carrots, broccoli, and garlic and continue sauteing for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped chicken and cook just long enough to brown the meat, about 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except coconut milk and stir well and cover. Cook at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes. 
  • Add the coconut milk and serve hot. 

Immunity boosting drink

Ingredients:

  • Ginger grated – 1 tbsp
  • Peppercorns – 2
  • Cinnamon – 1-inch stick
  • Cloves – 2
  • Star anise – 1
  • Cardamom pod – 1 crushed
  • Unpasteurized honey – 1 tbsp
  • Tulsi leaves – a handful

Boil all ingredients except honey along with a liter of water in a pan for 30 minutes. Have ¼ cup of this drink warm with a little bit of honey.

Kiwi, Lime, Watermelon Salad 

Kiwi, Lime, Watermelon Salad

Ingredients: 

  • Chopped watermelon – 1 cup 
  • Kiwi – 2 chopped 
  • Sunflower Seeds – 1 tablespoon 

Directions: 

  • Mix all fruits and sprinkle with lime juice and sunflower seeds.

Summary

While there is no one way to avoid any infection entirely, strengthening your immune system with particular food ingredients can go a long way to reduce your risk of contamination. The reason why we mentioned these 12 foods is that they are not only the best foods for immunity boosting but are also easily accessible throughout the year. Our immune system plays a vital role in warding off viruses and bacteria from affecting our body and causing damage. Consuming these foods on a daily basis will not only keep you healthy but also help you achieve a stronger immune system, thereby keeping you immune and disease-free. 



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11 Iron-Rich Vegetarian Foods That You Must Add to Your Diet

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“Health is Wealth”, is an age old saying and we learn the true importance of it as we grow up. When we do not eat nutritious food, deficiency of nutrients occur leading to a host of symptoms in the body.  A common deficiency which most people face today is the deficiency of iron. Iron is an important nutrient for the body and we can improve our health by including iron rich foods. Let us understand the importance of iron and why it is important for our body. 

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Iron is known to be an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in many functions related to the body. An iron-deficient diet can lead to shortness of breath, headaches, low energy levels, dizziness, and anemia.  
The recommended daily intake of iron is 18 mg per day on average. Although, this requirement will definitely vary from individual to individual depending upon the age, health condition, gender as well as life stage. For example,  adolescent girls need 35mgs of iron to cover growth and menstrual losses whereas a lactating mother needs 21 mgs of iron per day.
Iron can be found in two forms when it comes to food, namely heme and non-heme. Heme iron is primarily found in animal products, whereas non-heme is not properly absorbed by the body and needs vitamin C for optimum absorption.  
It is observed that non-heme iron is not easily absorbed by our body than heme iron, thus the RDI for vegetarians and vegans is 1.8 times higher than it is for the meat-eaters. If you are vegetarian and are looking for food rich in iron here are 12 food items which are filled with iron and will fight your iron deficiencies. 

1. Soybean 

soybean

Soybeans and foods which are derived from soybeans like tofu, natto, and tempeh are known to be rich in iron. One cup of soybeans contains 8.8 mg of iron or 49% of the total RDI. Natto is a fermented soybean product that offers 15mg of iron. Similarly, 170 grams of tofu and tempeh  offer around 20% of the RDI of iron. Along with iron, soybeans and soy products are also rich in protein and are also a good source of magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. 

2. Lentils

Lentils

Lentils are known to be another iron-rich food that provide 6.6 mg of iron per cup. This constitutes around 37% of the recommended daily intake of iron. Lentils are great to include in your diet as they also provide a significant amount of protein, complex carbs as well as fiber. 

3. Beans and Peas

Other than soybeans and lentils, red kidney beans, white beans, lima beans as well as navy beans are good sources of iron.  These beans offer around 4.4-6.6 mg of iron per cup of cooked beans. Along with these beans, chickpeas and black-eyed peas are also rich in iron. They provide around 4.6-5.2 mg per cooked cup. Along with iron, beans and peas are splendid sources for potassium, manganese, folate and many other plant compounds that are beneficial for the body.  Consuming beans and peas also helps to solve problems related to blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. 

4. Sesame, Pumpkin, Hemp, Flax and Garden Cress Seeds

Seeds are also great when it comes to consuming vital body nutrients. The seeds of pumpkin, sesame, hemp as well as flax are plentiful when it comes to iron. They contain around 1.2-4.2 mg per two tablespoons which comprises around 7–23% of the RDI. Garden cress seeds are a rich source of iron as well as vitamin C and folic acid. Products like tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds) contain around 2.6 mg of iron. Similar is the case with hummus which is a paste made from chickpeas. Seeds contain a significant amount of plant protein, fiber as well as calcium and magnesium. They are also great antioxidants that are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well. 

5. Cashews and Pine nuts

Nuts and products derived from nuts like “nut butter” contain some amount of non-heme iron. Non-heme iron can be found in almonds, cashews, pine nuts as well as macadamia which contain iron between 1-1.6 mg per ounce. However, one should keep in mind that these nuts should be consumed raw. Roasting may damage the nutritional value of the nuts. Thus it is best to consume them in their natural form. Nuts also have proven to be a great source of protein, good fats, and vitamins. 

6. Green Leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables

When we talk about iron-rich vegetables, green leafy vegetables are the best source of iron for your body. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, fenugreek, lettuce, dill provide approximately 2.5-6.4 mg of iron which comprises around 14-36% of the RDI. 100 grams of spinach contains 1.1 times more than the same amount of red meat and salmon. Along with iron, leafy vegetables also contain potassium and sodium in high quantities which are essential for the body. Other green vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts which contain 6-10% of the RDI. 
Cooking leafy greens with tomatoes or adding lemon will improve the absorption of non heme iron Tomato. Tomatoes when consumed raw don’t contain a significant amount of iron, it is just about 0.5 mg per cup. However, concentrated tomatoes offer a much greater amount of iron. 
Thus, products like tomato paste, tomato sauce offer a higher portion of iron. Sun-dried tomatoes are also a significant source of iron. Apart from iron, tomatoes are also a great source for vitamin C which helps in increasing the non-heme iron absorption. They are a great source of lycopene as well.

7. Potatoes

Potatoes contain a significant amount of iron as it is mostly concentrated in their skins. A large unpeeled potato provides 3.2 mg of iron. Potato skins also have a great flavour and are a treat to your taste buds when cooked with the right spices. Sweet potatoes contain slightly less when compared to normal potatoes. Potatoes are also a great source of fiber as well and cover your daily requirement of vitamin C, B6, and potassium. 

8. Mushrooms

mushrooms

There are a lot of varieties of mushrooms that are available for consumption. From these only a selected few varieties have iron in them. One cup of mushrooms contains approx. 2.7 mg of iron. Certain types of mushrooms like the oyster mushrooms or portobello mushrooms contain higher iron content than other types of mushrooms. 

9. Olives

Olives are actually a fruit more than a vegetable. They contain a good iron content. Olives contain 3.3 mg of iron per 100 grams. Olives are healthy as they contain other nutrients and vitamins as well like fiber, Vitamin A and E. Consuming olives also helps to reduce risks of encountering heart diseases. 

10. Mulberries

Mulberry is a sweet and sour fruit that has a great nutritional value. Mulberries are full of iron and also contain a good amount of vitamin C which is very necessary for the body. Consuming one cup of mulberries can provide around 2.6 mg of iron per cup.

11. Whole grains

whole grains

Whole grains like oats, quinoa, hulled wheat, and amaranth  are whole grains that are rich in iron. Along with iron, these grains are also rich in fiber which helps the body in digesting them better. 

Summary

Proper intake of iron is very imperative for a human body as it is directly related to the hemoglobin which creates healthy red blood cells. Lack of iron in the body can lead to many serious illnesses as well as health problems. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to keep your body nourished with sufficient iron. Consuming the above-given food items will definitely help in reducing any iron deficiencies which you have, as well help you to maintain the level of iron in your body. Adding these items to your diet will promise a healthy body free of any deficiencies.



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7 Healthy Foods to Improve Digestion

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We often hear people complain of pain in the stomach caused by undigested food. Most times, the pain subsides within a day or two. But what causes the food to go undigested? Indigestion is usually caused due to functional problem of the gastrointestinal tract. Indigestion is also caused by certain medical conditions and lifestyle factors. In order to keep indigestion at bay, add the following foods to your everyday diet in order to get your digestive system back in order.

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Foods to improve digestion

When your stomach fails to digest food, it can damage the nerve which regulates the digestive system and prevents the muscles in the stomach and intestine from functioning properly. When this happens, the undigested food can ferment and lead to bacteria growth, and lead to several health problems. How to improve digestive system and ensure good health? What food can you take improve digestion?

1. Wheat

Wheat is a staple food for many families worldwide. When consumed as a wholegrain, it is a source of multiple nutrients and dietary fibers. Your body needs at least 25 grams of fiber daily. Wheat is high in fiber which aids in the smooth functioning of the digestive system. The fiber in wheat adds bulk to the stool and can reduce constipation, and act as prebiotics and help feed healthy bacteria to the gut. 

2. Spinach

Spinach an excellent source of fiber that helps to improve digestion. As mentioned before, fiber adds bulk to the stool and quickens its pace through the digestive tract. Spinach is also an excellent source of nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, and folate. Magnesium helps relieve constipation by improving the muscle contractions in the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, research has also shown that a specific type of sugar called ‘sulfoquinovose’ found in Spinach and other leafy greens fuel the growth of healthy gut bacteria, thereby promoting digestion.

3. Chicken breasts

If you are one of those individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or bowel sensitivity, then chicken breast, is a ‘must’ in your diet as it is rich in protein and essential amino acids. Also, chicken breast is a white meat protein which is comprised mainly of lean protein. Lean protein is easily digestible and not fermented by the gut bacteria.

4. Ginger

Ginger is a root that is a part of Eastern medicine and is well known to improve digestion and accelerate gastric emptying. It is known to have concrete effectiveness on the digestive process and in turn relaxes the muscles of the intestine. Ginger stimulates bile, saliva, and gastric enzymes that assist in digestion, and also speeds up the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. It is also well known to reduce the risk of nausea, heartburn, and stomach discomfort in ayurvedic medicine.

5. Yogurt

Yogurt contains friendly bacteria called probiotics. Probiotics, which live in your digestive tract are good bacteria that can help improve digestion and keep the gut healthy. Yogurt helps with digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea, and bloating. It is also known to improve the digestion of milk sugar or lactose. 

6. Fish oil 

Fish oil is well known to play a crucial role in reducing inflammation in the intestines. Studies have shown that Omega-3 taken with plenty of fiber, probiotic foods, and a healthy diet can progress the diversity of the gut microbiome. Put simply, fish-oil is a stool-facilitating nutrient that promotes good intestinal health.

7. Papaya

Papaya contains a digestive enzyme called papain that helps break down protein fibers and assist in the digestive process. The fruit is also known to ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, and constipation. Due to its gastrointestinal capacities, papaya is also used as the main enzyme in digestive supplements.

How to improve digestion?

Now that you know the list of foods to improve digestion, it is also important to know how to improve digestion naturally at home. There are a few simple ways in which you can improve digestion which include:

Do some physical exercises!

Regular exercise to improve digestion and also to reduce stress helps to improve the digestive system. Practicing yoga to improve digestion is a good way to go. There are several asanas to improve digestion such as Bharadvajasana or the Bharadvaja’s twist, Padangusthasana or Big Toe pose, Paripurna Navasana or Boat pose, Dhanurasana or Bow pose, Bhujangasana or Cobra pose, Matsyasana or Fish pose among several others. 

Eat healthy food and hydrate yourself

Exercise helps you digest a certain percentage of food. To have a healthy gut, it is important to eat healthy as well.  Include fibers in your food as they are known to reduce the risk of digestive conditions such as ulcers. Also adding some fat into your diet is good as fat is needed for nutrition absorption.
Lastly, drink a lot of water as low fluid is the most common cause of constipation.

Adopt healthy eating practices

Mindful eating helps reduce digestive symptoms and also reduces bloating, gas, and indigestion. The digestion process starts from your mouth. Make sure you chew your food properly as it also helps in nutrition absorption.

Summary

Indigestion is a problem that many people face, mostly due to lack of exercise and bad eating habits. There are many foods that aid in digestion and can be consumed to relieve the uneasiness associated with indigestion. But for healthy living, it is important to consume food that help improve digestion on a regular basis and as a part of healthy eating practice.



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7 Healthy Foods to include in your Diet

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Weight loss has always been 80% about the right diet, and 20% about physical activity. Eating the right kind of food is crucial to any individual looking to achieve their fitness goals. This World Food Day, we take a look at 7 healthy foods that need to be a part of your diet.

1. Eggs

Once discounted due to high cholesterol content, whole eggs are now on most recommended lists again. High in protein, they are incredibly satiating and are known to keep you full for hours after your meal. Their versatility means you can consume eggs as part of any meal.

While the egg yolk does contain cholesterol, recent studies have found that dietary cholesterol, found in animal-based products, has little impact on one’s blood cholesterol levels. In addition to that, the yolk contains most of the egg’s minerals and vitamins. Research has further shown that eggs do not increase the risk of heart disease since consuming fat in moderate amounts is healthy.eggs

2. Leafy Greens

The perfect addition to any weight loss diet, leafy greens include vegetables ranging from kale and spinach to collards and swiss chards. Low in calories and carbs, and loaded with fiber, they have all the properties to make them ideal for weight loss.

Spinach, in particular, is rich in antioxidants. Ideally, they must be consumed raw, steamed, or lightly boiled. A good source of vitamins A, B-6, C, E, and K, the leafy vegetable is also known to contain minerals like selenium, zinc, copper, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, and calcium in abundance.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and B-6. When their nutrition values were compared to other vegetables, sweet potatoes ranked first with respect to vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein, and complex carbs.

4. Avocados

Although most fruits are rich in carbohydrates, avocados are loaded with healthy fats. In addition to this, avocados also contain good amounts of B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K, along with having high fiber content. Studies have shown that regular consumption of the fruit can help lower blood cholesterol levels.

In spite of being rich in fat, their water and fiber content makes them less energy-dense than one would expect. To add to that, their incredible versatility as a food also makes them a perfect addition to a vegetable salad.avocado

5. Nuts

In spite of being rich in fat, nuts do not contribute to fat gain as one would expect. An excellent snack, they contain the right amounts of fiber, protein and healthy fats.

Studies have also proved that these foods can improve metabolic health while promoting weight loss. Some studies also associate the consumption of nuts with improved heart health. That said, it is important to consume them in moderation since their calorie count is still quite high.

6. Whole Grains

Over time, cereal grains have gathered a bad reputation. However, some types are definitely healthy. Certain whole grains are loaded with fiber, and contain a good amount of protein too.

Some examples of healthy whole grains are brown rice, oats, and quinoa. Both brown and white rice contain good amounts of resistant starch, to begin with. This helps improve insulin sensitivity. Oats, on the other hand, contain significant amounts of beta-glucans and soluble fibers. They, therefore, contribute to increasing satiety and improving metabolic health.

If you’re on a low-carb diet, it is ideal to avoid whole grains, thanks to their high carbohydrate content. That said, it is okay for one to consume whole grains if your body can tolerate them.

7. Fruit

Fruit is considered to be healthy by experts and laymen alike. Several studies have shown that people who eat fruit more tend to be healthier than those who do not. While this may not be enough to prove anything significant, fruits are known to have properties that make them weight loss friendly.

Although they contain natural sugar, they have a low energy density and take a little time to chew. In addition to this, their fiber content helps prevent the release of sugar into the bloodstream too quickly. More often than not, fruit can be a delicious and effective addition to one’s weight loss diet.fruits

Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World

World Food Day 2019 aims to eliminate hunger from the planet, and achieve what we can call a ‘Zero Hunger World’. According to Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, “Achieving Zero Hunger is not only about addressing hunger, but also nourishing people, while nurturing the planet. This year, World Food Day calls for action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone. At the same time, it calls on everyone to start thinking about what we eat.”

This World Foods, let us pledge to do all we can to ensure we adopt healthy diets for a #ZeroHunger world.



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Tips, Diet Plan & Foods to Eat

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Women, new to motherhood, are often taken aback by how insurmountable a task post pregnancy weight loss seems to be. Postpartum weight gain is a common phenomenon experienced by most mothers. If you are struggling to shed off your extra pounds after childbirth, don’t worry – you are not the only one.

Weight gain after pregnancy can be scientifically explained and should not be a cause of concern. This article will discuss what makes you gain weight after pregnancy, how to lose weight after pregnancy naturally, the average time taken to lose the baby weight, post pregnancy weight loss diet you can follow and food you should and should not eat to accelerate your post-pregnancy weight loss.

New mothers despair for their pre-pregnancy body and feel ashamed about all the weight they gain during and after pregnancy. Post-pregnancy weight gain is extremely natural and nothing to be ashamed of. The weight will go away as naturally as you had put it on. All you need to do is practice a few healthy lifestyle habits and understand the rhythm in which your body works. Any kind of weight loss needs you to cultivate a positive mindset and trust your efforts.

If you are motivated to lose your pregnancy weight, you need to follow your post pregnancy weight loss diet, eat the types of food recommended and leave out the ones inadvisable for mothers looking to lose weight. You will also need to maintain healthy activity levels. Going to a gym is not necessary, taking your child out for a walk in the stroller around your neighbourhood a couple of times will burn you a good deal of calories. Inculcating healthy routines such as getting adequate sleep, eating your meals on time and drinking the recommended amount of water for your body type will also go a long way in aiding your post-pregnancy weight loss.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right into why you gain all this extra weight after your pregnancy and how you can work to get rid of the same.

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Post pregnancy weight gain

Post pregnancy weight gain results from multiple factors. Our appetite increases when we are pregnant, due to the pregnancy hormone HCG entering our bloodstream, from the placenta. The HCG hormone regulates our digestion, metabolism, energy and nutrition distribution during pregnancy. We begin eating for two, but may not show excess weight gain in our bodily appearance as the fat and energy derived from the food we eat is first directed to our baby, and then to us. In fact, women are recommended to weigh a couple pounds extra during their pregnancy, as compared to their pre-pregnancy weight. The weight that we gain stays on with us, even post-childbirth. It is a mistaken assumption that this weight will fall off naturally or through breastfeeding.

On top of that, new mothers have to deal with stress, depression and in some cases, thyroid. Stress experienced by new mothers who now have their child to take care of releases cortisol into their bodies. Cortisol increases appetite and encourages fat storage in the lower abdominal area. Many mothers experience postpartum depression after pregnancy which inclines them to “eat their feelings”, causing further weight gain.

Sometimes, women experience symptoms of thyroid after undergoing childbirth. An under active thyroid can also worsen post pregnancy weight loss plans.

Tips to lose post pregnancy weight

Discussed below are a handful of tips on how to lose weight after pregnancy naturally

Drink plenty of water

Keeping yourself hydrated is good for your body in several ways. For one, it helps boost your metabolism. It also helps control your appetite by making you feel full. You don’t need to follow the stipulated water intake advisable for your BMI from the get-go, simply keep a watch over the transparency of your urine. If your urine isn’t clear, you will need to up your water intake, and if it comes out clear, you can rest assured that you are drinking an adequate amount of water.Drink plenty of water

Exercise

You can follow a post pregnancy weight loss diet plan for post pregnancy weight loss. However, in most cases, following a post pregnancy weight loss diet won’t be enough to deliver the weight loss results you want. If you want to enjoy rapid weight loss after pregnancy, you have to include an exercise routine as part of your post pregnancy weight loss plan. Think of incorporating a weight training or aerobic workout to burn those calories and strengthen your muscles and bones. New mothers should try and keep time aside to exercise in their daily routines- not just for post pregnancy weight loss, it has numerous other benefits to offer. It can help them relieve the stress they are experiencing with a new baby in the house, perk up their mood and improve their sleep quality.

Don’t compromise on sleep

Now, this might seem like a tricky prospect with a toddler hankering for your attention 24/7, but lack of sleep can really affect your post pregnancy weight loss plans. When you are sleep-deprived, you tend to make unhealthy lifestyle choices like binge eating and drinking, which do nothing to help you lose weight. If you are exhausted throughout the day because you didn’t get ample sleep during the night, your body will release the cortisol hormone, which will aggravate your hunger pangs.

Have realistic expectations

Yes, celebrity post pregnancy weight loss stories may have you believe that you can go back to your pre-pregnancy body in a couple of months, but these stories are often not 100% true.
Even if they are – don’t forget they have an entire team working for them, charting out their post pregnancy weight loss journey. Research has found that the average time to lose baby weight can exceed a year. It could take a year or two for you to return to your pre-pregnancy body, if at all.

Keep healthy snacks close at hand

Breastfeeding mothers are subject to sudden hunger and spikes in their appetite. If not handled well, these hunger spikes could lead to weight gain. Instead, if you stock up on fruits, sprouts, vegetables, nuts and yoghurt to feed on, when hungry – you could help bring down the average time to lose the baby weight, in your case.

Join a post-pregnancy weight loss support group

Group-based weight loss can help keep you motivated on your post pregnancy weight loss journey.

Post-pregnancy diet plan

Your post pregnancy weight loss diet should never be a crash diet. You should be looking to lose your pregnancy weight gradually and effectively with a reliable post pregnancy weight loss diet plan. Women need between 1500-2200 calories daily to maintain regular bodily function. If you are breastfeeding, you should consume a minimum of 1800 calories, for the proper nourishment of both you and your body.

Aim to lose approximately 1.5 pounds on a weekly basis; you don’t want extremely rapid weight loss after pregnancy. If you lose weight too rapidly after your pregnancy, your body can release toxins into your blood contaminating your breast milk, which could prove severely harmful for the nursing child. If you’ve been consuming calories above the bare minimum, try to cut down 500 calories daily from your diet. You could do this by either eating smaller portions or increasing your activity levels.

Most post pregnancy weight loss diet plans advice new mothers to eat 5-6 small meals in a day interspersed with healthy snacks. They also ask women to try to avoid skipping meals, as this does more harm than good, and they end up eating in excess at other meals. Never miss breakfast, especially when you’re following a post pregnancy weight loss diet plan. It will keep you from feeling an energy lag later in the day and help you get your daily tasks done in a more focused manner.

Foods to eat

After you’ve made up your mind to get started on your post pregnancy weight loss diet plan, make sure that you are eating the right food products in alignment with your goal. The following food products will help you:

Fiber

Food rich in fiber improves your digestive health. Consuming soluble fiber keeps your hunger hormones in check and helps you eat less as a result.

Protein

Lean meat, eggs, fish, dairy and other sources of healthy protein can boost your metabolism and bring down your calorie intake by decreasing your appetite.Eat protein rich foods

Complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates provide you with energy all around the day, as they take longer to break down.

Unsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats

Don’t stop consuming fat completely in a bid to lose weight post-pregnancy. Instead, eat food rich in unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which keep your body healthy and improve cardiac function.

Foods to avoid

There are certain food items you must avoid if you want to succeed in your post pregnancy weight loss. These are:

Food with added sugar and/or refined carbohydrates

Food rich in sugar and refined carbs have low nutrient value and yet, are high in calories. Consuming food with high calorific value and low nutrient value can increase your weight, up your risk of developing heart health issues, cancer and diabetes. Try to steer clear of fizzy and sugary drinks and other such processed food variants such as packaged biscuits, cakes and the like. Opt for whole foods instead. If you must consume something sweet, go for desserts from an organic bakery as opposed to processed and packaged cookies.

Processed food products

As already discussed, processed food is unhealthy for you. Fast food and pre-packed food are examples of processed food, high in sugar, unhealthy fat, calories and salt. All of these are detrimental to your weight loss efforts. Try to consume nutrient-dense, fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables instead.

Alcohol

Alcohol is calorie-dense, but it provides no nutrition. Alcohol consumption also leads to belly fat. Not only does it counteract your postpartum weight loss attempts, but it can also be unhealthy for your baby. Minimal amounts of alcohol can be passed over to your child via your breast milk. Alcohol consumption can also temporarily reduce your breast milk volume. Not to mention, the dependency you might develop which would interfere with your regular sleep quality.Say no to alcohol for post pregnancy weight loss

Summary

Hopefully, our article helped you in understanding how to lose weight after pregnancy naturally. To conclude, we will try to comprehend the average time to lose the baby weight by a new mother. It is generally recommended that mothers don’t weigh themselves at least until two weeks after pregnancy. Even then, measuring waist size is probably a better idea as their weight won’t be reflective of their body fat only.

Mothers on a post-pregnancy weight loss diet plan may begin to show results of their weight loss efforts from the first month after conceiving itself. Women are medically advised to gain 25-30 pounds during their pregnancy to be able to amply nourish their baby. Some mothers can lose up to 20 pounds in the first month itself, meaning, they may already be back to their pre-baby body.

Six weeks from your date of conception, you will notice that your belly now looks flatter and smaller. If you have been successful in sticking to your postpartum weight loss endeavours, you will most likely have returned to your original weight before pregnancy, a couple of months post it. Generally, nine months is the average time to lose baby weight, unless you had gained extra weight during your pregnancy. However, this is no blanket rule. Every woman loses their post-pregnancy weight on their own time, depending on the diet they are eating and the amount of exercise they are getting daily.

Don’t give in to fad diets hoping for rapid weight loss after pregnancy; it will harm you and your baby. Eat a healthy diet rich in proteins, complex carbs and fiber, drink enough water and get some much-needed rest and the occasional exercise, besides running after your child and you should be good. You will have lost all the excess weight giving you grief in no time at all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How long does it usually take to lose weight after having a baby?

A: It depends on the weight gain. Woman can aim to lose 2 kg per month post pregnancy.

Q. Is it harder to lose weight after second baby?

A: No, not at all. If you maintain your lifestyle balance which includes your diet, physical activity, sleep and water intake, you can easily lose weight and stay healthy.

Q. How do you lose belly fat while breastfeeding?

A: Breast feeding itself is an extensive activity which burns many calories, especially if you feed in sitting position. Along with this, if you eat a well balanced diet rich in protein and fiber, eat small and frequent meals, take minimum 10-12 glasses of water, maintain some regular physical activity like walking, etc. then you can easily lose belly fat.

Q. Why have I gained weight after pregnancy?

A: There are several reasons why women gain weight post pregnancy
1. Erratic and irregular eating pattern, and long gaps between each meal.
2. It’s important to eat calorie rich food to meet lactation needs, but it is required to get calories from protein, fiber, complex  carbohydrates and good fat sources. Most people tend to focus on eating simple carbs and fats like panjeeris, oily fried foods, sweets, desserts,  cereals , refined products etc. 
3. Less intake of water
4. Poor sleeping pattern
5. Lack of activity



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