Coconut Fat Facts: Is it Good or Bad?

Oh the debates! Talk about politics! Food decisions can be SO exhausting and coconut is one of those foods that causes a lot of hubbub and not a lot of clarity. It really comes down to personal experience and what you choose to believe.

So what do I choose to believe?

Well, I’m definitely of the coconut-fat-is-good-fat mentality and I trust and respect other bloggers and foodies whose research says the same! Fats are one of those things that have been given a really bad reputation over the years, when they are not the problem. Sugars and carbohydrates cause much more damage than fats, and coconut is a good, plant based, naturally-occuring fat which means it is great.

Some research suggesting that it is not good, is believed to have been a test conducted on hydrogenated coconut oil. Now, hydrogenated oils of any kind, produce trans fatty acid, which is responsible for a whole range of health issues. Virgin cold pressed organic oils, however, are balanced to counteract their own misgivings and are very safe to consume.

I love using coconut oil, milk and cream! Of course, everything should be consumed in moderation and coconut should be counted as part of a healthy fat intake, but it is a very healthy choice!

Coconut oil contains saturated fats, which can give folks a fright! But not all saturated fats are equal. Coconut fat content is made up of mostly medium- chain fats which are the fats that are quickly and easily processed by the body. Other saturated fats and trans-fats that are produced through hydrogenation, are long-chain and are not absorbed until they reach the small intestine. It is these fats that cause us problems.

If you’d like to read more about the scientific side of things, check this out Coconut: In support of good health in the 21st Century at http://coconutoil.com/coconut_oil_21st_century/

Now, to the yummier side of things…

Coconuts are also extremely versatile in the kitchen. I use Coconut milk and cream for curries, smoothies, ice creams and other desserts. The oil can be used for frying, chocolate making, cakes and brownies…. and even skin and hair care! I have a jar in the kitchen and one in the bathroom! I’ll be including quite a few coconut recipes in the guides, and I encourage you to feel free using coconut milk and oil in your own food experiments. So often I hear people say that coconut is fattening or avocado is fattening so they don’t eat them very often. Instead, when their bodies crave fats they turn to fast, processed foods! It is so much better to regularly eat healthy fats and feel good about eating them!

What do you like to use coconut for? Share your ideas in the comments section…

Turmeric: Why it Is Good for You and How to Use it

TurmericLet me start by saying that turmeric can be dangerous, my kitchen benches are proof that when bought in large quantities, turmeric can turn your kitchen yellow! However, it is precisely this that proves the potency and influence of this ancient spice.

It certainly deserves respect and a place in both the savoury and sweet culinary pursuits. And, definitely a stable jar that no one can knock over!

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in India and all over the world for a multitude of purposes. It is well known for its dying qualities, but even better know for its medicinal purposes. Turmeric is so good for you, it is ridiculous!

Here are just a few of the reasons why turmeric rocks:

  • It is thought to assist in reducing cancer growth and proliferation and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s
  • It is a natural liver detoxifier and is known for its anti-inflammatory ability.
  • For centuries it has been used to treat symptoms of coughs and colds
  • Chinese medicine uses it to treat depression
  • It assists in wound healing and has antiseptic and anti bacterial qualities
  • It is a natural pain killer and is especially treats inflammatory skin conditions
  • Helps to manage weight and weight loss through assisting fat metabolism
  • It is great for your blood and therefore assists women greatly by stabilising hormonal swings and reducing clotting and sweats

I include turmeric in my cooking almost daily and find it to be a subtle, easy addition. I add it to chocolates, which you’ll see in the Chocolate Guide, as well as cakes, soups, stews and rice dishes. The beautiful golden colour brightens your food and inspires its inclusion in just about everything! It makes a strong sweet drink with honey and almond milk that will cure just about everything, and is an essential ingredient in mexican food. The beauty of turmeric is that it has very little affect on flavour so you can feel confident adding it to your favourites.

Here are a few tips on how to use dried turmeric powder:

  • Rice dishes: add a teaspoon to fried rice, steamed rice, or risotto to give it a golden hue and reap the health benefits.
  • Curry: even if you still haven’t felt brave enough to start making curry from scratch, add 2 teaspoons to any curry paste! I guarantee it will be fabulous
  • Stew: Whether it’s a spicy vegetable stew, or a classic chicken cassarole, turmeric will slip nicely into your recipe. Give it a go!
  • Beverages: Anything milk based will take turmeric really well. My milk of choice is homemade nut milk, but it will work well with dairy, soy, hemp, oat or goats as well! Try adding a teaspoon to your morning smoothie or, try the aforementioned hot honey and turmeric milk. The hot milk drink is my staple go-to drink when I have aches and pains or PMS!

I hope I’ve given you some tips and confidence with using turmeric. Once you’ve mastered using the powdered stuff, you might even like to branch out to using it fresh! One step at a time.  I’ll be filming myself making the healthiest, tastiest mexican beans with turmeric soon, so keep an eye out!

Quinoa: A low G.I. Seed That is Easy to Cook With and Very Very Yummy

Quinoa A low G.I. SeedHeard of quinoa? Tried it before? Quinoa is one of those foods that many people have heard of, but few have tried! It is wonderfully versatile and I’d like to give you a quick run down and encourage you to use it…

Now the first thing I can tell you is that it is pronounced keen-wah! 🙂 Nothing worse than saying it wrong to some snotty health food shop lady, I’ve been there, it’s not fun.

Quinoa, from my knowledge and use, comes in three colours. The basic one you’ll find in the supermarket is the white one, but you can also get the nuttier flavoured brown and black varieties in bulk stores. For anything you use it for, any colour quinoa will do, I personally like to combine all three!

As for why it is good for you, quinoa is a very special seed because it is a seed that behaves like a grain but is much more nutritious! Quinoa is high in protein and contains all eight of the essential amino acids. In one cup of quinoa you will get 20% of the folate you need per day, 30% of magnesium, 15% of iron as well as a good dose of copper, manganese and fiber.

That’s a hell of a lot better than what you get out of wheat pasta or rice, let me tell you. Imagine if you replaced just a few of your carb favourites with quinoa, you’d really be doing your body a favour! This earthy seed is a great low g.i., easy-on-the-blood-sugar alternative to pasta and rice. It also, conveniently for me,  works beautiful in sweets as it has a gentle, nutty flavour and a soft texture.

A question I often get is… “How do you cook it?!” Now, that’s easy to answer… just like rice and pasta! Put 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of dried quinoa in a saucepan. Put the stove on high until the water starts boiling and then drop it off to a simmer, with the lid on. It takes about 15 minutes to cook, give or take, and if it is cooked, but still watery, feel free to strain it. It will be soft and fluffy when it is ready, the black and brown varieties tend to take a little longer.

Once it is cooked, add your quinoa to salads, pasta sauce, serve it alongside curries, stews and roast vegies. The options are endless! You can cook it in milk with sultanas, goji berries, cinnamon and honey for a delicious morning porridge. I also love to spice it with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon to have with stewed apples.

The options with quinoa are endless!! What are your quinoa ideas? The best way to start cooking with quinoa is to have some in the cupboard for when you’re in the mood to try something new!

Top 6 Cheap Healthy Meals for You

Doctors and nutritionists advice everyone to eat well balanced diets, as it is only in doing this that the body can stay healthy for a long time. A well balanced diet should consist of carbohydrates, proteins, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals.There is a wide range of food varieties that contain these, and are cheap too. Many people however relate well balanced diets with the rich, and rarely check on what they are putting in their mouth or stomach.  This myth is however untrue, because there are many cheap healthy meals that one can choose from, and still live a healthy life.  This was ascertained by a research that revealed that, most of these foods actually cost less than $5 in any store.

Discussed below are some of the best and highly nutritious foods you should try at home, or in your favorite food joint.

1.    Brown Rice:

This is a special delicacy in most traditional cultures. Brown rice provides approximately 170 calories, a few grams of fiber and 5 grams of proteins. This is a meal great enough to enable the body grow healthy every day, and you do not have to worry about gaining weight. Brown rice is categorized under cheap healthy meals for its nutritional value, and how it can be served. You can serve it as a salad, have it fried or with stew too.

2.    Multi-grain Pasta:

This is for those who love pasta or wheat products. Pasta made form whole wheat grains is a great and healthy meal for everyone. It is easy to digest and doesn’t pose any healthy risk to the body too.  One serving of multi-grain pasta provides the body with about 190 calories for energy production, 8 grams of protein (which is enough for the body), and a few grams of fiber. Fiber aids in food movement around the digestive tract, and prevents bloating or constipation.  Whole wheat meals have a ranking in the top cheap healthy meals in the market today.

3.    Whole Bread or Brown Bread:

This is an excellent choice for breakfast, and can also be used as a snack in between meals. Brown bread contains fiber, proteins and enough calories to keep the body going for a few hours. The good thin with having brown bread is that, there are no artificial preservatives added, hence no risk of becoming obese or other diet related conditions. It is also very cheap to buy too.

4.    Fat Free Yogurt:

Yogurt provides the body with proteins and calories to keep the body functioning properly for long. It is however not advisable to take yogurt if you have any case of lactose intolerance.   Fat free yogurt can be found in almost every store or super market, and goes for less than a dollar. Taking about 250gms of yogurt is enough to keep you hydrated and also paves way for a great skin too. Yogurt can be served as a smoothie, parfait or taken as a quick healthy snack.

5.    Frozen Vegetables:

Vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, especially spinach. Vegies are cheap to buy too, and make great side dishes alongside beef, chicken or turkey stew. Frozen vegetables are rich in fiber, which enhances digestion, a few proteins and provides the body with about 100 calories.  Consuming vegetables doesn’t have any effect on your body, and can be taken by persons seeking to maintain their body shape and mass. Vegies worth $2 can be served to about 5 people.

6.    Refried Beans:

Beans are mostly used as a side dish in most homes today. These contain about 150 calories, a few grams of protein and fiver, and also supplement the body with calcium and iron, a rare commodity to be found in most foods today. Any nutritionist will recommend refried beans as they are among the top 6 cheap healthy meals you can find in the market.

Apart from these foods, you can also make fresh juice or fruit punch from home cheaply, and all you need is a juicer. Taking fresh fruits helps supply the body with essential vitamins and anti-oxidants, which help boost your body’s immunity and fight free radicals too. It is only in eating well balanced diet every day that your body can be strong enough to handle life’s challenges.  Moreover, you can find cheap healthy meals in dedicated restaurants that serve only the best to their customers.

6 Healthy Food Ideas For Better Life And Living

healthy food ideasThey say you are what you eat, and for most of us, that’s not good news. Making changes can be easy and delicious though, so turn things around in your life by discovering healthy food ideas that are flavorful and effortless to adapt to.

Starting With Your Shopping Cart

Your entire relationship with food should change, beginning with how you shop for it. While you don’t have to spend all your time and money in the gourmet or organic section, you do need to buy basic foods that are healthy and have delicious plans for them. Look for leaner and trimmer meats, whole-grain bread, pasta and rice and add your favorite vegetables to the cart. Avoid sabotaging your intentions by grabbing a bag of chips on your way to the checkout too. Remain loyal to your commitment with every purchase.

Changing How You Prepare Foods

Salmon can be one of the best foods for your heart, because it’s loaded with beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. However; if you fry it in lard you completely defeat the purpose of having it! Grill it with a savory rub instead, or let it soak up a delicious marinade. Asparagus contains plenty of fiber, beta-carotene, lutein and B complex vitamins, but if you top it with something high in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Steam and spice it, then top it with almonds for extra vitamin E and magnesium. Changing how you prepare foods is just as important as changing the foods you eat themselves.

Turning Healthy Food Ideas Into Amazing Meals

Many people are under the false impression that you’ve got to have a lot of talent or education to be a culinary wizard, and that’s simply not true. Preparing food requires basic knowledge and logic more than anything else, and doing so in a manner that’s beneficial to your body is more about self-discipline than it is a degree. You know what’s bad for you, so avoid it. Learn and experiment with different cooking techniques until you find your knack for it. Once you’ve got the basics down, add your own individual flavor, style and charm and you will be creating incredible meals that anyone would feel honored to sit down to. Buy or download a few cookbooks to get you started, then let your imagination and artistry take over.

Adding Your Own Touch To Foods

Modifying your diet to incorporate healthy food ideas should not mean forcing yourself to consume things you don’t find palatable. Take your own tastes and wrap them around different recipes and ingredients so that they are more appealing to you individually. For example, if you have never been a vegetable person, but can’t get enough pasta and marinara, start blending broccoli and  spinach right into your sauce! You won’t even know it’s there when you eat it, but you’ll be gaining all the health benefits of great greens. Use whole wheat pasta, low-fat cheese topping and sea salt for delectable dining that’s actually food for you. Avoid trying to force any food ideas, because any positive results you experience will be short lived.

Growing Your Own Great Healthy Food

One of the best ideas in great eating is to learn how to grow some of your own food, or even just the spices. Depending on where you live and how much free time you have on your hands, plan an appropriately sized garden and start enjoying fresh herbs or vegetables. Gardening won’t just produce flavorful organics for you to enjoy, but the activity itself can be exercise and stress reduction therapy all rolled into one. If you live in a city dwelling, set up a window box and cultivate basil, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Each has its own unique and healthy properties that can heal you, improve things like respiratory and immune function and add a world of flavor to foods without adding calories, fat and sodium.

Following Up With A Smarter Lifestyle

No matter how well you eat at the kitchen table, the rest of your life needs to be considerate of your health too. If you don’t exercise on a regular basis, for example, you’re simply not doing your body justice. Other factors like drinking, smoking and stress can be very counterproductive to healthy food habits. Evaluate your entire lifestyle and determine what’s holding you back from healthy, then start initiating the positive changes that will get you where you want to be.

Adapting to a new,healthier diet isn’t difficult, so long as you make tasty choices. Base those choices on healthy food ideas to begin with and there’s no limit to the enjoyment. You will benefit in countless ways, so why not get started soon with these cheap healthy food ideas ?

High Protein Snack Foods

Here are some yummy yet high protein snack foods that could quiet down those growling tummies of yours that are complaining because you have not fed them in awhile because you want to be “healthy.” If you are the type of person who works out a lot and does eat a great amount of protein so as to keep the muscles you have been working on to stay in top shape, you are not alone. Do not despair, it is always quite a tricky job to find the right foods to eat.

You never want to overfeed yourself with protein especially with meat, so what could you really take in that is healthy? Well, you need high protein snack foods.

Interestingly, milk is considered almost a meal alone. Is filling, contains fat, has good protein and also contains a large amount of nutrients. Milk does not have a large amount of protein per say, but it has fair amount. If you really want to get more protein form milk, then add powdered milk on milk.

Quite ironic, don’t you think? But this actually works. Good powdered milk would be cheap. It is also wise to add some carbs to your snack so grab a complex carb (like wheat bread) and enjoy your healthy snack foods.

If you are so tired of stuffing your oral cavity with those meaty stuffs and grinding with your teeth all those meat, then a protein powder could be the answer. Most protein powders contain 30 grams of protein per scoop, this is already enough as a snack. Blend in some delicious choco protein powder with milk and you would be having a great snack. Also, adding the complex carbohydrates would be great.

Nuts are another in the high protein snack foods category that has a large amount of good fat and are healthy! Nuts do not have the evil Trans Fat and this is just what the body needs. These nuts are not the ones that are coming into your mind right now with the added flavorings and salt and covered with, who knows what. These nuts are plain and simple and contain no preservatives and additives and what have yous.

Better yet, get a serving of trail mix. You can eat the nuts with fruits. This is a very healthy diet.

Get a whole wheat bread, a glass of milk and make a peanut butter and banana sandwich. This is by far, the ultimate adornment of a healthy snack, satisfying and filling. Use a peanut butter that doesn’t have too much ingredients on it, the ones that are close to natural and organic.

Ranch House Roast Beef Sandwich

Ranch House Roast Beef SandwichKaiser rolls, also known as hard rolls or Vienna rolls, are used in this mouthwatering roast beef sandwich recipe. This roast beef sandwich contains onion, tomato, lettuce, cheese, and ranch dressing. The fillings are generous so the sandwiches are secured with toothpicks.

These roast beef sandwiches make good tea party sandwiches because they are not too big. Ranch dressing is used in this roast beef sandwich recipe and it is made from buttermilk or sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, minced onion and various other seasonings. Many roast beef sandwiches contain salad too and this recipe is especially nice.

Ingredients –

4 large Kaiser Rolls

12 ounces Roast Beef, thinly sliced

8 thin slices Red Onion

8 slices Ripe Tomato

4 slices Provolone Cheese

shredded Lettuce

Ranch Dressing

Preparation:

Slice roll in half. Evenly distribute roast beef on bottom half. Drizzle salad dressing over beef. Layer with onions, tomatoes, cheese and lettuce. Cover with roll top and secure with toothpick. Serves 4.

Healthy Snack Foods

Taking in some healthy snack foods – the idea could be quite unfamiliar for most of us. Today, we are so used to eating junk foods, drive-thru meals, express, etc. We admit that it is unhealthy, but what do we do about it?

There are a lot of healthy snacks that we can choose from, starting from the most basic, that we learned from school as children. We are talking about the fruits, vegetables, cheese and the protein packs, in the likes of white meat.

What we do with our diet is our responsibility and we have to pay for it in the future if we do not take care of it. For some of us, we are paying for our early digressions already. But for many of the illnesses, we can reverse the negative effects or control it by just eating healthy from now on.

You can check the internet to gain more info on healthy snack foods.

Also, if you must make frequent visits to the snack bins, refrigerator like a bad habit, choose food items that have high protein, enough carb and low fat to help to curb and satisfy your appetite for a longer time.

Like what we give to our children, we give them unhealthy snacks right; junk foods here and there – all with high salt, fat and a lot of chemicals for their processing. You are not a bad parent if you do. You can give your children these food items, but probably just once in a while, not every day (which most parents are doing).

Most of us think that we should have a standard meal plan in place of three times daily, with light snacks just in between. What others who are controlling their appetites are doing is more like this – eating a lot of meals every day. If you have small but frequent meals a day, you will eat less because you are not escalating your appetite and not gorging yourself on big ones.

When you contain your meals, you can take it up a notch by replacing the high sugar treats you used to have with fresh fruit and veggies. Fruits are loaded with vitamins and other nutrients.

If you want to have sweets, then choose to have a little snack of dark chocolate because it has antioxidants. You can also have sweetened yogurt.

It would be wise to replace the junk foods like chips with dry crackers or multigrain crackers. These crackers have low fat. If you do not like crackers, choose a low-salt pretzel.

In general, avoid highly processed foods. If possible, stick with organic and be sure to balance your meals. Remember, anything taken in excessive amount is a bad thing.

Best Chicken Salad Sandwich Recipe

Chicken Salad SandwichFor the best chicken salad sandwich, why not try out the following recipe? There are a lot of different chicken salad sandwich recipes and this one includes celery and bell peppers, which give a wonderful crunch to the chicken salad sandwich. Mayonnaise, salt and Mrs. Dash add flavor to these sandwiches. Mrs. Dash is a tasty seasoning mix and comes in nine flavors.

Any flavor would work well with the following chicken salad sandwich but the lemon pepper blend or the tomato basil garlic blend would work particularly well here. Alternatively, the original blend adds plenty of flavor. For healthy tea sandwiches, try this yummy chicken salad sandwich.

Ingredients –

2 cups coarsely chopped Cooked Chicken Breast
1/2 cup thinly sliced Celery
1/2 cup chopped Green Peppers
1/2 cup chopped Yellow Peppers
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
1/2 teaspoon Seasoning Salt
1/2 cup Mayonnaise

Preparation:

Combine all and mix thoroughly. Serve as salad or sandwich filling. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Alaska Salmon Salad Sandwich

Alaska Salmon Salad SandwichSalmon salad is a very popular dish and a lot of people are looking for the perfect salmon salad recipe. How about making a salmon sandwich to combine the delicious indulgence of salmon with bread to make a hearty snack? In the following recipe, Alaska red salmon is combined with yogurt, celery, green onions, pepper, and lemon juice to make the perfect sandwich filling.

Salmon is healthy because it is high in omega-3 values and the soft, edible fish bones in canned salmon are a rich source of calcium. This salmon salad sandwich is quick and easy to make and delivers rich nutrients and well as satisfying your hunger.

Ingredients –

1 (15 1/2 ounces) can Alaska Red Salmon
1/3 cup Plain Nonfat Yogurt
1/3 cup each chopped Green Onions and chopped Celery
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Black Pepper, to taste
12 slices Bread

Preparation:

Drain and flake salmon. Stir in remaining ingredients except pepper and bread. Season with pepper to taste. Spread salmon mixture on half of bread slices; top with remaining bread. Cut sandwiches into halves or quarters. Makes 6 sandwiches.

What to Eat Before an Exam

What should we eat before an exam is a question that parents and student often wonder about. During exams period, stress can be very high. Therefore, students in order to manage with their stress level they should pay attention to other factors apart from reading. To be able to increase their productivity and their level of alertness they will need to pay attention to their nutrition and physical fitness as well. Nutrition is a key success factor, for achieving better test results. Therefore, as recommended by nutritionists throughout the period of exams their nutrition should be balanced.

Breakfast and its Importance for Studying

In the preparation of a student for the exams, breakfast plays a very important role. A full breakfast increases energy and improves the mood so as to cope with the difficulties of reading and other obligations of the day. Moreover, it reduces the feeling of hunger during the midday hours, which puts off overeating at noon and prevents sleepiness and bad performance. A good breakfast can include some dairy products (milk or yogurt or cream), a starchy food (breakfast cereals, bread or toast, homemade cakes), fruit or juice, honey or jam.Snacks are equally important (after breakfast and in the afternoon), because they decrease the feeling of hunger and provide extra energy during the most important hours of reading. Some ideal snacks for these hours are fruits, sweets, dairy products and grains.

The Need for a Balanced Diet

Throughout the year, but especially during the exams periods, the student’s nutrition should include foods from all the groups in appropriate amounts with a special focus on fish and seafood, dairy, fruits and vegetables, which usually have a small part in their daily diet. Having all the food groups in the daily nutrition can cover all the needs of the student in macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), without requiring any supplements. Moreover, it should be noted that, during the examination period, students must NOT follow any kind of strict slimming diet. Balance in the selection of foods and eating in moderation contribute significantly to student performance in reading, and the proper distribution of meals helps to better mood, memory and concentration. Eating small frequent meals help students to be alert and increase productiveness. In contrast, large meals cause drowsiness and reduce concentration and thinking ability. Thus, it is preferable to consume smaller amounts of food (in the form of snacks or main meals) every 2-3 hours.

Top Nutrition Tips for the Day before the Exam

The day before the exams, is very important. It is preferable, during that day to include some familiar and enjoyable food that you will eat with pleasure and will help you get into a good mood. The choice of food is better to be done by the person taking the exam, but attention must be paid, as it is important to be tasty yet not too spicy and heavy, in order to avoid possible stomach problems. Under no circumstances should the day before the exam consume any food that causes discomfort while it is better to avoid any food that you have not tried before, as there is a risk of food intolerance or of an upset stomach, especially because of the increased stress level. Greater attention should be paid to the dinner, as a heavy dinner can affect the relaxation and the rest of the student and hence its performance the next day. The day before the exam, drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages, especially during the evening hours should be avoided. Finally, on the day of the exam, in no case should the student start the exam on an empty stomach, because they may feel dizzy and will not be able to perform at their best level.

Ten Super Foods for Women

Super foods are basically called super because of the nutrients that contain that can protect us against various diseases and strengthen our immune systems. Here is a list of 10 super foods that we feel every woman should have in mind.

1. Parmesan: for strong bones. Adequate intake of calcium is necessary for the prevention of osteoporosis (especially if you are in your 20s). Milk and yogurt help, but who wants to have them 3 times a day? Integrate parmesan in your diet as it contains 340mg of calcium per 30g – compared with 200mg in cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese – this will help you to get closer to the target of 1000mg calcium required daily.

2. Apples: to strengthen the immune system. Another reason why “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is the fact that apples are a rich source of quercetin, an antioxidant that protects our brain cells and enhances the body’s ability to fight diseases. When you eat apples you should also eat their skin since quercetin concentration is the highest in it.

3. Avocado: Flat belly. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been proven to help reduce weight, including in the waist. In a study, those who consumed more monounsaturated fat (about 23% of daily calories) had about 5 pounds less belly fat than those who followed a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat.

4. Black chocolate: for stress management and disease control. Researchers in Europe discovered that people who ate 40g of dark chocolate (which contains approximately 200 calories) on a daily basis for 2 weeks resulted into a producing a lot less of the stress hormone called cortisol and did not feel fatigue and act also as a female libido enhancer. Cortisol has the ability to increase blood pressure temporarily. Consistently high cortisol levels increase the risk of depression, obesity and heart disease.

5. Potatoes: Healthy carbohydrates. Potatoes contain a compound against fat storage called resistant starch and which can assist in keeping your weight under control. A medium potato with skin has only 100 calories, and more potassium than bananas, potatoes also help fight heart diseases, and keep blood pressure at a low.

6. Broccoli: to combat wrinkles. One cup of broccoli provides 100% of the vitamin C you need – necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is the substance responsible for elasticity of our skin. It is also rich in beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to replace the old cells with new cells.

7. Sardines: to fight heart disease. Sardines have been found to be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation which can lead to clogging of the arteries. They also prevent blood clots which in turn can cause heart attacks and strokes. Note that, 90gr sardines have about 1.3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids with the daily recommended intake being around 1 gram.

8. Lentils: for iron. Lentils ‘build’ your stocks in iron. One cup of lentils has about 30% of your daily iron intake. Approximately 12% of young women have low iron levels which in extreme cases lead to anemia. However, a study found that even women who were iron deficient (not anemia) had lower performance on tests of skills than people with normal levels. Lentils are a good source of iron, but very little is absorbed by our body. The absorption of non-heme iron increases the vitamin C and animal protein contained in red meat, poultry and fish. So to increase significantly the absorption of iron from lentils, include in your meal, a little animal protein (eg fish, poultry, red meat) and foods that are rich sources of vitamin C, such as oranges, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, grapefruit, lemons and strawberries.

9. Spinach: concentrated with essential nutrients. It is rich in vitamin C and also contains magnesium and calcium – a combination that can help slow the breakdown of bone that occurs as we age – as well as folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects.

10. Mushrooms: with antioxidants against cancer. One study showed that women who ate just one third of a serving of mushrooms daily had a 64% reduction in the risk of breast cancer. Other research suggests that mushrooms reduce the effects of aromatase, a protein that increases the production of estrogen – an important factor for some forms of breast cancer.

Lycopene Benefit

For informational purposes you should know that lycopene is part of the carotenoid family of substances (this is the main carotenoid in human plasma), which cannot be manufactured by the human body. Lycopene, is closely related to the well known beta-carotene. Indeed, many recent studies suggest that some of the benefits attributed to beta-carotene actually derived from lycopene.

Lycopene has an important biological value for the human immune system and allows the body to develop antioxidant activity neutralizing free radicals, generated by the normal metabolism of cells.

The levels of lycopene in our body are influenced by many biological factors and our way of life. Within our body it is found in the serum, in the adrenal glands, the liver, the testicles and the prostate.

Lycopene General Info

Lycopene is the phytochemical substance that gives the red color to tomatoes and its derivatives.

Lycopene can also be found in watermelon, in pink grapefruit, in the sanguine, the papaya, the guava and the strawberries.

In the fresh fruits and vegetables, the lycopene is entrapped in the plant tissue. Therefore, only a part of the lycopene contained in the fresh fruit can be absorbed.

The processing of fruit makes lycopene more biologically available, by increasing the surface available for digestion.

The chemical form of lycopene varies with temperature changes occurring during processing and thus it is more easily absorbed by the body.

Although lycopene is available in supplement form, it is likely to be more beneficial when taken from the whole fruit, where other substances of the fruit may increase its effectiveness.

Because of its solubility in fat (like vitamins A, D, E and beta-carotene), the absorption of the tissue increases when it is added to food oil.

Research shows that lycopene can be absorbed more efficiently by the body after it has been processed into juice, sauce, paste or ketchup.

After absorption from the intestine it is “deposited” in the liver, lung, prostate, colon and skin.

Benefits of lycopene

Until now considerable number of studies have shown that lycopene, especially the one coming from the tomato and its derivatives, can help fight various major diseases.

Other scientific studies have shown that lycopene protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation (protect arteries from plaque formation) and that this action of lycopene is greatly enhanced by the existence of another carotenoid, the lutein, which is found in spinach and corn.

Lycopene acts against heart disease, and myocardial infarction.

Lycopene acts against osteoporosis, male infertility, preeclampsia in pregnancy, in diabetes, but also in loss of vision and cataracts.

Studies have shown that lycopene helps prevent macular degeneration in the elderly people, which is the leading cause of blindness in these individuals.

Lycopene has a positive effect on the immune system (white blood cells of people who ate tomatoes were much more resistant to oxidative damage) and helps against aging, and most likely offering wellness and longevity.

There is some evidence that lycopene reduces the oxidation of LDL thereby helping to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Lycopene against cancer

Lycopene protects against prostate cancer, digestive system (mouth, esophagus, stomach, colon), breast, cervical and ovarian cancers.

Regular and adequate consumption of tomatoes reduces the overall risk of cancer at a rate that can even reach up to 40%.

It has been found that lycopene may be used as an anticarcinogenic substance, greatly reducing the likelihood of developing certain cancers. In a 6 year study of 47,000 male individuals, professors of medicine at Harvard found that eating tomato products more than 2 times per week can be associated with a reduction in the probability of prostate cancer by 21-34%.

At the University of Illinois, women with higher levels of lycopene observed five times lower likelihood of developing cervical cancer than those with the lower levels of lycopene. So tomatoes are an important part of our diet and if the test is a factor, this could be an important step in addressing other cancers as well.

How much lycopene should be consumed?

An official recommendation for the daily consumption of lycopene has not been set. However, different studies suggested that for greater protection against cancer at least 6.5 mg per day should be consumed.

Lycopene food sources
In the table below you can see an indication for the intake of lycopene from different types of food

Product Lycopene (mg/100g) Portion size Lycopene (mg/portion)
 Tomato juice  9.5  250ml  25
 Tomato ketchup  15.9  15ml  2.7
 Spaghetti sauce  21.9  125ml  28.1
 Tomato paste  42.2  30ml  13.8
 Tomato soup  7.2  250ml  9.7
 Tomato sauce  14.1  60ml  8.9
 Raw tomato  3  125g  3.7
 Watermelon  4  370g  14.7
 Pink grapefruit  4  125g  4.9

 

Tomato Nutrition and Benefits

tomatoesTomatoes are low in calories and are loaded with a number of health benefits for the body and they should be a part of any kind of healthy diet. Tomato, which is actually a fruit rather than a vegetable, is a well known anti-oxidant and can be prepared in a number of different ways, e.g. raw, in salads, grilled, or as a boiled sauce.

Tomato Nutrition

To begin with, it is important to know that tomatoes contain a lot of vitamin C, which strengthens the body’s defense. Two-thirds of our daily needs in vitamin C, is already covered by two medium tomatoes. It also contains abundant folic acid, which is necessary for reconstruction and rehabilitation of the body cells. The scientists even argue that those who take medications, drink alcohol, eat too much meat, pregnant women and elder people, have an increased need for folic acid and as a result should consume a lot of tomatoes. This miraculous plant also contains vitamin E which is good for fertility and good for sexual life, vitamins from the vitamin B group which are good for proper metabolic function and strong nervous system, as well as chromium which is mostly good for diabetics as it helps to lower blood sugar levels. It also contains selenium, which belongs to the substances that protect against cancer, since it plays an important role in the immune system, potassium to support the heart function, magnesium which helps against the symptoms of stress and muscle cramps, and iron, copper and manganese.

Perfect skin

Tomatoes get the bright red color from carotenoid lycopene. Carotenoids are plant pigments found in vegetables and fruits with bright red, yellow or orange color. They are also contained in some vegetables with green leaves. The darker the color the higher the content of carotenoids. The carotenoids help to clear the free radicals out of the body, strengthen the immune system and thus potentially reduce the risk of cancer. Moreover, they give us smoother skin and faster and more beautiful tan. Apart from the tomatoes, the carotenoids are found mainly in carrots, pumpkins, peaches, apricots, melons, broccoli and spinach.

To stay healthy, the World Cancer Research Fund recommends eating regular foods with “red”, e.g. tomatoes, “green”, e.g. spinach, and “yellow” color, e.g. apricots. And if you complete your diet with “white” e.g. sheep yogurt, and “black” color, e.g. whole meal bread, then you make a big step towards maintaining a healthy, fit body in good shape and a perfect skin.

Lower Cholesterol

The traditional Mediterranean diet, with tomatoes in almost all recipes, is associated with numerically fewer cases of chronic heart diseases. Recent scientific research has shown that people often eating tomatoes as part of their daily diet are less likely to suffer from heart attacks than those who do not include it in their diet. That’s because tomatoes contain lycopene, an anti-oxidant, which prevents the oxidation of cholesterol LDL, which is the “bad” cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is the initial step leading to the formation of plaque in arteries and therefore to heart attack.

Tomato against cancer

According to recent surveys, regular and adequate consumption of tomatoes, preferably organic, can potentially reduce cancer risk by up to 40%. Tomatoes mainly protects against cancer of the prostate, lung and stomach. In a survey scientists have discovered that smokers who ate more than 14 times a month tomatoes (or carrots) had significantly lower risk of lung cancer than those who ate tomatoes or other vegetables more rarely. Recent research has shown that tomato, like grapes and wine, contain flavonoids. These vital substances are superb in flushing out of the body the free radicals and are found in the outer layer of the fruit, i.e. just below the skin. Of course, when tomatoes are peeled, a significant part of these substances is lost. So you should always eat tomatoes, as well as grapes, with their skin. Beta-carotene (ß-Carotene) is one more important substances contained in tomatoes. Beta-carotene along with vitamins C and E consist the main group of substances for flushing the free radicals out of the body.

Tips for the kitchen

It is interesting to note that lycopene contained in tomatoes is available to the body only when heated and only after adding some fat in it, e.g. olive oil. Therefore, it is not the raw tomato salad that is good for the intake of this substance, but a well boiled tomato sauce. As a result in order to take all vital substances we should eat both raw and cooked food. And here, as in everything in life, balance is important.

Season tomatoes have more vital substances and smell and taste better. Smaller are usually tastier than the larger ones. But tomatoes continue to ripen in the kitchen. So you should avoid as much as possible placing them in the fridge because they lose their flavor. Because tomatoes emit ethylene they should not be placed next to the cucumbers, otherwise they will get spoiled quickly. Finally, it is advisable to wash and slice the tomatoes like all fruits and vegetables just before eating them, in order to keep their precious substances.

Foods That Can Make Your Breasts Bigger

Breasts contain fat, therefore, they can grow bigger or reduce in size at different times in your life. Weight loss or gain also contributes to breast size. Usually, breast fat is the first fat to go when a woman loses weight.

Stress Levels

A women’s hormones are affected when high stress is involved resulting in a change in breast size.

Stress causes a reduction in output levels of oestrogen and progesterone. There is a reduction in cell growth rate and lift in the breast as a result of high stress.

Smoking

Smoking is not a healthy habit to begin with, but where your breasts are concerned women who smoke can lose the elasticity in their breasts causing them to sag and appear less full.

Foods

According to the website breastenlargementresource.com breast tissue growth may increase with the consumption of foods containing high levels of phytoestrogens. Raw vegetables contain healing enzymes and have been known to promote healthy breasts.

Examples of breast enhancing foods are:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Wholegrain Rice
  • Oats
  • Shallots
  • Broccoli
  • Flaxseed/Unheated Flaxseed Oil
  • Unheated Extra-Virgin Olive OilSoy Based Foods/Tofu
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Parsley/Rosemary
  • Raw Spinach
  • Salmon/Rainbow/Trout/Tuna/Sardines/Cod/Herring
  • Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
  • Organic Foods

Avoid Foods Containing:

  • Margarine
  • Frying oils
  • Fried/grilled/burnt foods
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oil

Herbs

Using herbs is a natural way of achieving and maintaining good health. Society is becoming more commercialized and products are more often chemically manufactured. Natural herbs function to promote personal health, help regulate your body, balance your metabolism and help in the body’s natural healing process.

When choosing a breast enhancement pill it is important to choose one containing herbal ingredients.

Cinnamon Can Help Stabilize Your Energy

Research on the past few years is showing that Cinnamon may help to control blood sugar levels in both healthy people and those suffering from diabetes.

A quick health lesson so we can understand how this works:

  • Blood sugar refers to the amount of glucose contained in your blood. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells.
  • Glucose levels tend to rise after you eat and then drop as your stomach empties.
  • Being that your blood sugar level is highly correlated to your level of energy, you will tend to feel your best if you can maintain a stable level of glucose in your blood.

CinnamonThis is where cinnamon comes in! A recent study indicated that cinnamon helps to maintain glucose balance by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties after meals and reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating. This in turn helps to make you feel healthier and more energetic all day long.

This is pretty good news for those of us who suffer minor peaks and valleys in our glucose levels, but it’s even better news for those suffering from Type II Diabetes. For diabetics the need to constantly monitor and regulate their blood glucose levels is a daily job, and usually includes taking medication, exercising regularly and possible following a weight loss plan. Now, doctors may add cinnamon to that regimen as  Diabetes Care study found that eating as little as one gram of cinnamon daily reduced serum glucose and triglyceride in people with type 2 diabetes. Go cinnamon!

Top 10 Reasons To Go Gluten Free

Even if you do not have an intolerance or allergy to gluten, giving up gluten filled foods can do wonders for your health. Below are ten reasons why anyone should consider going gluten free.

1) If you can get nutrition from gluten, you can get it from other sources as well.

Most gluten filled grains are high in dietary fiber and various types of B vitamins. This is why so many people believe it is so important to eat these foods. What most people do not know is that if you can get this nutrition from gluten based grains, you can get it in other foods.

For example, one hundred grams of whole wheat flour provides thirty percent of the recommended allowance of niacin, and thirty two percent of the recommended allowance of thiamin. Eating sesame seeds or flaxseeds provides even more of these nutrients, while being completely gluten free.

Many foods containing gluten are also touted as being fiber rich. This too is an issue that can easily be remedied with other foods. For example, one hundred grams of brown rice has just under two grams of fiber. In comparison, collard greens have nearly three grams of fiber, and green peas have nearly five grams of fiber.

2) Grains containing gluten are not good for your stomach.

When your stomach is not healthy, the rest of your body will not feel healthy because you will not be able to absorb all of the necessary nutrients from food. This in turn makes your body more prone to illness, and even at risk for becoming malnourished. Gluten filled foods have been linked to a condition known as “leaky gut syndrome”.

This means that tiny pieces of the foods are leaked out of the intestinal walls causing the body to react with an immune response. When the immune system is taxed in this way it cannot effectively fight of illnesses.

3) You may be unable to process gluten properly.

Many Caucasian people have a higher risk for being unable to properly digest gluten rich foods. While research has estimated that about one percent of the population has celiac disease, the numbers may actually be quite a bit higher. Some studies have estimated that nearly thirty to forty percent of people of European descent have some form or degree of gluten allergy.

4) Gluten causes inflammation.

Because these types of grain are high in starch, they tend to be inflammatory. The more refined grains you eat, the more inflammation is possible. Take unbleached white flour for example. This ingredient is much more inflammatory than even whole wheat flour.

That being said, foods that are gluten free such as fresh vegetables and healthy fats have been shown to reduce inflammation. People who suffer with chronic inflammation have been subjected to many different conditions such as allergies, bone loss, arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and even some types of cancer.

5) Gluten grains are fairly new types of food.

Even though grains containing gluten are considered to be whole foods, and nutritious, they are still relatively new to the human diet. Before the birth of agriculture, human beings simply hunted and
gathered their foods. This meant eating animal protein, fish, wild berries, fruits, wild greens, nuts, and the like. Our ancestors did not plant gardens, they did not harvest grains, and they did not drink dairy products.

Humans survived on this diet for a great many years, before grains ever became introduced. Today, grains now account for the bulk of our modern diet, which has led to a variety of new health conditions.

6) Gluten grains can harm your joints.

As previously explained, gluten filled grains are quite inflammatory. This also wreaks havoc on your joints, leading to painful conditions such as arthritis. These types of foods contain amino acids that mimic those already found in the joints’ soft tissues. Since both components are quite similar in makeup, the body has great difficulty telling which is natural and which is introduced. This leads to cells becoming overworked, and inflamed, which triggers the immune system to fight off foreign bodies. Unfortunately the immune system really ends up attacking the joints themselves.

7) Gluten grains can block minerals from being properly absorbed.

When gluten grains are not prepared properly, and in most cases today they are not, they can actually prevent vitamins and minerals from being absorbed into the body. Even though you may be eating a diet that has plenty of calcium, iron, and other important nutrients, if you eat gluten filled grains that are not prepared correctly, you will not be able to absorb all of the foods nutrients.

The only exception to this is to sprout certain grains and eat the sprouts as this makes the grains more absorbable by the body.

8) Gluten grains can harm your teeth.

Grains that contain gluten have high phytate levels, which have been attributed to tooth decay. Pytates, or phytic acid, has been shown to block mineral absorption causing bacteria to feed on the starches leading to tooth decay.

9) Gluten grains are not good for the skin.

Glutens tend to be found in foods that are very high in carbohydrates, and while not all carbohydrates are bad, they are broken down into various types of sugars. Sugar tells the body to produce insulin, which can in turn trigger hormonal responses that cause the sebum producing glands in the skin to produce more oil. This can contribute to acne, and other skin related conditions.

10) Consuming gluten makes your body crave gluten.

Just about everyone has had the experience of smelling a freshly baked loaf of bread and all of a sudden craving a nice thick, warm slice. How about freshly baked cookies? A nice warm, gooey plate in front of you makes it nearly impossible to eat just one. Foods that are high in carbohydrates provide a quick burst of energy. However, that burst of energy wears off quickly, and then the body is left wanting more. This causes a rise and fall in insulin levels, which can lead to more and more gluten being craved, so the cycle continues.

A Link Between Gluten and Autism?

Autism is a disorder that is becoming a major concern amongst parents, pediatricians, and even educators. Because this disorder seems to be becoming more common, it has sparked a great deal of debate and research into the reason behind its development. New studies, especially those that have been based in the alternative medicine field, have found that there could be a potential link between food allergies and autism, especially a link between gluten and the condition. This new data suggest that gluten may create allergies that either cause or worsen autism.

Autism is a disorder that affects children’s cognitive development and cognitive function. This can cause problems with communication abilities, behavior, and social interaction. While it was thought that autism may be genetic, recent studies have found that environmental factors may actually be cause of, or influence the disorder.

The studies that tracked autism with gluten allergies found that the food proteins in these foods were broken down into small proteins known as peptides. This then functioned as a narcotic would in autistic children, causing outward symptoms to worsen.

Since allergic responses to gluten can affect the body on the whole, causing a variety of mental and physical symptoms, the consequences can be far reaching. “Brain fog” is considered to be a mental symptom of autism, but is also often mistaken for other psychiatric conditions. Gluten intolerant adults are often plagued by physical symptoms of consuming gluten foods, while children tend to suffer more from mental side effects, such as brain fog.

Just as the remedy for a gluten intolerant adult is a gluten free diet, parents with children showing symptoms of mental impairment may want to consider eliminating gluten in the daily diet. Once parents cut out gluten, mental changes are often reported in a very short period of time. Cognitive problems, abnormal behavior, antisocial tendencies, and problems with communication have completely disappeared in many cases.