Category Archives: Food information

Speed Up Your Metabolism – For Good

It’s a common complaint: ‘I can’t lose weight because I have a slow metabolism.’ A slow metabolism might be genetic, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it forever. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to change your metabolic fate. By making key adjustments to your regular diet and exercise routines- and sticking to them- you can improve your metabolic functioning, making it easier for your body to burn fat and keep it off. Which means you look slimmer, feel healthier, and have more energy. Here’s how to re-program your body for a faster metabolism…

Lifestyle changes for a better metabolism:
Often people turn to medication to speed up their metabolism, but there is really no readily available treatment that is proven to be effective- and safe. The key to improving your metabolism is making healthy lifestyle changes. Paying attention to what and how you eat and increasing your level of exercise is the best way to achieve the results you want.

Think of your metabolism as the ‘engine’ of your body- it will react differently to different types of fuel and different levels of exertion. Making smart changes to your diet and exercise can help you to figure out what works for you and help you to lose weight quickly and healthily.

Here are some lifestyle changes that could improve your metabolism…

Cut down on carbs. Reducing the amount of carbs in your diet plan is often an effective way to boost your metabolism. Studies have shown that eating a low-carb, high-protein diet can help you to lose body fat and retain muscle, giving you more energy and making you look and feel healthier. Replacing some carbs such as breads and starches with protein-rich foods like lean meats, poultry and dairy is a good place to start. Don’t go overboard- cutting out all carbs, while a favourite diet trick of Hollywood celebrities, is just setting you up for other health problems, so make sensible choices.

Reduce animal protein. Some research has shown that cutting back on the amount of animal protein you consume can help improve your metabolic function. You don’t have to go completely vegetarian or vegan, but reducing the amount of meat in your diet can have numerous health and weight loss benefits. A recent study showed that eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables, and low in meat and dairy, could result in a metabolic improvement of up to 24 percent.

Eat more fibre. Nutritionists suggest that replacing 10 percent or more of your meal with high-fibre foods can help you to burn more calories for several hours. Choose high-fibre foods rich in complex carbs, rather than simple carbs like sugar. Fibre and complex carbs have a higher ‘thermic effect’, which basically refers to how the body converts calories into body heat.

Reduce portions. A lot of us eat portions much larger than the recommended serving sizes- particularly when it comes to carbs. So it might not be the carbs so much that your metabolism is responding badly to, but rather the amount that you are eating. Try to reduce your portion sizes by eating five or six small meals throughout the day, rather than three big ones. Serve our smaller helpings and only go back for more if you’re still hungry after twenty minutes. Eating smaller amounts more regularly is a key way to get your metabolism functioning well.

Don’t crash diet. When you reduce your calories too much, your body goes into ‘starvation mode’, which results in water retention and a significantly slower metabolism. It’s also more likely to make you binge, causing rapid regain of whatever you lost during the starvation stage. Doing this repeatedly over time can slow down your metabolism considerably and make it much harder to speed it up again. Instead of starving yourself or following fad diets, it’s much better for your body to reduce your portions sensibly and make smarter food choices, at the same time as increasing your exercise. This is not only healthier, it’s actually a more effective way to lose weight in the long term.

Exercise regularly. Moderate exercise for 30 to 45 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week improves your metabolism. And physical activity triggers your muscles to use up calories rather than to story them as fat. So maintaining muscle mass actually consumes more energy for the body. Developing a regular, balanced exercise plan of cardio and strength training is the best way to speed up your metabolism and look and feel better.

Remember that age and time also has an effect on your metabolism. Our metabolic rate tends to speed up, then slow down as we age. Nursing mothers are likely to experience a surge in their metabolism, and women going through menopause will probably see a metabolic drop. Just try to maintain healthy eating and exercise habits as appropriate for your body. Making the above lifestyle changes are a good start to slimming down and getting the healthy, toned body you want.

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7 Foods That Do the Weight-Loss Work for You

RaspberriesRaspberries

Raspberries are a great source of fiber—some of it soluble in the form of pectin, which helps lower cholesterol. One cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber. Raspberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C.

Strawberries

One cup of strawberries has a respectable 3 grams of fiber and more than a full day’s recommended dose of vitamin C—an antioxidant that helps keep skin healthy.

Chickpeas

Just 3/4 cup of chickpeas has a whopping 8 grams of fiber! You also get a good amount of vitamin B6 and folate, both of which play a role in forming healthy new cells.

Pumpkin
A cup of cooked pumpkin contains 3 grams of fiber. You also get vitamin A (245% daily value), vitamins C, E and potassium.

Sweet Potatoes

A medium-size baked sweet potato (2 inches wide, 5 inches long…a little larger than your computer mouse), skin included, offers 5 grams of fiber—for just 103 calories. It’s also a nutrition powerhouse: providing 438% daily value of eye-healthy vitamin A (eat these foods to help you see more clearly), 37% daily value of vitamin C, plus some potassium, vitamin E, iron, magnesium and phytochemicals like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Apples

A medium apple (3-inch diameter) contains 4 grams of fiber; a large apple (3¼-inch diameter) has 5. Apples also offer a bit of vitamin C and potassium

Green Beans
One cup boasts 4 grams of fiber, plus a healthy dose (30% daily value) of skin-helping vitamin C.

Best metabolism-boosting foods

Tired of a slow metabolism holding you back from losing weight? There are plenty of ways to wake your body up and get your metabolism moving. Along with improving your every day diet plan and incorporating regular exercise, there are some foods that can give your metabolism a little boost, making it easier for you to burn fat and lose weight. Add some of these delicious foods into your diet plan and your metabolism will climb…

Apples.
An apple a day is a good start – but for a bigger metabolism boost, take it a little further. Studies have shown that eating three small apples a day will help you to eat less at each meal, resulting in a metabolism spike. Plus they’re full of nutrients and will make you feel alert and energised.

Chilli.
Hot ingredients like chilli, cayenne pepper and salsa can be added into almost any meal, and can increase your metabolism by up to 20%. Good news if you’re a fan of Thai, Mexican, or Indian foods. Make your meals spicier and get your body revved up to burn more calories!

Berries.
Low in calories and high in antioxidants, berries are a great diet food that keep your metabolism going strong. They also have high fibre content, which means you feel fuller on fewer calories, and their natural sweetness makes them feel like a treat without blowing your diet. They don’t have to be so expensive either- frozen raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are usually around $5 for a large box, so pick some up next time you’re in the frozen food section.

Coffee.
Your morning coffee does more than just wake you up-the caffeine also speeds up your metabolism. Some studies have suggested coffee has other health benefits as well, such as promoting better heart health and improving your concentration. Don’t go overboard-too much caffeine will make you feel jittery and anxious, but one to three cups a day is fine.


Water.

Keeping well hydrated is one of the best ways to get your metabolism going. Recent studies have shown that drinking cold water can help to raise your metabolism by up to 30%. So keep a jug of cold water in the fridge and get in the habit of taking a water bottle with you wherever you go. Drinking your eight glasses each day not only helps speed up your metabolism, but helps your body to function properly and help with digestion and detoxification.

Green tea.
Next to water, green tea is the best beverage you can drink for weight loss, a faster metabolism, and overall health. Full of antioxidants, green tea keeps you healthy and gives you enough caffeine to make you feel refreshed, without overloading you on too much. Drink a cup in the morning and put some in the fridge to drink iced later.

Almonds. Full of good fats, fibre and protein, all of which help you to feel more full on less. The essential fatty acids found in almonds actually help your body to raise its metabolism just by consuming them. Of course, fat is still fat, so don’t go overboard-but a small handful of almonds makes a great healthy snack that can help give your metabolism a boost.

Natural Yogurt. Low-fat natural yogurt is full of pro-biotic cultures that help to ensure a healthy digestive tract. It also contains protein and good fats, so it makes a healthy snack that helps raise your metabolism and keep you feeling full.

Whey protein. When your body consumes protein, you feel full for longer and your metabolism gets revved up. Whey protein is a complete, high-quality protein that comes in powder form. Mixing it up into a protein shake is a great way to get your body fired up to burn more calories.

Cabbage. Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are great for improving metabolic function. Load up your meals with lots of green vegetables and you’ll feel fuller, get more nutrients, and burn more fat.

Lemon. Squeeze a little lemon juice into a glass of water each morning and you’ll slow down your digestion, which improves the body’s ability to metabolise fat. This is also a great way to make water more interesting to help you reach the eight glasses mark each day.

Rolled Oats
. Eating rolled oats in the morning gives you body the quality carbs, proteins and good fats it needs to function efficiently throughout the day. So get your metabolism pumping with a small bowl of oats mixed with whey protein and flaxmeal for breakfast.

6 High-Fat Foods That Are Good for You

almonds

It wasn’t long ago that we blamed fat for all of life’s ails. Sure, fat can make you gain weight and contribute to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and stroke. But not all fats were created equal. In fact, as you’ve probably heard, certain types of fat are actually good for your health.

So which “fattening” foods should you be eating?

“While it’s a good idea to limit saturated fats (found in cheese, meat, butter, sausage and desserts), you need fat to aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, E, D and K,” says Registered Dietitian Patricia Bannan, author of Eat Right When Time Is Tight. A bonus: Fat makes you feel full for longer periods of time.

The key is focusing on the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and eliminating the bad fats (trans and saturated fats). Here are a few of Bannan’s favorites:

Avocados: Sure, avocados are high in fat — perhaps that’s why they’ve earned the nickname “butter pears” — but most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated, the heart-healthy kind that actually lowers bad cholesterol. In recent years, the U.S. government has even revised its official nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more avocados. Moderation is still key, since one medium avocado boasts 30 grams of fat. Try substituting avocadoes for butter or cream cheese, or replace the mayo on your sandwich with avocado slices.

Eggs: Eggs are an inexpensive and easy source of protein. People often think eggs whites are a healthier option than whole eggs because they contain less fat, and while it’s true that the egg yolk contains some fat, it’s also packed with important nutrients. One whole egg contains 5 grams of fat, but only 1.5 grams are saturated. Whole eggs are also a good source of choline (one egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline), an important B vitamin that helps regulate the brain, nervous system and cardiovascular system. And while there’s a lot of buzz about the cholesterol in eggs, research has linked moderate egg consumption to improved heart health.

Olive Oil: Olive oil is commonly used in the Mediterranean diet (one of the most recommended for a healthy lifestyle), and we’ve all heard that olive oil reduces the risk of heart disease, blood pressure and certain types of cancer. However, it still packs 100 calories per tablespoon, so moderation is important if you’re watching your weight. A recent study published in Neurology found that cooking with heart-healthy olive oil and using it for salad dressing may cut stroke risk.

Nuts: Your best bets for nutrition are almonds, walnuts and pistachios. Almonds are the richest in vitamin E; walnuts contain a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid; and pistachios have lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids important for eye health. Research shows nut eaters are generally thinner, less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and have a reduced risk of heart disease to boot. In terms of getting the most from your snack, pistachios win hands down. One of the lowest-fat nuts, you get 49 pistachios in a 1-ounce serving, compared to 23 almonds or 14 walnut halves.

Nut Butter: Nut butters are another source of healthy fats, and peanut butter is just the beginning—try almond or cashew butter if you’re feeling adventurous. All of these butters boost protein and fiber intake. Just be forewarned, some are high in added sugars. Choose all-natural nut butters with as few ingredients as possible. Bannan likes almond butter jars that contain “dry roasted almonds” as the sole ingredients. Some may also contain sea salt.

Fatty Fish: The term “fatty fish” may sound unappealing, but actually, these are the healthiest and most delicious foods from the sea. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids—good fats, unlike the bad saturated fat you find in most meats. According to the American Heart Association, people should eat at least two servings weekly of lake herring, lake trout, mackerel, salmon, sardines or tuna for the healthy omega-3 fats they contain.

Which high-fat foods do you rely on to meet your macro goals? And which ones do you stay away from? Share in the comments

Eat cacao to raise your metabolism!

Cacao, or pure chocolate, is one of the best foods you can eat to raise your metabolism. Cacao contains over 200 chemicals that act like fuel for the brain and body. It has been proven to beat depression, anemia, low energy, a lagging metabolism, and inability to focus. It has a similar effect as coffee, but no caffeine if you buy raw, unprocessed cacao powder. Plain dark cocoa powder is another great option if you can’t find the raw variety. I also like 100% chocolate baking bars, which are nothing but pure chocolate, or cacao nibs. Cacao contains iron, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, protein, fiber, and the saturated fats are not stored in the body as harmful fats, nor does cacao contain cholesterol. Just keep it to an ounce a day of the bars or nibs, and no more than ¼ cup of the powder a day. Otherwise, you might be a bit antsy from all the energy cacao gives!

Hot chillies spice up your weight loss

chilliesAdd some hot chillies to your shopping list- recent studies show that spicy foods can help you to burn more calories.

The weight loss benefits of hot peppers have long been speculated, and now scientific research is backing it up. Hot spices increase your body temperature, meaning you burn extra calories and get a swift metabolism boost just from eating. This is because of the capsaicin contained in spicy peppers, which gives you that hot, powerful flavour.

So make your meal a little more exotic- Mexican, Thai, Indian and Chinese food do spicy quite nicely. Add that spicy taste and flavour and give your weight loss plan a little kick!

Why it works
Capsaicin is what causes that burning feeling in your mouth when you eat spicy food. That burning feeling, recent studies have suggested, cause the pain receptors in your mouth to send messages to the brain for fast relief. The brain reacts by pumping adrenaline through the body and speeding up the heart rate, which causes sweating and increased calorie burn.

The UCLA Centre for Human Nutrition recently conducted a study that demonstrated the potential health and weight loss benefits of hot chillies. 34 people trying to lose weight were put on a low-calorie liquid diet for 28 days, with half taking a placebo supplement, and half taking one of two doses of DCT or dihydrocapsiate, which simulates the effects of capsaicin.
The results showed that the particpants taking the highests level of DCT had the highest energy expenditure- burning almost double the amount of calories than those taking no DCT. They also showed significantly greater rates of fat-burning than the control group.
The amount of capsaicin that you consume with each pepper really does depend on the pepper, and the hotter the pepper that you are consuming, the higher the levels will be. But starting to include more jalapenos, habaneros, serranos and chilli peppers in your diet plan can have an impact on your weight loss.

Other health benefits

Hot peppers are also full of antioxidants, and are good sources of many essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese. So adding more hot peppers to your diet not only boosts your metabolism, but can improve your overall health. Capsaicin has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used to treat many chronic health conditions, as well as migraines, arthritis and muscle pain. The average hot pepper also contains about 3 grams of fibre, which can help make you feel fuller, so you eat less.

Ways to enjoy hot peppers

One way to add more hot peppers into your diet is to crush them- or buy them crushed in flakes- and sprinkle them onto your food. You can add them to almost any meal, giving it an extra flavour hit as well as helping your metabolism. Some good ideas are adding them to your pasta sauce, or a stir fry, or a casserole. Or, explore more exotic foods. Indian, Mexican, Thai and Chinese cuisines are full of delicious hot spices, and there are lots of healthy varieties

The Many Benefits of Chocolate

Like anyone trying to shed the kilos, you probably know that foods high in sugar and fat are bad news for your diet. If you’re a chocolate lover, this is nothing short of devastating, but cry no more: a flurry of research studies have shown that eating chocolate in moderate amounts offers some amazing health benefits, including losing weight.

Research published in March 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that those who consumed chocolate more often had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI calculates whether you are underweight, overweight, or have a healthy weight in relation to your height. The study tracked 1,000 Californians aged 20 to 85 who on average ate chocolate twice a week and exercised 3.6 each week. The study’s results were unable to be explained by a healthier overall diet or with increased exercise.

While the study doesn’t establish beyond doubt chocolate as the causation of weight loss, other research suggests that chocolate may increase metabolism. Dr. Beatrice Golomb, one of the study’s authors, says “Chocolate can be rich in antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative stress. That has the ability to ‘poison’ cell metabolism a little bit.” Dr. Golomb also says that the research shows a “reasonably strong” possibility that there’s a stronger, causal connection between chocolate and weight loss, but that further research is required. One theory put forth is that the antioxidants in dark chocolate may reduce inflammation, which in turn balances hormones that end up assisting weight loss.

The same study that determined the link between chocolate and increased metabolism also linked the consumption of chocolate to a decreased risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Cocoa, chocolate’s main ingredient, contains flavanols that have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage that has been cited as a cause of heart disease. Flavanols are most prevalent in dark chocolate and have also shown to lower blood pressure improve vascular function.

Dietitians recommend that you add dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 65% or higher in moderation to your diet for optimal benefits. 75-100 grams a day should be your upper limit, as this is the amount that’s proven to be beneficial; any more than that and you risk the detrimental effects of high fat, sugar, and caloric foods, including weight loss. Remember to keep track of your caloric and fat intake, and if your chocolate consumption increases either, make up for it in other areas either by increased exercise or cutting calories from another part of your diet.

More Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

If our recent article on the benefits of chocolate in assisting weight loss didn’t convince you to add some cocoa to your diet, you may want to keep reading. Chocolate is not only linked to healthier eating patterns but better health overall. So celebrate your sweet tooth and eat a small chunk of dark chocolate to receive benefits such as the following.

Eat Chocolate, Eat Less

Dark chocolate is a high fiber food, meaning it helps you stay feeling full so you eat less. A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that chocolate may specifically reduce your cravings for sweet, fatty, and salty foods.
Remember to stick to dark chocolate, as the study found that milk chocolate was found to be less filling.

Decrease Your Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

A study conducted over a period of 10 years in Sweden found that women who ate more than 45 grams of chocolate each week had a lower risk of stroke than those who consumed less than 9 grams.
Other studies have focused on the cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate. Those who incorporated dark chocolate into their diet experienced an array of benefits, from lower blood pressure to lower amounts of LDL cholesterol.
Flavanoids, which are found in high amounts in dark chocolate, have been identified as the key ingredient to lowering LDL cholesterol. LDL is the “bad” kind of cholesterol that enables plaque to build on your artery walls, which in turn cause heart attacks when adequate amounts of blood are unable to pass through. Flavanoids prevent the oxidation of LDL, thereby preventing the hardening of your arteries. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Nutrition also found that flavonoids and other polyphenols found in dark chocolate have anti-inflammation properties, decreasing the amount of C-reactive protein, which also increases one’s chances of heart disease and stroke.

Protection from Diabetes

If this epidemic runs in your family, a moderate amount of dark chocolate in your diet is a must. A small study conducted at the University of L’Aquila in 2005 showed that dark chocolate decreases blood pressure and increases insulin sensitivity in otherwise healthy individuals. Be sure to pick up dark chocolate though (at least 65% cocoa), as the study found milk and white chocolate didn’t produce the same results.

UV Protection

It seems you can’t go wrong with flavonoids! These magical polyphenolic compounds that are found in abundance in dark chocolate also help protect your skin from UV damage. A 2006 study in Germany found the following:
Following exposure of selected skin areas to 1.25 x minimal erythemal dose (MED) of radiation from a solar simulator, UV-induced erythema was significantly decreased in the high flavanol group, by 15 and 25%, after 6 and 12 wk of treatment…The ingestion of high flavanol cocoa led to increases in blood flow of cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues, and to increases in skin density and skin hydration…Evaluation of the skin surface showed a significant decrease of skin roughness and scaling in the high flavanol cocoa group compared with those at wk 12. Dietary flavanols from cocoa contribute to endogenous photoprotection, improve dermal blood circulation, and affect cosmetically relevant skin surface and hydration variables.
In other words, if you want youthful looking skin, keep it hydrated and protected from the sun with dark chocolate (as well as plenty of water!). However, this is no excuse to skip the sunscreen and other preventative measures to block UV rays from damaging your body and causing cancer.

Chocolate is Brain Food

Just in case you thought the benefits of flavanols couldn’t get better, it does. Flavanols also boost blood flow to the brain, making you feel awake, alert, and focused. David Kennedy of Northumbria University told The Telegraph, “For things that are difficult to do, mentally demanding things that maybe crop up in your work it could help.”
So get a bit of dark chocolate into your diet to start reaping these benefits. We recommend 50-75 grams a day, and to do a bit of exercise in conjunction to burn off the calories that come with this beneficial food. The difference will show when you hop onto the scales and your sweet tooth will thank you too!

8 Secret-Weapon Foods for Weight Loss

Want to boost your efforts to lose weight? Of course the foundation for successful weight loss is eating well and exercising, but if you want to power up your efforts, check out this diet cheat sheet of foods that do a little of the work for you. Research shows that these 8 secret-weapon foods can help you lose weight

1. Mushrooms
Research reports that when people ate mushroom-based entrees, they felt just as satisfied as when they’d eaten those same dishes made with beef—though they’d taken in a fraction of the calories and fat.

2. Eggs
In one study, dieters who ate eggs for breakfast felt full for longer and lost more than twice as much weight as those who got the same amount of calories from a bagel for breakfast. Think beyond breakfast, too: eggs boost a salad’s staying power and make for a satisfying snack.

3. Apples
For a mere 95 calories, a medium apple contains 4 grams of fiber. And recent research, published in the Journal of Nutrition, suggests that boosting your fiber intake may help you to prevent weight gain—or even encourage weight loss

4. Low Calorie Desserts
OK, so this isn’t exactly a “health food,” but we welcome the news that it may be easier to stick to your diet if it includes a little sweet treat. Yay!! This is actually wonderful news for me!!!. According to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, banning sugary foods could lead to overeating. One reason may be that removing access to sweet foods stimulates the release of a molecule in your brain called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), produced when you’re afraid, anxious or stressed, says Pietro Cottone, Ph.D., lead study author. And increased stress levels may lower your motivation to eat more nutritious foods, making it more likely that you’ll binge on junk food.

5. Soup
Research published in the journal Appetite has shown that people who start a meal with vegetable soup eat 20 percent fewer calories over the course of their meal.

6. Oatmeal
Eating a breakfast made with “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, three hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition. Here’s why: in the study, eating “slow-release” carbohydrates didn’t spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels didn’t spike as high and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat. Want options beyond oatmeal?

7. Hot Chile Peppers
In one study, consuming a little hot pepper (in tomato juice or in capsules) 30 minutes before a meal helped study participants feel less hungry and eat about 10 percent less.

8. Almonds
Chew more to curb hunger. That’s what researchers concluded in a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which they asked participants to chew a 2-ounce serving of almonds 10, 25 or 40 times. Participants got maximum satisfaction—they felt fuller longer—from the nuts when they chewed 40 times. Chewing more may cause a greater release of fat from the almonds, which triggers hormones that curb hunger

Did you know eating yogurt daily helps you burn fat, strengthen your bones, and keep your stomach flat?

Everybody at some point in life wants to lose weight and try different ways that might help achieve this goal..

Well did you know that yogurt can help you burn fat, strenghten your bones and keep your stomack flat?

In the April 2005 edition of International Journal of Obesity, obese adults reduced their caloric instake by 500 calories a day and ate three servings of low fat yogurt. Fat was shed at all parts of the body but particularly at the waist, and lean muscle was maintained. This group lost 22% more weight, 61% more body fat, and 81% more fat on the belly than the group who ate one serving of low fat yogurt each day.

Michael Zemel, who conducted the study, suggested that this was due to the high calcium content of dairy products like yogurt, which maintains muscle mass and bone density while helping the body lost fat. He suggests low fat yogurt with low calorie and sugar content for optimal weight loss, as fattier yogurts may negate dairy’s health benefits and non-fat yogurt does not contain the healthy fats that actually promote weight loss.

The study suggests that calcium and dairy protein are critical to fat and weight loss, especially around the midsection. Fat in this area is also known as visceral fat, a dangerous kind of fat that studies have shown is directly co-related to heart disease and diabetes, among other life-threatening conditions. The likely reason for yogurt’s ability to reduce body fat is that dairy protein and calcium increase metabolic rate and improve digestion.

Don’t like yogurt? Here are some creative ways to incorporate three servings of yogurt into your diet each day:

• Use yogurt in a smoothie.
• Substitute low fat Greek yogurt for mayonnaise or sour cream in your favourite dishes. (I always add low fat Greek yogurt to my burritos or my Mexican recipes instead of sour cream and it’s just as yummy!!)
• Eat it plain but sprinkle it with some of your favourite toppings like fresh fruit, cinnamon, dark chocolate chips, or honey. Greek yogurt is especially delicious and often eaten with honey.
• Eat yogurt with cereal.
• Make frozen yogurt and eat it in place of fatty, high calorie ice cream!
• Eat it with muesli and berries for a hearty and filling breakfast.
Options for Vegans and The Lactose Intolerant
Are you vegan or cannot tolerate dairy? Here are some calcium rich alternatives:
• Soy-based beverages
• Tofu made with calcium sulfate
• Canned salmon
• Dark leafy greens like collards or kale

For more information: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/501646

Almonds are so good for you – learn all about almonds and nuts

Nuts are a great addition to any healthy eating plan. Full of healthy fats, dietary fibre, amino acids and a range of essential vitamins and minerals, nuts are some of the most nutrient dense foods, and just a small handful can give you a great range of health benefits. In fact, recent studies have suggested that adding nuts into your diet can almost half your risk of heart disease.

Each nut tree has its own unique nutritional makeup, with a range of vitamins and minerals including folate (very good for pregnant women), magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and vitamin E. Here are some of the health benefits of different nuts….

Let’s start with one of my favourites and the one I use for my Almond Tart – Almonds

All nuts contain vitamin E, but almonds are one of the richest sources. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant that helps protect against tissue damage, as well as helping to prevent LDL, cholesterol from attaching to the blood vessel walls. A small handful of almonds provides around 85% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin E. Eat with the skins-this is where many of the antioxidants are.

Hazelnuts – my second favourite!

Thanks to their outer skin, hazelnuts are a great source of dietary fibre, which helps promote a feeling of fullness and plays a role in bowel and heart health. Hazelnuts are more than 100% dietry fibre.

Macadamias

Macadamias are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats and have been found to help lower blood cholesterol. They also contain plant sterols, which are thought to contribute to the strong cholesterol-lowering effect of nuts.

Brazil nuts

These nuts are found in the seeds of huge trees found in the Amazonian rainforest, and are an excellent source of selenium, a vital mineral and antioxidant that has been shown to help prevent tissue damage. Just two Brazil nuts gives you your recommended daily intake of selenium.

Walnuts

Walnuts are a good source of plant-based omega-3 fats, which can help to reduce inflammation in a similar way to the omega-3 fats found in fish. Studies have suggested that consuming small amounts of walnuts can help to increase fat oxidation and improve body fat leaves in overweight adults.

Chestnuts

Chestnuts contain very little fat, and are lower in calories than most other nuts, due to their high water content.

Adding nuts into your diet

For maximum health benefits, eat a variety of nuts and aim for a 30-50g serve most days. You can eat them on their own as a great healthy snack, or sneak them into your diet in other ways, like sprinkling them onto your stir-fry, pasta or salad, adding into muffin mixture, preparing my almond tart or tiramisu with hazelnuts, or adding on top of your fruit salad or breakfast cereal.

If you like nuts and want to share some of your recipes with us, please post your recipe and comments on my facebook page!