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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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10 Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa isn’t just some hipster food, it’s actually incredibly nutritional and versatile. It’s a grain that’s grown and the seeds are eaten. It’s not quite a grass and not quite a cereal, but it’s related to other healthy vegetables like spinach and beetroot.

A common ingredient in vegetarian food, there’s no reason why carnivores and herbivores alike can’t enjoy quinoa. It can be served alongside meat, used in a wide range of cuisines, and it has a huge number of benefits. Here are the top ten reasons why you should start eating quinoa today.

1. It has an amazing nutrient breakdown
Ever wondered what quinoa actually offers you? This is a breakdown of the nutritional value of quinoa. Each percentage relates to your recommended daily allowance and the quantity is just one cup.

  • Potassium – 9%
  • Zinc – 13%
  • Iron – 15%
  • Copper – 18%
  • Folate – 19%
  • Phosphorus – 28%
  • Magnesium – 30%
  • Manganese – 58%

The same cup also contain five grams of fiber and eight grams of protein. All of this is much more than you’d get with a lot of other foods and it even gives you a vitamin boost containing vitamins B1, B2, B6, and E.

2. It’s low in calories
Not only is it good for you, it’s really low in calories, too–this makes it ideal if you’re trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy body weight. One cup of quinoa is just 22 calories and contains only four grams of fat.

3. It’s versatile
Quinoa being versatile means it’s incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet. It goes well with pretty much any food you imagine and, just like couscous, you only need to cook it with water. Two cups of water and one cup of quinoa boiled for around 20 minutes will give you a healthy snack and it can be combined with any spices and vegetables you like to create a satisfying meal. It even works as a great side dish with steak and other meats.
Because it contains protein, it’s also fantastic for weight lifting and body building.

4. It keeps your blood cells healthy
With such a large amount of iron, quinoa can help keep your red blood cells healthy. Iron is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and the iron itself carries oxygen from cell to cell. Without it, brain function would suffer, muscles would suffer, and we would suffer with overall poor health. In short, quinoa gives you access to a mineral that is essential for your whole body to function properly and if you’re lacking iron in your current diet incorporating quinoa into your food will solve that problem and help give your body access to all the oxygen it needs.

Quinoa

5. It contains more fiber than many other grains
Out of all the grains that people regularly eat, quinoa is one of the best for its fiber content. Fiber is an essential nutrient that does much more than regulate your bowel movements–it actually keeps the heart healthy by reducing the risk of developing diabetes and helping reduce your blood pressure. It even lowers cholesterol and helps manage levels of glucose in your blood. It’s an essential part of our diet and quinoa gives you access to more of it than most other grains. A simple switch from one grain to quinoa can significantly improve your health with very little effort at all.

6. It’s rich in magnesium
Magnesium doesn’t seem like something we should have in our bodies, but it performs an essential function–relaxing our blood vessels. This allows blood to flow freely throughout the body, it reduces the chances of developing high blood pressure (which is not helped by restricted blood flow and vessels), and can even prevent migraines–which is great for those looking for a natural solution.
As if that all isn’t enough, magnesium helps prevent diabetes (Type 2), it improves transmission of nerve impulses, it aids detoxification within the body, and assists with the growth of healthy bones.

7. It’s full of antioxidants
Antioxidants prevent oxidizing damage within the body and quinoa is loaded with them. These essential antioxidants within quinoa help prevent aging allowing us to live healthier for longer. They also assist the body in the fight against a great range of diseases and, out of most cereals and legumes, quinoa wins on the levels of antioxidants it offers.

8. It helps you lose weight
By being so low in calories, and so filling, quinoa helps you lose weight. It’s high in protein which increases your metabolism and allows the body to break down foods more efficiently by separating what it needs and what it doesn’t. The protein also means that quinoa makes you feel full and reduces your appetite meaning you’ll be less likely to binge on chocolate and cakes after a meal.

9. It has a low glycemic index
This probably doesn’t mean much to a lot of people–so, in short, this means that it can help maintain your blood sugar levels. This is why quinoa is so great for preventing Type 2 diabetes, as we have already discussed. When you eat foods that are higher up on the glycemic index, your body feels the need to eat more–however, the lower it is, the less likely you will continue to feel hungry after eating.
A lot of the junk food we love is right up at the top which is why it’s so easy to binge eat without even thinking about it.

10. It’s gluten free
If you’re gluten free, quinoa is perfect for you. Many people are gluten intolerant now and quinoa is a grain that these people can eat without worrying about stomach upsets. Foods that are gluten free by their nature are better for you than foods that have been designed to be gluten free–so ditch the man-made gluten-free foods and choose quinoa instead.

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The Best Foods to Fight Fatigue

Exhaustion isn’t a good look on anyone, but it’s all too easy to burn the candle at both ends in the always-connected world we live in. And when that energy slump hits, you need help. But that doesn’t mean downing a dozen cups of coffee or reaching into the candy bowl.

Sugar and caffeine will give you a quick rush, but that’s often followed by a crash. So if you’re searching for sustained energy, look for food with complex carbs, protein, and fiber. We put together this cheat sheet of things to eat and drink to beat fatigue—and a few foods that sabotage your efforts to get pumped up.

The Best Foods

1. Water
The next time you’re feeling drained, try guzzling good old H2O. Dehydration may actually be at the root of your fatigue. It can lead to headaches, ruin your concentration, and put you in a sour a mood. So hit the watercooler stat.

2. Chia Seeds
Talk about something small but mighty. Chia seeds help with hydration by absorbing 10 times their weight in water. Plus, they have the right ratio of protein, fats, and fiber to give you an energy boost without a crash.

3. Bananas
Consider this the green light to go bananas when you’re running low on fuel. In one study, researchers discovered that eating bananas worked as well as sports drinks at keeping cyclists fueled. The potassium-packed fruit also includes a bunch of good-for-you nutrients (like fiber and vitamin B6) that you won’t find in a bottle of Gatorade.

4. Quinoa
With all its protein, fiber, and iron, quinoa is the perfect thing to reach for when you’re looking to recharge. And if you need an on-the-go upper, whip up these quinoa muffin bites and grab ‘em before hitting the road.

5. Green Tea
By now, it’s no secret that green tea has a slew of health benefits. You can add putting some pep back in your step to the long list. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine give you energy without the jitters. Bonus: Research suggests that green tea boosts brainpower as well, which may come in handy when you’re down to the wire at work. Take the time to brew the tea yourself because store-bought varieties often have lots of added sugar.

6. Oatmeal
The cozy breakfast food—though, let’s be honest, you can enjoy it any time of the day—will keep energy levels up. That’s because it’s high in fiber and comes with a decent dose protein. Plus, oatmeal has a low glycemic load, a fancy scientific way of saying it stabilizes blood sugar levels. (Just make sure to steer clear of instant oatmeal packets, which can be packed with sugar and salt.) Oatmeal is also super versatile—just take a look at these 30 delicious recipes to keep food boredom at bay.

oats

7. Almonds
Certain kinds of fat are friends, not foes, particularly when you’re talking about replenishing your energy. And almonds are packed with healthy monosaturated fats that are just what your body needs for a pick-me-up.

8. Beans
Beans keep you going thanks to a stellar trio of carbs, protein, and fiber. The protein fills you up, the carbs provide energy, and the fiber helps regulate blood sugar. Black beans in particular are your BFFs when it comes to an energy boost—try this black bean soup recipe next time your tank needs refilling.

9. Whole-Wheat Bread
Your body needs carbs for energy, but not all carbs are created equal. Whole-wheat bread is great for a long-lasting energy kick. It’s is a complex carb, meaning it raises your blood sugar gradually instead of hiking it up at turbo-speed.

Foods to Avoid

1. Honey
Sure, honey has some serious health benefits, but it’s not something you should be reaching for if you’re looking for sustained energy. Adding a few teaspoons to your tea or yogurt will give a quick rush of energy that spikes your blood sugar, which means a crash can follow.

2. Energy Drinks
If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, don’t reach for a Red Bull. Research suggests energy drinks may do little to curb sleepiness. The combination of caffeine and sugar puts your body through the ringer and may just leave you feeling dehydrated and fatigued.

3. White Bread
While complex carbs keep your energy levels in a steady state, simple carbs, like white bread, can take your blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride. Not what you want when you’re keeping a busy schedule.

4. Candy
There’s a reason you’re always hearing about sugar crashes. As anyone who’s made their way through their Halloween loot can attest, an energy low inevitably follows. While sweets may give you a quick hit of energy, it’s only a matter of time before you once again find yourself dragging. After all, candy’s made up of simple carbs and sugar (which spikes blood sugar only to let it drop way back down). How sweet it isn’t.

5. Junk food
It’s a cruel fact of life that the most accessible, easy-to-grab, and oh-so delicious foods wreck havoc on energy levels. Research has found that diets high in processed food tend to lead to weight gain and a more sedentary lifestyle. Talk about a lose-lose situation.

Alexandra Duron            Greatist

source: www.msn.com


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9 Seeds You Should Be Eating

Chia Seeds

Chia has come a long way since it first sprouted out of funny pottery in TV commercials. Today, these seeds are best known as a super food, and with good reason. Just 1 ounce (that’s 2 tablespoons) has nearly 10 grams of fiber. Ground in a blender, chia seeds make the perfect crunchy topping for yogurt or vegetables. When you soak them in a liquid, such as juice or almond milk, they get soft and spoonable: a smart swap for pudding.

Wild Rice

Surprise! Wild rice isn’t rice at all — it’s actually a grass seed. It’s higher in protein than other whole grains and has 30 times more antioxidants than white rice. It also provides folate, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B6, and niacin. It cooks up tender and fluffy in a rice pilaf, and the warm grains are a hearty addition to green salads.

Pumpkin Seeds

If you’ve ever roasted a batch of these after carving your annual jack-o’-lantern, you know they make a great snack. And a healthy one, too. Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, an important mineral that boosts your heart health, helps your body make energy, and powers your muscles. Eat them year-round as a soup or salad topper, with cereal, or in homemade trail mix.

Pomegranate Seeds

Also called arils, these are the sweet, jewel-like beads you strip from the inside of the fruit. They’re high in vitamin C and antioxidants. A full cup of pomegranate seeds has fewer than 150 calories, making it good for a light snack. Tossed in a salad or whole-grain dish, they add a juicy pop of flavor and color to your dinner plate.

Quinoa

If you’re looking for healthy sources of protein, quinoa has you covered. The grain-like seed packs 8 grams per cup. It cooks up like rice and can fill in for pasta and other grains in many of your favorite dishes. You can also use it as a gluten-free breading for dishes like chicken fingers. Make a batch instead of oatmeal for a breakfast porridge that will start your day with more protein, fiber, and iron.

Flax Seeds

Humans have been eating these for good health as far back as 9,000 B.C. If you don’t eat enough fish, adding flax to your diet can help you get omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats that are good for your heart. It’s the best plant source of this important nutrient, and it gives you a good dose of fiber, too. When the seeds are ground into flax meal, they may help lower blood pressure. Flax has a nice, nutty flavor. Add a scoop to oatmeal, your pancake batter, or salads.

Hemp Seeds

Their mild, nutty flavor pairs well with savory dishes. They also have plenty of protein: 2 tablespoons has 10 grams, even more than flax or chia seeds. Hemp is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. You can use the seeds whole, sprinkled on salads or whole-grain dishes, or look for hemp milk to replace your usual dairy.

Sunflower Seeds

These tender kernels are every bit as good for you as they are tasty. A 1-ounce serving has about half your daily vitamin E. They’re also high in healthy fats. Add them to your next batch of veggie burgers for extra flavor and nutrition. Sunflower seeds also make a great addition to your morning smoothie. And, of course, you can just keep snacking on them right out of the bag.

Sesame Seeds

Those little white dots on your hamburger bun aren’t just there for decoration. The sesame seed is one of the most versatile ingredients out there. Sesame oil, a smart pick for salad dressing, is high in a kind of fatty acid that may lower the bad type of cholesterol. Ground to a paste, they turn into tahini, a peanut butter sub for those with nut allergies. (It’s also a main ingredient in hummus.) The whole seeds are rich in fiber and protein. They add crunch and flavor to vegetable stir fries.

source: www.webmd.com


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9 Of The Best Foods To Make A Part Of Your Diet

October 3, 2014 by Mark DeNicola

We recently released an article entitled ‘10 Of The Worst Food Ingredients To Never Eat Again,’ which as the name suggests outlined 10 commonly found food ingredients we may want to consider cutting out of our diet. This article is designed to outline 9 (of the many foods) that would be an excellent addition to your diet.

This list is designed to be a starting point for a cumulative conversation. Once you have gone through the list, I encourage all of you to add your own great and healthy food finds to the list through the comment section below. If we all work together and share this growing list with our friends and networks we can make this a truly incredible resource for anyone looking to overturn their diet.

Here are the starting 9, in no particular order:

1) Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and acai berries are just 4 of the many delicious berry varieties that are easy to find and ready to be a part of your regular diet. Berries are amongst the most antioxidant rich foods out there, with the acai berry topping the list in that department. Antioxidants, as most of us already know, are credited as being quite powerful in preventing cancer, heart disease, aging and much more. Another factor that sets berries apart is their high levels of phytochemicals, which help to protect the cells within your body from damage. (1)

2) Avocados

Like berries, avocados also serve as a source of antioxidants however they also come with a very high natural fibre content that aids in digestion and helps to regulate blood sugar. For those, like me, who are looking to gain a bit of weight but in a healthy way, avocados are one of the best solutions out there with approximately 200 calories for every 100 grams consumed. (2) Because of their ability to cleanse the intestines, avocados are also considered as one of the ways to cure bad breath, which may come in handy with the next item on the list.

3) Quinoa

It’s fast and easy to prepare and is quickly establishing itself as one of the best gluten-free alternatives to pasta. Quinoa is high in protein, a good source of riboflavin, part of the B family of vitamins and is low in calories by comparison to any of its wheat or grain based counterparts. Just be sure to rinse your quinoa thoroughly before cooking it to remove any saponin, a toxic chemical. (4)

4) Potatoes

We’ve all heard that spinach and broccoli are incredibly healthy for us, but did you know that one red potato contains approximately an equal amount of folate to a cup of spinach or broccoli. (6) Folate, which is also a part of the B family of vitamins, support red blood cell production and helps nerves to function properly. (5) If you can however, opt to buy and consume organic potatoes as often as possible, as they made our previously released list of the 12 Most Chemically Ridden Produce Items You Should Buy Organic.

oatmeal

5) Oatmeal*

I put the asterisk next to oatmeal to signify that I’m not suggesting all oatmeals are equally as beneficial for you. Many oatmeal options exist and unfortunately most pre-packaged ones tend to contain a number of chemicals and artificial sugars that outweigh the benefits the oats on their own offer your body. When I say oatmeal I’m referring to actual rolled oats, which can still be prepared by simply mixing in some boiling water. By simply adding fresh fruit and/or organic honey you can quickly make your bowl of oatmeal taste just as good -if not better -than what they managed to accomplish in the pre-packaged alternative. Oats offer manganese, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1, biotin, which helps to prevent hair loss and much more. (7)

6) Hemp Seeds

On their own, most of us would probably find hemp seeds a difficult food item to incorporate as a part of our regular diet, primarily due to their strong, nutty taste. But used in moderation, such as being sprinkled on a salad or added to a fruit or vegetable smoothie, hemp seeds are a very high quality protein source. They also feature both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which ties them to an ability to boost your immune system and combat fatigue. (8)

7) Almonds

Almonds are certainly not the only nut worth considering to make a part of your regular diet, but they make this list because they contain the most fibre -about 3 grams per ounce. Almonds also happen to be rich in vitamin C and are an antioxidant (a recurring theme amongst this list). (9) I particularly love soaking almonds in water (which I change twice daily) for a couple of days prior to eating them, I personally find that it brings out the flavour more profoundly while softening the overall texture. Soaking the almonds also happens to make them easier on your system to digest, so it is certainly something worth considering.

8) Peanut Butter*

Like oatmeal, peanut butter also comes with an asterisk next to its name due to the differentiation that has to be made between brands such as Skippy, Jif or Kraft and organic peanut butters whose ingredient list consists of nothing more than organic peanuts. If you opt for the second option peanut butter provides you with healthy fats, fibre, potassium and nutrients like vitamin E and B6. (10)  Peanut butter is also pretty filling and even makes for a great addition to any smoothie looking for an extra protein boost.

9) Lentils

Lentils make for a great main ingredient in a hearty soup, an awesome consistency provider to a vegetarian burger patty and a great base to many spreads amongst many other things. In addition to this lentils also just happen to help lower cholesterol, aid with digestion, reduce your risk of heart disease and provide you with protein. (11)

Sources:

(1) http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/amazing-health-benefits-of-berries.aspx#01

(2) http://www.undergroundhealth.com/15-amazing-health-benefits-of-eating-avocados/

(3) http://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic/

(4) http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/diana-herrington/7-benefits-of-quinoa_b_3363619.html

(5) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=63

(6)http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/the-10-healthiest-foods-on-the-planet/#page=4

(7) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54

(8) http://www.livestrong.com/article/217904-hemp-seeds-health-benefits-or-hype/

(9) http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition/0406/why-you-should-go-nuts-for-nuts.aspx#03

(10) http://www.healthambition.com/health-benefits-of-peanut-butter/

(11) http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5488/7-Health-Benefits-of-Lentils.html


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14 Great Sources Of Clean Protein

BY NADYA ANDREEVA     DECEMBER 21, 2013 

Clean protein is harder to come by than you might think. Pesticides, heavy metals, and antibiotics are abundant in almost all factory-produced nonorganic meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs. Fast food joints pump almost all of their items with food flavorings and chemicals to increase shelf life. To avoid all the negative health effects, go for the following foods whenever possible. Make friends with farmers at the closest farmers’ market, read food labels at the stores, and ask questions at the restaurants. You deserve to know where your food is coming from.

Almonds

Almonds are strongly anti-inflammatory, and are a good source for healthy fats, fiber, and protein. To make almonds easier to digest, soak them overnight and peel the skins. Nuts aren’t a complete protein since they don’t have a full range of amino acids, but they serve as a great addition to a healthy diet.

Spirulina

Spirulina is one of the great superfoods. It’s approximately 65 to 71 percent complete protein in its natural state, higher than virtually any other unprocessed food. And unlike most other forms of protein, the protein in spirulina is 85-95% digestible. Since spirulina has no cellulose in its cell walls, it’s extremely easy for the body to break it down. While spirulina is great, make sure it’s collected from a clean body of water, not public lakes that allow boats. It also can’t serve as a main source of protein since it would be hard to take it sufficient qualities to make up for body’s demand for protein.

Wild Fish

While most nutritionists would say that fish is healthy, not all fish is equal. The origin matters a lot. Farmed fish is the same as a caged chicken. They aren’t fed a natural diet, are often sick, don’t have as many desirable omega-3s, ant might be full of antibiotics and dioxin. Wild is the way to go if you consume fish on a regular basis.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a “complete protein” pseudo-grain. It tastes great and is easy to cook, even for kitchen newbies. Buckwheat is another grain (seed) that is a complete protein and can be substituted for quinoa.

Cage-free eggs

Eggs are a rich source of thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acids, vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, vitamin E, and phosphorus. Eggs can be a great easy-to-digest food if chickens had a healthy diet, were cage free, and got to run around outside. Whole eggs are also much more nutrient dense than egg whites, since egg yolks contain most of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Buy whole organic eggs, not mechanically separated, chemically altered egg whites.

Hemp Seeds

Sixty-five percent of the total protein content of hemp seed comes from the globular protein edestin, which is easily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the human body. It’s also hypoallergenic. Hemp contains about 30% protein.

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Chia Seeds

This miracle food offers complete protein that’s mildly anti-inflammatory, easy to digest, and easy to cook with. Chia seeds are a good source of calcium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese. Chia seed pudding can be a great easy-to-make breakfast option or a healthy fiber- and protein-rich snack.

Whey Powder

Whey protein is the second most abundant protein derived from milk (casein is the most abundant milk protein). It’s found mainly in meal-replacement powders, protein powders, and ready-to-consume drinks. Whey contains all of the essential amino acids and is particularly high in the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) and glutamine (an immune-boosting amino acid). Make sure it’s grass-fed, organic, and hormone free.

Lentils

While they’re not a complete protein, lentils are a great source of amino acids, healthy carbs, and filling fiber. When combined with grains, they form a complete protein. They will keep hunger at bay and are easier to digest than larger beans.

Organic Chicken

Chicken contains all of the essential amino acids, but make sure to choose chickens that were raise in humane conditions, fed a variable nutrient-dense diet, and got to see sunshine, not just a sad cage. It makes a difference in taste and its effects on the body.

Cottage Cheese and Greek Yogurt

If you aren’t sensitive to dairy, plain cottage cheese and Greek yogurt can be a good addition to a balanced diet. Both are pretty low in sugar, have a good amount of protein, and healthy fats. Choose organic to avoid hormones, chemicals, and hidden antibiotics. If you have any symptoms of dairy intolerance, it’s best to do an elimination diet or get blood work done at a qualified center.

Tempeh

Tempeh is made out of fermented soy and can be a great source of clean protein for vegans if they don’t have soy sensitivity. Make sure it is organic and not genetically modified. It’s been shown that soy protein is comparable in digestibility to other high-quality protein sources such as meat, milk, fish, and egg. Avoid processed “fake” soy meats, and don’t rely on soy alone for your protein.

Grass-fed Beef

Beef is loaded with zinc, iron and all the amino acids as well. If you consume meat, make it grass fed, not grain fed. It’s cleaner, more flavorful, safer, and with more nutrients.

Pea and Rice Protein Powder

The combination of rice and pea protein actually provides one of the best-tasting protein concentrates available. The end product is 80-90% pure, hypoallergenic, easily digested protein.