While some people enjoy their favorite junk foods when coping with stress, there are plenty of healthier food choices available that naturally reduce anxiety. If you can eat nutritiously, receive all the essential antioxidants and minerals your body needs and ease all your mental tension at the same time, wouldn't you want to take advantage of it? Put down the ice cream and throw out the cookie jar, here are five healthy options that can help you eliminate stress:
Salads, sandwiches or all by themselves, the flavor of an avocado is extremely compatible. They are also known to help alleviate stress thanks to their abundance in potassium, a key mineral that helps blood pressure stay low.
Don't take our word for it, trust researchers from the University of Basel in Sweden where doctors discovered all of the brain boosting and mental calming qualities drinking green tea can provide. The colleagues supplied green tea supplements to a number of volunteers, finding that it was able to improve overall cognitive performance. This meant that the brain's connectivity effectiveness was increased, leading to better memory and decreasing the likelihood of psychological trauma.
A huge contributor of protein and omega-3 fatty acids for our bodies, salmon is a great way to relieve your stress. Researchers from Ohio State University have attributed eating 2.5 grams of omega-3, which would be the equivalent of having a 12-ounce salmon fillet, can reduce your stress by upwards of 20 percent. Salmon is an ideal entree option that will pack you with protein while calming down your nerves.
Pretzels tend to get a bad reputation as an unhealthy snack due an abundance of salt, but eating pretzels made from whole-wheat bread has some truly nutritional qualities. Not only can whole-wheat pretzels stimulate some energy in the body, but its carbohydrates work to release a chemical in your brain known as serotonin, which is known to help put you in a good mood and increase motivation.
For a perfect snack that will help reduce your hunger as well as your anxiety, almonds are great. The generous portions of zinc in almonds help to boost your immune system, allowing you to feel terrific all day.
Water conservation is an often unacknowledged environmental issue that can impact not just your life but the lives of many other people and animals. It's a matter that truly affects our country, and with the average American using upwards to 100 gallons of water everyday, at least 36 states have projected water shortages within the past year. Everything from protecting ecosystems, conserving energy and saving money can be linked to water conservation, and the best place to start exhibiting concern for preserving the world around you can begin in your own home. The kitchen is a primary location for water waste, and cooking is its main partner in crime. Here are just a few tips to utilize water to the fullest while preparing your next meal at home:
From pasta to poultry to potatoes, practically every food can be cooked through steaming, which is also an excellent way to conserve water in the kitchen. Steaming food preserves a generous amount of water compared to boiling, typically using more than 50 percent less water while still serving as a healthy method of preparing a meal. Steaming is also able to preserve more nutrients than boiling, especially with vegetables because the food is not completely submerged in heated water which tends to evaporate the majority of the nutritional content.
Double it up
Sometimes preparing a full course dinner for the family requires an abundance of pots and pans. Instead of having every food item dedicated to a specific kitchen appliance, cook two foods with one pot instead. If you are boiling pasta, wait until there are only a few minutes left on the timer and add the veggies you are using, which generally only take two to three minutes to cook anyway. You will be amazed at how using this food preparation strategy can gradually reduce the amount of water you use to cook over time.
Reduce your measurements
Typically the directions for cooking food tend to lean on the generous side of measurements when it comes to water portions. The truth is that you don't necessarily always need the amount of water called for on the packaging instructions, and skipping out on a few ounces or cups of water with every entree starts to add up in the long run.
Doing the dishes
People are prone to go overboard when it comes to how much water they use to clean their dishes. First off, continuing to run water while soaping down and scrubbing off food debris is a classic wasting offense. Simply plugging up your sink, making a little bath for your dishes and only use the amount of water you have provided for yourself will easily save gallons every time you have to clean. Also, what is the point of sending a plate or bowl through the dishwasher if you have already rinsed and cleaned it out in the sink? Try to stick to one or the other and odds are you will be doing yourself a favor when it comes to your water bill.
Juicing is essentially an attempt to cut out the middleman when it comes to extracting the nutrients of fruits and vegetables. While some argue in favor of juicing because it helps your body digest nutrients easier than it would processing entire foods, others warn that the processes causes you to miss out on primary health benefits such as dietary fiber intake. While the debate rages on, here are a few reasons why juicing is a great resource for health benefits, and a few ways that you can make up for any lost nutrients and still relish the savory contents of a refreshing glass of juice:
Help your digestive system
The biggest advantage of juicing is how it makes the digestive process much simpler for your body. When extracting all of the juice from fruits and vegetables, you are giving your body a rest from having to expend energy breaking down all the solid contents. Your stomach needs to use a number of different digestive enzymes when you consume foods with different vitamins and minerals, which can result in bloating and indigestion. Juicing typically means you are only consuming a few specific foods at a time, which can relieve stomach discomfort and also speed up the digestive process.
Boost your immune system
Juicing is a great way to treat common illnesses, especially if you are prone to deal with allergy symptoms on a daily basis. Chopping up some carrots and apples and pooling their health resources together will provide you with plenty of vitamin A to flush out unwanted toxins in the body as well as generous amounts of vitamin C to fight against cold and flu components.
Adding to the list of benefits, juicing can be a great way to help cut some calories from your diet and lose weight, but it is important to keep track of everything you are putting into the juicer. A common misconception with juicing is that simply dumping fruit and vegetables into the machine will eliminate the calories the foods possessed originally. As always, moderation is key. Be sure not to overdo your juicing, because three or more beverages can easily start to pack on the pounds due to calorie and sugar levels.
Keep in mind that there is no hard scientific evidence to prove that juicing is healthier than consuming whole fruits and vegetables. The attraction of juicing is due to the body's ability to absorb nutrients more quickly in liquid form. Plus, it's a great way to get creative in the kitchen and come up with new concoctions that taste great and have your body feeling even better. Remember that while juicing is a fast and easy source for nutrients, it is always advised to continue consuming whole fruits and vegetables as well.
Summer is just around the corner, which means that it is time to start shaping up and trimming down to look your best! The No. 1 way to stay cut and feel great in the heat is by eating right and avoiding unhealthy temptations. While scarfing a ballpark frank, chili cheese fries and a sugary snow cone sound like solid summer snacks at the time, indulging in these unhealthy vices will start to pack on the pounds. So ditch the greasy fried foods, ignore the ice cream truck siren and feel good about your dietary decisions with this nutritional list of five quality treats all under 50 calories to keep you lean and on the go this summer!
Of course there is nothing like firing up the grill and relishing an old fashioned outdoor summer cookout, but eating too many meat kebabs are a quick way to expand that belly. Instead, fix up some fruit skewers as a nutritional snack substitute that is as tasty as it is healthy. Cut up some strawberries, melon and grapes that will provide an eclectic blend of antioxidants that won't spoil your appetite and keep you active. Applying a few slices of each fruit to a kebab stick will come out to well under 50 calories, while providing the perfect amount of energy to avoid that mid-day crash.
While carrots and broccoli get all the attention for their nutritional qualities, cauliflower is an often forgotten bite-size snack that boasts as many vitamins and minerals as any of the other usual vegetables. Just one floret of cauliflower possesses three calories, meaning a couple handfuls worth will leave you feeling great for way below 50 calories. Plus, they are packed with boron, a mineral that can help build muscle and enhance testosterone levels, making it an ideal pre-workout treat. You can also steam cauliflower to preserve its vitamin content while making it more tender and tastier.
The plentiful health benefits of avocados have been taken advantage of since the days of the ancient Aztec civilizations, and the fruit continues to provide a healthier snack alternative. One ounce of avocado amounts to around 45 calories, and possesses significant quantities of anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as phytosterols, omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoid antioxidants that boost your immune system. Add in the abundance of iron, magnesium and potassium and you have the perfect snack option that is bursting with taste and nutrition.
This summer, ditch the buffalo wings and head straight for the good stuff. Celery is often served as a side dish accompaniment to fattening appetizers and entrees, but eating them solo will satisfy your hunger without costing you calories. Each stick of celery contains only six calories, while its immense presence of phthalides and coumarin work to lower blood pressure and ease muscle tension. If a plain stalk is a tad too dull for your snack preferences, try dipping them in a bowl of nonfat peanut butter or hummus to help add some flavor.
Filled with a vast variety of essential vitamins and minerals, asparagus is a great snack that can stimulate your mind and your metabolism. Asparagus is thriving with folate, an anti-aging antioxidant that helps fight symptoms of cognitive decline in the brain, leaving your body and your mind healthier. One serving of asparagus, while containing only three calories, has zero milligrams of sodium and cholesterol as well as zero grams of fat, helping your stomach feel full without looking it.
When it comes to evaluating the amount of sodium needed for a healthy diet, there are plenty of qualities to consider. It is important to remember that the body needs sodium, specifically for controlling blood pressure and volume while also helping our muscles and nerves work together properly. However, the biggest concern with sodium is that because it is commonly found in a variety of regularly consumed food we tend to ingest too much of it, which can lead to a variety of potential health hazards.
According to the American Heart Association, 9 out of 10 Americans are consuming too much sodium on a daily basis. The average recommendation for sodium is estimated at 1,500 milligrams or less, while it is projected that the average American is eating more than 3,400 milligrams. This consistent excess of the element is one of the main attributes to the statistic that 77.9 million American Adults have high blood pressure, and cutting your sodium intake levels in half can also help lower cholesterol. The abundance of this element is a health risk that continues to negatively impact the overall quality of life for people all around the world.
There are a few subtle and obvious indicators that you are potentially ingesting too much sodium on a day-to-day basis. Besides high blood pressure, these symptoms also include:
- Frequently feeling thirsty
- Sensations of bloating or feeling uncomfortable within the stomach
- Decrease in bone strength and/or density
The biggest reason you are loading your body with sodium is due to ingesting too much salt in your diet. Here are a few commonly used foods that secretly are packed with high levels of sodium and could also be the main component to your dietary abundance of sodium:
Cold cut meat sandwiches
Sandwiches are generally the quickest and simplest recipe to create when it comes to packing a lunch, but they can also be filled with the most sodium. By adding approximately 2 ounces of cold cut meats, which roughly translates into six thin slices, you are already receiving half of your daily sodium needs. Now tack on the fact that a slice of bread generally has around 120 milligrams of sodium, a slice of cheese can possess well over 300 milligrams plus any other condiments required for a tasty sandwich and you will be pushing closer and closer to your full-on daily recommendation. Always look for low-sodium options when it comes to sandwich ingredients, and use all of them sparingly.
Nothing may warm up the soul like a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup, but many people are unaware that canned soups are packed with salt preservatives to help boost their taste. While these products are often advertised as providing great sources of vitamins and minerals, they also can contain upwards of 600 milligrams of sodium or higher per can. Like most food items, checking the labels to see whether they are promoting a sticker claiming to be low-sodium is the best way to know the contents of the element.
Cereals are another food item that you need to keep an eye out for their labels. While the levels of sodium between all different types of brands fluctuates, some popular choices can easily contain up to 250 or more milligrams of sodium per serving. To put that into further perspective, a serving of cereal is generally a ½ cup, which often needs to be multiplied to effectively determine the correct amount of sodium in your bowl. Always look at the nutrition facts and you will find that there are plenty of low-sodium options for breakfast cereal.
Although its tendencies, symptoms and origins are generally undisclosed, iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world according to the World Health Organization. A deficiency in iron is also linked to a condition known as anaemia, which is when the body does not produce enough red blood cells to provide sufficient amounts of oxygen to body tissues. Developing iron deficiency is generally the result of a recent loss in blood or not receiving enough iron in your diet. These are serious health hazards, and being aware of potential side effects of iron deficiency are crucial in terms of increasing the likelihood of prevention. Here are a few indicators that could possibly be a signal that you are iron deficient:
Feeling tired is generally the biggest sign that you are not receiving enough iron for your body. This is due to not enough oxygen being provided to your muscles, because your red blood cells do not have sufficient levels of iron. If you are frequently finding yourself yawning and nodding off at various hours of the day despite getting an adequate amount of sleep the night before, iron deficiency could be the primary culprit.
Decreased attention span
Another common symptom of iron deficiency is experiencing a lack of focus. Whether at work, school or socializing with friends, low iron levels can trigger an alteration of your neurotransmitters, which are synapses between your brain cells that can impact everything from your reaction time, apathetic emotions, to your attention span. Getting more iron in your body can help assist your ability to concentrate.
If you have noticed that your skin is extremely lacking in tan, increasing your time spent laying out in the sun might not be the cure to your problem. When iron levels are low and fewer amounts of oxygen are being provided throughout your body, your skin pigmentation might be one of the first alterations you will notice. Put some color back into your complexion by upping the ante on your iron intake.
Shortness of breath
If you have only gone half way through your typical morning jog and you are already feeling gassed, a depletion in iron might be the primary suspect to point the blame. Another usual side effect of iron deficiency is how your endurance becomes affected, which can produce series of coughing or wheezing fits, especially while exercising.
Confused because you feel like you spent the last 24 hours practicing extreme weightlifting? A lack of oxygen being supplied to your muscles will definitely lead to your arms and legs feeling extremely overwhelmed. Take back control over your body and find out what you can do to receive the iron you need to keep on going strong.
Great sources of iron
If you are concerned that you might be at risk for iron deficiency, schedule a blood screening test with your doctor today. A few foods to help provide your body with the iron it needs include:
- Cashews, almonds and peanuts
- Whole grains, bran and fortified cereals
- Liver or beef tenderloin
Another terrific source of iron adding two scoops of Naturade Soy-Free Veg to your favorite beverage. Gulping down eight ounces of this soy free protein powder will give your body 40 percent of its daily recommendation for iron.
Bust out the elbow and knee pads, it is time for some skating! While rollerblading is often given up after years of trips, falls and bruises as a teenager, this fun and active pastime is not only an enjoyable way to maneuver around your city, but can provide your body with an amazing and extensive workout. Here are just a few of the ways rollerblading a few times a week can help boost your figure back into shape this summer:
Tone that muscle
Gliding through the streets, weaving your legs faster and faster while guiding your body with your arms seems like quite an exercise when you really think about it. All of these fluid movements while propelling yourself around on rollerblades is also great ways to help build a little muscle.
First off, the constant motion of thrusting and extending your hips is able to tone your quadriceps as well as your glutes. Your glutes are what helps stabilize your body's balance, and consistent rollerblading helps strengthen them and create some tone. Hamstrings are also receiving quite a bit of exercise throughout all of this, with each lift of your foot as you push yourself harder. Then there is your abdominal muscles, which work as the core of your body, orchestrating which leg goes forward as your hips rotate in dictation. Who knew that simply rollerblading could work out all of these muscles at one time?
Get your aerobics going
Rollerblading also works out the most important muscle you have - the heart. Just 30 minutes of actively rollerblading can get your heart rate up to 148 beats per minute, while also helping you burn more than 300 calories. This can equate to just about the same from cycling, while you are also working out all of those muscles, something that can not be replicated through biking.
Sailing around on a fresh new pair of rollerblades is not only a snazzier way to get somewhere instead of running, but it is also easier on your bones. Every time you take a step while sprinting, added pressure is placed upon your ankle and foot joints, which over time can generally lead to occasional pain and fractures. Rollerblading eliminates all of this because you are never adding pressure on your ankles and feet. Instead, you are maintaining an even amount of stress that is minimal and healthier for your body in the long run, no pun intended.
Add some excitement!
Where is the fun in running on a stationary treadmill? Put some thrills into your exercise routine and get back on those rollerblades! They are a great way to get around, fly past some scenery and even walk your dog. Better yet, they require no gasoline or fuel, just a little drive and determination which is always better for the environment. So, the next time you need to go out to run an errand, leave the keys at the house and pop on a pair of rollerblades, one of the more entertaining times you can have while staying active.
For those who can rarely find the time of day to hit the gym or squeeze in a quick workout, discovering new ways to stay fit and look ripped can be difficult to come across. Thankfully, there are a few techniques that can help tone those arm muscles and have you looking and feeling your best. Here are five simple and effective exercises that will help sculpt your arms in no time at all!
This is arguably the easiest way to increase flexibility in your arm muscles while also giving them an extra boost of brawn. Standing shoulder width apart, extend your arms straight out, and rotate them clockwise in a small tight circle. After 30 seconds, reverse the motion to counter-clockwise and increase the range of the circles, until you are eventually imitating a full-on windmill motion. Do at least five reps of 20 circles, and use five pound dumbbells for quicker results.
Clean and press windmills
This exercise can also strengthen your lower body, as well as your shoulders and biceps. Stand up straight and hold a weighted dumbbell directly above your head. Bend down and touch your foot with the non occupied hand, while keeping the dumbbell up in the air, and hold that position for a solid five seconds. Return back to an upright position and switch hands with the dumbbell, and repeat the same motion. Do at least five reps with each hand.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lift both your arms directly vertical while keeping your legs shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and lower the weights down to your shoulders, with your hands facing forward. Raise them back up again while keeping your shoulders straight, and do around 20 reps to give your shoulders and triceps a healthy burn.
Stand up straight and hold a five pound dumbbell in each hand. Bending your right elbow down to your hip, extend your left arm above your head, keeping the dumbbell weight high and steady. Be sure to keep that right shoulder lowered, and hold that position for a good 3-5 seconds before switching sides. Do 25 reps, and feel your triceps and core start to burn.
This is the quintessential lifting technique to give your biceps that extra bulge you have been looking for. Simply start by sitting on a bench or chair and grab a lighter dumbbell to start. With your elbow resting on your knee, hold your arm at a 90-degree angle, then lift the weight up to your chest in a gradual slow motion. After doing at least five reps with each arm, switch it up and grab a heavier dumbbell and repeat. Do at least three reps of five with each dumbbell at a more difficult weight.
If it were up to your kids, breakfast would be a bowl of gummy worms, lunch would be French fries dipped in ice cream and dinner would simply be chocolate. Thankfully, you are in charge when it comes to dictating your child's diet, so you can help encourage them to eat healthy and make sure they get the essential vitamins and minerals they need. But what about when you are not around? Do you think they will be able to make the proper nutrition decisions when they are out and about or around their friends? Informing your kids about what is good and what is bad for you can not only benefit them in the long run, but help you rest assured that you are raising a healthy decision maker. Here are a few tips on how to keep your child on the right path to balanced nutrition:
MyPlate is the latest nutrition guide put forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and features a very simplistic design that is easy to follow for children. The symbol resembles a game piece found in Trivial Pursuit, with four corners divided into serving recommendations of fruits, vegetables, grains and protein, and a smaller circle of dairy off to the side. This new template implemented by the First Lady Michelle Obama is not only a straightforward approach toward teaching kids proper nutrition, but also allows them to understand the importance of which grains and protein sources are healthier than others.
Introduce your dinner
When you cook a meal for the family during dinner time, try actually discussing what each food is and why you chose it. Most of the time, kids are told that vegetables like broccoli and peas are simply "good for them," but they are never provided an explanation why. Give your child the details of how each food is broken down and used by your body for various health benefits. For instance, if you are serving a side of broccoli for dinner, discuss how despite its "different" taste, broccoli is full of antioxidants that will help strengthen your bones, your heart and also keep you from getting sick.
Commend healthy behavior
While it is never a good idea to "reward" your child for eating good fruits, providing a smile or a subtle favorable gesture that they are making a healthy decision will promote positive reinforcement, and let them know that they will have your approval when they are eating nutritionally. Instead of allowing your kid to eat a bowl of ice cream after eating all their carrots, reward them with a trip to the park, or a game of catch, something active that they still will enjoy.
Raid the fridge
If your child is seeing potato chips, fruit snacks or ice cream every time they open the pantry or freezer, then its easy to see where poor nutritional influences may arise. Always keep your refrigerator loaded with fruits and vegetables, and try not to leave high sugar junk food snacks within arm's reach.
Lead by example
What good will telling your children to be healthy be when you are always spotted with a bag of popcorn or spoonful of chocolate ice cream? We all know how observant kids can be, so the more you eat healthier foods in front of them, the better they will get the picture.
Avoid total restriction
It's important to understand that a little dessert here and there is not the end of the world. If your child comes home with an A on his or her homework, or his or her team won the championship baseball game, go out and celebrate with a pizza or sundae. Constantly condemning them from their sweet tooth could lead to nutritional revolt the older they get.
Peanut butter has long been a staple of the American diet. The creamy goodness is consumed in a variety of ways, and apparently, we can never get enough of it. According to the National Peanut Board, people in the United States spend an average of $800 million on peanut butter every year, while peanuts also provide the U.S. economy with $4 billion annually.
But is our passion for peanut butter healthy? The bad reputation associated with the spread has often been a subject of scrutiny for its abundance of fat and calories and major presence in the American diet. However, don't write off peanut butter just yet! It also has a number of beneficial qualities that can help your body out when consumed in moderation. Here is a list of some of the lesser known health advantages of consuming peanut butter:
If you haven't figured it out by now, having protein in your diet is vital for your health. Just a few of the ways protein help strengthen your body include:
- Boosting your immune system.
- Preserving and repairing muscles.
- Increasing metabolism and burning calories.
Just two tablespoons of peanut butter can provide you with eight grams of protein. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, children ages 4 to 8 should eat an average of 19 grams of protein, while teenagers and adults should consume around 50 grams per day. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein for kids, and spreading it on a slice of toast and finishing it with a glass of milk in the morning will provide you with the protein you need to get going in the morning.
Normally when a food item is constantly ridiculed at being high in fat and calories , it tends to be the last thing we want to implement into our weight loss dieting plan. However, peanut butter is one of the rare exceptions because when used in moderation, its protein and fiber content will actually make your stomach feel fuller throughout the day. So on the surface, eating a few tablespoons of peanut butter in a PB&J sandwich might seem like a bad choice, you will actually be less likely to indulge in afternoon snacks or bigger dinners that are the real causes of weight gain. Fiber also has a wide variety of uses for your body, including the ability to provide relief for your digestion system, keeping skin smooth and clean as well as help lower cholesterol.
Peanut butter contains more than 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients, such as folate, riboflavin, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. Vitamin E is normally a rare antioxidant to find in most foods, but you will receive enough of it from peanut butter to help improve cell signaling, which is crucial for providing a stable immune system defense.These antioxidants are essential in assisting you to fight back against clearing out free radical molecules from entering your bloodstream.
Alternative peanut butter
There are many different types of peanut butters out there that pack all the same health benefits. Try switching over to organic peanut butter, which has even more percentage of iron and fiber, while not sacrificing its signature sweet and creamy goodness.