Maybe you started out as one of those people who never looked at food labels – you worked out frequently, had a stellar metabolism and ate what you liked. But now, your metabolism is catching up to you and you're pretty sure you eat too much sugar, so it's time to start checking out food labels.
Food labels can be a bit daunting, and they can be a lot of work to read every time you buy something new. But if you know the basics and focus on the ingredients you're most concerned about – which will be different for each person – you'll get a better idea about what processed products contain. Here are the basics for reading and interpreting a food label:
First, not the serving size. The calories, fat, cholesterol, sugars, protein, fiber and everything else are all based on one serving size as detailed by the Food and Drug Administration. So, for example, you might grab a bag of chips and skim down the fat and sodium levels and think "Hey, that's not bad!" But when you look at the serving size, you notice that the bag contains 2.5 servings … and you were planning to eat the entire bag of chips in one sitting.
The rest of the numbers can be deceiving if you don't first read the the serving size and notice how many servings are in each container of food.
Percent of daily value
Each aspect of the food measured on the label is expressed in grams and also percent daily value. The food labels are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, but some people need as many as 2,500 calories per day while others can eat less – or plan to eat less to lose weight.
Other measurements to note
Many things are measured on a food label, but here are other important ones to pay attention to:
- Calories and calories from fat
- Total fat, which also shows saturated and trans fats
- Various vitamins
At the bottom of the food label, the ingredients are also listed. Generally, the more ingredients a food item has, the less healthy it is for you. If you have food allergies, it's especially important to read this list carefully. Although the FDA requires that below the ingredient list, products state if they contain – or are produced in an environment with other products that contain – the most common food allergens, like wheat, soy, dairy, milk, eggs and nuts. Ingredients that many people believe should be avoided are high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, sodium nitrate and nitrite, BHA, sodium benzoate, food colorings and various others.
Athletes and everyone even marginally interested in fitness knows that it's important to consume protein after working out. Research by exercises scientists and others has shown that ingesting protein after a workout, in any form, is important for muscle synthesis and the prevention of muscle breakdown. In fact, some people believe that if you don't consume protein after your exercise, you're almost defeating the purpose. But how much protein is enough? And what is the optimal form of protein?
Most nutritionists and exercise scientists seem to agree that as long as you're consuming enough protein every day – which is up to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight for adults looking to maintain muscle, and up to 0.8 grams for hardcore athletes consistently involved in strength training to build muscle – the amount you consume post-workout isn't too important. Generally, between 20 to 40 grams of post-workout protein is enough.
You should consume protein within an hour after working out for maximum benefits. It's important to eat varied protein sources, but whey protein powders like Naturade 100% Whey are optimal for post-workout protein as they work more quickly than whole food sources.
Simply put, candida is a dirty word. Candida is actually the scientific name for the fungus yeast, which can live everywhere – including in your body. Candida is most commonly found in the gut and mouth, and the natural flora – the good bacteria – in our bodies are good at keeping it in check.
However, when there is too much candida albicans – the most common type of this yeast - in the body, the overgrowth can cause infections known as candidiasis, which causes yeast infections in women (and less commonly, men) and thrush in the throat. Candidiasis can also cause itching and rashes on the skin. Invasive candidiasis is a very serious but less common infection that occurs when candida yeast enters the bloodstream and the fungus spreads to other parts of the body.
What causes candidiasis?
It can be caused by various things, including:
- Taking antibiotics
- Prolonged stress
- A diet high in sugar and refined carbs, which actually feed the candida
- Overuse of alcohol
What are some potential symptoms?
- Digestive issues like constipation, bloating and diarrhea
- Skin issues like eczema, hives, rashes and psoriasis
- Vaginal infections and itching, urinary tract infections
- Brain fog and difficulty concentrating
- Feeling worn down and having constant fatigue for unknown reasons
- Itchy ears and severe seasonal allergies
- Cravings for sugar and refined carbs
What can you do?
As candidiasis is caused by an imbalance in the digestive flora for various reasons, it's important to regain balance in the digestive tract by reducing the amount of candida there. One product to try is Naturade's Symbiotics Colostrum Plus Candida Formula, which promotes growth of healthy bacteria and helps the body maintain normal levels of candida albicans through the use of colostrum, lactoferrin and the probiotics lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Colostrum is full of immune factors to support your overall health, and the probiotics support improved digestioni. Lactoferrin takes the iron from candida, which is vital to its growth.
Kids are a tricky bunch. Sometimes they're really picky eaters and you're not sure if they're getting all of the vitamins and nutrients they need. Luckily, because many of our foods are fortified today, most kids do get all of the essentials, according to the Mayo Clinic, and there's really no need for a multivitamin. However, if children are on restricted diets, have food allergies, suffer from chronic diseases or have been diagnosed with failure to thrive, they could need a doctor-recommended multivitamin. Here are the main nutrients in vitamins important for child health, along with their functions:
- Vitamin A: Supports bone growth and vision, protects the body against infection
- Vitamin D: Supports growth and bone mass, builds strong teeth and bones, helps the body absorb calcium and other minerals
- Vitamin E: Limits free radical production
- Vitamin C: Keeps gums healthy, boosts immune health and healing, helps repair and form cells in the body
- Zinc: Aids digestion and metabolism
- Iron: Makes hemoglobin that brings oxygen to the cells, prevents anemia
- Potassium: Helps control water balance in body and maintain blood pressure
- Magnesium: Keeps heart beats steady and supports immune system, muscle and nerve functions
- Calcium: Supports growth of strong bones and teeth
- Fatty acids: Support healthy brain function, vision and the cardiovascular system
Even the healthiest kids are prone to viruses going around, especially during flu season as they spend eight hours of their day in classrooms in close proximity to other kids. One great product to boost immune health is Symbiotics Colostrum Chewables by Naturade, which are made just for kids and come in three kid-friendly flavors: wild cherry, orange creme and pineapple. It uses Colostrum Plus® that is from the first milk of new mother cows, a nutrient-packed ingredient that may improve the immune system, along with other natural ingredients.
With our increasingly busy modern lives, it's often difficult to fit everything we'd like in to all of our days. Getting exercise is of course very important, especially if you drive to work and spend most of your days sitting at a desk. But, luckily, consensus from the experts is that short workouts really do work.
Though it's recommended that adults get 30 minutes of cardio exercise a day, this is very difficult when it's necessary to balance work, raising children and taking care of one's home - not to mention getting enough sleep each night so you can start the day refreshed. But it turns out that mixing interval training into one's schedule can help. For example, though a 30-minute, moderately paced walk burns 112 calories, mixing just eight 30-second speed-walking sprints into the 30-minute walk – for a total of four extra minutes – will enable you to burn 165 calories.
In a recent Oprah.com article, Dr. Martin Gibala said that doing short, intense workouts actually helps us get fitter in less time:
"Your body thinks, 'Whoa! That was hard work,' and it responds by increasing your ability to use oxygen and burn fat," Gibala said.
This is because intense, short workouts work fast-twitch muscle fibers – those responsible for speed and power. In contrast, during a brisk walk, we typically use mostly slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are built for endurance.
In a study Gibala led at McMaster University, half of the participants engaged in 20- to 30-minute cycling workouts with six 30-second "sprints," while the others engaged in a 90 to 120 stationary bike workout at lower-intensities. After two weeks, the people who worked out in intense intervals were just as fit as those who worked out up to four times longer.
So you've got a big conundrum: Your favorite show is on TV tonight – and come to think of it, there are shows you've been dying to see tomorrow and the next night, too. But you've committed to hitting the gym at least four nights a week to get in tip-top shape, even though it puts a squeeze on your busy schedule. So, should you miss your shows or suck it up and head to the gym? Turns out, you hardly have to leave the couch to get a workout, so do both! Here are some tips for exercising while you watch TV:
- Triceps dips: Using the couch for support, place your hands on the edge and walk your feet out. Bend your elbows to "dip" down toward the ground and come back up. Complete two sets of 15.
- Couch push-ups: Kneel on the floor 2 feet away from the couch but facing it. Put your hands on the edge, shoulder-width apart, and do a push-up, lowering your chest until it just touches but does not rest on the couch cushion.
- Boat Pose: Sit on the floor with bent knees and hands by your side. Lean back onto your tail bone and slowly lift your legs until they are at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Lift your arms at the same time so that they are parallel with your knees in a way that helps you keep balance. Keep your back straight and hold the pose for 30 seconds. This is a great core-builder.
- Sit-ups or crunches: These are self-explanatory and are a great workout to do anywhere that will tone your core. This is a good exercise to do during commercial breaks as it's hard to focus on the TV when your head is bobbing up and down and you're focusing on your abs.
- Planks: Get in the push-up position, pull your stomach in and make sure your butt is in line with the rest of your body, rather than sticking straight into the air. Hold this position for 30 seconds then lower slowly to the ground.
- Baby Cobra Pose: This one gives you a good stretch and – even better – you can do it while watching TV. Lie on your stomach and put your hands flat on the ground next to your chest. Use the tops of your feet and your hands to lift your upper body, keeping your elbows close and your hips downward pressed flat to the ground. Hold it for 30 seconds to get a good stretch in your lower back.
Many people struggle with sleep problems, whether that means having difficulty falling asleep or waking up frequently throughout the night. A lot of people aren't sure why they have difficulty sleeping, but many know it's because of their eating habits, caffeine consumption or overwhelming levels of stress. However, It's very important that we get enough sleep each night and enter into REM and deep sleep cycles because this is the process our bodies use to restore themselves.
One good option is to try a supplement for a better night's sleep, such as Symbiotics® TryptoZen®, which uses milk peptide to help induce relaxation. Unlike similar products, Symbiotics TryptoZen has no known side effects. Naturade SlumberAid is another product that may be able to help you get better sleep each night. It is all natural and contains 5 milligrams of melatonin - a chemical that the body produces to begin the sleep cycle. SlumberAid also contains magnesium, B vitamins and calcium. The combination of these natural ingredients may induce longer sleep, help you fall asleep more quickly and let you feel more refreshed upon waking.
Here are some other things you can do to be proactive about getting better sleep:
- Avoid caffeine a full eight hours before bedtime.
- Exercise every day – just not less than a few hours before bedtime.
- Avoid screen time – including laptops, cell phones and the TV – at least an hour before bed. The blue light has been shown by research to slow the onset of the bodies sleep cycle.
- Use the bed for only sleeping and sex – don't eat, red or watch TV here, as your brain needs to associate the bed with sleep.
The good bacteria in our digestive tract – and there are billions of them – are important for digestion and immune health. Normally, our bodies can maintain the proper balance of good bacteria to combat the pathogenic kind. However, there are times when our immune systems are down due to infection, medication, disease, diet or environmental factors. In these instances, we are more susceptible to digestive issues and infection due to an imbalance of good and bad bacteria.
In these instances, it's a good idea to take a probiotic, which is filled with the healthy bacteria our gut needs. Naturade® Probiotics 30 B CFU™ can help restore intestinal flora and boost your body's defenses. It contains 30 billion good bacteria in each capsule to restore your body's balance and improve digestion. When the intestinal flora are out of balance, one can experience various digestive issues including constipation, gas and bloating. Naturade's probiotic is allergen and dairy free so those with sensitivities can still enjoy the benefits of a daily probiotic.
There are healthy foods, and then there are mega-super-fuelled foods, which are so good for your body in so many ways that you feel healthier as you eat them. Whether you're looking to maximize your calories or to find a way to make up for that donut you enjoyed earlier in the day, here is some information about the healthiest foods in each of the five food groups:
- Bulgar: It's made from pre-cooked wheat berries and is an awesome source of fiber and protein. Additionally, bulgar wheat keeps blood sugar levels stable.
- Oatmeal: Oats are heart healthy, chock-full of fiber and even have a good amount of protein.
- Eggs: They're packed with tons of nutrients and vitamins, many of which are difficult to get elsewhere. And don't just eat the whites – the yolks are where most of the nutrients are found, including choline – 25 percent of your daily dose – which can increase cell membrane functioning and reduce inflammation in the body. They also contain vitamins B6, B12, D and E, as well as iron, folate, zinc, phosphorus and riboflavin. While it's true that people with heart disease should limit their ingestion of egg yolks to twice per week, they're very healthy for everyone else to consume frequently.
- Beans: These perfect foods are packed with fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They've been shown to be very heart-healthy, and it's recommended that people eat at least 3 cups of beans per week.
- Salmon: It's packed with omega-3s, which have been shown to be good for heart health and brain function. One serving of salmon has nearly 50 percent of one's daily dose of niacin, which is good for memory. It's also a lean source of protein.
- Blueberries: These lovely little fruits are an amazing source of powerful antioxidants called proanthocyanidins, which can help protect the body and brain from environmental toxins. They also are a good source of vitamins C and E, niacin, folate and riboflavin.
- Kiwi: Kiwis combine a lot in a small package. They have nearly as much potassium as a banana and twice as much vitamin C as oranges, ounce for ounce.
- Figs: These perfect little California- and Mediterranean-growing fruits are good for cardiovascular health and have high levels of potassium and nearly as much calcium per serving as a half cup of milk.
- Broccoli: Along with other cruciferous veggies, like cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli has disease-fighting and heart-healthy benefits, vitamin C and the all-important sulforaphane.
- Avocados: They're filled with all kinds of healthy stuff, including mono-unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, folate and potassium. Also, they're downright tasty on a salad, sandwich or as guacamole.
- Spinach: The best part about this ultra-healthy veggie is that it can be added to nearly everything, from sandwiches to smoothies. It's an excellent source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important antioxidants for eye health, not to mention various vitamins and minerals our bodies need.
- Greek yogurt: It's the best, hands-down. Greek yogurt is packed with protein and calcium, and it tastes delicious even with very low levels of fat. The probiotics are good for digestion.
We give our bicycles a spring tune-up in preparation for summer, so why not give them an early fall tune-up as well? Even if you live in a place with harsh winters, there are still a few good months left to head out on a long ride on your two-wheeled transport. Below are some tips for a DIY tune-up as well as advice on when to fix and when to replace various components:
What you'll need
Here are the basic tools and materials you'll need for a tune-up:
- A few old towels or cleaning cloths
- A small fine brush or old toothbrush
- A bucket with warm water and dishwashing soap
- Extra-dry bike chain lube
- Bike pump with a pressure gauge
Even if you're not a complete cycling expert, there are some easy things that don't take much expertise – just a little elbow grease:
A thorough cleaning
One of the best things you can do to get your bike looking sparkly and new and, yes, even running better, is to clean it from wheel to wheel. So, grab your bucket of warm soapy water and get started. First, check the dirt around the chain and drivetrain – you don't even have to know what that is, but it's just the center of the bike down where the pedals and gears are located. Wipe it down with a wet towel. There are a lot of nooks and crevices in this area of the bike so if yours seems particularly dirty, you might want to use a small wire brush or old toothbrush to reach all the little complicated spots. Also, if your chain seems particularly rusty, spray on a bit of WD-40 and wipe the chain down. Let the chain dry completely and then use a strong magnet to attract metal filings that might have collected there.
It's important to check your bike chain once a month to make sure the bearings are well-oiled and not grind and rubbing on each other. Before applying the lube – which keeps everything running smoothly – make sure to let the chain dry completely. To apply the lube, put a few drops or spray it on the top and bottom of the chain and run the gears. Use a towel to wipe away extra product - if you use too much, it will attract dirt and grime. A good amount of lube is when you can't see it but there's a light oil residue when you touch it.
Many avid bikers keep a chain fix kit with them at all times. If your chain happens to break, then you'll have the right tools to fix it, which usually involves taking out the broken link plus an additional link and using the chain tools to reattach the ends. Luckily, a chain break isn't a very common occurrence, but if it happens, it can usually be easily fixed.
It's really important to have a pressure gauge with your tire pump, and you should probably check your tires at least once a week to save yourself from getting a flat. The pounds per square inch (psi) will be printed on the side of the tire so you know what level it should be at. Mountain bikes usually have 40 to 80 psi and road bikes can have up to 120 psi. Most bikers put 5 to 10 less psi in their front tires since we don't put too much weight on them.
If you have a flat tire from a puncture, you can likely fix it using a patch kit. But if it's a huge hole, you'll want to replace a road bike tire and use your best judgment for a mountain bike tire. Most people would rather not risk having a blowout and a major accident and will just choose to replace the tubing!
Brakes are also something you should check frequently, but here's what you need to do for a tune-up. Look at the brake pads – if you can see the wear lines or metal peeking through, they must be replaced. If your brakes are making a weird noise, you can sand the pads down to eliminate it. Check your brake cable next – if it has rust or loose strands, you should get it replaced.