Most of us celebrate the good ol' U.S. of A the best way we know how: with food, flag colors and fun in the sun. But if you're like the average American, one day – or hey, four days – of salty dips, rich desserts and carb-loaded drinks can leave you feeling pretty bloated.
Bloating generally happens for two reasons: increased salt intake and gas. Sodium-heavy foods, which are prevalent on the Fourth of July, cause the body to retain water. Bloat can also be caused by gas-producing foods, such as cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage) dairy products and grains like barley and wheat, as well as foods high in fat and sugar. Even things as simple as taking in more air by drinking through a straw, chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages or eating too quickly can cause bloat.
Luckily, there are many excellent (and delicious!) natural ways to beat bloat:
These good bacteria – microorganisms, to be precise – help with digestion and keep harmful bacteria away. Greek yogurt, kefir or low-fat yogurt are good foods to eat if you're feeling bloated because they are rich in probiotics. They also have a high water content, which helps reduce bloat as well. However, yogurt might not be the best option if you have even a slight level of lactose intolerance. Yogurts packed with sugar should also be avoided because sugar can cause bloat, according to Kristi King, a registered dietician at Texas Children's Hospital:
"What actually happens with the sugar is, one, you're fueling the bacteria in your gut to start eating those sugars that are being digested, so they may produce more gas," King said.
A probiotic supplement is an excellent option to help regulate your digestive system and reduce bloat. Try one like Naturade Probiotics 30 B CFU to help you stay regulated and bloat-free.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but drinking more water is an excellent way to help you body out – water is a natural diuretic and helps to get things moving in your system.
Another good idea is to snack on water rich foods like watermelon, cucumbers and pineapples. Watermelon are – unsurprisingly – made up of 90 percent water. Cucumbers are water-filled too, and are also rich in sulfur, which stimulates the kidneys. Pineapples – made up of 85 percent water – have the enzyme bromelain, which promotes digestion and helps break down certain proteins in the gut. Oranges and grapefruit are excellent choices too, as are bananas – they're packed with potassium, a good antidote to sodium.
Certain herbs and spices are good for belly-flattening as well. Try ginger, peppermint or chamomile tea, or trying sucking on a peppermint candy. They reduce gas, stimulate the digestive system and have other health benefits, too. Make a broth (with low amounts of sodium) that incorporates things like turmeric, rosemary, garlic and parsley.
And last but not least, remember to exercise. Even if your bloated belly is telling you no – carry on. Thirty minutes a day is good to keep the digestive tract moving efficiently.
Traveling is notoriously harsh on immune system health. Whether you're in a plane, train or automobile, being in an enclosed space for a few (or several!) hours with others can allow the spread of germs from one person to the next quite easily.
But the stress of travel can also contribute to poor immune health. Maybe flying makes you nervous, there's a screaming baby on your plane, you just don't sleep well sitting up or you go stir-crazy if you can't get any exercise. You can boost your immune system with antibiotics and other supplements, but how can you take care of those pesky elevated stress levels and the desire to just move? Here are some exercises to stay mentally and physically healthy during your business or leisure travel:
Hotel room bodyweight workouts
If your hotel doesn't have a weight room or even a lone treadmill, never fear! You can get a great cardio workout while working your entire body – legs, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, back and abs – with just your body weight, 20 minutes and standard hotel room implements like a bed, desk and chair. Here are several easy exercises to do in your hotel room:
- Do bodyweight squats with arms outstretched, making sure your knees are in proper position.
- Use the edge of the bed or, if you're tall, the ubiquitous hotel room desk to do inclined pushups, keeping your feet on the floor.
- Do the plank, which can be done anywhere.
- Do some jumping squats – they aren't pretty, but they sure do work. Only do them in your hotel room if you have tall ceilings so as not to injure your fingers on the upswing.
- Triceps dips can be done off the edge of a bed or chair.
- In lieu of weights, do one-armed luggage rows – provided you have a small suitcase. The nice thing about suitcases is that you can pack or unpack as much as you need to get the proper weight.
- Lunges are easy to do anywhere as well.
- If you don't mind touching the hotel room floor (some people are picky) you can add in crunches, reverse crunches and pushups.
Pick and choose from the activities above and do several continuous reps for the best cardio workout, but go at your own pace.
Other workout options
- Yoga is a great way to reduce stress. If you get particularly stressed while flying, check out this article about the many different yoga positions that you can do on an airplane. There are great options for both seat and aisle positions, provided you don't mind a few confused looks from other passengers.
- Check out local jogging trails or parks ahead of time for the places you're visiting. There are likely some runners forums online that mention good running paths no matter what city you're in.
- Check ahead of time to see if your hotel has a gym or pool, and don't forget your sneakers, workout clothes or swimsuit.
- Bring easy-to-pack workout items like jump ropes, ankle swim weights, dumbbells you can fill with water or resistance bands.
Swimming is one of the best exercises for your joints and an activity that cools you off during the hot summer months. Whether you're swimming laps, playing pool games or simply treading water, you're burning calories and doing a whole lot of other good for your body. According to ABC affiliate KRCR, swimming can actually help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, promoting a healthier heart. So next time you hit the pool this summer, whip up a protein shake with Naturade Total Soy protein powder for a way to cool off and try out this hot workout:
Start with a warm-up
Get your muscles warmed up in the water by treading water or swimming slowly through the pool to get your blood pumping.
The otter roll
Grab a beach ball and hug it to your chest, floating on your back with your legs extended and feet together. Roll over to your left side and over the top of the ball using your entire body like your shoulders, core, legs and back to make a full revolution back to the starting position. Continue doing this exercise, alternating the direction in which you're rolling. This exercise targets your abs, back, glutes and legs all at the same time.
The underwater V-up
Swim over to the shallow end of the pool and sit back into the water, treading with your hands out to your side and your legs lifted out in front of you so that you fold at the hips to form the letter "V." Slowly try to bring your legs to your chest, keeping them as straight as you can, making the V shape less wide. Return legs to the starting position, continuing to tread water with your arms. Do about 15 to 20 repetitions. If you want to make it a bit easier, feel free to bend your knees into a tuck position. You'll be working your triceps, shoulders, back and abs.
The ball lever
Take the same beach ball you used for the previous exercise and hold it with your arms stretched straight in front of you, so you should be floating chest-deep in the pool with your feet behind you. Next, move the ball under the water toward your thighs as fast as you can. When the ball has reached your legs, bend your elbows to slowly bring it back to the surface. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds. The bigger the beach ball, the harder this move will be.
If you're looking to tone up your shoulders, back, arms, chest and abs, grab a kickboard and jump in the pool. Sit on the kickboard with your knees remaining tightly together. Your legs should be dangling over the board. Straighten out your arms in front of your body with your palms facing away from one another. Then, mimicking the breast stroke, sweep arms out the the sides. If you can, stroke your way across the length of the pool, or about 30 seconds, then switch and go in the opposite direction with your palms facing forward – this will work other muscles in the arms.
Despite doing exercises and going to the gym regularly, losing those stubborn belly fat can be an uphill task. But you have to try to lose belly fat, as how much flabby you are around your belly is likely to have a huge impact on your health. Usually, you store fats in two ways, one of which is visible, under the hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks etc. and the other, which you cannot see, gets stored in some of the most vital organs of your body, like heart, liver, lungs, digestive tracts etc. However, the later, known as visceral fat, leads to most of the crucial diseases like heart diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia and certain cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer etc. Hence, having a flat stomach is important not only to look chic and smart, but also to have a healthy, disease-free life.
There are a number of foods as well as supplements for weight loss that can help you to burn belly fat naturally. For men and women of all age groups, such supplements, when complemented by a healthy diet and regular exercises, can work wonders.
Let’s take a quick look at the list of fat burning foods, so that you can include some of them in your diet today!
- Apples – According to the common adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. No wonder why apple works wonders for weight loss. As researches have shown, people who made it a point to consume an apple daily lost more weight than those who didn’t. Packed with rich nutrients, as well as lots of vitamins and minerals, this fruit also contains pectin, which prevents colon cancer.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a fiber rich content that stays in your stomach for a long period of time and thus cuts your craving for food, leading to weight loss. Moreover, it’s a great source of selenium and boosts the immune system in your body. Oats also absorb the LDL cholesterol, which is known to be the “bad” one and wash it out from your body.
- Almonds and other raw nuts – You might be shocked to see this in the list! But yes, while having with the skin intact, almonds act as a good food that helps in weight loss. They help to slim down your belly by keeping it absolutely full. In fact, these nuts are rich in fats, which are good for your body and attack the bad fats.
- Whole grains – Though carbohydrates and fats are completely a no-no, especially while you’re on a diet, good carbs are actually required for your health. They are rich in nutrients and the fibers keep you from getting hungry, thus leading to a lesser amount of food intake. Make sure the groceries you buy clearly say “100% whole grain” instead of just “whole grain”.
In case you think that you’re too busy to buy these foods regularly and include them in your diet, supplements for weight loss would be a smart alternative solution for you. Most of these supplements have no side effects, and work wonders to help you get rid of belly fat. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones:
- Green coffee bean extract – Being derived from the coffee beans, which are not roasted, green coffee bean extract contains huge level of chlorogenic acid and helps improve the glucose tolerance in your body. It also reduces fat accumulation in your body and speeds up the fat burning process. Because of these salient features, it is extremely popular as a weight loss supplement.
- Green Tea – Just like green coffee, green tea, too is known to be a popular weight loss product. This product is full of antioxidants, and works as an excellent metabolism booster as well as a fat burner. Since this type of tea contains a huge level of polyphenol, which dissolves triglycerides, it helps to burn fat to a great extent. Moreover, it also contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which helps reduce the level of low density cholesterol in your body that’s largely responsible for blocking the artery walls. Thus, it plays an important role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
- Raspberry Ketone – Largely available in red raspberries, this aromatic compound is highly recommended for weight loss. This is so because raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound that enhances fat loss and has a number of anti-oxidant proponents within it.
- Creatine powder – It is another well known weight loss supplement that helps increase the strength of your body as well as improves the muscle mass. You can get the best results of creatine powder when you consume it in combination with a resistance training program.
- Garcinia Cambogia extract – Due to the presence of HCA (Hydroxycitric Acid) – a natural ingredient that promotes you to burn fat faster, this extract helps you to lose weight faster, even from problem areas like your belly.
So, if you are looking for belly fat burning solutions, try these foods and natural supplements for weight loss to notice faster and effective results.
Written by James Hundson. James isa fitness expert that researchs & writes reviews on health, fitness, muscle building, exercise, weight loss, massage, yoga, diet, alternative medicine, sports, etc. If you are looking for better and easier option to lose your Weight, than Green coffee bean, Garcinia Cambogia, Raspberry ketone, Green tea are the perfect choice for you.
You can't have a great workout without great shoes. They may seem like an afterthought before you hit the gym, but in order to maintain healthy bones and joints and be on your way to your goal weight, it's important to choose the right shoes. Generic sneakers may not work as well for the type of exercise you do. For example, a runner wouldn't be wearing the same shoes as a basketball player, because the types of physical activity require the body to move differently.
But whichever type of shoe you end up choosing, there is a general rule for all types of shoes: Make sure they fit right. Be sure your foot has enough room – there should be a thumbnail's width, or about a half inch, between your toes and the end of the shoe. Examine how your heel moves in the shoe as well – you don't want it easily slipping out. The shoe should not pinch or bind any area of your foot, especially across the arch and ball of your foot.
If you're a big walker – you walk to the store, around the neighborhood and also for exercise - you're going to need a shoe that supports all of the physical activity that you do. A good walking shoe should be fairly lightweight and provide ample shock absorption. You should be choosing a shoe that accommodates your arch type. Here are the three categories:
High-arched feet: This type could cause excessive strain on joints and muscles and your feet may not absorb impact as well. Therefore, those with high arches should be looking for shoes with plenty of cushioning to compensate.
Low-arched or flat feet: Muscle stress and joint problems may come from low-arched feet. While taking a joint supplement may help promote healthy joints, choosing the right shoe may help as well. Search for a walking shoe with motion control to help stabilize your feet.
Neutral-arched feet: These feet are neither low or high-arched. Therefore, you should be looking for a shoe with firm midsoles, straight soles and moderate rear-foot stability.
If you plan on running long distances, look for shoes with neutral cushioning and motion control. Mark Sheehan, vice president of product development at K-Swiss, said that the more tired a runner gets, the more his or her form suffers. Therefore, runners need a shoe that is going to give them the stability they need every time their foot hits the ground in order to prevent injury.
Whether you're attending Zumba or breaking a sweat for a spin class, group fitness activities require a shoe that has a multi-purpose outsole, with a durable and breathable upper and lower midsole. This will give you just the right amount of cushioning and shock absorption to cover you in whatever type of activity you'll be doing that day.
Tennis players need to be able to move in a variety of directions, so they need a shoe that can keep up with all of their movement. Look for extra support around the midfoot and a flexible outsole that allows for smooth stopping and starting.
During the summer months, many choose to take their workout outdoors so they can enjoy the beautiful weather. After all, the fresh air can help boost your immune system and an outdoor workout can even improve attention and focus and lower an individual's risk of being overweight, according to the Huffington Post. But in order for you to have a successful workout, you must stay safe while doing so. Factors like sunburn, heat and dehydration can really put a damper on the overall effectiveness of your workout and can be dangerous. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind the next time you venture outdoors for exercise:
Check the forecast
While it's often not too hot to run outside, there may be days during the summer that pose a danger to anyone breaking a sweat outside. Before you begin your workout, check the weather forecast. Pay special attention to the humidity, because about 50 percent humidity can make a 90-degree day feel closer to 96. Debi Pillarella, ACE-certified master trainer and fitness expert, told Fitness Magazine that high humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, which prevents the body from naturally cooling off. If the humidity is too high, you may want to reschedule your workout or take it indoors.
Drink plenty of water
Warmer temperatures often mean you'll be sweating a lot more. Because you'll be losing so much water, you need to be sure that you're taking water in just as fast. Remember to stay hydrated at all times and bring a water bottle with you on those outdoor workouts. The H2O may also help to cool your body down on a particularly hot day.
Even if it's a particularly cloudy day, never skip the sunscreen if you're going to be breaking a sweat outdoors. Use about a shot glass worth from head to to toe. If you're going to be outside for more than two hours, remember to reapply to avoid getting burned. Keep in mind that the more you sweat, the more you're going to have to reapply sunscreen. For extra sun precautions, wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your scalp from the rays.
Go at the right time
The early morning and late evening are when air pollution levels are at their lowest. Things like car exhaust, construction dust and factory fumes can contaminate the air, which could cause poor lung health.
As you age, you may find that your joints don't quite work like they used to when you were young. And even those at a young age experience joint problems, whether from improper training technique, overuse, falls or even sudden directional changes. In fact, in the USA alone, an estimated 50 million adults have less than optimal joint health. Tennis players tend to have elbow joint issues, while weightlifters commonly experience poor shoulder joint health. But no matter your age or fitness level, there are ways you can protect your joints so that you can have both comfortable and effective workouts.
Take a joint supplement
Before you hop on that treadmill or head on over to the gym, be sure to take a joint supplement like Naturade FlexAid Ultra Joint Formula. This is an easy way to promote joint comfort during workouts and even boost flexibility and mobility and support a healthy inflammation response.
Start off slow
Never jump into a workout at a super high intensity level. Doing too much too soon can make your body more prone to poor joint health. It's not just your lungs and heart that need time to gradually get used to the workout - your joints do as well. If you're planning on getting in an intense workout, start off slow and let your body warm up to give your muscles, circulatory system, ligaments and cartilage time to adapt.
Switch it up
You may have the same routine every day, seven days a week: come home from work, run on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then lift weights for 15 minutes. While this is an effective workout, switching up your workout regimen can protect your body from less than optimal joint health. The same exercises work the exact same muscles and joints, wearing them down day after day. Overusing the same parts of the body can also lead to unnecessary injury. Try different cardio workouts, whether that's biking, dancing, boxing or hopping on the elliptical, to prevent poor health.
Remember to rest
Resting is just as important as exercising. This gives your joints and muscles a chance to recover and be ready for your next workout. If you're pushing yourself too hard and not giving your body the chance to rest, an overuse of joints may lead to injury or less than optimal joint health.
Wear the right shoes
What type of exercise are you doing? Is it basketball? Running? Boxing? Whatever your preferences are, there is a shoe for each type of workout. Athletic shoes are specifically designed for specific purposes. Running shoes will provide you with motion control and proper cushioning, while basketball shoes may give you more ankle support. Visit your local shoe store, where they can size you and help you pick out the right shoes that meet your exercise needs.
Maintain proper posture
Whether you're on a bike or going for a run through your neighborhood, it's important to maintain proper technique. By not having great posture or not using certain equipment in the right way, you could potentially be putting unnecessary strain on your body. Pay attention to your body when you're exercising to make sure you're exercising properly.
There are lots of ways to find happiness: hanging out with friends, chowing down on your favorite meal or maybe sitting down and watching your favorite comedy. But there is one activity that is significantly underrated when it comes to lifting your mood: exercise. You may not be laughing, but going for a run or going to yoga class can really make a difference in your attitude, not to mention promotes anti-aging and a healthy immune system.
When you start to break a sweat, exercise releases feel-good endorphins into your body. Endorphins are chemicals that have the ability to cross through the gaps between neurons in order to pass along a message. There are many different kinds of endorphins, but one thing is for certain: they make you feel good. Michael Bracko, an exercise physiologist and spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine, told MSNBC that just one 30-minute session of moderate to intense exercise can help ease distress, depression, tension and anger. Other chemicals that contribute to the boost in mood include serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
What many don't realize is that there are certain workouts that alter different parts of their mood. Some can make your brain feel shaper, while others relax you or make you happier. Try one of these mood-boosting workouts next time you hit the gym:
Grab a mat and some comfy clothes and get ready to find your center. Yoga can help you to feel more content. The deep, slow breathing involved in the practice of yoga increases oxygen flow, which leads to optimal functioning of all your organs, including your brain. According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, yoga is associated with increased levels of GABA, an amino acid and neurotransmitter that may help to reduce anxiety.
If you're looking for an increase in your energy levels, hop on a spin bike. You may immediately associate exercise with feeling tired and drained of energy afterwards, but that's not the case. Many gyms offer spin classes so you can give it a try if you're new. Cycling may activate brain neural circuits which make a person have more energy.
If your brain is feeling a little clouded, you may find clarity when you pick up a pair of dumbbells. It may be great for toning your biceps, but it's also perfect for your mental muscles. Researchers suspect the mental clarity may be due to neurotrophic growth factors. These growth factors help the brain generate new neurons even later in life, and help to increase the flexibility of existing ones.
For those who have trouble sleeping at night, Pilates may be the answer. Those who report having sleeping issues also reveal that they have a difficult time relaxing, de-stressing and winding down from a tough day. One fix is Pilates – it has been linked with better sleep at night. The theory is when you're more in tune with your body, you're better able to let go of that stress you're holding onto and feel more relaxed when you crawl into bed at night.
If you're trying to shed the pounds, you're likely sticking to a diet of whole grains, fruits and veggies. Of course, there is going to be the occasional moment when you choose to indulge, which is totally okay. But if you really want to stay slim and keep that glowing and youthful complexion, there are some foods that you should steer clear of.
There's nothing better than a little cake topped with a lot of frosting, but next time you whip up a tiered confection, make sure your frosting is made from scratch. Not only is it more delicious that way, but the store-bought frosting is packed with trans fats, which are your waistline's worst enemy. Trans fat raises your levels of bad cholesterol and lowers the good, and can lead to belly fat. Plus, the more sugar you consume, the more prone your skin may be to maladies like acne and premature wrinkles.
This popular morning meal smeared with cream cheese is a top choice among many. Although it may fill you up and satisfy your taste buds, you may want to pick a new breakfast item. Just one bagel provides between three and six servings of grains, which is some peoples' carbohydrate allotment for the entire day. You may grab a whole wheat bagel and think you're making a healthy choice, but even the whole wheat bagels are usually only partly whole wheat, which means you're getting refined flour with no fiber or nutrients.
We've known for years that soda isn't good for us because of the large amounts of sugar it contains. But some forget about other drinks that are disguised as healthy alternatives to soda, but pack just as much sugar, like sweetened teas or juices. Those empty calories camp out right on your waistline and although they lower cholesterol, they're lowering the good cholesterol levels and increasing triglycerides, which contribute to poor heart health.
This is a hyper-refined carbohydrate that lacks significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. What they do contain, however, is lots of butter and heavy cream, making them a worst enemy both to your waistline and to your heart.
Processed baked goods like donuts and mini muffins are great for a quick and tasty breakfast if you need to run out the door, but they have tons and tons of calories as well as unwanted sugar, making them hard to digest. Because they have preservatives, they can sit on the shelf for a long period of time without breaking down. The amount of sugar in these pastries can cause inflammation of the skin. As hard as it may be, skip the donut and go with fresh fruit or yogurt when you're looking for your morning breakfast fix.
You know the cereals I'm talking about – all of the ones you used to enjoy as a kid (and probably still enjoy as an adult) could be contributing to weight problems and poor skin. Frosted Flakes and Cap'n Crunch can wreak havoc on those with sensitive skin, causing them to break out and even see an uneven skin tone. Try low sugar options and if you need a little sweetness, try adding fruit like strawberries, bananas or raspberries.
There's a lot of things we should probably stay away from, like consuming excessive amounts of bacon, getting too much sun and having that fifth slice of deep dish pizza. But there is one thing we should be straying from that not many know about: GMOs.
What is a GMO?
A GMO is known as a genetically modified organism. GMOs have been genetically engineered with DNA derived from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. In other words, these combinations of genes don't occur in nature. They are specially built to withstand direct application of herbicides and insecticides. But why should we stay away from them? GMOs have been linked with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers' and consumers' rights. In fact, most developed nations have outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. But in the United States, the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that produce them purely for profit.
How can you tell what foods include GMOs?
Unfortunately, there is no regulated food label that indicates whether or not a particular product contains GMOs. Therefore, it's a guessing game when it comes to what you're purchasing. The first genetically modified crops included soybeans, cotton and corn, which were produced to control the growth of insects and weeds. The majority of processed foods – yes, even those veggie burgers – are made with soy, corn and/or corn oil, and often contain GMOs. Next time you hit the grocery store, look to see if the product you're buying has the USDA Certified Organic seal – according to USD regulations, GMOs are prohibited in organic agriculture production.
The impact of GMOs on the environment
Not only are GMOs unhealthy to consume, they're not great for the environment either. In fact, since GMOs have grown worldwide, the use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15-fold. Super bugs and super weeds are also a result of GMOs which can only be killed with extremely potent toxic poisons. The long term effects of GMOs are still not yet known. Farmers are also impacted – some are being sued by companies that make GMOs because the toxic substances have inevitably drifted onto their farmland from neighboring fields.
Here are a list of just some foods that have been verified to not include GMOs:
- Blue Diamond Almond Milk
- Silk Soymilk
- Simply Soy blueberry and strawberry yogurt
- Annie's Gluten-Free Cocoa & Vanilla Bunny Cookies
- A number of Kashi cereals – but research this company's products extensively, as some do contain GMOs
- Organic raisins
- Peggy's Premium edamame
- Nature Fed Brown and white shell egg