Yoga has been an important part of life across Eastern cultures for centuries, but in recent years, this holistic exercise has gained popularity here in the U.S. There are lots of reasons to do yoga: Whether you're looking for a new way to work out, trying to find time to relax or have been prescribed yoga as a physical therapy treatment, there are countless benefits to this popular activity.
Most of the health benefits of yoga – improved circulation, weight loss, reduced blood pressure, improved muscle tone and better mental focus – can be attributed to yoga's tendency to reduce stress. If you're looking for a little escape from the worries of everyday life, try these yoga poses in the comfort of your own home:
Balsana (Child's pose)
Child's Post is almost certainly everyone's favorite yoga pose. This resting pose is generally done in between asanas (sun salutations) in order to allow for a moment to refocus breathing and promote relaxation. Even if you aren't going all-out with an entire workout, a few deep breaths in balsana will help you recharge. As a bonus, Yoga Journal has recommended this comfortable pose for boosting immune system health!
To get into balsana, begin in a kneeling position. Sit back until your hips are resting comfortably on top of your ankles. Keeping your back straight, lower your upper body until your forehead is gently resting on the floor. You can either rest your hands at your side or stretch them out over your head.
Ananda Balsana (Happy baby pose)
Are you noticing the child theme? Many of yoga's most relaxing positions are inspired by happy children. Happy baby pose is a great option for those who want to improve their flexibility while relaxing at the same time.
Start by lying on your back with your eyes fixed above you. Keeping your knees bent, bring your legs up so that the bottoms of your feet are parallel to the ceiling. Grab the insides of your feet with your hands, keeping your arms on the inside of your legs. Use your hands to pull your feet towards you, breathing deeply.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing dog pose)
You know that cute little stretch your dog does after he wakes up from a nap? Our canine companions sure can teach us a thing or two about happiness! Take a breather and improve your immune system health with downward-facing dog.
It's easiest to get into downward-facing dog directly from balsana. Stretch your hands out in front of your head and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Push back, lifting your body off of the floor until your legs and arms are as straight as possible. If you're working to improve your flexibility, create a constant tension with your arms and legs as you push your head toward your knees.
With these and all other yoga poses, the most important tool for relaxation is your own breath. Focus on your breathing pattern, and dismiss all thoughts that come into your brain without judgment.
With beach season dangerously close, everyone is looking to tone and tighten. But it's going to take more than cutting back on the sweets and going for a run every once in awhile to achieve the results you're looking for.
Men and women tone their muscles differently because, typically, women tend to have more fat cells than men do in their thighs, hips and bottoms. Conversely, men's stomachs are more likely than women's to accumulate fat cells.
Body fat comes from the total number of fat cells in your body and the size of these cells. The human body has about 30 billion fat cells, but they are often not evenly distributed. When people lose weight, those fat cells simply become skinnier.
One of the best ways to start depleting those fat cells is by adding some strength training into your exercise routine and getting more protein into your diet, whether it's through protein powders or meal replacement shakes. By building muscle, you'll be burning more calories and be getting closer to that dream body of yours. As a general rule for both men and women, it's important to start off with an intensity you're comfortable with.
For your arms…
Tricep dips: Using your own body weight, use a chair or a bench to hold yourself up with your elbows locked. Lower yourself slowly down until your elbows are bent and reach a 90-degree angle. Keep your head straight as you press up to the starting position.
Chin ups: This exercise really works your biceps. Find a sturdy bar and hang onto it with your palms facing toward you and let yourself hang. Pull yourself up and reach your chin over the bar.
For your core…
Bicycles: Laying on your back, make sure your lower back is pressed to the ground. Place your hands behind your ears, lift your feet off of the floor and elevate your knees above your hips. Complete the exercise by touching your right elbow to your left knee, followed by your left elbow to your right knee. The exercise should be a continuous movement.
Vertical leg crunch: Lay on your back with your lower back pressed to the ground. Place your hands behind your ears, making sure your elbows are straight out to the side and not in view. Extend and lift your legs straight up over the hips with a slight bend in the knees. Keeping your eyes focused on the ceiling, lift your torso toward your knees and slowly release down.
For your legs…
Squats: This exercise tones your thighs. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bending your knees, lower your rear end toward the ground. As your knees near a 90-degree angle, exhale and push yourself back up to the starting position. Make sure your knees never go over your feet as you complete the exercise.
Leg lifts: You can easily compete this exercise right in your own home. Lay on your right side on a mat and rest your elbow on the ground. Kick your right leg up toward the sky and slowly lower it down to the starting position. Once you've completed the appropriate amount of reps, switch sides.
We've all experienced that feeling when 10:30 rolls around and it's just a little bit too early to take a lunch, but your stomach is arguing otherwise. It's time for a snack. Sure, those donuts your coworker brought in look great, but when your job entails sitting in a chair for eight hours with little movement, sugary and salty foods may not be the source of energy you're looking for. By chowing down on the right foods and following these few tips, you can start snacking healthier at work right away:
Keep the healthy snacks visible at your desk
If a sugary pastry is right in front of you on the conference table but your healthy snack is tucked away in your bag, you're more likely to go for the calorie-packed pastry.
Prepare them beforehand
If your snack allows, prepare it the night before you go into work. This way, you won't be turned off by the fact that you have to leave your desk to go make yourself food. If it's already right there and ready to eat, you're more likely to snack on it.
Know the difference between "snack" and "treat"
Although we may want that chocolate bar or cookie to be a snack, it's probably considered more of a treat. Ask yourself if you're just eating it because it's there or because you're actually hungry and are trying to help bridge one meal to the next. Snacks offer nutrition, while treats only offer calories.
No mindless eating
Eating while working can lead to overeating. It's similar to when you're sitting on the couch with a bag of chips and all of a sudden they're gone. Instead, only bring small amounts of food to your desk so you don't eat more than you bargained for.
The best snacks to enjoy at work:
There's no easier way to snack with a smoothie or a shake. But stay away those beverages packed with calories and even more sugar. Instead, make your own right at work! These personal blender bottles can be great for whipping one up right in the office. Pack up fresh fruit of your choice along with ice and water and mix in a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy. This protein powder won't only add great taste to your smoothie, it's packed with all of the protein, vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain a healthy weight.
Apples and honey with nut butter
You'll need crispbread, a whole apple, the nut butter of your choice (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.), honey and cinnamon. Smear whichever butter you chose over the crispbread, thinly slice the apples on top and drizzle it all with a bit of honey and cinnamon for a snack all of your coworkers are sure to be jealous of.
This creamy treat is delicious by itself, but when you add in your favorite fresh fruit and choice of granola, it's even better. Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, fiber, calcium and probiotics, which are good for your digestive system.
We're not talking about the movie theater style popcorn here, unfortunately. However, this airy snack made in a pot over the stove with a touch of olive oil and seasoning can actually be a healthy snack. This stuff won't leave you too full for lunch, either.
Looking at nutrition labels, you may always see protein, but you may not have a good idea of the role that it actually plays in food as well as in your body. There are plenty of reasons out there that may convince you to start paying attention to how much protein you're consuming. According to the Institute of Medicine, adults should get a minimum of .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day – that adds up to about 58 grams for a 160-pound adults. The amount your body needs truly depends on factors like sex, age, height and weight. Here are just some amazing things that protein can do for your body:
Maintain a healthier weight
Exercise and staying away from fatty foods can only do so much when it comes to maintaining a desirable body weight. Protein is really what helps to keep your weight down. In fact, starting off the day with a protein-packed breakfast like eggs, lean beef or a smoothie can help you keep the weight off. Many are under the assumption that consuming foods high in protein will only lead to too many calories consumed, causing the body fat to increase. But when eating the best sources of protein, like lean fish, meat, dairy and beans, you'll feel fuller longer and be less likely to overeat later. Protein takes longer to leave your stomach, which causes the fullness. The moment you consume protein, your body gets to work on digesting, metabolizing and using the protein, which means you burn more calories processing them.
Start your morning off with a protein-packed smoothie. Add in your favorite fresh fruits and a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy for plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep going throughout the day. You could also add this protein powder to virtually any food, such as burgers, potatoes or muffins.
Promote heart health
Meatless sources of protein like nuts, legumes and soy foods have all been shown to lower cholesterol levels because of their combination of fiber and heart-healthy phytochemicals. Naturade Total Soy is a great source of protein that has been shown to reduce cholesterol in over 40 clinical studies. With a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, you may reduce your risk for poor heart health. When choosing protein, opt for low-fat options like lean meats, skim milk or other foods with high levels of protein.
Whether you're an athlete looking to bulk up or simply wish to look a bit more toned, protein is what's going to help you reach your goals. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are used by the body to build new muscle. If you don't consume enough protein in your diet, your muscles can repair and continue to build and your body will begin to break down the muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the less fat you'll see on your body. After an intense workout, grab a meal replacement shake to help your muscles to grow.
Whether it's your favorite cereal, scrambled eggs or a fruity smoothie, taking the time in the morning to chow down is essential. Many individuals may be under the impression that skipping this morning meal will help them to lose weight because they're consuming fewer calories: Research shows about 18 percent of Americans older than age two regularly skip breakfast. However, breakfast can be your ally in maintaining a healthy weight along with many other benefits. This meal sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you haven't jumped on the breakfast bandwagon, here are a few reasons you may want to reconsider:
Sparks your metabolism
You likely haven't eaten for about eight hours when you get up in the morning. Your body responds to this by decreasing your metabolic rate – the speed at which the body burns calories. When you do chow down in the morning, your metabolism essentially wakes up and starts burning those calories at a faster rate, helping you to maintain a healthier body weight.
Helps you stay alert
If you have a long day at school or work ahead of you, you're definitely going to want to make time for breakfast in the morning. Skipping breakfast can have a negative effect on the way students perform in the classroom and on problem-solving tests and may make you less alert at the office. When you don't give your body calories to turn into energy, you may feel sluggish later. Consuming fiber in the morning is especially essential to staying alert because adequate fiber prevents spikes in blood sugar that can affect how awake you feel. Stick to whole grains and fruits.
Crucial for losing weight
According to an expert panel at the Institute of Food Technologists conference, those who don't eat breakfast consume 40 percent more sweets, 55 percent more soft drinks, 45 percent fewer vegetables and 30 percent less fruit than those who do. Overall, those who skip out on their morning breakfast tend to weigh more than their counterparts. If you include protein in your diet, like adding a protein powder to a meal replacement shake or smoothie in the morning, it seems to have even more of an effect on weight loss. Add a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy to your favorite shake or smoothie recipe in the morning to help yourself love breakfast again. A high-protein breakfast helps you to stay full and avoid overeating later on in the day.
Making the transition to a vegetarian diet takes the right attitude and the know-how to live healthy without consuming any animal protein. Research has shown that plant-based and vegetarian diets are associated with better health, but in order to receive these health benefits, you have to know how to go about becoming a vegetarian and following a meal plan that is both delicious and right for your body. Here are some of the most common pitfalls to which first-time vegetarians often fall prey:
Not eating enough calories
Just because a vegetarian diet requires that you avoid animal protein doesn't mean that you have to cut out a large amount of calories. The right amount of calories are appropriate for giving your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. If you don't have enough energy from calories, your metabolism could slow and you could experience low blood sugar.
You're going to have to find the adequate amount of calories from foods besides meat, like nuts, seeds, dried fruit and cheese – all of which are filled with calories that won't weigh you down later. Top off your salad with nuts of your choice or bring some dried fruit to work to snack on in between meetings.
Skipping out on protein
Much of the protein in a diet can come from animal meat. However, there are plenty of other ways to get the amount of protein that your body needs. Protein is vital to the body and helps you to maintain a healthy weight. The recommended protein intake per day is about 50 to 175 grams, depending on your sex, height and and body weight. Without this protein, you could experience low energy, loss of muscle, a weakened immune system and poor vision. Meet your protein needs by whipping up a shake or a smoothie using Naturade Pea Protein. This protein powder is free of soy, dairy, gluten and cholesterol and is derived from yellow peas that are easy to digest and hypoallergenic.
Other sources of protein could include beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, tofu, hemp, eggs, Greek yogurt and avocados.
Minerals like zinc, calcium and iron are essential to keeping high blood pressure levels at bay, maintaining healthy joints and keeping up your energy levels. Look for breakfast cereals that are rich in iron and snack on veggies containing the mineral, like soybeans, potatoes, beets and artichokes. A glass of orange juice in the morning will help to absorb the iron from plant foods.
Whether you're trying to gain muscle or lose weight, along the way you may have discovered that there are various types of protein out there. Whey protein and pea protein are two that are quite common. However, the difference between the two is crucial. Let's take a look at each type of protein and what it does for the body:
Whey protein is one of the two major groups of proteins found in milk. Only 20 percent of milk's protein is whey. The rest is casein, which is the protein that triggers most milk allergies. This is why whey protein would be a way for people with allergies to get dairy protein into their diets. It's typically sold in powder form, as either whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate and is a popular supplement for athletes and fitness fanatics.
Whey protein essentially helps your cells to grow, replace and repair themselves. The body naturally produces proteins on its own, however, other amino acids must come from dairy protein. Whey protein provides all nine amino acids and is easy to digest. Most whey protein is low-fat or fat-free, and the amount of protein you need varies based on body type and nutritional needs.
What is it best used for?
The uses for whey protein can vary greatly. Whey protein is commonly used among athletes for improving muscle strength and body composition. One of the reasons that whey protein stands above all others when it comes to bulking up is due to one ingredient: Leucine. Leucine is an amino acid that must be obtained through foods and plays a significant role in the maintenance and repair of muscles. According to the Journal of Nutrition, leucine can stimulate muscle protein synthesis – which is the process by which individual cells build specific proteins.
How do I get it in my diet?
Protein powders are an easy and delicious way of getting more whey protein into your diet. Naturade 100% Whey comes in both chocolate and vanilla flavors and is a great way to finish off your workout to build muscle. This protein powder is an excellent source of bodybuilding branch chain amino acids and active peptides, or protein fractions.
Pea protein is a natural plant-based protein that is derived from yellow peas, also known as split peas. This protein is highly soluble and easy to digest. This is a perfect protein for vegetarians and vegans who can't get their protein from animal products. It has the ability to supply the nine essential amino acids that cannot be naturally produced by the human body.
What is it best used for?
Pea protein can be used for a variety of reasons including muscle growth, weight loss, and for those who are vegetarians or vegans and are looking for a way to get more protein into their diets. Scoop some pea protein powder into a post-workout smoothie to build muscle, use it as a meal replacement if you're looking for some extra protein or are wanting to shed those pounds.
How do I get it in my diet?
Pea protein powder can be incorporated into your diet through a tasty shake. Naturade Pea Protein is a great-tasting shake that is all-natural and contains no animal by-products, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners or colors. You can use it for a meal replacement or a post-workout smoothie.
It's a known fact that as we age, natural wear and tear on our joints cause cause our bodies to change and not feel like they used to. In order to care for our joints properly, it's important to understand how they change over time and what we can do to promote proper joint health.
Joints are the areas where bones come together. They are cushioned by the surrounding cartilage, synovial membranes and fluid so that the bones don't directly come in contact with each another. Over time, normal amounts of physical activity cause joint motion to become more restricted because of changes in ligaments and tendons. Fluid in the joints may decrease, causing cartilage to rub together and begin to gradually erode. Ligaments also tend to shorten and lose some of their flexibility, which is what often makes joints feel stiff. This is most common in joints like shoulders, knees and hips. Ankles, however, typically change very little with age.
Loss of muscle mass is also a common occurrence. Everyone naturally loses some muscle as they age, and if you don't keep up with maintaining your muscle, your joints begin to absorb more of the pounding from daily life and exercise – which can contribute to further damage.
How to promote joint health as you age
Contrary to popular belief, these age-related changes in your joints are often caused by lack of exercise. By consistently moving the joint, the fluid is kept moving. Being inactive causes the cartilage to stiffen and shrink, promoting poor joint mobility. Lack of exercise can also often lead to an unhealthy weight. Excess weight gives more for the joints to carry, which causes more damage in the long run. Knees have to work the hardest to support your body weight, causing the cartilage to quickly thin. Swimming is a great form of exercise that is easy on the joints. You could also consider other low-impact aerobic exercises like biking or walking. Be careful not to overwork one area, because that may decrease joint comfort. Try to switch up your routine every once in awhile.
Help your joints stay healthy as they age with Naturade FlexAid Joint Formula. This joint supplement promotes joint comfort, flexibility and mobility. Many of us could benefit from adding this supplement to our daily routine to support an active lifestyle. This formula contains Univestin, a natural blend of two traditional plants that have antioxidant effects on the body by helping to neutralize free radicals.
One of the best parts of summer has to be the fresh fruit that is perfectly ripe and in season. With many days screaming to be spent on the beach, you'll want to be in tip-top shape. Rather than being afraid of that bikini or those swim trunks, snack on these summer foods for the body you've always wanted:
Mangoes are a guilt-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth during the summer. Pack a few in your lunch or enjoy one on top of some oatmeal in the morning for a boost of fiber, magnesium, antioxidants and iron. Skip the juice, which is often packed with sugar, and instead bite into the real thing.
If you're a seafood fanatic, you know that there's nothing better than grilled shrimp. It's a light meal that's going to give you just the right amount of protein. Shrimp is low in fat and high in vitamin B12. Grill up a whole bunch of shrimp and toss them in a fresh summer salad with some tomatoes, avocado and low-fat cheese for a tasty meal. Be careful of the dressing you're using, however. Stray from the creamy, heavier ones and go for a lighter vinaigrette instead.
A cool shake
There is no better way to beat the heat than with a frosty chocolate or vanilla shake. Head out to the porch with a good book and a lawn chair to soak up the sun while sipping on this sweet beverage. Avoid all of the sugar of regular shakes by instead using a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy. This protein powder has an amazing taste without all of the sugar. Instead, you'll be getting dietary fiber, protein and 24 vitamins and minerals. Use this shake as a meal replacement to help shed the pounds fast.
Grapes are delicious during any month of the year, but when you freeze them, they make for one of the best and healthiest snacks to cool you off and keep you satisfied. The iciness of the grapes gives the fruit a sorbet-like consistency, tricking you into thinking you're eating something much more unhealthy. The natural sweetness from the grapes may prevent you from craving calorie-filled desserts.
Biting into a fresh slice of watermelon during summer is one of the moments we look forward to most. If you know you're going to be outside for the majority of the day, be sure to pack some watermelon. This superfruit will keep you fully hydrated. All that water in there will also help to keep you full. It's equipped with plenty of antioxidants and amino acids to fuel your body.
There is a lot of mystery and confusion surrounding the vegan diet. Different from a vegetarian diet, a vegan diet includes only plant-based foods. This means vegans stay away from meat, eggs, dairy or animal-based foods of any kind. At first glance, it seems that this lifestyle doesn't leave you with many options of what to eat. However, a vegan diet can be among the most healthful ways to eat. You can still choose from vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. These foods still offer plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and healthy oils. Even celebrities and famous inventors like Alicia Silverstone, Ellen Degeneres, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford, Paul McCartney and Sinead O'Connor were and are vegans. According to a report by the Vegetarian Times, three percent of American adults, roughly 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian diet, and one million of them are vegans. If you're considering going vegan, here are a few benefits that may push you to take the leap:
It's better for the environment
Because you're eating plant-based foods rather than animal products, there is far less pollution produced. Rather than feeding plants to the animals and then eating the animals, growing and eating plants straight from the ground makes much more efficient use of land and water.
Many decide to go vegan to save animals from being killed, or to protest currently less-than-ethical animal treatment at mainstream farms and feedlots. Eating less meat means that fewer animals are subjected to harsh treatment, and that unethically operated food production companies see a reduced profit.
Instead of getting protein from animal meat, whip up a tasty shake containing pea protein powder. Naturade Pea Protein is 100 percent soy and dairy free, gluten free and cholesterol free. Made from a natural plant-based protein derived from yellow peas, this product is perfect for any vegan diet. Add a few scoops of chocolate or vanilla protein powder for a quick snack or a meal on the go.
Many of the foods that vegans eat are low in calories, salt, sugar and harmful fats – all which can be detrimental to a person's health when consumed in large amounts. Not all fats are created equal: unsaturated – especially monounsaturated – fats help raise "good" LDL cholesterol, while saturated fats raise "bad" HDL cholesterol. Saturated fats can be found in certain plant-based foods, but the majority of saturated fats consumed by Americans come from either animal fats or highly processed corn oils. Eating animal fats and proteins has been shown to increase a person's risk of developing poor health. By eliminating the saturated fats found in dairy products and meat, a vegan diet may lower cholesterol and cardiovascular health may be improved.
Because vegans don't eat meat, many tend to maintain a healthier weight. Researchers attribute this to a lower calorie intake. Vegetables and fruits are much lower in calories than meats, and provide beneficial nutrients in an undiluted form. The high fiber in a vegan diet also helps to curb hunger.
Everyone could always use a little kick of energy in their lives, especially during the hectic days. Going vegan can contribute to higher energy level. Both NFL tight-end Tony Gonzalez and former U.S. president Bill Clinton have attributed their vegan diets to their newly found energy.