5 Weight Loss Tips Backed By Science

by Head Health Nutter on March 5, 2015

Here’s another excellent article on fitness and nutrition (we’re on a roll here!) contributed by a new guest blogger trying to make her mark on the scene, Nanda Barros. Keep reading for 5 weight-loss tips that science has proven to work!

We flip through countless magazines and read headlines that scream about miracle diet programs helping you lose five, 10 and even 20 pounds in just 4 weeks. It’s what our society calls “healthy living”.

slim waistWhat strikes me as odd is the fact that while miracle diets tend to work short term, the pounds always come back, which is the opposite of healthy living.

Here are five ways you can ditch the unhealthy ‘healthy” diets and choose what scientists are saying actually works:

1) Add More Fiber to Your Daily Meal

A study published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed if you eat 30 grams of fiber a day, there’s a chance you could lose as much weight as the American Health Association’s guidelines over the course of a year.

The results of the study showed, “after 12 months, those who had followed the AHA guidelines had lost an average of about six pounds, while those on the high-fiber diet lost an average of 4.6 pounds.”

Think whole grain foods, legumes, nut, chai seeds, peas and onions.

2) Don’t Ignore Your DNA

Personalized medicine is a very important issue at the moment. We want exclusivity and we want it now. Nutrigenomics could be defined as the relationship between diet and our genes. A DNA-based diet is designed just for you; a simple cheek swab is all you need to learn what works and what doesn’t according to your body.

Although the research it’s still ongoing, at least 14 genetic markers have been identified by scientists showing a susceptibility to diet-related-metabolic weight loss. Companies like GenoVive in Louisiana have done thorough research on the issue, while researchers from UCLA, Stanford and Harvard are conducting experiments that are proving to be successful.

3) Eat More Meals with Avocado

More than a delicious ingredient in our guacamole, avocados are full of healthy fats that are known to lower cholesterol and help with belly fat. Moreover, the Journal of Nutrition found that, “adding avocado to salad allowed participants to absorb three to five times more carotenoids.” What does that mean for you? The more carotenoids that you consume, the less chronic illnesses you will have.

4) Spice Up Your Diet

Peppers are known to have great cancer preventing properties, but they are also great metabolism boosters. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers, you will find. Studies have found that the heat from capsaicin can warm up your body and help burn calories.

Not a fan of spicy foods? There’s still hope. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found sweet peppers contain capsinoids, which can produce similar results.

5) Counting Calories Is Not A Myth

This is not new, or a revelation, but counting calories does work. Calories refer to the energy we consume through our meals and burn through exercise. As much as we hate consuming calories, without it our bodies would stop working, just like a car without gas.

According to Dr. David Katz from Yale University “the quality of calories is a major determinant of the quantity we ingest under real world conditions.” Meaning, we need stop looking at calories as an enemy and just learn how to deal with it in a healthy way.

Medical Daily breaks down exactly what you need to know in these simple rules:

  • 1 gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories
  • 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.

Science has made many strides, however, it’s up to us to combine all we learned from years of experiment and avoid the quick fix. Being healthy is more than just being skinny; a lesson we will only learn when we realize the magic pill is actually our own choices.

About the Author

Nanda Barros is a graduate of the University of Central Florida. She has a background in medical journalism and loves everything healthy living. When she is not writing you can find her being a meat head at her CrossFit box or being a mom to her extremely loving 4lb toy-yorkie. Her motto: live life as if it was an episode of Friends.

Do you know of any weight-loss tips backed by science? Add them in the comment section below! 

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Have you stumbled in your New Year’s goal to become healthier? Well, just get back on that horse! Today’s guest article by Anita may just be the advice you need to start your program over again.  

Developing a healthier lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s important to stay committed to the small steps that will get you there. When switching to a healthy lifestyle, it is important to make choices that can easily become habits you can stick to. The following six tips are a great place to start:

6 Tips To Help You Develop Healthy Eating Habits You Can Stick ToFight Food Cravings

Learning to curb your food cravings are a step in the right direction. Self-control is important in all areas of life. The HCG diet can help you to understand your body, while helping to curb cravings, say the experts at Intermountain HCG. You can also try eating smaller meals more often, rather than eating three large meals each day.

Learn to Love Water

Water also helps fight hunger pains. If you can’t stand the taste of plain water, try adding fresh lemon and a little sea salt. It will taste better, while providing beneficial minerals your body needs.

Learn Why You Crave Certain Foods

Often cravings are an indication that you are lacking nutrition of some sort. Learn why you are craving the foods you crave and how you can provide your body with the nutrients it needs. A quick web search will give you the answers you need. For example: instead of reaching for the empty carbs or bad fats, eat almonds or whole grains.

Cook From Scratch

Cooking from scratch does not have to be time consuming or complicated. Take some time up front to choose several simple recipes, buy the ingredients, and plan to cook from scratch for one week. If needed, bulk cook on a day you have the extra time. Bulk cooking will free up the rest of the week. Ease into cooking from scratch and you will learn that it is enjoyable and healthier.

(Editor’s Note: when bulk cooking for the week, find meals that are still tasty when frozen and rewarmed.)

Shop Wisely

Start buying foods in their purest forms. Products with the smallest ingredient list are a great choice. Frozen fruits and vegetables are the best choice after fresh, since they maintain their nutrients more than canned. Buying in bulk, when appropriate, can help combat the cost of buying quality foods versus boxed and processed.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead and being prepared can be the key to healthier eating habits. Keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand at home, pack snacks when you are going out of the house, and keep healthy sweet options in the cupboard for those sweet cravings.

Allow yourself to splurge a little on the healthy foods you know you love and will actually eat, so that you are not tempted to give up on better health. By starting with these simple steps, you can quickly develop healthy eating habits.

About the Author

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about health, family, home and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

Do you have any tips to add to this list? My favourite is smoothies in the morning after my workout – they are nutritious, fast, with little clean up and they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but also the hardest to get in.

 

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Generic & Brand-Name Medications: Pros & Cons

by Head Health Nutter on February 28, 2015

Here’s another helpful article by regular contributor, Dixie Somers. Today she helps us consider the pros and cons of both generic and name brand medications.

Brand name medication can be extremely expensive in our day and age, which is why more than 70% of prescription drugs taken in the United States are generic. However, there are pros and cons to both prescription and generic medications—it often comes down to preference, availability, insurance approvals, and cost. It can be difficult to decide between generic and brand name medications, especially when you don’t have all the facts. Take a look at the following pros and cons, to get a good idea of which option is best for you:

Deciding between Generic and Brand-Name Medications - Know the Pros and ConsThe Pros of Brand Name Drugs

Despite their reputation, there are a few key benefits to taking brand-name drugs. First, they are usually under patent, which means that they are the latest drug in their class and may have newly discovered ingredients and benefits. Second, the testing of brand name medication includes their fillers and other ingredients. Last, brand name drugs have completely accurate labeling. The contents and possible interactions of their fillers is included, so there is no guessing when it comes to knowing exactly what is in your medications.

The Cons of Brand Name Drugs

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5 Post Workout Snacks You Should Try Today

by Head Health Nutter on February 25, 2015

We’re on a role with nutritious eating tips lately! Here’s another article along the same vein from guest blogger, Hayley Irvin, who shares 5 really delicious, healthy snacks to have after a workout. 

Exercise is a vital component of healthy living. Experts suggest a minimum of two and a half hours per week, though it never hurts to do more. To get the most out of a workout, it’s important to hydrate and fuel up before you hit the gym.

However, having a snack after working out can be beneficial as well, helping restore the energy and nutrients your body used while exercising. To improve your mood, energy levels, and muscle fatigue after a workout, try eating one of these healthy snacks:

1. Turkey Sandwiches

promax-post-protein-snackTurkey sandwiches are a great mix of protein and carbohydrates to help refuel and reenergize your body after a workout. Try to use freshly sliced turkey as opposed to lunch meat, and opt for whole grain breads or wraps instead of products made with white flour. The protein will provide your body with the amino acids necessary for muscle growth and tissue repair, while the healthy sugars in the whole grains will help regulate your blood sugar throughout the day, helping you feel fuller for longer. Load up on avocados, sprouts, tomatoes and other veggies to add a little something extra to your sandwich!

2. Hummus & Pita Bread

A staple of Middle Eastern diets for centuries, hummus is made of chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. This tasty combination of legumes and oils contains just the right amount of protein, fiber, healthy fats and antioxidants to help keep your heart and muscles in great shape. Like other whole grains, pita bread will help you maintain a steady glucose level throughout the day. You can also spread hummus on sandwiches or wraps or dip fresh veggies in it for extra vitamins and minerals. [click to continue…]

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Diet Tips For Healthy Skin & Hair

by Head Health Nutter on February 23, 2015

Who doesn’t want stronger, vibrant, healthier hair and skin? Today’s guest blogger, Jefferey Morgan suggests a plethora of healthy foods to grow us some beautiful hair and complexion.

When it comes to the hair and skin, creams and shampoos used on a daily basis will not provide proper health. The processes and cells that support vibrant, strong hair and skin rely on a balanced diet. The changes usually take longer, so don’t expect your skin to start shining again immediately after you had a bowl of fresh fruit. Bad dieting leads to acne, red, dry, and even swollen skin. As for the hair, nutritional deficiencies usually lead to weak hair susceptible to breakage.

naturally-grow-hairA proper diet is important if you want to look and feel healthy again; also, you must quit bad habits like drinking lots of alcohol and smoking, as these accelerate your complexion’s unhealthy appearance. Here are some tips on what to eat to have beautiful hair and flawless skin.

Berries for Younger-Looking Skin

Include sizeable portions of berries into your daily diet if you want to have younger-looking, rejuvenated skin. Blueberries in particular, are rich in antioxidants that protect the complexion against damaging free radicals and pre-mature aging. Blackberries are also a great choice; they’re rich in vitamin C and A, and they don’t contain high amounts of sugar either.

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Heart Smart Food Substitutions

by Head Health Nutter on February 21, 2015

Here’s a great followup article to our last entry, Getting Fit With Food, where guest author (Kimberley Laws) suggested healthy substitutions for many unhealthy foods. Today’s guest author, Stu Lieberman, does the same but suggests specific food and drink that will help improve our heart health. 

Eating a heart healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of delicious food. Here are four easy food and beverage substitutions you can make to boost your heart health, without sacrificing flavor.

apple with a heart In place of vegetable or canola oil, use olive oil. Vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, and corn oil, as well as canola oil are loaded with polyunsaturated fats which oxidize easily and become rancid. (Many supermarket oils are deodorized, so you can’t even tell when they’ve gone bad.) When you consume oxidized fats, you’re putting your body at risk for inflammation. These types of oils are also loaded with omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-6s are essential for good health, most Americans are already getting enough omega-6s in their diets. Too many omega-6s can lead to inflammation.

Olive oil is a great heart healthy alternative because it’s a monounsaturated fat, which helps lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, while supporting “good” HDL cholesterol. Olive oil also contains plant sterols and stanols, also called phytosterols. Phytosterols have a similar structure to cholesterol, so they compete with cholesterol for absorption in your intestines, essentially blocking cholesterol from being absorbed. Unabsorbed cholesterol is eliminated from the body and blood cholesterol levels are reduced.

In place of white wine, drink a robust red. In terms of calories and carbs, red wine and white wine are pretty even. What makes red wine more heart healthy are the antioxidants and polyphenols. Top of the antioxidant list is resveratrol, and red wine is brimming with it. Resveratrol has been found to help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce LDL cholesterol, and prevent blood clots. [click to continue…]

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Getting Fit With Food

by Head Health Nutter on February 19, 2015

I’ve heard a time or two that nutrition is more important than activity when determining health. While I feel both are equally important, here is an article by Kimberley Laws, where she lovingly and logically speaks about how food can make you more fit and provides you food substitutes for your favourite junk foods. 

Are your taste buds and your waistline in a state of perpetual disagreement? Your palate is no dummy. It knows that a tossed salad tastes like lawnmower clippings when compared to a juicy cheeseburger and a side order of golden fries. But your waistline knows where your fast food meal will end up–doled out equally on each side of your muffin top. It seems that your body parts will never meet “eye to eye.”

baked appleThankfully, you can appease your taste buds and your midriff. Yes, it’s true. There are foods that have the sinful tastiness of “junk food,” without all of the waistline-expanding calories, fats, and sugar.

Faux French Fries

Mm. When it comes to the preferred way to eat the potato, the French Fry tops most Americans’ lists. Whether you like your fries topped with ketchup, salt, or, as the French Canadians like them–in the form of poutine–these slender, fried potato sticks are a taste-bud treat. Surely, nothing can compare to this crispy starchy goodness.

Think again. The sweet potato packs significantly higher amounts of vitamins, has more fiber, and lower levels of carbs and calories. Plus, their sweet flavor will make you feel like your indulging, when you really aren’t. And, instead of deep-frying your sweet potatoes, they can be lightly fried in a saucepan or–better yet–roasted.

Befriend a Flavonoid [click to continue…]

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Best Fat Burning Exercises for Your Buns

by Head Health Nutter on February 15, 2015

Here’s another interesting and informative article by guest blogger, Brooke Chaplan. This one is about firming up flabby buns!

Your backside is one of many areas many people find difficult to tighten and tone. Fortunately, there are many exercises that can help you burn fat and build muscle in your buns. Below are some examples of the exercises you may want to try to make a new effort in your exercise routine.

Reverse Lunge
Best Fat Burning Exercises for Your BunsLunges not only target your buns, but also work the muscles in your legs. The first step in performing a reverse lunge is to stand up straight with your arms at your side. After that, you will need to step backwards until your knee nearly touches the floor. The opposite knee should form a 90 degree angle. Return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise using the other leg.

If you want to make this exercise a little more challenging, then you should perform it with a weight in your hand. Twist your torso to add a bit of core work as well.

Squats
Squats are often one of the first exercises that come to mind when people think about toning up your buns. In order to perform a squat, you will need to stand with your feet hip-width apart. After that squat down like you are sitting in a chair. Make sure that you keep your back straight while you are performing the squats. (Editor’s Note: I’ve found that a proper squat can be performed by tensing your core and sticking out your butt when you squat down.) To increase intensity, jump out of them each time.

Step-Up
You will need a step or a bench to perform this exercise. The bench or step should be about knee-height. Place your foot on the step or bench and step up. Step back down using the opposite leg. Repeat the same exercise using the opposite leg. This exercise is very effective even if you only use your own body weight as resistance. However, you can challenge yourself and burn more calories if you hold a weight while performing this exercise. [click to continue…]

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Athlete Spotlight: What Dancers Bring to Their Art

by Head Health Nutter on February 12, 2015

Who isn’t impressed with a dancer’s body? Did you know that you can obtain a body of a dancer, too? Today’s guest blogger, Brooke Chaplan, shares with us how dancers achieve their look and skills. 

Dancers combine the finest aspects of art and athleticism while performing. It is important for them to be physically strong in many areas in order to be able to move efficiently and achieve many of the different body positions. Even though the specific skills needed depend on the particular genre of dance, there are a few common athletic traits that are necessary for dancers to perform with precision. Dancers who master these areas of fitness may also have a greater advantage over other athletes who do not always train these skills as much.

Muscular Strength
Athlete Spotlight What Dancers Bring to Their ArtStronger muscles enable dancers to sustain the weight of their bodies while holding positions and performing intricate movements. Core strength, in particular, keeps the body under better control and helps achieve cleaner lines.

If a dancer is performing with a partner or in a group, strength can make it possible to execute lifts and other similar movements. Muscular strength can also increase endurance and enable a dancer to finish a performance with energy.

Weight training and callisthenic exercise that use the body’s own weight (such as pushups and squats) can dramatically increase muscular strength. Don’t forget Pilates to supplement core workouts and help in performances.

Flexibility
The more limber the body, the easier it is to move with fluidity. Splits, arabesques, and other movements commonly seen in dance are best performed when a dancer’s body is flexible. Dancers who are more flexible often have the ability to contort their bodies into unique positions that can really wow an audience. [click to continue…]

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Learn to Live a Well-Balanced & Healthy Life

by Head Health Nutter on February 10, 2015

Living a healthy lifestyle is easier said than done, isn’t it? In our Information-filled society, taking advice and acting on it is difficult because you don’t know where to start! Today’s guest blogger, Evenlyn Golston, shares with us some of the basics of living a healthy lifestyle.  

What is a Healthy Lifestyle?

In today’s rapidly evolving and changing world, it is sometimes hard to find a truly reliable and trustworthy source of information. And because there are so many preventable illnesses and diseases in the Western culture, many people are struggling to discover how to live a healthier lifestyle.

balanced-healthy-lifestyleAlthough Live Lighter teaches that everyone is an individual with a unique composition, several aspects of the human body (physical, mental, emotional, etc.) require the same type of maintenance and care. Working on all of these aspects, internally and externally, you can dare to achieve full harmony (e.i. balanced well-being).

List of Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Let’s take a look at each aspect of a healthy life separately in order to figure out what we need to do as a lifestyle:

Physical

First, a healthy body is a healthy mind (or can it work both ways?). You’ve got to take a look at how to develop your body and remain in a good shape. There are several ways to keep your body healthy.

Initially, of course, you should check what you are eating. A well-rounded diet of fresh, wholesome foods will definitely ensure the health of your body from the inside out. Reducing the amount of food rich with the “bad” fats (e.g. saturated) will definitely be a good start. Maintaining cholesterol levels within acceptable limits drastically increases the chances that you’ll live a happy and long life. [click to continue…]

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