Low-Carb Vegetables to Add to Your Diet

Cutting back on carbohydrates can be an effective way to lose weight. While cutting out bread and pasta are no-brainers when it comes to limiting carb intake, carbs can also be found in unlikely places, like vegetables. Vegetables are necessary for a healthy diet, but it’s all about finding the right ones for your body and personal health goals. If you’re looking to lose weight or stay lean, look for the following low-carb/high-fiber vegetables:

Zucchini

One cup of raw zucchini contains only four grams of carbs, a quarter of which being fiber. Zucchini is extremely filling, firm in texture, and mild in taste, making it a perfect substitute to many favorite foods. Swap french fries for baked zucchini spears, pasta for zucchini noodles, or lasagna noodles for thick, vertical slices of zucchini to make low carb, delicious meals.

Bell Peppers

Chock-full of antioxidants, bell peppers are crunchy, tasty, and low in carbohydrates. One cup of bell peppers contains only 9 grams of carbs, 3 of them being fiber. For a low-carb, yet satisfying meal, try a tuna fish salad-stuffed out bell pepper, and feel free to get creative.

Green Beans

Though a member of the legume family, green beans are much lower in carbs than other beans. One cup of green beans has just 10 grams of carbs, almost half of which is fiber. This vegetable is the perfect side to a protein, but also great thrown into a veggie stir-fry for some added crunch.

Cucumbers

Eating a cucumber is comparable to drinking water. While they may not contain as much fiber as some of the other vegetables on this list, they are one of the lowest in carbohydrate levels. A cup of cucumber is only 4 grams of carbs, with one of those being fiber. Swap carrot sticks or pita chips for cucumber slices when dipping into hummus or salsa for a healthy snack.

Tomatoes

Containing 6 grams of carbs, a third of which being fiber, tomatoes are an incredibly healthy addition to most diets. Though technically a fruit, tomatoes are often seen as vegetables and are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium.

Celery

Also high in water content, celery is much higher in fiber than cucumber. Celery is great dipped into nut butter or hummus, or added to soups and stews, and with only 3 grams of carbs (2 of them being fiber), celery is a snack you can feel good about.

Many people think of carbohydrates in a traditional sense, solely contained in breads and pasta. It’s easy to forget that almost everything has some level carb-count. Carbohydrates are necessary for energy levels and digestion, but it’s all about finding those that are right for you. Incorporating these vegetables into your diet will offer you healthier alternatives to some carb-heavy foods.

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Name Brand Cereals That Are Unhealthier Than You Think

We’ve all seen the commercials. Mothers lovingly pour cereal into the bowls of their excited children. Mom is smiling because she’s happy she can give her little one a bowl of something healthy without complaints. These commercials are pretty deceptive, though. Companies often claim their cereals are nutritious, but some of those “healthy cereals” are just as jammed full of sugar as Count Chocula and Fruity Pebbles.

As you browse the breakfast aisle during your next shopping trip, steer clear of these cereals:

Kellogg’s Original Fruit Loops

Kellogg’s is a brand famous for boasting health facts that deem their cereals acceptable for a wholesome breakfast, and their famous Fruit Loops is no exception. However, all those heath facts fall flat when compared to the sugar content of the cereal. When researchers weighed the cereal to measure the ingredients, they found that 41.4% of the weight was sugar.

Post’s Honeycomb

Some cereals that have high sugar counts makeup for their sugar content with lots of fiber and protein. Honeycomb isn’t one of them. The cereal contains only 2 grams of protein, less than a gram of fiber, 150 milligrams of sodium, and 10 full grams of sugar. Honeycomb is full of sugar and spice, but nothing nice.

Kellogg’s Apple Jacks

Just because this cereal has the name apple in it, doesn’t make it healthy. Apple Jacks is 42.9% sugar and has none of the nutritional value of its namesake. Though the cereal boasts to have dried apple in it, the proportion of real apple to sugar and carbohydrates is too small to truly even count.

Quaker Oats’ Life

Often thought to be healthy, Life doesn’t have nearly enough protein or fiber to keep someone full. With only 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, 160 milligrams of sodium, and 6 grams of sugar. The sugar count on this cereal isn’t as high as others, but with so little nutritional value nothing about this cereal is healthy.

Quaker Oats’ Cap n’ Crunch

What may be more alarming than the 12 grams of sugar is the amount of salt this cereal contains. One serving packs 210 milligrams of salt! Cap n’ Crunch also contains only one gram of protein and less than a gram of fiber.

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks

A serving of Honey Smacks contains more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie. Let that sink in for a minute. This cereal, which is 55.6% sugar, is more unhealthy than what’s long been known as one of the unhealthiest foods. As mentioned above, the Honey Smacks box also contains the health facts used to try and market the cereal as being a healthy breakfast choice. However, with the amount of sugar the cereal contains, all other nutrients are rather ineffective and pale in comparison.

Don’t let misleading advertising and nutrition facts lead you astray. Make sure you’re doing your research and thoroughly reading labels to understand what you are eating. Even if something doesn’t seem unhealthy by looking at the numbers, remember to keep the serving size in mind. 6 grams of sugar is a lot when the serving size is only half a cup of cereal.

Foods Athletes Should Avoid

Regardless of the exact sport, there are several foods that athletes should avoid to ensure maximum efficiency on the court or field. These foods have poor nutritional qualities or high caloric levels that are inappropriate for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy, high-functioning body.

Food 1: Pasta Made with Refined Flours

Pasta made with refined flour is a poor nutritional choice that athletes will not commonly add to their meals due to the many health issues associated with high-carb diets. In addition, pasta has a lot of calories that can lead to weight gain. For obvious reasons, athletes will want to maintain their weight, which can help protect their bodies’ joints from damage during physical activity, for example.

Food 2: Sugary Boxed Cereals

You’d be hard pressed to find boxed cereals in the kitchen cabinets of athletes, especially those catered to a younger audience, i.e. Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc. Rather than eating this unhealthy food for breakfast, an athlete should make healthier cooked oats with nutritious fruit such as raisins or berries, or perhaps a vegetable omelette.

Food 3: High-Sodium Canned Soups

Most canned soups are high in sodium and other preservatives, making this option a bad nutritional choice for an athlete. Consuming a lot of salt can reduce an athlete’s level of performance because it can cause a number of serious health issues including, but not limited to, high blood pressure, kidney damage, and cardiovascular disease.

Food 4: High-Fat Meats

Meats high in fat can, obviously, cause a severe decrease in athletic performance. Athletes often look for leaner meats such as chicken, turkey, or most seafood to protect the body’s cardiovascular system. Additionally, athletes would be wise to cut off the excess fat from poultry, beef, or pork.

Food 5: Ice Cream

While ice cream and most junk foods are not harmful in moderation, consuming these products immediately before or after a game can be. A standard serving size of ice cream contains high levels of fat along with several tablespoons of sugar. Eating this several times a week can lead to not only weight gain, but an increase in cravings for sugary foods in general.

Food 6: Microwaveable Popcorn

Most brands of microwave popcorn contain artificial ingredients such as preservatives, sodium, fat, and sugar. While plain popcorn has only a few calories, microwaveable popcorn with excessive amounts of butter is often processed with several substances. Preparing air-popped popcorn for a snack is a much healthier choice, especially athletes.

Tips to Help Avoid Stress Eating

There’s arguably nothing more satisfying than eating while you are hungry. However, this is not to be confused with stress eating. Stress eating is characterized by consuming food in response to your emotional state rather than simply hunger. Basically, your mood dictates when you eat, and how much you consume in one sitting. This can be an especially unhealthy lifestyle, but there are ways present to combat stress eating. Here are some tips for you to avoid this behavior and return to a normal pattern of food consumption.

Practice Breathing

Taking a deep breath is a powerful tool for you to use in response to stress eating. This is because breathing controls the portion of the brain that controls the flight or fight response that is activated in the sympathetic nervous system. This will help calm you down and the urge to eat or binge should decrease.

Eat With a Conscious

If you eat consciously, it removes all of the rushed nature of stress eating. Take smaller bites and allow yourself to fully appreciate what you are eating. When you become a conscious eater, you will then learn to understand the difference between when you are full and when you are eating for the sake of eating.

Change Your Approach

Believe it or not, stress eating is all about your approach to the situation. Stress eating is predicated on conflicting emotional feelings. This means changing your lifestyle and switching to a healthier diet. Once you do that, you will appreciate the value of indulgence. Unless you are on a specialized diet, stick to foods that are healthy yet filling. The habit of stress eating may slowly wither away as a result.

Examine Your Feelings First

Arguably the most important thing you can do before stress eating is examining your own emotional state beforehand. Self-reflection is an important tool for stress eaters because stress eating is not about what you are eating, but what is going on in your head at the time. Examine if you are breathing correctly. Is your heart racing a bit faster than it should? Observe your thoughts and your physical behavior, and try to slow down.

Stress eating can be difficult to overcome, but these simple steps can help you exponentially.

Sleeping Positions and Your Health

Originally published on DrZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Most people don’t get enough sleep, and most people know that a lack of sleep can lead to some significant health problems. What many people are not aware of is that the position that one sleeps in at night may also affect one’s health. Certain sleeping positions are better than others when it comes to preventing back problems, as well as some other disorders.

pexels-photo-935777-768x512Sleeping on one’s back is the best overall sleep position. Sleeping on the back helps support the spine and keeps both the neck and spine in a proper alignment. Sleeping on one’s back is also helpful for those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease. There are some negatives to sleeping on one’s back, however. This position can increase snoring. Those who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems often find it difficult to get air when sleeping in this position for an extended period of time as well.

If a person doesn’t like sleeping on his or her back, the next best position is on the side. Sleeping on one’s side isn’t as good for the spine as sleeping on the back, but it does provide support. Side sleeping does reduce the chances of snoring during the night.

One of the worst sleep positions when it comes to maintaining good back support is the fetal position. Sleeping in a tightly curled position puts stress on the back and other joints. Sleeping in the fetal position can also be detrimental to breathing patterns. With that said, those who have preexisting respiratory problems will not want to sleep in the fetal position.

Sleeping on the stomach is probably the worst sleep position of all. When a person sleeps on his or her stomach, it forces the head to be placed on one side for an extended period of time. This places a lot of stress on the neck, which can lead to orthopedic problems and joint pain. Some people experience numbness in the extremities if they sleep on their stomachs for an extended period of time. There is one significant benefit to stomach sleeping, however. People that sleep on their stomachs tend to snore less than those that sleep in most other positions.

Most people don’t sleep in the same position throughout the night. It is extremely common for people to move around quite frequently in their sleep, perhaps without even realizing it. It’s important to start out in a good position and try to maintain that as best as possible.

Air Travel: Staying Healthy While Flying

Originally published on DrZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Traveling the world is a part of many people’s lives with the goal of experiencing new cultures and seeing some of the most iconic landmarks around the globe. Flying, however, is typically the least enjoyable part for most. Aside from the tediousness of navigating your way through airport security and waiting for flight times, the actual flight itself can pose a number of public health concerns that often fall by the wayside.

While in-flight safety and technology has come a remarkably long way since the first commercial airplane, traveling at extreme heights is always challenging to the human body. At heights of over 30,000 feet, oxygen is much more scarce within a plane’s cabin, putting an added stress on the system trying to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream. To combat this, it is suggested to take long, easy, deep breaths as consistently as possible. Though this can help, it is highly recommended that frequent air travelers consider the following in-flight strategies in order to maintain their overall health.

Get Up and Move

It is not uncommon for passengers to go the entire duration of their flights without standing. Depending on how long that flight may be, this can be extremely detrimental to the body. Staying seated for long periods of time can cause blood clots in the legs, or deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. These complications can even lead to dehydrations due to the lack of blood reaching your upper body.

If getting up and walking about the cabin is easier said than done, performing simple leg stretches in your seat is a great way to contract the muscles and promote blood flow. These can be anything from deep knee bends, to contracting the calf muscles, to tapping your feet (so long as you aren’t disturbing your fellow passengers).

Limit Your Food Intake

It may seem counterintuitive, but keeping food portion sizes to a bare minimum can help in preserving your health while traveling through the air. According to Pratima Raichur of Pratima Ayurvedic Skin Care, passing on colder foods and drinks can help decrease levels of “Vata,” a dry Ayurvedic constitution that increases in colder settings. Eating warm foods and drinking hot tea or coffee is easier on your digestive system at such heights.

Remain Hygienic

Being on an open plane with possibly hundreds of other people makes for a breeding ground of germs and airborne diseases. Be sure to pack simple hygienic carry ons such as liquid hand sanitizers (under 100ml in volume), tissues, and extra napkins, for example. Another strategy is avoiding sugary drinks, as this can promote the production of phlegm in the back of the throat, leading to coughing and sinus complications.

Increasing Keratin Through Your Dietary Intake

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Looking good is just as much about taking care of your body on the inside as it is on the outside. Keratin is a protein that makes up your skin, nails, and hair. It is also found in your internal glands and organs. Keratin is less prone to tearing or scratching compared to any other protein found in the body. It is derived of wool, horn, and feathers of different animals and is often used in hair products. Keratin also strengthens the outer layer of the skin and boosts hair, skin, and nail growth. Keratin treatments and supplements can help strengthen your hair and keep it looking healthier, but there are several ways you can increase your natural keratin by adding certain foods to your diet.

Protein

Start by maintaining a diet that is rich in protein. Protein provides the body with amino acids needed to produce keratin. To prevent heart disease, avoid or limit your intake of fatty red meats. Choose fish, chicken, low-fat dairy, and lean meats instead to boost keratin production and enhance your hair, skin, and nails.

Iron

Foods that are rich in iron help transport oxygen from red blood cells to your hair follicles. Iron is found in animal protein and is easily absorbed by the body. Consume iron-rich foods found in both animal protein and plant foods including duck, turkey, shrimp, eggs, pork, lamb, beans, soybeans, black-eyed peas, lentils, and tofu.

Vitamins

Vitamin C aids in the absorption of vegetarian-based iron. To increase keratin production, eat grapefruit, oranges, papaya, strawberries, peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts at the same time that you eat vegetable-based protein. Vitamin B enhances red blood cells that carry nutrients to your follicles to grow hair. Foods with folate and vitamin B-6 and B-12 include oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, lentils, garbanzo beans, bananas, shellfish, white potatoes, chicken breasts, parsnips, spinach, and beets.

Biotin-Rich Foods

Biotin is essential in metabolizing amino acids that create keratin. It is also useful in strengthening the hair and nails. Dietary sources of biotin are found in raw egg whites, and egg yolks.

Implementing these foods in your diet will affect the growth of new keratin. However, one should not expect immediate results. It can take anywhere from six months to a year for you to see a visible change. Supplements, such as whey protein powder and salon keratin treatments, can help speed things up in some cases.