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.

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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.

Fighting Constant Hunger and Maintaining Fitness

It isn’t something many people are proud to admit, but the average caloric intake of Americans today is 20% higher than it was in 1970, and more often than not, our average meals greatly exceed those of other countries in terms of size. So, why is it that many of us are so hungry so frequently? While excessive eating could certainly be a factor, it’s excessive snacking that seems to be our nutritional downfall.

According to personal trainer Sam Wood, there are various reasons why many people find it difficult to suppress their appetites throughout the day. From a sociological standpoint, we’ve been conditioned to believe that more is better when eating. Our average portion sizes as Americans are much larger than what is recommended by health professionals. Even worse, the actual food on our plates is not always what our bodies need.

One prominent issue that has taken the dietary world by storm is the notion that highly caloric foods are unhealthy. Believing this eliminates healthier fats and great sources of protein from one’s diet, seeing as both have higher calorie contents. Carbohydrates are another group of important nutrients that have been cast in a bad light as well, albeit they should be complex carbs and not processed. Complex carbs come with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The goal is to feel comfortably full for as long as possible. Healthy fats, foods rich in protein, and complex carbs will do just that.

The time of day at which you eat could also be beneficial (or detrimental) as well. For example, intermittent fasting allows you to eat all your daily foods within an 8-hour window, thus preventing you from snacking late at night, or eating too early, then feeling hungry again before 10:00 a.m. Though this may sound challenging, there are some helpful rules to abide by:

  • Never eat when bored or due to emotions
  • Meal prep
  • Grocery shop once a week
  • Shoot for 21 meals a week

Sticking to one strict routine can prove challenging. Don’t feel as though this is they key optimal fitness. Changing it up can actually be highly beneficial. For example, some of the most common breakfast foods include bagels, cereal, white toast, etc., all of which are high in carbs that lead to you quickly feeling hungry soon after. More filling foods like eggs, greek yogurt, quinoa can have you feeling fuller longer, while also giving you a protein boost early in your day.

Finding a diet that works for you is exactly that; one that is personal. Results will more than likely vary from person to person, but following these general guidelines could be very helpful.

The Healthiest Grocery Stores to Shop At

Your grocery shopping is extremely significant when it comes to the health of you and your family. There are many natural health food markets and supermarket chains that have expanded their health food offerings in recent years. More stores are beginning to exclude all foods and beverages that carry hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives. Here is a list of the best grocery stores for your organic and all-natural health food needs.

  1. Whole Foods Market

You will find over 420 Whole Foods Market stores in the United States, The United Kingdom, and Canada. It is one of the largest supermarket chains in its class. Whole Foods has the widest variety of freshly caught seafood, organic fruits and vegetables, free-range chicken, and grass-fed beef. Their prepared foods are clearly labeled and never contain any additives or preservatives.

  1. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s carries 80% of their own chain’s brands. While this grocery store is drastically smaller than your local supermarket, the food they do sell is often delicious and impressive. The meals in their brand contain no GMO’s, trans fats, MSG, or artificial preservatives. Trader Joe’s is truly unique and includes gourmet foods, vegetarian, organic, and alternative items for a vegan or vegetarian diet.

  1. Publix Super Markets

Publix stands out above their competition by making healthy eating a family affair. Pregnant women can join Publix Baby Club and receive newsletters about infants and earn special coupons. They have their own brand of pre-packaged organic foods called “GreenWide.” Publix makes it their focus to guide their patrons towards the produce that is the freshest and most nutritious.

  1. Natural Grocers

Based in Colorado, Natural Grocers now has over 90 stores in 14 states. You will find shelves stocked with organic produce, dietary supplements, vitamins, natural and organic food, and natural body products. Natural Grocers makes a free nutritional health coach available to all of its customers.

  1. Sprouts Farmers Market

Similar to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, Sprouts is a chain of over 200 grocery stores that focus on healthy foods, supplements, and fresh produce. Their prices make them extremely competitive with their all-natural and higher-priced competitors. On a daily basis, you will find nutritious fruits, fresh vegetables, a full-service deli, wholesome grains, nuts and sweets, and seafood and meat counters that even make handmade sausages and burgers. Sprouts Farmers Market fully stocks their shelves with ready-to-eat meals, freshly baked goods, gluten-free groceries, and gourmet cheeses, as well.