The Best Winter Foods for Staying Healthy

With winter on the doorstep, it’s vital to make sure that you’re eating healthy to keep any illnesses at bay. No one has the time or energy to fall ill with a cold or flu. Many may turn to warm soups and delicious holiday treats during this time of year, but a focus on foods that boost immunity should be prioritized.

  1. Soups
    There are many soups to choose from that are filled to bursting with flavor and nutritious value. Aside from the traditional chicken noodle and tomato varieties, try loaded cauliflower or a classic beef stew loaded with sweet root veggies. Creamy spinach with plenty of garlic or ginger carrot are varieties that your immune system will especially love!
  2. Leafy Greens
    Many children may hate these kinds of vegetables, but equally as many mothers know how important eating these veggies can be! Many are chock full of iron, which is essential to keep your immune system running in tiptop shape. Like spinach, others contain zinc, which is another component needed to ensure any viruses encountered are quickly dispatched.
  3. Citrus Fruits
    For keeping your energy and immunity levels high, go for your citrus fruits! Vitamin C is your friend this time of year. If possible, try to go for fresh fruits over juices. While juices are great in a pinch, they can be loaded with added sugars. They make perfect snacks!
  4. Oatmeal
    Oatmeal is known for keeping your heart healthy, but it can also assist with giving you energy. This breakfast staple is known for making you feel fuller quicker and longer since it is a slow-release food. Enjoying your oats with nuts or fruits can also add more nutrients to your meal to make it an even better way to begin the day!

Wintertime, like any time of year, is full of amazing foods to enjoy. Choosing ones that will keep one healthy is crucial. From oatmeal for breakfast to soups for lunch to veggies and fruits for dinnertime and snacking, you’ll find yourself more resistant to any illnesses lurking around. Do your best to make good winter food choices, and your body will thank you for it.

Is The Zero Carb-diet Right For You?

Most people have been keen on what they take into their bodies lately. A zero-carb diet has become an adaptation for many. They believe that the diet is a magical way of shedding off weight, taming abnormal desire for certain foods, and keeping a healthy body.

A zero-carb diet is not as friendly as other diets that allow you to have scarce starch portions. This diet prohibits any intake of carbohydrates. However, the essence of carbs in the body can’t be ignored since they play a significant role in keeping people’s bodies energetic and ensuring their brains are okay.

Before embracing a zero-carb diet, nutritionists advise people to be gradual on it. Cutting carbohydrates at once could lead to issues like adverse mood swings and low energy levels. Also, they are advised on the essence of understanding their bodies, especially those with conditions.

Despite the many arguments surrounding the zero-carb diet, health specialists have confirmed that it is healthful to stick to the diet. Weight loss is the most significant benefit of this diet. Low carbs are good at getting rid of excess water and reducing the sugar in the body. This action translates to weight loss without extreme feelings of hunger.

Many lifestyle diseases are associated with excess weight. Among them are cardiovascular problems, which may lead to the inability to get involved in many activities. Another common condition attracted by too much weight is diabetes. After digestion, carbohydrates become glucose, which means that too much glucose will increase insulin, which is simply diabetes. Therefore, a zero carb-diet significantly curbs these diseases, thus keeping you healthy.

Generally, experts say that Zero-carb diets are okay for people, especially those with obesity. However, they argue that women that are in the child-bearing stage should go slow on it. The reason for the argument is that a Zero-carb diet might interfere with their reproductive hormones. This interference may lead to a delay in their giving birth or even cause them to be barren.

A zero-carb diet has worked for many people with a few registering manageable side effects. They affirm that the effects are nothing compared to the benefits that come with the diet. Anyone who wants to embark on the diet must avoid baked foods, junks, sugary cereals, grains, and starchy vegetables. However, it’s wise for them to visit a health and nutrition expert for further guidance.

Proper Protein Intake on a Plant-Based Diet

When someone begins a plant-based diet, the first question they have is how to get enough protein. The answer is there is plenty of protein in a well-rounded plant-based diet. All plant foods are a complete protein, which means they have all essential amino acids.

The Proper Amount of Protein

We’ve been told that we need huge amounts of protein to be big and strong, and that isn’t true. All anyone has to do is look up plant-based athletes and bodybuilders to see that.

There are formulas that show us how much protein we need. The recommended daily amount (RDA) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

This comes out to 65 grams of protein for an average 180-pound man, and for a 140-pound woman, 50 grams of protein per day. It is easy to get this much protein eating a plant-based diet.

Active people might need more than the RDA amounts. If a person lifts weights or does any type of serious exercise routine, they need about 1.3 to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight or 0.54 to 0.77 grams per pound.

Getting Enough Protein On a Plant-Based Diet

As long as you eat enough calories, you will get plenty of protein. A well-rounded plant-based diet will include beans, legumes, lentils, whole grains, potatoes, oats, quinoa, seeds, nuts, and fruit.

There are studies that show protein from plant foods is healthier than getting protein from meat. Red meat can raise the risk of certain cancers, and all meat is high in saturated fat. Meat contains no fiber or phytonutrients, while plant-based foods have plenty of healthy fiber and immune system boosting phytonutrients.

Some plant-based foods and their protein amounts include:

  • 1 cup of tempeh has 31 grams of protein
  • 1 cup of tofu has 20g
  • 1 cup of lentils has 18g
  • All types of beans and peas range from 13 to 15g
  • 1 cup of rolled oats has 11g
  • 1 cup of quinoa has 8g

Unless someone has a diet of only lettuce and fruit, they will get more than enough protein eating a plant-based diet.

This article was originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

The Planetary Diet’s Greatest Benefits

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Early this year, an international team of 37 scientists, with specialties ranging from agriculture to nutrition and from health to economics and government, commissioned by the EAT-Lancet Commission published a landmark study that focused on the environmental impacts of various diets. The study concluded that a diet rich with plant-based foods and scarce on animal-sourced products leads to overall improved health and environmental benefits.

The authors of the study offered a warning in their publication: a global change in diet and food production is needed now as it can lead to sustainable food production, reduce further environmental damage, and end the malnourishment of three billion people across the globe, and could result in up to 11 million fewer premature deaths without harming the planet.

Because the world’s population is set to reach 10 billion by 2050, the commissioned scientists warn “current diets are pushing the Earth beyond its planetary boundaries, while causing ill health. This puts both people and the planet at risk.”

After reviewing the results, the commission recommended everyone on the planet to change their diet to 50 percent lower in red meat and sugar than the average western diet and much much more fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Walter Willett, a Harvard University nutrition expert who was part of the commission, stated that the diet they and the commission have suggested “allows flexibility to accommodate various food types, agricultural systems, cultural traditions, and individual dietary preferences, including omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan diets.

Take a look at this example of the precise diet recommended by the Commission that would provide optimal calories and nutrients, based on 2,500 calories per day:

  • 811 calories of whole grains such as rice or wheat
  • 39 calories of starchy vegetables such as potatoes
  • 15 calories of beef or lamb
  • 15 calories of pork
  • 62 calories of poultry
  • 19 calories of egg – about three eggs every two weeks
  • 40 calories of fish
  • 172 calories of beans, lentils or peas
  • 112 calories of soy food
  • 142 calories of peanuts
  • 149 calories of tree nuts
  • 153 calories of dairy
  • 68 calories worth of vegetables
  • 126 calories of fruit
  • 354 calories of unsaturated vegetable oil
  • 60 calories of saturated palm oil
  • No dairy fat at all
  • 36 calories of lard or tallow
  • 120 calories of sweeteners

This diet would include about two small servings of red meat and two servings of fish a week and about one glass a day of fat-free milk.

Based on this diet, all three different analyses done came up with the same projection: millions fewer would die prematurely, and the earth would sustain far less damage.

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.

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 the key to 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.

Testosterone-Boosting Foods for the Male Diet

Testosterone is a male hormone responsible for hair growth, sperm production, and building healthy bones. As men age, or suffer from chronic illness, they lose testosterone which can cause low libido and other medical issues. Testosterone replacement therapy can help men by using medication in the form of pills, patches, or gels. However, there are natural ways to prevent low T levels; by consuming these testosterone-boosting foods.

  1. Tuna

Tuna fish is loaded with vitamin D, which is linked to testosterone production. Tuna is also rich in protein, low in calories, and good for heart health. Both fresh and canned fish can naturally boost testosterone levels. Besides tuna, sardines and salmon are other excellent sources of vitamin D.

  1. Egg yolks

Another rich source of vitamin D, egg yolks contain more nutrients than egg whites and can increase low testosterone. You can safely eat one egg yolk per day if your cholesterol levels are in check.

  1. Fortified cereals

If you have to watch your blood cholesterol, you can still raise your T levels during breakfast with fortified cereals. Many ready-to-eat kinds of cereals on the market today are enriched with a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, niacin, iron, riboflavin, and folic acid.

  1. Oysters

Zinc is a vital nutrient that keeps male hormones at regular levels from puberty through adulthood. Oysters are a good source of zinc and are beneficial for men with zinc deficiencies. A daily dose of zinc can increase T levels, especially during weight training. Consumption of oysters has shown to increase the amount of sperm in your semen. They also contain D-aspartic acid which dramatically increases the synthesis of testosterone in the testes.

  1. Beef

While eating too much beef has been linked to certain cancers, some cuts have nutrients to increase testosterone. Chuck roast and ground beef contain zinc, and beef liver has a high source of vitamin D. Choose only lean cuts of beef and avoid eating it on a regular basis.

  1. Beans

Beans are full of plant-based proteins, zinc, and vitamin D, and is powerful at protecting the heart. Choose from kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas or lentils to give yourself a good dose of testosterone-boosting nutrition. Beans provide a winning combo being both low in fat and high in protein.

Brain Food: How A Healthy Diet Leads to a Healthy Mind

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Myth: Your mind and body are separate.

For both your stomach’s sake, and for your emotional well-being, I’ll have to kindly ask you to very slowly put down that fourth candy bar. It is common knowledge in the nutritional world that excess sugar harms the body both physically and mentally, but let me present to you the chemical proof:

One of our vital neurotransmitters which regulates our mood, serotonin, is produced right alongside the neurons that manage our digestion – in our gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin’s neighbor neurons also have a hand in our mental health, after they’ve of course, finished dealing with the fruits, vegetables, and chocolate bars passing through our system.Things go awry when the sustenance we choose works against us.

According to Eva Selhub MD of Harvard Health Publishing, certain foods just don’t do it for us the way natural sugars do. Processed sugar can actually cause extreme inflammation and debilitate most of the neurons in our gastrointestinal tract, which means not only our digestive system weakens, but the production of sufficient serotonin and our neurons’ ability to cope with stress and mood swings take a substantial hit as well.

Cue a stress-induced reach for that chocolate bar. Our bodies let us know when we need nutrients, but low emotional wellness can also trigger a craving that we don’t actually need, says Jennifer Kromberg PsyD of Psychology Today. An argument at work, unhealthy fasting or dieting, or the promise of a reward after writing a proposal when nothing else seems to be going quite right in our lives, are all dangerous paths that can lead to the understandable desire for quick and easy processed sugar.

I think of it as a cyclical process. If we are having these unhappy cravings, there’s a high chance our serotonin levels are already too low, and unhealthy foods are going to make matters worse. When we reach for that candy bar, we are potentially doing what has damaged our serotonin production and contributed to our dissatisfaction in the first place. Selhub mentions that those who take regular probiotics not only have the advantage of beneficial bacteria to fight off toxins in our food, but have also clearly exhibited positive turns in mental health.

If we want to feel physically strong, deal effectively with outside stressors, and whittle down problematic cravings, then a balanced diet is our key to both a healthier and scientifically- proven-to-be-happier life.

Your gastrointestinal tract and your mental are better off without that devious fourth candy bar anyway. Personally, I trust apples.

Cut The Carbs: A Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

The phrase “low carb” can be scary for a lot of people. It means cutting out grains, sugars, fruits and for some people it means giving up some of their favorite foods. What shouldn’t be scary is how easy it is to make these changes in your everyday life.

The keto diet is known for being a low carb diet that allows the body to produce ketones in the liver for energy. Normally when something high in carbohydrates is put into the body, the body produces glucose and insulin for energy. With the lower carb intake of the keto diet, the body stops producing glucose and insulin and goes into a state known as ketosis.  While in ketosis the liver will start to produce ketones which are the byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy.

Ketosis is achieved by restricting the amount of carbs and the amount of protein that is being ate. Too many carbs and too much protein can limit the results of the keto diet and take the body longer to reach the state of ketosis. Keto dieters should also stop snacking, start fasting, drink lots of water, and add exercise into their daily routine. Once ketosis is reached, physical symptoms such as increased urination, dry mouth, bad breath, reduced hunger and increased energy will materialize in the individual.

Before starting the keto diet, a strict diet plan should be created to maximize optimal results. A key thing to remember about the keto diet is that the diet should consist of about 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. When setting up a diet plan, the following higher carbohydrate food groups should be cut from the everyday diet:

  1. Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, pasta
  2. Sugar – honey, agave
  3. Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges
  4. Tubers – potatoes, yams, anything that is a starch

Once the higher carbohydrate foods are removed, the following healthy fats should be added into the diet plan:

  1. Meat – fish, beef, lamb, eggs, poultry, shellfish
  2. Leafy greens – spinach, kale
  3. High fat dairy – butter, high fat cream, hard cheeses
  4. Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green beans
  5. Avocados & berries – raspberries, blackberries, any berry that has low glycemic impact
  6. Sweeteners – stevia, low carb sweeteners
  7. Other fats – coconut oil, high – fat salad dressing, nut butters

If keto is being done specifically for weight loss, also consider keeping net carb intake at between 20-30g. Net carbs are the total amount of dietary carbohydrates minus the the total fiber. But remember, when starting any diet, you are going to come down with the “flu.” Keto flu symptoms start to take shape when the body transitions from burning sugars for energy to burning flat. Symptoms can range anywhere from sugar cravings to stomach pains, nausea, cramping, and confusion.

Not only is the keto diet a great way to go from a high to low intake of carbs, it also helps with a variety of other health and everyday lifestyle changes. This is a great way to control blood sugar levels, increase mental performance, increase energy and normalize hunger, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve skin by reducing the likelihood of acne.