Sunday, January 13, 2013

3 Vegetables That Lower High Blood Pressure

When your doctor tells you that you have a high blood pressure or hypertension, it signals that your health is at risk. Hypertension exposes you to heart diseases and stroke. These two belong to the top three conditions that kill many Americans annually.
How Do You Know That You Have High Blood Pressure?
A simple blood pressure test done by a doctor or nurse will determine if you have high blood pressure or not. Or if you have a device to check it at home, you can do that too. A reading below 120/80 is considered the normal blood pressure.
Once your blood pressure hovers over the 120/80-139/89 level, then you have what is called prehypertension. You don't have high blood pressure yet, but unless you take steps to lower it, then your chances of having it will increase in the future.
Finally, if you reach the 140/90 level and above, then you already have high blood pressure. You should now take serious steps to normalize it. Otherwise, you run the risk of suffering from heart diseases and stroke, as we mentioned earlier.
How Can You Lower Your Blood Pressure?
Changing your diet is one of the first steps you should take to lower your blood pressure. This is especially the case if you are accustomed to eating foods that are high in fat and cholesterol since these two things contribute a lot to having hypertension.
There's a diet plan called DASH which stands for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension". This diet plan involves eating foods that are low in saturated and total fat, and cholesterol. Also, people under this plan are required to eat whole grains, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables, among other healthy foods.
Eating Fruits and Vegetables to Combat Hypertension
Eating fruits and vegetables is one of the most effective ways of dealing with high blood pressure. Why? Because these foods are effective in flushing cholesterol out of your system. Aside from that, they do not contain cholesterol. Thus, you don't add more cholesterol to your body when you eat fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables that are Effective Vs. Hypertension
If you're looking for vegetables that should be a part of your diet, then refer to the list below.
  1. Spinach - this green leafy vegetable is a rich source of fiber which helps flush out cholesterol from your blood stream. High cholesterol levels contribute to hypertension because it clogs your arteries, making your heart work harder to pump more blood through these narrow arteries.
  2. Sweet potatoes - are also a good source of fiber so always have them on your menu to counter hypertension.
  3. Tomatoes - are rich in potassium. Although the relation between potassium and lower blood pressure is only suggested and not completely established, potassium-rich foods such as tomatoes are still widely considered to prevent hypertension and stroke.
How You can Fight Hypertension Effectively
Of course, it isn't enough that you just eat healthy in the hopes that it will lower your blood pressure. You should also combine it with regular exercise and healthy living to maximize your chances of putting up a better fight against hypertension.

Junk Food Equals Junk Skin

Junk food is not the be all and end all when it comes to taste. It is food that has been processed to the extreme and is now an American way of life. It is a common term used for any food item that is perceived to be unhealthy and has low or poor nutritional value.
Generally, a junk food is given a very attractive appearance by adding food additives and colors to enhance flavor, texture, appearance, and increasing long self life. Of course, it is also readily available at restaurant chains across the country in the form of French fries, chicken nuggets, shakes, soda, etc.
However there is an organization called "Parents Against Junk Food" which is a nonprofit organization with a simple mission: Stop the Sale of Junk Food in America's Schools.
It is widely believed that junk food does not contain the essential fatty acids that the body requires to keep its largest organ, the skin, healthy. It is recommended that food supplements in the form of vitamins should be taken daily if the habit cannot be broken.
The body will also be lacking in proteins, fiber and other nutrients required for a healthy diet, and the consumption of products considered junk food has been associated with many health problems including obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and dental cavities.
Similarly, breakfast cereals are often regarded as healthy but may have high levels of sugar, salt and fat. The offspring of rats fed fatty, processed food had high levels of fat in their bloodstream and around major organs even after adolescence.
Nutritionists, doctors, and other health advocates often work to educate people about junk food, encouraging them to eat well balanced diets which contain a high proportion of healthy foods. These professionals almost unanimously hold the view that there are no good foods and bad foods, only good diets and bad diets.
The number of obese or overweight children in Britain aged between two and 15 has risen to about 30% in recent years. Changing your diet and taking exercise is a step in the right direction and as you replace fat with muscle, your clothes will become looser and your body firmer, but your weight may not change (muscle weighs more). In fact, the needle on the weight scale might not turn at all, but the heads of friends probably will. To lose weight, you've got to junk that junk food.
We all know that junk food is cheap and easy compared to quality raw materials (fresh veggies, organic meat, milk, fruit). For better or for worse (mostly worse), junk food is now available all over the world.
Apart for obesity, the other huge effect that bad eating habits bring on is skin rashes, eczema and psoriasis. It is reported that 25% of children under the age of five now suffer from eczema compared with less than 3% 50 years ago before junk food was so prevalent.
To combat these skin problems one of the latest discoveries is that the natural oil found in crocodile fat heals most forms of eczema in children within a few weeks. However is it not easy to get hold of and few pharmacies stock it.
The answer of course is to change your diet as junk food equals junk skin.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

4 Diet Myths

There's nothing better we can do for ourselves than to become healthy through proper nutrition, but most people don't even come close to eating a healthy well-balanced diet.

As a matter of fact, many people who think they're eating healthy really are victims of our society's 4 diet myths. These myths are propagated by fad diets that advise cutting out essential nutrients that your body needs to function properly.

Myth 1:
Certain Food Groups Should Be Eliminated

Many fad diets emphasize the elimination of certain food groups or eating primarily only one or two food groups. Your body needs a balanced diet that supplies you with the diverse nutrients that will keep you healthy. Your body needs water, vitamins, protein, fat, minerals, energy (carbohydrates), fiber, and oxygen. Eating a diet rich in fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and seeds will help you rebuild your immune system, which will in turn help you to stay healthy.

Myth 2:
You Have To Eat Meat To Get Enough Protein

Your body needs 30 grams of protein each meal. Meat and dairy products are very high in sodium and fat. Fruits and vegetables have at least one gram of protein in them.

Myth 3:
Eliminate Fat From Your Diet

Your body needs 50 grams of fat each day. You don't want to eliminate fat completely from your diet because it helps your joints and muscles work smoothly.

Myth 4:
You Have To Go Hungry To Lose Weight
The average woman should never eat less than 1,200 calories/day and the average man should never eat less than 1,800 calories per day.

If you feed your body natural foods, then you'll have no need to go hungry. You can pretty much eat all the fresh fruits and vegetables you want, and it will not adversely affect your weight. In order to maximize the nutritional value of your foods eat them in as natural a state as possible. Avoid chemicals, especially those found in water. Fluoride, for example, is a poison.

Although as a treatment for teeth it can prevent cavities, it does no good to ingest it, but rather acts as a poison in your body.

By getting back to nature and the foods your body was designed to run on, you can stay fit, maintain an optimal weight and build up your immune system so that you live a longer, more energetic life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How Do Low Carb Diets Work?

Losing Weight Quickly

Low carbohydrate diets are very popular with people who want to lose weight quickly. For some, the weight will stay off, but for others, low carb diets are as much of a problem as any other diet. Low carb diets generally follow this rule: no starches, no sweets, limited fruits and vegetables and all the meat (including fish and poultry), eggs and cheese you can handle. The idea behind low carbohydrate diets is that by eating less starch and more protein, the body will fuel itself on fat and will burn the fat cells faster. Unfortunately, like many best laid plans, this type of diet frequently results in lost muscle rather than simply lost fat. Losing lean muscle is not a great idea because muscle is metabolically active and it burns calories all the time, even during a resting state. So, if the amount of muscle is reduced, the body needs fewer calories each day, which makes it difficult to maintain your weight when you go off the diet.

An Incomplete Diet

Too much protein puts an incredible load on the kidneys, sometimes resulting in kidney disease and failure. The low carb, high protein diet can be a problem, particularly if you already have kidney problems. Because these diets involve reducing the intake of fruits and vegetables, they actually reduce the nutritional value of the foods eaten, creating vitamin deficiencies that put incredible strain on the body and over time, can cause disease: namely heart, kidney, bone and liver diseases. To put it frankly, low carb diets are incomplete diets. It would be much wiser to simply reduce the portions of all of the foods we eat and move more, causing the lean muscle mass to consume more calories, thereby forcing the body to lose weight.

Simple and Complex Carbohydrates

Low carbohydrate diets are generally known for reducing the amount of insulin needed by the body, but the problem is that most people trying these diets are not aware that there are two kinds of carbohydrates, simple and complex. The simple carbs (sugars) are the ones that need to be reduced in order to reduce the amount of insulin needed. Complex carbs (starches) such as bread, root vegetables like potatoes, brown rice, corn, peas and beans are beneficial to maintaining good health and nutrition as they cause the body to use its insulin more wisely. Low carb diets frequently cause the dieter to reduce both types of carbs rather than just the simple ones. Some of these diets do not prohibit the eating of carbs but they do reduce them to unhealthy levels. Technically, the main benefits of low carb diets is that they cause the dieter to reduce the consumption of high caloric foods such as cake, cookies, candy and other sweets, the reduction of which will cause weight loss anyway. The best suggestion would be to continue to eat starchy carbs and simply reduce the high sugar foods in the diet.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Two Recipes for Chicken and Beef (Protein Source)

Two Recipes for (Chicken and Beef)

Not all of us are on a super hardcore intense fitness trainers, but we still watch what goes in our mouths, and care about what we eat. And of the same token, it can be said that we're all equally concerned about getting enough protein in our diets; especially if we're weight training.

The benefits of protein include metabolism boosting, lean muscle, possible fat loss (that comes from boosting metabolism), increased energy... I could go on. However, the same old plain chicken breast, bland egg-whites, and boring fish gets tiresome. This is where I come in. I have 2 recipes for 5 different kinds of protein sources. Use this as a way to spice up your diet, and the healthy foods you've come to know and love.


Five-Spice Chicken
2 tbsp (25 ml) lemon juice
2 tsp (10 ml) liquid honey
1 tsp (5 ml) five-spice powder
8 chicken pieces

In large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil, honey, five-spice powder and 1/4 tsp (1 ml) each salt and pepper. Remove skin from chicken if desired. Add chicken to marinade, turning to coat; let stand for 5 minutes.

In ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil over medium-high heat; brown chicken, in batches and adding more oil if necessary. Drain fat from skillet.

Return all chicken to skillet. Roast in 425ºF (220ºC) oven until juices run clear when chicken is pierced.

Calories: 850
Protein: 182
Fat: 31
Carbs: 14


Steak Diane
1 pound sirloin steak
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 (8-ounce) package sliced button mushrooms
2 (5-ounce) packages prepared fresh green beans
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Trim excess fat from steak, cut in half, and cut across the grain (or perpendicular to the lines in the meat), into 1/2-inch strips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In heavy skillet add olive oil; add the steak strips and stir-fry until brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove meat from skillet with slotted spoon to a plate.

To drippings remaining in skillet, add onion and garlic; stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and green beans; stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes longer. In small bowl combine Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, lemon juice, beef broth, and cornstarch. Add to skillet and bring to a simmer.

Return meat to skillet; bring back to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes longer, until meat and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Calories: 1380
Protein: 133
Fat: 74
Carbs: 40

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dieting for Dummies

Winter sucks, but luckily it doesn't last forever. Soon, the glaciers will recede, the wooly mammoths and yaks will migrate north to frostier climes, and we can all emerge from our caves, blinking into the spring sunlight. But wait, what's that underneath our fur pelts? Uh oh... looks like we've put on a few extra pounds of flab this winter. Did I say a few? I know some people who put away enough pie, cookies, cake, and pastry over the holidays to see them through any African famine with ease. Then when the spring thaw arrives, the panic sets in. Eek! I've got to lose this weight fast! After all, none of us wants one of those paparazzi types to catch us looking flabby in a swimsuit and plaster it all over the cover of the National Enquirer.
Confusion quickly follows panic. What type of diet should I use? Which infomercial gadget should I buy, maybe the electro-stim pads that stick to my tummy and work the same as doing ten million sit-ups a day? The fact is that the average American, as smart as they may be about their career or how many questions they can answer right on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, is clueless as to how to go about losing fat. For their edification, I have compiled a brief list of basic facts to put them on the right path and melt the fat away. I call it Dieting for Dummies.
Starving is not the answer.

This is a particularly difficult concept for women to comprehend, because their main role models for "weight management" are anorexic/bulemic models and actresses with sunken eyes and ribs you could play the xylophone on. As I've attempted to hammer home many times in the past, going too long without eating only slows down the metabolism further. On top of that, most people can only starve so long before they break down and eat everything in the house. It's usually at night, too, so that means they'll be going straight to bed to let all that food turn into more fat. Athletes and bodybuilders have been doing it the right way for years, eating moderate meals every two to three hours. They also eat an amount of calories that the average person would think excessive, yet amazingly they are lean and muscular. If you want to rev up a sluggish metabolism, eating is the answer, not starving.

Find your fine line of caloric intake
The most simple mathematical equation possible for understanding fat loss is: you must burn more calories than you take in. But you must be careful not to have the balance too lopsided. Without enough calories, you will lose muscle tissue, and your metabolism will slow down in an attempt to keep you ticking just a little longer. Parrillo's Diet Trac sheets and software can help you find out how many calories you take in, and by using the Bodystat calipers, you can easily monitor how much fat and muscle you are losing or gaining. Remember, scale weight is not a reliable indication of what is really happening. You need to know how much lean mass versus fat you have as your fat loss journey progresses to adjust your calories accordingly.

Don't skimp on cardio.
For too many of us, the only cardio we get these days is lifting up the sofa cushions looking for the remote to the DVD player. We are also bombarded with commercials for Jenny Craig and Slim Fast that delude us into thinking dieting is all we need to do to lose fat. Sorry, but it just ain't that easy. You have to do cardio, and do it faithfully. John Parrillo pioneered the concept of doing cardio on an empty stomach for best fat-loss results, which is now universally accepted. You need to get your heart rate elevated to the point where holding a conversation would be very difficult, and keep it there for at least thirty minutes. Do this 3-6 times a week along with a clean diet, and the lipolysis really kicks in.
Lifting weights isn't just for getting big muscles.
Try telling the average soccer mom with too much junk in her trunk that weight training is going to help her lose bodyfat, and she'll chuckle until her butt cheeks and roll of belly fat shake like Jello. How preposterous! The fact is, weight training and adding a little muscle mass not only improves any woman's overall shape and curves, but muscle is very metabolically demanding. It burns calories just sitting there. This is partly why bodybuilders with extreme amounts of muscle mass can get away with eating more than their share of junk (follow the Mr. Olympia competitors to the post-contest banquet sometime and you'll see what I mean) and still not gain much bodyfat. As for the silly fear that they might wake up one morning accidentally looking like Dorian Yates, get real girls - not in your wildest dreams.
Don't go nuts on "fat-free" and "sugar-free" items.
Wow! Those Wow! Chips only have a third of the fat as regular potato chips! I guess it's okay to eat ten times as many, then. Sure, it's okay if you want to get even fatter. Another common mistake is that people don't read the food labels very closely. If they did, they'd be horrified to discover that often fat-free foods are loaded with sugar, and sugar-free foods are full of fat. Think about it. A bucket full of fat trimmings from pork chops is sugar free. A bucket full of table sugar is fat free. Do you think you'll get lean chowing down on those, sparky?
Forget about "cheat meals".
"I deserve this, I ate good all week." Famous last words. It's what someone usually says before putting away a pizza or parking at the dessert section of the local Hometown Buffet. If you're going to indulge in something that tastes like junk, at least make it something like Parrillo's new Hi-Protein pudding that is sugar-free and nearly devoid of carbs. Having your weekly (or in some folk's cases, daily) cheat meal will make your fat loss goals not much more than a faraway dream. This isn't to say, you can never enjoy another treat again, but keep them rare and in moderation.
Use supplements wisely, not as a crutch.
Ever since fat-burning themrogenic products hit the supplement market ten years ago, dieters began relying on them to burn the fat while they slacked off on cardio and didn't eat the way they knew they should. Never think for a minute that any pill is going to take the place of dedication and willpower. Use them if you must, because they can also be a very effective way to boost your concentration and energy levels while training. But the hard work is up to you. No Genie is popping out of those bottles any time soon to grant you three physique wishes. If there were, don't you think I would have asked for arms like Lee Priest's by now?
Patience is a virtue.
You didn't put all that lard on in one day, and you won't take it off in one day either. Don't get discouraged. Burning just a little bit of fat every day will add up over the weeks and months. In today's world we want everything right this second, but you can't rush dieting unless you want to end up losing all your muscle and looking and feeling sickly and weak. You'll get there if you keep doing the right things. Any dummy can lose fat if they understand these few principles. Now get moving! I think I just saw what looked like the sun starting to burn through those gray winter clouds.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

How to Curb Late Night Snack Cravings

I don't know about you but sticking to a diet is always hardest at night! Things are done for the day and I'd love to do nothing more than reward myself for another day done with treats from the kitchen. Resist the urge! Try these suggestions on for size!

1. Healthier Alternatives Celery, small handful of almonds, small glass of skim milk, cup of non buttered popcorn, herbal tea (wegmans has a whole selection of flavored herbal teas - even chocolate strawberry), vitamin shoppe's protein pudding (see my other articles for more suggestions)

2. Take your mind off of it If you can't sleep yet than do something else that you enjoy. Read a good book, write a blog, seduce your lover ;), take a warm bath, paint your toenails, put on the radio and dance!

3. Groom Brush your teeth and wash your face. Feeling fresh will make you less likely to eat again

4. Anticipate Breakfast Try to relax and go to the sleep and know the sooner you go to bed the sooner you will be able to eat breakfast

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Knowledge is Power

As you constantly try to improve yourself and make progress towards the goals you have set, you try to educate your mind and are bombarded with endless and endless amounts of "raw" data on how to reach those goals. What you want to find is a source where it's all tied together and it makes sense. There is so much to learn and sometimes knowing the basics or fundamentals makes it so much easier to digest. The knowledge you acquire empowers you in so many ways. You learn to avoid the pitfalls that have stifled you and prevented you from realizing the things you want to achieve. In this article, I hope to ease some of the painful learning process and pull together some of the meaningful details you have probably seen yet not fully understood how to use. To begin, we all must first decide what goal we are pursuing. For the moment, I will generalize and say that I want to lose weight. The weight I wish to lose is body fat and not lean muscle. Sounds tough? It should and even more so if you don't understand the basics. What are the basics?
The basics to losing fat/gaining muscle:
We all know that in order to lose weight, you must place yourself in a caloric deficit. That means, the number of calories taken in must be less than the calories burned. The calories burned are what is referred to as "basal metabolic rate" (BMR). To determine your basal metabolic rate is extremely difficult. One way to find this is to weigh yourself at the start of a week. Monitor the number of calories taken in for the week. If your weight does not change, the total calories for the week is probably your basal metabolic rate. Of course you may want to repeat this process to nail down an average. Divide this weekly total by 7 and you will know your basal metabolic rate per day! Simple? Knowing your daily basal metabolic rate opens a wealth of knowledge. How you ask? Well say you find that your BMR is 2500 calories per day.

Now, you have decided that you want to lose weight. However, you want to maintain lean muscle in the process. To accomplish this you next need to determine your body type. The three scientific body types are: ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph. An ectomorph has very long limbs, very low body fat, and has a hard time packing on mass. A mesomorph is muscular, has a thick and lean build and has a moderate amount of body fat. An endomorph is heavy set and carries a high amount of body fat that is difficult to reduce. Some of us actually may fall in between these types. Myself, I am an ecto-mesomorph. This is because I have some areas that are muscular and others that have been and are difficult to build. Knowing your body type and your BMR provides several significant things. In the following table, based on your body type and perceived metabolism, a value can be derived:
Metabolism Slow Moderate Fast
(Endomorph) (mesomorph) (Ectomorph)
Lost Fat/ Maintain Muscle 10 11 12
Lose Fat/ Gain Muscle 13 14 15
Gain Muscle 16 17 18

To interpret the table, assume you weigh 180 lbs., and have a fast metabolism. Using the table above, to lose body fat, you would simply multiply your body weight by 12. The result, 2160, is the number of total calories per day that you would consume to reduce body fat. This number has very little meaning without knowing that each gram of carbohydrate or protein equals 4 calories and each gram of fat equals 9. A 180 lbs. bodybuilder in a pre-contest 2160 calories diet who has been instructed to achieve a dietary 10-30-60 fat/carbs/protein ratio, would need to consume 24 grams of fat (2160 * .10 / 9), 162 grams of carbs (2160 * .30 / 4), and 324 grams of protein (2160 * .60 / 4).

Each nutritional component multiplied by the recommended daily percentage and divided by the number of calories per gram, provides its total grams per day. Once you have mastered these formulations, you can easily adjust your daily consumption percentages with ease! Now, having realized that your BMR was 2500 calories per day and to achieve you goal, you must adhere to a 2160 calorie diet, means you will incur a 340 calorie per day, 2380 per week deficit.
This allows you to know how much cardio to incorporate when you exceed your daily goals due to unexpected binges! To find success in any dietary scheme, you need to know "what" your consuming and how much to consume. The calculations above give you all the information you need. However, it can be confusing when deciding what foods to include and what to avoid. Personally, I feel it is important to eat healthy foods for the most part. Quality or nutritionally fulfilling food groups provide larger portioning. Eating things like, pizza, pie, cake, etc. can quickly result in exceeding your daily totals. Next time you get the opportunity, check out: This site provides the nutritional values of several fast food menus. You will surely be surprised when you see the high numbers of saturated fat in most fast food! Also, the USDA provides an interface to a database containing detailed nutritional values of just about any food you can think of. The address is:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR! How to Avoid Fad Diets Like The Cabbage Soup Diet

The American Heart Association recommends adopting healthy eating habits permanently, rather than impatiently pursuing quick diets in hopes of losing unwanted pounds in a few days through fad quick weight loss plans. Many of these fad diets, such as the notorious and outright silly Cabbage Soup Diet, will undermine your health, cause physical discomfort, abdominal discomfort and flatulence (gas), and lead to the ping-pong effect of gaining weight soon after losing it. In other words the risks aren't worth the rewards.

1. First, one food or one type of food is generally overemphasized with fad quick weight loss diets. They violate the first principle of good nutrition which is to eat a balanced diet including a variety of foods.

2. Also, because no one food has all the nutrients needed for good health, these diets can result in a lot of health problems. One such diet is the Cabbage Soup Diet. This so-called fat-burning soup is eaten mostly with fruits and vegetables. The diet supposedly helps heart patients lose 10-17 pounds in seven days before surgery. Even if the weight loss claim were true, all the damage due to a lack of many essential nutrients would far outweigh (pun intended) the benefits of losing the weight. Pixies, elves and fairies, or even cabbages, can't create magical weight loss. That's why you should eat moderate amounts from each of the food groups rather than cutting out everything but a cabbage and water.

3. These crazy diets also ignore another important principle of good nutrition which is that eating should be enjoyable.. These diets are so monotonous and boring that it's almost impossible to stay on them for long periods. Consider a week on the Cabbage Soup Diet. By mid week crawling bugs would look good. If you make it to Sunday you might die of a heart attack before you ever again tasted real food.

4. Boredom isn't the only reason fad diets aren't good ones. Most don't talk about exercise, such as aerobics for 30 minutes a day every day. While doing nothing can lead to heart problems, exercise is a major element of maintaining proper weight. When a diet includes no need for a workout, run the other way. Quick weight loss is possible. But if a program sounds too good to be true, it is.

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