1200 The Magic Number

weight training

I don’t know why “1200”  managed to be the magic number  of calories women should consume if they want to lose  weight. Somehow somewhere  along the road, It was taught that  if you want to have a flat  stomach you need to limit your  calories to 1200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got in to all of our collective brains, but somehow it did.

What I do know is that 1200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.

Interesting, isn’t it? The line between health and what they call starvation mode is 1200 calories. The dangerous tightrope that many women are trying to walk, because they think this is how thinness is achieved.

What this means is your body realizes it is not getting enough food /calories and thinks that you are starving, and slows down your metabolism to a crawl to conserve energy because it thinks you are starving. When you do feed yourself, your body will try to store more of your calories as fat, because those are your long-term energy deposits.

A long term calorie deficit can mess with your blood sugar levels, reduce bone mass, cause weakness, fatigue, cold intolerance, irregular menstrual periods, dizziness, constipation and swelling of your hands and feet.  If a woman decides to get thin by maintaining a steep calorie deficit (1200 calories is very steep) and pairs it with long sessions of steady cardio, it results in thyroid issues. Too little T3 (hypothyroidism), and the body accumulates body fat with ease, almost regardless of physical activity level. Women inadvertently put themselves into a hypothyroid condition when they perform so much steady cardio

If you are trying to go about your business during the day, on only 1200 calories, and perform cardio to burn those dreaded calories, you really are not going to succeed. You will most likely pass out.

It is unfortunate that there is one – and only one – message the majority of weight loss campaigns use when targeting women:

Calories, calories, calories…more specifically, less calories.

Calories are the enemy. You must either reduce your consumption of them, or obliterate them via exercise. Calories are the devil. Calories must be avoided at all costs. Calories must be burned away pronto, quick, before that one cookie turns into a lump of fat on your thighs.

One of my main issues is how health & nutrition is marketed to women versus men. Do a quick Google search on women’s health magazines versus men’s health magazines and you’ll immediately see the difference in keywords. Women’s magazine covers frequently use terms like “drop X pounds fast!” and “calorie-torching workout!” and “low-calorie foods”. Men’s magazines use keywords like “build“, “power“, and “strength“.  Men’s magazine hardly ever talked about burning or cutting calories or losing pounds.

For anybody who knows anything about weight loss and nutrition, you will immediately recognize how shallow, and ultimately harmful, only focusing on calories can be.  That is because 1) a healthy body cannot be measured simply by poundage and 2) less calories does not equal good nutrition.

It is especially saddening because of the blatant misinformation fed to women by the media about how to be fit, or even, what fitness is. 

“Toned” is MUSCLE, goddammit, just call it by it’s effing name! Muscle.

When women want to get “toned” they are saying the female word for “muscle”. They often don’t know that “toned” actually means “muscle”, and they would never actually say “My health goal is to build muscle”. But what is a round, shapely butt made out of? Muscle. How does an abdomen stop being jiggly? Muscle. How do you get a back that doesn’t produce bra-bulge? Muscle.

Women want a body that looks “toned”, unaware that this “toned” look is achieved by building muscle.

I have never seen any weight loss campaign targeting women that informs their audience that muscle is more dense than fat.

I have never seen a women’s magazine talk about fitness other than pounds on a scale… as if body fat, muscle mass, and skeletal composition are completely negligible to what a body looks like.  The end result is all these women trying to lose weight the wrong way…by cutting calories in their diet and trying to burn as many as possible aka. Cardio.

Women are, for the most part, unaware that if they are exercising right they will be building muscle and their weight might not change very much.  In fact, if they are doing everything right, their weight might even go up! And that’s totally ok.

Even more infuriatingly, I have never seen any women-oriented campaign that says the word “muscle”. “Muscle” in woman-land, is like a dirty word.

If you want a rounder, firmer, tighter, anything, it requires building muscle. Simply burning fat and cutting calories is only one part of the equation of sexiness.

Sexiness = Nourish your body with fresh, whole foods + strength train to build shapely physique + choose your amount of cardio depending on how much body fat you want to lose or keep.

A lot of food products aimed at Health conscious women talk absolutely nothing about quality of calories, only quantity. Nothing about proper nutrition, only less. Everything is about reducing. Reduce your calories by reducing the amount of food you eat.

Even more infuriating is how women are advised to exercise by popular magazines. …If you want to waste a lot of time at the gym flapping your arms around and wondering why you don’t look “toned” yet than follow these plans. If you’re trying to strength train… why don’t you use your strength? Why aren’t fitness models, who obviously got her fitness model body by lifting heavy, showing heavy lifts?

There is no reason women should strength train differently from men. Man muscles are not alien tissue. Man muscles and woman muscles are the same. They are human muscles. They respond to the same fuel and the same stimulus.

This is why women’s workouts bother me.

Women should be shown the same fitness routines as men. They should be exposed to the same messages of eating nutritious food, with lots of protein, and enough calories to build your bodies into Goddess-like proportions. You should not fear muscle. You should not shy away from the weight room because it is perceived as “odd” and out of place when a woman approaches the squat rack.

Hungry people are – let’s be honest – not very nice. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry it means I’m unfocused, cranky, distracted, grumpy, irritable, and generally miserable. Snickers did get something right: You are not your best self when you are hungry.

It is time for the misinformation to stop.

Please do not skip meals, especially if you are under the age of 18. Your body and mind are still developing, and they need fuel! Please do not limit your calories less than 2000. Eat unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables. Eat eggs, lean meat, even dairy in moderation. Eat a variety of foods with nutritional value. Stop with the empty calories! And the soda pop. Seriously, sugar is suicide.

Please do not throw your own physical – and mental – potential out the window by starving yourself into skinny bliss. It’s not worth it.

I know you want to get in shape and look great. Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Diets that Do Not Work

no dietingThe following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.  I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

 

1. WATER DIET

The Basics:

Throughout each day, you need to drink 64 ounces of pure water that is kept at 50 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. The idea is that your body needs to use energy to heat the water to body temperature, and doing so will burn about 12 calories for every pint of water. If you are on the water diet you will burn calories naturally by using your internal energy to heat the water, while completely flushing out your system.

Why It Won’t Work: 

Theoretically, the science behind it makes sense on a molecular level, but it doesn’t make sense on a clinical level.  You’re not going to see it work effectively in a person.  Drinking more water each day does promote a healthier lifestyle but it is the “cold” water factor that makes people believe they are doing something effective toward weight loss. Not everyone can follow a diet like this, such as heart, kidney, and liver patients who have fluid retention problems and electrolyte imbalances.

 2. THE CHOCOLATE MILK DIET

The Basics: 

This diet states that drinking three glasses of 1-percent chocolate milk throughout the day, alongside a healthy diet, will increase weight loss. Because of the calcium, vitamin D, endurance-boosting capabilities for workouts and positive protein-body weight connection, chocolate milk has the power to help you diet “without ever dieting again.” Each component offers lofty reasons, mostly combinations of protein and carbohydrates, as to why it will aid your metabolism to help you burn fat.

Why It Won’t Work: 

Cheese and crackers are protein and carbohydrates. The fact that it’s chocolate milk makes it more appealing. They are saying the calcium serves as a metabolic booster and the vitamin D will help you burn fat. There is no proof that vitamin D substitution or calcium causes weight loss. In the big clinical picture, it does not produce the outcome.  Protein and carbohydrates that are found in this diet are actually used to replenish your body 30 minutes after a workout. The diet credit is mostly due for promoting an exercise routine, but any weight loss using this method hardly has anything to do with the chocolate milk itself.

3. LOW-CARB DIETS

The Basics:

You basically start eating a lot less carbohydrates, including fruits and starchy vegetables, and replace them with high-protein foods. Your body breaks down carbohydrates to use as its main fuel source by producing glucose, which enters your body’s cells with the help of insulin. The theory is that insulin prevents fat breakdown in your body by allowing sugar to be used for energy. Decreasing your carbohydrates intake, results in lower insulin levels, burning stored fat for energy, and ultimately help you to shed your excess weight.

Why It Won’t Work:

When the Atkins diet first arrived on the scene, some participants rationalized that a pound of bacon was better for you than bread, while others only ate 150 calories of carbohydrates a day. There are too many misconceptions and variables when it comes to this diet.  The American Dietetic Association recommends getting 55 to 60 percent of your calories from carbohydrates. For most people this can be excessive. Carbohydrate intake needs to be tailored to fit a person’s needs, especially because it is recommended that pregnant women, teens, and those with diabetes beware of this diet. Watching your carbohydrate levels is important because it is a main source of energy for your body, it really should be measured by a professional in the nutrition field to ensure real, healthy weight loss.

4. PALEO DIET

The Basics: 

This plan is based on a presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals followed by those from the Paleolithic era. It is based on the principle that hunter-gatherer societies did not suffer from “diseases of civilization,” due to a lack of calories in their diet, as well as additives or worse.

Why It Won’t Work:

This diet is good in a way because it promotes whole foods. Scientifically, you are going to be very restricted in that you are going to miss dairy, whole grains, and beans, which are an important source of nutrients.

5. CHEWING DIET

The Basics:

This diet asks you to chew your food thoroughly, as in chewing each bite 80 times to basically liquefy your food. Then, you spit it out. On paper, you will absorb fewer calories while still enjoying the taste of food.

Why It Won’t Work: 

This is just short of bulimia.  This is a psychological problem and a form of disordered eating habits.  With such high levels of mastication, it almost causes an aversion to food.  You’ll get tired of chewing so much. Socially, it isn’t acceptable, either. Ultimately, you are creating a nutrient imbalance, because you aren’t getting the micronutrients or food absorption you need. Your body is also overproducing stomach acid in anticipation of digestion it will never need to do, leading to reflux and damaged teeth from housing food in your mouth for so long.

6. BABY FOOD DIET

The Basics:

The idea is simple…replace one or two meals a day with 14 various jars of baby food and stick to one regular meal a day or several high-calorie snacks. While the quality of the baby food you choose does matter, the theory states that the portion-controlled jars will prevent overeating and you will become satisfied with smaller portions of food.

Why It Won’t Work:

All in all, baby food is not fortified for an adult. You’re missing key nutrients. Eventually, it could lead to bone density issues. While it isn’t necessarily harmful, it just isn’t doable long-term.  While the weight may come off, it isn’t going to stay off unless you eat baby food for the rest of your life.

 7. 17-DAY DIET

The Basics:

This diet is not just 17 days long, but rather three 17-day cycles of regulating your carbohydrate intake to keep your metabolism guessing. The idea is that shifting your meal plan every 17 days, before your body registers certain eating habits, you can keep your metabolism in high gear. You start out overly restrictive and under-caloric in the beginning, then move on to eating 1,500 calories a day, and then the third phase has you overindulging on the weekends.

Why It Won’t Work: 

First off, there is no proof that it speeds up your metabolism and to fool your metabolism is impossible. The idea that you can trick your body and treat it on the weekends is silly as well.  Why not have a little bit of the food you like every day in moderate portions? Indulging on the weekends is pointless. Your body doesn’t know that it is Tuesday or Saturday night.

8. CABBAGE SOUP DIET

The Basics: 

For a solid week, “indulge” in a bottomless bowl of cabbage soup and some select low-calorie food options. It promises to help you shed 10 pounds in the first week, however there are no set guidelines to help you manage your weight loss.

Why It Won’t Work:

People lose a lot of weight from this diet because of the diarrhea they get from it alone.  You aren’t getting any calories and you’re getting bloated and full from a very restrictive diet. From a gastrointestinal standpoint, it is catastrophic.

9. HCG DIET

The Basics: 

This diet is an intense, 40-day, 500-calorie diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, and two meals of 3.5 ounces of protein alongside injections of HCG, a hormone found in pregnant women. The theory is that it will create some symptoms of pregnancy, such as nausea from morning sickness, to help control your desire to eat. While injections aren’t the only way HCG is distributed (there are tablets, etc.), it is believed that the injection method is the only one that is of any benefit.

Why It Won’t Work:

This is a completely unsafe method of losing weight. A 500-calorie diet is considered unsafe because it it could never meet your nutritional needs. There is no proof that the hormone itself will help you lose weight.

10. THE HALLELUJAH DIET

The Basics: 

An all-vegetable diet made of 85 percent raw, uncooked foods and 15 percent cooked foods. Vegetables that are uncooked are in a more natural state, according to this diet, and cooked vegetables are tainted by whatever juices they may be cooked in.

Why It Won’t Work:

Vegan diets are not very safe. Most people really need to be monitored very closely by health professionals because they often become anemic.  Also, eating solely raw vegetables is not only hard on your digestive system, since cooked foods are absorbed more easily, but there is no proof that raw vegetables are more effective than cooked ones.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Nutrition at Work

Eating-Healthy-2The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

Do you feel a twinge of guilt when you sneak off to the local fast food joint for a cheap and fast lunch? You know the extra fat and calories aren’t the best choices you can make, but who has time to make a healthy lunch before work? Even if you work from home, unhealthy choices often beat out healthy ones because it’s faster to zap a frozen burrito than to cook a meal from scratch. Though making nutrition work at work does require a conscious effort, making healthier choices is both beneficial and easier than you may think.

Skipping lunch is not an option

Many workers find it a challenge to take time during the workday to recharge. Almost one third of workers reported taking less than half an hour for lunch. Another 16 per cent said they work through their lunch hour while 10 per cent said that they never take a lunch break at all. Another 18 per cent eat their lunches at their desks or workspaces five days a week. Though skipping lunch is common, it shouldn’t be an option. Skipping lunch may make you feel as though you’re being productive, but it’s more likely to be counterproductive. Not only should you eat a healthy lunch for your physical well-being, you should take your full lunch break, away from your workspace for your mental health. This is your time to refuel your body and re-energize your spirit. Try taking your full lunch break and eating healthy foods instead of junk for a full week and you’ll likely find that you’re more productive and happier as a result. By de-stressing at lunch, you’ll be in a better position to give work your full attention when you’re back on the clock.

Making healthy lunches work

In order to make nutrition work, identify the root cause behind your less healthy choices. If you work on a construction site, for example, there may not be a refrigerator or microwave available. If the lunchroom at your office is too cramped or you find the environment too work focused, you may think of a fast food run as a getaway. If you work at home, it may only take 10 minutes to heat and eat a frozen meal, so you gobble it up and log back into your computer. Once you understand the reason for your choices, find alternatives. For example, you may need to buy insulated lunch containers or pack fresh foods that don’t need to be refrigerated or heated. If you go out to lunch because it’s a getaway, find a nearby park, courtyard or other attractive public space and have a picnic lunch there. This will satisfy your urge to get out of the office while giving you the opportunity to take a healthy, relaxing break. If you often return to work early because you’re a fast eater, change your lunch routine by adding a 20-minute walk around the block.

Finally, pack your own lunches and fill them with healthy items such as veggie sandwiches on whole grain bread, fruits, nuts, and lean protein. If you’re typically pressed for time in the morning, try packing your lunch the night before or getting up 10 minutes earlier.

While convenience foods are convenient, they’re not the best choice. You can make nutrition work, and you’ll feel much better as a result.

Healthy snacks to keep on hand at work

Whether you work from home, at an office, on a job site, or on the road, you will get hungry at some point. When you do, you’ll be more likely to make healthy choices if you have healthy options available. Make a point of keeping plenty of healthy snacks on hand and satisfying those cravings without guilt.

Here are a few great healthy snack ideas:

Nuts:   Almonds, walnuts, peanuts and other nuts are delicious, loaded with protein and good fat, and highly portable. You can snack on nuts throughout the day, regardless of your work environment. However, because nuts are calorie dense, be careful not to overindulge. While you’re at it, choose unsalted or low-salt nuts whenever possible.

Dried fruit:  Raisins, dried cranberries, dried apples, dates, figs and other dried fruits are a tasty treat that should satisfy your sweet tooth and your hunger. Dried fruit also adds fiber to your diet, which can help you feel full and keep you regular.

Tuna:  Snack size pouches of tuna and tuna salad kits are an excellent source of protein. They are also convenient and do not require refrigeration, though you’ll need to remember to pack a spoon.

Peanut butter and crackers:  Keep a jar of peanut butter and a box of crackers in your desk or locker and enjoy a filling treat whenever hunger strikes. Peanut butter is also delicious with apples, celery, and carrots. Remember to watch your portions, because any nut butter is high in calories and fat.

Fresh fruit:  Just as a bowl of fresh fruit at home is beautiful and inviting, the same is true of a bowl of fruit at the office. Let it serve as a visual reminder of your commitment to a healthier lifestyle, and indulge in a piece of juicy goodness whenever the mood strikes.

Dark chocolate:  Yes, chocolate is good for you…in moderation. Flavanoidsl found in cocoa beans have antioxidant effects and have been linked to lower blood pressure, improved vascular function, and a reduced risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart attack. When you’re feeling stressed or hungry at work, try a small square of dark chocolate with an orange for an indulgent treat that’s sure to lift your mood.

Low-fat yogurt:  Greek yogurt is thick, creamy and loaded with calcium. Enjoy fruit-on-the-bottom style yogurt or try plain Greek yogurt as a dip for carrots, celery, and crackers.

Hummus:  Hummus is a tasty spread made from chick peas, also called garbanzo beans. It’s great for dipping your veggies into as well as with baked pita chips.

Cheese:  With its fat and protein content, even a small portion of cheese can keep hunger pangs at bay plus, it’s loaded with calcium. Cheese sticks or individually wrapped cheese is an easy and convenient healthy snack.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Food For Your Body

fitness-121The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.  I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

Food can do a lot more than simply satisfy you. I’ve gathered the top foods that are great for your hair, skin, eyes, heart and more

Kiwifruit for Your Bones: Eating kiwifruit will not only help maintain clear skin, it will also promote healthy bones. One cup peeled kiwifruit contains more vitamin C than the equivalent amount of oranges. Plus, it neutralizes free radicals that could lead to things like cancer and heart disease.

Garbanzo Beans to Fight Grey Hair: Since hair is primarily made up of the protein, keratin, it’s important to get enough protein to fight off hair breakage and loss. These beans, also known as chickpeas, provide tons along with the trace mineral manganese. It’s known to prevent changing pigmentation, a.k.a. gray hair!”

Oysters for Your Eyes:  Not only are oysters full of zinc and selenium, the high levels of these minerals serve as an antioxidant and help protect you against eye-related disease.
Cilantro to Prevent Hair Loss: This herb works wonders for hair loss!” It works as a purifying agent to rid your body of toxic metals quickly. A good thing, since they can stop nutrients from getting to your scalp, resulting in hair loss and dull strands.

Salmon for Your Heart:  Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease. A study from Diabetes & Metabolism found that omega-3s keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking.

Lentils for Hair Growth: They’re an ideal source of iron, which is so important for full, lustrous locks! Iron helps bring oxygen to the hair follicles, leading to growth and fullness. This is especially key if you have thin hair.

Ginger, Turmeric, Cocoa, Cayenne, and Cinnamon for Your Blood:  These spices have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on your body. They also help balance blood sugar and can be easily incorporated into beverages or even food.

Hemp Powder for Dry Scalp: Add a scoop to a smoothie to infuse your hair with essential fatty acids. This fortifier has the optimal ratio of omega-6 and -3 fatty acids, letting them work most effectively. Insufficient amounts of either can lead to a dry scalp and brittle hair.

Banana for Your Libido: Loaded with B vitamins, the well-hung fruit helps boost testosterone. Low testosterone levels can make for a sluggish sex drive in men and women.

Avocado for Shiny Hair: Long touted as the miracle hair food, they’re high in vitamins B and E which promote a healthy scalp and the growth of new strands. They’re also full of healthy, monounsaturated fats to plump up and moisturize hair follicles. Talk about shine!”

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Weight Loss Tips

goodforyouThe following article is a small excerpt from one of my books. I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

#1: Eat an early dinner

Experts have gone back and forth on whether eating late leads to weight gain, but a recent study found a solid link. Researchers looked at the eating and sleeping patterns of 52 adults and found that those who regularly ate after 8 p.m. ingested the most calories and carried the most body fat. An easy-to-follow rule of thumb: Stop eating three hours before you go to bed. Then, while you sleep, your body is better primed to burn fat instead of creating more.

#2: Weigh yourself daily

Stepping on the scale can be disheartening, particularly after an indulgent weekend. But it’s best to face your fears, because as it turns out, weighing yourself regularly can actually help you stay slim. People who got on the scale every day lost twice as much weight as those who weighed themselves less often. Monitoring your weight keeps your mind on your health and prevents weight denial.

#3: Eat a boring diet

Researchers discovered that people who ate macaroni and cheese every day took in significantly fewer calories than those who ate the cheese-covered noodles only once a week. The reason: The novelty of new foods drives you to consume more, so by removing the novelty, you feel fuller, faster. I’m not suggesting you choose one meal and eat it every day for the rest of your life, but the more routines you establish, the more your belly will shrink. Start with lunch. If you find yourself scratching your head every day when the clock strikes noon, you’ll end up eating impulsively and taking in more calories. Instead, pick something healthy, like a soup-and-salad combo, and eat it every day

#4: Reward yourself

Once you’ve established a healthy routine, you need to establish a reward system. Think of those pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail. It’s a trip known best for being rife with danger, but it was also rife with sluggish tedium. Early American settlers wouldn’t have completed the journey without the proverbial promise of milk and honey at the end, and neither will you stay the course of a repetitive diet without something more closely resembling literal milk and honey. A great way to stick to a low-calorie diet without breaking down into rebellious binge-mode is to reward yourself with a small dessert every day. Pick a food you love, and at the end of every day, reward yourself with a portion of about 200 calories. But remember, you only get the reward if you deserve it.

#5: Read diet and exercise tips

One study found that being exposed to nutrition and exercise advice led people to make smarter diet and lifestyle choices. To ensure you stay focused on maintaining a healthy weight, subscribe to a health-related magazine or frequent a nutrition-focused website like mine. And read my books and listen to my Cd’s.

#6: Eat breakfast

A study found that people who skipped breakfast were 4.5 times more likely to be obese. They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for nothing.  Eating a nutritious morning meal jumpstarts your metabolism and prevents you from overindulging throughout the day. For optimal weight-loss results, choose a breakfast dish with a healthy balance of protein and fiber, like eggs with fruit and whole-wheat toast.  I also like to drink a glass of cold water as this super jump starts your metabolism as it has to heat the cold water you just drank.

#7: Take snack breaks

Snacking sometimes gets a bad rap, but planning nutritious snacks throughout your day can actually keep you skinny. A recent study found that consuming low-sugar, high-protein snacks promotes weight loss. The reason: Healthy snacking keeps your blood-sugar from spiking, preventing hunger pangs, cravings, and body fat storage. An ideal snack choice? Nuts. The balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats is sure to keep you satisfied between meals.

#8: Drink water

Almost 60 percent of your body is water, which makes it vital to every important metabolic process. In one study of 173 overweight women, those who added 1 liter of daily water to their diets lost five extra pounds over the course of a year, and if you time it right, the effects can be even greater. When researchers had subjects drink two glasses of water before each meal, they found that those subjects lost 30 percent more body fat over 12 weeks. That said, making beverage blunders is one of the easiest ways to gain belly fat, as the average person drinks 450 sugar-loaded calories a day. Replace half of what you drink with water and you’ll save 23 pounds per year!

#9: Order a la carte

A study found that diners consume more calories when they order combo meals because they end up with more food than they want or need. My stay-skinny advice: Resist the temptation of the almighty “value” meal and order a la carte items, like a modestly sized burger and a non-fried side dish. You’ll save both calories and cash.

#10: Choose whole grains

Choosing nutrient-rich whole grains over processed, white flour-based products can play a major role in keeping you lean. Researchers discovered that obese participants who added whole grains to their diets lost more belly fat than those who did not. One of the key weight-loss benefits of whole grains: Their healthy dose of fiber helps slow digestion, keeping you fuller longer. But don’t be fooled by “made with whole grain” labels. True whole grain products will list whole grains first on their ingredients list (think “whole wheat” flour instead of “enriched” or “bleached” flour).

#11: Eat spicy food

Eating spicy foods may promote weight loss. Research participants who ate a spicy appetizer before a meal ate significantly less than those who consumed a non-spicy appetizer. The explanation: A chemical compound called capsaicin, found in chili peppers, acts as an appetite suppressant. Capsaicin has also been shown to boost metabolism and fight inflammation. Routinely adding spicy ingredients like cayenne or red pepper to your meals is an easy, flavorful way to stay slim.

#12: Sleep for 6 to 8 hours each night

Getting a good night’s sleep has been linked to a host of major health benefits, not the least of which is maintaining healthy body weight. Participants who slept for fewer than six hours or more than eight hours each night gained significantly more weight than those who slept for six to eight hours. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase appetite, lower willpower, and bolster cravings for high-calorie foods. That might be why you find it so hard to resist those doughnuts in the break room.

#13: Manage stress

Dealing with work, finance, or relationship-related stress can lead to weight gain. When you stress, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that promotes abdominal fat storage. If you find yourself overwhelmed in your work or personal life, try incorporating stress-reducing activities into your day. Join a yoga class or go for a jog, and when you start to feel stress coming on, pause and take deep breaths.

#14: Take the stairs

Most of you are aware that formal exercise is a key component in maintaining a healthy weight, but simple choices like taking the stairs can be just as important if you want to stay trim. One study found that participants who unconsciously moved more throughout the day were able to maintain their weight much easier than those who were more sedentary, even though both groups exercised the same amount. Make the most of daily motion by also walking to lunch, parking at the back of the lot, or skipping email in favor of short walks to deliver messages to coworkers.

#15: Chew thoroughly

Chewing more and eating slowly caused participants to ingest fewer calories. According to the researchers, the increase in chewing simultaneously lowered levels of appetite-stimulating hormones and increased levels of appetite-suppressing hormones. One way to make sure you chew your food thoroughly: Stop to eat. Eating on the go, in your car, for example, can lead you to quickly inhale a ton of calories before your body has time to let you know it’s full.

#16: Walk after meals

Taking a walk after dinner can help you lose weight, and not just because walking burns calories. Post-meal exercise, like walking, can lower your blood sugar and prevent your body from storing fat. Don’t have time for a walk, you say? Not a problem. As long as you keep moving after you eat, you will reap similar benefits. Even doing the dishes or completing other household tasks can help.

#17: Keep healthy food on hand

A great way to ensure you make nutritious food choices: Surround yourself with healthy options. Don’t use convenience as an excuse for a shameful diet. Keep fresh fruit on your kitchen counter, store healthy snacks like nuts in your desk at work, and keep pre-washed, pre-cut vegetables in your fridge.  Whatever you have to do to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice, do it! You won’t feel deprived or hungry as the pounds are dropping away.

#18: Learn to take a joke

Laughing for 15 minutes each day can help you burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on your body size and the intensity of your laughter. This adds up to about one to four pounds of fat lost per year. That may not sound like much, but there’s also been plenty of research linking happy people to all-around healthier lifestyles.

#19: Eat protein

Dieters who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their overall diet ate roughly 450 fewer calories throughout the day and lost about 11 pounds over the course of 12 weeks. Eating protein increases lean muscle mass, which keeps your metabolism running on high, even when you’re resting. Protein also keeps you full, making you less likely to overeat. For maximum health and weight-loss benefits, aim to include protein in all of your meals and snacks. The best options? Lean protein sources like fish, eggs, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and legumes.

#20: Avoid dinner distractions

With laptops, smartphones, and iPods aplenty, we’ve become accustomed to round-the-clock entertainment. But your mealtime may be one time of day we should fight our addiction to amusement. Diners who were distracted at mealtime consumed significantly more unhealthy snack foods later on than those who paid close attention to what they ate. One possible explanation: When you don’t pay attention to the meal you’re eating, your brain doesn’t fully register the experience. That leaves you less satisfied and more vulnerable to overeating.

#21: Eating “low-fat”

It sounds crazy, but stop buying foods marketed as low-fat or fat-free. Typically, they save you only a few calories and, in doing so, they replace harmless fats with low-performing carbohydrates that digest quickly, causing a sugar rush and, immediately afterward, rebound hunger. Researchers found that meals that limited carbohydrates to 43 percent were more filling and had a milder effect on blood sugar than meals with 55 percent carbohydrates. That means you’ll store less body fat and be less likely to eat more later.

#22: Eating free restaurant foods

Breadsticks, biscuits, and chips and salsa may be complimentary at some restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you won’t pay for them. Every time you eat one of Olive Garden’s free breadsticks or Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits, you’re adding an additional 150 calories to your meal. Eat three over the course of dinner and that’s 450 calories. That’s also roughly the number of calories you can expect for every basket of tortilla chips you get at your local Mexican restaurant. What’s worse, none of these calories comes paired with any redeeming nutritional value. Consider them junk food.

#23: Skipping meals

In a national survey, 17 percent admitted to skipping meals to lose weight. The problem is, skipping meals actually increases your odds of obesity, especially when it comes to breakfast. Skipping meals slows your metabolism and boosts your hunger. That puts your body in prime fat-storage mode and increases your odds of overeating at the next meal.

#24: Eating too quickly

If your body has one major flaw, this is it: It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s had enough. Slow eaters took in 66 fewer calories per meal, but compared to their fast-eating peers, they felt like they had eaten more. What’s 66 calories, you ask? If you can do that at every meal, you’ll lose more than 20 pounds a year! 

#25: Watching too much TV

Overweight participants who reduced their TV time by just 50 percent burned an additional 119 calories a day on average. That’s an automatic 12-pounds per year! Maximize those results by multitasking while you watch, even light household tasks will further bump up your caloric burn. Plus, if your hands are occupied with dishes or laundry, you’ll be less likely to mindlessly snack, the other main occupational hazard associated with tube time.

#26: Facing the buffet

When eating at a buffet-style restaurant, obese diners were 15 percent more likely to choose seats with a clear view of the food. Choose a seat that places your back toward the spread and it will help you avoid fixating on the food.

#27: Eating off larger plates

When given an option, 98.6 percent of obese individuals choose larger plates. Translation: More food, more calories, and more body fat. Keep your portions in check by choosing smaller serving dishes. If need be, you can always go back for seconds.

#28: Putting serving dishes on the table

Resist setting out foods buffet or family style, and choose to serve them from the kitchen. A study found that when food is served from the dinner table, people consume 35 percent more over the course of the meal. When an additional helping requires leaving the table, people hesitate to go back for more.

#29: Choosing white bread

When obese people incorporated whole grains into their diets, they lost more abdominal fat over the course of 12 weeks. There are likely multiple factors at play, but the most notable is this: Whole grain foods pack in more fiber and an overall stronger nutritional package than their refined-grain counterparts.

#30: Taking big bites

People who took large bites of food consumed 52 percent more calories in one sitting than those who took small bites and chewed longer. By cutting food into smaller pieces, you can increase taste and enjoy your food more thoroughly. A good general rule? The smaller your bites, the thinner your waistline.

#31: Having overweight friends

When a friend becomes obese, it ups your chance of obesity by 57 percent. This probably has to do with the social norms that you’re exposed to. Rather than ditch a friend who starts to put on a few extra pounds though, suggest healthy activities that you can do together, and avoid letting him or her dictate the meal (“Let’s split the double chocolate brownie!”)

#32: Drinking fruity beverages

Most restaurants and bars have ditched their fresh-fruit recipes in favor of syrups made mostly from high fructose corn syrup and thickening agents. As a general rule, the more garnishes a drink has hanging from its rim, the worse it is for your waistline.

#33: Eating when emotional

Emotional eaters, those who admitted eating in response to emotional stress, were 13 times more likely to be overweight or obese. If you feel the urge to eat in response to stress, try chewing a piece of gum, chugging a glass of water, or taking a walk around the block. Create an automatic response that doesn’t involve food and you’ll prevent yourself from overloading on calories.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Nutrition Needs

evolutionI hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

Nutrition needs evolve

As you get older, nutrition rules change. Some vitamins, such as B12, become even more important with time. But at what age do you need to make changes? These recommendations should be addressed at different stages of your life, and it’s safe to start thinking about these in your 30s before it’s too late?”

Seek out vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is often overlooked.  B12 is needed to make blood cells and improve cognition.   Vitamin B12 gets into your body with animal proteins like eggs or meat.

Most young people who aren’t vegetarians easily get enough in their diet. But for the body to use B12, it needs to dissolve it away from the protein. This gets more challenging with age as the level of stomach acid decreases.

B12 not bound to protein is found in fortified cereal and supplements and is more readily absorbed by your body. Starting at age 50, you should get most vitamin B12 from these types of fortified foods.

Eat more bananas

Blood pressure tends to rise as you age. To combat this problem and lower stroke and heart attack risk, you should eat less sodium and more potassium.

Further, many hypertension medications have a diuretic effect that lowers both sodium and potassium levels in your body. Both of those electrolytes are necessary in a certain amount, but you need more potassium than sodium.

To replenish potassium, look to fruits and vegetables. A banana is always a good choice, as is broccoli and baked potatoes (with the skin).

Cut calories

As you get older, your metabolic rate slows down, so your calorie intake should drop accordingly. You don’t need as much to keep you moving.

In general, people also tend to move less as they get older. Extra calories may mean extra pounds, which increases heart disease and diabetes risk, as well as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Every bite should be crammed full of as many nutrients as possible.

Spice it up

With age, a drop in saliva and taste bud power can leave some foods lacking excitement. Don’t try to fix the problem by reaching for the salt shaker. There are millions of other spices that don’t have sodium that you can enjoy.

Try new food flavors and textures, and avoid overcooking food to keep it from losing flavor. And add more hot pepper or other spices like curry if you like them. It might make you drink more water, which is also good.

Drink more water

While your sense of taste can decline over time, so can your sensation of thirst. In addition, certain medications, such as antihistamines and blood pressure drugs, can make you more prone to dehydration. That means making a greater effort to get enough fluids.

In fact, dehydration is one of the main reasons older adults end up in the hospital.

Women should drink about 2.2 liters, or 9 cups, of water a day, and men drink 3 liters, or 13 cups. (Try to limit coffee, tea, and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which up dehydration risk.)

Get more calcium

Calcium is good for your bones and is found in dairy products and other foods, but many still do not get enough. (Lactose intolerance, which tends to increase with age, is one reason.)

Adults should get 1,000 milligrams a day, but that rises to 1,200 milligrams for women over 50 and men over 70.

You should take a supplement if you don’t think you are getting enough calcium from your diet.

The maximum calcium intake from food and supplements is 2,500 milligrams a day for adults, or 2,000 milligrams a day if you’re over 50. More than that can up the risk of kidney stones and other problems in some people.

Up your vitamin D

Vitamin D is needed for your body to absorb and properly use calcium. Unfortunately, thisvitamin, naturally from the sun, can be hard to get depending on the time of year, where you live, and what you eat.

Fortified foods can help, but may not be enough. Since vitamin D is soluble only in fat, low-fat milk doesn’t always contain very much. Adults should aim for 600 international units per day and raise that to 800 after age 70 (4,000 is the daily max for adults).

If you feel you are not getting enough, supplements may assist your needs.

Get lutein for clarity

The world can get blurry for a lot of older people. To save your eyes from age related macular degeneration or cataracts, start upping your intake of lutein during middle age.

This nutrient, which is related to beta-carotene and vitamin A, may also help fend off cognitive decline.

You can get your allotment of lutein by eating more green, leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli, fruits like grapes and oranges, and egg yolks.

Focus on fiber

Our grandparents may have been onto something with their ever present packages of prunes. The fiber in this shriveled fruit helps the digestive tract run smoothly.

Fiber is key for normal bowel function and may lower the risk of gastrointestinal inflammation. Plus, it can lower cholesterol and blunt the rise in blood sugar that occurs after eating.

But you don’t need to limit yourself to prunes. Other vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains will also do the trick.  And my new favorite Chia seeds.

Limit saturated fat

Avoiding foods high in saturated fat should be a lifelong goal, and it goes along with the aim of maximizing your nutrient to calorie intake. Low-fat dairy products, for example, are rich in nutrients such as protein and calcium without adding unnecessary fat or calories found in full-fat dairy.

Most of the fat in an older person’s diet should be good fats, such as polyunsaturated and monousaturated fat, which come from foods like soybean and canola oil. These oils can also be a good source of vitamins E and K.

Cut out unhealthy carbs

It is always good practice to limit foods high in sugar. But this rule may be particularly important as you age in order to keep a healthy weight, rest the pancreas (the insulin-pumping organ whose functioning goes awry in diabetes), and maximize the intake of healthy nutrients per calories consumed.

Refined carbohydrates such as white bread are generally lower in vitamins and fiber than, for example, whole grains. Opt for healthy carbs, like fruit, over not so great carbs, like cake.

Be supplement savvy

Food is your best source of nutrients, but it can be hard to get all you need in the recommended amounts.

My book has charts and more advice on how to supplement.

Calcium and vitamins B12 and D are good to supplement as you grow older. But over consumption is dangerous too. You can easily end up getting too much of a good thing if you take supplements. Be a smart supplement taker and know the risks.

Talk to your doctor about appropriate dosages.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

The TOP 12

nutrientsI hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

These 12 nutrient-packed foods, ensures you get all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need for optimum health. These foods will trigger lean muscle growth, and also fire up your body’s natural fat burners. The more of these Power 12 foods you eat, the better your body will be able to increase lean muscle mass and avoid storing fat.

  1. Almonds and Other Nuts

Superpowers: Build muscle, fight cravings
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, folate (peanuts), phosphorus
Fight against: Obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, wrinkles, cancer, and high blood pressure
Sidekicks: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados
Avoid: Salted or smoked nuts

  1. Beans and Legumes

Superpowers: Build muscle, help burn fat, and regulate digestion
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, iron, folate
Fight against: Obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks: Lentils, peas, bean dips, hummus, edamame
Avoid: Refried beans, which are high in saturated fats; baked beans, which are high in sugar

  1. Spinach and Other Green Vegetables

Superpowers: Neutralize free radicals, which are molecules that accelerate the aging process
Secret weapons: Vitamins including A, C, and K; folate; minerals including calcium and magnesium; fiber; beta-carotene
Fight against: Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and osteoporosis
Sidekicks: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts; green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables like asparagus, peppers, and yellow beans
Avoid: None, as long as you don’t fry them or smother them in fatty cheeses

  1. Dairy (Fat-Free or Low-Fat Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, and Cottage Cheese)

Superpowers: Builds strong bones, fires up weight loss
Secret weapons: Calcium, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium
Fights against: Osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer
Sidekicks: None
Avoid: Whole milk, frozen yogurt

  1. Instant Oatmeal (Unsweetened, Unflavored)

Superpowers: Boosts energy and sex drive, reduces cholesterol, and maintains blood sugar levels
Secret weapons: Complex carbohydrates and fiber
Fights against: Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: High-fiber cereals such as All-Bran and Fiber One
Avoid: Cereals with added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup

  1. Eggs

Superpowers: Build muscle, burn fat
Secret weapons: Protein, vitamin B12, vitamin A
Fight against: Obesity
Sidekicks: None
Avoid: None

  1. Turkey and Other Lean Meats (Lean Steak, Chicken, and Fish)

Superpowers: Build muscle, improve the immune system
Secret weapons: Protein, iron, zinc, creatine (beef), omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamins B6 (chicken and fish) and B12, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against: Obesity, various diseases
Sidekicks: Shellfish, Canadian bacon
Avoid: Sausage, bacon, cured meats, ham, fatty cuts of steak such as T-bone and rib eye

  1. Peanut Butter (All-Natural, Sugar-Free)

Superpowers: Boosts testosterone, builds muscle, burns fat
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium
Fights against: Obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles, cardiovascular disease
Sidekicks: Cashew and almond butters
Avoid: Mass-produced sugary and trans fatty peanut butters

  1. Olive Oil

Superpowers: Lowers cholesterol, boosts the immune system
Secret weapons: Monounsaturated fat, vitamin E
Fights against: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks: Canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil
Avoid: Vegetable and hydrogenated vegetable oils, Trans fatty acids, margarine

  1. Whole-Grain Breads and Cereals

Superpower: Prevent your body from storing fat
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium
Fight against: Obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease
Sidekicks: Brown rice, whole-wheat pretzels, whole-wheat pastas
Avoid: Processed bakery products such as white bread, bagels, and doughnuts; breads labeled wheat instead of whole wheat

  1. Extra-Protein (Whey) Powder

Superpowers: Builds muscle, burns fat
Secret weapons: Protein, cysteine, glutathione
Fights against: Obesity
Sidekick: Ricotta cheese
Avoid: Soy protein

  1. Raspberries and Other Berries

Superpowers: Protect your heart; enhance eyesight; improve balance, coordination, and short-term memory; prevent cravings
Secret weapons: Antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, tannins (cranberries)
Fight against: Heart disease, cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: Most other fruits, especially apples and grapefruit
Avoid: Jellies, most of which eliminate fiber and add sugar

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Anti aging Super foods

image002 (1)I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

The latest science on the muscle building, brain-enhancing, wrinkle erasing, heart-strengthening, bone-protecting, immunity boosting, and inflammation fighting foods you should be eating every day.

1. Almonds

These energy-rich snacks lower bad cholesterol, thanks to plant sterols, and benefit diabetics by lowering blood sugar. They’re also rich in amino acids, which bolster testosterone levels and muscle growth. Almonds are also stuffed with vitamin E,which helps defend against sun damage. In a study, volunteers who consumed 14 milligrams of the vitamin (about 20 almonds) per day and then were exposed to UV light burned less than those who took none. And because vitamin E is an antioxidant, it also works to keep your arteries free of dangerous free radicals. Low levels of vitamin E are also associated with poor memory performance and cognitive decline.

2. Flaxseeds

Rich in protein and fiber, these little seeds offer a payload of omega-3 fatty acids, which erase spots and iron out fine lines in the skin. Participants in one study who downed about half a teaspoon of omega-3s daily in 6 weeks experienced significantly less irritation and redness, along with better-hydrated skin. Another study of people with high cholesterol (greater than 240 mg/dL) compared statin treatment with eating 20 grams of flaxseed a day. After 60 days, those eating flaxseed did just as well as those on statins. Try sprinkling ground flaxseed on oatmeal, yogurt, and salads.

3. Tomatoes

There are two things you need to know about tomatoes: red are the best, because they’re packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene; and processed tomatoes are just as potent as fresh ones, because it’s easier for the body to absorb the lycopene. A diet rich in lycopene can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, and help eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. Cooked tomatoes and tomato paste work best.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Often confused with yams, these tubers are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. In addition to countering the effects of second hand smoke and preventing diabetes, sweet potatoes contain glutathione, an antioxidant that can enhance nutrient metabolism and immune system health, as well as protect against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, HIV, cancer, heart attack, and stroke. What’s more, they’re also loaded with vitamin C, which smoothes out wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen.  Volunteers who consumed 4 milligrams of C (about half a small sweet potato) daily for 3 years decreased the appearance of wrinkles by 11 percent.

5. Spinach

It may be green and leafy, but spinach is a renowned muscle builder and is also the ultimate man food.  Spinach is replete with the essential minerals potassium and magnesium, and it’s one of the top sources of lutein, an antioxidant that may help prevent clogged arteries. Plus its vitamins and nutrients can bolster bone-mineral density, attack prostate cancer cells, reduce the risk of skin tumors, fight colon cancer, and, last but not least, increase blood flow to your penis.

6. Rosemary

The carnosic acid found in this spice has been shown to reduce stroke risk in mice by 40 percent. Carnosic acid appears to set off a process that shields brain cells from free-radical damage, which can worsen the effects of a stroke. It can also protect against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and the general effects of aging.

7. Wild Salmon

A 4-ounce serving of salmon has approximately 2,000 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), omega-3 fatty acids that serve as oil for the brain’s hardware by helping nerve cells communicate with one another. Thirty-five percent of your brain consists of fatty acids like these, but they can decline as the years stack up. The brain tissue of 65- to 80-year-olds contained 22 percent less DHA than the brain tissue of 29- to 35-year-olds. If you want to keep your wits about you as you age, start consuming omega-3s now. says Why is wild so important? Because farmed fish, which are fattened with soy, can be as high in inflammatory omega-6 fats as a cheeseburger. If in doubt, opt for sockeye salmon, which can’t be farmed and is always wild. Aim for at least two servings a week..

8. Blueberries

This potent little fruit can help prevent a range of diseases from cancer to heart disease. Think of blueberries as anti-rust for your gray matter.  Besides being rich in fiber and vitamins A and C, they’re also packed with antioxidants, only açai, an Amazonian berry, contains more, that neutralize the free radicals that cause neuronal misfires. Eat a cup a day, and opt for wild blueberries whenever possible, as they contain 26 percent more antioxidants than cultivated varieties.

9. Green Tea

Green tea releases catechin, an antioxidant with proven anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Drinking 2 to 6 cups a day not only helps prevent skin cancer but might also reverse the effects of sun damage by neutralizing the changes that appear in sun exposed skin. Green tea is also infused with another antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)—can boost your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of most types of cancer.

10. Dark Chocolate

Flavonoids, a natural nutrient in cocoa, improve blood flow in the brain, which helps boost cognitive function. Plus dark chocolate contains a tannin called procyanidin, which is also found in red wine, that can keep your arteries flexible and your blood pressure low. It helps on the outside, too. Women who drank cocoa fortified with a chocolate bar’s worth of flavonols had better skin texture and stronger resistance to UV rays than those who drank significantly fewer flavonols. Indulge in 1 ounce a day to get all the benefits.

11. Tuna

Your favorite deli sandwich has a little secret: Selenium. This nutrient helps preserve elastin, a protein that keeps your skin smooth and tight. The antioxidant is also believed to buffer against the sun (it stops free radicals created by UV exposure from damaging cells). Tuna is also a great source of protein, contains no trans fat, and a 3-ounce serving of chunk light contains 11 mg of heart-healthy niacin, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol and help your body process fat. Niacin raises HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and lowers triglycerides more than most statins alone.

12. Carrots

Think of carrots as orange wonder wands, good for the eyeballs, and good for clearing up breakouts. No magic here, though, just plenty of vitamin A, which prevents overproducti on of cells in the skin’s outer layer. That means fewer dead cells to combine with sebum and clog pores. They’re also spiked with carotenoids, fat-soluble compounds that are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as a reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

13. Dried Plums

Also known as prunes, these dark shrivelers are rich in copper and boron, both of which can help prevent osteoporosis. They also contain a fiber called inulin, which, when broken down by intestinal bacteria, makes for a more acidic environment in the digestive tract which in turn, facilitates calcium absorption.

14. Whole Grains

Whole grains—oatmeal, wheat flour, barley, brown rice—are high in fiber, which calms inflamed tissues while keeping the heart strong, the colon healthy, and the brain fueled. Whole grains can be loaded with carbs, but the release of those sugars is slowed by the fiber, and because they can pack as much as 10 grams of protein per 1/2-cup serving, they also deliver steady muscle-building energy.But not all breads and crackers advertised as “whole grain” are the real deal. Read the label, those that aren’t whole grain can be high in fat, which increases inflammation.

15. Red Wine

Swimming in resveratrol, a natural compound that lowers LDL, raises HDL, and prevents blood clots. Red wine can truly be a lifesaver.  Resveratrol may prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease. But limit your intake to two drinks a day as you’re 97 percent more likely to reach your 85th birthday if you keep your daily alcohol consumption to fewer than three drinks. Vin rouge is also a rich source of flavonoids, antioxidants that help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart, and may make you less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

16. Yogurt

Various cultures claim yogurt as their own creation, but the 2,000-year-old food’s health benefits are not disputed: Fermentation spawns hundreds of millions of probiotic organisms that serve as reinforcements to the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body, which keep your digestive tract healthy and your immune system in top form, and provide protection against cancer. Not all yogurts are probiotic, though, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures.”

17. Avocado

Chock full of monounsaturated fat, avocados deliver a double-barreled blast to LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). They are also rich in folate, a water-soluble B vitamin that helps lower the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can hinder the flow of blood through blood vessels. Eat a 1/4 cup twice a week.

18. Walnuts

Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle building protein as chicken. Other nuts combine only one or two of these features, not all three. A serving of walnuts, about 1 ounce, or seven nuts, is good anytime, but especially as a post workout recovery snack.

19. Turmeric

Curcumin, the polyphenol that gives turmeric its tang and yellow hue, has anticancer properties, anti-inflammatory effects, and tumor-fighting activities known in nutrition speak as anti-angiogenesis.  It helps deter the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain, tiny blockages that may cause Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric’s prevalence in India, may help explain why so few of the country’s senior citizens have the disease, whereas the statistic is close to 13 percent in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. One tip: Pair it with pepper in curries. Adding black pepper to turmeric or turmeric-spiced food enhances curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times, due to black pepper’s hot property called piperine.

20. Black Beans

People who eat one 3-ounce serving of black beans a day decrease their risk of heart attack by 38 percent. And while other beans are also good for your heart, none can boost your brainpower like black beans. That’s because they’re full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. They’re also packed with superstar nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, folate, magnesium, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber.

21. Apples

An apple a day reduces swelling of all kinds, thanks to quercetin, a flavonoid also found in the skin of red onions. Quercetin reduces the risk of allergies, heart attack, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and prostate and lung cancers. If given the choice, opt for Red Delicious. They contain the most inflammation fighting antioxidants.

22. Alaskan King Crab

High in protein and low in fat, the sweet flesh of the king crab is spiked with zinc, a whopping 7 milligrams per 3.5-ounce serving. Zinc is an antioxidant, but more important, it helps support healthy bone mass and immune function.

23. Pomegranates

The juice from the biblical fruit of many seeds can reduce your risk of most cancers, thanks to polyphenols called ellagitannins, which give the fruit its color. In fact, a recent study  found that pomegranate juice slows the growth of prostate cancer cells by a factor of six.

24. Pak Choy

This crunchy cruciferous vegetable is more than the filler that goes with shrimp in brown sauce. Bok choy is rich in bone-building calcium, as well as vitamins A and C, folic acid, iron, beta-carotene, and potassium. Potassium keeps your muscles and nerves in check while lowering your blood pressure, and researchsuggests that beta-carotene can reduce the risk of both lung and bladder cancers, as well as macular degeneration.

25. Oysters

Shellfish, in general, is an excellent source of zinc, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, potassium, and selenium. But the creamy flesh of oysters stands apart for its ability to elevate testosterone levels and protect against prostate cancer.

26. Broccoli

One cup of broccoli contains a hearty dose of calcium, as well as manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. And that’s in addition to its high concentration of vitamins—including A, C, and K—and the phyto nutrient sulforaphane, which studies suggest has powerful anticancer properties.

27. Kiwis

Like bananas, this fuzzy fruit is high in bone-protecting potassium. They’re also rich in vitamin C and lutein, a carotenoid that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Try to eat at least one or two a week after exercising.  Freeze them for a refreshing energy kick, but don’t peel the skin: It’s edible and packed with nutrients.

28. Olive Oil

The extra-virgin variety is rich in beneficial monounsaturated fats. Its fatty acids and polyphenols reduce inflammation in cells and joints. A study  found that it’s as effective as Advil at reducing inflammation. Have 2 tablespoons a day.

29. Leeks

Leeks can support sexual functioning and reduce the risk of prostate cancer,   Chop the green part of a medium leek into thin ribbons and add it to soups, sautés, and salads as often as possible. These scallion like cousins of garlic and onions are also packed with bone-bolstering thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, and potassium, and they’re also rich in folic acid, a B vitamin that studies have shown to lower levels of the artery-damaging amino acid homocystein in the blood.

30. Artichokes

Lauded for centuries as an aphrodisiac, this fiber-rich plant contains more bone-building magnesium and potassium than any other vegetable. Its leaves are also rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, antioxidants that can cut the risk of stroke, and vitamin C, which helps maintain the immune system. Eat them as often as you can. Ripe ones feel heavy for their size and squeak when squeezed.

31. Chili Peppers

Chilis stimulate the metabolism, act as a natural blood thinner, and help release endorphins. Plus, they’re a great way to add flavor to food without increasing fat or calorie content. Chilis are also rich in beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the blood and fights infections, as well as capsaicin, which inhibits neuropeptides (chemicals that cause inflammation). A recent study found that hot peppers even have anti-prostate-cancer properties. All this from half a chili pepper (or 1 tablespoon of chili flakes) every day.

32. Ginger

Contrary to popular belief, ginger, a frequent addition to so many Asian dishes, isn’t a root, it’s a stem, which means it contains living compounds that improve your health. Chief among them is gingerol, a cancer suppressor that studies have shown to be particularly effective against that of the colon. Chop ginger or grind it fresh and add it to soy marinated fish or chicken as often as you can. The more you can handle, the better.

33. Cinnamon

Known for making desserts sweet and Indian food complex, cinnamon is rich in antioxidants that inhibit blood clotting and bacterial growth (including the bad-breath variety). Studies also suggest that it may help stabilize blood sugar, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. What’s more, it may help reduce bad cholesterol. Try half a teaspoon a day in yogurt or oatmeal.

34. Eggs

Those who have eggs for breakfast lose 65 percent more weight than those who down a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories. Eat the yolk, too. Recent studies have proved that the fat in the yellow part is important to keep you satiated, and the benefits of its minerals and nutrients outweigh its cholesterol effect.

35. Figs

Packed with potassium, manganese, and antioxidants, this fruit also helps support proper pH levels in the body, making it more difficult for pathogens to invade. The fiber in figs can lower insulin and blood-sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Select figs with dark skins (they contain more nutrients) and eat them alone or add them to trail mix.

36. Grass-Fed Beef

Nothing beats pure protein when it comes to building muscle. The problem with most store-bought beef, however, is that the majority of cattle are grain fed, which gives their meat a relatively high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. That, in turn, contributes to inflammation. The fatty acids in grass-fed beef, on the other hand, are skewed toward the omega-3 variety. Such beef also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which studies have shown help reduce belly fat and build lean muscle.

37. Mushrooms

Delicious when added to brown rice, reiki, shiitake, and maitake mushrooms are rich in the antioxidant ergothioneine, which protects cells from abnormal growth and replication. In short, they reduce the risk of cancer. Try to eat half a cup once or twice a week. Cooking them in red wine, which contains resveratrol, magnifies their immunity-boosting power.

38. Pineapples

With its potent mix of vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes, in particular, bromelain,  pineapple is an all-body anti-inflammation cocktail. It also protects against colon cancer, arthritis, and macular degeneration. (If only the “colada” part of the equation were as healthy.) Have half a cup, two or three times a week.

39. Fruit or Vegetable Juice

Raise a glass of the good stuff.  People who drank three or more 4-ounce glasses of fruit or vegetable juice each week were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who drank less. The high levels of polyphenols, antioxidants found in fruits and vegetable, may protect brain cells from the damage that may be caused by the disease.

40. Bing Cherries

Eating about 35 bing cherries a day can lower the risk of tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis, and gout. They also reduce the risk of chronic diseases and metabolic syndrome.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Eat Healthier Now

image002 (1)I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

Here are common sense rules that can hopefully help you sort through the myths and help you to make healthier choices.

  1. Eat like a tourist in Greece.  A plate of grilled fish and fresh vegetables and a glass of wine is as delicious in Athens, Greece as it is in any other city. A Mediterranean menu can help lower your risk for heart disease and keep you slim.
  2. If you can’t grow it, don’t eat it.  A potato comes from the ground, an egg from a hen. But where did a Pop Tart come from? Unprocessed, whole foods will give you the most benefits.  Processing takes out nutrients such as antioxidants and fiber, and even when chemists add them back, it’s not the same as what Mother Nature can do.
  3. Read the back of the box first.  The front is all advertising, flip it around for the real story and list of ingredients. The more ingredients, the more likely it has visited a few processing plants where something artificial was mixed in.
  4. The crunchier, the better. Choose snacks that offer a big, satisfying crunch when you bite into them, like apples, celery, snap peas and nuts.  Do not include chips and cheeses.  Keep your mouth busy, the more you chew, the slower you eat and the more time your body has to register fullness.
  5. You can always have more. There is no food shortage. Anything you eat after you’re full doesn’t even taste as good. And no one loves feeling stuffed.
  6. A frozen berry beats a fresh doughnut. Purchasing organic local produce is better for both the environment and your health. Frozen, canned and fresh fruit all have comparable amounts of nutrients.
  7. You can’t replace real ice cream. When you’re craving Chunky Monkey, no amount of fat-free will make up for it. Diet foods leave you feeling hungry and cheated. Splurge on one scoop of the real deal and savor it. You’ll be satisfied physically and psychologically.
  8. There’s no fruit in “fruit flavor.” Seeing flavor on a label is a sign the food was stripped of its real taste and a fabricated one swapped in.  Natural only means the additive came from a plant or an animal, which may not be as healthy as it sounds. Scientists create flavors using bacteria and call them natural.
  9. If it’s not around, you can’t eat it.  If all you have to do is walk to your kitchen, you’ll grab a bag and attack it. But if you must put on your shoes, find your keys and drive to the store. Laziness will triumph. Your waistline will win the battle of laziness.
  10. Table your meals.  As much sitting as you do, you also rarely stay put during dinner. On-the-go eaters consume more total fat, as well as more soda and fast food. The less distracted and stressed you are when you eat, the more efficiently your body absorbs nutrients. Turn off the T.V. and step away from your desk and park the car before you eat.
  11. Judge food by its cover.  When you have to hack through layers of packaging and plastic to get to your dinner, it’s likely to be unhealthy.   Research indicates that perfluorochemicals in food containers may lower fertility. Companies aren’t phasing out PFCs until 2015! So do it yourself now.
  12. Cake’sSugary carbs are bad, and they leave you unsatisfied, guilt-ridden and 10 pounds heavier. The solution is to snack on things like fruit, low-fat yogurt and honey.
  13. Don’t drink dessert.  Brimming with vitamins! Bursting with energy! Store shelves are exploding with colorful, cleverly named drinks that sound healthy but are actually just sweetened water. Don’t let the labels fool you.  If it’s not skim milk, plain H2O or regular coffee or tea, it’s a treat. For a healthier sip, try lemon or mint iced tea or sparkling water with a splash of juice.
  14. Make sure you can ID the animal.  You don’t have to hunt and skin your supper, but if your chicken has been molded into a nugget, who knows what you’re really chewing? And when you choose meat that’s been processed into sausage, strips or slices, you’re downing sodium and preservatives instead of healthy nutrients.  Stick to cuts straight from the butcher.
  15. Fuel up in the morning, not at night.  A car needs gas when it’s hitting the road, not when it’s sitting in the garage, so why do you have your biggest meal when the only energy you will burn is watching TV. Aim for a 550-calorie breakfast, a 500-calorie lunch, a 450-calorie dinner and a 100-calorie snack. If you overeat at night, you’re less likely to burn off the calories.
  16. Don’t buy food where you buy tires.  In our time-crunched life, it’s tempting to grab groceries at the pump or a convenient store. But for the healthiest food at the fairest price, visit your neighborhood grocery store. Convenience stores charge more than supermarkets do.
  17. Work for your dinner.  For a healthy meal, you need to invest at least a few minutes in chopping, rinsing or grilling. The result is worth the effort.  When you prepare dishes yourself, you can see exactly which ingredients are going into it and make conscious choices about what you are eating.
  18. Your hips are not a fridge.  Once you slice and sauté your way to a fabulous feast, you don’t have to finish every bite. We’re conditioned to think that if we don’t devour everything on our plate, we are misbehaving.  If you keep munching even after you’re full, you are using your body as a storage unit. If there’s enough left over for lunch tomorrow, pack it up and put it in the fridge.
  19. Watching Top Chef isn’t cooking.  Food shows are popular but zoning out in front of the TV is making cooking a spectator sport. You don’t have to cook a seven-course meal, but you can pick up tips about combining flavors and using fresh ingredients.
  20. Give yourself a break.  If you follow these rules most of the time but occasionally crave a fast-food fix, a slice of pizza or a brownie, go for it. You can happily resume your healthy plan once you satisfy your urge.  If you want fried chicken now and then, enjoy it!

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !

Foods That Heal

image002I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

As part of a healthy diet, whole foods play a significant role in helping your body function at its best. There are hundreds of nutritious whole foods, but the dozen on this list do more than just have healthy nutrients, they also have healing properties.

Kiwi fruit:  This tiny fruit packs an amazing amount of vitamin C (double the amount found in oranges), has more fiber than apples, and beats bananas as a high potassium food. The unique blend of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in kiwi fruit helps protect against heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory disease. Kiwi fruit’s natural blood thinning properties work without the side effects of aspirin and support vascular health by reducing the formation of spontaneous blood clots, lowering LDLcholesterol, and reducing blood pressure. Studies have shown that kiwi fruit not only reduce oxidative stress and damage to your DNA but also helps damaged cells to repair themselves.

Kiwi fruit are often prescribed as part of a dietary regimen to battle cancer and heart disease, and in Chinese medicine they are used to accelerate the healing of wounds and sores.

How much: Aim to eat one to two kiwi fruit a day.  California grown kiwi fruit are in season from October through May, and New Zealand kiwi fruit are available between April and November.

Tips: Kiwi fruit contain enzymes that activate once you cut the fruit, causing the flesh to tenderize. So if you’re making a fruit salad, cut the kiwifruit last.
The riper the kiwi fruit, the greater the antioxidant power, so let them ripen before you dig in.

Cherries:  Cherries pack a powerful nutritional punch with a low calorie count. They’re also packed with substances that help fight inflammation and cancer. In lab studies, quercetin and ellagic acid, two compounds contained in cherries, have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors and even cause cancer cells to commit suicide, without damaging healthy cells. Cherries also have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Anthocyanin, another compound in cherries, is credited with lowering the uric acid levels in your blood, reducing a common cause of gout. Researchers believe anthocyanins may also reduce your risk of colon cancer. These compounds also work like a natural form of ibuprofen, reducing inflammation and curbing pain. Regular consumption may help lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

In Chinese medicine, cherries are routinely used as a remedy for gout, arthritis, and rheumatism, as well as anemia, due to their high iron content.

How much: Eat daily and keep a bag of frozen cherries in your freezer.  Frozen cherries retain 100 percent of their nutritional value and make a great addition to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.

Tip: Buy organic, since conventionally grown cherries can be high in pesticides.

Guavas:  Guavas are a small tropical fruit that can be round, oval, or pear-shaped. They’re not all that common, so they might be hard to find, depending on where you live. Guavas contain more of the cancer fighting antioxidant lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable, and nearly 20 percent more than tomatoes. Your body can’t process much of the lycopene in tomatoes until they’re cooked as the processing helps break down tough cell walls. However, guavas’ cell structure allows the antioxidant to be absorbed whether the fruit is raw or cooked, and the whole fruit offers the nutrition without the added sodium of processed tomato products.

Lycopene protects your healthy cells from free radicals that can cause all kinds of damage, including blocked arteries, joint degeneration, nervous system problems, and even cancer. Lycopene consumption is associated with significantly lower rates of prostate cancer. Men with prostate tumors who consumed lycopene supplements showed significant improvements, such as smaller tumors and decreased malignancy. Lycopene has also been found to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, and research suggests that this antioxidant may also help protect against coronary heart disease.

This fruit is also packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants. Serving for serving, guava offers more than 60 percent more potassium than a banana, which can help protect against heart disease and stroke. In fact, the nutrients found in guavas have been shown to lower LDL and boost HDL cholesterol, reduce triglycerides, and lower blood pressure.

How much: Eat fresh guavas as often as you can as they are not commonly available in most stores. Guava juices are processed and sweetened, so they don’t provide the same superior nutrition that the whole, fresh fruit does. One to two guavas a day is a good goal.

Beans:  Beans lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and insulin production, promote digestive health, and protect against cancer. If you think of fiber, protein, and antioxidants and immediately think whole grains, meats, and fruit, think again, beans offer all three in a single package.

An assortment of phytochemicals found in beans has been shown to protect cells from cancerous activity by inhibiting cancer cells from reproducing, slowing tumor growth. Researchers shows women who consumed beans at least twice a week were 24 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, and multiple studies have tied beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers.

Beans deliver a whopping amount of antioxidants, which help prevent and fight oxidative damage. In fact, the USDA’s ranking of foods by antioxidant capacity places three varieties of beans (red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans) in the top four and that’s among all food groups. Beans are a great source of dietary fiber, protein, and iron. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan.   Foods with high amounts of tryptophan can help regulate your appetite, aid in sleep, and improve your mood. Many are also rich in folate, which plays a significant role in heart health. And depending on the type of bean you choose, you’ll also get decent amounts of potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1 and B2, and vitamin K. Soybeans are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

In Chinese medicine, various types of beans have been used to treat alcoholism, food poisoning, edema (particularly in the legs), high blood pressure, diarrhea, laryngitis, kidney stones, rheumatism, and dozens of other conditions.

How much: Try to eat two servings of beans per week.

Tip: Adzuki and mung beans are among the most easily digested.  Pinto, kidney, navy, garbanzo, Lima, and black beans are more difficult to digest.

Watercress:  Watercress is about as close as you can get to a calorie free food. Calorie for calorie, it provides four times the calcium of 2 percent milk. Ounce for ounce, it offers as much vitamin C as an orange and more iron than spinach. It’s packed with vitamin A and has lots of vitamin K, along with multiple antioxidant carotenoids and protective phytochemicals.

The nutrients in watercress protect against cancer and macular degeneration, help build the immune system, and support bone health. The iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your body’s tissues for energy. The phytochemicals in watercress battle cancer in three ways: killing cancer cells, blocking carcinogens, and protecting healthy cells from carcinogens. They’ve also been shown to help prevent lung and esophageal cancer and can help lower your risk for other cancers.

In Chinese medicine, watercress is thought to help reduce tumors, improve night vision, and stimulate bile production (improving digestion and settling intestinal gas). It’s used as a remedy for jaundice, urinary difficulty, sore throat, mumps, and bad breath.

How much: Eat daily if you can. You can find it year round in many grocery stores and at your local farmers market.

Tips: You can cook it, but watercress is better for you when you eat it raw. Tuck it into a sandwich in place of lettuce.

Toss it with your favorite vegetables and eat it in a salad.

Use watercress as a wonderfully detoxifying ingredient in juice or smoothies.

Spinach:  Spinach protects against eye disease and vision loss, it’s good for brain function, it guards against colon, prostate, and breast cancers, it protects against heart disease, stroke, and dementia. It lowers blood pressure, it’s anti-inflammatory and it’s great for bone health. Spinach has an amazing array of nutrients, including high amounts of vitamin K, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and iron.

A carotenoid found in spinach not only kills prostate cancer cells, it also prevents them from multiplying. Folate promotes vascular health by lowering homocysteine, an amino acid that, at high levels, raises the risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. Folate has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal, ovarian, and breast cancers and to help stop uncontrolled cell growth, one of the primary characteristics of all cancers. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach protect against colon cancer in addition to fighting inflammation, making them key components of brain health, particularly in older adults.

Spinach is loaded with vitamin K (one cup of cooked spinach provides 1,111 percent of the recommended daily amount!), which builds strong bones by helping calcium adhere to your bones. Spinach is also rich in lutein, which protects against age related macular degeneration, and it may help prevent heart attacks by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol buildup.

How much: Fresh spinach should be a daily staple in your diet and aim for a few ounces, raw or lightly steamed, every day.

Tips: Add a handful of fresh spinach to your next fruit smoothie. It’ll change the color but not the taste.

Conventionally grown spinach is susceptible to pesticide residue; stick to organic.

Onions:  Onions contain potent cancer-fighting enzymes, onion consumption has been shown to help lower the risk of prostate and esophageal cancers and has also been linked to reduced mortality from coronary heart disease. Research suggests that they may help protect against stomach cancer. Onions contain sulfides that help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as a peptide that may help prevent bone loss by inhibiting the loss of calcium and other bone minerals.

Onions have super antioxidant power. They contain quercetin, a natural antihistamine that reduces airway inflammation and helps relieve symptoms of allergies and hay fever. Onions also boast high levels of vitamin C, which, along with the quercetin, battles cold and flu symptoms. Onions’ anti-inflammatory properties help fight the pain and swelling associated with osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Onions are also extremely rich in sulfur and they have antibiotic and antiviral properties, making them excellent for people who consume a diet high in protein, fat, or sugar, as they help cleanse the arteries and impede the growth of viruses, yeasts, and other disease causing agents, which can build up in an imbalanced diet.

How much: Add a few onions to your weekly grocery list and try to eat a little bit every day. All varieties are extremely good for you, but shallots and yellow onions lead the pack in antioxidant activity. Raw onions provide the best nutrition, but they’re still great for you when they’re lightly cooked. And cooking meat at high temperatures (such as on a grill) with onions can help reduce or counteract carcinogens produced by the meat.

Tip: Onions should be stored at room temperature, but if they bother your eyes when you cut them, try refrigerating them for an hour before cutting.

Carrots:  Carrots are a great source of the potent antioxidants known as carotenoids. Diets high in carotenoids have been tied to a decreased risk in postmenopausal breast cancer as well as cancers of the bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus. Conversely, diets low in carotenoids have been associated with chronic disease, including heart disease and various cancers. Research suggests that just one carrot per day could reduce your risk of lung cancer by half. Carrots may also reduce your risk of kidney and ovarian cancers. In addition to fighting cancer, the nutrients in carrots inhibit cardiovascular disease, stimulate the immune system, promote colon health, and support ear and eye health.

Carrots contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin C, and an incredible amount of vitamin A. The alpha-carotene in carrots has shown promise in inhibiting tumor growth. Carrots also contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which work together to promote eye health and prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.

In Chinese medicine, carrots are used to treat rheumatism, kidney stones, tumors, indigestion, diarrhea, night blindness, ear infections, earaches, deafness, skin lesions, urinary tract infections, coughs, and constipation.

How much: Eat a serving of carrots each day. Carrots are good for you whether they’re raw or lightly cooked. Cooking helps break down the tough fiber, making some of the nutrients more easily absorbed. For the best nutrition, go for whole carrots that are firm and fresh-looking. Precut baby carrots are made from whole carrots and, although they’re convenient, they tend to lose important nutrients during processing.

Tips: Remove carrot tops before storing them in the fridge, as the tops drain moisture from the roots and will cause the carrots to wilt.

Buy organic; conventionally grown carrots frequently show high pesticide residues.

Cabbage:  Cabbage is a great source of vitamins K and C. One cup supplies 91 percent of the recommended daily amount for vitamin K, 50 percent of vitamin C, good amounts of fiber, and decent scores of manganese, vitamin B6, folate, and more—and it’ll only cost you about 33 calories. Calorie for calorie, cabbage offers 11 percent more vitamin C than oranges.

Cabbage contains high levels of antioxidant sulforaphanes that not only fight free radicals before they damage DNA but also stimulate enzymes that detoxify carcinogens in the body. Researchers believe this one-two approach may contribute to the apparent ability of cruciferous vegetables to reduce the risk of cancer more effectively than any other plant food group. Studies point to a strong association between diets high in cruciferous vegetables and a low incidence of lung, colon, breast, ovarian, and bladder cancers.

Cabbage builds strong bones, dampens allergic reactions, reduces inflammation, and promotes gastrointestinal health. Cabbage is routinely juiced as a natural remedy for healing peptic ulcers due to its high glutamine content. It also provides significant cardiovascular benefit by preventing plaque formation in the blood vessels.

In Chinese medicine, cabbage is used to treat constipation, the common cold, whooping cough, depression and irritability, and stomach ulcers. When eaten and used as a poultice, as a dual treatment, cabbage is helpful for healing bedsores, varicose veins, and arthritis.

How much: The more cabbage you can include in your diet, the better.

Tips: Try raw sauerkraut. It has all the health properties of cabbage, plus some potent probiotics, which are excellent for digestive health.

Use the whole cabbage; the outer leaves contain a third more calcium than the inner leaves.

Both are nutritional stars, but red cabbages are far superior to the white variety, with about seven times more vitamin C and more than four times the polyphenols, which protect cells from oxidative stress and cancer.

Broccoli:  A single cup of steamed broccoli provides more than 200 percent of the RDA for vitamin C (again, more than oranges), nearly as much of vitamin K, and about half of the daily allowance for vitamin A, along with plentiful folate, fiber, sulfur, iron, B vitamins, and a whole host of other important nutrients. Calorie for calorie, broccoli contains about twice the amount of protein as steak and a lot more protective phytonutrients.

Broccoli’s phytochemicals fight cancer by neutralizing carcinogens and accelerating their elimination from the body, in addition to inhibiting tumors caused by chemical carcinogens. Studies show evidence that these substances help prevent lung and esophageal cancers and may play a role in lowering the risk of other cancers, including gastrointestinal cancer.

Phytonutrients called indoles found in broccoli help protect against prostate, gastric, skin, breast, and cervical cancers. Some research suggests that indoles also protect the structure of DNA and may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Extensive studies have linked broccoli to a 20 percent reduction in heart disease risk.

In Chinese medicine, broccoli is used to treat eye inflammation.

How much: Try to eat a little broccoli every day. Like many other vegetables, broccoli provides fantastic nutrition both in its raw form and when it’s properly cooked. Cooking reduces some of broccoli’s anticancer components, but lightly steaming it will preserve most of the nutrients. Frozen broccoli is a good substitute.

Tip: Steaming or cooking broccoli lightly releases the maximum amount of the antioxidant sulforaphane.

Kale:  Kale is highly nutritious, has powerful antioxidant properties, and is anti-inflammatory. One cup of cooked kale contains an astounding 1,328 percent of the RDA for vitamin K, 192 percent of the RDA for vitamin A, and 89 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. It’s also a good source of calcium and iron.

Kale is in the same plant family as broccoli and cabbage and it contains high levels of the cancer-fighting compound sulforaphane, which guards against prostate, gastric, skin, and breast cancers by boosting your body’s detoxification enzymes and fighting free radicals in your body. The indoles in kale have been shown to protect against breast, cervical, and colon cancers. The vitamin K in kale promotes blood clotting, protects the heart, and helps build strong bones by anchoring calcium to the bone. It also has more antioxidant power than spinach, protecting against free-radical damage. Kale is extra rich in beta-carotene (containing seven times as much as does broccoli), lutein, and zeaxanthin (10 times the amount in broccoli). In Chinese medicine, kale is used to help ease lung congestion.

How much: The more kale you can eat, the better.

Tips: Kale’s growing season extends nearly year-round; the only time it’s out of season is summer, when plenty of other leafy greens are available.

Steam or sauté kale on its own, or add it to soups and stews. Cooking helps tenderize the leaves.

Kale is also a great addition when it’s blended in fruit smoothies or juiced with other vegetables.

Dandelion:  The pesky weed has a long history of being used as a healing herb in cultures around the globe. One cup of raw dandelion greens provides 535 percent of the RDA of vitamin K and 112 percent of the RDA for vitamin A. Dandelion greens are also a good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, fiber, and potassium. Among all foods, it’s one of the richest sources of vitamin A, among all green vegetables. It’s also one of the best sources of beta-carotene.

Dandelion has been used for centuries to treat hepatitis, kidney, and liver disorders such as kidney stones, jaundice, and cirrhosis. It’s routinely prescribed as a natural treatment for hepatitis C, anemia, and liver detoxification (poor liver function has been linked to numerous conditions, from indigestion and hepatitis to irritability and depression). As a natural diuretic, dandelion supports the entire digestive system and increases urine output, helping flush toxins and excess salt from the kidneys. The naturally occurring potassium in dandelions helps prevent the loss of potassium that can occur with pharmaceutical diuretics.

Dandelion promotes digestive health by stimulating bile production, resulting in a gentle laxative effect. Inulin, a naturally occurring soluble fiber in dandelion, further aids digestion by feeding the healthy probiotic bacteria in the intestines.   It also increases calcium absorption and has a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels, therefore being useful in treating diabetes. Both the dandelion leaves and root are used to treat heartburn and indigestion. The pectin in dandelion relieves constipation and, in combination with vitamin C, reduces cholesterol. Dandelion is excellent for reducing edema, bloating, and water retention.  It can also help reduce high blood pressure. On top of all that, dandelion contains multiple antidiarrheal and antibacterial properties.

In Chinese medicine, dandelion is used in combination with other herbs to treat hepatitis and upper respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. The sap from the stem and root is a topical remedy for warts.

How much: Dandelion greens are considered a specialty item in some areas and therefore can be difficult to find. They also have a pungent taste, and people tend to love or hate the flavor. If you can find fresh dandelion greens and you enjoy the taste, make them a regular part of your diet.

Tips: Use the root in soups or sauté it on its own. If the raw leaves are too bitter for you, try them lightly steamed or sautéed.

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !