The Healthiest Leafy Greens

We have constantly been advised to eat green leafy vegetables. They’re rich in essential vitamins and minerals, we’re told. However, not all leafy greens are made equal. If you think the lettuce leaves in your burger are doing you any favours while the basil leaves on your pizza are only garnish, think again. Nutritional experts have sorted out which leafy greens are the most nutritious and exactly what kind of benefits we can get from regularly eating them.

Microgreens
Ranking high among experts’ lists of the most health-giving greens are microgreens. What are microgreens exactly? As you might have guess, they’re green vegetables that are tiny in size, at least 2.5 to 7.5 cm tall. These plants can be sprouts or baby greens, but unlike sprouts, only their stems and leaves are edible. Some examples of microgreens include broccoli, watercress, radish, arugula, leek, fennel, dill, chicory and coriander. According to agricultural studies, certain microgreens contain six to up to 40 times more vitamins C and E than mature plants. This is because during the crucial developmental stage, these baby plants require more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support their growth.

Kale
Everybody’s favourite leafy superfood is a superfood for a good reason. Kale is particularly rich in lutein, a powerful antioxidant that benefits eyesight. Kale also packs terrific amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and sulforphane, which is a cancer-fighting phytonutrient. One cup or 67 grams of raw kale contains 684% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 206% of the DV for vitamin A and 134% of the DV for vitamin C. Kale is best consumed raw since it will lose some of its nutritional value when cooked.

Spinach
Cartoon character Popeye was right to choose spinach as his go-to vegetable for extra strength. Spinach has been found to have the highest amount of the B vitamin folate among greens, which means this can help against breast cancer development. It’s also rich in iron and potassium, a great benefit for people needing to keep their blood pressure in check.

Swiss Chard
Vitamin K is heavily present in swiss chard, three times more than other greens. Vitamin K is essential in helping the blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding. Researches have also discovered that vitamin K can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Collard Greens
Collard greens are loose leaf greens similar in texture to kale and cabbage. They’re great sources of vitamins A, B9 or folate, and C. They’re also one of the most vitamin K-rich greens with one cup or 190 grams packing 1,045 percent of the daily value for vitamin K.

Cabbage
Coming in green, white or purple colours, cabbages are similar to kale and broccoli. Among cabbage’s many health benefits is protection against cancers like lung and esophageal. Cabbage is also often fermented into sauerkraut or kimchi and fermented foods are even more beneficial with the ability to improve your digestion and immune system.

Iceberg lettuce
Commonly found in burgers, sandwiches, salads and tacos, iceberg lettuce is actually one of the least nutritious greens. Compared to darker leafy greens, they’re mostly made of water and are not as rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It does make for a great low-calorie addition to the aforementioned dishes, though.

Sources:
https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/10-best-leafy-greens
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/leafy-green-vegetables#section15
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/not-all-leafy-greens-are-created-equal-heres-the-definitive-ranking-of-the-best-ones-for-you-a6981056.html
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/microgreens#nutrition

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The Best Times of the Day to Eat to Lose Weight

The most important thing is that your meals fit in with your daily routine and preferences. Someone that works shiftwork is going to need to eat at different times of the day than a person that works 9 until 5.

We’re always told midnight snacks are no good for us when we want to lose weight or that if we eat too close to bedtime, we’ll have nightmares or terrible indigestion. There is actual scientific evidence linking hormonal control and weight loss and weight gain to how often you eat in each day. Intermittent fasting is a way to restrict the number of calories you consume in a day. 16:8 is ideal, i.e. consuming your daily food intake within an 8 hour timeframe, e.g. between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM each day. A longer ‘eating window’ of 9-10 hours may also be effective. This allows flexibility for people who don’t necessarily like to eat breakfast or, on the other hand, people who prefer to eat their main meals earlier in the day.small group training paddington

Unlike most diets, the number of one’s daily calories is not as important a focus in intermittent fasting. For most people, intermittent fasting naturally limits the overall calorie intake. The guidelines are that all calories and meals need to be consumed within an 8-hour timeframe each day. According to one study, mealtimes must agree with the body’s natural circadian rhythms. If not, blood sugar levels can increase by 18 percent more than normal, which leads to higher levels of the fat-storing hormone, insulin. Furthermore, the longer we make ourselves go hungry, the more fat is likely to be stored in the liver. You, therefore, should ideally space your meals out within your ‘eating window’.

No matter what eating plan you implement, ensure that you maintain a healthy balance between protein, carbohydrates and fat and choose healthy food options.

Sources: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/a19942819/best-time-to-eat-for-weight-loss/

https://www.qt.com.au/news/best-times-eat-lose-weight/3173332/

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The Benefits of Drinking Kombucha

What in the world is Kombucha? Does it sound like an exotic drink? It sort of is! Kombucha is also known as tea mushroom, tea fungus, or Manchurian mushroom. Now, before you wrinkle your nose at the thought of this drink, you need to know why kombucha is so popular. And no, it’s not just because celebrities and Instagram models are posing with a bottle in every other selfie.

short hiit workout auchenflowerKombucha may have originated in China or Japan, through the addition of particular strains of bacteria, yeast and sugar to black or green tea, then allowing it to ferment for a week or more. What happens during the process is the bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like film on the surface (hence the name “mushroom tea”). What you get is a sour, slightly alcoholic and lightly acidic drink, somewhat comparable to vinegar (both have acetic acid due to the fermentation process). The specific culture used in kombucha is SCOBY or “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts.”

Rich in probiotics

Essentially, Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. You should know that fermented foods and drinks are some of the healthiest things you can consume. This is because fermented foods contain bacteria–the good kind! They’re called probiotics and they can improve our overall health in so many ways. They help with gut health, digestion, inflammation and weight loss.

A source of antioxidants

Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, which cause damage to cells. Antioxidants in kombucha made with green tea have great effects specifically to the liver. Studies have shown that regularly drinking kombucha reduces liver toxicity by at least 70 percent.

Green tea upgraded

If you don’t know about kombucha, you may at least know about green tea and how healthy it is. Green tea contains polyphenols, which are similar to antioxidants. Green tea has been proven to help burn more calories, reduce belly fat, and stabilise cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Green tea has also been found to reduce the risk of prostate, breast and colon cancers.

Disease fighter

Because it can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels, kombucha can give you the chance of combating certain diseases. Green tea kombucha may lower the risk of developing heart disease by 30 percent. People at risk of type 2 diabetes can also benefit from kombucha since a study found that green tea lowers the risk of becoming diabetic by 18 percent. Another study observed that kombucha helped prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells.

If you think you’re ready to give kombucha a shot, you should also be aware of other side effects. Drinking kombucha is not advisable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, since this might compromise your immune system. Some people have also reported side effects, such as stomach aches, nausea and dizziness from drinking kombucha. If you’re planning to make your own kombucha, there are some strict rules to follow. You’re working with live micro-organisms here, so it’s not your everyday cup of tea. It’s much better to stick to buying from a reputable source.

Sources: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-kombucha-tea#section1

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-kombucha

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What Makes a Food Organic and Is it Worth It?

When you see a product labelled “organic,” are you more likely to pick it up than one that isn’t? Organic foods should mean they’re the healthier option, right? But what does “organic” really mean and why is it such a booming trend?

In Australia, the organic food industry is growing fast. In 2010, the retail value of the organic market was an estimated $1 billion and consumer demand is growing at a rate of 20 to 30 per cent a year. More than six out of ten Australian households now buy some organic foods.

Organic food refers to how the animals or vegetables were grown or raised. The products are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals by farmers and food producers. These synthetic chemicals can include pesticides, artificial fertilisers, veterinary medicines, and genetic modification. However, not all organic foods are necessarily completely free of chemicals. There may be chemical residues due to being grown in an environment that was previously used for non-organic farming. There are also certain chemicals that are approved for organic farming, such as naturally occurring pesticides, like pyrethrins, light oils, copper and sulphur, and biological substances.

Organic farming can be highly beneficial to the animals, plants, environment and the humans that consume these organic products. Organic farming usually involves better animal welfare since animals are normally required to be raised in more natural and free conditions. This means more wildlife and biodiversity. Compare this to modern farming, which has led to a decline in soil fertility and an increase in salinity and clogging of waterways with blue-green algae.find personal trainer near me

For consumers, studies have shown that organic products have some differences in vitamin and mineral content. Some organic foods have lower nitrate levels and higher levels of vitamin C and selenium. Organic food is cheapest when bought directly from the source, like the farmer or producer. However, this kind of access is not easy for many people. Organic foods when distributed in supermarkets therefore are usually more expensive than their non-organic counterparts. If you want to introduce more organic foods to your diet, you don’t have to make all of your purchases purely organic. Prioritise what’s on your shopping list, such as flour, milk bread, butter and seasonal produce.

So, how can you tell if a product is truly organic? Organic farms require certification from key standards in Australia. These are The National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce (for exported foods) and The Australian Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Products (for domestic and imported foods). They make sure that organic products retain their integrity and traceability. Requirements involve not only production, but preparation, transportation, marketing and labelling as well. Other certifications worth remembering are the Organic Retailers’ and Growers’ Association of Australia (ORGAA), the label “certified organic” from one of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)  accredited certifying organisations and any certifications from these organisations: AUS-QUAL Limited (AUSQUAL), Australian Certified Organic (ACO), Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI), National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia Certified Organic (NASAA Certified Organic), Organic Food Chain (OFC), Safe Food Production Queensland (SFQ) and Tasmanian Organic-Dynamic Producers (TOP). Always be on the lookout for these certifications. Just because a product is labelled “chemical-free,” “natural,” or “no GMOs (genetically modified organisms)” does not mean that it is “organic.”

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The Best Foods to Eat Before Your Workout

A proper pre-workout snack is vital since you’ll be putting your body through a great amount of energy-draining strain. You’ll want something that will not only fuel you throughout your workout, but not interfere with your fitness goals. You’ll be burning most of these foods, but make sure they won’t upset your stomach, slow you down or make you feel bad after eating.

You want a proper combination of carbohydrates and protein. Timing is important when choosing your pre-workout snack. The less time you have to eat before your workout, the more easily digestible your food should be. Otherwise, the ideal time to eat before a workout is 2 to 3 hours.find personal trainer near me

Carbs are your fuel. When the stomach breaks them down, they’re converted to glucose, which allows the body to use that fuel for energy. Stored carbs or glycogen are kept in the muscles, but they can be depleted over the course of your workout. Eating carbs ensures you’ll have enough glucose to run on. Without enough glucose, you’ll risk feeling weak and too tired to finish your workout. Sources of simple carbohydrates include fruit, oatmeal, Greek yoghurt, dried fruit, crackers, rice cakes and bread.

Protein is essential for people who are doing weight training. Protein helps repair and build muscles. This is vital since we create small tears in muscle fibres when lifting weights. Your worn-out muscles will be grateful for that regenerative protein. Choose easily digestible protein to avoid an upset stomach, such as nuts, Greek yoghurt, turkey, a hardboiled egg, and milk or soy milk.

If your workout starts within 2 to 3 hours or more, you could snack on whole wheat bread with sliced banana and cinnamon. The whole wheat bread is your healthy source of carbs. Bananas will increase potassium, which your body loses when you’re sweating excessively. Cinnamon has been proven to stabilize blood sugar and improve brain function. You could also eat a vegetable omelette with avocado. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, while vegetables like broccoli and tomatoes will provide you with nutrients and vitamins. Avocado is a healthy fat source and also provides you with fibre.

If your workout starts within 2 hours, try a protein shake. Shakes are easy to carry around and store, especially when you’re on the go. Use ingredients like fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt, almond milk, granola and protein powder. If you’re buying a pre-made smoothie, make sure it’s made from whey or milk-based proteins. You’ll only need 10 to 20 grams of your smoothie before exercising. You could also snack on oatmeal with fresh fruit. Get your carbs with oatmeal and toss in fruit like fresh berries to keep you hydrated. Another simple snack are fruit slices with almond butter. Almond butter is packed with protein. Pair it with fruit like apples or bananas for healthy sources of sugar, vitamins and minerals.

If you have an hour or less before your workout, eat Greek yoghurt and fruit. A little packet of Greek yoghurt can give you that energy boost you need before your workout. Just make sure to choose the plain variety and avoid the kind mixed with sugary fruits and other additives.

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5 Effective Fitness Tips For New And Busy Mums

Are you a new mum struggling to find the time to keep fit?

Does this scenario sound familiar? When your baby was born, you knew that you had to change a few things to create the best atmosphere for raising a child.

But making the changes you wanted was a challenge!

If you’ve struggled to engage in any kind of workout program, you might have ended up gaining weight. Don’t stress!

There are a range of small steps you can take, starting today, to lead to great change.

If you’re ready to take care of yourself and lose some baby weight, here’s everything you need to know.

Here are a few tips that you can use to help you get fit, from busy mums to those with more time.

1. Engage In What You Love

personal trainer rosalieYou do not necessarily have to spend time at the gym to get fit.

All you need to do is engage in physical activity that you find interesting such as gardening. Besides gardening, you can also help with daily chores. The professionals at MT Medical explain “Such physical activity as cleaning, gardening and even playing outdoors with the kids can help you lose weight as long as you do this on a daily basis.”

Moreover, make sure that you do something that you enjoy so that you can engage in for long hours. This will help your body stay active for a long period and as you continue, you will start noticing a few changes.`

2. Get Accountability
After the birth of a child, it’s common to notice that you have no time for your friends.

That is because you are always busy and concerned with the baby. Because of this reason, you might end up losing communication with your friends and even miss out on a lot for years.

You can actually catch up with your friends and do exercises too. This will give you an opportunity to see your friends and also to burn a few calories.

Moreover, catching up with friends improves your mood and motivates you to keep on working out.

3. Do These 4 Major Exercises

The four major exercises that you should engage in are:
Planks
Push-ups
Lunges
Squats

However, do not expect this exercise to be easy. Especially if you have never tried any of these exercises before. Proactiv Health experts have informed, “It is advisable that you start slow and proceed to increase the sets as you become better at each of these exercises. Moreover, make sure that you have a fixed timetable and stick to it if you want to achieve great results.”.

Furthermore, be careful not to overdo any of these exercises. Give your body enough time to get used to these four exercises before you can start off on intense training.

4. Avoid Taking Caffeine And Sugar
Working out is important, but it is advisable that you check your eating habits also.

Weight loss counsellor and hypnotherapist Ilona Nichterlien advises “Avoid eating unhealthy foods and drinks such as alcohol and caffeine. Moreover, avoid other unhealthy habits such as smoking and taking too much sugar. This is often what mum’s struggle with the most when trying to lose weight, seek help and support to keep you on track”.

When you do this, you will feel more energetic and your body will be more active.

Practice healthy eating habits and avoid foods that are oily and fatty. Get used to eating healthy meals that are nutritious so that you can improve your health every day. Also, remember to drink a lot of water during the day.

5. Be Creative

Exercising does not only help your body stay active, but it also improves your creativity. you can try to dance while holding your baby. If you find this to be difficult for you, then you can try out walking or squatting while carrying your baby. This is also an effective way of helping mums stay fit.

You can make your healthcare regime more interesting by including your baby. You will enjoy spending time with your child while exercising your body at the same time.

These are the five fitness tips that can help you get back into shape. Of course, it will always be worth it to take some time out and take care of yourself too!

Need more support getting back to your best and fittest self? Contact the team at Personal Best to discuss the best fitness program for you

___________________________________________________________________________
Written by: Anna Oliver

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Natural Ways To Keep Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is not just beneficial for those coping with diabetes or pre-diabetes. When our blood glucose levels are regulated, this means all sorts of positive side effects. Blood sugar levels affect our energy, hormone production, moods, weight, cravings, memory, and the risk of related diseases, like diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. The hormone insulin should help the body process sugar. However, the cells in our body can become resistant to insulin when there’s too much of it and it gets stored in the fat.

Your diet certainly plays a huge factor when it comes to your blood sugar levels. If you’re fond of consuming soft drinks, pastries, chips, cakes and other highly processed foods, then you’re not doing your blood sugar levels any favours. You might argue that satisfying these cravings can alleviate your hunger, mood and energy, but have you noticed that satiated feeling doesn’t last very long? These foods very quickly release sugar into the body. So, what you’re getting is creating a sugar high and after that, you crash and the cravings, fatigue and mood swings return to demand more of the same foods.

Other lifestyle choices, like your sleeping habits and exposure to and ability to deal with stress, influence your blood glucose health. Once you start working on these improvements, you can see for yourself the effects.

Less (bad) carbs

Sugar doesn’t just mean the granulated sugar you add to your cup of coffee or to a recipe for cake. One way you’re putting sugar into your system is through carbohydrates. When the body breaks down carbohydrates, it turns it into sugars, like glucose. Consuming too many carbohydrates means putting a strain on your insulin function, and blood glucose levels can rise as a result. The worst sort of carbohydrates for us are the overly processed and refined kind, like sugary drinks, sweets and junk food. While some other foods are still considered sources of carbohydrates, they’re much healthier and more natural. These include whole grains, nuts, legumes, vegetables and fruits.

More foods with a low glycemic index

The glycemic index or GI indicates how carbohydrates in certain foods affect your blood sugar levels. Those high up on the index take a short time to be processed by the body and can cause spikes in blood sugar, while those foods low on the index release sugar at a much slower rate. Some great examples of such foods are seafood, meat, eggs, oats, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes and corn.

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Fibre has plenty of benefits that help with digestion and this includes how the body processes carbohydrates and absorbs sugar. Eating more soluble fibre can lower your blood sugar levels, studies have shown. A high-fibre diet can even help regulate type 1 diabetes. Fibre-rich foods include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water also affects your blood glucose levels. Your kidneys should be able to flush out excess blog sugar through your urine. Stick to plain water and avoid sweetened drinks.

More physical activity

Your body should become more sensitive to insulin with regular exercise. Better insulin sensitivity means less excess sugar in your system. Excess blood sugar can also be utilised for energy and muscle contraction when you’re working out.

More (and better) sleep

Another factor that affects insulin sensitivity is getting enough quality sleep. A lack of sleep has also been found to sway appetite and mood swings in a negative way. Not enough sleep also aggravates your cortisol levels, which means more stress. More stress causes cravings, irritability and a whole lot of other risky problems.

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Know The Side Effects Of Eating Processed Foods

According to major studies, including the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one concerning aspect of Australians’ eating behaviour is the consumption of junk food and highly processed snacks. Australians get 35 per cent of their average energy intake from these foods, particularly children aged 14 to 18. Other concerning statistics include how little vegetables Australians eat (less than 7 per cent of the daily intake requirements).

So, why are processed foods bad? And are all of them actually bad for us? Common examples of processed foods include the kind served by fast food restaurants and most foods you find supermarkets that come in a bag or a box. However, not all processed foods are bad. It depends on how they’re processed. The assumption lies that the less processed a food is, the more it retains its nutrients. Foods that are minimally processed or not processed at all include vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, meat and milk. Some culinary ingredients are processed, such as olive oil, salt, honey and dried herbs. Processed foods are those that undergo processing and contain two to three ingredients, examples of which include canned fish, salted nuts and sourdough bread. Lastly, highly processed foods are the result of industrial formulations of five or more (usually cheap) ingredients. Under this category are pre-made meals, like frozen dinners and pizza.mobile personal trainer in my area

Processed foods are not only appealing to the eyes and to the taste buds, they’re extremely convenient, too. Some people don’t have the time, energy or money to prepare a fresh, balanced meal all the time. Also, sometimes, you just feel like a greasy burger and chips. The key factors are how much and how often you consume highly processed foods. What happens when our bodies break down these foods? The carbs are released as glucose (sugar) into the blood and our blood sugar levels spike. Because of the glucose increase, the pancreas releases insulin, which should regulate the transportation of sugar throughout the body. Seems like a simple, healthy process, right? However, if this occurs too frequently, the body’s insulin response may fail, and this can result in insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

How can you make sure you’re not eating foods that aren’t highly processed? It’s always good to read ingredients when shopping and be mindful of what you order when you’re dining out. Foods can have hidden ingredients in unhealthy amounts. Natural sugars, such as the kind found in fruits, are fine, but added sugars are not. A 355ml can of soft drinks contains 8 teaspoons of sugar alone. There are healthy fats, too, like monounsaturated fats. Meanwhile, trans fat is fat created during food processing and found in frozen pies, pastries, ready-made pizza dough, crackers and cookies. Consuming too much sugar has negative effects on blood sugar and energy levels, while no amount of trans fat is healthy to eat at all. Salt is a versatile ingredient that can make our favourite foods taste even better, but too much of it can lead to water retention, which explains why you feel puffy, bloated and swollen after eating salty foods. Sodium can also elevate blood pressure and stress the heart, which is not great for people experiencing blood pressure conditions.

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Smoothie Ingredients to Avoid If You Want to Lose Weight

Whipping up a smoothie is such a simple and tasty way to get the nutrients you need during your morning commute or at your desk in the middle of the day. Smoothies are often used by dieters as meal substitutes, since they’re high in nutrients and can be low in calories. Be aware of going on some type of a smoothie or juice cleanse, though. Your liquid mini-meal should always be part of a balanced diet and lifestyle.

Weight loss near meAll those rich vitamins, protein, fibre and other such healthy ingredients packed into one drink seem to be too good to be true. Sometimes, that may be the case. Just because you’re throwing in fruits and protein powders doesn’t mean they’re great for you, especially if your smoothie is part of your journey to losing weight.

Here are the ingredients nutrition experts agree on that you should cut back on or skip entirely for your weight loss smoothies.

Fruit juice

Adding fruit juice seems like a good idea. It’s much easier to store those bottles of juice than to keep watch over fresh fruits. But fruit juices can do more harm than good when you’re trying to keep your waist trim. And, as you should know, sugar adds more weight. Even if they’re rich in fibre, some juices even contain more sugar than soft drinks!

Canned fruit and overly sweet fruits

Just like fruit juice, some juices contain more sugars than you need. They may not be artificial sugars, but they can still be more harmful to your weight loss goals. Canned or dried fruits may appear tempting, but canned fruits are packed in sugary syrup or juice. Meanwhile, dried fruits are just as calorific. Opt for the frozen variety, particularly berries, green apples, and citrus fruits.

Flavored and non-fat yoghurt

Yoghurt that already comes with bits of fruit or flavoured with fruit contain extra sugars. And, while the word “non-fat” may appeal to you, full fat yoghurts come more recommended. Fats can help you feel fuller for a longer time, which is essential if your particular smoothie is replacing a meal. Greek yoghurt especially is packed with more protein than other yoghurt varieties.

Whole nuts

Nuts are great sources of fat and protein, but they will make your smoothie gritty. On that note, nut butters can be tricky as well. Be sure they’re low or free of sugar.

Additional sweeteners

Sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar and agave nectars are still sources of sugars. Some of them may be less calorific than cane sugar, but avoid them anyway. If you really need an extra kick if sweetness in your smoothie, try sugar-free and calorie-free stevia extract.

Chocolate chips

You’ve probably read somewhere that a bit of chocolate can do you good, but not so much in your smoothie. For a healthier alternative to a chocolatey taste, add cacao nibs or unsweetened cocoa powder. They may not be as sweet as regular chocolate chips, but with the right blend of ingredients, it can result in a tasty treat.

10 Health Myths Busted

There are many myths in all media justifying the consumption of almost any food or drink. Let’s look at some of those myths.

  1. Red wine is good for your heart

There are definite pros and cons to drinking red wine. It is common knowledge that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with liver disease and for females, drinking alcohol increases risk of breast cancer. Yet, other studies have shown that the ethanol in any alcoholic beverage increases good cholesterol and reduces the incidence of blood clotting; thus reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. However if you think that the glass of red wine is doing your health even more favours that other beverages then you can think again. Studies indicate that to get the added benefits of the additional antioxidants found in red (over other drinks) we would need to be consuming ~180 bottles a day!
Recommendation: Stick to no more than 2 standard drinks per day with at least 2 alcohol free days each week. If you don’t drink, then don’t start and certainly don’t binge drink as this is providing more damage rather than benefit to your health.

 

  1. Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants

Let’s get one thing straight, any health benefit of chocolate comes from the cocoa, so the darker the better. All the studies that look at the health benefits of chocolate have been looking at the consumption of very small amounts i.e. 1-3 small pieces per day. Studies show that chocolate may increase the health of your arteries, reduce blood pressure and improve your cholesterol ratios of good to bad. However, no matter what kind of chocolate you choose to consume; all of it is very high in kilojoules and does not contain the same array of vitamins, minerals and fibre as fruit & vegetables.
Recommendation: Don’t replace fruit & vegetables with chocolate. Instead, if you like dark chocolate, include small amounts of it in your diet as a treat every now and then. If you don’t like or don’t eat dark chocolate then there is no need to start.

 

  1. One coffee a day is okay

Evidence suggests that coffee may reduce your risk of developing some cancers, boost your liver health and play a protective effect against stroke. On the other hand coffee has also been shown to raise the level of fat in your blood and the caffeine may have an effect on those who are sensitive to it, i.e. high blood pressure, heart burn, overactive liver, heart palpitations, insomnia and anxiety.
Recommendation: If you don’t drink coffee there is no need to start. Otherwise limit your coffee intake to 1-2 per day and be mindful of the amount of caffeine that you are consuming not just in coffee but also other foods and drinks e.g. chocolate, cola products etc.

 

  1. Exercising in the morning increases your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke

The idea is that as the body is somewhat dehydrated (having not consumed any fluids over-night) the blood is thicker and so more likely to cause a clot, leading to a heart attack or stroke. This rumour has not been confirmed!
Recommendation: The list of benefits from exercise (at any time of day) is very long. If there was a pill that could do everything that exercise could for your health, everyone would be prescribed it. The best way to get into exercise is to start slowly. Always check with your health practitioner to make sure you will be safe to start exercising.

 

  1. Carbohydrates are fattening

This is a myth that has in and out of vogue over the years. Your body needs carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are by far the best source of energy for your brain and is used as the primary source of energy for your muscles. The trick with eating carbohydrates is to make sure that you consume those that are wholegrain. The more processed (white) a carbohydrate based food is, the less nutritious and also the less filling that food will be, making it very easy to over eat.
Recommendation: Replace white bread, pasta and rice with the wholemeal, whole grain or brown varieties. Another thing to remember is to watch your portion control. Having a bowl piled high with pasta and mince sauce is not going to do as much for your health but more for your waist line as having a smaller serve of pasta & sauce and a side salad.

 

  1. [Insert name of your latest fad diet] really works

Fad diets do not work. Through whatever means they simply reduce the amount of energy that you eat compared to the energy that you burn each day. This is the basic science behind any weight loss. Often fad diets restrict certain foods groups such as dairy or carbohydrates and they certainly don’t allow your body to perform optimally.
Recommendation: Rather than constantly trying different diets, losing weight and then regaining it all (plus more) when you return to your normal eating patterns; why not make better dietary & lifestyle decisions everyday which will ensure your health is maximised, weight is manageable and you can have the occasional treat.

 

  1. Margarine is better for you than Butter

This is a topic that is often debated. Butter is natural however it is high in saturated fat which may increase the incidence of heart disease and it is also high in salt helping to increase blood pressure. Margarine is manufactured using plant based hydrogenated oil creating a similar consistency to butter.
Recommendation: Always choose butter over margarine, but use sparingly. An ideal alternative is to use spreads such as hummus, avocado, mustards or relishes instead.

 

  1. Fruit & vegetables won’t help prevent cancer

Fruit and vegetables are high in antioxidants and may or may not play a part in protecting against cancer. However, the impact that fruit & vegetable have on weight management as well as increasing daily fibre intake has a more that significant impact on the prevention of cancer.
Recommendation: Keep eating your fruit & vegetables. Ideally, at least 2 serves of fruit & 5 serves of vegetables every day.

 

  1. Dairy foods are fattening

As part of many fad diets, dairy foods are often one of the first foods groups to get the chop. Studies, however, have shown that dairy foods are actually advantageous when trying to manage weight. Dairy foods contain protein and are generally classified as having a low glycaemic index (GI) (speed at which carbohydrates are digested and released into the blood after consumption). The lower the GI, the longer that feeling of being full will last after consuming a food.
Recommendation: The combination of the protein and the low GI means that dairy foods are actually great at keeping you feeling fuller for longer, and thus can help reduce the amount of food you consume on a daily basis.

 

Additional note: Low-fat dairy will not have the same positive affect as regular fat dairy as it often has a higher level of sugar causing a higher GI and, therefore, not creating the same level of satiety.

 

  1. If I exercise and/or work out, I need to eat HEAPS of protein

An average adult required 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. If you exercise strenuously, more protein may be consumed (up to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day). The ideal level of protein for weight loss is approximately 1.05 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Note that any excess protein (or carbohydrate or fats for that matter) that you consume, will be stored as fat!
Recommendation: Rather than loading up on protein and as a consequence missing out on other vital nutrients, try eating protein rich foods such as lean red meat, poultry, fish, legumes, lentils, eggs, nuts and tofu mixed with complex carbohydrates (such as wholegrain bread, rice or pasta) and plenty of vegetables. Snack on fruit, nuts and dairy products for a nutrients rich diet that is the best source of fuel for your active body.