Top Foods To Improve Brain Function

We all need our brains to work quickly!  Work, parenting, and enjoying our hobbies or social events all require a fast-working brain!  How can you make sure your brain is in great shape?  One of the best ways to care for your brain is to eat foods that improve brain function!

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Coldwater Fish

Try eating 3-4 servings of coldwater fish (tuna, salmon, etc.) throughout the week, as the FDA suggests.  EPA and DHA fats are contained in these fish, and they’re in their ready-made form, making it easy for our bodies to digest them and put them to use right away!  These fats are important for healthy brain functioning and for protecting our joints, so eat up!

 

Tomatoes

One of their super ingredients, lycopene, has been found to fight the free radical damage that occurs at the onset of dementia, so make sure you’re adding tomatoes to your diet where you can — salads, soups, and sandwhiches are great places to start!

 

Broccoli

This vegetable is a great source of Vitamin K, which helps improve brain functioning, so make sure you’re packing it into your meals!  Try it roasted, grilled, raw, or grated into meatballs, soups, and salads!

 

Avocadoes

Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, avocadoes are great for helping to maintain a healthy bloodflow in your body.  Your brain will reap the benefits of a healthy bloodflow, and they also lower blood pressure! Try adding olive oil to your dishes that contain avocadoes– they pair well together and you’ll get double the boost of monounsaturated fats, which studies have shown to actually slow brain aging!

 

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties which make it a must in your healthy-brain diet!  It contains natural stimulants which will help your brain to focus on the task at hand, and it stimulates endorphin production, which will help to regulate your mood in a healthy way!

 

 

What are your favorite brain-healthy foods?  How will you try to incorporate these into your current food habits?

Find out which foods you should be including in your diet to improve brain function!

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Top 10 Foods Your Abs Will Love

Everybody wants to have great abs, and we know it takes a lot of work in the gym to get them.  But have you heard the saying ”Abs are made in the kitchen” before?  It’s true!  And there are special foods that your abs will absolutely love!  Keep reading below to see how to stock your kitchen while working on your abs!

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Bell Peppers

Because of their high vitamin C content, foods like bell peppers (and broccoli, citrus fruits, and brussel sprouts) are great for your abs because they fight back against the stress hormone cortisol.  If unchecked, cortisol will encourage your body to store fat around your midsection.  To prevent that, try adding bell peppers and other vitamin C-rich foods to your diet, especially when you’re feeling a bit stressed!

 

Green Tea

We know there are a billion health benefits to drinking more green tea, but did you know that the cachetins that it contains will hinder the storage of belly fat?  Drink 3-5 cups of green tea per day to see results!

 

Sweet Potatoes

Althought sweet potatoes are carb-heavy, they’re good carbs!  They’re packed with fiber and nutrients, and will take time to digest.  That means you’ll feel fuller for longer!  Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, which lower insulin resistance and prevent calories from being converted into fat!  They’re incredibly versatile as well, so you’re sure to be able to find a place for them on the table!

 

Tuna (or other coldwater fish)

The protein boost from fish is great for your abs after hitting the gym, and coldwater fish are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to prevent fat cells in the belly area from expanding.  Broiled, grilled, in sushi, or on top of a salad- there are so many ways to enjoy fish!  The FDA suggests consuming fish at least 3 days per week, and your abs will probably agree with them.

 

Broccoli

Did you know that broccoli contains a phytonutrient called sulforaphane?  Sulforaphane increases testosterone and helps fight belly fat storage and contains a great dose of vitamin C, which will help your body combat cortisol and it’s fat-storing tendencies.  Related cruciferous vegetables, like Kale, will get you the same effects!

 

Chocolate Milk

It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does!  If you want to burn more fat, you need more muscle!  Researchers have found that the ideal amount of protein to build muscle is 20 grams– half before working out and half after.  Drinking a serving of chocolate milk before and after each workout will give your body the perfect dose of whey protein to rebuild and repair your muscles after an intense workout!

 

Legumes

Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are great additions to a diet that needs more protein!  They can lower your ”bad” LDL cholesterol and have been proven to help with fat loss.  Try adding them to your diet in salads, chilis, and soups, or eat them as a side dish to your fish or chicken!

 

Lean Poultry

Eating lean cuts of chicken and turkey each day will boost your protein intake (muscle building, anyone?) and help you feel fuller for longer.  On top of that, lean poultry has been found to have an after-eating calorie burning effect 35% stronger than other foods.  Salads, soups, wraps, tacos– lean poultry can make an appearance almost anywhere you want!

 

Bananas

Bananas are THE go-to food for cutting out bloating, and you’ll want to do that if you’re trying to show off your abs!  They’re also a great source of potassium, meaning they’ll help you fight water retention as well!

 

Eggs

Eggs contain a nutrient called choline.  Choline has the power to turn off the genes that are responsible for belly fat storage, and they can help you feel fuller for longer.  Additionally, eggs are a complete protein, so they’re a great addition (or main) to your breakfasts, lunches, and snacks!  Because there are so many ways to cook them, eggs are extremely versatile and easy to work into your diet, too!

 

What are your favorite foods to nourish your abs?

 


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Top 5 Clean Eating Mistakes

Clean eating has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and for good reasons!  It’s a great way to cut out the junk that comes with processed foods, and it helps boost the amount of nutrients in our diets!  But there are a few mistakes that litter the path to clean eating.  Make sure you know how to avoid them!

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Juicing

It’s so so popular, and everyone wants a vitamix, but watch out for juices!  Because most of the calories come from sugar, your body won’t process it quite the same way as it would a piece of fruit.  On top of that, when drinking your fruits via juice, you’re missing out on important opportunities to fulfill your fiber needs for the day! Limit your juice intake to make the most of those calories!

Fruit Binges

While fruit is healthy and a great way to get lots of nutrients, eating too much of it can trigger your blood sugar and set off your hunger signals, causing you to eat too much fruit in one sitting or to go out and seek for something to eat right.this.second.  Make sure you’re getting your daily requirements for fruit, but don’t eat 3 oranges in one sitting! Pair your fruit with a few slices of cheese or some nuts to help stabilize your bloog sugar!

Snack Time

If you’re focused on clean eating, don’t let snacktime derail your hard work!  Make sure your snacks are just as balanced as your meals– a bit of fiber, a bit of protein, a bit of fat, etc.  This will help you really feel satiated when you’ve finished the snack, and you won’t go on a kitchen raid to find the next snack to start on!

Processed Foods

Even if you’ve cut out the boxed mac and cheese with that neon powder, you might still be relying too much on processed foods.  Try to eat as little as possible from bags, boxes, cans, and jars.  Buy whole food ingredients and set aside time to meal prep at the beginning of each week.  This will help you avoid the excuse of convenience that leads most of us to pick up highly processed foods at the supermarket!

 

Overeating

Just because you are eating whole and clean foods doesn’t mean you can overeat!  Many people think that because they’re eating healthy foods, they can eat more than they used to put on their plate.  The truth is that even with your organic chicken and your spinach and carrots and apples, you’ve got to stay in control of your portions!  Don’t throw caution to the wind and binge (although to be fair, a binge on apples is much less severe than a binge on donuts!) just because your food is healthy.  Limits are good for everything, even for clean food.

 

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to clean eating?

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Is Coffee Linked To Weight Gain?

Did you know that coffee can cause weight gain?

Coffee is the first step for most of us each day.  Many people depend on it to get them through the week, but have you ever thought about what it might be doing to your body?  New research shows that moderate coffee intake could have some serious effects on our health.  Read more below!

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While previous research shows that drinking a cup or two of coffee each day can lower blood pressure and even prevent weight gain, news shows that consuming more than 4 cups of coffee per day could have the opposite effect.

There’s plenty of evidence that the extras we add to our coffee can pack in calories to our diets that we aren’t counting properly, but even if you’re drinking your coffee black, the amount you’re drinking is important.  Upwards of 4 cups per day could cause you to store more fat and become resistant to insulin, putting you at risk for diabetes and other diseases associated with being overweight.

Scientists conclude that the benefits or risks are associated with the dose of coffee consumed and not with the sole consumption of coffee.  So what are some ways you can avoid these nasty side effects?

  • Limit your coffee intake to fewer than 4 cups per day.
  • Replace one cup of coffee each day with an antioxidant-rich green tea.
  • Try infused waters if you’re bored with water but trying to cut back on coffee.
  • Water down your cups of coffee with more hot water.  You won’t notice the difference much, but you’ll be consuming less coffee in each cup (so if you DO need to 5 cups per day, make sure they’re not a full dose).
  • Drink hot tea instead of coffee if you’re using it as a way to keep warm.
  • Avoid meetings or working in cafes if coffee is a huge temptation for you.  Stay hydrated and follow a proper diet and sleep schedule and you should find that you don’t need so much caffeine per day.

 

What are your best tips for cutting your coffee intake down to a healthy level?

 

Did you know that coffee can cause weight gain?

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Top Ways To Avoid Bloating & Cramps

Find out what you can do to prevent bloating and cramps!

Bloating and Cramps are two of the most uncomfortable — and most common– stomach issues out there. Everyone suffers from these from time to time, and some people are chronic sufferers.  While they both seem common, there are ways to avoid them!  Read more about how to prevent them below!

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Avoid the Usual Culprits

We know that some specific foods cause gas, bloating, or cramping simply because of their contents (sulfuric compounds, high fiber content, etc.), so make sure you read up on what foods commonly cause these problems, and start cutting them out of your diet to see if you feel a difference! If you see a difference after cutting out one of these common culprits, consider keeping it out of your diet for good.

 

Use Probiotics

Find a good probiotic supplement, which will help you cut down on inflammation from foods.  Take them along with whatever other multivitamins or supplements you take daily.  They’ll help to regulate the flora in your gut, which will help to prevent these common digestive problems.

 

Change your Lifestyle

Some changes in your day-to-day life and habits might help you prevent these uncomfortable symptoms if you are a chronic sufferer.  It might be helpful for you to eat smaller meals, stop chewing gum, and stop using straws– all actions that will help prevent you from swallowing excess air.  You might need to find more time in the day to get moving (even if you’re just walking), which will help gas in your body to shift around instead of sitting in place and becoming concentrated.

 

Use Over-the-Counter Remedies

You could benefit from lactase supplements when consuming dairy, or a host of other OTC medicines that can help to prevent (or if you’ve already eaten, alleviate) cramping, bloating, and gas.  Do your research about which might be best for you, and if you have any questions, make sure you consult with your doctor.

 

Consume Peppermint

Often used to soothe upset stomach symptoms or help digestion, it’s a common and easy to find flavor.  Peppermin tea or peppermint candies can be used after eating to help settle your stomach and aid digestion.

 

What do you do to avoid cramping, bloating, and gas?

 

Find out what you can do to prevent bloating and cramps!

 

 

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Top 5 Foods To Improve Your Memory

Find out which foods to include in your diet to improve your memory!

We know that there are certain foods that help certain parts of our body, but there are also specific foods that are great for our brains!  Read the list below to find out 5 great foods that will improve your memory!

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Avocados

This fruit is such an amazing food, especially for your brain!  They often get the bad reputation of having a high fat content, but it’s important to remember that the fat contained in avocados is the good fat (monosaturated!), which happens to be amazing for your brain!  It’s also great to for healthy glowing skin and for stabilizing your blood sugar levels!  Because they contain vitamin K and folate, they’re also great at preventing blood clots in the brain and improving cognitive functioning (key to memory!).  On top of all that, they’re rich in Vitamins B and C, which your body doesn’t store and thus must replace daily!  Try it smashed on toast, in your smoothies, or on top of a salad!

 

Broccoli

Even if it’s not your favorite vegetable, this veggie is so versatile that it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find a way to enjoy it.  It’s high in vitamin K and choline, which are great for boosting your memory.  It’s also packed with vitamin C!  Eat it raw as a snack or in your salad, roast or grill it with other veggies, toss it in a stirfry, grate it into meatballs– the possibilities with broccoli are truly endless!

 

Dark Chocolate

Put that snickers down and listen up!  Dark chocolate is full of flavanols, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.  They help lower blood pressure levels and improve blood flow to the brain and the heart.  The rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the better.  Opt for a minimum of 70% cacao to get their full benefit!

 

Salmon

Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your brain and thus, your memory!  Be aware that the health benefits of salmon apply to wild-caught Alaskan salmon, not farmed salmon.  A filet of salmon is a super versatile ingredient– broil it, pan fry it, put it into croquettes, serve it in a salad or in pasta– there are a ton of ways to enjoy a healthy piece of salmon, and you should aim to have 3-4 servings of fish per week anyway!

 

Beets

 

One of the easiest veggies to prepare (literally boil them until they’re soft), these guys are literally crammed with nutrients!  They reduce inflammation and are packed with cancer-preventing antioxidants.  On top of that, they’re packed with nitrates that help boost the flow of blood to the brain, which will absolutely boost your memory!  Add them to your salads or eat them as a side dish to get their benefits!

 

What foods are you trying to include in your diet to benefit your brain?

Find out which foods to include in your diet to improve your memory!

 

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5 Steps To Changing Your Tastebuds

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

Taste is one of our most important senses, and it can get us in trouble if we have cravings for certain tastes!  Potato chips, chocolate, or sugar– the list of tastes we love (but that are actually bad for us) goes on and on!  But did you know that you can CHANGE your taste buds?  I’m serious!  Use these five steps to reprogram your taste buds to keep you from craving foods that will derail your progress!

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Fight the Addiction.

Addiction?  What addiction?  Let me tell you:  science says that the serious overdoses of sugar and fat in our diet are addictive to our taste buds, and that they also dull them!  That means that you’ll crave those tastes but constantly need more and more to get your fix, and you might not be able to register new tastes as they actually are.  So step 1 to changing your taste buds is to make a serious commitment to swearing off large amounts of these ingredients.  You don’t have to go cold turkey!  Try weaning yourself off of them and finding enjoyable replacements for fatty or sugary foods and drinks.  Over time, it will get easier to avoid (but warning: you might pass a couple of grumpy days as your body and brain adjusts!).

Try it Again and Again.

It can be difficult to try foods that we’re sure we don’t like, but it’s an important step in reprogramming your taste buds.  If you have bad memories of hating broccoli as a child, maybe it’s time to try it again.  And if you find that you don’t like it, you’re not done!  Try it with a minimum of 2 ways of preparation:  Maybe you don’t like sauteed broccoli, but you might like it roasted, in a creamy soup, or raw in a salad.  Sometimes we think we don’t like the taste of something when really it’s the texture.  When it comes to vegetables, texture can change so much just by cooking ingredients differently.  Set a goal to try 3 foods each week that you normally don’t eat.  Kale, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, and lentils might be a great place to start, but go with what will work for your personally!

 

Trick your Brain!

If you’re still not a fan of something that you KNOW you should be including in your diet, try and pair it with something that you do like.  For example, if you’re still not a fan of brussel sprouts, try sprinkling them with parmesan cheese after cooking.  At first you’re just masking the taste a bit, but you’re brain will start to associate BOTH tastes with happy feelings instead of just the cheese.  After trying this magical combo a few times together, you’re likely to find that brussel sprouts are a new dish in your regular rotation!

Become a Mouth Breather.

A big part of our sense of taste comes from our nose (shocking, right?), so sometimes you may think you don’t like the taste of something, but what you actually don’t like is the smell!  Quite a few vegetables have scents that are different from their actual tastes, but if you’re smelling it in front of your mouth for 15 seconds while you debate whether you’re going to eat it or not, all you ever get is the disagreeable smell.  Take stinky vegetables and try boiling or roasting them to help remove the sulfurous compounds that cause their odors.  Another good tip?  Your sense of smell is weakest in the evening, so save dinner for the time of day when you get wild and adventurous with new and healthy foods. Try to avoid taking huge whiffs of food before taking a bite if you know it’s a food that you have a complicated past with.

 

Spice Things Up!

If you’re really craving salty, fatty, or sugary flavors but you’re being so so good by avoiding them, try to keep your mouth entertained with other flavors!  Soy sauce, chili pepper, sri racha, vinegar (and all of its variants!  Rice vinegar is a great and interesting taste to add depth to stirfrys, for example), mustard, lemon, and fresh herbs are all great ways to create interesting tastes that will liven up any pot of green beans or lentils!

Make Small Changes

If you consider yourself a really picky eater, this is an important step to consider.  If you’re a fan of butter, don’t drop straight into dark olive oil– try a lighter one to ease yourself into the transition.  If you’re a chocolate lover, don’t move from milk chocolate to 80% pure cacao!  Start with smaller percentages of cacao and work your way up.  Water down your juices or sodas with a bit of water until eventually you don’t need such intense sugary tastes to get your sweet fix!  Sometimes making huge and sweeping changes is really setting yourself up for failuer.  Humans are creatures of habit and that’s ok.  Start small but stay constant and you’ll end up where you need to be!

 

What are your best tricks for trying new foods and tastes?

 

 

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

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What To Eat After a Heavy Workout

Find out how to build the perfect post-workout meal!

 

So you went to the gym and you KILLED your workout. Now what? What you eat next could make a big difference in your fitness results and your recovery time. Keep reading to get the best tips on what to eat after a heavy workout!

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First let’s start with what you shouldn’t eat:

You want to avoid fat right after a heavy workout. Fat by itself isn’t always bad, of course, but you shouldn’t eat fat right after a workout because you want to get carbs and proteins into your body as fast as you can. Including fat in that post-workout meal with slow your digestion, and you want to start digestion your protein and carbs quickly to get the maximum effect from them!

When should you eat?

We know that there’s a window of about an hour after a workout that’s the ideal time to refuel your body, so it’s important to take advantage of your time and make sure you’re feeding yourself after a workout. If you want a shower first, go for it– it doesn’t have to be the second you drop the weights. But you don’t need to shower, go to your car, run some errands, then get home and cook. Do what you need to do (meal-prepping, anyone?) to find a way to eat a healthy meal post-workout.

On to protein and carbs:

You know why you want protein (muscle building woot woot!) but do you know why your body needs carbs after a workout? They aid in the recovery system for your muscles! You need a good meal after an intense workout that consists of easy to digest (which means faster digestion time) food. Here are a few options to consider:

Eggs

Don’t let the Rocky movies trick you– there is no benefit to consuming raw eggs. In fact, your body will be able to absorb even more of their protein by cooking them. Hard-boiled (easy to prep ahead!) or scrambled, make them however you want to meet your protein goals for your post-workout meal!

Whole Grain Pita and Hummus

Carbs? check. Protein? check. Add your favorite spices to your hummus to keep things exciting, and dip away post-workout to make sure your body has what it needs to recover and grow!

Sweet Potatoes

A baked sweet potato has the perfect dose of healthy carbs to kick your body’s recovery functions into full gear. Pair this with your favorite go-to protein and remember to hydrate yourself!

Rice or Potatoes

While we’re often warned against white starches, they can be helpful right after a workout because the lack of fiber (the reason we’re told to avoid them) actually helps your body to digest them faster, helping you to quickly access the carbs your body needs to begin recovery. Chicken and rice or potatoes is a dish you can even pack ahead of time if you’re really serious about getting that meal in right after your workout is finished.

What’s your favorite post-workout meal?

Find out how to build the perfect post-workout meal!

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Skinny Chicken Noodle Soup

 

Yields: 8 servings – serving size: 1 cup – fat 3g – calories:170 – carbs:16g

This is a quick, easy, yet delicious low calorie chicken noodle soup! Taking advantage of a supermarket’s rotisserie chicken makes this recipe only 30 minutes!

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Skinny Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1lb) cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 4 medium stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups low fat chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat egg noodles
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet, add oil and chicken to med-high heat, cook chicken until almost thoroughly cooked.
  2. In a medium-large pot (at least 3 quarts) add chicken and all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. let boil for 15 min. Turn off heat and allow to simmer for 5-6 min. Add crackers on top if desired. Enjoy!
http://revampfitness.com/skinny-chicken-noodle-soup/

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Meatballs With Spicy Marinara Sauce

 

Our Revamp Fitness’ lean version of the classic Italian dish uses ground turkey as leaner, low-calorie alternative to ground beef. Nutritious garnishes like minced onions, parsley, and red pepper flakes give these meatballs a spicy kick with a host of health benefits. After trying one of these warm, chewy balls, your taste buds will be surprised this recipe is both delicious and easy on your waistline!

These meatballs are the ultimate companion to whole-grain spaghetti noodles or pasta, and will forever put an end to fatty, lackluster spaghetti dinners!

Yields: 6 servings – serving size: 2 meatballs – calories:260 – fat: 10g 

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Meatballs With Spicy Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • Meatballs: 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp black pepper, divided
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • Marinera Sauce:
  • 1 (24oz) jar marinera sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix all the meatball ingredients (except ground turkey). Add the meat and incorporate into the ingredients with your hands. Roll into 12 (1 1/2 inch) meatballs and place on a nonstick or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 min. Turn the meatballs over and bake an additional 10 min, or until cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, pour marinara sauce and crushed red pepper into a saucepan. Cook on the stove top over low heat until simmering. Add cooked meatballs. Garnish with parsley and onions. Enjoy!
http://revampfitness.com/meatballs-spicy-marinara-sauce/
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