Top 7 Foods that Age You

Aging is a process most of us are trying to put off for as long as possible.  Staying out the sun and not smoking can help tons, but the most important factor will always be what you eat!  You know all about superfoods to include in your diet, but do you know the worst foods that cause aging? Keep reading below to find out!

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Bakery Items

Don’t go in there!  Muffins, donuts, and other pastries are packed with sugar and fat, leading to weight gain!  That weight adds up quite a bit over time, too.  Take your breakfast or snacking opportunities to the healthy side by eating more fruit, yogurt, or chocolate when you’re feeling tempted!

 

Processed Meat

Ham, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, and other processed meats go through quite a process indeed before they reach your plate.  The preservatives they contain produce free radicals, which at worst can lead to cancer.  Best case scenario, they’re damaging your skin!

 

Sugar

We know it’s bad and all that, but did you know specifically that sugar can damage collagen and elastin?  Too much sugar will definitely age your skin faster than you’d probably like, so try to cut your sugar intake to a bare minimum!

Trans Fats

These things are everywhere– microwave popcorn, fried food, donuts, and margarine, just to name a few common traitors.  What’s so bad about them?  Besides being terrible for your heart, they’re also inflammatory and can make us more vulnerable to UV damage (i.e. skin damage!) so make sure you’re limiting your intake of this unhealthy fat as much as possible!

 

Alcohol

While moderate consumption won’t do you much damage (and can even come with some health benefits if you’re consuming craft beer or red wine), too much consumption, or consumption of cocktails with lots of sugar, will produce free radicals that damage your collagen, and they’ll dehydrate you!  Most people are already chronically dehyrdrated, so imagine what 5-10 cocktails per week could be doing to them!  Drink in moderation, with water between servings, and cut your consumption in general if you’re consuming more than one serving each day of alcohol!

High Fructose Corn Syrup

The bad news?  This stuff is in almost everything that’s processed. The good news?  You can cut it out of your diet with clean eating!  Why do you want to do that? It’s believed to be the worst type of sweetener for your skin, as it damages collagen and elastin.

 

TV Dinners

These frozen meals can be tempting as a convenient fix to healthy eating, but beware– many of them are sodium bombs!  You generally want to avoid lots of salt because it’s inflammatory and will cause you to look puffy.  Not only that but excessive sodium intake can damage your heart and make you dehydrated.

 

What other foods do you cut out of your diet to slow the aging process?

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10 Healthiest Foods on the Planet

There’s healthy food, and there’s SUPER healthy food.  We know that it’s important to cut out unhealthy foods from our diets, but recent research shows that it’s even MORE important to incorporate healthy foods into our diets.  Check out this Top 10 Healthiest Foods list before you make your next grocery list!

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Spinach

This super food contains antioxidants, proteins, and vitamins A and C.  Throw it into a salad, pasta, or anywhere where you might normally use lettuce (think sandwiches and wraps, tacos, and more).  It IS a member of the dirty dozen, though, so make sure you’re buying organic spinach!

 

Broccoli

Proven to prevent breast, lung, and prostate cancer, this cruciferous veggie also packs in Vitamin C and fights the storage of new fat.  Add it to salads, cook it in soup, or roast it with other veggies as a side dish!

 

Berries

Packed with polyphenols, most berries have the power to fight fat and they all come with a huge dose of antioxidants!  Easy to add to breakfast dishes, smoothies, and snacks, berries are a great way to boost your diet’s nutrient profile!

 

Wild Salmon

Make sure your salmon is wild (Atlantic salmon is NOT wild) because farmed salmon is actually terrible for you!  Wild salmon, though, has a great dose of healthy fats that will help your body burn fat more efficiently!

 

Eggs

They’re fairly cheap and have the perfect amino acid profile, so eggs should definitely be in your diet.  They’re a great source of protein and choline!  Add them to salads or sandwiches, make omelettes, and hard boil them for a quick snack!

 

Lentils

Guess what?  One cup of lentils gets you the protein equivalent of 3 whole eggs, but with only a single gram of fat!  They’re also high in fiber, meaning you’ll stay fuller for longer after eating them!

 

Olive Oil

Loaded with antioxidants that can help fight off osteoporosis, cancer, and brain deterioration, Extra Virgin Olive Oil can also boost serotonin levels in the blood, which can help you feel fuller after eating!

 

Tumeric

This humble spice has been shown to help combat brain disease and fight inflammation.  Whether you try it in golden milk, a curry, or a stirfry, make sure you’re including this super food in your diet!

 

Onions

Working on a heart-healthy diet?  You need to eat onions!  They help to regulate glucose levels and burn fat, and they’re easy to throw into just about everything!

 

English Peas

With almost 8 times the amount of protein of spinach, and with an entire day’s worth of Vitamin C, a cup of English peas is a simple superfood to incorporate into your salads or eat as a side dish!

 

What other super foods do you like to incorporate into your diet?

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10 ”Health” Foods to Stop Eating

It’s easy to be tempted into buying health food, especially when it looks like a more wholesome version of foods we love but have to avoid for dietary reasons.  But many of the foods that come with some type of healthy classification AREN’T really healthy!  Find out which 10 ”Health” Foods to mark off your shopping list below!

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Granola

“Noooo, not granola!” you say, but it’s true– granola looks like a fancy health food and it’s not!  One cup of granola can have around 500 calories in it!  Not to mention it’s usually packed with sugar and fat.  Opt for oatmeal instead and save yourself some calories!

100-Calorie Snack Packs

These are tricky little guys because 100 calories sounds like a great tradeoff for a few moments of sweet bliss, chocolate chips, and the convenience of having it already packaged for you.  But the truth?  It’s all processed food that contains sugars, fats, and sodium that you don’t need.  Make your own pack-ahead snacks to save yourself the money, the frustration, and the yucky ingredients.

 

Gluten-Free Products

While some people legitimately cannot eat gluten, most of us can.  But somewhere over the last few years, gluten became a huge villain, and otherwise healthy people started kicking it out of their diets left and right!  That’s how the gluten-free industry which was born, and for Celiac’s sufferers, it’s been great.  But it’s important to know that just because something is labeled gluten-free doesn’t automatically make it healthy, organic, or low in fats.  Read up on how to understand food labels to help make better decisions when cruising the supermarket!

 

“Healthy” Frozen Dinners

The frozen dinner aisle runs the gamut from healthy to disastrous in terms of marketing, but all of it is unhealthy.  Even if it’s low-fat, it’s probably packed with sodium and sugar to improve the taste.  Your best bet is to meal prep each week to always have something convenient to eat at home.  Even if you’re not into meal prepping, just making double the batch of foods that you do like will give you some healthy leftovers to save for the week or freeze for later.

 

Fruit Cocktail Preserves

 

Whether in a can or a box, fruit cocktail should really just be called “fruit in high fructose corn syrup” because that’s what it really is.  Gross.  Opt for frozen or fresh fruits and make a fruit salad in your own kitchen!

 

Rice Cakes (and other rice-based snacks)

These were all the rage for dieters 20 years ago, but times have changed, friends.  Rice cakes rank pretty high in the glycemic index, meaning that while they’re low in calories and perfect for adding toppings to, they don’t have any lasting power in your body (you’ll be hungry soon after eating them), and on top of that, they spike your blood pressure!  Not ideal at all.

Salads from Fast Food Joints

While not technically on the health food aisle, they are marketed as a health food.  The thing is that in some cases, you’re better off getting the burger than the salad in terms of calorie counts and protein content.  If you really need a burger, go for it (sans combo, of course) and get back to healthy eating at the next meal.  Don’t get a daily salad at a fast food joint and fall for the idea that you’re doing yourself a favor, though!

Canned Soup

Not all soup is bad, but canned soups (which are often sold as healthy diet options) are sodium bombs!  Not only that but many of them are highly processed with lots of preservatives.  Make big batches of your favorite soups and freeze servings for later instead of relying on these canned soups– they’re often packed with salt and sugar to make  up for the taste.

Baked Vegetable Chips

The truth is that even though they sound pretty healthy, they’re usually still high in fats, oil, and salt.  Opt for chopped veggies instead– dip them in hummus or guacamole for more flavor if you miss the flavors from chips.

Most ”Light” and ”Low-Fat” Options

It feels good to know you’re buying a product with fewer calories or fat grams, but the truth is that you’re often paying it back in sodium or sugars to make up for the taste.  Don’t fall for the trap that you can eat more mayonnaise or salad dressing or coffee creamer or what have you simply because it says ”low-fat”.  It might indeed be low fat but it’s probably high in sugar or salt, and that doesn’t do you any good, either.

 

Did any of the foods on this list surprise you?  The marketing tactics to get them to sell aim them specifically at those of us trying to be healthy, which is especially dirty!  Make sure you’re prepared to read labels next time you go shopping!

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10 Habits that Make you Sick and Fat

Habits can be good or bad, but no matter what, they affect our everyday lives.  The good news is that habits can be formed and changed, so it’s never too late to form good habits and it’s always possible to change the bad ones!  Find out which 10 habits are making you sick and fat, and how to make positive changes!

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You’re Still Drinking Soda

It’s easy to be addicted to sodas– the sugar and caffeine rush is nice, to say the least, and weaning yourself off brings on a few days of irritability and sluggishness, so the easiest thing to do is to just keep drinking it!  But did you know that sodas can contain things like flame retardant chemicals, BPA can-linings that contain synthetic estrogen, and caramel coloring which has been proven to cause cancer?  When you think of soda like that, it sounds disgusting.  Break your soda habit cold-turkey and power through a few days of grumpiness to get to the other side.  To make it easier, pack fruit infused water and tea with you each day so you always have something interesting to drink and won’t feel tempted by the vending machine!

 

Your House is Void of Healthy Snacks

Even if your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are healthy, snacking on unhealthy foods can totally undo any progress you’ve made in  your diet.  Cut the cookies, chips, and candy from your shopping list and take a few minutes each week to chop celery and carrots, cut cheese cubes, bake kale chips, air pop popcorn, etc. to make sure you always have healthy snacks on hand!

You Love Empty Calorie Traps

To be fair, everyone loves empty calorie traps, but it’s important to avoid them! Any trip to a restaurant is full of empty carb traps– bread, chips, happy hour cocktail specials, etc.  They’re also to be found in the snack aisle at your supermarket!  Go on the offensive and decide that you aren’t eating carbs unless there’s vitamins, protein, or a little healthy fat involved in the mix, too!

 

You Watch TV All Evening

Watching TV, besides the obvious effects on our brains, usually means sitting down.  And on top of that, it usually means eating while sitting down!  Why is that bad?  Most of us sit all day at work, which we already know is bad for our health.  If you’re doing it when you get home, that’s just adding fuel to the health fire.  Now imagine the mindless munching that we’ve all partaken in now and again from being hypnotizes in front of the television.  We’re not burning any calories, we’re consuming even more of them, and we’re missing out on prime time opportunities to get out and move, go to the gym, or socialize with friends!  Try limiting your TV time and take a walk each evening, take the dog for an extra walk to the park, or even just clean around the house– the important thing is to make sure you get a bit more movement in each day.

 

You don’t Get Enough Quality Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for regulating our metabolisms and emotions, but many of us don’t get the recommended amount of hours each night.  7-8 hours is the ideal amount of sleep, and it needs to be quality sleep!  That means making your room as dark as possible, lowering the ambient temperature a bit, and avoiding the blue light of television or telephone screens at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

 

You don’t Release Stress Well

Life today is stressful, it’s a known fact.  Work, family, finances– the list goes on when it comes to sources of stress.  It’s going to happen, but how we deal with that stress plays a big role in our health.  Make sure you’re not stewing in stress.  Find your best self care strategies for stress relief and use them every day!  Whether it’s a yoga or kickboxing class, a run around the block, a good chat with your mom, a hot bath– do it!  Stress raises your cortisol level which, among other terrible things, contributes to fat accumulation, so make sure you’re managing your stress properly!

 

You Order Combo Meals at Lunch

Studies show that you could be adding hundreds of calories more to your meals by ordering the combo meal instead of just the main portion.  It’s likely that you’d otherwise be full with just that sandwich, but with more food looking you in the face, you’re likely to keep eating even after you’re not hungry.

You Always Clean Your Plate

Many of us were made to clean our plates as children, but now you’re an adult, so stop it! The truth is that often we’re well on our way to being full before our plate is empty, but while the food is there, we’ll just keep eating.  Stop eating when you’re about 75-80% full, and just sip your drink.  After about ten to fifteen minutes, you’ll probably realize that you’re now totally full (and if you’re not,you can opt for a healthy snack later).

 

You Don’t Lift Weights.

If you want to burn more fat, you need to add muscle to your body.  The best way to do that is by lifting weights.  It’ll also boost your body’s testosterone production, which is one of the hormones you can activate in your body to burn more fat! Hit the weights section up 2-3 times per week and then follow up with a healthy meal afterwards!

 

You Eat Too Quickly

Everybody is on a tight schedule these days, but it’s still important to take your time when eating.  This will help  you to swallow less air, which will help with  gas and bloating.  Plus, it will help you to really focus on what you’re eating and to recognize when you’re full, which will help you to avoid overeating!

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Top 4 Teas that Melt Fat

 

Did you know that there are teas that will help you burn fat?  That’s right!  Exercise and a balanced diet are important tools in melting fat, but there are teas that can help you get the job done, too! Keep reading  below to find out which four teas will melt fat and get you even closer to your fitness goals!

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Pu-Erh Tea

Never heard of it?  That’s ok! Originally from China, this fermented tea can shrink fat cells and lowers triglyceride concentrations, which are dangerous fat accumulations in the blood.  Have a glass or two of this tea each day to reap the benefits!

 

Barberry Tea

Barberry is a shrub, and the stems, roots, and leaves can all be used to make tea!  They contain berberine, a fat-burning compound.  Studies show that they can also reduce the surface area of fat receptors, meaning that even when  you do consume high-fat foods, this tea could keep your body from absorbing it and adding more body fat!

 

White Tea

White tea has the amazing ability to block fat cells’ formation while simultaneously boosting lipolysis, the body’s natural process of breaking up fats that are already stored.  On top of that, white tea is high in catechins, which are antioxidants that signal for the release of fat in cells.  Even better, white tea can make your liver more efficient at converting fat into energy!

 

Rooibos Tea

This South African tea is a natural fat melter! The compounds contained in this tea can help to inhibit the formation of new fat cells, and they also help boost the metabolism of fat.  Processing existing fat more quickly and blocking new fat from forming?  Yes, please!

Try to replace your coffee habit with a tea habit (or at least one cup a day!) and remember that you can do a lot with a cup of tea! Try adding fresh herbs, lemon or orange slices, and other interesting flavors, but watch out for adding too much sugar.  If you aren’t a fan of hot beverages, try brewing them and drinking them cold!

Try a combination of at least 2 of these teas each day, combined with your healthy diet and exercise routines, and see  how much fat you melt in a month!

 

What’s your favorite way to drink tea?

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The Top 10 Most Unhealthy Foods

There are plenty of unhealthy foods filling the aisles of our supermarkets, but some of them are worse than others. Find out which foods make my Top 10 Most Unhealthy Foods list!

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#1- Microwave Popcorn

Microwave popcorn is packed with transfats, which are bad for your heart!  On top of that, when they come with butter flavor, that flavoring usually includes Diacetyl, a chemical that can break down the layer of cells that protects out brains!

The good news is that you don’t have to give up popcorn completely.  Make it at home on the stove top with olive oil, or popped in an air popper– you can add your own toppings for flavor while knowing exactly what ingredients are going into your body!

 

#2- Chicken Nuggets

Even those made with organic or hormone-free chicken aren’t free from dangerous ingredients.  Diglycerides, Carrageenan, and the colorant red #40 are all common ingredients in chicken nuggets, even those that you buy from the deli counter at your supermarket!  They help to preserve the nuggets and to give them the right color.  Not good.

Instead, try making your own chicken nuggets at home!  Use organic chicken breast dipped in egg and flour with seasonings.  Bake them in the oven and you’re done! It’s an easy meal to make in batches (you can freeze them!) so consider prepping several servings ahead of time to make it easier to eat this healthy version!

 

#3- Cereal

Specifically we’re talking about the sugar-packed cereals that so many of us adored as kids.   Besides just the refined carbs and huge amounts of unhealthy sugar present in these cereals, many of the biggest and most popular brands contain even more dangerout ingredients:  BHT and BHA, which are illegal in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and most of Europe.

Make sure you’re checking the labels of any cereal you buy carefully, or alternatively, give up cereal altogether for more healthy options like oatmeal!

 

#4- Processed Meats

Ham, lunch meat, processed bacon, hotdogs– These are common food items in most families, but they probably shouldn’t be.  Many processed meats contain nitrates, which block the body’s ability to process sugar properly (which is a risk factor for diabetes).  Most processed meats are also extremely high in sodium, which is an area that most of us already need to make some cuts.

When shopping for meat items, especially lunch meats, look for items that are nitrate-free or low sodium.  Additionally, try buying larger cuts of meat that can be prepped in a slow cooker for use in the place of sandwich or breakfast meats.

 

#5- Energy Drinks

These guys pack huge doses of caffeine, and are also notorious for containing large amounts of sucrose and glucose.  These drinks have been proven to be 11% more corrosive to your teeth than a regular soda!  Some energy drinks are even packaged to be healthy, but it’s important to note that they’re often even worse in sugar and chemical content than most sodas.

Opt for an organic juice, tea, or coffee if you’ve got a craving for a perky drink!

 

#6- Farmed Salmon

You know that salmon is a superfood that brings tons of health benefits to the table, but it’s a very specific kind of salmon that you want to eat– farmed salmon is NOT the one you’re looking for.  Farmed salmon comes from the Atlantic (there are no wild salmon in the atlantic so don’t let labels fool you!) and is packed full of Omega 6s, which cause inflammation.  Farmed salmon are usually dyed pink and can also contain large amounts of cancer-causing PCBs, and they’re low in vitamin D, compared to their wild-caught cousins.

 

#7- Canned Soup

While soup can seem innocent enough, and appeal to anyone on a budget, canned soups often contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), which increases your appetite while you eat and also can cause migraines!  On top of that, most canned soups are actually sodium bombs, which is something we all need to avoid.

Try making a big batch of soup and freezing it into small portions.  Do this with a few types of soup that you like and soon enough you’ll be able to go to the freezer for a single serving of whatever soup you like without all of the prep work!

#8- Macaroni and Cheese

In theory, eating pasta with cheese is fine, but you need to make it yourself.  The color of the cheese mix in the boxed mac and cheese from the supermarket aren’t naturally ocurring colors– they’re from yellow 5 and 6 dyes!  These dyes are suspected of causing attention deficit issues in children (the biggest fans ever of mac and cheese, right?), and they’ve been found to cause cancer in animals.  Many of those dyes are used for heavy industrial purposes too, such as coating floors or in lice-killing shampoo.  Not something we want to consume, right?

Instead, buy an organic brand that doesn’t includ any colorants, or make it yourself from your own pasta and cheese at home!

 

#9- Soy Veggie Burgers

You might think you’re being healthy by skipping the meat and eating a soy product, but NOPE.  Most soy burgers are made of genetically modified soy produced in China, and they’re treated with an explosive chemical called hexane.  No thanks.

Instead, try making your own burgers out of quinoa, black beans, or other grains or veggies.  There are tons of options out there to suit whatever ingredient calls your name.

 

#10- Cheetos

While plenty of chips qualify for this list, cheetos are a special type of villain in the chip world.  Besides containt artificial coloring and MSG, they are literally engineered to make you overeat!  The satisfying crunch they produce while being eaten has been proven to have a psychological effect on our brains that causes us to find them more delicious than they actually are.  The texture they have that tends to melt in your mouth also plays a trick on our brains– it makes us think we haven’t eaten as much as we really have.  Cheetos are a recipe for diet disaster and should be avoided.

Instead, have some cheese with crackers– you’ll get the cheese flavor AND a satisfying crunch, if those are the things you’re craving!

 

Are any of these unhealthy foods on your shopping list?

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Top Ways to Wake Up your Weight Loss Hormones

So you’re looking to lose weight, burn some fat, build some muscle– all basic fitness goals that many of us have.  You go to the gym, you change your diet habits, you try to get more sleep– all great things to do.  But are you waking up your weight loss hormones?  Have you ever even HEARD of weight loss hormones?  Keep reading below to learn what they are and how to use them to your advantage!

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Leptin:

Leptin is responsible for helping us to feel full and avoid overeating or mindless snacking.  So how can you wake this hormone up and put it to work fighting your hunger hormones?  Get enough sleep! It sounds so simple and we hear it all the time, but getting 6.5-8.5 hours of quality sleep each night will help your body to produce and regulate enough leptin to give you the weight loss boost you’re looking for. A key step to keeping your leptin levels regulated is making sure you go to bed and wake up around the same times each day and night.

 

Testosterone:

Ladies probably think of testosterone as the ”manly” hormone.  It’s true that men have much higher levels of testosterone than we do, but it’s a hormone that we need too!  What benefit does it have when it comes to weight loss?  It’s one of the human body’s primary muscle-building hormones.  And we all know that if we want to lose weight, adding some mucles onto our frames is a great way to do that, since our bodies will burn more calories each day maintaining muscle tissue!  So how can you wake this hormone up in your body?  Lifting weights!  Our bodies respond to weight-lifting by producing testosterone, helping our muscles to take full advantage of this opportunity to grow!  Make sure you’re hitting the weight section of the gym a few times each week in order to keep your testosterone production high enough to help you pack on a bit of muscle!

 

CCK, GLP-1, and PYY:

These 3 hormones work together in the intestines to slow the movement of food through the GI tract.  Why is that important?  That slow-moving food means you will quite literally stay fuller for longer after eating.  So how can you get these hormones to work for you?  Make sure each meal you eat contains proteins, fats, and complex carbs.  That’s not permission to crazy– a piece of whole wheat toast with avocado smashed on top with an omelette on the side is enough for you to get this trio of hormones operating in your favor!

 

Thyroid hormones:

The hormones produced in our thyroid gland help determine how many calories out bodies burn when at rest (while driving, sitting on the couch, sleeping, etc.), so it’s important to give these guys a boost!  Eat foods high in iodine!  That means lots of seafood, including seaweed if you’re a vegetarian!  Iodine deficiency is a common cause for thyroid hormones to get out of whack, so make sure you’re getting a sufficient amount of iodine in your daily diet!  It fits in healthily with the FDA suggestion to eat fish three times per week, so hit up the seafood section of your local supermarket and get stocked up!

 

Which of these hormone wake-up calls will be the easiest to make for you?

 

 

 

 

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Avoados and Weight Loss– What’s the Connection?

We all know that avocado is a delicious superfood that’s gained quite a bit of popularity over the last few years, but do you know why?  They’re great for weight loss!  While they have fat and a fairly high calorie count for a fruit, they’re a great food to add to your diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight!  Keep reading to learn why!

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Avocados have been found to lower LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad one!), because it’s high in monounsaturated fat (the good kind!).  High LDL cholesterol is a factor in insulin resistance, excess weight, and obesity.  Kill all those birds with the same stone by adding avocados to your daily diet!

 

Avocado oil, which has a slightly nutty flavor, has a higher smoke point than olive oil but has almost the exact same nutritional profile!  Making this switch will help you to eat more monounsaturated fats, and it’s  been found that diets packed with monounsaturated fats actually prevent fat distribution around the belly area by regulating the expression of certain fat genes!

 

If you’re eating lots of veggies but not enough monunsaturated fats with them, you won’t be able to absorb all of the caratenoids (disease-fighting compounds) that veggies can contribute to your diet!  By adding olive oil and especially avocado or avocado oil, you’ll be making the right combination to help your body take full advantage of all of the other nutrients on your plate, too!

 

Avocado has also been labeled as a hunger-killer– just half of an avocado added to your lunch will make your 40% less likely to have the munchies a few hours later.  The satiety that avocados offer comes from their creamy texture, their healthy fats, and their great combo of vitamins and nutrients.  Make sure you’re popping an avocado half in your lunch each day to keep yourself from mindless snacking or overeating in the afternoons!

 

So, if you’re looking to lower your bad cholesterol, turn off your body’s fat genes, and knock off bad snacking habits, avocados have got your back!  Try adding them on top of toast, in salads, or even by themselves!  They’re easy to pack as they come in their own skin, and they’re easy to add to hummus or make guacamole with.  Because it’s such a popular superfood right now, there’s no shortage to the recipes out there on how to add it to your diet in a variety of ways, so no excuses!

 

How do you like to eat your avocados?

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Best Exercises for Bad Knees

Stiff or painful joints caused by aging, sickness, or old injuries can sometimes be an impediment to getting in a good workout (and also an extremely convenient excuse!)– working out doesn’t do you much good if you keep injuring yourself! But there are still great ways to exercise, even if your knees aren’t brand new.  Keep reading below to find a new exercise for you!

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For Cardio:

Consider Speedwalking, which can be done at a local park or around your block!  Skip the gym membership, load up your phone with high-tempo music, and speedwalk in comfortable athletic trainers to get in a good cardio workout.  If you’re still looking for great cardio options that are easy on the knees, you should give swimming a shot.  You’ll be using your whole body, but your upper body will be doing most of the work.  It’s great cardio without putting any stress on your knees!

If you’re keen on working out in the gym, opt for low-impact workouts.  If your gym offers classes, try taking one!  Talk with the teacher or trainer beforehand to make sure you won’t be doing anything to put extra strain on your knees.  If classes aren’t your style, try out the machines!  Opt for the elliptical instead of the treadmill– you’ll still burn calories and get your heart rate up, but you won’t be pounding your feet into the tread like on the treadmill! You might want to try the stationery bicycles, too!  If pedaling is a good fit for you, try opting for the traditional bikes instead of the chairs with pedals, as the traditional stationery bike will engage more muscles!

The rowing machine is another great option for cardio at the gym– you’re knees will be bending and straightening, and you’ll be pushing with your feet a bit, but you won’t have to worry about straining them!  This also works out to be a great arm workout, so it’s 2-in-1!

 

For Resistance Training:

While you’ll need to avoid heavy squatting and lifting, there are still ways to build up your muscle mass even if your knees are bad!  This is especially helpful if you’re trying to lost weight, because we know that your body burns more calories each day when it has to maintain lean muscle!

Try using the weight machines in your gym that allow you to isolate specific muscles.  These help you to protect your knees (and often your back as well!) while still working out all the  muscles you want to grow!  Free weights should be limited to weights you can carry easily in your hand, unless you’re working with a certified personal trainer.

 

Exercises to Avoid:

Power washes, deep squats or lunges, hurdler’s stretches, and any heavy free weight lifting maneuvers unless you’re properly spotted by a professional.

 

It can be a tough problem to work around, but there are plenty solutions for staying healthy and fit, losing weight, and maintaining or growing your muscles mass if you have bad knees!  What’s your favorite exercise that keeps the pressure off your knees?

 

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Top 4 Outdoor Cardio Exercises

Cardio is an important part of any exercise program.  It’s important to burn fat and to keep your heart strong!  It also causes your brain to produce happy endorphins!  The great news is that you don’t have to have access to a gym in order to get in great cardio workouts!  Keep reading to learn more about the top 4 outdoor cardio exercises!

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Running

This one’s a no-brainer, but if you’ve never enjoyed running before, don’t write it off just yet!  You have several different options when it comes to running– you can run city blocks or in the suburbs, and you can also do trail running!  That means that whether you need to work running into a busy schedule or whether you’re trying to escape the city while getting in a good workout, there are options for you!  Running (and any cardio) requires some buildup before you can hit your workouts hard, so if you’re just starting out, be patient.  Try running one minute and walking one minute, walking briskly and then running for short sprints, etc.  Keep at it and you’ll see improvement quite quickly– each week, running will get easier and you’ll be able to go for longer without stopping!

 

Cycling

All you need is a bike to get in a good cardio workout!  You can ride your bike in your neighborhood or on biking trails in the woods.  Many cities are becoming more and more bike friendly, adding cycling trails and lanes that connect to different parts of the city and beautiful parks and other great spots throughout the circuit!

 

Swimming

Whether in a pool or a local pond or lake, swimming is great cardio and it’s perfect for those with hip, knee, or ankle problems!  It’s also a great way to stay cool while working out, and research shows that being submerged in water can help to lower your blood pressure!  Swimming is a great way to mix things up during your cardio sessions while also getting a great upper body workout!

 

High Intensity Sports

Basketball or beach volleyball can be a great cardio workout!  You can find someone to partner with at local parks or community centers, but the idea is to keep the teams small– this forces you to move around and run more!  Soccer, tennis, and plenty of other sports can be great overall body workouts while working in your cardio, and keeping a social aspect present in your workouts!

 

What are your favorite outdoor cardio workout options?

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