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Blog posts tagged with 'carbohydrates'

Can You Guess Which Ordinary Fruit Is as Nutritious as the Trending ‘Superfruits’?

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Can You Guess Which Ordinary Fruit Is as Nutritious as the Trending ‘Superfruits’?Fruits have long been touted as a necessary staple of our daily diet and nutrition needs. But according to experts, we aren’t getting enough. The USDA recommended serving of fruit—depending on your age—is at least 2 cups a day. The benefits of natural fruits are nothing short of wondrous, but every month there seems to be a new “superfruit” trend being hailed as the best fruit around. Often forgotten is one of the go-to staples that we have relied upon for years: the apple. While it may not be as glamorous or exotic-sounding as the acai berry, pomegranate, papaya, or kumquat (all of which are nutritious in their own right) an apple contains just as many vitamins and nutrients to give you the boost you need from your daily fruit intake.

Plentiful Benefits from a Familiar Fruit

A simple apple has many nutritional benefits. As a handy and relatively inexpensive snack a medium apple contains around only 80 calories and is fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free. It can also support a healthy immune system because of its vitamin C content. A single apple holds enough nutritional value to cover half of your daily recommended intake of fruit!

Nutrition is Skin Deep

Many of the nutritional benefits of an apple can be derived from its skin. The skin of an apple can contain up to 3.3 grams of fiber. This type of dietary fiber can help support healthy cholesterol levels, aid digestion, and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Apple skins also contain a high amount of the antioxidant, quercetin, which can help protect against free radical damage. Quercetin is a phytochemical possessing anti-inflammatory qualities that can be beneficial to your heart. Apples can be seamlessly integrated into your daily diet because they make for such a convenient and inexpensive snack that can last longer than most fruits. An apple kept in a bag in your refrigerator can stay fresh up to three weeks.

Covering the Crucial Areas of Your Daily Nutrition

The USDA guidelines for fruits and other food groups exist to help steer you towards making healthier food choices. Apples can be a tasty, nutritious way of complementing your daily intake of nutrients that your body needs for top performance and overall health maintenance. But if you’re on a diet that restricts the type of food you can eat, you don’t like a particular food group, or you simply don’t have time to eat healthy meals all of the time, you may not be getting all the nutrition you need. Supplementing your diet with the proper antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals is a perfect way to fill in the nutritional gaps regardless of your eating habits. Balance is always important and making sure you get sufficient levels of essential daily nutrients can be vital to supporting a healthier way of life.


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Be Aware of the Hidden Fat Content in Your Diet

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Be Aware of the Hidden Fat Content in Your DietThere are some foods out there where all it takes is one glance to know they are bad for our health and full of saturated fats, carbs, and sugars. But there are also some foods that we consume on a consistent basis that are deceptively high in saturated and trans fats. The average daily calorie intake is around 2000 calories. The recommendation, if using 2000 calories as our base number, is that no more than 30% of our daily calories should come from fats. This comes out to about 65 grams of fat a day.

How Much Fat Is in Your Food?

To get an idea of what our daily intake of fat can look like, let's look at the fat content of some popular foods. The average fast-food cheeseburger contains 36 grams of fat, while 10 average fast-food french fries contain 8 grams of fat. A typical slice of pizza contains 8 grams of fat while an ounce of potato chips contain 10 grams of fat. It's easy to see how one meal can almost wipe out our daily fat intake! There are also some foods that can be deceptively high in fats. It should be noted that there are two types of fat. Trans-fats or saturated fats are the bad kind. They have been linked to bad heart health and can lead to weight problems. The “good” fats are unsaturated fats that can actually protect your body from these problems. Some meals and snacks can look like there's nothing to them, but because of the way they are processed and packaged their fat content soars. Some sneaky, bad, fatty foods include:

  • Movie theater popcorn
  • Packaged meals with added sauces, butter, or oil
  • Highly marbled red meats
  • Chicken and other poultry skins
  • Salad dressings

Some fatty foods containing the good fats are:

  • Olive and vegetable oils
  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Fatty fish like salmon and tuna

It's always important to be aware of your meals' fat content when playing the good fat/bad fat game. However, with our sometimes busy and active lifestyles we can't always make the healthy choice or comb through each meal's ingredients to make sure we are consuming the right amount of the right fats. Supplementing our diets with vitamins and minerals can helps ensure that we are getting the right nutrition on a consistent basis. When it comes to fats, omega fatty acid supplements can ensure that you're getting the good fats you need to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

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Healthy Foods to Feed Your Blues

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Healthy Foods to Feed Your BluesThe term “comfort food” often gets a bad rap because we don’t always make the healthiest food choices when we’re chasing our blues away. We’ve all had days where all we wanted to do was slouch on the couch and sink our faces into a bag of potato chips or tub of ice cream. That’s because when we’re stressed, the stress hormone, cortisol, creates food cravings which we often satisfy with carbohydrates or sweets. And excess carbs, as we all know, leads to more fat cells, which can stress us out even more. That being said, there is a healthy alternative to “stressed-out snacking” that can help us satisfy our cravings without adding on the pounds.

Choose “Calming” Foods Instead of Comfort Foods

Calming foods, as opposed to comfort foods, contain vitamins and minerals that can have an uplifting effect on your mood. They contribute to the creation of neurotransmitters that help to reduce the stressful effects of cortisol. B vitamins, such as folate, have been confirmed by numerous clinical studies to positively affect moods. Asparagus, spinach, and other dark-green, leafy veggies are especially high in folate. But if snacking on salad sounds less than ideal to you, avocados are also rich in B vitamins and L-glutathione, another known mood enhancer. Just be careful with portions, however, because despite being a fruit, avocado has plenty of natural fats. Vitamin C, aside from being an immune booster, can also support healthy moods. Oranges and berries, besides being terrific snacks, are also packed with vitamin C, offering even more healthy alternatives for snacking. Antioxidants are all the rage when it comes to antiaging, but they may also come in handy for mood support. Garlic may not have the most alluring odor, but most researchers are in agreement over its health benefits. Dark chocolate (not milk chocolate or white chocolate) is also a healthier snack alternative because it’s loaded with mood-enhancing polyphenols and flavonols. And for a more soothing alternative, chamomile tea and green tea can help calm your nerves while satisfying your cravings, too. Zinc is another mineral that is tied to healthy, upbeat moods. Nuts, such as cashews, are not only zinc rich, but also make great snack foods at any time of the day. Or, if you’re feeling extra fancy at dinner time, oysters (besides being renowned as aphrodisiacs) also contain lots of zinc. Beta-glucans in oatmeal also have positive influences on mood. But be cautious with how much you consume because processed grains also tend to increase blood sugar and fat levels. Omega-3s have also been shown to support circulation to the brain and enhance moods. You can obtain plenty of these from walnuts or fatty, coldwater fish such as salmon and tuna.

Satisfy Your Cravings and Be Happy, Too

As you can see from the alternatives listed above, whenever stress-induced cravings hit you (as they do us all), you don’t have to give in to junk food. Plenty of healthy alternatives exist that are equally delicious—and many times healthier. So the next time those cravings hit you, be choosy in your snack choices. You’ll definitely feel less guilty about it later.

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