Is Fruit Good or Bad for Your Health - The Sweet Truth

These days it is common for people to be confused about the effects of sugar in fruit! There is a lot of science-based evidence that show eating sugar in excessive amounts is harmful. his includes table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup, both of which are about half glucose, half fructose. One reason that excessive added sugar intake is harmful is the negative metabolic effects of fructose when consumed in large amounts. Many people now believe that because added sugars are bad, the same must apply to fruits, which also contain fructose. However, this is a misconception. Fructose is only harmful in large amounts, and it’s difficult to get excessive amounts of fructose from fruit.

Eating whole fruit, it is almost impossible to consume enough fructose to cause harm. Fruits are loaded with fiber, water and have significant chewing resistance. For this reason, most fruits (like apples) take a while to eat and digest, meaning that the fructose hits the liver slowly. Plus, fruit is incredibly filling. Most people will feel satisfied after eating one large apple, which contains 23 grams of sugar, 13 of which are fructose. Compare that to a 16 ounce bottle of Coke, which contains 52 grams of sugar, 30 of which are fructose and no nutritional value. A single apple would make you feel quite full and less inclined to eat more food. Conversely, a bottle of soda has remarkably poor satiety and people don’t compensate for the sugar by eating less food. When fructose hits your liver fast and in large amounts as in the case when you drink soda, it can have adverse health effects over time. However, when it hits your lives slowly and in small amounts, as in the case when you eat an apple, your body is well adapted to easily metabolize the fructose. While eating large amounts of sugar is harmful to most people, the same does not apply to fruit.

Of course, fruits are more than just watery bags of fructose. There are lots of nutrients in them that are important for health. This includes fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as a plethora of antioxidants and other plant compounds. Fiber, especially soluble fiber, has many benefits, including reduced cholesterol levels, slowed absorption of carbs and increased satiety. Plus, studies have shown that soluble fiber can help you lose weight. What’s more, fruits tend to be high in several vitamins and minerals that many people don't get enough of, including vitamin C, potassium and folate. Of course, "fruit" is an entire food group. There are thousands of different edible fruits found in nature, and their nutrient compositions can vary greatly. So, if you want to maximize fruits’ health effects, focus on ones that are rich in nutrients. Try fruits with more skin. The skin of fruits is usually very rich in antioxidants and fiber. This is the reason that berries, which have greater amounts of skin, gram for gram, are often considered healthier than larger fruits. It is also a good idea to switch things up and eat a variety of fruits because different fruits contain different nutrients.

Multiple observational studies have shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of various diseases. One review of nine studies found that each daily portion of fruit consumed reduced the risk of heart disease by 7%. Also, a study including 9,665 US adults found that a high fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 46% lower risk of diabetes in women, but there was no difference in men. Furthermore, one study that looked at fruits and vegetables separately found that vegetables were associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, but this didn’t apply to fruit. Many other studies have shown that eating fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of heart attack and stroke — the two leading causes of death in Western countries. One study looked at how different types of fruit affect the risk of type 2 diabetes. Those who consumed the most grapes, apples and blueberries had the lowest risk, with blueberries having the strongest effect. However, one problem with observational studies is that they cannot prove that the associations they detect are direct causal relationships. People who eat the most fruit tend to be more health conscious, less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise.

Because of their fiber and water contents and the extensive chewing involved in eating them, fruits are very satiating. The satiety index is a measure of how much different foods contribute to feelings of fullness. Fruits like apples and oranges are among the highest scoring foods tested, even more filling than beef and eggs. This means that if you increase your intake of apples or oranges, you will likely feel so full that you will automatically eat less of other foods. There is also one interesting study that demonstrates how fruits can contribute to weight loss. In this six-month study, nine men ate a diet consisting only of fruits (82% of calories) and nuts (18% of calories). Not surprisingly, these men lost significant amounts of weight. Those who were overweight lost even more than those who were at a healthy weight. Overall, given the strong effects that fruits can have on satiety, it seems beneficial to replace other foods, especially junk foods, with fruit to help you lose weight over the long term.

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Vegan Black Bean Burgers

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Ingredients

1 can black beans
1 red onion
1 yellow bell pepper
1 garlic clove
1/4 c. dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. corn starch mixed with 1 tbsp. of water
1 tbsp. vegan barbecue sauce
1 tbsp. sriracha or any other hot sauce you like

Directions

Grab your food processor and add in black beans, red onion (roughly chopped), yellow bell pepper (roughly chopped) and garlic clove. Pulse a few times until everything is broken down but still chunky. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add barbecue sauce, sriracha (or any kind of hot sauce), chili powder, onion powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and breadcrumbs. Mix everything together. Separately, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water until completely dissolved, and add this to the burger mix, giving one final mix. Shape the mixture into 6-8 patties and shallow fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Assemble in a burger bun and top with whatever salad items you like. Enjoy!

Original Recipe Here

How To Enjoy Healthy Exercise And Healthy Eating

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What does a healthy lifestyle look like? For some people, it looks like a lifestyle without any kind of fun. You have to slog through boring workouts, avoid going out to restaurants and eat twigs and berries. What kind of fun is that? At first, it may look like you have to give up everything to lose weight, but what you gain from those changes is much more meaningful and satisfying. Not only will your body change, but your mind will change as well.

What to Enjoy About Healthy Eating

Here's what will happen if you keep maintaining that healthy diet:

Your priorities change. The way your body feels after a healthy meal will become more important to you than the instant pleasure of having something loaded with fat or sugar.

You'll enjoy healthy food. You can live without junk food and you'll gladly give those things up once you experience how your body feels after healthier meals.

You'll still enjoy your favorite foods. The only difference is the frequency. Now, instead of having it several times a week, you might indulge once or twice a month.

You'll get rid of the guilt. By not indulging every time you want a treat, you'll savor it even more.

You'll see food in a different light. Food becomes fuel rather than something that controls your life. If you exercise, you'll learn very quickly how food affects your workouts. Eating a heavy, fatty meal makes you tired and your workouts suffer. Soon, you'll want better workouts which will motivate you to eat better.

You'll become more adventurous. Eating healthy often opens the door to more options than you usually give yourself. You'll try new vegetables and grains and experiment with herbs and flavors you've never tried.

Your friends and family will benefit. Even if you're the only one eating healthy, those habits rub off on others. Being a good role model for your kids or co-workers is one way to teach them how to live healthily.

You'll have tools to deal with temptation. Healthy eaters are much better at avoiding the usual pitfalls like party foods or overloaded buffets. They make an effort to eat regular meals so they're not starving, fill up on healthy foods first to eat less of the bad stuff, and choose a few quality treats to enjoy instead of everything in front of them.

These changes come over time, sometimes weeks, months or years of slowly working on your habits and choices. Allowing yourself this time is crucial for permanently changing how you look at food and healthy eating.

The positive changes don't just end there. Your feelings and perspective on exercise change as well.

What to Enjoy About Regular Exercise

If you're new to exercise, it may not cross your mind that working out is something you'll look forward to. During the first few weeks of exercise, your body and mind may rebel against your new workouts and you may wonder if you'll ever get the hang of it.

Like healthy eating, however, exercise actually becomes easier over time and, eventually, you even look forward to it. Here's what can happen when you make exercise a regular part of your life:

You'll start to appreciate your body. It doesn't take much time to see improvements in strength and endurance when you start exercising. As you feel that strength grow, you may get excited about your workouts, wondering how much you'll lift next time or how fast you'll walk or run.

Everything gets easier. Carrying groceries, taking care of kids, going up and down stairs - all of these things get easier and you may even get more done with your new found energy.

Your confidence grows. The more you work your body, the more your body can do and following through on your exercise goals lets you know you can trust yourself. That self-trust is a key ingredient to a healthy life.

You'll try things you never imagined. I've seen my clients go from being couch potatoes to running races, hiking up mountains and just enjoying life more. The stronger you get, the more confidence you'll have to branch out.

You'll be inspired to change other areas of your life. You will look at other areas of your life and find things to improve as well. It may be as simple as getting more sleep at night or spending more time with family.

Your health improves. Exercise can help with diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety and high cholesterol, as well as protect your body from some types of cancer.

Your sex life gets better. Studies have shown that exercisers have more satisfying sex lives than non-exercisers.

Your children will have a better chance at being healthy. As with healthy eating, being a good role model when it comes to being active gives your kids the know-how to be active themselves.

You'll have more energy. You 'll be more alert, focused and an annoyance to all those people in the office who are dragging towards the end of the day.

What's in store for you, if you keep trying your best, is a better life. It may not seem that way in the beginning, which is one reason many people quit before they experience these changes. Any new lifestyle change can seem overwhelming at first, but there is a secret to staying on track: Take it one day at a time, one healthy choice at a time. Stay with it and you'll finally see the bright side of exercise.

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Lemon Garlic Chicken Zoodles

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Ingredients

6 zucchini
2 chicken breasts (about 15 oz), cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. fine grain salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese (or substitute nutritional yeast)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

Using a spiralizer create zucchini noodles. If you don't have a spiralizer use a regular vegetable peeler to vertically peel long, thin strips of the zucchini. This will form more of a wider "noodle" from the zucchini, like fettuccini. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add zucchini noodles and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until zucchini noodles are tender but still retain some crunch.
Let the noodles rest for about 3 minutes so that they can release all of the moisture. Transfer noodles to a colander and drain the excess water from the pan. Wipe the pan and heat one tablespoon of olive oil, when sizzling add chicken cubes and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and parsley, lower to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break down and release some of their juice. In the meantime, in a small bowl, combine lemon juice, the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add zoodles to the pan alongside the lemon juice mixture.  Stir until everything is combined and heated through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese/nutritional yeast and red pepper flakes (if using) and serve!

Original Recipe Here

The Benefits Of Eating The Rainbow

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Nature has an ingenious way of highlighting the nutrients in plants: each color signifies different nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies. By eating an array of colorful fruits and vegetables, you can provide your body with everything it needs.

Reds:
Contain phytonutrients, including Vitamin C, Quercetin, Lycopene and Anthocyanins.
The benefits: Reduce risk of certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, macular degereration, improves skin quality, and soaks up damaging free radicals.

Oranges & Yellows:
Packed with carotenoids: Alpha Carotene, Beta Carotene, Potassium, Vitamin A & C, and fiber.
The benefits: Protects skin against sun and pollution, improves immune function, promotes eye health, decreases risk of various cancers and heart disease, and promotes healthy joints.

Blues & Purples:
Full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, Potassium and Folate. The benefits: Improves memory and cognitive function, protects cells from damage, fights inflammation, and improves skin & helps prevent wrinkles.

Greens:
Cotains Sulforaphane, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Lutein, Potassium, Vitamin K and Folate
The benefits: Slows macular degeneration, improves eye health, reduces risk of bladder & breast cancer, up-regulates detox enzymes in the liver, and boosts immunity.

Whites & Browns:
Abundant in Vitamin C & D, Allium, Sulforaphane and Flavanoids. The benefits: Helps protect against certain cancers, lowers risk of heart disease, supports bone health, boosts immunity, reduces free radical damage, lowers cholesterol and has anti-fungal & anti-bacterial properties.

Source: Vaclavik, V., & Christian, E.W. (1998) Essentials Of Food Science. New York: Chapman and Hall

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Very Berry Chia Seed Pudding

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Ingredients

2 c. non-dairy milk of your choice (almond, soy, cashew, etc.)
1/3 c. + 2 tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 c. strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. raspberries, fresh or frozen
2-3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Mix together all ingredients in large bowl or mason jar. Store in refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours. Mix once more, serve cold in individual containers. Enjoy!!
Yield: 4 servings

Original Recipe Here


6 Science-Based Secrets To Help You Stay Motivated At The Gym

Inspirational quotes are a good place to rekindle our fitness commitment, and music can be a melodic path to getting into a fitness groove. Keep them both in your back pocket when you need a mantra or song to get you through those last reps. But there are other prove methods to help get you fired up. Make your workout routine a habit with these six science-based ways to get you motivated.

1. Your Hard-And-Fast Rules Were Made To Be Broken
One big hurdle is to not give yourself a hard set of rules, like “I have to start my workout program on a Monday or else I can’t do it.” Doing this makes it easy to talk yourself out of doing something. If you set yourself up for something small, like going for a 10 minute walk, you are more likely to keep that deal with yourself.

2. A Little Friendly Competition Can Light A Fire
Whether its running faster than the person on the treadmill next to you or wanting to take home first place, friendly competition is a major motivation booster. Even if you are not a comptetive person by nature, finding someone slightly faster or better than you can be helpful in terms of either a little competition or a conjunctive task. In other words, it’s a team efford, but performance depends on who is quitting first, and no one likes a quitter, even you.

3. Find A Friend Who Won’t Let You Off The Hook
Find a buddy or group to workout with, someone who will help to keep you accountable. Scheduling a gym session with a partner will make it less likely for you to back out of a workout. Being around other people with similar goals to yours will help keep that motivation going.

4. Stop Making Exercise About How You Look
When exercise is all about your physical appearance, you fall short of your own expectations, you end up being discouraged and want to quit. Make it about how healthy or strong you are now compared to when you started. Having an end goal, like having a 6-pack, is great, but it shouldn’t be your only goal. Set micro-goals along the way, like being able to complete a full pull-up or lose 5% body fat. When you accomplish one of these mini goals, you will feel amazing.

5. Tag Your Friends On Social Media To Step Up Your Fitness Game
Healthy social competition and support on social media platforms motivates people to get out and workout
more, according to a 2015 report from the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication.
Use social media to hold yourself accountable and help you stay on track and support one another. The main thing is to be mindful of who you have as a guiding force for your motivation - your friends should be excited about the same thing you are.

6. Make A Bet On Exercise And You’ll Win Twice
Okay, so the health benefits of exercise aren't enough to rouse you out of bed at the crack of dawn, but if part of your paycheck is on the line, there’s no way you’re going to miss that workout, right?
Fitness accountability apps like DietBet allow participants to set a goal and if it doesn’t get met, the participant has to part with their cold hard cash. And because the payout is attached to your bank account, the idea of backing out is a lot less tempting. On the flip side, if you do meet your goals, you’ll win it all back and then some! And it's not just a clever gimmick — a study in the medical journal JAMA found that dieters with a financial incentive were more likely to eat right, exercise and lose weight.

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Author: Ashley Macha

Apple Banana Quinoa Breakfast Cups

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Ingredients

1/2 c. applesauce
1 c. mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 banana for slicing
1 c. cooked quinoa
2 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. almond milk
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 375* F. Lightly grease a muffin tin. Cook the quinoa as package directions indicate. Mix applesauce, mashed banana, almond milk, honey and vanilla in bowl. Mix dry ingredients (quinoa, oats, cinnamon) in a separate bowl. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until fully combined. Peel, core, and chop up an apple. Mix the apple chunks into the bowl. Fill each of the muffin cups to the top with the quinoa mixture. Add a couple slices of banana to the top of each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes and enjoy one warm or freeze for later.

Original Recipe Here

The Benefits Of Yoga

Maintaining a regular yoga practice provides many physical and mental health benefits. Yoga focuses on your body’s natural impulse of health and self-healing. The purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body. There are over 100 types of yoga, most of which include breathing exercises, meditation and assuming postures that stretch and flex various muscle groups.

Physical Benefits
Relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpel tunnel syndrome. Aside from pain relief, other benefits include increased flexiibility, increased muscle strength, improved respiration, energy & vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, aids in weight reduction, cardio & circulatory health, improved athletic performance, and added protection from injury.

Mental Benefits
Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits is stress management. Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including physical pain, sleeping problems, drug abuse and even an inability to concentrate. Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life. A regular practice of yoga creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, centers attention ad sharpens concentration. Body and self-awareness are particularly beneficial because they can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventative action.

Because there are so many types of yoga practices, anyone can start yoga. The idea is to explore your limits, and really get in tune with your body and inner self.

Source: American Osteopathic Association
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Greek Pasta Salad

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Ingredients

1/2 lb. dry pasta
1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced into half
1 medium cucumber, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 c. Kalamata olives
4 oz. feta cheese

For The Vinaigrette

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, mince
salt to taste

Directions

Cook the pasta as package directions state, drain and rinse under cold water. Toss with 1/2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and set aside. Prepare the viniagrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and salt. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta with tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, onion, olives and cheese. Pour the viniagrette over the salad and toss. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve. Enjoy!!

Original Recipe Here