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August 2018

14 Great Probiotic Foods for Increased Health and Weight Loss

By | Eating Healthy | No Comments

The secret is out. The answer to good health, good looks, and longevity are probiotics. These are the gut-friendly bacteria that live in our digestive tracts to help in digestion and nutrient absorption. 

Probiotics will save you from taking another pill when it comes to digestive problems and more. Putting these microbes under the microscope reveal that their benefits go way beyond the digestive system. Have you been struggling with stomach aches, allergies, insomnia, diarrhea, heart conditions, weak immunity, or belly fat and obesity? If yes, you may very well be suffering from a lack of healthy gut bacteria. Below we will explore an extensive list of probiotic rich foods and their multiple health benefits.  

Before we dive in, however, let’s find out more about the good bacteria that can help you live a healthier, happier life. 

What are Probiotics? 

Our bodies are full of bacteria, some good, and some bad. Probiotics are the good bacteria that feed on the harmful bacteria in a ‘cleansing’ fashion to keep your gut healthy. 

Our ancestors scarcely suffered from the health complications that plague us today. So, where the onslaught of health issues begin? Processed foods. That was the Pandora’s Box, or the can of worms if you will. But of course, we can’t rule out antacids, hormone replacers, birth control, antibacterial soaps, steroids, and the overuse of antibiotics. 

We used to eat fresh foods straight from mother earth. We would also naturally ferment various foods as a preservation method before the refrigerator. Today there are dangerous food processing methods where natural foods are loaded with additives for longer shelf lives. 

The problem is even worse than you think. Beyond the fact the chemical additives kill the taste and the nutrients in the food, they descend our digestive tracts and destroy much of the good bacteria trying to survive in our guts.  

The result of the probiotics apocalypse in our system includes: 

  • Stinking breath 
  • Leaky gut and stomach ulcers 
  • Susceptibility to cold and flu  
  • Lethargy  
  • Pimples, rashes, and dry skin 
  • Bloating and obesity 

Sounds scary? You bet. The only option for improvement is to start consuming probiotics today. No matter how bad your situation has been, if you are already suffering from these issues, you are guaranteed to see quick improvement. What’s more, you will save the money you would otherwise spend on doctor’s appointments and drugs. 

 

 

10 Types of ‘Friendly’ Bacteria: 

There are many types of probiotic bacteria, all with different benefits. The most common types of gut-friendly bacteria include: 

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus 
  • Lactobacillus bulgarius 
  • Lactobacillus reuteri 
  • Streptococcus thermophilus 
  • Saccharomyces boulardii 
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum 
  • Bacillus subtilis 
  • Bacillus Coagulans 
  • Escherichia Coli 
  • Viridans Streptococci 

14 Great Probiotic Foods 

  1. Kefir

This is by far the most probiotic-rich food around. The drink is a combination of milk and fermented kefir seeds. The Kefir grains help in the fermentation of the liquid.  Kefir grains are made up of yeast and lactic acid bacteria that speed up the fermentation overnight. 

Once the milk is fermented, the grains are removed and stored away to be used again. This method of milk fermentation can be attributed to ancient Turks and Russians. In essence, Kefir is a nutritious drink packed with different strains of good bacteria as well as other nutrients including proteins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, Riboflavin and vitamins B12 and D.  

  1. Coconut Kefir

This version of Kefir uses young coconut juice, giving a lactose-free option to those with allergies. It is fermented with Kefir seeds and tends to have the same probiotics as the original milk Kefir, though in a lesser concentration.  What you can expect however, is a drink with great taste. 

Research also shows that the probiotics in Kefir can inhibit the growth of tumor cells and the formation of carcinogenic cells. That means it is a possible remedy for cancer.  

  1. Green Peas

According to new studies, green peas are a great source of probiotics! Just prepare a cup of green peas to accompany either your breakfast or dinner and you will be on your way to better health. Green peas contain the Leuconostoc mesenteroides strain of microbes that serve to protect the walls of the digestive tract from corrosion. 

  1. Fermented Vegetables

Sauerkraut (popular in German cuisine) and Kimchi (popular in Korean cuisine) consist of fermented cabbage and other vegetables. In both, the fermentation formula is the same. You can ferment a single type of vegetables or different types including herbs and spices to achieve the taste you desire. The greens are fermented using either a solution of salt, whey or any other starter culture. While these foods do not contain numerous types of probiotics, they are high in acids which promote good bacteria growth in your system and enzymes which help digestion. 

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt is probably the most popular and commonly consumed probiotic food. It’s easily accessible and requires little effort to prepare. The best option is Greek yogurt which is made by fermenting cow, goat, or sheep’s milk. The milk should be organic, not pasteurized, and from pasture raised/grass-fed animals. Yogurt contains numerous strains of probiotics including, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactobacillus case, and Bifidus. 

  1. Raw Cheese

Cheese made from natural, unpasteurized animal milk contains a high amount of gut-friendly bacteria, namely Lactobacillus thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus, and acidophilus. Fresh cheese is indeed a no-brainer for anyone who cares about healthy living. 

  1. Kombucha

Green tea has immense health benefits, but fermented green tea is next level healthy and medicinal for one reason- it contains a super-saturation of probiotics. The tea is sweetened then fermented using a culture of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY. Originating from China almost 2000 years ago, it is believed that Kombucha can heal conditions of the digestive tract and reduce liver intoxication.  

  1. Natto

This fermented soy food originates from the ancient Far East. This prebiotic meal is made by soaking soybeans, boiling them, and then fermenting them with a culture of Bacillus subtilis. This strain of probiotic is super-potent, known to remedy heart conditions, heal digestive tract disorders, and improve the body’s immunity.  

  1. Brine-Cured Olives 

To aid in a stress-free gut, place a cup of green olives in a culture made of salt water and leave it for some days to ferment. The result is olives rich in Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus pentosus bacteria that will help your gut health. 

  1. Kvass

This is a brew originating from ancient Russia, made of fermented barley. Today, there are various versions of it, some using carrots, beets, or fruits. Kvass has plenty of gut-friendly bacteria that not only improves digestion but also reduces lethargy, boosting physical activities. 

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar 

You can drink it in small amounts or use it as a salad dressing. Apple cider vinegar is one of the healthy drinks you should try for the highly concentrated gut-friendly bacteria it contains. It also aids in blood sugar regulation, hunger suppression, stomach indigestion/ acid reflux, and improved immunity. 

  1. Salted Gherkin Pickles 

These are soaked Swedish cucumbers, chopped, and seasoned with salt.  They are then sealed in a jar containing a mixture of vinegar, sugar, dill and mustard seeds. Pickled cucumbers carry plenty of healthy bacteria and are also low in calories. 

  1. Miso

This is a Japanese spice soup made by fermenting either soybean, barley, or rice with a fungus called Koji. It takes a few days for the mixture to ferment and the result can then be turned into soup or dressing. 

  1. Tempeh

Rounding up our list of probiotic-rich foods is Tempeh, originating from Indonesian culture. All you need to do is add a tempeh mixture to soybeans and leave for a few days to ferment. You can then boil the resultant cake form or eat with Miso. Tempeh is full of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and host of the gut-friendly Lactobacillus bacteria. 

From the look of it, there is an expansive list of probiotic foods. Science doesn’t lie; your life could transform if you choose to start and stick to a probiotic rich diet today. 

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Top 11 Nutrition Myths from the Media

By | Eating Healthy, Health Tips, Weight Loss | One Comment

Top 11 Nutrition Myths from the Media

Today, you will find almost any health and nutritional advice in the internet. In fact, there are endless health solutions on the internet every day. Bloggers, pharmaceutical companies, food associations, and food companies keep feeding people with lies regarding what they think is right or wrong. You will come across information on food that you should avoid when you want to lose weight such as adhering to a certain number of meals or even a diet to follow when you want to drop pounds quickly. A lot of this information is wrong and you might, in fact, end up following the wrong nutritional diet or worse, end up gaining weight as a result of bad advice.  

If you asked people what they think is right or wrong regarding a particular food, even without surfing the internet, you would definitely get different answers. The people are not to blame because most of them will give you information depending on what they have been told or what they have read. Confusion on nutrition and diet is getting worse and worse each day, and medical researchers and dietitians are working to debunk such myths by researching in relation to what people think about certain foods and diets. 

This article will review 11 of the most common misconceptions that you will find on the internet, outline the myths, discuss the truth and about it, and provide you with the ultimate and valid solution. The analysis is dependent on various research that has been carried out by professional medical health researchers and dietitians. 

Myth 1: Saturated fat is not good for you. 

There has been a lot of information relating to the consumption of saturated fat with increased risks of heart disease. For this reason, people have been doing almost everything possible to eliminate saturated fat from their diet. Recent research, however, found out that eliminating saturated fats from your diet does not actually reduce the chances of a person getting heart-related diseases. 

Truth: You need saturated fats for normal body function. 

The myth on saturated fats was propelled by the sugar industry when they funded Harvard to document information that saturated fats are related to heart diseases. However, this discovery was made when quite a number of people had already opted out of using saturated fats and had, in fact, started using partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils. At this point, a lot of damage had already been done. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (like margarine) have much higher ratios of omega 6s to omega 3s leading to an imbalance of the 2 in the body. This imbalance leads to chronic inflammation and chronic inflammation leads to disease such as cancer and other cardiovascular diseases. 

Additionally, in a study by The Women Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial of postmenopausal women that was conducted over a period of 8 years, it was discovered that contrary popular misinformation, a low-fat diet does not reduce colorectal cancer. Another study that was conducted on out on about 50,000 postmenopausal women indicated that consuming low fat had no relation to the reduction of breast cancer. 

Lastly, the Mediterranean diet has been controversial and resulted in a lot of debate and research. The truth, however, is that Mediterranean diet high in good fats and has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. 

Diet hack: Incorporating healthy saturated fat in your diet is good for your health. 

You may have come across information on coconut oil from the American Heart Association criticizing coconut oil. The truth is that coconut oil is among the healthiest food, is easily digested, comes with anti-microbial properties such as lucid acid, and is heat resistant. 

Another common healthy fat is ghee which comes with fats soluble vitamins A, D and E. If you need oil for raw applications, avocado oil, almond oil, and olive oils can come in handy. 

Myth 2: Keto diet is not good for you. 

The myth with regard to keto has always been a blurred one. The first is the primary reason for one going into the ketosis. Initially, the keto diet was been associated with losing a lot of weight. The keto diet however, primarily improves how the brain functions. Ketosis has been associated with the reduction of epilepsy. Ketosis is not the same as diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous symptom experienced by some diabetic patients. 

The primary source of energy in the body is glucose. During ketosis, however, the body utilizes ketones as the primary source of energy instead of glucose.  

The keto diet can reverse some disease symptoms and can also help you lose weight. The ketogenic diet is good for exercise, improving energy, building muscle mass, and also beating brain fog and, on top of all of these great benefits, you will definitely lose weight. By eating keto-friendly foods, you can limit the carbohydrate intake which in turn transitions the body to a fat burning state. 

Truth: You can lose weight by going keto and reverse disease symptoms. 

By following this diet, you will be veering from common myths regarding weight loss such as counting your calories. It is also helpful for avoiding and treating diseases such as diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels, epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, manic depression, autism, PCOS, and cancer (especially brain cancer). 

Diet hack: Try a 30-day keto diet. 

You can try following the keto diet in your daily life periodically since it can significantly restrict the health benefits you can get from foods such as sweet potato and quite a number of fruits. Try cycling it with other healthy diets for 30-90 days at a time. If you have diabetes, on the other hand, you should consult your health provider for a perfect guide. 

Myth 3: Buying organic foods is not worth the extra cost. 

Despite the fact that organic foods are more expensive, you can always start by replacing the top most toxic inorganic foods with organic. If you study the information released by the Environmental Working Group, you will notice that you might have been consuming a lot of dangerous and contaminated inorganic foods. Each year, they publish the Dirty Dozen list which includes the top 12 most toxic foods. Start by switching to organic for this list to lower your toxic load.  

Truth: You will save thousands of dollars by buying organic food. 

Animals raised for meat are always fed with a lot of antibodies as well as injected with dangerous hormones while the vegetables and fruits are sprayed with a lot of pesticides chlorpyrifos, and neurotoxic. All these can be detrimental to your health as much as they can be cheap. In turn, you will end up spending a lot of money to pay hospital bills after contracting diseases from the foods. 

Diet hack: Buy organic when you can. 

When buying organic, you can use a list from the Environmental Working Group to avoid the items in the dirty dozen lists. When buying meat, on the other hand, you should avoid buying processed meat which are loaded with a lot of chemicals. 

Myth 4: Too much protein is hard on the liver and kidney. 

It is common to hear people assert that eating a lot of protein may result in one developing kidney and liver complications. In fact, some people relate the issue to osteoporosis. This is however not true, although it has led to many people avoiding proteins to curb kidney and liver problems. 

Truth: You need proteins for hormone building and bone health. 

The cell building process requires proteins. You also need proteins for building your bones because they have essential amino acids which promote bone health.  For your body repair, you need enough proteins, and lack of adequate protein can lead to osteoporosis  

Diet hack: It is essential to add protein to your diet. 

Adding protein to your diet is essential. You should, however, ensure that you rely on organic proteins and avoid conventional meat and other inorganic proteins. 

Myth 5: All fish is healthy. 

When choosing your fish, it is essential to consider the process through which the fish has been sourced. You may be eating fish that is toxic, this list includes the majority of the farmed fish which often contains high levels of mercury. Additionally, farm raised fish such as tilapia is associated with a bad balance of omega 3: omega 6 ratio (too much omega 6s to omega 3s. 

Truth: The type of fish/seafood you get is important. 

You need to consider quite a number of things when purchasing seafood as many other problems, in addition to mercury poisoning and improper omega ratios, have arisen from bad fish farming practices. You can consider things such as the manner in which the food was sourced.  

Diet hack: Opt for uncontaminated and sustainable fish products. 

Instead of going for fish that is not good for your health, you can go for fish such as Pacific sardine’s sablefish, Atlantic mackerel, and woven wild-caught Alaskan salmon which are all high in Omega 3s and sustainably sourced. 

Myth 6: Eggs are unhealthy and cholesterol is bad. 

It was only recently, in 2016, when it was discovered that there is no relationship between coronary heart disease and consumption of eggs. Initially, it was believed that the saturated fat and cholesterol in eggs were related to heart disease. 

Truth: Eggs are not the enemy, and cholesterol is important. 

According to a study published by the journal of clinical nutrition, it was discovered that there is no relation between egg yolks (which contain all of the fat and cholesterol, as well as many vitamins) and heart disease. In fact, eggs can significantly help in increasing lutein and zeaxanthin levels which are good for the eyes. 

Diet hack: Enjoy eggs from farm-raised or free range chickens, and monitor cholesterol levels. 

Eggs are extremely good for you since they are always packed with vitamins A, B5, and B12, fats, phosphorus, and folate. They also have the added benefit of being quick and easy to cook! When choosing your eggs, however, you should opt for farm fresh or free-range eggs. The healthier the chicken, the better for you and better tasting the eggs will be! 

Myth 7: Eating five to six meals a day is essential and stimulates metabolism. 

A lot of people believe that consuming small meals throughout the day can actually boost your metabolism, increase the process of food digestion, and lead to weight loss. This is a false belief, and the truth is that it is the total amount of food that you eat in a day that will impact your metabolism. Some people may even find that intermittent fasting works best for them. 

Truth: Eating frequently may interfere with burning fat, and it does not increase metabolism. 

Recent studies have shown that eating frequently throughout the day really doesn’t help your body lose weight. To the contrary, intermittent fasting has shown to really help in the metabolism process since it increases the rate at which fats are burnt. More about the different types of fasting and its health benefits can be found here 

Diet hack: Be careful with your daily diet and try intermittent fasting. 

You can easily incorporate intermittent fasting into your routine. For instance, you can simply forgo breakfast then start eating at around noon until about 8 pm. This schedule leaves your body 16 hours to fully digest everything you have eaten and go into a fasting state. For women, fasting can be a little more difficult since they can experience hormonal changes if they practice IMF on a daily basis so it may be better for them to do it every other day instead. It is advisable that they seek the advice of their health provider in advance. 

Myth 8: All sodium is bad for your health. 

For a long time now, people have used salt or sodium as a scapegoat for heart complications. The Dietary Guidelines for America suggests that one should take eat/drink no more than 2300mg of salt per day, with the preference below 1500mg per day. This is just over 1 tsp of salt per day! However, you actually need sodium for your health and your heart. 

Truth: You should probably reduce your salt intake but not as low as the guidelines suggest. 

The dietary guidelines tend to quote a lower amount of salt than one needs, although most Western diets contain far more salt than we need already. Research shows that the ideal amount of salt per day is about 3200-6000mg or 1.5-3 tsp. When you lower your salt intake, you can reduce your blood pressure but if you reduce it too much, you can put yourself at risk for several other health complications such as insulin resistance, increased risk of death with diabetes, and added risks for heart disease. On the other hand, you should avoid excessive salts since it may lead to diseases such as osteoporosis, kidney stones, high blood pressure and autoimmune diseases.  

Diet hack: Be careful with salt intake. 

Apart from being careful with the salt intake, you should also consider not using iodized table salt and instead opt for other options such as Celtic sea salt or even pink Himalayan salt as these will provide you with the healthy sodium you may need.  

Myth 9: All sugar is bad. 

People tend to avoid sugar because they believe that it is terrible and can cause diabetes. However, not all sugar is bad for you. Instead, only refined sugar is bad since it is high in calories and affects the production of insulin which can lead to type 2 diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and heart disease. 

Truth: Natural sugars actually have some health benefits. 

All sugars are not bad as much as you have been led to believe your whole life. Your body actually needs various nutrients to thrive and natural sugars are one of them. 

Diet hack: Use natural sweeteners, but not too much. 

There are a lot of varieties of natural sugars in the market. Instead of using artificial sweeteners such as sweet ‘n’ low or splenda (which are horrible for you), you can choose to use natural sugars, but with a lot of moderation. Examples of natural sugars include raw honey, manuka honey, or even blackstrap molasses which have a lot of vitamins, minerals, and even several other health benefits such as boosting the immune system.  

Myth 10: You can compensate bad diet with supplements. 

This is one of the most common myths you will find on the internet today. Masses of people try to compensate for their bad diets, consisting of processed foods, refined sugar, or even whole grains which do not have the nutrition and fiber your body requires. 

Truth: Choose nutrient-dense whole foods. 

While there are certain vitamins and minerals that can be properly supplemented (as needed, due to a deficiency) outside of food (such as probiotics, magnesium, B vitamins, and calcium), you cannot use supplements to compensate for a bad diet. You need to get as much nutrition as you can from real food. The body needs fiber, fats, oils, carbohydrates, and proteins and supplements cannot supplement all these. If you do choose to take supplements, be sure that they are food based which will make them more easily absorbable by the body.  

Diet hack: Eat whole healthy foods. 

One of the most important reasons why you should focus on whole foods is because they are easy to digest and they produce the greatest amount of nutrients the body requires. If you must use supplements, only use them when you have, but you also need to reverse the deficiency with the whole foods. 

Myth 11: Counting calories are the only way to control your weight. 

Quite a number of people are into the calories in/calories out a diet which they believe (as this has been widely taught for years) is the only way to control their weight. As much as controlling weight is important, there are a lot of other options apart from counting calories 

Truth: There are better ways to lose weight than counting calories in and calories out. 

While exercise and diet are important, if you want to reduce obesity level, then you need to take note of the types of food that you consume and not necessarily the amount of food you eat. For instance, 300 calories of chips are not processed the same way as 300 calories of raw nuts! 

Diet hack: Focus on the quality of food, not the quantity. 

Rather than focusing on the amount and portions of the food you intake, you should ensure that you consume the right quality of food. The best way for one to lose weight is by choosing to reduce the carbohydrate intake and increase the intake of healthy fats in the body. By eating nutritionally dense food, you will get full and stay full longer.  

Bottom-line 

Instead of getting hammered with false information on a daily basis, you should consider doing some proper research from credible sources. Most importantly, avoid picking up random information along the way and believing it: You may be inviting more diseases into your body. Consider trying out Phenofen, along with a healthy diet and exercise routine, to increase you weight loss results. 

Healthy Kids Playing Ball Outdoors

Childhood Obesity Prevention Tips for Parents

By | Eating Healthy, Exercise Tips, Health Tips | One Comment

It’s vital for children to maintain a healthy weight. One of the most effective ways to guarantee this is a balanced diet. Balance is particularly important when it comes to the number of calories your child consumes and what kinds of foods they eat. As a parent or guardian, it’s your role to ensure you balance the calories your children drink and eat with those they use during normal growth and physical activity.  

Teaching your kids healthy eating practices, including how to reduce empty calories like soda and candy, can make all the difference between your kid living healthily or struggling with their weight. Obese and overweight kids and teens alike need to learn how to eat a healthy, balanced diet that will prevent unhealthy weight gain while nourishing their bodies and promoting normal development and growth.  

For most kids, being overweight is a result of unhealthy eating patterns, including excessive intake of calories, coupled with little to no physical activity. These habits can form early in childhood, making it necessary for parents to teach their children healthy practices from an early age.  

This article suggests some lifestyle changes that can promote your kid’s health well into adulthood. Make sure to focus on improving your kid’s health, not simply reducing their weight. Unhealthy, restrictive relationships with food can result from too much focus on changing your child’s appearance rather than simply helping them live a healthier lifestyle. Your goal is to help your kid be healthy, happy, and energetic! Before putting your kid on a weight-reduction diet, be sure to speak with their pediatrician to ensure it’s being done in a healthy way. 

Balance: Helping your kids establishing healthy eating habits 

Introduce healthy eating habits into your kid’s regular diet. You can start this by offering nutritious snacks and meals with an appropriate number of calories. You can also help your kids establish healthy eating habits by making their favorite meals healthier, as well as curbing any unhealthier temptations. Some ways to do this include:  

   1. Promote healthy eating habits.  

Small alterations to the usual diet can ensure your kids adapt and stick to a healthy dietary routine.  You can accomplish this by incorporating the following simple changes:  

  • Include plenty of fruits, whole-grain products, and vegetables 
  • Offer low-fat milk, or milk alternatives such as almond, soy, or oat milk 
  • For protein, serve lean meats or protein-packed vegetables like fish, poultry, beans, and lentils 
  • Serve appropriately sized portions, and set an example with your own portion sizes 
  • Hydrate: encourage your entire family to drink large quantities of water 
  • Go easy on the sugar, sweetened beverages, saturated fat, and sodium 

    2. Make their favorite dishes healthier 

Making changes to eating habits doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out your kids’ favorite foods. You can tinker with some of these recipes to make them healthier. Add in vegetables, or use fortified ingredients like pasta made with extra vitamins and vegetables. Blend cooked cauliflower into mashed potatoes. You can also introduce several new healthy and delicious dishes which can, in turn, become favorites.  

   3. Reduce any calorie-rich temptations 

There’s nothing wrong with treats – they’re a great way to teach your kid how to indulge without overdoing it. While moderation is crucial, we have to be sure not deprive our kids of occasional treats. If we do restrict them too much, it can inspire them to overeat rather than practice healthy regulation. You can start out by reducing high-sugar, high-fat, and high-salt snacks. This can help your kids learn healthier eating habits. 

Here’s some easy, tasty snack options with low fat and sugar to offer your kids  

  • Apple, medium size 
  • Blueberries, 1 cup 
  • Banana, medium size 
  • Carrots, 1 cup 
  • Grapes, 1 cup 
  • Bell peppers, or broccoli, with hummus (2 tbsp.) 

    4. Teach your kids why exercise is essential 

Our bodies aren’t made to sit still all day, but that’s what many of us do at work or school. As a result, it’s important to make sure you and your kids stay physically active. Physical exercise has a multitude of health benefits, and it’s crucial that your kids know this too. Some of the benefits of exercise include 

  • Strengthening bones 
  • Reducing stress and anxiety 
  • Lowering blood pressure 
  • Boosting self-esteem 
  • Promoting a healthy weight 

    5. Help your kids stay active:  

Physical activity is so important. Kids and teens alike need to practice regular moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week, or on a daily basis if possible. You can introduce various routines to inspire them to stay active. Include exercise in your own daily routine and encourage your kids to participate. You can also inspire your kids to sign up for organized sports or physical activities, like swimming or soccer. Some common, effective moderate-intensity physical activities include:  

  • Jumping rope 
  • Brisk walking 
  • Playing soccer 
  • Playing tag 
  • Dancing 
  • Swimming 

    6. Minimize sedentary time 

After a long day at school or playing outside, it makes sense for your kids to want to spend some time relaxing. While some quiet time doing homework, reading, or resting after a busy day is fine, what you need to discourage and ultimately limit is unnecessarily long idle time. Minimizing sedentary time helps boost physical activity. You can reduce screen time (video games, TV, internet) to only a few hours per day. According to the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP), children two and younger should not watch TV or have screen time, as this is a crucial time for physical and mental development. 

Encourage your kids to choose fun physical activities that they can do with family, friends, and alone to help them stay active. 

Why it’important to maintain a healthy body weight  

The importance of attaining and marinating a healthy body weight can’t be understated. While it may seem easy in theory, it can be quite a challenging task. Focusing on small, but long-term changes to diet and exercise habits is a more effective strategy in comparison to drastic but unsustainable changes that only last for a short while, such as strict diets and exercise routines.  

When helping obese or overweight kids, you should focus on ensuring that they maintain an appropriate body weight for their age, height, and individual needs. Weight gain should generally be proportional to height increase. 

Success predicting factors:  

  • A healthy diet that kids and parents both participate in 
  • Strong social support of healthy habits, especially from those close to the child  
  • Strong support for physical activity and participation of the whole family 

Summary:  

While adopting new lifestyle changes can be exciting and challenging at first, it’s worth noting that these changes only serve their purpose if you and your kids stick to them. As such, it’s important to emphasize the need for the entire family to keep up with these lifestyle changes. The best way to help your kid achieve a healthy weight is by doing it gradually.  

Parents and guardians alike can protect their kids from early childhood obesity by offering healthy snacks and meals, encouraging everyday physical activity, and teaching them about nutrition. Healthy snacks and meals afford growing bodies the right type of nutrition while also promoting healthy attitudes and eating habits. By eating healthy, it’s easy to manage weight and improve overall health.  

As for increased physical activity, it’s essential for health. Along with reducing many health risks, it helps regulate weight. It’s essential for parents to teach their kids about nutrition and healthy eating habits. With nutritional education, kids can know what proper nutrition is, its importance, and adopt healthy habits for a lifetime.  

Why Fasting Is Good for You: Types and Benefits of Fasting

By | Eating Healthy, Health Tips, Weight Loss | One Comment

Why Fasting Is Good for You: Types and Benefits of Fasting 

Is counting calories and adhering to a specific diet difficult for you? If so consider fasting as it can save you from this trouble. It boosts your metabolism and reenergizes your system among other benefits.  

What is Fasting?  

There is a common misconception that fasting is about starving yourself. No. It is about not eating within selected intervals of time. You will come across many diet tips with some contradicting each other. It can become overwhelming and you may end up giving up on the tips. It is a different case with fasting. It is about not eating for a given period.  

Instead of eating three meals a day or small meals spread out through the day, you will set aside a given timeframe for eating. It can be certain hours during each day or given weekdays. Within this time, you are allowed to eat healthy meals.  

You cannot feast on processed sugars and junk foods and still expect fasting to work for you. You must still adhere to a healthy diet loaded with nutritious whole foods such as whole grains, raw dairy, vegetables, fruits, proteins, and good fat. You can still enjoy some cheese and dark chocolate if you like! 

Fasting does not tie you down to one way of living or eating. This is where different types of fasting come in. Continue reading. 

Types of Fasting 

Remember, we said fasting is all about eating within set periods. It depends on how long you are to go without eating.  

1. The Daniel Fast 

Fasting has a religious connection. According to the Bible in the book of Daniel, he fasted. The Daniel Fast involves consuming only whole, plant-based foods for 21 days. Foods you can eat include vegetables (should be the basis of the diet), fruits (1-3 servings a day), whole grains (in moderation, ideally sprouted), beans and legumes (in moderation), and nuts and seeds (sprouted are best). During this time, you are not to consume any animal product including meat and dairy, processed foods, sugars/sweets, or oils. You should also only drink water, fresh pressed vegetable juice, almond milk, coconut milk, and coconut water (all unsweetened). This type of fasting does not allow you to drink coffee, juice, or alcohol.  

2. Intermittent Fasting

This type of fasting ranges from 14-18 hours per day of not eating. For example, you may only eat from noon to 6 or 8pm at night. However, if you have the energy, you can go to a maximum of 32-36 hours without solid food.  

3. Time-Restricted Fasting

Many people adhere to this type of fasting without knowing they are fasting. Usually, you refrain from food for 12-16 hours between dinner and breakfast. For example, most people take dinner at 7pm or 8pm then go to sleep until say 7am. Some people may forget to eat breakfast until around 10am. If you count the hours such a person goes without eating, they fall into the time range of time-restricted fasting.  

However, when the time to eat comes, make sure you are eating healthy meals and as much as your body needs but without overeating. Eating more than you should causes unnecessary weight gain. This type of fasting is easy to adhere to and does not require you to make big changes in your eating routine.  

4. Alternate Day Fasting  

Alternate fasting is about having fasting and non-fasting days. They should alternate. Therefore, there are days you eat and others that you do not. It can be difficult following such a routine but it is possible if you are willing.  

However, alternate fasting does not necessarily mean that you refrain from food altogether. You can reduce your calorie intake to quarter of your usual intake. If you consume 1600 calories on your non-fasting days then only eat 400 calories only on your fasting days. It is only reasonable that your body will need some food to carry out its normal functions during your fasting days.  

Alternate day fasting should not last long as it can be hard to follow. Try it and see how far you can go in implementing it. 

5. 5:2 fasting  

This type of fasting is about eating your normal way for five days of the week and then limiting food intake during the remaining two days. During the two days, you only take in about 500-600 calories per day.  

6. Warrior fasting  

This entails you eating fruits and vegetables only during the day and the eating a large, healthy, balanced meal in the evening.  

Helpful Tips for Fasting

Fasting does not have to be hard as some people make it sound. It is simpler when you have a guideline on how to do it. 

First, identify the type of fasting you would like to engage in. Time-restricted fasting would be a good place to start considering it is more achievable than other fasting types. 12-16 hours of not eating will likely be easier than the other types, as you will be asleep the better half of the hours. The rest you can fill up during the day. If you have ever done time-restricted fasting, then you can advance to the other challenging types. 

Second, come up with goals. What do you want to get out of fasting? Is it losing weight, having more energy, being healthier, or feeling better? Jot down your goals and place them somewhere you can easily see them as you fast. Doing so encourages you to achieve your fasting goals 

Third, you need to plan your meals and buy the groceries that you will need. Planning has to do with what you will be eating each day and when you will be eating. A meal plan keeps you disciplined so you only eat what you should and when you should eat. With time, you will acclimate to it. 

Fourth, your body is everything. It is the key to feeling well when fasting. Listen to what it is telling you. If you are a beginner in fasting, it will take a few days for your body to adjust to the new routine.  

Therefore, even when the 12-16 hour fasting takes a toll on you and you feel that you need to have a snack, eat something small. If you are not hungry after your fasting hours are up, you do not have to eat just because it is non-fasting time. This shows that your body is adapting to the change in your lifestyle. 

Monitor your fasting and write down your experiences. Identify any patterns and your general feeling each time you fast.   

Frequent Questions Regarding Fasting 

Fasting attracts common questions amongst newbies as well as those who have tried it before. 

1. How long do I need to fast? 

Fasting does not involve ridiculous rules. It is as simple as it gets. It is not about the hours you put in but about how comfortable you are with a given type of fasting. Intermittent fasting is manageable, even for beginners.  

One of the tips to help you fast accordingly is eating when you feel hungry. Avoid starving your body. If you feel you need a snack then have one. It would be a bad idea to fast when preparing for a marathon. If you are changing your diet, do not put pressure on yourself to get it right overnight. Instead, make small changes gradually until you are used to your meals containing whole foods only. Then, you can consider fasting.  

2. Which liquids should I drink when fasting?   

The kinds of liquids you drink depend on the type of fasting you choose. During fasting hours, it is prudent to stick to drinks low in calories such as tea, coffee (without cream or sugar), and water. This is for time-restricted fasting.  

Alternate day fasting and other types allow you to drink any liquid as long you watch the calories. For example, drink fresh pressed vegetable juice or bone broth during no-eating periods.  

At all means, avoid drinking alcohol and sugary beverages. They will not do your fasting efforts any good.  

3. Should I exercise as I fast?  

Time-restricted fasting is excellent for exercise. When you wake up at 7am, you can exercise before eating anything. If you feel energized in the morning, this would be a great time to work out before heading to work.  

However, for the other fasting types, exercising can be difficult considering they lower your energy levels due to your low-calorie intake. Therefore, running or lifting weights likely would not be doable but going for a walk or some light yoga would be possible.  

What Benefits Do You Gain from Fasting? 

We have so far covered a lot about fasting. The one question that remains uncovered is what are the benefits of fasting?  

1. Fasting and weight loss 

There are studies showing that fasting helps with losing weight. It does so by cutting weight and reducing excess body fat. Fasting also lowers inflammation, enabling your body to fight issues such as acne. It allows you shed belly fat while retaining your muscle mass.  

2. Boosting production of human growth hormone (HGH)   

The human body releases the growth hormone which curbs obesity, fosters muscle-building, and burns extra fat. HGH strengthens your muscles to better your workouts. If fasting boosts the production of the growth hormone, then your system will have more amounts to ensure it carries out its functions in a more effective manner.  

3. Fasting and athletes 

Fasting is good for athletes. For example, it helps them build muscles, lose fat, and strengthens them which improves their performance. However, it is important for athletes to eat quality protein 30 minutes after workouts which enhances muscle build-up and burns fat.  

4. Enhancing insulin sensitivity 

When you consume too many carbohydrates and sugars, you put yourself at risk for type-2 diabetes. Your body might become resistant to insulin, decreasing response to it. Fasting ensures that your body remains sensitive to insulin enabling your body to react as required when it releases insulin, which is to convert sugars (glucose) into glycogen for storage.  

5. Controlling the hunger hormone 

Restrictive diets increase the production of the hunger hormone. The hormone tells your mind that you are hungry. Increasing the amount of the hormone means you are likely to feel hungry more often than you should. Once you get used to fasting, it can assist you normalize the hormone. This way, you only want to eat when your body needs to, as the hunger hormone will be under control.  

6. Lowering cholesterol levels 

Bad cholesterol is never good for your body, it is linked to heart diseases. Fortunately, fasting allows your body to burn cholesterol, therefore reducing its levels in your system. 

Fasting Precautions  

Fasting is not for everyone even with its helpful benefits. For starters, people with diabetes and hypoglycemia should never fast. It will adversely affect their glucose and insulin levels. They should wait until the two components are normalized.  

If you are expectant or breastfeeding, avoid fasting. Pregnant and nursing mothers need calories to sufficiently meet nutritional needs of their unborn babies and infants respectively. Cutting on calories, which is what fasting does for some part of the day, would be detrimental. Your body needs the calories to ensure it provides enough food for you and your unborn child or nursing baby.  

If you are suffering from a certain health condition or you are using other medications, speak with your doctor about fasting. Nevertheless, for many people, fasting is beneficial to their health and general wellbeing.  

Summary  

  • Fasting requires you to not eat during certain periods.  
  • Intermittent fasting entails other types of fasting such as time-restricted and alternate day. 
  • To successfully fast, remember to choose a particular type of fasting, set goals, and purchase the foods you will need. 
  • Fasting comes with various bodily benefits such as reducing body weight, lowering bad cholesterol levels, ensuring sensitivity to insulin, and encouraging secretion of the human growth hormone. 
  • Fasting is not for pregnant women or nursing mothers. Those with diabetes and hypoglycemia should not fast. If you are using any drugs, consult your doctor about whether you should fast.

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