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Looking for a Tasty Treat? Consider Frozen Yogurt

Written by Lisa Jillanza

frozen yogurt If the summertime heat has your body begging for a quick cool down, then why not pass on the ice cream every once in awhile and opt for another frozen treat? Give frozen yogurt a whirl instead.

According to MSNBC.com, like all dairy products, frozen yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium, and choosing nonfat or at least low-fat yogurt provides all the benefits without the artery-clogging animal fat. Just 1 cup has about 1/3 of the daily calcium requirement and roughly 10 grams of protein (15-20 percent of daily requirements). And many people who are lactose intolerant can eat some yogurt because much of the milk sugar is gone in yogurt and converted to lactic acid. In addition, besides being generally low in fat and calories, frozen yogurt is also chock full of probiotics, which promote better digestion. This probiotic content also has been known to reduce urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome and may reduce the occurrence of bladder cancer.

Check out the information below to learn about the health benefits of frozen yogurt:

Weight loss There is a high amount of protein in yogurt with fewer calories. It's about 100 calories for 6 ounces and 22 grams of protein. Protein is biologically very satisfying, and helps curb appetite on less food.

Irritable bowel and constipation The extra probiotics (good bacteria) added to yogurts enhance the action of the good bacteria already in the yogurt. It's another strain of the bacteria, so you have more benefit, with more good bacteria per serving. This can affect transit time in gut which is good for regularity.

Immune function The probiotics (healthy bacteria) in yogurts have been shown to boost immune function, like increase white blood cell count, one of the cells that help fight infection. Other studies show some effect on antibodies in the gut. Though these are not definitive, it certainly can't hurt.

Dessert To tame a sweet tooth, yogurt can help — but read the label to check for calories and fat. Cool packaging is eye-catching, but "fun" yogurts are not all the same. Avoid "fruit" yogurts — add your own fresh or frozen (no sugar added) berries — and save calories and extra sugar, and get a little fiber as well.

So, the next time you are looking for an ice cream alternative, get yourself a frozen yogurt and you're body will thank you for it!

 

Savory Salmon: An Array of Health Benefits but Beware of Mercury

Written by Lisa Jillanza

salmon One of the healthiest foods that you can consume is fish, more specifically, salmon. Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat.

Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat. Salmon is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish. In addition, eating foods like salmon, which contain very little trans-fatty acids, can help to reduce the risk of many diseases, like type II diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Because salmon is chock full of protein, it contains sufficient amounts of every essential amino acid required by our bodies for growth and the upkeep of muscle tissue. These proteins also help our bodies to maintain a healthy metabolism, playing a key role in weight loss. In addition, eating salmon is one of the best ways to insure that we're getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids.

According to MSNBC.com, Omega-3's are a form of polyunsaturated fat that the body derives from food. Omega-3's (and Omega-6's) are known as essential fatty acids (EFAs) because they are essential for good health. They are essential to the development of healthy brains and other metabolically active tissues. Research shows that these fats do much more than regulate our brains: They can also lower risk of heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. They even help fight wrinkles and may block fat-cell formation. However, the body cannot make these fatty acids on its own so it's important that Omega-3's be obtained from food.

However, once you increase the amount of fish that you eat in order to reap the benefits, it's also important to maintain healthy levels of consumption in order to avoid mercury exposure. Some types of fish are loaded with mercury and other contaminants, like PCBs, dioxins, and pesticides.

Today Show Health Correspondent, Joy Bauer on MSNBC.com says that the main reason mercury is bad for your health is that it negatively affects the brain and nervous system. Mercury poisoning can also adversely affect vision, kidney function, fertility, blood pressure regulation and heart disease.

High mercury fish to avoid: swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel (a little mackerel is fine). Tuna's not great. If you buy canned tuna, you're better off with the chunk light kind versus albacore or white. The worst for “dioxins” is farm-raised Atlantic salmon, which is also high in PCBs and pesticides.

Some of the very, very safest and best fish to eat are anchovies, herring, Atlantic mackerel, wild salmon, sardines, crab, halibut, scallops, shrimp, and tilapia.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Soda Pop

Written by Lisa Jillanza

fat soda pop The next time you're mulling over your beverage choice, here's a tip: avoid soda pop. The drink of choice for many, soda pop is full of sugar along with a myriad of other reasons why it should be avoided at all costs. Experts have time and time again researched soft drinks and the affects they have on our body. Here are five reasons why you should avoid soft drinks or at least limit your consumption:

Teeth damage- Soft drinks are filled with sugar and we all know the adverse affects that sugar has on our teeth. The sugar coats your teeth and wears away at your tooth enamel, causing decay and cavities.

Organ damage- Research has shown the drinking pop may be linked to chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease and other life-threatening conditions. In a study recently released by MSNBC.com, people who drink two or more sweetened soft drinks a week have a much higher risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer. And while sugar is to blame, people who drink sweetened sodas regularly often have poor health habits in general which also may lead to forms of organ damage.

Diabetes risk and obesity- Soda is filled with high-fructose corn syrup, a leading cause of obesity in any age. Drinking soda has also been linked to the development of type 2 Diabetes. The high amounts of sugar in soft drinks cause your pancreas to produce an abundance of insulin, which leads to a "sugar crash." Chronic elevation and depletion of sugar and insulin can lead to diabetes and other imbalance related diseases. This is particularly disruptive to growing children which can lead to life-long health problems.

No nutritional value whatsoever- Soda again is filled with sugar and empty calories. That's about it! You get nothing nutritionally out of drinking soda.

Bone weakening- Soda contains phosphorous and caffeine and research has shown that both of these are believed to contribute to osteoporosis. Research also shows that people who are drinking soda are avoiding healthy drinks, like milk, that give bones much needed calcium.

So, the next time you are faced with a sugary soft drink dilemma, perhaps you should think twice and just grab some water or juice instead.

 

Adjust Your Eating Habits for Winter and Stay Healthy

Written by Lisa Jillanza

warming cup of soup With winter comes the onset of cold and flu season in addition to other events that can wreak havoc on our immune system. In order to boost our immune systems, we need to make some minor adjustments in our diet and lifestyle to help curb the impact the season has on our body. Try these small adjustments to keep yourself healthy this winter.

Adjustment 1: Get your Essential Fatty Acids

Because essential fatty acids are the key to building super hormones, make sure that you get enough of these fatty acids from nuts, seeds, fish, cold pressed oils and supplements.

According to MSNBC.com fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, herring and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which increase activity of phagocytes — cells that fight flu by eating up bacteria — according to a study by Britain's Institute of Human Nutrition and School of Medicine. They also contain selenium, which helps white blood cells produce cytokines, proteins that help clear viruses. Other research shows that omega-3s increase airflow and protect lungs from colds and respiratory infections. In fact, says Somer, DHA and EPA (the two main forms of omega-3s) benefit the immune system at the most basic level, enabling cell membranes to efficiently absorb nutrients and remove toxins.

proteinAdjustment 2: Eat Enough Protein

Protein is important for your optimal health no matter what season it is. Nutritionists also suggest .75 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight depending upon your physical activity. But, because our body can only absorb 30 to 35 grams per meal, we need to spread our protein intake throughout the day. Be sure to eat some sort of protein in every meal and in every snack. Getting some of that protein through soy-based products is also recommended by many nutritionists.

Adjustment 3: Choose low GI carbohydrates

GI or glycemic index, is the measure of how fast blood sugar rises after eating. One good example is that white sugar has a glycemic index of 100, where peanuts have a glycemic index of 15. That means that peanuts raise the blood sugar levels at 15% of the rate of white sugar. Fast rising blood sugar means the pancreas produces and sometimes overproduces insulin. These spikes in insulin can weaken the immune system and interferes with the production of super hormones. By choosing low GI carbohydrates, combined with eating the appropriate levels of protein you can better control your insulin.

Adjustment 4: Nutritional supplements are not an option

Instead of boosting their immune system by eating the right foods, exercising and avoiding stress, too many people turn to herbal remedies to prevent colds and the flu. However, these people believe that using herbal remedies, like Echinacea, will stimulate their immune system and often utilize these remedies rather than eating the right foods. Echinacea can and will stimulate the immune system, but if you aren't feeding the immune system with the proper vitamins and nutrients, the effectiveness of the herbal remedy will not be as long-lasting as you expect.

Overall, the best way to adjust your immune system this winter is to avoid too much supplementation, get enough protein and essential fatty acids, and avoid those sugary carbohydrates to make your way through these next couple months illness-free.

 

A Thirst-Quenching Guide to Water: An Essential Element for a Healthy Life

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Water pic As Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Water is the driver of nature”. Put simply, water sustains life. So you're already aware that drinking plenty of water is not only good for you but also a vital aspect to achieving the ultimate in health and wellness. But it might be even more important than you realized. By not drinking enough water, you can impair every aspect of your physiology. According to Dr. Howard Flaks on www.naturodoc.com by not drinking enough water, people may incur excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased digestive efficiency and organ function, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness and water retention.

Besides air, water is the element most essential for survival. In fact, a typical human is comprised of between 60 and 70 percent water and brain tissue is said to be comprised of 85% water. It's reported that people can go without food for almost two months, but for only a few days without water. In addition, without water humans would be poisoned to death by their own waste products. As indicated by www.naturodoc.com, when the kidneys remove uric acid and urea, they must be dissolved in water first. If there isn't enough water available, wastes are not removed as effectively and may build up as kidney stones.

Water is also essential for chemical reactions during such body processes as digestion and metabolism due to the fact that it carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells through the blood and helps to cool the body through perspiration. In addition, it helps to lubricate our joints. We even need water to breathe. Our lungs must be moistened by water in order to take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide. Studies show that humans lose close to a pint of liquid each day merely by exhaling.

"Proper water intake is a key to weight loss," says Dr. Donald Robertson, medical director of the Southwest Bariatric Nutrition Center in Scottsdale, Arizona on www.naturodoc.com. "If people who are trying to lose weight don't drink enough water, the body can't metabolize the fat adequately. Retaining fluid also keeps weight up."

If you're wondering if you're drinking enough water then just listen to your body. Here are some common symptoms of dehydration:

• Heartburn, stomach ache • Non-infectious recurring or chronic pain • Low back pain • Headache • Mental irritation and depression • Water retention (ironic but true ) • Dry mouth- this is the last outward sign of extreme dehydration.

Moral of the story if you haven't figured it out yet- we need water to survive and thrive. But exactly how much water should we drink to ensure optimum health and wellness?

According to Dr. Flaks the minimum amount of water one should intake is eight to ten eight-ounce glasses a day. Eight to ten 8 oz glasses is equivalent to three to four standard 16 oz bottles of water per day. But you'll need even more if you exercise a lot of live in a hot climate. And overweight people should drink an extra glass for every 25 pounds that they exceed their ideal weight.

The formula that the International Sports Medicine Institute uses is this: 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight if you're not active (that's ten eight-ounce glasses if you weigh 160 pounds), and 2/3 ounce per pound if you're athletic (13 to 14 glasses a day, at the same weight). Simply calculated, drink 50-75% of your body weight in ounces. And intake should be spread throughout the day and evening.

If you're wondering about how this might affect you bladder, then don't worry. You may be constantly running to the bathroom at the onset of appropriate water consumption but after a few weeks, your bladder tends to adjust and urination is less frequent but in larger amounts.

By simply paying attention and drinking more water on a daily basis you will not only be contributing to a healthier life but you could also be on your way to a healthier and leaner body.