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The Six Best Natural Foods to give you Energy
1. Whole grain cereals such as oats and bran are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates so, unlike corn flakes and puffed rice, a bowl of porridge takes some time to release its carbohydrate content. This means the body is supplied with a steady supply of energy-providing glucose that should prevent between meals energy burnouts.
Breakfasting on a bowl of cornflakes will also provide plenty of energy, but corn flakes provide energy in the form of simple carbohydrates which are quicker and easier to digest. Because simple carbohydrates are digested so easily they push up glucose levels much faster than complex carbohydrates. This means simple carbohydrates can be used to supply some quick energy, but if the blood glucose level becomes too high or is raised too quickly the liver will respond by producing extra insulin to lower the glucose level and, in some cases, the glucose level may become low enough to cause feelings of lethargy.
So for some energy on the go, go for whole grain cereals every time—preferably with little or no sugar.
2. Fresh fruit Like whole grains, fruit is a good source of natural fiber. It also provides numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and is surefire way of getting some carbohydrates into the body, but a little care is needed in choosing the right fruit to nibble on or blend into a smoothie.
Some fruits, including raisons, melons and pineapple deliver energy very quickly. This makes them a great choice when the blood sugar level has dropped considerably and needs bringing back up again, but when this is not the case all that extra energy will have nowhere to go and will invariably be converted to fat unless eaten in strict moderation.
Fortunately the majority of fruits, including grapefruits, cherries and apples are a source of complex carbohydrate and will deliver energy more slowly.
3.Trail mix is a popular snack option with backpacker and hikers. There’s a reason for that—trail mix is a very good energy provider.
Trail mix contains a mixture of nuts, dried fruits and grains that make it a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. It also provides both simple and complex carbohydrates. This makes trail mix useful for providing some quick energy when over exertion has lowered the blood sugar, but it is equally useful for proving an ongoing supply of energy. Although the dried fruit used in the mix contains complex carbohydrates, it also contains fructose and other fruit sugars that can get to work fast. The other ingredients provide a generous dose of complex carbohydrates (for ongoing energy), and the mono- and polyunsaturated fats in nuts provide a further source of energy.
4. Bananas – thought you knew all about bananas? Think again—there is more to this fruit than meets the eye. When they are still a little green, bananas contain a form of starch that is a little difficult for the body to digest, but it’s loaded with energy. Because it takes the digestive system so long to extract the energy it is released nice and slowly. This makes green bananas a good choice for eating before commencing a long hike or prolonged sporting activity. It also means a green banana breakfast shake can keep you going until lunchtime.
As the green banana ripens, however, the starch is gradually converted to simple sugars—ever noticed how disgustingly sweet a spotty, ripe banana can be? Now you know the reason why. The more ripe the banana becomes the faster it releases its energy; so if you toss a ripe banana in your early morning shake it may provide a nice banana buzz of energy, but it will have buzzed off and gone long before the next meal.
5. Quinoa contains high amounts of complex carbohydrates and boasts a higher protein content than any other grain. It is also a gluten-free grain so it is a good option for people who are gluton intolerant. Statistics show that although many people pursue a gluton-free lifestyle, very few of them are actually gluton intolerant. In fact, statistics compiled in 2004 by the National Institute of Health suggest just 1% of the population of the United states of America is affected by glucose intolerance. But, whether by choice or by necessity, for those attempting to live a life without gluton, Quinoa is not only an excellent energy provider, it is a super-nutritious food.
6. Sauerkraut is basically just cabbage that has been slightly “soured” by the process of fermentation. Although fermented cabbage may sound a little unusual, it’s quite a tasty dish—very nutritious too.
Like the cabbage it is made from sauerkraut is a good source of complex carbohydrates, but the fermentation process gives the cabbage a little something extra that it didn’t have before—probiotics.
Often referred to as good bacteria, probiotics are known to improve the digestive system and enable the body to extract more nutrients for its food. Energy wise this provides two benefits. Firstly, less carbohydrate is wasted, so the same amount of food can then provide increased amount of energy. Secondly, because the body is not working so hard to digest its food, less energy is wasted.
Why You Must Lose The Belly Before Its Too late
Belly fat—it doesn’t look good and it’s as bad for the health as it is for the ego. In fact tests conducted in 2012 at the Mayo Clinic (USA) suggest that adults who have a lot of fat around their midsections, but would not normally be classed as overweight, could face a higher risk of death than those who are obese.
The Mayo Clinic’s study centered on individuals who had a normal body mass index (BMI), but could still be classed as having “central obesity” because they had a high waist to hip ratio (WHR).
WHR is ascertained by comparing the waist measurement to that of the hips, and the World Health Organization (WHO) considers it to offer a more accurate means of ascertaining dangerous levels of fat than BMI because the readings take into account differences in body structure.
When measured in the correct fashion a healthy waist measurement should always be lower than that taken at the hips and WHR of more than 0.95 for men, and 0.85 for women, can be indicative of an increased likelihood of heart disease.
Why is Belly Fat so Bad?
Belly fat has hidden depths. It’s not just a layer of fat beneath the skin (subcutaneous fat), it also fills the void between the organs (visceral fat) and although the subcutaneous fat may be responsible for making overweight people shy away from the mirror, less obvious, visceral fat can be a killer.
Too much belly fat can result in:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancer of the Colon
- Sleep apnea
One of the most frightening things about this is the fact that many people who are at risk would never consider themselves so by looking at their bathroom scales or BMI measurements.
Speaking at a scientific meeting in Europe, shortly after the study was completed, (Mayo Clinic) cardiologist Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez said: “We see from time to time people who have a big belly, but their body weight is normal. Some will be very content and not excited about starting an exercise program, even if they need it.”
The researchers at the Mayo Clinic are not the only medical experts to have examined the dangers presented by belly fat.
Lewis Kuller, MD, DPH, (professor and past chair of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health) stated: “Abdominal fat is thought to break down easily into fatty acids, which flow directly into the liver and into muscle.”
According to Kuller, once released and absorbed by the liver, the fatty acids cause a chain reaction that can:
- Increase production of LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Make insulin less effective for controlling blood sugar levels (causing insulin resistance)
- Allow fats and clots to enter the bloodstream
None of this is conducive to good health or longevity.
Does the Belly Fat Man Have More to Fear than the Belly Fat Woman?
An excess of belly fat is equally dangerous for men as it is for women, but men tend to notice their waistlines expanding earlier in life than women—often in adolescence and postadolescense—it’s one of the main reasons why coronary disease is more prevalent in men than women. For a man a large belly can also lead to another big problem—erectile dysfunction.
Obviously erectile dysfunction is a hardship that women will not have to bear, but belly fat can cause women problems that are uniquely female. If the belly is larger than the hips it can interfere with the ability to become pregnant. It can also increase the likelihood of gallstones.
Although stepping on the bathroom scales can provide an indication of the bodyweight, and BMI levels can give an insight into the percentage of body fat, neither method takes the “body type” into account so WHR should not be ignored. Everybody is different and everybody’s body is also different and, when it comes to belly fat, it’s not just a case of how much fat there is, but the location of the fat.
Belly fat is situated in an area of the body where it has access to vital organs and can interfere with bodily processes. A person who is carrying a greater percentage of body fat—located around the arms and legs—may appear to have a greater weight on their shoulders health wise, but although carrying excess fat is never a healthy situation, studies show that a little fat around the belly area can be far more damaging that a greater amount situated elsewhere on the body.