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Weight Loss Nutrition Shopping Tips

When you make a conscious effort to lose weight and take back your health, you need to ensure that you’re doing everything in your power to consume the right foods at the right times. This is where it pays dividends to know what you’re doing when you’re out browsing the grocery store for healthy foods and drinks. To help make your shopping trips for healthy food that little bit easier, we’re going to share a series of healthy shopping tips with you right now. Because we’re so generous and helpful, we’re also going to share a sample healthy meal plan for the day with you, so you have a better idea of the types of things you should be eating to lose weight.

Weight loss nutrition shopping tips

To get things started, here’s a look at some useful shopping tips for when you’re looking to stock up on healthy, weight loss-friendly foods and drinks. Never go shopping hungry – If there’s just one piece of advice to take heed of, let it be this: Never go food shopping for healthy products when you’re hungry.
When you’re hungry, you won’t be thinking clearly, you’ll be craving something quick, easy, and tasty, and you’ll be surrounded by unhealthy junk food that you’ll find hard to resist. If you’ve already eaten a healthy meal, however, you’ll be full, and you won’t be interested in the junk food at all. Don’t buy food labelled as ‘low fat’ – Although you’re looking to lose weight, you should still avoid food labelled as
being ‘low fat’ at all costs. This is because low-fat alternatives to everyday food items often contain ingredients that are far worse.

Normally they’ll be packed full of artificial flavorings, chemicals, sweeteners, and preservatives which do the body no good at all. Sure, they may be low in fat and calories, but they’re still very unhealthy.
Read the packaging and ingredients – If you’re unsure about whether or not something is healthy, read the packaging and take a look at the list of ingredients found inside. If there are dozens upon dozens of ingredients, including chemicals that you can’t pronounce, and E-numbers, it’s not healthy and it should be ignored. Look for foods and products containing natural ingredients.

Don’t fear frozen vegetables

There’s a misconception in the world of dieting, that frozen vegetables are unhealthy. In reality, most frozen veggies are simply coated with freshwater and frozen at source, making them very fresh. Some fruit and veg you see on grocery shelves could have been standing for weeks and may not be as fresh as you’d like. The fresher the produce, the higher the nutrient count.

Sample healthy menu

Breakfast


• Slice of wholegrain toast
• Half a smashed avocado
• 1 poached egg
• 1 serving of wilted spinach
Snack
• 1 apple

Lunch


• 1 homemade chicken and Mediterranean vegetable salad with vinaigrette dressing
Snack
• 1 yogurt
• 1 handful of mixed berries
Dinner
• 1 baked cod fillet
• 1 serving of fresh asparagus
• 1 baked sweet potato

Snack


• 1 serving of cottage cheese
• 1 handful of mixed nuts
Now that we’ve learned a few shopping tips while on a weight loss plan, the next thing we will look at is adding exercise into the mix.

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Top 5 Power Foods You Need In Your Diet For Weight Loss

To some people, the thought of eating food to lose weight is preposterous. Surely, when it comes to losing weight the less food you eat, the better? In reality, however, the exact opposite is true.
In order to lose weight, we need to make sure that we’ve eaten enough to provide our metabolisms with the energy needed to function. Some foods, however, are even more beneficial for shedding the pounds than others. Here’s a look at the top 5 power foods for weight loss.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a superfood that is considered one of the healthiest in the world. If you’re looking to lose weight, broccoli is ideal. To begin with, broccoli is naturally low in calories and is virtually fat-free. As well as that, broccoli is also rich in fiber, which is your secret weapon in the battle against the bulge. Fiber helps to promote satiety and helps to keep you feeling full for longer. If you feel full, you’ll be less likely to overeat.

Salmon

Salmon is an oily fish that is renowned for its health benefits. Salmon is a rich source of protein which is very useful for burning fat. Protein is thermogenic, which means that it raises your core body temperature as it is broken down. This in turn means that your body burns off more calories just to digest the food and break it down. The weight loss benefits here are apparent. As an added bonus, salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and essential minerals.

Chicken breast

If you look at any healthy eating plan containing meat, you’ll find that the primary protein source is usually chicken breast. For losing weight, chicken breast is ideal. Chicken breast is virtually fat-free when skinless, and is naturally low in calories. It’s also a great source of protein, which increases your metabolism as it is digested and broken down. Not only that, but as protein takes longer to digest and be broken down, it also stays in your stomach for longer so you feel full for longer.

Avocados

Avocados are naturally rich in fats and are high in calories. Because of this, people often avoid them when trying to lose weight. This is a mistake. You see, avocados are rich in healthy fats such as oleic acid, which has been found to ramp up the metabolism and fight inflammation.
Inflammation is heavily linked to obesity. Avocados are also a great source of fiber. This, combined with their high-calorie content, makes them perfect for keeping you feeling full for longer.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is roughly 99% saturated fat. The saturated fat found in coconut oil, however, is incredibly good for you. The fats found in coconut oil are MCTs or Medium Chain Triglycerides. Because of their triglyceride chain length, when consumed, these fats are used as a near-instant source of energy.
The body is able to use the fat for fuel quicker, so you don’t store the fats for use at a later date. This increase in energy means that your metabolism increases, and you will, therefore, burn more calories.

Hooray for coconuts.


Well, these are just a few power foods everyone should look at including into a healthy and balanced diet. In the next part, we will look at some of the most popular diets going around and whether they should be implemented or thrown in the bin.

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Nutritional Overview – The Fundamentals of a Healthy Diet

As you know, health is wealth, and if you want to lose weight to get fit and healthy, you need to begin by addressing your diet. When we think of diets, we think of minuscule portions, salad, vegetables, and other bland and tasteless foods that may be good for us, but are hardly inspiring when it comes to taste.
In truth, the entire concept behind a healthy diet is extremely complex as there is a lot to get your head around. While we won’t be going into too much technical detail when looking at diet and nutrition, we will be providing a basic nutritional overview and will be looking at some of the basic fundamentals associated with a healthy diet.

Hydration

First and foremost, it doesn’t matter which diet and nutritional plan you intend on following adequate hydration are absolutely essential. The human body is made up of close to 80% water.
We need water in order for our cells to function properly, we need water to digest our food, we need water to convert calories into energy, we need water for our organs to function properly, and we need water to simply feel healthy and productive. Water helps speed up metabolism and promotes athletic performance, making adequate hydration perfect for people trying to lose weight. As well as that, water is also very beneficial for the brain. Experts recommend that we consume around 8 glasses of water each day. Avoid sugary drinks, as well as sugar-free drinks which are loaded with chemicals, and instead, get your hydration from fresh mineral or filtered water.

Macros

Macros, or macronutrients if we’re being technical, are made up of: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Basically, these are your three macronutrients.
It is worth noting roughly how many calories the different types of macronutrients contain.
• Carbohydrates – 4 calories per gram
• Proteins – 4 calories per gram
• Fats – 9 calories per gram
We need a healthy balance of all three macros as they perform different functions and processes within the body.

Protein for example, is used to help repair and rebuild damaged muscle tissue. It’s also vital for cellular health and function. Carbohydrates are typically used by the body as a key source of energy, whereas fats are used to regulate your hormones, boost metabolism, promote healthy organs, and much more besides. When trying to lose weight, your macronutrient ratios should be at 50% protein, 35% carbs and 15% fat.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are another group of essential food groups needed by the body in order for it to function at its best. Micronutrients generally consist of vitamins and minerals. These all play incredibly important roles in the body and are vital for optimal health and well-being. We need vitamins for a healthy immune system, for wound healing, for organ function, for energy production, for hormone regulation, and much more besides. Minerals are equally as important as each one offers unique benefits and advantages to the body. Minerals such as calcium, for example, are important for strong and healthy bones. Iron is a mineral essential for the blood as it plays a key role in the production of hemoglobin.

Calories

Calories are basic units of energy. The human body needs energy for a whole variety of different reasons. We get our energy from food and drink. The amount of energy found in each food and drink item is measured in calories. To maintain itself in its current state, the body needs a certain number of calories. This number varies from person to person. If we consume more calories than the body needs for maintenance, we create a caloric surplus. Rather than letting these calories go to waste, the body instead converts them into fat and stores them to be used at a later date. If we don’t consume enough calories needed for maintenance, we create a caloric deficit, and the body taps into its fat reserves to make up the difference. This is a very simple explanation of how a caloric deficit promotes weight loss.

Are You Carb Sensitive?

This is a HUGE problem that is the underlying cause for why fat people keep getting fatter… and the rate of weight gain is accelerated. Some people are highly carb sensitive. When they consume even a little bit of carbs, they gain weight fast. This is due to insulin insensitivity. You’re probably wondering what causes this. The answer is quite simple.Let’s assume you drink a can of sugary soda. The sugar in the soda will spike your blood sugar levels. Your body will release insulin to prevent your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia).

Now if you were to drink 3 cans of soda a day, your body will keep releasing insulin to cope with these elevated sugar levels. Over time, your body will get desensitized to the insulin and your pancreas will have to keep releasing more insulin just to cope with the same amount of sugar.
When this happens, the excess insulin will be shuttled off to the body’s fat stores through a chain of processes within the body. This will explain why overweight people often complain that they eat 1 slice of cake and gain 4 pounds. While this is a bit of an exaggeration, you do get the point. A long time of consuming junk food and processed foods has affected their body’s internal system. Another very nasty consequence of insulin insensitivity is that it sets the stage for type 2 diabetes which is the leading cause of kidney failure, blindness, and amputations. This is one of the worst diseases out there… and it all starts with a poor diet.

So what do I do if I’m insulin insensitive?

There are a few ways to reduce insulin insensitivity. Thousands of people will see rapid weight loss if they ‘reset’ their body’s insulin sensitivity. This is one of the biggest weight loss hurdles that most people aren’t even aware of. Fix your insulin insensitivity and it will become much easier to shed the stubborn pounds. Here are a few methods.
• Reduce your intake of all sugary and refined foods until you can eliminate them completely.
• Consume more foods that contain turmeric/ginger/garlic.
• Get enough sleep daily. This is very important. If you get insufficient sleep, consume some cinnamon. This will help attenuate the effects of the insulin resistance that arises from insufficient sleep.
• Lift weights.
• Run thrice a week in a fasted state.
• Drink unsweetened green tea regularly. The gallic acid in the tea will improve your insulin sensitivity.
• Consume leafy greens and food rich in magnesium.
• Reduce or totally stop your intake of refined carbs like white rice, white bread, pasta, etc.

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Getting Physically Active

I’m going to tell you right now if you want to be healthy, you need to get out there and get physical.
Regardless of your age, it’s never too late for you to start exercising, so don’t ever use your age as an excuse – there’s 70 years old’s out there doing extraordinary things with a bit of fitness!
In fact, the older you are, the more you should exercise. No, I’m not joking. Unless your doctor has advised against it, there’s no reason not to. Exercise isn’t going to have a negative impact on your body. Of course, before you get physically active, you should speak with your doctor to get the “go ahead,” this way, you will feel better. You just need to learn how to fight through that laziness for the sake of your own health and get your body to start moving. Trust us, even the smallest of changes in your lifestyle can lead to a huge change in your body, so don’t hesitate to start a good exercise regimen and stick to it.
At first, you’re not going to like exercise, but eventually, as it becomes a part of your lifestyle, you’re going to enjoy it.
Types of Exercises:
• Walking
• Jogging
• Swimming
• Yoga

Those are only for types of exercise you can take part in. Honestly, you can easily create your own exercise routine that is fun for you. Just look on youtube for at-home exercise programs and you will find a multitude of fun and easy to perform programs. Well, we have reached the pinnacle of our beginner’s guide on the TLC Diet and I want to congratulate you on making it this far. In this final part we will be summarizing the main points we have covered so far and hopefully put to ease any questions or doubts you may have.

Tips To Start Today

At first, it’s not going to be easy – no diet is easy, regardless of who you are, above all else, however, the major thing to consider is sources of fat in your diet and monitoring saturated fat levels to lower your cholesterol. While this seems difficult, after about a week or so, you’ll start to pick up on the routine and before you know it, the TLC diet will naturally become a part of your lifestyle. Here’s a little bit of advice for you – put some time and effort into making your meals. You may even want to enroll in a nice yoga class (there may be one going on right now in your area). If you cannot find a yoga class, you can find many yoga videos online, which will allow you to practice yoga in the comfort of your own home.
Also, it may help if you have a nice support system going on. The more friends you have that will take part in this diet with you, the better off you’re going to be. In the end, don’t let anything get in your way and remember the benefits of the TLC diet! You can also reward yourself. Rewarding yourself will give you something to look forward to. Just don’t reward yourself with food – go for a new shirt or something along those lines. Well, that’s it, you’ve reached the end. Wish you all the best in your journey to reduce your cholesterol levels by following the TLC diet.

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Creating a Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables

So, you need to be eating more fruits and vegetables, and we’ve seen already that there are a huge number of specific foods that have a particularly impressive benefit – just as there are a huge number of specific vitamins and minerals that you need to try and seek out in your diet.
But how do you go about implementing that plan? How do you go from struggling to get your five a day, to being able to easily consume a large plethora of different beneficial ingredients?
Because that’s the other key thing to realize: you shouldn’t be taking a reductive approach of trying to seek out each item individually. If you do this, then you’ll find that you end up spending a huge amount of money, and ultimately not getting much benefit.


This book has listed a huge number of fruits and vegetables that you can seek out specifically in order to enjoy benefits for your beauty, for your energy levels, for inflammation, for immunity…
You might, therefore, be tempted to think you can pick and choose the benefits you want!
But this is the wrong approach. When there are THAT many different superfoods that each offer some kind of amazing benefit, you simply cannot seek out each one individually. This is especially true seeing as many of them won’t mix together, many aren’t available in your local supermarket, and some will only be edible for a short amount of time. So, what do you do instead? The Strategy: The Aim is Variety
Instead of seeking out individual different fruits and vegetables, what is far preferable is to simply aim to get the biggest variety you possibly can in your diet. By doing this, you will cover the largest spectrum of ingredients, and thereby get the largest range of different benefits from your diet.
You could find the healthiest superfood vegetable in the world, but if that was all you ate then you wouldn’t get all that much benefit – because you’d only be getting large amounts of those same ingredients.


We don’t think of foods such as apples as being superfoods, but because they contain large amounts of vitamin C (antioxidant, boosts testosterone, encourages nitric oxide formation, produces serotonin), epicatechin, they are just as impressive as those more exotic ideas. Moreover, if you eat three different fruits and vegetables, then the range of nutrients you get will be far greater. Studies show as well, that our microbiome – the healthy bacteria living in our guts – benefit most of all from a varied diet. The greater the range of foods you eat, the stronger your gut health will be – resulting in weight loss, more energy, better mood, and more. Finally, by aiming to just “eat lots of fruits and vegetables” you can reduce the amount of thought this diet boost involves, which in turn will help you to be more likely to stick to your new commitment.


How To Increase The Variety of Fruits & Vegetables
So how do you increase the variety? Here are some easy tips that will help you to do that without adding a lot of stress to your next shopping trip: • Make lots of stews, hot pots, and Italian dishes. If you’re cooking something like a bolognaise, then it’s actually very easy to just throw a bunch of fruits and vegetables into a pot with some mince. o To make this even easier, try grating things like a carrot (so you don’t need to peel), and use frozen ingredients like mushrooms, peas, and sweetcorn.


• Make lots of salads! An easy way to make a cold lunch is to get some salad leaves, throw on some sweet potatoes, slice some cucumber, and add a pinch of lemon. This can go on the side of nearly ANYTHING you cook. Choose baby leaf spinach and you’ll get iron and folate.

Then just vary which leaf you use every time.
• Freeze! When doing this, cook up large batches of foods and then freeze them in lots of individually portioned Tupperware. Then all you need to do is to defrost each one as you come to eat it.
• Make smoothies! These are extremely easy to produce – just throw a bunch of fruits and/or vegetables in and hit blend. They also provide a huge boost for amazing benefits. Some of the most energetic and happy people I know consume daily smoothies! • Buy fruits and vegetables out. A lot of cafes sell fruits at the counter, and the same is true in many grocers. Instead of buying a chocolatey snack, just buy the most exotic-looking fruit you can find!

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How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Successfully Improve Your Health

At this point, you should have a comprehensive idea of the best reasons to ensure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. These can enhance your health in myriad ways, and if you are currently feeling tired, moody, unwell, or even depressed, it’s highly likely that you have a deficiency in at least one of these micronutrients. And this should come as no surprise – given that the vast majority of people DO have some kind of deficiency these days. The next question is how you should be gently integrating these fruits and vegetables. Are there any drawbacks? How many do you need precisely? Can you just use a vitamin tablet instead?


How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need Really?
You might have heard that you should be aiming to consume at least five different fruits and vegetables a day. This is a piece of general advice that is given by many health organizations and governments. Some organizations have increased this number to seven. It is good advice, however, it is also arbitrary.
What do I mean by that? Essentially, it is based on nothing! Fruits and vegetables are not inherently good for you. They are not good for you because they are fruits and vegetables. Rather, they are good for you BECAUSE they contain all those essential micronutrients. Those micronutrients are required in different quantities and varieties, and ultimately the best thing we can do for our health is just to get as many of them as possible. The more fruits and vegetables you consume, the better. And it is very hard to overdose when you get your nutrients from natural sources like this.

And be very dubious when a packet of a food tells you it counts as “one of your five a day.” If that food is highly processed, then chances are it won’t contain many nutrients in it at all anymore. At the very least, it is likely to be much lower in fiber. Thus, the benefits won’t be as great as they would have been had you consumed that nutrient itself. Apply some common sense, and where possible, eat as many whole, real fruits, and vegetables as you can! The Dangers of Too Many Fruits and Vegetables. That said, you can do yourself damage by consuming too many fruits and vegetables. Or to be a little more specific, it is relatively easy to cause harm by consuming too much fruit. That’s because the fruit is highly acidic and packed with sugar. Both these things make it damaging to your teeth in particular. Many people who switch to diets that are primarily focussed on the use of smoothies will end up developing serious tooth problems!


One solution to this is to avoid drinking too much fruit juice or too many fruit smoothies. Instead, focus on drinking vegetable smoothies, which typically contain a lot less sugar. Another consideration is that fruits and vegetables are still a source of calories. This is especially true for things like avocados, which have become all the rage recently. While avocados are great for boosting testosterone (thanks to their healthy saturated fat content), and while they are useful for those trying to avoid carbs, they can still make you fat! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that “fruits and vegetables are healthy and therefore can’t make you fat.” The truth is that they still contain calories and you still need to track and manage those calories to avoid unwanted weight gain.

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How Antioxidants Help You to Live Longer

Antioxidants are found naturally in our diet and are also a key feature of many a supplement. Antioxidants are something of a buzz word these days and antioxidant vitamins and minerals as well as a range of Naka Herb supplements are highly popular. What is the reason for this? And what precisely are antioxidants? Here we will look a little at how a cell works, how a cell dies, and why antioxidants are so important. Our cells are made up of various parts but all you need to know about in this instance is the cell wall and the nucleus. The cell wall, surrounded by mitochondria, is the part of the cell that of course holds everything together and gives the cell its round appearance. Meanwhile, the nucleus is the center of the cell, which is often referred to as the ‘control center’. Here is where the DNA is stored, the ‘blueprint’ that tells the cell what it looks like, how to behave, and where the other important cells go in the body.


Unfortunately though what’s also in our body is ‘free radicals’ and this is where the antioxidant vitamins and minerals and the Naka Herb supplements come in. Essentially free radicals are substances that travel around the body and damage the cells. They are a by-product of many things from simply breathing (oxygen is reactive and damages cells) to getting too much direct sunlight (the UV waves in the sunlight are radioactive and can damage our cell walls too). These free radicals then do a lot of serious damage in the body and are enough to eventually make our skin look older – because the damage though microscopic can eventually add up to be visible to the naked eye and this goes for skin cells as well.

This is why lots of exposure to the sun will make you look good and tanned in the short term but ultimately result in your skin appearing wrinkled and leathery. More seriously though, eventually these free radicals will break all the way through the cell walls, and this will mean that they reach the nucleus where the DNA is housed. If they reach this then they can cause damage to your actual genetic code and this results in a mutation that changes the expression of the cell and renders it unable to do its job.
Because cells reproduce by splitting (mitosis) this then means that when the cell splits it will copy the DNA across and you will have two fault cells. Your immune system tries to stop this and can be added if you buy herbs online, but it would be better of course if it could be prevented. Because those dead cells as they spread become cancer, and can eventually lead to the failure of whole organs. Antioxidant vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, and even supplements will help you to do this – by destroying the free radicals on impact thereby preventing them from ever causing that damage. These will then slow your visible aging and help to deter cancer – not bad!

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Amazing Superfood Fruits and Vegetables for Mood, Energy, Beauty, and More

So, you’re not particularly interested in weight loss? Perhaps you are already happy with the size you are? (Good for you!) Maybe you’re not an athlete? Maybe you don’t have noticeable health problems?
Look, fruits and vegetables are for everyone. And just to ram that point home, here are some more examples of fruits and vegetables with wildly varying different health benefits!

Broccoli and Leafy Greens for Beauty and Pregnancy
Yes, fruits and vegetables can help to make you look more beautiful. And that’s true even of something as simple as your humble broccoli! Broccoli is perhaps a little less ‘exotic’ when compared with some of the other superfood fruits and vegetables on this list. But don’t let that fool you: this is still an incredibly nutritious food that everyone should be getting more of. For starters, broccoli is a good source of fiber and can once again help to improve your digestion, your bowel movements, and much more. On top of that though, broccoli is also very high in vitamins K, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, collagen, iron, calcium, and more. Let’s start by diving into that collagen. This is something that all of us need but very few of us get. Collagen has been shown to improve brain function and combat against Alzheimer’s, it also helps to reduce back pain, improves skin elasticity, strengthens the nails, combats leaky gut syndrome, fights knee pain, and generally toughens up your tendons, ligaments, and bones.

This is why meals such as bone broth as so incredibly good for us. And now recent research is suggesting an even more powerful reason that collagen might be so important. Researchers now suspect that humans would once have lived primarily by eating bone marrow from animal carcasses. The argument goes that hunter-gatherers may have been ill-equipped to take on large prey. However, we were very good at tracking down our prey and following them. What likely would have happened often, is that we would have followed antelopes and other animals to the point where they were attacked and killed by animals like lions and tigers. They would then have stripped those animals of all their meat, leaving behind the skeleton. That’s when the cunning and resourceful humans would have come along, broken open the bones with our tactile hands, and then eaten the nutritious collagen from inside. If this is indeed true, then we evolved in an environment where we consumed large amounts of the constituents of bone. And we now find ourselves flung into a world where we very rarely get these crucial nutrients. If that’s the case, then broccoli may be even more beneficial than we at first assumed!


Pregnant mothers should definitely look into eating more broccoli and more greens in general. That’s because both broccoli and many salad leaves are a good source of folate, which is something that all mothers are recommended to eat. Not getting enough folate increases the risk of complications in pregnancy, and that’s why a lot of mothers will try and get more artificially through the use of pregnancy supplements. This is where it’s important to point out the significant advantages of getting more nutrients from your diet rather than from supplements. While it’s true that you can benefit from supplements, the clue here is in the name. These are intended to supplement your regular diet.
That is to say that they should be taken in addition to your regular diet, rather than as an alternative. Nutrients from your diet are far more effective than those taken in pill form, as they are combined with numerous other nutrients, fats, fibers, and other elements.


Together, these help to improve absorption of the key elements and that makes them much more effective. The thing to recognize is that the human body evolved while being exposed to these foods and therefore is optimally designed to extract the nutritional value in this form.
It is not designed to consume nutrients in a synthetic form. This is why so many tell you not to take vitamin tablets on an ‘empty stomach’. They just work better as food.


Cayenne Pepper for Weight Loss, Testosterone
Cayenne pepper meanwhile is another great tool in the battle against inflammation. This is a compound that makes food spicy and is widely found in ointments and creams due to its anti-inflammation effects. It’s a common pain-relief too as it depletes nerve cells of the chemical ‘substance P’. Substance P causes both inflammation and the sensation of pain, so this is a great thing to add to your diet if you do suffer from a condition like fibromyalgia or arthritis. Cayenne also comes packed with flavonoids and carotenoids. These are antioxidants that prevent cellular damage, thereby further combating against inflammation.


Cayenne pepper also has a number of other impressive benefits. It has been shown to be an effective appetite suppressant for instance, meaning that if you are someone who struggles to stick to a diet, you might start finding it a little easier to be disciplined and thereby hopefully see the weight begin to fall off.
At the same time, cayenne pepper may help to improve digestion. This is important because better digestion doesn’t only give you more energy and prevent discomfort, but it also helps you to better absorb nutrients from your food. That means that all the benefits you’re getting from the other superfoods on this list will then be turned up to 11. What’s more, is that cayenne pepper has also been shown to increase testosterone. This, of course, is the hormone that most of us know as the ‘male hormone’ and is responsible for the male sex drive, as well as many of the differences between men and women. Increasing testosterone in men increases muscle tone, reduces fat storage, raises aggression, aids with recovery, fortifies the immune system, and more.


Men who don’t get enough testosterone will exhibit signs of depression, low energy, low mood, and low sex drive. They also struggle with weight gain and low muscle mass. Conversely, men with high testosterone exhibit the traits that we associate with the classic ‘alpha male’ along with toned and powerful physiques. This is why so many men try to augment their natural testosterone production through the use of steroids and other drugs – despite those carrying numerous health warnings and serious dangers. The really worrying part is that testosterone in men is increasing across the globe by 1% a year. This is partly due to the use of feminine products and their impact on our water, along with a host of other problems (certain plastics and our generally inactive lifestyles). But diet plays a BIG part in it too. Time to start eating a little less processed food, and a little more cayenne pepper. Elderberry for Inflammation


Elderberry is a berry that is rich in nutrients. It is once again a fruit that is absent from many of our regular diets, and so it’s one that you should consider reintroducing. The simple fact of the matter is that most of us rely on the same few fruits and vegetables a day in and day out. This way though, we are ensuring we get a lot of nutrients in effect while missing out on some others. The best diet is the most varied diet – the one that includes the biggest range of different fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, and more. So what can elderberry do for you? Elderberry has been used since prehistoric times and has been used as a supplement or medicine by a host of ancient cultures – including the Ancient Egyptians. Today we now know that these fruits are incredibly high in flavonoids and especially our friend’s anthocyanins – powerful antioxidants like resveratrol.


At the same time, elderberries have been shown to help boost the production of cytokines. These are the messenger molecules that our bodies use in order to control the immune system. Pro-inflammatory cytokines help to encourage inflammation, while anti-inflammatory cytokines help to reduce them. This is all very important because it basically ensures that the body is able to properly regulate its own response to viruses and diseases and to help heal wounds and injuries.
Many of us think that inflammation is always a bad thing – in fact though, inflammation helps to destroy infections before they have a chance to take effect, as well as to encourage healing by delivering more nutrients to the affected area. The problem is when this response goes haywire.


It turns out that for similar reasons, elderberry might also be highly effective at combating allergies!
On top of all this, elderberries are also highly effective at combating and destroying pathogens, being useful in fighting infections, colds, and a host of other problems. Most interesting of all, the tiny berries contain potent antiviral agents that have been shown to actually ‘deactivate’ viruses.
These work by preventing the viruses from being able to break through cell walls using their haemagglutinin spikes, which in turn renders them almost inert. They are thus very effective for combating problems like rhinitis, as well as preventing them from occurring in the first place.
Of course, there is also the usual vitamin and mineral content that you tend to get from berries.

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Fruits and Vegetables for Athletic Performance

When you think of a diet for building muscle, your mind probably turns to the classic options. You likely will focus primarily on protein sources like chicken, tuna, and eggs. An athlete’s diet should consist of nothing but meta and steamed rice, right? But this is far from the only kind of food that’s going to be useful for building muscle and improving performance. In fact, for bodybuilding, sprinting, swimming, long-distance running, and any other kind of athletic pursuit it is highly important that you get a balanced diet that will incorporate a wide range of different food groups. In particular, it is crucial you get your fruits and vegetables. Interested in taking supplements to boost your athletic performance? What might interest you to learn is that consuming fruits and vegetables can actually be more effective while also costing much less and having a myriad of other amazing health benefits!


Here are some examples.
Top Fruits and Vegetables That Improve Athletic Performance
Beets
Beets are far and away among the very most important vegetables for building muscle and for athletes of all kinds. That’s because beets are among the most effective foods in the world when it comes to raising nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a natural ‘vasodilator’. This means that it can cause the blood vessels (veins and arteries) to dilate (widen) thereby encouraging the flow of oxygen and nutrients around the body. The result is that the muscles get more oxygen and energy during training and more nutrients for enhancing recovery. This can help you lift for more reps, run further distances, and recover at a faster rate.

Potatoes
Carbohydrates are often made out to be the bad guys but in fact, they are very important for building muscle and for physical training in general. Potatoes are a good choice of carbohydrate because they’re also high in fiber, high in vitamin C (which enhances recovery), and low in calories. Consume after a workout and the energy will go straight to the muscles rather than the waist.


Spinach
Spinach is a vegetable that is high in protein as well as being a good source of phytoecdysteroids. These don’t have anything in common with anabolic steroids but they may have a similar effect – with some studies suggesting they are a good option for encouraging muscle building and testosterone production.

Kale
Kale is the vegetable highest in calcium. Calcium is actually very important for your workouts, not only does it help to strengthen the bones but it also reinforces your connective tissue and it helps to strengthen contractions for more explosive power during workouts.
Kale is very trendy right now being high in protein and low in calories. A shame costs a fair bit though!


Mushrooms
Mushrooms are technically not fruits or vegetables, but they are found in the same aisle and they’re safe for vegans, so they’re fair game to include here. Mushrooms are not only another great source of protein but also come with a wide range of additional health benefits and advantages. They’re packed with minerals, they can encourage recovery from training and much more besides! It’s surely only a matter of time until we start seeing mushroom protein shakes cropping up in health stores! The other amazing benefit of mushrooms is that they contain vitamin D. In fact, they’re one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D! (Another being oily fish).


This is important seeing as vitamin D is considered to be a master hormone regulator, and is responsible for encouraging the production of testosterone in particular – one of the main anabolic hormones for building muscle and burning fat. That’s more, is that vitamin D has recently been shown to be much more potent than even vitamin C when it comes to supporting the immune system and preventing colds and flu. As any athlete knows, a cold can be enough to complete derail and athletes’ training plan, which in turn can be the difference between victory and failure!


Carrots
Carrots are generally healthy and a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. What’s really exciting about them though is the lutein, which may help to increase energy levels and enhance the efficiency of your very mitochondria! Your mitochondria are the energy factories of your cells which convert glucose into ATP (glucose being the sugar that comes from carbs, and ATP being the usable form of energy in your body). This in short means that with carrots and other sources of lutein, you can actually run faster and that you’ll actually burn more calories even when you’re resting! In one study, rats were given lutein (which needs a source of fat to absorb such as milk) and it was found that they began running long distances voluntarily in their wheel, burning much more fat as they did.


Apples
Apples are rich in vitamin C, which is another crucial vitamin for enhancing the immune system and helping athletes train longer and harder without fail. Vitamin C also helps to encourage the repair of muscle tissue, increases serotonin to aid with mental recovery, and even increases the production of both testosterone and nitric oxide when paired with zinc.
On top of all this, apples are also very rich in fiber, which can help to improve bowel movements, the absorption of food, blood pressure, and more. Fiber is also key to supporting a healthy microbiome, which in turn can support a healthy immune system, better mood, weight loss, and much more.

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An Introduction to Minerals and Other Amazing Nutrients in Fruits and Vegetables

Whereas fruits are typically packed with vitamins, minerals tend to come more from our vegetables – though make no mistake, both fruits AND vegetables are packed with both.
So, a good question to start with might be: what is the difference between a vitamin and a mineral?
Whereas vitamins are organic and thereby are typically quite volatile (they can be broken down by the likes of heat, air, and acid), minerals are conversely inorganic. In fact, a mineral can actually be a metal or a rock – something you would never really think of as being a fundamental building block in what makes you GOOD.
But indeed minerals are crucial to the healthy function of the human body. Iron for example is a crucial mineral that the body uses to make hemoglobin – the red blood cells that travel around the body carrying oxygen. Without this process, it would be impossible to provide energy around the body for the countless crucial functions that go on – including breathing, digesting, and more.
Typically, minerals tend to have a slightly more fundamental role in the structural elements of the human body – and the harder elements. For example, minerals form bones, tendons, and ligaments.
Minerals also play a role in conduction, however. The body is powered by electricity after all, and maintaining the correct charge is crucial for the healthy function of our muscles and brain. That’s why an incorrect balance of sodium and potassium can cause cramping, as the body is unable to send messages correctly to the muscles. Likewise, a lack of calcium can reduce strength as it is needed to handle the charge in the muscle cells. Did you know? You can tell the difference between a fruit and vegetable-based on the seed/stone. Vegetables don’t have them! Foods that have surprising categorizations include tomatoes (fruit), coconut (fruit), avocado (fruit), and cucumber (fruit).


Other Essential Micronutrients
As well as being rich in vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are also a rich source of the two other essential nutrients. The other essential nutrients are essential fatty acids and essential amino acids.
The term “essential” means that these substances cannot be synthesized within the body, and so, therefore, must be obtained from our diet. And perhaps this should also be a clue as to how big a problem it is that 99% of us are not getting them that way! So, what do these nutrients do? Well, amino acids are essentially the building blocks of proteins. We get a lot of these from meat, and our bodies will then break down those constituent parts in order to rebuild our tissue. As we saw at the start of this book, we literally are what we eat! This is why amino acids and proteins by extension are so important for bodybuilders and athletes trying to build muscle.

Research suggests that the optimum balance for athletes is 1 gram of protein for every 1lb of bodyweight. Protein also has other benefits – it is much harder to convert into fat for instance, and it has a thermogenic effect meaning that simply digesting it will actually burn calories!
Thus, many people will be hard at work trying to find sources of protein from meat and will eat large amounts of chicken to build bigger muscles. This can become hard work! But what they forget is that vegetables and even fruits also contain protein (though vegetables are slightly superior in this sense).
Don’t just count the protein you got from that protein shake and chicken, think about how much is in the broccoli on the side of the chicken. Amino acids also play a host of other roles in the body and are used to produce digestive enzymes, neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), and much more. They can also do things such as creating Finally, fruits and vegetables contain essential fatty acids. These are important facts that help us to better absorb other fruits and vegetables, and also serve a range of additional useful benefits – such as enhancing brain function (the brain is made of a large amount of fat!). Omega 3 is one of the most powerful essential fatty acids there is and has a HUGE host of amazing benefits. Often, we think of omega 3 as being something we get from fish, but in fact, it also exists in good amounts in seaweed, hemp seed, walnuts, kidney beans, soybean, and more.