Understanding the Red Foods For Better Nutrition

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You will hear a lot about how certain foods are better for your health. Most people will focus on foods that have certain vitamins and minerals. You will hear about how spinach and kale are good for iron and calcium, while lemons are good for vitamin C.

Did you know, though, that you can make your food choices through the color of them? Color of ingredients will tell you a range of things about the vitamins and minerals found in them.

Red foods are one of the best options for your diet. Not only do they look good and taste good, but they have a range of nutrients that make them this bold color. These nutrients will support your health in more ways than you could ever imagine.

Here is a look at just how red foods will support your health. By understanding more about them, you will learn why they are so important in your diet.

Get More Lycopene in Your Diet

Lycopene gives red foods their colors. This is the most important nutrient from this color of food and the reason you should start eating more from this section. It is a nutrient that you will find difficult to gain from other colored foods, which means missing out on some health benefits.

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The form of carotenoids is an antioxidant, which has already shown results in protecting against some cancers. The antioxidant will get into the cells to help prevent damage and abnormal growths. You can reduce the effect oxidative stress and carcinogens have in the cells. Some of the most common cancers prevented include breast, skin, esophagus, lung, and colon cancers. These are extremely dangerous, and some can go undetected until it is too late to treat them.

Studies have shown that adding more lycopene to your diet will help to reduce gastric cancer by as much as 50%! There are also positive results for men, as the antioxidant reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

On top of that, the lycopene can help to protect the skin and not just from cancer. The skin is more resistant to damage from the sun’s rays. This is not only against the cancer-causing UVA rays, but also against the UVB rays; the ones that cause dark spots, burning, and signs of aging. You can keep your skin healthy, soft, and youthful for much longer.

Of course, this benefit does not mean you can avoid using sunscreen. However, the antioxidant will help to add extra protection when you are out in the sun. If you only get 15 minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure for the vitamin D, you will protect against potential damage with extra lycopene.

More research is currently being undertaken to understand all the skin benefits when lycopene is added to the diet. So far results are looking good and adding more lycopene has shown no disadvantages.

You Can Have Cooked and Processed Red Foods

With many nutrients, you will hear that raw is the only form you should eat. Any other form will destroy the nutrients within the foods. Well, that is not the case with lycopene. The body can gain more of the antioxidant through cooked and processed forms of the red foods. That means ketchup and puree are allowed. You can get away with readymade sauces and eating fried tomatoes for breakfast. Do not worry about adding canned tomatoes to your Bolognese sauce!

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Other studies have shown that adding fats to the red foods will also help with the absorption process. Some studies showed that tomato puree mixed with olive oil help to protect against sun damage better. Drizzling your salad with a bit of olive oil or adding mozzarella to your tomatoes will help to support your health better.

Opt for healthy fats when you use them with red food. Unsaturated fats will help to reduce blood pressure and ease the flow of blood, helping to reduce heart disease.

Do not Forget the Anthocyanins

While lycopene is one of the most important antioxidants in red foods, it is not the only one you will get. Red foods are also high in anthocyanins, which are also found in purple and blue foods. You can get this antioxidant from most berries, red onions, radishes, and red plums.

The anthocyanins help to give the foods their red color too. They support the health by protecting the cells from damage, similarly to the lycopene. However, anthocyanins also have antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits.

They can help the immune system fight off more infections and reduce the risk of catching common colds. The antioxidants can help to reduce pain in the body, as the inflammatory response is not as likely to occur. Without inflammation, there is less pressure on the nerves, and you can reduce the feeling of bloating and cramping in the digestive system.

Reducing the inflammatory response can help the digestive system absorb more nutrients from food. You gain an overall healthier body.

Some studies have also shown weight loss benefits. The studies in this are still in their infancy, but so far show that mice gain less weight when they have high-anthocyanin diets than when they do not include the nutrient.

Most Are Full of Fiber

Most of the red foods you will buy are also full of fiber. This is the case when you use them whole, chopped, or blended. If you buy juices, then you will lose the fiber count.

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Fiber is an essential nutrient for the body. It supports the health of the digestive system, making it easier to pass stools and avoid bloating and irritable bowels. The fiber will also help to balance the natural sugars in many of the red foods, preventing your blood sugar levels from spiking. Therefore you want to avoid juices as much as possible, although in small doses they can be beneficial.

More fiber in the diet will help with the absorption of all the other nutrients. The digestive system will have more good bacteria and a healthier lining to soak in more from everything you eat.

Getting the Benefits Naturally Is Better

Getting the anthocyanins and lycopene through natural forms is far better than getting them through supplements. There is no reason not to get them, considering there are so many red foods available.

However, why is naturally better than supplements? Well, research has considered the natural forms of the antioxidants. There are very few studies that consider the supplements and how they can help the diet. They often contain synthetic strains, which are not as easily absorbed and can cause some reactions within the body.

You can stock up on red foods throughout the year. Do not worry about opting for frozen options so that they last. You can buy the processed options, although do watch out for the added salt and sugar to them! When purchasing raw fruits and vegetables, consider the seasons to make sure you buy the best quality options.

List of the Best Red Foods for Better Nutrition

Here is a look at all the best red foods to improve your health and support your nutrition. We include the best time to buy, but when they will be available in your local stores. There are extra benefits to the red foods not already mentioned so we will consider these as well.

Strawberries for more folate. Strawberries are in season during the summer months, but you will find them available in stores throughout the years now due to importing. If you want to grow your own, focus on May and June as the months to do so.

Strawberries are naturally sweet and make excellent added-sugar alternatives. They are delicious with homemade ice creams and frozen yogurts for a dessert. You can also use them with other ingredients to create cakes, pies, and tarts. Of course, just eating them on their own is good for a healthy snack. The natural sugars help to avoid sugar cravings to support weight loss efforts.

As well as the antioxidants, you will get plenty of folates. This is also known as folic acid and something your doctor will recommend increasing if you are pregnant. Folate helps with the development of the nervous system in developing babies and reduces the risk of some birth defects. It can also help to support the heart health in adults.

Of course, there is also vitamin C in strawberries. The vitamin will work with the antioxidants to support the immune system and ward off infections.

Blend strawberries into your smoothies for a quick breakfast. You can also chop whole strawberries up and add them to the top of your porridge oats.

Cherries for more fiber. While popular in the summer months, you will be able to get cherries throughout the year. Dried cherries are often added to trail mixes. While you get rid of the water content, you will still benefit from the fiber.

Most of red foods will have fiber, as we have already mentioned, but cherries are one of the excellent sources. The skin is tough with extra of the nutrient. That is why dried cherries are so good, since you do not remove the skin! Blend cherries whole if you are going to use them in smoothies for extra benefits.

Cherries are also packed with potassium. This electrolyte helps to maintain the blood pressure and energy levels. It can also help to prevent spasms and cramps in the muscles, reducing pain and the effects of restless leg syndrome.

Cranberries for more urinary tract infections. Cranberries are extremely popular around Christmas and Thanksgiving. There are high chances that you get cranberry sauce to go with your turkey dinner. While cranberries and the sauce are available throughout the year, you will find packets of fresh and dried cranberries more easily between September and December.

You want to stock up on more cranberries and use them more in the winter months. They offer excellent cancer-prevention benefits and not just from the antioxidants already mentioned. All the antioxidants together help to prevent the growth of free radicals, which have been linked to cancers.

The fruit can also help prevent stomach ulcers. Bacteria called H pylori can become stuck to the urinary tract walls, which leads to ulcer growth and infection. Cranberries prevent this from happening thanks to an antioxidant known as proanthocyanidin.

Urinary benefits are why many people are recommended to drink cranberry juice if they have a tract or kidney infection. The juice will help to remove the reasons for the infection. Continue to drink the juice afterward to avoid further infections in the future.

Raspberries for lowering cholesterol. High cholesterol levels are a major health concern. They lead to cardiovascular problems and can lead to stroke risk. You can reduce your bad cholesterol levels by adding more raspberries to your diet.

One of the best things about raspberries is that you will find them throughout the year. While fresh raspberries are delicious between August and October, you can stock up on them easily through the freezer section. Put them frozen in your porridge, and they will melt and release their juices as you eat. You can also blend raspberries into smoothies to get all the health benefits directly.

The lowering cholesterol benefits come from the amount of fiber that is found in raspberries. You do not increase the good cholesterol levels, which can become too high and cause health problems.

Watermelon to fight against macular degeneration. Worried about your eyesight getting worse in later life? You want to stock up on more watermelon throughout the year. It is one of the best fruits to eat in the hot summers, due to the high-water content.

The benefits do come from the lycopene that gives watermelon the red color on the inside. The antioxidant can help to protect the cells in the eyes from deteriorating. When these cells become damaged or die, the eyesight starts to fail. There is no way to improve the eyesight after this, so all you can do is work to prevent the macular degeneration from getting worse. Preventing it with the right diet is your best option.

You will also gain weight loss benefits through a watermelon. Most of the fruit is water, with the rest made up of antioxidants and fiber. It is a fruit that will fill you up extremely quickly, without adding too many extra calories. Plus, you get the natural sweetness that will help to curb sugar cravings. You will want to eat less through the day and require fewer added sugars that raise your blood sugar level and affect your metabolism negatively!

Watermelons are best during the summer months. They are available throughout the year, but they will not be as juicy as they are in the summer months.

Pink grapefruit for lowering cholesterol levels. Raspberries are not the only fruit good for lowering. Pink grapefruit is something you will want to stock up on, especially when you want something a little different.

Pink grapefruit, available between October and May, will offer more pectin to the diet. This is a nutrient that actively helps to lower the cholesterol levels. While white grapefruit can also offer this benefit, the red is better for the lycopene at the same time.

You can juice pink grapefruit to help get the nutrients easier, but you will lose the fiber count. When eaten whole, the grapefruits take longer to digest and leave you feeling fuller for longer. You will find they are excellent for your weight loss efforts.

Have half a grapefruit every morning to improve your health. You can chop on in half and use a spoon to scoop out all the pectin goodness. Alternatively, chop the grapefruit into segments and eat like an orange.

Tomatoes for more potassium. Looking for ways to add more potassium to your diet? It is time to turn to one of the most popular fruits/vegetables (depending on the side you are on) in the world. Tomatoes are used so much for cooking and in salads, and there are so many varieties.

Whether you love sweeter cherry tomatoes, want big beef tomatoes for your sandwiches, or need canned tomatoes for your sauces, you will gain extra potassium. The tomatoes are also packed with vitamin C to help support your immune system, along with other antioxidants. Your whole health will benefit from all the nutrients within the small powerhouses.

One thing that makes tomatoes so powerful is that they have often cooked. This releases more of the nutrients within them!

While they have popular in the summer, you will easily find delicious tomatoes throughout the year.

Peppers for the vitamin A. Red peppers are another extremely popular fruit/vegetable (again, depending on the side of the debate you are on). Most people do not realize that red peppers are full of vitamin A. This is necessary for building strong teeth and bones and supporting the health of the skin. The vitamin A will support the development of tissues and collagen in the body.

On top of that, you will get plenty of vitamin C. In fact; one pepper will give you just as much vitamin C as an orange!

Chop your peppers to add to salads. When raw, they have a sweet taste that can help to curb sugar cravings. You can also add them to casseroles, soups, stir-fries and more. If you want something different, take the top off pepper and stuff it with Bolognese, cheesy dishes, and more.

Red peppers are one of the only fruits and vegetables that grow well throughout the year.

Stock up on as many red foods as you can. They are filled with antioxidants that you will find harder to get from other sources. Your health will thank you in more ways than one with a simple change to your diet.

The Ultimate List of the Healthiest Fruits on Earth

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Like green leafy vegetables, fruits are also as important as a source of vitamins and minerals. But when compared to each other, fruits usually get the shorter end of the stick. It may be because of its sugar content that fruits are less popular. Despite this, fruits are here to stay. They are a good source of vitamins, mineral fibers, and dietary fiber. And best of all, they are wholesome and delicious.

In this article, we’ll go through some of healthiest fruits on the planet. When a person knows what’s healthy, he can have an inkling of what to buy during the next visit to the grocer. Here’s a listing of nutrient-dense fruits also known as powerhouse fruits. Have them juiced, smoothies or just eat them as they are. However, they are served, fruits will soothe anyone in any weather and at the same time, also tickle the palate.

Acai berries

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This is a relatively new berry introduced in North America. Studies have shown this berry is even richer in antioxidants and fibers than the other common berries. This fruit is great for digestion, will keep you well hydrated, cleanses the colon and contains a good amount of good fats. Packaging for the acai fruits is done in air-tight containers as they tend to rot very fast when exposed to air.

Apple

Perhaps this is the world’s most popular fruit and has become a main member of the dining table display. Not known to everybody, the apple is incredibly nutritious as they contain high amounts of fiber, vitamins A, C, K and B, potassium. Conducted studies have proven that the antioxidants in apples are good for the heart and can reduce the risk of different diseases. Further research has also linked the antioxidants in apple with increasing bone density. One other health benefit of the apple is their pectin content. This is a prebiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the intestines which helps improve digestion and metabolic health. With all these nutrients, an apple a day will truly keep the doctor away.

Avocado

Avocado differs from most fruits because of its content. Most fruits have high carbohydrate contents. With the avocado, it is not the case as it is low in carbs but high on healthy fats. This fat contained in the fruit is mostly oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been linked to reduced inflammation and better heart health. Aside from this healthy fat, the avocado is also loaded with potassium, fiber, and magnesium. An adequate intake of these minerals is associated with reduced blood pressure and consequently, a lower stroke risk.

Banana

Maybe the second most popular fruit around, the banana is also rich in vitamins and minerals and of course, potassium. The carbohydrate makeup of the banana is unique. In green, unripe ones, the carbohydrates consist of resistant starch which can improve blood sugar control at the same time makes one feel full. The fruit also contains pectin which may improve blood sugar control and the digestive health.

Blackberries

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Another incredibly healthy fruit that is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants is the blackberry. The berry contains an impressive amount of vitamin C and K and manganese. Just a cup of blackberries provides 8 grams of fiber, and the fruit’s antioxidants have been proven to reduce inflammations and the aging of our arteries. These two antioxidant effects may protect against chronic illnesses such as heart diseases and cancer.

Blueberries

We have read about blueberries as an excellent source of antioxidants, and this is true. For their small size, blueberries offer powerful health benefits. Their nutrition profile includes as being a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, and manganese. But their antioxidant content is the highest of all the most commonly consumed fruits, and as studies have shown, antioxidants reduce the risk of chronic conditions. Blueberry antioxidants also have powerful effects on the immune system where their regular consumption can increase natural killer cells in the body. These killer cells in turn help defend the body against oxidative processes and viral infections. Furthermore, antioxidants may have a protective effect on the brain.

Cherries

Cherries too are rich in nutrients and minerals, especially vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Their antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and may help prevent the occurrence of several diseases. An important substance found in cherries is melatonin, a hormone which signals the brain when it is time to sleep. Eating cherries, therefore, may help treat insomnia or other sleeping disorders.

Cranberries

Cranberries have their health benefits, and their nutrition profile is also quite impressive. The fruits are rich in Vitamin C, E, and K1 as well as manganese and copper. An antioxidant called flavanol polyphenols may be used to improve health. Juices and extracts taken from cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections. The A-type proanthocyanin’s compound in the juices is responsible for this effect because they prevent bacteria from attaching to the lining of the bladder and the urinary tract.

Durian

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Durian has been named the “king of fruits” and mostly comes from southeast Asia. Although notorious for its aroma, the fruit is very rich in nutrients. A cup of the fruit’s pulp provides a lot of vitamin C. It is also rich in manganese, B vitamins, copper, folate, and magnesium. Aside from all these, the fruit is also rich in antioxidants.

Figs

This fruit is considered a powerhouse of energy because of its high sugar and fiber content. It also has an almost complete composition of vitamins and minerals. It is an instant source of energy because of its sugar content. Aside from these, figs are also rich in antioxidants, a chemical which aids in the following processes: curing constipation, preventing intestinal disorders, is good for the skin, reduces the risk of colon cancer and regulates blood pressure.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit has been a regular item on the breakfast table, at least in the USA. It is one of the healthiest citrus fruit being a good source of vitamins and minerals. Its health benefits include its ability to aid in weight loss, in reducing cholesterol levels as well as insulin resistance in cells, and helps in preventing kidney stone formation.

Grapes

These bunched fruits are also very healthy and what makes them stand out is their antioxidant contents. The anthocyanins and resveratrol in grapes have both been proven to reduce inflammation. Experiments conducted in lab animals have shown that the plant compounds in the fruit may help in protecting the heart, eyes, joints, and brain. The red and purple grape varieties are rich in nutrients that can reduce inflammations and lower your risk of disease.

Guava

This fruit is perhaps the richest one when it comes to vitamin C content. Aside from that, the fruit is also rich in fiber, folate, vitamin A, potassium, copper, and manganese. The guava’s antioxidants ability to protect cells from oxidative damage is an indication that such may help in reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Like the banana, this fruit also contains pectin which helps the digestive system and may prevent the occurrence of colon cancer.

Kiwi

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Although thought to have originated in New Zealand, the kiwifruit is a native to Northern China. Kiwi is a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin B5 and E, and folate. It also contains a significant amount of potassium with other metals in moderate quantities. Its antioxidants protect the body from free radical damage, alleviates symptoms of asthma, it’s anti-cancer, maintains heart health, may control diabetes, and can slow down aging.

Lemon

Lemons and other citrus fruits are always associated with vitamin C as they are. The vitamin is particularly helpful in promoting cardiovascular health due to their potential to lower blood lipids and blood pressure. Other proven health benefits of the plant compounds found in lemons include prevention of weight gain and may help treat kidney stones.

Mango

Aside from being an excellent source of vitamin C, mangoes also contain soluble fibers which provide many health benefits and antioxidants. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce the risk of disease.

Mangosteen

Mangosteen is an evergreen tree that has its origins in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia. This fruit is known for its delicious and exotic taste. Its fiber content is considered significant and is rich in vitamins and manganese. Traces of other nutrients are also found in the fruit. Its calorie count is low but has an impressive number of antioxidants which can benefit the body in many ways. It can improve blood flow and lower bad cholesterol. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Mangosteen can hasten cell repair, and it also aids in weight loss.

Orange

Another very popular citrus fruit is the orange. It has been favored because of its vitamin C content and consuming just one will provide a significant amount of the vitamin. But it is also a great source of B vitamins, folate, potassium, and more. The fruit also contains plant compounds which help increase iron absorption and consequently, prevent anemia.

Papaya

Another very healthy fruit coming from the tropics is papaya. It is high in vitamins A and C, potassium, and folate. It contains lycopene which can prevent or reduce the risk of cancer. Lycopene from the papaya fruit is better absorbed by the body as against the lycopene from other fruits and vegetables. There is evidence that papaya can improve digestion and that the papain enzyme in the fruit makes protein easier to digest.

Peaches

It may come as a surprise, but the peach fruit has its origins in China. It is rich in dietary fiber and a good source of vitamins. Peaches are also important in promoting weight loss and reducing hair loss. It’s an effective de-worming agent in the intestine and a natural diuretic. It helps control diabetes, inhibits tumor growth, strengthens kidney functions, and improve sleep quality.

Pear

Pear fruit is what we may refer to as a safe fruit because it is moderate in almost every nutritional requirement. Although high in dietary fiber and sugars, vitamins and minerals in them are moderate. They contain anti-carcinogens making it anti-cancer. Pears are good for controlling blood pressure. They cleanse the colon, supply instant energy and are anti-inflammatory. They aid in the faster healing of wounds, help prevent osteoporosis, help control blood sugar levels, and reduce bad cholesterol in the body.

Pineapple

One of the most nutritious foods coming from the tropics is the pineapple. This superstar contains bromelain, an enzyme known for its inflammatory properties and its ability to digest protein. It is also a great source of dietary fiber.

Pomegranate

This fruit is a favorite in the Mediterranean region but has its origin in Iran and the Himalayas. This is also one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. The fruit is nutrient-dense and contains powerful plant compounds that are responsible for most of its health benefits. Its antioxidant levels alone are three times higher than those in green tea a red wine. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce the risk of cancer.

Strawberries

Strawberries are very nutritious fruits, with high contents of vitamins and minerals. The fruit is very low in its glycemic index, making it ideal for weight watchers and diabetics. The blood sugar will not spike when eating these berries. Their high antioxidant content can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Also, studies have shown that they may help prevent cancer and the formation of tumors.

Watermelon

This summer refresher is a good source of vitamins and is rich in some antioxidants. These antioxidants have been studied for their anti-cancer effects. Lycopene has been linked to reducing cancer risk in the digestive system and can also promote heart health because of its ability to the reduce cholesterol count and blood pressure. While cucurbitacin E can inhibit tumor growth. Watermelon also is a great hydrating agent because of its water content.

Benefits of eating fruits

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Fruits are nature’s delicious gift to man. They provide the body with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, not to mention carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Each fruit may have its distinct taste and smell, but most are the same when we consider their health benefits:

They contain antioxidants. These are found in most fruits. They help in blocking free radicals which cause damage, they strengthen the immune system, and slow down or prevent cancer.

They have a high-water content. This makes them good as hydrating agents. The water content can restore the body’s electrolyte balance lost from heavy exercise and other activities

They contain essential dietary fiber. They aid in the digestive process, help prevent constipation, and cleanses the colon.

They’ll provide you with the good cholesterol. Not too many fruits contain sufficient amounts of fats, but the fats found in fruits contain good cholesterol. This fight and reduces the levels of bad cholesterol in the body.

They’re excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. These components are good for the bones and teeth, and they can lower the risk of degenerative diseases. They promote healthy hair and hair growth, reduces falling hair and premature greying. They also help maintain blood pressure, lower cholesterol which is good for the heart. Finally, they are great as a cosmetic product because they maintain the skin is looking youthful, reduces spotting, and delays aging and wrinkling.

 

7 Sweet Snacks That Boosts Weightloss

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Chances are that if you have tried dieting, you have heard the belief that you cannot enjoy your food. The diets tend to cut calories to the point where you are constantly hungry. You are left unable to enjoy the sweets and snacks that you usually have. This constant feeling that you cannot enjoy your food leaves the diet unsustainable.

Snacking is a normal part of life. Our bodies need food every three or four hours. This is how long it takes for the digestive system to make room for more food. If you do not eat regularly, your body starts to fear when you will get sustenance again. While we do not have to panic about our next meal as much as we did in the past, our bodies have not gotten used to that feeling of knowing there is a meal coming in a few extra hours.

We end up suffering from sugar cravings. Our bodies tell us that we need the sugar to boost energy levels until the next meal. Of course, often we gorge on refined sugars that are not just bad for weight loss but also bad for our health.

The snacks you eat need to support your weight loss efforts. Sweet does not have to mean unhealthy, though. You can choose healthy and delicious sweet snacks that will support your weight loss. With the right food groups, you can boost your metabolism, help you feel fuller for longer, and make it easier to lose weight. Our list will give you one new snack to add to your day. Replace your current snacks and focus on a sustainable, enjoyable diet to lose weight.

Stock Up on Dark Chocolate

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Let’s start by getting the chocolate out of the way. Just because you are on a diet does not mean that you cannot have any chocolate. You may be surprised to hear that chocolate is not actually as bad as “experts” will tell you. It is all in the additives that are included in most chocolate bars.

Chocolate is full of antioxidants that can help to support your weight loss efforts. More specifically, it is full of flavonoids, a plant nutrient that helps to prevent the storage of fat in the diet. Your metabolism burns off more of the fat, so you do not feel the energy slumps throughout the day. At the same time, your muscles are protected, since the metabolism does not need to pull calories from them.

The chocolate will also help to curb your hunger levels. It is filling and sweet, so helps to solve all your craving problems.

But you need to get the right type of chocolate for your snack. You cannot just pick up your favorite flavor of Hershey chocolate from the store. Remember that it is the additives that are put into the chocolate bars that cause the health problems. You want to look for dark chocolate to support your weight loss efforts.

Dark chocolate has a little sugar, but not as much as the added sugar in milk chocolate. There are also no animal products added to the chocolate, although if you are vegan make sure the product states that it is vegan-friendly! There is no gluten or other allergen ingredients added in unless of course, you get dark chocolate with peanuts or nuts.

There are calories that you need to consider though. While dark chocolate is a good snack, you only need a couple of squares a day to help boost weight loss. Alternatively, you can get some powdered cacao to use for snack recipes.

Try a little chocolate mixed in with your yogurt or oatmeal. Add some powdered cacao to your smoothies. You can also melt the dark chocolate to dip your fruit into it.

When you feel like you are having fun with your food, you will find it easier to lose more weight.

Use Yogurt with Your Fruity Snacks

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Yogurt is one of the best ingredients you can add to your diet. There are some vegan-friendly options out there that use almond and soy milk, but most types of plain yogurts are good for you.

Make sure it is plain yogurt! Plain Greek yogurt or natural yogurt will have less sugar—just the natural sugars from the milk used to create it. Flavored yogurts will have added sugar thrown in and make them unhealthy for both weight loss and your overall health.

One of the best ways to use yogurt as a snack is to mix it with your fruit. Berries are excellent options, but you can also get the benefits from cherries, apples, bananas, and more. The fruits are naturally sweet, and those natural sugars will blend with the yogurt. You make up for the lack of added sugars since you are choosing plain yogurt!

What makes yogurt with fruit so good is the other nutrients. Yogurts are packed with probiotics, especially when it comes to Greek yogurt. Probiotics are the good bacteria that the gut needs for a healthy system. Good bacteria will overpower the bad, making it easier for your digestive system to work effectively.

Then there is the protein in yogurts. You will support the growth of lean muscle, which requires more calories to function and build. Your metabolism works faster to help you burn more calories throughout the day, and these calories will come from the fat stores.

On top of that, the fruit is full of fiber. This keeps your digestive system working and will help you feel fuller for longer and sooner. You do not feel the need to eat as much, so you find it easier to create a calorie deficit.

If you choose red berries, you also get the benefits from anthocyanin. This is an antioxidant that helps to prevent the storage of fat. Not only is the protein encouraging the metabolism to take the calories from the fat instead of muscles, but your body will find it harder to store fat.

Try Toasting Chickpeas with Honey and Cinnamon

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What about something a little different when it comes to a snack? Have you ever thought about using chickpeas for your snacking? Chickpeas tend to be added to soups and stews or turned into hummus. There is certainly no problem with this, but they are not the best snacking foods. Well, hummus is, but you want something that you can pick up and eat like you would candy. You want a snack that curbs the sweet cravings and hummus does not quite do that.

Well, it is time to toast your chickpeas instead. After toasting, toss them in some honey and cinnamon for the sweet flavoring. Both ingredients are healthy for you, offering a range of benefits for your body.

Let’s start with the honey. It is naturally sweet and delicious. You will feel like you are eating something naughty, helping your body forget that you are on a diet. The sweet cravings instantly disappear, and you feel satisfied.

As for the cinnamon, it offers more weight loss benefits. The spice will help to lower your blood sugar, which can increase even with natural sugars. With lower blood sugar levels, it is much easier to curb those sweet cravings and stick to your diet plan. Plus, the spice helps to add a new taste. Your mouth will be watering with every morsel.

Of course, chickpeas are known for their weight loss benefits. They are packed with fiber and proteins, helping to build muscles and support the digestive system. You will feel much fuller sooner than with most other snacks. There is no need to consume as many calories, making it easier to create a calorie deficit to encourage your body to burn more fat.

Toast the chickpeas in the oven for about 30-40 minutes at 400F. In a bowl, mix some honey and cinnamon together and coat the toasted chickpeas with the mixture afterward.

Create a Chia Seed Pudding

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Chia seeds are the currently “weight loss miracle.” They are not actually a miracle, but they do tend to be included in every diet. And there is a lot of hype about how they will help you lose weight.

It is all in the nutrients. Chia seeds are full of fiber. In fact, you get about 40% of your recommended daily allowance of fiber in just an ounce of chia seeds. The fiber will help you feel fuller for longer and sooner than foods that do not have enough fiber in them. Your digestive system is fully supported, helping you get rid of waste and avoid stomach and waste-removal problems. When your digestive system works effectively, so does your immune system. You will find it much easier to stick to a diet because your mental state will be more positive.

But you do not just want chia seeds on their own. They do taste deliciously mixed into a trail mix, but how about making a chia seed pudding? You will need some yogurt, coconut milk, and vanilla essence to get a delicious snack to eat after a long day at work.

Coconut milk is a powerful part of this sweet snack. It is packed with non-dairy calcium and protein. You will build your muscles and support your bones. At the same time, it has healthy, unsaturated fats. Yes, your body needs some fat to help support the weight loss efforts. The fat is not stored but turns into ketones to help give the body more energy.

Pop Your Own Popcorn

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Popcorn is viewed as an unhealthy snack, but it is not actually the popcorns fault. Like chocolate, it is the additives that are thrown into the popcorn you buy from the store or movie theater. Think about the salt, sugar, caramel, and other ingredients you throw in.

Instead of buying the bags of ready-made popcorn, why not get popcorn kernels that you must make yourself? You can buy a popcorn machine at a low cost for this, but you can also pop on the stove or in the microwave. On its own there are virtually no calories, meaning you can enjoy a large bowl while you watch your favorite movies with the family.

Does not plain popcorn taste boring? It can be just like air, but you can add flavors to it without damaging your weight loss. When it comes to sweet, avoid adding refined sugars to your popcorn. Make a cinnamon and honey mix that you can drizzle over the bowl instead. You get all the same benefits as your honey and cinnamon coated chickpeas.

If you are not interested in honey, opt for just some cinnamon or some nutmeg to sprinkle over the top. Cinnamon is the best for the blood-sugar-regulating benefits, but nutmeg will give you the taste of Christmas in a bowl.

Use Almond Butter with Your Fruit Slices

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If you are not interested in yogurt, you can add some almond butter to your fruit. Peanut butter also works, but almond butter tends to be a little sweeter. This snack is best with pears, apples, bananas, and other similar fruits.

It is the fruits that give you some of the extra sugars. The sweetness is all natural, while you also get all the nutrients from the fruit. Stock up on fiber to fill you up and vitamins and minerals to keep your health in check.

Almond butter helps your weight loss because of the unsaturated fats. Yes, almond butter is good for your health! The unsaturated fats will help to protect your blood vessels while making it easier for the body to convert nutrients into energy. Your metabolism is better supported, so you burn more calories.

But the healthy fats are a little harder to break down than the sugars and carbs from other snacks. You end up curbing your hunger cravings for longer while balancing out your blood sugar.

If you want a little extra benefit, you can sprinkle a little cinnamon over the top. You get more blood-sugar balancing benefits.

One of the major benefits of the snack is that you feel like you are eating something bad for you. Your brain is tricked into believing you are not on a diet because the food you enjoy is not banned.

Drink a Glass of Chocolate Milk

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You may not have had this since you were a kid, but it is time to think about buying it. Chocolate milk is much healthier than it would initially seem. You can buy it from the store, too, rather than making your own!

There are two benefits from chocolate milk: The chocolate and the milk. With the chocolate, you get the benefits of the first snack on this list. The antioxidants will help to prevent storage of fats, making it easier to burn the fats and avoid adding more to storage.

When it comes to the milk, you are adding more protein to your body. It is easier to build muscle with the protein, making it harder for the metabolism to take calories from the muscles. Instead, the metabolism turns to the fat more and will help you shed more. Plus, you end up with more calcium to support the bone growth and improve the metabolic rate.

Sure, there are some natural and unnatural sugars in chocolate milk. However, the benefits outweigh the negative elements. The sugars will just make you feel like you are enjoying something naughty, helping you stick to your diet.

Meanwhile, you get a fluid into your diet. Dehydration is a major problem for weight loss. If you let yourself go thirsty, your body sends you the message that you are hungry. Yes, most of the time that you get hunger cravings your body is trying to tell you that it needs a drink. The problem is you listen to the hunger cravings and reach for calories. At least if you do that with chocolate milk, you are getting fluid and healthy nutrients at the same time.

Start Snacking in a Healthy Way

There is no need to forgo all your sweet treats. Sweet snacks are a necessary part of a sustainable diet. The last thing you want is to feel like all your favorites are banned. Chocolate is not actually that bad for you. Natural sugars can help to curb the cravings and make it easier to stick to your diet.

With the above list, you have seven snacks that you can adapt and modify to work for your needs. Some of them you can even mix together for a more fulfilling snack! Get a range of nutrients at the same time, curb your hunger, reduce your fat stores, and make it easier to lose weight.

All-in-One Guide to Black Bean Nutrition

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Black Bean Nutrition Image Design 1 - All-in-One Guide to Black Bean Nutrition

Black beans are one of the healthiest foods that you can get without resorting to lots of fruits and vegetables. They are packed with macro and micronutrients and are extremely easy to add to your diet. Even if you opted for the canned black beans, you would find they offer far more benefits than many other legumes out there.

Studies have shown that black beans help to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. The studies also show positive effects on your weight by adding more to your diet, while also helping your digestive system and immunity against diseases and illnesses.

However, how exactly are black beans so good for you? Let’s look at the full nutritional makeup and benefits in the beans to see why you need to start adding them to your diet.

The Nutritional Makeup of Black Beans

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In one serving of black beans, you will get at least a fifth of your recommended daily values of a variety of micronutrients. At the same time, you get a right amount of protein and fiber, while the calories remain low.

The macronutrients look like this:

  • Calories: 227
  • Protein and fiber: 15g each
  • Fat: 0g

As for the micronutrients, here’s a look at the percentage of your daily recommended amounts.

  • Folate: 64%
  • Cooper: 40%
  • Manganese: 38%
  • Vitamin B1: 35%
  • Magnesium: 30%
  • Phosphorus: 24%
  • Iron: 20%

These are just the primary micronutrients. There are many others thrown in. You will get a good amount of vitamin C, vitamin E, and other essential antioxidants.

That is all great, but how exactly does this equate to a healthy body? Just why do you need all the nutrients on a daily basis? Let’s look at just how the various macro and micronutrients will help you.

Protein Helps with Muscle Building and Heart Health

Let’s start with the protein amounts. You will get 15g of protein in a serving of black beans. This macronutrient is essential for healthy muscles, tissues, and heart health. You will also find weight loss easier, as your body will burn the fat rather than the muscle mass. When you build the muscles, your metabolism speeds up, so you will end up burning more calories daily.

If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can find it challenging to get plenty of protein in your diet. Few plant sources offer you enough. Legumes are good, but you need to choose the right type. Black beans offer you good levels of plant-based proteins that will help to slow down the aging process.

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The protein is through amino acids. Unlike other beans and legumes, black beans have the majority of amino acids that your body needs. However, you will still need to look at quinoa and soy for all the amino acids you will need.

While building muscles, the protein will help to add more energy to your body. You will feel stronger and more focused throughout the day. Muscle weakness can lead to illness and decay over time. You can also find you are more likely to suffer from eye issues since the muscles are not strong enough to work effectively.

Hormone imbalances are also an issue with a low-protein diet. Hormonal problems can lead to mood swings, immune system problems, and poor skin health. If you just want one reason to add black beans to your diet, this is the one that you want to consider.

Promote Healthy Digestion with Fiber

Remember that I said black beans are good for healthy digestion? Well, this is due to the fiber count. 15g of fiber is extremely good in one serving of one food. Considering you are likely to add plenty of other fruits or vegetables to your meals with black beans, you will find that you get plenty more for a meal.

When your body does not get enough fiber, the digestive system cannot push out all the waste. The stools become hard, and you find yourself constipated. You can also struggle with some digestive disorders, such as IBS or Crohn’s disease. This is your body’s way of telling you that something needs to change in your diet immediately.

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The amount of fiber in black beans will help to soften the stools. You will get a mixture of both soluble and insoluble fiber. The former aids in softening stools while the latter will help to push more waste through your system. You are not just treating the symptoms, but you are getting rid of the reason for the poor digestive health.

At the same time, fiber will help to improve the health of the lining of your digestive system. Your body can only absorb all the nutrients in food if your digestion is working efficiently. When there’s a buildup of toxins or waste, your lining is affected and does not take in as much as it could. Proper levels of fiber will rectify that.

It is not just the fiber that will help to overcome some digestive problems. The micronutrients in your food will also help. Iron deficiencies have been linked to IBS and leaky gut syndrome. If you can absorb more iron into your diet from your meals, you can reverse some of the conditions.

On top of that, the fiber will help to slow down the digestive process. How is that good? Well, there are a few benefits.

Slowing down the digestive process will help to make you feel fuller faster and for longer than before. You will not need to eat as much throughout the day, supporting your weight loss efforts. After all, if you do not eat as much, then you are not going to consume as many calories. By getting that feeling of satisfaction with your meals, you also will not feel like you are on a diet or that you are depriving yourself of anything.

The second reason is for your blood sugar health. More fiber can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. You can also make it easier to manage your diabetes if you already have it. People who get more fiber have shown positive results in reversing their condition.

Yes, you will still get some carbs from the black beans. Carbs are not the demons that they have been made out to be. You get carbs with plenty of fiber mixed in, meaning they give you good energy throughout the day but without all the side effects of glucose metabolism.

Support Nerve Function and Neurotransmissions

The micronutrients help to ensure the finer parts of your body are working properly. You may remember that folate and vitamin B1 were mentioned on the micronutrients in black beans. These are essential for proper nerve function and neurotransmission.

The two works together to help keep all the nerve functions intact. They also help with the development of new nerves, repair work of damaged ones, and the development of the whole nervous system during fetus development.

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When the nerves are working, and transmissions are good, the whole body gets the right messages at the right time. You can reduce the amount of pain you feel, especially from chronic illnesses. Black beans have been linked to the reduction in fibromyalgia and metabolic syndrome, among many other autoimmune conditions.

Improve Your Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Control

We have already looked at how the digestive system will help with diabetes and how protein improves the heart health, but the micronutrients are also important. We tend to be deficient in some micronutrients more than others. Magnesium is one of those micronutrients, but you will not be if you add more black beans to your diet.

Those who have magnesium deficiencies can end up with high blood pressure, poor blood sugar control, poor nerve function, lower energy levels, and much more. The magnesium helps with the functioning of the biochemical reactions within the body. The nerves and muscles can spasm and react uncontrollably if the deficiency is very bad.

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Sleep problems are also a concern for those with low levels of magnesium. You are more likely to struggle to get to sleep and stay asleep once you are. This can lead to high-stress levels, which will cause the blood pressure to rise. You end up worry about getting enough sleep, and you can struggle to function throughout the day. The body has not had the chance to recover and repair overnight.

By getting more magnesium, you will find that the blood pressure reduces, making it easier to get to sleep. This is a good cycle, as they both work hand in hand.

However, you cannot just eat black beans to get more magnesium in your diet. You will need to change other aspects. Carbonated drinks, sugary foods, and caffeinated drinks can make it harder for the body to absorb enough magnesium.

Improved Immune System and Energy Levels

Do you ever feel like you are the head is swimming? It is like there’s a fog in your head, making you feel drained and unsatisfied. You cannot concentrate, and your memory functions are poor. On top of that, you seem to get every single common cold going.

This could be a sign of poor iron levels. We have already mentioned that iron can make IBS or leaky gut worse, but that is not all. Iron helps to improve the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. It is the iron that allows your muscles create myoglobin and hemoglobin, two proteins that hold the oxygen. The proteins are passed through the bloodstream and get to all the organs to keep them active and healthy.

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While iron levels can be improved relatively quickly with medication, it is best to get the mineral in its natural form. Black beans will give you a fifth of your daily recommended allowance, helping you to improve your energy levels and feel more human again.

When your body has more energy and the organs get oxygen, the immune system can work effectively. You will be able to fight off more common colds and keep other illnesses at bay.

Moreover, then there are the antioxidants to consider. They go a long way in keeping your immune system healthy and working properly. They will get into the cells and protect them from oxidative stress damage. You can keep free radicals at bay and prevent the development of cancers, dementia, and other conditions. The signs of aging will not occur as quickly as they would without the antioxidants in your system.

You can also improve your mental health. More energy and more mental clarity will make you feel more positive about your life. You can feel like you have the energy to get things done daily, which makes you want to do more throughout the day.

Of course, the fact that you have more protein and fiber will also help with the mental and physical fatigue. You will not feel as many sugar cravings since your body has enough energy to get to the next meal. Your body will not pester you for snacks to keep the feeling of hunger at bay. It is easier to stick to your diet, and you will be proud of yourself.

Anything that either has bright or deep colors are best for antioxidant and mineral amounts. The antioxidants make the colors. Black beans are the darkest beans you can find, which is why they are the best of all legumes for antioxidants and other nutrients.

It is Easy to Add Black Beans to Your Diet

While you are looking for ways to add black beans to your diet, consider both savory and sweet meals. You may be surprised to hear that these legumes are perfect for replacing some flours and sugars to create delicious cakes. Nobody will know the difference, especially when you add cocoa powder and fruits to the mixture.

Black beans are the easiest legumes to add to your diet. You can throw them into soups and stews and add them with kidney beans to your chilies. Do not forget to add them to salads and pasta pots, whether you want something cold or hot. They also make delicious sandwich fillings.

Now is the time to add black beans to your diet. Your health will thank you for them.

Everything You Need to Know About Chromium Supplement

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Chromium Supplement Image Design 1 - Everything You Need to Know About Chromium Supplement

There are so many minerals that our bodies need. We are left confused over what we need to take, how we can get them, and the amount we need daily. If you have never heard of chromium, do not fear. You are not the only one.

One of the only times you will hear about it is if you have been diagnosed with a deficiency. You may have also heard about it if you have had a history of digestive problems. Your doctor may have mentioned the mineral in passing as one of those that you may need to get more of.

Chromium supplements may be required. Before you start taking them, here’s a look at everything you need to know about them to help you determine if they are right for you. You also find out more about how chromium helps your health and supports your bodily functions.

Chromium for the Digestive Health

Chromium is needed for a healthy digestive system. Only a small amount is needed, and there are high chances that you get enough through your diet, especially if you have spices, whole grains, and cheese. In fact, you can get enough from plenty of fruits and vegetables daily.

In some parts of the world, especially in the Western World, even the drinking water includes chromium. Also, if you cook with stainless steel materials, you will naturally get the mineral into your diet easily. There are high chances that you will never need to take chromium supplements because of all the sources that you get it from.

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However, some people will be at risk of developing a chromium deficiency. Your digestive system may not be able to absorb it effectively, leaving you with some health problems. Those most at risk include the elderly and people with diabetes. Certain diets may also lead to a deficiency since you can overlook the foods with it. This is when you may need to take chromium supplements to help support you.

However, how exactly does chromium work in your body? It is needed to help transport your blood sugar into your bloodstream and your cells. The blood sugar can then be used as energy and help to turn the other nutrients in your body into energy, especially proteins and fats. The mineral helps to prevent the blood sugar levels from increasing and requiring as much insulin to tackle it.

Because of the effect, it is possible that chromium can help those with type II diabetes manage their illness. It is possible to control your blood sugar levels, reducing the amount you suffer and could help to reverse the need for more medications. Before you start skipping your insulin medications, you will need to talk to your doctor. More studies are required to see just how chromium can help.

Some studies show that the nutrient can help with fat burning and muscle building. This is linked to the ability to turn more proteins, fats, and carbs into energy. It is possible to burn through more calories and get the nutrients where they need to be. Your body can use up the carbs more effectively. Since there is not as much blood sugar to cause a problem, the metabolism is not as likely to store calories unnecessarily.

It is not just the digestive health that benefits from more chromium. Studies have shown that glaucoma is more prevalent in those with low levels of the mineral. There are currently no studies that show chromium can help prevent the development of glaucoma when you have it or reverse the condition, but you can lower your risk of the onset of the condition.

At the same time, studies show that the mineral can help prevent some bone loss. Chromium helps to slow down calcium loss from the body, which is something that occurs as we age. Calcium loss happens mostly during and after menopause, due to the hormonal changes. A lack of the mineral can lead to brittle bones and the onset of osteoporosis, so it is worth finding a way to prevent it.

When Should You Consider a Chromium Supplement?

If you can get the mineral through your natural diet, is there any reason you should consider a supplement? Well, like with other nutrients, there are times that our bodies cannot absorb everything. There are certain types of people who will find supplements will help to overcome some of their health problems.

As mentioned, those with diabetes may gain some help through the addition of the supplement. This is especially the case if you have a high blood sugar problem.

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The mineral helps to manage and reduce the glucose levels in your blood. If you have diabetes, you will know that your glucose levels affect your health. The higher your glucose, the more insulin your body needs. This can cause major health problems, especially since your body is not able to gain benefits from lower amounts of insulin.

By reducing your blood sugar levels, your body does not need to produce as much insulin. You find another way to tackle the sugars, helping to improve your insulin receptor activity.

Studies have shown that chromium can help to improve your insulin receptor, meaning that less insulin tackles the larger amounts of blood sugar. Some diabetes patients have reversed their condition and no longer need to take medications. You will want to discuss this possibility with your doctor.

Other studies have shown positive results in women with a hormonal imbalance. Your hormonal balance will affect so many elements of your health. Women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have seen the best results, but there is hope for women with other hormonal issues.

PCOS can affect your glycaemic control, which is linked to diabetes. In fact, women with PCOS are more likely to suffer from diabetes since the metabolism does not work properly and it is harder to get rid of the blood sugar levels and convert all nutrients to energy. With chromium, you improve the ability to convert food and calories into energy and naturally lower the blood sugar levels.

So far, studies are showing positive results. More studies are needed for a full consider how chromium can help.

While studies have not considered other hormonal imbalances, there is hope that chromium can help. This could help to manage some conditions caused by hormonal imbalances, including the struggle to absorb some nutrients.

Improving your mood could also be gained using chromium supplements. This is not just for those in a bad mood now and then, but for those with mood disorders including atypical depression and dysthymic disorder.

Theories into how the mood is helped involve the way chromium helps the cells. They become more sensitive to the amount of insulin in the body, making it easier for nutrients like tryptophan to pass around the body. Tryptophan helps to improve the amount of serotonin in the body. It is that nutrient that helps give you the warm, satisfied, tired feeling after eating plenty of turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas!

Your body has more of the building blocks to release the happy chemicals from the brain. This makes it easier to overcome depression and other mood disorders since the right amount of serotonin is released. It is the low levels of serotonin that lead to low moods.

Chromium Safety

The big question many have, especially when they hear of a mineral for the first time, is whether it is safe to take. Chromium is a natural mineral that you will find in your food. It will help improve your bodily functions and health, and will not harm you.

However, this is only when you take the mineral in safe doses. If you take many supplements, you do put yourself at the risk of chromium overdoses. Like with anything, it is possible to get too much of a good thing.

Excessive chromium levels have led to low blood sugar levels in patients. Your body takes all the blood sugars to use for converting other minerals into energy. You are not left with enough for your short-term reserves, leading to problems with fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. If left to continue, you can have problems with hypoglycemia, which is just as dangerous as high blood sugar levels.

You may also experience stomach problems. Your digestive system is working overtime and can cause a variety of issues, including nausea and cramping. You may also experience some bloating and gas.

Some chromium supplements can make your allergies worse. There is also a case that you are allergic to the ingredients used in the supplements. You may find that getting chromium through natural methods is best.

More serious side effects of too much chromium include kidney and liver failure. You may experience an irregular heart rhythm, problems with your nerves, and other serious health conditions. The good news is many of these severe side effects are rare.

You do not just suffer from chromium problems from supplements. It is possible to get too much of the mineral due to your job since the mineral is gained through some metals. Some studies show excessive amounts can lead to some cancers and kidney damage. Skin conditions like inflammation and eczema are possible.

Taking Chromium Supplements with Other Medications

Before you start taking chromium supplements, you should discuss them with your doctor. This is especially important if you take other medications. Certain medications can affect the ability to absorb the mineral, while some medications are left ineffective because of the mineral.

For example, antacids can lead to the chromium not being absorbed into the body. This is due to the way the antacids affect the stomach acid and the breaking down of food to pass through the digestive system.

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Pregnant and breastfeeding women will also need to discuss taking the supplement. It is possible that the chromium will pass to the baby and studies are not sure how this mineral will affect the growth of a fetus or baby. This is the case with all types of dietary supplements.

The dietary supplements are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. While this does not mean they are dangerous, it does mean there are limited recommendations. A doctor’s care is always best to seek. In some cases, the chromium (and other dietary) supplements can interact with medications and conditions, making your health worse rather than better.

More research is needed into chromium supplements and how they interact with medications and health problems. Your doctor may want to keep a closer eye on your health if you do decide to take the supplements. If side effects are noted early on, your doctor will be able to make an educated decision over what to do next.

Getting a Safe Amount of Chromium

Now that you know the importance of the nutrient and getting the right levels, it is time to look at just how much you need. The body can work with very little, especially compared to other nutrients. However, the studies mentioned above did use larger amounts, with up to 1,000mcg per day to show the positive results.

Most females need 20-25mcg per day, depending on age. Those who are pregnant will need 30mcg, and those lactating will need to increase their intake to 45mcg.

You can get most of your daily requirement through your food and method of cooking. However, you may need more if you have a medical condition. This is when taking supplements is worth considering. Your doctor may recommend supplements if you struggle to get enough in your diet.

If you are going to take supplements to help a medical condition mentioned above, discuss with your doctor first. This will help to avoid any potential health problems.

Chromium Supplements Can Be Useful

In short, it could be worth your time taking chromium supplements. There are certainly plenty of studies that show benefits. However, there are also serious side effects to protect yourself again. The best thing you can do is make sure you get enough through your diet and discuss the option of supplements with your doctor.

8 Unheard Benefits of Strawberries

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Strawberries Image Design 1 - 8 Unheard Benefits of Strawberries

You will know all about how good strawberries can be for your health. Many tout the benefits of antioxidants found in all types of berries. These antioxidants help to fight free radicals and oxidative stress to keep the cells healthy. They help to promote good cell growth and repair as you get older, fighting against problems like cancer, aging, and even dementia.

However, what about the benefits that you do not hear about? There are so many reasons to add strawberries to your diet. All these reasons are too often overlooked or become overshadowed by the antioxidant benefits.

So, it is time to pay the other benefits some attention. It is time to understand why you need to get more strawberries in your diet. Here are eight unheard benefits of strawberries.

Help to Prevent Many Eye Problems

One of the most significant overlooked benefits is for your eyes.

You have likely heard that carrots help you see in the dark. Well, they are not the only ingredients to help protect your eyesight. Strawberries are packed with healthy goodness that will boost your optical nerve health, reduce the feeling of dry eyes, and prevent the development of macular degeneration disease. Studies have also shown that strawberries can help to avoid infections within the eyes and slow down the process of aging, helping you keep your eyesight for a longer time.

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How is all this possible? Well, this is linked to specific antioxidants. Flavonoids are the most important, but ellagic acid and phenolic phytochemicals are also essential for supporting the health of your eyes. Many fruits and vegetables that are orange, red, or yellow include these antioxidants to support your eye health.

The antioxidants will help to prevent the deterioration of the nerves within your eye; often affected by (you guessed it) free radicals. However, the antioxidants also help to reduce the amount of ocular pressure. This is pressure on the ocular nerve, which can lead to deterioration and damage. Those with high pressure around this area are more likely to see signs of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other common age-related eye diseases.

Strawberries are also packed with potassium. The fruit is commonly overlooked since bananas, and sweet potatoes also have it, but you cannot forget about the pressure correcting benefits of potassium. The nutrient will release the pressure from the ocular nerve, supporting the overall eye health as mentioned above.

Treat Gout, Arthritis, and Other Similar Conditions

The muscles and tissues will degenerate over time. This is part of aging, but that does not mean you have to just put up with it. You do not need to just accept arthritis and gout as part of your daily life.

Much of the tissue and muscle damage is due to toxic substances accumulating in your body. Uric acid can lead to more free radicals, while oxidative stress damages the cells. It is the toxins that mostly cause the onset of gout, arthritis, and other similar disorders and illnesses.

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Strawberries will help you avoid the deterioration of muscles and tissues. Again, it is all in the antioxidants; the flavonoids to be exact. The flavonoids will fight against the development of free radicals and reduce the other toxins within the body. There are also detoxifiers within strawberries, helping the body get rid of the buildup of toxins and improve your chance of avoiding deterioration.

At the same time, strawberries have anti-inflammatory benefits. While tackling the reason for arthritis and gout, the fruit will also address the symptoms. If you currently have either, you can find you get a new lease on life, as you no longer must put up with the daily, troublesome symptoms.

Reduce Your Risk of Hypertension

What about high blood pressure? This is another condition that people just expect to gain at some point. We are not talking about a temporary increase in your blood pressure because of a stressful day at work or lots of events happening at once. Hypertension is a constant increased blood pressure rate.

Hypertension is a deadly disorder and silent. You will not realize you have it unless you regularly have your blood pressure tested (usually because your doctor is worried) or because you have got the following signs of it. While there are plenty of drugs, strawberries can help to reduce your risk of developing hypertension and help you reverse the condition if you do already have it.

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It is all due to the potassium levels within the fruit, as well as the amount of magnesium; a nutrient we usually overlook and do not get enough of. The nutrients work together to reduce sodium levels within the body. They also help to keep other risk factors to a minimum, reducing your chance of developing serious high blood pressure conditions.

At the same time, the potassium will improve the health of the blood vessels and arteries. It helps to reduce the rigidity of them, meaning the blood can flow through the body better. Your organs get all the oxygenated blood they need, and you feel ten times better.

Improves Other Cardiovascular Health

It is not just hypertension that strawberries can help avoid. The fruit will help to reduce your risk of many other cardiovascular problems and diseases. While it is linked to the antioxidants like ellagic acid and flavonoids, it is not the reduction in the risk of free radical damage that is the benefit.

The antioxidants will help to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. They also counter the effects of the bad cholesterol, when the levels are high for whatever reason. Bad cholesterol causes a layer of friction along the arteries, making it hard for the blood to flow. When the bad cholesterol is lowered, there will be more good cholesterol, creating a smooth, protective layer over the arteries instead.

Plus, you have the magnesium and potassium working together. They will keep the arteries fluid and bendy, allowing the blood to work its way through your body better. Your heart does not have to do as much work, and your whole cardiovascular system will thank you.

Reduces the Inflammation Of Your Body

We have already mentioned how strawberries help to reduce inflammation to help treat and avoid gout and arthritis. This is not the only part of the body that benefits.

Inflammation is part of the immune response within the body. When the body feels like there is an invader or something dangerous, the inflammatory response is one of the first elements to kick off. However, inflammation can make your health worse. It puts pressure on your nerves, causing chronic pain. People with carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and some digestive issues can find that reducing inflammation will make it easier to get by day after day.

How do strawberries help? Well, the antioxidants certainly help. They will lower the C-reactive protein levels in the blood, a sign that there is inflammation of the body. Just getting 16 strawberries on a weekly basis will help to keep levels of C-reactive protein to a minimum.

Improve Your Short-Term Memory

Can’t remember what you had for breakfast this morning? Forget where you put your keys? You are not alone. The short-term memory is regularly affected by a variety of issues. Sometimes they can just be normal, stress-related issues. You may have been trying to do two or three things at once and not paid enough attention.

However, there are also more serious reasons for your short-term memory failing. Your brain can succumb to all types of damage and problems, especially when inflammation is involved. Free radicals have been linked to the damage of cells and the cause of dementia.

Strawberries will help due to their level of anthocyanins. Studies have shown that you can double your short-term memory capabilities by eating foods that have good anthocyanin counts. It will take just two months to see the results.

Reduce the Risk of Birth Defects Developing

If you are pregnant, you will want to eat foods that help your developing baby. Those who are trying to conceive will find eating for the health of the baby now is beneficial. You will not know right away that you are pregnant. The baby starts developing long before your missed period and will want the nutrients right away to help prevent congenital disabilities.

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However, how do strawberries help? Do not you need more folic acid to prevent birth defects?

That is precisely how the fruit helps. Strawberries are one of the best sources of the B vitamin. Folic acid will help with the early development of the central nervous system and brain. It helps to ward off various autoimmune disorders in the early stages.

Of course, the strawberries will also help boost your immunity. Getting more vitamin C and antioxidants will further help with the development of your baby. If you are well, your baby has more chance of getting all the nutrients it needs.

Help to Boost Your Weight Loss Efforts

You will hear a lot about how fruits and vegetables help to boost your weight loss efforts. So really, off the bat, this is not an unheard benefit of strawberries. However, the benefits of your weight loss efforts go much deeper than most other fruits and vegetables. The deeper benefits are the unheard ones.

Strawberries have anthocyanins. We have already seen that they will help to boost your short-term memory, but they help in other parts of your body. These compounds give strawberries their red color and help with the stimulation of fat burning. Studies have shown that animals with more anthocyanins in their diet were 24% more likely to lose fat (not just weight).

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At the same time, nutrients help with satisfying your hunger levels. Strawberries are packed with fiber, which is much harder for the body to digest. The body must take its time, leaving you with this feeling of being fuller for longer (and sooner) compared to if you ate chocolate, crisps, and other junk food. By reducing the amount, you feel you need to eat, you are more likely to stick to a diet. You also eat fewer calories throughout the day without realizing it.

Moreover, to further improve your weight loss efforts, you do not feel like you are missing out on anything. Strawberries are naturally sweet. This natural sweetness is often seen as a bad thing for weight loss, but it is a major benefit. When your body gets the natural sweetness, it thinks it is getting the sugar it is craving. You tackle those pesky cravings for chocolate and cookies without telling yourself “no.”

You will find it much easier to stick to whatever diet plan you have created. There is something sweet to look forward to at the end of the day.

You Do Not Need to Eat Strawberries Whole

Many people view the only way to get your fruits and vegetables is through eating them whole. This is not the case. All the benefits you have seen above are gained just by enjoying strawberries in every way they come.

It is possible to blend them down into smoothies or cook them into a diet-friendly version of a strawberry cheesecake. You can make a strawberry puree or even chop them up and top your cereal with them. All these methods will get all the nutrients into your body, and sometimes in better ways. The nutrients are already broken down, making them easier to absorb.

The only way that may not be as beneficial is through juicing. You get rid of the pulp, which removes the fiber and a lot of other nutrients. If you want juice, opt for a blended smoothie instead, using the whole fruit.

It is time to try out more strawberries in your diet. You know all about the way they can help prevent cancer and boost your weight loss through the lack of calories, but what about all the other benefits? You have likely not heard of the ways you can protect your eye and joint health. You only need a handful a day, and you will get all the unheard benefits mentioned above.

 

10 Nutrition Rules for a Stronger and Leaner Body

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Nutrition Rules Image Design 1 - 10 Nutrition Rules for a Stronger and Leaner Body

While you possibly want to lose weight, it is not always about burning the fat. Sometimes you want to tone your body and add strength to your arms and legs. This means building on your muscles while burning the fat. This certainly is possible, and there is no need for steroids or pills to make it happen.

Then there are times that you do not want to lose weight at all. You want to build strength and stamina into your muscles.

All of this can be done through your nutrition. You just must follow the right rules for the job. You may be surprised to hear that it is not all about specialist diets and starving yourself. Some small changes in your current diet will help you build a stronger and leaner body.

1. Drink More Water

Quite honestly, one of the best things you can do is opt for more water. Not only will you keep your body hydrated (and your muscles will thank you for that) but you do so without adding any extra calories. Water is the best form of a liquid for your body. It hydrates without added sugars, caffeine, and other additives.

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Why is water so important for a stronger and leaner body? Well, your muscles need it. They are made up of 73% water. It is a fact that many of us overlook when it comes to nutrition. Sure, we exercise and add plenty of protein and other nutrients, but what about the water?

When the muscles do not get enough water, they start to spasm and cramp. You are left in pain and you will find your recovery process is slower.

Water also helps the body digest food. You will keep your digestive system working fully, helping to absorb all the nutrients you offer. Your muscles will gain more from one meal than ever before.

Not too certain about plain water? It can get a little boring, but do not opt for sodas or fruit juices. Add some slices of lemon or other fruit or vegetables to your water. Let the water absorb the juices, natural sugars, and fiber. You will taste and feel the difference.

Get eight glasses of water a day for good health. If you do much exercises or it is hot, you will need to increase the amount you drink to avoid dehydration.

2. Stock Up on the Protein

When it comes to food, you will need to focus more on protein. There is a few reasons protein is so good for you. The main one is that it is needed by the muscles for the repair process. When you workout, your muscles will tear. They need the protein to build back stronger than before. This is how you become stronger and leaner.

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Protein will also help you feel fuller quicker and for longer. It takes longer to break down in the body, so your metabolism works harder and for longer. You do not consume as many calories throughout the day as you would eat other nutrients, aiding with weight loss.

Make sure you get a ratio of 1g of protein for every pound in weight. So, if you weight 200lbs, you will need to consume 200g of protein per day. This is not actually that difficult. Excellent protein sources include lean poultry and meats, fish, quinoa, soy, milk and dairy products, and some grains.

Focus on lean when it comes to meats. Mincemeat can be good for you, but you want 5% lean or less. This means you get rid of the saturated fats, allowing the protein to do more of the work.

3. Use Protein Shakes Sparingly

While protein shakes can be good for topping up the amount of protein you get, you want to use them sparingly. The best form of the protein is completely natural. One of the downsides of protein shakes is the amount of added ingredients they throw in. Some will also use synthetic forms of protein.

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If you are lactose intolerant or vegan, avoid whey protein shakes. They use a form of milk to get the protein!

Do not just drink a protein shake after your workout. Use it as part of your new diet. When you make a smoothie, add a scoop of protein powder. You will find the smoothie is more filling and more nutritious for you. Your smoothie should be the meal and not just a drink, as it will have enough calories to make it a meal. Considering replacing one or two breakfasts per week with the smoothies.

4. Add More Fiber to Your Diet

Fiber is one of the most overlooked but necessary nutrients in the body. It helps to support the whole digestive system, which makes the difference between your body absorbing the nutrients or just flushing them out. Fiber will help to avoid constipation, some gastrointestinal syndromes, and other health problems.

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The best thing is fiber is so easy to add. You can get it through fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and so much more. The smoothies that you add your protein powder to will be packed with fiber if you blend and do not juice the fruits and vegetables you use.

However, how does fiber help you get that leaner and stronger body? Well, it is all in the support of the digestive system. When your body can absorb all the nutrients from food, your muscles are more likely to gain the protein that you offer it. You will also get other nutrients, such as vitamins A and C to support the health of the whole body, especially the tissues and cells of the muscles.

At the same time, you decrease the number of calories you eat daily. Fiber, like protein, breaks down slowly in the body. You will feel fuller sooner and for longer than before because of this, so you can find it easier to lose weight.

5. Stock Up on Some Healthy Fats

Fats have had a bad reputation for years, but they are good for you. That is if you get the right types and eat them in moderation. Too many fats and you can gain weight. There are more calories in fats compared to other nutrients, which can lead to overeating and weight gain if the fats are not used properly.

There is also the problem with saturated fats, which is why we say you need to stock up on healthy fats. These include olive oil, oily fish, nuts, some nut butter, and the like. The healthy fats are unsaturated, which means they do not clog up the arteries. Instead, they are turned into ketones, which offer the body energy.

By getting more energy, you boost the metabolism. This can help you lose more weight when you get the balance right. The fat is burned, leaving you with the muscle behind to tone your body. You will also find it easier to turn proteins into energy to build the muscles and make the body stronger and leaner.

6. Choose Complex Carbs Instead

The fourth macronutrient is carbs. Like fats, they have had a bad reputation for some years, and it is understandable why that is the case. Simple carbs metabolize quickly, and their sugars will be released into your bloodstream. You end up with elevated blood sugar levels, leading to more insulin and a slower metabolism.

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It is not just for a stronger and leaner body that you need to cut down on the number of simple carbs you eat. Your whole health will benefit.

Complex carbs, such as those from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and the like will break down into the body much slower. You will find them in starchy and fibrous foods, and it is these elements that help with the slower break down, so you do not end up with the sugars being released into your bloodstream. You keep your insulin levels low, which means fat is not stored as much. You can lose weight, burn more fat, and get a toner looking body.

You will also get more fiber into your diet through these complex carbs. The fiber will help with the absorption of nutrients.

7. Reduce Your Portion Sizes

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It is not just about what you eat, but the amount that you eat. Even if you stick to healthy foods, you will run the risk of adding more calories than your body burns. We tend to find this when snacking through the day. We do not listen to our bodies as much as we should so we end up overeating by mistake.

If you reduce your portion sizes, you will find that you eat less. Instead of three big meals and two snacks a day, opt for five to six smaller meals spread out through the day. By eating more regularly, you avoid your body worrying about the next meal, and you do not feel as hungry throughout the day.

Your hunger levels remain stable. That means you do not start releasing stress hormones, worrying about when you will eat again (now an irrational fear from the time of the caveman). You do not get the sweet cravings as often, as you feel satisfied. You will also be ready for a workout and not feel bloated or lethargic from too much food.

8. Practice Mindful Eating

While reducing your portion sizes, practice some mindful eating. This is when you think more about the food you eat and whether you need it. What you may think is a smaller portion may still actually be more than your body needs.

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When you start eating, make sure you chew 10-20 times. This will also help with the digesting process and release of nutrients, rather than just mindful eating. Put your knife and fork down between bites, so you spend more time preparing the next forkful to eat.

After half of your plate is eaten, sit back and give yourself some time to digest a little food. Ask yourself if you are still hungry. If you are satisfied, that is fine! You can cover up your meal or trash it; just do not eat anymore. There is no point having more, as you will just consume more calories than necessary. If you are still hungry, go back to eating, stopping when you have had half of the food that was left on your plate.

Repeat the process of asking yourself if you are hungry and eating half of whatever is left on your plate again. Stop eating when you finally feel satisfied. Note that this does not mean full. You should feel like you do not need to eat anymore, rather than feeling gassy and bloated.

With mindful eating, you automatically start eating less and enjoy your food more. It is easier for your body to burn more calories and the fat so that you can lose more weight.

9. Practice Clean Eating

We have looked at all the macronutrients you need, but what about the foods that should be left off your grocery list? This is what clean eating involves. You want to cut out the food that isn’t natural.

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This does not mean you have to follow a strict paleo diet. You can still enjoy some legumes, grains, and other foods that have been grown. What you want to do is get rid of anything processed, packaged, and with additives. Cut out the cakes, crisps, candy bars, and everything else with refined sugar and chemicals.

Foods with chemicals will not help your muscles build. They also put your bones at risk, affecting your strength. Soda can prevent the body absorbing magnesium properly, while refined sugars metabolize in the bloodstream extremely quickly. You do get sugar rushes, but you also suffer more crashes throughout the day and feel the need to eat more. There is a detrimental effect on your mental health, which will affect your physical health.

Eat more natural foods and cut out the processed junk more often. Your health and your wallet will feel better for it.

10. Include a Cheat Day

I know exactly what you are thinking right now. The tips to get a healthy and lean body sound boring. You are cutting out all your favorite food, and you are possibly questioning whether this is going to be worth it. Well, it is, because of rule number 10.

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All the previous rules should be followed most of the time. However, once a week you can cheat. You can enjoy a chocolate bar while you watch your guilty pleasure and you can have a glass of wine while reading your book or grabbing that long soak in the bath.

A one-off is not going to throw everything off. You are not going to suddenly pile on the pounds by eating one chocolate bar a week, just like you are not going to lose the pounds by only having one healthy meal in a week of processed junk a week!

One of the benefits of your cheat day is that you have something to look forward to. Your mind knows that not everything is banned, so you do not crave the sweets as much as you would without the cheat day. Your body adapts a lot easier to the new regime, and you will feel physically and mentally stronger than before.

Plan for the day. Decide which day your cheat day is going to be and stick to that plan. The very next day, you need to get right back on track with the diet. This is the important part. One bad day should not turn into two, three, or more!

Your Stronger and Leaner Body Starts Now

Do not delay. Start following the nutritional tips above, and you will get that stronger and leaner body you crave for. Of course, you need to add some exercise. Weight training is good, but the right diet is far more important. A good diet will help support your exercise plan, aid in repairing the muscles and ease the recovery time between workouts.

How to Make Children Enjoy Vegetables

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Vegetables Image Design 1 - How to Make Children Enjoy Vegetables

When children are just trying out food for the first time, they are likely to love the vegetables you put on their plates. Vegetables are bright and colorful, catching their attention to make them interested. If something looks dull or boring, they are just not going to be interested in eating it.

However, as children get older, they notice your aversions. If they see you not eating your vegetables, they will follow suit. They also notice the foods their friends like and dislike, while developing their taste buds for other foods that they try. Soon, they start turning away from the foods that they once loved.

You need to help them enjoy their vegetables again. It is important to encourage them to like the food they once loved. Here is a guide to making them enjoy their vegetables again, often without even realizing.

Lead by Example

 Children develop their likes and interests from you and other adults around them. If you show them an aversion to foods, they are going to get the idea that the food is not that great. They form a dislike for the food before they even try it. They are not as likely to allow the food to pass their lips since they are so certain it will taste bad.

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Leading by example is important. Moreover, you need to encourage the other adults around them to follow suit. While you may not actually like food, it is worth showing that you are willing to try it. Just try not to pull a face while you eat. If you cannot do that, then choose vegetables that you do like. Show that they are good and make a point of trying something new. Kids will then follow suit.

You can also encourage older siblings to help with this. Many younger siblings will look to see what their brothers and sisters are doing or eating. If they see their siblings have no interest in food, they will view that food as the Devil. Even if you do show you like it, you can fight a battle from an immediate disadvantage.

Let Children Know Vegetables Are an Option

Sometimes it is not a case of kids not liking vegetables. They just do not know what you have put on their plate, and they are not sure how to react. The funny-looking greenery on their plate seems odd, and they are not sure they are an option to eat.

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On top of that, they are not going to ask for something they do not know about. They know yogurts and candy may be in the fridge, but they have no idea about the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot sticks, and more. You need to change what they think about for snacks and meals.

You can do this by letting them know about all the options available. Let children see the vegetables that you are cooking. Make it clear that the food is good for them and tastes good at the same time. Put the positive thoughts into them before they try the food. That way they are more likely to try the food later.

Asking for the food is even a possibility. They want something that you are positive about.

Avoid the “I Do Not Know If You Will Like It” Statement

You may use this statement with good intentions, but you are already set up fear of disliking the food you are serving. Children hear that statement and instantly think there is going to be something bad about the food you are serving. Why would you give them a warning? It may be something new, but you want them to have a positive mindset going into eating the food.

Rather than saying “I do not know if you will like it,” try something like “this is knowing, and I have heard it is delicious” if you want to give them some warning. This helps them understand what they are looking at on the plate.

However, the best thing to do is not to say anything at all. Avoid drawing attention to the food, and you will find they are more likely to enjoy it. Do not make a big deal about them trying the vegetables while they are eating it. This still draws attention to something you were not sure about. Wait until they have finished and then mention something. Just let them know what they have tried.

After they have finished, they may ask what the vegetable was. They want to know what they have enjoyed.

If they do ask what the vegetable is beforehand, just say the name in a matter-of-fact way. Do not make them worry about the taste any more than they already do. Show yourself trying it and keep any fear or apprehension you have about them liking the food.

Get Them Involved in the Cooking

Quite honestly, one of the best ways to get children to enjoy their food is to get them involved in the cooking. They can do this from being babies, even though they will not physically do anything.subhead 1 21 - How to Make Children Enjoy Vegetables

Think about how children love to eat the cakes and cookies that you make. They enjoy the baking process, and they look forward to trying out their masterpieces at the end. This is the same case with cooking dinner.

Start by getting them to mix or give them a piece of vegetable to chew on while you cook. They get a taste for the item before you put it on their plate. You can also talk to babies and show them what you are doing. As they get older, they will want to know more about the cooking process and help you in other ways.

You can encourage them to help pass the vegetables out of the fridge and then help with the chopping. Eventually, they can even help with the cooking on the stove. Find age-appropriate parts of the cooking for them to get involved in.

One of the biggest benefits of getting children involved is that they get to see what is put into the dish. They know what to expect when they sit down for their meal. They have an idea of all the ingredients used. Kids expecting mac and cheese will not be too surprised to see some peas or broccoli thrown in there if they have seen you add it. Those that are expecting their chicken nuggets will not be put off by the chopped carrots and cauliflower going with their meat.

Get Them Involved Before the Cooking

 It is not just during the cooking that you can get kids involved in the picking process. Why not get them involved in the supermarket? Let them choose the vegetables that are getting added to their meals. When they have a choice, they are more likely to eat it when cooked and put in front of them. They want to know what their choices taste like.

This can backfire a little. You may end up with children choosing something that they genuinely do not like or something that you have tried in the past and did not like. They may choose something that you have never heard of and do not know how to cook. If you are worried about this, give them a choice of vegetables to choose from.

Limiting the choices is good when they are babies. Too many choices are overwhelming, and they are more likely to turn down all vegetables instead of picking one or two. When you give them a choice of two out or three, they find it easier to pick from the list. They are more comfortable, and they are going to be happier with their choices. You can also limit to just two options at a time to choose from. For example, ask them to choose broccoli or cauliflower and then at a later part in the store ask them to choose between potatoes or sweet potatoes, and so on.

Another way to get them involved early is through gardening. Grow your vegetables in the garden and let your children see where they come from. They will be amazed at how a seed can turn into food. Get them involved with the watering and checking of the vegetables and they are more likely to want to eat their hard work.

Encourage One Bite at a Time

Just because a child initially rejects a vegetable does not mean they do not like it. Many parenting experts have found a child needs to be exposed to a food 8-12 times before they can say they do not like the food. Their taste buds need the chance to develop to the taste. Some foods are harder because they are bitterer. For example, spinach and kale can be too much when younger, but they will like it as they get older.

However, you do not want to force the 8-12 tastes on them in one sitting. Encourage one bite at a time. When they get the food put in front of them, encourage them to take one full bite before they can leave it. It needs to be a good amount so that their taste buds get the chance to taste the food.

You may find that they realize the vegetable is good. However, some will decide after that one bite they do not like it. Do not give up just yet!

The next meal, serve the same vegetable again. You want to encourage the one bite rule again. They may tell you that they did not like it the first time, but encourage that one bite to make sure. The more they try the food, the more their taste buds will develop and change. They may realize that they liked it all along.

If after 8-12 attempts of getting them to try the food they still say they do not like it, they may genuinely not like it. This does not mean all vegetables are off the table. Move onto the next one on the list.

Give Them Food They Like Too

 Do not just give a child a food of vegetables they have never tried, or they think they do not like. They will look at that plate as a meal of disgust. Instead, you want to encourage them to try the new with the stuff that they do love. They know that if they do not like the new food they have something to fall back on.

Most children will save the food they love the most to last. They might as well get the food they are not sure of out of the way and then finish the meal with something that will get rid of the bad taste out of their mouth.

Only give them one new vegetable to try at a time. This helps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Once they like the vegetable, you can add it to their rotation of delicious foods.

Get into a Good Meal Routine

Children who snack a lot through the day going to be hungry when it comes to meal times. Their decision not to try the food is not going to because they do not want it. It is going to be because they do not have space for it.

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There is no point forcing them to eat something. Not only does this put them off the food even more, but it also encourages overeating. Instead, you want to look at why they are saying they are full. Is it possible that you need to change your meal routine? Do you need to reduce the number of snacks your children are eating?

Do not be afraid to change the routine completely. Opt for three meals a day, with two snacks placed in between the meals. Set a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Space out the meals and snacks equally throughout the day, with a long fast overnight while they sleep. By being hungry at meal times, they are likely to try whatever is on the plate.

Reward them for Their Good Behavior

 Forcing them to eat their food is not going to help, but you can encourage. Rewards for good behavior are one of the best ways to encourage children to eat more. This does not mean they need to get a dessert after every meal. We are not talking about treats here. Sticker or star charts are great, especially for younger children. You can also reward through pocket money.

Set up a chart. For each vegetable that they try in the week, they get a sticker for their good behavior. If they have a set number of stars throughout the week, they get a reward for that. You will soon find that they want to try more vegetables because they want to collect those stickers.

Do not make the big reward at the end of the week reliant on getting a sticker every day. There is going to be days that you do not serve something new or a day when they are just not hungry. If they believe they need to be perfect throughout the week, they are going to see it as an unachievable goal. Missing one day means they have lost out instantly. By dropping to four or five stickers out of seven, you give them some leeway for an off day.

You can help your children like vegetables. While it can initially sound like you are manipulating their thoughts, you have just helped them to change their mindset going into trying new foods. You have opened their minds enough to believe they may like something new.

The Different Food Group: Health Facts and Myths

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You have likely heard of the different food groups and that they are important. When many people think of food groups, they consider protein, carbs, fiber, and the like. However, that is not quite right. There are five food groups and specific types of foods that you should add to your diet.

The food groups are:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables/beans/legumes
  • Grains
  • Meats, poultry, and fish (including nuts and tofu)
  • Dairy and alternatives

Getting something from each of the food groups is important. One thing you will notice is that “alternatives” is mentioned. This means vegans and those on strict diets can still get something from the food groups. You do not have to avoid all dairy because there are vegan-friendly alternatives, such as almond and coconut milk. Likewise, meat can be replaced with tofu or soy.

Before you jump into adding them all into your meals, you will need to make sure you understand the health facts and myths. Not everything you hear is true, but the facts are important.

FACT: There are Different Fruit Categories to Consider

While fruit is one food group, there are subgroups to consider within it. You will need to get a mixture from the different types of fruits, as they all offer various health benefits.

Pome fruits are the most commonly eating and include pears and apples. They are very easy to combine with different fruits, tend to quench the thirst quickly, and can be used in baking and cooking extremely easily.

Citrus and stone fruits are next on the list. These include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, cherries, nectarines, plums, and the like. Many of them are soft and juicy and help you top up with the amount of vitamin C in your diet.

Then there are tropical fruits, which include pineapples, mangos, bananas, melons, etc. After that, you have berries, which includes all varieties including goji berries! Finally, there are “other fruits,” which includes everything that cannot be added into the other subgroups, such as passion fruits and grapes.

FACT: You Should Get At least Two Servings Per Day

While there are natural sugars in fruits, they are extremely beneficial for you. However, it is the natural sugars that make vegetables more popular. Fruits and vegetables tend to be lumped into the same food group, but that is not the case.

Make sure you get at least two servings of fruit per day. You will want to top the rest of your “5-8 servings per day” with vegetables. Eat more vegetables than fruit to avoid the natural sugars and high calories.

Fruit juice only occasionally counts as your servings. You do not want to drink a whole carton of orange juice in a day due to the natural sugars and lack of fiber. Raw and whole are the best ways to get your fruit.

MYTH: Fruit Will Cause Type II Diabetes and Weight Gain

When eating in moderation, fruit is perfect for you. It is possible to get a range of antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamins A and C and beta-carotene. However, there are certainly natural sugars to consider.

The natural sugars are one of the reasons people will tell you not to eat them when you are on a diet. You may hear that you should avoid bananas or pineapples because of their calories. Others will tell you that anything other than some fruits is bad for your sugar levels and will lead to Type II diabetes.

That is certainly not the case, but there is a slight truth to the myth. Getting everything in moderation is important. You cannot eat a whole bag of grapes in one sitting and then follow that up with a smoothie made up of berries and lemons. It is possible to consume more fruit than your body needs, and you will not benefit from the nutrients when you do this.

Stick to the daily serving suggested and you will find it much easier to lose weight and look after your health. Vegetables are go-to for snacking throughout the day if you need to.

MYTH: Dried Fruit Offers No Benefits at All

You will hear that you should avoid dried fruit with a passion. This is not quite true, although there are some reasons that you should keep your portion sizes to a minimum.

Dried fruit loses its water content. This is part of the reason the natural sugars do not have the chance to break down into the bloodstream quickly. If you take out the water all the time, you are going to make it harder for the body to gain all the nutrients from the fruit and process it properly.

At the same time, the loss of the water can also lead to loss of nutrients. You do not lose them all, but you do lose a lot. When compared with fresh fruit, dried fruit is not as good. However, it is still better than eating no fruit at all. Do not worry about having the odd handful of raisins a week.

It is all about portion size and some servings throughout the day. Everything in moderation.

FACT: Whole Grains Are Better than Refined Grains

It is time to look at the types of grains you eat. Grains are one of the most confused subjects, and they have gained a bad name over the years. However, whole grains can be extremely good sources of fiber. By getting some whole grains in your diet, you will help your digestive system work.

Whole grains also include B vitamins, folate, and many other nutrients commonly overlooked and difficult to get into the diet. You do not want to avoid all grains, but the ones that are bad for you.

If you have heard people say that refined grains are grains to cut out of your diet, you have heard the truth. Refined grains such as white bread, cakes, and pastries, are just full of empty calories and they are not as good for you as whole grains. You do not get the same fiber content in refined grains, but you get a lot of gluten and sugars. They can disrupt your hormonal balance, causing problems for your weight management, skin care, and more.

Does that mean all refined grains should be entirely avoided? Cutting out your favorite foods can be difficult. If you can cut them all out then great, but consider using them once every two weeks to avoid saying a complete “no” and affecting your mental state with the ban.

FACT: Vegetarians and Vegans Will Benefit from Whole Grains

Whole grains are not just packed with fiber. They have many nutrients like magnesium and iron that are usually only in abundance in meat and animal products. Vegans and vegetarians tend to suffer from a lack of some minerals, but they do not need to.

If you are not going to eat meat or you have a ban on all animal products, then consider adding a few more whole grains to your diets. You can also add legumes and some meat alternatives like soy. Look out for those that are packed with protein and nutrients that you are likely to have a deficiency in.

Around 4-6 servings is recommended for adults. If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, focus on the high end of the servings.

MYTH: All Red Meat Should Be Avoided to Protect Your Health

Have you heard that all red meat is bad? You have likely had someone tell you to stop eating as much beef and replace your steaks with chicken breasts. While there is a truth behind the statement, the blanket ban on all red meat is a myth.

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Red meat tends to be fattier. Not just fat, but saturated fat. It is the type of fat that blocks your arteries and increases your chance of developing heart disease and cardiovascular problems. Chicken, poultry, and fish are not as fatty, so they do not cause as many health problems.

However, that does not mean you have to avoid all red meat. It is still an excellent source of iron and protein. In fact, it is one of the best sources of iron, which you need to improve the blood flow around your body and get oxygen to all the organs.

Instead of opting for all red meat, look for the lean options. Extra lean ground beef is an excellent alternative. While it may cost a little extra, you will save on your health in the future (and that saves money in the future). You should also look for meats that have less fat on them, especially when it comes to steaks and some cuts of beef and lamb.

MYTH: You Can Get The same Nutrients from All Legumes as In Meat

If you are switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, you will have heard people tell you to eat

more legumes. They have the same nutrients as meat, right?

Well, while they have some of the same, legumes are not a direct replacement of meat. The best alternative would be soy, quinoa, or tofu. Sure, legumes are good, but they are not perfect. Most them contain some proteins, but they are not complete proteins. This means they do not have all the amino acids that your body needs to survive.

The only non-meat complete proteins are soy, tofu, and quinoa. If you want to replace your meat, stock up on all three with your legumes for a good diet.

Bear in mind that meat will also have some fats, both unsaturated and saturated. Legumes do not all include them. You will need to add seeds, nuts, and similar ingredients to your diet if you want to stock up on the healthy fats to protect your health.

MYTH: Only Fresh, Raw Vegetables Are Good for You

Have you heard people tell you that you should only eat vegetables raw? You may have heard that cooked vegetables lose all their nutrients. Then you will have heard that frozen and canned vegetables are the worst things you can eat.

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The big issue is the lost nutrients. While there is some truth (cooked is not as good as raw), this does not mean you can only consume fresh, raw vegetables. It depends on the method of cooking and the amount of fresh and raw that you eat.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with consuming frozen vegetables (or even fruits if you want to get from that food group). They will still contain many of the nutrients, but just not in as abundance as fresh.

When cooking, you want to avoid adding unnecessary fats and oils. Rather than frying your dishes, why not steam or boil them? Boiling can disrupt and dilute some of the nutrients, especially the B vitamins, but steaming will keep most of the nutrients intact and beneficial for you. Grilling is also a good method for cooking your vegetables.

Roasting can be good, but you still include some oils. Make sure you use olive or almond oil for your cooking when doing this. Watch out for the removal of the water when roasting. Like with dried fruit, this can disrupt some of the nutrients.

Sure, raw and fresh are better in most of cases (some vegetables are healthier for you when cooked), but that does not mean you can only eat raw. You will still gain plenty of health benefits through cooking!

MYTH: Dairy Is the Only Good Source of Calcium

If you have told anyone that you are considering a vegan diet, you will hear many tell you that you will suffer from a calcium deficiency. This is partly because many vegans do suffer from it. However, the calcium deficiency is not due to taking out all dairy products. It is because they do not replace the dairy with ingredients that are packed with calcium.

You can use milk alternatives for good sources of calcium. Almond, soy, and coconut milk are all popular and healthy options. They will also give you some of the proteins you need that you will lose from milk. There are yogurts and cheeses made with them, giving you vegan-friendly options.

However, your vegetables can also get you plenty of calcium. Dark leafy greens are packed with a variety of minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. Make sure you stock up on them if you choose an animal product free lifestyle.

FACT: You Do Not Need Equal Amounts of All Food Groups

Now that you have looked at the various myths and facts about the different food groups, it is time to get your portions right. You do not need to eat the same amount of fruit as you do vegetables, meat, and dairy.

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Around a third of your day should be made up with vegetables and another third with whole grains. The rest of your third is split among the other three food groups. The third can be split equally, but you may want to make the meat and alternatives section ever so slightly larger than the other two.

Do not forget about your water intake. This should be at least eight glasses a day, which is about two liters of water. All the rest should be added to your diet moderately. If you do not gain nutrients from the food, do not let it become a regular part of your diet.

With the following tips, you will protect your body from most of diseases. Are you ready to enjoy a healthy and filling lifestyle?

The Best Apple Cider Vinegar

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Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries for cooking and medicinal purposes. It houses some benefits, including fighting infection, clearing the skin, and cleaning surfaces. This is one of those ingredients that you want to use daily to help improve your digestive health and reduce your risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.

But not all apple cider vinegar is made equally. They are not all good for you, and you will need to find the best option for your health.

It is more than just looking for an organic option in the supermarket. This is also more than just making your own. You want to look for very specific types of making sure you put only the best raw ingredients into your body.

You will also need to think carefully about how the apple cider vinegar is stored and where it is placed in your home. Here’s a look at how to get the best apple cider vinegar for your health.

What Exactly Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

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As you would expect, apple cider vinegar is made from apples. You will need to create a must, which then later becomes the vinegar.

To make your own, you will need to crush whole apples. Keep the seeds, skin, and stem completely intact, as you crush to make the must. This will need to be fermented and oxygenated to help turn all the natural sugars in the apples into alcohol. Think of the fermenting to get cider. This is a very similar process.

Once you have the alcohol, you would need to turn the mixture into acetic acid from the oxygenation process. This gives the health benefits of the ingredient. If any of the steps are missed or done incorrectly, you will not get all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

It is often much easier to just buy something from the store. However, before you do, make sure you get the best type.

Always Look for Organic, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

You do not want anything that has been treated or had any chemicals added to it. Because this is made from real apples, you will need to find out more about the apples that are used in the fermentation process. Make sure they are organic, meaning that they do not have any pesticides used to protect them from insects.

However, it is not just good enough to look out for organic. Look for those that are “certified organic.” These apples will not have any GMO products either. GMO products are used for growing larger, genetically modified fruits and vegetables. It is unclear just what the products do to the body long term, but there are many of them. It is best to play it safe and avoid adding extra toxins to your body.

Finally, look out for raw vinegar. During the fermentation and oxygenation processes, it is common for some manufacturers to use chemicals or a filtration process. They say that the processes help to improve the quality of the vinegar, but there’s no proof that the processes are good for the body. You will always want to avoid anything with artificial flavors, often used to make the apple cider vinegar taste “better.”

Look out for organic and raw apple cider vinegar as much as possible.

Always Choose Unpasteurized Where Possible

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Unless you are pregnant, you will always want to choose unpasteurized products over pasteurized. This is especially the case with apple cider vinegar.

Unpasteurized products get a bad reputation for their bad bacteria. They are supposed to be dangerous in the gut and can lead to some digestive complaints. Therefore they are not recommended during pregnancy. It is not clear what the bacteria could do to the developing fetus.

However, when you are not pregnant, your stomach is not as sensitive. The process to get rid of the bad bacteria also gets rid of the good bacteria. It may also get rid of some of the other nutrients in the liquid. You are left with little beneficial from the apple cider vinegar.

So far, we know that organic, raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is the best. However, there is more to find the best option for your health.

Look Out for the Mother

The “mother” is the term given to the vinegar. You should be able to see it floating around the bottom of your apple cider vinegar when it can rest. It looks bad, but it is very good for you and is a necessary part to improve your health.

The mother is just the live enzymes and bacteria. When you are ready to use your apple cider vinegar, give it a shake and mix it all. You should find that it all separates normally.

When the vinegar is not made right, the mother will not be there. This could suggest either something happened in the fermentation process or that artificial ingredient was added in. If you must use pasteurized options due to pregnancy, you may not see the mother there.

Skip Anything in Plastic Bottles

The best apple cider vinegar will also depend on the way it is packaged and stored. Whether you make your own, get it from a health store, or buy a grocery store option, you will need to check the material on the packaging.

If the apple cider vinegar is stored in plastic, skip it completely. Plastic is full of toxins, and they do break down into your food. Considering the nature of apple cider vinegar, it should not be surprising that you will get a lot of unnecessary toxins by using the wrong storage materials.

Even if you find bottles that are BPA free (the most harmful, and banned in parts of the world, toxin), you need to watch out for other toxins. The companies cannot get rid of everything and do not want to. Many manufacturers refuse to believe that there is anything dangerous about their bottles.

The best type of bottles to buy is glass. Sure, they are more breakable, but they cannot hold onto toxins. They will not realize the toxins in your food afterward.

Consider the Following Apple Cider Vinegar Products

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Now that you know what to look out for, it is time to consider the types of apple cider vinegar to buy. The last thing you want is to go to the stores and look at all the ingredients lists. You just do not have the time to do it!

Certain products have already proven to be good for you. Do look out for the packaging, however. Some of them do use plastic, especially for the bigger bottles.

BRAGG Apple Cider Vinegar

One of the best on the list is BRAGG. This company uses plastic bottles for the larger ones, but the smaller options are made in glass bottles. The focus of this company is completely organic and homegrown apples. That means you will only find apples used on the ingredients lists. There are no pesticides and no arsenic. Yes, some manufacturers use arsenic in their vinegar!

While using natural products, the mush is stored in wooden barrels for the fermentation process. This method has been used for centuries as it is the best. The wood helps with the natural process, creating the apple cider vinegar quicker and richer. You will get far more health benefits from it.

Vitacost Apple Cider Vinegar

If you want to keep the costs to a minimum, you may want to consider Vitacost. You will get a good amount for your money, although the smaller bottles will be better for you.

All the apples are organic and unpasteurized. You will physically be able to see the mother in each bottle on the shelf, without even having to pick the bottles up! Nothing is added to the ingredients, making this completely safe, artificial ingredient free, and vegan-friendly.

Fleischmann’s Apple Cider Vinegar

Fleischmann’s is one of the oldest apple cider vinegar around. The vinegar was created from the 1920s, from the yeast of the alcohol created. There is even specialty vinegar created to add more flavor. The majority are completely natural and unfiltered.

There are no artificial colors every used, even in the specialty options. The company believes in using all-natural ingredients and makes an apple cider vinegar suitable for all dietary requirements.

Dynamic Health Apple Cider Vinegar

When you want a halal friendly option, Dynamic Health is the option to turn to. This is also kosher, as well as completely organic and natural. Moreover, the vinegar is one of the most affordable options on the market and only comes in glass bottles.

You can usually get the apple cider vinegar in health stores, but some grocery stores are now starting to stock up on it. If you struggle with liquid vinegar, look out for the capsules from this brand.

What to Avoid when Shopping for the Best Apple Cider Vinegar

There are things you need to avoid to make sure you only get the best apple cider vinegar.

The biggest is to avoid the look of the labels. Just because the label looks fancy does not mean it is the best apple cider vinegar for your health. The labels are designed to draw your attention and make you want it. That is the whole ploy of marketing.

Try to avoid the grocery stores as much as possible. Sure, supermarkets have plenty of apple cider vinegar for sale, but they are not likely the best options. Unless you find one of the four brands mentioned above, you will want to check the ingredients labels in detail. Do not just fall for statements on the front. Make sure that all the ingredients are natural, organic, and raw.

Too many brightly labeled supermarket options are full of artificial and non-organic ingredients. You can find yourself adding more toxins and not getting the mother to help improve your health.

Avoid looking out for shiny, clear apple cider vinegar. The best options will look murky and dark; cloudily is exceptionally good. They appear to have fibrous material and bits floating around, but this is just the mother. This is a sign that you will get all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. If they look clear, the vinegar has been treated and will add more toxins to your body.

When making your own, watch out during the fermentation and oxygenation process. It is tricky to make your own that has all the health benefits. The chances are that you will not get it right the first time. Do not panic too much. Allow yourself the practice until you start making the best apple cider vinegar in town.

If you are in doubt about your skills or you just do not have the patience or time, do not push yourself to make your own. There are options out there that will work for your needs.

It is Time to Get the Best Apple Cider Vinegar Possible

Apple cider vinegar has a range of health benefits. It can help to reduce your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. People have used it for centuries to treat health problems, especially those linked to the common cold and inflammation. The apple cider can boost the immune system effectively and quickly.

You can use apple cider vinegar in its pure form to help fight off infection and settle digestive complaints. Some people prefer the taste with a little water to help dilute the vinegary burn. Either way, you will gain many health benefits from just a teaspoon or two a day. You just need to make sure you get the best apple cider vinegar.

It is not about making your own. This is an option, but you will need to have the time and space for the fermentation. Sometimes it is best to consider the different store brands for your needs. Find those that offer only the best ingredients and never put their apple cider vinegar through a filtration process. Always make sure the mother is included and look out for that cloudy appearance.

You owe it to yourself to get the best apple cider vinegar possible.