7 Smart Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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Weight Gain Image Design 1 - 7 Smart Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

The holiday seasons are just around the corner. This is the time everyone on a diet or attempting to even consider losing weight panics. It is a perfectly normal response. The holidays are the time for people to gather together, eat, and drink everything in sight.

Plus, you just must look at how unhealthy Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners can be. They are full of fattening sides, sugar-filled desserts, and bubbly alcohol. Is it really that surprising that we have this worry that we are going to pile on the pounds? Is it that surprising that most people will wait until the New Year to lose weight?

It is time to avoid the weight gain. You can do it without sacrificing the fun in the holidays. Allowances can be made for certain days of the year. The rest of the time, you can stick to a healthy eating plan and avoid the excess pounds in a short space of time. Here are seven smart tips that will let you avoid the holiday weight gain but still have fun the whole time.

Choose Smart Snacks the Majority of the Time

Choose Smart Snacks the Majority of the Time - 7 Smart Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

One of the biggest issues with the holiday season is the snacking. Companies push all types of festive theme treats and snacks. We see chocolate boxes created in a larger size purely for “sharing,” when they know that we’ll just end up eating everything ourselves. There is the focus on grazing throughout the day, but people forget about all the extra calories they end up consuming.

While there is no need to completely avoid snacking, it is worth being smarter about it. Do not just graze for the sake of it. Chances are that you are not snacking because you are hungry, but because you are bored.

Before you even think about grabbing a candy bar or the slices of Christmas treats, consider whether you are hungry. Is it time for a meal? If so, do not snack and make yourself a healthy meal instead. Could it be just a craving because of boredom or because you are thirsty? Try grabbing a glass of water first and then see if you are still hungry.

Find something else to do to avoid the boredom eating. Do not give the feelings, whether happy or sad. By cutting down on the snacking, you will reduce the calories you consume to help keep them within a manageable range.

But you do not just want to ban all snacks, do you? Of course not! Snacking is a part of the festive season; at least it seems that way. When you do snack, think about the type of snacks you are eating. Focus on healthier alternatives to the sugar-laden sweets, chocolates, and cookies. Opt for more filling snacks like nuts and seeds, fruit segments and vegetable sticks. The smarter snacks will help to fill you up while adding more nutrients to your body.

Also become more mindful of your snacking. Do not just pour a bowl of nuts and eat them until they are gone. You will only need a handful of nuts to fill you up as a snack. Pull that out of the packet and store the rest for later. Avoid snacking when watching the TV as you are more likely to eat more than you really need to!

Keep an Eye on Your Portion Sizes

Did you know it is not quite the type of food that we eat that causes holiday weight gain? It is the amount of food we consume. This includes both unhealthy and healthy food! You can snack on all the fruits and vegetables you want, but you will eventually consume too many. The extra calories will be stored, just like they are when you consume too many snack foods!

Our portion sizes are continually growing. Plate sizes have increased by at least 3 inches in the last few decades. Psychologically we feel like we need to fill the plate, or we are not eating enough. This then leads to overeating and consuming far more calories than our bodies need.

It is time to take a step back and really consider your portion sizes. There are high chances you are serving way more than you should and your body would be satisfied with a little less. Start by changing the size of your plate. Opting for a slightly smaller one will help you fill the plate with less food, so you still get that psychological feeling that you are eating plenty.

Practice mindful eating whenever you eat a meal during the holiday season. When you have eaten half of the food on the plate, put the cutlery down and listen to your body. Does it really need more food? Give yourself time to consider whether you are still hungry or if you are satisfied. If you are still hungry, eat half of the food left on the plate and repeat.

There is nothing wrong with not eating everything on the plate. As you learn more about the amount of food your body needs, you will be able to reduce the amount of food you cook so you do not waste it all!

Reduce the distractions when you do eat. Many people in the holiday seasons will sit around the TV while they eat a meal. The movie or TV show is taking up their attention, rather than focusing on the amount of food they eat. It is possible to eat too fast and cause problems for your digestion. You also end up eating more than you need without realizing.

What about seconds? There are high chances that you do not actually need to eat them. Just because the food is there does not mean it has to be used. Opt for storing the food in the fridge or freezer instead. You can reheat most dishes you make, offering easy and quick meals towards the end of the festive season.

Keep Your Stress Levels to a Minimum

Keep Your Stress Levels to a Minimum - 7 Smart Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

The holidays are full of stress. You want to get the dinner just right. You need to brace the shops with all the other Christmas shoppers. It is a struggle to get everything done that you need, especially when work puts on extra pressure to wrap up for the year. Stress is considered a normal part of the holiday season but that does not have to be the case.

The stress is causing your weight gain for a variety of reasons. When you are stressed, you will increase the amount of cortisol and adrenaline in the body. The immune system’s inflammatory response can be kicked started, causing a dip in the metabolism and pain. As the metabolism slows, your body burns fewer calories, but you do not counter that by eating less food.

At the same time, those who are stressed are more likely to eat more. You have likely heard of the term “stress eater.” People gain pounds within moments because of their eating decisions when stressed. You are more likely to consume junk food to help feel good when stressed. This does not actually work. All you do is increase the negative hormones further, so you create a difficult cycle.

Handling your stress in a different way is important. Try to make healthier choices when it comes to snacking. Opt for yoga and meditation to help manage your stress levels.

The main aim should be to reduce your stress. This will not just help avoid weight gain, but you can also improve your health. Stress raises the blood pressure and causes many other health problems. Learn how to manage how stressed you feel in situations that you cannot control, such as deep breathing and exercise. You will be surprised at the difference in the way you feel!

Opt for More Protein and Fiber in Your Meals

Having a balanced diet is important, especially during the holidays. Most of festive food is high in carbs. Sure, you get protein from the turkey, but think about the refined carbs in the cookies and cakes. Consider the carbs in potatoes and stuffing. We are surrounded by carbohydrates and we know they are not the healthiest way to get our energy.

While getting some carbs is important, we cannot overlook the fact that some metabolize in the blood and cause major health problems. They also lead to weight gain. We are not filled as well as we would be with other food groups, so we end up snacking more.

It is time to get more protein and fiber in your festive diets. Both are excellent for breaking down into the body slower, helping you burn calories over the course of a day without the physical need to snack. When you feel full, you are not going to feel like you are missing out on the festive fun.

Protein is especially beneficial for weight loss because it helps to build more muscle. The metabolism needs to work harder when there is more muscle, so you end up burning more calories throughout the day. You do not just need to eat meat for protein. You can get excellent sources through quinoa, soy, and other similar plant-based foods.

Fiber will help to improve the digestive system. The festive season can cause trouble for this part of the body. We tend to forget about the fiber count in foods, so we can be left constipated and bloated. When we eat more fiber, our bodies push the waste out better and help improve the absorption of nutrients in our meals. Not only do we feel full and reduce our weight gain, but our immune system is further supported. You can get more fiber by eating more fruits and vegetables during the day. Nuts and seeds, whole grains, and legumes are also excellent sources.

Do not forget about the healthy fats. Fat is not the major culprit in weight gain that it is always been made out to be. The fat does not turn into fat in your body. It is a crucial component in a healthy body. Of course, you want unsaturated fats rather than saturated to protect your heart and arteries.

When you get more fat in your diet, you will support the health of the liver. This helps to boost the metabolism, especially if you have a lower carb diet. Fats will also help you feel fuller, so you do not consume as many calories through the day. Your diet only needs to be around 10% fat. There are more calories in a gram of fat than the other macronutrients, which can lead to overeating and weight gain.

Savor Your Desserts and Alcohol

Savor Your Desserts and Alcohol - 7 Smart Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

If fat is not the reason for weight gain, what is? Well, the sugar industry will not admit it, but it is sugar (especially refined sugar) that causes the weight gain issue. When we eat sugar, our whole body is affected. The metabolism must store the calories from other sources while its deals with the sugars in the bloodstream. You end up with sugar crashes, which leads to more sugar cravings. Sugar is more addictive than heroin!

So, does that mean you need to avoid all desserts? Not at all! What it means is you need to choose your desserts a little better. While Christmas cake, ice cream, and cookies may be popular, there is no need to consume them with every meal. You can get dessert in a much healthier way.

Look out for sugar-free dessert recipes. Find ways to use natural flavorings to create that sweet taste without affecting your health. You may be surprised to find that the desserts are not just better for you, but leave you feeling more satisfied after eating them. They do not cause the crash later that leaves you craving more of the delicious food.

When you do eat dessert, savor each bite. It is tempting to demolish it in one sitting, just to go back for seconds. Before you know it, the bowl of ice cream is gone, and you are stocking up on more sugar. Be more mindful of each bite you take, so you give your body chance to feel full and satisfied. You will consume fewer calories, so you do not gain as much weight over the holiday season.

Likewise, reduce the number of liquid calories you drink. This is not just actually about alcohol, but alcohol is one of the biggest problems. We tend to drink more over the Christmas period and it is no surprise that drinks driving increases during this time of year.

Alcohol is full of empty calories. Even wine and beer are not going to be favorable to your waistline. Our bodies do not recognize the calories in drink form, so end up pushing you to consume more. The sweet taste of most drinks will also encourage more drinking. Not only are you putting your liver at risk, but also your weight. A glass of wine with dinner is fine, but keep the excessive drinking to a least.

And watch out for sodas, sweetened drinks, and similar beverages. They are also packed with empty calories. They offer no nutritional benefits but will be packed with calories and chemicals that can make it harder for your body to absorb necessary minerals for a strong and healthy body. Have a drink now and then, but do not make it a regular thing.

 Get in More Exercise

The last thing you want to think about is exercise over the holiday period, but it could be one of the best things you do. This does not mean you have to push for your gym to open on Christmas Day. Nor do you need to create a training plan that will help you get buff in the New Year. You just want to get a little more active to burn a few extra calories.

Exercise is a wonderful way to boost happy hormones and reduce the stress levels. This will help to curb the snacking and emotional eating, so you can focus on healthier snacks and meals. The exercise will also help to burn more calories throughout the day, helping to create a calorie deficit so you lose weight.

At the same time, you build muscle. Muscles will burn more calories, helping to further that calorie deficit. You will also feel better mentally. It is not just the stress hormones that a removed, but the other negative hormones. It is easier to bypass the winter or Christmas blues and find more enjoyment, reducing the snacking and cravings.

Exercise will also give you something to do. You curb the boredom to curb the snacking.

Get the whole family involved. Go out for snowball fights, enjoy a walk in the park, or build a snow sculpture. You will be surprised at the workout you get. And yes, even shoveling the drive will count!

Plan and Stick to It

Plan and Stick to It - 7 Smart Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Finally, it is all about a plan. Create a plan to handle the Christmas period and you will find it much easier to work with. Weight gain will be the last thing on your mind because you are taking active steps to boost your metabolism, reduce calorie intake, and still enjoy the time.

The tips above will help you create this plan of attack. You can set out recipes for the holiday season, both on the day and around the big day. Plan out the snacks you will buy and make. Try to avoid the calorie-filled, sugar-filled snacks and opt for something healthier for the whole family. You are supporting the overall health and not just the waistline.

Of course, now you need to stick to it! This is often the hardest part, especially when one day goes wrong. Do not worry if you do not stick to the healthy eating plan for the day. One difficult day does not mean the whole holiday season is a write-off. Get straight back to the plan the next day and work your way through it without the guilt.

Planning will help to manage the stress. You know what you need to do and when. It is easier to manage the gift buying, recipe making, and dinner preparation when you have a plan of attack to follow.

Make This Holiday Season Successful for Your Weight

There is no need to give in to the idea that the holiday season is a time to gain weight. For many people it is, and it may have been something that happened to you in the past. However, with a few changes, everyone can either keep or lose weight throughout the festive periods. It does not matter whether you are a meat eater or vegan. There are recipes that will help to keep you feel full, bring in the festive cheer, and reduce the excess calories you consume.

Try this year to create your festive plan. This is not just about the meals you will make, but the way you will tackle every element of the season. Keep the stress to a least, opt for healthier and smarter food choices, and listen to your body. You will find the season far more enjoyable than you ever thought possible!

Top 12 Foods to Avoid in the Morning

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Foods to Avoid Image Design 1 - Top 12 Foods to Avoid in the Morning

A lot of people believe that breakfast is “the most important meal of the day.” This is true, but of course, all other meals are important too. However, breakfast has a special function – it kick-starts your metabolism. A great breakfast will provide you with the right amount of energy and must also satisfy your hunger. Although people aren’t usually hungry when they wake up in the morning, it’s imperative that they don’t skip this meal. It will help control one’s blood sugar, and it has the potential to help a person start the day off right.

Of course, merely eating breakfast isn’t good enough. People need to choose the right foods to eat in the morning to have enough energy for the rest of the day. Usually, a great breakfast involves protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These can be acquired from whole, unprocessed foods. There are also some foods to avoid in the morning. Some of these foods may surprise you as they are the “common” breakfast options. Here are the top 12 foods to avoid in the morning:

Bagels

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Bagel has always been an energy booster for people on the go. It will make one feel full, not wanting to eat for some period. Not all bagels are “unhealthy.” People who want to eat bagels for breakfast should choose those which are made from whole wheat as they offer more beneficial nutrients.

Opting for whole wheat bagels is important because they are a great source of dietary fiber, some protein, and several important minerals. Whole wheat bagels have become an integral part of a nutritious, well-balanced diet.

Breakfast bars (protein or granola)

Don’t depend too much on commercial breakfast bars because, most often than not, these are filled sugars and chemicals. Advertised protein and granola bars are tempting but consuming them as a go-getter for breakfast will most likely make a person hungry even before mid-day. Might as well munch on a real candy bar.

When looking at the ingredients on a granola bar, people are surprised at its high levels of sugar, honey, and corn syrup and this does not even include the sugars found in chocolate chips and other flavors. Furthermore, they contain no proteins, and they lack fiber.

People who have early starts every morning, need to change their eating habits, especially if they have been accustomed to breakfast bars that are loaded with unhealthy contents. The breakfast of granola bars shows that a person isn’t on a low-carbohydrate diet. Avoid sugar-loaded bars. Instead, switch to some whole-wheat bread, spread some sugar-free peanut butter on them. That by itself is an easy, healthy breakfast!

Cereals with little or no fiber

Not all cereals are that healthy. Most of them are high in sugar and carbohydrates but lacking in fiber. Such contents may cause the blood sugar to shoot up, then just quickly drop and this would leave one to experience before-noon-moodiness and cravings. A person can prevent such predicaments by choosing cereals with lower sugars and contain some fiber. One can even further raise the fiber content of breakfast by adding some berries, wheat germ, some flaxseeds or even sliced almonds.

Choose breakfast cereals based on their nutrient contents. The health-conscious people always read the box labels to determine their contents. Cereals in boxes are processed products and may contain unhealthy elements like sugars, artificial colorings, with little cereals. These can all contribute to increasing the risk of heart diseases, obesity, and other health issues.

It doesn’t mean that people should totally abstain from cereals, just choose those that have fewer sugars, no additives, made from organic grains and with high-fiber contents. Make breakfast exciting by adding berries, nuts, and seeds to the healthy cereal chosen.

Donuts and muffins

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Traditional doughnuts are very popular breakfast items with ingredients that are all to be avoided. They are carb-circles, deep fried in oil and powdered with sugar plus some sprinkles to just add more “insults to injury.” Having them as a special treat is allowable but not as regular breakfast food. But if a person must indulge himself, at least couple the doughnut with some healthy fat or protein, maybe some nuts or a hard-boiled egg.

Muffins may look cute, innocent and appealing. But all these are just a front for muffins are cakes in disguise, packing calories more than one realizes. But if a person has that uncontrollable urge to eat muffins, eat just a half of it and pair it with some protein. Try Greek yogurt, it tastes good and is healthy. To save time on morning rush-hours, make a healthy batch of muffins, store it in the refrigerator and defrost one for breakfast when in a hurry.

Fast food sandwiches and pastries

Don’t be too sold on breakfast sandwiches from drive-thru eateries. Nutrition-wise, these foods may contain proteins, carbs, and some vegetables but often, the meat is greasy and processed, the bread is white, and mostly there is no fiber content. Without the latter, food craving will be happening sooner than a person thinks.

Burgers-on-the-go in the morning should also be avoided. Burger patties are not necessarily unhealthy, but that depends on how they are made. Those without preservatives will do you good. But what goes with the burgers like white bread, mayonnaise, and other additives will do you harm. Not to mention the greasy potatoes chips or French fries or onion rings that go on the side.

Pastries like donuts, Danishes, and Pop-tarts are also not recommended for morning meals. These are made from refined white flour with no whole grains involved. Besides, they contain tons of sugar that will cause your blood sugar to elevate, then crash and will be leaving a person hungrier much sooner.

Find substitutes for these foods for breakfast that are healthier. A simple egg and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread is a filling option. If possible and it is, make the sandwich from home. It isn’t that hard.

Fruit juice

Fruit juices are a popular item for dieters. They will help people lose those extra pounds, and they’re a refresher for hunger pangs. But beware of packed juices available in stores because most of them have been sweetened and they contain less actual juice. The high sugar contents can be risky for type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other diseases. Juice alone will not suffice to constitute a meal. Some proteins and healthy fats are essential, even when going on a diet.

People can be more innovative when taking natural fruit juices in the morning. Using a blender, try sneaking in some greens like kale, celery, carrots, and spinach. People are often amazed at how good this will taste. Aside from this drink, one will still need a supplement of some protein and healthy fats. Otherwise, the craving for food will happen early before lunch.

Toast with butter or jam

What people spread on their whole wheat bread should also is alarming. Butter substitutes have proliferated in the market and consumers need be warned that many of these spreadable contain unhealthy compounds like trans fats. This is a synthetic fat that can do much damage like raising bad cholesterol, lowering good cholesterol and increasing the risk of heart diseases and diabetes. Don’t use substitutes. If a person wants butter, sparingly spread the real one on whole wheat slices. Or to make butter more substantial, make a vegetable omelet.

Toast topped with margarine spread seems like an ideal breakfast since it does not contain saturated fats or sugar. That is a misconception on two fronts. First, on the toast. The flour used in making bread is refined and contains very little nutrients and fiber. Because of this property, consuming them will spike the blood sugar levels very quickly. A sudden elevation of this level will lead to feelings of hunger which will make a person eat more for the next meal.

Second, on the margarine. This spread contains trans fats, the worst and most unhealthy type of fat anyone can eat. These fats are created by manufacturers by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to mimic the appearance of saturated fats. Studies have shown that saturated fats do not cause harm but trans fats will. There are massive amounts of evidence that they are very inflammatory and can increase your risk of heart diseases.

Kids tend to gravitate towards sweet spreads on their bread for their early meal. This isn’t helping either for the health conscious as jams are loaded with sugars. Instead, let them have eggs on their toast, which by the way should be multi-grain bread.

Pancakes and waffles

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There are no more temptations about having pancakes and waffles for breakfast. It has become part of the daily morning meal and sadly, our culture. Pancakes and waffles are made with flour, eggs, milk, and sugar. Even though these foods may contain proteins, basically they are made from plain wheat flour which contributes to insulin resistance and obesity.

But that is not the worst of it. When served, both pancakes and waffles are topped with a heavy syrup made from corn. That combination will contribute to a major sugar crash. But people need not veer from the standard. When having pancakes or waffles for breakfast, use the real all-natural maple syrup. It may be more expensive but health-wise, it will be worth it. Greek yogurt can also be added to pancake recipes for an additional dose of protein.

Smoothies from the store

An average individual would rather pick a smoothie than a green juice drink for the obvious reason that a smoothie is sweet. But do consider what goes into a smoothie aside from the sugar load. Some of them even contain ice cream or full-fat milk. When so, the smoothie becomes a misnomer as this concoction should be called a milkshake. To get all the benefits of a good smoothie, make them at home. Use blended fruits and veggies and for protein, some Greek yogurt.

Sweetened, flavored or light yogurt

An ideal breakfast will be some Greek yogurt with fresh fruits. It’s easy to make and super healthy. Make this breakfast at home as the ingredients are readily available at the grocer. Do not buy packed ones in stores as they usually contain preservatives, artificial flavorings, and lots of sugar.

People have different choices of yogurt: light, sweetened or flavored. Light seems to be the best choice but not necessarily. Many packaged yogurts may be low in calorie content but can be high in artificial sweeteners and chemicals. This is true with the flavored kind. Just be consistent health-wise. Choose plain Greek yogurt. They contain protein that will keep a person fuller longer, and there are no sugar additives.

Not all yogurts, by the way, are good. The flavored ones are not recommended because they can pack as much sugar as that Danish cinnamon roll one was smart enough to avoid. Instead, go for the plain low-fat yogurt or even full-fat. Either one has been shown to be good for a healthy diet. In case a person prefers some sweetness, just add honey, maple syrup or fruits.

Uncooked vegetables

There are no doubt veggies are an important part of the diet but sadly, not in the morning. Eating them on an empty stomach may result in stomach pain. Furthermore, the amino acids present in them can lead to flatulence, heartburn, and can even irritate the linings of the stomach. Tomatoes especially should be avoided in the morning. Their high-concentration of tannic acid will increase the stomach acidity which can lead to gastric ulcers.

Processed Meats

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Processed meats are the worse and most harmful type of meat. Studies have shown that just 1.8 ounces of processed meat can increase your risk of heart disease by as much as 42%. Eating processed meats should be done on special occasions and in limited portions. Serve them as condiments or appetizers but never the main course. If in case, the urge to indulge is strong, just be sure the other breakfast foods are all made with healthy ingredients.

We all know these processed villains, and they include sausages, hams, bacon, salami, bologna, and more. They all contain nitrates, a chemical that has been linked to colorectal cancer. Next time, at the deli or grocer, check the meat’s labels to be sure that nitrates were not used in its manufacturing. Foods with nitrates should be off your breakfast table. Foods without, enjoy but in moderation.

Final words

How a person starts, his day will depend on what he will have for breakfast. Eating healthy will make anyone feel positive. First, choose foods that will keep the body full until lunchtime, without any cravings in between. Avoid foods that are devoid of nutrients. Juices or some health drink are not sufficient to sustain your morning. Proteins and fats should also be part of the daily breakfast regimen.

Most people consider breakfast being the most important meal of the day. What better way to make it so by eating the right foods. Eating the wrong ones will sabotage the entire day. When one feels hungry way before lunchtime or feels tired and lethargic at midday or eating more than one usually does at lunch, then that person isn’t eating the right foods to start his day.

 

The Ultimate List of Fish to Eat (Inc What to Avoid)

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Fish To Eat Image Design 1 - The Ultimate List of Fish to Eat (Inc What to Avoid)

Fish can serve as a power food or an absolute toxic inflammatory nightmare to your body. Everything depends on the kind of fish you choose. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat fish twice a week to meet the RDA for omega 3 fatty acids. But how on earth do you know that the fish you’re eating is beneficial?

There are millions of fish species, but you can consider only a few as healthy choices. To choose which species to eat, first, find their fatty acid profile. Fish that live in dark, cold waters contain higher levels of Omega 3’s.  Salmon, sardines, rainbow trout, anchovies, bass, herring, and tuna are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Next, consider their source. There are two categories of sources: farmed or wild. Each method has its pros and cons. To help you make healthy seafood choices we’ve given you the ultimate list of fish to include and avoid.

Health benefits of eating fish

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Highly nutritious. Fish is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. All kinds of fish are good for you. However, the fatty type of fish is the healthiest of all. Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, and mackerel are higher in fat based nutrients. One of the nutrients is fat-soluble vitamin D which acts as a steroid hormone in your body.

Fatty fish contain significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. They are necessary for the optimal functioning of your body and brain. It’s good that you include fatty fish at least once or twice a week.

Lowers risk of heart attack and stroke. A study of 49,000 women published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association says that women who consumed little to no fish had fifty percent more heart problems than who at least ate fish once per week.

Researchers also found that women who rarely ate fish had three-fold higher rate of risk of heart diseases. Higher consumption of fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, slashes your blood fat levels and contributes to lower heart-disease risk.

Reduces Alzheimer’s risk. If you eat fish even once a week, it helps preserve your gray matter neurons. The part of your brain that links up with memory and cognition. Researchers say that people who eat baked or broiled fish but not fried have larger cells and larger brains in the areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Larger brain volume lowers the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Eases depression. According to various research studies when you take fish along with anti-depression medications, the omega 3’s is more efficient in treating your depression than medication alone. Studies show that taking 300mg of omega 3 capsules during pregnancy can significantly reduce your risk of postpartum depression.

Boosts brain power. Fish is highly beneficial for kids because of its EFA omega 3 fatty acids. The EFA significantly optimizes the brain development of your children. According to scientists, omega 3 helps soothe the symptoms of ADHD.

Improve skin and hairThe biggest drawbacks of a low-fat diet are that it deprives your skin and hair of the healthy fat it needs leaving it dry. Healthy omega 3’s found in fish, keeps your skin nourished and your hair shiny. Omega 3 is also useful for treating conditions such as psoriasis.

Promotes vitamin D levels. Saltwater fish is an excellent source of vitamin D. According to scientists it wards off disease, prevents cognitive decline and improves bone health. Just one three-ounce serving of salmon contributes 75 percent RDA of this vitamin.

Fish improves sleep quality. Researchers say that vitamin D helps to improve sleep quality. A 6-month study of 95 middle-aged men found that a meal with salmon three times a week improved both sleep and daily functioning.

Fish to include

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(Source: Goodfishguide.org)

  • Abalone- eat often
  • Anchovy anchovies- not so often
  • Arctic char- eat often
  • Bass, sea bass farmed- eat often
  • Bream Gilthead farmed- not so often
  • Clam, Manila (farmed)- eat often
  • Cockle, cockles – not so often
  • Coley Saithe – not so often
  • Crab brown or edible- not so often
  • Crawfish Red Swamp – not so often
  • Cuttle fish-not so often
  • Dab- not so often
  • Flounder-not so often
  • Hake Cape- eat often
  • Hake European-not often
  • Halibut Atlantic farmed –not so often
  • Halibut Pacific-eat often
  • Herring Atlantic and Pacific- eat often
  • Limpet Slipper- not often
  • Mussel, mussels (Farmed) – eat often
  • Oyster, Native, oysters (farmed) – eat often
  • Oyster, Pacific, oysters – (eat often)
  • Pouting or Bib- not often
  • Salmon Atlantic farmed – not often
  • Salmon, Chinook, King Salmon- not often
  • Salmon, Chum, Keta, Calico or dog salmon –not often
  • Salmon, Coho, Silver, White- not often
  • Salmon, Pink, spring, humpback- eat often
  • Salmon, Sockeye, Red Salmon, Blueback, Redfish-not often
  • Sardine, European, pilchard, sardines- not often
  • Squid Japanese flying-not often
  • Sturgeon farmed-not often
  • Tilapia- not often
  • Trout Rainbow- eat often
  • Turbot farmed -not often

Fish to avoid

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  • Alfonsino
  • Bass, seabass caught at sea
  • Black scabbardfish
  • Bream, Red sea bream, Blackspot sea bream
  • Clam, Razor, clams
  • Cod, Atlantic Cod
  • Crawfish
  • Devil Fish, Giant Devilray
  • Eel, Conger
  • Eel, European caught at sea
  • Eel, European farmed
  • Forkbeard, Greater
  • Grenadier, Rough-head
  • Grenadier, Roughsnout
  • Grouper
  • Guitarfish
  • Haddock- Depending on how and where it’s found this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable
  • Halibut Atlantic found at sea
  • Herring or slid- captured at sea
  • Ling
  • Ling Blue
  • Lobster American- caught at sea
  • Marlin blue- found at sea
  • Mullet Grey Thicklip
  • Orange Roughy
  • Oysters native oysters- found at sea
  • Parrotfish Uhu
  • Plaice
  • Pollock, Alaska, Walleye- caught at sea
  • Prawn King (white leg) prawns- farmed
  • Prawn Northern prawns- captured at sea (North East Atlantic)
  • Rabbitfish
  • Ray, blonde
  • Ray cuckoo
  • Ray Sandy
  • Ray shagreen
  • Ray small eyed
  • Ray starry
  • Ray, undulate
  • Redfish
  • Salmon Atlantic caught at sea
  • Sawfish
  • Scabbardfish Silver
  • Shark, Angel
  • Shark, general
  • Shark porbeagle
  • Shark tope
  • Silver Smealt, Greater
  • Skate common
  • Skate long-nosed
  • Skate, Norwegian or Black
  • Skate, white
  • Sole, Dove sole, Common sole
  • Spurdog spiny Dogfish, Rock Salmon or Flake
  • Squid, Common Chinese
  • Sturgeon caught at sea
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna albacore
  • Tuna Atlantic Bluefin found at sea
  • Tuna Atlantic Bluefin farmed
  • Tuna bigeye
  • Tuna Pacific Bluefin
  • Tuna skipjack
  • Tuna Southern Bluefin found at sea
  • Tuna, Southern Bluefin Farmed
  • Tuna yellowfin
  • Whitebait
  • Whiting
  • Wolfish

Mercury poisoning and other toxins in fish. Mercury is a metal found naturally in your environment. Activities like burning coal, farming and using mercury in manufacturing increase mercury cycling through water, air, and soil. Mercury changes its form in water and becomes methylmercury.

Fish tends to absorb this mercury, and when you consume fish, you too absorb the mercury. At higher levels, it could be harmful. To reduce the risk of mercury contamination, try to avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish and King Mackerel altogether.

Shellfish can also have toxins because they are scavengers. They feed on sewage, industrial deposits, and on the waste of other fish filtering through their bodies. Avoid lobsters, clams, oysters, scallops, and shrimps if you want to avoid excess toxins from shellfish.

If you eat fish that has contaminants such as mercury and other toxins, it results in high levels of mercury in your human body. It even damages the development of the brain and nervous system in the fetus and young kids. So, women who are pregnant, nursing or who are planning for a baby should completely avoid this kind of fish.

Check with local advisories whether the fish caught by your family and friends in your local lakes, rivers and coastal areas are safe to eat. If no advice is available, eat up to 170 g of fish per week, caught from local streams, but don’t eat any other fish, during that week.

Wild fish and farmed fish

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Aquaculture or fish farming means fish gets raised in floating net pens near the ocean shore. This method is also known as “Ocean Raised.”

Pros of farmed fish. Farmed fish are more readily available and a lot cheaper than wild caught fish. Some farmed fish have more omega 3 fatty acids than wild fish because fish farmers control the diet of the fish. Fish farming involves the reduced danger of overfishing.

Cons of farmed fish. Usually, the farmed fish contain more contaminants. Farmers feed processed pellets made from sardines, anchovies, and other small fish. These fish are mostly caught in polluted waters closer to the shore.

As a result, farmed fish contain higher levels of chemical contaminants. These chemicals may cause memory problems, cancer and nonbehavioral changes in children. Farmed salmon contains more of dioxins, PCB’s and pesticides than wild salmon.

Farmed fish are more subject to disease. It spreads quickly through the entire pen. To control the disease farmers feed antibiotics to the fish. Farmers even feed enhanced diet to these fish. Still, they have lower levels of omega 3’s when compared to wild fish.

Wild fish

Wild caught fish live in open waters and eat a natural diet. Fishers catch these fish from open waters.

Pros

The wild fish taste much better than farmed fish. Wild salmon is naturally bright in color, while farmers must add dyes to bring color to farmed salmon. Wild fish are healthier and less contaminated than farm fish.

Cons of wild fish

Marine biologists fear that there will not be enough wild fish to meet the growing demand. Overfishing depletes certain species of fish and affects the ecosystem at large.

Fresh wild wish can be more expensive. Some fish travel thousands of miles to reach the grocery store near you. The shipping of fish all over the world pollutes the environment because it uses fossil fuels.

Preservatives in fish

You must be concerned about the chemicals that get sprayed onto the fish. Preservatives such as sulfites, polyphosphates, polytrisorbate and sodium benzoate are sprayed to control the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold and to make fish more appetizing.

The FDA allows these preservatives. The long-term health concerns of consuming these chemicals are unknown. Warm water fish like Orange Roughly are more likely to have chemicals than cold water fish. It is better to use your judgment and know your supplier.

Healthy fish to eat

The best fish options come from sustainable fisheries. They are lower in contaminants and high in fatty acids. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch calls this the “Super Green List.”

Wild caught Alaskan salmon. Salmon is a great option for your overall diet. Not only is salmon rich in omega 3 fatty acids and proteins but it is also high in B vitamins. It is a good source of potassium and selenium.

 Black Cod (Alaska and Canadian Pacific) Cod is a great source of niacin, phosphorus and vitamin B12. The cold-water fish like cod is highly beneficial for people with atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Cod is an excellent source of low-calorie protein. They provide between 100-250g per day in omega 3.

Herring (Atlantic and Pacific according to EDF Sea Food Selector)

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Making Herring a part of your diet boosts the health of your red blood cells. It contains magnesium, calcium and phosphorous, and so comes packed with nutrients for your skeletal health. Herring even stimulates your nerve function.

Atlantic Mackerel. Mackerel contains Coenzyme that helps to eliminate harmful agents from the afflicted cells, and it significantly improves cellular health. The oily fish is also high in omega 3 fatty acids. Vendors sell this fish in tons of salt, so make sure to soak it and rinse well before cooking and eating to reduce the sodium levels.

Pacific sardines. The sardine nutrition serves as the highest omega 3 fatty acid sources on the planet. It’s a fish that’s lower on the food chain, so has low levels of contaminants.

How to make smarter seafood choices?

To conclude, finding safer seafood can lead you down a tangled, confusing web. So here are some ways to make smart food choices.

  • Get yourself a seafood guide app or list from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch to know more about healthy fish options.
  • Choose to support restaurants and business that use more sustainable and healthy seafood.
  • To increase your EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acid benefits, you can try using phytoplankton supplements. Phytoplankton are rich in amino acids, minerals, antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Opt for fish like Pacific Sardines; Wild-caught Alaskan salmon and Atlantic
  • You can sign up for news from Food and Water Watch. This non-profit seafood group keeps a close eye on the seafood

Keep our guidelines in mind when you shop for fish, you’ll reap the heart-healthy benefits of fish without the risks. You can also add at least one fermented food to your diet especially when you eat a serving of your favorite fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency and How to Avoid Them

0c268ed5a3745b22122d34edd0827e13 - 8 Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency and How to Avoid Them

Selenium Image Design 1 1024x562 - 8 Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency and How to Avoid ThemYou may never have heard of selenium before, but it is an antioxidant that the body needs. It’s essential for good health, and with a healthy and balanced diet, you will likely already get enough.

To be more exact, selenium isn’t the antioxidant. It’s a protein that helps to create an essential antioxidant. When you get enough, your body will get the energy that it needs for physical and mental needs. It has also been known to help protect against some cancers and heart problems. Studies have shown a reduction in the likes of lung, colon and bladder cancer. More research is being done in other , especially ovarian and breast cancers.

When you start showing the symptoms of selenium deficiency, the best thing you can do is add foods that are high in it to your diet. Take action earlier to be able to improve your health and overall wellbeing. It’s important to make changes quickly, as a deficiency has been linked to vessel damage and heart disease risk.

The good news is that the majority of people in Western World won’t have a selenium deficiency. This is more common in HIV patients and those with  Crohn’s disease who suffer from digestive problems. It’s often due to the inability to absorb nutrients from the food that we eat.

But what are these symptoms of selenium deficiency that you should be looking out for? These eight are among the most common that you need to be aware of.

Do You Shed a Lot of Hair?

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This is one of those things that happens to everyone. We all shed some hair and skin on a daily basis. The cells die, and the body needs to get rid of them somehow. It’s perfectly normal to see some hair loss or skin shedding.

Hair loss is also an age-related problem. It can be difficult to determine whether it is happening because of your selenium deficiency or due to other problems.

What you want to look out for is the amount of hair or skin that you are losing. You shouldn’t lose large clumps on a daily basis. You’ll find a few strands. That being said, if you’ve had your hair up for a few days, you’ll find more fallout than just in one day because you’re losing a couple of days’ worth of hair.

Severe selenium deficiency can also cause the leg and underarm hair to come out. You’ll usually find that the hair loss overall is quick and even.

Discolouration of the Nails and Skin

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Another common problem is that the nails and skin start to change color. Yes, this is another symptom that is involved in numerous other problems. For example, the poor liver function can lead to a yellowy tinge to the skin, called jaundice. The use of certain foods or ingredients can cause the nails to change color. You may even have caused some nail color changes because of the use of some nail polish.

With selenium deficiency, the bed of your fingernails will start to change color. They’ll look more white, instead of the normal color of your skin. This white color won’t grow upwards with the nail and is usually actually within the bed and the skin around it.

Other parts of your skin can start to change color, leading to pigmentation issues. When you take in more selenium, you can reverse the condition.

Do You Feel More Tired than Usual?

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Remember that the selenium helps with the energy levels. It helps to reduce oxidative stress, which means that more oxygenated blood can get around the body. This is extremely important for the energy levels. Your brain will be able to function better, releasing the right types of nutrients around your system.

If you struggle with fatigue or you suddenly feel more tired than usual, you will want to consider changes in your diet. This is actually a symptom of so many other problems, and it could just be a sign that you are temporarily run down or have a viral infection. It is also a common sign of a thyroid problem, anemia, and a deficiency in B vitamins.

Your doctor will want to do a test for all the different types of vitamins and minerals that you could be deficient in. This will bring up all issues, including selenium.

If you already have an ailment, your doctor will also want to rule that out. It may be a symptom of something else.

Does Your Brain Feel Foggy?

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How often have you made it from A to B or written out something and just had no memory of doing it? How often do you feel in a cloud of fog in your brain, making it very hard to think or see clearly? You spend all your time trying to work through the fog, rather than working on the actual project.

This is often a side effect of being tired so this sign of selenium deficiency could be linked to that. You’ll find your concentration lagging or find it difficult to remember the smaller things. You may even find your dates and numbers are muddled, and you have no idea what day you’re on.

It sounds more like being a parent at times, right? Or just being so drained from work that you can’t function properly.

Well, the deficiency leads to low energy—and not just physical energy. Remember that your brain needs oxygen to function properly. Your mental energy is diminished, which means that you just don’t feel like yourself.

The problem with a lack of mental energy is that there are other mental health problems that come up. This symptom can lead to depression, which can have further problems on your health. You also become more irritable, and it can severely affect your social life.

Has Hypothyroidism Become a Health Issue?

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We’ve mentioned it in passing. Thyroid issues can lead to low energy levels. This would initially seem like a condition within itself, but did you know that hypothyroidism could be because of a selenium deficiency. If you repaired the deficiency, you could find that your thyroid problems reverse on their own and there is no need to be on medication for the rest of your life.

Hypothyroidism is the medical name given to an under active thyroid. It’s where the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones to the body, and tiredness is one of the most common symptoms that people notice. Weight gain is another common issue, often because people find they need to eat more to be able to get the energy they need throughout the day.

Many doctors will treat the condition because it is serious. However, it’s important to look into the reasons for it. Doctors need to do more research to you as a patient. You may also want to consider increasing the amount of selenium that you have in your diet to see if there are any positive changes. Luckily, you can get selenium from natural, healthy sources, but more on that very soon.

Fertility Problems May Arise

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Low selenium levels have been linked to numerous fertility issues. In men, it can lead to poor swimmers. Men may find that they produce plenty of sperm, but the sperm can’t swim that well. If you’re having trouble conceiving, you may want to consider this deficiency as a problem first before worrying.

In women, a lack of selenium has been linked to reoccurring miscarriages. If you have been through more than two miscarriages, doctors will look for any signs that could cause this. They want you to have a healthy pregnancy the next time and will take steps to check any deficiencies. You’ll be alerted if this comes up.

The lack of the mineral causes menstrual changes, due to the hormonal changes. Remember that your thyroid is in charge of producing hormones and this deficiency affects that. If you find that your menstrual periods aren’t equal or have changed considerably over the years, you’ll want to find out if there is a medical reason.

Your Immune System will Suffer

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You’ll have heard this about every single deficiency out there. The truth is that a normal and healthy diet is the best thing for your immune system. By making a few changes and causing some deficiencies, you will see a drop in your immunity. You’ll be more susceptible to minor conditions like colds, or you could be more at risk of more severe problems.

It’s worth remembering the fact that selenium helps to create glutathione peroxidase, an essential antioxidant. Antioxidants are linked to boosting the immune system while fighting free radicals that lead to cancer and dementia.

Those who already have compromised immunes systems will suffer the most. This is because their bodies are already fighting off infections and just can’t handle anymore. Research has shown that by taking more selenium can help to boost the immunity while it is low to fight off further problems.

Are Your Asthma Symptoms Getting Worse

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How have your asthma symptoms changed over the years? There have been studies that show selenium helping to improve symptoms, so if they are getting worse, you may want to check your levels of this antioxidant. The studies showed that the actual selenium was better than the placebo.

This could be due to the body being able to fight off other infections. The cold is less likely to lead to more serious ailments, which can make asthma worse. Your body can do more, so you don’t feel the effects on your breathing.

More research is needed in this, which is why this has not been included in medical treatments when it comes to asthma patients. That doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to your diet to improve the amount of selenium you get naturally to see if it can help.

How Can You Avoid Selenium Deficiencies?

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Now that you know eight of the big signs, you can start looking at ways to avoid having a selenium deficiency completely. If you don’t have another medical issue that can compromise the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, you will want to focus on a healthy and balanced diet. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, but it really is the best way to get good amounts of selenium and many other vitamins and minerals.

High amounts of selenium are especially found in nuts, specifically Brazil nuts. Just two will give you the recommended daily intake. They are full of protein and healthy fatty goodness. If you are allergic to nuts, don’t worry. There are many other food options available.

Tuna, cod, eggs, and liver have all been found full of selenium. This makes sense when you consider the type of food they are and the signs of deficiency. Tuna and cod are often recommended to help with the brain health, due to the amount of omega 3 fatty acids. Eggs have large amounts of good cholesterol to help protect the blood vessels and heart, while liver has a large amount of iron and other nutrients to help with the oxygenated blood passing through the body.

Most seafood is actually a good source of selenium, whether you prefer prawns or salmon. You can also get it from grass-fed animals, chicken, and turkey. That paleo diet is one of the best options to help you get enough selenium in your diet. We recommend selenium veg capsules for the best results.

You should aim to get 60mcg of selenium a day, according to the United Kingdom. The United States says 55mcg is the recommended amount. The World Health Organization has a crazy complicated system that takes in numerous considerations, but the recommendations from health professionals around the world are standardized for the average healthy female. If you are immune-compromised or struggle with absorbing nutrients, your doctor will be able to help you get the right amount.

The higher amount recommended by the United Kingdom is not going to do you any harm. However, you can eat too much, so try not to go over by much more!

Are You Ready to Make the Changes?

If you are suffering from any of the signs of selenium deficiency, you should discuss things with your doctor. This is especially the case if you find the first signs mentioned—linked to hair and nails. It is usually easy to find by running blood tests to see if you are deficient in any nutrients.

Making changes to your diet will help avoid a deficiency. It’s time to start following a balanced diet that involves more foods with protein in it. If you don’t want to eat meat, then just two Brazil nuts a day will give you your intake for the day!

An Easy Guide On How To Cook Quinoa (And Avoid Common Mistakes) – Infographic

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The Terrifying Effects Of Aspartame In Our Food And How To Avoid It

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Aspartame Image Design 1 1024x562 - The Terrifying Effects Of Aspartame In Our Food And How To Avoid It Aspartame is a sweetener, often believed to be healthier than refined sugar. It’s more commonly called by its brand names, such as Canderel, NutraSweet, and even AminoSweet. These brands promote it as a great alternative to adding sugar to your tea, coffee and even baking because it doesn’t have the extra calories.

In fact, many diet sodas will include aspartame. It’s different to avoid it in some cases, and you will need to be active about it.

But just why do you need to avoid the ingredient actively. If it has no calories, surely it must be better than sugary foods. Surely it helps to avoid weight gain, which means you have a healthier lifestyle because you don’t have all the side effects of that.

Even the FDA recommends it in the United States. This is the body that determines whether something is good or bad for a person. It is easy to understand how we’ve all come to the conclusion that it’s good for us. What we don’t realize is that it’s one of the most complained about ingredients. In fact, it’s so bad that when all the other food additive complaints are combined, aspartame is more than all of them on its own! Yes, it really is that bad.

Just how bad for you is it and what does it do? Well, here’s a look at the terrifying effects that aspartame has on the body. Here is your look at why and how you should avoid it on a daily basis.

Not Everyone Reports Their Complaints

I want to cover the fact that the reactions to aspartame may be higher. The FDA admits that not everyone who suffers health problems from aspartame—or any ingredient—will report it to them. Around 1% both, and that 1% has led to 10,000 reports against the additive on its own.

And this only looks into the FDA and the United States. When we consider the world as a whole, the complaints are much higher. The problems on are a wide scale and need to be taken seriously.

Why isn’t anyone doing anything? Well, officials may need more reports. They need to know exactly how people suffer and make sure that it is definitely due to the aspartame. It also doesn’t help that we don’t know exactly that it is the aspartame that has caused the illnesses. Many of the symptoms mimic so many other health problems. Doctors are misdiagnosing because they just don’t have all the information or know what to look out for.

Research is showing that aspartame is causing some major problems and does have long term health effects. Because of it, more people are being made aware of the issues. In the end, it’s up to us to protect our own bodies and not the government. It’s up to use to take active steps to completely avoid it, rather than hope that businesses and governments will do it for us.

This is why we need to know about the health risks of having aspartame on a regular basis and how to completely avoid it.

Aspartame and Mimicked Health Conditions

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I’ve mentioned that aspartame symptoms mimic many other health conditions. Just what are they that you should look out for?

Multiple sclerosis is one of the most commonly mimicked conditions. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and even lupus are all mimicked. Doctors have misdiagnosed people with lymphoma, Lyme disease, and even fibromyalgia. With many of these conditions, it’s so important to get the treatment right away, so doctors tend to act on what they know.

There is some research out there that the use of aspartame could be linked to some neurological pains and effects, including headaches and depression. Anxiety and other mental illnesses have been linked to the use of the sweetener. Many of these have been linked to so many other conditions, though. How do you know why your headache, depression, anxiety, etc. are problems? How can your doctor work out the exact reason when many of them won’t even know the exact ingredients in your food and drink?

Aspartame isn’t just in soft drinks, either. It’s used in chewing gum, desserts, and even supplements! Your doctor wouldn’t necessarily know that you’re using the sweetener, so ends up diagnosing you with another health condition instead.

And then there are the problems with the sweetener leading to these other health conditions. They can speed up the process of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In some cases, the conditions can be triggered!

So, what are all the scary health problems linked to the use of aspartame?

Damaging Effect on the Brain

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The jury is still out on the full problems, but there are links to damages to your brain. Scientists have noted that infants rats suffer severe brain development problems when they have high levels of one ingredient in aspartame: phenylalanine.

This isn’t even just one ingredient, but the main ingredient in the sweetener. In fact, it makes up 50% of aspartame. There are some good things about it because the amino acid is in our brains. However, the brain produces it in safe amounts. By adding more to our bodies, there is the risk of getting too much.

Pregnant women are advised to talk to their doctor if they have extra levels of phenylalanine, because of the risk of the baby’s brain development. Breastfeeding women should also talk to their doctor, since the amino acid can be passed through the milk supply. This means using aspartame on a regular basis or discuss the level of use with your doctor.

And if that isn’t scary enough for you, the aspartic acid within the ingredient affects the brains of adults. It can cause severe side effects and chronic neurological disorders.

Like the phenylalanine, this is naturally made within the brain but only within safe levels. When you end up taking too much in, your cells become extremely overactive, and they die. You are left with damaged and dead cells that can redevelop or grow back in abnormal ways.

What does this mean? Your brain is opened to the side effects of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and even cancer. Even all the antioxidants that you intake on a daily basis aren’t enough to help counter all the effects of the aspartic acid.

Aspartame = the Cancer Causing Sweetener

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The aspartic acid doesn’t just cause the cells to die. The excitotoxins breakdown into toxins methanol and formaldehyde, and you know that both of these are extremely danger to take into your body on a daily basis. It’s not surprising when you find out about this that aspartame is a major reason people get cancer.

This statement isn’t just to scare you into stop using the sweetener. It were truth and was shown by Victoria Inness-Brown, who conducted her own private study on rats. They were given the equivalent of an 8-oz diet soda amount of aspartame for almost three years. In the end,37% of the female rats had tumors of various sizes.

Menthol has also been linked to poisoning cases. It’s used in antifreeze, which has been used by people to poison others. Why are we willingly putting it into our bodies?

It’s the Reason We’re Gaining Weight

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I know what you’re thinking right now. This is an ingredient used in diet sodas. How could it possibly be the reason for us gaining weight? It’s supposed to help us lose weight, right? It’s got fewer calories than sugar!

Well, yes, aspartame is promoted as a sweetener to help with weight loss, but research shows that it does the opposite. It’s the reason many people are gaining weight. This is especially the case if you drink it instead of consuming water and other healthier alternatives.

There are a few reasons for this to happen, and one of those is our belief that we need to have more sugar in our lives. Aspartame—and in fact, any artificial sweetener—has been linked to sugar cravings. We start to think that we need more sweet things to get us through the day. We want to have food because it’s sweet—and of course, we think it’s fine to have because there aren’t as many calories.

Sweet food is more a modern thing, as the cavemen focused on a raw food diet and got sweet stuff from the trees and plants. There’s no need for anything artificially sweet, and we can opt for natural (and healthier) sugars through the use of fruits.

On top of all this, we end up consuming far more calories than we should. The diet sodas may not have many, but we tend to consume them in larger amounts. We also ready for the sweeter foods like chocolates, sweets, and cookies. Our calorie consumption soon goes up, and we end up gaining weight through that.

If we avoid the aspartame—and many other artificial sweeteners—we can avoid this sugar dependency and cut the cravings. This is great for our waistlines while offering us many other health benefits.

We Don’t Become Diabetics

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That sugar dependency doesn’t just lead to weight gain. We end up running the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Our bodies just aren’t designed to handle the amount of sugar that we have on a regular basis.

Not just that, but the use of artificial sweeteners has led to blood sugar levels being higher. There’s no need to eat more sugar to calm your sugar cravings to run the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

So researchers don’t exactly say that the aspartame is the problem, but it is certainly strongly linked to the problem. Really, when you consider all the other problems, it’s better just to avoid it completely.

You Can Become Addicted

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Have you ever felt that need to consume more diet pop? You start getting intense headaches when you don’t get your fill and feel the shakes and other withdrawal symptoms. Many people joke that they have an addiction, but this is actually true.

Like sugar, aspartame, and other artificial sweeteners are addictive. The pleasure receptors in your brain are ignited when you drink more diet pop, chew gun, or consume anything with aspartame in it. As you like the feeling of the pleasure receptors igniting, you start taking more in, and it starts to become a need.

It’s just like any drug, really. Think about how people become addicted and reliant on drugs and alcohol. This is the exact same thing with aspartame. The difference is people have a joke or consider it funny when they say they are addicted. They don’t realize they’re suffering from a real condition.

If you’re already at this point, before you can even think about avoiding aspartame, you need to admit to yourself that you have an addiction: a problem. If you don’t admit it, you won’t realize just how serious the problem has become. You’ll also find it harder to cut out the artificial sweetener completely.

Addictions to aspartame are much more serious than addictions to sugar. And they are much more common. The aspartame not having calories is a bad thing. The calories will usually counteract the pleasure receptors, so you don’t feel as happy as you would with something without calories. You’re more likely to take in far more, and it is far more addictive at the same time. You end up in a lose-lose situation.

But the Studies Show It’s Safe!

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Have you noticed that some studies show that aspartame is 100% safe? Sure, there are plenty that shows this. So then how do we end up with studies that show that it definitely isn’t safe?

It’s worth looking at the funding for the studies. Those that show there are no problems have been funding by the aspartame and artificial sweetener industry. Meanwhile, those that are funded by independent or other sources tend to show that there are dangers.

When you look at this, it tends to make sense. Why would anyone within the business want to share that their product is dangerous? Why would they want the studies to come out with the full truth? There is a bias, which is why you need to look at the studies that have been done privately or independently; those that you know you can trust the information the best.

This isn’t just a problem with aspartame. It’s a problem with research studies in general. There are even times that researchers can fabricate results just to get to a particular answer that the person funding wants.

But doesn’t that mean you can’t trust the independently funded studies? What if they have a hidden agenda to find the problems? Well, that could certainly be the case. This is where your own feelings, experiences, and thoughts will need to come in. The problem is that the problems are long-term issues, so do you really want to risk them just for the sake of not experiencing anything right now?

So Just What Can You Do to Avoid the Aspartame Problem?

Honestly, the best thing to do is to avoid the sweetener altogether. In fact, try to avoid as many artificial sweeteners as possible. They all tend to be as bad as each other for various things.

The good news is that other artificial sweeteners don’t show as dangerous effects as aspartame. You could switch to them if you want, but you will still need to deal with the addiction to the sweeteners.

Many companies are making this easy for you. While Pepsi isn’t admitting that there is a health problem with aspartame, it has stated that the American recipe for the diet versions of the soda will not include aspartame. Instead, it is switching to sucralose. So far, studies have been positive about this sweetener when it comes to many health problems. The company states that this is due to customers being worried more than due to the potential health risks. It is possible that you could help get your favourite brand of soda to switch the use of aspartame for sucralose in the diet versions.

There is also the look at getting away from artificial sweeteners altogether. Brands are considering natural flavour enhancers or natural sweeteners such as Stevia.

The natural sweetener Stevia is highly recommended for those that still want a sweet taste without the calories but none of the health risks at the same time. Since it’s natural, there are no harmful toxins include in the ingredients and the chemicals and amino acids don’t break down into harmful toxins at the same time. Your brain is protected from so many of the side effects of many other artificial sweeteners.

However, if you do have diabetes or you’re at a risk of developing it, you should avoid all types of sweeteners. This includes the natural options. There are still addiction problems, and they will lead to the blood sugar levels increasing. If you want something sweet, stick to naturally sweet fruit in moderation.

What About Switching to Natural Sweet Products?

You may think that fruit juices or honey are great options for your sweet craving. These aren’t as good as they sound, but they don’t lead to all the health problems of aspartame.

It’s a balancing act. There’s no point saying don’t eat anything sweet. It’s all about getting things in moderation.

Honey is a great natural sweetener, but it has a large amount of fructose. Anything that ends in “ose” is sugar, so you get a large amount of sugar in your honey. However, there are so many other health benefits that you need to consider.

Not only does honey have plenty of vitamin C, but it is also full of antioxidants. All of these together will help to boost the immune system and protect your body from the likes of cancer and dementia by fighting the free radicals.

You only want up to 25g of anything with fructose in a day. Try adding it to your porridge on a morning to start your day with something sweet and limiting it for the rest of the day.

Could You Cut Out Sugar and Sweeteners Altogether?

What about the option of getting rid of anything sweet from your day? Well, getting rid of the artificial sweeteners and refined sugars? Could you do something like this for the good of your health?

This is a difficult ask for anyone. You don’t need to do it, but you could actually help to reduce your cravings and improve your life. The question is whether you really want to forgo everything. That is something only you can decide for yourself.

When it comes to drinking soft drinks, you could certainly avoid all that. It’s even worth avoiding store-bought fruit juices and natural sweeteners for drinks. Instead, opt for plain water to hydrate yourself throughout the day. If you don’t like the bland taste of water, you can also add some fresh fruit to it. This will give it a natural taste that is full of health benefits for you.

Lemon water is one of the most powerful additions to a morning routine. Just a few slices of lemon to your glass of water will help to cleanse your system and kick start it for a day of hard work. You can also drink it throughout the day, as the water becomes more alkaline to help ease digestive problems and avoid tooth decay.

What Are You Going to Do?

Now it’s up to you. Aspartame is full of hidden dangers to the health. It’s been linked to headaches, chronic pain and various long-term, debilitating health conditions. The problem is that it’s found in so many foods and drinks available for everyday consumption.

It’s time to get rid of it and make some changes for the sake of your health. Reduce the risks and start focusing on other artificial sweeteners and natural alternatives. There are plenty out there, as long as you’re willing to take a stand for the rights of your health.

12 Foods to Avoid Once Becoming Pregnant

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Foods To Avoid Image Design 1 1024x562 - 12 Foods to Avoid Once Becoming PregnantWhen you become pregnant, you’re no longer just looking after yourself. You have a little bundle of joy to look after and help develop. The food you eat can both help and hinder the development of the baby.

Eating during pregnancy is more than just focusing on a healthy diet and making sure you get the right nutrients. There are certain foods that can do so much harm that they are banned from your pregnancy diet. You’ll be encouraged to reduce a number of other foods you eat and avoid a few others where possible.

I remember going through the list and hating that some of my favourites were on the banned list. But then I had to remember that this is all about putting your little one first.

Here’s a look at 12 foods that you need to avoid once you become pregnant. I’ll also include the reasons why, so you can understand the list a little better.

Start Before Pregnancy

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If you’re trying to conceive, it’s worth avoiding some of the foods on this list from the start. I know it will be hard—and I couldn’t have done it with all of them. The problem is that some of the foods can cause miscarriage in the earlier weeks, so you want to reduce the amount you consume them as early as possible—and of course, you won’t know you’re pregnant until you’re around five or six weeks on in most cases.

Following a good pregnancy diet will also help with fertility and improve the chances of getting the right nutrients from the very start. You’ll support your baby’s chance of getting enough folic acid to support the growth of the nervous system at the most crucial time.

So, now it’s time to move onto the 12 foods to avoid.

Avoid Those Blue and Mouldy Cheeses

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Many midwives and doctors will say all soft cheeses are banned, but this is because of the way the majority of soft cheeses are made. Many are made with unpasteurized milk, which means they are more likely to contain bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and even E. Coli. All these bacteria put you at a high risk of miscarriage.

Look at the ingredients of the soft cheeses that you pick up to find out how they’re made. The ones that you’ll mostly want to avoid are mouldy or blue cheeses. You’ll want to watch out for the brie and camembert cheeses in the stores—those that tend to be in the foreign cheese aisle. It also includes feta, unfortunately.

Your spreadable cheeses that you usually get in the normal cheese aisle, like your Philadelphia. Most of the commercially made cheeses will tell you if they use pasteurised or unpasteurized milk. Pasteurised milk-made cheeses are perfectly safe to eat.

Cut Out the Deli Meats and Pates

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Yes, these two common favourites are also on the list of foods to avoid. They’re there for very similar reasons as the cheeses above. Ready-to-eat deli meats tend to be full of Listeria, which puts you at risk of having a miscarriage. Even if you don’t have a miscarriage, you’re at a higher risk of getting food poisoning, which can put you and your baby at risk.

Cut out deli meats if you’re trying to get pregnant. The Listeria affects babies mostly in the first trimester before you even know you’re pregnant.

If you’re going to eat deli meat or cheeses, you need to make sure you heat them until steaming hot. This kills off the bacteria, so you are at less risk of damage.

The deli meat includes hot dogs and luncheon meat. You’ll also need to wipe down all surfaces that have had any of the meats prepared or cut on, as the bacteria can linger.

What about pates? Well, this isn’t actually due to the bacteria but due to the amount of animal form vitamin A in them.The animal form of vitamin A can be very harmful to babies, and do lead to the risk of a miscarriage. You will still need to get vitamin A, but you should get it in plant form instead.We’ll touch more on this a little later.

Make Sure Your Eggs are Fully Cooked

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Sorry egg lovers, but runny eggs are a no-no during pregnancy. This was the one that I found the hardest when it came to my pregnancies.

Undercooked and raw eggs may be contaminated with salmonella. Remember that this can cause miscarriages. You can also end up very ill from this type of bacteria, and you’re already suffering from enough sickness because of the pregnancy.

It does not just egg on their own that you’ll need to watch out for. Cookie or cake dough shouldn’t be eaten unless cooked. Yes, that means you’ll have to let someone else in the house finish off the raw stuff. You’ll also want to avoid eggnog, carbonara, and hollandaise sauces. The only time you should eat them is if you know the eggs have been fully cooked.

When you do have cooked eggs, try to opt for organic as much as possible. They won’t be given the same growth hormones and antibiotics that other types of eggs end up with. These hormones and antibiotics can pass into your baby’s system.

The undercooked rule doesn’t just apply to eggs. You should make sure any meat produce is fully cooked to reduce the risk of bacteria problems.

Watch Out for Organ Meats

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While organ meats like liver and kidney are full of nutrients for your baby, they are also harmful. Sure, they have iron, vitamin A and vitamin B12, but they have the wrong type of vitamin A. Getting too much animal vitamin A is going to be bad for the baby.

Animal vitamin A is toxic and can lead to liver toxicity in your baby and birth defects. The organ meats are also high in copper, which can lead to similar issues. Both can also result in miscarriages.

But this doesn’t mean you have to cut out all organ meats. You can have some, but keep the amount that you eat to a minimum. No more than once a week of these types of meats. You can get your nutrients from other sources. If you can cut out the meats, that’s even better.

High-Mercury Fish Isn’t Good for You or Your Baby

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High-mercury fishes aren’t good for your normal diet, let alone for your pregnancy diet. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out all fish. Just make sure you keep a number of mercury fishes to a minimum. This does mean the fishes that are great for omega 3 fatty acids will be kept to a minimum.

Some of the worst offenders include shark, swordfish, mackerel, salmon, and tuna. You can have small amounts but stick to no more than two portions a week. If you can, opt for different types of fishes and even shellfish.

Too much mercury can cause birth defects in your baby. Brain and nervous system problems are the most common when babies have received too much mercury during development.

When you are going to eat fish and shellfish, make sure it is fully cooked. This could mean avoiding it completely when ordering out and only getting it when you have full control over the cooking. Avoid all sushi, as this is completely raw fish.

Why? Well, the raw fish brings the same problem as the undercooked meat and eggs. You get more bacteria that puts you at a risk of miscarriage.

You will also want to look at where the fish has been caught. There will be certain toxins and pollutants from water sources that can cause damage to the nervous system and brain in your unborn baby.

Avoid All Unpasteurised Milk Products

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It’s not just the unpasteurised cheeses that you want to avoid. You’ll also want to consider your other milk product sources. This means checking the packaging on your milk, yoghurts, and other sources. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting cow’s milk or goat’s milk.

The pasteurisation process helps to take out all the bacteria within the milk. Most long-life milk sources won’t go through this process, as it means the milk doesn’t last as long. Some long-life milk sources will also add extra chemicals to make sure it lasts.

Unfortunately for McFlurry and McDonald’s ice cream fans, you’ll need to avoid this throughout pregnancy. The ice cream and milkshakes are made with unpasteurised milk sources. It’s worth it for your baby in the end, but I do know how hard avoiding these can be.

Never Take Flaxseed Oil

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There are many websites that recommend taking flaxseed oil during pregnancy, but the real health experts will tell you the exact opposite. While flaxseed oil is excellent for omega 3, it is harmful to your baby. There is still research needed to find out the full effects on your unborn baby, but right now the problem is the levels of oestrogen in the oil.

High oestrogen levels have been linked to premature births, low-birth weights, and miscarriages. Women who have taken the oil during their last two trimesters have been the most affected.

The good news is that not all flaxseed has shown problems. It is just the oil, which is taken from the plant directly. The oil is untreated, whereas flaxseeds don’t have the same levels of hormone within them.

If you want to make sure you get enough omega 3, you should consider fish oil instead. There isn’t the same hormonal issue and fish oil has more omega 3 within it.

You’ll also want to avoid flaxseed oil while breastfeeding to keep your baby safe. There are still a lot of unknown side effects to your baby due to the hormone levels.

Don’t Eat Raw Sprout Vegetables

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It seems strange reading that you should avoid some vegetables during your pregnancy. It’s the raw forms of certain vegetables that you should avoid, and only the sprout vegetables. These include the likes of radishes, mung beans, and clovers.

Like with many other foods on the list, the sprout vegetables are full of Listeria bacteria. You’re putting yourself at a much higher risk of having a miscarriage by eating them raw.

The great news is that if you cook them, you can eat them. The cooking process helps to kill the bacteria, so you’re at a much lower risk of problems.

Organic vegetables—whatever type of vegetable you have—is also going to be better for you and your baby. Organic options don’t have the same fertilisers and pesticides used during the growing period. Too many of these are harmful to our unborn babies and us.

If you’re trying for a baby, you will want to look at organic vegetables too. The pesticides and fertilisers can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle, making it harder to get pregnant.

Make Sure You Wash Everything

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Whether you’re cooking food or eating it raw, make sure all the food you consume has been washed. I’d recommend washing it yourself, even if the packaging says that it has been washed and is ready to eat.

This is especially important with fruit, vegetables, and meat products. Eating anything unwashed means that you’re at the risk of consuming more bacteria and chemicals. Like with many of the foods above, you’re putting yourself at risk of having a miscarriage or causing birth defects to your baby.

Unwashed fruits and vegetables can also have parasites still living in them, and you’re at a higher risk of toxoplasmosis. This is a bacterial infection that is also common to those who have cats—make sure you get your partner or someone else in the house to empty the cat litter as much as possible! The contamination process on the fruit and vegetables can even occur during the retail process, which is why it’s worth washing even the pre-washed fruits and vegetables.

Both mother and baby are at risk if you get toxoplasmosis. You’ll likely not even realise as it carries no symptoms except for mild cold or flu-like symptoms. Babies can develop the infection while in the womb and be born without symptoms. However, they can develop problems like mental disabilities and blindness when they’re older.

Cut Out the Processed Junk Food as Much as Possible

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You want to eat in the best way possible for your unborn baby. This means cutting out the junk food that offers no nutrition but lots of empty calories. This includes the deep fried products, microwavable meals, and fast food.

Getting the right nutrients is extremely important from the very beginning. The development starts from the very first day and is extremely rapid. You need to make sure you get enough iron, protein, folate, and much more. And no, you’re not “eating for two” really. You definitely don’t need twice the calories, so you don’t have an excuse for eating all that junk food.

Focus on healthy, whole grain food. Think about the best type of diet for your overall health, and you’ll be putting your baby first.

Cutting out junk food will also mean that you’re cutting out the unnecessary sugar. High amounts of sugar during pregnancy puts you at a risk of developing gestational diabetes, which has been linked to large babies and premature births. Having an overweight child means that the child is also more likely to be overweight as an adult, which puts them at other health risks.

Cut Down on the Caffeine

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Okay, so you can have some caffeine during your pregnancy, but you want to cut down on it. You should actually cut down on caffeine when you’re trying to get pregnant, as the caffeine can actually disrupt your menstrual cycle.

This will mean cutting down on the amount of coffee, tea, and cocoa that you have. You’ll also want to cut down on sodas that contain the ingredients. Try to keep your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg a day. That means around 2-3 cups of filtered coffee a day. If you drink tea or green tea, you can have a little more since the caffeine levels are lower.

Caffeine will get to your growing baby very quickly and can cause problems. Babies don’t have the ability to metabolise the ingredient, which means that it builds up and causes various health issues. In earlier months if can cause miscarriage, but it can also lead to low birth weights since it stumps the growth of your little one.

If you need your caffeine fix, work it around your day. Opt for decaf as much as possible and figure out the best time of the day to have your regular cup of Joe.

Reduce Your Alcohol Limits

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This will be one of the foods/drinks that you’ve heard about the most when it comes to pregnancy. There’s still little known about the damaging effects that alcohol has on the baby, so the general advice is to avoid it completely. It has been linked to stillbirths, miscarriages, and problems with the birth development.

Some experts recommend cutting it out completely during the first trimester and then keeping your allowance to a couple of units a week. This means just a drink or two on a weekly basis from the second trimester. Why from this stage? Most of the brain development takes place during the first trimester.

There are risks of foetal alcohol syndrome, which has been linked to facial deformities, mental disabilities, and heart problems. More research is needed into this, but it is very difficult as studies cannot be carried out on real pregnant women. Therefore, the advice is to avoid alcohol completely.

Eat Healthily for Your Growing Baby

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You’re not quite eating for two, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on the best diet for your growing little one. A baby can only get the nutrients from its mother’s system. That means getting all the vitamins, minerals, and food groups that your baby will require for the best chance of growth and development.

Many of the foods to avoid include bacteria that are harmful to your little one. The foods are going to be difficult to avoid for many women, which is why it’s worth thinking that it will all be worth it in the end.

Foods to Avoid to Keep Your Metabolism

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Not all food is created equally. There are certain types of food that will destroy your metabolism. This means that your ability to burn calories will decrease, so you don’t need to eat as much throughout the day. Of course, you probably won’t realise that, so you end up consuming far too many and find it difficult to stick to a healthy weight.

If you want to keep your metabolism healthy, you will need to avoid certain types of foods. Sure, there’s a saying of everything in moderation, but you still need to stick to as healthy a diet as possible. Do the best for your metabolic rate.

It’s time to look into the foods that are the worst for your metabolism. I know some of them I was really disappointed about eating. In fact, there were some that I considered healthy until finding out the truth.

So, here’s a full list of the foods to avoid to keep your metabolism strong and stable.

Wait, What Exactly Does the Metabolism Do?

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We’ve looked at it briefly, but what is the metabolism responsible for?

In short, the metabolism controls the breaking down of calories in the body. It uses up these calories to provide energy for the whole body. The faster and stronger your metabolism, the more calories you will burn throughout the day.

When you don’t get enough calories, your metabolism will take the calories from storage in your body. Calories can come from fat and muscle, and the metabolism doesn’t really care which calories it takes. Usually, it takes from the easiest source to burn.

If you drop your calorie intake suddenly, your metabolism can panic. It is possible for it to go into starvation mode, which means it burns fewer calories than before. You end up having to eat less. Certain types of food can cause this similar issue.

We all have a metabolism, and there is a genetic component to it. Some of us just burn more naturally than others. And yes, those of us who are overweight and trying hard to lose it (or maintain a current rate) hate those who have a naturally fast and strong metabolism!

Without the metabolism, we don’t get the energy that we need. We can struggle to get through a day and feel weak and tired. If we don’t get enough calories to feed our metabolism, we get the same feeling. It controls the whole day-to-day running of our bodies, so it is important.

This is why it is so important to fuel our body properly. We want the strongest metabolism properly to make sure it burns the right number of calories efficiently and effectively.

So, it’s time to focus on the right diet. Here’s all you need to know about the foods that destroy the metabolism so you can avoid them.

Fruit Juice Has Far Too Much Sugar

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Let’s start with something that is marketed as being excellent for our health. In truth, fruit juice is one of the worst ingredients you can feed your body.

But how is that the case when it’s full of vitamins and minerals? Well, it’s because the juicing process means that we don’t quite get all the nutrients within the fruits. The most important one—fibre—is completely removed because the juicing process gets rid of all the pulp. All you get is the natural sugars, which are far worse for you when the fruit comes without the pulp.

It’s the fibre that helps to keep the natural sugars stable. Without the fibre, those natural sugars get straight into your bloodstream and cause a hike in blood sugars. Your metabolism is affected by this.

You see, when you have a blood sugar hike, your body releases insulin. Your body is then forced to store the calories you’re eating/drinking for later. Your metabolism needs to help the body handle the new blood sugar problem.

This is the case whatever type of fruit juice you have, even if you make it yourself. If you really want to drink your fruit, smoothies are the better option. They use whole fruit blended down, so you still have the pulp. They’re still not better than eating the whole fruit, but they’re better than the juices.

Drinking store-bought fruit juice is worse than drinking your own. The processes for these usually included added sugars, destroyed nutrients, and added food colouring. You may find the added sugars disguised as juice concentrate, fructose, or even corn syrup, but you’re still getting the bad stuff in your system.

The best thing you can do is avoid fruit juice as much as possible. Once a month probably isn’t that bad, but regularly drinking it is going to destroy your metabolism. If you really want fruity water, add the whole fruit to your water. Slices of lemon or lime added to water offer a great start to your day. You can also have herbal tea with some honey or lemon or opt for coconut water to get some flavouring. There are plenty of natural and healthier options than fruit juice.

Peanut Butter Damages Your Gut

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This is a tricky one because there are plenty of benefits to peanut butter. The problem is that we tend to eat far too much of it and that destroys our metabolism and our guts.

The problem with peanuts is where they are grown and stored. They usually have a fungus called aflatoxins, which damage the gut health. Of course, when one part of the body is damaged, the rest of the body must work harder. Your damaged gut will lead to your metabolism slowing down. After all, your body just can’t digest the food to give the metabolism the calories it needs.

Peanuts are also a common problem for those with allergies. People who have leaky gut or food sensitivities will also find that peanuts affect their metabolism. We start to feel ourselves getting bloated or feel cramping, and it’s all because of the wrong food in our diets—well, the fungi in our diets.

But what if you have a probiotic? What if your gut is full of good bacteria? The fungi in peanuts don’t really care. The aflatoxin will fight against the probiotics and win, so your whole digestive health is affected. Unfortunately, the peanuts are also full of omega-6, which the probiotics can’t fight against. Omega-6 is linked to inflammation, which kills your metabolism.

While peanuts are bad, there are certain nuts (yes, peanuts aren’t nuts, but they’re commonly mistaken for them) that will be good for your metabolism. Almonds are one of the best options to eat, and you can get almond butter! You could also opt for seed butter instead if you really wanted some sort of butter ingredient on your toast or with your fruit.

Almonds and seeds offer more protein to the body than peanuts, so they help with the building of lean muscle. More muscle means more calories need to be burnt throughout the day, so you end up with a stronger metabolism. You only need a teaspoon of the almonds or seeds to get this benefit.

Fake Sugar Is Just as Bad as Real Sugar

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With the news that sugar is bad for us, we’ve started to rely on artificial sweeteners instead. Aspartame is one of the most common, although sucralose is on the rise. There are various reports about artificial sweeteners being bad for us.

In fact, studies are showing that aspartame is bad for our bodies. It’s causing cancer and affecting our metabolisms negatively. Other artificial sweeteners may not be as bad, but that doesn’t make them great. In fact, plain sugar is proving to be better for us than artificial sweeteners, and we already know that that isn’t great!

If you want to protect your metabolism, so you do actually lose weight, it is time to drop the artificial sweetener route. These aren’t going you any good at all.

Some studies have shown people who have artificial sweeteners end up eating more. They feel an increase in their appetites, even though the metabolism isn’t working any faster. Diet soda has been linked to the increased obesity problem, as well as metabolic syndrome.

But if you can’t have artificial sweeteners or sugar, what are your options for sweetening up food? Natural sweeteners are your better option. The natural Stevia has so far proven to have no negative side effects. Raw honey or the use of naturally sweet foods like fruit have also proven to be good for the diet and the metabolism.

Fat-Free Products Don’t Mean Weight Loss

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There are so many products labelled fat-free or low-fat. Some are labelled low carbs or skinny. These labels really don’t mean that much, but they are misleading. How often have you reached for a yoghurt or a certain drink because of the belief that it will help you lose weight?

The majority of these products may be just as their labels say. They may have few fats in them, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to help with your weight loss. It’s not just the fat that you need to worry about, after all! Deep down you know that, but you want to believe that you can still have all your favourites in your diet, right?

Well, removing the fat from your favourite products leads to one issue: tasteless products. How do the manufacturers make sure you’ll buy the fat-free or low-fat options? They add more sugar in them. They throw in flavours, sweeteners, and corn syrup to get you to enjoy the taste and make sure you put money in their business.

Does this really sound like they have your health protected? Of course not! We’ve just looked at how artificial sweeteners are destroying our metabolisms, and we know how bad sugar is for us.

You would be better off eating the full-fat options of the food. And there’s no actual proof that fats cause us to gain weight! There’s no proof that our metabolisms are affected by the saturated fats in food. In fact, there’s no scientific evidence is caused by saturated fats! So, why do we feel this need to focus on a low-fat diet when we should be looking at a low sugar diet?

Fats are good for us, and we should be adding more into our diets. Omega 3 fatty acids help to protect the brain development, while monounsaturated fats have been linked to better bone health. Some high-fat diets have even been proven to help create a state of ketosis to help us lose weight! Fats have been linked to improved immune systems and metabolic rates.

So, it’s time to stop focusing on low-fat foods. You need to focus on the full fat options or whole food options. Have full fat cow’s or almond milk. Opt for whole egg omelettes instead of the egg white-online options.

Whole Grains Aren’t Nearly as Beneficial as Once Thought

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When you start a diet, there are high chances that you’ve found out whole grains are excellent options. They have some carbs, but they also have plenty of fibre. They’re the best things for your overall health, right?

Well, you’re wrong. The research over the last few years is wrong. Whole grains aren’t nearly as beneficial as scientists once made them out to be. Sure, they have fibre, but there are plenty of better fibre options out there. Fruit and vegetables are full of them, and there’s no need to start adding carb-filled, gluten-filled foods to your diet instead.

Whole grains are full of gluten, and you likely know someone who either is either intolerant or allergic to the ingredient. Gluten is the main reason for inflammation in the body. In fact, the ingredient has led to people developing antibodies to fight the proteins, so their overall health is affected.

The gut lining is destroyed, and your brain doesn’t quite get the message that you’re full. In fact, your body thinks that you’re hungrier than you really are, so you start eating more. You consume far more calories than your metabolism can burn—and your metabolism is slowing down because of the damage to your body!

There’s a reason why the Paleo and Atkins diets have become so popular. There’s a reason scientists have started recommending the keto and Okinawa diets. They’re low in grains—in fact, some of them cut grains out completely.

We went thousands of years without grains at all. While the research is affected by little data, there is still no proof that we had food intolerances and allergies before the introduction of whole grains into the diet. And to make matters worse, the whole grains today usually have extra chemicals added to help grow enough for the enlarging population.

If you want to protect your metabolism, you need to cut grains—all grains—out of your diet as much as possible. Get your fibre and carbs from your fruit and vegetables. Opt for coconut and almond flour instead of wheat or white flour. Your body will thank you for your decision.

Put Your Metabolism First

Your diet is destroying your metabolism. All those foods that you once thought were good for you are being proven differently. Scientists are finding that the extra ingredients are causing damage to our guts, which affects the way our body can burn calories.

More “diet” foods are proving to be bad for the body and bad for the metabolism. They’re causing people to gain weight instead of losing it. This is likely the case for you.

So, are you ready to put your metabolism first? Will you make some changes to protect your metabolism? All you have to do is avoid the foods above and follow the suggested changes instead.

Want to avoid looking like the Duchess of Cambridge? Don’t cross your fingers

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It seems they’re all at it. As well as the Duchess of Cambridge, Kim Kardashian, Peaches Geldof and a host of other celebrities are showing off their pregnancy bumps.

But not all pregnancies are welcome – termination rates have been on the rise for 40 years. Overall, they’ve been about stable for the last five years, with just under one in 50 of women aged 15-44 having terminations each year between 2007 and 2011. That’s still more than twice as many as in the 1970s. But women in their early 20s have the highest rate of all, and their rates of termination continue to go up, from 1% a year in the mid-1970s to 2.2% a year in the mid-1990s to 3.3% a year today (ref 1).

When I first became a GP over 20 years ago, the ‘morning after pill’ was widely believed to be just that – a tablet that reduced your risk of getting pregnant after a contraception accident as long as you got it the next day. The name may have been catchy – after all, it was the first time women could do anything practical ‘after the event’. But actually, it’s not accurate – emergency contraception, as doctors all call it, doesn’t just work in the first 24 hours after unprotected sex. The pill which is most widely available, Levonelle®, works for up to three days after unprotected sex and the other pill available, ellaOne® , works for up to five days. Although there have been sensational headlines about ‘the abortion pill’, both pills work mainly by delaying ovulation – so there’s no egg to be fertilised and no ‘abortion’ to be induced. Neither is completely fail-safe – the average woman has about a 5.5% chance of getting pregnant from a single episode of unprotected sex, which is reduced to 2.2% by taking Levonelle® in the next 72 hours and to 1.4% by taking ellaOne® (ref 2). Much of the superior performance of ellaOne® comes in the first 24 hours, where unwanted pregnancy rates are 2.5% with Levonelle® and 0.9% with ellaOne® (ref 2).

The other effective method of emergency contraception is coil-fitting. It’s actually the most effective method of all – almost 100% effective and can be fitted up to five days after unprotected sex. It has the added advantage of providing long-term contraception as well – although hormonal contraception, like the oral contraceptive pill, can be started at the same time as giving ellaOne®.

Levonelle®, ellaOne® and sometimes coil-fitting are available from GPs, and family planning clinics or family planning organisations, like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service or Brook.

Levonelle® is also available to buy from many pharmacists, without prescription and without seeing a doctor. They may not be a perfect solution – and they’re certainly not an alternative to using regular, reliable contraception – but they are a LOT more effective than hoping for the best!

Refs

1) Department of Health. Abortion Statistics, England and Wales: 2011 published May 2012

2) Glasier A et al. Ulipristal acetate versus levonorgestrel for emergency contraception: a randomised non-inferiority trial and meta-analysis. Lancet 2010; 375: 555-62

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Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

7 Fitness Fads to Avoid

f23799a05966f27018ff015845b7a68d - 7 Fitness Fads to Avoid

There’s no doubt about it: we live in a society where body image is often seen as being of utmost importance. Whether we like it or not, we’re bombarded with ads, pictures, movies, and ideas that reflect a self-obsessed society.

Because of this, it comes as no surprise that we are at an all time high for trends in physical exercise. While it’s great that people are wanting to take great care of their bodies, some of these trends and fads are less than healthy, whether physically or mentally. We’ve done the research for you so that you can determine what fitness fads you should avoid.

Cross-fit

You see people who do cross-fit shed pounds and tone their bodies in a very short timespan, so it must be a legitimate way to work out, right? While cross-fit can be very effective, more often than not, it’s just dangerous. Cross-fit is a high intensity type of exercise, mostly built around intervals of doing things as quickly or intensely as you can for a short period of time – things like flipping tractor tires or climbing ropes. In addition, this is often done without any regard for form or technique – something that prevents injury.  Can you see where this might be disastrous? Very few people have flawless form when it comes to lifting, pushing, pulling, doing anything that involves weight which makes it a quick way to get yourself injured, or to screw your body up in the long term. If you must do it, do it under the guidance of a professional, who’ll be standing by to watch you closely to make sure you don’t get hurt.

Body Building

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with body building, the fad that it has become can be dangerous, mentally and physically. No longer is the motive to keep the body in great shape, it’s become to push the limits of what the body is capable of. Is it safe to assume that all those engaging in body building efforts out of their garages and warehouses are doing so safely, with spotters, at a regularly progressive speed, and without a splintering sense of ego or pride? Probably not. Just don’t go there unless you’re being logical and reasonable.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga, otherwise known as hot yoga, is a quick way to put your body in a serious state of heat exhaustion or dehydration. It’s supposed to feel great as you walk into a room that’s pushing 90-100 degrees, and you stretch and hold and meditate for thirty minutes to an hour, sweating buckets all the while. Sweating isn’t bad for you, in fact it’s great; forcing your body to sweat in extreme amounts for an extended period of time? Questionable at best, especially when you consider that most people who walk in are dehydrated to begin with.

Extreme Dieting

Every time you turn around, you probably hear someone say something about their new diet. “I’ve cut carbs completely”, “I’m eating veggies only”, “I’m eating only carbs, no protein”. It all seems so extreme whether results are delivered or not. You know why? Because it is. You must bear in mind that our bodies need protein, nutrients from veggies, and even carbs in order to sustain a healthy, active lifestyle. Cutting one out may deliver quick, temporary results, but it will come at a cost.

Juice Cleanses

You won’t see anyone drop weight faster than someone doing a juice cleanse. While certain detoxes are fine, juicing for the sake of losing weight over a long period of time robs your body of a lot of the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs. Not only that, but you’re sure to gain every ounce back once you jump off the juicing bandwagon. If you want to juice, try supplementing one meal a day for a mostly veggie juice or a smoothie that contains minimal sugar.

Pole Dancing

Fitness has never been sexier, right? If you want to get in shape, just buy a stripper pole and install it yourself in the basement of your home, or in your office… the kit will come with a video and instruction guide to teach you all there is to know about pole dancing to lose weight (and maybe impress your spouse at the same time). Here’s the problem: poles come lose; you’re not coordinated enough to not get hurt; sweaty hands slip on poles; injury is likely. Just don’t do it. If you’re really interested in giving it a go, go to a professional studio.

Celebrity Fitness Gear And Videos

Just because the video has a picture of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the front of it doesn’t mean that you’ll have his abs if you do the workout on the video, even if he’s teaching it. Celebrities can sell nearly anything if it has their face on it. Why? Our minds associate their success as a remote possibility for us if we just buy the product. It’s an age old trick when it comes to exercise and Hollywood… don’t fall for it.

There are tons of ways to get in shape in a healthy way that are good for the body and mind. Just make sure you avoid the extremes of these sports.

For more on Fitness, check out our features here.