The Ultimate Guide To Spice Selection For Gourmet Cooking

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Gourmet Cooking Image Design 1 - The Ultimate Guide To Spice Selection For Gourmet Cooking

Spicing up foods can often be intimidating, unknowing what the end results could be. One may be trying on a new recipe or improvising on an old one. Whichever, the exotic flavors of spices will at most add that magical zing that could raise the recipe list to a higher level. In the beginning, one may go through a trial-and-error phase but as he gets more experienced and gets acquainted with the unique tastes and aromas of varied spices, he will be more certain of what needs to be added to a recipe. It will take a lot of practice but in time, it will be all worth it.

The Benefits of Using Spices for Gourmet Cooking

The Benefits of Using Spices for Gourmet Cooking - The Ultimate Guide To Spice Selection For Gourmet Cooking

Spices have been used for centuries, especially in the East and there are no limits to their importance in cooking. One can have spices with flavors that can add sweetness to foods or even heat. It’s even possible to add them for health benefits. Cooking with spices could be turned into an art, although many would contend it already is. The person cooking will be the artist, the dish his canvas, and the spices will be the colors. Artists are usually creative and daring. From a bland dish, anyone can create a work using spices that can transform an ordinary dish into an extremely palatable one. Spices do serve several purposes and here are some of them:

  • Enhance the Aroma and Flavor. With the range of flavors spices have, an ordinary dish can be transformed into something much more delectable, not just to taste but to the sense of smell as well. Each spice has its own distinct flavor and aroma and these properties can be the determining factor whether one would eat a dish or not.
  • Improve the Taste of The Dish. Traditionally, we just dash our foods with salt to give it a semblance of taste. With spices now, foods can smell and taste so much better. Some of these can even draw out the natural flavors of food.
  • Change the Color or Enhance It. If a person really wants an exotic experience on how spices can transform foods, he should try going to a local Indian restaurant. Entering one would already give him a sense of what’s coming. The aroma, then the taste. Then the person can now include the colors brought about by spices as they would pass right in front of him in red, orange, and yellow colors Spices like cumin, turmeric and paprika are mainstays in Indian cuisine and they give Indian foods their vibrant colors.

The Most Common Herbs and Spices Used in Cooking

The Most Common Herbs and Spices Used in Cooking - The Ultimate Guide To Spice Selection For Gourmet Cooking

Most international cuisines can never go without spices. In the different countries, spices have transformed cuisines into delightful, aromatic, and delicious dishes. There are thousands of known spices, but a handful is the most used because of the flavors and aromas they add to food.

  • Basil. The countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea are famous for their dishes using basil. The spice belongs to a plant group which includes mint. It has a flavor and scent like clove or floral anise. Basil can be used in many kinds of meat and seafood dishes. The sweet type pairs with tomatoes naturally when making sauces.
  • Cayenne Pepper. Anyone who wants his dishes to pack some heat should add a dash of cayenne pepper to it. It also adds a touch of sweetness to almost any kind of dish. Cayenne pepper is made from dried red chili peppers which are grounded.
  • Chives. This spice has an aroma and taste like that of onions but milder. It’s typically used to garnish dishes because of the bright an elegant green color. To maximize its color and flavor, add the herb at the very end when preparing a dish.
  • Cilantro. This is one of the world’s most popular herb especially true in the Latin Americas and in Asia where people seem to have an addiction to its refreshing flavor. Almost all the plant’s parts are used in cooking. Stems and leaves are often preferred raw, being added to dishes when cooked. The seeds are also used in cooking, the roots as an ingredient in making Thai curry paste.
  • Cinnamon. Although used more popularly as a spice for desserts because of that spicy warmth it brings, cinnamon can also be used as an ingredient in many savory dishes. Many consider cinnamon as one of the most versatile sweet spice.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes. Give dishes an extra kick with a dash of crushed red pepper flakes. This may not pack as much heat as cayenne pepper, but it nevertheless has its own punch. Sprinkle some on pizza, pasta, and even on green salads.
  • Crystal Kosher salt. Salt is an essential ingredient in almost all dishes but do people use the best kind of salt? This, of course, is not a spice but crystal Kosher salt is preferred as a seasoning for dishes because its texture can add some good crunch to finished foods.
  • Cumin. This cornerstone spice is a mainstay in almost all culinary kitchens. It’s known for its very nutty earthiness and is an ingredient to most dishes in Asia, the American Southwest, and many more.
  • Dill. This spice is best used to compliment the delicate flavors of seafood dishes although it can also be an ingredient in soups, sauces, and salads. When fresh, dill would exude a strong scent and can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
  • Mint. This herb has a refreshing peppery bite which makes it an ideal ingredient for salads and sauces. It’s also a great garnish for fragrant teas. Although commonly used in sweet treats, this herb can also liven up the flavor of many dishes. It’s also used to temper many spicy curries because of its cooling flavor.
  • Oregano. Another herb that is popular in Mexican and Mediterranean dishes is oregano. This is a pungent spice which can be used either dried or fresh. It’s much easier finding the dried type which has a more concentrated flavor.
  • Parsley. This is also a very popular herb used mainly for garnishing. It’s a very versatile herb and is frequently used in Western cooking. The flavor is slightly peppery and compliments well with other seasonings. Aside from a great garnish, parsley is also used to flavor soups, salads, and more. For cooking, the flat-leaf or Italian parsley has the best texture and flavor to boot.
  • Rosemary. Here’s another popular herb with a strong flavor. Like oregano, it can be used dried or fresh. It’s an ingredient in many soups, stews, sauces, and meats. When using rosemary, do so sparingly because it has a strong flavor.
  • Sage. This herb is a mainstay during the Thanksgiving season in the USA as it lends flavor to the dinner turkey and its stuffing. But it’s also an ingredient in many dishes and some sauces. Dried sage has a stronger flavor than the fresh type, so like rosemary, start off by using small amounts.
  • Smoked Paprika. This spice adds flavor and color to dishes and is perfect for making hearty stews and roast chicken.
  • Thyme. This is a versatile spice which can be used for any kind of fish, meat, vegetable, and poultry dishes. Fresh thyme can stay usable in the refrigerator for up to a week. The herb is popular in both American and European cooking.
  • Whole Black Peppercorns. When buying black pepper, don’t opt for the pre-ground stuff because this can go stale quickly. Buy the whole black peppercorns as they will last longer. Also, these have those complex fruity aromas when freshly ground. The spice is a great addition to soups, sauces and almost any kind of dish.

Pairing Herbs and Spices

Pairing Herbs and Spices - The Ultimate Guide To Spice Selection For Gourmet Cooking

Making a dish will often require not just one spice but a combination of them. A spice on its own will not make much of an impact to taste. But in combination with others would spell a great difference. Usually, there are combinations that work well together, and experience will tell which ones could bring out the best harmony in dishes. Knowing these, one could create wholesome and authentic international cuisines, starting from scratch.

For beginners in cooking, it may become confusing to learn which herbs go well together. After all, there is a wide array of spices and herbs available and discerning which goes with what can become a daunting task. For neophytes, it’s recommended to start with the basic and essential spices and herbs. These will include garlic, chili, basil, coriander, parsley, and ginger. These alone can make anyone come up with a dish that is special. Always have these ready in the fridge door storage. Here are some herb and spices pairing tips:

  • Basil goes well with garlic, parsley, lemongrass, rosemary, and coriander, and oregano
  • Chili is great with coriander, basil, garlic, oregano, lemongrass, and parsley.
  • Coriander goes well with garlic, chili, ginger, parsley, basil, and lemongrass.
  • Garlic goes great with coriander, basil, parsley, ginger, chili, turmeric, and dill.
  • Ginger goes great with chili, coriander, garlic, lemongrass, and mint.
  • Parsley goes well with garlic, basil, chili, oregano, lemongrass, and dill.

How to Choose and Handle Spices Properly

How to Choose and Handle Spices Properly - The Ultimate Guide To Spice Selection For Gourmet Cooking

After salt and sugar, people’s love for spices comes next. Spices have been with us for centuries, dating back in prehistoric times. They have been used not only for cooking but also in sacred rituals, masking the taste of spoiled foods, and more. In the past, people traveled long distances to bring spices to their homelands. The spice trade was born because of this demand moving from India and Asia to the West. As a matter of fact, in medieval times, spices became as valuable as gold.

To this day, spices are still with us and as valuable, not so much in terms of money, but in terms of what they can do to food. Just a small amount of spice is needed to create a haunting and heady aroma and taste to any food. Presently, India and Indonesia are the two leading countries who use the widest range of spices.  Other countries like Spain, Mexico, Ethiopia and North Africa also depend on their own spice ranges to perfume their foods. It is an ancient reflection of their connections to Arabic cuisine. Northern Europeans have their share of spice madness as well and they use their spices on both sweet and savory dishes. To be more adept at cooking with spices, here are some tips:

  • Selecting the Spices. Ideally, it’s best to buy spices whole spices which can be freshly grounded when needed. For convenience sake, spices are now offered either whole or grounded. If one must buy grounded spices, it’s recommended to buy only in small quantities because this type loses their flavor and become stale in time.
  • Storing the Spices. Spices should have tightly sealed containers and must be kept in a cool, dark place such as the pantry. Don’t place them in places in proximity to heat sources. Do a little organizing. To make it easy to locate your spices, arrange them in alphabetical order. If buying in bulk, also buy some containers for storing them. Whole spices can last to up to a year, ground ones should be replaced after six months.
  • Preparing the Spices. One can either use a pepper mill grinder or a mortar and pestle to grind small quantities of whole spices. An electric grinder can also be used but use this exclusively for grinding your spices.

Grind only what is required in the recipe. If adding whole spices in a recipe, one can either bundle the spices in a cheesecloth square or place them in a tea ball for easy retrieval. When the recipe calls for an orange or onion and cloves, stud the cloves into the orange or onion. Finally, crack or bruise whole peppercorns before using them.

Re-Create the Flavors from All Over the World in The Kitchen

Re Create the Flavors from All Over the World in The Kitchen - The Ultimate Guide To Spice Selection For Gourmet Cooking

Anyone can purchase spices as standalone items. People can also buy them as spice blends. These are combined complimentary spices which could have a flavor of their own. Although people can re-create their own spice blends, it is recommended to leave this to the masters to make the blends. A person’s blend can have two or more spices, but this will depend on his favorite cultural cuisines.

Ethnic cuisines are famous because of the spices which are used when preparing them. For instance, Mexican cuisine typically uses spices that are native to them and these can include cumin, oregano, coriander, cinnamon, chili, and garlic. A combination of any of these can create the traditional flavors of Mexican food that we all love so much. If a person prepared a dish using such spices and still come out with a bland dish, just add more spices that come from that cuisine until the desired taste comes out. People who are familiar with ethnic combinations of spices should be able to come up with dishes from all around the world. Remember that practice makes perfect, a perfect culinary artist, that is. Don’t be afraid to try new things, just trust the taste buds. Spice it up and start cooking!

 

 

The All-in-One Guide to Summer Diets

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Summer Diets Image Design 1 - The All-in-One Guide to Summer Diets

There are several ways to lose weight to prepare our bodies for summer. But one thing is for sure; total abstinence is not a solution as it may even cause more harm than good. What then are we supposed to follow to get us ready for summer? Obviously, overeating is out of the question. So is drinking too much alcohol. Munching on anything and everything would make things worse. Or even worse if one eats too much then just graze all day. Whatever, a person decides on will be his choice.

It would be quite depressing and dangerous if a person does all this. If so, it’s now the best time to change one’s ways. Of all these unhealthy habits, choose one and then focus on taking that off the list. For instance, on overeating, it’s about time one reduced portion of his regimen. Prepare enough for what the body needs. Ending up with too much is just gluttony. This should be a good start.

A Simple Diet Plan With Meal Suggestions

A simple diet plan with meal suggestions - The All-in-One Guide to Summer Diets

Summer is the perfect time to start a diet because of the endless variety of vegetables available in the farmer’s market. Vegetable dishes are easy and quick to prepare. At this starting point, one wouldn’t want to spend too much time making diet meals. Fresh crops are tasty and juicy, and it’s easy to carry the practice of eating them way past the summer season. Here’s a simple diet plan people can follow to kick off their summer diet:

Consider These Foods For Breakfast:

  • Greek yogurt and a nutrition bar. Supplement this with a nutrition bar and a peach.
  • Cereal and fresh fruit. Cereal should, of course, be the whole-grain type, better yet if made from flax or other types of seeds. Use fat-free soy milk or fat-free milk. Then add assorted berries.
  • Cook eggs or just egg whites, omelet style in olive oil. Then top the dish with some herbs like parsley, basil or tarragon. Season with a dash of salt. To complete the meal, add some cantaloupe slices and whole-grain bread with goat cheese.
  • Whole-grain summer waffles with maple syrup. Have some slices of nectarine to go with the waffles.

Consider These Foods For Lunch:

  • If you prefer Japanese, order vegetarian sushi rolls preferably those made with avocados and brown rice. This, of course, will be served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger. You can also add some steamed edamame if available.
  • Make a turkey and arugula sandwich. Slice a whole-wheat baguette, spread some horseradish sauce, then stuff with lean smoked turkey, sliced tomatoes, and some baby arugula. Sprinkle with some balsamic vinegar and a dash of sea salt.
  • Try a Mexican confetti salad. Finely chop some romaine lettuce and red cabbage. Dice some yellow squash, quarter some grape tomatoes, shred a fennel bulb, and some carrots. Also, add some black and white beans. Finally, for seasoning, add some cilantro, juice of half a lime, some olive oil, and sea salt. Toss all the ingredients together and serve with tortilla chips and salsa.
  • Also, one can make a Serrano chicken Caesar salad. Toss romaine lettuce leaves with some Caesar salad dressing, grilled chicken breast slices, minced Serrano peppers, and a handful of sunflower seeds. Enjoy the salad with grapes or slices of honeydew.
  • Vegetable gyros are also tasty and filling. First grill a veggie burger, then slice it into strips. Season the slices with garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika. Place these inside a whole-grain pita, then add orange bell peppers sliced extra-thin. Finish this off with some tzatziki sauce and fresh chives or parsley.

Consider These Foods For Dinner:

  • One can make Mediterranean-style turkey burgers. Grill some lean turkey burgers, set them down, and arrange on them pieces of feta cheese, roasted red peppers, and fresh basil leaves. Finally, top with avocado slices then serve the burgers over steamed quinoa and lemon wedges.
  • Try some quick vegetable dishes. Choose greens that go well in sandwiches. Put the greens on some rye bread. No need for feta cheese. Or you can ignore the rye and have the salad greens with some pesto soup. Or one can opt for a Caesar salad without the croutons.
  • A shrimp salad with corn would be great too. Choose some salad greens then toss these with some grilled shrimps and chopped seasonal vegetables. Use a vinaigrette for dressing. Serve the salad with buttered corn and Romano cheese.
  • Finally, one can also whip up Thai salmon and soba. For an Asian flavor, brush salmon with sesame oil then either pan-fry or grill it. Grill some asparagus spears as well. Prepare some soba noodles tossed with Thai peanut sauce garnished with minced red cabbage, and fresh scallions.

One Can Also Munch On These Healthy Snacks:

  • Fresh berries and some dark chocolate.
  • Banana slices with chocolate-hazelnut spread.
  • Fat-free frozen yogurt in a cone.
  • Fresh strawberries with agave nectar or honey.
  • Snow peas and hummus.
  • Any smoothie with healthy ingredients.
  • Gouda or aged goat cheese with roasted pistachios.

Some Practical Summer Weight Loss Tips

Some practical summer weight loss tips - The All-in-One Guide to Summer Diets

Those pointers on how to lose weight may sound so achievable. Eat less and exercise more. But these are just words and losing weight is easier said than done. But one can lose the extra pounds if he puts his mind to it. Fortunately, weight loss would be less daunting if one starts with a plan. Here are some tips to add to the plan:

Try Taking an “Alcoholiday”

This is a vacation away from alcoholic follies. People may not know it but, chemically speaking, alcohol is like sugar. Drinking too much will activate insulin resistance, and this will lead to weight gain. The liver is the body’s “punching bag” for alcohol drinkers. It’s about time to give the liver a well-deserved break.

Select Carbohydrates Carefully

Carbohydrates which are highly-refined are the main reason for the occurrences of spikes in the levels of blood sugar. This will then facilitate the buildup of fat which is consequently guarded against depletion. Instead of refined carbohydrates, choose slow-burning and unrefined ones.

Go the Mediterranean

Research has been done on why people around the Mediterranean a lot are healthier and live longer lives. It’s because their diets include a lot of whole-grains, vegetables, nuts, fruits, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and olive oil. Maybe it’s time we followed these people’s lifestyle of healthy living.

Go for Soups

Eating soup will make one feel full and can decrease the craving for food. It’s an excellent appetite suppressant since it contains a lot of fluids and solids. Having it before consuming a meal can considerably lower calorie intake. If one is determined to lose some weight, substitute the lunchtime sandwich with a bowl of vegetable soup.

Watch the Portion Intake

Restaurants can serve portions that can be considered adequate. Unfortunately, such portions have rocketed these days, and what is served, people tend to finish. Self-control is important, and we need only eat portions that are good for us. Downsizing would be nice.

Go for Fresh Fruits Rather Than Juices

One may not be aware of it, but fruit juices also have high sugar levels and have less fiber content. Furthermore, the nutritional values of fruits are mostly found in the skin which, unfortunately, are disposed of after juicing. For maximum fruit benefits, eat apples whole, skin and all. Then wash it down with water.

Choose Coffee Wisely

Recent studies on coffee have shown that the beverage is not bad at all because it contains many nutrients. Drinking coffee per se is good, but its sugar and dairy additives become calorie traps. So, during the summer, swap those nutrition trap lattes with plain black coffee, herb tea or green tea.

Foods to Eat During the Summer

Foods to eat during the summer - The All-in-One Guide to Summer Diets

Summer should be a good time to change the diet. In the heat of summer, one will be exposed to a lot of conditions like dehydration, skin allergies, and many more, not to mention excessive sweating. One can be relieved from all these by a very simple solution. Eat local fruits, and there are plenty because most will be in season. Also, summer is that time when fruits will contain the most nutrients. Fruits, together with some other foods, can make one feel and look good.

Apples, Figs, and Pears

These fruits have high-fiber contents. Wash the fruits and eat the skin as most of the nutrients are found there. If organic ones are available, buy those.

Apricots, Peaches, and Nectarines.

Consumed fresh or dry, they are a great source of fiber. Nectarines are rich in vitamin A and the antioxidant beta-carotene. Peaches contain plenty of vitamin C.

Avocados

Surprisingly, this fruit is a very healthy source of monounsaturated fats and could be lumped in the same category with nuts. Being a fruit, it deserves a class of its own. If one ever gets stranded on a desert island, he could only wish an avocado tree grows there as its fruit can provide nutrients that are good for the heart and overall wellness.

Blackberries or Raspberries

Both these types of berries are rich in fiber. Raspberries have often been ignored because they’re pricey when off-season. However, this little berry packs lots of nutritious qualities. Aside from fiber, it’s rich in vitamin C.

Celery and Fennel

When one feels “puffy” and he’s are headed for the beach the next day, eat some celery or fennel. The diuretic property of these two will help the person lose that excess water weight in his system without causing dehydration. The substances of these veggies will stimulate the kidneys and causes them to flush waste and extra fluids out of the body. It will then subdue that bloat in the tummy.

Green tea

An exciting alternative to water to maintain hydration is green tea. This would be perfect for those hot summer days. But that’s not all. Studies have shown that the tea can be beneficial in fighting off cancer and heart disease. It can also lower cholesterol levels, enhance metabolism, and stave off dementia.

Nuts

Snack on healthy nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts as they’re rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are known to lower bad cholesterol levels.

Oranges

It’s the most popular among the citrus group. Oranges are potassium-rich, and this substance is essential during hot summer days. When a person sweats because of heat, potassium will be lost, and this may lead to muscle cramps. Consuming oranges can replenish the potassium supply and consequently can keep cramps from happening. Also, an orange is a good source of rehydration during sweaty summer days.

Salads

When available, eat a lot of raw kale and spinach to save the skin. The carotenoids in these foods, especially the dark variety ones, will be converted by the body to vitamin A which will protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Vitamin A will decrease the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light, can mend flaky or dry skin, and can strengthen the skin’s defenses.

Salmon

Again, the Mediterranean diet is invoked here, a diet which involves the consumption of fish to reduce the risks of heart diseases which is the most common cause of death in women. Aside from the disease-fighting Omega-3 oils, fish is a great source of protein.

Strawberries or Blueberries

These sweet and juicy berries contain high levels of flavonoids which are potent disease fighters. These are found in a lot of vegetables and fruits. They can help enhance blood flow to the skin and decrease the skin’s light sensitivity. Also, these components improve the skin’s texture, appearance, and structure. These benefits are important during summer days because there are more hours of daylight and more time spent under the sun. Flavonoids have also been proven to help slow down the decline of cognition.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are already known as good sources of antioxidants and vitamin C., But these red fruits also contain phytochemicals such as lycopene, which help in the prevention of chronic diseases, especially cancer.

Watermelon

Its name already implies that it’s a good source of water for hydration and this is exactly what you’ll need on hot summer days. The water content in this huge fruit can keep one keep cool and hydrated. It can also act as an appetite suppressant because it will make one feel full, thus curbing the cravings for food. It truly is summer’s best fruit because it contains lycopene, a substance that protects the skin cells from sun damage.

Yogurt

This is an ideal source of protein during hot days. It’s packing in small containers makes it portion-controlled and can be handily placed inside the tote bag. Its protein content will satisfy the stomach and will make one crave less for those high-calorie barbeque treats later the beach. Choose yogurt that’s low in fat and high in protein. Yogurt also contains trillions of those beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system function smoothly.

Zucchini

This is a favorite summer vegetable which belongs to the squash family. It’s high in a fiber called pectin which has been shown to increase heart health and in lowering cholesterol levels.

 

 

The All-In-One Guide to Fasting

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Fasting Image Design 1 - The All-In-One Guide to Fasting

You’ve likely heard all about fasting. It’s used to lose weight, remove toxins, and improve your lifestyle. But is it that good for you? How do you do it in a way that’s safe and beneficial?

There’s a common misconception that fasting is an unhealthy way to lose weight. The truth is that it can offer some health benefits, but you need to do it properly. This isn’t just about cutting out all food for a day or only eating one meal a day. You need to get the right foods and the right amount of calories throughout your fasting period. Then when you go back to eating, you need to think carefully about the food that you enjoy.

Here’s your all-in-one guide to fasting. This is more than how to do it, but how to do it safely to gain all the health benefits you can.

What Exactly is Fasting?

What Exactly is Fasting - The All-In-One Guide to Fasting

Fasting involves going without any food for a set period. You’ll see some religions that encourage eating and drinking nothing throughout the day, but enjoying their meals before the sun rises and after the sun sets.

However, things are changing. There are now different versions of fasting, and in some of them, you can consume some food. The idea is that you reduce your calories to a bare minimum, so you still create the starvation period but without actually physically going through the lack of food.

We all fast throughout the night. We go through this long period without eating anything, and that is technically fasting. Therefore breakfast is so important, as it helps to boost the metabolism after the longer period of not eating.

Our bodies also go through a fasting period when we’re ill. The immune system kick-starts a drop in the blood glucose to help fight the infection better. When you’re ill, the last thing you want to think about is food, and it is helping to make you better. So that idea of fasting being bad for you is wrong. It’s when you fast in the wrong way that causes a problem.

Health Benefits of Fasting

Health Benefits of Fasting - The All-In-One Guide to Fasting

Choosing to fast can help offer some health benefits. They can help in both immediate and long-term benefits, supporting the weight loss, fitness levels, and even the organ health.

When you fast, you improve your blood sugar balance. It’s possible to reduce the number of sugars you consume, so your body manages the healthier food when you do get it. This can help to manage conditions like Type II diabetes.

Some people have seen benefits in reducing inflammation, which aids in autoimmune disorders and chronic pain. By reducing inflammation, you can reduce joint pain and arthritis. It’s possible to bring an end to the likes of irritable bowel syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. You can improve your gut health and fight off the likes of PCOS and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Of course, there are some weight loss benefits. You reduce the number of calories you consume in the day, which helps to create a calorie deficit. Your metabolism will burn more from your fat and muscles to help get the energy needed.

Many people believe that fasting is bad for the energy levels, but when done safely and properly, it can be very good. When you fast, you reduce the sugar spikes and slogs. You get rid of the dips in energy, making your levels more consistent and supportive.

Then there are the mental health benefits. Because of the lack of inflammation and improved energy levels, you can get rid of the accompanying brain fog. It’s possible to get rid of cognitive issues, improving your memory, alertness, concentration and more. You get rid of that mental fatigue; the mental exhaustion that makes the rest of your body’s energy dips.

Sugars cause dips in the energy, and you’re not just supporting your blood sugar levels and the energy levels by getting rid of them. You’ll stop the sugar cravings. Sugars are like a drug (in fact, some studies show that they’re worse than some drugs for addiction) and you start craving them if you stop getting them. By fasting, you get through the addiction period, so you stop craving them in the long term.

Food cravings and sugar cravings are often the reason for weight loss resistance. By fasting, you help to get over the plateau in your life.

How Does Fasting Help So Much?

How Does Fasting Help So Much - The All-In-One Guide to Fasting

Researchers are still looking into all the reasons, but the most common is a process known as autophagy. This is a cellular process. When you fast, your body cleans the weak cells out and replaces the body with the healthier cells. You have more room for the new cells and tissue, so you get more the healthier particles in your body.

Your body’s digestive system also gets a break. This can help to reduce reactions to foods that you didn’t realize you were allergic or intolerant to. You can reduce the sugar to help reduce inflammation and health problems. Your digestive system isn’t as sluggish, which helps with your overall energy levels and health.

You also get a better flow of blood, which is where the brain and the mental fatigue benefits come into play. Your brain gets the blood and oxygen needed, helping to protect the cells within the brain and improve the connections.

Prolonged vs. Intermittent Fasting: What’s the Best?

Prolonged vs. Intermittent Fasting What%E2%80%99s the Best - The All-In-One Guide to Fasting

There are two main types of fasting that you can do: Prolonged and intermittent. Most people choose intermittent, but it’s worth looking into the details of both to figure out which is the best for you and your needs. Both can be safe, as long as you follow doctor’s advice and health tips.

Prolonged Fasting. This is when you fast for a prolonged period. Yes, the clue is in the name.

A prolonged diet isn’t usually followed on a regular basis. There’s no set time to follow this fast, except for the times that you feel it necessary. It’s sometimes referred to as a prolonged detox diet, and the idea is to get rid of all the gunk and toxins within the body. The most popular diet is the Prolong 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet.

You’ll allow the body to enter the ketogenic mode by fasting for 2-4 days. Any more than four days can be dangerous to the overall health. When the body gets into the full ketogenic mode, it encourages the fat cells to break down and convert into energy. Your stem cells become activated, and you can target the abdominal and visceral fat within the body. You can put your organs first, by getting rid of the most damaging amounts of fat.

This is a diet to discuss with your doctor. You want to make sure you’re on track to avoid damaging the whole health by not eating.

You can still drink water throughout the period. After all, not getting any water for a few days is extremely dangerous. However, you want to stick with plain water throughout this time. Some prolonged diets will allow some lemon slices to add a little more flavor but discourage adding other ingredients to your water.

Black coffee, black tea, and green tea can also be drank during the fasting periods. These are zero-calorie drinks without many side effects. However, you will want to watch the intake as the caffeine can lead to energy crashes.

Prolonged fasts can take more effort, as you have to think carefully about your days. Think about events that are coming up to avoid putting yourself in impossible situations.

Intermittent Fasting. Most people who fast will follow an intermittent fasting plan. This can be the 5:2 diet or a period of fasting for religion.

The idea is that you fast for a strict period and then eat during another strict period. For example, the Islamic religion has a period of fasting when the sun has risen, and eating is only allowed during the non-fasting periods.

You may also follow the 16-8 diet. This is when you fast for 16 hours a day and consume all the food you would usually eat in an 8-hour period. The idea is that during the 16-hour period, you will be able to burn all the calories and boost your cell health. Many of these diets have restrictions on the type of food you eat, too, so you constantly put your health first.

The 5:2 diet remains the most popular intermittent fasting plan and has proven successful for the health and weight loss efforts. This is a type alternate fasting plan, so moves from the allotted times to fasting on certain days. It’s not a strict fast in the way that you eat no food at all, but where you reduce the amount of food you eat.

During the 5:2 diet, you will reduce your calories to 600 or less for two days a week. The other five days, you can eat what you would like.

A true alternate fasting diet is when you eat one day and fast the next. You then eat the following day and fast the day after that. This continues until you decide to stop the plan.

Fasting and Weight Loss

Fasting and Weight Loss - The All-In-One Guide to Fasting

It shouldn’t be that surprising that you can lose weight when fasting, but this shouldn’t be your only goal. The idea of fasting is to put your whole health first. The fasting diets aren’t long-term solutions, and many won’t have the maintenance plans needed to keep the weight off. You’ll need to learn more about the food that is good for you and the food that can lead to excessive weight gain.

If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau in your current plan, following a fast can be a good way to kick start things. You boost your metabolism and help to get it out of its funk. It’s possible to boost the fat burning, helping to give you more energy and support your overall health.

Fasting is also good for boosting your athletic performance. You get more energy to work out, and you’ll find it easier to build muscle. Your body burns the fat after getting into the ketogenic mode.

Getting Started with Fasting

Getting Started with Fasting - The All-In-One Guide to Fasting

If you’ve starting with fasting, you’ll want to do it safely. One of the first things to do is talk to your doctor, especially if you have a medical issue. This will help to ensure your medical health is protected throughout.

Know what your goals are for fasting. You want immediate goals and long-term ones. This will help you determine the type of fast you want to do. An alternate day or intermittent fast is one of the easiest to follow for beginners. As you get used to the feelings, you can then look into the prolonged fasts for your health.

Create a journal and food tracker. This will help you time your periods and stay on track during the fasting periods. If you’re following something like the 5:2 diet, you’ll also be able to track the number of calories you’re eating.

It’s worth having someone around to keep you accountable. They don’t need to do the diet with you but be your check-in buddy.

The Risks of Fasting

The Risks of Fasting - The All-In-One Guide to Fasting

Of course, there are risks of fasting. If there weren’t, everyone would do it, right? You would never hear of people putting your eating choices down! You can avoid the risks if you follow your doctor’s recommendations and do a fasting diet safely.

The only people who should avoid fasts are those who can’t do them for a medical reason. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, now is not the time to follow a fast, as your baby needs the nutrients you’ll give them from your food. Wait until after your pregnancy and when you stop breastfeeding to start.

If you have a history of an eating disorder, fasting isn’t good for you. It can be triggering, especially if you have anorexia. Those who have gut issues and food sensitivities can also find the fasting is damaging. This can be linked to the types of food you’re getting when you’re not fasting or the way your digestive system reacts. Your doctor will discuss this with you if you have health problems.

Those with stress, anxiety or insomnia can also experience issues when fasting. You find yourself hungry and annoyed, which can boost the cortisol in the body. High levels of cortisol lead to stress, anxiety, insomnia and other health problems. You can also experience high blood pressure and panic attacks, sometimes setting off that fight or flight response in your body.

Therefore it’s so important to talk to your doctor first. If you experience any adverse side effects from fasting, consider whether it’s time to pull the plug. This is more than just feeling hungry but feeling your mental or physical health slip.

While fasting can be good, you need to listen to your body. If you don’t react when there’s a sign something is wrong, you’re putting your health at risk. It’s not worth putting your blood sugar and mental health at risk for the sake of a few potential benefits.

The All-In-One Guide to Korean Dishes

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Korean Dishes Image Design 1 - The All-In-One Guide to Korean Dishes

Korean foods have always been believed by many as the healthiest. To Koreans, food is treated as the best type of medicine in combating many ailments. This is perhaps why their cuisine has been gaining international notice as more people now are being drawn to partake of Korean cuisine. The foods from this Asian country revolves around the theory of yin and yang called Eumyangohaeng. It also speaks about the five elements which make up the whole universe. To Koreans, the body can only be healthy when these elements are balanced. Even India has its version of this theory where the body can attain health by balancing doshas by the principles of Indian diets from the ancient times.

Aside from its health benefits and of course its flavors, Korean foods usually follow color combinations in presenting their cuisine. The colors green, yellow, red, black, and white are dominant on Korean displays, and each color signifies a natural element, a direction, each bringing a specific ingredient on the table and each having their benefits to the health. Black, for instance, symbolizes the North, water and is responsible for soothing the mental state of a person. The color can be represented by ingredients like black sesame seeds, black rice, and seaweeds which are foods good for the bladder and the kidney.

When eating a meal in a Western restaurant, the food is served in courses. This is not so with Korean dining. All the foods for a meal are served together, main, and side dishes. Rice or bap is always there. Although mostly always served steamed, there can be multiple versions. Korean porridge or Juk is an old staple which contains grains that have been simmered for a long period. Guksu or noodles are home-made, kneaded with either buckwheat or wheat flour.

Koreans love accompaniments for their meals. Most of us have experienced this when dining in their eateries. Kimchi, seasoned fermented veggies, could be the most famous of these and has become a standard side dish. So is Guk or soup. Other accompaniments are Jorim, a braised dish, Gul, which is grilled fish, and more. Each dish represents its style of cooking and is crafted with greens, seafood or meat. The Korean practice of table setting started in the Joeson era, the country’s most well-known dynasty which ruled for more than five hundred years. Settings could be from samcheop, which has 3 side dishes, to the sibicheop bansang which was referred to as the king’s table with 12 side dishes.

First-timers in Korean restaurants could face a challenge as they may not be familiar with the foods. Furthermore, the initial servings of free accompaniments could be surprising. But once a person passes this initial stage, he will come to experience a delightful culinary experience. The foods are good, exotic, flavorful, and healthy. Even vegans could enjoy the journey if they look close enough.

The Most Common Korean Dishes and Drinks to Try

The most common Korean dishes and drinks to try - The All-In-One Guide to Korean Dishes

Koreans love beef, and they love it as much as the Texans love their steaks. On the average, Koreans consume about twenty pounds of beef each year. But this average is starting to increase because of how the meat is cooked and served.

About $500 million of beef are imported from the USA each year, and this is expected to rise by significantly. Beef is an expensive commodity in Korea but not so much in America. This makes the relationship between the two countries ideal, at least when it’s based on cattle meat.

Beef may be a favorite item in Korea, but that is hardly the most of it. Korea has a lot, lot more to offer. Kimchi, for instance, that spicy, fermented Korean condiment, is starting to move up the charts in American cookery. Aside from being a side dish, kimchi has now found its way in ramens, toppings for dishes, and even fries. Let’s not jump the gun, here. An introduction to Korean foods should start with the basics as it will give you a better appreciation of their cuisine:

Jeon. The dish is usually part of a Korean banchan, a collective name for small side dishes.  Jeon is simply any kind meat or veggies that have been battered in flour and tossed into a skillet along with eggs. Aside from meat, the battered item could be tofu, squash, liver or even kimchi. Discovering what you would find served in your banchan spread is a fun experience.

Gochujang. If you enjoy sriracha, you will love Gochujang. This is a spicier version of the already very spicy sriracha sauce. Gochujang is made from the fermentation of red hot chili peppers and together with its partner-in-crime, doenjang which is a soybean paste, they make up the most relevant condiments in Korean cuisine.

Bulgogi. This is the Korean version of barbecued meat. Although the meat used can be pork or chicken, it’s usually beef in Korea. The beef is sliced very thinly, then marinated in a sauce containing sesame oil, ginger, sugar, soy sauce and other ingredients before placing them on a hot grill.

You can do the grilling yourself in Korean restaurants, right there on your table. And if the beef becomes tough, you can find only yourself to blame. Anyway, this style is one reason why eating in bulgogi in a Korean restaurant is fun. Try eating in a group, it’s a guarantee for more fun.

Galbi. This is bulgogi but this time using short ribs, instead of the thin slices of beef. These beef cuts can be used for stews and similar dishes. Of course, the best way to savor them is cooking them by the grill on your table and devouring those tender and juicy bits, caveman style.

Soju. Another great reason for a Korean night-out. Vodka, Korean style. This one is made from rice but with a slightly sweet taste. But the punch is as strong. By Korean custom, it is a drink that is eaten throughout a meal.

Too much of soju can make a person, a spectacle of himself. This is the reason why Koreans hold their parties in a sequestered area as the effects of too much soju imbibed can lead to loud and raucous dinners. After a few shots of soju, you’ll start to find your voice shifting to a different pitch.

Bibimbap. Dining on Bibimbap over some glasses of soju is an ideal way to spend time with your friends. This is a dish made of stir-fried vegetables and rice. These two constitute the base of all bibimbap dishes. The dish is served in an extremely hot bowl made of stone which will further cook the rice until it becomes crispy and chewy.

When the rice has gained the desired consistency, the whole mixture is stirred up with some gochujang then devoured. There is usually an egg yolk on top of it which will cook with the dish. Meat is optional. Either way, it’s a healthy dish.

Jjigae. Another wholesome and healthy lunchtime favorite is Jjigae. This is a stew that’s served extremely hot. The soup broth is thin but very spicy. Other ingredients can be added to the soup, but the two best Jjigae is kimchi and sundubu.

The latter one is made with a soft type of tofu and has now become a standard offering in many American restaurants. A reminder to vegetarians though: the tofu stew contains shellfish and seafood which gives the soup that sweet and salty flavor.

Hwe. In Korea, there are beef lovers, and there are fish lovers. With this dish, let the Pescetarians rejoice. Where you would find sundubu Jjigae, there also will be Hwe. This dish is the Korean version of sashimi but with slight differences. For one, Hwe is sliced from a live fish. The meat cannot get fresher than that. Such style will retain the almost crunchy texture of freshness.

As for the other parts of the fish, they’re boiled into a maeuntang soup which is spicy, making sure nothing goes to waste. The Koreans have a different style when eating raw fish. They eat Hwe by dipping it in chogochujang, then wrapping it in lettuce leaves. Experience the taste of raw fish in Houston by dropping by Dadami with your circle of friends.

Eating Those Famous Korean Side Dishes

Eating those famous Korean side dishes - The All-In-One Guide to Korean Dishes

Dining for the first time in Korean restaurants will be an experience. Of course, you would be expecting that ever-delightful dish, kimchi. But there is more than that with Korea. The country’s food is healthy and delicious. Familiarize yourself with some of its side dishes before venturing inside the restaurant. They will be your first encounter. A collection of side dishes called banchan will be presented to you, and this will be the start of a great journey into Korean food.

Traditional Kimchi (fermented cabbage) The most popular of the condiments which are technically called baechu kimchi. All Koreans love this dish, and they have it on their tables on almost all meals. It’s made from napa cabbage which has been fermented with seasonings like Korean chili and salt.

Kkakdugi Kimchi (fermented radish) Kimchi with a slightly sour flavor because it is made from radishes. It’s less popular than traditional kimchi but is crunchier.

Musaengchae Kimchi (shredded fermented radish) This is the same as Kkakdugi Kimchi, but instead of being chopped, the radish is shredded. Also, this radish kimchi comes in several varieties of spiciness, from sweet and mild to sharp and hot.

Kongnamul (bean sprouts) This is the most popular among the namul family. Kongnamul is made from soybean sprouts. They are mild but still pack a lot of flavors.

Sigeumchi Namul (spinach) Same namul but with spinach instead of bean sprouts. Like kongnamul, sigeumchi namul is made with the same seasonings, so it is also relatively mild.

Myeolchi Bokkeum (dried anchovies) In Korea, bobbeum refers to small dishes that are stir-fried with a sauce. With Myeolchi bokkeum, it involves whole dried anchovies stir-fried in a sauce. In case you don’t relish foods with faces, you can skip this one.

Dubu-Jorim (tofu) This should be a vegetarian’s dream regarding Korean food. The tofu is simmered in a mix with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and green onions. Spiciness can vary but is usually mild. Use soy sauce as a dipping mixture.

Gyeran Jjim (egg casserole) This is Korean quiche, or close enough. An egg is the main ingredient, and the dish has a very fluffy consistency.

Korean-style potato salad. Except for the “Korean” in its name, it might as well be “American.” The dish also consists of the same ingredients: potatoes, mayo, eggs and sometimes, vegetables.

How Do Koreans Eat Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner?

How do Koreans eat breakfast lunch and dinner - The All-In-One Guide to Korean Dishes

Comparing meals from different countries can be surprising. Take for instance America where breakfast involves cereals, toast and spreads, and season fruits that are available. For Korea, the usual fare would be seaweed soup, turnip, and fish, served with kimchi, and rice.

Most Koreans are always on-the-go during the daytime. You would find them having their lunch ordered from “pojangmacha,” a street cart selling food items. Or an “ajima,” a Korean Mother cafe. Or a “shik dang,” which is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where you can order soup, noodles, kimbab and any food. Ever tried deep fried squid? Ask, try and enjoy.

BBQ is often the fare for dinner in a Korean BBQ House, a Chicken Hof or pub. You should experience their sauces. They are as amazing as they are exotic. Preferably, have it with a partner. Try dinner at least once where you would find yourself cutting your meat with a pair of scissors, cooking the meat, and laying it on lettuce or other leaves. Then dress it up with kimchi, fried garlic in sesame oil, bean sprouts and any other combinations that have been laid out on the table.

For Koreans, use the spoons with rice and everything else with chopsticks. For yourself, the sticks could be quite intimidating but getting used to it would spell the difference. It’s even harder for Koreans using chopsticks because they prefer slick metal chopsticks rather than the bamboo or wooden ones. In a way, it solves the recycling problem. Korea is an environmentally friendly country but wrapping each cookie contained inside a cookie box is utterly frustrating.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Okra Health Benefits

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Okra Image Design 1 - The Ultimate Guide to Okra Health Benefits

Okra is a type of vegetable which can be found in different parts of the world. It’s common in the southern part of the US, in the Middle East, in Asia, and in parts of Africa where it’s believed to have originated. It’s a warm-weather crop which, when sliced, looks like a tiny start fruit.

Okra is usually green in color, has a spiky shape, and has a grooved-cucumber texture. It’s also known as lady fingers and bamia pods in some cultures. Okra pods grow on a leafy perennial plant, and these pods typically grow 2-3 inches in length. The plant produces flowers much like hibiscus, and it comes from the Malvaceae family.

These tiny but incredible vegetables must be harvested early, so they don’t become too tough, which happens quickly. In fact, the time that the plant flowers up until the best time to harvest is just a matter of days. Ideally then, one should harvest the okra pods every four days or so. After first harvesting from the plant, taking away some of the leaves located at the lower part is said to speed up the production of the pods. Although the plant thrives in hot weather, one should still water the plant at least once a week.

The fruit itself has tiny spines depending on its variety. So, it’s best to harvest the fruit while wearing gloves so as not to cause any skin irritation. While still whole, uncooked okra may be placed in freezer bags then into the freezer for storage. They can also be canned to make them last longer. In some countries in the world, the seeds of okra are well-known as one of the best-tasting alternatives to coffee.

Another thing which makes okra quite popular is that it’s a healthy vegetable. Although small, okra does have a lot of health benefits. Read on to learn more about this tiny but mighty vegetable!

It’s Helpful for Diabetics

It s helpful for diabetics - The Ultimate Guide to Okra Health Benefits

First off, okra is effective in regulating blood sugar levels because of its beneficial insulin-like characteristic. This vegetable contains Eugenol which is a type of dietary fiber. This component is the one which helps stabilize blood sugar. It also helps slow down the intestinal tract’s sugar absorption. Studies have proven that okra is highly beneficial to those suffering from diabetes. The extract derived from okra aids in suppressing insulin resistance and oxidative stress. This leads to an improvement of blood glucose levels in the body.

Helps Detoxify the Liver

The fiber content of okra also helps detoxify the liver. Anyone who has ever tried eating okra knows that it’s quite slimy. This slimy characteristic is beneficial too. It binds cholesterol as well as bile acid to cleanse the liver. Okra contains glutathione, which is a type of protein as well as a powerful antioxidant. In fact, glutathione is also known as the “master antioxidant.” It’s also frequently used as a component in cosmetics and other beauty products. People who are looking for a natural source of glutathione would be happy to know that they can find it in okra. Other food choices which contain this antioxidant are eggs, ginger, garlic, sprouts, onions, and brassica.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Another type of fiber which okra contains is pectin. This is a beneficial protein because it helps reduce the bad cholesterol in the body. Pectin can alter the production of bile in the intestines. This is what helps lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. This also helps eliminate any cholesterol deposits as well as clots.

Beneficial for the Skin, Hair, and Bones

Beneficial for the skin hair and bones - The Ultimate Guide to Okra Health Benefits

Okra is also beneficial for the skin, hair, and bones. The fiber content in okra is also very beneficial to the skin. The fibers in okra give it the ability to cleanse wastes from the body. The vegetable also contains vitamin C which aids in the repair of tissues and helps prevent skin pigmentation too. The vitamin content of okra also promotes healing of the skin. This helps minimize the appearance of acne and the scars resulting from it. Aside from acne, it may also reduce the risk of developing psoriasis and other skin disorders. It’s beneficial in reducing wrinkles, and it helps make the skin healthier too.

Okra has a lot of benefits to the health. Not a lot of people know this, but okra can also serve as a great hair conditioner. It moisturizes the scalp well, and it makes the hair shiny too. It eliminates dandruff and lice, and it can also help prevent itchy scalp. So, the next time one runs out of hair products but there’s okra in the kitchen, he can use it for hair care.

Now, the bones. Okra is one of those vegetables which contain vitamin K. Although this vitamin isn’t as popular as vitamin C, it’s essential for the process of blood clotting. It can help restore the density of bones to prevent the development of osteoporosis. Foods which contain a lot of vitamin K, like okra, are good for the bones. Vitamin K can also help in the bones’ absorption of calcium. Theoretically, those who get enough of this vitamin each day are more likely to have fewer fractures because they have stronger bones.

Promotes the Health of the Digestive System

Okra also has a high probiotic content, which is the best friend of the body’s gut bacteria. The community of good bacteria in the gut, or the microbiome, love okra. These probiotics also aid in the biosynthesis of vitamin B complex. These have the same function as yogurt has to the small intestines. We’ve already spoken about the fact that okra contains a lot of dietary fibers. This helps clear up wastes in the small intestines. This would lead to an improved process of digestion and help prevent constipation. The slimy stuff present in the vegetable aids in water absorption of the digestive tract. Okra also helps bulk the stool up without making it too hard or too soft to pass. The slimy stuff of okra along with the fiber content binds to the toxins while lubricating the large intestines too. This natural laxative characteristic ensures a normal bowel movement and makes the passing of bowels more effortless.

Good for Eye Health

Okra contains a lot of components which are good for eye health too. These components include lutein, carotenes, xanthein, and vitamin A. All these are beneficial for the eyes. All these potent compounds and antioxidants help eliminate free radicals in the body. These are byproducts of the metabolism of cells, and they’re harmful to the health. If one doesn’t address the issue of free radicals, they might cause aging and degradation of cells which may lead to poor vision. Fortunately, okra has vision-boosting benefits which protect against macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and more.

Gives the Immune System a Boost

Gives the immune system a boost - The Ultimate Guide to Okra Health Benefits

Okra contains a lot of vitamin C. On its own; it’s already a potent antioxidant. But okra also contains a lot of other antioxidants which can give the immune system a much-needed boost. These components help fight off and eliminate free radicals which may weaken the immune system. When the immune system becomes stronger, it can help promote the health of the rest of the body too.

Cancer Prevention

Another component that okra contains is a lectin. This is another type of protein which can be beneficial regarding cancer prevention. Also, okra contains folate which may be beneficial for the same purpose. Studies have shown that people who don’t consume enough are at a higher risk for different kinds of cancer. These include cervical, breast, lung, pancreatic, and other types of cancer. One link between the occurrence of cancer and inadequate folate intake may be dues to the changes in DNA which trigger the production of genes which promote cancer. Although more research is needed, it’s certainly worth considering.

It’s Beneficial for Pregnant Women

Also, because of the folate content, okra is very beneficial for pregnant women. Folate is essential for the healthy brain development in the fetus in the mother’s womb. Aside from this, the component is also beneficial in the formation of the fetus’ neural tube. It even protects these tubes to prevent the development of defects. Folate can also help prevent miscarriage. It’s essential for the prevention of fetal problems during the woman’s pregnancy. Low levels of folate may lead to problems for the child later in his life. These low levels of folate are also associated with spina bifida and other dangerous conditions. Because of this, it would be highly beneficial for pregnant (and even breastfeeding) women to consume a lot of okra to get the benefits of the high folate content.

Promotes Heart Health

Okra can also promote the health of the heart. According to studies, eating foods which are rich in fiber can help reduce the harmful cholesterol levels in the blood. This, in turn, can lead to a lowered risk of obesity, diabetes, stroke, and different heart diseases. Fiber can even reduce the effects of heart disease for people who are already suffering from it.

Prevents Obesity

Obesity is a type of metabolic disorder much like diabetes. In fact, these 2 conditions usually occur alongside each other. Obese people usually have a lot of belly fat which has a negative effect on their health. Consuming okra along with other healthy foods can help prevent excess weight gain which may lead to obesity. Okra has a very minimal caloric content although it contains a lot of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. The fiber makes one feel fuller without overeating. So, pairing this super veggie will put one on his way to preventing obesity.

Using Okra in Traditional Medicine

Using okra in traditional medicine - The Ultimate Guide to Okra Health Benefits

The gelatinous mucilage in okra, especially when it’s already cooked, is one of its greatest benefits. Nutritionists have always recommended the vegetable in traditional medicine applications. It’s especially beneficial for people who suffer from constipation as the slimy mucilage helps move the food eaten through the gut. Let’s go through the common applications of okra once again which is why it’s been used in traditional medicine for years:

  • Okra is also a great source of fiber, which also helps maintain the health of the digestive system. It’s also rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, and more.
  • Other essential components it contains are manganese and vitamin C which are beneficial regarding fighting infections.
  • Okra contains vitamin K which is important for the health of bones and is also a co-factor for enzymes which help in blood clotting.
  • It contains folate which is essential for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. The same component is also important to reduce the risk of different types of cancer, though more research is needed on this.
  • The vitamin A content in okra is also great in promoting the health of one’s vision. Also, the vegetable contains flavonoid antioxidants along with other components which can help maintain excellent vision.

These are the traditional uses of okra which are still applicable until now. The compounds in okra can also help maintain healthy mucous membranes and skin. Okra is an ancient crop which has been used for food since the ancient times. Therefore okra is known as a medicinal vegetable. They’ve used the leaves for urinary problems and relief from pain. People in the Congo have used okra as a remedy to help ascertain the safe delivery for pregnant women. People in Malaya have used the root as part of the treatment of syphilis.

Some traditional practitioners have even used the mucilage as a plasma replacement and used it topically as an effective moisturizer. Okra can be cooked down then added to water. This can be used for people who are suffering from depression or fatigue.

Back then and until now, it’s still being used to treat a sore throat and lung inflammation. It can help add bulk to stool, therefore, serving as a natural laxative. It helps eliminate liver toxins along with other conditions. These include atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis or MS, acid reflux, colorectal cancer, and more.

Culinary Uses of Okra

Culinary uses of okra - The Ultimate Guide to Okra Health Benefits

A lot of people compare okra’s taste to the flavor of okra. However, its texture is different, and this is what makes the vegetable unique. When cooked, okra develops a slimy quality which makes it a great component of soups.

One of the best things about okra is that the whole fruit can be utilized. It can be used raw, pickled, curried, and more. The culinary uses of okra are truly plentiful. People in the Caribbean usually serve the vegetable in soup with fish. They cook the leaves like beet or dandelion greens or even use them in salads.

People in the Middle East typically use okra in a dish called barniya along with lamb or beef. In India, they combine the vegetable with other spices and sauté them with butter for a delicious and healthy dish. Okra can be chopped, sliced, diced, and more. One can add it to burritos, stir-fry it with other vegetables or even serve it with other side dishes. This versatile vegetable is not only delicious; it’s healthy too!

 

 

All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

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Cheat Meals Image Design 1 - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

A cheat meal is a term used when dieting. It’s the meal that goes against your dieting plan, offering a way to enjoy your lifestyle and stick to the diet in the long term. It’s a meal that many dieters look forward to, without fearing the worst for their weight loss efforts.

However, to use cheat meals effectively, you need to follow this guide. There are certain rules and tips that will help you make the most out of your cheat meals and always have something you can look forward to.

This all-in-one guide to creating cheat meals will also look at the benefits but the downsides to them. You’ll get all you need in one place, so you can make the most of your eating habits.

What Exactly Is a Cheat Meal?

What Exactly Is a Cheat Meal - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

Cheat meals are there for dieters to literally cheat. They don’t stick to their diet for one meal a week, allowing them the freedom to eat what they want. It’s only for a meal—although some dieters will opt for a full day of cheat food.

The cheat meal can be any meal that you want. The majority of people will choose their dinner one night a week, but you can opt for breakfast or lunch depending on your schedule for the week. You can also choose the day of the week you want, although it is best to stick to the same night each week to help the body get into a pattern.

With a cheat meal, you don’t need to track your calorie intake, worry about weighing out food or concern yourself about the amount of dessert or type of food you eat. This meal is there to give your brain exactly what it needs: a break and a feeling that you’re eating for enjoyment. This can be a good way to give into cravings without damaging your overall health or your weight loss efforts.

The cheat meal is that meal so many people look forward to. It can be your chance to try out the newest restaurant in town or you can get your favorite takeout from the local Indian. There’s the chance to make a new dish that just doesn’t fit in with your meal plan or enjoy the dessert that you’ve been eyeing up all week.

However, there are a few rules to follow. This isn’t a case of just eat whatever you want for a full 24 hours or ignore that feeling of being satisfied. You can also make a cheat meal that is actually good for your health and your weight loss efforts. We’ll go through all that in this guide, but first, let’s look into the pros and cons of cheat meals.

The Benefits of Opting for Cheat Meals

The Benefits of Opting for Cheat Meals - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

The biggest benefit is your diet becomes something that you can stick to for the long term. While you have this healthy eating plan, your brain starts to miss the food that you would usually eat. You can be left disappointing that you’re saying no to all your favorites and you can soon start suffering from sugar cravings and negative feelings.

This is especially a problem when it comes to restrictive diets. You say no so much that your body starts rebelling. That often leads to you giving in when you’ve had a bad day or see a bad weighing result one week.

When you opt for cheat meals, you don’t have this as much. You know that each week you’re allowed what you’re craving. It’s a day to look forward to, helping you stay on track for the rest of the week.

One bad meal doesn’t lead to a bad result, just like one good meal in a week of bad won’t help you lose weight. There’s no need to feel guilty for these cheat foods, especially when you make sensible choices with the cheat options.

Your cheat meal can be adapted to your specific diet. For example, if you’re on an extremely calorie-restrictive diet, you may actually get away with two cheat meals a week, spaced out. This is because the calorie-restrictive diet can be negative on the mind for longer periods of time. If you’re focusing on reducing the calories slightly throughout the week, your cheat meal will be less regular. The cheat meals become entirely adaptive to your diet.

The whole process can stop you binging. It’s possible to make a plan to have one meal that you really want. The next week, you can have something else and so on. There’s no need to try to consume it all within a short space of time, leading to a binge and sometimes completely falling off the wagon.

You also get rid of the guilt. After all, you’ve planned for this meal and you’ve allowed yourself to have it.

The Downsides of a Cheat Meal

While there are certainly plenty of benefits, there are also many downsides to adding cheat meals into your weight loss program. One of those is if you have an addictive personality. If you do struggle with binges, you can find yourself eating more than you should. Or you may find it harder to stop with just one meal.

It’s important to still have a meal plan. This cheat meal needs to be added to the meal plan and you only want to get the ingredients (or the order) for it. Avoid everything else until the next week.

Many people also forget about actually planning for the cheat meal. Without planning, you don’t really know what you’re looking forward to. This can lead to your thoughts changing from one day to the next over what to have. By the time it comes to the cheat meal, you pick one thing but then feel dissatisfied because it wasn’t quite what you wanted after all.

If you don’t plan, there’s also a chance that you eat the meal at the wrong time. You run the risk of eating it a day early, just because you felt like it. If you start doing this, you’ll find it easier to give to others in the future.

Then there’s the downside of the lack of nutrients. While your cheat meal will be off the plan, it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be absolutely everything. Focusing on food that is possibly on the “no” list but still nutritionally beneficial is the best thing you can do. When you opt for nutritious cheat food, you can support the health of your body and will possibly find it easier to lose weight.

Tips for Adding Cheat Meals to Your Diet Plan

Tips for Adding Cheat Meals to Your Diet Plan - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

Plan your meal ahead. Start by planning. You likely already have a meal plan for your dieting, making sure you stick to the yes and no of your diet plan. You’ll want to make sure you stick to all the allowed foods, so you increase the chances of losing weight. But this also means you need to plan your cheat meal ahead.

Give yourself an idea of what you want to look forward to. Will you make burgers for the night or tuck into a delicious korma? What about enjoying a pizza or shrimp fajitas? When you start planning ahead, you’ll find it much easier to follow through with the meal plan that you set. This cheat meal is something you have motivating you through your hard work and efforts. It’s that reward at the end of a long week.

Don’t miss out on the exercise. A cheat meal is just one meal. You can’t spend the whole day cheating. Make sure you follow through with your plan of attack. That includes adding your exercise to the day.

Exercise is extremely beneficial for your weight loss routine. You’ll not just burn calories, but you’ll burn muscle. The burning of muscle will then help you tone and burn extra calories, so you end up in a win-win situation. Plus, you feel good when you exercise. This helps you stick to the diet plan that you’ve set and avoided the cravings.

Set up a system to help avoid binges. Cheat meals don’t work for everyone, because of the temptation to binge. Something that you need to do is set up a system to avoid binges. What will you do when you feel that need to keep eating after your cheat meal? How will you control the temptations during the week, while you look forward to the upcoming cheat meal?

Create a plan of attack. Set out your steps and make sure they are placed somewhere, so you always remember what you’re going to do. You’ll also want steps to take when you’ve had a bad week. How are you going to control that need to binge afterward?

Set a day and stick with it. One of the best things you can do is set your cheat day and make it the same one every day of the week. You may be tempted to change it every now and then, usually when you’ve had a bad day and you just want the cheat meal now. However, your body needs to get used to the new routine.

Stop giving into the temptation. Find a way to manage those expectations that you can just switch your cheat day around. While you can still be a little flexible (maybe one week you have a party on a Friday whereas every other week for six weeks your cheat day is Saturday), you don’t want to keep changing the day or the time of the meal. The best way to do this is set the day you usually eat out; the one that most of your social events take up. This will help you quickly become consistent.

Listen to your body and your results. When you do decide on a day of the week, make sure you listen to your body. Is the cheat meal agreeing with you? While you are eating, make sure you’re satisfied and not over-full. While you can have a cheat meal, you still want to put your body and health first.

You’ll always want to look at the results you get on the scales each week. Are you losing a lot of weight in a short space of time? This isn’t healthy and could be a sign your diet is too restrictive. You may get away with adding another cheat meal. What about if you’re not losing weight? Then you need to start assessing whether the cheat meal each week is working for you. Is this something you need to reduce to once every two weeks or once a month?

The benefit of a cheat meal is that it’s flexible for your diet. But you need to be willing to make changes to your plan if you see the opposite results of what you want. A cheat meal isn’t for everyone.

Skip the poor nutrient foods. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having sugar every now and then, you want the majority of your cheat meals to be as nutritionally sound as possible. Cheat meals get to be higher in carbs and calories than your normal meals, but you should still focus on health.

There are a few benefits of opting for nutritionally dense foods. One of those is that your cravings will lessen. If your brain doesn’t get the sugar, it doesn’t start carving it more in the future. The second benefit is that you feel satisfied after the meal and this will help the positive feelings in the brain.

Using Cheat Meals in Your Diet

Using Cheat Meals in Your Diet - All-in-One Guide to Cheat Meals

It’s time to consider adding cheat meals into your diet. They are extremely beneficial when used correctly. However, do keep in mind that they’re not for everyone and they do not mean a whole cheat day. You will still need to listen to your body and focus on foods that are nutritionally beneficial for your health. Then you get something satisfying, tasting and beneficial for your whole system.

The All in One Guide on How Excessive Sugar Intake During Pregnancy Affects the Child

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Sugar Intake Image Design 1 - The All in One Guide on How Excessive Sugar Intake During Pregnancy Affects the Child

You will know that excessive sugar intake is bad for your health. Whether you’re pregnant or not, you should keep the amount of refined sugar you eat to a minimum. There are many people now advocating for sugar-free diets, but just keeping the sugar to a minimum will help to avoid various health problems.

But have you ever considered what you could do to an unborn child? If you’re pregnant, you’ll hear more about keeping your sugar intake to a minimum and what you could do to yourself. Your doctor will also likely mention there are risks to your baby. What many doctors don’t go in are what those risks are exactly. Their thinking is that the idea of risks should make you comply with their advice.

You likely want to know what you could exactly do to your child. It’s important to understand all the dangers. So, with that in mind, this is your all in one guide on how excessive sugar intake during pregnancy can affect your child.

Sugar Shouldn’t Be Demonized

Let’s start by saying that this doesn’t mean you have to cut out all sugar. Even in pregnancy, you can still enjoy some. And we’re not just talking about the natural sugars in fruits. You can still have some refined sugar now and then.

If you tried to cut out all, you could find yourself worse off. Sugar is highly addictive and withdrawals symptoms are common. They can include headaches and shaking, as well as cravings and a low mood. Your hormones are already causing a problem during pregnancy.

Rather than cut out all sugar, opt for a moderate amount. Therefore, we’re focusing on “excessive” sugar intakes.

Making Your Pregnancy Symptoms Worse

 

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Excessive amounts of sugar can make some of your general discomforts in pregnancy worse. You’re more at risk of developing heartburn and indigestion. The digestive system is already sluggish, but your body can react negatively to the refined sugar.

It’s not just your heartburn that is worse. All your pregnancy symptoms can be made worse through the excessive intake of sugar. You are more likely to suffer harsh mood swings and deal with nausea and vomiting more. They’re bad enough already. Do you really want to make them worse?

And with bad pregnancy symptoms, you can affect your child. Excessive vomiting can lead to a nutritional deficiency for your child. Your baby will try to take as many nutrients from you as possible, but if they’re not there because you haven’t eaten anything for a while, you put both you and the baby at risk. You’re also at risk of dehydration!

That feeling of fatigue will also be worse. Yes, tiredness is extremely normal in pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters. You’re growing a human and your body is working extremely hard to do that. But the excessive sugar intake is making it worse.

Many of us will reach for sugar for a quick energy boost. This is the worst thing you can do. While you do get a quick boost, you end up with an even quicker crash. Your body burns through the sugar quickly, leaving you feeling more tired afterward than you did before you opted for the quick fix. If you really want to boost your energy levels, you need to look for the long-term benefits.

How does the fatigue affect your baby? Well, you can also make your baby sluggish. That sugar doesn’t just power you. It powers your baby and you can cause the energy increases and crashes in your child.

There’s No Nutritional Benefit in Sugar

Refined sugar offers absolutely no nutritional benefit for you or your baby. It’s not like natural sugars that are usually packed with fiber and other nutrients. All you get is sugar and fat in the foods and not the healthy type of fat!

When you indulge in the foods, you end up consuming what are known as empty calories. Your whole body will feel the issue. You don’t get the protein for the muscles, the body doesn’t get the healthy fats for the brain and heart health, and you don’t get the fiber for your digestive system. The body starts to react negatively, making your indigestion worse and causing more bloating and pain.

And your baby will also suffer. Your baby relies on you for nutrients. If you don’t get the nutrients into your body, your baby can’t develop properly. In some cases, it’s possible for your baby to be underdeveloped or suffer from health problems due to the lack of nutrients. Some of the most common issues are brittle bones, being underweight, or brain defects.

You want to focus on a diet that is nutritionally balanced. Have the sugar now and then, but you want to focus more on the other vitamins and minerals to keep both you and baby’s health in order.

Weight Gain Is Far More Common

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Because of the empty calories, your body doesn’t quite acknowledge that you’re consuming the calories. You end up hungry sooner than you would if you had a balanced meal. This can lead to excessive weight gain. Studies have shown that pregnant women who consume excess sugars are more likely to gain excess weight. Sure, some weight gain is expected, but you want to keep it to a healthy window (depending on the weight you started at).

Women who gain the weight in pregnancy will also find it harder to get rid of that weight afterward. You likely won’t change your food intake, so you end up continuing the problem of excessive sugar and more weight gain.

All this is bad for your baby. Being overweight can lead to babies with lower birth weights and more difficult labors. You’re more at risk of needing a C-section, which puts you at further risks of hemorrhaging and infection. Your healing time will also take longer.

High Risk of Gestational Diabetes and Other Health Problems

Women with a higher intake of sugar are more at risk of developing gestational diabetes. This is when you develop diabetes during pregnancy and it usually goes away afterward. However, it can develop into normal diabetes. Either way, gestation diabetes is something that you want to avoid.

Those who develop gestational diabetes are more likely to have children with the health condition. You can also have low birth weight babies and go into pre-term labor. Your body hasn’t had the chance to fully develop, which puts your baby at many health risks, including death.

Those that do survive are more likely to develop diabetes in their childhood. This can be Type I diabetes, which is almost impossible to reverse and usually requires medication for the rest of their life. Even if your child doesn’t develop diabetes, they are more likely to crave sugar. Remember that refined sugar is highly addictive and that includes two babies growing in the womb. As your baby gets older, the cravings for sugar get stronger and they’re more at risk of obesity and other health problems.

If it’s not gestational diabetes, the higher sugar consumption can also lead to a risk of pre-eclampsia. This is found in women with high blood pressure, protein in their urine, and swelling in their hands, feet and/or face. Pre-eclampsia is an extremely dangerous disease and can lead to pre-term labor, since giving birth is the only way to rectify it.

Your Baby Is at a Higher Risk of Heart Disease

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Babies that have been exposed to excessive sugar intakes during pregnancy are more likely to have thinner blood vessels. This can put them at higher risk of high blood pressure and poor heart health. Heart disease is a serious risk and factors can appear in children as young as seven years old.

With thinner blood vessels, the blood finds it harder to work around the whole body. If it’s not the heart affected, other organs are. The blood pressure increases because the body is having to work harder. On top of this, there’s the chance that diabetes or other health problems will play a factor.

Your baby’s body can’t develop properly in the womb. The best way to help avoid future health problems is by following a healthy and balanced diet. Get plenty of nutrients to help with the development of the blood vessels.

There’s a Chance of Higher Allergy Risks

Doctors are still looking for the reasons allergies appear in patients. Children are at risk of developing all types of allergies, with soy, milk, and peanut allergies being the most common. One of the links to allergies is high sugar consumption in the mothers during pregnancy. Some studies have shown that higher sugar levels can lead to a high chance of developing allergic asthma than those whose mothers didn’t consume much sugar.

This is something that still needs research within. It’s currently unclear just why allergy risks are higher. One of the most commonly believed reasons is inflammation within the body, especially in the lungs. High sugar consumption leads to the inflammatory response, as the hormones become out of sync.  With more inflammation in the lungs and body, the immune system can view the wrong particles as being damaging.

However, it’s worth noting that the increased allergy risks have also been linked to other reasons. An increase in pollutants in the air and exposure to some microbes have also been linked to allergic reactions. This is something that experts will research further to understand more about how the mother’s diet can cause them.

How to Minimize the Risks

Now that you know the dangers, you’ll want to do everything you can to minimize the risks of health problems. The best thing you can do is reduce the number of refined sugars that you eat. Make a switch to using sweeteners and natural sugars.

For example, you don’t need to use table sugar in your tea. Opt for a little Stevia instead. You can also get flavored yogurts that use Stevia instead of cane sugar for flavoring. When it comes to water, add some fruit slices to the liquid. This is better than drinking fruit juice, which loses its nutritional benefits and fiber through the juicing process.

Avoid processed foods as much as possible. They tend to be full of additives and hidden sugars. They offer no nutritional benefits and lead to many other health problems for you and your baby.

When it comes to snacking, practice mindful eating. Are you really that hungry and is a snack necessary? Often, you just think you’re hungry due to emotional eating, boredom, and thirst. Grab a glass of water before you grab anything to eat and determine if you’re still hungry. If you are, look at the time. It could be time for something to eat. If not, then opt for a healthy snack. A piece of fruit or a handful of nuts and seeds can be much better than sugary snacks.

You may also want to change the way that you eat your meals. During pregnancy, opting for five or six small meals a day may be preferable to three large meals and two snacks. This is because of the room you have available as your baby grows. Getting the smaller meals can help you avoid hunger dips throughout the day, reducing the cravings for sweet foods. You also won’t feel over-full after you’ve finished a meal and your digestive system will be able to handle food more effectively.

Reduce Your Sugar Intake

There’s no need to completely cut out sugars from your diet during pregnancy. In moderation, there’s no evidence to show that there is harm to you or your baby. However, the key is eating in moderation. Excessive sugar consumption is putting your unborn baby at risk. This isn’t just about a risk of pre-term birth. You’re increasing the risk of various health problems in the future, including the risk of diabetes and heart disease when they’re still children!

The All-in-One Guide to Gut Health and Proper Elimination

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Gut Health Image Design 1 - The All-in-One Guide to Gut Health and Proper Elimination

Many of us are unaware of the importance of a healthy digestive tract. All we know is that it is the channel by which our body receives nourishment to keep us going each day. But are we cognizant that many of our practices can adversely affect our digestive system? An unhealthy gut could cause disorders like diabetes, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and much more. Care of our gut should be given its due and steps should be followed to maintain or restore its health. Doing so would eliminate the occurrence of a wide range of diseases.

The gastrointestinal tracts work 24/7 to make us feel happy and healthy. It is responsible for digesting food, allowing nutrients to be absorbed into the body, and eliminating waste. Just imagine what happens if the system breaks down. This will most certainly lead to major health consequences.

The digestive system allows water and nutrients to flow into the body while preventing toxins and antigens to enter. But when the system is distressed, it becomes helpless, allowing dangerous substances to go into the body. Usually, the culprit for the breakdown concerns the foods eaten, and this is where proper nutrition comes in. A healthy diet will make the gut stronger and perform its guardian role. Consequently, this will improve the body’s health and well-being.

The workings of the digestive system

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It has always been a misconception that the process of digestion starts in the stomach or the mouth. Taking the analysis further, the process starts in mind. When an individual is feeling stressed, his body will elevate the production of cortisol and other stress-hormones which will slow down the process of digestion.

The digestive system is one of the most physically involved systems in the body and does take a lot of energy to function. When an individual is subjected to stress, the body goes into a fight or flight mode. This means that the energy produced by the body is focused on survival and the digestion of food is set aside. This is how stress can affect the digestive process. Let us take a detailed look of our digestive process.

Mouth. The initial and physical digestion of food starts in the mouth. Aside from the mastication of food, other processes like the prevention and elimination of bacteria, fungal, and parasitic overgrowth are involved here.  And to optimize this initial stage, one should chew food until the consistency of the liquid, if possible. The physical transformation is not all due to grinding but also on the action of digestive enzymes that the mouth secretes during mastication. Such enzymes are found in saliva and can break down carbohydrates.

It is never a good habit to swallow big particles of food as the enzymes in the stomach may have a hard time breaking them down, the next organ in the process. Chewing food properly will stimulate the stomach to produce digestive enzymes and acids, preparing it for the further and better digestion of the liquefied food.

Stomach. After the mouth, the stomach comes next. Once the chewed food reaches this organ, they are mixed with digestive acids and enzymes. HCl is a very corrosive substance and surprisingly, can be manufactured in the human body. It comes from bile from the gallbladder and the cells in the stomach walls and together with enzymes, are tasked to break down proteins into amino acids. In this form, such acids will be ready for absorption in the small intestine, the third stage.

There is a very good reason why foods need to be chewed properly, especially proteins. Undigested proteins can cause or lead to more serious illnesses like cancer. It is a logical assumption that the ability to digest our food will depend upon the strength of our stomach acids.

The acids produced by the stomach also protect the body from parasites, fungi, and unwanted bacteria. Some foods like refined sugars and alcohol are absorbed into the blood stream directly through the walls of the stomach. This should serve notice to people on why they are obese or overweight.

Small Intestine. After the stomach, the small intestine. This is where digested foods are absorbed into the bloodstream. On the average, the small intestine is about 25-feet in length, and its section is lined with microvilli. These are numerous minute elongated projections set closely together on a surface, typically increasing its surface area for the absorption of substances. Digestion is continuous in the small intestine. Digestive enzymes from the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are released to assist in the further breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and especially fats.

When digestion is finally completed, the processed foods/nutrients are absorbed and are sent to the liver through the portal vein for filtering. From there, the food is transported to the cells of the body through the bloodstream where it will be finally used by the cell, converting it into energy. Food converted into energy is used to rebuild and repair body tissue.

What is left of the small intestine are the undigested matter and is the bulk of the “poop” which will be discarded in the next stage of the process.

Large intestine. This organ is also referred to as the colon. It is roughly about 6-feet in length and a whooping 3-inches in diameter. Although it is the repository of near-future “poop,” it is still essential for its functions. This organ produces vitamins and for recycling water in the body. Unbelievably, the colon is the residence of trillions of bacteria cells, some are harmful, but most are beneficial.

The causes of gut distress and elimination imbalances

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Often, digestive stress and elimination problems are rooted in the foods we eat. Even healthy foods for some could prove unhealthy for others. Here are some substances in foods that can cause digestive issues:

Casein and other immunoglobulins. These are found in dairy products.

Fructose. These are sugars found in fruits. People who have problems digesting fructose will also experience the same with other types of complex carbohydrates.

Gluten. Also, other similar prolamine proteins. All these are found in grains like barley, rye, and corn.

Lectins. This is a protein. The most irritating type is found in seeds like grains, beans or legumes and nuts.

Some of these compounds can stimulate mast cells to produce histamine, which then mimics a food allergy which causes an increase in intestinal inflammation and permeability. They can also imitate symptoms of respiratory allergies which will cause throat irritations, sneezing, sniffles. For other people, these foods can stimulate the T-cell response of the immune system which will create or worsen autoimmune symptoms such as pain in the joints and skin rashes like eczema.

Some people may not be able to produce the right digestive enzymes to process these compounds, and this usually can cause any of the following disorders: an upset stomach, constipation, bloating, nausea, gas, and diarrhea.

Surprisingly, some of these foods in question can contain substances that can cause some addiction and can create a feeling of “highness.” Your stomach may not be tolerant to casein, but right after drinking a glass of milk, you get a sudden rush of “feeling good.”  But that would be short-lived because, after a while, you get an upset stomach

Taking care of gut health

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It would be beneficial to learn about gut health to be able to do what is right to promote digestive health. Many disorders can be traced to gut issues, and it is therefore imperative to get acquainted with what to do and what not to do, to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Have at least 12 twelve hours between your breakfast and dinner. The lining of the stomach is composed of only one layer of cells which need to be replenished every 72 hours. The stomach involves itself in heavy work during digestion and consequently will sustain damage to its lining.

Leaving the stomach to concentrate on repairs and replenishing for twelve hours from dinner to breakfast will immensely help. But don’t fast for the sake of the stomach as hunger may send the body into shock. This may also overburden the liver.

Keep the body hydrated. Drinking enough water is good for the body. The entire gut is like a water slide in an amusement park which should be kept slippery. Ditto with your guts and you can make this happen by continuously hydrating yourself. Hydrate with water and not with sweet drinks as these would only encourage unbeneficial gut bacteria in the colon.

Also, be wary of the effects of raw foods to the gut because these foods take a lot more energy for the body to break them down. If one has good gut health, having raw foods is fine. If not, this could trigger problems.

Take care of the gut. When someone feels uncomfortable, he would always lay the blame on the gut and come to resent it. It’s best to have an attitude where one believes there is a problem somewhere and find ways to solve it. The gut may be having some issues, and only the person can make it right. With such a mindset, the problem becomes easier to manage.

Make gradual changes. When confronted with a digestive problem and the remedy requires being more careful with food intake. But it’s not recommended that one give up on all the foods that can cause the disorder. It is best to find out what foods are causing problems and staying away from them. Focus on finding them out first, then eliminate them gradually.

Increase fiber, but not just that. Foods with high fiber contents are recommended for those with constipation problems. However, a condition known as slow transit constipation makes matters worse when the fiber is taken to counter constipation. Instead of relief, the fiber solution can lead to more gas, bloat, and pain.

If increasing fiber intake leads to worse scenarios, stop. Try eating fruit-based fiber first as it’s easier to digest compared to other fibres like those found in bran. If it doesn’t work, seek medical advice. Eating regularly should go hand in hand with eating the right foods. Bowel movement is triggered by food consumption. Those who miss meals are more prone to experiencing constipation for the simple reason that their systems aren’t getting that needed stimulus.

Try some liver. Most of us hate liver without knowing its value to gut health. This meat is loaded with vitamin A and vitamin D which are essential in protecting the mucous membrane that lines the gut. To diminish its not-too-pleasant taste, try sneaking liver into hamburgers and other ground-meat recipes.

Also, eat fermented foods. Fermented foods are a great source of probiotics, re-inoculating the body with good bacteria that thrive in parts of our gut system. Include as often as possible in your meals such side dishes like sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and fermented pickles.

Chew food very well. Digestion is a natural process that requires a lot of energy and the improper chewing of food will result in more energy consumption as the food passes from mouth to the intestines. Take your time when eating. Small bites will be easier to liquefy. Chew until the food’s flavor is gone, then swallow before the next bite. Liquefied food, through chewing, puts fewer demands on the stomach when processing it further.

Stay away from processed food. Eating the right foods is a key to gut health. What happens when one consumes foods that contain harmful chemicals, genetically engineered ingredients, additives, and harmful sugars? All these will have a negative impact on those good gut bacteria that inhabit the gut linings. In moderation, such foods are tolerable, but frequent consumption will put your gut health at risk.

Protect the gut lining. A condition is known as “leaky gut” is common to many people with poor digestive health but are unaware of its existence. One afflicted with this will manifest physical holes in the linings of their intestines, and these allow proteins to get into the bloodstream. The immune system of the body will treat them as antigens, and this could only mean trouble. So, eating healthy can help one protect his gut lining.

Healthy elimination

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If you move your bowels once or twice daily, that is healthy elimination. The first movement should occur just after waking up in the morning and to be more precise, before sunrise. The second movement should occur later in the day or just after an afternoon or evening meal. Balanced stools should have the following characteristics:

  • well-formed and have the consistency of ripe bananas
  • maintain their shape after passing out
  • light-brownish in color
  • float when eliminated in a toilet bowl containing water
  • slightly oily
  • not sticky and the anal orifice is easily cleaned
  • only have a mild odor

But do not be frightened if your stool does not conform to all these. Most of us do not, especially with the kind of stresses and routines, we are exposed to every day. Leading fast-paced, eating wrong foods, multi-tasking, eating on the run, and more play significant roles in our digestive and excretory health. And this is precisely the reason why we need to explore venues to maintain health in our body systems and this case, the one that is involved in digestion.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Your Vegetables

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While eating your vegetables raw is the best way to get all the nutrients, it is not always the most fun way. Cooking your vegetables allows you to make a range of dishes. You can try out new delicacies and recipes, so your meal plans do not get bored.

However, is there a way to cook your vegetables, just right? Should you avoid certain cooking methods? How do you keep some crunch on your vegetables when you cook them?

It is time to get the best-cooked vegetables for all occasions. Each vegetable will require different cooking time and necessities and will also taste better in certain ways. It is worth breaking the cooking down by individual vegetable.

Here is your ultimate guide to cooking your vegetables to make them delicious, nutritious, and fun.

Artichokes

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You can braise, grill, roast, and microwave artichokes relatively easily. They will require a little prep work to remove the tough outer leaves that can make them almost impossible to cook and eat. Do not forget to chop their woody stems off as well.

If the artichokes have any bruising or browning, discard them. They are starting to go off and will not have all the nutrients to support your health.

When braising, you will need some olive oil to help prevent them sticking to the pan. They taste delicious with a little thyme mixed in and about a cup of white wine or vermouth. Bring the liquid to a simmer and then cover and cook for about 15 minutes. They will be tender and absorb all the flavors.

If grilling, you will want to scoop the choke out of the artichokes by chopping them in half. You can add a little oil and salt over the top, before grilling for about 8 minutes. Turn partway through the grilling time to cover all sides.

Steaming is extremely easy and one of the healthiest ways to cook the vegetable. Put in a basket over some water and cook for 15 minutes, so they are nice and tender.

Microwaving can be a good way to cook to keep the nutrients. You can add some white wine and thyme to the dish with the vegetable and cook for about 8 minutes. You will get the taste like braising.

Asparagus

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Like artichokes, asparagus can be cooked in all four ways, although roasting and grilling tend to be the most favored. If the ends look a little woody, discard them as it means they have gone off. You want sturdy spears for excellent taste. Trim of the ends of the asparagus before cooking them.

Use some water and lemon in a pan for braising and simmer the asparagus in there for about 5 minutes, until tender. You can use the same mixture in the microwave, cooking on high for 3 minutes.

When roasting, you will need to turn the oven up high to 500F. Coat the vegetables with olive oil and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through. As for grilling, place under a medium heat for 6 minutes, turning now and then to avoid one side burning.

Broccoli

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Broccoli is one of the most popular vegetables in the grocery store. It is packed with nutrients that will support your whole health, and it is one of the easiest to cook. Steaming is one of the most popular ways to cook, but certainly not the only option. However, broccoli tends to be better raw to get all the nutrients if you can deal with the slightly bitter taste.

Avoid broccoli with yellow florets. You can eat or discard the central trunk of the broccoli, but it is easier to cook just the forest.

To steam, add some water and lemon juice to a pan and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli to a basket over the water and cook for 5 minutes. You will cook through and absorb all the flavors of the lemon to balance out the bitterness of the vegetable.

Roasting is an option, but like asparagus, you will need to have the oven turned high to 500F. Cover in a little oil and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through to avoid burning. The broccoli will be slightly browned.

If you like to use the microwave, you can cook broccoli in just 4 minutes. Place the florets in a dish, cover, and place in the microwave on high.

Brussels Sprouts

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It is time to get your Christmas vegetables just right. They tend to be the vegetables everyone avoids but buys because of it “traditional.”

You want to get firm Brussels sprouts that haven’t yellowed. Look out for insect holes, as they tend to be favorites of insects. One thing many people tend to forget to do peel the outer leaves. Most stores will not do this for you, but the outer leaves tend to be tough to chew.

Braising is one of the quickest ways to cook. You can put in a skillet with some dry white wine and cook for about 7 minutes. The Brussels sprouts will soften and absorb the flavors of the wine.

Alternatively, you can use the same liquid in the microwave. You only save about a minute of cooking time.

If you want to steam, place some water in a pan and cook the sprouts over the top for 6-8 minutes. Roasting will take longer and require a 500F heat. You will need to oil and cook for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. While many people roast, they do not give the Brussels sprouts enough time to soften.

Carrots

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Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables and quite frequently eaten raw or boiled. There is no problem with doing either, but sometimes you want to do something a little different.

When buying carrots, look for those that are orange. You want to avoid any that have white/gray sections on their skin or any residue left behind. Buy with the greens attached if you can, as the carrots will gain more nutrients from them. Before cooking, chop the greens off and peel the carrots.

Microwaving the carrots is certainly one of the quickest ways to cook them. You can chop the carrots and put in some white wine or broth. Cook, covered, for 3 minutes on high.

Alternatively, you can use some water in a pan and steam the carrots for 4 minutes. Frying in a pan with some butter will also only take you 4 minutes, but make sure you keep moving the vegetable around the pan.

Roasting tends to be popular when making Sunday dinner. Chop the carrots in half lengthwise and place on a baking tray, covering with a little oil. Bake at 500F for 15 minutes. Get the temperature right for soft, well-roasted carrots.

Cauliflower

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While you can eat cauliflower raw, you do not have to. It is straightforward to cook. You want to prepare the cauliflower in the way that you did with broccoli, as florets are easy to cook rather than trying to cook the trunk. Avoid cauliflower with yellow or brown spots. Purple spots are fine!

It is possible to steam cauliflower over some water for 5 minutes, or you can cook in some white wine or vermouth for 4 minutes in the microwave. Braising is popular with some white wine and caraway seeds, and only takes about 4 minutes.

If you choose to roast, make sure the temperature is high at 500F again and bake for 15 minutes, turning partway through to avoid burning.

Eggplant/Aubergine

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Whatever you call the vegetable, eggplants need to be cooked just right to get rid of the bitter taste. The eggplant should feel heavy, with smooth and glossy skin. Any wrinkles will mean that it is going off.

There is no need to peel the skin if you do not want. Chop in half or in thick rounds depending on how you plan to cook.

If you are going to roast, chop in half and cook at 500F for 15 minutes. Turn the eggplant over halfway through. You can also grill in the same way, but it will take just 8 minutes.

Braising is the other option, which is when the thick rounds are useful. Mix the rounds with some salsa before placing in the pan and then cook for 15 minutes. You will help to balance out the bitterness and earthy flavor of the vegetable.

Green Beans

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Green beans are another vegetable that tends to be eaten because they are traditional. Nobody really enjoys them because they tend not to cook them properly. Look for firm and thin beans and snip the ends off, before cooking.

You can cook in four different ways. Frying is certainly the quickest, taking just 2 minutes. You will only need a little oil and will need to stir frequently to avoid burning.

Microwaving is the next quickest and easiest option. Put the beans in a little water and place in the microwave, covered, for 4 minutes. If you want to steam, use water in a pan and cook for 5 minutes.

Roasting will take the longest, but you can get soft, delicious beans. Coat with a little oil and cook for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.

Potatoes

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Whether you get red-skinned, yellow-skinned, or white potatoes, you can cook them in similar ways. These are popular in households, and you will already likely cook them in a range of ways. Make sure you scrub off all the dirt before cooking and check that the skin is firm. There is no need to peel the skin before cooking but you can.

Baking your potatoes whole is popular, and you can do this both in the oven or in the microwave. Stab a fork or knife into the potato a few times to allow the water to escape the potato easily. Put the oven up as high as possible and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The skin should be papery, and the potato will be soft on the inside. If microwaving, you can cook for 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the potato. If you want to get the crispy skin, pop in the oven for a few extra minutes.

Alternatively, you can chop the potatoes into wedges and cover with some olive oil. Roast in the oven at 500F for 20-25 minutes. Try a few herbs and spices with the olive oil for a slightly different taste.

Fry your potatoes for something a little different. You can grate or chop in chunks and put in the frying pan with a little oil. Cook for 6 minutes, pressing the potatoes down into the pan if grated, and flip for another 5 minutes. If cubed, cook for about 10 minutes, moving around the pan frequently.

Squash of All Kinds

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Squash is available throughout the year but is far more popular during the fall and winter months. Acorn and butternut squash tend to be the most known about, but you can follow these cooking tips for all of them.

Start by halving the squashes and scooping out all the seeds. If you find it hard to but, you can place in the microwave for a few minutes to soften.

To roast, score the squash with a knife and then put, uncovered, in the oven for 45-60 minutes at the highest temperature possible. Check on the squash regularly after the first 45 minutes to avoid burning the yummy goodness. The skin can be burned.

You can also similarly grill the squash. If you want, chop the squash into rounds and grill for 3-4 minutes.

When braising, use some apple juice in the pan and add cubed squash (with no skin) to the mixture. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the squash, is soft. Alternatively, chop into rings and fry for 7 minutes in a little oil and garlic.

Sweet Potatoes

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In most cases, sweet potatoes can be cooked in the same way as normal potatoes. Look out for those with tight and slightly papery ends.

You can make sweet potato jacket potatoes by roasting or microwaving in the same way as normal potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be a little easier to cook, so you may only need about 45 minutes.

Braising is a popular way to add a little extra taste of your vegetables. Use some broth, thyme, and honey to accompany the natural sweetness of the potato. Chop the sweet potatoes into small cubes and cook for 15 minutes in the liquid, while covered. Remove the cover and cook for another 2 minutes to make the liquid into a glaze.

Sweet potato wedges are easily made in the oven. Turn the heat up to 500F and use some olive oil over the top of your potatoes. Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning partway through to avoid burning.

Add the wedges to some water to boil your potatoes if you want. Cook for about 15 minutes until tender. You can drain and add some milk and butter to make sweet potato mash if you want. Add some boiled carrots and make sweet potato and carrot mash.

Turnips and Swede

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Finally, it is all about the turnip and Swede. They can taste delicious, but they need to be cooked just right. You also need to find those that haven’t started decaying, which means looking for firm and white skinned turnips or Swede. It is best if the greens are still attached when buying, but you will want to chop the greens off when cooking.

Grilling the vegetables is one of the easiest and quickest options. Slice the turnips into rounds and steam them for 5 minutes, before putting on the grill for about 8 minutes. You can just keep them in the basket to steam for 12 minutes to fully cook that way if you want.

If roasting, drizzle oil over the turnip or Swede rounds and bake for about 15 minutes, until tender. Frying is your next option, which will take about 12 minutes with a little oil.

It is also possible to boil and then mash. Turnip, Swede and carrot mixtures tend to work together for something a little different to the usual mash at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Make the Most of Your Vegetables

These are some of the most popular vegetables undercooked or not prepared properly. Not cooking right will destroy the taste, the nutrients, and the fun. Make sure you get them just right by following this ultimate guide. You will soon have a dish worth serving to family and friends, without apologizing for burnt bits!

All-in-One Guide to Black Bean Nutrition

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

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

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

The Nutritional Makeup of Black Beans

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

The macronutrients look like this:

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

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

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

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

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

Protein Helps with Muscle Building and Heart Health

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

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

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

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

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

Promote Healthy Digestion with Fiber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support Nerve Function and Neurotransmissions

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

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

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

Improve Your Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Control

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

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

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

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

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

Improved Immune System and Energy Levels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is Easy to Add Black Beans to Your Diet

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

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

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