What Are Carbohydrates & The Benefits Of Consuming Them

Probably the best way to understand what carbohydrates are is to see them as sugars, starches and fibers that are found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products.

Even though they are often maligned in the popular diets, carbohydrates (also known as carbs) are important for a healthy organism.

In a nutshell, carbohydrates are macronutrients which means that they are one of the three main ways through which our body obtains energy or calories. Carbohydrates are also the body’s main source of energy – and they contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen – hence the name.

Now, the classification of carbs includes many types and many groups. To better illustrate this, there are:

  • Simple and complex carbs (based on their molecule structure)
  • Monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides (based on their molecule structure and source)
  • Good and bad carbs (where good are the carbs coming from natural sources such as fruit, opposed to the bad carbs being found in processed products)

The function of carbohydrates is related to providing energy for the central nervous system and every working muscle. Below, we are listing their benefits.

The Benefits Of Eating Carbohydrates Before And After A Workout

As mentioned above, carbohydrates provide fuel for our central nervous system as well as energy for our working muscles. They also prevent the protein from being used as an energy source and enable fat metabolism. They are also important for proper brain function and are found to positively influence the mood, memory and other functions.

When it comes to the consumption of carbs before and after a workout, most of the experts would agree that it is before to consume carbohydrates before a workout as the main source of energy – and balance with proteins after the workout.

Still, carbohydrates can be a great source of glycogen after a workout (especially because your glycogen levels are low at that time).

So, if you want to have maximum energy while training, you can consume carbohydrates before your training. If, on the other hand, the purpose of your training is to bulk up (add muscle) rather than shred your body, carbing up before throwing on your kit is necessary.

The best-case scenario is to consume most of the slow-digesting carbohydrates before a workout – and leave the fast-digesting carbohydrates for after the exercise.

Examples Of Foods That Are Categorized As Carbohydrates

There are many different groups of foods that contain carbohydrates. Obviously, each food contains them in a different and relative amount. So, the best way to understand which food contains carbohydrates is through the following examples listed below:

  • Dairy products – milk, yogurt, ice cream
  • Fruit – whole fruit and fruit juice
  • Grains – bread, rice, crackers and cereal
  • Legumes – beans and other plant-based products
  • Starchy vegetables – potatoes and corn
  • Sugary sweets (processed carbs) – soda, candy, cookies and other desserts

What’s important to mention at this point is the fact that carbohydrates are not inherently bad. In fact, our bodies need the glucose sourced in them for fuel. However, it is always important to pick nutrient-rich food sources and pay attention to the size of your portions (if they include carbohydrates).

A Final Word

In the end, carbohydrates are best consumed in their healthy and unprocessed form – and at the right time. Usually, nutritionists advise to consume them in the morning or at least for lunch and leave the other nutrients for your snack and dinner choices.

Moreover, you should try to focus on the ‘good carbs’ which are essentially carbohydrates that are low or moderate in calories, high in nutrients, devoid of refined sugars/grains, high in natural fiber, low in sodium and saturated fat as well as low in (or devoid of) any cholesterol and trans fats.

 

Organize Your Process

 

Have you started working towards the goals you have set for yourself? If you followed my advice on the Lee’s Fitness Unlimited Podcast, the answer is yes. As I’ve mentioned in the “Organize Your Process” episode, the first step of putting action behind your goals is to write them down. Ok, so now you have your notepad with your goals written down. Now next to each goal write down five key factors that will contribute to your success.

Consistency is the key to successfully accomplishing your goals. Every day the objective is to take one of the five key factors and focus on improving in that specific area. For example, if your goal is to lose some weight around your stomach and mid section, your five factors of success might look like this:

    1. Get with a workout partner
    2. Do more cardio
    3. Eat with a better diet
    4. Do more core strength training
    5. Focus on recovery




Let’s start the list by getting with a workout partner and having another source of accountability. It is good to have someone to train with to push you to go harder when you would normally consider giving up. Feel free to bring your training partner to one of my boxing or fitness classes!

Next is to start doing more cardio. Go for walks, jog, run, or try going on hikes. If you need extra motivation to get into your cardio training mode, this would be a great opportunity to include your training partner.

Day three would be focused on sharpening your discipline with your diet. It is important to educate yourself about your diet and understand the nutritional facts about the foods you eat. You can also use this day to remove a unhealthy food from your diet for that day. If you can successfully go without a certain food craving for one day, it can become a healthy habit for your lifestyle with repetition and consistency.

By day four you can start to focus more on building muscles, so you will focus on your strength training more. Try a new core strength routine or set a goal for the amount of sit ups that you want to rep.

On day five you should slow the pace down and focus on your recovery. Go get yourself a massage or spend some time stretching and soaking your muscles. It is very important for your body’s development that you understand how to allow it to recover from intense training sessions.

Do you see how productive you can be towards accomplishing your goals by simply writing them down?



Health Benefits of Coffee

Health Benefits of Coffee

Coffee—It has always been a controversial issue whether or not this magical drink has any meaningful benefits. This magical brew is such a staple in the common diet that it is enjoyed from morning wake-up call to decaf with dessert. Coffee is the beverage that most folks are drinking all day long, especially those who work in offices. There are numerous benefits of coffee ranging from mental alertness to lower diabetes risk. Take a look at only a handful of its benefits.

Prolonged life

This may come as a surprise but it is true. Coffee can reduce your chances of dying. But what does that really mean? Well, according to research published in The American Journal of Epidemiology, four cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of death, from any cause, by 16 percent, and three cups per day reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 21 percent.

Protects against cancer

Coffee is loaded with antioxidants such as polyphenols, which helps the immune system in the battle against cancer, parasites, and other similar diseases. According to a research conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, it was found that drinking four or more cups of coffee per day reduced a man’s risk of prostate cancer recurrence by 59 percent.

But It’s not just limited to prostate cancer either. According to a meta-analysis performed by Chinese researchers, it was revealed that higher coffee consumption could reduce the risk of liver cancer by 50 percent, and similar study by Canadian researchers discovered that high coffee intake was associated with reduced risk of breast cancer.

Aids in Weight Loss

Polyphenols, as discussed earlier, is a highly efficient antioxidant. But not only that, the polyphenol in coffee can also function as a prebiotic for the good bacteria in your stomach. In addition to this, the caffeine makes it thermogenic, which basically means it helps you increase your resting metabolic rate and energy expenditure, leading to more calories burned.



Headache prevention

Coffee has been found to reduce chronic headaches. On the other hand, caffeine withdrawal may contribute to headaches if you drink it in excess, A research done in Norway found that if coffee is consumed moderately and regularly, it can reduce headaches. Those who drank 241 to 400 milligrams of caffeine (which is equal to two or three cups of coffee) on a regular basis, had the least number of headaches. Those who drank the least amount of coffee, less than 240 milligrams of caffeine to be exact, had the highest instances of chronic headaches that occurred more than 14 days per month.

Safeguard the liver

A handful of studies published in well-respected journals have found that coffee has been linked to a healthy liver, this includes reducing the risk of death from liver cirrhosis, a decrease in harmful liver enzyme levels and limiting liver scarring in people who suffer from hepatitis C.

So, here were some of the advantages and benefits of drinking coffee. There are a ton more!

References:

Main sources:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408390701522445
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11130-004-0049-7
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408390500400009
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.900/abstract
http://authoritynutrition.com/8-ways-to-make-your-coffee-super-healthy/
http://www.globalexchange.org/fairtrade/coffee/faq
http://ecowatch.com/2014/08/04/why-you-should-drink-organic-coffee/
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/30/if-you-drink-coffee-make-sure-it-is-organic.aspx

Alternative Sources:

http://www.coffeescience.org/top10-health-benefits-of-drinking-coffee-everyday/

http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-coffee-national-coffee-day-2016-9

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/coffee-health-benefits_n_4102133.html

https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/9-incredible-health-benefits-of-coffee

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/06/coffeeeeeeee/487181/

http://www.thealternativedaily.com/health-benefits-coffee/

https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/health-benefits-coffee

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/drink-up-health-benefits-of-coffee-are-numerous/

 

Healthy Foods and Nutrients to Fuel The Body For Early Morning Exercise.

Healthy Foods and Nutrients to Fuel The Body For Early Morning Exercise.

A good diet is absolutely necessary when you’re working out. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, or gain some muscle, a good diet on top of exercise and rest are the things that are absolutely necessary for that purpose. Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, so it has to be nutritious and healthy to get you through the day. And under no circumstances should it be skipped. If you work out early in the morning then it is twice as important for you. You will require something healthy and highly nutritious to fuel the body for this early morning workout. And here are 5 ideas for such a breakfast. These are super simple and take about 5 minutes to assemble and even lesser to eat. Not too heavy and not too light, giving your body the thing it needs just right.

We start off with A whole wheat English muffin with nut butter (peanut, almond, etc). All you need to do to prepare it is just toast it, smear the butter and then eat and enjoy. If you’re doing a light workout then half will suffice, and if you’re doing a heavy workout then eat it all. Next up we have an Avocado toast with some sea salt. To prepare it start by toasting a slice of bread and as it is toasting, mash the avocado on top of it. Then top it all off with some flaky sea salt. A healthy, nutritious and delicious way to start your day and fuel your body for that workout. Up next we have ½ a cup of yogurt with some granola. You may be tempted to choose fat-free and low-calorie yogurt, but I would advise to not do that. Not for this instance at least; some fat, sugar and some extra calories are good for a morning workout. It will help provide the necessary fuel, and make sure you don’t burn yourself out. Go for regular or fruit yogurt or whatever variant you may prefer.

At number 4 we have ½ a cup of mixed fresh fruit. A super simple recipe, but don’t let it fool you it is very good. There is no complex preparation involved, in fact it is exactly as it sounds. Just some fresh fruit. And last but not the least, we have some oatmeal. Oatmeal is a good source of carbs, protein and fiber. In the morning, you don’t have time to prepare something very complex so these simple little things go a long way. They provide with enough nutrients and energy to get through the workout efficiently. But keep in mind that these are only pre-workout for early morning exercise. Follow up with plenty of fluids, and a proper breakfast afterwards. Because there’s no way you can function all day with just these things. Take a break of 30-minutes to 60-minutes post-workout and then have a proper breakfast. That will allow you to have muscle recovery and give you the energy you used back.

Great Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work

GREAT WEIGHT LOSS TIPS THAT ACTUALLY WORK

Losing weight, gaining weight or maintaining calories just to stay in shape can prove to be rather difficult at times. Who says it has to? Like everything else, there’s a technique to it too. If you just follow those techniques, weight loss can feel pretty simple and straight forward. Take a look at these 4 tips that you might not find anywhere else!

Tip 1: Don’t let hunger deter you from sticking with your diet

Hunger is the primary reason why many people don’t stick with a weight loss plan for more than a few weeks. When you consume less food, your fat cells release more hunger hormones than normal, which increases your appetite. Higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate meal plans are best for controlling your hunger and appetite. Just replace processed carbs like white bread, bagels, muffins, cereals or donuts for breakfast with high-protein foods like eggs, or Greek yogurt mixed with chia seeds and berries or any other fruit you’d prefer. You’ll find that you stay fuller longer.

Tip 2: Eat carbohydrates that have fibers attached to it

The more fiber in your diet, the better! This method forces you to give up the bad carbs (candy, white bread, soda) and only stick with high-quality carbs. Fiber is essential in helping improve blood sugar control, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, colorectal cancer and heart disease.

Foods that are rich in fiber include legumes (dried beans, lentils), veggies (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach squash, sweet potatoes) and fruit (apples, berries, oranges, pears).


Tip 3: Focusing on healthy behaviors

It’s common to get disheartened when you look nothing else but your weight but focusing instead on making good food choices, watching portions and exercising regularly is more efficient. If you adopt these behaviors, the weight loss will follow. Instead of having a goal like “lose 2 pounds a week” have specific mini-goals, like “eat 1 cup of veggies at dinner,” “walk 20 minutes a day,” or “keep a daily food log.” If you’re disappointed with your weight progress at week’s end, reflect on how well you stuck to each goal. If you’ve made healthy changes, congratulations! If you fell short, question yourself as to why. Were the goals too tough? Do you need a stronger support system? Is a major barrier in your approach? Then either adjust your goals or focus according to the factors you have control on.

Tip 4: Plan tomorrow’s meals today

When you plan ahead, it stops that “eat whatever is in front of you” panic that sets in when you wait to plan dinner until you’re starving at 6 p.m. Scaring up dinner on the fly is likely to bring less nutritious, higher-calorie choices to your table.

When you sit down for dinner at night, plan what you’ll eat for dinner tomorrow. Same goes for breakfast and lunch. This is better to do when you are not hungry.

This also reminds you to take something out of the freezer, cut veggies tonight to put in the crockpot tomorrow morning.

Tell us if these tips helped you, if there’s something you’d like to add or if there are any questions regarding these. Have a nice day !

The Pros and Cons of White and Red Meat

The Pros and Cons of White and Red Meat

white_vs_dark_meat

In nutritional science the distinguishing feature between white and red meat is myoglobin which is a protein that gives red meat such as beef its dark color. Most people though differentiate the two types on the basis of the taste that they develop. As a major proportion of people prefer white or red meat on the basis of taste many others like to differentiate the two on the basis of health benefits. Due to presence or absence of the protein Myoglobin the nature of the types of meat is not only distinguished, but they also have a set of different pros and cons.




The following are some of the pros and cons of white and red meat:

If you love white meat than there’s absolutely no harm in it as there are numerous pros when it comes to regular white meat consumption. On the other hand you have to lower down your consumption of beef!

  • Calories: There are fewer calories when it comes to white meat, the consumption of white meats have this advantage that if you eat 100 g of chicken the calories would be 165. Whereas a consumption of 100 g of beef the calories would be around 470. Hence white meat provides you sufficient proteins along with fewer calories.
  • Vitamins: The most important aspect of consuming red meat is the vitamins that come with it. Red meat also contains higher levels of iron. This iron is readily absorbed by the human body and is obviously advantageous especially for those who regularly go to the gym. Zinc and vitamin B are found in red meat as well.
    Although red meats have higher concentrations of minerals and vitamins it is extremely important that you don’t consume it in high proportions as research suggests that it can cause certain cancers.
  • Fat content: The main difference among the two types of meat is the amount of fat. White meat is popular among households because it has less fat as compared to red meat.
  • Taste: Taste is something that is entirely subjective as people have their own ideas and experiences of what tastes better, but white meat is generally considered as having a better taste than red meat. Not to forget that there are many people who prefer red meat simply for its taste as it tastes juicier than white meat.

Fish

Fish is another type of white meat that is popular among people for the obvious reasons it has low calories and tastes so good! But yes, it has some disadvantages for the human body as well. Some fishes contain higher amounts of mercury which can essentially be dangerous for the nervous system of the consumer. Hence it is strongly recommended that pregnant women and young children should consume fish with extreme precaution.

It can be clearly seen that there are distinct benefits and potential harmful characteristics of white and red meat but this doesn’t mean that a certain type of meat should be avoided. What’s important is to have a combination of both the two meats as great dietary benefits can be achieved this way.

Efficient Energy From Pre-Workout Nutrition

A healthy diet and regular physical activity – these are the two things that every individual, who wants to keep their health at a high level, should implement in their life. If you eat the right foods that provide adequate amounts of nutrients, but you avoid exercise, then you can’t expect optimal health. On the other hand, workout without proper nutrition won’t be effective and in some cases, it can be dangerous. When we are talking about food and workout, it is good to mention that there are some healthy foods that are known for their ability to provide energy. These foods are especially effective when they are taken before a workout. Pre-workout nutrition is crucial for the final results of your physical activity. In this article, we will highlight some of the best healthy foods that provide energy.

workout_1Oatmeal

If you want to fuel your workout routine, you can always count on oatmeal. This food is packed with protein and soluble fiber and contains different minerals and vitamins. (1) With the help of oatmeal, you will feel full and you will be able to focus on the workout process. If you want to boost its effects, add some milk and berries.

Eggs

Eggs are loaded with protein and vitamin D making them an excellent food for energy before working out. Eggs have the ability to maintain energy levels and you can rest assured that you won’t feel hungry during the training process. Once again, if you want to get better results, you can make a combination with whole-grain toast. In this way, you’ll get more fiber.

Salmon

grilled-salmon-dill-butter-horiz-640

Now here’s an example of food that you can consume not only before a workout. This healthy fish contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids. (2) According to several studies, salmon has significant amounts of magnesium and a few B vitamins. This means that by eating salmon you will not only get energy, but you will also enhance the calorie-burning effects of your workout. On top of that, the omega-3 fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory effects increasing endurance which are important for proper conducting of different exercises.

Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the trendy energy-boosting foods. This extremely nutritious grain is known for the high amounts of minerals, vitamins, fiber and protein. Many people use it as a replacement for brown rice in their dishes. Cooked quinoa tastes like nuts. Experts agree that quinoa should be part of any pre-workout nutrition plan because it can help people get energy even for the hardest exercises.

Almonds

workout_3

It turns out that almonds are excellent fuel for any type of workout. Just like the majority of nuts, almonds are packed with fiber, minerals, protein and healthy fat. With their help, your body will keep moving and flexing during your workout session. Almonds are tasty and they can be consumed quickly before the workout begins.

In case you want to get the most from your workouts, be sure to consume some of these foods that provide energy before you start doing exercises.

  1. http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/oatmeal-nutrition-facts
  2. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=104

 




7 Healthy Nutrients To Help Lose Fat

One of the most important factors to living a healthy lifestyle is maintaining a healthy diet. If your goal is to fight fat and lose weight then it is crucial that you start  working from the inside-out! “You are what you eat” is a true statement. When I decided to lose weight after I finished playing college football I had to change the way I ate. Once I started adding more healthy foods to my diet the results that I wanted came right away!

Here are some healthy sources of nutrients that will boost your metabolism and help you lose weight:

water1. Water

Increasing your water consumption will increase the rate that you burn calories. After drinking approximately 17 oz of water, the body’s metabolic rate will increase by 30%. Everyone should be drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.

 

 

53c4119b41fd9.image2. Blueberries

Blueberries contain antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium. Blueberries will detoxify your body, which will also decrease your fat storage. The copper and fiber content also increase fat burning. A half-cup of blueberries is only about 40 calories.

 

 

the-word-chia-spelled-with-chia-seeds

3. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds contain protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Adding chia to your diet will suppress your appetite and boost your metabolism. I personally recommend drinking chia seeds with water or fruit smoothies.

 

eggs4. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs. Eggs are also low in calories, which range from 70-90 calories depending how they are cooked.

 

 

Coconut-Oil-Web5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the best sources of fat to consume for weight loss. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides, which the body uses for energy expenditure. Therefore, less of the triglycerides are being stored as fat. Adding coconut oil to your diet will assist in losing fat especially around the abdominal cavity.

 

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6. Avocado

Avocado is high in monounsaturated fats and also a good source of fiber. There are two main benefits from eating avocados.  Avocados will lower your cholesterol level. They also help reducing belly fat because monounsaturated fats prevent the body from distributing abdominal fat.

 

7. Almonds

Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Almonds are also a good source of protein and fiber. The protein content in the nuts will keep you feeling full so that you won’t always have a urge to overeat. Almonds will also block your body’s absorption of calories, which will result in weight loss.