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3 Treadmill Workouts

Health.com: Fun Ways to Get Fit Without a Gym

Walk-Jog-Sprint
This is one of my go-to workouts when I’m dreading my time on the treadmill. It keeps me guessing for a solid 45 minutes, so it’s over before I know it! And I feel like I’ve really worked hard when I’m done. I’m almost always a sweaty mess at the end!

Walk at 4.0 at 7.5 incline for 4 minutes
Jog at 6.5 at 1.0 incline for 5 minutes
Repeat walk and jog twice
Jog at 6.5 at 2.0 incline for 3 minutes
Run at 7.0 at 1.0 incline for 3 minutes
Sprint at 8.0 at 1.0 incline for 1 minute
Jog at 6.0 at 1.0 incline for 1 minute
Sprint at 8.0 at 1.0 incline for 1 minute
Run at 7.0 at 1.0 incline for 1 minute
Jog at 6.5 at 1.0 incline for 3 minutes
Cool down (walk) for 5 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Health.com: Winter-Proof Your Run

Roll Play
Changing my speed every two minutes keeps my interest and motivation high while running on the treadmill. I covered a little over 5.5 miles in 60 minutes during this workout. There’s a walking interval from minutes 30 to 35, so this workout can easily be shortened to 35 minutes if needed.

Keep on reading for two more treadmill workouts.

Incline: 1.0

Minutes 0 to 5: 4.2 mph
5 to 7: 6.3 mph
7 to 9: 6.5 mph
9 to 11: 6.7 mph
11 to 13: 6.5 mph
13 to 15: 6.3 mph
15 to 20: 4.5 mph
20 to 22: 6.4 mph
22 to 24: 6.6 mph
24 to 26: 6.8 mph
26 to 28: 6.6 mph
28 to 30: 6.4 mph
30 to 35: 4.4 mph
35 to 37: 6.5 mph
37 to 39: 6.7 mph
39 to 41: 6.9 mph
41 to 43: 6.7 mph
43 to 45: 6.5 mph
45 to 50: 4.2 mph
50 to 51: 7.0 mph
51 to 52: 6.9 mph
52 to 53: 6.8 mph
53 to 54: 6.7 mph
54 to 55: 6.6 mph
55 to 60: 4.2 mph

Total time: 60 minutes

Health.com: The Fastest Fat Burners Ever

Three-Mile Challenge
When I’m short on time, I like to challenge myself to run three miles as fast as I can. I love a challenge, so trying to beat my previous mile gets me excited about my workout. If you’re not into running, a three-mile power-walking challenge also will work!

Warm up for 10 minutes (walk or slow jog)
Run one mile
Recovery: two-minute walk
Run second mile. Try to improve your time from the first mile.
Recovery: two-minute walk
Run third mile. Try to improve your time from the previous two miles.
5 minute cool down (walk or slow jog)

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Stay The Course – Why Dieting Makes Us Fat

By Dr. Alexander Chernev, Author of The Dieter’s Paradox: Why Dieting Makes Us Fat, the following is an excerpt from the book.  Dr. Chernev is a psychologist who is studying how people make choices.

Weight Loss And You

Our weight-loss efforts are often derailed by our focus on short-term results and lack of commitment to a particular course of action. Even when we are devoted to the idea of dieting, we seem to have trouble staying loyal to the chosen dieting plan. The following strategies can help curb this consistency bias.

Control Mindless Habits

Mindless eating has become ingrained in our lifestyle. Too often we eat out of habit, grabbing things just because they’re out there in plain sight, waiting to be eaten. To get a grip on these subconscious impulses, make indulgences less frequent, less prominent, and less convenient. Avoid temptations by banishing them from your daily routine.

Think Long Term

Our myopic focus on immediate results makes us seek drastic solutions, downplaying the effect of incremental changes. We fail to visualize the long-term impact of our short-term actions and refuse to believe that skipping a 400- calorie muffin every morning could reduce our annual calorie intake by as much as 150,000 calories (equal to the recommended calorie intake for 60 full days). Over the long run, small changes produce big results.

Set Actionable Goals

Having the vague goal of “dieting” without a defined action plan can hardly help one lose weight. To be actionable, goals need be specific: they must pinpoint the desired outcomes and set a time frame for achieving these outcomes. Writing down goals makes them easier to share, which further strengthens our commitment and makes us more accountable for reaching them. Set actionable goals and fortify your commitment by writing down and sharing these goals.

Manage Variety

Variety can both facilitate and hamper weight-management efforts. Abundant variety makes us eager to try all the different options available and in many cases leads to overconsumption. Not enough variety can lead to boredom and increased consumption because lack of novelty blunts satisfaction and delays satiation. Introduce variety into your menu while controlling total consumption.

Think Carrots Not Sticks

Diets based only on inhibition are short-lived: they produce short-term results and are often followed by a rebound. (This is why many crash diets create repeat customers!) The goal is not to conquer the indulgent urges but to pacify them with sensible rewards. Focus on what to achieve, not just what to avoid.

Think Beyond Consumption Episodes

Thinking about food in terms of consumption episodes makes us vulnerable to the “what-the-hell” effect. Once we break our diet, we consider the entire meal or event “spoiled” and consequently overindulge in the very behavior we’ve been trying to avoid. Break away from the “what-the-hell” mentality.

 

Copyright © Beliefnet, Inc. and/or its licensors. All rights reserved.

Diet-Busting Foods You Should Avoid

It really is a shame. Some of the best-tasting foods are actually some of the worst in terms of fat and calories. But it can be hard to avoid them, especially in places—like malls—where nutrition information usually isn’t available.

So we did the work for you; take a look at a list of foods you should skip—or pick—at a mall, restaurant, or grocery store.

(A 2,000-calorie-a-day diet should have no more than 66 grams of fat, less than 20 grams saturated; 2,400 milligrams of sodium; and 300 grams of total carbohydrate, including sugars.)

1. Smoothie King’s Hulk Strawberry Smoothie

Fruit and yogurt can’t be bad, right? Wrong. Smoothies are often made with ice cream or milk and can be crammed with sugar. At least this treat gives you a heads up: It’s listed on the menu as a smoothie for people looking to gain weight.

But the calories are excessive—more than two Big Macs put together. And that’s just the small.

One 20-ounce smoothie: 1,044 calories, 35g fat, 120g sugar.

Choose this instead: Low-Carb Strawberry smoothie: 268 calories, 9g fat, 3g sugar.

2. Starbucks’ Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino Blended Creme with Whipped Cream

Sure it sounds bad, but how bad is it? This afternoon pick-me-up delivers nearly one-third of the maximum fat you should consume in a day, and over half a day’s saturated fat.

One 16-ounce Grande: 510 calories; 19g fat, 11g saturated; 59g sugar; 300mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Your best bet is a regular cup of coffee without all the bells and whistles. If you just can’t live without a Frappuccino, make it a Coffee Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee: 130 calories, 0.5g fat, 16g sugar

3. Coldstone’s PB&C Shake

Chances are you already suspect that milkshakes aren’t all that healthy. But this particular shake, made with chocolate ice cream, milk, and peanut butter, is in a class of its own. This frosty monster delivers an entire day’s worth of calories and almost three and a half times the daily limit for saturated fat.

One “Gotta Have It” (Coldstone speak for “large”): 2,010 calories; 131g fat, 68g saturated; 153g sugar.

Choose this instead: A better bet is the 16-ounce Sinless Oh Fudge! Shake, with the same chocolaty taste, but a quarter of the calories and only 2 grams of fat.

4. Auntie Anne’s Jumbo Pretzel Dog

Auntie Anne’s sells snacks, not meals. But this concoction—a Nathan’s hot dog wrapped in a pretzel bun—contains almost half your daily upper limit of fat and sodium.

One Jumbo Pretzel Dog with butter: 610 calories; 29g fat, 13g saturated; 1,150mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Go for the original pretzel without the butter and salt and you’ll whittle your treat down to 310 calories and only 1 gram of fat. Now that’s more like a snack!

5. Cinnabon’s Caramel Pecanbon

The luring scent of Cinnabon is a mall staple. But just one of these decadent pastries means trouble. They deliver about half the calories and just about all the fat you should consume in a day.

One bun: 1,092 calories, 56g fat, 47g sugar.

Choose this instead: Cinnabon has no options that are particularly healthy, but you can try a Minibon, designed for smaller—and smarter—appetites: 300 calories, 11g fat.

6. Wendy’s Sweet and Spicy Boneless Wings

In June, Wendy’s launched this item, claiming it was “as far as it gets from fast food.”

Calorie-wise, this meal isn’t that bad if it makes up your entire lunch. But it has more salt than you should have in a day, let alone at one sitting.

One order: 550 calories, 18g fat, 27g sugar, 2,530mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Try the Ultimate Chicken Grill, a grilled chicken breast on a sesame-seed bun: 320 calories, 7g fat, 8g sugar. Still, with 950 milligrams of sodium, don’t make it a daily habit.

7. Dunkin’ Donuts’ Coffee Cake Muffin

Muffins are often mistaken for the doughnut’s healthy cousin. But muffins can be surprisingly high in fat.

This one is particularly offensive; you’d need to eat about three glazed donuts to match its nutrients and calories.

One muffin: 620 calories; 25g fat, 7g saturated; 54g sugar; 93g carbs.

Choose this instead: For an alternative—but equally decadent—breakfast treat, one glazed donut is a better bet: 220 calories, 9g fat, 12g sugar, 31g carbs.

8. Olive Garden’s Grilled Shrimp Caprese

Shrimp are low-fat, low-cal, and high in protein and iron. What’s not to like?

In fact, the garlic-butter sauce in this dish helps rack up nearly two-thirds of your daily fat and about one and a half times your sodium limit.

One plate: 900 calories, 41g fat, 3,490mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Get a lighter version of this dish without the melted cheese and with marinara sauce on the side. The Venetian Apricot Chicken is another option; it has one-third the calories and 1/10 the fat, but still packs a good deal of sodium.

9. Chili’s Onion String and Crispy Jalapeno Stack

Diners and bloggers alike were outraged by the fried-onion Chili’s appetizer, the Awesome Blossom.

The unhealthy behemoth was removed from the menu, but its replacement is only a bit better. This appetizer is meant to be shared, but even one-quarter of the dish delivers an entire day’s limit for fat.

One appetizer: 2,130 calories; 213g fat, 31g saturated; 1,320mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Chili’s doesn’t have particularly healthy appetizers. If you must have one, try the Chips and Hot Sauce (470 calories). However, the chips’ sodium is 2,790 milligrams—500 milligrams over the maximum daily intake.

10. Macaroni Grill’s Kids’ Fettuccine Alfredo

Kids’ meals, in theory, are smaller than adult portions; children simply don’t need as many calories.

The average 10- to 12-year-old, the upper age limit for many kids’ menus, needs about 1,600 to 1,800 calories daily. This meal puts them at half of that, with more fat than a grown adult needs in a day.

One order: 890 calories, 67g fat, 1,480mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Coax your little ones into ordering the Grilled Chicken and Broccoli: 390 calories, 8g fat. It’s still high in sodium, so ask for sauce on the side and use sparingly.

11. Quiznos’ Chicken With Honey Mustard Flatbread Salad

Unhealthy salads lurk everywhere. They promise grilled chicken, leafy greens, and fewer carbs, but often deliver bacon, cheddar cheese, and high-fat dressing.

Don’t be tricked; this salad will cost you half a day’s calories. The dressing alone has 48 grams of fat, nearly your daily max.

One salad, dressing and bread included: 1,070 calories, 71g fat, 1,770mg sodium.

Choose this instead: The Cantina Chicken Sammie, a 205-calorie, low-fat, veggie-filled flatbread sandwich: 455mg sodium, 12g protein.

12. Pizza Hut’s Meaty P’Zone

The TV commercials for this 1-pound monster feature hungry dudes who don’t want to share. One chows down and tells another, who looks on longingly, to order his own. But these pizza-crust calzones should be shared—preferably with a crowd. Eating the whole thing is akin to consuming about six cheese slices in one sitting, and it delivers one and a half times your daily limit for sodium. One serving size is one-half of a P’Zone.

One whole P’Zone: 1,480 calories, 66g fat, 3,680mg sodium.

Choose this instead: One slice of the Natural Veggie Lover’s multigrain crust pizza has 190 calories, 6g fat, 380 mg sodium, and 9g protein.

13. Lunchables’ New Wholesome Deep Dish Pepperoni Fun Pack

Ideally, a lunch box should strike a balance between taste, fun, and nutrition.

However, an easy prepackaged solution like Lunchables may not deliver. The nutrition info is based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet—that of a grown adult. The processed food is too high in fat and sodium for the average 8-year-old’s daily recommended intakes.

One Fun Pack: 470 calories, 20g fat, 880mg sodium.

Choose this instead: For the same ease, try another variety of Wholesome Lunchables, like the Turkey and Cheddar Club, which comes with water and applesauce instead of cookies and fruit punch, and has 360 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 600 milligrams of sodium.

14. Ruffles’ Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips

Ruffles don’t just have ridges, they’ve also have 17% of the upper limit of daily fat in just one serving. The calorie count is low, but chances are you’ll eat more than a serving, as most packages are the larger 1.5-ounce size.

The 1-ounce serving size: 160 calories, 11g fat, 230mg sodium. The larger size: 240 calories, 16.5g fat, 345mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Try Baked! Ruffles in the original flavor. The 1-ounce serving has 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 200 milligrams of sodium, plus 2 grams each of fiber and protein.

15. Haagen Dazs’ Dulce de Leche Low-Fat Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt is often relatively healthy; even the most decadent flavors tend to have less fat than ice cream.

However, not all fro-yo is created equal. To be fair, this flavor does have 15 grams less fat than the regular ice cream flavor, but one serving packs 25 grams of sugar.

One serving (1/2 cup): 190 calories, 2.5g fat, 25g sugar, 35g carbs.

Choose this instead: Try a brand that offers no-sugar-added options, such as Edy’s. The French Vanilla flavor has only 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of sugar in a 1/2 cup serving.

16. Kar’s Yogurt Apple Nut Mix

Words like yogurt, apple, and nut make this snack seem healthy. But a serving size is 1 ounce. The tiny snack, often found in vending machines, contains nearly three times as much—2.75 ounces. Bags in stores contain five times as much.

Eat a whole 2.75-ounce bag and you’ve consumed 412 calories—the equivalent of one and a half Snickers bars.

A 1-ounce serving: 150 calories; 10g of fat, 2.5g saturated; 90mg sodium; 3g protein; 2g fiber.

Choose this instead: Select a healthier trail mix, like Peeled Snacks. A 2/3-cup serving of the Fruit & Nuts FigSated mix has 150 calories and 6 grams of fat.

17. Arnold’s Whole Grain Country White Bread

Don’t fall for the “whole grain” marketing trick without knowing all the facts.

While “whole grain” sounds good, this product doesn’t have nearly the amount of heart-healthy whole grains as products that say “100% whole grain.”

Two slices: 220 calories, 3g fat, 300mg sodium, 42g carbs, 4g fiber.

Choose this instead: Try two slices of Arnold’s Light line of breads, like the 100% Whole Wheat: 80 calories, 0.5g fat, 170mg sodium, 5g fiber. Or try the new Deli Flats from Pepperidge Farm. One 100% whole-wheat roll has 100 calories and 5 grams of fiber.

18. Reese’s Puffs Cereal

Starting your morning off with this bowl of sugary puffs may be worse than getting up on the wrong side of the bed. One serving of this breakfast treat has more sugar than an actual Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

A 3/4 cup serving with 1/2 cup skim milk: 160 calories, 3g fat, 12g sugar. (One Reese’s Cup has 7 grams of sugar.)

Choose this instead: For an organic and natural take on the peanut-buttery puff, check out EnviroKidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs from Nature’s Path. The same serving size with milk has slightly more calories, but less sugar: 170 calories, 2.5g fat, 7g sugar.

19. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Brown Sugar Cinnamon

At least breakfast cereals have relatively easy-to-understand serving sizes. Pop-Tarts, on the other hand, report nutrition information for one serving, but each package contains two—and is impossible to reseal.

Eat both, and this breakfast delivers a quarter of your daily limit for fat, and more than half your added sugar for the day.

Two pastries: 420 calories, 16g fat, 26g sugar, 66g carbs.

Choose this instead: Your best bet is to eat just one pastry. Or you can try Fiber One’s Brown Sugar Cinnamon Toaster Pastry: 190 calories, 4g fat, 16g sugar, 36g carbs, 5g fiber.

20. PowerBar Performance Energy Cookies & Cream

PowerBars are often shaped like candy bars and can taste like them too.

This particular PowerBar has only 1 gram of fiber and nearly three-fourths of the upper limit of daily added sugar, so there may be healthier options. (The USDA says to limit added sugar to 40 grams, or about 10 teaspoons, per day.)

One bar: 240 calories, 26g sugar, 45g carbs, 8g protein, less than 1g fiber.

Choose this instead: Try the PowerBar Harvest line. Made with whole grains, 1 Oatmeal Raisin Cookie bar still has 250 calories, 43 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of sugar, but offers 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

21. Healthy Choice Sweet and Sour Chicken

This meal is better than a TV dinner, but there are healthier options from this generally trustworthy brand.

The calories are reasonable, but the meal is high in sugar and sodium, and it has more fat than most other Healthy Choice options—even the Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and the Country Breaded Chicken!

One meal: 400 calories, 13g protein, 5g fiber—but 10g fat, 20g sugar, 500mg sodium.

Choose this instead: The Oven Roasted Chicken meal: 260 calories, 5g fat, 9g sugar, 520mg sodium, 15g protein, 6g fiber.

22. VitaminWater

VitaminWater uses the old trick in which the nutrition information on the label is based on a serving size, but the bottle contains multiple servings—leaving you to do the math.

Each bottle contains 2.5 servings of the sugar-sweetened water, so a whole bottle delivers 33 grams of sugar (a can of Coke only has 6 more). That’s a lot of calories when plain water could do the trick.

One bottle (2.5 servings) of the Charge flavor: 125 calories, 32.5g sugar.

Choose this instead: New VitaminWater10 has only 10 calories per serving, or 25 if you finish the bottle. But it contains zero-calorie sweeteners.

23. Quaker Natural Granola, Low-Fat

Granola is tricky. Although the name is practically synonymous with healthy, some types—including this cereal—contain a startling amount of sugar per serving. One serving contains 18 grams of sugar, as much as a Twinkie.

A 2/3-cup serving: 210 calories, 3g fat, 4g protein, 3g fiber—but 18g sugar.

Choose this instead: A 2/3-cup serving of Health Valley’s Low Fat Date Almond Flavor Granola: 180 calories, 1g fat, 10g sugar, 5g protein, 6g fiber.

24. Bear Naked Chocolaty Cherry Grain-ola Bar

We love Bear Naked for its generally low-fat, low-sugar concoctions, but we just can’t get behind this bar.

It has almost the same nutritional stats as a Hershey’s Sweet and Salty Reese’s Peanut Butter bar. Or you could eat almost three Nature Valley Oats and Honey granola bars for the same intake.

One 54-gram bar: 230 calories, 10g fat, 14g sugar.

Choose this instead: Barbara’s Crunch Organic Oats and Honey Granola Bar; two bars have only 190 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 10 grams of sugar.

25. Amy’s Organic Thai Coconut Soup

Generally we love anything from this vegetarian brand, but we have to draw the line at this soup. While packed with veggies and protein-powerhouse tofu, one serving has more than half of your daily limit of saturated fat and a quarter of your sodium.

One 1/2-can serving: 140 calories; 10g fat, 8g saturated; 580mg sodium.

Choose this instead: Lentil Vegetable, one of Amy’s low-sodium soups, is still chock-full of veggies and protein, but with less fat and sodium: 4g fat, 0.5g saturated fat; 340mg sodium.

Copyright © 2012 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

5 Reasons To Go Meatless

It’s no secret that the American meat-heavy diet could use a serious overhaul. We consume nearly one and a half times more meat than most industrialized nations and use more than 50 percent of our water and land to raise livestock. This heavy reliance on animal protein is taking a toll on our health and contributing to a multitude of environmental concerns, including global warming, air and water pollution.

While a full vegetarian diet may seem a bit too extreme, here are five good reasons to consider going meatless, at least part of the time.

Health professionals have been warning us for some time now that diets high in meat load us down with saturated fat, increasing our risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancer. According to Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, giving up meat even one day a week can reduce consumption of harmful fat by 15 percent. Further studies also point to a decreased risk of breast cancer in women who eat meat less frequently because saturated fat stimulates certain types of estrogen-receptive tumors.

Diets heavy in meat really rack up the grocery bill. Pound for pound, animal proteins cost three times the amount of beans or whole grains, and going meatless now and again can make a serious dent in your food budget. Unlike the minimal storage life of meat, canned or dried ingredients used in many vegetarian recipes stay fresh in your pantry for months at a time, making bulk purchasing a further savings for the savvy shopper.

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t need to watch calories? Going meatless can be very good for your waistline. Diets higher in complex carbohydrates (whole wheat, cornmeal, oats, potatoes, brown rice and beans) are low in fat and fill us up quickly, translating to lower calorie intake and fewer cravings between meals. Vegetarian meals are also richer in vitamins and minerals, especially when combined with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

There is growing evidence that human resistance to certain antibiotics is linked to similar substances used to prevent illness and promote weight gain in animals raised in factory farms, where most commercial meat comes from. Limiting quantities of poultry and red meat can help protect our immune systems from harmful byproducts and even contagious disease.

Climate change and global warming are high on our list of worries these days, and many of us wonder how we can make a difference. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every American skipped just one serving of meat per week, this would be the same as taking 8 million cars off the road. This would reduce overall meat production and supply transport, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions considerably.

If you are thinking about going meatless — at least some of the time — the trick is to shake up your menu gradually and experiment a bit. Start with one of your favorite recipes and see how simple it is to replace the meat with a vegetarian alternative. Beans make a delicious, protein-rich filling for Mexican favorites like tacos or burritos.

Try topping homemade pizza with portabella mushrooms instead of pepperoni or sausage. Don’t give up too many of the foods you enjoy — just be creative and learn to prepare them in new, healthier ways. Even moderate changes can make an enormous difference in your health and contribute to the welfare of our planet.

Source: Copyright © 2008-2012. All rights reserved. MyDailyMoment is a trademark of Flatiron Media, LLC.

The Best (and Tastiest) Foods For Your Heart

A heart-smart lifestyle starts with the foods on your plate. Improve your diet with these tasty choices that contain the top nutrients your heart needs, from vitamins and minerals to antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

“Most people know that heart-healthy foods are a big part of heart health. The key is educating them on how to make changes in their diet,” says Cindy Neels, MPH, RD, LDN, a dietitian with the cardiac rehabilitation program at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. Great heart-healthy foods that include antioxidants, lean proteins, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids will all help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your lipid levels in check for better heart health — and best of all, they taste good, too.

Salmon Delivers Omega-3 Fatty Acids

“Coldwater fish like salmon contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and are a great source of lean protein,” says Neels. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because they are important for heart health — and your body can’t make them. That means you need to include them in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can help lower your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut at least two times every week.

Go Nuts for Walnuts

“Walnuts and other nuts have plenty ofomega-3 fatty acids, but they are also high in calories,” says Neel, so stick with a handful. “You also want to eat them without salt.” Studies show that walnuts can lower bad cholesterol levels, as well as lowering a chemical called endothelin that contributes to the inflammation that causes plaques to form in coronary arteries. Also to consider: Nut oils are one of the highest sources of dietary omega-3 fatty acids for heart health.

Try Blueberries for an Antioxidant Boost

“Blueberries are packed withantioxidants, which help remove free radicals that can cause damage to heart cells,” says Neels. Free radicals are harmful molecules that get into your system when you break down foods and from environmental pollutants such as tobacco smoke. These molecules contribute to heart disease, so foods with antioxidants are especially good for heart health.

Mom Was Right: Eat Your Spinach

“Spinach is a really great heart-healthy food,” says Neels. “Spinach has just about everything your heart needs, including plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber.” Spinach is particularly rich in the water-soluble B vitamin called folate. Folate is important for building and maintaining healthy cells, especially healthy red blood cells needed for heart health.

Use Olive Oil for Heart-Healthy Fat

Olive oil, an unsaturated fat, is one of the key ingredients of the Mediterranean diet, and studies have found that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop heart disease. Unsaturated fat has the ability to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, so it’s excellent for heart health. Olive oil also adds a rich taste to cooking and makes a great salad dressing for heart-healthy greens when paired with a little red wine vinegar or lemon juice.

Enjoy Natural Whole Grains for Fiber

The grains in whole-wheat breads and other whole grain products are great heart-healthy foods. “These whole grainsreduce bad cholesterol and add an important source of fiber,” says Neels. “Since fiber fills you up and slows down your digestion, it is important for maintaining a healthy weight.” In addition to whole wheat, barley and oats are other good options to include in your diet. Natural whole grains deliver B vitamins, iron, and magnesium for heart health.

Opt for Brown Rice Instead of White

The difference between brown and white is the difference between whole and refined grains. When grain products like rice, pasta, and bread are refined, the outer kernel of the grain is removed, and so are most of their heart-healthy food benefits. The outer capsule of the grain is where most of the vitamins and fiber are. Think of that capsule as a slow-release pill — grains with their capsule are always better for heart health.

Eat Poultry for Lean Protein

Although you should base your heart-healthy diet around fruits and vegetables, you also need protein. Saturated fats in many meat proteins are not heart-healthy foods, but poultry can be. “Chicken or turkey without the skin is a great source of lean protein, almost as lean as fish,” notes Neels. Watch out for chicken that is pre-marinated or self-basting, such as rotisserie chicken. These products may have lots of added salt and calories that are not conducive to heart health.

Be Mindful of Other Meats

“Other than chicken, the best lean meat for heart health protein is pork tenderloin,” says Neels. If you just have to have some red meat, round steaks, roasts, tip loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder are better for you than other cuts. “Read the label carefully if you are buying ground beef,” advises Neels. “‘Reduced fat’ ground beef can still be close to 30 percent fat. You can get down as low as 3 percent if you look for it.”

Substitute Beans for Meat

Dried beans are a great meat substitute. For optimum heart health, at least once a week, base a meal around beans instead of meat. “Beans are non-fat, high protein, and fiber-rich, so they are great heart-healthy foods,” says Neel. One final thought as you cook with beans and other heart-healthy foods is to reduce your salt intake. Too much salt is a major cause of high blood pressure and heart disease. Try using fresh herbs and a little touch of antioxidant-rich lemon juice to flavor your foods in place of salt.

Copyright © 2012 Everyday Health, Inc.

Easy Exercises For Couch Potatoes

Anyone can improve their heart health and enjoy other exercise benefits — even if you spend most of your time on the couch. Get tips to help fitness newbies start exercising.

Convincing yourself it’s time to start exercising should be easy — given that there are many benefits to exercising. But finding an exercise routine that works for you — and beginning it the right way — that can be difficult.

If you try to jump from no exercise to running a mile or two, you’ll likely wind up so sore and exhausted that you give up again. It’s perfectly fine to start slowly with easy exercises — you’ll still get exercise benefits and improve your heart health.

“Recognize that small changes over time can yield big results,” says personal trainer Alice Burron, MS, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise and author ofFour Weeks to Fabulous. Starting out slowly also enables your body to get used to more physical activity and reduces the risk of injury, she adds.

To start making a difference in your heart health and get the most exercise benefits, put a plan in place and have specific goals in mind. “You will see that, with a gradual start and the right mindset, a fitness routine can significantly improve your cardiovascular health within three months,” says Jonathan H. Whiteson, MD, medical director of the cardiac and pulmonary wellness and rehabilitation program at the New York University Langone Medical Center.

Let’s Start Exercising: First Steps

You don’t need to push yourself to the limit on your first day. “Remind yourself that fitness starts with just doing more today than you did yesterday,” says Dr. Whiteson. “So for the couch potato, even spending 30 minutes doing something active instead of sitting down is the beginning of a fitness program.”

To figure out how much you’re currently moving, pick up an inexpensive pedometer. “Using a pedometer is one of the best ways to start increasing activity,” Burron says. Record your steps for about three days to get an average. Then use that number to set a goal, increasing your steps by 20 percent every day to eventually reach 10,000 steps per day.

“Walking is just one of many choices to get active,” says Burron. “However, it is often a good way to get back into fitness if you’ve strayed.” It’s easy exercise, convenient, and enjoyable.

Do Activities You Enjoy

Don’t force yourself to run every day if you hate running, and don’t spend hours cursing the elliptical machine or stationary bike at the gym if those workouts don’t appeal to you. “Finding an exercise that you enjoy is a part of a strategy to change lifestyle behavior and stay active throughout your life,” says Burron. “The type of exercise you choose truly affects your motivation to get moving.” Maybe it’s a yoga class some days and tennis or hiking with a buddy on others. Doing a variety of exercises will help keep your workouts fresh and keep you interested.

Easy Exercises at Home and Work

With a hectic work schedule followed by demands at home, it may be hard to squeeze in a trip to the gym. The good news is you may not have to go anywhere to get a good workout. “Any kind of movement can be considered activity and will burn calories,” says Burron.

Try these ways to incorporate easy exercises into your day:

  • Park in the back of the parking lot so that you have to walk a little farther to your destination. For an added workout, carry your groceries instead of pushing them in a cart.
  • Give your house a really good cleaning. To burn even more calories, sing and dance while you work.
  • When you have a choice, use stairs instead of an escalator or elevator. Try to climb stairs quickly instead of taking your time.
  • When feasible, walk instead of driving, taking a train, or riding the bus.
  • Getting antsy in your chair at work? Fidgeting is fine — and burns calories.
  • Use an exercise ball instead of a chair. It forces you to continually contract your core muscles in the abdomen and back to stay balanced.
  • Play with your kids — tag is a great game to get the heart pumping.
  • Laugh, jump up and down, dance, and just enjoy life.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore on your to-do list or something that you dread. If you make choices throughout each day to help you move a little more, your heart will reap the benefits.

© 2012 EverydayHealth.com; all rights reserved.

Why Antioxidants Are Vital To Your Health

Antioxidants have gotten a lot of good press over the past decade or so. The more we learn about them the more we realize just how essential they are to good health. Among the things we know they do: fight disease, boost the immune system, nourish healthy skin, fight the effects of aging, preserve or restore heart health, increase stamina, kick start your energy, and combat cancer. Scientists are still discovering all of the things antioxidants can do.

After 40

Why do we age? And, more importantly, why do we have to look old as we age? One theory of aging that is gaining a lot of traction today is the free-radical theory of aging (FRTA). Free radicals are rogue, unstable molecules that cruise around the body. Because the free radicals are unstable and off-balance, they seek to attach themselves to more stable molecules, including the cells of your skin, your heart, your lungs, and other important body areas. But once the free radical gloms onto the healthy molecule, it creates damage. So now you no longer have a free radical, but you do have a damaged cell. Everybody has free radicals, even babies. The miraculous human body contains many built-in systems aimed at keeping these rogue molecules in check and destroying them. But sometimes the free radicals overwhelm the body’s natural defenses. This can happen when you get sick, you are overly stressed (including being tired), or you do not nourish your body properly. Many foods are just loaded with free radicals, so you could be doing some of this damage with your own fork. One other thing that can cause the free radicals to go haywire—age. As we get older, our bodies’ natural defense systems get weaker. The FRTA theory states that over time, damage from free radicals builds up and we start to look and feel old. Antioxidants are substances that take out free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules and the very name antioxidant tells us that these substances are “anti” free radicals. Antioxidants wipe out free radicals and, in so doing, may reduce the signs of aging, preserve health, boost the immune system, raise our energy level, and make us feel good.

Seven Good Food Sources For Antioxidants

So now you need to know: just where can I find these antioxidant free-radical-busters? Three of the best known antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E, but did you know that there are more than 4,000 compounds that have antioxidant properties in the foods that we eat? That’s right, many foods contain antioxidants. And, no, these foods are not cheeseburgers and Twinkies. There are lots of benefits to eating a healthful diet, and top on the list has to be that you get plenty of natural antioxidants. Here are the big seven antioxidant-rich foods.

Berries

All kinds of berries are good sources of antioxidants; Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and cranberries. The best way to eat these are fresh or frozen (frozen is nearly as good as fresh). Strawberry jam or strawberry flavoring doesn’t count—these have sugar and sometimes chemicals in them. Stick to natural food and eat it as close to its natural state as you can to get the maximum antioxidant punch.

Broccoli

Broccoli is powerhouse of a vegetable. Besides its high amount of vitamin C, it also supplies calcium, minerals and other vitamins. It can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, roasted (try roasting it in the oven), or even juiced.

Beans

Small red beans are rich in several nutrients including iron, magnesium potassium, copper, thiamin and phosphorus. Other beans with high antioxidant content are pinto, black and kidney beans.

Nuts

Almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts are high in antioxidants. They’re also cholesterol-free and low in sodium. They can be high in calories, so you cannot overdo them. However, adding some nuts to salads or taking a handful of almonds as a mid-afternoon snack is a great idea that gives you an antioxidant kick.

Veggies & More

Berries are the antioxidant king of the fruit world, but most fruits contain lots of antioxidants. Apples (eat the peel), cherries, pears, peaches, plums, red grapes, pineapple, kiwi, orange, and grapefruit are all excellent sources of antioxidants. Broccoli is the standout in the vegetable world, but nearly all veggies contain some antioxidants, with carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoe, spinach, and potatoes particularly high in antioxidant content. Remember; eat the veggies as close to natural as you can. French fries are not a good source of antioxidants!

Green Tea

It is hard to go wrong with a few cups of plain green every day. This super-drink contains lots of vitamin C and many other powerful disease-fighting substances. This is an antioxidant cocktail and the best part … zero calories and a boost in hydration.

Grains

Just about any whole grain (whole wheat, whole rye, brown rice) contains a lot of antioxidant goodness. Oat based products are thought to have higher amounts of antioxidants than other grains.

Copyright © Beliefnet, Inc. and/or its licensors. All rights reserved.

30 Summer Foods For Weight Loss

Strawberries: Who can resist a bowl of juicy red berries? Pop ’em freely, because they’re the perfect summer snack: filling, light on calories and laden with nutrients from omega 3 fats to cancer-fighting polyphenols.  Just half a cup of strawberries provides over 70 percent of your daily Vitamin C, plus fiber and an array of antioxidants.

Cherries: Sweet, juicy cherries contain just 87 calories per cup — and if you enjoy them three times weekly in place of heavier desserts, you could shed up to five pounds this summer alone, say researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. Bonus: Cherries are loaded with anthocyanins — antioxidants that University of Nebraska researchers say can help kill cancer cells and lower your liver’s production of artery-clogging cholesterol by as much as 10 percent.

Plums: “Whether eaten whole, dried or pureed into sauces, plums are low in calories and a good source of both dietary fibers and Vitamin C,” says Keller. Dried plums (also known as prunes) are the perfect grab-and-go healthy snack, and they make a rich, sweet dessert when stewed into compote. Plus, they can help suppress appetite thanks to their low glycemic load.

Squash: From pattypan to zucchini, summer squash delivers major vitamins and nutrients (including magnesium, potassium and copper), to the tune of a mere 80 calories per half cup. With its bright colors and earthy flavor, squash makes the perfect side dish to any meal. On BBQ days, toss zucchini on the grill.

Bell Peppers: “Sweet red peppers are such a good source of beta carotene, and top the charts of vegetables for that important antioxidant,” says Keller. “Green bell peppers also contain generous amounts of Vitamin C.” Peppers, like zucchini, grill up beautifully…for a rich, colorful side dish that fills you up on just a few calories.

Mangoes: Dense with antioxidants — plus protein and omega 3 fats — mangoes are a delicious, low-calorie way to bulk up meals with exotic flavor, ensuring “healthy” fare doesn’t fall into a rut. Toss on top of oatmeal or yogurt, in salads and even in stir-fries.

Parsley: This often-overlooked herb is packed with slimming potential. According to USDA researchers, each cup contains 984 micrograms of vitamin K — a nutrient that prevents fluid retention and flushes out bloat, helping women shed three pounds of excess water weight if they serve it up daily. Use parsley to add a seasonal flare to salads, and add it to dressings, mayonnaise, omelettes, rice and potato dishes, soups, burgers and other main course meals to balance and brighten their natural flavors.

Beets: “One of the real gems found in beets is the B vitamin folate,” a key nutrient for women, says Keller. “Beets help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.” Naturally sweet and agreeably buttery, beets can turn a salad into something special without adding lots of calories

Figs: “If Mother Nature had a vote for her ultimate superfruit, figs would be it,” says Dr. Paul Gross, author of Superfruits. And why not? They pack fiber, potassium, folate and vitamins for heart health into one incredibly sweet, low-cal fruit. Having been around for 6,000 years, figs might have even kept Cleopatra trim. For a snack that sticks with you, try the black mission figs — the seeds release even more nutrients and omega fats then the flesh itself.

Blackberries: The superstars of the slimming fruits, blackberries contain just 62 calories per cup, they’re packed with six grams of appetite-taming fiber, plus they’re low in sugar, fat-free and packed with berry flavor! Even better, they’re a great source of manganese — a tough-to-find mineral that helps muscle cells soak up and burn fats — all-told, helping women shed up to 14 pounds per year, if they enjoy one cup daily, say University of Maryland researchers. Bonus: Tufts University research shows that blackberries contain 220 percent more cancer-fighting antioxidants than even broccoli.

Garlic: Sneak one clove into a meal, and your hunger pangs could disappear within 10 minutes of enjoying the first few bites, according to studies at Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. “The enticing odor of garlic activates the hypothalamus — your brain’s satiety center — helping you feel genuinely full long before your tummy is uncomfortably full,” says lead researcher Alan Hirsch, M.D. Bonus: A University of South Carolina study shows that eating just one clove of garlic daily can slash your risk of stomach cancer by 30 percent. Credit goes to garlic’s allicin and quercetin — powerful antioxidants that shuts down the growth of suspicious cells in the digestive tract.

Peaches: Why pass up dessert when the “stone fruits” of summer (think peaches and nectarines) can make for a guilt-free sweet treat? Tossed on the grill, peaches and nectarines get even more flavorful as the heat caramelizes their natural sugars. Top with low-fat ice cream, and you won’t feel one bit deprived.

Pluots: These tasty fruits (which are sometimes sold under the name dinosaur eggs due to their odd coloring) are actually part plum and part apricot. And if a sweet tooth is killing your efforts to stick to a healthy diet, enjoying two of them daily could be your ticket to slim. Pluots have an intense, sweet flavor and delicate, fruity scent — and when their distinctive taste and smell reach your brain’s olfactory nerve, they can shut down sugar cravings in as little as five minutes.

Watermelon: If you’re looking for a slimming snack, watermelon can’t be beat. You’d have to eat six cups of the stuff to get the calories in just half a cup of Haagen-Daz vanilla ice cream! And watermelon’s no slouch in the beauty-boosting department, either. According to Tufts University researchers, it’s loaded with lycopene — a plant compound that acts like an internal sunblock, upping your protection against damaging UV rays by as much as 46 percent, helping to prevent collagen damage and skin sagging.

Cantaloupe: According to USDA researchers, this melon is one of the most filling fruits you can find — eating just half a cup squashes hunger pangs for two hours at a stretch. An added perk: Cantaloupe is packed with vitamin A — a nutrient that a study in Environmental Nutrition says can help block the buildup of artery-clogging plaque, cutting your risk of heart disease as much as 33 percent.

Blueberries: Blueberries improve circulation and fight free-radical damage to cells and tissues, says Keller. They’re also super low-cal. Enjoy them on top of oatmeal, in whole-grain muffins, as a garnish for BBQ meats and even pureed into hamburger patties for added moistness and flavor!

Green Beans: Add half a cup of green beans to your evening meal and you’ll feel full almost twice as quickly — and stay full for three hours straight, say Stanford University researchers. Credit green beans’ appetite-controlling blend of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and fiber. And here’s the kicker: According to Stanford studies, green beans are also high in anti-inflammatory enzymes — compounds that can help flush excess water weight out of cellulite-prone areas.

Buffalo Burgers: No need to give up red meat when you’re grilling. Bison (or buffalo) burger is naturally lean, far lower in fat and calories than beef, chicken or pork. Plus, it’s a great source of iron and omega 3 fats. Try the patties open-faced with half a bun, and hold the cheese and mayo while piling on the mustard, relish and salsa.

Cherry Tomatoes: When it comes to fat-burning potential, cherry tomatoes are off the charts. According to Yale University researchers, just adding a cup of these sweet gems to your daily diet could help you shed up to three pounds every month — without making any mega diet changes. Credit goes to the cherry tomatoes’ antioxidants — including naringenin, rutin and kaempferol — which soak liver cells and fire up their ability to burn stored fat for fuel.

Kohlrabi: Never tried it? It looks like a funky cross between a cabbage and a turnip but it actually tastes vaguely like a peeled broccoli stem (only milder and sweeter). Kohlrabi is great raw — in salads and coleslaws — plus it’s delicious grilled, roasted and stir-fried. And according to Stanford University researchers, kohlrabi is rich in choline, potassium and phosphorus — nutrients that energize your central nervous system, helping you exercise harder without running out of steam.

Sweet Corn: Few things say summer like freshly picked corn on the cob. And if you love carbs — and have a tough time fighting off the urge to nosh them nonstop — then this is the veggie for you. Each cob contains three grams of appetite-taming protein, plus 138 milligrams of phenylalanine — an amino acid that quickly soaks into brain cells, where it dampens carb cravings for up to three hours. Corn is also one of nature’s top sources of lutein and zeaxanthin — antioxidants that stall the growth of vision-robbing cataracts, say Yale researchers.

Tomatillos: They look like baby green tomatoes, but they’ve actually got a tangy, citrusy flavor that goes great with a multitude of Mexican dishes, including guacamole, salsa verde, enchiladas, soups…you name it. Tomatillos contain just 11 calories each, plus they’re a great source of appetite-suppressing minerals. Feeling frazzled? Tomatillos are also rich in withanolides — plant compounds that help calm the adrenal glands, say researchers at the Swedish Herbal Institute in York, Maine.

Bartlett Pears: They’re the most popular pear world-wide, and for good reason: Penn State studies suggest eating one each morning can help you effortlessly trim 190 calories out of your daily diet — and 12 pounds off your figure every year. The act of chewing, plus the rich, satisfying flavor of these juicy pears, soothes the hypothalamus — the region of your brain that fuels powerful hunger pangs and cravings, say Stanford University researchers.

Chilies: Jalapenos, habaneros, serranos, fresnos…these mouth-watering fruits (yes, they’re fruits!) can do a lot more than just jazz up your favorite soups and chilies. According to a British research team, their active ingredient — capsaicin — can also boost your fat-burning metabolic rate by 10 percent for up to three hours at a stretch. Another fiery fact: Canadian research shows that chilies suppress appetite, helping you feel full on 200 fewer calories per meal.

Lima Beans: To lose weight at a steady clip, you need to keep your blood sugar levels low, since your body will only dip into your fat stores if its supply of easy-to-burn sugars dries up, says Larrian Gillespie, M.D., author of You’re Not Crazy, It’s Your Hormones. And that’s where lima beans come in handy. According to Australian researchers, they’re packed with fiber and plant proteins — molecules that stall carb absorption in the intestines, plus help your muscles burn blood sugar before it can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Enjoy half a cup daily, and you could speed your weight loss by 50 percent, the study authors say.

Shallots: They’re from the same family as onions, but these milder bulbs won’t bring tears to your eyes when you slice them. Despite their mild nature, shallots are loaded with sulfur — a nutrient that helps your hard-working organs burn carbs for fuel before they can be stowed away as fat, say Stanford University researchers. Sulfur is also a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps kill off H. pylori — the troublesome bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, add researchers at Albany’s State University of New York.

Grapes: Scientists measure how much foods mess with your blood sugar — and your ability to lose weight — by using a scale called the glycemic index. Lower numbers are better, and that’s where grapes really shine. According to studies at Australia’s University of Sydney, these tasty little globes have a glycemic index of 43 — and that means they’re as good at keeping your blood sugar steady and helping you lose weight as bran cereals and chick peas! Got an achy back? Purple and red grapes are loaded with resveratrol — an antioxidant that relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow to damaged back tissues and speeding their healing, says Mark Stengler, N.D., author of The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies.

Romaine Lettuce: Fat-blasting fact: A large romaine lettuce leaf contains just one calorie — plus it’s fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free! Need more incentive? Romaine is rich in folic acid — a B vitamin that can actually reverse cervical dysplasia (a precancerous condition that can progress to cervical cancer). Folic acid soaks into the cervix and forces abnormal cells to either grow normally or die, say University of Florida researchers. Use romaine to add an impressive crunch to your sandwiches — or turn the leaves into “pockets” to hold chicken, cheese, veggies and other fillings.

Kiwis: These sweet, tart treats are now showing up in even the smallest grocery stores. And nibbling one or two of them daily could help you reach your weight loss goals a whole lot sooner. That’s because kiwis are loaded with chlorophyll — a green pigment that heals and energizes the liver, increasing this organ’s ability to burn fat for fuel, says Susan M. Lark, M.D., author of Dr. Susan Lark’s Hormone Revolution. Another perk: A study published in the journal Thorax suggests that the kiwi’s healing vitamin C and chlorophyll can help cut lung troubles — like shortness of breath and wheezing during exercise — by as much as 32 percent.

Gala Apples: They start cropping up in August, and their mild, sweet flavor, thin skin, small size and resistance to bruising makes them one of the most loved apples nationwide. Munch one before lunch and another before supper, and Brazilian researchers say you could effortlessly shed three pounds of fat in one month. The reason? Apples are nature’s number one source of pectin — a soluble fiber that blocks the absorption of dietary fats. Good news: Apples are also rich in quercetin and ellagic acid — compounds that cut your liver’s production of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol by 34 percent, say researchers at the University of California at Davis.

Source: iVillage

The 7 Super Foods Of The Bible

Trying to eat healthy? Start by opening your Bible to Deuteronomy 8:8, where the Israelites are promised “a good land…, a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.” The ancients might not have known the word “antioxidant,” but they were onto something with this list of biblical “super-foods.” Explore this gallery to find out exactly how on-target they were.

Wheat

This grain, which is found in everything from bread to pasta to cakes, is healthier when it is refined as little as possible. Whole-wheat products (those that are certified 100% whole wheat) contain 30 percent of your recommended daily fiber intake, as well as high levels of manganese and magnesium. A diet rich in whole grains is also thought to increase your energy level and lower your risk of type-2 diabetes, gallstones, and other health issues.

Barley

Another whole grain, barley can be found in breads and cereals, as well as in hearty winter soups. High in fiber, barley is good for intestinal health and can lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of colon cancer and type-2 diabetes if eaten regularly. Barley also contains trace amounts of copper, which have been shown to help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

Grapes

Everyone knows that grape juice and red wine are tasty—but healthy? Grapes contain nutritional compounds called flavonoids, which are believed to reduce your risk of blood clots and protect your body from damage by the “free radicals” found in LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. Rich in antioxidants, grapes may provide protection against cardiovascular disease, particularly in women.

Figs

These sweet fruits, eaten either dried or fresh, are high in potassium, a mineral that helps control blood pressure. They are also high in dietary fiber, which may help you lose weight, and they are a fruit source of calcium, which can help preserve bone density. Fig leaves, which are not typically eaten but can be made into an extract, are thought to help lower insulin levels in diabetics.

Pomegranate

These strange-looking seed fruits are back in vogue as health-giving super-foods, particularly in juice form. The fruits are rich in antioxidants, which prevent LDL cholesterol from doing its damage, and it helps prevent blood clots by keeping blood platelets from clumping together. Pomegranates may also help reduce the risk of breast cancer and lessen the symptoms of arthritis.

Olive Oil

Olives, and the extra-virgin oil that is made from a single pressing of the fruit, contain many of the antioxidants that are thought to protect against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol compounds. They also are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are called “the healing fats” because they lower the effects of “bad” cholesterol while raising “good” cholesterol levels. High in vitamin E, olive oil also is thought to protect against colon cancer, and it is helpful in fighting gastritis and other stomach ailments.

Honey

Raw honey, in addition to being a natural sweetener, is replete with antioxidants and is considered to be an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal substance. It is thought to have tumor-fighting properties, and may help prevent colon cancer. The daily consumption of a spoonful of honey is said to increase antioxidant levels in the blood, and is the healthiest sweetener for type-2 diabetics. Honey also may have wound-healing and muscle-regenerating properties.

Copyright © Beliefnet, Inc. and/or its licensors. All rights reserved.

Slimkicker Challenge + Giveaway (CLOSED)

Hello Guys & Gals,

Are you looking for a challenge?

Do you want to be rewarded?

Then listen up! This message is for you!

During this day and age everyone is making healthier choices. Whether it’s eating more fruits & veggies. Being more active. Or drinking more water. Whatever it is we are all contributing to a better well being. So why not be rewarded for all of your hard efforts. That’s where this challenge comes into play.  Slimkicker.com and myself have teamed up together to provide you an opportunity to challenge yourself to the next level in healthy living.  First let me give you a little background about slimkicker.com. They are a diet tracker/game program that turns your everyday diet and fitness goals into points, rewards and challenges. They solve this by taking habits like quitting soda or giving up sweets, and turning them into 7-30 day challenges. Like a regular game, the challenges start out easy, and gradually become harder, where more points are rewarded for your hard work.

So to enter the contest all you have to do is LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW on a FUN & CREATIVE fitness or diet challenge you are willing to do for 7 days. Please limit suggestions to 1-2 sentences. Contest is for ONE WEEK ONLY.  At the end of the contest we will pick our favorite and announce the winner who will win this cool prize. A Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker and Steamer.

So, are you up for the challenge. I AM!

To signup for Slimkicker’s great reward program and to get some  tasty recipes visit them online at Slimkicker.com