Tag: exercise and health

The Truth About Avocado and Weight Loss

The Truth About Avocado and Weight Loss

Avocados manage to be both timeless and trendy. The green fruit (yup, it’s a fruit) is used in classics like guacamole and Cobb salad and it’s currently popping up in countless restaurant dishes. But, could the ubiquitous avocado also be good for your weight loss game?

The most common claim that avocados are good for dropping pounds comes from their high content of healthy fats, which are known to suppress appetite, leading to weight loss.

Also, studies show that high-fiber foods, like avocados, boost feelings of fullness. Those feelings of satisfaction mean you’re less likely to overeat which can lead to weight loss.

There’s even evidence that healthy (or unsaturated) fats help prevent blood-sugar spikes, which tell your body to store excess calories as fat in your midsection. That means avocados may be good for controlling belly fat.

Healthy fats and dietary fiber are linked to satiety. Satiety can result in a reduction of excess eating. Eating less often leads to weight loss. But those attributes aren’t exactly unique to avocados.

While avocados can be a healthy addition to your diet, it’s important to be aware of the fact that they are fairly calorie dense. A small avocado (about four ounces) has around 180 calories and 17g fat. And there absolutely is such a thing as too much fat — even the healthy kind.

Just because avocados are healthy and satisfying doesn’t mean you should eat them with complete abandon.

Not only could that prevent weight loss, it could actually lead to weight gain. Definitely enjoy them — just in moderation!

When in Doubt, Weigh It Out

For the most accurate info, weigh out your avocado portion with a food scale. Each ounce has around 45 calories, 4g fat, 2.5g carbs, 2g fiber, and 0.5g protein.

Kitchen scales are inexpensive and they’re great tools for weight management. If you’re not able to weigh out your avocado, here are some shortcut estimates:

1-ounce avocado is equal to:

about 2 tbsp. mashed avocado
about 2 tbsp. chopped avocado
about 1/4th of a small avocado

Tips on Adding Avocado to Your Diet

Spice and spread. You can mash and season them to make a spread for whole-grain toast, high-fiber crackers, sandwiches, or even apple slices. One of my favorite little snacks is high-fiber, flatbread-style crackers topped with seasoned mashed avocado and sun-dried tomatoes.

Egg Addition. A little chopped avocado brings so much flavor to an egg scramble. Mashed avocado is also surprisingly tasty in hard-boiled egg white halves. Top it with chopped lean bacon for a tremendously satisfying snack.

As a salad topper. A bit of avocado on your salad will make it more filling and more delicious. You can even blend up some avocado with fat-free yogurt for a flavor-packed dressing.

Creamy guac dip. Guacamole is delicious, but it’s way too easy to overdo it with the traditional dense dip. Combine 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt with the same amount of mashed avocado. Toss in 1/8 tsp. each of salt, garlic powder, and chili powder and you’ve got a guac fix with a seriously slashed calorie count.

For more guilt-free recipes, food finds, tips ‘n tricks, and more, visit Fitness and Weight Loss.

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Changing diet, behavior and exercise

Changing diet, behavior and exercise

You have already taken the first steps toward changing diet, behavior, and exercise patterns. Only you have the power to take charge and follow through on your new plan for better health.

Keep in mind the factors that increase risk for atheroselerosis and coronary heart disease in persons who, like you, have been diagnosed as having elevated cholesterol. Cigarette smoking, obesity, insufficient exercise, high blood pressure and diabetes all compound the danger of disease in a person who also has the major risk factor of high cholesterol. How fortunate that you can eliminate or control these risk factors by simply making the one-day-at-a time choice to live a healthy life.

Millions of Americans have already made this choice, shifting toward vegetables, fruit, fish and chicken and away from the saturated fats found in meat, butter, lard, milk and cream. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there has been a marked improvement in per capita consumption of products affecting coronary heart disease risks. Since 1960, use of eggs is down 21 percent,fluid milk and cream down 19 percent and butter down 43 percent. Consumption of fish and chicken are up 20 percent, respectively. Purchase of low-fat and skim-milk products has increased by 300 percent since 1970. Advice from the Framingham Heart Study, a recent epidemiologic study on heart disease and diet, states: “If Americans would smoke less, get more regular exercise, keep their weight normal, follow a diet lower in fats and take care of their blood pressure, they would have better chances of avoiding, or at least postponing, heart problems.”Is Diet alone-monitoring intake of calories, cholesterol, fats and sodium–can go a long way in reducing the risk of atheroselerosis and coronary heart disease. For example, excess weight and high blood pressure go hand in hand.

Besides controlling weight by reducing fluid retention, lowering sodium intake is an important step in controlling blood pressure.

Diabetes, another risk factor, may often be controlled by diet. Just losing weight will bring certain types of diabetes under control:

A healthful diet combined with exercise is doubly effective in helping to guard your health. Studies have shown that exercise alone helps keep cholesterol levels low.

For one study, Finnish lumberjacks consumed about 4,760 calories daily, with a high proportion of their fat obtained from animal sources. Yet their blood cholesterol levels were no higher than those of other men in the same area who ate less fat. The Finnish researchers believe that physical activity was an important factor in keeping cholesterol levels low. After receiving your doctor’s approval, it is recommended that you begin your exercise program with walking. As soon as you get the medical okay, get started! You don’t need trendy, expensive clothes; you don’t need a team, an opponent or a partner; you don’t need to drive anywhere, invest in equipment or join costly dubs. All you have to do is step out your front door to start on the path toward living healthfully.

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How to find time to work out every day

How to find time to work out every day

Follow these tips to shave 15 minutes off daily activities, and you won’t be too busy to hit the gym.

The secret to finding time for a workout is really about one simple strategy: ditching the stuff that’s wasting your valuable time. Here are 15 easy ways to shave 15 extra minutes out of your day–and put them toward your fitness goals.

1. Sign Out Facebook. People average seven hours a month on the social site. Do the math and it works out to 105 minutes each week, or 15 minutes every single day. You don’t have to banish FB, but limit it to two short sessions a day.

2. Say No! When someone (not your boss) asks you to do something you don’t have time for, say, “I’m sorry, I can’t”–and feel the freedom wash over you.

3. Plan Your Day. Schedule your biggest task of the day for when you’re most focused and productive. You’ll get it done more quickly than if you try to tackle it during a natural low point.

4. Resist Multitasking. Trying to do too many things at once often means getting nothing done. Pick an item from your to-do list, and do it and only it. Each task will get done faster when it gets your full attention.

5. Record Your Shows. An hour-long TV show contains just 40 to 42 minutes of real content–the rest is commercials. Invest in a digital TV recorder so you can free up time to pursue more healthful activities, like 15-minute workouts.

6. Don’t Be A Neatnik. Is it really all that important that your apartment is spotless? Stop wasting precious potential gym time polishing picture frames.

7. Buy Time. Pay for services that suck up tons of time. Before you pooh-pooh the idea of hiring a cleaning service, sit down and do a little math. When you think of the few hundred bucks you blew on shoes and all the time you’ve spent scrubbing the tub, you may want to reconsider your expenditures.

8. Put It In Ink. You find time for everything on your calendar because it’s there in black and white. Block out your workouts as you would work appointments.

9. Set A Timer. All the little things you plan to do for just a few minutes–surfing the Web, cleaning the fridge–can suck away hours. Keep a kitchen timer nearby. When you start a task, set it for 15 minutes. Then stop when the bell rings.

10. Touch It Once. When a paper comes across your desk or an e-mail hits your inbox, deal with it right away. Piled-up paper and messages create distracting clutter, and you waste time revisiting each issue again (and again).

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Six shortcuts to drop weight faster

Six shortcuts to drop weight faster

Cycle instead of walk, eat every three hours, and you could see results in a week.

Most things worth achieving—getting a college degree, finding your perfect mate, building a career, raising a family—take time and effort. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to take a few shortcuts when it comes to achieving the body of our dreams. Fortunately, you can hit fast-forward on your better-body goals with these simple, science-backed tricks for speeding your fat burn. No, you won’t transform overnight, but you could start to see results within a week, and even the world’s biggest brainiac can’t earn a bachelor’s degree that fast!

Join the Breakfast Club

People with a lifelong habit of eating early have a waistline about 2 inches smaller than that of breakfast skippers, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals. An A.M. meal may boost metabolism; it helps your body make less of an enzyme that raises cholesterol. Rise and dine—within 90 minutes of waking up.

Six shortcuts to drop weight faster

Snack Regularly

Going too long without food (five hours or more) slows your metabolism, causing your body to burn less fat than normal, says Debra R. Keast, Ph.D., president of Food & Nutrition Database Research in Okemos, Michigan. It can also lead to blood sugar dips, cravings and hunger that make it harder to control your choices at the next meal or snack.

The fix: Have a healthful snack about three hours after breakfast and another three hours after lunch, suggests Lauren Slayton, R.D., founder of Foodtrainers in New York City. Try a 6-ounce nonfat plain Greek yogurt with 1 cup of sliced strawberries, or 2 Wasa light rye crackers topped with ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey. These 100-to-200-calorie snacks will help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steady and your energy level humming along.

Spin Off

People who cycled 6 miles a week for only six months lowered their insulin level by 19 percent, but walkers who covered the same ground saw no change, a study from the Karolinska Institute finds. (High insulin is tied to weight gain.) Biking works more muscles, amping up fat-burning metabolism, which can keep insulin in check. Pedal the pounds away!

Get Green Tea

Drinking three cups of the brew daily may spark your metabolism to burn 30 extra calories a day, a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows. Doesn’t sound like much? That’s 3 pounds off a year—diet-free! The compound ECGC in the tea makes it easier for your body to burn fat. Sip your way slim today!

Pump Some Iron

Start thinking of your gym’s weight room as the “lose weight” room. Strength training, which only about 17 percent of women do, speeds metabolism, torches calories, and sculpts sexy muscles. It’s so effective, in fact, that you should put cardio on the back burner and make strength training 60 percent of your routine—no joke, says Holly Perkins, an ExerciseTV trainer in Los Angeles. Embrace free weights, especially barbells, which work more muscles (you have to hold them steady as you lift) than machines. Remember that the muscle you’re gaining weighs more than the fat you’re shedding; at first, you may not drop pounds, but you’ll be smaller and firmer—go by how your jeans fit.

Clock Your Sets

To melt fat faster while you strength train, limit the time between sets. Exercisers who waited only 35 seconds between sets decreased their body fat by 27 percent more after eight weeks than those who rested three minutes, researchers at San Antonio Catholic University of Murcia say. Shorter rests keep your metabolism humming along and your heart rate up, so they shave minutes off your time at the gym and help your afterburn for hours once you’re back at your desk.

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Nine foods that could outlast you

Nine foods that could outlast you

Honey may get grainy or change color, but it’s still delicious and safe to eat.

Most weeks, you do a big shopping list and head into the store ready to buy loads of fresh food to make meals for your family. We often do not give a thought to stuff sitting in the kitchen cupboard where we discard anything that has been there longer than we can remember.

But Janice Revell said: “Look in your pantry and your cabinet and check if the items really need to go. You will be surprised by what you do not really need to throw.”

So before you lay out the sugar years or replace the bottle of vanilla that was gathering dust, check out this list of “food forever.” You might be surprised how many of your staple foods have a shelf life of several decades – even after being opened.

1. Sugar

No matter if your blood sugar is white, brown, or powdered, it will never spoil, because it does not support bacterial growth.

The challenge is to prevent sugar from hardening into pieces. To keep sugar fresh, store it in an airtight container or plastic bag. If your blood sugar is more like a brown rock, you can revive it with just one minute in the microwave at low temperature.

2. Pure vanilla extract

If you have pure vanilla extract to the back of the cupboard, it is not necessary to discard because it lasts forever. It may be more expensive than its counterpart imitation, but his life certainly outweighs the extra costs.

Keep this in vanilla flavor at its best sealing the botttle after each use and store in a cool, dark place.

3. Rice

White, wild, jasmine, arborio and basmati rice to keep them all forever, so there is no need to discard. Brown rice is the only exception because it has a higher content of oil for storage in the refrigerator or freezer to maximize its lifespan. Once you’ve opened a bag or box of rice, move it in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag to maintain freshness.

4. Corn starch

You can thicken gravies and sauces for years with one box of cornstarch because it keeps indefinitely. Store this staple of cuisine in a cool, dry place and be sure to reseal after each use.

5. Honey

Whether you use it in your tea, on your toast or as a sweetener substitute, this jar of pure honey is good forever. It can get grainy or change the color, but it’s always good to eat – and delicious – because its antibiotic properties prevent it from spoiling.

You can help keep it fresh by storing them in a cool, and you can improve the quality of crystallized honey by placing the pot in hot water and stir until crumbly dissolve the parties.

6. Salt

The content of the salt will never spoil, regardless of whether it is the basic table salt or sea salt. Simply store in a cool, dry and salt will keep indefinitely.

7. Corn syrup

If you come across a bottle of aged corn syrup in your pantry, do not discard. The sweetener keeps indefinitely as long as you keep it sealed and store in a cool, dry place.

8. Maple syrup

What good pancakes or waffles without maple syrup? Fortunately, this flavored syrup will never spoil if you refrigerate or freeze. For long term storage, seal it in an airtight plastic container and freeze.

“The freezer is a useful tool that can really save you money because there are very few foods that do not freeze well,” says Janice Revell.

9. White distilled vinegar

This miracle product can be used for everything from marinades and vinaigrettes to clean the house and do laundry. But the best thing about distilled white vinegar is that it lasts for years. Just close it tightly after each use and store the bottle in a cool, dark place.

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