Acai Berry – Worth it?

In the past decade or so, there have been numerous claims of foods that are super for one reason or another.  The majority of these foods are supposed to help with weight loss or other aspects of healthy living, but do they really?  While it is easy to buy into the hype of these superfoods, it is best to know exactly what one is getting when they decide to trust the advertising that is making all of these extreme claims. Let me start with Acai Berry.

acai berry - superfood - fact or myth?

Acai berries were one of the first superfoods advertised.  These berries are alleged to promote weight loss, and can now be found in a wide variety of weight loss supplements, pills, teas and other dietary regimes.  The Mayo Clinic states that these berries do have some properties that could potentially make acai berries a healthy alternative.  Some of these benefits include a higher antioxidant count than other berries, fats that can promote heart health, and a high amount of fiber.   If Mayo Clinic admits to these healthy aspects of the berry, are they in fact a superfood?  Not as much as advertisers would like you to believe.   The fact is, there have been very few studies actually done on the health benefits of acai berries.  While they do have some very important health properties, it has not been proven that they are any better than the “average” fruit, and may have one major drawback.  Acai berries may affect MRI scans if they are eaten in high quantities.   While these berries are safe, it is important to ensure that you are not eating more than the recommended daily resource amount.  Also, be careful of products that contain acai berries that might also have other ingredients, like caffeine.  So, what is the verdict on acai berries?  They are healthy fruit, but the few studies that have been done fail to prove health benefits worthy of naming this as a superfood.

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The humble banana

Bananas have for a long time been a part of Man’s staple diet. Horticulturists have speculated about bananas being the first fruit to be cultivated by Man. There have been records from early civilizations like Egypt describing how bananas have been cultivated and consumed. The health properties of the banana have inspired an entire field of study in Ayurveda.

It is however a growing concern that Man as an entire population has started moving away from fresh fruits and vegetable as a whole. Man has started resorting to chemically made and construed products and supplements for energy when the irony is that natural supplements have been in front of him from day one.

benefits of bananas - good for all.

Bananas are a huge source of energy. They are jam packed with carbohydrates and sugars that assist in the spontaneous bursts of energy required by athletes. Studies have actually been conducted comparing the use of bananas as a source of energy compared to energy drinks and other miscellaneous manufactured sources of energy consumed by athletes.  The findings were not in the least surprising that bananas were the healthier option. Energy drinks are in essence, carbonated drinks pump upped with glucose and sugars. They are sweet and provide you instant energy because of the sugar rush. Other than that, they provide nothing else. The chemical composition of these carbonated energy drinks erode teeth over time as well as cause a queasy bloated feeling which ultimately reduces the athletes productivity.  If you were to compare that to the intake of fruits for the same reason, bananas contain a high content of glycogen and glucose. However along with the sugars, there is a whole ton of fiber, vitamin B6 as well as potassium. With the well balanced composition, bananas not only pump up an athlete with energy, it also ensures that the energy you obtain is wholesome goodness.

Good Eating Habits Include Avoiding Products with Additives

Our diets will certainly be devoid of vital nutrients if we are mainly eating highly refined- and over-processed foods.  Essential nutrients which are so critical to good health, should come from the foods we eat. However, today agricultural soils lack minerals. The use of insecticides as well as our fruits and vegetables being artificially ripened means they have a low content of certain essential nutrients. Not only that, modern foods have toxic preservatives in them and nitrates and nitrites for instance are found in foods such as processed meats.  Benzoic acid and sulphur dioxide are found in soft drinks and salad dressings.

healthy eating
These days every one of us is pressed for time and we become over reliant on fast foods which nearly always have a high fat and low nutrient content. Unfortunately on these kind of unhealthy diets, we aren’t only under-nourished but sadly overweight as well.

Eat Raw Organic Foods

Certainly people who eat large quantities of organically grown fruit and vegetables are at a lower risk of developing certain cancers or coronary heart disease. In hospitals and clinics, creating a balance in nutrition is a challenge facing health care professionals who have to deal with patients with life-threatening diseases.

If it is impossible for you to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, it will become necessary to take vitamin and mineral supplements, more so if you smoke or drink alcohol or are stressed. Vitamin supplements deliver dependable doses of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to the body which are required for optimum health.

The Newest Gadget for Healthy Desserts

 

Healthy desserts reward healthy eating.
Photo credit: LoriHorwedel / Foter / CC BY-NC

 

You have to know what is in  your food to eat healthy, which means you’ll probably do more cooking, in your own kitchen, than trusting others with your fat and sugar intake. When I started my healthy eating quest, I realized that my kitchen wasn’t ready. Pots, Pans, a coffeemaker, and a stove were not enough equipment for chopping and shredding vegetables, and my refrigerator’s freezer was not appropriate for long term storage. Most of all, I needed a pantry of some sort, to store dried beans, rices, and bulk packages of herbs and seasonings.

Thanks to Ferratum UK, I have transformed my kitchen into a healthy eating paradise. After buying my freezer and food processor, I had enough left to get something special, so I bought a Yonanas 986 Elite Healthy Dessert Maker. After all, healthy eating doesn’t have to end pleasure, and I want to reward myself for changing my eating habits. Serving healthy desserts to family and friends may help convince them to join my cause, as well! I haven’t tried my dessert maker, yet, but I’ve invited a friend to join me for its maiden voyage.

Healthy eating shouldn’t feel like a punishment, especially with permanent changes. How do you reward your healthy eating habits?

Eating Healthy During the Holidays

Healthy eating does not end during the holidays.

Temptation is never as great as it is during the holidays. From the week before Christmas through New Year’s Day people binge, load up on carbohydrates and indulge themselves with Yorkshire puddings and Pecan pies. There’s a reason that weight loss becomes a frequent goal folded into New Year’s resolutions. While most of us feel that dieting means, by necessity, denial and frustration, you can eat what you like without gaining 20 pounds.

Prioritizing your choices while standing before a holiday buffet spread or sitting at the family feast makes the difference. Scan the table for leafy green salads and/or foods you eat the rest of the year, and get them on your plate before you get anything else. Once you have your healthier foods in place, fill the rest of the plate with tiny tastes of foods that are rich, creamy and sweet. What’s a tiny taste? About 1/4 of the size of your palm, or around 1 mouthful.

Eat slowly. It takes a while, about 20 minutes, for your brain to realize that your stomach is full, so eating slowly makes overeating less likely. Thoroughly chewing your food and devoting attention to its flavor makes less food more satisfying.

If you make these changes you are more likely to end the holidays wearing the same pants size you wore 3 weeks before they started!

Eating well as a Vegetarian

So we’ve talked in previous posts about the perils of not eating correctly and what it can do to your energy and physical capabilities. I think it’s important to reflect on a style of eating that has been around for thousands of years and yet still remains an option to combat obesity and other diseases such as heart disease. I’ve mentioned before reducing your intake of meat but what about reducing it to zero? I’ve read an article recently about the best ways to eat as a vegetarian for children and adults and how one might go about doing so. What are the nutrients that a vegetarian has to consider in their diet?

Protein, whole grains, vegetables, seeds and nuts, soy protein, iron, vitamin b12, vitamin d, calcium, and zinc.

These are the main things you need to maintain in order to stay healthy and also avoid other junk food because it is definitely easy to get into the habit of eating junk food in replace of meat protein. I think it is important to avoid unhealthy food if you are going to be vegetarian you need to realize why you are doing it as a health benefit partially regardless of your real motivations. Keep this in mind if you do attempt to become vegetarian and please check out this website for more information good diet habits. Especially in the UK where some of the food can be particularly meat heavy. But also a good selection of organic vegetables is available.

vegetarian as a healthy diet

Eating Healthily

Healthy eating the way forward

We have already discussed the type of food we should be eating and in what portions, I wanted here to look more at how we eat and the times we eat, in fact looking at our eating habits in general and how we can improve them.

We should all have had it hammered home to us over the past few years that skipping breakfast is bad. It is the essential start to the day, in European cultures there is alot more focus on it than we have in the UK. Eating cereal on the run or a slice of toast in the car equates to a bad habit.

Bad eating habits are hard to change, one way to do this is keep a food journal for a week. Note down not just what you ate but why and how you were feeling or doing at the time of eating e.g. being bored so getting a snack from vending machine. At the end of the week review the journal and identify the good and bad eating habits and the ones you want to change.

To help you on your way I have listed a few healthy eating habits:-

Try eating whole grains with fresh fruit, include some honey and yoghurt and you have a sustaining but healthy breakfast.

Eating small frequent meals is much better for you than heavy duty ones. This way is less taxing on your digestive system. Recipes like these can help.

Snack between meals to stop you feeling starved and then over eating at your next meal, and no I don’t mean a bar of chocolate, fruit or nuts are the healthier option.

Drink water before a meal or a small bowl of soup to again curb excessive intake at the meal. Drinking plenty of water also has the added effect of helping to flush toxins from your body.

Savor your food, no joking, enjoy it, chew it thoroughly don’t bolt, this again is so bad for your digestive system.

For a cheaper and healthy way to obtain protein try using beans, legumes, grains and sprouts. Try buckwheat, millet and barley.

Buy fish, wild preferably, or chicken as a lighter protein source to red meat.

To create healthy harmony in your meal try combining more vegetables and grains to your protein (remember the plate plan) Look to using fruit or vegetables that have strong colours,,eg orange carrots.

Use a smaller plate and cultivate smaller potions.

Use sea salt which is a far healthier option than normal salt which increases fluid retention and blood pressure.

Eliminate processed foods as much as you can, going for the organic to avoid chemical exposure and foods that have been changed that your body finds difficult to cope with. Especially avoid processed sugars.

Eat at least one meal a day with your family to encourage their eating habits and try and maintain a positive approach. There are no failures just pauses – like for that odd bar of chocolate.

If any of these points hit home with you take some time out and make a realistic plan to assist you, one that you will be able to maintain, keep your eye on long term goals. We are not talking about diets here but long term good eating habits.

Stong coloured fruit and veg