Archive for March, 2019

How to Read Food Labels

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How to Read Food Labels

Living a healthy lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming due to all the choices that are available. When shopping for food, it is important to read the food label in order to determine what product is the healthiest option. Compare products and labels. Food labels provide nutrition facts such as calories, number of servings, and macronutrients. The first thing to look for in a food label is the serving size because the nutrition facts provided are specific to the serving size. Often people don’t see any weight loss progress because they don’t read the serving size, so they are actually eating more than they thought.

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Next, you should look at the carbohydrates, specifically at the fiber. You should opt for foods with at least 3 or 4 grams of fiber per serving such as legumes, beans, whole grain breads, and fruits. You should also check the fat, low saturated fat in particular. Some great options include fish, poultry, whole grains, and reduced-fat dairy products. Under fats, you will also find the trans fat content. Trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol, and decreases the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the “good” cholesterol. Lastly, you will notice that the daily percentage value is listed, and this is important because it will tell you how much of each nutrient you have consumed, and how much you have left. The daily percentage value is based on a consumption of 2000 calories a day.


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How Stress is Affecting your Overall Health

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How Stress is Affecting your Overall Health

You may be living a fast-paced life which could mean you are under constant stress. The effects of chronic stress can be detrimental to your overall health. Some symptoms of chronic stress include anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, and irritability. The following are possible effects of stress on different systems in your body:

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  • Immune system: Chronic stress means you are releasing stress hormones constantly and this can weaken the immune system and decrease your body’s response to viruses and bacteria. A weakened immune system also means the recovery period of an illness or injury is longer.
  • Digestive system: The liver creates extra glucose when under constant stress, which could increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. It can also cause an increase in stomach acid and this can increase the chances of getting an ulcer or for existing ulcers to act up.
  • Cardiovascular system: The heart pumps blood faster when under stress, thus raising blood pressure and increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Muscular system: Muscles tense up when under stress, however, if the stress does not subside, the muscles will not relax. Tense muscles can cause headache, and body ache, and in the long run, this can lead to a reduction in exercise.
  • Central nervous and endocrine systems: The central nervous system is responsible for your flight or fight response which is activated under stress. The hypothalamus sends signals to the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones increase heart rate and send a rush of blood to your heart, muscles, and other important organs. Chronic stress can also cause eating disorders, social withdrawal, and alcohol/drug abuse.

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How to practice flexible dieting

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How to practice flexible dieting

With the start of a new year, you may have a few health goals you’d like to reach this year. Many people resort to trying all sorts of fad diets because they think it’ll help them reach their goals, but often times they will just gain the weight back after they complete these fad diets. It is important to understand that living a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment, which is why fad diets don’t work. Some have a misconception that living a healthy lifestyle means that you can never indulge in any of your favorite foods. The idea of eating super clean 100% of the time and restricting yourself from enjoying any of your favorite foods is actually not healthy and, in the long run not very sustainable. Restricting yourself can actually lead you to overindulge later.

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For example, if you’re craving a cookie and eat a rice cake instead, you might end up eating 10 cookies later when you could’ve just satisfied your craving from the beginning by eating a cookie or two. Flexible dieting is tracking the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats)  you consume in order to attain your goal body composition. There are many apps and websites you can use to help you determine how much of each macro you should be consuming daily to reach your specific goal, and it might take some trial and error since everyone’s body is different. Once you figure out the right amount of macronutrients for you, you should opt for 80-85% of your diet come from nutritious whole foods, however, you may also include your favorite treats and foods into your diet. After a while, tracking your macros will start to seem easier and maybe even become more intuitive for you. Benefits of following a flexible diet are that it is both effective, sustainable, and you can tailor it to reach your specific goals


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The relationship between nuts and colon cancer

Can something as simple as the incorporation of tree nuts such as pecans, almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts into your diet help you prevent colon cancer? An observational study found that patients with stage III colon cancer who incorporated at least two ounces of nuts into their diets per week were 42% less likely of cancer recurrence and 57% lower probability of death than those who did not consume nuts. The study also found that there was no link between eating peanuts and a decrease in recurrence of cancer and/or improvement in survival.

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The overall consensus of the study is that there are lifestyle changes colon cancer patients can incorporate to reduce the likelihood of getting cancer again like maintaining a healthy weight, reducing sugar intake, and living an active lifestyle. Nut consumption is also linked to a decrease in insulin resistance and in inflammation which is both implicated to cause cancer. In conclusion, nuts should not be considered a substitution for chemotherapy or medication, but rather something you incorporate into a well-balanced diet to help prevent cancer recurrence.


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