Thursday, 24 January 2008

Healthy Foods Part 13: Foods To Help Detox Your Body

Feel Better And Lose Weight With Foods That Detoxify The Body

Foods that detoxify the body can be found mentioned between the covers of the majority of dieting, health and women’s magazines these days and many people may have got bored of seeing detox diets that can make them lose weight fast. These diets are often written off as just another fad that doesn’t work, but the people that do look upon foods that detoxify the body in that way have obviously never tried it. Many foods that detoxify the body have properties that help to flush out toxins and other non-essential elements, which is their primary function and help you feel better. This function actually enables your organs to work more efficiently so that they do not hamper your metabolism, which can lead to losing weight.

Foods that detoxify the body are actually classified as such now, as well as in their regular food groups, because they do not tend to fit perfectly under one heading. Foods that detoxify the body tend to be natural flora and fauna rather than animal and, as such, have different properties that vary from food to food. However, the one thing they have in common is that they make the different elements of your body work in harmony. Everything works at its best level, and that is why you lose weight! To fully understand what they can do for you, we’ll take the foods one by one and explain!

Grapes are great for detoxifying the body because they contain flavinols, which are widely known for boosting the circulation of blood around your body. This might not sound like it can help you lose weight but it can because your blood takes oxygen to every part of your body and the more oxygen the cells get, the more efficiently they can work and the more calories they burn doing so. If your metabolism speeds up then you lose weight. It’s as simple as that!

Prunes are a great source of fiber and can actually help you to go to the toilet a lot better The fiber goes through your system and passes out with any waste products that are in there. If the waste, or what your body doesn’t need, remains in there then anything that can be stored will be and you’ll put on weight. All fruits and vegetables have fiber in them and, as a result, are foods that detoxify the body and make sure that you lose weight.

Ice-cold water can help to increase your metabolism too. Thought not strictly one of the foods that detoxify the body, it is an important part of any detox diet because your body has to heat the water up and uses calories to do so!

Green tea is one of the foods that detoxify the body because it flushes out all of the toxins and boosts the metabolism, thus enabling your blood to circulate efficiently and reach all of the major organs to make them more efficient in turn. It also has properties that encourage fat burning and thus is great for losing weight.

Eating these foods that detoxify the body can really boost your metabolism and make your body much more efficient. If paired with exercise, the pounds will just fall off you! If you eat these foods in a balanced diet then you’ll feel healthier and will enjoy life much more so they’re definitely worth trying.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Healthy Foods Part 12: Carbs!

Weight Loss And Carbohydrates

Managing foods and the groups is very important when it comes to trying to lose weight. It’s impossible to lose weight without being able to balance them all so that you get the right blend of energy and nutrients, which is maybe why carbohydrates play a big part in any diet. Carbohydrates are one of the three main sources of energy, being completely made up of sugar or starch. Carbohydrates are pure energy because they don’t have another function, unlike fats and protein so if you want to lose weight it’s essential that you get the balance right!

Foods that contain carbohydrates include potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, biscuits, cakes and chocolate, to name a few. Fruits also contain carbohydrates because they are largely made up of fructose, a simple but really sweet sugar. In fact, carbohydrates can be found in most foods in some way, shape or form, but it is the foods that are high in carbohydrates that you should manage if you want to lose weight.

There are two main types of carbohydrates and the one you eat tends to determine how much weight you lose, or even if you can lose weight at all. The body uses up carbohydrates as an energy source before using protein and fats because of the fact that it can’t do anything else. If you want to lose weight then, you have to make sure that you don’t eat too many carbohydrates because the excess that you don’t burn off is converted into fat and then stored. But how can they really help you to lose weight?

You can lose weight by eating complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones. Complex carbohydrates are starchy foods like pasta and rice. They are actually digested slowly because its takes quite a while to break them down, which uses calories, believe it or not! As a result of the time it does take to break them down, they actually release energy slowly. One bowl of pasta would be enough to set you up for the day in terms of energy, and the fact that it does release over the day means that very little of it is stored as fat, so you don’t put on weight!

Complex carbohydrates speed up your metabolism because it has to work overtime to break them down. As a result, when all of the carbohydrates are gone, your metabolism will start in on your stored fat and this ensures that you lose weight throughout the course of the day!

It is simple carbohydrates that lead you to put on weight instead. Simple carbohydrates, like those in biscuits and cakes, are released very quickly because they take next to no time to break down. This gives your body a high amount of energy in very little time. Your body can’t use it all at once and so it’s converted into fat and stored. Avoid them like the plague!

Remember the old proverb when it comes to simple carbohydrates – a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips! It is absolutely true! Tucking in to a big bowl of pasta instead will help you to lose that fat and get rid of past indiscretions that involved the biscuit tin!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Healthy Foods Part 11: Supplements!

Can Supplements Really Help You To Lose Weight?

Everybody knows about the benefits that a balance diet can give you in terms of your health and losing weight. However, what about extras that you can take to help boost your ability to lose weight? Do they really work or are they just cashing in on dieting fads and the need people feel to be fashionably thin? Supplements are actually a food in their own right where your diet is concerned. Weight loss supplements are taken with meals or before meals and are made up of various ingredients that are supposed to help you to lose weight in a variety of ways.

However, there are very few manufactured weight loss supplements that have been laboratory proven to actually work. The majority of them have only produced a little if any evidence that they encourage your body to lose weight, and no qualified dieticians would recommend them. However, natural weight loss supplements are different. They don’t have the same side effects and are not manufactured using various chemicals that can do more overall harm than good! They all vary in terms of what they do within your body to make sure that you lose weight, depending on the ingredients. The ones that actually work are listed below along with how they can help you to lose weight quickly and effectively!

Hoodia is one of the most popular weight loss supplements out there, but also one of the rarest an most expensive. It is natural and grown in the wilds of South Africa. As a result, it is incredibly hard to come by, but it is one of the most effective around. Hoodia actually works to suppress the appetite and helps to keep you feeling full for longer. As a result, you don’t want to snack and wind up consuming fewer calories as a result. There are no known side effects of Hoodia, but there are a lot of fakes out there that don’t work, so you do have to be careful and seek out reputable sources before investing.

There are other natural weight loss supplements that are cheaper and more widely available. Green tea, for example, is available in most health stores and detoxifies the body. By getting rid of all of the toxins, it encourages waste to pass out of the body, which can then work more efficiently to burn calories. It also lowers cholesterol, which is an added benefit.

Guarana is another weight loss supplement that would help you to lose weight. The effect it has is similar to caffeine in terms of what it does within your body. The caffeine-like effect speeds up your metabolism, which burns more calories as well as suppressing your appetite. Burning more calories and eating fewer is great for weight loss!

Natural supplements can really help you to kick-start your diet and lose weight, just as long as you stick to the recommended doses and eat a balanced diet at the same time. Always make sure that you consult a doctor or dietician in advance though!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Healthy Foods Part 10: Fats!

The Truth About Fats

One particular food group is surrounded by myth far more than the others. That group is fats. All too often, people try and avoid eating fat as part of their daily diets, presuming that they’re bad for you. Some fats are bad for you and can make you put on weight, but others are considered good fats and can actually help you to lose weight! Fats actually provide a third source of energy in your diet, along with proteins and carbohydrates, as well as giving your body the means to repair tissue and keep cells healthy. Burning fat always means that you are losing weight!

There are three types of fat that are well known and can determine whether you lose weight or put it on – saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. The latter two are known as “good fats” whereas the former is actually the one that regular dieters check for on the back of food packets! Saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are all fatty acids but are different because of the way the molecules are joined to each other in each type. The way they are bonded actually alters the way in which the body can deal with them. In other words, the bonds can help us to lose or put on weight.

Saturated fats are generally found in processed foods and animal products like butter, meat, dairy foods and microwavable meals, which do tend to contain a lot! Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are found in plant products like sunflower and olive oils, nuts and seeds. In more simple terms, saturated fats are harder to break down than monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats so if you eat too many saturate fats then your body has no choice but to store it. The other two types are broken down easily and can keep your metabolism high if you exercise, which also burns off the calories. However, it is the essential fatty acids, or omega 3, 6 and 9, that helps us to lose weight.

Essential fatty acids can be found in foods like soybeans, walnuts, shrimp, salmon, halibut, walnuts and flaxseed. Fish is commonly known for its omega properties, but you may find that omega 3 has been added to a number of foods that populate supermarket shelves as a result of its popularity.

The omega fatty acids work to increase your body’s ability to burn fat during periods of exercise in two ways. The first is that it increases the metabolic rate of carbohydrates and fates within the body. Omega 3, in particular, can make cell walls far more flexible and this makes more susceptible to insulin. In turn, this ensures that every cell is more efficient and burns more carbohydrates. In terms of fat burning, fatty acids can ensure that the blood circulation is effective and efficient during exercise, and this gives the muscles a boost during energy, thus making them work harder and burn more calories.

Make sure that you look out for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Also be aware that you should be getting your daily recommended dose of omega 3,6 and 9. In total, you should be eating about 70g of fat a day to stay healthy, and that amount of those fats will help your metabolism. Home cooked meals tend to be healthier but counting the grams of fat is a great idea where necessary. It only takes a few weeks more to feel noticeably healthier than ever before!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Healthy Foods Part 9: Balancing Your Blood Sugar

Getting And Keeping The Weight Off With Foods That Balance The Blood Sugar

Although there are staple food groups that we have all come to know and love, new foods have been added to the list recently that can help us all to lose weight. Foods that balance the blood sugar happen to be one of them. They play an integral part in helping individuals to lose weight, as well as maintaining health. All foods containing carbohydrates have a glycemic index, or GI, and foods that balance the blood sugar are judged solely on their GI. They have the ability to keep your blood sugar steady and thus optimise your energy stores and your ability to lose weight!

The glycemic index of foods refers to how slowly or quickly they release energy. The higher the GI number, the worse the food is for your energy levels because a high GI number indicates that the food actually gives you a quick energy boost. The faster the energy release from a food, the less likely you are to use that energy and thus the more likely it is that your body will end up storing most of it as fat. Low GI foods, like pasta and wholegrain rice, are much better for you because they provide a constant slow release of energy throughout the day. This cuts down the possibility of storing energy of fat and thus you can actually lose weight as a result. Also, the slow release gives your metabolism a boost so you stand more chance of burning off excess fat left behind from a high GI food on a previous occasion!

Blood sugar is also extremely important in another way if you want to lose weight. If you have ever been on a diet then you will probably dread the nasty side-effects you get. Not only do you crave the foods that you can’t have, you also feel irritable! This indicates poor management of blood sugar rather than a lack of will power! You may also experience energy slumps throughout the day, usually an hour or so after eating, and it may be accompanied by dizziness. This often indicates that your blood sugar is too low. The cravings are your body telling you that you need energy and if you give into them, that’s when you will put on weight.

If your blood sugar is going up and down like a rollercoaster then your body will find it impossible to manage and automatically think that something is wrong. If your blood sugar is not balanced then your body will stop using up energy and will convert it into fat and store it instead because it’ll think that it’s being starved. If it does this, you won’t lose weight. There are foods that can help though.

Foods that contain chromium are great for stabilising blood sugar because, without it, the insulin that controls the blood sugar level within the body would not function. Foods containing chromium, like onions, have this property, as does licorice and cinnamon. If you want to lose weight then you should include these foods in your diet to keep the cravings at bay and feel full of energy because they also encourage your metabolism.

Foods that balance the blood sugar have been proven to have a great effect on a person’s ability to lose weight in both the short and long terms. Controlling your blood sugar levels can keep you healthy and give you enough energy to be able to lose weight steadily. Healthy blood sugar levels equal a healthy and lean body, so give it a try! You have nothing to lose!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Healthy Foods Part 8: Drinks!

The Drinks To Choose In Order To Lose Weight!

When it comes to losing weight, there are certain things that you can cut down on in order to shed the pounds, but there are some other things that you have to keep in your diet to ensure that you stay healthy. Drinks fall into the latter category. Drinks are a food group in their own right because they ensure that all cells are working properly and regenerate when damaged. They are an essential part of your diet because your body has to remain hydrated at all times to do so, but drinking the right things can actually help your to lose a lot of weight if managed properly.

Drinks include any form of liquid that is consumed on its own, independently of food. Water, coffee, soda and milk are all prime examples of drinks that fit nicely into this group, and are also all examples of drinks that an help you to lose weight!

Water is the bet drink for people on a diet and trying to lose weight for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it has no calorie content to speak of and so doesn’t actually make you put on weight. All it does is hydrate the cells in your body and flush out any toxins that are in there, and that makes your body more efficient and equipped to burn calories! You’d think that water’s involvement in the process of losing weight would end there, but you can actually manipulate it so that you burn calories just by drinking water. If you drink ice cold water then the body has to warm it up before it is able to send it through your system properly and you actually burn calories just by heating it. Up to 100 calories per glass actually!

Of course, other drinks can also help you to lose weight. Caffeine, for example, is a stimulant that actively speeds up the body’s metabolism. It is found in coffee and tea and helps your body to attack the stored fat present. That in turn releases energy for your body to use up and so you lose weight! However, if you drink too much caffeine then it can dehydrate the body and this would actually prevent you losing weight because the cells would take on extra water to compensate.

The final way in which drinks can help your body to lose weight is down to you. You should switch from full fat milk to skimmed milk. That way, you still get the hydration and nutrition you need, but the calories are more than halved.

All of those dieticians and experts that advocate drinking water all day long are absolutely right. You should get at least two litres a day, but don’t neglect your daily cup of coffee if you really want to stimulate your body to get rid of fat! It’ll make a nice change and really wake your body up in the best possible way!

Friday, 4 January 2008

Healthy Foods Part 7: Herbs And Spices!

Spice Up Your Diet With Herbs And Spices

It is a common myth that it’s only the main foods in your diet and the way that you balance them that determines whether you lose weight or not. I’m here to tell you that it just isn’t true. Sure, the main food groups do make a difference as to whether you lose weigh or not, but the little extra in every dish can really get your system going and help you to lose a lot more weight than you probably thought possible. Herbs and spices can actually help you lose weight because they have very good properties that can spur the body into action!

Herbs and spices do a number of things related to losing weight, largely depending on the herb or spice in question. As a result, we will take the types of herbs and spices out there one by one below.

Herbs and spices like cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne pepper act as stimulants within the body. They are both on the list of thermogenic foods as well because they produce heat. The heat they release actually stimulates the stored fat within the body and breaks it down so that more energy is released ready for you to use up during exercise. This helps weight loss by getting rid of the stored fat, and the heating process itself also burns calories so you metabolism is raised either way.

Some herbs and spices also act as diuretics, meaning that they flush excess water out of the body that can cause bloating and actually weighs heavily so it appear that you are heavier than you should be when it comes to weighing yourself. Burdock and alfalfa both fall into this group, as does fennel. The latter also gives you an energy burst so you feel more energetic and burns calories too.

Flax seed also falls into the cathartics category of herbs and spices. This group has a laxative effect so it clears all of the waste products that your body doesn’t need. However, they are used to prevent full digestion of your food and can help you to lose weight in that way because your body isn’t getting as many calories as you have actually eaten. You get the taste, but your body doesn’t get chance to store the calories that you’ve eaten but don’t need.

The final group that herbs and spices fall into is appetite suppressant. Nettles and kola nuts fall into this category, the former of which is becoming increasingly popular in soups and salads. They work to make you feel more full so that you don’t eat as much, and the fact that they fill your up more quickly also makes it less likely that you’ll snack between meals. As a result, you don’t eat as many calories and you’ll lose weight as a result.

Herbs and spices can really make your food taste a lot better so you enjoy it more, but you lose weight at the same time! It is worth using a variety of herbs and spices when cooking and preparing food to give your system a real boost when it comes to losing weight. Finally there is a solution to the dilemma of diet versus taste, so make the most of it while you can!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Healthy Foods Part 6: Vegetables!

A Vegetable A Day… Will Help You Lose Weight

The vegetable is one of the best known healthy foods around and should be a staple part of any given diet today. Vegetables are immensely healthy and can help people to maintain a balanced diet, but should also be a major part of a weight loss diet too. As a natural ingredient, they are designed to help people to manage their weight and can be eaten as part of a meal or as a snack. They contain various vitamins and minerals like Vitamins C and A, iron and calcium. However, it is not necessarily these properties that help you to lose a lot of weight. Instead, it is the fiber content that is the main reason for weight loss via the vegetable.

Vegetables can help people to lose weight for a variety of reasons. The first is because of the nature of the vegetable. I’ve mentioned that they contain vitamins and minerals, but they don’t make up the majority of the individual vegetable. Instead, the majority vegetables are mostly composed of fiber. Fiber is essential in helping you to lose weight because it isn’t absorbed by your system. Instead it just passes through and takes any waste that your body doesn’t need with it! As it can get rid of the waste products, it means that your body is not storing anything that it doesn’t need.

The fiber in vegetables is very low in terms of calories. They are considered low energy density as a result. That may sound a little daunting, but all it means is that you can eat as many vegetables as you like and put very little weight on! The recommended daily intake of vegetable is five portions but some diets do recommend more because they have very few calories. Unlike fruit, vegetables tend to contain little sugar and so won’t be converted into fat and stored if your body doesn’t use them.

The fiber in vegetables also has another great property. It makes you feel full. Fiber is bulky by nature and so makes you feel full very quickly, but because it contains few calories it is better to fill up on vegetables than snack on other foodstuffs. The more vegetables you eat, the fewer calories you consume and the more weight you lose because you’re eating enough in the way of energy to keep you going, when your meals are combined with the stored energy you have to burn, but not enough to store what isn’t used.

Vegetables should most definitely be used to help lose and then manage weight. There are so many benefits that eating vegetables can bring, but you should make sure that you still eat a balanced diet so you do get enough energy to keep going. Eating vegetables alone is not enough, but they sure can help as part of a healthy eating regime! There is nothing faddy about vegetables, and the health benefits are proven in various tests. Everyone should take advantage of the vegetable and live a better quality of life as a result!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Healthy Foods Part 5: Fruits!

How Your Diet And Body Can Benefit From Fruit!

Fruit is an essential food if you want to have a healthy mind and body. The nutritional content of fruit is extremely good for you because it is a natural product that is packed full of healthy vitamins, minerals and fiber. In fact, fruit is packed full of everything you need to lose weight and your body needs to get healthy and stay healthy! Various fruits are the main providers of vitamins like C, A, B6 and B12, and minerals like magnesium and iron. However, it is not for this reason that fruit really is an essential part of your diet if you want to lose weight.

Although the food definition for fruit states that it can help to keep your body healthy by allowing your body to fight off infection (helping you to get rid of that cough or cold) and regenerate as and when necessary (why do you think your hair grows?), how is fruit supposed to help you lose weight? There are actually several health benefits of fruit that can help you to lose weight.

The first is the type of sugar that is found in fruit. The sugar found in fruit is called fructose and is much sweeter than either dextrose or glucose, the two other common sugars. The latter two are found in cakes, biscuits and other sweet foods. Fructose can help you lose weight because it doesn’t release as quickly as other sugars. It provides a longer lasting source of energy so you don’t immediately feel hungry or lethargic after eating fruit, although you would if you ate a biscuit! This means you wouldn’t pick at food and snack as much, and this would keep the calorie count to a minimum! It also helps to slightly speed your metabolism up because it is slow releasing However, the liver absorbs fructose so it isn’t stored as fat if you don’t use it up! The fructose has to be metabolised in the liver because no other cells can metabolise it, unlike glucose, which can be used by cells throughout the body.

Fruits can also help you lose weight because they are packed full of fiber. Fiber helps your body to get rid of all the waste that it doesn’t need for nutrition. Our bodies don’t digest it so t just passes straight through, but if you don’t have enough fiber then it can’t take all of the waste products out of the body, which means excess fat is stored. Fiber also works to keep your digestive system healthy, which can increase metabolism and mean that you use more energy. In turn, this can help you to lose weight.

As you can see, fruits are really important to your body, especially if you want to lose weight and stay healthy. Most experts recommend that you get at least three portions of fruit a day. There is no excuse not to eat fruit when it tastes so delicious. All that fruity goodness is great for losing weight and can tantalize your taste buds in a far better way than biscuits and cakes ever can, helping you to lose weight instead of putting it on!