Heart Healthy Diet Tips

 

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for Americans. It affects us and all those around us. Since diet is such an important factor in cardiovascular health, knowing what foods are good and bad for your heart is crucial.

 

Although cholesterol is necessary for your body to function normally, many of the foods that people eat today contribute to higher levels of a ”bad“ form of cholesterol, called LDL, which can clog arteries and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol is made in the body naturally, but consuming animal products high in cholesterol, like whole milk or butter, can increase the amount that we have in our bodies to unhealthy levels.

 

Foods that are high in saturated fats raise LDL levels. Solid fats like butter, margarine, and shortening are sources of saturated fats. Getting rid of these, or replacing them with unsaturated, is important for maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol. Not all fats are bad, though. In fact, many unsaturated fats can play beneficial roles in the body, like stabilizing heart rhythm and even improving cholesterol levels. These ”good“ fats can be found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and fish.

 

Trans fat lowers your level of HDL, or ”good“ cholesterol, which functions to clean up ”bad“ LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream by carrying it to the liver so that it can be disposed of. A low level of HDL can also increase risk of cardiovascular disease because it slows down how quickly the “bad” cholesterol can be removed from the bloodstream.

Another way to reduce your levels of “bad” cholesterol is to eat more fiber. Soluble fiber can reduce how much cholesterol is absorbed into the bloodstream. Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products. A few foods that are a great source of fiber are oatmeal and flax seeds.

Another factor that affects cardiovascular health is blood pressure. High salt consumption is linked to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Canned and processed foods tend to have high sodium content, so minimizing how many prepared foods you eat can cut down a significant portion of the salt in your diet. Instead, try making your own foods, and use herbs and spices to flavor dishes instead of salt.

 
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The Healthiest Vegetable

The vitamin and mineral content of vegetables is the reason these are required for proper nutrition. The MyPlate and Food Guide Pyramid of the US Department of Agriculture recommend eating vegetables daily to reduce the risk of health disorders due to nutrient deficiencies. Some vegetables have a wider range of nutrients, and one is a favorite of weight-loss programs. It may be the healthiest vegetable in terms of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

 

How Kale Became "Trendy"

Eating a vegetarian diet has increased in popularity over the past decade. One reason has been a greater awareness of the relationship of cholesterol and "red meat" consumption to heart disease and colon cancer. Vegetarian meals are typically lower in cholesterol than those containing meat or poultry. However, it can be difficult for vegetarians to obtain an adequate range of nutrients on a daily basis without increasing calories. As a green leafy vegetable, kale is a great choice because it is nutrient-rich. Recent nutrition studies have produced more interest in eating kale and promoted public interest in buying it. As a result, chain supermarkets have stocked more of this vegetable in their produce aisles.

 

Kale contains high amounts of Vitamin A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids. In terms of minerals, it is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, and iron. This green, leafy vegetable has also been attributed with anti-inflammatory properties. Its high fiber content is considered advantageous in meal-planning for weight loss.

 

This vegetable has been shown to aid digestion due to its high fiber content, and cholesterol-lowering benefits. It contains indole-3-carbinol, which is involved in estrogen metabolism, and may therefore protect against the development of breast cancer.

 

Kale has even been termed a "super-food". If you are parent of a child who avoids eating vegetables as much as possible, try substituting kale for spinach or broccoli. Even if your child only eats a small portion, it will provide more nutrients to the meal.

 

Cooked versus Raw Kale

Recipes for cooked kale usually involve steaming to preserve its nutrient value, and because boiling this vegetable can toughen it (as well as reduce its vitamin content). Vegetarian entrees often involve stir-frying it with tofu to create a complete protein meal. Meanwhile, raw kale can be added to salads.

Kale is also a versatile vegetable. It can be the star of a dish or can play a secondary role in a soup or salad.

 

 

The Power of Asparagus

Early each spring, gardens around the world, and markets soon thereafter, bear the succulent, flavorful shoots we know as asparagus. Now is the best time to enjoy local offerings of this delightful delicacy. Not only is asparagus a great flavor to have on the plate, but it is also a veritable superfood of the vegetable world.

For about 5000 years, people have been cultivating asparagus for its medicinal and nutritional values, starting with the Ancient Egyptians. Though most commonly available in the traditional green variety, both white and purple variations can be found. Whatever kind you settle on, incorporating asparagus into your diet will not only be a delicious choice, but provide numerous health benefits as well, as this article will show you.

 

Health Benefits

Since ancient times, asparagus has been revered for its health benefits, and it is easy to see why. Asparagus's delicious green spears contain high levels of antioxidants and a multitude of B-vitamins. Together, these components have the capability of reducing the risk of inflammation and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and obesity, as well as regulating blood sugar. Studies also indicate that these nutrients may also contribute to risk reduction for certain types of cancer. The ancients may not have known it, but eating asparagus may have reduced their risk of developing Leukemia and liver cancer, and could do the same for you.

 

 

 

 

Storage

Unlike most vegetables, asparagus doesn't instantly die when it is harvested. In fact, asparagus spears continue to metabolize after being cut from their source. This makes asparagus one of the more perishable vegetables. To keep up with this continued metabolism, asparagus should be kept moist by wrapping its cut ends in a wet paper towel, then refrigerating it. This prevents asparagus from drying out and hardening. Asparagus should be eaten within the first couple of days that it is purchased to ensure freshness.

 

Preparation

Asparagus is a versatile vegetable when it comes to cooking. One of the easiest ways to cook it is to boil it for a few minutes until it becomes tender and serve it without any other preparations necessary.

 

 
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The Rule of Faliure 

Some people believe that lifting to failure each

and every single set is the best way to build

muscle. They think that in order to get a muscle to

grow, you have to fully exhaust it.

While it is true that you have to push the muscles past their comfort level in order to see progress, you can run into a number of problems when you're lifting to failure each and every set.

 

The first major issue is central nervous system fatigue. Workout programs designed to go to failure each and every time will be very draining on the CNS.

After a few weeks of such a program, it's highly likely that you'll find the CNS is so exhausted that you can't even lift the weight you used to for the required number of reps let alone increase it upwards.

 

The second problem with going to failure is that if you do this on the first exercise out in the workout, you're not going to have much for a second, third, and fourth exercise after that.

Since you should be doing at least a couple of different exercises in each workout you do, this becomes very difficult to accomplish.

 

Instead, aim to go one to two reps short of failure. This will still get you pushing your body hard and working at the intensity level needed to build muscle, but it won't completely destroy you so that you have to end that workout prematurely and take a day or two off just to recoup.

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Make sure you're fueling your body properly both before and after the workout.

 

Failing to get in the amino acids your body will use to synthesize new muscle mass with or the carbohydrates that provide the energy to formulate the new muscle tissue is a critical error that will garner a lack of results.

 

If there is one time you can't be uncertain about your nutrition, it's at these two points in the day.

Throughout the rest of the day you can be a bit more flexible in terms of meal times and composition provided you're still meeting your calorie and macronutrient needs, but before and after the workout things need to be 100% 'on'.

 

Fuel Your Body

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No Your Limits,  no pain no gain

The whole idea behind training and/or competing

is to push your thresholds to the limits to fulfill

your potential. If you don't know what your limits

are, how can you possibly know what your potential is?

 

How do you figure out your limits? It's not easy, and it's the #1 reason why people hire coaches. Experiment with training variable until you establish your comfort zone, and then systematically push out of that zone to force adaptation. If you're competing in your comfort zone, then you're not trying hard enough.

 

NO PAIN NO GAIN!

You would think that this myth has been beaten to death or at least shooed from popularity, but I hear it surprisingly often from people who honestly believe that they need to kill themselves every day during training to maximize their workouts.

Don't do that.

 

Is your resting heart rate jacked up today?

Are you too sore from your last workout to walk? Did you only sleep a few hours the last night? Skipped breakfast and lunch? Congrats, you just earned yourself a rest day. In other words - go home. You aren't going to get anything but an increased risk of injury by training in any one of these conditions.

 

Forget about fighting through the pain.

Discomfort is your body telling you that you've stepped well out of your comfort zone.Pain is your body telling you to knock off whatever you're doing. If you're an endurance athlete, listen to it.

 
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Testosterone & Exercise

Primal Sports Supplements

If you’re a man with low testosterone, exercise may help.

Doctors and fitness professionals still have a lot to learn about exerciseand its effects on testosterone. Several factors besides your workout are involved.

But one thing is clear: You need to make exercise a habit in order to get the benefits.

After exercise, testosterone levels rise -- but not for long.

"Sometimes it’s 15 minutes after exercise that testosterone is elevated. Sometimes it can be up to an hour

 

It's not yet clear what health effects, if any, these temporary boosts may have. Of course, exercise has many other well-known health perks.

For men who have low testosterone, exercise alone probably won’t raise their levels enough to make a difference in how they feel.  But for men whose testosterone level is on the borderline between normal and low, “I think it’s going to have a much more potent effect.”

 

 

4 Factors That Matter

Your weight, age, fitness level, and the timing of your workout all matter.

 

1. Your weight: Isaacs treats men with low testosterone. He seesobesity as a big part of the problem.  If you’re overweight, exercise can improve your testosterone levels by helping you shed pounds, says Isaacs, the author of Hormonal Balance:How to Lose Weight By Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism.

 

2. Your age: Older men seem to get less of a post-exercise boost in testosterone,  though this needs more research.

Still, exercise offers many other health benefits for older men, including bone and muscle health and better balance.

 

3. When you exercise: Your testosterone levels vary throughout the day. Levels are typically highest in the morning and lowest in the afternoon.

Research has found that strength-training workouts may have a bigger effect on testosterone in the evening. As a result, the brief boost from your exercise session might be even bigger if you schedule it after work instead of early in the morning.

 

4. Your fitness level: Not in great shape? If you start exercising, you maybe get a bigger, though still brief, boost in testosterone than a man who's already in good shape.

But after a few weeks, your body gets used to the challenge. Eventually, you'll get a lower hormone response from the same workout.

 
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A study of 8 healthy male volunteers observed that after

drinking alcohol, the effects of a significant decrease in

testosterone and an increase in cortisol (a muscle

destroying hormone) lasted up to 24 hours. The only real

question to ask yourself is this… If you are serious about

building muscle and burning fat, you want all the free

testosterone levels you can get and you want to reduce cortisol in any way you can. That means go lite on the drinking because it does affect your hormones. The effects were even worse if you exercise before drinking.This means that if you are going out and will be drinking more than a small amount of alcohol, you might as well skip the gym. Not shocking is a study done by the Department of Radiology, Sahlgrenska Hospital, Goteborg, Sweden that determined increased waist to hip ratio of alcoholics may include not only changes in adipose tissue, but also in muscle tissue distribution.

Effects of alcohol on Testosterone 

 
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Contrary to general belief the pectorals, which are also

called pecs are not a large muscle group. They can be

classified as a small muscle group, just like the biceps.

However many has distorted our views when it comes

to muscles. Several sources are claiming that pecs

and biceps are the biggest and most important muscle

groups in the entire body. However this is not at all true. 

The standard flat bench is also highly overrated for actual pectorals growth. It’s more of an ego lift and should be left for the middle or end of the routine - there are far better movements that will offer a much better outcome. Of course the flat bench should not be ignored. However, a common misunderstanding in the bodybuilding community about the pectorals is that there are multiple pectorals - inner, outer, upper, and lower pectorals. Anatomically this is not true: you should be thinking of your pectoral as one large muscle broken down into the above mentioned quadrants (inner, outer, upper, lower).

Know your Pecs

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Walk your way to a healthy Mind!

The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and others supports the idea that staying on the move can lead to physical fitness and mental longevity.

Many U. of I. studies have shown that aerobic exercise actually improves the structure and function of the brain.

 

The study shows that older adults who walked for 40 minutes three times a week for a year had increases in brain connectivity and performed better on cognitive tests than peers who didn’t engage in the walking program.

 

A study from the laboratory of kinesiology and community health professor Charles Hillman found that exercise enhanced brain function in 7-, 8- and 9-year-old children. And another study of older adults led by Beckman Institute postdoctoral research associate Agnieszka Burzynska found that exercise – and the avoidance of sedentary behavior – enhanced the integrity of the brain’s white matter, which facilitates communication between different brain regions.

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The Biggest Loser

Dieting and Muscle Loss

Weight loss too fast means Muscle

Loss.... Not Fat Loss!

losing more than 2 pounds per week will result in

a "significant" amount of muscle loss. 

During periods of reduced caloric intake, the body must compensate for this lack of energy.
It does so by breaking down fats in adipose tissue and proteins in muscle tissue to be used in synthesizing glucose which is used for energy (this process is called gluconeogenesis).

 

researchers put 25 participants on a five-week very-low-calorie diet of just 500 calories per day.  After the end of their diets, The average weight loss was a little over 19 pounds. 

 

The researchers then looked at the loss of fat-free mass, which includes all the tissue in the human body, except fat. The major tissues are blood, bones, organs and muscles. However, the mass of the organs, blood and bones does not change during dieting. Therefore, changes in fat-free mass during dieting are mainly due to changes in muscle mass.

 

Participants on the very-low-calorie diet had lost about 3.5 pounds of muscle mass, this accounted for 18 percent of the weight loss.  Four weeks after the end of their diets, reductions in muscle mass averaged 1.8 pounds, this accounted for 9.4 percent of weight loss.

 

The slower you go, the less muscle you will sacrifice.  

making sure that the body has proteins constantly in the blood stream will make it less likely to go to muscle tissue for those proteins. You should therefore frequently provide your body with sufficient protein sources through your diet.

Aim for 1 - 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day which is spread evenly throughout 5 - 7 meals. This will ensure that your body always has those proteins at its disposal in the bloodstream... making it think twice about tapping into that hard-earned muscle tissue.

 
 
weight loss vs fat loss
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The General Rules Of Weight Training

For most of the people, most of the time, proper exercise order can be summed up in one simple sentence:

More demanding exercises should be performed before less demanding exercises.

Here are the most common examples of what that means…

 

  • Exercises for bigger muscles should come before exercises for smaller muscles.Examples: Chest or back before shoulders, biceps or triceps. Shoulders before biceps or triceps. Quads or hamstrings before calves or abs.

  •  

  • Compound exercises should come before isolation exercises.Examples: Bench press before dumbbell flyes. Overhead press before lateral raises. Squats before leg extensions. Romanian deadlifts before leg curls.

  •  

  • Free weight/body weight exercises should come before machines.Squats or deadlifts before leg presses. Barbell bench press before incline machine press. Pull-ups before chest supported machine rows.

The Power of Strawberries

 

Health Benefits

It's truly amazing how wide-ranging the benefits of strawberries are. This list hits the main benefits, but there really are many more.

 

1. Antioxidants. 

A recent study that considered nutrient density and average serving size ranked strawberries as the 3rd best source of antioxidants among all US foods. They even beat out their rival berry superfood, the blueberry.

 

2. Cardiovascular benefits. 

The positive effect of strawberries on our cardiovascular system is very well documented. Their rich array of vitamins decreases circulating fats and cholesterol levels, among other things.

 

3. Blood sugar levels. 

New studies reveal that strawberry consumption is linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, strawberries have a moderating effect on blood sugar levels. In a recent study, subjects consumed either sugar or strawberries with sugar. The group that consumed only sugar experienced a sharp spike in blood sugar levels, while the group that consumed both saw just a moderate increase.

 

4. Cancer prevention. 

The phytonutrients in strawberries have been shown to reduce the risk of breast, cervical, colon, and esophageal cancer.

 

5. Weight loss. 

The anthocyanins in strawberries lead the body to burn stored fat at a faster rate. In addition, strawberries are very low in calories at just 54 calories in a cup. This makes strawberries a great snack for anyone trying to lose weight.

 

 

 

Selection, Storage, and Preparation

One of the only downsides to strawberries is how perishable they are. Purchase your strawberries within a few days of consumption. Note, though, that they do not ripen once picked, so be sure you choose strawberries that are already ripe: look for a deep red color and attached green caps. Ripe berries not only taste better, but also have more nutrients. Strawberries will keep in a refrigerator for about two days. After this time span, they lose both nutrient content and taste. Freezing strawberries is always a good option.

As the weather gets warmer, there's no better food to add to your diet than the sweet, refreshing, and healthy strawberry. Remember that strawberries are most nutritious when enjoyed fresh, uncooked. Here are two great ways to incorporate fresh strawberries into your diet.

 

Strawberries are more than just a great-tasting, refreshing berry. They're also packed with nutrients and have wide-ranging health benefits, from cancer prevention to weight loss help. It may be time for blueberries to step aside and let strawberries take over the role of healthiest berry.

In this article, we discuss the health benefits of strawberries in detail and give a few awesome recipes to help you enjoy strawberries the right way!

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Athletic Training

 

The trick to athletic training – and this is true for everybody from bodybuilders to marathoners to noncompetitive athletes just in it for health, or even vanity – is timing each subsequent workout so it hits the middle of that so-called supercompensation peak, when a muscle has already bounced back even stronger than before but hasn't yet returned to baseline.


What this means for getting in shape is that each week, you have to stress your body a little more than last time – lift a little heavier, run a little harder.

Muscles weaken with exhaustion after a workout, but then they recover and typically, a few days later, go into what's known as "supercompensation," a fancy word that just means bouncing back a little stronger than before. Soon afterward the muscle fades back to normal again. Work a muscle too soon after the last time you worked it, before the muscle completely recovers, and it'll get even weaker than before. If you work a muscle too late, after that supercompensation effect fades, you'll just keep returning to your baseline.