Encouraging Health and Happiness

Posts tagged “eating habits

Food, mood and you

You are what you eat — and then some. The foods that you eat can significantly affect your mood, behavior and quality of life.

By Dan Labriola


On Health

The foods you eat can make you angry, sad, tired, grouchy, even hostile. While Americans increasingly turn to antidepressant, anti-anxiety and other psychoactive drugs for mood issues,the fact is no one was born with a Prozac deficiency. There are many possible causes for these symptoms, but the relationship between food and mood is often ignored and may not be obvious since the offending food may not affect you hours or days after ingesting. So how do you know if foods are affecting your mood or behavior? Here are some clues. (more…)

Relax! You’ll be more productive

More and more of us find ourselves unable to juggle overwhelming demands and maintain a seemingly unsustainable pace. Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less.

By Tony Schwartz

The New York Times

4 Oatmeal Nutrition Facts You Need to Know

By Matthew Kayser


In your continuous effort to eat healthy and provide a good diet for your family, you have probably considered making oatmeal an essential part of your daily diet. You should now commit to the food that is often considered one of the healthiest choices available.

The oatmeal nutrition facts reveal even more benefits than previously thought.

The facts are these: if you are looking for a delicious way to eat healthy, and you want to entice your children into eating well by offering them something that is quick and tasty, you need to consider oatmeal. (more…)

Skier’s Diet: Surprising Muscle Building Foods

Super foods that will make you super fit this ski season. Garlic anyone?

By Kellee Katagi

posted: 09/05/2012


As you coax your muscles back into ski shape, fueling them well can add heft to your training. Your instinct is likely to reach for a steak (and rightly so: A 2009 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that eating four ounces of steak after a workout built muscle 50 percent better than a placebo), but these other strength-building foods may surprise you.

Top 10: Power Meals Every Man Should Be Able To Make

Break out of your usual dietary routine with some orange-marinated pork tenderloin.

By Shannon Clark,

If you want to maintain an active lifestyle and perform your best, it’s vital that you feed your body the quality nutrients it requires. Preparing your own classic standby meals is a great way to not only increase your enjoyment from eating but also treat your body right.

In a world where far too many men are dining out or relying on convenience or fast food for sustenance, it’s time to revamp your cooking skills and create your own dishes.

Here are 10 great power meals that every man should be able to make.

 Szechwan Shrimp (more…)

7 Foods that Burn Fat

By Cosmopolitan.com | Healthy LivingThu, Mar 22, 2012 5:46 PM EDT

These foods will help you burn fat.


These foods will help you burn fat.With rising temps come rising hemlines, bare shoulders… and eventually, bikini season. Add these metabolism-boosting foods and drinks to your shopping list, and you’ll score a leaner and sexier bod.

By Carolyn Kylstra

Chicken Breast
Meet the ultimate wonder food. Chicken is packed with protein, which is essential for maintaining muscle mass-and the more muscle mass you have, the more efficient you are at burning calories. Even better, protein takes more time to digest than carbohydrates, so you’ll feel full longer than if you ate the same number of calories in a carb-or fat-heavy meal. An ideal serving: the size of a computer mouse or a deck of cards. (more…)

5 silly things we do that derail our diets

Columnist Carrie Dennett provides five easy tips for controlling our diets.

If the road to success is paved with good intentions, I’ll wager that a good 75 percent of that pavement is poured from the intent to eat right and get in shape.

While people don’t set out to purposefully sabotage their efforts, an awful lot of derailment goes on, nonetheless. Sometimes it’s because we’re just not thinking; sometimes it’s because we’re overthinking.

I’ve made every one of the following mistakes at some point. What about you?

Failing to plan. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and those sketchy eating habits you’d like to change weren’t either. Changing habits can be hard work, so thinking you can turn yourself into a healthier eater without a game plan is guaranteed to leave you spinning your wheels. If you don’t have a plan, you will slip into “default mode” (aka your old habits) time and time again. (more…)

Anti-Aging Foods Cheat Sheet

By Dr. Oz

Consider these foods your anti-aging staples. As a rule, fruits and vegetables high in flavonoids and carotenoids, two powerful plant-based antioxidants, will remove the free radicals from your skin and body that cause you to age prematurely. A well-balanced diet can help you lose weight, live longer and feel fitter. But it can also help you look younger. Forget the fountain of youth. Load up a plate at the feel-better buffet and turn back the clock on a full (and happy) stomach.

Black garlic helps to repair age-damaged skin. Uniquely colored due to its fermentation process, black garlic contains double the antioxidants as regular garlic and can be eaten raw. It strengthens and restores skin cells damaged by the aging process. Use it in place of regular garlic in most recipes.

Jicama is a crisp root vegetable that can help fight crow’s feet by boosting collagen and fighting wrinkles. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C. Try it either raw or cooked.

Jerusalem artichoke can help to fade the appearance of under-eye circles. Their beauty secret is iron – they contain five times more iron as potatoes. Eating them can help to correct an iron deficiency, a common cause of paleness that makes your under-eye bags more apparent. (more…)

The Best Foods for Thought, Literally


We’ve long known that the Mediterranean diet is good for the heart. Now, it may be good for the brain as well. (more…)

Fuel your moving body

Eat right, all the time. There’s no better way to maximize the benefits of physical activity.

By Stacy Chandler


There’s no shortage of information out there about what to eat to maximize the benefits of your workout.

Open a fitness magazine or ask your buddies at the gym, and you’re sure to get enough tips and tricks to make your head spin. Your brother swears by his protein shakes, while your co-worker loads up on coffee before a workout. Your best friend eats a solid breakfast before her spin class, but the guy on the StairMaster next to you claims it’s a sin to eat a single bite before you sweat.

But ask an expert, someone who really understands the relationship between what we put in our bodies and what we get out of a workout, and the answer is simple: Eat right, all the time. There’s no better way to maximize the benefits of physical activity, period. (more…)

USDA 10 Tips for Building Healthy Meals

A healthy meal starts with more vegetables and fruits and smaller portions of protein and grains. Think about how you can adjust the portions on your plate to get more of what you need without too many calories. And don’t forget dairy – make it the beverage with your meal or add fat-free or low-fat dairy products to your plate.

1. Make half your plate veggies and fruits – Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients and may help to promote good health. Choose red, orange, and darkgreen vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.

2. Add lean protein – Choose protein foods, such as lean beef and pork, or chicken,
turkey, beans, or tofu. Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.

3. Include whole grains – Aim to make at least half your grains whole grains. Look for the words “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutrients, like fiber, than refined grains.

Dig Deeper

Just 15 Minutes of Exercise a Day May Add Years to Your Life

By Meredith Melnick Tuesday, August 16, 2011 |


U.S. fitness guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. But increasingly, evidence suggests that even half that amount can extend significant health benefits.

Only about a third of Americans currently meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for physical health, which advise a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, plus additional strength-training.

Now here’s the good news for the rest of us: even just 15 minutes of moderate exercise a day (or 92 minutes per week) was associated with a three-year increase in life expectancy and a 14% reduction in risk of death by any cause, compared with a sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study.

Each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise (up to 100 minutes a day) reduced the risk of death by an additional 4%, the study found, and people who got 30 minutes of activity a day added about four extra years to their life expectancy, compared with their sedentary peers.

The observational study involved more than 400,000 people in Taiwan, who were followed for an average of about eight years. Researchers gave participants a questionnaire asking about their medical history and lifestyle habits, including how much leisure-time physical activity they got. Based on the answers, researchers divided them into activity intensity groups: light (walking), moderate (brisk walking), vigorous (jogging) and very vigorous (running).

People were characterized as inactive if they got less than one hour of exercise per week. Compared with this group, those who got even small amounts of moderate activity daily lived longer.

“The 30-minute-a-day for five or more days a week has been the golden rule for the last 15 years, but now we found even half that amount could be very beneficial,” lead author Dr. Chi-Pang Wen told ABC News. “As we all feel, finding a slot of 15 minutes is much easier than finding a 30-minute slot in most days of the week.”

But that’s no excuse to scrape by with minimum effort. And it’s certainly no reason to scale back if you’re already working out for at least 30 minutes a day. When it comes to exercise, more is better. As anyone who has ever embarked on a new exercise regimen knows, the hardest part is starting; the longer you stick with it, the easier and more enjoyable it becomes. Over time, as you get fitter, your exercise goals will become easier to attain.

The new study had some limitations. For one, the questionnaires involved self-report, which always carries a measure of inaccuracy. The study was also observational, so it’s not clear whether people’s health outcomes could be attributed to factors other than exercise (though the researchers accounted for other factors like smoking, drinking, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and history of disease), or whether it was inactivity that caused poor health or vice versa.

Still, there is no shortage of existing evidence that increasing physical activity leads to all-around improvements in health, mood and well-being. And the new results suggest that even small amounts of moderate exercise — think biking, walking briskly or dancing — may mean significant benefits.

“The knowledge that as little as 15 minutes per day of exercise on most days of the week can substantially reduce an individual’s risk of dying could encourage many more individuals to incorporate a small amount of physical activity into their busy lives,” wrote Dr. Anil Nigam and Dr. Martin Juneau of the Montreal Heart Institute and the University of Montreal in an accompanying editorial in The Lancet, which published the new study online on Aug. 15.

Meredith Melnick is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeredithCM. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

20 Habits That Make You Fat

Decades ago, around the time of Steven Tyler’s last haircut, a completely wrong-headed idea started being passed around America’s dinner tables: Eating fat makes you fat.

Wrong. Eating fat won’t make you fat, any more than eating money will make you rich. Calories make you fat, and most “low-fat” or “fat-free” foods actually have just as many calories as their full-fat versions, because of added sugar and chemicals. And there’s no debate on this one: Since we made “cut down on fat” our favorite food craze roughly 30 years ago, the U.S. obesity rate has doubled. Among children, it has tripled. That’s a failed food policy if ever there was one.

But it’s just one of many “get fat” habits that can be turned into a“slim-down” habit, starting today. All you need is a pinch of resolve and a few new routines. Here are the 20 habits you can replace right now, compliments of the Eat This, Not That! No-Diet Diet.

FAT HABIT #1: Eating “low-fat”

It sounds crazy, but I want you to stop buying foods marketed as low-fat or fat-free. Typically, they save you only a few calories and, in doing so, they replace harmless fats with low-performing carbohydrates that digest quickly—causing a sugar rush and, immediately afterward, rebound hunger. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that meals that limited carbohydrates to 43 percent were more filling and had a milder effect on blood sugar than meals with 55 percent carbohydrates. That means you’ll store less body fat and be less likely to eat more later.

FAT HABIT #2: Not seeking nutrition advice

Good news here: By reading this, you’re already forming habits that can help you shed pounds. When Canadian researchers sent diet and exercise advice to more than 1,000 people, they found that the recipients began eating smarter and working more physical activity into their daily routines. Not surprisingly, the habits of the non-recipients didn’t budge.

FAT HABIT #3: Sleeping too little or too much

According to Wake Forest researchers, dieters who sleep five hours or less put on 2½ times more belly fat, while those who sleep more than eight hours pack on only slightly less than that. Shoot for an average of six to seven hours of sleep per night—the optimal amount for weight control.

FAT HABIT #4: Eating free restaurant foods

Breadsticks, biscuits, and chips and salsa may be complimentary at some restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you won’t pay for them. Every time you eat one of Olive Garden’s free breadsticks or Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits, you’re adding an additional 150 calories to your meal. Eat three over the course of dinner and that’s 450 calories. That’s also roughly the number of calories you can expect for every basket of tortilla chips you get at your local Mexican restaurant. What’s worse, none of these calories comes paired with any redeeming nutritional value. Consider them junk food on steroids.
Dig Deeper…

9 Scariest Food Facts

By David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding
Jul 27, 2011

There’s a scene in the 1973 movie Soylent Green where food shortages cause people to riot in the street, and the throng becomes so unruly that front-loading construction machines roll in and begin shoveling people up into big metal buckets. These people are hungry—no, ravenous—for a food called soylent green. But here’s the twist: They know that they love soylent green, but they have no clue what it’s made from.

Sound familiar? It should. That’s basically how we eat today. Pick up a random package in the supermarket and look at the ingredient list. Chances are you won’t know half the ingredients. Take a look at the downright frightening facts Eat This, Not That! has uncovered. You may never look at food the same way.

1. Nutritious food costs 10 times more than junk food.
University of Washington researchers calculated the cost discrepancy between healthy food and junk foods and found that 2,000 calories of junk food rings up at a measly $3.52 a day. Yet for 2,000 calories of nutritious grub, the researchers plunked down $36. To add insult to fiscal injury, out of every dollar you spend on food, only 19 cents goes toward the stuff you eat. The other 81 cents goes toward marketing, manufacturing, and packaging. Think about that the next time your grocery bill jumps into the triple digits.

DID YOU KNOW? You don’t need to make big changes to your diet to lose 10, 20, or even 30 pounds. You just need to make the right small tweaks. Change how you look and feel—fast and forever—with this must-see report on the 25 Best Nutrition Secrets Ever!

Dig Deeper…

Eight ways to lose weight and gain money

A better body and more cash can come hand in hand

By Erin Hicks

Want to lose weight and save money? Is that a dumb question?

The key to feeling lean in the waist and heavy in the wallet is to budget both your calorie intake and spending habits with the same philosophy, says Vivien Schapera, author of “How to Lose Weight and Gain Money: A Program for Putting Your Life in Order.”

“Some people are good with money and they budget their calories the same way. But some people will budget tightly with money and they’ll do the opposite with food, and vice versa,” says Schapera. “It’s not about being thin and rich. It’s about having a healthy mind and healthy body. If you take care of your weight, you will see other benefits to your whole life.”

Here are eight tips on how you can cut back the calories and subsequently see a little more green in your wallet.

Reserve half the food you cook for later

You save: Lunch money

Everyone knows to box up half their meal at the restaurant to save for the next day, but what about boxing up half of the meal you make at home?

“Every night you cook, half of the food you make should go into a container to be taken to work the next day for lunch, says Schapera. The key is to make sure you cook a little extra to account for lunch the next day.”

If you figure the average lunch you’d buy costs $8 to $12, and the average lunch you bring from home costs around $2 (either by packing leftovers or bringing a sandwich) you can save a minimum of $30 per week. That’s $120 a month!

Walk more

Dig Deeper…

Healthy diet can mean success on field of play

Athletes, coaches, athletic departments and entire schools are focusing more on high schoolers’ eating habits.

By Patrick Dorsey

MIAMI — At home, John Battle sees it. His son — also named John — eats healthy. And now, just 15 years old, the younger Battle already towers over his dad, who serves as track and field coach at Hallandale High School in Florida.

“Everyone says, ‘My God, what are you feeding him?”‘ the father said of the state-qualifying hurdler.

Battle saw it three years ago, too, when standout high jumper and University of Florida football recruit Frankie Hammond Jr. was “a tall, slender individual,” in Battle’s words, and was put on a meal plan by the Gators. Hammond quickly built “some lean and mean wide receiver muscle,” Battle said, and now he is a UF redshirt junior.

But perhaps the biggest indicator came five years back. After a “pretty good” 2005, Battle decided to stress proper nutrition to his team.

The Chargers won the 2006 Class 3A state boys’ title. Runner Tabarie Henry went on to be an Olympian. And although Battle knows it’s not the only reason behind the success, he isn’t denying the importance of eating right in high school sports.

“We (tell our athletes): ‘Hey, if you want to get to this level — and we always go back to 2006 — this is what you need to do,”‘ Battle said. “And part of that is eating correctly.”

Hallandale is far from alone. Although the movement is hardly universal — many say it’s still not remotely widespread enough — athletes, coaches, athletic departments and entire schools throughout the area are focusing more on high schoolers’ eating habits.

Dig Deeper…

Food swaps that fight belly fat: Don’t eat less eat smarter

Try these ridiculously easy food trade-offs to banish your gut for good.

By Emily G.W. Chau

You can beat belly fat on a full stomach — as long as you choose the right foods. Making simple substitutions, such as the greens you use in your salads and the snacks you munch come midafternoon, can help blast away excess chub. Here are some simple swaps for a flat belly and strategies for cutting calories while keeping hunger at bay. Dropping weight has never been this satisfying.

Rolled Oats or Bran Cereal for Breadcrumbs

You traded Wonder Bread for wheat and nixed white rice in favor of brown, but there are plenty of other, less obvious, swaps you can make to increase your intake of whole grains. Try substituting rolled oats or crushed bran cereal for breadcrumbs in meatballs, or slip barley into your chicken noodle soup. A 2008 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who loaded their diets with whole grains were more likely to lose fat from their guts than those who noshed on the enriched kind. Whole grains are higher in fiber than refined starches, so you’ll feel fuller eating less.

Avocado for Butter

Dig Deeper…

Salt diet dangers may be influenced by potassium

ATLANTA (AP) — The debate about the dangers of eating too much salt has gained a new wrinkle: A federal study suggests that the people most at risk are those who also get too little potassium.

Potassium-rich foods, including fruits and vegetables, have long been recommended as a dietary defense against heart disease and other chronic illnesses. The new research is one of the first and largest U.S. studies to look at the relationship of salt, potassium and heart disease deaths.

“If you have too much sodium and too little potassium, it’s worse than either one on its own,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City’s health commissioner, who has led efforts to get the public to eat less salt. He co-wrote a commentary published with the study in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine.

Potassium may neutralize the heart-damaging effects of salt, said Dr. Elena Kuklina, one of the study’s authors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Salt — or sodium chloride — is the main source of sodium for most people.

The research found people who eat a lot of salt and very little potassium were more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack as those who ate about equal amounts of both nutrients. Such a dietary imbalance posed a greater risk than simply eating too much salt, according to the study.

…Dig Deeper…

Why Foods High in Potassium Are Good For You

A healthy diet is one which contains foods rich in vitamins and minerals. While you may spend a lot of time counting calories and looking at how much saturated fat is in your foods, how often do you look at the potassium levels?

Potassium is actually essential for the body. It has many health benefits yet not many of us actually bother about it. If you want to improve your health then eating foods rich in potassium is definitely a good idea.

The Health Benefits of Potassium

The main health benefit of potassium is that it lowers the blood pressure. It is also particularly good for athletes. Many athletes have a potassium rich diet as it helps to prevent cramps and cardiovascular irregularities. A lot of potassium is lost during exercise which is why athletes need to have more potassium in their bodies than the average person.

Learn More…

Nutrition – Apples to lower cholesterol? That’s just the beginning

By MARISSA CEVALLOS, HealthKey for the LA Times

To truly keep the doctor away, it’s going to take more than a handful of red delicious. The fruit and vegetable aisle is a fine place to start your quest to lower cholesterol, but don’t stop there. Keep moving, keep moving….

This week we learned that eating dried apples can help reduce “bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein, while raising “good” cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein – at least when compared to eating dried plums (aka prunes).

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that travels in the blood. If you have too much cholesterol, it can stick to the walls of your blood vessels and narrow or even block them, leading to heart disease. You’re more likely to have unhealthy levels of cholesterol if you eat fatty foods, are overweight or have a close relative with high cholesterol.

But you can help lower your cholesterol simply by changing your diet. The Mayo Clinic suggests these five foods for better cholesterol and heart health:

  • Oatmeal and other foods high in soluble fiber, such as apples, kidney beans, pears, barley and prunes. Try for 5 to 10 or more grams of soluble fiber per day.
  • Fish and omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s can reduce the risk of blood clots; the highest amounts are in mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and halibut.
  • Nuts! But try to limit yourself to about a handful–they’re naturally high-calorie.
  • Olive oil. But be careful to swap it for something else in your diet, don’t just add it. Two tablespoons have 240 calories.
  • Plant sterols. They’ve been added to some brands of margarine, orange juice and yogurt drinks. Try for at least 2 grams, about the amount found in two 8-ounce glasses of fortified orange juice.

Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol With TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes), from the National Institutes of Health, offers even more detail – lots and lots of detail – even information on salt and alcohol, label-reading instructions, sample menus and more.

Now that you know which foods to choose, take care with how they’re prepared. A piece of apple pie a day probably doesn’t do much for cholesterol or overall health.

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

20 Little Ways to Drop Pounds

By Joe Mullich

Smart tips for how to take them off―and keep them off.

How to Cut Calories

Bad news: The average person gains one to two pounds a year. Good news: Consuming just 100 fewer calories each day is enough to avert that weight gain. If you’re finding this out a little too late―and you want to actually lose some of that weight―you have to downsize by 500 calories a day. But you don’t have to slash them all from your plate. “You can eat 250 calories less and then burn 250 by walking for 30 to 45 minutes. Over a week, that will produce about a pound of weight loss,” says Holly Wyatt, MD, a clinical researcher at the Center for Human Nutrition in Denver. You won’t see dramatic changes immediately, but small tweaks like those that follow will pay off over time.

Tweak Your Diet

1. Start with salad…and eat less during the rest of the meal, says a study from Pennsylvania State University. When salads were topped with low-fat mozzarella and low-calorie Italian dressing instead of high-fat alternatives, women ate 10 percent fewer calories over the course of the day.

2. Stick a fork in it. If you prefer your salad dressing on the side, dip your fork into it before stabbing your greens. That little maneuver could cut hundreds of calories.

3. Order two appetizers. According to a study at the University of North Carolina, the average hamburger is 23 percent larger today than it was in 1977. Choose a pasta dish and salad or soup from the appetizer column, instead.

4. Visit the vending machine. Nibbling on single servings is better than digging your way to the bottom of a megabag of chips.

To read more and learn all the 20 tips, click here.

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