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Category: Nutrition

Eliminate Soda!

We have already focused on why water is great and needed in our bodies.  Now it’s time for the ugly truth about sodas, and why it’s important to stay away- and hopefully eliminate- them completely.

PH of soda = pH of Vinegar

No matter who makes the soda, it is pretty much the most acidic beverage you can buy, with it’s pH ringing in at about 2.5, about that of vinegar.  Acid oxidizes whatever it comes in contact with- in the case of soda- that’s your teeth, your esophagus, your stomach, your intestines, your bladder.  If you put rusted metal (such as a penny) into soda, it will dissolve the rust, making the penny look new again.  This weakens your immune system, your bones, your organs. Why would you want that in your body?

Your tooth enamel is highly weakened by the combination of sugar and acid in soda.  The acidity initially weakens the protective enamel, making it far easier for the sugar to attack the tooth and cause cavities.  This cycle over time, on a daily basis, it bad news for your oral health.

Each additional soda you drink increases risk for obesity by 1.6 times

Now for the weight gain aspect to soda ingestion.  The relationship between soft drink consumption is so directly correlated that researchers have calculated that based on average consumption, sodas add 20 lbs to your frame every year.  Each additional soda consumed over what is deemed “average” adds 5 lbs a year to the initial 20.

The health of your children

As parents, it is our job to be an example to our children and keep them healthy.  In studies, teens who consume sodas are three to four times more likely to fracture their bones than teens who do not drink sodas.  Children who drink sodas from a young age also displayed an inability to compensate themselves with the proper nutrition at mealtime, leading to caloric imbalances, and obesity in the long run.

Diet soda is just as bad- if not worse!

For those of you indulging yourselves with diet soda instead of regular sugar filled soda- the news isn’t much better.  In fact, it’s worst.  By consuming a liter of aspartame-filled soda, you are poisoning yourself with methanol, the chemical your body produces when you consume artificial sweeteners.

The other artificial sweetener, saccharin, is a petroleum derivative that when tested on animals over the years, has caused cancer in the bladder and female reproductive organs.

So yes, with diet soda you forgo calories in exchange for poisonous levels of methanol and a chance at various cancers.  Not a good trade!

Just remember that you get NO nutritional value from a soda, only bad side effects! And with so many great, healthy alternatives, you truly need to steer away from sodas.  Try freshly brewed tea, or freshly brewed iced tea (not preservative filled bottled teas such as snapple!), coconut water, juice with water, and water with lemon!

So before you grab a soda, please remember all the bad things mentioned above and go for a healthier alternative.

 

Foods for Healthy Hair and Nails

A great diet really plays a large role in how healthy, glossy, and strong your nails and hair become.  Food is the purest way to get the vitamins and minerals that boost your health- certain foods have even been used for thousands of years in ancient beauty regimes.  While there’s no magic food that will keep us looking forever young, but diet, lifestyle, and attitude does affect how your skin looks and ages.

 

Health Fitness Revolution brings you a list of nutrients and foods to include in your diet to promote healthy hair and nail growth:

 

  • Fish and Omega-3 Rich Foods: About 3% of the hair shaft is made of these fatty acids, but your body can’t make them, so it’s important to get them through your nutrition. Salmon, herring, avocados, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are all great natural sources of Omega-3.
  • Chicken and other Protein:  Skin, hair and nails are mostly protein. These proteins – keratin, collagen and elastin – ward off wrinkles and provide strength and elasticity.  Get your skin-boosting protein by including at least one serving of lean meats, chicken, seafood, legumes or eggs and two serves daily of low-fat dairy products.
  • Eggs:  Not only are eggs a great source of protein, but they are also loaded with four key minerals: zinc, selenium, sulfur, and iron. Iron is especially important, because it helps cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles, and too little iron (anemia) is a major cause of hair loss, particularly in women.
  • Spinach:   loaded with iron, folate, beta carotene, and vitamin C, it helps keep hair follicles healthy and scalp oils circulating.  Other dark leafy vegetables such as kale and collard greens also offer the same nutrients.
  • Greek Yogurt:  look for low-fat options of Greek yogurt, which are high in protein, and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid — an ingredient often seen on hair care product labels).
  • Blueberries and other Vitamin C Foods:  Blueberries are nutrient powerhouses!  Vitamin C is critical for circulation to the scalp and supports the tiny blood vessels that feed the follicles. Too little Vitamin C in your diet can lead to hair breakage.  Other foods high in Vitamin C are kiwis, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes.

 

Switching to Vegetarianism

Health Fitness Revolution is happy to introduce a new contributing author, Jessica Deaver. She is a vegetarianism advocate and will be sharing her wisdom and guidance to any readers that are either already vegetarians or toying with the idea of making that lifestyle change:

The decision to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle is a personal one.  Some make the commitment to live a healthier life or to help the environment, while others do not agree with the way that animals suffer for our benefit.  Whatever your reasons may be, the transition involves mental commitment, socio-cultural and physiological changes in your life.

Commitment:

No matter what you try to do in life, if you want to succeed at something you need to have a strong commitment to achieve the goal.  If you just want to try vegetarianism, then give yourself a few weeks and let that be your commitment.  If this is a choice you want to make permanently, then find the one defining image of your reason for change and keep it vividly in your mind.  This image might be a word, a sentence, a sound, or a video.  Just remember it when you feel your commitment challenged.

Socio-cultural:

No one likes to be seen as a ‘picky eater’.  This could be a result of historical events like the Great Depression that caused many families to wait in long lines for any available food. It could also simply be the western celebration of lifestyles of indulgence. Whatever the cause, refusing some dishes puts you in an uncomfortable position.

For many, the best solution is to come prepared at restaurants with a well-rehearsed explanation.  At family dinners, offer to bring a dish that accommodates your new vegetarian lifestyle.  Know that your choice is your choice. Be confident and even excited to discuss this choice.  More people than you expect will be interested in the benefits of a vegetarian diet.  It could also help to tailor the conversation to the group and setting.

Being prepared is key- if you know you are going to be in a fine dining restaurant for an event with business colleagues, call ahead at the restaurant and ask for vegetarian options.  Chefs love to talk about food and despite the popular belief that they will only cook what they want to cook; many enjoy the discussion of ways to cater to their guests.  If you find yourself having to dine out often for work make a list of vegetarian friendly eateries in your city for various budgets and keep it in your wallet.

Physiological:

By doing some research beforehand you can not only save money but also create a strong healthy diet that boosts your immune system and gives you extra energy!  All 20 amino acids that make up complete proteins needed by the body can be obtained in a vegetarian diet.

Vegetarians can also obtain proteins from their diets which contain enzymes which help with digestion. On a vegetarian diet, you body will naturally create the hormones which regulate growth and many bodily systems, and help build muscle, skin and other support tissue while boosting a healthy immune system.

In order to get the benefits of this essential building block, eat beans, quinoa, broccoli, and seitan. Avocadoes are delicious and have 4 grams of protein.  They also help to open arteries as well as provide other healthful benefits like beautiful hair, skin, and nails. Try cooking comfort foods like homemade chili but leaving out the meat. Make sure to do your research.

Vitamin supplements are convenient, but they are not absorbed by the body as well as vitamins found in whole foods.   Better sources of B vitamins like kombucha, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, beans and chili peppers can be easily incorporated into a healthy, well-rounded diet.

In order to go veg the right way, stop buying meat products.  If you have them in your house, have a close friend over for dinner and cook what is left in your fridge for them and make a vegetarian friendly dish for yourself.  Some dinners can be easily made vegetarian by simply separating a portion of the meal to leave the meat out.  Shopping is the fun part- try visiting a farmers market or a new grocery store to change the experience of shopping for yourself.

Whatever the reasons, a healthy vegetarian lifestyle is better than one with processed and mass produced meat. For all age groups and lifestyles, living a plant based lifestyle is proving beneficial and gentler on our world. Read up, and eat confident!

 

Soursop Health Benefits: Start Eating This Weird Fruit!

Soursop is the fruit of Annona muricata, a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree native to tropical climates.  It’s flavor is described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavour notes contrasting with an underlying creamy flavor reminiscent of coconut or banana.  Recently, there have been many posts and articles circulating online that claim that Soursop is a potential treatment for cancer- and while there is not enough evidence to support this claim- Health Fitness Revolution has done some research on the fruit to bring you the proven Soursop health benefits:

  •  Good for the Liver:  Soursop juice works great for liver disorders. It reduces the inflammation of the urethra and thus, can lower symptoms like painful urination.
  • Boosts the Immune System:  In recent studies on chemotherapy cycles in patients, it was noted that the immune system of the cancer patients who consumed Soursop tea was not affected or weakened, as compared to other cancer patients.  Also, the Vitamin C in soursop is an antioxidant vitamin that helps strengthen the immune system and helps prevent infections like urinary tract infection, cough and cold.
  • It is a Natural Pain Reliever:  associated with arthritis, joint and back problems, and rheumatism – Soursop has been traditionally used for providing relief from pain associated with the aforementioned conditions.
  • Boosts Energy Levels: Soursop contains thiamine, a compound which improves energy levels.
  • Aids in Digestion: Soursop health benefits include aiding digestive health, as the fibrous flesh of soursop helps improve digestive health.
  • Prevents Leg Cramps: Potassium present in this fruit is known to be effective in preventing leg cramps.
  • Maintains Bone Health: Soursop contains copper, which promotes the absorption of calcium, a nutrient that is essential for good bone health.
  • Helps Heal Many Skin Ailments: The sap of Soursop’s leaves, or the flesh, can be applied topically to get rid of eczema, skin rash and swelling. Topical application promotes fast healing of wounds and prevents infections.
  • Prevents Anemia: Soursop is rich in iron, is useful to the prevention of anemia.
  • Relief from Migraine: The riboflavin present in soursop helps curb migraine headaches.

10 Good Reasons to Drink Green Tea

It is widely know that Green Tea is good for our health- but Health Fitness Revolution wanted to break it down and give you 10 GOOD reasons why you should drink a cup of green tea daily:

  •  Boosts your immunity: The Polyphenols, Flavonoids, and Vitamin C present in green tea boost the immune system to make the human body stronger in fighting the cold, flu, and various infections.
  • Prevention and treatment of neurological diseases: Drinking green tea daily could help prevent degenerative and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.  This is due to the Polyphenols in green tea which help maintain the parts of brain that regulate learning and memory.
  • Aids in Weight Loss:  A new study shows that green tea extract increases the rate of calorie burning by the body.  It reduces blood fat, cholesterol, bloated ness, detoxifies the body and suppresses untimely food cravings. Enabled with diuretic properties, it also eliminates excess water and thereby reduces excess weight.  But remember that the best way to lose weight is to have green tea along with proper nutrition and regular physical exercise!
  • Anti-Aging:  Because it contains high levels of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (one of the most powerful antioxidants), Green Tea is thought to help slow down the premature ageing process.  These Antioxidants fight free radicals which keep aging at bay and promoting longevity.
  • UV Protection:  In the summer, UV rays act as a constant threat. Luckily, according to research, Green tea is rich in antioxidants that scavenge harmful free radicals in the body. In addition, using green tea extracts along with your sunscreen could afford you the greatest level of sun protection.
  • Helps Curb Diabetes: Green tea apparently normalizes and regulates blood sugar levels in the body.  The components in Green tea help regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar. It also triggers and stimulates insulin production and activates the functioning of pancreas to some extent.
  • Hydrates:  Contrary to common belief that tea dehydrates, green tea provides hydration benefits similar to water.
  • Boosts exercise endurance:  According to scientific research,  the antioxidants present in green tea extracts increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel which accounts for improved muscle endurance. It also enhances energy levels and boosts your metabolism.
  • Fights Various Cancers:  Green tea extract is reported to induce cancer cell death and starve tumours by curbing the growth of new blood vessels that feed them. The antioxidants in tea also helps protect against a variety of cancers: including breast, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, ovarian, colon, colorectal, skin, lung, esophagus, prostate and oral cancers.
  • Reduces the Risk of Heart Attack:  The flavonoids present in green tea protect the heart by relaxing the blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.  Drinking green tea rapidly improves the health of body cells lining the blood vessels and also helps in lowering one’s risk for heart disease.  So,protect your heart and have green tea on a regular basis.

 

6 Reasons to Eat Pumpkin This Fall Season – And All Year!

During the months of October and November, odds are you cannot go anywhere without seeing orange — pumpkins, that is. Whether it’s the latest flavor at your local bakery, coffee shop or even the neighborhood bar (ever had pumpkin spice beer?), pumpkins are notoriously synonymous with the fall season. But there’s more to this hearty orange fruit than just seasonal cliches. The health benefits of pumpkin are plentiful, making it a smart choice to add to your diet not only this fall, but all year long.

Here are six reasons to think outside the pumpkin pie and reap the benefits of this gourd.

1. High fiber content = weight loss

In short, pumpkin’s high amount of fiber means it can help you lose weight. Fiber slows down the body’s digestive system, making you feel full for a longer period of time, so you eat less. On average, one can of pumpkin has 7 grams of fiber and is low on calories (about 50 per serving).

2. Improved vision

On your next visit to the optometrist, your doctor just might recommend you eat more pumpkin. That’s because, much like carrots (also an orange food; see the connection?), pumpkin gets its color from high levels of beta carotene, a nutrient the body naturally converts to vitamin A, which is essential for eye health. One cup of pumpkin packs 200% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Also, pumpkin antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin can aid in the prevention of cataracts.

3. Immune boosters

In addition to promoting eye health, vitamin A helps fight bacterial infections and diseases in the immune system. Pumpkin’s high level of vitamin C can also help fight that cold that’s been going around your office.

4. Wrinkle-fighting properties

Beta carotene is a supernutrient, in that it also helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays that cause wrinkles. Plus, if you mix 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin with an egg, tablespoon of honey and tablespoon of milk, you have a great 20-minute face mask that exfoliates and soothes the skin.

5. Treat diabetes

Research has indicated that pumpkin can reduce blood glucose levels and promote the body’s insulin production. The fruit’s low glycemic load means it’s a perfect food choice for diabetic patients.

 6. Reduce your risk of cancer

Did we mention that beta carotene is a supernutrient? Well, here’s more proof. It helps fight cancer-causing free radicals, which means pumpkin is good for reducing your risk of certain types of cancer.

Information gathered from an article on CNN.com

The Secret to Avoiding Obesity in Overweight Children Is…

For children who are overweight and at risk for obesity, eating even a small amount of nutritious green and orange vegetables can make a world of a difference in their health, a new study shows.

Researchers at The University of Texas found that incorporating nutrient-rich vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and carrots into a child’s diet can help reduce the amount of bad fats in the body. And all it takes is a large salad a day, even if it is not the full serving of vegetables. In other words, something is better than nothing.

The study also showed that incorporating these vegetables into their daily nutrition helped improve insulin levels in a group of overweight children who were monitored by the research team.

Of the 175 overweight or obese children participating in the study, those who ate nutritious veggies daily saw significant improvements in metabolic health, as well as reduced visceral fat surrounding the organs.

Overweight Children Eat Less Vegetables On Average

Less than 6 percent of children eat the recommended serving of vegetables per day. But for those who regularly eat one or two serving of non-starchy vegetables, they reduce their risk for liver problems, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health complications that may occur because of obesity.

Just by incorporating some nutritious vegetables in the diet is a great way to start a life style change to be healthy and could possibly be the pathway to living a healthy life. Of course, getting your kids to eat their veggies is not always easy. Check out this video featuring a clever tip from celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito.

Fight Holiday Stress With These Foods

For many people, the holidays are often synonymous with stress — especially if you are hosting a social gathering at home. There’s just so much to be done before family and friends come to town. Fortunately, certain foods can help manage the stress of the holidays. Here are seven picks to try to incorporate into your diet.

1. Oatmeal: A bowl of warm oatmeal can boost levels of serotonin, the hormone that helps you relax.

2. Blueberries: This little fruit provides an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps relieve stress. They’re also delicious!

3. Grains: Whole grains have several benefits to help reduce stress. The grains provide fiber and a steady supply of serotonin. Whole grains are also rich in magnesium, which is an important mineral to help combat anxiety.

4. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, but they are also a good source of  glutathione, which protects the body from free radicals and helps protect your immune system.

5. Fatty fish: Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 acids, a nutrient that has been shown to help prevent surges in stress hormones and protect the heart against disease and depression.

6. Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, which helps regulate cortisol, a stress hormone. In addition, if we do not consume adequate amounts of magnesium in our diet, it not only causes anxiety but it can also trigger headaches and fatigue.

7. Herbal teas: Instead of drinking coffee or a soda to calm you down, try an herbal tea. They are naturally caffeine free, and many of them carry a calming component.

Information gathered from Fox News.

10 Most Fattening Foods in American Restaurants

In the past decade, fast food restaurants and other eating establishments have done their part in trying to make their menu items healthier, or at least provide more options for healthier foods. But there still remain plenty of food items that are loaded in unhealthy fats, sodium and unnecessary hidden calories. Here’s a list of the fattiest foods currently circulating our favorite restaurants and other businesses.

1. Outback Steakhouse, Bloomin Onion with Bloom Sauce

  • 2,097 calories
  • 176.5 grams of fat
  • 50.9 grams of saturated fat
  • 3.9 grams of trans fat
  • 4,357 mg of sodium
  • This is about 8.5 slices of Domino’s Brooklyn-Style Buffalo Chicken Pizza!

2. Individual Size Deep Dish Chicago Classic Pizza

  • 2,300 calories
  • 164 grams of fat
  • 53 grams of saturated fat
  • 1 gram of trans fat
  • 4,910 mg of sodium
  • That’s the same as 4.5 Whoppers from Burger King

3. Outback Steakhouse, Plain Wings

  • 1,919 calories
  • 155.2 grams of fat
  • 53.1 grams of saturated fat
  • 3.5 grams of trans fat
  • 4,507 mg of sodium
  • You’re pretty much eating 13 regular sized Snickers bars in this one meal.

4. On the Border, Dos XX Fish Tacos

  • 2,240 calories
  • 155 grams of fat
  • 32 grams of saturated fat
  • 0 grams of trans fat
  • 3,980 mg of sodium

5. Houlihan’s, Wings & Things Appetizer Combo

  • 2,333 calories
  • 146 grams of fat
  • 51 grams of saturated fat
  • 0 trans fat
  • 4,236 mg of sodium

6. On the Border, Firecracker Stuffed Jalapenos with Salsa Ranch 

  • 1,900 calories
  • 138 grams of fat
  • 35 grams of saturated fat
  • 0 grams of trans fat
  • 5,760 mg of sodium
  • This is the equivalent of 15 scoops of Baskin Robbins Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream!

7. Chili’s Grill & Bar, Bacon Ranch Beef Quesadilla

  • 1,800 calories
  • 135 grams of fat
  • 46 grams of saturated fat
  • 0.5 grams of trans fat
  • 3,990 mg of sodium
  • This can be the equivalent of 54 Kraft American Cheese slices.

8. Uno Pizzeria & Grill, Deep Dish Mac & Cheese

  • 1,980 calories
  • 134 grams of fat
  • 71 grams of saturated fat
  • 0 grams of trans fat
  • 3,100 mg of sodium
  • This adds up to more than 28 thick-cut slices of bacon.

9. Uno Pizzeria & Grill, Mega-Sized Deep Dish Sundae

  • 2,700 calories
  • 130 grams of fat
  • 76 grams of saturated fat
  • 0 grams of trans fat
  • 1,820 mg of sodium

10. Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Calamari with Spicy Italian Peppers and Lemon Butter

  • 1,506 calories
  • 126 grams of fat
  • 53 grams of saturated fat
  • 8 grams of trans fat
  • 2,130 mg of sodium
  • This is the equivalent of 15 McDonald’s hamburgers!

Information gathered from Yahoo News.

Instant Noodles: Dangerous to Your Health?

They’re known as one of the most convenient and popular foods on grocery store shelves, but new research indicates that instant noodles, including ramen, could be a high risk factor for cardiovascular disease, particularly in women.

Researchers at the Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital (BHVH) conducted the study in South Korea, where consumption of instant noodles is high. They found that eating instant noodles two or more times a week was associated with cardiometabolic syndrome, which increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease and other conditions, such as diabetes and stroke. This could explain the increasing rate of disease and illness among South Koreans in recent years.

It’s important for us to know the effects of the foods we put into our bodies. With instant noodles and ramen being such a popular food, and not just in Asian populations, knowing the kinds of health risks this food poses can help us choose healthier options when it comes to our daily nutrition.

Read more about the study on Science Daily.