Monday, 30 March 2015

18 Healthy Snack Recipes

Snack on This: 18 Healthy Snack Recipes

18 Healthy Snack Recipes

Once you’re beyond school age, snacks often get a bad rap. They’re considered appetite spoilers and diet busters, or just plain unhealthy. Fortunately, as long as snacks are well planned, that not-so-great connotation couldn’t be further from the truth. A well-chosen snack can help meet nutrient needs, prevent overeating, and even help encourage healthy eating habits.
When the goal is to eat healthy or lose weight, one of the biggest battles can be against hunger. Long periods of time between meals, skipped meals, and poor food choices can all lead to frequent hunger pangs. While hunger is a healthy signal the body uses to notify us it’s time to refuel, when you’re too hungry it may be easier to make poor food choices (both of the food itself and of portion size).
A recent study at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab showed that hungry grocery shoppers bought more high-calorie foods than non-hungry shoppers. In addition, eating when especially hungry may lead to portion distortion—you may be more inclined to eat out of a container versus dishing out an appropriate serving. Research shows we tend to eat more when food is in larger containers.
Even if we set out with the best intentions, life can get in the way. Say you had lunch around noon, it’s now pushing 6 o’clock, and you’re rushing to get dinner on the table. If your stomach is growling, are you more likely to wash, peel, and slice some carrot sticks or dive into a bag of potato chips?
To help prevent ravenous binging on an assortment of less-than-healthy foods, try to go no longer than three to four hours between eating during waking hours. For example, if breakfast is around 7:30 a.m., a 10:30 snack followed by lunch around 1 o’clock can help start the day off right. A snack around 4:00 can help prevent that late-afternoon energy crash as well as pre-dinner gorging. Eating moderate meals and small snacks throughout the day helps many people maintain a healthy weight. However there are some who find intermittent fasting (or a series of regular meals followed by periods of skipped meals) more beneficial. The idea is to do what works for you.

Snacking: It’s Not Just When to Eat, But What

A healthy snack is one that helps us feel satisfied until the next meal. Nutritious snacks shouldn’t tempt us to take a nap, nor should they leave us feeling hungry again soon after eating. It’s all about the right types of foods and in the proper portion sizes.
The body tends to quickly digest snacks made up of simple carbohydrates, meaning you may wind up hungry within an hour or so after eating. Simple carbs include sugary foods and drinks such as candy, soda, pastries, cakes, and cookies, as well as fruit eaten by itself. On the other hand, snacks with fiber, protein, and healthy fats take longer for the body to digest and can be more satisfying and filling for longer periods of time.
When it comes to portion size, keep in mind snacks aren’t extra meals, they’re more like mini meals. A snack should be roughly one-quarter to one-third the size of a meal, depending on an individual’s typical meal size. Shoot for roughly 200 calories (though it’s perfectly okay for some snacks to run a little under or over). Ideally, caloric intake of snacks will average out over time.
Snacks can also help people meet nutrient needs. With just three meals a day, it can be challenging to get all of the micronutrient and food group recommendations every day. For example, depending on an individual’s specific needs (based on age, gender, and amount of daily activity) he or she would need to eat roughly one cup of veggies, almost a cup of fruit, and a full cup of milk or yogurt plus the recommended grains, protein, and healthy fats at every meal, every day. Well-created snacks can help fill in nutrient gaps that may occur when only eating just three main meals a day—especially considering fresh fruit and cheese are the two most commonly chosen snack foods.

Now that we’ve got the importance of regular snacking under our belts, it’s time to move on to creative, satisfying, tasty, healthy snacks. When prepping or purchasing snacks, remember to include either a good source of fiber or protein (or better yet, both) to feel fuller for longer. In addition, healthy carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help keep energy stores up. By combining both types of foods, you can enjoy a snack that will both energize and satisfy.

Healthy Fiber Sources

Whole grain crackers
Whole grain bread
Whole grain cereal
Fresh fruits
Dried fruits
Fresh vegetables

Healthy Protein Sources

Nut butters
Yogurt, especially Greek
Cottage cheese
Hard-boiled eggs

Healthy Carbohydrate Sources

Whole grain crackers
Whole grain bread
Whole grain cereal
Fresh fruits
Dried fruits
Snack on This: 18 Healthy Snack Recipes
Snack on This: 18 Healthy Snack Recipes


Whether you’re in a sweet or savory mood, some of the items on these lists should tempt your tastebuds. But don’t stop there. Use the ideas here as creative inspiration: Swap out types of cheese, fruits, seasonings, and more to make many your own healthy snack combinations.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Whole foods: nutritional benefits of strawberry

Strawberry is among the fruits with the lowest calorie content (30kcal/100g) lower than watermelon (35kcal/100g).

It's protein, fat, and sodium content is very low. They contain modest amount of vitamin C, folates, potassium and iron. Sugars are the most significant nutrient in strawberries.

The color of strawberries comes from vegetable pigments known as anthocyanidines. They are powerful antioxidants, in addition to reducing the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver.

Studies show that strawberries have the greatest antioxidant capacity of any fruit followed by plums, oranges and grapes.

NB: Antioxidants are chemicals that block the activity of other chemicals known as free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive and have the potential to cause damage to cells, including damage that may lead to cancer. Free radicals are formed naturally in the body.

Friday, 20 March 2015

34 Ways To Feel Happier Right Now

 Many of us are guilty of thinking that joy is a journey. We'll achieve happiness, we tell ourselves, if we accomplish a goal five years from now. We'll be happy, we think, once we've made a big change that will eventually lead us to our ideal life. And though it may be tempting to view happiness as a permanent state for the future, the field of happiness research tells a very different story. Here's the real truth: We don't have to work as hard as we think we do to get to a state of bliss. Sometimes a little tweak, shift or new habit is all it takes.

In honor of the International Day of Happiness, we've rounded up some tricks to help you get to a positive place -- without taking the long road to joy. Go on and give them a try. Happiness looks good on you.

Log some time with your furry friends.
Play fetch with Fido or sneak in a few cuddles with your kitten. Interacting with your pets can release oxytocin in the brain (you know, the "warm and fuzzy" hormone), resulting in that joyous feeling.

Count your blessings.
There's nothing like a little thankfulness to boost your mood. Research shows expressing gratitude can make you happier. Try writing down three things you're thankful for at the end of the night.

Remind yourself how great you are.
PSA: You are awesome -- you just gotta believe it for yourself. Studies show self-acceptance is crucial to a happier life, but it's a habit we barely practice.

Meditate, meditate, meditate.
The list of meditation benefits seems endless, but perhaps one of the more positive perks is what the practice can do for your mood. Research shows that allowing yourself a few moments of zen-like escape each day may make you happier.

Listen to music.
Admit it: There's nothing quite like a solo jam session -- and apparently science agrees. Research shows that trying to boost your mood while listening to music actually can help lift you to a more positive state. Press play ASAP.

Give back.
We didn't get to where we are without a little help, so why not extend that same generosity to someone else? Not only will your kindness influence others, studies show it'll also make you happier, too.

Hang out with someone who is happy.
Joy really is contagious. Research shows the more you surround yourself with positive people, the happier you'll feel. Time to go catch up with your BFF?

Drink a glass of milk.
Dairy contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps create serotonin (the "happy" chemical in the brain). Milk: It not only does the body good, it does the brain good too.

Plan a vacation.
The anticipation for a trip is almost as good as the trip itself. Prepping for a vacation has been shown to increase our happiness levels, the New York Times reported. The warm sun or the exciting slopes are just an added bonus.

Get in a good workout.
Consider this our love letter to exercise. Not only is it good for your body, but it's equally as beneficial to your brain. When you work up a sweat, you release endorphins, immediately upping your happiness levels. Go ahead, get moving.

Spend money on experiences.
A fulfilling life doesn't lie in our possessions -- it's found in the experiences we have and the people we share them with. If you're going to spend a little moolah, spend it on a trip, a concert or any other experience that will bring you joy. Science says you'll be happier in the long run.

Fake a smile.
We get it -- smiling may be the last thing you want to do when you're in a sour mood, but it could help to turn that frown upside-down. Research shows faking a smile can help elevate our mood, even if we're not genuinely into it right away. Talk about the power of suggestion.

Go outside.
Take advantage of your backyard or stroll a park you've never been to before and thank yourself later. One study found that going for a brief walk in nature can help improve your mood and alleviate stress.

Make some new friends.
Research shows making friends increases our happiness and well-being. Join a club, talk to your coworker or strike up a conversation in the grocery line -- you never know what kinds of new connections you can make.

Take a cozy bath (like Barry the dog).
If that isn't the look of happiness, we don't know what is. Plus, research suggests that warm baths make us feel warm on the inside, too.

Get enough sleep.
More sleep = A happier you. Too little shuteye slows down our cognitive processes and increases the risk of depression. Try hitting the pillow 30 minutes earlier each night or taking a nap in the middle of the day.

Embrace the aging process.
Most people wish they could avoid aging, but studies show that we're happier as we get older. Experts theorize this could be because the older we get, the more we reflect on positive experiences. Sounds like a great reason to love those birthdays.

Follow the "golden ratio."
This theory, developed by positive psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, exerts that for every one negative experience you have, you should have three positive ones in order to achieve happiness. Makes sense to us!

Show your appreciation for someone else over email.
Technology isn't all bad. Take a break from your overflowing work inbox and switch gears to a different kind of email. "We fight so hard against the negative and we forget to tell people how powerful a two-minute positive e-mail could be," Harvard-trained researcher and Before Happiness author Shawn Achor told Oprah last year.

Find the perfect temperature.
The weather outside has a direct influence on how we feel on the inside. One study found that happiness is maximized at an approximate 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep a one-sentence journal.
Sometimes the most mundane moments turn out to be the loveliest source of happiness. Research shows recording these everyday events may make us happier later on because we appreciate them a lot more when they're revisited. In other words, if you ate a scrumptious chocolate brownie on Wednesday, write it down.

Stop to smell the flowers, literally.
Eau de Happiness? One study on how scent affects joy found that participants who were in a floral-scented room selected three times as many happiness-related terms than negative terms.

Just TRY being happy.
Can you think yourself to joy? Some researchers believe so. According to two experimental studies, taking happiness into your own hands can boost your well-being.

Get spiritual.
Spirituality and religion have been linked to higher happiness and well-being, according to a review of studies on spirituality and health. Sometimes it helps to know you're connected to something greater than yourself.

Celebrate little victories.
There's power in small moments. Whether it's getting an answer correct at trivia or catching your favorite song on the radio, indulge in the little "wins" of your day. "I think when we take time to notice the things that go right -- it means we're getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day," Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., author of How to Get People to Do Stuff, previously told HuffPost Healthy Living. "That can help with our moods."

Think of happy memories.
Research shows nostalgia makes us happier and more optimistic. Time to dig out those old yearbooks?

Skip the small talk and go deep.
Anyone can talk about the weather. Let yourself get a little more connected and have a substantial conversation with someone -- research shows it will boost happiness and well-being.

Read a positive message.
Nothing puts a smile on our face quite like encouraging words from a stranger -- and one woman is doing that in a big way with a country-wide positivity project. Michele McKeag Larsen, founder of The Joy Team, has been setting up billboards in several cities across the U.S. with messages like "Happiness is contagious" in hopes that it will bring a smile to someone driving by. "The more you surround yourself with positive messages, positive images, positive people, the better life gets," Larsen previously told HuffPost.

Spend money on someone else.
Investing in other people really does pay off -- for them and for you. According to one 2008 study, spending money on others promotes your own happiness.

Become a better listener.
How much do your really pay attention to your conversations? Researchers theorize the more we listen, the happier and more meaningful our lives are -- particularly within our relationships. As Epictetus once said, "We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak."

Talk to someone IRL.
Put down that phone and log some real FaceTime. We're social creatures (and not just on the Internet), so it's time we tap into those resources. Research shows we simply feel better when we're around other people.

Lower your expectations.
Raise your hand if you've ever had a lackluster New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day. It's no secret that expectation can lead to disappointment if the bar is set too high (in fact, research backs this up). We're not implying that you should set the bar low, but sometimes realistic ideas make you happier in the long run.

Look on the bright side.
There are perks to seeing life through a glass half full. Try looking for a silver lining in any situation. Optimists are not only more joyful, they also may live longer. That's a lot of extra time to be happy.

The Huffington Post  |  By Lindsay Holmes

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Whole foods: nutritional benefit of yam

Yam contains considerable energy (118kcal/100g) and contains moderate amount of B group vitamins, vitamin C and minerals among which potassium is significant. Yams lack pro vitamin A. 

It has been proven that yam contains a steroid that stops peroxidation of blood lipids ( the principal cause of arteriosclerosis) and lowers the level of triglycerides, which are a type of fat in the blood. All of this, together with their low fat content and their richness in potassium makes yam very appropriate for cardiovascular disorders, particularly arteriosclerosis.

NB: Arteriosclerosis (Hardening and thickening of the walls of the arteries. Arteriosclerosis can occur because of fatty deposits on the inner lining of arteries (atherosclerosis), calcification of the wall of the arteries, or thickening of the muscular wall of the arteries from chronically elevated blood pressure (hypertension)

Friday, 6 March 2015

Do Bananas Have Too Much Sugar?

Are you or your loved ones banana fans? It's easy to love bananas: They are self-enclosed, completely biodegradable travel snacks and tasty to boot! What is there not to like?

Do Bananas Have Too Much Sugar?

Bananas' sweetness and appealing "banana-y" flavor may lead some to believe they are very high in sugar. This isn't true: They are very comparable in carbohydrates to other fruits. Here are some numbers for comparison:
  Banana Apple Grapes
Serving Size 1 large 1 large 1 cup
Calories 121 kcal 116 kcal 104 kcal
Total Sugar 16.6 g 23.2 g 23.4 g
Total Carbohydrates 31 g 30.8 g 27 g
Fiber 3.5 g 5.4 g 1 g
Glycemic Index
Low: less than 55
Unripe: 31
Ripe: 51
28 to 44 depending on type and ripeness 43 to 53

Bananas and Blood Sugar

People with diabetes or prediabetes may have received the suggestion to only eat half a banana in one sitting. This is because bananas vary widely in size and can therefore have a different impact on blood sugar depending on the portion size. An extra-small banana (6 inches long or less) has 18.5 g carbohydrates, whereas a large banana (8 to 8 7/8 inches long) has 31 g carbohydrates. So bananas can fit into a diabetes meal plan as long as you plan accordingly.

Other Nutrients in Bananas

Bananas are also high in potassium and Vitamin B6, and are a good source of fiber. Potassium is an important nutrient that counteracts the blood-pressure-raising effect of sodium, while Vitamin B6 is involved in many metabolic processes in the body, such as protein metabolism, production of neurotransmitters, glucose and glycogen metabolism, immune function, and hemoglobin formation. Another plus: A 2008 study from Uppsala University in Sweden suggests that a phytonutrient called 2-pentanone, commonly found in bananas, may help prevent the development of colon cancer.

The Bottom Line

Relax: Just like many other fruits and vegetables, bananas contain beneficial nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. This isn't a reason to consume solely bananas, of course. Instead, aim to get a wide variety of fresh produce with different colors to get the maximum benefit.

Source: (  

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Want to Get Healthy? 10 Reasons Why Lemons Are the Key

Saying that lemons are a superfood is an understatement. Not only do they add abundant flavor to a variety of dishes, but they also boast a ton of health benefits. The flavonoids within the juice are said to contain antioxidants, which is why lemons are useful in treating so many ailments and conditions. Here are 10 reasons to enjoy them ASAP.

- Prevent kidney stones: Drinking one half-cup of lemon juice every day raises citrate levels in the urine. Studies have shown that this could protect against calcium stones in the kidney.

 - Soothe a sore throat: Mixing lemon juice with honey can help alleviate the discomfort that comes from a nasty sore throat.

- Support weight loss: Beyond the old notion that the Master Cleanse was the only way lemons could help you lose weight, new studies have shown the ways lemon juice supports your goals. Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles.

- Start your day right: Leave caffeinated drinks behind, and start your day off with hot water and fresh lemon juice to stimulate your digestive track and add vitamin C.

 - Stop an itch: When it comes to poison ivy or insect bites, rubbing lemon juice on the area can soothe the skin, since it has anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects.

 - Aids in digestion: Dr. Oz is a big believer in the power of lemon juice for weight loss. He suggests drinking a mixture of lemon juice and flaxseeds in order to eliminate waste more quickly from your body.

- Anticancer properties: Studies have supported the anticancer activity of citrus liminoids, compounds that protect your cells from damage that can lead to the formation of cancer cells.

- Potassium power: Bananas aren't the only way to get a big helping of potassium in your system. In addition to vitamin C, lemons offer 80 milligrams of this mineral that helps your body stay strong and nimble.

- Bring down a fever: Forget the days of starving a fever! When your temperature goes up, drinking a lemon juice mixture can help bring your fever down faster.

- Balance pH: While lemons may seem quite acidic, they're a surprisingly good source of an alkaline food that can help balance your body's pH.

Source: PopSugar