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Best Nutrients to Help Build Strong Muscles

Best Nutrients to Help Build Strong Muscles

Building muscles is not as simple as just going to the gym. Beyond the workouts, you need to get a good night’s sleep giving your muscles time to repair. In addition, you need to eat healthy nourishing food to feed your body and muscles. And, you have to make sure to regularly take the best nutrients for building the strongest muscles.

best nutrients

Best Nutrient - Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that helps prevent muscle cramps. And, Beta-Alanine does this by helping to produce carnosine. Indeed, carnosine balances the pH in muscles. Consequently, carnosine restricts the buildup of lactic acid. Most noteworthy, lactic acid buildup leads to fatigue and cramping.

And, the way to get this best nutrient is by eating animal proteins and plant foods like asparagus, edamame, seaweed, turnip greens and watercress.

Biotin

Biotin helps convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to energy.

Most of all, the way to get this best nutrient is by eating peanut butter, oats, egg yolk, hazelnuts, and almonds.

Best Nutrient - Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates or carbs are the best building blocks of muscles. In fact, carbs support muscle growth and repair. Especially relevant, carbs help form glycogen, which helps fuel your workouts and rebuild muscles after your workouts.

And, the best way to get carbs is by eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and other legumes.

Calcium

Calcium helps build strong bones. Also, calcium helps trigger muscle contractions. Most of all, muscles are made of two protein filaments known as myosin and actin. In fact, when muscles contract, these filaments slide over one another to convert Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) to energy. And, the more you exercise, the more ATP your body needs to move your muscles.

Especially relevant, research shows that with insufficient calcium, the body releases calcitrol. In fact, calcitrol is a hormone that causes you to store fat.

Moreover, the way to ingest this best nutrient is by eating yogurt, fortified milk, fortified cereals, cheese, tofu, spinach, almonds, sesame seeds, and sardines.

Copper

Copper helps protect the cardiovascular, nervous, and skeletal systems. In addition, copper also strengthens the tendons needed to lift weights.

And the sources of this best nutrient are peanuts, sardines, crab, and sunflower seeds.

Best Nutrient - Glutamine

Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid that helps repair muscle tissues, including the lining of the digestive tract, especially after intense workouts. In addition, glutamine helps maintain gut functions and boost your immune system.

Furthermore, the best way to get glutamine is by eating chicken, fish, beef, dairy, eggs, spinach, Brussel sprouts, and fermented foods.

Best Nutrient - Iron

Iron helps build red blood cells. Most noteworthy, red blood cells bring oxygen from the lungs to muscle tissue. And, without enough iron, your red blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen to the muscles and tissues that need oxygen. In addition, iron also helps regulate metabolism and promotes a healthy immune system. Finally, iron helps metabolize protein and fats for use in muscle building and repair.

Most of all, the best sources of iron are dried apricots, leafy greens, lean beef, venison, poultry, fish such as sardines, eggs, and fortified whole grains.

Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for relaxing muscles and preventing muscle cramps. And together with calcium, magnesium helps to reduce blood pressure. Most noteworthy, magnesium is found in muscles, soft tissue and body fluids.

Indeed, magnesium helps muscles contract and, also boost your energy levels. In addition, magnesium helps reduce fatigue. Finally, magnesium helps improve sleep. And sleep is important because that is the time when your body works to repair damaged muscle tissue from your workouts.

The way to get this best nutrient is by eating leafy greens, squash, garlic, nuts, seeds, whole grains, bran, beans, and other legumes.

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids improve blood flow and helps the heart become and stay healthy. In addition, these fats suppress hunger which helps you lose weight.

Also, the best way to get these fatty acids is by eating brazil nuts, flaxseed oil, salmon, mackerel and walnuts.

Potassium

Potassium is a key electrolyte that helps muscles contract. In addition, potassium helps carry nutrients such as water to the muscle cells. Finally, potassium helps your kidneys flush out excess sodium in the body.

Moreover, the way to get this best nutrient is by eating bananas, squash, sweep potatoes, broccoli, chicken, and salmon.

Best Nutrient - Protein

Because they contain amino acids, proteins are needed for muscle growth and repair. Most of all, you need to eat proteins after a workout to restore muscle building macronutrients. Indeed, proteins are a core part of enzymes and hormones that help communicate with the body to repair itself.

The best way to get proteins is from dairy, lean meats, seafood, soy, eggs, beans, and other legumes.

Riboflavin Also Known as Vitamin B-2

Riboflavin helps the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fat, which are transformed into energy. In addition, riboflavin supports antioxidants in the body.

Also, the way to get this nutrient is by eating cornflakes, spinach, eggs, and chicken.

Selenium

Selenium helps boost your immune system and fights damage from free radicals resulting from weight training.

And, the best way to get selenium is by eating fresh tuna, sunflower seeds, wholemeal bread, and brazil nuts.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin, helps build red blood cells. In fact, red blood cells contain hemoglobin which binds to oxygen. And this oxygen is delivered to the muscles. In addition, vitamin B-12 assists in metabolizing proteins and fat. Indeed, the amino acids produced when protein is metabolized helps repair and build muscles. In the meantime, the fat is a source of energy. Finally, vitamin B-12 helps the brain and muscles to communicate efficiently, which helps muscle growth and co-ordination.

Because, vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient, you must get it from food. However, if you must get it from supplements, the recommended dosage is 2.4 micrograms per day. In any case, your body can only absorb at most 10 micrograms from a 500 microgram B-12 supplement.

Most of all, the best food sources of vitamin B-12 are poultry, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps metabolize carbs for fuel and also protect the body from oxidative stress. In addition, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Furthermore, vitamin C helps fight inflammation in muscles due to excessive exercise. Finally, vitamin C helps with muscle repair because vitamin C supports production of collagen.

In fact, the best food sources of vitamin C are green peppers, broccoli, blackcurrants, and citrus fruits.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps build strong bones, glutes, and biceps. Also, vitamin D helps healthy hormones like testosterone, which helps muscle maintenance and growth. In addition, Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Meanwhile, calcium helps muscles contract. While phosphorus helps in the synthesis of ATP, the useable form of energy in the body.

Most of all, according to the Institute of Medicine, you need 15 micrograms or 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily.

Also, the best food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon and sardines, fortified yogurt, milk, orange juice, mushrooms, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and eggs.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a nutrient that helps protect your cells from harmful free radicals. When we exercise, we create oxidative stress or free radicals. And, vitamin E helps remove these free radicals. In addition, vitamin E helps flush out metabolic waste. Finally, vitamin E needs fat to dissolve in your body.

And, the recommended daily dosage is 15 milligrams or 22.4 international units for anyone over 14 years and older.

Meanwhile, the best food sources of vitamin E are sunflower seeds, safflower, wheat germ oils, corn, and soybean oils. Also, asparagus, avocado, and nuts such as almonds are good sources. Finally, breakfast cereals, fruit juice, and margarine are also other sources.

On the other hand, cholesterol drugs called statins may not work as well with vitamin E if you also take selenium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants. Finally, vitamin E may even interfere with cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If you have any doubt, always good to check with your medical provider.

Best Nutrient - Zinc

Zinc enables your body to produce muscle-building testosterone. Also, zinc promotes recovery from workouts while increasing the number of infection-fighting T-cells.

Most noteworthy, zinc contributes to muscle growth. In fact, the zinc in your cells is incorporated into hundreds of different proteins. And, one of the proteins regulated by zinc is the growth hormone. Especially relevant, this growth hormone promotes protein synthesis in muscle cells. Therefore, healthy growth hormone is essential for muscle growth.

If you must, according to the Institute of Medicine, men should take about 11 milligrams and women about 8 milligrams of zinc every day.

On the other hand, the best food sources of zinc include red meat, eggs, pulses, pumpkin seeds, and cheese.

Is a Nutritional Supplement Really Good for You?

Is a Nutritional Supplement Really Good for You?

Most noteworthy, over half the people in the U.S. take nutritional supplements on a regular basis. And the main reason for taking a nutritional supplement is their belief that a nutritional supplement may help improve and/or maintain their health.

nutritional supplements

Nutritional Supplement Types

Meanwhile, the National Health and Nutrition surveyed 37,958 U.S. adults in 2012. And, the survey showed that:

  • 52 percent of the survey population were taking a nutritional supplement
  • 31 percent taking multivitamins
  • 19 percent taking vitamin D
  • 14 percent taking calcium
  • 12 percent taking vitamin C

Nutritional Supplement Quality

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that 776 dietary supplements sold over the counter from 2007 through 2016 contained unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients. Consequently, it is important to buy supplements from reputable sources.

Nutritional Supplement Impacts

Vitamin E

In a large clinical test, those who took 40 international units (IU) of vitamin E were more likely to have heart problems compared to those who didn’t. ln addition, a National Institutes of Health study of 20,000 men found that men who took the vitamin E supplement everyday were at a greater risk of prostate cancer.

Studies

A study published in June 2018 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported that multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and selenium had no effect on preventing cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, or premature death. Furthermore, the study reported that niacin (vitamin B3) with a statin had increased risk of all-cause mortality. On the other hand, the study reported that folic acid alone and B-vitamins with folic acid may reduce risk of stroke.

Next, another study in July 2018 showed that people who take vitamin and mineral supplements did not see any reduction in risk of heart disease. This study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, was based on data from 2 million people who were followed for 18 years on average.

Finally, a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, reported that vitamins B6 and B12 from individual nutritional supplement sources (as opposed to from multivitamins) were associated with a 30 percent to 40 percent increase in lung cancer among men. On the other hand, use of vitamins B6, folate, and B12 supplements showed no effect on lung cancer among women.

Study in Annals of Internal Medicine

Survey Description

Next, yet another survey was conducted to study the use of dietary supplements. Moreover, this survey collected data from 27,000 U.S. adults over the age of 20. In fact, these adults were found to be generally healthy. In the survey, these participants answered questions about their use of a nutritional supplement and their diets. And, the results of the study were recently (April 2019) published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Indeed, the study reported that over 50 percent of the survey participants used at least one nutritional supplement, while more than 33 percent used multivitamins. Especially, relevant, those who took dietary supplements were more likely to be female, white, have high levels of education, and high income. Furthermore, they were also more likely to eat a healthy diet and lead a physically active lifestyle.

Commonly Used Dietary Supplements

Especially relevant, vitamin C was the most commonly used nutritional supplement, followed by vitamin E, calcium, and vitamin D.

Meanwhile, the study also found that vitamins A and K, along with magnesium, zinc, and copper were associated with lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. In addition, these vitamins and minerals were linked to overall lower risk of dying in the average six years of follow-up after the survey. Paradoxically, this linkage to lower risk of death was only true when the vitamins and minerals were ingested from foods and not from taking nutritional supplements.

Highlights

In addition, the study found that taking a thousand milligrams of calcium supplements, daily, increased risk of death. On the other hand, ingesting calcium directly from foods had no effect on risk of death.

In summary, taking dietary supplements provided no benefits to the generally healthy survey population. In fact, there is no need to take a nutritional  supplement when eating a healthy balanced diet.

On the other hand, dietary supplements are not a substitute for not eating a healthy balanced diet. Most of all, avoid highly processed foods because the processing strips many foods of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Most noteworthy, it’s not clear why nutrients from supplements don’t provide the same benefits as the nutrients found in food. It may be that while the body can regulate and limit absorption of nutrients found in food, the body can’t do the same with the concentrated nutrients found in supplements.

When to Take a Nutritional Supplement

So, if you are healthy there is no need to take dietary supplements. On the other hand, if your medical provider reports deficiency in certain nutrients, then taking supplements, recommended by the medical provider, is the right thing to do.

In addition, there are times when vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary and important. For instance, anyone following a vegan diet may not get enough omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. Also, you may need to take a nutritional supplement to help your skin.

Nutritional Supplement Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have published the following ​recommendations​:

  • Anyone over 50 years old. They should consume vitamin B12 in its crystalline form from fortified breakfast cereals or as a supplement
  • Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and adolescent females. They should eat foods like meats that contains iron or iron-rich plant foods like cooked dry beans or spinach, or iron-fortified cereals, along with vitamin C.
  • Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those who are pregnant. They should eat adequate synthetic folic acid daily from fortified foods or supplements in addition to the food forms of folate.
  • Older adults, people with dark skin should take extra vitamin D from fortified foods or supplements. Also, the trend to protect yourself from the sun’s rays and staying out of the sun for extended periods of time results in not getting enough vitamin D naturally. Consequently, vitamin D from fortified foods or supplements may help fill the void.

Finally, pregnant women need prenatal vitamins. Also, nursing mothers, people with food allergies, certain people with vitamin deficiencies, people with cancer, kidney, bone or cardiovascular diseases. They all need prescription supplements.

Summary

In summary, it is best to get your vitamins and minerals from your diet. However, if that is not possible, taking dietary supplements is the next best thing. And just to be safe, discuss it with your medical provider before you actually start taking them.

How Good is the Nordic Diet

How Good is the Nordic Diet

The Nordic diet is based on locally sourced foods eaten in the Nordic countries of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, and Iceland. The philosophy of the diet is to eat locally grown, sourced, or available wholesome foods. As a result, the Nordic diet can be adapted to foods locally grown, sourced, or available wherever you live.

Nordic Diet

Emphasis of the Nordic Diet

Especially relevant, the Nordic diet contains less sugar and fat but twice the fiber and seafood, especially when compared to a typical Western diet. Furthermore, the Nordic diet’s emphasis is on the following:

  • 1
    Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, seafood, and whole grains
  • 2
    Eat less frequently game meat, eggs, cheese, and yogurt
  • 3
    Hardly ever eat red meats and animal fats
  • 4
    Never eat added sugars, processed meats, food additives, refined fast foods, and beverages with sugar

Nordic Diet Guidelines

The Nordic diet is based on the guidelines described here.

Eat Fruits and Vegetables

  • 1
    First of all, eat berries frequently. In fact, berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help keep your veins and arteries healthy and flexible. As a result, anthocyanins help lower your blood pressure.
  • 2
    Also eat peas and beans often. In fact, peas and beans are a major source of fiber and complex carbs. Also, peas and beans are a good source of proteins. In addition, they provide vitamins like riboflavin and B6. Finally, they provide minerals like zinc, calcium, and iron.
  • 3
    Next, eat legumes, vegetables such as cabbage, root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, beets, and tubers like potatoes. Most of all, they are a source of fiber that takes a long time to digest and helps keep your blood sugar stable. In addition, they help protect your cells, lower your cholesterol and fight infection.

Eat Whole Grains

Whole grains such as oats and barley are an important part of meals. Another example is dark, dense sourdough rye bread from Denmark. In addition, eat snacks such as whole-grain crackers from Sweden. Most of all, they provide high-quality “complex’ carbohydrates that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to protect your cells.

Eat Fish

Fish from the ocean, seas, and lakes provide many healthy benefits. In fact, fish containing omega-3 fatty acids help you by:

  • 1
    Reduce your chances of heart rhythm problems
  • 2
    Cause less plaque buildup in the arteries, and
  • 3
    Cut down on triglycerides in blood

And, examples of these fish include:

  • 1
    Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and albacore tuna
  • 2
    Lean fish such as cod, haddock and halibut

Eat Meat

High-quality meat should be eaten in small amounts.

Eat Less of

Processed foods as well as less sugary foods.

Eat Home Cooked Meals

Home cooked meals using canola oil or rapeseed oil provide many benefits. Canola oil is low in saturated fat, high in healthy monounsaturated fat, and alpha-linolenic acid. In fact, alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 that helps protect your brain from such things as strokes.

Eat Foods from the Wild

Seek out more foods from the wild. For example, nuts and seeds are a good source of complex carbs and fiber. Also, they are rich in zinc, copper, potassium, vitamin E, niacin, antioxidants, and mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats.

Eat Organic Foods

Whenever possible, use organic produce.

Avoid Food Additives

Instead, use herbs and spices.

Eat Seasonal Produce

Seasonal produce provides an opportunity to eat foods that are only available for short periods of time.

Reduce Waste

Minimize waste by eating more foods that comes with little throw away packaging.

Composing your Meals

Most of all, the Nordic diet doesn’t count calories, instead you calculate the meal’s carbs to protein ratio. Indeed, the ideal Nordic diet meal has a 2:1 ratio of carbs grams to protein grams.

Furthermore, the carbs to protein ratio is based on a combination of Low-Glycemic Index (low-GI) foods and moderately high-protein foods. Most noteworthy, high-protein foods include low fat dairy products.

First, low-GI foods cause a slower and lower elevation in blood sugars compared to high-GI foods. In addition, protein-rich foods make you feel less hungry. Therefore, by properly balancing nutritionally dense foods, you can:

  • 1
    Avoid weight gain
  • 2
    Reduce inflammation, and
  • 3
    Lower your risk of diseases like diabetes

Carbohydrates

Select carbs using the guidelines below.

  • 1
    Use low-GI foods such as fruits and vegetables other than potatoes.
  • 2
    Use low-GI carbs such as grains, bread, pasta, beans and legumes. In fact, rye is a whole-grain staple in the Nordic diet. Also, pumpernickel and sourdough bread are low-GI carbs while softer fluffy white breads aren’t. In addition, steel-cut oats have a lower GI than instant oatmeal.
  • 3
    Low fat dairy products

Proteins

Select proteins using the guidelines below.

  • 1
    Fish such as shellfish or white fatty fishes like salmon, mackerel, and sardines provide healthy omega-3 fatty acids
  • 2
    Lean cuts of pork
  • 3
    Veal and beef
  • 4
    Skinless poultry
  • 5
    Tofu and legumes such as lentils or beans

Fiber

Vegetables and whole grains provide fiber. And, for extra fiber add chia seeds to your meals.

Sample Meals

Above all, a one half of a typical meal would include vegetables, fruits and berries. Next, one quarter contains low-GI carbs. Finally, one quarter contains protein rich foods.

In fact, proteins should be included in every meal. Also, starches like rice and pasta are fine but in smaller amounts than plant foods, lean meats and fish.

Typical Nordic Diet Meal Plans

Breakfast

Breakfast would contain dry fruits, grains, berries, or porridge with oats.

Lunch

For lunch, eat rye bread, salads, pickles, herrings, eggs, mushrooms, asparagus, green peas, rhubarb, wild herbs and fruits.

Dinner

For dinner, eat fish, meat from animals hunted in the wild, and vegetables.

Midmorning or Afternoon Snacks based on Nordic Diet

These snacks can be low-GI toast, fresh fruits or nuts.

How to User Nordic Diet when Eating Outside

When eating outside the home, eat fresh vegetables (instead of potatoes) and pasta salads. Also, eat lean protein and low-GI sides like chickpeas. Finally, drink water with every meal.

Benefits of the Nordic Diet

Most of all, the Nordic diet:

  • 1
    Helps you lose weight, especially belly fat
  • 2
    According to scientist, helps heart health because the diet lowers unhealthy cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, and insulin levels.
  • 3
    Helps lower LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol
  • 4
    Reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • 5
    Helps cut back on inflammation. In fact, inflammation is linked to diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Physiological Effect of the Nordic Diet

The Nordic diet can help you lose weight, reduce blood pressure, and inflammation.

Weight Loss From Nordic Diet

A 2016 study, with 145 participants, in the Journal of Proteome Research compared the Nordic diet to a Danish diet. Most noteworthy, the Danish diet is almost like an American diet. Also, the Danish diet, with more fat and less fiber, consisted of more meat, processed foods, and fewer plant foods. And, the study reported that after 26 weeks, Nordic diet participants were more likely to lose weight.

Another 2014 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the effectiveness of the Nordic diet. Also, this study, which lasted six months, had 147 obese participants. And, the study reported that obese participants on the Nordic diet lost 10.4 pounds. While others on an average Danish diet lost 3.3 pounds.

Finally, a 2011 6-week study in the Journal of Internal Medicine reported the weight-reducing effects of the Nordic diet. And, the study reported that Nordic diet participants lost 4 percent more body weight than the standard diet participants.

Blood Pressure Benefits of Nordic Diet

The 2014 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, described previously, also looked at how Nordic diet affects blood pressure. And, the study found that Nordic diet participants saw greater decrease in blood pressure than the Danish diet participants.

Yet another 2014 study, in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition had 37 metabolic syndrome participants lasting 12 weeks. And, the study reported significant ambulatory diastolic blood pressure reduction among Nordic diet participants compared to control diet participants.

Other Effects of the Nordic Diet

Next, a 2013 study in the Journal of Internal Medicine looked at insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. Moreover, the 24 week study involved 166 participants either on a Nordic diet or a control diet. And, the study reported no significant changes in insulin sensitivity or blood pressure between control and Nordic diet participants. However, the Nordic diet participants saw improved lipid profile and beneficial effects on low-grade inflammation.

Finally, a 2015 Journal of Clinical Nutrition study looked at effects of Nordic diet on individuals with metabolic syndrome. And, the study reported reduced inflammatory gene expressions in abdominal subcutaneous adipose (fat) tissue compared to control diet participants.

Downsides of the Nordic Diet

Some of the negatives with the Nordic diet are listed below.

  • 1
    Preparing meals takes up too much time.
  • 2
    Consistently preparing homemade meals would be a strain for most people.
  • 3
    Finding locally grown vegetables or fruits throughout the year may not be possible, especially during the non-summer months.
  • 4
    Fresh vegetables or fruits are not always available in all grocery stores.
  • 5
    Difficulty trying to follow the diet when eating out
  • 6
    Difficulty finding foods meeting glycemic index
  • 7
    Need to consciously manage portion sizes to avoid putting on weight.

Popularity of the Nordic Diet

According to U.S. News and World Report the Nordic diet, in 2019, is ranked:

  • 1
    #3 in “Best Plant-Based Diets”
  • 2
    #6 in “Best Diets for Healthy Eating”
  • 3
    #9 in the category “Best Diets Overall”
  • 4
    #13 in “Best Heart Healthy Diets”
  • 5
    #15 in “Best Diabetes Diets”
  • 6
    #19 in “Easiest Diets to Follow”
  • 7
    #26 in “Best Weight-Loss Diets”
  • 8
    #33 in “Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets”

How to Keep Your Gut Bacteria Strong and Healthy

How to Keep Your Gut Bacteria Strong and Healthy

The GastroIntestinal or GI tract is made up of the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine.  Indeed this entire tract is filled with gut bacteria that is important to your health.

gut bacteria

Bacterial Genera in the Gut

First of all, the stomach is home to the gut bacterium Lactobacillus, with a population that is less than one thousand colony forming units per milliliter.

Next, the small intestine is home to two gut bacteria: Enterococcus and Lactobacillus with a total bacteria population of one hundred to one billion colony forming units per milliliter.

Finally, the large intestine is home to eight gut bacteria: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Eubacterium, Staphylococcus, and Coliforms with a total bacteria population that ranges from ten thousand to one trillion colony forming units per milliliter.

Most noteworthy, a 2016 study at the Weizmann Institute of Science reported that the average human male has about 40 trillion bacteria, most of which resides in his digestive tract. Moreover, all of these gut bacteria may weigh as much as two to five pounds.

Benefits of Gut Bacteria

Most noteworthy, the benefits of these gut bacteria include weight loss, immune functions, and digestive health. Furthermore, these probiotic mixtures help treat irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, atopic diseases, immune functions, respiratory tract infections, inflammatory bowel diseases, and treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection.

In addition, a study in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility reported about the beneficial effects of gut bacteria.  In fact, probiotic lactic acid bacteria strains from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium likely help psychiatric disorder-related behaviors. Indeed, these behaviors include anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, along with memory abilities, including spatial and non-spatial memory.

Consequently, keeping your gut biome healthy is in your best interest. Indeed one way to keep the gut biome healthy, while also enabling its growth, is by eating healthy snacks. And snacks that help fuel growth of gut biome, while keeping it healthy, make up the healthy gut bacteria diet.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Bananas

First of all, bananas help stabilize gut bacteria. Moreover, a medium sized green banana contains about 3 grams of fiber, some of which is the Type 2 resistant starch, a carbohydrate. Especially relevant, neither the stomach nor the small intestines digest the resistant starch. Accordingly, the resistant starch feeds the growth of bacteria in the large intestines. Next, the bacteria breaks down and ferments starch passing through the large intestines producing short-chain fatty acids. And these fatty acids, in turn, may help prevent chronic diseases. Furthermore, use of fatty acids in treating ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea has been demonstrated by clinical studies.

Benefits of Cheese

Eating soft cheese is an excellent way to deliver probiotics to the large intestines. In fact, the pH of the cheese enables probiotics to survive and grow in the intestines. Consequently, soft cheese is better than yogurt at delivering probiotics to the large intestines. Most noteworthy, soft cheeses with fair amounts of probiotics include cheddar, parmesan, and Swiss cheese. However, Gouda cheese delivers the most probiotics to the large intestines.

Cold Potatoes for Healthy Gut Bacteria

Cold potatoes are potatoes that are washed, boiled, and then left to cool down. Next, as they cool down, cold potatoes form a firm texture. Indeed, this is the resistant starch forming. And, like green bananas, these cold potatoes contain Type 2 resistant starch. Also, like green bananas, the Type 2 resistant starch is an indigestible carbohydrate ending up in the large intestines. And, like green bananas, the resistant starch feeds gut bacteria, encouraging their growth and helping them flourish.

Surprising Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Next, a study in the International Journal of Food Microbiology reported that chocolate protected probiotic bacteria in the stomach.  As a result, the probiotic bacteria made its way to the large intestines.

Indeed, 22 volunteers, experienced significant increase in Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli population in their guts after consuming high-flavanol cocoa for four weeks.

In addition, scientist at the 2014 American Chemical Society meeting reported more benefits of eating dark chocolate. Most noteworthy, cocoa contains flavonols - antioxidant molecules that are too large for our body to absorb on its own.

However, Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, at the end of the digestive tract, ferments the antioxidants and fiber in cocoa into smaller, absorbable compounds that make their way into our bloodstream. Moreover, these anti-inflammatory compounds reduces stress on blood vessels and lowers blood pressure - thereby benefiting the cardiovascular system. Finally, these anti-inflammatory compounds increase insulin sensitivity – thereby reducing the blood’s insulin levels.

Meanwhile, the fermentation process results in short-chain fatty acids like butyrate and acetic acid. And these acids helps fend off harmful microbes while reinforcing the gut barrier against antigens and invaders.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Garlic

Above all, raw garlic is the best source of non-digestible prebiotic fiber. However you eat garlic (either raw or cooked), the stomach does not digest the prebiotic fiber in garlic. Consequently, the prebiotic fiber makes its way to the large intestines where it promotes growth of gut bacteria.

Meanwhile, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, nuts, lentils, chickpeas, fruits, vegetables, and beans are also all excellent sources of prebiotic fiber.

Honey for Healthy Gut Bacteria

Most of all, raw honey contains compounds like oligosaccharides that are not digested by the small intestines. Consequently, the oligosaccharide compounds end up in the large intestines, where they provide nourishment to the good bacteria. Most noteworthy, raw honey primarily encourages growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli bacteria. Moreover, the Bifidobacteria bacteria helps your body with digestion. While the Lactobacilli bacteria produces lactic acid, which prevents harmful bacteria from colonizing the intestines.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Oatmeal

First of all, oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber. Moreover, healthy sugars, such as beta glucans, are found in the cell walls of certain bacteria.  Furthermore, beta-glucan fiber encourages growth of good bacteria in the gut.  Indeed, according to researchers, eating oats results in significantly higher levels of Lactobacilli bacteria, and lower levels of Enterobacteriaceae along with other non-essential bacteria.

Benefits of Sauerkraut

Most of all, unpasteurized sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage that is rich in probiotics. In fact, the probiotics are a result of the fermentation process. Also sauerkraut is a good form of dietary fiber while also containing vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Finally, sauerkraut has bacteria that helps to fight inflammation and helps the immune system.

Sour Pickles for a Healthy Gut Biome

Next, naturally fermented pickles have plenty of good bacteria. In fact, the sea salt and water used to ferment the pickles causes good bacteria to grow. Above all, make sure the pickling process did not use vinegar. Finally, sour pickles hinder the growth of harmful gut bacteria while boosting the body’s defenses against infection.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Yogurt

Most of all, a very familiar healthy food for many is yogurt. Moreover, yogurt supplies probiotics such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus. In fact, Lactobacillus bulgaricus is also a bacteria normally residing in your intestines. Furthermore, Lactobacillus bulgaricus prevents harmful bacteria from growing in the gut while promoting growth of beneficial bacteria.

In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacteria may benefit some health conditions. These include liver disease, common cold, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, eczema, hay fever, colic, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.

Furthermore, yogurt also provides minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and of course calcium for healthy bones.

Lastly, the best yogurt for weight loss is plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. In fact, some Greek yogurts have added probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei bacteria.

What Is the Most Daily Calories I Need For Weight Loss

What Is the Most Daily Calories I Need For Weight Loss

Most noteworthy, the United States Dairy Association published Dietary Guidelines for Americans, for the years 2015 to 2020. And, according to these guidelines, the daily calories needed by Americans are as follows:

  • Sedentary women between the ages of 26 to 50 need 1,800 calories daily
  • Sedentary women 51 and up need 1,600 calories daily
  • Moderately active women between the ages of 26 to 50 need 2,000 calories daily
  • Moderately active women 51 and up need 1,800 calories daily
  • Active women between the ages of 31 to 60 need 2,200 calories daily
  • Active women 61 and up need 2,000 calories daily
  • Sedentary men between the ages 41 to 60 need 2,200 calories daily
  • Sedentary men 61 and up need 2,000 calories daily
  • Moderately active men between the ages 26 to 45 need 2,600 calories daily
  • Moderately active men between the ages 46 to 65 need 2,400 calories daily
  • Lastly, moderately active men 66 and up need 2,200 calories daily
  • Active men between the ages 36 to 55 need 2,800 calories daily
  • Active men between the ages 56 to 75 need 2,600 calories daily
daily calories

Most noteworthy, the average woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall weighing 126 pounds. While the average man is 5 feet 10 inches tall weighing 154 pounds. Regrettably, the daily calories you actually need is difficult to estimate. Indeed, the actual daily calories you burn depends on things like your age, height, sex, weight, and your activity level.

How to Budget Your Daily Calories

Especially relevant, irrespective of whether you are sedentary, moderately active, or active, if you want to lose weight you have to cut back on what you eat. For example, to lose a pound in a week, means that you avoid eating foods, packed with 3,500 calories, during the week.

Calories in Body Fat

Most noteworthy, calories are stored in the body as either glycogen, in the liver, from carbs or as body fat. Consequently, when you don’t have enough calories in your blood, calories are first taken from the glycogen and then from body fat.

Indeed, pure fat has an energy content at about 9 calories per gram of pure fat. In the meantime, there are 454 grams of pure fat in one pound of pure fat. As a result, one pound of pure fat has about 454 x 9 = 4,086 calories.

Incidentally, body fat is not just pure fat. Indeed, body fat is made up of adipocytes, also known as fat cells. Moreover, fat cells contain mostly fat but also contain fluids and proteins. As a result, one pound of body fat is less than 3,500 calories.

Meanwhile, one pound of body fat equals 454 grams. Furthermore, pure fat contains anywhere from 8.7 to 9.5 calories per gram of pure fat. Meanwhile, body fat tissue is 87 percent fat. However, some studies report that body fat tissue contains only 72 percent fat. Moreover different types of body fat contains different percentages of fat.

As a result, one pound of body fat contains a minimum of 454 * 87% *8.7 = 3,436 calories, while a maximum of 454*87%*9.5 = 3,752 calories. In summary, the 3,500 calories in a pound of body is just a round number to use for estimations.

A Budget for Daily Calories

Therefore, to lose one pound in one week you need to avoid eating about 500 (3,500 / 7) calories each day of the week. So if you need 2,000 calories daily to maintain your weight, to lose one pound in a week, you will have to get by on 1,500 (2000 – 500) calories each day of that week.

Body’s Reaction to Restricted Calories

Sounds easy right! Right, in fact it’s a myth. Indeed, overweight and those who are obese, can lose the calories in the short term for a moderate weight loss. Regrettably, a 500 calorie deficit may not work for the long term.

Regrettably, the explanation fails to take into account the body’s response to changes in body composition (such as fat loss) and diet. Indeed, when you start running a 500 calorie deficit, your body thinks there is a famine. As a result, the body starts shutting down unnecessary activities and reduces the metabolic rate. In the meantime, by burning fewer calories the body is prepared to survive famine conditions.

Moreover, you start moving around less, and the body becomes efficient in doing the same amount of work with fewer calories. Consequently, instead of burning fat, you end up losing muscle tissue and/or lean tissue which makes you burn fewer calories. Indeed, this reaction of the body is known as the starvation mode or adaptive thermogenesis. Consequently, weight loss slows down with time.

Meanwhile, to stop loss of muscle mass, it’s important to do resistance training. Incidentally, eating high protein foods ensures that your body is less likely to break down your muscles for energy. Most of all, these approaches prevent a reduction in calories burned making it difficult to lose weight. Furthermore, you start having mood swings, and you start feeling hungry, get intense cravings for food which in turn makes you irritable.

Other Ways to Budget Daily Calories

Meanwhile, because a 500 calorie deficit may be too much stress on your body, it makes it very difficult for you to sustain that deficit. In fact, a more realistic alternative is to plan on losing half a pound each week or 250 calories each day. So instead of a 1,500 calorie diet, you end up on a 1,750 calorie diet, which is a much more reasonable number. Consequently, you may lose four pounds if you maintained that diet for 8 weeks. Ultimately, seeing that weight loss may motivate you to continue with the diet, while at some point in the near future you reach your target weight.

Avoid Counting Daily Calories

However, avoid counting calories because counting calories is next to impossible to do. Besides counting calories creates stress, which, in turn releases the hormone cortisol and more fat.

Indeed, rather than counting calories, a far better approach is to go on a diet as well as eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and fruits are low in calories and they will satisfy your urge to eat. Finally, most important of all, don’t forget to cut back your portion sizes.

Daily Calories for Exercises

Exercise offers a way to exceed you daily calorie budget. However, it you choose to do this, make sure you exercise enough to burn the excess calories you ate over your daily budget. For example, a 154 pound person hiking for an hour would burn nearly 370 calories, walking @3.5 mph for an hour would burn 280 calories, jogging at 5 mph for one hour 590 calories. In fact, instead of being limited to only these, choose your favorite activity and workout for either 30 minutes or one hour to burn the estimated calories given. The advantages of this method is that you can eat more than the budgeted daily calories while also getting a workout that’s good for your body, relieves stress, and take your mind off your diet.

Monitor Daily Calories by Frequently Weighing Yourself

Most noteworthy, research shows that frequently weighing yourself helps you monitor the effect of daily calories on you weight. In fact, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing reported weighing yourself everyday makes you more likely to lose weight. Most of all, this study monitored 1,042 adults whose average age was 47. And, as part of the study, these adults weighed or did not weigh themselves as they would normally. Meanwhile, after a year, adults who never weighed themselves or weighed themselves only once a week or so, didn’t lose any weight. On the other hand, those adults who weighed themselves six or seven times a week lost almost 2% of their body weight.

Indeed, weighing yourself every day helps you keep a close eye on your weight. Which, in turn, helps you relate the scale readings with what you ate or didn’t eat, as well as things like going to the gym.

Limitations of Frequent Weight Watching

However, weighing yourself each and every day isn’t for everyone. In fact, this is especially true for people struggling with their weight, body image, or battling eating disorders. For these people, looking at the scale, could bring about anxiety and even depression. Or, even other unhealthy patterns like not eating enough or binge eating. Lastly, weighing every day is too much for those with a history of disordered eating.

Why You Need To Eat Healthy Snacks for Adults

Why You Need To Eat Healthy Snacks for Adults

First of all, eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner is the normal eating behavior for millions around the world. While the next popular eating behavior is either breakfast and dinner or lunch and dinner. However, drop in blood sugar levels between meals, or feeling stressed, or simply being idle, may make you hungry. Therefore, eating healthy snacks for adults relieves the hunger while taking away the temptation to eat unhealthy foods.

healthy snacks for adults

Above all, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that four to five or even six small meals spread across the day is better able to maintain blood sugar levels steady and stop hunger. Indeed, if people maintained an eating schedule and ate small healthy portions, they are more likely to maintain their weight. Moreover, small portions of healthy snacks between lunch and dinner may quell your hunger and keep you from overeating during dinner.

Why Eat Healthy Snacks for Adults

Above all, the primary reason people snack is hunger. But other reasons include:

  • Where you happen to be physically, such as walking by a bakery
  • The social environment you are in, such as a get together
  • The time of day, such as late afternoon
  • And availability of food, such as food left out in a common area at work

In fact, even if they are not hungry, people snack when there is easily accessible, appetizing food. Furthermore, a study found that overweight and obese people chose unhealthy snacks because:

  • Of the temptation
  • Followed by being hungry
  • Lastly, not having enough energy to do whatever they were doing

Finally, snacking can help people avoid becoming very hungry. When you go too long without eating, you become so hungry and you end up eating many more calories than you need.

How Healthy Snacks for Adults Effect You

Effect of Healthy Snacks on Burning Calories

Incidentally, snacking every few hours does not increase your metabolism. In fact studies show that meal frequency has no significant effect on how many calories you burn. For example, a study found that people who consumed an equal number of calories by eating either two or seven meals a day, burned nearly the same amount of calories.

On the other hand, another study found that a high-protein, high-carb bedtime snack may increase the metabolic rate the next morning.

Effect of Healthy Snacks on Blood Sugar Levels

Most noteworthy, it’s not necessary to eat frequently to maintain stable blood sugar levels. In fact, a 2014 study reported that eating only two large meals a day resulted in better insulin sensitivity, lower fasting blood sugar levels, and greater weight loss than eating six times a day.

Meanwhile, other studies found no difference in blood sugar levels when the same amount of food was eaten as meals or as meals plus snacks.

In fact, low-carb, high-fiber snacks have the best effect on insulin and blood sugar levels than high-carb snacks in people without diabetes. Also, snacks with high protein content may improve management of blood sugar.

Finally, a study showed that consuming a high-protein, low-carb dairy snack led to lower blood sugar levels before the next meal compared to a high-carb dairy snack.

Benefits of Healthy Snacks for Adults

Because healthy snacks are high in fiber and/or proteins they are more filling. Consequently, you may feel satiated faster and eat less healthy snacks or regular meals. Most of all, healthy snacks also provide you with valuable vitamins.

Also snacks with high energy helps you burn more calories, which is helpful if you are going to work out. On the other hand, snacks with better metabolism helps you quickly digest the snacks that you ate.

Features of Healthy Snacks for Adults

Above all, if you want to lose weight eat snacks that are low in salt, low in sugar, low in saturated fats, and low in simple carbohydrates. Also, snacks made from non-processed foods are better than snacks made of processed foods.

Moreover, snacks need to be low in calories but high in volume or density so that they take up more space in your stomach. Consequently, you feel satiated from your full stomach. Therefore, snacking between meals helps you manage your weight.

Next, healthy snacks for adults should be low in added fat, low in sugar, high in fiber, and high in water. For example, it’s healthier to eat an apple than munch on chips. In addition, eat whole-grain snacks, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy.

Next, healthy snacks for adults have a combination of proteins and carbohydrates that keeps adults the fullest for the longest period of time. Finally, choosing healthy snacks high in protein and fiber are best to reduce hunger and keep you full for several hours.

Portion Sizes

Incidentally, when you eat healthy snacks for adults, look at portion size on the label and stick to that portion size. In fact, instead of eating straight out of the container, always portion out what you need. Furthermore, portion size should be enough to satisfy your hunger but not so much that you overeat and put on weight.

As an example, only eat the nuts in small portions. Because, eating straight out of the container, will make you most likely eat too many nuts and hence eat too many calories.

Healthy Snacks for Adults under 200 Calories

Incidentally, it’s best to eat snacks with about 200 calories and at least 10 grams of proteins to stay full till the next meal. Furthermore, if you are very active you may need to eat 2 to 3 snacks a day while if you sedentary, you may need at most one snack.

 A sampling of snacks under 200 calories, that you can try, follows.

Half a Slice of an Apple with One Tablespoon of Natural Peanut Butter

First of all, this snack has 157 calories along with protein and fiber. Also, half an apple has 63 calories while one tablespoon of natural peanut butter has 94 calories along with 8 grams of fat. And, if you desire, you can use seed butter instead of natural peanut butter.

Ten Carrot Sticks with Two Tablespoons of Dip

Two tablespoons of creamy veggie dip is about 132 calories, while the inclusion of ten carrots add up to less than 200 calories.

Two 100 Calorie Bags of Popcorn

Two 100 calories bags of air-popped popcorn is a good source of fiber. And the air-popped popcorn takes up a lot of volume in your stomach, which makes you feel full.

10 Baked Tortilla Chips with ½ a Cup of Salsa

Ten baked tortilla chips has about 120 calories while half a cup of salsa is about 42 calories. Meanwhile, avoid salsa with a lot of sodium.

½ a Whole-wheat Pita and ¼ Cup Hummus Snack

½ a whole-wheat pita has about 85 calories while ¼ cup hummus has about 93 calories. Whole-wheat pita provides the fiber while hummus provides the proteins.

Medium Sized Apple Together with a String Cheese Stick

A stick of low-fat string cheese is between 60 to 80 calories while a medium sized apple has about 126 calories. The string cheese provides calcium and protein so the blood sugar won’t rise too fast from the apple.

Half an English muffin and Two Tablespoons of Cream Cheese

½ an English muffin has 64 calories while 2 tablespoons of cream cheese has 99 calories.

¼ Cup of Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, or Pistachios

Unsalted, raw or dry-roasted almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios are all protein and fiber rich with monounsaturated fats. But because the nuts are high in calories eat only small portions. For example, almonds have 132 calories per ¼ cup, walnuts have 131 calories, cashews have 39 calories, and pistachios have 173 calories.

Protein Bar

Get protein bars with very little added sugar, low calories, large amount of proteins, large amounts of fiber, and made with natural ingredients.

½ Cup of Frozen Yogurt Snack

Should have less than 150 calories per serving. Frozen yogurt has low-fat while supplying protein and calcium.

½ Cup of Cottage Cheese with Mandarin Oranges

Good source of protein and calcium with natural sweetness of the fruit. ½ cup of low fat cottage cheese has about 97 calories and one cup of mandarin oranges has about 72 calories.

½ Cup of Sorbet or Sherbet

Sherbet is about 140 calories while sorbet can range from 80 to 200 calories.

Two Large Hard-boiled Eggs

2 large eggs provides 12 grams of proteins and 155 calories. Moreover the 12 grams of proteins will make you feel full for a while.

Turkey & Cheese Roll-up Snack

Roll one ounce of turkey and one ounce of cheese for 140 calories. Lean meats like turkey are a good source of protein, while cheese is a source of calcium. You can choose a low fat cheese such as, for example, Swiss cheese. For lower sodium use baked turkey breast meat instead of the sliced deli meat.

English Muffin Pizza

First, toast English muffin, top off muffin with cheese and melt it in a microwave. One ounce of low-fat mozzarella has nearly 72 calories, one slice of tomato has about 5 calories, and ½ an English muffin has about 64 calories.

8 Ounces of Fat-free Chocolate Milk

Most of all, the 8 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk has 135 calories plus the milk provides protein and calcium.

Cereal with Nonfat Milk Snack

First and foremost, a cup of skim milk and a cup of cheerios has about 183 calories. Moreover, choose cereal with more fiber than sugar.

6 Ounces of Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt with Strawberries

First of all, a cup of strawberries provides vitamins and antioxidants along with 46 calories. Greek yogurt provides calcium, and 18 grams of proteins in a cup, while, a 6 ounce serving of Greek yogurt is just 100 calories. Also, it’s important to eat only nonfat plain Greek yogurt because other types of Greek yogurts carry excess sugar along with other unhealthy ingredients that don’t help you lose weight. And, for something different, you can add reduced sugar strawberry jam to the yogurt. Or you can even substitute other fruits like bananas, blueberries, blackberries.

Thin Sandwich with Turkey

Sandwich thins are about 100 calories and one 3 ounce serving of turkey is another 60 calories with 12 grams of proteins.

Fruit Smoothie

A cup of frozen blueberries has 83 calories, ¾ cup of nonfat milk has 83 calorie and ½ cup of Greek yogurt has 50 calories.

More Healthy Snacks for Adults

Celery with Cream Cheese

Simply spread one tablespoon of reduced-fat cream cheese on the stalks of celery. And, add a few raisins for some sweetness.

Cottage Cheese Snack

Most of all, cottage cheese has lots of proteins and calcium, making it a healthy snack. And for variety, you can pair the cottage cheese with fruits or vegetables.

Fruits and Vegetables

First of all, because they are full of vitamins and low in calories, fruits and vegetables are excellent healthy snacks for adults. Also, some whole-wheat crackers and cheeses are other good examples of healthy snacks for adults. Indeed, whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter gives you plenty of proteins and fiber.

Still more examples include apples, bananas, raisins, dried fruit puree without added sugar, carrots, snap peas, nuts, whole-grain dry cereal, pretzels, low-fat or non-fat yogurt, toasted whole-wheat English muffins, cherry or grape tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds in shell.

Lime Avocado

Cut a complete avocado with skin in half, remove the seed and sprinkle lime juice and black pepper on the avocado.

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Snack

Add 1 tablespoon of semisweet chocolate chips to a six ounce nonfat plain Greek yogurt.

Hummus

With its protein and fiber, hummus makes you feel full quickly. Or you can combine hummus with vegetables, such as carrots, for a greater punch.

Roasted Chick Peas

Because of their low sugar content, high fiber and protein content, roasted chick peas make for a healthy snack.

Edamame

Edamame is a legume with protein, fiber, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Consequently, eating edamame makes you feel full while your body gets lots of good nutrients.

Air Popcorn with Cinnamon

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon on air-popped popcorn.

Snacks to Avoid

First and foremost, always avoid processed, high-sugar snacks because you will feel hungrier an hour or two later. In fact, definitely avoid snacks that list sugar as one of the first few ingredients. Next, avoid snacks and drinks with added sugar. Indeed, fresh fruit is better than a fruit flavored drink. Finally, foods and drinks that list corn syrup as one of the ingredients should also be avoided.

How to Handle Unhealthy Snacks

Above all, snacks such as candies, cookies, chips, and ice cream have to be avoided at all costs. Consequently, the best thing you can do is not to even have these in the house.

The second thing you can do is storing these tempting snacks so that they are hard to see and also out of your reach. For instance, store the chips, candies, and cookies in the back of the highest shelf while storing the ice cream in the back of the freezer.

And, instead of putting out a bowl filled with tempting candies, put out a bowl filled with fruits. Lastly, if you must snack when you are watching TV, just leave a portion of the snacks out for munching.

How Your Genetic Profile Helps You Look Good

How Your Genetic Profile Helps You Look Good

Most of all, your ability to lose weight and look good depends on your genetic profile. In fact, your genetic profile controls between 25 to 70 percent of all factors affecting your weight and body composition. In addition, your genetic profile determines how your body processes ingested food, how hungry you become, how your body burns calories, how to provide energy for moving your body, and how much you eat.

genetic profile

Genes in Play

The genes, in your genetic profile, that influence your weight and body composition are described below.

FTO

FTO or Fat Mass and Obesity Associated gene is also known as the fatso gene. In fact, FTO is a gene variant that acts as a nutrient sensor affecting your hunger and the amount of food you eat. Also, anyone with a particular variation of this gene has a high probability of becoming obese. In addition, a study published in BMJ compared people with and without the FTO gene.  First the study reported that anyone with the FTO gene weighs 6.61 pounds more, on average. Also, anyone with the FTO gene is 1.7 times more likely to be obese. On the other hand, anyone consistently exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is able to turn off this gene.

MC4R

Melanocortin-4 or MC4R is a receptor gene that controls your hunger, appetite, and energy balance. Regrettably, common variants of this gene are related to obesity and insulin resistance. As a result, anyone with this gene is likely to be obese.

PPARG

Next, the PPARG gene encodes the Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor Gamma (PPARG) protein. Indeed, the PPARG gene is involved in fat metabolism. And, when activated, PPARG creates fat cells along with absorbing dietary fats from your blood. Regrettably, too much activation of this gene leads to weight gain. In fact, obese people have large amounts of PPARG in their fat tissue. On the other hand, people with no PPARG encoded genes have less fat tissue in their limbs and buttocks. Consequently, to combat PPARG encoded genes and lose weight, you should eat more saturated fats than unsaturated fats.

ADRB2

Adrenoceptor Beta 2 (ADRB2) is an Adrenergic beta-2 receptor gene that codes for a protein which helps breakdown fat. As a result, when the hormone epinephrine is released, epinephrine binds to ADRB2 to release energy by breaking down fat molecules. Therefore, exercising and reducing the amount you eat is a good treatment to fight ADRB2.

FABP2

Fatty Acid Binding Protein 2 (FABP2) is a gene that helps metabolize fats and carbohydrates.

PGC-1-alpha

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) - A high rate of a chemical process called methylation increases metabolism. Above all, methylation adds chemical groups to the genes PGC-1alpha and TFAM (Transcription Factor A, Mitochondrial). As a result, methylation changes the rate in which these genes are converted to proteins and regulating mitochondrial biogenesis in your cells. Consequently, eating efficiently and exercising increases methylation, which in turn increases metabolism.

genetic profile

Role of Genetic Profile

Most of all, your genetic profile has a huge say when you try to lose weight. In fact, some of them are listed below.

Can You Even Lose Weight

First of all, genes that determine if you can even lose weight include FTO, TCF7L2, MTNR1B, PPARG, BDNF, and ABCB11. In fact, large studies have reported that people who participated in exercise and diet programs, lost less weight if their genetic profile included any of these genes when compared to others who did not. In addition, these people were more likely to get back the weight lost when compared with people who did not have these genes.

Control Body Fat Lost by Aerobic Exercises

Next, genes that control how much body fat is lost by aerobic or cardio exercises include ADRB2 and LPL. Most noteworthy, a large study reported that the amount of fat lost by men was about the same irrespective of the amount of these two genes. On the other hand, depending on their genetic profile, women lost different amounts of fat. In addition, even with significant fat loss, the genetic profile determined how much weight was lost.

Genes Deciding Efficiency of Processing Carbs

The gene Insulin Receptor Substrate 1 (IRS1) is associated with a person’s insulin and the reaction to carbohydrates in the diet. In fact, a long term study reported that people with a variant of the IRS1 gene, who ate a high carb, low fat diet consisting of high fiber and whole plant foods had greater insulin sensitivity. As a result, because their insulin resistance was lower, their bodies needed lower insulin levels to absorb glucose from the blood. In addition, these people experienced greater weight loss when compared with people eating low carb, high fat diet.

Genes Deciding How Folate is Absorbed by the Body

Next, the gene MTHFR has a significant association with a person’s folate or vitamin B9 status. In fact, folate acts as a coenzyme in DNA creation and in energy metabolism. Also, folate has a role in the biochemical processes that affect the metabolism of amino acid and homocysteine. Regrettably, high levels of homocysteine increases risk of heart disease. While low levels of folate causes anemia.

Genes Deciding Efficiency of Processing Proteins

The gene FTO is associated with body fat mass and BMI. In fact, a large study found that anyone, with FTO variants, lost more weight and body fat if they ate a moderate-to-high protein diet (25% of total daily calories) when compared to a low protein diet (15% of total daily calories). However, they also lost muscle with weight loss.

Genes Deciding if Strength Training is Even Helpful

Genes, that improve a person’s body composition while decreasing fat, because of  strength training include FTO, NRXN3, GPRC5B, GNPDA2, LRRN6C, PRKD1, SLC39A8, FLJ35779, MAP2K5, QPCTL-GIPR, NEGR1, LRP1B, MTCH2, MTIF3, RPL27A, SEC16B, FAIM2, FANCL, ETV5, and TFAP2B. Above all, strength training increases strength and muscle mass while decreasing body fat, thereby, resulting in better body composition. As a result you have a leaner look and able to burn a lot more calories every day. Especially noteworthy, when you are trying to lose weight it is necessary to do strength training, because it increases muscle mass, to make up for muscle mass lost with dieting or aerobic exercises.

Genes Deciding how to React to Fat in Your Diet

Genes that decide how to react to the fat in your diet include PPARG, TCF7L2, APOA5, CRY2, MTNR1B, and PPM1K. In fact, studies show that the fat content in the diet affected how much weight was lost. Another study reported that people with an unfavorable genetic profile, who ate more fat, were more likely to have more body fat, large waist and high BMR. On the other hand, people with a favorable genetic profile were able to consume greater amounts of fat, but without the higher BMI. Meanwhile, another study reported that people on a low-calorie diet that was higher in fat, lost less weight if they had an unfavorable genetic profile.

How Genetic Profile Helps

For example, people with a specific genetic profile benefit from a high protein diet, lose more weight, have reduced craving for food, and have a low appetite. On the other hand, if you don’t have this genetic profile, a high-protein diet won’t help you lose weight. Similarly, other genetic profiles may make you lose weight with a low-fat diet especially low saturated fat diet.

Furthermore, research shows that those with a specific genetic profile may predispose them to eat fried food thereby making them obese. Also, research shows that someone with a variant of the IRS1 gene is more successful at losing weight with a low-fat and high-carb diet as opposed to a high-fat and low-carb diet.

In addition, your weight isn’t solely controlled by your genes. Indeed, your weight is significantly affected by your lifestyle and your environment. For example, people with an obesity genetic profile have 30 percent lower risk of being obese if they are very active compared to those who aren’t active. Similarly, adults with an obesity genetic profile who are older are less likely to be obese. On the other hand, younger adults, with an obesity genetic profile, gorging on meals, with sugary drinks and being inactive, are likely to become obese.

Do Genes Help Lose Weight – Study

Paradoxically, studies have shown that genetics can’t explain why some people lose weight on a low-carb diet like Atkins or why others succeed with a low-fat diet.

In fact, Stanford University Medical School researchers published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. And, in this study, 609 overweight adults were randomly selected to go on either a low-fat or a low-carb diet. First of all, the low fat diet consisted of less oil, less fatty meats, full-fat dairy, and nuts. While the low-carb diet consisted of eating smaller portions of cereals, grains, rice, starchy vegetables, and legumes.

Moreover, the study lasted a year after which time one group lost 11.7 pounds while the other group lost 13.2 pounds – hardly a significant difference.

Meanwhile, other research indicated that the PPARG, ADRB2, and FABP2 genes are involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Therefore, each of the two groups were further divided into two subgroups each depending on their fat and carbohydrate genetic profiles.

In fact, this more finely tuned analysis showed that there was no significant weight change even if their genetic profiles matched up with their low-fat or low-carb diets. In conclusion, weight change is not effected by whether the body has genetic profiles designed for metabolizing fats or carbohydrates.

Conclusion

In conclusion, though genetic profiles effects our weight, a combination of a healthy diet and exercise has the biggest impact on losing weight and body composition that is characterized by decreased fat and/or increased muscles.

How to Lose Weight – Foods with Strong Aroma

How to Lose Weight – Foods with Strong Aroma

Foods with strong aroma appear to have the potential to help lose weight. In fact, two studies describe two different ways of using aroma to achieve that goal.

strong aroma

Eat Foods with Strong Aroma

Above all, people naturally eat smaller bites of food that isn’t very tasty or food that is not familiar. Therefore, we associate smaller bites with food having low flavor or taste.

In addition, research shows that people take smaller bites when food aroma is strong. Indeed, our unconscious self-regulating mind tells us that because the food has strong aroma, it must be rich with calories. As a consequence, we take smaller bites. In addition, the self-regulating mind subconsciously tells us to take fewer number of bites to feel satiated. As a result, we eat less which, in turn, helps with our weight.

On the other hand, when food has very little or no aroma, our unconscious self-regulating mind tells us the food doesn’t have too many calories. As a consequence, we take bigger bites. In addition, our subconscious mind tells us that since the food likely doesn’t have too many calories, it’s OK to take many bites. As a result, we likely eat more, which, in turn, causes us to put on weight.

In fact, a similar effect occurs with taste. For example, we eat small amounts with each “bite” of a very salty soup. And likely we won’t take too many such “bites” of the soup. On the other hand, if the soup isn’t salty, we eat larger amounts of the soup with each “bite”. And likely we take too many “bites” of the soup.

Incidentally, the “bite” size reduction with salty soup is about 5%. Similarly, the “bite” size is reduced by about 5% for foods with aroma.

Role of Self-Regulation

Indeed, the key here is self-regulation. That you are consciously trying to not overeat. A similar thing happens, when you have a mouth-watering aromatic chocolate cake in front of you. No doubt, you would want to eat the biggest piece of mouth-watering cake. However, your self-regulating mind causes you to take a smaller piece. Then, eat that by further taking small bites while reducing the number of bites.

Or, if you have a low aromatic salad, you associate the low aromatic salad with fewer calories. Consequently, you not only take bigger bites of the salad but you take more of them.

On the other hand, this method does not work for someone whose eating habits are not self-regulated. In fact, you may be just the kind of a person, who, if they see a chocolate cake in front of you, you may eat not one slice, but even two or three slices. And if you have some very tasty and mouth-watering aromatic foods, you are tempted to take bigger bites and more of them.

In conclusion, the method works for anyone who has a self-regulating mind when it comes to food.

Smell Foods with Strong Aroma

Meanwhile, a new study reports that breathing the strong aroma of indulging high-calorie foods for more than two minutes satisfies your taste buds and your stomach. And, this reduces the temptation to eat the high calorie indulging food.

strong aroma

So, the next time you come across the strong aroma of indulging food, wait for two minutes or more before deciding on taking a bite. Or if the strong aroma of indulging food doesn’t reach your nostrils, carry a nebulizer with you. And, take a whiff with a nebulizer that gives off the scent of strong aroma indulging food. After waiting for two or more minutes, your desire for the indulging food may disappear.

On the other hand, since non-indulging foods don’t give off as much aroma, they do not affect our rewards system so much. As a result they have less influence on what we eat.strong aroma

In fact, studies done at a school cafeteria and a supermarket demonstrated these effects. In the study, participants were exposed to the aroma of indulging cookies for more than two minutes as well as lack of aroma from the non-indulging strawberries. As a result the purchases of cookies were lower than the purchases of strawberries. Indeed, the prolonged exposure to the indulging cookies induced pleasure in the brain’s reward system resulting in a diminished desire for the actual eating of the indulging cookies.

On the other hand, when exposure to the aroma of indulging cookies was less than 30 seconds, more cookies were purchased than the strawberries. So, next time you come across strong aromatic indulging foods, soak the aroma for two or more minutes before deciding on eating the indulging food.

How Does it Work

Above all, olfactory fatigue is the common experience of losing sensitivity to smells after prolonged exposure. In fact, your body adapts to the smell. As a consequence, the effects of the smell weakens over time. And, eventually you won’t be able to recognize the smell. After prolonged exposure, olfactory fatigue allows your body to adapt to the smell so as not to overload your nervous system.

For example, smelling a cookie activates smells cells, located at the end of your nasal passage. As a result, the smell cells send chemical messages to the brain. And the brain interprets these messages before relaying them to the mouth. Indeed, this entire process is known as the olfactory referral.

Moreover, the olfactory referral happens with each breath exposing us to the smell. And, our bodies adapt to the smell with continued stimulation. As a consequence the effect of the smell weakens. In fact, our brains are programmed to tell us when smell changes. And not to tell us when things smell the same as they did a few minutes ago.

First of all, retronasal olfaction refers to acquiring smell related information through the back of the mouth. And, orthonasal olfaction refers to acquiring smell related information through the nostrils. In fact, both methods influence flavor. For example, food aroma such as vanilla causes something perceived as sweet, to taste sweeter. And, once you experience the smell of food along with its flavor, the two become associated; thus, smell influences taste and taste influences smell.

So when you smell food aroma for two or more minutes, you get the effect of having tasted it. And having tasted it satiates you. So the desire to actually eat it lessens.