Slow Metabolism? Fire it Up with These 4 Tips …

4 Tips to Fire Up your Metabolism:

  1. Do interval training – periodic fast-paced intervals raise your metabolic rate higher than a steady cardio workout can. 
  2. Drink green tea – this really does impact on your metabolic rate. Some green teas are quite bitter in taste, so find one you like and drink 3 cups a day!
  3.  Build more muscle – lean muscle mass acts like a furnace and helps burn body fat effectively. The more muscle you have, the better the fat burner you are.
  4. Pick up heavier weights – we are never to old to challenge our bodies with weight training. Progress to lifting heavy weights at a slow rate. This causes minor tears in the muscle, which repair and grow if provided with the right amount of protein and recovery time. Your metabolism gets a boost while the muscles repair.

Easy Steps to Feel Better Fast

Our brains are our control-centres, for decision-making and mood. Here are some easy steps to jump start your brain in the morning and feel better fast:

  1. Water your brain on rising – your brain is 80% water, so even the slightest dehydration can elevate stress hormones and impair physical power and focus. Your skin is a reflection of brain health. If your skin is dehydrated, so is your brain.
  2. Move your body – start your day with gentle stretching, walking or yoga to improve blood flow to your brain. 
  3. Eat brain food for breakfast – include high quality protein, such as eggs, fish, yoghurt or protein powder; some healthy fat like coconut, seeds & nuts, avocado, nut butters; along with some smart carbs, such as greens, berries and oats.
  4. Snack smart – eating a small am and pm protein-based snack, with some smart carbs (sustaining, low GI), will keep blood sugar evenly balanced, prevent sugar cravings and provide a boost of energy.
  5. Supplement with brain nutrients – fish oil, probiotics, magnesium and vitamin D all support brain health.

Are Eggs Bad for Your Cholesterol?

Several decades ago we were misled into believing that eggs raised cholesterol levels and people were warned off consuming them.

Broad-range studies (meta-analyses) have revealed that eggs do not have a detrimental impact on cholesterol levels and are actually one of the most healthful foods you can eat.

All eggs are not created equal though:

  1. choose free-range organic where possible.
  2. avoid omega-3 eggs – the hens are fed poor quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. These eggs are also more perishable.
  3. avoid eggs from caged (battery) hens – the hens lead a highly stressed short life which affects the quality of their eggs.

Benefits of fresh, free-range eggs:

a) one egg contains 6g high quality protein

b) they contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants in your lens and retina that help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts

c) they are a good source of choline – a member of the B vitamin family, essential for the nervous system, cardiovascular system and pre-natal brain development

d) they contain vitamin D – one of the few foods that does!

e) they contain sulphur – which promotes healthy hair and nails

Enjoy them poached, scrambled or in an omelette!

What You May Not Know About Sleep!

Sleep affects every aspect of our life, but for many of us a sound and refreshing sleep completely evades us!

Did you know:

  1. about 30% of us suffer from insomnia at some point in our life
  2. around 25% of children diagnosed with ADHD have a sleep disorder. When poor sleep is addressed, their symptoms disappear.
  3. one night of sleep deprivation can put your body into a diabetic state.
  4. a decrease in sleep of only 1.5 hours per night can reduce performance by up to 32%.
  5. reaction time after staying awake for 17-19 hours is worse than a 0.05% blood alcohol level.

Improving the quality of our sleep is a priority for better health. 

What We Should All Know about Homocysteine

Homocysteine is a protein that occurs naturally in our blood. Sometimes when it’s conversion is impaired due to nutritional deficiencies, homocysteine levels rise and this is dangerous to our health. These high levels have been linked with cardiovascular disease, migraine, cognitive decline, diabetes, osteoporosis and macular degeneration.

You can regulate your homocysteine levels by:

  1. reducing coffee intake to 1-2 cups per day.
  2. eating more fruit and vegetables to increase folate. Good sources of folate include green leafy vegetables like spinach, asparagus and broccoli, and fruits such as strawberries and blackberries.
  3. increasing vitamins B6 and B12.  Chickpeas, salmon, chicken, bananas, sweet potatoes, lentils and sunflower seeds are all good sources of these B vitamins.
  4. losing weight, if you are overweight.

Have your homocysteine levels checked the next time your doctor recommends a routine blood test. It should be 6 or lower for optimal health!

Boost Your Health with Apple Cider Vinegar!

Apple Cider Vinegar has been used in the kitchen and medicinally for a very long time. 

Here are 3 healthful reasons to keep a bottle on hand:

  1. Sore throat – gargle with a mix of apple cider vinegar and warm water, 1 Tbsp vinegar and 1/2 cup of water, to relieve a sore throat. Gargle and swallow. Can repeat this 2-3 times daily.
  2. Sinus congestion – gargling with apple cider vinegar also helps to break up and reduce mucous in the throat and sinuses, helping to curtail an infection.
  3. Acid reflux and heartburn – acid reflux results from having too little acid in your stomach. Improve your stomach acidity by taking 1 Tbsp of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water daily. This can also help to improve intestinal spasms.

Other well documented uses include for weight loss, reducing blood sugar levels, skin irritations and even boosting energy. An excellent first aid product for everyone’s pantry!

Calorie-Counting Does Not Work!

Calories are not all created equal! Many people still believe that if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. This is a simplistic and outdated notion that has many flaws.

  1. The source of the calories makes all the difference – eg. identical calorie counts from fructose, glucose, protein and fat, will cause entirely different metabolic effects in your body. Different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses and those hormonal responses will determine how much fat your body will accumulate and store. Research shows that calories consumed from refined and processed sugars promote overeating, whereas calories from whole vegetables, protein and fibre decrease hunger.
  2. The thermic effect of food  (TEF) – the amount of energy your body uses in order to breakdown each macro-nutrient (protein, carb or fat). The energy used in making protein available to your body is around 25-30%, whereas the thermic effect of carbohydrates (energy used) is 6-8%. This means a diet high in protein will burn more fat than a carbohydrate-heavy diet.
  3. Imbalanced hormones play a role. For example, people who are insulin resistant have impaired enzymes and are therefore more likely to store fat than burn it. 

Forget counting calories. 

If you want to lose weight: eat clean, real food; balance the ratio of your carbs, fats and protein; and exercise regularly, incorporating weights, cardio and stretching/relaxation.

Lose Belly Fat with these Two Key Dietary Changes

No matter how well you exercise, if you are still eating processed foods, too many carbs and the wrong kinds of fat, all your efforts may be in vain.

Eating right is the key for weight loss success and it is crucial when you are trying to get rid of visceral fat around your internal organs.

Two vital dietary changes:

  1. Remove processed and refined carbohydrates and you will also remove other harmful chemicals and additives, that can slow down your metabolism. By choosing organic fruit and vegetables, you will also be avoiding herbicides and pesticides, and genetically engineered ingredients. 
  2. Replace the reduced carbohydrates with healthful fats like nuts and seeds, fish, avocado, olives, olive oil, coconut, coconut oil, organic eggs, unheated organic nut oils (eg. Macadamia nut oil). These fats are essential for many processes and reactions in the body. They satisfy our hunger for much longer than carbohydrates and provide a great source of fuel for energy.  … Add the right exercise and watch the fat melt off!

4 Convincing Reasons To Do Squats!

Squats not only work your major leg muscles, but also help to:

  1. Build muscles in your entire body – squats provide an anabolic environment, which promotes muscle building throughout the whole body.
  2. Maintain mobility and balance – strong legs are crucial as we age. Core stabilising muscles are activated during squats, which helps us improve  & maintain our balance, while improving communication between your brain and muscles (helping to prevent falls).
  3. Prevent injuries – sporting injuries generally involve stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, which squats help strengthen. Squats also help improve flexibility (range of motion) in your ankles and hips.
  4. Increase fat burning – leg muscles are the bulkiest muscles in your body. The more muscle you have, the more fat you can burn, even at rest. This extra muscle mass also helps regulate glucose and fat metabolism, helping prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

Top Tips to Keep Fruits and Veggies Fresh Longer

Do you sometimes bring home too many carrots, cucumbers and fresh lettuce, only to find them spoil and become rubbery carrots, slimy cucumbers and rusty lettuce? We have all done this at times.

Science can answer some of this problem. Some fruits and vegetables are climacteric, that is, they emit ‘ethylene’ gas, which helps them ripen over time. When these foods are stored next to ethylene sensitive fruits and veggies, they will spoil much quicker. We cannot see or smell this gas. The reason that a bruised apple spoils much quicker is because of this gas at work.

Some ethylene-producing plants are: tomatoes, avocados, bananas, pears, peaches, nectarines, mangoes, apricots, honeydew melons & kiwi fruit. These can be stored together.

Common fruits & veggies sensitive to ethylene are: apples, lettuce and other greens, broccoli, eggplant, green beans, carrots, potato, asparagus, water melon & cucumbers. Keep these foods separate from those above and watch your fruit and vegetables last longer!