Get a Dose of Heart-Healthy Fats

 

I love salmon — it’s a power food that works with your body’s hormones, helping them to function properly. It contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that’s good for the heart and the metabolism. When you maintain consistently high levels of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain you’re full, your metabolism can fall into a rut, but omega-3 fatty acids can kick-start it again by causing a brief dip in leptin. For a healthy dose of omega-3s, try this delicious salmon dish. Buy wild-caught salmon, which is lower in toxins than farm-raised, and choose fresh tomatoes from your local farmers’ market.

Salmon and Lentils With Moroccan Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, divided
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed
  • 400g reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed (whole or ground)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed (whole or ground)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom pods (whole or ground)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (whole or ground)
  • 3 whole cloves, or 1/8 teaspoon ground
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 400g peeled, no-salt-added tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
  • 4 85g salmon fillets, boned and skinned

Preparation

Spread the almonds on an ungreased baking pan. Place in a 180° oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes or until the almonds are light brown; stir once or twice to ensure even browning. Note that the almonds will continue to brown slightly after removal from the oven.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring lentils and broth to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Meanwhile, put all whole spices in a grinder and process until well ground, or combine ground spices in a small bowl.

Coat a skillet lightly with vegetable cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic; sauté about 5 minutes, until translucent. Mix in 1 1/4 teaspoons of the spice mixture, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.

In an electric blender, pulse tomatoes just until roughly puréed; add to pan with hot sauce and heat through. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix remaining spices, salt, and pepper; rub onto both sides of the salmon fillets.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat lightly with vegetable cooking spray; add salmon to pan without crowding. Sauté salmon for 4 minutes; turn, cover, and cook 3 to 6 minutes longer, depending on thickness, or until cooked through.

Stir 2 tablespoons of almonds into the lentils; divide among four plates. Top with salmon and tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds.

Makes 4 servings.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 45 mins

Nutrition Facts 
Number of Servings: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 343
Total Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 44 mg
Sodium: 512 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 29 g
Dietary Fiber: 14 g
Protein: 28 g

MYTH: Fat-Free Is Always the Best Choice

 

Fat free sounds like it would be your best option, right? Well, that’s not always the case. Jillian Michaels gets to the bottom of this diet myth.

The Truth: Fat-free foods can be full of chemicals and may contain almost as many calories as their full-fat counterparts.

We hear so much bad news about fat that it makes sense you’d want to try to avoid it at all costs. In fact, I’m sure that at some point in your life, you’ve fallen for the fat-free food-label phenomenon. That’s why I want to take some time to really clear up this weight-loss myth. Just because the label says it’s “fat-free” doesn’t mean it’s low in calories OR that it’s good for you! I know food labels can be tricky and confusing, so let me break down why you should avoid fat-free foods — and tell you other tricks to look out for in the grocery aisles.

Some fat-free foods, with the exception of organic dairy products, are full of chemicals and can be bad for you.According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), “fat-free” foods must have less than .5 grams of fat per serving to use that label. Sounds good, except many of those foods can be higher in carbs than the full-fat versions and contain almost as many calories. Why? Because food manufacturers tend to add other fillers and chemical crap (like sugar, flour, thickeners, and salt) to make up for the lack of taste, nutrients, texture, and palatability. Fat-free cookies are a perfect example. Some fat-free cookies have more sugar and other sweeteners than cookies with 1 or 2 grams of fat that use more wholesome ingredients. Non-fat or fat-free dairy is okay as long as it’s organic, like organic skim milk or organic nonfat yogurt, be sure to always check the labels on these items.

Beware of sugar-free foods too. Many people assume that “sugar-free” means “carb-free,” but it does not. Compare the total carbohydrate content of a sugar-free food with that of the standard product. If there is a big difference, the sugar-free version might be worth buying IF it is made with a nontoxic sweetener like Stevia or Xylitol. Do not buy anything that contains artificial sweeteners like aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) and sucralose (Splenda), though. If there is little or no difference in the carb content, choose the option with the most natural ingredients. Also, don’t confuse “sugar-free” with “no sugar added,” which means that sugar wasn’t added during processing or packaging — but that doesn’t mean the food is sugar-free.

Ideally, always choose the low-fat version of foods. According to the FDA and USDA, “low-fat” foods must have 3 grams of fat or less per serving. This is the best option because these foods aren’t filled with the same artificial sweeteners or fillers like sugar-free and fat-free foods can be, and they have less fat than the full-fat versions. Try to buy low-fat dairy products like low-fat organic yogurts, cottage cheese, or milk. Look for low-fat and low-sodium cold cuts, granola, breads, and more. If the low-fat food is unavailable, I’d rather you choose the full-fat version instead of the fat-free kind and just have a small amount. Though you may be consuming more calories with the full-fat version, you’re avoiding all of the chemicals in the fat-free option.

The Bottom Line: Fat-free foods are probably your worst choice in regard to your health. I want you to always choose the low-fat option, and if it’s not available, go for the full-fat food in a smaller quantity.

CELLULITE NATURAL TREATMENTS

 

 

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Dimples on the face are usually considered attractive, dimples on your thighs and buttocks, not so much. Cellulite is very common for women and has been for years. That’s why our grandmothers found ways to deal with it.

Cellulite Natural Treatments
Cellulite shows up when a pocket of fat beneath the skin pushes on the connective tissue, creating a cottage cheese effect. Women are particularly prone to cellulite because their connective tissue is softer than that of men. Usually the troublesome bumps appear on the buttocks, hips and thighs. Try the following natural homemade treatments:
To make effective massage oil, pour a little more than ¾ cup of wheat germ oil over a handful of fresh ivy leaves and let steep for two weeks in a sealed container in a warm location. Strain and mix in 2 drops of rosemary oil. Rub into your trouble spots daily, using circular motions.

homemade
Other oils such as cinnamon, lavender, chamomile, clove, rosemary, and sandalwood, can be mixed with a base oil to create massage oil for cellulite patches.
Potatoes possess remarkable healing powers, including the ability to tighten your connective tissue. To take advantage of this, peel one raw potato and spread thin slices onto the skin affected by cellulite. Cover with cotton cloth and let work for 15 minutes.

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Create your own mixture to tighten the subcutaneous tissue by boiling about 3 tablespoons ivy leaves in 1/2 liter of water for 2 minutes, then strain. Moisten cotton cloths with the cooled liquid and apply to the affected areas once a day for 20 minutes.
Massaging sea salt into your moist skin can also be effective. Do it after taking a shower, then rinse off with warm water.
Also remember, that diet and exercise are also key to preventing cellulite. First and foremost, people carrying excess pounds must slim down.

From: Natural Remedies for Healthy Living , The Readers Digest Association,2011

The Secret to a Better Butt

 

The gluteals — your butt muscles — are the largest and strongest muscles in the body. Their function is hip extension, or driving the upper legs backward. I cannot overstate how important it is to make sure these muscles are getting their workout. Activities that engage this muscle group include walking, running, jumping, and climbing. Lunges, leg lifts, and squats are all great for exercising the glutes. Here’s the lowdown on some of my favorite squats.

Traditional squat (good if you’re a newbie): Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with your weight on your heels. Keep your abs tight and your shoulders squarely over your hips. Sit back and down as if you were going to sit on a bench. Keep your back straight. Then stand up, straightening your legs, and repeat.

Sumo squat (pictured above, good if you’re a little more advanced): Place your feet as wide apart as you can and point your toes outward. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a beat, then exhale and press back up to the starting position. Repeat. This squat modification places a greater emphasis on the inner and outer thigh muscles.

One-leg squat (good if you’re a hard-core exerciser): Stand with your weight balanced on your right leg. Lift your left foot an inch or so off the ground. Keep your head up, and don’t lean forward; abs stay tight, and the right heel stays on the ground. Don’t let the knee extend over the toe. Slowly lower yourself as far as you can comfortably go. Exhale and stand up straight, still balancing on the right leg. Continue for a full set on the right leg, then switch to the left leg and repeat. This modification requires tremendous balance and allows you to strengthen each leg.

Spirulina-enhances-anti-cancer-natural-killer-cell-abilities

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“Natural killer cells” sound like cells you don’t want to run into in a dark alley. Well, if you’re a tumor cell or a virus, that’s true. These cells have unique abilities to recognize foreign invaders in the body and eradicate them. Recent research indicates spirulina, an algae found largely in fresh water, is able to activate these cells and use them to target tumors.

Spirulina is an ancient super-food, used for centuries as a natural medicine. It’s good for your eyes, skin, blood sugar, and it’s a cancer-fighter. A recent study from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan indicates spirulina’s tumor fighting abilities may come from its ability to boost “natural killer cells”.

“Oral administration of hot-water extract of Spirulina, cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis, leads to augmentation of NK cytotoxicity in humans. Here, we applied to syngeneic tumor-implant mice (C57BL/6 versus B16 melanoma) Spirulina to elucidate the mechanism of raising antitumor NK activation…Spirulina and BCG-cell wall skeleton synergistically augmented IFN-gamma production and antitumor potential in the B16D8 versus C57BL/6 system. We infer from these results that NK activation by Spirulina has some advantage in combinational use with BCG-cell wall skeleton for developing adjuvant-based antitumor immunotherapy.”

 
 

The researchers implanted tumors into mice. They then administered spirulina orally and watched the mice for molecular signals. As they watched, the mice went through changes indicating killer cell activation. The implanted melanoma cells slowly regressed under the fire of these killers, until they annihilated the entire tumor.

 

As NaturalNews reports:

“Molecular communications with in vitro bone-marrow-derived dendritic cells showed further natural killer cell activation properties that were derived from the oral spirulina treatments. Furthermore, through studies of cellular communication, the researchers noted that spirulina enhances NK activation against tumors through one specific pathway in the mice. A specific immune cell also worked in coordination with spirulina to exert synergistic antitumor activity. This BCG cell wall skeleton worked with spirulina to boost IFN gamma production, strengthening antitumor potential. When the two are used simultaneously, natural killer cells increase down the specific MYD88 pathway, creating an antitumor immunotherapy advantage.”

In addition to being a cancer-fighter, this deep sea superfood has numerous other benefits. It’s rich in protein and nutrients, and it’s a good source of antioxidants. It helps purify the blood and can aid in detoxing heavy metals like mercury and arsenic.

by Elizabeth Renter

Sources:

Natural Society

Image Credit

4 Moves for Insanely Toned Abs

Get ready for your bikini closeup on Instagram, all summer long

 
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This total-body strength routine works overtime to firm your core by challenging your stability. The result? An effective sweat session we don’t mind doing in the heat! Perform three sets on nonconsecutive days three times a week.

 
MOVE 1Suitcase Deadlift
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SON OF ALAN
 
  

Hold two 8- to 10-pound dumbbells at your sides and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (a). Keeping your abs engaged and your knees soft, sit your hips back to slowly lower the dumbbells until they reach the middle of your shins. Your back should be parallel to the floor (b). Pressing through your heels and tightening your abs, quickly return to start. Squeeze your glutes once you’re completely upright. That’s one rep. Do 10.

MOVE 2Half-Kneeling Overhead Dumbbell Press
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SON OF ALAN
 
  Kneel down with your right leg bent in front of you at a 90-degree angle. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand in front of your shoulder (a). Keeping your core and glutes tight, press the weight directly overhead until your arm is fully extended (b). Use your back and shoulders to slowly lower the weight back down to start. That’s one rep. Do 10, then repeat on the other side.

Quick Tip: Your arm should be close to your ear when it’s fully extended.

MOVE 3Goblet Split Squat
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SON OF ALAN
 
  

Stand with your right leg in front of you and your left leg behind, and hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest with both hands (a). Engage your abs to keep your balance as you slowly lower your left knee toward the floor, bending your right knee to a 90-degree angle (b). Rise back to the starting position. Do 10, then repeat on the other side.

MOVE 4Bent-Over Row
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SON OF ALAN
 
  

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, hips pushed back, and back straight. Hold two dumbbells just outside your shins, arms hanging down (a). Quickly row the dumbbells up to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides and squeezing your shoulder blades together (b). Slowly lower the weight back down to start. That’s one rep. Do 10.

Quick Tip: Keep your head in line with your spine.

PUBLISHED: JULY 23, 2014   |   BY KATIE MACK

Source: Katie Mack, a trainer at peak performance in NYC.

Best and Worst Foods for Bloating

 

Feeling puffed up after a meal? Keep your digestive system humming along by eating flat-belly foods and avoiding those that bloat.
stomach-bloat

Credit: Getty Images

 

Where’s that bloat coming from?

by Charlene K. Petitjean

Let’s talk about something uncomfortable: gas and bloating. Most of us pass gas anywhere from 12 to 25 times a day, according to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and surveys show that abdominal bloating affects up to 30% of Americans. “Having a perfectly flat stomach all the time isn’t normal,” says Healthcontributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD. “After you eat and drink, food and liquids take up space inside your stomach and intestines, and that means some expansion.” 

A ballooned belly doesn’t necessarily indicate that something is wrong with what you eat, but if your abdomen is too swollen to squeeze into your jeans, you may want to identify the belly bloaters in your diet. 

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Credit: Getty Images

 

Worst: Broccoli, cabbage, kale

Kale, broccoli, and cabbage are cruciferous vegetables, which contain raffinose — a sugar that remains undigested until bacteria in your gut ferment it, which produces gas and, in turn, makes you bloat. But don’t shun those healthful greens just yet. “Consistently eating nutrient-rich, high-fiber foods leads to having a stronger, healthier digestive system that’s less prone to bloating,” Sass says. 

So keep eating the green stuff, but keep your portions in check. And if you absolutely can’t part ways with even a gram of your kale, steam it: “Cooking any vegetable softens the fiber and shrinks the portion as some of the water cooks out, so it takes up less space in the GI tract,” Sass says. It won’t eliminate or prevent bloating altogether, but it may make your veggies easier to digest. 

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Credit: Getty Images

 

Worst: Legumes

It’s probably not news to you, but beans, along with lentils, soybeans, and peas are gas-causing foods. These little guys are basically bursts of protein in a pod, but they also contain sugars and fibers that our bodies can’t absorb. So when legumes reach the large intestine, your gut bacteria take the lead and feast on them. This process leads to gas and can balloon out your waist. 

Combine legumes with easily digestible whole grains, like rice or quinoa. Your body will eventually get used to them. “If you eat fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, and beans often, they won’t bother you as much as if you eat them sporadically,” Sass said.

 
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Credit: Getty Images

 

Worst: Dairy

If you feel gassy after a few slices of cheese or a bowl of cereal with milk, you may be lactose intolerant, which means your body lacks the necessary enzymes to break down lactose (the sugar found in dairy products). That can cause gas to form in the GI tract, which may trigger bloating. 

So before all that gas gets to you, steer clear of dairy products and opt for the many lactose-free or nondairy alternatives out there. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) also suggests the use of lactase tablets like Lactaid, which help people digest foods that contain lactose. 

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Credit: Getty Images

 

Worst: Apples

An apple a day may save you a trip to the doctor’s office, but it does not keep the bloat away. High in fiber, apples also contain fructose and sorbitol, sugars found in fruits that many people can’t tolerate, Sass says. The result? You guessed it: gas and the inevitable puffy feeling. 

Apples are a great snack, however: One fruit provides an average of 4.5 grams of protein and around 10% of your daily vitamin C requirement, so don’t give up on them altogether. “Eating apples specifically has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and respiratory problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema,” Sass says. Eat them in moderation and separately from meals, and time your eating right: “If you’ll be wearing a form-fitting outfit or bathing suit, you might not want to reach for an apple,” Sass says. Other fruits that bloat: pear, peaches, and prunes.

 
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Credit: Getty Images

 

Worst: Salty foods

Eating high-sodium foods can trigger water retention, which can balloon you up, Sass says. Avoiding sodium isn’t as simple as steering clear of the saltshaker, however. The CDC reports that about 90% of Americans consume more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet (2,300 mg per day for most people, and 1,500 mg for adults over 50, and people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high risk of hypertension). Sodium sneaks its way into most processed and packaged foods, including soups, breads,  salty foods. That makes it very difficult to avoid. When and if you do succumb to salt, drink a lot of water to help flush it out.

 
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Best: Cucumber

People use cucumbers to reduce puffiness under their eyes—and you can eat them to do the same thing for your belly. The vegetable contains quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that helps reduce swelling, says Sass. 

“Cucumbers have been shown to inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes,” she adds.

So slice it up and eat it as is, or swap sugary drinks with a glass of cucumber water.

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Best: Bananas

Foods rich in potassium—like bananas, plus avocados, kiwis, oranges, and pistachios—prevent water retention by regulating sodium levels in your body and can thus reduce salt-induced bloating. Bananas also have soluble fiber, which can relieve or prevent constipation. 

“Bloating can also be caused by constipation,” Sass says. “If you’re not able to eliminate waste in the GI tract, you become ‘backed up’ so to speak, which can lead to a bloated look.”

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Best: Papaya

The enzyme contained in papaya (papain) helps break down proteins in your GI system, which makes digestion easier. Sass says that the tropical fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as fibers that support a strong digestive tract. 

Eat papaya whole and fresh or blended into a smoothie

 
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Best: Asparagus

Asparagus is an anti-bloating superfood. Sure, it makes your urine smell, but it also makes you pee, period—helping you flush all that excess water, thus relieving any discomfort and bloat. 

It also contains prebiotics, which help support the growth of ‘good’ bacteria, according to Sass. This helps maintain a healthy balance in your digestive system to prevent and/or reduce gas. 

Finally, the vegetable contains soluble and insoluble fibers, which helps promote overall digestive health. 

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Best: Yogurt with probiotics

Get some of those good bacteria into your gut! Called probiotics, they help regulate digestion and champion the overall health of your digestive tract. Sure, you can take probiotic supplements, but you may as well get a breakfast out of it. 

So eat your bloat away with a yogurt that has active cultures. You can sweeten it with a little honey, jam, or granola.

 
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Credit: Getty Images

  

Best: Fennel seeds

Fennel is a digestive tract savior. The seeds have a compound that relaxes GI spasms, which allows gas to pass and relieve bloating, says Sass. 

You can find fennel and fennel seeds in breads, sausages, and other meat dishes. You can also chew on the seeds directly or sip on a fennel tea at the end of a meal.

 
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Credit: Getty Images

 

Best: Ginger

Ginger is a go-to home remedy for colds, achy muscles, cramps, and seasickness. Add bloating to the list—ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and an all-star digestive aid. It soothes the digestive system and relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract, which can relieve bloating, Sass says. It also contains an enzyme that absorbs proteins, thus reducing protein-induced puffiness and gas. 

Fresh ginger can be added to smoothies and salad dressings, and it adds tons of flavor to food. You can also make homemade tea.

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Credit: Getty Images

 

Best: Peppermint and chamomile tea

If you’re feeling stretched out after dinner, you can sip on a hot cup of peppermint or chamomile tea. Both kinds relax GI muscles to help dissipate the gas that causes your stomach to bloat. Aside from improving digestion, chamomile can also soothe and relax, which can help ease any sort of stomach discomfort.