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Friday, June 8, 2007

THE HEALTHY U




























Maintaining a healthy diet is the practice of making choices about what to eat with the intent of improving or maintaining good health. Usually this involves consuming necessary nutrients by eating the appropriate amounts from all of the food groups. Since human nutrition is complex a healthy diet may vary widely subject to an individual's genetic makeup, environment, and health. For around 20% of the planet's population, lack of food and malnutrition are the main impediments to healthy eating.Achieving a healthy diet is popularly misperceived as being attainable by eating 'healthy foods'. Many people[attribution needed] falsely believe that there are 'good' and 'bad' foods; they develop bad diets because they think that abundant eating of foods they consider 'healthy' will create a healthy diet. However, this is far from the truth. The consumption of nothing but substances that are deemed healthy, such as an "all-grain diet" or a diet consisting only of pasta or other health-foods, would most likely result in deficiencies because important nutrients (like protein-based foods) would be missed. Foods such as grains, fish, corn, etc. are healthy when consumed with a balanced diet, because in combination they supply us with all of the required nutrients. The most important aspect of any diet is maintaining a healthy intake and balance of foods. The balance of micronutrients gained from meat, vegetables, and other foods is what makes diets healthy, not only consuming 'healthy' foods. For instance, milk, cheese, and other dairy products are known to have a relatively high fat content. Removing such dairy products from a diet may lower fat ingestion, but it will also negatively affect the intake of calcium and riboflavin that such foods offer.











CHECK THE LABEL - Here's a rundown on some popular foods that sound diet friendly but is actually loaded with calories, sugar, and fat!






  • Granola -- Most brands are loaded with calories and sugar. In fact, granola is one of the most calorie dense cereals on the market. A typical 1/2 cup serving has 220 calories and 17 grams of sugar - that's more than 4 teaspoons of sugar. What's more, most people pour 2-cup portions - that's a whopping 660 calories and 51 grams sugar (12 teaspoons -- yikes!).




  • 2% Reduced-Fat Milk -- 2% reduced-fat milk is not that low-fat/low-calorie when you consider that whole milk is 3.3% fat. Breakdown for 1 cup milk:- Whole milk: 150 calories- 2% reduced fat milk: 120 calories- 1% reduced fat milk: 100 calories- Skim milk: 80 calories




  • Chicken Caesar Salads -- It's a salad, right? What could be unhealthy? Thanks to excessive dressing, croutons, and cheese, a standard chicken Caesar salad can total 1,130 calories and add more than 90 grams of fat to your diet!




  • Dried Fruit -- All fruit is packed with nutrition; however, dried fruit is significantly higher in calories than fresh fruit when you calculate comparable amounts. That is because you are taking out all the moisture leaving a small piece of concentrated sugar (albeit "natural" sugar). Consider this: - 12 small pieces of dried mango = 320 calories. 2 red apples + 15 grapes + 1/2 small cantaloupe = 320 calories




  • Yogurt Covered Nuts -- This yogurt snack is strictly food for the soul! It is filled with calories, sugar, fat... and clearly NO active cultures. In fact, 20 yogurt covered nuts = 460 calories, 32 grams fat, 14 grams saturated fat, and 8 teaspoons sugar.




  • Banana Chips -- Bananas fried in oil and sugar - over the top! Consider that 1 cup typically provides 300 calories, 20 grams fat, 18 grams saturated fat (that's the artery clogging type), and 19 grams sugar (4.75 teaspoons).




  • Trail Mix -- Although packed with healthy nutrients and fiber, traditional trail mix is also loaded with calories that add up quickly. In fact, 1/2 cup typically equals 350 calories (that's the same number of calories as 11 cups of air-popped popcorn).




  • Fruit Smoothies -- It's true, fruit smoothies can provide a lot of nutrition, but they pack in the calories as well. One 24-ounce smoothie provides about 450 calories. That's the same amount of calories in 10-12 doughnut holes!







FOODS TO STIMULATE YOU:




1. Celery – while it may not be the first food that comes to mind when it comes to sex, celery can be a fantastic source food for sexual stimulation, as it contains androsterone, an odorless hormone released through perspiration that turns you on. How to enjoy it: Celery is best eaten raw. Wash and cut some, and munch away





2. Raw oysters – this is one of the classic sexy foods. Oysters are high in zinc, which raises sperm and testosterone production. Oysters also contain dopamine, a hormone that increases sexual fun. The experience of shucking a raw oyster is erotic. Try incorporating it into your foreplay -- feed him and have him feed you. The slippery taste sensation and the mere act of shucking it should get you both in the mood. How to enjoy them: Scrub the shells thoroughly to get any dirt/bacteria off. Pry them open and place them on a bed of ice, squeeze some fresh lemon onto them if you like, and then start shucking away.






3. Bananas – bananas contain the bromelain enzyme, which is believed to improve male libido. Additionally, they are good sources of potassium and B vitamins like riboflavin, which increase the body's overall energy levels. How to enjoy them: Place them on a dish in various states of "undress" and have your man slowly eat some for you. Then gobble yours down and get to work.






4. Avocado – the Aztecs called the avocado tree ahuacatl or "testicle tree." While avocados can indeed look like that body part, they contain high levels of folic acid, which helps metabolize proteins, thus giving you more energy. They also contain vitamin B6 (a nutrient that increases male hormone production) and potassium; two elements that help enhance your libido. How to enjoy it: Cut one in half, scoop out the insides with your fingers, and then get your man to lick it off.






5. Almonds (or nuts in general) – almonds are a prime source of essential fatty acids. These are vital as they provide the raw material for a man's healthy production of hormones. Try lighting some almond-scented candles to encourage his mood and snack on some (but not too many) yourself to store up energy for your performance. How to enjoy them: Eat them raw (with no added salt or sweetness). Alternatively, crush some fresh almonds and sprinkle them on your salad to get the energy you need. Onto some fruit, eggs and other things you will not believe...









6. Mangoes, peaches, strawberries – what can be more fun than sinking your teeth into a drippy, sticky-sweet fruit? Probably doing that as a prelude to (or during) sex. All of the above fruits and their shapes, textures and succulence are erotically suggestive and can be fun to use amid foreplay. Try dribbling the juices over your bodies and licking up the residue as an erotic game. It makes a great (and tasty) way to discover each other's bodies. How to enjoy them: Peel the mango, cut the peach and slice up some strawberries, and feed your mate while he is giving you oral sex.






7. Eggs – although not the most sensual of foods, eggs are high in vitamins B6 and B5. These help balance hormone levels and fight stress, two things that are crucial to a healthy libido. Eggs are also a symbol of fertility and rebirth some people will eat raw chicken eggs just prior to sex to increase their libido and maximize energy levels. However, all bird and fish eggs contain B6 and B5. How to enjoy them: Have some caviar and (a bit of) champagne during your fun or gobble down some hard-boiled eggs beforehand.





8. Liver – a good source of glutamine -- a cellular fuel for your immune system -- liver may indeed increase a slowed-down libido. Granted, it is not the sexiest of foods, but if you add it to your basic diet, your body – and your mate -- will thank you for it. How to enjoy it: Try frying liver up in a pan with some onions, spices and olive oil to make the taste more agreeable.









9. Figs – these are high in amino acids, which are believed to increase libido. They can also improve sexual stamina. Furthermore, the shape of a fresh fig and the sweet, juicy taste are two tangible aspects that are highly pleasurable to the human senses. How to enjoy them: Feed him some fresh figs and let the juices run all over while you are both being revved up








10. Garlic – yes, you might need to stock up on some extra breath mints, but it will be worth it. Garlic contains allicin, an ingredient that increases blood flow to the sexual organs. As such, it is a highly effective herb for increasing libido. If the odor just will not work for you, or you cannot stand garlic, you and your mate can always take garlic capsules instead. How to enjoy it: Well, chances are you cannot enjoy garlic and sex simultaneously, so take some capsules and get it over with.





11. Chocolate – chocolate contains theobromine -- an alkaloid -- which is very similar to caffeine. It also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical believed to produce the feeling of "being in love." So when your man talks about how good chocolate makes him feel, there is some science behind it. In addition, dark chocolate has a massive amount of anti-oxidants, which are great for the body in general, as they help maintain the immune system. How to enjoy it: From chocolate bars to chocolate fondue, as long as it is chocolate, you and your mate will be in for a tasty session




HOW TO UNDERSTAND AND USE THE NUTRITION FACTS LABEL







8 WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR METABOLISM:





1. Get active - it's a sure-fire way to increase the amount of muscle you have, which in turn will speed up your metabolism. Do a mixture of aerobic and resistance training for best results. And don't forget to be more active in your daily life too.




2. Eat little and often - there's evidence that eating small, regular meals throughout the day, rather than one or two large meals, may help to keep your metabolism ticking over. Surprisingly, around 10 percent of the calories we use each day go on digesting and absorbing food - so the more times you eat, the greater this effect is likely to be.




3. Eat plenty of protein-rich foods - research shows that around 25 percent of calories in a protein-rich meal may be burnt off. But make sure you choose low-fat protein foods such as lean meat, skinless chicken and low-fat dairy products.




4. Spice up meals - it's not an old wives tale after all! Spices like chilli are thought to raise metabolism by up to 50 percent for up to three hours after eating, due to increasing your heart rate. But before putting the local Indian takeaway on speed dial, work out which curries have the lowest calorie and fat content.




5. Swap you daily cuppa for green tea - there's evidence that it contains antioxidants that speed up metabolism.




6. Try a CLA supplement - more extensive studies need to be carried out before any definite conclusions can be drawn, but research has shown that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) might increase muscle and therefore boost metabolism.




7. Chill out - research shows that being very cold can increase metabolism by up to 20 percent.




8. Have a sauna - being very hot is also thought to boost metabolism by about 20 percent (but check you don't have any underlying medical problems that mean you shouldn't go in saunas or steam rooms).





FOODS THAT MAY BOOST BRAIN POWER:


Your diet affects your ability to think and concentrate. Have you ever wonder what foods may improve your brainpower? The brain needs food to function. It constantly drawson glucose in fluid surrounding your brain cells. Since the brain cannot store glucose, it needs a continuous supply from foods. “This glucose is best obtained by complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes and fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Lona Sandon, a registered dietician at UT Southwestern Medical Center and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Much more research is needed about food and its effect on the brain; however, there is plenty of information available about how to improve our diets to help boost brainpower: Studies show that skipping breakfast reduces school and work performance; try whole-grain toast with a little peanut butter or fruit and a glass of non-fat milk for a healthy breakfast. A healthy mid-afternoon snack – not junk food – ishelpful to maintain glucose levels. Studies show that eating fish once per week can slowage-related mental decline; oily types of fish such as salmon and tuna are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers found that compounds in blueberries, strawberries and spinach could positively affect memory in rats. According to New Scientist magazine: “Studies suggest that boosting dietary intake of choline (found in eggs) may slow age-related memory loss.” Caffeine and sugar produce a quick high that accelerates activity or concentration, but quickly wears off and may leave you feeling even more sluggish. Too much food may cause you to become lethargic and think slowly. Skipping meals and not eating enough food may cause hunger, which can affect concentration. SMART FOODS – according to a recent article in Psychology Today, those brain-boosting foods can be found in your local produce aisle:” Anything brightly colored is brain food loaded with vitamins, minerals and photochemical that maintain brain health and enhance mental performance.” That colorful produce is usually loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants, which combat damage done by free radicals, are found in foods with vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene: Vitamin E: Eat nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetable oil and fortified cereals. Vitamin C: Drink citrus juices. Eat citrus fruits, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi and strawberries. Beta-carotene: Eat spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches and grains. Other foods important for brain health include those with B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium: B vitamins: Eat whole grains, avocado and salmon. Iron: Eat lean red meat, cooked beans and peas, dark, leafy vegetables and dried fruits. Drink orange juice with iron to enhance absorption. Zinc: Eat lean meats, shellfish, whole grains, leafy greens and beans. Calcium: Drink non-fat milk. Eat yogurt, cheese, beans, almonds, tofu – and dark, leafy greens. Magnesium: Eat dark, leafy greens such as spinach, soybeans, halibut and navy and black beans. “Eating all these foods within a balanced diet will keep your brain functioning optimally,” says Sandon. “One serving of fish is not going to make you brilliant; it’s what you eat every day throughout your life that makes an impact!”


THE ABC's OF EATING:

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