What Do Oranges Have To Do With Weight Loss?

According to new research, there’s a new weight loss tool in town: Behold the mighty power of your everyday orange!

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Staying away from sweet treats is a tough thing to do. Luckily, science may have a solution to this: Justsmelling an orange could help your diet along.

Researchers at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior presented two different experiments, one where women were asked to smell either oranges or chocolate before eating. In another study, women were shown images of food or non-food objects, before being provided a snack.

The difference? In the first experiment, women who were given the smell of fresh oranges ate 60 percent less chocolate, compared to how much they ate after smelling chocolate.

“It might be that the smell of fresh oranges reminded dieters to limit intake of a tempting and diet-forbidden snack,” researcher Nicola Buckland told NPR.

In the second experiment, dieters who were shown images of healthy food tended to eat less than dieters who were shown photos of non-food items.

Researchers imagine that the reminder of eating healthy is enough to make dieters eat just a bit less than they normally would, which means simply seeing or smelling healthy foods could be enough to cue healthy eating.

“When tempted by food, dieters should take a few moments to focus on the sensory properties of healthy food, such as the sight and smell of fruit or salad vegetables,” Buckland said in a press release.

Also, start keeping healthier snacks around your house and work desk, to serve as reminders for “dieters to limit their food intake.” Too bad our desks are laden with popcorn and chips.

This Smell’s Not Just For Diets!

Brazilian scientists had participants spend five minutes inhaling one of three substances: Sweet orange essential oil, tea tree oil, or plain old water. Participants then underwent a stressful test while having their vital signs measured. Those who sniffed orange oil were less anxious throughout the test, and the beneficial effects even lingered once the exam was over.

Curious About What Citrus Scents Can Do For You?

Try giving these aromas a sniff:

Grapefruit: Anecdotal evidence suggests that grapefruit aromas can curb depression and enhance memory. Or try taking a whiff before meals to control your appetite. Research from Japan’s Osaka University shows that the scent of grapefruit actually boosts metabolism and reduces food cravings.

Lemon: Prepping for a major meeting? Enhance your performance and your attitude by rubbing lemon balm inside your wrist. The mild lemon scent sends you to a positive place. In fact, a study at the UK’s Northumbria University found that exposure to lemon balm can improve cognitive performance and mood.

Mandarin: At the Mayo Clinic, massage therapists and acupuncturists augment therapies with the gentle scent of mandarin essential oil. Patients have reported reduced stress, better digestion and less nausea.

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Herbs That Help Heal

For anyone with type 2 diabetes, the goal of treatment is to control blood sugar levels. In many cases, exercise and diet is enough to regulate these levels, but when it is not, medicine is available. But even beyond traditional medicine, there are more options still.

As with many other ailments, people often look to natural remedies and herbs to assist with their treatment. Because of this, several botanical and herbal supplements have been studied as alternative treatments for type 2 diabetes, including ginseng, cinnamon and aloe vera. Read onto find out if trying them might work for you.

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• Milk thistle: This flowering herb is found near the Mediterranean Sea. It has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. It is sometimes known by the name of its active component, silybinin. Milk thistle may reduce insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have liver disease.

• Fenugreek: This herb has been used as a medicine and as a spice for thousands of years in the Middle East. Benefits of fenugreek for diabetes have been demonstrated in both animal and human trials. In one study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, fenugreek was found to have a significant effect on controlling blood sugar.

• Psyllium: This plant fiber is found in common bulk laxatives and fiber supplements. Psyllium has also been used historically to treat diabetes. Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes who take 10 grams of psyllium every day can improve their blood sugar and lower blood cholesterol.

• Cinnamon: Consuming about half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can result in significant improvement in blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

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• Holy basil: This herb is commonly used in India as a traditional medicine for diabetes. Studies in animals suggest that holy basil may increase the secretion of insulin. A controlled trial of holy basil in people with type 2 diabetes showed a positive effect on fasting blood sugar and on blood sugar following a meal.

• Ginseng: Ginseng has been used as a traditional medicine for more than 2,000 years. Studies suggest that both Asian and American ginseng may help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. One study found that extract from the ginseng berry was able to normalize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity in mice that were bred to develop diabetes.

• Aloe vera: This plant has been used for thousands of years for its healing properties. Some studies suggest that the juice from the aloe vera plant can help lower blood sugar in people with types 2 diabetes. The dried sap of the aloe vera plant has traditionally been used in Arabia to treat diabetes.

• Bitter melon: This is a popular ingredient of Asian cooking and traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed to relieve thirst and fatigue, which are possible symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that extract of bitter melon can reduce blood sugar.

ImageAccording to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, there is still not enough good evidence to support the use of herbal supplements solely as effective type 2 diabetes treatments. While many of these supplements show promise, until results from additional studies come out, do not take herbal supplements without first consulting with your doctor, since many of them have side effects that may interfere with other medications or exacerbate the health condition.

A Cup Of Beets A Day… Helps to Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control

There are so many tips and tricks for keeping your blood pressure under control, but what really works? This may be news to you but, a cup of beetroot juice a day may help reduce hypertension, according to a small study in the American Heart Association.

People with high blood pressure who drank about 8 ounces of beetroot juice experienced a decrease in blood pressure of about 10 mm Hg. But the preliminary findings don’t yet suggest that supplementing your diet with beetroot juice benefits your health, researchers said.

The health benefits of beet juice aren’t well known, but they are profound. Beet juice is best known as a blood purifier and blood builder that helps in the creation of red blood cells. It improves blood structure and cures diseases of the circulatory system, large intestine, and digestive system.

Benefits of Beetroot Juice

Known for decades as a liver-protective food, beets may not be the newest kid on the superfood block, but mounting research is showing why you should take another good look at this root vegetable in juiced form.

Just Beet ItMany say that juicing beets will give them more energy for their day. Research is showing that this may be due to the ability of components in the juice to improve blood flow. Beetroot juice has been shown to help the body respond better to exercise, by balancing oxygen use and increasing stamina.

Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and naturally occurring nitrates. Nitrates are compounds which improve blood flow throughout the body – including the brain, heart, and muscles. These natural nitrates increase a molecule in the blood vessels called nitric oxide, which helps open up the vessels and allows more oxygen flow as well as lower blood pressure.

Beetroot juice may also be an important ally to lower blood pressure. Whether the yellow or red kind of beets, the juice provides excellent blood pressure-lowering ability. Meta-analysis (a quality study that reviewed many past studies) of 254 people between 2006 and 2012 showed clear reductions in blood pressure, with the systolic blood pressure (the number on top) showing the best reduction.

Eat Or Drink?

In many cases, eating the whole food is the best way to get all the nutrients, fiber and healthy effect. But, in this particular case for blood pressure lowering, you are actually better off drinking the juiced beet root to get the maximum benefit. When you cook the beet or ferment a beet (like we find in a pickled beet), the amount of healthful nutrients for blood pressure benefits will decrease. By juicing, you are going to get 100% of the phytonutrients (plant chemicals) that help your blood pressure decrease.

How Much?

One to two cups of beetroot juice a day have been shown to have a significant effect for lowering blood pressure. Many doctors have been quite surprised by how little was needed to see a benefit for people with high blood pressure. You can juice the beets on your own, which is freshest and cost efficient, or you can spend about $7 for a prepared bottle at the health food store. Because beets are a potent detoxifier, some patients feel best when starting with a lower dose (like a quarter cup) and increase the amount over time.

Please note it is important to not change any prescription blood pressure medication without speaking to your prescribing doctor. Please let your doctor know you are using natural means to lower your blood pressure, which may result in requiring less medication.

Side Effects?

The dark carotenes of beet juice may give your urine and bowel movements a red color. This color change is harmless. Since beets are high in oxalates, people who tend to make oxalate kidney stones may want to avoid beet juice.

Aren’t Nitrates Unhealthy?

Cured foods like hot dogs and bacon are known to be high in nitrites, which are known cancer-causing compounds. Beets, spinach and radishes all have naturally occurring nitrates, which will convert to nitrites during digestion in your body. These naturally occurring versions are not harmful to the body and are very safe when they are eaten with the wonderful natural antioxidants that beets and radishes also provide. The more dangerous nitrites that are added to hot dogs, bacon and cured meats are really the ones to worry about and should be minimized.

In Conclusion…

Treating blood pressure encompasses working on ways to reduce stress, eating healthy food choices, exercising, and getting intake of the proper nutrients.

Beetroot juice can be an excellent addition to a natural regimen designed to help bring blood pressure under control while increasing a person’s stamina and energy.

A Healthy Diet for Vegan, Veggitarian and Pescatarian Athletes

It’s a common misconception that people who regularly spend many hours doing intense, energy-draining workouts need a massive amount of animal protein to stay strong and healthy. Just look at the connection between the paleo and CrossFit communities!  However, it is important to remember that not every body is the same. A diet high in animal protein may give some athletes the energy they need to keep going at the gym, but others will thrive just as well on a vegan diet.

To stay in top shape, athletes need a diet high in protein and carbohydrates. Your body used the carbohydrates to fuel your workout and the protein to retain muscle mass and aid the recovery process post-workout. Of course, this could mean eating a slice of toast before you hit the gym and a juicy steak afterward, but it doesn’t have to. Vegans can also sufficiently refuel their bodies pos-workout with plant-based proteins.

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It’s also a common misperception that green vegetables contain no protein. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the following vegetables have high protein content and are an excellent choice for a post-workout meal.

Protein content in vegetables (3 cups of each)

  • Broccoli rabe – 15 grams
  • Spinach – 15 grams
  • Asparagus – 12 grams
  • Bok Choy – 9 grams
  • Swiss Chard – 9 grams

Making a spinach smoothie or stir-frying some broccoli rabe or asparagus with a healthy grain after a hard workout will keep athletes in great shape. There are also several beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains you can add to your post-workout meal for protein and to satisfy your appetite.

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Protein content in beans, nuts, seeds and grains

  • Tofu (1/2 block) – 22.5 grams
  • Tempeh (1/2 block) 20 grams
  • Lentils (1 cup, cooked) – 18 grams
  • Edamame (1 cup) – 17 grams
  • Oats (1/2 cup dry) – 13 grams
  • Pumpkin Seeds (1/4 cup) – 8.5 grams

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Compare this to how much protein is typically found in meat and animal products:

Protein in Animal Products

  • ½ fillet of Salmon – 39 grams
  • 1 cup of chicken meat – 35 grams
  • 3 ounces of steak – 20 grams
  • 1 ounce of cheddar cheese – 7 grams
  • 1 hard boiled egg – 6 grams
Salmon and Arugula Wrap

Salmon and Arugula Wrap

Athletes who follow a diet heavy in animal products are likely to ingest more protein in a smaller portion of food. Vegan athletes simply need to eat a larger quantity of plants at each sitting.  For example 3 cups of spinach and a ½ block of tofu contain about as much protein ½ of a salmon filet.

It’s also important to remember that in the case of protein, more is not always better. On average, a serious athlete needs about .6 times their body weight in grams of protein per day. This means a marathon runner weighing in at 150 pounds needs and average of 90 grams of protein per day to stay in competing shape. For a vegan athlete, a typical daily menu could look like this:

Breakfast

Tofu scramble with ½ block tofu and 1.5 cups of spinach – 30 grams protein

Lunch

1 cup of lentils with 2 cups of broccoli rabe – 22 grams

Afternoon Snack

¼ cup pumpkins seeds – 8.5 grams

Dinner

½ block of tempeh with 1 cup of bok choy – 29 grams

Of course, most athletes will need more calories than this and should be adding other vegetables and whole grains into their meals, as well. An athlete who eats a lot of animal protein will easily go over 90 grams per day, in which case the excess protein is processed and excreted. Your body isn’t able to store excess protein in the body for later use.

It is completely possible for highly active and competitive athletes to survive and thrive on a plant-based diet. If you are an athlete and find that you feel better when you don’t eat animal products, experimenting with a vegan diet could be the answer!

Is Orange Really The New Blaq?

According to new research, there’s a new weight loss tool in town: Behold the mighty power of your everyday orange!

Staying away from sweet treats is a tough thing to do. Luckily, science may have a solution to this: Justsmelling an orange could help your diet along.

The orange (specifically, the sweet orange) is the fruit of the citrus species Citrus ×​sinensis in the family Rutaceae.[2] The fruit of the Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to distinguish it from that of the Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange. The orange is a hybrid, possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata), cultivated since ancient times.[3]

Probably originating in Southeast Asia,[4] oranges were already cultivated in China as far back as 2500 BC. Arabo-phone peoples popularized sour citrus and oranges in Europe;[5] Spaniards introduced the sweet orange to the American continent in the mid-1500s.

Researchers at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior presented two different experiments, one where women were asked to smell either oranges or chocolate before eating. In another study, women were shown images of food or non-food objects, before being provided a snack.

The Oragne and is the Blaq

The Orange and is the Blaq

 

The difference? In the first experiment, women who were given the smell of fresh oranges ate 60 percent less chocolate, compared to how much they ate after smelling chocolate.

“It might be that the smell of fresh oranges reminded dieters to limit intake of a tempting and diet-forbidden snack,” researcher Nicola Buckland told NPR.

In the second experiment, dieters who were shown images of healthy food tended to eat less than dieters who were shown photos of non-food items.

Researchers imagine that the reminder of eating healthy is enough to make dieters eat just a bit less than they normally would, which means simply seeing or smelling healthy foods could be enough to cue healthy eating.

“When tempted by food, dieters should take a few moments to focus on the sensory properties of healthy food, such as the sight and smell of fruit or salad vegetables,” Buckland said in a press release.

Also, start keeping healthier snacks around your house and work desk, to serve as reminders for “dieters to limit their food intake.” Too bad our desks are laden with popcorn and chips.

This Smell’s Not Just For Diets!

Brazilian scientists had participants spend five minutes inhaling one of three substances: Sweet orange essential oil, tea tree oil, or plain old water. Participants then underwent a stressful test while having their vital signs measured. Those who sniffed orange oil were less anxious throughout the test, and the beneficial effects even lingered once the exam was over.

Curious About What Citrus Scents Can Do For You?

Try giving these aromas a sniff:

Grapefruit: Anecdotal evidence suggests that grapefruit aromas can curb depression and enhance memory. Or try taking a whiff before meals to control your appetite. Research from Japan’s Osaka University shows that the scent of grapefruit actually boosts metabolism and reduces food cravings.

Lemon: Prepping for a major meeting? Enhance your performance and your attitude by rubbing lemon balm inside your wrist. The mild lemon scent sends you to a positive place. In fact, a study at the UK’s Northumbria University found that exposure to lemon balm can improve cognitive performance and mood.

Mandarin: At the Mayo Clinic, massage therapists and acupuncturists augment therapies with the gentle scent of mandarin essential oil. Patients have reported reduced stress, better digestion and less nausea.

 

So now that Autumn is setting in, Is pumpkin the new Blaq… Stay Tuned… Elijah

12 Fitness Apps That Actually Work

Finding a fitness app that lives up to its promises of getting you a bikini bod or washboard abs in 30 days is next to impossible. It’s not surprising. Just like fitness DVDs and workout classes, the app can tell you when and how to work out, but it’s up to you to actually put in the work.

Like diets, there is no one-size-fits-all workout. An app that helped your friend lose ten pounds might not do the same for you. When it comes to workouts, app workouts included, it’s all about finding something that will motivate you to keep working toward your goal.

Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite fitness apps that can actually yield results. Not all of them will work for you, but you may find one in the bunch that will. 

See Me Get Fit – If you are motivated by before and after images, you will probably love this app. It allows you to take a starting photo of yourself, and then check in every few days with a new photo until you reach your goal. This is really helpful if you are more concerned with sculpting muscle rather than losing pounds. – Free

Nike Training Club –  If you need variety in your workout, this one is for you! The app features dozens of workouts, each 30 to 45 minutes long. For each strength training move, the app shows you images and even a video of a model doing the move so you can follow along correctly. It also tracks all of the minutes you log, working you toward bonuses like new workouts or smoothie recipes. – Free

Pocket Yoga – If running and weightlifting isn’t your thing, you’ll love this mini yoga workout. Do one pose or an entire series of poses – you can cater it to your needs. Each pose is demonstrated, and the app tells you how long to stay in position. – $2.99

Nike Plus – If you have gotten lost on a road run more times than you care to admit, then this app is perfect. It connects to your phone’s GPS to map your route while it tracks your mileage and pace. Expect a personal message of encouragement from world class athletes from time to time as well. – Free

7 Minute Workout– No time to work out? I bet you have 7 minutes! The app gives you a daily workout that consists of a variety of strength training moves that only takes 7 minutes to complete. It requires no equipment so it’s easy to work out before you jump in the shower in the morning or even during your lunch break. – Free

Fitbit – Fitbit is a two part deal. You buy a bracelet that connects wirelessly to the app in your phone. It will record how many steps you take, how many miles you’ve logged, how strenuous those miles were, and how many calories you burn each day. You can also link Fitbit to another app, My Fitness Pal, to track your daily food and water consumption. – Free, however bracelet will need to be purchased

Couch-to-5K – A great running app for beginners! This app walks you through a training program that will have you going from nothing to 5K in just two months. Before you know it you’ll be itching to sign up for a half marathon!  – $1.99 

Pushups 0 to 100 – For a lot of people, myself included, they need a concrete fitness goal to work toward. What better goal than 100 push-ups? This app takes 100 days to complete. On day one you do one push up, two on day two, three on day three…you get the idea. Just imagine how sculpted your arms will be on day 100!  – $1.99

FitnessClass – Like going to classes but don’t have time to get to the gym? This app complies all of the popular workout classes on iTunes into one easy app so you can choose which one you want to do. It’s great if you like to try various new workouts! – Free (classes vary in price)

Zombie’s Run – If you can only commit to a run if something is chasing you, or if you’re just an adrenaline junkie, then this app is for you. Instead of taunting the neighborhood dogs to follow you down the street, just plug your headphones into this app. After a few minutes of music, you’ll start to hear zombies coming after you. Run fast to leave them in the dust! A 5K training version is also available  – $1.99-$3.99

Obstacles XRT – Looking for an extreme boot camp type workout? XRT is like having a mini drill sergeant right in your pocket. The app delivers high intensity interval training (HIIT) to your phone giving you a maximum beneficial workout in little time. – $1.99

What are your favorite fitness apps?