Energy Boosting Pre-Workout Snacks

Maybe you have heard some strange things about the athletes’ eating habits at this year’s Rio Olympics. You may have heard that the only MacDonald’s in the Olympic Village is doing unprecedented business with sales of fries, Big Macs and McNuggets going through the roof. Perhaps you’ve gotten wind of Australia’s badminton Olympian, Sawan Serasinghe, whose late night binge included over twenty items, causing Mickey D’s to put a 20 item limit on all orders. Or maybe you’ve heard about Ryan Lochte’s Friday night 8,000 calorie habit replete with wings, pizza and soda.

Well, while this may seem like a ton of fun, you should know that these athletes require a whole lot more calories than the average person, and that, if you ate only a quarter of what they did, you would probably be morbidly obese. So before you start downing those super sized -meals, here are some more realistic choices.

1. Honey
Recent research shows that carbs that blend fructose with glucose may be better than straight glucose for increasing energy. Although sports drinks may satisfy this description, honey has the perfect fructose- sugar balance with the added benefits of antioxidants. The darker the color of the honey, the better it will be in fighting disease.

Woman drinking chocolate milk

2. Chocolate milk
According to a 2006 study, chocolate milk is the new sports drink! In a study funded by the dairy industry , nine cyclists rode their bikes to the point of exhaustion, rested for a four hour period and then resumed biking. During the period in which they rested, they were given either Gatorade, an electrolyte replacement drink, Endurox, a carbohydrate replacement drink, or low fat chocolate milk. Results showed that the cyclists who drank the chocolate milk could bike about 50 % longer than those who consumed the sports drink. Ovaltine, anyone?

3. Yogurt
Exercise can also affect your immune system and athletes sometimes display greater susceptibility to infections of the upper respiratory tract, Probiotics, found in yogurt, may reduce the likelihood of contracting these infections. According to a 2008 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, endurance athletes who took daily probiotic capsules demonstrated greater activity of immune enhancing T-cells, cutting the likelihood of experiencing such infections by half. Probiotics can also soothe a nervous stomach, while providing a mix of proteins and carbs, great for just before a big race.

Eating Fruit
4. Fruit with A Mozzarella Stick
Who doesn’t love a good mozzarella? According to personal trainer and certified nutritionist, Mary Jane Detroyer, your body need carbohydrates, rather than protein, to perform physical activity. “You need to have something that’s going to get into the bloodstream and stay there throughout the workout. So you wouldn’t want to have a lot of fat or too much protein or too much fiber because those things slow the way the food is absorbed. She recommends fruit, “it doesn’t matter what kind of fruit it is. And you could have a few nuts with that.”

5. Crackers with a little hummus or hummus with veggies and an apple
Detroyer suggests a quarter cup of hummus, which she recommends because the beans in it offer fiber. “It’s going to give you some energy that will stick throughout the workout. Carbs form the veggies and fruit will contribute to the boost.”

And you? Do you subscribe to the healthy pre-exercise snacks or do you swear by the energy of the Big Mac? Let us know what works best for you and if you have some great advice about foods that give you energy, we’d love to add them to our list.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Water

Woman drinking more water
You may have noticed some pretty creative things being done with water lately. You may have seen pitchers of water on the counters of Trader Joe’s or Souplantation with cucumbers or strawberries floating in them. You may have seen ice cubes infused with black raspberries or kiwi slices. Maybe you’ve sucked on a water popsicle with a few frozen cherries inside, Tootsie Roll style. Let’s face it. Water is pretty great for us, but it can be kind of boring. Tom Ford, Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Aniston agree, but they all drink it, and if they can do it, so can you. So whether you infuse it with fruit, fizz it up with bubbles, or down it straight, water is a crucial part of the human diet and here are some of the reasons.

1. It Helps to Balance Body Fluids
The human body is about 60% water. We use this water for saliva, digestion, absorption, maintenance of body temperature, circulation, the transportation of nutrients. When the fluids run low, your brain tells your body you’re thirsty, and when it does, you should listen. Get a drink of water, juice- as long as it’s not alcohol, you’ll be fine. Kaiser Permanents nephrologist , Steven Guest , MD, warns that “Alcohol interferes with brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can lead to dehydration.”

2. Water Can Promote Weight Loss
Although pouring water through your system does not directly result in shedding pounds, it is a great substitution for higher calorie drinks, like soda and sugary fruit juice. You never have to check the sodium content on a water bottle.

As an added perk, food with high water content looks larger. Compare dry pasta to cooked, it puffs up like a balloon, and have you ever seen a prune in contrast with a plum? Water makes a big difference. Water- based foods also take longer to chew and help you feel full, perfect for those who like their portions generous.

Woman drinking water

3. Water Energizes Your Muscles
Imbalances in fluids and electrolytes can cause cells to shrivel up, causing muscle fatigue. To make sure you are getting enough water before and during exercise, look at the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines – which recommends the intake of 17 ounces of fluid two hours previous to physical activity with supplements at regular intervals.

4. Prevents Dehydration
Although water will not erase your wrinkles, dehydration can make them look worse, according to Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD. “Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration. But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.” In other words, if you drink too much, you will only end up needing to run to the bathroom, so don’t overdo it.

5. Helps Your Kidneys
Blood urea nitrogen is the body’s main toxin. Guest says, “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate.” If you take interest in your urination, you should know that free flowing, light colored, odorless urine is a sign that your body is getting enough fluids. Dehydration causes an increase in cold, odor and concentration of urine because the kidneys are working to trap fluids in order to maintain function. Chronic dehydration can cause kidney stones.

Maybe you still think its boring, but you have to agree, water does some pretty great things for us. Let us know how you jazz up for water or what you think of jazzing up water. You may provide some pretty good tips!

Remember To Enjoy Meals With Lean Protein

The word protein comes from the Greek word ‘protas,’ which means ‘of primary importance’ because of its fundamental ability to sustain life. Protein is needed for muscle and tissue growth and repair, pH regulation and providing the body with energy, along with a laundry list of other great things, like boosting immune functions and controlling metabolism. So, bring on the beef, right? At a whopping 51 grams of protein per 6 oz., broiled tri-tip sirloin looks like a pretty good contender for getting your daily protein RDA, matched only by deer meat. So what’s the problem? These items also tend to be high in fat, calories, and cholesterol.

But fear not! These hefty and somewhat dubious specimens are not your only options! Choosing the right cuts of poultry, fish, and meat with the right dairy and a balance of starch and vegetables can help you keep your precious health and gorgeous physique. So are you ready to be a lean mean protein machine? Dig in!

bison tenderloin Bison
Move over grass-fed beef, here comes the bison. Bison has fewer calories and half the fat of red meat. While, according to the USDA, a 90% lean burger averages 10 grams of fat, a buffalo burger of similar size weighs in at 2 grams of fat and 24 grams of protein. Plus, you will earn a full daily allowance of Vitamin B-12 to boost energy and put the kibosh on insulin resistance and formation of fat cells. Additionally, bison is grass-fed , so you can chow down without the fear of hormones and pollutants.

Although technically classified as red meat and similar in taste to beef, this rising star of the protein world has less fat than chicken or turkey. One four oz. burger has almost 39 grams of the muscle builder with only 6 grams of fat. You’ll also get 200% of the daily allowance of B-12 as well as choline, a nutrient essential for fat loss.

Canned Tuna
Now here’s an affordable alternative! With 3 oz providing 16 grams of protein, canned tuna is one of the best fish for keeping fit. According to a study in the Journal of Lipid Research, omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to shut down abdominal fat genes. Worried about mercury levels? In most cases, the leaner and larger the fish, the higher the mercury, with bluefin and albacore among the most toxic. However, canned light tuna comes from the smallest fish and their mercury level is relatively low and up to 12 oz., according to FDA guidelines, can be safely eaten each week.

spinach Spinach
Don’t let the limp leaves fool ya! Spinach can pack a punch that can play with the big boys. One-half cup has almost as much protein as a hard-boiled egg with close to half the calories. It’s also a great source Vitamins A and C, folates, and antioxidants. Make sure you steam this protein producer to retain all its great vitamins and make it easier for the body to absorb its high calcium content. Pile it on soups, sandwiches, and pasta for extra nutrition with no added guilt. FYI: Spinach is among the 10 green vegetables healthier than kale.

Sun Dried Tomatoes
Ooh la la! Lean protein goes gourmet. With 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, sun dried tomatoes are great for pizza, salads, and pasta. They’re also packed with lycopene to reduce rush of lung, prostate, skin and stomach cancer.

Feel free to weigh in on your choices for lean proteins. We love to hear from you.

Foods and Supplements that Support Immune Health

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition” Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

When looking at the history of immunology, it is apparent that the earliest milestone was the vaccination. In 1796, Edward Jenner introduced the small pox vaccine, and admittedly these practices had their benefits, However, by the late 18th to early 19th century, forward thinking of men, like Thomas Edison, began making some very accurate predictions.

While pharmaceuticals are still beneficial and are widely used, it is becoming apparent that the foods we eat may be the most powerful medicines of all.

1. Grass Fed Unpasteurized Organic Milk
Organic milk which comes from grass-fed down contains bacteria and beneficial fats that boost the immune system and can decrease allergies. It is packed with zinc, vitamin A, and enzymes and is not related to health problems associated with pasteurized milk, such as skin rashes, diarrhea, cramps and rheumatoid arthritis.

whey protein 2. Whey Protein
It was good enough for Little Miss Muffett. Since raw milk may be hard to come by, it can be substituted with whey protein that also comes from grass-fed cows for similar health benefits.
Whey is a liquid that separates out from the curd in cheese production, hence curds and whey. It dries to a powdered form in which the nutrients are concentrated and is prepared for packaging and use. In addition, because whey protein contains immunoglobulins and beta glucan, it can fight colds and flu while supporting the detoxification process in the body.

3. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are perhaps the most crucial in improving immunity and kefir is one of the most helpful examples. It is rich in enzymes and packed with microorganisms to boost immunity and keep your “inner ecosystem” running efficiently. Other fermented foods include kimchee, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, olives, and yogurt. The secret behind fermented foods is their high levels of friendly bacteria which effect the gut’s immune system, which protects against pathogens and helps to produce antibodies.

4. Organic Raw Eggs From Free- Range Chickens
If Sly Stallone can eat them, so can you. Raw eggs are an exceptional source of high-quality fat and protein that many people lack. As long as you have a reliable source for getting these babies, you need not fear salmonella.

coconut oil 5. Coconut Oil And Coconuts
Coconut oil is an excellent source of lauric acid, which your body converts to monolaurin. Monolaurin is the compound in breast milk responsible for keeping a baby’s immunity healthy. It is also beneficial to the thyroid and improves metabolism. According to research, lauric acid also has the ability to disturb lipid membranes of disruptive organisms. Try to choose coconuts and coconut oils that are unrefined, unbleached, and organic, produced without chemicals or heat processing and are non-GMO.

ORAC Values
ORAC is the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and the ORAC score is a way of assigning a value to the antioxidant value of foods and supplements, with the higher scores representing the most effective foods. You can check a food’s ORAC score on the ORAC Values website. Stay well and eat well during this flu season and load up on the foods with the biggest nutritional content and feel free to let us know what foods are getting you through this cold and flu season.

Cool Weather Superfoods

Author unknown once said, “People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.”

There is much wisdom in this statement. We should always be concerned with what we are putting in our bodies, after all, food does not know what time of the year it is. Likewise, it will make no difference to our bodies if we stuff that pumpkin pie in our faces in November than March. We should eat well all year around. So with that in mind, and with the resolutions of the New Year looming, let’s talk about some cool weather super foods that will put us on the right track for those remaining 11 months.

oatmeal Oatmeal
What better than some piping hot oatmeal to start your day? The whole grain in oatmeal will give you enough plant based protein and fiber to stop hunger for the rest of the day. This piping hot breakfast food also contains beta- glucan, a starch that has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol by 5 to 10% by just eating 3 grams per day. Keri Gans, RD. suggests mixing in almond butter and chia seeds for some healthy fat content.

Hot Chocolate
A true superfood in every sense of the word,hot chocolate contains flavonoids, an antioxidant believed to decrease free radical damage and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Try to avoid the sugary powdered mix. Increase health benefits by melting in some dark chocolate squares or preparing it with almond milk.

Black Bean Soup
Well, we all know the power of black beans, and this tasty dish is chock full! Beans are a powerful source of copper and iron, which are known to help muscles use oxygen more effectively and support the immune system. One serving of this cold weather treat provides 15 grams of fiber and protein. In addition, black beans have almost no content of saturated fat, in contrast to animal proteins and the American Chemical Society research finds that black beans contain more flavonoids than any other bean.

Brussels Sprouts
Not only are these greens full of phytonutrients to fight cancer and fiber, they are also packed with Vitamin C. As 74.8 mg/ cup, brussels sprouts may be just the thing for fighting a cold this year. If the bitter taste frightens you off, do as Gans suggests and, ” Roast them in olive oil.”

pumpkin soup Pumpkin Soup
If your goal this season is to consume more pumpkin containing products than thought humanly possible, you’re in luck, and you may be on the right track. According to the National Institutes of Health, most women should get 700 micrograms of pumpkin a day. The squash is packed with vitamin A, which is crucial for good vision. If you are thinking of stirring up a batch for the holidays, you will be using about a half cup of pumpkin puree which will give you your daily dose, plus you’ll be getting antioxidants from the beta-carotene. A study on the carotenoid found that it can be effective in the treatment of human breast cancer.

Keep these in mind when you make your holiday menu for a healthy, warm and festive season, we would love to hear about your favorite fall health foods.

Spicy Nutrient Rich Greens

Perhaps, you remember the Seinfeld episode entitled, “The Chicken Roaster” in which Jerry suspects that Kramer is secretly ordering from a chicken place that Jerry is trying to put out of business because its neon sign disturbs his sleep. In an effort to cover for Kramer, Newman tries to convince Jerry that Kramer’s chicken order is actually for him. There is one problem; the order includes steamed broccoli which, as Jerry says, Newman wouldn’t eat, “if it was deep fried in chocolate sauce.” Newman claims to love broccoli, but Jerry remains unconvinced and asks Newman to eat a piece of the offensive vegetable in Jerry’s presence. Although Newman makes a valiant attempt, he is forced to spit it out, proclaiming it a”vile weed,” and calling for honey mustard, which he proceeds to use as a chaser, chugging it straight from the cup with enormous zeal.

If you are like Newman, straight vegetables may be a little hard for you to make peace with. You may find them slightly bitter and maybe on the bland side. If this sounds like you, here are some veggies that are anything but bland.

mustard seed Mustard Greens
Are you ready to try the veg that took home the title of “World’s Most Feared Vegetable?” These spicy green vegetables, also known as leaf mustard, may be one of the healthiest foods in the world, containing Vitamins A and K, carotene, flavonoids and antioxidants. They are also a source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, selenium, and manganese. Eaten regularly, mustard green has even shown to prevent osteoporosis, anemia, and arthritis and to protect against asthma, and prostate and colon cancers. There is also evidence suggesting that the supervening can limit neuronal damage in the brain leading to Alzheimer’s and has enough fiber to ward off hemorrhoids, colon cancer, and constipation.

Want some more tang in your salad? Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable with that offers intake levels of nitrate shown to cut down on the amount of oxygen intake needed for exercise, improve athletic performance and lower blood pressure. So what’s behind arugula’s mighty powers? Studies show that the same thing that gives cruciferous vegetables their bitter taste is also responsible for their cancer-fighting properties. Sulforaphane is currently being studied as an impediment to melanoma as well as prostate, pancreatic and esophageal cancers. In addition, arugula’s high Vitamin K content has been shown to help bones absorb calcium and decrease its urinary elimination.

watercress Watercress
Once used by Hippocrates as a medical treatment, watercress achieved popularity in the 19th century when watercress sandwiches were a standard component of tea for the working class English, earning the vegetable a reputation as “poor man’s food.” Relegated to no more than a garnish in recent years, watercress is now getting its proper recognition. Like arugula, watercress contains nitrate to lower blood pressure and enhance the performance of athletes. Studies have shown it to be effective in reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease while providing increased energy, lower weight, and healthy complexions. Watercress contains 3,3-diindolylmethane or DIM which has been shown in a recent study to function as a shield for a healthy tissue during cancer treatment. Rats were given lethal doses of radiation were able to stay alive longer when treated with DIM and had higher counts of red and white blood cells.

Incorporating The Greens Into Your Diet
Are you ready to bring on the greens? You can incorporate them into casseroles, sauces, and pasta for a slightly peppery taste. Blend them into your favorite smoothie, add them to your omelet, sauteed them in olive oil or use them to make pesto or eat them fresh and chase with large quantities of honey mustard. Let us know if you have gone daring with your greens. We would love to hear about recipes and adventures!

Foods That Prevent Breakouts

So you really did it. Last night, you were watching SNL and you heard the siren’s call of the Ben and Jerry’s fudge core ice cream and you went to town. You walked over to the freezer- one person, one spoon, one mission: to eat the whole thing. And that’s exactly what you did, and now you’re staring at it. That big old zit -right in the middle of your forehead.

You heard that food doesn’t cause acne, hormones do, and you believe it, but every time you eat chocolate, there it is, the huge pimple serving to remind you and your friends how you spent your Saturday night for the rest of the week. If only you could undo it! Well, acne sufferers, while food may not cause acne, some foods may actually prevent it? While there is no evidence that you can make that pimple go away by gorging on the following, there is some proof that certain foods can lead to clearer skin.

1. Flaxseed Or Fish
Not to be confused with omega-6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids can actually reduce inflammation and reduce acne breakouts. Omega-3 can be found in flaxseed, walnuts, and fatty fish.

woman drinking green tea 2. Green Tea
Green tea contains the powerful antioxidant EGCG. Researchers in South Korea applied an EGCG containing cream to rabbit ears and found it decreased the size of the sebaceous glands, which are commonly enlarged in acne sufferers. The antioxidant also was proven to reduce the production of sebum. A follow-up study on humans found that EGCG noticeably improved acne in a split face, 8-week trial. If drinking green tea throughout the day seems a bit challenging, try applying cool, moist tea bags or a green tea moistened cloth to affected areas for 10-15 minutes.

3. Oysters
Good for more than one thing, it seems. Oysters contain zinc, a mineral that has been shown in studies to reduce acne. It is recommended that acne sufferers get zinc from food rather than supplements, which can provide more that 100 mg of zinc per day, a dosage which may result in side effects. You are best off getting your zinc from oysters, veal liver, roast beef, roasted squash and pumpkin seeds, dried watermelon seeds and toasted wheat germ.

woman eating a juice 4. Juice
Juicing is the new black, and it can also clear up your acne. Dark, leafy green veggies, found in some juices, contain beta-carotenes which are anti-inflammatory and help reduce oil while clearing toxins to form the body.

5. Probiotics
Mostly known for their ability to reduce inflammation in the gut, it has now been hypothesized that probiotics may also reduce acne. Research has proven that those who suffered from reactions to toxins found in the gut were also likely to display acne symptoms. Because, prebiotics and probiotics are effective in fighting oxidative stress and inflammation, scientists think that they may also be effective against acne. Probiotics are most often found in kefir, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, miso soup, pickles, tempeh, and yogurt.

Foods To Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Did you eat all your carrots as a child in the belief that, in doing so, you were bound to achieve some sort of 20/10 X-ray vision which would prevent you from ever wearing glasses? Well, that’s probably what mom wanted you to think, and may have thought so herself.

The myth about carrots improving vision began during WWII when the British did not want the Germans to find out about the new technology they had developed and created an explanation for the increase in downed German bombers. They invented a story about a Flight Lieutenant John Cunningham, a.k.a. “Cat’s Eyes,” whose night vision was so acute that he could spot enemies in the dark. The British attributed his ability to the love of carrots.

But before you call your mom to voice your complaints, keep in mind that, besides being extremely valuable to our health, carrots do offer some ophthalmological benefits. Beta Carotene may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, although studies show that it would be difficult for the average person to consume enough carrots in his or her lifetime to obtain the level of intake required to do so. Research shows that Popeye rather than Bugs Bunny was really on to something when it came to healthy vision. Here are some of the foods that keep your eyes healthy.

leafy green veggies

1. Leafy Green Veggies
Dark leafy green contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, with spinach and kale taking the prize for richest in lutein, and Swiss chard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and collard greens coming in a close second.

Carotenoids are also linked with lowering the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Julie Mares, professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine reports, “By age 75, half of us will either have a visually significant cataract or already had one extracted….There’s strong, compelling evidence for a potential protective effect of these carotenoids…They’re nutritional powerhouses…..They’ve got gobs of antioxidants.”

2. Orange Peppers
A 1998 study in the British Journal of Ophthalmology revealed that orange pepper had the highest level of the 33 vegetable and fruits tested. Your body does not produce zeaxanthin on its own, so start eating those peppers!

egg yolks

3. Pastured Organic Egg Yolks
When it comes to those carotenoids, egg yolk may not have as much as veggies, but because the yolks contain protein and healthy fat, they are ideal for absorption. Research finds that adding two eggs to your salad will increase your absorption of lutein and zeaxanthin by 900%.

4. Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon
Omega-3 fat DHA is concentrated in the retina of the eye and gives cell membranes structural support. It protects the function of the retina and improves eye health, which may be a leading factor in the slowing of macular degeneration. It was found that, in a study conducted over a 12-year period, people who consumed the highest amounts of omega-3 fats were the least likely to develop advanced forms of the disease.

5. Astaxanthin
Although astaxanthin is found in wild caught Alaskan salmon, it may be difficult to eat enough of this antioxidant to receive optimal results, and, if eye health is a concern for you, you will want to receive optimal results. Evidence shows that astaxanthin is among the most effective nutrients for preventing blindness and is more powerful as an antioxidant than zeaxanthin and lutein. Dr. Mark Tso of the Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins University says that astaxanthin can easily cross into the eye tissues and works safely and more potently than any other carotenoid without adverse effects. Dr. Joseph Mercola, MD advises taking a supplement beginning with 4mgs per day and increasing it as necessary.

Choosing The Right Foods For Your Skin

Let’s take a moment to give thanks for our skin. Where else would we put our lovely tattoos? Our skin protects us from the sun and keeps out nasty germs. It can be pierced to display beautiful jewelry. It acts as a water barrier. It cools us when we are hot and keeps us warm and snug when we are cold. Plus, the skin is the largest sexual organ of the body. Think about it. Skin is constantly changing. It can be lifted and pulled, darkened and lightened, damaged and healed. Since our skin does so much for us, shouldn’t we make sure we treat it as well as we possibly can?

We are what we eat and our skin is part of what we are. Los Angeles dermatologist, Jessica Wu says, “What you eat can affect your hormone balance, cause acne, and create or lessen inflammation, which is associated with aging.” When it comes to skin care, the foods you put in your body can be just as important as the facial creams you put on it. Here are some foods you can eat that your skin will thank you for.

woman using olive oil

Olive Oil
This makes sense. We all want our skin to maintain oil as we age, so shy not put some in our bellies? A 2012 study found that women who consumed more that 2 teaspoons of olive oil a day showed 31% less evidence of aging. This is because 75% of the fat in olive oil is in monosaturated fatty acids which keep you young and the antioxidants in olive oil defend against dangerous free radicals.

Here’s the perfect place for that olive oil tomatoes. A tablespoon of olive oil along with 5 tablespoons of tomato paste has been proven to give 33% more protection from the sun. Lycopene found in tomatoes can raise the natural SPF levels of the skin.

Dark Chocolate
Delicious and healthy? That’s like being cute and single. Cocoa flavanols can improve circulation and hydrate skin. According to 12-week study, drinking a high flavanol cocoa every day caused less scaliness and roughness to women’s skin. To avoid weight gain while maintaining glowing skin, sticking to a 1 oz. a portion of the cocoa is recommended.

oatmeal Oatmeal
While we are singing the praises of oatmeal, let’s take a moment to point out a less desirable breakfast option, the bagel with jelly. With carbs and refined sugar, a bagel with jelly will increase production of insulin and hormones called androgens which, according to Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, author of “The Beauty Diet,” cause sebaceous glands in the skin to secrete more oil which gets trapped inside pores, causing pimples. Stick to the oatmeal and try topping it with fruit as opposed to brown sugar.

Omega -3 fatty acids are among the best fat sources and sardines are packed with them. One serving has 1.5 grams of Omega-3. Sardines are rich in DHA which is an anti-inflammatory and helps to prevent acne, inflammation being the root cause of breakouts.

Orange Peel
Admittedly a more acquired taste, the researcher found that people who ate the peels of citrus fruits had a 33% reduced risk for squamous cell carcinoma, while juice and fruit had no effect. Peels contain limonene which has UV protective properties. Try blending them into a juice or smoothie for a less bitter taste.

Improving Your After Work Routine

For a lot of American children, American sitcoms set the standards for what a normal life would look like. Take the Brady Bunch, for example. Now, the “Brady Bunch” parents were always busy, but they always had time for fun. After all, who would want to watch a TV show about a family that never has fun? Even while they were busy raising six kids and working, the Bradys still had time to go on vacation, talk about Marcia’s braces, put on plays, go on dates, take vacations, and have guests over. This is the stuff of the American Dream, in which every child would grow up and have a life with a healthy balance of work and fun.

Alas, for many of us, this is not the reality. We find our lives have become an endless series of going to work, coming home, eating on the couch in front of the TV and going to bed. Are you stuck in a rut? Looking forward to a day of fun that never seems to come? Well, there is an alternative. By making just a few changes to your after work routine, you can greatly improve your quality of life.

woman working from home 1. Compartmentalize Work
If your job is demanding, you may have to bring it home with you, but that doesn’t necessarily put the kibosh on everything else. Try to divide work into shifts, taking some breaks for family time. It might also help your productivity, sending you back to work with a new perspective.

2. Be Flexible
Schedules are important but they don’t have to be overly rigid. Time management expert Laura Vanderkam says, “People will say things like, ‘I can’t exercise in the evening because I have a family,’ but you could probably manage it one night a week.” Doing one activity does not necessarily cancel out any other. You can vary your after work activities each day.

3.Turn Off The TV
TV is great, but it really takes up a lot of time. I know you think you really need to see who gets booted off “Dancing with the Stars” every week so you can talk about it around the water cooler tomorrow, but you may find that you will find the trade-off is worth it when you realize how much more you can get done. You can always find out on the internet the next day.

4. Exercise
If you’re already super busy, why would you throw exercise into the mix? Because it is necessary for your health. Plan it in advance, consider scheduling it for after work. That way you will be less distracted at home.

family game night 5. Plan Fun Activities
Vanderkam says,” It sounds counterintuitive for a time-strapped family, but try having a goal of at least one enjoyable group activity so it’s not just a death march to dinner.” Try to keep in mind that sometimes the quality of time is more important than quantity. It could be a quick trip to the ice cream parlor or a night out. Start thinking of things you can do later on your commute from work,

6.Take Advantage Of The Internet
Online shopping is a definite advantage for the time-strapped. You also can sign up for regular deliveries and get online banking done.

7. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Vanderkam says, “Most people who say they get by on only 4 hours alight are probably lying. Successful people know they think better and make smarter decisions after getting enough sleep.”

We’re sure Mrs. Brady always got her 7-9 hours in. Make sure you do too.