Category Archives: Natural Ingredients

Caffeine: Myth Vs. Fact

It would not be an exaggeration to say that caffeine has achieved celebrity status. In fact, it is possible that caffeine has received more mixed press than Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson and both presidential candidates in the 2016 election. The stimulant has been credited with everything from causing cancer to curing it, and the verdict seems to vary with the weather. While the jury still seems to be out on the final judgment, there are a few things that we do know to be facts about caffeine so let’s take the time to clear up to sort out some of the tabloid rumors from the hard truth. Its time to separate myth from fact about the sordid tales of caffeine.

Coffee
Myth No. 1: Caffeine is Addictive
Ok, so maybe a little bit. Caffeine does stimulate the central nervous system, and, yes, regular use does can lead to a mild physical dependence. However, it doesn’t pose a threat to your mental, physical, economic or social health.

If you choose to go cold turkey on your java habit, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal, including headache, anxiety, irritability, and depression. However, because the severity of the withdrawal is relatively low, most experts agree that caffeine dependence is not a serious addiction.

Myth No. 2: Caffeine Causes Insomnia
Although this will likely come as a surprise to most of us, caffeine is not a huge culprit when it comes to preventing sleep. While the body absorbs caffeine quickly, it also disposes of it quickly. Caffeine has a comparatively short half-life; it takes about five to seven hours for the body to eliminate half of it. Thus 75% of the caffeine is gone eight to ten hours after consumption. So, a morning coffee or two should have no bearing on your sleep.

However, consuming caffeine later in the day can be a different story. Most people will be safe from a disrupted sleep as long as they avoid caffeine for at least 6 hours before bedtime. More sensitive people may experience not only insomnia, but also nervousness and upset of the gastrointestinal system.

coffee
Myth No. 3: Caffeine Increases Risk of Heart Disease, Osteoporosis, and Cancer
For most healthy adults, a moderate amount of caffeine (3 cups of coffee, or 300 mgs of caffeine) a day will not cause problems. However, some people, such as those who battle with high blood pressure, may be more vulnerable.

Osteoporosis
High doses of caffeine (more than 744 mgs per day) have been shown to decrease calcium and magnesium in urine, but no studies suggest it contributes to bone loss, especially if your intake of calcium remains high. Two tablespoons of milk added to your java will offset any lost calcium. Be warned though – research has shown links between caffeine intake and hip fracture in mature adults. Older coffee drinkers are advised to discuss their daily dose of caffeine with a health care expert.

Cardiovascular Disease
Caffeine causes a slight rise in heart rate and blood pressure, but large studies have failed to find a connection between caffeine and high cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, or heart disease. If your blood pressure is high, you may want to discuss the effects of caffeine with a doctor, as more research is required to tell whether or not caffeine leads to an increased risk of stroke in those who have high blood pressure.

Cancer
Thirteen studies of 20,000 people revealed no link between cancer and caffeine, and evidence has even surfaced that caffeine may even protect against the disease.

Myth No. 4: Caffeine Can Sober You up
It may seem like it, but the truth is judgment and reaction time are still impaired. In fact, the mixture of caffeine and alcohol is more likely to cause car accidents than alcohol alone.

Myth No. 5: Caffeine Is Harmful to Children
Big shocker here. According to research obtained in 2004, kids age 6 to 9 can consume about 22 milligrams a day and still remain within the recommended limit. However, that’s not to say you want to turn the little ones into regular caffeine fiends. Some children can be more sensitive and may experience anxiety or a “crash” post caffeine intake. Besides, most caffeinated beverages contain other things that most of us don’t want out children to ingest.

So, are you team caffeine or not? Of course, its all about moderation and sensible judgment, but let us know how you weigh in!

Add Some Avocado Oil To Your Diet

Life seems to be getting better. First, olive oil becomes the new superfood, and Italian food is back on the menu. Then, we find out dark chocolate has antioxidants and our afternoon snack got a lot more interesting, But now, a true star has emerged, avocado oil, and indeed, it may be the happiest thing to happen to food thus far.

When scientist David Fairchild declared avocados to be, “the veritable fruit of paradise,” he literally said a mouthful. The avocado is in no way your usual fruit. It is full of healthy fat and produces oil. Avocado oil may not be as popular as olive oil, but it is certainly just as chockfull of health benefits and every bit as tasty.

avocado oil
Lowers Blood Pressure
The mono saturated fats in avocado oil can lower blood pressure naturally when used as a replacement for transfats and saturated fats in your diet. According to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, partially substituting carbohydrates with mono saturated fats and protein can improve lipid levels, lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular disease.

Eases Arthritis Pain
ASU is an extract made from a combination of soybean and avocado extract which has recently received prescription drug status in France as a treatment for knee and hip osteoarthritis. In Denmark, ASU is used as a dietary supplement for its anti inflammatory properties and ability to stimulate growth and repair of cartilage.

Benefits Skin Problems Like Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin problem causing the buildup of dead skin cells. A study published in Dermatology proved a B12 cream with avocado oil to be effective as a topical treatment for psoriasis. Patients using the oil for 12 weeks showed regular improvement during the study period. This is a significant finding, as most psoriasis medications are associated with side effects. Avocado oil may offer a risk free alternative.

Lowers Cholesterol and Improves Heart Health
Because it is high in content of monounsaturated oleic acid, avocado oil has the ability to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease by raising the body’s “good” cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. Monosaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid have also been shown in clinical studies to reduce risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as factors affecting formation of blood clots and insulin sensitivity.

Avocado Oil Uses
Boosts Absorption of Nutrients

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that avocado oil can also help to increase the body’s absorption of carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants that depend on healthy fats for absorption. Dietary carotenoids are thought to have numerous health benefits, including the ability to decrease risk of cancers and eye disease.

Using Avocado Oil
When purchasing avocado oil, make sure the oil is 100% pure, for the healthiest and highest quality. It can be used in the same way olive pile is used, that is as a dressing on a salad or sandwich, or to roast or sautee foods. Avocado oil is also known for its regenerative properties and can used in hair to moisturize and improve texture and in skincare for eye makefup removal, dry cuticles, and cracked heels and wrinkle reduction.

Have you tried avocado oil yet? Let us know how you used it, whether on your skin or in your food!

Using Baking Soda For Common Beauty Fixes

What are your baking soda associations? Do you remember the ever present box in the refrigerator wedged permanently behind the cheese wheel during your formative years? Do you remember it as adhesive you used to make your brother into a mummy for Halloween before you realized he would eventually need to use the bathroom? Do you remember brushing your teeth with it before the popularity of teeth whitening? Or do you just remember wondering who the arm and hammer belonged to and what an arm and hammer had to do with baking soda?

Whatever your fond memories of baking soda, you probably know that there’s very little this cakey powder can’t do. Here’s how you can use baking soda for common beauty fixes.

Woman washing hair
Hair Rinse
If big hair is important to you, you’re probably no stranger to buildup from serums, sprays, and mousses leaving hair feeling sticky and looking lifeless. Just sprinkle a coin sized amount of baking soda into your shampoo. Wash and rinse and embrace the freedom.

Dry Shampoo
If you’ve always wanted to try dry shampoo, here’s your chance to do it on the cheap. Whether you need a quick way to get rid of excess oil after the gym or for mornings on the go, baking soda can work in a pinch. Sprinkle a bit directly on the roots of your hair, tousle, and brush through.

Hairbrush Cleaner
Are you reluctant to have houseguests because they might want to use your bathroom and get grossed out by your hairbrush? You can get rid of residue around the base of the bristles by soaking your brush in warm water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda. Let soak for 20 minutes, rinse, and dry with a towel.

Woman washing face
Face and Body Exfoliator
If you are looking for an environmentally friendly way of scrubbing off dead skin, you can get that all- over glow by using a formula of one part water to three parts baking soda. Just massage into skin for about 60 seconds and rinse.

Deodorant
Baking soda removes odors by neutralizing bases and acids and won’t do damage to your clothes. Whether you have sensitive skin, or just haven’t been taking notice of how low your antiperspirant stick was getting, baking soda will do the job in a pinch.

Soothe Razor Burn
Who among us has not been careless with a razor? You can soothe the painful burn by mixing one cup of water with one tablespoon of baking soda and letting it dry on your skin for about 5 minutes. Rinse with cool water and let the healing begin.

Have we left out anything? Let us know what you do with your baking soda. Keep it clean.

Red Marine Algae Benefits for Hair and Skin

Algae mask

While algae may not be the most popular clothing material, perhaps it is not so odd that the Little Mermaid chose to put it on her skin; perhaps it is more puzzling that she did not apply it to her entire body. After all, marine ingredients like algae turn up in so many cosmetic ingredients and are known for their myriad of health benefits, namely for their beneficial effects on skin and hair.

Algae
So what is it about this slimy green stuff that makes us look so beautiful? Randy Schueller, a cosmetic chemist and editor-in-chief of The Beauty Brains reports that one study showed that algae can “stabilize minerals that aid in skin moisturization,” and, “Another claims that seaweed provides anti-acne properties without the irritation of over the counter drugs. And yet another type of seaweed may help with skin lightening.” Dr. Marcene Alexiades-Armenakas, cosmetic engineer has a theory as to why these plants are so good for the skin. She says, “These creatures (algae) have spent millions of years on the sea surface and evolved mechanisms to protect their DNA from UV damage. These mechanisms are conserved cross species, meaning they work in human skin as well.”

Red Algae Extract
Because it can easily process sunlight, red algae is known to provide antioxidant protection to skin. It has high levels of peptides, carotenoids, sulfated polysaccharides and fatty acids which may contribute to the reason red algae extracts are able neutralize free radicals in the environment. Algae extracts also function as thickening agents in skincare products improving texture and spreadability.

Brown Algae Extract
Brown algae, or kelp, is used as an emollient to soften skin and for anti-bacterial purposes. It is frequently found in serums, toners, lotions and moisturizers as extract as lamaria, extract of algae, or kelp. Benefits of brown algae include hydration, maintenance of skin’s moisture, detoxification and increased elasticity. Its amino acids are credited with renewal of tissue and its fatty acids are shown to fight inflammation. Additional studies by the Science Daily News suggest that substances extracted from brown algae may also protect against skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure.

BENEFITS OF ALGAE 

For Acne Prevention
Need a natural zit zapper? The anti-inflammatory agents in algae make it capable of soothing acne related inflammation.

For Hair Growth
The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in seaweed is known for thickening and boosting hair growth and the iron and zinc can help maintain hair production and combat the thinning of hair caused by a deficiency if iodine. When applied directly to hair, iodine can fight of microscopic fungus and bacteria that eats away at hair follicles causing thinning and loss, The highest content of iodine is found in brown algae, with dry kelp containing 1500-1800 ppm. At this rate, just one gram of dried brown algae could cover the daily recommended adult requirement.

For Reduction of Toxins
Toxins can cause your skin to look lifeless and dull. Applying seaweed to your skin draws out excess fluid, dead cells, and toxins and makes skin smoother. It is also useful in eliminating toxins from the scalp and promoting healthy hair growth.

For Fighting Cellulite
Algae can be an effective weapon in the endless fight against cellulite. Seaweed can make skin more supple and elastic, helping to smooth skin and restore resilience.

For Adding Moisture
Who couldn’t use a little extra moisture on their skin? The fatty acids in algae not only lend moisture to your skin, but prevents it from losing its natural hydration.

So are you prepared to test the merits of algae. The Little Mermaid did it and look at her!

Bringing EVOO to The Table

Olive oil

Evoo is the new Free Dictionary term for Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and one could say that it certainly has “arrived.” When it comes to olive oils, EVOO is the undoubted emerging superstar. However, fame has its downsides. As happens so often to those who have made it, there is the likelihood of imitators. EVOO is no exception. Shockingly, a large percentage of what is labelled as “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” or even “Certified” is not. More than 700 million consumer dollars a year is spent on olive oils, but many on the market are, in fact, cut with cheap vegetable oil. Let’s investigate.

What Is Real Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra virgin olive oil the finest of olive oils on the market. It is made from 100% fresh olive juice. EVOO can come only from olives that are milled within 24 hours of being harvested and must be extracted mechanically, and not by using chemicals and heat, nor can it be chemically treated in any way.

Olives, which are fruit, contain antioxidants that naturally preserve the plant. As the olive tree ages, its level of antioxidants increases. Trees producing EVOO are often hundred of years old and extremely rich in antioxidants.

Tips for Getting Real EVOO

  1. Don’t buy light olive oil or an olive oil blend.
  2. Beware of EVOO costing less than $10 a liter.
  3. Real EVOO is only available in dark bottles to protect form oxidation.
  4. Real EVOO should have a seal for the IOC (International Oil Council)
  5. There should be a harvesting date on the label.
  6. It will have a fruity taste towards the front of the mouth and a peppery taste at the back.

Nutritional Benefits
Olive oil traditionally contains more monosaturated fat than other vegetable oils, increasing the good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering the LDL, or bad cholesterol. If has no trans fat, carbohydrates, or cholesterol and has less saturated fat than butter. Olive oil contains Vitamins E, A, and beta-carotene along with other antioxidants.

Olive oil consumption has been linked to lower risk of cancer and helps protect against gastritis and ulcers. It is well received by the stomach and lowers the likelihood of formation of gallstones. In addition, the ingredient has been shown to lower the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease by reducing LDL and has been known to lower risk of diabetes and delay the onset of diabetes related complications.

Are you in on the EVOOlution? Let us know your fave EVOO recipes and whether or not it will be on your holiday table this season. We love to hear from you!

Foods That Provide A Daily Dose of Citric Acid

Fruit
So you go into your favorite froyo place. You go over to the pump machine and you decide on a red velvet vanilla nonfat swirl. Ok, now the toppings! You’re an Oreo girl, but you’re a smart Oreo girl and you know that one generous tablespoon of those will easily compensate for the fat you cleverly avoided in your yogurt, and besides, yogurt and Oreos are not exactly the best combo. You look longingly at the gummy bears, no danger of fat there, but do you really need more processed food? And then, you see it! The kiwi fruit. The green queen of lean. After decorating your dessert with a heaping spoonful, you stop to add some mango and pineapple and blueberries and head over to the counter. You know what your have there? A whole lotta citric acid!

What are the Benefits of Citric Acid?
Citric acid increases the acidity of bacteria, making it hard for the microbes to survive and reproduce. In the body, it acts as an alkalizing agent and helps flush the system of excess calcium. Citric acid is also found in face packs and skin products and helps skin regenerate to slow the aging process. Its superpowers include the abilities to boost kidney health, fight free radicals and improve mineral absorption.

vine-vera-foods-that-provide-a-daily-dose-of-citiric-acid-citrus Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits top the list when it comes to levels of citric acid. This, along with ascorbic acid and vitamin C, give the fruit their tangy sharp appeal. Citrus fruits include, oranges, grapefruit, tangelos, lemons, limes, kumquat and clementines. Of these, lemons and limes are the heaviest hitters with about 4 grams per 100 grams of fruit.

vine-vera-foods-that-provide-a-daily-dose-of-citiric-acid-berries Berries
Berries may not be as impressive when it comes to percentages of citric acid, but they are a force to be reckoned with. Blueberries, weighing in at 0.6 grams of citric acid per 100 grams of fruit, are the weakest purveyors of citric acid in the berry family. Citric acid also gives strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and kiwi their tart and tangy tastes.

Tropical Fruit Tropical Fruit
Did someone say aloha? Slightly lower then citrus fruits the list of citric acid providers are tropical fruits. Pineapples are considered a high acid tropical fruit, containing about one gram per one hundred grams of fruit. Tamarinds help pineapples round out the tropical fruit list.

Low Acid Fruit
At the bottom of our list are cherries, sweet plums, apples and peaches, mangos, figs, with only about 0.1 grams of citric acid per 100 grams of fruit.

Kiwi Spotlight On Kiwi
Since we feel this fruit doesn’t always get the props it deserves, let’s take a moment to give the kiwi some love. Did you know kiwis are berries? Shocking, but true! Besides providing a whopping 273% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, kiwi is also a great source of citric acid. Just one kilogram of the kiwi’s peel contains 100 grams of citric acid and the fruit has similar citric acid levels. BTW, the peel is totally edible and may be the healthiest part of the fruit. So heap the kiwi on that froyo!

If you love citrus, froyo, kiwi, or all of the above, let us know how you top your yogurt. It might say a lot about the kind of person you are.

Temporary Diet Changes For Better Skin

Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets a zit?” No? Well, truer words were probably never spoken. Have you been living the high life, staggering out of bed sometime in the mid afternoon to a “breakfast” of last night’s pizza washed down by soda? Did you overdo it at the bar last night? Did you have to go to MacDonald’s because you forget to go to the supermarket? We all know the devil-may-care attitude can be fun- until you look in the mirror. Your skin is probably the first part of you to show the effects of a less than healthy lifestyle, but never fear, with a few temporary dietary changes, you could be back on the road to beautiful skin in no time.

woman with chocolate
Dark Chocolate
Although for years we have been attributing our acne breakouts to it, chocolate is now being hailed as a superfood for your skin and health in general. Cocoa provides hydration to the skin, making it more supple and firm. Dr. David Bank, MD, says. Nicholas Perricone, MD and NYC dermatologist adds, “Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant.” To get the maximum dose of flavanol, make sure your chocolate is at least 70% cacao.” L.A. dermatologist Jessica Wu says, “When applied topically, the caffeine in chocolate may temporarily reduce skin puffiness.” Is that bar in your mouth yet?

Greek yogurt
Yogurt

Anyone for froyo? Dr. Wu says the protein found in dairy makes skin more resistant to wrinkles. DR. Wu recommends Greek Yogurt as your yogurt of choice saying that, “The protein content is often double that of regular yogurt.”

Sunflower Seeds
Crack open the vitamin E and protect your skin’s top layers from sun damage. A daily handful will provide a high content of essential fatty acids and sunflower seed oil can also relieve parched lip and heels.

Pomegranates
Dr. Perricone says pomegranates are packed with polyphenol antioxidants that fight free radicals and relate blood flow to the skin, making it rosy. To get results, eat one fruit or a few glasses of its juice every day. Pomegranates can also be applied topically to moisturize and smooth fine lines.

Peppers
Peppers help your peepers! Dr. Wu says, “Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes.” The carotenoids in yellow and orange vegetables are also great for reducing skin’s sun sensitivity. Try for two cups daily for a crisp, tangy skin booster.

Kidney Beans
Kidney Beans
Zap zits with zinc! The high levels of zinc may be just the thing for your blemishes. Dr. Wu says, “That may be because of zinc’s healing properties.” A four ounce serving of kidney beans should keep your skin clear.

Soy
Let’s hear it for the soy! Dr. Bank says, “Soy contains minerals and proteins that have been shown to reduce hyper pigmentation.” One cup a day should give you what it takes to even out your skin. tone.

So has this convinced you to make some dietary changes? Let us know if they worked! We always love to hear from you!

Herbal Teas That Soothe Your Stomach

Woman with tea
Dyspepsia. It’s the scientific term for the stomach ache and it would seem that no one is immune. When Justin Bieber tossed his cookies on the Arizona stop of his Believe Tour, captivated Beliebers would blog about it for days. Lady Gaga could not maintain her “Poker Face” when she threw up a whopping four times while on stage in Barcelona in 2009 all over her meat dress. Harry Styles managed to dodge public humiliation by hiding his regurgitational moment behind a stack of speakers, as did Rhianna, who briefly rushed off stage to blow chunks and came back to the mike without missing a note. What could they have all been drinking? It certainly wasn’t herbal tea.

To be fair, the demon alcohol is not always to blame for the stomach upset. it is quite possible that the Biebs was just having an unusual attack of nerves, and Gaga had eaten too much raw meat, but whatever the reason, herbal teas are a proven remedy for stomach upset and knowing what is causing the pain is crucial in choosing the right kind of tea to remedy it.

Peppermint tea Peppermint Tea
Just in time for the holidays, peppermint can heal an upset stomach and help with the bloating , flatulence, and indigestion associated with gas buildup. According to a study by the University of Maryland, peppermint works so well to soothe an upset stomach because it contains oils that stimulate gallbladder function and causes the body to release fat digesting bile. It can also soothe the liver and help relieve the symptoms of IBS.

Green tea Green Tea
It’s not easy being green, but green tea has managed to pull it off with aplomb. Known as one of the healthiest teas, green tea has been proven to improve memory, prevent diabetes and kill cancer cells, reduce blood pressure, and increase weight loss. Dr. Ritika Samaddar advises, “Try not to go for the popular brands because it hasn’t been proven that they work or are authentic. Instead, opt for the Chinese or Vietnamese variety.”

Bush Tea Bush Tea
Perhaps a bit lesser-known, but no less intriguing, bush tea is a deep red colored tea from Africa know as a better alternative to green tea. It is completely free of caffeine and is great for severe abdominal pain and stomach ache, as well as heartburn ulcers and constipation. Plus, it also has calcium for bone health.

Fennel Tea Fennel Tea
You may have heard of this plant being eaten in salad or as an accompaniment to fish. Fennel seeds, whether used for cooking or to make tea, can be used for “treating many digestive problems like heartburn, bloating, loss of appetite and colic in infants,” according to experts.

Ginger tea Ginger Tea
Ginger has long been hailed for its ability to cut bloating, so it follows that its offshoot, ginger tea is extremely effective for curing stomach aches. You can also add the ability to fight off motion sickness and headaches to its impressive resume.

Tell us all about the times you threw up! And let us know which teas worked for you. We await your comments!

Enjoy A Daily Serving Of Almonds

Woman eating almonds
Let’s face it. There are a lot of nuts out there. There’s the peanut, the pistachio, the macadamia, the pine nut, the cashew; the list goes on. But perhaps the most ambitious member of the nut family is the almond. Since 2005, almonds have been taking America by storm, growing in demand by more than 220%. As of today, the average American consumes over two pounds of almonds per year. And why shouldn’t the almond get its due? We owe a lot to the almond! Without the almond, there would be no Hershey’s with Almonds, Snickers with Almonds, almond milk, Rocky Road Ice Cream, and perhaps, most devastatingly, Almond Joy! So what is behind the Almond Seduction of America? Let’s investigate!

1.  Almonds prevent heart disease
Almonds contain mono saturated fatty acid, or MUFA, as well as antioxidants. The presence of flavanoids in the skin of the nut, works along with Vitamin E to decrease inflammation and improve the function of your arteries.

Almonds also pack in the nutrients when it comes to keeping the heart health. They contain, copper, manganese, calcium, potassium and magnesium and helps to lower “bad cholesterol.”

2. Almonds are good for your brain
That’s why people who eat almonds are so smart! Almonds are unique in that they contain L-carnitine and riboflavin, nutrients which are known for their abilities to accelerate neurological activity and decrease cognitive decline. The elderly are advised to eat almonds regularly because of the association between nuts and the reduction in brain disorders, like Alzheimer’s Disease.

3. Almonds are good for your skin
Almonds contain loads of Vitamin E and antioxidants that reduce the signs of aging.The concentration of nutrients like catechin, flavonol antioxidants, and epicatechin fights skin cancer and reverses damage and stress from pollution, an unhealthy diet, and exposure to UV light. The healthy fat content in almonds also improves circulation, helps to hydrate skin and heal wounds.

4. Almonds Keep Blood Sugar Level Down
Remember those MUFAs we were talking about? Well, they do more than prevent heart disease. They also slow down the rate of sugar entering the blood stream and control insulin resistance. Almonds also help to decrease risks associated with diabetes, like oxidative stress, obesity and inflammation.

5. Almonds Help You Lose Weight
Almonds got a bad rap for a while because of their high fat and calorie content, but then scientists found out it was mono saturated fat and, now its all good! Besides healthy fats, almonds also contain dietary fiber which keeps you full and prevents the temptation to overeat and over snack.

According to the Nurse’s Health study, these nuts also support an active metabolism and according to a 2003 article in the International Journal of Obesity, women who consumed almonds experienced more weight reduction then those who did not.

If your an almond lover, let us know what you do with your nuts! We always appreciate your comments, advice, and suggestions.

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.