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5 Tips to Healthy Snacking

If you’re trying to lose weight (or keep the weight off), one thing you need to control is the urge to have unplanned snacks. You know, when you want to nibble or graze on something while watching TV, or reading a book, or while you’re crunching numbers for your homework, or trying to solve a problem at work. It’s those tiny morsels that can make or break your diet.

Snacking itself is not bad. Sometimes your body does need a little energy boost. The trouble begins when you snack on food that are full of empty calories. So if you feel the need to have some munchies, ditch the potato chips and chocolate bars and substitute the following food items instead.

Have some avocado

Image Source: Wikimedia

Image Source: Wikimedia

If you feel like something rich, creamy and savoury – get an avocado and mix it with some milk or spoonfuls of cottage cheese instead of grabbing a small tub of ice cream from the store. By combining fruit and dairy, you not only get a snack that is rich in fibre, you also increase your protein intake. You’ll end up feeling full and with energy to last until the end of the day.

Pop some popcorn

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Popcorn has always been branded as “unhealthy” food however, recent studies have shown that, although popcorn lies in that thin line between junk and not junk food, it has a stronger effect on satisfying hunger than potato chips. Plain popcorn (no butter, salt, caramel or any additional flavoring) has lower calorie count than regular potato chips so it’s a great way to satisfy your craving for junk without worrying too much about gaining chunk.

Havva cuppa coffee

Image source: Wikipedia

Another “no-no” that’s acceptable provided it’s taken in moderation. Caffeine speeds up the body’s metabolic rate for up to three hours, and causes a greater rate of fat oxidation. However, excessive caffeine also cause a host of other health problems so it is recommended that you take 1-2 cups per day, and ideally, only in the morning.

Go nuts on nuts

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Nuts are known to be healthy alternatives to snacks so go nuts on those! Choose plain, healthy nuts and try not to munch on lots. It may sound bizarre but 12 pieces of pistachio nuts is considered a-sized good serving; six pieces for almonds, cashews or mixed nuts; and about 10 for small peanuts.

Give in to temptation …

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Your  brain works in a funny way – if you keep telling yourself that a particular food items is “Forbidden” your body will crave for it endlessly until you give in and, when that happens, you’ll most likely consume a lot of it in one sitting. Instead of depriving yourself of life’s simple pleasures, allow yourself to have a small treat every so often. But remember to watch your portion sizes, and the frequency. Having 1 small square of chocolate, three times a day, 7 days a week as a treat is NOT the way to do it.

Finally, remember to eat properly and regularly. Starving yourself between small meals two or three times a day is not the way to lose weight nor is it in any way a healthy way of living. By including healthy snacks in your day you’re more likely to lose the extra pounds and make you reach your fitness goals sooner!

Rawism (Raw Food Diet)

Rawism or raw-foodism is defined as “a diet consisting of uncooked, unprocessed and often organic or wild foods.” Proponents of rawism believe that consuming uncooked, unprocessed plant foods leads to a leaner body, clearer skin and higher energy, which, according to researches, is true (to some extent). An article on Full Circle identifies the benefits as those above, as well as:

  • having natural cleansing effects
  • having more available enzymes to break down your food and absorb nutrients,
  • reduces the risk of over eating, and
  • digestive regularity

Raw foodism is a lifestyle choice as a lot of raw foodists spend  and not a lot of their time in the kitchen preparing their meals. It is not a weight loss diet and if done incorrectly, those following the raw food diet may be faced with serious undernourishment.

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Presenting … the Pizza!

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mmmm …. Pizza! Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past millennia, you should know what a pizza is. In case you’ve forgotten (how could you?), pizzas are those yummy oven-baked, flat delicacies usually topped with tomato sauce, cheese and various other toppings! Stereotypically eaten by men while watching a sporting match (usually football, baseball, basketball) on TV, or consumed by women after a particularly nasty break-up (best taken with tubs of ice cream).

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Nine Strange Brews

Image courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski @ Flickr

Image courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski @ Flickr

Ahhh … Beer, the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage and the 3rd most popular drink of all (after water and tea). Beer is produced by incorporating starch from malted cereal grains such as barley and wheat with sugar and yeast – and allowing these ingredients to ferment. Most beer is flavoured with hops although other flavourings such as herbs or fruit can also be included.

Listed below are 9 different kinds of brews that veer away from tradition. Using ingredients other than the usual malt and hops, these beers are just begging to be sampled.  Are you willing to have a sip?

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Keep Calm and Eat On (10 food items that can help you keep calm)

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It’s a known fact that having too much stress in your life can cause a whole lot of undesirable effects on your body. Too much stress can cause headaches, migraines, upset stomachs, nausea .. and who knows what other long-term effects this may have on the body.

Unfortunately, no one can totally eliminate stress from their lives. Even the pious buddhists monks somehow encounter stressful situations. The only defence we have against this is to learn how to deal with it. This can be done via mental and physical exercises such as doing yoga; going on holidays or short vacations; doing something new; going shopping; and (would you believe it) eating!

Yes! Eating can help you keep calm. However, this doesn’t mean you can go out and binge on burgers and pizza. The key to eating for calmness is to eat the right kinds of food items. Having a proper diet can greatly affect how a person thinks and feels. If you’re keen on lowering your stress levels, try to include more of the following food items in your day-to-day consumption.

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Eat, Drink and Be Merry (Food that Make You Happy)

When depression strikes, people normally grab a bit of comfort food to make them feel better. Ice cream is a popular comfort food (you’ve heard of girls pigging out on a tub of Ben & Jerry’s after a break up right?), so are pizza and beer (this food pairing is usually associated with guys, though). As yummy as these are – they are not exactly the healthiest options in the market.

The next time you need to cheer yourself up with some edible goodies, shun the ice cream and pizza and try one of these instead! They not only make you feel good, they also very tasty and are beneficial to your your general health.

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Dining Elemental


Via: Parts Town

Top 7 Healthy Foods

Have you ever wondered which of the foods available in the market are really healthy? You know that fruits and vegetables are on top of the healthy food list – now you can find out why exactly doctors and nutritionists the world over recommend having at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables in a day. Here are 7 healthy food items, and reason why you should include these in your diet.

Apples

There is truth to the saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” for apples are known to be excellent sources of antioxidants that combat free radicals. Free radicals are substances generated in the body that cause are involved in the aging process and some diseases. Some studies have also shown that polyphenols found in apples may actually help extend lifespans. Another study shows that adult females who eat apples regularly had a 13% to 22% lower risk of developing heart disease.

Avocados

Image Source: Wikimedia

Avocados do not get the credit they deserve. Many shun avocados because these are high in fat, but what they don’t realise is that although it is high in fat, it is high in what is called the good fat, the kind that helps reduce cholesterol. Furthermore, it has high levels of fibre and folate which help reduce the risk of heart disease. If you don’t want to eat too much, just add a couple of slices to your salad. Avocados help increase the absorption of nutrients such as beta-carotene by up to 5 times compared to salads served without this fruit.

Broccoli

Image Source: Wikimedia

This vegetable might be considered the bane of all little children. Not many kids would jump at the chance to have broccoli with their meals. But broccoli is very nutritious. One medium stalk holds more than 100% of your daily requirement for Vitamin K, and almost 200% of your recomended dose of Vitamin C – nutrients essential in developing strong bones, which (incidentally) also help stave off various forms of cancer. To best preserve the nutrients of broccoli – zap it in your microwave instead of steaming or boiling.

Dark Chocolate

Image Source: Wikipedia

Yes - chocolate IS healthy! But in small portions. Dark chocolate is high in cocoa powder which is rich in flavonoids, about 53.5 milligrams compared to about 14 milligrams which can be found in regular milk chocolate bars. Flavonoids are anti-oxidants that help reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. This doesn’t give you an excuse to have a binge-fest on dark chocolate. Just 1/4 of an ounce a day is enough to do the trick.

Potatoes

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

Did you know that one red potato holds 66 micrograms of folate – and one sweet potato has almost 8 times the daily recommended level of cancer fighting vitamin A? That’s reason enough for you to have potatoes in your meal! Remember though, that when you serve potatoes, let these cool first before you dig into them. Researches have shown that cooling potatoes helps you burn up to 25% more fat after a meal! That’s because cooler potatoes have fat-resistant starch! Not so fattening after all (if you skip the sour cream  or mayonnaise).

Salmon

Image Source: NPR

Salmons aren’t called the king of the sea for nothing! Salmons are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which, researches have linked to the reduction of depression, heart diseases and even cancer.  Salmon also contains niacin – a vitamin that helps seems to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. If you’re in the market and want to buy salmon, look for wild salmon as they have fewer PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) than farm-raised salmons.

Walnuts

Image Source; Wikipedia

You’re nuts if you don’t include nuts in your diet. Walnuts contain the most omega-3 fatty acids in all nuts, and these fatty acids help reduce cholesterol levels. Apart from this, Omega-3s have also shown to be instrumental in improving one’s moods, and also fight cancer. They alsp help protect the skin against the harsh rays of the sun! One other benefit of having nuts, especially at night? Walnuts contain the antioxidant melatonin, which helps to regulate sleep.

As with anything – consuming these healthy food items must always be done in moderation. Just one or two of these added in your diet daily would do wonders fo your overall health and well-being.

What food doesn’t ever spoil or go off?

If you think that all food items have a use-by date, then sadly you’re mistaken. There is ONE food item that has been proven to never spoil and that food is pure, unadulterated honey.

Image source: Wikipedia

Yes, the golden syrup that bees tireless make is the only food that does not go off. Would you believe that honey found buried alongside King Tutankhamun was still edible? The reason for this is that honey has a very high sugar content and has inherent antibiotic properties that act as its own preservative. If stored incorrectly, honey may become cloudy (due to the crystalization of sugar) but this does not have any effect on the food product. If the honey stored in your cupboard has become cloudy, put the honey jar in warm water and stir constantly or transfer the honey in a microwave-safe jar and microwave it on medium power (with the lid off) stirring every 30 seconds until the crystals dissolve. If moisture gets into the honey, yeast may grow and ferment – this will not spoil the honey per se, but the honey will taste sour.

To prevent crystalization and the possible fermentation of honey – make sure you store honey in a cool, dark area and keep the lid tightly capped after each use.