Benefits Of The Black Elderberry

The black elderberry which has long been a folk remedy for so many years has many curative properties. These unique berry types go back to prehistorical times in the Stone Age. These berries boost the immune system, thus helping you to fight off colds and flus. They also help heart health, aid in curing sore throats and tonsillitis, bacterial and viral infections. These berries are now being researched once again for the many great health benefits they have.

Elderberries have several natural ingredients within them that make them curative for so many illnesses. This is due to the fact that they contain so many organic pigments such as amono acids, which is an important part of our health. They have Vitamins A, B, and a larger amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin C as I have said many times over the past, really empowers the immune system, which explains what I said at the beginning for elderberries fighting off illnesses. Antivirin is actually a type of protein in elderberries that serves almost as a natural antibiotic.

There were also clinical trials conducted on people that were having various flu-type symptoms in the year of 1992 and 93. People that took the elderberry extract Sambucol showed a marked improvement over those that were only given a placebo.

Other studies that were conducted within that same time period showed improvements in patients with HIV. There was a marked reduction in the viral load from using Sambucol elderberry extract.

I have also read that black elderberry extract has been very effective for helping to prevent H5N1 type of bird flu. The extract not only is effective for that reason, but it also helps to protect your healthy cells more prodcutively.

There are tannins in elderberries along with carotenoids and flavonoids. These compounds contained naturally in elderberries serve as a natural type of a laxative and also a diuretic.

Since the black elderberry has been found to fight off so many free radical types, scientists feel that elderberries help the skin to look younger. This is due to the fact that they protect a person from harmful ultra violet rays from sun.

When you consume elderberries, it is best to mix them in foods. Place them in muffin mixes, or other breads. You can also get creative and put these in a smoothie with vanilla flavored yogurt, or put a few in your wine. You shouldn’t eat them raw. If you do, they can cause effects such as a lot of diarrhea since it tends to have a laxative effect. They can also make you have an upset stomach when eaten raw.

Guide To Nutrition And Excercise

Along with just consuming the correct amount and types of foods, there are more specific nutrition strategies that can help maximize the effectiveness of your exercise. The following are some guidelines for the timing of your intake throughout the day and relative to your workout.

First, it is better to eat several smaller meals throughout the day than three big meals. Spreading your intake out will help your body maintain stable levels of things like blood sugar, vitamins, minerals, available protein, etc… It also allows the digestive system to do a better job of absorbing those things from your food. If the digestive organs have to plow through a ton of food at once, the valuable components in the food will not be harvested as well. Part of spreading your meals out is being sure to eat breakfast. Along with the fact that you haven’t eaten the whole time you were sleeping, your body has been busy recovering, strengthening, and renewing all through the night. Those things burn energy. You need to give your body fuel in the morning.

Secondly, do not eat a full meal right before your workout. This is basic physiology. The body restricts blood flow where it is not needed and increases it where it is needed. When you eat, blood is sent to the digestive tract for the process of breaking down food. Blood flow is thus reduced in other areas. This is why people often feel very tired after a big meal. In the same way, when you exercise blood is sent to the skeletal muscles, among other things. If you try to do intense exercise following a meal, your body is faced with two large demands for blood flow. As you begin to exercise, you will likely feel very tired right away. If you persist and exercise hard enough, you may throw up, or you may simply not digest your food very well. Either way, it’s no good.

Third, although you should not have a full stomach going into your training session, you also do not want to be hungry. Glycogen is a substance that your body produces using food you eat. It is the most efficient source of energy. There is glycogen stored in muscles to be used for energy. If you have not eaten for a long time, your glycogen stores will likely be depleted. If you begin working out with a low glycogen supply, it may run out. In which case, you will be less capable during your workout, because your most efficient energy source is gone. Also, the body will switch to breaking down protein for fuel. The goal is to use protein for building and strengthening various structures in your body, not for energy. And if there is not protein readily available (which is likely since you haven’t eaten) your body will actually break down muscle tissue to get protein. That is really bad. So do not wake up in the morning and try to do intense exercise having not eaten for 8 or more hours. Try to eat 2-3 hours before your workout, depending on the size of the meal. Basically, you don’t want to still be feeling food in your stomach, but you don’t want to be hungry. If you have to work out in the morning, get a small meal of primarily carbs beforehand. Protein and fat take longer to break down. Also, a small dose of carbs in the middle of your workout is not a bad idea; it can be quickly broken down and help sustain the glycogen stores in the muscles. Mid-workout is one time when candy or cookies are acceptable. These foods are made of simple sugars, which can be broken down faster than anything to serve as the quickest source of energy.

Lastly, your post-workout consumption is very important. Following your workout, your body will be in an anabolic (muscle-building) hormonal state. That is a good thing; you want to keep your body that way for as long as you can. What you need to do is restore the glycogen supply in your muscles. This is done with carbohydrates. At the same time you also want to make protein readily available for use in repairing the things that you damaged or stressed in your workout. Milk has a good carbohydrate:protein ratio for post-exercise consumption. A typical protein shake will also fill this need. This consumption should be immediately after your workout. Soon after that should be a full meal that includes a lot of lean protein as well as carbs. The body will be primed for absorption following your workout, so that is the best time to ingest a lot of healthy food.

Dieting With The Food Guide Pyramid

Diets come and go, often appearing in newspaper headlines one day only to be never heard of again. Look no further than the most recent diet and weight loss news. First we had the Atkins low-carb diet, then the Zone Diet and the South Beach Diet. There are diets based on geographical regions (The Mediterranean Diet) and diets based on gimmicky products (The Green Tea Diet). Which leaves individuals wondering, what’s next?

In this health and fitness article, I’ll introduce you to a diet that has stood the test of time. This diet has been around for decades and, unlike many fad diets, has been backed by decades of scientific weight loss research. In fact, this diet is so sound and trustworthy that it is backed by the United States federal government.

That’s right: It’s time to turn back to the Food Pyramid Diet. Recently rebranded My Pyramid, this weight loss guide “is a sensible guidebook to good eating” and helps you focus “on eating right and losing weight gradually” by showing “that most Americans introduce to [sic] much fat into their daily lives”.

How to Lose Weight Using the US Government’s Food Pyramid Diet Guide:

To know the importance of diet in our health, let us first know the meaning of what is good health. According to experts, good health is “a state of being vigorous and free from bodily or mental diseases”.

Upon knowing what good health is, let us now know the importance of diet and its importance to good health.

A right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals so with water will reduce the risk of some diseases. This is what we can benefit out a health diet.

The United States’ Department of Health says, “If you want to have a healthy diet you should consider following the food pyramid. This food pyramid is not a precise formula but a basic guide that will help you in your goal of having a healthy diet plan”. And that’s where the food pyramid comes in.

You know for sure that the tip of the pyramid is the smaller part as well as the center of the pyramid is smaller than the base part. This would mean 3 food groups the base part is a food group, the center is another food group and the tip is of another food group. The bigger the space in the pyramid would mean a larger amount of food you need to consume.

The base which is the bigger space would mean you will eat more of the kind of food in this food group. The following are part of this food group: grains, bread, cereal, rice and pasta. When you buy some of these in the market be sure to consider the calorie content, etc. some of the products sold in the markets are less in nutritional value but high in calorie and sodium content. Always be a wise buyer.

The center or the second food group is for the fruits and vegetables. This is where you can get most of the vitamins and minerals that you need. Much to the knowledge of everyone, vegetables and fruits are good for snacks. Instead of giving your son or daughter junk foods as snacks give them fruits and vegetables. The best way of eating vegetables is eating it raw, just wash it properly.

The tip or the last food group is the dairy group. Milk, butter, or all dairy products are included here. This would mean that you don’t need to consume a large amount from this food group. It might be pleasing to the eyes and watering for the mouth (like ice cream) but it is not good for your body if eaten in large amounts.

When you diet it doesn’t mean you will skip meals in fact is eating a variety of food but in the proper way. Enjoy a healthy diet and enjoy your life!

The Ultimate Guide To Nutritious Smooties

Smoothie fasts are one of the most pleasing ways to detoxify your body and peel off extra pounds, if you know what you’re doing. I’ve been a smoothie fan as long as I can remember. Ask my folks, I was raised on them. My family have always been health conscious, we cook most of our own food and we also make our own juices from time to time. I have always had fun while achieving great results from my beloved blender. Here are a few tricks and tips that I can share with those who might like to try this healthy technique.

Make it Fun

If it’s not tasty and enjoyable, then you probably won’t succeed. But it’s really easy to stick to smoothies if you choose deliciously unexpected and enticing ingredients. The sky is the limit! Think of the types of fruits and soluble proteins that you enjoy, and try blending different fruits to make new flavors. Try frozen versions of fruit as a cheaper way to explore flavors and cut down on prep time. Studies prove that flash frozen fruits and veggies have pretty much the same level of nutrition as the fresh fruit you find at the store. If you grow your own, that’s the most nutritious of all, as produce starts to lose its vitamins as soon as it’s harvested. Using local fresh fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market or produce shoppes is the best way to procure that which you do not grow yourself.

Smooth it Out

Use your favorite juices along with coconut, almond or soymilk to liquefy your smoothie if you don’t have or don’t want to use ice. Coconut milk contains medium-chain fatty acids, which are converted efficiently into energy and are not usually stored as fats in the body, so coconut is my first choice to add texture, nutrition and flavor. Almond milk or tropical juice is just as tasty, and has powerful nutritional benefits as well. Water works as well, as long as you don’t add too much and water the final product down too far.

Know your Proteins

Protein powder can add a powerful element to your smoothie, giving you the protein needed to bulk up your muscles while slimming down excess fat. Soy protein is a commonly used protein, and if you are looking to add soy to your diet, it’s a great way to include it. If you’re not looking to include soy, then give whey, egg, rice or hemp protein a shot. Rice protein has the highest concentration of proteins per serving, and it’s highly soluble in liquids. Hempseed is the most nutritious food on the planet, and the nutty protein powder contains plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish. These nutritional lipids, or good fats, are known to have immense health benefits. Peanut butter is delicious, especially in banana honey smoothies, and has great nutrition all around, as it is said by survivalists that peanut butter is one of the foods that one could survive on the longest without variety in the diet. Yogurt is a spectacular protein food you can add, and with the added benefit of the active cultures, which help digestion and encourage the good flora in your internal organs, while eliminating the bad ones. What’s that mean to you? It stokes your metabolism, enhances your immune system, and it’s just really, really good for you!

Indulge in Healthy Oils and Liquid Supplements

Adding a bit of flaxseed oil, wheatgerm oil, or hempseed oil is a fantastic way to pack more of those awesome nutritional lipids like omega-3 and medium chain fatty acids into your drink. Fats are necessary components of our diet, and good fats can soothe cravings and enhance flavor and palatability of your smoothies while adding nutrition. You can also opt for adding a liquid multivitamin or iron supplement to your smoothie for even more nutritional enhancement. Go easy, read the nutritional breakdown on the bottle, as a little goes a long way.

Chocolate is Your Friend

Some of us just need our chocolate fix, and most folks considering a fast think that they are going to be forced to give up chocolate to succeed. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Use a scoop of plain cocoa powder from the baking aisle, just as you would protein powder, to give your favorite smoothie a sinfully tasty kick. It won’t add fat or significant calories. And the nutritious alkaloids and antioxidants contained in cocoa will stoke your furnace and help you detoxify. The theobromine found in chocolate is widely known to enhance metabolic function, and it’s jam packed with nutritional benefits. Carob powder can also be used in place of chocolate for a similar experience. I’ve been known to add a scoop of instant coffee to my morning smoothie, as there are many notable benefits to coffee and so there’s no reason to suffer the indignity of going without your morning coffee just because you’re on a smoothie fast!

Avoid Sugar… Except for Honey

Avoiding too much sugar is a no-brainer when on a smoothie diet, as fruit itself has plenty of it. If you add sugar to your smoothies, you sure won’t lose weight, and you could even gain pounds from empty calories that have been added to your previously super healthy beverage. But, sometimes, our taste buds tell us that that our concoction is too tart. I generally go with the option of adding honey to my drinks. High quality honey has numerous health benefits. From antiseptic qualities to metabolism stoking alkaloids, to immune boosting properties and it’s rich sweetness, there’s no end to the benefits tagged to the consumption of good honey. It’s as nutritious as it is delicious, so don’t be afraid to use a tablespoon or so of high quality honey when your smoothie needs sweetening. But buyer beware: recent studies indicate that the vast majority of “honey” sold on store shelves is highly filtered, and therefore devoid of the specific components that define honey as honey, rendering a refined sugar syrup, and selling it to unwary consumers as real honey. Watch out for the stuff sold in those cute little bears, as well as what is found at fast food restaurants, as chances are that the golden syrup isn’t really honey. Try to acquire honey that has been produced locally, as there is likely a local apiary, or bee farm, near you. You are likely to find it available at farmer’s markets and local produce shoppes. If you read the labels at your grocery store, you may even find local honey sitting on the shelf next to the honey bears with stereotypically ersatz contents. Wildflower honey from local hives is known to have antihistaminic properties, by desensitizing the system to local pollens. Many people include a couple tablespoons into their smoothies or tea just for flavor, without realizing how good for you the honey is.

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

If you can’t tolerate sugars, or you don’t want to add the calories of honey, don’t reach for the pink and blue envelopes. I never liked them, I prefer my shakes with honey, raw sugar, stevia or nothing instead of chemical noncaloric sweeteners. Those chemically based sweeteners are toxic enough to ruin a fast completely, are rumored to make one retain water, and have been shown to increase food cravings in those who consume them regularly. Stevia is a much better, natural alternative, made from a plant extract and as calorically insignificant as those nasty fake products. You will regularly find Stevia being used in those fruit flavored nutritional water beverages. It blends very well with natural flavors like fruit, with no aftertaste and it is available in most grocery stores these days under various brand names. Look next to the artificial stuff for a green or white box with a leaf on it, as this is the general marketing scheme for the all-natural ingredient across the different brands of Stevia available.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Tonic Herbs

What’s a tonic? Herbs and plant foods like ginger, ginseng, tea, basil, cranberries, blueberries are all tonic. They rebalance the system and purify the internal organs. They taste great when added to a smoothie, just use small amounts of the more savory and astringent ingredients to make sure you don’t overwhelm the flavor of your drink. Although, once you’re used to making tonic smoothies, you may find yourself going gung-ho, like I do, you may find yourself experimenting with herbal extracts and making a healthy concoction that only its creator can love. Which is great when you make smoothies, everyone is always trying to get in on the act, and you can find your blender emptied by well-meaning fans before you can get yourself one poured. How surprised they might be to find you have spiked your strawberry chocolate with cayenne pepper, but how happy your body will be when you enjoy the unexpectedly healthy and adventurous drink. I started using odd herbs to make tonic smoothies as a young athlete who had some health problems. My mother had done the same at a similar age for similar reasons. I looked into what types of food and medicinal herbs would help me heal up, and made my own medicine. Homeopathy, Asian medicine, folk medicine and Alchemy can be used to concoct your healing potion, and much information is available online for those looking to improve their symptoms.

Vegetables are Tasty Too!

I like to incorporate veggies into my smoothies from time to time, for all sorts of reasons. For me, it goes way beyond homemade veggie juice. You don’t even have to taste the veggies in your smoothie. I like to lower overall sugar and boost fiber by adding a carrot and a celery stick to an Apple Honey Ginger smoothie. Berries, Melon and Cucumber blended with citrus is incredibly refreshing and detoxifying. You won’t taste the vegetables, as carrots are really sweet when juiced or blended, and celery has a refreshingly bland flavor that also goes well with citrus drinks. Kohlrabi, rutabaga, sweet potato, squash, asparagus, snap peas, pumpkin, spinach, leafy greens, tomatoes and even beets go surprisingly well in sweet smoothies. Be adventurous, try anything that’s non toxic when consumed uncooked. Just add them sparingly until you know how much you like in your shake.

There are many ways to go about a smoothie fast, and I’ve enjoyed myself every time I’ve done one. It’s quick, simple, really tasty, and it makes me feel great from the first draught of a properly made smoothie. I’m able to set goals and achieve them when I commit to a smoothie fast, whether it’s cutting weight, gaining lean muscle mass, or improving my basic health, energy and well being. In fact, I think I’ll go make one now.

The Author is a lifelong health food nut, born to a family of athletes and healers of various sorts, all touting the wonderful health benefits of enjoying homemade smoothies. She’s an advocate of healthy eating and has been known to sling a few of her famously hardcore smoothies for her various friends and teammates, if they ask really, really nicely.

Tips For Managing Salt In Your Diet

The average American, as you can probably expect, is something of a salt connoisseur: on average we consume 3400 milligrams of salt daily, a figure that far surpasses the 2300 milligram limit advised in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This poses a serious issue for many people. While sodium certainly has its benefits – the element balances fluids, controls muscle contraction, and regulates pH levels – it can lead to harmful consequences if consumed in excess over a long period of time. Some of these consequences are well-publicized, such as heart issues, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.

Others, however, are not; salt consumption can increase the chances of Ménière’s disease and tinnitus, conditions both of which can lead to hearing loss.

Although a hearing loss cord blood clinical trial recently found that these issues can be countered through stem cell treatment, the fact remains that sodium is harmful for the average American at its current consumption level. But reducing our salt intake is easier said than done. After all, most of our foods contain salt and most of us are conditioned to desire the taste. So how can reduce lower and minimize our sodium intake in an effective manner? Here are a few tips:

-Take salt off the table. It’s one thing if we put salt in our meals from the onset, but many of us go the extra step and shake some extra sodium on our food while sitting at the kitchen table. The easy fix for this problem? Get rid of your salt shaker, or at least remove it from your dining area.

1) Cook more, eat out less. Processed foods and restaurant-cooked meals are, on average, far more salt intensive than a similar product cooked at home. As such, the extra time it takes you to cook in the kitchen could translate into substantial and immediate sodium reductions in your diet.

2) Substitute spices. We use salt so as to insure that our food doesn’t taste bland, but there are other products that can accomplish the same ends without the same consequences. Garlic, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and pepper are always great options in this regard.

3) Transition slowly. Sodium is not an addictive substance, but it nevertheless reflects an acquired taste that we desire more when our bodies are accustomed to higher consumption rates. This means that a gradual reduction of your salt intake can conceivably accomplish the ultimate goal – make you less desirous of salt in the first place. Such a move could stand to improve your eating habits for the long term.

Following these tips can hopefully help you reduce your sodium intake and bring your salt consumption in line with the dietary guidelines. Although sodium has its benefits, you probably can get those benefits without any added salt in your diet. As such, any reduction is an advantageous one – both for your heath and for the substance of your diet.