Month: October 2019

Strengthening Your Core

Strengthening Your Core

To get ready for swimsuit season, you are probably doing a lot of targeted exercises to get in shape. You are likely focusing on your abs and thighs the most, and doing what you can to drop a few extra pounds before you have to squeeze into that swimsuit.

There is a huge factor that many people are missing out on as they are getting ready for summer, however, and to their own detriment. That factor is the importance of core strengthening.

What Exactly Is the Core?

Your core muscles are a group of muscles running down the center of your body. These include your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and your pelvis. All of these muscles contribute to your overall balance and strength.

How Does Core Strengthening Help?

Core strengthening helps on many levels. At its most basic, your core strength comes into play in everyday activities such as lifting your groceries and vacuuming your house.

Your core is your center of balance and strength for almost everything you do, especially when it comes to working out and getting in shape. A strong core can help you be more successful with all your workouts, as it gives you the best canvas to work from.

How Can I Strengthen My Core?

Core strengthening exercises are the best way to get your core in shape. These exercises will not only improve your core strength, but they will also help you tone your abdominal muscles, back, butt, and thighs so you can make big strides toward your summer fitness goals.

Even better, these exercises can all be done from home so there is no gym membership required.

Core Exercises

1. Yoga and pilates

Yoga and pilates type exercises are the most popular workout routines that are aimed toward building a strong and healthy core. You can find yoga and pilates videos online, on DVD, or even learn poses from books and magazines. These are easy to do from home and most routines do not even require any sort of equipment.

2. Planking

Planks are an exercise that you might find difficult in the beginning, but as you core strengthens you will find it easier over time. Planking is great for the whole body, from your arms all the way down through your legs, and is actually touted as being a better exercise for your abs than crunches.

Start by getting into push-up position on the floor, but rest on your arms at 90-degree angles. Straighten your whole body out, through to your feet up on your toes. Use your core muscles to hold the position for as long as possible. Each day, hold a little longer.

3. Balance ball

Using a balance ball helps you to focus on your core muscles when doing certain exercises. You can use a balance ball to do push-ups, crunches, and more. Even simply sitting on a balance ball instead of a chair helps you strengthen your core muscles during the day.

4. V-sit

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lean back to a 45 degree angle and hold your arms out straight beside you. Slowly lift your feet off the ground, using your core to keep yourself steady. Extend your legs out so that your body forms a “V”. Hold this position as long as possible, using your extended arms to help maintain your balance.

5. Tucks

Start in the same position as the v-sit, leaning back at the 45 degree angle and arms straight out beside you. Extend your legs out just like in the v-sit, but then bring them back to your body, not resting them on the floor. Repeat this motion ten times, rest, and then repeat.

6. Bicycles

Starting in crunch position with your hands behind your ears, reach your elbow to the opposite knee, extending the other leg out. Repeat the motion, alternating sides, and working your legs as if riding a bicycle. Continue the motion for an extended period of time, at least 30 seconds, before resting and then repeating.

Core strengthening is where great workouts and a great body start. If you are wanting to get toned and fit for summer, core exercises are what you want to focus on.

How to Get Started With Keto

How to Get Started

If you want to give the keto diet a try, it’s worth taking a little time to plan ahead. You’ve already learnt about what the diet is, the benefits it can deliver and some mistakes you’ll want to avoid. The question now is, how do you actually get started?

Here, you’ll discover the best ways to get started on the keto diet for maximum success.

Know what you can and cannot eat

Before jumping in to the keto diet, you’re going to need to make sure you know what you can and cannot eat. So, it’s a good idea to have a little list available for you to refer to.

The basis of the diet is to make sure you’re consuming low-carb foods which are high in natural fats. These include eggs, fish, vegetables and olive oil. However, you’ll want to avoid root vegetables as these tend to have a lot of carbs.

Other foods you’ll need to avoid include fruit, bread, pasta, chocolate, soda, alcohol and candy. It’s useful to look up keto recipes to get an idea of what you can eat to keep the diet varied.

Prepare for carb flu

As with a lot of diets, the keto diet can leave you with some nasty side effects. One of the hardest to get through is carb flu. This occurs because your body isn’t used to consuming less carbs. So, you go through a withdrawal period which can be pretty tough to deal with.

With carb flu, you’ll typically feel more tired, you’ll have sugar cravings, dizziness, irritability, difficulty focusing and falling asleep, and you may feel nauseous too. While it may only last for up to a week, it’s still worth being prepared.

You should increase the amount of fats you consume, include more salt in your diet, drink plenty of water and eat more calories to minimize the symptoms.

Don’t forget to exercise

One mistake many people make when switching to the keto diet, is failing to exercise. It’s actually really important to continue exercising on the diet. Not only will this help with your weight loss goals, but it can also reduce some of the side effects of the diet.

You’ll ideally want to focus on low-intensity cardio and gentle exercises such as yoga. On the other hand, you’ll want to avoid anaerobic style exercise as this largely uses carbs, not fat, to fuel the body. As you’re consuming less carbs than usual, you simply won’t have enough to effectively fuel the workout.

So, there you have it – the basics on how to get started with the keto diet. Remember, the more preparation you undergo, the easier it will be to make the switch.

Understanding the Bacteria in Your Body

Understanding the Bacteria in Your Body

In your body you have a large amount of bacteria. Ever since you were born, bacteria have had a place to call home inside of your body. They have colonized your body and they live there happily with everything they could ever need. There are both good and bad bacteria in your body. They all have their own jobs and they all do their own thing. Here is a list of the most harmful and the most beneficial bacteria that inhabit our bodies:

The Most Harmful Bacteria

* Streptococcus pyogenes – This type of bacteria causes a sore throat and skin infections that may worsen. When an infection worsens, it could lead to life-threatening issues like toxic shock syndrome.

* Escherichia coli – This type of bacteria causes diarrhea. However, some pathogenic strains may lead to more of a bloody diarrhea and circulatory shock.

* Staphylococcus – This type of bacteria lives on the skin. It is harmless unless it enters the body. It can enter during surgery and then inhabit heart valves or artificial joints. That’s when it can cause very dangerous and serious infections.

The Most Beneficial Bacteria

* Lactobacillus acidophilus – This type of bacteria lives in many parts of your body. The most common place is your intestine, vagina, and oral cavity. It helps to ensure your vagina does not get an overgrowth of microorganisms and it’s responsible for the pH scale of the vagina to be slightly acidic. This bacteria has also been known to boost immunity.

Because of all the benefits it has, it is used in food supplements. It is also found naturally in foods like yogurt, tempeh and miso.

* Bacillus subtilis – This helps to normalize gut motility and metabolic functioning. It is found in foods like yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream, and fermented soybeans.

* Bifidobacterium animalis – This type is found in the intestine of both humans and animals. It aids in the digestion process. If you are constipated or have irritable bowel syndrome, you can take this in supplemental doses to ease and improve the symptoms.

* Streptococcus thermophilus – This type of bacteria can strengthen immunity and can strengthen the function ability of the gut. It can be obtained from dairy products like cheese.

* Lactobacillus reuteri – This type is found in maternal breast milk and will become a permanent part of the gut flora. It can also be found in foods like cheese and yogurt.

We have been trained to think that all bacteria is bad. But without the bacteria in our bodies, we wouldn’t be able to break down food or create nutrients needed for us to survive. The bacteria inhabited in our bodies also determines whether or not we experience diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.

What is the Keto Diet

What is the Keto Diet?

These days, there’s literally hundreds of different types of diets you can follow. All claim to offer remarkable results and get you to your weight loss goals. However, not all of them are healthy or easy to stick to.

One diet which has become really popular over the years is the keto diet. Many people swear by this diet and even go as far as to follow it on a long-term basis. So, what exactly is the keto diet? Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know.

A low-carb, high-fat diet

Keto stands for Ketogenic and it focuses on a very low carb, high-fat diet.

Many people are surprised to learn that they’ll need to up their fat intake on the diet; especially if they’re doing it for weight loss reasons. However, you’re not focusing on just any fat content – you’ll be increasing the healthy fats in your diet. The reason behind this is because it gets the body to use up fat as a source of energy.

After following the diet for up to 7 days, the body enters a ketosis state. This causes the body to start developing ketones which it uses in place of carbohydrates.

It was designed to prevent seizures

What’s interesting about the diet, is that it was actually developed to help prevent seizures.

The ketones and the decanoic acid chemical that is produced by the diet, help to minimize the risk of seizures. It was only when those following the diet noticed weight loss as a side effect, that it began to be used as a weight loss aid too.

What type of things will you eat on the diet?

As you’ll be limiting your carbs and increasing your fat content, you won’t be indulging in foods such as pasta. Instead, the majority of your diet will be made up of low-carb vegetables, fish, cheese and fresh meat and poultry.

Foods to avoid include root vegetables, candy, grains, legumes, alcohol and milk. Perhaps the most surprising foods to avoid are fruits. Most diets tell you to up your fruit and vegetable intake so the fact this one eliminates them is largely what makes it different from the rest.

How does it make you feel?

There’s always a worry when starting a diet about how it will make you feel. With the keto diet, it can produce some unpleasant side effects when it’s first started. This is because you’re suddenly severely limiting your carb intake.

You may experience fatigue, bad breath and sickness for the first few days. However, it is said to give you a lot more energy. So, it may be a struggle to begin with, but you should find the symptoms lessen over time.

The keto diet does have a large following and it has shown to be extremely effective at weight loss. However, it’s benefits stretch far beyond just helping you to lose weight.

Tips for Keeping the Proper Bacteria Balance

Tips for Keeping the Proper Bacteria Balance

It’s important to have the perfect balance of both good and bad bacteria in your gut. Here’s how you can make sure that you keep the good kind of bacteria where it should be.

Healing Your Gut

If you are eating a lot of sugar, you are feeding the wrong kind of bacteria to your gut. You are more prone to getting diseases than getting and being healthy. Instead, you’ll want to promote the good kind of bacteria which will keep you healthy and prevent any diseases.

You can fix any damage to your gut and keep a proper balance by optimizing your diet. You can do this by adding fermented foods like dairy and vegetables. Another option is to add a high-quality probiotic to your diet.

Probiotics are very important partners with the defense system of your intestine. Optimizing your gut’s health should be started at a very young age. Many babies nowadays are not getting the natural healthy infusion of the beneficial gut bacteria. The earlier this can be corrected, the better it will be.

Breastfeed your child if at all possible because bottle feeding places a heavy toll on the babies’ intestinal health. For mothers who are breastfeeding, if you are not including fermented foods into your diet, you should consider taking probiotic supplements – especially if you are consuming a lot of processed foods.

Taking Probiotic Supplements

As human beings, we tend to consume a lot of sugars and grains. Everyone should take probiotics because it is a helpful start to a new and healthy recovery. The best source of probiotics come from naturally fermented foods. These foods should always be your first choice.

If you do decide to add supplements, look for and use the high potency, multi-strain variety. This can be found in nearly every nutrition store. Probiotics are also especially helpful if you are going somewhere where you are highly susceptible to diarrhea. Usually, high doses of a high-quality probiotic is the most useful for a rapid recovery to diarrhea.

Having an imbalance of good and bad bacteria can lead to some pretty serious illnesses. If you’ve eaten lots of junk food in your life, especially every day, your gut could be in danger of having an imbalance. But, your gut could also be in danger because of the usage of antibiotics. Antibiotics can attack the good bacteria in your body, causing an imbalance.

There are things you can do to treat any damage done, though. This will prevent anything going seriously wrong in your body. Probiotics is a very important thing that you can start adding to your diet. They don’t just prevent you from getting diarrhea from traveling. They can also correct any damage junk food and antibiotics may have done to the good bacteria in your body.

You may not think that your gut is important, but it is. It plays a big role in keeping you healthy. Take good care of yourself. By taking probiotics, you can do that.

What Are its Benefits With Keto

What Are its Benefits?

Now you have an idea what the keto diet actually is, it’s time to delve into its many benefits.

When choosing which diet to follow, it’s important to compare the benefits of each one. While obviously the main reason people undertake a strict diet is to lose weight, that isn’t where the benefits often end. Here, you’ll discover just some of the benefits you can expect to experience on the keto diet.

Weight loss

The most common reason people start the keto diet is for its impressive weight loss results. The reason it works so well is because it uses fat as an energy source, burning it off instead of glucose. This leads to much more weight loss than many other types of diets.

It also helps to reduce the appetite, making you less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks throughout the day.

Helping to stabilize the mood

As well as weight loss, the keto diet is also known to stabilize the mood. Research has shown that it can potentially stabilize the mood in those who suffer with Type 2 Bipolar disorder, more than medication can.

So, if you tend to suffer from mood swings, this could be the diet for you.

Improved mental focus

As the keto diet is low on carbs, your blood sugar levels are less likely to rise and fall dramatically. This means you’ll have much better mental focus than you would on a high-carb diet.

When the blood sugar levels remain consistent, you’re able to focus for longer periods at a time. You’ll also find your mind doesn’t feel as cloudy.

You’ll have plenty of energy

It’s important for the body to keep refueling its glycogen levels in order to stay energized. This is because it is only capable of storing a certain amount of glycogen at any one time.

With a keto diet, you don’t need to worry about consistently maintaining good glycogen levels. This is because the body starts to use fat as an energy source. Fat doesn’t run out, so you’ll have a constant energy source, leaving you feeling much more energized throughout the day.

The above is just some of the benefits a keto diet can provide. As you can see, it’s great for so much more than weight loss. This is why so many people have chosen to follow the keto diet as more of a long-term lifestyle plan. However, it’s important to remember that you’ll only receive these benefits if you follow the diet correctly.

Prebiotics in Your Food

Prebiotics in Your Food

Prebiotics are indigestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and maintenance of the gut. They also feed and support the growth of beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, in your large intestine.

Fructooligosaccharides are prebiotics compounds that are used to manufacture prebiotic supplements, for example inulin and oligofructose. They include several types of molecules. These prebiotic compounds are about one third as sweet as sugar is but they’re calorie free. This makes them useful sweeteners for dairy products, desserts, and breakfast cereals.

Prebiotics can be found in a great variety of foods. Here is a list of five of those foods that can help you get a healthier gut:

1. Chicory and Jerusalem Artichoke – These foods are very high in inulin and oligofructose, which makes them used commonly for commercial sources of inulin. The chicory root contains about 15 to 20% of inulin. There is approximately 5 to 10% oligofructose. For prebiotic purposes, the daily consumption is recommended at 4 to 10 grams. Higher doses are recommended to help prevent constipation.

2. Asparagus and Leek – These are also a great source for inulin. The high source of inulin is great for producing butyrate. Butyrate is a short chain of fatty acid that probiotic bacteria produces. Butyrate helps prevent inflammation in the intestinal tract.

3. Onions – These also contain a very high amount of both inulin and oligofructose. This vegetable provides 6 to 18 grams of the prebiotic compound in a typical serving of onion soup. It has been shown that consuming onion prebiotics improves intestinal health.

4. Milk – Lactulose, found in pasteurized, ultra-heat treated, and sterilized milk, promotes the growth of bifidobacteria. This is a group of probiotic bacteria. To produce hydrogen, the intestinal bacteria uses the lactulose. The intestinal bacteria also uses the lactulose to neutralize free radicals and to protect against liver damage and cardiovascular disease.

If you add exercise to your lifestyle while combining with milk, it is shown to have raised hydrogen levels. This in turn, increases the effectiveness of the lactulose.

5. Bananas and Sorghum – There’s a prebiotic referred to as a resistant starch, which you can get from raw green bananas. Resistant starch lets the probiotic bacteria survive the acidic environment in your stomach. If they can survive through the acidity in your stomach, they can then get to your small and large intestines where they need to be.

Sorghum flour is an alternative for people who can’t digest gluten. This flour is also a very resistant starch. If you want to get the greatest amount of resistant starch, you can cook the sorghum.

Prebiotics are great things to add to your diet and lifestyle. They help to keep you gut healthy and happy. It is suggested that you consume about 135 grams per day of prebiotic fiber. It may seem like a lot, but it’s all worth it in the end. Your body will thank you for putting all of the necessary amounts of prebiotics in it. It definitely makes it better knowing that the foods with prebiotics in them are so good!

Top Keto Diet Mistakes to Avoid

Top Keto Diet Mistakes to Avoid

When you’re starting on the keto diet, there’s a surprising number of mistakes you can make. It’s definitely not one of the easier diets to follow, which means it’s pretty easy to get it wrong.

To help ensure your keto diet success, below you’ll discover some of the top mistakes you’ll want to avoid making.

Seeing it as a quick weight loss fix

While one of the main benefits of the keto diet is weight loss, it’s not going to happen overnight. If you’re looking for a quick fix, this diet definitely isn’t for you.

The keto diet is more of a lifestyle change than a simple diet. It’ also important to remember that everyone is different. So, you may well experience fast weight loss results, but it isn’t 100% guaranteed.

Consuming the wrong type of fats

One of the key elements of the keto diet is that it focuses on high fat consumption. However, it’s important to know that you can’t just increase your overall fat intake, instead you need to focus on the right type of fats.

You shouldn’t be using vegetable oil or consuming processed fats. The types of fat you should be concentrating on include monosaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats. These can be found in foods such as fish, eggs, avocados and butter.

Not drinking enough water

It’s really important to keep hydrated on the keto diet. This is because you’ll be losing a lot of fluids as well as electrolytes. So, it’s crucial to keep your water levels topped up.

It’s actually recommended you should drink around a gallon of water each day. It may sound a lot, but it’s essential to ensure your organs are functioning correctly.

Failing to get enough sleep

When you’re starting out on the keto diet, once the body starts to go into ketosis, it can start to cause temporary sleep issues. This means you’re going to need to ensure you come up with ways to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

Just like water, your organs need you to get enough sleep for them to work properly. You’ll also need enough sleep to be able to handle the potential side effects of the diet.

Eating the same foods consistently

Finally, another mistake you can make is to constantly eat the same things. Not only does this become boring very quickly, but it also means you might not be getting the right amount of nutrients from the diet.

It’s important to keep the keto diet as varied as possible. So, you’ll want to research as many keto recipes as you can before getting started.

These are just some of the top mistakes you can make when trying out the keto diet. As with everything, the more research you do and the more prepared you are, the easier you’ll find the keto diet to stick to.

How to Correctly Use Probiotics

How to Correctly Use Probiotics

Probiotics have been shown to be amazing for your body, especially your gut. Here are some tips to ensure that the probiotics you’re consuming aren’t going to waste.

1. Seek Out the Fermented Foods

Fermentation concentrates the vitamins in plants, such as B and C vitamins. When you eat fermented products, your gut is then filled with good bacteria. Foods in this category include yogurt, miso, sourdough bread, tamari, and Kombucha. These foods all contain natural probiotics.

Sauerkraut is also a great option. It’s one of the cheapest probiotics that you can buy. The best sauerkraut with the most probiotics is the one that is fermented in saltwater. Don’t buy the foods submerged in vinegar because the vinegar disturbs the gut’s natural acidic level.

2. Be Selective When Purchasing Probiotic-Enriched Foods

The only foods with probiotics are the fermented foods. However, food manufacturers have recently started putting beneficial bugs into everything they make. Those foods include things like cereal, bread, and snack bars. When probiotic cultures are separated from their original source and then added to processed foods, the benefits of the probiotics do not transfer.

Extreme temperatures can kill any healthy bugs too, so the advantages of probiotics when added to things like ice cream, become debatable.

3. Buy and Store Any Probiotic-Rich Foods in Glass Jars

Don’t put your probiotics in a metal tin. The aluminum used in the tin can interfere with the lactic acid in fermented foods and create toxins. You also should never put your probiotics in soft plastics because loose chemicals could push their way into your food.

4. Chill the Probiotics

After you open the probiotic food, place it in the refrigerator. If you keep your probiotics chilled, you can help prolong the life of the probiotic. If you place the food in the refrigerator, useful bacteria can multiply on the food as long as the container is not contaminated in any way. Live supplements can survive weeks, even months, in the refrigerator. They’ll survive even longer if they’re freeze-dried.

5. Analyze Your Foods and Supplement Needs

If you are trying to tackle a digestive issue, you might want to go for the probiotic supplement. Don’t just buy random foods with probiotics, though. Each type of probiotic does a different thing. You should know that the strain which combats irritable bowel syndrome is different than the one that fights urinary tract infections, for example.

If you’re unsure, consult the supplement manufacturer. However, if you are simply just trying to improve your health, you might want to go with the high-quality, probiotic-rich foods rather than a supplement.

6. Eat Less Junk Food

Processed foods contain ingredients that irritate the gut, which makes it hard for the good stuff to flourish. An occasional cookie won’t do you any harm, but if you have junk food every day it can inflame the gut’s lining. Eventually the bad bacteria will rule the roost. This weakens the stomach acid, which will slow the nutrient absorption and concentrate bile. This can then prevent the necessary evacuation of toxins. The result is an increase in your risk of nutrient deficiencies and hormone-related cancers.

It is important to make sure that while taking probiotics you don’t do anything to prevent the probiotics from working correctly.

How to Make Sure You Get Enough Protein on a Keto Diet

How to Ensure You Get Enough protein on a Keta Diet

Like any diet, the keto diet does present some challenges. As you’ll be strictly limiting certain foods, you’re going to need to ensure you’re getting enough replacement nutrients.

One thing you will need to pay attention to is the amount of protein you’re consuming. You want to ensure you’re eating enough, but not too much. It’s also important to ensure you’re eating the right types of protein.

To help, here you’ll discover how to ensure you get enough protein on a keto diet.

Understand how much protein you need

Each person needs a different level of protein to stay in optimum health. It all depends upon how active you are and what your body weight is. As a general rule, the more active you are, the more protein you’re going to need.

It helps to work out your protein requirements by taking your body weight and deducting body fat. There are online tools which can help you with this, or you can ask your doctor to measure you.

If you have your weight in pounds, you just need to multiply it by either 0.6 or 1.0 to see the minimum and maximum amount of protein you should be eating in a day.

Focus on plant proteins

It’s not just the amount of protein that’s important. You also need to consider the type of protein you’re eating.

This is because, although meat is a surefire way to get all of the daily protein you need, it also contains high levels of saturated fats. Eating too much saturated fats can be detrimental to your health. So, instead you’ll want to try and focus on plant proteins.

Space your protein out throughout the day

Rather than consuming all of your daily protein in one meal, it’s a much better idea to space it out throughout the day. This is because protein is consistently being remodeled and the body needs a regular supply to function correctly.

Avoid supplements

Although some types of supplements are great on the keto diet, ideally, you’ll want to avoid protein supplements. Most people don’t need to take protein supplements as they get plenty from their keto diet.

Consuming too much protein can increase the risk of kidney stones, as well as cause other nasty side effects. So, it’s best to avoid supplements if you want to reduce your chances of consuming too much protein.

The above are the basics to follow to ensure you’re getting enough protein on a keto diet. Just remember to be mindful of where you’re getting the protein from and that you aren’t eating too much.