28 Foods that Help Lower Blood Pressure to Normal Levels

There are certain foods that lower blood pressure to help you reduce how much medication you’re taking, or perhaps allow you to wean yourself off of it entirely. If you’re just trying to prevent your blood pressure from reaching a dangerous high, you can start incorporating more of these foods into your diet starting today. Some of them are pretty common, while others might require seeking them out and adding them to your cart the next time you’re out shopping. These should be consumed as part of a comprehensive approach including increased exercise and other lifestyle changes.

28 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

Peas – More peas please! They can help you stave off high blood pressure due to the vegetable protein they contain, as well as other vitamins and folic acid for overall cardiovascular support to your system. The best part is they taste amazing, especially if you buy fresh, organic peas. You can also find organic frozen varieties, and these typically only cost a bit more than the conventional kind. The flavor difference is noticeable, as conventional peas tend to absorb plenty of chemicals.

peas
Pass the peas please.

Baked Potato – Those on a low-carb diet are probably avoiding potatoes, and they’ve had trouble losing their starchy food image, but more and more evidence is pointing to them actually being good for you, in reasonable amounts. One of the benefits they may provide is through the kukoamine they contain. It’s not clear whether a single serving of it provides enough to lower your blood pressure, but adding these spuds to your plate seems to be worth it. You can also cook them in other ways too and still enjoy the benefits.

Celery – Celery helps your heart and your veins function better, which has the trickle down effect of keep your blood pressure levels in check. It is thought that by helping to balance blood sugar levels, it also works to maintain a good blood pressure level. The nice part of about all of this is that celery is a superfood, with many other positive benefits including weight loss. Not surprisingly, losing weight is a way to help get your blood pressure down, and maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to reduce your chances of complications arising from high blood pressure.

Green Beans – Green beans have a direct on your blood pressure, creating favorable conditions for healthy levels. They do this by helping your body in at least 3 different aspects, due to the Vitamin C content they contain, their fiber content, and also potassium, which has perhaps the most direct effect. You simply can’t go wrong by adding green beans to your plate, just be sure not to smother them in butter. Consider adding slivered almonds to make them even healthier.

Papaya – Although oranges typically get mentioned for their Vitamin C content, the papaya puts it to shame with plenty more per gram than an orange. Add to this the mix of other vitamins and minerals, including amino acids, and potassium and you’ll be taking a big step towards wrangling in higher than normal blood pressure levels. The potassium content also helps the general health of your heart. The added bonus is that papaya tastes great, so if this is one fruit that doesn’t currently make your fruit rotation, consider adding it to the lineup.

oatmeal is good for blood pressure
Just don’t add a bunch of brown sugar.

Oatmeal – You may be tired of hearing how good oatmeal is for you, especially if you don’t care for the taste. But if you’re concerned about your blood pressure levels, and loathe taking so much medication for the condition, you might be able to reduce your prescription by increasing your oatmeal intake. And it doesn’t require that you eat bowl after bowl of it, just a morning bowl will make a big difference. Try to avoid the flavored types as these add unnecessary sugar, which will only raise your blood glucose levels and negate some of the effect.

Guava – If you want to mimic the results of a clinical study performed in India you should aim to eat guava before your lunch or dinner. It might be hard for you to get guava in your part of the world, but it’s worth seeking out. The fruit is said to provide these results because of its high potassium levels. It also contains healthy amounts of fiber, so it helps your digestive system move things along, which has other health benefits to the body besides lowering blood pressure, including assisting in weight loss efforts.

Yogurt – Depending on how much stock you give studies that are partially funded by yogurt companies, there may be some benefit to having a daily non-fat yogurt. It’s basically banking on the fact that yogurt contains potassium, as well as magnesium and calcium, so as long as you keep the fat content low you’ll be working to keep your blood pressure low. This is definitely not the silver bullet when it comes to knocking down your blood pressure, but if consumed with other foods on this page it may show results.

Tomatoes – With all of the press that tomatoes get you’d think they were some sort of superfood. Actually, they are. Blood pressure is just one of the many things that tomatoes have been shown to help with. Like many of the other conditions its good for, the lycopene is said to be the reason for the improvements. Helping with everything from diabetes prevention to premature aging of the skin, there are plenty of reasons to keep the tomatoes coming. When preparing and consuming them, it’s best to eat them without much processing or cooking, and not with other ingredients like cheese and fatty meats like on a pizza.

Kiwis – These fuzzy little green fruits are not just sweet and yummy to eat, they’ve also been shown to help keep blood pressure from becoming a problem. In order to have success with them, you’ll need to have 3 of them each day. This might not be too feasible, since you might tire of them quickly, or they could go bad, or it could get expensive. But adding them to your grocery list and consuming them along with other foods rich in antioxidants and you should be covered as far as battling free radicals goes.

blueberries
Blueberries have a direct impact on blood pressure.

Blueberries – Blueberries have plenty of antioxidants in them, as do raspberries, and these have a direct impact on your blood pressure, by knocking out free radicals in your system. You can also avoid eating foods that increase the levels of free radicals in your body. Consider eating a bowl of fresh blueberries mixed with other fruits as a refreshing breakfast. Just do your best to eat them without adding sugar to them, or adding them to things like pancakes or muffins, which dilutes the overall effect it has on the body.

Spinach – Spinach makes several lists on our site here, including our list of Superfoods, and is a key ingredient in several Detox Drinks. Here’s one more good thing about spinach: it helps to keep your blood pressure down. It does this mostly due to its nutrient dense nature, containing plenty of antioxidants in it to help the body repair damage done from free radicals. The great part is that you can eat it straight up in a salad, or you can add it to a smoothie for an instant upgrade. It forms the foundation to many green smoothies that are all the rage.

Avocados – Avocados attack high blood pressure from multiple angles, with the potassium they contain, the fiber, and the monounsaturated fat that they’re high in. This three-pronged approach really sets you up for having a better chance of keeping things stabilized. It’s super easy to start eating more of them as well. They complement many health conscious meals, and can be used to top off anything from salads to tacos. They can also be eaten directly, and used as a snack to hold you over between meals. Because of the fat content you end up feeling fuller longer.

Cantaloupe – Hope you’re hungry, because you’ll have to eat half a cantaloupe to get the same amount of potassium you get from a banana. But that’s not all a cantaloupe contains that aids in keeping your blood pressure groovy. They also assist the body in healing itself through antioxidants. Foods containing healthy levels of potassium help to keep lipoprotein cholesterol levels down, which is why you should have some each day, and not just as a “once in awhile” compromise.

Prunes – Clinical tests have proven that prunes are good for the body, and especially for blood pressure. They help to create a significant reduction of the bad cholesterol in the body, and a byproduct of this is lowered blood pressure. They’re also well known for their laxative properties, helping to relieve cases of constipation, and keeping the body regular if consumed on a daily basis. The nice part is you don’t have to go overboard and eat several prunes each day, but having a serving daily would go far in your quest for lowered BP levels.

carrots
Packed full of Vitamin A.

Carrots – It can be hard crunching up enough carrots to make a difference to your blood pressure, which is why it’s a good idea to drink them instead. You might consider investing in a juicer to get at the good stuff that carrots contain. Most are aware that carrots are good for the eyes, but they also contain antioxidants and potassium, two major supporters of normal blood pressure levels. The specific type of fiber that carrots contain also helps to keep you free and clear.

Spinach – Spinach makes several lists on our site here, including our list of Superfoods, and is a key ingredient in several Detox Drinks. Here’s one more good thing about spinach: it helps to keep your blood pressure down. It does this mostly due to its nutrient dense nature, containing plenty of antioxidants in it to help the body repair damage done from free radicals. The great part is that you can eat it straight up in a salad, or you can add it to a smoothie for an instant upgrade. It forms the foundation to many green smoothies that are all the rage.

Dandelion – It makes you wonder who the first person was to look at a dandelion and consider it a food source. But now we’re discovering that there are plenty of reasons to eat this flower, including lowered blood pressure. The key is to make sure that you’re eating potassium-rich foods while you’re taking dandelion root extract, as it works as a diuretic and will help the body get rid of excess fluid. Diuretics have been used to treat high blood pressure for quite some time, and this is a natural way to go about it.

Salmon – You have to make sure that the salmon you choose is wild salmon if you want to reap the blood pressure benefits from it. The omega-3s it contains have plenty of different benefits for the body, one of which is that it helps to prevent the blood from clotting, which means that you’ll end up having an improved circulatory system in general. It is often recommended to add this to your menu a few times a week, and you will also be helping to ward off heart attacks and even cancer.

Skim Milk – With skim milk you’re getting the combination of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, but without the fat. As long as you’re not lactose intolerant or a vegan studies show that drinking a daily glass of skim milk can be an effective way to keep your blood pressure in line. The temptation may be to have it in a bowl of sugary cereal or to wash down some chocolate chip cookies with it, but drinking it solo is the best way to keep things healthy. Be sure to buy organic if you can, so you won’t be filling your body with the antibiotics they pump into ordinary cows.

watermelon
Who knew watermelon was such a superfood?

Watermelon – Watermelon is one food that most people don’t mind getting more of, especially when they find out just how good it is for them. In the case of the rise and fall of blood pressure, it helps because of all the L-citrulline it contains. This helps to relax your arteries, and thus results in lowered BP levels. So don’t save this as a summertime treat. Consider having “melon mornings” regularly where you simply start your day with an assortment of fresh melon, including cantaloupe which also makes this list.

Raisins – Raisins make a great and portable snack, just be sure that you’re not getting ones that have a lot of added sugar, and opt for the organic upgrade to make sure that they were made with organic grapes. The thought is that it’s the potassium content of raisins that does the trick, and since they’re delicious this is one change you can make starting right away without having to commit to much. It’s the little changes that add up to something big over time. Raisin bran wouldn’t qualify, as most brands add generous amounts of heavily-processed sugar.

Spices – Just because you’re trying to get your blood pressure down doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. There are several spices that are known to help keep the body in a relaxed state, and help your circulatory system function optimally. Garlic and oregano are two that you can add to your foods in order to add instant flavor, but also to help with your heart health. If you’re doing some baking or dealing with sweets you can sprinkle some cinnamon for extra heart disease prevention.

Beans – Beans are often suggested for diabetic diets because they help to balance blood sugar levels. But recent findings suggest that they also have a positive effect on blood pressure levels as well. The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to increase your level of bean consumption, with many restaurants offering the option to switch out side dishes with black beans. Plus, beans are tasty and help you to feel fuller longer and can help you lose weight if you’re trying to.

Dark Chocolate – It’s important to stress that this is dark chocolate, and you won’t get the same benefits from eating milk chocolate, especially not the kind found in many of the mainstream candy bars, like a Hershey bar, Snickers, Kit Kat, etc. The antioxidants in dark chocolate will help fight off free radicals. The trick is limiting yourself to a small daily portion, and not over-consuming it. Eating more of it does not increase the benefits so keep portions in check and go for the long-term approach and daily intake.

beets
Drink a daily glass of beet juice.

Beets – Beets have managed to fly under the radar for several years, but their secret powers are becoming more and more well known. In this case it’s the juice from beets that is supposed to yield the most benefits, and you’ll have to commit to having a daily glass of it. If you’re not too fond of the taste, it may be worth getting used to. Many drinkers of it say that it’s an acquired taste, and while they started off not really liking it, they came to tolerate it, and finally to enjoy it.

Bananas – The potassium content of bananas is well-established, and they make great portable snacks you can eat anywhere. Plus they’re perfectly portioned, and you don’t have to wash them before you eat them. The recommendation is that you eat two of them per day for the best effect on your blood pressure. Add a third banana to the mix if you want to try to prevent getting a stroke, helpful for those that have a family history of strokes.

Nuts – An assortment of nuts have been shown to help keep blood sugar levels in check, and also aid in helping you to feel full longer, as well as helping to build lean muscle. The healthy fats they provide go a long way in regards to your general health and well-being. They also have potassium, which is a recurring theme with several foods on this page. Consider almonds and pistachios as excellent choices, but be sure not to overdo it, too much of a good thing and it’s no longer a good thing.

Oranges – The Vitamin C in oranges acts as an antioxidant, and in addition to helping you fight off colds by strengthening your immune system, it can help to lower your blood pressure. You can drink it as juice, or eat it as whole oranges, but it’s best not to rely on them entirely and to mix things up as part of an overall shift in your diet. It’s recommended to eat an assortment of fruits, and we’ve listed several here for you that will help you to keep your diet assorted and colorful with healthy fruits.

And 3 Things That Raise Blood Pressure

Fast Food – The heavily processed nature of fast food means that you’re getting a lot of additives, copious amounts of sodium, sugar, and caffeine with most any meal you order. Not to mention the high fat contents, including high levels of saturated fats and trans fats. A single trip to a fast food restaurant can set back your efforts and leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated, and can instantly raise your blood pressure again. It’s best to simply avoid it altogether rather than try to determine what is healthy and what isn’t.

Alcohol – You’re immediately increasing the number of free radicals in your body when you drink alcohol, not to mention creating a toxic environment for your liver. You would need to drink the alcohol in excess for it to have an immediate effect on your blood pressure, but even drinking it in moderation is causing an unhealthy environment in your body. It’s best to save it for special occasions if you are trying to keep yourself as healthy as possible, and if you’ve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure you may want to cut it out completely.

Caffeine – Caffeine works on a physiological level to stimulate your body which includes raising your heart rate. If you’ve become addicted to caffeine and feel like you need it to start functioning at the beginning of your day, you should seriously consider weaning yourself off of it or going cold turkey. If you start to get caffeine headaches when trying to quit, it’s a sure indication that your body is addicted to it, and you’ll benefit greatly from getting of this bona fide drug.

See our list of other unhealthy foods to avoid

It’s worth the time and effort to try to lower your blood pressure if you have hypertension. It’s a precursor to a host of other problems and conditions that can really take a toll on your life expectancy. If you’re part of the nearly one third of Americans that suffer from it, the one consolation is that you can take steps to correct it, and there’s no such thing as a terminal case of high blood pressure, there are always steps you can take to bring it down to normal levels, either by dietary and lifestyle changes or with medication or a combination of both.

Feeling a little stressed out? Lower your blood pressure by taking a look at our list of 105 Ways to Relieve Stress.

17 Ways to Lose Back Fat

how to lose Back fat

Of all the stubborn places on the body to collect fat, back fat seems to be the worst. It completely alters the way your shirts fit, which throws off your entire outfit, and don’t even get us started on how it makes your bra feel like a torture trap. Although it’s impossible to spot treat your back fat, you can make changes that allow you to lose overall body weight and tone up the area. These include making good eating and sleeping choices, drinking more water, and keeping your workouts fresh. Throw in some planks, some weighted exercises, and some cardio, and you’ll be feeling confident again in your tank top in no time. Here are 17 tips for helping you learn how to lose back fat.

1. Get More Sleep

Getting more sleep is our first tip for losing back fat. That’s because studies show that people who don’t sleep enough have lower levels of leptin, which is the hormone that controls your hunger. Losing sleep leads you to eat more. Research shows that when you’re sleep deprived, you not only tend to crave more food, but you also tend to want the wrong kinds of food, such as sugary sweets, refined carbohydrates, and comfort foods. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule also helps you feel more energized throughout the day, so you’re able to make better decisions and get to the gym on time. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night. It also helps to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

2. Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated how to Lose Back Fat

Drinking lots of water throughout the day helps you flush toxins out of the body, which ultimately helps you lose weight. Water is especially essential for the functioning of your digestive system. It’s needed to help move waste through your intestines. Drinking water also keeps your skin looking great and helps curb hunger. If you want an added health boost, try adding a slice of lemon to your water. Lemon has natural blood purifying properties. It’s also high in vitamin C and antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and help flush fat from the body. Aim for eight large glasses of water each day. You may want to drink more if you consume caffeine to prevent becoming dehydrated.

3. Start with Cardio

According to the USDA, you need to perform an hour of cardio exercise five times a week to help you stay healthy and lose weight. While cardio alone won’t help you lose back fat, it’s an excellent place to start. Cardio gets your heart pumping and enables you to warm up for weight-bearing exercises. Try switching up your cardio exercises to keep things fresh. You don’t want to burn out on one single exercise. Try walking, jogging, biking or swimming. You can even do a kickboxing or HIIT class with some friends to work different muscles and keep your workouts enjoyable. After a 20 or 30-minute cardio session, hit the weights and work out your back muscles to get rid of that bulge!

4. Do Some Push-ups

Do Some Push UpsAlthough most people associate push-ups with your chest muscles, they are a great way to tone up your back, too. Plus, like some of the other tips on this list, you can do them virtually anywhere. Push-ups strengthen the muscles that support your spine, which can help with back pain. They also help give you a long, lean physique. To do them, start by laying on your stomach with your hands just outside of your shoulders and your feet shoulder-width apart. Press your palms into the floor and lift your chest and knees off the ground. Keep your back straight and your middle section tight. Slowly bring yourself back down to about an inch off the ground and lift yourself back up. Try for a set of ten. If you’re feeling weak, you can bring your knees to the ground until you develop the strength to work on your toes.

5. Go for Fiber

You can never go wrong when you choose to eat lots of whole, unrefined, plant-based foods overly highly refined ones. They’re full of protective plant properties, like antioxidants and fiber. Fiber is excellent for helping you feel full so that you don’t eat as much. It also improves the digestive process, which is where weight loss begins by cleaning out your system. Oatmeal is a great way to start your day as it contains soluble fiber. Add some flax seeds and blueberries for more filling fiber. Snack on guacamole and vegetable sticks throughout the day, enjoy some steamed broccoli with your dinner and experiment with different types of ancient grains that you’ve never tried. Here’s a tip you’ll thank us for: bake some chickpeas in olive oil with sea salt the next time you’re craving potato chips and enjoy as a guilt-free snack.

6. Bent-over Dumbbell Rows

Bent-over dumbbell rows

All you need to perform this back fat-blasting exercise is a pair of dumbbells. It perfectly triggers problem areas on your back, but keep in mind that performing this exercise alone isn’t enough. However, when used in combination with a proper diet, this exercise is hard to beat! Start by planting your feet shoulder-width apart. Choose a pair of dumbbells with a weight that is comfortable to use without straining. With one in each hand, slightly bend your knees and bring your torso forward while keeping your back straight. Bring the weights down to your knees and pull them up, so your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your back muscles as you bring the weights up. Then slowly bring the weights back down. Perform three sets of ten reps.

7. Plan your Meals

The secret to making healthier eating habits work for you is to plan for them. If you wing it, you’re more likely to make bad decisions, such as stopping for a fast-food meal on your lunch break. But if you pack a fresh salad and bring it to work, you’ll be less likely to make a bad food choice. Meal prepping doesn’t have to be hard. You can purchase a family pack of chicken breasts at most grocery stores, top them with olive oil and your favorite spices, and cook them in the oven on Sundays. Then you have your protein for the week. Buy big bags of fresh lettuce for salads and frozen vegetables for an easy stir-fry at dinner. Keep plenty of fresh fruit on hand and stock up on raw nuts for a snack.

8. Eat the Rainbow

Eat The Rainbow how to lose back fat

Remember when your health teacher in school told you to eat the rainbow? They were right. Getting your calories from a wide variety of different foods is an excellent way to make sure you’re getting lots of different vitamins and minerals. For example, orange fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins A and C while greens contain flavonoids, beta-carotene, and lutein. Try to make your plate as colorful as you can. Pair green, leafy vegetables with brightly colored red and yellow peppers. Or buy some purple carrots instead of the orange kind. Pack a bag of different colored fresh berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, and add them to coconut kefir yogurt as a snack while at work. Get creative by adding mango chunks to a smoothie in place of banana and purple cabbage to your green salads.

9. Work your Lats

Your lat muscles are located in your middle back. They are attached to your vertebral column. Keeping these muscles lean and strong will help you get rid of that pesky back fat. One of the most popular weighted machines at the gym for targeting these muscles is the lat pulldown machine. To use it, sit down on the machine with a wide bar attached and lock your legs in place. Reach up, grab the bar and pull it down toward your chest while keeping your back straight. The idea is to target your back muscles and not your legs when you pull down on the bar. Slowly return the bar to the starting position. Aim for three sets of ten reps each.

10. Replace your Daily Coffee with Green Tea

Research shows that green tea boosts metabolism and burns fat in overweight subjects, making it a great beverage of choice for people who want to get rid of their problem areas. It works exceptionally well when you drink it and adopt a healthy exercise routine, too. If you’re a caffeine drinker, you may want to swap out your daily cup of joe for green tea. Add lemon for an added health boost. Not only does it help your green tea taste better, but it also aids in the fat-burning mechanisms of the tea. You can drink your green tea hot or cold- the temperature makes no difference, which is an excellent way to enjoy it all year long. Brew your tea as you usually would and add ice for a summer fat-blasting treat.

11. Try a Detox

Can a detox help you lose back fat? You bet. Actually, it can help you lose fat all over your body. We don’t really get to choose where we lose fat, but taking measures that reduce overall fat is your best bet for getting rid of problem areas. Detoxing doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds. You can do a sugar detox that allows you to eat as you usually would minus any food that contains sugar, except fruit. Or you could commit to eating a whole-food, plant-based diet for one month that includes lots of fruits, vegetables and unrefined grains, and nothing more. You can even start slow by ditching the alcohol first, then the sugar, and finally the meat.

12. Shoulder Press

Shoulder press how to lose back fat

The shoulder press is an excellent exercise because it works lots of different muscles, including your triceps and back. To avoid injury, be sure to pick a set of dumbbells that are comfortable for you. You can perform shoulder presses standing up or sitting down, but sitting down and leaning against something supportive is a good way to make sure you’re targeting the right areas. Start with your feet planted on the ground shoulder width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, bend your arms at a 90-degree angle, so your wrists line up with your ears, and push the weights up over your head. Return them to the starting position and repeat up to ten times for a total of three sets.

13. Try Yoga

Yoga is excellent for reducing stress, which is a common characteristic of inflammation. And inflammation contributes to your body weight. Additionally, stress causes you to overeat, so nipping it in the bud before it can get to you is crucial. Not only will you be leaner, but you’ll also be calmer and more productive at work. If you’re new to yoga, try checking out a beginners class at a local studio. You can also catch some great yoga videos online for free to see if you like it. Pilates is another great way to reduce stress and work on building long, lean muscles. Look for a certified instructor to prevent injury. You’ll also get in a deep stretch and learn how to work on your breathing.

14. Try Planking

Try planking how to lose back fat

Planks are one of the best full body workouts out there. They tone your abs, back, shoulders, and arms by using your body weight as resistance. The best part is that you can do it just about anywhere. Start your day out with some planks first thing in the morning or aim for a few sets of planks immediately after a cardio session while your heart rate is up to help you burn more fat. Hold each plank for 30 seconds and gradually lengthen this time as you get stronger. Some people can hold planks for minutes at a time. To get in position, start by performing a push-up and hold yourself up with your arms straight and your palms flat on the floor. You can also plank on your forearms. The trick is to keep your body straight so your butt doesn’t drop.

15. Superman Lifts

Superman lifts are an exercise that works both your upper and lower back. They also give you a great stretch if you have a tight back. Start by laying on your belly with your arms and legs straight out. Look down at the floor to make sure that your head and neck are properly aligned with your spine. Tighten your middle section and lift your legs and arms off the ground at the same time. Exhale as you lift and hold for a count of ten seconds. Slowly bring your arms and legs back down to the ground and repeat ten times. You can also do this exercise on a stability ball while keeping your keep planted on the ground and lifting your upper body up.

16. Circuit Training

Circuit training how to lose back fat

Circuit training is a form of exercise that combines both cardio and weight resistance movements. It’s great for blasting fat and toning up. You can also get a full body workout in 20 to 30 minutes. It works by alternating between short bursts of cardio exercise with resistance training. The idea behind the workout is that you keep your heart rate up during the entire session, which accelerates fat-burning. If you want to target your back, then incorporate some upper body workouts into the session. For example, you can do one minute of jogging in place, followed by a minute of push-ups, then a minute of jumping rope, and a minute of press ups, and so on.

17. Pull-ups

Like push-ups, pull-ups work by using your body weight as resistance. You might see some people at the gym adding weights to their pull-ups, but you don’t need to do this to get a sculpted back. You can even install a pull-up bar in your house so you can do them right at home. To start, reach above your head and grasp a straight bar. Pull yourself up until your chin touches the bar then slowly lower yourself down. Avoid throwing yourself at the bar with added momentum and make sure you engage your back as your primary lifting force.

28 Best Carb Foods for Optimal Energy & Weight Loss

Carbohydrates have been getting a bad reputation for several years now as the culprit behind weight gain, fatigue, and other adverse health conditions. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth, and most health professionals will ask you to think twice before eliminating an entire food group from your diet. The key is to know which carbohydrates to eat and which to stay far, far away from.

Plant-based foods help you lose weight and gain energy because they are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They naturally detox the body, improve the efficiency of the digestive process, and give the immune system a boost. On the other hand, highly processed carbohydrate foods, such as refined sugar and sweet treats, will give you brain fog and increase your waistline. Here’s a list of the 27 best carbohydrate foods for optimal energy and weight loss.

28 Best Carb Foods for Optimal Energy Weight Loss

1. Blueberries

One cup of blueberries contains 21 grams of carbohydrates, and they’re worth every gram of it. As one of the world’s healthiest foods, blueberries have been shown to alter genes that regulate fat-burning and storage. They have also been shown to enhance energy levels by reducing abdominal fat, lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, and improving insulin sensitivity. This is possibly due to their unique polyphenol content. Anthocyanins are a special type of antioxidant with promising results. According to Doctor Steven Bolling, heart surgeon and head of the cardioprotection laboratory at the University of Michigan, blueberries, and anthocyanins show promising results in regards to these health conditions that regulate energy levels.

2. Bananas

Bananas are a great food to eat if you suffer from a bloated belly because they are high in prebiotic indigestible carbohydrates. This means that they help fill you up and provide “fuel” to the good bacteria in your gut so that it can remove toxins and keep things moving. One study found that women who consumed a banana twice a day as a pre-workout snack improve their gastrointestinal symptoms and reduced stomach bloat. The authors of the study concluded that bananas could be a useful food for women who have weight problems. Add them to smoothies or eat them plain with a handful of nuts for a protein boost.

3. Apples

Apples Best Carb Foods for Optimal Energy Weight Loss

Apples are an excellent source of fiber, which has been shown to help you lose weight and improve your energy levels. Because they’re high in easily digestible carbs, eating an apple a half hour or so before you workout is a great way to increase your energy levels without feeling bloated or weighed down from a high-carb energy bar. A 2003 study showed that women who ate three apples a day lost 1.22 kg after 12 weeks. They also had a more significant reduction in blood glucose. Because they are naturally sweet, apples make an excellent replacement for sugar in smoothies, baked goods, and on top of oatmeal.

4. Broccoli

Eating your greens is a great way to lose weight and increase your energy levels because they’re packed full of fiber and antioxidants that naturally detox the body and improve digestion to help get rid of excess weight. Broccoli contains a phytochemical called sulforaphane that has been shown to fight obesity. One study found that mice who were fed sulforaphane reduce their visceral fat by 20 percent, which was 15 percent lower than the control group. The study also found that sulforaphane had positive effects on gut bacteria to remove toxins and promote weight loss, which can help you feel more energized.

5. Raw Cacao

You don’t need to stop eating chocolate if you want to lose weight. You just have to eat the right kind. Raw cacao powder is one of the best sources of bioflavonoids on the planet, which might be the key to losing weight and keeping it off, according to one study. Flavonoids are naturally occurring bioactive compounds that have been shown to increase energy expenditure and decrease fat absorption. Unlike cocoa, raw cacao is unprocessed and hasn’t been stripped of its nutrients. Loko for it at your local health food store and add it to smoothies for a treat.

6. Kamut

Kamut Best Carb Foods

Kamut is an ancient grain packed full of protein and omega three fatty acids. It’s also relatively low in calories. One half-cup serving contains 140 calories and has 30 percent more protein than wheat. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it a great replacement if you’re sensitive to gluten. Research shows that eating kamut helps lower cholesterol, balance hormones, improve cognitive function, fight the common cold, assist with bone structure support, and detox the body. Its high fiber content helps push food through the digestive tract to aid in weight loss. Enjoy kamut as a side dish at dinner and prepare for a great morning workout the next day.

7. Tart Cherries

Tart cherries are the king of anti-inflammatory foods. Chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and fatigue. One study found that tart cherries alter abdominal adiposity (belly fat), adipose gene transcription, and inflammation to promote weight loss and reduce the risk of metabolic diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. One cup of cherries contains 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 16 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C. True tart cherries are hard to find, but they’re worth seeking out at your local health store for their amazing health benefits.

8. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes Best Carb Foods

Along with berries, sweet potatoes are high in the polyphenol antioxidant anthocyanins to fight free-radical accumulation, detox fat from the body and keep your immune system working at its best. They’re also full of slowly digested carbohydrates, which is the best kind as they do not spike your blood sugar levels as refined sugars do. By improving your insulin sensitivity, you’ll reduce the number of calories that are converted into fat. Additionally, sweet potatoes are high in vitamins including A, C, and B6 to give you lots of energy through your day. Enjoy a baked sweet potato with a salad for lunch or turn them into sweet potatoes fries when you’re craving the fast-food kind.

9. Buckwheat

Despite having “wheat” in its name, buckwheat is a gluten-free grain, which makes it easier to digest then other grains if you’re sensitive to gluten. Buckwheat is a true superfood because it’s full of fiber to prevent glucose from being dumped into your bloodstream too quickly. Fiber also helps send a steady supply of fuel to your brain so you’ll be thinking clearly all day long. Research shows that buckwheat has health-promoting benefits equal to or better than that of fruits and vegetables. Put buckwheat in the rotation along with your other favorite ancient grains when looking for a delicious side dish at dinner.

10. Lentils

Lentils punch a robust nutritional punch that includes 116 calories, 9 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, and 1.8 grams of naturally occurring sugar per a 100-gram serving. The same amount also contains 127 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin B6 to take care of all of your energy needs. Additionally, one serving has an impressive 45 percent of folate, 70 percent of manganese, and 58 percent of thiamine. The most satisfying way to enjoy lentils is to create a delicious soup. Be sure to add other delicious vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, tomatoes, and onions.

11. Oats

Oats best carb foods

Don’t think twice about starting your day with a big bowl of oatmeal. Oats contain complex carbohydrates, which are slowly digested to provide you with long-term, sustainable energy. Oats are also high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to protect against heart disease. Plus, one-half cup serving of oats contains up to 10 grams of protein to build lean muscle. Eating a bowl of oats topped with blueberries and flaxseeds gives you the protein, fat, and energy you need to make it through whatever the day throws at you. Soak the oats overnight for better digestion if you’re sensitive to starchy grains.

12. Chickpeas

Dipping your vegetable sticks (cucumber, carrots, and tomatoes) into hummus is the ultimate snack. It has vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber to keep you naturally energized without crashing. Chickpeas are also really good for your heart. They lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease. One study found that eating a serving of legumes each day helps you lose more weight than a diet that doesn’t include them. Lentils are also low-glycemic, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar levels and leave you craving more sugar an hour later. Finally, chickpeas are gluten-free and easy to digest for most people.

13. Sprouted Brown Rice

sprouted brown rice best carb foods

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, sprouted brown rice is soaked in water for several hours, which makes the nutrients in the grain more bioavailable. It has four times the amount of fiber and vitamin E than regular rice and three times more magnesium, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6 for optimal energy. Sprouted brown rice has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, prevent cancer cells, and boost the immune system. Plus, it’s super filling and tasty. One quarter-cup serving contains 170 calories. Use it in place of regular rice whenever you need a delicious plant-based dish.

14. Dates

You can tell that dates have a ton of sugar (the good kind) by taking one bite of them. The good news is that sugar from whole food sources like fruit doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels the same way a candy bar would, so they’re safe to eat. Dates can have a laxative-like effect on the body, so a little bit goes a long way. But they’re a delicious way to keep your diet on track even if you have a sweet tooth. Plus, they’re full of zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins A and K, potassium, and folate. Add one or two Medjool dates to sweeten up your homemade almond milk or roll them in walnut pieces for a delicious treat.

15. Teff

Looking for a plant-based dish with a complete protein profile? Teff contains all nine of the essential amino acids, which is a unique quality that not many plant sourced foods can claim. It tastes similar to quinoa with a mild, nutty flavor that goes great with sauteed onions, broccoli, and mushrooms. Plus, it’s gluten-free. One cup of teff contains 255 calories, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of protein, and 360 percent of your daily recommended intake of manganese. It also has 7 grams of fiber. One study found that eating teff reduces the risk of metabolic diseases.

16. Amaranth

Amaranth Best Carb Foods for Optimal Energy Weight Loss

Amaranth is yet another gluten-free grain that’s packed with fiber and protein. One cup contains 251 calories, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of protein. Studies show that amaranth can help reduce inflammation, aid in your fitness goals due to its high protein content, support bone health, lower cholesterol, improve digestion, and fight diabetes. Additionally, amaranth is high in an amino acid called lysine, which helps produce carnitine that converts fatty acids into energy. Use amaranth in place of oatmeal for a tasty breakfast along with your favorite fruits.

17. Mango

Mangos have about 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving, and they’re wonderfully nutritious with a long list of health benefits. They provide you with 100 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C, which has antioxidants abilities in the body to get rid of excess toxins that may hang out and disrupt critical metabolic processes. They have been shown to reduce obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even premature death. Eating mangos by themselves is a delicious way to enjoy a mid-morning snack, but you can also get creative and add mango chunks to salads or smoothies. If you buy them frozen, make sure there is no sugar added to them.

18. Pineapple

pineapple carb foods

Pineapple contains a potent anti-inflammatory enzyme called bromelain, which has been shown to support weight loss, decrease joint pain (to make it easier to exercise!), treat and prevent sinus infections, fight allergies and asthma, prevent cancer, and treat digestive disorders. One study found that bromelain can be used as an anti-obesity medication because it downregulates fatty acid synthase, adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein, and lipoprotein lipase. It may also inhibit a process that contributes to the formation of fat cells called adipogenesis and reduce overall triglyceride levels. Add pineapple chunks to yogurt, smoothies, salads, or even on top of your favorite burger.

19. Black Beans

Black beans fill you up with their high fiber content and pump you full of protein to help aid lean muscle mass. When combined with brown rice, black beans make a complete protein, which means that it provides all nine essential amino acids. These are typically found in animal products. Plus, you get the added benefit of protective plant compounds, copper, folate, and B vitamins. One cup of black beans contains 12 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. They’re inexpensive if you buy them bagged. Soak them overnight, rinse, and boil the next day for a filling and satisfying meal.

20. Peas

Peas belong to the legume family, and they’re often used as a non-dairy source of protein to help build lean muscle. They have been shown to help you lose weight, support a healthy heart, and regulate blood sugar. They also have incredible antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis. One cup of cooked green peas contains 116 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein. Add some peas to your favorite ancient grain for a fiber and protein rich dish, or incorporate some pea powder into your post-workout meals to help you recover.

21. Beets

Beets hummus Best Carb Foods for Optimal Energy Weight Loss

Beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, so many low-carb dieters tend to stay away from them, but that’s a huge mistake given their high nutritional value. Beets have been shown to boost your stamina, reduce inflammation, lower your blood pressure, protect against cancer, and play an essential role in your body’s natural detoxification process. Specifically, they assist with Phase 2 detoxification where toxins are broken down and bind to other molecules where they can be eliminated from the body. This helps decrease fat storages and leave you feeling energized. Add them to smoothies, salads, or homemade juices.

22. Oranges

Citrus fruits are often shunned on low-carb diets because of their high sugar content, but doing so means you’ll miss out on a whole bunch of nutritional benefits. Oranges are regarded as one of the healthiest foods in the world for their vitamin C and antioxidant support. They have been shown to improve your immune system, reduce the risk of many diseases, give you great skin, and provide you with lots of energy. They’re also high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, which is the perfect recipe for weight loss. Research suggests that low glycemic foods are also easier to digest. Be sure to avoid processed orange juices and enjoy the whole fruit instead.

23. Parsnips

parsnips

Parsnips are considered a starchy vegetable because of their high carbohydrate content, but they’re also full of vitamins, fiber and minerals to make them worthy as part of your weight loss diet. Research shows that parsnips may lower your risk of high cholesterol, depression, diabetes, digestive ailments, high blood pressure, and immunity problems. They are a good source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, vitamins B, C, E, and K, and potassium. They make an excellent replacement for white potatoes if you’re looking for something a little more nutritious on your dinner plate.

24. Pistachios

Pistachios are well-known for being high in fats, but their carbohydrates content is one that shocks most people. A one-cup serving of these delicious nuts contains 691 calories, 56 grams of fat, 13 grams of fiber, and 34 grams of carbohydrates. As they are calorically dense, you won’t need to eat a lot of these nuts to feel full, which is what makes them ideal for weight loss. Plus, pistachios have been shown to lower cholesterol, protect your heart, stabilize blood sugar levels to fight diabetes, and even support sexual function. Keep your serving size to a one to two ounce minimum when snacking on them.

25. Grapes

Grapes contain an antioxidant called resveratrol, which has been shown to help you lose weight. One study found that subjects who supplemented with resveratrol burned more calories throughout the day due to an increase in their muscle metabolism. Another study resveratrol might help control insulin sensitivity, which could lead to type 2 diabetes and weight gain. Snacking on a handful of grapes and raw nuts is an excellent alternative to a sugary energy bar before a workout. You can also freeze some grapes and eat them as dessert in place of ice cream.

26. Quinoa

quinoa

Rounding out the list of high-carb ancient grains that can help you lose weight is quinoa.  With its delicious flavor and high fiber profile, quinoa makes a great weight loss food. One cup provides you with 222 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein and 39 grams of carbs. It’s one of the rare plant-based sources of complete protein and has been shown to help you lose weight and gain more energy, according to one study.

27. Barley

Barley helps keep you full to prevent you from overeating by creating a bulking effect in the digestive system to push waste through. Keeping your digestive tract clean and adequately functioning is an integral part of losing weight. Barley is gluten-free and contains lots of vitamins and minerals, including folate, copper, B vitamins for energy, niacin, phosphorus, magnesium and more. One cup of cooked barley has 217 calories, a whopping 10 grams of fiber, 45 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of protein. Try soaking them or buying them sprouted to enhance the nutritional profile.

28. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is not only a tasty addition to your favorite meals, but it also contains four times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A and over half the recommended intake of vitamin C in just one serving. Vitamins A and C are antioxidants that assist with weight loss and energy production by combating free-radical damage that causes inflammation. One serving of butternut squash contains 82 calories, 21 grams of carbohydrates, and three different carotenoids. One study found that butternut squash may help decrease fatigue and increase exercise performance to give you a boost at the gym.

27 Best Protein Bars & How to Choose the Right One

27 best Protein Bars

Protein bars are everywhere, but most of them are glorified candy bars full of unhealthy ingredients advertised as something that can help you. If you do manage to find one that’s not full of junk, then you might not be crazy about how it tastes. While most people seek protein after an exercise session, you don’t need to take excessive amounts to get the benefits you desire. In fact, you don’t even need to be a gym-rat to benefit from protein at all.

A protein bar can be a delicious way to satisfy your hunger and help you focus at work in between meals. Finding one with quality ingredients and a pleasant taste doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Here are the 27 best protein bars we found and tips for choosing the right one for you.

1. Syntha-6 Protein Crisp

syntha crisp Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

Syntha-6 Protein Crisp provides you with 20 grams of protein and 4 grams of sugar per bar. It has a rice crispy like texture, which most people find tasty, and it makes a great alternative to a candy bar if you have a sweet tooth. The primary ingredient is whey protein, which is a good choice because it’s a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. While the bar has a good ratio of protein to sugar, you’ll want to be careful as this bar contains sucralose. Eating too many sugar-free sweeteners may cause gastrointestinal upset in some people.

2. Protein Cookie

protein cookie Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

No one would ever complain about eating a cookie, and this one provides 18 grams of protein to satisfy any cravings. It’s created by MuscleTech, which is a well-known nutritional company in the fitness industry with many tasty products. The cookie is gluten-free and contains 14 grams of sugar, which might seem high, but it’s about half the amount of leading brands, according to the cookie’s website. MuscleTech promises this cookie is soft and delicious, just like the ones you’d buy at the bakery. It features a blend of brown rice flour and whey protein.

3. Quest Bars

quest bar

Quest is another well-known company in the fitness world, and their products are tasty and packed with protein. This bar contains 170 calories, 20 grams of protein, 3 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of fat. It’s gluten-free and has a shorter than average ingredients list, which is ideal when comparing it to other brands with lots of fillers. It features milk and whey protein isolate, soluble corn fiber, almonds, water, apples, natural flavors, erythritol, palm oil, sea salt, cinnamon, calcium, sucralose, and malic acid. It also provides 14 grams of fiber, which is great for filling you up and curbing hunger.

4. Combat Crunch Bars

combat crunch bar Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

Combat Crunch Bars claim to taste just like a soft-batch cookie without the taffy-like texture of a sports bar. It’s gluten-free, triple-layered, and baked just like a cookie. Plus, it has 210 calories and 20 grams of protein per bar. It also has 12 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar (1 gram of sugar alcohol), and 7 grams of fat. It contains isomalto-oligosaccharide, which is a prebiotic fiber that helps fuel the good bacteria in your gut for healthy digestion. As with other bars that include sugar alcohols, don’t eat too many if you are sensitive to sugar-free sweeteners.

5. NITRO-TECH Crunch Bar

nitro tech Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

The NITRO-TECH crunch bar has 22 grams of protein, which is about 2 grams more than most brands. It also has 5 grams of fiber, 7 grams of fat, and 7 grams of sugar with 3 grams of sugar alcohol. It delivers a premium grade of protein in the form of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and milk protein isolate. Be careful of the artificial ingredients in this bar as it contains numerous types of artificial food colorings, which have been linked to hyperactivity and other problems to those who are sensitive to it.

6. Cake Bites

cake-bites Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

The company Optimal Nutrition creates cake Bites, and they sound like a delicious way to get your protein fix. For every three cake serving, you get 20 grams of protein 7 grams of fat, and 6 grams of sugar with three grams of total added sugar. Be mindful that the bar does not contain any fiber, and it has the artificial food colorings red 40 and blue 1, which have been linked to irritability and increased aggressiveness in some people. They come in six different flavors, including birthday cake, chocolate dipped cherry, red velvet, chocolate-frosted donut, blueberry cheesecake, and chocolate mint.

7. The Complete Cookie

complete cookie Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

The Complete Cookie by Lenny and Larry’s is a vegan cookie with 16 grams of plant-based protein. They also provide 8 grams of fiber and are made with non-GMO, kosher ingredients. There are no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols in this cookie, so they might be a good option if you have digestive issues or are sensitive to added sweeteners. It should be noted that these bars contain wheat flour, so they are not gluten-free. Their vegan protein blend is made from pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, and wheat gluten.

8. Carb Killa

carb killa

This bar is a good option if you are trying to avoid eating too many carbohydrates. Carb Killa is a high-protein bar made by Grenade. One bar has 210 calories, 8 grams of fat, 7 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar (11 grams of sugar alcohol), and 23 grams of protein. The website even offers a tasty recipe for turning this bar into homemade protein pancakes. It also contains 15 percent of your daily calcium requirements, but it has higher than average amounts of sugar alcohol than other bars to keep the total carbohydrate content down.

9. Fitjoy Bars

Fitjoy Bar

FitJoy Bars are non-GMO, gluten-free, and don’t contain any artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors. One bar contains 230 calories, 20 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, 10 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of sugar. They have a yogurt-flavored coating that gives them a creamy and delicious taste with 20 percent of your daily calcium requirements. It’s also gluten-free and is colored with plant-based extracts, such as beta-carotene, radish extract, spirulina extract, and turmeric. Try this bar if you need a protein fix but don’t want many artificial ingredients in the recipe.

10. FIT Crunch Bars

fitcrunch Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

FIT Crunch Bars contain 380 calories, 30 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of sugar (16 grams of sugar alcohol) per bar. According to the bar’s website, it’s the only six-layered baked bar in the world. As this bar is calorically dense and contains a lot of protein, it’s ideally suited for someone who wants to put on weight. It doesn’t have much fiber in it, and the sugar alcohol content is high, but it’s a good option if your sole purpose is to get more protein in your diet.

11. EPIC Bar Bacon

epic bar bacon Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

EPIC is a great company if you’re concerned about eating clean. It’s also a great bar for meat lovers. The bar is 100 percent sugar-free, gluten-free and contains uncured bacon and pork with no nitrates. It has 130 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, no carbs, no fiber, no sugar, and 15 grams of protein per bar. The company was designed to be Paleo-friendly. You can purchase them from Amazon for $2.06 per bar or $24.69 for a 12 pack. This bar is ideally suited for someone looking to eat a high-fat or protein and low carb diet with no added sugars.

12. KIND Strong Honey Smoked BBQ Protein Bar

kind strong honey Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

This bar contains 230 calories, 16 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbohydrates, and 10 grams of protein per bar. It also has 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of sugar. While it might not be the first choice for serious bodybuilders, this bar makes a great snack bar for someone looking to eat better. It would also be great after an exercise session to help your muscles recover as it contains almonds, which are high in the amino acid l-arginine. L-arginine has been shown to help build lean muscle and blast belly fat.

13. Soul Sprout Sweet ‘N Salty Sprouted Nut Bar

Soul Sprout Sweet ‘N Salty Sprouted Nut Bar

This bar is unique because it contains sprouted ingredients, which is a process that increases the bioavailability of specific ingredients. This means that you’re more likely to absorb them and utilize them for energy. They also tend to be easier to digest. This bar contains sprouted cashews and almonds. It has 220 calories, 15 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein. As a whole food bar, this is a good option for someone who is concerned about eating too many artificial ingredients, preservatives, or sugar alcohols.

14. Luna Protein Mint Chocolate Chip

luna-protein Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

The Luna Protein Mint Chocolate Chip bar is a good option if you have a craving for a treat but want to eat something healthy instead. It’s made by Clif Bar and Company and features 170 calories, 5 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 12 grams of protein per bar. It uses soy protein isolate and macadamia nut butter as its protein sources, and the majority of its ingredients are clean with no color dyes or sugar alcohol. You’ll also get some added antioxidants from its organic alkalized cocoa blend.

15. GoMacro Macrobar Protein Paradise: Cashew Caramel

go macro Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

The GoMacro Macrobar Protein Paradise bar is vegan, gluten and dairy free, non-GMO, organic, kosher, and soy free. It’s made with lots of high-quality plant-based ingredients, such as organic brown rice, organic sprouted flax, organic coconut oil, organic cashews, and organic pea protein. It contains 260 calories, 11 grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber and 11 grams of protein per bar. This is a good no-nonsense bar if you’re looking for an alternative to cane sugar and ingredients that you can’t pronounce. It also contains 10 percent of your daily recommended iron intake.

16. Rise Bar Lemon Cashew

Rise Bar Lemon Cashew Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

Sometimes the best bars are the ones that contain the fewest ingredients. This bar’s claim to fame is what you won’t be putting in your body when you eat it, and that includes artificial ingredients, flavors, and sweeteners. It has just four ingredients: organic cashews, coconut nectar, pea protein and lemon extract. One bar contains 260 calories, 13 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of fiber. It would be a great mid-afternoon snack, a pre or post-workout bar, or even a breakfast bar on the go.

17. Exo Bar Cocoa Nut

Exo bar cocoa nut Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

Exo protein bars are only made with real food ingredients. They are also dairy, soy, and gluten-free. But the kicker is that they are made out of crickets. Before you shun the idea of eating insects as a snack, consider that they contain about as much protein as chicken breast and three times the amount of calcium. This bar also has almonds in it for a nice crunch, and it contains a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. One bar has 300 calories, 20 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber and 13 grams of sugar.

18. Think Thin Protein Nut Bar: Chocolate Coconut Almond

think thin protein bar Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

Think Thin Protein Nut Bars are made with nuts and pumpkin seeds, so they are high in both protein and fiber to help curb hunger. They’re also gluten-free. Each bar has 190 calories, 11 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein. They’re sweetened with real sugar and coconut, so they don’t contain any sugar alcohols. This would be a good bar for someone who needs a pick-me-up in the afternoon as opposed to a sugary candy bar or treats.

19. Health Warrior Superfood Protein Bar: Mint Chocolate

Health Warrior Superfood Protein Bar Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

Health Warrior Superfood Protein Bars have 200 calories, 8 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein per bar. They’re made with superfoods, such as chia seeds, organic quinoa, and oats, which makes them higher in fiber than most bars. In fact, they contain 20 percent of your daily fiber intake. The mint flavors make them a refreshing choice for a protein bar, and these bars are easier to digest than other brands, which makes them ideally suited for a pre-workout energy boost.

20. Mighty Bar Grass Fed Organic Beef: Cranberry & Sunflower Seed

Mighty Bar Grass Fed Organic Beef Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

This bar will cost you more than others, but that’s because it’s made of grass-fed beef from cows have been fed natural food instead of highly inflammatory corn products. As a result, the meat is higher in omega three fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids to reduce inflammation and assist with weight loss. One bar contains 80 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar, no fiber, and 8 grams of protein. If you’re starving or need more protein, you can even eat two without feeling guilty or wrecking your fitness goals!

21. Amazing Grass Protein Superfood: Chocolate Almond Butter

Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

Amazing Grass makes this protein superfood bar. It’s a favorite among those who prefer plant-based protein over whey or animal products. It features a tasty blend of seven alkalizing greens, whole nuts, veggies, superfoods and fruits with real chocolate. You’ll also find some surprising ingredients inside, like organic acai, rose hips, and organic spirulina. Unlike other bars, you can use these to bring you closer to your daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. One bar contains 250 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.

22. Aloha: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Aloha Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

If you’re looking for a way to get your chocolate chip and peanut butter fix in your diet without wrecking your fitness goals, then try this bar. It’s made from Aloha and contains 270 calories, 13 grams of fat, 6 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar and 18 grams of protein per bar. As it’s a bit high in carbohydrates, this bar would work well as a protein-rich breakfast bar or pre-workout meal. The plant-based protein blend comes from peanuts, pea protein, and pumpkin seeds. The bar is also organic and contains no artificial ingredients.

23. No Bake Blueberry Muffin Protein Bars

No Bake Blueberry Muffin Protein Bars

If you’re looking for a high-protein breakfast option, then try these no-bake homemade bars. Chances are you probably keep most of these ingredients in your house anyway. You’ll need almond flour, oat flour, almond or cashew butter, vanilla protein powder, pure maple syrup, milk of your choice, blueberries, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt. You can also adjust the ingredients based on your protein needs. The best part is that you know exactly what’s in them and you won’t have to worry about artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or food dyes. They’re also great for kids.

24. No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

These bars are paleo, keto, and vegan-friendly. Plus, you can make them at home. They take five minutes to prep and five minutes to create. You’ll need some coconut flour, the protein powder of your choice, peanut butter or your choice of nut butter, the sweetener of your choice, and some chocolate chips. This recipe can be tailored to meet any needs. For example, you can make it sugar-free or include as much protein as you’d like. Make some ahead of time and keep them in the freezer for whenever you need a protein boost.

25. Apple Cinnamon Raisin Protein Bars

Apple Cinnamon Raisin Protein Bars

This protein bar is Paleo and Whole30 approved and does contain any sweetener except for fruit. They’re dairy and gluten-free, and only take about 10 minutes to make. One bar contains approximately 136 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. You won’t have to worry about insulin spikes or digestive problems with this bar. Ingredients include raw almonds and cashews, pitted dates, dried apples, egg white powder, raisins, spices, and water. Try these as an on-the-go snack or right before a workout.

26. Peanut Butter Vanilla Protein Bars

Peanut Butter Vanilla Protein Bars Best Protein Bars How to Choose the Right One

If chocolate isn’t your thing, then maybe you’ll enjoy these vanilla protein bars. They take about five minutes to throw together, but they’ll need to set in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you can enjoy them. They’re easy on the stomach and make a great snack anytime hunger strikes. Ingredients include oats, vanilla whey protein powder, coconut oil, peanut butter, raw honey, almond milk and vanilla extract. They’re creamy and delicious, and you won’t get tired of eating them.

27. Paleo Protein Bars

Lots of store-bought bars contain hard to digest ingredients. Making your own bars at home saves you time, money, and worry about what you’re eating. These bars are Paleo approved, so they don’t contain any processed grains or sugars. They call for grass-fed vanilla whey protein powder, almond butter, raw honey, eggs, salt, and baking soda. They’re soft, chewy, and perfect for dessert or on-the-go snacking. You can even use a sugar-free sweetener such as erythritol if you’re trying to cut back on carbs.

The Best Ketogenic Diet Recipes We Found Online

Best Ketogenic Diet Recipes 1

The ketogenic diet is the talk of the town right now, and rightfully so. It comes with a long list of proven health benefits and incredible transformation stories from people who have tried it. If you haven’t heard about it, the ketogenic diet is an extreme form of low-carb eating that boasts some of the best weight loss success when compared to other diets. It works by putting your body into a state of ketosis in which you use fat instead of glucose as fuel.

For many people, the most challenging part of the ketogenic diet is determining which foods are safe to eat. Unlike other low-carb diets, the ketogenic diet is genuinely a high-fat diet that asks you to limit your carbohydrate intake to less than five percent of your daily calories. Even overeating protein can kick you out of ketosis. Here are the best ketogenic diet recipes we found online to help make your transition as tasty as possible.

Best Ketogenic Diet Recipes

The ketogenic diet is no ordinary low-carb diet. It will require a good amount of self-control when it comes to limiting carbohydrates, but the results are so amazing that you’ll be inspired to continue. It takes a few weeks to get the hang of it, but once you’re in ketosis, many people claim that their sugar cravings go away. Then comes the weight loss and increased energy levels. Try these recipes to get started.

Turkey Sausage Breakfast Casserole Ketogenic Diet Recipes

  1. Turkey Sausage Breakfast Casserole – This recipe is a great go-to breakfast meal during the week. It’s so simple to make that you might even want to have it on the weekends, too. The best part is that it incorporates some non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and red and peppers, which most people tend to overlook while eating a high-fat diet. Vegetables provide you with fiber and antioxidants to compliment your health goals. Substitute pork sausage if you need a meal with a higher fat content, but make sure it’s free of antibiotics, hormones, added sugar, and chemicals. Also, make sure the heavy cream is organic and full-fat, or use coconut cream if you’re sensitive to dairy.

Keto Mini Stuffed Bell Peppers - best ketogenic diet recipes

  1. Keto Mini Stuffed Bell Peppers – Here’s another recipe that incorporates non-starchy vegetables into its ingredients. Bell peppers are an excellent source of the antioxidants vitamins A and C to support eye health, boost immunity, and fight off chronic diseases. This recipe is super easy to make and only consists of five ingredients. Opt for organic, grass-fed ground beef and organic cheese if possible. If you purchase a store-bought taco seasoning packet, make sure it doesn’t have added sugar, gluten, chemicals, or preservatives. You can also make your own seasoning at home by using your favorite organic herbs.

Egg Salad Stuffed Avocado - best ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Egg Salad Stuffed Avocado – It doesn’t get any more ‘keto’ than avocados and eggs. They’re the perfect high-fat foods. When you combine them, you get a delicious meal any time of the day. You can enjoy these for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack. The recipe contains some good tips for adding lots of flavor to the dish, such as mayo, cumin, hot sauce, and brown mustard. But be careful when picking up these items at the store as you may have to search for a sugar-free brand. If you’re in a hurry, all you really need are avocados and eggs. Crack an egg into the avocado hole, and you can improvise from there. Pasture-raised eggs are best as they ensure that the chicken has had room to roam and access to sunshine, which increases the nutrition of the egg.

Pork Sage Bacon Holiday Stuffing - best ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Pork, Sage & Bacon Holiday Stuffing – This perfect ketogenic dish is so tasty that you won’t want to wait until Thanksgiving to eat it. You can also eat it on its own for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It features thick slices of bacon, high-quality pork mince, macadamia nuts, and lots of tasty herbs. It even sneaks in some zucchini, onion, and sugar-free cranberries for added antioxidants, flavonoids, and fiber. The recipe calls for a keto bun or bread, which you should be able to find at a high-quality health food store. You can also order these online or make them at home (see the recipe below).

The Ultimate Keto Buns best ketogenic diet recipe

  1. The Ultimate Keto Buns – If you love bread but hate the carbs, then this recipe is for you. It goes great with the above-mentioned pork, sage & bacon holiday stuffing recipe or you can use them to create a low-carb take on the traditional burger. They are made of lard, eggs and almond flour with some spices thrown in to make them taste like the real thing. Spread on some homemade mayo, stack your favorite full-fat meats and a slice of cheese, add a bit of lettuce and tomato, and you have yourself an excellent keto lunch.

Paleo Beef With Broccoli best ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Paleo Beef With Broccoli – Paleo and keto dishes seem to be intertwined with each other. The major difference between the two diets is that keto followers must adhere to a lower carb count. Both diets stay away from processed sugars, and this dish is ideal for just about everyone trying to eat low-carb or sugar-free. Be sure to pick up some grass-fed beef if possible with no added sugar or antibiotics.

Ginger Sesame Glazed Salmon best ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Ginger Sesame Glazed Salmon – Salmon is one of the best foods you can eat on the ketogenic diet. It’s high in omega three fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and keep your brain working properly. It’s also delicious and can be added to just about any dish. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to stay away from any recipe that uses the word “glaze” in it as this refers to hidden processed sugar. But making your own glaze at home can be perfectly fine. This one calls for sugar-free ketchup, rice vinegar, fish sauce, and coconut aminos. You may want to omit the white wine in this recipe as it’s not keto-friendly, but you might be fine as long as you’re counting your carbs. When in doubt, dress up a piece of wild-caught salmon with fresh lemon, ghee, and herbs, and you won’t be disappointed.

Creamy Chicken Garlicky Mushroom Sauce ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Creamy Chicken with Garlicky Mushroom Sauce – This recipe sounds so good it might make your mouth water just reading the title. It’s paleo, keto and Whole-30 diet friendly, which means that all the ingredients are clean with no hidden preservatives or sugar. It’s also super easy to make. It calls for chicken thighs, which are higher in fat than chicken breast to support a high-fat diet, as well as one-half a can of full-fat coconut cream. Add in some mushrooms, garlic, and spices, and let it cook for 15 minutes. You’ll want to make this again and again.

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Bacon Cheeseburger Soup – If you thought soup was off-limits on the keto diet, think again. This recipe is truly all about the fat. It features bacon, ground beef, shredded cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream. Throw in some sugar-free tomato paste (homemade, if you can) and spices, and you have the best part of any cheeseburger, minus the bun. One of the reasons why the keto diet is so effective is because fat is the only macronutrient that does not cause the body to release insulin. This keeps your blood sugar levels stable and allows the body to utilize fat as fuel. This recipe is a perfect example of how to get your good fats in and keep the glucose out.

Keto Spinach Bacon Artichoke Dip - ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Spinach, Bacon and Artichoke Dip – The traditional spinach and artichoke dip recipes that most restaurants serve are full of unhealthy ingredients. Making this one at home ensures you know exactly what’s going in your dip. It’s made with fresh spinach, two cans of artichoke hearts, cream cheese, sour cream, and parmesan cheese. It’s a cheese-lover’s dream. You can eat this without feeling guilty with keto bread, keto crackers, or vegetable sticks.

Rack of Lamb With Low-Carb Mint Glaze ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Rack of Lamb With Low-Carb Mint Glaze – This recipe is a full-fat lover’s favorite. It calls for a grass-fed rack of lamb and lots of fresh herbs. The glaze is made with a granulated stevia/erythritol blend for a sugar-free way to jazz up any meat dish. Mint has numerous health benefits. It has been shown to soothe a troubled tummy, reduce chronic inflammation, boost the immune system, and protect you against harmful bacteria. Not to mention it will make your breath smell better, too. Serve this dish with a non-starchy vegetable of your choice.

Low-Carb Keto Chilli ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Low-Carb/Keto Chilli – Chilli is everyone’s favorite dish in the cold weather, but you can’t eat all those beans if you’re on the ketogenic diet. This recipe calls for basic ingredients, such as ground beef (grass-fed is best), crushed tomatoes, onions, beef broth, and lots of tasty spices minus the beans. The best part is that you get to top it with sour cream and cheese without feeling guilty about it. If you add hot sauce, look for a brand that is sugar-free.

Tomato Sauce Chicken Wings ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Tomato Sauce Chicken Wings – Unlike restaurant versions that are usually doused in sugary sauce, this chicken wings recipe is as clean as they come. It calls for eight or more chicken wings, one tomato, the cooking oil of your choice (stay away from vegetable or canola oil), broth, and lots of spices. It’s simple, quick to make, and won’t kick you out of ketosis. The best part is that it doesn’t call for canned tomatoes, which can be full of salt.

Blueberry Galaxy Keto Smoothie ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Blueberry Galaxy Keto Smoothie – Lots of people don’t have time to make eggs and bacon for breakfast while on the ketogenic diet, so a smoothie is a great way around that. This recipe calls for a cup of coconut milk, MCT oil, vanilla, and blueberries. You can also add in some whey protein if you want. Blueberries are one of the only fruits allowed on the ketogenic diet. They are low in sugar and are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. They contain unique antioxidants called anthocyanins that have been shown to fight cancer, dementia, and help promote weight loss.

Bacon and Egg Fat Bombs ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Bacon and Egg Fat Bombs – This recipe will be your favorite snack food while on the keto diet. One bomb has 185 calories, 18 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, and 0.2 grams of carbohydrates for the perfect keto combo. You’ll need two pasture-raised eggs, a quarter cup of ghee, a few tablespoons of mayo, and four slices of bacon. Make these ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator when you need something to tide you over until dinner.

Crockpot Ghee ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Crockpot Ghee – Many keto recipes call for ghee. Making your own can help save you money from buying expensive store brands. This recipe can be made right on your crockpot in a true set-it-and-go manner, although you might want to keep an eye on it if you leave it uncovered. To make it, add two pounds of frozen, organic grass-fed butter to your crockpot and cook uncovered on high for five hours. Check out the recipe for more details.

Keto Pecan Fudge Fat Bombs ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Keto Pecan Fudge Fat Bombs – Think you can’t have dessert on the keto diet? Think again! This recipe will satisfy any sweet tooth without kicking you out of ketosis as long as you don’t eat too many. It calls for unsweetened cocoa powder, but use raw cacao powder for more antioxidants and fiber. You’ll also need food-grade cocoa butter, coconut oil, heavy cream, pecans, and erythritol. Plus, you can make these any shape you want if you use a silicone mold to appeal to kids in place of a candy bar.

Real Mayonnaise ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Real Mayonnaise – Mayo is the perfect keto food. It’s high in fat and low in carbs. But most store-bought brands use highly refined vegetable oils that are full of inflammatory omega six fatty acids. Making your own mayo at home is the best way to make sure you stick to your keto roots when using it in recipes. You’ll need avocado oil, an egg, white vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard. This recipe calls for gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, but you can skip it and add more lemon juice.

Cheesy Garlic Creamed Spinach ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Cheesy Garlic Creamed Spinach – This recipe would make an excellent side dish to a meat-based meal, but you can also add it to an omelet or eat it as is. It calls for three different types of cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, and goat cheese), fresh spinach, garlic, butter, and heavy cream.

High-Fat Low-Carb Pancakes ketogenic diet recipe

  1. High-Fat, Low-Carb Pancakes – Eating pancakes on the keto diet might seem like a fantasy, but this recipe makes it a reality. It calls for almond flour, grass-fed cream cheese, eggs, cinnamon, and butter or avocado oil. Plus, you can top them with more butter and cinnamon or even some berries for a delicious low-carb alternative to maple syrup. Almond flour makes a good substitute for flours that contain gluten, but macadamia nuts are the most keto-friendly nut around.

guacamole ketogenic diet recipes

  1. Guacamole – This one seems like a no-brainer, but you need to know how to make guacamole if you’re on the keto diet. Making it is simple. You’ll need some ripe avocados, lemon juice, tomatoes, and a few key spices. This recipe also incorporates mayo for a higher fat content. Use it on eggs, in salads, or as a dip for vegetable sticks.

Cauliflower Crusted Grilled Cheese Sandwiches ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Cauliflower Crusted Grilled Cheese Sandwiches – If you (or your child) miss eating a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch every day, then you need to try this recipe. It uses cauliflower in place of bread, which might sound crazy but it works. It even looks like bread. Plus, you get to use a lot of cheese, and that makes everything taste better. You can even use this cauliflower base to make pizza.

Keto Instant Pot Short Ribs ketogenic diet recipe

  1. Keto Instant Pot Short Ribs – This recipe is perfect for weeknight dinners. If you’re using an instant pot, this recipe will take less than an hour to cook. You’ll need beef bone-in short ribs, tallow, red wine, and garlic. Pair it with a side salad or sauteed kale.

Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggie Dinner ketogenic diet recipes

  1. Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggie Dinner – You can’t use time as a reason not to eat keto anymore. This recipe is as easy as it comes. It uses sausage, which is higher in fat compared to other forms of meat. Chop up some non-starchy vegetables, add to a sheet pan, top with olive oil and spices, and let the oven do the rest of the work.

Low Carb Ikea Meatballs ketogenic diet recipes

  1. Low Carb Ikea Meatballs – If you love the meatballs at Ikea, then you’ll love this recipe. It calls for ground beef, eggs, heavy cream, turmeric, and other tasty herbs. If you aren’t sure about using Swerve or another sugar option, then leave it out as the recipe will still taste good.

The Top 6 Ways To Increase Sex Drive In Women

Many women today feel like they are pulled in so many directions that they forget how to enjoy themselves or their relationship. They put their work or families first and feel so tired at the end of a long day that sex is the last thing on their mind. In fact, one-third of adult women claim that low sexual desire is a constant problem that affects their quality of life.

Having a low sex drive can make you feel guilty, especially if your partner wants it more than you. It might even start to affect your relationship. But sex isn’t something that should feel like work. There are many things you can do to take care of yourself and naturally improve your libido without much effort. Here are the top six ways to increase sex drive in women.

The Top 6 Ways to Increase Sex Drive in Women

A woman’s sexual desire may fluctuate throughout her life depending on her relationship status and other social or personal factors, but chronic low sex drive that results in personal distress is known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). It occurs when a woman has a persistent lack of desire for sex, including self-stimulation and sexual fantasies or thoughts. While there is no magic number to determine how much sex is normal, women may feel distressed if their sex drive is weaker than it once was.

When it comes to a woman’s sex drive, some research indicates that both physical and emotional factors might be responsible. The end of a relationship or other significant life changes may cause a woman’s sexual desire to drop. Others may suffer from a low sex drive due to their medications. For example, some antidepressants or anti-seizure drugs are known for causing low libido.

Even some hormonal contraceptives may dampen a woman’s sexual desire. According to a poll conducted by Woman’s Magazine, approximately 36 percent of women feel that the pill, the vaginal ring, and the patch reduce their sexual desire.Increase Sex Drive In Women

Additionally, some medical diseases such as high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and neurological disorders are known to affect sexual desire.

Some sexual problems may be a result of hormonal changes that naturally occur with the aging process. Menopause happens when a woman’s estrogen levels drop. Side effects may include a decreased interest in sex and vaginal dryness, which can make sex painful. Pregnant or breastfeeding women may also experience hormonal changes that affect their sexual desire. A new baby often makes a woman feel stressed and fatigued, which dampens her desire for sex.

Other common causes of loss of sex drive in women may include work or relationship stress, being underweight or overweight, inflammation, and psychological issues, such as low self-esteem, depression, poor body image, or having a history of negative sexual experiences. Even certain diets and food choices may cause a change in sex drive. Research shows there is a link between eating too many processed foods and a lack of sexual desire in both women and men. This is likely due to the alteration of hormones, such as the appetite-controlling hormone leptin and “the fountain of youth” hormone HGH. Sugar also makes you feel tired and increases stress and anxiety, which may kill your sex drive.

loss of sexual drive

Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life

Increasing your sex drive might seem like the last thing on your mind. But it’s important to remember that sex is a healthy part of any romantic relationship and you deserve to feel good about it. Having sex and reaching an orgasm increases your levels of the “love hormone” oxytocin, which helps you feel more connected to your partner and have a better emotional connection with them. Oxytocin has even been shown to improve certain health conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and childbirth.

Sex is also physically good for you. Studies show that sex has the same effect on your body as exercise. It boosts your heart health and immune system and lowers blood pressure. It has also been shown to help you sleep better, improve your self-esteem, provide pain relief, and reduce your stress levels. Having sex regularly can even help you look younger and refine your analytical thinking. Plus, research shows that the more you have sex, the more you’ll crave it. Like any healthy habit, it might take awhile to incorporate sex back into your routine, but doing so is more than worth it!

How To Increase Sex Drive In Women

Research shows that one in ten women are affected by HSDD, but most of them don’t even know they have it. It’s the most common sexual dysfunction in women. If you have been diagnosed with HSDD, there might not be much your doctor can do for you regarding conventional treatment. Lucky, there are plenty of natural remedies you can use to increase your sex drive, and they come with additional benefits that may enhance other areas of your life, too!

1. Exercise

Exercise increase sex drive in women

You might not feel sexy when you’re exercising, but exercise is one of the best things you can do to get your mojo back. Studies show that women who exercise frequently become aroused quicker and are more likely to have an orgasm faster. Plus, their orgasms tend to be more intense than women who are sedentary. You can even see the benefits in the bedroom after a single 20-minute exercise session, which proves that you don’t need to do much to get fit.

There are a few physical reasons why exercise helps put you in the mood. First, it gives you better muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility, which makes sex easier and also enhances your body image. If you feel better about how you look, then you’ll probably feel better about having sex. Additionally, sex increases blood flow to your genital area, which helps you feel better during the act. Be cautious though as too much exercise can have the opposite effect on your sex drive. The key is to focus on moderate intensity most days of the week.

If you’re new to the exercise scene or haven’t been to the gym for awhile, start back slowly. You don’t want to burn out, or you’ll be less motivated to continue. If the gym isn’t your thing, try exercising at home or even incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Try wearing a device that counts your steps and aim for 2,000 steps a day to start. If you can get outdoors for your workout, then you’ll reap the benefits of vitamin D and sunshine, which can really help get those endorphins going. Don’t forget to incorporate weight-bearing exercise into your routine a few times a week to build muscle strength, which helps you burn calories all day long.

2. Change Your Diet

Change your diet to increase sex drive in women

The foods you eat could be responsible for your lack of sexual desire. Research shows that eating too many processed foods that contain sugar may throw your hormones out of whack and cause a disruption in your sexual desire. Not to mention, eating lots of junk food will increase your waistline, which may be the reason why you don’t feel like having sex anymore. One study found that eating sugar significantly reduced the amount of free testosterone that circulates in the blood. And that’s not just a man’s problem. Low testosterone levels are linked to a decreased sex drive in women, too.

When it comes to fueling your sexual desire, your best bet is to focus on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as they contain unique plant chemicals that help make you feel good. On the other hand, processed and fried foods contribute to weight gain, brain fog, and inflammation. Focus on eliminating these foods from your diet and replacing them with lots of berries, green leafy vegetables, unrefined grains, and lean protein, such as chicken, turkey, and wild-caught fish. Also be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to flush toxins and keep the digestive tract working properly, which houses about 90 percent of your serotonin levels.

When you eat is just as important as what you eat if the goal is to improve your sex life. Eating a heavy meal late at night before sex could cause gastrointestinal upset, which isn’t exactly a mood booster. It might seem silly to plan for sex, but it could help you get in the mood. If you are planning a romantic evening with your significant other, then you might want to skip the heavy dishes and aim for a lighter meal with lean protein and vegetables. Enjoying a glass of red wine at dinner could help you relax, but drinking more than that could have the opposite effect on your sex drive by making you tired and affecting your ability to achieve an orgasm.

3. Experiment with Herbal Supplements

herbal supplements Increase Sex Drive In Women

The key to making supplements work for you is to take them as part of a healthy diet. Lots of people give up on taking supplements because they don’t change their diet, and there is no point in taking them when the rest of your body is a toxic environment. Panax ginseng or Asian ginseng is an herb that has been shown to increase sex drive in women. One study found that women who were going through menopause saw improvements in their sexual desire after taking one gram of Panax ginseng every day for two weeks. Other studies indicate that you can take 900 mg to 1,000 mg up to three times a day to help you get in the mood.

Maca root is another herb that has been shown to increase sex drive in women. One study found that 14 postmenopausal women who were given either a placebo or 3500 mg per day of maca root for six weeks reduced their menopause symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and boosted their sexual function. Yohimbine has been shown to improve orgasm dysfunction when taken in the amount of 15 to 30 mg daily while the stress-reducing herb ashwagandha helps treat female sexual distress when a 500 mg capsule is taken once or twice daily.

It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before taking an herbal supplement, especially if you are on medications as this may cause a contraindication. If you’re on a drug that might affect your libido, ask your doctor if there is any way to switch prescriptions. He or she might have an option that you haven’t considered yet. Even a dosage change might help restore your sexual desire.

4. Don’t Smoke

Smoking decreases sexual satisfaction

Smoking could be one of the reasons why you’re not in the mood anymore. One study found that smoking not only decreases sexual satisfaction and desire, but it also affects your fertility. If you’re a heavy smoker, then your doctor may prescribe a medication to help you quit. But keep in mind that these may have side effects that affect your psychological health.

5. Try Essential Oils

Certain scents might be able to help you get in the mood. Sandalwood is considered a natural aphrodisiac, which is why it’s found in many candles, colognes, and perfumes. Cinnamon oil is another excellent essential oil as it has been shown to increase blood flow through the body. You can apply a few drops to a warm bath or diffuse the oils in your bedroom at night to get in the mood.

6. Become More Connected to Your Partner

If you’re feeling disconnected from your partner or the two of you are having trouble in your relationship, then it might affect your desire for sex. Getting to know your partner again might take some time, but it can make things better for you in the bedroom. Try spending time together just the two of you. Go on dates, drink coffee together, see a movie or talk about each other’s days. It’s easy to let the fire sizzle out of a long relationship, but being reminded of the love you share can help heat things up in the bedroom again.

9 Surprising Benefits of Edamame

9 Surprising Benefits of Edamame

If you’ve ever been to a restaurant that serves edamame as an appetizer, then you know how addictive those little green treasures can be. You may have even embarrassed yourself by scarfing them down faster than anyone at the table. Although the name “edamame” sounds pretty fancy, it’s just another way of saying steamed or boiled green soybeans still in their pod. Most of the time, they are served with salt to further enhance their deliciousness.

Although edamame is 100 percent plant-based and full of fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals, many people shy away from soy. But these legumes have some fantastic health benefits that are worth giving them a second chance. Here are nine surprising benefits of edamame and some tasty ideas for enjoying them.

What is Edamame?

Edamame is a Japanese term that translates to “unripened green soybeans still in their pod.” They are harvested before they ripen or harden and are enjoyed by people all over the world as a tasty snack or in main dishes. You can buy them fresh, frozen or dried.

Because they are a complete protein, edamame is a vital source of protein for people who follow plant-based diets. A complete protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids. They are usually found in animal-based foods, but edamame is one of the few plant foods that includes all of them. Quinoa is another good example. Edamame is also gluten-free, low in calories, and high in iron and calcium.

9 Surprising Benefits of Edamame

One cup of frozen edamame beans provides you with 10 percent of your daily recommended intake of calcium, 20 percent of iron, 16 percent of vitamin C, 121 percent of folate, and 52 percent of vitamin K. Here is a complete breakdown of its nutritional profile based on a one-cup serving:

  • 188 calories
  • 18 g of protein
  • 8 g of fat
  • 8 g of dietary fiber
  • 13 g of carbohydrates
  • 3 g of sugars
  • 98 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 52 mg of iron
  • 99 mg of magnesium
  • 676 mg of potassium
  • 262 mg of phosphorus
  • 5 mg of vitamin C
  • 482 mg of folate
  • 41 mcg of vitamin K

Edamame is also high in the protective plant chemical called isoflavones, which are a type of phytoestrogen that may have antioxidant properties. In fact, soy products are the most abundant source of isoflavones in the human diet. They have an estrogenic activity that binds to estrogen receptors within cells and may be able to reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers, such as breast, uterine, and prostate cancers. Isoflavones may also be able to enhance bone mineral density and blood lipid profiles, according to some studies.

Health Benefits of Edamame

Any food that packs as much of a nutritional punch as edamame is sure to contain a lot of health benefits. Here are nine that might surprise you.

9 Surprising Benefits of Edamame

1. May prevent age-related brain diseases

Plant-based foods are well known for promoting overall health, but research shows that populations who eat higher amounts of soy may be at a reduced risk of developing brain diseases later in life. A 2006 research published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal found that both men and women who eat traditional Asian diets may be less likely to develop age-related brain diseases as well as depression.

Authors of the research believe that soy’s brain-protecting properties may be due to its high isoflavone content. One researcher stated that there had been work done on monkeys showing that soy modifies the metabolism of serotonin in a manner that might be useful for the prevention of depression. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps make you feel happy. It is also believed to control social behavior, mood, sleeping and eating patterns, coping mechanisms, and cognitive function. One study supported this theory by finding that women who were given isoflavone supplements for six months performed better on a verbal fluency test than women who were given placebos.

2. May lower cholesterol

Edamame is a cholesterol-free food that might be able to prevent the buildup of cholesterol. Several studies have linked abnormally high amounts of cholesterol to an increased risk of heart disease. One study pointed out that high cholesterol is linked to an increase in death in most people over 60 years old.

Another study found that people who ate 47 grams of soy protein each day lowered their total cholesterol by 9.3 percent. Additionally, their LDL or “bad” cholesterol went down 12.9 percent. Finally, a study published in the journal Circulation recommended that eating 50 grams of soy protein each day lowers bad cholesterol by 3 percent.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also supports the health benefits of soy on the heart. They recommend eating soy protein as well as a diet low in saturated fat to help prevent heart disease. When it comes to protein, soy might be different from other types. Unlike animal-based proteins, soy is high in fiber, vitamin K, and antioxidants, which may reduce heart disease by improving your blood lipid profile, according to some studies.

3. May help stabilize blood sugar levels

9 Surprising Benefits of Edamame

Even if you don’t have diabetes, it’s important to eat foods that keep your blood sugar levels in check. Despite being a legume, soy is relatively low in carbohydrates compared to other forms. It’s also high in fiber and doesn’t contain any added sugar, which may help send a steady stream of glucose to the rest of your body without spikes or dips.

Research shows that people who eat a lot of processed sugar are at an increased risk of developing diabetes. But edamame has a low glycemic index rating, and its high fiber content prevents excessive blood glucose dumping, meaning that it won’t spike blood sugar levels. It’s a great food to eat as part of a plant-based or low-sugar diet.

4. May help manage menopausal symptoms

Menopause occurs when a woman reaches the age when she stops menstruating. It usually happens around 51; however, this number differs for every woman. Symptoms may include hot flashes, mood swings, urinary incontinence, weight gain, bone loss, and changes in the breasts and skin. But several studies suggest that soy and isoflavones may reduce these side effects.

Interestingly, not all women respond well to the isoflavones in soy. You have to have the right type of gut bacteria. That’s because certain types of bacteria convert isoflavones into a compound that is believed to be responsible for many of the benefits of soybeans called equol. Research shows that if you have this type of gut bacteria that produce equol, then you may benefit from using soy to prevent menopausal symptoms.

One study found that women who took 135 mg of isoflavones per day for one week (or the equivalent of eating 68 grams of soybeans daily) reduced their menopausal symptoms, but only if they were equol producers. People in Asian populations tend to produce more equol than Westerners, and it might have something to do with the high intake of soy products in this area.

5. May reduce the risk of cancer

9 Surprising Benefits of Edamame

In addition to reducing menopause symptoms, soy foods may benefit women by reducing their risk of breast cancer. This is because isoflavones have estrogenic activity in the body, which means that they resemble estrogen by binding to its receptors located on cells all over the body. Some studies indicate that eating a high intake of soy may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Isoflavones in soy may also prevent breast cancer later in life.

Soy foods aren’t just good for women. They are also useful for men. Research estimates that one in seven men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their life. Afterall, it’s the second most common type of cancer that affects men. Luckily, several studies have shown that eating soy products such as edamame may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 30 percent.

6. May support female fertility

The research is a bit conflicted on many areas of soy, and fertility is one of them. But one of the most significant studies to suggest that soy may benefit fertility was done on more than 116,000 female nurses between the ages of 25 and 42. The subjects were evaluated for the risk of developing chronic diseases. Results showed that the concentration rates of women who had higher intakes of animal protein had an increased risk of ovarian infertility. The researchers suggested that women add a serving of plant-based protein-rich foods including soy to their diet to protect against infertility.

One reason why researchers recommended the plant-based protein to increase fertility may have to do with the impact of soy on insulin release. Studies show that excess insulin in the bloodstream may cause hormonal disruption and ovulation problems. Some sources suggest that soy has less of an impact on insulin than animal protein.

7. May help fetal development

One thing many doctors recommend to women who are pregnant or who wish to get pregnant is to keep an eye on their folic acid levels. Edamame is high in folic acid, which is a type of B vitamin that helps boost brain health in infants. It may also help prevent the fetus from developing major problems in their spine or brain during development, such as neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.

The recommended amount of folate is 400 mcg for women over the age of 19 and 600 mcg during pregnancy. Women who are breastfeeding should aim for 500 mcg.

8. May prevent osteoporosis

9 Surprising Benefits of Edamame

Osteoporosis is a condition that occurs when the bones become weak and fragile. It usually happens in the older population and may increase the risk of falls or breaks. Bone density naturally decreases in women after the age of 35, and it occurs even more rapidly after menopause.

Soy isoflavones have been shown to decrease the rate of bone density loss and may even increase bone density during menopause. Additionally, soy is high in protein, which may help keep your bones healthy.

9. May boost energy

If you have a hard time feeling energized throughout the day, then it might be due to lack of iron. Feel cold all the time? That could be low iron, too. Even gastrointestinal disorders or heavy periods may cause low iron levels.

Edamame is high in iron, which is needed to control how well your body utilizes energy. Approximately 70 percent of your iron levels are located in your red blood cells. Their job is to transfer oxygen from your lungs to your tissues. It’s no wonder that you’ll feel fatigued if you don’t have enough of this crucial mineral.

 How To Use Edamame

Don’t let the mystery of edamame prevent you from trying it. It can easily be eaten as a snack or incorporated into your favorite recipes. Meatless Mondays will never be the same. Even kids can’t resist these tasty little treats.

9 Surprising Benefits of Edamame

If you eat edamame at a restaurant, you’ll find that most people suck the beans out of the pods. The added salt makes it a tasty snack that you can’t stop eating. Making your own at home is easy. You can buy it fresh or frozen at most supermarkets. When you get it home, boil the edamame in a pot of salted water until the beans are tender. Once they are, drain the water and rinse if desired.

You can also steam the edamame for about ten minutes in an inch of water. Let them cool once they’re tender and sprinkle with salt before serving. You can eat them right from the pod or add them to salads. They make a great addition to rice or other grain-based dishes in place of meat if you’re vegan. They can also be made into hummus using a high-speed blender. Just be sure to boil the beans first to make sure they’re soft. For a Japanese inspired dish, add them to some noodles or miso soup.

10 Foods That Can Help Relieve Depression

If you have depression, you know it’s more than dealing with feelings of sadness a few days a week. It’s a constant struggle to be happy or content no matter what you do. Although you’re not alone in your struggles (the disease affects around 350 million people and is the leading cause of disability), it doesn’t make you feel any better.

10 Foods That Can Help Relieve Depression

Many people turn to medications and psychotherapy to help, but did you know that the foods you eat can also help relieve depression? Here is how diet affects your mood and what foods to focus on to help you feel your best.

Depression Types and Symptoms

Depression is more than feeling a bit sad at times. It’s an empty and hopeless feeling that overtakes your life and causes you to lose interest in the things you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family. Depression can also cause you to have trouble sleeping or functioning, and it may even affect your eating habits.

To be diagnosed with clinical depression, you must experience symptoms every day for at least two weeks. There are several different types of depression, but the two primary forms are major depression and persistent depressive disorder.

Major depression occurs when you have symptoms of depression almost the entire day for two weeks straight. It interferes with your ability to sleep, eat, study, work, and enjoy your life. Although most people with major depression have several episodes, it’s possible only to have one episode in your lifetime.

Persistent depressive disorder, or dysthymia, occurs when you have symptoms of depression for at least two years. A person with persistent depressive disorder may have an intense episode of major depression followed by several periods of less severe symptoms. The other forms of depression are as follows:

  • Perinatal depression or postpartum depression is a relatively mild state of depression and anxiety that occurs within two weeks after a mother gives birth to a baby. It’s more than having the baby blues. Women with this type of depression have full-blown major depressive symptoms while they are pregnant or right after delivery. It causes feelings of extreme anxiety, sadness or exhaustion that accompanies a mother’s duties to her child or family. She feels overwhelmed and unable to take care of herself or her baby.
  • Psychotic depression is when a person has severe depression in addition to some form of psychosis, such as delusions or hallucinations in which they hear or see things that aren’t really there. These psychotic episodes usually have a theme, such as delusions of illness, guilt or money issues.10 Foods That Can Help Relieve Depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder usually occurs during the changing of the seasons. Most people get it when the warm weather turns cold, and they haven’t seen the sun in a long time. This type of depression usually lifts when the warm weather and sunshine return, but it can result in weight gain, social withdrawal, and sleeping more during the cold months.
  • Bipolar disorder is not the same as depression, but it involves having depressive symptoms. A person with bipolar disorder usually has episodes of extremely low points or depression. They also have extreme highs, such as euphoria or irritable moods that include manias.

Symptoms of depression may differ for everyone, but here are some common traits to be aware of. Keep in mind that these symptoms must last daily for two weeks to be considered clinical depression.

  • Persistent feelings of being empty, sad or anxious
  • Irritability
  • Feeling hopeless or having pessimism
  • Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness or guilt
  • Lack of energy and increased fatigue
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that used to bring you joy
  • Talking or moving slower
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
  • Oversleeping, waking in the early morning or having trouble falling asleep
  • Having trouble sitting still or feeling restless
  • Extreme or sudden changes in weight or appetite
  • Experiencing thoughts of death or suicide
  • Suicide attempts or increased talk of suicide
  • Aches, pains, digestive problems, and cramps that seem to appear for no reason at all or do not let up with treatment

Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms, but most people will have at least a few. Some signs may even come and go while others stay around regularly. The duration and types of symptoms a person experiences may also be dependent on the stage of depression they are in. Seeking treatment at the first sign of depression is one of the best ways to treat it. Additionally, paying close attention to your diet can help you start to feel better soon.

How Does Diet Affect Mood?

10 Foods That Can Help Relieve Depression

There is a very close relationship between our mood and the foods we eat. Your diet can make you feel worse, or it can help improve your daily emotions. Some foods interfere with the signaling in your brain and influence negative thoughts while others give you an uplifting boost. Depression may occur when you eat more of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.

Several studies have confirmed a link between depression and a diet that is high in sugary, refined foods. If you think about it, your brain operates similarly to a car. It stores energy from food like your car stores gas when you fill it up. When you fill your body with fuel that is high in inflammatory and damaging foods, it’s stored in your body and utilized at all times- even when you’re sleeping.

Prepackaged foods, fast foods, and sweets may cause oxidative damage, which changes your DNA and interferes with the production of neurotransmitters in your brain that make you feel happy. Additionally, processed and refined foods may negatively impact your digestive tract, which has more influence on your mind than most people realize.

For example, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls your mood, sleep habits, and even pain tolerance. But approximately 95% of your serotonin levels are produced in your gut. Your digestive tract is lined with millions of nerve cells called neurons that don’t just determine how well your food is digested; they also influence your emotions. That’s because one of the primary functions of these neurons is to make serotonin. So if you eat foods that damage the neurons in your gut, then you are ultimately destroying neurotransmitters that make you feel happy.

Research shows that people who take probiotic supplements reduce their perception of stress, mental outlook, and anxiety levels compared to those who don’t. That’s because probiotics help build a healthy and diverse microbiome that strengthens the gut and brain alike. Other studies have linked the traditional Westernized diet that is high in processed foods to an increased risk of depression by as much as 35 percent. On the other hand, Japanese cultures that eat more fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood and unprocessed grains tend to have very low levels of depression.

10 Foods That Can Help Relieve Depression

10 Foods That Help Depression

Since depression is commonly linked to inflammation, the best way to fight the symptoms is to replace highly processed foods in your diet for anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants and omega three fatty acids are great for reducing inflammation. They work by scavenging free radical toxins that accumulate in your tissues and cause irritation. Here are the top ten foods that help depression.

1. Green, leafy vegetables

Green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. They are full of antioxidants that boost the immune system and naturally detox toxins from the body. When toxins accumulate in our tissues, it causes chronic inflammation, which makes depression more likely to occur. Add spinach to your morning smoothie, enjoy a salad with mixed greens for lunch, and steam some broccoli for dinner.

2. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the best foods you can eat to fight depression. They are a total brain food- mostly because they are high in omega three fatty acids, which have been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression by increasing and maintaining brain structures, preserving their function, modulating signal transduction, and preventing inflammation. Enjoy a handful of walnuts in a salad with green leafy vegetables or eat them raw with berries for an afternoon snack.

3. Berries

Berries are the king of antioxidants. They contain a unique blend of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to have antidepressant activities in clinical studies. Blueberries have been labeled as brain-boosters by reducing oxidative stress, improving memory, and lowering the risk of dementia. Make one cup of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or blackberries the main component of your fruit smoothie. Add a handful to salads or eat them with walnuts for a mood-boosting snack.

4. Avocados

10 Foods That Can Help Relieve Depression

Did you know that your brain prefers fat as its primary source of fuel? But it can’t be just any fat. It has to be the good kind. Avocados are high in oleic acid, which is a type of monounsaturated fat that fights brain cancer and tumors, aids in memory, and boosts brain function. Avocados can be added as a thickening agent in smoothies in place of bananas if you are on a low-carb diet. They are also great in salads or eaten in the form of guacamole. Some people even bake desserts with them!

5. Onions

Most people don’t think of onions as brain-enhancing foods, but they are wonderful for your gut. And as we have learned, the two are strongly connected. Onions are high in flavonoids, which have antioxidants properties that fight inflammation. They are also a prebiotic, which is the “fuel” that probiotics need to flourish in the digestive system. Sautéed onions go great on top of a burger, stir fry’s, and in soups or stews. You can also add raw onions to salads.

6. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are high in folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid, which are both helpful for fighting depression. According to one study, people with depression tend to be low in folate. In fact, one-third of patients with major depression had a folate deficiency. Folic acid works by preventing access homocysteine, which is a hormone that restricts the production of many vital neurotransmitters that make you feel good, such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Alpha-lipoic helps you convert glucose into energy to help stabilize mood. Add raw tomatoes to your salad at lunch or dip baby tomatoes in hummus as a snack.

7. Beans

10 Foods That Can Help Relieve Depression

Beans are high in fiber, which has numerous benefits on the body. Mostly, they help support digestive health and keep you regular. They also have anti-diabetic properties and aid in weight loss, which are two conditions that are linked to depression. Because they take a long time to break down, beans can be used to send a steady supply of fuel to your brain without crashing. Be aware of canned beans as these tend to be high in salt and chemicals. Instead, buy some dry beans in a bag, soak them overnight, boil them on the stove and enjoy in a salad or in place of rice in meat-based dishes.

8. Seeds

Seeds might be small, but they pack a potent omega three punch. They’re also a great comfort food. Chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds are exceptionally high in omega three fatty acids. You can use flaxseed flour in place of gluten when baking or add raw seeds to a salad. Some people like them in smoothies and they make a great on-the-go snack.

9. Apples

Apples are high in lots of protective nutrients, like flavonoids, antioxidants, and fiber. They fight free radical damage, lower inflammation, and keep your blood sugar levels steady. Plus, they taste great! Throw an apple in your gym back or a pre or post-workout snack. Keep one at your desk at work when you need an energy boost or enjoy them chopped up in a salad. You can also enjoy fresh squeezed apple juice, but keep in mind that you’ll lose the fiber content.

10. Mushrooms

10 Foods That Can Help Relieve Depression

Mushrooms alleviate depression in two ways. First, they have blood-sugar lowering abilities, meaning that your brain receives a steady supply of glucose without dips. This is important because blood sugar spikes may cause irritability and low points. Next, mushrooms increase the survival rate of probiotics in the gut, meaning that they enhance the health of your microbiome which, in turn, helps you produce more serotonin. Add sautéed mushrooms to stir-fry’s for a mood-boosting effect.

Can The TLC Diet Change Your Life? Here’s How to Make It Work for You

Can The TLC Diet Change Your Life? Here's How to Make It Work for YouTo suggest that a diet can change your life is a pretty bold claim. But choosing to eat healthy foods is one of the most influential tools you can use to guarantee a lasting impact on your health and well being. Pairing a healthy diet with an exercise program- well, that makes you almost unstoppable!

The TLC diet was created especially for people with high cholesterol by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, but it can also be used to help you lose weight, control your blood sugar levels, and possibly more. It works by limiting the number of calories you eat from sodium, cholesterol, and fat. Here are some tips for applying it to your lifestyle without feeling completely overwhelmed.

What is the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) Diet?

Heart disease affects 65 million Americans with no symptoms at all. In fact, most people don’t even realize they have high cholesterol until their doctor tells them. Reversing or stopping the buildup of plaque in your arteries can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease or a heart attack.

The TLC diet, also known as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet, is an eating plan that embraces low-fat foods. Its goal is to reduce high LDL or “bad” cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The TLC diet also aims to lower the risk of stroke and high blood pressure associated with eating a high-fat diet.

The initial steps of the program are broken up into two periods of six weeks. After that, you’re encouraged to check in with your doctor every four to six months. The program uses four different categories to classify your LDL goals. Level one is the highest risk category. It means that you already have heart disease or diabetes and are at risk of a heart attack. All other groups are based on a health questionnaire that your doctor may have you fill out to determine your goals.

Can The TLC Diet Change Your Life Here's How to Make It Work for You

Here are some of the guidelines on the TLC diet:

  • Reduce the intake of foods that are high in cholesterol, trans and saturated fats, and sodium
  • Moderately increase physical exercise
  • Increase the amount of fiber-rich foods
  • Reduce calories if overweight
  • Eat more plant stanols/sterols

The creators of the TLC diet estimate that the longer you stay on the diet, the more your cholesterol levels will go down. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, making the following dietary changes may result in a decrease of total LDL cholesterol by up to 30 percent:

  • Decreasing saturated fat to less than 7 percent of calories
  • Limiting dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day
  • Losing ten pounds if you are overweight
  • Adding five to ten grams of soluble fiber to your diet each day
  • Eating two grams of plant stanols/sterols each day
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise each day, such as brisk walking

Health Benefits of the TLC Diet

Research shows that the TLC diet is effective at helping patients lower their LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol that increases your risk of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On the other hand, HDL or high-density lipoprotein is the “good” cholesterol that absorbs cholesterol and takes it back to the liver where it is flushed out from the body. The goal of the TLC diet is to lower LDL cholesterol and keep your heart healthy.

Losing a few pounds can also help protect your heart. This is why the TLC diet aims to reduce your calorie intake if you’re overweight. Studies show that even a moderate weight loss of 15 pounds can reduce your risk of developing hypertension by 28 percent. Losing weight has also been linked to reduced triglyceride levels, serum glucose, total cholesterol, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Trans fats especially hurt the heart. In the United States, most trans fats are formed during the partial hydrogenation process of vegetable oils.

Hydrogenation is a process that occurs when a hydrogen atom is added to a fat molecule. The more hydrogenated a fat molecule becomes, the more solid it is. Trans fats are produced when a fat molecule is partially-hydrogenated, or not entirely hydrogenated. While a few trans fats are naturally found in dairy products and meats, they don’t appear to affect cholesterol in the same way as partially-hydrogenated products. Saturated fats are also believed to hurt LDL cholesterol. In fact, one study found that saturated fat is the primary dietary factor for raising LDL cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that accumulates in the blood vessels and arteries when there is too much of it. This puts a strain on the heart because it has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. By reducing cholesterol, trans fat, and saturated fat, the TLC diet aims to improve heart function and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. For every one percent decrease in total calories from saturated fat, there is a two percent decrease in LDL cholesterol. One study even found that patients who followed a TLC diet by reducing their saturated fat content to less than seven percent of their total calories lowered their LDL levels by eight percent.

TLC Diet Sample Menu Plan

If you’re interested in the TLC diet but not sure where to start, it might be helpful to check out a sample menu of the food’s you’d be eating as well as some of the ones you’ll need to avoid. You’ll also want to keep in mind that calorie control is an integral part of the diet if you need to lose weight.

Your doctor or nutritionist can help you come up with an exact number, but most men (4) require around 2,500 calories a day while women need 1,800. If you’re looking to lose weight, the TLC diet recommends considering dropping these numbers to 1,600 for men and 1,200 for women. Some research shows that losing weight can significantly help reduce LDL cholesterol, which is the primary goal of the TLC diet.

Consider these tips when picking out which foods to eat:

  • Six or more servings a day of whole-grain bread and cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, low-fat crackers, and low-fat cookies
  • Three to five servings a day of vegetables, dry beans, and peas
  • Two to four servings a day of fruits
  • Two to three servings a day of low-fat or fat-free milk, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, and cheese (no more than three grams of fat per ounce)
  • Two or fewer egg yolks per week (substitute egg whites in recipes)
  • Five or fewer ounces a day of meats and seafood (limit shrimp and organ meats; focus on skinless poultry and low-fat cuts of meat)
  • Eat nuts and oils in moderation
  • Focus on foods high in plant sterols/stanols such as margarine and orange juices
  • Eat lots of foods that are high in soluble fiber: Barley, oats, psyllium, apples, bananas, berries, citrus fruits, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, dry beans, peas, and soy products (tofu, miso)

Can The TLC Diet Change Your Life Here's How to Make It Work for You

Here is a sample menu plan of a day on the TLC diet:

Breakfast:

  • Shredded wheat cereal with one percent milk
  • One medium slice of whole wheat toast and jelly
  • Orange juice
  • Regular coffee with fat-free or low-fat milk (optional)

Lunch:

  • A roast beef sandwich made with two slices of whole wheat bread, two ounces of lean and unseasoned roast beef, one slice of low-fat and low-sodium American cheese, one leaf of lettuce, three medium slices of tomatoes, one to two tablespoons of low-calorie mayonnaise
  • One apple
  • Water

Can The TLC Diet Change Your Life Here's How to Make It Work for You

Dinner:

  • Two to three ounces of salmon made with one and one-half teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • One medium baked potato topped with one teaspoon of margarine
  • One-half cup seasoned green beans with one teaspoon of margarine
  • One-half cup carrots seasoned and cooked in margarine
  • One white dinner roll
  • One-half cup cold milk
  • One cup unsweetened tea
  • Water

Snack:

  • Two and a half cups of popcorn made with ¾ to ½ teaspoon of margarine

Low-Fat Vs. Low-Carb: Which is Better?

Paleo and keto dieters might have a problem with the TLC diet mostly due to the difference in opinion on whether or not fat is really bad for you. Plenty of publications have backed the claims that eating a low-carb diet is better for weight loss and heart health than eating a low-fat diet. There was even some backlash on the health benefits of coconut oil a while back from the American Heart Association, which was met with counterclaims from health enthusiasts all around the world who were appalled that canola oil was considered healthier than coconut oil.

Can The TLC Diet Change Your Life Here's How to Make It Work for You

Still, the one thing both sides seem to agree on is that eating more fiber-rich foods in their whole form is better than consuming processed foods that are high in sugar. This includes swapping pre-packaged foods such as granola bars and baked goods for lots of fruits and vegetables, such as berries and leafy greens. Raw is usually best if you can swing it, but many people find that vegetables are more enjoyable when cooked in oil and seasoned with their favorite spices. If you’re watching your calorie or fat count, cooking vegetables in vegetable stock is another tasty option.

Tips For Making It Work

Making extreme dietary changes can be overwhelming. The trick is to go slow. You don’t have to dive right into the TLC diet right away. You might find it easier to make small changes. If you’re excited and want to jump right in, just remember that you might have setbacks and that’s OK! The key is not to quit. You’ll be surprised how well your body responds to a new way of eating if you haven’t been feeding it well for years.

1. Set small goals

The longer you stay on the TLC diet, the better. This means that you’ll want to create a plan that you won’t want to deviate from. Start small by changing one meal a day. In two weeks time, aim for a complete conversion to the TLC diet. Add a cheat day or snack if you need, but don’t give up. 

2. Focus on fiber

Fiber helps you lose weight in several ways. First, it fills you up so that you remain full for more extended periods and don’t eat more than you should. It also naturally detoxes the body and pushes waste through the digestive tract. A ½ cup serving of barley, oatmeal or oat bran contains one gram of soluble fiber and up to six grams of total fiber. A medium piece of fruit such as an apple or banana includes three to four grams of fiber, and ½ cup of cooked brussels sprouts contains 4.5 grams.

3. Get movingCan The TLC Diet Change Your Life Here's How to Make It Work for You

You’ll see better results in your weight loss quest and cholesterol levels if you add some exercise to your program. It doesn’t have to be intense- walking briskly for 30 minutes a day will do the trick. Waking up 30 minutes earlier in the morning or going for a 30-minute walk after dinner should do the trick. If your doctor agrees, try adding some resistance training to your routine to build some lean muscle and support your weight loss goals. Grab a friend to help keep you accountable.

4. Drink lots of water

Water helps keep you full and helps flush toxins through the body. Aim for eight glasses a day.

5. Follow up with your doctor

It’s a good idea to follow up with your doctor every few months to have your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight checked. Your doctor may also reevaluate your risk category to determine how well your heart is doing. Seeing your progress will help you stay on track and may even motivate you to keep going. Plus, your doctor may also have some tips to help you further protect your heart.

What The Heck Is Creatine And Should You Be Taking It?

You might know creatine as a white powder that bodybuilders take to bulk up, but not many people know what it is, where it comes from, or even what it does. Creatine is a substance that is naturally found in the muscles cells of the body. It has some surprising health benefits that may help you out even if you don’t want to look like a professional bodybuilder.

What the heck is creatine and should you be taking it

For example, did you know creatine may help fight against neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, lower blood sugar levels, improve muscular dystrophy, and prevent depression and diabetes? Here is everything you need to know about creatine and why you may want to consider taking it.

Creatine is an organic acid that supplies energy to cells throughout the body, especially muscle and skeletal cells. Chemically, creatine is comprised of three different amino acids: l-methionine, glycine, and l-arginine. It accounts for about 1% of total volume of human blood.

Approximately 95% of creatine can be found in human skeletal muscle while 5% is located in the brain. Every day, the body naturally produces around three grams of creatine and stores around 1.5%-2% of it in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. It is converted to energy and transported through the blood to parts of the body with high energy demands, like the brain and skeletal muscle.

The average person requires approximately 1 to 3 grams of creatine daily, and they get about half of it from their diet. The rest is made in the body. Good sources of creatine include red meat and fish. One pound of either provides anywhere from 1 to 2 grams of creatine. Athletes and bodybuilders are notorious for taking creatine in supplement form. If you train hard, your body may need up to 10 grams of creatine a day, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition. In some cases, people with a health condition that prevents them from creating or synthesizing creatine may need to take up to 30 grams a day!

Supplementing with creatine helps you increase the amount of phosphocreatine that is stored in the body. Phosphocreatine is a form of energy that is utilized in your cells. It helps produce an energy molecule called ATP. The more ATP  you have stored in your cells, the better your body performs during exercise. Creatine also assists with several processes in the body that may increase your muscle mass, strength and recovery when it comes to exercise, which is why a lot of athletes take it.

creatine powder

Health Benefits of Creatine

You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or even a fitness enthusiast to reap the benefits of creatine. Research shows that taking creatine may have anti-aging benefits and it can also improve your mood. It works by boosting your workload capacity, raising anabolic hormones, improving cell signaling, increasing cell hydration, preventing the breakdown of protein, and reducing myostatin levels. Here are some of the most impressive health benefits of creatine you probably weren’t aware of.

1. Prevents Sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is the age-related decline in muscle strength, mass, and function. It tends to develop after the age of 40 and starts getting really bad by about age 75. It’s an often overlooked aging disorder that takes a backseat to osteoporosis, which is the loss of bone mass. But the loss of muscle mass that occurs with the natural aging process is also important as it can affect a person’s ability to function correctly, especially in the older generation. It’s also easier to treat earlier in life rather than waiting until it gets worse in a person’s elderly years.

Sarcopenia is more common in adults who don’t exercise much, but that doesn’t mean that people who do exercise cannot develop it. Just like osteoporosis, many factors contribute to sarcopenia, such as lack of protein or calories, inflammation, oxidative stress, loss of motor nerve cells, and decreased hormones such as testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, and growth hormone. But research shows that creatine may be able to help prevent sarcopenia in the elderly population by preventing muscle loss.

One study found that when combined with resistance training, older men who supplemented with creatine for seven days increased their muscle performance without adverse side effects, including on functional tests. The study authors concluded that creatine could be used as a therapeutic strategy in older adults to prevent muscle loss and increase performance in practical living tasks. Another study found that adults over the age of 65 who took 5 grams of creatine a day and were put on a resistance training program increased their functional tasks, strength, and muscle fiber area. The key here seems to be taking creatine along with an exercise program for best results.

2. Decreases Inflammation

creatine inflammation

Taking creatine may help reduce inflammation, especially after exercising, which may help assist with the recovery process and eliminate muscle soreness. One study found that runners who supplemented with 20 grams of creatine for five days before a 30-kilometer race decreased their markers of cell injury and inflammation by as much as 61%. They also reportedly had no side effects. The researchers concluded that supplementing with creatine reduced inflammation and cell damage after an exhaustive, intense race.

3. Improves Brain Function

Everyone can benefit from improved brain function. Creatine might be able to do just that. Research shows that creatine may be able to improve brain function in healthy adults. One study investigated the effects of creatine supplementation on vegetarian adults over the course of six weeks. They were given 5 grams of creatine each day. Results showed that after the subjects took the creatine, they had improved scores on intelligence and working memory tests.

One theory behind creatine’s brain enhancing properties is that it provides cellular energy to the brain cells. It may even be able to alleviate depression and protect against neurodegenerative diseases. A 2007 study found that oral supplementation of creatine may modify brain energy metabolism in depressed people. Eight subjects were given between 3 and 5 grams of creatine a day. They were then evaluated at weeks one, two, three and four on Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Hamilton Anxiety Scale, and Clinical Global Impression tests. Results showed that all scale scores significantly improved and adverse reactions were mild. Another study found that “creatine supplementation improves bioenergetic deficits and may exert neuroprotective effects in Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.”

4. Improves Athletic Performance

creatine athlete

Creatine is best known for helping athletes bulk up and improve their athletic performance. That’s because creatine pulls water into cells, which creates greater body mass and bulkier muscles. But according to the United States National Library of Medicine, supplementing with creatine alone will not give you big muscles. A 2013 study noted that people who take creatine tend to look larger because they have more water retention.

However, using creatine may help you increase your energy while you work out, and this may have a beneficial effect on increasing your muscle size through harder exercise sessions. This theory was supported by a 2003 meta-analysis that concluded that creatine might improve your athletic performance during short bursts of powerful activity, especially with repeated bouts, such as running sprints. Additionally, a 2012 study made the following points about creatine:

  • It improves the effects of resistance training on body mass and strength.
  • It increases high-intensity intermittent speed training.
  • It enhances endurance in aerobic activities lasting more than 150 seconds.
  • It may improve power, fat-free mass, and strength, as well as daily living performance and neurological functioning.

5. May Help Reduce Blood Sugar and Prevent Diabetes

Research is not conclusive in this area, but there is some evidence to suggest that creatine may help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes from occurring. A 2001 study found that “muscle’s glycogen loading capacity is influenced by its initial levels of creatine and the accompanying alterations in cell volume.” In other words, creatine may play a role in how glucose enters cells. Another study found that when combined with aerobic training, creatine supplementation may improve glucose tolerance.

6. May Improve Muscular Dystrophy

Creatine muscular

Because creatine is helpful for increasing muscle mass and strength, it can also be used to improve muscular dystrophy. Muscular dystrophy is a group of disorders that are characterized by weakness and muscle loss. It is caused by genetic factors. A 2013 review of 14 studies concluded that people with muscular dystrophy who took creatine had an 8.5% increase in muscle strength compared to those who didn’t take any. Additional research shows that taking creatine everyday for up to 16 weeks improved muscle strength and reduced fatigue in people with muscular dystrophy.

How Does Creatine Compare To Other Protein Powders?

Creatine is not your typical protein powder, per say. In fact, it’s not really a protein powder at all. Sure, it’s made of amino acids, and it may help you bulk up and boost your overall athletic performance, but it serves a different function than most protein powders. For example, whey protein can help grow and repair your muscles, but creatine is better used as an energy source. It draws water into your muscle cells to help you bulk up, but it does not directly increase your muscle mass.

Taking creatine along with a protein powder is often best for bulking up AND increasing muscle mass. While creatine only contains three different types of amino acids, whey protein has nine, including the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). The three BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are considered essential since your body doesn’t make them on its own. Their job is to fuel your cells while you’re working out, so you get more from your exercise session.

While a protein powder is beneficial after exercise, creatine is best taken before your workout to help give you energy and increase your workload. A heaping teaspoon of creatine contains no calories, fats, carbohydrates, protein, or nutrients, so you don’t need to worry about using it if you are dieting or trying to count calories. Of course, if you get flavored creatine, it may contain calories or other nutrient values, so be sure to check the ingredients on the brand you are purchasing. On the other hand, one 28 gram scoop of whey protein powder contains the following:

 

  • 170 calories
  • 1 gram of fat
  • 6 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 1 gram of sugar
  • 30 grams of protein
  • 140 mg of sodium

How To Use It

creatine grape juice

According to BodyBuilding.com, it’s common to “load” your creatine for up to seven days to help build up the amount in your muscle cells. Then you would reduce the amount to a maintenance amount. But they recommend taking a small amount every day from the start without loading up on it. Additionally, you may want to take it with a base that contains simple sugar, such as grape juice, as this will increase its absorption by up to 60%. Experts at BodyBuilding.com warm against taking creatine with orange juice as this will cause an acidic reaction.

Until you know how creatine affects you, start by taking one to two grams about 30 minutes before your next workout. You can gradually increase the amount you use based on your results, but it’s not advised to go over 30 grams a day. Some people also take a smaller amount throughout the day.

If you’re using creatine for brain health or any reason other than to work out, try taking some first thing in the morning to give yourself a boost for the day. You can also take some before a presentation at work or school, or before eating a big meal to reduce blood sugar spikes. Most creatine supplements come in powder form so that you can mix it with your favorite beverage or even water. It also comes in pill form for convenience.