Whole Grains: Are You Buying Goodness or Gunk?

If you didn’t get the memo, white flour is out and whole grains are in. But as brown bread continues to fly off shelves, the question remains- is it really whole wheat? In many cases, it isn’t. Several types of bread marketed as “whole grain or whole wheat” have brown dyes or multiple additives to make them seem like they are whole grains, but are actually white flour derivatives. Consider trying a few of these unadulterated grains that will shake up your diet, and pack a nutritional punch. 

Buckwheat: This source of wheat is easily available at both your grocery store and health food store. This is a great source of iron, vitamin B, and fiber.

Millet: This grain tastes similar to rice. It is full of fiber and helps to get your gut back on track by improving digestion and constipation.

Quinoa: Most restaurants are serving up dishes with this ingredient because the high content of protein found in quinoa. By adding quinoa to your meal you’re likely to feel full longer, and get the same satisfaction as you would consuming a larger portion of pasta. Additionally it’s high in magnesium, and iron.

Sprouted Grains: These grains are sprouted in water and contain increased amounts of folic acid and B vitamins. Bread made from sprouted grains is also a great source of fiber, which allows you to eat less, stay satisfied, and process foods more efficiently.

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate: Calling All Chocolate Lovers

There’s hardly anyone who can resist chocolate, but maybe now you don’t have to! For many years research has shown that consuming small amounts (remember the part that says “small”) of dark chocolate have significant health benefits. This is because it contains the most pure content of cocoa without any extra milk or sugar. It also contains up to three times more antioxidants than both milk chocolate and white chocolate. There’s a reason why studies never mention milk chocolate- all the dairy and sugar in milk chocolate lowers the antioxidant levels, and raises the fat and calorie content. Still not convinced you should let dark chocolate melt in your mouth and not in your hand?

Check out the health benefits of this super food!

Heart health: A small amount of dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow! Antioxidants can also assist in fighting plaque formation and blood clots.

Maintain Stable Blood Sugar- Dark chocolate helps control blood sugar because it has a lower glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t wreak havoc on your blood glucose and insulin levels. This may be surprising because its considered a “Sweet”, but adding a small amount to your diet may satisfy your sweet craving and keep your sugar under control.

Keeps You Energized- Dark chocolate is a great source of magnesium, potassium, and..you guessed it- caffeine! Instead of that 3pm coffee you’re going to load up with milk and sugar, consider a few squares of dark chocolate and a decaf tea to give you a cleaner, quicker boost of energy.

Skin Protection- known for its high content of antioxidants, dark chocolate helps the body fight off free radicals. These pollutants can increase generalized inflammation in the body, and leave us with less than lustrous skin. Consuming a small amount of dark chocolate can help brighten and preserve your skin.

Mood Booster- Dark chocolate can also trigger boosts in serotonin levels that can be a great mood booster. Try a few squares to help you forget that annoying work situation, or frenemy you love to hate, and you’ll be surprised at how good you feel!

 

Metabolism Boosters: The Best Natural Foods to Jump Start Your Metabolism!

Feeling sluggish or stuck in an unhealthy slump? Often our diets contain foods full of preservatives, refined sugar, and additives. Consuming these substances makes it difficult to lose weight because the body cannot properly process these foreign materials, leading to an increased accumulation of fat.

Incorporating a few natural foods can help boost metabolism and get your body burning calories non-stop!

Here are five great calorie-burning foods that everyone should incorporate into their diet:

Black Tea: Not only is this high in anti-oxidants, but research also suggests black tea may aid in decreasing glucose uptake in the body. Add two cups of black tea to your daily routine and watch for the benefits!

Cayenne Pepper: This addition to your diet can instantly boost your metabolism. Adding just a spoonful has been shown to rev up calorie burning almost instantaneously.

Peppermint: Peppermint has long been known to aid in digestion. In many cases, people unable to lose weight or stuck at a plateau have some form of digestive irregularities. Adding peppermint to your meals or in the form of teas can aid in digestion and speed up your metabolism 

Cinnamon: It’s not just for the holidays! Cinnamon has often been used as an adjunct in the treatment of diabetes to stabilize blood sugar levels. This can also be a great way to increase calorie burning even while at rest.

Ginger: Ginger is both a potent anti-inflammatory and allows your body to naturally  “heat up”. As heat is produced, the body burns more calories and becomes more efficient in burning excess fat.