Notice that refreshingly cold smoothies don’t have the same appeal during wintry weather? Give your smoothies a winter makeover by serving them hot and toasty. (It’s not as strange as it sounds—promise!) These ice-free, warm smoothie recipes will warm you up after a chilly morning jog.
It only takes six simple ingredients to whip up an outrageous oats and chocolate smoothie. Safety tip: Don’t fill your blender or smoothie maker with boiling liquid! The steam creates pressure that can cause the lid to blast off, literally. Add the hot ingredients at the end.
This warm smoothie has all the taste of an old-fashioned, homemade apple pie—minus the hassle of baking. Plus, at 124 calories and 0 grams of fat per serving, you can slurp with a clear conscience.
The tryptophan and vitamin B6 in bananas helps to boost your body’s production of serotonin, which can improve your mood and increase feelings of satisfaction and relaxation.
Need a healthy way to detox? This warm cider smoothie packs a ton of fiber, iron, and antioxidants – thanks to ingredients like fresh apples and spinach.
After looking at some diet trends last week, you may still be wondering what you’re supposed to eat before, during and after a workout. Though this can vary greatly if you are training for higher level events (e.g. Ironman triathlon or body building prep – much more specific eating plans needed for these types of events), you can apply the same general principles to most common workouts for yourself. Recovery is such an important part of a workout, and nutrition is incredibly important in making sure recovery is happening
Sluggish? Tired? Missing that get-up-n-go? There’s no question that today’s busy lifestyle can leave the most naturally energetic woman feeling a bit blah any time of day. Instead of reaching for sugary energy bars or high-caffeine beverages, fight fatigue by adding these 13 high-energy foods to your menu plan.
Food plays a bigger role in our energy levels than many people realize. Our bodies are machines made to move, whether that movement involves wrangling toddlers or cleaning for an elderly parent. Unhealthy food choices, especially those with refined sugar, added sodium, and excess fat, don’t nourish the body with the energy it needs to move through even a normal day.
Just like most cars need gasoline to get from point A to point B, your body needs the fuel that comes from food to get from morning to night. Foods for energy deliver a variety of nutrients to fuel cells. For example, tuna offers B vitamins to build red blood cells that then carry necessary oxygen throughout the body. Other energy foods, like fruit or honey, provide natural sugars plus antioxidants to deliver fuel without the empty calories of refined sugar.
This sweet food offers healthier, natural carbohydrates, like fructose and glucose, to pep up those cells.
Lovely little chia seeds deliver healthy fats, plus they help cleanse the digestive system.
When you need versatile energy foods, this one’s a winner. Snack on 12-14 whole, unsalted almonds for a snack that comes in at about 100 calories.
Low in calories and high in complex (good) carbohydrates, fresh fruit is a natural fit on our foods for energy list.
Eating a variety of vegetables loads your body with energy-boosting nutrients like iron and potassium.
Tuna, which offers protein and B vitamins, has long been the choice of athletes in need of long-lasting energy foods.
Green tea is loaded with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a substance that may increase the rate of fat burn. It also contains some caffeine (but not too much!) to nudge up those energy levels temporarily.
Made with chickpeas, hummus is a good source of lean protein.
Not just for Thanksgiving dinner anymore, turkey is a powerhouse of lean protein, plus it helps satisfy the appetite.
This variety provides a higher protein content than conventional yogurt for an extra energy boost.
In addition to protein, kidney beans offer potassium, a mineral that aids muscle function.
With omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B6, which helps convert food into energy, salmon is one of those energy foods that’s an all-around health superstar.
Begone bad reputation! Eggs are back on the “good” list; they offer the highest complete form of protein of any food.
Before working out, it is important to eat the right kinds of foods so that you can flex your muscles and joints easily and not suffer from cramps. Flexibility refers to the ability of different body parts to complete their motions. You need flexibility to perform regular activities like walking, lifting or bending and when you are flexible your muscles also remain active and mobile. This is why it is also important to introduce flexibility exercises when you are working out.
Stretching is a good way to make your body flexible before working out. But in order to improve your workout flexibility, it is not enough to simply stretch. You need to add certain foods to your diet that can improve your flexibility.
Foods which improve flexibility:
Dark, green leafy vegetables like spinach, seaweed, kale, chard, collard greens and watercress can heighten your flexibility when you add them to your daily diet. They have high water content which is necessary to flush out acids from your body. Popular diet services emphasize adding fresh fruits and vegetables to the daily diet to rev up metabolism and enhance the supply of nutrients.
If you can mix this to your morning smoothie, you can increase your flexibility dramatically. This alga has many essential vitamins like beta carotene and B complex vitamins which boosts muscle strength. It can also prevent muscle cramps and let you stretch with ease.
You can use barley grass extract in your daily meals. This will contain beta carotene, high amounts of calcium and iron etc which all play an important role in increasing flexibility and promoting overall health. Water: Perhaps there is no other food that can improve flexibility as much as water. You should always start your day with a glass of water and make it a point to drink well before you start an exercise routine. Water helps to lubricate the joints making you flexible in the process.
Foods like fish and chicken, whole grains and beans, nuts and seeds, olive oil and avocados, fresh fruits or veggies are great for improving flexibility. For flexibility and to avoid injuries, you need to load up on foods that are known to have very high water content like vegetables and fruits. Protein drinks and fruit smoothies can also help to hydrate your body. Chronic inflammations may cause fluid retention that makes your muscles stiff. Alkaline conditions are known to reduce inflammations and foods which can increase alkalinity are mainly vegetables and fruits. Spices like turmeric and ginger also help because these have anti-inflammatory properties.
Sulfur or Amino Acids:
Foods containing sulfur or amino acids promote flexible joints. So high sulfur foods like garlic, cruciferous vegetables, onions, egg yolks, red peppers etc are recommended for increased muscular flexibility in workouts.
Apart from these healthy foods, you need to remember that junk foods should be avoided before a workout. Junk foods and packaged foods contain excess sodium which leads to joints becoming swollen. The body tries to hold onto more fluids to dilute blood. Coffee and alcohol can also dehydrate the body. Acid-forming foods like processed carbs and sugar rich foods should also be ideally avoided before exercising.
If you’ve been exercising more, you may be suffering from the aches and pains of having overdone it at the gym. Making sure your workout is challenging without overdoing it is one way to prevent muscle soreness. But research also points to some foods and beverages that can help ward off and minimize exercise-related muscle soreness.
New research out of New Zealand suggests that the antioxidants in blueberries may help ward off muscle fatigue by mopping up the additional free radicals that muscles produce during exercise.
2. Tart Cherries & Pomegranates
British researchers recently found that people who drank 1 ounce of concentrated cherry juice twice daily for 10 days bounced back faster from their workout (an intensive leg-resistance training session on day 8) than those who skipped the juice. The reason: The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in tart cherries—and other fruit juices like grape, pomegranate, acai, blueberry and cranberry—essentially act as natural NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin), reducing exercise-induced muscle damage.
Ginger is rich in inflammation-fighting compounds, such as gingerols, which may reduce the aches of osteoarthritis and soothe sore muscles. In a recent study, people who took ginger capsules daily for 11 days reported 25 percent less muscle pain when they performed exercises designed to strain their muscles (compared with a similar group taking placebo capsules). Another study found that ginger-extract injections helped relieve osteoarthritis pain of the knee.
What do a cup of coffee, a bowl of beans, and a couple of ibuprofen have in common? Surprising answer: They all reduce pain. Popping a pill may be easier, but it does nothing to cure the underlying cause of your pain like eating the right foods can do. The number of foods proven to offer relief is growing. Here are six common aches and pains and the foods that help fight them.
Food Rx: Cherries, turmeric
Here’s sweet news: Preliminary research suggests that eating about 20 tart cherries may be as effective as taking ibuprofen for reducing pain. In a more recent study, eating about 45 cherries a day reduced C-reactive protein, a major marker of inflammation associated with arthritis, by 25%. Likewise, the spice turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that in one study eased pain as well as ibuprofen did in people with knee osteoarthritis.
Food Rx: Ginger
Walking like a cowboy after that set of squats? Sip ginger tea. In a recent study, people who lifted weights experienced 25% less post-workout pain 24 hours after consuming ginger (about half a teaspoon a day for 11 days) than those taking a placebo. Researchers credit gingerols, antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving properties.
Food Rx: Beans
While fiber giveth (gas), it also taketh away (acid reflux). A study in the journal Gut found that people who regularly ate high-fiber foods like beans were 20% less likely to report GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) symptoms, probably because fiber moves food out of the stomach faster and prevents reflux.
Food Rx: Peppermint, coconut
The menthol in fresh peppermint and peppermint tea acts as a carminative (a compound that relieves gas and bloating) and a muscle relaxer, which can help relieve the cramping and spasms associated with occasional intestinal distress and full-blown IBS. For diarrhea, it’s suggested to eat 1 to 3 teaspoons of shredded unsweetened coconut, which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Food Rx: Nuts
Your body may be telling you that you need brownies, but opt for trail mix when that PMS funk hits. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women with the highest intakes of riboflavin from foods such as almonds were more than a third less likely to develop PMS, including cramps and brain fog, than those who had the lowest intakes. Foods high in vitamin B6, such as pistachios, can also help reduce irritability, cramps, and fluid retention associated with PMS.
Food Rx: Coffee, pumpkin seeds
Your pounding head is often a result of dilated, or enlarged, blood vessels in your brain. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee can help constrict blood vessels and ease the pain; they also make painkillers work better so you can reduce your dose. But if you have the mother of all headaches—a migraine—you may be deficient in magnesium and could benefit from foods rich in this nutrient, such as pumpkin seeds. Magnesium helps calm the overexcited nerves and tense muscles that contribute to migraine pain. (It’s also one of the best foods for your heart.)
Building muscle is a balance between strategic strength training and an eating plan that includes proper protein and healthy carbohydrates while limiting refined sugars, processed food, and artificial ingredients. This doesn’t mean that you have to settle for the same salmon and kale for lunch and a dry chicken breast for dinner.
Here is a compilation of 12 muscle-building foods that can add variety to your diet and help you sculpt those muscles into flex-worthy shape.
1. Greek Yogurt: With more than twice the protein of regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is a great source to turn to when focused on muscle enhancement. Just be careful to look out for artificial colors, added sugars, and ingredients. Greek Yogurt also contains casein, a slow digesting milk protein to help keep you feeling full longer.
2. Black Beans: Don’t save these gems for taco night. Eating black beans provides you with vitamins B, K, C, and A which are low in saturated fats. It’s a high protein and fiber food that is low in calories. Yes, please.
3. Cottage Cheese: Also containing casein, cottage cheese additionally contains an average of 28 grams of protein in one cup! Choosing a low-fat cottage cheese is a great option provided it has not been supplemented with extra sugar or sodium.
4. Eggs: A whole egg is a perfect pick for a protein punch. And don’t get rid of the yolk! When trying to build muscle, the yolk contains beneficial nutrients worthy of consumption.
5. Broccoli: Not only is broccoli low in calories and filling, it also contains a significant amount of soluble fiber, which aids in fat loss. Who doesn’t love a fat loss bonus?!
6. Chocolate Milk: Another option containing the slow-digesting protein, casein, chocolate milk has been touted as not only a great post-workout recovery drink, but a good source of necessary carbs.
7. Almonds: These nuts stack up high when it comes to fiber and protein in comparison to most nut options. They also contain vitamin B, a vitamin linked to energize metabolism.
8. Raspberries: Raspberries contain the most fiber of all berries. A fiber-filled diet is imperative for proper digestion and muscle sculpting. The antioxidants can also help regulate metabolic rates and insulin sensitivity.
9. Avocados: Packed with monosaturated fat, the “good” fat, avocados can help eliminate weight from the midsection while containing a host of 20 different essential nutrients.
10. Quinoa: An option over grains that are high in amino acids, which sets it apart from most carbohydrates in your diet.
11. Apples: Offering electrolytes, carbs, and fiber, apples are a great post-workout snack and option for adding muscle mass to your physique.
12. Spinach: Not only known as a superfood, the calcium in spinach can help to relax muscles and prevent cramping during muscle training intervals.