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A beginners guide to protein shakes

For many people, when you hear the words ‘protein shake’ this might create images of ripped men, at the gym every day for hours on end and lifting the type of weights that could cause their already bulging muscles to explode.

This is an extremely stereotypical view of the type of people that use protein shakes, as in reality there are a wide range of people who could really benefit from using them.

Protein shakes are a great way for people to add extra protein into their diet, whether they need it for working out or ensuring that their diet contains enough protein.

The shakes are typically made using soya, whey, rice or egg as a base and can come in a variety of tasty flavours; the most common being vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. The shakes can come in either cans and bottles that have been ready made for convenience, or in a powdered form for you to make up for yourself.

Why would I need protein shakes?

The reason why protein shakes are associated with gym-goers is due to the fact that protein is ideal for muscle recovery, which can help with rebuilding tissue and building muscle. It is recommended that the average person should consume around two to three portions of protein every day, however, for someone who needs more than this (such as those with very active jobs or of course those who go to the gym) protein shakes are a great, tasty way to add more to your diet.

Most shakes will also contain added vitamins, minerals, fibre and amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. The body can make it’s own amino acids, however, there are eight essential amino acids that the body cannot make (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) and so having these in your diet can benefit your health.

Whey protein is probably the best type of shake for athletes and gym users, as it is one the most absorbable types of protein available and usually provides high quantities of protein and amino acids, while remaining low in fat and carbohydrates.

Dieters might also be interested in protein shakes, particularly low fat, low carb ones, as they can make a great breakfast replacement with added fruit, or a snack that will keep you full whilst still being low in calories and fat.

When is the best time to take protein shakes?

There will be certain shakes that are best for either a pre-workout or post-workout.

The best type of shake to have before you workout is one that has a higher amount of carbs, in order to prepare your muscles for exercise by providing more energy. It’s best to take this type of shake about half an hour before a workout.

For your post-workout shake, choose one that isn’t as high in carbs; a whey based protein is best for this time as the body will digest it much quicker, which means that it will get to work on your muscles straight away. You should have this immediately after your workout, as soon as you possibly can!

There are many people who may be confused about whether it is best to get their protein from either shakes or bars.

For those who are constantly on the go, grabbing a bar may be a more convenient option, however, it’s important to know that most protein bars will take longer to digest meaning that your muscles will have to wait longer for the repairing properties of protein.

For the weight conscious, bars will usually contain a lot more calories than shakes, with the average amount being anything between 200 – 500kcals; there’s also the added sugars and fats to look out for. However, some bars can actually contain slightly more protein than what you might find in your average shake.

In conclusion, it’s probably best to get the majority of your protein from shakes, but if you really haven’t got time to prepare your shake before hand, a bar can be a more convenient substitute.

Apps to keep you up-to-date with all the latest health trends

Smart Phones and tablets are making major impacts on our lives. They help us get to places we need to go, take and share pictures to rival professional photographers, issue a gaming challenge to friends, search the Web on the fly, and watch our favorite television shows. With the recent app explosion, there’s something suitable for everyone. In fact, there are even now apps available that can help you get healthy and keep you up to date on medical news and breakthroughs.

There are a number of apps out there to assist you in dieting and keeping track of your calorie intake including: Lose It!, Restaurant Nutrition, My Net Diary’s Calorie Counter, My Fitness Pal’s Calorie Counter, Meal Snap, Calories Pro, TracknBurn, and My Diet Calorie Counter, to name a few. Keeping track of caloric intake is important, but what if you want to know how good (or bad) a product is before you even purchase it? The Fooducate app allows users to scan UPCs at the grocery story to help them make healthier choices. As the products are scanned, the app will give the item a grade, as if it were in school, as well as breaking down the calories per serving and nutritional information. Warnings can accompany the information such as “Look out! Not 100% whole grain” (fooducate.com). It also lets users know if others like the product and what the ‘points’ of a serving are for those on diets using that kind of system. Available for iPhone and Android products, it has a 4 1/2 star rating.

The exercise apps are many as well, some of the better known ones being: Gym Pact, Pumping Weight,Teemo, Sportaneous, Fitness Fast, and Daily Burn. If you’re a couch potato looking to get into better shape, the Couch to 5k app will have you leaving that indent in your sofa behind. With sessions starting at 20-30 minutes, it’s something most people can fit into their schedule and in just 9 weeks you can be running 3.1 miles. The app will walk you through each session, prompting when you should warm up, walk, run, and cool down. You can even pipe your own music through the app to keep you moving. Available for iPhone and Android, it has a 5 star rating.

Even your doctors are getting in on the app craze, making communications between their staff and patience easier. 80% of doctors use Smart Phones and medical apps (bizjournals.com) and 40% think the apps help reduce the number of visits to physician offices (bizjournals.com). Some apps they choose to use are: Airstrip, DocBook MD, Drchrono EMR.

Diet plan for healthy glowing skin and hair

Healthy glowing skin and hair are the top priorities of women today when it comes to beauty. However, if we keep a few dietary habits in mind, it is very easy to provide your hair and skin with the much needed nutrition to make them beautiful. Here are our top 10 foods which you can add to your diet for healthy skin and hair:

These small berries have a high percentage of anti oxidants in them. If you can grab fresh blue berries then nothing better than that. Frozen blue berries are not an option. Fresh blue berries added to a cup of fresh yogurt can become a great source of nutrition for your skin and hair.

Tomatoes contain lycopyne which is an antioxidant and easily absorbable by our body. So try adding a sliced tomato to your everyday after meal salads and see the difference.

Most of us probably hated the taste of spinach when we were kids and perhaps even now as grownups. However spinach is one of those leafy vegetables which can supply you with abundant amounts of vitamins and minerals, which can make your hair and skin glowing. It contains several vitamins like A, C, E, and also Vitamin K. So start having either a bowl of spinach soup or have it as a salad or just make spinach lasagna, the choice is totally yours.

This is a particular fish which is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and therefore can help you save your skin from sun damage. Even if you do not like fish, try to include this fish in your daily diet as it also helps in fighting dull skin, dry hair and pre-mature skin aging.

This is rich in the daily requirement of vitamin C by our body. It’s great for both skin and hair. When taken internally, it can fight eczema or other skin rashes. It keeps your system healthy from inside. Time to add some yogurt to your regular diet!

Basic nuts like walnuts, almonds and cashew nuts are a great source of vitamins and rich oils which helps fight pre mature aging ,wrinkles or skin darkening from inside. It also helps keep your hair healthy and long. Nuts are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids especially walnuts.

These are rich in zinc. Zinc helps in cell renewal process and helps maintain good skin and hair. It fights back skin aging to a great extent but if you are allergic to shell fishes, then this option is not for you.

These are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants which help maintain great hair and good skin from inside. It also helps keep skin firm. A kiwi a day can keep aging at bay!

Green tea is very well known for its great antioxidant properties. A cup of green tea a day will provide you with much needed nutrients for all parts of your body not just good skin and hair but also your nails and will also help improve your immune system.

We saved the best for last and we are sure you will love this one. Who doesn’t love chocolates? We are not talking about any ordinary bar chocolate but only dark chocolates. Its taste is bitter than normal chocolates and it contains a lot of antioxidants. Too much is never recommended but if you have dark chocolates in limited amounts each day preferably with a bowl of fresh fruits, then nothing better than this sinful indulgence!

Drinking cold beverages to stay fit this Summer!

Are you looking forward to the bathing suit season? Summer is just around the corner and we bet most of you are already daydreaming about laying on a beach somewhere sipping on a cocktail and, most importantly, looking your best. So we decided to put together a list of drinks for you to get in shape and deal with the rising temperatures at the same time.

Did you know that ice cold beverages can help you lose weight and get the slim shape you’ve always wanted? All you need to do is drink cold liquids and let your body warm them up and burn the unwanted calories.

There’s a catch, though: you need to be careful to stay away from juices with sugar or carbohydrates, or that may have the exact opposite results to what you’re looking for. But no worries, because we have the perfect 5 drinks for you to enjoy this summer.

With no cream or sugar, coffee has next to zero calories and can be the perfect drink to give you a boost of energy during your workout and diminish your appetite when you’re craving that last piece of chocolate cake. Try it after a full meal, but no more than one or two glasses a day. If you’re the kind of person that can’t start a day’s work without a cup of joe, blend it with ice to get refreshed as well. Switch to decaf and enjoy one in the evening, instead of going for dessert or reaching for your junk food stash.

Green tea has so many benefits, you can’t even imagine just by looking at that cup of colored water. I find there is nothing more refreshing than a glass of cold ice tea, but you’ll be loving it even more once you hear all about the upsides. It does wonders in preventing cancer and heart disease, and studies have shown that it also contains antioxidants that get rid of your belly fat. Are you already picturing yourself in that two-piece you saw the other day? Well, go ahead and buy it! Green tea is a must to have around during your workout and it’s just the right dose of caffeine you need to give yourself a kick start in those lazy summer afternoons.

Lose weight in a healthy manner! Crush those vegetables or make a fruit smoothie, add some ice over it and you have the perfect drink to start the day or to give you a boost of energy to survive a really long day at the office. Such a smoothie provides you with the fiber and nutrients your body needs in order to get rid of that extra weight. For better results on the body, get only the low sodium vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, radish, avocado, celery or cucumber) and fruits (apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, sweet cherries, dates, figs, grapefruit, guava fruits, kiwi fruit, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, strawberries, tangerines or watermelons). Yumm, yumm!

Here’s a great way to kill your appetite without starving! Yogurt is a great source of calcium and protein and it can boost your immune system. Researchers at the University of Tennessee have proven that, when adding yogurt to your diet, you can lose 61% more fat. It’s because of that calcium we talked about earlier, because it burns and limits the fat your body produces. Great news, right? Not to mention how delicious it can be. Try it with a banana and strawberry mix, frozen blueberries or pineapple juice. And, the cherry on top about yogurt based smoothies: they’re great for your skin as well!

Last, but not least, we’re going to tell you something about water. We just couldn’t leave that out: it’s the best source of hydration for your body and the best drink to help you lose those extra pounds. It boosts your metabolism and helps you get rid of all the sodium, so you can look amazing. Stick to the recommended 8 glasses a day, still or sparkling, depending on your preference. If you’re one of the people that think that water is too boring, we recommend you spice it up with some lemon slices, lime, cucumber or strawberries, for a bit of flavor.

Are you already fantasizing about this summer and the drinks that will quench your thirst, and work wonders? Don’t forget to keep a healthy diet and exercise so that your limitless mind will finally be able to fit a healthy rockin’ body. Wishing you a refreshing, fit and amazing summer! Drinks are on us! (figuratively speaking)

Health Benefits of Commuting to Work on an Electric Bike

Commuting to Work with an Electric Bike

Our society is geared towards using cars for transportation. Cars are so easy to use for travel and they give a sense of independence. Our culture of cars is nothing new but some new studies show that incidence of disease has increased and overall level of health has declined among our fellow citizens. This is not solely the result of inactivity due to driving instead of cycling however. Our diets and activity level in general directly correlate to good health. In an ideal world, we could all achieve fitness through commuting to work on a bicycle. Sometimes the distance required to make it to the office is longer than we would feel comfortable cycling. This is where using an electric bicycle is a great alternative for travel because distance is an easy hurdle to be overcome. There are many benefits to be had from commuting to work using an electric bike among others including financial and environmental benefits. We will focus on the most important benefit, the benefit of fitness and health.

Imagine rolling up to work on your electric bike refreshed and ready for the day, already with a workout under your belt. You guarantee yourself a minimum of two workouts a day which is great because the time you would have spent sitting in your car is transformed into time devoted to exercising your body.

  • Cycling outdoors introduces the element of fresh clean air. Your lungs get filled with this and oxygenates your blood. This is great for alertness and invigoration. Your body is also exposed to sunshine and its benefit of stimulating vitamin D production.
  • Your chance for heart disease is cut down by cycling. Aerobic exercise achieved with a commit improves the fitness of our cardiovascular system.
  • Cycling is a low impact exercise. Instead of the pounding the joints with jogging, your ankles, knees and hips operate in a fluid rotation so the joints get worked out and not beat up.
  • When you show up to work and get off your electric bike, chances are you will be in a relaxed state of mind. Cycling is refreshing and beyond that, there is much less stress from traffic jams.
  • Your stamina is improved when cycling. If your commute is short, you can challenge yourself to go faster or supplement on the weekends with longer distances to improve your endurance. After a while you will be able to ride stronger and for longer distances.
  • Your balance and coordination gets improved as well. These skills are beneficial to have especially when we become older.
  • Weight loss is a great side effect to cycling. There is no way to avoid burning calories, even on an electric bike.
  • Muscle strength and flexibility is a great health benefit as well. When a body is optimized through fitness it is less prone to injury, and again, this is even more important as we age. When we increase muscle mass or tone our muscles, we can then burn more calories as we sit in our office during the day. Larger muscles burn more calories at rest than smaller muscles.

So think twice before dismissing the idea of commuting to work on a bike because your office is too far away or you are dreading that massive hill on the route. If you get an electric bike, hills will be no obstacle. An electric bike grants you the opportunity for power on demand, so you have no excuse to drive because its easier. An electric bike gives you the option to work as hard or as little as you want. So beyond the health benefits of cycling, an electric bike allows you to stay consistent with a workout schedule, because we all have days where we don’t feel up to the challenge.

Ways to relieve pain caused by braces

Getting to that perfect smile can sometimes be a long and painful experience – especially those first couple of days after having your braces adjusted. However, there are inexpensive and easy ways to deal with the pain that can come with getting your teeth in order. Here are a few helpful tips for dealing with pain, swelling and mouth sores caused by braces.

Pain relievers are an obvious go-to when it comes to relieving pain. Tylenol or Ibuprofen are good choices for this kind of situation. However, what you don’t want to do is take an Asprin as it can cause bleeding. If your mouth has developed sores from the braces, the Asprin can increase the bleeding that you’re already experiencing and make matters worse. It’s also wise to take a pain killer an hour before visiting your orthodontist as it can help relieve the pain in advance.

Speaking of mouth sores, what can you do to avoid these? The first thing that you can do is use dental wax. Dental wax can be applied with your fingers onto the brackets where they’re rubbing against your cheeks or lips to make the edges smooth. Also, if your orthodontist gives you rubber bands, be sure to wear them on the hooks in your braces. This will keep the hooks from digging in and rubbing against the sides of your mouth causing sores and bleeding.

If the sores couldn’t be avoided, there are some ways to ease the discomfort and pain that they cause. Rinsing with salt water will help alleviate the irritation. Try to do this several times per day. Another option is to eat cold food or drink something cold. The coldness will help numb the mouth and ease the pain. Ice cream or cold smoothies will coat the mouth and help temporarily ease the pain. Another option is to suck on ice cubes. Just be sure that you don’t chew the ice as it can cause further irritation and pain. If you’re experiencing a lot of swelling in your mouth, hot or warm liquids can help reduce the swelling. Eating warm soup or sipping on a hot drink are great options for helping that swelling to go down.

Just be sure that you’re paying attention to what you’re eating and drinking. Really acidic drinks and food can cause the sores in your mouth to burn. So stay away from citrus things or things with carbonation such as soft drinks. Also, eat soft foods. Hard and crunchy foods that require a lot of chewing can cause even more discomfort and pain. Remember that some foods may look soft but keep in mind how much chewing is involved.

Thankfully, as uncomfortable and painful as it can be, the soreness and pain will only last for a couple of days or so after having your braces adjusted. The longer that you have them, the more you’ll discover to help alleviate your pain and make the process more bearable. Just keep in mind, after the long road is over, you’ll have a beautiful smile to show for all of your hard work!