Protein is an important part of the diet because it allows the body to grow, develop, and repair itself. Protein is made up of amino acids, some of which can’t be made by the body and therefore must be consumed through the diet. All the essential amino acids can be found in animal protein such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy. Essential amino acids can also be found in plant proteins, but a variety of sources must be eaten to get all of the amino acids. When choosing protein, choose lean cuts of meat, poultry without the skin, or trim the fat to avoid eating a high fat meal. Plant proteins such as nuts and legumes are a great source of protein as well as other vitamins and fiber.
Whether you suffer from Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity, or just want to try different grains, there are many ancient grains that are nutrient packed and delicious. Quinoa, Millet, Amaranth, and Chia Seeds are great additions to your meals. They are rich in fiber and protein, which make you feel fuller longer! They are also great sources of iron, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants! In addition, Quinoa and Amaranth contain all the essential amino acids, just like poultry and meat, making them an excellent protein source! These grains and seeds are easy and quick to cook, and packed with health benefits!
Both Greek yogurt and traditional yogurt can be part of a healthy diet. However, Greek yogurt contains about double the protein, half the carbs, and significantly less sugar and sodium than traditional yogurt!
New research is emerging that grass-fed beef may provide heart healthy benefits that conventionally grown (grain-fed) beef doesn’t provide! Grass-fed beef contains less total fat, more Omega-3 fatty acids (lowering inflammation), higher levels of linoleic acid (protecting the heart) and antioxidants!
Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley and rye. It does not make you gain weight, increase blood pressure, cause disease, or cause any other harm to the body. Most people can tolerate gluten fine, and it can be part of a healthy diet. Only 1% of the population needs to completely avoid gluten; people who suffer from Celiac disease.
The Environmental Working Group composes a list of the twelve produce items that contain the highest level of pesticides, which can be harmful to your body. They recommend buying these items Organic when possible! The Dirty Dozen list is composed of: Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, imported nectarines, cucumbers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers.
Each of these milks are nutritionally different. Cow’s milk provides the most protein, and almond milk provides the least. When buying soy milk, make sure it is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. And, beware of coconut milks’ high calorie and fat content.
Fiber is a key component to normal digestion, normal bowel movements, and maintaining a healthy weight. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t consume enough. Men need about 38 grams a day and women need about 25 grams. Fiber can be found in whole grains, fruits, nuts, beans, and carrots. It helps you feel full longer without adding too many calories, and therefore is great when trying to lose or maintain weight!
Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. You need at least 130 grams of carbs a day for your body to function at an optimal health level. A diet that is too low in carbs will likely lead to increased protein consumption, which can be dangerous to your heart and kidneys at very high levels, and increased fat consumption. It will also lead to decreased fruit consumption (a carb) which is an importance source of vitamins and minerals for your body. The important thing to remember is the type of carb you are consuming. Eat more complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates. Complex carbs take longer for the body to break down, keeping your blood sugar levels from fluctuating and keeping you full longer.
Not only does muscle weigh more than fat, it also burns more calories than fat! Through strength training and adding muscle to your body, you can increase your resting metabolic rate. Muscle burns more calories than fat; therefore it is more beneficial to have more muscle on your body! Adding one pound of muscle through strength training increases your resting metabolic rate by 100-150 calories a day.