Should you be Using Protein Powder?

Purition - bags of it
Purition – bags of it

Protein powered is one of the greatest ways to add to an already beneficial workout if you use it correctly. So many sources will urge you to pick up a tub of protein powder right away and start making yourself shakes while others will tell you the exact opposite—it’s too dangerous. So who do you trust? Ignore the opinions. The facts about protein powder will tell you if this workout supplement is right for you.

It’s important to understand what protein powder is at first. Protein is used by the body to build and heal itself. It is also the most basic unit of muscle. Protein powder is a supplement that is high in protein and helps you gain and keep more muscle during or after a workout. There are several different kinds of protein powders available. They all have different uses, but whey powder is the most common. Soy and hemp protein are plant based and therefore can help vegetarian and vegans.

Women need 50g of protein a day while men only need 65g. Consuming too much protein daily can be a health risk, while consuming too little can also have poor effects. If you are able to satisfy your daily protein needs with whole foods, then you won’t need protein powder as a supplement. Do keep in mind though, that it may be nice to have on hand, especially if you find yourself on a tight schedule with little time to eat a good meal in between.

While protein powder can be beneficial to building muscle, gaining muscle or losing weight, it’s important to remember that using protein powder consistently while you are already consuming a proper amount of protein can be dangerous. This puts an excessive amount of pressure on the kidneys and can be harmful if prolonged. Check over Monica’s Health Mag for more.

Some experts say that only body builders should use protein powder because the average diet will feature an average amount of protein. While most gym-goers should consider this, these experts are not necessarily taking into account vegans and vegetarians whose sources of protein do not include meats and in some cases eggs or milk. For vegans and vegetarians, protein powder as a supplement or a meal replacement may be beneficial if they are not taking in 50-65g of protein daily.

Protein is an extremely important part of every diet and workout, but with so many opinions and facts about protein powder, it’s hard to know what to believe. You should only use protein powder if you need it. You might need it twice a week or you might need it every day. Observe how you eat for the next week before deciding if you should use protein powder and how often you should use it.

Writer’s Bio

Jane Grates is an award-winning web lover and the Co-manager of Runnerclick, Monicas Health Mag and Janes Kitchen Miracles. Travel scholar. Writer. Health enthusiast. Food and health practitioner.

 

15 amazing benefits of intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is the practice of abstaining or reducing consumption of food, drink, or both, for a specific period of time. Everyone fasts for at least some part of the day, generally the eight or so hours that one spends sleeping every night. Physiologically, fasting can refer to a person’s metabolic status after not eating overnight, or even the metabolic state after the complete digestion of a meal. Once you’ve gone eight to 12 hours without eating, the body enters a state of “fasting.”

The practice of fasting can lead to a number of metabolic changes within the body. These changes typically begin approximately three to five hours after eating, when the body enters a “post-absorptive” state – rather than the state on ongoing digestion, where eating frequent meals means the body is always involved in some sort of digestive activity.

Whether you practice more long-term fasting for health reasons or for spiritual reasons, most people will have to fast at some point for medical reasons. Patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures that require a general anaesthetic will usually fast prior to the treatment, but fasting is also practiced before a number of other medical tests, including cholesterol testing, blood glucose measuring, or a lipid panel. This enables doctors to achieve accurate results and establish a solid baseline to inform future testing, if necessary.

Here are 15 amazing benefits of intermittent fasting.

One: weight loss

Instead of running on fuel from the food you just ate, fasting allows your body to tap into reserves – fat, which accumulates on the body to be burned whenever food supply grows scarce. This results in a slow, steady weight loss that can be a huge benefit.

Since fasting is often incorporated as a lifestyle change instead of a temporary fix, this type of diet is much more sustainable than many other “crash diets.” In fact, many studies support the practice as a valuable, reliable tool for weight loss and weight maintenance. Initially, you’ll see a marked weight loss as a result of losing water weight, but according to the author of Eat Stop Eat, each day you fast will show a loss of 0.5 pounds of true body fat.

Two: improved tolerance of glucose

For diabetics, fasting can be a fantastic way to normalize glucose and even improve glucose variability. Anyone looking for a natural way to increase insulin sensitivity should attempt an intermittent fast, as the effects of fasting can make a huge difference in how your body processes glucose.

Generally, insulin resistance is the result of accumulation of glucose in tissues that aren’t built for fat storage. As the body burns through stored fuel in the form of body fat, that excess accumulation becomes smaller and smaller, allowing the cells in your muscles and liver to grow increasingly responsive to insulin – great news for anyone looking to be less dependent on medications to assist these processes.

Three: boosts metabolism

Part of the reason intermittent fasting helps practitioners lose weight is because the restriction of food, followed by regular eating, can help stimulate your metabolism. While long-term fasting can actually cause a drop in your metabolism, the shorter fasts promoted by intermittent fasting have proven to increase metabolism – by up to 14 per cent, reported by one study.

This is also a more effective tool than long-term calorie restriction, which can often wreak havoc on the body’s metabolism. Weight loss often goes hand in hand with muscle loss – and since muscle tissue is what burns through calories, having less muscle leads to a drop in your body’s ability to metabolize food. Intermittent fasting, though, keeps your metabolism running smoothly by helping you maintain your muscle tissue as much as possible.

Four: longevity

Research from University of Chicago scientists revealed that intermittent fasting can “delay the development of the disorders that lead to death” – meaning that regular practitioners can enjoy a longer, healthier life than people who eat a regular three meals a day or follow a traditional restricted-calorie diet.

A theory on this, according to head of the National Institute on Aging’s neuroscience laboratory Mark Mattson, is that the mild stress that intermittent fasting puts on the body provides a constant threat – increasing the body’s powerful cellular defenses against potential molecular damage. Intermittent fasting also stimulates the body to maintain and repair tissues, keeping every organ and cell functioning effectively and efficiently.

Five: understanding hunger

It’s important to learn how to accurately decipher the signals your body gives you, and intermittent fasting is a great way to understand the cycle of hunger. Before true hunger sets in and the body, if not fed, enters starvation mode, you’ll feel pangs of “hunger” that can generally be attributed to psychological cravings. This emotional desire is confused with hunger all the time, but fasting will give practitioners the opportunity to experience real “hunger pains” in the stomach, and even withdrawal and detox symptoms associated with our usual consumption of processed foods.

You’ll also develop a deeper appreciation of food – if you’ve ever eaten after a period of “true hunger,” you’ll know what eating is supposed to feel like. Each bite tastes more delicious than the last, and you’ll experience a sensation of deep contentment and pleasure. It’s absolutely worth the hunger you endured to get here.

Six: establishes routine

Unless you’re following a random fast type of diet, having strict eating times followed by periods of fasting can help your body develop a solid routine. You’ll be able to recognize your own hunger cycles, you’ll sleep more regularly and soundly, and you’ll start scheduling appointments during convenient hours. It can be difficult to establish this routine at first, especially if you have a family or an inflexible work schedule, but once you’ve developed a consistent plan, you’ll soon start to see all the ways a set routine can benefit your life – and your health.

Seven: stimulates brain function

A study, discussed at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in 2015, revealed that intermittent fasting offers “enormous implications for brain health.” According to the study, which was undertaken on both humans and animals, stimulates the brain in a number of different ways: promotes the growth of neurons, aids in recovery following a stroke or other brain injury, and enhances memory performance. Not only does intermittent fasting help decrease a practitioner’s risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, there is evidence to show that it may actually even improve both cognitive function and quality of life for people living with those conditions already.

Eight: boosts immune system

According to scientists at the University of Southern California, fasting has the power to “regenerate the entire immune system” by boosting the body’s production of new white blood cells, which is how your body fights off infection. Fasting in cycles, like practitioners of intermittent fasting will do on a daily or weekly basis, enables your body to purge the damaged, old, or inefficient parts of the immune system, and replace them with newly generated immune system cells.

Studies showed that a 72 hour fast was even enough to help protect cancer patients from the harmful and toxic effects of chemotherapy treatments – which generally causes significant damage to the patient’s immune system. Further clinical trials are needed, but many researchers are confident that intermittent fasting could be incredibly helpful for immunocompromised individuals and the elderly.

Nine: rejuvenates skin

Acne sufferers know that one of the best ways to control bothersome skin conditions is through diet – eating only unprocessed foods and limiting consumption of dairy products. It’s no surprise, then, that regular intermittent fasting can offer impressive benefits that can be seen all over a practitioner’s glowing, radiant face. Many of these conditions are caused from food sensitivities, which can lead to inflammatory conditions and acne. After a fast, introduce foods one at a time and note any changes to your skin, to accurately pinpoint which foods should be avoided.

Intermittent fasting also has a positive effect on your hair and nails, helping them grow healthy and strong. Not only will you feel good after incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle, you’ll look great, too.

Ten: improves spiritual well-being

Fasting is practiced by almost every religion around the world – it’s no surprise, then, that a lifestyle that includes intermittent fasting could lead to a deepened sense of spirituality. Regular practitioners have reported feeling at peace during their fasts, and studies have proven that fasting can help regulate mood by reducing levels of anxiety and stress. In fact, fasting is recommended as a natural treatment for a variety of emotional and sexual problems.

Whether or not you fast for religious reasons, intermittent fasting will help you feel more connected to nature and the world around you, and you’ll benefit from having a clear mind and a positive outlook.

Eleven: reduces oxidative stress

Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance in the body’s production of reactive oxygen and its antioxidative defenses, and may lead to chronic diseases and cancers. Unstable molecules, known as free radicals, can react with important molecules like DNA and protein – damaging these molecules and creating an imbalance.

The weight reduction brought on by regular intermittent fasting can lead to a reduction in the body’s level of oxidative stress, helping prevent the development of these unpleasant conditions. A greater antioxidant capability is a huge benefit that comes with intermittent fasting, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone looking to pursue improved health and well-being.

Twelve: improves heart function

A lower body fat percentage has wide-reaching benefits through the entire body, but possibly none more important than cardiac function. Consistently, studies have shown that Mormon populations show lower cardiac mortality – generally attributed to the fact that the people who follow the religion don’t smoke, drink, or eat large amounts of meat. In addition, Mormons practice intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting can lead to a reduction in cholesterol levels – particularly triglycerides, which the body uses to create energy. Having less body fat also takes some strain off the kidneys, lowering blood pressure and increasing the body’s production of growth hormones. Combined, these wonderful benefits can mean a significant improvement in heart function.

Thirteen: helps prevent cancer

Intermittent fasting’s impressive ability to stimulate growth hormone production is also important for reducing a practitioner’s risk of developing a number of types of cancer. Regular eating triggers the body to produce more and more new cells – which can inadvertently speed up the growth of certain cancer cells. Fasting, however, gives your body a bit of a rest from this activity, and lessens the possibility of new cells becoming cancerous.

In addition, studies have indicated that when combined with chemotherapy, a “fast-like diet” can help tear down the protection that prevents the immune system from attacking breast cancer and skin cancer cells.

Fourteen: speeds healing and recovery

Exercise while on a fast can be tricky, but there are some powerful benefits to be gained by combining the two – especially when you can get a solid workout in at the end of your period of not eating. Some studies have reported that after three weeks of regular overnight fasting, endurance cyclists noted a more rapid post-workout recovery – with no decrease in performance. Studies examining weight training in a fasted state showed an increase to the subject’s “intramyocellular anabolic response” to the post-workout meal, indicating that the period of fasting upped some of the body’s physiological indicators of muscular growth.

Even if these studies aren’t entirely conclusive, the healing power fasting and the improvements to your sleep and eating habits definitely aids the body in recovering from a workout, no matter how intense it is.

Fifteen: triggers autopathy

During a fast, the body’s cells begin to undertake a process called autopathy. Over time, dysfunctional or damaged proteins can build up within cells, and this waste removal process helps the body filter out this excess material. This process is an important part of the body’s ability to repair and detoxify, and some researchers assert that increased autopathy offers a boost in protection from a number of diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Autophagy helps cells overcome stresses brought on from external causes like the deprivation of important nutrients, as well as internal issues like pathogens or invading infections organisms.

Suggested meals

Generally, intermittent fasting means you can eat whatever foods you like – within specific feeding windows, and as long as you are getting the nutrients you need. If your goal is to achieve the benefits of intermittent fasting, you won’t get there by indulging on fast food and candy. Use these meal ideas to help come up with some nutritious ways to fuel and nourish your body during your specific eating windows or periods of partial fasting.

Under 300 calorie suggestions:

  • one serving of oatmeal: approximately 250 calories
  • roasted vegetables with balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon: approximately 260 calories
  • pesto salmon with kale: approximately 290 calories
  • sausage with roasted ratatouille: approximately 260 calories
  • prawn and squash curry: approximately 290 calories

Under 200 calorie suggestions:

  • light salad with spinach, feta cheese, lemon, and beetroot: approximately 150 calories
  • sliced apple with 1 tbsp of nut butter: approximately 145 calories
  • 100g serving of low-fat yogurt, 1sp of raw honey, 2 sliced plums: approximately 150 calories
  • omelette with spinach: approximately 160 calories
  • 40g of hummus and a bowl of raw vegetables: approximately 175 calories

Under 100 calorie suggestions:

  • one serving of miso soup: approximately 40 calories
  • one soft boiled egg: approximately 70 calories
  • lightly salted edamame beans: approximately 85 calories
  • handful of almonds: approximately 90 calories
  • one chopped and peeled kiwi: approximately 45 calories

These meals can be combined and altered to suit your taste, but it’s a good idea to try and keep each meal small and easy for your body to process. Focus on eating raw fruits and vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, organic lean protein, plenty of fibre, and lots of healthy fats to ensure that during your scheduled eating windows, you’re getting all the nutrients you need to keep your energy level up and satisfy you through your periods of partial or complete fasting.

Types of fasts

People practice fasting for a wide range of reasons, so there are a number of types of fasts to accommodate this variety of needs. Most will offer similar benefits, so there is really no type of fasting that is necessarily superior to others – it comes down to what works for an individual’s lifestyle, faith, or general well-being.

Dry Fasting

This type of fasting is done without food or water. A soft dry fast allows the individual to shower and brush their teeth, but an absolute dry fast, or a black fast, requires no contact with water whatsoever. This type of fasting is the most extreme, and is typically practiced as a spiritual act rather than for health reasons.

Liquid Fasting

While fully abstaining from solid food, a liquid fast allows individuals to consume water or juice – and has become quite trendy since the “Master Cleanse” or Lemonade Diet was introduced in the 1970s. This type of fast is typically short-lived, lasting between one to three days, and can include the use of laxatives and enemas to ensure full cleansing of the body’s lower digestive tract.

Partial Fasting

Also referred to as “selective fasting,” this type of fasting is incorporated into many cleanse diets or mono-diets. This means either limiting the amount of solid food consumed, or limiting consumption to specific types of food, like eating only brown rice, grapefruit, or apples.

Intermittent Fasting

This type of fasting involves sticking to a diet that cycles frequently between a period of fasting and a period of non-fasting. There are various ways to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle – alternate day fasting, one day per week fasting, or 24-hour plans – but all provide similar benefits.

Planning an intermittent fast

Intermittent fasting is one of the easiest ways to see the benefits of fasting without making huge lifestyle adjustments – but it certainly takes a bit of planning. Luckily, there are tons of recommended schedules to help you figure out when to eat and when not to eat, which means that there is an intermittent fast plan that can accommodate pretty much any schedule or lifestyle. Before embarking on a specific plan, consider what you want from the fast – are you looking to lose weight? Support a training plan? Make it a part of your regular healthy lifestyle? These factors will all play a role in helping you choose an intermittent fast schedule that will work for you.

16/8 Fast (also known as Leangains)

Fitness expert Martin Berkhan popularized this method of fasting, requiring practitioners to fast for 14 to 16 hours each day, with a restricted eating period of only eight to 10 hours – typically, you’d finish dinner at around 8 p.m. and then not eat again until noon the following day. Women sometimes have a more difficult time with longer fasts, so many women adjust this schedule to include a fast period of 14 to 15 hours, instead of the recommended 16.

For people who don’t eat breakfast, this type of fast will feel incredibly natural, but big breakfast eaters will have a harder time waiting all morning before eating their first meal. However, during your feeding window, practitioners are encouraged to fit in 2 to 3 healthy meals. Water, coffee, and other calorie-free beverages are allowed during fast periods, to help curb excessive hunger.

Possible 16/8 Fast (Leangains) Schedule

Sunday night, 8pm: finish eating last meal of the day

Sunday night, 11pm: go to bed (fast time – 3 hours, so far)

Monday morning, 7am: wake up (fast time – 11 hours, so far)

Monday morning, until 12pm: continue fasting, drinking only calorie-free beverages

Monday, noon: Fast time – 16 hours!

Monday afternoon, until 8pm: enjoy one or more meals, sticking to healthy choices

Monday night, 8pm: restart 16 hour fast

5:2 Fast

This would be considered more of a partial fast, as practitioners never truly abstain from solid foods – the diet encourages normal eating for five days of the week, with two days of restricted calorie intake, generally between 500-600 calories per day.

Popularized by British doctor and journalist Michael Mosley, this diet allows for an easier adjustment for people who have never counted calories before – but in order to achieve the benefits of the fast, it’s important to eat healthy, nutritious foods both during the fast days and on regular diet days, as well.

Possible 5:2 Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: follow reduced calorie diet – throughout the day, consume only 500-600 calories

Tuesday: eat normally

Wednesday: eat normally

Thursday: reduce calories again, staying between a daily total of 500-600 calories

Friday: eat normally

Saturday: eat normally – continue to fuel your body with nutritious foods

24-hour Fast

Whether you decide to begin fasting after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, under this diet plan, you wouldn’t eat again until the same meal the next day – after 24 hours of straight fasting. This method has been quite popular for the last few years, after being touted by fitness expert Brad Pilon.

It’s important to ensure that your diet remains healthy, and that you’re not overeating during your feeding periods – especially if one of your goals is to lose weight. It can be difficult to adjust to this type of fast, so experts recommend starting with 14 to 16 hours and working your way up to a full 24-hour fast. One day per week is challenging enough, and those who plan to attempt to 24-hour fasting periods each week should take care to get enough rest and limit physical activity during the fasts.

Again, during the 24-hour fasting period, non-caloric beverages like water or coffee are permitted.

Possible 24-hour Fast Schedule

Saturday night, 8pm: finish eating last meal of the day

Saturday night, 11pm: go to bed (fast time – 3 hours, so far)

Sunday morning, 7am: wake up (fast time – 11 hours, so far)

Sunday, all day, until 8pm: continue fasting, using non-caloric beverages to curb hunger

Sunday night, 8pm: Fast time – 24 hours! Enjoy a healthy meal, you’ve earned it

Alternate-Day Fast

This is a rather extreme type of fast, which can be undertaken in varying degrees of intensity. Some practitioners don’t eat at all during the fasting period, while others do a partial fast with a drastically reduced intake of calories, around 500 for the day.

Since this type of fasting is difficult, it’s not recommended for beginners or people who are looking to introduce a sustainable lifestyle change. However, it has proven to be very effective in helping practitioners gain a wide range of health benefits.

Possible Alternate Day Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: eat sparingly, sticking to a 500-600 calorie limit

Tuesday: eat normally

Wednesday: partial fast, consume no more than 500-600 calories

Thursday: eat normally

Friday: limit intake to 500-600 calories for the day

Saturday: eat normally – focus on nutrition

Warrior Diet

After fasting or eating small amounts of raw produce throughout the day, practitioners of this type of partial fast end the day with a huge meal in the evening, within a four-hour feeding window. This style of fasting rose to notoriety in recent years thanks to fitness guru Ori Hofmekler, and was one of the first popular diets to incorporate intermittent fasting.

The Warrior Diet is based on the theory that “ancient warriors” ate lightly during the day, if at all – and feasted in the evening after bringing home their “hunt.” With this diet, your food intake will consist primarily of one evening meal, and won’t require any calorie counting.

Possible Warrior Diet Fast Schedule

Saturday night, 6pm: finish eating last meal

Saturday night, 11pm: go to bed

Sunday morning, 7am: wake up

Sunday, 7am to 5pm: enjoy calorie-free beverages, snacks of raw fruits and vegetables

Sunday, 5pm: enjoy a large, healthy dinner

Random Fast

This type of fasting is something we all do from time to time – skipping a meal on occasion, when you’re not hungry enough to eat or when you’re too busy to take the time to prepare a meal and sit down to eat it. There is a misconception out there that if you don’t eat every few hours, your body will go into “starvation mode” and start burning muscle, but this kind of eating is actually fairly typical of how our ancestors lived.

Before we learned how to preserve foods for later consumption, meals were eaten whenever food was available. Following this kind of eating schedule can provide similar benefits to any other type of fasting, but is much easier to accommodate into a busy lifestyle. A Paleo type diet is recommended when practicing a spontaneous type of fasting, and can be a challenge for people who need structure and routine.

Possible Random Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: skip breakfast, eat a healthy lunch and healthy dinner

Tuesday: reduce calorie intake to 500-600 for the day

Wednesday: eat normally

Thursday: eat normally

Friday: skip breakfast and lunch before eating a large, healthy dinner

Saturday: snack throughout the day, limit to 500-600 calories

If none of these types of fasts can work with your lifestyle, don’t lose hope. Fasting doesn’t have to follow strict rules or schedules – find a fasting style that works for you. Experts recommend making one small change at a time and maintaining that adjustment for at least two weeks, to give yourself a chance to evaluate whether the change works for you or not. Then, continue to introduce further small changes as needed, until you’ve reached your ultimate goal.

Keep in mind that no matter what kind of schedule you decide to follow for your intermittent fasting, you should never go more than 36 hours without eating. When you do eat, make sure you’re eating healthy, nutritious meals – not enjoying “cheat days” by bingeing on junk food. Fasting isn’t just about not eating, it’s about helping your body function in a more effective, efficient way, and filling it with empty calories and various chemicals isn’t conducive to the process.

Can I exercise while fasting?

Since food provides your body with the fuel necessary to get through a tough workout, it is beneficial to exercise during your fast – as long as you do it correctly. Your body generally uses stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen to power you through your workout. During a fast, when your glycogen reserves are depleted, your body will be forced to turn to other energy sources for fuel – like fat. However, experts recommend that if you’re fasting, keep your workouts short.

“When glycogen is in short supply, your body also reverts to breaking down protein – your muscles’ building blocks – for fuel,” said Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University and a board-certified sports dietetics specialist.

This means that even though you will likely burn more fat if you’re exercising on an empty stomach, you could also start burning protein if you work out too hard without fueling your body with carbs – leading to a loss of muscle mass, in addition to fat.

Without food, you’ll also feel the weakening effects of lowered levels of glycogen and blood sugar. As your body adjusts to regular intermittent fasting, you’ll be able to handle this energy loss a bit better, but initially, overdoing it with your workouts could be detrimental. Make sure you’re getting enough rest to compensate for your lowered energy level before you attempt to get on the bike or start pounding the pavement.

Challenges to expect during a fast

Fasting can be a difficult practice to incorporate into a busy lifestyle, especially for individuals who have never monitored meals or counted calories in the past. For people who are newly adopting a healthy diet and exercise program, it’s a good idea to develop a routine and let your body adjust before attempting to bring in an intermittent fast plan.

Working your scheduled fast periods around your family, job, and other commitments can also be a struggle. If you have the support of your workplace and your loved ones as you incorporate fasting into your life, it will be a lot easier to stick to your eating routine. Since you will likely face a brief period of lowered energy and some mood swings initially, it can be beneficial to arrange for your first fasts to fall on weekends, or days with less scheduled activity. Be prepared to feel a bit rundown as your body adjusts to a new eating schedule.

People who have struggled with eating disorders in the past can find that fasting may trigger relapses – particularly binge eaters. The hunger that can develop during a period of fasting could lead you to overeat during your feeding days, but this is generally not a problem for people who have a healthy attitude toward food and eating. If you’ve experienced food-related mental health issues, a diet that incorporates any period of fasting for longer than eight to 12 hours might not be appropriate.

Finally, fasting is generally not a good idea if you’re pregnant. When your body is growing another human inside it, you’ll need to fuel it frequently and make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need in regular doses – however, there is no research to show that fasting is a harmful practice for pregnant women. Some Muslim women do choose to practice fasting during Ramadan even throughout a pregnancy, but all pregnant women are encouraged to discuss drastic dietary changes with their doctor to ensure it will be safe for the baby.

Fasting throughout history

For thousands of years, fasting has been promoted as a spiritual healing practice, employed by religions around the world. The widely recognized “father of modern medicine,” Hippocrates of Cos, wrote, “to eat when you are sick is to feed your illness.” Hippocrates regularly prescribed fasting as a way to speed healing from a variety of ailments.

The practice was also adopted by Greek writers and philosophers Plato, Aristotle, and Plutarch, who wrote, “instead of using medicine, better fast today.” Ancient Greeks much preferred using natural healing methods – and since humans, like animals, lose their appetite when suffering from an illness, this universal human instinct is embraced through the practice of fasting.

Even more modern thinkers have recognized the value of fasting as a way to encourage the body’s natural healing process – including Philip Paracelsus and Benjamin Franklin. However, the practice has been primarily utilized by religious groups. Virtually every religion in the world promotes fasting as for spiritual reasons, since the practice has been touted in the scriptures of Jesus Christ, Buddha, and the prophet Muhammed. Cleansing, or purification, has been embraced by a wide variety of religions and cultures throughout history.

Buddhists will often eat first thing in the morning and then fast for the rest of the day – going without solid food until the next morning, when they wake up. Water fasts are also regularly practiced by Buddhists, sometimes lasting for days or weeks. Traditional fasting is frequently practiced by Greek Orthodox Christians, for up to 180 to 200 days of each year. For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan requires nightly fasting from sunrise to sunset, and weekly fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is also recommended by Muhammad. Judaism, Hinduism, Gnosticism, and even South and North American Indian traditions also incorporate various forms of fasting.

While modern western medicine is somewhat reluctant to accept the traditional, natural remedies of the past, the practice of fasting has managed to continue to this day. In the 1970s, the idea of “cleanse diets” emerged as a solution to help people lose weight and detoxify their bodies, and the popularity of yoga has encouraged more modern practitioners to embrace fasting as an Ayurvedic healing therapy. As more people recognize the power of the mind-body connection, the more important these self-healing practices will become – and the fact that many groups and individuals continue to fast to this day proves this ancient practice has earned a place in the modern world.

 

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The Definitive Fat-Burning Meal Plan

Many people enroll in workout programs to lose weight, burn fat, and gain lean muscles. These calls for vigorous training which many times may not yield the expected results. Lack of tangible results may cause worry to many fitness enthusiasts.

In order to burn fat and gain muscle, one should not rely on exercising only. The right diet is vital to accelerate the burning of fat. One can easily gain lost fat by eating a small portion of junk food. In essence, diet is the determining factor in maintaining fat loss and lean muscles.

What is the foundation of Fat Loss?

 

  • Maintain discipline in the quest to lose fat Losing fat requires one to be absolutely disciplined in their meal plans. Remember all meals must be organic. Refined foods spoil all the fat loss efforts.

    Protein is important for lean muscle build up and eventual fat loss.

    Every gram of protein intake must correspond to bodyweight per pound. Remember, the body does not store proteins. Therefore, proteins should be replenished every day.

    A low protein diet leads to muscle loss. Maintain a high protein diet to conserve lean muscles. Derive animal proteins from lean meats like red meat, egg whites, and protein supplements. In the case of hunger during the day, one can have idealshape protein shakes to replace heavy meals.

    Maintain Healthy Carbohydrates in your diet

    The body sorely depends on carbohydrates for energy. There are healthy carbohydrate options which include whole grains, legumes, certain vegetables, and fruits.

    Apart from providing the body with sustainable starches and sugars, they are rich in fiber which is vital for digestion. Strive to consume between 100 to 150 grams of carbohydrates every day. Some of the healthy sources of carbs are;

Oats

Bulgur wheat

Brown rice

Nuts etc.

 

 

Avoid Carbonated Drinks and Diet Sodas

Carbonated drinks and diet sodas contain artificial sugars which can wreak havoc to the fat loss program. Drink water instead. Many people have difficulties drinking the recommended amount of water per day. To encourage enough water intake, infuse fruits and vegetables like cucumber in your drinking water overnight. This gives the water an appealing taste.

Is the weight loss journey sustainable?

Follow these steps for a successful fat-loss journey.

 

  • Curb cravingsMany people who engage in fat-loss programs find it hard to adapt. The programs expose one to meal rationing which in turn exposes one to increased hunger and cravings. What can one do to control these cravings? Choose protein shakes like 310 shake to fix hunger. Each shake serving contains enough fiber, carbs, and other essential nutrients to keep one full for longer hence evading unhealthy foods.

    Cheat Meals

    Have a set goal. Decide to have a cheat meal every fortnightly to reward yourself for achieving your goal. As the body adapts to healthy eating, cravings reduce.

    Keep records of your before and after photos

    Photos are frozen memories. They remind one the reason they started the fat-loss journey. They remind them of the goals they set. They ensure they work towards achieving their set goals. Let these photos motivate you to keep moving.

Recommended Foods for Fat-Loss

 

  • Vegetables Green vegetables contain lots of fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Consume the recommended amounts of green veggies every day. In order to reap the ultimate benefits, do not overcook veggies. Steaming green veggies helps preserve essential nutrients. The following infographic can help in knowing more about the importance of consuming vegetables and fruits.

    Oats

    Oats are filling. They are rich in fiber and low in sugar. They provide the body with sufficient energy. One feels full for longer. Oats help fight cravings and lowers appetite.

    Egg Whites

    Contrary to popular belief, egg whites do not contain cholesterol. Boil them for better results. They are rich in protein enough to sustain hunger.

 

 

1 Day Fat-Loss Meal Plan

Meal 1/Breakfast

Egg whites

Fruits of your choice

Wholemeal oatmeal

Meal 2/Lunch

Fish fillet

Green Veggies

An Apple

Meal 3/Dinner

Chicken breast

Brown rice

Green veggies

Fruit of your choice

Conclusion

Carry out research to determine how to prepare healthy meals for successful fat-loss. Ensure to include healthy snacks or protein shakes in between meals. This helps curb cravings, appetite and controls consumption of unhealthy foods.

Document your weight and fat loss program to ascertain the progress. If change is not imminent in the first few weeks, seek guidance from a professional nutritionist. Remember to stick to a healthy diet for better results.

 

Colours of Healthy Eating

This Infographic by Every Nutrient

Bio:

Olivia writes on health and food at Everynutrient.com! She’s written about vega one protein  and a whole other bunch of articles that deals with health and fitness foods for people from all walks of life. Every Nutrient focuses on effective changes that you can make to live a healthy and fulfilled life!

Omega-3 & 6 Supplement Lifts Reading Scores Amongst Children By 64 Percent

Omega-3 & 6 Supplement Lifts Reading Scores Amongst Children By 64 Percent
Omega-3 & 6 Supplement Lifts Reading Scores Amongst Children By 64 Percent

Children given an Omega-3 & 6 supplement show significant improvement in reading ability in just three months.

A randomised control clinical trial (RCT) by scientists at the University of Gothenberg in Sweden is the first to confirm that Omega-3/6 supplementation benefits children in mainstream school, not just those with behavioural or learning difficulties

Children given Equazen demonstrated a five times improvement in decoding nonsense words and 8% better visual analysis in comparison to a placebo group receiving a dummy pill

The clinical study is being showcased just before the Education Show at NEC Birmingham along with new UK research that shows 84% of children sometimes struggle with homework, with 54% of parents saying children today are under more pressure to perform academically

Encouraging more children to supplement their diet with omega-3/6 could be the key to boosting reading ability, according to new RCT study by scientists at the University of Gothenberg in Sweden. The clinical study is the first to confirm that omega-3/6 supplementation with Equazen will benefit all children, and not just those with behavioural or learning difficulties.

 

As part of the research study, the reading ability of 154 children who were split into two equally matched groups were assessed with half receiving Equazen and the other half receiving a placebo (dummy pill). Those receiving the supplement showed 64 per cent greater improvement in reading than the placebo group. The time they took to decode nonsense words showed five times the improvement of the control group and their visual analysis was 8 per cent ahead.

The results revealed a significant learning gap between the children taking the supplement and those receiving the dummy pill, with those who had taken the Omega-3/6 supplement (Equazen) experiencing major improvements in reading in just three months. In particular, children with attention issues showed treatment benefits.

The clinical study holds substantial value in the UK where a new survey finds that four out of five (84 per cent) children sometimes struggle with their homework putting families under intense pressure.

With over half of parents admitting their children are under more pressure to perform academically and are being tested more frequently than they ever were, Omega-3 supplementation has a significant potential to help relieve both parents and children of some of the homework stress.

Additionally, the survey has found that fewer than half (44%) of the children in this latest research survey read a book before bedtime and when they do read, attention spans are short.

On average, children concentrate on a book for just 30 minutes and one in eight (13%) can manage no more than 10 minutes. Only 13% are happy to read for an hour or more. This is in stark contrast to the time they can spend at a screen. On average, they can concentrate on their favourite computer game for 53 minutes — almost twice the time they will happily spend with a book. Similarly, just over a quarter (27%) can concentrate on a computer game for an hour or more, compared to a mere 13% who will focus on a book for that time.

So why is that the case? Dr. Hilary Jones joins us to discuss.

Patient Talk:- Can you tell us about the fatty supplements and why they are needed in our diets?

Dr Hilary Jones:- Essential fatty acids are essential for human health and we can’t make them in our bodies so we have to get them from our diet and they’re particularly important in terms of brain function and heart health. For example a growing baby, in the last trimester of pregnancy and until the first year of life, the brain is growing by 260%. 60% of the brain is fat, a high proportion of that is DHA, one of the Omega 3 fatty acids. So it’s essential the babies in the womb and mothers are provided with sufficient quantities of essential fatty acids in their diet and we know from a growing body of evidence that its importance, not just in cognitive function in childhood and as we grow older, it is important in protecting the heart against a number of disorders.

Patient Talk:- How the research conducted and what was were the main results from it?

Dr Hilary Jones:- Well this particular research was conducted on Ecquazen, a supplement with Omega 3 and 6 a particular ratio by weight, so a 9:3:1 ratio. The research on this supplement showed that in a randomised controlled clinical trial by the University of Gothemburg in Sweden, that they were able to increase reading comprehension scores by 64%, in just three months of taking the supplements. What they did was they divided the children into two groups; one group who took the supplements for three months and the other group who just took a placebo. The doctors were double blinded, they didn’t know what the children were taking and they got these significant results. Furthermore, they then swapped the groups around so the children taking the placebo group, took the supplement and they too, showed a significant improvement in reading comprehension, so it was a very well designed study and it’s been peer reviewed and published and its very convincing evidence, after a long line of other research suggesting that it’s not just children with diagnosed learning difficulties but mainstream children with no identifiable problems that can benefit in terms of reading and cognitive skills.

Patient Talk:- What are the best sources of Omega 3 and 6 that occur naturally?

Dr Hilary Jones:- Well, by far the best source is oily fish. Fish like herring, salmon, tuna, mackerel, pilchards, sardines and unfortunately it is difficult to get children to enjoy those foods and even amongst adults, particularly the UK, the US and other developed countries in the world, we know that many, many people, probably more than 95% are deficient in adequate levels of Omega 3.

Patient Talk:- Now are dietary supplements a good or bad idea for children, compared to a diet?

Dr Hilary Jones:- In an ideal world, you would get everything you need from a healthy, well balanced diet, but we don’t live in that ideal world. It is difficult to get affordable, plentiful oily fish, even if you can get children to eat it, so sometimes it is worth looking at supplements, provided they’re from a good sustainable source and they’re researched, they come from a reputable company and what you get on the tin, is exactly what it says it contains and you know it’s safe, then I think something you take (unclear wording) is very well worthwhile, particularly when we know from a survey carried out by Equazen, so many parents are worried about whether their children are getting the stimulation they need to maximise their education and maximise their concentration and reading skills. Even with good tuition, one in ten people in parts of the UK are paying for private tuition on top of their school education so clearly there is a worry that we are not doing what we can currently to maximise our children’s potential.

Patient Talk:- Now are there any risks associated with too much omega 3 and 6 in a diet?

Dr Hilary Jones:- No, you’d have to take very huge quantities, to even remotely come anywhere near causing side effects and I certainly have never met a patient that developed side effects as a result of taking too many Omega 3’s.