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Try Five a Day

People Who Eat Five Fruits and Vegetables a Day Live Longer


Recent research confirms that those of us who eat five fruits and vegetables a day live longer. The bad news is that only one in ten of us actually hits that mark. The good news is that we can prevent major chronic diseases if we try a little harder.

Benefits of Five a Day

How can we prevent life’s major chronic diseases if we try a little harder?  People who eat five fruits and vegetables a day have: a 13 percent lower risk of death, 12 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke, 10 percent lower risk of cancer and 35 percent lower risk of dying from a respiratory disease. Those of us who eat five fruits and veggies a day are also less likely to get diabetes.

Not only can five a day protect us from disease but it can also help us look and feel our best.  The ideal balance for the five a day rule is three veggies and two fruits, with each portion equaling about 80 grams. A serving size is equal to two cups of raw leafy veggies, 1 cup of any other vegetables, one whole fruit or a cup of cut-up fruit (about the size of a fist).

Variety is the Spice of Life

While it’s good to have a sense of what a portion size is, we should note that eating five a day doesn’t mean eating five bananas.  It is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, as they each offer different benefits. Vegetables and fruit help to lower our cholesterol and blood pressure. They can help us lose and maintain weight. 

Not only can fruits and veggies help us with our weight but they can also help us avoid disease.  If you want to optimize your nutrition, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach, berries and citrus are some of your best bets.

While carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach, berries and citrus are excellent choices, there is more than one way to get five a day.  There are many simple ways to make sure you get your daily servings. Perhaps the easiest is adopting Harvard Medical School’s “Healthy Eating Plate”. All you have to do is dedicate half of each plate you eat to fruits and veggies.

Filling half of your plate with fruits and veggies guarantees five a day success.  Another way to get five a day is to make a point of eating one or two fruits or vegetables with every meal.

Making a mental note of eating a fruit or vegetable or two every time you eat becomes second nature.  You can experiment with new fruits and vegetables each week to add variety to your menus. If you or your kids are picky, fruits and vegetables can be blended into sauces, stews or smoothies.

Five a Day Tips for Success

Use applesauce instead of oil when baking
Cheese, yogurt, oatmeal, nuts and nut butters pair great with fruit
Grated carrots or blended roasted vegetables can be added to tomato sauce
Fruit salads are great for breakfasts, sides and desserts
Buy pre-chopped veggies and fruit,
or chop them when you get home so they’re always ready to go
Start your meals with vegetable soup or salad                                                                                            Add dates or apricots to rice dishes                                                                                                          Snack on wasabi peas, frozen grapes, edamame or kale chips
Freeze banana slices, add milk and blend them into “nice cream”                                                            The Health Coaches at Golden Home Fitness can provide you with a foolproof nutrition                    and training program.  For your free virtual or in-person Golden Home Fitness training session        click here.

Getting five servings of fruits and vegetables takes effort, but the health benefits are bountiful.  We hope  you reap all the magnificent rewards of a life focused on health and fitness. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Consumer.healthday.com; healthline.com; health.harvard.edu; webmd.com; kidshealth.org; www.heart.org; sciencedaily.com

 

 

five a day

PROTEIN FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND MUSCLE GAIN

PROTEIN IS IMPORTANT FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH

 
Protein is an effective tool for weight loss and muscle gain.  Getting enough protein is also essential for optimal health.  Protein is used to build and repair tissue, to balance fluids and to transport nutrients. It is also essential for immunity, and can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes.
 

PROTEIN IS IMPORTANT FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND MUSCLE GAIN

 
If you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle, strength training and protein are your two best friends.  The type and amount of strength training you do will effect your results. By the same token, the type and amount of protein you eat will also determine your level of success. Protein helps us build and maintain lean muscle mass.  Lean muscle mass burns more calories than fat, even when we’re sleeping.  
 
Eating lots of protein helps us look our best, perform better and maintain our muscle mass.  Preventing the muscle loss that comes with aging improves our quality of life and independence.  A high-protein diet along with strength training keeps your metabolism high so you can lose weight and body fat.
 

PROTEIN CURBS HUNGER

 
Protein is an effective tool for weight loss and muscle gain.  When we eat enough protein, we don’t feel hungry all the time, which makes it easier to lose weight.  Protein raises the hormones which make us feel full and decreases the ones which make us feel hungry. Protein takes longer to digest than fat or carbohydrates.  In some cases, increasing protein can reduce our calories even if we make no other changes. Including plenty of protein in every meal can help us cut cravings and reduce snacking. Giving in to cravings and snacking are two of the most common obstacles to weight loss.
 
In one study, people who ate a lot of protein ate 400 calories less a day than those who ate less of it.
 

PROTEIN BOOSTS YOUR METABOLISM

 
Protein increases your metabolic rate by about 30%, while carbs increase it by 10% and fats only 3%. Eating a high-protein diet can help you burn more calories.
 
Protein requires more calories to digest than carbohydrates or fats.  Up to 30 percent of protein calories are burned in digestion.  So if you eat 100 calories of a lean protein, only 70 of those calories will remain.  
 

PROTEIN BUILDS MUSCLE

 
Protein is an effective tool for building muscle and losing weight.  Consuming 30 grams of protein per meal increases your body’s ability to build muscle by 50%. The more muscle we have the more calories we burn even while at rest.  Eating more than 30 grams at once does not increase the benefit and adds unnecessary calories.
 

HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD I EAT?

 
How much protein you should eat depends on your age, activity level, muscle mass, goals and health. 
 
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 10 to 35% of your diet should come from protein. This recommendation is for both men and women.  If you eat 2000 calories a day, 200-700 of those calories, or 50-175 grams, should come from protein.  It is best to spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day.
 

DO I NEED MORE OR LESS THAN MOST?

 
Athletes, older adults and pregnant women need more protein than the average person.
 
If you do heavy weight lifting or are training for an endurance event, you need more protein.  Lean body mass requires more protein to maintain than fatty tissue.
 
People 50 years or more need more protein to help preserve their muscle mass.  Strength training is also hugely beneficial.
 
Yet people with liver or kidney disease should only derive 10% of their calories from protein.
 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I EAT TOO LITTLE?

 
Not eating enough protein negatively affects your body composition and optimal health.  Ultimately, the benefits of your hard training will be reduced if you don’t eat enough protein.  In the worst of cases, lack of protein will force your body to break down muscle mass. 
 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I EAT TOO MUCH?

 
It’s fine to eat a little extra protein as long as you are not consuming more calories than you need.  If you eat more protein, you should drink more water since more water is needed to digest it.  But keep in mind that if you eat more protein than your body can use for energy, it will be stored as fat.   
 
2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is considered too much.  Eating more than 40 grams of protein at a time is not more beneficial and adds unnecessary calories.  Having some protein with every snack and meal is a good way to make sure you get the right amount daily.
 

GOOD SOURCES OF PROTEIN FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND MUSCLE GAIN

 
Cottage cheese (1 cup) 28 grams
 
Tuna (1 can) 27 grams
 
Chicken breast (3 ounces) 26 grams
 
Turkey breast (3 ounces) 26 grams
 
Seitan (meat alternative, 100 grams) 25 grams
 
Lean sirloin steak (3 ounces) 25 grams
 
Salmon 19 grams
 
Tofu, tempeh and edamame (soybean based, 100 grams) 10-19 grams
 
Lentils (1 cup) 18 grams
 
Greek yogurt (6 ounces) 17 grams
 
Chickpeas, kidney, black, pinto and most beans (1 cup cooked) 15 grams
 
Quinoa (1 cooked cup) 9 grams
 
Peas (1 cooked cup) 9 grams
 
Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce) 9 grams
 
Ezekiel bread (2 slices) 8 grams 
 
Milk (1 cup) 8 grams
 
Soy milk (1 cup) 7 grams
 
Nut butters (1 ounce) 7 grams
 
Oatmeal (½ cup) 6 grams
 
Chia seeds (35 grams) 6 grams
 
Eggs 6 grams
 
Almonds, pistachios, cashews 6 grams
 
Spinach, asparagus, sweet potatoes (1 cup) 5 grams
 
Blackberries, bananas, nectarine (1 cup) 4 grams
 
All fruits and vegetables contain some protein
 
The size of your palm, or a deck of cards,  is a good way to gauge an adequate size of beef, chicken, fish, tofu or turkey (3 to 5 ounces).  
 
One serving of cheese protein (1.5 ounces) is equal to the size of two dice.  
 
12 walnuts is a serving of protein as is one egg.  Egg whites are almost pure protein.
 

DO I DITCH THE CARBS AND FATS?

 
While protein is an effective tool for weight loss and muscle gain, we were not meant to eat protein alone.  Our bodies work best when we balance carbohydrates, fats and protein. Each macronutrient plays an important role in our optimal health and function.  A healthy balanced meal contains protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  Micronutrients are also important. 
 

OPTIMIZING PROTEIN INTAKE FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND MUSCLE GAIN

 
When shopping for beef look for “loin” or “round”, or lean ground beef
 
Bison, chicken, pork and turkey are good alternatives
 
Grill, broil, bake or roast your meats
 
Opt for low fat or skim dairy products
 
Lentils, garbanzos, edamame, peas, seitan and tofu are good vegetarian sources
 

PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE

 
One whole egg and two egg whites with spinach will provide you with 15 grams of protein.
 
A 3-ounce chicken breast, ½ cup of rice and ½ cup of vegetables have approximately 25 grams of protein.
 
A hardboiled egg, Greek yogurt and a banana have about 19 grams of protein.
 
You can customize a protein-rich smoothie. Protein powder, fruits, vegetables, nut butter, Greek yogurt, and chia seeds.  All good choices. The Heath Coaches at Golden Home Fitness can demystify protein supplements. A variety of top-quality supplements can be purchased at the studio or online.
 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 
Protein is an effective tool for weight loss and muscle gain.  If you are struggling to lose weight or gain muscle, eating more protein may help.  Studies show that high-protein diets promote significant weight loss.  They can also reduce the most harmful belly fat, and help you maintain your weight loss.  Protein reduces your calories in and boosts your calories out.  It reduces cravings and makes your body better at burning calories.
 
The sure-fire way to get leaner and stronger is to eat plenty of protein and strength train.
 

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF PROTEIN AND STRENGTH TRAINING

 
The Health Coaches at Golden Home Fitness can fine-tune a diet based on your protein needs. They can further fortify your efforts with an unbeatable strength training program.
 
You can contact us 24/7 at goldenhomefitness.com. For your free Golden Home Fitness virtual or in-person workout click here.
 
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Acsm.org;  newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org;  healthline.com;  verywellfit.com;  health.clevelandclinic.org;  medicalnewstoday.com;  livescience.com;  businessinsider.com;  menshealth.com;  khn.org

PROTEIN SOURCES

BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING

Recent studies have shown that there are many benefits associated with intermittent fasting.  If you’re like me, you’ve been watching what you eat for as long as you can remember.  But did you know that WHEN you eat can be just as important as what you eat?  It turns out you can lose weight and improve your level of fitness, health and cognitive function all by employing an intermittent fasting regimen.

WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern rather than a diet.  It involves cycling between periods of fasting and periods of eating.  How these periods are broken up is best determined by your individual lifestyle.  Some people limit their calories to 500-600 a day, on two non-consecutive days, and eat normally the rest of the week.  Others fast for 24 hours twice a week.  The most popular pattern is to fast for 16 hours a day and eat within an eight hour window.  

You might be asking yourself why anyone would want to restrict the hours in which they can eat.  The answer is that it could greatly improve your health. Wouldn’t you rather burn fat than store it?  As noted by Dr. Jason Fung, an intermittent fasting researcher, doctor and author, “if you don’t eat, your body will simply take those calories that it needs from your body fat.”  After abstaining from food for a number of hours your body runs out of sugar stores and switches into fat-burning mode.  This metabolic switching helps you burn fat for energy, and improves your physical and mental health in a multitude of ways.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine, “fasting improves metabolism, lowers blood sugar, lessens inflammation..clears toxins and damaged cells lowering cancer risk and enhancing brain function.”

IS INTERMITTENT FASTING RIGHT FOR ME?

The easiest way to see if intermittent fasting is for you is to gradually lengthen the time between your last meal of the day and your first meal the next day.  Once you work up to 16 hours of fasting and an eight-hour eating window, you can determine the specific hours that work best for you.  Intermittent fasting works best if combined with a healthy, plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean diet.  This involves eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber, lean protein and good fats, while avoiding sugar, refined grains and processed foods.  While intermittent fasting is safe for most, it is important to consult with your physician before adopting any new eating regimen.

BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING

As recently reported in the New York Times, intermittent fasting can lead to “improvements in a variety of health indicators and a slowing or reversing of aging and disease processes.”

Increases immunity 

Improves metabolism by 3.6-14%, allowing you to burn more calories

Burns fat, and specifically the most harmful belly fat

Slows the aging process 

Boosts physical performance and endurance

Improves motor coordination

Increases human growth hormone levels

Improves overall body composition

Reduces inflammation

Improves sleep, and promote deep sleep

Increases energy, mental clarity and focus

Lowers cancer risk

Lowers blood sugar and insulin

Clears toxins, repairs cells and increases growth of new nerve cells

Enhances brain function including learning and memory

Lowers risk for Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, Multiple sclerosis, type 2 Diabetes, depression, heart disease and stroke

Improves blood pressure and cholesterol

Improves heart health

Reverses type 2 Diabetes

Allows GI tract to rest and repair

Reduces liver fat

Increases longevity

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

After getting a go-ahead from your doctor, a good way to start intermittent fasting is to eat an earlier dinner and avoid night-time snacks.  Your next step is to eat a later breakfast.  Once you have a handle on a 16-hour fast with an 8-hour eating window, you can tweak the timing of the switch-off to best suit your lifestyle.  

The more nutritious your diet and the more active you are, the more you will get out of your new eating plan.  You also want to make sure you stay hydrated.  Mindful eating and meditation are great ways to make this new lifestyle stick.

Along with scheduled eating and a nutritious diet, working out regularly is the key to achieving optimal health.  The top-notch trainers at Golden Home Fitness can provide you with a customized training plan, expert instruction, 24/7 support and accountability.  They will empower you to keep the promises you make to yourself for a great 2021.  For your free Golden Home Fitness in-person or virtual training session click here:  Free Virtual Workout.

INTERMITTENT FASTING CAN HELP YOU REACH YOUR GOALS

Intermittent fasting limits the amount of hours we eat which in turn reduces our calorie intake. At the same time, it increases our metabolism thus creating a win-win situation.  We are taking in less calories while burning more calories, and best of all, we are burning more fat. This makes intermittent fasting a very powerful tool for weight loss.  Once you are accustomed to the new plan, it is an easy way to feel more in control of your eating.  It can also, ultimately save you time and money.

Not only is intermittent fasting an excellent way to lose and maintain weight, but it is also a great way to stay healthy and to feel younger than your years.  Intermittent fasting has been shown to prevent and reverse disease.  It also lowers the oxidative stress which causes aging.  In fact, Dr. Jason Fung refers to Intermittent Fasting as “…an entire rejuvenation process.”

Intermittent fasting is as good for your brain as it is for your body.  According to the Pacific Neuroscience Institute, intermittent fasting “may..improve memory along with executive function, and overall cognition.”  It can also help you feel more energetic, focused and motivated.  

In addition to improving cognitive function, intermittent fasting can make you a better athlete. It can improve both your endurance and your motor coordination.  Intermittent fasting allows your muscles to better repair themselves and raises human growth hormone by improving your sleep.  

COMBINING EXERCISE, NUTRITIOUS MEALS AND INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR A MULTITUDE OF BENEFITS

While some may scoff at the thought of restricting when they can eat, focusing on when to eat can be easier and safer than many calorie-restricted diets.  If your life lacks balance, intermittent fasting may be the way to regain a sense of control.  Once you know the parameters of when and what you should eat, you can build a schedule that works best for you.  The health coaches at Golden Home Fitness can help you customize and fine-tune an effective program.

Along with regular exercise and proper nutrition, intermittent fasting can lower our risk of disease, slow down our aging process, make us better athletes and lengthen our lifespan. If you’re looking for a leaner body, a sharper mind and a longer life, intermittent fasting just might be the way to get what you want.

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Endnotes:  nytimes.com;  hopkinsmedicine.org;  healthline.com;  medicalnewstoday.com; healthblog.uofmhealth.org;  dietdoctor.com;  hopkinsmedicine.org;  lewishowes.com;  ifm.org;  pacificneuroscienceinstitute.org  

hydration during fasting

The Best Diet in the World

The Mediterranean Diet:
The Best Diet in the World

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Mediterranean Diet Has Been Ranked the Best Diet in the World for Three Years Straight and With Good Reason

The Mediterranean Diet is the best diet in the world.  What if I told you you could reduce your risk of disease, improve your health, mood, mobility and cognitive function, lose weight and live longer all by eating delicious foods and staying active?  Chances are you would think I was trying to sell you on another fly-by-night fad diet or workout trend.  But that is not the case.

The Mediterranean Diet has been ranked the best diet in the world by the US News and World Report for the last three years.  It has also been named the easiest diet to follow, the best plant-based diet and the most effective diet at treating diabetes.  It may sound too good to be true but there is plenty of evidence to back up this diet’s efficacy.

What Is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet consists of nutritious foods eaten in countries like Greece, Italy and Spain.  In the 1950’s, Dr. Ancel Keys discovered that low income Italians had a lower risk of heart disease and death than wealthy New Yorkers did.  Upon further examination, he attributed this fact to their diets.

Those of us on the Mediterranean Diet eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and moderate amounts of seafood, poultry and dairy.  We do our best to avoid trans fats, refined grains and added sugars, and eat a wide variety of whole plant-based foods, including healthy fats.

There’s an endless array of delicious foods you can eat on the Mediterranean Diet which are both healthy and satisfying.  There is no need to count calories.  In addition, you do not have to cut out whole food groups, and you won’t go hungry because most of the foods are rich in fiber.  Eating this way can be more economical than the typical American fare, as well.

What is the Mediterranean Lifestyle?

Along with eating nutritious foods, the Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle involves being physically active.  Working out daily, together with eating nutritious foods, improves our mental and physical wellbeing.

In addition to eating well and exercising, the Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle encourages us to maintain a sense of connection.  Cooking and eating with family and friends are great ways to relieve stress and boost happiness.  Exercising with like-minded individuals can be a great bonding experience which also makes the workouts more fun and effective.

Why Should I Try the Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle?

  • The Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • People who consistently eat this way have less incidence of chronic disease and a higher life expectancy.
  • The whole foods recommended on this diet fight inflammation in your body and brain, keeping you healthy and younger than your years.
  • You can save money by following this diet.
  • You will feel and look better.

Can the Mediterranean Diet Help Me Live Longer?

Absolutely!

  • The Mediterranean Diet helps prevent heart disease, cancer, strokes, type 2 diabetes and premature death.
  • By reducing your risk of getting cancer and heart disease alone, this way of eating and staying active will reduce your risk of death by 20%.
  • Your risk of getting Parkinson’s disease will be cut in half on the Mediterranean Diet.

Will the Mediterranean Diet Help My Heart?

Yes!

  • Blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood vessel health will all improve on the Mediterranean Diet.
  • Beans, olive oil, whole grains, spices and wine are all components of the diet which are good for your heart.
  • Foods like nuts and olive oil help lower bad cholesterol.
  • Fish helps lower your level of triglycerides and blood pressure.
  • Vegetables, beans and fruits are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and keep your arteries clear.

Will the Mediterranean Diet Help Me Feel and Look Younger?

You bet!

  • If you are on the Mediterranean Diet, you avoid the processed foods and bad fats which cause inflammation in your body and brain.
  • The Mediterranean Diet keeps you younger by lowering your risk of frailty and improving cognitive function.
  • Oldways, a non-profit organization aimed at improving our health, has found that a Mediterranean Diet will keep you agile.  “The nutrients gained with a Mediterranean Diet may reduce your risk of developing muscle weakness and other signs of frailty by about 70 percent.”
  • And if that wasn’t enough, following the Mediterranean Diet will also reduce your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.

I’m In!  How Do I Get Started?

  • To jumpstart your journey into optimal health, fitness and wellness, remove unhealthy temptations from your home (and mind).  Check labels for trans fats, refined grains and added sugars.  Ditch empty calories and contaminants by choosing fiber-rich whole foods over processed foods.
  • Make a list of your favorite vegetables, legumes and fruits and build your menus around them.
  • If you are a meat eater, eat one vegetarian meal a week and work up to three or four.
  • Cook with oil instead of butter.
  • Eat fish or chicken instead of red meat.
  • End your meals with fruit or nuts rather than rich, sugar-loaded desserts.
  • Choose whole grains including breads, oatmeal, pasta, quinoa, faro or rice instead of heavily processed, white flour alternatives.
  • Eat a handful of nuts a day.  Mix it up –walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews and pine nuts are all great choices.
  • Add spices, such as cilantro, rosemary, coriander, pepper, garlic and cinnamon, to your dishes instead of salt.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Exercise regularly!
  • If you drink, have wine instead of hard alcohol. Up to one glass of wine a day for women, and two for men, is thought to be good for your health.  Red wine may be more beneficial than white.

The Diet and Life of Your Dreams

The Mediterranean Diet has been named the best diet in the world for lots of reasons.  It is chock full of enticing and satisfying nutritious foods.  How about roasted sweet potatoes with pistachio-encrusted salmon and a glass of red wine?  Or a fresh salad of heirloom tomatoes with olives, extra virgin olive oil and feta?  This diet is delicious, economical and easy to follow.  Best of all, no other diet on the planet is as successful at improving our quality of life and longevity.

Golden Home Fitness Can Help

The Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle as well as a dietary regimen.  Enjoying meals with your family and friends enhances them.  Working out daily is a big part of this diet’s success.

The trainers at Golden Home Fitness can provide the expertise, motivation, focus and accountability you need to succeed.  We can also provide you with the nutritional guidance needed to improve your health, immunity and vitality.

If you would like to receive a free in-person or virtual workout, please click this link:  Free Golden Home Fitness Workout.

We hope you will try the Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle so you can reap all of its amazing rewards!

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Endnotes:  usnews.com;  www.webmd.com;  goodhousekeeping.com;  gut.bmj.com;  healthline.com;  helpguide.org;  www.oldwayspt.org