Monthly Archives: March 2017

Curve Your Craving: Protein-Packed Brownies

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Diets don’t mean depriving yourself of some of your favorite indulgences, balance is key to reaching your goals. Without a “splurge” here and there, life isn’t as delicious and definitely not as enjoyable. What is the key to balance? Making the right decisions when you can! Simple ingredient swaps can make a huge difference when trying to reach your health and weight goals. With this chocolatey, 4 ingredient brownie recipe, you’ll kick your craving without the added sugar of a typical brownie and your 2017 summer body will thank you for it! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  1. 3 medium, overripe bananas (approximately 1 cup or so)
  2. 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter or almond butter (can sub for any nut/seed or soy nut butter)
  3. 2 T – 1/4 cup cocoa powder (more = richer taste)
  4. 1-2 scoops of protein powder
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven the 350 degrees, grease a small cake pan or loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl or stovetop, melt your nut butter.
  3. In a blender, food processor, or using your hands, combine the bananas, cocoa powder, protein powder and nut butter until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for around 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces.
Notes
  1.  Whey protein powder not recommended – It lends itself to a gummy texture.
  2. You don’t need to blend or process all ingredients, but they lend a smoother texture.
  3. These brownies are not super sweet, as the protein powders used all had sweetener in them. Adjust accordingly if you’d like a very sweet brownie.
  4. Brownies are best kept and enjoyed refrigerated- They are also freezer friendly.

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Cholesterol: The Good, The Bad and The Truth

For years, increased intake of dietary cholesterol was thought and studied to be a major contributing factor to heart disease and a variety of other health issues. Until further studies were conducted, scientists found that in fact, cholesterol was not the only contributing factor, which spiked research over the last several decades. Because of these claims, people thought of cholesterol like smoking a cigarette: don’t do it; however, that is not quite the case.

Cholesterol makes up each and every cell membrane in your body, you need cholesterol.  In addition to holding together each precious cell with its lipoprotein structure (lipid (fat) on the inside and proteins on the outside), cholesterol is used to produce hormones, vitamin D and other substances that help digest food – but, not all cholesterol is made equally!

Two kinds of cholesterol have received attention in more recent years: “bad” low density lipoproteins (LDL-Cholesterol) and “good” high density lipoproteins (HDL-Cholesterol). So, what is the difference?

LDL cholesterol is considered to be the “bad” cholesterol because as it accumulates in the body, having high levels of LDL can lead to plaque build up within your arteries and ultimately can lead to heart disease, strokes and clotting.  LDLs are found in foods like margarine, full fat cheeses, milk and yogurts.  Limiting the foods you consume that are high in saturated fats is one way to eliminate and lower your LDL levels.

HDL cholesterol known as “good” cholesterol due to its structure. High density lipoproteins have the ability to absorb cholesterol and carry it back to the liver where it is released from the body, therefore reducing the risks of plaque build up in your arteries.  Foods high in mono and polyunsaturated fats, Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber help boost HDL levels, such as: avocados, olive oil, flax seed, whole grains and nuts.

Next time you see your doctor, ask about your HDL and LDL levels. Making sure you are within healthy reach of normal levels is a great way to also keep tabs on your vein health.  Keeping your arteries clean and free of plaque build up will help eliminate risks of varicose vein development and keep your blood flowing healthily between your toes and your heart!

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8 Foods for Healthy Veins and Vascular Health

While there are treatments and procedures able to help cure and prevent spider and varicose veins from a cosmetic standpoint, their ongoing development can also cause major problems in surrounding body systems, such as risks of blood clotting, additional swelling and gradual varicose vein enlargement.  Taking appropriate measures prior to experiencing extreme symptoms is key in protecting not only your vein health but also overall health.

Nutrition and exercise are two of the most important contributing factors to preventing varicose and spider vein development.  Here are 8 super foods that may help keep your veins healthy, happy and keep blood flowing!

  1. Blueberries

Due to the high concentration of anthocyanins (flavonoid pigments), blueberries contribute to the health of the collagen matrix by neutralizing enzymes that destroy connective tissue and scavenging free radicals throughout the body. They also help repair damaged proteins in the blood vessel walls and promote the overall health of the vascular system. As an additional source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, these Vitamin E powerhouses are crucial in the diet.

  1. Watercress

Historically, watercress is known as the “cure of cures” by the father of medicine himself, Hippocrates.  Cruciferous plants like watercress are shown to be helpful in lower LDL-Cholesterol levels therefore reducing risks of cardiovascular disease and even chronic heart disease.  Lowing LDL levels will prevent plaque buildup in cell walls, eliminating areas of clotting.

  1. Avocado

Packed with Vitamins C and E, avocados are a key food for vascular health.  Additionally, avocados contain high concentrations of glutathione, a tripeptide molecule the works to protect the heart, veins and arteries from oxidation damage.

  1. Rosemary

Rosemary stimulates circulation and therefore plays a roll in preventing varicose vein symptoms from occurring.  Rosemary, like other herbs, contains a plant polyphenol that can help protect tissues from free radical damages, and ursolic acid to strengthen capillaries.

  1. Beets

Known for their rich color, beets are an antioxidant powerhouse! The phytochemical responsible for their color, betacyanin, is known to reduce levels of homocysteine, a naturally occurring amino acid that can often cause damage to blood vessels.

  1. Ginger

In herbal medicine especially, ginger is used to help prevent varicose vein development for its ability to dissolve fibrin in blood vessels and improve circulation.  In most varicose and spider vein cases, patients have an impaired ability to break down fibrin, an insoluble protein that causes veins to become lumpy and hard.

  1. Asparagus

Known as one of the best artery-clearing foods, asparagus works to release pressure in veins and arteries throughout the entire body system.

  1. Buckwheat

Rich in rutin, buckwheat is recommended due to its ability to promote vascular health. Additionally as a great source of fiber, buckwheat also contains all 8 essential amino acids, all of which are needed for tissue repair.

 

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