11 Amazing Benefits from Eating Pumpkin

If you’re like most people, the first thing that probably comes to your mind after hearing the word ‘pumpkin’ is Halloween. But pumpkin isn’t just for Halloween. This versatile squash doesn’t only make a good addition to breads, pies, risottos and other delicious treats – it also comes with a number of healthy perks that will sure get you craving for more.Why would you want to add pumpkin to your diet? Here are the amazing reasons.

 

1. It’s low in calories

Unless you turn it into a pumpkin pie, a cup of this golden orange gourd only has 30 calories and almost no fat. This makes pumpkin a good snacking choice for dieters. Well, even the standard pumpkin pie is lower in calories than other pies and desserts!

 

2. It promotes weight loss

Pumpkin promotes weight loss not just because it is low in calories. Another reason is that it’s also high in fibre, containing 3 grams per one cup. This naturally creamy, sweet, delicious and low-calorie gourd will keep you feeling full for longer.

 

3. It’s high in beta-carotene

The reason why pumpkin has rich, golden orange colour is because it is loaded with beta-carotene – a powerful antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is known to boost the immune system and reduce free radical damage to cells. These healthy orange pigments are also found in carrots.

 

4. It strengthens the immune system More...

Belly Fats: What You Need to Know and Do

How much flab you have in your abdomen has a big impact on your health. Losing fats in your midsection does not only improve your overall appearance – it also improves your quality of health and lowers your risk of certain diseases.

Health experts all agree – abdominal fat is the worst type of fat you can get. But what makes it so harmful? To understand its impact on your health, you should know first that abdominal fat comes in two different forms: the subcutaneous fat and the visceral fat. The first type of abdominal fat is like the fat elsewhere in your body. It may not pose danger to your health but it doesn’t do you good either. The second type of fat, called visceral fat, is one that surrounds your internal organs. Visceral obesity is linked to the risk of high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and heart disease.

Unlike the subcutaneous fats, the visceral fats cells release their metabolic wastes directly to the portal circulation, which carries blood straight to the liver. As a result, visceral fat cells are enlarged and stuffed by excess triglycerides, which deliver free fatty acids to the liver. These fatty acids also accumulate in the pancreas, heart, and other organs. This results to organ dysfunction, affecting your insulin levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Visceral fat has also been linked to dementia, and certain forms of cancer, such as breast cancer and colon cancer.

 

What causes belly fats?

Consuming too many calories can lead to an increase in your waistline. Any kind of calories – whether from fatty foods, alcohol, or oversized portions of food, can lead to belly fats. Abdominal fat is often called ‘beer belly fats’ because alcohol calories are so easy to overdo. A glass of beer for example has about 150 calories. And if you down several glasses in one sitting, you can get calorie overload. Not to mention the calorie-dense foods you eat along with your beer.More...

12 Practical, Easy Food Portion Control Tips to Eat Less

Observing portion control is a very important, yet often overlooked aspect of a healthy diet. Many people who think about losing weight tend to focus on what to eat, and forget about how much to eat. But here’s the thing – calories are calories. Even if you’re choosing the right foods, eating more than the recommended serving portions can result to weight gain. Don’t worry. With these simple strategies, you can eat a little less, without measuring, even thinking!

 

It all starts on your plate. Here’s a very easy trick when observing proper portion control – divide your plate in half. Automatically fill one side of your plate with fruits or vegetables (fresh produce is much better). Spare the other side with equal parts of protein (beans, lean meat, legumes, etc.) and starch (complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole-wheat bread and wholegrains).

Make use of your hand when measuring food portions. Here’s another way to smartly measure portion sizes: your fruit and vegetable serving should be about the size of your hand opened, whilst fish, meat or beans altogether should not exceed the size of your palm. Then, whole grains should be a size of your fist.

Make use of smaller food containers. When storing leftovers, store foods in small individual containers instead of in a huge one.Also, consider packing leftovers before you sit down for a meal. This way, you won’t be tempted to get an ‘extra’ serving once you started eating.

Limit your food choices. More...

10 Foods Loaded with Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipid fat that is produced by the liver. Contrary to popular view, cholesterol is vital for normal body function, particularly in producing hormones and regulating cell membranes. But because our body is capable of producing cholesterol, deficiency in this nutrient is rare. Eating foods, especially animal-based products, which are high in cholesterol, is associated with a number of health problems, including heart disease.

Here is the list of ten foods highest in cholesterol. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to avoid them completely as they may also contain other essential nutrients. Just as the old saying goes – moderation is the key.

 

Egg Yolk

Topping our list is egg yolk, which happens to contain the highest amount of cholesterol. A 100-gram serving of egg yolks contain 1234mg of cholesterol, which is almost four times the recommended daily intake (300mg). But eggs are relatively healthy. They are high in protein and choline which all promote weight loss. So you don’t really want to totally ban it from your diet. If you just want protein, just eat the egg whites. Or, if you eat the entire egg for breakfast, avoid eating any other high-cholesterol foods later in the day.

 

Butter

Butter can make almost any dish perfect in taste but beware – it isn’t just high in cholesterol but also in saturated fats. 100-gram butter contains 215mg of cholesterol. One stick has more – 243mg. More...

Eat to Lose Weight: 12 Foods that Curb Hunger, Speed Metabolism & More

Can you eat a little more but still shed some pounds? Yes it’s possible! So long as you know which foods to favour and which ones to avoid. In the past blogs, we have talked about foods that don’t just damage your health but also cause you to gain weight. Now, it’s time that we talk about the good stuff – the fat-burning foods.

 

Greek Yoghurt

This is the favourite snack of many dieters! It helps you burn fats because it is loaded with protein (than any other types of yoghurt). Protein stays in your stomach longer than carbs so you have to spend more calories to digest them. Not only that. It keeps you feeling full for extended periods. Add fresh mango slices or strawberries in your plain Greek yoghurt for added flavour.

 

Apple

Eat it with peel for extra fibre and added nutrients. For a change, spread humus on your apple wedges. You can also have pears if you don’t feel like eating apple for a day.

 

Green Tea

Green tea has long been popular in the weight loss niche. This healthful beverage contains catechins – pytochemicals that has a positive effect on metabolism. It is recommended that you drink 3-4 cups of green tea a day to get the most benefits.More...

10 Nasty Facts about Belly Fats

 

If you’ve got too much fat on your abdomen, you need to know that you’re facing a real health hazard that shouldn’t be ignored. More and more research points to the dangers of ‘belly fats’, providing reasons why we should start working out to eliminate them.

 

Belly fat is the most dangerous body fat.

 

Excess fats present around the stomach or abdominal area is far more dangerous than any part of the body. Belly fat is clinically called ‘central obesity’ which has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and even Alzheimer’s disease. There are plenty of reasons why many people tend to have too much fats accumulation around their stomach and genetics is one of them. More...

10 Habits that Might Be Keeping You from Losing Weight

Have you ever tried losing weight only to find yourself frustrated because your efforts were not getting you anywhere? There’s no miracle solution to getting fit. It’s all about eating right, exercising, and getting quality rest and sleep. Nonetheless, we often engage in some habits that keep on sabotaging all our hard work. If you find yourself going back at one in your weight loss attempt, maybe it’s because you exhibit some of the following habits.

 

1. You work out only when you want.

It’s Monday and you’ve done so much at work. You feel tired, hungry and sleepy. When you reach home, all you want to do is rest, sit in the couch, turn on the TV and eat a large packet of crisp. Exercising would be the last thing on your mind.

If you think exercising when you are tired will only make you more tired, think again. According to a study published in the Psychology Bulletin, 90 per cent of people who exercise suffered less fatigue and developed more energy and focus. In fact, the effect of exercising on your sense of focus is comparable with that of a drug used for ADHD patients. It’s all about managing your time and picking the best schedule for your workout. If you’re already dead tired for an afternoon workout, schedule it first hour in the morning.

 

2. You’re skipping breakfast.

If you think skipping breakfast will save you some calories, think again. In most cases, not eating a regular meal in the morning will make you crave for high-calorie foods and snacks later in the day. Another thing, having a solid breakfast meal promotes metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. With the right mix of foods (complex carbohydrates and protein), you will have enough energy and less food craving.

 

3. You’re not drinking enough water.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, dieters who drink 16 ounces of water before meal whilst keeping their calorie intake healthy (between 1,200 and 1,500) lost 44 per cent more fats than those who consumed the same number of calories but had reduced water consumption. Did you know that dehydration is the most common cause of weight gain? Often, your body mistaken thirst with hunger. So here’s a tip. Whenever you crave for food, drink a glass of cold water first. If the hunger goes away, it only means you aren’t hungry, only thirsty.More...

10 Healthful Snacks for 100 Calories or Less

Do you feel guilty every time you snack? You shouldn’t be. Snacking isn’t bad. As a matter of fact, nutrition experts and dieticians recommend eating between meals to help manage hunger and prevent the possibility of overeating.

But to stay lean and healthy, you should snack wisely. Choose foods that can ease your hunger and at the same time, give something beneficial to your body. Reach for snacks that are high in fibre and water content, and as much as possible, only contain 100 calories or less. Here are some snack options that can satisfy your hunger without too much calorie.

1. Six Cups Air-Popped Corn (100 calories)

Sounds a lot but all these only contain 100 calories. A good way to prepare popcorn is to air-pop them. Ditch the salt and cheese. This low-calorie snack is high in fibre, which can help you stay full for long.

2. Cottage Cheese and Cantaloupe (100 calories)

½ cup of low-fat cottage cheese has 14 g of protein which satiates hunger. Add a small wedge of cantaloupe (which is also very low in calorie) and is very high in vitamin A.

3. Fourteen Almonds (98 calories)More...

4 Steps to Lose Those Last 10 Pounds

Ten pounds is a magic number for many people. If you have a lot to lose, 10 pounds motivates you to keep counting calories and forge ahead. And at the end of a diet, 10 pounds is the golden path to the finish line. Success depends ultimately on burning more calories than you eat. It is possible to lose weight just by cutting down on calories or just by exercising, but the most effective and healthy way to lose weight is to do both.


Here is a 4-step plan to help you reach your goal:


Step 1: Record what you eat. A detailed food journal is a great tool when you’re counting calories, but can be so much more. As you diet, look for patterns that show you ways to improve your plan. Review your journal for:
Times when you crave food; make sure you have healthy, low-calorie snacks to reach for.
Opportunities to replace fat — steam-cook food with water instead of in oil, try mustard on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise, and drizzle fat-free dressing on your salad.
Serving sizes that are too large; scale back.
High-calorie drinks, including soda, sweet tea, sweetened or flavored milks, sweetened coffees, alcohol, and juices; replace with water, low-fat milk, or sugar-free drinks.
High-calorie additions to low-calorie foods — skip the cheese and nuts on salads and the butter on potatoes, for example. More...

Dirty Facts about Processed Foods: Why You Should Cut Down

Between a bag of cookies and a big slice of whole wheat bread, what would you choose for breakfast? How about for lunch – which sounds more appetising, greasy burger or blunt pasta? And for dinner, what would you want to eat – pepperoni pizza or fruit salad? If you have troubles giving up processed foods over the healthier ones, it’s probably because you lack full understanding of how bad these foods really are. Here are the dirty facts about regular eating of processed foods that will surely keep you away from eating them day after day!

Processed foods cause chronic inflammation
Inflammation is the major cause of a wide range of illnesses, including heart disease, neurological disorder, respiratory failure, and cancer. Many studies have shown that the most common ingredients found in processed foods, such as refined sugar, vegetable oil, MSG, sodium and processed flour are responsible for inflammation epidemic.

They promote brain damage.
Researchers from Oxford University found that people who regularly consume junk foods are more likely to become irritable and angry. This is because the toxins and chemicals contained in these products cause critical damage to the brain. On the other hand, non-processed foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables have been found to promote brain health, elevate mood and boost energy levels in humans. More...

About the author

Steve from AlcovoBorn in Worcestershire, and educated to second (Masters) degree in Geography, I worked in a corporate company before being inspired more fully into well-being from travels to the Eastern and Tropical countries of the Philippines, India, Kenya, the Maldives, Mauritius and Mozambique.

I gained an understanding of spas, treatments and clients along my way, and have developed this into my own practice, al Covo, to which I welcome you warmly. I pride myself on al Covo's warmth, peaceful aura, hygiene and thoroughness.

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