Best Low-Fat Snacks On The Go

Best Low-Fat Snacks On The Go

Fat is not necessarily the enemy of a healthy diet. Your body needs fat for vital functions and the feeling of satiety. Some foods high in fat are healthy, like avocados and nuts, but most aren’t. People in Alexandria, VA, often opt for unhealthy low-fat snacks, especially when they’re on the go. These are often loaded with sugar or salt and contain the unhealthiest type of fat. One way to avoid food high in unhealthy fat is to choose fresh fruit or vegetables. Oranges, apples, and bananas make ideal choices for a low-fat diet.

Veggies and hummus make a good low-fat snack.

Whether you cut the veggies at home or purchase individual serving sizes at the grocery or convenience store, they’re a healthy fat-free option. The dip that often accompanies them may be a little sketchy when it comes to fat content. For a healthy low-fat option, try hummus as a dip. It does contain some fat, but it’s a healthy fat that your body needs. To make your own, use canned or reconstituted chickpeas—also called garbanzo beans, seasoning, lemon juice, and tahini. Some recipes combine chickpeas with low-fat yogurt, too.

Fruit snack packs can be a delightful addition to your snacking time.

Choose the no-added-sugar variety or fruit packed in their own juices. Fruit cups can be found in the produce aisle of the grocery and many convenience stores carry cups of fruit in their coolers for hungry motorists. The variety of fruit includes melons, grapes, and tropical fruit. Dole is just one company that makes a variety of fruit cups that aren’t prepared fresh daily. They have low or no sugar added options and some come in coconut water for a tropical taste. Always read the label to find the sugar content and calories.

Some options aren’t fat-free but contain healthy fat.

Several studies have shown that full-fat yogurt is healthier than no-fat yogurt. One reason is the sugar that’s added to give the no-fat version flavor. Yogurt is high in protein. If you purchase live culture yogurt, it also is an excellent probiotic to improve your overall health. Get plain yogurt and add fresh fruit, like a handful of berries. Don’t choose fruit-added options unless you read the label to check the sugar content.

  • Cottage cheese is another milk-based option. You can use low-fat options for your snack. Top the cottage cheese with unsweetened applesauce or fresh fruit for a tasty, yet healthy snack that will fill you up.
  • Add mushrooms to your list if you’re making vegetables and dip. It’s a good source of fiber, has protein and a host of nutrients, such as vitamins B6, D, and C, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, folate, riboflavin, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium.
  • Keep containers of prepared fruit in your refrigerator. You’ll be more likely to eat watermelon and cantaloupe if it’s already in a bowl cubed. Other options are sectioned grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines.
  • If you make snacks at home, baked sweet potato chips are delicious and low in fat. It takes planning but is worth the effort.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Foods That Help Boost Memory

Foods That Help Boost Memory

The more research into the effects of the food people consume and its toll on their mental clarity, the more evidence there is that food can boost memory and cognitive functioning. It’s obvious that diet plays a role in overall health. Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes all have a direct link to diet. Studies are now finding that there’s also a link to emotional well-being, memory, and cognitive thinking. In the US today, over 1/3 of the people over 75 will have Alzheimer’s and more will have some sort of cognitive decline affecting memory.

Diet, exercise, and sleep are aids to better memory.

You can’t discuss improving memory and cognition without including sleep and exercise. Both play a vital role in keeping your brain strong. While diet is just one factor, it’s an important factor. Don’t avoid fat if you want your brain to function to be its best. Healthy fat, like that found in salmon and avocados, improves brain functioning, while unhealthy fat, such as trans fats, diminishes it. Just make sure that fat is a healthy fat and that you include a wide range of fruits and vegetables for the protective effects of the phytonutrient they contain. Several studies show that a heart-healthy diet is also a brain-boosting one.

Cutting out processed foods and foods with added sugar improves brain health.

A diet high in sugar reduced memory functioning by making changes in the hippocampus that helps process memories and retrieve them. One animal study showed a high-sugar diet caused fewer newborn neurons and higher amounts of inflammation-linked chemicals. It’s not from sugar in whole foods, but food with added sugar. Fruit is high in sugar and improves brain health. The antioxidants in berries prevent damage from oxidation that can cause memory loss and dementia. The resveratrol in grapes is heart-healthy, but also good for the brain.

Your brain needs carbs for energy.

A healthy diet includes complex carbs that can fuel the brain. They provide a slow, but consistent source of food. These include whole grains, sweet potatoes, and black beans. Many are high in B vitamins that boost brain power. Like avocados, fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that improve memory. Shellfish contain vitamin B12 which prevents memory loss.

  • Herbs and seeds are also vital for memory health. Rosemary and mint increase blood flow to the brain, while sesame seeds provide zinc, B6, and magnesium for memory function.
  • Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that may help reduce the potential and slow the progress of the disease. Saffron is another herb that may help Alzheimer’s.
  • Adding tree nuts to your salad or eating them as snacks can boost brain power. Nuts contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can protect the brain by controlling blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke.
  • Watermelon is high in antioxidants. It’s also high in water content and can help prevent dehydration. Seniors dehydrate faster than younger people and mild dehydration can resemble signs of dementia.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Is It Possible To Take TOO MANY Vitamins?

Is It Possible To Take TOO MANY Vitamins?

More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to vitamins. You can take too many vitamins all at once or slightly more than you need over a long time. The type of vitamin makes a difference. Some vitamins are water-soluble. If your body doesn’t need extra water-soluble vitamins, it flushes them out in the urine. Vitamins that are fat-soluble accumulate in the body.

What are water-soluble vitamins and the dangers you face by overdosing?

Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12 are water-soluble. Since excess is flushed out in urine, the potential for overdosing only comes from taking mega doses, not from accumulating. For instance, if you constantly take high amounts of B6, it can cause the body to get more than it can flush out, leading to toxicity. Ironically, the symptoms of an overdose of B6 are the same as the symptoms of toxicity. It can cause neuronal cells to change, as well as changes to the skin, heart, blood, and digestive system. Too much vitamin C can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. Large amounts of B3 can cause liver damage.

Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins need fat.

Fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Excess fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body, unlike water-soluble ones that flush out in the urine. The effects of too many fat-soluble, in many cases, are similar to the signs of its deficiency. Taking too much vitamin A causes more to be stored in the liver. It can cause blurry vision, bone pain, poor appetite, nausea, dry skin, sunlight sensitivity, cracked fingernails, hair loss, mouth ulcers, and jaundice. Many of these symptoms are also symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency.

Supplementation can cause overdosing of vitamins.

You can’t get too many vitamins from eating whole food. It comes from supplementing at higher than recommended amounts. If your doctor suggests those high doses, it’s normally due to your body’s problem processing or absorbing the vitamin. Water-soluble vitamins still have side effects and place more strain on the kidneys. They can cause a strain on your organs. It’s always better to get nutrients from eating whole foods.

  • Taking too much vitamin D can cause vomiting, poor appetite, weight loss, nausea, constipation, disorientation, heart rhythm problems, and kidney damage. Get vitamin D from the sun, instead.
  • Vitamin E can naturally come from increasing consumption of nuts and seeds. Most people don’t need supplements. Too much vitamin E can cause diarrhea, and nausea, headache.
  • There are no upper limits set for vitamin K since no adverse side effects have ever occurred from taking more. That doesn’t mean you should take mega doses. Instead, get vitamin K from greens.
  • Always listen to your healthcare professional. Steer clear of taking too many vitamins, whether they’re water-soluble or fat-soluble.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How Will I Know If I'm Dehydrated?

How Will I Know If I’m Dehydrated?

Get prepared for a hot summer in Alexandria, VA. Stock up on bottled water or get a reusable water bottle and carry water with you at all times. Staying hydrated is important. Knowing the signs when you’re dehydrated is just as important. Even if you carry water all the time, if you’re not drinking more fluid than you lose, it causes you to be dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration vary by individual. In older people, it can look like dementia.

You’ll feel exhausted if you’re just mildly dehydrated.

Don’t reach for a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink when your energy lags. Instead, get a bottle of H2O. That boost of energy you get from the coffee might come from the water, but it comes with side effects, such as shakiness and jitters. There’s a link between dehydration and headaches, just like the link between caffeine withdrawal and headaches. If you’re a regular coffee drinker and had your cup of coffee, that headache may not mean you need more coffee, but more fluid. Drink water instead.

If your lips are dry and chapped, you may be dehydrated.

When your mouth feels dry, you normally reach for something to drink. What about if your lips are dry or your skin isn’t as elastic as it should be? Those are both signs you need hydration. The skin turgor test is a common way to check for dehydration. Both doctors and veterinarians use it. For humans, the skin on the forearm or abdomen is pinched between the fingers and then released. If you’re dehydrated, it takes longer for the skin to return to normal position. In animals, the skin on the back of the neck is pinched instead of the arm or abdomen.

Low blood pressure and high blood pressure can be caused by dehydration.

If you feel light-headed and about to pass out, it could be from a drop in your blood pressure caused by dehydration. It causes there to be a lower volume of blood. When there’s not as much blood circulating in the veins, it can’t reach all the cells and tissues of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients. Just like losing too much blood, it can lead to fainting. At the same time, it can lead to high blood pressure as a type of rebound reaction due to a high concentration of vasopressin. The body increases vasopressin if blood volume is low or sodium levels are high. Dehydration causes both. It also causes the blood vessels to constrict, which leads to high blood pressure.

  • One simple way to check for dehydration is to check urine color. Less urine and a darker color indicate you need to drink some fluid. The best color for the urine is pale yellow. If it’s clear, you might be consuming too much fluid.
  • If your wake-sleep cycle is off, it may be due to dehydration. There’s a link between dehydration and shorter sleep cycles, leaving you tired the next day.
  • Dehydration can affect cardiac output. It affects the left ventricle primarily and can reduce the effectiveness of an intense workout on a hot day. You won’t have the energy to do your best.
  • Your mood can help you identify dehydration. Dehydration also affects your focus, concentration, and memory. Avoid it by sipping on water throughout the day.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

What Are The Best Foods To Boost Your Metabolism?

What Are The Best Foods To Boost Your Metabolism?

If you’ve been part of our community at Team Worx in Alexandria, VA, you know that exercise is just one of the many things that can boost your metabolism. Food can also put your calorie-burning fires in high gear, just as other lifestyle changes can help. Eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise should be at the top of your list for changes if you’re having problems losing weight or just want to make the process faster and keep the weight off permanently.

How does increasing your metabolism help with weight loss?

Your metabolism has to do with your body breaking down food for energy. If your metabolism is high, you’ll burn more calories than someone whose metabolism is functioning in low gear. If you have a slow metabolism, gaining weight is easy, but losing it seems almost impossible. An increased metabolism, based on resting metabolic rate, affects the calories burned 24/7. It’s a measure of the calories burned just to perform basic bodily functions, such as brain activity and pumping blood.

Aim for a high-protein meal with lots of fiber if you want to increase your metabolism.

Protein is necessary for tissue growth, tissue repair, and keeping your metabolism higher. Unlike sugary products and other simple carbs that digest quickly, protein takes far longer to digest, so means your body has to work harder. Consider both animal and plant proteins like lean meat or legumes. Don’t set aside all carbs. They can also boost your metabolism, especially those high in fiber. Fiber can help reduce inflammation, which slows metabolism. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are high in fiber content.

Don’t skip fat!

Some fat is unhealthy. Trans fats, for instance, can cause damage to your body. That shouldn’t stop you from eating fat. Your body needs fat, but it needs healthy fat, like that from avocados, fatty fish, and nuts. It not only uses fat to create many hormones, but healthy fat also helps burn fat, and increases the metabolic rate. Too often people fall for the low-fat, no-fat options in food, but those are often unhealthy. Since fat provides both taste and texture, removing it affects both. To combat the bad flavor, manufacturers often add sugar, which causes inflammation that slows metabolism.

  • Add some spice to your life and indulge your taste buds with cinnamon, ginger, or hot peppers. While other spices also raise body temperature and increase metabolism, these are leaders of the pack.
  • You don’t have to eat a special meal to increase your metabolism. Staying hydrated can keep you moving at peak performance, flush out toxins, and increase metabolism.
  • Exercising regularly can also boost your metabolism, especially HIIT workouts. It builds muscle tissue and muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does, so the more you have, the higher your metabolism.
  • Have a cup of green tea or coffee. Both contain caffeine and speed up your metabolic rate. Green tea contains catechin that helps break down fat while increasing metabolic rate.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How Do You Lose Weight During Menopause?

How Do You Lose Weight During Menopause?

You might feel like it’s an impossible task to lose weight when you’re going through menopause, but it’s not. Even if you’re doing everything right, it’s still a bit harder than it was when you were in your twenties. During menopause, sex hormones are out of balance and HGH is lower. Muscle mass is also dwindling, making weight loss even more difficult. The hormonal changes can also affect how weight is distributed.

Start simple.

A few things can help that take very little effort. Eating more fiber is one of those. Fiber fills you up and helps you eliminate it easier. Drinking more water is another important part of weight loss, like fiber, it can fill you up so you eat less. Your body also dehydrates faster, so you’ll rehydrate, boosting your energy, while making your skin more youthful. Getting adequate sleep is important. When you don’t get enough sleep, it interferes with the balance of the hunger/satiety hormones, while reducing the potential for insulin resistance.

Choose a low carb or keto diet to help maintain blood glucose levels and reduce insulin resistance.

Choose foods higher in protein, which also helps keep you feeling full, while aiding in building muscle mass. If you’re still having problems with weight loss, give up all foods with added sugar or restrict consumption or try intermittent fasting, where you reduce the window where you consume food. You start by eating later, say starting at 11:00 a.m. and don’t eat after 7:00 p.m., narrowing your food intake to an eight hour window.

Exercise, exercise, exercise!

Your body needs all types of exercise. You need flexibility training, endurance, balance and strength training. Strength training is particularly important for preventing bone loss. The more muscles you have, the more they tug at the bone and the more calcium the bone uptakes to maintain strength. HIIT—high intensity interval training—is also exceptional for weight loss.

  • Try yoga and meditation. The simple stretching of yoga can also build strength. The breathing exercises and meditation can help reduce stress, which can cause weight gain by increasing insulin resistance.
  • Cut out the alcohol and switch to water. Alcohol is notorious for weight gain. It’s digested first and eliminated from the body, leaving the other calories to go to fat. Get rid of processed snack foods and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch out foods that are inflammatory, such as highly processed foods or foods with added sugar. Inflammation can lead to oxidative stress, insulin resistance and weight gain.
  • Find active pastimes you enjoy and do them. Getting exercise isn’t all done at the gym. Just walking more can be a big benefit to your body. Find ways to add steps to your days.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How To Meal Prep Healthy School Lunches

How To Meal Prep Healthy School Lunches

Not all school lunches in Alexandria, VA, are healthy, which is why many people include them in their meal prep plans. By making the lunches at home, you can ensure that your child will at least be given a healthy option, even if he or she doesn’t eat everything. You can boost the potential by creating healthy options for kids that taste delicious and are fun. You also can make ones the whole family will love.

Planning the meals is a step toward success.

If you preplan all the meals, you’ll be using food more effectively with little or no waste. Leftover chicken can be a chicken salad or a salad in a jar. Did your child love the meal? You can use leftovers for school. Make roll-ups for a unique option. Use the protein source, such as chicken, turkey or beef roast and if dice it fine. Mix with some chives and cream cheese and spread on whole wheat bread that had the crusts removed. Put a midget or baby gherkin at one end and roll the bread around it, making a log. Put in toothpicks about an inch apart and slice the log for pinwheels. It’s a fun meal and you can vary the recipe to suit your child’s taste.

Always include a container of fresh fruit with nuts, cheese or peanut butter.

Keep it simple and let them assemble a healthy lunch. It makes it more fun. Include the utensils for spreading peanut butter or cream cheese on sliced fresh fruit or veggies. A plastic spoon works well. If you want to assemble something fun for a treat, make ants on a log. Fill the center of a piece of celery with peanut butter and top with a line of raisins, to look like ants crossing a log.

For older children, assembling tacos is a treat.

Include all the fixings and several soft taco shells. Include leftover taco seasoned meat in one container, chopped lettuce, tomatoes and onions or other taco fixings mixed in others. Include a spoon and it’s ready to assemble. You can make healthy muffins that contain all the nutrients of a meal, which include veggies. A hard-boiled egg, hummus dip, fresh fruit and veggies can all be the basis to build a meal. You can even include salsa and chips for scooping.

  • To keep fresh cut fruit like pears and apples fresh, toss in a 1:1 mixture of lemon juice and water. Then store them in an airtight container. Topping sliced avocados with lemon juice can also prevent it from browning.
  • You can make sandwiches ahead, but always seal in the freshness of the bread, so it doesn’t get soggy. Use a fatty spread like butter or mayonnaise. Toast the bread lightly before assembly, add the spread and assemble,
  • If your sandwich tends to be wetter, with ingredients like saucy condiments or tomatoes, store it in parchment paper wrapped deli-style to prevent it from getting soggy. If it’s a drier sandwich, make it ahead and store it in a plastic bag to prevent drying out.
  • Make lunches fun. Include pita pockets and containers of ingredients to stuff them. Flat bread roll up sandwiches are also more fun. You’ll be amazed at how your kids will eat a salad with chicken bits when it’s stuffed in a pita pocket.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Alternative Breakfast Ideas To Mix Things Up

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