9 Tips to Fast Safely and Maintain Immunity During the Global Pandemic HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.
The holy month of Ramadan is here, where Muslims around the globe observe fasts to celebrate the month-long festival. Generally, Ramadan involves social and religious gatherings. Muslims along with their friends and families get together to pray, as well as, to break their fasts. However, amidst the global pandemic, Ramadan has taken on a new meaning where social gatherings have been banned, everyone has been confined to their homes, and maintaining a healthy immune system has become paramount in keeping oneself healthy while fasting.
Since, our immune system is responsible for warding off viruses and germs and protecting us against diseases, it is important to take measures and ensure that our immune system remains strong. According to recent studies, although the amount of necessary nutrition intake does not change, fasting Muslims need to ensure that the necessary nutrients are included in their Suhoor and Iftaar. Moreover, as fasting lasts for a long period, people tend to prefer sweet foods and drinks which reduces the opportunity in fulfilling the nutritional intake needed by the immune system. Therefore, one must follow a healthy and balanced diet that is packed with enough vitamins and minerals for they tend to remain in the body for a long period.
In addition, here are a few tips that will help you maintain a healthy immune system while fasting during Ramadan.
1. Drink enough water
Maintaining fluid levels during the season of Ramadan is very important mainly due to the long hours of fasting and high temperatures. Water helps maintain the balance of electrolytes in the body and it is necessary for the absorption of many nutrients. Therefore, drinking at least two cups of water during Suhoor and spreading out two liters of water between Iftaar and Suhoor is important. This way you not only keep your body hydrated and prepared for the rest of the day but you also naturally eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause infections.
2. Get adequate sleep
In general people sleep during the night for six-eight hours, however, this is not possible during Ramadan. Trying to make up for the lost sleep is key to maintaining health and wellbeing during this period. Therefore, try going to bed at 11 p.m post Iftaar and then wake up at 3.30 a.m for Suhoor and Fajr, and then one can return to sleep at 6 a.m for two hours. This routine may require you to sacrifice or reduce spending time with family or going about other activities, but your body will surely thank you for ensuring enough sleep. Following such routines not only strengthens your immune system but also makes Ramadan fasting a healthy and enjoyable experience.
3. Consume more vegetables, fruits, and protein
During fasting, one is more prone to a slowed metabolism as well as muscle tissue breakdown. To prevent this, eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods during the early morning time and evening is cardinal. Consuming more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes, lentils, and protein-rich foods not only keeps you full for longer but also ensures your blood sugar levels are intact. Moreover, Choosing healthy foods over processed, and packaged foods help in keeping cells active and healthy, thereby providing the body with enough nutrients required to fight infections and build immunity.
4. Add enough fiber to your diet in the morning and avoid carbs and fatty foods at night
Consuming high fiber and whole-grain foods are recommended during Suhoor as it promotes better satiety, improved lipid levels, and bowel function. Therefore, vitamin B, A, C, E, and D fruits and vegetables should be added to your diet. However, it has been advised by several nutritionists to avoid carbs and fatty foods (fried or processed) during Iftaar. This is because they not only contribute to weight gain but also cause acidity and indigestion. Nevertheless, our body still requires fats for hormone production, maintenance of cell membrane health and absorption of vitamins. So, the key is to add healthy fats and carbs such as eggs, avocado, flaxseed, nuts, and meat to your diet. This way you stay healthy, keep your immune system top-notch, and are prepared for Ramadan fasting.
5. Have plenty of fermented foods
Fermented foods such as yogurt, tempeh, and kefir destroy “;bad”; bacteria and reinforce “;good”; ones. These acidic byproducts protect the intestines against “;harmful”; bacteria and other invasive microorganisms. Apart from protecting us, these foods also improve digestibility and nutrient absorption. “;Good”; bacteria also activate the synthesis of certain vitamins in the digestive tract, creating an internal nutrient factory. Most importantly, fermented foods boost the immune system and prevent us from diarrhea, infections (salmonella), and other digestive disorders that lead to intestinal and respiratory disorders, and allergies. So, this Ramadan, do not shy away from adding these foods in your diet for they are significant in ensuring your overall well being.
It can be hard to maintain a normal workout during Ramadan, due to interrupted sleep and lack of liquids in the body. However, in order to remain healthy and keep your immune system functioning properly, finding the time to exercise will bring about many benefits. Exercising during this period will help keep your energy levels high, your mind stress-free, and metabolism steady. One can focus on exercise formats from strength training to cardio or just enhancing one”;s flexibility. However, one must make sure the intensity of these exercises is not high as it may lead to you compromising your health. Simple exercises such as taking small walks, climbing stairs, doing stretches will suffice largely during this period.
The best time to exercise would be either 90 minutes before sunset or after your evening meal. This way you are all set to get the workout in and get the replenishment you need after.
7. Rid your body of toxins
Adding greens such as dill, parsley, and mint can be consumed especially during Sahoor, as they both refresh the breath and purify the body. These greens can be added to your salads or yogurt finely chopped. These herbs are also high in antioxidants and can strengthen immunity and rid your body of toxins. Apart from greens, having herbal teas or black tea with lemon would also be good for your body. However, if you are not a fan of tea or greens, you can always make soup with lentils, chickpeas, oats, or chicken.
8. Stay away from caffeinated drinks
Coffee and some other carbonated drinks have a good amount of caffeine in them which when had lead to restlessness and insomnia. Besides, these drinks don”;t hydrate and keep you longing for water the whole day. So staying away from these drinks and opting for plain water or coconut water are the best alternatives during fasting.
9. Avoid overeating
In general, people are of the idea that they have to dump in loads of food during their eating window to sustain for a long time. However, this is not the case as hoarding food during late evening not only disrupts your sleep but also brings about other problems such as indigestion and other gastric issues. Therefore, during Ramadan, eating normal meal sizes will help you feel more at ease, get better sleep, and even lose weight during the fasting period. If you are looking for meal replacements, you can always add a protein shake 1-2 hours before you sleep. This way your hunger levels are in tune and satiety levels in place.
As this will be our first Ramadan during a pandemic, it is important to have faith, pray, share, and most importantly care. It is also imperative that we pay attention to what our body needs and do what”;s best for it. Apart from the tips that are mentioned above with regards to nutrition and immunity, we must also make sure to stick to the things that we do know: frequent hand washing, hygiene, social distancing, and self-isolation.
Happy Ramadan and Eid Mubarak in advance!
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Pomegranate: Nutritional Facts, Health Benefits, and 3 Summer Recipes HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.
The juicy and scarlet red seeds of the pomegranate fruit have long been consumed for their taste and numerous health benefits. Pomegranate has been a part of folk medicine to date. The fruit has now become incredibly popular for its nutritional value and is a crucial part of several healthy diets.
Table of Contents
Nutritional Benefits of Pomegranate8 Health Benefits of PomegranateBest Ways to Incorporate PomegranatePomegranate Mint RaitaPomegranate Detox TeaSummer Pomegranate SlushSummary
Nutritional Benefits of Pomegranate
Pomegranates are one of the most nutrition-dense fruits on Earth. A single cup (174 grams) of pomegranate seeds provides the following:
Fiber – 7 gramsProtein – 3 gramsVitamin K – 36% of your RDIVitamin C – 30% of your RDIPotassium – 12% of your RDIFolate – 16% of your RDI
Apart from having a plethora of nutrients, pomegranates contain several formidable plant compounds; some of them have medicinal properties. Pomegranate juice contains diverse groups of polyphenols, including ellagitannins, gallotannins, and ellagic acid, as well as flavonoids, such as anthocyanins. However, its antioxidant activity is mainly due to punicalagin, anthocyanins, Punicic acid, and ellagic acid.
Punicalagins – This is a very strong plant antioxidant. It is found in the peel and juice of the pomegranate. Pomegranate juice has thrice the number of antioxidants compared to green tea and red wine. To harness this high antioxidant content, pomegranate powder and extract are sourced from the peel.
Punicic Acid – This compound is a fatty acid present in the pomegranate seeds or arils. It is an oil that is extracted from the seeds. It”;s filled with conjugated linoleic acid; a potent oil with numerous biologic effects.
8 Health Benefits of Pomegranate
Pomegranates have numerous health benefits, such as:
1. Lowers risk of heart disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of premature death. A four-week study examined 51 patients with high triglyceride levels. They received 800 mg of pomegranate seed oil (punicic acid) per day for four weeks. When their triglyceride levels were measured after these four weeks, they had significantly reduced numbers.
2. Anti-inflammatory effects
Many diseases such as Alzheimer”;s, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are driven by chronic inflammation. Pomegranates have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that are mediated by plant compounds called punicalagin. These antioxidants reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.
A 12-weeks study examined people with type 2 diabetes and inflammation. When these patients had 250ml of pomegranate juice every day, it lowered several inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6 and CRP by up to 32%.
3. Lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure is a key factor in strokes and heart attacks. In one study, patients received 150 ml of pomegranate juice every day for 14 days. These patients had a significant decrease in their systolic blood pressure.
4. Helps combat cancer
A review of Pomegranate in prostate cancer has found pomegranate extract capable of slowing cancer cell reproduction and even inducing death in cancerous cells.
PSA or prostate-specific antigen is a blood marker that is used to identify the presence of prostate cancer. Men who have to develop twice the amount PSA in a short duration are at high risk for death from prostate cancer. However, a study found that by drinking 237ml of pomegranate juice each day, it doubled PSA time from 15 to 54 months.
5. Combats bacterial and fungal infections
Punicic acid and punicalagin in pomegranate help fight microorganisms. For instance, these two compounds combat fungal infections caused by Candida albicans. Their antifungal and antibacterial effects may act as barriers against dental infections such as periodontitis, denture stomatitis, tooth plaque, and gingivitis.
6. Pomegranate keeps premature aging at bay
Premature aging occurs when free radicals begin to form in our body due to exposure to the Sun and other harmful environmental toxins. Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants, which help tackle free radicals and prevent their formation. This helps your skin appear younger and plumper by keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay.
7. Helps fight arthritis and other joint pains
Since pomegranates have anti-inflammatory properties, they are strong contenders for fighting arthritis and other joint pains. They help relieve the discomfort and pain caused due to joint problems and enable you to live more comfortably. Consumption of pomegranate extract at least two times a day blocks the enzymes that are responsible for causing immense joint pains in people suffering from arthritis. It is recommended that you consume pomegranate extract for at least 12 weeks before this benefit starts reflecting in your body.
8. It boosts exercise performance
Your muscles can feel incredibly sore after a workout session. This makes you feel exhausted for several days and can even be quite uncomfortable for many people. Regular consumption of pomegranate juice has shown to be highly effective in delaying the onset of fatigue letting you work out for longer and also reducing muscle soreness post-workout.
Best ways to incorporate Pomegranate (healthy Indian recipes)
1. Pomegranate and Mint Raita
Prep time: 10 minutesServes: 2 people
This raita can be enjoyed as a side dish with pulao or paratha.
1 cup pomegranate seeds¼ cup of chopped mint leaves1 cup of fresh yogurt1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder½ teaspoon red chili powderSalt to taste1 tablespoon of water
Put the yogurt in a bowl and beat it well. Add the water, salt, and red chili powder.Mix in the mint leaves and pomegranate seeds.Add a little cumin powder and mix well.Pour the raita into a serving bowl and top it with the rest of the cumin powder.
2. Pomegranate Detox Tea
Prep time: 5 minutesServes: 2 people
1 cup Pomegranate seeds1 cup of water1 tsp lemon juice1 tsp Organic Honey (optional)1/2 cup green tea (brewed)
In a saucepan, add water, pomegranate seeds, and bring it to a boil on a medium flame for 4-5 minutes.Cool it slightly and blend it till smooth consistency. Strain mixture to avoid big lumps.Mix brewed green tea, lemon juice, Organic Honey, and serve immediately.
*Can be served warm and can be served chilled too.
3. Summer Pomegranate Slush
Prep time: 6 hoursServes: 2 people
2 cups Pomegranate seeds 0.25 tsp – Pink salt 0.25 tsp – Roasted cumin seeds powder1 tbsp – Organic Honey / Maple syrup
Keep 1-2 tbsp seeds aside and blend rest in a mixer till smooth.Strain mixture if you don”;t like pulpy slush.In a mixing bowl add pomegranate mixture, pink salt, cumin powder, and Organic Honey or Maple syrup.Mix well and transfer mixture to a shallow container. Freeze it for 6 hours.Remove it from the freezer and keep aside for 5-7 minutes.Scrape it with a spoon and serve in glasses garnished with Pomegranate seeds.
Pomegranates are nature”;s bounty. This delightful fruit is filled with nutrition-packed benefits. From relieving inflammation to combating cancer, this superfood offers a lot of health benefits. Try to incorporate one pomegranate a day into your daily diet regimen to reap their many benefits.
The post Pomegranate: Nutritional Facts, Health Benefits, and 3 Summer Recipes appeared first on HealthifyMe Blog.
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Planning on a staycation this year because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Join the crowd in not joining the crowd. Not going to the beach, the lake, the mountain or the water park puts a lot of pressure on your backyard to be the place you want to be, especially for fun summertime activities. Now is the time to plan for a summer picnic… and to have a plan to keep it healthy and diet-friendly!
10 Summer Pie Recipes for a Satisfying Sweet Treat
Here are five fun ways to enjoy backyard summer picnic food and still lose weight:
1. Load some veggies on that grill.
Even veggie haters find grilled vegetables to be irresistible. That’s probably because this particular cooking method brings out their inherent sweetness. Slice up some onions, zucchini, eggplant, carrots and even cabbage “steaks,” then grill them up as a healthy side.
To keep your meal diet-friendly, load up half of your plate with veggies. Trending now: the carrot “hot dog.” Cook whole carrots on the grill and serve them on a whole wheat frankfurter bun with all the fixings. You can also use veggies in another way: in some grilled vegetable recipes, vegetables are layered between cubes of chicken, a firm fish like tuna or swordfish, shellfish such as shrimp or even lean beef. Vegetable kebabs can help you keep your meal balanced between higher calorie protein and lower calorie veggies with a fiber-friendly twist.
Check out these seven foods that taste better on the grill! >
2. Make sides that are the star of the meal.
Forget the mayonnaise-laden potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw that crowd every summer picnic table across the land. They’re as ho-hum as they are fattening. Instead, focus on some of the farm fresh produce that’s readily available this time of year.
Consider replacing slaw with a Zesty Cucumber and Dill Salad that takes minutes to prepare and can sit in the fridge for hours, just getting more and more savory the longer it marinates! You also don’t have to nix slaw completely from the menu—just liven up a cabbage-carrot mix with a dressing of low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar and peanut butter. This Spicy Peanut Slaw recipe supplies one PowerFuel and two Vegetables to your daily count.
Love pasta salad? Broccoli, bell pepper strips and cherry tomatoes turn a simple Creamy Pasta Salad (mixed with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise) into a work of art. Plus, it clocks in at only 228 calories per serving, even with the chopped turkey bacon added for crunch and protein. One serving counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel and one Vegetable. Click here for the recipe! >
You also don’t have to banish potato salad if you make it the Nutrisystem way, using reduced fat mayo, nonfat Greek yogurt or even a piquant vinaigrette. Think outside the summer picnic basket too: Eliminate half of the potatoes from the recipe and mix in turnips, cauliflower or parsnips. Add fun and flavorful ingredients like dill, green onions, chives or capers. Then throw in some of your favorite vegetables, like fresh peas, bell peppers or radishes for a flavorful bite. Make a healthier potato salad for your summer picnic with these five tips. >
3. Add Nutrisystem foods to the mix.
How good would your Nutrisystem Hamburger or Grilled Chicken Sandwich taste if you made it on the grill? What about the Chicken and BBQ Beans? Yes. THAT good. End your picnic meal with a Nutrisystem Ice Cream Sandwich or, as just about everyone does, with s’mores. Well, with our own S’mores Pie made with a graham cracker crust, ooey gooey marshmallow and real melted chocolate tucked inside. Mmmmm—and it’s only 140 calories!
12 Nutrisystem Frozen Foods Perfect for Your Summer Menu
4. Plan active backyard fun and games.
Exercise off any excess calories from your summer picnic by planning outdoor activities for young and old. If you have enough yard, set up a volleyball or badminton net. Kids aren’t the only ones who can enjoy backyard games like tag, freeze tag or dodge ball, particularly if you incorporate water balloons into the fun. You can even do a riff on the egg-and-spoon relay race with filled water balloons and a wooden spoon. Throw Frisbees back and forth or set up a game of cornhole or horseshoes. Organize a post-picnic walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park.
5. Hydrate wisely.
While you can always turn to light beer and wine coolers to save some calories, don’t forget that studies have shown that alcohol can stimulate the appetite center of your brain and make you eat more, says the United Kingdom National Health Service.
Both wine and beer come in non-alcoholic versions. You can also whip up some delicious and satisfying “mocktails” that will wow your guests. Try a non-alcoholic Strawberry Daiquiri that combines fresh and frozen strawberries with water and lime juice in the blender. It’s only 55 calories per serving and counts as one SmartCarb on Nutrisystem. Find this mouthwatering non-alcoholic drink recipe and four more mocktails right here! >
Avoiding alcohol at your backyard picnic can help you avoid unnecessary calories. However, you can still enjoy alcohol in moderation on your Nutrisystem program. If you’d like to have a drink, check out this article on 10 Low Calorie Beers That Actually Taste Good! > You can also brush up on your Nutrisystem knowledge and learn more about alcohol on our program right here. >
Be sure to explore The Leaf for more tips to enjoy this summer season with family and friends, including expert fitness and nutrition tips as well as delicious seasonal recipes for your weight loss journey!
20 Easy Summer Salad Recipes for Weight Loss
The post 5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic appeared first on The Leaf.
Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com
6 Health Benefits of Ghee you should know about HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.
Ghee is a healthy source of saturated fats that can deliver many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to the body. A kind of clarified butter, ghee is made by simmering butter until it reaches a high temperature of around 485°F. At this temperature, milk solids and water get separated leaving behind a light-colored liquid called ghee.
Traditional to India and a staple across Indian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines, the health benefits of ghee, its aromatic flavor and slightly nutty taste has turned this ingredient into a fan favorite across many households worldwide.
Table of Contents
Is Ghee Good for your Health?6 Health Benefits of Ghee You Should Know AboutHow to make ghee at home – RecipeSummary
Is Ghee Good for your Health?
Ghee is a source of saturated fats. And the role, saturated fats have to play when it comes to cardiovascular diseases is a continuing topic of debate among health experts. However, the human body cannot function without any saturated fats either.
While an excessive amount of saturated fats is unhealthy, it is essential in limited quantities. Saturated fats and proper brain functioning are closely related. So while ghee does contain saturated fats, using a limited amount of ghee can both enhance the flavor of the food and deliver essential fats to the body.
What this shows is that most normal people will experience, little to no health problems from consuming ghee. However, this may not hold for people who are already predisposed to certain hereditary diseases like heart diseases. This predisposition can result from genetic factors or other factors.
6 Health Benefits of Ghee You Should Know About
Ghee is not just an ingredient used in cooking, but a part of India’s heritage in traditional medicine – the Ayurvedic tradition of healing. In ancient times, ghee was considered to be food sacred to the Gods. And this was how ghee started finding use in everything from lighting lamps, to being used in religious rituals, to being consumed as a health supplement.
As it turns out, ghee has a lot to offer healthwise:
#1 Positively affects the nervous system
Ghee positively affects not just the central nervous system in the brain, but also the enteric nervous system in the gut. Ghee contains many vitamins and minerals that regulate and repair the gut lining which in turn is important for brain health as well.
#2 Rich source of Butyric acid
Ghee is a rich source of butyric acid. Butyric acid is a kind of short-chain fatty acid that improves and supports probiotic bacteria that is present in the stomach. Ghee also has additional benefits, such as balancing the amount of hydrochloric acid present in the stomach and assisting the production of bile in the liver.
#3 Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
These are also known as essential fatty acids that the body cannot make and need to be supplied through food. Ghee is rich in DHA, a type of omega 3 fatty acid, which has been linked to brain development, reducing inflammation, slowing down the aging process, and many more functions.
#4 Important source of fat-soluble Vitamins
Ghee is a rich source of important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E, K2, and D. The body absorbs fat-soluble vitamins best when a person eats them with higher-fat foods like ghee. These vitamins have many functions like improving immunity, good vision, and good antioxidant effects.
#5 Conjugated linoleic acid
Also known as CLA, this acid is known for its ability to reduce tumors in the body, lower the amount of blood cholesterol, and improve and stabilize blood pressure. Ghee is a good source of CLA.
#6 Powerful antioxidant abilities
The presence of vitamin E provides ghee with powerful antioxidant abilities. Ghee is also known to be good for the skin, as well as the hair. People don’t just consume ghee, but use it to make homemade face masks, hair masks, and more. As ghee retains its structural integrity at very high cooking temperatures, it becomes a great ingredient to be used in dishes that involve frying, sauteing, and other techniques that involve cooking on high heat. Ghee is both a popular source of essential nutrients, as well as an important flavoring ingredient in many contemporary dishes. Popular dieting programs, like the Keto diet, among others, have already led many people towards this delicious ingredient.
How to make ghee at home – Recipe
Ghee can be expensive to buy, but it can be made at home easily by following a few simple steps.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 15 mins approximately
Butter – 250gA saucepanA strainerCheesecloths
Cut the butter into equal cubes. Place them into the saucepan. Heat the butter on medium heat until the butter melts. Bring the pan to a simmer and allow the butter to reduce for fifteen minutes maximum.Watch out for foaming during this time. When the contents of the pan foam for a second time, turn off the heat. Leave to rest for 3 minutes. Strain the contents through a wire mesh lined with cheesecloth.
The golden yellow liquid you get is ghee.
Ghee is an important source of essential nutrients, fat-soluble vitamins, and good saturated fats. Ghee has also been linked to fat loss, so anyone looking to maintain a healthy diet without losing out on important fats should turn to ghee.
The post 6 Health Benefits of Ghee you should know about appeared first on HealthifyMe Blog.
Read more: healthifyme.com
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