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10 Superfoods For Faster Weight Loss & Improved Health!

We go behind the ‘superfoods’ buzzword to unpack 10 foods you should be having more of right now. These healthy foods are nutritionally dense, low in calories and come with some mind-blowing health benefits that have no side effects.

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Losing weight is no child’s play, although you really ought to be playing like one if you intend to get that summer bod.

There are many factors to be considered; your metabolic rate, body type, lifestyle and – hopefully, you already know this – exercise and diet, that all play their part in the journey.

When it comes to the diet aspect of it, knowledge is power. You have to pay more attention to foods that promote  optimum weight loss and health. If you’ve already thought about a healthier diet, you are off to a good start. Therefore, this is a perfect time for you to be introduced to ‘superfoods’.

What Are Superfoods? 

The buzzword simply refers to foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories, thus being able to promote optimum weight loss the healthy way.  Most superfoods are plant-based, though some are fish and dairy. These foods are generally good for health, as many of them contain extra antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, as well as compounds that can help you burn fat much faster. All these factors make them brilliant fitness companions!

10 Superfoods You Should Know About 

 

APPLES

An apple a day keeps more than just the doctor away.

These delicious fruits are a good source of antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C. They also happen to be rich in fibre and potassium, which means they can keep you feeling fuller for longer periods.

All of that comes at just 47 calories, on average, for an apple! What’s more, increasing the consumption has been associated with the reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and, amongst others, certain cancers, according to Greatist.com

GREEN TEA

Photo: Jason Leung

Green tea is not considered the healthiest beverage on earth for nothing!

The calorie-free tea is packed with antioxidants and nutrients, making it essential for improving your health. Some well-known health benefits associated with the consumption of green tea include weight loss, brain function, lowered risk of cancer, improved physical performance, and more.

BLUEBERRIES

 

Berries, in general, are miracle fruits for your health! See why they appear on our Top 10 Smoothie Ingredients list. But more to the point, blueberries bear more proof that good things really do come in small packages.

RELATED: SMOOTHIES FOR WEIGHT LOSS – 7 INGREDIENTS TO SHED THE KILOS! 

According to WebMD, Blueberries contain plenty of antioxidants and phytoflavinoids. They are also high in potassium (associated with lower cholesterol and regulated heartbeat) and Vitamin C (may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, potentially lower heart disease risk, lower blood pressure), both which are part of the reason blueberries are highly favoured by doctors and nutritionists.

GRAPEFRUIT 

 

This sweet and sour tropical citrus fruit is nutritious and rich in antioxidants and fibre, all which make it rank pretty high on any superfoods list.

RELATED: HOW TO USE ONION JUICE TO PROMOTE HAIR REGROWTH 

Like a few of the other superfoods in this list, grapefruit can help with the lessening risk of heart disease, and for weight loss. Amongst many health benefits, grapefruit can also help prevent insulin resistance and diabetes.

ALMONDS 

If you are going to be snacking while eyeing a goal waistline, almonds are your perfect go-to. As far as nuts go, almonds have the highest nutritional concentration per calorie. Known for lowering cholesterol, these nuts a powerful source of potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous and iron.

OLIVE OIL 

The US Food & Drug Administration reported two daily tablespoons of olive oil may lead to the lessening of heart disease risk, thanks to the monounsaturated fat content. Virgin Oil is also the far healthier alternative to the artery-clogging fats in butter, by far. The healthy monounsaturated fats contained in Olive Oil may help reduce the risk of heart disease, promote good cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.

POMEGRANATE SEEDS 

 

Pomegranates are stunning and the seeds look even more enticing! But that’s just the start. Like the other superfoods here, these fruits are low in calories (234 calories in an entire pomegranate), high in nutrients, and contain antioxidants.

BANANA

Bananas are dense in fibre and potassium, which means they can keep feeling full for a good while, and also give you energy. This is why they are a good pre and post workout snack. The sweet fruits are also packed with impressive amounts of vitamins C and B6. These highly nutritious yummies can help reduce blood pressure and help battle hypertension.

AVOCADO

You know it was only a matter of time before avocado appeared on this list! The delicious comes with a whole host of health, beauty, hair, skin and weight loss benefits, amongst other things. Avocados have a lot of fibre, folate, potassium, vitamin E and magnesium. The fat is on the high side, it’s the healthy kind you absolutely need.

 

Photo Credit: James Sutton

Kale is a superfood but lentils are considered better, but we aren’t for that petty conversation. They are affordable, easy to work with, and vegetarian/ vegan-friendly. They are high in protein and other essential nutrients.

Sources:
Self.com
Chiquita.com
Healthline.com

Diet

Giving Up Sugar In Your Tea: The Skin Benefits To Expect

There’s no sugarcoating it, the white stuff is bad for you. That’s the tea. Quit and here’s everything your skin will be thanking you for.

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The idea of tea with no sugar had always been incredibly weird to me, as much as it is for many.

The reality turned out to be even less appealing, of course, the first morning I attempted ditching refined sugar in all my hot beverages. Switching to a teaspoon of honey and some lemon was especially awful at first.

Having plunged from 5 teaspoons of sugar (I know, right!?) on 10 cups of tea a day to that, the whole mildly sweet and sour taste threw me off. Then there were green teas. Ja, no.

‘Sugar ages your skin “faster than a lifetime of lying in the sun”‘

Like millions of people, I loved nothing more than kicking off my mornings with a creamy cup of super sweet tea. The five teaspoons did the trick, a cigarette and some Wendy Williams ‘Hot Topics’ segment on YouTube to kick off my day with that punch of good shade.

But, to summarise a plot twist that led to a series of positive lifestyle changes; I quit cigarettes, cold turkey.

SUGAR CRAVINGS

Two things happened after I quit smoking; my taste buds cleared and everything tasted so much better, and I developed a superhuman smell that helped me to sniff sugar through walls, basically. Although I knew better than giving in to the primordial urges, I also knew better than messing with the most sensitive days of my cigarette detox.

MORE: AVOID THESE 5 FOODS TO ACHIEVE DEFINED ABS

For a while, I gave in and started bingeing as I needed a lot of activity around my mouth to wean me off from the threat of a relapse. Less than a month in, I had gained over 5 kilos, my skin had broken out and I was bloated.

As much as I hated those first sugar-free days, I can only thank myself now for sticking it out! The health benefits start as soon as you stop. Here’s why your skin will thank you

BETTER SKIN 

Slow Down Aging 

Excluding refined sugar from your hot beverages, cereals, snacks and meals can slow down the ageing process quite significantly.

Many people who give up sugar report an improvement on the texture and tone of their skin, typically with diminished blemishes. I started noticing a glow to my skin just days after ditching the white stuff, and many people would follow with the positive feedback around two weeks later.

RELATED: 5 THINGS TO EXPECT WHEN YOU GO VEGAN 

The benefits of doing away with sugar include fewer wrinkles in the long run, and better-looking skin now.

Why? Because sugar ages your skin “faster than a lifetime of lying in the sun”, according to Dr Patricia Farris via DailyMail, where she also describes sugar as “the new nicotine.”

The accelerated ageing occurs when our bodies break down glucose from sugar and refined carbohydrates. On the contrary, quitting sugar renders collagen and elastin more supple and resilient.

Reduce Acne 

Acne and breakouts are directly caused by a hormonal imbalance or surge. Food that is high in sugar causes this hormonal reaction in the body. The body absorbs the sugar rapidly, which leads to the release of insulin for regulation of that sugar.

Insulin will most likely inform the body to store access sugar as fat; this is the reason reducing sugar consumption is essential for torching weight. In general, the activation of insulin gets the body in the mood to store fat.

As far as skin is concerned, though, glycemic foods and sugar activate hormones that stimulate the production of oil, which in turn proliferates skin cells that block and clog pores.

Along with medications, a low glycemic index diet is now recommended by many dermatologists as an effective treatment for acne.

Controlling Psoriasis

Psoriasis refers to a chronic skin disease that shows up through red, scaly and often itchy blotches of skin, according to www.skinsmatter.com. It can affect the scalp, elbows and knees. In extreme cases, it can affect the whole body. While both non-life threatening and incurable, the condition can be treated with a low sugar or ‘anti-fungal diet’.

Wanna replace that first cup of coffee or tea with sugar with something just as yummy, but with fewer health risks? Take a look at 7 Smoothie Ingredients for Weight Loss

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Diet

Going Vegan? 5 Things To Expect!

If you are thinking about ditching meat and other animal-based foods and products for a plant-based diet, these are the radical changes you should anticipate

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The number of people who are going vegan is growing, and the ease of transitioning to one is scaling along with this trend.

And as far as establishments are concerned, vegan options are being availed more readily. You can grab a raw vegan cheesecake at many cafes and restaurants in major cities now.

Moreover, efforts by brands like Woolies to cater for – and promote – a range of plant-based alternatives is a tell-tale sign of the shifting cultural landscape.

I happen to be acquainted with a few people who’ve now opted to completely exclude animal products from their diets, and a few others are at least toying around with the idea of reducing their consumption significantly.

As former meat eaters, their experiences couldn’t be more fascinating.

There’s the social aspect of it; the persistent social stigma attached to veganism. After the switch, I’ve been told, you soon find that navigating and negotiating your way around social settings that involve dining is not as smooth as before.

If you are considering the switch, you will benefit from the following list of 10 Things To Expect when you Become Vegan.

Before we delve into your new looming realities and the adjustments to be anticipated, let’s first define what veganism actually is.

VEGANISM DEFINED

The Vegan Society describes veganism asa way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” 

As you can glean from this definition, veganism is a philosophy that rejects the (ill-) treatment of animals as commodities.

Vegans do not eat any kind of meat, dairy products and eggs.  Some vegans do it for ethical reasons, others out of concern for the environment, and still, others are motivated by the health benefits associated with the dietary lifestyle.

Now that we’ve cleared the air, here’s what awaits you on the greener pastures!

SOCIAL STIGMA

A timely glimpse of the existing stigma surrounding veganism found a platform on the Real Housewives of Johannesburg, where Mercy encountered various social humps as she navigated life as an instrumental black vegan. The girls weren’t really being sports about it, to put it mildly.

In one case, she had to get rid of scrummy vegan meals she’d ordered after almost none of the ladies showed up to her vegan themed intimate shindig. The health and wellness advocate, who has shared her journey to weight loss through a plant-based lifestyle, often found herself being a subject of much teasing from the girls.

And while a lot of it was garnished with the typical dose of heightened television drama, attitudes towards vegans are generally negative.

A recent study indicates that those who opt for ‘clean eating’, in general, stand to lose a few points on the likeability scale.

“People get on the defensive the second you tell them you are vegan”, a vegan friend told me as he detailed his own experiences as a black vegan.

RELATED: AVOID THE 5 FOODS TO ACHIEVED DEFINED ABS 

After two years leading a plant-based life, he has clocked in the hours as both a proud vegan and as somewhat of an expert on the social awkwardness that greets those who eschew meat.

“People’s reactions are always so interesting. They look at you like, ‘Okay…’, you are judging me. Snob.'”

Expect that your departure from the hegemonic hooks of meat eating will come with a lot of coming out, and explaining, and defending, and being ridiculed, and sometimes, being avoided.

THE WAY YOU COOK WILL CHANGE

Besides foregoing all animal-based foods, products and derivatives in your kitchen, the way you prepare food will have to change. Most new vegans often find that the absence of meat, dairy and eggs means they have to get extra creative with how they prepare food. You’ve got raw veggies, fruits and nuts to keep your meals appetising and vibrant.

As such, steaming all the veggies won’t cut it anymore. They are now the dish. Think about it.

YOU WILL CRAVE CERTAIN THINGS 

The first 30 transitional days of going vegan (or going anything, really), will be the most challenging. After that things get easier and easier as your taste buds adjust to your new eating habits and your general lifestyle has transformed to promote consistency.

RELATED: 10 SUPERFOODS FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND IMPROVED HEALTH

But, as with all drastic lifestyle changes, you will fantasise and crave certain things from time to time, and it’s okay. Vegan diets are highly restrictive, which makes them challenging to sustain, especially at first.

YOUR SKIN WILL POP 

Amongst the many benefits of whole foods is the effect it can have on your skin. Many vegans report remarkably improved skin complexion, tone and texture within days of taking up the diet.

That’s unsurprising.

The exclusion of processed foods, dairy and red meats render vegan diets high in fibre and low in saturated fats than the average diet. This, according to Greatist.com, makes way for an enhanced function of insulin and glucagon production, which control your sugar metabolism. The imbalance of insulin can lead to clogged pores, which causes acne.

RELATED: SMOOTHIES FOR WEIGHT LOSS – 7 BEST INGREDIENTS 

YOUR ENERGY LEVELS WILL SHOOT UP

There’s word on the vegan streets, amongst vegans, that your levels sky rocket in the beginning. This surge, according to a vegan friend I consulted with for subjective feedback on this, is quite exciting. “You feel like taking on the world”, he said. According to research, however, there isn’t a direct link to sustained levels of energy and veganism.

According to Elite Daily, a vegan diet doesnt automatically make you healthier. Yes, the fruits and vegetables are more nutritious and low in saturated fats, but quantities, combinations and quality still matter.

 

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Diet

Avoid These 5 Foods To Achieve Defined Abs!

‘Abs are made in the kitchen’, and these 5 foods aren’t doing your six-pack pursuit any favours.

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Your journey to achieving that enviably flat stomach – hopefully with an impressive set of ripped abs – is one that requires adjustments to your eating habits. I wish I had known at the very start of my own gym life that the bi-weekly fried chicken drive-throughs weren’t doing wonders for the abdominals.

Sure, a million crunches and a steady exercise plan will strengthen your abs. But no one  – much less yourself – will actually see them if they are hidden very far beneath layers of stubborn fat.

In order to start torching some of that excess fat away, you are gonna have to shake more than the booty at the gym. You’ll also have to shake off a few other bad eating habits; ditch the beers, the pizzas, the kotas and start cleaning up your act in the kitchen.

But before we get into the 5 Foods To Avoid In Order to Achieve Refined Abs, first take a look at 5 simple rules on approaching the kitchen differently.

5 FOOD FACTS FOR DEFINED ABS 

  • The first rule is clear-cut but not incredibly simple to implement; Reduce your daily caloric intake to create a deficit that will promote fat loss. You are likely to start seeing a difference in your midsection after dropping a few kilos, which is in itself quite motivating.
  • According to Men’s Journal; in order to achieve optimal muscle definition to your abs, your body weight must be between 18% – 24% for men, while Oxygen Magazine recommends between 15% – 20% for women.
  • For faster results, cut back on refined carbs that lack in nutrients. That list, I’m afraid, includes sodas (which means gin and tonic is off the table, ya’ll), sweets and pastries. The problem with simple sugars, warns Dr. Mehmet Oz,  is that they are absorbed quite quickly, which spikes up blood sugar levels for an energy high. The downside to this spike is that it triggers an insulin reaction, which plunges the levels back down, resulting in fatigue.
  • In fact, you are likely to experience more hunger after a sugar high. What’s more, your body stores those rapidly absorbed empty calories as fat. Obviously not a good start for your efforts to diminish tummy fat.
  • Keep your consumption of saturated fat between 7-10%.  Saturated fats lead to fattier bodies, in general. The solution is to opt for ‘monounsaturated fats’, which can be found in oil, avocados and certain kinds of nuts. Healthline.com reports the perks of monounsaturated fats to include the reduction of heart disease risk and inflammation.

7 WORST FOODS FOR ABS 

POTATO CHIPS

A list of the worst Worst Foods for Abs, flat stomach, six pack, weight loss and better health.

Potato chips have been proven to be the most fattening food item. Photo Credit: Pixzolo Photography

It pains me to echo reports that potato chips – and other variations of the ‘amplified potato’ – have been proven to lead to bigger waistlines. My very own denial came to a halt after being acquainted with a study by Harvard University, which might have proven that out of all foods, potato chips contribute the most weight gain.

Potato chips are blown up with saturated fats, according to zerobelly.com. That fat won’t spare your lower abdominal area. They are full of salt, which, in addition to all the health risks with excessive consumption, also lead to mid-level bloating.

RELATED: SMOOTHIES FOR WEIGHT LOSS – 7 INGREDIENTS TO SHED THE KILOS 

And it’s not just about the calories.

It’s actually more what the potato chips lack that makes them bad for fat loss. Delicious as they are, they lack satiety – which refers to the ability to make you feel full.

KOTAS

A list of the worst Worst Foods for Abs, flat stomach, six pack, weight loss and better health.

A kota combines a variety of foods that are high in saturated fats, leading to weight gain. Photo Credit: CookPad.com

Which leads us to one irresistible South African township favourite – the lovely kota. Unfortunately for everyone involved, you are packing the pounds every time you treat yourself to this tasty delicacy. High cholesterol aside, an average kota packs nearly every type of food that spells bad news for your health and weight loss.

The calorie count of an average kota is hard to ascertain as research on this remains a curious scacity, but based on the nutritional information at hand on the foods that feature in a kota, there’s enough for you to know a kota is a flat belly saboteur.

RELATED: 10 SUPERFOODS YOU SHOULD BE EATING EVERYDAY FOR IMPROVED HEALTH

Kotas typically come in standard white bread, which carries excessive empty calories. Then you have the fried potato chips – the world’s most fattening food item. We are just getting started! Most kotas come with a slice of cheese (contains lactose and high in saturated fat), polony (processed) and sausages (processed, red meat). Furthermore, the ability to keep adding these yummy ingredients to build a beast kota is part of the thrill.

However, it’s also part of the reason why you will need to cut back significantly on kotas.

DIET SODA

A list of the worst Worst Foods for Abs, flat stomach, six pack, weight loss and better health. Soda

Diet sodas lead to twice as much weight gain compared to normal sodas. Photo Credit: Raw Pixels

If you are reading this article, chances are you have at least thought about weight loss, which means you’ve also thought of diet soda as an effective alternative to the standard no-no. Here’s the short and simple fact; it’s the furthest thing from being a real catalyst for weight loss.

On the contrary, these carbonated beverages lead to more weight gain than normal studies. Inc.com notes several studies that prove you are likely to gain twice as much weight on diet soda in the long run. One of the reasons for the phenomenon, some researchers have suggested, is that diet soda drinkers often overestimate the amount of calories they are actually ‘saving’. Yikes.

ALCOHOL

Worst Foods for Abs beer, alcohol

Alcohol slows down  the pace at which your body burns fat. Photo Credit: Raw Pixels

We all have to come to terms with the truth that alcohol is linked to gaining and keeping weight.

Reasons for that range from the fact that alcohol slows down your body’s ability to burn fat to your judgement being compromised with the sips – making a quick drive through the best idea a few drinks down the line. It’s also quite high in kilojoules and can make you feel really hungry.

Side note if you aren’t au fait: excessive consumption of alcohol is asking for all kinds of health troubles in general.

HIDDEN SUGAR BOMBS 

A list of the worst Worst Foods for Abs, flat stomach, six pack, weight loss and better health. Soda

Hidden sugar bombs will have you consuming excessive sugar without your knowledge! Photo Credit: Melissa Belanger

Perceptions of high nutritional value in certain foods trick many people into consuming ‘hidden’ sugarbombs every day, which derails health and weight loss pursuits. That’s because, amongst a bevvy of reasons, most people aren’t aware just how much sugar these foods contain. Examples of foods you aren’t aware pack excessive sugars include instant oatmeals, salad dressings, certain smoothies, protein/energy bars and bottled tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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