Friday, 21 October 2016

Best Foods for Your Sperm!

Make sure your swimmers are ready for the fast lane!
Not to be a negative Nancy or anything, but adulthood isn't always all it's cracked up to be. First, there's the entire having to go to work thing, and then there are these pesky things called bills. And to make matters worse, your friends aren't always around anymore to laugh about the pitfalls that come along with "adulting." If that sounds like the story of your life, it makes sense that you're contemplating the idea of creating your own clan of tiny humans that will be forced to hang out with you.
But procreating isn't always as easy as dimming the lights, pouring some wine, and wearing your most alluring cologne. In order to make babies, you'll need the healthy sperm required to start the process. And one of best ways to ensure your swimmers are of Olympic quality is to increase the amounts of certain nutrients in your diet.
In a small study of healthy men aged 22 to 80, researchers found that those older than 44 who consumed the most vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and folate had 20 percent less sperm DNA damage (an alteration in the chemical structure of sperm that affects fertility) than those who consumed the lowest amounts of these nutrients. Research has also found that supplementing with zinc and folic acid, the manufactured form of folate, can increase sperm count in both fertile and subfertile men. Thankfully, these nutrients are super common and found in a variety of foods. To help you pinpoint the best sources of these sperm-protecting nutrients, we've compiled the handy list below—consider it your new, go-to shopping guide.

Because They're Rich In Zinc…

Not only does zinc improve sperm DNA quality in older men, it can boost testosterone levels and help enable erections. These are some of the very best sources.

1. Lean Beef Short Ribs

If you're looking to beef things up downstairs, barbecue up some lean short ribs. They have more zinc than any other type of meat. A 3.5-ounce serving contains provides a whopping 114 percent of the day's recommended intake. To keep excess calories and fat at bay, opt for grass-fed protein.

2. Oysters

These mollusks have long had a reputation as an aphrodisiac, and because of their chart-topping zinc content, they'll boost the chances of having tip-top sperm. Eight medium oysters, eaten raw on the half shell, contain almost four times the recommended intake of zinc. That means you could eat just two as part of a dinner appetizer and have fulfilled your zinc intake for the entire day. Oh, and they're also a great source of inflammation-quelling omega-3s.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

Aside from its positive effect on your swimmers, zinc has been shown to boost testosterone levels. And when combined with the mineral magnesium, the effects on testosterone are far more potent, according to a Journal of Exercise Physiology study. Pumpkin seeds are a source of both nutrients, making them a must-eat for every man. Add them to oatmeal, use them as a salad topper in lieu of croutons, or combine them with other raw nuts for a quick and simple high protein snack.

4. Pork Chops

Compared to other sources of protein, pork tends to have a bad rap—but it's totally unwarranted. A 3.5-ounce serving has nearly 25 percent of day's recommended intake of zinc and 19 grams of muscle-building protein for just 152 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Because They're High in Folic Acid&Folate…

A deficiency in folate or folic acid (the manufactured form of folate) can cause an increase in sperm with chromosomal abnormalities, so you'll want to up your intake if you're trying to conceive.

5. Marmite

This sticky, salty yeast extract spread looks like tar and has a unique and powerful odor all its own. Even its British manufacturers admit that Marmite—which is typically spread on hot buttered toast at breakfast— is an acquired taste. But if you love the idea of passing on your genes, it's worth trying to warm up to the taste. Why? Its main ingredient is yeast extract, which is one of the top sources of folate. In fact, one small smear of the condiment packs a whopping 25 percent of your recommended daily intake of the nutrient. Once smuggled into the U.S. by the families and friends of British expats, Marmite can be found at Whole Foods and Amazon.

6. Black-Eyed Peas

When it comes to increasing your intake of the folate, black-eyed peas are a no-brainer. A half-cup serving contains more than half the amount you should eat in a day. Bonus: Although called a pea, they're actually legumes, which just so happen to be one of these 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss. Add them to your salads, veggie burgers, and homemade soups to reap the benefits.

7. Fortified Cereals

They may not be organic, but a fortified cereal is an easy way to load up on a host of good-for-you nutrients, including folic acid and zinc. Look for a variety that's made with whole grains and has less than 8 grams of sugar per serving. Many good-for-you brands have 100 percent of your RDA of folic acid (like Wheaties) so be sure to scan the label before tossing it into your cart to make sure you're buying the best of the lot.

8. Spinach

Popeye shouldn't be the only dude that loads up on spinach. Thanks to its high folate content it should be a part of every daddy hopeful's weekly diet. Use a cup or two of raw leaves as a salad base (15 to 30 percent DV) or sautée some up with a bit of EVOO and garlic as a side dish. A half-cup serving packs an impressive 33 percent of the day's intake. What's more, spinach is one of the best dietary sources of magnesium, a mineral that's essential for reproductive function in men both young and old.

Because They're Rich in Vitamin C

Though many people turn to the vitamin when they feel the sniffles coming on, vitamin C offers far more benefits to your bod than you might realize. The nutrient has been proven to counteract stress hormones that trigger belly fat storage, ward off sperm DNA damage, and even increase sperm counts.

9. Strawberries

A mere cup of this vibrant berry has 148 percent of the day's vitamin C! They're also chock full of polyphenols, powerful natural chemicals that can help you lose weight–and even stop fat from forming, which can help you feel extra confident between the sheets.

10. Brussels Sprouts

In addition to serving up nearly two day's worth of vitamin C, this cruciferous veggie is a good source of heart-healthy omega-3s. Not only is the healthy fat pertinent to maintaining good heart health, it also raises dopamine levels in the brain. This spike in dopamine improves circulation and blood flow, triggering arousal. If you don't care for fatty fish like salmon, sprouts and other foods rich in the nutrient like walnuts and flaxseeds are important additions to your diet—and your sex life.

11. Red Bell Pepper

Get this: a cup of raw red bell betters has more vitamin C than three oranges, which is good news for your swimmers. Dip slices of the veggie into an Eat This-approved hummus, add the veggie to sandwiches and salads or throw some lean meat in a corn tortilla with salsa, black beans, red pepper, and onion for a Chipotle-inspired dinner.

12. Guava

The sweet fruit packs nearly seven day's worth of sperm-protecting vitamin C into a mere one cup serving. It also has a higher concentration of lycopene (a cancer-fighting antioxidant) than any other fruit or vegetable. Never eaten one before? You might be surprised to find the fruit overflowing with seeds. Don't bother trying to eat around them—they're edible, so just dig in!

Because They're Rich in Vitamin E

Not only can vitamin E protect your sperm's DNA quality, it can also boost testosterone and increase libido, which will help get you in the mood for sexy time.

13. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a potent source of both vitamin E and folate, making them on the most sperm-friendly seeds on the planet. (Not that you were on the hunt for such a thing.) Toss some seeds into a homemade trail mix or salad, or stir some sunflower seed butter into your morning oatmeal.

14. Almonds

According to the National Institutes of Health, adults should consume 15 milligrams of vitamin E each and every day. Just 24 almonds—which make a great on-the-go snack—will get you halfway there. Just don't go beyond the recommended serving size, or you could wind up with dad bod even before your lady gets a bun in the oven.

15. Safflower Oil

Sure, safflower oil can help protect your swimmers, but that's not the only reason we're a fan of this high-smoke-point oil. It's also been linked to lower levels of cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and increased weight loss. A tablespoon provides 4.6 milligrams or 31 percent of the day's vitamin E. Curious how other cooking oils stack up in terms of weight loss benefits?

16. Beet Greens

If you typically toss the green leaves that are attached to bulbous shaped beets, you're missing out on some serious nutrition. Sautée some up with some chopped onion, sun-dried tomatoes, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to get a solid hit of the day's recommended intake of vitamin E.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Airtel offering iPhone 7 at Rs 19,990 in India!

After announcing special infinity post-paid plans for the newly released iPhone 7 series in India. Airtel has launched a special 'iPhone for Life' scheme, which allows consumers buy the new Apple devices for as low as Rs. 19,990.
That said, Airtel's promotional campaign is similar to contract system we see in the west, wherein consumers, during the purchase of a device, are obliged to sign a deal with the network carrier for a minimum of one year with pre-set monthly bill.
Here in India, new and existing Airtel subscribers get to choose three iPhone 7 and 7 Plus series storage models—32GB, 128GB and 256GB by paying a down payment ranging from Rs.19,990 to Rs. 43,972. Rest of the amount will be paid by Airtel's finance partner Bajaj Finance Ltd (BFL) EMI plans at 0% interest rate.
After completion of 12 months, buyers can upgrade to the new iPhone in 2017 or else continue to use by paying Balloon payment to Bajaj Finance.
But, if you are really not happy with service, you can foreclose service by paying remaining amount of the device including penalty to Bajaj Finance.
As of now, Airtel's 'iPhone for Life' offer is live in New Delhi and Karnataka. Based on the response in these regions, the company is expected to expand the service in other markets.
Watch this space for more updates.
ModelsBilling PriceDown PaymentMonthly Plan OptionsBalloon Payment
Apple iPhone 7(32GB)Rs. 59,998Rs.19,990Rs.1999/Rs.2499/Rs.2999Rs. 24,000
Apple iPhone 7(128GB)Rs. 69,998Rs. 29,490Rs.1999/Rs.2499/Rs.2999Rs. 24,500
Apple iPhone 7 (256GB)Rs. 79,998Rs. 35,990Rs.1999/Rs.2499/Rs.2999Rs. 28,000
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (32GB)Rs. 72,000Rs. 30,792Rs.1999/Rs.2499/Rs.2999Rs. 25,200
Apple iPhone 7 (128GB)Rs. 82,000Rs. 37,292Rs.1999/Rs.2499/Rs.2999Rs. 28,700
Apple iPhone 7 (256GB)Rs. 92,000Rs. 43,792Rs.1999/Rs.2499/Rs.2999Rs. 32,200
Monthly Plan details:
  • Rs. 1,999: 5GB 3G/4G Internet+ unlimited calling (local, STD and roaming: mobile & fixed lines)
  • Rs. 2,999: 10GB 3G/4G Internet+ unlimited calling (local, STD and roaming: mobile & fixed lines)
  • Rs. 3,999: 15GB 3G/4G Internet+ unlimited calling (local, STD and roaming: mobile & fixed lines)

Monday, 17 October 2016

Some life-changing hard things to do!

What makes someone uncomfortable depends on the person, but what's universally true is the value of recognizing boundaries and continually pushing them.
As Quora user Joos Meyer explains in response to the question, "What uncomfortable things such as cold showers can improve your life?" pushing your comfort zone is the key to self-improvement.
"I think the best methodology is to every day or week set a task or find a situation that makes you slightly uncomfortable. Do that thing. This will incorporate the experience into your model of 'normality' and hence expand your 'comfort zone,'" he writes.
Here are some uncomfortable things that other Quora users say have helped them grow:

1. Question everything

"The most uncomfortable thing one can do is to question everything that is taken for granted and seek answers," writes Malli Gurram. "Try to see the other side of the norm."

2. Be 100% honest

Being the most honest you've ever been with someone in your life will be one of the most uncomfortable things you can do, Ryan Brown says, but it could also be the most valuable.
To do this, he suggests writing a list of all the people to whom you have something — good or bad — to say, writing down the honest feelings you need to convey to them in a letter, handing the person the letter, and writing down what happened and how the experience affected you and the other person.
"If you're being really honest, each letter you write should make you quite emotional as you are writing it," Brown writes. "That is how you know you have tapped into your actual emotions and feelings — that it actually means something to you."
"Don't forget what you have learned from the experience," he suggests. "Let it be with you forever."

3. Meditate

Oftentimes, slowing down and finding inner calm can be especially difficult for those of us who are constantly on the go and thinking of the next things we need to do.
But as Nathan Hershey points out, the benefits can include enhancing your cognitive capacity, emotional intelligence, and overall self-discipline.

4. Wake up extremely early

Ekin Öcalan loves to wake up before sunrise because it provides the perfect study-and-work environment. Waking at 5 a.m., while everyone else sleeps, is the perfect, albeit challenging, way to begin the day in silence, he writes.

5. Do something creative

"Many people say they want to be creative. Then they go home and binge watch TV episodes on Netflix while drinking red wine," Mark Toole writes.
While fear of rejection and failure are powerful demotivators, having a creative outlet can do wonders for our bodies and minds. What's more, "keeping your work to yourself also guarantees that nobody else will ever love it," Toole notes.

6. Watch your pennies

Keep track of every penny you spend, from auto repairs and life insurance to coffee and french fries, for several months, suggests Bruce A McIntyre.
And try paying for everything you can with cash. "If you have to reach in your wallet and pull out cash, you will often think twice about how much you need something."
You'd be surprised how much debt you can pay off when you literally watch your pennies.

7. Volunteer

Gurram suggests volunteering for a nonprofit or doing selfless deeds. Volunteering can make you feel like you're part of something big, Gurram says, using volunteer experience with TEDx as an example.
"It was such an overwhelming feeling I had on the big day, being part of the community," Gurram says.

8. Track what you eat

Keeping track of all the food you eat and all the exercise you do in a day can be challenging, butTina Marshall says using her MyFitnessPal app helped her see the harm she was doing to her body.
"I didn't realize how little of some nutrients I was getting and how much sugar and fat I was getting daily until I started to do this regularly," she writes.

9. Eat only nutritious food

After you track your food, start eating only what is truly nutritious — Doug Whitney says this will change your life forever.
"The short answer here is to prepare your own food, eat organic as much as possible — yes, it's expensive, but it's cheaper than the medical bills and lost performance — focus on lean meats and veggies, avoid grains (they're disastrous for most of us), and when you do eat something that isn't good for you, notice the difference in how you feel. This is key!"
He says this will be uncomfortable for a number of reasons: It's hard; it's socially limiting; it can be more expensive if you are used to eating off the dollar menu; it's not as tasty when you start, and it takes more time.
But he says the outcome is 100% worth the effort. "Being a weird health nut and outperforming everyone else is so much more fun than blending in — and that's not just athletically. It's mentally as well."

10. Practice public speaking

It may be scary to think about, but you never know when you may be called upon to speak in public. Practice, while daunting, is the key to improving your communication skills.
Gurram recommends joining a nearby Toastmasters group or an improv group in your city: "It's scary as hell until you realize that everyone around you feels the same."

11. Talk to someone new

"See someone you're interested in? Go talk to them," Toole suggests. "The worst that can happen is an epically catastrophic rejection, which gives you something funny to talk about. That and increased confidence in your abilities next time."

12. Leave your phone in your pocket

"How many times have you checked your phone while reading this? The last time you were at a restaurant or bar, how many times did you pull out your phone to look something up?" Toole asks.
There's something to be said of taking a digital detox and allowing our minds to wander. Rather than reaching for our phones when we're bored, research suggests that leaning into boredom can help make us more productive, goal-oriented, and creative.
Plus, it's just good manners when you're in social settings.

13. Pick just one thing to master at a time

Your approach to self-betterment might be trying as many things as possible and seeing what works. But Rob Hanna says using the opposite tactic, though uncomfortable, is key.
"Intention is the key to mastery," Hanna writes. He explains this requires calling your shots and hitting them.
"The problem with most improvement seekers in life is that they really don't know what they're looking for, and then they keep casting about capriciously for the next new thing."
If you're constantly changing interests, he says, you're never going to discover your own internal progress. "So pick one thing and become progressively committed to mastering it. It doesn't matter what it is, anything will do, as long as you do."

14. Accomplish an almost impossible goal

The most uncomfortable thing you can do, according to Rizwan Aseem, is to set and achieve a goal that's harder than something you've ever done before.
To do that, he suggests you think about a thing you're comfortable doing every day and amplify it until you get to a point where you become really scared of doing it. If you run a mile every day, the idea of running seven might terrify you. Set this as your one-year goal.
"The hardest part is to actually go out there and take the actions steps that will help you achieve this goal," he writes.
"You will have to use all your mental and physical strength to actually get yourself to achieve this goal. But here's the thing: Something very cool happens in your mind, your physiology, your internal makeup when you actually do this. You become invincible. You will be able to set any goal for yourself and then achieve it."

15. Seek help

"I think the most uncomfortable yet healthy thing you can do is go to therapy," writes Sam Ham. "There, those defenses you've been utilizing for years, or perhaps decades, may be exposed, and it can be incredibly difficult to realize that you (and those you love or hate) are not necessarily who you thought."
As Business Insider previously reported, roughly one in every five Americans, or about 43 million people, suffers from mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. About 60% of us received no treatment in the past. With cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), people start to change their thoughts, which in turn can cause behavior changes.
"Learning that you, and those around you, are not so black and white and absolute can be, at the very least, uncomfortable and disorienting. And practicing awareness, acceptance, and forgiveness can be a rigorous and exhausting chore," Ham writes. "But damn, it's so worth it."

Sunday, 16 October 2016

How to make healthy samosas!

Samosas are the ultimate moral war in the unhealthy world of Indian snacks. They are irresistible, but so unhealthy. If only there could be healthy samosas, life for many would be easy. Read to know what makes samosas dangerous?
Well, we have some good news - a recipe for you to make healthy samosas. We still havent found a place where you can get healthy samosas, but we can tell you how to make them healthier.
  • The maida (refined flour) used for the crust acts inside your body the same way sugar would. It has a high glycemic index, so it spikes your blood sugar, and promotes fat storage.
  • So, you know, even samosas are not sweet, theyre not good for diabetics. Then, the samosa is deep fried, so the outer crust absorbs all the oil and gets loaded with calories.
  • To further drop its health quotient, the unhealthy samosa is stuffed with potatoes that are cooked in oil and fat!
But worry not, make the following three swaps in the samosa recipe, and your samosas will be much healthier.

Samosa Recipe

Step 1- In the dough, instead of using only maida (refined flour), mix in equal amounts of atta (whole wheat flour). So, the samosa will still retain its flaky and crisp crust, but will have more fiber, protein and vitamins.
Step 2-Instead of deep frying them, bake them in an oven. This saves all the calories and your heart from all that saturated fat and cholesterol.
Step 3-Instead of the same potato stuffing, use other veggies like peas, carrot, cauliflower. You can even stuff them with any kind of cooked meat, and turn up their protein content.
So, make these swaps in your samosa recipe, and load up on these samosas!
This article was originally published on Practo Health Feed by Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Foods that help to deal with cholesterol!

When it comes to the relationship between eggs and cholesterol, it seems like we've been served up some scrambled messages.
Have you ever thought you could reduce your high cholesterol levels simply by not eating foods that contain cholesterol (like eggs)? You're not alone. Heck, even the Dietary Guidelines recommended against consuming more than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol a day up until the newly-revised 2015 version. Now, the Dietary Guidelines have removed this limit, referencing the fact that all available evidence suggests there is no relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and levels of blood cholesterol. (In fact, a large body of evidence indicates that cholesterol-rich eggs can actually improve your cholesterol profile by raising the "good" cholesterol, HDL.)
We aren't saying that changing your diet won't help you reduce your numbers. Eating the right foods is one of the most effective ways to lower—or maintain healthy levels of—your cholesterol. So besides exercising more, cutting out refined sugars, and steering clear of foods high in saturated and trans fats, simply incorporate the foods below into your weekly routine and you might be able to toss your statins—stat. Wondering which foods to avoid? Start with these 30 Worst Foods For Your Heart.

Types of Cholesterol

Before we go into our list of foods, here's a general review of what types of cholesterol are found in your body:


Think—Helpful. Known as the "good" cholesterol, HDL takes excess cholesterol to the liver, where it's passed from the body. It may also remove excess cholesterol from arterial plaque, slowing its growth. High levels of this type of cholesterol may protect against heart attacks, while low levels indicate a greater risk of heart attack and stroke.


Think—Lazy. "Bad" LDL cholesterol deposits excess cholesterol and fat molecules into your blood (rather than to your liver), leading it to build up in your arteries. When your arteries become blocked—what's known as atherosclerosis—it puts you at higher risk for heart attacks and stroke. What you may not know is that the size of LDL particles matters as well. And it turns out, bigger is better: "small, dense LDL" particles confer a higher risk of heart disease than "large LDL" particles. So even some foods that raise overall LDL levels may actually be enlarging the small, dense LDL, which actually slashes the risk of cardiovascular problems.

1. Oats

Not all carbs will shatter your weight loss goals. This nutrient-dense, fiber-rich cereal grain is loaded with the cholesterol-lowering, soluble fiber beta-glucan. Just three grams of beta-glucan has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels from 5 to 10 percent and thus reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. The same fibers that cause your oats to double in size overnight, beta-glucans lower bad cholesterol by forming a layer in the small intestine that blocks cholesterol from entering your bloodstream, according to a review in the journal Food&Function. Check out these overnight oats recipes for what-to-eat inspiration!

2. Radishes

Eat your heart out! And by that, we mean you should nosh on veggies of the same ruby red color, like radishes! Their red hue is due to anthocyanins, a group of phytochemical compounds that has been shown to burn fat and reduce inflammation, insulin resistance, and bad cholesterol. In a Japanese study, rats fed radishes for three weeks showed reduced levels of bad cholesterol and insulin and a boost in good cholesterol. Use them as a salad garnish, taco-topper, or eat them whole as a high-fiber, belly-filling snack.

3. Kamut

Thanks to quinoa, ancient grains have won a place at many Americans' tables. But don't limit yourself to just quinoa; why not check out kamut as well? Native to the Middle East, kamut (or Khorasan wheat) is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, is high in protein(nearly 10 grams per cup), and has a good amount of fiber (21 grams of the satiating nutrient per cup). And according to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants who ate kamut wheat products in place of refined wheat reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and cytokines, which cause inflammation throughout the body, over the course of eight weeks. Toss it into salads or enjoy it as a side dish on its own.

4. Pistachios

You can thank tree nuts'—pistachios, walnuts, and pecans—high levels of plant sterols for their cholesterol-lowering ability. These cholesterol-mimicking compounds found naturally in plants can block the absorption of cholesterol from being absorbed into your bloodstream. Instead, they help to ship it out with your waste. Don't just take our word for it. When UCLA Center for Human Nutrition researchers gave one group of participants pretzels and the other group an equal-calorie portion of pistachios for an afternoon snack, the pistachio group was able to reduce their BMI by a point (while the pretzel-eating group stayed the same) and improved their cholesterol and triglyceride levels over 12 weeks. Pistachios will also help you to bulk up—check out these 15 Nuts Better Than Protein Powder.

5. Red Onions

Onions are the unsung heroes of cardiovascular health. Thanks to their bioactive sulfur-containing compounds, the culinary staple can help lower cholesterol, ward off hardening of the arteries, and help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, onions may lower cholesterol by decreasing your body's synthesis of the compound as well as increasing conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. Onions are easy to throw into just about anything—just make sure to heat them up first. The same study found that heat-treated onions were more effective at lowering cholesterol compared to raw onions.

6. Grapefruit

Don't overlook this tart fruit. The citrus can help with everything from keeping high blood pressure at bay to lessening the appearance of wrinkles. It doesn't just end there; University of Florida researchers found that grapefruit's pectin could lower total cholesterol and drop your ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol. Consider digging into half of a grapefruit before your morning oatmeal or slice a few segments on top of your starter salad.

7. Lentils

Now you'll know why we sing the praises of beans for being good for your heart! Lentils—as well as all pulses, like chickpeas, peas, and beans—are packed with cholesterol-lowering soluble fibers. In a recent review of randomized clinical trials published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers found that eating just three-quarters of a cup of cooked legumes every day could reduce LDL levels by about fivepercent, compared to similar diets without them. That five percent reduction in LDL is also associated with a five to six percent reduction in heart attacks and other major cardiovascular events, according to the researchers. The benefits don't stop there. Because lentils contain some of the highest amounts of protein (nine grams per half cup serving), they also make a great replacement for meat protein that can contain high levels of cholesterol-raising saturated fats.

8. Avocados

Need another reason to try out your new favorite avocado recipes? How about this: the fatty fruit is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol levels and decrease risk for heart disease when consumed in place of saturated or trans fats. Not to mention, the avocado is a powerful hunger squasher, so you'll be less likely to eat cholesterol-raising foods (like sugary treats) after you've eaten some avo. Case in point is this study published in Nutrition Journal, which found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward.

9. Ginger

Who knew that when you pulled out your phone to Google "how to get rid of bloating," you'd find both a solution to your troubled tummy and your high cholesterol levels? You heard us right. Famous for aiding in digestion, ginger has also been found to help reduce total cholesterol, LDL, and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) levels when subjects consumed three doses of three-gram ginger capsules. Researchers attribute ginger's health benefits to gingerols, compounds that are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. Get the benefits by grating some fresh ginger into warm water with a squeeze of lemon to make some tummy taming tea.

10. Dark Chocolate

We know you didn't really need another excuse to nibble on that chocolate bar, but we'll give it to you anyway. A recent review published by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Veterans Affairs Healthcare System discovered that cocoa products, including dark chocolate, may be able to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. The secret lies in the presence of cocoa flavanols, which previous studies have found to inhibit cholesterol absorption as well as the expression of LDL receptors. To reap the benefits, grab a bar that contains 70 percent or more cocoa solids or pure cacao powder, as these will have the highest amounts of flavanols.

11. Green Tea

Replace your morning joe with a cup of green tea to whittle your waist and ward off disease. What makes this hulk-colored elixir so powerful? It's packed with catechins: antioxidant compounds that blast through adipose tissue by revving your metabolism and relinquishing stored fat from fat cells. But that's not all—according to Harvard researchers, the antioxidants in green tea may also lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

12. Apples

Apples are quite ap-peel-ing to those looking to get a handle on their cholesterol levels. Why is that? It's because apple peels are rich in a type of soluble fiber known as pectin—the same fiber you'd add to jams or jellies to thicken them up. Pectin helps your body excrete the bad cholesterol by latching onto it and guides it out of your digestive system.

13. Kimchi

We're highlighting this Korean fermented cabbage, but many other fermented foods (like sour beer, yogurt, pickles, cocoa, and sauerkraut) can also help lower bad cholesterol levels. The key here is the presence of Lactobacilli—a strain of lactic acid bacteria, or culture, that gives fermented foods their characteristic sour taste. A study published in theInternational Journal of Food Microbiology found that the specific strain in kimchi was able to lower cholesterol levels by preventing cholesterol from being picked up by your bloodstream.

14. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is rich in cancer-fighting polyphenols and cardio-protective monounsaturated fats. And when it comes to looking lean, it's backed by some pretty strong facts. A recent study published in the journal Obesity found that an EVOO-rich diet resulted in higher levels of a fat-blasting hormone known as adiponectin than a high-carb or high-protein diet. As for cholesterol? An Italian study recently found that replacing corn oil with extra virgin olive oil was able to lower LDL levels in healthy individuals.

15&16. Flax&Chia Seeds

One of the hallmarks of a balanced diet is to have a good ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. A 1:4 ratio is ideal, but the modern American diet is more like 1:20. That leads to inflammation, which can trigger weight gain. One of the easiest ways to upgrade your diet is by sprinkling some ground chia seeds or flaxseed into your overnight oats, on top of baked goods, or mixed into your smoothies. Animal studies suggest a chia-rich diet can lower harmful LDL cholesterol and protect the heart, and a recent study in The Journal of Nutrition found that when patients who were susceptible to cardiovascular disease ingested just 30 grams (about four tablespoons) of ground flaxseed daily, they could reduce circulating LDL cholesterol levels by 15 percent in as early as one month.

17. Spinach

Spinach is one of the highest dietary sources of lutein—an antioxidant pigment found in dark green leafy vegetables and egg yolks famous for guarding against age-related macular degeneration. Now, new research published in The Journal of Nutrition found that the carotenoid may help lower levels of LDL. The researchers speculate the anti-inflammatory compound helps your artery walls defend themselves against the clogging cholesterol. To reap the benefits, add half a cup of spinach to your morning weight loss smoothies.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Why adequate sleeping is so important?

Sleep: it’s wonderful stuff. A magic elixir, a miracle cure.
But you probably don’t get enough, right?
Most of us don’t get enough. Even though we’re told constantly that we should be getting eight hours a night, many of us go round permanently tired.
Because in our modern busy culture, it’s easy to send sleep to the back of the queue. You’ve got work to catch up on, or you’ve just got to finish that box set.
But sleep isn’t just key to making us feel alert and preventing eye bags taking over our faces - it’s vital to genuine good health. And going with too little can have worryingly harmful effects.
So in case tonight you’re tempted to watch ‘just one more episode’, we asked the experts what lack of sleep really does to your body and mind.
“We know from our own extensive research that people are simply not setting aside the time they need to get the sleep their body requires,” says Lisa Artis from The Sleep Council.
“The results of our most recent Great British Bedtime report showed that a third of us get by on just five to six hours sleep a night which, for most of us, is not enough to feel or perform at our best,” she adds.
Overall, Harvard Medical School found that those who don’t get enough sleep are 15% more likely to die unnaturally early than those who had good sleep habits.
But long before you get to that stage, the effect of lack of sleep can be felt across spectrum of your health.
Short term sleeplessness
Physical issues can include dizziness, feeling weak or fatigued and lacking the physical energy to perform basic tasks.
You might also notice that you feel extra hungry and get major sugar cravings. This is because your body produces more of the hunger hormone ghrelin to get the energy it needs to operate.
You’re also more likely to fall sick with common colds, infections and the flu. This is because your body builds and supports your immune system while you’re asleep - so if this complicated process is cut short, it won’t be able to fight the bugs.
Your libido could also take a hit.
Plus your skin and eyes might look dull as your body preserves its energy for more essential tasks than keeping them clear.
Mentally, you might notice you have a shorter temper and suffer mood swings. And difficulty concentrating is common. 
This all happens because sleep deprivation leaves the brain exhausted and depleted - rendering it unable to perform its normal tasks efficiently.
This can leave you feeling uncharacteristically blue and unable to get excited about things.
Long-term effects
All of these are irritating but transient. However, continued sleep deprivation can be incredibly serious for your health.
It’s now well known that lack of sleep can contribute to gaining weight - which can lead to a variety of worrying health conditions.
These include diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even some cancers.
Lack of sleep messes with your hormone production and natural body rhythms, so to combat it, your body will overproduce hormones such as cortisol (stress) and insulin (which helps process sugar), both of which make your body store extra fat you don’t need.
The disrupted insulin can also up your risk of developing type II diabetes.
It can also cause you to feel continually hungry as your body forces you to eat to keep your energy up. But at the same time your ability to make rational decisions about healthy food reduces, further worsening your diet - and your sleep.
Lack of sleep puts the cardiac system under strain too. Those who sleep less often have higher heart rates and blood pressure.
And long-term poor immunity can lead to serious respiratory conditions such as pneumonia.
Studies have also linked lack of sleep to higher rates of Alzheimer’s.
Plus, on a day to day basis, your body has to keep you functioning, despite the lack of sleep. This can lead to hallucinations and micro-sleeps, which can obviously be extremely dangerous, particularly if you’re doing something active such as driving.
Mentally, lack of sleep can be just as harmful.
Depression and anxiety are common side effects of prolonged insomnia. The long-term effects of being unable to concentrate and take on board new things, as well as mood swings and feeling low can really take their toll.
Paranoia and suicidal thoughts can also occur and any underlying mental health concerns are generally exacerbated. For example, sleeplessness can cause a manic episode if you’re prone to them, or bring on a bout of extreme OCD.
Ultimately, sleep is as essential to us as food and water. And while everyone will go through periods of sleepless nights, it’s always worth taking the time to look at your problems with sleep and attempt to fix them for the long haul.
Get tips on how to do that at The Sleep Council, and if you’re really struggling to get your shut eye, head to your GP for help.