Protein Shakes To Upgrade Your Workout

Nourishing cocktail drink made of kiwi, mint and spinach
Nourishing cocktail drink made of kiwi, mint and spinach

In this fast paced world, many of us are replacing meal with protein shakes. But are all meal replacements healthy or on the nutritional list. Whether you are replacing your meal or recharging after a workout you need to choose the right type of protein to meet your body needs.

Powder based protein products at time limit your taste buds and you may not be sure whether you are getting enough protein for building and repairing muscle. Carly Tierney, a fitness and nutrition expert encourages homemade protein shakes that are natural alternative to the store bought powder.

Homemade Protein Shake Recipes

Recipe #1 – Protein shake for muscle building

Ingredients

  •  Coconut milk – 3/4 cup
  •  Greek yogurt –  1/3 cup
  •  Spinach – 1/2 cup heaped
  • Avocado – 1/2
  • Almond butter – 1 Tbsp.
  • Hemp powder –  1 Tbsp.
  • Agave –  1 Tbsp.

Method

Put all the ingredients in a blender. Blend well till its smooth.

Benefits

The spinach provides an ample amount of antioxidants. The avocado provides the 25 per cent of the recommended Vitamin K intake to strengthen bones and retain calcium. This protein shake is power packed with not only proteins but also fats that help build body muscle. Apart from that it will also keep your tummy full for a longer time.

Recipe # 2 – Protein shake to build immunity

Ingredients

  • Coconut water – 3/4 cup
  • Greek yogurt – 1/3 cup
  • Raw Cashews(soaked) – 1/3 cup
  • Frozen pineapple – 1/4 cup
  • Frozen mango – 1/3 cup
  • Date – 1 pitted

Method

Place everything in the blender and blend till it becomes smooth. Transfer it into serving glasses. Top it with a spoonful of soaked chia seeds.

Benefits

Coconut water is rich in potassium keeping your energy levels high with natural sugar. The Greek yogurt is not high in carbs and the microbes in it will boost your digestive health. Cashews are not only protein rich but has ample amount of vitamin E. This is known to increase the immunity and reduces the chances of prostate cancer.

Recipe # 3 – Protein Shake for recovery from injuries

Ingredients

  •  Almond milk – 3/4 cup
  •  Almond butter –  2 Tbsp.
  • Raw soaked cashews – 1/4 cup
  •  Medium banana – cut into pieces and frozen
  • Whole oats- 2 tbsp.
  • Ground flax seed – 1 Tbsp.
  •  Pitted dried date – 1
  • Cinnamon powder – 1

Method

Put all the ingredients in the blender and process till they are smooth.  Transfer it to the serving glasses.

Benefits

Almond is rich in calcium and low in calories. This nut is also rich in vitamin E, that increases the body immunity and fights against cancerous cells. Banana is a source of potassium while oats is rich in fiber and also will lower blood pressure level. In addition, flax seeds and dates are also rich in fiber. Cashew health benefits are numerous.

 

The Mighty Chia Seeds

The mighty chia seeds
The mighty chia seeds

Wondering why these tiny weeny seeds are called as mighty chia seeds?  These tiny little seeds are rich in omega-3’s, fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals, and protein. Chia seeds boost energy levels and help in staying fuller for long duration. These seeds are harvested from holy basil and are virtually tasteless.

How To Consume Chia Seeds

They should be soaked for 10 to 20 minutes before adding to your smoothies, yogurt, or any of your favorite foods or drinks. They fall under the category of the super-foods. Those who are on a weight loss program should consume regularly as it can help in losing weight.

History Of Chia Seeds

The chia seeds were harvested by the Aztecs as early as 3500 B.C. These seeds were offered to the gods by the Aztecs. It was the staple diet of the Mexicans and those of the Mayan and Aztec civilization. These seeds were eaten whole, ground into flour and used as one of the main ingredients in medicines by Aztecs and Mayans. They were also pressed to extract oil.

Present Times

Only in the 21st century, Chia seeds were introduced in the North America.  Currently its grown in Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Australia in commercial scale. In the near future, Australia is likely to become the largest producer of chia seeds.

Why Chia Seeds Are Mighty

  • Rich source of vegetarian protein – Protein aids in the production of the cells. Is required for the healthy maintenance of muscle mass. Chia seeds provide vegetarian protein for the overall improvement of the body composition.
  • High in fiber – Fiber content assists in healthy weight management, and help in balancing the blood sugar levels.
  • Source of Omega-3 fatty acids – Omega 3 helps in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and does wonders to the joints.
  • Loaded with anti-oxidants – Delays the signs of aging, boosts the energy levels and gives a glow to the skin.

Chia seeds are available in black and white varieties. However, both the varieties have the same nutritional value. Those who are under any kind of medication should consult their medical practitioner before consuming the chia seed.

Health Benefits Of Corn

Grilled corn is a functional food
Grilled corn is a functional food

Corn is a vegetable that is high in carbohydrate, protein, fiber, potassium, and vitamins. It’s known as a functional food as its loaded with multiple nutrients that are beneficial for the body. This is one of vegetable when combined with food items such as spinach, kale, cottage cheese and so on brings out the nutrient contents in these too. Some of the refined corn products include pop-corn, sweetcorn, cornflour, syrup, tortilla chips, cornmeal, tortillas.

Why You Should Include Corn In Your Diet

  • Aids in digestion – Both soluble and insoluble fiber is found in this vegetable. Soluble fiber aids in reducing cholesterol absorption while insoluble fiber prevents intestinal health issues such as irritable Bowel Syndrome and diarrhea. It also prevents constipation and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
  • Prevents anemia –  A rich source of vitamin B12, folic acid, iron as well as essential minerals. These are required to produce healthy red blood cells, which in turn prevents anemia.
  • Lowers bad cholesterol – It is loaded with nutrients such as bioflavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C. This leads to healthy heart. These nutrients control the cholesterol levels and also increases the blood flow.
  • Aids in weight gain – Its high in calorie and rich in carbohydrates. That is, one cup of corn kernels has 130 calories. Those who are underweight are advised to include corn in their diet.
  • Vitamin A – This is anti-oxidant that controls the free radicals in the body. It also aids in strengthening the connective tissue and moistens the mucous membranes in nose, throat and lungs. Consider having a meal that includes winter squash, sweetcorn, carrots or sweet potatoes. It will increase the level of this vitamin in the blood.
  • Enhances vision – Contains the chemical carotenoids that will reduce the impairment of vision. Beta-carotene aids in the production of vitamin A, that help in improving vision.

Though corn has many health benefits. It is advisable to moderate the intake of corn for those who have leanings towards obesity or those are at a high risk of heart disease.

Switch To Soy Bean Milk For Health Benefits

healthy soy milk

Soy milk is made by soaking the dried soy beans and later grinding it with water in a soy milk machine. This milk is a stable emulsion of water, protein and oil. Historians believe that soy milk originated in China during the early Han dynasty. Soy milk was introduced in the US in the year 1979.

Soy beans belong to the legume family. This legume is rich in proteins. Many food products are made using soy bean for consumption and these are very popular among the vegetarians or those who are on the weight loss program. Soy cottage cheese known as tofu replaces many meat dishes and is consumed by the health freaks around the globe.

Health Benefits Of Soy Bean Milk

  • Helps retain calcium in the body

Research show that when one consumes animal protein diet, it increases the loss of calcium through urine. Soybean milk is a vegetable protein that not only help retain calcium in the blood but also fortifies the blood with this essential mineral. Soy isoflavones help improves bone mass and density, thereby lowering the risk of fracture.

  • Contains no lactose

Soy milk has no lactose and is prescribed to those who are intolerant to lactose. This milk also contains prebiotic sugars- raffinose and stachyose. These help enhance the immunity and reduces toxic elements in the body.

  • Controls the cholesterol level in the body

The fat content in soy milk is unsaturated with zero cholesterol. Regular intake of soy milk can significantly reduce the levels of triglycerides and low density lipoproteins in the blood.

  • Ideal for weight loss

The sugar content in soy milk is less than the regular cow’s milk. The mono-saturated fatty acid in this milk helps in the absorption of fat Additionally, it fills your stomach and suppresses your hunger.

  • Prevents post-menopausal syndromes

The secretion of estrogen decreases during menopause. This can lead to many health issues for women who are going through this phase. The phytoestrogen found in the soy bean milk is an effective replacement for estrogen.

The soy bean milk is nutritious and is also a replacement for those who do not consume dairy products.  Soy bean milk is also used in many recipes as a replacement for milk. Soy milks of various flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry are loved by children and adults alike.

Healthy Granola Bars Make A Great Snack

Healthy granola bar - A perfect companion on a hiking, trekking or camping trips
Healthy granola bar – A perfect companion on hiking, trekking or camping trips

Healthy granola bars give you instant energy and therefore its eaten as a snack any time of the day. Those on a weight loss program can also binge on this nutritious snack. The hikers, campers and trekkers carry this nourishing snack with them as it gives instant energy and is non-perishable. The basic ingredients of granola bars are oats, honey and butter. To this base mixture you can add nuts, raisins and other dry berries. You can also add puffed rice. All the ingredients are mixed together and baked until they are crispy so they stay for a long time.

How is it usually eaten

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was the first person to make ready-to-eat granola bar by mixing together oatmeal, wheat flour, and cornmeal. Over the years, this humble granola bar went through many changes. Now you have variety of flavored bars that contain various types of nuts and dry fruits to choose from.

Granola can be crumbled and combined with yogurt. To this mixture you can add honey as a sweetener, and also fruits such as cubed apples, banana and strawberries. Or you can just much on it.  People who are mostly on the move carry granola bars with them as its undeniable healthy. It’s also a delicious, convenient and versatile meal that can be consumed at any time of the day.

Health Benefits of Granola Bars

  • Facilitates digestion

The ingredients of granola bar such as oats, nuts and dry fruits are high in fiber content. For instance, one cup of granola contains approximately 4g of dietary fiber that aid in the control of blood sugar level, prevent constipation and promotes digestion.

  • Source of essential vitamins and minerals

The nuts and seeds found in the bar are rich in vitamin E, A, folate and thiamin and also provide generous amount of antioxidants. The minerals found in granola include selenium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. These minerals increase the immune system as well as regulate the functioning of the thyroid glands.

  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

This bar is a rich source of unsaturated lipids, omega-3, carbohydrates, and natural sugar. These factors prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease as it reduces the cholesterol in the body.

Although granola bars are healthy, you should limit the amount of granola you consume. If you are purchasing a store bought granola bars, opt for low-fat  and low in sugar ones.

What Exactly is Gluten-free diet

quinoa, brown rice and freekah, gluten free grains
quinoa, brown rice and freekah are gluten free grains

You must have heard about people being allergic to gluten or seen people looking for gluten-free food items in a super market. Have you wondered what gluten and what happens to those who have suffer from gluten-intolerance.

What Is Gluten

Gluten is made of two proteins known as gliadin and glutenin. These proteins are found in bread, pasta, cakes wheat. They are also found in canned soup, oatmeal and salad dressings. Gluten is what gives the bread its chewiness and cakes their airy crumb.

Why People Eliminate Gluten From Their Diet

People prefer gluten free food for three main reasons. They are

  1. Gluten intolerance – Those who are intolerant to this protein have minor skin rashes, digestive problems, intense abdominal pain or suffer from anemia. They also experience chronic fatigue, irritability, anxiety and depression.
  2. Wheat allergy – People who are allergic to wheat have stomach pain, rashes or develop hives after the consumption of wheat based products.
  3. Celiac disease – Those with this health issue display an immune reaction to this protein found in rye, barley and wheat. Gluten causes damage to their small intestine and also makes it difficult for the body to absorb essential nutrients. The symptoms include minor skin rashes, digestive problems to severe abdominal pain, and anemia.

Gluten-Free Diet

Switching to this diet is not so easy as many feel deprived of many foods items. You need to focus on foods that you can eat to make the change easier. You will realize that there are many gluten free products including bread and pasta available in the grocery stores and super markets.

List Of Foods You Can Consume

  • Dairy products
  • Unprocessed nuts, seeds and beans
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh poultry such as chicken and eggs
  • Fresh meat

Ensure to avoid foods that contain additives or preservatives. Some of the grains and starches that can be included in this diet are

  • Tapioca
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Rice and Rice flour
  • Buckwheat
  • Arrowroot
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Teff
  • Quinoa
  • Corn and corn-meal
  • Flax

Those who are on a weight-loss program and suffer from gluten-intolerance should read the label on their protein bars to check whether they are free of these proteins. Choose foods items that are naturally gluten free.

Why Protein Bars Before And After A Workout

A fist full of proteins before a workout
A fist full of proteins before a workout

For most of us getting motivated to go regularly to the gym for a workout is the hardest part. If you have a few health freak buddies to drag you to the gym and encourage you, then it’s really helpful; if you can afford a personal trainer who can motivate you to push a tad bit harder to achieve better results, then there is nothing like it.

 If you are novice to a workout regime and you have been asked to snack on a protein bar pre or post workout, you would be confused. As you would not know which one to choose.  There are different types of protein bars available in the market. Also before buying them, you need to know the benefits of eating a protein bar and how they will aid in your weight loss program.

What Are Protein Bars

Protein Bars contains isolated proteins from a couple of sources such as soy, milk or eggs as main ingredient. Carbohydrates, fats, vitamins or minerals are also some of the ingredients in most of the protein bars. These are available in various flavors. Whether these bars are good for your overall health or not depends on the quality of the protein and other ingredients as well as the amount of the added ingredients.

Preferably, you should choose a protein bar that has no added sugar but sweetened with plant extracts such as Erythritol, Stevia and Sucralose, that are not harmful for the body. Ensure the bar of your choice is gluten free and made with whey and milk protein isolates.

Why Eat A Protein Bar Before Exercising

To get the best out of your fitness regime, its recommended to eat a protein bar an hour before the workout. The two reasons are

  1. When you snack on a protein bar before exercising, it gives you the energy to do your workouts. Therefore, choose a protein bar that is high in carbohydrates for pre-workout.
  2. The protein content in the bar, be it whey, soy or others, will prevent a decrease in the blood sugar during the workout. This will boost your energy levels.

Why Only Have A Protein Bar After Exercise

Experts opine a protein bar after workout help the body burn more fat. But how?

  • Energy bank of your body are the glycogen molecules. However, it’s the brain and the nervous system that need the glycogen molecules more than the muscles. During the workouts, the energy is depleted and the muscles start using the energy by burning fat.
  • When you consume a protein bar after a strenuous workout, it’s your brain and the nervous system that consumes the glycogen. While the muscles use the protein to build more muscle. This increases the base metabolic rate that ensures you burn more calories.

It’s going to be a balancing act. Some days you feel you need extra boost before exercising and on some days an extra protein bar after the workout. Listen to your body at these times.

Is Poor Health Draining Your Energy, And Making You Fat

Gummies good for kids as well as adults
A gummy a day keeps the doctor away

The age old proverb “Health is wealth” holds true.  If your overall health is not doing good, it affects your personal as well your professional life. If your body lacks the necessary proteins, it can lead to poor metabolism, tampers your gut, connective tissues are damaged leading to myriad of issues such as hair loss, nail breaking as well as issues with skin. The best way to get protein in to your body is to consume bone broth as this contains both natural form of gelatin and collagen. It’s a fact it can be made at home but do you have the time and energy to prepare it in the traditional manner.  Today’s life style would not allow many of us to cook and preserve food in the traditional way. Consuming gelatin as well as collagen hydrolysate has myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, mental health as well as smooth and supple skin.

Benefits Of Gelatin And Collagen

Gelatin is a good source of protein, amino acids as well as collagen. Hydrolyzed collagen is a unique amino acid structure that contains high levels of glycine, lysine and proline.  These amino acids hasten cell growth. Hydrolyzed Collagen has the ability to replace the synovial fluids between the joints and helps to repair and strengthen the cartilage tissues.  Here we look at the combined benefits of both gelatin and collagen

  • Improves digestion in those who are suffering from leaky gut. Gelatin and Collagen binds with water and help move food easily along the digestive track.
  • Aid in joint recovery and strengthening of connective and cartilage tissues around the joints
  • Aids in hair and nail growth. It also supports skin growth.
  • Gelatin is a great source of protein and its amino acids aid in muscle building during workouts.

How To Consume Gelatin And Collagen

You cannot consume gelatin and collagen in raw form. If you want, you can; provided you are ready to gnaw the bones and joints of the poultry or farm animals.

Gelatin has culinary uses.  You can buy gelatin sheets from your local grocer or any good online shop. It’s used to make cakes, homemade gummies, jellies, probiotic marshmallows, puddings, cheese cakes and so on.

Collagen that is available in the powder form can be added in smoothies, coffee, or tea. You can also stir it into a glass of water and consume.

There are a combination of gelatin and collagen powder available, for those who consume it for medical purposes. All you need to do is stir it in your drink and consume it.

If we have missed out any information, please share it on the comment box.

 

 

Health Benefits of Plant-based Protein

Best sources of natural protein
Best sources of natural protein

It’s a misconception that plant-based diets lack protein. Whether you want to build muscle mass, lose weight or simply improve your health, plant-based proteins will play a vital role. Brown rice, hemp, chia and pea proteins are the example of plant-based proteins that can be consumed to reap a myriad of health benefits.

  • Chia seeds are rich in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. These help to keep your blood sugar levels under control and reduce inflammation. Regular consumption of chia seeds promotes weight loss
  • The proteins found in hemp are very similar to the proteins found in the human body. It contains all the essential fatty acids(EFAs) required by the body. It’s a source of fiber and can boost your energy and increase the metabolism of the human body.
  • Those consuming brown rice has shown reduction in the cholesterol levels. The finer content in this grain keep the blood sugar level under control. Its categorized one of the healthiest foods.
  • Consuming peas is considered to be as it a source of fiber and protein. They are free of cholesterols and low in fat and sodium. Peas are a source of vitamin K, vitamin B1, copper, folate, vitamin C, and phosphorus.

Benefits Of Consuming Plant-Based Protein

  • Low In Saturated Fat

The unsaturated fats found in the grains and nuts are the healthy alternative to those found in meat, dairy and eggs. Plant-based protein diets have the ability to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood stream.

  • Easy To Digest

Plant based protein diet are rich in fiber and therefore crucial for digestion. It offers roughage to the body. When body spends less on digestion, it means there is more energy available for the entire day.

  • Help Combat Inflammation And Protect Bone Health

Plant-based diet helps to maintain the alkaline PH level in the body. Therefore, it reduces the acidity formation, relieves stress as well as strengthens the bone.

  • Organic And Free Of Growth Hormones Found In Animal Proteins

Plant-based proteins are the best alternative to animal proteins. Meat product industry uses growth hormones as well as antibiotics in the animals. While most of the plant-based dietary proteins are extracted from organically grown plants. Therefore, these are free of chemicals and growth hormones.

Weight Loss

Plant-based proteins aid in weight loss. This occurs naturally when you consume vitamins, minerals and fiber.

  • Lowers The Risk Of Cancer

Organic plant-based diet reduces the risk of various types of cancer such as breast and colon.

Now what more benefits do you need?

Share with us the benefits we have left out, in the comment section.