Does Vitamin Water Have Special Health Benefits?

Does Vitamin Water Have Special Health Benefits?

At Upfit Academy in New York, NY, it’s normal to see electrolyte replacement water. Recently, more and more bottles of vitamin water have made their way to the gym. People often drink them because they believe they offer health benefits. After all, they do contain vitamins. These are water-soluble and include vitamins C and many B vitamins. Some contain vitamins A and E and the minerals magnesium, potassium, zinc, manganese, and chromium. It sounds like an easy way to boost nutrition, but is it really that good for you?

It’s a better option than drinking a soft drink.

If you hate plain water and prefer a sugary drink, vitamin water may be an option. It can boost your intake of vitamins while reducing your intake of soft drinks. That’s a plus. There is always a catch or a downside. In this case, there are several. The first is using it as an alternative to a healthy diet. Good nutrition doesn’t work that way. You need to eat whole foods, not just take supplements. Whole foods provide more than just vitamins and minerals. They provide phytonutrients that work with the vitamins and boost their effectiveness.

The vitamin water with or without electrolytes may be helpful, but there are other considerations.

Yes, you can get too much vitamin C, and B, so take it easy on the vitamin water. It can be tough on your kidneys and digestive system. Too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea. Water-soluble vitamins are flushed out in the urine by the kidneys when you consume more than you need. That can make it hard on the kidneys, especially if you already have a preexisting kidney condition. Others may contain vitamins A and E, which can accumulate in the body and create problems.

There’s a lot of sugar in most types of vitamin water.

Sugar causes inflammation and can lead to obesity. Even worse, a diet high in sugar can create a vitamin C deficiency. Animals make their own vitamin C from glucose—sugar. Man lost that ability long ago. Vitamin C and glucose enter the cells through the same receptors, the Glut-1 receptors, so they compete to enter the cells where vitamin C is necessary. Those receptors prefer glucose to vitamin C, so it blocks the entry. The inflammation and free radicals released by the sugar make vitamin C even more necessary, leaving you worse than when you started.

  • Some people may benefit from the extra B vitamins in vitamin water. B12 and folate are important for pregnant women and those considering pregnancy.
  • The added sugar in vitamin water can increase risk factors for diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, and obesity. One bottle may have as much as 100% of the daily recommended limit for sugar.
  • Some vitamin waters are zero-calorie and use artificial sweeteners. Studies show artificial sweeteners increase waist circumference and belly fat.
  • If you worry, you’re deficient in a vitamin, taking a supplement is far less expensive. Eating healthier is even better and provides all the phytonutrients as well.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

How Does Tea Promote Weight Loss?

How Does Tea Promote Weight Loss?

Could doing something as simple as having a cup of tea boost your weight loss? It can. This simple tool can supplement other tactics and techniques to help you lose weight. It won’t replace a healthy diet or regular exercise, but it will help shave off a few extra pounds over several months and can help you maintain your weight loss.

What makes tea help weight loss?

Several varieties of true tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant. The way the leaves of the evergreen plant are processed determines the type of tea it becomes. Whether it’s green tea, oolong, puerh, white, or black tea, they all contain health benefits. These are a type of flavonoid called catechins, with the most important one the catechin EGCG. Catechins are potent antioxidants associated with a boost in metabolism and increased fat burning. The antioxidants also help reduce inflammation. That can help protect against diabetes and heart disease. All types of tea contain caffeine, another metabolism booster.

What are the varieties of tea? Which is best?

The difference between the types of tea is the processing. The minute you pick the tea, the oxidation process starts. Enzymatic reactions and oxidation change the green leaf to brown with flavors that are different every step of the way. Green tea is processed quickly so it has less oxidation and retains more antioxidants. It’s either pan-fried or steamed to stop oxidation. First black tea is rolled, then exposed to air for almost complete oxidation. Oolong tea is between the two. White tea is air-dried with minimal processing. Puerh tea is fermented and has a strong earthy flavor. Green tea is the best tea for weight loss since it’s the highest in catechins.

If you drink tea without sugar instead of a soft drink, you’ll be saving calories.

You lose weight because you consume fewer calories than you burn. Drinking plain tea without sugar can help you do that. It fills you up and provides a tasty alternative to syrupy drinks like colas. It takes a 3500-calorie deficit to lose a pound. Replacing two soft drinks daily with plain tea can save 200 calories. That means in just 18 days, you’ll lose one pound with almost no effort. A few animal studies showed oolong and white tea increased the breakdown of fat cells. Other studies showed it blocked fat cell formation.

  • One study followed 1200 Taiwanese men and women. It cited that the participants who drank at least two cups of green tea daily for 10 years or more had a smaller waist and lower body fat than those that didn’t.
  • The catechin EGCG works in synergy with the caffeine in tea to produce the best boost in metabolism. It also protects from cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and obesity.
  • A very small study of 10 obese men found that 300 mg supplements of EGCG—the potent antioxidant in green tea—taken for three days broke down fatty acids. One cup of green tea brewed properly contains 100 mg of EGCG.
  • To maximize the EGCG in green tea use boiling water. Pour it over the green tea bag and cover, steeping it for ten minutes. Then remove the bag and enjoy.

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How Do Eating Disorders Affect One's Mental Health?

How Do Eating Disorders Affect One’s Mental Health?

Eating disorders have only been widely recognized as an illness in the last 50 years, although these disorders have existed for centuries. In the Middle Ages, starving oneself was a way of cleansing the soul, and the spiritual aspect continued through centuries. As the beauty type changed from rounded, full-figured women to lithe, thin ones, eating disorders became more prominent as a way to gain beauty. Today, the cause is unknown since many factors can lead to eating disorders. Regardless of the cause, it can then lead to other mental health issues.

Eating disorders can disrupt the body’s reward system.

When you eat sugar, it activates the opioid receptors and causes the release of dopamine, part of the body’s reward system. Binge-eating, for instance, alters the body’s food intake control and reward response. Those changes can be permanent and make recovery difficult, if not impossible. It causes biological changes that make the disorders chronic and reoccurring.

Eating disorders aren’t a lifestyle choice.

There are underlying pre-existing mental, physical, and behavioral conditions when people develop eating disorders. The person may have compulsive-obsessive behavior, a perfectionist personality, body image issues, or control issues. Some believe it’s cultural, often developing in people who have a misconception of the perfect body. In a society that often touts that you can never be too thin, it’s easy to see how it can happen. It can be a coping mechanism to deal with other issues created by the belief that if you can control yourself and your body’s need to eat, you can control anything in life. Finding the underlying cause is the top priority to successfully overcome eating disorders.

Eating disorders can make other mental issues worse.

Eating disorders may exist with another mental health issue and make it worse. It can co-exist with addiction, for instance. Many mental health professionals find that when one is treated, the other one becomes activated and more difficult to treat. Eating disorders can also cause malnutrition, which can lead to other mental health issues, such as paranoia, depression, and anxiety. Treating the eating disorder and nourishing the body can diminish the symptoms caused by the nutritional deficiency.

  • Three types of eating disorders are common, anorexia, binge-eating, and bulimia. Each type of eating disorder has specific symptoms.
  • The symptoms of an eating disorder vary. Some include over-exercising, a preoccupation with dieting, dramatic weight fluctuations, dental issues, and menstrual irregularities.
  • Not all people with eating disorders are thin. Binge eaters, for instance, consume huge amounts of food in an almost ritualistic session, reverting to stealing food sometimes. Unlike people with anorexia, binge-eaters are usually overweight.
  • One of the biggest mental health issues that can occur when people have eating disorders is a distorted view of themselves. It can cause self-hate, lead to self-destruction, and requires finding the cause of the disease before treatment can be successful.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Should We Eat Like Cavemen?

Should We Eat Like Cavemen?

One diet that’s gained popularity in New York, NY is the Paleo diet. If you’re on the Paleo diet, you eat like cavemen, sans the brontosaurus burgers. It’s based on the concept that our bodies were healthier when we ate the food that grew before farming began and eating food that’s more genetically matched to our bodies could keep you healthy and thin. Since cavemen didn’t farm, grains were not part of every meal. Milk products weren’t either, and neither were legumes.

Early man was a hunter-gatherer.

Before the creation of villages and farms, people were nomadic. They lived off the land foraging for vegetation, hunting animals, and enjoying the occasional treat of honey or sweet fresh fruit. There not only wasn’t processed food, but there also wasn’t even a bartering system to get food from others. Many traveled in groups since it was safer and beneficial when looking for food. Many of the vegetables eaten today did not exist or existed in a different form. Man ate what the landscape provided, which varied from place to place. Carrots were a source of energy but weren’t orange. Man watched animals eat the plant and then added the food to the diet. Eating wasn’t about preferences but about survival.

What makes the Paleo diet a good option?

Early man didn’t live long, but the short life span didn’t come from his diet. There were other pitfalls in life. The Paleo diet is beneficial because it cuts out processed foods and focuses on whole foods, which is the groundwork for any healthy diet. One controversy is the lack of grains. Some paleolithic diets ban not only the use of cereals—grain—but also pseudocereals, like quinoa. Including pseudocereals is debated. Man has consumed them for centuries. If it grew wild in an area where the early man lived, he most likely would have used it as food.

Cavemen had a lot of muscle mass.

One factor often ignored is the amount early man exercised. It wasn’t by choice but by necessity. Their transportation was their feet. They had to gather or capture their food. If you’re going Paleo, make your lifestyle Paleo, too. If your destination is close enough to walk, do it. If you have a choice between the stairs and the elevator, take the stairs. Find a way to increase daily activity. You can even forage for your own food by finding You-Pick fruit and vegetable farms.

  • Eggs were a common protein source for early man and were often eaten raw. It isn’t recommended today due to many diseases that can transfer, but consuming eggs is encouraged.
  • Paleolithic man didn’t eat much at one time but ate what he found immediately. They didn’t waste any part of a catch, including organ meat. Most paleontologists believe that early man even ate the marrow out of bones.
  • If you want to do a modified paleo diet, just cut out processed food and food with added sugar. It will go a long way to improving your health and helping you lose those extra pounds.
  • Be aware that by cutting out grains and dairy, you’re also reducing fiber, B vitamins, calcium, iron, selenium, and magnesium. Be aware of those nutritional gaps and find a way to fill the void.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Pantry Staples For Runners

Pantry Staples For Runners

Runners are no different from other athletes. They require a healthy diet. That’s where the similarity ends. There are tweaks to make each diet more appropriate for the sport. Even within running, the pantry staples will vary from those who run marathons to people who run sprints. Marathon runners need carb-loading with meals that include pasta, while sprint runners, who also use carbs, need to focus more on fruits and vegetables for carbs. What does the average runner require for pantry staples? While it will vary based on other goals, here are a few suggestions that most runners should have.

Load the pantry with carbs and grains.

Keep whole grains on hand. Consider brown rice, oats, quinoa, or bulgar. Everyone immediately thinks of pasta for meals the night before marathons. Make it whole wheat pasta for more fiber, protein, and B vitamins. Both white and sweet potatoes should be staples. While lentils and beans could be under the heading of protein, they’re also a good source of carbs. One last item most people forget is whole grain cereal. You can eat it as a snack, too.

Get a protein boost for maintaining muscle mass.

You can stock up on protein by filling your cupboards with canned chicken, salmon, or tuna. If you aren’t into canned chicken, buy a whole chicken, boil it, and put it into individual serving-size bags. When you want a chicken salad or for a main course, thaw it in the refrigerator. Save the broth for chicken rice or chicken noodle soup. A go-to sandwich for protein and carbs is peanut or other nut butter. Keep several types ready to use. Avoid any with hydrogenated oils, palm oils, or added sugar. You can also make your own if you have nuts or have nuts ready as snacks.

Healthy fats and extras play a role.

What are the healthiest fats to have? Olive oil and avocado oil for a start. Pay close attention to shelf life. Most healthy oils have a 6 to 12-month shelf life that’s shorter once the bottle is open. If you don’t use oils frequently, only have one oil opened at a time. Tahini, which is used to make hummus, is another source of fat. Keep stock on hand by freezing the stock from boiled meat, vegetables, or poultry or using bouillon cubes or canned stock.

  • The oil in nuts can become rancid if stored too long. Extend their shelf-life by freezing them. Cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds stay fresh for up to a year, while pecans are good for two years in the freezer.
  • Granola or protein bars without added sugar can be a mini meal or healthy snack. It should have at least ten grams of protein and a healthy carbohydrate. Some healthy fat and fiber are also necessary and can come from nuts or fruit.
  • If you want to boost your protein intake, add protein powders. You can add them to smoothies or sweet treats like cookies. Also, keep honey or real maple syrup on hand as sweeteners.
  • Don’t forget healthy herbs and spices. They add flavor and nutrients to your food. Vinegar is also a must. No matter what type you choose, you can use it for salad dressing and other healthy recipes.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Portion Control And Mindful Eating

Portion Control And Mindful Eating

Living in New York, NY, it seems like everything is rushed. It’s definitely a fast-moving town. The fast pace can change habits, including how we eat. I’m not talking about the food itself, but how fast you eat it. Like the hustle and bustle of the city, people eat food at a furious pace, with mindful eating at a minimum. There’s no leisurely meal here for many people. It’s a city of good food and lots of it, which also means big servings. It makes portion control difficult too. Conquering these two concepts can make a huge difference in your weight loss program.

Almost every restaurant wants you to get more for your money.

New York is a town known for exceptional food, including street vendors. Food critics often include the words generous portions in their articles about New York City restaurants. For the average person, generous portions are good, but for the person trying to lose weight, it leads down the path of failure. If you’re counting calories or carbs, knowing portion size and sticking with that size is important. While it may not make a difference for salad greens, it certainly does for fries and other calorie-dense foods.

People often ignore portion size on the label.

If you’ve ever purchased a small bag of chips and read the label, you’ll normally simply look at the total calories, without checking the portion size. That’s because you believe it’s one portion. It’s not always true. Often there is more than one portion in individual serving sizes, making it misleading enough that people consume an entire bag. Large serving sizes in restaurants can feed two or more people, but most people eat the entire serving, doubling the calories they thought they consumed. Focusing on portion size and learning how to judge it can be a leading way to get on track for weight loss.

Mindful eating can help you stick with portion size.

Mindful eating purposefully slows your consumption of food. You take time to savor the flavor, feel the texture and chew more. It’s about eating slower and allowing your stomach to send the message of being full to your brain sooner, before you overeat. In New York, everything is fast-paced, including meals. When you slow down and savor each bite, you’ll eat less. You’ll be more likely to stick with portion size and save the rest of the meal for a second one later. The two work together to make weight loss far easier. Being more aware of what you eat and learning to savor each bite can help prevent mindless eating. Mindless eating includes those few M&Ms you grabbed as you passed the candy dish or eating the last bits of casserole left in the pan.

  • People who overeat often don’t like food. People who really love food savor it and enjoy every moment. You’ll eat less and enjoy it more when you practice mindful eating.
  • Play visual tricks to encourage portion control. Use smaller plates and fill most of the plate with salad and vegetables, leaving little room for higher-calorie foods.
  • When you understand portion size, you’ll use it to guide you to eating foods more filling. Instead of 1/4 cup of fruit juice, opt for a half cup of cut-up fruit or the whole fruit.
  • Mindful eating also aids digestion. Much digestion takes place in the mouth. The longer you chew, the less work the rest of your digestive tract has to do. It can help reduce gassiness and bloating.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

Do I Need To Eat Organic Fruits And Veggies?

Do I Need To Eat Organic Fruits And Veggies?

Organic food includes both produce and animal products. GMO produce is also included in non-organic selections. Organically grown fruits and vegetables are lower in pesticides and chemicals. Every year the EWG—Environmental Working Group makes a “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen” list. The organic label extends beyond produce; it also is used for animal products. Are there reasons for choosing organic animal products?

What are the two EWG lists all about?

Last year’s “Clean 15” list included onions. Why? Because onions don’t test high for contaminant residue. Every year the EWG selects fruits and vegetables across the country to test. They wash the produce and test it for residue from contaminants like herbicides or pesticides. Those that have few, if any contaminants after cleaning make the “Clean 15” list, and those with high amounts, are on the “Dirty Dozen” list.

Organic animal products come from animals whose treatment supports their health and welfare.

Meat and other animal products labeled organic come from animals that aren’t given antibiotics or growth hormones. They also consume food that’s grown organically and often free-range or grass-fed. Free-range poultry is different from cage-free. Free-range allows them access to the outdoors, where they can eat a traditional diet. Animals that are grass-fed get most of their nutrients from consuming grass but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re free from antibiotics, pesticides, or hormones. If an animal product is labeled certified organic, it’s required to be organic pasture-raised during the grazing season and at other times consume organic feed.

The benefits of organic food.

Are the amounts of chemicals and pesticides in produce and animal products enough to cause concern? The jury is still out and there are conflicting studies. One thing is certain, fruits and vegetables have lower nutrient content today than they did 50 years ago. The problem may come from the way commercial farming fertilizes. Commercial farmers add nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus each year, which doesn’t replenish trace minerals. Decomposed organic material does. Animal products that are certified organic have a heart-healthy fatty acid profile compared to those traditionally raised.

  • Organically grown fruits and vegetables have more trace minerals but substantially lower level of nitrate. High levels of nitrates are associated with some types of cancer.
  • To reduce pesticides in your food while saving money, go organic when selecting produce on the “Dirty Dozen” list and traditionally grown fruit and vegetables on the “Clean 15” list.
  • Clean 15 list includes avocado, onion, sweet corn, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, cabbage, frozen Sweet Peas, asparagus, mushrooms, mango, cantaloupes, watermelon, and sweet potato.
  • Grass-fed beef and dairy are higher in omega-3 fatty acids with more CLA—conjugated linoleic acid. CLA— which lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer. Eggs from free-range chickens are higher in vitamins E, A, and omega-3 fatty acids.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy

How Do Grains Cause A Leaky Gut?

How Do Grains Cause A Leaky Gut?

It’s hard for the body to digest grains. Mother Nature intended that to occur. Grains are the seeds of plants. The continuation of the species is important for those seeds to be planted. The seeds are created to survive the digestive juices in the gut, to be scattered on the ground later in the waste. There are other safety measures taken so that the seed doesn’t sprout before it’s in an area where it can grow and thrive. Unfortunately for humans, the very things that protect the plant and seed can cause problems in the body, which include leaky gut.

What is leaky gut?

Leaky gut still isn’t accepted by the medical community and remains a hypothetical theory. The theory is that the mucous lining of the gut becomes more permeable and allows leakage, causing more water, nutrients, and even toxins to leak through, creating a cascading number of symptoms. Leaky gut syndrome affects many areas of the body. If toxins enter the bloodstream, it triggers inflammation throughout the body, not just in the gut. Besides causing digestive issues, other conditions thought related to leaky gut are diabetes, arthritis, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

Grains not only are difficult to digest because of their hard shells, and protease inhibitors.

Even if you grind grain, and remove the outer shell, grains are still hard on the digestive system because of a phytochemical called a protease inhibitor. It neutralizes the digestive enzymes, which allows plant proteins and toxins to remain intact and not degraded. That neutralization causes the body to send a message to the pancreas to produce more digestive enzymes and send it to the small intestines. An imbalance can form with too much trypsin created, which can cause a breakdown of the enterocyte cells and ultimately, leaky gut.

Grains, like members of the nightshade family, contain lectins.

Lectins protect plants from insects and pests. You might call them Mother Nature’s natural pesticide. Lectins don’t digest but pass through the digestive system with the seed intact, so when it finally is passed in waste, it has the waste as its fertilizer and its own natural pesticide. Lectin can play havoc on the gut and if there’s already a problem, it makes it far worse.

  • Grains and legumes both contain phytic acid. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient. It slows digestion and diminishes the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium, which are important for the proper functioning of the immune system, and can lead to leaky gut.
  • Grains contain complex proteins. Complex proteins are difficult to digest and the hardest for the body to break down.
  • Grains aren’t the only plants that contain lectins. Eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and other members of the nightshade family also contain it.
  • Sprouting, fermenting or soaking grains can help remove many of the problem phytochemicals in grains. Using heirloom varieties of grains or pseudo-grains can also reduce the potential for leaky gut.

For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy