Saturday, 28 April 2012

Health Benefits of Tuna


When discussing super foods it is often broccoli, cauliflower and other vegetables and seeds that get mentioned. However, tuna fish is a food that should genuinely be considered up there with other super foods. Tuna fish is a truly nutrient dense food that is packed with goodness, with many health benefits.

The Nutrition of Tuna – A True Health Food

The health benefits of tuna stem from the macro and micro nutrients that they contain. Tuna is an excellent source of high quality protein (for the importance of protein click here), which is why it is so often eaten by weight trainers and other athletes. Tuna is also rich in a variety of important vitamins and minerals. The vitamins that tuna contains includes; niacin, B1 and B6. The minerals contained in tuna include; selenium, magnesium and potassium. One of the most important and beneficial elements of tuna is the fact that it contains the omega-3 essential fatty acids (and for more information on why these are so important click here).

The Health Benefits of Tuna

With all this being said with regards to the nutrients contained in tuna, what does it all do for us?

Well the high levels of protein can have numerous positive effects. The benefits of protein include; help with weight loss, promoting healthy muscle growth, repairing of tissue and injuries, building of skin, nails and cartilage and help with circulation. 

Tuna contains a very high level of selenium. Selenium is essential in flushing toxins from the liver, which in turn will promote good health overall. Some research also suggests that selenium deficiency is linked to many diseases including; some forms of cancer, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and diabetes.  

As mentioned previously, tuna contains great levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids. The importance of essential fatty acids can be found on my previous blog entry Essential Fatty Acids. However, a quick look shows that omega-3s promote heart health and reduce the risks of heart attacks and blood clots. It also appears that omega-3s can protect against rheumatoid arthritis, cardiac arrhythmias, depression, and anxiety and may have anti-cancer affects.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

An Interesting Healthy Snack

Apple and Peanut Butter?!

Eating Healthy and Snacks

Eating healthy is often a very hard thing to achieve. We are told different information from different sources. However, it is generally considered that eating little and often is a good method of eating right. This means that we need to snack throughout the day, around three larger meals. With that in mind it seems very easy to fall into the trap of snacking on foods like crisps (potato chips) and other foods that lack any real nutritional value.

Carbs plus Protein or Fat

It is also important to note that when we snack on sugary foods we get hungry an hour or so later, meaning we eat again and the calories begin to pile up. The reason for this is that carbohydrates are fast burning, so when we snack it is important that we combine some good carbs with some protein or fat, or both for that matter. This brings us to an interesting healthy snack that is packed with nutrition and should keep you full that little bit long – apple with peanut butter.

Apple and Peanut Butter – Yum

Apple and peanut butter did not sound that appetising to me, however, once I had tried it I became hooked. This is now a standard snack for me to have because it is tasty as well as simple and quick to make. I tend to slice my apple up and spread some peanut butter on it, but it could easily be chopped into sticks and dipped into peanut butter for the same effect!

This really is an interesting snack to try out and one that should give enough nutrients to be worthwhile.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Crash Diets and Why They Fail

Crash Diets – Why They Fail

What is a crash diet?

A crash diet, essentially, is a diet regime that lacks certain nutritional requirements in order to restrict the intake of calories and therefore help us to lose weight. The idea is to help achieve rapid weight loss, and to not last a long time.

These types of diet are typically not a healthy way of either living or dieting and are generally quite unsuccessful, certainly in the long term.

Why do crash diets fail?

Although it is often the case that people who partake in crash diets do see a loss of weight, it is extremely common that these people put that weight straight back on.

One reason for this is that when we lower our calorie intake, the body alters its metabolic rate. Once we increase our calorie intake again the calories are being burnt at a slower rate and so the weight can easily be put back on. Essentially, when we lower the calorie intake our body goes into a fat storage, as opposed to fat burner, mode.

Generally, crash diets shed muscle rather than fat and so our body shape will not alter very much, while all along we are burning off muscle that we want and need. This is due to the body storing the fat that it has for energy reserves. Essentially, muscle is more disposable to the body than fat. Therefore, although we are losing weight on the scales, it is not the right weight, and we will be just as flabby as ever.

Another reason as to why crash diets fail is that restrictions of foods are hard to stick to. If we do not allow ourselves a certain food, we are far more likely to crave it and then eat far too much of it! So by restricting a certain food to lose weight can often have the opposite effect.

What we should do to lose weight

Losing weight is not as difficult as some people make it out to be. However, people do have problems with it and a lot comes from the fact that there is too much conflicting information available. Burning more calories than we use is the way to go, but we need to do it in a healthy manner, that we are able to maintain. We must set realistic targets and avoid the yo-yo culture that seems so easy to get into. A healthy weight loss program should look to lose around 2 pounds of body fat per week. This is the healthy and right way to lose weight. We will be less likely to put the weight on this way.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Should We Avoid Eating Fruit?

Should We Avoid Fruit?

I am going to begin this blog entry by answering the question immediately – no we should not avoid fruit. We should definitely not be avoiding fruit in our diet and the rest of this blog entry will explain further.

The Myth

It is not uncommon to hear people suggesting that we attempt to keep fruit from our diet. There seems to be a variety of reasons behind this but what it all boils down to essentially is the amount of (natural) sugar in fruits and the belief that sugar is bad for you and therefore fruit should be avoided. So that is basically the belief.

Why We Should Not Avoid Fruits

Fruit contains a natural form of sugar called fructose. This is not the same as the added sugar that we find in sugary drinks, cakes and biscuits (or cookies for Americans). Now, it is true that there is a fairly high amount of sugar (fructose) in fruits but when we compare with chocolate bars we can really see why we should stick to eating fruits. Fruit contains far less calories than a chocolate bar, but also contains a lot of vitamins, minerals and other good stuff that is lacking from a chocolate bar. Coupled with the fact that chocolate bars contain far more calories, we can see why fruits should remain in our diet.

It is certainly true that we should not ONLY eat fruits but they should remain a major part of our diet. They contain too much good to be avoided.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Free Radicals Versus Anti-Oxidants

Free Radicals

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are molecules and atoms that have an unpaired electron in an outer shell. Free radicals are responsible for our aging as well as some tissue damage and potentially some diseases. It appears true that some damage caused by free radicals cannot be avoided; some damage can be protected against. The main danger of free radicals appears to be when they react with important cellular components such as DNA.

How do we deal with them?

Essentially the way to deal with free radicals is by consuming anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants can safely interact with free radicals and stop them from causing negative reactions and damage within the body. Vitamins A, C and E as well as Beta-carotene are thought to be the most important with regards to neutralising free radicals.

As the body does not produce anti-oxidants, they must come from the diet. Foods that tend to be high in anti-oxidants are mainly fruits and vegetables, and it is particularly the vitamins in these fruits and vegetables that are the key.

Thursday, 12 April 2012



What Are Squats?

Squats are a fabulous exercise for working the lower part of the body. The main muscle groups that get worked are the thighs, hips, buttocks, quads and hamstrings. However, through squatting with a weight we can exercise and strengthen pretty much the whole body, as the core, arms, back and shoulders are all used when performing squats with weights. 

Squats can help to achieve supreme power in the legs and really increase the strength of our legs. They are an essential for any workout. 

Improving and advancing

One of the great things about squats is that we can improve and advance upon them almost indefinitely. Obviously we can increase the number of repetitions that we complete to improve our squat workout, but we can advance further upon this. Simply by adding weight we can continuously develop and increase the strength of our muscles through squats.

The Squat as a stretch

The squat can also be used as a stretch. Many athletes now use the squat to stretch out various muscles. To do this we simply crouch as low down in the seated position of the squat as we can and hold the stretch for 30 seconds (vary the length on ability).

Monday, 9 April 2012

We Need Vitamin C

Vitamin C

For humans, vitamin C is an essential nutrient, meaning that it is required for the body to perform correctly, but we cannot produce it ourselves, we must consume it. We need it; now let’s have a look into what it does for us.

Why we need Vitamin C

If we have vitamin C deficiency there are many problems that may arise. Major deficiency in vitamin C can lead to scurvy. This is characterised by haemorrhages, abnormal bone and dentine formation, loose teeth and poor immunity.

Benefits of Vitamin C

The benefits of vitamin C are wide ranging. Firstly, it is a very useful and highly effective antioxidant, which can help the body fight against free radicals. It is essential for in healing wounds, and helps in the recovery from burns. It is also suggested that vitamin C can help with our immune system.

Sources of Vitamin C

Luckily for us there are a wide range of sources in order to get vitamin C into our body so we can live healthy. Most fruits contain good amounts of vitamin C, as well as a lot of vegetables.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Keys To A Successful Workout

Keys To A Successful Workout

It is all well and good to exercise, but we need to make sure that we are getting the most from a workout. This blog entry will look to examine the keys to a successful workout. Let’s go!

Just as strong – from set to set

When we are working out we can judge the perfect amount of repetitions by being able to do a similar amount each time. If there is a major drop from our first set to our second, then we are doing too much on the first. But if we are able to do a similar amount each time then three things are being shown. Firstly, that we are using the right amount of weight. Secondly, we are resting the right amount of time in between each set. Finally, it shows us that our body is correctly fuelled for the workout.

No Hunger

When we are working out it is important that we do not feel hungry during the workout. If we do feel hungry during a workout it suggests that our blood-glucose levels are dropping and this is bad. Essentially, when this happens, we end up using muscle protein for energy and this means that our muscles will shrink rather than grow.

Feeling Pumped

As we’re working out our muscles should begin to look bigger, more refined, as well as feel heavier. This is the feeling of pumped! I think Arnie described as a feeling better than sex!

Not Wiped Out

It is important that after our workout we feel worked out. We should feel a bit shaky after the workout. However, it is important that, while we do feel tired, we do not feel like we cannot move, or pick something up. If it were like this it would show that we had done too much.

We Want More

Another great sign of us working out successfully is whether or not we want to go back for more! If we feel that we are looking forward to our next workout this is an excellent sign that things are going well. This stems from us seeing improvements in our body due to a workout and therefore we want to improve further and cannot wait to get back on it.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Signs That Our Workout Is Not Working

Some Signs That Our Workout Is Not Working

There are a lot of problems that we can experience when we exercise regularly, among them is the fact that our workout may not be working for us anymore. However, we often fail to see this and we trust what we have done before. This blog will look into some sure signs that our workout is simply not working for us at the moment.

1. One of the major signs of a workout not working is us wanting to leave the gym (or finish our workout). If our workout is going well we will get a great feeling from endorphins being released. However, if we cannot wait to finish then we are getting bored of the workout – time to change it up.

2. Another major sign is if we are feeling the exercises in places that we should not be. Joint pain, for example, is something that should not be ignored and if we are feeling pain then we should not continue.

3. The next sign is if we feel lousy after our workout. If, post-workout, we are feeling sick or have muscle cramps and other problems then we have done something wrong in the workout (probably pushed too far) and we should look to rectify the problem for our next workout.

4. Finally, if we appear to be weaker than the last time we worked out then something is going wrong. We should be progressing each time we work out so if we feel weaker then something needs addressing, such as rest time, nutrition and/or amount we are working out.

So, here are some key signs that suggest our workout is not working. When we begin to see these signs it is important to identify what we are doing wrong and sort it out so that we can continue to progress.