The Secret Ingredient to Baking Healthier Cakes

The Secret Ingredient to Healthier CakesHealth conscious individuals try to avoid eating cakes as much as possible. Why? For one, the flour used in baking cakes lack the vital nutrients. This refined ingredient stimulates the production of insulin which promotes the storage of fats in the body. Same goes with sugar. Two, there’s the use of butter and margarine, which is rich in saturated fat. And saturated fat increases the levels of bad cholesterol in our bodies, a huge predisposing factor to heart disease. Margarine is also filled with trans fat, which doesn’t just increase LDL, but also lowers HDL (good cholesterol). With all that said, how can one make healthier cakes?

Making healthier cakes

The answer, according to scientists, is replacing the usual flour with finely ground corn bran. But what difference does this make? Well, it can increase the body’s fiber intake. With increased intake of dietary fiber, we get to absorb good amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber that is essential in preventing constipation, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, just some of the many side effects of eating a diet made with refined ingredients.

Corn Bran in, flour out!

corn-branIn an article published in, Mukti Singh, a food technologist associated with the US Department of Agriculture, shares that corn bran can be a substitute to 20% of flour. In her experiments, she used white cake gold standard test flour approved by the American Association of Cereal Chemists. But why just 20%? According to you still have to consider the qualities that make up white cake, such as color and springness. Furthermore “one slice of an 8-inch, 6-slice, two-layer white cake made with 20% corn bran fiber would provide about 5 grams of fiber,” which is way more than what usual cake flour can give us. The recommended daily intake of dietary fiber is 20 to 35 grams.

Lowering fat and calorie count

Singh has also worked on experiments aimed at lowering fat and calorie content in cakes. The test entailed encapsulating microdroplets of canola oil wity water and flour by a stream jet cooking process. According to her and her colleagues, “the cream-textured mixture that results can then be dried to form a smooth-flowing, shelf stable powder that offers busy bakers the convenience of not having to pour, measure or clean up any oil. Their studies have established a foundation for other researchers to further experiment on creating healthier cakes, bread and possible other pastries. Imagine feeling less guilty while indulging in all those treats.

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Healthier Ways to Deal with Anger

dealingwithangerWe all get mad sometimes, but there are just some people who don’t really know how to manage their anger, and it can lead to a lot of negative effects to your mind, body and soul. For those of you who have anger management issues, it’s high time you learn how to express rage in the right ways, and here are a few tips that should help you out.

Dealing with Anger

Even more tips

Healthier Ways to Deal with Anger

  1.  A good number of people would rather not think about their anger. They will choose to act out different emotions, such as depression or frustration these are less likely to drive people away. However, suppressing your anger just brings more anxiety and an increased likelihood of experiencing physical complaints. That said, it would be best to show anger directly.
  2. Make an appointment for a massage or other type of natural healer. Often times this can alleviate the negative energy that’s bottled up inside of you.
  3. Don’t view rage as a bad thing. Many believe this about anger, and they think that if they’re angry there must be something wrong with them. But anger is simply an emotional response telling people that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.
  4. Women in relationships often get angry because they tend to associate anger with hurt. In contrast, men’s anger centers more on different parts of their lives such as work or traffic or politics. So try not to let yourself be vulnerable to hurt feelings. The less vulnerable you feel, the more likely it will be for you to express anger in more constructive ways.
  5. Talk about the anger that you feel with family members or friends. Reach out to them and they may be able to help you sort things out. If you have trouble saying what you feel, then you can always put it in writing. But while doing that, it would be nice if you could practice how to share your anger or how you will be able to speak to the person you’re mad at.
  6. Also try to learn how to calm yourself. This can help you think about what you’re feeling and what you need to do to solve the problem. This will also help you develop the ability to listen to other people’s feeling, instead of both parties having to engage in a heated confrontation.

Even more ways of dealing with anger

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No More Excuses – Start with Simple Exercises

girl-joggingAs they watch their favorite celebrities on TV, people often wonder how these stars maintain the perfect body even in their 60′s. Well, if you get off that couch, try to be more active and keep away from junk food, you can absolutely be just like like. A lot of celebrities work hard for a rockin’ body, and so must you. And don’t try to make excuses like “i’m too busy” or “it’s too expensive. Most of us work 8-hour shifts, and if you have the time to sot in front of the tv a couple of hours, then you definitely have time to exercise.

It doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need to shell out cash every month for plyometrics classes, nor do you need to hire a personal trainer or nutritionist. All you really need is to eat healthy, do exercises that can easily fit into your lifestyle and practice self-discipline. Get familiar with the FDA’s food pyramid and be sure to examine the nutritional information on your food labeling. More on food labeling and FDA compliance here.

  • Go for a Run – Cardio workout is essential if you want to achieve a great body and overall health, and going for a run is an excellent for of cardio. Unless you live in a busy city with people walking in the street all the time, there’s really no point of going to the gym and hitting the treadmill. You can just start from outside your home and run several blocks and back, or if you live near the beach, you can run the whole stretch of that powdery white sand.
  • Take on Sports – If you love the water, then why not do several laps in the pool. Swimming is an excellent choice of sport, especially for those who live nearby public swimming pools or those with actual pools in their houses. They’re not just there for the summer, you know.

But if swimming isn’t your thing, then do a sport you’re most fond of. It is more encouraging when you’re actually doing something you love. If you used to play tennis when you were younger, then it’s by time you get back into the sport. If you’ve always wanted to join your friends in playing volleyball, then you could ask them to teach you what you need to know. There are lots of sports to choose from. You only need to pick one.

  • Meditate – Many don’t realize that stress hinders us from achieving overall health. It actually predisposes us to certain medical conditions like a heart attack or stroke and even psychiatric concerns. The easiest way you can counter stress is by taking a minute to meditate. There are many forms of meditation, and you only have to pick one that best helps you relax. And another great thing about meditation – you can do it while at the workplace and in the comfort of your own home.
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Healthy Lunch Alternative at the Workplace

healthy-lunches-for-work-1There is something different going on where I work, and I have to say my co-workers and I are enjoying the change. We all work at Delsea Auto Insurance Agency and there’s a lunchroom available to us with a very small cafeteria. We can use the refrigerator located there if we decide to bring in our own lunches, or we can order from the lunchroom staff, but that’s not always appealing. It’s typically overpriced food that is not really all that palatable. Picture airport food, or something along the lines of hospital cafeteria food and you have the general idea.

Corporate must have noticed we weren’t taking advantage of the lunchroom offerings because, out of nowhere, we noticed renovations occurring. For about two weeks, we had to use one of the empty conference rooms as a temporary break room while construction occurred. When the final reveal was presented to the staff, we were dumbstruck. Not only did the lunchroom take on an entirely different look, but we had many more options available to us. We had more tables to dine at, there were more ports for us to plug our devices in to, televisions hung from two corners, there were two more windows (there was only one previously), and soft music played in the background.

We started noticing a change in how we felt immediately. The lunchroom’s vending machines filled with candy and soda were replaced with vending machines filled with juices, deli sandwiches, and healthy snacks. Instead of a al carte area where employees could choose microwaved slices of pizza, a hamburger, or some other quick option, higher quality foods were served. Now, we can order from a cold-served gluten-free menu, create salads from a fresh salad bar, and order fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies.

Instead of drinking vending machine coffee, we can also drink premium coffees. This has made a difference because, in addition to tasting better, I don’t mind staying in the office longer instead of going out for coffee during breaks. It’s so much easier to run down the hall, grab a cup and select from one of the dozens of choices. This is especially true on busy workdays when I know the weather is bad and the last thing I want to do is fight traffic. This is true in the lunchroom, too. Instead of heading out for lunch, most of us decided to utilize the facilities. It’s more cost-effective and it’s a huge time saver. We could also hit up the lunchroom when we needed to stay late at work and needed a small snack.

I’m so thankful for these changes because before, when the old lunchroom was there, the only options for out of the office lunches were fast food. I don’t mind that every once in a while, but that kind of food always makes me feel sluggish. When I feel that way midday, it’s so difficult to get through the rest of my work. With healthier food and the ability to run in for a quick snack or good coffee, I feel so much better throughout the day.

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Simple Activities that Keep Us Fit and Healthy

Some people choose not to be physically active because they think that all the physical effort they would put into an exercise routine will just make them even more exhausted. What they don’t understand is that part of being fit and healthy requires you to avoid a sedentary lifestyle as much as possible. However, there are simpler tasks you can do to achieve wellness.

  • Make a habit of stretching before you head to be. Grab your toes and pull, as this will improve your body’s circulation. And with proper circulation, our muscles and nerves will be able to function properly, preventing you from experiencing pain in the knee, back and hip area.
  • Simple exercises such as jumping jacks give you quite the advantage. Do about 25 reps. Being able to move your body, even in just a brief amount of time, can actually help elevate your mood, making you less susceptible to being overcome by stress.
  • We need around 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day, but a lot of people, kids especially, choose to stay up late texting and manipulating their phones. Try to place phones on silent mode during the evenings so that you get to sleep early and sleep soundly.
  • When we have kids, doctors and other health professionals emphasize the importance of completing immunizations. What most people aren’t aware of, however, is that shots are important even through their adult years. Get yourself protected with flu shots every year, as well as other immunizations such as those for cervical cancer.
  • Monitor the steps you make every day. You can do this with the help of activity trackers such as the Nike FuelBand. Studies have shown that those who do become more aware of their daily activities and are more encouraged to become more active.
  • Go for a short run early in the morning or maybe just take a trip to the nearest coffee shop in your area. Exposure to sunlight early in the morning can help normalize your body clock so you won’t feel groggy the rest of the day. Plus, the fresh air can help increase oxygen flow to the brain and increase levels of endorphins.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror. That’s right. Asses your body for any signs of abnormalities. Look for strange developments such as an irregular shaped mole, and do a monthly self breast examination. These help you detect early signs of cancer.
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Beach Activities to Stay Fit – From Sports to Metal Detecting

The beach is always the perfect place to visit as there are lots to see and so many things to do. Swim, beach comb, play a sport, jet ski, sunbathe, surf – the list goes on and on and on. But you don’t see everything all in one beach. For example, you don’t see surfers flock to certain beaches because there aren’t any good waves to ride.

Certain places are known for certain types of recreation. Maybe that’s why it’s always so refreshing to experience a different beach scene. Check out these popularly increasing beach activities and find out where you can catch them.

Beach Soccer: Rio de Janeiro is the cultural hub of Brazil, and it’s one lively tourist destination. In fact its where the 2014 World Cup will be hosted. Football (or soccer) is the most popular sport in the country, so it’s no surprise that beach soccer is a loved beach activity here, as well. The beaches of Rio de Janeiro are where beach soccer originated, specifically in Leme Beach. Praia do Pepe at the beginning of Barra da Tijuca, is also one location where sports enthusiasts like to come and play.

Body Surfing: One mention of body surfing, and I’m reminded of Hawaii. You’re free to do it in almost all the beaches there, so long as you check the weather conditions before going into the water. For those who are just starting out, head to mellow surf beaches such as Waikiki Beach in Oahu and Kalapaki Beach in Kauai. There, conditions are near-perfect. For more experienced body surfers, challenges await you in Makapu’u Beach Park.

Metal Detecting: Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire, UK offers you a pristine beach with golden sand, spectacular views, and a lot of washed-up trinkets just waiting to be found. So if you’re after travel and treasure, this quaint village is the place to be. People come across a variety of things, from ammonite fossils to lost pieces of jewelry. So why don’t you grab your metal detector and pay the place a visit. You might find knickknacks you’d probably want to keep forever.

Paddle Boarding: Calm, blue waters are perfect for paddle boarding, and the place with conditions that are almost always ideal for this kind of activity is Loreto, Mexico. Though paddle boarding is quite popular in Mexico, Loreto offers a much more relaxed vibe. Folks also enjoy visiting Bahia de Loreto National Park to get a chance at paddle boarding with their favorite marine animals. Tower Paddle boards comes to mind as a source for paddle boards – I remember watching them on Shark Tank

Tubing: If you get a kick at tubing as a recreation, then you will definitely have fun with the Banana Boat Ride and FlyFish. And I know of a fun-filled beach destination that offers both these rides 7 days a week – Boracay, Philippines. When you decide to sojourn in this beautiful island, you’ll find that it’s always so inviting to see a whole family or a bunch of friends enjoy the adrenalin rush that comes with riding the Banana Boat and FlyFish.

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Pregnant Women Need Exercise Too

Pregnant Women Need Exercise TooIn the early days, women were unsure about maintaining an active lifestyle while with child, but nowadays it is highly recommended. Pregnant women reap a lot of benefits from exercising regularly. It not only gives women an advantage during the entire course of their pregnancy, but it can also affect postpartum wellbeing. So what benefits am I talking about exactly? Read on to find out.

  1. If you sign up for a prenatal water aerobics class, that actually helps make labor and delivery much easier and less painful. It helps you develop a strong core, giving you enough strength to push deliver the baby. And one study even showed that the likelihood of these women to request pain medication reduced to 58%.
  2. Some women have no control over their weight during pregnancy, but according to research, women are likely to gain less weight when they continue to stick to a regular exercise plan. Because of that, it is quite possible to avoid complications such as preeclampsia and type 2 diabetes
  3. So what’s worse than the mood swings we experience during our period? The mood swings we encounter during pregnancy. But with an active lifestyle, you will be able lessen the chances of that happening.
  4. Having the time to do pelvic tilts, yoga or water exercises, especially during the second trimester, have shown to actually help decrease the likelihood of experiencing back pains while you are pregnant.
  5. One other benefit you get from doing yoga is help maximize the effects of relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone produced by the body during pregnancy that helps relax pelvic joints to prepare you delivery. The stretching you do during yoga can also allow relaxin to take effect on other joints in the body.
  6. Research has also shown that women who are more active have a higher chance at normal delivery, are 75% less likely to undergo forceps delivery and 55% less likely to have an episiotomy.
  7. One study that followed women 20 years after their pregnancy concluded that those who were able to workout while pregnant can run 2 miles at 2 1/2 minutes faster than those who opted to take a break from their exercise regimen. And if calculations are accurate, those women become fitter in middle age.
  8. Physically active women also seem to experience faster recovery from their pregnancy, and they are able to handle the stresses that come with motherhood much better.
  1. Sticking to your daily exercise routine while with child also takes your mind off being noxious. The physical activity also makes you feel better, so you’re less likely to experience the symptoms of morning sickness.
  1. We all know that smoking is never good to smoke while pregnant, nor is it good to smoke with children present. Exercise can actually makes it easier for you to kick the habit, allowing for a much healthier environment for you and your kids.
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Physically Active Children Perform Better in School

Physically Active Children Perform Better in SchoolThese days, you notice a lot of children are keeping themselves busy with sports and other extracurricular activities. They swim, they join the soccer team, they go hiking, they would attend a certain sports camp, and so on, which is good since a study has shown that physically active kids actually improve on academics. So how does all that exercise affect children’s performance in school? That will be explained below.

According to a study featured in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, participation in physical activity has a positive effect to children with regards to academic performance. It states that “physical activity and sports are generally promoted for their positive effect on children’s physical health; regular participation in physical activity in childhood is associated with a decreased cardiovascular risk in youth and adulthood. There is also a growing body of literature suggesting that physical activity has beneficial effects on several mental health outcomes, including health-related quality of life and better mood states.

In addition to the positive physical and mental health impact of physical activity, there is a strong belief that regular participation in physical activity is linked to enhancement of brain function and cognition thereby positively influencing academic performance. There are several hypothesized mechanisms for why exercise is beneficial for cognition, including (1) increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain; (2) increased levels of norepinephrine and endorphins, resulting in a reduction of stress and an improvement of mood; and (3) increased growth factors that help to create new nerve cells and support synaptic plasticity.

You may have noticed how a quick run somehow gives you clarity and enables you to focus when, before that, your mind was all fogged up. That’s because exercise directly affects brain function. And that’s exactly why kids need to stay active in school. Exercise helps develop and protect our brain neurons. It also stimulates the production of compounds that protect the nerves, allowing them to strengthen their connections. Plus, it allows for greater blood flow to the brain. All this improves brain function which can lead to the improvement of children’s behaviour in the classroom. In turn, it makes them more likely to concentrate on lectures and participate in classroom activities, and less likely to struggle with homework.

So if you’re kid spends more time watching the NBA or playing NBA 2K14 on the computer, why not encourage them to join the school’s basketball team or set up a ring at home and get them to shoot some hoops. Or if your kid just hangs in her room listening to music on her iPod, why not urge her to sign up for dance class or audition for the cheerleading squad.

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Keep Calm and Exercise Regularly

Keep Calm and Exercise RegularlyIt is a widely accepted fact that exercise produces a lot of physical benefits, but not a lot of people are aware that exercise has mental, emotional and psychological benefits, as well. People don’t seem to realize that the easy breezy feeling they experience after running a mile or so is associated with physical activity. Yes, exercise makes us feel good. So I guess it’s safe to say that being physically active affects our mood.

Michael Otto, PhD, a professor of psychology affiliated with Boston University says, “Exercise is something that psychologists have been very slow to attend to. People know that exercise helps physical outcomes. There is much less awareness of mental health outcomes – and much, much less ability to translate this awareness into exercise action.” There have been studies however that show a strong connection between our mood and regular exercise. Within just 5 minutes of physical activity, one can already experience an enhanced mood. But it doesn’t just end there.

Further studies have shown a link between exercise and depression. Duke University clinical psychologists, James Blumenthal, states that “there’s good epidemiological data to suggest that active people are less depressed than inactive people. And people who were active and stopped tend to be more depressed than those who maintain or initiate an exercise program.” In a study he conducted with his colleagues, he found that subjects (adults with major depressive disorders who live a sedentary lifestyle) who reported being able to exercise regularly within the one year time frame had lower depression scores and are less likely to go under remission.

As for the explanation as to why there was an improvement in mood, researchers believe that exercise increases serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter targeted by antidepressants, as well as the body’s brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which aids in the growth and development of our neurons or brain cells. Researches also think that the change in mood is caused by the regulation of normal sleep patterns, which positively affects the health of our brain. Otto adds that “exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain so stress has less of a central impact.”

Even so, Blumenthal explains that “mental health professionals might think exercise may be a good complement [to other therapies], and that may be true, but there’s very limited data that suggests combining exercise with another treatment is better than the treatment or the exercise alone.” It is nice to finally be aware of the mental benefits of exercise though, because it gives you more reason to be physically active.

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Food Items that Help You Achieve Overall Health

Besides good hygiene, regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, we owe our health to proper diet. Remember that proper diet is different from skipping meals and starving yourself. It means eating the right food and eating in moderation. By right food, I mean food items rich in all the right nutrients, and I have a list of those I encourage you to incorporate in your diet. These food items are quite beneficial to certain parts of your body, so they can definitely help you in your quest to achieve overall health.

  • Avocado – Eating avocados actually prevent adrenal fatigue. This fruit is filled with antioxidants, amino acids and good fats that help regulate adrenal function to maintain homeostasis.
  • Black Currants – Your parents always tell you that carrots and squash help maintain good vision, and they’re right. But aside from that, black currants help develop a keen night vision, thanks to the compound anthocyanosides, and it’s packed with lots of vitamin C.
  • Broccoli – Broccoli, not to mention all the other cruciferous vegetables (like bok choy, arugula, watercress and Brussels sprouts), helps improve liver function, enabling the body to get rid of as much toxins as possible.
  • Eggs – Ever heard of women applying raw egg onto their hair? That’s because eggs have vitamin B12 and biotin that strengthen hair, as well as iron that helps prevent hair loss.
  • Ginger – Ginger also has many health benefits. It breaks down the accumulation of toxins in different parts of the body, and it also aids in washing out our lymphatic system. Thus, minimizing one’s risk for infection.
  • Mushrooms – Japanese mushrooms, to be precise. Maitake, shitake, shimehi and all the rest are said to boost immunity. They contain the antioxidant ergothianine, which protects us from harmful free radicals and neurotoxins.
  • Oatmeal – Not only does the fiber in oatmeal aid in digestion and elimination, it also prevents the accumulation of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol in the body.
  • Pomegranate – Pomegranate contains ellagic acid, punic alagin and phytonutrients that are all responsible for giving you smooth, healthy and glowing skin.
  • Pumpkin Seed – We all dread experiencing a heart attack, and so we make it a point to eat healthy just so we can avoid it. You will need pumpkin seeds in your diet because they contain magnesium that keeps your blood pressure within normal range.
  • Sage – Sage actually aids in respiratory problems. And a good way to get your intake of sage is by drinking sage tea. It helps expectorate mucous from your respiratory tract, relieving cough and enabling you breathe easy.
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