Cooling Down Is Important For Less Pain And Faster Recovery

Many of us assume the most important part of working out is actually working out. Wrong, those amongst us who are constantly saying “I’m in a bit of a rush and won’t bother with cooling down” are doing themselves absolutely no favors, unless they are looking for injuries. Those extra 10-15 minutes can literally be the difference between getting out of bed the next morning pain free and a serious injury. If you are short on time, cut your workout down to enable a proper cool down. Cooling down is important for several reasons:

Cooling down can help prevent those dizzy spells and even fainting that can occur when you stop a vigorous workout suddenly. If you stop suddenly, the blood can pool in those large muscles away from your brain (like your legs) leaving your brain oxygen and blood deprived, hence the giddiness and fainting.

Cooling down is also important for allowing blood pressure, and pulse and respiration rates to return to normal in a safer manner.

Cooling down will also help the muscles start to clear out any lactic acid build up produced from a  vigorous workout. This in turns assist with muscles repairing themselves faster.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can also be minimized with a proper cooling down routine. DOMS is a term given to that sensation following a new or vigorous workout that you can encounter 1-2 days after the workout. DOMS can result in muscle stiffness and pain that is severe, making all activities feel almost impossible.

Ways to cool down.

There are a few different ways to cool down, depending upon your level of fitness and what type of activity you are doing. Whatever your fitness levels, the cooling down process involves a slower form of activity followed by stretching and then re-hydrating and refueling the muscles.

* Re-hydration and refueling
involves drinking adequate amounts of fluid, such as water, as well as perhaps a sports drink if the workout was intensive and resulted in heavy sweating. Fuels in the forms of foods such as fruits, complex carbs, and low fat proteins are all good selections for replenishment.

* The less advanced.
For those who work out more for pleasure and fitness a fairly simple cool down will be sufficient. Try for 5 minutes of your workout at a slower rate, for example slow to brisk walking, a slower speed on the exercise bike, or a slow jog if you were running, with deep breathing. The deep breaths will assist with returning oxygen to parts of the body that may be oxygen deprived.

* Gentle stretching for 5-10 minutes after this, ensuring that you include all the muscle groups that have been given a workout. A good rule of thumb is to stretch for about 10 minutes for each hour of exercise. Each muscle group should ideally be stretched 2 or 3 times each for about 20-30 seconds each time. Another benefit of post workout stretching is that your flexibility will improve dramatically since your muscles are already nicely warm when you are stretching in the cool down.

* The more advanced will need a 10-15 minute slow down of the activity that you were doing. For example a slow jog instead of running, a slower speed on a bike, or a slower walk. It is a great idea to carry on with the activity you were doing, just with less intensity. The more intense the workout, the longer the stretching should go for. A more professional athlete could be stretching for up to 20-30 minutes after a strenuous workout.

* Rug up. If you are exercising in a cool or cold climate, or in a gym with exceptionally chilly air conditioning, you may find it necessary to throw on a jacket or an extra layer to prevent your body from becoming too cold while you are cooling down.

Conclusion.

Cooling down is just as an important part of working out as warming up. A thorough cool down consists of slower activity, stretching, and adequate hydration and food. Cooling down allows the body to return to its pre-workout state, aids in recovery, and minimizes the chances of injury and delayed onset muscle soreness.

Get Active, Get Addicted To Fitness – Best Decision You Will Make

Those feel good hormones, or endorphins, that you produce after physical activity can keep you going for hours. Your mood lifts, and you instantly feel better about yourself. Before you know it, it’s no longer an effort to roll out of bed and put on your running shoes. You find yourself looking forward to hitting the gym. Getting addicted to fitness can have many other positive benefits:

* Improved health. Once you have a regular workout routine happening your health will reap the rewards. Reduced blood pressure, a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke, and a significantly lessened chance of type 2 diabetes are all documented benefits from regular physical activity.

* Easier to manage weight. Working out burns calories and fat. It also keeps your metabolism running faster for some time afterwards. The end results? Combined with sensible eating you should be able to find it easier to keep your weight in check and reduce belly fat.

* More energy and stamina. The more you workout, the more energy you have. Sounds bizarre, but it is actually true. There is no better cure for a lethargic day than a bout of physical activity. The regular workouts will also mean that you will have more endurance to deal with daily activities, and your day won’t seem so hard or tiring.

* Healthier lifestyle choices. Once you become hooked on your fitness regime you will discover that you may start to select better lifestyle choices. Some of this may be subconscious, and just rubbing off from the people you hang out with when you workout. Some of it may be of a more conscious nature. For example, where you find yourself asking “Why sabotage the workout at the gym with that slice of pizza? Maybe I will go with the salad.” Some people also notice that they may drink less alcohol, as the thought of working out while feeling hungover can be too awful to contemplate for some.

* Improved quality of sleep.
All that working out will mean that you will sleep like a babe. Not only is the strenuous activity meaning your body needs the sleep physically, but mentally, working out is a great way to alleviate stress.

* Careful!
There are some folk out there who can take their workouts to extremes. If you find that you cannot skip a session no matter what (including injury) then you may be liking your exercise a bit too much. Other clues include working out 7 days a week for more than 90 minutes a session, or skipping social activities that you would normally attend to work out instead. Other indicators include participating in multiple classes back to back, and if you get more than a little down if you are forced to skip a session.

Conclusion.

A good workout can leave you feeling energized and refreshed. Regular physical activity will improve your health, lower your weight, and improve your quality of sleep. After a while the exercising will become a pleasurable habit, leaving you with a healthier lifestyle that you enjoy. You will be looking good and feeling even better. Where are my trainers?

Is There A Latest Time To Eat For Weight Loss And Management

Is there a latest time to eat for weight loss and weight management?  We have all heard the theories: no carbs after 6pm, no foods after 9pm, and the list goes on. While many diets, especially those supposedly favored by celebrities, state we shouldn’t be eating after various times in the evening, is there necessarily any truth to this?

Timing of Meals

Research has shown that your body may deal with the same meal in various ways throughout the day. After about 2pm your body starts to produce different levels of insulin and has a different response to sugar than it would for the same meal eaten earlier in the day. Apparently this is even more so in females. The answer to this? Keep away from those high GI foods (think processed sugars such as candies) after lunch.

* Eating Breakfast
is recognized as being the most vital meal of the day, especially for weight loss. The reasons? Firstly, your body has not received any nutrition while you have been sleeping. No food after 8, 10, or 12 hours means that your body needs some sustenance to fire up your metabolism first thing in the morning. Yes, you will actually be better off from a metabolic point if you eat something than if you skip breakfast.

Secondly, those people who skip breakfast tend to end up consuming more calories throughout the day. The reason? After missing breakfast these folks tend to eat more sugar, more calories, and more carbs in the latter half of the day than their counterparts who do eat breakfast. Not only that, but the calories and carbs have been eaten at the wrong end of the day.

* Dinner.
We can’t all eat, or even want to eat, our dinner before 6 or 7 pm. Work, gym, life, there are many reasons to make this logistically impossible for many. Dinner should be a small serving of low fat quality protein such as fish, or poultry, along with salads or vegetables. Avoid high GI foods and opt for low GI whole grains for rices and pastas. Skip the seconds and dessert.

* Late night snacks. There is a difference between a healthy before bed time snack and mindless eating after dinner in front of the TV or laptop. Obviously, eating a carton of ice cream, or a block of chocolate is not going to help you lose weight. When are you going to burn off those empty calories?

* Healthy late night snacks
include things like a glass of low fat calcium enriched milk. Low fat protein sources such as yogurt or cottage cheese are also great selections. Your body will be able to use the protein while you are sleeping to strengthen your muscles. (Important for those who participate in a lot of strength training.)

Conclusion.

When it comes to weight loss, the most important factor of all is to ensure that your diet is calorie deficient. In other words, you are burning more calories than you are consuming. Eating a little less, or more correctly, and exercising effectively, are 2 ways to achieve this. Eating breakfast is an important component for both weight loss and healthy weight management. Smaller low GI dinners will help to compensate for the body’s altered response to sugars eaten later in the day.

Plan Your Meals Ahead Of Time To Shrink Your Waist And Budget

One easy way to help with the battle of the bulge, or simply just eating healthy, is to plan your meals ahead of time. How often have you been caught short, hungry, and only greasy take out as an edible option? The apple or salad roll that you could have so easily thrown in your bag or the car would have been a far more nutritious option. Meal planning is the best way to lose belly fat, try some of these hints.

Shop smart.

* Make a list before you hit the grocery store. This will help prevent you from forgetting vital ingredients so necessary to your diet.

* Read the labels on all those snacks to ensure you are buying the most appropriate for your individual diet. There can be an astounding nutritional difference between very similar foods.

Plan ahead.

* Think about the week ahead when you hit the grocery store. Out and about, at home, in the office? Those who move around a lot may be better off with easy to transport fruit or healthy snack bars or sandwiches.

* How many nights will you be home to cook dinner?

* Do you need to take snacks to eat before and after working out? Protein drinks or fresh fruit can be handy for this.

* Those people hanging out at home have huge options and can even prepare themselves a salad each day if they want.

* Those who work in offices may want to take fruit, sandwiches, or salads in Tupperware containers.

* Late nights can wreak havoc with the best intentions. You come home exhausted and before you know it you are ordering out for pizza, or some other unhealthy and fattening meal. Use weekends or spare time to prepare nutritious meals that you can freeze and reheat when you need them.

Healthy on the run options:

* Tinned fish can make a great and filling lean protein snack. Be sure to take a plastic spoon or fork so you can eat it.

* Boxes of nuts or dried fruits make great energy boosts. Beware of eating too many as the calories can add up pretty fast.

* Healthy snack bars. Be sure to check the GI index, calories, and fat grams so that you know what you are eating. (It will still be healthier than greasy take out.)

* Fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, and oranges are all easily portable.

* Low GI snacks such as corn crackers and rice crackers can be great between meal snacks.

* Prepackaged cheese and crackers can be filling. Check the labelling before buying.

* If you are running late for breakfast, take your diet muesli in 1 container and the milk or yogurt in another. When you can eat, add them together for a healthy breakfast on the run. (Much healthier than a donut, croissant, or super sized muffin.)

The small things:

* A lunch box that is groovy and has an area for an ice pack can help to keep the fresh fruit salad or vegetable salad crisp and non wilted while you are travelling. These can also be handy for preventing squashed bananas, sandwiches and rolls. They are also invaluable for preventing you from wearing any spilled items, dressings, or sauces on your clothes.

* Keeping a plastic fork, spoon or knife in your bag or lunch box can make eating some of those healthy items that you have packed for yourself much easier.

* Freeze waters, juices, sports drinks, and protein drinks the night before so they are still cold when you drink them later. This is especially handy if you don’t have access to fridges.

* A variety of plastic containers, even clean take out containers, can come in very handy for transporting food items. Check the lids still seal.

* Always carry a bottle of water. If you run out or it goes warm, just empty and refill from a fountain or tap. Not only will you save money, you also won’t be forced to constantly drink sodas or other fattening drinks.

* If you are a fan of soup for lunch in the office, freeze it so you won’t have to deal with any spills on the way in. By the time lunch arrives you will only need to reheat.

* Thermos drink containers are invaluable in colder weather for keeping your favorite drinks and soups warm.

Conclusion.

A little planning and preparation can make the difference between a healthy meal and total diet sabotage. Not only will your waistline thank you, but you will notice extra cash in your wallet as well.

Physical Activity Reduces The Risk Of Coronary Artery Disease

Are you in the 66% of men, or 50% of women, who will suffer from heart disease in the United States after the age of 40? Pretty scary statistics aren’t they? While cardiovascular disease, otherwise known as heart disease, is the primary killer for American adults there are simple measures you can employ to dramatically decrease your chances of adding to the figures. Physical activity reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, along with quitting smoking, losing weight, reducing stress levels, and lowering your blood cholesterol levels.

Not only will 30 minutes of daily physical activity lower your chances of heart disease, but the other benefits of daily exercise include losing some pounds, boosting your metabolism, reducing stress levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and stroke, and alleviating depression. In fact, that daily 30 minute quick walk can drop your chances of cardiovascular disease by as much as 32%.

The barest minimum requirements to reap the heart health benefits is 30 minutes of a moderate physical activity 5 times per week. Those who are younger, fitter, or just more energetic, will receive even more health benefits with 60 minutes exercise 5 times per week. Moderate physical activity is defined as anything that raises your pulse and breathing rate, while still allowing you to speak.

Daily heart health activities. (Often called cardio workouts.)

* Brisk walking. As we already mentioned a brisk walk can be just as effective as any other form of moderate physical activity. This is great news for those with limited budgets. Just pop on your runners and head for a walk around the block. Walking is also great for those just getting started, the elderly, and new mums who can just pack up their stroller and take off around the local park.

* Treadmills and exercise bikes are great alternatives for those who are unable to exercise outdoors. Many of these workout items come with built in cardio programs, which can make it even easier to exercise your heart.

* Family friendly activities such as kicking the ball, throwing the Frisbee, skating and riding bikes are all excellent ways to spend time with the family and get fit together.

* Swimming and aqua aerobics are great options for those who have access to pools, or who may suffer from joint conditions.

* Tennis, squash, soccer, dancing, aerobics, jogging, and any other activities that get your pulse raised are all cardio activities.

* Sadly, housework, gardening, and yard work when performed vigorously can count towards your daily cardio workout.

* If 30 minutes of activity is too much to start, begin with intervals of 10 minutes and slowly build up.

* Before embarking on any new physical activities it is important to get a clearance from your doctor. (You don’t want to be adding to the heart disease statistics by having a heart attack while trying to get fit.)

Conclusion.

Moderate level physical activity reduces the risk of coronary artery disease dramatically and can be as simple and inexpensive as a 30-minute brisk walk 5 times a week. Heart attack or a 30-minute walk? Excuse me while I go walk my dog.

Why Would You Use Mirrors In The Gym?

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the strongest of them all? Why would you use mirrors in the gym? There are quite a few good reasons to have some mirrors installed where you workout. No, it isn’t just to admire your great physique. Read on to see why gyms and health clubs have walls and wall of mirrors:

* Check form.
Probably the most important reason for having mirrors is to keep an eye on your from. This is especially important when you are training at home or on your own. It can be incredibly easy to slip into bad habits quickly when working out or lifting weights. Incorrect motions not only result in injuries, but are also pretty much a waste of time. There is no point lifting those weights if you are doing it all wrong.

Poor form can lead to long term and insidious injuries and weaknesses, as well as more noticeable short term injuries that can sideline you while you are recovering. Incorrect form will also mean that the muscle group you are trying to focus on will not tone up as fast as is optimal. The other disadvantage to poor form is that when you are using other muscles to help you with your workout, you will not be burning as many calories as fast as you would be if you were completing the motion correctly.

Mirrors also enable you to see the back half and both sides giving you an all round view of what you are doing. Another benefit of mirrors is that they assist you with your balance. You can easily see that your weight is evenly distributed and that your feet and shoulders are evenly spaced.

* Posture. Keeping your tummy tucked in is important for many workouts. Letting it all hang out is not usually considered an option. This is important when you are asking yourself how to get a six pack of abs, doing abdominal and core work, and the mirrors will come into their own. Correct alignment will ensure that there is no unnecessary pressure placed on crooked backs and necks.

* Cheaper than a trainer. Mirrors play a critical factor when there is no trainer or spotter present. Keep your eye on yourself literally and make sure those reps are being done right. No bending, no cheating, and no cutting corners. Any parts of you that are being lazy or slack are instantly demonstrated. This will prevent you from getting into bad habits that are then difficult to break.

* Determine progress.
Once you get into a workout or training routine you will be able see for yourself how much better you are going through the motions and how much stronger you are getting.

* Stay motivated.
Mirrors really allow you to see just how pumped you are getting. Sure, you can check yourself out in the bathroom mirror, but that is not the same as seeing those muscles bulging when you are doing the exercise correctly. The better the muscles start looking in the mirrors, the more you will be inspired to keep on going.

* Brighten room. Mirrors can also be an excellent way to brighten up a dark space and make it look bigger. Since many of us are working out in basements, or small spaces, this can be worthwhile on its own. A pleasant workout space is much more appealing and inviting, and you will be much more inclined to hang out there. No-one wants to work out in a dungeon.

* Mirrors on a budget.
Try your local hardware store for cheap mirrors that you can attach to the wall in sections. This can be much more cost effective than going to a fitness store. Don’t forget that there will also be bargains to be had on EBay, and possibly garage sales.

* How to use those mirrors.
How you view yourself, will depend on the exercise you are doing. Standing straight on can be great for many while others are best seen from the side. Care should be taken to not be trying to turn your neck around 90 degrees to peer into the mirror. This sort of activity will strain your neck very quickly. For this reason it can be a great idea to mount mirrors on a couple of walls at right angles to each other so you can easily see yourself from more than one angle at a time.

Conclusion.

There are plenty of good reasons for gyms to have those walls of mirrors. No, it isn’t so you can keep an eye on that hot body on the other side of the room. Mirrors in a home gym play a crucial component in keeping proper form. Mirrors are invaluable when trainers and spotters are not around. Being able to track your progress will also keep you motivated and feeling good about your workout program.

3 Simple Tips To Maintain Your Ideal Body Weight

What is your ideal body weight? Is it the lowest possible number on the bathroom scales? Is it the equivalent of fitting into size 0 jeans? Is it looking like Mr. Universe? The answer is not necessarily. Your ideal weight is a range calculated from the Body Mass Index Calculator, which takes into account height and gender as factors determining your healthy weight range.

Your ideal weight will minimize your chances of heart disease, stroke, some forms of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. The less pounds you are lugging around, the less of a burden you are placing on the joints in your lower spine, hips, and knees. Your ideal body weight range will be where you feel comfortable and healthy in yourself.

Once you have reached the magic dress or jeans size, the trick is then to maintain it. Going back to your former eating habits and abandoning your workout routine entirely will have the pounds creeping back on. Before you know it you will be back in your fat clothes. How to keep the pounds from piling back on?

* Regular exercise is one of the best possible ways to keep a check on your weight. Working out not only burns energy, and tones muscle, but will also speed up your resting metabolism. This means that your body will be running more efficiently and burning more calories at rest for longer. While you may no longer have to work out as often as when you had to exercise to lose belly fat, you will still have to workout or perform some sort of physical activity, at least 3-4 times weekly. Selecting activities that you enjoy is a great way of ensuring that you keep it up.

* Eat balanced meals.
Rigidly starving yourself is not achievable long term. Strive for healthy well balanced meals that are both tasty and nutritious. Keep the meals and snacks that you enjoyed from your diet. Slowly bring back other foods that you may enjoy that are not so healthy.

Keep the unhealthy snacks and meals to a minimum on perhaps a once a week level. Total deprivation will only result in frustration, boredom and binges. However, eating the pizza, deep fried chicken, or sweeties on a daily basis may have you quickly back where you started from. Some people find that once they have banished the unhealthy foods from their lifestyle that they really don’t miss them or crave them. If this is you, then leave well alone.

* Plan ahead for both physical activity and meals.
Packing healthy snacks and salads for meals throughout the day can ensure that you are not left starving with only take away to solve your problem. If your days are hectic, try for an early morning walk or workout before the rest of the day interferes. If your diary is telling you that there is some serious calorie intake coming up, try to be a little more careful with what your are eating, and perhaps squeeze in a little more exercise, both before and after, to compensate.

Conclusion.

Maintaining your ideal body weight is all about planning ahead and permanent lifestyle changes. Incorporating pleasurable physical activities as well as healthy and sensible eating will be much easier to maintain long term then 5 hours daily in the gym and living on raw salad.

Work Out With Proper Form For Better Definition

Are you lifting those weights correctly? It is important to work out with proper from if you want to minimize injuries and maximize results. It really doesn’t matter how heavy that weight is if you are doing it all wrong. Guys tend to fall victim to poor form more often than the girls. The reason? Men tend to get a bit carried away with the amount of weight they are lifting.

What is good form?

Form is the quality with which you perform an exercise or routine. The better method you employ while performing a specific exercise, the better the workout for the targeted muscle group. So in other words, you are better off lifting a lighter weight perfectly and with good form than a heavier weight incorrectly, or with poor form.

Tips for good form.

There are three main components that determine your form when lifting weights or performing an exercise (like crunches).

* Control your speed. Slow measured and accurate movements are best. The faster the motion the less chance you are in control. The heavier the weight and the faster the motion the more chance that the weight is controlling you as opposed to you being in control. Don’t let gravity assist you with the downwards part of the motion. Stay in charge. Steady movements are best.

* Stability. The part of your body that you are exercising should be moving. The rest of your body should be still. It can be very easy to use other muscle groups to assist (or cheat) with the exercise, which only detracts from the effectiveness of the workout. Your body should not be rocking backwards or forwards.

* Full range of motion. The whole motion needs to be performed. Halfway is only half a workout. Go all the way through, and then all the way back.

Good form for the gals.

Females are generally not quite so guilty of working out with poor form as the men. Generally, women tend to not complete the full range of motion. It is important to complete the range, otherwise the exercise is pretty much a waste. Keep an eye on that mirror and ensure you are fully extending and flexing. If you are unsure get a trainer to watch you for one session to ensure you are doing it right.

Good form for the guys.

Men’s poor form pretty much stems from the fact they attempt to lift weights that are too heavy for their strength. As a direct result, many men rush their lifts. Another popular example of poor form is enlisting the aid of other muscle groups to help with the lift. You should only be using the specific and targeted muscles. If you can’t, lessen the weight and go back to the basics. Once you can lift the weight perfectly, then start upping the weight.

Rocking your body weight is poor form, as is ”jerking’, “bouncing” or “kicking” where the momentum of body weight is used to finish the lift and then the weight returns using gravity. These sorts of cheating movements are not only totally defeating the purpose, but are also high risk for joint strains.

How to achieve good form.

* Start out with light weights that you can manage until you have perfected the movement.
* Seek the advice of a professional when first starting out. Once you have the moves down you can go it alone.
* Use mirrors to keep your motions in check.
* Don’t train when you are injured or sick. In both instances you will be unable to give your all to the workout.
* Concentrate on the correct motions and isolate the muscle group you are working on. Taking your mind off the job can easily lead to sloppy workouts and injuries. For example, how to get a six pack? When doing crunches, really focus on those core muscles and abdominals, concentrate on your breathing and do not allow your neck muscles to take the pressure off.
* Breathe. Remember to keep breathing while you are doing your routine. Holding your breath will result in your muscles being deprived of oxygen faster.

Conclusion.

Proper form is essential to both lessen injuries and to define muscles. Lifting a lighter weight perfectly is far more effective than lifting a heavier weight with poor form.

What To Look For When Buying Nutritional Supplements

There is always plenty of debate as to whether nutritional supplements are essential, or an insurance policy for just in case. People who skip meals, and whose diets are not well balanced could well be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Those with frantic, stressful lives, and those who are recovering from illnesses may also opt to use a vitamin supplement. Planning on supplementing your diet with additional vitamins and minerals? Read on for some handy hints.

Supplements are one instance where it can be worthwhile to select quality over budget. In the US, vitamin companies are not policed the same way as pharmaceutical companies, and supplements come under the same rulings as foods. It is always a great idea to stick with reputable and well known supplement companies. The USP seal of approval ensures that the supplement you are purchasing has the ingredients that it is supposed to, and at the stated dosages.

Supplement Safety

* Take as directed. Many people feel that more vitamins must be better for you. This is wrong. Some vitamins can be dangerous in large amounts. Stick to the recommended dosage. Note also whether you should be taking your supplement with or without meals.

* Expiry dates.
Many vitamins lose their potency over time. Be sure to select vitamins that have plenty of shelf life left. If there is no expiry date on the label or bottle, purchase something else.

* Avoid mega doses. Generally, it is not wise to take supplements that provide over 100% RDA (recommended daily allowance) of anything. In fact, recent studies have revealed that taking mega doses of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful. For more information about on antioxidant supplements this click here.

* Take extra care when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Pregnant and nursing women should only take supplements that are specifically designed for this situation. These women should check with their medical providers before taking any medications.

* Do not mix with other medications.
Certain over the counter and prescription medications can have adverse reactions when combined with supplements. Some medications can be made more powerful and some can stop working altogether. People already taking medications in any form should check with their doctor or pharmacist before adding supplements. Blood thinners, heart medications, steroids, the Pill, some cancer treatments, diuretics, and immuno-suppressing drugs are some examples (but by no means all) of the medicines that can be effected by supplements.

* Pre-surgery. Anyone who is going to be having surgery should definitely check with their surgeon about the safety of their supplements as some can cause surgical complications including thinning of the blood.

* Storage. Supplements can easily be damaged by heat and light. Store in a cool dark environment away from the reaches of children. Some supplements even require storage in the refrigerator.

Conclusion.

It is always a great idea when purchasing nutritional supplements to stick with reputable high quality companies and brand names that you know to ensure a superior and safe product. Be wary of supplements that are close to expiry, contain mega doses, or exceed the recommended daily allowance.

Danger! Low Fat Foods May Be Making You Fatter!

For the past 30 years or so the Western world has seen a huge rise in the popularity of low fat foods. Yet, in the same time frame the Western world has also seen a huge rise in obesity rates. If we are all eating low fat diets why are we all getting fatter? There are several reasons why consuming foods labeled “no fat”, “reduced fat”, or “low fat” may be making you bigger.

Reduced fat foods don’t necessarily make you slim. Consider the following:

* You don’t feel as full or as satisfied after eating foods with a reduced fat content. Foods with a higher fat content leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied for longer. The result? People who don’t eat lowered fat products tend to eat less in one meal, and then snack less. Their next main meal tends to be smaller as well.

* You actually end up eating more from perception. One of the most scary findings from dieting studies has shown that people eating lower fat foods can end up eating up to 28% more than they would have. The justification that it is lower in fat somehow seems to translate into it is OK to eat more. This can result in a calorie blowout of up to a staggering 40% for those who are already overweight and consuming larger portion sizes.

* High carb high calorie. There are many low fat items that are stuffed with high GI carbs, high calories, flavor enhancers, sugars and other baddies designed to make the food tastier. Low fat doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, low carb, or low calorie.

* Pastas, breads, candies, marshmallows, and sodas are all examples of low fat foods. However, none of these food items are necessarily nutritionally healthy and we can all see that consuming too much of any of them would result in an increase in our waistlines.

* Reduced fat foods are often less tasty than their regular fat cousins. For many this often results in eating more to get the same flavor kick or sense of satisfaction.

* Foods that are high GI foods can often be reduced fat. So instead of eating a regular yogurt because you are on a diet, you eat the no fat version, which is loaded with sugar to counteract the loss of taste with the removal of the fat. The lower fat content does not keep you feeling full for as long so you eat a snack sooner that you would have. The fact that it contains no fat means you probably ate more because you weren’t satisfied, and you also thought it was OK because it was labeled “Diet” or “No fat”. Your next meal will also be bigger than it would have been as you will be hungrier. So a false economy in all dietary means.

Dietary recommendations:

* 25% of calories in the diet should come from healthy fats.
* Trans fats and saturated oils such as animal fats and lard should be avoided.
* Deep fried foods are unhealthy and will make you fat.
* Healthy fats and oils should only ever be eaten sparingly.

Good fats.

Not all fats were created equal in the nutritional stakes. Fats that are healthy in small portions include:

* avocado
* olive oil
* nuts and seeds (a small handful daily is sufficient).
* oily fish such as tuna or salmon.

Risks of not enough fat in the diet.

* Reduced immunity. People who consume insufficient fat long term end up with lowered immune systems. The reason? The cells in the body used to fight disease prefer fats as their fuels.
* Decreased absorption of the fat vitamins A, D, and K.
* Essential fatty acid depletion leading to eventual iron and zinc deficiencies, resulting in skin, hair and nail problems.

Conclusion.

When selecting reduced fat foods it can be a great idea to check the label to ensure that they are also low in sugar. Low fat foods are not necessarily healthy, low calorie or low in sugars. People who consume foods labeled as low fat tend to consume more calories and snacks than those who don’t. Healthy fats, in small amounts, are essential for good health and immunity.