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5 Insanely Simple Diet Hacks That Will Transform Your Life

5 Insanely Simple Diet Hacks That Will Transform Your Life

Frustrating, isn’t it? You want to eat better, you really do.

The problem is, each week you read about a new superfood that will cure all your ailments, and a new diet that will deliver weight loss and glowing health. Then you read that last week’s “scientific claims” are bogus. You wonder if you should give up, and continue to eat junk since it’s impossible to figure out what is actually good for you.

But you’re sick of feeling so tired and sluggish. Sick of struggling to get out of bed each morning. Sick of envying the healthy, energetic people you know.

You’re also fed up with trying to decode fact from  fiction when it comes to nutrition.

Well here’s a secret. Evidence shows that adding a couple of key foods to your diet can give you a big boost.

Add these five simple powerhouse foods to your diet, and you’ll soon be on the road to more energy and less lethargy.

1. Sip antioxidants to stay young.

Antioxidants are nature’s way of protecting our bodies from aging and cellular mutation from invaders, as in cancer. Pack in as many antioxidants from our diet as you can.

A study comparing the antioxidant capacity of 283 drinks found that hibiscus tea trumped all others. You can find Hibiscus tea in many inexpensive herbal tea mixes. Two cups of hibiscus tea per day were shown to lower blood pressure as much as a 25mg dose of captopril taken twice per day. Hibiscus appears to produce nitric oxide which helps the blood vessels to dilate and relax.

Don’t like hibiscus tea? Matcha green tea, red wine, green tea, coffee, and black tea also contained high levels of antioxidants.

To-Do: Replace sugary sodas by unsweetened teas, coffee, and red wine (in moderation) and grape juice to protect your cells.

 2. Eat legumes to live longer.

Legumes (aka beans) are one of nature’s perfect foods: low in fat, no cholesterol, and high in fiber and protein. People across the globe who add legumes (aka beans) to their diet live longer. This study found that bean consumption in Sweden, Japan, Greece and Australia decreased the likelihood of death by 8% for consuming only two tablespoons of beans.

Navy beans, pinto beans, and soybeans have been proven to drop cholesterol. Beans  help you to feel full for longer, encouraging consuming less overall calories. Choose a type of bean that you like — black beans, garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), white beans, or kidney beans.

To-do: Buy a couple cans of your favorite organic beans, and add them to salads, stir-frys, and pasta. Don’t worry — he gas-passing factor usually passes after two weeks.

3. Eat nuts for a slender waist.

Do you shy away from nuts because they’re high in fat? Despite their high fat content, nuts will help you to lose rather than gain weight. People who eat nuts tend to be slimmer  and don’t gain weight proportional to the fat and calories in nuts. Studies show that people lose weight, especially in the abdomen, when they add nuts to their diet.  (Check out this comprehensive review of the evidence. Eating nuts can protect you from heart disease and diabetes, and even help you to live longer.

In the Harvard Nurses Study, nut consumers had fewer deaths from cancer, respiratory disease and heart disease.  A study by researchers at Harvard Medical School has shown that a diet high in walnuts suppresses tumor growth and the growth of tumor blood vessels (angiogenesis) in a mouse model of human colorectal cancer. Mice fed a walnut-heavy diet had significant tumor shrinkage relative to mice fed a corn-based diet.

To-Do: Keep a variety of unsalted nuts close at hand for snacks and  sprinkle them on salads with abandon.

4. Gorge on greens for happy blood vessels.

Greens are a secret to keeping your blood vessels happy. Greens like collards, kale, spinach and arugula help the blood vessels to produce nitric oxide, which keeps the tiny linings of our blood vessels soft and pliable. Imagine a natural chill pill for your blood vessels. Relaxed blood vessels reduces your risk of heart attacks and lowers your blood pressure.

When you eat fish, meat and eggs these same vessels get stiff and rigid. Their endotoxins cause systemic inflammation immediately after eating them. Arugula, swiss chard, beet greens, basil, cilantro and kale are the best sources of nitric oxide.

As an added bonus, greens release cancer-fighting chemicals when chewed in the mouth.

To-do: Buy a big back of pre-washed greens and eat a handful or two with your lunch and dinner.  Chew well.

Raw and ground turmeric on wooden surface

    5. Spice your palate and slash inflammation.

    This bright yellow powder is one of nature’s strongest anti-inflammatory, even works better than some drugs. Turmeric suppresses inflammation, is an antioxidant, and has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and the growth of tumor blood vessels (angiogenesis).  Daily use of turmeric in the Indian diet in curries has been linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s and cancer.

    To-do : Sprinkle a bit of turmeric with black pepper on your plate.

    Boost Your Energy

    You want to say goodbye to feeling lethargic and heavy?

    Then boost your energy with these simple diet tweaks. They’re a painless way to increase your vitality and improve your health.

    It’s easy to buy a bag of nuts, some cans of beans and bunches of greens.

    It’s easy to sip red wine and green tea.

    It’s easy to smile when you know you’re helping your body.

    Making these changes will help you live longer, healthier and happier.

    And who doesn’t want a long, healthy, happy life?

    Featured photo credit: Dollarphotoclub via media.lifehack.org

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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