SparkPeople Guest Blogger

Supercharge Your Meals with Fat-Burning Foods

If you read the headline and exuberantly tore open this blog post hoping to see wine and chocolate on the list, you are out of luck. No need to despair, though. The great news is, whether you are a committed healthy eater or just trying to add a few healthy choices to your daily meals, this list offers several benefits. Being aware of the best fat-burning foods helps you make better choices and maintain a desirable weight.

Posted 12/18/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   24,899 views

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Gluten Sensitivity Might Not Exist, Say Researchers Who Originally Discovered It

In 2011, researchers found evidence that gluten--a protein found in many grains like wheat, rye and barley--may cause gastrointesinal distress in some people who do not have celiac disease. The same team ran a second test to see if they could replicate the original results and the results were not the same. For the follow-up test, the team of scientists recruited 37 subjects who self-identify as "gluten-intolerant" and fed them a succession of high-gluten, low-gluten and no-gluten diets. When researchers analyzed the data, they found that the levels of reported pain, bloating, nausea and gas for all diets were similar.

What do you think? Will this study prompt you to give gluten a second chance? Vote in our poll below!

According to researchers who originally discovered (non-celiac) gluten sensitivity, key evidence discovered in the... in SparkPeople's Hangs on LockerDome

Posted 11/2/2015  3:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   6,793 views

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Walnut Health Benefits

Walnuts, which are part of the tree nut family, provide an array of health benefits, and because of their versatility, they can be chopped and sprinkled onto salads, vegetable dishes, yogurt, fruits, and desserts. Here's why you should get more of these healthy nuts in your everyday diet. 

Walnuts Help You Feel Fuller Longer

While walnuts are calorie-dense, the combination of Omega-3 fats, protein, and fiber work to help keep you feeling full longer. Caloric intake should be a consideration in any weight-management plan, but not all calories are created equal. Because of their high protein and fiber, a meal that includes walnuts can help prevent the consumption of empty calories later in the day.

Walnuts Are Heart-Healthy

Like most tree nuts, walnuts can help fight heart disease. Walnuts contain a high amount of antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol production.

Walnuts May Help Prevent Cancer

Studies have shown that regular, daily walnut consumption can help prevent certain types of cancer, such as pancreatic, prostate, and breast cancer.

Walnuts Support a Healthy Lifestyle

Studies have shown that people who consume tree nuts regularly take in more fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E, as well as less sodium than people who do not eat tree nuts. 

Walnuts May Help Prevent Diabetes

All types of nuts, including walnuts, have been linked to a decreased risk of diabetes. For individuals with a higher risk of diabetes, adding walnuts to your diet is an easy and delicious way to help take control of your health.

Walnuts Can Support a Healthy Pregnancy

Don't throw out the walnuts after successfully getting pregnant. Women who eat diets rich in fatty acids like those found in walnuts can reduce the risk of certain types of food allergies in their unborn child. 

Walnuts Might Make You Feel Less Stressed

If you suffer from daily stress, walnuts just might be the ideal food for you. Eating walnuts and walnut oil has been shown to lower resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress, which can help keep you calm and relaxed.

Walnuts Can Help You Sleep

Whether your sleep problems stem from stress or other factors, eating walnuts can help induce sleep. Walnuts naturally contain melatonin, which is a compound many people buy over-the-counter to aid in sleep.

Walnuts Can Improve Hair Health

In addition to being great for your internal organs, walnuts also contain biotin, which can strengthen hair, reduce hair loss, and improve hair growth.

Walnuts Fosters Healthy Skin

Walnuts are rich in B-vitamins and antioxidants, which prevent free radical damage, wrinkles, and other signs of aging, making them the perfect food for people who want healthier, glowing skin.

Walnuts May Help Prevent Dementia

Studies have shown that regular consumption of walnuts can help ward off dementia. Eating walnuts can help prevent memory and learning problems while fostering healthy emotional control.

Whether you're a casual nut eater or someone looking to make healthy diet changes, eating more walnuts should be a no-brainer!

Posted 10/3/2015  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   17,024 views

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One-Mile Wake Up and Walk Workout

One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a morning walk. Not only is walking a great exercise to gently wake up your entire body, but it also boosts energy levels and activates your brain. This one-mile, indoor power-walking workout will help you start the day off on the right foot, no matter what the weather is like outside. Squeeze in some extra daily steps and give your body and brain a wake-up call at any time of day with this fast-paced mile workout. Using a mix of moves and directional change, we'll avoid joint strain while keeping your body and brain awake and alert. 

Posted 10/2/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 13 comments   86,492 views

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The Incredible Health Benefits of Okra

Fried okra is a delicious southern staple that pairs well with other hearty dishes. Unfortunately, eating it fried undoes many of the natural health benefits of this unique vegetable.

Not only is okra extremely tasty in its own right, but it also provides a wide range of outstanding health benefits when it is not fried. From preventing diabetes to promoting healthy pregnancies, this vegetable is a must-try dietary staple for enhancing overall health and wellness.

Posted 9/29/2015  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 15 comments   13,781 views

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Kale Health Benefits

There's a reason why kale is all the rage--this powerhouse veggie is packed with nutrients that offer many health benefits, offering even more nutritional value than spinach.

Posted 9/23/2015  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 11 comments   12,223 views

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7 Good Mid-Run Snacks

Whether you’re training for a 10K, competing in an all-day marathon, or simply running after a long day at work, you're bound to get hungry somewhere along the way. If you're competing, you definitely don't want to stop to eat for too long, but a quick mid-run snack can help you to gain the energy and endurance needed to finish strongly. These top mid-run snacks are the perfect means to quickly and healthily refuel without feeling too full!

Posted 9/21/2015  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   9,986 views

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Debunking 4 of the Top Obesity Myths

Obesity is a critical health issue affecting the quality of life of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, too many myths still persist that prevent Americans from tackling their obesity head-on. This post looks to debunk four of the most persistent obesity myths.

Posted 9/18/2015  1:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   16,819 views

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Best Vegan Foods For Weight Loss

Many people opt for a vegan diet as a way of reducing their impact on the environment and to improve their health. Vegetables, seeds, nuts and other vegan foods contain a variety of compounds and nutrients that are often lacking in other foods. Furthermore, most vegan foods are easy to digest and contain plenty of calories to keep the stomach full, the mind nourished and the energy flowing. However, it is important to remember that a calorie is a calorie, whether those calories come from french fries or avocados, and consuming more calories than you burn, even on a healthy vegan diet, can cause weight gain. If you want to lose weight and maintain your vegan diet, try eating these nine foods.  

Posted 9/7/2015  11:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   16,051 views

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4 Push-Up Modifications You Can Try Today

Struggling to master a full push-up? You aren't alone. Push-ups are a great exercise that engages almost every muscle in your body, but they aren't exactly easy to do! The good news is there are several modifications you can use while you are building up into a full one. In this video I'll show you 4 easy ways to modify a push-up (shown from easiest to most challenging) to help you progress and build the strength and stamina you need to finally master a full push-up on your toes. 

Posted 9/3/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   36,284 views

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Challenge Every Muscle with This Walking Interval Workout

Flowers and trees are pretty, but sometimes a walking workout needs a bit more than scenery to keep things interesting. Incorporating intervals and strength-training moves into a walk not only adds variety, but also challenges your muscles and can boost your metabolism. Dallas-based trainer Kim Truman developed this varied walking workout, which includes three different intervals and three body moves, for people looking to break up their usual walks.
 
Keep boredom at bay today with this fun, heart-pumping workout.

Posted 8/31/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   63,303 views

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Health Benefits of Sage

When it comes to healthy eating, most people tend to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables. However, herbs and spices can also provide astounding health benefits. Learn how herbs like sage can improve your health and delight your taste buds. 

Posted 8/30/2015  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   16,090 views

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6 Ways to Fit in Exercise at Work

Having trouble staying fit while managing your career? A good workout doesn't require fancy machines or hours of free time. Lose weight, boost your metabolism and increase your energy with these six smart office exercise tips.

NOTE: To avoid injury, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
 

Take Advantage of the Commute

For many, the morning commute conjures up images of congested roads, angry drivers and fickle stoplights. If your office isn't too far, why not leave the car keys behind and rev up your lungs? A refreshing morning jog or bike ride has numerous health benefits. While it may be a struggle at first, a cardiovascular routine reduces bad cholesterol, improves stamina, and cuts down on the risk of heart disease. It will also leave you feeling energized and focused throughout the day. If your workplace is too far, consider taking public transit part of the way and jogging the rest. Still on the fence? Even small changes like parking further away or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a difference.
 

Use Your Lunch Break Wisely

Instead of squandering your one hour browsing the web, use it to get in shape. If your office has a fitness center, sneak in a quick session of weight training or work up a sweat on the elliptical machine. If you missed your morning jog, now's your opportunity to make it up. If it's raining or there are no gyms close by, do some calisthenics (bodyweight exercises) at your desk. These include push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and jumping jacks. Studies also show that a midday workout refreshes the brain, keeping you productive through the rest of the day.

Posted 8/27/2015  2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   17,228 views

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Cinnamon Health Benefits

Cinnamon awakens the senses and makes people think of pumpkin pie, spiced coffee, and the aroma of the holidays. However, cinnamon doesn't just have a pleasing smell; many often fail to recognize how much of a positive impact cinnamon may have on health. Cinnamon carries many benefits, which include antioxidant and microbial properties. Take a look at how cinnamon can make you healthier.
 

Cinnamon and Diabetes

Cinnamon has been widely used throughout human history for a myriad of medical treatments. Among these ailments, cinnamon has been shown to improve the prognoses of those with diabetes. In October 2013, a comprehensive analysis of cinnamon and its effect on diabetes was conducted, reports the National Library of Medicine. Throughout the two-year study of 543 patients, the levels of fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides decreased with the assistance of a cinnamon supplement. 

Posted 8/25/2015  8:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 10 comments   26,052 views

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A Full-Body Foam Roller Routine for Beginners

Foam rollers are excellent, inexpensive tools that can be used both for muscular warm up and recovery. Most gyms have a few of them available in the stretching area, but if you are an at-home exerciser you may want to consider investing in one of your own (they usually run between $7-$20—here's a link to the one I purchased on Amazon).
 
Studies have shown that foam rolling (also known as self-myofascial release) can actually help reduce stiffness, pain, and even improve your range of motion (aka performance) during your workout. Think of it like this—when you first grab a pair of jeans out of the dryer and put them on, they are super stiff and hard to move in, so you do your squatting ritual to help ''break them in'' and fit comfortably again, right? Utilizing a foam roller can help loosen up your stiff, sore muscles again so you can move comfortably and efficiently. Try rolling as often as you like—before or after a workout, and/or on your recovery day. 

Posted 8/24/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   55,466 views

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