What You Should Know About Lamb Meat-Is It Healthy for Consumption?

Sources of red meat have come under fire lately as the crusade against red meat has intensified. There has been evidence mounting showing the link between red meat and various forms of cancer, and cardiovascular issues; however much of this was focused on meat from cows.  What about lamb meat?

Lamb is a meat that isn’t too popular in the United States, and is much more popular in some european countries, especially along the Mediterranean in places like Greece and Italy. Lamb seems like it can be another potential alternative to beef, but how healthy is it?

Lamb meat is considered to be red meat, which is so because of the amount of a compound found in these meats, which gives them their distinct red color when it comes in contact with oxygen in the air.

The most beneficial aspect of red meats when compared to other food sources is how rich they are in trace minerals we need to function, such as zinc, iron, and selenium to name a few. Lamb contains the most zinc and iron out of all the meats per pound, making it something beneficial to eat from time to time in moderation.

Another benefit to eating lamb over other meats like beef is that generally speaking it is a leaner cut of meat, however you are still getting a good amount of protein in the process. Again how lean it the meat is depends on the cut, and these number can vary greatly. With that being said it is possible to get about 22g of protein from lamb in as little as 175 calories, giving it a pretty decent nutritional profile.

What Are the Benefits of Eating Lamb?

Comparisons to other red meats aside, lamb still provides plenty of benefits on its own. Here are some of the best reasons why you should be eating lamb.

1 – Excellent Source of Trace Metals

With all of the new health trends moving towards vegetarianism, veganism and generally in a direction away from meat consumption, it tends to leave some people really deficient in a particular group of nutrients.

Meats are great sources of these trace minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals are essential in performing many processes within the body. Zinc for example is essential in providing immunity in the body, and for maintaining sperm count.

Iron on the other hand is a required component in the production of our red blood cells, which bind to and carry oxygen throughout our body to various tissues and organs. Lamb is particularly rich in iron, more so than even beef or venison.

2 – Provides Plenty of Healthy Omega 3 Fatty Acids

When people think of meat, especially red meat, healthy fats aren’t the first things that come to mind. The thing is, most meats do produce omega 3 fatty acids if fed a natural diet. Cows fed corn for example will exhibit omega 6 or “bad” fatty acids, while cows fed their natural feed of grass will produce the omega 3’s. Basically it all depends on the animal’s diet, so know where your food is sourced from what they have been fed if at all possible.

When people think of meat, especially red meat, healthy fats aren’t the first things that come to mind. The thing is, most meats do produce omega 3 fatty acids if fed a natural diet.

Cows fed corn for example will exhibit omega 6 or “bad” fatty acids, while cows fed their natural feed of grass will produce the omega 3’s. Basically it all depends on the animal’s diet, so know where your food is sourced from what they have been fed if at all possible.

3 –  One of the Best Sources of Protein by Weight

One of the nutrients lamb is the richest in is protein. Just one small 3 ounce serving of lamb can provide about 23 grams of protein, which is about the same amount you would get from a cup of Greek yogurt. This is approaching the upper limit of protein per weight based on what food sources we have available.

Another important aspect of lamb meat like other meats is that it has a complete amino acid profile, containing all the necessary amino acids we need, unlike most plant sources of protein.

Eating lamb periodically, say once a week or every other week can be really beneficial in providing these important nutrients.

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What is Taurine and Is it an Effective Weight Training Supplement?

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Taurine is a common ingredient in many energy drinks so naturally people who are unfamiliar with taurine assume that it is some kind of stimulant which makes sense in theory. However though, taurine is not only not a stimulant, it is believed to have relaxing properties.

Taurine is in actuality an amino acid that is used by our bodies to carry out a variety of processes including the synthesis of larger protein molecules. Taurine is beneficial in that it is an antioxidant and fights against harmful free radicals that are present in our bodies.

Taurine also offers better performance for athletes in that it stimulates the muscles more as well as relaxing effects which can help those who suffer from neurological disorders.

Taurine has had a bad reputation as of late because of the negative press that energy drinks have been receiving. Drinking energy drinks that are full of stimulants like caffeine can have serious health effects and can even lead to death.

This is the case for not only people with pre existing health conditions, but in healthy individuals as well. It is no wonder why there is a negative stigma around taurine, yet taurine itself is not responsible for this stimulation and can in fact be beneficial.

What Are the Benefits of Taurine Supplementation?

One of the main reasons why many people take taurine is because of the boost to athletic performance that it provides. Again, may people incorrectly assume that taurine is a stimulant because it is found in many energy drinks, however it doesn’t benefit us in that manner.

preview-full-shutterstock_480507943Taurine is most effective when it comes to long distance endurance events like marathon running, and has been shown to cut off a few seconds from the athlete’s finishing time. A few seconds may not seem like much, but in the world of professional sports when the difference between first and second place is a matter of milliseconds, it is a huge advantage.

Not only did taurine improve the finish times of these endurance athletes, but it also had no other negative effects on the cardiovascular or circulator systems making it safe for use in these situations.

Another reason why people use taurine as a supplement is to fight metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a disease where the way in which your body breaks down and synthesizes food is abnormal, and thus almost every bodily process is altered as a result.

People who have metabolic syndrome are at risk for many different diseases and sicknesses such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance. It is believed that the key lies in taurine’s ability to lower triglycerides and cholesterol which relieves the problems associated with cardiovascular problems and obesity.

Taurine is also taken by many people because it is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants fight against free radicals which can cause problems in the body including cancer. Taurine is especially effective in those with compromised immune systems, like those suffering from HIV and AIDS.

In patients with HIV or AIDS, taurine was shown to improve the antioxidant levels of the patients which helped them improve in regards to recovery time.

Where Should I Get Taurine? What Are the Best Sources?

The best sources of taurine come from meat and dairy products so if you eat a balanced diet you shouldn’t need a supplement. However if you looking to take more taurine for performance boosting ability for example, then taking a concentrated supplement of taurine would be a good suggestion as well.

preview-full-shutterstock_485902639The only thing to worry about in regards to your taurine consumption is that there is an upper limit that you shouldn’t surpass each day, that being about 3,000 milligrams per individual. Your body excretes taurine through urine thus via your kidneys, so don’t exceed this amount if you want to keep them healthy.

To give you an idea of how much this is, there is about 100-300milligrams of taurine per 100 grams of weight of meat. Typically a serving of meat is about this size, so you would need to eat over 10 servings of meat this size to surpass that 3,000 milligram mark, which is a pretty decent amount of meat.

If you don’t like meat or dairy, seafood is another alternative which provides you with 800 milligrams of taurine on average.

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7 Reasons Why Breakfast Should Never Be Skipped

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Many people forego the first meal of the day because they’re running late to their classes, appointments, etc. Some have time but choose to use it for something else, like staring at nothing thinking of how tired they are even though their day hasn’t started yet. Some also don’t find themselves hungry in the morning. It’s probably because they’re already used to of leaving the house on an empty stomach.

shutterstock_512666200Unfortunately, this is a poor habit that needs to be rectified. People who skip breakfast are bringing potential problems into their health. Even various studies support the need to eat something healthy in the morning before you set off for your journey, whatever it is.

So, are you guilty of skipping breakfast every day? Here are 7 reasons why you should be:

  1. People who are breakfast eaters are generally in good health

There’s the misconception that by not eating in the morning, you’re saving calories that you can utilize in the latter part of the day when you become hungry. This is not a fact. Eating a healthy meal in the morning actually normalizes your blood sugar levels. Not eating first thing during the day may lead you to get hungry more quickly simply because there’s nothing in your stomach.

  1. Eating breakfast can help with weight management

If you want to shed pounds or maintain the weight you’ve just lost, skipping breakfast is certainly a no-no. Eating a light, yet healthy breakfast can help you control hunger throughout the day. Furthermore, when you already have nutritious food in your system, you’re less likely to crave for junk and processed foods.

  1. Breakfast makes you more energetic

If you constantly skip breakfast and you’re always low on energy, guess you know the likely culprit now. In order to have energy to fuel your body for those tasks that need to be done, you need all the nutrients that a healthy breakfast can give you. Essentially, your muscles require glycogen for energy. It will be used up if there’s nothing on your stomach.

  1. Eating breakfast increases your mental focus

Everyone wants to be mentally sharp during the day. It enables you to finish your tasks efficiently and help you increase your productivity. The good news is that there are certain foods for breakfast that can improve your brain’s functions, allowing you to perform better.

  1. Skipping breakfast means skipping vitamins and nutrients

Once you’ve missed those vitamins and nutrients you could have gotten from eating in the morning, there’s nothing that can make it up. It’s basically a missed opportunity of providing the nutrition your body needs.

  1. Breakfast makes you less hungry throughout the day

shutterstock_170157644If you’re on a weight management plan, hunger is surely one of those needs you hate to feel. Eating a healthy meal in the morning can help you shake off bouts of hunger later in the day. This can also help you avoid binge eating, which only brings you nothing but unwarranted calories. In addition, overeating throughout the day is directly associated with weight gain. So, if you’re on a weight loss program or you want to stick to your newly reduced weight, start your day with a nutritious breakfast.

  1. Eating breakfast in the morning teaches others to do the same

This is particularly important when you have a family. When your kids see you ignore breakfast in the morning, they’ll likely follow and think nothing of it, but only as an impediment to their daily routine. On the other hand, having breakfast with your family not only shows the importance of eating a healthy meal before each one goes about his/her day, it also helps the members of the family bond. As a parent, you need to show your children the significance of proper nutrition, which starts during breakfast.

The bottom line is that although we can choose to skip breakfast because it’s not just our priority, we can’t go around the negative effects that missing the first meal of the day can lead to.

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The Worst “Health Foods” You Can Possibly Eat and Why You Want to Avoid Them

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Eating healthy in today’s world can be difficult and confusing. If you have been to the grocery store lately you’ll notice that deceptive advertising and labeling has run rampant.

Words we commonly see on packaging that we associate with good health like sugar free, free range and even organic products can be misleading.

These products aren’t necessarily healthy, they just have a really good marketing team behind them which can make a horribly unhealthy food look good.

Here is a List of the “Health Foods” You Should Never Be Consuming

  1. Soy Protein

shutterstock_183212168Soy protein has had a reputation for being an extremely healthy food, and has become a staple among vegans who have moved away from animal based proteins.

The problem with this concept is that in order for soy to have all of these healthy benefits it needs to go through the process of fermentation, where beneficial bacterial is grown within the soy. If you are in Asia enjoying a traditional dish you don’t have to worry however in America soy is processed without going through fermentation.

We have been researching the health effects of soy that hasn’t undergone fermentation for some time now, and the results show that we should generally stay away from eating soy.

Soy can cause a wide variety of health problems such as asthma, breast cancer, kidney disease and urinary cancer. Consumption of unfermented soy has also been linked to higher levels of estrogen in men as well.

  1. Farmed Fish

shutterstock_293313236The reasoning why these fish are more unhealthy than their wild counterparts has yet to be discovered, however we do know definitively that farmed fish is less nutritious than wild caught.

One of the reasons why farmed fish are much more unhealthy than wild fish of the same variety is because of the difference in the levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Most people eat fish because of the benefits of lower cholesterol and other benefits to the circulatory system.

Unfortunately these farmed fresh fish tend to develop more omega 6 fatty acids, or the “bad” fatty acids associated with LDL cholesterol and the increased risk of heart attack, stroke and death that comes along with it.

Another reason not to eat farmed fish is that they were found to have environmental toxins called dioxins at levels up to 11 times that of the wild caught fish. These toxins cause serious health problems like cancer and organ damage.

If you can afford to buy the wild caught fish, opt for that choice. If not you are better off avoiding the farmed varieties altogether.

  1. Fruit Juice

Every kid has had fruit juice growing up, and we tend to pass this tradition on to our children as well. Fruit juice does provide us with some benefits like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.

The issue here is that the fruit isn’t consumed in its natural form, that you are removing all of that good fiber which helps slow down digestion and helps to prevent blood spikes.

Drinking an 8 ox glass of apple juice is almost the equivalent of consuming 6 apples in the time it takes you to finish the glass. Your body simply didn’t evolve to process food like this, and your blood sugar and insulin levels will spike as a result.

Drinking fruit juice too often can lead to serious health problems like type ii diabetes, obesity and cancer.  Eat whole fruits to avoid the spike in blood sugar that you get from drinking fruit juice.

  1. Farmed Shrimp

Like wild caught fish, wild shrimp isn’t bad for you but the farmed variety can be bad for your health. First unlike the other farmed varieties of seafood, food additives to preserve the pinkish color of the shrimp are added, which have been linked to reduced sperm count in men.

Shrimp farms consist of large ponds, which are usually cleared with chemicals to kill off anything else living there before the shrimp are added to it. Many of these chemicals are linked to disruption in the hormonal balance of humans which again could have negative effects on testosterone levels in men.

Over 90% of shrimp sold in the United States is of the imported farmed variety, so you may want to just avoid shrimp altogether.

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Best Workout Snacks – 4 Recipes for Delectable Protein Balls

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If you like to work out and are trying to stick to a high protein diet, you’re probably wondering how to keep that protein high when you’re hungry throughout the day. Snacking can be the death of any diet if not considered carefully. However, planning ahead and getting your hands stuck into making homemade protein balls will keep your energy high throughout the day, provide you with a good protein-filled snack to stick your teeth into and make sure you stick to that diet. Try one of these recipes:

Oatmeal Balls – No Bake

preview-full-Peanut-Butter-Oat-Balls-8The oats in this recipe are great for providing slow releasing carbohydrates while the honey provides antioxidants, while the chia seeds provide antioxidants, protein, and fiber. The peanut butter is your solid form of protein here so use a quality natural butter. Combine 1.5 cups of rolled oats with ½ a cup of vanilla whey protein powder, ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. Mix together and then add ½ a cup of peanut butter (or any nut butter), 3 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of a cup of raisins and then use your hands to mix all the ingredients. Take a handful at a time and roll it into a ball. Set the balls in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Coconut Sesame Balls

This recipe is full of antioxidants and good fats as well as being high in protein. Add ¾ of a cup of vanilla brown rice protein to a bowl. Mix with 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, a pinch of stevia, and 3 tablespoons of cacao powder. Now add 2 tablespoons of tahini paste and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, with 3 tablespoons of water. Mix all ingredients together and roll into balls in your hands. This makes around 10 balls. These need to be in the fridge for longer, around 2 hours.

Superfood Superballs

This has a heavy nut mixture to add protein and a range of good fats, which help the heart and the brain. Add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, ¼ of a cup of pumpkin seeds, and ¼ of a cup of almonds into a blend. Blend these until they are a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl and add ¼ of a cup of coconut oil, a pinch of stevia, 3 tablespoons of psyllium husk, 1 tablespoon of cacao powder, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a 30 gram serving of your favorite vanilla protein. Mix it together adding a little water if the texture is too dry. Freeze for an hour or so before eating.

Mint Chip Protein Balls

preview-full-vegan-mint-cacao-protein-ball-2Not only is this recipe delicious, it helps settle the stomach while providing vitamin E and antioxidants. In a mixing bowl, add ½ a cup of vanilla rice brown protein powder, 2 tablespoons of almond meal, ¼ a teaspoon of coconut oil, ½ a teaspoon of peppermint oil, 2 tablespoons of cacao powder, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, and a pinch of stevia. Add a little water to get the right doughy consistency and roll into 10 balls, now roll in cacao powder and add a fresh mint leaf to the top. Refrigerate the balls for about 2 hours before consuming.

If you’re using protein balls to improve your workout sessions and build muscle, try combining them with a nitric oxide enhancing supplement to get the blood and nutrients flowing around the body, to pump those muscles up. Try using a supplement like NitroGenix365, which enhances circulation, expands the blood vessels, and helps to get nutrients in the right places.

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What Can You Do With Some 200 Calorie Foods?

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With all of the food in this world, it may be difficult to determine what is the best for you. Well, there are some low-calorie foods that are definitely good for you. When you are making your shopping list or getting ready to go shopping, there are some 200 calorie foods that you should make sure to stock up on. Some of them you may need only get enough for a week and then go back for more but there are others you can load up on. If you are ready to get some very low-calorie foods to help you have better health, lose weight or eat more nutritiously, this is the list of foods you need.

Popcorn

preview-full-popcorn-pop-110708-02At the top of the 200-calorie food list, you should have popcorn. This makes for an excellent snack at any time of the day. Now, you do have to pay attention to the type of popcorn you are buying. However, on average about ¼ of a cup of kernels uncooked will equal 200 calories.

Peanut Butter

Another excellent 200-calorie food is peanut butter. You can make peanut butter treats, sandwiches or even use peanut butter in certain other meals as well. If you are going to meet the 200-calorie mark for peanut butter, you should only have 2 tablespoons.

Apples

preview-full-Apples-in-your-dietWhen eating an apple, it is best to take the core out and slice it up. Not only will this help you to measure the apple better but it will allow you to stick to that 200-calorie mark. To get 200 calories from an apple, you should have 3 ½ cups of apples that are sliced.

Bagel

You may already love bagels but maybe not the kind that you should love. All of them are fairly decent for you but if you want to only get 200 calories, the bagel you eat should be plain. Also, you should know that about 1/3 of a large bagel is 200 calories. If you eat the whole bagel, you are going to be a bit over that.

Spinach

Raw spinach is great for your health in many ways. It is nutritious, helps with weight loss, improves your digestive system and much more. If you want a healthy and nutritious snack, raw spinach is the way to go. The good news for spinach is that 20 cups of spinach will be 200 calories. That is a lot so you don’t have to worry about hitting that mark too soon.

Potato

Do you love baked potatoes? Well, that is great if you do, especially if you are trying to find foods that will meet that 200-calorie mark. If you have 1 ¾ of medium baked potatoes and leave the skin on that will equal 200 calories. You just have to make sure you don’t add on more things like butter, salt or dressings.

Spaghetti

If you are also a fan of spaghetti, you are going to love the fact that 1 cup of spaghetti is only 200 calories. This would be a great lunch for you. You could also add homemade tomato sauce or a healthy dressing onto the spaghetti noodles as well.

Nuts

Another one of the amazing snacks that will be only 200 calories is nuts. The majority of nuts for 200 calories will average around 45 to 50 nuts. These are a great snack, they will boost your metabolism and they will fill you up until it is time for a meal.

Peas

Today, last but not least, for your 200-calorie foods is going to be peas. You will need around 2 cups of peas and add about 10 to 15 more peas to that to reach 200 calories. You can eat these alone or add them into a meal.

There are many recipes and snacks that you can make with these 200-calorie foods. These are all nutritious and healthy for you. If you don’t already have some great ideas stirring up in your mind about how you will eat these foods more often, look online for some great recipes that use these ingredients. You and your health are going to be thankful that you found this list and started eating more of these foods.

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