What You Need to Know about Frozen Yogurt

185919750You may see frozen yogurt as a health food. But that just proves the old adage about beauty being in the eye of the beholder.

Nutritionally frozen yogurt is a step up from ice cream, that is undeniable. And it can certainly be included as part of a healthy diet. But it is neither as benign nor beneficial as you may have been led to believe, or as you would like to believe.

Debunking Frozen Yogurt Myths

Here are some mistaken ideas people have about frozen yogurt …

The myth: Because it is a non-fat/super-low-fat food, frozen yogurt can be consumed in fairly large quantities without elevating your calorie intake into the danger zone.

The reality: Frozen yogurt lacks fat but is abundant in sugar. A plain, 16-ounce serving purchased in a yogurt shop and consumed without toppings contains nearly 400 calories, a good portion of which is pure sugar. And most of us don’t eat it plain or without toppings.

The myth: Frozen yogurt is beneficial to digestion and the immune system because it is loaded with probiotics.

The reality: Most of the probiotics in frozen yogurt never reach the digestive system. They are either lost during manufacturing or storage, neutralized by stomach acids or shut down by exposure to extreme (freezing) temperatures.

The myth: The toppings provided in yogurt shops have few calories and can be eaten without worry.

The reality: Unless you stick to fruit there is plenty to worry about. Most of the toppings sold in yogurt shops have a decent number of calories and can quickly elevate the calorie count of the final product you consume. Even fruit is problematic if it comes in a sugary syrup.

The myth: A medium-sized cup of frozen yogurt is enough for the occasional lunch. You wouldn’t want to eat it exclusively for lunch often but every once in a while is okay.

The reality: A cup-and-a-half serving of frozen yogurt contains less calcium and protein than a glass of milk. It is also loaded with sugar, which makes frozen yogurt far from ideal as a stand-alone food.

The myth: So-called “real” or “natural” frozen yogurt is healthier and lower in calories than the commercial kind.

The reality: These claims are a marketing strategy and are not based in truth. Calculations show only marginal calorie or nutritional differences between the various types of frozen yogurts sold in shops or stores.

Frozen Yogurt is Delicious, That is No Myth

Frozen yogurt is tasty, popular and can be a solid addition to most diets. As a “sweet treat” it is a much better bet, nutritionally, than ice cream or many other kinds of sugary foods. But it is not a health food in the classical sense and if you eat too much of it you will not be doing your body any favors. ‘All things in moderation,’ as the saying goes, and that certainly applies to frozen yogurt, as delicious as it might be.

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Tips For Breaking Your Soda Addiction

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Soft drinks do more harm to your body than good. Regular consumption of soft drinks affects your bones, teeth and waistline among other parts of your body. Here are some tips on how to break soda addiction.

Irresistibility

Most of us know that soda is not good for us, but we still drink it anyway. The refreshing jolt, pleasant fizz and sweet taste of soda feels like the only thing that can quench thirst, wash down a meal and get you through a hot afternoon. Whether you are a regular consumer of soda (regular or diet), or an occasional sipper, cutting down on your intake will have many benefits to your health. Here are some reasons why you should cut back on sodas and how to make the process bearable.

Why You Should Stop

One of the major problems with consumption of soda is the excess calories they contain. The is mainly due to the excess sugar used to make sodas. In additional to this, sodas do not add any minerals or vitamin value to your body.

Other studies shows that soda can also cause harm to your health. Soda intake has been linked to diabetes, tooth decay and a number of bone related issues. This could be due to the fact that most people no longer take beverages such as milk, and will only take soda which contains high levels of phosphorous.

Is Diet Soda Bad For you?

While diet soda doesn’t contain calories, that doesn’t make it good for your health. In fact, study shows that diet soda may not even help you lose weight. On the contrary, most people taking diet sodas are likely to suffer from obesity. Basically, the only difference between diet and regular soda is the fact that one has calories and the other one doesn’t. Otherwise, both of them pose the same health risks.

Getting Rid of The Addiction

If you want to quit soda, convincing yourself that you need to stop won’t be enough. While it is not easy for some people, it is quite doable. Just like it is the case with drugs, you’ll need to wean yourself off slowly.

Mixing soda with water can help break the addiction. Water will not only reduce the amount of soda you are taking but also hydrate your body which is never a bad thing. If you take soda for the jolt to liven you up in the morning, then you can try using unsweetened tea as an alternative. You can use a small amount of sugar or mint to give it some flavor.

Before taking soda, try drinking a glass of water which will reduce the craving.

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What Are The Healthiest Types Of Rice?

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A familiar staple of many civilizations, rice is a versatile source of energy and nutrition. Many fad diets vilify rice because of its reputation for having a high carbohydrate content, but it can provide valuable nourishment to an active body. The key is to choose healthy types of rice that meet each person’s specific nutritional needs. Dietary requirements can vary, just as many types of rice and their health benefits can vary.

White rice, for example, has little nutritional value because the nutrients have been removed in processing. Its primary value is in its fast-digesting carbohydrates after a vigorous workout. The blood sugar spike from white rice can otherwise result in fat gain. Brown rice varieties such as basmati or jasmine, though, still have their bran and germ layers. This means they contain B vitamins, magnesium and phosphorus. Brown rice also offers the benefit of containing enough dietary fiber to slow digestion and satisfy hunger for longer periods of time.

Wild rice is another that offers a number of health benefits. Technically, wild rice is an aquatic grass seed. Its rich, nutty flavor and chewy texture, however, make it a delicious option that is also nutritious. Wild rice boasts of nutrients such as zinc, phosphorus, B vitamins, folate and magnesium. Sprouted rice provides even more nutrition. With this variety, the grains have begun to germinate. This means they are starting to sprout into a new plant, a process that boosts the nutritional value of the rice. Because the shell is softened during the sprouting process, this type of rice is also easy to digest.

An heirloom rice, Wehani is another healthy option. With its buttery aroma and russet color, this whole-grain rice has complex carbohydrates that are slow to digest and beneficial to hard-working muscles. Loaded with dietary fiber, this rice can cause tummy discomfort if eaten shortly before a heavy workout.

For an interesting selection of types and flavors of rice, consider browsing an ethnic market or health food store. Look for types that will curb hunger, taste great and provide sufficient nutritional value.

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How Is Yogurt Made?

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There are lots of treats that could be hiding in your refrigerator, but none is creamier and tastier than yogurt. Whether it’s plain or fruity, it’s a healthy alternative that will make your parents proud. Plain yogurt may seem boring, but you can take it to a whole new level. It makes the perfect snack and it’s a great source of dairy that contains live bacterial culture. Although it can be bought in stores, it can also be made at home with fresh, wholesome ingredients and without any preservatives.

How Is Yogurt Made?

The bacteria added to the fresh milk must be heated so the lactose (sugar) becomes converted into lactic acid, which then thickens and gives it its tangy flavor. This all must happen in a controlled environment. Use a food thermometer to reach the ideal temperature when heating the milk in a pot, and again when it’s left to cool before it’s poured into the yogurt maker. A thicker, tangier yogurt will result the longer the bacteria is allowed to ferment. Yogurt can be made without a yogurt maker, but such a small appliance can simplify the process to ensure better results.

For a creamier texture, add gelatin. Sweeteners, fruit, and other flavorings may be added once the desired consistency has been achieved. For an even thicker consistency, consider straining the yogurt. This will result in what’s commonly referred to as Greek yogurt.

Enjoy a fun snack by making a yogurt parfait with your favorite fruit. Try adding raspberries and pineapple, or substitute them with others for a change. Keeping it fresh is the best way to go. Yogurt, topped with crushed walnuts, cinnamon, and organic honey can be an extremely healthy and hearty breakfast, too.

Yogurt is a delicious, healthy snack because it’s chock full of protein and minerals. Don’t avoid yogurt if you’re lactose intolerant, as the lactose can be broken down in the intestines, thanks to its special enzyme. It can also be made with whole milk, low- or non-fat, and other varieties, and with the milk of other animals.

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Unhealthy Condiments You Should Cut Back On

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We use a range of condiments to make food palatable. On almost every dining table, you will find a bottle of hot sauce, ketchup and mayonnaise. These basic condiments are used to modify the flavor of a dish to suit personal tastes. But do you actually know what these condiments contain? Dangerous Unhealthy Condiments?

Condiments are food preserves or mixtures made from highly concentrated salts, fats, and spices. This extra salt, fats and spices adds an instant boost of flavor to the dish. However, this also means that you are overloading your body with an unhealthy mix of fats, salts, spices and preservatives. Most people cannot restrict the amount of condiments they eat, and this can prove dangerous. A few of the most commonly used condiments that should be consumed in moderation are as follows:

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is a simple mix of eggs, vinegar and oil but a single tablespoon of mayo contains more than 200 calories. There is very little nutritional value in mayo but it is used to add taste to a variety of dishes. Try to avoid dishes like devilled eggs, creamy dips, and sandwiches that usually contain a large amount of mayo. A simpler alternative is mashed avocado or fresh yoghurt mixed with lemon juice. This mixture contains probiotic bacteria and beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Sour Cream

Processed sour cream is not good for health as it is mostly fat with a range of chemicals to impart taste and flavor. Switch to homemade sour cream made from low-fat milk.

Maple Syrup

Pancake syrup tastes great but most varieties are made with high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup contains dangerously high amounts of sugar and it is extremely unhealthy. Try to replace this with honey or real maple syrup. Both these versions are nutritious but contain an average amount of sugar.

Salad Dressings

Salad dressings like ranch dressing and blue cheese dressing are high in preservatives, chemicals and additives. These dressings also contain high amounts of MSG and this can cause chronic conditions like obesity, headaches, fatigue, and other health problems. You can try Greek yoghurt as an alternative. Greek yoghurt is rich in vitamins, minerals, probiotic bacterial and minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium. And of course, its delicious as well!

Of course, its difficult to cut back on basics like ketchup and mayonnaise. In this case, it’s a good idea to switch from commercial, factory-made brands to homemade organic versions. I

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Great Food Sources Of Healthy Sugar

469799690There has been increasing concern about the health problems caused by too much refined sugar in the Western diet. If you want to cut down on your sugar intake, there are many healthier alternatives to white sugar or products that contain refined sugars. Healthy sugar sources include many fruit and vegetables as well as honey and agave nectar.

Honey and Agave Nectar

Honey is a better sweetener than white sugar and it is easy to use as a general sweetener in food and drinks. Honey also has other health benefits. It comes with a high sugar content, however, so it is best to use honey moderately.

Agave nectar has become a popular alternative to honey. It tastes similar to honey and can be used for all the same purposes as honey. It is 100% natural and it is a low glycemic sweetener, which makes it popular with anyone who wants to avoid artificial sweeteners but also wants to avoid refined sugars. Try agave nectar in any foods or drinks that require honey.

Healthy Fruit Snacks

Apples are a healthy choice of fruit for anyone who is worried about their blood sugar levels. Apples are a low glycemic index fruit and a good option for healthy snacks.

Bananas are another good source of energy and healthy sugar for anyone who exercises a lot. They have a medium glycemic index and they are also high in potassium and fiber. Bananas are nutritious and provide energy before and after physical activity.

If you crave for something sweet, a few pieces of fresh pineapple is a good option. Pineapples are sweet and will fulfill a sweet craving, and fresh pineapple (or cans of pineapple in pineapple juice) only contain natural sugar.

Other Healthy Sugar Options

Carrots can satisfy a snack craving without causing fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Prunes and some other dried fruits are naturally sweet, and only a few small pieces are usually enough to get rid of sugar cravings. Prunes also have a low glycemic index. There are many healthy alternatives to white sugar.

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Quit Eating Junk Food: Easy Steps

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Almost all of us are aware that junk food is no good for the body. Over consumption of such unhealthy food items can lead to a host of health issues. Junk food can be addictive and it might not be very easy to quit it. Here is some guidance on how to quit eating junk food.

Find a reason why you want to quit – Once you have understood the many dangers of eating junk food, think of why you want to quit it. Maybe you want to lose your excess kilos or you want to get rid of the pimples on your skin or maybe you just want to start making healthier choices. No matter what the reason, pondering over it is the first step to quit eating junk. You can also write down your thoughts about quitting on paper. It may motivate you better to stop eating it as soon as possible.

Make a plan – After you have figured out the reasons why you want to forego junk food, make a commitment to yourself. You can make a list of all the foods that you do not wish to eat anymore. You can also write down your plan to deal with the cravings for these foods. It is important to be specific in your writing so that you know where you are headed. Keep the contract within easy view so that you are reminded of it time and again.

Remove junk food from home – Once you have taken the decision to stop junk food, throw away all such items from your house. Stay away as much as possible from places where you would be tempted to indulge in such foods. Stock your house with plenty of your favorite healthy food items. You can try whipping up delicious recipes to stay put on your commitment towards healthy food.

Keep yourself hydrated – Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It will keep you full and help control those unhealthy binges. It will also keep you away from carbonated drinks.

During the moments when you are tempted to eat junk food, do some activities to distract yourself from the craving. You can also confide in a friend at those moments to help you tide over the situation.