Healthy Fuel for Optimum Performance

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Drinking liquids is sometimes a more convenient solution when compared to ingesting complete food. However, it is sometimes very easy to consume tons of calories within a few minutes by drinking an unhealthy beverage.

As a matter of fact, most people do not realize how many calories they take in each day from drinks alone. For example, fully loaded cafe mocha with all the fixings can pack in over 500 calories! Therefore switching to healthier drinks and ditching the “junk drinks” will greatly reduce the caloric intake and in return start shredding those unwanted pounds hiding the long awaited beach shape.

On the other hand, there is one advantage, which beverages have when compared to their food counterparts. This is of crucial importance when someone wants to exploit the so-called post-workout window of opportunity. During this window, muscles show best absorption rates of nutrients, vitamins and minerals during the 90 minutes following any workout. To optimally make use of this scientific phenomenon, beverages are more suitable and efficient for muscle recovery than their food counterparts.

In the following lines, healthy drinks with their numerous benefits will be outlined and discussed in detail.

 

Vegetable Juice

Vegetable juice is as nutritious as fruit juice but with about half the calories. Most vegetable juices are also rich in fiber which can help the person in question feel full and as a result of this eat less. Fibers also help in reducing blood cholesterol and help in regulating bowel movements.

Fruit Smoothies

Mixing-up a delicious batch of smoothies using the favorite fruits and a little bit of skimmed milk is the secret of blending any fruit smoothie. One should not consume smoothies with added sugar, whipped cream, honey, or other sweeteners that can add hundreds of calories – in other words, one should not eat smoothies from the favorite local restaurant or ice-cream shop while at the same time imagining that one is eating healthy because it definitely is not.

Fruit Juice

Fruit juices have loads of vitamins and nutrients, but it is very important to make sure that there is no added sugar. Also one should keep in mind that the pulpier, the better. Fruit juice with lots of pulp contains added fiber that can help one feel fuller and eat less.

In comparison to the complete intact fruits, the fruit juice contains fewer fibers and is therefore less effective in regulating the bowel movement and combating cholesterol. In addition to this, it will also be less effective in maintaining a constant blood sugar level and preventing blood glucose level fluctuations, which cause hunger pangs.

In terms of health benefits, orange juice for example may ward off cataracts, cancers, and birth defects and boost immunity. Being an excellent source of vitamin C, orange juice is also a potent antioxidant that may protect against a variety of diseases including cataracts (a clouding of the eye’s lens that can lead to blindness) and lung cancer. Vitamin C may prevent oxidative damage that can cause cells to become cancerous, and it improves immune-cell functioning, enabling your body to fight off infections more efficiently. And it’s a good source of folate, which protects against neural-tube defects in fetuses. To get the extra benefit of bone protection, try some calcium-fortified orange juice.

Cranberry juice on the other hand may help prevent gum disease. Research suggests that the same antibacterial properties present in cranberry juice that fight off urinary tract infections may also protect against periodontal disease. Experts theorize that a component of the juice called nondialysable material (NDM) inhibits bacteria from sticking to the gums. Many nutritionists are wary of fruit juices because of their sugar content, so limit your intake to no more than one glass (6 to 8 ounces) daily. “Make sure the label says 100 percent juice, not ‘juice drink’ or ‘cocktail,’” suggests Heidi Reichenberger, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Black Coffee

Coffee has plenty of positive health benefits and best of all, it contains no calories. Black coffee is rich in antioxidants that can help boost your mood, improve concentration, and reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, as well as many other benefits. As with anything, moderation is the key.

Green Tea

Like coffee, green tea has a plethora of positive health benefits and contains plenty of helpful antioxidants. It also helps to boost the metabolism if consumed on a daily basis, which can help to speed up the body’s fat-burning furnace – as much as a 40% increase in some cases!

Milk

The calcium in Low-fat or skimmed milk can help contribute to the breakdown of fat cells in the human body. Too much milk, though, can pack on the pounds because it does contain a lot of calories, so one should stick to 3-4 small servings per day in order to benefit from milk’s weight loss benefits.

It also curbs cravings and helps protect against osteoporosis. Because it has the components of a healthy meal — carbohydrates, protein, and a little fat — it absorbs slowly and you stay full longer, says Molly Pelzer, RD, a nutrition educator in Tipton, Iowa. It also stabilizes blood sugar, making the person less susceptible to cravings. Milk is the ideal source of calcium, because it contains vitamin D, which is needed for maximum calcium absorption. It may also help in preventing the body to stop storing fat. In a recent study, women who consumed three to four servings of low-fat dairy foods (milk being one) lost nearly twice as much weight as those who took in lower amounts.

Protein Drinks

Protein drinks, such as from powders or pre-mixed varieties, can have a great effect on the weight loss and muscle gain regiment, because lean muscle tissue is very efficient at burning fat. In other words, the more muscle one has, the more fat the body will burn. Protein is a big part of this equation, because it is the building block of muscle growth. It should be mentioned here, that the human organism uses a lot of calories to digest and absorb proteins, when compared to fat and carbohydrates.

Fiber Drinks

There are many fiber-rich drinks on the market today, and they can be a great tool for any weight loss program. Fiber helps to make the body feel full, and it also has plenty of other positive health benefits as well.

Mint Tea

Eases cramps and helps ward off indigestion. “Mint is an antispasmodic, so it can relax muscles, which combats stiffness and aches,” says Susan Lark, MD, author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books, 1999). It also aids in digestion by promoting the movement of food through the digestive tract.

Soy Milk

Lowers risk of heart disease. Soy milk contains soluble fiber and soy protein, which lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and triglycerides, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. If someone is drinking it instead of cow’s milk, one should buy soy milk fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D. One caveat: Soy contains phytoestrogens, which may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, but for women who do not have any kind of family history and at the same want to keep their estrogen levels in healthy margins, soy milk is the name of the game.

Hot Chocolate

Improves mood and may help protect against heart disease. Chocolate increases the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood. (Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression.) Cocoa is also rich in polyphenols, plant-derived antioxidants that may protect cells against oxidative damage that can lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, possibly putting the person ingesting it at higher risk for a heart attack.

Low-Sodium Tomato Juice

Low-Sodium Tomato Juice may protect against numerous cancers. Processed tomato products are the richest source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been associated with a reduced risk of lung and stomach cancer, as well as pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, oral, breast, and cervical cancers. Lycopene also appears to protect the lungs and heart against oxidative damage, helping to ward off cardiovascular disease.

So next time you go out, you know what to drink and what to keep your fingers from!

 

 

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