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Produce can help protect against cancer

Here’s another good reason to eat more fruits and vegetables: Numerous studies show a strong link between eating plant foods — especially those listed below — and preventing cancer.

  • Tomatoes. A pigment that gives tomatoes their red hue, called lycopene, may reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer. Lycopene is also found in carrots, watermelons, and papaya.

  • Leafy greens. Dark lettuce, spinach, and kale contain carotenoids that may reduce risk of mouth, throat, and stomach cancers.

  • Berries. Strawberries and raspberries are rich in ellagic acid, a phytochemical that may prevent cancers of the skin, lungs, and esophagus. Berries also contain numerous flavonoids, which offer an array of anti-cancer benefits.

  • Grapes and grape juice. This fruit of the vine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps the body deactivate carcinogens. Laboratory research points to resveratrol’s ability to inhibit tumor growth in lymph, prostate, colon, pancreas, thyroid, stomach, and breast cells.

  • Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are cancer-fighting powerhouses. They contain substances that regulate enzymes to defend against cancer and may stop growth of cancer cells in the breast, endometrium, lung, colon, and liver.

Targeting trans-fat

Avoiding trans-fats has become a common crusade — for good reason. Also known as trans-fatty acids or hydrogenated oil, the oil is treated with hydrogen for taste, texture, and longer shelf life. But it ups “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers “good” (HDL) cholesterol — raising your risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Consider these guidelines:

  • Limit trans-fat to one percent of your total calories, recommends the American Heart Association. If you’re taking in 2,000 calories a day, that’s 2 grams or less.

  • Deciphering nutrition labels can be tricky. If a food has less than half a gram of trans-fat per serving, it can be rounded down and listed as “0 grams.” So you could unknowingly get a gram or more of trans-fat with two to three servings of certain foods. To be safe, read labels and avoid products containing trans-fats altogether. Remember: Labels reading “partially hydrogenated oil” indicate trans-fat.

Foods that often have trans-fat include baked goods like cookies, crackers, biscuits, pastries, or pie crusts, as well as fries, doughnuts, and fried chicken. Many restaurant kitchens also use hydrogenated oils — so before ordering, ask what oil your dish contains. If they use any type of vegetable oil, or even butter, you are probably safe.

Mixing Bodybuilding With Powerlifting

I believe in three core exercises that will help you excel in bodybuilding. But let's face it, some exercises are hard and that is why most people skip over them. They will add a whole new spectrum to your body size and strength. Squats, which most true body builders perform. Deadlifts, which are done by those who are gluttons for punishment. Cleans, which aren't usually thought of, but can give you an awesome workout.
 Below, I am going to go through each of the three exercises. I will discuss the form of performing the exercise for a  bodybuilder's needs. Then we will look at how that differs
 from a powerlifter's techniques. The main theme is that bodybuilders do these exercises to gain muscle mass and strength. Powerlifters are doing these exercises primarily for strength.
 When I say squats, I am talking about squats using nothing except a power rack and barbell. No Smith machines or benches to stop you at the bottom of the motion. Plain and simple, a
 heavy barbell on your back with which you want to squat down and stand back up. Pretty simple, right? This leg exercise, primarily for the quadriceps, will enhance the entire body.
 Bodybuilders will want to do squats with a poundage that will allow you to get 12-15 reps. The last rep should be all you can do. If  you have a good spotter, the last rep should require a little help.  By the way, spotters should stand behind the lifter squatting with each rep. There are two different ways to spot someone doing squats.  First, you can place one hand on the lower back with the other hand wrapped around the body, supporting the squatter's chest. This will
 allow you to help the squatter stay vertical. The second way is to just use your arm as hooks under each armpit. This simply allows you to help the squatter up.
 Deadlifts are best used in a back workout. Beginners often view deadlifts as a leg workout. However, the back is more involved.
 Powerlifters will usually do only 1, 2 or 3 reps for deadlifts. As a bodybuilder, I like to shoot for 4-6 reps. This lets me work on core strength while getting enough reps to help stimulate growth.
 Another difference is that powerlifters use many different stances with their feet. You can and should play around with this yourself and find the most comfortable position. I have found that the traditional shoulder width stance is best for me. After I started doing deadlifts a few years ago, my back became thicker. It also gives one more confidence having a strong back.
 A very different exercise. I believe cleans will help you more with just core strength, balance and stability. This will, in turn, help you with all other exercises. When you gain more control over your body, you can do better at all other exercises. I prefer to do cleans during my shoulder workout. I will compliment my shoulders by doing a clean and press. Doing military presses while standing will really take it out of you. This exercise is hard to explain with words. If you aren't already familiar with the clean, research it and find pictures showing the correct technique.
 You must be careful doing cleans. It requires a great amount of control. Start out light and get used to the movement. Move up in poundage slowly. Be sure you have strong abdominal muscles to control and hold your upper torso. Do this exercise clear of all equipment, people and ceiling fans (trust me on this one).

Healthy Bodybuilding Nutrition

One of the best things you can do for better bodybuilding results is 
to improve your overall health by proper eating.
What are the principles of healthy bodybuilding nutrition?
You need to know what really is healthy food and how to put together 
a healthy eating plan, the following tips will help:
Include a Variety of Foods
The problem with many nutrition plans these days is the fact that 
they tell you to cut certain foods from certain food groups out 
altogether. This means that you lose important nutrition and don't
 eat as healthy as you should. So, the answer to a healthy diet 
is to eat a variety of different foods. 
A healthy meal should include a lean protein such as chicken, 
turkey or fish, an unrefined complex carbohydrate such as brown rice
 or potatoes and a raw vegetable salad.
Eat Different Colored Vegetables and Fruits
You should remember that different vegetables and fruits have 
different nutrients. They can be high in different vitamins, 
minerals, antioxidants, etc. So make sure when you go food shopping
 to find as many different colored foods as you can.
Snack on Healthy Foods 
Just because you want to eat healthy, doesn't mean you have to 
skip eating a snack. In fact, snacking can good for you just as 
long as you eat healthy foods. 
Instead of eating cookies, chips, etc. snack of fresh raw fruits, 
vegetables, nuts or seeds.

Pick and choose your fruit

What sweet, tasty fruit belongs to the same gourd family as squash and cucumber — and yields more beta-carotene than any other melon? Cantaloupe, which is also known as muskmelon.

But whatever your flavor favorite or nutrient need, there’s a fruit to fit the bill.

  • The apple of our eye. There’s nothing like a cool, crisp apple for a quick pick-me-up. Plentiful fiber paired with a pleasant flavor make the humble apple a satisfying snack. Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, and Granny Smith are just a few of the 2,500 apple varieties grown in the U.S.

  • Tropical treats. Sweet and aromatic fruits like papaya, mango, and passion fruit are packed with vitamins C and A, and some are notable sources of fiber. Enjoy them fresh, dried, or tossed in a fruit salad.

  • Smoothie superstars. Frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries make a nourishing breakfast when blended with low-fat plain yogurt, skim milk, and a dab of honey. Rich in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, berries offer an unbeatable nutritional bargain at 50 to 100 calories per cup.

  • Functional foods. Deeply colored fruits like strawberries, oranges, and purple grapes are rich in phytochemicals — natural substances that appear to reduce risk of heart disease, protect against cancers, and boost the immune system. Choose a variety of yellow, orange, blue, red, and purple fruits to maximize your exposure to these health-enhancing nutrients.

Mind your food cues

While animals seek sustenance purely for survival, humans nibble for countless other reasons. Nutritional needs often take a backseat to emotional gratification, making it hard to tell eating for nourishment from eating for pleasure.

Before you fill up, get to know your eating habits, both good and bad.

  • Stop and ask if your mood for food has been triggered by a grumbling tummy or stressful situation. Take a deep breath. Note the emotional cues that drive your cravings, along with any spontaneous splurges (do you really need to swing for a $4 mocha latte just because you’re overwhelmed?).

  • Pull up a chair. Eating on the run can turn off your fullness radar, leaving your subconscious in control. If you’re munching while driving or snacking as you work, you’re not focused on the actual act of eating. Sit down at a table and give your meal attention. Chew your food slowly and concentrate on each bite. Eat sensible portions, then wait 20 minutes before deciding if you’re still hungry.

Recognize moments of weakness but don’t beat yourself up if you slip. The more you tune in to your food choices, the more you’ll notice the bad ones. Give yourself credit for the realization and effort, then move on. Self-destructive tendencies often begin when you convince yourself there’s no hope for a fresh start.

Go for whole grains

Health headlines continue to promote the importance of eating whole grains. Found to lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, whole grains deserve a prominent place in your pantry. Consider these options for serving up whole grains to the whole gang:

  • Loaves of bread aren’t the only item worthy of a grain swap. Try whole-wheat pita bread or tortillas, too. Cook up brown or wild rice instead of white, which has been stripped of its nutrients (the same holds true for whole-grain pasta versus standard spaghetti).

  • For gluten-free households, try quinoa, a complete protein that can replace rice, pasta, or couscous in recipes calling for starchy sides. Or sample buckwheat as a breakfast porridge or pancake flour.

  • Pay attention to ingredients. Just because a muffin is brown doesn’t make it whole grain (bran doesn’t qualify because it’s a whole-grain byproduct). Look for “100 percent whole grain” on the label or the whole-grain stamp on the package. Avoid items with words like refined, white, or enriched, especially when coupled with flour, at the beginning of the ingredient list. When in doubt, make sure products that tout their whole-grain status back up that claim by mentioning whole grain in the first three ingredients.

Smart start

It’s been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Your morning meal is the most important nutrient boost of your day, and helps keep you energized and focused for all that follows. Breakfast devotees have even been found to maintain a healthier weight than people who skip breakfast. Follow these guidelines for a healthy start:

  • Protein: Even the healthiest carbs may digest too rapidly, leaving you hungry again by 10 a.m. Add protein to help moderate the energy surge so you feel fuller longer. Go with peanut butter instead of jam on your toast. Serve scrambled eggs with your fruit cup. Or create a parfait of low-fat yogurt, berries, whole-grain cereal, and almonds. Try Greek yogurt for extra protein and staying power.

  • Preparation: While skipping breakfast may help you get out the door on time, it will cost you productivity in the long run. Save yourself the slump and set your alarm a few minutes earlier. Or have ready-made snacks on standby for those rushed mornings: Hard-boil eggs the night before or cut up fruit ahead of time, then toss in your dry cereal or serve with yogurt.

  • Pioneering: Nobody said breakfast had to comprise breakfast foods. If you don’t fancy the standards, think outside the cereal box. Enjoy last night’s leftovers or a lunchtime dish — just keep the meal well-rounded.

The wonders of water

The next time you feel an afternoon slump coming on, perk up with a refreshing, caffeine-free, sugar-free drink: water. It supplies the fluid your body craves without ingredients that drag you down.

Coffee and other caffeinated beverages temporarily boost alertness, but they take a toll on your body, stimulating a surge of stress hormones and acting as a diuretic (which speeds up the process of water loss through urine). Dehydration can lead to low blood pressure, which can make you feel weak, tired, and cranky.

Meanwhile, sugary drinks trigger a sharp rise in blood sugar, followed by a sharp decline.

So-called “energy” drinks are also a product to avoid — especially for children. While the Food and Drug Administration limits the amount of caffeine in products sold as food, energy drinks are sold as dietary supplements; many contain caffeine combined with herbs that can cause life-threatening symptoms if consumed in large amounts.

If you’re reluctant to drink water because you think it’s bland or boring, get creative:

  • Flavor your water with orange, cucumber, or lemon slices.
  • Freeze 100 percent fruit juice in ice cube trays and drop a cube or two into your water bottle.
  • Enjoy the carbonation of sparkling water or mineral water — available in many flavored variations as well.
  • Brew up a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea. There are dozens of flavors to choose from — like peppermint, cinnamon-apple, and honey-chamomile.

Food for thought

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat healthy foods? Research shows good nutrition is as important to your child’s brain as it is to their body — better nutrition in early childhood equated to a higher IQ. Make the right dietary choices as early as possible to optimize your child’s mental development:

  • Add omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids are important to brain development and health. Aim for two servings of salmon (or other fish with low-mercury content) each week, or use plant-based sources such as walnuts and flaxseed oil.

  • Include choline. Choline, found in breast milk and often added to baby formula, is essential for brain development. Good sources include eggs, cod, broccoli, milk, liver, and peanuts.

  • Be balanced. Regular meals consisting of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are important for a healthy body and brain.

  • Avoid processed, sugary, and high-fat foods. Research from the Children of the ‘90s (ALSPAC) study found that a highly processed diet before age 3 was linked to less progress in school between ages 6 and 10.

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