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Foods That Build Muscle

Do you also spend hours at your gym lifting heavy weight, but are unable to see any sufficient muscle gains? Then here are some foods you should include in your diet to build muscles. 

1. Eggs

Eggs are one of the richest sources of protein with highest biological value. It is a reference to the measure of how well a food can support the human body’s protein needs. 1 large egg of about 50 grams contains approximately 6 grams of protein. This can be considered as the best protein for your muscles. Many people avoid eating yolk because of its fat and cholesterol content. However, if you want to build your muscles you need not avoid the yolk, as it provides vitamin B12, which is necessary for fat breakdown and muscle contraction. Also, fat present in yolk is healthy fat that helps in lowering the levels of bad fat from the body.

2. Almonds

Almonds are a good source of alpha-tocopherol, which is a form of Vitamin E that gets readily absorbed by the body. It is important for your muscles as vitamin E protects your muscles from free radical damage. You can have some almonds with a fruit before a workout. How many almonds should you munch? Two handfuls a day should do it. A Toronto University study found that men can eat this amount daily without gaining any weight. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those men who consumed the most vitamin E—from food sources, not supplements—had a 67 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those eating the least vitamin E.

3. Salmon

Salmon fish is a good source of high quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It can decrease muscle-protein breakdown after your workout and helps in fast recovery. But avoid having fried fish and opt for grilled or roasted fish with some sautéed vegetables with it. It also helps you in reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that when overweight people added 1.8 grams of DHA—an omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil—to their daily diets, their insulin resistance decreased by 70 percent in 12 weeks.

4. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is an ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates for exercise recovery and muscle growth. It also contains live culture which helps in digesting other nutrients present in your food. You can add some sliced fruits to your yoghurt to make it high in fiber content. The extra carbohydrates from the fruit will boost your blood levels of insulin, one of the keys to reducing post exercise protein breakdown. Also, yoghurt is one of the few foods that contain conjugated linoleic acid, a special type of fat shown in some studies to reduce body fat.

5. Cottage Cheese

It a good source of casein protein which is a slow digesting dairy protein. As compared to other dairy products, cottage cheese elevates the levels of amino acid and keeps them high for a longer time. This helps in building muscles.

6. Olive Oil 

Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats which act as anti-catabolic nutrients. Catabolism is a pathway of metabolism which leads to muscle breakdown for releasing energy. Anti-catabolic nutrients provide energy to your body and protect your muscles from breaking down. And while all olive oil is high in monos, try to use the extra-virgin variety whenever possible, it has a higher level of free-radical-fighting vitamin E than the less chaste stuff. Also, Olive oil and monounsaturated fats have been associated with everything from lower rates of heart disease and colon cancer to a reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.

7. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a rich source of complex carbohydrates. These types of carbohydrates slowly release energy in your body. You can have a cup of oatmeal 1-2 hours before your workout. It will give you enough energy to complete the workout. You can add some fruits and nuts to your oatmeal to increase the fiber and protein content. 

You can include these foods in your diet to improve muscle growth, but to be healthy and fit you need to balance your diet in terms of protein, carbohydrates, fats and other minor and major nutrients. 

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Reasons Due to Which You Can’t Lose Weight

Despite sticking to your diet and exercising regularly, your weight just does not seem to reduce. If this is happening to you, then it might be time to examine some of your habits, which could be holding back your weight loss.

1. You are drinking calories

Many people include packed fruit juices in their breakfast or mid-meal snack, while others prefer diet soda thinking they are healthy options. But did you know that consuming these could add two to three times more calories to your meal because of high sugar content or unnecessary cravings (caused by diet soda). Replace these juices or sodas with water, which has zero calories and provides many healthy benefits. Drinking 10-12 glasses of water a day will keep your body hydrated and when fully hydrated, your body eliminates waste more effectively, which can quicken your digestive system and help you lose weight.

2. You are eating packaged flavored yoghurt

Yoghurt has many nutrients such as protein, which keeps you fuller for longer and help in avoiding overeating. But flavored yoghurt or packaged fruit yoghurt is much higher in calories because of its sugar content. Some of this packaged yoghurt may also contain artificial sweeteners, which can have other adverse effects on your overall health.

3. You are eating while watching your favorite game

Many people like to eat a packet of chips with a cold drink while watching their favorite sport on TV. But this habit of yours can make you overeat, adding up the calories. If you eat while watching TV your mind has to focus on two things simultaneously, which is why it takes additional time for your brain to register the calories you consume. This leads to overeating. Therefore, always focus on your food while eating.

4. You love going to happy hours/ buffets

Your regular outings include going for happy hours or Sunday buffet brunches. Cheating on your diet and exercise for a meal is fine but this happy hour / buffet makes you eat much more than your body needs. This adds three to four times more calories than a usual meal.

5. You treat yourself too often

Eating your favorite comfort food occasionally is fine but if you treat yourself to a small piece of chocolate or few spoons of ice cream daily than it will lead to cravings every day. Therefore, if you want to manage your weight and keep a check on your portion size, indulge occasionally.

6. You are avoiding a particular food group completely

Many people start completely avoiding a particular food group such as carbohydrates or fat, to control their weight. This leads to binging whenever you eat that food the next time and also deprives your body of a variety of nutrients. Therefore, instead of completely avoiding any food group, practice portion control and moderation.

7. You are not sleeping enough

Many studies have shown that your diet and sleep patterns are related. Lack of sleep can lead to disturbed physiology of your body. So, when you do not get enough sleep it may lead to cravings and an over-consumption of calories because you crave for food more often than normal. It is very easy to get tempted to reach for a cup of coffee and doughnut for a quick shot of energy. So sleep at least eight hours each night.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Build Immunity

Are you tired of falling sick every time there is a slight change in the weather or being extremely vulnerable to other people with viruses or bacteria. Body produces antibodies that help identify and neutralize foreign bodies like bacteria and virus in the body thus providing immunity. Immune system is the body’s defence against organisms and foreign substance which have potential to cause diseases and health problems. The immune system is made up of cells, tissues and organs that fight together to protect the body.

Garlic (Cr/freedigital)

There are three types of immunity in the body known as innate, adaptive and passive. Innate is the natural immunity that we all are born with for general protection. Adaptive immunity is the active immunity which develops throughout our lives and in some cases where the infection is too dangerous to fight we can be immunized through vaccination. Lastly, passive immunity is which is borrowed from other sources like mothers milk that provides immunity to child when he is born until he develops his immunity.

Lymphocytes, which are the white cells, are the key laborers of the immune system. The primary lymphocytes are B-cells, T-cells, natural killer cells, macrophages and dendritic cells.

You could strengthen your immune system naturally through balanced diet and exercise. Good nutrition with vitamins and minerals and other important nutrients will keep the immune healthy and ready to ward off invaders. A life style that indulges in the consumption junk foods, fear, worry, and anything that promotes stress will weaken and destroy the immune system. Here are some food options for building immunity.

Garlic: It is a powerful immune booster and stimulator which increases the production of infection fighting white blood cells, boosts natural killer cells and destroys antibodies.  Allicin and sulphides present in garlic boost immune system. Garlic is an anti-oxidant which fights free radicals in the body and helps clear out toxins from the body.

Carrots: Carrots, his food of choice, contain loads of beta carotene, which is a powerful phytonutrient that boosts the immune system’s production of infection-fighting natural killer cells and T cells. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases  and kills free radicals which cause aging and strengthens the immune system.

Yogurt :Ingesting live bacteria might not seem like the best way to stay healthy, but, on the contrary, your body needs certain bacteria to function properly. Lactobacillus acidophilus is an example of good bacteria that your body needs, because it produces lactic acid in your gut, which helps you digest food and break down complex compounds into usable bits.

Mushroom: Mushrooms increase white blood cells in the body to fight diseases and infections. They help build the immune system. Mushrooms contain beta glucans which are one of the best immune enhancing substance. They provide rich nutrition to the body and keep foreign substances away.

Citrus Fruits (Cr/freedigital)

Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is an antioxidant which eradicates free radicals from the body and keeps the body in fighting mode from all foreign substances. Vitamin c increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies in the body fighting the immune system. Vitamin C has rich anti-inflammatory properties helping fight cold and bruises, wound healing cuts, swelling etc. It keeps a good body immunity fighting against the bacteria and fungi causing allergies.

Drinks lots of water to flush out toxins from the body and include vegetables, fruits which contain fiber beneficial in removing toxins from the body. Exercise to keep the body healthy and increase blood flow in the body and fight infections better.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

5 Meal ideas to Stay Fuller

Eating nutritious food is important, but how much and when to eat is vital too. Staying fit is easier than its perceived to be. Eating the right food at the right time will not only meet your daily nutrition requirement but keep you fuller through out the day keeping you away from all the junk and empty calories we binge on otherwise.

Eggs (Cr/freedigital)

Research shows than men who ate meals with higher amounts of protein than the average meal, when they were trying to lose weight felt fuller throughout the day; they also experienced a reduction in late-night desire to eat and had fewer thoughts of food. This is especially important with regard to the Indian vegetarian diet that can be extremely carbohydrate heavy, with little high quality protein, to ensure long term satiety that protein provides.

Proteins can make you feel fuller for a longer time but this doesn’t mean that you only consume protein. The body requires a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fats.

Few sources of protein for your diet:

Eggs: Eggs are highly satiable and makes you fuller for a longer time and proving vital minerals and vitamins with fat and provides the energy for basic functioning. It takes care of the calorie intake and is healthy for the body.

Fish: It is not only rich in omega fatty acids but provide ample amount of protein to make you feel longer. Some salmon in lunch or dinner or your desired meals will help you stay away from hunger and nourish the body as well.

Sprouts or Beans: For veggie lovers sprouts and beans can be a part of your diet. Eating sprouts in your diet will fill you up and keep irregular food cravings away.

Soy Products: Soy milk offers outstanding nutrition, along with their health benefits. They provide balanced nutrition of high-quality protein and carbohydrates, low in fat with no cholesterol and very low in saturated fat.

Dairy Products: Dairy Product vary to milk, cheese, cottage cheese, butter, cream, yogurtbuttermilk etc. Dairy products tend to be good sources of calcium, protein and healthy carbohydrates.

Meat & Poultry: Meat and poultry products rank one of the highest for proteins. They contain ample amount of protein and help keeping you feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Add some protein to your diet to keep you feeling a little fuller for a longer time. But ensure that you eat a balanced meal.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

7 Muscle Building Foods

We all know what muscles are and what are the basic functions that a muscle perform. Secondly, we also know it that by lifting weights and doing high intensity workouts we can build muscle. But do you know that to build muscles, along with the timing of nutrition, there are some foods that are more effective than others at helping you build muscle.

Eggs & Milk ( Cr/freedigital)

Below are a list of foods essential to building muscle:

Eggs: Rich source of protein and provides important vitamins and minerals.

Nuts: They are rich in fibre, Omega 3 fatty acid (lowers LDL levels) antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium

Beans: Apart from being a rich source of protein, it is also a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre.

Yoghurt: Rich in protein and carbohydrates, and good for muscle recovery & growth.

Milk: A rich source of protein , calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin and other essential amino acids.

Fish: Contains omega -3 fatty acids and good source of protein.

Water: Water is essential to deliver nutrients to your muscles for growth & repair. So, water is key to building muscle.

Including these ingredients in your diet will recover your muscles and tissues and provide your muscle with nutrients to keep your muscles pumping for longer time.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

10 Foods to improve your mood

Ever wondered why is it that whenever we feel upset or depressed about something we binge on our comfort food and repent later? Most of these foods that provide us temporary comfort are high on calories and only adds to our woes by adding onto our weight.

Photo- Almonds are a health snack

Let’s see which healthy options can elevate our mood by keeping a balance of our calories as well.

1. Dark Chocolates: Chocolates, in general are loaded with chemicals that enhance mood, seratonin in particular.

2. Yogurt: Besides being a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin B12, yogurt also contains a whole lot of useful bacteria which keeps our immune system intact and helps our stress combating ability. And in studies has shown that yoghurt can improve fat loss.

3. Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes help in reducing stress levels as they satisfy body’s craving for carbohydrates and sweets.

4. Nuts: The next time you’re feeling down, help yourself to some crunchy nuts.

5. Water: Lack of sufficient consumption of water leads to dehydration and even a small case of dehydration can cause stress. So, drink up!

6. Fish: Fish is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein and importantly, Vitamin B 12 which is an important component for producing serotonin also known as the happy hormone.

7. Asparagus :Asparagus is rich in folic acid and contains magnesium that are famed for their mood-lightening properties

8. Oranges: Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C containing up to 1000 mg of it. They also contain anti-oxidants which prevent the formation of free radicals that cause cell damage.

9. Green vegetables: It provides stress relief, helps enhance mood with regard to depression, panic, anxiety and other emotional disorders. Many green veggies contain potassium which greatly helps calm one’s nerves when stressed.

10. Dried Apricots: Apricots are a rich source of natural sugars and, hence, another perfect option to beat those sweet cravings. A handful of dried apricots are bound to make you happy and healthy.

So the next time you are under the weather include above mentioned list into your daily diet you are bound to notice some changes in your mood for sure.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Are You Indian? Careful About Diabetes and Hypertension

Research over the last several years has shown that Indian bodies and genetics are different from their western counterparts. Not in a good way- Indians suffer from abdominal obesity compared to people in the west, whose bodies are uniformly obese. As a result of this, Indians are at a higher risk of diabetes and hypertension.

Watch your blood pressure and sugar (stephanobenito@flickr)

There are currently 41 million diabetic people in India and this number is expected to rise by 170 per cent in the next 20 years. Even today, India has the largest population of diabetics in the world. By 2050, India is projected to be diabetes capital of the world. Today, one in every three Indians has high blood pressure, which is expected to shoot by 60 per cent in the next 20 years.

Not much can be done about the genetic risk of Indians, but a lot can be done to take measures about reducing your risk. First, get yourself tested for blood sugar and hypertension. Then, watch your diet and exercise. The Indian diet is very high on carbohydrates. Watch the type of carbohydrates that you put into your body- some carbohydrates promote fat storage. You don’t have to cut out fat from your diet. Just eat the healthy fat. Here are snacks that are delicious and healthy- Almonds keep you fit, Yoghurt reduces fat, Apple fights cancer, Guavas build immunity- read for their health benefits.

Need to lose weight. Call Fitho or email us at fitness@fitho.in. We provide effective diet and workout plans that are customized to your needs.

If you have not exercised in a while, then this is your chance to start- start with a walk, and graduate to a jog. There are innumerable benefits of running. Read these tips to start running. The classic pushup exercise, builds muscle and burns fat.

You’re never to old to get in shape! If you need to lose weight, get on a healthy weight loss plan, with a balanced diet and an effective exercise routine.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Hidden Calories in Fruit Smoothies

Are you trying not to gain weight, and do you drink fruit smoothies, because you think they are healthy? Well, watch out!

Many fruit smoothies contain added sugars and high-fructose corn syrup and are so high in calories, that they sabotage your diet, than help you lose weight. The key here really is in the ingredients. Check if the fruit smoothie contains added sugar, or syrup. Many fruit flavourings added to smoothie are loaded with sugar, so they seem healthy, but they’re really not. They syrups, flavouring and added sugar really pack on the calories and promote fat storage.

A healthy smoothie should be made from fresh seasonal fruit, instead of fruit concentrate (since that contains added sugar) and should contain plain yogurt instead of ice cream or frozen yogurt. Using actual fruit and plain yogurt will reduce the calories by half and don’t forget will contain only naturally occurring sugar from fruit. A real fresh smoothie as described above is also packed with essential calcium, vitamin and antioxidants which truly make it good for health.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Fruity Yoghurt is calorie loaded

Do you eat those yoghurt and fruit cups assuming that they’re healthy? Well then, you need to watch out.

The fruit and yoghurt cups sold in the stores are loaded with sugar- almost as much sugar as a soft drink. Sugar has a high glycemic index and promotes fat storage in your body. Yogurt has many health benefits, and we all know about fruits being healthy. They’re also loaded with antioxidants.

Photo-Yoghurt and Fruit- Healthy Snack (lazykangaroo@flickr)

Yoghurt and fruit is a great snack for anytime, whether you want to start your day with it, or as a post workout snack. So, make yourself some by mixing a cup of low fat plain yoghurt with half a cup of berries, or any other fruit that you like. It makes for a delicious snack, without all the hidden sugar and calories.

Check out these two simple recipes (Strawberry Smoothie, Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie) for some delicious, healthy and simple snacks

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Fitho Recipe- Strawberry Banana Yoghurt Smoothie

Need a great breakfast, mid day snack, or a post workout shake?

Here it is: Take 6-8 strawberries, 1 ripe banana, 2 cups plain low fat yoghurt, 1/2 cup crushed ice, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tsp vanilla essence and blend it all in a food processor. This makes 3-4 servings.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

This shake is loaded with fiber, protein and good carbohydrates to keep you going for longer, besides all the vitamins and antioxidants from the fruits and honey. Each serving of this smoothie should be about 60-80 calories. This smoothie also has a medium glycemic index.

So, make yourself this smoothie and enjoy it knowing that its good for you This strawberry smoothie is a great post workout snack!

To make this a weight gain smoothie, swap the yoghurt with vanilla ice cream. Don’t worry, ice cream can be healthy.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo