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8 power fruits for better health

Jun 29, 2017 3:00 AM

Protect everything from your prostate to your erections with these essential selections from nature’s medicine cabinet.

There’s something important you’re not doing—and you’re far from alone in your torpidity, because most Americans are every bit as lax as you are on this score.

Too many guys aren’t filling the recommended half of their plates with fruit and vegetables, and if you’re part of this crowd it’s something you’ll need to address, because your diet is likely deficient in the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals your body needs for optimum health—and no, canned fruit and fruit juices don’t count.

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, the information on these pages might just put him out of business. Here are our top eight fruit A-listers.

1. Pomegranate If you’ve ever suffered from erectile dysfunction, try adding this “natural Viagra” to your daily diet. Research shows that the powerful antioxidant agents in pomegranate seeds and juice can help reverse oxidative damage—what nutritionist Oz Garcia, Ph.D., calls “natural rusting”—to the vascular system, which plays a major role in the ability to achieve and maintain erections. Perhaps this is why some theologians believe the pomegranate—and not the apple—was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

2. Apple One medium-size apple is a filling, ready-to-eat snack that's packed with 4g of soluble fiber—17% of the daily value, or the amount you need each day. “This is important for colon health and controlling blood sugar levels,” says Elson Haas, M.D., author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition. “It’s also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.” Apples also contain quercetin, which has antihistamine and anti-allergy properties.

3. Grapes Research has shown that consuming high-glycemic carbs after workouts produces a greater amount of glycogen—replenishing what you’ve depleted after a hard session—than consuming carbs that are lower on the glycemic index. “Grapes are a very high-glycemic fruit,” says nutritionist and physique specialist John Kiefer, “which makes them an ideal post-training snack.” They’re also loaded with vitamins A, C, and B6, and folate, in addition to several essential minerals.

4. Cherries Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, says inflammation in the body is the root cause of most disease and discomfort. “Chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on your vascular system,” he says, “but a lot of guys also suffer acute inflammation caused by sports injuries.” Studies suggest weekend warriors can ease aches and pains by eating tart cherries. These have the highest concentration of anthocyanins 1 and 2, which help block enzymes associated with inflammation.

5. Blackberries Garcia recommends blackberries for their exceptional phytonutrient power and vitamin K content (36% of the daily value). “This is important for men because it’s been shown to help lower the risk of prostate cancer,” he says. “It’s also high in the mineral manganese, which helps support optimal testosterone production.” Blackberries—along with blueberries, bilberries, and raspberries—are also rich in the antioxidant lutein, which helps promote eye health by helping prevent macular degeneration.

6. Grapefruit The famous Scripps Clinic “Grapefruit Diet” study showed that participants who ate half a grapefruit before each meal lost an average of 3.6lbs in 12 weeks. “It’s a great appetite suppressant,” Bowden says. “It also contains pectin, a soluble fiber that’s been shown to slow the progression of atherosclerosis.” Avoid eating grapefruit when taking prescription (or over-the-counter) medications, though. “It interacts with liver enzymes in a way that can keep the medication in your system longer than expected.”

7. Lemon “The citric acid in lemons helps break down lipids and stimulates digestive juices,” says Haas, who does a 10-day lemonade cleanse each year to reduce body fat and cholesterol. “Adding the juice of half a lemon to a glass of water every morning supports liver and gall bladder function.” Drink some fresh lemon juice before your next meeting. The energizing scent has been shown to mitigate fatigue, anxiety, and nervousness, and can increase concentration and alertness.

8. Papaya Papain, an enzyme in papaya, has been shown to relieve gas from indigestion. Another of its enzymes, chymopapain, has been used to relieve inflammation. One cup of fresh, ripe papaya has only 60 calories, yet packs a whopping 144% of the daily value of vitamin C (88mg). “When buying papayas,” Garcia says, “look for ones that are mostly yellow and yield slightly to pressure.

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7 Reasons Your Legs are Still Skinny

Legs seriously lagging in the muscle department? Here's where the blame lies.

The reason you’re sporting branchlets for legs is obvious if you’re fond of skipping leg days. But for the diehards who log the time, reps and sets and still see no gains in the size of their quads or hammies, zeroing in on the “what” and “why” this is occurring can be as puzzling as is it is maddening.

For answers, we spoke with Nick Clayton, MS, MBA, CSCS,*D, RSCC, Personal Training Program Manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Follow Claytons tips and you might finally manage to turn those stems into tree trunks.

1. You’re Not Changing Enough

Consistent change is essential to maintaining consistent growth — especially for gym rats. “The longer someone has been training the more frequently they need to change things up,” Clayton explains.

But a key thing to remember is that the term “change” extends beyond exercise selection. “Changing things up can mean anything from a squat type to an exercise to a rep scheme,” he adds. “Even if someone is doing the right exercises [for bigger legs] they might be doing three sets of 10 across the board.”

Things like giant sets, dropsets, extended sets, supersets, pyramids, and varying your rest periods other things you can use to make your next workout differ from the previous one.

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2. Your Legs Aren't Strong

You might hear people complain that their legs are strong but not big. To determine whether that’s the case the word “strong” needs to be defined — and Clayton’s definition might differ from yours.

“I’d consider strong legs the ability to squat two times your bodyweight and deadlift two-and-a-half times your bodyweight,” Clayton says. “If you can squat and deadlift that and your legs are still skinny, it’s probably just lousy genetics. But I don’t see too many people who can do those percentages of squats and deads with skinny legs.”

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3. You Need More Volume Training

There are times to go big and heavy and push yourself to the max, just not all of the time. So break free of the mindset that every time you squat the bar has to be loaded with weight.

“There is a lot of research that supports using lower loads and higher volume to build your legs,” explains Clayton. “For three weeks try doing a higher volume using lower weight — say 10 sets of 10 reps with something light. Recover for a week. And then go heavy with 6-10 reps, [and then] 5 sets of 3-5 reps. And then cycle back through. Each phase will either build volume or strength, and challenge the body and nervous system.” 

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4. You're Making Things Too Complex

We know we said you need to change things often, and you do. But Clayton suggests keeping two things in your routine constant: the squat and deadlift.

“Variations of squats and deadlifts should be the keystone of every leg workout,” explains Clayton. “Doing varieties of squats and deads correctly is the best way to get bigger. Using a new piece of equipment … is a good way to get some variety in your workout, but your body will adapt to it and once that happens it’s game over.”

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5. You're Doing Too Much Cardio

Doing enough cardio work to keep you from huffing and puffing whenever you take the stairs is understandable. Otherwise, it can become a hindrance.

“If your goal is to put on size focus on strength training and make cardio a minimum,” he suggests. “Going long on the cardio is when you get catabolic and you start breaking down muscle. Even if you’re looking to get leaner, cut the cardio down and work on metabolic conditioning with circuit-style work and high-intensity intervals … so you’ll keep muscle mass and burn fat.”

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Your Carb Intake Needs to be Higher

“Carbohydrates are critical when it comes to building muscle,” says Clayton. “Carbs allow you to perform at a high level and help with recovery. Bodybuilders are 30-50 pounds over their competitive weight in the offseason. You need to get calories in, and the more the better. You’ll put on some fat and a lot of muscle. You have to feed the machine. If you don’t, you won’t grow.”

For people looking to add mass, Clayton suggests constructing a diet that consists of 60% carbs, 30% protein, and 10% fats (60/30/10). If the end game is to get lean, opt for 40/30/30. However, it’s also contingent upon your genetics and how active you are. So use these percentages as a guideline and make tweaks when necessary to fit your specific needs.

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7. You Neglect TUT with Calf Training

You don’t want to be the guy who has the body of a top. That means your calves need love, too. According to Clayton, when working with calves, focusing on rep counts can be deceiving. “Squatting six reps might take you 30 seconds, but six calf raises might take you six seconds, so it becomes a time under tension (TUT) question,” he says. “In general, you’re looking at that 20-second time frame if you want to build strength,” he says. “Size and hypotrophy should take 40 seconds, and muscular endurance is about 60 seconds. So you might need 20 reps to get that time under tension with calves.”

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List Of Bad Habits Or Addictions & How To Break Them

When you're young, you take your body for granted. No matter how much you skip your meals or sleep, or how hard you party, you still have enough energy left in you to take on the world the next morning.

But as you age, your energy levels will not remain the same as ever. Before you gave up on these habits, several health issues and ailments will start catching up soon enough.

Hence, you need to have an idea of the kind of habits that you follow and how to break these addictions before it's too late.

Not everybody is free of some bad habits that can actually plague no matter how hard they try to get rid of it. More than the statement that old habits are hard to break, it's the realization that matters here.

You need to realize that what are the bad habits that are taking over your lives and how to break free from them before you succumb to these addictions.

Keeping this in mind, we have created a list of bad habits and how to break them. Read further to know about the list of bad habits to break.

1. Nose Picking:

This tops the list of bad habits. Nose picking is extremely bad for your health and is also against the social etiquette. Picking your nose can spread several infections like cold and flu, as viruses are known to pass into the body through mucus.

2. Caffeine Addiction:

The negative impacts of long-term caffeine addiction are ulcer, insomnia, muscle atrophy, dehydration, lack of energy and severe headaches. Hence, it is high time you stopped going for caffeine as soon as you wake up.

3. Poor Posture:

Being in a poor posture can give you back trouble as well as headaches. This is because slouching tires the neck muscles and hence will not be able to support the head. Hence, you'll suffer from headaches.

So, maintaining a good posture and following that as a habit is the best thing you can do about this.

4. Getting Stressed Easily:

This means that you have let stress conquer your life. Stress can decrease the immunity levels and make you more susceptible to diseases. Getting stressed all the time also leads to depression, low immunity, anxiety and ulcers. This is one of the top bad habits you need to quit now.

Hence you need to make sure that you fight away stress as much as you can and practice yoga and meditation to counter the same.

5. Dieting In Excess:

Dieting too much and ridding your body off the essential nutrients will lead to blood sugar imbalance, high blood pressure, weak heart, low levels of haemoglobin and decreased life span. You'll also suffer from negative mental effects when you're too very obsessed with counting calories.

6. Skipping Breakfast:

Skipping breakfast will slow down your metabolism drastically. This makes your body work extra hard at storing calories, leading to you being overweight and obese. If you constantly miss breakfast, then you're also likely to suffer from gastric ulcer.

7. Playing With Hair:

Playing with hair is an anxious or nervous habit that provides people with a source of comfort. For some people, it can become an impulsive behaviour and also reflects their lack of confidence.

8. Snacking Late At Night:

Snacking after dinner is not good for health. This is because late-night snacking can lead to weight gain and sleep deprivation. Eating sufficient and healthy meals for dinner will help in preventing late-night cravings.

9. Smoking:

Smoking just one cigarette per day can lead to blood clots that will prevent the swift flow of blood and develop plaque in the blood vessels. Hence, giving up smoking needs to be your first priority.

10. Oversleeping:

Good quality sleep is necessary but over-sleeping can be counter-productive. Hence, in order to improve your work productivity and time, you need to limit your sleep to 6-8 hours a day and see the improvements. Oversleeping is one of the bad habits that you should break.

11. Negative Self Talk:

Negative self talk is actually a bad habit. This can make yourself as well as the people around you stressed. People usually like to have conversations with those who emanate positive energy and not make them feel negative. Hence, you need to train yourself to control your emotions and think positive.


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