What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are all the rage today. And justifiably so. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals which cause cell damage, which ultimately can lead to diseases of the heart and cancer. It seems everywhere you go it's blueberry this and blueberry that. You have your choice of wild blueberry juice, blueberry-pomegranate juice, blueberry cranberry juice and so on and so on.

Now don't get me wrong, I love blueberries. But in our rush to embrace the latest antioxidant food craze (blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates) we're ignoring some very high-antioxidant foods already sitting in our cupboards.

"What," you ask, "could possibly be higher in antioxidants than my beloved blueberry?" Well how about the small red bean? That's right, I said "bean".

The small red bean actually has more antioxidants in it per serving size than the wild blueberry. And the red kidney bean and pinto bean have more antioxidants per serving than a serving of cultivated blueberries.

What other foods are high in antioxidants? For starters there are artichoke hearts, blackberries, prunes, pecans, spinach, kale, russet potatoes, and plums. And no that's not a mistakerusset potatoes are high on the list of foods high in antioxidants.

The truth is there are many common foods high in antioxidants and you should not restrict yourself to one particular food source. Why? Well have you ever heard the expression "eat your colors"? That refers to the fact that foods are in different color "families" containing different types of antioxidants which have different benefits. For example the yellow-orange family of nectarines and peaches halp our immune system. The purple-red family of foods (plums, pomegranates, berries) helps reduce inflammation. It's important to eat foods from all color groups to reap the full benefits of their antioxidants.

The good news is that you can eat health foods high in antioxidants (by eating them raw, cooking them, or juicing them yourself) without having to pay a high price for "flavor of the month" antioxidant juices being peddled in the supermarkets.

So give your blueberries some company at the dinner table. invite some beans, spinach, potatoes and artichoke hearts and enjoy your antioxidants!

Weight Loss plan

The math is pretty simple. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. Want to lose a pound a week? Then you need to consume 3500 less calories per week than you use. That's about 500 calories a day. By cutting out 500 calories a day from your diet, while keeping your activity level the sane, you can lose about one pound a week.

All right, that doesn't sound like much, especially if you're more than 25 pounds overweight. However, study after study has shown that those people who lose weight gradually—at the rate of 1-2 pounds per week—are far more likely to keep the weight off and maintain normal weight for a lifetime.

So how much exactly is 500 calories? If you're going to reduce your daily intake by that amount, it helps to know what you need to cut out, right? Here's how easy it is to lose 500 calories a day:

* Use milk instead of cream in your coffer—50 calories per cup.

* Skip the butter on your baked potato—100 calories.

* Drink fruit flavored water instead of a 16 ounce soda—200 calories.

* Skip the Big Mac and have a salad instead (although be aware that some fast food salads with dressings can actually have more calories than a Big Mac, so always check nutritional information at the restaurant!)—300 calories.

* Pass by the bag of potato chips. And average snack bag size of chips has over 300 calories.

* Eat your corn on the ear. A 1 cup serving of canned corn has 165 calories, an ear of corn has only 85—save 80 calories.

* Switch to low-fat cream cheese on your bagel—you'll save 90 calories per ounce.

* Love those fries and can't give them up? Swap the skinny fries out for thick steak-cut ones. Think fries absorb more oil than thicker, meatier ones—50 calories per 4 oz serving

Of course exercise is the best, healthiest way to lose unwanted pounds. You can also lose a pound a week by upping your activity level by 500 calories a day. how easy is that to do? Take a look:

* Take a half-hour walk around the park. Aim for a pace that's a little faster than a stroll, but not fast enough to be breathless—16 calories.

* Get out your bike and take a ride. Tackle a few moderate hills and aim for about 5 miles total—250 calories.

* Go dancing—and really dance. The longer you're out on the floor instead of at the table drinking up high-calories drinks, the more you'll get out of it. Dancing that makes you breathless and warms up your body will almost get you to your whole day's goal—400 calories.

* Swimming is great for you, and a lot of fun, too. The water resistance means you burn more calories, and you avoid the stress impacts on joints from aerobics, dancing or walking. Do a few laps at a slow crawl—if you can get up to an hour you'll be doing great—510 calories.

* Get out into your garden. An hour of gardening tasks that includes bending and stretching can burn up to as many calories as a brisk walk—250 calories.

* Play a game of tennis. Hook up with a friend for a weekly tennis game and you'll be amazed at how much progress you make—800 calories.

It's important to keep in mind that all exercise/calorie numbers are based on a woman weighing 130 pounds. If you weigh more, you'll burn more. An added bonus to burning calories through exercise is, you build muscle by converting it from fat. Three guess which kind of body tissue burns more calories—even when you're not exercising. It's true, your body uses more energy to maintain and feed muscle than it does fat.

For best results mix and match food savings with exercises that burn calories. Keep in mind that eating less than 1000 calories a day for more than a few days will convince your body that it's starving and slow your metabolism. Keep calorie ranges reasonable and consult a doctor before attempting quicker, more dramatic weight loss.

Tips to lose weight

Weight loss is a tough result to obtain regardlkess of weight or level of physical fitness. There are many different ways to lose weight, some more unhealthy than others, but the ones that work are most times the most complicated to pull off.

Some people may recommend eating less to lose weight, and in some cases eating less is a key component of losing weight, but in most cases easting is a necessity if one wishes to lower their own weight. Without food and the calories it supplies, the body has no energy to burn and will turn your existing muscle into fat. in order to lose weight you must make a commitment, a commitment that must not be broken if you desire results.

Do not misconstrue this for the idea that you can never indulge during your diet, just be sure that you have set reasonable limits for yourself that you are ready to commit to. If you are on a strict diet, a 'cheat' meal here and there will go a long way to keeping you happy.

To be successful in achieving your goal of weight loss, set multiple smaller, more easily attainable goals that will keep you motivate and more likely to obtain your overall goal of a happier and healthier life.