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6 healthy food trends for 2016

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I’m a trend watcher. Not so much for fashion, but for healthy food and drinks. Last year brought us ancient grains, energy bars made from cricket flour, and a whole lot of matcha, but what will we be obsessing over in 2016? Here’s a taste.

Spiced-up yogurt

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I love seeing spices used in novel ways, and it looks like 2016 won’t disappoint. Vanilla-cardamom will be a limited-edition, seasonal flavor from Siggi’s, the Icelandic-style yogurt, launching in January at grocery stores nationwide.

Baum + Whiteman’s trend report says savory yogurts will be carving out space in the yogurt aisle, as well as at restaurants. You can already sample yogurt with a dose of smoked paprika at Chef Aaron Fitterman’s Aretsky’s Patroon in Manhattan. And yogurt maker Noosa will debut a Blackberry Serrano flavor in January in Colorado, with plans to roll it out nationwide later in the year.

Pulses

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You’ve likely already been eating pulses for years. This legume family includes chickpeas, lentils, dried beans and peas. What’s new is that the United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses and will be working to make them a household term.

Packed with plant protein, pulses are also a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals and help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and help with losing weight. Pulses have a tiny carbon footprint and help enrich the soil they’re grown in, making them great for the environment. Did I mention they’re super cheap? One serving of lentils costs just 10 cents.

Chefs have already taken note and are starting to use more pulses on their plates. In Nashville, Chef Rene De Leon pairs French lentils with turnips, crispy pork and Dijon vinaigrette. And at MP Taverna in Brooklyn, chef/owner Michael Psilakis pairs his octopus with a Mediterranean bean salad, yogurt and a cured black olive puree.

Meal-kit mania

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People want to cook fun and delicious meals at home, but many don’t want to spend time searching for recipes and shopping for ingredients. Thanks to this, meal kit services like Blue Apron and Plated saw huge growth last year and 2016 will see it continue to expand. Look for new services that offer solutions for every type of diet, including vegan and paleo, and cater to millennial tastes. New delivery services include the Mark Bittman-curated Purple Carrot, Hello Fresh, One Potato, Sun Basket and Peach Dish, offering Southern-inspired dishes.

Phil Lempert, the guru of food predictions, says that 2016 will bring celeb chef-driven meal kits and we’ll see some brands consolidate to create the Amazon of meal kits.

Root-to-stem eating

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The issue of food waste is gaining momentum, with chefs like Blue Hill’s Dan Barber creating pop-ups devoted to showcasing dishes made entirely from food that would normally end up in the trash. Part of this movement is “root to stem” or “root to stalk” eating, which essentially means cooking that promotes the use of all parts of a vegetable, not just the pretty bits. This concept pairs up nicely with the vegetable forward movement we’ve been seeing in restaurants.

At restaurants look for all manner of vegetable tops, including carrot, turnip and beet greens. We’ll also start seeing more recipes for the home cook that incorporate all parts of the vegetable.

Jerky for the ladies

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The jerky industry has seen a huge spike in sales in the past year and has grown by 46 percent since 2009. But even though this snack fits into the high protein snacking phenomenon, beef jerky still just doesn’t appeal to most women. That all may change with the introduction of Lorissa’s Kitchen from the makers of Jack Link’s, the largest jerky maker in the US. The new jerky comes in varieties made from 100 percent grass-fed beef that has been raised without added growth hormones, responsibly raised pork, and antibiotic-free chicken. Flavors include Korean BBQ Beef, Ginger Teriyaki Chicken, Sweet Chili Pork, Szechuan Peppercorn Beef and all are preservative-free. You’ll be able to find it starting in February nationwide.

Snacking gets less sweet

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We do it in the car and at our desks. We do it while we’re driving and picking up our kids. We do it four to five times a day. We are a nation of snackers! Snacking increased 47 percent from 2010 to 2014. There are more snacking possibilities than ever and increasingly they’re getting less sweet.

In 2016 we’ll see more savory, bitter and sour options in the snack aisle. This coming year look for chips and puffs that skip the basic potato and instead are based on lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa. You will find heritage sweet potato chips, as well as chips from brands like Way Better and Flamous made from sprouted grains, which provide more nutrients than regular grains.

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Even when we do see sweetness, it will be with added spice and heat, according to Baum + Whiteman. Honey will be used to sweeten foods naturally, and will be paired with chili and jalapeno.

Consumers will continue reaching for high protein snacks, including nuts and nut-based bars. And they’ll also turn to bars from Epic and Tanka made with high quality, grass-fed, pasture-raised meat paired with dried fruits.

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9 Tips On Sticking To Healthy Food & Drinks When You’re Eating Out

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Eating out is such a wonderful luxury, however it can sometimes be tricky to make healthy choices when eating out. As dining out is seen as a treat, it can be more than tempting to feel like you deserve some dishes that might not be all that good for you.

January has come and gone and you may have already packed in your new year’s resolutions and completed your Dry January challenge. For some, February may feel like a luxurious month where you’ve allowed yourself to drink alcohol again, or you’ve started eating candy again after a very long month without it. To top it off, February plays host to Valentine’s Day which for some could mean being wined and dined, going for a girl’s weekend away, or eating some chocolate chocolate.

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But, it doesn’t have to be this way if you’d rather stay health-conscious. Of course, it’s great to have a treat now and again, but if you eat out regularly and you wish to adopt a healthier lifestyle, you may want to rethink your decadent order.

A healthy lifestyle isn’t all about food; it consists of healthy eating, regular exercise, enough sleep, drinking enough water, and looking after your mental health. However, healthy eating plays a big part in living a healthy life – because as we all know, you are what you eat. So here are some tips and tricks to make healthy choices while eating out.

1. Don’t Bother With The Bread

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Fellow Bustler Toria Sheffield discussed eating healthy at restaurants and said, “Granted, bread is freakin’ delicious, so definitely destroy that bread basket if you want to — however, as registered nurse Gianna Rose says in an article for LIVESTRONG, white bread has little nutritive value, so if getting loaded up with vitamins, protein, and fiber is what you’re going for, you might want to keep this tip in mind.” So remember this advice when the bread basket is heading to your end of the table.

2. Drink Water

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Keeping an eye on what you consume isn’t limited to just the food that you eat, it also encompasses anything that passes your lips, including drinks. It’s common knowledge that water is vital to our survival and keeps us feeling great, but there are plenty of other benefits to upping your water intake. Hannah Helsabeck writing for The Huffington Post discovered that drinking more water enabled her to “over-snack less,” improved her digestion, and helped her to feel “…stronger and have greater endurance in the gym.” Needless to say, drinking alcohol on a regular basis isn’t great for you, so try to steer clear of any alcoholic beverages. Keep the water flowing during your meal to ensure you stay fully hydrated and reap the benefits.

3. Don’t Share

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Sharing food can be really fun and even romantic, but it could end up with you making some unhealthy choices, or not being involved in the choosing process at all. Your friend or date may insist you try their favorite dish and if you’re no good with peer pressure, you might find yourself giving in, rather than explaining your new lifestyle.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions About Your Food

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There is no shame in asking questions about your food, in fact your waiter would probably rather you asked and were fully satisfied, than you say nothing and your food isn’t what you expected. This way you can ensure there are no surprises, such as fatty sauces or deep fried foods, when you were expecting a more healthy option.

5. Ask For Extra Veggies

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Vegetables are such clever foods and they can contain an assortment of much needed vitamins and nutrients. According to Dr. Mercola vegetables have an array of health benefits. He said, “Eating more fresh vegetables is one of the simplest choices you can make to improve your overall health. A vegetable-rich diet can help protect you from arthritis, heart disease, stroke, dementia,cancer, and can even help slow down your body’s aging process.” To ensure you are eating a well balanced diet, ask for extra veggies to accompany your main. You could choose a side salad, a couple of veggie side dishes, or even request that the chef adds some extra vegetables straight into your main dish, such as in a pasta dish or a stir fry.
6. Make Some Swaps
 17c55a1ba01805d86444a52c2153b36bDo some research on healthier versions of your favorite foods. For instance, choose whole grain carbohydrates like brown rice over white rice and wholegrain pasta. Steer clear of anything fried and pick white meats and fish over red meats and processed meats. The UK’s National Health Service has a whole list of healthy food swaps to help inspire you to eat well.

7. Keep Your Eyes Peeled For “Red Flags”

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CNN advised readers to look out for “red flags” in the menu when deciding what to order, “When you sit down to order, scrutinize the menu for red flags that indicate foods are high in calories: descriptions of creamy, crispy, fried, breaded or smothered.” Obviously there’s nothing wrong with eating high calorie foods, but eating high calorie healthy foods while exercising regularly, is the better choice when trying to stick to a healthy diet. From hummus to nuts, Glamour has a fantastic article listing healthy foods with high calories, for the times when you’ve hit the gym hard and you need to make up your daily calorie allowance in a healthy way.

8. Don’t Be Tempted By Offers

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You may have hit your favorite restaurant at happy hour, when there are some incredible deals and offers to be had. But, don’t be tempted into choosing an unhealthy option just because it’s cheap or seems too good to miss out on.Your body will thank you once it is digesting some delicious nutritional food, rather than a stodgy pizza loaded with fatty cheese and processed meats.

9. Pick A Light Dessert

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If you’re going to have a dessert, opt for a light, healthier choice rather than a thick, creamy option which could be more taxing to break down in your tummy. The American Heart Association gives tips on eating out and said, “Even if they aren’t on the dessert menu, many restaurants can offer you fruit or sherbet instead of high-fat pastries and ice creams.” By choosing a lighter dessert, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth but in a healthier way than say, wolfing down some cheesecake or chocolate pudding.

Whatever healthy eating route you go down, make sure to ask for advice from your doctor or a nutritionist, to ensure you’re getting everything you need in your diet. Then all that’s left to do is enjoy trying new, healthier options at your favorite restaurants.

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THE 5 COOLEST HEALTHY ICED DRINKS TO GET YOU THROUGH A HEAT WAVE

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To shake up your hydration habit, take a sip of one these five thirst-quenching, super-healthy iced drinks.
Golden Milk Iced Latte

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Don’t let the name fool you; this creamy iced beverage gets its flavor from turmeric rather than espresso. And if you’ve never heard of golden milk, prepare to have your mind (and tastebuds) blown. The mix of milk (often coconut), spices, and a bit of (natural) sweetness makes for a new way to enjoy the natural anti-inflammatory superfood. Super-sweet mochas have nothing on the deliciousness of golden milk.

Matcha Iced Tea with Cucumber

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Matcha wins the superhero award in the beverage category. The antioxidant-rich powdered tea is known to prevent disease, boost metabolism, and regulate blood sugar—and that’s just for starters. Green Evi blogger Evi Oravecz adds cucumber and lime to her iced version, and sometimes replaces regular H20 with coconut water. Not even uber-trendy Cha Cha Matcha has that on the menu.

Lemon Goji Switchel

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You’ll want to have way more than a spoonful of this switchel, thanks to the clever combination of apple cider vinegar, lemon, ginger, goji berries, and a touch of sweetener. “The ginger gives it a nice zing, while the apple cider offers a crispness and tartness that’s nicely balanced by just a touch of sweetness from the honey and a hint of spice from the molasses,” says Gourmande in the Kitchen‘s Sylvie Shirazi. A few reasons (besides the taste) to drink up: Switchel aids in digestion, is packed with vitamins, and quenches thirst.

Blackberry & Lime Chia Fresca

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One easy way to shake up your normal glass of water? Just add chia seeds and a bit of fresh fruit. “The benefits include healthy doses of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins from the blackberries, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from the chia seeds, and the detoxifying and alkalizing properties of lime,” ravesCocoon Cooks blogger Rita Parente.

Chlorophyll Gingered Lemonade

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It’s time to set up a superfood lemonade stand, because this take on the summer classic has come leaps and bounds from the sickly-sweet powdered version of your childhood. Lemon promotes alkalinity in the body, and chlorophyll has major detoxifying properties. And while it sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered to beat the heat, feel free to sip this beverage all year long to take advantage of the drink’s cold- and flu-fighting properties.

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Rio 2016: The top 10 Brazilian street foods

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Almost more so than any other country, the food scene in Brazil is a culinary melting pot merging influences from all over the world. Ingredients and traditions from as far afield as Africa, Japan and Portugal intermingle with the native landscape of coastline, farmland, mountains and jungles to create a wonderful mish-mash that is often best seen (and tasted) right out on the street. The world famous Rio carnival is a perfect example; all elements of Brazil’s rich culture and heritage celebrated throughout the city with food, drink, dance and music playing equal parts in this all-encompassing celebration.

From sweet treats to salty snacks, here are our top picks of classic Brazilian street foods.

1. Picanha

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Barbecuing meat is something the Brazilians do very well. Churrascarias are specific barbecue restaurants which can now be found all over Brazil, but the tradition comes from the Gauchoculture of the south, where cowboys would cook meats skewered on metal spits over hot coals, seasoned simply with rock salt. The prime cut of meat now associated with this style of cooking is picanha – the top part of sirloin steak. This has a thick layer of fat which ensures the charred, smoky meat just melts in the mouth.

2. Pastel de queijo

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A crisp, deep-fried pastry, this portable snack is found mainly in the southeast of the country (particularly in São Paulo) and makes for the perfect street food. Served hot as an accompaniment to drinks, the pastéis can be stuffed with any number of savoury fillings, from chicken or ground beef to heart of palm or melting cheeses. Sweet versions can also be found, usually flavoured with tropical fruits, chocolate or caramel.

3. Brazilian chicken coxinha

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Another deep-fried classic from São Paulo, coxinha are crunchy croquettes usually made with a filling of shredded chicken and Catupiry (a soft, creamy cheese). The filling is surrounded by a layer of dough, then coated in golden breadcrumbs before frying to create the perfect crunch. Often shaped like a teardrop, this is thought to represent the shape of a chicken thigh which would have originally been used for the filling.

4. Pão de queijo (cheese bread)

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Now found throughout Brazil, these little, light fluffy buns originated from the southern region of Minas Gerais. Essentially “cheese bread”, the dough is a simple mix of cassava (tapioca) flour and soft cheese, usually the local queijo Minas. A great snack for anytime of day, these are particularly popular at breakfast, served either warm as they are or split and stuffed with more cheese or spread with jam.

5. Kibe

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Kibe, quibe or kibbeh are little meaty snacks originating from Lebanon. Bringing a Middle Eastern influence to Brazilian street food, the patties are formed from a mixture of minced beef (or lamb) and bulgur wheat. Seasoned with plenty of herbs and spices, fried kibe are found most often served by street vendors, although baked and raw versions are also available.

6. Cassava chips

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Grown across the country, the cassava plant is one of Brazil’s most-used ingredients. Often known as cassava, yuca, manioc or aipim, the whole plant is used in a variety of formats, most commonly as a starch (tapioca) or as a vegetable. Cut into batons and fried, mandioca (oraipim) frito are sold on street food stalls almost everywhere as the Brazilian alternative to the humble potato chip.

7. Bacalhau (salt cod) bites

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Literally meaning ‘little cod balls’, these tasty snacks are just that. Moreish fritters of salted cod and potato, they are fried to ensure a perfectly golden and crisp exterior while the inside remains deliciously soft and fluffy. The Brazilian passion for salted cod comes from the Portuguese influence on the nation’s cuisine, with bacalhau being a popular ingredient in many Portuguese and Spanish dishes as well.

8. Brigadieros da Escocia (chocolate truffles)

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Particularly popular with children (or anyone with a sweet tooth), these chocolate sweets are the Brazilian equivalent of a simple truffle. Named after the famous 1940s political figure Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, the sweets became particularly popular during this time due to a lack of fresh ingredients during and following World War II. Made with just store cupboard ingredients (condensed milk and cocoa powder), they became an easy and accessible treat that remains popular at parties, carnivals and festivals today.

9. Brazilian Feijoada

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Often considered the Brazilian national dish, feijoada is a rich, hearty stew usually made with black beans and several different cuts of pork, including various offal. Found almost everywhere in Brazil, the original dish is most associated with the colonial population in Rio de Janeiro who tended to cook the less desirable cuts of meat in slow-cooked stews such as this. Caldinho de feijão is a lighter version, more like a rich bean soup (although still flavoured with meat) that is commonly sold in steaming mugs or bowls when the weather’s a little cooler.

10. Brazilian acarajé with vatapá

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Not for the faint-hearted, acarajé are often full of heat and spice. Deriving from an African influence on the cuisine of the northeast, acarajé are most associated with the region of Bahia and comprise of a fritter made of mashed black-eyed beans and onions which is deep-fried in palm oil. These are then normally split and stuffed with spicy fillings, most commonly vatapa – a mixture of bread, nuts, prawns, vegetables and spices.

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5 things to eat, drink, do this weekend

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Travel the world this weekend without leaving the city. From a Louisana-style crayfish boil to a festival with food from up and down Italy’s boot, the events on our weekend to-do list will keep you busy.

1. Try food from around the world

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Dozens of languages are spoken in Albany Park on the city’s Northwest Side, and that diversity will be celebrated at the community’s second World Fest. Neighborhood restaurants will sample dishes from Latin America, Central America, the Middle East, Polynesia, Korea and more; dig in while grooving to music as varied as merengue and cumbia to West African folkloric and Greek guitar.

2. Get cray(fish)

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West Loop seafood mecca Smack Shack hosts its inaugural Crayfest, an all-you-can-eat Louisiana-style crayfish boil. Break out your bibs and get ready to get messy; the feast also comes with red potatoes, corn, slaw, griddled milk bread and one of the restaurant’s colorful hurricane cocktails.

3. Indulge in la dolce vita

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Now in its 10th year, Festa Italiana returns to a stretch of Taylor Street in Little Italy with plenty of food amid its cultural offerings. Dig into pasta from nearby family-owned restaurants, wolf down as much cannoli as you can manage, hit the meatball-eating contest and wash it all down in the festival’s wine garden. If you need a break from the food, get moving with tarantella dance lessons and more.

4. Explore wines from Down Under and New Zealand
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Expand your wine knowledge at Eno’s in-depth wine class spotlighting the wines and grapes of Australia and New Zealand. The sommeliers of Enoversity will lead a session exploring shiraz and sauvignon blanc, two of each country’s most important varietals, respectively. Each ticket includes a number of pours paired with cheeses, charcuterie and chocolate.

5. Toast to the Air & Water Show

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One of summer’s marquee events — the Air & Water Show — returns this weekend with aerial acrobatics from pilots, parachuters and more. Our guide gives you the scoop on the bars and restaurants throwing viewing parties with ample food and drink.

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Seven ‘healthy’ foods with high levels of sugar

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Cakes, chocolates and soft drinks are well known for containing large amounts of sugar, but there is a whole range of other products often seen as healthy that contain equally high levels of the sweet stuff.

Pasta sauces

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In April, Mars food, the company behind Dolmio’s pasta sauce and Uncle Ben’s,warned consumers that they should only eat some of its products occasionally because of high levels of sugar, fat and salt. A 500g jar of Dolmio original bolognese sauce contains more than six cubes of sugar – the same as a Mars bar. The suggested serving (125g) contains 7.3g of sugar. Ragu’s original bolognese sauce contains 8.1g of sugar per 100g while Loyd Grossman’s version contains 5.2 g per 100g or 7.3g in the suggested serving.

Soup

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Soups are popular with dieters but the worst culprits contain high amounts of sugar. Heinz classic tomato soup contains 19.4g – more than four teaspoons – of sugar in a tin, while Campbell’s cream of tomato soup contains 12.8g in a tin and versions by Crosse and Blackwell and Baxter have 23.6g and 21.6g respectively. As with pasta sauces, in many cases the suggested serving contains less, although that relies on the consumer following the guidance.

Ready meals

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Ready meals are another culprit when it comes to hidden sugar, with purportedly savoury dishes heavily sweetened. Sharwood sweet and sour chicken with rice contains 21.8g of sugar. Tesco takeaway sweet and sour chicken contains 24.8g in half a pack (the suggested serving), Sainsbury’s crispy sweet and sour chicken with rice contains 26.6g in a pack, and Waitrose’s sweet and sour chicken in batter 19.8g in each half-pack portion. Even supposed healthier alternatives can contain more sugar than one would expect. The Mexican sweet potato chilli pot by Bol, which claims its recipes were developed with “expert nutritionists”, contains 13.7g of sugar.

Yoghurts

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Fruit yoghurts may be many people’s idea of a healthy dessert, especially for their children, but they often have high amounts of sugar – with the supposedly healthy low-fat variety among the worst offenders. For example, Yeo Valley fat free vanilla yoghurt contains 15.5g of sugar per 100g. The equivalent product by Rachel’s Organic contains 13.6g per 100g (it suggests a 150g serving). A third of a pot (150g) of Tesco low fat strawberry yoghurt contains 17.9g of sugar. A 175g pot of Müllerlight strawberry yoghurt contains 12.4g of sugar, although the full fat equivalent – Muller’s strawberry Fruit Corner – which comes in a smaller 150g pot, contains 23.4g of sugar.

Flavoured water

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If something has water in the title, one might presume that there is not too much to worry about on the health front. But flavoured waters, something of an oxymoron but nevertheless popular, often contain large amounts of sugar. Volvic’s Touch of Lemon and Lime contains 27.4g in a 500ml bottle, although the recommended serving is half that. Juicy Water oranges and lemons contains 41g in a 420ml bottle and Glaceau Vitaminwater Revive has 15g in a 500ml bottle.

Cereal bars

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Often seen as a healthy alternative to chocolate bars or as a nutritious breakfast to have on the move but they can contain high amounts of sugar. An Eat Natural yoghurt coated coconut and apricot bar contains 19.7g of the sweet stuff. Nature Valley oats and honey granola bars contain 11.9g of sugar in a two-bar serving, and Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain strawberry bars are about a third sugar, with 12g in each 37g bar.

Ketchup

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Heinz tomato ketchup has 22.8 of sugar per 100g or 3.4g in a suggested 15g (tablespoon) serving. Sainsbury’s ketchup has 21.6g per 100g and 3.2g per tablespoon and the equivalent numbers for Morrisons’ version are 18.1g and 2.7g. Other table sauces also have significant sugar content. Heinz salad cream has 17g of sugar per 100g and 2.6g in a tablespoon.

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The truth about how much water you need to drink

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It’s now the norm to carry around a water bottle as if it’s a permanent extension of your arm, so it seems that most of us have bought in to the benefits of proper hydration. But is what you think about your drink more hype than fact? Take this quiz to find out, and hydrate smarter.

1. True or false: Coffee and tea count toward hydration.

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True. Even though caffeine is a diuretic, which forces water to be excreted in urine, our bodies quickly compensate. So even caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea have a net hydrating effect. Sure, plain water and decaf beverages will hydrate you more, but you can still count that iced coffee as a quencher as much as it is an afternoon pick-me-up.

2. True or false: Coconut water hydrates better than water.

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False. This one is firmly in the hype category. In 2012, a major coconut water player, Vita Coco, settled a class-action lawsuit that accused the company of misrepresenting the health benefits of its products, including exaggerated claims of being “super-hydrating.” The company stopped marketing its products that way, but the claim is still rampant on the internet.

That’s not to say that coconut water isn’t hydrating – it is, just no more so than plain water.

3. True or false: Drinking extra water will keep your skin moist.

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False. Although dry skin is a symptom of dehydration, once you are well hydrated, drinking more water will not make your skin dewier. Eating enough good-for-you fat from fish, nuts and healthy oils is more likely to help with that. These fats are essential building blocks for the healthy skin cell walls that keep moisture in and are key to a glowing complexion.

4. True or false: The foods you eat can help you stay hydrated.

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True. Moisture in solid foods typically accounts for about 20 percent of our water intake, and you can up that number by digging into plenty of water-rich foods, which include many of the in-season fruits and vegetables this time of year. Think lettuce, summer squash, tomatoes, cucumber, melon, grapes, stone fruit and so on. Put them in smoothies with milk or include them in chilled soups.

5. True or false: Drinking water may help you lose weight.

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True. Although it’s no magic bullet, there is evidence that getting enough water can help with weight-loss efforts in several ways. For one, it can affect metabolism. When we are well hydrated, our cells burn more calories than if we are dehydrated – not a huge amount more, but every little bit helps.

One study published in Obesity in 2008 found that women on a weight-loss plan who increased their water intake to more than one litre (about four cups) a day lost about 2kg more over the course of a year than those who drank less.

Then there is the issue of satiety. Water-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, soups and yogurt provide a high level of satisfaction, and there is some evidence that drinking water before a meal can help you eat less at that meal. Of course, drinking water instead of beverages such as soft drinks is also an easy way to cut calories.

6. True or false: A sports drink is necessary if you are running, playing soccer or (insert favorite activity here) in the heat.

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False. If you are an athlete working out intensely for more than an hour at a time, raise your hand. If your hand is not up, you do not need a sports drink during or after exercising.

The fluid and electrolytes you lose through sweat are easily, and more healthfully, replaced with water and a piece of fruit. If the taste of flavored beverages inspires you to drink, try adding a splash of juice or chunks of fruit to season your water.

7. True or false: You need to drink before you get thirsty.

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False. In most healthy adults, thirst is a reliable indicator of fluid needs – and a critical one, as how much you need to drink can vary widely depending on how active you are and how hot it is outside. Unless you are doing prolonged exercise in the heat or your thirst mechanism is compromised (as it may be in the elderly or in those with medical conditions), you don’t need to aggressively push fluids to stay ahead of thirst. Just pay attention to how you feel and drink plenty whenever you are thirsty, and you will most likely stay well hydrated.

8. True or false: You should aim to drink eight glasses of water a day.

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False. That widely quoted number has no scientific basis whatsoever. The amount of water you need for optimal hydration depends on many variables, including the climate you live in and how active you are.

The Dietary Reference Intakes from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division pinpoint 13 cups of total beverages for men and nine cups for women as the average adequate intake for proper hydration in temperate climates – emphasis on total beverages. That number assumes you are getting about 20 per cent of your fluid from food, and it means that anything you drink counts toward hydration, including milk, juice, soft drinks and even coffee and tea. Those numbers are based on the average intakes of well-hydrated people, so you could need more or less. Let your thirst be your guide.

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6 Incredible Health Benefits of Pickle Juice: Drink Up!

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Pickles have been considered a health food for centuries. Cleopatra even claimed that her diet of pickles helped maintain her beauty, and Julius Caesar is also said to have fed them to his troops to boost their strength. But pickle juice: who knew?

It isn’t something that comes to mind when you think of a health fix. You probably can’t believe that the juice you usually discard is actually good for you!?

pickle-juice-625_625x350_41470297183“Pickle juice is mostly brine solution, but it is surprisingly an incredible source of electrolytes, antioxidants and nutrients”, says Delhi-based Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat. While Dr. Rupali Datta, Clinical Nutritionist, SmartCooky says, “Pickle juice is basically salt and some minerals and can be used as a rehydrating fluid. It is vitamin and nutrient-rich only if it’s made from fermented pickle”.

Here are 6 reasons you need to consider drinking pickle juice, and why it’s all the rage –

1. Pre and Post-Workout Drink

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“Pickle juice is really popular with athletes when it comes to pre or post workout meals. The body loses both sodium and potassium while sweating during a workout, and needs to maintain the electrolyte balance. The calcium chloride and vinegar present in pickle juice makes the sodium and potassium more readily absorbed by the body”, says Jaibharat. That’s why many athletes swear by it. It isn’t so much the high sodium content, but the fact that it can deliver nutrients to your body faster than any other source.

2. Prevents or Treats Muscle Cramps

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Another reason why pickle juice is every athlete’s favourite pick-me-up is because it helps prevent or get rid of muscle cramps. It works the same way as it would for a post-workout cure, by hydrating the body and alleviating cramping.

 3. Good for Digestion

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Vinegar is a fermented food, and the vinegar in pickle juice is actually good for the digestive system. “It encourages the growth and healthy balance of good bacteria and flora in your gut”, says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital.

4. Prevents Hangovers

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You know the feeling… waves of nausea, a heavy head, raging thirst, over sensitivity to light and noise? Indeed, it’s the dreaded hangover. Wondering how to get rid of that throbbing headache? Drinking pickle juice is in fact a popular choice, as it helps mask the odour of alcohol on your breath. It even helps balance the electrolytes, and replenishes your reduced sodium levels. Combining it with water will help you hydrate faster and get on with your day sooner.

5. Powerhouse of Antioxidants

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“Pickle juice is packed with antioxidants, electrolytes, and is particularly high in vitamin Cand calcium,” adds Dr. Ahuja, Fortis Hospital. The antioxidants not only prevent free-radical damage, but the nutrients are also far more readily absorbed in the body due to the acidic content of the pickle juice.

6. PMS Remedy

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Pickle juice is considered an effective home remedy for PMS, as it helps alleviate cramps and also helps curb salt cravings that many women have while menstruating.

Side Effects of Drinking Pickle Juice

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Drinking pickle juice has no real side effects, but there are certain preexisting conditions that could be aggravated by it.

1. Skip the pickle juice if you are on a low sodium diet for any medical condition.

2. If you have gout or any family history of gout, avoid drinking pickle juice since it can cause a buildup of uric acid.

3. Water retention and bloating are common side effects of drinking pickle juice in excess, so be careful. Dill pickles are particularly more harmful because they contain high amounts of sodium.

4. Excessive use of pickle juice may also result in hypertension or a temporary spike in your blood pressure.

Other than the above considerations, you can boost your health with pickle juice – in moderation of course.

How to Have Pickle Juice

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Can’t picture yourself drinking pickle juice straight up from the jar regardless of the health benefits? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here are a few easy ways to add pickle juice to your everyday food –

1. Mix pickle juice into water for a post-workout drink, or even into any recovery shake you use.

2. Stir some pickle juice into any dip or even marinade for poultry, fish or meat. You can also add a splash into salads, or use it as a salad dressing. The vinegar and salty taste of the pickle juice makes for a great dressing.

Web-Article-Five-Ways-to-Use-Pickle-Juice-Salad-Dressing-Wing-Dip-Pickleback-Shot-Recipe13. Add several tablespoons of pickle juice to yoghurt. It’s a great option, with the added benefit that yoghurt will mask the taste of the juice too.

The next time you buy pickles, remember that there is more to that jar than just the pickle itself.

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15 Foods & Drinks That Can Help Ease Tension & Kill A Bad Mood

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The foods and drinks that we consume regularly can seriously impact our moods and stress levels, and there are some nutrients that can uplift our spirits and others that can make us feel tired and irritable. Thus, when we are in a bad mood, it’s important to consume foods and drinks that make us feel happier and more emotionally stable.

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on overcoming negative thoughts during the day in order to start fresh and get back to a positive mindset. When we let our bad moods take over, we find ourselves ruminating in the lows and unable to break free.

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Being positive in the day is the best way to be productive, energized, creative, inspired and just feeling awesome, so when a bad mood approaches, it’s beneficial to try and get out of that gloomy state as quickly as possible. While breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, fresh air, and other factors might help kill a bad mood, a terrific and easy way to find that quick solace is to eat the right nutrients to stabilize your emotions and get you back to a happy state. Look to these fifteen foods and drinks to reduce stress and boost your wellbeing.

1. Whole Grains

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Complex carbohydrates can relax the body and reduce tension. “Eating carbohydrates, preferably 100 percent whole grains, with protein-rich foods may boost the amount of tryptophan in your brain. Tryptophan is then converted into serotonin, also known as the “feel-good” hormone,” says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, a spokesperson for America’s Better Sandwich, over email with Bustle. So if you find yourself in a bad mood in the middle of the day, try enjoying a sandwich for lunch.

2. Bananas

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Due to their high magnesium and potassium content, bananas have the power to relax our senses and make us feel happier during the day. Enjoying a banana with a little bit of protein makes for a terrific snack, as the extra protein will also keep us full longer. Bananas are also great after a workout to replenish lost electrolytes and re-balance our hormones.

3. Kombucha

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A probiotic, experts suggest that the properties in kombucha can lower inflammation in the body and make us feel happier overall. Probiotics are great for the body overall, as they aid in digestion and in soothing the body. Whether you buy kombucha at a grocery or health food store or make it yourself, it’s a great drink to sip with your meals during the day.

4. Salmon

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 Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna, are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which can fight inflammation and promote the excretion of serotonin, the “happy hormone.” Consuming fish two or three times weekly can provide major benefits in regulating mood and lowering stress. Try a can of tuna for an easy lunch, or cook a piece of salmon with a side of veggies and lentils for a hearty dinner.

5. WaterGood old water is really important for snapping us out of a bad mood and boosting our mental alertness. When we are dehydrated, we might notice a rapid onset of fatigue, nausea, and irritability, and so it’s important to stay hydrated and drink lots of fluids during the day. If you feel a bad mood coming on, drink a glass of water and see how you feel in a little bit.

6. Avocado

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Loaded with healthy fats, potassium and vitamin E, avocados boost serotonin in the body and fight negativity. Plus, they are absolutely delicious! Wake up right with avocado toast topped with an egg on whole grain toast. You can also add avocado to salads for lunch in order to avoid the dreaded afternoon slump.

7. Lean Meats

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Chicken, turkey and lean beef contain tryptophan, which has been shown to bust a bad mood and increase serotonin levels. Tryptophan can also make us feel more relaxed, mentally and physically. B vitamins, especially B12, is also great for boosting mood. “They are anti-stress by nature, with the ability to help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and tension. They are also a great source of clean energy, which can also promote happiness and mood stability,” says Shannon Race, founder of Vital Proteins, over email with Bustle. She recommends her beef liver supplements for added benefit.

8. Almonds

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Due to their healthy fat content, as well as high protein, magnesium and vitamin E counts, almonds boast many properties that can make us feel happier and stabilize our moods when we are feeling heated and stressed. Nuts are high in protein to make us more alert and to regulate our moods, and they also contain tryptophan to relax tense muscles. Other options include pistachios and walnuts.

9. Spirulina

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Sea vegetables, such as blue algae, spirulina and seeweed have been shown toboost our moods due to a higher serotonin content. Plus, sea vegetable are also high in iodine, which is great for thyroid health and hormonal balance. When our hormones aren’t balanced, we are less able to break a bad mood and combat negativity. Eating these foods in a smoothie or in whole, natural form will provide great benefits.

10. Beans

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“The superfood beans contain folate, and folate can play a key role in regulating your mood,” advises Alicia Ward, VP of Marketing at Beanitos, over email with Bustle. “Beans are also rich in amino acids – one amino acids founds in beans is tryptophan which is used by the body to produce serotonin – serotonin helps the body feel relaxed,” she adds. Enjoy beans with fish, salad or ancient grains for bonus happy points!

11. Berries

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Berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries, have tons of antioxidants and fiber to boost our moods and make us feel lighter. “Fiber rich foods take longer to digest and can help you extend your energy boost,” advises Ward. To increase satiety, pair berries with oatmeal in the morning (even more fiber!) or with a Greek yogurt as an afternoon snack. The extra protein in these items will curb hunger.

12. Sweet Potatoes

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High in potassium, sweet potatoes can boost our moods. Toss some in a salad, use as a side for a lean protein, or enjoy baked with a few nutritious toppings and veggies. “When your body is lacking potassium you experience weakness, tiredness and could lead to lack of exercise,” advises Ward. “Those that get enough potassium have healthy bones and well developed muscles which can help with being active,” she adds, and activity can break a bad mood, as well.

13. Vanilla Greek Yogurt

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Researchers have found that the scent of vanilla flavored Greek yogurt can instantly boost our moods and make us feel more relaxed and content. Look for brands that are low in sugar, or get plain but add a hint of vanilla bean or extract to it. However, Greek yogurt on its own, plain, is also beneficial, as it contains probiotics to make us happier. Whichever your preference, add some nuts for additional protein and mood-boosting benefits.

14. Coffee

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Enjoying a cup or two of coffee might enhance our mood when we are feeling low. Studies have shown that this stimulant can give a quick burst of energy and positivity, and so drinking a few cups can be beneficial for our health. However, don’t drink coffee too late in the day, as it can then interfere with our sleep patterns. Also, avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners, as they can hinder those positive effects.

15. Cottage Cheese

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 Experts suggest that tyrosine can increase our moods and make us feel happier, and it is found in lean dairy, as well as lean proteins, such as meats. Enjoy cottage cheese or yogurt for breakfast or a mid-day snack, and include nuts and fruit for extra antioxidants, protein and fiber. Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium, which can enhance our moods and satisfy our hunger so that we don’t feel hangry later on.
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Power potions: 5 drinks to maintain a healthy diet

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In pursuit of a healthy diet, most of us focus only on the food we eat. We completely overlook the fact that what we drink makes a huge difference on our weight loss as well. In fact, your liquid intake can be a game changer for health and detox as it is the key to a variety of nutrients that boost metabolism.

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So next time you’re starting a diet, why not supplement it with some delicious and healthy juice mixes? Here are five drinks you should definitely incorporate into your healthcare regime. We guarantee not just the taste but their results as well. Happy sipping!

1. Mint, melon and lemon slush

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A mixture of mint and melons, with a tinge of lemon, makes for the ideal summer remedy. Mint has rosmarinic acid which works as an anti-oxidant, protecting skin cells from damage. Melon hydrates your body and promotes smooth digestion while the lemon improves enzyme function.

2. Tomatoes, apples and apple cider vinegar

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Tomatoes, apples and just a few drops of apple cider vinegar cleanse the body and can also make you feel full. The folic acid in tomatoes helps provide a smooth flow of nutrients and blood to the brain. Apple cider vinegar has acetic acid which sheds carbs and the fibre in apples helps cut down weight.

3. Grewia asiatica (Falsa) and ginger

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A combination of ginger and our favourite falsay will give you true detox bliss. The latter are rich in vitamins and iron which help to eradicate substances that contaminate our body. Ginger, on the other hand, contains anti-bacterial agents known to stimulate faster digestion.

4. Cucumber, avocado, grapes and bottle gourd (Lauki)

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When cucumber, grapes, bottle gourd and avocado fuse, they make a delightful green drink. Cucumbers have anti-ageing capabilities while avocados contain lurtein and zeaxanthin which help minimise tissue damage. Grapes contain anti-oxidants that protect the body from diseases and reduce constipation. Bottle gourd contains high amounts of water and dietary fibre which are popular amongst those looking to lose weight.

5. Grape fruits, apples and black pepper

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Grape fruits and apples, garnished with black pepper give the ultimate healthy experience. According to a study, grape fruits help in the formation of collagen which is the main support system of the skin. They also contain ursolic acid, which lowers the risk of obesity. Apples help in digestion, while black pepper  break down fat cells.