What are electrolytes and how do I know whether or not I’m getting enough of them?
When most people hear electrolytes, they immediately think of sports drinks and tablets used by athletes. If we’re exercising and sweating, we should be replenishing electrolytes as we go, right? The reality is, most of us aren’t sweating quite enough to call for additional replenishment.
So if we don’t need to consume electrolytes in the form of supplements for exercise, when and how should we consume them?
Here we’ll discuss what the major electrolytes are, why they are so important, where we can get them in our diet and how much we really need. You’ll be surprised to find out that you’re unintentionally taking in more electrolytes than you think!
What Are Electrolytes Responsible For?
Electrolytes are minerals that are essential for humans. In order for our bodies to function properly on a daily basis, adequate electrolyte consumption is required. Therefore, even when we aren’t exercising, we still need to make sure we’re getting enough electrolytes.
Electrolytes are responsible for:
Conducting electricity throughout the body – think muscle contraction like the beating of your heart
Regulating fluid levels (such as your blood)
Nerve cell communication to other cells
Aiding the process of blood clotting and tissue repair
Regulating the blood’s pH
The release of hormones
As you can see, electrolytes are responsible for some pretty important tasks. So what are these electrolytes and how do they perform these tasks?
The Major Electrolytes
Sodium is talked about quite frequently, but most people don’t know that it’s one of the most important electrolytes.
We generally hear about sodium in the context of limiting intake, and for good reason too. Processed food items in the average American diet are packed with sodium. Therefore it’s important to limit these processed products and monitor how much sodium we’re taking in. While we don’t want to consume an excess of sodium because that can lead to high blood pressure, heart complications and even fluid retention, we do need to make sure we’re getting enough (1).
The average American should aim to consume about 1500 mg – 2300 mg of sodium per day (2). Your specific sodium recommendation will vary depending upon age, physical activity levels, and any present disease states. For example, athletes expelling excessive amounts of sweat are also expelling excessive amounts of sodium. Because of this, they may need to replenish their levels in slightly higher amounts as opposed to the average person.
Sodium regulates the amount of fluid found outside of the cells, otherwise known as extracellular fluid (3). This is a particularly important function because both plasma (the fluid component of blood) and interstitial fluid (which helps feed the cells with oxygen and nutrients and excrete waste) make up the fluid outside of the cells (4).
Both plasma and interstitial fluid are involved in an abundance of body functions, so we really want to make sure we supply the body with adequate sodium to properly regulate them!
When we think about sodium it’s impossible not to think about potassium as well, the two electrolytes work hand-in-hand in the body.
They work together to regulate each other – together they form a pump-like mechanism that pushes out sodium in order to replace it with potassium in the cells. Why is this important? With the help of your kidneys, this pump removes excess sodium and excretes it via urine, ultimately aiding the prevention of high blood pressure due to high sodium levels (5).
In order for your heart, kidneys, and muscles to function properly, your body needs potassium. So how much potassium are we talking? About 4,500 mg – 4,700 mg per day is required for the average adult, but specific amounts vary depending upon age and gender (6).
When combined with sodium we get sodium chloride, otherwise known as table salt! Chloride is another major electrolyte responsible for regulating fluid levels, blood pressure and the pH of fluids as well. It works together with both sodium and potassium to do this, making it vital for proper hydration.
On average, we should aim to consume 1,800 mg – 2,300 mg of chloride per day depending upon gender and age.
As the most abundant mineral in the human body, calcium is not only a prevalent electrolyte but also a very important one. In order for proper bone and teeth formation, hormone secretion, blood clotting, and nerve impulse communications to occur, our bodies need calcium (7).
The body absorbs calcium in the small intestine and requires Vitamin D to do so. That’s why supplements for bone health so often pair vitamin D with calcium and magnesium (we’ll get to the reason for magnesium in a bit).
When we don’t consume enough calcium through our diet, our body will pull the needed amounts from bone which may result in osteoporosis. So how much calcium do we need to prevent this? The average adult needs about 1,000 mg – 1,500 mg of calcium per day (8).
In terms of electrolytes, we don’t hear about magnesium nearly as much as some of the others. Even still, it’s responsible for some pretty important tasks. The majority of magnesium in the body is stored in bones and is similar to calcium in that it is responsible for bone and teeth formation.
Magnesium is also involved in enzyme (little catalysts that help start reactions in the body – think digestion of food) function along with the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
Recommended levels vary greatly depending upon both gender and age, to see how much you should be consuming check out this chart with all of the recommended intakes.
As the third electrolyte to help with the formation of bone and teeth, it’s safe to say electrolytes are pretty important for proper bone structure. Phosphorus is also responsible for the storage of energy, nerve function, and muscle contraction. Just like calcium, vitamin D is needed in order for phosphorus to be properly absorbed and the vast majority of it is stored in bone.
The average adult needs between 700 mg and 1250 mg of phosphorus per day. Just as the other electrolytes, this range varies based on both gender and age.
Sources of Electrolytes
Contrary to popular belief, we receive the vast majority of our needed electrolytes through food. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of electrolytes, as are dairy products, coconut water, nuts, seeds, and even eggs. To make sure you’re getting an ample amount of each electrolyte, try and maintain a well-rounded, variable diet made of mostly whole foods.
There are also tons of electrolyte-based sports drinks and tablets out there today that can help you replenish electrolytes quickly if you’re expelling them faster than the average person. Unfortunately, many of these products are packed with added sugar and sugar substitutes, making them less than ideal options for athletes looking to perform their best.
When deciding whether or not to use these products and which ones to choose, your best bet is to consult a registered dietitian to determine your individual needs.
When we’re not eating appropriately or properly taking care of our bodies, imbalances in electrolytes can occur. Electrolyte imbalances take place when there is either too much or too little of an electrolyte in the body.
Imbalances are commonly caused by excessive fluid losses from diarrhea, vomiting or sweating. Certain disease states involving the kidneys, poor diet and disordered eating habits can cause imbalances as well.
So how do we know if our electrolyte levels are where they should be? First and foremost, electrolyte imbalances can be very serious and sometimes even life-threatening. Make sure you’re going in for your yearly checkups with your PCP. Your doctor will be able to test your major electrolyte levels and will notice any other issues that may suggest an electrolyte imbalance.
You can also keep an eye out for some of the most common symptoms of electrolyte imbalances:
The bottom line is electrolytes are a big part of our regular diet. You’re getting a whole lot more of them than you think, so make sure you really need those sports drinks or tablets before integrating them into your daily routine.
Electrolytes are so important for everyone, not just athletes. Maintain a well-rounded diet comprised of whole foods and plenty of water, and chances are you’ll be good to go.
I would love to hear about your experience with electrolytes – have you previously been told that you needed to consume sports drinks and supplements whenever you exercised? Or did you already know that this was usually unnecessary?
I’m sure someone else reading this article would love to hear about your experience as well! As always, you can connect with us on Instagram via @nutritionstrippederica, @nutritionstripped, #nutritionstripped and #nswellnesscoaching.
This Piña Colada Sherbet is delicious, dairy free, simple dessert packed with fresh fruit.
We are always looking for fun and healthy alternatives to familiar recipes here at Nutrition Stripped. Familiar flavors and ingredients but used in a health-conscious way. With this concept in mind, we took two of our favorite frosty treats a Piña Colada and coconut ice cream and made this up. A mixture of pineapple, lime and coconut, and refreshing, dairy-free ice cream to create this Piña Colada Sherbet.
What’s not to love?
Piña Colada Sherbet
It’s hard to keep track of what you’re putting in your body when it comes to desserts. If you take the time to read the labels of some of your favorite icy treats, most of the time you will see a list of ingredients you barely recognize and that they are packed with dairy and extra sugar.
We set out to create a super easy, healthy and refreshing treat that only has a combination of fruit and no added sugar or dairy. By using coconut milk, fresh pineapple, and a couple of limes, we created a delicious variation of a classic cocktail favorite you can enjoy any time.
The dessert that lasts and lasts
You don’t have to have Piña Colada Sherbet for only one day! Store your sorbet in the freezer for up to a month in an airtight container. Whenever you’re ready for a treat, just pop it in a food processor or Vitamix blender and pulse until it’s airy and ready to enjoy!
There are plenty of reasons to start cutting ultra-processed foods out of your diet, once and for all.
With new studies emerging left and right linking processed food consumption to cancer, chronic disease, and even death, the impact that these unhealthy ingredients can have on your health is absolutely astounding.
Eliminating your favorite salty snacks, sweets, and comfort foods from your diet sounds may sound pretty intimidating. However, with a few simple swaps, reducing your intake of processed products and adding more healthy whole foods to your meal plan is much simpler than it seems.
Let’s dive in and explore why these ingredients are so harmful to health, look at some common ultra-processed food examples, and discuss some easy strategies to start scaling back.
What are Ultra-Processed Foods?
The term “ultra-processed foods” was first introduced by a team of Brazilian researchers in 2018. They conducted a massive study in which they analyzed the diets of 104,980 adults and found that consuming a high amount of ultra-processed foods was actually linked to a higher risk of cancer (1).
According to the researchers, the definition of ultra-processed foods encompasses “food products made mostly or entirely from sugar, oils, and fats, and other substances not commonly used in culinary preparations such as hydrogenated oils, modified starches, and protein isolates.” According to their ultra-processed foods definition, this also includes products that have undergone “hydrogenation, hydrolysis, extruding, molding, reshaping, and pre-processing by frying” (1).
Food processing companies often add ingredients to alter the taste and texture of their products. They may also use additives to enhance the nutritional value or include preservatives to keep foods fresher for longer.
Types of Processed Foods
Not all processed foods are created equally, and not all processed products should be categorized as “bad processed foods.” In fact, while some foods are processed to the point that they’re barely recognizable, others are only modified to ensure they are edible, clean, and convenient.
Non-processed foods: this includes foods that have not undergone any form of processing. Raw fruits and veggies, for example, are found in their natural state and are considered non-processed ingredients.
Minimally processed foods: these healthy processed foods have only been changed slightly and may be washed, peeled, sliced, or dried. Pasteurized milk, for instance, has undergone a small amount of processing to extend its shelf-life and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Shelled nuts are another example of a product that has been minimally processed to ensure that it’s edible and easy to consume.
Moderately processed foods: these foods have been modified to a greater degree than minimally processed foods and may have been cooked, mixed, prepared, or packaged prior to consumption. Pasta, nut butter, and canned vegetables are all examples of this type of processed food.
Ultra-processed foods: these products tend to have a long list of ingredients and are pumped full of fillers, preservatives, and additives designed to enhance their flavor, texture, shelf-life, and nutritional profile. Processed meats, convenience foods, salty snacks, and baked goods are all examples of ultra-processed foods to avoid. Not only are the products on the ultra-processed food list typically high in calories, sodium, and sugar, but they’re also full of extra ingredients and chemicals that you’re better off without.
List of processed foods
Take a look in your kitchen pantry and you’re likely to find a whole host of processed foods housed inside. From granola bars high in processed sugar to sodas, sports drinks, and sweet treats, ultra-processed foods are virtually everywhere.
Here are a few common examples of processed foods to avoid:
Sugar-sweetened beverages: soda, sports drinks, fruit juice, sweet tea, energy drinks
Refined grains: white bread, white pasta, instant noodles
Health Effects of Processed Foods
Most ultra-processed foods are loaded with extra calories, sodium, fat, and sugar, but low in the important vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Filling up your diet with these unhealthy, nutrient-poor ingredients can increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies, weight gain, and a whole host of other health problems.
These foods are also usually lacking in fiber, which is an important nutrient that moves through the body undigested. Fiber plays a central role in regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, and digestive health. It’s also involved in weight management, heart health, and regularity (2). Not getting enough fiber in your diet from nutritious, unprocessed foods can have a detrimental effect on all of these aspects of health, and more.
Research on the effects of ultra-processed foods has also turned up some pretty disturbing results. For example, one study analyzed the diets of more than 44,000 adults over a seven-year period and found that consuming higher amounts of ultra-processed foods was linked to a higher risk of death (3). Another study in 2018 showed that a 10% increase in ultra-processed food consumption was tied to a 12% higher risk of cancer (1). A large review comprised of over 105,000 participants also found that eating more ultra-processed foods was associated with a higher risk of heart disease (4).
Processed meat is also a huge contributor to chronic disease. In fact, multiple studies have found that loading up your plate with processed meats like bacon, salami, and cold cuts could significantly increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes (5). The World Health Organization also recently classified processed meat as carcinogenic to humans, which means that there is sufficient evidence available to prove that it may cause cancer (6).
Simple Swaps to Improve Your Diet
Cutting back on your consumption of ultra-processed ingredients is easier than it may seem. Here are a few quick tips and tricks that you can use to enhance the overall quality of your diet:
1. Start slowly
Swearing off processed foods don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach. Start by scaling back on your intake of salty snacks and sugary sodas over a week or two. Next, try reducing the number of times you hit the drive-thru each week by opting for homemade meals instead. These small changes can really add up over time to ensure sustainable, long-term success.
2. Plan ahead
Planning your meals ahead of time is a simple way to ensure you’re fitting plenty of nutritious, unprocessed foods into your diet. Pick out a few recipes to try throughout the week that features fresh, whole food ingredients and prepare a shopping list full of fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, and protein foods. You may also want to consider a meal planning program, which takes the guesswork out of planning a healthy, balanced diet rich in nutritious, non-processed foods.
3. Shop smarter
Making changes to your diet often starts at the supermarket, and making sure you’re well-prepared is an easy strategy to help you stay on track. Make a comprehensive grocery list before you hit the store, and be sure to shop around the perimeter rather than in the middle aisles. Unprocessed foods like fruits and veggies are often found around the edges of the store while convenience meals, salty snacks, and sweets are generally housed in the middle aisles.
4. Make small switches
Believe it or not, you can still enjoy many of your favorite foods while decreasing your consumption of processed foods. For instance, try trading calorie- and carb-laden nachos for healthy sweet potato nachos instead. Chocolate cocoa kale chips also make a great alternative to candy bars to help satisfy your sweet tooth. For family pizza night, try making this cauliflower pizza crust to cut back on calories and squeeze an extra dose of nutrients into your diet.
5. Choose whole grains
One easy strategy to help scale back on your intake of processed foods is to start swapping refined grains for whole grains. Instead of white bread or pasta, select whole grain varieties or give other grains a try. Quinoa, barley, buckwheat, and bulgur are all delicious, versatile, and packed with important nutrients.
6. Add fresh foods to your meals
Adding fresh foods to your meals makes it easy to incorporate more fresh, non-processed foods into your daily diet with little effort required. For a simple way to get started, try enjoying a piece of fruit with your breakfast, a small salad with your lunch or a side of steamed veggies alongside your dinner.
Nixing a few ingredients on the list of ultra-processed foods can have a huge impact on your overall health. From increasing energy levels to combat chronic disease, there are tons of reasons to start incorporating more healthy whole foods into your daily diet.
If you’re looking for more support and ways to cut back on ultra-processed foods, then check out our best-selling Online Education Programs. We offer programs to give you the tools you need for meal planning, learning how to stock your kitchen, give your body a reset with whole foods, and more. Click here to explore what programs are right for you. Or if you’re ready to get started now with making Healthy Eating Simple, then taking our free 4-part series, click here to join!
These tasty and easy to make Fresh Herb Deviled Eggs are perfect for your next get-together, or even a quick lunch.
These are not your typical boring deviled eggs. The dish you most likely have seen passed around at weddings or dinner parties, with “gloopy” filling consisting primarily of mayonnaise and not much else. We’ve got a fresh, light, and fluffy alternative to the classic deviled egg.
A Fresh Update to Classic Deviled Eggs
These Fresh Herb Deviled eggs are on the opposite side of the horderve spectrum. Extra virgin olive oil and flavorful dijon mustard instead of traditional mayonnaise give these deviled eggs a healthy boost.
A seasonal snack
By now we all know the numerous health benefits of fresh herbs — they’re packed with antioxidants and vitamins and add a world of difference in flavor in our cooking. That is one of the many reasons we were excited to add fresh herbs to one of our personal favorite sources of protein, eggs.
The exciting thing about these Fresh Herb Deviled Eggs is how wonderfully versatile they can be. Mix and match your personal favorite seasonal herb combinations to suit your preference — there really isn’t a wrong answer when picking different combinations.
The hard-boiled egg hack
We’ve all been there before, we try to hard boil an egg and are left with an eggshell that’s stubborn and can’t come off. If you’re unsure of your egg-boiling technique? Don’t worry, we have your back.
Follow these steps for the best-hardboiled egg for deviled eggs:
Bring cold water to boil in a medium-sized pot
Carefully add eggs to boiling water and reduce to a bare simmer, making sure the eggs are fully covered in water
Set a timer and boil eggs for 10 minutes (true hard-boiled variety)
The relationship between eggs and cholesterol levels has been a subject of controversy within the last few decades.
Eggs are a great source of several important nutrients, including protein, selenium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12, along with an assortment of many other key micronutrients (1). Eggs have also been linked to a long list of health benefits, including increased antioxidant levels, lower triglycerides, and increased weight loss (2, 3, 4).
So why do eggs get a bad rap when it comes to cholesterol? Let’s take a closer look at the intricate link between egg consumption and heart health.
Health Benefits of Eggs
There’s no doubt that adding eggs to your dit can have a powerful impact on health. Here are a few of the top health benefits of eggs:
Supports Weight Control: Eggs are loaded with protein, an important nutrient that can help reduce hunger and promote satiety to aid in weight management (5). One study found that swapping out bagels for eggs in the morning was able to increase weight loss and ramp up fat-burning in participants (6).
High in Nutrients: Eggs boast a pretty impressive nutrient profile. Just one medium egg can knock out 20% of your daily needs for selenium, plus riboflavin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and pantothenic acid. Each egg also contains only 63 calories, along with 5.5 grams of protein (1).
Rich in Choline: Eggs are loaded with choline, an essential nutrient that is involved in several aspects of health. Not only is it involved in metabolism and neurotransmitter production, but it’s also thought to impact liver function and heart health as well (7).
Promotes Eye Health: Eggs are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that can promote eye health and protect against disease (2). In particular, these antioxidants have been linked to a lower risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, a common eye disorder that can lead to vision loss (8).
The Link Between Eggs and Heart Disease
Although eggs are high in several vitamins and minerals, they are also high in dietary cholesterol. In fact, one medium egg contains about 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol (1).
Up until 2015, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans included a recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams or less per day. This recommendation was dropped according to the most recent 2015-2020 guidelines, although it is noted that dietary cholesterol is still an important component to consider in the diet. Of note, this may be because foods high in dietary cholesterol—like meat and animal products—are also generally high in saturated fat as well (9).
Most research shows that the dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to no impact on blood cholesterol levels for about 70% of the population (10). Not only that, but other studies have found that eating eggs can boost levels of good HDL cholesterol and decrease triglycerides, both of which are factors that can help improve heart health (3, 11).
However, other studies have turned up conflicting findings. For example, a recent study released in March sparked national headlines when researchers found that egg consumption could be tied to a higher risk of heart disease and death (12). Another study found a similar association but noted that egg consumption was only linked to a higher risk of heart disease in those with diabetes (13).
Critics have pointed out a number of flaws that could have skewed the results of these studies. For example, both used diet recalls and food frequency questionnaires, which are not always entirely accurate methods for collecting data. Other factors could also play a role, including unhealthy behaviors like smoking and a lack of physical activity. Additionally, there have been numerous studies showing no association between egg consumption and heart disease, including one massive review of 17 studies and nearly 264,000 participants (14).
Are Eggs Bad for Your Heart?
Although several recent studies have called the health benefits of eggs into question, there are many other potential confounding factors that need to be considered as well. In moderation, however, most research seems to suggest that eggs can have several beneficial effects on heart health. Plus, eggs are rich in nutrients and can help support eye health and weight management as well.
Therefore, for most people, there’s no reason to cut eggs out of your diet altogether. When paired with a healthy, active lifestyle, you can still enjoy eggs in moderation to take advantage of the many health benefits that they have to offer. However, be sure to stick to 2-3 eggs per day and pair them with a well-rounded and balanced diet to really get the most bang for your buck.
Love traditional banana pudding? You’re going to love this simple dairy-free version.
I was at a family get-together recently, and when it came time for dessert someone unveiled their homemade contribution, a big bowl of creamy banana pudding! I took a great amount of control to keep from diving in, but due to my sensitivities from dairy, I held strong but it got me thinking. Why not make a healthier version of banana pudding without the extra sugar and dairy?
We are big fans of bananas here at Nutrition Stripped, for many reasons. They are delicious and sweet, packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients, the perfect addition to my go-to morning smoothie, you can even freeze them and blend to make ice cream! Bananas really are the healthy utility fruit.
Beat the summer heat
Looking to cool off this summer, or just add a little fun to your day? Grab some popsicle sticks, and pop this Dairy-Free Banana Pudding in the freezer for a couple of hours. Voila — you have super fun and healthy pudding pops!
How can I use time management skills to help me lead a healthy lifestyle?
When most of us think about health, we often think of the facts — what vitamins do I need? How much protein should I be eating? For most questions of this nature, we can simply research the answers or seek out individual advice from a professional.
But what happens once we have the facts? For most, putting these facts into practice is undoubtedly the hardest part. When it comes to behavior change and leading a healthy lifestyle, developing effective time management skills may just be the key to your success.
Time Management Skills For Health
Time management is the process of utilizing your time throughout the day in an organized manner to allow for maximum productivity.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and sometimes when we’re juggling work, relationships, kids, social lives, healthy eating, self-care and everything else — 24 just doesn’t seem like enough. Good time management skills are what will keep you on top of your health game without feeling uncontrollably overwhelmed or stressed.
So how should you manage your time effectively to keep your health in check? Let’s talk through my top time management skills for leading a healthy lifestyle.
1. Start A To-Do List
This is step one, the bare minimum — create a to-do list for yourself. The key is writing down everything you would like to get done. Record it in the notes section of your phone, an app, your journal or your daily planner, wherever works best for you!
Our chances of forgetting something are so much higher when we keep everything in the form of thoughts. As soon as you write something down you create a tangible representation of the task — your mind no longer has to work to store that information. When we constantly rely on our memory to keep all of our tasks and thoughts in line, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed, stressed and unfortunately forgetful.
Recording information also forces you to actually think about the task and mentally process it. Let’s take grocery shopping for example. When you write down “grocery shop” on your to-do list, your brain automatically kicks into gear and pictures grocery shopping, you may even think about where you want to go or when; therefore increasing your chances of actually completing said task.
With all that said, recent research has shown that 41% of to-do items are never completed and only 50% of to-do items are completed in a day (1). So how do we switch up our lists so we’re actually completing them daily? Keep reading!
2. Prioritize Your List
So you sat down and recorded all of the things you wanted to accomplish, now what?
Having the list is step one, prioritizing the tasks on that list is step two. Take a look at everything you’ve written down and asked yourself — what do I really need to accomplish first?
Whenever we make a to-do list there is always a purpose, a reason for why we want to complete all of the tasks listed. Prioritize the items on your list in a way that will help you to complete them in a logical, timely manner.
Prioritization is key. Without it, your list will most likely be unproductive and unorganized. The purpose of the list is to allow you to manage your time in the best way possible, start with priority number one and work your way down.
3. Take It Day By Day
Now we have a prioritized to-do list telling us step-by-step what we need to do, great!
But it’s three pages long and you only have four hours left to finish it, not so great.
Organize your tasks by day in a realistic way. Even if your list is prioritized accordingly if you’re constantly leaving it unfinished your chances of feeling discouraged and calling it quits are pretty high.
Instead of having one huge list, take it day by day. Use a planner or a calendar on your computer! What needs to be done first thing Monday morning? What can wait until Wednesday? Prioritize your tasks in accordance with your schedule. That way, you’re managing your time efficiently and completing tasks daily without becoming overwhelmed and deflated.
This is particularly important when you’re making changes or adjustments to your usual routine. We so often find ourselves in auto-pilot, going about our daily activities without really having to think about what it is that we are doing.
When you want to add a new task to that daily routine, auto-pilot just won’t cut it. By including those new tasks in your daily list — be it to meal prep on a Sunday or add a run in on Monday morning — you’re reminded that these new tasks are important for your healthy lifestyle and must be completed.
4. Leave Some Room For Error
If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s something unexpected popping up. No matter how organized or prepared you may be, there are some things we just can’t control. If you start your day off anticipating that something unexpected may occur, you may just come out of your day having still accomplished everything you sought out to do!
Leave a little space in your schedule – thirty minutes, an hour, whatever you can manage. This space will cushion the unexpected occurrences and last minute tasks that you didn’t plan for.
5. Ask For Help
As hard as we may try, we really just can’t do everything.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a nutrition newbie, utilizing your resources is one of the best ways to manage your time for a healthy lifestyle. Resources can be a roommate you share food with, a significant other, friend or family member; it may even be an app!
Learn to utilize the tools around you and delegate tasks that you just don’t have time for. If you have an unusually busy week coming up and don’t think you’ll get to the grocery store, call in a favor with someone you live with or use an app to have them delivered. There are so many ways for you to delegate tasks efficiently so your health doesn’t go out the window whenever you get busy.
6. Learn How To Say No
Once again, we can’t do everything, it’s just not possible. Sometimes that simply means we have to say no.
If you’ve reached the point where there is so much on your plate that you barely have room to take a deep breath — this is for you. We all, of course, have things we need to do but don’t necessarily want to do, it’s somewhat unavoidable. But often times there are so many things we say yes to that we don’t have to do.
Before saying yes, think about you. Consider your priorities, what serves you and your healthy lifestyle – how do you feel now and how will you feel after agreeing to give your time and energy?
Learning to say no when you need to can make all the difference in your time management. You’ll be able to spend the majority of your time doing things you really need or want to do.
7. Set Goals
In order to manage your time effectively for a healthy lifestyle, you need to know what you’re working towards. Setting goals allows you to feel a sense of purpose. Every small task that you complete gets you one step closer!
You can set goals daily, weekly, or even monthly. However, you work best! Make sure your goals are realistic and specific. Really think about what it will take to get you where you want to go, then think about how long it will take you to get there.
Don’t forget to write your goals down. Record the goals you are working towards and be sure to display them somewhere you can frequently see them. You want to be reminded of what you are working towards and why all the little steps really matter.
Put It Into Practice
Take baby steps! If you’re new to time management skills and organization altogether, start small and build your way up.
Building habits takes time. When we try a bunch of new things at once on day one, sometimes that leads to a big crash and burn on day two.
Slowly but surely implement some new routines into your daily life. Before you know it they’ll be habits and you won’t even have to think about them. If you want a little more information on how to make positive habits for a healthy lifestyle stick, check out our article on that here.
I would love to hear about the time management skills you use to lead a healthy lifestyle. Is there anything I mentioned that you’re already doing? Is there something you’re doing that I didn’t talk about?
The more tips we can compile, the better! I’m sure someone else reading this article would love to hear what works for you. As always, you can connect with us on Instagram via @nutritionstrippederica, @nutritionstripped, #nutritionstripped and #nswellnesscoaching.
In the mood for a seasonal snack that’s great any time? Try this Minty Spring Pea Dip.
If you’re looking for a quick, simple, delicious, and light dip to make on the weekends, this is a great one to add to your spring rotation. Peas, like many fruits and vegetables, are thriving in the spring and there’s so much to choose from this season.
We always make a point to plant as many herbs as we can throughout the year and love grabbing a little inspiration from the things that we harvest. That philosophy is where this fun recipe was born. We have a mini-garden with fresh mint and delicious spring peas in the garden, what more can you ask for!
This Minty Spring Pea Dip was born from having way too much mint than we knew what to do with! In addition, hummus can sometimes get a little boring for us so why not switch it up with a protein-rich pea dip as well? It’s no wonder so many plant-based protein powders are made with peas.
So the next time you’re at the farmers market or grocery store, try to pick up some spring vegetables that are in season in your area. Sidenote, if you don’t happen to have pea vines, don’t worry! Frozen peas work just as well and are just as good and will work the same!
Fresh Or Frozen?
Fresh peas might have a bit more nutrition to offer and a sweeter flavor, but frozen peas are super convenient and affordable. The additional ingredients you’ll need in this recipe are herbs, lemon, and a few things you probably already have in your kitchen.
When you’re purchasing frozen peas or any fruit or vegetable for that matter, always get the one that has the whole food as the single ingredient. For example, get the bag of frozen peas that lists only peas as the ingredient. You don’t need anything else!
Great on the go
This Minty Spring Pea Dip is actually a lot more versatile than you may think. It’s wonderful to store in the fridge and grab for a quick snack with some veggies or gluten-free crackers or served hot as a side dish for dinner or lunch.
Another way to use this Minty Spring Pea Dip is to spread it onto a sandwich for a bright lemony and minty flavor or add a few dollops to pasta or grains of your choice and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil. The pea dip will transform into a delicious sauce that can coat the pasta or grains of your choice.
However you choose to enjoy this recipe, we know you will love it just as much as we do!
From better gut health to lower cholesterol levels, the potential tempeh benefits are endless.
If you’re just getting started with plant-based eating, there’s a good chance you may not have tried tempeh, let alone even heard of it before. However, this delicious ingredient doubles as a versatile vegan food and a great source of protein, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, it’s super flavorful, easy to prepare, and linked to a long list of health benefits.
So what exactly is tempeh? And is tempeh good for you? Keep reading for everything you need to know about this power-packed protein source.
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a plant-based protein food that originates in Indonesia. Traditional tempeh is made from soybeans that have undergone fermentation, which is a process in which carbohydrates are broken down by bacteria and yeast. The soybeans are then pressed and bound together to form a dense, cake-like patty. In addition to soy-based tempeh, there are several other variations of tempeh available as well, including tempeh made from beans, flax, barley, or wheat.
Tempeh has a firm texture and nutty yet earthy taste. Like other soy products such as tofu, it also easily takes on the flavors of whatever it’s cooked with and can be marinated and seasoned to help easily boost the flavor. It’s often sautéed, roasted, baked, steamed, or grilled and swapped in for meat or other protein foods as part of a well-rounded, meatless meal.
Thanks to its versatility and nutrient profile, tempeh is a staple protein source on many vegetarian and vegan menus. From crispy tempeh tacos to peanut tempeh skewers, there are limitless ways to enjoy this incredible ingredient and all the tempeh benefits that it has to offer.
Tempeh Nutrition Facts
Each serving of tempeh is packed with protein, plus an extensive array of important vitamins and minerals.
A 3-ounce serving of tempeh contains the following nutrients (1):
15 grams of protein
9 grams of fat
9 grams of carbohydrates
1.2 milligrams manganese (54% of the RDI)
0.6 milligrams copper (24% of the RDI)
224 milligrams phosphorus (21% of the RDI)
68 milligrams magnesium (18% of the RDI)
0.3 milligrams riboflavin (18% of the RDI)
2.4 milligrams iron (12% of the RDI)
93 milligrams calcium (9% of the RDI)
345 milligrams potassium (9% of the RDI)
Tempeh also contains several other key vitamins and minerals, including zinc, folate, thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
Top 7 Tempeh Benefits
There are plenty of reasons you may want to consider adding this plant-based protein into your weekly dinner rotation. Let’s take a closer look at how tempeh can impact your health by exploring a few of the top tempeh benefits.
1. Rich in Nutrients
Tempeh is a great source of several important nutrients, earning it a well-deserved spot on your next healthy shopping list. In particular, tempeh is a great source of protein, providing a whopping 15 grams in each 3-ounce serving. It’s also an excellent source of micronutrients such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and riboflavin. Plus, it contains calcium and iron, both of which are essential nutrients that can be hard to obtain on a vegetarian or vegan diet (1).
2. Supports Weight Management
Whether you’re looking to lose weight or simply stay in shape for summer, you should definitely consider giving tempeh a shot. It’s especially high in protein and contains 31 grams of protein in each cup, putting it right on par with animal-based sources of protein like chicken or fish (1). Upping your protein intake is a must when following a diet for weight control; studies show that protein can help promote feelings of fullness, reduce appetite, and increase metabolism to support weight control (2).
A study in 2014 actually compared the effects of a high-protein diet containing either soy protein or meat-based protein. Interestingly, they found that both diets produced similar results in terms of weight loss and appetite control, suggesting that vegetarian diets can be just as effective when it comes to weight management (3).
3. Promotes Heart Health
Tempeh is rich in soy isoflavones, which are a class of compounds that have been extensively studied for their beneficial role in heart health. According to one review of 11 studies, soy isoflavones can reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease (4). Another study conducted at the Macdonald Campus of McGill University had similar findings, reporting that soy protein not only reduced cholesterol but helped lower triglyceride levels as well (5).
4. Good Source of Antioxidants
Another one of the top tempeh benefits is its stellar antioxidant content. Antioxidants are powerful compounds that can help fight free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to the cells. Some research has found that antioxidants could play a key role in health and wellness, noting that free radicals can contribute to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders (6).
The soy isoflavones found in tempeh act as antioxidants in the body to help fight free radical damage (7). One study actually found that the isoflavones in tempeh were more effective than those found in soybeans at scavenging free radicals, demonstrating that adding tempeh to your diet can be a great option for preventing oxidative stress (8).
5. Improves Gut Health
Tempeh is jam-packed with prebiotics, which is a type of fiber that provides fuel for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Studies show that tempeh can help increase the concentrations of good gut bacteria, which is thought to play a central role in overall health (9). In fact, research suggests that the gut microbiome may impact everything from immune function to mental health and heart disease (10).
6. Could Help Fight Cancer Cells
Several studies show that the soy isoflavones found in tempeh could aid in cancer prevention. According to one review out of Detroit, the prevalence of breast and prostate cancer is significantly higher in the United States and many European countries compared to Japan and China. Although it’s unclear why exactly this may be, the authors of the paper note that many Asian countries consume higher amounts of soy products, such as tempeh, which may play a role (11).
More research is needed to evaluate whether tempeh itself could have any cancer-fighting properties, especially when consumed in normal food amounts. However, one study did report that supplementing with a soy protein powder high in isoflavones altered estrogen metabolism and synthesis in premenopausal women. This suggests that soy isoflavones could exert cancer-preventive effects, especially for hormone-sensitive forms of cancer (12).
7. Strengthens Bones
Tempeh is brimming with bone-building nutrients. In fact, each serving contains a good amount of phosphorus, calcium, manganese, and copper, all of which are important to bone health. Calcium, for example, serves as the key structural component of the bones, while phosphorus is important to maintaining skeletal integrity and bone development (13, 14). Low levels of copper have also been associated with decreased bone mineral density, especially in men (15). Similarly, animal studies even show that supplementing with manganese can increase bone mineral density and boost bone formation in rats (16).
Where to Find and How to Use Tempeh
Thanks to its ever-growing popularity, you can easily buy tempeh at most major grocery stores and supermarkets. Look for it in the refrigerated section; it can usually be found alongside other vegetarian products like tofu and meat substitutes. There are usually several varieties available, including flax, soy, bean, barley, or three-grain tempeh. Experiment with each to find your favorite and begin taking advantage of the many potential tempeh benefits.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making tempeh at home using a tempeh starter culture. There are plenty of detailed guides available online for making homemade tempeh from scratch, but it typically involves soaking, splitting, and cooking the soybeans, and then letting them ferment for up to 48 hours.
Although you can eat raw tempeh, it’s usually lacking in flavor and not generally recommended. Fortunately, recipes like roasted tempeh, sautéed tempeh, and pan-fried tempeh are fast, easy, and delicious. From baked tempeh to BBQ tempeh to smoked tempeh and beyond, there are many different options for preparing tempeh to start enjoying it in your favorite meals.
Try adding pan-fried tempeh crumbles to your next salad for a bit of extra texture and flavor. Alternatively, try adding crispy tempeh to stir-fries, sandwiches, or wraps to bump up both the nutritional value and health benefits of your meal.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for how to begin incorporating this tasty ingredient into your meals, look no further. Here are a few nutritious and delicious tempeh recipes to help get you started with this plant-based protein food:
Not only is tempeh tasty and easy to enjoy, but it’s also loaded with protein, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and riboflavin along with an assortment of antioxidants. It may also help promote weight management and has been linked to a number of tempeh benefits, including improved heart health, stronger bones, and better digestion.
There are several unique ways to include tempeh in your daily diet, and it can be easily swapped in for other protein sources in a variety of different recipes. Start experimenting with tempeh to transform your favorite dishes and give them a tasty, plant-based twist.
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