Blog Posts by Healthy SELF, SELF Magazine

  • Superfood of the Week: Avocado

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    Loaded with heart-healthy fats, vitamins and fiber, avocados are quite the tasty way to dish up your daily dose of superfoods. We know they're great on their own--say, served straight up with a dash of sea salt and a spoon--but when you feel like mixing it up, try these creative ways to enjoy avocados. Seriously #NomNom.

    Grill it.
    I mean, look at that picture--how delicious does that look? To make, simply peel, core, add a splash of olive oil and lemon juice, and grill on medium heat for three minute on each side. How easy was that?

    Make pesto. Replacing the traditional oil and nuts with avocado adds a unique nutritional burst of flavor in this unique pesto recipe that's chock-full of fresh basil, a bit of parmesan and garlic. Enjoy it over pasta, on whole-grain crackers or drizzled over shrimp.

    See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    Add to your smoothie.
    Your smoothie is about to get a serious texture boost without an epic amount of extra

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  • Superfood of the Week: Steak

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    Jam packed with important nutrients like protein, iron and zinc, steak can definitely be a healthy choice as long as you choose a lean cut. And with 29 lean cuts of beef out there to choose from, it shouldn't be hard to find one of this superfood that you enjoy. Wanna know what makes the beef so darn super? Check out its starring nutrients below.

    Iron:
    This important mineral helps to carry oxygen to your brain and muscles and is an essential protein component for metabolism and maintaining overall health. One 3 oz. portion (approximately the size of your palm or an iPhone) of lean beef provides 12 percent of your daily value--three times the amount found in a cup of spinach! In order to reap the most benefits from the iron in your steak, serve it with a vitamin-C rich salad (think strawberries or bell peppers): Vitamin C helps your body more readily absorb more iron from foods. Score.

    See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    Protein: If

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  • Timing of Meals May Help or Hurt Weight-Loss Efforts

    Amanda MacMillan, SELF magazine

    We've heard it over and over again in the weight-loss world: A calorie is a calorie is a calorie, and--despite fad diets and rumors that may claim otherwise--when you eat those calories doesn't make a difference, right? Well, as it turns out, there may be some truth to the commonly supported belief that late-night eating is a dieting don't. According to a new study "late eaters" have a harder time losing weight than early ones.

    First, a caveat: The study was done in Spain, where the big meal of the day is lunch, when about 40% of daily calories are consumed. (Here in the United States, a similar study may want to study early versus late dinner eaters, since our last meal is typically our largest and most indulgent of the day.) Back in Spain, researchers tracked two groups of overweight dieters, one group who tended to eat their large lunch meal before 3 p.m. and one that typically ate after 3 p.m.

    See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

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  • 5 Foods that Boost Heart Health

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    February is National Heart Health Month, y'all, which means it's time for us to focus on taking care of our tickers. As a nutritionist, of course I recommend boosting your own heart's health through your diet. Yet "heart-healthy foods" are traditionally thought of as boring or bland, like fiber-filled cereal or plain baked chicken. Well guess what?! I'm here to bust that myth--try one of these five decadent foods that'll help your ticker and taste pretty good, too.

    See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    Chocolate...in Many Forms: Everyone's favorite dessert contains compounds called flavonoids, whose antioxidant activity help to protect the heart. Keep in mind, though, the more cacao your chocolate contains the better the benefits are; aim for 70% cocoa or more. Bored of the bar? Add even more heart-health benefits to your next treat by mixing pure cocoa powder with low-fat milk, which contains potassium to promote a healthy blood pressure.

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  • Smiling Can Wipe Away a Bad Mood

    Amanda MacMillan, SELF magazine

    You know that expression "fake it until you make it"? That's kind of the idea behind a cool new book to hit shelves this week. The Face of Emotion, by Maryland-based dermatological surgeon Eric Finzi, MD, suggests that the happier we look, the happier we feel. Say cheese and get cheerful? Easy enough.

    See more: The Flat-Abs-Fast Secret

    In 2006, Finzi published a study that suggested that using Botox to erase frown lines actually helped improve symptoms of depression. "By inhibiting their ability to frown, patients found themselves in a state of relief rather than despair," Finzi writes. "These findings introduce a novel concept for mental health--using facial expressions to influence thoughts and feelings."

    Crazy, right?! Finzi says that his new book--which takes a broader look at how we react to each other's (and our own) facial expressions--was born after Jay Leno made some jokes about his research; apparently, he realized that he'd

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  • Superfood of the Week: Legumes

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    Legumes might just be the most confounding superfood. Are they beans? Are they nuts? Well, a legume, commonly called a pod, includes several types of plants within the Leguminosea family including peas, peanuts, lentils, beans and alfalfa. An important point to note: All beans are legumes, but not all legumes are beans. Make sense? Good. But the most important takeaway about these babies is that they provide major nutrition benefits. They are one of the best and cheapest sources of protein in the plant kingdom, making them a near-obvious choice for vegetarians and vegans looking for said fuel. Plus, they are packed with nutrients including iron, phosphorus and folate, all which contribute to healthy blood. Oh, and they're high in fiber, too. If that doesn't motivate you to eat your legumes, try some of these fresh meal ideas to whet your appetite.

    Cripsy Lentil Rotini
    :
    Skip the meat or shrimp in your pasta and add lentils instead for a rich,

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  • Cool New Fit Tech

    Tula Karras, SELF magazine

    1. Gets You Motivated: Fitbit One ($100; Fitbit.com)

    This souped-up pedometer also tracks cals and hours slept, and wirelessly uploads your stats into charts on your phone and computer for constant feedback.

    Why You'll Love It: "The setup is so simple, and the site is super easy to navigate. My favorite part: I get rewarded with badges when I hit milestones like exceeding 10,000 steps or climbing 10 sets of stairs. It makes me want to move as much as possible." --Amanda Woerner, SELF assistant editor

    2. Makes Your Run More Fun: RunKeeper (free; iTunes)

    The do-it-all app gives updates on speed and distance, and prompts for interval training. Runs are saved and mapped to share (if you want to) on Facebook or Twitter.

    Why You'll Love It: "I set my audio alert to tell me my pace every mile. Knowing that it's tracking me encourages me to speed up. And with the GPS capability, I can do a 5-miler on vacation without getting lost." --Sara

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  • 5 Foods that Fight the Flu

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    Worried about the flu, because seemingly every person is sneezing or coughing somewhere? You're not alone. And you don't need to rely on luck or that flu shot: There are plenty of immunity-boosting superfoods to help ward off a nasty case of the sniffles--check out these five that are guaranteed to make you feel good.

    Black Pepper:
    Black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which not only gives pepper its spicy kick but is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-fever properties. Add an extra few grinds to your soup or pasta sauce for a quick fever.

    See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    Cinnamon:
    Top your oatmeal with this tasty spice or sprinkle it on apple slices for a snack--either way you may be helping to ward off a virus. That's because a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry suggests that specific plant terpenoids contained within cinnamon have potent antiviral properties.

    Citrus Fruits:
    Add a

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  • Scary New Migraine Risks?

    Amanda MacMillan, SELF magazine

    If you're one of the 36 million Americans who suffer from migraines, you may see some headlines that concern you this week: Women who have migraines with aura (visual or sensory sensations, like flashes of light) may be more likely to experience heart attacks, says one new study, while another links the condition with a higher likelihood of blood clots for women on birth control. We've got the science behind the headlines.

    The two studies, to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in March, looked at tens of thousands of women. The first one found that migraines with aura were the second strongest risk factor for heart attack and stroke in women 45 and up, ranking behind only high blood pressure. That means it beat out diabetes, obesity, smoking and family history.

    See more: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

    The second study was done on women with migraines who also take hormonal contraceptives. Women who got

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  • Superfood of the Week: Pomegranates

    Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

    Pomegranates are pretty much the perfect fruit. First of all, they're completely gorgeous. They have a unique flavor all their own. And the fact that poms are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and a vitamin profile other fruits envy? Bonus points. But hurry--this superfood is only in season until the end of January, so start on these four recipes now. And don't forget this important purchasing tip: The heavier the fruit, the riper it'll be.

    See more: The Flat-Abs-Fast Secret

    Pomegranate Parfait: Pomegranate arils (seeds) make a tasty addition to yogurt--not only are arils crunchy and sweet, they're packed with fiber to curb cravings and rev metabolism. Layer 1/4 cup protein-packed nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp of granola, 1 tbsp of slivered almonds and 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds. Repeat for one or two more layers and then devour.

    Pomegranate Salsa: Next time you're having friends over, try this unique pomegranate salsa as an

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