Whole Wheat Pasta with Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Whole Wheat Pasta with Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomatoes Recipe

This quick and simple dish uses fiber-rich whole wheat pasta combined with nutritious asparagus. It makes a healthy meal for a busy weeknight that is perfect for the arrival of spring.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

3 green onions, sliced, whites and greens separated

1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

¼ tsp salt

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti or linguine, cooked according to package directions

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the white portion of the onions and cook 1 minute.

Add the asparagus and cook for 4 minutes, until it is slightly tender and bright green. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and cook 1 more minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and salt. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add the cooked pasta to the mixing bowl and toss to combine all ingredients.

Divide into four portions and garnish with remaining greens of the onions before serving.

Nutrition information for ¼ of recipe: Calories 301; Total Fat 8.8 g; Saturated Fat 0.9 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 166 mg; Carbohydrate 54.5 g; Fiber 9.8 g; Sugar 6.6 g; Protein 10.6 g

3 Exercises to Sculpt Your Shoulders

Exercises to Sculpt Your Shoulders

Strong shoulders not only give your upper body a sculpted, fit appearance, they also play a role in good posture. It’s important that your shoulder exercises target each of the three areas of the muscle -- the front of the shoulder (anterior deltoids), the middle of the shoulder (medial deltoids) and the back of the shoulder (posterior deltoids). These three exercises are easy to incorporate into your strength training routine for balanced shoulder workout.

Overhead Press Seated on a Stability Ball (Anterior and Medial Deltoids)

Sit on a stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Use your core to sit up straight and maintain your balance. With a dumbbell in each hand, position your arms so that your elbows are at shoulder level and bent at 90 degrees. The dumbbells should be at about ear level. Press the dumbbells up overhead until your arms are fully extended. Return to the starting position with the dumbbells at ear level and repeat.

Front Raise (Anterior Deltoids)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in toward you so that dumbbells rest over the front of your upper thighs. Keep the right arm straight and lift the dumbbell out in front of you, to shoulder level. Lower to the starting position and repeat with the left arm.

Seated Bent Over Raise (Posterior Deltoids)

Sit on a bench with your feet flat and your legs together. Bend forward at the waist so that your chest is almost resting on your thighs. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended towards the floor. Your palms should face in towards your ankles with a dumbbell on the outside of each foot. Keep the arms straight as you use the upper back and shoulders to raise the dumbbells out to the sides until they reach shoulder level. Lower to the starting position and repeat.

9 Plant Nutrients that Improve Health

Plant Nutrients that Improve Health

Plant-based foods are full of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, but they also offer natural chemicals called phytonutrients that improve health. While these plant nutrients are not essential for normal body function, they are powerful in disease prevention -- making plant foods an important part of a nutritious diet. Enjoying a variety of foods will help you maximize your intake of these phytonutrients.

Ellagic Acid

How it helps: A disease fighting phytonutrient. Research shows that ellagic acid may promote the death of cancer cells.

What to eat: Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates, pecans, and walnuts

Gingerol

How it helps: These anti-inflammatory compounds may help reduce the pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

What to eat: Ginger root

Glucosinolates

How they help: Glucosinolates breakdown into active compounds when vegetables are chopped or chewed. These compounds may fight cancer by preventing DNA damage from carcinogens or the creation of cancer cells.

What to eat: Arugula, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and radishes

Hesperidin

How it helps: This flavonoid has been found to reduce the inflammation associated with chronic disease reducing risks for cancer.

What to eat: Citrus fruits

Kaempferol

How it helps: This phytonutrient has been found to reduce the risk for chronic disease by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

What to eat: Broccoli, beans, endive, grapes, kale, leeks, strawberries, and tomatoes

Lycopene

How it helps: Some studies suggest that lycopene can reduce the risk of cancer by blocking the growth of cancer cells. It is also associated with a reduced risk for heart disease and age-related vision problems.

What to eat: Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, and papaya

Organosulfur Compounds

How they help: These compounds may protect against gastric and colorectal cancer. They may also reduce the the inflammation that is associated with cardiovascular disease.

What to eat: Chives, garlic, leeks, onions, and shallots

Quercetin

How it helps: Research shows that this flavonol may reduce the risk for asthma, cancer and heart disease.

What to eat: Apples, berries, grapes, and onions

Resveratrol

How it helps: This antioxidant has been linked to the prevention of blood vessel damage, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol, and reduced risk for cancer.

What to eat: Blueberries, cranberries, red grapes, peanuts, and pistachios

Herb Roasted Cauliflower

Herb Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are associated with reduced risks of cancer and heart disease, and they are loaded with vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytonutrients. This easy recipe results in a nutritious side dish for grilled fish, baked chicken, or vegetarian burgers.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp chopped fresh chives

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, chives, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat the cauliflower evenly with the oil and herbs.

Spread the florets into a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Carefully stir the florets and spread back into a single layer. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until tender. Serve warm.

Nutrition information for ¼ recipe: Calories 68; Total Fat 3.4 g; Saturated Fat 0.4 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 189 mg; Carbohydrate 7.8 g; Fiber 3.1 g; Sugar 3.0 g; Protein 3.0 g

Cardio or Strength Training First?

Cardio or Strength Training First

You want to make the most of every workout, so what should you do first -- cardiovascular exercise or strength training? There are arguments and research to support both sides, leading most experts to determine that it depends both on your goals and your personal preference.

Cardiovascular Endurance

If your goal is to improve cardiovascular endurance, especially if you are training for a distance race, doing cardio exercise first may be the best choice. Starting your cardio with fresh muscles will help you push through the time or distance you need to accomplish. Glycogen stores (glucose stored in the muscles for energy) are important for longer cardio sessions. Strength training can deplete these stores making cardio more challenging.

Improving Strength

If improving strength is your top priority, it may be best to do strength training first. Gaining strength requires that the muscles are challenged close to exhaustion. Performing a lengthy cardio session before strength training may reduce your ability to push your muscles as hard as you would if they were well rested. A Finnish study found that when healthy men and women did cardio training first, it initially interfered with strength training performance. However, after 24 weeks of training, this interference was less notable and both groups had similar gains in muscle size and strength. So if you absolutely love doing cardio first, this likely won’t hinder your ability to gain strength over time.

Weight Loss

If weight loss is your goal, recommendations are mixed. Cardiovascular exercises use large muscle groups for longer periods, which results in greater calorie burn than most strength training sessions. By doing cardio first, you may have more energy to push harder and exercise longer leading to more calories burned for weight loss. Some experts argue that when you do strength training first, the body relies on fat for energy during the cardio session, making it a better method for weight loss. It comes down to picking the combination you like best and one that you will stick with long term.

Choosing What Is Best for You

There are pros and cons to each exercise order, but the benefit is that you have freedom to structure your workout based on your preferences without negatively influencing your long term results. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if you should step on the treadmill or pick up the dumbbell the next time you hit the gym:

  • Do what you like the least first. If you love your time on the elliptical, but feel less enthusiastic about lifting weights, it may be easy to find an excuse to leave the gym once your cardio is done. Lift weights first and you will have it out of the way so you can thoroughly enjoy your cardio session.
  • Save time by making cardio your warm-up. All workouts should start with a 5 to 10 minute warm-up to prepare the muscles for activity. If you start with strength training, it’s best to hop on the treadmill or the bike to get warmed up. If you do your cardio first, it can take the place of your warm-up and save you valuable minutes of exercise time.
  • Separate your workouts for safety. Regardless of whether you choose cardio or strength training first, your muscles will be fatigued when you move on to the next type of exercise. Fatigue can result in poor form that leads to injury. If your strength sessions are intense and your cardio sessions lengthy, consider doing these workouts on separate days.
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