Choosing the Right Nutrition Bar – A Few Simple Tips

Nutrition bars have become a “go to” snack for many health conscious individuals. They are convenient, require no preparation, and are easy to store in a desk or take along in a purse or backpack. They require no refrigeration and come in a wide variety of flavors to suit every taste and palate.

Depending on the bar, they can function as a snack or as a meal replacement. There are literally hundreds of brands, recipes and flavors on the market which makes it hard to choose the best one for you. They vary wildly in terms of caloric content, ingredients, and Protein/Carbohydrate/Fat ratios. And, some of them are not much more than expensive junk food bars. All of this leaves you wondering, just how healthy are these bars?

If you want to choose a healthy bar, and one that works for your particular needs, you have to understand that it is all about the ingredients. And, you have to learn to read labels. Whether you are looking for a healthy snack, a protein boost, a carbohydrate fix or a meal replacement, you need to understand what is in the bar if you want to get the benefits you desire.

A good place to start is with the ingredient list and the nutritional facts label. Every bar has one, and just reading these two labels will tell you everything you need to know.

Regardless of whether you are looking for a nutrition bar that is high protein, high carbohydrate or a combination, there are certain ingredients that are simply not healthy for you.

For a nutrition bar to be healthy, it should not contain a significant amount of added sugar. Dried fruit such as dates, cranberries, apple etc should provide enough sweetness. If however there is added sugar, it should not be among the first 3 or 4 ingredients and it should not contain corn syrup of any sort. Nor should it contain any “sugar” with a chemical sounding name. Natural sugars such as honey, agave or brown rice syrup are healthier as long as they are used in small amounts.

While you do not want a nutrition bar to contain a lot of fats, there are good fats and bad fats. The body needs fat to function properly. Nuts and seeds are high in fat but these are good fats. They are good for your body and regulating metabolism. Bad fats include any product that contains hydrogenated fats. These should be avoided.

While it is beyond the scope of this article to provide detailed nutritional counseling, certain basics apply. Carbohydrates are digested quickly and give a quick burst of energy. Protein takes longer to digest and thus helps one feel fuller longer. Fats slow down the digestive process of carbohydrates and help with metabolic and brain function. Fiber helps move waste and toxins through the body ad any calories not used are stored as fat.

Based on their specific needs, you should look at the amount of fiber, calories, protein and carbohydrates in a whichever nutrition bar you plan to choose. Each of these items serves a particular purpose. So the individual needs of each consumer come into play here.

Perfect for runners, bicyclists and other athletes, anyone needing a burst of energy should opt for a high carbohydrate nutrition bar.

Many people are following a high protein or zone diet should pay attention to the Carbohydrate to Protein ratio. If the goal is to use the bar as a meal replacement it should contain about 1/3 each of carbs, protein and fats.

Nutrition bars can be a great addition to a healthy eating program. They can curb cravings, help level out blood sugar, give you a quick burst of energy or, in a pinch, act as a meal replacement. Choosing wisely can help achieve weight loss and good health. However, if you don’t pay attention, you may be buying very expensive candy bars.

4 Key Benefits of Taking Fish Oil Supplements

There are so many choices when it comes to health supplements, therefore, it can be difficult to decide which one will benefit you the most. This is where fish oil comes into play. Fish oil has numerous benefits that will not only help you from within, but also on the outside as well. Firstly, fish oil has been touted to be a great supplement to take if your interested in improving your cardiovascular health. Secondly, it helps to reduce inflammation on the outside and within the body. Thirdly, you’ll reap the skin benefits. And finally, it can also be used as food for your brain and help to combat a variety of mental health issues.

Cardiovascular Health
The first benefit that fish oil has is that it is beneficial for cardiovascular health. If you have high blood pressure, fish oil supplements may help to reduce your high blood pressure. According to CNN.com, the omega-3 found in fish oil has been shown to reduce triglycerides, lower blood pressure and reduce heart rhythm abnormalities. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil also prevent the blood from clotting fairly easily. Therefore, fish oil may be helpful for treating a variety of heart conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil also help to lower the level of bad cholesterol while increasing the levels of good cholesterol. So it can also be beneficial for cholesterol.

Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation occurs within your body when it senses infection. And if you have arthritis, osteoarthritis or any types of severe skin inflammation, such as eczema, fish oil can help reduce the side effects of these disorders. When you take fish oil supplements, they help to calm these nerves by balancing levels of omega-6 and omega-3 within your body. In accordance to the Linus Pauling Foundation, fish oil supplements have even been shown to benefit patients so much that some patients taking anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to be less dependent on these drugs.

Skin Benefits
In regards to skin health, fish oil supplements, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, help the skin in a variety of different ways. First, they improve the health of skin cells and their functioning. So, the healthier skin cells are, the better your skin will look. Omega-3 fatty acids also help give skin a smooth appearance and resilient texture. Research has also shown that they even help to prevent wrinkles and slow down the aging process. There’s even research that demonstrates how fish oil can also help prevent sun damage to the skin. So, not only will your skin look good, but you’ll age gracefully as well.

Brain Food
Fish oil is known as a brain food mainly because a lot of people eat fish to help cope with a variety of mental health disorders, including depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, stress disorder and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. According to researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, in their research publication titled “Fish Oils and Bipolar Disorder: A Promising but Untested Treatment”, they state that fish oil be helpful in stabilizing the mood and help with the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Now that you are aware of the 4 benefits of fish oil supplements, now you can decide whether or not they are right for you. We’ve discussed that they provide the user with cardiovascular health benefits and help the heart in many different ways. We’ve also discussed how fish oil supplements help to reduce inflammation within the body. There was also a section on skin benefits. And lastly, fish oil helps provide the brain with food and this food helps to combat a variety of mental health problems