Posted on December 9, 2013 by Sarah


Coffee lovers, here are some good news for all of you.  Apparently the dark, aromatic libation that beckons you to drink every morning does contain numerous natural chemical compounds that can make you healthier.  But hold the sugar, milk, creamer or those other stuff you usually add into your cup. Coffee is actually better on its own.


Coffee Love Heart


For young people, drinking coffee might help boost your brain power. We all aware coffee causes us to feel awake and energetic since it curbs adenosine from binding with the neuroreceptors. Instead, it stimulates the brain to increase neuronal firing and release of other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, improving your memory and general cognitive function. Overtime, not only it protects but may preserve your cognitive potential as you grow older and reduce risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,  and even stroke.


Black Coffee also stimulates the central nervous system to increase metabolism, oxidation of fatty acids and mobilizing fatty acids from fatty tissues and therefore, increases physical stamina. Anybody who wanted to prolong their workout session and even to shed off some pound, a cup coffee might boost your exercise time 30 percent long, while chugging some brew during the workout can delay fatigue by up to 60 percent. Next time before you pack some sugar laden energy drink, try brewing some extra coffee to take with you to the gym or along that challenging trail.


Diabetes is among rampant diseases that plague majority of population today. And drinking coffee might help protect you from falling into the statistic of diabetes sufferer, especially type 2 diabetes. Imbibing a few cups of coffee per day apparently increases sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) that may improve body’s tolerance to glucose by boosting metabolism or improving its tolerance to insulin.


Coffee can also protect your heart in a number of ways. The irresistible brew contains a few cardiovascular protection constituents such as potassium, soluble fiber and polyphenols. Filtered coffee for example has shown its ability to curb Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from rising unlike unfiltered coffee. The filter deters two diterpenes, cafestol and kahweol that are present in the coffee grind from passing through into the drink. As long as you are non-cigarette smoker, drinking two to four cups per day reduces your chance from developing the dreaded number one killer disease by 20 percent, while enjoying up to six cups per day increase the number up to 33 percent, any more than that, the percentage remains the same. One thing remains certain, moderation is the key. Although Voltaire did down more than 50 cups daily for inspiration, our body actually needs around two to six cups to get the most of the benefits.



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3 Recipes to Spice Up Chocolate Milk


I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Chocolate milk is one of the best post-workout drinks to build muscle and accelerate recovery. (Learn more about chocolate milk’s benefits.) However, drinking the same thing over and over again can get boring. To change the flavor and get an additional nutrition boost, start making chocolate milk smoothies.

Chocolate milk is such a powerful post-workout recovery drink because of its 3:1 protein-to-carb ratio. This is the perfect combination to replenish energy stores and shuttle amino acids into your muscles so they can rebuild and recover.

If you take a look at the grocery store, you will see several different chocolate milk options, including Nesquick, Ovaltine and Tru Moo. Their vitamin and mineral contents differ, but they essentially have the same effect because their primary ingredient is sugar—the source of carbs. The main factor in your decision is taste, because if you want to be consistent with it, you need to enjoy your post-workout drink. (See Smoothie ingredients demystified.)

So, choose your favorite brand and use 12 to 16 ounces as the main ingredient for the following chocolate milk shake recipes:

Chocolate Banana Shake

Chocolate and banana create a delicious combination. Add one to two frozen bananas into your chocolate milk and blend. It will create a thick smoothie that is loaded with potassium to improve recovery from a strenuous workout.

Chocolate Strawberry Shake

Drop a handful of strawberries into your chocolate milk and blend to get the same delicious flavor of this famous treat in a much healthier way.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Boost your post-workout shake protein by adding a tablespoon of natural peanut butter. It will thicken the shake and also provide healthy fats that will keep you full longer, and replenish energy stores.

Photo: fitsugar.com



Recipe Makeover: Healthy Stuffed Mushrooms




Editor’s Note: From the fast food drive-thru and the take-out box to the backyard barbeque, STACK Expert Kait Fortunato turns your favorite indulgences into healthy everyday meals. Now you can eat what you love on a daily basis without compromising your performance or your health. These simple do-it-yourself recipes prove you can eat good fats, lean protein and whole grains but still have meals that taste great. 



This week, Kait shows you how to create healthy stuffed mushrooms.

(See past makeovers: Grill a Guiltless Burger: The Healthy Cheeseburger Recipe and Shepherd’s Pie.)



Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorite foods. They’re simple yet versatile and healthy, too. Unlike fruits or any other vegetable, mushrooms produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. They also contain antioxidants that keep our immune systems strong—especially important for athletes as they push their bodies to the limit.



When stuffed mushrooms are served at parties or as restaurant appetizers, they’re often fairly heavy, filled with cheese, sour cream, breadcrumbs and maybe bacon or sausage. For my homemade version, I keep it simple and flavorful without ingredients that weigh you down.



These could be a great pre-workout snack since they have a balance of carbohydrates and protein!



Rather than heavy cream cheese or sour cream, I use a mixture of light Laughing Cow Cheese wedges and whole wheat breadcrumbs to keep the filling together. I also cook some turkey bacon, chop it up and stir it into the mixture. Finish with a sprinkle of rosemary and bake the stuffed mushrooms at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Enjoy!






High-Protein Breakfast Ideas for Vegetarians



Even though we all know it’s the most important meal of the day, breakfast still gets short shrift. Many of my clients skip breakfast, either because they’re not hungry in the morning or they’re rushing to get out the door. This is a bad idea. If you skip breakfast, you are more likely to overeat later in the day, slow your metabolism and lack energy and focus.


A good breakfast includes protein and healthy fats to keep you full and energized until your next meal. If you eat just carbohydrates, you could crash later in the day. Protein doesn’t have to come from meat. There are many other sources. Here are some of my favorite high-protein, vegetarian breakfasts:

  • Omelet with veggies and cheese. You can make these in muffin tins ahead of time and freeze them so they are ready to go when you’re pressed for time in the morning.
  • Protein smoothie with yogurt, 100 percent protein powder or other protein, fruit and nut butter. See also my favorite smoothie recipes.
  • High-protein “No-Oat Oatmeal,” made with egg whites and nuts. Perfect for the coming winter months.
  • Overnight Oats. This is an easy and tasty way to have oats in the morning!
  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter. If you are allergic to peanuts, try almond butter or sunflower seed butter.
  • English muffin with canned or smoked salmon. Sounds fancy, but it’s different and really easy!
  • Greek yogurt with almonds or sunflower seeds plus fruit or granola.
  • Bagel thin with avocado and Laughing Cow cheese. Avocado is often overlooked for breakfast, but it adds great flavor and texture to this sandwich.
  • Protein Bar such as Think ThinZone BarsPure Protein, or Clif Bars. These would not be my first choice for breakfast (they are not very filling), but they’re a good backup and better than skipping breakfast altogether.


What’s your favorite high-protein breakfast?