Why You Should Drink More Milk

Milk and dairy products are so important that they are one of the four major food groups. It’s recommended that we try to get at least two servings of dairy each day.
Here are three surprising things to love about the beverage.
1. It is an Important Part of Your Diet
Eating right, staying active and drinking three glasses of low fat will help you maintain good health and weight. Now, some studies over the past several years suggest including enough milk, especially in a reduced-calorie diet may even be linked to better success on a weight loss diet – more fat loss and more muscle gains.
2. Recent Study Suggests Milk Drinkers May Be at a Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has become a global epidemic and is expected to affect 552 million people worldwide by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation. “Consumption of dairy foods provides numerous health benefits including lower risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and obesity,” according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report.
3. It May Help You Reach Your Height Potential
It’s true nutrition and health experts recommend kids and adolescents get more calcium and vitamin D from foods like milk, for strong, healthy bones. What you may not know is that your bones continue to grow to their peak bone mass until around age 18 for women and age 20 for men. That’s why it’s important that both kids and adults drink up.
4. It May Help in Preventing Osteoporosis
Calcium is stored in bones, so if we don’t get enough calcium, these stores will be used for other essential functions, and your bones could be weakened. Osteoporosis is a condition where parts of the bones become quite porous and are prone to fracture easily and one of the main risk factors is a lack of calcium in the diet. Osteoporosis affects more than 50% of women and nearly a third of men over 60. Check the label of your favorite milk to see how much calcium it has.
5. It is Delicious
With so many milk recipes you can’t deny this delicious beverage.

Use it in your cereal.
Drink it as a between-meal refreshment.
Make a smoothie with it and fruit like banana, pineapples and strawberries.
Add yoghurt, oats and a few nuts to your smoothie and call it breakfast.

6. It is Soothing
A warm glass of milk would help put you to sleep after a long day. That sleepiness associated with a warm glass of milk may be more psychological than most would suspect. Most people recall pleasant thoughts about their mothers. Milk is associated with mothers and a mother’s love and care. Comforting feelings and remembrances can produce chemicals in the brain that actually form a sensation of well-being and relaxation. This brain chemical, serotonin, is associated with sleep. This feeling of well-being and relaxation will help you drift off to sleep after a warm glass of milk.

How to Flatten Your Stomach after Birth

It’s been a few weeks or even months since you welcomed your baby, and while you have been enjoying the time bonding with your baby you may have noticed that you still look as if you are pregnant. Don’t worry, it’s normal. Many women struggle to get their pre-pregnancy bodies back. However, remember that you won’t get your flat stomach in a day; after all, it took 9 months for your uterus to grow.
You have to be consistent with exercising and eating healthy to get a lasting result sooner.
Try these trusted techniques to get back your flat stomach
1. Abdominal Exercises that Targets Your Core
These are exercises that concentrate on the abdominal walls, which is precisely where you want to target. They include exercises like the leg slides, and pelvic tilts. In the beginning, you may want to start with an exercise like the leg slide, which does not require much effort on your part.
-Lie down flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed, tighten your stomach muscles and then slowly slide the heel of the foot down until your leg is flat on the bed.
-Then slide your leg back until your knees are bent again and repeat with the other leg.
2. Take part in Aerobic exercises
Engaging in aerobic exercises is really important, as they elevate your heart rate.  nclude walking, jogging and swimming. You could walk, jog or swim. You can start by taking short walks around the neighbourhood, and increase the distance as time goes on. You may also consider going on walks with family members and friends. These walks are known to help strengthen your core, as well as help you lose some belly fat.
3. Sit Ups
It is important that you don’t do sit-ups until you have been cleared by your doctor so that you don’t overstretch yourself and damage your abdominal walls in the process.
-Start with a set of 5-10 sit-ups and increase the number as you regain your strength.
4. Breast feeding
One of the little known benefits of breastfeeding is that it helps with initial weight loss. It also stimulates the shrinking of the uterus and helps flatten and tone your stomach muscle through the hormone oxytocin that is produced when the nipple is stimulated via suckling.
5. Eating Healthy and Nutritious Food
It is important that you continue to maintain a balanced. It is ideal to start each day with a healthy breakfast with the daily recommended five portions of fruits and vegetable. Also, don’t forget to eat fiber rich foods like beans, grains and seeds. This is not the time to go on a diet, just make sure you eat healthy snacks like carrots, and fruits like apples when you begin to crave something sweet to eat.
Getting a flat stomach after birth will happen gradually, as you take care of your health and body by eating well and exercising. It is important to note, that care must be taken when you first begin exercising, do not overdo it. Gradually work your way into the exercise routine.

Low Cholesterol Alternatives To Common Delicacies

Sticking to a low fat / low cholesterol diet is a sure track to healthy living. But making healthy food choices can sometimes look very boring and deterring.  However, if you must lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, cutting back on calories and your cholesterol intake is of utmost importance. 
There’re lots of healthy alternatives to high-carbs you can include in your diet so it doesn’t become too restricted and boring. A good start to making healthy choices is to read nutritional information on products when grocery shopping.  Always check for fat, sugar, sodium, calorie content etc. 
Most of the easily available staple food items in Nigeria are high in carbohydrates and calories but you can make healthy switches to still enjoy the best of Naija cuisines.  
Here are some common low cholesterol swaps you can make:
Let’s start with the most universal Naija staple – rice. Rice is so widely accepted and loved by all. So much so that it’s almost difficult to imagine life without rice. However, white rice is highly laden with unhealthy carbs and makes top place on the list of foods to be eaten in moderation. If you must eat rice, leafy greens or salads with fat-free dressings should make up most part of your rice meals. You may however opt for tasty nutrient-rich substitutes like brown rice, ofada rice, bulgur wheat, couscous and quinoa.
Nigeria has several scrumptious soups that attest to the numerous tribes and unique culture she’s blessed with. How best to enjoy these dishes if not accompanied with solids? Also called swallows, eba/fufu/pounded yam/starch are solids made from flour-based starchy carb-rich staples. If you’re on a low-cholesterol diet, these foods should be eaten moderately or totally avoided where possible. There’re other ways to enjoy your rich soup delicacies without loading up on calories and unnecessary carbs. Plantain amala, oat fufu, soya meal and even millet are healthier flour-based options for swallows. You can make flour out of these food items yourself rather than buying them off the shelf.
To make the most of the available healthy options to swallow foods, you should use palmoil sparingly when preparing your soups. And for stews and general cooking, instead of cholesterol-rich vegetable and groundnut oils preferably use cholesterol-free varieties. Extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil and soya oil are healthy choices of cooking oil you can try. 
For animal proteins, fish, chicken breasts, turkey are better options to beef. In cooking your meals, choose boiling/grilling or roasting to frying. Avoid fried foods as much as possible.
And veggies? You should also consider stocking up on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most vegetables are fibre-rich, low in calories and great sources of antioxidants and various nutrients. They can be included into your dishes in several ways. They make healthy snacks too, so have them in your kitchen in varieties. Fruits and veggie infused water also make healthier alternatives to carbonated and sugary drinks and juices. 
And lastly, don’t miss out on breakfast.  
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Significantly, breakfast is what sets your metabolism into drive all day-long. Fibre-rich cereals like oatmeal, bran flakes amongst many other whole-grain products are low- sugar / sodium and healthy breakfast choices. They will keep you full for longer (because they digest slower) while also lowering your body’s cholesterol levels. When buying milk for your cereals and tea, opt for low-fat/skimmed milk options like Three Crowns Milk. 
Who says low-cholesterol diets have to be tasteless? Definitely not with these delectable alternatives. Make them your choices today and totally enjoy your healthy life!

Increase Your Stamina With These Tips

Who doesn’t need as much endurance as possible in a fast-paced society like our Naija? I bet you do! Often referred to as stamina, endurance is certainly a crucial element if you must be happy and productive. 
Regardless of your age, weight, level of daily physical activities and love for sports, the relevance of staying-power can’t be overlooked. Whether planning to take part in the next cross-country marathon or trying to battle through your daily busy schedule, improving your energy and strength to remain sustained should be a priority if you’re determined to succeed.
To be in full control of your game/tasks while also remaining mentally focused till the end without being overly stressed, your body must be in good shape. Being in good shape means good stamina. 
Frequent bouts of fatigue, hormonal imbalance and lack of motivation are some of the signs of low stamina. Do you know there’s a connection between your mental and physical stamina (endurance)? To carry out your daily activities, you must be physically fit and absolutely thinking straight. Your mental stamina is what gives you the ability to focus and also combat illnesses. Good physical and mental health is definitely fundamental for a good life. 
Now you see the need for a stamina boost? It’ll certainly increase your performance.
Here’s how to increase your stamina:
A healthy diet: Can there ever be too much emphasis on the importance of food in your everyday life? Healthy eating will add some boost to your mental and physical endurance while also keeping your body generally fit. Low fat products, proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables, and healthy carbs should be key constituents of your diet. These foods will infuse your body with the healthy kind of energy it requires to boost your stamina and keep you going each day.
Another vital stamina booster is exercise. Engaging in regular physical exercises overtime will increase your energy level and stamina. Cardiovascular exercises like aerobics, swimming, treadmill running, cycling, jogging and even dancing are good heart strengtheners that’ll ensure good oxygen flow to all parts of your body. At least 150 -180 minutes per week of these exercises will keep your heart and lungs happy and gradually increase your stamina. Sit-ups, weightlifting and several other strength training exercises will not just tone and build your muscles, but will help you maintain a healthy weight and without doubt give more endurance. 
Still on exercises, doing routines you enjoy makes it a lot easier to push yourself into shape. And in the main, try as much as possible not to be sedentary. Motion is the word if you want to improve your stamina!
How much water do you drink daily? Do you often wait till you’re thirsty and dehydrated before taking a drink of water? Do you know that when you’re dehydrated your body has less fluid? This makes your blood curdle and subsequently reduces your blood flow and of course a cut down in oxygen supply. Water is also vital in fighting muscle fatigue.  Bearing this in mind, wouldn’t you rather drink at least 8 cups of water? You certainly will!
Not sleeping enough? Lack of sleep and adequate rest are key causes of low stamina. Enjoy at least 8 hours of sleep daily if you want to bubble with vigour and be productive the next day. 
And on a last note, kick out unhealthy habits. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are stamina killers. Engaging in them will only thwart your stamina boosting efforts.  
Ready to get started? Remember not to push your body to the point of breakdown. Be frequent but don’t overdo it. Healthy stamina increase can only be achieved over time. Moderately but progressively put all given tips into practice and you’ll sure see yourself in top form for longer periods.

Slimming Pills and their effects

Popularly referred to as diet pills/ diet supplements/ anti-obesity pills, slimming pills are often promoted as a fast approach to weight loss. And in a bid to significantly drop some dress sizes rapidly, many turn to these seemingly miracle weight-loss drugs. Some work, some don’t but the question is – how safe are these wonder pills?
Tagged as “metabolism boosters” or “fat burners”, most of these diet drugs which often come in powder, capsules or pills are lethal due to the large amounts of herbal stimulants and appetite suppressants they carry. Oblivious to many consumers, these ingredients are highly detrimental to human health and in most cases, trigger severe side-effects. The user is prone to several diseases ranging from bladder ailments to heart problems.
Functions of Slimming pills
 Slimming pills usually differ in functionality depending on the ingredients contained in them.  Below are some of the varied functions:

A slow down of the production of fat in the body
Appetite suppressant /control – Curb cravings for food
Satiety – User feels full by eating just a little
Fat blocker – prevent body from absorbing the fat in foods
Metabolism booster – Speed up metabolism 

Effects of Slimming pills
With the above roles in effect, weight loss certainly occurs but the dangers of these overwhelming achievements definitely outweigh the benefits. Let’s see how.
A popular example of a weight loss supplement is Ephedra, a powerful Chinese herbal stimulant known to radically suppress appetite and boost energy. This ingredient was quite effective for weight loss. It worked by increasing heart rates and putting unnecessary pressure on the circulatory system of the consumer. This led to several cases of heart attacks and strokes. Ephedra was legally banned in 2004 by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in the United States.
Slimming drugs that offer consumers fat blocking benefits are usually laden with lipase inhibitors like Orlistat and Alli. These components have been linked with liver damages and symptoms of liver diseases like yellow skin or eyes, stomach pain, excessive gas, loss of appetite, pale coloured poop, and brownish urine (due to surplus bilirubin in the urine).
Furthermore, not only do lipase inhibitors prevent the body from absorbing large amounts of fats, it also stops the body from digesting certain vitamins.  In addition, consumers who use slimming drugs that contain lipase inhibitors are prone to regaining weight as rapidly as they lost it the moment they stop the medications. Highly detrimental, right? More like an effort in futility, if you ask me.
Some slimming pills containing anti-depressants and amphetamines have also proved to become very addictive sometimes. Amphetamines are strong stimulants that speed up the heart and increases blood pressure. They are usually included in weight-loss drugs as appetite suppressants. Working on the central nervous system, the user feels energized and alert without eating and in little or no time drops notable weight, becomes emaciated and if too drastic,  malnourished. Other side effects include: mood swings, convulsion, chest pain and possibly, heart failure.
Ideally, there is no shortcut to weight loss. The use of diet pills is a quick-fix weight loss practice which is extremely harmful and may lead to death. Incorporating the right kinds of food, regular workouts and healthy habits into your everyday life are the safest ways to a wholesome long-term weight-loss journey. 

Low-calorie Cocktail Recipe: Pina Colada Light (Skinny Pina Colada)

Today’s recipe is a healthy twist to the popular tropical Pina Colada, Puerto Rico’s national drink since 1978. In making this cocktail, fresh fruits will be substituted for store bought canned/packed juices. 
Don’t we all love cocktails? Who doesn’t? Cocktails are refreshing delights to unwind after a busy day, or probably add flavour to a happy celebration. However, how much of these cocktails can be enjoyed when on a low-calorie diet? Let’s find out.
Regular cocktail mixers like soda, juice, syrup are all sugar-laden and packed with loads and loads of calories.  But if you’re looking for a healthy cocktail that won’t increase your waistline, we’ve got you covered! There are numerous cool ways to enjoy a cocktail without calorie-guilt or fear of weight-gain. 
Pina Colada Cocktail Ingredients:
2 cups fresh ripe pineapple, cubed
1 cup chopped coconut
1 can Three Crowns Evaporated milk (low fat milk option is best for coconut cream substitute)
3/4 cup Dark Rum (dark rum has lower calories than white rum)
2 cups ice cubes (optional)
Fresh pineapple slices (for garnishing)
Red cherry (optional for garnish)
Pour all ingredients in your blender and crush till smooth. Pour content in a glass and serve with extra ice (if needed).
That’s it – your chilled skinny coconutty Pina colada without extra calories and fats!

Healthy Smoothie Recipe: Groovy Green Banana Grape Smoothie

Who says healthy eating can’t be enjoyable? 
Try a super tasty nutritious smoothie, then you’ll agree that healthy food can be a real juicy treat. Smoothies are easy to make and a perfect way to enjoy fruits and veggies. Morning, noon or night, throw together any combination of fruits and vegetables and you’re assured of a great healthy drink/meal in minutes. 
Before we get started on today’s recipe let’s see some more ways of making smoothies taste better:

Frozen fruits make thicker consistency so chop your fruits ahead for easier blending and freeze.
Start by pouring in liquids first.
When blending, start with the lowest blender speed and gradually increase the blender speed till the mixture is smooth.
If using ice, they should go in last. 

Smoothies are ever rich in vital nutrients because of their fruit combos. They’re perfect breakfast choices and also very suitable as snacks, or post/pre-gym treats. Today’s Groovy Green Banana Grape Smoothie is no exception. An awesome yummy fruity combination of banana, red grapes, apples and a dash of spinach makes it a truly loaded wholesome food.
Heart-healthy apples are incredibly great for flavouring recipes and may help in preventing lung, breast, colon and liver cancers. Apples also help with weight-loss and are known to significantly lower cholesterol.  
Famous for the powerful antioxidants contained in them which makes them cancer-inhibiting, red grapes also have antibacterial properties. They also benefit your cardiovascular, immune and respiratory systems greatly. 
Bananas are excellent in masking the flavours of leafy greens in smoothies. They also make good creamy smoothie base. They’re fantastic energy givers, and their richness in potassium makes them great advocate for your heart and kidney. 
And the spinach? Trust me; you definitely won’t taste them in this smoothie. Spinach leaves undeniably lock in the healthfulness in this smoothie. With spinach, you’re sure of raw vegetable nutritional benefits. 
Ingredients for the smoothie:

1 Medium-sized Banana, chopped
1 Cup red grapes
2 Apples, cored and chopped.
A handful fresh green spinach leaves, washed and chopped
6 Almond nuts (optional)
180ml Greek Yogurt (optional)
Ice cubes (optional) 

Put all ingredients in blender. Remember, the yoghurt goes in first and the ice cubes last. Blend till puree is well crushed and smooth.
Serve ice cold.

Healthy Smoothie Recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

Breakfast on the go – that’s what smoothies are! A glass of smoothie is agreeably a healthy, quick and easy approach to start your day right. Nothing beats a smoothie that’s not just power-packed with healthful nutrients but also tastes great.
Looking for long lasting energy to carry you throughout your morning activities without craving for a mid-morning snack? Then this Peanut butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie is a must try for you! 
Esteemed for their rich fibre content which makes them outstanding for lowering cholesterol levels and risks to high blood pressure and cancer, oats make superb add-ons in breakfast smoothies. Peanut butter is an excellent source of Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Protein and a host of many other vital nutrients. And Bananas? Known to promote the wellbeing of your heart, the healthy carbs also contained in bananas make them keep you feeling full for longer, thus a good component of a healthy breakfast.
An addition of yogurt or (and) low-fat milk just about locks in more protein content and of course, that creamy taste of a milkshake. Sounding real delicious, right?
Need I say more? Without doubt, a combo of these ingredients gives this smoothie its perfect mix of fibre, protein and eminent nourishment. The very essentials needed to start your day!
Here’s what you’ll need for the smoothie:
1 cup Quick Oats
1 scoop of Peanut butter
2 ripe Bananas, chunked
1 cup Three Crowns Milk (Best low-fat option)
1 cup Low-fat Greek yogurt, Vanilla 
A dash of cinnamon (optional)
Ice cubes – as preferred
Put all ingredients in a blender and puree until creamy and frothy. 
Voila! Your healthy filling breakfast—peanut butter, banana, oats and low-fat milk—right before you. What more do you need? Serve it chilled.

Healthy Breakfast Recipe: Microwave-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Brimming with vitamins and minerals, sweet potatoes are very versatile and considered to be one of the oldest consumable vegetables in the world. They are affordable and readily available. Although sweet potatoes are real sweet – just as their name imply – their health benefits positively outweighs the sugar in them! A meal of sweet potatoes will satisfy your sweet tooth cravings without increasing your waistline or derail your healthy diet efforts.
Do you know that you get 4grams of dietary fibre which is about 16% of your recommended daily value in a medium-sized sweet potato? This portion of sweet potato will also give you at least 400% of your daily value of vitamin A, 37% of your needed vitamin C for the day, about 500mg potassium, and a good dose of protein, vitamin B, calcium,  iron and phosphorus too! Incredibly, all these come with just about 105 calories and zero fat! Nice one, right?  
Sweet potatoes are filling and good sources of healthy carbs (resistant starch). They absorb slowly into your system, thus preventing a spike in your sugar level. They’re also great for weight-loss because they keep you full for a longer period.
Abounding in antioxidant Beta-carotene which significantly reduces your cancer risk, the high-fibre content in sweet potatoes is a dynamic plus that makes them good for preventing constipation and regulating your digestive system. 
Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C which plays a major role in the formation of your blood cells.  Vitamin C is also known to help in battling stress and is likewise essential in the production of collagen to keep your skin elastic and glowing.
A meal of sweet potatoes is certain to give you a good immunity boost, improve your vision, surprisingly promote fertility, and boost lactation during pregnancy.
These are just some of the many nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed in many ways and there’s definitely a yummy creamy caramelized texture to it that can’t be missed when cooked or baked. In today’s recipe, we’ll see how they can be baked effortlessly in a microwave.  
Ingredients for the microwave-baked Sweet Potatoes:

6 medium sized Sweet Potatoes

Serving: 3 adults

Thoroughly wash potatoes to ensure the skin are clean (leaving the skin on gives an extra pack of fibre). Then with a fork or sharp knife, carefully thrust into the sweet potato to make holes. This will let out the steam while cooking (a very necessary step to prevent your potatoes from exploding in the microwave).
Next, slightly dampen sheets of paper towel with water (don’t soak but dampen just to make wet), then wrap each potato in the moist towel – the moistness provides the required steaming effect in the microwave. Place on microwaveable plate and microwave on full power for about 5-6 minutes. Now turn potatoes over and microwave for another 5 minutes to ensure even cooking. You can stick a fork into the sides to check if well cooked. If the fork goes in easily, then your potato is ready. If not, place back and continue to microwave for another 3 minutes. By now, you should have crispy skinned potatoes.
Serve hot with any choice of sauce or stew. 
Want something out of the ordinary? Combine your microwave-baked sweet potatoes with shredded chicken fillings and a side dish of coleslaw (as seen in the picture). A taste of culinary paradise definitely awaits you!
What better way to start your day than with this delectable sweet potato delicacy!