Welcome to the Four Hour Body Experience! The goal here is to keep you informed on anything regarding health and nutrition with an emphasis on improving fitness. You can use the navigational menu above or the table of contents below to get around and find the information that you’re looking for:

Almond Butter Vs Peanut Butter: Which One Is Better?

almond butter vs peanut butter which one is better

The health food world is an arena of decisions. For the conscious consumer, there are always many choices to be made for purchasing the best possible product for its price. What is worth the money and what isn’t? Today, the arena has been scuffling between the nutritional facts and qualities of almond butter vs peanut butter.

Many people are either for or against certain products, and some of them hold quite tight to their favored nut butters. One of the key points that makes this debate so narrow is the difference in price. Almond butter is nearly double the money of peanut butter. What makes it so?

Almond Butter Vs Peanut Butter

First, consider the fact that peanuts are one of the biggest American cash crops. This makes them more commercially available and cheaper than almonds. It also makes them more likely to be genetically modified, as well as riddled with pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals. It is much easier to find a generic brand of peanut butter that has been extremely processed with its extra ingredients, such as sugar, salt, hydrogenated vegetable oils and preservatives.

All almond butter products, on the other hand, are typically of a higher quality. Almonds are less likely to be genetically modified, and it is easier to find a more naturally made butter.

For this reason, we will only consider organic nut butters. Otherwise, generic peanut butter loses from the start. Moreover, there are always more nutritional benefits to be found in organic butters.

Nutritional Differences

On the macro-nutrient scale, almond butter and peanut butter both look very similar. They have nearly the same protein, carbohydrate and calorie count. However, it is in the subtle micro-nutrients that the differences occur.

Almond Butter

This butter has higher counts of antioxidants, various trace minerals, fat and fiber:

  • Vitamin E – up to four times the amount of this antioxidant. A single serving provides 3.87 grams where peanut butter only has 0.9 grams.
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Molybdenum
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B2
  • Monounsaturated fats – although only slightly more so than in peanut butter.
  • Fiber – a nominal amount more fiber. Most Americans, however, don’t get enough fiber in their diet, so every bit helps.

Peanut Butter

This butter is higher in B vitamins and other trace minerals:

  • Biotin – about 88 percent of the total daily requirement for this B vitamin.
  • Folate
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B3

It should be noted that peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes, like beans. Almonds are actually the seed of a fruit similar to a peach. When it comes to diet, however, these nut butters are very similar. They can be used interchangeably in smoothies, sandwiches and other snaking needs. Peanut butter tends to be better in certain cooking recipes, like a Thai stir-fry.

It really comes down to what the individual needs are. Nutritionally, they both offer different vitamins and minerals. Almonds are better for weight loss, since they are more satiating. Peanuts are more addictive and can make people bloat. Anyone can make their own judgment, but they both have their place in the culinary world and in a healthy diet.

Is Hummus Healthy?

is hummus healthy

Hummus is a classic vegan dish of the Middle East. Incredibly simple and wholesome, hummus provides hearty and robust snacking. In fact, it so thick, creamy and satiating that it makes people wonder: “Is hummus healthy?”

Is Hummus Good For You?

The easy answer to this question is yes. Freshly prepared, hummus is a traditional signature of a balanced and nutritious food. However, be wary of prepackaged hummus. Most brands of hummus come with a lack of nutrients, along with twice the amount of hummus calories and extra preservatives that are better off avoided.

Hummus Nutrition

Hummus is loaded with dense concentrations of vitamins and minerals. Many people tout hummus as being high in protein, complex carbohydrates, iron and dietary fiber. True as it is, this only touches on the real benefits of hummus. To really understand, let’s take a quick glance at its limited ingredient list.

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans – alone, these contribute the bulk of the fiber and protein. They also contain very substantial levels of molybdenum, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper and iron, along with folate, antioxidants and amino acids.

Tahini – the ground sesame seeds that constitute tahini are rich in essential fatty acids, such as omega-3′s and omega-6′s. They also supply the vitamin folate, as well as the minerals phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Extra virgin olive oil – this supplies a rich source of vitamins E and K and has tons of antioxidants. It’s made up mostly of monounsaturated fatty acids, which is considered a good source of healthy fats.

Lemon juice – of course, this contains the high amount of vitamin C that gives hummus its twist. It’s also a good source of folate.

Garlic – high in manganese, selenium, vitamin B6 and sulfur among other things. It helps to increase iron metabolism, which is inherent in good hummus.

Salt – it’s good to touch on the fact that sea salt is the best salt to use. It contains a plethora of trace minerals that table salt lacks.

Hummus Calories

One thing that people tend to question are the calories in hummus. A 1/3 of a cup of hummus has about 140 calories. The fact is that these are calories wealthy with nutrients. Eating hummus every day can actually curb appetite and help manage weight. This is due to the protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats that naturally make you feel more satiated. It makes you feel full for hours.

Benefits of Hummus

Incorporating hummus into a daily snack regimen can be very beneficial. Eating hummus can help maintain an alkaline pH, control blood sugar, tone cardiovascular health and even prevent cancer. It can also repair free radical damage, lower cholesterol and protect against genetic mutation.

Simple Hummus Recipe

The best way to reap these benefits is to make your own hummus. Aside for the aforementioned ingredients, the only device you need is a food processor, blender or some way to puree. These are the ratios:

  • 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas,
  • ¼ of a cup of tahini,
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil,
  • ¼ of a cup of lemon juice,
  • 1 raw or cooked garlic clove and
  • a pinch of salt

Puree it all together to the desired consistency. It can be thick and chunky or as smooth as can be. It is customarily served with pita or flat bread, but it makes a great dip for raw vegetables.

The conclusion is that you can eat fresh hummus every day of your life, enjoy its benefits with peace of mind and save a lot of money by making it yourself.

Biotin Benefits – Everything You Need To Know

biotin benefits everything you need to know

Biotin is a vital nutrient. Also called vitamin H and vitamin B7, biotin is part of the B-complex family of vitamins. It is responsible for the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, and by forming essential fatty acids into chains and converting blood sugar, it plays an important role in the production of energy.

Biotin Benefits

Biotin benefits energy levels, nourishes the nervous system, balances blood sugar and helps lower cholesterol. It also helps maintain healthy skin, strong nails and proper hair growth.

Most of what we know about biotin comes from what happens during a deficiency. A diet low in biotin can result in a range of seemingly unrelated symptoms. This is what has lead researchers to understand the different metabolic pathways that biotin takes.

Skin, Hair and Nails

Biotin helps build healthy fats and oils in the skin, as well as promoting growth in the hair and nails. An absence of this vitamin can cause dry, flaky and irritated skin, especially around the eyes, nose and mouth. Hair loss and brittle nail cuticles are also prominent signs of a biotin deficiency.

B-vitamins work through the nervous system, and biotin acts as an enzyme to break down toxicities from fats and carbohydrates. Biotin deficiency can cause toxins to accumulate through the inside-out, resulting in these discomforts:

  • Rashes
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Dermatitis
  • Itchiness
  • Hair loss
  • Cradle cap

Blood Sugar and Diabetes

Diets low in biotin tend to inhibit the pancreas from making insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for balancing blood sugar. It can also interfere with the ability of insulin to act on cells, leading to an increased risk of diabetes.

Studies have shown that supplementation with biotin helped reduce blood-glucose levels in those with type I diabetes, probably by utilizing the glucose for fat metabolism.

Being aware of this makes it easier to manage and prevent diabetes. In whole-food form, biotin usually contains fiber, an indigestible carbohydrate that is of much use to diabetics. One study showed that adding an ounce of mixed nuts to the diet for 12 weeks, it helped manage blood sugar in a group prone to developing the disease.

Cholesterol

Other studies have also indicated that biotin can help reduce cholesterol levels. This is especially true when paired with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as flax oil, wild salmon and eggs from free-range chickens. Biotin can actually decrease the risk of heart disease.

Foods High in Biotin

Luckily, biotin is found in a variety of common foods:

  1. Peanuts – 207 calories of peanuts provide nearly 88 percent of the Daily Value, or DV, of biotin.
  2. Almonds – 132 calories provide almost 50 percent of the DV.
  3. Sweet potato – 180 calories provide 29 percent of the DV.
  4. Eggs – 78 calories provide 27 percent of the DV.
  5. Onions – 92 calories provide 27 percent of the DV.

Oats, tomatoes and carrots can contribute nearly a quarter of the DV. Other great sources of biotin include walnuts, salmon, tofu, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. These can contribute as much as 10 to 15 percent of the DV.

Biotin deficiency is very uncommon. Still, it happens more often with these certain groups of people:

  • Chronic smokers
  • Alcoholics
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • People with liver disease
  • People with a poor diet of mostly processed foods

So many problems can be prevented simply by eating a nutrient-rich diet. By sticking to whole and unprocessed foods, supplementation is hardly necessary for gaining the biotin benefits.

Calcium Foods: Why You Need Foods High In Calcium

calcium foods why you need foods high in calcium

Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the body. Most people already know that calcium is essential for teeth and bone health. But did you know that it also plays a part in practically every aspect of the body’s metabolism?

The Role of Calcium

Calcium is the most prevalent mineral found in the human body. It is stored mainly in the teeth and bones and is responsible for mass, density and strength. It controls nervous communication and muscular function, as well as blood cell transportation and proper hormone activity. It also helps moderate blood pressure and maintain a regular heartbeat.

The amount of calcium that each person needs depends on age. Children and adolescents usually require more calcium to support their growing bones and teeth. The same goes for the elderly, who need an extra amount to prevent bone degradation.

The best way to get calcium is through whole foods. Plant-based calcium sources are ideal. They have the right balance of other minerals that make it easy for the body to synergize. Animal-based sources are an fine source, as well. Be aware, however, that animal products are not naturally balanced with other minerals. If this is the primary source of calcium, it could lead to an excess of calcium.

The Top Foods High In Calcium

The healthiest vegetarian calcium foods include:

  1. Tofu – 164 calories contains about 77 percent of the Daily Value, or DV, of calcium.
  2. Sesame seeds – this includes tahini. 206 calories contains 35 percent of the DV.
  3. Collard greens – just 63 calories of collards provides about 27 percent of the DV.
  4. Spinach – 41 calories provides 24 percent of the DV.
  5. Turnip greens – 29 calories provides nearly 20 percent of the DV.

All dark leafy greens, like kale, mustard and beet greens are also foods high in calcium. Sardines, salmon, yogurt and cheese are some of the top calcium foods from animal sources.

The nutrients in the body are always in a perpetual state of balance. If one mineral is in excess or is deficient, then health can be disrupted. For instance, magnesium is the partner mineral to calcium. If calcium is in excess, it usually means there isn’t enough magnesium to balance it out.

Calcium Excess

If calcium is in excess and magnesium is deficient, then the body may not be able to process the calcium properly. It can collect in the soft tissue of the body, leading to calcium deposits, kidney stones and an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

Calcium Deficiency

Deficiency in this mineral rarely happens. This is because the body has something like a calcium savings account. When calcium is needed, the body gradually takes it from the bones. In the long term, this can lead to bone loss, resulting in an increased chance of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Severe calcium deficiency symptoms include numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes, seizures and abnormal heart rhythm.

Keep this in mind: The nutrients in our body are always in a delicate harmony that must be maintained. Calcium helps regulate our cardiovascular system, but if there is too much or too little, it can cause problems to that same system. A balanced, whole food diet is the best way to uphold your body’s nutritional integrity.