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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category


Simple Steps for a Healthier Summer

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
The American Institute for Cancer Research has come up with some great summer ideas that will make a big difference in your overall health and reduce your risk of cancer. They’re small, targeted steps, but they can do a lot to change the big picture! Staying fit and healthy can be difficult anytime, but these simple changes are great steps to ease positive changes into your lifestyle!
 
• Trade in the soda and sugary drinks for water and fruit-infused water. Despite all the warnings about soda, 48% of Americans consume soda daily … and they’re drinking 2.5 glasses a day! These calories can contribute to excess weight gain, a factor in cancer risk. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice with a few strawberries into a glass of ice water … it’s more refreshing and healthier!
 
• Having a hard time scheduling a traditional gym workout? Go for several breaks throughout the day. It has long been accepted that inactivity plays a part in cancer risk and new research indicates that sitting for long periods of time can increase cancer risk even among people who exercise daily. Rev up your day with walks, take on a few flights of stairs during your break, stand up while you’re on the phone … get creative! The American Institute for Cancer Research advises at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
 
• Drop the full-fat ice cream and opt for a fruity berry/yogurt parfait, frozen yogurt or sorbet. Make fruit the star of dessert. Ice cream can come with the hefty price tag of 270 calories and 18 grams of fat into half a cup! You’ll not only slash the number of calories you take in, you’ll receive the nutritional bonus that comes with berries and fruit juices!
 
• Go for the home-cooked meal instead of dining out. It may seem easier and faster to eat out and cooking can be draining in this weather, but people consume 50% more calories, fat and sodium when eating out instead of at home! Dining out also limits the variety, availability and amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other vitamin-rich “super foods” that reduce the risk of cancer.
 
• Expand your salad horizons! Replace that iceberg lettuce with nutrient-rich like spinach, arugula, collards, and kale. Many consider greens the number one food you can eat regularly to help improve your health. They provide fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants and research shows that dark leafy greens can protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach.
 
• Say ‘no thanks’ to white bread. The important nutrients found in whole grains have been removed from refined grains. The outer layer of a grain is rich in minerals, vitamins and important phytochemicals and they’re rich in dietary fiber to protect against colorectal cancer.
 
• Love barbecue but concerned about the carcinogens created when meat chars? Try veggies .. grill up a portabella mushroom or a veggie kabob. Veggies don’t create carcinogens when they brown. For extra flavor, marinade your veggies first. If you don’t have time to marinade, brush lightly with olive or canola oil for that great, carmelized flavor. Not only are veggies rich in nutrients and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, they will help you cut down on red meat. Remember, consuming too much red meat raises the risk of colorectal cancer so try to restrict your red meat intake to no more than 18 ounces per week.
 
Try these simple ideas and have a happy, healthy summer that will give you a lift year-round!
 
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Healthy and Glowing

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Beautiful, healthy skin projects fitness and youth. You can attain and keep that healthy glow with a nutritious, balanced diet. In fact, a healthy diet is absolutely essential to achieving glowing skin, because it allows your skin to heal, combats aging, and prevents inflammations. Adopt a nutritional regimen with the right types of protein, carbohydrates and fat, fruit and vegetables, and plenty of water, you’ll notice an improvement in the condition of your skin in just a few days.
 
• Here are a few guidelines that will help you on your way to a glowing complexion!
 
• Eat protein to repair skin cells. Good sources are turkey, fish, boneless skinless chicken, egg whites. If your a vegetarian go for sprouts, seeds, cheese, peas, grains, nuts, milk and soy bean!
 
• Eat fatty fish to boost the condition of cell membranes, the building blocks of healthy skin.
 
• Almonds, olive oil and rapeseed oil are high in antioxidant-rich monounsaturated fat to aid in rejuvenating skin cells.
 
• Keep your skin hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.
 
• Vitamins A and B, found in milk, yogurt and oily fish, are essential for maintained glowing skin.
 
• The vitamin C in citrus fruits, berries, broccoli and cabbage provides collagen to heals your skin and keeps it firm.
 
• Vitamin E promotes healing and prevents dry skin and the formation of age spots. Foods rich in vitamin E include wheat germ, whole grains, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, olives and vegetable oils.
 
If you’re concerned about your skin becoming lax, remember, deeply colored fruits and dark, leafy greens have a higher concentration of skin-tightening and healing nutrients. Dark leafy greens such as kale renew your skin so that it actually looks and feels tighter, while lentils, beans and other legumes can prevent damage to your skin and make you look younger.
 
To maintain your healthy glow, don’t smoke, wear sunscreen during the day, and stay out of the sun during the
 
Follow these nutrition tips, protect against sun damage, sleep well and you’ll have healthier, glowing skin in a week … and it just gets better!
 
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You’re Still Not Eating Breakfast?

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
We all have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many people — including 60 percent of young people — still don’t eat before starting their day! Now, a new study has found that eating a breakfast rich in protein is also an important factor in appetite control that and reduces unhealthy night-time snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods!
 
The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examines the impact of eating breakfast on daily appetite and evening snacking in young people, especially those who skip breakfast. For the study, 20 overweight or obese adolescent women, ages 18-20, either skipped breakfast, ate a high-protein breakfast, or ate ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. All breakfasts consisted of 350 calories and were matched for dietary fat, fiber, sugar and energy density, however, the high-protein breakfast which also contained 35 grams of protein. Participants in the study completed questionnaires and provided blood samples throughout the day. Before dinner, a brain scan (fMRI) was performed to track the brain signals that control food motivation and eating behaviors.
 
The consumption of the high-protein breakfast led to increased feeling of fullness or ‘satiety’ and reduced the brain activity that controls food cravings. This led to healthier, less impulsive food choices throughout the day.
 
A high-protein breakfast also helps fuel your metabolism and allows you to burn more calories. Not eating breakfast heightens the risk of becoming increasingly resistant to insulin, which enables your body to convert glucose to energy for basic activities and also raises the risk of diabetes.
 
A high-protein breakfast offers many health benefits, but remember to eat high-protein options that low in fat. Red meat and rich cheeses are high in saturated fats that can overshadow the daily benefits. Go for lean protein choices like egg white white omelets, skim milk, or low-fat yogurt. Introduce tofu into your daily regimen by adding it to a fruit smoothie for a satisfying, refreshing way to start the day. Finding lean protein sources will allow you to reap the benefits of a high-protein breakfast, without the weight gain or raised cholesterol levels that can result from high-fat protein sources.
 
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Fats, Sugar and Salt

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
The massive amount of salts, sugars and fats in our diet has taken over health news this week, and it’s about time! Consumption of salty, sugary and fatty foods has skyrocketed in the United States. We now consume more than three times the amount of cheese than in the 1970′s — 33 pounds of cheese per year, along with 70 pounds of sugar and six pounds of salt!
 
Journalist Michael Moss’ new book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked investigates how food scientists design foods to specifically target our “bliss point” of sugar, salt and fat when creating new food products, and the damage that diets with an overabundance of processed food has caused to our national health. As shocking as this information may seem, Moss’ work follows the 1990 work of the past commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, David Kessler. In his book The End of Overeating, Kesslert presents strong arguments that extremely high levels of salt, fat, and sugar in the American diet thus encourage us to overeat by stimulating the pleasure areas of our brains.
 
Reducing fats, sugar and salt in our diets is made more difficult by the ease of access to processed foods and busy schedules, but it’s vital to make the change to ensure a long, healthy life. A few rules to keep in mind are:
 
Reduce Fat Intake
 
• Eat less cholesterol by limiting egg yolks to 4 per week and reduce meat and poultry a to maximum of 6 ounces a day
• Reduce saturated fat intake of red meat, dairy products and saturated cooking oils
• Eat less trans fat found in stick margarine and shortening
• Limit total fat intake to less than 30% of total daily calories
 
Reduce salt intake
 
• Eat less canned and dried soups, fast foods, prepared meals, processed meats
• Keep away from canned sauces and vegetables, look for low-sodium labels.
 
Reduce sugar intake
 
• Eat more fruits, vegetables, multigrain breads, and cereals
• Eat at least 20-35 grams/day of dietary fiber from a wide variety of foods.
• Experiment with recipes by gradually reducing the amount of sugar by 1/4th then 1/3rd then 1/2.
• Use sweet spices—cinnamon cloves ginger or nutmeg—to bring out sweetness in baked goods.
 
Maintain a healthy weight
 
• Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days. Regular exercise improves control of blood sugar and is an important part of any healthy lifestyle.
• Always read the food labels for fat, sugar, and salt, and eat fresh foods rather than processed whenever possible.
• Choose healthy snacks for your munchie attacks!
 
Americans eat 1.2 billion pounds of the worst dietary offender — potato chip! The salt, the fat and high sugar content in the form of starch in potato chips create an immediate sense of pleasure, and it’s true — you can’t eat just one! So next time you reach for a chip, remember, a daily 1-ounce serving of about 15 chips contains about 160 calories and cause approximately 1.70 pounds of weight gain every 4 years. So, drop the chips and grab a piece of fruit!
 
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Walk Against Back Pain

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
At some point in their lives, 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and is a leading contributor to missed work, costing Americans at least $50 billion each year in health care costs. Often, lower back pain goes away within a few days, but not all of us are that lucky! Now there’s good news if you or a loved one suffers from back pain!
 
New research shows that adopting a simple aerobic walking program that includes walking two to three times a week for a period of 20 to 40 minutes can be as effective to reduce lower back pain as strengthening rehabilitation programs that depend on specialized equipment in clinics. A walking regimen fits easily into a daily routine and offers people with back pain more control and more responsibility for their own health.
 
The study, published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation, found that when people actively walk, the abdominal and back muscles work in basically the same way as when doing exercises that target those areas. Unlike muscle strengthening programs, which often call for specific equipment and can involve exercises that require expert supervision, and it is a simple activity that can be done alone.
 
The study included 52 patients with lower back pain who participated in a randomized control trial. At the onset of the research, participants were assessed for pain levels, feelings of disability, limitations on daily activities, and walking endurance. Half of the group completed a typical clinic-based muscle strengthening program, with two to three exercise sessions a week for six weeks. The other half completed a six-week aerobic walking program, walking two to three times weekly, starting with 20 minutes of walking and progressing to 40 minutes as their endurance improved. Both groups improved significantly in all areas, and the walking program was found to be as effective as clinical treatment. The walking program has the additional advantage of encouraging patients to follow an overall healthier lifestyle.
 
Spring will be here soon, what better time to take up a new walking program! It’s a great low-impact activity that lowers blood pressure, boosts brain and immune system functioning, and reduces stress. It can also save your back!
 
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Mediterranean Diet News

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
The Mediterranean diet has taken the spotlight in health news again, and the news is great for heart health! A new Spanish study found that a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables is even more effective at helping people with high risks for cardiovascular problems avoid heart trouble than a low-fat diet.
 
The study included a five year follow-up, during which participants who followed a Mediterranean diet with an emphasis on olive oil or nuts had a 30 percent greater reduction of risk for a heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular disease. Participants on a low-fat diet also improved, but to a lesser degree. These finding were published Feb. 25 in the online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The results will also be presented this week at the International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition in Loma Linda, Calif.
 
This study involved almost 7,500 men and women, whose ages ranged from 55 to 80 at the beginning of the study in 2003. Fifty-seven percent of the participants were women. Participants had risk factors such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or high cholesterol, but no history of heart attacks or strokes. They were broken into three groups; a low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet with a focus on nuts, and a Mediterranean diet that focused on olive oil. Both of the groups on the Mediterranean diet also ate plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, and drank wine with meals. The nutritional regimen of the low-fat group included low-fat dairy, bread, potatoes, fruits and vegetables and lean fish. Oils, baked goods, nuts, red and processed meat and fatty fish were avoided for all particpants.
 
The results? A 30 per cent reduction in risk of heart disease for those on the Mediterranean diet over those on the low-fat diet! This is great, significant news, and if you’re not aware of the basics of a Mediterranean diet, this news should spur you on to learn more. Here are the basics:
 
• Food from plant sources, including fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
 
• A variety of minimally processed and, wherever possible, seasonally fresh and locally grown foods.
 
• Olive oil as the principal fat, replacing other fats and oils.
 
• Consumption of low to moderate amounts of fish or poultry, a maximum of 7 eggs per week — including eggs used in food preparation.
 
• Fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert.
 
• If red meat is part of your normal diet, eat a maximum of 12 to 16 ounces of lean cuts per month.
 
• Regular physical activity at a level which promotes a healthy weight, fitness and well-being.
 
New studies on various low-fat and vegan diets are in process now, but for a tried and true, heart-healthy diet, Mediterranean is the way to go!
 
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Tread on High Blood Pressure

 [Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Blood pressure worries? You might want to make a beeline for the nearest treadmill. Striding on the treadmill may be the most effective exercise for lowering blood pressure.
 
We’ve known for years that high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart, and kidney diseases. Blood pressure increases during physical activity but your overall blood pressure drops when the exercise is over. It’s what’s known as post exercise hypo-tension. Until recently we didn’t know how long the effect lasted.
 
A new study shows that 45-minutes on a treadmill reduces high blood pressure for a full 24-hours. That’s an excellent reason to set aside a little treadmill time every day. Your heart will thank you for it!
 
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Working Out With a Cold: It’s Nothing to Sneeze At

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
You feel it coming on, the sore throat, the sniffling. That first loud sneeze makes it official: you have a cold. You would really love to stay in bed and rest rather than go to the gym. Now rest is a great thing, no doubt about it. But sometimes it can cause you to lose your hard earned training groove. But you’ve also heard the advice not to work out with a cold. So what do you do? I’m going to help you take the guess work out of it right now.
 
The first thing you have to determine is whether you have just a cold or the flu. Numerous doctors say it’s okay to go ahead and work out, as long as you are only suffering with a cold. In fact a recent study sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine found exercising moderately while you have a cold does not affect the severity or duration of the symptoms. During the study researchers injected 50 moderately fit volunteers with cold germs and divided them into two groups: exercising and non-exercising. Over a ten day period each volunteer kept a daily log of their physical activity. The exercise group worked out for 40 minutes every day by either running, using a stepper or biking, at no more than seventy percent of their maximum capacity. After the study, researchers looked at their symptom severity and mucus measurement. They found there was no significant difference in the symptom severity or duration in the exercise group compared to the group that did not exercise. The study determined that exercising at a moderate rate does not increase the intensity of cold symptoms or compromise the immune system.
 
BUT-previous studies have found that high intensity exercise such as weight lifting or high intensity aerobic exercise can have a negative impact on the immune system. Because it can be very difficult to tell whether you have the flu or just a cold, a small group of doctors still strictly advise you to avoid exercise completely while suffering with a cold. “We wouldn’t even think of suggesting that men who are sick should be vigorously exercising,” says Dr. David Neiman of Appalachian State University. Neiman cites lab studies showing that strenuous exercise can weaken the immune system. Yet no one has proven that minimal changes in the immune system will have a significant influence on the common cold. There does not, however, appear to be any studies on the healing rates of athletes suffering from colds who choose to work out, versus those who prescribe to a complete rest.
 
So how do you determine whether you’re too sick to exercise? Definitely if you’re suffering from more than just a cold, if you’re suffering with the flu, you should throw in the towel for now. The flu is a far different consideration for the man who exercises. The common cold more or less remains in the cells lining your nose, but the flu and flu-like viruses can invade muscles, and even invade the lining of your heart. Such heart infections can be very serious, even deadly.
 
So how do you know the difference? If your symptoms are all from the neck up, sneezing, scratchy throat, mucus free cough, slight sinus headache-you more than likely just have a cold. In that case, go to the gym as usual, but take caution. Don’t work out with maximum intensity. If you feel okay after the first ten minutes of exercise, continue your regimen in a moderate fashion. If you don’t feel great, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you do continue to exercise, make sure you drink plenty of fluids so you don’t dehydrate.
 
About 200 separate viruses can cause the common cold. But certain flu viruses can also cause cold-like symptoms. So it’s sometimes hard to determine whether you’re suffering with more than just a cold. Here’s a tip. Draw an imaginary line across your neck, you already know cold symptoms are from the neck up, if you have any symptoms below that line, from the neck down-especially vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite or a cough that produces mucus-you could be suffering with the flu and should avoid exercise, until the infection is gone.
 
As a genuine exercise enthusiast, it’s time for you to confront the issue of colds versus workouts. Draw that imaginary line, carefully check your symptoms, make a realistic assessment of your condition and make a decision accordingly and most importantly, don’t over do it! Remember nothing is impossible, even good health. Because all I want for you and your family is to seize the moment of each and every day.
 
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Water

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Your recommended daily intake of water is _______ ounces (one half of your ideal body weight).
 
Water is the forgotten nutrient. It is crucial to every function in the body; temperature regulation, circulation, metabolism, immune system and waste elimination.
 
Don’t drink water 15 minutes prior to eating. Give your stomach up to one hour after eating to digest your foods undiluted by water. Mealtime is not the time to take in large amounts of liquid. Skim milk is the only beverage that serves as an exception, as it becomes a semi-solid in the stomach.
 
Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body is not getting enough water, it perceives a threat to its survival and tries to hold on the every drop. The best way to overcome this problem is to give the body what it needs, plenty of water. Only then will stored water be released. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fats. An overweight person needs more water than a person at their ideal/healthy weight.
 
Water helps aid the body in waste removal. During weight loss, the body has more waste to get rid of. All the metabolized fat must be shed. Adequate water intake helps to flush out the waste. The average person loses two cups of water daily through the respiratory process. An additional two cups are lost through perspiration, even when no strenuous activity is being performed. The intestines and kidneys combined lose another six cups daily. Therefore, taking into consideration that approximately four cups are provided by food metabolism and ten are lost through normal functions; a person needs to drink between six and eight cups of water daily to keep the functioning properly.
 
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