January 31, 2007
Why eat almonds?
These tear-shaped nuts are packed with nutrients — fiber, riboflavin, magnesium, iron and calcium. In fact, almonds have more calcium than any other nut - 70 milligrams (mg) in 23 almonds. And one serving of almonds provides half of your body's Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E.
Like all nuts, almonds provide one of the best plant sources of protein. And they're good for your heart. Most of the fat in almonds is monounsaturated fat — a healthier type of fat that may help lower blood cholesterol levels.
January 27, 2007
We all know citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C; one orange has a whole day’s requirement. But that's not all citrus fruits have to offer.
* Citrus juice contains flavonoids, a phytonutrient that lowers the body's production of cholesterol, inhibits blood clot formation and boosts the bang of vitamin C.
* They’re also loaded with soluble fiber which lowers cholesterol, maintains healthy blood sugar levels, and helps you to manage your weight.
* That explosion of scent that erupts when you grate a citrus peel is produced by limonene, an oil found in the peel that might inhibit a variety of cancers.
Oranges and grapefruits are in peak season during the winter. Their bright flavors are a perfect antidote to a cold, dreary day. Lemons and limes, available year-round, are especially welcome during summer’s heat.
ROMAINE, RED ONION & ORANGE SALAD
Sweet oranges and sharp red onion perk up romaine lettuce in this colorful salad.
Makes 4 servings
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 navel oranges
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
Pinch of sugar
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups washed, dried and torn romaine lettuce or escarole
1. Soak onion slices in cold water for 10 minutes; drain. With a sharp knife, peel oranges, removing white pith. Slice.
2. Whisk together orange juice, oil, mustard, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a salad bowl. Add lettuce, onions and orange slices; toss well.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 131 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 111 mg sodium; 345 mg potassium.
January 25, 2007
Attitude makes a difference.
Focus on the positive. Imagine all the possibilities that are out there. Limitations really are only in our mind; if something isn't possible one way, there is always a different way to accompish the ultimate goal.
January 22, 2007
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world (water is the top choice). Although most people think of tea as a soothing and delicious beverage, it possesses a remarkable wealth of antioxidants. All teas, whether black, green, oolong or white, are harvested from the leaves of a variety of plant known as the camellia sinensis. The primary distinction between the different teas is the amount of fermentation they undergo. Black teas are the most fermented, white teas the least. Herbal teas are not technically teas since they do not include camellia sinensis leaves.
* All true teas contain polyphenols, powerful antioxidants believed to protect against heart disease, certain cancers and stroke.
* The various levels of fermentation affect teas in different ways. Recent studies have shown drinking green tea might boost metabolism, oolong teas can lower blood sugar, and black teas can promote oral health.
* Tea contains half the caffeine of coffee.
Tea is not just for drinking: it has been used for centuries in marinades and as a flavoring agent in dishes.
January 17, 2007
The Definition Of Fitness
Do you know what it means to truly be fit? Maybe you think it means being free of disease and other health problems or having loads of energy, a muscular body or the ability to finish a marathon.
Actually, fitness refers to your own optimal health and overall well-being. Fitness is your health at its very best.
Being fit defines every aspect of your health -- not just physically, but also your emotional and mental well-being. In fact, they're interconnected. Smart eating and active living are instrumental to all three. Being fit gives you:
* Energy to be more productive and do things that are important to you.
* A positive outlook to handle the mental challenges and emotional ups and downs to deal with stress.
* Reduced risk for many health problems, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
* The opportunity to look and feel at your best.
* Physical strength and endurance to protect yourself in case of emergency.
* A better chance for a higher quality of life and perhaps a longer one, too.
January 14, 2007
Olive Oil: The One and Only
Olive oil is a staple in any kitchen. It's the base of many salad dressings and is also used as an ingredient in sauces and marinades; as a dip for bread; and for sautéing, roasting, frying and baking. Extra-virgin olive oil can be used as a condiment when drizzled over a bowl of pasta or platter of roasted vegetables.
* Olive oil is an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that may lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol.
* It contains Vitamin E and antioxidants.
* It's an excellent replacement for unhealthy saturated fats like butter.
Extra-virgin olive oil has the highest concentration of Vitamin E and antioxidants. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on uncooked dishes, where its assertive flavor will complement your finished dishes. Lighter olive oils like those labeled pure, refined or light contain lower concentrations of nutrients but withstand higher temperatures required for cooking.
Although olive oil has great health benefits, it also has a lot of calories. It’s 100 percent fat, and like all liquid oils, contains about 120 calories per tablespoon.
January 11, 2007
Is exercise safe during pregnancy?
In the old days, pregnant women were fearful of any kind of physical exertion during pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy has been well researched and found to be much less fearful and actually very beneficial to the mom-to-be and her baby.
1. Boost your energy
Pregnancy can sap your energy, but regular bouts of exercise will help you get through your daily tasks or cope with a demanding schedule: Exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, so you don't tire as easily. With muscles that are strong and toned, you need less effort to engage in any activity, whether that means grocery shopping or sitting through meetings at the office.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you can safely take part in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise every day, as long as you don't have a medical condition or complication that your doctor or midwife has told you rules out exercise or limits your activity level.
2. Sleep better
When you're carrying an extra 15 pounds in front of you, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be a real challenge. But exercise will help you work off any excess energy and tire you enough to lull you into a deeper, more restful slumber.
3. Reduce pregnancy discomfort
Overall, regular exercise stretches and strengthens your muscles, which helps your body cope better with the aches and pains of pregnancy. Stretches ease back pain, walking improves your circulation, and swimming can strengthen your abdominal muscles.
4. Prepare for childbirth
It makes perfect sense: The better shape you're in, the stronger you'll be come labor and delivery time. Giving birth is akin to running a marathon — it requires stamina, determination, and focus. Though it hasn't been well researched, training for childbirth through exercise may ease labor and even shorten the time it takes to deliver your baby.
5. Reduce stress and lift your spirits
Having a child is a life-changing, momentous experience that can leave you feeling simultaneously ecstatic, overwhelmed, and anxious. One study found that exercise boosts levels of serotonin, a brain chemical linked to mood, putting you in better spirits.
6. Improve your self-image
Watching the scale inch its way up to numbers you've never seen before can be disheartening. Staying active helps you feel better about yourself and improves your odds of gaining a healthy amount of weight.
7. Get your body back faster after childbirth
This alone is motivation enough for many women to embark on a pregnancy exercise regimen. When you've maintained your strength and muscle tone all through your pregnancy, your body will have an easier time bouncing back after you give birth.
January 9, 2007
A New Year. A New Way of Thinking.
When it comes to weight loss, there's an awful lot of "myth-information" out there. Along with the proliferation of fad diets come some pretty strange notions about how to succeed at weight management.
The beginning of a new year, however, is a great time to start fresh. The following information is offered to help clear up some common misconceptions.
There is no miracle food that burns calories. Grapefruit is tasty and nutritious, but it won't whittle down your waistline. Water is calorie-free and essential, but it won't flush away those excess calories.
Similarly, there is no pill or supplement sold over the counter that can help burn fat or speed up your metabolism. Buying these will only slim down your wallet.
Calories count. Despite the resurgence of the low-carbohydrate craze, if you want to be successful with weight loss, you need to make changes that result in fewer calories being consumed and/or more calories being used by the body.
A deficit of a mere 100 calories a day (one less cookie then usual) can result in a 10-pound weight loss in the coming year. Learn more about the calorie content of food by looking at the "calories per serving" on the food label.
Liquid calories also count. Many people consume a lot of their excess calories in the form of sweetened sodas and iced teas, specialty coffee drinks and alcoholic beverages. Just because they don't fill your stomach, doesn't mean they aren't filling your calorie quota.
All foods can fit when you're trying to lose weight. For certain high-calorie foods, it's simply a matter of how much and how often you include them. Totally depriving yourself of foods you enjoy is generally short-lived.
Simply because a restaurant serves you gigantic portions doesn't mean you need to consume that amount. Portion distortion is a reality you need to overcome. Educate yourself about recommended serving sizes at www.mypyramid.gov.
Weight loss also doesn't have to involve severe hunger and rabbit-size portions. It's not the volume of food that matters, it's the total calories consumed at the end of the day.
One person could eat a mere six items a day, but if they're all high-calorie choices (fried foods or rich desserts), that person will consume a lot more total calories than someone who consumes twice that number of lower-calorie choices.
Some dieters think erroneously that they need to reach their "ideal" weight before their health will improve. Multiple studies have shown that even small amounts of weight loss can improve things such as cholesterol level, blood pressure and diabetes control.
Another common myth: Exercise allows a person to eat a lot more. Physical activity is a key element for long-term weight loss success; however, walking for 30 minutes isn't going to cancel out that 600-calorie dessert.
Weight loss is hard enough without having to separate fact from fiction. The truth is, though, that there's a lot of misinformation out there. Always question the source, and keep in mind the adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
January 8, 2007
* Legumes are rich in folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and antioxidants.
* Their high protein and complex carbohydrates provide steady energy that lasts for hours.
* They are especially high in soluble fiber, and a daily serving of cooked beans may lower blood cholesterol by as much as 18 percent, decreasing the risk of heart disease.
* Most legumes also contain protease inhibitors, compounds thought to suppress cancer cells and slow tumor growth.
* And then there are the prebiotics in beans, substances that aid in beneficial bacteria growth in the intestine.
* All legumes, and especially soy, are important in vegetarian diets for their high protein content.
But best of all, beans taste great. Dried beans have a superior taste and texture but they take longer to cook. Canned beans offer a quick alternative and most of the same health benefits. Rinse canned beans with water before cooking and you’ll remove as much as 40 percent of the sodium used in processing.
January 7, 2007
* They're high in vitamin and fiber content.
* They're an excellent source of antioxidants, compounds that protect our bodies from the stress of day to day living. The antioxidant anthocyanin has triple the stress-fighting power of vitamin C and is known to block cancer-causing damage as well as the effects of many age-related diseases.
* They give your memory a boost. The antioxidants in berries are believed to enhance brain function.
* Fresh berries are kind to the waistline; they are naturally high in water and low in calories. Dried berries also provide excellent nutrition, but since most of the water is missing, their calories are more concentrated and you’ll usually wind up eating more of them.
Stock up on fresh berries in the summer, when they’re plentiful and inexpensive. Freeze them in small plastic bags to get an antioxidant blast year round. Stir berries into yogurt, sprinkle them on cereal or blend them in smoothies.
January 4, 2007
What's your stress buster?
The idea of not getting stressed out is all well and good -- until something stressful happens.We are often stressed over things that are totally out of our control. Meanwhile, how you respond to a stress you had, say, in the morning, will often affect the entire day, either negatively or positively. We will always have stress in our lives, but how we respond to those stresses is the key.
Figure out what coping strategies work for you -- and then implement them. This should be something that gives you a peaceful state of mind, whether it's yoga, prayer, meditation or exercise. Then, make it a part of your daily routine. For example, you might start each day in prayer before you head out the door. We prepare to go shopping and vacationing. Why not prepare our minds and body for daily stress?
Celebrate your successes and rebound from your failures. Take credit for success when you achieve a resolution. If you fail, don't blame yourself -- just see how you can do better the next time.
January 2, 2007
Think time and place.
You've no doubt heard the expression "timing is everything." To make workouts more enjoyable, pick a time and place that works for you. If going to the gym intimidates you, buy or rent workout videos that you can use at home. Don't force yourself to do anything that requires something that makes you uncomfortable. The best time to work out is whatever works best for you.
If you roll out of bed in the morning with just enough time to get out the door and not be late - a morning exercise routine is not for you. However if you jump out of bed before your alarm goes off so that you can add on an extra 10 minutes of exercise - you've found your match. Whatever keeps you consistent is the best workout for you.