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Archive for the month “October, 2012”

311012 Sprint to faster calorie loss

Sprint to faster calorie loss

Scientists in Australia have found that high intensity exercise, such as sprinting, burns off more calories than low to moderate methods. This information has already been well established in the professional fitness world for a long time now. Intensity counts!

These research scientists had a group of forty-six sedentary individuals who were in their twenties for the study. They assigned half to an exercise group and the other half to a control group. Those in the exercise group worked out with twenty-minute routines three times a week. During this time, they sprinted on a stationary bike for 8 seconds and then rested for 12 seconds. At the end of the twelve-week test, those who exercised had lost 4 pounds of fat. Not only did they lose fat they gained 2.6 pounds of lean muscle. Seventeen percent of the fat loss was belly fat, the type of dangerous fat that is stored around the internal organs. Numerous studies have linked this kind of fat to a higher risk of developing heart disease.

Contrast these results with the control group who gained weight and increased the size of their stomach girth during the twelve weeks of the trial.

Popeye was right

A recent Swedish study implies that Popeye the sailorman may have gotten it right when he said to eat your spinach. The nitrates found in spinach, chard lettuce and beetroot are believed to have been responsible for these positive findings. However, the research wasn’t done on people; it was with mice.

The mice used in this test showed a “powerful effect” on increasing muscle strength. The mice were divided into two groups; nitrate enhanced and normal feeding.

Those in the nitrate group ate the human equivalent of 7-10 ounces of spinach a day for one week. These mice were found to have much stronger leg and feet muscles than the control group. After doing a blood workup on the nitrate group it was found they also had a greater concentration of two proteins involved in the balance of calcium in the body. These proteins play an important role in the ability of the muscles to contract.

The researchers noted the amount of spinach required to see these results was not beyond what is available in the normal healthy diet.

So, eat your spinach, exercise and get stronger.

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311012 Too much salt may be dangerous for your brain as well as your heart

Too much salt may be dangerous for your brain as well as your heart

A recent study published in the journal Stroke, finds evidence in older adults that a high sodium diet raises the risk of stroke.

Strokes occur when an artery supplying blood to the brain becomes clogged, blocked or bursts leaving the brain without an adequate supply of oxygen. The study found that those eating the most salt in their diets were about three times more likely to have a stroke than those who kept their intake within the guidelines established by the American Heart Association (AHA). AHA recommends no more than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day.

For those people who ate more than the suggested amount the risk of a stroke rose above normal for the population. However, this risk rose precipitously when the amount exceeded 4000 milligrams a day.

The danger of too much salt becomes apparent because it tends to create a rise in blood pressure, which causes problems in the kidneys as well as the brain and heart.

High salt contributes to a buildup of fluids in the body, particularly so in the ankles, feet and legs.

According to the AHA, a reduction of salt in your diet can help reduce blood pressure readings and edema, the buildup of fluids. If you are over fifty-one, have hypertension or a chronic kidney disease or are African American the maximum of 1500 milligrams per day are essential for maintaining a healthy brain, heart, and kidneys.

Reducing salt in your diet can be as simple as reading the labels on the food you buy and gradually eliminating those with lots of salt.

This includes some breads, fewer salty restaurant meals, pizzas, pasta, cold cuts, fast foods, and cheese. Start by looking at the labels and keeping track of the amount of salt, you eat each day. When you reach 1500 milligrams, stop eating any more sodium for the day.

If this is too hard then gradually introduce salt substitutes into your meals. You can do this by using lemon or vinegar on your food or experimenting with different spices such as oregano, different peppers, sage, rosemary, tarragon or my least favorite of all garlic; yuck.

311012 Calorie counting can keep your heart young

Calorie counting can keep your heart young

A study recently published in Aging Cell found that a calorie restrictive diet might keep your heart beating as if it was twenty years younger. We all know that over time a lower calorie intake means less weight accumulating on your body. This weight loss comes with many positive benefits such as a reduced risk of diabetes, lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Each of these diseases is a risk factor for heart disease. Back to the study results.

This study focused primarily on heart rate variability, a measurement of how the heart reacts to the changing needs placed on it. It is well established that a healthy heart is better able to make the necessary adjustments to meet changing conditions of activity and stress. As an example, if after walking up a flight of stairs your pulse rate drops quickly back to its normal rate once you are at the top, then it can be said that your heart is healthier.

The research found that age related heart rate deterioration variability slowed down when the people in the study ate thirty percent fewer calories than the control or normal groups. However, the ideal calorie intake per day is not a universal amount. It depends on the gender, level of physical activity and the size of the individual.

Even though the study found the calorie reductions were beneficial to heart health it cannot be said that such a large reduction in food and drink is easy to do. In fact, it may even be dangerous for some to reduce their calories this much for a long term.

If this study spurs you on to reducing your weight, see your doctor or a registered dietician and get going on it the right way. Your heart will love you for doing so.

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