240816 Eat your Raspberries

Eat your Raspberries

In a review of scientific literature, published in the January 2016 issue of Advances in Nutrition the conclusion is “Raspberries have a number of heart and brain-health protective essential nutrients.”[1]

It seems as though Raspberries contain anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and metabolic stabilizing activity. All of which are good news to those of us interested in maintaining our health.

Raspberries also have anthocyanins, a known inflammation suppressant. Additional benefits accrue from the high amounts of polyphenol in the berries. Polyphenol may help in preventing platelet buildup and reduce blood pressure too.

There is further good news for those with diabetes; “Raspberries have potential to help reduce factors contributing to metabolic syndrome, which has implications for diabetes development and overall cardiovascular and brain health” says lead author Britt M. Burton-Freeman, PhD, MS, Institute for Food Safety and Health, Illinois Institute of technology.”[2]

[1] DukeMedicine, April 2016, VOL. 22, No.4

[2] IBID

260616 Getting ready for a joint replacement-part four

260616 Getting ready for a joint replacement-part four

According to the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which is a part of the National Institute of Health, there are over 1 million Americans having a hip or knee replaced every year. Research, over the years, has found that even if you are older a joint replacement will increase your ability to move around with less pain.

Once you are home, you need to notify your doctor immediately if:

  • The area around the surgical site looks red or begins to drain fluids. Examples include, bruising or nosebleeds.

You recognize one or more of these common signs of an infection.

  • a fever,
  • increased redness or swelling,
  • your skin feels hot,
  • more drainage from the site,
  • color changes in the drainage, or
  • more pain than before

Notify your surgeon of any new symptom, such as a pain that gets worse or refuses to go away with medication

Moreover, call them immediately if you experience any pain or notice swelling in your calf or have shortness of breath because this can be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which is a clot forming in your lower leg.

If you notice any of these symptoms of a DVT, don’t massage your calf. Immediately call your doctor. Don’t wait, even if it is after hours, call so you can be examined and if necessary treated. You may have to go to the Emergency Room.

This is a serious condition, don’t treat it lately.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the calf that gets worse when you pull your foot forward
  • Increased skin temperature in the area over your calf

Any pain or difficulty in walking after the joint replacement that has suddenly occurred should be a red flag. Your doctor needs to know about this especially if the recovery up to this time has been going smoothly.

It cannot be emphasized too much that you must listen to and follow your surgeon’s recommendations and guidelines.

230416 A fat savvy guide

230416 A fat savvy guide

You may be surprised that some of the foods you thought were good for you are loaded with fat. For instance, granola bars generally contain a great deal of fat, as does packaged popcorn and those crunchy healthy sounding veggie chips too.

However, it is not just enough to know what types of fat to look for, you also want to make an intelligent decision based upon the description of the fat on the label.

If the description says, fat-free it means there is less 0.5 g of fat in one serving.

Low-fat means there is a maximum of 3 g of fat in a serving.

Reduced fat indicates there is at least 25% less fat in this food than in a similar food.

Trans fat free means there is less than 0.5 g of trans fat in one serving.

Fat, has 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram of a carbohydrate or protein. Therefore, when you eat foods that have a lot of fat in them you are getting five extra calories per serving than you would be if you were eating a protein or carbohydrate.

Restrict the amount of fat in your diet to less than one third of your total daily calorie intake. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure the food you eat does not get more than 30% of its calories from fat.

110913 Exercising to lose fat

Exercising to lose fat

There is evidence that more body fat, rather than sugar, is burned with prolonged easy to moderate exercise. This conjures up the vision of untold hours on a boring bicycle, elliptical, or treadmill machine. However, just because the body may be using more fat than sugar during these long exercise periods, it has not been determined whether there is much of a physiological difference in the body’s use of these two fuels.

This specifically relates to how much fat or weight you are going to lose with either method.

It is a well-known fact that in order to lose fat and increase your lean muscle mass you have to exercise. It is also a fact that if you exercise consistently and if you burn more calories than you take in from food or drink you will lose weight.

Perhaps one of the reasons people lose weight on a moderately intense but prolonged type of exercise is that they stick with it. It is much easier to plod along than it is to really hit it hard with a vigorous, intense exercise session. Either type of exercise will help you lose weight. You just have to stick with it.

If you are the type of person that wants to hit it hard and lose weight, try interval training. Exercising in this manner means you are going to intersperse bursts of high intensity vigorous activity with much easier activity. The reason interval training works is because the extra high intensity bursts generally do not last very long and this allows your body to catch up during the moderate activity.

Interval training offers a challenge enabling the exercise session to continue longer than it would be if it were all high-intensity movements. Because of the high intensity periods combined with the moderately paced times, your overall calorie usage is higher than when simply doing moderate paced activities.

But keep in mind you will NEVER be able to exercise enough to lose weight if you have a poor diet unless you have an eating disorder. If this is the case, then seek professional help.

230813 Keeping your heart healthy

Keeping your heart healthy

Hypertension, or as it is commonly referred to as high blood pressure, is a major health risk. But it is also one risk that may be decreased by taking preventive steps before it becomes a problem.

As can be expected, exercise plays a role in managing your blood pressure readings. Thirty to forty minutes of exercise per day and keeping your heartbeat within your target heart range (THR) helps to maintain your blood pressure within the desirable range.

Be knowledgeable about your blood cholesterol levels by getting regular blood tests. The hard part, after you know your blood cholesterol readings is to keep them within the normal range. Two of your primary cholesterol numbers are important to know; LDL, bad cholesterol and HDL, the good cholesterol.

Normal range for the LDL is 130 mg/dL or less. The optimal is less than 100 however if you are one of those with a high risk for heart attack or stroke, this number should be 70 or less. The HDL, for women, should be less than 50 compared to a man’s at 40. Once again, diet and exercise may improve these levels.

The total blood cholesterol you have within your system should be less than 200, however it may be safe to exceed this if your LDL is under 130 and your HDL is high. The fat circulating in your blood, the triglycerides should optimally be less than 100 mg/dL and at a maximum of 150.

If you have a family history of diabetes, it is even more important to check your blood sugar levels regularly. If they are high, you must learn to control it because women with diabetes have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack and stroke than do men with diabetes. Women with slightly elevated levels of normal blood sugar, known as prediabetes, are in a higher risk category for coronary problems than men are with the same levels.

Men and women with diabetes have to be careful and control their blood sugar levels with diet, exercise, weight loss, and possibly even medication.

One of the healthiest ways to help control the cholesterol and blood sugar levels is by eating a healthy diet consisting of beans, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Adding in fish two or three times a week fills in the requirement for omega-3 fats and supplementing with lean meats such as poultry and carefully trimmed cuts of red meat should provide the majority of the protein without the excess fat that goes along with these meats. It is a mistake to cut all fat from your diet since fat is one of the essentials that your body needs to stay functioning.

Avoiding Trans fats, which are in foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils, is also wise decision-making. However, unsaturated fats are good for you when eaten in moderate amounts. Foods containing these unsaturated fats include avocados, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Substitute these in place of the saturated fats found in animals.

Carbohydrates continue to get a bad rap in the press, fat loss forums and in gym conversations. These too are essential for your health, however limiting your intake of sugar-laden foods and refined carbohydrates such as those found in white bread and pasta will help you maintain better blood sugar levels while at the same time helping you lose weight. In addition, increasing soluble fiber in your diet, which has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, is also a healthy decision.

020813 Save money, eat better and weigh less

Save money, eat better and weigh less

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer research Center in Seattle recently studied 123 overweight or obese postmenopausal females. The results of the study published in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetes listed four strategies for losing weight and keeping it off. The most important one was keeping a food journal.

Maintaining a daily food and drink journal showed a strong correlation to greater weight loss for those in the study. The women in the study who did keep one lost approximately six pounds more over the year than those who did not keep a journal.

They also found that those who ate dinner, the noon meal, at home or brown bagged at work not only saved money but lost weight as well. Eating at home and creating your own daily brownbag dinner’s gives you control over the amount of sodium, sugar, and carbohydrates that you are putting into your body. The simple fact of preparing your own meal raises your awareness of what you are eating and encouraging you to make a more nutritious meal.

Another strategy that successful women used to lose and then keep the weight off was by not skipping meals. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, skipping a meal makes you hungry and less able to make good food decisions when it finally comes time to eat. The majority of the women who reported consistently skipping meals lost nearly 8 pounds less a year than the women who did not skip meals. That is nearly a pound a month of weight they could have lost had they not skipped those meals.

The women in the group who ate their dinner in a restaurant at least once a week averaged five fewer pounds when compared to those who did not eat out.

“These findings suggest that a greater focus on dietary self-monitoring, home prepared meals, and consuming meals at regular intervals may improve twelve-month weight loss among postmenopausal women enrolled in a dietary weight loss intervention.”

It appears that if you are serious about losing your weight you will want to include these tips in your strategy.

240713 Lessons learned when exercising in the heat

Lessons learned when exercising in the heat

Right now, in my neck of the woods, it is not uncommon for the temperatures to be in the high 80s and low 90s (Fahrenheit). Although the humidity is relatively low here compared to other parts of our great country, it is still hot.

Keeping up with your exercise schedule can sometimes be a challenge, especially when it is hot. Having lived in this environment for many years, I have naturally adapted to the conditions and made changes in how I exercise during this period.

Lifting in the heat – lift early

The expected temperatures today are going to be hovering around 97° but right now, at 0430, it is a very pleasant 59°. This makes it ideal to head out to the gym get the majority the work out completed before the temperatures get too hot. And since I am an early riser, generally getting up about 0415 – 0430 hours each day, this works out very nicely for me.

Keep hydrated

I start each day with a liter of cool water with the goal of completely emptying it by no later than 1300 hours each day. I supplement this with various types of V-8 Fusion and Costco 0-calorie drinks. Added to this recommendation is one of avoiding sugary drinks, which means pop in most cases. Also, be aware that in many of the juices on the market, the first or second ingredient is sugar. With too much sugar it takes at an exaggerated amount of time for the liquid actually start getting into your system.

Keep your clothes on

You will rarely see anyone from the Mideast or in other hotter environments walking around with shorts, shirts, and sandals on. And there is a good reason for this; clothing does not allow the wind or activity to quickly blow off the perspiration, which is the prime cooling mechanism for your body. For example, if your gym has a multitude of fans or air-conditioning which moves the air around, taking your clothes off allows this circulating air to rapidly remove the sweat off your body. This causes your body to sweat more in an effort to keep itself cool. Whereas if you allow the sweat to naturally evaporate then your normal activity would have allowed it to act like the radiator that it is.

Lift in the evening

In the area I live in the temperature starts to go down around 1900 – 2000 hours. Even though it is not as cool as is in the morning at 0430 hours it is certainly more tolerable than lifting when it is 97° during the day. To my way of thinking, the best way to do this is to lift the major muscle groups in the morning and finish off with the accessory exercises in evening.

Keeping your daily nutrition up to par

I highly recommend eating lightly during the summer by avoiding fatty, sugar-laden foods. The high-fat foods linger on making your body sluggish and just set in your gut waiting to be absorbed. Your body will be much more efficient during the heat with lighter fare such as salads, fruits, vegetables, and protein drinks.

Take naps during the heat

Once your workout session is over, drink your protein, and then take a 20 to 30 minute nap. This rejuvenates your body and makes it grow.

170613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight-part four

170613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight-part four

If you eat junk food you get a junk body!~Lamar Gant~

Stretching definitely has a place in an exercise program; however, static stretching before doing either cardio or resistance training is counterproductive and may even lead to injury. It is the purpose of static stretching to increase the length of the muscle range of motion. It does this by relaxing the muscles surrounding the joints being stretched.

Since this is a case, it makes no sense to be static stretching before you begin an intense set of interval training or any explosive activity such as lifting weights. The joint receptors are confused, and because the joint is relaxed, it is not as tight as it should be when called upon to do intense activities.

Start each session with a general overall body warm-up, followed by a series of dynamic stretching or active range of motion movements prior to the actual session. This correctly warms the body up for the exercises that follow. Next follows the actual exercises and then use static stretching as part of the cool down.

Losing and maintaining weight

There is not a whole lot of difference between exercising for weight loss and exercising for weight management. Both must be kept up on a consistent basis otherwise, all the gains that you’ve made will be lost.

The best exercise program that you will ever find is going to be the one that you stick with day after day, week after week, and year after year. It is a never-ending process; you have to be active in order to be physically fit.

You cannot leave out the nutritional component of weight management. A proper nutritional diet greatly enhances your ability to lose and then maintain your weight.

Always keep in mind that the best exercise program in the world will quickly be sabotaged by sloppy eating and drinking habits.

050613 How to get more fiber without resorting to eating stuff that tastes like cardboard

How to get more fiber without resorting to eating stuff that tastes like cardboard

Since we know that fiber is good for us it is now a matter of finding something we like to eat to get it. Most of us do not get the recommended twenty grams of fiber per day because we are not aware that it is necessary or we don’t like the foods that contain ample amounts of this healthy substance in our diet. After all, who wants to eat awful tasting stuff every day? The good news is you can actually get the fiber in your diet without eating tasteless stuff.

For instance, an avocado has 12 grams of fiber and with the good fat to go along with a great taste too. This is 33% more fiber than found in a cup of shredded wheat. However, avocados aren’t the only good tasting high fiber foods available. Others include apples at 3 grams each, blackberries, and raspberries with 8 grams and mangoes with 4 grams.

If you want to branch out then pick up some artichokes and or acorn squash with 6 grams per serving, black beans at 8 grams, or sweet potatoes with 5 grams of great taste.

130513 Getting more fiber in your diet-1

Getting more fiber in your diet

Dietary fiber is fiber that your body is unable to absorb or digest, it passes reasonably intact through your intestinal track and out of your body. Most fiber is either soluble, meaning that it dissolves in water or insoluble, meaning that it does not dissolve.

Fiber that dissolves in water forms a material substance that is gel like in appearance. This fiber helps to lower your blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It is found in apples, barley, beans, carrots, citrus fruits, oats, peas, and psyllium (1).

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is important to you because it increases the bulk of your stool and then helps move the food and drink through the digestive system in an orderly fashion. Common insoluble fibers include beans and vegetables, cauliflower and green beans as prime examples, wheat bran, whole-wheat flour, and the potato.

If you are looking for a food that contains a combination of both insoluble and soluble fiber then look no further than oatmeal and beans – not necessarily mixed together.

(1) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601104.html Psyllium, a bulk-forming laxative, is used to treat constipation. It absorbs liquid in the intestines, swells, and forms a bulky stool, which is easy to pass.