Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Winter Sports Workouts

Is the winter weather giving you cabin fever? We all love to be warm and toasty indoors, but spending time outside in nature can improve cognitive function and overall sense of well-being. Winter sports are a great way to stay active in the cold weather and burn off extra calories from the holidays.

Downhill skiing, also called alpine skiing, is a great way to engage your core, leg muscles, and arms. With mountains less than two hours from Philadelphia it is a great activity for the entire family. The best part is after 60 minutes of moderate downhill skiing a 185 lbs person can burn 530 calories! Are you more of a snowboarder? The same amount of calories are burned per hour making it a great workout as well.

Ice skating is easy on joints because it is low impact. It can also improve balance and coordination by engaging many small stabilizer muscles which are not typically engaged in day-to-day life. Skating can improve strength and help improve performance in other activities such as skiing, running, and yoga. Our same 185 lb person can burn a whopping 615 calories in 60 minutes of  moderate ice skating! The Blue Cross RiverRink is open daily until the end of February so bundle up, get out there, and skate away.

Snow shoeing improves cardiovascular endurance while building strength and agility. Two studies conducted by Ball State University and the University of Vermont found snow shoeing can burn twice the number of calories as walking at the same pace, up to 1,000 calories per hour! The harder the terrain the greater the workout will be.

This winter get out there and have fun with winter sports. Enjoy the fresh air, the beauty of nature, and the calorie burning potential!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Children Eating Fish Weekly Linked to Higher IQ and Better Sleep

New research from the University of Pennsylvania studying 541 children aged 9-11 years old found those who ate fish at least once per week scored 4.8 points higher on IQ exams than those who rarely or never consumed fish. The same group of children had fewer sleep disturbances and better sleep quality.
Fish is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids which is vital for brain function. Other studies have associated omega-3 fatty acids with improved intelligence, reduced brain aging, and lower levels of inflammation throughout the body.
Consuming omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial, but getting kids to eat fish can be a challenge. Experts recommend exposing kids to fish at a young age so they become used to the smell. As long as the fish has no bones and is finely chopped children as young as 8-10 months can begin trying it. Early introduction helps develop taste and preference for fish later on.
For older kids gradually exposing them to fish can be helpful. Try mixing a few clams into spaghetti and tomato sauce, bread white fish fillets with unsweetened bran cereal and bake it in the oven for crunchy tenders, make fish tacos with a tasty mango salsa, or make tuna salad sandwiches and use a cookie cutter to turn the sandwich into fun shapes.
The best fish for omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring, and halibut. Albacore tuna is higher in mercury and children should limit their intake to no more than 12 ounces a week.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in smaller amounts of other foods such as walnuts, flaxmeal, chia seeds, eggs, spinach, and Brussels sprouts to name a few.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fiber, GI Health, and Immune Function

New research on the impact fiber has on GI health and immune function has experts encouraging more fruits and vegetables in our diet. 

Old research has shown high fiber diets are linked to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension as well as lower mortality rates from all causes. We have known for a while that fiber is great for us, but we are still learning exactly how it generates benefits.

One new study surveying the effects of switching from a high-fiber diet to a low-fiber diet high in protein, fat, and sugar in mice shows the impact of fiber on immune function. Within a few days of the diet change intestines got smaller and the mucus layer covering the intestinal walls was thinner resulting in closer bacterial contact. This led to an immune reaction and inflammation. Mice experienced higher blood sugar levels and  began gaining weight. A second group of mice were fed the same diet but also given a fiber supplement resulting in healthy bacteria populations in their GI tract, normal appearing intestines, and less weight gain. 

Scientists speculate low-fiber diets starve healthy bacteria in the GI tract, intestinal cells slow their mucus production, and as   bacteria moves closer to the intestine's the immune system is  impacted. Furthermore, scientists speculate immune response and inflammation occurs throughout the entire body and not just in the GI tract, which could play a role in heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risk.

It has also been speculated different types of fiber from different plants might play a role in how healthy bacteria in the gut functions.

Studies in humans need to be carried out to better understand the impact of fiber on our immune function, but this promising research is only the beginning of linking our GI tract to our overall health.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Year, New You

Set those resolutions and turn 2018 into your best year yet! By taking the time today to invest in your health, you will truly be investing in your future for years to come.

It starts with setting realistic and measurable goals that you can build on throughout the year. For example:

· For weight loss aim for 5-10 lbs over the next two months

· To eat healthier commit to grocery shopping at least once per week

· For greater endurance aim for 30 minutes of stationary biking while watching the news or your favorite TV show 5 nights each week

· To help improve heart health commit to eating fish two times per week

· To build strength work on increasing resistance of free weights every 4 weeks

Studies show setting positive goals rather than negative goals may increase success. Having a positive mindset and feeling positive emotion while you work on your goals also helps them become more automatic.

We often think monumental change is required to see results but in reality small changes make a big difference. Losing as little as 10% of your body weight can improve cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, inflammation, and insulin resistance.

Our office is here to support you in your healthy endeavors to better your future. Schedule an appointment to develop a healthy eating plan and exercise regime that is realistic and fits with your lifestyle. Meet throughout the year to maintain motivation and receive coaching for fresh perspective and personal challenges. Contact us at info@nutritious4life.com to schedule your appointment today. 

Our office wishes you and your family a healthy and happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2018!