Archive for July, 2011

Wild About Watermelon!


Summer is the season when that tasty fruit, the watermelon, once again makes an appearance around the dinner table and the picnic area. Besides being made up of nearly 90% water, watermelons are also a great source of significant vitamins and minerals.

So, what is watermelon made of? It is chock full of a considerable amount of vitamins A and C. It contains thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate and niacin in small amounts. It is a great source of potassium, and also contains magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and iron in trace amounts. It is also very low in calories, free of fats and cholesterol and is rich in carotenoids.

Because of these nutritional facts and their amazing taste, we should enjoy watermelons while they last!

Dieting for Stress Management: Choosing Stress-Fighting Foods


STRESS. We all deal with it at some point in our lives. But having too much stress in your life can be very harmful to your health and can make you more vulnerable to everything from colds to high blood pressure and even heart disease.

Stress management is a valuable tool to learn when it comes to your overall wellness. While there are many ways to cope with stress, eating stress-fighting foods is one good way to start.

From boosting serotonin levels to lowering stress hormones, there are a number of foods that actually counteract the impact of stress on our lives.

The following foods should be part of your diet for stress management:

Complex Carbohydrates – All carbohydrates give a signal to the brain to produce that “feel good” chemical, serotonin. To keep a steady flow of serotonin, dieticians suggest complex carbs like whole grain cereals, breads and pastas and oatmeal.

Oranges
– Because they are a wealth of vitamin C, studies show that oranges are great stress-busting foods, as well as a great immune system strengthener. Experts suggest taking 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C before a stressful event.

Spinach – It’s the magnesium in spinach that helps to regulate cortisol levels that particularly get depleted when we are in stressful situations. Not enough magnesium can trigger headaches, adding to stressful situations. One cup of spinach is the recommended amount, as the magnesium goes a long way. Can’t do spinach? Try cooked soy beans or salmon instead, for the same effects.

Fatty Fish
– Omega-3 fatty acids are important to prevent surges in stress hormones, as well as protect against heart disease. Try fatty fish like salmon or tuna for your Omega-3’s.

Black Tea – Good for lowering levels of cortisol following stressful events, many experts swear by the healing powers of black tea. Black tea helps you to recover quickly following stresses and helps you to remain calm.

Pistachios – Chosen for their ability to soften the pre- and post-effects of stress, experts suggest eating a handful of pistachios every day to help lower blood pressure so it won’t spike when faced with stressful situations.

Avocados – Another great high blood pressure reducing food is avocados, due to their potassium content. Half of an avocado has more potassium than a medium-sized banana. Additionally, avocados, in guacamole form, are a great and nutritious treat when stress has you craving snack foods.

Almonds
– Chock full of vitamins, like vitamin E and a range of B vitamins, almonds are a great treat to eat that help with resiliency when dealing with stress.

Raw Vegetables
– In a purely mechanical way, crunching on raw vegetables can help to alleviate stress. By releasing your clenched jaw and possibly warding off headaches, chomping your carrots, celery and other veggies is beneficial on many levels

While these are but a few suggestions, they will all help to get you back on track towards a less stressful life.

Straight From the Headlines: Understanding Your SPF


According to an About.com report, SPF is actually determined indoors by exposing human subjects to a light spectrum to determine how the light affects their skin.

The study said that sunscreen with an SPF of 15 filters 92 percent of UVB rays. In other words, a sunscreen with a SPF of 15, will “delay the onset of sunburn in a person who would otherwise burn in 10 minutes to burn in 150 minutes. The SPF allows a person to stay out in the sun 15 times longer.”

Unfortunately there is currently no measure of UVA absorption that has been determined. Most sunscreens offer protection from UVA and UVB rays, although the time factor that a person can stay out in the sun and not be affected by UVA rays cannot be determined like that of UVB rays.

Either way, it is extremely important to wear sunscreen of at least a SPF of 15 when you are outdoors and reapply every two- to three hours.

Great Summertime Fruits: Get Them While They Last!


Summer is a great season to partake in the numerous delicious seasonal fruits. Not only do these summertime fruits taste great, but they also give you many nutritional benefits.

Some fruits to enjoy before the season ends include:

Berries: the phytochemicals in blueberries, strawberries and blackberries all boost immunity, and protect against heart diseases and circulatory problems.

Peaches and Plums: full of vitamin C and beta carotene, peaches and plums help to eliminate free radicals from the body.

Pineapples: being packed with the most vitamins and minerals, pineapples are also a great digestive aid.

Papayas and Mangoes: both are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene and fiber.