Archive for April, 2018

Choosing the Right Spring Foods

Spring is here again and it’s time to take advantage of all of those great springtime fruits and vegetables. Here’s how to choose the best ones:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apricots – slightly soft, not bruised
  • Artichoke – compact head, bright green color
  • Asparagus – closed and compact tips, bright green stalks
  • Avocado – should be a little “give” when squeezed
  • Carrots – crisp, healthy tops
  • Collard Greens – dark green, vibrant color
  • Mango – more orange/red than green
  • New Potatoes – last only a few days
  • Pineapple – sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, check for firmness
  • Rhubarb – check for bright, crisp stalks
  • Spinach – avoid dried out or yellow stems
  • Strawberries – pick fragrant, slightly soft ones
  • Sugar Snap/Snow Peas – bright green, should feel like they have a snap (not limp)

And while you are grabbing those great spring fruits and vegetables, it’s also time to get rid of some of those bad foods, too!

While they may be quick and easy, oftentimes processed foods are causing you more harm than good.  If you are looking to get healthy and lose some weight in the process then you must get rid of these processed foods.

  • Flavored yogurt
  • Fat free potato chips
  • Diet soda
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Packaged egg whites
  • Bottled barbeque sauces
  • Bottled salad dressings
  • Sugar free candy bars
  • Multi-grain tortilla chips

Your Skin Cancer Risk

Here are some surprising clues that could mean that you are more apt to being diagnosed with skin cancer than others…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clue #1:  You wear flip-flops often.  If you wear flip-flops most of the spring and summer, your feet are prone to more sun exposure and sun damage than those who wear socks and shoes.

Clue #2:  You wear baseball hats.  While baseball hats protect your head from sun damage, your ears are constantly exposed and are often overlooked when your skin is checked for signs of skin cancer.

Clue #3:  You are a male.  Whether it’s habits, hormones or genes, or even a combination of these three, men have three times as many squamous cancer cells and twice as many basal cancer cells as women.  Also, white men over the age of 50 have the highest incidence of melanoma.

Clue #4:  You have dark skin.  While skin with more pigment has a natural shield against UV rays, many African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian Indians get a false sense of security and

typically do not pay much attention to protecting their skin from these harmful rays.  Skin cancer is also detected much later in dark skinned people, therefore making it harder to treat.

Clue #5:  You live in the South or in the Mountains.  Rates of skin cancer are obviously higher in places that receive more sunlight, like in the South or in the Mountains.  Altitude is also a factor as UV radiation increases about 4 to 5 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

Clue #6: You are a runner, cyclist or swimmer.  The more miles men and women run the greater their chance of acquiring skin cancer.  The same goes for swimmers and cyclists who spend countless hours out in the climate.

Clue #7:  You have a lot of moles.  The average Caucasian has 30 moles – relatively round spots that are brown, red or pink.  But the moles that are asymmetrical, with raggedy borders, discoloration or changing size, are the ones that are more likely to develop into melanoma.  People over the age of 20 with more than 100 moles or people under the age of 20 with more than 50 moles are also at risk.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

For more than 120 years, experts have been researching the benefits of massage therapy, and besides the obvious stress-free feeling that people have following a massage, there are plenty of other benefits to this ancient healing procedure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One major benefit of massage therapy that researchers have found is that people who get massages on a regular basis have noticed a decrease in their blood pressure.

Massages also help to alleviate the pain of those who suffer from migraine headaches.

Massage can also: reduce your heart rate, increase blood circulation and lymph flow, relax your muscles, improve your range of motion, and increase endorphins.

Research has also shown that while massage therapy does not increase your muscle strength, it can stimulate your weak and inactive muscles and can thereby aid muscles that you may not have worked out in quite some time.

Massage therapy can also speed up your recovery process if you do have an injury.

Some other physical benefits of massage therapy include: relieving muscle tension and stiffness, alleviating discomfort during pregnancy, reducing

muscle spasms, promoting deeper and easier breathing, enhancing the health and nourishment of your skin, and improving your posture.

Massage therapy, while a physical act, is not all about physical benefits.  There are plenty of mental benefits that having a massage can give you.

Some of these mental benefits include: promoting mental alertness, relieving mental stress, reducing levels of anxiety, improving motor skills, creating   body awareness, and fostering a feeling of well being.

New Treadmill Workouts

Looking for some new treadmill workouts to keep your routine fresh and easy?  Here are some popular ones…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warm Up and Cool Down- Prior to and following any treadmill workout you should always include a warm up and a cool down session.

A typical warm up session should last for about 5 minutes.  Walk slowly (1.5 to 2 mph) for one minute, increase your incline to stretch out your legs for one minute, then reduce to your speed to 1.8 for two minutes and wrap up your warm up by speeding up to 3 mph for one minute.

At the end of your walk as a cool down session, you should reduce your walk speed to 2.5 or 3.5 and walk for three minutes.  Then slow your speed down to1.5 or 2.5 mph and walk for two more minutes.

Speed Pyramid- Following your warm up session, walk for 30 seconds at 3.5 mph; increase to 4.5 mph for 30 seconds. Walk for 45 seconds at 3.5 mph; increase to 4.5 mph for 45 seconds.  Walk for one minute at 3.5 mph; increase to 4.5 mph and walk for one minute.  Continue in this fashion adding 15 seconds to each circuit until you reach 5 minutes walking at both 3.5 and 4.5 mph.  Then perform your cool down session.

Incline Pyramid- Following your warm up session, start at an incline of 4 and walk for one minute.  Elevate to 5 and walk for another minute.  Continue to increase the incline every minute up to an incline of 8, and then decrease the incline every minute, back down to 4.  Try to maintain a speed of 3 or 4 mph throughout the workout.  Finish up with your cool down session.

Easy 30-Minute- Following your warm up session, run at what you would consider your normal pace for 10 minutes.  Then walk for a minute to catch your breath. Increase the original running speed by 0.2 and run for another 10 minutes.  Walk for two minutes to catch your breath.  Crank it up by another 0.2 and run for five minutes.  Slow it down and walk for two minutes.  Finish strong with a good cool down session.

Spotlight on: Spinach

  • Leafy, green vegetables, like spinach, provide more nutrients than any other food.
  • Researchers have found at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that have been known to act as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents, combating specific cancers like ovarian and prostate cancer.
  • The vitamin K in spinach provides 200% of the daily value in fresh spinach and nearly 1000% of the daily value in boiled spinach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Spinach Lasagna

2 egg whites
26 oz of prepared spaghetti sauce
24 oz of ricotta cheese
10 oz of Lasagna noodles, cooked
10 oz of frozen spinach, thawed and chopped, then squeezed dry
2 cups of mozzarella cheese, grated, reserve ½ cup
¾ cup of Parmesan cheese, grated and divided, reserve 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare lasagna noodles as directed on the package. Combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheeses with the egg whites, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour ¼ cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out using a spatula. Cover the sauce with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread about half the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then cover with about half of the spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finish this layer with half of the remaining spaghetti sauce. Add a second layer of noodles, topping with the remaining cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of noodles and remaining spaghetti sauce. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set for 10-12 minutes.

Recipe: Wilted Spinach Salad

10 to 12 ounces spinach, washed and torn into pieces

¼ cup minced red onion

5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced

2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped and 1 sliced

2 to 4 slices bacon

1 to 1 ½ tablespoons bacon drippings

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes. Refrigerate, tightly covered. Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on high for 30-45 seconds. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.

Exercise 101: Spruce Up Your Spring Workout

Now that the seasons are changing, it is the perfect time to change up some of those old worn out items and routines that you have been stuck with for so long in your exercise routine. This is a handy list of “what to ditch” to make the exercise switch:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ditch the old running shoes.  Instead opt for a new pair and keep track of how much “mileage” you get out of them.  Typically if you run/walk 10 miles per week then shoes can last for 12 months (15 miles – 8 months, 20 miles – 6 months, 30 miles – 4 months).

Throw out the old cotton workout t-shirt.  Instead invest in some shirts that are made of wicking fabrics.  Wicking fabrics (like synthetics) do a better job of keeping you drier and cooler when you are exercising.

Toss the lightweight dumbbells.  Instead try heavier dumbbells that are more challenging in your workout.

Keep those Arteries Healthy

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading health concerns today. We may associate heart disease with aging but the mechanisms that bring this condition start during the peak of our years. Being young does not excuse us from indulging in unhealthy eating habits. It might seem that we are indestructible going about our daily activities but just like a thief, all these habits creep into our body eating its way into our body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stick to White Meat

Meat is an excellent source of protein and it should always be a part a healthy diet. But if you’re planning to consume meat everyday then sticking to white meat is an excellent way of keeping our arteries free from obstruction. Chicken meat is a good alternative to red or fatty meat. But before reaching out to that piece of chicken on the table make sure that you stay away from the skin. Chicken skin has the highest concentration of fat.

White meat refers to meat which is literally white   in color. Examples of white meat are those from chicken, fish, shrimps and even alligator meat. Red meat on the other hand refers to pork, beef, veal, mutton or those that are red in color.

Keep away from Sugary-drinks

Sodas and other sugary-drinks are known to cause diabetes but this has also been proven to be a cause of clogged arteries. Consumption of sodas could lead to weight gain, a tell-tale sign that heart disease might already be setting in. Sodas elevates blood pressure which could damage the arteries. Sugar content could also coat free flowing fats in the blood increasing the likelihood of these getting embedded in the arteries and clogging it up.

Eat More Veggies

Incorporating more vegetables into your every diet serves two purposes, it helps clear your body from impurities and inadvertently reduces your meat intake. Leafy vegetables in particular contain nitrates which are directly sourced from the soil. This is converted into nitric oxide and important ingredient for healthy blood circulation. It prevents the formation of plaques, resists blood coagulation all essential for the normal flow of blood. People who include leafy vegetables for example could lower their blood pressure by 11mmHg in a few hours.

Fish and Omega 3 rich foods

Fish has two factors going for it, it’s considered as white meat and is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish meat is leaner and contains none of the fat contained in animal or red meat. While the fat it contains which is Omega 3 works to clear the arteries.

A healthy diet is one that does not starve us from the things we love to eat. But one that promotes moderation and eating food in the right amounts. Most diets fail simply because people find them to stifling. Rather than encouraging people to stick to a healthy diet, it becomes a constant struggle for people each day.

Eating is one of the simplest joys of life. And denying ourselves of these simple joy makes life less interesting. Just remember to eat more healthy foods and keep everything to a minimum. The body has an excellent system for eliminating wastes that if left uncontrolled could clog our arteries. The problem is when our body finds itself overwhelmed and unable to eliminate artery-clogging deposits.