Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Article # 579. Glycemic index

Glycemic index, or GI, is a measurement used to determine how quickly a particular food is converted to glucose, a necessary nutrient for fueling muscle and brain cells. Glucose spikes can be a problem when trying to control energy levels and manage weight. When a high GI food is consumed, glucose is broken down quickly, making it readily available within just a few minutes. This is important for athletes participating in endurance events who need to be fueling regularly. However, when someone is more sedentary, a high GI food can cause a spike and crash of energy, leading to negative consequences such as finding it difficult to concentrate, experiencing unstable mood swings, feeling sleepy or sluggish, and increased fat storage. Consumption of a low GI diet has been shown to help to control appetite, and may be beneficial at preventing diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
High Glycemic Foods
High GI foods are not bad foods, but unless you are doing physical activity, it is best to choose low GI foods or combine a high GI food with a low GI food for a lowered glycemic response. Carbohydrate-only foods such as bread, cereal, rice and pasta are going to break down more quickly into glucose, which is fine at a meal where they are combined with protein or healthy fat. Other commonly consumed high carbohydrate foods include bagels, crackers, chips, rice cakes and potatoes. Bananas are higher glycemic than other fruits because they are more starchy and do not contain much fiber. Specific nutrients that lower the GI of a food include protein, fat and fiber.
Foods high in protein are low glycemic. This includes all meat proteins, soy, eggs and dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese. Lean sources of protein are preferred as they will have less of an impact on cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Nutrition bars with an adequate amount of protein are low glycemic, as are protein shakes and smoothies.
Fat is the slowest nutrient to affect blood glucose levels. Choosing foods with the right type of fat can assist with glucose control while also providing benefits such as decreased cholesterol. Foods that are low-glycemic and contain healthy fat include nuts, seeds, avocado, peanut or almond butter and fatty fish. Other fatty foods will be low glycemic but may have a negative impact on cholesterol and therefore should be eaten in moderation. These include cheese, hazelnut spread and chocolate-covered peanuts or almonds.
Fiber also slows the breakdown of glucose, but not all "high fiber" foods have enough to balance out the carbohydrate. Soluble fiber has more of a controlling effect on glucose than insoluble fiber, which often is processed and can be quickly digested. This is why whole-meal bread and white bread have similar GI values, as do brown rice and white rice. Basmaati or Doongara rice is lower glycemic, but still would be better consumed with a protein source such as beans or lentils to help control the breakdown of glucose. Foods high in soluble fiber such as oats, apples and legumes are low glycemic.
Low Glycemic Snacks
Eating a low GI food at a meal will help to balance the nutrients and keep the overall impact on glucose low. Snacks are often consumed in isolation however, and the GI value can be a good indication of which snacks can provide a steady release of energy. Low GI snacks include low fat cheese, low fat yogurt, edamame, almonds, walnuts, cashew or pistachios. Any fruit with skin will have a low GI value, such as apples, pears and plums. Examples of combination snacks that are low glycemic include a banana and peanut butter, a half bagel with cream cheese, granola and yogurt or nuts mixed with dried fruit.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Article # 578. Foods to avoid while Breastfeeding

·         Coffee

When you drink coffee (or soda or tea), some of the caffeine ends up in your breast milk. Because babies aren’t able to excrete caffeine as quickly or efficiently as adults, too much in their systems may lead to irritation, crankiness, and sleeplessness. The solution? Cut back on coffee. As tired as you are, a fussy baby who won’t sleep just makes matters worse. At minimum, try putting off your cup of coffee until just after a nursing session.

·         Chocolate

Proceed with caution if chocolate is your sweet indulgence of choice. Just like coffee and soda, chocolate contains caffeine. (Though not as much—a 1-ounce serving of dark chocolate contains between 5 and 35 mg of caffeine; a cup of coffee generally contains up to 135 mg of caffeine). If you suspect chocolate is the culprit behind your baby’s fussiness, eliminate it from your diet for a few days. If you see a change in your baby’s behavior—for the better—continue to abstain or cut back.

·         Citrus Fruits

Certain compounds found in citrus fruits and juices may irritate a still-immature GI tract, leading to fussiness, spitting up, and even diaper rash in some babies. If cutting down on citrus seems like a good idea for Baby’s sake, compensate by adding other vitamin C-rich foods to the menu, including papaya and mango.

·         Alcohol

It’s not the occasional glass of wine with dinner that you need to worry about. One drink or less per day likely poses little risk for babies, experts agree. But if your drinking habits fall into the moderate or heavy category, you are treading into murky waters. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, possible side effects of breastfeeding and habitual consumption of large amounts of alcohol include: drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness, and abnormal weight gain in the infant, and the possibility of decreased milk-ejection reflex in the mother.

·         Spicy Foods

Some nursing moms can add extra jalapenos to everything and still have completely content babies. But you might find that just a dash of pepper is enough to make your baby irritated and fussy for hours. How to spice it up food without causing Baby discomfort? Look for flavors that add zest without the heat. Add a splash of lime juice on your chicken, rather than hot sauce. If you need to skip the hot peppers in your stir fry, toss in some extra ginger for heat—ginger is one spice that may actually soothe your little one’s tummy.

·         Garlic

That wonderfully warm slice of garlic bread you just inhaled might not taste so wonderful to your baby. Eating garlicky foods often leads to breast milk taking on the slight flavor of garlic (garlic odor can enter milk up to two hours after a meal). Some babies may grimace or fuss at the breast if they detect garlic’s telltale aroma.

·         Peanuts

Do you, or other members of your family, have food allergies? Proceed with caution before including peanut products in your diet. According to La Leche League International (LLLI), if you have a family medical history of allergy, it is worth being careful about your diet and avoiding known allergens, like peanuts and other tress nuts, during breastfeeding.

·         Wheat

If eating a sandwich or plate of pasta before a nursing session results in your baby developing such symptoms as inconsolable crying, obvious pain, or bloody stools, it could point to a wheat allergy. To check for an allergy or sensitivity, eliminate wheat-containing foods from your diet for two to three weeks. If your baby’s symptoms improve, or completely disappear, you have probably found your culprit—and will need to continue avoiding wheat.

·         Dairy Products

Ditch the dairy? It’s common knowledge that many babies are intolerant to cow’s milk-based formula. But when you drink milk or eat other dairy products (yogurt, ice cream, and cheese), these same allergens enter your breast milk. According to LLLI, symptoms of an allergy or sensitivity to dairy include colic and vomiting, sleeplessness, and eczema—dry, rough, red skin patches which can progress to open, weeping sores

·         Corn

Allergies to corn are common among young children, but how can you be certain your baby’s discomfort and rashiness are really due to those tasty tacos you had for dinner? If you are not quite sure if corn is the food you need to eliminate, start keeping a detailed food diary. Be specific about what you ate (write “corn chips” instead of the generic “chips”) and note any allergy symptoms experienced by your baby that day. If you notice a pattern of baby’s colic or periods of crying increasing after you’ve eaten corn-based foods, it is probably a good idea to start a corn elimination diet.

·         Shellfish

Experts have found that the stronger the family history is for a particular food allergy, the greater the risk and the earlier the infant is likely to show symptoms. In other words, if your child’s father has a shellfish allergy, but you have no problem with shrimp and lobster, you still might want to give shellfish a pass while breastfeeding.

·         Eggs

Egg allergies (usually in the form of a sensitivity to egg whites) are common in young children. But because eggs lurk in all sorts of foods, from bread and snack foods to ice cream, it may be a difficult allergy to pinpoint. Another tactic for breastfeeding moms who suspect their child has a food allergy is to eliminate all of the most allergenic foods at once (dairy, soy, egg whites, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts, and shellfish). After two weeks, each allergenic food is added back one by one, allowing up to four days in between to evaluate the child for rashes and other symptoms.

·         Soy

Many children who have dairy intolerances also show signs of a soy allergy, bad news if you thought you could swap out that morning glass of moo juice for a cup of soy milk. If you suspect soy in your diet is causing problems for your baby, look at the kind of soy you are eating. Packing down power bars? Soy protein isolate, the processed form of soy found in power bars and protein shakes, may be more likely to trigger sensitivities. On the other hand, including foods made with fermented soy in your diet, such as miso, may be accepted by your baby with fewer problems.

·         Fish

It might not cause fussiness or even gas, but because mercury found in fish can find its way into breast milk, the same rules for fish consumption during pregnancy still apply when you are breastfeeding. According to the FDA, nursing women should eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Fish to avoid while you are breastfeeding include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

·         Peppermint

Love the soothing power of peppermint tea? Unfortunately, certain compounds in the minty herb may reduce your milk supply, especially if you guzzle several cups a day, according to herbalists (peppermint tea is often used as a holistic remedy to help halt milk production once weaning is complete).

·         Parsley

Related to the mint family, parsley is another herb that may reduce your milk supply if ingested in large quantities. If you are a fan of herbal remedies, double check to make sure any supplements you take don’t contain significant amounts of parsley. However, dressing up your dinners with a garnish of parsley, or eating the occasional bowl of tabouleh, probably won’t affect your breast milk supply.



Article # 577. Tips to Make Healthy Eating Fun

Be HEALTHY – Proper nutrition is something everyone should strive to ensure in their daily lives. Research will be key, as this will greatly benefit you in creating a balanced meal plan. If you use the tips from this article, your diet will become one you are proud of.

Getting your kids to eat vegetables can be as easy as being sneaky. Many vegetables when processed properly can be used in many of the foods your kids love. Purees made from vegetables such as carrots not only add flavor and sweetness to a dish, but also makes sure your kids are getting the full benefit.

Around 130 grams of carbohydrates should be consumed each day. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. They also work to create an energy reserve in our body. This stored energy is called glycogen. The best foods to eat to get your carbohydrates are grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts. You will also find carbohydrates in milk and milk products.

One good way to expand your culinary knowledge and to be creatively nutritious is to try cuisines from cultures other than your own. Find a dish that you don’t typically eat and and research it–where did it come from, how can it be made, and how can it be made healthier? Then get cooking!

Instead of snacking on sweet items like cookies and ice cream, try their healthier counterparts. Replace cookies with items like granola, oatmeal and cereal, and fruit bars. For ice cream, try going with low-fat or non-fat yogurt. These options not only taste better than the unhealthier ones, but you get nutrients like iron, calcium, fiber and much more in your diet.

Dark, leafy green vegetables might be the very best foods to select, when you try to add better nutrition to your diet. These vegetables, such as spinach, kale and exotic lettuces, are packed with beneficial vitamins and nutrients, as well as, being completely free of unhealthy ingredients. By incorporating them into a healthy diet, the savvy dieter will get plenty of healthy nutrition.

Berries are among the best things that you can eat during the course of the day. Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries contain a very high amount of antioxidants to cure your body from the inside out. Incorporate these fruits into your regimen to cure your current acne, and prevent new blemishes from forming.

Broccoli is a big star in the nutrition “show.” It is loaded with betacarotene, lutein and lycopene. Studies have shown these nutrients to be valuable in preventing cancer. They help liver function. Eat broccoli every day and your health is sure to benefit. You won’t need to buy supplements to provide these nutrients if you eat broccoli consistently.

Nutrition plays a vital role in your physical and mental health. If you are dedicated to adopting healthier eating habits, you will soon find out that it’s easy to determine which foods will work best for your body and mind. Be mindful of all that you have learned from this piece, and then you can enhance your health farther than you ever dreamed.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Book of Fitness - 1st Chapter about Calories

Article # 576. Top 5 Benefits of Stretching

There are several benefits of stretching, and stretching needs to be a part of your fitness program.
Stretching, in its most basic form, is a natural and instinctive activity. People often stretch instinctively after waking from sleep or after long periods of inactivity.

As a form of exercise, stretching involves elongating a specific muscle or muscle group to its fullest length.
Here are the top five benefits of stretching:

1. Increases flexibility.

Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen. Lack of flexibility causes your movement to become slower and less fluid and makes you more susceptible to muscle strains, ligament sprains and other soft tissue injuries. The most effective way to increase your flexibility is by stretching.

2. Improves circulation.

Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles. This increased blood flow brings more nourishment to the muscles and removes more waste byproducts from the muscles. Increased blood flow can also help speed up recovery from muscle and joint injuries.

3. Improves balance and coordination.

The increased flexibility that comes from stretching improves balance and coordination. Improved balance and coordination lowers your risk for falls.

4. Helps alleviate lower back pain.

Stiff and tight muscles in the lower back, hamstrings, hips and buttocks is one of the more common causes of lower back pain. Stretching these muscles will alleviate the pain.

5. Helps improve cardiovascular health.

Recent studies have found that stretching can improve artery function and lower blood pressure.
In conclusion, don't overlook the benefits of stretching. Make sure that stretching is a regular part of your fitness program.

Article # 575. Drinking Ice Cold Water Burns Fat! True or False?

By drinking ice cold water your system burns a massive amount of calories to bring it to the body’s temperature!?” Is that True?
 In a way, it is true that when you drink ice cold water, your body uses energy (i.e., calories) to raise the liquid’s temperature to match body's temperature.
However, the calories consumed are so few that it’s almost non relevant at all. Certainly not nearly enough to cause any appreciable decrease in your body fat.
Let’s do a little bit of math to better understand what we’re talking about.
Let’s say you drink a 8-ounces (240 grams) of ice-cold water at around 4°C your body will expend calories to bring it to body temperature, which is about 37.5°C. That’s a difference of 33.5˚.
To raise 1 gram of water of 1˚ C, 1 calorie is necessary (but be aware, in scientific terms  this is a “little” calorie, 1 food calorie - those we usually refer to - is equal 1,000 of this “little” calories).
Raising 240 grams of water by 33.5˚ will take: 33.5 x 240 = 8,040 little calories or 8 food calories (also known as kilocalories).
I won’t say that 8 calories is nothing but if you think that one celery stalk has 10 calories, you can easily see that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll lose any fat just by drinking ice cold water.
Even if you drink 10 glasses of 8-ounces ice cold water throughout the day you’ll burn 80 calories, again not bad, but if you think that 1 pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories...well, I’ll let you do the math.

Article # 574. Plank Pose Leg Lift.

Well it isn’t, but it’s not easy. It is worth the effort, however. In fact, planks offer one of the best forms of strength training to help you become fit.

Plank Pose Leg Lift-Variation of the plank pose that adds a new challenge: Lifting one of your legs up in the air while balancing your body with the other. The best idea is to lift your leg at the moment you are pullingyour belly button in. For an added physical benefit, squeeze your glute muscles while the leg is lifted. Return to the plank pose, and repeat for the other leg. Do 5-8 sets on each side.

This is a variation of the plank pose but adds additional challenge with the leg lift. Although the plank pose is isometric, this move is a combination of isometric exercise and a moving exercise as you are lifting and then holding the position.

How to do the Plank Pose Leg Lift

• Start in plank position as described above.
• Lift your right leg off the ground about 6 to 8 inches while pulling in your belly button towards your spine and hold for a count of 30 seconds. 
• For more body toning, squeeze your glutes, the butt, while doing this move.
• Return to plank position and repeat lifting the left leg this time.
• Repeat this on each side for 3 to 5 repetitions.

Article # 573. How the Body Uses Calories

Some people mistakenly believe they have to burn off all the calories they eat or they will gain weight. This isn't true. Your body needs some calories just to operate — to keep your heart beating and your lungs breathing. As a kid, your body also needs calories from a variety of foods to grow and develop. And you burn off some calories without even thinking about it — by walking your dog or making your bed.

But it is a great idea to play and be active for at least 1 hour and up to several hours a day. That means time spent playing sports, just running around outside, or riding your bike. It all adds up. Being active every day keeps your body strong and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Watching TV and playing video games won't burn many calories at all, which is why you should try to limit those activities to 1 to 2 hours per day. A person burns only about 1 calorie per minute while watching TV, about the same as sleeping!