The plan: Do these moves three times a week, and you’ll see more definition in a month or less. For faster results, add 20 minutes of cardio.
1. Standing obliques
Start with one arm overhead and foot turned out. In one fluid motion, bring arm down and bend leg up, crunching to side to touch elbow to knee. Return to start. Do 10 to 12 reps. Switch sides.
Perfect your form: Keep back straight and chin up.
Dial it down: Lie on back with knees bent and arms at sides. Reach one hand at a time along side toward heels.
Amp it up: Hold a light weight in each hand.
2. Swizzle reach
Lie with both legs lifted at an angle and hands reaching toward shins. Scissor-kick legs, reaching hands just beyond closer thigh. Do 10 to 12 reps on each side.
Perfect your form: Keep abs tight and chest lifted toward ceiling.
Dial it down: Kick legs up and down without reaching your hands forward.
Amp it up: Do a few more reps and hold each swizzle reach for 2 counts.
3. Side hip raises
Start on side, with legs stacked and feet flexed, resting one forearm on the floor. Place opposite hand on hip (for balance). Lift into side plank. Hold for 2 counts. Raise and lower hips 10 to 12 times. Switch sides. Repeat.
Perfect your form: Keep elbow of supporting arm in line with your shoulder.
Dial it down: Skip raises; hold side plank for 10 counts.
Amp it up: Try lifting your top leg up while raising hips!
4. Elbow touch & twist
Start in seated position with knees together and feet up off floor. Lean back slightly and engage abs to protect lower back. Lift bent arms in front of chest. Twist and touch one elbow down to the floor, then switch sides. Do 10 to 12 reps.
Perfect your form: Avoid rounding your back.
Dial it down: Keep your feet flat on floor.
Amp it up: Hold a weight between your hands.
Done in 10 minutes
The plan: Do these four moves three times a week, and you’ll see more definition in a month or less. For faster results, add 20 minutes of cardio.
You need: Hand weights
Photo by Roberto Caruso
Melt your muffin top
Plank & row: Start in plank, weights in hands. Stack wrists, elbows and shoulders, without locking arms. Raise one arm into a row, keeping hips parallel to floor and elbow close to side. Repeat with opposite arm. Do 12 to 15 reps.
Perfect your form: Avoid rounding upper back. Keep hips in line with your body.
Dial it down: Drop to knees.
Amp it up: Increase reps or use heavier hand weights.
Photo by Roberto Caruso
Torch twice the calories
Walk your body push-ups: From standing, hinge forward at hips and walk arms out into push-up position, hands shoulder-width apart. Lower into push-up. Reverse and return to start. Do 10 reps.
Perfect your form: Keep abs tight to protect lower back.
Dial it down: Drop to knees during the push-up.
Amp it up: Jump up each time after you return to standing.
Photo by Roberto Caruso
Boost your booty
Backside burner: Start in tabletop, weights in hands. Extend one leg back, parallel to floor, as you reach the opposite arm out to the side (in line with shoulder, palm facing down). Return to start. Do 10 reps. Switch sides.
Perfect your form: Avoid rounding or arching your back, and keep hips level.
Dial it down: Ditch the hand weights or reduce your reps.
Amp it up: Increase reps or use heavier hand weights.
Photo by Roberto Caruso
Fire up your lower body
Reverse-plank leg raises: Sit with legs outstretched, hands behind hips, pointing toward feet. For reverse plank, press up onto hands and extend legs, with heels on floor. Raise and lower one leg. Do 10 to 12 reps. Switch sides.
Perfect your form: Engage lower abs to help lift legs.
Dial it down: Do fewer reps.
Amp it up: Lift leg higher and increase reps.
As a parent, you want to give your child every advantage in life, so it’s a no-brainer that you’d want to try boosting her intellect. While parking a tot in front of a Baby Einstein video didn’t turn out to be such a smart idea (a University of Washington study found that such video viewing delays small children’s language skill building), the following approaches actually up IQ scores. Photo by Thinkstock
1. Nurse your newborn.
Breastfeeding bestows many benefits, including immunity defense and disease protection. But until recently, we didn’t know whether breastfeeding influences intelligence, or if breastfed kids tested better because of other factors. A study from McGill University in Montreal has shown a clear causal connection. Looking at 14,000 children, those whose moms participated in a program that encouraged exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding scored 7.5 points higher on verbal IQ tests at age six-and-a-half than those whose mothers didn’t take part. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.
2. Get physical.
Any elementary-school teacher will tell you that children concentrate and behave better after gym class or recess. But those aren’t the only benefits of physical activity. After reviewing 14 studies (12 of them from the US), Dutch researchers found that kids’ cognitive test scores and grades are higher if they have outlets, like gym class or recess, to blow off steam. While they didn’t examine how much activity is necessary to up smarts, some is clearly better than none. So encourage your child to play sports and make sure her teachers give daily play breaks.
3. Junk to junk food.
Another strike against high-sugar, high-fat diets: It leads to lower IQs in kids, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiological Community Health. Researchers tracked the eating habits of 4,000 children from age three and tested their intelligence at age eight-and-a-half. The kids who ate the most processed foods, with a lot of convenience food, fat and sugar, had IQ scores 1.67 points lower than kids whose diets included more fruits, vegetables, fish and pasta, controlling for measures like mothers’ education and social class. The obvious takeaway which bears repeating: Feed your children a healthy diet of whole foods and cut out the junk!
4. Strike up a tune.
This will be music to most parents’ ears. A University of Toronto study found that music lessons boost brain power among six to eleven year olds. The researchers gave kids either music or drama lessons, or no lessons at all, and measured their IQ before and after the sessions. Children in the music group had the biggest IQ jump, possibly because music lessons expose kids to experiences that can help them in many different areas, explain the researchers. (The drama lessons raised IQ, too, but not by as much.) Any kind of music lessons is good, so if your kid won’t touch her trumpet, there’s always chorus.
5. Don’t forget the fish oil
The reported benefits of DHA omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish and other seafood) keep rolling in. A recent New York University study, which evaluated many existing studies on what really raises people’s intelligence, concluded that a diet high in this fatty acid was the only sure bet. The research suggests that when pregnant women and nursing mothers get over 1,000 mg of DHA a day, infant IQ can swell by more than 3.5 points. Plus, babies who received DHA for three months tested 6.5 IQ points higher as toddlers than children who didn’t get the supplement. Ask your doctor if your little one could use a DHA boost.
6. Crack the books.
That same NYU study also looked at how interactive reading-encouraging kids to read in addition to using books to teach them how to ask questions-improves kids’ intelligence. Researchers found that when a child under four is an active participant in reading with her caregivers, her IQ can go up by more than six points. Instead of merely slogging through Green Eggs and Ham again, urge your child to wonder aloud about the plausibility of eggs ever being that color or having a goat as a dining companion.
7. Consider enrolling your child in preschool.
Now that President Obama has said he wants universal preschool education, there’s going to be a lot of debate about whether it’s worth the money it’ll cost. Here’s some proof it may be: An analysis of 16 recent studies found that sending a disadvantaged child to preschool that focuses on language development can raise her IQ by as much as seven points. Since other researchers think that preschool education benefits all children in many ways, take advantage of preschool if it’s available in your community.
8. Bring on breakfast.
More reason to make morning meals a must: Children who start their days with a healthy breakfast are more focused, better prepared for the day’s challenges and ultimately get higher grades and test scores. A pilot program in Maryland conducted by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital offered breakfast, with 25% of the nutrients kids need in a day, to all children in participating elementary schools, regardless of income. Scores on state assessment tests improved significantly, and tardiness and suspensions fell. At home, providing such a meal can be as simple as serving whole-grain cereal and a glass of juice.
When you eat an entire bag of gummy bears, or down a large soda the movies, you’re aware of what you’re getting yourself into. But more than half of the sugar in our diets is strewn across the entire range of what we eat, put there by the food industry to make things taste, well, sweeter. And even if you’re a careful reader of nutrition labels, you might never know it. “There are 56 names for sugar,” says Dr. Lustig. “If you can figure out a way to have five or six different kinds of sugar in one product, then you can make some type of sugar fall further down the list. When you add them up, they add up to number one.”
Tomatoes are full of citric acid, which is comparable to vinegar, and none too pleasing to the taste buds. Especially with the immature variety that’s forced into a jar, sugar is necessary to negate the acid on your tongue. Since tomato sauce is certainly a healthier option than many creamy pasta sauces, it’s worth the few minutes it takes to make your own. Dr. Lustig cuts, stews, and blends fresh tomatoes with his favorite spices for a healthier and equally satisfying marinara.
When you choose to sip a glass of vino, you likely think you’re making a healthy decision in choosing it over juice-laden cocktails. That’s true, however, you can make an even better choice by pouring red. Many white whites, especially German Rieslings, have added sugar to disguise the acidity of grapes that didn’t get enough sun. In contrast, the grapes used in red wine are grown in more southern regions, meaning they receive adequate sunlight, and don’t need to be altered, explains Dr. Lustig.
Related: 9 Processed Foods To Ditch Right Now
When it comes to adding flavor to your greens, the simpler the better. Even seemingly healthy options like balsamic vinaigrettes are laced with sugar, and fat-free varieties are the worst offenders. In order to eliminate fat without sacrificing flavor, manufacturers pour in the sweet stuff. At restaurants, request heart-healthy olive oil and vinegar, and at home, stir together mustard, balsamic vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and the spices of your choice.
High in calcium and low in calories, this stuff’s the ideal afternoon snack, right? Not if yours is fruit-flavored, or comes with a packet of mix-in fruit. A lawsuit pending against Chobani claims the Greek yogurt-maker is violating federal law with its claims of “no added sugar.” In fact, about one-third of its calories come from evaporated cane juice, one of many names for what is essentially white sugar. Meanwhile, when Dr. Lustig examined a six-ounce pomegranate yogurt, he found it had 12 grams of added sugar, the same amount as a bowl of Cap’n Crunch. Keep probiotic- and calcium-rich yogurt in your diet, but opt for the plain kind, and mix in fresh fruit.
Related: 20 Ways To Speed Up Your Metabolism
Even the whole grain kind has added sugar, which is put there to make loaves brown better, and appear more attractive to shoppers. “Buy bread at your local bakery instead of the bread on the shelves of the grocery store,” advises Dr. Lustig. With its lack of added sugar, the homemade kind lasts a few days rather than a few weeks, but you’re supporting local businesses and your family’s well-being.
Sugar is lurking in the condiment aisle – and on your French fries. Almost one-quarter of Heinz’s basic Tomato Ketchup – about 4 grams per 17-gram or one tablespoon serving – is high fructose corn syrup, not to mention that many of us eat plenty more than that at a time. Artisanal ketchups taste nothing like the mass market varieties thanks to the natural acidity of the tomatoes used, so if you can’t stomach the flavor, try mustard instead.
Those who shun sugar cereals often turn to granola for a seemingly better breakfast option, but watch out. Eating a bowl can be equivalent to downing a soda, so if you do love the stuff, try replacing it with muesli. Both have oats and nuts, but unlike granola, muesli is filled with fruit. Its naturally occurring fructose is the only sugar involved.
Much of the fruit you’re gnawing on when you can’t find the fresh variety isn’t really the same – it’s immature. “If they were mature, they’d sell them for real,” says Dr. Lustig. “They have to make them palatable, so they add sugar.” Though not true of every brand, it’s important to check for a “no sugar added” label on the bag. Better yet, to get your recommended daily intake when berry season is months away, think ahead. When fresh fruit is available, chop it up and freeze it yourself to reap all the benefits and none of the disadvantages.
Jelly’s favorite accompaniment is full of protein and healthy fat, making it a good staple of your – and your children’s – diet. However, sugar is the second ingredient in many leading brands, and the reduced fat kinds are the worst. Even some organic varieties are packed with sweetener, so make sure your jar clearly states, “no sugar added.”
Can too much exercise cause a stroke?
BBC presenter Andrew Marr blames his recent stroke on overworking and an overly vigorous exercise session on a rowing machine.
The 53-year-old said he had, to his detriment, believed the newspapers… that we must take very, very intensive exercise in short bursts for good health.
We have heard anecdotally that some activities like vigorous exercise can sometimes cause blood vessels to burst”
Nikki Hill of The Stroke Association
So should we now leave high-intensity training to only the youngest and fittest people?
People of all ages can have a stroke, although they occur most commonly in people who are older.
More than 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke each year and a quarter of them are under 65.
Most of the time there will be underlying health problems like having high blood pressure.
And there are simple lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your risk of stroke.
These include keeping fit by doing regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, refraining from smoking and making sure you don’t drink too much alcohol.
Doctors say that regular exercise can halve your risk of stroke.
About 30 minutes of activity five days a week is enough. And you do not have to do it all in one go – it is just as effective to exercise a few times a day in 10, 15 or 20-minute sessions.
But in terms of intensity, erring on the side of caution might be best.
Know your limits
Advocates of high-intensity interval training say doing a few short bursts of exercise each week – four 30-second sprints on an exercise bike, for example – is a good way to keep fit.
The idea is that pushing your body to its limit gives you a better workout.
Studies suggest that high-intensity interval training causes significant changes in a number of important health parameters, and more so than hours of conventional exercise.
It can boost aerobic fitness, as well as improve how the body’s metabolic processes.
BBC presenter Dr Michael Mosley gave it a try himself and found some benefits.
But he does point out that high-intensity training will not suit everyone.
And, like any new exercise regime, if you have a pre-existing medical condition you should consult your doctor before trying it.
When to seek help
- Facial weakness
- Arm weakness
- Speech Problems
- Time to call 999
The Stroke Association also advise caution. They say it is important to find a balance between how hard the exercise is, how long you exercise for and how often you exercise.
You will benefit more from doing regular gentle exercise for a good length of time, than exercising very vigorously for a short length of time or infrequently, they say.
Nikki Hill, director of communications, said: “Regular exercise is an important factor in stroke prevention and recovery.
“We have heard anecdotally that some activities like vigorous exercise can sometimes cause blood vessels to burst.
“We need more research on the underlying factors that might make that happen. We do know that high blood pressure itself is the single biggest cause of stroke, until more research is done on specific triggers we’d suggest getting your blood pressure checked and taking steps to keep it under control, exercise can help with that.”
There can be warning signs that a stroke is likely.
Andrew Marr says he had two minor strokes in the year before his major one, but had not noticed.
Many strokes are preceded by mini ones called transient ischaemic attacks or TIAs.
These may be silent or cause only a few of the symptoms that come with a full-blown stroke – such as face or arm weakness and speech problems – and last just a few minutes, making them easy to miss.
A TIA is a sign that part of your brain is not getting enough blood and you are at risk of having a stroke in the future.
Each year about 46,000 people in the UK have their first TIA.
There is no way of telling whether you are having a TIA or a stroke when the symptoms first start. If you think you or someone you know is having a TIA, it is a medical emergency so call 999.
10 Super-Healthy Foods You’re Not Eating Yet
Kale, quinoa, Greek yogurt. All are super-healthy foods you should be eating–and chances are you already are. Looking for a new über-healthy food to add to your repertoire? Check out this list! Whether your diet could use a health tune-up or already is the epitome of health, we think you’ll find at least one food on this list to add to your diet.
Health-conscious eaters are getting serious about–and going crazy for–chia seeds (yes, like the “pets”). It’s no wonder: they deliver as much protein as some nuts as well as heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fat. Per tablespoon, chia delivers 2 grams protein, 4 grams fiber and 1.75 grams ALA. Chia seeds may have celebrity status as the newest superfood fad, but they’ve been around for centuries (they were prized by the Aztecs). The seeds absorb liquid easily, gelling and making a creamy addition to oats and pancakes. That property also makes them easy on sensitive stomachs, says David C. Nieman, M.P.H., Dr.P.H., of Appalachian State University. “Some other seeds, like flax, are harder to digest because they have more lignan, a tough fiber,” says Nieman.
2. Coconut flour
The popularity of coconut doesn’t end with hot-right-now coconut water and coconut oil. Coconut flour is a healthy way to add decadent coconut flavor to baked goods. As for health benefits of coconut flour: it packs a whopping 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons (with only 2 grams of total and saturated fat) and it’s gluten-free. Coconut flour has health benefits for people with diabetes, too: adding coconut flour to baked goods lowers the glycemic index (a measure of the rate that a food increases blood sugar). In your market, look for coconut flour near other gluten-free flours.
3. Vegetable smoothies
Smoothies are often a tasty delivery device for fruit. But adding vegetables–especially spinach and kale to make green smoothies–is all the rage these days, possibly thanks to a renewed interest in juicing. Even beets and sweet potato are making an appearance in smoothies (not together and typically in combination with fruit). Try it for yourself with our Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Green Smoothie with Kale & More.
Skyr is the traditional yogurt of Iceland and is comparable in texture and nutrition to Greek yogurt–delivering just as much protein, but for slightly fewer calories (perhaps because it’s always made with skim milk).
Dulse (say it like “pulse”) is one example of a growing infatuation with eating seaweed. This family of nutrient-packed sea vegetables has been turning up everywhere from school lunches (where savvy parents swap it for potato chips) to gourmet restaurant fare. Why all the love? Dulse is a good source of potassium and iron–and boasts loads of iodine, necessary in the regulation of the thyroid gland and usually found only in seafood or iodized salt. It has a salty, of-the-sea flavor. You can enjoy dulse in many forms. Look for it in natural-foods markets, where you’ll find it either in flakes or in bags of dried strips, and crumble it over soups or salads.
Chia isn’t the only super-healthy seed gaining popularity. Though hemp plants (aka Cannabis sativa) are illegal to grow in the U.S. because of their association with the mood-altering cultivars of the plant, eating hemp seeds is increasingly popular. Hemp-seed sales grew 156 percent between 2008 and 2010. As versatile as, and similar in taste to, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds can be eaten raw, toasted, sprinkled on yogurt or salads or ground into seed butter. Per tablespoon, hemp seeds boast twice the fiber as chia at 4 grams, 16 percent of your daily value for phosphorus and magnesium and 1 gram of ALA.
Think yogurt in a glass. This fermented dairy beverage is packed with beneficial probiotics that may help give your immune system a little extra edge. With 29 percent of your daily value of calcium per 8-ounce serving, kefir is the perfect choice for adding to smoothies in place of yogurt or as an on-the-go breakfast. Look for it in your local market and choose plain for less added sugars; if you want extra flavor, add fresh fruit or fruit puree for natural sweetness.
8. Rooibos tea
Green tea isn’t the only super-healthy tea out there. Rooibos tea–a red-colored herbal tea made from the leaves of the rooibos bush–may protect your heart. People at risk of developing heart disease (read: high cholesterol, blood pressure and/or body mass index) significantly lowered their triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol and raised their “good” HDL cholesterol by drinking 6 cups of the tea daily over six weeks, says research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
9. Almond milk
At the grocery store, your milk choices go beyond what cows produce. Plant-based “milks” are increasing popular. If you find yourself wandering into the alternative “milk” category, go for almond milk. It’s naturally high in calcium and if you buy one fortified with vitamin D, it’s comparable to cow’s milk. Per cup, almond milks deliver fewer calories than cow’s milk (60 to 80) and, depending on the brand, potentially slightly less protein (2 to 9 grams versus 8 to 9 in cow’s milk). One cup of almond milk also has 2.5 to 4.5 g fat, 0 to 0.5 g saturated fat, 5 to 11 g carbohydrate, 0 to 4 g fiber, 20 to 30 percent of your daily recommendation for calcium and up to 25 percent of your daily needs for vitamin D.
Quinoa is having its day in the sun, but amaranth, another whole grain, deserves a mention–it’s a boon for vegetarians because it’s high in both iron and zinc, nutrients that can be tough to get into a vegetarian diet, as well as protein. It’s also rich in calcium and magnesium–and is gluten-free. Grown as an ornamental for its pretty blooms as well as for its grains, amaranth grains have been cultivated in Central America for an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 years. When cooked, amaranth has a thick, porridge-like texture–great in soups, stews, breakfast porridge or puddings. Find it in the natural-foods section of well-stocked supermarkets or in natural-foods stores.
By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
Brierley’s interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as nutrition editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master’s degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.
10 best fat-blasting exercises
Great exercises for losing weight
If you want to shed pounds and burn fat then you need to use up more calories than you put into your body. To burn these calories make sure you eat healthily and that you use these 10 fat-blasting exercises.
Interval training, whether you do it on a bike, on a rowing machine or through running, is one of the best fat-blasting exercises. When you do interval training sessions both your adrenaline and growth hormone levels increase. These hormones help to burn fat and they also suppress your appetite, which is good news if you want to lose weight.
As well as firming up your core, the plank will help you to lose weight because it requires your body to use up calories. To make this exercise harder push your body up from the plank position and support your weight using one hand, before bringing up your other hand and supporting your weight with that too. Once you are in this position return to the plank before repeating.
Kettle bells have been around for hundreds of years and it’s easy to see why. Not only are they excellent at toning up flabby areas, the aerobic nature of common kettle bell exercises helps you to burn fat because these exercises increase your heart rate. Kettle bells also help you to burn fat because they build muscle and the more muscle mass a person has the more calories they burn.
Run just below your lactate threshold
The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that men who were relatively unfit burnt more fat when they ran just below their lactate threshold compared to very fit athletes. To run below your lactate threshold warm up and begin to jog. Accelerate your speed every two minutes until it becomes difficult to breathe and your muscles begin to burn. When you feel like this you have found your lactate threshold, so slow down and run below this speed to increase the amount of fat you burn when running.
Metabolic resistance training
Metabolic resistance training is a methodology that suggests that if people want to maximize the amount of calories they burn and boost their metabolic rate they should perform exercises that engage their entire body (or as much as possible) and do these exercises back to back at a high intensity.
Example: 10 mountain climbers, 10 kettle bell swings, 10 V sits, 10 mountain climbers. Repeat this five to 10 times depending on your ability.
This fat-burning exercise is simple yet very effective. When performing high knees keep your back straight and bring your knees up as high as possible towards your chest, swinging your arms to stay balanced. After 15 to 30 seconds your heart will be racing and this increased heart rate is essential if you want to transform your body and lose weight.
Lifting heavy weights during strength training sessions is an excellent way to burn fat through exercise. Lifting heavy weights, either through squats or deadlifts, will help you to burn calories because the intensity of your lifts will be increased. Also lifting heavy weights will help you to burn more calories after your workout because it increases your lean muscle tissue and in turn this tissue elevates your metabolism.
Never lift beyond your means, as lifting weights that are too heavy will mean you will sacrifice your form and this is a big no no.
Doing two exercises back to back that work different parts of your body is an ideal way to burn fat because your heart rate is kept high throughout your session. Plus, according to the Colorado State University, after you finish your superset workout you will keep burning fat for up to 16 hours after you’ve stopped training. 16!
Make sure you perform each exercise without resting in between; for example, go from a bicep curl straight into a tricep pushdown.
Skipping is tough and is a high-intensity form of aerobic exercise that can help you to lose weight because it helps to raise your metabolism even once your workout has ended. This is important because it will mean you burn more calories overall over a greater period of time compared to doing an aerobic exercise that was not as intense.
Although high-intensity workouts are great for boosting your metabolism, low-intensity aerobic workouts, such as walking, can also be helpful when you are trying to trim down. This is because low-intensity exercises burn a higher percentage of fat, using it to fuel your workout. So if you want to burn fat and are not used to doing a great deal of exercise, going on long walks or gentle jogs may help you to achieve the body you want.
Now you know how to exercise to burn fat, find out what you should be eating to lose weight.
5 ways to burn fat
A lot of people wrongly assume that in order to burn fat you ought to steer clear of foods that contain dairy. Yet a study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating dairy helped to reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs.
Similarly, a study in Denmark found that those participants who ate a lot of calcium in their diet tended to excrete more fat in their feces. This means that people who eat foods high in calcium will absorb less fat.
Just before you go out and gorge on cheese though, we have to state that eating foods that are high in kilojoules, despite their calcium content, can still lead to obesity. Instead of eating calorific foods such as cheese, opt for yoghurt, sesame seeds or tofu. Interestingly it is thought that eating yoghurt daily can lead to a two-pound drop in weight per year.
You may not want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but lifting weights can help you to burn fat and lose weight, and just because you do the odd bench-press doesn’t mean you’ll get arms like Arnie. It is though that weight training is great for burning fat and losing weight because it helps you to build lean muscle and every pound of muscle you have burns around 27.5 kilojoules per hour.
In addition to burning more kilojoules, weight training will give your metabolism a boost for up to two hours after your weight training session, which again means you will burn more.
Exercise before breakfast
It can be hard for some people to find the motivation to get out of bed early and exercise, but hopefully a study conducted by the University of Northumbria will help give you the incentive to throw back the covers and get moving.
The researchers who directed the study found that the participants who worked out before they ate breakfast burnt twenty per cent more fat compared to those participants that worked out after their breakfast.
If you fancy doing an early morning workout before your breakfast you could go for a gentle jog, do an exercise DVD or go for a morning swim – you can’t get a much better start to your day.
Do some interval training
One of the best ways to burn fat and lose weight is to fit some interval sessions into your training plan. Interval sessions are great because they force the body to burn fat for fuel because training at a high intensity causes you to use up your carbohydrate stores and your body then burns fat for energy.
If you want to burn fat by doing some interval training sessions you should aim to work at a high intensity, for example sprinting for a minimum of 10 seconds and a maximum of three minutes. Then you should take a rest period where, for example, if you had been running you would walk. You would repeat this run/walk scenario until the end of your session.
Good news for us food lovers, if you want to burn fat you can eat more meals. It is thought that those who want to lose weight and who want to burn fat should eat three meals and three snacks throughout the day. This is because eating regularly maintains your blood sugar levels. If you did not eat regularly these levels would dip, resulting in your body burning valuable muscle tissue instead. Consequently, as a result of this lowered muscle mass you would have a lower metabolism and not be able to burn as much.
Although eating regularly seems to promote fat burn, the type of food you put into your body still matters. Try to eat some fiber and lean protein within each of your meals and snacks and steer clear of foods containing ‘empty kilojoules’ such as chocolate and cakes.
Vitamin C doesn’t reduce your risk of a cold: study
Remember those times you popped vitamin C when you got the sniffles? Well, it might not have helped. (Thinksto …Vitamin C has long been heralded as a helpful remedy to the common cold. We’ve all likely been advised to pop a few tablets when we’re coming down with something, and many take it every day to ward off the potential threat of a new virus.
But is there any science to back this up?
According to a recent study, no. A systematic review of the existing scientific literature conducted by researchers in Helsinki found that taking vitamin C supplements did not reduce the likelihood of catching a common cold, reports WedMD.
There was one rather surprising caveat to this finding: among those exposed to brief but intense periods of physical exercise, vitamin C intake did have an effect.
“I have generally not been impressed by its usefulness,” says Reinhold Vieth, a clinical biochemist at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Veith says that the study results fit well with his own perspective on the vitamin. Vieth was also impressed by the quality of the report, published by The Cochrane Collaboration, an international project specifically dedicated to producing comprehensive reviews of existing medical literature.
“Cochrane is what drives policy makers who want to refer to ‘evidence based medicine’ as a basis for public policy,” says Veith. The study looked at 29 previously conducted trials that included 11,306 participants.
So while the reports appear to be good news if you’re an athlete or a soldier with the sniffles, those of us who pop vitamin C at the slightest cough are left looking a little foolish.
There was some encouraging news for the less active who regularly take vitamin C.
The study also found that regular consumption of vitamin C could marginally reduce the duration of colds — not the likelihood of catching one — but this only applied to those who took the supplements before the first sign of sickness. Suddenly pounding vitamin C when you start to get sick — also known as therapeutic use — does not shorten cold duration.
The report’s concludes that “routine vitamin C supplementation is not justified” for the prevention of colds, but adds that it may be useful in “people exposed to brief periods of severe physical exercise.”
“I am surprised that the trials in athletes were not discussed more,” says Vieth, describing the impact vitamin C had on them to be “impressive.”
In the studies that looked at groups of marathon runners, skiers and soldiers, the likelihood of catching a cold was halved amongst those who took vitamin C.
The report goes on to say that regular folk who want to continue to take vitamin C are fine to do so. Only because no harm can come of it and it has been shown to have a modest effect on cold duration.
5 surprising secrets for a flatter stomach
Stop doing so many crunches
Most people think that to achieve a flat, toned stomach you need to do a thousand crunches every morning before work, but that’s just not true. The surprising secret is that doing lots of ab specific exercises will only help you tone that area on a short-term basis, if at all.
To get the flat stomach you want, you have to work your entire core, building up its strength and flexibility. Doing exercises like Pilates or stability ball work will help you do this. Working your core is the key to achieving a flat stomach because it works all of the muscles in your stomach area, such as the rectus abdominis, your internal and external obliques and your transversus abdominis.
Stock up on whole grains
A study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered a surprising secret for a flatter stomach. The study gave participants a healthy diet to eat, consisting of fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, meat and fish. However, they gave one set of participants wholegrain foods to eat and the other set of participants refined grain foods.
At the end of the study those participants who had eaten the wholegrain foods had lost more weight from their stomachs than those who ate the refined grain foods. The researchers believe that the participants who ate more whole grains and ate less refined carbs lost more from their waistlines because this change in diet mobilised people’s fat stores because of a shift in their glucose and insulin response. If you want to swap refined grains for whole grains, eat less yeast-based breads, pasta and cakes or cookies and eat more foods such as oats (which contains as many antioxidants as broccoli and spinach), brown rice and wheat berries.
Get some sleep
It may seem as though sleep has nothing to do with your dream of having a flat stomach, but it does. If you don’t get enough sleep then your hormone levels change, which can make you feel hungry and can also make you feel less satisfied once you have eaten. This can lead to overeating. Plus those late nights watching TV or going out with friends gives you more time to snack and reach for unhealthy foods.
So, how much sleep should you be getting? The Mayo Clinic advises adults that they should sleep for no less than seven hours a night. If you struggle to get this much sleep make sure you are exercising regularly, that you don’t nap during the day and that you eat foods that contain tryptophan (an amino acid that helps you sleep), such as chicken, milk and yoghurt.
Time your meals
If you eat food quickly then you might find that you are eating more than you actually need to. Slowing down the pace you eat meals at will help you to achieve a flatter stomach because you will eat smaller portions. Also a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that eating quickly did not allow the hormone that makes you feel full to kick in. Therefore when eating quickly you are far more likely to eat more than is necessary.
To stop eating so quickly you should make sure you eat at your dining table and do not eat in front of the TV. Concentrating and savouring what you are tucking into will help slow down the rate you eat at. You could also set a timer and try to consciously slow down so that you eat the last bites of your food when the timer goes off. Also, a study found that soft lighting and gentle music helped participants eat less quickly so you could always dim the lights and put on some Enya too.
Tuck into some enzymes
An enzyme that will help you achieve a flatter stomach is called bromelain and it can be found in pineapples. The bromelain enzyme digests protein and is called a proteolytic enzyme. It is useful for those who want a flatter stomach because it aids the digestion of foods that are high in fibre, such as beans or vegetables. By aiding the digestion of these foods this enzyme eases bloating, which is a major obstacle that stands between many people and their flat stomachs.
If you want to get a flat stomach and think the bromelain enzyme might help you to achieve this then you should eat some fresh pineapple before a meal to aid your digestion. The enzyme can also be taken as a supplement.
Those supplements may not be delivering the vitamins they claim
The Globe and Mail
A U.S. study released this week found a huge variation in the potency of vitamin D supplements from different manufacturers – and even in pills from the same bottle. The supplements ranged from 9 per cent to 140 per cent of the amount listed on the label, according to the findings published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
And in an interview with The Globe, an executive of a Toronto-based supplement manufacturer acknowledged that dose discrepancies sometimes exist in the Canadian market, too.
The U.S. study was led by Erin LeBlanc, an endocrinologist with Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. She had been planning to do a randomized trial in which some menopausal women took vitamin D supplements and others got placebos. She had a local pharmacy make a batch of identical-looking pills. Before starting the trial, she sent the real vitamin D tablets to an independent lab to confirm their potency. Those results revealed that only a third of the pills contained between 90 to 110 per cent of the active ingredient.
So LeBlanc decided to test off-the-shelf supplements to see if they might be a better option for her trial. A total of 55 bottles of vitamin D from 12 different manufacturers were purchased at five stores in Portland. The stated doses of the products ranged from 1,000 to 10,000 International Units of vitamin D. In this random sample, the testing lab found almost half the pills could be considered mislabelled – with potency varying from 9 to 140 per cent of the stated amount.
“I admit I was quite surprised. I’m not a pharmacist. So I had assumed that the pills were what [the labels] said they were,” said LeBlanc.
“The biggest worry is for someone who has low levels of Vitamin D in their blood. If they are consistently taking a supplement with little vitamin D in it, they could face health risks.”
She pointed out that some manufacturers participate in a voluntary quality-verification program run by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, a non-profit group that sets industry standards for supplements. This organization “gives some reassurance that the amount of vitamin D in those pills is close to the amount listed on the label,” she said.
But, she added, “there are not many manufacturers” that take part in the program. LeBlanc speculated that the wide variability in potency may be “because there isn’t much legislation” regulating U.S. supplements, which don’t have to meet the same rigorous standards as pharmaceutical products.
In Canada, vitamins and minerals are regulated as a sub-set of drugs and are governed by the Natural Health Products Regulations. These regulations stipulate that companies must have qualified staff who are responsible for assuring the quality of the product before it is made available for sale. And companies are required to provide detailed information about product quality as part of their product licence applications. Health Canada says it will also investigate complaints that are brought to the department’s attention.
“Canada has good strong regulations – on paper,” said Gary Leong, vice-president of scientific and technical affairs at Jamieson Laboratories Ltd., a Toronto-based supplement manufacturer.
“But in order to comply with it as written, it takes a fair bit of effort and not a lot of companies put it in. And the government doesn’t have the resources to make sure that the compliance is there.”
Mr. Leong acknowledged that product consistency does vary in Canada, but he thinks “we are better” than the situation portrayed in the recent U.S. study.
He said Jamieson conducts tests at each stage of its production process, starting with the raw materials. “To get the product right you have to invest in R&D and the ongoing quality-control support.”
He noted that the biggest challenge is making sure the active ingredients are evenly distributed in each batch of pills. “When you have powders and you are mixing particles of different sizes in different quantities, it is hard to get uniformity,” he explained. “If you don’t understand the science of powder mixing … you get some tablets with very little in it and some with a lot of the active material.”
Leong said, “we stand behind the label declaration” of Jamieson products.
However, he said researchers and the medical community should be made aware that supplements may vary in potency.
Some researchers, he added, wrongly assume that if they purchase a product for use in a study, the label is accurate. “Well, that is a big misconception. They should actually run a test to make sure it is what it says it is,” said Leung.
He thinks many clinical trials have produced contradictory results because researchers haven’t verified the contents of the supplements under investigation.
Can Too Much Calcium Raise Your Risk of Death? Could Be, Say the Latest Findings
What to take now?Omegas, iron, and vitamin D, oh my! Advice on supplements can be conflicting and overwhelming for women of a certain age—particularly when it comes to calcium. That’s especially true now, with the release of a study showing that too much of the mineral may actually double a woman’s risk of death by cardiovascular disease.
For the study, published February 13 in the British Medical Journal, a team from Uppsala University in Sweden analyzed self-reported data from 61,443 women over the course of 19 years. During that time, nearly 12,000 women died, the majority from cardiovascular disease.
The highest rates of death, overall, were among women whose calcium intake was higher than 1,400 mg a day (from supplements or a combination of food and supplements, though not from food alone); those women were twice as likely to die than women getting between 600 and 999 mg. But those at the other end of the scale—getting less than 600 mg of calcium a day—also had an increased risk of death.
“Calcium is an essential mineral needed in all cells of the body,” lead researcher Karl Michaëlsson told Yahoo! Shine. Though the study didn’t look into the reasons behind the findings, Michaëlsson speculates that the body might absorb high intakes of calcium too quickly, thus throwing off the balance of hormones and vitamin D.
The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Bart Clarke, a member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, described the risk of too much calcium to Shine this way: “The bones can’t make use of it fast enough, and then it finds storage in places you don’t want it, such as in the cardiovascular system, or in the urine, which can lead to kidney stones.” Calcium seems to be absorbed too quickly especially in the form of supplements, he said.
The BMJ study is not the first to make connections between high calcium intakes and an increased risk of death. A 2010 meta-analysis of data in New Zealand showed that adults taking at least 500 mg supplements of calcium a day increased their risk of heart attack by 30 percent. Another, published in the journal Heart in 2012, showed that people who got their calcium almost exclusively from supplements were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack than those who didn’t take supplements.
Clarke was careful to note that data-gathering studies like this one—which relied on subjects self reporting and isolated the effects of calcium without taking vitamin-D intake into account—are best thought of as suggestive, rather than definitive. To really get answers, he said, a controlled study is needed. “But that would be very expensive,” he noted, “and nobody wants to fund it.”
The estimated average intake for people ages 20 to 90 is just 500 to 700 mg daily, according the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. But currently, the Institute of Medicine, which advises nutrient intake based on scientific data, recommends 1,000 to 1,300 mg a day for most children and adults. So what’s the best way for women to protect their bones and their hearts and cardiovascular systems?
“Calcium in the form of diet doesn’t seem to be of increased risk,” Clarke said. For that reason, he suggests sticking to the IOM’s intake recommendations, but mainly with food. Cheese, yogurt, broccoli, almonds, tofu, sardines, kale and other leafy greens are all good forms of dietary calcium. Vitamin D is important to help your body absorb the calcium, so be sure to get your levels tested. And, beyond eating well, supplementing to keep your intake levels up, long as you don’t go over the recommended allowance, would probably be a good idea, Clarke said.
7 nutrients all men need
Essential nutrients for men
For optimum health and fitness, it is essential to add variety to your meals and include a wide variety of nutrients in your diet. However, there are some nutrients that are particularly important for men to include in their daily diets. Here are 7 essential nutrients all men need.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant which can help to reduce or prevent hair loss in men. Furthermore, studies have suggested that selenium can boost sperm health and motility, improving fertility. Selenium is also great for lowering “bad” cholesterol, preventing blood clots and lifting your mood. To get your recommended intake of selenium, try snacking on Brazil nuts, which are one of the most concentrated sources of the mineral, or eating more fish and seafood.
B vitamins are essential for general wellbeing and can help to alleviate depression, promote a healthy nervous system and boost energy levels. Studies have also shown that folate (vitamin B9) can help to keep sperm healthy, while biotin (vitamin B7) can help to treat hair loss. Good sources of B vitamins include whole grains, legumes, nutritional yeast and green leafy vegetables.
Zinc is essential for men’s fertility and sexual health. The mineral not only helps to maintain healthy testosterone levels and boost libido, it is also essential for healthy sperm production. One of the best sources of zinc is oysters, although pumpkin seeds, meat, oats and other shellfish are all good sources.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most multi-purpose nutrients around and can help to address many of men’s most common health complaints. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to lowered levels of “bad” cholesterol and can also reduce risk of many illnesses, including heart disease, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and depression. One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids is oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.
As well as helping to promote good bone health and prevent risk of mental illness and heart disease, according to a study led by a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, high levels of vitamin D can lower a man’s risk of dying from prostate cancer. Studies have also suggested that vitamin D can help to improve men’s sex drive by boosting testosterone levels, with research suggesting that an hour of sunshine can boost a man’s testosterone levels by 69 per cent. Good food sources of vitamin D include oily fish and egg yolk.
Studies have found that lycopene – the carotenoid that gives tomatoes their color – can help to reduce risk of colorectal cancer, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease; the leading cause of death in men. Research has also shown that men who frequently eat foods rich in lycopene may drastically reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer and that lycopene can slow the growth of, or even kill, prostate cancer cells.
Magnesium is important for healthy bones, energy levels and muscle function, as well as many other parts of the body and other essential functions. Furthermore, research has suggested that getting enough magnesium can help to reduce men’s risk of colon cancer. Good sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds.
5 surprising health boosters for men
Unexpected things that improve male health
While maintaining a healthy routine of diet and exercise is the best route to better health, there are also many surprising things that can help you to feel better and boost your wellbeing. Check out these unexpected things that improve male health.
Surprising health booster 1: Chocolate
Guys, we’ve got good news you – research has revealed that one of the world’s most popular treats is also great for your health! A Swedish study led by Susanna Larsson of the Karolinska Institute has found that eating a standard chocolate bar each week could lower stroke risk for men by 17 per cent.
It is believed that these benefits are derived from the health-boosting flavonoids found in chocolate, which can help reduce clot formation and also lower blood pressure. Not only this, dark chocolate is also a great source of antioxidants which can help to fight disease and keep wrinkles at bay. While chocolate can be great for your health, it is worth bearing in mind that it should still be consumed in moderation and as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Surprising health booster 2: Marriage
While men may complain about nagging wives, research has found that marriage – and a little bit of nagging – could actually do wonders for your health. Various studies have shown that married men are healthier than those who have never married or have been widowed or divorced. They are also more likely to lead healthier lifestyles, indulging less in alcohol and cigarettes and exercising more often.
In fact, a 10 year study of over 3,000 adults showed that married men had a 46 per cent lower death rate over the course of the study than those who were unmarried. It is thought that these health benefits may be partly due to the social support gained through marriage, but also may stem from the nagging married men receive to go to the doctor when required.
Surprising health booster 3: T-shirts
While T-shirts themselves may not miraculously improve your health, swapping restrictive shirts and ties for more comfortable tops could give your wellbeing a boost. Wearing tight shirt collars and ties can reduce blood flow to the brain and increase intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eye), causing symptoms such as headaches, tingly ears and blurred vision.
The restrictive items of clothing can also limit neck movement and lead to muscle tension in the back and shoulders. To reduce these symptoms, make sure you buy shirts with the correct collar size and loosen your tie for work, and swap to less restrictive t-shirts as often as you can.
Surprising health booster 4: Muscles
While many men hit the gym in order to improve their appearance, research has found that having a muscular body can also help you to live longer. A Swedish study tracked more than one million male adolescents over the course of 24 years, and found that those with stronger muscles lived longer than weaker males, even if they later became overweight. Experts stress that this is a reflection of general fitness though and should not encourage excessive weight training.
Lifting weights in moderation, however, does have its health benefits. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal of over 32,000 men found that 30 minutes of weights a day, five times a week, could reduce the risk of diabetes by 34 per cent.
Surprising health booster 5: Housework
According to research, men are not only happier when they do housework, they also experience better health. A study by researchers at Cambridge University suggests that men feel guilty when they don’t do their fair share around the home, and also enjoy the peace and quiet gained from having a contented partner when they help out. According to a study conducted by researchers at Umea University in Sweden, men who avoid doing their fair share of housework are more likely to suffer from psychological problems and heart palpitations.
Keeping your home clean and tidy could also help you to stay fit and keep off those extra pounds. According to a poll on household chores, the average person walks more than 22 miles and burns off 50,000 calories a year while cleaning their home, making it a great addition to your normal workout routine.
10 health mistakes most men make
From workouts to healthy diets, many of us make an effort to look after ourselves. However, we could be compromising our health on a daily basis without even knowing it. From bottling things up to eating fast food, here are the top 10 male habits you should try to break.
Although women are rapidly catching up with men in the drinking stakes, binge drinking is still more common among men than women, and there are consistently higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations in men. Binge drinking not only affects long term health, but it puts your immediate safety at risk and can also lead to rapid weight gain. To safeguard your health, it’s important to stick to recommended limits and drink in moderation.
Avoiding the doctor
Research by the charity Men’s Health Forum has revealed that men are 20 per cent less likely than women to visit their doctor, despite the fact that they have shorter life spans than women and are more likely to die from cancer. While visiting the doctor is rarely a pleasant experience, diagnosing most illnesses early increases rates of survival, so stop ignoring those symptoms and give your doctor a call.
Not doing self-checks
Just like with visiting the doctor, many men avoid doing necessary health self-checks due to fear, denial of the risks, or confusion over what to do. However, it is vital that men check themselves regularly for signs of testicular cancer, as incidence of the disease is on the rise, particularly in young and middle-aged men. If you are not sure how to go about checking yourself, visit a reputable website or ask your doctor for tips on performing these necessary checks.
Bottling things up
On the whole, men are less likely than women to talk about their feelings, express emotion or ask for help and support. Perhaps as a consequence of this, men are half as likely to be diagnosed with depression, yet are 77 per cent more likely to commit suicide. Depressed men are also twice as likely as depressed women to resort to alcohol and drug abuse. Bottling up anger is just as detrimental to men’s health, with research suggesting that men who don’t express their anger increase their risk of a heart attack.
Stressing over work
While men and women are equally exposed to workplace stress, according to a survey of 3,000 workers by Medicash, men are four times more likely than women to take a sick day due to work related stress and are twice as likely to turn to alcohol to help deal with it. As workplace stress can be an important factor in the development of depression, heart disease and stroke, it is vital to seek a way to resolve your feelings and ease your stress; whether it is by talking to your boss, changing your job or seeking professional help.
Taking hot baths
Many men enjoying soaking in the tub, but for all those trying to conceive it may be time to swap those long baths for showers. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, found through their three-year study that having hot baths can significantly reduce male fertility. As sperm develop best in cool surroundings, men should avoid any activity that leads to overheating this area, including sitting in hot tubs or Jacuzzis and regular, prolonged use of laptops.
Not applying sun cream
Although skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, multiple research studies have shown that few of us regularly wear sunscreen, and that men are the worst offenders. According to a poll by ABCNEWS.com, 53 per cent of women use sunscreen at least sometimes, compared to just 36 per cent of men. Worryingly, more than six in 10 men admitted to rarely or never applying sunscreen. However, with many men spending significant time outdoor for sports, work or leisure, it is vital to cover up with appropriate clothing and sun cream before heading outside.
Poor bathroom hygiene
Do you wash your hands after you’ve visited the bathroom? According to a study by the American Society for Microbiology and the Soap and Detergent Association, one in three men don’t! Not washing your hands is the quickest way to spread germs and infection, so protect your health and those around you by making sure you lather up before leaving the bathroom.
Not brushing their teeth
According to a study by the American Dental Association, only 66 per cent of men brush their teeth twice or more a day, compared to 86 per cent of women. Furthermore, research findings published in the Journal of Periodontology showed that women are almost twice as likely to have regular dental checkups than men. Failing to look after your pearly whites is not only bad news for your teeth and gums; research has shown that gum disease can increase risk of heart disease, erectile dysfunction and dementia.
Eating fast food and takeaways
In today’s fast food culture, many of us are guilty of hampering our weight loss by indulging in too much junk food, and this is particularly true for men. A survey by Pew Research Center revealed that 47 per cent of men eat in a fast food restaurant at least weekly, compared to 35 per cent of women. With an average takeaway containing over half your recommended daily calories and copious amounts of salt, do your health a favor by cutting back on takeaways and replacing with home-cooked meals.
5 things every man gets wrong
5 things every man gets wrong
Abs mistakes you make
A rock-hard, defined six-pack is something most men strive for. If you want a killer six-pack make sure you don’t skip your cardio sessions. Many men do when they are trying to get a six-pack, yet cardio training will help you lose that layer of fat that is currently disguising your abdominal muscles. Try to do between three and six aerobic training sessions a week, spending between 20 to 60 minutes per session doing these exercises. By doing this you will get rid of stored calories and eventually lose that belly fat that’s stopping you from getting the six-pack of your dreams.
Another mistake men make when it comes to their abs is to do with the amount of time they spend working out. A study conducted by the University of Arkansas found that those people who worked hard for short periods of time lost more abdominal fat in three months than those that worked less hard, but for longer. So if you’ve been committing to long sessions, think about cutting back and doing more in less time. Supersets or interval training are perfect exercises to try if you want to give this a go.
Weightlifting mistakes you make
To get all of the benefits out of weightlifting you need to make sure you are taking breaks between your sets. If you do not take breaks, or don’t take breaks for long enough, you won’t get the most out of your body or the session.
This is because rest periods between sets allow your phosphagen levels to recover, which in turn enables you to have more muscular force when you next lift compared to if you had not rested. Similarly, long rest periods (between three to five minutes long) are thought to be good for those lifting heavy weights because a longer rest period can result in higher testosterone levels.
So, rest periods are great because they allow your phosphagen and testosterone levels to recover, which means you are able to lift more for longer. If you are going to start taking rests between sets make sure you change the amount of time you rest for to suit the exercise you are doing, as different lifts require different breaks.
Diet mistakes you make
If you don’t eat enough protein you are making a big diet mistake. Every man needs protein. In fact it is recommended that men should eat 56 grams of protein each day and the Institute of Medicine suggests at least 10 per cent of your daily calories should derive from protein sources. Protein is so important because it is responsible for maintaining and building muscles. It also keeps you feeling fuller for longer. This means you won’t be so tempted to snack on unhealthy foods between meals and need to eat less at meal times. Meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese and nuts are all excellent sources of protein. Be careful though, too much protein can negatively affect key body parts, such as your liver or your kidneys, so stick to that 56 gram recommendation.
Another diet mistake you may be making is skipping red meat altogether. In recent years there has been a lot of bad press around red meat and many believe it to be an unhealthy option. Yet red meat contains lots of nutrients and minerals that we need. For example, red meat is very high in iron and with new trimming techniques it has been found that red meat is leaner than it has been in the past. Although you shouldn’t eat too much red meat (the World Cancer Research Fund found that we should not eat more than 500g of red meat each week) a nice, fresh steak or a pork dish now and again can be good for you.
Running mistakes you make
Most runners worry about the effect running can have on their bodies, in particular their knees. If you’re one such runner and you work out on a treadmill in an effort to avoid the negative side effects running on harder surfaces can have on your body, you are making a running mistake. Running on a treadmill does not put less strain on your knees. Instead of using a treadmill you should mix your running sessions with other cardio-based exercises, such as cycling or swimming. Varying your workouts will help reduce risk of injury and wear.
Another running mistake you may make is running steadily in all of your sessions. Running steadily is great for your endurance, but it doesn’t help you to run faster and you need to mix up your sessions, running some steadily and some quickly. Interval training is the perfect way to mix up your running workouts and ensure you progress.
Stretching mistakes you make
Do you stretch before a workout? If you do then you’re doing something wrong. Stretching before a workout is not beneficial and can damage your body. This is because stretching destabilises your muscles and therefore if you are doing an exercise that requires a certain level of stability, such as weightlifting, then you will struggle. Equally, stretching prior to a workout is bad because your muscles are cold and inelastic, meaning that stretching them could result in an injury.
Instead of stretching before your workout you should stretch afterwards and do a warm-up before rather than stretching – your muscles will be grateful.
How to Avoid Life’s Big Fat Traps
Sarah Kehoe/Fitness MagazineBy Joanne Chen
It’s been a crazy-busy couple of weeks. You step on the scale one morning and, yikes, you’ve gained five pounds. How the heck did that happen? New research shows that what you weigh isn’t just the result of eating too much and exercising too little; it’s also linked to your feelings, your experiences, even where you live. “Any change in your life circumstances can produce changes in eating and exercise, which leads to weight gain,” says Edward Abramson, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology at California State University in Chico and author of Emotional Eating. Getting married and having kids are obvious triggers for putting on pounds, but there are other, more surprising transition points that can also influence your weight. This guide will see you through them all.
Related: 10 Strategies to Lose Fat for Good
You got a promotion.
The good news: You love your new gig. The bad news: The big job is calling for a wardrobe in a bigger size. Chalk it up to stress, which prompts our bodies to release the hormones glucocorticoids and insulin, which stimulate hunger.
Hectic, tense situations can also spark a cascade of neurochemical reactions in the brain that favor emotional impulses over logical thinking, says Mary Dallman, PhD, professor emerita of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, who published a review paper on the topic. That means we ignore the voice that tells us to eat healthily, and we turn to high-calorie comfort foods instead. Thanks to your jam-packed schedule, you may be grabbing unwholesome convenience foods during the day — and then gobbling a ginormous dinner after you flop, exhausted, onto your couch at night.
Outsmart it: Bring a high-protein, produce-rich lunch (turkey-citrus salad, for instance); fiber- and protein-filled snacks (almonds and a peach, or Greek yogurt and berries) and, if need be, dinner, so you’re not forced to visit the vending machine when hunger strikes or chow down like a lumberjack when you get home. The key is to choose foods that are satisfying. Since most of us prefer something warm for dinner, Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers, a nutrition and weight-loss consulting service in New York City, suggests bringing a meal that’s easily microwaved. Try a sweet potato with spinach and sliced chicken or a frozen vegetable-and-brown-rice bowl.
And make time for exercise. We know, we know, you’re too swamped. But consider this: Working out will make you more energized and productive and help reduce stress, countless studies show. If you don’t have time to hit the gym, squeeze in bursts of activity throughout your day: Go for a brisk 15-minute walk at lunch. Do some turbocharged jumping jacks while you’re photocopying a memo or waiting for your dinner to cook. In a study, people boosted their metabolism when they did four to six 30-second high-intensity sprints on a stationary bike six times over the course of two weeks. And stand up and walk around for five minutes at least once an hour. Your fat-burning enzymes shut down when you sit too long, according to research. By moving frequently, you keep your major muscles working, which may ward off the negative effects of being sedentary.
Finally, get more sleep. Lack of shut-eye stimulates the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. “If you’re stressed and sleep deprived, you’re creating a perfect storm for gaining weight,” says Sherry Pagoto, PhD, assistant professor of preventive and behavioral medicine at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in Worcester. Turn off the TV and the computer and go to bed a half hour earlier.
You Quit Smoking
Congratulations: You ditched those cigarettes! But now your jeans are feeling snug. Blame it partly on the fact that your system is free of nicotine, a stimulant that suppresses the appetite. The other culprit: You may have a newfound appreciation of food, says Karen Cropsey, clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In studies, recent quitters often report that food tastes better — probably because they can breathe easier (taste buds are affected by olfactory cells). Former smokers may also start substituting food for cigarettes. That can result in an average weight gain of 10 pounds after about six months, Cropsey says. Giving up alcohol may produce a similar effect: A recent report in the journal Addictive Behaviors found that alcoholics in recovery often have a sweet tooth.
Outsmart it: Skip the fatty foods and concentrate on nutritious choices, like whole-grain pastas, breads, and cereals; vegetables and fruits; lean meat; fish; and dairy. After six months of healthy eating, you’ll generally drop to within a few pounds of your prequitting weight, Cropsey says.
Also, take advantage of your improved lung capacity and energy levels and set new fitness goals. Train for a 10K. Try a new sport, like tennis. Or follow the lead of Christine Stewart, a stay-at-home mom who gave up all alcohol almost a year ago, started a regular program of walking, yoga, and weight lifting, and has lost 35 pounds. To keep herself motivated and successful, Christine puts a sticker on her calendar for each day that she works out. “My goal is to see every square covered by the end of the month,” she says.
Oops, You Were Injured
One minute you’re happily racing down a mountain trail on your bike. The next? Splat! You’re on the ground after hitting a tree root. As you count the weeks that your ankle is in a splint, your bathroom scale is counting the pounds that have crept on since the accident. “Many patients are so focused on the injury, they forget that they need to take care of the rest of their body, too,” says Matthew Buchanan, MD, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon in Falls Church, Virginia.
It’s hard to predict exactly how much weight you will gain while you’re on the mend, because there are so many complicating factors. But one thing is certain: Your cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength will drop if you don’t do at least some activity.
Outsmart it: If it’s okay with your doctor, hobble over to the gym or roll out a mat at home and do whatever exercise you can. “That may mean getting on the rowing machine or jogging in the pool,” says Dr. Buchanan, who believes that unless your injury is catastrophic, the best thing you can do for your body is work out.
Don’t be discouraged if you have to take it slower and easier. Shirley Chan, a mom of two and a longtime runner, turned to walking when she partially tore two ligaments in her ankle. “It was hard at first, but I tried to keep things in perspective,” she says. “It wasn’t the level of activity I was accustomed to, but I knew I had to do something in order not to fall too far behind in my fitness goals.” After several months with her leg in a boot, she had gained just three pounds, which she easily worked off by running once she’d recovered fully.
The other benefit of exercise, of course, is the mood boost. As little as 11 minutes of exercise a day improved the mental health and vitality of sedentary people in a Louisiana State University study. “A positive frame of mind will enhance your healing process,” says Martha Peaslee Levine, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics, psychiatry, and humanities at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “From a mental standpoint, this is one of the most important times in your life to work out.”
It wasn’t in the lease, but along with more square footage, you gained poundage. It could be that there are fewer sidewalks near your new home, so you’re walking less. Or maybe a burger joint is now closer to you than the supermarket. In other words, geography can make a big difference in weight. The more places a community has that are conducive to physical activity (bike trails, fitness centers, pools), the more likely college grads are to exercise sufficiently, a 2009 Canadian study found. It’s no surprise, then, that Cassandra Marshall, a television producer, gained more than 10 pounds when she relocated from Brooklyn to Chicago. “I didn’t just move away from my apartment; I also moved away from my favorite yoga studio,” she says. “My hours turned out to be crazy, and fatty, high-cal foods were the most accessible.”
Even if your new neighborhood has a gym, moving can affect your weight. “It may disrupt your social network,” explains Daniel Russell, PhD, professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University in Ames. For instance, you may be moving away from your running buddy. “Part of what motivates you is your friends,” Russell says.
Outsmart it: Moving is hectic, so even before the van’s loaded up, stake out your new hood to find healthy eating spots, running trails, and gyms. Look for nearby running, walking, or yoga groups so you can meet others who enjoy the same workouts you do, Russell says. Marshall eventually located a Bikram studio nearby and got her body back in six months. “I was much happier, I had more stamina at work — and I could enjoy my life again,” she says.
Related: 10 Skinny Foods to Always Have in Your Kitchen
You Lost Your Job
Being laid off is bad enough, but trying to find work in a tough economy can render you doubly disheartened. This kind of major stressor alters your appetite and eating habits, says Jeffrey Mechanick, MD, an endocrinologist and clinical professor of medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Even if you would normally choose healthy foods, you’re likely to start wolfing down cookies, candy, and french fries now, physiology professor Dallman says, thanks to the stress hormones glucocorticoids, which have been linked in studies to a higher consumption of fat and sugar.
Not only that, but when you’re depressed you can’t help but engage in a process of rumination, when you repeatedly watch that mental video clip in which you get fired and then wonder, What on earth am I going to do now? says Paul Andrews, postdoctorate fellow at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics in Richmond. Such wallowing seems much more palatable with pound cake.
Outsmart it: Set aside your plate and pick up a pen and paper and write down what you’re thinking and feeling. “In the long term, this kind of writing therapy gives you greater insight into the situation and can help you resolve it,” Andrews says. For instance, if you were laid off because of restructuring, it allows you to vent your anger. In a study in which newly unemployed subjects wrote about how they felt concerning their job loss, their efforts to find new employment or nothing at all, the group who wrote about their feelings were most likely to be hired in the following months. “Writing down their frustrations and traumas allowed people to better assess their situation, needs, and goals — and they were able to adjust their job search accordingly,” says study coauthor James Pennebaker, PhD, professor and chair of the department of psychology at the University of Texas in Austin. For the best results, he suggests writing down your deepest thoughts for 15 minutes daily on at least three consecutive days. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling; just get your emotions out. After a few days you’ll feel a sense of closure and renewed energy.
Meanwhile, use some of your free time to exercise. Job seekers report that revving up their fitness routines lifted their spirits, helped them lose weight, lowered their stress levels, and made them feel stronger and more self-confident overall. Working out may also make your brain better able to adapt to new experiences, recent research shows. “Even a little exercise can tame the brain’s anxiety,? says Timothy Church, MD, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
When you eat more important than what you eat, claims study
It’s a question that obesity experts have long puzzled over: Can when you eat affect your ability to lose weight?
A new study conducted in Spain is claiming that those who eat their main meal earlier in the day will have an easier time dropping pounds than those who eat a big meal later on, reports the Toronto Star.
“Eating late may influence the success of weight-loss therapy,” write the researchers. “Novel theraputic strategies should incorporate not only caloric intake and macronutrient distribution — as is classically done — but also the timing of the food.”
However, not everyone in the medical community is an agreement.
“The conclusion of this study is a bit of a leap,” says Rena Mendelson, a professor of nutrition at Ryerson University.
She says the idea that the timing of food intake can affect weight loss is only a theory at this point.
“I don’t think it’s a very strong paper.”
The study, Timing of Food Intake Predicts Weight Loss Effectiveness, was conducted by Spanish and American researchers at Spain’s University of Murcia, Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Researchers monitored the diets of 420 overweight Spaniards over a 20-week weight-loss treatment. They divided subjects into two groups: those who ate their main meal of the day before 3 p.m., and those who ate it after 3 p.m. They considered a wide range of other variables, including energy intake and expenditure, appetite hormones and sleep duration. They also looked for something called a CLOCK genotype, a specific gene that has been associated with obesity in previous research.
As the experiment progressed past the five-week point, the later eaters began to display a slower weight-loss rate, and ultimately lost less weight than the early eaters.
While the results of the study may sound convincing, Mendelson points out that there are several confounding variables that make it difficult to say whether it was specifically the meal time that caused the early eaters to lose more weight.
For one, there were more women in the late eaters group, and women typically have a harder time shedding pounds. The early eaters were also described as morning people, who started their days earlier — a significant lifestyle difference that could be impacting weight loss.
Mendelson also notes that there is no data on the distribution of other meals, all we know is that the total caloric intake was the same in the two groups. Maybe the morning eaters ate in patterns that boosted their metabolism.
And lastly, the subjects were always weighed in the evening, which for some of the late eaters may have been right after they’d eaten their biggest meal of the day.
The study also found that the late eaters were more likely to have a specific gene variation that has been associated with obesity. It seems logical that this might be contributing to the group’s difficulties losing weight.
“We also need to consider that the study took place in Spain, where the day is structured very differently,” says Mendelson.
Even if early eating was an effective weight loss strategy in Spain, it might not work the same way in North America.
Also see: Influenza sorbet, anyone?
A new study suggests that eating a big meal later in the day will make it harder to drop pounds. (Thinkstock)
“There are several plausible explanations for these very interesting results,” says Nick Bellissimo, an assistant professor and the director of the Food Intake Regulation & Satiety Testing Laboratory at Ryerson University.
Bellissimo notes that the later eaters also tended to skip breakfast.
“It is well established in the literature that this behaviour is associated with increased risk of obesity and unhealthy body weights,” says Bellissimo.
“The other obvious factor that may explain the lower body weights among early lunch eaters is that the residual effect of breakfast impacts food intake at the next meal,” says Bellissimo. “You eat less because of the physiologic satiety signals from breakfast are still present at lunch.”
So while this paper does bring to light the many complex factors that interact to affect weight loss, it doesn’t prove that eating your main meal before 3 p.m. will make you skinny.
For Bellissimo, it makes sense to stick with the factors we know will influence weight loss, without discrediting the information this study brings to light.
“The main recommendation would be to avoid the things we definitely know contribute to weight gain, like high-fat diets and breakfast skipping,” says Bellissimo.
Antibiotic ‘apocalypse’ warning
By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News
The rise in drug resistant infections is comparable to the threat of global warming, according to the chief medical officer for England.
Prof Dame Sally Davies said bacteria were becoming resistant to current drugs and there were few antibiotics to replace them.
She told a committee of MPs that going for a routine operation could become deadly due to the threat of infection.
Experts said it was a global problem and needed much more attention.
Antibiotics have been one of the greatest success stories in medicine. However, bacteria are a rapidly adapting foe which find new ways to evade drugs.
MRSA rapidly became one of the most feared words in hospitals wards and there are growing reports of resistance in strains of E. coli, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea.
Prof Davies said: “It is clear that we might not ever see global warming, the apocalyptic scenario is that when I need a new hip in 20 years I’ll die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics.”
She said there was only one useful antibiotic left to treat gonorrhoea.
“It is very serious, and it’s very serious because we are not using our antibiotics effectively in countries.
We have to be aware that we aren’t going to have new wonder drugs coming along because there just aren’t any.”
Prof Hugh Pennington University of Aberdeen
“There is a broken market model for making new antibiotics, so it’s an empty pipeline, so as they become resistant, these bugs, which they would naturally but we’re breeding them in because of the way antibiotics are used, there will not be new antibiotics to come.”
Possible solutions will be included in her annual report to be published in March.
The World Health Organization has warned the world is heading for a “post-antibiotic era” unless action is taken.
It paints a future in which “many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, kill unabated”.
Prof Hugh Pennington, a microbiologist from the University of Aberdeen, said drug resistance was “a very, very serious problem”.
“We do need to pay much more attention to it. We need resources for surveillance, resources to cope with the problem and to get public information across.
But he said it was not a problem entirely of the UK’s making.
“People are going abroad for operations, going abroad for, let’s say, sex tourism and bringing home gonorrhoea which is a big problem in terms of antibiotic resistance – and then there’s tuberculosis in many parts of the world.
Prof Pennington said the drugs companies had run out of options too as all the easy drugs had been made.
“We have to be aware that we aren’t going to have new wonder drugs coming along because there just aren’t any.”
Fight common male cancers with these foods
Tomatoes and garlic are both proven cancer fighters. (Thinkstock)Cancer diagnoses are all too common. Most men know someone who’s been personally affected by the disease. According to Cancer.ca, roughly 45 per cent of men will develop it in their lifetime and cancer has already surpassed diseases of the heart as the main cause of death among Canadians in 2007.
But there are a number of foods packed with nutrients known to fight cancer. A look at some of the most common cancers among men and the best eats to arm your self against the life-threatening illness:
For the prostate: Go for garlic
According to research by Cancer.ca, the most common cancer among men (apart from non-melanoma skin cancer) is prostrate cancer. Though it might not help your breath, garlic is thought to help prevent the disorder. Men’s Health UK highlighted a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that made the case for eating about three cloves a day. They found that men that did had a 50 per cent lower risk of prostate cancer than those who chowed down on less than 2 grams.
For the lungs: Something fishy
Though lung cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among both men and women, rates are higher among guys. Carnivores with a weakness for cigarettes should take note of research cite in Reader’s Digest: the combination of smoking and animal fats appears to promote lung cancer. However, the omega-3 fatty acids prevalent in foods like salmon, sardines and mackerel “appears to minimize the effect.” Better yet, just ditch the tobacco habit altogether.
For the colon: Fiber’s your friend
In the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has listed colon and rectum cancer the third most prevalent cancer among men. Sure, it may be located in an embarrassing part of your body, but the Center believes rates could be “cut by as much as 60% if all people aged 50 years or older received regular screening tests.” Fiber has long been touted as one of the best ways to keep digestive health in check, but it need not be limited to bland breakfast cereals. Realage.com suggests eating more Mexican-inspired dishes: high-fibre foods like beans and brown rice can help fend off colon polyps which can lead to colon cancer.
For the bladder: Tomato power
Next on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention list of most common cancers among men is cancer of the bladder. Fortunately, tomatoes are one of the best foods you can eat to prevent both bladder and prostrate cancer. Livestrong.com points out that the it is one of the few foods stocked with the antioxidant lycopene, which is thought to reduce the risk of bladder cancer. Though fresh tomatoes contain more of the antioxidant, we can’t help but think a garlicky tomato sauce on top on high-fibre pasta would make for an excellent, cancer-fighting entrée.
7 Nutrients that Boost Muscle Tone
by Charlotte Andersen
Boost muscle tone by loading up your diet with these healthy foods.Calories aren’t the only things that count when it comes to a jaw-dropping body: If you aren’t eating the right nutrients, you aren’t going to slim down or build strong, sexy muscles.
See, every time you curl or press, you’re actually breaking down your muscles, causing microtears in the fibers. It’s when you’re resting that your body rebuilds and strengthens your muscles-and in order do so, they need the proper fuel, including these seven vitamins and minerals, identified by experts as a sort of menu for muscle. Follow the pros’ recommendations for getting your daily dose of each through food or supplements, and you’ll see and feel a difference from head to toe.
1. Vitamin C: Adding color to your plate may help you add definition to your arms. Vitamin C-found in all fruits and vegetables-”is responsible for the health of the blood vessels, which support the muscles’ needs for oxygen and nutrients,” says John Cuomo, Ph.D., of USANA Health Sciences, a company that develops and manufactures nutritional supplements. And the better stocked your muscles are, the better they can work and the quicker they recover. Orthopedic surgeon Leon Popovitz, M.D., of NY Bone and Joint Specialists, adds that vitamin C is a building block of collagen, a material that your body then uses to build bones and muscles.
How much? The National Institutes of Health recommends 75 mg daily, which you can get from a medium orange, half a red bell pepper, or a cup of strawberries.
2. Fish oil: With the ability to enhance the effects of weight training by increasing blood flow to the muscles, reducing muscle protein breakdown, and decreasing inflammation for faster recovery, Cuomo says we should think of omega 3s-the fatty acids found in fish oil-as a secret weapon for toning up. It doesn’t hurt that omega-3 fatty acids also improve insulin sensitivity, which helps prevent diabetes.
How much? The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, or albacore tuna) each week. If fish make you gag, consider a 1,000- to 3,000-milligram (mg) supplement of DHA and EPA a daily. Vegetarians and vegans can find omega-3s in flax seed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and algae-based supplements.
3. Calcium: “Calcium is one of the two most important nutrients our body needs for healthy and strong bones and muscles,” Dr. Popovitz says. Every time you lift a dumbbell, your muscle contracts, and this mineral gives muscles that cue to contract-and, therefore, grow.
How much? Dr. Popovitz recommends at least 1,200 mg a day. You can get your daily dose through foods like dairy products, green veggies, and fortified dairy-free milk, or a supplement. If you prefer a pill, choose one with D, which your body needs to absorb calcium. Stick to supplements with 500 to 600 mg of calcium and take them hours apart, as your body can only take in that much at a time.
4. Magnesium: While true magnesium deficiency is rare in the U.S., Dr. Popovitz says most women don’t get enough of this mineral. Not good since it keeps things humming when it comes to your muscles, in particular ensuring that your heart is thumping at a steady beat. Bonus: It’s great for helping alleviate muscle cramps and soreness, whether you’re achy from weight lifting or PMS.
How much? The National Institutes of Health recommends 310 to 320 mg a day, but Dr. Popovitz says there’s no harm increasing your intake to 400 mg if you are lifting weights three or more days a week. In addition to supplements, you can find magnesium in spinach, nuts, legumes, and whole grains, or soak it in via a relaxing epsom salt bath.
5. B Vitamins: This gang includes B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), and B12 (cobalamin), each essential for overall health but become even more important when you’re actively trying to grow muscle and get stronger, Cuomo says, as Bs play a role in everything from protein metabolism and energy production to maintaining healthy nerves and breaking down fat and carbs.
How much? Most people consume adequate amounts of the Bs through their diets, as these vitamins are found in foods such as whole grains, eggs, lean meats, legumes, nuts, leafy greens, and fortified cereals. However, B12 is only found in animal sources, so vegetarians and vegans may want to consider taking a supplement or using fortified foods and drinks to obtain 2.4 micrograms (mcg) daily.
6. Calcium: From scientists in ivory towers to your corner pharmacist, it seems everyone is touting the powers of the “sunshine” vitamin. Its list of potential powers includes boosting mood, immunity, and muscle. “Vitamin D is required for muscular contraction, function, and growth,” Cuomo says. It’s also essential for bone growth and strength, and since skeletal muscles need a strong base to build off of, you can’t neglect your D.
How much? Ideally you’d get adequate D through sun exposure, but then you’d have to worry about skin cancer. Take a supplement of 4,000 to 6,000 international units (IU) of D3 every day instead, Cuomo recommends, and if you are concerned, see your doctor for a simple blood test to measure you D levels and determine if you are deficient and need a higher dosage.
RELATED: The Best Non-Diet Diets
7. Vitamin E: The handful of almonds you reach for after a workout not only provides protein, healthy fats, and fiber, it’s also a good source of vitamin E. “This antioxidant helps cell membrane recovery from oxidative stress, such as exercise,” Cuomo says. And the fast your muscles recover, the faster they’ll grow.
How much? This is definitely one case where more is not better, as doses above 300 mg daily may lead to nausea, stomach pain, weakness, or even death. Stick closer to the recommended 15 mg a day by skipping supplements and eating nuts and seeds.
Children ‘may grow out of autism’
By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online
Some young children accurately diagnosed as autistic lose their symptoms and their diagnosis as they get older, say US researchers.
The findings of the National Institutes of Health study of 112 children appears to challenge the widely held belief that autism is a lifelong condition.
While not conclusive, the study, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, suggests some children might possibly outgrow autism.
But experts urge caution.
Much more work is needed to find out what might explain the findings.
Dr Deborah Fein and her team at the University of Connecticut studied 34 children who had been diagnosed with autism in early childhood but went on to function as well as 34 other children in their classes at school.
Although the diagnosis of autism is not usually lost over time, the findings suggest that there is a very wide range of possible outcomes”
Dr Thomas Insel Director of the National Institute of Mental Health
On tests – cognitive and observational, as well as reports from the children’s parents and school – they were indistinguishable from their classroom peers. They now showed no sign of problems with language, face recognition, communication or social interaction.
For comparison, the researchers also studied another 44 children of the same age, sex and non-verbal IQ level who had had a diagnosis of “high-functioning” autism – meaning they were deemed to be less severely affected by their condition.
It became clear that the children in the optimal outcome group – the ones who no longer had recognisable signs of autism – had had milder social deficits than the high-functioning autism group in early childhood, although they did have other autism symptoms, like repetitive behaviours and communication problems, that were as severe.
The researchers went back and checked the accuracy of the children’s original diagnosis, but found no reason to suspect that they had been inaccurate.
Label for life?
The researchers say there are a number of possible explanations for their findings.
It might be that some children genuinely outgrow their condition. Or perhaps some can compensate for autism-related difficulties.
Dr Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said: “Although the diagnosis of autism is not usually lost over time, the findings suggest that there is a very wide range of possible outcomes.
- People with autism usually have difficulties with social communication, social interaction and social imagination
- It is a spectrum condition meaning while all people with autism share certain difficulties, the condition affects them differently
- There are over 500,000 people with autism in the UK – that’s one in every 100
- There is no cure but there are a range of interventions available
Source: NHS Choices
“Subsequent reports from this study should tell us more about the nature of autism and the role of therapy and other factors in the long term outcome for these children.”
It could be that autism cannot always be accurately defined or diagnosed, particularly since the condition affects people in different ways.
Indeed, experts have disagreed about what autism is.
The American Psychiatric Association is currently revising its diagnostic manual – the “bible” for doctors that lists every psychiatric disorder and their symptoms.
Its new version proposes changes he UK’s National Autistic Society says could affect the way diagnoses will be given to people on the autism spectrum.
With intensive therapy and support, it’s possible for a small sub-group of high functioning individuals with autism to learn coping behaviours and strategies which would ‘mask’ their underlying condition”
Dr Judith Gould National Autistic Society
Instead of using the current terms of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified), people will be given an umbrella diagnosis of “autism spectrum disorder”.
And their impairments will be reduced to two main areas – social communication/interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities.
Most diagnoses in the UK are based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), published by the World Health Organization, which is up for revision in 2015.
According to the National Autistic Society, more than one in every 100 people, more than 500,000 people in all, in the UK have autism.
About a fifth, an estimated 106,000, are school-aged children.
Dr Judith Gould, director of the National Autistic Society’s Lorna Wing Centre for Autism, said: “Autism is a lifelong disability affecting the way that people communicate and interact with others.
“This study is looking at a small sample of high functioning people with autism and we would urge people not to jump to conclusions about the nature and complexity of autism, as well its longevity.
“With intensive therapy and support, it’s possible for a small sub-group of high functioning individuals with autism to learn coping behaviours and strategies which would ‘mask’ their underlying condition and change their scoring in the diagnostic tests used to determine their condition in this research.
“This research acknowledges that a diagnosis of autism is not usually lost over time and it is important to recognise the support that people with autism need in order to live the lives of their choosing.”
She said getting a diagnosis could be a critical milestone for children with autism and their families, often helping parents to understand their children better and helping them to support their children in reaching their full potential.
Why Women Don’t (But Should) Lift Weights
Dec 05, 2012
Tap Water Pesticides Linked to Allergies
By Sydney Lupkin | ABC News Blogs – Mon, Dec 3, 2012 .
- Tap Water Pesticides Linked to …
As food allergies become increasingly common, a new study offers the first proof that they may be linked to pesticides found in tap water.
Researchers at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology used existing government data to see whether people with more dichlorophenols in their urine were more likely to have food allergies. Dichlorophenols are a kind of chlorine in certain pesticides that are known to kill bacteria, and in theory, they could be killing the naturally occurring bacteria in humans’ digestive systems, causing food allergies.
“We wanted to see if there was an association between certain pesticides and food allergies, and we were specifically interested in dichlorophenols because those were the ones that had this antibacterial effect,” said lead researcher Dr. Elina Jerschow. “When researchers have compared bacteria from the bowel in healthy kids versus bacteria in the bowel for kids that have lot of allergies, they’ve noticed a big difference.”
The number of children and teens with food or digestive allergies in the United States has increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007, according to a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s about 3 million people under 18 years old.
Eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat make up 90 percent of food allergies, according to the CDC report. Symptoms can range from mouth tingling to anaphylaxis, which is the swelling of the throat and tongue and can lead to death.
Jerschow clarified that the researchers were only looking for a statistical association, meaning they were not able to examine patients to see how these chemicals physically caused their allergies. Because it’s only an association, these findings could mean that the chemicals caused the food allergies, or it could mean the food allergies caused the chemicals in the urine. That part is not yet clear.
“While the study does not allow concluding that pesticides are responsible for the allergies, it certainly raises the possibility and justifies pursuing the kinds of studies that can help sort of if these pesticides are, indeed, the cause,” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, who directs the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center at North Shore University Hospital. He was not a researcher involved in the study.
Spaeth said the study findings fit in with a growing evidence that pesticide exposure can damage the immune system, which could increase allergies as well.
Researchers were surprised to find that dichlorophenol levels in urine didn’t vary between urban and rural areas, Jerschow said. They concluded that even those who opted for bottled water instead of tap water could ingest the pesticide chemical from eating fruit, fruit juices and foods with cocoa powder, like chocolate.
As such, Jerschow said the research is still too preliminary to suggest that Americans should change their eating or drinking habits.
How to Quickly Boost Your Testosterone
You’re no longer a ‘twenty-something.’ And you may be noticing some changes.
Maybe it’s taking longer to recover from workouts. Maybe you feel sluggish. Perhaps you’re looking in the mirror and noticing that fat tends to ‘stick’ to your ribs.
Your sexual performance may be starting to decline and you—and your partner—want the ‘youthful you’ to return to the bedroom.
What’s the issue?
It could be a decrease in testosterone.
Male testosterone production typically peaks at 30. After 30, natural testosterone production tends to decline by 1-3% a year. Maintaining an optimal testosterone level is vital for men who want to maintain strong overall health, libido, and well-being.
An article from Livestrong.com (which is run by the Lance Armstrong Foundation) states that declining testosterone levels can lead to a subtle yet gradual reduction in muscle density and strength.
And there’s a reason: testosterone helps a man’s body turn fat into energy. It’s a simple formula: lower testosterone means less energy. So lower testosterone levels can change a man’s body shape and rob a man of his natural energy.
Some men opt for costly testosterone replacement, strange workout supplements, or any number of other radical solutions.
It’s important for men to understand they can boost their natural testosterone levels with the help of the right dietary supplement. One of the most exciting developments in this field has been made by a team of dietary supplement researchers based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
After extensive research, this team has developed an all-natural supplement that triggers your body into increasing its levels of free testosterone. The supplement has just been launched and is called Nugenix. The key ingredient is Testofen® which is made from the rare Fenugreek plant. Testofen® is clinically proven to boost free testosterone levels, increase sex drive, and improve libido.
The proprietary Nugenix Testosterone Complex includes five additional ingredients to complement and augment the effectiveness of Testofen®. Nugenix is safe, effective, and can deliver stamina, strength, and libido improvements in just days. Although most users report seeing the best results after one to two weeks of usage.
Studies from Irvine, California and Queensland, Australia have shown strong and even spectacular results with the key ingredient in Nugenix, Testofen®. Benefits include increased sex drive, improved libido, and enhanced muscle mass. These benefits come from safely boosting natural testosterone levels.
Nugenix is manufactured in the United States under FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). GNC stores secured the exclusive retail rights to Nugenix’s US launch and it’s carried in GNC stores nationwide. Right now, the company that has developed Nugenix is providing samples to customers who qualify for them online.
10 New Flat-Belly Food Rules
These surprisingly simple flat-belly tricks will encourage your abs to come out of hi …For all the effort you’ve put into toning it–and for all the cupcakes you’ve given up to maintain it–your midsection should be as rock-hard as a diamond and just as much fun to show off. So why does it seem like your quest for a sexy stomach always hits a bump…right about belly-button level?
You’re not alone in feeling frustrated: Sixty-two percent of women say the body part they’re most self-conscious about is their belly. But don’t give up hope–just change your thinking. Turns out, some of the old food advice you’ve been following for years may actually be working against you, says Alan Aragon, a nutritionist in Westlake Village, California. The latest research is full of new culinary strategies for shrinking your stomach (and slimming down all over). After wading through the data to answer your most common questions, Aragon presents his core counsel.
The No-Crunch Ab Workout
Will eating smaller meals curb my hunger?
Contrary to what you’ve heard, the five-small-meals-a-day mantra doesn’t work for everyone. The new thinking? You’ll eat healthiest if you eat your way–meaning, if you prefer substantial meals fewer times a day, there’s no reason to force yourself to do the opposite, says Aragon. But while the number of meals doesn’t matter, their size does.
According to Purdue University researchers, the biggest problem with our noshing behavior is that snacks have become meals, and meals have become feasts. In the past 30 years, snack sizes have increased from 360 calories to a whopping 580! When you consider that the average woman snacks twice during each workday, you’re looking at almost 500 extra calories a day. In just two weeks, these oversize bites–no matter how “healthy” they are–can contribute to an extra pound of fat. The takeaway: However many times you eat, always make sure that you’re keeping an eye on your portions.
7 Ways to Stop Food Cravings
How do I know which fats are OK to eat?
It’s been scientifically proven: Eating fat helps you become slim, says Aragon. In fact, the Institute of Medicine recommends that fatty foods make up 20 to 35 percent of your total calories. This, of course, isn’t an invitation to head over to the nearest fast-food joint. You have to include the right fats–primarily monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) like nuts, avocados, and healthy oils–and stay away from processed foods that contain trans fats, such as baked goods. A report in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a MUFA-rich diet helped people lose small amounts of weight and body fat even when they didn’t change their calorie intake. What’s more, dieters who took a high-fat approach needed 25 fewer days to lose 10 pounds than those who used a high-carb approach, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University–and that was on a diet of 30 percent fat! So go ahead and indulge (in moderation) in fatty foods that are good for your body, including beef (top round and sirloin), pork, eggs (yolks too), and reduced-fat sour cream and cheese.
Is counting calories the only way to guarantee a flat stomach?
What matters most for shedding belly fat boils down to calories in versus calories out. For sure, counting those suckers at every meal will help you stay consistent with a healthy eating plan, says Aragon–but it isn’t necessary to lose weight. If worrying about Every. Single. Calorie. is stressing you out, put away the calculator (research shows that stress itself can cause you to stuff your face). Instead, fill your plate with whole, energy-dense foods, such as lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Because they pack a lot of nutrition into comparatively few calories, you’re able to eat more and feel full without expanding your waistline. For an example of how to combine specific foods into belly-flattening dishes, see Good Eats for Great Abs.
Aren’t protein shakes just for bodybuilders?
Don’t be fooled by labels featuring ripped, bulked-up dudes. Anyone, jock or not, can benefit from the belly-flattening power of protein powder. Opt for whey protein over soy: According to a study in The Journal of Nutrition, participants whose diets included whey protein for 23 weeks had less body fat and a smaller waist than those who consumed soy protein. In fact, as strange as it sounds, dieters who included whey protein in their eating plan doubled their fat loss compared with those who ate the same number of calories but didn’t drink any shakes. To reveal your abs once and for all, try including a whey protein shake once a day or at least a few times a week.
Do carbs cause tummy fat?
Despite what nearly every diet plan in the late ’90s led you to believe, carbs are not your enemy. Yes, if you overeat them, you’ll gain–just as with any other food. But when it comes to weight loss, your total calorie balance is what matters. If you eat more than you burn, the unused calories turn into fat that gets stored in your belly (and elsewhere), regardless of what particular foods those calories come from, says Aragon. That said, if just the sight of carb-heavy dishes melts your willpower into goo, avoiding them is the foolproof way to control your weight. More realistic, perhaps, is making sure most of your carbs are the complex kind found in whole grains and raw fruits and vegetables. Because these tend to fill you with fiber, it’s easier to eat them in controlled portions than it is with highly processed refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and rice.
Carbs You Should Avoid
I’m losing pounds but not inches. What’s wrong?
This usually means you’re not strength training or eating enough protein, says Aragon. Pick up some weights, and add six ounces of lean meat to your post-workout meal or mix two scoops of protein powder into a smoothie or yogurt. Each option yields about 40 grams of protein, the amount you need to lose fat while preserving metabolism-revving muscle.
Can I have dairy and still lose my belly?
Absolutely. In fact, cutting back on the amount of dairy you eat can signal your body to make more fat cells, according to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. When you don’t have enough calcium in your body, it tries to hold on to what’s there. This triggers the release of a compound called calcitriol, which increases the production of fat cells. If you want fewer fat cells, eating extra calcium suppresses calcitriol, which breaks down fat and makes your fat cells leaner and your tummy flatter. So enjoy the moo juice, yogurt, or a little cheese. Because dairy does tend to be high in calories, keep your portions small or stick to low-fat varieties. (The USDA recommends that women get three cups of low-fat dairy a day.)
Do artificial sweeteners really pack on pounds?
Nutritionists debate this topic as vigorously as politicos argue about tax hikes. There’s no direct link between consuming these sweeteners and gaining weight. Still, some research indicates that by providing you with the taste of a high-calorie meal without delivering the calories your brain expects, diet foods made with chemicals, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives can actually leave you craving more food, which causes you to overeat. And another reason to tone down your diet soda habit, says Aragon: Scientists at the University of Minnesota found that diet sodas and fake sugars may increase your risk for metabolic syndrome, which results in higher levels of belly fat, blood sugar, and cholesterol. So it’s a good idea to limit your intake to three or four servings a day at most (one packet of sugar substitute in your coffee is one serving; one can of diet soda is two). If your diet otherwise consists mainly of real foods, you can enjoy a little sweetener, whether it’s artificial or not.
The Truth About Fake Sugars
Will taking supplements help reveal my abs?
Most fat-loss pills are a waste of money, and many carry scary risks, says Aragon. The truth is, the fat loss caused by any supplement is minor and is even less significant in people who have a substantial amount of weight to lose, he says. The best and only real way to uncover your abs–permanently–is to focus on what you eat and how you exercise.
I always gorge after a workout. Bad habit?
This is actually the best time to have your largest meal of the day–as long as it’s a reasonable size and not a full-on feast. That’s because you’ve just reduced your body’s fuel reserves, and food can help aid your recovery. Plus, when your body is in a recovery state, incoming calories and nutrients stand a better chance of being absorbed by muscle tissue instead of being stored in fat tissue. If your goal is to curb uncontrollable hunger after a workout, try lean beef, poultry, or fish–protein-rich foods tend to be very filling. Pair that meat with whole-food, high-fiber carbohydrate sources such as beans. Fiber is another element that can help you feel satiated quickly.
Coconut oil could combat tooth decay
Coconut oil attacks the bacteria behind tooth decay and could be used in dental care products, according to research.
Scientists found that coconut oil which had been treated with enzymes stopped the growth of Streptococcus bacteria – a major cause of tooth decay.
Tooth decay affects 60% to 90% of children in industralised countries.
Speaking at the Society for General Microbiology’s conference, the Irish researchers say that coconut oil also attacks the yeast which causes thrush.
The research team from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland tested the impact of coconut oil, vegetable oil and olive oil in their natural states and when treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion.
The oils were then tested against Streptococcus bacteria which are common inhabitants of the mouth.
Only the enzyme-modified coconut oil showed an ability to inhibit the growth of most strains of the bacteria.
It is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection”
Dr Damien Brady Athlone Institute of Technology
It also attacked Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium which is a major cause of tooth decay.
It is thought that the breaking down of the fatty coconut oil by the enzymes turns it into acids which are active and effective against bacteria.
Previous research found that enzyme-modified milk could stop Streptococcus mutans from binding to tooth enamel.
Researchers now want to look at how coconut oil interacts with Streptococcus bacteria at the molecular level and which other strains of harmful bacteria it can inhibit.
Dr Damien Brady who led the research at the Athlone Institute of Technology with Patricia Hughes, a Masters student, said coconut oil could be an attractive alternative to chemical additives.
“It works at relatively low concentrations.
“Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection.”
Their studies are also looking into the workings of antibacterial activity in the human gut.
“Our data suggests that products of human digestion show antimicrobial activity. This could have implications for how bacteria colonise the cells lining the digestive tract and for overall gut health,” said Dr Brady.
Vitamin B3 ‘helps kill superbugs’
Vitamin B3 could be the new weapon in the fight against superbugs such as MRSA, researchers have suggested.
US experts found B3, also known as nicotinamide, boosts the ability of immune cells to kill Staphylococcus bacteria.
B3 increases the numbers and efficacy of neutrophils, white blood cells that can kill and eat harmful bugs.
The study, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could lead to a “major change in treatment”, a UK expert said.
B3 was tested on Staphylococcal infections, such as the potentially fatal MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
Such infections are found in hospitals and nursing homes, but are also on the rise in prisons, the military and among athletes.
The scientists used extremely high doses of B3 – far higher than that obtained from dietary sources – in their tests, carried out both on animals and on human blood.
I cannot see why this couldn’t be used straight away in infected patients”
Prof Mark Enright, University of Bath
And the researchers say there is as yet no evidence that dietary B3 or supplements could prevent or treat bacterial infections.
The researchers say B3 appears to be able to “turn on” certain antimicrobial genes, boosting the immune cells’ killing power.
Prof Adrian Gombart, of Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, who worked on the research, said: “This is potentially very significant, although we still need to do human studies.
“Antibiotics are wonder drugs, but they face increasing problems with resistance by various types of bacteria, especially Staphylococcus aureus.
“This could give us a new way to treat Staph infections that can be deadly, and might be used in combination with current antibiotics.
“It’s a way to tap into the power of the innate immune system and stimulate it to provide a more powerful and natural immune response.”
Prof Mark Enright, of the University of Bath, said: “Neutrophils are really the front line against infections in the blood and the use of nicotinamide seems safe at this dose to use in patients as it is already licensed for use.
“This could cause a major change in treatment for infections alongside conventional antibiotics to help bolster patients immune system.
“I would like to see in patient clinical trials but cannot see why this couldn’t be used straight away in infected patients.”
Walnuts ‘improve sperm health’
By Anna-Marie Lever Health reporter, BBC News
Eating around two handfuls of walnuts a day improves sperm health in young men, a study in the journal Biology of Reproduction suggests.
Sperm shape, movement and vitality improved in men who added walnuts to their diet over 12 weeks.
The fatty acids found in these nuts are thought to have helped sperm development. It is not known if this would help improve male fertility.
About one in six couples are infertile, with 40% of these due to a male factor.
Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield said: “It would be relatively easy to poke fun at studies like this, but there is increasing evidence to show that aspects of a man’s diet can affect the number and quality of sperm produced by his testicles.”
The researchers say the next step is to work with couples who are attending infertility clinics to determine if placing sub-fertile men, with poor semen quality, on a walnut diet results in better success conceiving.
Walnuts provide a rich source of omega-3, which we suspect may have been responsible for the improvements we observed.”
Catherine Carpenter UCLA Centre for Human Nutrition
It is thought that infertility in men may be a result of too few sperm being made, or that the sperm have poor swimming ability, size or shape.
This study involved 117 men between the ages of 21 and 35, who were divided into two groups. One group added 2.6 ounces (75 grams) of whole-shelled walnuts to their daily diet.
The other group continued their usual diet but avoided eating tree nuts. Both groups ate a typical Western-style diet.
Lead author, Prof Wendie Robbins from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health said: “We found a significant improvement in sperm parameters in the group that consumed the walnuts.
“The men who ate no tree nuts saw no change.”
Sperm quality improved in terms of concentration, vitality, movement, shape and chromosome abnormalities.
Dr Pacey said: “The study has been well executed and my only criticism would be that the men in the walnut-eating arm of the trial could have altered other aspects of their behaviour to give the results shown in the paper.
“A better trial would be to produce tablets of walnut extract that looked identical to a placebo so that the study was completely blind.
“In spite of this, the results of the study show a small but statistically significant improvement in sperm health.”
These benefits may be down to the fatty acids in the nuts.
Co-author Catherine Carpenter, from the UCLA Centre for Human Nutrition said: “Walnuts provide a particularly rich source of a-linolenic acid, a natural plant source of omega-3, which we suspect may have been responsible for the improvements we observed.”
The walnuts for the study were supplied by the California Walnut Commission and the study was funded by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health.