HEALTH / FITNESS
Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss
Do you know of a new diet or fitness routine that you'd like us to review? Or perhaps you want to write a review yourself and see it in print! Got a great recipe you want to share? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this Section....
- March Recipes
- March Exercise
- Can Diet Prevent Colds and Flu?
- Choices We Make
March Recipes - Click Here
March comes in, but, is it a lion? Or is it a whole menagerie of cantankerous beasts who can't make up their minds?? Will it snow, or maybe just freezing rain? Or maybe a sunny day for once? No wonder so many are suffering from colds and flu. Well, we've got an Easter menu that will help ease those flu aches and minimize the colds. Sit down with the family to an abundance of yummy vegetables and fruit, and a decadent dessert, that will have you smiling through your stuffy noses!! There's even a great shake for the kids that will having them seeing green for St. Patrick's Day!! So, get your green on, and enjoy!! Happy Easter!
We'd love to feature one of your favorite recipes in any one of our monthly issues, just send them on to us at email@example.com. Hope to hear from all of you in the following months!
March Exercises - Click Here
Each month we will feature simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home and without buying fancy expensive equipment.
Can Diet Prevent Colds and Flu?
Can your diet really reduce your risk of catching a cold or influenza? Nutrition expert Lisa Hark PhD, RD, director of the Nutrition Education and Prevention Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, certainly thinks so. Dr. Hark explained how diet and other smart lifestyle choices will help you to avoid the sniffles, stuffy nose and aches of the cold, as well as the outright misery of influenza.
According to Dr. Hark, food and healthy lifestyle choices boost your immune system, and that can prevent you from coming down with colds and flu. The key is not waiting until you get sick to make these changes; you need to revamp your diet and lifestyle before the cold and flu bugs get to you.
Here are Dr. Hark's tips:
- Rely on real foods, not supplements. Foods are better than dietary supplements for the prevention of colds and flu because you get the whole nutritional package. For example, Dr. Hark points out, eating an orange is better for you than just taking vitamin C pills because the orange offers you a combination of nutrients -- magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and antioxidant-rich flavonoids. While we know that vitamin C is important for a healthy immune system, studies don't show that taking massive doses of vitamin C helps to prevent colds and flu at all. However, we do know that eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C will help to keep your immune system strong. Your immune system is what protects you from viral infections, and the foods you eat have a major impact on your immune system's ability to fight off colds and flu. The reason that fruits and vegetables do a better job of keeping your immune system ready is that they also contain vitamins A and E, as well as the flavonoids that work along side vitamin C to keep your immune system and your whole body healthy.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables may help keep your immune system strong. People tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables in the winter, which is the opposite of what you should be doing. Everyone needs at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day to get adequate vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants -- all things we need for a healthy immune system. One way to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables is to incorporate juice into your diet. Not just any juice will do, though. Make sure you choose 100-percent juices, as other juice drinks contain extra sugar and empty calories.
- For the best prices, be sure to browse your grocery store's produce aisle for fresh fruits and vegetables that are in-season. Oranges and grapefruits are usually cheaper in the winter, so cold and flu season is the perfect time to load up on citrus fruits. Dr. Hark assures us that eating frozen fruits and vegetables is another economical and convenient way to improve your diet and prevent colds and flu. Frozen vegetable selections range from very inexpensive bags of basic peas, corn and green beans to artfully combined fruits and vegetable dishes topped with delicate sauces that you simply pop in the microwave. Make fruits and vegetables part of every meal. Add berries or a sliced banana to your whole grain cereal at breakfast, and drink a glass of orange or grapefruit juice. Pack a bunch of grapes or an apple with your sandwich for lunch, and top that sandwich with tomato slices, avocado, sprouts and lettuce. Start dinner with a salad or vegetable soup, or serve a big salad as a healthy dinner. Keep a bowl of oranges, apples and pears on your counter top to grab as quick snacks. You can also store cut vegetables in your refrigerator, but remember they'll lose some nutritional value.
- Round out your diet with healthy proteins and whole grains. Eat a balanced diet with lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Protein sources such as lean meats, dairy, eggs and legumes are especially important because they supply the amino acids that your body needs to build the components of your immune system. Eating lean meats also helps you avoid zinc deficiency and iron deficiency, both of which can affect your immune system.
Good nutrition is still important after you catch a cold or influenza. Dr. Hark says that even when you are sick and don't have much of an appetite, you need to eat when you can. Focus on getting three meals per day, and don't forget to keep eating lots of fruits and vegetables. It is important to get enough energy from the foods you eat while you are recuperating -- you may not be running around and exerting much, but your body is working hard to get better. Hark also stresses the importance of preventing dehydration. Drink fluids throughout the day such as water and juices. Tired of plain water? Add a splash of juice to water or seltzer for a little variety.
Eating a healthy diet is just part of the picture. Dr. Hark has other tips to help you stay healthy:
- Wash your hands. Your hands come in contact with germs throughout the day. The best way to get rid of them is by washing your hands thoroughly. This is an important part of food safety, too. Wash your hands before preparing meals, after handing raw meats and before serving foods. Make sure everyone at the table has washed their hands, as well.
- Get enough rest. The National Sleep Foundation says most kids don't get enough sleep, and many adults don't either. When you don't get enough sleep, you are more likely to get sick. If you're having trouble getting a good night's sleep, it may help to avoid eating late at night, or just have a bedtime snack.
- Get your flu shots. Dr. Hark says that it doesn't matter whether you are young or old, getting a flu shot is a good way to prevent the flu. Vaccination is even more important for the elderly and people with respiratory conditions.
- Get some exercise. There is strong evidence that people who exercise don't get sick as often. Exercise is important all year, even in the dark and cold of winter. Dr. Hark suggests having a plan to keep active in the winter, such as walking on a treadmill, using exercise videos, jumping rope, or going to the gym. And don't forget to bring your workout gear when you travel; many hotels have workout rooms and swimming pools.
Thanks to Dr. Hark's suggestions, getting a cold or flu doesn't have to be an inevitable part of winter.
Submitted by: Maria Albus
Choices We Make
Over the past little while, I've listened to many people tell me how they "just can't stop snacking in the evening." Or, they talk about how they "just can't get back on track."
What they are describing is a choice they have made. They have pre-determined that they are unable to stop snacking. When you choose to see yourself as incompetent or incapable, you will experience incompetence and incapability. When you choose to see yourself as unable to control your food intake, you will simply eat and confirm that you cannot lose weight.
How do we arrive at such self-defeating thinking?
Your abilities are unique. Maybe you cannot sing in perfect pitch or play professional soccer, or be an entrepreneur with a million-dollar income; but thinking of yourself as incapable ignores your strengths. You have many other things you do well; it may be in your area of work, your ability as a great mother or father, your creativity around your house. The trouble is we are especially focused on those imagined negative thoughts about ourselves in the evening. "I'm lonely;" "My life is boring;" "I'm upset with my co-worker;" "Why do I have to do everything for everyone and no one helps me?" So we eat, and it's soothing. However, eating just re-enforces our self-loathing.
What if you could train your emotional mind to concentrate on all those great things in your life; all those things that make you a wonderful person? What if you perpetually focused on all the good things you have done, and focused on all the exciting things you want to do with your life? Choose to be in a positive frame of mind. Write down all the good qualities you have. Write down all the small things you will get done this week and weekend that you have been putting off.
If you focus on what you cannot do instead of what you can do, you create a picture of yourself that is narrow, and frankly false. It is imaginary, not reality. You disregard your abilities, and see yourself as unable or incompetent. So, focus on your strengths instead.
Choosing positive thoughts is an act of creation. Most people think carefully about moving, changing careers and getting married. They research, analyze, feel and use their intuition. We look at these situations as important, so we spend active time thinking about them. Yet the most important choices you make are the choices about how you see yourself, and how you see yourself in the world around you. Don't feel like a victim. You are much more than those imaginary thoughts. Look at your good qualities; choose to eat well because you deserve to feel better about yourself. When your mood is down, choose not to eat. Work hard at those times to develop a more positive frame of mind.
Who is it that you want to become? Do you want to be thinner, more vibrant, and more confident about your physical self? You can! Choose to be that person. Usually the negative thoughts or moods are very short-lived. There may be only 2 hours in the evening when you have to work at thinking positively to help yourself stay in control of your eating. If you can hurdle those few hours, you will find yourself less and less a victim of food.
You can do it. Keep on trying and don't ever give up!
Written by: Dr Doug