Archive | May, 2017

How to Preserve Nutrients When Cooking Food

Preserving nutrients when preparing food is vital. As it is many things rob food of nutrients, the main culprits being air, water, heat and fat. For instance, vitamins B, C and folate are heat-sensitive nutrients. Also, cooking in water reduces the antioxidants in vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and kale. Though there will always be some degree of nutrient degradation anytime you prepare and cook food there are several ways to maximize the nutrient retention of your food. Check out this list of dos and don’ts to retain those nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Things you SHOULD do

Rinse in cold water

Reserve scrubbing for thick-skinned veggies

Preserve the leaves on leafy greens (this is where most of the nutrients are)

Remove as little of skin as possible (most of the nutrients are found just beneath skin)

Use a sharp knife when cutting or chopping (reduces incidence of bruising which compromises nutrient quality)

Steam cook adding vegetables only after water is boiling (high temperatures of steam locks in the nutrients)

Saute & stir-fry using a tablespoon or so of oil (again high temperatures lock in the nutrients

Purchase from your local farmers (less time food is stored less nutrients lost in shipping & storage process)

Eat raw fruits & vegetables (salads & smoothies are always refreshing)

Cook in stainless steel, glass or enamel (Copper in copper pots destroy vitamins)

Keep vegetables that easily dry or wilt (e.g. spinach, broccoli & celery) in a slightly humid, dark, cool atmosphere

Things you SHOULD NOT do:

Bake: Baking isn’t a good cooking method because the long cooking times kill nutrients.

Peel and Trim: Many peels contain lots of minerals, vitamins & fiber so peeling should be avoided when possible.

Boil: Boiling destroys most nutrients because prolonged cooking time & nutrients go into water. In fact, nearly 80% of vitamins, minerals & nutrients are lost to this cooking method.

Soak: Soaking chopped, sliced or peeled veggies destroys nutrients.

Expose to Air & Light: When exposed to air and light nutrients in chopped, sliced and peeled are destroyed so cook immediately.

Eat processed foods: Processing destroys nutrients, vitamins & minerals so frozen or dried is actually a better choice.

Pre-wash: Don’t wash until ready for use to curtail bacterial growth and reduce nutrient degradation.

Refrigerate potatoes, onions & water squash: Since their starch converts to sugar they should be stored in a cook, dark, well-ventilated atmosphere.

The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are necessary to support the human body therefore, preserving them in the manner of preparation, cooking and storage is vital to our nutritional health. Of equal importance is taking care when shopping to pick fruits and vegetables that are bright in color, crisp, firm in texture and free of bruising, cracks and insect bites. Nonetheless, despite all of this don’t drive yourself over the deep-end trying to rescue the nutrients. What’s most important is that you take whatever steps that you can to minimize nutrient degradation and enjoy the deliciousness of eating.

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Top-Fight Advice On Getting The Most Out Of Your Limited Exercise Time – For Starters

It’s like the old joke about quitting cigarettes: Start an exercise programme? Easiest thing in the world. Must have done it 20 times already.

So, why did you get off to a false start – and a crash landing?

Perhaps because you did not follow that old boy-scout motto: Be Prepared.

Now, for the twenty-first time, try again. You’ll get it right if you score full marks on these six questions:

1. Are you clear about your reason/s for wanting to exercise?

There are as many possible reasons for wanting to work out as there are workouts themselves. Do you want to exercise to lose a belly… build muscles… boost your energy levels… pass the company’s annual fitness exam… put on 5 kilos… meet the challenge of a particular sport… make new friends… oust Tom Cruise from his pedestal?

Depending on what your goal is, you’ll need or want to take up a specific exercise or sport or prescribed regimen. Thus, a 30-minute brisk walk thrice a week can’t train you for the superb speed and stamina of an athlete, but it is enough to burn off excess fat.

However, if you’re aiming for total fitness, you should know that there’s no single exercise that covers all the ground – that gives you stamina (cardiovascular fitness), strength and flexibility. For instance, yoga is great for improving flexibility, but will not get rid of love handles. Callisthenics brings gains in limberness and strength, but it usually falls short of having an aerobic effect – the normal start-and stop motion of calisthenics is not continuous enough to improve cardiovascular fitness.

So, if you really want all-out fitness, it may be a better idea to cross-train, that is, to combine exercises: for instance, brisk walking and weight training. The walking will burn calories and bring in aerobic benefits; lifting weights will build muscle mass, preserve bone density and improve balance tremendously. Together, they bring in optimal fitness benefits.

A spots consultant can best advise you on the workout combo that will meet your needs.

2. Have you got your doctor’s okay?

This is particularly important if you have been as active as a tree slug for the first 25 years of your life; if you’re over 40; if you suffer from any chronic or debilitating disease (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, epilepsy, Parkinson’s), if you are on medication; if you are anaemic (your haemoglobin level is low.)

It is unwise to plunge headlong into any exercise programme without first knowing how fit or unfit you already are. Today, sport medicine centres offer specific tests to assess your fitness status. Among them are: The Body Composition Analysis which provides the ratio of body fat to lean body mass; Flexibility Tests for the back, shoulders, knees; Strength Tests; Lung Function Test; The Stress Test.

It is essential to know your blood pressure, heart rate and aerobic capacity (or the ability of your heart, lungs and blood vessels to take up and utilize oxygen in accordance with the demands made on them).

A lot of store is laid these days by the stress test which basically looks at how the heart performs. The concept underlying the stress test is that abnormalities of the heart that are not apparent at rest may become evident during physical work. Mainly, the test (which can be done using the treadmill. The two-stepper, or a stationary bicycle, among other methods), attempts to do two things: detect or confirm the presence or absence of heart disease, and establish a safe level of exercise for you.

But its reliability is by no means guaranteed. A stress test doesn’t necessarily detect heart disease, and “passing” a stress test is not firm evidence that you don’t have heart disease. A stress test’s value at best lies in confirming a diagnosis already arrived at by the more conventional method of a thorough medical history-taking. So, make sure the fitness physician you consult takes his time on that.

3. Have you considered your personality type?

If you’re a gregarious extrovert, you’ll enjoy the social opportunities at a gym class or golf sessions at the club grounds – and you’re more likely to stick with a workout that you’re enjoying.

If you possess a strong competitive streak, you’ll get a better kick out of racquet games such as tennis, badminton or squash.

If you are introverted, you’ll most likely enjoy and stay with activities you can do alone, such as exercycling or jumping rope.

If your chosen activity is in conflict with your temperament and personality, you are unlikely to keep at it for long.

4. Have you considered the logistics?

If you want to take up walking, you should be familiar with the lie of the land before you put on your sneakers: Look for a smooth, even surface – which may be outdoors or indoors. You should not be struggling to make your way through harsh terrain, dilapidated pavements or a traffic-congested road.

If you want to take up swimming, you should have access to a pool with trained instructors and lifeguards, within a convenient distance from your home or office (depending on how you plan to schedule it into your available time).

You also need to slot in time – and possess the inclination – to pack up, get there, change, shower and then return with a wet bathing suit.

5. Have you considered the clothes and accessories you’ll need?

We don’t mean from the point of view of impressing the gym class with your snazzy leotards – we mean the protection and comfort factors.

Exercise clothes should be loose and comfortable and suited to climate conditions. Shorts and t-shirts are better options to jog in during summer than designer track-suits.

When walking, running, jogging, skipping, you need a good pair of fitness shoes to cushion the impact on your joints.

When swimming, wear a cap to minimize the amount of chlorine that comes in contact with your hair. The chlorine in swimming pools is strong stuff and can leave your hair dry, stiff and coarse.

6. Have you educated yourself in prudence?

You should be aware, before you start, that most exercise injuries occur because exercisers overextend their limits, or because they hurl themselves into a workout without warming up. And most injuries are therefore avoidable. (The exceptions are contact sports that are inherently injurious, such as football and boxing, where inflicting damage on your opponent is necessary for winning).

There are specific precautions for every sport and form of exercise, and you should be aware of those that relate to the activity you are intending to take up. Many workouts that are done with exercise equipment need to be done under supervision, especially in the initial stages – and you should not attempt to begin them without such guidance.

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Weaning – When is Your Baby’s Digestive System Ready For Solid Foods?

According to the UK Health Promotion Agency, weaning before six months is not recommended. They remind us that most infants’ digestive systems and kidneys are not sufficiently developed until six months.

Ideally weaning would begin at six months of age, although research shows that it’s commonly started at four months.

Much will depend on the baby and the mum. When the time comes that a baby is too hungry to rely only on breastmilk or Formula, and requires frequent feeding (every 2 hours over a period of 5 days), it might be time to consider weaning. Excessive night waking and crying or irritability, due to hunger, may also be a sign that the baby is ready.

According to the UK Health Promotion Agency, weaning before six months is not recommended. They remind us that most infants’ digestive systems and kidneys are not sufficiently developed until six months.

Ideally weaning would begin at six months of age, although research shows that it’s commonly started at four months.

There are pros and cons to weaning early or late, as follows:

Weaning too early increases the risk of food allergies due to the immaturity of the digestive system. Early weaning may also cause the baby to gain too much weight, which is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases later in life.

On the other hand, leaving weaning too late may mean that the baby will not get enough nutrients to support the development of the immune system, and may grow quite slowly. The baby also needs to learn to use the muscles of the mouth, which will help with speech, swallowing and the ability to chew harder foods.

Rather confusingly for the new mum, suggestions and opinions can vary as to the types of foods to use and the methods for weaning, but here are some basic suggestions which are generally agreed upon:

  • Delay the introduction of citrus fruits, nuts and grains containing gluten (wheat, oats, barley and rye). After approximately 9-12 months, try oats, barley and rye. Only if these are OK, introduce wheat if desired. Even better, leave wheat as long as possible.
  • Avoid cows milk until 12 months or later. A good alternative Formula feed is called “Nanny Goat”. Goats milk has smaller protein molecules, so is easier to digest. Sheeps milk is best of all but doesn’t taste so good.
  • Avoid peanuts for as long as possible (some authorities recommend at least 7 years) (peanuts are legumes, not nuts)
  • Avoid sugar and added salt (the immature kidneys cannot deal with excessive salt)

There are various good books with plenty of healthy suggestions as to what to feed your baby, and to help you out of any confusion you may understandably feel as to the when, what and how of weaning. I like “What to Feed Your Baby” by Suzannah Olivier, who is a trained nutritional therapist, but you’ll find others in any good bookshop.

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Nutrient Contents of Orange for Health

Who does not know orange fruit? I am sure all of you already know like what orange is. Small children also know like what the fruit is. The fruit that has a sour taste can be found anywhere in the whole of world. We can also get it in every season without having to wait for certain seasons. This is because the fruit can be harvested in each season.

Orange fruits are often made in juice drinks. The fruit is famous for its vitamin C content, not only delicious to eat but also good to serve as drinks too. If you go to the ice juice stores then there must be orange juice provided. However, except vitamin C there are still many contents of orange fruit which are very good for health. Here are some of the contents of orange and their benefits:

Vitamin C

Oranges are most known with vitamin C content. An orange fruit is able to meet up to 110% of Vitamin C that the body needs. Vitamin C can reduce free radicals in the intestine. Free radicals in the intestines can cause DNA damage and increasing the risk of colon cancer. By reducing free radicals, the cancer risk can be reduced.

One of the other benefits of vitamin C is as the immune system. Preventing flu and ear infections.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants which are contained in orange fruit are useful for protecting skin, keep skin young. Free radicals that attached to the skin can cause damage that ended in the emergence of wrinkles. By eating an orange a day is able to protect skin cells from free radicals attack so skin rejuvenation is maintained.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is very useful to help the formation of hemoglobin. The content of magnesium in the vitamin is also beneficial to maintain blood pressure remained normal.

Beta-cryptoxanthin

Beta-cryptoxanthin is useful to reduce the risk of lung cancer. Beta-cryptoxanthin can be obtained from many fruits, including corn, pumpkin and orange.

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A Vegan Diet: The Fool-Proof Method of Losing Weight?

Although it can be hard to stick to, a vegan diet allows you to lose weight without ever feeling hungry. A vegan diet is a diet which doesn’t allow any animal products, which includes all meat – even fish – and all dairy, which excludes milk and cheese and all processed food products with milk and cheese in them. Some vegans don’t even consume honey, since it comes from bees. Although a vegan diet can seem very restrictive, it opens up a broad range of nutritious dishes that most non-vegans wouldn’t normally see in their diets.

Fruits and vegetables are generally a better source of nutrition than other types of foods, since they are high in vitamins and minerals while also being low in calories, meaning you can have a well-balanced diet while getting all the nutrients you need while at the same time eating less calories; a diet that is low in calories is necessary for weight loss. As a bonus, since fruits and vegetables are high in fiber you will feel more full after eating a vegan meal than after eating a non-vegan meal of the same amount of calories.

There aren’t too many easy avenues to cheat on an entirely vegan diet. Fast food places and restaurants offer very few dishes for vegans, so you’ll be less likely to eat out. When you do eat out, you’ll be more conscious of the ingredients and nutritional information of the food that you do eat. Since a vegan diet is incredibly low in fat – with the exception of avocados and refined vegetable oils, which contain large amounts of fat – you can be certain that if you choose vegan options at a restaurant that you are eating the most nutritious option that also has the least calories.

If eating out at restaurants is a social occasion that you often enjoy with friends, consider having them try out vegan restaurants in the area if you have them available or doing your own cooking and hosting a dinner party at your house. Since options for dining out on a vegan diet are slim, you’re more likely to quickly learn how to do all your own cooking at home to create delicious vegan meals which you enjoy, which is often better for both you and your wallet.

Even though you don’t feel hungry, you’ll still likely have an appetite for non-vegan foods you use to enjoy for a while after switching to a vegan diet. It may seem like a completely alien concept, but many vegans who have been vegan for a while no longer have cravings for the old foods they used to enjoy.

After a period of time of being a vegan, cravings for non-vegan food diminishes; usually after a period of three months on an entirely vegan diet they are gone completely. Although it may be hard to stick to at first, if you exercise a bit of willpower and refrain from cheating on your vegan diet you will find that you will crave unhealthy food less and less over time.

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The Truth About Stretching: Why This Ballet Dancer Stopped Stretching

From the ages of twelve to twenty-one, I was a ballet dancer. It was all I did and all I wanted to do. Being extremely disciplined, I stretched for half an hour every night before bed so I could get more flexible. And it worked – I got pretty darn flexible. Even on vacations, I stretched every single night without exception.

I quit dancing at the age of 21 after suffering the second of two terrible back injuries. But after I quit dancing, I kept doing my 30-minute stretching routine every night before bed. Not only did I love the ritual, but I felt like I physically needed it – as though I was addicted to the feeling. My body just didn’t feel right until I had stretched. I also enjoyed taking the time every day to feel connected to my body and having so much awareness of how my body felt.

Seven years later, I happened upon the Somatic Systems Institute web site. I ordered Thomas Hanna’s book Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health, and after reading about five pages I felt as if I had found something that I had been looking for my whole life. And yes, after all this time I was still doing my stretching routine every single night!

Less than a year later, I had enrolled in the professional training program to become a Clinical Somatic Educator. I remember sitting in the back of the studio during the first semester of my training while Steve Aronstein described how stretching was ineffective and could even be harmful. I started fuming. What was he talking about? I had been stretching for what felt like my entire life and knew firsthand that it was effective. I got upset to the point that I felt like crying. It was as if he was attacking my religion. I bit my tongue and didn’t speak up, but I refused to believe what he was saying.

I went home at the end of the first semester completely in love with Somatics, understanding and believing everything I had learned so far – except what I had learned about stretching. I went over and over it in my mind and finally decided to give it a shot: I would substitute all my nightly stretching exercises with Somatic movements. But I would just try it for a week or two, and then I would see how I felt. I didn’t want to lose any of my hard-earned flexibility, after all.

While there are tons of standard Somatic exercises that Thomas Hanna created, once you learn the basic principle of how to contract and release your muscles in a certain way, you can turn pretty much any movement into a Somatic movement. So, on the first night I got down on the floor and set about turning all of my ritual stretches into Somatic movements. While I was in pretty much the same positions as my stretches, I was doing a completely different type of movement, and going through an entirely different neurophysiological process as I moved.

After about forty-five minutes I got up off the floor and… WOW. My body felt like jelly. Or like a wet noodle, as my mom would say. I had never felt so loose and relaxed! It was an entirely different sensation than I felt after stretching. I continued this Somatics routine night after night and soon became aware of a wonderful new sensation of being completely comfortable in my body. I didn’t feel that constant sense of tightness and needing to stretch that I used to feel. And even though I had stopped stretching, I hadn’t lost any of my flexibility or range of motion.

Needless to say, I was now a complete Somatics convert. Which unfortunately led to my next challenge: getting other people to understand that stretching is not all it’s cracked up to be. This is a topic that I sometimes shy away from addressing even today when I work with clients, because it is so hard-wired into many people’s belief systems that stretching is the best way to stay loose and prevent injuries.

All of us, including all animals, have a reflex in our nervous systems called the stretch reflex, or myotatic reflex. Never heard of it? Think again. Your stretch reflex has actually been tested by a doctor, though maybe not since you were a bit younger. When your doctor used that little hammer to hit just below your knee, making your foot kick up, he was testing your stretch reflex.

The stretch reflex (myotatic reflex) is a muscle contraction in response to stretching within the muscle. This reflex provides automatic regulation of skeletal muscle length. When a muscle is lengthened, the muscle spindle (a sensory receptor in the muscle) is stretched and its nerve activity increases. This increases alpha motor neuron activity, causing the muscle fibers to contract and thus resist the stretching. The reflex functions to maintain the muscle at a constant length. (Thanks Wikipedia, for that great explanation! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stretch_reflex )

Why is it so important that we have this reflex? Well, reflexes in general exist to help us stay alive and avoid injury. One important function of the stretch reflex is that it helps us stand upright. Example: A person standing upright begins to lean to the right side. The postural muscles on the left side of the vertebral column will be stretched. When they sense this lengthening, the stretch receptors in the muscles on the left side will automatically send the message to contract in order to correct the person’s posture. (Thanks again, Wikipedia)

The stretch reflex also exists to prevent us from tearing our muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The knee-jerk reflex is a great example. The doctor hits your patellar tendon just below your knee, suddenly stretching the tendon and the quadriceps muscle to which it is attached. The muscle spindle in your quadriceps senses the sudden increase in length and automatically sends the message to contract your quadriceps in order to prevent injury and over-stretching of the muscle and tendon. When your quadriceps contracts, your foot kicks up.

If your foot doesn’t kick up, your doctor knows that could be a sign of a neurological disorder, such as receptor damage or peripheral nerve disease.

Now that you understand the basics of the stretch reflex, let’s get back to the topic of stretching for the purposes of flexibility. When you’re stretching, the conscious and sub-conscious parts of your nervous system are battling against each other, trying to achieve opposite results. The conscious part – the cortex of your brain – is sending the message to manually stretch your muscles by pulling on them. But despite all your efforts, your stretch reflex is automatically kicking in, contracting your muscles to prevent over-stretching, tearing, and injury.

So if our stretch reflex prevents us from lengthening our muscles, why does stretching sometimes work? There are a couple of reasons. One is that when you stretch deeply, past the point that your muscles and tendons are able to lengthen, you begin to stretch your ligaments. With prolonged stretching, ligaments can be permanently stretched, resulting in more flexible (and often less stable) joints.

Another reason is that when we stretch repeatedly, we are building up a tolerance to the sensation of pulling in our muscles. Even though it is by nature an uncomfortable sensation, with repetition it can become tolerable and even enjoyable. I used to love that feeling of pulling in my muscles, and I craved it every day. It provided me with a temporary lengthening and release of my muscles, and as I became more comfortable with the feeling, I was able to pull my muscles even farther. But of course the reason that I craved that feeling every day is that the fix was only temporary. Less than 24 hours after stretching, my muscles had tightened right back up again.

I’ve been practicing Somatics for four and a half years now, and I’m happy to say that I’m still very flexible, and my muscles feel loose and relaxed pretty much all the time. I run 3-4 times per week and have no pain, injuries, or even soreness. I want to tell every athlete in the world about Somatics and what a difference it could make in their lives. I sometimes wonder if I had found Somatics earlier in life, would I have been able to avoid my two back injuries, and would I still be dancing? I’ll never know, but I’m thankful to have found Somatics when I did, and I’m thankful for the freedom of movement it has given me.

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The Fast Food Overview

Fast food has become the world’s most popular substitute for eating at home in cities across the globe. It is an American original invented and grown in America. It is a detailed reflection of American attitudes and culture. It’s is tasty, convenient, inexpensive and fast a factor which makes it dear to millions of people who consume it on a daily basis. What also makes it popular is the fact that there is no preparation required before meals and no dishes to clean afterward. Researchers note that it is so popular that today up to half of of all food expending is spent on it in the United States.

Most people know that in order to eat healthy it is necessary and important to avoid tobacco use, to abandon a sedentary lifestyle and eating healthy. Fast food contributes to chronic disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cardiovascular ailments in general. It also plays a major role in weight gain and obesity. Its effects are so pronounced so much that Americans have more body fat now than any other population at any time in the history of humans. Data from the CDC in America shows that 71 percent of all men in America are obese and over 62 percent of women. The scourge is also spreading rampantly amongst children and adolescents.

It would appear the great taste, low cost and convenience of fast food comes to haunt its lovers. Much of it that people eat does not in any way contribute to healthy weight. Instead it is a source of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension. There are remarkable differences between two groups of people namely those that eat a lot of fast meals and those who don’t eat. To begin with fast meal eaters consume more dietary fat and saturated fat. They have more body fat. They eat fewer fruits and vegetables. A study that was done over 15 years concluded that eating take away food was linked to diabetes and weight gain.

Studies show that people who reside near a lot of fast meal restaurants will likely eat more take ways. A research in Canada reinforced this thinking by adding another dimension to it. It showed that people who lived near a lot of take away restaurants were also likely to have heart disease and suffer from premature death. Yet another study showed a correlation between the number of these restaurants per square mile and obesity. The states in America that had the highest concentration of outlets per square mile also had the highest rates of obesity.

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Forearm Exercises To Slim And Tone Women’s Forearms

Slimming and toning are the main effects sought by women doing forearm exercises. Men generally want larger forearms and stronger grip strength. Athletes, whether men or women, seek better athletic performance through functional strength and injury prevention. Many older men or women use forearm exercises to improve functional strength for daily activities or to rehabilitate after an injury. These differing goals require different approaches to forearm exercise. A slim, toned forearm is obtained with a different exercise routine than the routine to produce a large and muscular or functionally strong forearm.

For most women replacing a flabby forearm with a slim and toned forearm is the goal of forearm exercise. They do not want muscular forearms or thick wrists. They have little concern for increasing forearm strength. The main exceptions are the female athlete and the woman who has lost adequate strength to perform day to day tasks. They will have the same goals as their male counterparts, but may not want as much strength or size.

The brachioradialis is the main muscle contributing to the appearance of a large forearm. Women not wanting a large, muscular forearm appearance should avoid exercising this muscle, unless the forearm remains flabby in the upper outer aspect where the brachioradialis is located. This is easy to do while still exercising the other muscles of the forearm to give a toned appearance while avoiding a large, muscular appearing forearm.

The hammer curl is the main exercise that develops the brachioradialis, so for most women this exercise should be avoided. If there still is some flabbiness in the upper forearm on the outside of the elbow (where the brachioradialis is) after doing the other forearm exercises for a while, the hammer curl can be done to help tone that area. Light weights and very high repetitions are best. They should not cause excessive tiredness in the muscle. Generally, high repetitions, light weight and light tiredness are the goals for any exercise in which tone instead of size and strength is the goal.

Exercises that work on the meaty part on the front side of the forearm are also to be minimized. These muscles are exercised most by thick bar exercises and heavy grippers. Using grip rings, lighter grippers and dumbbells are okay, because you can use higher repetitions without excessive tiredness in the muscles.

The best exercises for toning the forearm without excessive size are radial deviations, ulnar deviations, pronations, and supinations. Videos of a woman doing these exercises with a rubber mallet are on the blog mentioned below. For the athlete or anyone trying to increase strength or forearm size, these exercises are helpful, but are done differently than someone seeking improved tone.

To tone the muscles, the number of repetitions should be high and the amount of weight low. A good way to start is to use a broom stick or a dumbbell bar without plates. By doing them until a mild tiredness is felt after 100 or more repetitions, and being consistent, a toning effect will be achieved. If tiredness is felt before 100 repetitions, a lighter weight should be used. This can be done by using a shorter length of broomstick. If there is no tiredness with 100 repetitions, increase repetitions rather than weight. If 300 repetitions are done, then increase the weight by having a longer broomstick or by attaching a light weight to the end of the broomstick. For more information see http://www.forearm-exercises.org/forearm-exercises/forearm-exercises-to-slim-and-tone-womens-forearms

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Parsley: One of the World’s Seven Most Potent Disease-Fighting Spices with 33 Health Benefits

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), the world’s most popular culinary herb is also known as “rock celery” and belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants. Parsley is one of the world’s seven most potent disease-fighting spices which also include Ginger, Oregano, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Sage, and Red chili peppers. Parsley grows in most climates and is readily available throughout the year. It is a biennial plant which means that it produces seeds during its second year of production and will reseed itself if you let it.

While parsley is a wonderfully nutritious and healing food, it is often under-appreciated. Most people do not realize that this vegetable has more uses than just being a decorative garnish that accompanies restaurant meals.

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe and has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. It was originally used as a medicinal plant (see below) prior to being consumed as a food. Ancient Greeks held parsley to be sacred, using it to not only adorn victors of athletic contests, but also for decorating the tombs of the deceased. While it is uncertain when and where parsley began to be consumed as a seasoning, historians think it may be sometime during the Middle Ages in Europe. Some historians credit Charlemagne with its popularization as he had it grown on his estates.

Parsley’s Many Therapeutic Health Benefits Include Its Use For:

o Anemia: Builds up the blood because it is high in iron. The high vitamin C content assists the absorption of iron.

o Antioxidant: Increases the anti-oxidant capacity of the blood.

o Bactericidal (kills bacteria)

o Bad breath

o Baldness: Believe it or not, men even scrubbed parsley onto their scalps to cure baldness–which doesn’t work.

o Blood purifier

o Blood vessel rejuvenation: Maintains elasticity of blood vessels, and helps to repair bruises.

o Diarrhea is greatly helped by drinking parsley tea.

o Digestion: Parsley is an excellent digestion restorative remedy. It improves the digestion of proteins and fats therefore promoting intestinal absorption, liver assimilation and storage. Because of its high enzyme content, parsley benefits digestive activity and elimination.

o Dissolves cholesterol within the veins.

o Diureticparsley tea helps resolve swollen ankles.

o Ear health: Treats deafness and ear infections.

o Edema: Acts as a diuretic and blood vessel strengthener.

o Fatigue: Parsley is high in iron so helps repair and provides components for better blood cells.

o Gallstones: Helps dissolve them.

o Glandular support of the liver, spleen, kidneys and adrenal glands.

o Gout

o Hormonal support: In women, parsley improves estrogen and nourishes and restores the blood of the uterus. Conditions like delayed menstruation, PMS, and the menopause (dry skin, irritability, depression and hair loss) can often improve.

o Hormone balancing is achieved through the volatile fatty acids contained in parsley.

o Immune booster: The high vitamin C, beta carotene, B12, chlorophyll and essential fatty acid content render parsley an extraordinary immunity enhancing food. Parsley is an immune-enhancing multi-vitamin and mineral complex in green plant form and one of the most important herbs for providing vitamins to the body.

o Inhibits tumor formation, particularly in the lungs.

o Insect bites: Rub on to relieve the swelling and itch.

o Jaundice

o Kidneys: Parsley is effective for nearly all kidney and urinary complaints except severe kidney inflammation. It improves kidney activity and can help eliminate wastes from the blood and tissues of the kidneys. It prevents salt from being reabsorbed into the body tissues; thus parsley literally forces debris out of the kidneys, liver and bladder. It helps improve edema and general water retention, fatigue and scanty or painful urination.

o Liver congestion: It enriches the liver and nourishes the blood. Parsley helps reduce liver congestion, clearing toxins and aiding rejuvenation.

o Menstrual irregularity: Parsley helps to make the cycles regular by the presence of apiol which is a constituent of the female sex hormone estrogen.

o Menstrual pain

o Night blindness: Bad eyesight is a sign of Vitamin A deficiency.

o Rheumatism

o Spleen strengthening: The parsley root in particular strengthens the spleen, and can, therefore, treat malabsorption.

o Stamina loss and low resistance to infection, point to a sluggish liver. This can manifest itself in blood deficiencies, fatigue, a pale complexion and poor nails, dizzy spells, anemia and mineral depletion.

o Stomach problems

o Strengthens loose teeth: In the Middle Ages parsley was used for many conditions including ‘fastening teeth’ (Scurvy, which is caused by a Vitamin C deficiency, makes the gums spongy and the teeth loose.)

o Uterine tonic

o Weight loss benefits from being a diuretic

Nutritional Benefits of Parsley:Parsley is a nutrient powerhouse containing high levels of beta carotene, vitamin B12, folate, chlorophyll, calcium, more vitamin C than citrus fruits, and just about all other known nutrients. Parsley is a moistening, nourishing, restoring, ‘warming’ food, pungent with a slightly bitter, salty flavor. It enhances and stimulates the energy of organs, improving their ability to assimilate and utilize nutrients.

Beta carotene is used for protein assimilation. This nutrient benefits the liver and protects the lungs and colon. Beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, a nutrient so important to a strong immune system that its nickname is the “anti-infective vitamin.”

Chlorophyll: Parsley is abundant in chlorophyll, thus purifying and inhibiting the spread of bacteria, fungi and other organisms. Chlorophyll from parsley is slightly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal which acts to enhance immune response and to relieve mucus congestion, sinusitis and other ‘damp’ conditions. Chlorophyll, high in oxygen, also suppresses viruses and helps the lungs to discharge residues from environmental pollution.

Essential Fatty Acids: Parsley is a source of alpha-linolenic acid, an important essential fatty acid that is too frequently deficient in today’s diets.

Fluorine is an important nutritional component abundantly found in parsley. Fluorine has an entirely different molecular structure from chemically-produced fluoride. Tooth decay results from a shortage of fluorine, not fluoride. It is the combination of calcium and fluorine which creates a very hard protective surface on teeth and bones. Fluorine also protects the body from infectious invasion, germs and viruses.

Folic Acid, one of the most important B vitamins, but one of its most critical roles in relation to cardiovascular health is to convert homocysteine into benign molecules. Homocysteine is a potentially dangerous molecule that, at high levels, can directly damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore vitally important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells–the colon, and in women, the cervix.

Iron: The iron content of parsley is exceptional with 5.5mg per100g (4oz). A half-cup of fresh parsley or one tablespoon dried has about 10 percent of your iron daily requirements. Plus, parsley has the vitamin C your body needs to absorb that iron.

Protein: Parsley is made up of 20% protein. (About the same as mushrooms.)

Vitamin B12: Parsley contains traces of B12 producing compounds. Such compounds are needed for the formation of red blood cells and normal cell growth, important for fertility, pregnancy, immunity and the prevention of degenerative illness. The action of vitamin B12, however, is inhibited by birth control pills, antibiotics, intoxicants, stress, sluggish liver, and excess bacteria or parasites in the colon or digestive tracts. Parsley helps to counteract these inhibitors.

Vitamin K: Getting at least 100 micrograms of Vitamin K a day can drastically cut your risk of hip fracture. Vitamin K is necessary for bones to get the minerals they need to form properly. Parsley is loaded with vitamin K (180 mcg per 1/2 cup). Cooking parsley nearly doubles its Vitamin K.

Vitamin C: Parsley contains more vitamin C than any other standard culinary vegetable, with 166mg per 100g (4oz). This is three times as much as oranges. Flavonoids, which make up the Vitamin C molecule, maintain blood cell membranes, and act as an antioxidant helper.

Volatile oil components – including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. Parsley’s volatile oils, particularly myristicin, have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. It acts as an antioxidant that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and the smoke produced by trash incinerators).

Parsley also contains calcium (245mg per 100g), phosphorus, potassium (1000mg per 4 oz), manganese (2.7mg per 100g), inositol, and sulphur.

Many of my client’s test they would benefit greatly from eating parsley for all kinds of health problems.

How to Use Parsley:

Top off your sandwiches with it, include it in your salad greens, put it in Tabbouli or better yet, toss it into simmering soups, stews and sauces. We eat it raw in salads and those days when I can’t eat it raw, I often add a couple of parsley capsules to my nutritional supplements.

Parsley juice, as an herbal drink, is quite powerful and is usually taken in quantities of about 2 fl oz (50ml) three times a day and is best mixed with other juices. I noticed that it’s most effective to juice parsley in between other vegetables as the juice is heavy and thick and doesn’t move through some juicers very readily.

Types of Parsley:The two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. They are both related to celery. The Italian variety has a more fragrant and less bitter taste than the curly variety. There is also another type of parsley known as turnip-rooted parsley (or Hamburg) that is cultivated for its roots, which resemble salsify and burdock. Chinese parsley, is actually cilantro.

How to Pick and Care for Parsley:Whenever possible, choose fresh, dark green, organically grown parsley that looks fresh and crisp over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. Avoid bunches that have wilted or yellowed leaves indicating over-mature or damaged produce.

Parsley can be stored loosely wrapped in a damp cloth or plastic bag and refrigerated for up to a week. Wash just before using. If the parsley wilts, either sprinkle it lightly with some water or wash it without completely drying it before putting it back in the refrigerator.

The best way to clean it is just like you would spinach. Place it in a bowl of cold water and plunge it up and down like you would a toilet plunger. This will allow any sand or dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill it with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water.

If you have excess flat-leaved parsley, you can easily dry it by laying it out in a single layer on a clean kitchen cloth. I pre-chop mine (both varieties) and place it on a cookie sheet on top of the refrigerator where it is warm. Stir it occasionally to allow consistent drying. Once dried, it should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place.

Some feel the curly leaved variety is best preserved by freezing, as opposed to drying. Although it will retain most of its flavor, it has a tendency to lose its crispness, so it is best used in recipes without first thawing.

Bon Appétit!

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Debunking the Food Pyramid

The traditional food pyramid has been revised and updated in 2005 by the USDA and do you know who modified the food pyramid? The USDA paid $2.5 million to a PR/marketing group to help design this new food guide pyramid, and that group is best know for doing work for the dairy industry. In fact, historically, the food guide pyramids that the USDA has created have always been about eating more food, drinking more milk and basically consuming larger and larger quantities of everything that the American food industry has produced.

Since the food pyramid was published, the rates of obesity have only continued to climb in the United States. The traditional food pyramid suggests that the “healthy” diet consists of a liberal amount of grains in the form or breads, rice, and pasta. Then you should eat a healthy amount of vegetables(3 servings) and fruits (2 servings) Third tier,lean meats,eggs and beans (3 servings) and dairy (3 servings). Eat sparingly, fats, oils and sweets.

This model is extremely misleading to the general American population as generally eating a diet high in grains and carbohydrates, is not the best for maintaining a lean, healthy mind and body.

Myth of Fat

The biggest mistake that many of us are making in our diets is we have cut out all fat, and substituted it with “low” fat substitutes. We have sacrificed many of the “good” fats, such as olive oil, buts, avocados, flax seed and fish oils, that our bodies and brain need for healthy functioning and have replaced them with “low” fat processed substitutes.

Wheat and Gluten

The standard diet is full of wheat and gluten. A typical American diet consists of toast, pancakes, a muffin, scone for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pizza and pasta for dinner. Today, wheat is not what it was a hundred years ago. What has been genetically modified which has increased its gluten content to 90 percent. In their book Dangerous Grains, James Brady and Ron Hoggan, describe gluten as a protein that the immune system reacts to pathologically, producing inflammation. Their assertion is that gluten destroys healthy tissue through molecular cross reaction.

Empty Calories

We live in the land of plenty, we have plenty of food and plenty of calories, but what we have are foods that are nutrient deficient and full of empty calories. If you take corn or wheat out of the field and refine it, you strip away all the good nutrition. You’re left with this empty carbohydrate, and it still fits the food guide pyramid to say, “Eat more grains.”

The science of food is big business, and many companies have invested millions if not billions of dollars to create foods that #1 filled with preservatives so have a longer shelf life so they don’t need to be replaced as often, #2 are filled with additives to entice the taste buds and actually create an addictive quality. Companies are figuring out how to rearrange the molecular structure of food to make you the consumer what to buy it over and over again. They are pouring extra salt, refined sugar, and chemical taste enhancers into food as to give it an enhanced addictive flavor.

We need to stop buying into the notion that our government is taking good care of us. It is time to become aware of what you are putting into your body on a daily basis.

The Caveman Diet

I also recommend going back to the cave man days. When you think about eating something, ask yourself, “did this come directly from nature?” None of us are perfect and change happens slowly over time. Be gentle with yourself and start making small changes in your diet. Do you eat scones and coffee for breakfast? Try eggs and turkey bacon instead. Rather than have a sandwich for lunch try the salad, or have them take off the bread. I still have my moments, but in general I try to be good 80% of the time. Good health is about making good choices, but not feel like you are depriving yourself. Start where you are at and just become aware of what you are eating.

Resources:

The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book, by Jessica Black

The Honest Food Guide: Honestfoodguide.org

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