Going, Going, Grapefruit!

Gaining an appreciation for the wonderful, round grapefruit.

Even a sliver of grapefruit can make your eyes squint and your mouth pucker. But if you’re sidestepping grapefruit because of its tartness, you’re also sidestepping an array of health benefits.

Why should you start tossing a little grapefruit in your daily diet? It’s as easy as APC.

Antioxidants

In the health world, few words get as much applause and attention as “antioxidants.” And grapefruits are filled with the stuff. In addition to giving grapefruit its pretty pink and red color, the antioxidant lycopene is responsible for fighting runaway cells (free radicals) that have the potential to damage cells and cause cancer.

As grapefruit juice contains some of the highest levels of antioxidants (along with grape, apple, and cranberry juice), you can get your grapefruit-based antioxidants in liquid form. Regardless of whether you eat or sip on your antioxidants, getting plenty of grapefruit in your diet gives you an advantage over a number of cancers.

Having a hard time choking down that grapefruit? Drizzle a little honey on top. It’ll cut the tart and leave you with a great big pile of health-boosting perks.

Pectin

A type of fiber found in grapefruit, pectin’s main benefit isn’t keeping you regular. It’s keeping you out of the long reach of high cholesterol. A number of studies have found that the pectin found in any kind of grapefruit lowers bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein cholesterol). If you eat red grapefruit, you’ll also enjoy the benefit of reduced triglycerides – the chemical form fat takes on in foods and in your body.

Along with pectin’s magical ability to lower cholesterol levels, it also helps reduce cholesterol’s effects on the arteries. In other words, eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can help your arteries avoid the narrowing that occurs when excess cholesterol and fats build up inside the artery walls, a process that leads to heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in America.

C

Everyone hails the high vitamin C content of oranges, but did you know that grapefruits also contain this essential vitamin? With enough vitamin C in your system, you can battle a number of conditions with confidence, from the common cold to cancer. Chowing down on a vitamin C-filled grapefruit can also reduce the severity of asthma, arthritis, and other diseases that are brought about by inflammation.

With so many wonderful reasons to grab a grapefruit, it only makes sense to add some pink and red to your diet.

Keep Away from Medicines

Though grapefruit juice has a number of health benefits, it isn’t for everyone. If you take medication on a regular basis, you may need to avoid grapefruit juice as it can modify how much medicine gets in your bloodstream.

Normally, enzymes lining the small intestines destroy a certain portion of the medication you take, causing only a limited amount from making its way to your blood stream. However, grapefruit juice wields the power to prevent your intestinal lining from working appropriately. When grapefruit juice keeps these enzymes from doing their jobs, you wind up with an extremely large amount of medicine in your body, which can be dangerous.

Certain medications that treat high cholesterol, seizures, depression, high blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms are all likely candidates for this frightening effect. If you’re taking any of these medications, talk with your physician before drinking grapefruit juice with, before, or after taking your medication.

If you’re stuck on grapefruit juice, ask your physician if there is an alternative medication that can be taken safely with grapefruit juice.

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Eating for Energy

If you want energy, you don’t have to fill up on sugar-laden energy drinks any more! You can get all the energy you need three times a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to rely on energy drinks to keep your eyes pried open and your mind and body attentive and ready for action? Well, you’re in for a treat, because if you want energy, you don’t have to fill up on sugar-laden energy drinks any more! You can get all the energy you need three times a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Big, Bad C

Thanks to a fellow named Dr. Robert Atkins, carbohydrates have picked up a lot of flack from folks trying to improve their health. His world-famous Atkins diet has caused countless people to stop eating breads and pastas in order to lose a few quick pounds. Unfortunately, carbohydrates are essential when it comes to boosting your body’s energy levels.

And what is a man without energy? Nothing – nothing at all. – Mark Twain

Don’t eat enough carbs and you won’t be able to push your body to its limits in the gym. So while you may lose a few pounds from not eating carbs, you’re going to have a hard time keeping the pounds off when you go back to carbs, and you won’t build much muscle mass in the meantime. Instead of starving your body of fuel, eat smart carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat bread, cereal, and brown rice.

The Magic M

You probably don’t think about including magnesium in your diet, but if you’re looking for energy, it’s time you reconsidered. Otherwise, the sugar that makes its way into your body isn’t going to offer you anything but extra weight. That’s because magnesium has unique properties that turn sugar into something useful: energy. In other words, you can get away with a little sugar as long as you get enough magnesium. Since going without any sugar every day is nearly impossible, magnesium is your lifeline to healthy energy levels.

Fortunately, getting sufficient magnesium in your diet isn’t rocket science. Many foods have plenty of magnesium, including bran cereals, certain nuts (almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts), and halibut. By keeping magnesium in your system, you help your body turn sugar into energy and prevent yourself from feeling worn out.

A person of intellect, without energy added to it, is a failure. – Sebastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort

The Fabulous F

Few nutrients are given as much media attention as fiber – and for good reason. It helps regulate intestinal issues and prevents dangerous and deadly diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. On top of these wonderful perks, fiber also helps you feel full of vigor and energy.

Unlike other energetic foods, fiber doesn’t necessarily provide you with an instant energy boost. Instead, fiber helps regulate how quickly your body uses the energy it has in storage. By eating plenty of fiber, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals, you can maintain a steady flow of energy throughout your daily routine.

The Basic H

Need to stay focused? Expect your body to go strong until the end of the game? You’re going to need to stay filled up on H20. According to research, even a tiny lack of water in your system can instantly lead to feelings of fatigue. By making regular trips to the water fountain or keeping other unsweetened drinks at your disposal, you take a huge step toward ensuring your energy levels are at their peak, so you’re always able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.

Another way to get fluids in your body is by eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Not only do they offer an instant rush of hydrating fluids, but they also taste wonderful and come with an array of additional health benefits.

Runners Up

As you know, there are plenty of places to get energy boosts. In case you’re wondering about some other items that are guaranteed to increase your energy levels, the following are a few fast energy pick-me-ups:

  • coffee
  • dark chocolate
  • energy drinks
  • tea
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Exercise for Big Bodies

How you can begin living a healthy life with a few simple exercises.

Whether you inherited your weight problem, suffered a life-altering injury that caused you to be immobile for a long period or time, or have just made bad dietary choices, there is no time for self-pity if you’re going to overcome a weight issue. What can you do when your weight prevents you from fitting on an exercise machine; causes knee, joint or heart problems; or makes you feel too embarrassed to wear a bathing suit? Swallow your pride and get to work. And it is very hard work.

If you think you’ve got the resolve to do what it takes to shave some pounds off, read on to find out how you can get started.

The place to start is your doctor’s office. Have your physician check on any current health conditions that are affecting you. Also, going to the doctor will allow you to get a baseline on your heart rate and overall health, which will make it easier to work with your physician to monitor your progress along the way. The key to any weight-loss routine is to find an exercise you can enjoy doing and to start out slowly. Ask your physician for recommendations of good exercises, and give them a shot. If you find them too repetitive and boring or a little more difficult than you expected, try something different. Gradually, smartly increase the time you spend at it as well as the intensity of your exercise.

For those who may be severely obese, the exercises to get you on your way would be simple leg lifts, arm raises, or bending and leaning over, which can be done while sitting. These movements provide the muscle strength necessary for future exercises and will minimize your risk of injury. As you go through each day, look for ways to add more movement and exercise. Make it a part of your daily life.

A great form of exercise for anyone is walking. The more steps you take, the better you’ll feel. Even walking from one end of the house to the other is helpful. When walking, start off slow and only go short distances. Each day try to go a little farther but do not overdo it. If needed, take frequent breaks and don’t walk so far that it will be hard to make it back to your starting point. No matter where you’re walking, be sure to wear good walking shoes and drink enough water along the way. Doing these easy steps will keep your body ready for the next walk around the block.

For those who are able to wear a bathing suit and have access to a body of water, swimming is a wonderful form of exercise if you’re obese. As the water supports your body and therefore does not put the usual strain on your bones and joints, swimming makes it possible to move your body with greater ease, which increases your strength, stamina, flexibility, and range of motion. With these improvements in tact, performing other exercises on the ground will become easier as well.

No matter how much you weigh, what you may need most is accountability and encouragement along the way. If possible, a personal trainer is a great way to stay on track and stay safe along the way. A close friend can also help keep you accountable or tag along for your regular workouts. Joining a support group may be a good option for some. With any exercise program, remember that the gym isn’t the only step to losing weight. You should also eat a healthy diet. Not only will healthy, low fat foods help you lose weight, but they will also give you the energy you need to do the exercises that do the body good.

Understanding Obesity

As the weight of the average American has been increasing during the past decades, health professionals have claimed America to be suffering an “obesity epidemic.” How do you know if you’re overweight or obese? First, you have to calculate your body mass index (BMI).

To do this, multiply your weight in pounds times 703. Next, figure out how tall you are in inches, and square this number. Finally, divide the first number by the second. The answer is your BMI.

A BMI below 18.5 means you’re underweight, between 18.5 and 24.9 is a healthy weight, 25-29.9 is overweight, and 30 and above is obese.

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The Top 7 Reasons to Exercise

Man and woman in swimsuits, ca.
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Summer has arrived and along with it the dreaded bathing suit season.

Whether you can’t wait to bare it all on the beach, or if you’re still working toward a weight loss goal, exercise is the key to looking and feeling great in summer months.

But why else should you exercise? Here are the top 7 reasons to exercise this summer:

Reason #1: To Melt Fat Away

The most coveted side effect of exercise is, of course, fat burn. The combination of a challenging exercise routine and a balanced meal plan is the best known way to lose fat. Here’s what losing fat feels like:

  • Your pants become loose
  • People around you begin to say that you look great
  • A glance at yourself in the mirror makes you smile
  • Your energy levels soar
  • You feel amazing

Reason #2: To Alleviate Pain

Regular exercise is a great way to alleviate chronic muscle and joint pain. Persistent back pain can be lessened by strengthening your core, and you’ll protect yourself against injury. It amazes people when the chronic pain that they’ve lived with for years begins to fade after starting a regular exercise program.

Reason #3: To Increase Lean Tissue

More muscle is good for many reasons. You see, muscle requires many more calories each day than fatty tissue. In fact, one pound of muscle burns 30-50 calories each day at rest – compared to a measly 9 calories per pound of fat.

When you exercise your body composition will change to contain more lean tissue, thus resulting in extra calories burned while you sleep. What could be better than that?

Reason #4: To Stay Young

Tim D. Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College in London, led a study on the effects of exercise on aging. The results were astounding. They found that exercise appears to slow the shriveling of the protective tips on bundles of genes inside cells (called telomeres), which means a slowing of the aging process.

“These data suggest that the act of exercising may actually protect the body against the aging process,” said Spector.

Here’s the study in a nutshell:

  • Telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes and every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter.
  • Once a telomere gets too short, that cell can no longer divide.
  • Aging occurs as more and more cells reach the end of their telomeres and die. This results in weakened muscles, skin wrinkles, loss of eyesight and hearing, organ failure and slowed metal functioning.
  • The study analyzed the telomeres from the white bloods cells of twins over a 10-year period. Telomere length was used as a marker for the rate of biological aging.
  • It was found that the length of telomeres was directly related to that twin’s activity level. “There was a gradient,” Spector said. “As the amount of exercise increased, the telomere length increased.”
  • People who did 100 minutes of weekly exercise had telomeres that looked like those from someone about 5-6 years younger than those who did 16 minutes of exercise each week.
  • People who did 3 hours of vigorous exercise each week had telomeres that looked like those from someone about 9 years younger.

Reason #5: To Prevent or Control Type 2 Diabetes

Regular exercise helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. This is something that people with type 2 diabetes, or at risk for type 2 diabete, gain substantial benefits from.

Exercise improves the body’s use of insulin, and the related weight loss improves insulin sensitivity. Of course patients with type 2 diabetes need to get guidelines from their doctor before starting an exercise program.

Reason #6: To Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels

Exercise has shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels for these two reasons:

  • Weak Heart Muscles pump little blood with lots of effort. By exercising you strengthen your heart muscles and train them to pump more blood with less effort. The stronger your heart is the less pressure will be exerted on your arteries.
  • Exercise Increases HDL levels in some people – this means a decrease in your risk for heart disease. Other heart disease risk factors such as weight, diabetes and high blood pressure all show improvement with regular exercise.

Reason #7: To Feel Great

The first thing that clients tell me after starting an exercise program is how much better they feel.

Most didn’t even realize how bad they felt. It is easy to get used to feeling sluggish, achy and unmotivated.

Exercise boosts your energy levels and makes you feel amazing.

The quickest, easiest way to guarantee that you’ll meet your fitness and weight loss goals is to work one-on-one with a qualified fitness professional. You’ll be held accountable with your workouts and you’ll be instructed properly and shown techniques and strategies that will expedite your results.

Call or email today to get started on a program that will take the guesswork out of fitness and to set your results on fire.

What are you waiting for? Lace up your shoes and get moving!