Thursday, March 30, 2017

Stretch your way to better health

 
 
Believe it or not, stretching is a critical part of

    any exercise program. Relaxed muscles

 and flexible limbs help you maximize

 workouts, live pain-free and keep injuries at

 bay. Read on to learn how you can

 incorporate more stretching into your regular

 routine. Pretty soon you'll see that the effort

 will be worth the reward.

   Keep your body healthy with these pointers for a good stretch.

 

6 key benefits of stretching

You might be thinking that it's hard to carve out time in your schedule for exercise, let alone stretching. But most cardio and strength-training programs cause your muscles to tighten. That's why it's important to stretch regularly to keep your body functioning well.
Regular stretching:
  • Increases flexibility, which makes daily tasks easier
  • Improves range of motion of your joints, which helps keep you mobile
  • Improves circulation
  • Promotes better posture
  • Helps relieve stress by relaxing tense muscles
  • Helps prevent injury, especially if your muscles or joints are tight

Stretching essentials
Keep these key points in mind:
  • Target major muscle groups. When you're stretching, focus on your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Also stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use at work or play.
  • Warm up first. Stretching muscles when they're cold increases your risk of injury, including pulled muscles. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favorite exercise at low intensity for five minutes. If you only have time to stretch once, do it after you exercise — when your muscles are warm and more receptive to stretching. And when you do stretch, start slowly.
  • Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds — and up to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle or problem area. Then repeat the stretch on the other side. For most muscle groups, a single stretch is usually sufficient.
  • Don't bounce. Bouncing as you stretch repeatedly gets your muscles out of the stretch position and doesn’t allow them to relax, making you less flexible and more prone to pain.
  • Focus on a pain-free stretch. Expect to feel tension while you're stretching. If it hurts, you've gone too far. Back off to the point where you don't feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
  • Relax and breathe freely.
  • Don't hold your breath while you're stretching.

Fit stretching into your schedule
As a general rule, stretch whenever you exercise. If you don't exercise regularly, you may want to stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. If you have a problem area, such as tightness in the back of your leg, you may want to stretch every day or even twice a day.
Think about ways you can fit stretching into your daily schedule. For example:
  • Do some stretches after your morning shower or bath. That way, you can shorten your warm-up routine because the warm water will raise muscle temperature and prepare your muscles for stretching.
  • Stretch before getting out of bed. Try a few gentle head-to-toe stretches by reaching your arms above your head and pointing your toes.
  • Sign up for a yoga or tai chi class. You're more likely to stick with a program if you're registered for a class.

What you should know before you stretch
You can stretch anytime, anywhere — in your home, at work or when you're traveling. But if you have a chronic condition or an injury, you may need to alter your approach. For example, if you have a strained muscle, stretching it as you usually do may cause further harm. Talk with your doctor or a physical therapist about the best way for you to stretch.

 

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yogurt with Walnuts and Honey

  •   Omega-3 fatty acids appear to help with the reduction of risk of heart disease and may help fight inflammation, though more research is needed in that area. They are essential fatty acids, meaning the body cannot produce them and has to get them through food sources to provide the body what it needs. Marine sources (EPA/DHA) are found in oily fish and plant-based sources (ALA) are in flaxseeds and flax oil, canola oil and walnuts. Walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant source of ALA, at 2.5 grams per ounce.

    Ingredients

  • 4 cups Greek yogurt, fat-free, plain or vanilla
  • 1/2 cup California walnuts, toasted, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
  • Fresh fruit, chopped or granola, low-fat (both optional)

Directions

  1. Spoon yogurt into 4 individual cups.
  2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of walnuts over each and drizzle 2 teaspoons honey over each.
  3. Top with fruit or granola, if desired. 
For More Healthy Walnut Recipes Download Your free copy  HERE
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Your Defense Against Cancer


                                                                        READ NEXT ARTICLE

Cancer is a 4-letter word. Yes, there are 6 letters, yet it has become known as "the c-word," too scary to be called by its real name.
While food is a daily behavior we can leverage for health, fewer than 1 in 10 consumers in the U.S. associate specific foods with cancer risk reduction, according to a survey of U.S. consumers conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) in 2014.
In contrast, the American Institute for Cancer Research has estimated that one-third of the cancers that occur in the U.S. could be prevented through healthful eating, physical activity, and maintaining a healthful body weight. Another interesting development uncovered by IFIC Foundation in 2013 is that consumers increasingly prioritize health when making food decisions. In fact, consumers now assert that healthfulness is as important as price,  while it used to trail behind both price and taste.
We want to improve our chances against cancer, and we can.
  • Start with the basics of healthful eating throughout the lifespan. Cancer, like heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, develops over a lifetime. Whether you are a mother, mother-to-be, or in a position to support new moms, know that eating well during pregnancy, breastfeeding during infancy, and encouraging healthful habits throughout childhood are critical to a good start in life.
From childhood throughout life, eat enough, neither too much nor too little. Focus on nutrient-packed foods, such as walnuts, to satisfy hunger.
A well-rounded plant-based diet means that vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits are a priority. There is room on the plate for low fat dairy, fish, eggs, and lean meats as an accompaniment rather than the focus of the meal. With a plant-based diet, get enough omega-3 fats by including walnuts and fatty fish such as salmon weekly. Protein recommendations can be met even if meat portions are kept small by adding nuts, legumes, fish, and low-fat dairy.
  • Think big when it comes to your health. Don’t do one good thing (exercise) so that you can justify another bad thing (smoking for example). Make healthful lifestyle choices and indulge yourself with care and respect.
Seek to understand your individual cancer risk. Cancer is actually a set of diseases that differ tremendously in terms of how they develop and what increases or decreases risk, based to an extent on the part of the body that is affected. There are risk questionnaires, such as the ones created by National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/) and MD Anderson Cancer Center (https://www3.mdanderson.org/publicedu/prevention/). Then talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) about specific dietary changes that relate to cancers that are relevant to your health.
As you nudge habits to a healthier place, remember that taste and health can go hand-in-hand. A handful of walnuts, a sprinkling of cinnamon, or an added walk in the afternoon are each unique ways to help reduce your risk of cancer. There are no magic bullets, just handfuls, sprinklings, and small steps that together build your defense against cancer. 
READ NEXT ARTICLE

 International Food Information Council Foundation. 2014 Food and Health Survey. April 1, 2014. http://www.foodinsight.org/sites/default/files/2014%20Food%20and%20Health%20Survey%20Full%20Report.pdf.
 American Institute for Cancer Research. Reduce Your Cancer Risk Web Site. May 17, 2013. http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/.
International Food Information Council Foundation. 2013 Food and Health Survey. April 1, 2013. http://old.foodinsight.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=spavtJtVkzM%3d&tabid=1482.
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Hunger and cravings: What's the difference?

 

A better understanding of these potential food triggers will help you stay on track.

 

Have you noticed that when food temptations strike, it often has more to do with your mood than when you last ate? You may crave food to relax, relieve stress or boredom, soothe anger, or cope with loneliness, sadness or anxiety. Indulging in cravings during these emotional times may lead you to eat too many high-calorie, sweet, fatty foods.
Everyone has a food craving at times — and yes, chocolate is at the top of most people's list. The first step to managing your cravings is being able to identify when you’re truly hungry. Learn how to recognize the difference between a craving and hunger.
Cravings:
  • Are usually for comfort foods, such as chocolate, sweets and fatty foods
  • Are often caused by negative feelings
  • Lead to eating that makes you feel good at first, but then guilty
  • Increase during a woman's pregnancy and menstrual cycle
  • May be stronger when you're dieting, especially if you're giving up your favorite foods
  • Can occur even after you've recently eaten
  • Pass with time

Hunger:
  • Usually occurs when you haven't eaten for a few hours or more
  • Results in a rumbling stomach, headache or feeling of weakness
  • Doesn't pass with time
  • Isn't just for one specific food
  • Can be satisfied by a healthy snack or meal

If you have a craving, distract yourself. Try calling a friend, listening to music, taking a walk or bike ride, reading, or writing. If a negative feeling is causing your craving, use positive self-talk, exercise or a fun activity to improve your mood.
READ NEXT ARTICLE
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Berry Good Whole-Grain Coffee Cake

  Next time you're on dessert duty for a social gathering, skip the cookies and serve up

 this healthy fruit & cake recipe 

tasty, easy to prepare and even more fun to

 eat

Ingredients
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen mixed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries (do not thaw)
1/4 cup low-fat granola, slightly crushed
Instructions
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and coat with flour.
In large bowl, mix the milk, vinegar, oil, vanilla, egg and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt just until moistened. Gently fold half the berries into the batter. Spoon into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining berries and top with the granola.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and top springs back when touched in center. Cool in pan on cooling rack 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Serves 8.
Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 160
Cholesterol: 25 mg
Total fat: 5 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Trans fat: 0 g
Sodium: 140 mg
Total carbohydrate: 26 g
Dietary fiber: 3 g

 

 

whole-grain coffee cake

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Healthy Vegetable Dip

 

  Whether you have a social gathering to attend or simply need a tasty snack to have on hand this weekend — we've got you covered. Impress friends or family with this super simple dip served with fresh veggies. The pretty presentation will be a hit with any guest, and loved ones will appreciate having something healthy to munch on.

 

Ingredients
3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed, drained and patted dry
1 cup 1% fat cottage cheese
1/3 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
Instructions
Place ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight and serve with your favorite vegetables.
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Serves 16.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 40
Total fat: 2.5 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Sodium: 115 mg
Total carbohydrate: 3 g
Dietary fiber: 0 g
Protein: 2 g
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fruit Gratin

 
Ingredients
1 pounds cherries, pitted and halved
4 cup(s) mixed stone fruit, such as nectarines, peaches and apricots, peeled, pitted and sliced
3 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup(s) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup(s) almonds, sliced
2 tablespoon sugar, turbinado (raw) or firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon walnut oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon dark honey
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly coat a 9-inch (23-cm) square baking dish with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the cherries and stone fruits. Sprinkle with the flour and turbinado sugar and toss gently to mix.
To make the topping, in another bowl, combine the oats, almonds, flour, turbinado sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk to blend. Stir in the oil and honey and mix until well blended.
Spread the fruit mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the oat-almond mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is lightly browned, 45-55 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 6.
Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 224
Total fat: 8 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Sodium: 52 mg
Total carbohydrate: 38 g
Dietary fiber: 5 g
Protein: 4 g
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