Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brain Boosters

On msn the other day I found an article about foods that boost brain power. Here is a quick run down - check out the link for more details

Blueberries - they have lots of antioxidants which promote positive signals to be sent from the nerve cells in your brain. This reduced inflammation. Eating blueberries daily may also help you perform better on memory tests.

Walnuts - help with heart health by lowering blood cholesterol. They fatty acids the nuts contain are also good for the brain because they help protect against degeneration. Degeneration can occur with normal aging or with diseases such as parkinsons or alzhiemers.  The antio oxidants also act as anti-inflammatories.
{P.S. studies have shown that people who eat nuts live longer than those who don't}

Strawberries - they have the higher amounts of antioxidants  compared to other fruit of vegetable - when ripe and in season. This high amount of antioxidants makes them great anti-inflammatories which is good for the nerve cells in your brain.

Dark Leafy Greens - mom was right - eat your green vegetables. Kale, spinach, swiss chard.. take your pick - they all help protect the arteries, vision and have anti-cancer properties. They also help to maintain and healthy brain

Salmon or Other Coold Water Fish - eating these fish is linked with lower levels of cognitive decline. The high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids help to protect the arteries which is key for normal brain function. They also help lower blood triglycerides - which is good for your arteries and your heart.

Check Out this link for  a Recipe for a salad that contains the first 4. Grill up some salmon and you've got yourself one brain healthy dinner!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quick Link

Click Here is a link a List of Warm Weather Exercises -
from Women's Health Magazine (womenshealthmag.com)
Try one this weekend!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Diet vs. Exercise

Women's Health recently discussing whether its diet or exercise that is the most important. They looked at 6 common situations.
Here's what they found

To Lose Weight - Diet
To Boost Energy - Exercise
Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease - Diet
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes - Exercise
To Prevent Cancer - BOTH - plant based diet and consistent exercise
Improve Mood - Exercise

To read the full article including reasons why they came to these conclusions check out the article here

To sum up - both diet and exercise are vital to living a healthy lifestyle. Avoid yo-yo dieting or yo-yo exercising and try to maintain consistency with both. Everything in moderation


Thursday, June 24, 2010

What you need to know

About sunscreen and sun bathing...
1. The SPF on the bottle is not a reliable number. The problem? Most people do not apply enough to get the amount of protection the sunscreen claims.  You should apply about 1 -2oz of sunscreen - (1oz = 1shot glass)

2. Environmental Working Group has come out with some new information suggesting that Vitamin A (or its derivatives ie. retinol) can actually promote burning. This is very preliminary information and the studies have only done on mice.
However, it is something to think about when buying sun screen
(read more here and here)

3. Even in the shade you can be reached by UV rays - so put sunscreen on either way. Same goes for sheer or thin clothing.

Now that its getting sunny and hot out we are spending more time outside. It is important to apply sunscreen before you go out, after swimming or sweating, and apply liberally. Most dermatologists (mine included)  suggest anything below SPF 15 is useless. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen so it blocks burning and cancer causing rays as well as those that cause tanning and wrinkling.

-remember to use enough of your spf containing makeup to be protected. - re-read this post

image from Bittersweet Life

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yoga Thrive

Yoga Thrive is a yoga program developed for people who have or have had cancer, and their support person(s). It was developed by Dr.Nicole Culos-Reed at the University of calgary.
Yoga has been shows to minimize or improve treatment related symptoms such as nausea and fatigue. Participants also have increased overall physical activity levels, improved physical strength decreased levels of perceived stress and improved mood state.

 In order for this practice and the benefits to reach more people there are classes being held all over Canada
-Check out this link to find a class near you - as well as more info on the program

There is also a DVD available so you can practice at home, or with someone you know who has been affected by cancer.  - a link to buy the DVD can be found by clicking the link above.

You can read more about Dr. Culos-Reed's research by following this link http://www.kin.ucalgary.ca/healthandwellnesslab/Site/Yoga_Thrive___files/Yoga%20Thrive%20-%20research%20summary%5BMay%202009%5D.pdf

Dr. Culos-Reed has also developed fitness testing for cancer survivors.
If you, or anyone you know lives in or near Calgary - they can contact the Health and Wellness lab and set up a fitness assessment for either Cadiovascular health or for Strength. For $150 you get a 1.5 hour assessment as well as a 1 hour training session on another day. Follow this link for more information http://www.kin.ucalgary.ca/healthandwellnesslab/Site/Fitness_Testing.html
To book a session:
CALL (403) 210-6983
or EMAIL thrive.centre.info@gmail.com
Please leave your name and contact info, and our staff will contact you to set up your appointment

"Being inactive is not an option. Walking 30min a day, 7 days a week increases cancer survival rate by 50%" - Dr. Culos-Reed

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Health Tip

Steam your broccoli!

Steaming broccoli can increase the concentration of glucosinolates by up to 30% Glucosinolates are a category of phytochemicals (anti-oxidants) found in broccoli and other vegetables such as kale, brussel sprouts, and garlic.
These specific chemicals are knows for lowering risk of cancer by blocking carcinogins and preventing the initiation of tumors in some organs such as liver, mammary glands,  and pancrease.

-boiling your vegetables can cause phytochemicals and nutrients to leach out of vegetables into the water - and then down the drain.  so next time, steam your broccoli!

tip found on MSN BC - 12 quick tips for a longer, healthier life
Check out the 11 others here


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reebok Easy Tone Shoes

Reebok have a new shoe out called The Easy Tone Shoe (RunTone for men). It claims to tone your butt up to 28% more, Hamstrings and Calves 11% more (more than regular walking shoes). The shoes are for walking only - they are not recommened for running. The way they work is by using balance ball technology to force your muscles to work harder to try to stabilize you body.
The design of the shoes (or flip flops if you prefer) appears to reduce stress on the knee and ankle joints. And one very common testimonial is how comfortable the shoes are.
Check out one of the commercials here - some people say the commercials are sexist, play on womens insecurities and fragment womens bodies...
I however, think it is fantastic marketing - and all the women in the commerical are active ( just remember, these womens butts and legs looked like that when they were hired for the commercial!)

A friend of mine, Trish wears them for her shifts at the hospital that can be up to 12 hours long. She said that she would buy them again purely because of how comfortable they are. She said she has not noticed any extra toning from the shoes, but knows people who say that they have.
That brings up an issue I have with the shoe and reeboks claims - there has been no independent studies done. Which means that all the information out there about the shoes is coming directly from reebok.

On Monday the 21 I am participating in a study where I will be walking in the Easy Tone shoes, regular Reebok Runner as well as barefoot. - the study is for reebok to get more numbers behind their claims
I will keep you posted on what I think of them - if they really are comfortable and take stress of my knee then they might be worth it just for that.

If you are looking for more tone of your leg muscle - I would recommend strength training over buying a pair of runners any day. But if you do a lot of walking already, or having them would encourage you to get more active then check them out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Katrina Runs

I just found a new blog I thought I would share. Katrina Runs http://www.katrina-runs.com/  - the author is a 34year old teacher, runner, photographer, and diabetic. she loves cooking and has lots of great recipes! because she has diabetes she has lots of great information about proteins, complex carbs, balances meals and the dangers of too much sugar.
she posts about running, cooking, clean eating and photography. I would definitely check out her site!
One great post is "Organics, Is It Worth It" - it talks about the growing trend of buying organic as well as a list of foods from WebMD that you definitely should buy organic or make sure you wash!

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Blood Donor Day

Monday June 14 is World Blood Donor Day.
The need for blood donations is extremely high in the summers.
So call 1-888-2-DONATE to find the nearest place near you.
And make sure you tell everyone else to donate blood and save lives.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hip-to-Waist Ratio

We've all heard of BMI - body mass index. It is a height to weight ratio. Click Here to calculate your BMI.  It is widely used in body composition tests, and by doctors. It is a strong predictor for risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
The problem with BMI is it does not take into consideration fat vs muscle, or where your body fat is located.
That is where the hip-to-waist ratio comes in.
To measure your hip-to-waist ration:
measure around the smallest part of your waist - usually near your belly button.
measure around the widest part of your hips and buttocks.
divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement and you've got your hip-to-waist ratio
According to Health Canada, a ratio less than 0.8 for women, and less than 1.0 for men is associated with lower heath risk.
This measurement is an even stronger predictor for increased health risks than BMI. This is because it gives an indication of where you store your body fat.
We've all heard terms apple shaped, and pear shaped.
Well bad news if you are apple shaped and carry most of your weight around your stomach, and less around your waist. This means that there is more fat surrounding all your internal organs, including your heart. This increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

So find out your number for both these measurements, BMI and Hip-to-waist ratio. Write them down and talk to your Doctor about the implications. If either of your numbers are higher than recommended by Health Canada - talk to your doctor about an exercise regime and some nutritional advice that will help you become healthier.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

women are catching up with the men!

Historically, Men have always been a lot more active than women. But that is changing. According to the Life Mark Health "Healthier You" newsletter, activity levels among women in Canada are increasing.

This is great news since Heart Disease is the number one killer of women in North America and the risk can be largely reduced by regular exercise.
Next time you are planning a date with your girl friends why not try to do something active. We need to get all women in Canada moving.
Here are some ideas of what you could do with the girls besides high calorie martinis and restaurant food.
Go for a walk - in the park, by a river, go for a hike (here is a link for Canada Trails - you can find information about hikes in your area, they even have information for Hiking groups)
Bike ride or roller blading - you probably haven't put on your roller blades since 1999 but it could be fun!
Jazzercise - yes it does still exist and it is targeting women stating 'its a fun thing to do with the girls"
Yoga - I know a lot of women who go to yoga, so why not get together with your friends and take a class
Join a recreational team - softball, kickball, volleyball, soccer... there are recreation leagues in almost all cities, you can play co-ed or I'm sure there are all women's leagues.
if there is something active you do with your girlfriends, let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

quick tip for the day

Feeling tired even if you've had a good night sleep?
Eat an apple.

Apples are high in fibre which slows the release of sugar into the blood stream. So instead of getting a quick burst of energy and then crashing, like you would from a chocolate bar, sugar is released into your blood stream in a slow steady pace.

This helps maintain your blood sugar throughout the day which will make you feel more awake.

Megan's story

First, a little background: Megan and I met about 10 years ago.. maybe closer to 11. We met in Jr.High and have been friends ever since. When Megan told me she wanted to start working out I was excited to offer up all sort of information I was learning at school. We went to the gym, I showed her some exercise, we did a circuit that nearly killed us, and we talked about goals. Cut to 9 months later and Megan is still at it. Here's her story

One day in September 2009 I looked in the mirror and muttered "how did I let it come to this?!" I am 5'3" and at the time weighed 171 pounds, size 12. That day was a huge eye opener for me, a chance to make a positive change. My plan was to go to the gym and hope to find motivation there. I worked out at the gym for about 3 months but I didn't look forward to working out. I just didn't seem to enjoy it, and so i stopped going.
I decided to look into routines that I would be able to do at home (in my room). I already had a few random exercise DVD's, so I went out and bought a set of weights. I found a great source for exercise instructions and routines that have been working perfect at home; The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises. As the name states the book is full of exercises for the entire body. I find working out at home to be more comfortable for me and of course more convent.
My motivation is all within. I want to make a positive change to my life! I try to record my progress and this challenges me to work harder and make sure I meet my weekly goals. When setting weekly goals for myself I try to make them a challenge, yet obtainable. And when I feel like I can not push through one more set my music keeps me going!!
PS I currently weight 135 pounds, size 6. :)
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