Thursday, August 9, 2012
Monday, August 6, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Who doesn’t love a little summer sun at the beach, park or pool. Despite all the bad we hear about sun exposure, there are indeed health benefits of safe sun exposure. One of my favorite sayings “everything in moderation” works great when discussing soaking in the sun. Prolonged exposure to the sun can result in burns, and aging, but 10-15 minutes of daily sun exposure is great for the body (and mind).
Vitamin D is one of the most important things we get from sun exposure. It is true when deficient we can increase our levels with supplementing D, however moderate sun exposure allows the body to make vitamin D on its own in the amounts it needs. Being in the sun is also good for the soul! Studies consistently show that sun exposure reduces the incidence of seasonal affective disorder. Moderate sun exposure may help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Knowing the benefits of sun exposure is jut as important as knowing how to protect yourself from its potential dangers. If you’ve ever had bad sunburn, you know just how painful it can be. Additionally every burn we experience increase the risk for sun related skin cancers and aging. So to get the benefits of the sun, it’s imperative to know just how to play safe!
Wearing sunscreen, avoiding high noon sun exposure and covering sensitive areas of skin are three important practices of safe sun. Sunscreens are not just skin deep, and picking the perfect sunscreen is a difficult task these days with so many options on the market. Recently the FDA has come out with new regulations preventing companies from advertising sunscreens with SPF values higher than 50+. This is because it can lead to a false sense of protection, encouraging people to apply the product less, or cover up less.
The two main types of sunscreens available for purchase are chemical and mineral. Chemical has been more scrutinized due to its potential harmful ingredients and mineral sunscreens (primarily made from zinc and titanium) which are gaining more popularity these days because they are less harmful and have a more broad spectrum of coverage. When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to do your research. I recommend the EWG guide to choosing sunscreen at www.ewg.org.
Sun Safe and Enjoy!
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
A February Fruit
Perhaps you have heard of the grapefruit diet or enjoy a glass of grapefruit juice in the morning? Regardless of the reason, grapefruit deserves the attention!! February is national grapefruit month, and this fruit is definitely one worthy of your refrigerator. Although I don’t recommend the grapefruit diet, it did originate from the fact that grapefruit contains compounds that can help improve weight loss, coining grapefruit in some circles “a natural fat burner”.
One grapefruit can have up to 100% of your daily needs for vitamin C, a vitamin that plays a major role in immune support and anti-aging. Considering that February is a cold month and often a time of flu's and colds, eating grapefruit can have a strong effect on immune response, thus reducing incidence and duration of colds and flu’s. Additionally, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which are the front line against destruction from aging.
Furthermore, valentines day isn’t the only reason for hearts everywhere in February. Grapefruit gives us another reason to celebrate the heart in February. Grapefruit is a heart healthy fruit, reducing incidence of heart disease in some studies due to its abundance of vitamins and nutrients as well as high fiber content! One of the most beneficial parts of the grapefruit is called pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber that may reduce the ability of plaque to form on artery walls (a process known as atherosclerosis) which leads to cardiovascular disease, making grapefruit a heart healthy food!!
Grapefruit contains specific compounds that may have an effect on the potency of certain prescription medications. If you are taking prescription medications check with your pharmacist or doctor to see if grapefruit should be avoided. Not all medications interact with grapefruit however, so rather than just taking it out of your diet, check first to see if any medications you take interact with this fantastic fruit!
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
A "New" New Years Resolution
Have you ever started off a New Year resolving that you would lose weight, exercise or eat healthy? Many of us have set these goals but less have succeeded with this resolution. So, why the disparity between successes and failures? Often the problem lies within the game plan. When setting goals that address lifestyle changes, it is most important to set ones that are sustainable for not just short periods of time, but for the duration of the year. Be careful not to set goals too large that will be difficult to follow on a daily basis. Overtime there is a tendency to lose sight of these large goals and the slowly old habits, which conveniently fit into our schedule, creep back and before you know it, you’re right back where you started.
This year when making your resolution, start with restructuring the thoughts behind the resolution. For example rather than the normal "I am going to lose weight" or "I am going to start exercising" try to create smaller more focused goals, goals that compliment your ultimate goal without losing sight of it. So how do you do that? Well here are a few examples of small changes that over 12 months make a big difference.
The Colorful Plate
Eat 1/2 of your plate from vegetables. Vegetables are high in fiber, low in calories and filling. Eating a diet high in vegetables, especially dark greens and leafy vegetables helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol and is heart healthy.
Some suggestions include:
- Snack on fresh veggies like baby carrots, celery and broccoli
- Add lettuce, tomato and onion to sandwiches
- Substitute side dishes such as potatoes, rice or bread for extra vegetables or a side salad
Increase your daily activity! Make small efforts to increase your physical activity on a daily basis. Some suggestions include:
- Get off the subway or bus a stop or two early and walk the extra distance.
- Make yourself a deal that every time you watch TV you will use the commercials as an opportunity to be active. Try some pushups or jumping jacks, or maybe some stretching until the program resumes.
Temptation can run high at the grocery store with super sales and shiny packages and before you know it your cabinet is filled with 3 types of cookies, sinful ice creams and the “go to” chips. To prevent this try to follow some of these tips:
- Bring a list with you to the grocery store that you made while looking through your cabinets for what you need
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach.
- Cut calories in beverages. Drinking calories is one of the easiest ways to gain weight or prevent weight loss. Instead chose beverages low in sugar and calories or free of calories.
- Try water or seltzer water over flavored water or sport drinks. To flavor water squeeze fresh lemon or lime into the water
- Eliminate beverages that provide more than 30 calories per serving
- Look for juices that are natural and have no added sugars. Light versions of juice are even better.
- Try many varieties of herbal teas, regular teas and coffee. Be careful not to load the coffee or tea with sugar. Herbal teas have many caffeine free varieties naturally flavored and sweet.
- When drinking alcoholic beverages use non calorie mixers to add to the alcohol such as seltzer water. To enhance flavor add a “splash” of juice
Its most important is to remember that change is slow, and small changes make a big difference. A healthy diet is a lifelong commitment and rewarding in its nature. Don’t be fooled by fad diets and promises of easy fast weight loss or expensive exercise programs that become too time consuming. Take time to enjoy your foods, treasure your walks, and prepare your meals. Have a happy and healthy holiday and a Nutritious new year!