Friday, May 11, 2018

Bacteria To Brighten Your Mood

Your gut is the new frontier of neuroscience. For some time, scientists have understood that the bacteria in our microbiomes affect overall physiology. More recently, they've discovered a connection between that bacteria and our brains - the gut-brain axis.

This knowledge has led to the concept of psychobiotics, the probiotics and prebiotics that can improve our mental health. Probiotics are live microbes found in fermented foods - think sauerkraut, kimchi and yogurt. Prebiotics are bacteria that feed probiotics.

These bacteria are capable of producing and delivering neuroactive substances which act on the brain-gut axis. Evidence is emerging of benefits in alleviating symptoms of depression and of chronic fatigue syndrome.

As researchers explored other aspects of our microbiome, a team found dramatic microbiome imbalances in the feces of participants with bipolar disorder compared to the control group. This reinforces the hypothesis that there is a link between gut health and mental health.

This exciting new research may eventually allow doctors to prescribe psychobiotics as part of a mental-health treatment protocol.  Probiotics and prebiotics may someday be used, either alone or with other treatments to alleviate anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues - even, perhaps, autism and dementia.

As we become aware of this up-to-the-minute research, it reminds us to embrace a variety of whole foods, including fermented foods,  in our diet every day for optimal health, energy and well-being.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your (Fermented) Food 






Friday, May 4, 2018

Six Habits of Healthy Women - Part 2

The truth is great health isn't complicated. Besides exercising, eating fruits and veggies, and never smoking, healthy women have six different habits that contribute to a long, high-quality life. I shared three habits last week. Check out these additional three today.

4. Healthy women use a lot of sunscreen.

Use at least one ounce, enough to fill a shot glass spread out over every exposed inch of your body. Some women put it on before they dress to avoid missing spots. Don't forget ears, neck, and, during sandal season, your toes. Try using stick sunscreen on the back of your hands to prevent sticky palms.

5. Healthy women don't fight stress with screens. 

At the end of a long, harried day, the path of least resistance is often paved with wine, ice cream and endless mind-dulling games of Candy Crush. But binge-watching Netflix offers only instant gratification - a little hit of dopamine in the brain's reward center.

Do something instead that fosters a genuine positive emotion; that's what induces feelings of calm and safety and puts the brakes on your body's stress response. One of the best ways to tap into good vibes: connect with others in person, not just via Instagram or Facebook likes.

6. Healthy women are strict about bedtime.

Mix up your meals, your workouts and your social life - but be consistent about getting shut-eye. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is essential to making sure you get enough sleep. Over time, lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, depression, diabetes and more. Plus, it's hard to feel productive or fend off stress and mood swings when you're yawning through the day. Set up a relaxing bed-time routine that includes turning off all electronic devices.


Of course, these healthy habits apply to men as well. 
Share the good news, ladies, and keep the men in your lives healthy, too.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Six Habits of Healthy Women - Part 1

The truth is great health isn't complicated. Besides exercising, eating fruits and veggies, and never smoking, healthy women have six different habits that contribute to a long, high-quality life. Check out these three today. I'll share the other three next week.

1. Healthy women put themselves first.

Many women don't approach their own needs thoughtfully. They end up giving themselves whatever is left over. Maybe you find yourself eating scraps off your kid's plate rather than making your own dinner. Perhaps you sacrifice sleep to squeeze in an extra work report. Time for yourself should not be deleted from your schedule.

2. Healthy women are not afraid of fat.

We now know that the type of fat you consume is more important than the amount. Low-fat diets don't seem to be effective at helping people lose weight. And when it comes to heart health, replacing saturated fat with refined carbs doesn't do you any favors. We now know that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat can reduce heart disease. Aim to get most of your fat from foods rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats - avocados, seeds, nuts and fatty fish.

3. Healthy women don't drink their calories.

Other than water, the only drinks worth a pour are coffee (watch the cream and sugar) and tea, along with the occasional alcoholic drink. Juices should be seen as a treat. The juicing process removes most of the healthy fiber while preserving the sugar.



Of course, these healthy habits apply to men as well. 
Share the good news, ladies, and keep the men in your lives healthy, too.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Don't Miss This Fun Opportunity!

Just a reminder for my blog community: Spring Group Interval Training starts this Saturday. There are still spots left at the 7:30 and 9:00am sessions. Contact me now to save your spot!




Friday, April 20, 2018

Wake Up Your Oatmeal

Oats are a whole grain carbohydrate, which is a good start to your breakfast. But the same food every day can get boring after awhile. Add some spice to wake up your palate. Include protein and fresh produce for a well-rounded meal. Try these perks to add some interest to your morning.

Sweet & Spicy

Combine 1/4 cup plain unsweetened pea protein powder with 2 Tbsp rolled oats and 1/2 cup hot water.  Stir in chopped pear, ginger and cinnamon.

Energy Booster

Start with 1/2 cup of steel cut oats cooked in 1 cup almond milk. Top with 1/2 cooked butternut squash cubes and a handful of walnuts. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Morning Treat

Cook 1/2 cup rolled oats in water. Stir in chopped apple, a spoon of Greek yogurt and a teaspoon of honey. Sprinkle with apple pie spice.

Creamy or Chewy?

It isn't milk that makes oatmeal creamy; it's how it's cooked. For creamy oatmeal, add the oats to cold water, bring to a boil, then simmer. Prefer it chewy? Just add the oats to boiling water, then simmer.

Upgrade that morning bowl of oatmeal to an enjoyable treat this week.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food




Saturday, April 14, 2018

Live Long, Live Strong

For those of us who are regular exercisers, one of our goals is to stay healthy through aging and live quality years throughout our lives. We all want our loved ones to share the golden years with us. We know we cannot make people do what they do not want to do, but we can try some motivation. One motivation tool can be new information. Check out these exercise facts and share them with someone you love today.

Exercise and DNA

Telomeres are caps at the end of chromosomes that protect our genetic data; they are similar to the plastic tip at the end of a shoelace that keeps it from unraveling. In the same vein, telomeres prevent the strands in chromosomes from unraveling. Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cells no longer divide and eventually die. This shortening is related to aging and a higher risk of death. Exercise has been associated with longer telomeres. 

Exercise and Quality of Life

Physical inactivity causes the loss of muscle tissue, which means we lose strength. The good news is that we can build lean muscle tissue at any age. Getting stronger requires strength-building exercise. Increased strength may not mean we necessarily live long, but most likely will increase our chances of living independently, by reducing the risk of falls and fractures.

Exercise and Disease

Regular movement has been shown to delay or prevent chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure; improve mental health and even delay dementia and cognitive decline. Four of the 5 most costly chronic conditions can be prevented or managed with physical activity. Consistent physical activity can result in quality years as we age instead of years of physical disability.


Your fitness activities could be the spark that
motivates your loved one to introduce movement into their life.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, April 6, 2018

More Tips for Working Well

How does your office space impact your body? In my February 16th post, I offered healthy tips to deal with lighting, open floor plans, chair posture and kitchen germs. Today, I'll touch on a few more ways to stay healthy at work.

Working Non-stop

As corporations seek to squeeze more and more from their employees, it's not surprising that office workers are more stressed than ever. That kind of chronic stress raises heart rate, blood pressure and levels of inflammation - all risk factors for heart disease.

Take breaks - walk a lap around the floor, visit the restroom, stand to look out a window. Workers who take short, frequent breaks experience less emotional exhaustion, more job satisfaction and fewer aches and pains than those who don't. 

Too much screen time

On average, we spend more than half our waking hours staring at electronic devices. Studies have found that employees parked in front of a screen for most of the day experienced a reduction in their tear fluid, a typical symptom of dry eye. This is partly because we tend to blink less when we gaze at a screen. Dry eye can lead to strain, irritation and blurry vision.

Give your eyes regular breaks which allows them to regain natural lubrication. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, gaze at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Sitting Disease

I'm sure you've heard it by now. "Sitting is the new smoking." Staying glued to that desk chair slows your metabolism, deforms your vertebral disks and contributes to weight gain. Every hour you spend sitting in front of the TV shortens your lifespan by 22 minutes - the equivalent to the damage done by smoking two cigarettes.

Try a standing desk, Even better, choose one that moves from standard desk level to standing level. Use the 20 minute eye break rule (above) to stand and stretch your body at your desk. Suggest moving one of your meetings outdoors. Use the stairs at every opportunity. Always stand to take a phone call.

Use these small strategies to create a healthier work environment and 
to feel energized and alert at work.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food