According to new research, heat may be much more beneficial for muscle recovery then ice. Researches at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden invited fit men and women to be tested on arm-peddling machines. The exercise was designed to exhaust arm muscles with periods of slow and intense intervals. Once the glycogen (carbohydrate fuel source) storage was depleted in the muscles they no longer had any strength. After which they slipped cuffs on their arms that were pre-heated to 100 degrees F or chilled to 5 degrees F by the coils within them. It turned out that the muscles recovered quicker with heat but only if it was accompanied with a resupply of glycogen. Because of this experiment researchers feel that after a long marathon it may be best to sit in a relaxing warm bath while eating a chocolate bar.
It seems that how one eats has become an important subject since nutrition is now a topic of discussion. I will try to break it down a bit. To begin with there are Vegans. Vegans restrict themselves to eating only what has grown from the ground. This is an extremely disciplined diet and these people usually have to be conscious of their Vitamin B12 levels. Vegans usually have very low cholesterol levels. Vegetarians go a step further. They are broken down into several categories. There are ovo-vegetarians who are vegan based but consume eggs. Next are lacto-vegetarians who will add dairy to their vegetarian lifestyle. That is not to say that an ovo-lacto-vegetarian doesn’t exist. There are also those who consider themselves pesco-vegetarians which add only certain fish to their vegetarian diets. Vegetarians on a whole usually have much less obesity and heart disease but again being conscious of well rounded vitamin intake is an important factor. An omnivorous diet is one that includes a wide variety of both animal and vegetarian foods. Care has to be taken with this diet since there are no limitations. A conscious effort has to be made to consume high quality in both categories of meat and vegetables. Carnivores are rare since their intake is basically meat. Although meat helps with muscle and tissue repair, existing solely on it can put a lot of stress on the digestive system. A macrobiotic diet is one in which only cooked foods are consumed. Raw foods are considered too hard on the system to digest and certain fish are included but they are only 5% of the diet. Last but not least is a new term which many people seem to be comfortable with, it is a flexitarian. This diet combines vegetables with smaller portions of fish and meat. Whatever way of eating you feel comfortable with make sure that it remains an enjoyable experience. Quality food is important but since we are in the Holiday season, enjoying what it has to offer in moderation is something to look forward to. Who can resist a piece of homemade pumpkin pie?
Researchers studied about 600 patients by following their recovery from open heart surgery for 17 months after their operations. Afternoon surgery produced fewer major complications such as acute heart failure. In a follow up study patients were divided into 2 groups. Some to receive morning, others to receive afternoon surgery. They discovered that the level of troponin, a measure of heart muscle damage, was significantly different in the afternoon group. Conclusion is that the genetic mechanism that protects tissue under stress functions differently in the afternoon and may prove to be more beneficial for the patient.
Healthy fat is so important for the absorption of nutrients from food. Being overly conscious of eliminating fat can result in vitamin deficiencies and retention of weight because of improper digestion. A good supply of daily fat such as those found in nuts, avocados, fish and seeds as well as from organic meats can slow digestion and put off cravings for hours. Think of every snack as a little meal in which a small amount of the above is included.
Mushrooms are a rich source of plant protein. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols. Spanish researchers tested different cooking styles of white button, shiitake, oyster and king oyster mushrooms and found that grilling was the best way to preserve the nutrient content of all the mushrooms. It actually increased their nutritional value. Frying and boiling reduced protein and antioxidant content. Results were published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.
Research at the North Pole’s Institute of Iceology interviewed 50,000 elves who spend the year working at Santa’s workshop. The purpose was to determine if all children around the world received their gifts on Christmas morning. Since Christmas morning happens an hour later as you move through the time zones, it was established that Santa Clause is indeed able to preform such a task. And Rudolph does have a red nose that lights up.
According to a study done by Swedish researchers, having a dog as part of the family was linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. In Sweden all dogs are tagged and registered. The study lasted 12 years and included 3.4 million Swedes ages 40 to 80. Owning a dog proved to have a 20 to 23% decrease in death by cardiovascular disease. The results proved to be higher with owners of larger, active breeds since these dogs encouraged the owner to get out more to exercise their pets. Lap dogs just kept the person warm.
-2 ripe avocados
-1/2 cup thinly sliced jicama
-1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
-3 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
-1/4 cup 2% yogurt
-1/4 cup fresh orange juice
-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/4 cup dried cherries
1.) Cut avocados in half lengthwise and remove pits. Score flesh into a crosshatch pattern and scoop it into a medium bowl. Add jicama, radishes, and pumpkin seeds.
2.) In a serving bowl, whisk together yogurt, orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil. Add vegetables and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, toss to combine, and garnish with dried cherries.
*Nutrition score per serving: 334 calories, 24g fat (41g saturated), 30g carbs, 5g protein, 6g fiber, 118 mg sodium
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
The Shrew is a tiny mole-like creature found mostly in New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. It handles winter and the colder months much differently than most animals. While most animals resort to retreating and going into hibernation to conserve energy, the shrew will shrink its head by as much as 20%. The Shrew can actually break down the cranial bones and brain and regrow them in spring. The process is thought to help the animal use less energy while providing nutrition since the breakdown is reabsorbed into the body.
Fat is important for protecting our organs and lubricating our joints. Critical for nerve function, brain and eye operation. It supports hormone production as well as absorption of nutrients. It is not the elimination of fat from the diet but ingesting the right fats that is now what health professionals consider more important. But what about how fat is stored by the body. Why does the body store some as visceral and some as subcutaneous. What exactly is “brown” as opposed to “white” fat. Are we able to control how the body stores these fats or is it in our genes? It is important to understand how all these fats serve a positive purpose in the body and how maintenance and not complete elimination of any one of them should be the goal. Visceral fat is important in so far as it lies deep within the body and lines and protects our organs. By wrapping itself around our organs it protects the body in case of impact. However, when there is an excess it can result in abdominal weight that can result in a host of health problems. Subcutaneous fat is that which lies directly under the skin. It is home to blood vessels that supply the skin and nerves with oxygen. It lies loosely under the skin protecting the skin from trauma. Subcutaneous is that fat which is most easily reduced by exercising because it contains the energy storeage of the body. Which brings us to brown and white fat. Brown fat usually accumulates around the back of the neck and upper back. Its purpose is to burn calories and generate heat. It is usually derived from muscle tissue and especially high in hibernating animals and new born babies. As we age it is harder to maintain a good supply of this fat unless we maintain a healthy weight and exercise (especially outdoors) to allow the body to generate heat. It is rich with blood vessels which helps to give it the brown color. White fat is more abundant in the body. It is the largest store of potential energy in the body. White fat contains the receptors for insulin, growth and stress hormones. Of course the amount of each fat differs with all body types but it is important to realize that they all have a purpose in a healthy body.