To Cook or not to cook…

Posted by Lenny Variano on April 26, 2019

Some believe that eating a raw diet is one of the best ways to increase digestive enzymes in the body and that cooking in turn destroys many nutrients. While this may be true for a good deal of what we eat, some research is showing that there may be some benefits to cooking certain vegetables. In a study done by the International Journal of Food, Science and Technology certain benefits in favor of cooking were pointed out. Asparagus contain at least six nutrients and cancer fighting antioxidants. By steaming these stalks slightly there was an increase of 16% of these nutrients. Mushrooms contain muscle-building protein, heart healthy niacin and immune boosting zinc. However mushrooms can also contain a slight level of toxicity which is removed by lightly sautéing in olive oil and garlic. Spinach has a level of oxalic acid which may hinder the absorption of iron and calcium. Cooking spinach quickly in boiling water can reduce this level of oxalate by as much as 40%. A good way to cover your bases would be to alternate both, consuming raw as well as cooking some of your favorite vegetables. This is a good way to achieve balance in your diet.

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How do we learn? Some learn by reading, others by listening and yet some find looking at a diagram the easiest way to absorb information. How do we classify a learning style or technique? Is it that some of us feel more comfortable with words while others relate more to pictures? Can it be that some of us are more intuitive as opposed to analytical when it comes to solving problems. Would it make a difference if parents, teachers and employers were able to know the difference? In other words, leaving a note or memo for someone as opposed to communicating directly to others. Researchers in studying brain scans determined that those who were visual when looking at a word transformed it into a mental picture while those who favored word transposed the object into a word. It seems that no particular learning style is better. It appears that our brain processes information differently. The trick is to not limit oneself to a particular way of learning and open yourself up to exploring other learning styles. Although visual, aural, verbal, or physical may be your dominant style of learning, incorporating a secondary style may be more helpful in a different circumstance.

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Some of us enjoy going to the gym and have no problem spending at least 50 minutes exercising. There are others who have made weight training a part of their lives simply because they feel it is necessary for a healthy living plan. For some who find it difficult allotting time for the gym it may not be necessary to spend as many minutes as you think. A study done at Lehman College in the Bronx and reported in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise offers some new information. The study involved 34 fit young men. All had experience in resistance training. They were divided into 3 groups. The first group spent 70 min. completing 5 reps of each exercise. The second group spent 40 min. finishing 3 sets and the last group spent 13 brisk minutes performing each exercise quickly and to the point of failure (physically unable to perform another repetition). After 8 weeks and 3 sessions a week all were tested. All three groups had gained the same amount of strength. The difference was in muscle size. Whatever your goal is, gaining muscle or just supporting the health of your bones, resistance training can have significant benefits regardless of the amount of time you spend at the gym.

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Are we Born Lazy?

Posted by Lenny Variano on April 12, 2019

Few of us exercise regularly even though we have been told time and time again of its benefits. Are we meant to be physically inactive? Physiologists, psychologists and health practitioners have been baffled by the fact that even though a person has the best intentions of beginning an exercise routine how easily they can be swayed to do the opposite. To find out what was going on in our brain, scientists recruited 29 men and women who expressed a desire to be active and yet never were. All were fitted with caps containing electrodes. They were seated in front of a computer screen and given their own avatar. They had the choice of moving the avatar toward an action figure or one resting. Although most of them moved toward the action figure, their brain scans showed that it took more of an effort to do so. The results may relate to the fact the our ancestors would remain quiet and rested whenever they could so as to keep a reserve of energy when food was scarce. Our brains may still be predisposed to having us remain inactive. This, of course, is no excuse since we no longer have to hunt for our food.

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