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The Benefits of Fiber

October 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Which do you believe is more important, soluble or insoluble fiber? Many people don’t know there is a difference between the two. Most people consider fiber to be a nutrient that helps healthy digestion, but it does other things as well. Dietary fiber, which is plant material that is indigestible, is an essential nutrient because you have to consume it to make this type of fiber available to your body. Some foods have both soluble and insoluble fiber in them.

Any part of a food that is plant-based that is not able to break down in your system or isn’t absorbed into your body is considered to be indigestible. Fiber moves through your colon and helps move food particles along that could otherwise adhere to the sides. Food that stays stuck to your colon can lead to bloating, constipation, pain, and other health problems.

It is important to eat vegetables, nuts, seeds, and certain fruits on a regular basis to provide your body with the nutrients it needs. These foods contain the fiber that is needed to regulate your bowel movements and keep your colon clean, among other health benefits.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gel when it gets to your large intestine. It is easily broken down by both liquids and gastrointestinal acids and in turn, releases certain gases.

The thick gel that is created moves into the crevices of your colon and slows down your digestion. This is great for weight control because it can help you feel fuller for a longer period of time. It also helps prevent dietary cholesterol from breaking down, which helps keep your cholesterol levels healthy. Soluble fiber slows down the rate of absorption of other nutrients in your body to prevent your blood sugar from spiking as well.

Soluble fiber also helps lower your risk of developing hypertension and heart disease. It can even aid in feeding the good bacteria in your gut.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber stays intact while it moves through your colon. It is not digested and is therefore not a form of calories. It works to prevent constipation because it absorbs fluid as it goes through your gastrointestinal tract. It also sticks to other byproducts in your intestinal tract that help to form waste that your body wants to get rid of. This also shortens the amount of time that food spends in your colon while helping your body excrete waste. This helps keep your digestion regular.

Insoluble fiber also decreases your risk of developing diseases such as diverticulitis, which happens when your colon creates folds and increases the intestinal blockages that lead to constipation.

Overall Benefits

Overall, soluble fiber keeps you feeling full for longer by slowing digestion, and insoluble fiber takes up space in your stomach and intestines, which can help you eat less. Both kinds of fiber help decrease your risk of health conditions such as including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Sources of Fiber

Many foods are rich in fiber. The best sources have at least 20% of the recommended daily value of dietary fiber for each serving, but this does not necessarily mean that the food is healthy. For example, grains are not always very healthy, even though they are high in fiber.

Healthy foods with a lot of fiber include vegetables such as green peas, artichoke, sweet potato with the skin, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Some other great sources include raspberries, pears, prunes, dried dates, figs, almonds, pumpkin, apples, and bananas.

Women should aim for consuming 25 grams of fiber each day and men should try to eat 38 grams. However, it is also recommended to consume 25 to 50 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. When you increase your fiber intake, make sure that you do it slowly and drink a lot of water while doing so. As fiber travels through your gastrointestinal tract, it acts like a dry sponge, meaning it needs water to bulk up and pass through the system. Without increasing your water intake, you can become constipated if you eat too much fiber too soon.

Fiber and Gut Health

Some foods not only provide fiber, but also help improve your gut health. One example of such as food is under-ripe tropical fruits such as bananas, mango, and papaya. These foods contain digestive-resistant starch which help with the process of fermentation.

These resistant starches in your intestines feed healthy bacteria and act as prebiotics. They help to bulk up bowel movements which helps them pass through your body more easily. Additionally, they do not spike your blood sugar like ripened fruit does, so they are more likely to improve your insulin regulation.

Other good sources of resistant starch are seeds and tapioca starch, however, they are not as dense in nutrients as fruits. Some have argued that resistant starch could be considered another type of fiber.

Improving Your Microbiome and Immune System

Keeping a healthy immune system is important for preventing chronic disease. Many foods available these days hurt our immune system and can lead to illnesses and diseases. While grains like wheat and corn are usually considered to be good for increasing your fiber, there are other reasons why they actually should not be consumed on a regular basis.

These foods help promote insulin and leptin resistance and contain lectins. The way these grains are grown is important because the soil and chemicals used to treat them actually makes them worse for your health. These foods are implicated in increasing disease rates in many ways.

It is best to eat the skins of certain fruits and vegetables, especially if they are organic. When it comes to improving your microbiome, make sure to eat fermented vegetables, cabbage, turnips, carrots, parsnips and beets. In essence, root vegetables are the best for this.

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The Benefits of Curcumin and Exercise Together

October 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Endothelial cells, like other cells in your body, are vital and can be affected by several outside factors, including both curcumin and exercise. Studies have shown that the addition of curcumin to a regular exercise regimen can help increase the benefits to the function of your endothelial cells and even improve the function of your heart.

Your blood vessels are lined with endothelial cells from your heart to the miniscule capillaries that deliver nutrients to your body’s organs. Endothelial cells control the permeability of your blood vessels, deciding the number of white blood cells that can pass throughout your bloodstream. Each of these cells has receptors that can sense the pressure of blood flow throughout your body. Your endothelial cells give this critical information to surrounding cells so they can adapt and accommodate the blood flow.

Your endothelial cells also work to protect areas of the vessel walls that are subject to damage. When this happens, neighboring cells divide and multiply so they can cover the damaged area. This happens in vessels that already exist and in cells so new vessels can be created.

This may happen during normal bodily processes or in cases where the body has become injured. If you get cut, your endothelial cells initiate capillary growth where the cut is located to begin the repair process. An infection may also encourage capillary growth that then goes away once the inflammation diminishes. This will also help regulate hemostasis, or discontinue the flow of blood by creating clots and regulate the flow of blood through your body.

The vital function of the endothelial cells means that when they become dysfunctional, it can lead to several dangerous health conditions, such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, a reduction in nitric oxide production, and Type 2 diabetes.

Exercise and Endothelial Health

Exercise has a great impact on your health in many positive ways. In terms of endothelial function, exercise aids in clinical improvements that you may experience. For example, exercise increases blood flow and healthy stress on the arterial walls, which results in more nitrous oxide production and its bioavailability. Getting exercise on a regular basis can reduce cardiovascular disease by maintaining or improving endothelial function. Even a small amount of exercise can have a great benefit on your endothelial function and NO production. People suffering from chronic diseases can experience the benefits of even moderate exercise on their endothelial function.

It is important, however, to remember that the benefits of exercise do not continue if you stop exercising. For this reason, you have to exercise on a regular basis in order to keep the benefits of improved health function.

Combination of Exercise and Curcumin

Some people want to take an anti-inflammatory pill and do nothing else for their health, as exercising can be seen as time-consuming and exhausting. However, it is best to mix anti-inflammatories with an exercise routine.

One of the best anti-inflammatories is turmeric. Studies have compared the effects of about a teaspoon of curcumin each day to an hour of exercise and both groups experienced improved endothelial function. Other studies have shown that taking curcumin and exercising can reduce stiffening of the arteries.

Nitric Oxide and Endothelial Cells

Exercise will produce your NO production. In as little as three minutes, you can stimulate the release of nitrous oxide in your body, causing your blood vessels to expand which will then reduce your blood pressure. This will also work to decrease platelet aggregation and reduce your risk of experiencing a heart attack. Reduced NO in your body may lead to inflammation in the heart and the death of heart tissue.

Researchers have explored options to reverse endothelial dysfunction by increasing the release of NO by way of prescription drugs. However, you can increase the release of NO into your bloodstream naturally several times a day through exercise.

Often in chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes, there is a significant imbalance in endothelial presence, which can lead to worsening of the condition. This means that NO plays an important role in your health and wellbeing.

Prolonged Sitting and Endothelial Dysfunction

There have been many studies on the dangers of prolonged sitting. The human body was designed to move with almost 300 joints that are meant to move in directions through three planes. Sitting for long periods of time makes active changes in your body that can bring on Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, even if you exercise on a regular basis. These conditions can decrease your lifespan.

Millions of people are negatively affected by sitting for long periods. Studies have shown that most Americans sit between 8 and 15 hours every day, including time commuting back and forth to work, sitting at a desk, and watching TV. You would likely be surprised at how long you sit throughout the day.

Studies have found that the amount of time you spend sitting has a direct impact on your risk of developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, and experiencing premature death, even if you exercise on a regular basis. However, those who sit for under 30 minutes at a time have the lowest risk of experiencing an early death.

In the first hour of sitting without getting up, your blood begins to gather in your legs and pelvis, which can trigger changes to your endothelial function. The changes in this blood flow result in an increase in arterial pressures and even small changes in your heart rate and blood output.

Incorporating Turmeric in Your Nutritional Plan

Incorporating turmeric into your everyday schedule is one way to add to a healthy lifestyle. It is important to note that this needs to be done along with other things such as a healthy diet and exercise.

Try to limit sitting to 15 minutes before getting up and walking for 3-4 minutes. Make sure you exercise and allow at least two hours between exercise sessions.

A great idea is to add turmeric to your garden so you can have it readily available at home. You can grow turmeric in indoor containers or in your yard. The plants take under a year to mature and either fresh or dried root can be used in homemade meat rubs or marinades, chopped salads, or in a ginger and turmeric golden milk.

Turmeric essential oil is great for topical use. However, it needs to be diluted with a carrier oil. Before using essential oils, it is best to do a skin test to make sure you will not have a reaction to the oil. Talk with your doctor to make sure essential oils are safe for you.

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Save Time and Increase Strength Results

October 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Have you ever wondered if you are lifting weights correctly? Do you know when it is time to increase the amount of weight you are lifting to help get the most benefits out of your time at the gym? Many people continue to lift the same amount of weight, even after their bodies have adapted to the movement. This results in wasted time and no visible changes.

When it comes to exercising, even if you have perfect form, the amount of resistance you use with your weights can play a huge factor in your results. If you lift too heavy, you may be putting yourself at risk for injury. If you lift too light, however, you may be falling short of the results that you could accomplish. You don’t want to put yourself at risk for injury and have to sit out from the gym for a few weeks while you heal, but at the same time, you don’t want to be wasting your time while you are lifting weights at the gym.

Research has shown that most people don’t lift as much as they possibly could. Instead, they get used to a lifting regimen and stick with it for a long time, way past the time that their bodies have adjusted to the weight. In order to fix this, research has shown that you can do 20 reps of your exercise with your choice of weights without taking a break. If you can do this easily without pausing or resting, your weights are too light. If you have to slow down after about the 12th rep, you may already be lifting the right amount of weight.

The key is, you won’t know your maximum weight until you try. This is not something that you should allow yourself to be in the dark about. If you know how far you can go, it can change both your mental and physical approach to your workout. This can help empower you to push through a workout that you did not previously think you would be able to accomplish.

You can also abide by the “final two reps” rule. This means that the last two reps that you do of each set should be difficult to do, almost approaching technical failure. However, if you can accomplish 20 reps or somewhere close to it without having to stop at all, it is best to increase your weight by 2.5 to 5 pounds when you are working on your upper-body and 5 to 10 pounds when you are working on your lower-body. Once you increase your weight, try to do one set of 20 reps again to see if you need to increase it more.

It is best to choose weights that you can best handle for about 12 reps, otherwise, you may not be getting the strength benefit that you possibly could be. So if you are short on time, which is a common problem, but you still want to see some positive results, make sure to stick to these rules.

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Maximize Your Workout in Minimum Time

October 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Everyone wants to be able to do an efficient workout so they don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the results they are looking for. You want to put forth some good effort for a short amount of time and get a good return on your investment. So, what is the best way to do this?

Quick and powerful circuit workouts are able to burn some serious calories in a pretty short amount of time. There are a lot of options for entire-body workouts that you can start to do on a regular basis to maximize your time in the gym. Here is one three-move series that will be beneficial for you that will guarantee you some great results.

For each of the following exercises, start with 10 reps, then do nine, then eight, etc., until you are just doing one. While you may look back and think that flew by once you are done, your muscles will definitely feel the effects.

Burpees

Burpees are relatively simple, but they require a lot from your body. You will not only reap cardio benefits, but you will also work all of your major muscle groups, and quickly burn a lot of calories.

To do a burpee, stand with your feet directly below your hips and bend your knees to place your hands flat on the floor directly in front of you. Jump both of your feet back at the same time to create a plank with your body. Jump your legs back up, returning to the squat position and then stand and jump as high up into the air as you can with your arms reaching toward the ceiling. Land gently on your feet. Repeat this move as many times as necessary in your routine.

Chin-Ups

These may seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of them and build up your strength, they will do a lot of benefits for your body. You only need a bar and you are all set to start. Chin-ups are essentially pull-ups, just in the underhand position. They work to strengthen and sculpt your arms, shoulders, back, and abdomen.

To do a chin-up, grip a bar with your palms facing your body. Just as you would in a pull-up, pull your body up with your arms, take a moment to pause once your chin in above the bar, and then lower yourself down slowly.

Rows

Chin-ups can be a challenge that you have to work your way up to. If this is the case, you can switch it up and do rows for your second move.

To do rows, hold a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing down. Bend yourself over at your hips and knees and continue to lower your torso down until it is just short of being parallel to the floor. Allow the dumbbells to hang down before pulling them up by bending your elbows to the sides of your abdomen. Take a few moments to pause in this position and then slowly lower your arms. Continue this move according to your workout schedule.

Goblet Squat

To do a goblet squat, grab a dumbbell or kettlebell and hold it out at a 90-degree angle in front of your chest. Keep your feet hip-width apart and your elbows facing the floor. Lower yourself into a squat by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Allow your elbows to lightly touch the insides of your knees as you are performing your squat. Bring yourself back to your original position.

Doing these three moves on a regular basis will help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. While it is important to do cardio and other workouts as well, these strength training moves will surprise you and your muscles with their effectiveness.

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50% Is, in Fact, a Passing Grade

September 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

You may think that the most successful people in the world never make a mistake and ace everything that they set out to do. However, this is not the case. In fact, some professionals, such as basketball players, only succeed 50% of the time and are still considered to be the best in the world.

If you are constantly striving to succeed and you never want to have room for improvement, however, that probably means that you are not taking any chances. People often fail at a business venture and consider themselves to be a failure overall in life, but this is certainly not the case. If you are correct and successful 100% of the time, you are not venturing out of your comfort zone and into your zone of possible genius to experience that extra level of success.

Instead, if you take risks for being successful, you are putting yourself out there to possibly do something out of the ordinary.

So, while we see professional athletes playing a game and to us it looks like they are just having fun, we are failing to see the amount of work and practice that goes into their professional career. With this practice comes a lot of failure and trial and error before they are able to get things right and be good at what they do when it counts the most.

When you stay in your comfort zone, things are relatively effortless. While you may be working and you may be successful, you are not reaching or stretching your boundaries. You may succeed at most of the things that you attempt to do, but stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone can ultimately allow you to take bigger risks and grow to achieve bigger and better things. If you remain in comfort zone, you will not unlock your full potential or achieve your greatest capabilities. Comfort often leads to laziness, complacency, and mediocrity.

Outside of your comfort zone is the place where you can move into the area where you’re most likely to experience great success. While you don’t have to make large and unattainable goals, you can make smaller goals that will lead to something bigger in the long run.

Sure, you will come across frustration and challenges. You will be facing a struggle as you try to navigate new territories. You may attempt something and only be 40% successful. But that is ok.

For example, maybe you are trying to publish a book and you want it to be extremely successful and end up on the best sellers list. However, once it hits the shelves of the bookstore, hardly anyone buys it and it ends up gathering dust on the floor of donation boxes for the few people who did buy the book.

This does not mean that you failed. You succeeded at stepping out of your comfort zone and putting yourself out there to have the opportunity for success. Regardless of the fact that the success did not come at that exact time does not mean that you did not set yourself up for some sort of success in the future.

Maybe you will experience confusion or be overwhelmed, scramble every day to wonder how you will find success in the future. During these times, it is important to remember to carry on and not try to run away.

In the future, set your goals in a way that you expect to be successful only 50% of the time. This will keep you working hard and force you to continue to experience new things outside of your comfort zone.

Remember, if success comes to you so easily that you always achieve it, you are not challenging yourself or growing as a person or a professional. Keep trying new things and practicing your craft to continue to get better. There is always room for improvement.

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Frank Salvatore