The next time you’re at the park with your child or watching her sports team practice from the sidelines, squeeze in some fitness for yourself. The toning exercises below will sculpt you from head-to-toe and allow you to make the most of your busy schedule.
Sara Haley’s Daily Sweat Fall Outdoor Fitness Circuit: Pick and choose the exercises you like, or perform the exercises in the following order at least four times through for a fun and intensive workout.
HOP THE LINE: This cardiovascular drill targets the heart, plus the burpee provides some added core work.
FALL IS IN THE AIR: This exercise works your bottom, core, shoulders, and triceps — total body!
TREE PLANK CHALLENGE: This challenge works core, shoulders, glutes – another total body exercise!
We hope you worked up a sweat! Tell us how you fit in time to workout.
Sara Haley is an international fitness expert and creator of The Daily Sweat. She’s a certified trainer and instructor by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and has traveled the world teaching master classes and educating other fitness instructors and trainers. Sara helped develop programs for JUKARI, the branded workout series between Reebok and Cirque du Soleil, and created and starred in numerous Reebok & Gaiam DVD workout programs. Sara is most well-known for her best-selling pregnancy workout program, Expecting More®.
This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for health advice. Before undertaking any course of exercise, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.
Living in a city exposes you to traffic, pollution, and…pesticides? A study from the National Institutes of Health shows people living in New York City are more likely to have pesticides in their bodies than those living in less urban areas. And we know that pesticides negatively impact the developing bodies of children and babies more than adults.
The Environmental Protection Agency notes that children may be more sensitive to pesticides because their bodies are still developing. Plus, in relation to their body weight, they eat more than adults, possibly increasing their exposure to pesticides. According to Healthy Child, Healthy World, farmers and other people who work with conventionally grown crops show a heightened risk of asthma, leukemia, and prostate cancer. For those reasons, the potential impact of pesticides on small, developing bodies is cause for concern.
So, how do you avoid pesticide exposure when you reside in a concrete jungle and not a green one? Naturopathic doctor Thalia Farshchian offers these tips to help you reduce the environmental toxins in your life (healthy advice any family might benefit from regardless of your zip code).
1) Buy Organic. You can find affordable organic produce at farmers’ markets. Vendors at these markets sometimes give deals in the half hour or so before the market closes for the day since they want to get rid of the produce they brought. You can search the Web for your local Farmers’ Market Federation to find a market near you. If organic is out of your price range, do what you can and buy organic produce for the dirty dozen. These are the 12 fruits and vegetables shown to have the most pesticides when conventionally grown. The “clean 15″ are non-organic fruits and veggies that are safe to eat (usually items with thick skin). Click here and enter your email address for a free PDF print out of the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15″ lists, or follow the links to an iPhone or Android app.
2) Veggie Wash! Regardless if organic or non-organic, wash your vegetables and fruits thoroughly. It is not only cleaner, but extends the shelf life of your produce. According to Christopher Gavigan, half of our lifetime exposure to pesticides occurs in the first five years of life since kids eat more fruits and veggies pound-for-pound than adults. It’s especially important to give produce a good washing before serving it to children.
3) Houseplants. Houseplants help keep your air clean. Clean air is important, so you don’t breathe in airborne toxins. Inhalation exposure can happen if you breathe air containing pesticide as a vapor, as an aerosol, or on small particles like dust. In a city, exposure could come from bug pesticides or bug repellents. (We wrote this handy guide recently about the best houseplants to purify indoor air.)
4) Open up detoxification pathways. Major pathways include sweating, bowel movements, and urination. Sauna therapy, drinking plenty of water, and daily bowel movements can help ensure toxins exit your system.
5) Take care of your filter – the liver. Our liver takes on what we breathe, eat, drink, and absorb via our skin. It is important to lessen the load when possible by eating unprocessed foods and incorporating all of the above recommendations.
As colder weather rolls in, so does cold and flu season. This is the perfect time to give your immune system a much needed boost. And it’s as easy as eating the right foods — antioxidants are especially important this time of year.
University of Michigan researchers conducted a study in 2011 in which they infected 17 people with the flu but not everyone showed signs of sickness. This was due to how the participants took care of their bodies — namely, by consuming foods high in antioxidants. Another study from 2009 conducted by researchers in Alabama showed the same thing — antioxidants prevented the flu virus from doing too much damage to subjects’ bodies.
What these studies underscore is the fact that eating lots of vegetables and fruits can help your body prevent disease and sickness. Perhaps you already eat healthy most of time and could use a few powerhouse foods to add to your diet? The list below contains some ingredients that can kick-up the flavor in your meals, as well as the antioxidant potency. While we should mention that none of these foods or spices can cure the cold or flu, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ratchet-up your body’s defenses this time of year simply by consuming a few extra ingredients.
Chia Seeds have been grown in Mexico for thousands of years. For ancient Mayan and Aztec peoples, the seeds were an important part of their diet. Today, we think of the ’90s Chia Pet — it’s the seed from that plant which has grown in popularity recently within health food circles. The seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, but did you know they also contain antioxidants? The amount of antioxidants in the seeds have been compared to blueberries, another antioxidant powerhouse. Mix Chia seeds into yogurt, smoothies, juice, muffins, or sprinkle on salads.
Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A relative of ginger, it’s widely used in Indian food and has a bright yellow color. Add it to vegetables, scrambled eggs, or sprinkle it on chicken. The National Institutes of Health have conducted 24 studies on the benefits of curcumin, the active component in Turmeric. The studies suggest curcumin may slow the spread of breast cancer into lung cancer and inhibit melanoma; other studies theorize the presence of turmeric in Indian food is the reason why the rate of Alzheimers in the country is so low.
Garlic contains an antioxidant that one group of researchers said was “the world’s most powerful antioxidant.” Called allicin, it is believed to trap free radicals in the body that cause heart disease, cancer, and numerous ailments. Garlic has also been shown to prevent the common cold. This is an easy one to eat since it complements so many foods — cook it with meat or poultry, add it to salads, pastas and rice, or use it to create sauces and dressings. Create a delicious spread for bread or crackers by roasting it with olive oil.
Cinnamon is a spice taken from the bark of a tropical tree. Cinnamon has been compared to blueberries in terms of antioxidant power: 1 teaspoon of cinnamon equals ½ cups of blueberry in terms of antioxidants. Cinnamon is also a great anti-inflammatory. Add cinnamon to oatmeal, smoothies, warm milk, or bake into muffins.
Raw cacao powder will make you swear off processed cacao permanently. Not only does raw cacao have a type of antioxidant called flavanoids, but it tastes very chocolate-y when combined with something sweet. Anthocyanidin is one type of flavonoid that works to reduce free radicals. It is found in high quantities in cacao, more so than black tea, green tea, or red wine. Try blending raw cacao poweder with coconut milk, a banana, several pitted dates, plus lots of ice for a sweet afternoon treat.
What antioxidant-rich foods do you eat to boost your immune system?
You are what you eat. But does this saying take on new meaning when toxins might be creeping into your food?
One commonly overlooked element of healthy eating is the container you cook and store your meals and drinks in. With heat, the hazardous chemical bisphenol A (BPA) can leach from everyday cookware, storage bottles, or even consumer products into your food. Exposure to BPA, an industrial chemical developed in the 1960s to make plastics and resins, raises concern due to its ability to mimic estrogen. Chemicals that mimic estrogen bind to cell receptors stronger than the natural estrogen our bodies produce, causing deleterious health effects and upsetting normal hormone activity of growing fetuses, children, developing teens, and adults.
Although the FDA finds that very low levels of BPA in some foods are not harmful, this chemical nevertheless plays a significant role in the health of your family. Parents I speak with are rightfully shocked when their second grader comes home to tell them a classmate is developing breasts. Women are concerned about estrogen-sensitive cancers like breast cancer. And men don’t hold a get out of jail free card; they are equally affected by the increase in hormone altering chemicals. Men typically have a higher concentration of testosterone that will naturally lower when estrogen mimickers are elevated because hormones are constantly trying to maintain balance.
Other health issues linked with such chemical hormone disruptors include:
As for heart disease and diabetes, a JAMA study found those with the top 25% of BPA concentrations were three times more likely to develop heart disease and 2.4 times more likely to have diabetes.
Where do you find BPA?
It’s lurking in more everyday household items than you think:
What steps can you take to reduce exposure?
It is almost impossible to completely avoid exposure, but you can take steps to reduce it.
1. Use BPA-Free Containers
To be safe, the best option is to stick with glass, porcelain, or stainless steel containers for water, hot foods, and leftovers when possible. Worse, many plastic products labeled as BPA-free actually contain its equally hazardous hormone disrupting cousin bisphenol S. Finally, consider cutting back on canned foods since many are lined with BPA. Here are some great alternatives:
2. Avoid Heating Plastic Products. Microwaving plastics, putting them in the dishwasher, or heating them with other sources cause them to break down and leach chemicals into foods and drinks. (This is another reason to cook with fresh ingredients and avoid packaged meals when possible.) And don’t forget about nature’s biggest heat source! Keep plastic products out of the sun, being especially careful not to leave water bottles in the car to cook on a hot day.
3. Toss the Teflon. Pots can be expensive to completely toss, but you can always replace one piece at a time. My favorite BPA-free ones are:
Need more help picking out a safe set of cookware? Check out this resource guide.
- Dr. Thalia Farshchian, Naturopathic Doctor
This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary/health changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.
When you learn you’re pregnant (congrats!), one of the first things your doctor discusses is the importance of taking DHA supplements. But what is DHA? What are the health benefits? How does it affect your growing baby?
A family of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, Omega-3s are essential for your health and development. But your body doesn’t produce them, so you must get them from your diet or supplementation. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is greatly lacking in Omega-3s. The important nutrients eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are found in fish and algae. So, you should make it a priority to eat food rich in these or fill the nutritional gaps with a supplement to benefit.
Research indicates that the two most beneficial omega-3s are EPA and DHA. Studies show that each fatty acid has unique benefits and roles in the body. EPA supports the heart, immune system, and inflammatory response, while DHA supports the brain, eyes, and central nervous system.
Established research on DHA supplementation during pregnancy has shown that it plays a substantial role in fetal and infant brain development, increasing IQ scores, lengthening attention spans, and enhancing fetal and infant eye development. According to WebMD,
Researchers found that infants born to mothers with higher blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA at delivery had advanced levels of attention spans well into their second year of life. During the first six months of life, these infants were two months ahead of those babies whose mothers had lower DHA levels.
A new study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also supports that taking DHA helps with optimal pregnancy outcomes. It found that supplementing with 600 mg each day during the last half of pregnancy resulted in longer gestation, bigger babies, and fewer preterm births. It also prevents against postpartum depression. So, you can see how this makes DHA so important for pregnant and lactating women.
Seafood (especially coldwater fish), algae, and fortified eggs. The healthiest (low mercury) fish with the highest DHA levels are wild salmon and sardines. Two 4-ounce pieces of wild salmon each week provides a healthy source of DHA. If seafood isn’t a large part of your diet or you want to optimize your health, Honest’s DHA/Omega-3 Supplement is a great choice because it is free of toxins and contaminants, and it is made from highly purified fish oils.
Flaxseeds. Flaxseeds contain the omega-3 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid (ALA). The problem is that the body must convert ALA to DHA and it is inefficient at doing so.
Always make sure that you discuss supplementation with your healthcare provider. If your diet might be low in DHA, share this post with them to get the conversation started. Education is power!
Be Well, Be NutritionWise.
~ Nicole Meadow, MPN, RD, CSP, CLC
This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.