Wellness

Wellness

Eat your Way to Better Digestion


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When it comes to digestion, there are so many factors at play. Good digestion is not just about the kind of foods you eat, but when and how you eat, too. These tips and tricks can help you on the path to better digestion and help reduce that post-meal bloating.

Chew, Chew, Chew!

It seems simple, but most people do not chew nearly enough before swallowing. Getting your food into smaller particles before it hits your stomach is essential, but often overlooked. Breaking down your food is the first phase of digestion, if you skip this step it means your stomach needs to work twice as hard. When your food hits your stomach, the presence of saliva also triggers the stomach to produce acid and its own digestive enzymes. The more you chew, the more saliva will be present – therefore reducing gas and bloating.

Change your Eating Habits

Do you have the tendency to eat food at your desk or on the run? This can have a big impact on your digestion. Your brain and digestive system are interconnected, so feeling stressed over a deadline or eating your breakfast in morning traffic is going to add to any digestive upsets. Eating in a relaxed environment, free from distraction, will allow you to be more present with the process. This will help you eat more slowly and mindfully. It also means your body will have a chance to prepare for the food that’s on its way.

Consume Natural Foods

Use a whole food diet over one made up of processed foods. Whole foods contain a higher percentage of fiber, which helps your food digest properly. Plus, eating nutrient dense and nourishing foods will give your digestive tract the support it needs. Process foods may contain toxins that can increase the risk of constipation and/or diarrhea, as well as other unfavorable digestive symptoms. Also consider holistic approach to nutrition which has proven to help with digestion.

Staying Hydrated

Water plays a major role in digesting solid food, as well as nutrient absorption. Dehydration can lead to backing up in your gut causing bloating. It is  really important to consider your timing when drinking water. Try to avoid liquids half an hour before and after meals. You don’t want to dilute stomach acids that work to break down food, otherwise your digestion will suffer.

Fitness, Wellness

Hypertension


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hypertension, hypotension, stress, blood pressureHypertension affects about 1 in 4 Canadian adults, and becomes more common as people age, resulting in many negative health implications. (June 2018) Recent studies are showing that the prevalence is increasing, and that the control rates for those with hypertension remain low. At any level of high blood pressure, the risks of cardiovascular disease are increased.  Cardiovascular disease are also related to the presence of other risk factors.  Evidence shows that endurance exercise training can reduce the rise in BP that can be expected in individuals with increased risk of developing hypertension.  Long term studies show that endurance training can have an average reduction of 5 -7mmHg in both systolic and diastolic BP with Stage I or II hypertension.

For hypertension control or overall cardiovascular risk reduction, or both it is recommended that individuals make the following lifestyle modifications:

  • weight loss if overweight
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Perform aerobic physical activity, such as brisk walking for at least 30 minutes, most days.
  • Follow dietary guidelines, increased vegetables, reduced salt, saturated fats, etc.
  • Stop smoking

 

Adapted from ACSM’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities -Human Kinetics

http://www.heartandstroke.ca

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca

 

Wellness

Women & Weight Training


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Women’s muscle grow larger and stronger until about 30, and then they start to lose muscle as they age.  As a muscle ages it not only decreases in size and strength, but also loses its aerobic capacity.  Thus, it leads to an overall decline in metabolic function.Jewel fitness workout with client

When contrasted with cardiovascular training, resistance training takes the lead because of the advantage of burning fat during and after exercise.  EPOC which is post-exercise oxygen consumption can occur for the hours- days after strength training.  The more oxygen consumption means the more calorie expenditure and increased metabolic rate.   Strength training greatly improves sleep quality, helping you to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and wake less often during the night.

Studies published by the National Institute for Health suggests that even a minimal resistance training session has a positive effect on energy balance and fat oxidation.   Weight training can reduce the risk of heart disease (heart disease and stroke is the number one cause pf premature death for women in Canada) by decreasing the risk factors such as a larger waist circumference, high triglycerides, elevated blood pressure and elevated glucose levels.  Weight training contributes to bone health.  Resistance training helps to combat muscle loss, but also bone loss decreasing the risk of developing osteoporosis.  The earlier a woman begins weight training, the greater chance to maintain bone health in later life.   Researchers have found that women who strength train regularly manage stress better and cope better in stressful situations.

https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/8-reasons-women-should-lift-weights.html

https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/sarcopenia-with-aging#1

 

Wellness

Fermentation


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20181202_111841Fermented drink has remained popular over the years.  Fermented food however has apparently less  appeal, however it has recently made a comeback.   Quite possibly it is due to the health benefits rather than the taste and convenience of these foods.    There is more interest in these foods and the impact on gut, brain and overall health.   Helpful bacteria are an important and essential part of our lives.  Every culture in the world includes traditional dishes that rely on bacteria for their preparation.   The diversity of bacteria in fermented foods has become more limited.    Industrialization has resulted in standardized productions using less bacterial species and heat and often vinegar in fermentation process doesn’t offer the same benefit potential.

Health benefits cited  involve every aspect of the body.   A highly functioning digestive system will enable the other bodily systems to optimize their performance as well.

Many of the fermented foods are plant based  and offer a good source of probiotics.  The process of fermenting allows a breaking down of the food particles and makes digestion easier.  In your gut they also help to keep the harmful bacteria from doing damage.

Fermented foods can include water based kefir, tea based kombucha,  dairy based foods such as yogurt, soybean based such as natto, tempeh, miso, vegetable based such as cabbage based sauerkraut, kimchi,  and other pickled vegetables.  There are fermented foods throughout history through different countries and cultures.  Different regions would use fermentation as a way of preserving the food for future use.

I have had success with simple recipes for yogurt, water kefir, sauerkraut, beet kvass, kimchi and assorted pickled vegetables and kombucha in the past.

My current favorite is kombucha – which involves using a “SCOBY”.  A Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.   Kombucha’s health benefit is glucuronic acid which helps the body to detox by pulling out environmental and metabolic toxins.

You will need to follow instructions exactly as to the ingredients, amounts, equipment to use (glass not plastics etc.), and the temperature and time.

If you are just starting to add these foods to your diet, I suggest that you purchase the store bought plain versions first before you make them.  That way, you have an idea of what to expect from what you make.

Wellness

Body Fat Breakdown


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The two types of fat in the body are essential fat and nonessential fat,  or storage fat.  Essential fat is needed for normal physiological and biological functioning.  It is placed throughout the body from the internal organs to the brain and spine.  The level of essential fat is approximately 3 % for men and 12% of total body weight for women.  Women have gender specific deposits of fat and a drop below the essential can impair the bodily functions. Women generally have a higher percentage of body fat than men do, here are gender difference in where the fat is stored as well.  Different body types are characterized by higher fat storages in different boy parts.  For example the gynoid or pear shaped body type in women with more fat storage in the hips and thighs. Males and females have different receptors in different areas that are more or less responsive to mobilizing fat. the female hormone estrogen has several roles in resting and exercise fat metabolism. One of the methods that is used to determine the use of fat as fuel is the respiratory exchange rate.   (RER)  A lower RER is an indication of a greater at metabolism and a higher RER is an indication of a greater carbohydrate metabolism. There are gender differences in exercise metabolism during different exercise intensities. Without specific equipment to test, one can have an estimated level of intensity by determining their rate of perceived exertion and  heart rate levels.    The different fat distributions is determined  by differences in hormones, hormone receptors and enzyme concentrations and other variables.  A persons body type ( and fat deposition patterns)  will also be a factor in predicting different health risks.

Non essential fat is storage fat or subcutaneous,  below the skin fat.  Storage fat that surrounds the organs is referred to as visceral fat.  Age is also a factor as to where  a persona will have more fat storage.  Thus when doing your body composition testing the numbers of ideal body fat percentages will increase as you age.  Nonessential fat has three main functions: an insulator to retain body heat, padding against trauma, and as an energy substrate during rest and exercise. 

Fat Mass is the absolute amount of body fat, the relative fat is the amount of fat expressed as a percentage of total body weight.  Body fat accumulates in two ways: increasing the size of existing fat cells and the formation of new fat cells.  Fat in the body is in the form of triglycerides (TG) (three fatty acid molecules held together by a molecule of glycerol.  During exercise, TG in fat cells, muscle cells and in the blood can be broken down (lipolysis) and used as fuel by the exercising muscles.

Fat mobilization refers to the process of releasing fat from storage sites.  there are two main enzymes that regulate the mobilization of free fatty acids.  The breakdown of fat, or oxidation of fat into energy that the body can use, occurs primarily in cardiac and skeletal muscle and the liver.  A metabolic training effect of aerobic exercise is an enhanced ability to mobilize and break apart TG for energy use.   Additionally it is possible to increase the response of the body to be activated by lower concentrations in a trained individual compared to a non-endurance trained individual.

What exercise burns the most fat?

During low -intensity exercise the majority of energy comes from fat.  As the exercise level increases the percentage of energy derived from fat decreases.  However, the absolute amount of energy increases.  Therefore expressing energy derived from fat as a percentage without considering the total is misleading.  When you are doing your cardio training on a machine you do not necessarily want to stay in the somewhat misleading fat burn zone.  One must also consider the effect that the exercise will have on energy expenditure after the exercise session is completed.   Your program should be individualized for fitness level, health, age, goals, risk factor profile, medications, behavioural characteristics, and individual preference.  Strength and flexibility training will also have an impact on aerobic and cardiovascular training.  There are some specific periodization suggestions from which to individualize the recommendations for optimizing fat during aerobic exercise.

Stanley P, Brown, Wayne C. Miller, Jane M, Eason, Exercise Physiology : Basis of Human Movement in Health and  Disease