Nutrient of the Week: Iron

Iron is considered a trace mineral[1] because our body needs only small amounts of it when compared to other nutrients. However, it is an essential nutrient, and inadequate intakes can lead to body malfunction. Even though it is needed in tiny doses (around 18 mg for women and 8 mg for men), many people still can’t manage to get enough of it through diet. That’s because iron absorption is relatively low – around 10% to 15% of the total iron content of the food.

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Motivation and Maintenance

Starting a new exercise program is easy when compared to maintaining an exercise routine for the long run. That is so true; we do it every year. When the holiday season ends and a new year begins, many of us decide that it is time for a change. We make big plans and get all excited about them. And it works really well for the first few weeks. We push ourselves hard and never miss a training session. We tend to think that if some exercise is good, then more is better. But unfortunately, this leads to overtraining, fatigue, and sometimes injuries. Exercising is not fun anymore and it becomes a burden. We lose the interest in healthy activities, and nothing seems to motivate us anymore. We start using anything as an excuse to skip workouts, and when we least expect, we are back to our old not-so-healthy lifestyle. Why does this happen?

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Low-Back Training for Beginners

Our back muscles are important structural components of our core. While these muscles are responsible for trunk mobility, they also play an important role in stabilizing the spine, the shoulder blades, and the hip bones in order to maintain posture and body alignment during activities of daily living.

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Ideas to Incorporate Whole Grains into Your Diet

We’ve been hearing a lot about whole grains lately. They seem to be everywhere from food labels to TV commercials. Experts urge us to eat more whole grains in order to improve our current eating habits. But do you know what they are and why they are important to us?

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Nutrient of the Week: Fiber

Fiber is a type of polysaccharide[1] that cannot be digested by human enzymes, thus passing through our digestive system almost untouched. Now, you must be thinking “So what is the point of eating fiber?” First of all, fiber contributes to bowel regularity. Because it goes through the intestines undigested, fiber provides mass and attracts water to the feces. When the stool is large and soft, less pressure is needed, making elimination much easier. A diet poor in fiber can lead to constipation, diverticulitis[2], and hemorrhoids[3]. Also, some population studies have linked an increased fiber intake to a reduced risk of developing colon cancer. Second, foods rich in fiber require more chewing, which will make you eat slower. Several studies[4] have shown that by eating slower, people are more likely to recognize body signs of fullness, and stop eating before they are too full. High-fiber foods also fill you up without yielding many calories. This suggests that fiber may help in weight control. Third, consuming fiber-rich foods can help in regulating blood sugar, because some types of dietary fiber slow glucose absorption, meaning that blood-sugar spikes are less likely to occur. Finally, fiber inhibits the absorption of cholesterol, promoting cardiovascular health.

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Help Your Kids to Be Physically Active

Recent research points out that people who were physically active as children are more likely to incorporate regular exercise into their lifestyle as adults. You are probably familiar with all the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle such as general health and fitness improvements, weight control, and reduced risk for several chronic diseases. However, when it comes to your kids’ activity needs, things tend to get a bit confusing.

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Building Killer Arms

Flabby arms are a nightmare for most women, and many won’t even wear a sleeveless shirt because of that. This common condition is caused by fat deposition on the posterior part of the upper-arm, and when it is paired with poor skin elasticity, the fat tissue stretches the skin, giving the arms a flaccid appearance.

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Nutrient of the Week: Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin essential to the maintenance of health. It plays many roles in the body, but it is especially important for the health of epithelial cells. These cells cover the surface of the body (skin and eyes) and body cavities (such as lungs, intestines, mouth, and stomach), serving as barriers to infection. Many of these cells secret mucus, a thick fluid that acts as a protective lubricant, and vitamin A is fundamental to this process. Vitamin A also participates in other processes such as growth, body development and reproduction. Vitamin A deficiency, rare in the US, can lead to blindness, and may impair immune function, increasing the risk for infections.

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Coping with Stress

A recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association showed that the majority of Americans live with moderate to high levels of stress[1]. Money, work and the economy were the most often cited sources of stress. And the modern lifestyle is not helping. Consider, for instance, our current life pace. It is hard to think of someone that is not repeatedly overwhelmed by all the tasks, chores, and appointments with which one has to deal in one day.

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Fitting Exercise into Your Life

Americans are becoming more and more sedentary[1]. Working at a desk, watching television, playing videogames, and driving everywhere are just a few examples of common sedentary behaviors.   What I mean is that most of us are not physically active at our jobs, during our leisure-time or any other time of the day, just because we don’t need to. We are not even walking anymore. Did you know that a sedentary person may only take between 1,000 and 3,000 steps a day[2]? This is way less than the Surgeon General’s recommendation[3]. I know that many American cities are not exactly walking-friendly. Think about where you live for a second. Are there stores within walking distance, or do you have to drive to the closest grocery shop? My point is that unless you are willing to exercise, you probably won’t run errands on foot.

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