Personal Trainer Kelowna

Nuts

Nuts

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet can be good for your heart. Nuts, which contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients, are a great snack food too. Although some nuts have more heart-healthy nutrients and fats than do others, the type of nut you eat isn’t really important, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, almost every type of nut has a lot of nutrition packed into a tiny package.

Besides being packed with protein, most nuts contain at least some of these heart-healthy nutrients

  • Unsaturated fats – it’s thought that the “good” fats in nuts, the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lower bad cholesterol levels
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – found in many nuts these are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in many kinds of fish, but nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Fibre – contained in all nuts and which helps lower your cholesterol. Fibre is also thought to play a role in preventing diabetes
  • Vitamin E – may help stop the development of plaque development in your arteries, which can narrow them, leading to chest pain, coronary artery disease or a heart attack
  • Plant sterols – some nuts contain this substance that can help lower your cholesterol. Plant sterols are often added to products like margarine and orange juice for additional health benefits, but sterols occur naturally in nuts
  • L-arginine – nuts are also a source of this substance that may help improve the health of your artery walls by making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots that can block blood flow.

There are many nuts to choose from, the benefits of each one varies.

  • Almonds – calcium-rich almonds are a good choice to ensure you’re getting enough of this bone-building mineral. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, a nutrient which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin
  • Brazil nuts – these are a good source of the mineral selenium, which we need to produce the active thyroid hormone. Selenium also supports immunity and helps wounds to heal
  • Chestnuts – these nuts have a low GI rating, the lowest fat and calories, chestnuts are rich in starchy carbs and fibre, and in their raw form are a good source of vitamin C. They’re lower in protein than other nuts but make a useful contribution of B vitamins including B6. Ground chestnut flour can be used as a gluten-free flour for cakes and bakes, or buy fresh and roast for a tasty snack
  • Hazelnuts – these nuts are a good source of folate, which plays a key role in keeping homocysteine within normal levels. They provide good levels of fibre, potassium and vitamin E
  • Macadamias – these nuts have the highest monounsaturated levels of fat and they are a rich source of fibre and make a useful contribution of minerals including magnesium, calcium and potassium
  • Pecans – these nuts are packed with plant sterols, valuable compounds that are effective at lowering cholesterol levels, also being antioxidant-rich which helps prevent the plaque formation that causes hardening of the arteries. They are rich in oleic acid, the healthy fat found in olives and avocado and a good source of vitamin B3
  • Pistachios – these nuts are rich in vitamin B6, important for keeping hormones balanced and healthy. They are the only nut to contain reasonable levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that play an important role in protecting the eyes. Pistachios also contain potassium and fibre
  • Walnuts – these nuts have an excellent antioxidant content meaning they are useful in the fight against cancer. They are also a good source of mono-unsaturated, heart-friendly fats, and studies show they help to lower the bad form of cholesterol (LDL). Finally, they’re rich in omega-3, so they are a great alternative if you don’t eat oily fish

Nuts are high in fat, but much of it is the heart-healthy variety. The amounts of saturated fat, the type of fat we should avoid, varies between nuts. People who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower the low-density lipoprotein, bad cholesterol level in their blood. High cholesterol is one of the primary causes of heart disease. Also eating nuts may reduce your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack and appear to improve the health of the lining of your arteries. So as long as we include nuts sensibly and in a healthy way in our diet, then we can only benefit from these little powerhouses.

 

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Personal Trainer Kelowna

Eat yourself a Rainbow

Eat yourself a Rainbow

Leigh Carter

Personal Training Kelowna

Private Gym

 

How about trying to eat yourself a rainbow every day with your fruit and veg.

The reds – red peppers, tomatoes, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranates, raspberries, blood oranges, rhubarb. Lycopene and anthocyanins are the two main pigments that give fruit and veg its deep red colour. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps mop up potentially harmful free radicals before they get to damage cells, in addition to acting as antioxidants and fighting free radicals, anthocyanins may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits. In herbal medicine, anthocyanin-rich substances have long been used to treat a number of conditions including high blood pressure, colds, and urinary tract infections.

Most red fruit and veg is best eaten fresh but studies have shown that heating foods such as tomatoes allows the body to absorb lycopene more easily. All these red fruits are recognised as a good source of vitamins and minerals, and for their role in preventing vitamin C and vitamin A deficiencies.

The yellows – bananas, yellow peppers, melon, lemons, pineapples and sweet corn. The range of nutrients found in yellow fruit and veg varies but may include vitamin C, and B vitamins that contribute to the metabolism, helping the body to get energy from food such as B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12. Bananas are a good source of potassium which is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure.

The greens – avocados, kiwi fruit, apples, grapes, spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, peas, cucumbers, rocket, lettuce, watercress, cucumber, brussel sprouts, leafy cabbage, spring greens, peas, sugar snap peas, mangetout, cress, courgette, peppers, spring onions and leeks. Green fruit and veg are coloured by a pigment called chlorophyll, an antioxidant. Many are good sources of two carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin, plus they contain phytochemicals such as indoles and glucosinolates and nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate, iron and calcium. Spinach is high in vitamins C and K, whereas kale is high in vitamin A and folate, but all these greens will make a healthy addition to your plate.

The blues – blueberries, black grapes, and blackberries. Anthocyanins are what give blue fruit and vegetables their colour with its antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage. Good intakes of anthocyanins have also been linked to improving balance, co-ordination and short-term memory in old age, as well as better vision.

The purples – red cabbages, beetroot, figs, plums, aubergines and red onions. Dried figs have a high fibre content, beetroot is rich in nitrates, which may help reduce blood pressure, and red cabbage is high vitamin C, whilst aubergines are a good course of potassium.

The oranges – oranges, mangoes, cantaloupe melon, papaya, peaches, apricots, carrots, butternut squash, pumpkins, orange peppers, sweet potatoes. The orange colour of carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes comes from the pigment beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A, which maintains normal vision. The oranges and mangoes contain vitamin C, which assists normal collagen formation in the skin and helps to keep the immune system functioning normally.

So no excuses, how appetising will your plate look with a rainbow of colours to brighten up these wintry days and think of all the health benefits you will be getting.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Training Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Kelowna Personal Trainer

Organic or Non Organic

Organic Or Non Organic

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

The question is should we be buying usually more expensive organic products or the conventionally grown counterparts. Some studies show that organic foods have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.

As of June 30, 2009, the Organic Products Regulations require mandatory certification to the revised National Organic Standard for agricultural products represented as organic in international and inter-provincial trade, or that bear the federal organic agricultural products legend (or federal logo). Organic products that meet the requirements of the Organic Products Regulations must be certified by certification bodies that have been accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Pesticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain on the produce. Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Rinsing the produce does reduce but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling sometimes helps, but valuable nutrients are lost with the skin.

Organic food is usually fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer and usually making it taste better.

Organic farming practices reduce pollution (air, water, soil), conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy, making it better for the environment. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby wildlife as well as people who live close to or work on farms.

According to the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date organic food has more of the antioxidant compounds linked to better health than regular food, and lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides.

A study in the UK concluded that statistically significant, meaningful differences, with a range of antioxidants being substantially higher, between 19% and 69% , in organic food. It is the first study to demonstrate clear and wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals. The researchers say the increased levels of antioxidants are equivalent to one to two portions of fruits and vegetables and would therefore be significant and meaningful in terms of human nutrition. Suggesting that switching to organic fruit and vegetables could give the same benefits as adding one or two portions to your daily intake.

Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. The use of antibiotics in conventional meat production helps create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. This means that when someone gets sick from these strains they will be less responsive to antibiotic treatment. It is also beneficial to the animals who are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, helping to keep the animals healthy.

Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants or animals whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.

Some fruit and vegetables have higher levels of pesticides than others, mostly being thing skinned making them susceptible to contamination, thicker skinned produce usually retains less pesticide residue.

The following would be better to buy organic:

  • Apples, buy organic, as they won’t even be pesticide free if scrubbed or peeled
  • Pears consistently show high levels of pesticides when tested
  • Cherries continually rank high for pesticide contamination
  • Peaches require a large amount of pesticides to grow conventionally and have extremely delicate skin, making them a must for organic choice with nectarines not far behind
  • Strawberries are treated with very large amounts of pesticides, including fungicides, so again buy organic
  • Imported grapes are likely to have higher pesticide levels than domestic. Vineyards may be sprayed with a number of different pesticides throughout the growing season. Grapes having a permeable skin, even peeling will not eliminate the residues
  • Bell peppers again having thin skins and are heavily sprayed with insecticides make these a must to buy organic
  • Celery not having a protective outer layer and needing many different chemicals for conventional growth, making this another veg on the organic list
  • Lettuce and spinach are often found to have high levels of various pesticides – sometimes very potent types
  • Potatoes are at high risk for pesticide contamination and may also be affected by chemicals, such as fungicides, in the surrounding soil

Not all foods have to be purchased organic.

  • Pineapples and mangos have a tough, thick skin that protects the fruit inside from harmful pesticide
  • Avocados also have a rigid skin that protects the inner flesh
  • The kiwis with their thick fuzzy skin are again more protected
  • Banana, papaya, blueberries, watermelon and mango could be non organic fruit purchases
  • Sweet peas because of their pods are safe from pesticides
  • Asparagus and onions don’t attract many pests in the form of insects or disease, so it’s not heavily sprayed with pesticides
  • Cabbage doesn’t need much help to grow so not many chemicals are sprayed on them
  • Eggplant again has a thick skin as a protective barrier making this a vegetable to buy non organic
  • Sweet potatoes are ranked among the lowest in pesticide residue
  • Onions are a particularly clean crop, bugs don’t seem terribly interested in feasting on onions, so they aren’t sprayed as heavily with pesticides as some other vegetables
  • Organic meat, milk, and eggs are free of antibiotics, added growth hormones, and pesticides. Organically raised animals eat an organic diet that does not contain pesticides or fertilisers. Unlike their conventional counterparts, the animals used for organic products are raised without antibiotics or hormones and the chemicals present in animal feed can end up in conventional meat, dairy, and eggs.

I do try to buy organic wherever possible even if this means buying a little less, and I do believe the best approach is to eat a healthy, varied diet, wash and scrub all produce thoroughly, and buy organic whenever possible.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Training Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Personal Trainer Kelowna

Spice up your Life

Spice up your life

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym

 

Herbs and spices are botanically classified as fruits and vegetables. They offer an even higher level of antioxidants since they no longer contain the water that makes up a significant part of fresh produce and additionally spices and herbs also are rich in phytonutrients, such as carotenoids, flavonoids and other phenolics, giving them more powerful disease fighting properties, vitamins, and nutrients than most fruits and vegetables.

Many studies have been done on the positive health benefits of spices, and results show that certain spices contain incredible levels of vitamins, anti-inflammatory agents, antioxidants and natural pain killers. So just a small amount of spices and herbs in a normal healthy balanced diet could bring benefits.

Coriander is one of the oldest herbs and spices on record, it was mentioned in the Bible, and the seeds have been found in ruins dating back to 5000 B.C. The name comes from the Greek word koris, meaning a stinky bug. This is no doubt a reference to the strong aroma given off by the cilantro plant leaves when they are bruised. Coriander seeds have been used for thousands of years as a digestive aid. The herb can be helpful for some people with irritable bowel syndrome, as it calms intestinal spasms that can lead to diarrhoea. Coriander seeds yield cilantro which is also known as Chinese parsley, a staple herb in Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian cooking. Its essential oil appears to fight bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. Studies in animals have shown there could be potential cholesterol-reducing benefits.

Cinnamon is one of the most powerful healing spices with its distinctive flavour contains antioxidants that can prevent tissue damage, lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, fight bacteria and yeasts, and boost brain functioning. As little as 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon a day could cut triglycerides and total cholesterol levels by 12 to 30 percent. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, shown to fight E. coli, among other types of bacteria. It also contains the super antioxidant glutathione and helps improve circulation. Recent research has shown that it’s rich in antioxidants called polyphenols—another reason it’s good for your heart. It’s also high in fibre and can reduce heartburn in some people.

Chilli peppers contain capsaicin, the oily compound which is the active ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter creams, ointments, and patches for arthritis and muscle pain; it’s also used for treating shingles pain and diabetes-related nerve pain. Chilli peppers have anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidants that strengthen the heart, fight off disease, and can even burn fat, apparently speeding up your calorie-burning furnace for a couple of hours after eating. Studies find that it also has some anticancer properties, and researchers are exploring its potential as a cancer treatment. In a study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, research showed that people with diabetes who ate a meal containing liberal amounts of chile pepper required less post-meal insulin to reduce their blood sugar, suggesting the spice may have anti-diabetes benefits.

Oregano is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin K, which is important for improving the body’s ability to fight off infections and for improving bone density and blood clotting. This herb has strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been traditionally used to treat gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders, urinary tract problems and menstrual cramping.

Parsley contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid, and beta-carotene and studies have shown that it can fight cancerous cells and prevent harmful build up in the arteries.

Mustard is made from the seeds of a plant in the cabbage family, a strongly anticancer group of plants. It contains compounds that studies suggest may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Mustard was traditionally used in chest plasters to break up congestion and a mustard compress also brings more blood to the fingers of people with Raynaud’s disease, a circulatory problem that causes frigid fingers. Mustard is also said to stimulate appetite by increasing the flow of saliva and digestive juices. A bit of mustard powder added to a footbath helps kill athlete’s foot fungus.

The combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in cloves gives many health benefits, from boosting protection from heart disease to helping stave off cancer, as well as slowing the cartilage and bone damage caused by arthritis. Compounds in cloves, like those found in cinnamon, also appear to improve insulin function. Also good for toothache, by putting a couple of whole cloves in your mouth, letting them soften a bit, then bite on them gently with good molars to release their oil. Clove oil has a numbing effect in addition to bacteria-fighting powers.

Thyme has strong anti-bacterial and anti-microbial action, that is beneficial in the treatment of bacterial respiratory infections, acne and candida. This herb may also help reduce high blood pressure and may offer protection from breast and colon cancer.

Rosemary contains high levels of antioxidants and has anti-microbial properties too. It has been traditionally used to boost memory and concentration, and to relieve stress, making it a great herb for students. This herb can also improve circulation, ease indigestion, heartburn and wind, and can be used topically to help stimulate hair growth.

Nutmeg which is the seed of an evergreen tree and mace which is the covering of the seed, have strong antibacterial properties. It’s been found to kill a number of bacteria in the mouth that contribute to cavities. Nutmeg contains eugenol, a compound that may benefit the heart. The nutmeg’s active ingredient Myristicin has also been shown to inhibit an enzyme in the brain that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease and to improve memory in mice, and researchers are currently studying its potential as an antidepressant.

Sage is the herb known as a memory enhancer and has been shown in some lab studies to protect the brain against certain processes that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. In at least one human study, a sage-oil concoction improved the mood of participants, increasing their alertness, calmness, and contentedness. In a British study, healthy young adults performed better on word recall tests after taking sage-oil capsules. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as anticancer actions and shows potential as a diabetes treatment. It appears to boost the action of insulin and reduce blood sugar. As a result, sage is sometimes called nature’s metformin since it performs like the common anti diabetes drug. Some research has already suggested that sage supplements may help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Cumin is high in iron and vitamin C so it will help support healthy immune function to fight colds and flu and other infections. It helps to improve digestion, and has anti-fungal properties. Cumin can also help the liver detoxify and can help relieve insomnia.

So by spicing up your dishes, you will avoid adding excess amounts of salt and sugar to your food and you could be adding years to your life, warding off illnesses like the cancer, high blood pressure, and even the common cold.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Personal Training Kelowna

Ginger

Ginger

Leigh Carter

Personal Training Kelowna

Private Gym

 

Native to southeastern Asia, India and China, ginger has been an integral component of the diet and valued for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties for thousands of years. Ginger has been given the status of a “natural medicine chest” in ancient Ayurvedic medicine. That’s because this wonder spice has time-tested, digestion-friendly properties, in addition to its numerous other health benefits. Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, closely related to turmeric and cardamom.
The rhizome (root) of ginger has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries among many cultures. It was first imported from China by the Romans and by the middle of the 16th century, Europe was receiving more than 2000 tonnes per year from the East Indies. It is grown mainly in tropical countries, Jamaican ginger (which is paler) is regarded as the best variety for culinary use. According to Chinese tradition, dried ginger tends to be hotter than fresh.

Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, these inhibit the formation of inflammatory cytokines; chemical messengers of the immune system, which could explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. One study showed that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller.

Ginger is a common folk treatment for upset stomach and nausea. There’s evidence that it may help. Ginger seems to aid digestion and saliva flow. Ginger has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy. It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.

Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find it helpful in the case of stomach flus or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract.

Ginger seems to help with nausea caused by vertigo.

Ginger has been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.

Research has shown that ginger may provide migraine relief due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels.

Ginger may be powerful weapon in the treatment of ovarian cancer. A study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre found that ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied.

  • Ginger is available as:
  • Fresh whole roots, which provide the freshest taste
  • Dried roots
  • Powdered ginger which is made from the dried root
  • Preserved or ‘stem’ ginger where fresh young roots are peeled, sliced and cooked in heavy sugar
  • syrup
  • Crystallised ginger which is also cooked in sugar syrup, air dried and rolled in sugar
  • Pickled ginger where the root is sliced paper thin and pickled in vinegar. This pickle, known in
  • Japan as gari, often accompanies sushi to refresh the palate between courses

However you like your ginger whether like in English pubs and taverns in the 19th century, where bartenders put out small containers of ground ginger for people to sprinkle into their beer, like the ancient Greeks who prized ginger so highly that they mixed it into their bread, creating the first gingerbread, or simply in a smoothie like me, it seems like you could get a whole lot of benefits from this valued spice.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Training Kelowna today for your free consultation

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