Nuts

Amazing Nuts

Amazing Nuts

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

Following on from the “vegetarian” article, I thought I would say a few things about nuts as they can play an important part in a vegetarian diet.

Studies are suggesting that a small amount of nuts daily could cut your risk of major diseases. The high content of dietary fibre, magnesium and unsaturated fats could be protection against heart disease. The unsaturated fats unlike saturated fats, don’t raise blood LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels. The monounsaturated fats have the additional benefit of raising high-density lipoprotein, the ‘good cholesterol’ in our blood. Nuts are rich in protein and dietary fibre, and also one of the best natural sources of anti-oxidant vitamin E, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and folic acid, making a small portion (about 30g) of unsalted nuts makes a vitality-boosting snack and, unlike most other options. All nuts have different nutrition credentials and will offer various health benefits.

Almonds are high in vitamin E, a nutrient which helps to improve the condition and appearance of your skin. The almond’s skin is full of heart-protecting compounds called flavonoids and almonds are also rich in calcium, beneficial for teeth and bones.

Cashew nuts make an excellent choice if you’re following a vegetarian diet as they contribute a good level of protein and are a useful source of minerals like iron and zinc. They’re also rich in the mineral magnesium, which is thought to improve recall and delay, age-related memory loss.

Chestnuts are the nuts with the lowest fat content and calories, they 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.

Pecans are packed with plant sterols, valuable compounds that are effective at lowering cholesterol levels and they are also antioxidant-rich which helps prevent the plaque formation that causes hardening of the arteries. Pecans are also a good source of vitamin B3 making them them perfect option for fighting fatigue as this vitamin helps us access the energy in our food.

Pistachios are especially rich in vitamin B6, which is important for keeping hormones balanced and healthy. They are also 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 with their superior antioxidant content make them good in the fight against cancer. Studies show walnuts their good source of mono-unsaturated, heart-friendly fats, help to lower the bad form of cholesterol (LDL). As they are rich in omega-3, they are a great alternative to oily fish in a vegetarian diet.

Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet may be good for your heart, they contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients. They are a great snack food, inexpensive, easy to store and easy to pack when you’re on the go. But don’t forget they are high in calories, so it’s important to limit portions. Your personal trainer can advise how to include nuts as a healthy and beneficial part of your diet.

And don’t forget to include seeds in your weekly diet, the natural fibre, iron, protein, good fats, vitamins, and minerals they contain contribute to a wide range of potential health benefits. They are a great source of energy, can help reduce fatigue and will contribute to healthy hair and skin, muscle and bone growth and maintaining a healthy heart. They can boost the body’s immune system, and can be a great food supplement for those living to a particular diet, for example providing protein and iron for vegetarians and vegans. They are naturally crammed with real goodies like protein, iron, fibre, vitamins and minerals which makes them a super nutritious food for a healthy diet.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Fitness Kelowna

Iron

Iron

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

Iron is an essential nutrient to include in a healthy balanced diet as it has many functions including growth and development and plays a critical role in transferring oxygen around the body. Iron also helps in energy production, muscle function, DNA synthesis and the immune system. It’s most important role is to prevent anaemia. We get most of the iron we need from food, our body carefully monitors its levels of iron; absorbing more when demand is high and less when stores are adequate. Iron is stored primarily in the bone marrow and liver.

Red blood cells need iron to make haemoglobin, the substance that helps them carry oxygen around the body, from the lungs to the body’s tissues and carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. Haemoglobin production falls if insufficient iron is available and with less haemoglobin inside them red blood cells can no longer carry as much oxygen, and so delivery to the cells is reduced, causing the typical effects of tiredness and fatigue.

Increased development of the brain is also one of the many benefits of iron. Since oxygen supply in the blood is aided by it and the brain uses approximately 20% of the blood oxygen, iron is directly related to brain health and its functions. Proper flow of blood in the brain can stimulate cognitive activity and help to create new neural pathways to prevent cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, so proper iron intake and its subsequent brain oxygenation is essential.

Iron is a vital element for muscle health. It is present in the muscle tissues and helps to provide the supply of oxygen required for contraction of muscles. Without it, muscles lose their tone and elasticity; muscle weakness is one of the most obvious signs of anaemia.

Iron also plays a key role in providing strength to the immune system of the human body. Thus, the body is made proficient enough to fight against a number of diseases and infections. Red blood cells are necessary for providing oxygen to damaged tissues, organs, and cells. Without it, there would be no haemoglobin; without haemoglobin, there would be no oxygen. The healing process needs iron to happen!

Iron, when consumed in sufficient amounts, can help focus concentration and energy, which will boost cognitive and mental performance. Increased flow of blood to the brain due to iron’s red blood cell activity is what results in this important benefit.

There are two forms of iron. One being haem iron which is found in animal products and is the most efficiently absorbed form of iron and not affected by other dietary components, but the other non-haem iron is found in plant foods and the body finds this more difficult to absorb.

Vitamin C helps the absorption of iron and when vitamin C rich foods are combined with foods rich in iron, absorption of the iron is substantially increased. Even a glass of fruit juice with your meal can aid with iron absorption.

The substance called tannin that is found in tea is also thought to inhibit the absorption of iron.

Foods high in phytates and oxalates, such as raw bran, whole meal flour, spinach, nuts, chocolate, parsley and rhubarb may also have a negative impact on iron absorption.

Dairy products like yogurt, cheese and milk as well as eggs interfere with iron absorption – that’s because casein from milk and certain forms of calcium inhibit iron absorption.

Good sources of iron in food include:

  • Liver
  • Lean red meat
  • Oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, tuna
  • Eggs especially yolks
  • Fortified cereals
  • Peas and beans, e.g. Chickpeas, lentils, baked beans
  • Dried apricots, prunes, raisins
  • Brown rice and whole grains
  • Soybeans
  • Leafy green vegetables, e.g. spinach, watercress and curl kale
  • Almonds, Brazil nuts

Your personal trainer can help to advise on healthy diet foods to adequately provide you with the iron your body needs to function efficiently.

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Breakfast Kelowna

Breakfast Kelowna

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

With your healthy start to the New Year, how about starting the day with a good breakfast. Have a good breakfast and you’ll set yourself up for the whole day. You have to start somewhere, it’s far more productive to focus on the small changes you can make, and what better start than a decent breakfast. Many of us are apt to skip this first meal of the day, whether out of habit or because we’re too busy, but as many studies have shown people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight, and has also been linked to good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, so it makes sense to include this important meal in your new healthy start to the year. Your personal trainer can offer nutritional advice on the advantages of a healthy diet.

When you get up in the morning your body has been fasting probably in excess of about 10 hours, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work their best is usually low, breakfast helps replenish it, so now is the time to go for the slow burn fuel rather than the sugary cereals or skipping breakfast altogether as this can throw off your body’s rhythm of fasting and eating. You need food in your system long before lunchtime and if you don’t eat first thing, you may get so hungry later on that you snack on high-fat, high sugar foods.

Porridge provides that slow burn, gut friendly fibre fix and to bump up the nutritional value add a few chopped nuts and fruit. To provide you with the protein your body needs add a couple of eggs, scrambled or an omelette with some chopped tomato and a handful of spinach. You can add a fruit or veg smoothie to this and you will be adding to your veg/fruit requirements for the day. You’ll definitely feel full until lunchtime and won’t be reaching for that mid morning snack. So resist that pastry or doughnut, your best bet is a mix of foods that have carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fibre. Carbs will give you energy right away, and the protein will give you it later on, while the fibre keeps you feeling full. If your body doesn’t get that fuel from food, you may feel you have no energy and you’ll be more likely to overeat later in the day.

Breakfast also gives you a chance to get in some vitamins and nutrients from healthy foods like dairy, grains, and fruits. If you don’t eat it, you aren’t likely to get all of the nutrients your body needs. So start your healthy year with a healthy breakfast.

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Kelowna Personal Training

Small Changes for fitness

Small Changes For Fitness

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

How about making some small changes to your life that could make some big differences to your health and well being. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make a difference.

Walking, power-walking or even jogging to work can make a big difference to your overall health and wellbeing. Walking at a leisurely pace for an hour can burn around 250 calories on average. When you’re carrying shopping bags, try to keep the weight even in each hand, your back straight, shoulders back and chest up for the best results. Try walking back home, or parking the car further away to ensure you get the most out of the mini workout. When you jog in cold weather, your body works hard to regulate its core temperature, meaning you use up more calories. Avoid the treadmill and head outdoors, wearing an extra layer instead.

Certain workouts and stretches are easy to do at your desk and can be done without your colleagues even noticing. So if you’re inactive for most of the day do try to have some kind of desk workout. Your personal trainer can help your with the best kind of workout for you.

Taking a lunch break will help you to unwind during work and reduces stress levels, boosting your productivity in the afternoon, and making it easier to sleep at night. If you’re able to get out into the fresh air and have a short walk, it will make all the difference. Just taking yourself away from your workstation for a short while will improve your state of mind.

Stretching improves blood circulation, increases your flexibility, improves your posture, reduces and prevents lower back pain, and can relieve stress. A simple five-minute routine every morning will wake your muscles up and prepare you for the day.

Instead of sitting through a five-minute commercial break on the TV, flicking through the channels, why not exercise through them. Try a quick high intensity circuit around your living room, which could include jump squats, crunches, leg raises, and step ups. Spend 30 seconds doing each circuit, with a 10 second rest in between, and you’ll be done by the time the commercials are done.

Cleaning and tidying has been proven to relieve stress as it acts as a form of meditation. It can also be a form of exercise, depending on what you’re doing and for how long.

Remember when you work out, you burn fat and gain muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat, which the scales do not show, so use your clothes as a guide instead, if they feel looser then you know you’ve made a difference, keep on working out.

Breakfast should be the largest meal to get your metabolism going and fuel you for the day, followed by a light, medium-sized lunch to keep you energised until evening, then a small dinner in the evening to just fill you with enough calories until bedtime.

Did you know it takes your brain around 20 minutes to register that your body is full? So give yourself time to enjoy the food and notice when you’re full. A number of studies have even found that you can lose weight just by eating slowly.

Small changes to your diet can make a big difference to your health and fitness. For example, try swapping mince beef for mince turkey to make a saving of roughly 125 calories per 100g, and maybe changing your plate size to a slightly smaller one, so that your portions are smaller.

Start writing out everything you’ve eaten and how much you exercise during the day. If you’ve skipped a day of exercise or binged on unhealthy snacks, writing it out can motivate you to stay on course and stop you from slipping back into old routines.

Save money and calories by making your snacks from scratch. Soup, crisps, bread and hummus can all be made at home using leftovers or store cupboard ingredients, you will know exactly what goes into your food. Homemade baked crisps using leftover vegetables like beetroot, turnips, or kale are far healthier than fried potato crisps. Adding nutritious grains, beans or pulses to stews, casseroles or soups will bulk them out giving you additional portions for lunches or dinner. It’ll keep you fuller for longer, too.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland – in fact, adding spices to your meals can aid in weight loss. Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which has been found to boost metabolism and curb cravings. If you can’t handle too much spice, you can use milder spices like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, which also have health benefits.

Sugar is what what nutritionists call ‘empty calories’ – they contain no value or benefits. If you cut out one sugary drink a day, it could save 51,100 calories per year, which is the equivalent to losing almost 7 kilos in a year. Try replacing your sugary drink with hot water and a squeeze of lemon for a much healthier and cleansing alternative.

Fresh fruit juices and smoothies are delicious, but try not to drink your way to a full stomach. Chewing satisfies your stomach and allows you to get all the nutrients and fibres your juicer may have juiced out.

Prepare all your meals for the week on a Sunday evening, and divide them up into containers for each day of the working week. This way you will have a ready prepared lunch everyday, and you will have control of the food you are eating, you’ll probably be saving some money too.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Eating all the Christmas Food

Eating all the Christmas Food

Leigh Carter 

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training 

 

Fairly soon all the christmas foods are going to start dancing for me and tempting me to eat them. To be honest some have already creeped there way into the house in the form of mulled wine and warm festive cider. At this time of year it is inevitable for some people that there exercise routines will slack a little and there weight to rise a due to all the parties and indulgent foods. You probably think I am now going to go on about moderation and how you can make low fat low sugar versions of some of your favourite dishes, well I’m not, quite frankly I fully endorse diving into christmas and enjoying all it has to offer. Yes this does mean you will put on weight, yes this does mean that when christmas is over you will have some extra fitness work on your hands, but why not just enjoy it for what it is, this is once a year and for whatever christmas means to you, punishing yourself for bad food choices or drinking a little to much is pointless. Part of your health and fitness journey is to understand what food does to you and to be responsible for your actions. So how about this, as christmas approaches, ramp up your cardio a little, make an extra effort in the gym to beat a few of your personal best lifts, go for a few extra walks with the dog a week, cut out some of your unnescasary carbs from a few of your meals. Make sure you keep up the exercise throughout christmas and then when it is all over, don’t stress about what the scales say just clean your diet back up and start to set yourself some new fitness goals for the year. Part of being in control of your weight and fitness is to be able to eat for function and to eat for pleasure but not letting either of them affect the other.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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