Brussel Sprouts: Great Skin & source of Protein!

22 11 2011

Health Benefits:

  • A cup of Brussels sprouts contains 1122 IU of vitamin A plus 669 IU of beta-carotene, both of which play important roles in defending the body against infection and promoting supple, glowing skin. The Vitamin A content of Brussel sprout is slightly lower than that of broccoli, but their protein content is higher.
  • Brussel sprouts is one of the vegetable that has a highest content of vitamin C. Four ounces of uncooked Brussels sprouts contains about 100 mg of Vitamin C and when it is cooked thoroughly, it will contain about 40 mg of Vitamin C. Vitamin C supports immune function and the manufacture of collagen, the protein like “cement” that supports and holds the body tissues and organ together.
  • Brussel sprouts are high in protein which makes is a healthy substitute for meat.
  • Brussel sprouts contain sulforaphane a powerful phytonutrient that boosts the body’s detoxification enzymes, therefore helping to clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly.
  • Brussels sprouts supplies 93.6 mg of folic acid, a nutrient that is essential for proper cellular division. Deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects because without folic acid, the fetus’ nervous system cells do not divide properly.
  • A cup of Brussels sprouts contains more than 4 grams of fiber, which aids elimination by forming a soft, bulky stool that is easily passed.
  • Brussels sprout juice is beneficial for diabetics and hypoglycemics.
  • Brussels sprouts contain higher antioxidant than that of red cabbage.
  • Brussels sprouts, provide humans with protection against inflammatory diseases like arthritis.

Weightlifting for children and adolescents

15 11 2011

There are many varying opinions on what is the right age to begin lifting weights. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), lifting weights with a sound technique can strengthen ligaments and tendons, and improve bone density. Under proper supervision, lifting weights can begin as young as age 9.

Weight-Lifting Effects

Muscle fibers are broken down during weight training sessions. Strength and muscle mass is actually gained between the rest and recovery stage that occurs after your workout. Many professionals have expressed concerns that weight lifting at a young age can damage growth plates and stunt the physical development of youths. Growth plates are areas of growing tissue found along the bones of youngsters. According to the the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no evidence that a strength training program can hinder linear growth in youths. In actuality, strength training can prevent children from suffering injuries and accelerate their recovery time if they do get hurt.

Safe Weight Lifting

The body of a young adolescent has not entirely matured. Therefore, to establish a safe weight-lifting regimen for youths, emphasize light weights with high repetitions. Dr. Wayne Yankus is a renowned pediatrician based in Midland Park, NJ. Dr. Yankus states that a pre-pubertal male child can lift weights of 3 to 5 pounds or less with approximately 10 repetitions. However, at such a young age, he urges children to avoid benching, squatting or working on a nautilus fitness station. Lifting light weights with high repetitions will tone, strengthen and enhance the overall physical performance of youths.

Unsafe Weight Lifting

An adolescent that lifts heavy weights is susceptible to straining muscles, fraying their cartilage and inhibiting their bone growth. Hence, it is essential that children avoid lifting heavy weights at too young of an age.

Ages 9-12

The American Academy of Pediatrics supports strength training for kids. Children between the ages of 9 and 12 should focus their efforts on resistance bands, light free weights and body weight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups and dips.

Ages 13-14

At the age of 13 or 14, adolescents can begin to devise a more stringent and demanding workout routine. However, youths should still avoid lifting heavy weights. Lifting light weights with high repetitions will prove to be a secure and beneficial method of strength training.

Ages 15-16

Once children become 15 or 16, they can start participating in more hardened forms of exercises like bench presses, overhead military presses and squats. However, just because youths are now old enough to lift heavier weights, they should not hoist anything without correct fundamentals and form. Lifting weights is dangerous and, if children engage in strength training without taking precautions, they are liable to suffer serious injuries.

Natural Energy Boosters

15 11 2011

A daily afternoon crash that only lifts with a caffeine boost, or feel a general sense of fatigue throughout the day? According to researchers, you are not alone. Fatigue is the second most common complaint to doctors in North America.

Unfortunately, many people turn to caffeine to boost their energy levels. That approach provides short-lived energy at best. At worst, it may cause damage to your body in the form of caffeine addiction, blood sugar fluctuations and adrenal gland depletion that makes you more vulnerable to stress. Since caffeine continues to work for about 12 hours, that afternoon coffee may leave you lying awake counting sheep when you are ready to sleep.

Your low energy is crippling your motivation? Perhaps a change or a supplementation to you diet could make a big difference. Nature offers many natural herbal energy-enhancers. Here are a few of the best  choices for a natural approach to boosting your energy levels.



1. Bee Pollen Bee Pollen is touted as a source of perpetual youth in many of the world’s great books, including the Talmud, Bible, Koran, scrolls of the ancient Orient, Greece, Rome, Russia, the Middle East. Ancient Greek athletes ate bee pollen regularly to increase their strength and vitality. More recently, the USDA discovered that bee pollen even has anti-cancer properties.

Bee pollen is packed with 22 amino acids, natural antibiotic factors, DNA/RNA (the genetic coding of plants), 18 enzymes (to aid digestion and other bodily functions), glucosides (natural sources of energy in the body), plant hormones, 27 minerals and at least 16 vitamins, it is no surprise that it increases energy and vitality. Avoid bee pollen if you suffer pollen allergies or if you are allergic to bees.

2. Royal Jelly Royal jelly is the natural result when bees combine honey and pollen. It is a powerhouse of B-complex vitamins. It also contains many other vitamins, minerals, hormones, enzymes, 18 amino acids, and natural antibacterial and antibiotic substances. It has traditionally been used to address bronchial asthma, pancreatitis, liver disease, insomnia, stomach ulcers, kidney disease, bone fractures, immune problems, and skin disorders, but royal jelly is also effective for increasing energy.

3. Siberian Ginseng Extract As the name suggests, Siberian ginseng originates in Siberia. It also grows in Japan, China, and Korea and parts of Canada. It has been used medicinally for at least two thousand years. Siberian ginseng is one of only a handful of herbs that is an adaptogen, which means that it works to normalize bodily functions. It inhibits the adrenal stress response and works as an immune stimulant, particularly for fighting the effects of stress and depression. It aids the liver in detoxifying harmful toxins, including chemotherapeutic agents and radiation. Siberian ginseng also stimulates the activity of several immune system components: B and T cells, making it excellent for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other viral infections. Athletes around the world use Siberian ginseng as a training aid because of its reputed ability to increase resistance to stress, increase performance, bolster the immune system during workouts, and reduce fatigue. But it also helps strengthen energy levels over time.

4. Spirulina The Aztec people knew a good thing when they saw it. They discovered spirulina, a single-celled algae that they called tecuitlatl and soon made it a staple of their diet. It is high in usable protein, a great source of Vitamin B12 (often called the “energy vitamin”), 8 minerals and many vitamins, including 7 types of vitamin A precursors known as carotenoids. It is also packed with chlorophyll, the green pigment that gives spirulina its colour and its blood purification properties. And, of course, it boosts energy levels.

5. Gotu Kola Gotu Kola is an herb that contains many nutrients and healing phytochemicals. As one of the primary energy herbs used by herbalists, gotu kola lessens fatigue and depression without the effects of caffeine. Actually, unlike caffeine that may keep you awake into the evenings, gotu kola actually helps improve sleep at night.

6- Vitamin C promotes a healthy immune system and supports the adrenal gland which controls the production of stress hormones in the body. During times of stress or strenuous training you may benefit from taking a supplement (up to 1000mg daily) or an antioxidant supplement which includes vitamin C plus supporting nutrients like vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium and plant compounds such as flavonoids.

7- Iron : Getting sufficient  iron is important for maintaining all-day energy. Even a slight iron deficiency can result in fatigue and increase your susceptibility to infections. You may also benefit from a chromium supplement (up to 200mcg) which helps balance blood sugar levels, avoiding energy slumps.

Can music enhance physical performance?

15 11 2011

British sports psychologist Costas Karageorghis, who has spent the last two decades researching the performance enhancing effects of music in

sport and exercise.  His work suggests that music can lower your perception of effort, increase endurance by as much as 15 percent and help you get into a “flow” or “zone.”

But research indicates music seems to lower perceived effort only during low to moderate intensities of exercise. Once you reach a high intensity, your body automatically focuses on internal cues, such as heart rate and lactic acid build-up, rather than the music or the scenery, Karageorghis said.


Research has consistently shown that the synchronization of music with repetitive exercise is associated with increased levels of work output. This applies to such activities as rowing, cycling, cross-country skiing, and running. Musical tempo can regulate movement and thus prolong performance. Synchronizing movements with music also enables athletes to perform more efficiently, again resulting in greater endurance.

The celebrated Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie is famous for setting world records running in time to the rhythmical pop song “Scatman.” He selected this song because the tempo perfectly matched his target stride rate, a very important consideration for a distance runner whose aim is to establish a steady, efficient cadence. The synchronization effect in running was demonstrated in an experimental setting by Simpson and Karageorghis, who found that motivational synchronous music improved running speed by ~.5 s in a 400-m sprint, compared to a no-music control condition

Selecting Music for Sport and Exercise

Type of Activity

An athlete searching for music to incorporate in training and competition should start by considering the context in which he or she will operate . What type of activity is being undertaken? How does that activity affect other athletes or exercisers? What is the desired outcome of the session? What music-playing facilities are available? Some activities lend themselves particularly well to musical accompaniment, for example those that are repetitive in nature: warm-ups, weight training, circuit training, stretching, and the like. In each case, the athlete should make selections (from a list of preferred tracks) that have a rhythm and tempo that match the type of activity to be undertaken.

Karageorghis’ bottom line is that “music is best for those who wish to become more physically active but generally find exercise to be onerous and unstimulating.” For elite athletes, music should be applied “very selectively, such as part of a pre-event routine.

Creatine good for Vegetarians?

15 11 2011

Although it appears that vegetarian diets can provide adequate overall nutrient intake for endurance activity, specific components of the diet may have special importance in strength sports.

Many weightlifters think a vegan diet might be detrimental to their efforts because of the lower protein content of a typical vegan diet. Other weightlifters feel that a vegan diet enhances their training regimen by reducing fatigue and improving general health. Unfortunately, there are no studies looking directly at vegan weightlifters, but there is a fair amount of research that can be used to extrapolate to vegans.

You must supplement with some sort of creatine source in order to put fuel into your hard-working machine. Creatine (also known as creatine monohydrate) is the only nutritional supplement that has been consistently shown to improve strength and muscle mass.

The main benefit of creatine is thought to be due to its effect on reducing fatigue during repeated, short bursts of intense exercise (such as weightlifting, sprinting, soccer, rugby, and hockey. Lower fatigue during sprinting and weightlifting means increased training and greater results.
Research has shown that people following a vegetarian lifestyle have a greater response to creatine which has shown to be of a great help for they physical endurance and over-all performance.
In a 2000 Swedish study, vegetarians and meat-eaters took 7 g of creatine three times a day for six days. The vegetarians’ power output over three bouts of exercise improved significantly after the six days of supplementation, while it did not change for the meat-eater.

The loading phase for vegetarians and non-vegetarians is probably similar, because their dietary intake is negligible compared to the amounts supplemented. However, because the average meat-eater consumes 1-2 g of creatine a day, 30 percent of which is destroyed by cooking, the maintenance phase for vegetarians may need to be as high as 3.4 g/day.

Truth about consuming Cholesterol Rich Foods

1 06 2011

Cholesterol Lowering Diets

Causes of high total blood cholesterol

There are various causes of high total blood cholesterol:

Saturated and trans fats

High total blood cholesterol levels are mainly caused by eating foods high in saturated and trans fats.

Foods high in saturated fat include fatty meats, full fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil and palm oil, and most deep fried take-away foods and commercially baked products, such as pies, biscuits, buns and pastries.

Foods high in trans fat include most deep fried take-away foods and commercially baked products, such as pies, biscuits, buns and pastries.

Limiting your intake of foods such as cakes, pastries, pies and biscuits will not only lower your saturated fat intake but also your trans fat intake.

Cholesterol in food (dietary cholesterol) has only a small effect on LDL cholesterol. Saturated and trans fats in food cause a much greater increase in LDL cholesterol.

You can include some cholesterol-rich foods, such as offal (liver, pate and kidney) and prawns, as part of a healthy balanced diet low in saturated and trans fats. You can also eat up to six eggs a week as part of a healthy balanced diet low in saturated and trans fats without increasing your risk of coronary heart disease.

The Myth

We have been thought for the last two decades to avoid foods high in fat; in order to lower our cholesterol levels and remain healthy. We began avoiding all animal fats, switching to non skim dairies and cutting out meat & fish that was said to be high in cholesterol. To maintain the taste of most dairy products, the fat has been substituted by sugar or sugar alcohols; increasing our insulin levels during digestion.

Health charts suggest to eat more of the vegetable oils to get high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), because these fatty acids reduce cholesterol levels. But these sources of fat also contain omega-6 which is harmful to our bodies, and to counterpart the negative effects of omega-6 PUFA from vegetable oils, many are recommending consuming high amounts of omega-3 PUFA from fish oils. But the need for PUFA is incredibly small and both omega-6 and omega-3 PUFA can contribute to degenerative disease by increasing exposure to “oxidative stress.”

The Effect of Foods on Cholesterol Levels

Since we do not eat enough cholesterol to use for our bodies’ daily functions, our bodies make their own. Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced naturally by your liver and found in your blood. You can also get cholesterol from some foods – this is called ‘dietary cholesterol’. When we eat more foods rich in this compound, our bodies make less. If we deprive ourselves of natural foods high in cholesterol — such as eggs, butter, and liver — our body revs up its cholesterol synthesis. The end result is that, for most of us, eating foods high in cholesterol has very little impact on our blood cholesterol levels.

Reasons to eat Cholesterol Rich Foods

Cholesterol-rich foods are the main source of arachidonic acid (AA). Healthy adults only need very little, if any, of it, but growing children, women who are looking to conceive or are pregnant or nursing, and people who are bodybuilding, suffering from degenerative diseases involving oxidative stress, or recovering from injury need to consume AA in the diet. Strict vegans and those who consume lots of omega-3 fats might also require AA in the diet. Signs of deficiency include scaly skin, hair loss, and infertility.

Carbohydrates Cycling

27 04 2011

The philosophy behind carb cycling is that for 3 days you will deplete your carbohydrates by eating fibrous carbohydrates, which will allow your body to use up muscle glycogen and burn bodyfat. Then for the next 3 days, you will load your carbohydrates by eating mostly starchy carbohydrates and thus replenish your muscle glycogen. The great thing about this technique is the following:

  1. Fibrous carbs (which are mostly made of cellulose) have an atomic structure that our digestive system has difficulty breaking down. Therefore the majority of fibrous carbs we eat just pass through our digestive system. Although they aren’t digested, they do provide intestinal bulk, and they have the added benefit of not only speeding up the digestive process but they take a considerable amount of water with them.
  2. By eating fibrous carbs all though-out the day, your body realizes that it’s getting food frequently and speeds up your metabolism. Since fibrous carbs aren’t easily digested, it requires more calories to burn them than they give up, so in effect giving you a net loss of caloric efficiency.
  3. By eating like this for 3 days and then switching to starchy carbs keeps you just shy of ketosis, and prevents your body from entering a catabolic state. Catabolism is where the body begins cannibalizing muscle tissue to get energy from the protein in the muscles.
  4. By doing cardio on the first 3 days (your fibrous carb days), you burn more bodyfat and consume more muscle glycogen. During the last 3 days (your starchy carb days), you’ll be replenishing that muscle glycogen, giving your muscles a fuller, harder look, but with less bodyfat covering them.
  5. On average, women should lean towards 125-175 grams of carbs on low days and 200-300 grams on higher days. Men, 175-225 grams on low days and 350-400 grams on high days.
  6. Pay attention to how your body is feeling. If you are lacking in energy and feeling very week, increase your starchy and fibrous carbs, but focus your starchy carbs around your workouts. But, if you have plenty of energy, but aren’t seeing any fat loss results, slowly decrease your starchy carbs.


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Carb intake

Low carbs Low carbs Low carbs High carbs High carbs High carbs


50% total 50% total 50% total 100% + total 100% + total 100% + total


High reps, supersets Higher reps, training Higher reps, training Off Usual-style training Usual-style training


“trace” range

“small” range

“small-medium” range

“medium” range

“normal” range

“normal” range


Yes Yes Yes No No No

Fibrous or Starchy carbs?

Fibrous Fibrous Fibrous Starchy Starchy Starchy

Junk food?

No No No Tasty treat day No No

Aerobic activity?

Yes Yes Yes Optional Optional Optional
For the first 3 days, you’ll eat mostly fibrous carbohydrates, then for the next 3 days you’ll eat mostly starchy carbohydrates. These include:

Fibrous Carbohydrates

Starchy Carbohydrates

Green beans
Brussels sprouts
Green peppers
Red peppers

Lima beans
Red beans
Black-eyed peas
Whole-meal flour
Sweet potatoes
Shredded Wheat

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