Cooking Oils You Need To Use

Cooking Oils You Need To Use

Cooking Oils You Need To UseRecently, I wrote about the topic of dietary fats for our Core News subscribers. You need to receive these great health tips and topics at Core News Subscription. Dietary fats are in most foods from animal proteins to oils. Oils like vegetable, nut, and olive oils are healthy, but they should be used for different applications.  The norm for most cooking has been olive or vegetable oils because of their familiarity, but olive and vegetable oils are NOT the best oils for cooking. Why? When cooking food on a medium to high heat, vegetable and olive oils will oxidize.  Oxidization happens normally in our body, and when oxidation occurs, free radicals form. Free radical formation at a high rate is extremely unhealthy. If free radicals are produced at levels higher than normal, then a myriad of diseases or negative reactions can occur.

When you heat vegetable and olive oils, they can create lipid (fat) oxidation products/ toxic chemicals which can lead to atherosclerosis,  arthritis, cardiovascular disease, conditions of digestive tract, and cancer.  Evidence has not been linked to humans, but animal studies have shown all the above when exposed to lipid oxidation products (LOPs).  Lipid oxidation product exposure hasn’t been extensively studied; thus, it’s hard to know how much LOPs are harmful.  To optimize your health., choose cooking oils with high amounts of saturated fats and very low levels or trans or polyunsaturated fats (oxidize with heat). Below are the oils you NEED to be using for different types of cooking or cold methods.

  • Searing (400 degrees Fahrenheit and above)
    • Palm Oil
    • Refined Coconut Oil
  • Sauteing (approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit)
    • Natural Butter (grass fed)
    • Coconut Oil
    • Lard
  •  Cold Applications Only
    • Olive oil (great for dressings and finishing oil)
    • Vegetable oil

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Optimize Your Health for Winter Part III Simple Exercises Done at Home

Optimize Your Health for Winter Part III: Simple Exercises, Done at Home

Optimize Your Health for Winter Part III Simple Exercises Done at HomeWe have made it to the new year, and some may be thinking it’s time to start a new year’s resolution. Resolutions are great. They can be fun, unless your giving up dark chocolate or nachos. I feel sorry for you if that’s the case. If you’re not giving up chocolate or nachos, but instead are trying to train or work out more, then continue reading. When I work out, I want to gain as much benefit from one singular exercise. Therefore, I want to engage as many large muscle groups as possible. These four exercises accomplish that goal. You can do these exercises at home when the gym gets crowded early in the year.

  • Lunge Thrusters
    • I learned this exercise from a fellow chiropractor, Dr. Tommy John.
    • If doing the exercise correctly, your calf, quad, and hamstring of the front leg should be engaged . Your hamstring and glut of your back leg should be engaged too.
      • Step 1 start in a lunge position (Front thigh parallel to floor)
      • Step 2 extend your back leg straight (modified lunge position)
      • Step 3 from modified lunge position engage both forefeet (ball of foot) and jump vertical an inch while keeping your modified lunge pose
    • It’s important to keep the modified lunge pose. Do not use your trunk or shoulders to help propel upwards.
    • If lunge thrusters are too strenuous, start with regular lunges first.
    • 3 sets 15-20 reps
  • Front Squats with light weight
    •  Do you have a can of soup or carton of orange juice? Use that or any weighted object.
    • This exercise will utilize your core and lower back muscles as well as you legs.
      • Step 1 position weight 12″ from your chest
      • Step 2 squat
    • Make sure your lower back is straight not curved when doing this exercise.
    •  3 sets 15-20 reps
  • Slow Push-up
    • This exercise is as easy as it sounds.
    • It’s a regular push-up, but the focus is on the when going down.
      • Step 1 From the top of your push-up position take 5-10 seconds going down towards the floor
      • Step 2 Push-up!
    • On the descent, it’s important to exhale.
    • The goal is to go as slow as possible. Try for a 20 second descent if you can.
    • 3 sets 5 reps

Now you don’t have an excuse for not exercising! As always drink plenty of water, and follow proper technique when doing any kind of exercise. Not only will you prevent injury, you’ll optimize your work-out.

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Optimize your Health for Winter Part II Reduce Stress

Optimize your Health for Winter Part II: Reduce Stress

Optimize your Health for Winter Part II Reduce Stress

The holiday season is usually filled with family gatherings and holiday parties, but sometimes the holidays can get overwhelming and stressful.  By decreasing your stress levels, you will be able to function ideally.  On the last blog post, I addressed the need for consumption of nutrient dense foods (Optimize your Health Part I: Food) because optimal health is not reached by changing one aspect of your life. Your health depends upon proper nutrition, rest, and exercise; all three are of equal importance.

Stress is a part of life, but it’s our response to stress that is the difference maker. When stress has taken its toll, it is important to understand that you are in control. Let’s discuss ways that you can combat stress.

A way to combat stress immediately is slow diaphragmatic breathing. Proper breathing technique is extremely important.  If you are breathing with more chest and shoulder involvement, then you are not taking in the optimal amount of oxygen.  To determine if you are breathing inadequately, look in the mirror, and breathe normally.  If your chest and shoulder move more than your belly, then you must practice diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is the best form because you are able to fill your lungs fully. The Cleveland Clinic has a great explanation on this technique (Diaphragmatic Breathing). 

A less stressful work environment or home  is important for productivity. Less stress equals more productivity. Studies show that air quality, light wattage, work station ergonomics, and office layout impact work productivity. Clutter is controllable.  The more clutter in your environment the more opportunity for objects to divert your attention.  It’s hard to focus with clutter. The best way to de-clutter, is ask yourself, “Do I use this often?” If the answer is no, throw it away. If the answer is yes, store it into a proper file or box. If the answer is sometimes, put it into a separate file or box that is labeled.  Do this with supplements, cosmetics, documents, clothes, or anything that can distract you.

With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and News Year along with your busy schedule,  reducing social obligations during the fall/winter months can be helpful too. Instead of planning that long road trip, try spending the weekend at home. A weekend at home with family and friends can go a long way to help you recharge for the busy holiday season.

May your fall and winter be as stress free as possible! Take a deep breath and relax. My next post quick post- quick and easy exercises to get your blood flowing and large muscle groups activated.

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Optimize Your Health for Winter Part I Food

Optimize Your Health for Winter Part I: Food

Optimize Your Health for Winter Part I FoodThe number of errands and office work is mounting. The daily grind has taken its toll. After a long night at work, you wake up feeling achy and your throat is sore. You look up toward the ceiling, and plead, “Why now?!?” While in school I’d study so much that after a week of exams and stress, I’d get sick. I should’ve prepared myself for the onslaught of late and sleepless nights. I needed a strategy to optimize my performance and health by enhancing my diet, rest, stress management, and exercise routines. You need to do the same. We examine foods and beverages high in antioxidants; a must in everyday life especially during late Fall and Winter.

Antioxidants are important because they inhibit free radicals from damaging healthy cells. The result is prevention of further damage to DNA or cell membranes. Imagine: antioxidants plugging a leak in the dam protecting the village. If the leak isn’t fixed, the result could be disastrous. The leak will get bigger and water will flood the village. Choosing these beverages and foods are a great way to plug that leak.

  • Pomegranate Juice
    • It’s high in the antioxdant, polyphenol and loaded with folate and vitamin K.  Pomegranate juice is known for reducing cardiovascular risk factors, inflammation, arthritis, lower cholesterol, and its antibacterial effects.
    • Take a shot of pomegranate juice (try POM Wonderful) in the morning along with our next beverage.
  • Green Tea  
    • Catechin is the main antioxidant in green tea. Green tea has been linked to reduction of bad fats (LDL) and has positive effects on obesity. Green tea also has antibacterial, antiviral, and anticancer properties.
    • Curl up with a hot cup of tea with a teaspoon spoon of honey and a lemon wedge to soothe a sore throat or as an alternate to coffee.
  •  Blueberries
    • Blueberries have a different array of antioxidants such as: beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C selenium, and polyphenol.  Mix your berry intake with blackberries and raspberries.
    • Since berries are more plentiful in the summer, freeze some, and put them in a smoothie this winter.
  • Cocoa/dark chocolate
    • Cocoa is the main ingredient in the making of chocolate, but don’t start scarfing Hershey Kisses (Sorry!). Cocoa is a rich source of flavanols and procyanidins both antioxidants. Cocoa is linked to decreased blood pressure and inhibition of platelet activity.
    •  Eat dark chocolate that is at least 75-90% cocoa dark chocolate, and avoid brands that are “processed with alkali.”
  • Garlic
    • Allicin is the major player in garlic along with other healthy compounds. Garlic has shown to be antiviral and antibacterial. Studies have shown the potential benefits of garlic with cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure.
    •  Cook with garlic! If you want, pop a slice in your mouth, just keep the mouthwash handy afterwards.

There are other foods that are also great such as: green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, and nuts (Eat Them!). When incorporating these foods and beverages, it’s important to keep in mind that you won’t immediately feel different or better. The key here is prevention and optimization, and these foods are an important part of the equation. Part II: Increased Energy on our next post.

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Fat Accumulation and Sitting

Fat Accumulation and Sitting

Fat Accumulation and SittingIf a co-worker has said to you “Someone has a case of the Mondays!” then you may be in an office environment where sitting is the predominant “activity.” Sitting for periods lasting longer than twenty minutes is harmful to your health…yes, twenty minutes. Today people sit at an alarmingly high rate. People work eight to nine hour days sitting at a desk, and of those eight to nine hours, most people are able to count on their hand how many times they take a break from sitting. Take a break from sitting. What a conundrum!

Sitting has harmful effects to your body, and you might want to stand for this. Prolonged sitting has been linked to decreased metabolism (increased adiposity), type II diabetes, heart disease (heart valve problems, atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, heart attack, and stroke), breast cancer, and colon cancer. If that doesn’t get your attention, then this next part will. A study showed that men who reported more than 23 hours per week of sedentary activity have a 64 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease than men who reported 11 hours of sedentary activity. The inactivity of large muscle groups like the hamstrings, hip flexors, abdominals, and gluts contributes to adiposity and muscle degeneration (Meghan Trainor would be disappointed).

If you are a desk jockey or have a job requiring you to sit, there is hope. There are multiple wrist bands (Jawbone or Fitbit) that will notify you of prolonged inactivity thus vibrating or signaling you to move after a certain amount of time (try 25 min). These wristbands can also count steps and have other health related features. Now that you know when to stand up, what should you do? Walking is best, but if you aren’t able to move away from the desk try some standing calf raises or squats for a couple of minutes (calf raises may be more inconspicuous if you’re the office newb). What if you do get 150 minutes of exercise per week? Unfortunately, the effects of prolonged sitting will still occur.
The evidence is clear. Take a stand! Your promotion may be in your grasp; because, if you do stand up, your productivity will increase (studies say by about 15%). At worst, you’ll be much happier and healthier.

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Omega-3 Fats and Goldfish

Omega-3 Fats and Goldfish

Omega-3 Fats and GoldfishOmega-3 Fats are a necessary part of a balanced diet, and good news, you can obtain them from fatty fish! Salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, trout, and herring (we’re gonna need a bigger boat) all contain Omega-3 Fats such as EPA and DHA. Sorry, Goldfish don’t count, but Swedish Fish on the other hand… no, they don’t count either. The omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, should be etched onto your brain; they are essential in the maintenance of brain tissue in adults and the development of the fetal brain! Do I have your attention? I hope so!

There is strong evidence omega-3 fats aid in the prevention of the following conditions: coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperlipidemia, and secondary cardiovascular disease prevention. Also there are positive studies involving abnormal heart rhythm, cognition, allergies, anxiety, asthma, cancer prevention, and age related macular degeneration. Remember, prevention is better than having a condition, so omega-3 fats are vitally important even if you don’t have a health problem.

The American Heart Association recommends AT LEAST two servings (3.5 ounces cooked) of fish per week; even more servings or supplementation to those who have cardiovascular disease. Personally, I enjoy fish, but fresh, fatty fish can get expensive; thus canned fish is a good alternative. What is the advantage of eating canned fish? Usually the fish are small like sardines, herring, and mackerel depending on the species; thus, they’re less likely to have contaminants (heavy metals i.e. mercury). The larger or more predatory the fish, the more likely the fish contains contaminants.

What if you don’t like to eat fish? What you can do is supplement with fish oil capsules. Fish oil capsules contain all of the necessary omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, but a 1,000 mg capsule contains about 300 mg of omega-3 fast and sometimes less of the EPA and DHA. In order to meet the recommended daily value 500 mg of omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, two fish oil capsules should meet those standards depending on the brand. Beware not all fish oil capsules are of the same quality, so research your supplements at The International Fish Oil Standards Program (http://www.nutrasource.ca/ifos/).

GO FISH!

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Habits That May Be Keeping You Awake at Night

Habits That May Be Keeping You Awake at Night

Habits That May Be Keeping You Awake at NightHave you ever thought how you prepare for sleep? I’m not talking about brushing your teeth or putting on those super stylish pajama pants you’ve had for eternity. I’m referring to what you might do 10 to 15 minutes before you retire for the night. Why I ask is because sleep is vital to optimum performance whether you’re a mom, a father of six kids, or a 5th grade elementary school student. Sleep provides an optimal window of time to shut out all external stimuli like stress from work or that amazing The Walking Dead episode.

While you sleep, important events happen in regards to function of your body both mentally and physically. During sleep, your brain forms short term and long term memories through the strengthening of a synapse (think of improving the electrical wiring in your house.) With proper sleep, you are more likely to recall memories the next day more easily. Physically, repairing of the intervertebral discs occurs as nutrients are absorbed back into the disc for proper structural support for the vertebra. Other proposed functions of sleep include, detoxification of the brain from free radicals (linked to a wide array of diseases and cancers) and glycogen (energy storage) replacement. Pretty amazing right?!

So now you know how important quality sleep is, here are a few things that one should NOT do 10 to 15 minutes before bedtime… eat or drink something, watch TV, look at a computer or cell phone. Eating or drinking increases the likelihood of a person disrupting sleep and using the bath room. Your brain senses when the bladder is nearing fullness thus triggering you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. Not only will you have to wake up in the middle of the night, but you might even have the pleasure of stubbing your toe in the process. When getting ready to sleep, I personally prefer to be in a state of relaxation and calm; but, when electronics are used, the opposite of both happens. Watching TV can keep you from sleeping by provoking a variety of emotions, like excitation or sadness. Both stimulate various areas of the brain. The light from your TV or electronics also stimulates or tricks the brain into thinking the brain is in a state of wakefulness. Studies show melatonin (the sleep hormone) levels drop significantly in the presence of ANY kind of light, so try to refrain from watching The Shawshank Redemption rerun before bedtime.

Habits are hard to break; but, if you try to refrain from or reduce these habits, you might be well on your way to a wonderful and productive morning. Sweet dreams!