Archive Monthly Archives: March 2019

How Good is the Nordic Diet

How Good is the Nordic Diet

The Nordic diet is based on locally sourced foods eaten in the Nordic countries of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, and Iceland. The philosophy of the diet is to eat locally grown, sourced, or available wholesome foods. As a result, the Nordic diet can be adapted to foods locally grown, sourced, or available wherever you live.

Nordic Diet

Emphasis of the Nordic Diet

Especially relevant, the Nordic diet contains less sugar and fat but twice the fiber and seafood, especially when compared to a typical Western diet. Furthermore, the Nordic diet’s emphasis is on the following:

  • 1
    Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, seafood, and whole grains
  • 2
    Eat less frequently game meat, eggs, cheese, and yogurt
  • 3
    Hardly ever eat red meats and animal fats
  • 4
    Never eat added sugars, processed meats, food additives, refined fast foods, and beverages with sugar

Nordic Diet Guidelines

The Nordic diet is based on the guidelines described here.

Eat Fruits and Vegetables

  • 1
    First of all, eat berries frequently. In fact, berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help keep your veins and arteries healthy and flexible. As a result, anthocyanins help lower your blood pressure.
  • 2
    Also eat peas and beans often. In fact, peas and beans are a major source of fiber and complex carbs. Also, peas and beans are a good source of proteins. In addition, they provide vitamins like riboflavin and B6. Finally, they provide minerals like zinc, calcium, and iron.
  • 3
    Next, eat legumes, vegetables such as cabbage, root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, beets, and tubers like potatoes. Most of all, they are a source of fiber that takes a long time to digest and helps keep your blood sugar stable. In addition, they help protect your cells, lower your cholesterol and fight infection.

Eat Whole Grains

Whole grains such as oats and barley are an important part of meals. Another example is dark, dense sourdough rye bread from Denmark. In addition, eat snacks such as whole-grain crackers from Sweden. Most of all, they provide high-quality “complex’ carbohydrates that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to protect your cells.

Eat Fish

Fish from the ocean, seas, and lakes provide many healthy benefits. In fact, fish containing omega-3 fatty acids help you by:

  • 1
    Reduce your chances of heart rhythm problems
  • 2
    Cause less plaque buildup in the arteries, and
  • 3
    Cut down on triglycerides in blood

And, examples of these fish include:

  • 1
    Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and albacore tuna
  • 2
    Lean fish such as cod, haddock and halibut

Eat Meat

High-quality meat should be eaten in small amounts.

Eat Less of

Processed foods as well as less sugary foods.

Eat Home Cooked Meals

Home cooked meals using canola oil or rapeseed oil provide many benefits. Canola oil is low in saturated fat, high in healthy monounsaturated fat, and alpha-linolenic acid. In fact, alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 that helps protect your brain from such things as strokes.

Eat Foods from the Wild

Seek out more foods from the wild. For example, nuts and seeds are a good source of complex carbs and fiber. Also, they are rich in zinc, copper, potassium, vitamin E, niacin, antioxidants, and mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats.

Eat Organic Foods

Whenever possible, use organic produce.

Avoid Food Additives

Instead, use herbs and spices.

Eat Seasonal Produce

Seasonal produce provides an opportunity to eat foods that are only available for short periods of time.

Reduce Waste

Minimize waste by eating more foods that comes with little throw away packaging.

Composing your Meals

Most of all, the Nordic diet doesn’t count calories, instead you calculate the meal’s carbs to protein ratio. Indeed, the ideal Nordic diet meal has a 2:1 ratio of carbs grams to protein grams.

Furthermore, the carbs to protein ratio is based on a combination of Low-Glycemic Index (low-GI) foods and moderately high-protein foods. Most noteworthy, high-protein foods include low fat dairy products.

First, low-GI foods cause a slower and lower elevation in blood sugars compared to high-GI foods. In addition, protein-rich foods make you feel less hungry. Therefore, by properly balancing nutritionally dense foods, you can:

  • 1
    Avoid weight gain
  • 2
    Reduce inflammation, and
  • 3
    Lower your risk of diseases like diabetes

Carbohydrates

Select carbs using the guidelines below.

  • 1
    Use low-GI foods such as fruits and vegetables other than potatoes.
  • 2
    Use low-GI carbs such as grains, bread, pasta, beans and legumes. In fact, rye is a whole-grain staple in the Nordic diet. Also, pumpernickel and sourdough bread are low-GI carbs while softer fluffy white breads aren’t. In addition, steel-cut oats have a lower GI than instant oatmeal.
  • 3
    Low fat dairy products

Proteins

Select proteins using the guidelines below.

  • 1
    Fish such as shellfish or white fatty fishes like salmon, mackerel, and sardines provide healthy omega-3 fatty acids
  • 2
    Lean cuts of pork
  • 3
    Veal and beef
  • 4
    Skinless poultry
  • 5
    Tofu and legumes such as lentils or beans

Fiber

Vegetables and whole grains provide fiber. And, for extra fiber add chia seeds to your meals.

Sample Meals

Above all, a one half of a typical meal would include vegetables, fruits and berries. Next, one quarter contains low-GI carbs. Finally, one quarter contains protein rich foods.

In fact, proteins should be included in every meal. Also, starches like rice and pasta are fine but in smaller amounts than plant foods, lean meats and fish.

Typical Nordic Diet Meal Plans

Breakfast

Breakfast would contain dry fruits, grains, berries, or porridge with oats.

Lunch

For lunch, eat rye bread, salads, pickles, herrings, eggs, mushrooms, asparagus, green peas, rhubarb, wild herbs and fruits.

Dinner

For dinner, eat fish, meat from animals hunted in the wild, and vegetables.

Midmorning or Afternoon Snacks based on Nordic Diet

These snacks can be low-GI toast, fresh fruits or nuts.

How to User Nordic Diet when Eating Outside

When eating outside the home, eat fresh vegetables (instead of potatoes) and pasta salads. Also, eat lean protein and low-GI sides like chickpeas. Finally, drink water with every meal.

Benefits of the Nordic Diet

Most of all, the Nordic diet:

  • 1
    Helps you lose weight, especially belly fat
  • 2
    According to scientist, helps heart health because the diet lowers unhealthy cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, and insulin levels.
  • 3
    Helps lower LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol
  • 4
    Reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • 5
    Helps cut back on inflammation. In fact, inflammation is linked to diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Physiological Effect of the Nordic Diet

The Nordic diet can help you lose weight, reduce blood pressure, and inflammation.

Weight Loss From Nordic Diet

A 2016 study, with 145 participants, in the Journal of Proteome Research compared the Nordic diet to a Danish diet. Most noteworthy, the Danish diet is almost like an American diet. Also, the Danish diet, with more fat and less fiber, consisted of more meat, processed foods, and fewer plant foods. And, the study reported that after 26 weeks, Nordic diet participants were more likely to lose weight.

Another 2014 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the effectiveness of the Nordic diet. Also, this study, which lasted six months, had 147 obese participants. And, the study reported that obese participants on the Nordic diet lost 10.4 pounds. While others on an average Danish diet lost 3.3 pounds.

Finally, a 2011 6-week study in the Journal of Internal Medicine reported the weight-reducing effects of the Nordic diet. And, the study reported that Nordic diet participants lost 4 percent more body weight than the standard diet participants.

Blood Pressure Benefits of Nordic Diet

The 2014 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, described previously, also looked at how Nordic diet affects blood pressure. And, the study found that Nordic diet participants saw greater decrease in blood pressure than the Danish diet participants.

Yet another 2014 study, in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition had 37 metabolic syndrome participants lasting 12 weeks. And, the study reported significant ambulatory diastolic blood pressure reduction among Nordic diet participants compared to control diet participants.

Other Effects of the Nordic Diet

Next, a 2013 study in the Journal of Internal Medicine looked at insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. Moreover, the 24 week study involved 166 participants either on a Nordic diet or a control diet. And, the study reported no significant changes in insulin sensitivity or blood pressure between control and Nordic diet participants. However, the Nordic diet participants saw improved lipid profile and beneficial effects on low-grade inflammation.

Finally, a 2015 Journal of Clinical Nutrition study looked at effects of Nordic diet on individuals with metabolic syndrome. And, the study reported reduced inflammatory gene expressions in abdominal subcutaneous adipose (fat) tissue compared to control diet participants.

Downsides of the Nordic Diet

Some of the negatives with the Nordic diet are listed below.

  • 1
    Preparing meals takes up too much time.
  • 2
    Consistently preparing homemade meals would be a strain for most people.
  • 3
    Finding locally grown vegetables or fruits throughout the year may not be possible, especially during the non-summer months.
  • 4
    Fresh vegetables or fruits are not always available in all grocery stores.
  • 5
    Difficulty trying to follow the diet when eating out
  • 6
    Difficulty finding foods meeting glycemic index
  • 7
    Need to consciously manage portion sizes to avoid putting on weight.

Popularity of the Nordic Diet

According to U.S. News and World Report the Nordic diet, in 2019, is ranked:

  • 1
    #3 in “Best Plant-Based Diets”
  • 2
    #6 in “Best Diets for Healthy Eating”
  • 3
    #9 in the category “Best Diets Overall”
  • 4
    #13 in “Best Heart Healthy Diets”
  • 5
    #15 in “Best Diabetes Diets”
  • 6
    #19 in “Easiest Diets to Follow”
  • 7
    #26 in “Best Weight-Loss Diets”
  • 8
    #33 in “Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets”

How Aerobics for Seniors Helps to Be Healthy Strong

How Aerobics for Seniors Helps to Be Healthy Strong

Most noteworthy, people 60 and over start to show signs of physiological aging. For example, their gait isn’t as long or as quick as it was when they were younger. Or they get tired sooner. In fact, physiological aging is characterized by a decline in the maximal aerobic capacity of their lungs, and, a decline in their skeletal muscle strength. Consequently, aerobics for seniors helps ward off these declines and helps seniors become and stay healthy.

Aerobics for Seniors

Maximal Aerobic Capacity

First of all, maximal aerobic capacity is defined as the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during incrementally increasing exercise intensity. In fact, maximal aerobic capacity is an indicator or cardiorespiratory fitness.  Furthermore, the lung’s maximal aerobic capacity determines the intensity and duration of aerobics seniors can tolerate and do.

In addition, the greater the lung’s maximal aerobic capacity, the more intense aerobics seniors can do and do them for longer periods of time. Most of all, outward signs of reduced maximal aerobic capacity appear during aerobics for seniors, when seniors engage in aerobic physical activities. During these aerobic activities, seniors may start running out of breath earlier than when they were younger, or, do the aerobics with lower intensity. Finally, lower maximal aerobic capacity limits senior to functionally perform some physical activities.

Why Maximal Aerobic Capacity is Important for Seniors

Sedentary lifestyles cause the maximal aerobic capacity to decrease nearly 44 percent in males and 34 percent in females from the age of 20 to the age of 60. Seniors whose maximal aerobic capacity has dropped significantly become very challenged to autonomously complete activities of daily living. Consequently, it is important for seniors to work at increasing their maximal aerobic capacity.

And one of the most important ways to do that is with aerobics. Aerobics for seniors have been known to increase maximal aerobic capacity by nearly 13 percent in an eight to ten weeks senior aerobic training programs. Senior aerobic training programs of twelve to eighteen weeks have resulted in nearly 14 percent improvement, while 24 to 52 weeks of senior aerobic training has resulted in a nearly 17 percent improvement. Participating in aerobic training program or even doing aerobics independently potentially delays loss of independence. Finally, higher intensity aerobics leads to even greater improvements in maximal aerobic capacity. In fact, an increase of 25 percent is like getting back an estimated 12 years of vigor.

Cardio for Seniors

Cardio or aerobic workouts force the heart and lungs to pump more blood and oxygen to the muscles, brain, and the body. Consequently, cardio for seniors are hugely helpful for their health. In fact, regular cardio workouts cause the entire pulmonary system to increase the lung’s maximum oxygen capacity.

Aerobics for Seniors - Guidelines

Especially relevant, the latest senior aerobic guidelines recommend seniors get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic workout each week. However, if chronic conditions limit seniors to less than 150 minutes, seniors should be as physically active as possible.

In addition, when doing aerobics seniors should raise their heart rate for stretches of 10 minutes.  And in that time, seniors should do either moderately intense or vigorously intense aerobics.

Furthermore, the minimum time for moderately intense cardio is 30 minutes on each of the five days of the week. Moreover, seniors will get even more benefits if they exercise for 60 minutes on each of the five days.

On the other hand, seniors don’t have to do it all in one stretch. Indeed, seniors can break up the 30 minutes into shorter aerobic workouts of at least 10 minutes each. Most of all, only the total time spent on aerobic workouts should be at least 150 minutes per week.

Finally, for less fit adults,  recommendations also encourage the accumulation of relatively hard physical activity in intermittent periods of exercise and physical activity lasting 10 minutes or longer throughout the course of the day.

Aerobics for Seniors – Unstructured Activities

Lastly the 2007 ACSM/AHA guidelines seniors include unstructured approaches to increasing physical movement. These unstructured activities include:

  • 1
    Going for a walk after dinner
  • 2
    Frequently taking the dog for a walk
  • 3
    Walking briskly when doing errands
  • 4
    Parking the car as far away from the entrance as possible
  • 5
    Taking walking breaks instead of coffee breaks
  • 6
    Doing more energetic housework (for example, vacuuming)
  • 7
    Using stairs in place of elevators
  • 8
    Doing more mall walking
  • 9
    Lastly, while watching TV or reading a book, using pedals to exercise arms and legs

Subjective Measures of Intensity

As a rule, aerobics for seniors is done at a moderate intensity when the seniors breathing and heart rates are noticeably higher. However, seniors can still carry on a full conversation, except that their breathing may be heavier and or they may be sweating. In addition, on a 10-point scale, with zero being a state of rest, moderate intensity workouts would be a 5 or 6 on the 10-point scale.

As another way to get a grasp of moderate intensity, walking a distance of two miles in 30 to 40 minutes (or a walking speed of 3 to 4 miles per hour) would meet the definition of moderate physical activity.

Aerobics for Seniors

Seniors need just as much exercise as those under age 65. Furthermore, seniors can choose from a wide variety of available workouts. In fact, their choices include, swimming, walking, jogging, water aerobics, ballroom dancing, rowing, bicycling, to name just a few. And if you prefer going to the gym or sports clubs, you have your choice of treadmills, several kinds of elliptical machines, stair climbers, several kinds of cycles, and even rowing machines. Treadmills are great for walking because they provide a cushion for your feet. Elliptical machines, on the other hand, keep your feet grounded to the pedals. As a result, they are good for you back, hips, and knees. Finally, you can use spin cycles, upright bikes, or even recumbent bikes that provide back support.

Not into Aerobics - Seniors Can Still Get Brain Benefits

The Western University in Ontario, Canada reported in a 2019 study  that even with short burst of reasonably low intense aerobics, seniors can improve their brain health. Researchers found that even only 10 minutes of senior aerobic activity, like walking, on a treadmill improves cognitive functions (such as memory and attention) of seniors. Moreover, these benefits are achievable even by seniors who hadn’t exercised for a long time. The study of 17 seniors, with an average age of 73, found that boost in executive functions, such as planning and organizing, was achievable with aerobic exercise intensities ranging from moderate, heavy, and vigorous levels.

And these benefits are not limited to seniors with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. In fact, these benefits are achieved by seniors across a spectrum of senior aerobic intensities as well as across a spectrum of fitness levels. Meanwhile, seniors realize the cognitive benefits almost immediately.

How to Relieve Transient Insomnia and Sleep Better

How to Relieve Transient Insomnia and Sleep Better

Especially relevant, the National Institutes of Health, describe insomnia as a common sleep disorder in which people have a hard time sleeping. Furthermore, insomnia is classified as either transient insomnia, acute insomnia, or chronic insomnia. In fact, the primary differentiator between these three classifications, is the length of time people suffer from insomnia. Above all, transient insomnia usually lasts less than a week, acute insomnia lasts a few weeks, while chronic insomnia lasts several months or years.

Transient Insomnia

Stages of Transient Insomnia

Most noteworthy, the three stages of chronic, acute, or transient insomnia correspond to the onset of sleep, maintenance of sleep, and end of sleep.

For example, some people have a hard time going to sleep. But, after falling asleep, they may not be able to stay asleep. Or, after falling asleep they wake up too early in the morning. Or, after falling asleep they stay asleep a long time. On the other hand, some people fall asleep right away but, then, they wake up soon after and have difficulty going back to sleep.

Onset of Sleep

In fact, difficulty falling asleep, sometimes for hours, occurs at the onset of sleep. And, this difficulty may be due to:

  • 1
    Stress
  • 2
    Your head wrapped around nagging problems
  • 3
    Fear
  • 4
    Anxiety
  • 5
    Going to bed when you are really not sleepy
  • 6
    Your sleep environment being not conducive to good sleep. For example, sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress.

Maintenance of Sleep

Most noteworthy, everyone wakes up at least once in the middle of the night. And most people go right back to sleep, some without even knowing they woke up. But for others, going back to sleep becomes a problem. Indeed, these difficulties may be due to:

  • 1
    An illness that prevents them from sleeping soundly
  • 2
    Pain that causes them to wake up
  • 3
    Going to the toilet
  • 4
    Exposing themselves to bright light after they wake up
  • 5
    Presence of anxiety or depression

End of Sleep

Finally, there are times you wake up too early in the morning and can’t go back to sleep. And, this may be due to:

  • 1
    Sleeping lightly during the night
  • 2
    Older people go to sleep early and so they wake up early
  • 3
    Some people need less sleep than others. So it’s natural to wake up early in the morning
  • 4
    Depressed people spend more time in REM sleep. REM sleep is a very light stage of sleep, where people are easily woken up.

Definition of Transient Insomnia

Most of all, transient insomnia is a temporary form of insomnia which can last from one night to a week. Furthermore, transient insomnia may be one night of poor sleep or recurring episodes of insomnia interspersed with days and weeks of normal sleep. Indeed, transient insomnia is caused by the following conditions.

  • 1
    Changes in the sleep environment, such as sleeping in a hotel
  • 2
    Changes in bedtimes
  • 3
    Depression
  • 4
    Stress
  • 5
    Anxiety
  • 6
    Worrying about something that’s going to happen in the future
  • 7
    A nagging issues such as problems with relationships
  • 8
    Medications used to treat anxiety, stress, and depression
  • 9
    Not feeling well, such as a blocked nose making it hard to fall asleep
  • 10
    Jet lag
  • 11
    Too much excitement
  • 12
    Bad sleeping habits
  • For example, eating a heavy dinner just before bedtime
  • Or, drinking caffeinated beverages in the evening
  • Or, falling asleep with the lights on, watching television
  • Next, using cell phone, computer, or tablet before bedtime
  • Finally, smoking

Definition of Acute Insomnia

On the other hand, acute insomnia can last several weeks and caused by the following conditions.

  • 1
    Long illness
  • 2
    Stress from a bigger or recurring problem
  • 3
    Medical conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, COPD, strokes, asthma, sleep apnea, heart failure, thyroid problems, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and endocrine problems.
  • 4
    Death of someone close

Definition of Chronic Insomnia

Lastly, chronic insomnia lasts a long time, may be even months or years. And, chronic insomnia may occur for the reasons listed below.

  • 1
    Sleeping environment not being conducive to sleep
  • 2
    Mistiming sleep
  • 3
    Long term health problems
  • 4
    Long term stress and anxiety

Breadth of the Disorder

Meanwhile, at some point in their lifetime, most people have difficulty falling asleep once in a while. However, it’s only when this problem occurs frequently or regularly that people are diagnosed as having chronic, acute, or transient insomnia.

In fact, studies show that up to 95 percent of Americans suffer from episodes of insomnia as some point in their lives. Furthermore, according to the American Sleep Association, 30 percent of adults experience either transient or acute insomnia, while 10 percent experience chronic insomnia. Especially relevant, 770 million people around the world suffer from chronic insomnia.

Gene Region Linked to Chronic, Acute, and Transient Insomnia

Most noteworthy, a February 2019 study, in Nature Genetics, of more than 450,000 people in the United Kingdom identified 57 gene regions associated with chronic, acute, or transient insomnia. Meanwhile, 29 percent of the study participants reported frequent sleeplessness. Furthermore, these gene regions explain why some people get insomnia and other don’t. In addition, the study found that increased insomnia symptoms doubled the risk of coronary artery disease, depression, and a reduced sense of well-being.

Psychiatric Disorders Linked to Chronic, Acute, and Transient Insomnia

Yet, another new study, using DNA from 1.3 million people, resulted in identification of 956 genes. In fact, variants of these genes increased risk of insomnia. Also, the study discovered biological processes, cell types, and areas of the brain that have these genes.

Next, they found that parts of these genes play an important role in the functionality of axons (which allow neurons to communicate with each other). In addition, some of the genes were active in cells of the frontal cortex and the brain’s subcortical nuclei. Especially relevant, recent brain imaging studies showed these same brain areas as suspects in people with insomnia.

Also, the study found a strong genetic similarity between insomnia and:

  • 1
    Depression
  • 2
    Anxiety
  • 3
    Stress
  • 4
    Other psychiatric disorders
  • 5
    Metabolic disturbances in obesity and diabetes

Finally, the study reported that vulnerability to insomnia runs in families.

Remedies for Transient Insomnia or Acute Insomnia

Because insomnia doubles the risk of coronary heart disease along with links to other conditions, insomnia needs to be treated. Moreover, treatments for acute or transient insomnia are given in the section below.

Treatments for Insomnia

  • Working
  • Emotionally upsetting conversations
  • Scary movies
  • Thrilling novels
  • Smoking – Nicotine is a stimulant making it hard to fall and stay asleep. In fact, studies show that nicotine increases insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and sleep problems. In addition, nicotine suppresses the restorative Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep.
  • 2
    Next, get ready for bed by taking a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, meditating, or reading a soothing book
  • 3
    Meanwhile, alcohol can disrupt your sleep by interfering with your sleep cycle, causing you to wake up too early. In addition, alcohol blocks the deep restorative REM sleep.
  • 4
    And, if you must snack, eat easily digestible snacks before bedtime. For example eat cheese, fruits, or cereal with milk.
  • 5
    Moreover, to allow time for food to be digested, do not eat one hour before bedtime
  • 6
    Most of all get an aerobic workout, such as speed walking, during the day
  • 7
    And, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Regrettably, caffeine is found in many foods and drinks, so you really have to watch out for those kinds of foods.
  • 8
    And, if you get too  tired during the day, take a quick 20 minute nap in the middle of the afternoon but definitely before 5 PM.

Bedroom

  • 1
    Keep your bedroom quiet. For example, a fan may be able to drown out noise that you can’t control (such as street noise entering through the windows).
  • 2
    Don't forget to make the bedroom as dark as possible. For example, heavy shades help block outside lights.
  • 3
    Put your clock in a location that makes it difficult for you to look at it while lying down on your bed.
  • 4
    The bedroom should be free from all blue light emitting devices, such as cell phones, TV, and tablets.

Most of all, if none of these remedies work, it is important to see your doctor.

What’s the Best Time for an Evening Workout

What's the Best Time for an Evening Workout

People have their own favorite time to exercise. The morning people prefer to work out in the morning. While others prefer to exercise around the lunch hours. And some prefer to exercise sometimes in the afternoon. Finally, some prefer the evening workout.

Evening Workout

Evening Workouts

But are there any downsides to working out in the evening hours.  Some downsides include the evening workout interfering with social activities. While other downsides include the possibility that an evening workout may interfere with your ability to sleep.

Working Out in the Evening

A recommendation, that’s been around for a while, is to avoid strenuous workouts before bed. Seems like there are several reasons for this recommendation, including that the workout before bed:

  • Increases the heart rate
  • Causes your body to release stimulating epinephrine, also known as, adrenaline
  • Causes core body temperature to rise during the workout and it stays high for four to five hours. Moreover, the high temperature may interfere with your need to fall asleep. In fact, the normal pattern is for your body temperature to go down as you approach bed time.List Element

However, people are not all affected the same way. For example, some couldn’t care less if they just came out of a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. They may fall asleep as soon as they lay on the mattress.

Indeed, most people are able to fall asleep even after they exercise before bed. Especially relevant, a 2011 study reported that those who did 35 minutes of exercise before bed slept just as well as on those nights when they didn’t exercise.

2013 Survey of Evening Workout Effects on Sleep

In the meantime, the National Sleep Foundation in 2013 conducted a poll of about 1,000 people. And, the poll found that 83 percent of the people who exercised (at any time of the day, including evenings) slept better than those who didn’t exercise at all. In fact, only 3 percent of the late day exercisers said they slept worse on days when they exercised compared to days when they didn’t.

2013 Japanese Research on Effects of Evening Workout

A 2013 Hokusho University in Japan study reported that vigorous exercise within one hour of bedtime resulted in participants taking an average 14 minutes longer to fall asleep. Especially relevant, the participants in the study were 12 healthy males. The study pointed out that vigorous exercise created a large physiologic excitement, likely due to release of adrenaline, delaying the start of sleep.

2019 Meta-Analysis of Evening Workout Effects on Sleep

Next, the journal Sports Medicine reported, in February 2019, about a meta-analysis by researchers at ETH Zurich. In fact, the meta-analysis discovered that compared to people who didn’t exercise at all, people who exercised within four hours of going to bed showed no difference in the:

  • Time it took to fall asleep
  • Time spent awake during the night after falling asleep
  • Quality of their sleep

On the other hand, researchers found that exercise could actually improve sleep by increasing the percentage of time spent in slow-wave sleep, or deep sleep. In fact, study participants, who did some type of workout within four hours of bed, spent an average of 21.2 percent of the night in deep sleep. While those who didn’t exercise only spent an average of 19.9 percent of the night in deep sleep.

Especially relevant, the only exception to the above results were those doing HIIT. Seems like, vigorous exercise like HIIT, one hour before going to sleep can mess up sleep. And, this is because your heart rate goes very high during HIIT. Moreover, one hour just isn’t enough time for your heart rate to come back near its resting rate. Consequently, your body isn’t as relaxed and ready to fall and stay asleep.

Therefore, it’s necessary to limit the evening workouts to low or moderate intensity. In fact, researchers think that moderate intensity workouts, causes the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. And, when that happens, your heart rate slows down which in turn, helps you relax.

Because people are different, each person has to try out the intensity of the workout before bed that will allow them to fall asleep after the workout.

2019 Observational Study of Evening Workout Effects on Sleep

A 2019 Australian study reported that 30 minutes of HIIT bike training had no effect on sleep. In addition, the HIIT session didn’t result in hunger pangs.

Above all, the study was based on only 11 middle-age men. Moreover, the study looked at how the men slept when they exercised in the morning (6 to 7 AM), afternoon (2 to 4 PM) and evening (7 to 9 PM).

Meanwhile, the study found sleep time was shortest when the men exercised in the morning. Next, the sleep time was the longest when the men exercised in the afternoon. Finally, the sleep time was somewhere in the middle when the men exercised in the evening.

In addition, there was only a one or two minute difference in the time to fall asleep between the morning, afternoon, and evening exercise sessions.

Next, researchers found reduced levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin when the men exercised in the evening.

Finally, the study reported that the men had more energy when they exercised in the afternoon or evening than when they exercised in the morning.

Weight Training as an Evening Workout

Research on hormones cortisol and testosterone indicates that weight training in the evening is best for building muscles. In fact, cortisol helps regulate blood sugar my breaking down muscle tissue (called catabolism) as needed. While testosterone, with the help of proteins, build muscles (called anabolism).

Cortisol levels are highest when you first get up in the morning and lowest in the evening. Similarly, testosterone levels are also highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. However, the ratio of testosterone to cortisol is highest in the evening. While both cortisol and testosterone levels dropped during the day, cortisol levels dropped more than testosterone levels. As a result, the evening provides a more anabolic, muscle-building environment for weight training. In fact, according to Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, anaerobic capacity is 7 percent higher in the evening when compared to morning. For this reason, early evening gym sessions are preferred by weight trainers.

Furthermore, temperature peaks in late afternoon. And research shows that muscle strength also peaks in the afternoon almost in sync with temperature. Moreover a 2005 study found that optimum performance is towards the end of the afternoon and early evening when the body temperature is also at its peak. In fact, a study found that those who weight trained after 6 PM in the evening gained 3 percent muscles while losing 4 percent body fat.

Finally, it is recommended that a carbs and protein post-workout meal be eaten within 45 minutes after the end of the weight training workout. Indeed a delay of carb consumption by as much as two hours may result in 50 percent lower rates of glycogen synthesis. On the other hand, you could eat the meal before the weight training session.

Conclusion

In conclusion, vigorous exercise such as HIIT workouts pumps out adrenaline, just before bedtime, which may delay start of sleep. However, light or moderate intensity workout before bed likely will have minimal, if any, impact on your sleep. However, because of individual differences, the best way to determine if a workout before sleep works for you, is to experiment.

Meanwhile, if you are under stress before bedtime, a vigorous workout before bed is the best thing to release all that stress, clear the mind and help you sleep.

How to Keep Your Gut Bacteria Strong and Healthy

How to Keep Your Gut Bacteria Strong and Healthy

The GastroIntestinal or GI tract is made up of the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine.  Indeed this entire tract is filled with gut bacteria that is important to your health.

gut bacteria

Bacterial Genera in the Gut

First of all, the stomach is home to the gut bacterium Lactobacillus, with a population that is less than one thousand colony forming units per milliliter.

Next, the small intestine is home to two gut bacteria: Enterococcus and Lactobacillus with a total bacteria population of one hundred to one billion colony forming units per milliliter.

Finally, the large intestine is home to eight gut bacteria: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Eubacterium, Staphylococcus, and Coliforms with a total bacteria population that ranges from ten thousand to one trillion colony forming units per milliliter.

Most noteworthy, a 2016 study at the Weizmann Institute of Science reported that the average human male has about 40 trillion bacteria, most of which resides in his digestive tract. Moreover, all of these gut bacteria may weigh as much as two to five pounds.

Benefits of Gut Bacteria

Most noteworthy, the benefits of these gut bacteria include weight loss, immune functions, and digestive health. Furthermore, these probiotic mixtures help treat irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, atopic diseases, immune functions, respiratory tract infections, inflammatory bowel diseases, and treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection.

In addition, a study in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility reported about the beneficial effects of gut bacteria.  In fact, probiotic lactic acid bacteria strains from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium likely help psychiatric disorder-related behaviors. Indeed, these behaviors include anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, along with memory abilities, including spatial and non-spatial memory.

Consequently, keeping your gut biome healthy is in your best interest. Indeed one way to keep the gut biome healthy, while also enabling its growth, is by eating healthy snacks. And snacks that help fuel growth of gut biome, while keeping it healthy, make up the healthy gut bacteria diet.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Bananas

First of all, bananas help stabilize gut bacteria. Moreover, a medium sized green banana contains about 3 grams of fiber, some of which is the Type 2 resistant starch, a carbohydrate. Especially relevant, neither the stomach nor the small intestines digest the resistant starch. Accordingly, the resistant starch feeds the growth of bacteria in the large intestines. Next, the bacteria breaks down and ferments starch passing through the large intestines producing short-chain fatty acids. And these fatty acids, in turn, may help prevent chronic diseases. Furthermore, use of fatty acids in treating ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea has been demonstrated by clinical studies.

Benefits of Cheese

Eating soft cheese is an excellent way to deliver probiotics to the large intestines. In fact, the pH of the cheese enables probiotics to survive and grow in the intestines. Consequently, soft cheese is better than yogurt at delivering probiotics to the large intestines. Most noteworthy, soft cheeses with fair amounts of probiotics include cheddar, parmesan, and Swiss cheese. However, Gouda cheese delivers the most probiotics to the large intestines.

Cold Potatoes for Healthy Gut Bacteria

Cold potatoes are potatoes that are washed, boiled, and then left to cool down. Next, as they cool down, cold potatoes form a firm texture. Indeed, this is the resistant starch forming. And, like green bananas, these cold potatoes contain Type 2 resistant starch. Also, like green bananas, the Type 2 resistant starch is an indigestible carbohydrate ending up in the large intestines. And, like green bananas, the resistant starch feeds gut bacteria, encouraging their growth and helping them flourish.

Surprising Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Next, a study in the International Journal of Food Microbiology reported that chocolate protected probiotic bacteria in the stomach.  As a result, the probiotic bacteria made its way to the large intestines.

Indeed, 22 volunteers, experienced significant increase in Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli population in their guts after consuming high-flavanol cocoa for four weeks.

In addition, scientist at the 2014 American Chemical Society meeting reported more benefits of eating dark chocolate. Most noteworthy, cocoa contains flavonols - antioxidant molecules that are too large for our body to absorb on its own.

However, Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, at the end of the digestive tract, ferments the antioxidants and fiber in cocoa into smaller, absorbable compounds that make their way into our bloodstream. Moreover, these anti-inflammatory compounds reduces stress on blood vessels and lowers blood pressure - thereby benefiting the cardiovascular system. Finally, these anti-inflammatory compounds increase insulin sensitivity – thereby reducing the blood’s insulin levels.

Meanwhile, the fermentation process results in short-chain fatty acids like butyrate and acetic acid. And these acids helps fend off harmful microbes while reinforcing the gut barrier against antigens and invaders.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Garlic

Above all, raw garlic is the best source of non-digestible prebiotic fiber. However you eat garlic (either raw or cooked), the stomach does not digest the prebiotic fiber in garlic. Consequently, the prebiotic fiber makes its way to the large intestines where it promotes growth of gut bacteria.

Meanwhile, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, nuts, lentils, chickpeas, fruits, vegetables, and beans are also all excellent sources of prebiotic fiber.

Honey for Healthy Gut Bacteria

Most of all, raw honey contains compounds like oligosaccharides that are not digested by the small intestines. Consequently, the oligosaccharide compounds end up in the large intestines, where they provide nourishment to the good bacteria. Most noteworthy, raw honey primarily encourages growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli bacteria. Moreover, the Bifidobacteria bacteria helps your body with digestion. While the Lactobacilli bacteria produces lactic acid, which prevents harmful bacteria from colonizing the intestines.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Oatmeal

First of all, oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber. Moreover, healthy sugars, such as beta glucans, are found in the cell walls of certain bacteria.  Furthermore, beta-glucan fiber encourages growth of good bacteria in the gut.  Indeed, according to researchers, eating oats results in significantly higher levels of Lactobacilli bacteria, and lower levels of Enterobacteriaceae along with other non-essential bacteria.

Benefits of Sauerkraut

Most of all, unpasteurized sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage that is rich in probiotics. In fact, the probiotics are a result of the fermentation process. Also sauerkraut is a good form of dietary fiber while also containing vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Finally, sauerkraut has bacteria that helps to fight inflammation and helps the immune system.

Sour Pickles for a Healthy Gut Biome

Next, naturally fermented pickles have plenty of good bacteria. In fact, the sea salt and water used to ferment the pickles causes good bacteria to grow. Above all, make sure the pickling process did not use vinegar. Finally, sour pickles hinder the growth of harmful gut bacteria while boosting the body’s defenses against infection.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Yogurt

Most of all, a very familiar healthy food for many is yogurt. Moreover, yogurt supplies probiotics such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus. In fact, Lactobacillus bulgaricus is also a bacteria normally residing in your intestines. Furthermore, Lactobacillus bulgaricus prevents harmful bacteria from growing in the gut while promoting growth of beneficial bacteria.

In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacteria may benefit some health conditions. These include liver disease, common cold, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, eczema, hay fever, colic, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.

Furthermore, yogurt also provides minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and of course calcium for healthy bones.

Lastly, the best yogurt for weight loss is plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. In fact, some Greek yogurts have added probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei bacteria.

What Is the Most Daily Calories I Need For Weight Loss

What Is the Most Daily Calories I Need For Weight Loss

Most noteworthy, the United States Dairy Association published Dietary Guidelines for Americans, for the years 2015 to 2020. And, according to these guidelines, the daily calories needed by Americans are as follows:

  • Sedentary women between the ages of 26 to 50 need 1,800 calories daily
  • Sedentary women 51 and up need 1,600 calories daily
  • Moderately active women between the ages of 26 to 50 need 2,000 calories daily
  • Moderately active women 51 and up need 1,800 calories daily
  • Active women between the ages of 31 to 60 need 2,200 calories daily
  • Active women 61 and up need 2,000 calories daily
  • Sedentary men between the ages 41 to 60 need 2,200 calories daily
  • Sedentary men 61 and up need 2,000 calories daily
  • Moderately active men between the ages 26 to 45 need 2,600 calories daily
  • Moderately active men between the ages 46 to 65 need 2,400 calories daily
  • Lastly, moderately active men 66 and up need 2,200 calories daily
  • Active men between the ages 36 to 55 need 2,800 calories daily
  • Active men between the ages 56 to 75 need 2,600 calories daily
daily calories

Most noteworthy, the average woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall weighing 126 pounds. While the average man is 5 feet 10 inches tall weighing 154 pounds. Regrettably, the daily calories you actually need is difficult to estimate. Indeed, the actual daily calories you burn depends on things like your age, height, sex, weight, and your activity level.

How to Budget Your Daily Calories

Especially relevant, irrespective of whether you are sedentary, moderately active, or active, if you want to lose weight you have to cut back on what you eat. For example, to lose a pound in a week, means that you avoid eating foods, packed with 3,500 calories, during the week.

Calories in Body Fat

Most noteworthy, calories are stored in the body as either glycogen, in the liver, from carbs or as body fat. Consequently, when you don’t have enough calories in your blood, calories are first taken from the glycogen and then from body fat.

Indeed, pure fat has an energy content at about 9 calories per gram of pure fat. In the meantime, there are 454 grams of pure fat in one pound of pure fat. As a result, one pound of pure fat has about 454 x 9 = 4,086 calories.

Incidentally, body fat is not just pure fat. Indeed, body fat is made up of adipocytes, also known as fat cells. Moreover, fat cells contain mostly fat but also contain fluids and proteins. As a result, one pound of body fat is less than 3,500 calories.

Meanwhile, one pound of body fat equals 454 grams. Furthermore, pure fat contains anywhere from 8.7 to 9.5 calories per gram of pure fat. Meanwhile, body fat tissue is 87 percent fat. However, some studies report that body fat tissue contains only 72 percent fat. Moreover different types of body fat contains different percentages of fat.

As a result, one pound of body fat contains a minimum of 454 * 87% *8.7 = 3,436 calories, while a maximum of 454*87%*9.5 = 3,752 calories. In summary, the 3,500 calories in a pound of body is just a round number to use for estimations.

A Budget for Daily Calories

Therefore, to lose one pound in one week you need to avoid eating about 500 (3,500 / 7) calories each day of the week. So if you need 2,000 calories daily to maintain your weight, to lose one pound in a week, you will have to get by on 1,500 (2000 – 500) calories each day of that week.

Body’s Reaction to Restricted Calories

Sounds easy right! Right, in fact it’s a myth. Indeed, overweight and those who are obese, can lose the calories in the short term for a moderate weight loss. Regrettably, a 500 calorie deficit may not work for the long term.

Regrettably, the explanation fails to take into account the body’s response to changes in body composition (such as fat loss) and diet. Indeed, when you start running a 500 calorie deficit, your body thinks there is a famine. As a result, the body starts shutting down unnecessary activities and reduces the metabolic rate. In the meantime, by burning fewer calories the body is prepared to survive famine conditions.

Moreover, you start moving around less, and the body becomes efficient in doing the same amount of work with fewer calories. Consequently, instead of burning fat, you end up losing muscle tissue and/or lean tissue which makes you burn fewer calories. Indeed, this reaction of the body is known as the starvation mode or adaptive thermogenesis. Consequently, weight loss slows down with time.

Meanwhile, to stop loss of muscle mass, it’s important to do resistance training. Incidentally, eating high protein foods ensures that your body is less likely to break down your muscles for energy. Most of all, these approaches prevent a reduction in calories burned making it difficult to lose weight. Furthermore, you start having mood swings, and you start feeling hungry, get intense cravings for food which in turn makes you irritable.

Other Ways to Budget Daily Calories

Meanwhile, because a 500 calorie deficit may be too much stress on your body, it makes it very difficult for you to sustain that deficit. In fact, a more realistic alternative is to plan on losing half a pound each week or 250 calories each day. So instead of a 1,500 calorie diet, you end up on a 1,750 calorie diet, which is a much more reasonable number. Consequently, you may lose four pounds if you maintained that diet for 8 weeks. Ultimately, seeing that weight loss may motivate you to continue with the diet, while at some point in the near future you reach your target weight.

Avoid Counting Daily Calories

However, avoid counting calories because counting calories is next to impossible to do. Besides counting calories creates stress, which, in turn releases the hormone cortisol and more fat.

Indeed, rather than counting calories, a far better approach is to go on a diet as well as eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and fruits are low in calories and they will satisfy your urge to eat. Finally, most important of all, don’t forget to cut back your portion sizes.

Daily Calories for Exercises

Exercise offers a way to exceed you daily calorie budget. However, it you choose to do this, make sure you exercise enough to burn the excess calories you ate over your daily budget. For example, a 154 pound person hiking for an hour would burn nearly 370 calories, walking @3.5 mph for an hour would burn 280 calories, jogging at 5 mph for one hour 590 calories. In fact, instead of being limited to only these, choose your favorite activity and workout for either 30 minutes or one hour to burn the estimated calories given. The advantages of this method is that you can eat more than the budgeted daily calories while also getting a workout that’s good for your body, relieves stress, and take your mind off your diet.

Monitor Daily Calories by Frequently Weighing Yourself

Most noteworthy, research shows that frequently weighing yourself helps you monitor the effect of daily calories on you weight. In fact, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing reported weighing yourself everyday makes you more likely to lose weight. Most of all, this study monitored 1,042 adults whose average age was 47. And, as part of the study, these adults weighed or did not weigh themselves as they would normally. Meanwhile, after a year, adults who never weighed themselves or weighed themselves only once a week or so, didn’t lose any weight. On the other hand, those adults who weighed themselves six or seven times a week lost almost 2% of their body weight.

Indeed, weighing yourself every day helps you keep a close eye on your weight. Which, in turn, helps you relate the scale readings with what you ate or didn’t eat, as well as things like going to the gym.

Limitations of Frequent Weight Watching

However, weighing yourself each and every day isn’t for everyone. In fact, this is especially true for people struggling with their weight, body image, or battling eating disorders. For these people, looking at the scale, could bring about anxiety and even depression. Or, even other unhealthy patterns like not eating enough or binge eating. Lastly, weighing every day is too much for those with a history of disordered eating.