Fitness & Wellness

Food That Support A Healthy Immune System

Food That Support A Healthy Immune System

There’s no truer saying than “You are what you eat.” While you won’t turn into a donut by eating them, you’ll have donut around your middle if you eat too many. Food and diet is now being researched as an complimentary method to fight cancer and heart disease, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s also true that eating healthy can support a healthy immune system, which leads to fewer infections, colds and flu.

Everyone seems to understand that getting vitamin C is important, but it’s worth repeating.

Whether it’s citrus fruit, like grapefruit, tangerines, lemons or oranges, getting adequate vitamin C is important to your immune system. It helps increase the white blood cells that help fight infections, but your body doesn’t produce it. It’s not just in citrus fruit, it’s also in red bell peppers. Snack on red peppers with dip or try some of those colorful mini sweet peppers. One mini pepper has about 25 calories, but contains 271% of your RDA of vitamin C.

Get spicy.

Add garlic to your dishes, sprinkle in some sage. Both have antibacterial properties. Rosemary, peppermint, ginger, oregano and thyme also are good. Garlic, known in old movies to keep vampires away, also helps lower blood pressure. The sulfur-compounds in garlic, like allicin, boost the immune system. Sage is a natural antiseptic. Rosemary is not only known for fighting infection, it’s antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and has high amounts of vitamin A and C. Start spicing up your meals and sprinkling a bit of herbs in each. Your body will thank you and your palate will too. Holy basil is also a powerful virus fighter.

Go green.

Whether you follow Popeye’s example and grab a can of spinach, or wolf down some broccoli sprouts and dip, it’s all good for your immune system. Broccoli is good for your body because it’s packed with antioxidants, including vitamins A, C and E. Spinach is also rich in vitamin C, plus beta carotene, which is used by the body to make vitamin A. Both are best when eaten raw or cooked as little as possible.

  • Do you like berries? If you’re boosting your immune system, think elderberries. Not only are they antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial, some research shows they can help fight the flu.
  • Grab a handful of nuts, like almonds or walnuts. They have healthy fat and loads of vitamin E, which boosts the immune system.
  • Make your belly bugs happy by eating some yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut or kim chi. Make sure it has live bacteria. These healthy bacteria help give a kickstart to the immune system. Don’t get the yogurt with added sugar. Instead, add cut up fresh or frozen black cherries and walnut pieces to increase the benefits.
  • Have a cup of green tea. Green tea contains he amino acid L-theanine. It can aid in the production of T-cells to fight infection.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness

Tips To Lower Blood Sugar

Tips To Lower Blood Sugar

There are millions of people in the United States that have diabetes. Some have type 1, which occurs when the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. That means the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function normally. Type 2 diabetes often occurs later in life. It starts with cells developing insulin resistance or a lower functioning pancreas. There are several contributing factors for this type. It is influenced by environmental factors, genetics, inactivity or diet. For both types of diabetes and many prediabetics or those with insulin, lower blood sugar is often the goal.

It starts with eating healthier.

Diet is ultimately important for anyone with problems regulating blood sugar levels. Reducing the amount of simple carbohydrates in your diet is important. Not all carbohydrates are created equally when it comes to blood sugar. Simple carbs, such as sugar, break down quickly. Think pastry, sugar and fruit juice concentrate. Complex carbs break down more slowly. They’re high in fiber, which slows the digestion. These types of foods help prevent spikes in blood sugar. They include fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains. Choosing food with a low glycemic index is important.

Burn off that extra sugar with exercise.

Participating in a program of regular exercise not only helps you lose weight and tone muscles, it also helps you improve your insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity is the ability for your cells to use the blood sugar. When you exercise, your muscles use the blood sugar for energy. That not only lowers blood sugar, it actually helps with insulin resistance.

Controlling blood sugar is aided by staying hydrated.

Water is your friend, whether you’re trying to lose weight, want a quicker-picker-upper or want to control your blood sugar levels. Drinking water not only quenches your thirst, it keeps you hydrated without adding extra calories. Studies show that drinking more water improves the potential for maintaining good blood sugar levels. It also helps flush the kidney’s of the extra blood sugar, via the urine.

  • If you have high blood sugar, always make sure you track your blood sugar levels to prevent it from getting too low during exercise.
  • Keep stress under control. That’s not always easy to do, but very important. Stress affects your blood sugar through the release of hormones like cortisol and glucagon. Breathing techniques, meditation and other relaxation techniques can help.
  • While it won’t lower your blood sugar immediately, getting adequate sleep will help keep blood sugar level. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep can affect insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. It also increases the hunger hormone and reduces the hormone that makes you feel full.
  • Include various herbs and spices in your diet. Cinnamon is known to help lower blood sugar levels by as much as 28%. Fenugreek seeds also can improve fasting glucose levels and lower blood sugar in diabetics.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness

How Much Fruit Is Too Much?

How Much Fruit Is Too Much?

We encourage people to eat fresh fruits and vegetables at 180 Fitness in Gloucester, ON, Canada. Fruit contains valuable nutrients that provide a wealth of health benefits. They have antioxidants, phytonutrients that you can’t get in non-plant based food, fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, you can eat too much fruit, too. So, how much fruit should you eat? What type of fruit is best? Why is eating too much fruit bad for you? There are some simple answers to these questions.

Don’t start eating fruit to the exclusion of other food.

There are many types of diets, some are good—-others aren’t. One type of diet is the fruitarian diet, where people live on primarily fruits such as apples, bananas and oranges. While that may seem healthy at first, but it neglects many important nutrients. Fruit doesn’t contain many important minerals, like iron or zinc. If you’ve ever eaten too much fruit at one time, you probably experienced that bloating and diarrhea that can cause discomfort. For those with diabetes or with already high blood sugar, too much fruit can cause it to rise even more.

Try to get two cups of fruit a day.

The American Heart association suggests four servings of fruit each day, which is approximately two cups. However, you also need other types of food, such as vegetables. You need even more of those, approximately 2 ½ to 3 cups a day. In most cases, people don’t eat enough of either. However, you’ll know you’re eating more fruit than you should by your body’s reaction. You’ll spend far more time in the bathroom than you normally would and find yourself bloated and gassy.

Eat a wide variety of fruit.

Your focus should be more on variety than on consumption. If you’re eating a wider variety of fruit, such as apples, berries and bananas, you’ll have a healthier diet. The sugar in fruit comes with fiber, which helps level off blood sugar and provides other benefits. It has loads of nutrients and even water to aid with hydration. Choosing from a variety of fruit ensures you get a wider variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

  • If you eat unlimited amounts of fruit, it actually can cause weight gain. In most cases, that can only happen if you’re juicing. A good alternative is making smoothies or eating whole fruit, which includes the fiber in fruit.
  • Snacking on fruit can add nutrition and keep you running at full steam. You can also add fruit to plain Greek yogurt for a tasty treat that’s healthy. Avoid the added fruit yogurt that’s often high in sugar.
  • Get adventurous. Try fruit you might not otherwise eat or exotic ones. Mulberries, dragon fruit, jujube, mango steen and lychee are a few that you might not have tried. Too often people with mulberry trees don’t even bother to harvest that delicious fruit.
  • Not only is eating fruit good for the body, it’s good for the brain. Berries can help improve memory, help prevent mood swings and reduce inflammation.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness

Confidence In A Gym Environment

Confidence In A Gym Environment

One of the reasons I often hear from people who want to work out, but fail to do so is their lack of confidence in a gym environment. That shouldn’t ever be the case for a number of reasons. Whether your uneasy about your knowledge of exercise or simply embarrassed by the shape you’re in, it shouldn’t stop you. Most people who go to the gym focus more on their own improvement and don’t watch the other people. But there are things to help you get back into the habit of working out and feel good about doing it.

Start by taking baby steps.

Just because you want to workout, it doesn’t mean you have to start at the gym, especially if you’re self-conscious. Start by going for walks, riding bike and doing mini workouts at home. Gradually increase the time you workout, walk or ride a bike to approximately to a half hour five days a week. Your progress will be slower than it would with a vigorous workout, but you’re doing something and building confidence as you do.

Make it easier on yourself by working out with a personal trainer.

Trainers understand not only how to help you with the right exercises and intensity for your fitness level, but also how to help you develop confidence in your abilities. They don’t judge you, but encourage and praise you for making the decision to take control over your level of fitness. You’ll build confidence and make progress quicker with a trainer who will get you off on the right path to fitness.

Get a workout buddy who also wants to get fit.

Whether it’s a friend or family member, a workout buddy can help you with that reluctance to workout. Just like doing it alone, working out with a friend can be done in the gym or at home. When you have a workout buddy, you’ll be more apt to stick with your program. That’s because it becomes more like an appointment and garners accountability. It’s also one reason people who use personal trainers tend to stick with their workout program.

  • Once you start a program with a personal trainer and develop more confidence, you can switch to a small group run by the trainer, which costs less and is actually fun.
  • Start with exercise you enjoy. If you hate regular exercise, do something active that’s fun. It might be hiking, biking or even dancing. The key is to get and stay active.
  • Dress for success if you go to the gym. Wear something that makes you feel like working out, which is also comfortable and meant for that sweaty adventure.
  • Just jump in and do it, whether you workout at home or at the gym. Waiting for the right moment means you’ll never get started. Don’t forget to add healthy eating into the mix for the best possible results.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness

Have You Tried An Impossible Burger?

Have You Tried An Impossible Burger?

If you’ve been to a Burger King near Gloucester, ON, Canada, you probably have seen the Impossible Burger on the menu. What is it? It’s a lab grown vegetarian option that doesn’t contain meat, but certainly tastes like it does. It’s a blend of potato and soy proteins in the latest version, which is different from the first one that contained wheat protein and not gluten-free. It has coconut oil and sunflower oil as a fat source and methylcellulose as a binder that provides fiber, too.

So how does it taste?

People who try this burger claim it tastes just like meat. It has the sizzle and smell of a burger with that juicy interior from the heme in plants. Scientists used the DNA from soy roots to modify yeast genetically and produces large amounts of soy heme. In fact, it tastes so much like meat, there’s now Impossible meats in the frozen section of the grocery, so you don’t have to go grab a burger to get the flavor, saving you money and calories, since you can eat it without a bun or all the condiments.

There are benefits to eating the Impossible Burger.

There’s no cholesterol in the Impossible Burger, so if you’re limiting your cholesterol intake, it’s far better than a regular burger. A regular burger has about a quarter of your daily cholesterol intake. It has less than one gram of sugar. It’s also made with 15% of your daily calcium, iron at 25 % DV, 19 grams of protein, 9grams of carbs, 130% DV of B12, 2350% DV of thiamin, 50% DV zinc, 15% DV of zinc and plus plenty of fiber—11% DV.

It sounds good, but are there drawbacks?

There are drawbacks with every product, including the Impossible Burger. It’s not the best choice when it comes to sodium. Just like many products that are geared to taste like meat, the Impossible Burger is high in sodium, with 370 mg—16% DV. Compare that to the 4% DV of a regular burger. It also has a high saturated fat content with 8g or 40% DV, 10% more than a regular burger. A regular burger also has far more protein, which keeps you feeling full longer, so you won’t eat as much later in the day.

  • Even though the regular burger has 20 calories more, that’s insignificant if you consume even an apple to fill the void later on after you ate an Impossible Burger.
  • Nutritionists suggest that the Impossible Burger isn’t the answer if you’re looking for a healthier option. The best option would be to eat half a burger and supplement the meal with vegetables, including mushrooms.
  • People on a heart healthy diet may benefit from the lower cholesterol, but the high sodium count and high saturated fat can wipe out the benefits.
  • There are healthier food options than the Impossible Burger, but it doesn’t mean you have to eliminate it from your diet. Choose the frozen patties and use half or a quarter to top a salad.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness

What Foods Are High In Electrolytes

What Foods Are High In Electrolytes

How important are foods high in electrolytes? In order to answer that, you have to understand just what an electrolyte is and what it does. Electrolytes are electrical conductors in your body’s fluid. They’re minerals that dissolved in water to use their energy to help with bodily functions. For instance, you have to have electrolytes to control body fluids, blood pressure, muscle contraction, which includes the heart and maintaining the right pH of the body. People who have high blood pressure understand the importance of electrolytes like potassium and also sodium. Magnesium, calcium and chloride are other well-known electrolytes.

Electrolytes are in water and also food.

Whether you’re drinking bottled water or tap water, there are electrolytes in it. Only distilled water has them removed. The same is true of food. Consider salt, that’s sodium chloride. Just by recognizing the chemical name, you know there’s sodium and chloride electrolytes, so even junk food can have them. The problem is that you want a balance and food high in sodium doesn’t provide it.

What foods have a good balance of electrolytes?

Look for food that’s green and leafy, like spinach or kale. Consider healthy food such as broccoli, avocados, beans, almonds and peanuts. Soybeans and soy products like tofu, strawberries, watermelon, oranges and bananas are high in electrolytes, too. Yogurt is a good source of electrolytes, just as other milk products are. Fish, turkey chicken and veal are also high in electrolytes.

The key is eating healthy and balanced, to ensure you have a balance of electrolytes.

You probably already know that you can have too much sodium in your diet. In fact, you can have too much of any type of electrolyte. The key is always to eat healthy and have a good blend of electrolytes. What can cause you to deplete your store? Sweating, vomiting, diarrhea or diuretics can. Anything that dehydrates you, also depletes you of electrolytes. If you’re sweating, you’ll probably replace the fluid, but may not replace the electrolytes. Anyone working out hard and sweating over an hour and a half to two hours, should ensure they replace the lost electrolytes with a sports drink or other technique.

  • Knowing that the body has a perfect balance point can help you understand why over consumption of salt can cause a problem.
  • Some medication can cause an electrolyte imbalance. Make sure you discuss the potential with your health care professional when starting any medication or before consuming sports drinks.
  • Long before sports drinks were invented, coconut water was the original sports drink. It contains five electrolytes, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. As an emergency use, coconut water was used to replace blood plasma in WW2.
  • A little chicken broth, an apple, banana or a container of Greek yogurt could provide the electrolytes you lost during a workout.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness

Energy Drinks Vs Caffeine Pills

Energy Drinks Vs Caffeine Pills

Since the research showing that a cup of coffee or caffeine pills taken before a workout can boost performance, using one of those about an hour before working out has a become a ritual with many athletes. Recently, the focus has switched to energy drinks. It the change a beneficial one? Do energy drinks offer the same results? Let’s look at the benefits of caffeine first.

How caffeine or caffeine pills can help a workout.

It takes about 90-100 minutes for caffeine to be absorbed and the blood levels to peak. Caffeine affects the entire body, including the muscles and the brain. It can improve focus and reduce tiredness, while also triggering hormones for the fight or flight response, such as epinephrine. That increases performance, too. It increases fat burning and also aids in the release of feel good hormones. It can trigger the part of the brain that signals muscle to activate, increases heat production and can enhance the endurance performance by sparing the glycogen stored in the muscles.

Will an energy drink provide the same benefits?

Unlike coffee or even caffeine pills, the ingredients in energy drinks vary greatly. While caffeinated energy drinks can give you that caffeine boost, improve cognitive functioning and enhance muscle strength, it contains synthetically produced caffeine, rather than a natural source. The caffeine in energy drinks can be high and can cause issues during and after exercise. If you go with an energy drink, make it one with a natural source of caffeine.

What’s wrong with synthetic caffeine?

There’s a difference in the type of caffeine used, whether it’s in caffeine pills or in the energy drink. Caffeine from natural sources take longer to work, but also last longer. If the caffeine is produced in a lab, rather than extracted from the brewing process, you’ll have a quicker reaction, but it won’t last as long and you’ll find yourself crashing quickly.

  • Instead of using caffeine pills or energy drinks, consider using coffee or even green tea. The caffeine in green tea metabolizes differently, doesn’t give an immediate rush, but does provide a more sustained energy level.
  • Make sure you have plenty of water while you workout if you use either energy drinks or caffeine pills. Caffeine acts like a diuretic, so you’ll void more and have more potential for dehydration.
  • If caffeine or coffee gives you the jitters, don’t go to energy drinks, but choose green tea instead. The sugar and caffeine in the energy drink will probably produce the same results, but the green tea contains L-Theanine that prevents the shakes.
  • If you decide to choose an energy drink, check the label for additives. Many contain sugar, while others contain ingredients that sound like they came from a chem lab. Neither of the two are good for you.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness

Raise Your Quality Of Life Today

Raise Your Quality Of Life Today

What does it mean to raise your quality of life? For some, it’s all about possessions, having expensive things and where you live. For others, quality are things that are more intangible, like good health, mental well being and personal freedom. It means many things to different people, but one thing is certain, staying healthy is often at the core. You can’t control every aspect of health, but you can do many things that improve it and stay healthier.

Eat healthy.

Sure, you do only go around once, but that doesn’t mean you should eat cake and ice cream for every meal. Treating your body with the respect you deserve is important and it all starts in the kitchen. Unless you have a laundry list of foods you hate, most people find that eating healthy is not only easy, but also satisfying. Best of all, healthy food tastes good and makes you feel good. You can even make healthy eating an adventure by trying new recipes, even ones that have ingredients you don’t like. Savor the flavor of every bite and eat mindfully.

Feel how great it is to be the master of your own body.

Exercise is more than just getting your body into shape, it’s feeling every muscle move as you mentally command it. It’s enjoying the challenge of each workout and the feeling of success when you succeed. I had a client who was a dancer. She used to describe the joy she felt when her body moved to music and she felt every muscle obey. Workout regularly and enjoy every minute of it or one day, you won’t be able to do that. The body is a miracle and capable of so much more than most people realize.

Start each day with a feeling of gratitude.

If your attitude is gratitude, your life will be happy. Staying healthy is both physical and mental. If you think you’re sick and unable to control your life or make the changes you need to make, you simply can’t. We also tend to see more of what we focus on, so if you’re grateful you’re focusing on what you have, not what you lack. By doing that, you’ll be amazed at how the quality of your life improves.

  • Improve your quality of life by helping someone else. It doesn’t have to take a long time or cost anything. It might be as simple as complimenting someone or helping them carry groceries into their home. Focusing on helping others brings a higher quality of life for you.
  • Wear a smile and improve your quality of life. Try it now, smile. If it feels fake, picture you’re smiling at a pet or a favorite person. Not do it throughout the day. Add laughter for more benefit.
  • Treat yourself nicer. Whether it’s taking time to treat yourself to a day at the spa or something as simple as getting adequate sleep, you deserve better treatment.
  • Eliminate a bad habit, like smoking or excess alcohol, and replace it with a healthy habit, like learning something new every day, or coming to 180 Fitness for a life-changing program.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness

Increase Your Good Gut Bacteria

Increase Your Good Gut Bacteria

You’re never alone. No, it’s not Big Brother that’s watching you, but the microbiome that’s living in you. You have billions of microscopic fungi, bacteria, archaea, virus and eukaryotes living in and on your body. In fact, some estimates say they outnumber human cells by ten to one. They play an important role in your digestion, aid the immune system, produce vitamins, fight off bad bacteria or fungi and they even affect our mental health. Some things, like a round of antibiotics, can disrupt the balance and that’s when you need to increase your good gut bacteria.

Your doctor may have told you about probiotics and fermented food.

Whether you grab a container of yogurt with a live culture or head for the sauerkraut or kimchi, both fermented food and probiotics will help get your gut back to normal. It can prevent those horrible days after a round of antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria with the bad and leave the fungi and other microbes without good bacteria to keep them in check. Eating kefir, live culture yogurt, fermented vegetables, kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut and tempeh can help you get your microbiome back in order.

Feed the survivors.

Those bacteria you introduced with the probiotics or those that survived antibiotics are fragile and go through a lot of changes, including temperature changes and changes in pH. They need food that helps make the transition from the container to the gut easier. That food that makes them more tolerant and hardy are carbohydrates we can’t digest. Prebiotics, the food of healthy bacteria include onions, spinach, beans, garlic, asparagus, leeks, whole wheat, chicory root, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, raw dandelion greens, oats and soybeans

Cut out sugar and fat!

It’s not enough to feed the good bacteria, you have to quit feeding the fungi and bad bacteria. Sugar and even artificial sweeteners can make the bad boys happy. Both of those cause an imbalance of bacteria in the gut called dysbiosis. One study in 2015 showed that artificial sweeteners, sugar and fat affected the balancing act of the bacteria and other microbes in the gut. Not only does it affect digestion, it can affect behavior and brain functioning. Eat healthy. Go with more vegetables and less meat in your diet.

  • Cut out stress. Stress can kill friendly bacteria, whether it comes from environmental stress like it being too hot or cold, day-to-day stress, lack of sleep or a shift in your sleep/wake pattern. You’ll have happy bacteria when you do.
  • Quit smoking. Studies show that smoking boosted the production of bad bacteria and halted the growth of healthy bacteria.
  • Watch out for the hand sanitizing and the cleaning chemicals you use. If you disinfect everything and use antibacterial soaps, including hand soap, you might be promoting the growth of lachnospiraceae, a gut bacteria linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Exercise is a cure all, even for lopsided bacterial count. You can boost your healthy bacteria with a program of regular exercise. Come check out our free trial days at 180 Fitness.

For more information, contact us today at 180 Fitness