Archive for March, 2013

7 Reasons to Do Moderate Intensity Exercise More Often

7 Reasons to Do Moderate Intensity Exercise More Often

Mar 11, 2013 | By Jessica Smit


Tabata, high intensity interval training (a.k.a. HIIT), Kettlebells, CrossFit… Sure, super tough workouts are hogging the all headlines these days, but that doesn’t mean you should completely ditch moderate intensity exercise. In fact, here are seven good reasons you should be doing moderate to low intensity exercise more often, and why.



Tabata, high intensity interval training (a.k.a. HIIT), Kettlebells, CrossFit… Sure, super tough workouts are hogging the all headlines these days, but that doesn’t mean you should completely ditch moderate intensity exercise. In fact, here are seven good reasons you should be doing moderate to low intensity exercise more often, and why.


You’ll Live Longer

Recent research shows that moderate exercise could just be the key to living longer. According to the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study performed by Cooper Institute in Dallas, joggers who moved at a moderate intensity (about 10-11 minute miles) had a lower mortality risk than those who ran more than 20 miles a week at a much faster pace (7 miles an hour or faster). Another study, the Copenhagen City Heart Study, found that runners who logged in one to two and a half hours per week jogging at a slow or average pace had longer life spans than both their sedentary counterparts and the faster runners.


You’ll Reduce Your Risk Of Injury

Training at an all-out effort all the time may wear down your body faster, and at the very least, deplete your energy, making the likelihood of an injury more likely during a workout. “American College of Sports Medicine guidelines recommend that individuals aim for at least 3-5 days per week of a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity exercise; and they also state that vigorous intensity exercise performed more than 5 days per week may increase the incidence of injury to generally this amount of physically is not recommended,” says Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.



You May Enjoy Exercising More

If you’ve been struggling to stick with a regular exercise routine, too much intensity could be to blame. Exercise intensity can affect adherence, Matthews says. “Some individuals may find higher intensity exercise to be more uncomfortable and less enjoyable which may lead to a less than consistent routine of physical activity,” she notes. Mixing up your routine to include both higher and lower effort levels can make your workouts more exciting, energizing, effective, enjoyable and easier to stick with, she says.



You’ll Perform Better With The Tough Stuff

Just as there can be no hills without valleys, lower intensity training helps to prep your body for the bigger ‘peaks’ challenging workouts can bring. “Moderate intensity cardio sessions serve to prepare you to better tackle your HIIT workouts so that you have the baseline cardio fitness and active recovery necessary to make your HIIT sessions more effective in the long run,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University in Alabama.


You May Eat Less

If you’re trying to lose weight and are guilty of falling into the “I burned it, I earned it,” trap, you may want to consider adding in more moderate activity to your routine. Lower intensity workouts could prevent you from feeling like you ‘earned’ that brownie after dinner, and make you less likely to consume all the calories you burned off at the gym in just a few bites. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that female subjects ate more during their post workout meal after a high intensity session versus those who performed lower intensity exercise. It may also help curb cravings too – a separate study done by researchers at Brigham Young University found that women who completed a 45-minute moderate intensity workout (subjects walked briskly on a treadmill) were less tempted by photos of food afterwards.


You’ll Sleep More Soundly

Having trouble falling asleep at a reasonable hour? It could be that hardcore spinning class you took this evening. Some individuals find that taxing exercise actually hinders their ability to fall asleep, while low to moderate exercise improves sleep quality. “Moderate exercise is not so strenuous that your adrenaline runs high keeping you amped up when it’s time to nod off. Also, helps to wake you up during the day so you are ready for rest in the evening but not wiped out and sore you can’t relax,” explains Olson.



You’ll Improve Your Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels

Most types of exercise can help lower blood sugar levels, and help your body process insulin more effectively, but moderate intensity may offer the best benefits. One study done with a group of overweight diabetics found that the group that rode a stationary bike for an hour at a moderate pace lowered their blood sugar levels by as much as 50 percent in the following 24 hours while subjects who pedaled at a higher intensity for 30 minutes only lowered levels by about 19 percent . “Moderate intensity exercise uses up excess blood sugar for energy which helps your insulin to not shoot up or down during the day; it’s best for those who are even pre-diabetic,” Olson says.


OK, So, How Often Should I Work Out?

Convinced yet? Good! While moderate exercise offers some pretty excellent benefits, you certainly don’t have to give up your challenging workouts altogether — the key is finding a good balance of both. Olson recommends at least three days a week (approximately 30 minutes) of moderate intensity, steady-state exercise alternated with 1-2 days of higher intensity activities.


Low To Moderate Activity Ideas

Low intensity exercise is movement you can do comfortably, with almost no change in your breathing or conversational ability (such as stroll around the block), while moderate intensity may elevate your breathing rate, but shouldn’t effect your ability to talk without too much (you can still recite the alphabet, for instance) . Using these ranges to help gauge your intensity, almost any type of activity that allows to stay within this specific “talk test” range can be considered low to moderate intensity. Need some ideas of moderate intensity exercises to try? Read on for some ideas!


Household Chores

Mopping the floor, vacuuming the house, washing the car, and many other chores can count as low to moderate intensity exercise.


Jogging or Walking

Jogging or walking at an easy to moderate pace (for as long as you can still hold a conversation comfortably) can be considered moderate to low intensity exercise.



Resistance Training

Many traditional strength-training workouts can be considered moderate exercise. (Circuit training and powerlifting however, are more intense).




Swimming at a recreational pace (not doing laps) can be considered moderate to low intensity exercise and offers the added benefit of being extra gentle on the joints too.


Yoga or Pilates

While the intensity level depends greatly on the style of yoga, many forms of yoga (such as Restorative, Iyengar or Ananda) fall into the low to moderate intensity category. However, the more active, faster paced styles of Ashtanga, Bikram or Vinyasa yoga, for instance, would not.

Can Fish Oil & Flax Seed Oil Be Taken Together?

Can Fish Oil & Flax Seed Oil Be Taken Together?

June 6, 2011 | By Manuel Attard
Can Fish Oil & Flax Seed Oil Be Taken Together?
Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
Fish oil is extracted from oily fish while flax seed oil is extracted from flax seeds. Both fish- and flax seed oil contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, but different types. The omega-3 fatty acid found in flax seed oil is alpha-linolenic acid, ALA — an essential fatty acid which the body cannot synthesize and needs to obtain from the diet. The body can then modify alpha-linolenic acid to form eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, DHA. However, that conversion is very inefficient. On the other hand, the fats in fish oil are already of the EPA and DHA form. As the August 2010 issue of “Lipids in Health and Disease” reports, EPA and DHA exert much stronger health benefits than ALA.

Benefits of Omega-3s

The “Manual of Dietetic Practice” lists several health benefits to omega-3 consumption, particularly EPA and DHA. The benefits include protection from heart disease by lowering triglycerides in the blood and inhibiting atherosclerosis; protection from cancer; and inhibition of inflammation. They also are essential for brain development in infants.


Fish Oil or Flax Seed Oil?

Experts recognize that the benefits associated with omega-3 consumption are mostly due to EPA and DHA, and not ALA. In this respect, fish oil is superior to flax seed oil, and if you are only going to use one supplement, you should choose fish oil. On the other hand, flax seed oily may be more appealing because some people might worry that fish oil can contain contaminants. Moreover, strict vegetarians will not consume fish oil. Another advantage of flax seed oil is that ALA can be converted to other elongated fatty acids, and not just EPA and DHA.

What about Omega-6?

The omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid is also an essential fatty acid. However, most Western diets contain too much omega-6s relative to omega-3s, and this can result in adverse effects on health, including increased inflammation. The omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is very important, possibly more than the actual intakes themselves. The relationship between the two is especially important because in the body, competitive inhibition occurs between the enzymes involved in the metabolism of the two — a high intake of one will inhibit and disrupt the metabolism of the other one. The October 2002 issue of “Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy” reports that the optimal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is 4:1 or even as low as 1:1. In contrast, current Western diets are closer to 16:1.

Taking Fish Oil and Flax Seed Oil Together

As fish oil and flax seed oil contain the same family of fatty acids — omega-3s — there wouldn’t be a problem if the two are taken together, although ingesting large amounts of oil in one sitting can result in an upset stomach. On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids shouldn’t be taken with omega-6 sources such as sunflower, evening primrose, wheat germ, and hemp oils.



Synthetic marijuana can be just as brain altering as real marijuana, and may cause health problems.


K2, fake marijuana, Blaze, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks

What is it?

Spice is a mildly hallucinogenic herbal mix of dried plant material and synthetic cannabinoids that affect your body and brain much like THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.73

The Risks

You really don’t know what exactly is in the mix if you’re purchasing spice—many different ingredients have been found including five or more different synthetic cannabinoids that have a high potential for abuse 73.You may hear that spice makes you mellow and euphoric just like marijuana does, but it can be even more powerful and unpredictable. People taken to emergency rooms or Poison Control Centers have symptoms that include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations. 74


Filling your body with unknown substances can have severe consequences. It’s not exactly known how the synthetic cannabinoids in Spice may affect you down the line. Some users report signs of withdrawal and addiction.


It’s known that marijuana can limit your brain’s effectiveness.41 Spice can be just as devastating to your developing mind. You can never predict what exactly is in this substance or how toxic it could be. That’s a potent combination that can have an effect on your future.

Bath Salts

Bath Salts

Though the name may sound harmless, bath salts are a dangerous synthetic stimulant that carry the risk of easy overdose, hallucinations and even death.9


Brand names include Blizzard, Blue Silk, Charge+, Ivory Snow, Ivory Wave, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Snow Leopard, Stardust, Vanilla Sky, White Dove, White Knight and White Lightning

What is it?

A synthetic, stimulant powder product that contains amphetamine-like chemicals, including mephedrone, which may have a high risk for overdose. Because the drug is new and some of the contents unknown, using it in any way is highly dangerous.10 Right now, bath salts are illegal in a growing number of U.S. states, as well as foreign countries like Canada, Australia and Great Britain.11

The Risks

Between January and February 2011, there were over 250 calls to U.S. poison centers related to bath salts. This is well over the 236 calls received for all of 2010.10 Bath salts are a dangerous drug whose full risks and effects are still unknown. What doctors at poison centers have reported is that bath salts can cause rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pains, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions.10


Bath salts are a relatively new drug, so it’s hard to know the full long-term effects, but they seem to have many similarities to methamphetamine (meth). Taking a lot of it for a long time can lead to emotional and physical “crash-like” feelings of depression, anxiety and intense cravings for more of the drug.


Since it contains amphetamine-like chemicals, bath salts will always carry the risk of stroke, heart attack and sudden death. It may be legal in some states, but so is rat poison, and you probably wouldn’t want to ingest that either.

How to Make Red Food Coloring from Red Beet Powder

How to Make Red Food Coloring from Red Beet Powder

By On December 13, 2010


Have you tried coloring food using red beet powder?

Red beets contain a pigment called betanin that gives them their magenta hue and can serve as a natural organic food coloring. Red beet powder is used to color frostings, cookies, cakes, candies, and even white chocolate. It is a coloring ingredient in corning beef and in making pastas and sauces. It has a very mild sweet beet flavor. The only downside, however, is its sensitivity to both heat and pH like most natural food dyes and pigments. The color will change when combined with baking soda or baking powder.

Red beet powder gives a color that is reminiscent of red wine and its tint can be tuned by varying the amount of powder used.

Red food coloring from red beet powder, makes 1 teaspoon red food coloring

1/4 teaspoon red beet powder
1 teaspoon cold water

Mix red beet powder and cold water in a small dish.  Adjust the red-beet-powder-to-water ratio to get the desired red tint. Use less powder to get a paler red or even pink color.

Strain the red beet mixture through a cheesecloth and gently squeeze out the red-colored liquid.

Red Beet Powder as Food Coloring


Naturally Treat Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Naturally Treat Fibrocystic Breast Disease

By: Diane Quinn

Fibrocystic breast disease is a very common, noncancerous condition among women. Characterized by the presence of movable lumps and breast swelling, this condition can be very painful. One of the main causes of this disease is fluctuating hormonal levels, especially during menstruation.

The good news is that this condition is curable. There are effective ways to naturally treat fibrocystic breast disease.

Foods that promote good breast health

Eating a low-calorie, overall healthy diet helps. When you add more vegetables and fruits to your diet, you add rich, natural sources for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Think green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (in the cabbage family) like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale.

Research has shown that eating cruciferous vegetables elevates levels of good estrogen in your body while at the same time fighting bad estrogen that can cause fibrocystic breast disease. This unique interaction regulates your hormonal activity.

Adding high-fiber foods to your diet also promotes breast health. Whole-grain foods such as wheat brain, barley and oats all work together in a healthy diet to naturally treat fibrocystic breast disease by preventing it from occurring in the first place.

Foods that may cause fibrocystic breast disease

During periods of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), most women crave unhealthy foods rich in sugar and fat. Too often the snack foods they consume contain harmful trans fats and saturated fats that are unhealthy for everyone, but worse for women suffering from fibrocystic breast disease. If you read food labels more carefully, you can learn to eliminate the harmful fats and consume foods that contain good fats, like omega-3 fatty acids. At mealtime this means more fish and less red meat.

One of the hardest habits for many women to break is their caffeine fix. If you wonder how you could possibly start your day without at least two cups of java, you fall into this group. Yet caffeine is your enemy if you suffer from fibrocystic breast disease and want to promote good breast health. Try to replace your coffee habit with low-caffeine teas like green and flavorful herbal blends. Additionally, find a way to win your battle against chocolate cravings.

Sweetened, carbonated beverages should also be avoided because they can exacerbate fibrocystic breast disease.

Natural ways to treat fibrocystic breast disease

One very simple suggestion when experiencing pain is to use a warm heating pad. Another is to wear a bra designed to give your breasts adequate support and protection when the symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease cause discomfort.

A natural way to treat fibrocystic breast disease is boosting your diet with vitamins A, complex B, E, and selenium supplements. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important for good breast health. Some women find that the use of evening primrose oil, flax seed or fish oils offers them therapeutic benefits because these products also promote liver cleansing.

If you don’t have the disease, but know that it runs in your family, you might want to make the changes recommended to naturally treat fibrocystic breast disease, because these may prove to be effective preventative measures. Additionally, if you begin to notice symptoms of this disease, make an appointment with your doctor to get a professional diagnosis and rule out a more serious problem.