Archive for the ‘wellness’ Category

Our Salad Days

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

The next time you cheerfully chop up avocados, tomatoes, crisp lettuce and anything else you’d put in your “healthy” salad, beware.  Even if you’re using olive oil and not ranch or blue cheese dressing, there are still calories that add up.  For example, a tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories.  Not so bad in and of itself, but stop to consider how many tablespoons you are using for a whole salad.  2? 3?

And as much as we LOVE beautiful, creamy avocados, it’s important to think about how caloric they are too.  A medium sized avocado can contain up to 300 calories.  This velvety fruit is a favorite and is considered a “good” fat, full of antioxidants, but again, if you’re trying to cut back on the calories, avocados aren’t going to help you.  Substituting a cucumber, or a few toasted walnuts, shelled edamame, or flavorful herbs like tarragon or basil can liven up any salad without busting the calorie bank.

Or if you must have your avocado and eat it too, add less olive oil, and cut the avocado in half, which not only helps your waistline, but also your pocketbook.

It’s a really wonderful thing to commit to eating more vegetables and consuming fats that are mono-saturated, but remember if you decide to “just eat a salad” for dinner, you might be consuming many more calories than you intended.

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An epiphany about vitamin E

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

It turns out that the powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E, has something else up its sleeve.Vitamin E is thought to be very good for the immune system, and can enhance both skin and eye health, it is also one of the best anti-oxidants.

The effect of vitamin E supplementation on the immune response of healthy older adults was studied in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Subjects (n = 32) resided in a metabolic research unit and received placebo or vitamin E (800 mg dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate) for 30 d. Alpha-tocopherol content of plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), delayed-type hypersensitivity skin test (DTH), mitogen-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation, as well as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-2, prostaglandin (PG) E2, and serum lipid peroxides were evaluated before and after treatment. In the vitamin E-supplemented group 1) alpha-tocopherol content was significantly higher (p less than 0.0001) in plasma and PBMCs, 2) cumulative diameter and number of positive antigen responses in DTH response were elevated (p less than 0.05), 3) IL-2 production and mitogenic response to optimal doses of concanavalin A were increased (p less than 0.05), and 4) PGE2 synthesis by PBMCs (p less than 0.005) and plasma lipid peroxides (p less than 0.001) were reduced. Short-term vitamin E supplementation improves immune responsiveness in healthy elderly individuals; this effect appears to be mediated by a decrease in PGE2 and/or other lipid-peroxidation products.

It seems that now is the time to start (or continue) a healthy, easy-to-take vitamin regimen that includes a high quality, super absorbable, full spectrum vitamin E supplement to help ensure continued good health.  In this case, “e” stands for excellent immune system protection!

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Reference: Vitamin E supplementation enhances cell-mediated immunity in healthy elderly subjects. Meydani SN, Barklund MP, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 Sep;52(3):557-63.

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Backyard Tourist

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

While all of your jet-setting friends are traveling to the Caribbean, Rome, or another enviable destination, you may feel forlorn at having to sit at home and watch the proverbial paint dry.  But instead, perhaps this is an opportunity-an inexpensive one-to celebrate a stress-free “staycation”.

If you have some time to burn, but not a lot of money with which to burn it, take advantage of the familiar.  And no, that does not mean catching up on the laundry, dishes, garage clean-up etc.  Instead, give yourself permission to eschew everyday life stresses and indulge in vacation-like decadence.

Eat take-out from your favorite Chinese restaurant.  Read trashy magazines and watch silly movies that are fun, but not heavy.  Give your brain a break.  Hang out with friends or family, and whip up something cold and sweet in the blender.  Sit on your porch or out in your backyard.  Take a leisurely stroll through a park-not necessarily for exercise-just do it because it’s a lovely day.  Pack a picnic and take it somewhere pretty, like a local beach, pond, or lake.

Be a tourist in your own town.  Is there a museum you’ve always wanted to check out?  A bar or coffee shop you’ve always meant to try?  A deliciously touristy destination you’ve been meaning to see? (I’m talking about you Alcatraz Island, Mt. Rushmore, Brooklyn Bridge, St. Louis Arch et al)  These places aren’t any less cool just because they’re in our backyards and easily accessible.  So join the local tourist ranks and enjoy a stress-free, inexpensive “staycation”.

As they say, “When in Rome…” Do as the locals do.  Bon Voyage!

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summertime can feel like a “big” deal

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

The birds are singing and the sun is shining brightly.  So why are you feeling down again?  Is it because you can’t squeeze yourself into your bathing suit, no matter how much sun tan oil you slather on?  Or is it that your summer shorts make you feel like a stuffed sausage?

Yep. We’ve been there.

When the hot weather hits and the layers of winter clothes come off, there’s no place to hide.  It’s frustrating we can’t shrug off the extra winter pounds as easily as our heavy overcoats.

However, the great news about summertime is that it stays warmer and lighter in the evenings.  Even if you’re working like the dog days of summer, there’s still enough daylight to take a walk after work, or depending where you live, swim or even hike.

And if you live somewhere really warm, chances are your appetite may be affected.  You may crave things like cold salads for dinner, and choose to eat lighter based upon what your body tells you and not just predilections for certain foods.  You’ll undoubtedly drink more water and other liquids too, which can help fill you up and facilitate weight loss (as long as they’re not too sugary).

Keeping your immune system strong is key.  By eating as healthy as possible, getting plenty of sleep and taking quality supplements, you are providing your body with the fuel it needs to hike, bike, swim and workout.  Beware of insidious summer colds-nothing is more miserable than lying in bed on a beautiful, sunny day.  Strive to stay healthy and active and you’ll be surprised how quickly those shorts and bathing suits magically become the right size for you again.

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quick-change artist

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Ever heard that expression, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?  I want to tweak that slightly: “the more things stay the same, the less chance they will EVER change.”

The cold, hard fact is this: If we want to change our less-than-stellar health habits, the time is now.  We all have to actually make some sort of concerted effort to do things differently in order to expect different results.

This idea is elementary, I know, but it’s amazing how many of us (myself included) don’t practice what we preach.  Here’s an example:

Last year I noticed that my favorite jeans were becoming harder and harder to button.  I blamed the dryer and the hot water I accidently washed them in one time (months before). Because I didn’t own a scale, I was in relative denial about my gradual weight gain.  I continued to eat my-ahem-nightly bowl of ice cream.  I didn’t have a lot of energy, which lead to me skipping the gym most days.  The less I exercised, the more lethargic I felt and the more I ate (to keep my energy up).  This became a classic vicious cycle.

One day I could no longer deny it and my favorite jeans were banished to the back of my closet, along with the other clothes I couldn’t squeeze into anymore.  That day was my breaking point, my “moment of clarity” if you will.  I forced myself to the gym that afternoon, and most evenings after work.  I stopped eating my beloved ice cream (except on weekends), and tried my best to get enough sleep so I didn’t need to rely on food to enhance my energy.

Everyone has their breaking point, their moment of clarity.  Find yours and then act upon it.  It may take a little while to see some results, but you absolutely will.  Changing your bad habits can ultimately change the course of your health-and life-for the better.  Good luck!

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The Kind of Treat you Don’t Eat

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Are you feeling deprived?  Working hard, running around all day long, trying to exercise and take care of yourself (and everyone else) to the point of absolute exhaustion?  And when you finally have a moment’s peace, you decide that you deserve a treat-something chocolately and gooey no doubt-because you’ve worked so hard and sacrificed for so long.

Maybe that’s not such a good idea.

If you truly are trying to live a healthy and active life, rewarding yourself (and your family) with sweet, fatty, and sugary treats is good for no one.  Aside from the obvious glut of fat and sugar, you are setting a dangerous precedent: food equals reward.

Some people choose food as a reward because it’s cheap.  But I would argue that’s not entirely true.  Healthcare costs are rising, and what about the new wardrobe you’d have to buy after you gain ten pounds from consuming all of the treats you “deserve”?

There is a better way.

Reward yourself and loved ones with a new CD or DVD, a beautiful candle, tickets to a sports event or concert, a pound of gourmet coffee, or even with a massage or pedicure.  Especially if you have kids (or grandkids), this will establish that rewards don’t have to be sugar/fat/food related.

And hey. You could even buy yourself or a loved one some favorite nutritional supplements and give the ultimate reward: Good health!

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To discover a healthier you and find all of your favorite nutritional supplements, visit our homepage.

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The simple life

Monday, April 12th, 2010

If you’re anything like me, your day may go like this:  Get up early (acute torture for we non-morning persons), check email, make coffee/breakfast/lunch/kid’s breakfasts etc. Jump in your car with seconds to spare, fight your way through ungodly traffic to get to work, school, or both, squeeze in errands in between meetings, stay late, commute home, try to get to the gym for 40 minutes, come back home, cook dinner, clean up the dishes, throw a load of laundry haphazardly into the machine, and read to the kids and/or pass out in front of the TV.  Get up the next day and start the whole chaotic process again.

This strikes me as no way to live.

So last week I took one day and experimented; I only did the things I absolutely HAD to do.  I did get up, made coffee and went to work, fighting the commute and arriving (basically) on time.  But I forced myself to eat a sandwich somewhere other than my desk, and eschewed all non-essential errands.  I found that I had time to take a walk in a nearby park, allowing myself to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, if only for my lunch hour.  When I got back to my desk, instead of feeling harried and frenzied, I felt centered and somewhat relaxed.  I continued with this idea throughout the day.  I drove home, changed into casual clothes and took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood.  I did not go to the gym.  With that extra hour, I spent some quality time with my pooch and actually had a chance to talk to a couple of neighbors who were also out and about.  When the rest of the family came home, we all cooked together and turned our collective noses up at the laundry piling high in the utility room.  It felt great.

The point is this: give yourself permission to kick around the dust bunnies.  It’s very noble to try to do it all day after day after day, but it doesn’t make for a particularly happy or enriched life.  So let yourself have a day or two off from the gym, the cooking, the laundry, and anything else non-essential.  You will feel more relaxed, centered and ultimately more productive.  And if all else fails, send the laundry out once a month.  Let someone else do your dirty work.  After all, you have a life!

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Older, Wiser…but not larger

Monday, April 5th, 2010

omega-gel omega-3 fatty acid

As we grow older, it can become increasingly more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.  Our metabolism is slower, and we tend to lose muscle mass, if not motivation.  But recent research has shown that something as simple as taking quality vitamins and supplements can help battle obesity.

In two studies, one a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 45 obese non-consumers of supplements participating in a 15-week weight-reducing program, and the second a cross-sectional study involving consumers and non-consumers of vitamin and/or dietary supplements, results indicate that use of dietary and/or vitamin supplements may be associated with lower body weight and reduced appetite. In the cross-sectional study, male consumers of vitamins and/or minerals had lower body weight, fat mass, body mass index, and a tendency for greater resting energy expenditure, compared to men in the placebo group. The results were similar in women, although statistical significance was not reached. In the placebo-controlled study, the participants received an energy-restricted diet along with a placebo (placebo group) or multivitamin and mineral supplement (active group) for 15 weeks. Fasting and postprandial appetite ratings were significantly reduced among women in the active group, compared with the placebo group. Thus, the results of this study suggest that intake of vitamins and/or dietary supplements may play a role in weight reduction and inhibition of appetite.

If we can encourage each other to commit to healthier lifestyle choices like exercising regularly, eating properly, and taking healthy supplements, we can fight back against the hands of time and the extra pounds that can accumulate too!

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Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/36960, “Multivitamin and dietary supplements, body weight and appetite: results from a cross-sectional and a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study,” Major GC, Tremblay A, et al, Br J Nutr, 2007 Nov 1; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Division of Kinesiology, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, G1K 7P4, Canada).

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broccoli boon

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables

At the risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record, consuming a lot of fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, and eschewing most fats and sugars, are really wonderful, healthy choices.  But you knew that already, right?  True, sitting down to a plate full of broccoli and tofu doesn’t sound quite as exciting as a plate full of warm chocolate chip cookies, but broccoli and other cruciferous veggies might just make you live longer and can help fight certain diseases like cancer.

In a very recent clinical study, it was discovered that women who maintained a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and soy, had a 30% decrease in breast cancer incidence, and a 64% risk reduction for postmenopausal women with similar eating habits, compared with women who ate a lot of meat and starch.  Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy, can be particularly protective and help the body fight free radical damage and oxidative stress.

If eating right sounds boring at best, try spicing things up.  Sauté a bushel of broccoli or some boy choy, mixed with low sodium soy sauce and hot pepper flakes.  It’s easy to add rich flavors without adding any fats to the vegetables.  Once you commit to healthier cooking and eating, you’ll be surprised how easy it is.

And after you’ve eaten all your veggies, have a cookie.  One cannot live on broccoli alone.

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For more information about breast cancer and other health concerns, take a look at our articles and health archives on our homepage at Solanova.com.

And don’t forget to follow us on twitter and fan us on facebook. Join the healthy conversation and let us know what health topics interest you!

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38893, “A vegetable-fruit-soy dietary pattern protects against breast cancer among postmenopausal Singapore Chinese women,” Butler LM, Yu MC, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2010 Feb 24; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Environmental Radiological Health Sciences Colorado State University Fort Collins CO, USA).

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Be in the know…

Friday, March 26th, 2010

In a world of unending communications and technologies, are you still feeling disconnected?  Well! Maybe that’s because you haven’t been following Solanova on twitter or become a fan of ours on facebook!

Get your Solanova, feel-good fix, and discover a healthier you on a daily basis!  Enjoy secret discounts! Read interesting health news!  Be sure to join the discussion and tell us what you think.  What topics would you like to read about more? Weight loss/exercise?  Chocolate? Why red wine should be considered its own food group?

We just wanted to remind you that we really value our customers and readers, and truly want to bring sound, fun, healthy advice to your lives every day.

So give us a shout-out.  We’re listening.  Here’s to a healthier you!

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