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Eating Your Fruits and Veggies

Remember sitting at the table as a kid staring a big soggy pile of greens?  Your mom wouldn’t let you leave the table until you gave it a try.

Or worst, your father demanded that you, “Eat all of your vegetables!” before you could dig into any sort of sweet dessert.

Ah yes.  These scenes may be from a childhood horror story. But – as an adult — reminding yourself to include those fruits and veggies in your diet can make a huge difference in your health.

In fact, according to a new study presented at Nutrition 2019, an annual event put on by the American Society of Nutrition, eating your recommended fruits and vegetables could actually save your life.

How Do We Know This?

Researchers looked at food availability and diet information from 113 countries, 82% of the world population, and estimated the amounts of fruits and vegetables that people in different regions were able to eat on a daily basis.

Secondly, they looked at information about causes of death in the same regions, specifically deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and the link to a lack of fruits and vegetables.

What Did We Learn?

The researchers found that each year, about 1 in 7 people around the world die from heart disease and stroke from not eating enough fruit. When it comes to vegetables, 1 in 12 suffer the same outcome.

We can break this down a little bit farther, and the results are no less astonishing.

Fruits – Per year, approximately 1.3 million people die from stroke and another 520,000 from heart disease from not eating enough fruit.

Vegetables – In that same time, they found 200,000 deaths from stroke and 800,000 deaths from heart disease due to a lack of vegetables in people’s diet.

Needless to say, these numbers are impressive and terrifying at the same time. If this doesn’t make you want to reconsider your relationship with the produce department, we don’t know what will.

As the study’s co-author, Victoria Miller, Ph. D and postdoctoral research fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University says, “fruits and vegetables are a modifiable component of the diet that can impact preventable cardiovascular deaths globally.”

There are two parts of this statement that are really important and we should be paying attention to them.

First, fruits and vegetables are a “modifiable” part of your diet. You can change the amount that you eat and how you eat it. You don’t have to have access to ten pounds of carrots and twelve pounds of grapes each and every day to help yourself.

Secondly, eating these items can impact “preventable” cardiovascular deaths. It can be easy to get caught up in family history and genetic predisposition, but you shouldn’t assume that you’ve been set-up for the worst. Don’t risk kicking the bucket because you don’t want to eat your broccoli.

Why Fruits and Vegetables?

Before we get into the details, let’s remember eating your fruits and veggies is not a new concept. There are a lot of foods that are cause for health concerns, or are part of a fad diet that comes and goes. However, fruits and vegetables have pretty well withstood the test of time as far as something you should definitely be eating. Here’s why:

Nutrients – Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of nutrients your body needs.

Fiber – We are all familiar with the benefits of fiber for your digestion, but that’s not all it does. Fiber also slows the rate sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream. This keeps your glucose levels from spiking and then falling rapidly.

BananasPotassium – Potassium is a nutrient known as an electrolyte, and it serves some really important functions. It helps regulate fluid balances in your body. Potassium creates positively charged ions when dissolved in water. This allows the cells in your body to communicate with each other by maintaining healthy nerve impulses. It also helps regulate muscle contractions, including those in your heart.

Healthy potassium levels can also help reduce blood pressure, protect against strokes, osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Magnesium – This is another nutrient that you really need. Magnesium helps maintain healthy brain function, a healthy heartbeat, and contributes to correct muscle contractions. Magnesium can also help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve blood sugar, and combat depression and insomnia.

All of these nutrients, among others you’ll find in fruits and vegetables, help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which are major contributing factors to heart disease and stroke.

“Minimally processed foods like fruits and vegetables also improve the health and diversity of good bacteria in the digestive tract. People who eat more of these foods are also less likely to be overweight or obese, lowering their risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Miller.

How To Hit The Mark

“The Mark” when it comes to what you should be eating is around 300 grams of fruit and 400 grams of vegetables per day.  Miller explains, “Eating up to 800 grams of fruits and vegetables – equivalent to 8 servings – has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.”

Eight servings of fruit and vegetables may seem like a lot, but when you break it up over the course of the day, it’s really not so daunting.

Breakfast – Whether you are eating yogurt, cereal or oatmeal, throw some fruit in there. It will taste great and knock off one serving first thing in the morning.

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Snacks – When you are needing a little something to snack on throughout the day, because we all do, there are tons of fruit and veggie options. Grab an apple or a banana. If that’s not your jam, snack on some dried fruit. This doesn’t have to be plain either, mix your dried fruit with some nuts, cheese or maybe chocolate chips if you want to get crazy.

Think back to your younger years and pack up some carrot sticks, or spread some peanut butter in celery.

Lunch/Dinner – I think many of us immediately imagine a salad when we think of vegetables for lunch or dinner, but there’s so much more you can do. They don’t have to be raw and they don’t have to be boring.

Throw a bunch of fruits and veggies on the grill in the summer and add them to your burger, toss them in some pasta, or just eat them in their charred greatness. Maybe your burger could be a veggie burger and you’d be racking up the servings!

Gone are the days of steamed broccoli waiting for you at the dinner table. You don’t need to approach your plate with a sense of dread.

Work those fruits and veggies into your everyday and your heart will thank you.

Sources:

Estimated Global, Regional, and National Cardiovascular Disease Burdens Related to Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: An Analysis from the Global Dietary Database: Victoria Miller, PhD; Frederick Cudhea, PhD; Gitanjali Singh, PhD, MPH; Renata Micha, PhD; Peilin Shi, PhD; Jianyi Zhang, PhD; Jennifer Onopa, MS, RDN; Dimitra Karageorgou, PhD; Patrick Webb, PhD; Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH; 2019

Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables Can Prevent Millions of Deaths Each Year. Danielle Zickl; 2019


Health Decisions and Habits May Be Related to Your Mental Strength

The mind is a powerful thing. There’s no doubt about it.

We can’t do anything without it. We can’t reason through a problem, lace up our shoes, or pay for our Starbucks half-caff sugar-free vanilla latte.  (The horror!)

But when it comes to your physical fitness and performance, how much of it is in your head?

We’ve talked before about the mental health benefits of physical exercise, but does that relationship work both ways? Are their physical benefits that stem from a healthy mind?

That’s a lot of questions, so let’s see what the experts have to say…

A group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are looking at things from this perspective to see if being mentally strong can help you reach your fitness goals.

In particular, they are hoping to understand why some people have an easier time meeting their fitness and health goals by studying their brains.

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Mirror, Mirror On the Wall…Who’s The Fittest of Them All?

It seems there is always a new fitness trend claiming to be the “next big thing.” 

In fact, marketers spend millions to get you off the couch and into the best shape of your life.  Lately, one of the innovations we’re most excited about doesn’t look like a fitness machine at all.  In fact, it looks more like a decoration you’d hang in your living room!

Meet “the Mirror…”

Yes, I’m sure thoughts of Snow White’s magic mirror may be floating through your head.  The true magic with this gizmo is how it can use sophisticated technology to put other IKEA-brand mirrors to shame. 

This mirror has just one goal in mind… to get your butt into great shape!

It does this by giving you access to on-demand workout videos or live stream classes directly in your home. Suddenly, your living room is like a personal fitness studio complete with a trainer ready to help you along.  The app for this device lets you build a custom workout designed for your specific goals.

Wanna know more?  Well, here’s the “skinny” on a mirror that can make you skinny

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So Many Fitness Apps…So Little Time!

Your phone’s app store has page-after-page of fitness and exercise apps.  It’s an endless supply really.  You can find apps for everything from motivation … to meal planning… to yoga … marathon training… and more!

We’ve talked before about how programming, like iFit found on NordicTrack and ProForm ellipticals, can help you boost your workouts.  But other fitness apps found on your smart device can also be great tools to help keep you interested and motivated in your daily workout.

Whether you want to up your cardio game, build and tone muscles, or learn to stretch properly, there’s something to fit every need.

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How To Use Your Music While You Work Out

Many of us listen to music when we work out…and for good reason! Music is a great way to boost your body and mind so you can get the most out of your exercise session.

The main reason music is so helpful has to do with something called “preferred tempo.” The preferred tempo for different activities or moods is based on what your body needs at that moment. Whether you are looking to stimulate movement or promote relaxation, the tempo of the music you listen to can have a huge effect on how your body and mind function.

Don’t believe us? Keep reading to discover the best reasons to get your playlist ready the next time you’re lacing up your sneakers.

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Study Shows Red Meat and Processed Meat Cause Early Death

There’s nothing quite like a good ol’ American meal of meat and potatoes! However, new research and studies are showing that, while delicious, your juicy steak may be cutting significant years off of your life.

When it comes to your overall health, what you put into your body is as important as the amount of activity it gets. So let’s get real for a sec – and talk about how much red meat you should really be eating.

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Can 30 Minutes a Day Keep the Pharmacist Away?

According to the CDC, 75 million Americans have high blood pressure. That’s one in three, so chances are you know someone suffering from what the American Heart Association calls “the silent killer”. Most people manage their high blood pressure by taking a pill every day, but what if there was a better way to maintain healthy blood pressure.

When it comes to being healthy, you might immediately think about your weight and exercise routine. But a large part of being healthy is ensuring our bodies are able to perform necessary functions effectively and efficiently.

This includes things we usually don’t think about until there’s a problem, like your blood pressure.

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Losing Weight May Save You From a Heart Attack 

You probably hear people talk about weight loss and high cholesterol all the time, but did you know they are two sides of the same coin?

Knowing your cholesterol facts and the role your weight plays can help keep you be happy and healthy for longer.

What Is Cholesterol?

The word cholesterol strikes fear into the hearts of many, but it helps if you know your cholesterol facts. Not all cholesterol is bad, in fact, good cholesterol is healthy for your body and provides many benefits.

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What To Know About Bowflex’s New Intelligent Fitness App

Oops they did it again! Bowflex released something new and awesome!

Bowflex recently released a new “Max” Intelligence app to serve as your personal concierge of fitness!  It is featured on the new M6 and M8 Max Trainer machines.  This artificial intelligence monitors your fitness progress and tailors your workout experience each and every day.  It’s like having a personal trainer right there with you, every time you step on your machine.

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Lose Weight and Boost Health with Intermittent Fasting

With the millions of fad diets out there, how can you possibly decide the best way to lose weight?  With the rise of intermittent fasting, a new question is intriguing dieters:  “What if you could simply change WHEN you eat, not WHAT you eat, to lose weight and boost your overall health at the same time?”

workout in the morning

This is the idea behind intermittent fasting and science is backing it up. Keep reading to learn more and see if intermittent fasting is right for you.

Intermittent Fasting Overview

Before we dive in, we need to talk about what intermittent fasting is and what it isn’t…

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