Exercise Tips that are Actually Myths

Before committing to an exercise regimen, one needs to distinguish the facts from the myths. Unfortunately, it is common for people to not only get injured from exercising improperly, but to also get the opposite results of what they desired. Sure, you could get a trainer to teach you what to do, but they can get very expensive after a while. So, here are some tips that are actually myths that you should avoid the next time you go to the gym.

-The biggest fitness myth around is to stretch before you exercise. When you stretch stiff, cold muscles, you are more likely to cause harm than good. Try warming your body up a bit before stretching by walking on the treadmill or jumping rope for about 15 minutes. Then, once your body is warmed up, your muscles will be looser and easier to stretch without causing injury.

-Another popular myth is to do crunches to slim down your waist. Crunches actually burn very few calories. They help strengthen the abdominal muscles, but do not actually help shrink your waistline. You must combine crunches with cardio in order to see optimal results.

-Exercise myth #3 is to do the same workout everyday. Your body is smarter than you think. The best way to workout is to trick your body and switch up your workout routine in order to work more muscle groups. This way you will burn more calories and prevent your body from getting used to that one monotonous workout you love to do.

-Myth #4 is that using the elliptical is less strenuous on your joints than running on the treadmill. This is not true because you are still mimicking the motion of running when on the elliptical. Also, the incline at which the elliptical is usually positioned can cause more strain on your hips and knees than running on a flat surface.

-Myth #5 is working out in the heat burns more calories. Just because you sweat more doesn’t mean you are burning more calories. In fact, sweating too much can potentially be dangerous due to the excess loss of electrolytes and water, which can lower one’s blood pressure and even cause them to faint.

-Last, but not least, myth #6 is that cardio is all one needs to lose weight. Even tho cardio does burn many calories, incorporating weight lifting into your regimen will help you lose weight faster. When you build lean muscle, your metabolism increases and your muscles will continue to burn calories even when you are not working out. Light weights with high repetition will help you tone up without bulking up, but heavy weights with low repetition will create larger, bulkier muscles.

So, the next time you go to the gym, make sure you ask questions and research which exercises are best for you before jumping on the first machine you see. Learning the proper way to exercise will help prevent injury as well as help you achieve your goals faster. Remember, separate the tips from the myths.Thanks for reading, this has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

 

 

Having Fish Oil Everyday Will Keep the Doctor Away!

Fish oil is another one of my favorites that I have been promoting to my friends and family for as long as I can remember. Whenever someone asks me what basic supplements are best to take everyday to maintain optimal health, fish oil is always at the tip of my tongue. It comes with a multitude of health benefits and is recommended for anyone at any age. Studies on fish oil are continuously being published as scientific research unveils more and more of its benefits on a daily basis. So, if you are one of the few I haven’t previously preached to about fish oil, please read on to find out more about this wonderful supplement.

First off, picking the right fish oil is very important and there are a few specific things you need to look for. Fish oil supplements that only contain omega-3 are the ones that have been proven to be most beneficial because the other omegas (such as omega-6 and omega-9) have actually been shown to induce more inflammation in the body rather than quelling it. Also, look for fish oil that is extracted from wild Alaskan salmon because it is one of the purest forms of fish oil that does not have to be processed in order to get rid of any impurities and is naturally mercury free. Now that you know which fish oil to pick, let’s talk about why you need to include it in your dietary regimen.

If you look back at my previous post on aloe vera, you will see I talked a bit about the dangers of chronic inflammation and how it is the root of most common health problems that people face. Fish oil is a key player in combating chronic inflammation and in turn reduces the risk of diseases and ailments associated with it such as heart disease, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, acne and even cancer. Fish oil also helps lower triglycerides (the building blocks of fat) thus helping reduce the risk of obesity. Also, for people with hypertension or high cholesterol, fish oil is a natural blood thinner, which helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. Fish oil also helps improve blood circulation and the delivery of oxygen and vital nutrients to cells all around the body as well. Something that most people may find hard to believe is that fish oil also helps with many cognitive disorders. For example, fish oil has been proven to protect the brain from developing Alzheimer’s disease and even Parkinson’s disease. Also, fish oil acts as a potent mood stabilizer. For people with signs of bipolar disorder or depression, fish oil has been shown to help tremendously in restoring normalcy in mood and behavior. For pregnant woman, fish oil helps build fetal and infant brain health and the development of psycho motor skills. Fish oil also has many aesthetic purposes as well including maintaining beautiful and strong hair, skin and nails. For people with dark cirles under their eyes, since fish oil helps thin the blood, it also promotes proper blood circulation to help those dark circles vanish. Last but not least, along with getting rid of your dark cirlces, fish oil also helps significantly improve eye health and vision.

The proper daily dose of fish oil is 1000mg a day. Some of you who are already familiar with fish oil may also, unfortunately, be familiar with the “fish burp.” For those of you who do not know what I’m talking about, that is the fish taste you get after consuming fish oil. However, have no fear. That problem can easily be solved with a shot of lemon juice, and in all honesty, it’s really not as bad as it sounds. I have also seen capsules that gaurantee the absence of this aftertaste so if it truly is something that you cannot handle, just know there are other alternatives out there. Don’t let this last bit deter you from going out and getting these magical pills. I promise you, you will be a believer. Thanks for reading! This has been your dose of vitamin Jas.

Substitute Balsamic Vinegar with Apple Cider Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a traditional ingredient used in many dishes and is readily available at most restaurants and grocery stores. However, just because balsamic vinegar is more popular doesn’t mean it is the right choice. Apple cider vinegar tastes just as good as balsamic, if not better, and comes with a long list of health benefits unmatched by any other in its class. Most of you are familiar with the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” right? Well, think of apple cider vinegar as an apple in its very best form.

From lowering the chance of developing diabetes to fighting fatigue, apple cider vinegar does it all. Research has shown that people who take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day will show a considerable improvement in their average blood sugar levels, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Also, it has been shown that apple cider vinegar can cause a significant decrease in both abdominal fat and waist circumference if consumed on a regular basis. Lower blood pressure is another favorable effect that has been seen with apple cider vinegar which, in combination with lowering cholesterol, can significantly decrease the chance of developing heart disease. Apple cider vinegar also aids in food digestion and regularity, minimizing the chance of gas or bloating after meals. It can also keep you full longer since it acts as a mild appetite suppressant, reducing cravings and the chance of eating poorly between meals. It has also been shown that apple cider vinegar can increase energy levels in times of fatigue so you won’t have to resort to harmful alternatives such as excessive caffeine consumption. Last but not least, apple cider vinegar is full of antioxidants to protect your cells and tissues from free radical damage, keeping your body youthful.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used topically as a treatment for a variety of skin conditions. Applying apple cider vinegar to a pimple can help reduce the redness and inflammation as well as kill the pore clogging bacteria so that it goes away faster. It can also help with fungal infections, including athletes foot and nail fungus. Applying apple cider vinegar to your scalp can help reduce dandruff by killing and discouraging the overgrowth of malassezia furfur, the yeast like fungus that causes it. For a sore throat, gargle with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and it will help you recover faster.

So, the next time you are at the grocery store, instead of going for the balsamic, do yourselves a favor and reach for the apple cider vinegar instead. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Thanks for reading, this has been you dose of Vitamin Jas.

 

Plain Yogurt Is Not As Plain As You Think

Are you trying to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, or even fight off a cold? Yogurt has been shown to do all those things and more. Yogurt is filled with essential nutrients that can make your body healthier and stronger. Here are some reasons why plain yogurt isn’t so plain.

Yogurt is packed with protein to help build lean muscle, which helps burn calories faster, even when you aren’t working out! People who had yogurt as a snack lost 81% more belly fat than those who skipped it. Yogurt also contains probiotics, also know as good bacteria that  help regulate your digestion and strengthen your immune system. It also boosts the amount of T-cells in your body, which help attack foreign viruses and bacteria to prevent infection. Yogurt is also high in potassium so it helps flush out the excess sodium that your body retains, and in turn lowers your blood pressure. Yogurt can also help build strong bones since it is naturally a great source of calcium. For people who suffer from acne, applying yogurt to your face can help get rid that. This is because yogurt also has many antibiotic properties that can kill the bacteria trapped in your pores. Since yogurt is naturally acidic, it also helps draw out the excess oil in your skin, leaving your complexion soft and smooth. Yogurt also helps deliver many vitamins and nutrients to your skin to give it a healthy, glowing appearance.

Try adding a cup of yogurt to your diet every day. It is low in calories and high in nutrients. If you are thinking I am advocating going to Yogurtland and stocking up on their yogurt, you are seriously mistaken. Stick to plain, old-fashioned yogurt because that will give you the most benefits. Thanks for reading, this has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

The Health Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa seeds may be tiny, but they pack a big punch. Quinoa is filled with nutrients that will help boost energy, metabolism and even mental clarity. Let me elaborate…

Quinoa is considered one of the best sources of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). It also contains iron, which is crucial for proper oxygen transport throughout our body, aiding in the contraction of our muscles, increasing brain function and speeding up our metabolism and energy production. Quinoa also has a substantial amount of fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, relieve constipation, lower blood pressure, and keeps us feeling full for a long period of time. Quinoa is also rich in magnesium, assisting in proper nerve functioning and the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. You will also find manganese in quinoa, which is a potent antioxidant that protects our cells from damage by free radicals in our body. Quinoa also contains lysine, an amino acid known to aid in tissue growth and repair, shortening recovery time after an injury or illness. Lastly, quinoa is a great source of riboflavin, a B vitamin that helps increase energy production in the brain and muscle cells.

Quinoa is not a grain, but when it is cooked, it has a light, fluffy texture similar to white rice, and is subtly flavored. It actually cooks and tastes like a grain, which is why it is a great replacement for grains that are difficult to digest or pack a higher number of calories and carbohydrates. So, the next time you are preparing a dish that calls for white rice, try using quinoa. You will be pleasantly surprised and your body will thank you in the long run. Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

 

Fiber is Your Friend!

How many people associate fiber with cardboard? How many people think that fiber is something that only their grandparents have because people only need fiber when they’re old? Well, fiber can actually benefit us at any age and doesn’t always necessarily have to taste bad. Fiber can be found in many tasty foods such as fruits, beans, nuts and even popcorn! So, stop thinking about fiber so negatively and learn why fiber is one of the most essential additions you can make to your diet.

Fiber is most commonly known for increasing regularity, but the list of benefits goes way beyond that. Aside from relieving occasional constipation, fiber can also lower blood cholesterol levels. Fiber binds to LDL, which is known as “bad cholesterol,” and carries it out of our bodies through our feces. For people with diabetes, or at risk for diabetes, fiber helps decrease blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar and preventing large spikes in insulin secretion. Fiber also aids in weight loss because it gives our meals bulk, making us full faster and keeping us full for a longer period of time. Also, foods high in fiber tend to have less calories, so there is less potential to gain weight. Fiber has also been linked to lowering blood pressure because it absorbs excess water in the colon. Most importantly, fiber binds to toxins and harmful bacteria that may have entered the body through our food and eliminates them through our feces so that they cannot be reabsorbed into our bloodstream. This also helps decrease inflammation in our bowels, which decreases the chances of developing such illnesses as irritable bowel syndrome.

As mentioned earlier, foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, whole grain bread, nuts, and beans. If none of these foods stimulate your appetite, you could also take fiber supplements. There are fiber caps or even fiber chews out there, such as Fiber Choice, that would deliver the full daily dose of fiber you would need. Women need about 25 grams of fiber a day and men need around 38 grams. Do not confuse fiber with laxatives. Laxatives are often stimulants that can make your body dependent if used for longer than 2 weeks. They also deplete your body of essential electrolytes, which can be very dangerous, especially for your heart.

So, now when you think of fiber, I hope you don’t just think of old people eating prunes or Metamucil. Instead, think of all the benefits fiber can bring and how it can help regardless of what age you happen to be. One last thing, make sure to drink plenty of water with a high fiber diet to get optimal results. Thanks for reading. This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

 

Put Down that Coffee and Grab Some Kombucha!

If you’re a coffee lover, like myself, I’m sure you’ve been warned by someone, at one point or another, about how harmful it is for you. Even though it’s been said that one cup of coffee a day is good for you, how many people just drink one cup a day? You may think that venti triple shot latte you get at Starbucks is considered “one cup” because it comes in just one cup, but you’re wrong. Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to many long term problems such as anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction, electrolyte imbalance, stomach ulcers, “caffeine headaches”, kidney stones, gallblader stones…I could go on but I think you get the point. Same goes for those energy drinks filled with caffeine and B vitamins. There’s only so much vitamin B12 your body can absorb in one day. The rest comes out in your urine. So you are just left with some expensive, bright yellow urine and no energy. So what should you do? I have the answer…

Kombucha is an effervescent tea-based beverage that gives you sustained energy without the crash. It has some caffeine in it, but not nearly as much as coffee or other energy drinks, and it has a multitude of health benefits that come along with it as well. Kombucha contains a vast amount of probiotics. I know you have heard of antibiotics which kill bacteria, but probiotics are the “good bacteria” that are in your body that help regulate your normal bodily functions such as digestion. That is why having kombucha after a large meal is so great becuase not only does it get rid of your food coma, it helps digest your meal as well. Kombucha also helps detoxify your liver, boost your immune system, works as a potent antioxidant, increases your metabolism, lowers your blood pressure, hydrates the body, balances the body’s internal pH, aids in healthy cell regeneration, and helps normalize blood sugar levels. Kombucha will give you as much energy as one of those triple shot lattes, but will not cause you to crash 2 hours later. It will give you energy that lasts for hours and will not harm your body or cause any long term problems.

Kombucha can be found in most health food stores, however, I like GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha found at Whole Foods. My favorite one is the original, but if you’re looking for more healthy goodness, it also comes mixed with ginger, citrus fruits or green leafy vegetables that they have labeled as “multi-greens.” Thanks for reading! This has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.

Aloe Vera: The Miracle Plant

I chose to write about aloe vera for my very first post because it truly is my Windex (like the father says from my Big Fat Greek Wedding). I use it for almost everything because it really is the most currative medicinal herb that nature has ever created.

Chronic inflammation is the key culprit in numerous diseases and ailments in the body, including irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain, heart disease, liver disease, acid reflux, high blood pressure, acne and even cancer. Inflammation is characterized by redness, heat, swelling and pain and is normally used as the body’s natural defense mechanism when something is wrong. However, when that natural defense mechanism turns into chronic inflammation, it also turns from being beneficial to being dangerous instead. Now, with all that said, let’s talk about how aloe vera comes into play. Aloe vera helps quell inflammation all throughout the body, inside and out. It helps prevent and treat the above mentioned diseases along with a slew of other ailments, including the following:

• Slows down growth of cancer tumors.
• Lowers high cholesterol.
• Thins the blood which helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
• Improves the oxygenation of your blood.
• Relieves arthrits pain.
• Protects the body from oxidative stress.
• Prevents kidney stones and kidney disease.
• Alkalizes the body since most of our diets make the pH of our body too acidic.
• Cures digestive disorders including ulcers, IBS, Crohn’s disease, constipation and even halts the progression of colon cancer.
• Lowers high blood pressure.
• Nourishes the body with minerals, vitamins, enzymes and glyconutrients.
• Heals burns, scratches, insect bites, scars and even acne.
• Stabilizes blood sugar and lowers triglycerides in diabetics.
• Maintains electrolyte balance in the body.
• Boosts cardiovascular performance and physical endurance.
• Speeds recovery from injury or physical exertion.
• Hydrates the skin and gives it a nice healthy glow.

 

Aloe vera juice can be found at almost any health food market and is considerably cheap when you take all its benefits into account. Only 2 ounces a day is enough to start seeing a significant improvement. If you don’t like the taste, mixing it with your favorite juice or smoothie helps mask the taste very well. Not only does it come as a juice, but aloe vera can be used topically as well. It comes as a gel or cream and can be used almost anywhere on the body. It can be used on your hair as a styling product, which actually helps nourish the scalp and regrow hair, or it can be used on the skin to help treat many skin disorders including acne, red marks, scars, scratches, insect bites, burns and even wrinkles. It is more hydrating than almost any other moisturizer out in the market.

I can go on and on about the miraculous benefits of aloe vera, as my friends and family can tell you, because I have experienced the benefits of aloe first hand. However, now that you know what I know, go and experience it for yourselves. You won’t regret it. Thank you for reading and don’t forget, being healthy is easy. This has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas. Good bye.