Saturday, September 22, 2018

Bizarre Effects of Working Out

Most don't work out for the pure joy of being drenched in sweat. They do it for the side effects: shed pounds, sexier muscles, and a longer, healthier life. But most don't know that itching, the runs, coughing, headaches, and a snot-covered face are all just as common side effects. Luckily, you can keep the good side effects without the (literally) crappy ones. Here's how:

You expect your skin to get red from your workout, but if it also gets splotchy, itchy, or covered in hives, a ton of different things could be ticking off your epidermis: tight workout clothes, chemicals contained within them, or a condition called exercise-induced urticaria. All three can stress out your body, causing it to produce histamines, antihistamines, and finally itching, says exercise physiologist Pete McCall, CSCS. It's basically an allergic reaction.

Skip the side effect: If you develop hives or rashes during or after exercise — and they also tend to pop up when you take hot showers, eat spicy foods, or get really ticked off — exercise-induced urticaria is likely to blame. Talk to your doc about your symptoms and find out if it's safe for you to take an antihistamine before hitting the gym.
Meanwhile, to prevent any skin irritations that your clothes can cause, try switching to looser-fitting clothing and make sure to wash everything with a fragrance-free detergent and no fabric softener, as both can irritate skin, says Michael Shepard, MD, a sports-medicine specialist with the Hoag Orthopedic Institute and team doctor to the Los Angeles Angels. Also, some people don't get along with polyester, spandex, or Lycra, so if you notice that you commonly have problems when you wear synthetic fabrics, stick with cotton.

The Runs
Funnily enough, this one is most common in runners. "When you go for a long run, your body has to shuttle blood to your muscles and away from your digestive system for an extended period of time," Shepard says. So any food in your gut just sits there and rattles around with every step, making diarrhea a real and ever-present threat.
Skip the side effect: Carbo-load the night before, not hours before, a long run, Shepard says. It will help guarantee that by the time you hit the trail, the food is already out of your stomach and the carbs are ready to go, packed away for safe keeping in your liver and muscles. You should still eat a small carb-rich snack within a couple hours of working out, but some runners can't stomach more than Jell-O. Meanwhile, if your long runs aren't mandatory, breaking them up into shorter intervals can help ease stomach upset.

You finished your workout strong. Then all of a sudden, you can't breathe. Congratulations: you have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology,  the condition, which causes a narrowing of the airways in the lungs, causes shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing in about one out of five people and nine out of 10 people with asthma. It's believed that, in people who suffer from the condition, the body reacts to airborne irritants by constricting its airways.

Skip the side effect: Exercising indoors may help keep your airways moist (dry air can make them clam up) and clear of pollutants.  Upping your vitamin C intake can also help prevent inflammation in your airways. In one 2013 study published in BMJ Open when exercisers popped a vitamin C supplement, they cut their symptoms in half.

During exercise, to keep your blood pumping, blood vessels throughout your body — including your brain — dilate. Especially in people who are prone to migraines, these expanded blood vessels can trigger headaches, Shepard says. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, holding your breath while you crank out reps can deprive your brain of oxygen-filled blood and bring on pain.

Skip the side effect: Exercise headaches are most frequent during strenuous exercise, especially when exercisers are pushing themselves too hard. Mastering moderate-intensity workouts before you start hitting high-intensity ones can help prevent headaches, according to the Migraine Trust, a UK-based research charity. Warming up before any workout can also help by preventing a sudden rush of blood through your brain.

By dilating blood vessels in your nose, and constricting others, exercise can open the floodgates that are your nasal passages. Called exercise-induced rhinitis (EIR), it's most common in people with nasal allergies, but is anything but rare in people who don't generally have the sniffles, according to research from the Allergy Asthma Immunology Clinic of Colorado.

Skip the side effect: Outdoor EIR is more common than its indoor counterpart, causing experts to believe that outdoor irritants like pollen and nitrogen dioxide in car exhaust may make things worse, McCall says. If your symptoms start getting in the way of your workout, you can talk to your doctor about possible nasal sprays that can help.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Why We Are Nuts About Nuts

People who consume five or more servings of nuts per week have lower levels of disease-causing inflammation than those who never (or almost never) eat nuts, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. What’s more, people who sub in three servings of nuts per week in place of red meat, processed meat, eggs, or refined grains can also experience lower levels of inflammation.

And, in a 2013 study of nearly 190,000 people published in the New England Journal of Medicine, those who ate a 1-oz serving of nuts daily decreased their risk of dying from any cause, including cancer and heart disease, by 20%. “These people also tend to be leaner, which is a curious finding, considering a serving of nuts is 160 to 200 calories,” says study researcher Charles S. Fuchs, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Fuchs suggests that nuts’ positive effect on energy balance, metabolism, and satiety likely explain how the high-fat snack can actually keep your weight in check.

But this isn’t a free pass to eat peanuts and pistachios by the bagful. “The key is portion size,” says Maureen Tarnus, M.S., R.D., executive director of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. “The FDA-qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease recommends 1.5 oz (about 1/3 cup) per day, and much of the research on nuts and diabetes, weight, and so on has looked at that same amount.”

In terms of variety, “pick whatever nut you like,” advises Fuchs. “They all appear to be providing comparable benefits.” Still, some nuts offer unique health-boosting bonuses, like strengthening bones, boosting braining health, or improving eyesight, so zero-in on these eight.

1. Pistachios
Serving size: 49 nuts
160 calories, 6g protein, 8g carbs, 13g fat, 3g fiber
If snacking presents a once-you-pop-you-can’t-stop problem, pick pistachios. The tiny green nuts afford you the biggest serving size—49 kernels—and since they’re typically sold in-shell, the work that goes into peeling the nuts slows down consumption. Pistachios are also the nut with the highest levels of three eyesight-boosting antioxidants: lutein, zeazanthin, and beta-carotene.

2. Almonds
Serving size: 23 nuts
163 calories, 6g protein, 6g carbs, 14g fat, 3.5g fiber
Almonds offer up more fiber than any other nut, which may help explain why participants in a Purdue University study who added 1.5oz of the nut to their daily diets reported less hunger and did not gain weight despite taking in 250 extra calories. Almonds also contain 75mg of calcium per serving—a fourth of what’s in a cup of skim milk.
In addition to the Purdue study, a study from Penn State found that almonds, when eaten regularly, were a big help in removing cholesterol from the body and lowering the risk of heart disease.. 

3. Peanuts
Serving size: 28 nuts
166 calories, 7g protein, 5g carbs, 14g fat, 2g fiber
Since they grow underground, peanuts are technically legumes, but offer the same health and nutrition benefits as tree nuts. At 7g per serving, peanuts are the big winner when it comes to protein. They’re also one of the best sources of arginine—the amino acid promotes the production of nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels and may help lower blood pressure.

4. Walnuts
Serving size: 14 halves
​190 calories, 4g protein, 4g carbs, 18g fat, 2g fiber
Walnuts’ claim to fame: They’re the only nuts that are a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that boosts heart and brain health. What’s more, a walnut-rich diet may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as the nut’s high levels of antioxidants protect the brain from degeneration, according to research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

5. Brazil nuts
Serving size: 6 nuts
186 calories, 4g protein, 4g carbs, 19g fat, 2g fiber
​Brazil nuts are best known for their selenium content—a 1-oz serving delivers 777% of the recommended daily intake of the antioxidant. Selenium fights free radicals, particles that damage cells and cause diseases like cancer and heart disease; plays a role in thyroid function and reproduction; and may bolster the immune system. So stock up during flu season. 

6. Cashews
Serving size: 18 nuts
157 calories, 5g protein, 9g carbs, 12g fat, 1g fiber
​In addition to being the nut that’s lowest in fat, cashews are also an excellent source of copper—one serving takes care of almost 100% of your daily intake of the mineral. Copper does a number of things in the body: It helps absorb iron (and make energy); manufactures red blood cells; and forms collagen, a key component of bones and connective tissue.

7. Hazelnuts
Serving size: 21 nuts
178 calories, 4g protein, 5g carbs, 17g fat, 3g fiber
Hazelnuts are big on folate—a lack of the B-vitamin, found primarily in leafy green vegetables, may cause mental-health issues, like depression. Hazelnuts also have a higher concentration of proanthocyanidins than any other nut. PACs are antioxidant plant compounds that may lower blood pressure, keep blood vessels and arteries healthy, and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

8. Pecans
Serving size: 19 halves
196 calories, 3g protein, 4g carbs, 20g fat, 3g fiber
​Think outside the pie. Pecans are the nuts with the highest concentration of antioxidants, especially vitamin E, according to research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Joined by foods like blueberries and beans, food potent in antioxidants protect against cell damage and decrease the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Why You Should Incorporate Dry Brushing In Your Routine

You may be thinking, Why do I need to add something else to my already busy morning routine? Let me assure you, the extra five minutes this takes is well worth the investment.

Think back to your human biology class (minus the traumatizing exam) and answer these questions: What is the largest organ in the body? What is one of the most important elimination organs in the body, playing a large role in daily detoxification? What organ receives a third of all the blood that is circulated in the body? When the blood is full of toxic materials, what organ will reflect this with problems? What organ is the last to receive nutrients in the body, yet the first to shows signs of imbalance or deficiency?

Answer for all: the skin! 

The benefits of dry skin brushing include:

Listen up ladies: Increasing the circulation to the skin could possibly reduce the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite is toxic material accumulated in your body’s fat cells. So, rather than take drastic measures like liposuction, how about utilizing the dry skin brushing techniques to help break down unwanted toxins?

Dry body brushing helps shed dead skin cells (and encourages new cell renewal), which results in smoother and brighter skin. It can also help with any pesky ingrown hairs.

It assists in improving vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. By releasing toxins, it encourages the body’s discharge of metabolic wastes so the body is able to run more effectively.

Dry skin brushing rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin (and it feels pretty great, too!).  It helps with muscle tone and gives you a more even distribution of fat deposits. Dry skin brushing helps your skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores.

Dry body brushing first thing in the morning can actually set up a perfect day! By doing something solely for yourself first thing in the morning, you can develop a beautiful follow-through effect, starting with a healthy breakfast - why ruin all the good work you just did?

Can you try dry body brushing at home?

Good news – you don’t have to book a pricey spa treatment to reap the benefits; this one can be done in your very own bathroom. All you need to do is purchase a natural bristle brush (not one made from nylon or synthetic materials). One with a long handle is also a plus, as it means you can reach all areas of the body.
The directions are pretty simple:

Start on dry skin before bathing.

Work in gentle circular, upward motions, then longer, smoother strokes.

Always begin at the ankles in upwards movements towards the heart - the lymphatic fluid flows through the body towards the heart, so it's important that you brush in the same direction.

Your back is the only exception to the preceding rule; brush from the neck down to the lower back.

After you've finished with the ankles, move up to the lower legs, thighs, stomach, back and arms. Be cautious of softer and sensitive skin around the chest and breasts, and never brush over inflamed skin, sores, sun-burnt skin, or skin cancer.

Ensure you shower to wash away the dead skin cells and impurities.
Tip: alternating temperatures in the shower from hot to cold will further invigorate the skin and stimulate blood circulation, bring more blood to the outer layers of the skin.
Then follow it up with a slick moisturizer to nourish the skin.
Give it a go for 30 consecutive days and your body will love you for it!