Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great Summer Grain: Quinoa

If you're not already using this wonderfully versatile grain: start!! It's a perfect vegetable protein and slow-release energy food, providing a spectrum of B-vitamins for health and vitality.
A complete protein, Quinoa helps tissue to grow and also repairs it. Quinoa contains several B-vitamins, including B5 which is essential for a healthy response to stress. Full of iron it is a high energy grain, thus preventing fatigue, as well as hair loss and anemia. It also supplies the body with magnesium, which is well known for preventing high blood pressure, and vitamin B2, which controls cholesterol build up by destroying harmful free radicals. Quinoa also contains vitamin E, which is good for the skin.
Quinoa Tabbouleh
1 cup    Quinoa

2 cupsOrganic, low sodium vegetable broth
2 tblspPine nuts roasted
8-10Cherry tomatoes finely chopped
2 smallOnions finely chopped
1 tblspParsley, mint & coriander finely chopped
4 tblspLemon juice
2 tbslpExtra virgin oil

Rinse and drain the Quinoa, then put in a saucepan and toast for 3 minutes.
Add the broth and bring to boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes.
Drain and put in a bowl, add the pine nuts, tomatoes, onion and herbs.
In a dish combine the lemon juice and olive oil, pour over the salad, season to your taste, mix well and serve it on a bed of green leave salad.

Blood Pressure: Why is it an Important Indicator?

Blood pressure measures the pressure within the blood vessels and arteries. Two significant numbers are related to blood pressure. The first is the systolic, and the second is the diastolic.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is created when the heart pumps blood through the arteries. The force or pressure as the heart pushes blood into the arteries is called the diastolic. The systolic pressure is the pressure created as the arteries resist the blood flow while the heart is at rest.
 Keeping A Healthy Blood Pressure
To maintain a healthy blood pressure, a person should eat a healthy, low-sodium diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Additionally, frequent exercise can lower your risk of developing blood pressure-related problems. Smoking and excess alcohol consumption will also have a negative effect on blood pressure.
 High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Any baseline (average) blood pressure reading for an adult where the systolic number exceeds 120 and the diastolic number is greater than 80 constitutes the beginnings of high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, for an adult, a reading of 120 over 80 or less constitutes normal blood pressure. A systolic number of 120 to 139 over 80 to 89 constitutes pre-hypertension, and a reading of 140 over 90 or higher is high blood pressure.
Persons suffering from high blood pressure are at increased risk for heart attack and/or stroke. They also have higher rates of kidney failure, due to the fact that increased blood pressure puts stress on their kidneys and other vital organs.
 Check Blood Pressure Regularly
Have your blood pressure checked by a physician or nurse at least twice a year. Make sure they measure both arms to get a holistic picture of your cardiovascular health. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer.” This is because blood pressure-related complications often do not show up until they are life-threatening. A person may “feel fine” but be at a higher risk for heart attack or stroke.
 Good News: High Blood Pressure is preventable and reversible.
High blood pressure is preventable and reversible.

Desk Exercises for Long Office Days

These days, it seems like everyone is working more hours and using the old “no-time-to-exercise” excuse more than ever. But what if you could actually work out at work?
While you won’t get to the Olympics this way, you can do stretching, muscle-strengthening, and even short stints of aerobic exercises right at your desk (or maybe in a vacant conference room or stairwell). Any amount of exercise helps.
60-Second Aerobics
Your heart’s ability to jump from resting to “pumped” has been shown to increase longevity and decrease heart disease risk.
While you shouldn’t give up on your home or gym exercise routine, you can certainly supplement it with exercises done at your desk (and, on those extra-long workdays, it’s much better than doing nothing.) Here are a few aerobic tricks to try during your next break between tasks:
  • Glance at the wall clock and rip off a minute’s worth of jumping jacks. If you’re a beginner, try the low-impact version (raise your right arm and tap your left toe to the side while keeping your right foot on the floor; alternate sides)
  • Do a football-like drill of running in place for 60 seconds. Get those knees up! (Beginners, march in place.)
  •  Simulate jumping rope for a minute: Hop on alternate feet, or on both feet at once. An easier version is to simulate the arm motion of turning a rope, while alternately tapping the toes of each leg in front.
  • While seated, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds, then rapidly tap your feet on the floor, football-drill style, for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.

Some strength-building suggestions:
  • Do one-legged squats (hold onto a wall or table for support) while waiting for a web page to load, or the copier to spit your reports. Repeat each leg 15 times.
  • Stand with one leg straight and try to kick your buttocks with the other.
  • Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight, hold for 2 seconds; then lower your foot (stop short of the floor) and hold for several seconds. Switch; repeat each leg 15 times.
  • To work your chest and shoulders, place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat, hold for a few seconds. Repeat 15 times.
  • To stretch your back and strengthen your biceps, place your hands on the desk and hang on. Slowly push your chair back until your head is between your arms and you’re looking at the floor. Then slowly pull yourself back in. Repeat15 times.
  • Desk push ups can be a good strengthener. (First, make sure your desk is solid enough to support your weight.) Stand, put your hands on the desk. Walk backward, and then do push-ups against the desk. Repeat 15 times.

Reach for the Sky
Stretching exercises are a natural for the desk-bound, to ease stress and keep your muscles from clenching up. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
  • Let your head loll over so that your right ear nearly touches your right shoulder. Using your hand, press your head a little lower (gently, now). Hold for 10 seconds. Relax, and then repeat on the other side.
  • Try this yoga posture to relieve tension: Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right, and hold a few seconds. Repeat 15 times, alternating sides.
  • Sit up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.
  • You get to put your feet up for this one! To ease the hamstrings and lower back, push your chair away from your desk and put your right heel up on the desk. Sit up straight, and bend forward just until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Flex your foot for a few seconds, and then point it. Bend forward a little farther, flex your foot again, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Unobtrusive but Effective
If the boss wonders why your feet are on the desk, what about some invisible exercises?
  • Women can do kegels — tightening and holding, then loosening, their pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that control the flow of urine when you go to the bathroom). This will prevent leakage and other problems down the line.
  • Butt clenches are also helpful in today’s booty-conscious society. Tighten your buttocks, hold, hold, hold, and then relax. Repeat 15 times. The same goes for ab squeezes — just tighten your tummy muscles instead.
Don’t let fear of embarrassment keep you from exercising at work. Chances are, your co-workers will admire your efforts rather than be amused. You might even get them to join you on a lunchtime walk or to help you lobby for lunch-hour yoga classes at your workplace.
Resources: WebMD
Have and active day!
Desk exercises

Suffering from Kidney Stones?

Keep kidney stones in check by eating a balanced diet, maintaining a normal weight, and drinking at least 10 glasses of water a day.
The number of people suffering from kidney stones is increasing year by year. New research suggests that over weight and the lifestyle habits leading to weight management problems may be partly to blame. A recent study found that obesity, diabetes and gout all increase the risk of kidney stones. Maintaining a balanced, mainly plant-based, low sodium, sugar and saturated fat diet, may help reduce that risk.
If you suffer from frequent kidney stones, drink plenty of liquids every day — at least 10 glasses, of pure still water. Limit the amount of salt in your diet and avoid canned food, fast & conveniance food and all kind of processed food products. 
While  in the past doctors would have recommended to stay away from dairy products, current research shows that eating a moderate amount of high-calcium foods with meals may actually decrease the chances of stones forming. For overall good health, remember to eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, 3-5 times a day
Food to prevent and decrease kidney stones:
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Morning Glory
  • Celery
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Onion
  • Avocado
  • Cranberries
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Potatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Soya beans
  • Whole grain rice
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Tuna
  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Seeds
  • Almonds
Healing nutrients and phytochemicals for Kidney stones:
  • Vitamin B6
  • Calcium (don’t forget plant based Calcium as in vegetables)

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