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November 30, 2010

Stay Fit This Holiday Season

The holidays shouldn’t leave you looking like a bowlful of jelly. As fun as the holiday season is, it can be rough on your fitness program. Bad weather, stress, and lack of time can sap your motivation, while parties, visitors, and vacations can distract you from your workouts. It’s no wonder so many people gain weight in November and December, only to regret it on January 2nd.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can keep up or even improve your fitness level, stave off weight gain, and enjoy the holidays as much as ever. Just stick with the following guidelines.

            1. Manage Your Time. 

Scheduling your workouts in advance, either with a printed workout calendar or online with WOWY Supergym®, is always a good idea. But it’s especially important over the holidays, when just saying "I’ll do it when I have time" can be a recipe for failure. Your free time is sure to get filled up with other activities, and it’s easier than ever to forget about working out. On the other hand, if you schedule your workouts just like any appointments, you’re much more likely to do them when the time comes. (Better still, invite some Workout Buddies to join you for extra motivation.)

If you absolutely can’t find time on a particular day, mark it as a recovery period, and make sure you have a workout scheduled for the day afterward. It’ll prevent you from losing the fitness gains you’ve built, and ensure that you keep your exercise habit intact.

           2.  Keep up your energy.

If your holiday period is marked by flurries of frantic activity followed by a worn-out feeling, you’re not alone. But you can shorten those "dragging" periods with these healthy habits:

    • Stick to your food plan. Loading up on high-carb holiday treats can cause blood sugar fluctuations that leave you feeling tired, while subsisting on rushed snacks or skipping meals entirely prevents you from getting the fuel you need. But regular, high-quality meals and snacks will keep you running at top speed, whether you’re working out or fighting over the last Dora the Explorer doll in the toy store.
    • Take time to relax. A meditation session, a round of yoga, or just a few minutes sitting with a hot drink or your favorite music will go a long way toward recharging your batteries.
    • See the light. If your energy takes a nosedive in the wintertime, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder, a mood-dampening condition caused by too little light exposure. See if you perk up after getting more rays (either by spending more time outside on sunny days, or by using a full-spectrum light box). If that doesn’t help, see your doctor.
    • No skipping. If you feel a little tired before a planned workout, don’t take that as a signal to skip it. Chances are your energy levels will pick up once you start moving. And when you exercise regularly, you’re much less likely to experience those lulls during the rest of the day.


    3.  Travel right.

This is a great time of year to take a vacation or visit family—but without advance planning, those trips can bring your fitness program to a screeching halt. Here’s how to avoid that:

  • Protect yourself on the plane. Since there’s no guarantee that an airline will have healthy food on hand, pack a meal or snack in advance, and make sure you drink plenty of liquids. If you’re worried about catching something on the flight, boost your disease-fighting ability with Herbal Immune Boost.
  • Watch out when eating out. Travel often means a lot of restaurant meals, and that can derail your food plan in a hurry. Try to find restaurants that serve high-quality meals, or, if that’s not possible, order the best of what is on the menu. (Even the IHOP® has some healthful, high-protein selections these days.) But if you eat in a chain restaurant, check out the nutrition ratings just to make sure you’re not getting one of those 2,000-calorie salads.
  • Organize healthy activities. When you go to a warm beach or on a ski vacation, this is a no-brainer. But if you’re traveling to an unfamiliar city, you should find out in advance what you can do that requires a little movement. And if you’re staying with family members who prefer life on the couch, suggest some outdoor games—or, if the weather isn’t cooperative, healthy indoor activities. Even a post-meal walk will get everyone’s blood pumping and prevent total lethargy from setting in.
  • Take your workout with you. One of the many benefits of a DVD workout program is that it’s portable. Decide which workouts you’ll want to do during your trip, and pack those DVDs, along with a resistance band. If you don’t have one, see if the place you’re staying has basic gym equipment, or stick to exercises that don’t require any.

            4.  Take care of your health.

Nothing can derail a workout program like getting sick. And you may be extra-vulnerable to illness at this time of year, when stress and bad weather collide with cold and flu season. But a few basic precautions can improve your odds:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before touching your nose or mouth. (A recent study found that it doesn’t matter how hot the water is, but for maximum benefit, you need to lather with soap for at least 20 seconds.)
  • Avoid germs. If you work out in a gym, clean the equipment with antibacterial spray, or at least cover it with a towel. Warm, moist surfaces are an ideal place for germs to live and grow.
  • Get plenty of sleep—less than 7 or 8 hours per night can compromise your immune system. (It can also slow your exercise recovery.) Try to save the late-night carousing for times when you can sleep late or take a nap the next day.
  • Drink plenty of water. It’s easy to forget when it’s cold outside, but staying hydrated helps keep your immune system in top working order.
  • Get a flu shot. Remember, there are different strains of the flu virus every year, so last year’s shot won’t keep you protected.
  • Maintain your healthy eating habits, and get a complete supply of vitamins every day. (To make sure, supplement with ActiVit® Multivitamins or Shakeology®.)

If you do come down with a mild cold, it’s okay to keep working out—moderate exercise can actually boost your immunity. (Though if you’re following a high-powered program such as P90X® or INSANITY®, you should ramp down the intensity for a while.) But if you have a fever, chest congestion, or can barely get out of bed, that’s a sign that you need to rest up and recover. When in doubt, ask your doctor.

If you have any questions, contact us today!  We’re here to help.

November 24, 2010

Have a Healthy Thanksgiving!

Here’s a great article I found to help you make your Thanksgiving a little healthier.  Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we’ll see you next week!

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Thanksgiving

Written by Gloria Tsang, RD of HealthCastle.com
Published in Nov 2005; Updated in Nov 2007

(HealthCastle.com) Do you know that the average Thanksgiving dinner has over 2000 calories? It can be a real challenge if you are watching your waistline. The following are some eating tips so that you can still look good and be healthy after the Thanksgiving dinner without having to deprive yourself.

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Thanksgiving

If you are a guest of a Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Don’t go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry – therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time.
  • Thanksgiving dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet: Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with a lean meat and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly and stop when you are full.
  • Turkey – go skinless: choose your 4-oz turkey portion skinless to slash away some fat and cholesterol. Save your appetite for the side dishes and desserts.
  • Side Dishes – watch your portion size: go for smaller portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.
  • Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items: high fat food items can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as cheese-filled casseroles in a traditional Thanksgiving meal . For instance, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese and milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows. If you cannot control the ingredients that go in to a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size. Again moderation is the key.
  • Drink plenty of water: alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body. Drink calorie-free water to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated.

If you are the honorable chef of a Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Substitute high fat ingredients with lower-fat or fat-free ingredients. Learn about the 5 easy steps to recipe substitutions or see table below.
  • Leftover Turkey? Instead of turkey sandwiches, use the leftover turkey to make a pot of soup with fresh chunky vegetables.
  • Experiment with new recipes: we did a search on Google and found numerous delicious yet healthy low-fat contemporary Thanksgiving recipes. Experiment!

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Substitution Tips

Recipe calls for…

1 whole egg

2 egg whites

sour cream

low fat plain yogurt or low fat sour cream


skim or 1% milk

ice cream

frozen yogurt

heavy cream (not for whipping)

1:1 ratio of flour whisked into non fat milk (e.g. 1 cup of flour + 1 cup of non fat milk)

whipped cream

chilled evaporated skim milk or other low fat whipped products such as Nutriwhip

cheese low-fat cheese (please note: non-fat cheese does not melt well if use in cooking or baking)
butter light butter

cream of mushroom

fat-free cream of mushroom

November 24, 2010

Recipe of the Week-Veggie Stir Fry

With it being a short week, we were short on time…so we decided to show you a recipe from Tony Horton’s personal chef Missy Costello (a good friend of ours) and a wonderful cook.  She’s taught us a lot.  For more videos like this, contact us today to find out how you can access more recipes and fitness tips on a weekly basis from Beachbody’s trainers and experts.  

November 17, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Salmon Dish

This week’s recipe, a little salmon dish.  Really good! 

November 14, 2010

Anyone Can Do Pull Ups!!!

Everyone tells me, "I can’t do pull ups or chin ups".   They start P90X and they quit because they let their mind get wrapped up in the results!  You can’t let your ego get in your way.  Here’s a great video from the man himself…showing how to do pull ups no matter what your fitness level.

November 12, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Healthy Sloppy Joes!

Easy and good! 

November 10, 2010

Nutrition Density… Why It’s Important.

Not all foods that are marketed as healthy are….it’s one of the reasons why Alisha and I use products like Shakeology, for it’s nutrition density.  So what is Nutrition Density.  Glad you asked.  Here’s a great article I found to explain just that.  After you read it, let me know your thoughts.  If it sparks something inside of you and you’re wanting to make a healthy lifestyle change….let me know.  We’ll be happy to send out some Shakeology samples so you can see what it is that this article refers to as "Super Foods".  It’s amazing what happens to your body when you feed it right!

What Is Nutrient Density

How do you decide which foods you want to eat? Flavor? Texture? Convenience? Comfort? Many people choose the foods they eat based on immediate gratification, without much thought about the long-term effects of their selections. That often results in choosing foods that taste good, but are not good for you.

What about the nutritional value of the foods you eat? When you choose your foods, be sure to consider the nutrient density of the foods. Nutrient density refers to the amount of nutrients for the given volume of food. Nutrient-dense foods have lots of nutrients, generally with fewer calories. All those superfoods you’ve heard about are nutrient dense foods. Energy-dense foods have more calories for the volume of food and generally fewer nutrients.

How Nutrient Density Works

You are hungry and it is a few hours until dinner so you decide you want a snack. You can choose either an apple or a glazed donut. They are roughly the same size and either food works as a quick snack so you can get back to work. Which one do you choose?

Hopefully you chose the apple. Why? The apple has around 80 calories and lots of vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals that will keep you healthy. The fiber and water in the apple will fill your stomach and keep you satisfied until dinner.

The donut has calories. Lots of calories. In fact, the donut has more than 200 calories but it doesn’t have many nutrients. There is only about one gram of fiber so it won’t keep you feeling full either, so eating that glazed donut will frequently lead to eating a second one. The donut also has lots of unhealthy saturated fat and plenty of sugar. Sure it tastes good, but your body might pay quite a price for the immediate gratification.

You can also compare nutrient density using the amount of calories in the food rather than volume or portion size. Let’s compare a cup of carrot slices to four saltine crackers. Both snacks have about 50 calories, but the carrots have many more nutrients for the same number of calories. The carrots are nutrient dense; the crackers are energy dense. This is important for people on weight-loss diets. Foods that are low in calories, but high in fiber and other vitamins, will keep you satisfied and healthy while you lose weight.

Nutrient-Dense Superfoods

You can probably already see from the examples that brightly colored fruits and vegetables are big winners in nutrient density. That’s one reason why so many fruits and vegetables qualify as superfoods, or foods that are rich in nutrients and other compounds that have healthy benefits such as fiber, phytochemicals and essential fatty acids. The superfood fruits and vegetables include carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, berries, apples, cherries, pomegranate and oranges.

Other nutrient-dense superfoods include salmon, tuna, trout, low-fat dairy products, oatmeal and whole grains, soy, dry beans sand even some fortified foods. On the other hand, energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods include things that are high in sugar and fat such as refined white breads, pasta, pastries, processed lunch meats and cheeses, ice cream, candy, soda, potato chips and corn chips. In other words, junk food.

Choosing nutrient-dense superfoods at the grocery store is pretty easy if you stay along the edges of the store, where the produce, fresh lean meats, low-fat dairy and fresh bakery goods are found. These fresh foods may be more expensive than the energy-dense packaged foods, but you buy more nutrition for that price. Of course, most shoppers choose some packaged foods for convenience, but you can still make smart choices with those products — just read the labels.

You can easily find the Nutrition Facts labels on the backs or sides of the packages. Look at the serving sizes, note the number of calories per serving and look at the amount of fiber, vitamins, calcium and iron. The packaged food that has the better combination of lower calories, higher nutrients and less sodium is the winner.

Nutrient-Dense Meals

You can prepare nutrient-dense meals by choosing nutrient-dense superfoods and ingredients for your dishes. A nutrient-dense meal should have one serving of a healthy protein source such as legumes, fish, poultry or low-fat meat. One serving is typically about the size of a pack of playing cards. The rest of the meal should be made up of healthy side dishes. Vegetables are always good, even with a little bit of cheese or sauce. Whole-grain pastas, brown rice and wild rice are good choices as well. A green salad with lots of vegetables can make a nice nutrient-dense superfoods side dish or can be a great meal on its own. Clear soups with lots of vegetables are nutrient-dense compared to cream soups which have more calories and are more energy dense.

Would I Ever Choose Foods That Are Energy-Dense?

People who are underweight need some energy-dense foods to make sure they are getting enough calories to gain weight. Healthy energy dense foods include peanut butter, dried fruits, starchy vegetables and cheese.

Why Should I Think About Nutrient Density?

Eating nutrient-dense food will ensure you are getting all the nutrition you need. A nutrient-dense diet won’t leave you feeling hungry so maintaining your weight is much easier. Choosing nutrient dense foods can become second nature. Once you understand which foods are more nutrient dense, the rest is easy. Just remember that the foods you eat can affect your health in a big way. To be healthy or unhealthy? The choice is yours.




November 10, 2010

Dr. Oz: 2nd Most Important # to Know is Blood Pressure

Great read on why it’s important to understand what your blood pressure is and what it means to you.  Mine used to always be high, before I changed my lifestyle.  It’s amazing how you can change the numbers in your body by changing your lifestyle.  Enjoy…

For the last few issues, we’ve been trying to get a message across to you in this column. Do you have it memorized yet? Your body is amazing. You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and isn’t that hard if you know what to do. We want you to know how much control you have over your quality and length of life.

What we are excited about today is your blood pressure. A new survey (we tell you about it below) reminded us of how important blood pressure is, so let us remind you: Your blood pressure is the second most important number for you to know (your spouse’s birthday is No. 1).

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar are on that list, too, but blood pressure (BP) swamps those in importance. Moving from the worst to the best cholesterol numbers makes about a six-year positive difference in your RealAge.

But moving from high to normal BP makes as much as a 25-year difference.

First, what do the numbers measure? Here’s the scoop: The top number—known as systolic pressure—reflects the pressure created in your arteries when your heart squeezes blood out into your blood vessels. The bottom, or diastolic, number indicates the pressure when your heart relaxes. Both numbers indicate what is pushing against your arterial walls.

Moving from the U.S. average (129/86) to 115/75 can make you nine years younger. Put another way, when veterans with an average age of 55 years had untreated diastolic BPs in the 90-plus range, more than 35 percent of them died in five years, as opposed to less than 7 percent when they got that diastolic BP under 85.

So what did the survey say? In this 2,400-person survey, about nine out of 10 adults (89 percent) who self-reported having high blood pressure believe the condition is a cause for concern and want to understand what is going on in their bodies to cause it. But less than a third knew their numbers or knew if they had good control. Ugh.

We feel compelled to say anyone, yes, everyone we’ve seen, can get their BP lower than 135/85, and more than nine out of 10 can get it to less than 120/80.

If you heard that your systolic blood pressure should be 100 plus your age, you heard what used to be commonly stated but wrong. Also outdated is the assumption that 120/80 is healthy. The BP you want is 115/75 or less. If your day-to-day BP is consistently higher than optimal, you have work to do.

Let’s be blunt: You don’t need to be a statistic. Having high numbers makes you part of a real health epidemic, one that will be responsible for more than 60,000 deaths this year in the United States and more than 6,000 in Canada. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the largest killer in North America, responsible for 900,000 deaths a year in the United States alone.

And here’s motivation for knowing the number and aiming lower: If you’re 55 years old, every five-point increase above that optimal top number of 115 makes your RealAge one year older. Ditto a seven-point increase in the bottom number. Healthy (and good-tasting) food choices and physical activity often will bring the numbers down—see below. And if you lose waist, even better: Shedding just 10 percent of the weight you gained since you were 18, or 2 inches of waist, will bring both numbers down and make your arteries years younger.

If you know your numbers and you and your doc set a goal, you can start aiming for lower readings and start doing more of the things that we know help people reach their blood pressure goals. Get a device and measure it—we’d like you to aim for 115/75, but work with your doc.

Looking for a Cause
There are a lot of things we can blame high blood pressure on: the dollar menu at the corner fast-food joint, the burden of pending mortgage payments, our family heritage. And it’s true that things like poor diet, stress and genetics can play a role. So can a lack of walking.

But there are also changes that happen inside your body that can lead to high blood pressure. And you may never know the real reason your numbers are high.

But here’s what is certain: how to get that number to where it ought to be. First, there are lifestyle changes:

  • Eating more vegetables, less meat, less saturated fat and more healthy fat instead, such as olive oil, canola oil and other omega-3 fats like DHA
  • Having more real friends—people whom you trust totally and can confide in, hopefully like your significant other, but the more friends you can confide in, the better
  • Walking daily

In addition to these, your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower your numbers. In fact, we ask our patients who need medicines to think of them as friends—steady, stable friends who help you reach a goal when other things don’t get you there. And there are more medication options than ever to help you do this job. Then why don’t people do so? More than 30 percent don’t fill their BP prescriptions when they do not have to pay for them. Maybe it is the side effects, or maybe they don’t realize how important it is.

But you have to be a smart patient and tell your doc what is bothering you about the medication. There are more classes of drugs than ever, so side effects can be minimized, or you can even find side effects that you like (one pill increases libido, one decreases it). In fact, there are at least 10 major classes of blood pressure pills available today, including the newest class of medication that targets a chemical system responsible for the normal rising and falling of blood pressure: the renin system. In some people, the renin system is too active, and that can lead to high blood pressure.

Your doctor may even start you on more than one type of pill, because combining pills can work in different ways at lower doses, maximizing benefits while minimizing side effects.

Whatever course of action you and your doctor decide is right for you, stick with it. Every point drop in blood pressure could mean that much more health, that much more life, that much younger in RealAge, and that much less risk for high blood pressure dangers like erectile dysfunction, poor-quality orgasms, kidney failure or even the big ones: heart attack and stroke. We want you to keep reading this column. So find out your number, and then get it to your ideal. Talk to your doc about more friends or use the tools at RealAge.com to aim lower.

November 3, 2010

Pita Pizzas

I brought this out of the archives, because I’ve been using these as quick meals.  You pre-make a bunch of them and stick them in the freezer and they’re so much better for you than frozen pizzas you’d buy at the store.  So here you go…enjoy!!!!

November 3, 2010

The Art of Self Control

This is a great article from a lady named Ashley Wisniewski, especially coming off of Halloween.  If you have kids like I do, then you know the challenge of having candy in the house…and tons of it!   These techniques and philosophies tie in perfectly with any Beachbody program you may be doing or may want to start doing.  There’s programs that can fit in to any time schedule.  The only thing stopping you….is you.  Enjoy the read.

I started Halloween weekend with the best of intentions — I even bought snacks instead of candy to hand out to any potential trick-or-treaters. For some reason, I thought it might be a good idea to have candy as well, just in case we had too many children come knock on our door.

Well, with two bags of candy and no costumed-children, I had a problem. The odd thing is, I’m not even a huge candy or chocolate eater but I over-indulged in a few too many mini chocolate bars anyway.

Also, I attended a friend’s Halloween party. I foolishly treated myself to many delicious, high-calorie hor d’ouvres: a little seven-layer graveyard themed dip, witches hats made out of crescent rolls and coffin-shaped brownies. Through my mishaps at the party, I learned a very valuable lesson as we head into holiday-themed parties, which is that I need to stay away from the snack table!

I would have hoped by this point in my journey towards a healthy lifestyle I would have learned the art of self-control. Unfortunately, I still need to work on my ability to say no and resist temptations.

Thankfully, the week started and it is time to shake off Halloween. This week, I am looking forward to putting into practice some of the tips I received from nutritionist Keri Glassman. It is amazing how much perspective you gain from talking to someone who is an expert in food and healthy choices.

Although I have made some changes since my meeting with a dietitian a few weeks ago, after speaking with Keri I realized while I have started to build a good foundation, I still have quite a bit of work ahead of me. One of the most important things I learned from Keri is that I’m not getting enough calories during the day.

While I am making healthier food choices and have and added fruit and vegetables as snacks, I still need to get more fiber and protein into my food choices. When I told Keri that recently I’ve been good all through the day and have started eating a lot in the evenings she said it was because I need more food throughout the day.

After we talked about food, Keri asked me about my exercise routine. Busted. I felt like I was caught with my hand in the cookie jar! When she asked me about my workouts, I was honest with her that I’ve been better but that I am still averaging about two workouts a week. Although it is something that is very obvious and I don’t like to admit it, you can’t avoid the truth when someone else puts it out there for you to digest; Keri pointed out that I’m not getting enough exercise.

While I have been running more and I’ve been walking, I have not been consistently exercising enough and that must change. Keri asked me if I could commit to four times a week, 45 minutes each workout. What was I going to do, tell her no? Absolutely not!

I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time at the gym in the next few weeks because I have a challenge to exceed.
Another challenge coming up is my birthday! Why is my birthday a challenge? I like birthday cake. I like ice cream. And I definitely like all of the free dinner coupons that have been showing up in my email inbox over the past few days.

I am trying to convince myself that just because it’s my birthday week doesn’t mean I can make poor choices. There is a small part of me that is staying strong, while a larger voice is saying that it’s my birthday and I’ll eat if it I want too! Which one do I listen to?

Here is what Keri Glassman had to say about her consultation with Ashley:

One of Ashley’s biggest challenges is similar to Lee. She does a lot of night-eating. But her nighttime eating is more when she gets home from work. She snacks until she has dinner with her husband. To combat this I added into her day time routine a late afternoon snack to keep her metabolism revved and cut her hunger until she eats with her husband. She also needs to be more prepped at home with healthy things to snack on during this waiting period for her husband.

Ashley is also still making some less dense nutrient choices at places she picks up food from. We are working on finding more nutrient-dense options that she doesn’t perceive as "diety." Finally, Ashley has big sweets cravings! And, over indulges big time when she gets sweets in. For this, we are working on her learning to make "conscious indulgences" versus feeling like "I have indulged so I mine as well eat it all and start again" attitude.

For more from Ashley click here.


November 3, 2010

Dr. OZ: Foods That Prevent Cancer

Cancer is a nasty word that we all hate to hear.  It’s taken a lot of loved ones away from me and it’s reared it’s ugly head again with my step mom who is currently fighting two types of cancer at once.  We don’t know if there will ever be a cure, but when I find articles like this, I feel it neccesary to share them.  If our diet can help our chances, why not do it?!  What have we got to lose?  Here’s a great article from Dr. Oz about cancer fighting foods….

Our basic premise is: Your body is amazing; you get a do-over; it doesn’t take that long, and isn’t that hard if you know what to do.

In these columns we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you to do and to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over your quality and length of life.

In the last few issues (you do read and memorize all our columns, don’t you?) we came to the conclusion that the most important tips to staying young are:

    1. Understand you get a do-over. It’s not that hard, and it doesn’t take that long if you know what to do.
    2. Start with walking.
    3. Recruit a buddy and call daily.
    4. Learn how to make YOU-turns when you don’t meet your goals.
    5. Turn sirtuin on with a glass of wine, knotweed pie or a sirtuin drug (someday) every night.
    6. Aim lower: Know your BP numbers and get them to 115/75, whatever it takes.
    7. Food is not Let’s Make a Deal: Choose four handfuls a week of broccoli or any cruciferous vegetable to make prostate, breast and colon cancer much less likely.
    8.Add some important stuff—walnuts, algae, coffee, turmeric and blueberries for your brain.

In this month’s column we want you to learn about foods that fight cancer.

When it comes to foods that fight cancer, you can pretty much guess that they don’t come in little snazzy bags with creative spellings on them (like “cheez,” for instance). But the following cancer-fighters are almost as easy to find and fit into a bag and into your life.

Walnuts, almonds and pistachios.These contain a potent substance that may thwart cancerous tumors. The hard part is pronouncing the substance, named inositol pentakisphosphate. The easy part is fitting them into your lifestyle. Can’t do nuts? The compound is also found in wheat bran and most legumes.

Chewy, toothsome whole grains. Try grains including quinoa, kasha, millet, chia and spelt, and you may reduce your risk of cancer of the small intestine. In a large-scale study of adults, those who ate the most whole grains were 41 percent less likely to develop cancer of the small intestine.

Rosemary chicken. Or rosemary lemonade. Or rosemary in your tossed salads. In lab studies, rosemary extract has given both breast cancer and leukemia cells a real fight.

In addition to these keys, as we mentioned in the October issue, four handfuls a week of broccoli or any cruciferous vegetable will make prostate, breast and colon cancer much less likely. See, what you eat can dramatically influence how well and how long you live. Remember to choose health yourself, and tell at least one other person.

Now you probably remembered to add cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, but we have more to that broccoli story—something that can add some zip to it. Yes, some cancers are sneakier than art thieves; you don’t even know they’re there until the damage has been done. But there’s a way to give extra oomph to the broccoli that thwarts cancer’s plans (there’s probably a way to get extra success in thwarting art thieves’ plans, too, but we’ll leave that to other experts), and that’s to fi ll your plate with a little tender-crisp crunch and a little zip. Specifically, spice up your broccoli with some red chili peppers.

Add the other cruciferous veggies too—arugula, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and watercress—not just for their anticancer effect. They turn on the GSTM1 genes that make a protein that binds to and causes prostate, colon and breast cancer cells to commit suicide. But they also improve memory and decrease type II diabetes risk. And women who ate the most from this family scored the same on brain tests as women who were two years younger than they were. But why add red chili peppers to these veggies?

In the lab, a compound called phenethyl isothiocyanate, found in cruciferous veggies including broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, stopped ovarian cancer cells from spreading. Previous studies of people with bladder, prostate, breast and gut cancers have found that eating four to seven or more servings of cruciferous vegetables a week can prevent the growth of these cancers by 50 percent. Capsaicin, abundant in red chili peppers, also helped stop pancreatic cancer cells from spreading. That’s like jailing the art thugs before they even begin the heist.

More than anything, cancer cells want energy. After all, these cells have a mechanism that makes them replicate very efficiently—and also makes them stronger than normal cells in your body. If the cells don’t get that energy, they kill themselves off because they outgrow their energy supply. Somehow, the compounds in chili peppers and these veggies encourage the killing-off process.

What foods to avoid? The evidence is circumstantial but growing: Avoiding saturated fat (four-legged animal fat plus palm and coconut oil), trans fat (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils), simple sugars and syrups added to food, and any grain but 100 percent whole grain, reduces risk of several common cancers such as colon, breast and prostate.

So add more cruciferous vegetables to salads, pastas and side dishes; increase the zip of nearly anything with chili peppers—or pair these foods together in a stir-fry. And chalk another one up to the power of everyday foods—walnuts, pistachios, almonds, whole grains, rosemary, cruciferous veggies and chili peppers.

NC Fit Club