Too Much Of One Type Of Food May Be Unhealthy

If you’re like most people, you do what you can to eat healthy. You might think that where fresh fruits and vegetables are concerned, since they’re all good for you, there’s no such thing as too much.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.  Nutritionists broadly agree that ideally, you want to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and try not to bulk up on too much of any one type.

In simplest terms, that’s because fruits and vegetables have different nutrient makeups.  Eating too many of just one thing can cause imbalances in your body.  Perhaps the most extreme form of this can be seen if you binge on foods high in beta carotene. Beta carotene is the pigment found in foods like sweet potatoes and carrots that give them their orange color.  Eat too many of them and your skin will actually take on an orange hue.  Fortunately, that goes away as soon as you cut back on your intake.

Another problem is this:  Some fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber.  Too much of that will not only inhibit your body’s ability to absorb other nutrients, it will also lead to gas and bloating.  Not good.

It’s not just fresh fruits and vegetables you have to be worried about either.  Eating too much lean protein like fish or chicken can strain your kidneys and liver.

The lesson here is simple.  Moderation is the key.  If you eat a wide variety of fresh foods with a heavy emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, you won’t even need to take a vitamin and mineral supplement.

Don’t bulk up on too much of any one type of food, and you should be just fine.

Stretching Should Be An Important Part Of Your Daily Routine

If you work out on a regular basis, odds are good that you’re already stretching before and after your workout routine.  If you’re not, you should be, because stretching offers a raft of benefits.

Even if you don’t work out at regular intervals, daily stretching is still important, and in fact, offers the same benefits as it does to those who exercise often.  Here are a few of them:

  • Less Pain and Stiffness – If you suffer from chronic pain (whether or not you work out), a daily stretching routine will help keep your body limber and reduce stiffness throughout the day. Even better, you don’t have to limit yourself to just once a day stretching.  Any time you feel stiffness encroaching, spend a few minutes stretching!
  • Less Stress – The mind and body are connected. If you’re feeling stressed out and anxious, spending a few minutes stretching will not only provide physical benefits, but mental ones as well.  Studies have shown that as little as five minutes spent stretching can reduce cortisol levels in your body.  Since cortisol is the “stress hormone,” reducing it reduces your stress level.
  • Less Chance of Injury – Stretching before you engage in any strenuous physical activity will improve your body’s mechanics and functioning, reducing the chance of injury as you set about the day’s activities. Stretching again when you’re finished for the day will help keep muscle pain to a minimum.
  • Better Overall Health – Stretching increases and improves blood flow. Blood, of course, transports oxygen to every cell in your body.  More oxygen equals better health.  As a side bonus, stretching also helps your body pump more oxygen to your brain, so you’re likely to notice an improvement in your level of concentration.

All that to say, if you’re not already stretching on a daily basis, there’s no time like the present!


Is It Better To Walk Or Run?

There’s a lively debate between walking and running fanatics about which one’s better, with people arguing passionately on both sides of the issue.

While there’s evidence supporting both arguments, we like James O’Keefe’s opinion.  It matters because he’s done both, and having tried both, has ultimately settled on the walking side of the debate.

O’Keefe is a cardiologist and a self-described exercise enthusiast, who used to spend several hours a day running and working out.  After a period of intensive research on the long-term effects of intense physical activity on the heart and body, he decided to trade in his running shoes for a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Studies show that running doesn’t actually improve your mortality rate, while walking 1-2.5 hours a week can lower your risk of death by up to 25 percent.

As O’keefe explains:

“We’re not meant for sustained levels of exercise for long periods of time.  After 60 minutes of intense physical activity, like running, the chambers of your heart begin to stretch and overwhelm the muscle’s ability to adapt.”

It gets worse.  Over the longer terms, intense training can permanently damage your heart, because the increased blood flow to your heart leads to microtears.  If you only run occasionally, that’s not a huge deal, because they heal after a few days. If you do it repeatedly and over a long period of time, it can cause scarring in the heart that can accelerate aging.

Not only that, but excessive endurance training can also short circuit your immune system, making it more likely that you’ll get sick.  It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true!

The bottom line is, while there’s no doubt that exercise is good for you, too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing.  As ever, moderation is the key.

Childhood Growing Pains: Myth Or Real?

Medical science is divided on whether the physical act of our bodies growing can cause pain.

There doesn’t seem to be any scientific basis for the claim, but the reality is that lots of kids between the ages of five and thirteen experience pain, primarily in their legs, and that pain stops when they get a bit older and stop growing.

Even if there’s ultimately some other cause, and the growth process itself isn’t responsible, it seems clear enough that there’s a connection. So for our purposes, we’re going to say yes, growing pains are real.

If you’re a parent, this probably comes as no surprise, as you’ve likely been kept up at night by your child, who’s whimpering or crying because their legs hurt.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do beyond treating the immediate symptom, and we’ll give you three tips for doing that next.

  • Massage – The pain your child is feeling is centered in their muscles, not their bones or joints. So, standard massage techniques will do a lot to help reduce the pain.
  • Alternate Ice and Heat – As with any other form of muscle strain, alternating between ice and heat will help reduce swelling and alleviate the pain.
  • Encourage Stretching – This one might be a bit harder to pull off, depending on how much pain your child is in. It could be the case that they’re hurting too much to engage in any kind of stretching, but if you can coax them into it, it will definitely help.

The good news is that even if your child experiences growing pains during the night, they’ll pass by morning.  Even so, it’s never pleasant to watch your child suffering.  Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do that will help ease their pain.