We’ve all come across little health tips throughout our lives with questionable validity. Those “Did you know?” articles and even the “Secret way to speed up your metabolism” advertisements on the side of web pages always catch our attention.
Since there’s so much being thrown at us from so many places and we don’t really know what to believe, I decided to do some research and compile health facts that can come in handy throughout our lifetime.
Studies have shown that eating every two to three hours actually does not speed up metabolic rate. It was originally thought that by having small meals and eating frequently throughout the day we’d keep our metabolisms at a constant level, therefore never allowing it to slow down. While this theory is not completely incorrect, it’s been proven that simply eating when you actually feel hungry is the best way to treat your body. Besides, who actually has the extra time everyday to make sure they have healthy food on hand every three hours?
Eggs are the healthiest food you can eat. In the past it was thought that the high cholesterol content in the yolk of the egg would have a negative effect on the body. However, it’s been proven that the cholesterol in the yolk does very little to the body’s LDL—the “bad” cholesterol—and can only benefit us by providing HDL—the “good” cholesterol. The yolk also has important vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and selenium. So don’t feel like you’re doing yourself a disservice by making an omelet with the whole egg.
Between all the properties mentioned above, plus the protein, eggs are a great morning starter. Next, a good thing to be know is that “gluten-free,” “vegan” and “organic” do not mean “healthy.” It’s a common misconception that these terms automatically make the product good for you and therefore something you can indulge in with no limits.
The truth is that, often, things labeled “gluten-free” are high in sodium, sugar and fat to enhance flavor. Similarly, since vegan products don’t use butter or dairy, many on-the-shelf items have palm oil as the first or second ingredient. Palm oil is a creamy butter replacement that is extremely high in unhealthy saturated fats. Lastly, “organic” simply means that the product was made without the use of pesticides or herbicides. It doesn’t say that the ingredients are by any means “healthy.”
Do you often suffer from sore muscles after a workout? Well, luckily for you, fresh ginger can drastically reduce exercise-related muscle aches and pains. Antioxidant properties in ginger called gingerols work at a cellular level to protect our cells from the toxins produced during exercise, not to mention decrease inflammation. Gingerols also decrease cytokine production, a process that leads to widespread inflammation and pain. Having ginger before or after intense workouts can help shield ourselves against the factors that lead to soreness and aches.
Next, we all like adding dried fruit to our trail mix, but did you know that dried fruit has between 30 to 80 percent less antioxidants than fresh fruit? This is due to the process of applying high heat and pressure to dehydrate the fruit. Bottom line, don’t give up your favorite mix, but just know that it’s not a great source of antioxidants.
Judging by how crowded the campus gym has been since the start of the semester, it can be concluded that people are actually sticking to their New Year’s resolutions this time around. Congratulations! To help you all out, here are five “must-dos” to actually gain muscle.
First, consume a full meal containing high-quality protein and carbs approximately two hours before a workout. Secondly, it is important to stretch. So many people neglect stretching and leave their muscles tight, which in turn prevents them from being able to go their hardest and to perform their longest. Third, keep a high workout intensity. This means pushing yourself for long periods of time with only approximately 60-second rest times in between. This retains muscle activation while also allowing them to “breathe” enough so you don’t end up falling down the stairs on leg day from the pain.
Next, make sure you switch up your rep range every four to six weeks, as well as your lift amount. Higher reps, less weight, lower reps, more weight. This will ensure that you’re targeting every kind of muscle fiber.
Finally, have a post-workout meal as soon as possible. Muscle growth starts the second after you put down that dumbbell, so it’s most important to consume a meal rich in protein and carbs and a drink high in electrolytes.
Now I know none of you will want to hear this next one, but flossing can add years to your life. Yes, years! Dental research has shown that bacteria gets wedged in between your teeth and grows at an alarming rate. Once these bacteria are swallowed, they enter the bloodstream and make their way to the heart where they cause stress on the cardiac system and increase the chance of developing heart disease.
For all you chefs out there, did you know that cooked vegetables are often more nutritious than raw? Steaming and cooking vegetables releases antioxidants and beneficial plant chemicals, making them more absorbable and ready to use in our bodies.
This last health tip is something that can help you out in many situations in life. Chewing gum increases brain power. Research has shown that chewing gum activates nerves in the brain, increasing focus and memory. In many studies, people increased their test scores by an average of 35 percent. So if you need to increase your concentration for a test or just need help staying awake in class, go for gum.
Try these health tips out for yourself and see what a difference it can make!
Alecia Sexton is a third-year student majoring in health and physical education. She can be reached at AS876443@wcupa.edu.