Look Out for These Words on Food Labels [4/23]

Look Out for These Words on Food Labels

"Natural"

This term has yet to be fully defined and often goes unregulated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that it has not developed a definition for the term, but it does not object to it being used for foods that do not contain artificial flavors, added color, or synthetic substances. While consumers may like to believe that "natural" means the product is less processed, this may not always be the case. Don't assume "natural" means healthy. Be sure to look past this term and analyze nutrition labels and ingredient lists.

"Low Sugar" or "Sugar Free"

Eating less sugar can improve health and promote weight loss, but when a product says it is "low sugar" or "sugar free," check the ingredient label closely. This often means that the sugar was replaced with something else, usually an artificial sweetener. Some research has linked the intake of artificial sweeteners to weight gain. As researchers continue to investigate the topic, it may be best to limit both added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

"Trans Fat Free"

The American Heart Association recommends limiting trans fat intake to less than 1 percent of total calories per day. For most people, this is fewer than 2 grams. According to labeling laws, a food that contains fewer than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving can be labeled as "trans fat free." If you eat more than one serving of a food with just under 0.5 grams of trans fat, you will quickly reach your 2 gram limit without realizing it. Read ingredient lists closely. The phrase "partially hydrogenated oils" is an indicator that the product contains trans fat.

"Product" or "Food"

These terms are often used when food has been heavily processed or when it combines a variety of ingredients to form a product that resembles a food you may be familiar with. The most common use is with cheese. Check the labels closely. "Cheese foods" and "cheese products" may contain little to no cheese at all. You may be better off enjoying a small amount of the real food in moderation instead of consuming the highly-processed fillers.

"Spread"

"Spread" is a term used when a product does not meet regulations to be called the food it resembles. For example, peanut butter must contain 90 percent peanuts. When the product doesn’t, it is called a peanut spread. In some cases, spreads use fillers like corn-syrup solids and partially hydrogenated oils. These ingredients may lower total fat, but they increase added sugar and dangerous trans fats. It may be better to skip artificial spreads and eat the original form of the food in moderation.

"Made with              "

Many products claim that they are "made with fruit" or "made with whole grains." However, there is no set amount of the ingredient the food must contain to make this claim. It’s possible that it only has a tiny amount of fruit or whole grains. Look for "100%" to ensure the food contains only the ingredients you are searching for.

Gym Etiquette Rules

Gym Etiquette Rules

Everyone has encountered exercisers who seem to think they are the only ones at the gym. While you can’t control the behavior of others, you can do your best to follow gym etiquette rules and set a good example. Over time, your politeness and consideration may rub off on others.

Be timely.

You might think that slipping into a group exercise class late is harmless, but it can disrupt both the instructor and fellow members. Missing the warm-up and any special instruction at the start of class can also put you at risk for injury. Arrive 5 minutes early for a safe and effective workout and out of respect for everyone in the class.

Clean up after yourself.

Putting weights away and wiping down machines should not be left to gym employees. A dumbbell in the walkway could easily trip someone, and dirty equipment can transfer germs. Be considerate by re-racking weights in the appropriate spots and by using the complimentary spray bottles to disinfect the equipment.

Know the rules.

Pay attention to posted rules and ask the staff questions about what is and isn’t appropriate. Some gyms prohibit members from joining a class late for safety reasons and many have time limits for cardio machines to ensure everyone has a chance to exercise.

Share.

There is nothing worse than a person who hoards the 10 pound dumbbells for 30 minutes while they rotate through their exercises. Speak up and ask to take turns with equipment. Offer to do the same if you see someone eyeing the items you’re using.

Quiet down.

Loud conversations, talking on a cell phones, and banging weights creates an unpleasant atmosphere for everyone around you. Speak quietly, take your phone calls outside, and keep the grunting and banging to a minimum.

Skip the body sprays.

Activity can heighten sense of smell making even the faintest spray of cologne or perfume unbearable. Avoid applying sprays and scented lotions several hours before a workout. If you store workout clothes in the locker room for multiple uses, be sure you stay aware of when that stinky shirt needs to hit the laundry basket.

Watch where you rest.

When you take a break after a set or stop to send a text, move out of the way of other exercisers. Don’t take up valuable mirror space or sit on a workout bench. If you are deep in conversation with the person on the cardio machine next to you, step off your machine to continue your talk once your session is complete and allow someone else to get started.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Whole Wheat Pasta with Asparagus and Sun-dried Tomatoes Recipe

This quick and simple dish uses fiber-rich whole wheat pasta combined with nutritious asparagus. It makes a healthy meal for a busy weeknight that is perfect for the arrival of spring.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

3 green onions, sliced, whites and greens separated

1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

½ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

¼ tsp salt

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti or linguine, cooked according to package directions

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the white portion of the onions and cook 1 minute.

Add the asparagus and cook for 4 minutes, until it is slightly tender and bright green. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and cook 1 more minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and salt. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add the cooked pasta to the mixing bowl and toss to combine all ingredients.

Divide into four portions and garnish with remaining greens of the onions before serving.

Nutrition information for ¼ of recipe: Calories 301; Total Fat 8.8 g; Saturated Fat 0.9 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 166 mg; Carbohydrate 54.5 g; Fiber 9.8 g; Sugar 6.6 g; Protein 10.6 g

3 Exercises to Sculpt Your Shoulders

Exercises to Sculpt Your Shoulders

Strong shoulders not only give your upper body a sculpted, fit appearance, they also play a role in good posture. It’s important that your shoulder exercises target each of the three areas of the muscle -- the front of the shoulder (anterior deltoids), the middle of the shoulder (medial deltoids) and the back of the shoulder (posterior deltoids). These three exercises are easy to incorporate into your strength training routine for balanced shoulder workout.

Overhead Press Seated on a Stability Ball (Anterior and Medial Deltoids)

Sit on a stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Use your core to sit up straight and maintain your balance. With a dumbbell in each hand, position your arms so that your elbows are at shoulder level and bent at 90 degrees. The dumbbells should be at about ear level. Press the dumbbells up overhead until your arms are fully extended. Return to the starting position with the dumbbells at ear level and repeat.

Front Raise (Anterior Deltoids)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in toward you so that dumbbells rest over the front of your upper thighs. Keep the right arm straight and lift the dumbbell out in front of you, to shoulder level. Lower to the starting position and repeat with the left arm.

Seated Bent Over Raise (Posterior Deltoids)

Sit on a bench with your feet flat and your legs together. Bend forward at the waist so that your chest is almost resting on your thighs. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended towards the floor. Your palms should face in towards your ankles with a dumbbell on the outside of each foot. Keep the arms straight as you use the upper back and shoulders to raise the dumbbells out to the sides until they reach shoulder level. Lower to the starting position and repeat.

9 Plant Nutrients that Improve Health

Plant Nutrients that Improve Health

Plant-based foods are full of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, but they also offer natural chemicals called phytonutrients that improve health. While these plant nutrients are not essential for normal body function, they are powerful in disease prevention -- making plant foods an important part of a nutritious diet. Enjoying a variety of foods will help you maximize your intake of these phytonutrients.

Ellagic Acid

How it helps: A disease fighting phytonutrient. Research shows that ellagic acid may promote the death of cancer cells.

What to eat: Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates, pecans, and walnuts

Gingerol

How it helps: These anti-inflammatory compounds may help reduce the pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

What to eat: Ginger root

Glucosinolates

How they help: Glucosinolates breakdown into active compounds when vegetables are chopped or chewed. These compounds may fight cancer by preventing DNA damage from carcinogens or the creation of cancer cells.

What to eat: Arugula, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and radishes

Hesperidin

How it helps: This flavonoid has been found to reduce the inflammation associated with chronic disease reducing risks for cancer.

What to eat: Citrus fruits

Kaempferol

How it helps: This phytonutrient has been found to reduce the risk for chronic disease by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

What to eat: Broccoli, beans, endive, grapes, kale, leeks, strawberries, and tomatoes

Lycopene

How it helps: Some studies suggest that lycopene can reduce the risk of cancer by blocking the growth of cancer cells. It is also associated with a reduced risk for heart disease and age-related vision problems.

What to eat: Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, and papaya

Organosulfur Compounds

How they help: These compounds may protect against gastric and colorectal cancer. They may also reduce the the inflammation that is associated with cardiovascular disease.

What to eat: Chives, garlic, leeks, onions, and shallots

Quercetin

How it helps: Research shows that this flavonol may reduce the risk for asthma, cancer and heart disease.

What to eat: Apples, berries, grapes, and onions

Resveratrol

How it helps: This antioxidant has been linked to the prevention of blood vessel damage, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol, and reduced risk for cancer.

What to eat: Blueberries, cranberries, red grapes, peanuts, and pistachios

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