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Best Exercises When You Have Your Period

Who likes to exercise during one’s period? There are cramps, feeling tired, lethargic and overall yucky. Even if you exercise regularly, there might be some positions or workouts that just make you feel a little lightheaded. But all of us know logically that if we skip a week of exercise, it will start to break the habit of exercising and may have a negative impact on our fitness goals.

But we understand. Exercising during menses isn’t the most comfortable thing to do (despite all the advertisements of sanitary pads showing ladies jumping around during their supposed periods). Nonetheless, not breaking your exercise routine is key and here are some exercises that you can switch to when Mother Nature visits.

Yoga

Skip the hot yoga and go for a gentle yoga session. Stretching your muscles (especially the back muscles) will help alleviate the cramps that happen during your flow. This will also help replace your weight or strength training as you will be using your body weight as a resistance or weight training.

 

Pilates

Similar to yoga, the stretches during pilates will help ease the cramps through the stretching of your muscles. You’ll be working your core so hard that you’ll forget about cramps and concentrate on building your abs!

Brisk Walking

Most experts don’t recommend overexerting yourself during your period but a brisk walk in the park is perfect for relaxation while also burning calories. Best part? You can do it with family members or your partner and bond with them while walking.

Basically, listen to your body and do the exercise during your period in the intensity that you’re able to do!


Photo credits: Pixabay

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Pee To Get Your Health Analysed

What if you could know whether you were healthy or not based on your urine? Yeah, we thought it was a bit weird too, but it has some basis. Scientists from College London, Newcastle University and Aberystwyth University are developing a new urine analysis method where they can then tell a person’s health and therefore, enable the patient to know what he or she should eat more or cut back on.

(more…)

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Shaking Off Sugar Part 1 – A Dentist Explains

That sweet taste of sugar.  A delicious dessert, a sweet kopi (coffee) or fruit juice.  Sugar seems to be everywhere and is in most of the foods and drinks we consume on a daily basis.  Recently, it has gained the attention of the media and amongst the health profession. So what’s the deal?

(more…)

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Foods Rich In Fat That You Should Eat

Seems like a contradiction to eat foods high in fat but that’s just it! We were told to eat as little fat as possible, which resulted in people eating so-called ‘low fat’ processed foods that were also bad for us in the long run. Yes, there is such a thing has healthy fats as fats are still necessary in your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E and K. Not all fats are made equal, so here’s the low-down.

There are many types of fats and they can be categorised as such:

Unsaturated 
Liquid at room temperature and generally considered quite healthy. Found in vegetables, nuts and seafood.

Saturated
Solid at room temperature and found in animal products (such as meat and butter) but coconut oil as well. Often seen as the ‘unhealthy’ fats but research has been inconclusive so far and there are some people who are saying that butter and coconut oil are a lot better than margarine.

(Read “Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?“)

Trans
It is a type of unsaturated fat and while there are some naturally occurring trans-fat in meat, this is normally a result from industrial hydrogenation of vegetable oils to turn it from liquid to solid state at room temperature. This is the worst kind of fats as it has been shown to raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lower your HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Without further ado, here is a list of foods rich in healthy fats that you can happily eat without feeling any twinge of guilt but remember, everything should be eaten in moderation!

Olive Oil
There are tons of published research which shows the benefits of olive oil and how it benefits the heart. It has even been shown that sautéed vegetables in olive oil contains more anti-oxidants than boiled! It tastes great drizzled on salad as well. If you’re eating it raw as a dressing, it is best to consume the Extra Virgin Olive Oil which also happens to contain the most nutrients!

Fish
Rich in omega-3 and other nutrients, we cannot recommend eating fish enough! In fact, we even have a few fish recipes for you to try out.

Avocado
Referred as the “food of gods” by the ancient Mayan, this humble fruit is densely packed with 20 vitamins and minerals known to fight inflammation and lower blood cholesterol. Do note that each avocado contains about 320 calories so don’t overdose on it. That said, it is great to start the day with avocado toast or add it to your salad to stave off the munchies.

(Check out the recipe for Pumpkin Chicken Avocado Salad.)

Nut Butters
A 2013 study published in ‘Breast Cancer Research Treatment’ found that girls who ate peanut butter regularly between the ages of 9 to 15 were 39% less likely to develop benign breast disease by age 30. Similar to the avocado, nuts are full of unsaturated fats, omega-3 and vitamins. Which is why it’s often taken as a better snack alternative and nut butters just taste really yummy on toast either with jam or avocado. Do note to read your labels and choose those that do not have added sugar or vegetable oils.


Coconut Oil
Coconut oil used to get a bad reputation due to its high amount of saturated fats but it has recently been vindicated as it has been found that although coconut oil contains saturated fat, it is made up of lauric acid which is a medium chain triglyceride and is metabolised quickly by the liver instead. It has also been found that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. But just like what we’ve mentioned in a previous article, the high caloric content of coconut oil still means that you should not exceed the recommended amount of 13g per day.

Eggs
A lot of people started avoiding eggs due to its high cholesterol content but the 2015 Dietary Guidelines in the USA have lifted the hard limit on cholesterol intake amounts because research has shown that consumption of cholesterol does not have much bearing on the levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Instead, it is your genes and saturated fats that are the driving force. Thus, we welcome back the delightful consumption of eggs, which is one of the cleanest sources of complete protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids). A lot of people try to remove the yolk but that’s where most of the vitamins are. It even contains iron and folate! Most nutritionists will recommend 2 eggs per day.


Photo credits: Pixabay

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Melissa’s Table Top Talk Episode 27: How Much Happiness Do You Deserve?

How much happiness do you deserve? Or rather, how much do you think you deserve and how happy are you right now? Many people are often lost or they find that they can never be 100% happy with their lives but is this really true? We explore this with Anna Tan, founder of SoulFit Studios and Coaching Go Where, who is also a life transformation coach and get some tips on how we can attain 100% happiness 100% of the time.

 

As Anna mentioned, she will be holding a few Coffee Sessions to help you discover what your life purpose is, so that you can learn how to live the life you truly are meant to have and add onto your level of happiness! If you’re interested, do click here.

Catch the ‘live’ version of Melissa’s Table Top Talk every Tue, 8.30pm (Singapore Time) at Wellness Insider’s Facebook page. To be updated on the latest episodes, you can also subscribe via our YouTube channel.

Find out more about SoulFit Studios and Anna here.

 

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Finding Your Life Purpose

What is your life purpose? Many of us still struggle to answer that question and guess what? You’re not alone. If you would like to discover more about yourself and how to live the life you truly want, join Anna of SoulFit Studios in this Coffee Session on 2nd or 4th March.

Registration is at S$25 per person and covers material and refreshments.

To register or to find out more information, please click here.

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The Truth About Green Juices and Smoothies

The popularity of green juices and smoothies have been increasing over the years, especially when health magazines or ‘experts’ have been expounding the virtues of drinking your veggies rather than chewing them. It kinda makes sense, considering that we often eat less vegetables than we’re supposed to and drinking green juices or smoothies is a good way of ensuring your 1 out of 5 per day while also filling you up until your next meal.

However, just like any health trend, there are some controversy over drinking green juices and smoothies – mainly that consuming that much vegetables on a regular basis contributes too much oxalate into the body, which will cause health problems such as kidney stones later in life. This is especially harmful to the 20% of people who are oxalate sensitive or already naturally produce oxalate, as they will have a higher tendency to have oxalate stones forming in any part of the body.

Moreover, most of these green juices and smoothies contain cruciferous vegetables, which may not be suitable for those with thyroid problems. Others also say that by blending the vegetables into a juice or smoothie, you’re actually destroying up to 90% of the nutrients, which defeats the purpose of drinking said juice or smoothie.

So what’s the truth? Firstly, there isn’t much evidence to prove that 90% of nutrients will be gone after blending. Although it is true that you cannot get 100% of the vegetable’s nutrients unless you get it off the farm and consume it without cutting it.

Cardiologist, Dr Joel Kahn, wrote an article about this and he discussed the science behind why green juices or smoothies or even eating more vegetables is good for your health. The inorganic nitrates within the vegetables promote heart health and when we swallow these nitrate-rich veggies, they’re rapid absorbed and released into our blood stream, and converted into nitric oxide (NO) by enzymes.

According to Dr Kahn, this NO gas is made in the lining of our arteries (endothelium). When our arteries produce a lot of NO, our arteries relax, our blood pressure is normal, our blood is less likely to clot and our arteries resist making plaque. There’s another reason to be grateful for NO. When we want to have sex, it’s NO that causes blood vessels to dilate and engorge the parts that need to grow. In other words: When you want to say yes to sex, say NO.

So when we eat leafy greens and drink our green juices and smoothies, the dietary nitrates power our blood vessels and improve the overall quality of our lives.

There is an argument that in order to get the benefits of the nitrates, our food needs to come in contact with bacteria on our tongue that convert the nitrates to make NO in our arteries. If you quickly gulp your green juices or smoothies past your tongue, you may not permit time for the bacteria to munch on the dietary nitrates.

But, according to Dr Kahn, there is another pathway for the dietary nitrates to be fully absorbed and NO to be produced. When our blood level of nitrates rise after eating or drinking plant-based nitrate-rich foods, the nitrates enter our salivary gland and are concentrated in our saliva. Our saliva may have nitrate concentrations 10 times that of our blood and the green drink we swallowed 45 minutes ago may be secreted right on to our tongue to enjoy the bacteria-nitrate interaction. So if the bacteria doesn’t get your dietary nitrates the first time down, this “entero-salivary” recirculation makes sure they get them the second time around.

Conclusion? Go ahead and enjoy your green juice or smoothie but lay off on the fruits which add sugar. Here are a couple of our favourite green smoothie recipes, both of which are great as breakfast smoothies:

Pick-me-up
1 tbsp Chlorophyll powder
1 cup chilled green tea
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup fresh baby kale
juice of half a lemon
half an apple or a banana
half an avocado

Blend everything in a food processor until smooth

Ready For the Day
1 cup osmanthus tea
1 cup fresh baby kale
1 cup cucumber
1 cup of bak choy
1 tsp of grated ginger
1/2 cup of your favourite kombucha

Blend everything in a food processor until smooth.


Photo credits: Pixabay
With references from MindBodyGreen

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Do Our Muscles Know When We Push Ourselves Too Hard?

Everyone’s used to that feeling of soreness in your muscles when you first start working out after a long time or if you’ve just increased the intensity of your workout. It’s usually at that point that people tell you that you have to “feel the burn” and break through the pain, work harder if you will. That’s not always a good thing, however, as a study from Queensland, Australia proved.

The University of Queensland held an experiment in which they tested participants by having them perform a series of leg exercises, using that time to see the effects that the exercise had on their bodies and muscle fibres. They kept a record of the exercises by mapping the muscle tissues from high biopsies at three different points, something that had only been done with lab rats before.

Dr Bradley Launikonis, a muscle physiologist and the man in charge of the investigation, pointed out that he and his colleagues were able to deduce that the soreness we feel when we exercise is the body’s way of telling us when we’re pushing ourselves too far.

While this is something that many studies had already noted about muscles, it is the first time that scientists can point out and accurately graph how the muscles respond. Indeed, once pushed too far, they begin releasing calcium as a way to make up for the tears that occur during exercise.

Through this, the muscles can become stronger once the tears have fully healed, but the calcium levels could become dangerous to the body and muscles if one does not give them a chance to rest.

(Read “Calcium and Its Possible Effects On Memory“)

The reason for this is that when calcium is released, the muscles also become vulnerable; it is then the job of the vacuoles to take care of the rest and tell you that you should probably stop for your good. They are the ones in charge of telling us when we’re overexerting ourselves.

In the end, Launikonis and his team were able to realise that, with the help of the vacuoles, not only were calcium levels able to go down but the body would also start to repair itself more frequently. They also noted that the vacuoles stopped their work once the exertion on the body stopped, meaning that they’re able to tell if you’re overexerting yourself or not.

The process was completely unprecedented before this study and is something that allows us to see more of just how our body works. What this proves that humans still have a lot to learn in regards to the body and the system that make up what we do during our day to day lives. Something that we’re sure more and more people will be looking into as time goes on.

In the meanwhile, if you “feel the burn”, it’s probably a good time to just stop and rest.


Photo Credits: Luvo, Healthline, Daily Burn

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