Energise the winter months


Energise the winter months

Not everyone enjoys the winter months. Long dark evenings make it difficult to get out in the fresh air, wind and weather encourages you to stay indoors, low temperatures turn you to comfort foods and the combination of central heating and frosty outdoors can make your skin dry and tight.

But it doesn’t have to be like that! Here are some ways to energise the winter months so you look and feel great.

Winter-proof your skin

Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and moisturising really well. Eat lots of antioxidants to keep your skin bright and exfoliate once a week to get rid of the dead cells.

Brighten your mood

The winter can dampen the liveliest of spirits – researchers believe it’s the lack of light that interferes with the hormones in the brain and reduces serotonin – the feel good hormone.  But even on the worst day there is 30 times more light outdoors than in, so even if its bad do try to get outside every day even if its only for a short time. Make the most of natural daylight by pulling back curtains, and sitting by windows. If you suffer really badly from lack of light, consider a light box.

You can also boost your mood by eating foods rich in tryptophan which your body uses to make the happy hormone serotonin. Eat fish, turkey, chicken, cheese, beans, tofu, oats and eggs. Taking a supplement of something like St Johns Wort may also help brighten your mood.

Boost your immunity

Most adults get 2-5 colds each winter when we’re cooped up indoors.  Build up your defences by eating foods rich in Vitamin C- citrus fruits, berries, red peppers, tomatoes – and Zinc – seafood, meat, liver, wholegrains.  Getting enough sleep is also important, as is taking some regular aerobic exercise.

Protect your Heart and Lungs

Asthma, respiratory problems and heart attacks are more common in the winter because colds and flu can be a trigger.  The best way to keep your heart and lungs healthy is to exercise aerobically as much as possible – at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week. You can also eat oily fish and other foods that provide Omega 3 fatty acids which help against heart disease.

Sarah Pennicott

Personal Trainer & Pilates Teacher

http://www.master-fitness.co.uk

Kick start your new year with juicing


Benefits of juicing

Juicing has many benefits which exceed those of eating solid fruits and vegetables and is an effective way to do something good for you body which involves drinking fruit and vegetable juices.

Your body can quickly absorb larger amounts of nutrients from juices than from solid foods because the process of digestion that is necessary when you eat whole foods is bypassed. Raw fruits and vegetables contain many substances that enhance health, and juicing benefits the body by providing the most concentrated and readily absorbed source of these substances.

We are recommended that we get 5 servings of vegetables and fruits per day and very few of us actually get that. Juicing is an easy way to virtually guarantee that you will reach your daily target for vegetables.

Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.

Other benefits is that it is an easy way to get beneficial enzymes, which are primarily found in raw foods, into the body. Enzymes in fresh fruits and vegetables have the vital role of converting food into body tissue and energy. Enzymes are also involved in metabolism, so one of the more valuable health benefits of juicing is that it can increase metabolic rate. Juicing also ensures that the body is getting sufficient amounts of phytochemicals, substances in plants that are considered among the most powerful ways to fight disease. While most people do not eat enough raw fruits and vegetables to obtain the amount of phytochemicals that would make a difference, it is relatively easy to drink enough juice to obtain sufficient amounts of these powerful nutrients. In addition, antioxidants and other immune enhancing properties are concentrated in juices.

Juicing can also been known to accelerate recovery from illness. In specific combinations of fruits or vegetables, you can target particular conditions and improve or alleviate symptoms.

It is important to note that vegetable juice has very little protein and virtually no fat so by itself it is not really a complete food. It really should be used in addition to your regular meals not in place of it, so I use it as my morning or afternoon snack

Sarah Pennicott
Personal Trainer and Pilates Teacher
http://www.master-fitness.co.uk

Beetroot. Performance Enhancer?


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Beetroot Juice. Performance Enhancer?

I have recently over the past few months have been hearing about the benefits of beetroot, whether it was performance related or for health benefits. I personally love beetroot which I mainly use in salads, but maybe I might start thinking on using it as a drink before exercise.

Beetroot is a rich source of potent antioxidants and nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C, and betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health. It functions by acting with other nutrients to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a homologue of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine, which can be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Beetroot’s other benefits are that it contains no fat, very few calories and is a great source of fibre

Beetroot juice is also a natural source of nitrate, which is thought to be an important ingredient in athletic performance. The nitrate has two physiological effects. Firstly, it widens blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood flow. Secondly, it affects muscle tissue, reducing the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during activity. The combined effects have a significant impact on performing physical tasks, whether it involves low-intensity or high-intensity effort.

Past studies have also shown that chronic drinking of beetroot juice, lowers blood pressure and the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise. In a new study, researchers at the University of Exeter, England, compared the effects of acute use of beetroot juice (one serving taken 2.5 hours before exercise) and chronic beetroot juice consumption (5 and 15 days) on blood pressure, the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise, and performance in an incremental exercise test. They found that a single dose of beetroot juice was as effective in lowering blood pressure, reducing the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise, and boosting peak power in an incremental exercise test as 15 days of beetroot juice consumption.

All the researching that I have found, not only is promising to those who are interested in increasing their performance in sports but also for those who may be either suffering from or at risk of developing high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, hypertension or stroke. In this case it may be of interest to older people to include beetroot in their diet or beetroot in capsule form.

So why not give it ago, I know I will be to see if it makes a difference to me.

Sarah Pennicott
Personal Trainer & Pilates Teacher
http://www.master-fitness.co.uk