On a monthly basis, we like to take a look back at some of the most recent research to see if it can help paint a healthier picture for us. We combed through the latest science to see if it can help us exercise smarter and harder. We all want to be as healthy as possible in the most efficient manner in our time-crunched society. So sit back and check out some of the latest health research!
Want more exercise benefits? Believe!
Mind over matter, right? Well, that could definitely be true when it comes to helping us witness the best effects of exercise. Research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that if you believe exercise will do you good, then it will. A researcher on the project Hendrik Mothes explained, “The results demonstrate that our belief in how much we will benefit from physical activity has a considerable effect on our well-being in the manner of a self-fulfilling prophecy.” So it’s time to get your head right in order to get your body right in the most efficient manner possible!
Higher weekly activity levels linked to what?
Want to have a lower risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and bowel cancer? Then increase your weekly activity level. A study in The BMJ determined that while the World Health Organization recommends at least 600 minutes of weekly metabolic exercise, the team found that the most health gains were achieved at 3000-4000 metabolic equivalent minutes a week. While this is substantially higher than the current recommendations, the team concluded, “With population ageing, and an increasing number of cardiovascular and diabetes deaths since 1990, greater attention and investments in interventions to promote physical activity in the general public is required.” The effort is worth it!
Ditch your backup plan
If you really want to achieve your goals then you need to ditch your backup plan according to research out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The more likely you are to have a backup plan, the more likely you are to fall back on it. The researchers were quick to point out that there are these potential costs to making a backup plan, they are sometimes needed throughout life. Jihae Shin, assistant professor concluded, “You might want to wait until you have done everything you can to achieve your primary goal first.” Is your backup plan holding you back?
Eat for a better memory
We’ve all heard of the Mediterranean diet and how it can improve your health. It not only can improve your heart health but it can seriously improve your memory/cognitive function according to a study in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition. This diet has been shown to decrease the rates of cognitive decline and ultimately Alzheimer’s disease. The Mediterranean diet is composed of foods such as cereals, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, fish and olive oil while avoiding red meats and dairy.
Lead author Roy Hardman explained, “The MedDiet offers the opportunity to change some of the modifiable risk factors. These include reducing inflammatory responses, increasing micronutrients, improving vitamin and mineral imbalances, changing lipid profiles by using olive oils as the main source of dietary fats, maintaining weight and potentially reducing obesity, improving polyphenols in the blood, improving cellular energy metabolism and maybe changing the gut micro-biota, although this has not been examined to a larger extent yet.”
From improving your memory to increasing your weekly levels of exercise to believing in your workout, there are many key takeaways from these recent studies. While we all need to exercise harder, let’s also do it smarter!
Don’t stop there! Get more of the best at home fitness tips and great recipes at DIYactive.com!
Are you still skipping breakfast? Even after hearing about study after study that shows breakfast is good for you? Not only does it help fill you up in the morning, but it keeps you full, prevents morning snacking, and can even helps you lose weight! Still not convinced?
Many people simply avoid breakfast because they think it takes too long to make. I feel you there, who has time to make a 30 minutes breakfast when you barely have 10 minutes from the time you wake up to the time you have to be out the door? No worries, here are 3 quick, awesome breakfast recipes you can make quickly in the morning or even make the night before!
Spinach Omelet Recipe:
Got to a love this simple, tasty recipe that can be done in minutes! It might take a few tries to get that omelet look but trust me you will get it!
- 2 – cups (handfuls) fresh spinach
- 3 – large Eggs
- 2 – tablespoon low fat or skim milk
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- Rinse the spinach and then wilt the wet spinach with a small amount olive oil in a skillet.
- Mix the eggs, milk, wilted spinach, and salt/pepper in a bowl, whisking thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture into a medium skillet and slowly bring to heat. Cook the omelet on a low-medium setting to slowly cook the inside of the omelet.
- When the middle of the omelet is firm, fold in half to achieve the classic omelet look.
- Continue to cook on a low-medium setting to seal the omelet the finish cooking the inside thoroughly (you may have to flip the entire thing to finish cooking).
- Experiment and add your favorite veggies as well!
Strawberry Breakfast Bowl Recipe:
This is a great recipe from our friend Jennifer Katz Cohen (RD LDN) from Fresh Balance Nutrition. This is a warm, yummy way to wake up and refuel in the early morning hours! Give it a go!
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 6 strawberries, sliced
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ⅔ cup almonds, chopped
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or warmed local raw honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- In a small pot, bring quinoa, coconut milk, and salt to a low boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Top each portion with strawberry slices, coconut, and almonds. Drizzle with maple syrup or honey and add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Pour additional warm coconut milk over top if you’d like to create more of a porridge.
Carrot Cake Protein Pancakes Recipe:
This is another great recipe from Jennifer. This high fiber, high-taste recipe is a great way to fill up in the morning and help you power through those early morning snack cravings! Feed your appetite with this high fiber breakfast food and stay full longer!
- ½ cup old fashioned oatmeal
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 4 egg whites
- ½ cup low fat cottage cheese
- ¼ cup carrots, grated
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons coconut or canola oil
- Process oats and walnuts in food processor until it resembles a coarse flour. Add remaining ingredients, except oil, and process until blended.
- Heat oil in a large pan. Add batter by the tablespoonful. When bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown.
It doesn’t take much to get up and get in a good breakfast. Just put in a little effort in the morning (or the night before) and it will set you up for a more energized day! Make sure to eat that breakfast!
For more awesome recipes and nutrition tips visit Fresh Balance Nutrition or DIY Active.
I love to cook – this is no secret. Since losing weight eight years ago, one of my favorite things to do to stay healthy and maintain my weight is to take my favorite foods and make them at home. Even though I like to think of myself as an adventurous eater, I’ve recently come to realize that I’m not nearly as fearless in the kitchen as I’d like to think when it comes to cooking. Considering that I didn’t really start cooking for myself until about eight years ago, I guess it’s pretty impressive that I have the repertoire that I do. Still, I have moments when I realize that I really need to push myself to expand that and try new things all the time.
Last week I decided to just that, and I’m so glad I did. Like a lot of people, I’m a huge fan of Thai food, but I’ve rarely experimented with cooking it because I’ve always thought that because of it’s depth of flavor it would be really difficult and time consuming(and I’d likely screw it up). I was flipping through several of cooking and food-related magazines and there just happened to be several Thai soup recipes and I decided to just go for it. I didn’t even bother to read the directions, I just went ahead about bought the ingredients I didn’t have and decided I’d set aside a night to try and make a lighter version of an already fairly healthy soup.
People: I have no idea why I waited so long. To make a delicious curry based soup is super-easy. Crazy-easy. Delicious-easy.
Here’s my lightened curry based broth version for you. This broth is crazy delicious on it’s own, but you can add anything you like to it. Use shrimp or chicken to add extra protein, and add rice noodles if you’d like to make it a noodle bowl. This literally takes less than 30 minutes to make, but tastes like it took hours. If you have leftover chicken or seafood, just toss it right in. It’s delicious!
THAI COCONUT CURRY BROTH SOUP:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 shallots, sliced
1 lime – zest the lime and keep the zest separate (you’ll be using both the zest and the lime juice)
3 cloves garlic (jarred minced garlic is also fine in a pinch!)
3-4 tsp fresh grated ginger – fresh is a must!
2 tbsp of red OR green curry paste – your choice!
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2 cups of water
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 can unsweetened lite coconut milk
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
2 tbsp fresh chopped green onion
- Heat the coconut oil in a dutch oven or large pot
- Crisp up the shallots until golden brown. Remove shallots and reserve for later. You will use these as a garnish.
- Now add the garlic, ginger, and the curry paste to the dutch oven and warm/cook for one minute.
- Add chicken broth, fish sauce, 2 cups of water, lime juice, and lime zest. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and add in the lite unsweetened coconut milk
- At this point – add in pre-cooked protein if you like!
- Bring back to a boil and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
- (If adding rice noodles, add in now and let cook for another 2-3 minutes boiling until noodles get soft.)
- Spoon into bowls and top with cilantro, green onions, and crispy shallots.
You’ll feel like you’re eating take-out from a fancy Thai restaurant, but it’s SO easy to make at home. Even better, reheating and re-serving tastes better every time. This makes six yummy and healthy servings – so enjoy! If you make this, please let me know if you liked it!
To see this picture on Taunia’s Instagram, click HERE.
Diva Taunia is a professional musician, foodie and wanna-be chef. She is a born and bred Boston-girl now living in Los Angeles with husband (also a professional musician) and dog Julip. You can follow her antics on her Instagram account @divataunia or on her website at www.divataunia.com.