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HEALTH AND WELLNESS:… Coronavirus UPDATE…Can you re-wear your mask?…What’s Next?





Latest Health News…

Why We Need to Upgrade Our Face Masks–and Where to Get Them

A wealth of evidence has shown that wearing a face mask helps prevent people from spreading the virus that causes COVID, SARS-CoV-2, to others and from becoming sick themselves. But there has been less guidance from public health officials on what kind of masks provide the best protection.

Early on in the pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization told the public not to wear N95 respirators, a type of mask that is made from high-tech synthetic fibers and provides a high level of protection against virus-laden airborne particles called aerosols. That was because there was then a shortage of such masks—and health care workers desperately needed them. At the same time, both agencies said there was little risk of aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2. They recommended cloth masks or other homemade face coverings that can stop some relatively large virus-carrying droplets even as it became clear that SARS-CoV-2 commonly spreads through aerosols—and as the supply of better-quality masks increased.

There is now a cornucopia of high-filtration respirator-style masks on the market, including N95s, Chinese-made KN95s and South Korean–made KF94s. They have been widely available and relatively affordable for months and provide better protection than cloth or surgical masks. Yet it was not until September 10 that the CDC finally updated its guidance to say the general public could wear N95s and other medical-grade masks now that they are in sufficient supply.

Still, however, the “CDC continues to recommend that N95 respirators should be prioritized for protection against COVID-19 in healthcare settings,” wrote CDC spokesperson Jade Fulce inan e-mail to Scientific American last week. “Essential workers and workers who routinely wore respirators before the pandemic should continue wearing N95 respirators,” she continued. “As N95s become more available they can be worn in non-healthcare settings, however, cloth masks are an acceptable and recommended option for masking.”

The agency announced in May that supplies of approved respirator masks had “increasedsignificantly.” When asked why it only updated it guidance on N95 use by the public in September, Fulce replied that the “CDC regularly reviews and updates its guidance as more information becomes available.”

Scientific American spoke with several experts on aerosol transmission—some of whom have tested various masks available on the market—and they agree that health authorities should strongly recommend people wear well-fitted, high-filtration masks.

“A year ago we could say that we were concerned about shortages for health care workers, so we were telling people to make your cloth mask, and any mask is better than no mask,” says Linsey Marr, an environmental engineer and aerosol science expert at Virginia Tech. But given what scientists know now—especially with the virus’s highly transmissible Delta variant spreading and people spending more time indoors in schools, for example—“I think the CDC should be recommending high-performance masks for everyone when they’re in these risky indoor situations,” she says.


What Makes a Good Mask?

When it comes to mask effectiveness, the most important parameters are filtration, fit and comfort. Filtration generally refers to the percentage of particles the mask material blocks. For example, an N95 filters at least 95 percent of airborne particles. But that does little good if gaps around the mask let air in freely. A well-fitted mask should sit snugly against the face and over the chin, with no gaps around the nose or mouth. Comfort is also an extremely important metric: a mask does no good if people simply find it intolerable to wear.

A good mask is “the most important defense we have” against COVID, says aerosol expert Kimberly Prather, an atmospheric chemist at the University of California, San Diego.

There are a number of national standards for respirator quality. The U.S. gold standard, N95s, are certified by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets standards for how they have to fit people in work settings (such as in hospitals). But there is no official standard for N95 use by the general public. The European equivalent of the N95 is the FFP2 respirator, which filters at least 94 percent of particles. China has the KN95, and South Korea has the KF94. All provide excellent filtration, so it really comes down to which fits an individual best and is most comfortable.

Which Masks are Best?

In the absence of more specific guidance from health authorities such as the CDC as to which brands of respirators and other masks provide the best protection, some skilled amateurs have stepped in to fill the gap. Aaron Collins, aka “Mask Nerd,” is a mechanical engineer at Seagate Technology with a background in aerosol science. In his free time, he makes YouTube videos in which he tests and reviews high-filtration masks made by various manufacturers. Collins says he does not earn any money from mask manufacturers or his videos themselves—he considers them a service and wants them to be objective.

Collins has a mask-testing setup in his bathroom, where he assesses masks’ filtration efficiency by generating aerosols of sodium chloride (salt). He then uses a condensation particle counter—a device that measures the concentration of particles inside and outside a mask he is wearing—to determine the total inward leakage through and around the mask. (For comparison, NIOSH’s N95 standard requires manufacturers to measure leakage through the respirator material itself. And OSHA measures how a respirator fits on someone’s face, which often involves wearing an N95 in an enclosed space with saccharin or another distinctly flavored test aerosol sprayed in: if the wearer reports tasting the substance, the mask fails the fit test.)

Collins also tests “pressure drop,” which is basically how easy it is to breathe while wearing a mask. If doing so is too difficult, a wearer might not only find the mask less comfortable but also suck in air around its sides, negating its filtration. Some cloth masks—including those outfitted with coffee filters—have this problem. “There’s a reason N95s aren’t made from cloth,” Collins says.

The Mask Nerd’s top picks can be found in this video. In general, he recommends KN95s made by Chinese company Powecom and others, a variety of KF94s such as the Bluna FaceFit and N95s made by reputable brands such as 3M, Moldex or Honeywell. All of these masks had close to 99 percent filtration efficiencies and fairly low pressure drops in Collins’s setup. (For comparison, he found that a surgical mask alone had between about 50 and 75 percent filtration efficiency, depending on the fit, and a good cloth mask had about 70 percent.) But when choosing the best mask, comfort should be a deciding factor, he says. Not everyone needs to wear an N95.

“To me, the minimum I want to see people wear is a KN95 or KF94 with the Delta variant,” Collins says. “I don’t think surgical masks are good enough anymore, and we should’ve gotten rid of cloth masks last summer—they’re not even in the spectrum” of good filtration. (To be clear, some studies have found that surgical and cloth masks can provide at least some protection against COVID. A recent large, randomized study in Bangladesh found that surgical masks significantly lowered the risk of infection; cloth masks did not have a measurable benefit, although other studies suggest they provide some protection.)

The Best Masks for Kids

With children starting school in-person, many parents are understandably worried about their kids, especially those who are too young to be eligible for vaccination—and particularly in states where politicians have tried to ban mask mandates in schools. These parents might find Collins’s recommendations for high-filtration kids’ masks particularly helpful. There is no N95 standard for children, but plenty of manufacturers make KF94 or KN95 masks for them. Such masks are designed for small faces and are easy to put on. Collins sees no reason why kids could not tolerate them. “I have my own son,” Collins says. “He’s five years old. He wore them all summer.”

Where to Find Legitimate Masks

An issue with commercially available high-filtration masks is that they may not come from reputable suppliers. The CDC’s Web site warns that about 60 percent of KN95 respirators available in the U.S. are counterfeit. To find ones that are legitimate, Prather recommends the Web site Project N95. Masks can also be ordered directly from suppliers such as Bona Fide Masks, which sells KN95s made by Powecom. “That’s the one people swear by,” Prather says. They cost around $1 each. DemeTECH sells N95s for around $4 apiece, as well as other types of masks.

Reusing Masks

One reason people may be reluctant to use KN95s and similar masks is because they are usually considered disposable. But several experts say they can in fact be worn multiple times. “You can probably reuse it until it becomes visibly damaged or soiled,” Marr says. Collins’s amateur testing suggests mask can be used for up 40 hours with no decrease in their filtration efficacy (he recommends using them within six months of opening a package). The virus likely does not survive long on these masks, but it is not a bad idea to have a few in rotation, reusing one every three days or so, Collins says.

Double Masking

One popular way to increase effectiveness is to wear a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask. This strategy, which the CDC has recommended, combines the filtration efficiency of the surgical mask material with the fit of a cloth mask. But how well does it actually work?

According to Collins, pretty well. He measured a filtration efficiency of upward of 90 percent for a cloth mask (with nose wire) over a surgical mask. But the pressure drop was almost twice as high as that of an N95. One reason the CDC and others have recommended against the use of N95s by the general public, apart from their previous scarcity, is that they can be difficult to breathe through—so Collins finds it “baffling” that the CDC would recommend double masking. “So does double masking work? Yes, but … I think there are better solutions,” he said in one of his videos.

Another way to get a better fit is to use masks with straps that go around the back of the head or to use a mask brace if one only has access to a surgical mask.

Not all experts agree that high-filtration masks are necessary for everyone. “What I usually say is ‘The best mask is the one you wear properly,’” says Judith Flores, a pediatrician and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and of the New York Academy of Medicine. Flores believes surgical masks are the most convenient and cleanest option if they are discarded after each use. Cloth masks are okay, too, she adds, as long as they have three layers. “Unless you are a health care worker or home care worker tending to a person who is COVID-positive,” Flores says, “you don’t need an N95.”

Facial Hair

What about the bewhiskered among us? How does facial hair influence the effectiveness of various masks? While there are not a great deal of data on this, some research suggests that the longer a person’s beard or mustache is, the less effective a mask will be because it makes an inferior seal with the face. The CDC has released a somewhat amusing graphic demonstrating styles of facial hair that are appropriate to wear with a respirator.

At this point in the pandemic, with supplies of high-quality masks readily available in many areas, perhaps it is time to ditch loose-fitting cloth or surgical masks for something that provides better protection. “The most important layer of protection,” Prather says, “is to never let the virus get out in the air in the first place.”


Plus, the steps you should be taking to prevent COVID-19.

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Mar 23, 202

It’s hard to imagine what we talked about before coronavirus introduced an entirely new lexicon. In the past few weeks, terms like social distancing, shelter in place, and flattening the curve have become trending hashtags and coronavirus headlines have dominated our news feeds. But with so much corona virus-related content out there and so many people looking for answers in an uncertain time, it can also be hard to decipher what’s scientific fact, and what’s simply a misguided tweet gone viral.

For starters, here’s a recap of what we do know right now: There are currently more than 15,000 coronavirus (aka COVID-19) deaths globally. In the United States, both mandated and self-quarantining is in full effect. Northern California has placed nearly 7 million residents in the San Francisco Bay area under a shelter-in-place order, with exemptions for essential activities. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order that required people to stay home, excluding those who offer essential services, such as pharmacies and grocery stores. Other states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, have enacted similarly strict measures, while other states are continuing to follow suit.


Just received this email from one of our

TABLETALK friends,…had to pass it on!


Checking in one final time to make sure you got my note of congratulations on the fantastic cancer awareness information on your site. In case you didn’t, I just want to say excellent job! Cancer sadly affects millions of people, and it’s great to know sites like yours are working to keep them informed.

I’m also sending a few additional cancer prevention resources our health team recently came across:

Again, I invite you to add these to your own site (maybe on this page: I hope these make a good addition to your incredibly helpful site (should you decide to use them, of course!), and great job with everything you’ve already done to help those affected by cancer!



Patricia Sarmiento,


7 Exercises to Treat

and Prevent IT Band Syndrome

As runners, we expect a little fatigue and soreness from time to time. But any sort of sharp pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

One of the most common sources of pain that can stop runners in their tracks is iliotibial band syndrome. Frequently misunderstood, IT band syndrome is often treated incorrectly.

Common treatments include ice, rest and stretching, and, while all of these have their place in treating a running injury, ITBS is best approached proactively.


The IT band is a thick, fibrous band of connective tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh. It originates from your gluteal muscles and tensor fasciae latae and connects just below your knee. Unlike “runner’s knee,” where pain is commonly felt around or below the kneecap, ITBS usually presents as pain on the outside of your knee.

ITBS can become a chronic pest of an injury if not treated correctly, so it’s important to tackle it early on. While rest will help you initially, a specific set of strength exercises is your best long-term solution. If you have never been affected by ITBS, good news: Prevention is definitely the best medicine.

Because the IT band is so intricately connected to the gluteals, a weak butt can contribute to decreased stability in the knee. When you’re fatigued, your hips and glutes are less able to compensate, and the knee can rotate excessively inward or outward. A flare-up of ITBS can come on abruptly and may feel like a stabbing sensation on the outside of your knee.


If you’re suffering from ITBS, the first thing you’ll need to do is stop running temporarily. But this doesn’t mean that you should be completely sedentary. ITBS is best treated with active recovery, so even if you’re not running, you should be doing specific exercises to strengthen your weak areas and get yourself back on track quickly.

Both prevention and treatment of ITBS come from strengthening the hip and gluteal muscles. Why is this so effective? Simply put, most of us have a weak butt. Sedentary jobs and lifestyles contribute to this weakness, but strength training is a simple way to overcome it.

The beauty of the routine described below is that it can be used for prevention and recovery. If your injury is recent and relatively minor, you should be well on the road to recovery in 1–2 weeks. Chronic, more serious cases may take longer, but don’t despair. Treating the source of the problem will get you back to running eventually, and you’ll be stronger and more resilient than you were before your injury.

Rest assured that this treatment approach has worked for me (after a 6-month layoff) as well as thousands of other runners like you who are suffering from ITBS.


This routine takes about 15 minutes to complete once you are familiar with the exercises. The only piece of equipment you’ll need is a rubber exercise band to increase resistance in some of the exercises. There are a variety of strengths available that can provide increasing levels of resistance.


Lie on your right side with both legs straight. Slowly raise your left leg about 45 degrees, then lower. Repeat on both sides. To make this move more challenging, use an exercise band around your ankles to increase resistance. Reps: 20–30 on each side

Lie on your right side with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle to your torso. Keeping your feet together, use your glutes to slowly open and close your legs like a clamshell. Keep the motion controlled, and don’t allow your pelvis to rock throughout the movement. Use an exercise band just above your knees to increase resistance. Reps: 20–30 on each side

Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent and your feet on the floor. Pushing your heels into the ground, use your glutes to raise your pelvis up until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Lower slowly, then repeat. For a more advanced version, raise one leg into the air and perform the same exercise with each leg individually. Reps: 20–30 on each side

Lie on your side with your feet elevated 1–2 feet off the ground on a stable surface. Lift your torso using your hip muscles while keeping your spine stable, then lower slowly. Reps: 10–30 on each side

Stand with your legs about hip-width apart with an exercise band around your ankles. Take 10 steps to the right, then 10 back to the left. This is one set. The exercise band should remain tight enough to provide resistance throughout the entire movement. Reps: 3–5 sets

Stand on your right leg with your left knee raised out in front of you. Slowly lower yourself, balancing on your right leg and allowing your left leg to straighten out in front of you. Try to lower yourself until your quad is just about parallel with the floor, then slowly come back up. Reps: 5–15 per leg

Stand on your right foot. Start with your pelvis in a neutral position, and then drop the left side so it is several inches below the right side of your pelvic bone. Use your right hip muscle to lift your left side back to its neutral position. Reps: 10–30 on each side

Here are several key points to remember when treating ITBS:

  • See a doctor if pain persists despite ongoing recovery efforts.
  • Reduce the number of repetitions if needed.
  • If you’re currently injured, perform this routine every other day.
  • Other runner-specific core and strength workouts should be completed on alternating days.
  • Download an illustrated guide of a similar routine.

With appropriate treatment, your ITBS should be short-lived, and you’ll be back to running and stronger than ever.

Your Bottled Water

Has 24,500 Chemicals

How it’s screwing up your hormones By Emily Main for

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Paying $2 for a bottle of water may be more convenient than lugging around your reusable one, but that seemingly small price may have a big impact on your health. German researchers found nearly 25,000 chemicals in a single bottle of water, some of which act like potent pharmaceuticals in your body, according to a study just published in the journal PLoS One. The study’s authors purchased 18 different samples of commercially sold bottled water from France, Italy, and Germany. Using various methods of chemical analysis, they tested the water for its ability to interfere with the body’s estrogen and androgen (testosterone and other male reproductive hormone) receptors. The researchers threw in a sample of tap water to act as a sort of ringer, and the results were stunning. The majority of bottled waters tested interfered with both kinds of hormone receptors to some degree; amounts as little as 0.1 ounces inhibited estrogenic activity by 60% and androgenic activity by 90%. The latter, the researchers wrote, is equivalent to the hormonal activity of the drug flutamide, a drug commonly prescribed to men suffering from prostate cancer. The tap water didn’t exhibit any estrogenic or androgenic activity. For the second part of the study, the scientists investigated which chemicals were causing the reproductive hormonal interferences. They used another form of chemical detection and discovered the water contained 24,520 different chemicals. The most hormonally active belonged to classes of chemicals called maleates and fumarates, which are used to manufacture the form of plastic resins used in water bottles. They can also appear as contaminants of other plastic chemicals. The mere presence of these chemicals doesn’t mean that bottled water is going to cause you major lifelong problems, but it is disturbing. Hormonally active chemicals, usually called endocrine disruptors, are known to interfere with the reproductive development of children, but more research is finding that they can also trigger heart disease, diabetes, and infertility, among other problems, in adults. It’s concerning that they make it into bottled water, Bruce Blumberg, PhD, of the University of California–Irvine, told Britain’s Royal Society of Chemicals. “It is a bit early to make any strong inferences about how detrimental these chemicals will be toward human health,” he says, but adds, “It is certain that they are not beneficial.” Carry a refillable nontoxic glass or stainless steel bottle with you wherever you go, and you’ll avoid all those problems—and save a fortune, to boo

Prevention News

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Hormone Replacement

Risks Outweigh Benefits

The Other Risks Of Hormone Replacement Therapy

More than your heart is at stake By Carey Rossi

We already knew that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can affect your heart. But a new study shows that HRT is linked to an increased disease risk way beyond the scope of a single organ, finds a Women’s Health Initiative Study that included more than 27,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79. Women whose uterus were intact and whom received a daily HRT dose of 0.625 mg of conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) plus 2.5 mg of medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) were found to be at increased risk for coronary heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, pulmonary embolism, dementia, gallbladder disease, and urinary incontinence. There were some benefits—these women experienced a decreased diabetes risk, fewer hip fractures, and less frequent hot flashes—but even so, the benefits clearly didn’t outweigh the risks. But when researchers looked at women who had hysterectomies and were taking only .625mg of CEE a day, the benefits and the risks were more balanced. A reduction in hip fractures, total fractures, and breast cancer risk was met with an increased risk for stroke and venous thrombosis (blood clot). Scientists once thought that HRT could protect menopausal women from disease. This study, using one of the most commonly prescribed drugs CEE, shows that isn’t the case. “The risks of CEE plus MPA outweigh the benefits, irrespective of a woman’s age,” write the multi-cohort researchers in JAMAtoday. “However, a more favorable risk-to-benefit was seen in younger women with prior hysterectomy who received CEE alone.” If you are taking either of these therapies, make sure you discuss these findings with your doctor, as well as a few natural remedies for menopause.

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The Best Workout For Your Blood Type

Is There An Optimal Workout For Each Blood Type?

DNA-based workouts: The secret to weight-loss success? By Jenna Bergen

You know the importance of customizing your workout to your fitness level and, if you’re a fitness buff, you’ve probably even taken a quiz or two that promises to help you find the perfect sweat session based on your personality, or even your astrology sign. But what about customizing your workout to your DNA—to the very essence of your genetic makeup? That’s the premise behind The Blood Type Workout, a new fitness program that promises fast, long-lasting results by following the workout plan and diet best suited for your blood type. “The blood type is a powerful genetic fingerprint, and there is a chemical reaction to the food you eat, your workouts, and your blood,” says Joseph Christiano, a naturopathic doctor, author of Blood Types, Body Types, and You, and co-creator of The Blood Type Workout.  “When you follow a generic program that is one-size-fits-all, you’re never going to tap into your genetic potential.” I, a workout junkie (and a quiz-loving Pisces with type-A tendencies, in case you’re wondering) was of course intrigued by the idea. But could it really be true? I was skeptical, to the say the least, when I first agreed to check out the program, which includes three different workout DVDs for each blood type and detailed information on which foods you should and shouldn’t eat for your blood type. (Check Your Daily Health and Wellness Horoscope here!) However, after figuring out my blood type—using a nifty little at-home blood typing kit that comes as part of The Blood Type Workout—I was surprised. As a type O, they seemed to have me pegged. So, how does it work, and where do you fit in? According to Dr. Christiano, here are the four classifications: Type O Your genetic makeup most closely resembles the cavemen and women who spent their days hunting and defending themselves against predators. Best workouts: You tend to be strong and athletic—gotta love those powerful arms and legs—and, because you’re no longer chasing your meals, crave high-intensity workouts like interval training, running, and plyometrics. You use exercise as an emotional outlet, and need it more than other blood type to fight stress and anxiety and boost your mood. Best diet: You do best by avoiding a lot of processed carbs and dairy—basically, very similar to eating Paleo. (Should you eat like a caveman? Check out The Paleo Diet 101.)

Type A

Your DNA resembles that of ancient farmers, and though they were active, they spent their days doing slower, less intense activities like planting crops. Best workouts: Intense exercise increases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol and leads to muscle fatigue and stiffness. You do best by opting for calming activities that help you focus and protect your joints, like Pilates, yoga, Tai Chi, and isometric exercises. Best diet: You should aim to eat close to a vegetarian diet, filling your plate with fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and fish. (Need veggie ideas? Try these 11 Flat Belly Meatless Meals.)

Type B

Your ancestors were nomads, so while they moved often, it was at a less frenzied pace than those caveman types. They also traveled in packs. Best workouts: You’ll enjoy group cardio workouts that are slightly lower impact, like tennis or cycling, as well as resistance training. (Find your perfect workout with 8 Low-Impact Workouts With Big Calorie Burn.) Best diet: You’re one of the few blood types that can still eat dairy. You also do well with meat, and fresh fruits and veggies.

Type AB

Your DNA is a hybrid—you have elements of Type A and B. Best workouts: You tend to get muscle and joint stiffness from high-power cardio sessions, so you’ll be more apt to stick with gentle exercise, like walking, hiking, golf, or dance. However, you also tend to internalize anger, so yoga and Tai Chi can be helpful for keeping your mood level, and your muscles and joints limber. Best diet: In addition to eating fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains, you’ll lose more weight by cutting back on red meat but adding dairy. While I feel that the Type O prescription fits me pretty much to a T—if I don’t get enough high-intensity cardio or power yoga I morph into a cranky, unpleasant stress ball, and I feel best and stay at my happy weight when I eat a lower-carb, higher-protein diet—my coworker, a Type B who regularly craves high-intensity cardio, didn’t feel like her prescription was as strong a match. The creators of The Blood Type Workout say that while there hasn’t been a full clinical study to back up the claims, they feel that the success that many people have had on the program shows its validity. (Check out a few testimonials here.) While you could easily see great results with this plan—any fitness program that inspires you to get off the couch, work out regularly, and eat healthier is a plus—you shouldn’t stop doing types of exercise you enjoy or have seen results with just because it may not be a perfect match with your blood type. “It could discourage some people from doing activities that are actually very important for their health and completely within their exercise abilities,” says Wayne Westcott, PhD, Prevention fitness advisor and fitness research director at Quincy College.


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10 Things to Know About

Thyroid Disease, Foods and Drinks

By , Guide

Updated March 07, 2013 Health’s Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board

For people with thyroid disease — whether hypothyroid (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid), Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease, or other conditions, there are some important things to know about foods and drinks, and their interaction with your health and medications. Here are ten things to know about thyroid conditions and your diet, food and beverages.

1. About Goitrogenic Foods

Goitrogens are substances — occurring naturally in certain foods — that can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge, which is called a goiter. Goitrogenic foods can also function like an antithyroid drug and actually slow down the thyroid and make it underactive (hypothyroidism.)

The main goitrogenic foods are cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage, among others, as well as soy foods. Here is a more detailed list of common goitrogens.

If you still have a functional (or semi-functional thyroid gland), and are hypothyroid, you should be careful not to overconsume raw goitrogenic foods. If you are hyperthyroid, you may want to talk to a nutritional practitioner about incorporating more goitrogenic foods into your diet.

If you are hypothyroid, you don’t need to avoid goitrogenic foods entirely. The enzymes involved in the formation of goitrogenic materials in plants can be at least partially destroyed by heat, allowing you to enjoy these foods in moderation if they are steamed or cooked.

2. Coconut Oil

You may hear coconut oil recommended for thyroid patients, and while it can be a healthful option, it’s not a cure-all or treatment for thyroid disease. It’s just a thyroid-friendly option to replace other fats and oils in your diet.

3. Soy May Be a Problem

Soy both acts as a goitrogen, and inhibits thyroid hormone absorption. Don’t overconsume soy, especially processed and high-phytoestrogen forms of soy, like shakes, powders, soy milk, bars, and supplements. You may want to eliminate soy, or limit soy consumption to fermented forms, like tempeh, in small quantities as a condiment, and not as a primary protein replacement.

If you are hyperthyroid, you may want to talk to a nutritional practitioner about incorporating more soy into your diet.

4. Coffee And Thyroid Medication

You should not take coffee until an hour after you’ve taken your thyroid hormone replacement medication. Otherwise, the coffee can affect absorption, and make your thyroid medication less effective.

(Note: if you absolutely must have both your thyroid medication and coffee at the same time, talk to your physician about the liquid, capsule form of levothyroxine, which is apparently not affected by coffee.)

5. Calcium-Fortified Orange Juice And Your Thyroid Medication

You should not take calcium-fortified orange juice with your thyroid medication. Wait at least three to four hours after taking your thyroid medication before taking calcium-fortified juice, calcium supplements, or iron supplements, as they can interfere with your absorption of thyroid medication.

6. Iodized Salt

In some areas of the world, iodized salt is an essential way to prevent iodine deficiency, cretinism and retardation due to iodine deficiency in pregnant women. In the U.S., however, many people have limited their salt intake, or stopped using iodized salt.

Keep in mind that about one-fourth of the U.S. population is now somewhat deficient in iodine, and that percentage appears to be on the rise again, after years of stable iodine levels (due to iodized salt intake.) You need enough iodine — but not too much — for the thyroid to function properly.

7. Celiac, Gluten and Wheat

A subset of autoimmune thyroid patients have dietary-triggered autoimmunity, due to celiac disease, or a wheat/gluten intolerance. For these patients, going on a gluten-free diet may eliminate antibodies, and cause a remission of their autoimmune thyroid disease. Even for some patients who do not have celiac disease, going on a gluten-free diet may reduce antibodies, reduce bloating, and help with energy and weight loss.

8. High-Fiber Foods

Many thyroid patients struggle with constipation, and extra weight. One of the key tactics that can help is increasing fiber intake, particularly from foods. Here is a list of high-fiber foods for thyroid patients.

Keep in mind, however, that if you switch to a high-fiber diet, you should get your thyroid rechecked in eight to twelve weeks to see if you need a dosage readjustment, as fiber can affect absorption of medication.

9. Mini-Meals

Many people hear that to raise metabolism, you should eat “mini-meals” — or “graze” all day on smaller meals. But this may be exactly the wrong thing to do for thyroid patients who are trying to lose weight. The reason why fewer meals, spaced further apart may be more effective for thyroid patients than mini-meals and grazing is in helping to manage the leptin and insulin levels.

10. Water

One of the most powerful things thyroid patients can do to help their health and metabolism is todrink enough water. Water helps your metabolism function more efficiently, and can help reduce your appetite, get rid of water retention and bloating, improve your digestion and elimination, and combat constipation. Some experts even say that we should drink one ounce of water per pound of scale weight.

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Investigation of an Outbreak of

Cyclosporiasis in the United States

Updated: 8/5/13

On June 28, 2013, CDC was notified of 2 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection in Iowa residents who had become ill in June and did not have a history of international travel during the 14 days before the onset of illness. Since that date, CDC has been collaborating with public health officials in multiple states and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)External Web Site Icon to investigate an outbreak of cyclosporiasis. Preliminary details of the ongoing investigation are highlighted below. READ MORE>>

What can you do to protect yourself and

your family from food poisoning?

Following these simple steps can help keep your family safer from food poisoning at home.

Wash hands and surfaces often.

Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards.

  • Wash hands the right way—for 20 seconds with soap and running water. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Wash surfaces and utensils after each use. Rinsing utensils, countertops, and cutting boards with water won’t do enough to stop bacteria from spreading. Clean utensils and small cutting boards with hot, soapy water. Clean surfaces and cutting boards with a bleach solution.
  • Wash fruits and veggies—but not meat, poultry, or eggs. Even if you plan to peel fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash them first because bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them.


Don’t cross-contaminate.

Even after you’ve cleaned your hands and surfaces thoroughly, raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can still spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.


 Cook to the right temperature.

While many people think they can tell when food is “done” simply by checking its color and texture, there’s no way to be sure it’s safe without following a few important but simple steps.

  • Use a food thermometer. Make sure food reaches its safe minimum cooking temperature. For example, internal temperatures should be 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
  • During meal times, while food is being served and eaten, keep it hot (at 140 ˚F or above). After meals are over, refrigerate leftover food quickly.
  • Microwave food thoroughly (to 165 ˚F)


Refrigerate promptly.

Illness-causing bacteria can grow in many foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them. (During the summer heat, cut that time down to one hour.)


If you believe you or someone you know became ill

from eating a certain food, please contact your local health department.

These health departments are an important part of the food safety system which rely on calls from concerned citizens. You can be an important part of discovering what foods made you and others sick.

  • If a public health official contacts you to find out more about an illness you had, your cooperation is important. Be willing to be interviewed about the foods you ate before you got sick; share your store receipts and give permission for stores to share the list of food you purchased from their store; and allow investigators to come to your home to collect any leftover food you may have.
  • In public health investigations, it can be as important to talk to healthy people as to ill people. Even if you are not ill, be willing to be interviewed about the foods you ate during a certain period of time.

For more information on preventing foodborne illnesses, please visit,

the federal gateway for food safety information.

Image compliments of MBA in Healthcare Management Degrees

Recipes for Disaster – “Bacteria BBQ”

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Causes of Food Poisoning

Each year, millions of people in the United States get sick from contaminated food. Symptoms of food poisoning include upset stomach, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration. Symptoms may range from mild to severe.

Bacteria and Viruses Bacteria and VirusesBacteria and viruses are the most common cause of food poisoning. The symptoms and severity of food poisoning vary, depending on which bacteria or virus has contaminated the food.
Parasites ParasitesParasites are organisms that derive nourishment and protection from other living organisms known as hosts. In the United States, the most common foodborne parasites are protozoa, roundworms, and tapeworms.
Mold, Toxins, and Contaminants Mold, Toxins, and ContaminantsMost food poisoning is caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites rather than toxic substances in the food. But, some cases of food poisoning can be linked to either natural toxins or chemical toxins.
Allergens AllergensFood allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body’s immune system. Some foods, such as nuts, milk, eggs, or seafood, can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies.

Who’s at Risk

Food poisoning or foodborne illness can affect anyone who eats food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or other substances. But, certain groups of people are more susceptible to foodborne illness. This means that they are more likely to get sick from contaminated food and, if they do get sick, the effects are much more serious.

Some of these groups of people include:

Young woman Pregnant Women When a woman is pregnant, her immune system is weakened, which makes it harder to fight off harmful microorganisms in food. At the same time, an unborn baby’s immune system is not developed enough to fight off dangerous bacteria. In addition, certain toxins in food, such as mercury, can damage an unborn baby’s developing nervous system.
Senior couple Older Adults As we age, our immune system and other organs in our bodies become less effective in recognizing and ridding the body of microorganisms that cause foodborne illness. If an older person contracts a foodborne illness, there is a great chance of that the effects will be serious or even deadly.
Nurse holding medical device Persons with Chronic Illnesses If you have a chronic illness such as AIDS, cancer, or diabetes, the illness and sometimes its treatments can weaken your immune system. Similarly, if you are a transplant recipient, you take drugs that you take to prevent your body from rejecting the new organ. These drugs also prevent your immune system from attacking dangerous microorganisms in food

food storage FAQShelf StorageStore food in the coolest cabinets, farthest away from appliances that produce heat. Warm and humid climates shorten the shelf-life of foods. Buy only what you can use within the time recommended for each product. Date packages that are not date coded, and use the oldest first. Buy packaged food in fresh-looking packages. Dusty cans or torn labels may indicate old stock.  Carefully check, and do not purchase, cans with leakage, rust, dents or bulging.

Refrigerator StorageCheck the temperature in a home refrigerator with refrigerator thermometer. If the temperature is above 40°F then lower it. Frequently opening the door, especially on warm humid days, raises the temperature in the fridge. Use food stored in the refrigerator quickly; don’t depend on maximum storage time. Remove spoiled foods immediately to prevent decay from spreading.

Freezer StorageUse a chest freezer. The freezer of a home refrigerator is not made to cool to 0°F, which is necessary for prolonged storage. If foods are  not dated, then write the date on them before freezing. Put foods in moisture-vapor-proof packages or freezer containers. Freezer burn is caused by holes in packaging. Select frozen foods just before checking out and only buy foods that are frozen solid. Keep an inventory of freezer contents.

Frozen Foods Confusion! Thousands of people call the USDA Hotline yearly because they aren’t sure about the safety of items stored in their own home freezers. The confusion seems to be based on the fact that few people understand how freezing protects food.

What Can You Freeze? You can freeze almost any food. There are some exceptions, such as canned foods or eggs in shells. Some foods, like mayonnaise, cream sauce and lettuce, just don’t freeze well.

Is Frozen Food Safe? Food stored constantly at 0 °F will always be safe. Only the quality suffers with lengthy freezer storage. Freezing keeps food safe by slowing the movement of molecules, causing microbes to enter a dormant stage. Freezing preserves food for extended periods because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause both food spoilage and food-borne illness.

Does Freezing Destroy Bacteria? Freezing to 0° F inactivates microbes in food, such as bacteria, yeasts and molds. Once thawed, however, the microbes can become active again, growing at about the same rate as microorganisms on fresh foods, causing food-borne illness. Cooking will destroy parasites, but remember to handle thawed items just like you would perishable foods.

Freshness & Quality: Freshness and quality at the time of freezing affect the condition of frozen foods. If frozen at peak quality, foods emerge tasting better than foods frozen near the end of their useful life. So freeze items you won’t use quickly sooner rather than later. Store all foods at 0° F or lower to retain vitamin content, color, flavor and texture.

Nutrient Retention: The freezing process itself does not destroy nutrients. In fact, there is very little change in nutrient value during freezer storage. Keeping foods frozen longer that their allotted time is not dangerous, but flavors and textures will deteriorate.

Enzymes: Every living organism uses enzymes as part of its normal life cycle, including fruits & veggies.  Enzymes in animals, fruits and vegetables promote chemical reactions like ripening, and ultimately to deterioration and decay. Freezing slows enzyme activity, but doesn’t stop chemical reactions.

Safe Defrosting: Never defrost foods on the counter, in a sink or outdoors. The best method is to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Small items can defrost overnight. Large items take longer, about 1 day for each 5 pounds. For faster defrosting, put food in a plastic leak proof bag and immerse in cold water. If the bag leaks, bacteria from the surrounding environment could affect the food. Change the water every 30 minutes. After thawing, cook immediately.

Click here for What Doctors are Saying About Rice

How Government Responds to Food Illness Outbreaks

What Is a Food Illness Outbreak?

Lab technician at a microscope.When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne outbreak. Public health officials investigate outbreaks to control them, so more people do not get sick in the outbreak, and to learn how to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future.

How Does Food Get Contaminated?

It takes several steps to get food from the farm or fishery to the dining table. Contamination can occur at any step in this process—during production, processing, distribution, or preparation.

Steps Definition Example of Contamination
Production Growing the plants we harvest or raising the animals we use for food If fields are sprayed with contaminated water, fruits and vegetables can be contaminated before harvest.
Processing Changing plants or animals into what we recognize and buy as food. If contaminated water or ice is used to wash, pack, or chill fruits or vegetables, the contamination can spread to those items.
Distribution Moving food from the farm or production plant to the consumer or a kitchen. If refrigerated food is left on a loading dock for long time in warm weather, it could reach temperatures that allow bacteria to grow.
Preparation Getting the food ready to eat. This may occur in the kitchen of a restaurant, home, or institution. If a cook uses a knife to cut raw chicken and then uses the same knife without washing it to slice tomatoes, the tomatoes can be contaminated by pathogens from the chicken.

Who Responds to Outbreaks?

  • Local agencies: Most foodborne outbreaks are local events. Public health officials in just one city or county health department investigate these outbreaks.
  • State agencies: The state health department investigates outbreaks that spread across several cities or counties. This department often works with the state department of agriculture and with federal food safety agencies.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): For outbreaks that involve large numbers of people or severe or unusual illness, a state may ask for help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC usually leads investigations of widespread outbreaks—those that affect many states at once.
  • Federal regulatory agencies: The CDC collaborates with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) throughout all phases of an outbreak investigation. In the case of an outbreak of foodborne illness, these federal agencies work to find out why it occurred, take steps to control it, and look for ways to prevent future outbreaks. They may trace foods to their origins, test foods, assess food safety measures in restaurants and food processing facilities, lead farm investigations, and announce food recalls.

Long-Term Effects

Nurse caring for patient in the hospital

One in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year.

That’s about 48 million people. Most of them will recover without any lasting effects from their illness.

For some, however, the effects can be devastating and even deadly.

Here are some serious effects associated with several common types of food poisoning.

Kidney failure

Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is a serious illness that usually occurs

when an infection in the digestive system produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells,

causing kidney injury. HUS may occur after infection with some kinds of E. coli bacteria.

HUS is most common in children. In fact, it is the most common cause of acute kidney failure in children.

Chronic arthritis

A small number of persons with Shigella or Salmonella infection develop pain

in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called reactive arthritis.

It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis, which is difficult to treat.

Persons withCampylobacter infections may also develop chronic arthritis.

Brain and nerve damage

Listeria infection can lead to meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain.

If a newborn infant is infected withListeria, long-term consequences may include mental retardation, seizures, paralysis, blindness, or deafness.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a disorder that affects the nerves of the body.

This occurs when a person’s immune system attacks the body’s own nerves.

It can result in paralysis that lasts several weeks and usually requires intensive care.

 As many as 40 percent of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases in this country may be triggered by an infection with Campylobacter.


In the United States, approximately 3,000 people die each year of illnesses associated with food poisoning.

Five types of organisms account for 88 percent of the deaths for which the cause is known:

SalmonellaToxoplasmaListerianorovirus, and Campylobacter.

Other types of foodborne illness may cause death as well.

For example, some Vibrio infections (usually associated with eating raw shellfish)

may infect the bloodstream and cause a severe, life-threatening illness.

About half of these infections are fatal, and death can occur within two days.

General Information

What You Should Know About Government Response to Foodborne Illness Outbreaks (FDA) Explains the role of Federal, state, and local agencies and addresses the challenge of multistate outbreaks.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Investigating Foodborne Outbreaks (CDC) Describes how the public health community detects, investigates, and controls foodborne outbreaks.

FOOD: Foodborne Outbreak Online Database (CDC) Enables you to search and download data on foodborne outbreaks reported to CDC from 1998 through 2008. Frequently Asked Questions About the Foodborne Outbreak Online Database

Multistate Foodborne Outbreaks (CDC) Provides information and updates about recent foodborne outbreaks.

General Information

Food Contamination and Poisoning (NIH MedlinePlus) Trusted health information on causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

Foodborne Illness (CDC) Questions and answers on illnesses, outbreaks, prevention, and more.

Foodborne Illness A-Z (CDC) Directory of foodborne illnesses with links to detailed information.

Foodborne Illness & Disease (USDA) General information plus links to information on specific diseases.

Bad Bug Book (FDA) Basic facts regarding foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxin

The Best Types of Fish for Health

From , former Guide Health’s Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board


Fish and Mercury

Why Eat Fish?

Fish are a great source of protein. They contain healthy fats that will reduce your cholesterol and improve your health. Fish also contain omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your heart healthy and may even improve your mood. Fish have been shown to be an important diet of many long-lived peoples around the world.

The Problem With Fish

All fish contain trace amounts of mercury. For most people, the small amounts in fish do not pose a health problem. Some fish, however, contain high amounts of mercury — enough to damage a fetus or newborn. That is why pregnant and nursing mothers must be very careful about the amounts and types of fish they eat. Young children should also avoid eating fish high in mercury. According to the FDA, pregnant women and small children (under 6) should not eat more than 2 servings of fish each week — and should only eat those fish with low mercury content (see below).Mercury levels can build in adults too — eventually becoming harmful to health. High mercury levels can cause permanent damage to the kidneys and brain.

Which Fish Have the Most Mercury?

Big fish have more mercury for the simple reason that big fish usually live longer. They have more time to build up higher levels of mercury in their bodies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends checking local advisories for the mercury content of fish caught in your area using this website. See the lists below for general mercury levels of many common types of fish and how much of each type to eat (according to the National Resource Defense Council):

Issues > Health Main Page > All Health Documents


Consumer Guide to Mercury in Fish

The list below shows the amount of various types of fish that a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant can safely eat, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. People with small children who want to use the list as a guide should reduce portion sizes. Adult men, and women who are not planning to become pregnant, are less at risk from mercury exposure but may wish to refer to the list for low-mercury choices.

Protecting yourself — and the fish: Certain fish, even some that are low in mercury, make poor choices for other reasons, most often because they have been fished so extensively that their numbers are perilously low. These fish are marked with an asterisk (read more below). This list applies to fish caught and sold commercially. For information about fish you catch yourself, check for  advisories in your state.


Enjoy these fish: Anchovies Butterfish Catfish Clam Crab (Domestic) Crawfish/Crayfish Croaker (Atlantic) Flounder* Haddock (Atlantic)* Hake Herring Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub) Mullet Oyster Perch (Ocean) Plaice Pollock Salmon (Canned)** Salmon (Fresh)** Sardine Scallop* Shad (American) Shrimp* Sole (Pacific) Squid (Calamari) Tilapia Trout (Freshwater) Whitefish Whiting


Eat six servings or less per month: Bass (Striped, Black) Carp Cod (Alaskan)* Croaker (White Pacific) Halibut (Atlantic)* Halibut (Pacific) Jacksmelt (Silverside) Lobster Mahi Mahi Monkfish* Perch (Freshwater) Sablefish Skate* Snapper* Tuna (Canned chunk light) Tuna (Skipjack)* Weakfish (Sea Trout)


Eat three servings or less per month: Bluefish Grouper* Mackerel (Spanish, Gulf) Sea Bass (Chilean)* Tuna (Canned Albacore) Tuna (Yellowfin)*


Avoid eating: Mackerel (King) Marlin* Orange Roughy* Shark* Swordfish* Tilefish* Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi)*

* Fish in Trouble! These fish are perilously low in numbers or are caught using environmentally destructive methods. To learn more, see the Monterey Bay Aquariumand the Blue Ocean Institute, both of which provide guides to fish to enjoy or avoid on the basis of environmental factors. ** Farmed Salmon may contain PCB’s, chemicals with serious long-term health effects. Sources for NRDC’s guide: The data for this guide to mercury in fish comes from two federal agencies: the Food and Drug Administration, which tests fish for mercury, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which determines mercury levels that it considers safe for women of childbearing age. About the mercury-level categories: The categories on the list (least mercury to highest mercury) are determined according to the following mercury levels in the flesh of tested fish.

  • Least mercury: Less than 0.09 parts per million
  • Moderate mercury: From 0.09 to 0.29 parts per million
  • High mercury: From 0.3 to 0.49 parts per million
  • Highest mercury: More than .5 parts per million


Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish Food and Drug Administration (FDA). What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish National Resource Defense Council. Mecury Contamination in Fish. Centers for Disease Control. Public Health Statement for Mercury. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Fish and Shellfish:

6 to Eat, 6 to Avoid

Click here to find out more!
Click here to find out more!

The Best and the Worst Seafood Choices

A number of environmental organizations have created lists that help identify fish that are sustainable and those that are not. Seafood Watch, the program run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, has combined data from leading health organizations and environmental groups to come up with their list “Super Green: Best of the Best” of seafood that’s good for you and good for the environment. To make the list, last updated in January 2010, fish must: a) have low levels of contaminants—below 216 parts per billion [ppb] mercury and 11 ppb PCBs; b) be high in health-promoting omega-3 fats; and c) come from a sustainable fishery. Many other options are on the program’s list of “Best Choices” ( The Blue OceanInstitute ( also has sustainability ratings and detailed information.

Here are 6 fish—

that are healthy for you and the planet—

that Seafood Watch says you should be eating.

1. Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)

Many tuna are high in mercury but albacore tuna—the kind of white tuna that’s commonly canned—gets a Super Green rating as long as (and this is the clincher) it is “troll- or pole-caught” in the U.S. or British Columbia. The reason: smaller (usually less than 20 pounds), younger fish are typically caught this way (as opposed to the larger fish caught on longlines). These fish have much lower mercury and contaminant ratings and those caught in colder northern waters often have higher omega-3 counts. The challenge: you need to do your homework to know how your fish was caught or look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue eco label.

 16 Easy, Healthy Tuna Recipes

Click here to find out more!

2. Salmon (wild-caught, Alaska)

To give you an idea of how well managed Alaska’s salmon fishery is, consider this: biologists are posted at river mouths to count how many wild fish return to spawn. If the numbers begin to dwindle, the fishery is closed before it reaches its limits, as was done recently with some Chinook fisheries. This close monitoring, along with strict quotas and careful management of water quality, means Alaska’s wild-caught salmon are both healthier (they pack 1,210 mg of omega-3s per 3-ounce serving and carry few contaminants) and more sustainable than just about any other salmon fishery.

 Easy Salmon Cakes & More Healthy Salmon Recipes

3. Oysters (farmed)

Farmed oysters are good for you (a 3-ounce serving contains over 300 mg of omega-3s and about a third of the recommended daily values of iron). Better yet, they are actually good for the environment. Oysters feed off the natural nutrients and algae in the water, which improves water quality. They can also act as natural reefs, attracting and providing food for other fish. One health caveat: Raw shellfish, especially those from warm waters, may contain bacteria that can cause illnesses.

4. Sardines, Pacific (wild-caught)

The tiny, inexpensive sardine is making it onto many lists of superfoods and for good reason. It packs more omega-3s (1,950 mg!) per 3-ounce serving than salmon, tuna or just about any other food; it’s also one of the very, very few foods that’s naturally high in vitamin D. Many fish in the herring family are commonly called sardines. Quick to reproduce, Pacific sardines have rebounded from both overfishing and a natural collapse in the 1940s.

5. Rainbow Trout (farmed)

Though lake trout are high in contaminants, nearly all the trout you will find in the market is farmedrainbow trout. In the U.S., rainbow trout are farmed primarily in freshwater ponds and “raceways” where they are more protected from contaminants and fed a fishmeal diet that has been fine-tuned to conserve resources.

6. Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)

Freshwater coho salmon is the first—and only—farmed salmon to get a Super Green rating. All other farmed salmon still falls on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch “avoid” list for a few reasons. Many farms use crowded pens where salmon are easily infected with parasites, may be treated with antibiotics and can spread disease to wild fish (one reason Alaska has banned salmon farms). Also, it can take as much as three pounds of wild fish to raise one pound of salmon. Coho, however, are raised in closed freshwater pens and require less feed, so the environmental impacts are reduced. They’re also a healthy source of omega-3s—one 3-ounce serving delivers 1,025 milligrams.

6 Fish to Avoid

A number of environmental organizations have also advocated taking many fish off the menu. The large fish listed here are just six examples EatingWellem> chose to highlight: popular fish that are both depleted and, in many cases, carry higher levels of mercury and PCBs. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has also posted health advisories on some of these fish at

1. Bluefin Tuna

In December 2009 the World Wildlife Fund put the bluefin tuna on its “10 for 2010” list of threatened species, alongside the giant panda, tigers and leatherback turtles. Though environmental groups are advocating for protected status, the bluefin continues to command as much as $177,000 a fish. Bluefin have high levels of mercury and their PCBs are so high that EDF recommends not eating this fish at all.

2. Chilean Sea Bass (aka Patagonian Toothfish)

Slow-growing and prized for its buttery meat, Chilean sea bass has been fished to near depletion in its native cold Antarctic waters. The methods used to catch them—trawlers and longlines—have also damaged the ocean floor and hooked albatross and other seabirds. At present, there is one well-managed fishery that is MSC-certified. EDF has issued a consumption advisory for Chilean sea bass due to high mercury levels: adults should eat no more than two meals per month and children aged 12 and younger should eat it no more than once a month.

3. Grouper

High mercury levels in these giant fish have caused EDF to issue a consumption advisory. Groupers can live to be 40 but only reproduce over a short amount of time, making them vulnerable to overfishing.

4. Monkfish

This strange fish resembles a catfish in that it has whiskers and is a bottom dweller, but its light, fresh taste made it a staple for gourmets. The fish is recovering some after being depleted, but the trawlers that drag for it also threaten the habitat where it lives.

5. Orange Roughy

Like grouper, this fish lives a long life but is slow to reproduce, making it vulnerable to overfishing. As Seafood Watch puts it: “Orange roughy lives 100 years or more—so the fillet in your freezer might be from a fish older than your grandmother!” This also means it has high levels of mercury, causing EDF to issue a health advisory.

6. Salmon (farmed)

Most farmed salmon (and all salmon labeled “Atlantic salmon” is farmed) are raised in tightly packed, open-net pens often rife with parasites and diseases that threaten the wild salmon trying to swim by to their ancestral spawning waters. Farmed salmon are fed fishmeal, given antibiotics to combat diseases and have levels of PCBs high enough to rate a health advisory from EDF. Recently, however, freshwater-farmed Coho salmon have earned a Best Choice status from Seafood Watch. There is hope consumer pressure will encourage more farms to adopt better practices

Another fish that is becoming popular, but should possibly be avoided:

Opah (also known as Moonfish)

Opah, also known as moonfish, is a tropical species that is caught in Hawaiian waters. It is very high in mercury levels, and adults are not recommended to eat more than one serving of opah per month. Additionally, opah may be contaminated with a tropical marine toxin that causes ciguatera, a serious foodborne illness that improves with time but has no cure. Ciguatera is found in tropical reef fish, and cannot be cooked out of food. Be sure to ask at restaurants whether your tropical fish has been tested for the presence of this toxin. If you choose to eat tropical reef fish, consuming small portions and selecting smaller-sized fish may help you avoid the more serious side effects of this toxin. Little is known about this wandering fish, and no assessment of the size of its population has been conducted. It has been caught increasingly in the past decade, perhaps due to increased fishing pressure on tunas in the region since they are often found together. Opah is not usually targeted by any major commercial fishery, but rather is caught incidentally in the longline fishery for tunas and swordfish. Its biology and life history are also not well understood. Recommended alternatives to opah (also known as moonfish): • Atlantic mackerelBarramundi, U.S. farmedBlack cod, Pacific U.S. (also known as sablefish) • Cod, Pacific (not trawl-caught) • PompanoSalmon, U.S. wild-caught AlaskaSnapper, Mangrove or GrayTuna, Atlantic skipjackTuna, Pacific AlbacoreWreckfish

11 Best Fish:

High in Omega-3s—and Environment-


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1. Wild Salmon From Alaska

(Debi Bishop/iStockphoto)

Fresh, frozen, or canned are all OK. Wild salmon will cost you a lot more than the farmed variety, but salmon farming practices produce waste and can spread parasites and disease to wild fish, among other problems, according to Seafood Watch.Calorie count: 211 per 4-ounce serving.

2. Arctic Char

(Vebjørn Karlsen/iStockphoto)

Farming practices for arctic char aren’t linked to pollution or contamination, so it’s fine to opt for farmed over wild-caught (which isn’t as easy to get anyway). At a sushi bar, you may see it called iwana.Calorie count: 204 per 4-ounce serving.

3. Atlantic Mackerel

(Ken Rygh/iStockphoto)

Mackerel populations in general are hardy, so wild-caught is A-OK. But because the EDF recommends you limit consumption of the Spanish and king varieties of mackerel because of the potential for mercury contamination, stick to Atlantic mackerel as a staple.Calorie count: 232 per 4-ounce serving.

4. Sardines

(Peter Pham/iStockphoto)

These tiny fish generally come from the Pacific, where the population has resurged. Because they’re small, they don’t come with the mercury worries of fish higher up the food chain.Calorie count: 232 per 4 ounces of drained, canned, oil-packed fish.

5. Sablefish/Black Cod

(Lisa Levin/Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Seafood Watch recommends you stick to fish caught off Alaska and British Columbia, where fishing practices have reduced the likelihood of the accidental catch of other species.Calorie count: 220 calories per 4-ounce serving.

Photo Credit Images

Mahi-mahi is the Pacific region name of a saltwater fish, also called dolphin or dolphinfish, although it is not related to the marine mammal of the same name. The fish is found in deep ocean waters throughout the world. It is particularly abundant in the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida and throughout the Caribbean. A popular commercial and game fish, mahi-mahi is prized for its delicious and nutritious flesh.


Mahi-Mahi has a slender, muscular body and blunt, rounded forehead with a high fin along its back. The flesh is firm and dark, turning white as it cooks, and has a slightly sweet taste. It is often cut into steaks or fillets and can be prepared a number of ways including grilling, baking, broiling and frying.


A 3-oz. serving of mahi-mahi is low in fat, high in protein and delivers 173 calories according to the USDA Nutrient Database. Proteins provide the majority at approximately 160 calories in each serving, while fats offer around 13 calories. There are no significant amounts of carbohydrates in this serving. This same serving of mahi-mahi contains around 9 percent of the caloric intake the average adult needs per day.


The same serving size of mahi-mahi contains several vitamins and minerals essential for good health. This fish is particularly high in niacin and vitamin B6. Other significant amounts of vitamins in mahi-mahi include pantothenic acid, vitamin A, and riboflavin. Smaller amounts of vitamins, including thiamin and folate, are also available in a single serving of mahi-mahi Mahi-mahi also contains several important minerals. including selenium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and magnesium. The same serving also contains lesser quantities of minerals including calcium, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese.


According to the American Heart Association, mahi-mahi contains moderate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. These heart healthy nutrients have the potential to help reduce cholesterol and protect the cardiovascular system. There are around 130 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in each 3-oz. serving.


Many people are concerned about exposure to mercury that can come from eating saltwater fish. The American Heart Association states that unlike some fish, such as king mackerel or swordfish, which may contain high levels of mercury, mahi-mahi is relatively low in this potentially toxic metal.

Read more:



Summer Food Safety Tips

  • Make your stop for food the last stop on your list of chores. The sooner you can get home with your groceries, the better. If you have room in the back seat, it might be cooler, after your air conditioner kicks in, than keeping the groceries in the trunk of your car.
  • If it takes a while for you to get home from the grocery store, get one of those cooler bags for your frozen items, or bring a full size cooler with freezer packs and put your ice cream, dairy items, meat, eggs, and other perishables in the cooler for the trip home.
  • If your kids (or the adults) snack in the car, make them nonperishable snacks, like nuts and crackers or dried fruit. Cheese sticks left in a hot car are pretty ugly.
  • If you are on a road trip and you are taking beverages, stay away from cans of carbonated beverages that could explode in the car. Yuk. Stick with plastic bottled, non-carbonated drinks or juice boxes.
  • If you are going on a day trip (or even across town) freeze a couple of bottles of water or sports drinks or lemonade for the trip. If you keep them in a cooler, they’ll still be cool for the trip home. We keep a variety of about ten different frozen drinks in the freezer at all times!
  • If you use a cooler, keep it full. It will stay cold longer.

If you are eating outdoors in the desert heat, here are some additional reminders:

  1. Plan just enough so there are no leftovers.
  2. Try to pick foods that are cooked, like fried chicken, and eat them within a couple of hours.
  3. Keep all food in a cooler until you are ready to eat.
  4. Avoid using dairy products at your picnic or at your patio party. Mayonnaise can go bad pretty quickly.
  5. Any food left outside for more than an hour or so should be thrown out.

More Summer Food Safety

Related: Nutrition News: Tips, etc. Nutrition/Healthy Eating Client Share Save to Library Now that temperatures are on the rise, so is your risk of contracting a food-borne illness. These safe food preparation tips are from the American Dietetic Association, in conjunction with ConAgra Foods:   To reduce the spread of bacteria, use hot, soapy water to clean your grill before cooking each meal. Wash your hands thoroughly before, during and after food preparation. If you are on the go, pack moist towelettes or a hand sanitizer in the cooler. Thaw frozen foods in the fridge or microwave. Never defrost food on the kitchen countertop or outside. Marinate foods in the refrigerator, and never reuse any marinade that has touched raw meat or poultry (it’s a good idea to make separate batches for marinating and then basting food!). Refrigerate all foods immediately below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (°F). Keep your cooler stocked with ice packs or plenty of ice to last during parties. Freeze bottles of water, and use them to keep the rest of the food in the cooler cool. Buy and use a food thermometer to make sure the cooler stays cold. Transport the cooler in your air-conditioned car, not in the hot trunk. Clean out your cooler with plenty of soap and water after each use. Keep raw meat or poultry in separate dishes from other foods, to prevent cross-contamination. The same goes for utensils; use different forks, knives and spoons to taste, stir and serve the cooked food. Use a meat thermometer when grilling, to ensure hamburgers are cooked to 160°F, chicken is cooked to 170°F and hotdogs are reheated to 160°F. Never partially grill meat or chicken for further cooking at a later time. Don’t leave cooked food outside in hot weather (90°F or higher) for more than 1 hour. Throw away any perishable food that has been unrefrigerated for more than 1 hour. Source:

Bacteria love the hot, humid days of summer, and grow faster then than at any other time of the year. When the temperature is above 90 F, the time perishable food can be left outside the refrigerator or freezer drops from two hours to one hour.

  • At the same time temperatures rise, we’re more likely to leave food unrefrigerated for longer time periods. Food sits out at picnics, barbecues and during travel.
  • Washing facilities and thermostat-controlled cooking appliances often are not available at picnic sites.
  • People may leave their food thermometer in their kitchen when cooking outdoors.

Beat bacteria this summer with these seven tips, tools and travel-safe foods.

1. Chill Out!

picnic coolerAvoid providing a playground for bacteria while enroute to your outing. Keep perishable foods cool by transporting them to a picnic site in an insulated cooler kept cold with ice or frozen gel packs. Perishable foods include meat; poultry; seafood; eggs; dairy products; pasta; rice; cooked vegetables; and fresh, peeled and/or cut fruits and vegetables. Pack the cooler immediately before leaving home with foods that have been kept chilled in the refrigerator. Avoid frequently opening the cooler container containing perishable food. Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in another. Keep the cooler in an air-conditioned vehicle for transporting and then keep in the shade or shelter at the picnic site. To avoid frequently opening the cooler, open it once to remove only the amount of food that will be eaten immediately. Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood wrapped separately from cooked foods, or foods meant to be eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables. Throw away any perishable leftovers that have been kept out over two hours (one hour if the temperature is above 90 F).

2. Ice Cream “Egg”-xactly As You Like It!

Don’t let a favorite homemade ice cream made with raw eggs cramp your style with a possible foodborne illness. Substitute an egg-based ice cream recipe made from a cooked, stirred custard, such as the recipe and variations that follow from the American Egg Board (AEB).

3. No Poking Allowed

Poking and stabbing meat with a fork or knife when placing or turning meat on the grill can cause a loss of juices that keep meat moist and tender. Piercing meat also can affect food safety. Bacteria normally are found only on the external surface of larger cuts of meat like beef steaks. Steaks are safe if cooked to 145 F (versus 160 F for ground-up meat like hamburgers) since the outside will reach a temperature high enough to kill these surface bacteria. However, if a steak is poked with a fork or knife, these bacteria can be pushed into the steak and then the steak must be cooked to 160 F, the same as hamburger. Use long-handled tongs to handle meat on the grill. Use a SEPARATE set of tongs for removing COOKED meat, poultry and seafood from the grill.

4. Safe at the Plate

Avoid cross-contamination. Place cooked meat, poultry and seafood on a clean plate, rather than the plate on which it was carried to the grill.

5. What’s Hot, What’s Not!

Rather than worry about keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, limit the number of perishable foods on your menu, especially if you’ll be at a picnic site for several hours. For example, serve:

  • potato chips instead of potato salad;
  • washed whole fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, plums, peaches, etc.) instead of a cut-up fruit salad;
  • cookies or brownies instead of a perishable cream-filled pie.

6. Get a Handle on Handwashing

handUnwashed hands are a prime cause of foodborne illness. Whenever possible, wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before handling food. When eating away from home, pack disposable towelettes if no handwashing facilities are available.

7. Shower Power

Though only the inside of melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, etc.) is eaten, their outer rind still must be washed. Bacteria present in the soil can contaminate the skin of the melon. When the melon is cut, these bacteria are transferred to the part we eat and can grow to levels that cause foodborne illness. Give your melon a shower! Wash the surface of melons thoroughly under clean, running water before eating them. Cut melons on a clean cutting surface, using a clean knife. If facilities for cleaning melons aren’t available at the picnic site, wash and slice melons before leaving home. Transport them to the site in an insulated cooler kept cold with ice or freezer gel packs. Remove from the cooler just before serving them. (Image courtesy of

For More Information about Summer Food Safety …

For more information about handling foods safely in the summer, check these links:





According to new research, it may not be.  Scientist have discovered that the way you live your life can alter your GENETIC BLUEPRINT. While it is true that your genes are passed down from ancestors, the old thinking –that your DNA is fixed…no longer seems to hold true.  New studies indicate that genes are mutable, and that simple things, such as what you eat, could actually modify them.  In other words,..could it be  “You are what you Eat”?…or does Nurture possibly trump Nature?   The answer may lie in a relatively new science  called, “Epigenetics”…which unlike genetics which studies genomes(chromosomes and the DNA they contain inherited from your parents)…epigenetics is the study of EPIGENOMES, the cellular material that rest on top of genomes, which CAN BE changed over a lifetime!   Your genomes are like the hardware of your computer, the epigenome is the software that tells your computer what to do says Randy Jirtle, a geneticist in the dept. of oncology at Duke University. Lifestyle factors, including nutrition and exercise can in turn program that software!  So even if you inherit mutated genes that may predispose you to a certain type of cancer, developing the disease isn’t necessarily inevitable.  Epigenetics Programming appears to switch those genes on or off, without altering the underlying DNA. The biggest opportunity for Epigenetics occurs BEFORE BIRTH…since a fetus’ tissue actively grows and differentiates.  Therefore, a mother’s eating habits, as well as her stress levels, exercise regime and environment…actually have the power to shape the genes that are passed down and  may alter the susceptibility of her child to leukemia, lymphoma, and neurological cancers, and possibly adult onset cancers, says Oregon State University’s  principal investigator for the Linus Pauling Institute, David Williams. The compound sulforaphane,  found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower did the best job of protecting offspring from gene mutation in a study on Williams’ study on mice. This compound has been shown to not only prevent but possibly treat cancer, says Williams. On the contrary.. exposure to unhealthy chemicals…such as,…bisphenol A BPA, which is used widely in plastic products,..can cause mutated offspring.  Mice that were exposed the BPA were at a greater risk for diabetes, obesity and cancer as adults.  But when these mice were fed vitamin B12 and Folic Acid, the epigenetic effect of BPA was counteracted! Though you can not change what happened to you before you were born,…choosing the right foods now could affect genes associated with the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and other ailments.  So EAT THOSE LEAFY GREENS …and CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES!  All are good sources of antioxidants and folate, which seem to help tumor suppressing genes stay active.  In a 2010 study on lung cancer risk in smokers, 12 servings of leafy greens per month reduced methylation,  (a process by which cells can inadvertently silence genes that protect against cancer by 20%).  Taking a multivitamin can reduce methylation by 50%! Since Epigenome have been studied for only the past decade…more research is needed to understand the extent to which environmental factors can influence gene expression in humans…so maybe with a little effort…we can affect our outcome!…and with a little positive Nurturing…Mother Nature may smile upon us! Here’s to GOOD EATS… and a GOOD HEALTHY LIFE!…GOD BLESS!

For more info on this subject click here:  TIME MAGAZINE

Health Matters with Dr. Andrew Weil

Martha Stewart Show,

  Stomach Problems Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is a natural, nontoxic, inexpensive remedy. It works by increasing the mucous coating on the lining of the stomach and esophagus, making it more resistant to irritation by stomach acid. Also, stomach-pain sufferers should cut down on caffeine and drink chamomile tea. Lower-Back Pain Yoga and other mind-body methods are great alternatives to traditional drugs and surgery. Mental Health Try fish oil, practice relaxed breathing, and do aerobic exercise. Weight Loss Eat an anti-inflammatory diet, eliminate processed foods, and set up a regimen for proper physical activity. Flu Prevention Astragalus, a Chinese herbal root, has antiviral and immune-boosting effects, and it’s available at most health-food stores. You can take it regularly throughout the flu season. There are also a number of Asian mushrooms you can buy in liquid or capsule form that have similar effects. Top 5 Foods for a Healthy Diet

  • Dark chocolate
  • Tea
  • Whole soy foods (such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame)
  • Oily fish (such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and Alaskan black cod)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts)

More Healthy Foods to add to your Daily Diet!

These foods will keep your immune system strong all season,

to help you avoid catching a cold or the flu.

Garlic Allicin, a compound in garlic, fights bacteria and stops viruses from reproducing. For a potent dose, use crushed raw garlic in salads or pasta dishes.

Broccoli Your immune system weakens as you age, but sulforaphane, a compound in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, stimulates the cells that fight infection. Red Bell Peppers About 90 milligrams of vitamin C a day are enough to keep your body on guard against germs. Red bell peppers are the top source — just half of one has 76 milligrams, compared with 35 in half an orange. Apples In addition to being good for your heart, soluble fiber can help you recover quickly from an illness, one study found. Get your fill from unpeeled apples (the peel contains most of the fiber). Mushrooms The most common white button type can increase your body’s production of antiviral proteins that work to ward off infection. Try them sauteed or in a frittata. Yogurt Employees who had a daily dose of probiotics, the good bacteria in yogurt, took fewer sick days than those who didn’t, one study found. Aim for one cup of low-fat plain yogurt a day. Aspargus What do green stalks bring to the table? Most notably, this member of the lily family contains the most folate of any vegetable. Folate helps rid the body of the amino acid homocysteine, associated with cardiovascular disease. It also may aid in the production of histamine, which is necessary for achieving orgasm — making asparagus’s legendary aphrodisiac powers not quite so far-fetched. Even better, the tasty spears help fight cardiovascular disease, strengthen bones, and may even boost the libido. What If I’m Already Sick? Tuck into a bowl of chicken soup — studies show it can prevent inflammation that causes symptoms such as coughing and congestion, says registered dietitian Angela Ginn, of Baltimore. Add a dash of cayenne — it helps reduce nasal stuffiness so you can breathe easier.

Is Your Water Safe? Gulp!

“In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference,” wrote Rachel Carson in “Silent Spring,” her seminal work of environmentalism, in 1962. Almost 50 years later, this vital resource is still endangered, but the masses are beginning to pay attention — especially to what’s flowing from their faucets. A 2009 Gallup Poll found that 84 percent of Americans said they worried a “great deal” or a “fair amount” about pollution of drinking water. There’s certainly cause for concern. Our waterways may not be as thick with oil and sludge as they were before the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act were passed in the 1970s, but today’s threats may be even more insidious, precisely because they’re so invisible. The chemical traces of modern-day consumption and convenience — from pharmaceuticals and personal-care products to solvents, repellents, and more — are now ubiquitous in our waterways. And with hundreds of new chemicals created every year, it’s basically impossible to know exactly what impact this worrisome soup might have on our earth. Last November, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released an analysis of nearly 20 million drinking water test results that identified more than 300 pollutants in tap water — more than half of which aren’t subject to any regulation. READ MORE>>




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Could you ever imagine picking up your morning cup of joe, and instead of drinking it, slathering it over your skin?

A new study indicates that caffeine applied directly to the skin may be able to protect against UV-related sun damage and skin cancer. Rutgers researchers say that the caffeine guards against certain skin cancers by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin called ATR, which in turn slows down non-melanoma tumor growth. The study found that caffeine worked best at a pre-cancerous stage, as a protective measure rather than a treatment measure. “Caffeine might become a weapon in prevention because it inhibits ATR and also acts ad as a sunscreen and directly absorbs damaging UV light,” said researcher Allan Conney. Prior studies have found that coffee is also associated with a decreased risk of several other types of cancer – only in these cases, you can drink it, as opposed to rubbing it on your skin for health benefits. According to statistics from the National Cancer Institute, sunlight-induced skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States. Every year, more than 1 million new cases are diagnosed. Though researchers are still uncertain as to why exactly coffee is effective, they hope their findings can be utilized as a method of prevention.


Is it OK to cook with extra-virgin olive oil?

One of the main things to consider when evaluating whether it is OK to heat extra-virgin olive oil

(or any other oil for that matter) is the smoke point of the oil. The smoke point is the temperature

at which visible gaseous vapor from the heating of oil becomes evident. It is traditionally used as a

marker for when decomposition of oil begins to take place. Since decomposition incurs chemical

changes that may not only result in reduced flavor and nutritional value but also the generation

of harmful cancer causing compounds (oxygen radicals) that are harmful to your health,

it is important to not heat oil past its smoke point. Inhaling the vapors can also be damaging.

Oils and their smoke point

The smoke point is a natural property of unrefined oils, reflecting their chemical composition.

When oil is refined, the process increases the oil’s smoke point; in fact, raising the smoke point is one of the reasons

why the refining process is used.

To get a better idea of how refining increases the smoke point of oil, look at Table 1 that shows several examples.

Table 1

Oil type

Smoke point

Canola oil, unrefined


Canola oil, semirefined


Canola oil, refined


Safflower oil, unrefined


Safflower oil, semirefined


Safflower oil, refined


Soy oil, unrefined


Soy oil, semirefined


Soy oil, refined


Sunflower oil, unrefined


Sunflower oil, semirefined


Sunflower oil, refined high-oleic


Olive oil and its smoke point

Before I discuss the specifics of the smoke point of olive oil, I want to clarify some terms used to define olive oils

since these terms are often a source of confusion for many people:

  • Extra-virgin: derived from the first pressing of the olives (has the most delicate flavor).
  • Fine virgin: created from the second pressing of the olives.
  • Refined oil: unlike extra-virgin and fine virgin olive oils, which only use mechanical means to
  • press the oil, refined oil is created by using chemicals to extract the oil from the olives.
  • Pure oil: a bit of a misnomer, it indicates oil that is a blend of refined and virgin olive oils.

Now, unlike the information presented in Table 1, the information on olive oil smoke points is, unfortunately,

not very clear or consistent since different companies list different smoke points for their olive oil products;

this variability most likely reflects differences in degree of processing. Generally, the “smoke point of olive oil”

ranges from 220-437°F. Most commercial producers list their pure olive smoke points in the range of 425-450°F while

“light” olive oil products (which have undergone more processing) are listed at 468°F. Manufacturers of extra virgin oil

list their smoke points in a range that starts “just under 200°F” and that extends all the way up to 406°F. Again,

the variability here is great, and most likely reflects differences in the degree of processing.

Practical tips

In principle, organic, unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil should have the lowest smoke point of all forms of

olive oil since this form of the oil is the least refined, most nutrient dense and contains the largest concentration of fragile

nutritive components. Based upon this, I cannot imagine exposing this type of olive oil to high heat, anymore than

I can imagine exposing fresh organic flax oil or evening primrose oil. For a natural, very high-quality extra virgin olive oil,

I believe the 200-250°F range reflects the most likely upper limit for heating without excessive damage. In other words,

this would allow the use of extra virgin olive oil for making sauces, but not for 350°F baking or higher temperature cooking.

It is best to add it to your dishes after they have been cooked to enjoy the wonderful flavor and nutritional value of olive oil.

How To Cook With Olive Oil

Olive oil helps carry the flavor of foods and spices, provides a pleasing feel in the mouth, and satisfies the appetite. Liberal use of it will enhance both savory and sweet dishes without guilt because of its wonderful health-boosting properties (although if you’re trying to lose weight, you may not want to overdo it, because like all fats, it provides nine calories per gram).

Virgin and extra-virgin oils are best used uncooked or cooked at low to medium temperatures. Refined and olive oil grade oils are the choices for high-heat uses, such as frying.

An oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which it smokes when heated. Any oil is ruined at its smoke point and is no longer good for you. If you heat an oil to its smoke point, carefully discard it and start over. Olive oil has a higher smoke point than most other oils (about 400 degrees Fahrenheit). Refined olive oils have a slightly higher smoke point (about 410 degrees Fahrenheit).

Tips for Cooking with Olive Oil

Although extra-virgin and virgin olive oils stand up to heat remarkably well, they do lose flavor as they’re heated, so they are best for uncooked dishes. Use them to harmonize the spices in a dish, to enhance and build flavors, and to add body and depth.

Olive oil also balances the acidity in high-acid foods, such as tomatoes, vinegar, wine, and lemon juice. In general, treat your olive oils as you do your wines, carefully pairing their tastes with the flavors of the other ingredients in the dishes you are creating.

Here are some ways to use olive oil:

  • Drizzle it over salad or mix it into salad dressing.
  • Use in marinades or sauces for meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. Oil penetrates nicely into the first few layers of the food being marinated.
  • Add at the end of cooking for a burst of flavor.
  • Drizzle over cooked pasta or vegetables.
  • Use instead of butter or margarine as a healthy dip for bread. Pour a little olive oil into a small side dish and add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, which will pool in the middle and look very attractive.
  • For an easy appetizer, toast baguette slices under the broiler, rub them lightly with a cut clove of garlic, and add a little drizzle of olive oil.
  • Replace butter with olive oil in mashed potatoes or on baked potatoes. For the ultimate mashed potatoes, whip together cooked potatoes, roasted garlic, and olive oil; season to taste.
  • Make a tasty, heart-healthy dip by mixing cooked white beans, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor; season to taste with your favorite herbs.
  • Use olive oil in your sauces — whisking will help emulsify, or blend, the watery ingredients with the oil in the sauce.

The Most Versatile Version

You can use multipurpose fine virgin olive oil in almost any recipe. It is moderately priced despite being close in flavor to more expensive extra-virgin olive oils. Plus, you can use it in high-heat applications, so feel free to grab fine virgin olive oil when you need to saute, panfry, or stir-fry.

Fine virgin olive oil is also the right choice when you want quality flavor but not that strong olive taste. Try these tips for fine virgin olive oil in your kitchen:

  • Brush it on meats before grilling or broiling to seal in the meat flavor and juices and create a crispy exterior.
  • Add to eggs and drizzle over toast.
  • Sprinkle on brown rice.
  • Before refrigerating homemade pesto, add a thin layer of fine virgin olive oil on top of the sauce after putting it in a jar so the pesto will keep its green color.

Baking with Olive Oil

Most people don’t think of using olive oil when baking, but it’s actually a great way to get more monounsaturated fat and polyphenolic compounds in your diet. Choose the lite, light, or mild type of olive oil for baking, especially savory breads and sweets such as cakes, cookies, and other desserts. Because of the filtration these types of oils have undergone, they withstand high-heat cooking methods.

Substituting olive oil for butter dramatically reduces the amount of fat — especially saturated fat — in your baked goods. And of course, olive oil does not contain any of butter’s cholesterol. You’ll also use less fat — you can substitute three tablespoons of olive oil for a quarter-cup of butter. (Check your cookbook for substituting advice.)

The product still turns out as expected, but with 25 percent less fat, fewer calories, and more heart-healthy nutrients.

Olive oil can enhance the flavor of almost anything you eat. Now that you know how it gets to your table, you’ll know how to get the most out of it.

To learn more about the topics covered in this article, check out the following links:


Gayle Povis Alleman is a registered dietitian with a bachelor’s degree in traditional nutrition from Western Washington University and a master’s degree in alternative nutrition from Bastyr University. This varied background allows her to bring together the best of both approaches to offer research-based, holistic information about wholesome foods, nutrition, and health. As a writer, educator, and speaker, she encourages people to achieve optimum health through food, nutrients, and physical activity.

How to Compare Cooking Oils

By Melissa Tartaglia, eHow Contributor


Carefully choosing your cooking oil will improve your cooking results, the meal’s taste and your health.

Having several oils handy, if properly stored, will also save time and money.

Use the steps outlined in this article to decide which cooking oils best suit your needs and tastes.


    • 1
      Determine the oil’s purpose. The purpose for which you intend to use the oil will guide your choice of oil, because different oils have different smoke points, flavors, textures and effects on health. Some purposes for cooking oils are deep-frying or sauteing, sprinkling on salads, improving health or enhancing a meal’s flavor.
    • 2
      Determine your recipe’s cooking temperature and the oil’s smoke point. Check your recipe to determine whether the recipe calls for low heat, medium heat, medium-high or high heat. Then pick an oil with an appropriate smoke point. The oil’s smoke point is the heat at which the oil begins to smoke and its flavor and nutritional value degrade. For recipes requiring medium-high to high heat, choose an oil with a smoke point of at least 375 degrees. Options include avocado (refined), 520 degrees; canola (refined), 400 degrees; grape seed, 420 degrees; olive (refined), 420 degrees; safflower (refined), 450 degrees; sesame (semi-refined), 450 degrees; and walnut (semi-refined) 400 degrees. If your recipe calls for a low or medium heat, choose an oil with a lower smoke point, but more flavor such as olive (unrefined), 320 degrees; walnut (unrefined) 320 degrees; or sesame (unrefined), 350 degrees. If your recipe does not require heat, choose a flavorful unrefined oil, such as: extra-virgin olive, which has a peppery-fruity flavor; flax seed with a strong nutty flavor; or walnut with a delicate, nutty flavor. If you prefer flavorless oil in your cold dishes, try an unrefined safflower oil. Assume the oil is refined unless its label says otherwise.
    • 3
      Consider the oil’s health benefits. If your aim is to lower your cholesterol, you should choose polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oil. Dr. Earl Mindell, who has authored several books on nutritional health, herbs and supplements, says that polyunsaturated oils lower both the good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol, while monounsaturated oils raise the good and lower the bad. However, Mindell warns against any hydrogenated polyunsaturated fats; they are linked to a higher risk of cancer. Olive oil is monounsaturated, and Mindell recommends the extra-virgin variety, which has the best flavor and texture. Flax-seed oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce recurrence of heart disease and lower cholesterol. Safflower and grape-seed oils contain the highest amount of linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid and is linked to cancer prevention, relief from cystic fibrosis and eczema, and reduction of diabetic complications. For antioxidant benefits, try an oil that naturally contains vitamin E, such as wheat germ, which contains 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance per serving; and grape seed which contains 45 percent of the recommended daily allowance per serving.
    • 4
      Consider your storage limitations. All oils should be stored in tightly sealed containers in the refrigerator or a dark cabinet to delay rancidity. Unopened oils generally last a year in a dark cabinet, while opened oils begin to turn rancid within two weeks to two months after opening, if not stored in the refrigerator. The darker or more flavorful oils, such as extra-virgin olive, sesame and flax seed, turn rancid more quickly than others. Don’t worry if the oils become cloudy in the refrigerator, as they will become clear again once brought to room temperature. If you must store your oils on the kitchen counter, choose refined oils lighter in color and keep them in dark, tightly-sealed containers away from heat. Taste them before each use to make sure they are not rancid.



Canola Oil

 According to the Mayo Clinic…

Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?

I read an article on the Internet that said canola oil contains toxins that are harmful to humans.

Is this true?


from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Health concerns about canola oil that are being circulated on the Internet are unfounded. Misinformation about the safety of canola oil may stem from the fact that, years ago, oil was produced from the rapeseed plant. Rapeseed oil contains very high levels of erucic acid, a compound that in large amounts can be toxic to humans. The canola plant was developed by natural crossbreeding from the rapeseed plant. Canola oil is produced from canola plants, not rapeseed plants. Canola plants have very low levels of erucic acid. Canola oil is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, canola oil is very low in saturated fat and has a very high proportion of monounsaturated fat, so it’s a healthy and safe choice when it comes to oils.


Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet. A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999. She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes. Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.



    FAQs: The Safety of Plastic Beverage Bottles

    The news about plastics has been pretty alarming lately, causing some of us to go dashing for the water bottles to see what kind of plastic they are—and find out if we’ve been unwittingly poisoning our children and ourselves with chemicals leaching into the water from them. If you’ve been concerned, here is a handy chart that identifies the good, bad, and OK plastics and where they are found. Find out here: 1 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)  Used to make soft drink, water, sports drink, ketchup, and salad dressing bottles, and peanut butter, pickle, jelly and jam jars. GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. 2 High density polyethylene (HDPE) Milk, water, and juice bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, cereal box liners, and grocery, trash, and retail bags. GOOD: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. 3 Polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC)  Most cling-wrapped meats, cheeses, and other foods sold in delicatessens and groceries are wrapped in PVC. BAD: To soften into its flexible form, manufacturers add “plasticizers” during production. Traces of these chemicals can leach out of PVC when in contact with foods. According to the National Institutes of Health, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), commonly found in PVC, is a suspected human carcinogen. 4 Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) Some bread and frozen food bags and squeezable bottles. OK: Not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones, but not as widely recycled as #1 or #2. 5 Polypropylene (PP) Some ketchup bottles and yogurt and margarine tubs. OK: Hazardous during production, but not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones. Not as widely recycled as #1 and #2. 6 Polystyrene (PS) Foam insulation and also for hard applications (e.g. cups, some toys) BAD: Benzene (material used in production) is a known human carcinogen. Butadiene and styrene (the basic building block of the plastic) are suspected carcinogens. Energy intensive and poor recycling. Baby bottles, microwave ovenware, eating utensils, plastic coating for metal cans BAD: Made with biphenyl-A, a chemical invented in the 1930s in search for synthetic estrogens. A hormone disruptor. Simulates the action of estrogen when tested in human breast cancer studies. Can leach into food as product ages. More on Health & Safety (195 articles available) More from Annie B. Bond (3248 articles available) To help assure the safety of our food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration carefully reviews food and beverage packaging materials, including plastics for beverage bottles, before allowing them on the market. Most convenience-size beverage bottles sold in the United States are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET has become the material of choice for bottled beverages because it is lightweight and shatter resistant, and PET has been extensively tested for safety. Bottles made with PET are widely used for everything from water and fruit juice to soft drinks and even beer. When consumers choose to refill and reuse convenience-size plastic bottles, should they be concerned about potentially harmful bacteria? Not if they clean their plastic bottles between uses just as they would other drinking containers. Plastics are by nature extremely sanitary materials, and plastic bottles are no more likely to harbor bacteria than other kinds of packaging or drinking containers. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments. Once bacteria have been introduced, virtually any drinking container (coffee mugs, drinking glasses, serving pitchers, etc.) becomes a suitable environment for bacterial growth. Consumers should clean any drinking container with hot soapy water and dry thoroughly between uses. Bottles specifically designed for extended reuse are often made with wide openings that allow consumers to use cleaning instruments and easily dry them. » back to top What about the University of Calgary study? A University of Calgary study found bacteria in water samples taken from bottles that were refilled by elementary school students without being cleaned. The author of the study concluded that the source of the bacteria was inadequate personal hygiene practices on the part of students reusing the bottles. The fact that the bottles in this particular study were plastic is irrelevant. » back to top How do I know that the plastic in my bottle is safe? pastedGraphic_1.pdf   Consumers can be confident that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration carefully reviews new substances intended for food contact before allowing them on the market. This includes materials, like plastics, intended for food and beverage packaging. Both plastics and plastic additives are subject to FDA review and regulations. New packaging materials are permitted for food use only after FDA reviews the submitted test data and is satisfied that they are safe for their intended use. As part of its review, FDA assesses the migration potential of plastics and the substances with which they are made. Scientific tests are conducted to establish that there is a minimal amount of transfer between a plastic package and the food it contains and that any transfer does not pose a risk to human health. » back to top Will a plastic bottle leach harmful substances into water if I reuse it? Most convenience-size beverage bottles sold in the U.S. are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The FDA has determined that PET meets standards for food-contact materials established by federal regulations and therefore permits the use of PET in food and beverage packaging for both single use and repeated use. FDA has evaluated test data that simulate long-term storage and that support repeated use. The toxicological properties of PET and any compounds that might migrate under test conditions have also been well studied. The results of these tests demonstrate that PET is safe for its intended uses. (For details, see The Safety of Polyethylene Terephthalate.) » back to top What about the student project that claimed to have found unhealthy compounds in water samples from reused bottles? The subject of a widely circulated e-mail hoax, these claims stem from a University of Idaho student’s masters thesis that was promoted in the media but was not subject to peer review, FDA review or published in a scientific or technical journal. While the student project may have been suitable work for a masters thesis, it did not reflect a level of scientific rigor that would provide accurate and reliable information about the safety of these products. Fortunately for consumers, FDA requires a much higher standard to make decisions about the safety of food-contact packaging. » back to top But I read that the student’s project found carcinogens? The student’s thesis incorrectly identifies di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA), a plastics additive, as a human carcinogen. DEHA is neither regulated nor classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the National Toxicology Program or the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the leading authorities on carcinogenic substances. In 1991, on the basis of very limited data, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classified DEHA as a “possible human carcinogen.” However, in 1995, EPA again evaluated the science and concluded that “…overall, the evidence is too limited to establish that DEHA is likely to cause cancer.” Further, DEHA is not inherent in PET as a raw material, byproduct or decomposition product. DEHA is a common plasticizer that is used in innumerable plastic items, many of which are found in the laboratory. For this reason, the student’s detection of DEHA is likely to have been the result of inadvertent lab contamination. This is supported by the fact that DEHA was detected infrequently (approximately 6% of the samples) and randomly, meaning that the frequency of detection bore no relationship to the test conditions. Moreover, DEHA has been cleared by FDA for food-contact applications and would not pose a health risk even if it were present. Finally, in June 2003, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research conducted a scientific study of migration in new and reused plastic water bottles from three countries. The Swiss study did not find DEHA at concentrations significantly above the background levels detected in distilled water, indicating DEHA was unlikely to have migrated from the bottles. The study concluded that the levels of DEHA were distinctly below the World Health Organization guidelines for safe drinking water. » back to top Is it true that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only allows plastic beverage bottles, such as those made with polyethylene terephthalate (PET), for one-time use? No, FDA allows PET to be used in food-contact applications, including food and beverage packaging, regardless of whether the packaging is intended for single or repeated use. PET beverage bottles sold in the United States are designed for single use for economic and cultural reasons, not because of any safety concerns with PET. In fact, refillable bottles made with the same PET resin as single-use bottles are safely reused in a number of other countries. The only difference is that refillable bottles have thicker sidewalls to enable them to withstand the mechanical forces involved with industrial collection and commercial cleaning and refilling operations. » back to top Can freezing a PET beverage bottle cause dioxins to leach into its contents? This is the subject of another e-mail hoax. There simply is no scientific basis to support the claim that PET bottles will release dioxin when frozen. Dioxins are a family of chemical compounds that are produced by combustion at extremely high temperatures. They can only be formed at temperatures well above 700 degrees Fahrenheit; they cannot be formed at room temperature or in freezing temperatures. Moreover, there is no reasonable scientific basis for expecting dioxins to be present in plastic food or beverage containers in the first place. » back to top   Resources and Links

    • White Paper on Refillable Plastic Packaging Made from PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) International Life Sciences Institute, 1994.


    See Also

  • Pyramid or plate? Explore these healthy diet options
  • Added sugar: Don’t get sabotaged by sweeteners
  • Sodium: How to tame your salt habit now
  • Alcohol use: If you drink, keep it moderate
  • Caffeine: How much is too much?
  • Dietary fats: Know which types to choose
  • Carbohydrates: How carbs fit into a healthy diet
  • New dietary guidelines: How to make smart choices
  • Artificial sweeteners: Understanding these and other sugar substitutes
  • Water: How much should you drink every day?
  • Nutrition Facts: An interactive guide to food labels
  • Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet
  • Underweight? See how to add pounds healthfully
  • Caffeine: Is it dehydrating or not?
  • Grape juice: Same heart benefits as wine?
  • Slide show: Healthy meals start with smart meal planning
  • Water softeners: How much sodium do they add?
  • Fat grams: How to track your dietary fat
  • Phenylalanine in diet soda: Is it harmful?
  • Low-sodium diet: Why is processed food so salty?
  • Healthy diet: End the guesswork with these nutrition guidelines
  • Stevia: Can it help with weight control?
  • MUFAs: Why should my diet include these fats?
  • High-fructose corn syrup: What are the health concerns?
  • Juicing: What are the health benefits?
  • Taurine in energy drinks: What is it?
  • High-protein diets: Are they safe?
  • What are functional foods?
  • Acai berry products: Do they have health benefits?
  • Coffee and health: What does the research say?
  • Slide show: Guide to a high-fiber diet
  • Calorie calculator
  • Slide show: 10 great health foods for eating well
  • Energy drinks: Do they really boost energy?
  • Alkaline water: Better than plain water?
  • Multigrain vs. whole grain: Which is healthier?
  • Healthy chocolate — Dream or reality?
  • Yerba mate: Is it safe to drink?
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Is it harmful?
  • High-fiber foods
  • Diet soda: Is it bad for you?
  • Trans fat is double trouble for your heart health
  • Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health
  • Cholesterol: Top 5 foods to lower your numbers
  • Step up to MyPlate, the new food icon
  • Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid tool
  • Tips for healthy eating
  • Foods for healthy skin: Top picks
  • Slide show: Guide to portion control for weight loss
  • Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
  • Junk food blues: Are depression and diet related?
  • Omega-6 fatty acids: Can they cause heart disease?


Food Safety, Fallacies, and Facts:

Few people want to dwell on the topic of food-borne illnesses, particularly now, during a season so enjoyably and emphatically food focused. But when it comes to the annual November exercise of giving thanks around the table, certainly most people will put continued good health on their lists.

“Some think they have never had food-borne illness,” says Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for Consumer Research in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California-Davis. “But these same people recognize that they have had stomach flu, especially after holiday meals.” This means that people are not properly handling sources of harmful bacteria, she says. The health risks associated with lax preparation of meat and poultry, stuffing turkeys, and storing and reheating leftovers are real. But Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need to be approached with a sense of gloom. Many safety measures are a matter of common sense; a few are actually counterintuitive. But all of them are straightforward and, once learned, easy to turn into kitchen habits. Safe Stuffing “Yes, it is distinctly safer to cook stuffing outside of the bird,” says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and the author of “What to Eat” (North Point; 2006), but it doesn’t taste the same or as good.” Such is the problem stuffing presents to cooks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is resolute on this point, advising against cooking stuffing inside the bird. Tightly packed into the cavity, the mixture often lags behind in cooking time. When the bird is ready to come out of the oven, the stuffing may not be 165 degrees, the temperature at which most bacteria are bumped off. Chefs who can’t do without the flavorful juices the turkey cavity bestows on stuffing, however, do have ways of minimizing bacterial risks. When the stuffing is being prepared, combine warm ingredients, such as sauteed onions or celery, with cold ingredients only right before the turkey is stuffed. The reason: These hotter ingredients can raise the overall temperature of the stuffing mixture to the danger zone, 40 to 140 degrees, where many harmful bacteria thrive. The bird should be stuffed (loosely) just minutes before it goes in the oven. Finally, the stuffing should reach 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer before it’s brought to the table. Bird Handling Prevailing wisdom used to be that turkeys required a preroast bath to wash away germs. Fresh or frozen, the bird was rinsed and dried, and then stuffed and cooked. Most food scientists now suggest forgoing this step. “I definitely recommend not washing the turkey,” says Dean Cliver, a professor emeritus in the department of food science at the University of California-Davis. A properly cooked turkey will get hot enough to kill almost all bacteria. But a raw turkey doesn’t have the safety benefits that come with oven time. “Like it or not, the bird may well carry salmonella,” Bruhn says. “And this bacteria is not to be fooled with.” There are more deaths each year attributed to salmonella (about 600) than any other pathogen. Salmonella and campylobacter, another unsafe bacteria found in poultry, are easily transferred to hands, kitchen surfaces, linens, sponges, and foods. For this reason, it is better to pat the turkey dry with paper towels (that are then promptly discarded) than to give the bird a bath in the sink and potentially disperse bacteria throughout the kitchen. After working with poultry, hands should be washed with antibacterial soap and then dried with paper towels. Cooks should resist the urge to blot hands dry on dish towels if they’ve come in contact with any meat. Frozen turkey needs sufficient time to thaw in the refrigerator. A good rule of thumb is to thaw a turkey in its original wrapper in the bottom of the refrigerator in a pan (so it doesn’t drip onto other foods), allowing 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds. Side Steps For many of us, not having enough space in the oven to cook everything simultaneously is a chronic holiday problem. So we cook our side dishes in advance, and reheat them just before mealtime. Precooked foods should be reheated until their internal temperature reaches the magic temperature of 165 degrees. “While some bacteria will be killed at much lower temperatures, at a temperature of 165 virtually all are killed,” Nestle says. If you’re traveling to a holiday meal with side dishes, and it’s less than 40 degrees outside, Bruhn suggests placing your cold dish in the trunk. No need for an insulated box. For a hot dish, wrap it in a towel or a blanket. The key is to avoid the 40- to 140-degree range. In other words,keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Secured Leftovers The USDA recommends leaving holiday foods at room temperature for no more than two hours. So before all revelers have lapsed into a tryptophan haze, the hosts should spend a few minutes getting food off the sideboard and putting leftovers in order. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition-advocacy group, in Washington, D.C., estimates that more than half of all food-poisoning incidents associated with turkey are caused by improper cooling (as opposed to improper cooking). To minimize health risks, all stuffing should be removed from the cavity and all meat from the carcass as soon as possible. Refrigerate them separately in resealable plastic containers. Assuming turkey soup is on the horizon, the carcass should be covered in layers of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil and promptly refrigerated. Side dishes should be transferred to resealable plastic containers and refrigerated as soon as possible. These storage containers should be no deeper than two inches, Bruhn says. (The shallow depth will allow food to cool quickly.) Most leftovers will last three to four days. And that may well be the holiday highlight: the next days’ dabs of cranberry sauce, spoonfuls of gravy, and slices of burnished-skin bird.

Stroke is a potentially life-threatening and devastating occurrence that affects many people.

It is the third leading cause of death and the number one cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.

Studies suggest a stroke occurs every 40 seconds, equaling about 785,000 strokes each year, of which 600,000

are first-time strokes, and almost 144,000 people die each year of a stroke. Although a stroke can occur at any age,

about 75 percent affect people older than 65, and the risk doubles each decade after age 55. Men have a higher risk of

stroke than women, but more women die of stroke. African Americans have a higher risk than Caucasians.

Strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is compromised. Because the brain does not store oxygen,

it relies on blood vessels to deliver a constant supply of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. When an artery becomes

blocked or ruptured, it disrupts blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke. Brain cells that are deprived of oxygen

and nutrients for four minutes begin dying. Nerve cells, which send messages to different parts of the body,

also die in this process and cause a myriad of neurological problems, such as:

Muscular weakness, numbness and/or loss of movement

Loss of speech or language skills

Loss of memory and/or confusion

Emotional issues like depression, overly cautious behavior and outbursts

Loss of vision, spatial and depth perception

Double vision

Dizziness and poor balance

Difficulty swallowing

Constant pain

Inability to read and/or write

Loss of math and reasoning skills

Loss of organizational abilities

Loss of ability to perform personal hygiene tasks

Loss of ability to live independently

Experts believe that up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable by reducing stroke-related risk factors like smoking,

high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.


Ischemic Strokes

Ischemic strokes are the most common, accounting for 83 percent of all strokes.

A weak and damaged artery is the basis of these strokes. Aging, high blood pressure and genetics can cause hardening

of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), and a high cholesterol diet, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and stress cause further

damage to arteries and can lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fatty material along the

inner lining of the arteries. Over time, the fatty material thickens, hardens and forms plaque.

Plaque impedes blood flow which places stress on the arteries, ultimately weakening them. This increases the risk for artery

damage ranging from microscopic lacerations to ruptures which can lead to bleeding and blood clots. In some cases,

natural body functions such as sneezing and coughing can cause a weakened artery to rupture, and a stroke can occur

when a blood clot or fatty debris from atherosclerosis partially or fully blocks a blood vessel in the head or neck and

reduces or stops blood flow. Symptoms of ischemic strokes vary from person to person. Symptoms can be mild enough

to go unnoticed, but other times symptoms are obvious, begin suddenly, occur on the opposite

side of the body having the stroke and can include:




Loss of vision

Difficulty speaking


Balance problems

There are three subtypes of

ischemic strokes:

Thrombotic Stroke can occur when a blood clot or fatty debris from atherosclerosis

occludes the carotid artery as well as any otherartery carrying blood

to the neck or brain.

Embolic Stroke 

Embolic Stroke can occur when a blood clot or

fatty debris from an athero-sclerotic artery anywhere in the body detaches from the artery.

The detached clot or debris travels through a blood vessel towards the brain, becomes lodged

and obstructs blood flow. Many clots originate from the inner lining of the heart and often are caused

by atrial fibrillation, a common type of irregular heartbeat in which blood pools in the atria chambers of the

 heart instead of moving through the ventricles. Many patients diagnosed with atrial

fibrillation are  prescribed blood thinners for this reason.

3. Transient

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) can occur when a blood

vessel is temporarily blocked. TIAs are referred to as

mini or pre-strokes because they often precede full strokes. In addition to blood

clots and fatty debris, TIAs can stem from severe anemia, carbon monoxide

poisoning, thickened  blood or a combination of very low blood  pressure and  atherosclerosis.

TIAs differ from  the other types of  ischemic strokes in that symptoms

only last about 15 minutes and any lasting effects from

the TIA are resolved in  about one hour.

Receiving medical care within one hour of the onset of symptoms can minimize the amount of

permanent damage and disability. Emergency medical treatment often involves administering

medications to dissolve clots and/or reduce stroke-related brain damage. Two-thirds of ischemic stroke patients require rehabilitation

to improve their functioning and enable them to achieve the

best possible quality of life.

Hemorrhagic Strokes

Hemorrhagic strokes  occur when a  weakened, damaged blood vessel in the brain leaks or

ruptures. The bleeding irritates the surrounding brain tissue causing

the tissue to swell and blood to collect into a mass, called a

hematoma. The swelling and hematoma increase

the pressure in the brain and cause the brain to press against the skull which can pinch blood vessels,

impede blood flow and cause a stroke. These strokes tend to be more severe than ischemic

strokes and have different symptoms, such as:

Abrupt onset of a severe headache that feels like the worst headache of your life

Muscular problems such as:

weakness, numbness and/or paralysis

Double vision and/or loss of peripheral vision



Balance and/or coordination problems

Communication difficulties – speaking and/or understanding others

Common causes of hemorrhagic strokes include head trauma, high blood pressure, aneurysms, abnormal connections between arteries and veins, READ MORE>>


Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States limiting the activities of nearly 21 million adults.

We all experience aches and pains as we age, but some types of discomfort can be more serious and being able to detect and

treat arthritis early is the key to pain relief and an improved quality of life. Read on to learn about the various types of arthritis and

the lifestyle improvements you can make to manage this condition.

Thank you for helping spread awareness by continuing to share this valuable health information with your family and friends –

a little knowledge can go a long way.

Bone health and heart health – more related than you may think.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S., with coronary artery disease being the most common.

Arthritis affects over 50 percent of adults who suffer from heart disease and for those with rheumatoid arthritis, the prevalence of heart disease is even greater

.Click here to learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and coronary artery disease.

Is your pain in the neck just a pain in the neck?

It may be a form of arthritis which, if left untreated, can result in more severe pain and a more complex condition.

Click here to see what your aches and pains may be telling you.














Hiking at Paragon




So here we are, perfecting our social distancing skills while schools, sports and other forms of social engagement are on indefinite hold, by a dangerous virus named after a (regal) crown. The coronavirus is named because the center envelope is surrounded by small protein spikes called peplomers. These little protein spikes wreak havoc when they attach to lung tissue and hijack otherwise healthy tissue into building a potentially lethal coronavirus army of invaders.

Because the virus settles primarily with the respiratory tract – the nose, mouth and lungs – it is highly contagious when people sneeze, cough or exchange respiratory droplets with others. Despite its importance, social distancing has been a social disappointment for many weekend warriors, team sport athletes, fitness fanatics and sports fans who find camaraderie, biochemical joy from dopamine rushes or stress reduction through regular exercise and sport.

We are both sports scientists who study athlete health and safety. We’re also proud exercise addicts who find the prospect of not exercising almost as disturbing as the prospect of the disease itself.

Here’s how exercise affects the immune system in response to the flu and some practical tips on how much people should (and should not) exercise.

Runners race in the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K on February 08, 2020 in New Orleans. Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon/Jonathan Bachman

Look for the ‘just right’ amount

Both too much and too little are bad while somewhere in the middle is just right. Scientists commonly refer to this statistical phenomenon as a “J-shaped” curve. Research has shown exercise can influence the body’s immune system. Exercise immunity refers to both the systemic (whole body cellular response) and mucosal (mucous lining of the respiratory tract) response to an infectious agent, which follows this J-shaped curve.

A large study showed that mild to moderate exercise – performed about three times a week – reduced the risk of dying during the Hong Kong flu outbreak in 1998. The Hong Kong study was performed on 24,656 Chinese adults who died during this outbreak. This study showed that people who did no exercise at all or too much exercise – over five days of exercise per week – were at greatest risk of dying compared with people who exercised moderately.

Additionally, studies performed on mice demonstrated that regular exercise performed two to three months prior to an infection reduced illness severity and viral load in obese and non-obese mice.

Thus, limited animal and human data cautiously suggest that exercise up to three days per week, two to three months prior, better prepares the immune system to fight a viral infection.

What if we have not exercised regularly? Will restarting an exercise routine be good or bad? Limited data, also obtained from mice, suggests that moderate exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day after being infected with the influenza virus improves the chances of surviving. In fact, 82% of the mice who exercised 20-30 minutes a day during the incubation period, or the time between getting infected with flu and showing symptoms, survived. In contrast, only 43% of the sedentary mice and 30% of the mice who performed strenuous exercise – or 2.5 hours of exercise a day – survived.

Therefore, at least in laboratory mice, mild to moderate exercise may also be protective after we get infected with the flu virus, whereas a little exercise is good while no exercise – or even too much exercise – is bad.

For those who are “committed exercisers,” how much exercise is probably too much during a flu pandemic? It is clear that both too much exercise and exercising while sick increases the risk of medical complications and dying.

We conducted studies on both collegiate football players and cross-country runners, which showed a decrease in secretory immunoglobulin A, or “sIgA” when athletes competed and trained hard. SIgA is an antibody protein used by the immune system to neutralize pathogens, including viruses.

SIgA is also closely associated with upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). When sIgA levels go down, URTI’s usually go up. We saw this relationship in football players, whereas the players showed the most URTI symptoms when their sIgA levels were lowest. This indirectly suggests that over-exercise without adequate recovery may make our body more vulnerable to attack, especially by respiratory viruses. So, when it comes to immunity, our studies show that more exercise is not necessarily better.

How much exercise may be just right?

Here are some guidelines based on just the right amount – for most people.

  • Do perform mild to moderate exercise (20-45 minutes), up to three times per week.
  • Strive to maintain (not gain) strength or fitness during the quarantine period.
  • Do avoid physical contact during exercise, such as playing team sports, that is likely to expose you to mucosal fluids or hand-to-face contact.
  • Wash and disinfect equipment after use.
  • If you use a gym, find one that is adequately ventilated and exercise away from others to avoid droplets.
  • Remain engaged with teammates through social media, rather than social gatherings or contact.
  • Eat and sleep well to boost your immune system.
  • Remain optimistic that this too shall pass.

How much exercise may be too risky?

Here are some things not to do:

  • Do not exercise past exhaustion, which increases the risk of infection. An example would include marathon running, which increases the risk of illness from 2.2% to 13% after the race.
  • Do not exercise if you have any flu-like symptoms.
  • Do not exercise more than five days a week.
  • Do not exercise in crowded, enclosed spaces.
  • Do not share drinks or eating utensils.

Do not overdrink fluids, especially when sick, to try and “flush out” the toxins or prevent dehydration. It is not true that you can “flush out” toxins.

The J-shaped (“just right”) curve suggests that exercise, like most things, is best in moderation. Stay safe out there and be creative – our game is not over, just temporarily suspended.

[Get facts about coronavirus and the latest research. Sign up for our newsletter.]

How to Burn Way More Calories Walking

How to Burn Way More Calories Walking
Summer is finally here,… and there’s no better time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful outdoors!  So why not add a little walking to your fitness program.  While walking at a relaxed pace has major health benefits — and for sedentary people, it can be a great start to an exercise program — walking isn’t necessarily a calorie-torching activity. But if you’re looking to burn extra calories on foot, consider amping up your activity with these five tricks:


Use your surrounding environment to break a sweat on a walk. Seek out the hills instead of avoiding them. If you don’t live in a hilly place, even doing hill repeats on the same hill gets your heart pumping.


Trails require more coordination and all-body stability to navigate roots and rocks than a plain paved road or sidewalk. Also, according to recent studies, the bonus time spent in nature versus on city streets will make you happier and more energized in the long run.


Whether it’s carrying your groceries home from the market or wearing a weighted vest on a power walk, taking on an extra load burns extra calories. Just make sure you’re carrying things evenly — switch hands if you’re carrying a bag, or invest in a quality backpack.



You don’t need to start running all the time — but a few fartlek intervals will boost your heart rate and metabolism. As you walk around the neighborhood, simply pick up the pace and do a jog or hard run for a half block or to the next stop sign. Even 10 seconds of fast-paced running done a few times can have major benefits, and eventually, you might find that you want to add even more running to your routine.



Take advantage of those parks with fitness loops that include stations for different activities like pullups and tricep dips. If you don’t have one of those nearby, you can DIY it by stopping every few minutes and holding a plank for a few seconds, doing a few air squats or walking lunges.


Walk 10,000 Steps a Day

Getting healthier means moving more, and walking is one of the easiest ways to do that. This walking challenge will have you taking 10,000 steps a day—the magic number for optimal health—in just four weeks.

When it comes to being active, most Americans fall short of doing what it takes to be healthy. Case in point: The average adult logs just 5,117 steps per day—well under the 10,000 daily steps many health professionals recommend. Walking this amount has been proven to boost heart and brain health and help maintain a healthy weight.

So how do you reach that goal? Try this simple plan, designed by Nancy Fudacz, master performance training coach at East Bank Club in Chicago, and Gretchen Collins, East Bank’s director of fitness. Each week will challenge you to hit a step goal, and in four short weeks you’ll be logging 10,000 steps a day—and be on the path to better health. While simply following the plan will get you very close to these numbers, using a pedometer, or a fitness tracker, like Fitbit, can give you a more accurate count and help keep you motivated. If you have a Fitbit, you can even sync your steps with this challenge (sign in with your Fitbit username and password on the right).

Over the next four weeks, you’ll gradually increase the number of steps you take every day simply by walking more. The plan starts with getting you to 4,500 steps daily by the end of the first week and then builds each week until the end of week four when you’re hitting the 10K mark.

Another bonus…walking 10,000 steps helps you burn about 5oo calories!

Stand Up for Flat Abs Women’s Health Magazine





Benefit #1: Cycling Can Reduce Anxiety
Benefits of Cycling
One of the best benefits that you can get from regular aerobic exercise such as cycling is that it can go a very long way in helping to reduce the effects of anxiety. Social anxiety, panic attacks, and other anxiety disorders can have a crippling effect on all aspects of your life and leave you secluded, make it hard to keep jobs and relationships, and just make life really hard.

Several studies show that regular exercise such as cycling can actually reduce the occurrence and severity of anxiety attacks. It is also shown that the more intense the exercise is, the more of a positive effect it has in terms of reducing the effects of anxiety.

Benefit #2: Better Self-Esteem
Another thing that cycling can do for you is to increase your self-esteem and sense of well-being. Simply put, cycling makes you lose weight, build muscle and gives you a sense of accomplishment from completing a several kilometer long cycling trip. The fact of the matter is that people have a greater sense of subjective mood and well-being when they exercise than when they don’t.

Studies show that cycling makes people feel better about themselves and increases their positive self-perception. Ultimately, after a long cycling trip, you can look in the mirror and really feel good about what you have accomplished and how you are transforming your body.

There are also several studies which show that cycling, now we’re talking about biking outdoors, not taking an indoor spinning class, is good for your mood. It is shown that exercising outdoors, such as cycling, makes you feel more energized, revitalized, and happier than exercising indoors.

Benefit #3: Reduction Of Stress & Depression
The next thing that cycling is good for in terms of aerobic exercise is that it can go a long way in reducing both stress and depression. It is actually shown that regular exercise such as cycling can in fact reduce the chance of developing clinical depression in the long run, which is also true for several other depressive disorders.

Studies also show that exercise such as a few minutes of biking per day can also work to combat the effects of depression for people who already suffer from it. The same can be said for people who suffer from too much stress. Of course, stress is not good because it can lead to things like heart attacks, bad sleeping patterns, and other unwanted health issues.

The main reason as to why cycling can fight off depression and stress is because of the chemicals produced in your brain when you go through aerobic activity. Cycling for a prolonged period of time on a regular basis is shown to increase the production of serotonin and other feel happy chemicals. These chemicals which are released when you exercise are shown to relieve tension, elevate moods, and also fix bad sleeping patterns.

In essence, cycling can directly make you feel a sense of happiness, elation, and make you feel all around better. This is a great way to fight off things like depression without having to resort to prescription medications, drugs which often have terrible side effects.




Benefit #4: Relief Of Pain
Benefits of Cycling
Another great thing that cycling can do for you is to reduce your pain, or at least your perception of pain. This has to do with some other chemicals that get released in your brain when you go through aerobic exercise. This time we are talking about endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are naturally produced chemicals and are in fact the same components as can be found in marijuana, and of course marijuana is known to be a great way to relieve pain. Therefore cycling is a great way to get the pain relief effects of THC and marijuana without actually having to participate in the use of illicit substances. Not only that, but cycling is also shown to be a releasing exercise, something which naturally combats all sorts of pain.

Benefit #5: It’s Good For The Environment & Your Wallet
Something else that we really like about cycling on a regular basis, especially if you use it for your main mode of transportation, is that it is both eco-friendly as well as relatively inexpensive. Just think about how much money you spend on gas for your car or on public transportation to go to work, go shopping, and go see friends.

Unlike an automobile, a bicycle is a one-time buy, doesn’t require hefty insurance payments, and doesn’t need you to pay for gas. Moreover, cycling is an eco-friendly activity, and unlike driving or even taking public transport, it doesn’t produce pollution or greenhouse gasses which kill the planet that you live in. If you want to save your wallet and the planet you live on, cycling definitely makes for a very good choice.

Benefit #6: Battling The Effects Of Arthritis
Another big benefit that comes along with cycling on a regular basis has to do with arthritis. People who have arthritis in their ankles, knees and other parts of the legs of course suffer from a lot of pain. People who have arthritis often become immobile and don’t exercise much and it’s because of that extreme pain that they suffer from.

However against popular knowledge, not exercising is perhaps one of the worst things that you can do if you suffer from arthritis.

The more you don’t move around, the more arthritis takes hold. Cycling on a regular basis is shown to keep the hips, knees, and ankles mobile and flexible. It is shown to reduce the pain caused by arthritis as well as the general immobility which sufferers of arthritis have.

Benefit #7: Reduce The Risk Of Cancer
Benefits of Cycling
Something else which is shown to be directly affected by cycling is the occurrence of cancer. It is shown that exercise such as biking directly reduces the risks of developing certain types of cancer as you age. Of course, cancer is a severely debilitating disease which is often fatal both in the long and short run.

Think about it, something as simple as cycling can greatly increase your lifespan and keep one of the most deadly diseases in history at bay. In a controlled study group people who cycled had a much lower chance of developing certain types of cancer than people that did not engage in regular exercise such as biking.

Benefit #8: Cardiovascular & Respiratory Health
Another thing that is very beneficial when it comes to biking is to increase your cardiovascular health. Your heart is a muscle and the more you train it the healthier and more efficient it becomes. It is shown that regular aerobic exercise can go a very long way in increasing the health of your heart.

This means that your heart is stronger and can pump blood around your body much more efficiently, thus reducing your resting heart rate and also reducing blood pressure. Cycling also helps to reduce arterial diseases, heart diseases, and the occurrence of things such as heart attacks.

Not only does cycling increase your cardio health, but it also increases your physical performance. This is because your muscles need oxygen and blood to function properly, especially when you are performing vigorous physical exercise and the more of these things your muscles get, the better and longer they can function.

A healthier heart means that your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to deliver the necessary oxygen to your muscles, and it can do it much quicker and more efficiently. In the long run, this means that cycling provides for a stronger heart, something which will ultimately increase your physical performance.

Cycling also helps to increase your respiratory health, once again because your lungs are muscles, and the more you train them, the stronger they get. Having stronger lungs is essential for processing and delivering oxygen to your muscles, and as we mentioned that is very important in terms of physical performance.

This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits because the combination of increased heart and lung health both serve to increase your physical endurance. The simple fact is that your heart and lungs are essential for keeping your muscles going, and cycling is a great way to achieve this efficiency and longevity.

Benefit #9: Increased Muscle Strength
Benefits of Cycling
Of course, cycling involves using your leg muscles to a large degree and whenever you use muscles for a prolonged period of time you train them to be bigger and better. Cycling is shown to greatly increase the strength and appearance of your leg muscles, things which nobody is going to turn down. Biking means constantly using your legs and that obviously has some big benefits.

Moderate cycling will do good for your leg muscles, but if you really want to build those big legs you can always do a lot of uphill cycling to rev up the difficulty level. Cycling is also shown to increase your muscle activation and usage, which means that more of your muscles are used to accomplish a physical activity, thus making your legs much more efficient at their job. What is even better is that cycling does not only target your legs because you also engage both your arms and your core to stay balanced and upright on the bicycle.

Benefit #10: It’s Something That Everyone Can Do
One of our favorite parts about cycling is that it’s a type of exercise that everyone can do. Men and woman, young and old, healthy or not, everyone can engage in some good old biking and reap the benefits from it. You can get a stationary bike and do it in front of the TV, you can take a spinning class at the gym, you can bike in your neighborhood, or you can go for a long bike trip with a few friends. Cycling is very versatile and that is definitely a benefit because it never gets boring and it is something that you can do with the whole family.

Benefit #11: Weight Loss
The final benefit of cycling on our list has to do with that muffin top that you may or may not be sporting at the moment. The fact of the matter is that an aerobic activity like cycling goes a very long way in helping you lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight. Of course, cycling itself does burn a lot of calories as well as body fat, but that is not all. Cycling can have you burn as much as 700 calories for every half hour you bike!

Cycling also helps to increase your metabolism and your post-exercise oxygen consumption. In other words, cycling can make you burn more calories for longer even after you finish exercising for the day. A higher metabolism means that you will burn more calories, have less food that you eat turn into body fat, and also burn more of the fat that is already on your body. If you want to burn fat quickly, you should really consider cycling as your main source of exercise.

Benefits of Cycling: Conclusion
Cycling is an all-around beneficial physical activity that will have you living a very long and prosperous life. Lung and heart health, weight loss, the battling of diseases like cancer, and various mental benefits, plus so much more, are all things that cycling can do for you. The simple fact of the matter is that the benefits of cycling will make you a truly healthy person. If you don’t have a bike yet, we would highly recommend getting one.

If you have any questions or comments about cycling please feel free to contact us at





Do Compression Tights Really work?

Can Compression Gear Prevent Soreness?

New science shows that tights might be the answer to your post-exercise aches

The revival of men in spandex at your local gym and CrossFit box isn’t some weird tribute to 80s exercise videos. New research finds that tights can help you avoid dreaded post-workout pains.

“When compression garments are worn during and after heavy exercise, they appear to reduce muscle soreness,” says Jessica Hill, M.S.c., a U.K.-based exercise scientist who authored a 2013 review on the topic, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

It concluded that people who wear compression garments after their exercise sessions experience less soreness and faster muscle recovery than people who rock a more traditional gym outfit, like a t-shirt and shorts.

What gives?

When you work a muscle group hard, it can become inflamed. “When we experience an inflammatory response we get an increase in fluid and white blood cells to the affected area. This leads to swelling and increases in pressure, and therefore pain,” says Hill.

Compression garments “work” by constricting your muscles. That reduces the amount of fluid buildup, decreasing the swelling and pressure.

“Compression garments also may increase blood flow to the muscles, which removes creatine kinase, an enzyme in your muscles that leaks out after muscle damage and can cause the ache,” says Hill.

The tight gear isn’t salvation from soreness, though—it only helps

Spanish scientists had a group of soccer players wear a compression sleeve on one leg, and nothing on the other leg. Then the players ran downhill for 40 minutes (an activity commonly used to elicit soreness). They showed 27% fewer markers of soreness in the compressed leg compared to the free leg.
And a U.K. study found that marathoners who wore compression tights in the 24-hours after crossing the finish line reported feeling less sore, but not ache free.

Bottom line: think of compression gear as another weapon in your arsenal against post-exercise aches.

Looking for a good pair of compression pants, shorts, or a shirt? Check out those from 2XU. Hill uses that brand in her research and says, “People seem to like wearing them. I get reports that they ‘feel nice.’” The aforementioned study on marathoners also used 2XU gear. (2XU Men’s Recovery Compression Tights; $160).

But be warned: The same reason that compression gear “feels nice”—mainly, the clothing’s nut-caressing properties—is also why it may not look so nice to others.

“It gives off a lot of information, if you know what I mean. That can make other people uncomfortable,” says MH Fashion Editor Brian Boye.

His advice is to treat tight gear like underwear. “Wear it as a base layer, under traditional gym clothing,” he says. And then top it with some of The Best New Gym Clothes for Men.









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If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably already know that you need to burn more calories than you take in to meet your goals. Likely that thought conjures images of sweaty cardio classes and breathless outdoor training movie montages. But while it’s definitely true that cardio workouts can help you get the calorie deficit you need (in addition to sticking to a clean, healthy diet), strength training is what’s really going to give your weight-loss goals that extra boost.
Here’s the thing, while strength training may not give you the instant heart-pounding, sweat-dripping satisfaction of, say, Zumba or an indoor cycling class, in the long run, building lean muscle definitely works in favor of your weight-loss goals. The short version? Having more muscle means your body burns more calories at rest. The long version? Read on.

Strength training helps build lean muscle.
“Aerobic exercise is actually the most effective in losing weight, however, it’s not the best at burning fat and increasing lean mass (muscle),” says Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder of TS Fitness. When you’re losing weight strictly through cardio, it’s normal to lose muscle and fat. And if resistance training isn’t a part of your plan to counteract this, you could actually be slowing down your metabolism by losing lean muscle mass, rather than revving it up (which can lead to weight-loss plateaus).

Strength training is better at much building muscle than a cardio-only routine, explains Michaela Devries-Aboud, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at McMaster University. “When you lift weights, you overload the muscle and it works to adapt to be able to lift more weight. The way the muscle adapts is by increasing something called myofibrillar size (the contractile units of the muscle),” she explains. Resistance training stimulates this growth, which leads to an increase in muscle mass over time. “And while aerobic exercise can also [stimulate this process], this increase is not as great as it is with resistance exercise.”

More muscle = a higher BMR (base metabolic rate).
Having more lean muscle means your body will burn more calories at rest. Having more muscle increases your everyday base metabolic rate, or BMR (AKA, how many calories your body would burn just to keep itself running if you did nothing but binge on Netflix all day). “Muscle mass is a more metabolically expensive tissue,” explains Devries-Aboud. “The metabolic demand of a pound of muscle is greater than it is for a pound of fat, so just sitting around, the amount of energy needed to maintain a pound of muscle per day is greater than that of a pound of fat. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn throughout the day.”










The weather is colder…schedules crazy busy…just no time to get a good work out in???

Try to steal 30 minutes out of your day to do a little yoga…






Morning Yoga For Weight Loss –

20 Minute Workout Fat Burning Yoga Meltdown

Beginner & Intermediate


Another quick routine for a good workout…



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(My Favorite!!!   On lakes or oceans…)



SUP Cardio Workout –

Great Stand Up Paddling Workout


SUP tips: Common beginner mistakes


The Golden Rules of Stand Up Paddling


Top 6 Kettlebell Core Exercises

= ]

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Best Fitness Trackers to Get You Up Off the Couch
The Smartwatch Hasn’t Killed the Fitness Band Yet:

A Basic Device Is Still the Most Practical Option




New Balance Footwear & Apparel at Paragon Sports





On Wednesdays, I walk an average of 9,000 steps, burn more than 2,000 calories, and eat and sleep really well. On Sundays, I barely hit the 3,000-step mark…and I eat a bagel with bacon, egg and cheese.

Welcome to life with a fitness tracker. These wristbands strive to make us better people—or at least healthier, more active ones—by keeping track of our steps, our calories burned and increasingly much more.

But what’s even harder than getting up off the couch and putting down the breakfast sandwich is figuring out which device to put on your body—if one at all.

Fitness trackers are going through an existential crisis. There are now smartwatches which combine far more capabilities with basic health features. Then there’s the 40 percent of fitness-tracker buyers who have ditched them, according to The NPD Group, a market research firm. I even have anecdotal evidence to back that up. The only thing my mom’s FitBit tracks now is dust in her desk drawer.


So why read any further? Because, if you let them, fitness bands can improve your life. They’ve gotten me to take the stairs and subway more, and made me aware that it takes longer to burn off my morning latte than I thought. And when I made it my mission to lose weight earlier this year, they gave me a means to monitor my progress.

I tested more than 20 of the latest fitness bands to find out which one you should make room for on your arm or pants. The good news is, trying them out has never been easier or more affordable.

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$50 to $100 for the Basics
Here’s the biggest secret of buying a fitness tracker right now: You don’t need to spend more than $50 on one that does the basics, counting steps and estimating calories burned. In fact, that’s exactly what I suggest you do if you are a first-time buyer.
You won’t get a screen on many of the options in this range—or at least not a nice screen—but they all sync with your phone via Bluetooth so you can check your stats in their corresponding apps.

Both Misfit and Jawbone sell $50 plastic trackers that you can clip to your pants or wear on a wrist. After wearing them side by side for two weeks, I prefer the Jawbone Up Move. It is a bit chunkier and harder to put in its small clip than the Misfit Flash, but it consistently synced the data to my phone faster.

Besides, Jawbone has the nicest Android and iOS apps of the whole lot. Not only does it present my steps and sleep data in a beautiful layout, but it translates that data into action items. It suggests going to bed earlier and trying new ways to hit my step goal before the day is up. I also really like its food-logging feature, at least when I remember to manually input my meals and snacks.


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Related: Is There Something Wrong With My Heart?
A new crop of fitness bands include heart-rate monitors, but the readings don’t always tell truth. Read how the hottest trend in tech sent me to a cardiologist.
A new crop of fitness bands include heart-rate monitors, but the readings don’t always tell truth.
But while keeping a tracker off your wrist may be appealing, my problem with the Move and the Flash is that I lose them constantly. Seriously, they seem oddly attracted to my washing machine (I haven’t actually washed either one yet). The Move isn’t waterproof like the Flash, but it will survive a heavy downpour or sweaty workout.

You could wear the Move on your wrist, but the rubber enclosure looks as if you’ve stolen an 8-year-old’s jewelry. Instead, I’d suggest the wrist-worn $80 Jawbone Up24, which vibrates to nudge you when you’ve been sitting too long.




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If a screen is what you want, the $80 Garmin VivoFit’s is always on. The band is dead simple to use and has a year-long battery life. However, the digital numbers, reminiscent of those old Casio watches, are an eyesore.

$100 to $150 for Better Design
If a sleeker band and a better screen are important to you, you’ll want to venture into the $100-to-$150 range, but you won’t get better data. You often get the same exact apps and features here as you get in that lower range.

Of the many I tested—including the Nike FuelBand SE, the Withings Pulse, the LG LifeBand and the Samsung Gear Fit—the one that worked best was FitBit’s new $130 Charge.

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The Charge’s plastic band is one of the easiest to put on by yourself, the battery lasts all week and the small OLED display displays all the vitals—time, steps, floors climbed, calories burned, distance traveled—right on your wrist. If your phone is paired, it can also display caller ID.
And FitBit’s app is one of the simplest to navigate. However, with FitBit’s lead in this market and all the data it has amassed about me over the years, the app should be doing more to interpret my information and motivate me, the way Jawbone’s does.

Some users have complained that the Charge’s band has left them with a rash. The company says the instances are very limited and in no way similar to the FitBit Force, which was recalled last year for skin irritations. In three weeks of wear, I have had no such reaction.

$150 to $200 for Fitness Bands on Steroids
I have two sneaking suspicions about why some people have abandoned their fitness bands. One is that they want more or better data, especially when lifting weights or working out. The other is that they want to be told what actually to do with that data.

That’s where fitness bands are headed. Instead of basic activity monitoring, a new generation of pumped-up bands have sensors that track your heart rate, location, even your perspiration. And they’re beginning to have the smarts to make sense of all that and give you better health and fitness advice.

The $200 Basis Peak and the $200 Microsoft Band are two early examples of that future. But I can’t recommend either of them.

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The Basis automatically detects when you are exercising, can go swimming with you and lasts four days on a charge. But it had a hard time reading my heart rate, and when it did the results were erratic. The device’s interface isn’t all that intuitive, and neither is the app’s.

I loved how the Microsoft Band can count reps in a weight-lifting session and heart-rate patterns during my spinning class, where basic trackers are useless. But the device—which looks like a prison tracker—is uncomfortable to wear, has a battery that lasts barely two days and gave me similarly inconsistent heart-rate readings. (Jawbone’s $180 Up3 and FitBit’s $150 Charge HR, which both track heart rate, won’t be available until early 2015.)

If you want to track your heart rate right now while working out, don’t use a wrist band. Chest straps that pair with fitness bands, like the $170 Polar Loop and H7 monitor, are far more accurate, as I found when I visited my cardiologist and compared those fitness trackers with an EKG reading.

Other bands in this price range blend fitness-tracking with smartwatch functionality, including email and text message alerts. The problem is that companies like Sony and LG don’t have the fitness and health heritage to provide as much useful data.


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Of them all, I enjoyed the $200 Garmin Vivosmart most. You can glance at your email subject lines and text messages, and it even pairs with Garmin’s heart-rate chest strap for accurate beats per minute when you’re at the gym.

Fitness bands are shaping up even faster than we are, and getting cheaper, too. Technology that was $150 a year ago is just $50 now. It won’t be long before it is $25. This holiday season, a device like the Up Move is in the sweet spot.

For now, though, steer clear of more ambitious fitness bands like those from Microsoft and Basis. In the next year, they’re going to get better, while similarly priced smartwatches will give us even more health-tracking options.



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With summer just around the corner…

it’s soon going to be time to shed off those extra safe layers of clothes

 and take out those body contious outfits that have been hiding all winter!

It’s also the perfect time to start heading outdoors to get  back into shape!

Yes, there’s no getting around the fact that in order to lose weight safely and permanently,

you need to eat healthy food and get plenty of exercise.

Exercising burns calories and builds muscle, which is essential for increasing

your metabolism so that you can burn even more calories and lose more weight.

So dust off those workout clothes and pick one of these nine best exercises

for weight loss to get started today on your path to a slimmer, healthier you.

(We’ve also included indoor activities for those of you who prefer a gym workout!

 But an outdoor workout not only benifits your body, but also your mind!)

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1. Walking

Walking is an ideal exercise for weight loss: It doesn’t require any equipment, other than a decent pair of walking shoes, and you don’t need a gym membership to do it. It’s a low-impact exercise, which means it won’t blow out your knees or cause other stress injuries that can leave you on the sidelines for weeks or even months. For those with certain health issues, including obesity and heart disease, walking is an effective, low-intensity weight-loss activity that can lead to better overall health, as well as better mental wellbeing. Depending on how much you weigh, walking at a pace of four miles per hour will burn between 5 and 8 calories every minute, or between 225 and 360 calories for a 45-minute walk. At this pace, walking 45 minutes a day most days, you can lose up to a pound a week without changing any other habits. So put on your walking shoes, turn on your iPod and go for a brisk stroll through the neighborhood. If you live close to where you work or shop, make walking your primary mode of transportation most days, and watch the pounds melt away. When the weather is bad, take to the local track or indoor mall, or hop on the treadmill.

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2. Kettlebell

Kettlebells are cast iron balls fitted with a single handle. Unlike traditional handheld weights, the weight of the kettlebell isn’t evenly distributed, which means that your body has to work to stabilize you and counterbalance the weight of the ball. Kettlebells provide for a hard-core workout that not only burns up to 400 calories in a mere 20 minutes, but also strengthens your core, improves balance and posture and targets all of the major muscle groups, as well as the stabilizing muscles. Because kettlebell exercises involve the whole body, a kettlebell workout will rev up your metabolism to help your body burn fat faster, and it’ll get your heart pumping so that you get an aerobic workout as well. In fact, 20-minute kettlebell workout is similar to a six-mile run in terms of cardiovascular benefits and calories burned. However, working successfully with kettlebells requires proper form to avoid injury and get the most benefit out of your workout. If you’re new to kettlebells, taking a class at your local gym will provide you with initial instruction about proper form and the safety guidelines you should follow when exercising with these heavy weights.

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3. Swimming

Vigorous swimming can burn anywhere from 400 to 700 calories an hour. All types of swimming are effective for helping you shed pounds, from a front crawl to a breast stroke or even the dog paddle. Swimming is a highly effective exercise for weight loss and toning. It’s one of the lowest-impact exercises out there, and it strengthens, tones and conditions your whole body. It’s particularly ideal for women in their last trimester of pregnancy and individuals who battle with arthritis, obesity, and musculoskeletal conditions. It’s also great for those who suffer from exercise-induced asthma, because the warm, moist air around the water helps keep the airways clear. Many athletes use the pool as a cross-training tool, as well as to stay fit while rehabilitating an injury. When you’re neck-deep in water, your body is only bearing ten percent of its weight, and yet the water provides 12 times the resistance of air, making it ideal for strengthening and toning your muscles. Swimming engages all of the major muscle groups, from your abdominals and back muscles to your arms, legs, hips and glutes. It effectively compliments other exercises, like running and walking, or it can be your sole form of fitness. Don’t know how to swim? Not a problem. If you can propel yourself through the water from one end of the pool to the other, you can swim well enough to lose weight doing it. Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 4.07.01 PM

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4. Cycling

Bicycling is another low-impact, high-rewards activity for losing weight. Cycling can burn anywhere from 372 to over 1,100 calories per hour, depending on your weight, your speed and the terrain you’re biking across. Unlike running, cycling is easy on the joints, and even the most out-of-shape beginner can hop on a bicycle and ride several miles without feeling like they’ve just been through the wringer. Outdoor cycling is best, because the varied terrain enables you to get a well-rounded workout that includes strengthening your lower body and getting a good cardiovascular workout. If you live within biking distance of your job, cycling to work can stimulate endorphins and boost your metabolism for the day, as well as save you money on gas. If outdoor cycling is difficult or dangerous in your area, consider spinning. Offered at most gyms, this group cycling activity is one of the lowest-impact classes offered, and yet it’s one of the most effective for burning calories and revving up your metabolism. Even seasoned runners or bikers will likely find themselves challenged by the spinning instructor. An hour-long spinning class covers about 20 miles and challenges participants to reach speeds that they may find impossible when riding an actual bike.

Outdoor Cycling Workout Plans



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5. Elliptical Trainer

The elliptical trainer at home or at the gym enables you to get a low-impact, full body workout. Easier on the joints than a treadmill, the elliptical trainer also has movable handles that enable you to get a good upper-body workout in addition to working your lower body. Elliptical machines let you choose the intensity level, and by raising and lowering the ramp and going backwards, you can target different muscle groups in your legs, both front and back. The average person using an elliptical trainer can burn about 600 calories per hour. The elliptical trainer mimics the action of running while eliminating impact, saving knees and other joints from wear. For those who suffer from arthritis, musculoskeletal conditions and obesity, the elliptical trainer is a great way to exercise without risking impact injuries. When you’re using the elliptical trainer, hold on to the movable handles rather than the static ones to increase the number of calories you burn and to help tone your arms Don’t rely on the calorie counters on elliptical machines to give you an accurate readout of calories burned. Instead, maximize your workout by striving to keep your heart rate at 85 percent and upping the resistance when it feels too easy.

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6. Running

If you’re one of the many people who love to run, you’re in luck. Running burns about 600 calories per hour, helps build strong bones and connective tissue and gets your heart pumping at a healthy rate to help prevent heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. The only equipment running requires is a good pair of shoes to protect your joints and, if it helps you keep the pace and maintain motivation, an iPod with your favorite tunes. Interval training can bump up the calories you burn on your daily run. Also called speed work, interval training involves short spurts, usually between 30 seconds and two minutes, of running at top speed. Intervals burn a large number of calories in a short amount of time, improve your resting metabolism to help you burn more calories during the day, and increase your muscle mass. Experts now recommend that you don’t stretch before you run. Instead, warm up by marching in place, bringing your knees up high, or walking for five minutes before beginning your run. Because running is a high-impact exercise that can damage your joints, it’s always best to have a professional fit you with the right running shoes, based on your gait. Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 4.16.31 PM

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7. Tennis

A good game of tennis can burn up to 600 calories in an hour. If you’re the type who prefers to exercise with a partner, tennis is an ideal way to get active. It’s also perfect for those who don’t particularly like to exercise, but who love a good competition. You don’t have to be a great tennis player to lose weight doing it. After all, running after the balls is still a form of exercise. The nature of tennis makes it a great whole-body workout, and playing it can help you improve your flexibility, balance and posture, as well as let off some steam to reduce stress. Throughout the game, especially every time you hit the ball, your arm, abdominal and leg muscles are engaged, building strength and burning calories. But that’s not all that’s engaged. Your brain gets a good workout every time you play tennis, from thinking quickly and creatively to planning ahead. Games like tennis boost the brain’s function to improve memory and the ability to learn new things. It also helps increase your peak bone mass; in fact, the National Institute of Health lists tennis as one of the activities that promotes bone health. Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 8.59.18 PM

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8. High intensity interval training

This is one of the most effective weight loss exercise options available. You only need to engage in this form of exercise for about 20 minutes, three times a week, to get incredible benefits that include burning a large number of calories and ramping up your metabolism in the wake of the afterburn. High intensity interval workouts can be done with many forms of exercise, and consist of short but intense bursts of activity followed by a lower-intensity period or a period of complete rest. Those who are new to exercising shouldn’t perform interval training until they’ve been exercising regularly for a couple of months. A standard interval workout for biking, swimming, running, lifting weights or even walking is 20 minutes long, but burns far more calories than 20 minutes of steady exercise. Start out by warming up for five minutes. For the sixth minute, push yourself as hard and fast as you can. The seventh minute is all about catching your breath. Repeat the fast/slow cycle (minus the warm up) five times, and cool down for three minutes. High intensity interval training, or HIIT, offers amazing benefits. Not only will you progress much faster to your desired fitness level, you will also improve your aerobic capacity. In fact, after only two weeks of HIIT, your aerobic capacity will be stronger than if you had completed eight weeks of steady-state endurance exercise, such as running.

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9. CrossFit

CrossFit, like high intensity training, is only suitable for individuals who have been exercising on a somewhat regular basis for a couple of months. Originally designed to train first responders and Special Forces, CrossFit is a workout regimen that involves weight lifting, endurance exercises, plyometrics, strength and speed training and kettlebell exercise routines, among other activities. One thing you won’t lose with CrossFit is interest. Unlike other routines that involve doing one exercise for a specified amount of time, CrossFit incorporates many activities into one intense, fat-burning workout. It’s designed to target all of the major components of physical fitness, including endurance, flexibility, speed, power and cardiorespiratory fitness. No two days are alike when you’re doing CrossFit. An example of a CrossFit routine is five repetitions of 20 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, 40 sit-ups and 50 squats, all performed one after the other, with a three-minute rest between repetitions. While definitely not for the faint-of-heart, CrossFit routines are highly effective at burning calories and fat, improving physical stamina and endurance, and increasing metabolism. To get the most benefit out of CrossFit, you should perform a different routine at least three days a week, but ideally five days a week. The good news is that the routines are short, lasting only 15 to 20 minutes when done properly.   Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.59.14 AM

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10.  Paddle Boarding -SUP

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) has surged to a fast-growing water sport that fitness experts say delivers a full-body workout to anyone exercising on an ocean, lake or river. About 1.2 million people tried stand-up paddle boarding in 2011, up 18 percent from 2010, according to the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2012 report, and nearly 60 percent of SUP enthusiasts tried it for the first time in 2011. “The health and fitness benefits are proving to be quite significant,” said Bond, whose company uses biotechnology to measure muscle activation during SUP. “All of your stabilizing muscles in hip, lower leg, knee joint are activated in a therapeutic way to stabilize balance on the unstable surface,” he said. The intensity of the workout also depends on the body of water, according to Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise. “Balance, core strength and endurance are among the significant fitness benefits,” Bryant said. “Paddling is a great core workout, engaging every muscle either actively or as core stabilizer, and paddling out on the ocean with waves and currents can be really intense.” Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 10.14.01 PM








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Which is better for weight loss —

cutting calories or increasing exercise?

from Donald Hensrud, M.D.

Cutting calories through dietary changes seems to promote weight loss more effectively than does exercise and physical activity. But physical activity also is important in weight control. The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you’d lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). For most people, it’s probably too difficult to eliminate the amount of calories through exercise that you could through dieting. That’s why cutting calories through dieting is generally more effective for weight loss. But doing both — cutting calories and exercising — can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can help burn off even more calories than just dieting. Exercise also is important because it can help you maintain your weight loss. Studies show that people who lose weight and keep it off over the long term get regular physical activity. If you lose weight by crash dieting or by drastically restricting yourself to 400 to 800 calories a day, you’re more likely to regain weight quickly, often within six months after you stop dieting. Getting regular exercise also can help prevent excess weight gain in the first place.

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7 benefits of regular physical activity

You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good?

From boosting your mood to improving your sex life,

find out how exercise can improve your life.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. And the benefits of exercise are yours for the taking, regardless of your age, sex or physical ability. Need more convincing to exercise? Check out these seven ways exercise can improve your life.

No. 1: Exercise controls weight

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don’t need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can’t do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways — by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or revving up your household chores.

No. 2: Exercise combats health conditions and diseases

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

No. 3: Exercise improves mood

Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

No. 4: Exercise boosts energy

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.

No. 5: Exercise promotes better sleep

Struggling to fall asleep? Or to stay asleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep.

No. 6: Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life

Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.

No. 7: Exercise can be fun

Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some time. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. If you get bored, try something new.

The bottom line on exercise

Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health concerns.


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Can you lose weight walking?

from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

You might be able to lose weight that way, depending on the duration and intensity of your walking and what your diet’s like. But eating fewer calories through dietary changes seems to promote weight loss more effectively than does physical activity. That’s not to say physical activity, such as walking, isn’t important for weight control — it is. If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day. (To lose a pound a week, you generally need to eliminate 500 calories a day.) Of course, the more you walk and the quicker your pace, the more calories you’ll burn. To reap the most health benefits from exercise, your exercise intensity must generally be at a moderate or vigorous level. For weight loss, the more intense your exercise, or the longer you exercise, the more calories you burn. However, balance is important. Overdoing it can increase your risk of soreness, injury and burnout. If you’re new to regular exercise and physical activity, you may need to start out at a light intensity and gradually build up to a moderate or vigorous intensity. Once you’ve lost weight, exercise is even more important — it’s what helps keep the weight off. In fact, studies show that people who maintain their weight loss over the long term get regular physical activity. So keep walking, but make sure you also follow a healthy diet

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Trim your waistline, improve your health

Ready to reap the benefits of walking?

Here’s how to get started — and stay motivated.

By Mayo Clinic staff Can you really walk your way to fitness? You bet! Get started today.

Know the benefits

Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.

For example, regular brisk walking can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Lift your mood
  • Improve your balance and coordination

The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.

Consider your technique


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  • Turning your normal walk into a fitness stride requires good posture and purposeful movements. Ideally, here’s how you’ll look when you’re walking:
  • Your head is up. You’re looking forward, not at the ground.
  • Your neck, shoulders and back are relaxed, not stiffly upright.
  • You’re swinging your arms freely with a slight bend in your elbows. A little pumping with your arms is OK.
  • Your stomach muscles are slightly tightened and your back is straight, not arched forward or backward.
  • You’re walking smoothly, rolling your foot from heel to toe.

Plan your routine

As you start your walking routine, remember to:

  • Get the right gear. Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. If you walk outdoors when it’s dark, wear bright colors or reflective tape for visibility.
  • Choose your course carefully. If you’ll be walking outdoors, avoid paths with cracked sidewalks, potholes, low-hanging limbs or uneven turf.
  • Warm up. Walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles and prepare your body for exercise.
  • Cool down. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to help your muscles cool down.
  • Stretch. After you cool down, gently stretch your muscles. If you’d rather stretch before you walk, remember to warm up first.


Trim your waistline, improve your health

Set realistic goals

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week — and strength training exercises at least twice a week.

As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you can’t set aside that much time, try two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions throughout the day.

Remember, though, it’s OK to start slowly — especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly. You might start with five minutes a day the first week, and then increase your time by five minutes each week until you reach at least 30 minutes.

Track your progress

Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration. Just think how good you’ll feel when you see how many miles you’ve walked each week, month or year.

Record these numbers in a walking journal or log them in a spreadsheet or a physical activity app. Another option is to use an electronic device — such as a pedometer — to calculate steps and distance.

Stay motivated

Starting a walking program takes initiative. Sticking with it takes commitment. To stay motivated:

  • Set yourself up for success. Start with a simple goal, such as, “I’ll take a 10-minute walk during my lunch break.” When your 10-minute walk becomes a habit, set a new goal, such as, “I’ll walk for 20 minutes after work.” Soon you could be reaching for goals that once seemed impossible.
  • Make walking enjoyable. If you don’t enjoy solitary walks, ask a friend or neighbor to join you. If you’re invigorated by groups, join a health club.
  • Vary your routine. If you walk outdoors, plan several different routes for variety. If you’re walking alone, be sure to tell someone which route you’re taking.
  • Take missed days in stride. If you find yourself skipping your daily walks, don’t give up. Remind yourself how good you feel when you include physical activity in your daily routine — and then get back on track.

Once you take that first step, you’re on the way to an important destination — better health.

Rev up your workout with interval training

Interval training

can help you get the most out of your workout.

By Mayo Clinic staff Are you ready to shake up your workout? Do you wish you could burn more calories without spending more time at the gym? Consider aerobic interval training. Once the domain of elite athletes, interval training has become a powerful tool for the average exerciser, too.

What is interval training?

It’s not as complicated as you might think. Interval training is simply alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. Take walking. If you’re in good shape, you might incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you’re less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. For example, if you’re walking outdoors, you could walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.

What can interval training do for me?

Whether you’re a novice exerciser or you’ve been exercising for years, interval training can help you jazz up your workout routine. Consider the benefits:

  • You’ll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
  • You’ll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity. Imagine finishing your 60-minute walk in 45 minutes — or the additional calories you’ll burn by keeping up the pace for the full 60 minutes.
  • You’ll keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
  • You don’t need special equipment. You can simply modify your current routine

How will my muscles respond to interval training?

During intense exercise, muscles produce waste products that can contribute to muscle soreness. Too many accumulated waste products can make exercise painful and exhausting. But by alternating bursts of intense exercise with easier intervals, you’ll help reduce the buildup of waste products in your muscles. The result is more comfortable exercise.

Are the principles of interval training

the same for everyone?

Yes — but you can take interval training to many levels. If you simply want to vary your exercise routine, you can determine the length and speed of each high-intensity interval based on how you feel that day. After warming up, you might increase the intensity for 30 seconds and then resume your normal pace. The next burst of more intense activity may last two to three minutes. How much you pick up the pace, how often and for how long is up to you. If you’re working toward a specific fitness goal, you may want to take a more scientific approach. A personal trainer or other expert can help you time the intensity and duration of your intervals — which may include movement patterns similar to those you’ll use during your sport or activity — based on your target heart rate, the ability of your heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to your muscles (peak oxygen intake), and other factors.

Does interval training have risks?

Interval training isn’t appropriate for everyone. If you have a chronic health condition or haven’t been exercising regularly, consult your doctor before trying any type of interval training. Recent studies suggest, however, that interval training can be used safely for short periods even in individuals with heart disease. Also keep the risk of overuse injury in mind. If you rush into a strenuous workout before your body is ready, you may hurt your muscles, tendons or bones. Instead, start slowly. Try just one or two higher intensity intervals during each workout at first. If you think you’re overdoing it, slow down. As your stamina improves, challenge yourself to vary the pace. You may be surprised by the results.

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Fitness ball exercises:

How-to video collection

See how fitness balls are used.

A fitness ball looks like a large beach ball. You can do many core exercises with a fitness ball. You can also use a fitness ball to improve your flexibility and balance. Here’s a collection of how-to videos to help you get started.

Choosing a fitness ball

When it comes to fitness balls, size matters. Watch this video for help choosing the right size ball.

Using a fitness ball

You can do fitness ball exercises at home or at the gym. Watch these videos to learn proper form and technique.

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Medicine Ball Workout:

9 Moves to Tone Every Inch

Get a fast and effective total-body workout with this training tool

This killer medicine ball workout mixes cardio and resistance moves to help you build strength and blast fat—all while sculpting a tighter torso and flatter abs. A weighted ball is a great training tool because you can add it to almost any exercise to challenge your core stability and improve coordination. For best results, do this workout on two or three nonconsecutive days per week. You’ll need: A medicine ball (3-10 lbs) Workout details: Do each move as quickly as you can with good form, moving from one exercise to the next with little or no rest in between. Once you’ve finished the last move, rest and repeat the entire circuit 1 or 2 more times. Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 8.55.09 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.03.08 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.03.28 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.03.59 PM   Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.04.18 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.04.43 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.05.00 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.05.17 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.05.32 PM Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.05.45 PM

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Weight training is a form of resistance exercise. A good fitness program includes resistance exercise 2 days each week or more, and includes 8 to 10 exercises that work all the major muscle groups.1 It’s best to allow at least 1 day of rest between these exercises.

Weight training can be done at a health club, with home equipment, or at a weight room in your apartment complex or community. You may use free weights (barbells and dumbbells), resistance training machines (weights attached to cables and pulleys or machines that use compressed air to create resistance), or use your own body weight (calisthenics). If you want to try weight training:

  • Start with professional instruction from a local YMCA, a good fitness club, or an experienced professional trainer. If you ask the help of a friend or neighbor, find out first if that person has received professional training.
  • Get individual help. Tell your trainer or instructor what you want out of your weight training (for instance, body building, toning and shaping certain body areas, or improving performance in a certain sport).
  • Learn the proper form for each exercise, then always use it. The proper form ensures that you get the most out of each exercise and helps prevent injuries. A good trainer will teach you about proper form.
  • Allow at least 2 weeks for your muscles and connective tissues to adjust to the new stresses and strains of weight training. Start by lifting weights that are lighter than you can manage. This helps you tell the difference between the normal aches and pains of weight training and the pains of overuse or real damage.
  • Work slowly, and move your muscles through their full range of motion.Fewer repetitions that are done slowly, using the entire length of the muscle, are more effective than many repetitions that are done quickly with only a short part of the muscle.
  • Learn how to breathe properly when working with weights. Exhale when pushing against the weight. Don’t hold your breath at any point. Inhale when there is little or no resistance.
  • When you are ready, ask your trainer for guidance on:
    • How to improve.
    • How often to increase sets and repetitions. In general, do 1 or 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. Older adults and people who are frail can do 10 to 15 repetitions with less weight.
    • When to increase weight. Start with a weight you can lift 8 to 12 times but that gets hard to lift by the last repetition. When it gets easier, add a little weight and go down to 8 repetitions, then gradually build up to 12 repetitions again.
  • Vary your program. Variety keeps your interest up and injuries down. Mix muscle strengthening with flexibility and aerobic work. Also, vary your work by alternating between:
    • Your upper body and lower body.
    • Free weights (barbells) and machines.
    • Heavier weights with fewer repetitions and lighter weights with more repetitions.

By starting slowly and using the right technique, you may find that weight training is an enjoyable and effective way to build strength.

*******   FLAT ABS


By Jessica Cassity

You don’t have to do a gazillion crunches to see results.

How doable is this abs workout? Let’s just say that this fitness routine takes less huffing,

puffing, pulling, and tugging than squeezing into a swimsuit.

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The moves in this plan are ultra-effective because they target all of your ab muscles at once,

working your waistline from the front, sides, and even the back. This creates a balance in your abdominals,

something traditional crunches can’t do. Best of all, you only need to do 20 reps of each move,

so you can nail the whole routine in about five minutes.

Before you start, practice engaging your abs Pilates-style, suggests our workout creator Tracey Mallett (seen here),

star of the DVD Booty Barre Beginners & Beyond. Suck in your stomach as you do when trying on a swimsuit,

then hold on to that feeling during each exercise. Working out in this pulled-in position will make your transverse abdominals,

which wrap like a corset around your waist, stay activated. End result? A whittled waist — and no need for hot, sweaty shapewear!

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Standing Side Crunch

What It Works All layers of the abs, particularly obliques and transverse abdominals.

To Do It (A) Stand holding on to the back of a sturdy chair with your right hand.

Point your left foot to the side and reach your left arm overhead. Stretch to the right,

gently leaning your torso over the chair. Slowly come back to center,

bringing your shoulders over your hips.

(B) Then bend your left elbow down and lift your left knee up so they meet at the side of your waist.

Hold for a breath, then lower your leg, and lean right over the chair again. Do 10 reps and switch sides.

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Push the Ball Up

What It Works Your rectus abs, plus your obliques and transverse abs.

To Do It Lie on your back with your left leg extended toward the sky and your right leg flat on the ground.

Hold a small ball (think 12-inch-diameter beach ball) between your hands and press it against your left leg.

Slowly start to lift your head and shoulders off the mat, rolling the ball up your left leg.

Lift as high as you can while keeping your abs drawn in. Hold for one breath, then slowly lower the ball.

Do 10 reps, then switch sides. (If you’ve got tight hamstrings, bend your right knee and

place your right foot on the mat. If you need to, bend your left knee as well.)

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X Marks the Spot

What It Works Your obliques, plus your rectus abs (the six-pack muscle) and transverse abs.

To Do It Lie on your back with your arms and legs in an X position.

Curl your head and shoulders off the mat as you lift your right leg and left hand up to meet above your waist

(and bring your right arm to your side). Hold for a breath, then lower your head, arms,

and legs back to the X position. Then bring your right arm up to meet your left leg and place your left arm by your side,

hold, and lower again to the X position. Do 10 reps.

Looking for more ways to tone your core?

Strengthen your chest, triceps, biceps, butt, and core with this new version of the push-up.

See how in our easy step-by-step guide…



Do you ever feel your working out every day and not getting the results you aspire?…Well many visitors to our TABLETALK table are talking about Interval Training,…so we did a little research on this type of exercise and found some very good information on the Mayo Clinic Fitness pages…let us know what you think?

  You can use this interval training technique with all kinds of exercises. Pick up the pace for 1 minute as you ride a bike or climb stairs, increase the intensity on the elliptical trainer or stairclimber at the gym, or find a walking route with hills. Find more exercise ideas with this article on metabolic equivalent. Note: It is important to pace yourself with high intensity interval training. Know your limits. Try increasing to a vigorous (but not hard) effort at first. If you are a beginner, give your body at least 3-4 weeks to adapt to the new exercise before you try for a harder effort. Check with your health care provider before trying intense exercise, especially if you have been inactive for a long time.

Rev up your workout with interval training

Interval training can help you get the most out of your workout.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Are you ready to shake up your workout? Do you wish you could burn more calories without spending more time at the gym? Consider aerobic interval training. Once the domain of elite athletes, interval training has become a powerful tool for the average exerciser, too.

What is interval training?

It’s not as complicated as you might think. Interval training is simply alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. Take walking. If you’re in good shape, you might incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you’re less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. For example, if you’re walking outdoors, you could walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.

What can interval training do for me?

Whether you’re a novice exerciser or you’ve been exercising for years, interval training can help you jazz up your workout routine. Consider the benefits:

  • You’ll burn more calories. The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn — even if you increase intensity for just a few minutes at a time.
  • You’ll improve your aerobic capacity. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you’ll be able to exercise longer or with more intensity. Imagine finishing your 60-minute walk in 45 minutes — or the additional calories you’ll burn by keeping up the pace for the full 60 minutes.
  • You’ll keep boredom at bay. Turning up your intensity in short intervals can add variety to your exercise routine.
  • You don’t need special equipment. You can simply modify your current routine.

How will my muscles respond to interval training?

During intense exercise, muscles produce waste products that can contribute to muscle soreness. Too many accumulated waste products can make exercise painful and exhausting. But by alternating bursts of intense exercise with easier intervals, you’ll help reduce the buildup of waste products in your muscles. The result is more comfortable exercise.

Are the principles of interval training the same for everyone?

Yes — but you can take interval training to many levels. If you simply want to vary your exercise routine, you can determine the length and speed of each high-intensity interval based on how you feel that day. After warming up, you might increase the intensity for 30 seconds and then resume your normal pace. The next burst of more intense activity may last two to three minutes. How much you pick up the pace, how often and for how long is up to you. If you’re working toward a specific fitness goal, you may want to take a more scientific approach. A personal trainer or other expert can help you time the intensity and duration of your intervals — which may include movement patterns similar to those you’ll use during your sport or activity — based on your target heart rate, the ability of your heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to your muscles (peak oxygen intake), and other factors.

Does interval training have risks?

Interval training isn’t appropriate for everyone. If you have a chronic health condition or haven’t been exercising regularly, consult your doctor before trying any type of interval training. Recent studies suggest, however, that interval training can be used safely for short periods even in individuals with heart disease. Also keep the risk of overuse injury in mind. If you rush into a strenuous workout before your body is ready, you may hurt your muscles, tendons or bones. Instead, start slowly. Try just one or two higher intensity intervals during each workout at first. If you think you’re overdoing it, slow down. As your stamina improves, challenge yourself to vary the pace. You may be surprised by the results.



Yep…that’s me!…My favorite sport!


have  joined the rapidly growing group  of  Paddleboarders

for a fresh approach to their workout routine,…

and we  love it!..

Paddleboarding for a total body workout is becoming so popular

because not only does it workout all your muscles,

but it is low impact. Paddling and balancing on the board

strengthens the muscles of the legs, stomach, back and arms…

(especially that flabby part on the back of the arm that some of us women try to hide)…

And according to SHAPE magazine,…Paddle Boarding burns from 500 – 700 calories an hour!

So why not be a little adventurous this summer and try out this fun new craze!

 Most lake communities and almost all coastal communities

have a local shop where you can rent a board…

and if you are interested in purchasing a board…read below…

or ask one of our COFFEEBREAKWITHFRIENDS Personal Shoppers

for some help and advice…

We’d love to hear from you!…




How to Get Started Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

The fast-growing sport of stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun, easy way to go play on the water. With a minimum of equipment, you can paddle anything from ocean surf to lakes and rivers—no waves required.

Paddleboarding offers an amazing full body workout and is becoming a favorite cross-training activity for skiers, snowboarders and other athletes. And since you’re standing at your full height, you’ll enjoy excellent views of everything from sea creatures to what’s on the horizon. It’s almost like walking on water!

Paddleboarding Gear

You need just a few key pieces of equipment to enjoy this sport:

  • Stand up paddleboard: This is by far your most significant gear investment. Sizes are based on the paddler’s weight and experience. More experienced and lighter paddlers can choose narrower boards. Novice paddlers should choose wider, flatter boards, which offer more stability.
  • Paddle: Stand up paddles have an angle or “elbow” in the shaft for maximum efficiency. Choose a paddle that’s roughly 6” to 8” taller than you are (though some manufacturers recommend an 8” to 10” differential).
  • PFD (Personal Flotation Device): The U.S. Coast Guard classifies stand up paddleboards as vessels, so always wear a PFD whenever you’re paddling navigable water.
  • Proper clothing: For cold conditions where hypothermia is a concern, wear a wetsuit or dry suit. In milder conditions, wear shorts and a T-shirt or bathing suit—something that moves with you and can get wet.
  • Sun protection: Wear sunscreen and sunglasses.

Shop REI’s selection of paddleboarding gear .

Techniques: Getting Started

Carrying Your Board to the Water

If your stand up paddleboard has been designed with a built-in handle, carrying it is a breeze. Just lean the board on its rail (edge), reach for the handle and tuck the board under one arm. Carry your paddle with the other hand. For longer distances, or if your board has no handle, you can more easily carry your paddleboard on your head. Here’s how:

  • Stand the board on its tail (end) with the deck (top of the board) facing you.
  • Lay your paddle on the ground within easy reach.
  • Grasp the rails (the edges of the board) with both hands.
  • Walk yourself under the board so that your head is about midway between the nose (front) and the tail.
  • Stand upright with the board overhead, still holding it by its rails.
  • Now bend down and pick up your paddle and carry it alongside the board.
  • Head for the water.

Paddleboarding on Calm Water

When you’re learning the sport, it’s best to start out in ideal conditions: flat, calm water that’s free of obstacles like boats and buoys.

Mounting the Paddleboard

When you’re a beginner, it’s easier to kneel on the board rather than to stand directly upright. Here are a few pointers to get you started:

  • Standing alongside the board, place your paddle across the deck of the board and use it as an outrigger. The paddle grip is on the rail (edge) of the board; the blade rests on the water.
  • Hold the board by the rails. One hand will also be holding the paddle grip.
  • Pop yourself onto the board into a kneeling position, just behind the center point of the board.
  • From that kneeling position, get a feel for the balance point of the board. The nose shouldn’t pop up out of the water and the tail shouldn’t dig in.
  • Keep your hands on either side of the board to stabilize it.

Once you’re ready, stand up on the board one foot at a time. Place your feet where your knees were. You might also bring a friend to wade out about knee-deep with your board. Have your friend stabilize the board as you get the hang of standing on it.

Techniques: On the Water

Paddleboarding Stance

A few tips to help you keep your balance as you stand upright on the paddleboard:

  • Your feet should be parallel, about hip-width distance apart, centered between the rails (board edges). Don’t stand on the rails.
  • Keep toes pointed forward, knees bent and your back straight.
  • Balance with your hips—not your head.
  • Keep your head and shoulders steady and upright, and shift your weight by moving your hips.
  • Your gaze should be level at the horizon. Avoid the temptation to stare at your feet.
  • It’s much like bicycling: When your forward momentum increases, your stability increases as well.

Paddleboarding Stroke

Once you’ve practiced balancing on the board in flat water, it’s time to take off on a paddleboarding excursion—where the real fun begins. Here are some pointers for getting started with the basic paddleboarding stroke.

  • If you’re paddling on the right, your right hand is lower and on the paddle shaft. Your top (left) hand is on the top of the grip.
  • The elbow (angle) of the paddle faces away from you.
  • Keep your arms straight and twist from your torso as you paddle. Think of using your torso to paddle rather than your arms. You have more strength in those abdominal muscles than in your arms.
  • Push down on the paddle grip with your top hand.
  • Plant the paddle by pushing the blade all the way under the surface, pull it back to your ankle, then out of the water.
  • When you’re beginning, keep your strokes fairly short and close alongside the board. No need to overpower it.
  • A small draw stroke at the beginning of the paddle stroke will keep you going forward.
  • To go in a reasonably straight line, paddle about 4 or 5 strokes on one side, then switch to the other.
  • When you switch sides, you’ll reverse hand positions.

Paddleboarding Turns

There are several straightforward ways to turn a paddleboard.

  • Sidestroke: One easy method to is simply to paddle on one side until the nose turns in the direction you want to go. Want to turn right? Paddle on the left. Headed to the left? Paddle on the right.
  • Backpaddle: Another fast way to turn or reverse direction is to simply drag the paddle or paddle backwards on either side of the board.
  • Sea (“c”) stroke: Plant your paddle towards the front of the board and take a long sweeping stroke towards the tail. This is sometimes called a sweep stroke.

Other tips:

  • Stepping back on the board or looking over your shoulder to the direction of your turn also helps in making a turn.
  • Another turn that works well, especially in surf, is to paddle on your dominant side (left foot forward, paddle on your right side). Really bend your knees and put more weight on your back foot. This allows the board to pivot and turn quickly.

When You Fall

Stand up paddleboarding is relatively easy to learn, but expect to take the occasional fall as you’re gaining skills. For those inevitable times you lose your balance:

  • Aim yourself to the side, so that you fall into the water and not onto the board. Falling onto the board is more likely to cause an injury.
  • If you get separated from your paddle and your board, get your board first, then paddle it to retrieve the paddle.

Common Beginner’s Mistakes in Paddleboarding

These mistakes are easy to make when you’re starting out. Try to avoid them and you’ll have a lot more fun on the water:

  • A hunched posture. Keep your back straight, shoulders level.
  • Staring at your feet instead of the horizon.
  • The elbow (bent angle) of the paddle facing in the wrong direction. It should point away from you.
  • Having both hands on the paddle shaft. Your top hand belongs at the very top of the paddle, on the grip.
  • Standing straight-kneed. It’s much easier to balance with bent knees.

Paddleboarding: Next Steps

Once you’ve mastered the basics, there’s almost no limit to the watery worlds you can explore on your stand up paddleboard. Play in the waves and ocean surf, carve turns or learn new strokes. You might find yourself wanting a narrower, more maneuverable board as you become more adept. Meanwhile, get out there, enjoy the view and have a great time on your SUP!

Stand Up Paddleboarding FAQs

Q: Do I need waves in order to paddleboard? A: Even though paddleboards look like oversized surfboards, you don’t need waves in order to enjoy this self-propelled sport. In fact, flat water is preferred for building your paddleboard skills. Q: Where can I rent a board? A: Most surf shops that sell paddleboards also rent them. It’s a great way to test out the sport before you commit to buying. Q: What size paddleboard is best for me? A: The choice is determined by a combination of paddler weight and skill, your intended use and the local conditions. Talk to an REI store employee for help with choosing the right paddleboard for you. Q: Why does the paddle have an angle? A: The elbow in a paddle provides a more powerful, effective stroke. When you’re paddling, the elbow causes the paddle blade to align straight up and down as it comes alongside the paddleboard. Q: What should I wear for paddleboarding? A: Wear clothing that lets you move and that can get wet: shorts and a T-shirt or a swimsuit work well in warm climates. In cold weather when hypothermia is a danger, consider a wetsuit or drysuit. Always wear a PFD (Personal Flotation Device). Q: Do I need to wax the top of the paddleboard? A: Most paddleboards sold at REI have a traction pad attached to the top of the board. These provide reliable grip and should not be waxed. If you choose a paddleboard that doesn’t have such a pad or soft-top, you’ll need to use a base wax and a grip wax (such as Sticky Bumps) to provide traction. Q: How do I transport the board on my car? A: You can transport your paddleboard on the roof rack of a car. It’s best to use a bar pad on the rack in order to protect the board. Be sure to stack the board on the roof with the fin up, towards the front. Use surf-specific straps that won’t crush the foam on the board when you strap it down. Watch the Expert Advice video for tips on transporting watercraft . Q: Can the fins on a paddleboard be removed? A: The fins on underside of the board help with navigating through the water. They can be removed for travel and storage, but you won’t want to paddle without them. Q: Where is the best place to stand on a paddleboard? A: Stand just behind the center point of the board. The nose (front) of the board shouldn’t pop out of the water, and the tail shouldn’t dig in. Q: Can I take a paddleboard in rivers? A: Yes, you can paddleboard almost any navigable body of water. Q: Why not just use a kayak? A: Kayaking is great fun, but the beauty of SUP is that standing up allows you to enjoy much better views, both to the horizon and down into the water. It’s a simpler sport to pursue than kayaking, with less equipment required. It also offers a fantastic core workout. Q: Can you surf with a paddleboard? A: Yes, but learn to surf in an empty break before you enter the lineup. When you get good, remember to share the waves! Q: What does a full paddleboarding setup cost? A: Depending on which models you choose, the cost of a board and paddle ranges from about $1,100 to $2,100. Take a look at REI’s online selection of paddleboard gear Contributors: Leland Ching, Lea DeJarlais, Dustin Kingman, Joel Oerter, Jason Sutherland


 | By Jim Thomas
What Size Stand Up Surfboard Should I Get?

Photo Credit Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Stand up paddleboards originated in Hawaii in the 1960s when surfing instructors stood up on their boards to watch over their students. The sport grew in popularity during the first decade of the 21st century. And why not — a stand up paddleboard and a paddle are all you need to explore lakes, rivers and oceans. You also get an unmatched view of the water and surroundings by being upright. As a bonus, stand up paddleboards offer a full body workout and an exercise that is well-suited to cross trainers. The right size board for you primarily depends upon your experience level, weight and the type of water conditions you expect to encounter.


If you are just learning to paddleboard, stability is vital. Longer boards are more stable and conducive to learning — you want to spend your time paddling and getting a feel for the sport instead of repeatedly falling into the water. A 12-foot board offers maximum stability, in part because of its long length and in part because it is also wider and thicker than a shorter board. You can rent a long board when you are starting out, learn the basics and later buy a shorter board, which will give you more control and maneuverability in the water.


Longer boards are most appropriate for heavier stand up paddleboard riders. If you weigh well over 170 lbs., a 12-foot board should be a good fit. If you are around 170 lbs., an 11-foot board is appropriate. If you are very small and slight, a 10-foot board might prove ideal.


You will be paddling through flat water, rough water or surf. A smaller board works fine if you are navigating a smooth lake. The rough water of a river or windswept lake is not as kind to smaller boards, which will dig into the choppy water and feel unstable. You should use a board in rough water that is 6 to 12 inches longer than a board you can control in smooth water. As for surfing the ocean waves, a novice stand up paddleboard rider should use the same board as in rough water. You will have more control and fall less often. Boards in the 11- to 12-foot range should work well. When you get more proficient, you’ll gravitate toward smaller boards in the 9.6- to 10.6-foot range, which allow you to paddlesurf adroitly through the waves like good surfers do.


Your paddle should be roughly 7 inches taller than you. The standard width of a paddleboard is 26 inches. If you are smaller or want a lighter board, a narrower width is an option. A board that is too thick will be hard to maneuver. However, thin board are less stable. Newer boards, as of 2011, taper in thickness to provide more stability without sacrificing maneuverability. A larger fin on your paddleboard also increases stability, although you won’t be able to execute turns as fast. Finally, don’t forget you have to transport your board to the car and to the water, so make sure you can carry it comfortably

                          Read more:

Choose The Right Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)


The Golden Rules of Stand Up Paddling


Stand Up Paddling – The Ideal Forward Stroke


Cardio and Strength Together

When you find your groove and get a consistent stroke going, it won’t be long before you start to feel a burn in your legs, abs and arms. Almost anywhere you have muscles, you’ll be feeling the workout after a SUP session. The burning sensation in your muscles is caused by lactic acid buildup. Your body produces lactic acid when your muscles become starved for oxygen. This happens because you are using your body’s oxygen supply faster than you can restore it by breathing. Your heartbeat increases and breathing gets quicker as your muscles cry out for more O2. When it comes to working out, these are all good signs that you’re getting a meaningful cardiovascular workout. The burning in your muscles means that your breaking down the muscle fibers, daring them to grow back stronger. This is the key process to building strength. You’ll experience it all during a Stand Up Paddle Boarding session, so what are you waiting for? Stabilizer Muscles Your body is made up of a wide variety of muscle types and sizes. In your first week of Stand Up Paddle boarding, you’re sure to discover quite a few muscles you never know you had! Chances are, these new areas of soreness will be your stabilizer muscles. You can expect to feel these in your calves, quads, hips and core. These little muscles play a vital role in keeping us injury free, in top shape and performing at a high level. Upon beginning regular regimen of SUP Paddle Board workouts, you’ll soon feel lighter, stronger and faster. You’ll notice an increase in lean muscle and a decrease in fat. Best of all, you’ll be having a lot of fun while it’s happening. Great Environment Not everyone loves hanging out at the gym. But who doesn’t like being in the ocean or on a lake enjoying fresh air and sunshine? Stand Up Paddle boarding gives you the chance to get outside, enjoy your natural environment and put a little zen in your life. Plus, it’s a great activity to do with friends, significant others and kids

  • All Around Use
  • Surf Performance
  • Touring
  • Fitness/Yoga
  • Racing




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Dynamic Gradient Compression


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For the past few weeks our COFFEEBREAKWITHFRIENDS team has been testing a few different types of COMPRESSION TIGHTS.  So far most of our testers have been very satisfied…us know what you think…







Share your favorite workout tips with our

TABLETALK Friends!…add your comments below!



Don’t have the time…try this great 10 minute Pilates Workout…





Not sure if this footwear really tones your legs…

but FITFLOPS great support for sore joints, ect…

FitFlop. Get a workout while you walk™ FitFlop footwear is biomechanically engineered to help tone and tighten your leg muscles while you walk in them. Studies at the Centre for Human Performance at LSBU show that normal walking in FitFlop sandals(1) can help: – increase leg, calf and gluteal muscle activity, – improve your posture, – mimic the gait of barefoot walking but with more muscle load, – improve muscle tone. FitFlop sandals wearers have also reported relief from plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, chronic back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis, RLS (restless leg syndrome), scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. OR Shape-ups by SKECHERS ‘Metabolize’ Walking Shoe Four clinical studies in the US and Japan show that Shape-ups increase muscle activity and energy consumption over standard fitness shoes!* Doctors and researchers have confirmed that walking in Shape-ups can have major benefits on our health, including:

  • More toned and strengthened leg, back, buttock and abdominal muscles
  • Reduced body fat
  • Improved circulation, aerobic conditioning and exercise tolerance
  • Improved posture, relieving muscle tension and back/joint problems












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