EatWell: Simple Tips from a BaySport Nutritionist

By Sheri Berger, RDN

A common question I am often asked, how bad is sugar and should it be completely avoided? A healthy diet can contain sensible amounts of sugar. I will provide guidelines on what is considered reasonable in just a moment, but first I would like to clear up one common misconception ALL sugar is bad. There are two different types of sugar in the diet:

Naturally occurring sugar- found in fruit (fructose) and found in milk (lactose)
Added sugar- table sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, honey are some common ones.

Here is a more extensive list: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/what-are-added-sugars

Naturally occurring sugar should not be avoided! Fruit and milk products supply the body with many important nutrients such as protein, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.

Added sugars can definitely make a food tasty! However, they add empty calories and do not contribute significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, or nutrients. Diets that contain excessive sugar increase one’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions.

The American Heart Association recommends these added sugar limitations:
Women – no more than 6 teaspoons per day (25 grams, 100 calories)
Men – no more than 9 teaspoons per day (36 grams, 150 calories)

Read here for more information from the American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp#.WPE7rkXyvIU

Should I Be Taking Cold Showers?

By Sam Skelton

Showering is a part of most of our daily routines. Perhaps it’s the first thing you do after waking up, making sure the water is warmed up to that perfect temperature before stepping in. You wouldn’t dare step into a shower sub 100 degrees, right? Well, here are three reasons that may change your mind to take a deep breath, and turn the nozzle in the opposite direction.

1. Stimulate Your Body to Fight Disease

There have been great advancements to keep humans at a comfortable temperature. Most homes and buildings have a thermostat to keep us at the optimal and comfy 68-72 degree range. Our cars are equipped with automatic climate systems to counter any radical temperatures that may come our way. But some say this has made us “soft” and weaker as a species. Just think of our ancestors before us who lived a more primal life and had to utilize their parasympathetic nervous system to regulate their body temperature to sleep through a cold night. Experiencing colder temperatures—cold enough to initiate a shock response—has shown to stimulate your body to release more melatonin, which in turn can promote brain health and fight against cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s (Howard, 2015). So challenge yourself and make it a cold one.

2. Increase Your Alertness

If you take morning showers, maybe you do it to help wake you up. But do you ever feel even more lethargic and ready to hit the sack after a hot shower? I would recommend starting at your normal temperature, but at the end of your shower ease into the cold water. Every fiber of your being will scream at you “What are you doing?!” But just breathe through it. You will be training your parasympathetic nervous system, which is counteracting the body’s natural “flight” response (activated by your nervous system). With the deep breathing you will ease the shock and keep warm, increasing the body’s oxygen uptake. Heart rate increases as blood flow accelerates through your entire body. It’s invigorating, and you’ll be ready to start your day (Borreli, 2014).

3. Challenge Yourself to Take Life Head-on

Life; it can be difficult. The struggle is real. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” An entire book was written on this quote, Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy. According to Tracy, when you get the dreaded things out of the way first, it will give you more momentum for the rest of the day. When you prioritize the hardest things first, you can go through your day and be more productive and fulfilled. A cold shower in the morning is not easy to do, but it will surely get your day started on the right foot. We are at our best when we can tackle our challenges bravely and confidently. It’s definitely not going to be comfortable, but some of the best things can happen when we step out of our comfort zone (Richards, 2016).

References

Borreli, Lizette (2014). Benefits of Cold Showers: 7 Reasons Why Taking Cold Showers is Good For Your Health. Medical Daily. http://www.medicaldaily.com/benefits-cold- showers-7- reasons-why- taking-cool-showers-good- your-health- 289524

Howard, Clark (2015). Sleeping in a cold room may be better for your health. http://clark.com/health-health-care/research- sleeping-in- cold-room- better-for- health/

Richards, Carl (2016). Benefits of Getting an Icy Start to the Day. New York Times.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/business/the-benefits- of-getting- an-icy- start-to- the-day.html?_r=0

About the Author

Sam Skelton is a proud husband and father to two young boys. When his boys aren’t accelerating his grey hair growth at the temples, Sam enjoys playing guitar, surfing, and woodworking. He and his wife are celebrating their 10 year anniversary in June, and plan on getting away from their kids for four nights. Sam believes in the power and life-giving benefits of cold plunges. He does, however, surf in a wetsuit.

Work. Stress. Stretch.

By Raeciel DeCastro

When we are caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday work and stress we often times find ourselves stuck at our desks sitting for prolonged amounts of time. It has been proven that sitting and staying in the same position along with poor posture can cause or worsen musculoskeletal disorders. Additionally, research has also proven that non-active sitting (sitting still) for long periods of time linked to greater risks of weight gain, heart disease and an earlier demise.

However, for those who sat at their desks and continuously kept fidgeting completely avoided any increased health risks! So, when you find yourself stuck at your desk don’t forget to take a breather, move around, relax, and stretch! Here are a few stretches you can try at the comfort of your own desk. Stretching can help increase blood flow to the muscles, improve flexibility and range of motion of your joints, reduce the risk of injuries and stress, and increase energy.

Head and Shoulder Stretches

Shoulder shrug

1. Raise both shoulders at once up toward the ears.

2. Drop them and repeat 10 times.

Neck stretches

1. Relax and lean your head forward.

2. Slowly roll toward one side and hold for 10 seconds.

3. Repeat on other side.

4. Relax again and lift your chin back to starting position.

5. Do this three times for each direction.

Upper trap stretch

1. Gently pull your head toward one shoulder until a light stretch is felt.

2. Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds.

3. Alternate once on each side.

Upper Body Stretches

Shoulder, or pectoralis stretch

1. Clasp hands behind your back.

2. Push the chest outward, and raise the chin.

3. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

Forward stretch (This stretch is also known as the rhomboid upper or upper back stretch.)

1. Clasp your hands in front of you and lower your head in line with your arms.

2. Press forward and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Torso stretch, or trunk rotation

1. Keep your feet firmly on the ground, facing forward. Place one hand on the back of your chair.

2. Twist your upper body in the direction of the arm that’s resting on the back of your chair.

3. Hold pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

4. Repeat on other side.

Tip: Exhale as you lean into the stretch for a greater range of motion.

Arm Stretches

Triceps stretches

1. Raise your arm and bend it so that your hand reaches toward your back.

2. Use your other hand and pull the elbow toward your head.

3. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

4. Repeat on the other side.

Overhead reach, or latissimus stretch

1. Extend one arm overhead.

2. Reach to the opposite side.

3. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

4. Repeat on the other side.

Upper body and arm stretch

1. Clasp hands together above the head with palms facing outward.

2. Push your arms up, stretching upward.

3. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

Lower Body Stretches

Hip and knee flexion stretch

1. Hug one knee at a time, pulling it toward your chest.

2. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

3. Alternate.

Hamstrings stretch

1. Remaining seated, extend one leg outward.

2. Reach toward your toes.

3. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

4. Repeat on the other side.

Be sure to do this one leg at a time, as doing this exercise with both legs out can put extra stress on the back.

Resources:

Woletz, T. & Choi, S.D. (2010) Do Stretching Programs Prevent Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders? Retrieved from:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260753282_Do_Stretching_Programs_Prevent_Work-related_Musculoskeletal_Disorders

Hagger-Johnson, Gareth et al. (2016). Sitting Time, Fidgeting, and All-Cause Mortality in the UK Women’s Cohort Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Stretch descriptions provided by http://www.mayoclinic.org & http://www.healthline.com

About the Author:

Raeciel DeCastro graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Kinesiology. She is the Program Manager at Polycom in San Jose, California where she manages and designs health and fitness programs for Polycom and other in house companies. She is an avid volleyball player and participates in local adult leagues and tournaments. She enjoys spending time with her fiancé and currently planning their wedding for the coming fall.