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Having been given our fact sheets and nutritional advice, one of our personal training clients with Stephen in Richmond asked the question “What is fibre?”. It seems like a simple one, it’s bandied about constantly in the media as something good, but what is it. The true definition of fibre is, according to the oxford dictionary is
“dietary material containing substances such as cellulose, that are resistant to the action of digestive enzymes.”
In personal trainer college we were taught that fibre is insoluble woody or plant like structures that cannot be (or are difficult to) digested by mammals. So therefore fibre has no nutritional value and contains no vitamins or minerals. Immediately we can see that this is a good thing; something we eat but that contains no usable calories, hooray! But there are other good things that fibre does for us.
Insoluble fibre is found in the following foods:
Soluble fibre contains gums and pectin. This type of fibre lowers cholesterol levels and controls blood sugar. It can be found in all fruit and vegetables, but the following are rich sources:
Current advice says adults should aim for 18g fibre a day. Most of us eat less than this, and The British Nutrition Foundation puts the average adult intake at 12g. So get going and eat some more fibre. It is also useful as it fills us up but has, as we have already noted, no calorific value. Remember also that the first rule of nutrition is sort your surroundings; be prepared and make sure that by planning ahead you are surrounded at home and at work by good foods in small amounts, so that everything you need is readily available, and there is not too much around that will lead you astray! Have a look on our knowledge page for more information, or have a look at other blogs too.
Whilst sitting at the cinema last night I recalled a personal trainer in Windsor the other day telling me that popcorn was a so-called superfood. Surely this was not the case, and it was no better than the huge bag of chocolate raisins that I also bought? However recent studies have shown that it is in fact beneficial. Popcorn and breakfast cereals, frequently derided as junk food, may contain “surprisingly large” servings of healthy antioxidants, according to chemical researchers. Any nutritional value of snack foods was previously thought to rest on their high fibre content – a virtue regularly trumpeted by manufacturers on food packaging.
But a study presented recently to the American Chemical Society (ACS) suggests the benefit of grain-based foods lies in the significant presence of antioxidants known as polyphenols. Antioxidants are thought to protect cells from damage and mop up free radical molecules, which may lead to illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Although the beneficial role of antioxidants has, in the past, been questioned by other medical research teams, the latest report will provide comfort for popcorn-munching couch potatoes.
“Early researchers thought the fibre was the active ingredient for these benefits in whole grains, the reason why they may reduce the risk of cancer and coronary heart disease,” Dr Joe Vinson, a chemist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, who led the study, told the ACS.
“But recently, polyphenols emerged as potentially more important. Breakfast cereals, pasta, crackers, and salty snacks constitute more than 66% of whole-grain intake in the US diet. This is the first study to examine total phenol antioxidants in breakfast cereals and snacks.” Polyphenols are one of the main reasons why fruits and vegetables, chocolate, wine, coffee and tea are thought to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Cold whole-grain cereals have significantly more antioxidants than processed grain foods, the study found. Among the salty snacks examined by the team, popcorn contained the most antioxidants.
As with all nutritional advice here at Diets Don’t Work we recommend a moderate approach with the 80/20 rule, so that you try to follow the principles of the wholefood diet for 80% of the time, while focusing on a high output through cardio-vascular exercise and resistance training means that you can still live a little,and have treats while maintaining or even losing weight. Have a look on our “The Knowledge” page for further nutritional tips, and remember that all block bookings of personal training include nutritional help and assessment.
If you are feeling fed up with your other half, try sleeping in separate beds, says BBC online. Recent research has shown that couples who share a bed are 50% more likely to suffer from poor quality sleep which can lead to stress and resentment. “A normal double bed is 4ft 6in wide,” says sleep expert DR Neil Stanley, who does not ahare a bed with his wife. “That means you have up to 9 inches less room per person in a double bed than a child has in a single bed. Add to this another person who kicks, punches, snores and gets up to go to the loo, and is it any wonder hat we are not getting a good night’s sleep?”
Sleep is one of the categories that we asses in ongoing personal training screning forms, and is indeed a good indicator of health and happiness. Exercise is proven to help with quality of sleep, provided that you do not do anything to vigorous too close to bed time. But a good quality session up o the early evening/late afternoon will really help.
Vigorous exercise during the day and mild exercise at bedtime will not only help you fall asleep and stay asleep more easily but will increase the amount of time you spend in deepest Stage 4 sleep. For some people, exercise alone is sufficient to overcome their sleep problems.
Stanford University School of Medicine researchers studied the effects of exercise on the sleep patterns of adults aged fifty-five to seventy-five who were sedentary and troubled by insomnia. These adults were asked to exercise for twenty to thirty minutes every other day in the afternoon by walking, engaging in low-impact aerobics, and riding a stationary bicycle. The result? The time required to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost one hour.
Benefits of Exercise for Sleep
Exercise reduces stress by helping to dissipate the lactic acid that accumulates in the blood.It also eases the muscular tension that can build up, making dropping off easier. Exercise reduces the boredom, worry, and tension and improves sleep because it is a physical stressor to the body. The brain compensates for physical stress by increasing deep sleep. Therefore, we sleep more deeply and soundly after exercise.
Feeling stressed? Try mowing the lawn, suggests the Daily Telegraph. A team of neuroscientists from the university of Queensland, Brisbane, has discovered that chemicals released by cut grass have a soothing effect on the brain. After one of his neighbours remarked on the wonderful smell of freshly cut grass, research leader Dr Nick Lavidis had the idea of developing a scent that incorporated some of the chemicals from grass. When tested the smell has been proven to regulate key emotional areas of the brain such as the hippocampus and amygdala. “These are responsible for the fight or flight responses and the endocrine system, which controls the releasing of stress hormones like corticosteroids,” Lavidis says.
Although the scent has been proven to work, one must beware of easy substitutes for the real thing. If the scent itself works, then it will be even more beneficial to actually get outside and mow the lawn, as this also includes the stress reducing effects of exercise, being outdoors and in the fresh air, as well as doing a task that has the satisfaction of an easily achievable result. As part of our personal training service we encourage clients to increase daily activity as much as possible and to get outdoors, not only for the benefits of increased calorific burn and weight loss, but also as it helps feelings of mental well-being and satisfaction. So don’t watch a programme about nature, go outdoors and experience it first hand! Watching an exercise video might make you feel good, but actually doing the exercise will have a real benefit.
We would like to welcome a new personal trainer to the DDW! team, she is Jody Rodus, and will be our new personal trainer for the Watford, Chorley Wood and Abbots Langley areas. Jody has a passion for sports and fitness and loves taking part, loves coaching and most of all loves seeing others discover the same passion for a fit healthy lifestyle. As an overweight teenager she has first hand experience in weight loss, having struggled with it for many years. Jody then became interested in muscular conditioning before getting into endurance events, she now does half marathons and triathlons.She comes highly qualified, with REPS level 3 (advanced) and gives inspirational fitness solutions that fit into your lifestyle.She specialises in muscle toning, pre and post-natal exercise as well as kettlebell training and boxercise. So if you live in the north west London areas and are looking for some inspiration to get yourself going then call or email us and we can give you the best possible chance of success!
A big good luck to Diets Don’t Work personal trainer Stephen Hitchcock who will be running the 209 Berlin marathon on September the 20th. Although Stephen is a natural runner and also a member of a proper running club a marathon is still a big deal so well done him, and good luck from the team at Diets Don’t Work personal training. He tells us that he has done all the training leading up to the big day, so we are sure that he will be just fine.
If you would like to get some running tips or tone up and lose weight with a fab PT then Stephen is our personal trainer in the Richmond, Twickenham, Kingston and Egham areas of London and Berkshire. Have a look at his profile on our meet the trainers page.