TV Commercial Workout

TV Commercial Workout

Plethora of Polyphenols

Original Image by Mike Gifford via Flickr
Original Image by Mike Gifford via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Staying healthy isn’t a luck of a draw.  What one eats has a direct impact on health and looking at one’s current health is a reflection of what one consumes.  Staying healthy takes work, but it’s not impossible.  According to the American Cancer Society, polyphenols are believed to help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and/or heart disease.

Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant.  One can find polyphenols in red cabbage, red or green grapes, broccoli, radishes, onions, cacao, garlic, grape juice, apples, red wine, citrus fruit, berries, tea and soy.

Benefits of polyphenols:

  • Anti-inflammatory: useful for those with arthritis or other inflammatory problems
  • Heart Health: May improve cardiovascular system
  • Prevents cancer: polyphenols contain anti carcinogenic and anti tumor properties
  • Anti-aging:
  • Prevents heart disease: With moderate amounts of red wine, may keep heart disease at bay

Hopefully,  you’ve incorporated some polyphenolic rich foods into your daily routine, but adding a few more items to your weekly grocery list could be great too!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s okay to indulge once in a while and Thanksgiving’s definitely a day I don’t hold back. I loved this picture as it’s a twist of MyPlate with portions for Thanksgiving essentials.

Hope everyone has a healthy, happy, yummy Thanksgiving!


The Stroke Belt


By: Nikki Nies

A culmination of factors raise concern for those located in the “Stroke Belt” region. The southeast region is composed of the the Stroke Belt, which refers to higher risk of heart disease and/or hypertension.  The term Stroke Belt started in the late 1950’s by epidemiologists compiled data showing a higher-than-average death rate from strokes.

The stereotypical consumption of fatty, fried foods is not the only culprit, but genetic, socioeconomic, cultural associations, lack of access to healthy food, and lack of physical activity contribute to the higher percentage of the overweight. It’s a shame MI and TN are limited in side walks since the thought of walking around the block isn’t easily supported. It’s no coincidence southern states are also tobacco producing states as well as smoking is more common in the south.With increased weight and higher blood pressure, significantly increases one’s risk of stroke.  The elderly, Native stroke-signsAmericans, African Americans and those with lower education levels are found to be more likely to be overweight.

It should not be overlooked there are some changes that have been put into place.  As of 2007, Mississippi created nutrition standards for schools lunches, Tennessee encourages schools to buy fresh ingredients from locally grown areas and Arkansas has a school BMI program, where screening results can be sent home to inform parents.  The impact of these implemented programs will take time, but I’m glad to see such changes have been gradually introduced.

As the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S., living in the Stroke Belt, which consists of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee increases one’s risk of stroke.  It’s critical to know the warning signs of stroke, such as: sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg—especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eye; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination and/or sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Although not all factors that contribute to being overweight, like genetics or ethnicity, but lifestyle changes can make a difference.  By lowering one’s blood pressure, cholesterol and weight and avoiding use of cigarettes, can help the situation and decrease chances of stroke.


Subway: Not Fresh


By: Nikki Nies

I just finished an episode of the Biggest Loser and a past season winner came to join current season participants bringing them food from Subway.  Getting passed the product placement and the fact that losing double digit pounds of weight a week is realistic or healthy, I like watching the emotional and physical transformation participants go through during the show with the help of the trainer’s help.  Getting back to the post, I couldn’t help, but stare at the contestants as they were eating Subway.  I couldn’t believe they were advocating to eat Subway on a regular basis, so I went to the Internet for concrete evidence to see if what I thought was true. So, keep reading!

During undergrad, I had an assignment to compare a food franchising company’s vision and mission and how well the corporation carried out said statement in their restaurants regularly  My group chose to do Subway and although evaluating the nutrition aspect of Subway wasn’t part of the project as it was more of a business class, I couldn’t help, but evaluate how “fresh” Subway really is.  Subway’s motto, Subway: Eat Fresh is a clever slogan and can be interpreted as one wishes.  Some may gravitate to Subway due to the thoughts that “fresh” ingredients are used, however, I want to take their slogan one step further and question how “healthy” and “nutritious” their sandwiches really are.

Although, Subway toots their own horn, stating all their food is fresh and healthy, researchers from the University of California Los Angeles have found contradicting evidence.  In actuality, Subway sandwiches are equally bad for consumers as McDonald’s.The study had 97 participants, ages 12-21 years old, comparing McDonald’s to Subway sandwiches.  Consumers were averaging 1,038 calories from McDonald’s while those eating from Subway were intaking 955 calories, considered statistically insignificant. article-2321877-19B2736C000005DC-684_634x323

While total calories from Subway was lower than McDonald’s, sodium content and average calories per sandwich were larger at Subway. Both fast food chains serve sandwiches that are 3 times the recommended IOM sodium intake.

Part of my research assignment in undergrad was to try the food, so I understand how tasty the food can be, I really did enjoy my sandwiches with chipotle sauce.  However, restaurants and fast food places that are deemed “healthier” can cause the “health halo”, where consumers don’t pay attention to how much is consumed as they assume they’re eating healthier anyways.

What alarms me is the celebrity and athlete endorsements for Subway.  I can see how celebrities can stand behind a product that pays enough for them to represent said product, but where’s the honesty and integrity? Eating Subway once in a while won’t kill you, just keep in mind, it’s high in fat, calories and sodium and it’s still fast food.  Of course, such information is omitted during advertisements and campaigns, but it’s true!


Food Babe Investigates: Is Subway Real Food?

The Weight of the Nation


By: Nikki Nies

The Weight of the Nation is a documentary created and produced by HBO.  This 4 part miniseries brings together health professionals, policy makers, researchers and partners that advocates of obesity strategies and solutions.
Although long, this documentary gives a good explanation of how we’ve gotten where we are now–with 2/3 of adults overweight.  The scary part, more and more children, America’s future, are overweight.


What to do Besides Watch TV


By: Nikki Nies

Sedentary Activities like watching TV and computer use aren’t your best friend. I love a good TV show, but one show can easily turn into several and it’s understandable.

Some notable suggestions from

  1. Go to bed earlier
  2. Take a nice relaxing bath
  3. Make a weekly family meal plan
  4. Take a family walk after dinner
  5. Take an art class
  6. Nap in the grass
  7. Host a dinner party
  8. Start a compost pile
  9. Write something
  10. Get involved in local politics

I, myself, have taken up juggling.  My hand eye coordination has improved drastically in just a few short days.  What skills or activities are you willing to learn?

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