Push-ups with a twist
Adding a little twist to a traditional exercise like a push-up can really shake up your routine. Just don't be surprised when your muscles start shaking, too! Begin in a push-up position with your feet on a bench, toes pointing down and palms on the floor at least shoulder-width apart.
With your abs tight bend your elbows so that your chest descends toward the floor until your elbows form an approximate 90-degree angle. Keep your head and spine aligned and be careful not to arch your lower back or allow your hips to dip during this movement. Then, push yourself up by extending your arms.
Once fully extended, lift your right arm off the floor and slowly twist toward the ceiling. Your head and torso should be tracking in the same direction so you will be looking at your hand and ceiling at the top of the exercise. Slowly return your arm to the floor, go into your decline push-up and then continue the same exercise on the left side. Start with a few really good repetitions until you can confidently complete 10 repetitions for each side.
A touch of diabetes
We've heard it called "borderline diabetes" or "a touch of sugar" -- when blood tests reveal higher than normal blood sugar levels that haven't quite reached the threshold to be called "diabetes." Today the official term for "you don't have diabetes yet" is "pre-diabetes."
The scary news: Left unchecked, pre-diabetes often leads to full-blown type 2 diabetes -- a lifelong disease.
The hopeful news: Early treatment of pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Two landmark research studies on people with pre-diabetes found some very simple but challenging changes in lifestyle that had a profound effect on who went on to develop diabetes ... and who did not. Participants who were able to achieve one or more of the following were more likely to stop or reverse the progression of their condition:
Eat no more than 30 percent of calories from fat. Interestingly, fat intake (rather than carbohydrates) is a major predictor of "insulin resistance" -- a condition that can lead to diabetes. This level of fat intake -- an average of 50 to 60 grams a day for most people -- is considered a "low fat" diet.
Cut saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of total calories. This calculation translates to less than 15 to 20 grams of saturated fat per day for most people. And lest we think this is an easy goal, remember that 1 ounce (one slice) of cheese contains 6 grams of saturated fat. And 1 tablespoon of butter contains 7 grams. Gulp!
Get at least 150 minutes of "moderately intensive" physical activity every week. Brisk walking meets this goal; strolling to the refrigerator between commercials does not.
Eat more food rich in dietary fiber. Volunteers in these studies were instructed to eat at least 15 grams of dietary fiber (totals can be found on food labels) for every 1,000 calories in their diet.
That's about 25 to 35 grams a day for most of us. Hint: Fiber is found only in foods of plant origin -- fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains.
Eat at least three servings of "whole grains" each day. Research studies have found a strong correlation between the intake of whole grain foods and improved blood sugar control. Look for bread, cereal and other grain products labeled "excellent source of whole grains."
Drop a few pounds. Surprise! When we eat less fat and more fiber and exercise more, our weight tends to drop. And even a modest weight loss (10 to 20 pounds) can significantly slow or prevent the advance of pre-diabetes to diabetes.
The good news from these studies is that people who are given specific guidance to change their lifestyle can reduce their risk for developing diabetes by 58 percent.
World Diabetes Day is Wednesday. Let's prevent this problem before it occurs.
Peanut butter is a lunchbox staple. But is it a good choice from a nutrition standpoint? Here's a quiz to test your peanut butter IQ.
- Peanut butter is a good source of protein. True or false?
Answers: 1) True. It has about 8 grams of protein per serving. 2) True; 3) False; 4) False. The oil contains valuable nutrients and heart-healthy fat. 5) True; 6) True; 7) False; 8) True; 9) True.