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During pregnancy, are carbs good or bad?

Studies shows that carbohydrates should remain in your diet. Despite gaining a bad reputation, thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets in recent years, this nutrient remains a big source of energy.

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For the next nine months, you’ll need to consume about 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant. After all, your body is going through big changes, and you will need a full dose of nutrients to help with your baby’s growth and development.

However, when it comes to this topic, most, if not all, still have this question: do I need carbs to keep me and my baby healthy?

As one of the most delicate time in your life, you can’t just eat everything you want. But studies shows that carbohydrates should remain in your diet. Despite gaining a bad reputation, thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets in recent years, this nutrient remains a big source of energy.

Starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread are good sources of vitamins and fiber, which can help provide you the energy to support your baby during pregnancy. Many of such foods also provide other important nutrients for his or her development, including calcium, iron, and B vitamins.

But of course, eating carbs is not enough. According Mary Jude “Jong” Icasiano, a Wyeth nutritionist, you should also follow some good eating habits so that your baby gets the best start in life.

Icasiano noted three of these habits below:

Get yourself some good fats. When you are pregnant, having too many fatty foods is a big no. But, your body still needs a certain amount of fat (just make sure that it is the good kind). Fats play important role in providing energy and nutrient absorption. This is since many vitamins are “fat-soluble”, which means that your body needs fat to use them. Vitamins such as A, D, E, and K are all fat soluble and are vital to fetal development.

Try cutting down on saturated fats like butter, cheese, cakes, and sweets, and instead, start including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, avocados, plant-based oils, and types of fish like salmon and tuna.

Polyunsaturated fats are rich in omega-3s to help develop and sustain the health of your baby’s heart, immune system, brain, eyes and more, while monounsaturated fats are a good source of folic acid, which helps protect your baby against birth defects.

Eat fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense foods and key sources of a number of essential nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, folate, and vitamins A and C, which all play a huge role for you and your baby’s health.

Eating fresh produce during pregnancy is also an excellent way to manage your weight and reduce the risks of health complications and diseases.

Avoid coffee. If you are a coffee drinker, then you may have to start avoiding it for the meantime. According to a study conducted by Jongeun Rhee, et al., high caffeine intake during pregnancy is associated with a significant increase in the risk of low birth weight, and this risk appears to increase linearly as caffeine intake increases.

While small servings shouldn’t have an impact on an unborn baby, it is still best to limit your coffee intake during pregnancy. Instead, you can opt for a decaf coffee or non-caffeinated drinks such as milk, fruit juices, and chocolate drink, among other things.

A diet that lacks key nutrients may negatively affect the baby’s development. That is why it is important to pick the right foods during pregnancy to supplement your baby’s needs. In addition to a healthy diet, you also need a milk that will supplement you and your baby with essential nutrients.

Consider drinking ProMama, a tasting nutritional milk drink, specially formulated with key nutrients designed to support you during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation. It is rich in DHA, Folic Acid, Choline, Iron and Iodine, to help support your baby’s brain growth and development.

Good nutrition plays a pivotal role in the health of you and your baby. As a pregnant woman, your body needs higher nutrients than you did before conception. That is why it is essential to start making better food choices for your baby’s bright tomorrow.

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Fitness

Study finds moderate-vigorous physical activity is the most efficient at improving fitness

Dedicated exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.

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In the largest study performed to date to understand the relationship between habitual physical activity and physical fitness, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that higher amount of time spent performing exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) and low-moderate level activity (steps) and less time spent sedentary, translated to greater physical fitness.

“By establishing the relationship between different forms of habitual physical activity and detailed fitness measures, we hope that our study will provide important information that can ultimately be used to improve physical fitness and overall health across the life course,” explained corresponding author Matthew Nayor, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at BUSM.

He and his team studied approximately 2,000 participants from the community-based Framingham Heart Study who underwent comprehensive cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) for the “gold standard” measurement of physical fitness. Physical fitness measurements were associated with physical activity data obtained through accelerometers (device that measures frequency and intensity of human movement) that were worn for one week around the time of CPET and approximately eight years earlier.

They found dedicated exercise (moderate-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient at improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps/day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness.

According to the researchers, while the study was focused on the relationship of physical activity and fitness specifically (rather than any health-related outcomes), fitness has a powerful influence on health and is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and premature death. “Therefore, improved understanding of methods to improve fitness would be expected to have broad implications for improved health,” said Nayor, a cardiologist at Boston Medical Center.

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Fitness

Tips to avoid common running injuries

Injuries are very common among runners. Recent research estimates that 82% of runners will become injured during their running career and up to 90% will experience injury while training for a marathon. Some of the most common include a stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, hamstring tendinitis, ankle sprain, runners’ knee, and Achilles’ tendonitis.

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Photo by Malik Skydsgaard from Unsplash.com

Whether training for a marathon or preparing for your first community race, being knocked off course with pain can be hard to handle mentally and physically.

Injuries are very common among runners. Recent research estimates that 82% of runners will become injured during their running career and up to 90% will experience injury while training for a marathon. Some of the most common include a stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, hamstring tendinitis, ankle sprain, runners’ knee, and Achilles’ tendonitis.

Injury prevention is critical. Here are some safety tips from Dr. Joshua Blomgren, a 15-time Chicago Marathon team physician and sports medicine physician, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush:

Don’t over-train

Don’t increase weekly mileage or intensity by more than 10 percent each week. Build up slowly and let a good training schedule determine how much you run.

Invest in good shoes

Go to a specialty running shop to be properly fitted for running shoes and/or orthotics. Replace them every 350-500 miles. Incorrect shoes can affect your gait, leading to injuries in your feet, legs, knees, or hips.

Choose the best running surface

Look for running surfaces that absorb shock. Opt for asphalt over concrete. Find grass or dirt trails, especially for higher mileage. Avoid uneven surfaces and seek paths with slow curves.

Stretch!

Training causes tight muscles, leading to strain and changes in your gait. Commit to a stretching program. Just 5 -10 minutes after each workout can make a big difference.

Strengthen muscles

Runners have tight hip flexors because their quads are overtrained. Strengthen your hamstrings and glutes to reduce chance of injury and abductors, adductors, and core to create stability.

Watch out for heel striking

Heel striking occurs when your feet land in front of you and your heel hits the ground first. This is common among new runners but can lead to injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and joint pain. Land mid-sole with your foot directly underneath your body.

Prioritize posture

Good form means staying upright and keeping your shoulders back and relaxed. Work core exercises into your training and do posture checks every so often. Hold your head right above your shoulders and hips.

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Fitness

Postmenopausal women can dance their way to better health

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures.

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Photo by Olivia Bauso from Unsplash.com

Women often struggle with managing their weight and other health risk factors, such as high cholesterol, once they transition through menopause. A new study suggests that dancing may effectively lower cholesterol levels, improve fitness and body composition and in the process, improve self-esteem. Study results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

After menopause, women are more likely to experience weight gain, overall/central body adiposity increases, and metabolic disturbances, such as increases in triglycerides and bad cholesterol. Together, these changes ultimately increase cardiovascular risk. Around this same time, women often are less physically active, which translates into reductions in lean mass and an increased risk of falls and fractures. As a result of all these changes, postmenopausal women often suffer from decreased self-image and self-esteem, which are directly related to overall mental health.

Physical activity has been shown to minimize some of the many health problems associated with menopause. The effect of dancing, specifically, has already been investigated with regard to how it improves body composition and functional fitness. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of dance on body image, self-esteem, and physical fitness together in postmenopausal women.

This new study was designed to analyze the effects of dance practice on body composition, metabolic profile, functional fitness, and self-image/self-esteem in postmenopausal women. Although the sample size was small, the study suggested some credible benefits of a three-times-weekly dance regimen in improving not only the lipid profile and functional fitness of postmenopausal women but also self-image and self-esteem.

Dance therapy is seen as an attractive option because it is a pleasant activity with low associated costs and low risk of injury for its practitioners. Additional confirmed benefits of regular dancing include improvement in balance, postural control, gait, strength, and overall physical performance. All of these benefits may contribute to a woman’s ability to maintain an independent, high-quality lifestyle throughout her lifespan.

Study results are published in the article “Dance practice modifies functional fitness, lipid profile, and self-image in postmenopausal women.”

“This study highlights the feasibility of a simple intervention, such as a dance class three times weekly, for improving not only fitness and metabolic profile but also self-image and self-esteem in postmenopausal women. In addition to these benefits, women also probably enjoyed a sense of camaraderie from the shared experience of learning something new,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

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