Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Top 10 Reasons To Exercise!

Exercise may be the closest thing to the fountain of youth. Not only does regular activity strengthen your muscles and improve heart and lung function, but it can also reduce your risk of major diseases, stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and even add years to your life. Studies show just 30 minutes of physical activity on most days is all that’s required to reap big benefits.

The range of health bonuses now attributed to exercise has surprised even doctors. Many health organizations suggest that regular physical activity may do the following[1]:

  • Keep you young. Workouts such as brisk walking or cycling boost the amount of oxygen consumed during exercise. Improving your aerobic capacity by just 15 to 25 percent would be like shaving 10 to 20 years off your age. Aerobic exercise may also stimulate the growth of new brain cells in older adults.
  • Reduce infections. Moderate workouts temporarily rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness or capacity of immune cells. That may explain why people who exercise catch fewer colds.
  • Prevent heart attacks. Not only does exercise raise “good” HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, but new research shows it reduces arterial inflammation, another risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
  • Ease asthma. New evidence shows that upper-body and breathing exercises can reduce the need to use an inhaler in mild cases of asthma.
  • Control blood sugar. Exercise helps maintain a healthy blood-sugar level by increasing the cells’ sensitivity to insulin and by controlling weight. Regular brisk walking can significantly cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Protect against cancer. Exercise may reduce the risk of colon-cancer by speeding waste through the gut and lowering the insulin level. It may also protect against breast and prostate cancer by regulating hormone levels.
  • Combat stress. Regular aerobic exercise lowers levels of stress hormones. For many people, exercise helps relieve depression as effectively as antidepressant medication.
  • Relieve hot flashes. Increasing fitness by walking or practicing yoga enhances mood and reduces some menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Protect men’s health. Pelvic exercises help prevent erectile dysfunction and possibly benign prostate enlargement, a common cause of urinary problems.
  • Prolong life. Studies lasting many years have consistently shown that being active cuts the risk of premature death by about 50 percent for men and women.

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[1] Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic, (2011). Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity. Retrieved from website: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676

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Coke by another name – Coke Life!

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Coca-Cola Life is here! Woo-hoo! It is marketed as ‘natural’ and lower in calories than Coke so that must be a good thing, right? Well it is, if all you require from a soda is that it is lower in calories than regular Coke, chemicals be damned. But what about that claim that it is sweetened with natural stevia instead of Splenda and so healthier? Hmmmm…. If you are asking that, then we need to delve a little deeper……

What is Coca-Cola Life sweetened with? Well we don’t know the exact formula, we are talking about Coke after all, but we do know it’s a combination of (GMO) sugar and Truvia. Truvia was developed jointly by the Coca-Cola company and Cargill and is made of rebiana, erythritol, and natural flavors. Try as I might, I could not find out what “natural flavors” means. But as we know from my previous post on chemicals and Food Babe’s investigative article on ‘natural flavors’, we may never actually know.  It also contains that ‘natural flavor’ caramel which is a carcinogen, but I digress. I drank enough Diet Coke in my time to cringe at that thought so I’ll move along if I may.

The process involving rebiana and erythritol (a GMO sugar alcohol) is also unclear as it all looks like such an easy and ‘natural’ process on Truvia’s website since they claim a lofty “From Field To Table” accolade. I’m a little curious about that so I have to defer once again to my trusty food investigator Food Babe whom has covered this before, here. She explains the 40-step process around creating Truvia which makes me question the ‘natural’ or ‘Life’ label that Coke gives this new generation soda.

So why are they even introducing this new soda at all? What demographic are they trying to capture? I remember Cherry Coke in Europe in the 80s so I have to ask. Why, after 70 years are they suddenly expanding into the ‘healthy’ market? I’m sure you could drink Coke Life on the treadmill it looks so pretty. But are we so gullible?

Did they not learn from the ‘Naked‘ fiasco? Pepsi had to pay out $9m in compensation last year for faking the ‘natural’ label on its products. Although I’ll bet Coke Life’s ‘sweetened from natural sources’ claim is locked in tight. It also seems that Coke feels like it has a moral obligation to America because we now have epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer since Coke began its unforgettable marketing campaigns in the 70s with its catchy anthem.

What happened since then? Could it be what we’re eating or drinking?? “Oh no”, says Coke, “we just need more exercise and to reduce our calorie intake!” So Coke wants to help us along and sell us a soda that seems to fit that marketing bill so well – lower in calories and ‘natural’. They already tried to sell us water but then we found out that it wasn’t really just water. Oh gas station Dasani, you had such promise.

It may seem like Splenda’s days are numbered (don’t feel bad, we all fell for it) and along with the decline in popularity in Equal, Sweet ‘n Low and Nutrasweet (all for good reason), we are now turning to that sweet plant, stevia. It’s just too bad that Coke is trying to hoodwink us again. But I think they are underestimating the American consumer. We are not drinking Coke as much today, not only because of the high calories, but because it is made from toxic chemicals and GMO ingredients. Coke Life seems to be the same formula, just different chemicals and calories. We’re smarter than that – I hope. I’ll be watching Coke Life, but thankfully as a spectator this time.

“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony”

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