©2007 Kari Tse
August 2007

So far, not a terribly hot summer but still, remember to keep those water bottles and sunblock handy.  I hope everyone is having a great summer.  I know mine has been busy and I am missing my oldest as she travels with her student ambassador program.  Sargeant Pepper has recovered from his rat poison snack last month (whew!!).

Eating tip of the Month

Foods for the Heart Smart
Many of us wisely limit the amount of harmful saturated and trans fat acids in our diets, but we can also decrease our risk of heart disease by eating certain foods.  In addition to eating monounsaturated fat, there are other foods and nutrients that can help to ensure that your heart health stays on track.

High Fiber foods - whole grain consumption has been linked to a reduction in heart disease so aim to have at least one serving per meal (three times a day) such as brown rice, whole-wheat breads, pastas,and cerals, buckwheat, millet and bulgur.  Whole grains also provide minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and plant sterols which, in addition to fiber, are linked to protecting the hear.

Nuts - 3-5 ozs of nuts per week has shown to appear to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind!) levels and overall heart disease risk.  They are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, folic acid and arginine (an amino acid that helps to keep artery walls flexible and less prone to blood clots)>  Remember that nuts have a lot of calories, so limit your portions.

Fish and Omega - 3 fatty acids - Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish are believed to lower blood triglycerides and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Chocolate - yes, Ladies rejoice!!!!  Chocolate containes antioxidant flavenoids that help to relax and dilate blood vessels and decrease blood clotting.  Remember that chocolate is high in fat and sugar so control yourselves!!  

In The News The proof is in the Swiss ball
(you all know how much I love using that stability ball!!)

Researchers at California State University, Fullerton have recently supported the claims that Stability or Swiss ball training improves spinal stabilization. Prior to this study, reports of improved endurance in the local muscles of the spine (i.e. transverse abdominus and multifidus) have been largely theoretical. The results of this study have strong implications for including Swiss ball exercises, especially with clients who have chronic back pain or sedentary work environments.

The researchers used two tests of muscle endurance to evaluate spinal stability, The Static Back Endurance Test that entails the use of a Roman Chair and a isometric hold in the neutral position for maximum time, and the Side Bridge or Side Plank Test for maximum time. These tests have been cited to provide more accurate information about muscle endurance and back pain than dynamic muscle strength or endurance assessments.

The researchers had participants complete the following exercises twice per week for 10 weeks using a Swiss Ball: Quadruped, Dead Bugs, Back Bridging, and Static Plank. Exercises were progressed from 10 to 20 repetitions, or from 10 to 60 seconds for static holds.

All participants showed significant improvements in the test criteria compared to no improvement or lower scores for controls.

The authors reiterate that there is no single best exercise, but rather the potential for greater importance in emphasizing the local muscles vs. global muscles when working with beginners, sedentary populations or those who suffer from back pain. Swiss balls can be a highly effective option.

Carter, Jacqueline. Et al. The effects of stability ball training on spinal stability in sedentary individuals. National Strength & Conditioning Journal. 2006, 20(2), 429-435.

Recipe of the Month:

Penne with Asparagus, Spinach and Bacon-  I've already made a few variations substituting different vegetables and chicken for the bacon. 

8 oz uncooked penne pasta
2 bacon slices
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 1/2 cups 1-inch sliced asparagus (about 1 lb)
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
4 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup preshredded parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain; keep warm.
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan; crumble.  Add onion to drippings in pan, saute 1 minutes. Add asparagus and broth to pan ;bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender.  Add pasta, spinach, 1/4 cup cheese and pepper to pan; toss well.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bacon.

Yield 4 servings. 

per serving: 363 calories, 17.8g protein, 49.1 g carbohydrates, 10.2 g fat, 4.2 g saturated fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 501 mg sodium, 4.6g dietary fiber  

Trying to make the world a fit place, one person at a time!!
cell: 408-813-8325
scheduling: http://calendar.yahoo.com/inshapewithkari@sbcglobal.net