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Category: Friday Fit Tips

Friday Fit Tip: choose whole grains over refined

Living a healthy lifestyle is all about small choices that add up over time. One of the first small switches I made was choosing whole grains over refined grains.

Let’s start with the basics- what are whole grains and refined grains?

Refined grains: “have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Some examples of refined grain products are white flour, white bread, and white rice,” according to ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Whole grains: “whole grains contain all three parts of the kernel. Refining normally removes the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm. Without the bran and germ, about 25% of a grain’s protein is lost, and are greatly reduced in at least seventeen key nutrients. Processors add back some vitamins and minerals to enrich refined grains, so refined products still contribute valuable nutrients. But whole grains are healthier, providing more protein, more fiber and many important vitamins and minerals,” according to Whole Grains Council.

Now that you know the difference, choosing whole grains over refined grains, should be easy! Grabbing whole wheat noodles is second nature to me now. And I wouldn’t even think about grabbing a loaf of white bread!

Though there are many fad diets that eliminate gluten, the USDA still recommends eating whole grains daily. There are many benefits of eating whole grains including:

  1. High fiber content.
  2. Assist in maintaining a healthy weight.
  3. Aid in digestion.
  4. They make you feel full!
  5. Assist in lowering cholesterol.

Start by swapping out your regular your refined grain choices for whole grain choices. These simple swaps are much better for your body, and your family won’t even notice!

Some of my favorite healthy whole grains are: oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and obviously popcorn! What are your favorite whole grains?

Friday Fit Tip: get enough sleep

Did you know that the amount of sleep you get each night plays an important role in your overall health and well-being? There are so many benefits to catching those zzz’s!

  1. Improve your memory. While you sleep, you can strengthen memories or skills that you learned while you were awake. This is called consolidation. According to Dr. Rapport, associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center, “If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you can learn it to a certain point with practice. But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn better.” So I guess all those late nights cramming for exams didn’t actually benefit me… Learn from my mistakes and rest up to help you learn new things!
  2. Improve your athletic/gym performance. If you are an athlete or spend time being active, sleep can help improve your performance. Snoozing long enough improves action time, motor function, motivation, risk of injury and even muscle recovery time. sleep
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Did you know that maintaining a healthy weight and being well rested go hand-in-hand?! Think about it- when you’re overtired, you have less energy to go for a run or cook a healthy meal after work. This is also physiological. The hormone leptin is responsible for making you feel full after you eat. When you are overtired, your leptin levels are lower. As a result, people who lack sleep are hungrier and tend to crave high-calorie foods.
  4. Say goodbye to stress! Getting a good night’s sleep allows you to handle any stress you may face more easily. Usually, when you are overtired, you are less patient and more easily upset, which can easily increase your stress levels.
  5. Avoid those germs! Getting enough sleep helps to improve your overall immune system. Lack of sleep surpasses the immune system, which can potentially lead to a greater risk of developing a cold or flu, according to Diwakar Balachandran, director of the Sleep Center at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Being overtired also plays a role in our we fight illness once we come down with it as well. More sleep = better immune system response.

It’s true- sleep really is the key to success in so many areas of our lives. If you struggle getting enough sleep at night, start slow. Set a reminder on your phone and try to get in bed just 15 minutes earlier than normal. Slowly you can add a few more minutes on as you get used to climbing into bed earlier. Give it a try and see how your life improves!

Seven to nine hours of sleep are recommended for the average adult. How much sleep do you get on average? What tips do you have for being well-rested? Share your suggestions and experiences in the comments below!

Friday Fit Tip: get 10,000 steps daily

Why are fitness trackers so popular? Are they necessary? Are they worth the hype? Do you really need one to lose weight and get in shape?

For me, my fitness tracker helps me stay on track. Some days I feel like I’ve been busy and running all over the place- but my Fitbit can tell me if that is actually true!

Friday Fit Tip: wake up & chug water

Happy Friday, friends! We made it through another week! As usual, I’m providing you with a Friday Fit Tip to keep you on track this weekend!

Today’s tip: chug a liter of water right when you wake up in the morning. This tip comes straight from Cameron Diaz! She shares this advice in her book, The Body  Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body.

Diaz herself follows this tip every morning. “It’s very important to start your day off with a lot of energy,” she says. “For me, that starts with getting up, brushing my teeth, and drinking some water—I drink a liter of water straight down.”

Drinking water right away in the morning is an easy way to prep your bod for a healthy day. Here are a few benefits of drinking water right away in the AM:

  1. Water kick-starts your metabolism: Drinking at least one large glass of water in the morning can boost your body’s metabolism by about 24 percent!
  2. Water helps you stay full longer: water will help fill your stomach! Did you know that drinking a large glass of water before meals can help prevent overeating?
  3. Water helps your body flush out toxins: when you drink water in the morning before you eat, this helps to purify your colon, allowing nutrients to be absorbed more easily. Your kidneys also function better when your body is getting enough fluids.

To help you remember to drink up right away in the morning, fill a cup with water before bed and put it on your nightstand or somewhere close to your bed. Chug that water right when you wake up!

Have you put any Friday Fit Tips into action? What have the results been? Share your stories with me below in the comments!