Yoga For Digestion

Yoga For Digestion

Debbie J., MS, RD contributed this article –

In the Living Healthy blog, we’re often sharing nutrition advice to help you achieve better physical performance. In this article, we’re promoting certain exercise to improve your nutrition status. What a twist! Yes, pun intended.

Many digestive ills are relieved by yoga including gas, bloating and constipation. The practice of ayurvedic medicine promotes yoga for digestion. In fact, yoga is used to treat abdominal pain for several digestive disorders. Improving digestive health means better nutrition since nutrient absorption and waste elimination are enhanced.

How does yoga achieve this? Primarily by utilizing the poses that stimulate nerves, enhance the flow of blood and digestive juices, promote the travel of food in the GI tract and proper elimination. Alternate tension in your abdominal muscles with deep breathing (Pranayama), abdominal stretches and massaging twists, and you’ve got a perfect combination of yoga to help relieve your belly woes.

 

Primary yoga poses that are believed to aid digestion:

 

  • Cat-Cow (marjaryasana-bitilasana)
  • Downward Facing Dog (adho mukha svanasana)
  • Triangle (trikonasana) and Revolved triangle (pavrtta trikonasana)
  • Extended puppy (uttana shishosana)
  • Bridge (setu bandha saravangasana)
  • Gas release (ardha pawamuktasana)
  • Supine twist (supta matsyendrasana)
  • Knees to chest (apanasana) followed by Corpse (savasana)

The underlying tenet of Ayrurveda is that health begins in the digestive system.

LA Fitness yoga classes flow through a series of dynamic movements that help to increase your flexibility, restore balance, and strengthen core muscles of the lower back and abdominals. The class is great for improving focus and self-awareness.

Find an LA Fitness yoga class near you.

Should you wish to modify your diet to compliment your yoga, consider that most traditional practitioners eat a diet comprised mainly of vegetable proteins, rich in cereals, vitamin- and mineral-rich fruits, and which is low in salt content. Promoting a healthy balance of bacteria is indispensable to gut function. A high fiber diet combined with probiotic sources such as active culture yogurt, kefir and kimchi helps achieve this balance.

This information is not meant to replace medical advice. See your healthcare practitioner for any digestive concerns as there may be a more serious underlying condition.

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Do you enjoy yoga? Leave a comment and share below!

How Many Grams of Protein per Day?

How Many Grams of Protein per Day?

Question:

“How many grams of protein per day and how many kcals per day do you recommend? Currently, I am attempting to slim down and maintain muscle but do not work out much these days as I am swamped with schoolwork. Below are a few stats about me:

Male, 29 years old, 5′ 10″, 181 lbs, 21.7% body fat measured back on 5/22/2016”

– Robert E.

Answer:

Based on your stats alone, one would expect you’d need 2200 calories per day for mild weight loss.  As you’re attempting to maintain muscle, consuming protein at 25-30% calories is ideal.  This would equate to 550-660 calories provided by 138-165 grams of protein.  Keep in mind that numbers are just based on an equation and don’t take into consideration your personal biochemistry or individual metabolism.

Relying on diet alone to slim down won’t maintain muscle.  For that you will need some physical activity.  Try to squeeze in just 5-10 minutes of calisthenics in the morning and evening on days that you can’t get to the gym.  This will probably take you less time than calculating the calories and grams of protein you’re consuming!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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Do you recommend pineapple smoothies in the morning?

Do you recommend pineapple smoothies in the morning?

Question: 

“Do you recommend pineapple smoothies in the morning since pineapples contain a lot of nutrients? I have heard it’s bad to drink in the morning but I’m kind of confused.”

– Mayra Robles

Answer:

Pineapple helps with digestion as it is a source of an enzyme (bromelain) that helps break down protein. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a good source of vitamin C which boosts the immune system. So yes, I’d recommend it for morning smoothies where you need some additional sweetness. It is a great natural sweetener for dairy and vegetable-based smoothies. If you’re using only fruit with protein powder, adding pineapple might make the result too sweet, as it is more concentrated in sugar than most other fruit (except banana).

Combine chunks of fresh pineapple with your chosen vegetables to combat their bitterness or with plain yogurt to offset its tartness. Below are a few combinations to add to your repertoire (high power blender required):

  • spinach, avocado, pineapple, chia seeds, and ice water
  • kale, cucumber, pineapple, coconut water, and ice
  • mango, pineapple, coconut milk, protein powder, and ice
  • strawberries, pineapple, soymilk, and ice
  • Greek yogurt, pineapple, peach, wheat germ, and ice water

Tips: Use frozen chunks of your chosen produce to reduce the need for ice. For a kick, add a little ginger. For some extra green and a little flair, add a pinch of mint or basil leaves.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help! Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Back to School 2.0

Back to School 2.0

Debbie J., MS, RD contributed this article –

We’ve come a long way since PB&J or bologna sandwiches, so why still pack those for school lunch when there are so many more exciting options? There are colorful, nutrient-rich combinations to satisfy someone of any age’s taste buds. Whether your children are in school or you are a big kid yourself, feeding the brain properly makes for better school (and work) performance*

Snack Smarter This School Year!

la fitness healthy snacks, la fitness snacks

Try these packable lunch ideas, including entrees and side dishes, that don’t need reheating (but may benefit from an ice pack or hot thermos):

Snack Ingredients
Wraps Option 1: Turkey and provolone with sprouts and red pepper in a spinach tortilla, spread with honey mustard or guacamole
Option 2: Roast beef and cheddar with romaine and tomato in a wheat lavash, spread with horseradish sauce or mayonnaise
Pasta salads Option 1: Macaroni, chunk light tuna, peas, onion, and cherry tomato halves, tossed with herb vinaigrette
Option 2: Farfalle (bowtie), feta cheese, pine nuts, diced cucumber, and sun dried tomatoes, tossed with pesto sauce
Bento box Option 1: Edamame, granola bar chunks, cheese wedges, and carrot sticks
Option 2: Rolled ham, sliced hard cooked egg, pretzels, and coleslaw
Dips Option 1: Hummus with pita chips, sugar snap peas, and zucchini & orange pepper strips
Option 2: Tzatziki sauce (or ranch mixed in plain Greek yogurt) with falafel and broccoli crowns
Option 3: Sunflower seed butter with cinnamon raisin bagel bites and celery
Casseroles Option 1: Penne, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, lean ground beef, basil, and olives topped with Parmesan cheese
Option 2: Black beans, quinoa, corn, onion, garlic, cilantro, and enchilada sauce, topped with shredded cheese

Add a fruit and a drink to these, and you’re good to go!

la fitness healthy snacks, la fitness snacks

 

*References:

Dietary Habits Are Associated with School Performance in Adolescents. SY Kim, et al. Medicine. 2016 March; 95(12):e3096.

The Association between Health Behaviours and Academic Performance in Canadian Elementary School Students: A Cross-Sectional Study. JD McIsaac et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2015 November; 20; 12(11): 14857-14871.

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Are there a lot of aflatoxins in almond milk?

Are there a lot of aflatoxins in almond milk?


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I have two questions.

1. I drink almond milk. Someone told me that the almond concentrates toxins before being picked. Hence, Almond milk being a highly concentrated amount of almonds in liquid form is therefore highly toxic. Is there any truth to this?


2. I have read that red wine provides numerous health benefits and that drinking one drink per day for men is healthier than no alcoholic drink per day. What amount, if any, red wine, should I be drinking daily? – Mike

 

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Answer:

  1. Mycotoxins (from fungus) exist as “unavoidable contaminants” in nut and grain products. Aflatoxin B1 is on the list of human carcinogens. That’s why the US has a regulatory system for aflatoxin monitoring and control by sampling and analysis. In addition, US growers have active programs in place to minimize aflatoxins in the orchard. Aflatoxins from almonds are reduced by peeling and roasting/cooking prior to milk production. So it would be extremely rare if someone got sick from it through almond milk. Actually, the amount of almonds in a half-gallon container are less than you might eat raw… just under a handful!
  2. Red wine’s primary beneficial phytochemical is resveratrol, found in the grape skins (that’s why there’s not much in white wine). The amount found in red wine may be no more than that from red and purple grape juices, plus the content depends on the variety and growing region. Drinking red wine may be incidentally related to a reduction in risk of heart disease and cancer, but so does eating more produce such as grapes, blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, pistachios, and cocoa. Note that populations with higher red wine consumption exhibiting lower cardiovascular disease also consume a Mediterranean style diet. To answer your question, if you are a drinker maintaining a healthy weight, then having a daily glass of red wine (instead of beer or liquor) is fine.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition? Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to nutrition@lafitness.com or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below.

To learn how to follow the “Ask Our Dietitian” Q&A CLICK HERE!

 

References 

 

  • Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences “Aflatoxins: Occurrence and Health Risks” 
  • Food Safety Watch “Aflatoxins”
  • The Relation Between Dietary Flavonol Intake and Coronary Heart Disease Mortality: A Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Huxley RR and Neil HA. 2003. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Aug;57(8):904-908.

 

 

  • Flavanoid Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in a Prospective Cohort of US Adults. ML McCullogh, et al. 2012. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Feb; 95(2): 454-464. 

 

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