Bringing you the latest in health and fitness

Leave a comment

Tuscan Bean and Collard Soup

An easy soup that’s colourful, tasty and well balanced.

Preparation: 40 minutes
Serves: 10 servings
Energy: 112 calories per serving

– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 2 garlic cloves, chopped
– 1 yellow pepper, chopped
– 2 cups vegetable stock
– 1 cup pasta shells, dry
– 1 cup cooked collards, chopped
– 1 dash of pepper
– 2 basil leaves, chopped
– 1 dash salt
– 1 tbsp rosemary
– 2 small carrots, chopped
– 1 sweet onion, chopped
– 1 cup squash, sliced
– 1 cup zucchini, chopped
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup white beans

1) Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic and sweet onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
2) Add carrots and yellow pepper, cooking on medium-high heat until carrots are lightly tender.add zucchini, squash and rosemary and cook for 2-3 minutes.
3) Add collards and cover. Continue cooking and stirring until the greens become soft (approximately 7-10 minutes).
4) Add vegetable stock, water and cannellini beans, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
5) Add 1 or 2 cups of cooked pasta just before serving, garnish with fresh basil.


Swiss Ball Lifts Don’t Deliver Core Benefits

The theory makes sense, performing a bench press or military press on a Swiss ball should engage more of the stabilising muscles of your core. In reality, though this isn’t the case. A study released by the Human Performance Laboratory at California State University, suggests that abdominal muscle activation during a three-rep max chest press and shoulder press was similar whether performed on a Swiss ball or on a flat bench. Performing these lifts on a Swiss ball does have some benefit, however. It’s just not in developing core strength. Those lifts work the stabilising muscles of the shoulder, not the core. If you were to use the Swiss ball for that purpose it would have to be somewhere in the range of 15 to 25 repetitions with low weights.

Basic lifts on a stable surface, provide a better overall stimulus. A heavy squat, deadlift or military press is always going to be more effective at activating the core than any Swiss ball lift.


Carbohydrates Boost Performance As Soon as They Hit Your Mouth

Carbohydrates are the main source of fuels for muscular work during intense exercise above 65% of maximum effort. Carbohydrates are effective fuels for physical activity because they supply more energy per litre of oxygen consumed than fats or proteins. The nervous system senses carbohydrates as soon as they enter the mouth, and triggers the central nervous system to improve performance. The effect is not influenced by taste. For bodybuilders, using a carbohydrate mouth rinse might be helpful for promoting training intensity without increasing caloric intake.


Adequate Protein Intake Preserves Muscle Mass During Weight Loss

Weight loss is extremely difficult because reduced caloric intake increases hunger sensations and slows metabolic rate. A low-calorie, mixed diet triggers protein mobilisation for fuel which results in muscle wasting. A review of the literature by Suzanne Devkota and Donald Layman, concluded that substituting protein for fat and carbohydrate in the diet reduces insulin levels, and suppresses hunger and food cravings. Protein, particularly sources high in the amino acid leucine, triggers protein synthesis and helps maintain muscle mass during periods of caloric restriction. People trying to lose weight should consume protein, particularly during breakfast and lunch. This will help curb appetite and maintain muscle mass.

Leave a comment

High CLA Levels Linked to Reduced Risk of Heart Attack

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a popular weight loss supplement. Milk, which is high in saturated fat, is the best food source for CLA. Milk from grass-fed cows contains more CLA than milk from grain-fed cows. Researchers from Harvard University studied the relationship between CLA in fat cells and the risk of heart attack in people living in Costa Rica, a country where most cows are grass-fed. People with the highest levels of fat cell CLA had the lowest risk of heart disease. The CLA content of milk more than compensated for its high levels of saturated fat.