Monday, January 28, 2013

Fruits And Vegetables: More Than Water

Here’s something to warm one’s taste, especially for vegetable and fruit lovers.

In a study appearing in Nutrition Notes, food is mostly water, but in the case of fruits and vegetables, is it all but a small percentage of the edible portion.  For example, raw cauliflower is 91% water; carrot 88.2%; cabbage 92.4%; so called “dry” onions 89.1%.

Yet the water in fruits and vegetables carries in solution 94.5% of the vitamin C supply from food; 49.2% of the vitamin A; 42% of the folic acid; 29.9% of the vitamin B6; 19.9% of the iron; 25.7% of the magnesium; 18.8% of the thiamine; 18.7% of the niacin; and a large part of the trace minerals of all kinds.

It’s a remarkable kind of water.  Not only does it carry a wide spectrum of nutrients, but the water is germ-free.

The selection and filtration ability of plants is such that the water in the cells is virtually uncontaminated.  It is better than distilled water because the distilled product carries no vitamins or minerals, while the liquid in all fruits and vegetables makes a contribution to nutrition, and in some cases, a large contribution.

In addition to the presence of much water, what differentiates fruits and vegetables from other kinds of foods is the presence of what scientists call phytochemicals or plant chemicals.” Phytochemicals have the ability to nourish and strengthen the immune system, including the prevention and treatment of disease.  Researchers were able to discover the cancer-blocking phytochemical, called sulforaphane. not only in broccoli, but also in other vegetables such as brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower.

There are other important nutrients that come from fruits and vegetables (but only if they are not cooked) – enzymes.  Enzymes are active proteins basic to all living processes in the body.  They are essential for every chemical reaction and normal activity of the organs, tissues, and cells, including the production of energy to run cellular functions.  Digestive enzymes, for example, enable the body to digest food, while others help in ridding the body of toxins and cellular debris.  The use of anticoagulants and proteolytic enzymes by alternative doctors can effectively reduce the invasive or metastatic potential of cancer cells.

Do you know that…within 30 seconds of drinking water, it becomes part of your blood; within a minute it reaches the brain tissues and reproductive organs; within 30 minutes it reaches every part of your body.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Part 4

Benefits of Physical Fitness

  • Retards aging process. Continued participation in regular exercises of the proper amount and severity is of considerable value in postponing deterioration as a person grows old.
  • Physical fitness and ability to meet emergencies. The body that is accustomed to sedentary living habits can usually operate ineffectively even though it is operating at near maximum effort.
  • Neuromuscular skill. The smooth, efficient coordination of the muscular system is improved as a result of regular participation in physical activity.
  • Relaxation. Overactive minds in underactive bodies often need physical outlets of accumulated emotional and muscular tensions that seem to be relieved by the action of the skeletal muscles.
  • Improvement of personality and social skills. Participation in games and sports aids in improving the personality and in developing the desirable social skills.
  • Mental Fitness.  Because of the mental and physical relaxation that often results from physical activity, regular exercise is thought by many to be valuable in aiding the mental processes to function with increased efficiency.
  • General Health.  The physically-fit person usually possesses a high degree of general appearance, which enables him to avoid minor illness.

Characteristics of a Physically-Fit Person:
  • Is able to withstand fatigue for longer periods of time than the unfit.
  • Is better equipped to tolerate physical stress.
  • Has a stronger and more efficient heart.
  • Overall, a fit person has a better relationship between good mental health, mental alertness, absence of tension, and physical fitness.   

(We are grateful to Dr. Nelba O. Olaso, Ph.D. for allowing us to quote passages from her book, Innovative Schemes for Physical Fitness.  She is a professor of Physical Education and consultant on Sports Development Program at Naga College Foundation, Naga City, Philippines.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Part 3

The six components of skill-related physical fitness are as follows:

  • Agility – the ability to rapidly and accurately change the direction of the movement of the body in space.  Shuttle run is one example of agility.
  • Balance – the maintenance of equilibrium while stationary or while moving.  Performing on the balance beam is one example that requires balance.
  • Coordination – the ability to use senses with the body parts to perform motor task smoothly and accurately.  Jogging or kicking a ball are examples of activities requiring good coordination.
  • Power – the ability to transfer energy into force at a fast rate.  Throwing the discus and putting the shot are activities that require considerable power.
  • Reaction time – the time elapsed between stimulation and the beginning of reaction to that simulation.  Driving a racing car and starting a sprint race require good reaction time.
  • Speed – the ability to perform a movement in a short period of time.  A runner on a track team or a wide receiver on a football team needs good foot and leg speed.

Benefits of Physical Fitness:

·      Vitality. Muscles are basic for all body action.  They increase in strength with activity and deterioration from lack of it.  Fit muscles use less energy to perform the same tasks, leading to an increase in vitality.
·      Posture. A physically-fit person is able to maintain his general postural alignment better than one with weak musculature.  Good fitness as a program stresses the development of anti-gravity muscles which maintains good abdominal wall and the arm and shoulder girdle.
·      Relieves low-back pain. – A lack of physical activity has been found to be the major cause for some cases of pain in the lower back.  Most adults who suffer from low- back pain are relieved from this pain by exercises that strengthen their back and abdominal muscles.