Fitness & Health | More at TheBeaconNewspapers.com
OCTOBER 2013 — BALTIMORE BEACON
Even short exercise ‘breaks’ boost health Q: Is it true that simply taking short breaks to walk around throughout the day actually has an impact on health? A: Yes, evidence continues to grow stronger suggesting that it does. Accumulating a total of at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day in bouts of 10 or 15 minutes each has been shown for some time to improve fitness and measures of heart health, such as blood lipids and blood pressure, as well as body composition. Now studies suggest that even doing mini-bouts of a few minutes that add up to at least 30 minutes over the day might also reduce health risks. A review article published this year concluded that short bouts of frequent activity throughout the day
may decrease blood triglyceride levels following meals, enough to lower risk of heart disease. And in one study, 70 adults who walked for less than two minutes every 30 minutes throughout one day more effectively reduced the rise in blood sugar and insulin following meals compared to when those same adults walked for 30 minutes and then sat all day. More research is needed, especially among people with the insulin resistance of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. However, scientists say we know enough to encourage people whose day includes a lot of sitting to include some standing or brief walking every hour or so all day.
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It’s good to know that when we’re too sized portion, the Florida variety has 36 busy or out-of-condition to walk for even 10 calories versus 50 for the California one. minutes at a time, small breaks Otherwise, nutritional do seem to make a difference. value of the two types is simYet, since accumulating ilar. Avocados contain the B more than 30 minutes of modvitamin folate (especially erate activity daily brings clear California avocados), vitahealth benefits, such as reducmin K and fiber. ing cancer risk, don’t think of Both avocados also conshort activity breaks as a subtain lutein (the carotene stitute for other activity; think “cousin” of beta-carotene of them as an easy way to get that may promote eye even more health benefits. health), but the amounts Q: Is there a difference in NUTRITION don’t come close to what’s in WISE nutritional value between truly high-lutein vegetables By Karen Collins, California avocados and like kale, spinach and other MS, RD, CDM Florida avocados? cooked greens. A: Florida avocados are the Many people prefer the larger, smooth-skinned choices. California rich flavor of California avocados, and for avocados sold in supermarkets are the guacamole and other dips, it’s hard to beat Hass variety, and are smaller and have a their creamy texture. For slices in a salad, pebbly skin that turns from green to a pur- however, some prefer the way the Florida plish-black when ripe. type holds its shape. The biggest nutritional difference beEither is a great way to add flavor, fiber tween California and Florida avocados is and a healthy fat to your meal while adding their fat content. More than half the fat in essentially zero sodium. For weight conavocados is the healthy monounsaturated trol, simply enjoy their good taste in modfat (the type in olive oil), and saturated fat erate portions. is minimal. The American Institute for Cancer ReFor each golf ball-sized portion (two ta- search offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800blespoons, or two to three thin slices), a 843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday California avocado such as Hass contains through Friday. This free service allows you 4.6 grams of fat, while the same portion of to ask questions about diet, nutrition and a Florida avocado averages 3 grams of fat. cancer. A registered dietitian will return You may sometimes see Florida avoca- your call, usually within three business days. dos marketed as “lite” avocados — an efCourtesy of the American Institute for fort to highlight their lower fat content. Cancer Research. Questions for this column This difference in fat content means Flori- may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., da avocados are a little lower in calories NW, Washington, DC 20009. Collins cannot than the California types. For that golf ball- respond to questions personally.
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October 2013 Baltimore Beacon Edition