How to Eat to Get Abs After 40


Once you reach the age of 40 and beyond, it becomes increasingly important to maintain a healthy body fat level and be as lean as possible. For some people building new muscle is still an important goal, but the majority of men over 40 are mostly interested in losing their gut, getting abs and building a nice-looking lean, athletic physique with a decent amount of muscle, without the extra bulk common among fitness models and bodybuilders.

Visceral fat, which is fat stored in the abdominal cavity is also known as “active fat”. It’s dangerous because it is related to the release of proteins and hormones that can cause inflammation and it can have potentially dangerous consequences.

Visceral fat can cause metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.

Carrying extra visceral fat will make you feel a lot slower and sluggish, besides the unavoidable effect of making you look unattractive. However, if you are over 40 you need not despair. There’s still time to get rid of that belly and achieve the physique of your dreams.

Lots of men in their mid-to-late thirties think they’re too old to show off their abs and that getting a six-pack was only reserved for younger men in their twenties. But that’s simply not true. Getting in shape, getting abs and building a nice looking athletic body knows no age. All you have to do is follow a well-designed training program and eat a diet comprised of healthy whole foods.

You might even succeed without spending money on useless supplements or following a low-calorie diet. One of the worst things a man over 40 can do is restrict his caloric intake, carb intake, or eliminate dietary fat. Carbs and fat are crucial for keeping your testosterone levels high, feeling satiated, and being able to follow a fat loss diet without losing your marbles downstairs.

Talking about testosterone, here is a natural guide to help you bring your testosterone back to normal levels.

So, considering all of the above, what foods should you be eating to get yourself the much-desired six-pack? Well, first of all, you should be eating a diet having a balanced ratio of healthy lean proteins, complex carbs, and essential fats.

Any food in its natural state brimming with all kinds of vitamins and minerals is a safe bet that your body will use it to function optimally.

Below, are some excellent examples of foods you should include in your diet to get six-pack abs. They’re broken up into proteins, carbs, and fats.

The foods you need to eat to get abs after 40

Protein

  • All types of fish, for example, salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardine, sea bass.
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Lean beef
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs

Carbohydrates

  • Oats
  • Whole grain rice
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Potatoes
  • All kinds of vegetables
  • Fruits

Fats

  • Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut butter
  • Avocados

The lists above contain just a few examples of the foods you should be consuming regularly, whilst keeping your caloric totals in check. Even the most high-quality foods will make you overweight if you eat too much of them, so always make sure that you’re in a caloric deficit.

If you don’t keep an eye on your total calories you consume during the day, it won’t matter how much training or cardio you do, you still won’t lose weight.

As previously mentioned, consuming carbs and dietary fat is very important for men over 40 since it helps them keep their testosterone levels high. If you’re a man over 40 and you want to get a six-pack you’ll need to know exactly how much fat you need to lose.

You can do that by purchasing some body fat calipers. They will help you measure your body fat percentage quickly and accurately by taking a single pinch of your waist and comparing that measurement to a chart displayed on the packet.

It should be noted that scale weight is not something that gives a definitive assessment of your current situation. For example, two men (or women for that matter) of the same height and weight can look entirely different depending on how much body fat they carry.

If one man has 20% body fat and the other has 10%, that’s a difference of nearly 20 pounds of fat even though the scale shows the same total weight for both of them.

Once you’ve determined how much fat you need to get rid of, you can then start a diet that will have you losing 1-1½ lbs of fat every week until you reach your desired goal.

Of course, this won’t happen overnight, however, if you eat the foods that we listed above and keep track of your daily caloric, carbohydrate, and fat intake regularly, results will inevitably come. In addition to proper nutrition, a solid strength training program is crucial to ensure you’re eliminating fat, not muscle.

How many meals a day you need to get abs?

There is a widespread belief that eating smaller meals more often throughout the day would “rev up” the metabolism and ultimately lead to losing weight and getting lean. However, the fact is that science is still inconclusive about this and what we can say for sure is that it’s not the number of meals that you eat, but the total number of calories you consume during the day that matters.

This means it doesn’t matter if you ingest your calories over 2,3 or 6 meals. If you consume slightly fewer calories than what your body burns during the day, you will still lose weight.

The main benefit of eating fewer bigger meals is that it has a great effect on testosterone and growth hormone production. When you haven’t eaten for a longer period and then eat a huge meal, it’s been shown that testosterone and growth hormone production is increased by as much as 200%.

This goes especially for men over 40 who would surely benefit from increased testosterone production and increased fat loss. Not to mention the time you will save that you would otherwise spend preparing small meals every day.





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LIST: How to eat through your own Taste of Tassie food trail



TASMANIA’S biggest food and wine festival might be cancelled this year, but you can still experience our little island’s best flavours and support our small producers this summer.

Thank you for seeing this news release about National and local news and updates named “LIST: How to eat through your own Taste of Tassie food trail”. This news article is posted by MyLocalPages as part of our local news services.

#LIST #eat #Taste #Tassie #food #trail



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Astrocytes eat connections to maintain plasticity in adult brains — ScienceDaily


Developing brains constantly sprout new neuronal connections called synapses as they learn and remember. Important connections — the ones that are repeatedly introduced, such as how to avoid danger — are nurtured and reinforced, while connections deemed unnecessary are pruned away. Adult brains undergo similar pruning, but it was unclear how or why synapses in the adult brain get eliminated.

Now, a team of researchers based in Korea has found the mechanism underlying plasticity and, potentially, neurological disorders in adult brains. They published their findings on December 23 in Nature.

“Our findings have profound implications for our understanding of how neural circuits change during learning and memory, as well as in diseases,” said paper author Won-Suk Chung, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at KAIST. “Changes in synapse number have strong association with the prevalence of various neurological disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, frontotemporal dementia, and several forms of seizures.”

Gray matter in the brain contains microglia and astrocytes, two complementary cells that, among other things, support neurons and synapses. Microglial are a frontline immunity defense, responsible for eating pathogens and dead cells, and astrocytes are star-shaped cells that help structure the brain and maintain homeostasis by helping to control signaling between neurons. According to Professor Chung, it is generally thought that microglial eat synapses as part of its clean-up effort in a process known as phagocytosis.

“Using novel tools, we show that, for the first time, it is astrocytes and not microglia that constantly eliminate excessive and unnecessary adult excitatory synaptic connections in response to neuronal activity,” Professor Chung said. “Our paper challenges the general consensus in this field that microglia are the primary synapse phagocytes that control synapse numbers in the brain.”

Professor Chung and his team developed a molecular sensor to detect synapse elimination by glial cells and quantified how often and by which type of cell synapses were eliminated. They also deployed it in a mouse model without MEGF10, the gene that allows astrocytes to eliminate synapses. Adult animals with this defective astrocytic phagocytosis had unusually increased excitatory synapse numbers in the hippocampus. Through a collaboration with Dr. Hyungju Park at KBRI, they showed that these increased excitatory synapses are functionally impaired, which cause defective learning and memory formation in MEGF10 deleted animals.

“Through this process, we show that, at least in the adult hippocampal CA1 region, astrocytes are the major player in eliminating synapses, and this astrocytic function is essential for controlling synapse number and plasticity,” Chung said.

Professor Chung noted that researchers are only beginning to understand how synapse elimination affects maturation and homeostasis in the brain. In his group’s preliminary data in other brain regions, it appears that each region has different rates of synaptic elimination by astrocytes. They suspect a variety of internal and external factors are influencing how astrocytes modulate each regional circuit, and plan to elucidate these variables.

“Our long-term goal is understanding how astrocyte-mediated synapse turnover affects the initiation and progression of various neurological disorders,” Professor Chung said. “It is intriguing to postulate that modulating astrocytic phagocytosis to restore synaptic connectivity may be a novel strategy in treating various brain disorders.”



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How the food you eat plays a role in sleep quality


Much of what we know about sleep and diet comes from large epidemiological studies that, over the years, have found that people who suffer from consistently bad sleep tend to have poorer quality diets, with less protein, fewer fruits and vegetables, and a higher intake of added sugar from foods like sugary beverages, desserts and ultra-processed foods. But by their nature, epidemiological studies can show only correlations, not cause and effect. They cannot explain, for example, whether poor diet precedes and leads to poor sleep, or the reverse.

To get a better understanding of the relationship between diet and sleep, some researchers have turned to randomised controlled trials in which they tell participants what to eat and then look for sleep changes. A number of studies have looked at the impact of individual foods, from warm milk to fruit juice. But those studies often have been small and not very rigorous.

Some of these trials have also been funded by the food industry, which can bias results. One study funded by Zespri International, the world’s largest marketer of kiwi fruit, for example, found that people assigned to eat two kiwis an hour before their bedtime every night for four weeks had improvements in their sleep onset, duration and efficiency. The authors of the study attributed their findings in part to an “abundance” of antioxidants in kiwis. But importantly, the study lacked a control group, so it is possible that any benefits could have resulted from the placebo effect.

Other studies funded by the cherry industry have found that drinking tart cherry juice can modestly improve sleep in people with insomnia, supposedly by promoting tryptophan, one of the building blocks of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.

Tryptophan is an amino acid found in many foods, including dairy and turkey, which is one of the reasons commonly given for why so many of us feel so sleepy after our Christmas feasts. But tryptophan has to cross the blood-brain barrier to have any soporific effects, and in the presence of other amino acids found in food it ends up competing, largely unsuccessfully, for absorption. Studies show that eating protein-rich foods such as milk and turkey on their own actually decreases the ability of tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier.

One way to enhance tryptophan’s uptake is to pair foods that contain it with carbohydrates. That combination stimulates the release of insulin, which causes competing amino acids to be absorbed by muscles, in turn making it easier for tryptophan to cross into the brain, said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre and the director of the Sleep Centre of Excellence at Columbia, US.

St-Onge has spent years studying the relationship between diet and sleep. Her work suggests that rather than emphasising one or two specific foods with supposedly sleep-inducing properties, it is better to focus on the overall quality of your diet. In one randomised clinical trial, she and her colleagues recruited 26 healthy adults and controlled what they ate for four days, providing them regular meals prepared by nutritionists while also monitoring how they slept at night. On the fifth day, the subjects were allowed to eat whatever they wanted.

The researchers discovered that eating more saturated fat and less fibre from foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains led to reductions in slow-wave sleep, which is the deep, restorative kind. In general, clinical trials have also found that carbohydrates have a significant impact on sleep: People tend to fall asleep much faster at night when they consume a high-carbohydrate diet compared to when they consume a high-fat or high-protein diet. That may have something to do with carbs helping tryptophan cross into the brain more easily.

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But the quality of carbs matters. In fact, they can be a double-edged sword when it comes to slumber. St-Onge has found in her research that when people eat more sugar and simple carbs — such as white bread, bagels, pastries and pasta — they wake up more frequently throughout the night. In other words, eating carbs may help you fall asleep faster, but it is best to consume “complex” carbs that contain fibre, which may help you obtain more deep, restorative sleep.

“Complex carbohydrates provide a more stable blood sugar level,” she said. “So if blood sugar levels are more stable at night, that could be the reason complex carbohydrates are associated with better sleep.”

One example of a dietary pattern that may be optimal for better sleep is the Mediterranean diet, which emphasises such foods as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, seafood, poultry, yoghurt, herbs and spices and olive oil. Large observational studies have found that people who follow this type of dietary pattern are less likely to suffer from insomnia and short sleep, though more research is needed to confirm the correlation.

But the relationship between poor diet and bad sleep is a two-way street: Scientists have found that as people lose sleep, they experience physiological changes that can nudge them to seek out junk food. In clinical trials, healthy adults who are allowed to sleep only four or five hours a night end up consuming more calories and snacking more frequently throughout the day. They experience more hunger and their preference for sweet foods increases.

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Another study, led by researchers at King’s College London, also demonstrated how proper sleep can increase your willpower to avoid unhealthy foods. It found that habitually short sleepers who went through a program to help them sleep longer had improvements in their diet. The most striking change was that they cut about 10 grams of added sugar from their diets each day, about 2 1/2 teaspoons.

The takeaway is that diet and sleep are entwined. Improving one can help you improve the other and vice versa, creating a positive cycle where they perpetuate one another, said Dr. Susan Redline, a senior physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School who studies diet and sleep disorders.

“The best way to approach health is to emphasise a healthy diet and healthy sleep,” she added. “These are two very important health behaviours that can reinforce each other.”

New York Times

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Iron Intelligence Nutrition: How Pros Eat for Gains


Size and strength are not gained through lifting alone. Any true bodybuilder knows that their job is just as much about what they eat as it is about how they lift.

Few people understand this concept as well as IFBB pro bodybuilder Evan Centopani, creator of the Iron Intelligence 12-week muscle-building program in BodyFit Elite.

“Eating is as much my job as anything else,” Centopani explains. “If food is just an afterthought, your body is going to look like an afterthought.”

When building muscle is how you make your living, eating “more” and hoping for the best won’t cut it.

“People will say, ‘protein is protein,’ or ‘fats are fats,’ and really it’s just about hitting your macros,” explains Centopani. “While to some degree that’s true, I’ve always felt it’s really important to encourage people to consume quality food.”

To eat the right foods at the right time, you need a system for planning, preparing, and eating the foods that will help you build muscle.As part of his 12-week muscle-building program, Centopani put together a comprehensive meal plan with an explicitly mass-building protocol. (Don’t worry, it also goes along with some of the best and toughest workouts you’ll ever do in your life.)

“I’ve found ways to make my food palatable without using all sorts of artificial crap,” Centopani explains. “I still keep things clean, still keep things simple, and I actually improve my digestive ability.”

By eating this way, Centopani is able to crank through the sheer volume of food required to put more muscle on his frame and, amazingly, still enjoy eating—most of the time, anyway.

“A meal might be great, or it might be just OK,” he says. “You eat it, then life goes on and you move on to the next meal. A lot of times, people get too hung up on what they are eating. You’ve got to eat something, so just shut up and eat.”

Think you’re ready to intelligently build muscle? Centopani has been doing this for over 10 years without pause, and he’s giving you 12 weeks to do the same. If you bust your ass and put everything you’ve got into lifting and eating, Iron Intelligence will work for you. Download the BodyFit app and start growing!



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‘Not allowed to even eat’: Miners want better conditions


ONLY four per cent of Queensland miners employed under a BHP subsidiary are satisfied that their pay and conditions stack up with the industry, a union survey has found.

It comes amid claims from the CFMEU that the mining giant is trying to lock in its “substandard” conditions.

Of 492 Queensland-based Operations Services workers who completed the union’s survey, 92 per cent said their wages and conditions were not competitive and need improvement, another 4 per cent were unsure.

Only 4 per cent indicated they were satisfied.

About one in three respondents (32 per cent) to the survey reported they were not confident about raising safety issues without fear of being targeted.

Operations Services is a BHP labour hire subsidiary which gives people who were previously employed on short term contracts the opportunity to apply for permanent roles with BHP.

The CFMEU has argued OS workers are now employed on contracts reflecting the same conditions as the EAs thrown out by the Fair Work Commission, with up to $50,000 a year less pay than permanent BHP employees.

BHP’s Daunia operation in Central Queensland. Picture: BHP

A BHP spokesman said OS now employs more than 3500 people and continues to recruit for up to 100 new permanent roles per week.

“To date, we have received nearly 84,000 applications for Operations Services roles since we began in April 2018 – a clear endorsement of how attractive the offering is in Queensland and across the country,” he said.

More stories:

Why mining will heal Mackay quickly after COVID-19

Wage cutting stripping millions from mining regions

Miners to become backbone of Qld economic recovery

But CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said the survey results sent a clear message to BHP that it was time to negotiate a better deal with their OS workers.

“Operations Services workers tell us over and over again they are unhappy with their treatment,” Mr Smyth said.

“BHP must stop the dirty tricks and start genuine bargaining.”

The company’s spokesman said BHP was engaging directly with its employees and had shared proposed simple safety net enterprise agreements.

“Both of which address the feedback raised by the Fair Work Commission about the previous enterprise agreements,” he said.

OS worker at Blackwater mine Brodie Allen said he and others felt like they were being treated as second-class citizens.

“We do our shift, when we finish our shift they don’t allow us any time or access to the bath house that’s on site to actually get changed or have a shower,” Mr Allen said.

“It’s absolutely disgusting the way that they treat us here, we’re not allowed to even eat.”

Share your thoughts on this issue through a letter to the editor:

Daily Mercury

Whitsunday Times





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7 Ways To Eat Healthier Over the Holidays


Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, most of us fall off our regular, healthy eating plans and give into the temptation of sugar cookies, second helpings and eggnog! But that doesn’t mean your diet is headed for a complete meltdown! It is possible to control your diet and stay on track during the holidays with some advanced planning and guidelines to steer your choices. Here are seven ways to stick to healthy eating this holiday season.

1. Have Your Cheat Meals Strategically

If you have been following a diet consistently, try to avoid complete diet meltdown during the holidays by planning your cheat meals. If you know you have a holiday get together coming up that will center around food, consider scheduling your bad eating days for those days.

2. Sneak In More Vegetables

Instead of reaching for the cheese tray, reach for the veggie tray. Vegetables are full of fiber, which keeps you feeling full and satisfied between meals. In addition to snacking on veggies at holiday parties, fill your plate with at least half veggies before anything else. Make sure the starchy carbs are the last thing you squeeze on there. If you are hosting an event, try making recipes with non-starchy carbohydrate replacements like cauliflower or squash mashes instead of traditional mashed starches.

3. Count Your Calories

The If It Fits Your Macros dieters got it right here. If you have never tried this diet craze, consider using it during the holidays. IIFYMs allow you some freedom without going too far off your diet. IIFYM gives you a specific breakdown of macronutrients that are not specified or necessarily limited to only certain foods. Although they do recommend that the majority of your calories come from whole, natural sources, it can provide you with some room for indulgences. You may not want to stick to this diet all the time, but during the holidays, it will help keep you in control of just how many calories you are eating.

4. Don’t Eat Inflammatory Foods

If you know certain foods irritate you, don’t start eating them because it’s the holiday. If you know you have gluten or dairy intolerances, now would not be the time to start eating them. Skip out on the bread pudding, ice cream, or any treat or side dish that maybe loaded with hidden gluten or dairy. Although many of those foods can be extremely tasty, you’re really not doing yourself any favors if you have a sensitivity to it. Inflammatory foods, foods that you are sensitive or allergic to, can make you feel bloated, tired and reduce absorption of important nutrients involved in metabolism and mood. An inflammatory response to foods you are sensitive to can trigger cortisol release, which can shut down important metabolic processes including fat burning.

5. Avoid Foods You Know You Have A Weakness For

If you know there are certain foods that you just can’t put down once you start eating it, don’t make these foods your go-to during holiday parties. Resist the urge and avoid the guilt by skipping that particular food altogether. If you know chocolate, ice cream, warm bread, salty nuts, chips or any other high calorie treat is something you just can’t put down, leave it off the menu for good. Find other treats that are satisfying and won’t leave you wanting to come back for more and more.

Eating foods that keep you coming back for more are usually foods that can cause eating addictions – such as processed foods that are higher in carbs, sugar and fat. These types of foods can release pleasure hormones, along with spikes in blood sugar and insulin, which quickly works to clear the blood of sugar. When that happens, blood sugar levels drop, along with your good feeling sugar high and, subsequently, feelings of hunger come back.

6. Back Off the Booze

Drinking alcohol is probably one of the worst things you can do when it comes to sabotaging your diet. Alcohol is considered a poison in the body, so when you drink it, the body will switch off all other metabolic processes in the body to metabolize and eliminate it from the body. When this happens the body can actually crave sugar since your body can’t metabolize carbs to feed the body. This can result in eating more than you should to help offset the blood sugar dip you are feeling. If you choose to have a drink or two, make sure they are lower in sugar and calories and drink plenty of water in-between each drink.

7. If You Slip Up, Don’t Give Up

No use feeling guilty about your decision to partake in holiday libations and treats, just let it go and get back on your plan. If you are traveling during the holidays, make your best attempt to eat as well as you can. Set a date to re-start your diet commitment when you get back to your regular schedule. Inject some new life into your diet plan by adding in new foods and new recipes you have never tried before. If you need more motivation to get back on diet track, set a fitness goal like getting into your bikini for your next beach vacation.





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Retailers feel the pinch as pre-holiday restrictions eat into sales


TORONTO —
Retailers across the country are felling the pinch as restrictions meant slow the spread of COVID-19 have taken a bite out of their holiday sales.

As of Friday, retailers in Quebec will be forced to limit the number of customers inside a store to just one client per 20 square metres. Those who do not follow the rules could face a $6,000 fine or a complete shutdown.

For Kidlink Books and Toys in Montreal, this means limiting capacity by a third.

“We’re going to try to compensate for it by maybe opening earlier (and) closing later,” Ramzy Soueida, co-owner of Kidlink, told CTV News.

In Ontario, the Toronto and Peel regions have been in the province’s “grey” zone for more than a week, meaning all non-essential businesses have been limited to curbside pickup or delivery, while grocery stores have been allowed to continue operations.

This move has come with criticism from larger chain retailers and small businesses alike, both of whom argue that the restrictions are squeezing the same amount of people into fewer stores and the few stores in operation can still sell non-essential goods, such as books or appliances.

“We’re closing down the little flower shop, but well, you can buy your flowers at Costco,” Dan Kelly, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, told CTV News Channel last week.

“We’re closing down the small lighting store that I visited last night in north Toronto, but you can line up at Home Depot any time to get your lights. It is nuts.”

On Wednesday, a coalition of 50 retailers, including Indigo, Golf Town, Hudson’s Bay Co. and Ikea, urged the Ontario government to lift the restrictions on retail, arguing that they are ineffective and harmful to their industries.

“There is absolutely no data that suggests that retail environments is where spread is happening,” said Indigo CEO Heather Reisman.

Meanwhile in Manitoba, similar restrictions are in effect, though the province has tried to level the playing field by banning the in-store sale of non-essential items, though the list of essential items has changed since the regulation came into effect.

“When you create lists like that and you try to be specific there’s going to be things that are in and things that are out,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer.

Rather than deeming a certain business essential or non-essential, Alberta businesses have been classified under three broad categories: closed for in-person service, open with restrictions and open by appointment only.

Even without these additional restrictions, businesses across the country were already feeling stresses of the pandemic. According to a November survey from Statistics Canada, 5.2 per cent of Canadians businesses were already considering bankruptcy or closure in September and October, while 30 per cent did not know how long they could continue to operate before considering bankruptcy or closure.



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10 Superfoods to Eat During Cold and Flu Season


The gym is a breeding ground for germs, especially during cold and flu season. Everyone is sneezing, blowing their nose, and then touching gym equipment. Where’s the gym etiquette of wiping your hands clean, not just the equipment? Not to mention there’s now the coronavirus to worry about—your immune system is working overtime lately just to make sure you don’t end up on your back for an extended period of time.

Several studies have shown that intense training programs can put some stress on the body’s immune system, so gym rats are more likely to catch something from a sneeze droplet than the average Joe. Intense exercise can even put people at an increased risk of upper-respiratory tract infections, according to one study out of Scientific Reports. 

“Intensive exercise produces a decrease in the immune system functionality which makes the body more vulnerable to infectious agents,” the researchers noted. “This period is known as an ‘open window’ to pathogens.” This flies in the face of the popular belief that people who workout more are more likely to shake off a cold, or even the coronavirus (which is just not true at all).

And while upping your immune system won’t 100 percent safeguard you from germs and viruses, increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals can help decrease the amount of time you’re on the sidelines. In other words, you might still get sick even if you eat all of these foods but you’ll be in bed for only three or four days instead of a week-and-a-half.

To prevent yourself from catching the gym-floor sniffles, give your immune system a boost with the following foods.



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Is foodie culture destroying our ability to eat simply? | Emma Breheny | Opinion


Whether you follow dude food restaurants, fine diners or wellness advocates on Instagram, like many other Australians you’re consuming hundreds of images of delicious-looking food each day. Today meals are prepared and consumed for audiences of millions on TV and social media, or at live events. Eating has become a cultural pastime and what you choose to eat is a marker of your identity.

But this isn’t necessarily good news for our diets or how much food we waste. Figures show that Australians waste 14% of their groceries each week, and up to 7.5m tonnes of food each year. Meanwhile, another new study shows we’re not as healthy as we thought.

What has foodie culture done to our relationship with food?

Numerous academic reviews have highlighted that people’s attitudes towards food have a strong influence on how much is thrown into the rubbish bin. With 50% of us using food-saturated social media at least once a day, and spending around 12 to 14 hours each week on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, “digital food” is influencing our offline eating.

The “MasterChef effect” has of course contributed to the gourmet going mainstream. But the tilt towards foodie-ism isn’t solely due to the hit TV series. Over 2m food blogs and the filters, flatlays and food porn of Instagram have created a middle-class trend of self-declared foodies.

Our standards of acceptable food have become higher, perhaps even unreasonable, to the point where supermarkets turn away food that doesn’t meet rigorous standards. Growers are left with little choice but to toss their produce, a practice that’s alarmingly common.

“Every time we look at food shows, they show us this exquisite produce and beautifully prepared plates,” Ronni Kahn, CEO of OzHarvest, said on Radio National in 2014.

Once we do purchase the smooth green beans and perfectly round lemons that made the cut, we have the best intentions of showcasing our newly-acquired food knowledge with elaborate recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi or Heston Blumenthal. But, sometimes a better offer comes along, as is the case for many Gen Ys who plan their meals poorly.

Or we might cook with a recipe one night and then feel bereft of ideas for using the rest of the strange ingredients we bought. Time is also a problem.

“Social media is flooded with perfect-looking meals, decorated with colourful fruit, veg and edible flowers. The general public don’t have the time to make all their meals look picture perfect,” accredited dietician Joyce Haddad says.

Hurried, overwrought and poorly planned: cooking for ourselves has become stressful. Meanwhile, letting others cook for us or deliver our food is becoming too easy, with two-hatted restaurant meals a Deliveroo ride away.

We’ve forgotten that dinner can be as easy as an omelette packed with veg, using whatever’s left in the fridge and ready in 10 minutes. Tricked-out classics from the current crop of favourite chefs disguise the fact that many of their dishes, like duck-fat roast potatoes, are based on once-simple recipes.

It’s unsurprising that, despite our fixation on food and cooking, Australians have poor diets that feature too few vegetables and too many indulgences. As we’ve become surrounded by diverse images of food, from #fitspo to #foodporn, our choices have become more arduous. And potentially misinformed, as every new food trend contradicts the last.

“I think people are getting really confused. They’re following different diets every week, which is making them cut out or restrict food groups. Then at one point, they’ll lash out on non-core food [processed or high-energy food],” Haddad says.

As Michael Pollan argues in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, there’s a deluge of options, information and marketing on-hand when we try to answer the question of what to eat.

With that comes the burden of making “good” choices, whether they’re good for your health, the environment or your Instagram feed. Unfortunately, with food now considered a cultural product as much as it is an essential, it’s our health and the environment that are losing out.



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