As a child of the south this week’s super food is near and dear to my heart! Turnip greens are loaded with many different nutrients and their consumption can help prevent (and some even believe heal) a large variety of health conditions. This beautiful green leafy vegetable is an abundant source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, copper, calcium and dietary fiber. Some conditions of which the nutrients found in turnip greens may be of special importance include rheumatoid arthritis (by supporting proper function of the immune system), colorectal cancer and atherosclerosis (the collection and hardening of fatty material along the walls of arteries). The vitamins C, E, in combination with beta-carotene are a stellar antioxidant combination. This free radical fighting trio helps to decrease the incidence of colon tumors, and as an added bonus minimizes the platelet clumping and LDL (“bad” cholesterol) oxidation, which are central in developing atherosclerosis. Turnip greens also contain high amount of vitamin K, which not only assists in the minimizing of atherosclerosis, but also helps to fight osteoporosis and loss of bone density by helping the body to absorb calcium. The vitamin E found in turnip greens also packs a little known surprise as well. Recent study results of the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) suggest that vitamin E-rich leafy greens may slow the loss of mental function.
At only 28 calories per cup (cooked), turnip greens not only support a properly functioning body, but also contain all the major vitamins (A, B, E, and C) and minerals needed to support radiant and healthy skin and hair. Turnip greens can be served in a variety of ways. Try using turnip greens in addition to spinach in place of ground meat for tasty, and healthier, vegetarian lasagna. You can also try sautéing turnip greens, sweet potatoes, and tofu and serve along side whole grain brown rice for another tasty ensemble.
All too often I see women on the gym practically killing themselves doing cardiovascular training and completely ignore the strength training aspect of physical activity. Over the last ten years, researchers have made numerous compelling arguments advocating the benefits of weight training in women. Still, the number of women who take this recommendation to heart is surprisingly quite low. Some women fear of becoming “bulky” or looking “manish” and completely over look the benefits. Whatever the reasons you have for avoiding weight training we are going to take a look at the benefits of strength training for women in a two part series. So ladies here are this week’s reasons why you should rethink strength training, if you haven’t already:
1. You will be physically stronger. Being physically stronger will make activities of daily living and chores easier thereby reducing dependency on others for assistance. Lifting the kids, groceries and laundry will no longer wear you out. If your maximum strength is increased, daily tasks and routine exercise will be far less likely to cause injury. Even moderate weight training can increase a woman’s strength by 30 to 50 percent.
2. You will loose body fat. Studies have found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week will gain pounds of muscle and will lose pounds of fat. As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism, which means your body will burn more calories all day long. Speaking in general, for each pound of muscle you gain, you could burn 35 to 50 more calories each day, which can really add up.
3. You will gain strength without bulk. Researchers have found that unlike men, women typically don’t gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause muscle hypertrophy, generally speaking. Women will develop muscle tone and definition and that’s a bonus.
4. You decrease your risk of osteoporosis. Weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density and enhance bone modeling. This complied with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, can be the best defense against osteoporosis by building stronger healthier bones.
5. You Will Reduce Your Risk of Injury, Back Pain, and Arthritis. We all know that strength training builds stronger muscles but it also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for joints and helps to prevent injury, pain and arthritis. Also strengthening the muscles of the lower back can help alleviate or eliminate low-back pain and injuries.
Next week we’ll look at five more reasons why women should weight train. Until next week, stay happy and healthy.