Although not common in most kitchens today, quinoa is slowly gaining popularity. Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture accompanied with a some what nutty flavor when cooked. Although considered a whole grain, quinoa is technically not a true grain, but in fact it is the seed of the Goosefoot plant, a relative of leafy green vegetables. Quinoa has been cultivated in South America since at least 3,000 BC for its nutritious seeds and is often referred to as “little rice”. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, it is especially well endowed with an amino acid lysine which is essential for tissue growth in repair. Quinoa is also a very good source of magnesium, iron, calcium, and a good source of vitamin E as well as several B vitamins, all of which can be very health and hair beneficial.
Believe it or not quinoa can be helpful for people who suffer from migraines. Quinoa is a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps relax blood vessels, preventing the constriction and rebound dilatation characteristics of migraines. An increased intake of magnesium has been shown to be related to a reduced frequency of migraine episodes reported by suffers. The vitamin B2 found in quinoa has also been shown to reduce the frequency of attacks in migraine suffers, most likely by improving energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells. The magnesium found in quinoa has also been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 Diabetes, provide antioxidant protection, and promote cardiovascular health. Data from a 8-year research concluded that the risk of type 2 diabetes was 31% lower in black women who frequently ate magnesium rich foods (like quinoa and whole grains) compared to those eating the least of the magnesium rich foods.
Fiber found in quinoa may be protective against breast cancer. In a study conducted in the UK researchers found that pre-menopausal women eating more than 30 grams of fiber daily more than halved their risk of developing breast cancer with a 52% lowered risk than compared to women who ate less than 20 grams of fiber per day. Fiber can also help women avoid gallstones. Researchers think that fiber not only speeds how quickly food moves though the intestines, but it also reduces the secretion of bile acids. An excessive amount of bile acids is a contributing factor to gallstone formation.
As mentioned earlier the quinoa seed is high in protein. It is contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids making the protein found in quinoa a complete protein. Quinoa is a good complement for legumes, which are typically low in two of the eight essential amino acids. We all know that protein nutrient very much needed for the body (and hair health) and quinoa provides the most complete form of said nutrient. Quinoa is available in most health food stores.
The health and fitness industry has a huge host of hot topics. The American College of Sports medicine published a survey predicting the top 20 world wide fitness trends for 2011 in the organizations Health and Fitness Journal. The survey was conduction online and included opinions from more that 2,200 health and fitness professionals certified by the American College of Sports Medicine. Responses came from all over the world, from the Americas to Asia and all points in between. Here are a few trends that made the list:
1.Fitness programs for older adults. This population is unfortunately often over looked and there’s nothing saying that they can’t be as active as the 20-somethings. Fitness classes geared towards the active older adult as well as certified personal trainers with the education to provide age appropriate fitness programs will certainly be on the rise this year.
2. Core training. In recent years core training has become popular among exercisers. This type of training emphasizes conditioning of the middle-body muscles, including the abdomen, pelvis, hips and lower back.
3. Exercise and weight loss. In 2011 fitness professionals predict that more people will be more likely too look for exercise programs that include nutritional advice. As we all know fitness and nutrition go hand and hand and regardless of what you may believe, no amount of exercise will undo bad eating habits.
4.Boot Camp. This is another fitness program that has gained popularity in recent years. This program is modeled after military boot camps and basic training. This challenging high intensity program is becoming more popular due to the incorporation of cardiovascular, strength, endurance, and flexibility drills in indoor and out door settings. Boot camp is the ultimate total body workout.
5.Functional Fitness. This trend is geared towards using strength training to improve balance and ease of daily living (such as going up and down stairs, carrying groceries, standing/walking for long periods of time, and so on). Functional fitness and special fitness programs for older adults are closely related. Functional fitness can also be tied into many physical therapy programs.
6. Worker incentive programs. This is the first time this trend has made the ACSM’s list. With worker incentive programs employers are creating incentive programs to simulate health behavior change for employees in order to reduce absenteeism and cost of health insurance (pretty smart on the company‘s part). The incentives will vary from company to company. Some offer pay raises, discounts on gym memberships, and so on. Many companies are already offering this program but the numbers are expected to grow in 2011.
7. Yoga. Yoga has become more accessible because of the many books and instructional tapes available. Participants can attend yoga classes in the gym or practice in the comfort of their home and with the various forms of yoga everyone one can find something that suits them.
8.Outcome measurements. The scale isn’t the only way to tell if you’re getting results from your fitness program, nor is it the best way. People love to track the their outcomes, be it measuring the waist line to determine inches lost or even calorie counters and heart rate monitors. Measurements are needed to determine the effectiveness of health and fitness programs and with many tools on the market to help do so, the popularity will continue to rise.
9. Personal Trainers. The survey says that personal trainers are becoming more and more accessible. With that more states are considering legislation to license personal trainers to ensure that the fitness professional that you are seeing is educated and experienced. This is important as too many people have been injured by improperly trained (usually trainers who have obtained certifications online, or via a 1 day workshop without prior working knowledge of the human body and exercise physiology) trainers.
10.Children and Obesity. With childhood obesity at epidemic levels and with many schools cutting budgets that allow for physical education, fitness programs and classes that focus on children and helping them to maintain healthy weight are expected to become more and more available in the new year.
These are just a few of the fitness trends expected to grow in 2011. The survey from the American College of Sports Medicine actually includes about 20 fitness trends all of which effect everyone in one way or another. Look for these and other trends to become more and more popular and available in the new year. If you would like to read the entire list compiled by ACSM fitness professionals it can be found at the following link: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=121465
Until next week…