Along with other leafy greens, arugula contains very high nitrate levels (more than 250 milligrams per 100 grams). High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise, and enhance athletic performance.
The potential health benefits of arugula include lowering the risk of cancer, preventing osteoporosis, and improving muscle oxygenation during exercise.
Arugula is a lesser known cruciferous vegetable that provides many of the same benefits as other vegetables of the same family, such as broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
Arugula leaves are tender and bite-sized with a tangy flavor. Along with other leafy greens, arugula contains more than 250 milligrams (mg) per 100 grams (g) of nitrate.
High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise, and enhance athletic performance.
This article provides a nutritional breakdown of arugula and an in-depth look at its possible health benefits, how to incorporate more arugula into your diet, and any potential health risks associated with consuming arugula.
Fast facts on arugulaHere are some key points about arugula. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
Arugula is a type of cruciferous vegetable.
A certain chemical in arugula may help slow the progression of cancer.
Arugula might also improve muscle oxygenation during exercise.
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions.
Many studies suggest that increasing consumption of plant foods like arugula decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
Arugula provides many of the same benefits as broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
Recently, studies have suggested that a sulfur-containing compound called sulforaphane gives cruciferous vegetables both their bitter taste and their cancer-fighting power.
Sulforaphane is now being studied for its ability to delay or impede cancer with promising early results associated with melanoma, esophageal, prostate, and pancreatic cancers.
Researchers have found that sulforaphane can inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC), known to be involved in the progression of cancer cells. The ability to stop HDAC enzymes could make sulforaphane-containing foods a potentially powerful part of cancer treatment in the future.
Easily recognized cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips, and cabbage as well as the lesser-known arugula, Broccolini, daikon, kohlrabi, and watercress.
Arugula also contains chlorophyll, which has been shown to be effective at blocking the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines generated when grilling foods at a high temperature.
Arugula also contributes to your daily need for calcium, providing 64 mg in two cups.
Leafy greens contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid that has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.
Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown decreases in peripheral and autonomic nerve damage in diabetics.
However, most studies have used intravenous alpha-lipoic acid, so there is uncertainty whether consuming it would elicit the same benefits.
4) Exercise and athletic performance
Dietary nitrate supplementation in the form of beetroot juice has been shown to improve muscle oxygenation during exercise. This suggests that increased dietary nitrate intake might enhance exercise tolerance during long-term endurance exercise.
Some researchers believe that it could improve quality of life for those with cardiovascular, respiratory, or metabolic diseases who find the activities of daily life are physically difficult because of lack of oxygenation.
Beetroot juice improved performance by 2.8 percent (11 seconds) in a 4-kilometer (km) bicycle time trial and by 2.7 percent (45 seconds) in a 16.1-km time trial.
Beetroot is just one of many vegetables that are high in nitrate. Leafy green vegetables like arugula are among the top sources.
Apples are sometimes called “nutritional powerhouses” because of their impressive nutritional profile.
Apples contain about 14 percent of our daily needs of Vitamin C (a powerful natural antioxidant), B-complex vitamins, dietary fiber, phytonutrients (which help protect the body from the detrimental effects of free radicals), and minerals such as calcium and potassium.
This article provides a nutritional profile of the fruit and its possible health benefits. It also discusses the possible risks and precautions and some frequently asked questions.
Nutritional profile of apples
Apples contain almost no fat, sodium or cholesterol.
Apples deserve to be called “nutritional powerhouses”. They contain the following important nutrients:
Vitamin C – a powerful natural antioxidant capable of blocking some of the damage caused by free radicals, as well as boosting the body’s resistance against infectious agents, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.1
B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, and vitamin B-6) – these vitamins are key in maintaining red blood cells and the nervous system in good health.
Dietary fiber – the British National Health Service2 says that a diet high in fiber can help prevent the development of certain diseases and may help prevent the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood from rising.
The researchers found that including apples in your daily diet may protect neuron cells against oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity and may play an important role in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Reducing your risk of stroke
A study involving 9,208 men and women showed that those who ate the most apples over a 28-year period had the lowest risk for stroke.
Liu said her research adds to “the growing evidence that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, including apples, would provide consumers with more phenolics, which are proving to have important health benefits. I would encourage consumers to eat more and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily.”
In a study published in the journal Food Chemistry in 2014, a team of researchers analyzed how the bioactive compounds of seven different varieties of apples – Granny Smith, Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Red Delicious – affected the good gut bacteria of diet-induced obese mice.
The researchers found that, compared with all other apple varieties, Granny Smiths appeared to have the most beneficial effect on good gut bacteria. They suggest that their findings may lead to strategies that prevent obesity and its associated disorders.
Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, and are associated with a number of health benefits. Just a handful of almonds — approximately 1 ounce — contain one-eighth of our daily protein needs.
Almonds may be eaten on their own, raw, or toasted; they are available sliced, flaked, slivered, as flour, oil, butter, or almond milk.
Almonds are, in fact, seeds; they are a “drupe” and are therefore not considered a true nut.
Almond trees are believed to have been one of the earliest trees to have been domesticated. Evidence of domesticated almond trees dating to 3000-2000 BC have been unearthed in Jordan.
The health benefits of almonds have been documented for centuries, and modern research backs up some of these claims – there any many goods reasons to include them in your diet. Almonds are a source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and high-quality protein; they also contain high levels of healthy unsaturated fatty acids along with high levels of bioactive molecules (such as fiber, phytosterols, vitamins, other minerals, and antioxidants), which may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Fast facts on almonds
Here are some key points about almonds. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
Almonds are not, in fact, a true nut.
The almond is a species of tree native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Wild almonds contain a powerful toxin.
Some evidence suggests that almonds can lower cholesterol levels.
Almonds were first domesticated thousands of years ago.
1) Almonds and cholesterol
A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggests that consuming almonds increases vitamin E levels in the plasma and red blood cells, and also lowers cholesterol levels.
2) Almonds and cancer risk
Almonds could potentially reduce cancer risk.
A study, published in 2015 in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, looked at nut consumption and cancer risk.
They found that individuals who consumed higher quantities of peanuts, walnuts, and almonds had their risk of breast cancer reduced by 2–3 times.
The authors concluded that “peanuts, walnuts, and almonds appear to be a protective factor for the development of breast cancer.”
3) Almonds and heart disease
Almonds, along with nuts and seeds in general, are often associated with improved levels of blood lipids and being good for the heart.
There is some evidence indicating that including almonds in your diet may help ward off heart disease, but overall, the evidence is inconclusive.
In a study, published in 2014, scientists found that almonds significantly increased the amount of antioxidants in the bloodstream, reduced blood pressure, and improved blood flow. Their findings add weight to the theory that Mediterranean diets with lots of nuts have big health benefits.
4) Almonds and vitamin E
Almonds contain relatively high levels of vitamin E, an antioxidant. In fact, they are one of the best natural sources of vitamin E, providing 37 percent of the recommended daily intake in just 1 ounce. Vitamin E helps protect cells from oxidative damage.
Also, higher vitamin E intake has been tentatively associated with a reduced risk of certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, some cancers, and heart disease.
In one study, people with type 2 diabetes and low magnesium levels took magnesium supplements. The researchers measured an increase in their magnesium levels, and they also saw improvements in insulin resistance.
6) Almonds help manage weight
Because almonds are lower in carbohydrates and high in protein and fiber, they can help people feel fuller for longer; this has the potential to reduce the number of calories taken in overall.
There have been numerous studies on almonds and a variety of nuts that demonstrate their ability to keep people feeling full.
As a sports medicine physician, and one who treats quite a few children, I am often asked, “should my child lift weight?” or “aren’t they too young to lift weight?”.
My response is a resounding NO, they are NOT too young to lift weights.
In a day an age where childhood obesity is at epidemic proportions in our country, we need more than ever to educate our children on proper lifestyle habits. Diet, sleep, stress management, and most of all exercise. While participation in athletics has several positives, most organized sports generally miss the mark when educating children on forming good exercise habits and developmenting of overall athleticism.
We also largely lost focus on teaching our children healthy habits in PE classes throughout school. PE has been reduced to a token gesture, as reading, writing and arithmetic are so heavily stressed and focus has shifted to test scores and school grades.
Recently at our national sports medicine conference, I attended a lecture by Dr Avery Faigenbaum, who is internationally known for his research and application of weight training in children. He presented study after study showing compelling research on the benefits or regular participation in youth resistance training programs, both to reinforce positive improvement in health and physical fitness, as well as sports performance enhancement.
Strength training improved motor skills performance and improved neuromuscular processes, which can lead to injury prevention. Furthermore, training children for general athleticism allows them to adapt to any variety of sports they choose.
One other myth I commonly hear is that weight lifting ‘stunts’ a childs’ growth. There is no evidence that has ever been published that resistance training done properly in children reduces their growth.
Lastly, as a final bell-weather, the question all doctors get as a frame of reference is “what would you do if it were your family”. And to that I can tell you my 10 old girl and 7 year old boy train with me 2-3 nights per week.
Stretching is important as you age and should be an important part of your exercise routine. Staying flexible helps you move better, assists in maintaining good posture and can prevent injury. The American Academy of Sports Medicine recommends stretching each major muscle group twice a week.
If you exercise regularly you should stretch before and after every workout. Prior to exercise you should do some Dynamic Flexibility activities and after a Static Stretching routine. Studies have shown static stretching prior to a work out can limit your power and strength output whereas dynamic flexibility is a good warm up to prepare your body for activity.
Dynamic flexibility is defined as stretching that involves motion. Examples of this would be walking knee hugs, leg swings, or walking lunges. By performing slow controlled movements through full range of motion prior to activity, a person reduces risk of injury. Static stretching involves no motion where you hold a specific position to improve the muscles length. Stretching the muscle until gentle tension is felt and then holding the stretch for thirty seconds or until feeling a muscle release.
Below is an example of a post activity static stretching routine. Each position should be held for a minimum of 30 sec.
Balance is an underrated principle of our everyday ability to function. It keeps you upright, allows you to walk without assistance and helps prevent injury. But there are a variety of things that can reduce our sense of balance, from both an internal and external perspective.
Simply explained, a good sense of balance or good proprioception allows us to recognize our position relative to other objects around us, including the surface on which we are standing, walking, or running. Balance is an important aspect in carrying out both simple and complex movements.
Balance training is often neglected when people are developing their fitness regime. This may be because they don’t understand the benefits of balance training. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your sense of balance, and they can be done by anyone, regardless of age or ability. At The Center of Health and Sports Medicine and RISE we can help to improve patients/clients balance through individualized exercise programs that address specific balance deficits.
Balance is a key component of fitness, along with strength, endurance, and flexibility. There are various ways to perform balance exercises. Performing single leg balance exercises with dynamic movement and using equipment like a stability ball, foam pad, or balance board can be incorporated. While improving your balance can help with performing your daily activities it can also benefit athletic performance.
Here are some benefits to incorporating balance training into your workout:
Injury Prevention – Proprioception or Body Awareness is the sense of how your limbs are oriented in space. Balance training improves body awareness, which decreases the likelihood of injury.
Coordination – Balance training requires your entire body to work together; otherwise you will fall or stumble. Improved coordination during balance training will be transferred into coordination in everyday life and athletic performance.
Joint Stability – Balance training promotes stables knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders. This can prevent a large array of injuries including sprained ankle, serious knee problems and hip instability.
Reaction Time – Balance training can improve one’s reaction time. If you happen to slip or stumble when performing balance exercises, your body needs to re-balance immediately or you will fall. This in turn will improve your reaction time in everyday life and athletic performance.
Long term health- Incorporating balance training into your exercise routine helps to maintain or improve your balance, which is needed to prevent falls which can lead to severe injury. As we age, our balance can deteriorate and this is something we want to avoid.
It is evident how important balance is to living a healthy, functional life. Balance exercises should be incorporated into your fitness routine. If you don’t know where to start, try these balance exercises:
Balance on one foot for 20 seconds on each side.
If you can maintain your balance for 20 seconds try performing with your eyes closed.
Walk heel to toe in as straight a line as you can.
If you would like to learn how to incorporate more balance training into your exercise program come see us at RISE at the Center for Health and Sports Medicine.
One of the biggest misconceptions in the exercise industry is the theory that you can target a specific area of your body to lose fat in (spot reduction). An example of this theory would be if someone tells you that to lose fat on your arm, you can just do a lot of bicep curls and triceps extensions. This could not be further from the truth. While muscle building is site-specific (bicep curls can increase the size of the biceps muscle), the same is not true for fat loss. This theory has been floating around since as early as 1895, and has been disproven numerous times in research trials.
Examples of evidence based weight/fat loss success include:
Eat in a caloric deficit. This simply means eating fewer calories than your body burns.
Consume a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein and whole foods. Out of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein), protein has the greatest thermic effect of feeding, which means that more calories are burned during the digestion of protein as compared to carbohydrate or fat. Also, higher protein diets help spare muscle loss while a person is on a reduced-calorie diet, so adequate protein is essential for those looking to lose weight.
Lift weights and exercise to get stronger so your body holds on to muscle while you’re losing weight, and so that you lose a greater proportion of fat as you lose weight. Muscle has a higher need for energy than fat, so if you are exercising properly and consuming enough protein, having a higher muscle mass will lead to your body burning more fat calories. (Note: when I say “having a higher muscle mass” I do not mean you have to look like the hulk. It is takes a lot more than occasional muscle strengthening and a higher protein intake to noticeably increase the size of your muscles.)
The more you move, the more you are using the muscles in your body, which means you are burning more calories.
Another note to take away is to trust the process. Losing too much weight too quickly is not healthy for your body. Think like this, one pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. So in order to lose one pound of pure fat in one week, you would have to be at a deficit of 500 calories per day. To lose two pounds of fat would require you to be at a deficit of 1000 calories per day.
Here at RISE Wellness Programs, we are able to measure your resting metabolic rate which accurately tells us how many calories you burn in a day. Using these test results and an evidence based approach, we are able to provide you with sound nutritional advice and exercise programming to help you along the path to reaching your goals.