Healthy and Happy: The Positive Role Team Sports Play on Adolescent Girls

Headline: Sign Your Girls Up For Team Sports this Fall!

Photo Credit: evoo73 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: evoo73 via Compfight cc

Healthy and Happy: The Positive Role Team Sports Play on Adolescent Girls
By Lauren Cohen and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services

 

Do you remember what middle school was like for you? If you’re like me, you probably try not to remember. Being a teenager is difficult. Between the physical changes, social changes, and mental changes, overwhelming is probably an understatement—and that’s not even including schoolwork! And then there are the girls. The pressure and social anxiety to “fit it” is exacerbated by the feeling that you need to wear the right clothes or carry the right backpack or have the right friends. As many times as we try to profess that all girls feel it (yes, even that “it” girl!), it is an isolating and lonely sensation. While we can’t eliminate the discomfort that comes along with being a teenage girl—we can work to improve it.

 

New research suggests that team sports may be the answer to helping adolescent girls live happier, healthy lives. While research is continuing to expand our knowledge as to why this is the case, the results show a varied and wide impact. In an essay published by the World Health Organization, the benefits of participation in team sports are classified into five categories; physical, mental, social, intellectual/ educational development and reproductive health.

 

Physical Health

Physical health is improved in two ways. First, it can reduce the risk for diseases that often affect children and adolescents including diabetes and high blood pressure. Secondly, it can reduce the risk for chronic diseases that often develop later in life including cancer, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. Physical activity also continues to prevent childhood obesity, which has a close relationship with adolescent depressive disorders.

 

Mental Health

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that roughly 11% of adolescents develop depressive disorders by age 18—and girls are twice as likely to have a depressive episode then boys. While that is a scary statistic, it is important to remember that there are many ways to combat and understand depressive disorders. Team sports are one of them. It has a positive effect on a young girl’s physiological well-being and can reduce levels of anxiety and depression. There are new studies that suggest physical activity as a treatment option  – since it often acts as an anti-depressant and lowers stress levels.

 

An article published by the LA Times in April 2014 recently addressed a study suggesting that calling a girl “too fat” by people close to her are more likely to become obese by age 19. The link seems to be emotional—if girls feel bad about themselves, they turn to food for comfort.

 

Social/Intellectual/Educational Health

With lower levels of stress and increased physical health, studies show an upward trend in academic and intellectual success. There is also a higher rate of interest in graduation from high school and college with a lower rate of dropouts and higher GPAs—particularly in math and science. Socially, these team players experience a sense of belonging, a community, and teammates who share a common interest and goal.

 

Sexual Health

Limited research also suggests that inclusion in team sports gives young women a sense of pride, respect, and empowerment towards their bodies.

 

In many settings, adolescents may be encouraged to view their bodies as sexual and reproductive resources for men, rather than sources of strength for themselves. Early studies conducted in the US have found that adolescent girls who participate in sports tend to become sexually active later in life, have fewer partners, and, when sexually active, make greater use of contraception than non-sporting girls.

-Girls Participation in Physical Activities and Sports: Benefits, Patterns, Influences, and ways Forward; Bailey, Wellard, Dismore

 

With increased rates of adolescent pregnancy and poor sexual health & education, the hope that young women will display bodily empowerment and respect is certainly desirable and correlates with participation in team sports.

 

As we already know, physical activity already has such a wide range of positive impacts that reach from muscle toning to mind toning. When we add the element of team building and comradeship, it really might be the best mixture for adolescent girls. Even if practice is just once a week, sign up! The tools she gains and the resources she learns are the very skills that teach us to live a happy and healthy life.

 

 

 

Resources

 

http://www.icsspe.org/sites/default/files/Girls.pdf

 

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-in-children-and-adolescents/index.shtml

 

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/07/11/peds.2011-2898

 

http://www.newkerala.com/news/2014/fullnews-27523.html#.U0LBgK1dVK4

 

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/03/24/team-sports-help-children-be-healthier-do-better-in-class-study

Fueling for a Moonwalk

Screen shot 2014-07-16 at 1.28.16 PM

This coming Saturday night (7/26), thousands of people will walk together for Walk the Walk America’s 2nd Annual NYC Moonwalk. Participants will walk  the streets of NYC in a fight against breast cancer. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak to some of these participants last month. On June 26th, I spoke with Moonwalk participants about the importance of nutrition when completing a marathon. Please read on to see some of the items we discussed:

 

What to Eat Before a Marathon

2-3 Days Before:

•Mostly carbohydrates, moderate protein, and low fat
•Carbs provide the muscles with adequate glucose (sugar) for glycogen storage

3–4 Hours Prior:

•Eat simple, easy-to-digest carbohydrates (moderate protein & low fat)
•White bread, pasta, etc.
•Avoid high-fiber foods to limit intestinal residue

•Prevent the need for bowel movements
•Prevent bloating and gas

Photo Credit: flowercarole via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: flowercarole via Compfight cc

 

Pre-Competition Meal Ideas

•Cheerios with low-fat milk, fruit-flavored Greek yogurt, and banana
•Omelet with cheese and baked hash brown potatoes
•White English muffin with avocado, hummus, and applesauce
•Bagel with natural peanut butter and jam
•Turkey on white bread with a low-fat yogurt
•White pasta with pesto and shrimp
Photo Credit: shecodes via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: shecodes via Compfight cc

 

Hydration
Before, During, and After

2 cups 2 hours before, and 2 cups during

•Recommended to drink 16 oz. of fluid at least 2 hours before event
•Remember to drink 2 cups for each hour of event
•If > 1 hr. replete electrolytes especially sodium and potassium
•Drink 16 oz./2 cups of electrolyte beverage for every pound of body weight lost during the event
Photo Credit: chuddlesworth via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: chuddlesworth via Compfight cc

 

Eating on the “Run/Walk”

•Eat 30–60 grams of carbs for every hour
•15 grams of carbs every 15 minutes
Eat 90 grams of carbs for events lasting > 3 hrs
ž•Get carbs from your sports beverage (typically 6–8 percent carbs)or gel packs

 

 

What to Eat After

•Eat between 30 minutes and 1 hr. after
•Reload glycogen muscle storage
•Replenish your body with carbohydrates
•Eat protein (about 3 oz.) to help to repair your muscles
•Antioxidants repair free radical damage
•Muscle recovery lasts 30 minutes to 4 hours post-exercise

 

For more information on the 2014 NYC Moonwalk or Walk the Walk America, please click here to be redirected to their website.

Aging Nutritionally and Gracefully

Aging Nutritionally and Gracefully
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

If there is one thing working against us when it comes to aging it’s..…TIME. It is true that as we get older, we age. While we can’t turn back time, we can try to keep our bodies as healthy as possible to help us feel better, stronger, and more energized. Here are three of our favorite books that discuss diet, health, and lifestyle recommendations that can help you feel younger by keeping your mind and body in a state of wellness:

 Screen shot 2014-03-23 at 12.49.31 PM

You Staying Young- by Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz

This book describes the aging process in a fun, easy-to-read way. It does an excellent job of intertwining medicine and nutrition. It has tons of useful tools like the YOU Tool 2 “Ultimate Work Up”-a fantastic list of tests you should be sure to inquire about at your next doctor’s visit. You also offers a 14-day plan that includes dietary changes, exercise routines, meditation, and relaxation plans. This book reminds you that caring for the mind and body together are equally important. It also includes interesting little known facts. For example Roizen and Oz note that you should remove your dry-cleaned clothing from the plastic-wrap, as soon as you get home to prevent the chemicals from becoming trapped.  There is a great chapter on other toxins that you may find in your environment as well. I am going to head to my closet right now to remove the plastic from my dry-cleaning.

 Screen shot 2014-03-23 at 12.49.46 PM

Younger Next Week- Elisa Zied, MS, RD

In Younger Next Week , my colleague registered dietitian Elisa Zied points out that crash dieting is not the solution to aging. In fact she explains that crash dieting increases cortisol levels, leading to both weight gain and aging! Zied’s 7-day vitality plan offers manageable ways to make permanent lifestyle changes that can lead to improved health and wellness. This plan is supposed to be repeated weekly so that it eventually becomes a lifestyle. Elisa states “it’s about finding a sustainable balance in your food and food choices” (Page 189). Finding balance, not only in food choices, but also in our schedules is important. Elisa offers countless examples of structured meal plans, tasty recipes, and creative “stressipes” to get you started on living a more balanced life. I am really excited to try Strawberry-Walnut Cinnamon French toast (Page 216) for breakfast next weekend!

 Screen shot 2014-03-23 at 12.52.05 PM

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy- Dr. Willett

This book may look intimidating at first, but when you crack it open it has some very practical advice. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating is one of my favorites! Dr. Willett provides a review of some of the quick-fix diets and why they do not work. He also includes his own version of the USDA pyramid, which I find to be very useful. This is a great book if you want to learn about nutrition science. This book focuses more on the diet component of lifestyle changes and includes some really wonderful recipes, menus guides, and cooking tips to help you feel comfortable trying new ingredients. This book may be a little more of challenging read than our other two recommendations, but it is certainly worth it.

 

Ultimately these books can aid the work you are doing with your RD and/or MD. Remember to help yourself feel your best, make small daily changes in your life. Think balance not CONTROL! Aim for the middle ground – “The Grey Zone” – the healthy diet mentality should steer clear of black and white, all or nothing thinking. Healthy diets are learning which foods work for you. Try to think of these foods as  “everyday” foods and  “sometimes” foods, when meal and snack planning. Choose to exercise to help your bodies physically and mentally, not just to lose weight. Take time to relax  – again both physically and mentally!! Oftentimes quick fixes may be appealing when trying to become healthy, but this typically ends up backfiring. Instead, consider taking small manageable steps, such as meditating for one minute each night, to achieve permanent behavior change.

 

Want more information on nutrition and aging? Check out this recently published article by the Nutrition Society:

Jessica C. Kiefte-de Jong, John C. Mathers and Oscar H. Franco. Nutrition and healthy ageing: the key ingredients . Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, available on CJO2014. doi:10.1017/S0029665113003881.

The Latest Diet Recommendations for Breast Cancer

The Latest Diet Recommendations for Breast Cancer
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

Breast Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women today. It is estimated that 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, equaling a quarter of a million women being diagnosed each year. As many of you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  In effort to raise the awareness of our EALM readers, we wanted to highlight the importance of diet and lifestyle, on not only your overall health, but also in relation to breast cancer.

1-in-8 Breast Cancer infographic
Photo courtesy of www.nationalbreastcancer.org

The Role of Diet and Lifestyle:

In a recent article featuring Mary Flynn, registered dietitian and co-author of the book “The Pink Ribbon Diet,” she states, “because the majority of breast cancer cases don’t have a genetic link, you have to conclude that lifestyle factors, including diet, play a large role.” The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics takes a similar stance, stating that “while there is no certain way to prevent breast cancer, it has been found that leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk and boost your odds if you do get breast cancer.”

Risk Factors:

Highlighted below are the risk factors. However, we want to stress that if you find you fall under a few, or more than a few, of these categories it is important not to panic. If you are concerned, please talk with your doctor and follow the recommendations for when and how often to get mammograms. Here are risk factors provided by the Center for Disease Control:

  • Beginning your menstrual cycle before the age of 12
  • Starting menopause at a later than average age
  • Never giving birth
  • Not breastfeeding post-birth
  • Long-term use of hormone-replacement therapy
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Previous radiation therapy to the breast/chest area, especially at a young age
  • Being overweight, especially in women of the postmenopausal age

What About Insulin?

An article written by Franco Berrino, et al., states that elevated serum insulin levels are associated with an increased risk of recurrence in breast cancer patients1. The authors also found each of the following to be associated with breast cancer incidence: high plasma levels of glucose (>110 mg/100 mL), high levels of triglycerides (>150 mg/100 mL), low levels of HDL cholesterol (<50 mg/100 mL), large waist circumference (>88 cm), and hypertension (SBP > 130 mmHg or DBP >85 mmHg). The article also states that those with both metabolic syndrome and breast cancer have the worst prognosis.1 In addition, recent research has shown significant positive associations between obesity and higher death rates for a number of cancers, including breast cancer2.
 

In other research, omega 3 fats (alpha-linolenic acid, EPA, DHA) have been shown in animal studies to protect from cancer, while omega 6 fats (linoleic acid, arachidonic acid) have been found to be cancer-promoting fatty acids. Flax seed oil and DHA (most beneficial from an algae source) can both be used to increase the intake of omega-3 fatty acids. DHA originating from a marine source was found to be the most efficient source. To learn more about fatty acids in your daily diet check out our blog post on Fatty Acids.2

breast cancer awareness ribbon

The Center for Disease Control’s and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ tips on how to help reduce your risk of breast cancer:

  • Get a minimum of 4 hours of exercise per week – aim for a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week for optimal health. Some experts recommend yoga to breast cancer patients, as the practice of yoga can ease anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages to 1 per day, or none at all
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight (a mid range), especially following menopause
  • Eat plenty of:
    • Dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale
    • Fruits: berries, cherries, citrus
    • Whole-grains: oats, barley, bulgur, whole-grain pastas, breads, cereals, crackers
    • Legumes: dried beans and peas, lentils, and soybeans
    • Researchers and medical professionals suggest that cancer survivors eat a variety of antioxidant-rich foods each day (since cancer survivors can be at an increased risk of developing new cancers).

Diet and Yoga and Decreasing Stress:

Regardless of whether you are an individual with breast cancer, in remission from breast cancer, or woman trying to reduce your risk, the message is to maintain an active life while consuming a largely plant based diet with a focus on consuming omega 3 fatty acids like salmon, trout and sardines.  Find ways to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables such as joining a community agriculture share. Be sure to try the many different forms of yoga for a form of movement and as way to decrease stress. To help manage insulin levels, focus on eating carbohydrates, proteins and fats at each meal and two of the three at snacks. This will slow the absorption of the carbohydrates thereby preventing a high blood sugar and insulin surge. Start with small goals and build upon them each week.

What’s your favorite recipe high in antioxidants? What is your favorite way to decreases stress? Do you have a favorite app that helps you achieve optimal wellness?

 

Breast Cancer Resources:

 

 

References:

1. Berrino, F., A. Villarini, M. De Petris, M. Raimondi, and P. Pasanisi. Adjuvant Diet to Improve Hormonal and Metabolic Factors Affecting Breast Cancer Prognosis. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1089.1 (2006): 110-18.
2.  Donaldson M.S.. Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutr. J. 2004; 3:19–25.

 

Fun and Easy Outdoor Activities for Father's Day

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 10.52.04 AMTo help build healthy habits, center this Father’s Day on fun activities rather than just food. Pick out a few activities that you and your dad can enjoy together. Remember, the best gifts aren’t always bought–Sometimes Dad just wants to spend quality time with his family! June has the perfect summertime weather to fit in some outdoor activities. We’ve gathered a list of fun activities (both indoor and outdoor) to keep you both healthy and happy!

Cycling – Stay moving under the sun for a cool breeze. Cycling isn’t just for those who live in the suburbs…if you live in bustling city like NYC, you’ve probably seen the new Citi bikes. Rent them out for the day and ride along the Hudson Pier or make it an adventure over the Brooklyn Bridge!

Fishing – Grab a fishing pole and head towards the water. This is a relaxing activity to do whether you’re on a boat or sitting by the lake!

Hiking – Whether it’s extreme hiking or climbing up a trail, this will be a great time to connect with your dad. Pack lunches into a backpack and enjoy it with a great view.

Cooking Class – Switch up the focus on food this holiday by getting dad to cook with you! Book a class that teaches how to make foods from his favorite cuisine. This will give Dad an opportunity to pick up some new skills and if he’s already a chef in the kitchen… well, it’ll give him a chance to spice up his skills!

Beach – Nestle your toes in the sand and under the sun by traveling to the beach. Pack a frisbee and football or volleyball and you and the family are sure to have a great time.

7 Tips to Build Healthy Habits

With the holidays quickly approaching, it may seem like a daunting thing to try to stick to your healthy eating habits.  Here are a few habits to try to stick to not only during the holidays but everyday.  These things can have a major impact on your health and wellness!

1. Stay hydrated!  We often forget about this one, but make sure you try to get at least 6 glasses of pure water a day.  If regular water seems boring try things such as sparkling water or adding fresh fruit and vegetable slices such as oranges, grapefruit, and cucumber to your water to add fresh flavor!

2. Don’t skip meals.  While many of us are on the go, it is important not to skip meals.  This will only slow down your metabolism and cause you to overeat at your next meal.  Keep things such as almonds and pumpkin seeds in your bag as they will provide that extra boost of protein to help satisfy hunger on the go.

3. Try eating a variety of foods so that you do not become bored with your meals.  One way to do this is to select a new fruit or vegetable at the market each week so that it not only allows you to explore a new food but also provides variety.

4. Try to get about 45 minutes of physical activity a day. Yoga is a great way to fit in exercise and wind down during the holiday craze. To enter for a chance to win a free yoga session in New York City’s Jivamukti Yoga Center, click here. While this may seem like a lot for your busy schedule, you can easily break it up into increments if needed, such as taking a 20 minute walk during lunch, taking the stairs instead of elevator, and getting off of the train one stop earlier than your usual stop.

5. Take time for yourself each day.  Whether it is 10 minutes or an hour, do something that helps you relax and is something you enjoy.  It could be taking a yoga class, writing in a journal, or simply reading a few pages in your new book.  This will help you become less stressed, especially during the holidays.

6. With tempting things in your house such as tortilla chips, cookies, nuts, and other snacks, one of the best things you can do is to buy serving size baggies and measure out the serving size into each individual bag.  This not only helps you avoid overeating, but it also helps you visual what an actual portion looks like.  It also makes it easy to grab when you are in a hurry or looking for a quick snack.

7. Set aside one afternoon during the week if you can to prepare most of your meals for the upcoming week.  You can make your stocks and broths, cook your meat, roast your veggies, etc. so that come the busy workweek, all you have to do is add in your fresh ingredients and seasonings.  This will save time during the week but still allow you to have those quality family meals.