Pineapples

Despite their rough, scaly green, brown or yellowish skin the pineapples also known as Ananas are juicy, vibrant tropical fruits that balance the tastes of sweet and tart. A pineapple is good for one’s healthy wellbeing with a unique nutritional profile and also a good economy booster.

Pineapples grow in tropical climates such as southern and western portions of Africa. Ghana, Nigeria and Ivory Cost are the largest pineapple producers in the continent. In South Africa, the Eastern Cape is the biggest pineapple producing region in the country. Burthurst and East London provide the warm and frost-free conditions to bring pineapples to perfect ripeness. Africa has a unique advantage to profit from this lucrative market for the tropical fruit which grows abundantly on our continent. Africa has a strong geographic advantage, being the region that enjoys all year round sunlight and has a perfect climate for pineapples to thrive. Pineapples grow and perform very well in the many parts of sub-Saharan Africa where the soil and tropical climate is just perfect for them. They don’t require a lot of water and can survive the little soil. Pineapples have long and tough leaves which use the power of the sun to provide all the food and water the plant needs, and they multiply fast and only require little care after planting.

Its fruiting season runs from March until June but pineapples can be found on the market all year round. In South Africa, all produced pineapple fruit is processed at the Summerpride Foods factory in East London, which supplies high-quality concentrate to international beverage industry. Blue Skies, based in Ghana purchases harvested pineapples from local communities and neighbouring countries a large proportion of these is are processed into fresh pineapple chunks, juice and concentrates of which is exported to Europe. Entrepreneurs can make up to three to five times more money if this fruit is exported, for example Ghana and Ivory Cost are making more than fifty million US Dollars every year from pineapple sells to Europe.

Pineapples are high in fibre with a firm texture and it is bromelain rich (bromelain is a relatively rare enzyme which can breakdown proteins) which makes them a far much healthier choice of dessert than the vast majority of sweet foods one can have. The best time to take a pineapple is on its own on an empty stomach and they are a surprise to one’s health. You can enjoy a pineapple as a dessert, fruit, morning or afternoon snack and as freshly made pineapple juice.

Health benefits of Pineapples

  • Digestion: because of high fibre and water content; they help prevent constipation and promote regularity and healthy digestive tract.
  • Asthma prevention: it has a beta-carotene which prevents the development of Asthma.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Coughs and colds: as an excellent source of the antioxidant Vitamin C, pineapples can help in preventing and curing coughs and colds.
  • Healing and inflammation: some studies have shown that the enzymes found in pineapples can reduce swelling, bruising and shorten the healing time and pain associated with injury and surgical intervention.
  • Bromelain is currently used for treating and reduction of inflammation, sprains, strains and other minor muscle injuries as well as swelling related to ear, nose and throat surgeries or trauma.
  • Pineapples also contain high potassium which reduces the risk of stroke, protection against the loss of muscle mass, prevention of bone mineral density and the reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
  • Pineapples can help with prevention of the formation of free radicals known to cause cancers – prostate, colon etc.
  • Lowers blood glucose levels in type 1 Diabetic people and improves blood sugar in type 2 Diabetic people.
  • Pineapples also have astringent properties, which strengthen gums and make sure your teeth do not become loose. Astringent agents also help to tighten tissues and tone the body. Prevents also hair loss, muscles weakness and skin loosening does not occur.
  • Pineapples as Vitamin C powerhouse, helps with the boosting of the immune system by stimulating the white blood cells.

So go on enjoy the sweet, juicy and tart pineapples guilty free and share the health benefits!!

By Mazi Marry Phiri

8 Healthy Food Tips for People on the Go

When you’re on the go, it can be easy to reach out to the quickest option available to help you feel full. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is fast food and a sugary drink. Keep reading for some tips and tricks that will help boost your health on the go, without resorting to unhealthy meals and snacks.

1. Give yourself a head start with a morning glass of water

Oxygen is vital for cell rejuvenation however we lose a lot of it while we sleep in the night. Drinking a pint of water every morning can supply your cells with the necessary amount of oxygen and water they need. For an antioxidant kick, try adding a splash of lemon juice. As a bonus, drinking water helps you feel less tired, reducing your need for a cup of coffee.

2. Grab some fresh fruit

Whether you’re heading to work or going on a road trip, grabbing one or two fruits is a great way to provide your body with essential nutrients needed by your body. Additionally, having some fruit with you will also prevent you from stopping for fast food when you’re hungry. Some great options include bananas, apples, mangoes, jackfruit and dry fruits like dates.

3. Steer clear of fast food and sugary kicks

It can be easy to grab chips or deep fried chicken during lunch break, especially if you are tagging along with colleagues. Fast food is quick, inexpensive and delicious but it can wreak havoc on your body and cause weight gain. Try ordering a salad instead or pack lunch to work. While ordering beverages, skip sugar-laden drinks such as soft drinks and stick to water instead.

4. Munch that lunch

Lunch can be easy to avoid during a busy work schedule, but doing so will not only lead to digestive discomfort but could also cause you to eat a much larger amount of food than normal when you are finally ready for a meal. Therefore, instead of starving yourself, pack your own lunch. It can be as easy as wholegrain bread with an egg salad.

5. Enjoy your tea

Most Africans enjoy having a cup of tea on the go. Keep a few bags of your favorite herbal tea with you so that you can have it during work breaks. Herbal teas, green tea and black tea are packed with antioxidants that help detoxify the body and boost immune system health. Some studies also show that they may aid in weight loss, possibly because they help “fill” you up between meals.

6. Nuts are handy and nutritious

Nuts are the easiest snacks to travel with as they are dry and cause minimal mess. Pack a selection of your favorite nuts and dry fruits and have a few whenever you feel hungry. This will elevate your productivity and energy levels.

7. Try coconut milk for a protein boost

Prepare your favorite “milkshake” using coconut milk and your favorite fruit and have it on the go. The benefit of having coconut milk instead of milk is that it provides proteins, antioxidants, good fats and has a naturally sweet taste that can help enhance your drink’s flavor without the need for any table sugar. To top it all off, coconut milk can make a wonderful and delicious “energy drink” due to its massive levels of electrolytes that can hydrate the body and boost energy levels.

8. Save time with On-the-Go jar meals

Throw in boiled rice, veggies, boiled beans and your choice of protein into a jar and grab it as you head out to work. You can even use leftover chicken or beef to save prep time.

Africa’s Healthy Food and Their Health Benefits

Food is a crucial aspect of lifestyle in Africa. It unites family members and allows them to have conversations at the table. During holidays, Africans enjoy gathering around the meal table – it’s a great way to meet new people or reunite with relatives.

Unfortunately, for many, food is also the enemy, causing rapid increases in diseases across Africa, such as heart attack, type-2 diabetes, stoke and certain cancers.

The number one culprit of food-related diseases is a diet rich in fast food. For many, not only is fast food tasty but it is affordable, satisfying and filling. Additionally, it’s also easy to have during a busy schedule.

Most healthy foods or “Superfoods” tend to be inaccessible or expensive to the average African, making individuals feel like they are not getting enough from their diet. Luckily, being healthy does not always have to involve a visit to the supermarket. In fact, most healthy foods can be found at home.

The following are some African staples that have been touted as some of the healthiest food options in Africa, and some even around the world.

1. Coconut and coconut oil

Coconuts and coconut oil consist of lauric acid and heart-healthy fatty acids, that also boost brain function. Furthermore, coconut milk contains protein and it helps enhance skin and digestive system health. Lauric acid possesses antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties making it an excellent addition to your palate. To top it all off, coconut milk can make a wonderful and delicious “energy drink” due to its massive levels of electrolytes that can hydrate the body and boost its energy levels.

2. Tamarind

While some like to have tamarind solo, others like to make a juice which is rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that can be incorporated into various dishes to boost flavor. The pulp is a great source of fiber and consuming it can also help restore electrolyte balance, similar to coconut water.

3. Teff

Teff is a grain grown mainly in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is packed with nutrients, especially calcium, iron, protein and vitamin C – a combination that is not typically found in grains.

4. Fonio

A close relative to millet, fonio is a grain resistant to drought and also an African favourite in stews, salads and porridges. It is rich in amino acids and fibre, making it a superb choice for your regular meals.

5. Amaranth

Amaranth is incredibly dense in protein, with 30% more protein than most cereal grains like rye, sorghum and rice. Amaranth’s nutritional profile is comparable to those of oats and wheat germ, which means it’s also full of fiber, antioxidants and minerals.

6. Moringa

Moringa has become quite popular over recent years due to its high levels of chlorophyll, minerals and vitamins. Moringa’s high calcium, iron, protein, magnesium, vitamin A and Vitamin C levels have also lead to it being called a superfood by many health experts. In fact, some estimates show that moringa may contain 25 times the iron found in spinach, twice the protein from yogurt, 7 times the vitamin C in oranges and 4 times the calcium in milk!

7. Pumpkin leaves

Pumpkin leaves are consumed all over Africa and are often eaten dried or fresh. You can steam the leaves like spinach or sauté with your favorite oil and seasoning. Pumpkin leaves have adequate levels of calcium, iron, folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B and C.

Health Benefits of Morogo (African Spinach) + Recipe

Morogo also known as wild or African Spinach, refers to a group of various dark leafy vegetables indigenous to Africa and harvested for human consumption.

Some cultures choose to dry the leaves and eat them during the dry season when chances of planting are not good. Morogo is mainly valuable in our
communities as it gives an inexpensive way of obtaining the nutrients that the body requires.

Health Benefits

  • Morogo is rich in vitamin A and C, iron, Omega 3s and calcium.
  • Consumption of morogo can minimize the risk of vascular-related chronic diseases and Type 2 diabetes

Morogo Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of morogo
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 250ml water
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper
  • Barbecue or any spice of your choice.

Clean morogo in cold water. Take out the stem and throw away. Chop the leaves. Pour water in a pot, then add the chopped leaves. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until soft. In the meantime fry the onions in a pan with olive oil, add black pepper and barbecue or any spice of your choice. Then add tomatoes, bring to a simmer. Pour the tomatoes in a pot of cooked morogo. Add salt to taste and simmer until well blended.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org https://nutritioncommsa.wordpress.com/

10 Important Tips For Juicing For Health And Weight Loss

What is juicing?

Juicing is a process that extracts most of the insoluble fiber out of fruit and vegetables while the soluble fiber remains. When you remove the insoluble fiber and are left with the fluid part of the fruits and vegetables, it allows easier assimilation and absorption of vitamins, minerals and other important plant-based nutrients across the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber slows down the absorption of many micronutrients, so basically juicing fast tracks absorption of nutrients.

While insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, helps to keep the bowels regular, fills you up and speeds up the passage of food through the digestive tract, soluble fiber absorbs water and provides bulking matter that acts as a prebiotic to support growth of good bacteria and digestive health.

Here are some facts to help you decide how and when to include juicing in your personal wellness plan

Tip 1: Juicing is not a fail-safe way to lose weight. This is because while fruits and vegetables are relatively low in calories and have plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, too many calories in the juice can contribute to weight gain. Experts estimate that each ½ cup of fruit has about 60 calories but however, juicing 4 or 5 cups of fruit can add up to 500 or 600 calories. So watch those juice portions!

Tip 2: Juicing removes fiber from food—and fiber is an essential part of healthy diet— so replacing regular meals with juices is not recommended except for short-term weight loss or cleansing programs.

Tip 3: Juicing as a way to detox or cleanse the body hasn’t been scientifically proven and so is not based on evidence. Researchers note that the body’s liver and kidneys will detoxify the body whether a person is juicing or not. Focus on eating a balanced diet and your body will handle the rest!

Tip 4: A juice-only weight loss program removes protein from the diet which can lead to loss of muscle mass making the weight loss from juice-only diets unsustainable. For sustained weight loss consider including juice as part of a healthy balanced diet or adding protein-containing drinks such as milk and yoghurt to your juice regimen.

Tip 5: Carrot greens, rhubarb greens, or the peels of oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruits contain toxic substances, these greens and skins should not be juiced. However, the pithy white part of citrus fruits just underneath the skin is very nutritious.

Tip 6: If you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables and are not keen on chewing through a plateful of them daily, drinking your fruits and veggies is a creative way to maintain your daily recommended intake. So by all means, drink up!

Tip 7: Make only as much juice as you can drink at one time because harmful bacteria can quickly grow in freshly squeezed juice which has been left to stand for hours and also fresh juice starts to lose nutrients as soon as it is made.

Tip 8: If you have to store the juice for a while, make sure that the container is airtight, add a few drops of lemon juice, and keep it refrigerated

Tip 9: Juicing for personal well-being is not a magic bullet. If your lifestyle is unhealthy in general, don’t expect juicing to somehow offset the negative effects of unhealthy choices!

Tip 10: Some vegetables such as spinach contain large amounts of vitamin K and it can sometimes interfere with how blood thinning medication works. If you are on medication for any reason, if you are taking prescription drugs or have an illness, talk to your health worker before you go on a juicing diet. Women who are pregnant or lactating and small children should seek medical advice before starting a juicing program.

The Quality of Sleep you are Getting is Just as Important as The Quantity of Sleep

What are sleep deprivation and sleep deficiency?

Sleep deprivation is a state of not getting enough sleep. It may be acute in which case the usual total amount of sleep time is reduced over a period of 1 – 2 days. All of us have experienced acute sleep deprivation at one point in our lives. Chronic sleep deprivation happens when the total sleep time is reduced over a long period to the extent that it becomes a routine occurrence.

Sleep deficiency is more concerned with the quality and depth/intensity of sleep that an individual gets. Sleep deficiency is a state in which an individual is not getting enough sleep and has one or more of the following conditions:

i. Sleeping at the wrong time of the day or out of alignment with your internal body clock,

ii. Not getting all the different types of sleep needed by the body or

iii. Suffering from a sleep disorder that prevents enough sleep or causes poor quality, interrupted sleep.

Why is sleep important for health and well-being?

  1. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with lower immune functioning and increased susceptibility to colds and flu.2. Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to contribute to weight gain. This is associated with increased levels of cortisol hormone

  2. Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to contribute to weight gain. This is associated with increased levels of cortisol hormone which stimulates the lipoprotein lipase enzyme to increase deposition of fat plus reduced levels of leptin which is a chemical that makes you feel full and increased levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin.3. Lack of enough sleep over short and long periods of time leads to decreased cognitive (mental) functioning especially for tasks that

  3. Lack of enough sleep over short and long periods of time leads to decreased cognitive (mental) functioning especially for tasks that require concentration and creativity such as driving, operating machinery, reasoning and innovation.4. Lack of sleep can cause irritability,

  4. Lack of sleep can cause irritability, depression and anxiety thus affecting mental wellbeing and impairing relationships at work and at home.5. People who sleep fewer hours than are recommended for their age have a higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.

  5. People who sleep fewer hours than are recommended for their age have a higher risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.6. Sleep deprivation affects

  6. Sleep deprivation affects production of reproductive hormones and can lead to problems with fertility.

How do I know if I am getting the right quantity of sleep?

The combination of advances in technology: email, TV, mobile phones and social media with the stress of 8+ hour jobs has greatly increased the demands on waking hours. People are increasingly trading sleep for increased work input and recreation. Children have not been spared either. In most African cities and urban centers; long commutes to school and heavy school assignments creep into recommended sleep time on a daily basis.

Sleep experts recommend a minimum of 7 – 8 hours of sleep on average per day. The minimum amount of sleep needed varies by age, gender and other factors. Newborns (0 – 28 days) need at least 14 hours of sleep daily, children aged 6 – 13 years should sleep for at least 9 – 11 hours daily. Adolescents need up to 10 hours due to their growing brains and adults need at least 8 hours of sleep daily. In addition, pregnancy, old age and illness are associated with increased sleep requirements.

If you wake up tired and feel like you need a nap to get through the day; it’s time to double check your sleep habits. If in addition you are moody and irritable, are suffering unexplained weight gain, constantly suffer from infections, have unexplained memory problems and drowsiness while driving or operating machinery your problem could be chronic sleep deprivation.

Tips for addressing sleep deprivation

Practicing good sleep habits and getting more sleep to compensate for the sleep debt is key to addressing sleep deprivation;

i. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep nightly

ii. Go to bed and get up at the same time daily

iii. Avoid nicotine, alcohol and large meals before bedtime

iv. Don’t rely on caffeine or energy drinks as a short-term pick-me-up. They may boost your energy and concentration temporarily, but can disrupt your
sleep patterns even further in the long term

v. Create a good sleep environment: a cool, quiet environment is preferable for most people.

vi. Exercise daily but not within 2 hours of bedtime.

How do I know if I am not getting the right quality of sleep?

The depth and intensity of sleep can change even without a change in the duration of sleep affecting the quality of your sleep. Waking frequently, or fragmented sleep, interrupts the sleep cycle and can contribute to an inability to achieve periods of deep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the stages associated with restful and restorative sleep. Several factors may play a role in shortening deep sleep cycles. These include:

i. Normal aging,

ii. Medications,

iii. Medical conditions that can cause pain or discomfort during the night e.g. arthritis,

iv. Sleep disorders including insomnia (trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep or sleep fragmentation), obstructive sleep apnea (a condition in which an individual periodically stops breathing while asleep) and restless leg syndrome (strong urge to move the legs),

v. Nightmares and psychiatric disorders including anxiety and depression.

Addressing sleep deficiency

In addition to adaptation of appropriate sleeping habits, seek medical advice to diagnose what is affecting your quality of sleep. Assumptions could lead to the wrong methods and stressful failures to cure the underlying cause. Some people find it helpful to keep a sleep diary to analyze how much sleep you are getting on a nightly basis. Once you have the right diagnosis, the next step is finding what solution works for you with support from friends, family and health workers.

5 Great Reasons Why Sleep is Important

A good night’s sleep is just as important as maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise. Unfortunately, our fast-paced lives do not allow our bodies to get the rest they deserve. Not only are people sleeping less, their sleep quality has drastically declined too. To understand what poor sleep can do to you, keep reading.

1. Weight gain

There may not seem to be any connection between your weight and sleep patterns but studies, show that people who sleep less are much more likely to gain weight significantly compared to those who get enough sleep. Research suggests that lack of sleep is strongly linked to obesity.

Another major factor that may play a role in weight gain among the sleep deprived is that they have a much bigger appetite than the well-rested and tend to eat more calorie-rich foods. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re affecting your body’s daily hormonal balance and this is believed to interfere with appetite regulation. This means your body produces more ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone while levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone; leptin go down.

2. Heart disease

Not getting enough sleep is also closely related to complications involving the heart, such as heart disease and stroke. A review of fifteen studies demonstrated that people have a much greater risk of heart disease and stroke if they sleep less than those who sleep for 7 to 8 hours every night.

3. Type-2 diabetes

Research shows that insufficient sleep reduces insulin sensitivity in adults and affects their blood sugar levels. A study conducted with healthy young men showed that limiting sleep duration to 4 hours for 6 nights in a row resulted in symptoms of pre-diabetes in these individuals. The effects were fortunately reversed with a week of better sleep duration.

4. Depression

Estimates show that 90% of people with depression have poor sleep quality. Lack of sleep and poor quality sleep can go as far as increasing a person’s chance of wanting to commit suicide. People with sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia, report higher rates of depression compared to those without these conditions.

5. It affects your immune function

Just a tiny amount of sleep loss can significantly affect your immune system. One large study that monitored the development of the common cold found that people who slept less than 7 hours a night were roughly 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who got 8 hours of sleep every night.

By Shomaila Issam

The Health Benefits Series: West African Diet

Image Source: African Development Bank

Let’s face it; West Africans have always been very careful about what they eat, in fact, all African societies have kept their ancestor’s distinctive and original choices of food consumption. Although the colonization of West Africa and the climate change nightmare have played a great role in shaping the diet in this region, the 16 nations of West Africa have maintained a healthy diet practice even more so than most areas in the world.

The West African diet comprises of a diverse selection of foods and ways of preparing and consuming it; starches the primary filler, fish and lean meat, fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes, spices and oils. Although statistics show that the Sub-Saharan Africa holds a world record for the highest percentage of the population that is malnourished their traditional diet is not to blame for this, household level food insecurity mainly linked to lack of dietary diversity.

Starch is a staple in the West African diet; it is a source of carbohydrates found in rice, couscous, cassava, and plantains among others, with yam standing as the chief crop in the region at large. These provide energy and help with weight loss by easing hunger even with less consumption and further by decreasing the fat storage in fat cells. This staple in their diet is responsible for weight and blood sugar moderation.

The warm climate and brief but extreme rainy season from June to September benefit the continuous growth of tropical fruits and vegetables. These are often served with a large helping of starch, they are never served alone unless in a dessert. This ensures that West Africans stay away from processed foods. The African mango can be found in this region and is praised for its ability to fight away obesity, decrease cholesterol and improve brain health.

Along the coastline, fish is the main source of animal based protein and the rest of the region depends on bushmeat due to beef being expensive. The other popular sources of protein are chicken, pork, mutton and goat meat; although pork is only widely eaten in areas where Islamic law is not prevalent. Protein consumption insufficient servings is still a challenge for these people but the meat they eat is often lean and low in calories and therefore keeps them away from the risks of cardiovascular illnesses. Their only source of fats is a good one, from primarily palm oil and peanuts, full of antioxidants, vitamins A and E and an array of health benefits. Although their diet is basic and starch based, West Africans could teach their neighbours and the world a thing or two about healthy eating habits.

By Siyabulela Kade

The Health Benefits Series: East African Diet


East Africa has a lot to give to the world; with a diverse culture and a dynamic religious setting influenced by the region’s increased trading and migrations with Arabic countries and South Asia. You would think the diet of countries like the modern-day Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya – among the other 10 countries in the region – would add more confusion to your diet dilemmas but their variety of foods are simple, naturally produced and easily identifiable anywhere you see them. The East African diet is a gift to the world in that sense.

From starchy roots in their least processed forms, dairy products and locally produced fruits and vegetables to a variety of tubers, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, herbs and spices. It may sound like a lot but these foods are often harvested from community and family fields, grouped stored and later processed using traditional processing methods like grinding and pounding. All the dishes are prepared with less salt and more herbs, spices and chilli peppers full of anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

Staples

Like in most East African countries, starchy foods are the staple. This means that foods like rice, maize meal and mashed plantain ( matoke) are eaten throughout the region. Rich in carbohydrates, they have the ability to strengthen the gut, they are able to keep toxins within the gut and out of the bloodstream. This in turn increases metabolism and decreases inflammation. Teff is predominantly grown in Ethiopia. It is more nutritious and has a higher calcium and iron content than other grains found in East Africa, with protein and vitamin C – an added bonus.

Fruits and vegetables

The preparation of fruits and vegetables varies in this region, from drying them for snacking, juicing them and grilling or cooking for adding them as sides to starch dominated dishes. Widely consumed fruits like mango and pineapple are rich in fibre and offer a variety of health benefits like weight control and overall digestive health. Furthermore, this plant rich diet ensures a continued consumption of antioxidants and phochemicals that assist in the moderation of blood sugar levels, heart disease risk reduction and the lowering of blood pressure.

If you are still wondering why East Africa is home to Lake Victoria and the famous Mount Kilimanjaro, let their diet be a reminder that these people are healthy and fit enough to climb a mountain so high.

Why Exercise Should be a Lifestyle Choice

People all over the world are falling short on exercise, making lack of physical activity a global pandemic which causes one tenth of deaths, roughly the same as smoking. In fact, if a quarter of inactive people got sufficient exercise on a regular basis, more than 1.3 million deaths around the world could be prevented every year. Just half an hour of brisk walking 5 times a week can reduce your risk of premature death.

Lack of exercise has been linked with a myriad of deadly diseases. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and breast and colon cancer are often closely tied with lack of activity.

Exercise prevents obesity

Exercise helps people burn excess fat in their bodies and maintain cardiac health, when combined with a well-thought out diet plan. This occurs not only because you’re burning calories, but because you’re improving your hormonal balance and overall bodily functions.

Fortunately, exercise doesn’t have to be as complicated as some people may make it sound. You can work out for free, without having to join a gym or fitness class at the comfort of your own home using fitness videos on the internet. In addition, you can also make use of the great outdoors and go for a morning jog. Research shows that working out in the a.m. not only helps you lose weight, it elevates your mood and gets you ready for your day ahead too. You can get some vitamin D from sunlight while you’re at it as a bonus.

What’s most important is that you enjoy your workout and stick to it. The options you have are endless, from walking and swimming to yoga, weight lifting, tai chi and dancing! However, if you’re a beginner and feel you’re completely out of shape, it’s best that you don’t jump to a moderate level exercise and take a few steps back. If you have any medical problems, be sure to consult your doctor first.

Other benefits

Improved posture is another benefit of exercise that’s too underrated these days. Working your core and your upper body muscles can effectively fix your posture, which is negatively impacted by our daily, sedentary lifestyle.

Another important factor we cannot miss is stress reduction. Stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. It takes a huge toll on your digestive system and causes a plethora of problems such as poor skin and acne, poor digestion and GERD. Your gut becomes as acidic as the state of mind you’re in when you’re stressed out. To get out of it, you need to work out.

Exercising stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins, which are natural stress-busters that improve your mood and create more positivity in your life. Exercising during the day has also been shown to improve sleep.

By Shomaila Issam