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Most people start exercising because they want to lose weight. Here’s another reason to turn off the TV and head out for a jog: aerobic exercise and strength training can help you keep your brain in shape, too.

After reviewing more than 100 studies, researchers found that working out can help improve memory, attention and the ability to make decisions. Their article was published in the online edition of Journal of Applied Physiology.

“Exercise appears to change brain structure, prompting the growth of new nerve cells and blood vessels,” according to to a news release from the American Physiological Society.

Additionally, researchers said the effects of aerobic training apply to children as well as elderly adults to help them with “multi-tasking, planning, inhibition and increasing the volume of brain structures important for memory.”

Exercise is just plain smart.

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Alice Warchol is a fitness instructor and freelance health writer.

A friend of mine recently came by our house with her family. Friends for years, we’ve shared many a gourmet meal courtesy of my husband’s knack for being able to cook just about anything.

As we watched my husband cut up a dozen heirloom tomatoes from his garden, she said out loud: “If only that cutting board could talk.”

If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably know that eating at home is essential because you can control what goes into your food. Your cutting board should have a starring role in the kitchen.

What would it say if it could talk?

“Wow! Are you using me again to cut up some fresh fruit? Nice!”

Or maybe this?

“Yikes! It’s bright out here. Put me back in that drawer. I’m not used to the light.”

Does your board make demands?

“Don’t you dare cut that chicken up on me. I’m reserved for fruits and vegetables.”

Does it compliment you?

“That zucchini is loaded with nutrients. You are making such a great choice. Yes, chop up the yellow squash. They will go great together.”

Or does it complain to you?

“Seriously, that is the dullest knife ever. Are you trying to mangle that strawberry?”

Perhaps you can barely hear it.

“You need to take me out of this plastic wrapper!”

If the last one is you. Don’t feel so bad. I know what mine is saying when I take it out:

“You? Where’s your husband?”

Alice Warchol is a fitness instructor and freelance health writer.

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Pom Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice has no added sugar, colorants, or cheap filler juices. It is a great source of potassium and is gluten-free. It can be found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores and comes with blueberry, cranberry, cherry, mango, kiwi, and nectarine.

Pomegranate juice has been shown in clinical studies to have health benefits especially in the prevention of heart disease. A glass of pomegranate juice contains about 40% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin C. It also has vitamin A, E, and folic acid.

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If you’re trying to lose weight, think about strategy.

What you eat plays the biggest part in how much you weigh.

So where do you start?

By finding something you can change that will have the most impact.

I’m a big fan of taking baby steps. Give up everything bad for you and you’ll probably be pretty miserable. You’ll most likely want to give up.

Why not begin with giving up soda.

This has to be one of the easiest ways to lose weight. Here’s where the math comes in: A 12-ounce can of cola has 140 calories. If you drink one per day, that’s 980 calories in a week. Remember, 3,500 calories equals one pound of weight gain. So, in one year, you could lose 14.5 pounds just by switching to water or unsweetened tea.

Now, if you drink more than one cola – and many people do – you will really be doing yourself a favor.

Giving up two daily sodas could leave you 29 pounds lighter.

Do you drink more than that? Your weight loss will be even higher.

If water is too plain for you, try herbal iced teas. Just make sure they are not sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Those can play havoc with your body, too.

Alice Warchol is a fitness instructor and freelance health writer.

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If you’re trying to lose weight, chances are someone has advised you to avoid eating out at restaurants. It’s easy to pile on the calories at the salad bar. And you don’t really want to know how much salt goes into your favorite entree.

To help customers watching their waistline, restaurant owners will sometimes list how many calories a particular food item includes.

But a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows you might not want to trust those figures.

Researchers from Tuft University found that one in five meals from 42 restaurants had at least 100 more calories than advertised.

Now, 100 calories might not seem like that much, but when you think about how often you eat out, those calories can add up to pounds pretty quick.

Registered Dietitians often recommend preparing your meals at home to keep track of calories, fat and nutritional benefits.

It’s much easier to know what’s in your food, when you’re the chef.

Alice Warchol is a fitness instructor and freelance health writer.

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A diet rich in vegetables helps reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and obesity. One method for increasing your vegetable intake is adding a salad to each meal or eating a salad as a main dish (with a 3-4 ounce protein source).

Adding vegetables to your diet will also help you meet your dietary fiber requirements and help you fill up at meals.

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Here’s a diet tip that’s likely to stick: Use a bigger fork when you eat.
You just might eat less.
That’s what researchers determined when they gave two sizes of forks to people eating at a popular Italian restaurant somewhere in the Southwest.
Those who ate with the bigger forks left a lot more food on their plates when they were finished.
Just how much? About 7.9 ounces compared to 4.4 ounces. It might not seem like a lot of calories, but when you add it up over the course of a few weeks, it could make a big difference to your weight loss goal.
The researchers, from the University of Utah, believe that people using the bigger forks felt more satiated with less food because they were eating larger mouthfuls.
Of course the most important thing is what you put on the end of your fork.
The results of the study were published in The Journal of Consumer Research.

Alice Warchol is a fitness instructor and freelance health writer.

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Most people think about committing to healthy foods when they want to lose weight so they can fit into a certain size of jeans.
But there’s a more important reason to say “no thanks” to junk food loaded with salt.
A new study shows that Americans who eat a lot of sodium and little potassium have a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause. Even worse, they are twice as likely to die from a heart attack, according to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The sobering news prompted federal officials to urge Americans to figure out how much sodium they’re consuming and adhere to national guidelines.
“The study’s findings are particularly troubling because U.S. adults consume an average of 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day, more than twice the current recommended limit for most Americans,” said Elena Kuklina, an investigator on the study in a news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 2010 Dietary guidelines recommend keeping sodium levels below 2,300 milligrams per day for adults. However, about the half the U.S. population should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams. This applies to people over the age of 51, African Americans and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
“This study provides further evidence to support current public health recommendations to reduce sodium levels in processed foods, given that nearly 80 percent of people’s sodium intake comes from packaged and restaurant foods. Increasing potassium intake may have additional health benefits.”
The national recommendation for potassium is 4,700 milligrams daily.
So where do you find potassium?
Try eating leafy greens such as spinach and collards. Grapes, blackberries, carrots, potatoes, oranges and grapefruit are also good sources of potassium, according to the CDC.
People can decrease their sodium by avoiding fast food and requesting foods at restaurants that contain little or no salt.
Not only will your heart be happier, but your jeans might fit, too.
Alice Warchol is a fitness instructor and freelance health writer.
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Bon Secours InMotion Nutrition Experts recommend eating for energyFive or more servings of fruit will give you many vitamins and minerals needed for health. Include all the colors of fruits in your diet as each color represents a different antioxidant and vitamin composition.

Try making parfaits using yogurt and fruit topped with a sprinkle of nuts. Fruits can also be added to smoothies or frozen for later use.

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Perhaps you’ve seen this workout T-shirt. It reads: “So I can eat chocolate cake.”
I chuckled the first time I spied it on a woman doing bicep curls in the front row of a weight-lifting class.
It turns out a lot of us hit the gym because we need to burn off that chocolate cake the night before – or the slice we’re planning on eating tonight.
This is fine if you’ve reached your weight loss goal and you don’t eat cake every night.
But don’t get sucked into this mentality if you’re trying to lose weight. It will undo all the hard work you put in at the gym.
And even if you have hit your weight loss goal, indulging regularly in fatty, high calorie food that has little nutritional benefit is a risky habit. If you miss a few workouts, it doesn’t take long for those regular bites of cake to add up to real pounds.
So, how serious a problem is this?
Enough for researchers in the United Kingdom to study how it affects diabetics. It turns out that people recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes lost just as much weight watching their diet as those who went on a diet but exercised as well.
Why?
Because the ones who exercised felt that they didn’t have to be so rigid with their nutrition, according to a news release from the American Diabetes Association.
Imagine how much progress you can make when you take control of your eating habits and exercise regularly.

Alice Warchol is a fitness instructor and freelance health writer.

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