32 Tips for Nutrition Month

32 Tips on Health, Exercise and Canola Oil for Nutrition Month

#1 Tip of the day

March 1, 2010

Water is your best friend. Are you tired in the afternoon? You may be dehydrated. Are you having frequent headaches or back aches? You may be dehydrated. There are many symptoms you may have become accustomed to that may miraculously go away if you were to drink 8-10 cups of water a day. Water is a major component is all of your body’s systems. Water is also a key factor in healthy weight loss.  It is necessary to flush out the fat that is broken down during weight loss. If water intake is low during fat loss, you may be at risk for kidney stones. And lastly, it can help you lose weight because sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty and taking in calories that you don’t need. Try drinking a cup of water before you eat anything and see how you feel after that!

#2 Tip of the day

March 2, 2010

How much water do you need to drink when you add exercise into your day? During a regular, no exercise, day you need to be taking in 8-10 cups of water. As soon as you add in exercise you need to add more water as well. When exercising you mainly lose water in the form of sweat…even in cold weather and water workouts. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that you never get to the point when you are thirsty, because then you are already mildly dehydrated. Try to drink 1-2 cups prior to exercising, ½-1 cup every 15 minutes during exercise and drink enough water after your workout so that you are not thirsty. If you’re not sure if you need more water or not, just have another ½ cup or so. You can have too much water, but chances are quite good that you will become dehydrated before you become over-hydrated.

#3 Tip of the day

March 3, 2010

Do I need to use a sports drink during my workouts? Sports drinks are very popular and often overused. The time when a sports drink may be beneficial is if you are having a moderate to high intensity workout that lasts longer than 45min to 1 hour long. Before this time water is the best option. Water is easily absorbed in the body, readily available and much less expensive than sports drinks. Many athletes use sports drinks to replenish electrolytes. Some use it to gain some extra calories during a hard workout so to prevent premature muscle fatigue. Some use it because it tastes more appealing to them, and will therefore keep them drinking more. If you want the taste of a sports drink, try a low calorie variety so that your weight loss plan is not put off.

#4 Tip of the day

March 4, 2010

What are electrolytes? They are chemically charges substances that can conduct electricity. Electrolytes are present in your body and are a key component in the normal functioning of all of our cells and organs. A few common electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate. Electricity in your body? Yes! The electrolytes help control the communication in your brain, nervous system and muscles. If there is a mild imbalance of any type the symptoms can be something like water retention. If there is a more extreme imbalance the symptoms can be fatal. The main thing to take away from the information on electrolytes is to drink a lot of water and to always refuel your system with healthy foods after a workout. Foods naturally contain the electrolytes you need and a healthy diet will help you maintain a healthy electrolyte level.

#5 Tip of the day

March 5, 2010

Fibre is your friend.  Eat fibre to lose weight. Eat fibre to lower your blood pressure. Eat fibre to decrease your chances of heart disease and colon cancer. These are all common phrases in the nutrition world but what IS fibre and why do I need it? How can I get it efficiently? Well, fibre is essentially a carbohydrate that your body cannot digest. It is an important part of your diet for many reasons such as keeping a healthy digestive tract, keeping you feeling full longer, and keeping your bowel movements regular. You can get enough fibre in your diet by eating the recommended amounts of whole grains (brown and wild rice, whole grain bread/bagels/English muffins, etc), fruits and vegetables.

#6 Tip of the day

March 6, 2010

Canola Oil is a good fat. Your body needs fat – to keep you warm, provide energy and help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins and caroteniods. But some fats are healthier for you that others.  Canola oil provides more of the good fats than any other popular vegetable oil. Essential good fats – canola oil is high. Fats are made up of smaller units called fatty acids.  Two fatty acids are essential in your diet because your body can’t make them.  Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid and linoleic acid (LA) is an essential omega-6 fatty acid.  Both of these good fatty acids are polyunsaturated.  Canola oil is a good source of the ALA omega-3 fatty acid and its ratio of 2:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 is nutritionally ideal.  Omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart attacks and strokes by helping to lower bad cholesterol.  Omega-6 fatty acid is important for the brain and essential for the growth and development of infants. Canola oil contains very high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids too.  Monounsaturated fat lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and helps control blood glucose.

#7 Tip of the day

March 7, 2010

Bad fats – canola oil is low. Saturated and trans fats are “bad”.  Saturated fats raise the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body and have been linked to coronary heart disease.  Canola oil has the lowest saturated fat level of all vegetable oils.  Olive oil contains twice as much saturated fat as canola oil.  Trans fats raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol (HDL).  While all processed oils contain very small levels of trans fatty acids, North American government regulatory authorities define canola oil as zero trans fat.  Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils to make them more solid also increases trans fats.  Be wise: choose canola oil and non-hydrogenated soft margarines instead of solid fats such as partially hydrogenated margarine, shortening, lard and butter.

#8 Tip of the day

March 8, 2010

Canola oil contains no cholesterol. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance present in all parts of your body. There are two sources: a) cholesterol made by your liver; and b) cholesterol that you eat in animal products such as eggs, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, butter and lard. Canola oil is cholesterol-free. Canola oil is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E. One serving of canola oil each day will deliver about a quarter of all the vitamin E you need to protect your body’s fats and proteins from free radical damage.  Vitamin E may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and memory loss.  Canola oil provides the best nutritional balance of all popular cooking oils.

#9 Tip of the day

March 9, 2010

Canola oil is made from canola. Canola oil is pressed from tiny canola seeds produced by beautiful yellow flowering plants of the Brassica family.  Cabbages and cauliflower are also part of the same botanical family!  Canola was bred naturally from its parent rapeseed in the early 1970’s.  It is NOT rapeseed.  Their nutritional profiles are different.  Canola has GRAS status; rapeseed does not.  Canola oil really cooks. Canola oil is light and clear and has a mild flavour that lets spices and herbs shine through in vinaigrettes.  It enhances the delicate taste of baked goods.  It delivers and seals in marinade flavours and its high smoke point makes it ideal for sautéing and deep frying.

#10 Tip of the day

March 10, 2010

Fat is a Building Block. Just like the steel girders in a skyscraper or the two-by-fours that frame a house, fat is a building block of all cells in the human body. Fat in the form of phospholipids is the basic structure of cells. Phospholipids control the passage of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients into and out of the body’s cells; and they control how proteins, immune cells and hormones bind to cells. Phospholipids act as emulsifiers, helping to keep fats mixed in body fluids like blood.

#11 Tip of the day

March 11, 2010

Some Fats are Essential. Fats are made up of smaller units called fatty acids. Two fatty acids are essential in our diet because our bodies cannot make them. The essential fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3, and linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6. These polyunsaturated fatty acids play important roles in the normal operation of the body’s cells. Canola oil is a very good source of ALA in the North American diet. Women who eat as little as one tablespoon (15mL) of canola oil daily get the full recommended amount of ALA. Men who add one tablespoon (15mL) of canola oil to their daily diet get 80% of their recommended intake of ALA. Canola oil also provides LA in the North American diet. Some consumers think that all fat is bad. In truth, fats perform many vital roles in the human body. Fats help keep us warm and provide energy. In foods, fats carry flavours, aromas and the fat-soluble vitamins. Two types of fat found in canola oil are needed for health. It is time for consumers to hear some good news about fat!

#12 Tip of the day

March 12, 2010

There are so many ways to eat healthfully…and many ways to make mistakes while doing it. Something that people don’t realize is that there are many places in so called “healthy” foods that they add in sugar. Anything that is referred to as “fat-free” or “low fat” usually has added sweetener of some sort to make up for the taste of the lack of fat. Some examples would be fat-free or low fat yogurt or muffins.  Any type of sauce, marinade or condiment most likely has a high sugar content. Examples of this would be ketchup, barbeque sauce and teriyaki sauce. Make your own muffins, sauces and dressing.  When buying health conscience items try to look at the ingredient list, sugar or fructose/glucose should not be in the top 5 ingredients.

#13 Tip of the day

March 13, 2010

Reading labels can be confusing. There are so many numbers and percentages that you may not understand. When looking at a label to determine if the product is healthy or not, the best thing to do first is look at the ingredient list. The list goes in order from the most used to the least. A good rule is that the first 5 ingredients in the product should be healthy. This could include ingredients such as whole grains, whole wheat, or a fruit or vegetable (or puree or concentrate). Some bad signs are words such as sugar, fructose/glucose, corn syrup, sodium or any other word you cannot pronounce. The words you don’t understand are usually preservatives or something else synthetic that you do not want in your body. The next best thing to look at is the percentages. They are based on a 2000 calorie diet and the recommendations made by Health Canada. Just realized that one serving according to the label may be different from the serving you are in-taking. Take your time and make wise choices.

#14 Tip of the day

March 14, 2010

Reducing your risk of disease is a very important topic of health as you get older. What kind of disease are we talking about? Cardiovascular disease, stroke, type II diabetes, obesity and cancer to name a few. Here are some suggestions to get you started on your way! Low/moderate fat intake à 30% total energy from fat, 10% from saturated fat, low fat dairy choices, decreased high fat snack foods, increased intake of vegetables and fruit increase levels of complex carbohydrates, read food labels, balance activity with weight maintenance. How can you do this? Eat a variety of healthy foods including whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins such as beans, chicken, and any meat cut ending with “loin” such as sirloin or tenderloin.

#15 Tip of the day

March 15, 2010

Here are some tips on how to add in a few more servings of fruits and vegetables into your day. Keep some fresh fruit out on the counter so that it is an easy snack. Have 1 salad a day. Experiment with new recipes. Add diced apples and celery to your usual chicken salad sandwich

#16 Tip of the day

March 16, 2010

Load up your burger and sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes, cucumbers and sprouts. Add berries to your morning cereal. Make a fruit smoothie to replace a milkshake. You can even add a little chocolate syrup to get that hint of chocolate! Try to make your own salsa and dip into it with multigrain chips! One day a week cut up enough veggies to last you a whole week and keep in them is serving size containers to grab on the way out the door! Bring some dip along too!

#17 Tip of the day

March 17, 2010

Have a fruit fondue for dessert instead of cakes and pies.

#18 Tip of the day

March 18, 2010

Grain products have been given a bad reputation by trendy diets. Cutting grains out of your diet may be beneficial on a weight loss note temporarily but on a long term basis you need them to have a complete and healthy diet. Whole grain products contain antioxidants, fibre, and a variety of vitamins & minerals. Whole grains also have shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. When you put this information together you get a healthier digestive & immune system, a reduced risk of plaque build-up in your arteries and a fuller stomach which will aid in weight loss and maintenance. What could you use to fulfill your grain product requirement? Whole grain bagels, popcorn, brown rice in a stir-fry, whole grain granola bar, homemade pizza on a whole grain pita crust, whole grain pasta with sauce and oatmeal.

#19 Tip of the day

March 19, 2010

First of all, when you are reading a label or talking to your doctor, you might not even hear the word fat. There are many different names for fat, some are good, and some are bad. Here are some names that you can coincide with fat: lipids, triglycerides, fatty acids, sterols, and cholesterol. Here is some information to help you make an informed decision on solid fats. Solid fat such as meat fat or butter have a lot of saturated fat in them which is bad for you and are a cause for many conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity. Although margarines are solid, some of them are better than others. Hard margarines have more saturated and trans fats. Most soft margarines are very low in saturated fats and have no trans fats at all. Which do you use? That is a personal choice. Some people choose to use butter over margarine, even though it has more saturated fat because it is all natural whereas margarine is synthetic. You will always find arguments for both sides and it all depends on your lifestyle.

#20 Tip of the day

March 20, 2010

High protein, low carb diets. These have been very popular in the last few years and people have been trying them with amazing short term results. Here are some insider tips as to why this kind of diet can be good or bad for you. The good aspects of this diet are initial rapid weight loss and fat loss. That is where the good aspects end though. There are many more negative results such as long term muscle wasting. Also, you body is forced to use fat and protein to do the job of the carbohydrates and this can produce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fast deep breathing and can be fatal if taken too far. This type of diet is also high in saturated fat which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also high in cholesterol and will be low in some vitamins, minerals and fibre. The cons definitely outweigh the pros and even though you get a rapid weight loss at first, it is a difficult lifestyle to adhere to and the weight will come right back quickly as soon as you go back to a more normal lifestyle.

#21 Tip of the day

March 21, 2010

There are many different ways you can incorporate some heart pounding workouts into your day. The great part about exercise is that it doesn’t have to be monotonous and it actually works to your benefit when it isn’t. Small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference. Cardiovascular exercise is one of the best ways to burn fat. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest you can possibly work out and 1 being sitting down you should be working at a 6-8. At a 6 your heart rate will be elevated to a point where can still have a full conversation while slightly out of breath. At an 8 you will only be able to speak a few words in a row and will be quite out of breath. Try to do your cardio workout 3-4 times a week for a minimum of 20-30 minutes. This doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once though. Try 2-3 sessions of 10 minutes throughout your day if that fits your schedule better.

#22 Tip of the day

March 22, 2010

Running is a great way to get some cardiovascular exercise. Here are a few helpful tips when running: Get a good pair of running shoes. Try to keep your hands free from holding anything. If you are holding something in your hand, it will tense up that whole side of your body and you will get tired faster. Make a great playlist! Write down your progress so you can tell how much you have improved. If you tend to get shin splints, sore knees or joints, try running on a softer surface such as a track. Try to stay off the concrete. BREATHE! Try to keep a nice steady breath no matter how hard you are running. The more oxygen getting to your body the less cramps and other uncomfortable circumstances you will encounter.

#23 Tip of the day

March 23, 2010

It takes 21 days to build (or break) a habit and if you start small with something you can do, then it will be easier to increase the time when your 21 days are up. If you are someone who never exercises right now then make your goal to do “something” everyday. When I did this little challenge for myself I found myself doing standing leg lifts while brushing my teeth, sit-ups during TV night, squats while washing the dishes and lunges every time I went from the kitchen to the living room. If you are someone who works in an office, try to get up and stretch or move around a little bit every hour. Get up and go talk to a co-worker rather than emailing or calling them, walk to the cafeteria to refill your water bottle, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the back of the parking lot at work, walk for your lunch break and encourage walk and talk meetings instead of sit and eat meetings.

#24 Tip of the day

March 24, 2010

For those of you who are already active and looking for something more try to add 10 minutes every morning and evening of interval training. This is not a scary term but rather something that is great to try and work into your day. For instance, let’s say you take half an hour to make supper, set the table and get everyone to the table.  While making supper take 1 minute intervals of jumping jacks or jogging on the spot. When your are done your minute, let your heart rate calm down and continue with supper; when your heart rate is back to normal do it again. When you are setting the table get your plates and do lunges all the way to the table and back until you have everything you need. When you need to get everyone to the table instead of yelling and getting frustrated at the lack of response, do a high knee jog or a cross country ski movement to each room to get everyone. Having something active to do during dinner making time will also keep your mind off of snacking and eating too much before supper even begins. After supper, the tv is on and every time a commercial comes on do a different exercise: jumping jacks, sit-ups, leg lifts, squats, lunges, and toe touches. If you were to do that for a 1 hour show you would get close to a 20 minute workout.

#25 Tip of the day

March 25, 2010

Calories In vs. Calories Out. Losing weight or maintaining weight is really a matter of simple math. Yes, the math is simple but the actual work is a little more difficult. To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you eat; to maintain weight you need to have an equal balance burning calories and consuming calories. Remember, your body needs food (calories) to live. That means if you were to sit in a chair all day, every day you would still need to consume calories to maintain living in a healthy state. It takes around 1000-1200 calories to keep your organs and brain processing properly. That means that everything you do during the day needs to be accounted for.  A healthy person trying to lose weight should never consume less than 1200 calories…especially if you are active. Your body will get run down and will be more prone to injury. If you want to lose weight the healthy way, your best bet is to reduce your current diet by 500 calories.

#26 Tip of the day

March 26, 2010

Walking is one of the best and most safe ways of getting some exercise. Be creative to try and fit in a walk every day. Walk your dog. Use the stairs at work. Walk to the store to get your milk. Walk to a friend’s house. Use a walk as a meeting with a client. Walk to your co-workers office instead of calling or emailing them. Too cold outside? Go for a mall walk…or bundle up! Walking on a soft surface is easier on your joints than on a harder surface. Using a track or grass is ideal but if you have a good pair of shoes then walking on the sidewalk is great too. You know your body better than anyone else so put that knowledge to good use. Walk when you’re tired to revitalize yourself. Walk when you’re hungry to distract yourself from cravings. Walk when you don’t know what to do!

#27 Tip of the day

March 27, 2010

Pilates is such a great core exercise. Because Pilates focuses on your core, every single exercise your do will either incorporate your abs or your back or both. Having a strong core is very important in the health and upkeep of your body. If you are a very active runner but have a weak core, you will be overcompensating with other muscles and subjecting yourself to injury. Pilates also focuses on breathing and flexibility…which, if we’re being honest, is usually put at the end of your list of things to do. Deep breathing can help you sleep better and help your body function more efficiently. Check out a Pilates class at your local fitness centre.

#28 Tip of the day

March 28, 2010

Yoga is one of those exercises that you get out of it what you want. If you need a full body workout? You get it. If you need a good resistance workout? You get it. If you need to relax and breathe deeply? You get it. If you need to gain flexibility? You get it. It’s such a great way to calm yourself down and work out all at the same time. Do a little research on the types of yoga to best suit your wants and needs. There are so many options out there that one of them will be right for you!

#29 Tip of the day

March 29, 2010

Circuits are a great way to tone your body fast while getting a great cardiovascular workout as well. Circuits are set up to work a muscle group hard and then while letting that muscle “rest” you workout your heart with some cardio. Here is a quick and easy circuit you could do at home. 1 minute of lunges with your right leg, 1 minutes of jumping jacks, 1 minute of lunges with the left leg, 1 minute of jump rope, 20 push-ups and 1 minute of running on the spot. Do this 3-4 times through and your have yourself a full body workout that you can do anywhere!

#30 Tip of the day

March 30, 2010

Resistance is such an important part of your active life. Building muscles and maintaining your muscles is very important to aging well. If you are trying to bulk up your muscles, try doing heavier weights with fewer repetitions such as 8-10 reps 2-3 times. If you are trying to tone up in a leaner way, try doing 12-15 repetitions 2-3 times. At the end of each (bulk or lean) set you should feel tired. After you have finished your 2-3 sets you should not be able to do any more. They should be very tired. The way you build up muscle is by working it very hard and then resting it so make sure you leave at least 24-48 hours of rest in between workouts.

#31 Tip of the day

March 31, 2010

Aerobics is such a fun way to get in your cardiovascular workout. Anyone can do it with a little bit of practice. You might feel out of your element at first but as soon as you catch onto the terminology and some basic footwork you’ll be off! The best thing about doing something like aerobics is that is it fun and it makes the time go by quickly. Aerobics is making a come-back in the fitness world and it would be easy to find a facility offering a class. There are both low and higher impact aerobics to suit your body and its needs. Give it a chance and you’ll grow to love it!

#32 Tip of the day


Using your body weight for resistance is such a great way to get a workout. It’s also a way to leave yourself no excuses because you always have what you need with you wherever you go. Here are a few examples of exercises that you can do only using your body weight. Lunges, chest push-ups (elbows go out wide) and tricep push-ups (elbows go straight back and rub your rib cage on the way down and up àmuch harder than regular chest push-ups), squats (one or two legged ones), planks (holding a push-up position on your toes and hands or forearms). There are so many great options and you’ll never have an excuse again!

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