Whole Grains + Healthy Gains

Making abrupt and sweeping lifestyle changes can be difficult to stick with for most people. If smaller, more manageable changes are your style, simply choose bread, cereals and rice made with whole grains when you’re at the grocery store. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, whole grains can improve blood pressure and gastrointestinal health, promote heart health, and lower the risk of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Recommended daily portions are 3 to 5 servings for adults and 2 to 3 servings for children.

Family Time

Dinner with the family can be a treasured time, but the benefits go well beyond enjoying moments together. According to a report published by Cornell University College of Human Ecology, studies have shown children involved in regular family mealtimes tend to be a healthier weight; eat healthier; and have greater academic achievement, improved psychological well-being and positive family interactions. Findings from the paper suggest scheduling at least three family meals per week. The key seems to be family time. Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner, focus on connecting through conversation and questions about school, work, friends and other interests.

Mind over Matter

Staying warm during the cold winter months means running the furnace, dressing in layers and wearing a heavy coat when going outdoors. While all this is practical and effective, a recent study by Associate Professor Maria Kozhevnikov from the Department of Psychology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has shown it is scientifically possible to stay warm using only your mind and controlled breathing techniques. Researchers studied nuns in Tibet during their meditation practices and found that, despite below zero Himalayan weather, the nuns were able to increase their core body temperature up to low-fever levels of 100.94 degrees Fahrenheit. The study credits two key elements of the practice working together to achieve the results: vase breathing and concentrative visualization. Kozhevnikov believes that if future studies show it possible to raise ones core temperature using these techniques without extensive meditation experience, it could open a range of medical possibilities such as improving resistance to infections and boosting cognitive performance. Mind over matter.

Hit that beat

Exercise seems more enjoyable when accompanied by music but does it actually improve performance? According to Carl Foster, Ph.D., and John Porcari, Ph.D., listening to music can increase endurance by as much as 15 percent. In multiple studies from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Exercise and Health Program on the effects of music on exercise intensity, Foster and Porcari found that synchronization (exercising at the rate of the music) elevates intensity to match the beat. Increased energy related to the musics tempo also causes the exercise to seem less stressful.