Diet and Fitness Trends in 2013 You Can Keep Doing in the Year of the Horse

diet, dietary supplements, beta-carotene, omega 3

Exercise during pregnancy will boost infant’s brains

Moms who remain fit while pregnant may be doing their babies’ brains a favor. Women who exercise and stay fit while pregnant had babies with more active brains eight to 12 days after they were born compared to moms who didn’t break a sweat. Not only were their brains more active after birth, but those whose mothers exercised more were better able to process repeated sounds, a sign of more mature brain functions.

Ditch the pills, hit the gym

If you needed any more convincing, there’s more evidence that when it comes to preventing certain diseases, such as diabetes high blood pressure, eating a well-balanced diet and breaking a sweat are better than taking a ton of dietary supplements. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that among a group of people with diabetes, those who made over their diet, got daily exercise, quit smoking and managed their stress lowered their glucose levels so much that they didn’t progress on to type 2 diabetes.

Prescription drugs and supplements may seem like an easy fix to chronic diseases, but they do nothing to change what’s causing the illness in the first place. In some cases, the medications may even cause more problems in the form of side effects. It’s not that prescription medicines aren’t doing their job, or that they’re not important to modern medicine. They do, and they are effective in managing symptoms once they emerge. But if it’s possible to avoid disease altogether, and if patients can do it without expensive medications that can cause complications, then do it.

Don’t waste your money because vitamins and supplements don’t prevent chronic disease.

Americans spend about $12 billion every year on vitamin and supplements, but research shows that healthy people probably shouldn’t bother. The US Preventive Services Task Force studied all the available evidence on the effects of vitamins, minerals and supplements, and concluded that for most, there is not enough evidence to determine whether the pills can lower risk of heart disease or cancer.

When it comes to beta-carotene and vitamin E, there’s actually no evidence that they’re protective against heart disease or cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids may also not be as beneficial as some manufacturers claim for improving brain function. Although more research is needed to determine whether supplements are truly useless, the best way to take advantage of the healthy perks of nutrients is to get them naturally, by eating a healthy and balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

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Posted in Dieting, Nutrition, Pregnancy

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