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Health And Fitness Did You Know? – Part One

Quite frequently I come across useful tips and little known facts on health, fitness, and nutrition. Some I pick up during research and others are forwarded by friends and colleagues.

I thought it would be a good idea to start a series where I shared the inside scoop on this stuff. Quick little bits of info that you may not have known. Hope you pick up a thing or two and enjoy reading the posts.

Of course with any natural remedy, alternative treatments, etc, some will work for people and not others. I won’t be telling you to throw away your meds and go eat tree bark or anything like that, but I’ve got to do the disclaimer thing you know.  Be smart and for heaven’s sake always consult with your physician when needed. Ok, that’s out of the way.

If you come across anything you’d like me to share or review by all means please forward my way. I always love hearing from readers. Alright, without further ado here are the “did you know?” tidbits for part one.

1. How to double shelf life for berries and keep them from getting moldy and soft…

I had picked this up some time ago but was recently reminded of this great tip by a friend of mine. As you probably know I’m a big proponent of eating fresh berries…any variety as they’re all bona-fide super fruits in my book.

The problem is a lot of berries will either get moldy or soft when left in the fridge. This dissuades people from buying large quantities. But here’s some inside scoop.

When you get your berries home wash them with vinegar. That’s right vinegar…it kills any mold spores or other bacteria that may have been on the surface of the fruit. Take a large bowl and add one part vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar) and ten parts water.

Don’t worry about being exact, just about a shot glass full will work. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Place in a strainer when you’re finished and rinse off with tap water.

Raspberries and blackberries will last a week or more this way, strawberries up to two weeks. Give it a try, it works!

#2. Choose cardboard over plastic milk containers

While I’m not a big milk drinker this is a good tip as I’m down on plastic for just about any food or drink container.

Milk retains its nutrition better in fiberboard cartons than in clear plastic because when exposed to fluorescent light, low-fat or skim milk loses 90% of its vitamin A in 24 hours.

Granted most plastic milk containers are now darkened to keep out the fluorescent light. I’d still lean more towards fiberboard over plastic. I’m not a super fanatic with this stuff but I do believe you’re better off consuming food or drink from wood or glass over plastic.

I’ve seen some alarming studies on plastic which is used in tons of food and food storage products these days. I don’t know how big of a deal it is but call me crazy….I’ll pass on storing or consuming food and drink from plastic when possible.

On a side note, if you use Tupperware don’t put it in the dishwasher. Exposing plastics to high heat is not a good idea. Once again I’m not an expert on this but you’re probably better washing by hand.

#3. Never cook meat, especially chicken, in the microwave…

It’s always best to grill, bake, roast in a crock pot, etc, your meats and never attempt to use a microwave.

You can use a microwave to “re-heat” but don’t try cooking meat for the first time with it. Why? Because microwave ovens cook food through molecular friction, leaving the surface temperature too uneven to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella.

#4. Quick fixes for leg cramps…

Anyone who has ever woken up in the middle of the night with an agonizing leg cramp will appreciate this little tip. The next time it happens you can help alleviate the cramp by pinching your upper lip for 20-30 seconds.

Sounds weird but this comes from Dr. Donald Cooper, a former US Olympics team doctor. Not tried it myself but it’s worth a shot.

Another thing to try is contracting the muscle group opposite the one that is cramped. For example if you get a calf cramp, contract the opposing muscle group under your shins (anterior tibialis) by drawing your toes back towards your body.

This confuses the muscle through something called “reciprocal inhibition” where two opposing muscle groups can’t contract at the same time.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness training in Charleston with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. Sign up today for a no obligations consultation.

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