Daily Archives: April 7, 2018


Exercise is good for you any time of day, but science has found certain advantages and disadvantages to working out at different times. Consider these factors before choosing when to work out, and experiment to see how different times affect you.
Morning. An early workout can start your day right by boosting your energy and releasing endorphins (natural mood boosters). There’s also some evidence that early-bird exercisers tend to make fitness a habit and stick with it. Plus, morning exercise may help you sleep better at night. In a study of postmenopausal women with sleep problems, morning exercisers who worked out at least 3.5 hours a week had less trouble falling asleep than evening exercisers. Researchers speculate that morning exercise affects hormone levels in ways that promote better sleep.
Yet, an AM workout may mean getting out of bed earlier, a potential obstacle. Plus, morning exercisers may be more prone to injury: Your body temperature is at its lowest, leaving your muscles less flexible. To sidestep this, move in slow motion for 10 minutes until your muscles are warmed up.
Afternoon. My favorite time to exercise is usually 3 or 4 p.m. Recent research suggests a late-afternoon workout may be the most productive because that’s when your body temperature is highest. Your muscles are more flexible and less prone to injury, your lung performance is at its best, and you have the greatest strength.
If you like to exercise in the early afternoon, such as during your lunch break, I suggest doing so before you eat if you’re trying to lose weight. Since carbohydrates turn into blood sugar, consuming carbohydrate-rich foods before a workout will cause the body to use that sugar as fuel. This prevents the burning of fat calories and keeps fat stores intact. If you want to shed pounds, work out on an empty stomach.
Evening. After a long day, an evening workout helps to relieve stress. But depending on the timing, exercise can be stimulating and interfere with sleep. This is less of a problem if you avoid working out within one to three hours before heading to bed; that’s about how long it usually takes for your body temperature to decrease after vigorous physical activity.


What’s ahead for food and nutrition in the coming years? I hope to see more movement toward an anti-inflammatory diet. This eating plan is not truly a “diet” but rather the nutritional component of a healthy lifestyle. It recommends more fresh fruits (mostly berries) and low Gl vegetables, whole grains, and foods rich in omega-3 fats such as salmon, walnuts, and ground flax and more low-fat animal protein, lower saturated and trans fats, as well as less foods made from refined flour and sugar. Eating this way can help prevent age-related diseases linked with chronic inflammation. I think the low-carb craze is passing. But know the difference between good carbs, which are digested slowly, and lower-quality choices that are digested rapidly, raise blood sugar, and may promote weight gain. For this year, I’ll spotlight six foods to eat more often:
Berries. These small, colorful fruits are loaded with antioxidants that may help protect against cancer and oxidative damage to the eyes, brain, heart, and joints. Berries are easy on calories and brimming with fiber and phytonutrients, and they won’t cause spikes in blood sugar, either. Among them, blueberries top the antioxidant charts thanks to their powerful pigments. I prefer organic varieties.
Black cod. Increasingly available in this country, black cod might also be called butter-fish or sablefish in restaurants and fish markets. Its velvety and mild-flavored flesh is treasured in Japan. With more omega-3 fats than salmon, black cod is a good food for your heart and has low levels of mercury and PCB contaminants. Smoked sable sold at Jewish or Russian delis is black cod, a fish that can also be broiled, steamed, or grilled in miso (soybean paste). Choose black-cod products from Alaska, where it’s a sustainable resource.
Buckwheat: While considered a whole grain, buckwheat is a relative of rhubarb and contains no wheat. A slowly digested carbohydrate that’s filled with fiber, buckwheat has an earthy taste. People with wheat allergies or celiac disease can eat buckwheat grits, groats, and kernels (known as kasha) because they lack gluten. (But products made with buckwheat flour including breads and Japanese soba noodles may also contain wheat flour unless they’re labeled gluten free.)
Sweet potatoes: Let these Thanksgiving favorites grace your table year-round. These yellow- and orange-fleshed vegetables earn praise as excellent sources of vitamins A ( carotenoids that preserve eye health) and C, and for their fiber if you eat the skin. A baked one has about 100 calories. Okinawans enjoy purple-fleshed sweet potatoes.
Turmeric: The color and flavor of curries and American mustard come from this yellow-orange spice that’s a staple in Indian and Asian cooking. Turmeric is being intensely studied for its anti-inflammatory and cancer-protective effects. With evidence growing for the health benefits of curcumin, turmeric’s medically active ingredient, I suggest spicing up your cooking with it now. This spring, make turmeric tea—a refreshing, unsweetened instant beverage commonly served cold in Okinawa.
Walnuts. These plant-based powerhouses of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and vitamin E can also supply a sweet and crunchy source of protein and fiber.
Whether you snack on a handful, mix into salads and main dishes, or chop them into baked goods, walnuts are versatile and rank as one of the most popular nuts in the world.