With so much information to hand, it can be hard to know what to do to stay well. Our healthy living guru sorts fact from fiction
To eat fats, or not eat fats? Is too much tuna bad for you? If I exercise again today will I be sore tomorrow? Sometimes we hear rumours and stories that may affect the decisions we make for our health and wellbeing, and I’ve found there are so many misleading myths out there that can do us an injustice. Here are a few big health questions, answered.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about mercury in seafood – what does that mean, and which fish can you eat? The most talked about fish is tuna and that is because it’s a very large fish. Fish absorb mercury from water as they feed on organisms, and the larger fish accumulate more mercury than others due to feeding on fish lower in the food chain. Which means that, yes, other big fish are culprits too, such as king mackerel, swordfish and tile fish. High levels of methyl mercury can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system but, more importantly, can be harmful to the developing nervous systems of babies. If you’re pregnant or of childbearing age, or are nursing, experts advise against eating swordfish or marlin, and suggest only small amounts of tuna [no more than two tuna steaks a week for pregnant women]. Why not try swapping the culprits for fish that contains less mercury such as salmon, cod, sardines, trout or prawns?
Yes, so you should not push yourself too hard. A report in the USA stated that previously inactive women who worked out four times a week burned more calories and gained just as much strength as those who worked out six times a week. So, reduce workout times to no longer than 45 minutes (during which you try to combine two or three exercises backto- back), keep your rest times to a minimum and vary your workouts. Try to get into a routine of doing different workouts every time – this will continue to shock the system and speed up the fat burning process. It will also make sessions more enjoyable, as each day you will be doing something fresh and new.
Some people get confused about when is a good time to eat and what to eat when they do. So, here’s what I do: I aim to eat proteins and leafy veggies for dinner – in other words, eating carbohydrates throughout the day (not at night) – and I don’t eat too late as metabolism naturally slows down near the end of the day, which means it’s more likely that food will get stored as fat at this time. However, if you’re a latemorning riser and you find yourself starving in the early hours, then have some slow release carbs at night, which will help boost your energy levels when you awake.
There is still a myth surrounding fat, in particular low-fat and full-fat products. Fat gets removed from our food because we have been made to believe it will make us fat. However, since the low fat revolution began, we have arguably become one of the sickest and overweight species on the planet! When a food is labeled as ‘low fat’ it typically means the fat has been replaced with lots of processed sugar or chemicals.
The bottom line is that we need healthy fats for optimal functioning of our brains, immune systems, hormones and cell function, and for general health. Good fats satiate us and stop us from binge eating. Aim to eat good fatty foods such as avocados, raw nuts and fish.