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Top Brain Boosters to Add and Brain Drainers to Drop From Your Shopping List

 

The foods you have in your pantry and fridge may be helping or hindering your brain. Dr. Christopher Calapai DO, a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine explains that the foods we choose have a lot to do with how sharp, attentive, alert, focused and happy we feel after they are consumed. Certain foods may taste great have additives in them that literally cloud our brains and leave us sluggish and dull headed. The opposite is also true. We can eat certain foods and feel a charge of mental energy and focus. We spoke to Dr. Calapai and got a quick list of foods that boost and drain the brain. Which ones will you add and remove from your shopping list?

Brain Boosting Foods to Add!

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamin E.  Higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. Add an ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and un-hydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini. Raw or roasted doesn’t matter, although if you’re on a sodium-restricted diet, buy unsalted nuts. “Adding nuts to your diet can aid in decreasing levels of enzymes that lead to protein plaques from forming and dementia. Nuts can also reduce brain inflammation, keep blood pressure low, key for preventing stroke,” explains Dr. Calapai.

Blueberries

“I eat these daily and encourage patients to add blueberries to as many things as possible. They’re great on their own, added to a shake, to oatmeal, or even to a salad,” says Dr. Calapai. Blueberries are tasty and sweet and loaded with antioxidants. They’re packed with vitamin C, K and fiber and pack high levels of gallic acid, making them especially good at protecting our brains from degeneration and stress. “Studies show that eating blueberries can boost focus and memory for up to 5 hours,” adds Dr. Calapai

Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the best brain foods out there. Thanks to its high levels of vitamin K and choline which is a B vitamin know for aiding brain development keeps memory sharp and protects the brain from later decline with age. It’s also loaded with vitamin C. Just one cup provides you with 150 percent of your recommended daily intake. Its high-fiber levels makes you feel full quickly, too. “People hear broccoli and roll their eyes thinking it’s bland a boring. Think of broccoli as a canvas ready to be painted with spices and flavors, offers Dr. Calapai. Try stir frying with a bit of olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add in a spoonful of orange or lemon juice and it gets this nice sweetness to it.

Fish

Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA seems to be very important for the normal functioning of neurons in the brain. Eating more fish often means eating less red meat and other forms of protein that are high in artery-clogging saturated fats. “People who are lacking in Omega 3’s can experience mood swings and feeling edgy or negative. Omega 3’s have been know to be mood boosters in addition to enhancing focus and memory,” says Dr. Calapai.

Avocado

This creamy treat is also a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E. Research suggests that foods rich in vitamin E—including avocado, which is also high in the antioxidant powerhouse vitamin C—are associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Brain Drainers to Drop!!

Partially Hydrogenated Oils

There is zero reason to ever eat foods that list “partially hydrogenated oils” in their ingredients list. It’s code for trans fats, which, in addition to upping your risk for obesity and damaging your heart health, can cause serious brain drain. “Diets high in trans fats increase beta-amyloid, peptide ‘plaque’ deposits in brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. One study published in Neurology found that people who consumed high levels of trans fats had lower cognitive abilities and smaller brains later in life,” says Dr. Calapai. Common culprits include fried foods, baked goods, and processed foods. So bake or grill chicken instead of frying it, go for sweet potatoes instead of French fries and avoid anything wrapped in plastic that sits on a shelf for months at a time.

Added sugars

The average American eats 79 pounds of added sweeteners per year which can cause constant insulin spikes and inflammation resulting in both vascular and neuronal damage. One study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity found that large amounts of sugar cause the hippocampus, the brain’s memory control center, to become inflamed, meaning it can’t work at 100 percent. Meanwhile, one cross-cultural analysis found that high sugar intake is linked to depression. “Sugar is a big trap because when you eat something sweet there’s a high initially. It feels good at first taste but then once it starts to be processed in the body there’s a heaviness that follows, says Dr. Calapai.

Saturated fat

A diet high in saturated fat can decrease the brain’s ability to fight the formation of Alzheimer’s-linked brain plaque. An onslaught of saturated fat also hurts your brain in the short-term. Saturated fat impairs your brain’s ability to learn and form new memories within as little as 10 minutes after chowing down. Processed meats such as bacon, pepperoni, pork sausage, or chorizo are examples of very tasty foods that are high in saturated fat. “Look we all like to indulge from time to time and that is fine, but when saturated fats are staples in your diet, then that’s going to take a toll,” advises Dr. Calapai.

About the Doctor:

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s. He has worked with Mike TysonMickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham’s, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at www.drcal.net

 

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Tips for Re-Thinking Eating for Better Heart Health

 

February is a Heart Health Month, making it the perfect time to find ways to re-think what we eat in order to help lead us to better heart health. It’s an issue that most of us need to pay attention to, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women. In fact, each year there are around 610,000 people who die from heart disease, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths. Further, each year there are around 735,000 Americans who have a heart attack. The good news is that there are things we can do to help reduce our heart disease risk, with what we eat playing an important role.

“Considering how many times per day and week that we eat, it’s important to consider our food choices,” says Dr. Nimali Fernando, a Fredericksburg, Virginia-based pediatrician who founded The Doctor Yum Project. “This is especially true when it comes to our children, because their bodies are developing and they are learning habits that may last a lifetime.”

According to the CDC, some of the risk factors for heart disease include diabetes, being overweight or obese, having a poor diet, being physically inactive, and using alcohol excessively. Improving the diet is likely to also help with the weight and diabetes issues. Here are some tips for helping to re-think your eating for better heart health:

Breakfast.

Reach for whole grain toast, whole grain cereals and don’t forget a serving of vegetables and/or fruit. To get in even more servings, try a quick and healthy fruit and veggie smoothie, like the “Green Dragon Smoothie” featured on doctoryum.org.

Lunch.

Pack a quick and healthy lunch that includes items like salads, hummus and veggies, tuna salad with wholegrain crackers or bread, or homemade low-sodium soups that you can make ahead of time and take a couple of days in a row. The “Meal Maker Machine” on doctoryum.org has a “Souper Soup recipe” that allows you to customize a soup recipe using ingredients on hand.

Dinner.

Opt for seafood, which has heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Other good options include beans, salads with dressing, quinoa, whole grains, veggie burgers, chickpeas, lentils, and filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Try to reduce processed foods, and fast food (which is often loaded with sugar and salt), high sodium foods, and unhealthy oils by cooking more at home.

Snacks.

Skip the chips and cakes and opt for food like unsalted nuts, fruits and veggies, seeds, rice cakes, bell pepper slices, vegetables and hummus, or whole grain toast with all natural peanut butter.

Drinks.

Leave the sugary drinks behind, and opt for water, sparkling water, plain soymilk, unsweetened coffee and tea, or water steeped with fruit.

Dining out.

When dining out, opt for dishes that are lower in sodium and fat content, such as those that are baked, grilled, or broiled, rather than ones that are fried. Minimize the sugar intake by opting for unsweetened beverages and sticking to mostly fruits for sugar cravings. Choose seafood, fish, lean meats, vegetarian options, vegetable dishes, and beans. Portion sizes for restaurant meals tend to be oversized, so box a portion of your meal for lunch the next day.

“Heart healthy foods are all around us, it’s just a matter of opting for them over the other ones that are also available. Common barriers to eating healthy are cost, convenience and taste. By following the 3 P’s (prep, plan and prioritize) these barriers can be overcome” adds Dr. Fernando. “With some initial effort, we can all focus on eating healthier and feeding our children better. The more people make changes and stick to them, the more it will become a more natural habit.”

About The Doctor Yum Project
Founded by Dr. Nimali Fernando, The Doctor Yum Project is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to transforming the lives of families and communities by providing an understanding of the connection between food and overall health, as well as empowering them with the tools to live a healthy life. They offer a variety of community programs to help with those efforts. They are located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and feature an instructional kitchen and teaching garden for holding classes. To learn more, visit the site at: www.doctoryum.org.

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9 Things Your Dentist Wants You to Know

 

Healthy Smile

Most of us don’t exactly get fired up about a visit to the dentist. Often, we let those bi-annual appointments slide and wait to visit the dentist until we have a more serious problem. What many people don’t realize, however, is that regular dental visits and maintaining oral hygiene are closely tied overall health. You wouldn’t skip a visit to the cardiologist if your heart was bothering you, right? Well, the same goes for your dentist.

Dr. Caitlin Grimes at StoneCreek Dental Care has compiled a list of nine important things your dentist wants you to know so that you can achieve optimal oral and overall health:

Your mouth is full of bacteria — you MUST brush your teeth. It’s not something we like to think about, but our mouths are full of bacteria – some of which can be harmful to our teeth and overall health. Harmful bacteria erode teeth and contribute to periodontal (gum) disease, which is why brushing your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes is absolutely essential. Remember – brushing is vital, but if you overdo it you may damage your gums. Brush gently at a 45-degree angle to effectively remove the bacteria that causes plaque buildup and decay.

Flossing isn’t optional either. If you’re not flossing regularly, you really should be (and your dentist can tell if you aren’t). Flossing removes food debris and bacteria that gets stuck between teeth. Be sure to check with your dentist to make sure you’re flossing correctly!

Your dentist can detect issues early. This might seem overly obvious, but the best way to prevent dental pain is to visit your dentist. Many dental issues are not painful initially, so when you visit your dentist he or she can detect any minor issues before they turn into major ones. Your dentist can fill a small cavity, for example, before it has the chance to get infected and cause a painful tooth abscess.

Poor oral health contributes to poor overall health. Did you know that if you have gum disease you are much more likely to have a heart attack or stroke? This risk increases when those harmful bacteria travel through the bloodstream to the rest of the body and increase inflammation. Oral health can greatly impact your overall health, and vice versa.

Smoking will ruin your teeth. Aside from yellowing your teeth, smoking contributes to bad breath, receding gums and a dry mouth. A dry mouth is much more prone to harboring bad bacteria, leading to plaque buildup and tooth decay. Smoking also decreases your body’s ability to fight off infection in the mouth, and contributes to the development of oral cancer. The bottom line – kick that habit ASAP!

Toothbrush

Change your toothbrush every three months. Over time, your toothbrush loses its effectiveness. The bristles become frayed and do not work as well as they once did, and the bad bacteria that lives in your mouth builds up on your toothbrush. If you have gum disease, you need to change your toothbrush more often — every four to six weeks. If you’ve been sick, it’s especially important to change your toothbrush afterwards to get rid of any germs.

Bleeding gums are usually not “normal.” Bleeding gums can be the result of several factors. You might be using a toothbrush with hard bristles and brushing too vigorously. Bleeding gums may also signal an improper flossing technique. At worst, bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. Regardless of the cause, if your gums are bleeding be sure to ask your dentist about it!

There’s more to that regular dental visit than cleaning. Your dentist isn’t just there to clean your teeth and give you a brighter smile. During your regular dental visit, he or she will also check your mouth for signs of tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer. These issues are much easier to treat if found early.

Your dentist is here to help you, not judge you. Some people do not visit the dentist because they are embarrassed about their teeth or an issue with their mouth. Don’t worry — your dentist has been highly trained in treating a variety of issues, and will be able to talk through any concerns you may have and discuss the appropriate treatment options.

With these nine things in mind, be sure to make and keep your regular dental appointments so you can take control of your dental and overall health. Every patient is different, so your dentist will work with you to address your individual needs and ensure you have the healthiest smile possible!

Teeth and toothbrush

*This is a guest post. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect my own. 

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Foolproof Action Plan to Getting & Staying Healthy This Year … and the Best Ways to Stay on Track

 

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Do you want this year to be the year you actually keep your New Year’s Resolution to achieve better and healthier habits?

“It’s the ultimate personal challenge,” says Leigh Stringer, author of The Healthy Workplace. “It takes guts and determination to make and keep those life-changing commitments in our lives, but it can be done.” Stringer offers up 5 major reasons we fail, and how to stay on track:

Get Serious. We need a strong reason to overcome our natural lack of motivation.

Becoming healthier is a really good idea.  But to get us to change our behavior – to actually change the way we eat, move, sleep and manage our stress on an ongoing basis – requires a really powerful motivator.  We need a reason that makes it “absolutely essential” for us to do something differently, and think of ourselves differently.  Our lame excuses need to be trumped by a greater calling.  We need a real sense of urgency and a stronger “why.”

Deciding to be healthy has to be more than just a cool thing to do or a “nice to have.”  Making the firm decision to change lifelong habits for the better requires steely resolve and a strong, unquestionable purpose.  It has to be bullet-proof. 

Take Action: 

  • What would incentivize you to make a firm decision and commit to it?
  • Write down what motivates you and post it where you will see it several times a day. This is your “why.”  A strong ‘why’ can navigate when the how is not so clear.

happy young  people group have fun on beach

Choose friends wisely. You can influence your own behavior by hanging out with healthy people.

Social influence and peer pressure positively impact our exercise behavior, awareness of our intent to exercise and produce results, and the attitude maintained during the exercise experience.  You are more likely to stay on an exercise program if you have a friend (either an individual or group) who works out with you.  Connecting with other people is critical.  We are hard-wired to want to impress and relate to our friends. In addition, if you commit to being at the gym every day, you will feel good and will achieve your goals by keeping your promise to yourself. 

Take Action: 

  • Find a friend you like to exercise with and set up meetings on your calendar to do so. Make friends with people you meet at the health club.
  • Surround yourself with people who are healthy and have already adopted the behaviors you are trying to achieve. Decide to be around them often. It will help nudge you to make better decisions and achieve your goals.

Be accountable. Get a partner to help you stay that way.

If you are accountable for the commitments you make, you are much more likely to achieve your goals and succeed.   One great way to keep honest is to find an accountability partner – someone you trust and who will check in with you on a regular basis (daily, weekly or whatever is needed) to see how you are doing, give you positive reinforcement, track how well you doing, and encourage you to stick with your commitments. 

Take Action: 

  • Find someone you trust to be your accountability partner.
  • Talk to them about your goals and specific objectives.
  • Get specific with them about actions you will want to take as well as rewards and consequences for taking or not taking them
  • Set up regular check-in times. This can be a text message, a periodic but regular encounter, or a phone call, whatever makes sense.
  • Review your progress and your goals and objectives honestly to track your performance, and modify your targets. Keep your goals ambitious but attainable.

Smartphone

Make Getting Healthy a Game. Sticking to your goals and resolutions isn’t very fun, but technology can help make it fun.

Do your best to make getting healthy fun. You can turn your journey into a game and adorn your arms and body with wearable devices that help motivate, engage and prompt you to make better decisions.  Apply video game-thinking and game dynamics to engage yourself and change your behavior. The technology is available and has really evolved. You can turn any goal or objective you want into a game-like activity  that will become ever more desirable and highly addictive.  Gaming is now understood as a significant way to encourage people to adopt more healthy behavior. Two of the most powerful elements are competition and progressive reinforcement, where a player gets a challenge, meets that challenge and then receives an immediate reward for its accomplishment. Retained engagement is known to produce 90% improvements on start to finish challenges.  

Take Action:

Here are a few more apps you can try:

  • Pact, funded by the founder of Guitar Hero, helps you make pacts with yourself to regularly exercise and eat healthily, and you are paid in real dollars to do so.
  • LifeTick is a goal-tracking app that asks you establish your core values, then follow the S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-specific) goal-setting method to create tasks or steps that are required to achieve your goal.
  • Habit List helps you track your “streaks” – how many times in a row you completed a habit, and will send you reminders to keep you on track.
  • Lift allows you to choose your goals and then select the type of coaching you require: advice, motivation, and/or prompting from the Lift community.
  • StickK, developed by Yale University economists, requires you to sign a commitment contract which binds you to a goal. It will cost you real money if you fail to reach it.

Pay Attention to your Environment. It may be working against you.

Your environment greatly influences the decisions you make about your health. To the maximum extent possible, take a careful look around, and if necessary, change what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel.  Choose to keep your personal space clean of the enticements that will destroy your ability to achieve your goals. Clean your kitchen and your will be 44 percent less likely to snack than if your kitchen is messy.  You will eat less if your kitchen is stocked with smaller vs. bigger plates (ideal is 8-10 inches in diameter).  

Take Action: 

  • Pay attention to how your environment can sabotage your goals and objectives. Don’t set yourself up for failure by keeping potato chips in an easy-to-reach cabinet. Move them or get rid of them and place them on the forbidden list.   Look at your home and work settings with fresh eyes, and put away (or throw away) anything that you are to giving up.
  • Strategically place healthy snacks, running shoes or other prompts in prominent places to encourage you to make good on your commitments.

Choosing one of these strategies is probably not enough.  You will most likely keep commitments if you employ “multiple interventions,” including strategies that intrinsically and extrinsically motivate your behavior.

health - wet apple

*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the authors and do not necessarily reflect my own. 

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Join the Spread Kindness to Cancer Patients Program and help bring a smile to someone’s face

 

Cancer

If there is one word that if feared the most around the world its “cancer.” Personally, I live in fear of ever hearing those words.

Cancer has touched the lives of many people that I know – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances. It seems like almost everyone knows someone who is dealing with cancer.

I have also known people who have had cancer. Some survivors, and some who have succumb to the horrible disease.

My grandfather had his left breast removed back in the early 80’s because he had breast cancer. Believe it or not, men can get breast cancer too. It’s not as common but it can happen. That is something men might want to take into consideration and check themselves out on a regular basis for lumps or any type of a change.

The doctor’s think my grandfather’s caner was triggered by being hit in the breast very hard with a baseball (he was an umpire).

Back when my grandfather had breast cancer I was a teenager. I didn’t really know much about breast cancer. It’s not like it is today where it’s a topic that is openly discussed.

Other people I know who dealt with cancer are my great-grandmother (uterine and cervical cancers), brother in law (kidney cancer), mother in law (pancreatic cancer) and a family friend (brain cancer).

Doctor

I have severe anemia that requires me to get iron infusions for a few weeks every year. I go to an infusion center at a local hospital to get the infusions done. In the same facility people also get chemotherapy and other cancer related treatments.

It breaks my heart to see people, both young and old, having to deal with those treatments. I’m not exaggerating when I say it makes me want to cry. I think the nurses at the facility know that seeing the cancer patients going through their treatments make me emotional because they always try to put me in a room by myself. It’s not that I don’t care – quite the opposite. I care A LOT. It breaks my heart and I wish there was something I could do to help them.

There is something I can do – I can try and bring a smile to the face of a cancer patient. But how can I do that?

When you are dealing with the physical and emotional effects of cancer, it’s hard to get ordinary tasks taken care of. If you know someone dealing with a cancer diagnosis, here are a few things you can do to help them out.

  • Clean their home
  • Do their laundry
  • Prepare Meals for them (ones they can easily warm in the oven or microwave)
  • Offer to drive them to/from appointments/treatments
  • Bring them a movie and some goodies and have a Move Night together
  • Bring/Send flowers or small gifts
  • Send a card
  • Write a note
  • Offer them an ear to listen to them and a shoulder to cry on

These are just a few ideas.

Another way to help bring a smile to someone’s face – even if it’s someone you don’t know – is to participate in the Spread Kindness to Cancer Patients Program. The Spread Kindness to Cancer Patients Program is sponsored by Environmental Litigation Group, P.C.

The Spread Kindness to Cancer Patients Program encourages people to put together special gift baskets and deliver them directly to cancer patients (both in their home or in the hospital).

The type if gift baskets suggested are a bit different than the ones you might expect. The Spread Kindness to Cancer Patients Program recommends gift baskets filled with healthy fruits, vegetables and other foods ideal for cancer patients.

In addition to the recommendations, you an also learn a bit more about each food and why it’s ideal for someone dealing with cancer. Here are a few examples.

a

Organic Flax Snacks

Flaxseeds are an ideal source of dietary fiber, lignan, and Omega-3. Flaxseeds also contain nine amino acids that, when existing together, create a total protein like those found in dairy and meat.

c

Cucumber

This vegetable is low in calories because it consists mainly of water. It allows us to re-hydrate the body and at the same time cleanse it of toxins. Its phytonutrient list contains cucurbitacins, lignans, flavonoids.

t

Sugarless Candies

Cancer treatments can damage the saliva glands and some therapies are causing dry mouth. In this case, some flavored candies can be a delicious choice.

To be honest, I would never think to fill a gift basket with healthy foods (raw and/or cooked). When I think of gift baskets I think of ones will with bath & body products or sweet treats. A “healthy” gift basket sounds like a wonderful idea.

Of course non-food items are also appreciated and helpful. Take for example a heating pad. Chemotherapy and weight loss can result in constant chills. A thick, fuzzy blanket is also great for keeping warm.

Other non-food ideas include gift cards (so that the patient doesn’t have to worry about shopping and preparing a meal), books, movies, head scarves and lotions.

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If you would like more inspiration or ideas, visit The Spread Kindness to Cancer Patients Program.

I would also recommend this great article too – You Too Can Make a Cancer Patient Smile.

You don’t need to know a cancer patient personally to help make a difference. You could visit your local hospital and drop off a gift basket for a cancer patient. You could also ask friends, family, co-workers or neighbors if they know of someone dealing with cancer right now that could use a smile. You could also ask your doctor if they know of anyone.

ANYONE can participate in this project. You don’t need to be a blogger. Simply visit the project page, learn more about what would make for great additions in a gift basket, put one together and deliver it to someone who could really use a smile.

What you put in the gift basket it entirely up to you. You can create something to fit your budget too. You don’t need to “break the bank” to bring a smile to someone’s face. Any kind gesture would be greatly appreciated. Like my mom used to always tell me, “It’s not the gift but the thought that counts.” 

Do you know anyone who is personally dealing with a cancer diagnosis or treatment? Do you think they would appreciate a special gift basket created just for them?

Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas and/or suggestions. I always love to hear from readers.

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Kimberly

*I have partnered with Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. to bring you this information. Although sponsored the opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.  

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Super Bowl “Big Game” Calorie Costs in Exercise – Think twice about what you put in your mouth

 

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The “Big Game” has become much more than a football game: Except for Thanksgiving, it’s the biggest day for food consumption in the United States. So, to choose the most splurge-worthy foods, here are the exercise equivalents for some of your favorite football-watching snacks from Charles Platkin, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of the New York City Food Policy Center at HUNTER College and editor of DietDetective.com. Since a calorie doesn’t mean much to the average person, the idea is to use exercise equivalents to provide a frame of reference that is familiar and meaningful and thus help improve calorie literacy (Platkin’s Study).

Ten Buffalo Crispy Chicken Wings = Running the length of 149 football fields. 

The wings are fried and high in calories, and that blue cheese dressing can be caloric suicide. Ten chicken wings at 95 calories each is 950 calories. Three ounces of Pizza Hut’s Wing Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce have 460 calories. That adds up to 1400 calories.  A few interesting facts, Americans’ consumption of the unofficial staple of Super Bowl Sunday – the chicken wing – is projected to hit 1.33 billion wings during the Super Bowl, according to a National Chicken Council (NCC) annual report.”

Fit Tip: Use hot sauce without the blue cheese, and make the wings yourself. Go skinless, and bake them instead of frying. With all that football action to distract you, you probably won’t even notice the difference.

Meatball Sub from Subway (footlong) = 109 minutes of climbing the stadium stairs.

It has meatballs, Provolone cheese and marinara sauce, double meatballs on a hearty Italian roll, adding up to 932 calories.

Fit Tip: How about turkey meatballs (made with breast meat), low-fat mozzarella and a whole-grain hero? Or if sticking to Subway, try the Oven Roasted Chicken which is 467 calories for a footlong sub.

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Four Samuel Adams Boston Lager beers = 68 minutes of playing professional football.

The only problem is that, according to The Wall Street Journal, there are only about 11 minutes of actual ball playing in a football game.  That means you need to play more than six games of professional football to burn off 4 Samuel Adams Boston Lager beers at 180 calories per 12 ounces.

Fit Tip: There are some great light beers out there. Do a taste test before the game and see if you can make the event more special with some fancy low calorie beers. Miller 64: 64 calories; Bud Select 55: 55 calories; Michelob Ultra: 95 calories; Natural Light: 95 calories; Miller Lite: 96 calories.

Handful of mixed nuts = 44 minutes of football training camp

Just one handful of nuts can mean loads of push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, sprints and more. Just so you know, 1 ounce of mixed nuts has about 170 calories.

Fit Tip: Nuts are healthy if you eat them in small portions – maybe 7 to 10. More than that is a mistake.

Eight potato chips with dip = 35 minutes of refereeing a football game.

Each chip is 10.5 calories, so that’s 84 calories. For each tablespoon of Frito-Lay French Onion Dip add another 30 calories, so assume a small dip, a half of tablespoon for each chip, which equals another 120 calories. Grand total: 204 calories.

Fit Tip: Try a low-calorie dip or make your own with nonfat yogurt or nonfat mayo. And use popped or baked chips.

KFC $10 chicken share (half a share) = 681 touchdown dances in the end zone.

If you have half the chicken share, that’s 3 pieces of original recipe:  a chicken breast, thigh, and drumstick, which is 740 calories.

Fit Tip: Bake skinless chicken and use whole-grain bread crumbs.

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

One slice of Domino Buffalo Chicken pizza XL = Doing “the wave” 2,194 times.

One slice is 450 calories.

Fit Tip: Try cheeseless pizza topped with plenty of veggies — broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms or even artichoke hearts. Also, avoid personal pan and stuffed-crust pizzas: The thick, oily crust means added fat and calories.

One Tostitos Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips with 7-layer dip = 25 minutes of dancing to Lady Gaga during the halftime show. 

Just one chip requires some serious rocking out. Twenty calories for each chip (yes 20!!) and 50 calories for 1 tablespoon of the seven-layer dip adds up to approximately 70 calories.

Fit Tip: The answer is salsa — it’s very low in calories. And pick baked, low-calorie chips at about 120 calories per ounce. If you’re eating the chips, have one at a time, and don’t put out huge bowls of them.

Two handfuls of Chex Mix = 30 minutes of jumping up and down after your team scores.

At 280 calories for 2 handfuls the mix is still high in calories in spite of being lower in fat than chips.

Fit Tip: Don’t eat them by the handful, or skip them altogether and go for some low calorie homemade popcorn. Or better yet, make it air-popped.

Five “Pigs in a Blanket” = 70 minutes of performing in a marching band.

Hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll or biscuit dough add up: Each one of those you pop in your mouth has 66 calories.

Fit Tip: Use low calorie franks, maybe skip the dough? Get some fancy mustard instead.

Deviled Egg

One Deviled Egg = 12 minutes of cheerleading.

Ever try doing one of those cheerleading routines? I didn’t think so. Deviled eggs are made with mayo, and in case you weren’t sure, mayo is very high in calories.

Fit Tip: You can use low-fat mayo, or how about just hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce or mustard?

One cup of chili = Face painting 22 wild fans

A cup of chili packed with beef, beans, peppers, onions and other assorted vegetables comes to about 350 calories. A blob of sour cream and some shredded cheese adds another 150 calories or more, for a grand total of 500 calories.

Fit Tip: Replace the beef with ground turkey breast, or make the chili vegetarian. Top it with low or nonfat sour cream and cheese.

Four pita chips with guacamole = 51 minutes of preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning up after the Super Bowl party.

The chips are about 13 calories each, and each scoop of guacamole is at least 25 calories, for a total of 38 calories. Guacamole is high in calories, but the good news is that avocados are packed with antioxidants, vitamins B6, C and E, as well as folate and potassium (60 percent more potassium per ounce than bananas), and they’re a great source of monounsaturated fat, which studies have shown reduces serum cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated fats.

Fit Tip: Eat one at a time. Don’t just sit with a big bowl of chips and guacamole in front of you while you mindlessly watch the game.

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*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own. 

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