kris ulland

Your Nutrition Partner

Some research has been done to help us understand when is the best time to work out. There is evidence that when we workout may alter how we benefit from exercise.

One study looked at men at high risk for Type 2 diabetes and found that those completed afternoon workouts upped their metabolic health far more that those who performed the same exercise earlier in the day.

Scientists have known for some time that the chronology of our days influences the quality of our health. Research shows that every tissue in our bodies contains a kind of molecular clock that responds to biological messages related to daily exposure to light, food and sleep.

These cellular clocks help to trigger when our cells divide, fuel up, express genes and do the everyday functions we rely on. Our lifestyles create multiple circadian rhythms that regulate our bodies’ temperature, hormones levels, blood sugar, blood pressure, muscular strength and other systems that dip and crest throughout the day.

Circadian science also shows that disrupting normal 24-hour circadian patterns can impair our health. People whose sleep habits are upended tend to be at high risk for metabolic problems such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. The same is true for people who eat late a night.  Research suggests that manipulating the timing of sleep and meals can improve metabolic health.

Research is evaluating the best time to work out to reap the ultimate benefits.

Some suggest that morning workouts amplify fat burning and weight loss. But, then the 2019 study found that men with Type-2 diabetes who complete a few minutes of high-intensity interval session in the afternoon substantially improved their blood-sugar control after two weeks. For this group of men, when they did the intense workouts in the morning, their blood-sugar actually spiked to unhealthy numbers.

Dr. Patric Schrauwen, a professor of nutrition and movement sciences at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, when commenting on these findings said, “…this study does suggest that afternoon exercise may be more beneficial” for people with disrupted metabolisms then the same exercise earlier in the day.

Dr. Schrauwen said that he believes moderate afternoon exercise may have an impact on the foods we consume later in the evening and “help to faster metabolize people’s last meals” before they go to sleep.

This effect could leave our bodies in a fasted state overnight, which may better synchronize body clocks and metabolism.

Dr. Schrauwen said that most effective exercise regimen for each of us has to align with our daily routines and exercise inclinations. Because exercise is good for us at any time of day. But, that is true only if we keep doing it!

A recent study found that a mere four seconds of intense intervals, repeated until they amount to a minute of total exertion, lead to rapid and meaningful improvements in strength, fitness and general physical performance among middle-aged and older adults.

This study relied on a type of specialized stationary bicycle but the results suggested that strenuous but super-abbreviated workouts can produce outsized benefits for our health and well-being.

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, consists of quick spurts of dining physical effort, followed by rest, with the sequence repeated multiple times. In studies, short HIIT workouts typically produce health gains that are equal or more pronounced that much longer, gentler workouts.

The optimal interval span should stress our muscles and other bodily systems enough to jump-start physiological changes but not so much that we give up. HIIT scientist studied intervals ranging from four minutes to 20 seconds. Ed Coyle, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas in Austin, and his graduate assistant Jakob Allen suspected that even 20-second spurts, performed intensely, might exceed some exerciser’s tolerance. So, he started looking for the shortest possible interval that was still effective.

4 seconds! The research, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, detailed how they arrived at that number by first working with competitive athletes at the university’s human performance lab. These athletes reached their maximum power output and all-out aerobic effort after only about two seconds of pedaling hard on specialized stationary bicycles.

The rest of us, Dr. Coyle and his colleagues reasoned, probably would require twice as long – or about 4 seconds. The researchers assumed that by that point most people should have massively stimulated their muscles and aerobic systems but not yet exhausted them. If the riders then rested for a minute or so before sprinting again, they should be able to repeat the all-out efforts again and again.

They first tested this on college students and found that these workouts did counteract some of the metabolic effects of sitting allay and eating poorly. To get a better idea of how a regular adult would benefit from 4 second repeated interval training, they recruited 39 men and women aged 50 to 68 who were sedentary but had no other major health concerns.

They established a baseline for each individual and then the volunteers began visiting the performance lab three times a week. They competed a brief workout of repeated four-second intervals on the lab’s specialized bikes – sprinting for four seconds, followed by 56 seconds of rest. They repeated the sequence 15 times, for a total of 60 seconds of intervals.

Over two months, the riders’ rest periods declined to26 seconds and they increased their total number of sprints to 30 per session.

At the end of eight weeks, the scientists retested everyone and found substantial differences. On average, riders had increased their fitness by about 10 percent, gained considerable muscle mass and strength in their legs, reduced the stiffness of their arteries and outperformed their previous selves in regular daily activities – all from about three to six minutes a week of actual exercise.

These intervals were short but effectively improved health and fitness in ordinary adults.

Even without the specialized bike and a scientist calling out countdowns, we can replicate the findings. Sprint up a hill or staircase as hard as possible or run and jump in place vigorously. We will probably need more than four seconds in these circumstances. Most of us can do something intensely for eight seconds!

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is a popular type of muskmelon. It’s a member of the cucurbit family (Cucurbitaceae) of plants, along with cucumbers, pumpkins, gourds and other melon varieties, like honeydew.

Cantaloupes grow on low vines and have a webbed outer skin that turns from green to mostly beige when ripe. In Europe, the name cantaloupe is used to refer to a slightly different melon with beige and green skin. Both have orange, sweet flesh with seeds in the center.

Cantaloupe is cultivated throughout the world, including Asia and Europe. In the U.S., California has the highest production, although they still import from Central America because consumption is high and it’s a warm-season crop.

Cantaloupes are full of fiber, niacin, vitamin B6, folate and one of the highest sources of vitamin A of any fruit. They are low in sodium, fat and cholesterol and high in manganese, which is essential for maintaining strong antioxidant defense, good vision and healthy skin, and is a known protectant against lung and mouth cancers.

cantaloupe are an excellent source of vitamin C to defend the body against infection. One cup of balled cantaloupe contains over 100 percent of the recommended daily value (DV) of vitamin C. These melons are also a source of potassium, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure and helps protect against stroke and coronary heart diseases. Cantaloupe is also high in antioxidant flavonoids, such as beta-carotene, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids absorbed into the retina, where scientists believe they may provide light-filtering functions to protect against age-related macular degeneration. The flavonoid cryptoxanthin shields cells and other areas of the body from free radicals, and may ultimately help inhibit colon and lung cancers.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) cantaloupe has more beta- carotene than:

  • apricots
  • grapefruit
  • oranges
  • peaches
  • tangerines
  • nectarines
  • mangoes

Cantaloupes contain fructose, so limit portion size.  Like other members of the Cucurbitaceae family, cantaloupes contain lectins, which are plant proteins that may have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome. To avoid this, peel and deseed your cantaloupes before cooking them.

Cantaloupe are a good source of folate, known as vitamin B-9. Folate is the term used when it’s naturally present in foods. Folic acid is the term used for supplements and fortified foods. Folate is well-known for preventing neural-tube birth defects like spinal bifida.

How to Buy

Buy organic cantaloupes, as they are also one of several foods often contaminated by toxic insecticides, and ranks at no. 38 in the Environmental Working Group’s 2020 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce list.

When shopping for cantaloupe, look for heavy, firm fruit that is a golden beige color underneath the light-colored webbing. Ripe melons have a distinctive cantaloupe smell when held close to your nose. Avoid soft, overripe melons. If your cantaloupe isn’t quite ready yet, let it sit on the counter for up to three days to ripen.

Whole cantaloupe is frequently available year-round at most grocery stores with a set price per melon. Sliced or cubed cantaloupe is priced per pound. The melons tend to come from domestic or close-by sources when the fruit is in season in the late summer. Off-season, melons are often shipped from faraway farms. These cantaloupes are picked very green and unripe and left to ripen during the journey.

For the best-tasting fruit, buy cantaloupe in season and, whenever possible, from a local source. Late summer farmers’ markets are the ideal place to buy a fresh, great-tasting melon.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to know when cantaloupes are ready for consumption, but there are a few clues. When ripe, they’re inordinately heavy, the stem end gives just a bit when pressed with your thumb (too much and it may be overripe) and a firm knuckle rap will produce a low and rather hollow sound.

How to Store

Store a whole cantaloupe on your countertop for no longer than three days or in the fridge for up to five days. Unripe cantaloupes should be ripened on the countertop and prepared as soon as they ripen. Don’t stash a ripening cantaloupe near other fruits and veggies since the ethylene it gives off will cause the produce around it to ripen more quickly.

Before you cut the fruit open, thoroughly wash the outer skin with a clean brush under running water. Once sliced, place in a container in the fridge at a temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

Prepared cantaloupe will last for up to three days in an airtight container in the fridge, but it’s best eaten as soon as possible. Excess or overripe cantaloupe can be pureed and frozen for use in smoothies and similar recipes.

How to Cook

When it’s time to eat your melon, wash the exterior well because your knife can carry harmful bacteria to the interior when cutting. Steady it on a cutting board and use a large chef’s knife to cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the middle and slice into wedges. The peel is inedible and should be removed or discarded.

Cantaloupe is tasty when chopped up and mixed with other fruits, such as watermelon, honeydew and a few strawberries and blueberries thrown in for a colorful breakfast, brunch or snack.

  • Cantaloupe smoothie. This nutritious drink is made from cantaloupe, Greek yogurt, and natural sweetener. It makes a great breakfast or snack.
  • Cantaloupe salad. Combining cantaloupe with basil, vegan mozzarella, onions, red wine vinegar, and olives for a savory element.
  • Cantaloupe sorbet. You only need four ingredients to make this frosty treat: cantaloupe, lemon, maple syrup, and water.
  • Roasted cantaloupe. Roasting brings out the melon’s natural sweetness.

 

Cantaloupe Ice Cream

Kris Ulland

2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cantaloupe melon

Instructions

  1. Slice the banana.
  2. Wash the cantaloupe, get rid of the skin and the seeds, and slice into quarters
  3. Place banana and 1/4 of the cantaloupe in a reusable silicone bag and freeze overnight.
  4. Put the frozen fruits in your food processor or high-speed blender and pulse or blend until completely smooth. (Depending on the power of your processor, this may take a while.) Add a tablespoon of water if needed.
  5. Transfer the ice cream to the bowls. Garnish with mint or cinnamon.

Resources

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/well/move/the-best-time-of-day-to-exercise.html
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PMID: 30426166
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892306/
https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/full-list.php https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-of-cantaloupe#fiber
https://www.encyclopedia.com/food/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cucumbers-melons-and-other-cucurbits
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