Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
Every so often I like to send out a newsletter that’s a potpourri of interesting information I think you’ll enjoy. So let’s get started.
1. Did you know that March is the best time of year to save money on frozen foods? The National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association has dubbed March “National Frozen Foods” month. On March 1, the association will send a special insert in your local newspaper with coupons from participating brands. If you buy any frozen foods, look for the insert in your Sunday paper and stock up.
2. Do you know that your convenient cup of coffee might be killing you? There has been some controversy lately over the type of plastic used in those single-use disposable plastic Keurig-brand pods. According to the company, their pods have been approved by the FDA as “BPA-free.” But, and it’s a BIG BUT, the company will not disclose the types of plastic in the pods, only saying they are “Class 7” plastic.
The problem is that Class 7 plastic is a general catch-all designation that means “other.” The concerns arise because a lot of Class 7 plastic is made from a material called polycarbonate, which is known to contain BPA. The pods may not contain polycarbonate, but there is no way to know if they contain something similar. And since plastics can “leach” chemicals similar to BPA when they are heated, it seems a bit risky to use an unknown plastic container to brew steaming hot coffee.
If you use a single-cup Keurig brewer, you can brew your coffee with reusable, fully BPA-free pods made of metal and Class 5 recyclable plastic (the same kind recommended for baby bottles). These reusable pods are not only more environmentally conscious, but you can use any kind of coffee to fill it. You can also grind the beans immediately before putting them in the pod for a fresher flavor.
Reusable pods also save money. A reusable pod costs about $0.25 per cup of coffee. Keurig cups, sold in packs of 12 or 24, generally come out to about $0.75 per cup (sometimes more). So if you drink one cup of coffee every day, you’d spend $7.50 per month on the refillable cups versus the $22.50 you’d spend on disposable cups. If you’re closer to the average of three cups per day, that’s $22.50 versus an incredible $67.50 per month.
I don’t drink coffee using pods at all. I prefer to use a stove top coffee maker. If you’re interested in this method, let me know.
3. Don’t feel guilty if you prefer beer over wine! In a study published this January in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers worked on a molecule found in hops, an ingredient used in brewing beer, called xanthohumol (referred to as Xn). Xn has shown that it can help fight free radicals (reactive molecules that trigger inflammation), much like antioxidants.
But the exciting news coming from the same study is that Xn appears to trigger a pathway in brain cells that leads to cellular protection. This means it could offer protection against diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
I’ve written several times about the benefits of consuming moderate amounts of alcohol, including how beer is full of B vitamins. So feel free to enjoy an occasional beer for your health, just don’t overdo it. Moderation is always key! Too much alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycles, increase your blood pressure, and increase your risk of cancer.
4. New research is busting the “salt is bad for you” myth. The Journal of the American Medication Association Internal Medicine published a study that found modest amounts of salt in your diet isn’t harmful. For a decade, the study followed participants between the ages of 71 and 80. Researchers found that consuming up to 2,300 milligrams (or a teaspoon) of salt isn’t harmful.
Participants with this level of salt intake were no more likely to experience heart disease, stroke, heart attack, or heart failure. The death rate was lowest in people getting between 1,500 mg and 2,300 mg of salt per day, at 30.7%. The death rate was 33.8% in people consuming less than 1,500 mg and 35.2% in people consuming more than 2,300 mg.
More than just “not bad,” salt has clear health benefits. I included salt in some of my yearly updates for my top health tips. The category of “salt” includes magnesium and potassium, and you should make sure to get these when ingesting the plain old sodium chloride salt. Magnesium helps muscles relax. Potassium helps protect against high blood pressure. Reducing sodium salt intake is helpful only for those who are salt sensitive. So unless that’s you, stop worrying so much about salt.
5. Inactivity is a bigger danger to your health than your weight. This is according to researchers from the University of Cambridge. Researchers conducted a 12-year study and found that increasing activity cut mortality rates 7.5%, while losing weight only reduced mortality rates 3.6%. Only 20 minutes of walking a day was needed to see these benefits. Being overweight still carries plenty of risks, though. Excess body weight limits your mobility and puts unnecessary strain on your joints and organs.
But this study shows the huge benefits you receive from just a little bit of exercise each day, no matter your weight. If you read the February issue of Joyinmovement newsletter, you know movement is No. 2 on my 12 ways to improve your health this year. Walking outside is my preferred way to get moving every day. Do what I do and reap both the benefit of exercise and a little sunshine on your skin each day.
In fact, I just returned from a vacation where I logged an average of 9 miles of walking a day!
I hope you’ve found this potpourri thought-provoking, educational, and inspiring. And as always, enjoy a month of JOYinmovement!
Until next month,