by Frances Sheridan Goulart

Sustained movement along with appropriate placement of that shoulder, leg or hip plus careful alignment and a considered trajectory for each part of the body.

We know these bundled cues as the principle of Precision. But did you know that Precision has a crossover value? What’s good for the transversus, in other words, is good for the esophagus.

For instance, exactly how many servings of fruit did you have yesterday, today, last week? Not approximately, but precisely? Did you max out at one banana for the day today or did you put precisely four servings of fruit into your culinary and nutritional trajectory? Ten minutes on the mat is nice, but it’s not as beneficial as 40. So it goes when you put down the Circle and pick up the fork.

It matters what we do in the name of precision. The USDA would like to see the average woman eating about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fruit daily, or put another way, making 50 percent of what lands on her plate fruits and vegetables.

Meal and snack-time math can make the difference between good health and not so good health, as does Pilates practiced on the clock.

Fruit and vegetables, for example, supply fiber, vitamins and minerals and fewer calories than most of the foods we’re eating, preventing obesity and diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

So here are precisely 10 tips to help you build your best nutritional self in 2012.

The power of two: Before you splash into your first meal for the day, clean your system. Put the juice of two lemons in a small pitcher of water. Sip this throughout the day. Or get your immune-boosting antioxidants from two cups of (organic) green tea daily or two cups of herbal Rooibos.

Super cinnamon: Keep a shaker of cinnamon on your table. Sprinkle on fruit or smoothies or yogurt. Cinnamon contains antimicrobial compounds that inhibit bacteria and viruses. A half teaspoon of cinnamon daily helps the body use insulin more efficiently and cuts blood sugar levels by up to 30 percent.

Zest your way to a happier gut: Keep that rind you peeled off your next orange, tangerine or tangelo. It’s a good source of probiotics, a kind of carbohydrate that feeds the good bacteria in your intestinal tract, helping prevent the growth of GI pathogens. Use the zest atop spicy soups, in muffins and with crackers.

Spoon up to maximize your vitamin E: Take your daily vitamin E supplement with food. Studies show that vitamin E is absorbed more efficiently and retained at higher levels when taken with a meal rather than without. Another key to better absorption: Take natural vitamin E—look for d-tocopherol, rather than dl-tocopherol (synthetic) on the label.

A cupful of tea keeps the cardiologist away: Studies show that regular consumption of black tea may reduce your risk of heart disease by half. The secret ingredient is catechins, a kind-to-your-cardio-system chemical found in all teas but especially in black varieties. Another way to capitalize on catechins: Be on the watch for recipes where tea will work as well as the water that’s called for.

Oil up for antioxidants: For add-on antioxidants, add a few drops of cold-pressed vegetable or nut oil to your soup, rice or veggie bowl before serving it up. This increases your absorption of antioxidants, especially beta-carotene, which is poorly absorbed without fat.

Spice up for super immunity: Keep a shaker of the curry spice turmeric next to the salt and pepper. Turmeric is a preventive medicine with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Add a dash to any soup or steamed vegetable dish that begs for a little bite.

Strawberry is for C: Did you know that one extra strawberry a day is what you need to get the extra 15 milligrams of vitamin C now recommended by the National Academy of Sciences? Of course, more is even better. Keep a bowl of tomato soup in the fridge to get a megadose of water-soluble C in each spoonful.

Block that buzz: House blends at high-end coffee shops like Starbucks have up to 50 percent more caffeine than other java shops. In fact, don’t drink coffee or tea with that lunchtime soup. Both contain tannins, which reduce iron absorption by up to 94 percent. This includes some herbal teas like peppermint, which also interfere with iron uptake.

Do the flax grind: Keep a pepper grinder on the table filled with flaxseeds to add extra omega-3s to meals (refrigerate between meals).

January 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm
Category: Frances Sheridan Goulart, Pilates Blog