Friday, January 29, 2010


Pecans have it all. Besides being one of the most elegant, versatile and rich-tasting nuts you can put on your plate, they offer up a package of health benefits that’s very impressive. In fact, the new 2005 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend eating 4 to 5 servings of nuts each week.

The Mayo Clinic conducted a study which found that all nuts are nutrient dense and naturally cholesterol free. Not only are nuts cholesterol free but, studies have suggested that eating pecans may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, leading to a reduction in the risk of heart attacks and coronary artery disease. The serving size for nuts is about one ounce, which equals about 15 pecan halves. Pecans are a great staple for vegetarians, because one serving of pecans can take the place of the protein found in an ounce of meat.

Pecans are also a rich source of oleic acid, the same type of fatty acid found in olive oil. Researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago recently found in laboratory tests that oleic acid has the ability to suppress the activity of a gene in cells thought to trigger breast cancer. While this area of study is still in its early stages, the researchers say it could eventually translate into a recommendation to eat more foods rich in oleic acid, like pecans and olive oil.

Researchers from Loma Linda University in California and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces , New Mexico , have confirmed that when pecans are part of the daily diet, levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood drop. Pecans get their cholesterol-lowering ability from both the type of fat they contain and the presence of beta-sitosterol, a natural cholesterol-lowering compound. Eating 1 ½ ounces of pecans a day, when its part of a heart-healthy diet, can reduce the risk of heart disease. Moreover, a study published in the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that pecans, hazelnuts, and walnuts contained the highest antioxidant levels of all nuts tested.

The same natural compound that gives pecans its cholesterol-lowering power, has also been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland in men. About two ounces of pecans provides a dose of beta-sitosterol found to be effective. In addition, a recent laboratory study from Purdue University found that gamma-tocopherol, the type of vitamin E found in pecans, has the ability to kill prostate cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. Last but not least, despite the widely held belief that “nuts are fattening,” several population studies have found that as nut consumption increased, body fat actually decreased.

To Your Health!

John Hall NSCA-CPT

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Breakfast is Boring

This morning I was sitting in front of my computer struggling to come up with a catchy title for this. I was thinking - yet again - about stressing the importance of breakfast to you.
So as I sat there trying to be clever I mumbled out loud, "Breakfast is boring."
And there you have it. That's exactly how I came up with this title. But do NOT take this message lightly.
You see, I know you're heard it a million times before. "You have to eat breakfast." And I know it's not a super sexy message. But do you have any idea how many people I meet as a fitness professional that DO NOT eat breakfast? A lot. And do you have any idea how many of those people that don't eat breakfast are overweight? Pretty much all of them.
Look, I'm not crazy. I know you don't have much time in the morning. And I know many of you just aren't all that hungry right after you wake up.
So let's look at this another way. You get up each morning and go to work every day because you want a roof over your head and food on the table, right? Day after day after day you go to work because you want the RESULT of that effort.
Well, IF you want to burn fat, feel better and have more energy you WILL eat breakfast every morning. Period. End of discussion.
Some things are boring. Some things just have to be done to get the result you want. For those of you that want to burn fat all day long, breakfast is just one of those things.

To Your Health,

John Hall NSCA-CPT

PS - Prograde Lean is a DELICIOUS chocolate meal replacement shake that I recommend to all my clients. It's the perfect solution to breakfast.

PPS – I am a Prograde Nutrition partner

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Medicinal Foods

Some vegetables contain chemicals that appear to enhance DNA repair in cells, which could lead to protection against cancer development, say Georgetown University Medical Center researchers. In a new study published in the "British Journal of Cancer" and by the journal "Nature" the researchers show that in laboratory tests, a compound called indole-3-carinol (I3C), found in broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, and a chemical called genistein, found in soy beans, can increase the levels of two specific proteins that repair damaged DNA.

This study is one of the first to provide a molecular explanation as to how eating vegetables could cut the risk of developing cancer, an association that some population studies have found, says the study's senior author, Eliot M. Rosen, MD, PhD, professor of oncology, cell biology, and radiation medicine at Georgetown 's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center . "It is now clear that the function of crucial cancer genes can be influenced by compounds in the things we eat," Rosen says.

"Our findings suggest a clear molecular process that would explain the connection between diet and cancer prevention." In this study, Rosen exposed breast and prostate cancer cells to increasing doses of I3C and genistein, and found that these chemicals boosted production of the repair proteins BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Since decreased amounts of the BRCA proteins are seen in cancer cells, higher levels might prevent cancer from developing, Rosen speculates, adding that the ability of I3C and genistein to increase production of BRCA proteins could explain their protective effects. The study was funded by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Cancer Institute and co-authors include Drs. Saijun Fan, MD, PhD, Qinghui Meng , MS , Karen Auborn, PhD, and Timothy Carter, PhD.

For many decades, science has been focused on understanding the mechanisms of disease so that drugs could be developed. But the closer they look at disease, the more they discover about the powerful and protective nature of whole foods. Have you had your veggies today?

To Your Health!

John Hall NSCA-CPT

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Delicious Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

It really is very simple to take better care of yourself. A couple of different food choices during the day and you'll be well on your way to fueling your body with all the nutrients it needs.

Take, for instance, Omega-3 fatty acids. They've been all over the news for years now as a super important part of your healthy eating plan.

So what are some delicious sources of Omega-3s?

1) Salmon is probably the most well-known choice. But hey, if you don't like salmon then some other choices of fish would be Mackeral, Tuna, Snapper or Sardines.

2) Walnuts are another top pick. These are perfect for a snack you can bring with you just about anywhere.

3) Essential Fatty Acid supplements are also a valid choice. Yes, you want to be eating whole foods and fueling your body with nature's best. But a high quality EFA supplement can be a great addition to your healthy eating plan.

And as a proud Prograde partner I recommend their EFA Icon product. It's extremely high quality and they are about the only supplement company on the planet I truly trust. RIGHT NOW.

To Your Health,

John Hall NSCA-CPT

PS - Again, Prograde Nutrition's EFA Icon product is super high quality and you can getit now at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut Oil is an extremely versatile and wonderfully delicious tasting oil. Good quality coconut oil is one of the most stable cooking oils, plus it's highly resistant to rancidity. There are many ways to incorporate coconut oil into your diet. It could be used anywhere you currently use any of the "seed" oils (soybean, corn, canola, safflower, sesame seed, sunflower seed); used as a butter for spreads, over popcorn, or for baking; used in soups or 'smoothies'; eaten right off the spoon; eaten as a "candy" or "white chocolate" when refrigerated or frozen; put in coffee or tea; mixed with peanut butter; etc. Good quality coconut oil is also mild on the skin, and used in many areas around the world to both nourish and protect the skin and hair from, among other things, the harsh effect of the sun. Coconut oil has natural anti-oxidants and acts as an anti-oxidant itself. Also, coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which have natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Coconut oil contains Monolaurin, which is the same anti-microbial agent found in human mother's milk. Plus, Caprylic and Capric acids (medium chains), which are relatively and uniquely high in coconut oil, diminish the nutritional requirements for essential fatty acids (EFAs).

To Your Health!

John Hall NSCA-CPT

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunflower Seeds

Scientists are now realizing that we need to pay more attention to our daily consumption of plant foods like seeds, nuts, and wholegrains. Sunflower seeds are packed with healthy fats, fiber, minerals, protein, and vitamin E, which are very important to the nutritional quality of your diet.

According to research completed in March 2001 by Dr. K. Phillips of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the sunflower kernel is rich in a number of nutrients that have been shown to protect against cardiovascular and other diseases and to act as antioxidants and anti-carcinogens. When considered in aggregate, this amazing kernel packs a powerful nutritional punch.

Sunflower kernels contain high levels of vitamin E, betaine, phenolic acids, and choline. In addition, the kernel is a good source of arginine and lignans. Each of these compounds, while perhaps unfamiliar to the layperson, has been studied by the scientific community and shown to offer a variety of health benefits.

• Vitamin E (Tocopherols): May protect against cardiovascular disease.
• Betaine : May protect against cardiovascular disease.
• Phenolic acids (chlorogenic acid: Antioxidant and anti-carcinogen.
• Choline: Plays a role in memory and cognitive function.
• Arginine: Potential heart benefits.
• Lignans: May protect against heart disease and some cancers; lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

To Your Health!

John Hall NSCA-CPT

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Healthy Eating Habits at a Youg Age

Teaching children from a young age to eat healthy fats can have lifelong health benefits according to a new study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation in August, 2007.

The study focused on over one thousand children in Findland who were followed from the age of 7 months through age 14. The researchers found that children who were taught to focus on the healthy fats found in fish, nuts, seeds, and plant oils had slightly lower cholesterol levels compared to children who ate an unrestricted diet by the time they reached the age of 14.

Dr. Art Labovitz, cardiology director at Saint Louis University School of Medicine pointed out that even a small decrease in cholesterol levels can have a big influence over the course of your child’s life. “If you study large numbers of people, the small increments result in a significant change in heart attacks and cardiac deaths,” said Dr. Art Labovitz.

Dr. Harri Niinikoski, lead author of the study done at the University of Turku in Finland, said children begin forming their eating and lifestyle habits in childhood. “We think that this lifestyle change can be started early,” he said.

Dr. Sarah Blumenschein, a pediatric cardiologist with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said the study shows that early intervention is the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “The earlier you intervene, the more likely you are going to be successful,” she said.

The key is to teach your children, starting as young as possilbe, to appreciate the healthy fats found in fish, nuts, seeds, and plant oils. By eating a little less meat and avoiding the saturated fas and trans fats which are in most processed foods, fast foods and junk foods – your children will lower their total fat intake and enjoy more of the benefits that healthy fats have to offer. As your children grow into their teens and begin eating more meals away from home, their healthy habits will guide them towards healthier food choices when unsupervised.

We encourage parents everywhere to read the nutrition information on the foods that their children eat. The healthy fats are listed as unsaturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The unhealthy fats are listed as saturated fats and trans fats.

To Your Health!

John Hall NSCA-CPT

Monday, January 18, 2010

Saline Sprays

Could a Saline Spray Stop the Spread of Flu, TB, SARS?

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent WASHINGTON - Mon Nov 29, 2004 (Reuters) - Simply inhaling a saltwater spray could help prevent the spread of diseases including flu and tuberculosis, U.S. and German researchers reported on Monday.

They found a saline spray, administered using a device called a jet nebulizer, reduced the number of germ-spreading droplets by as much as 70 percent for six hours.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (news - web sites), could provide a way to help control epidemics such as the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that spread globally and killed many health care workers trying to help patients.

The findings might also help control any global influenza pandemic, which almost all health experts believe is coming and which could kill millions.

The researchers noted much more study was needed before a saline spray device could be marketed to prevent the spread of diseases.

Gerhard Scheuch of Harvard University and colleagues there and at biotechnology firms Pulmatrix and Inamed tested 11 volunteers, giving them the oral spray and then measuring how many particles they released when coughing.

"Viruses known to spread from humans and/or animals through breathing, sneezing, and coughing include measles, influenza virus, adenovirus, African swine fever virus, foot and mouth disease virus, Varicella zoster virus (chickenpox), infectious bronchitis virus and smallpox, among others," they wrote. Bacteria spread in airborne droplets include anthrax, Escherichia coli and tuberculosis.

Scheuch's team noted some people produced many more little droplets or bioaerosols [germs] than others -- something also seen by investigators of the SARS outbreak that spread from China to cities around the world, killing 800 people. Such "super-spreaders" were responsible for several clusters of the often deadly viral infection.

That may mean that about half the population generally may produce more than 98 percent of all disease-spreading droplets, the researchers said.

"We found a sharp demarcation between individuals who are 'high' and 'low' producers of bioaerosols, small droplets of fluid exhaled from the lungs that may carry airborne pathogens," said David Edwards, a professor of biomedical engineering at Harvard, who worked on the study.

"Roughly half our subjects exhaled tens of bioaerosol particles per liter, while the other half exhaled thousands of these particles. The number of exhaled particles varied dramatically over time and among subjects, ranging from a low of one particle per liter to a high of more than 10,000."

They noticed that when volunteers breathed with their mouths open, as some people do habitually and which cold sufferers often must do, more droplets were spread than when they coughed or sneezed.

After the volunteers inhaled a salt spray via the nebulizer for six minutes, those prone to producing the most droplets saw a reduction of as much as 70 percent, the researchers said.

The saline seems to affect the surface tension of fluid inside the lungs, they found. Surface tension is a physical property of fluids that allows some bugs to walk on water, for instance, and that causes water to form droplets.

To Your Health!

John Hall NSCA-CPT

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Importance of Multi-Vitamins

The Importance of Multi-Vitamins

Bottom line: Many people just aren't meeting the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamins and minerals. And even people that eat plenty of fruits and veggies don't either, thanks to current farming practices and mass food production.

And here's a really interesting study from the Journal of the American Medical Association that states, "it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements."

(Check out the study on their website here: )

Additionally, a high-quality multi-vitamin supplement may help:

To prevent diseases

Get the RDA of vital nutrients

Combat nutrient deficiencies in foods

Promote consistent nutrient intake

Long story short: A great way to provide your body with the nutritional foundation you need each day is a Whole Foods based multi-vitamin. I'm a proud Prograde Nutrition partner and they have a terrific product called VGF 25+ that is made from 25 veggies, greens and fruits.

The best part is you can try Prograde's VGF 25+ for FREE! (There's just a small S & H charge)

Hope this info helps you out. I'll be back with more quick tips to help you meet all your health and fitness goals.

To Your Health!

John Hall NSCA-CPT

PS - You can see all the natural ingredients they use to make VGF 25+ at