Hooray, it's FRIDAY! Here are a handful of ideas for making this weekend a healthier one:
#1: Get some sun, but not too much.
Sun exposure fosters vitamin D synthesis which helps ward-off bone loss, autoimmune conditions, some forms of cancer, and respiratory infections . Vitamin D deficiency is rampant, and adding a little sun to your life can have a significant impact on your health. However, there’s no need to bake yourself to a crisp. Five to thirty minutes of unprotected sun time, most days of the week is all you need to get adequate vitamin D during the warmer months of the year .
#2: Have a glass or two of vino.
Research shows that 1-2 glasses of red wine a day has a positive effect on heart disease risk, weight, type II diabetes risk, certain forms of cancer and even gut microbiota [2-4]. The perks of moderate red wine consumption are believed to be due to polyphenolic compounds in grapes which fight inflammation and oxidative damage. Beyond 2 glasses of red wine a day, the benefits quickly disappear and red wine becomes damaging rather than protective. Alcohol is also linked with increased risk of breast cancer in women and high risk groups should be particularly cautious [2,3].
#3: Impose a 24 hour digital detox.
The damaging effects of stress is something I talked about earlier in the week. Chronic stress is inflammatory, and effects immunity, hunger and appetite signals, food cravings, weight, blood sugar, triglycerides and sleep (to name a few). Do yourself a favor, and give your brain a break from work, social media, email, etc with a 24 hour (or longer) digital hiatus. You’ll be fresher and more productive on Monday.
#4: HIIT, even just a little bit.
High intensity interval training is not as intimidating as the name suggests . It simply means alternating short bursts of higher intensity exercise (>70% effort) with period of rest or lower intensity activity. It can take place in many forms including running, biking, circuit training, and rowing.
One of the best things about HIIT is that your metabolism remains elevated several hours after you’ve finished exercising, and sessions are typically fast and short, instead of long and slow . The downside is that it's tougher on your body so you need to build-in adequate rest between sessions. Add a little HIIT to enjoy a bump in metabolism this weekend.
#5: Reboot with good bacteria.
Recent studies indicate that even just a couple of days of not-so-healthy food (and drink) decisions can alter the balance of bacteria in the gut . Gut bacteria serve as a barrier between digestive system and the bloodstream and play an important role in immunity, nutrient absorption, and regulating inflammation . There is still much to be learned about this topic however, consuming probiotic rich foods like kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi may help maintain the balance over the weekend, when you’re most likely to indulge.
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!
 Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Holick MF. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6 Suppl):1678S-88S. Review.
 Alcoholic Beverage Consumption and Chronic Diseases. Zhou Y, Zheng J, Li S, Zhou T, Zhang P, Li HB. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 May 24;13(6). pii: E522.. Review.
 Effects of moderate beer consumption on health and disease: A consensus document. de Gaetano G, Costanzo S, Di Castelnuovo A, Badimon L, Bejko D, Alkerwi A, Chiva-Blanch G, Estruch R, La Vecchia C, Panico S, Pounis G, Sofi F, Stranges S, Trevisan M, Ursini F, Cerletti C, Donati MB, Iacoviello L. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2016 Jun;26(6):443-67. Epub 2016 Mar 31. Review.
 Influence of red wine polyphenols and ethanol on the gut microbiota ecology and biochemical biomarkers. Queipo-Ortuño MI, Boto-Ordóñez M, Murri M, Gomez-Zumaquero JM, Clemente-Postigo M, Estruch R, Cardona Diaz F, Andrés-Lacueva C, Tinahones FJ. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;95(6):1323-34. Epub 2012 May 2.
 High-intensity aerobic interval training increases fat and carbohydrate metabolic capacities in human skeletal muscle. Perry CG, Heigenhauser GJ, Bonen A, Spriet LL.Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2008 Dec;33(6):1112-23. doi: 10.1139/H08-097.
 Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. David LA, Maurice CF, Carmody RN, Gootenberg DB, Button JE, Wolfe BE, Ling AV, Devlin AS, Varma Y, Fischbach MA, Biddinger SB, Dutton RJ, Turnbaugh PJ.Nature. 2014 Jan 23;505(7484):559-63. Epub 2013 Dec 11.