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Date Sugar - A Raw Food Enthusiast's Delight
October 08, 2022 10:35 AM
For raw food enthusiasts, you can't get much better than date sugar. Unlike typical refined sugar from cane or beets, date sugar is actually finely chopped dry dates. There's no processing whatsoever, so you get an unrefined sweetener that's uniquely suited to certain culinary applications.
In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at date sugar and some of its key benefits. We'll also explore how to use date sugar in the kitchen to create raw food masterpieces!
The Benefits of Date Sugar
Date sugar is an excellent alternative to refined cane or beet sugar for a number of reasons. First, date sugar is unrefined, meaning that it retains all of the natural nutrients found in dates. These include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Second, because date sugar is made from 100% dried dates, it contains no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. This makes it a great choice for those looking to avoid processed foods. Finally, date sugar has a lower glycemic index than refined sugars, which means it won't cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
How to Use Date Sugar in the Kitchen
Date sugar can be used in any recipe that calls for cane or beet sugar. However, because it is less processed and has a higher moisture content than refined sugars, date sugar is best suited for baked goods such as cakes, cookies, muffins, and quick breads. When using date sugar in place of refined sugars, you may need to make adjustments to your recipe. For instance, you may need to add more liquid to your batter or dough since date sugar will absorb moisture from the ingredients around it.
If you're looking for araw food-friendly alternative to refined cane or beet sugar, date sugar is a great option. This unrefined sweetener is made from 100% dried dates and contains no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Plus, date sugar has a lower glycemic index than refined sugars—making it a healthier choice overall. So next time you're baking up a batch of raw food goodies, reach for date sugar instead of refined cane or beet sugar—your tastebuds (and Waistline!) will thank you!
4 magical herbs that can help you lose weight faster
April 26, 2019 01:34 PM
We're constantly met with over-the-counter supplements loaded with chemicals and preservatives that promote claims of being able to shrink your waistline, but what if there were more natural options? Consuming ginseng helps regulate your blood sugar levels, as well as boost your metabolism. Garlic is almost a magical herb in how it is able to help you fight off cravings due to your body being able to sustain levels of fullness for longer periods of time.
"Those 7 days or 1-month weight loss challenges cannot give you a long-term result."
Read more: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/heres-4-magical-herbs-that-can-help-you-lose-weight-faster/articleshow/68283825.cms
How Nutrient Deficiencies Can Affect Your Mental Health
September 11, 2018 05:52 PM
We often separate who we are into two separate parts, specifically body and mind, acting a if we are some odd hybrid creature. But, the truth is that the brain is as much a part of the body as the fingers, muscles and hair are. We all expect our diet to affect our waistline, and strength, our energy and our hair's luster, or lack thereof. In reality, since our brains are as much affected by our diet as any other part, it stands to reason that our mind's ability to handle stress, emotions and mental load are very much affected too. All of which is born out by data which shows that diets that are imbalanced and overloaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, and chemical additives are apt to contribute to disease symptoms, like ADHD, depression and anxiety.
When the body lacks specific nutrients, like sufficient protein, it can hamper the body's ability to create needed brain chemicals that aid in our ability to handle emotions and stress. In fact, the brain is comprised of a great deal of fat. So, healthy a diet that has sufficient good quality fatty acids is important fro brain health. Brain health and stamina is affected by an array of nutrients that come from food, including magnesium, vitamin B12, zinc and vitamin D. Their lack can cause or hasten mood and behavior shifts that can become problems.
"But the foods we eat also play a role in how we feel mentally as well, and an imbalanced diet can mess with our heads just as much as our stomachs."
Read more: https://www.bustle.com/p/how-nutrient-deficiencies-can-affect-your-mental-health-11194369
Lycopene Can Help in Preventing Cancer And Cardiovascular Diseases
September 06, 2018 05:52 PM
Tomatoes are a widely-used and highly nutritious fruit whose juice contains abundant amounts of the antioxidant lycopene, as well as both beta and alpha carotene and many other vitamins and minerals. Tomato juice can help you lose weight and trim your waistline due to its high fiber and low sodium, and can also help improve your cholesterol. Lycopene also appears to have cancer-fighting properties as well. Tomato juice can also help your body detoxify itself, and foster healthy skin.
"Tomato is a very commonly used fruit which we use in our day to day diet. Tomato can be consumed raw in many recipes as well. It can also be consumed as a juice. The taste of tomato juice is similar to that of a raw tomato which tastes salty."
Read more: https://tophealthjournal.com/1554/lycopene-can-help-in-preventing-cancer-and-cardiovascular-diseases/
Eating walnuts may help ward of several diseases: experts
November 12, 2017 03:59 PM
Walnuts are being examined by Indian researchers for their health benefits. Well known to have MUFAs and Omega-3 fatty acids, these nuts are heart healthy and can help lower triglycerides. Indian researchers are looking into the benefits of nuts to help with the rise of obesity on the subcontinent. As the wages have gone up in cities, so have the waistlines. By researching and hopefully introducing more healthy options to people's diets, they are hoping to have an impact on the subcontinent as a whole.
"Eating a diet rich in walnuts may help prevent several diseases prevalent in India such as cardiovascular disorders, cancer and diabetes, according to an international team of researchers."
Read more: http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/eating-walnuts-may-help-ward-of-several-diseases-experts-4915514/
9 Health Benefits of Switching to Brown Rice
August 12, 2017 04:14 PM
When it comes to nutrition and health benefits, brown rice is the superior option over white rice. Brown rice is less processed than white rice, and it also boasts a higher level of vitamins and minerals as well as greater fiber content. Brown rice carries a number of health benefits with it and nutritionists say it strengthens cardiovascular, digestive, and bone health. Additionally, it lowers cholesterol and helps to prevent diabetes. Brown rice benefits one’s waistline as well, as it keeps the stomach feeling full while also providing the body with energy.
"Recent studies suggest that eating cereals high in fiber and low in glycemic content such as brown rice reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome."
Read more: http://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/9-health-benefits-of-switching-to-brown-rice-1730477
Inflammation can disrupt body's functions
July 27, 2017 04:14 PM
Inflammation can disrupt body functions, as stated in an article by Review Journal. An interview conducted with Dr. U. Inge Ferguson, a physician who specializes in internal and obesity medicine, describes a multitude of issues ongoing inflammation can create for the body. For instance, excess weight gain and hormonal imbalances coupled with inflammation can promote other diseases to develop. The article describes what the inflammatory process is in the body, why we should be concerned about ongoing inflammation, the correlation between inflammation and obesity, and the steps to take to prevent or reduce ongoing inflammation in the body.
"Inflammation happens early on as normal healing. Over time inflammation that continues is harmful, getting in the way of normal body functions."
Read more: https://www.reviewjournal.com/life/health/inflammation-can-disrupt-bodys-functions/
What Are Cannabis Effects on Metabolism and Weight Loss?
June 27, 2017 11:14 AM
Some new findings have shown the cannabis helps in your weight-loss goals by enhancing your workout routine. Those who use cannabis have smaller waistlines, body mass index and a higher resistance to insulin. These results add to the other known benefits of cannabis use. The key to using cannabis to lose weight includes using the correct strand and also using consistency and your usage and dosage. If used correctly, your workouts can become longer and more officiant.
Read more: What Are Cannabis Effects on Metabolism and Weight Loss?
5 Reasons you should NEVER use canola oil, even if its ORGANIC
June 27, 2017 09:14 AM
Canola oil is a popular cooking oil that is attractive to customers and the restaurant industry. Canola oil is believed to have benefits such as a smaller waistline and a cleaner environment. It is now believed that Canola oil may not be as healthy as once thought. Canola oil must undergo many chemical processes in its original form before it can be converted into Canola oil. Also, since the Canola plant is one of the first plants that was genetically modified, it may be subject to exposure by a large amount of pesticides.
"Even canola oils deemed organic still undergo various production processes, and may not have a healthier fatty acid profile compared with commercial varieties."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-06-24-6-reasons-you-should-never-use-canola-oil-even-if-its-organic.html
Cinnamon highly beneficial in managing metabolic syndrome says research
June 25, 2017 07:14 AM
Research has said that cinnamon is highly beneficial in managing metabolic syndrome. Cinnamon is an ingredient that is very common in Indian dishes. Metabolic syndrome is a group of medical conditions that include high blood pressure and excess body fat around the waist. This increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes in people. People were put on a cinnamon trial and they ended up losing weight and became healthier people. Spices and herbs can have a great impact on health.
Read more: Cinnamon highly beneficial in managing metabolic syndrome says research
Boil This 2-Ingredient Raw Honey and Cinnamon Mixture to Shed Belly Fat Off Your Waistline!
May 05, 2017 04:59 AM
Do you want to shrink the Waist line? Many people do but find that it is a whole lot easier said than done. Or, maybe you're just not using the right techniques to trim that belly fat and get the Waist that makes you feel like a million bucks. All you need is this mixture and you can soon watch the pounds melt away. You probably have these two items in the pantry already, so it is time to get that weight gone.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsdrCabkjps&rel=0
"The dream of numerous people, and especially women, is to be able to lose weight without being on a strict healthy diet."
Drink This In Bed BEFORE Getting Up To Drop Weight, Reduce Inflammation And More
March 20, 2017 06:44 AM
If you drink one thing in bed before getting up to drop weight, you can reduce inflammation and more. If you have very rushed mornings, then it can be quite a challenge to slow down and take care of basic things like hydration. If you want to try this amazing recipe, then you will make it before you go to bed.
"But what if slowing down and drinking this elixir before you even got out of bed could improve your morning routine, your mood and your Waistline?"
How to eat to get lean
January 04, 2017 07:59 AM
Do you love food but want to lose some inches off your Waistline? Let me tell you, this is the article for you. Whether you want to lose fat or build muscle, this article will provide you some insight as to how to accomplish your goals without sacrificing your love of food.
"We’re going to shoot it straight: Cutting calories is going to really suck for the entire first week."
Where Thanksgiving calories hide -- and how to burn them off
December 07, 2016 07:59 AM
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and that means calories, carbs, and fats galore. But there are some easy ways to make your Thanksgiving spread a little bit healthier for you and your family. Watch your serving sizes, eat slowly, and maybe even get some Holiday exercise, and you might just be able to keep this year's Thanksgiving dinner from ruining your Waistline.
"Normally, people scoop up mounds of stuff on their plate, and that's where it gets to be a problem. But if you can handle small portion sizes, then that's fine," said Sara Haas, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics."
Joan Salge Blake: Can An Apple A Day Keep Your Cardiologist At Bay?
November 14, 2016 02:49 PM
Seems there is some truth to that old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” If that doctor is a cardiologist it seems there just may be truth there. Apples have many components that indeed work to keep your heart healthy and may help lower bad cholesterol. Apples may even help lower high blood pressure and slim your Waistline.
"Apples are a low-calorie, rich source of fiber, phytochemicals, and potassium, all of which can keep your heart healthy."
How to stop sugar from sneaking into your child's diet
November 12, 2016 06:59 AM
No matter how careful you are, sugary can easily slip into your child's diet, resulting in added weight, cavities, and other health concerns. But, you can stop this from happening but you must take charge now to make a difference. Take a look at this article and learn what you can do to stop sugar from sneaking in.
""Sugar doesn't cause disease just because of its calories. Sugar causes disease because it's sugar," Lustig said. "Thin people get metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes, too. Obesity increases the risk, but sugar is an independent risk factor apart from calories or obesity.""
Diet soda harms your body, does far more harm than good
November 06, 2016 01:04 PM
The debate over diet soda continues but now, facts show that it is actually more harmful to the body than it is good. If you consume these diet drinks, even periodically now is the time to switch your drink of choice. This article provides more information about the devastating effects of diet soda to your body.
"From adding inches to your Waist to increasing the risk of diabetes, diet soda doesn't score any better in terms of health than regular sugary drinks."
What Can Stevia Do For Me?
February 08, 2014 09:31 AM
Morning Sugar Crave!
Does that early morning blueberry muffin leave you craving another sweet treat only hours later? Or do you find that you need a candy bar or soda drink in order to make it through the afternoon. If so you are not alone. The unfortunate fact is that many of us have become addicted to sugary treats.
This leads us on a roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows, where we are constantly trying to give our body the energy demands. Not only does this make it difficult for a us to be productive, it also causes health problems and makes it difficult to maintain our weight.
There is a natural solution that can help you out – Stevia.
Stevia is derived from the leaves of the Stevia plant. It's a natural sweeter which contains no sugar and no calories. People with a sweet tooth also love the fact that stevia is 100 times sweeter than sugar in some cases.
Here are some of the benefits of making the switch from sugar to stevia.
Protect Your Waistline
In 1700 it was estimated that the average person only consumed about 7 pounds of sugar a year. Flash forward to 2014 and the average person is consuming 150 pounds a year. That's 20 times as much sugar! Of that sugar approximately 5% will be used for energy later on, 60% will be metabolized by the body and incredible 35% will be stored as fat so it can be used for energy if required. This is having a huge effect on people's Waistline is and is contributing to the massive obesity epidemic which is seen worldwide abysses levels doubled since 1980. Stevia contains no calories but is sweeter than sugar. Even more importantly it does not cause blood sugar levels to rise after it is consumed. Having stable blood sugar levels prevents people from over eating and makes it much easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Prevents high blood pressure
High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer. Often people are unaware that they even suffering from high blood pressure until it is too late. In the United States 67 million American adults have high blood pressure. That's approximately a third of the population. The consequences of this are very severe including increased risk of stroke and heart disease. These are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. According to the medical website WebMD Stevia can be used to reduce high blood pressure and heart burn.
Bacteria feeds on the sugars that you consume and this in turn creates acids. A little acid can help to control the bacterial environment in your mouth. But if there is too much acid over a prolonged period of time it can cause serious problems for your oral health. These acids can destroy the tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay. Stevia does not feed the bacteria in the mouth in the same way as sugar, so it protects your teeth while still providing you with the same delicious sweet taste.
Stevia is a great way for you to enjoy the sweet tastes of the foods that you love without having to worry about your Waistline, high blood pressure or destroying your teeth. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth without damaging your health why not try Stevia?
What is Oligonol Good for and How Does It Boost My Health?
March 22, 2011 03:42 PM
Oligonol is the first ever nutritional supplement to contain low molecule polyphenolic oligomers. These polyphenols are derived from the plant Litchi chinensis, also known as lychee in the vernacular. The name oliginol is a portmanteau for oligomer polyphenol, which is widely touted to display bioavailability far superior to high molecular weight polyphenols present in most antioxidant supplements and the plants that they are extracted from. It boasts the most recent innovation of producing higher biological activity by using the low molecule technology developed by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Nagasaki University in collaboration with Amino Up Chemical Co. Ltd.
Polyphenols have long been known to create health effects that are antioxidant in nature. These organic compounds have been tied to quenching reactive oxygen species, or ROS, a natural by-product of oxygen metabolism. ROS like free radicals are in fact deployed by cells in response to potential threats such as invasive pathogens. Given the high reactivity of free radicals, each cell releases endogenous antioxidants to scavenge ROS. However, the body’s antioxidant defense becomes compromised with continued exposure to stress.
At the cellular level, an imbalance between ROS and antioxidants creates a chain reaction termed oxidative stress, which damages cellular organelles and even DNA. This is when antioxidant supplements come to the rescue. Plant-based polyphenols such as those found in teas is widely believed to neutralize free radicals. Those found in lychee are of special note in that they are particularly helpful against oxidative stress. The proprietary low molecule technology of Amino Up Chemical Co. Ltd. processes these already potent polyphenols into more effective monomers and short-chain oligomers.
Protects Cardiovascular Health
Since oligonol was made available nearly two years ago, there have been a number of studies looking into its medicinal potential. A few of the earliest researches were double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials that investigated its effects on the cardiovascular system. It has been observed that oligonol appears to lower platelet reactivity, contributing to dilation of peripheral vessels. By so doing, it effectively promotes blood flow, which results in an increase in body temperature.
Counteracts Physical Fatigue
Recovery to fatigue induced by physical exertion is one of the benefits of oligonol that have been well investigated. In one single blind, placebo controlled study involving 47 participants, intake of oligonol lowered post exercise fatigue. The oligonol group of amateur athletes between 18 and 22 of age took two 100-mg oligonol capsules in two 26-day periods with a 9-day wash-out period and saw a noticeable improvement in fatigue recovery in comparison with the control group.
Reduces Visceral Fat
Oligonol continues to excite researchers from around the world with the publication of the study on its effects on visceral fat. There are cell-signaling protein molecules released by adipose tissues that are considered deleterious to human health, and thus called bad factor. Adiposity has been tied to higher mortality, with people having larger Waists especially susceptible to many known diseases. Supplementation of oligonol has seen a sharp decrease in abdominal circumference and overall subcutaneous fat.
Lower Blood Sugar
October 16, 2008 01:54 PM
Many people struggle to control their weight. However, while they are going on and off various diets, they fail to realize that they are also struggling to control blood sugar. Actually, the cause of blood-sugar problems may be weight problems, as being overweight and having blood sugar problems tend to go hand in hand. Too many blood sugar swings during the day tend to increase hunger jags, snacking, and overeating. When you overeat, you’re much more likely to add on the pounds, setting the stage for obesity, pre-diabetes, and full blown diabetes.
Sadly, both pre-diabetes and overweight have become modern epidemics that are out of control, with two of every three Americans being overweight and over 100 million people having some signs of pre-diabetes. Both of these illnesses are nutritional disorders that result from eating too many unhealthful foods. However, there is good news: you can reverse pre-diabetes and control your weight.
One can self-diagnose pre-diabetes by looking for the most visible symptom: being chubby or fat around the Waist. Other clues are cravings sweets and starchy foods, not being hungry at breakfast, and feeling tired or mentally fuzzy after lunch. Many physicians diagnose pre-diabetes when a patient’s fasting blood sugar falls between 100 and 124 mg/dl. There are several dietary factors that significantly increase the risk of overweight. Some of these being: too many calories, too many refined carbs, especially sugars, and too many unhealthful oils.
The average woman needs about 1,600 calories and the typical man needs about 2,000 calories daily, but the average American now consumes 3,900 calories each day, making it difficult to burn off all these calories and causing the accumulation of body fat. Because most excess calories take form of refined carbs and sugars, which are digested rapidly, rapid or extreme spikes in blood sugar levels, elevated insulin levels, and bouts of hunger result, which stimulate low blood sugar. Trans fats, which are found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, interfere with the body’s processing of fats and often lead to weight gain. Most of these problematic calories are found in fast foods, microwave foods, and other types of convenience foods, which are all best if they are avoided.
Even though pre-diabetes can be scary, it’s actually an opportunity to improve your eating habits and regain your health. To improve your health you can emphasize quality protein, emphasize high-fiber vegetables and fruits, include grapefruit in your diet, use more vinegar, and add some cinnamon. Since protein stabilizes and safely lowers blood sugar levels, be sure to start each day with some protein with breakfast and eat a little protein with each meal.
Most veggies and fruits are rich in fiber, which helps to lower blood sugar, so opt for salads and steamed broccoli while avoiding crutons, potatoes, bananas, and pears. Despite the calories, eating fresh grapefruit can help in weight reduction. The acetic acid in vinegar can also help to improve blood sugar and insulin levels, reduce appetite, and help with weight loss. Adding cinnamon has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. There are also several supplements that have exceptional value in improving insulin function or lowering blood sugar levels. These include lipoic acid, chromium, silymarin, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin D, and Pycnogenol.
You can also enhance the benefits of diet and supplements by increasing your physical activity as it helps build muscle and burn blood sugar and fat. Tackling pre-diabetes can not only reduce your long-term risk for health problems, such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, but also can allow you to quickly gain more energy and feel less post-meal fatigue.
Weight Loss and Calories
June 24, 2008 02:45 PM
Although conventional wisdom argues that a calorie is a calorie, regardless of where it comes from, whether that be from a salmon fillet or an ice cream cone. But you don’t have to be a nutritionist to realize that there’s a huge difference between the nutrition of salmon verses that of ice cream. Legions of chronic dieters understand the differences, based on their personal experiences. For example, they claim that they gain a large amount of weight after eating one slice of pizza that is rich in carbohydrates, but do not after eating a large chicken breast and steamed broccoli meal that contains even more calories.
There is now a legitimate scientific explanation for why some calories are different from others. Doctors Eugene J. Fine, MD, and Richard D. Feinman, PhD, of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn have explained that the widely held calorie-is-a-calorie belief is based on the law of thermodynamics, which is a key concept in physics. The first law in thermodynamics is about the amount of energy that goes into a system being equal to the amount of energy being released. To lose weight along this line of thinking, you need to either eat fewer calories or burn off more of them.
However, researchers have pointed out that the second law of thermodynamics can be associated with living creatures. The second law of thermodynamics claims that an inherent variation and inefficiency in all biological and biochemical processes. This can also be understood by saying that people burn energy less efficiently than cars and light bulbs do, while some people burn energy less efficiently than other people do.
There are many reasons that a calorie is not always a calorie. If you have a higher resting metabolic rate, you will do a much better job of burning all sorts of calories, as compared to someone who has a lower metabolic rate. If you secrete a lot of insulin due to being pre-diabetic or overweight, then you’ll be much more likely to make fat than muscle. Also, if you eat foods that have transitive fats, you’re a lot more likely to gain weight around your Waist. It is recommended that people eat the highest quality of calories as possible. This includes nutrient-dense foods such as fish, chicken, fresh vegetables, minerals, quality protein, and healthful fats. These foods provide us with the most vitamins that are necessary for a healthy and balanced diet.
The alternative, which is not recommended, is a lot of sweets, soft drinks, breads, pastas, bagels, and muffins. These foods provide mostly empty calories in the form of sugars and starches. These foods also trigger the production of excess insulin, which will cause you to store these calories mostly around your waste, which is an occurrence that is definitely unwanted by the majority of people.
Due to the above facts, we can finally conclude that a single calorie from a salmon fillet is not the equivalent to a single calorie from an ice cream cone, as the calorie from the salmon fillet is packed with many more vitamins and nutrients that the ice cream cone is lacking.
Cranactin - Cranberry Extract
May 21, 2008 10:24 AM
Cranberry is a fruit native to North America. It typically grows in bogs, and commercial production is mainly performed in Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
For ages, cranberry has been used for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections. Research suggests that it prevents bacteria from adhering to host cell surface membranes. It was used by Native Americans to treat ailments of the bladder and kidneys. The cranberry was documented in the 17th century as a treatment for several ailments, including:
* Blood disorders * Liver problems, vomiting and stomach ailments * Loss of appetite * Scurvy *Cancer
Cranberry was used as an effective treatment for urinary tract infections long before antibiotics were invented. It is still recommended by physicians to be used in conjunction with a prescribed round of antibiotics for treating bladder infections.
Statistically, one in every five women in the United States suffers from bladder infections in her lifetime. Three percent of these women suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Approximately 11 million women each year receive medications to treat UTIs. Studies show that women with a history of bladder infections can reduce the frequency of those infections by regularly drinking cranberry juice.
There have been no significant reactions discovered between cranberry and prescription drugs. Drinking cranberry juice a minimum of three times per day during treatment of a bladder infection will increase the need to urinate. This helps your body to rid itself of the infection through ingestion and expulsion of fluids.
Pharmacology of Cranberry
The use of cranberry for medicinal purposes has been the subject of many scientific discussions. At first, it was thought that acidification of the urine assisted in creating an antibacterial effect. However, the primary reason that cranberry works so well for treating bladder infections is its prevention of bacterial adhesion to cell walls. It also prevents adherence by other gram-negative uropathogens that cause infection. Cranberry's ability to inhibit the adherence of bacteria has been shown through in vitro research.
One study showed that the same property in cranberry juice that prevents bladder infections also aids in dental plaque prevention. Additionally, cranberry has been discovered to be a recommended treatment for Candida (yeast) infections.
Further in vitro studies show that cranberry has an inhibiting effect on certain types of fungi. However, there are no human trials that indicate its effectiveness in treating fungal infections when used alone.
Symptoms of a Bladder Infection
The most common symptom of an oncoming bladder infection is feeling a constant, urgent need to empty the bladder. This feeling is present even when there is little or no fluid in the bladder. Other symptoms may include:
* Frequent urination * Dysuria (burning or painful urination) * Bladder spasms * Cloudy urine * Bloody urine * Foul-smelling urine * Mild fever
A bladder infection that has gone untreated for an extended period of time could turn into a kidney infection. This brings with it much more serious symptoms which may include fever, chills and nausea. You may also experience cloudy or bloody urine, painful urination and abdominal pain. A common telltale sign of kidney infection is back pain just above the Waist.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is wise to contact your physician. Bladder infection symptoms will not go away by themselves. They will continue to worsen, and your infection will become much more serious. Treatment for bladder infections is quick and easy. The sooner you begin the better.
If you suspect that you are about to experience a bladder infection, begin a regimen of drinking cranberry juice or supplement at least three times a day and make an appointment with your doctor.
Preventing Bladder Infections
There are several precautions you can take to prevent bladder infections. Some may seem obvious or silly, but after your first infection you will think very differently. Some of these precautions include:
* Wipe from front to back after urination or a bowel movement. This prevents the spread of bacteria.
* Go to the bathroom frequently. Holding urine in the bladder for long periods of time invites an infection.
* Keep the genital area clean and dry. Avoid prolonged moisture in the area.
* Avoid frequent bubble baths. They can cause vaginal irritation.
* Try to urinate soon after sexual activity. If lubricants are used, use only those that are water-soluble.
* Underwear with a cotton crotch will aid in infection prevention as well.
Drink a lot of water throughout the day. Also, drink cranberry juice or cranberry supplement to keep the urine acidic. This will prevent natural bacteria from multiplying as frequently, thus avoiding bladder infection.
How to deal with Stress and Cortisol...
August 30, 2006 09:36 AM
Beating the Aging Odds
All of us grow older, but aging is a choice. You have it in your power to retain much of the health, vitality and beauty of your youth. It boils down to a simple fact – retard oxidative stress and you’ll retard the aging process. The 70 million people who make up the “boomer” generation and are getting ready for an active retirement welcome this news.
Stress and Cortisol
The early twentieth century “stress doctor” Hans Selye, M.D. was renowned for his work on the human adaptive response and the effects of stress on aging. He taught that every stress leanves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older. That’s because stress raises levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol. It increases internal generation of free radicals, disrupts normal metabolism and leads to aging conditions. Because of this, cortisol has been dubbed the age-accelerating hormone.
The more stressful our lifestyle and the level of environmental hazards we are exposed to, the higher cortisol levels will climb in an effort to jump-start our adaptive response. Coupled with a poor diet, this is a recipe for pre-mature aging. At least eleven major aging factors are related to high cortisol levels:
So, there you have it. Now let’s see how to tame cortisol and reduce oxidative stress.
Reducing Cortisol and Oxidative Stress
Be in the moment – stress reducing techniques such as meditation, prayer, visualization, yoga, chi gong, and listening to inspirational tapes induce calmness and a sense of balance.
Eat right for your genes – as we get older, we don’t digest animal protein as efficiently as when younger. Shifting to plant source proteins that are easier to digest and contain the full complement of vitamins and minerals is most desirable. We are accustomed to thinking of dairy, meat, poultry, and fish as “protein.” All vegetables are good sources of protein. Along with legumes, whole grains, and nuts, daily protein needs are easily fulfilled. Meals that combine a variety of tastes from plant foods also require less salt for flavor enhancement and this helps keep hypertension at bay. So, explore just how good meals can be that either do not contain meat or use it as a condiment. If you do need some salt, try substituting table salt with NOW Vitamins Potassium Chloride crystals.
Enzymes Increase Digestion
Use digestive enzymes such as Optimal Digestive System to insure that you are absorbing all the nutrients in your food. This product has been clinically tested for its digestive effectiveness helping to digest fats, carbs, proteins and even gas producing beans and cruciferous vegetables. Other enzymes, Serrazimes is a systemic enzyme that will help keep lymphatic’s clear of debris, support immune function, and boost your adaptive response to stress.
As many people reach middle age they have a tendency to gain weight around the navel. High stress amps up levels of cortisol that results in increased girth. Middle body fat is considered a significant risk factor for impaired glucose metabolism and cardiovascular disease. Check your Waist to hip ratio by dividing your Waist measurement in inches by your hip measurement. If you have a ratio of 0.85 or below, you have lower risk of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. This measurement is one of the best indicators of cortisol induced metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
Super cortisol support with Relora is an herbal, vitamin and mineral formula that’s designed to fight mid-body fat by taming cortisol. Its key ingredient is Relora which is a blend of the herbal extract of Phellodendron amurense and Magnolia officinalis. A small double blind clinical trial found that pre-menopausal obese women – half of whom took Relora – lost a significant amount of weight. These were women who eat in response to stress. Thus the researchers proposed that Relora appeared to reduce cortisol and perceived stress, resulting in weight loss. Super cortisol support also contains Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, herbs traditionally use for increasing adaptive response and reducing stress. You can read about these herbs and other nutritional products in the book 7-syndrome healing: supplement essentials for mind and body. Written by myself and coauthor Jayson Kroner. This book can be ordered from Now Foods.
Additionally, Chinese scientists found that the active components in Relora called honokiol and magnolol delayed gastric emptying, which would make you feel full longer. An additional anti-aging benefit was observed by another group of Chinese scientists. They reported that honokiol is a potent arterial thrombosis inhibitor because it inhibits prostacyclin release; a promoter of platelet adhesion. Platelet stickiness increases stroke risk. Phellodendron and Magnolia have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.
Quell Free Radicals
Health and longevity essentially rests on the body balance between free radical load and antioxidant reserves. Toxic exposure depletes some of your antioxidant reserves. Eating a diet rich in antioxidant fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, helps you rebound. Continued toxic exposure will challenge your antioxidant status and may overwhelm your reserves. VitaBerry Plus+ is a powerful antioxidant formula that contains a range of high ORAC fruits that naturally augment the diet. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity. It is a measure of the ability of a food to quell oxygen free radicals, the most dangerous kind. VitaBerry Plus+ is a product after my own heart. In my book The Anti-Aging Solution, I wrote about how different color foods protect DNA and prevent aging. VitaBerry Plus+ contains the important colors described in my bood. You can order your copy from Now Vitamins.
True-E Bio Complex rounds out the antioxidant colors. It contains all eight tocopherols and eight tocotrienols in the natural ratio found in “tan” foods such as whole grains and legumes. It is the only natural vitamin E that is produced from soy that has not been genetically modified.
The best anti-aging advice I can pass on is from my friend and food columnist Joan Jackson. “Take Pleasure in Your Life TODAY and Enjoy What You Eat”
Fighting fat with fat makes sense with conjugated linoleic acid.
April 03, 2006 04:57 PM
Trimming flab away with CLA
Fighting fat with fat makes sense with conjugated linoleic acid.
Substances that enhance human health and well being can be discovered in all sorts of odd places. Take conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), for example. This unique fatty acid currently under intense study as an aid to help dieters reduce body fat—was first isolated from grilled ground beef in the early 1980’s by researchers at the University of Wisconsin. (CLA is also found in hamburger that ma actually help you slim down? Who knew?
What’s more, CLA (now generally derived from plant sources like safflower oil) also shows promise in two important areas. First, evidence suggests it can slow down some of the steps in cancer’s complex progression. In addition, CLA may help tame excess inflammation.
When you take in more calories through food than you burn off through exercise, all those extra energy units have to go somewhere and if you’re like a lot of folks, they wind up being deposited into your fat cells. Not only are jam-packed fat cells responsible for the dreaded disappearing Waistline effect, but they also promote unhealthy changes in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other makers of possible hazards to your continued well-being.
CLA helps make life miserable for fat cells in several ways. First, it inhibits an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase that shuttles fat molecules from the blood stream into the cells. It encourages lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat that’s already in storage. Finally, in some studies CLA has shown an ability to actually encourage fat cells to commit a form of cellular suicide call apoptosis—which results in fewer places for fat to hide. At the same time, CLA promotes the transport of fat into exercising muscle cells, helping them to both burn off calories and become more toned (and shapely).
CLA Comments: What is it: a special form of linoleic acid, an essential fat: CLA is found naturally in diary foods.
What it does: CLA has shown an ability to help reduce body fat and increase muscle mass (When used as part of a healthy diet and exercise plan); it has also demonstrated cancer-fighting and immune enhancing effects.
While CLA is the subject of ongoing research, early human trials have produced promising results. In Norway, for example, scientists from five separate institutions teamed up for a study involving people who were healthy but over weight. For the first year some of the individuals took CLA while the others took placebo (look-alike) softgels that contained olive oil instead; in the second year, everyone took CLA. At the end of two years, all the people in this study showed significant reductions in body fat, body mass index (BMI), a standard measure of obesity, and weight(Journal of nutrition 4/05).
While battling the bulge is a major goal for many people, fending off cancer may just be America’s number one health concern. And here, too, CLA has come up big in a number of studies, such as a Swedish investigation that shows a link between high CLA intake and reduced colorectal cancer risk (American Journal of Clinical nutrition 10/05). In various lab studies CLA has been shown to interfere with tumor development and keep cancerous cells from spreading to nearby organs.
What’s more, CLA appears to regulate immunity by helping to strengthen the body’s natural defenses while protecting against the inflammatory damage the immune response can cause. That’s important because low-level inflammation has been linked to an ever-growing list of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
If you want to fight off both fat and cancer without eating a mountain of cheeseburgers, don’t have a cow. Turn to CLA instead.
Staying on Your Diet throughout the Holidays
January 18, 2006 12:22 PM
The temptations of the holiday season don't have to mean a bigger Waistline in the new year and yet another resolution to get in shape. With just a few tricks and tips, you can keep your weight in check and still celebrate with everyone.
While you might be invited to more parties than usual, you can do a lot before you even arrive to keep yourself from eating too much.
One way of keeping your food consumption down is to eat before you go out. An apple or a large glass of water before leaving home will keep you away from the dessert cart at the party.
At-the-Party! Dos and Don'ts
Now that you have lined your stomach, all you have to do is to take care of your calories, maintaining them at a sensible level. Do keep away from the high calorie sips. Alcohol, for instance, has a high calorie content that will easily build up to shatter your calorie allowance. It's a good idea to talk about anything but food, and try avoiding holding a plate! it helps to do something else with your hands, so they are occupied.
If you really must eat, you'll find that the vegetable and fruit trays can be the best places to fill up your plate. If you put these items on your plate first and then put smaller servings of other higher fat items, you'll be able to have everything without the caloric damage.
During the main course, you can balance your calories by eating only half of what is on your plate. You can easily explain it away by complementing your host on the meal, while pleading you couldn't possibly eat more. Or you could tell them the truth, one that most people readily accept! that you are being careful about your diet.
When you're at home
If you're doing the cooking during a holiday, you are more in control of your eating. Why not make items that are low in calories so you don't have to avoid anything?
When cooking, ask a family member to do the tasting. They will be only too thrilled to do this and you can save yourself from consuming added calories.
You might also want to freeze any cookies or other tempting items until you will be eating them for a meal or a gathering. It's a lot harder to eat something that's frozen.
At the end of it all, these dos and don'ts may even take a couple of inches off your Waistline at the New Year. But if they don't, and you still weigh the same, you accomplished what you set out to do! now that calls for a party!
Tania Makevey operates the website and writes for R You Diet which a site dedicated to researching diet related topics and contains all the very latest diet news and views. For more details please visit //www.ryoudiet.com
Guys should forget the six-pack abs and just lose the beer belly.
September 24, 2005 12:00 PM
Time for a Gut Check
Guys should forget the six-pack abs and just lose the beer belly.
When a woman noticed her husband standing on the bathroom scale and sucking in his stomach, she said, “I don’t think that’s going to help.” “Sure it will,” he responded. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”
Funny line, sure. But whether you’re talking about “love handles,” a “spare tire” or the proverbial “beer belly,” having a tummy that hangs over your belt buckle is no laughing matter. It’s not even a matter of the quest for “six-pack abs” or a “washboard stomach.” It’s a matter of health.
Consider this: A recent study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a man’s Waist size can be a good predictor for the development of type 2 diabetes. A Harvard Health Professionals team, led by Dr. Youfa Wang, an assistant professor at the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed data from more than 27,000 men who were tracked for more than 13 years. The team found that men with larger Waists or a higher body mass index (BMI) were both at greater risk for type 2 diabetes than slimmer men. (You find your body mass index by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. If your Waist size is 40 inches or less, a BMI of 25 or over means you’re overweight.)
“Abdominal fat measured by Waist circumference can indicate a strong diabetes risk, whether or not a man is considered overweight or obese according to his BMI,” says Wang. The Harvard team found that men with Waist sizes of 40 to 62 inches were 12 times more likely to develop diabetes and suggested that the current recommended Waistline of 40 inches or below for men may need to be lowered.
Okay, now that we’ve scared the bejeezes out of all you guys under 6-foot-4 who by your pants in the big-man store, let’s talk about what you have to do to shop anywhere in the mall. Again, this is not about looking like a Greek ab god. This is about diminishing your risk for a myriad of health problems and being able to comfortably bend over for a ground ball during the pickup softball game. And there are no shortcuts, so forget about liposuctioning those years of accumulated lard. Despite what all those TV makeover shows say, liposuction can only really enhance your body aesthetic if you lose a large chunk of the surface fat first.
“Those makeover shows have it all backwards,” says Dr. Bruce Nadler, a fitness trainer who also happens to be a plastic surgeon. “They do surgery on someone’s midsection and then have them doing intense workouts when they are supposed to be recuperating from surgery. I wouldn’t do liposuction until you see what diet and exercise can accomplish. When you have all the weight in the midsection the dangerous fat is deep within the body. So liposuction may make you look better but it won’t necessarily improve your health.”
The Gut Check Plan
Talk to any exercise expert worth their weight in body fat, including Nadler, and they will tell you that on of the biggest fitness fallacies is the notion that intense abdominal workouts and use of abdominal machines (like those sold through those interminable infomercials) are the keys to getting a flatter and more “ripped” midsection. In fact, for many people it’s not physiologically possible to achieve a flat tummy because abdominals are not designed to be flat. And the idea of “spot reduction,” exercising the area where you want to lose the fat, is now considered a myth. Research has shown that fat is lost all over your body, not just in the area that you work.
It’s not that you can’t benefit from doing abdominal exercises. Crunches, situps and leg raises, when done properly, are great for muscle tone and endurance (and you do burn calories), but the real key to achieving a wonderful Waist size is losing body fat. How do you do that?
“Dropping a few inches from your midsection,” says Nadler, “depends on four things- calorie reduction through proper diet (eating very little fat, consuming complex carbohydrates and doing it all in smaller portions), stepping up aerobic activity (such as running an bicycling, which burns excess calories quickly and safely), and resistance weight training (which not only increases metabolism and helps burn more excess calories, but also builds and strengthens the abdominal wall).” Then, adds Nadler, when you’ve just about reached your Waist=reduction goal, but genetics still won’t give you a flatter stomach, “that’s where plastic surgery may come in as icing on the cake.”
Nadler also advises men not to panic if they don’t notice a substantial weight reduction during a training program. “When people are doing weight and resistance training they are too hung up on the scale,” insists Nadler. “Muscle weighs more than fat so don’t judge your progress by what you weigh, but on what your percentage of body fat is. That’s the number you want to see going down.”
So how long does it take for men with an oversized gut to lose the excess? “Depending on how much they have to lose,” Nadler says, “it takes anywhere from three to six months.” By the way, for men in their 30s and up, there are also two important side benefits to decreasing the Waist size and firming up the gut: better overall posture and diminishing the potential for chronic back pain. So get to work guys; suck it up so you can stop sucking it in. -Stephen Hanks
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
June 25, 2005 07:49 PM
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
When we eat more than our daily energy requirements (and most of us do), the extra energy is stored as fat. The human body is designed to stockpile fat very easily. This tendency is related to innate mechanisms intended to protect us against starvation or the threat of a diminished food supply. Fat cells provide extra fuel which can be utilized if necessary to sustain life. Those survival fat pounds settle on the hips, Waist, thighs, upper arms and back, not to mention around organs, like the heart and kidney. Some ethnic groups, whose ancestors repeatedly suffered from famines, are especially efficient in energy storage. These include the Pima tribe48 in the United States, the Aborigines of Australia,49 and many of those of African descent.41
Fats are very readily converted to pounds. Carbohydrates and proteins require more complicated digestive processes to convert and store their energy than fat does. Calories from carbohydrates and proteins are usually burned and thrown off as heat (thermogenesis). Naturally, overeating proteins and carbohydrates can result in weight gain, however the body has to work harder to convert these nutrients to fat stores. It takes 20 to 25 percent of the energy in carbohydrate and protein to convert them into body fat. It only takes about 5 percent of the energy content of dietary fat to store it as body fat. Fat is also twice as energy dense (9 calories per gram) as carbohydrates or proteins (4 calories per gram) making fat at least twice as dangerous from a weight gain standpoint.50 Blood taken from an individual soon after they have eaten a double cheeseburger, french fries and a thick milk shake will often be a milky pink color due to the infusion of fat from the digestive system. This fat circulates throughout the system until it is either burned or stored.
A Winning Combination
Most people would agree that exercise combined with a low-fat, high-fiber diet would be a winning combination for maintaining and improving health. Exercise is important in any health maintenance program. It is especially important in weight control since the amount of energy we expend in the resting state, our Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), is a function of our muscle mass and tone.51,52 There is a tendency for us to lose muscle mass and gain fat pounds as we age. In part, this is due to life style changes. Instead of flying kites we fly desks! Nevertheless, our capacity to increase our muscle mass is undiminished with age.53 The lack of exercise rather than the abundance of candy is thought to be the primary cause of childhood obesity.54
Eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet will produce some weight loss even in nor-mal weight subjects.55 The reason for this may well be the balance between fullness and satiety.56 It is a proven fact that we can easily eat an excess of fat before we feel full or satisfied. This is because fats are twice as energy dense (9 calories/ gram) as carbohydrates or proteins (4 calories/gram). By the time we are full, we have over eaten. Increasing our fiber intake helps us feel full. (Of course expensive gastric bypass surgery is another alternative.57) Eating a highfiber diet helps us to feel more than just full. Low-fat, high-fiber diets are found to lead to a general lowering of cancer rates.58 Though the above combination of exercise, low-fat, and high-fiber may work in theory; making the theory work in practice is quite another story.
Technology works against us in some ways as evidenced by this comment a woman made about her husband’s physique: “He has added 20 pounds of lap since he got his lap-top [computer].” And just try to get a low calorie meal over your lunch hour. In Feburary 1996 McDonald’s, an international fast food franchise, announced that it would be dropping its five-year experiment with the low-fat McLean burger (12 grams of fat). Also gone from the menu will be the Chef’s salad and the side salad. The taste of the Big Mac (35 grams of fat) has apparently won out over its McLean competition. The salads seem to be a casualty of convenience. Eating a salad in the car after a quick pickup at the drivethrough can be a bit challenging.
Fortunately, state-of-the-art research in the area of weight loss has discovered that through the addition of certain supplements and nutrients, the process of decreasing the amount of fat we process in the stomach and boosting the amount of fat we burn can be expedited. For those of us who suffer from a “fat imbalance” or a condition where we store more fat than we burn, it is often a matter of life or death to lose fat in order to protect our arteries and heart.
The Secret t o Weight Loss . . . An Ounce of Prevent ion Most weight-reducing strategies have to confront the “after the fact” problem of burning already stored fat. Like most of our medical practices, we routinely become sick or fat and then go about the business of trying to remedy our ills. Despite Poor Richard’s advice that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” we continually eat high-fat diets, and wait until we have to pay the piper before most of us take serious action. It’s much easier to prevent a fat build-up than to reverse the damage that carrying extra fat stores can cause. Going on a diet is nothing less than torture and usually means giving up all the foods we like to eat. Yet dieting seldom gets to the root cause of our excess weight which most often is that we eat too much fat, when not dieting. The body begins to digest lipids in the stomach and intestines.
The diagram in Figure 1 illustrates the steps involved in getting fat into our bloodstream.59 There are four steps in fat digestion: 1) acidolytic breakdown of food in the stomach; 2) enzymatic breakdown (lipolysis) of the fats (triglycerides, TGs) into fatty acids (FAs) and beta-monoglycerides (b-MGs); 3) formation of soluble mixed micelles with bile acids; and 4) absorption through the intestines. If we could tie up excess fat before it was absorbed, we could spare our physiological systems the stress of having to deal with that fat. Ideally then, what we need is a substance that prevents fat absorption.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Fat Consumption
June 25, 2005 07:41 PM
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Fat Consumption
Overview If we let ourselves become obese, we are much more prone to developing heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and several forms of cancer. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) or coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death and disease in our country—512,000 people die of heart attacks every year (American Heart Assoc. 1995, Statistical Report). Blood cholesterol levels are the primary indicators of one’s risk of CHD. It is not surprising then that ten of the twelve points listed by the National Heart Foundation of Australia relating diet and coronary heart disease involved cholesterol levels.22 The take-home message was to eat a high-fiber, low-saturated-fat diet, and increase the amounts of essential fatty acids in our diets.
Some Final Thoughts
June 22, 2005 09:54 PM
Some Final Thoughts
One of the important proofs of the belief Pariza and Cook have in this supplement is to learn that they both take it themselves.
Cook says it is the only supplement he takes, and he believes he will take it the rest of his life. He was naturally thin because of intense exercise, but he believes that it has helped him to keep inches off during long weeks of travel. Pariza, for his part, has lost three inches from his Waist during the last year, as well as about seven pounds. He said he has less of an appetite. He says he feels warmer, probably an effect of a faster metabolism. He warns that this is not a quick fix. When he first started taking this supplement, he found virtually no results. He was disappointed. But the results have come.62
Another significant thing to remember is that, today, scores of scientists around the country are now studying this nutrient. The results will pile in human studies and in other long-term clinical trials. These will give broad indications of the use of this natural, previously unrecognized nutrient.
Why would CLA be involved in so many functions?
If human studies hold true, and the expectation is that they will, you might consider this the next aspirin or the next vitamin C. Vital, remarkable nutrients seem to work on a basic level and impact a variety of systems. This is the case with CLA. What a remarkable piece of science that emerged from a charcoal grill. So, the next time charcoal briquettes sizzle with the drippings of a nice burger, remember how science has found that life, with its remarkable chemistry, finds a way to survive and thrive. No better example exists than that beef cooking on the grill. Sizzling steak covers itself with dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer. Many people feared that fact for years, and science studied those dangers earnestly. How encouraging that nature thankfully also provided other chemicals that counteract, partially at least, the effects of these dangers. CLA, just another highway of chemicals, is a quiet blessing, wiping out carcinogens, blocking dangerous fat, and striving to keep our veins clear. And it was there all along, doing its job, just waiting to be studied and understood. Now that nearly two decades of research are beginning to show how this substance can benefit our lives, a celebration of nature’s bounty seems to be in order. Let’s light up the old grill. Shall we make it steaks or burgers this time?
An Essential Fatty Acid
June 22, 2005 09:42 PM
An Essential Fatty Acid
When most people think of fat, they think of the white gooey stuff that deposits around the Waist or around the thighs. In many ways, it can be tempting to spell it “fatt”—making it an unspeakable, four-letter word. But at the level of the cell, at the level of molecules, fat means something more complicated. First of all, fat is one method the body uses to store energy for long periods. When we eat, we must either immediately burn the fuel as energy, or store it as fat or as protein for muscle. Fat, therefore, is one way our body tries to make something useful from food. Furthermore, fat serves a vital function in each cell. The membranes of our cells are all made of fat—a collection of fatty acids really. Every cellular function must pass through this barrier.
Hormones act on fat, energy passes through fat, life proceeds because of fat. Fat, then, is not a dirty word. It is vital. Scientists have identified more than 100 fatty acids, and many more fatty acids could theoretically exist. 4 The body produces all the fatty acids it needs except three—linoleic acid, arachadonic acid and linolinic acid. Much the way certain vitamins like vitamin C are essential to good health and are not produced naturally, these acids are essential, hence their name—essential fatty acids. The body can produce linolinic acid and arachadonic acid from linoleic acid, so in some senses, the only vital fatty acid is linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid sits like a highway of some 58 atoms of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.5 The carbon is the center line with the hydrogen and oxygen being the cars traveling along the way. (Thousands of chemicals contain these three elements in nature. It is the order of these cars, and the varied shapes of the highway, that lead to many different kinds of chemicals.) The highway of linoleic acid sits curved like a mountain switchback. Conjugated linoleic acid is basically a straighter version of linoleic acid. Scientists have studied CLA at least since the 1930s.6 These studies show that bacteria in the stomach convert linoleic acid into CLA.7
CLA occurs naturally in many foods including some vegetable oils, which are the best sources for linoleic acid, but the best source of CLA is in beef, veal and certain dairy products.8 Dr. Mark Cook, who began working with Pariza around1990, said the reason that sheep and cows and other similar animals provide higher sources of CLA is because these animals are ruminants—they have multiple stomachs for bacteria to convert linoleic acid in, instead of one, as in humans.9 The chemistry of CLA really isn’t that significant to any but a researcher, but, in essence, a double bond of two of the carbon atoms switches position from its position in linoleic acid.10 Instead of having two atoms between a pair of double chemical bonds, as in linoleic acid, there is only one atom in between. This is why chemists named it conjugated linoleic acid. This chemical chain can exist in several forms with the double bonds at positions 9 and 11, positions 11 and 13 or at positions 10 and 12.11 Hence, there are several forms of CLA. Which ones are most effective in providing nutrition, or if they are equally effective, is still a question somewhat unresolved, although it is unlikely that it is the 11,13 version.12 What has been resolved is that CLA is one of the most important, and most exciting nutrients isolated in recent years. And there’s good reason to look at supplementing it into your diet. Why? Because we may not be getting as much of it as we once did, particularly in the United States.13 Cows and other animals have traditionally eaten fresh grasses as a way of getting nutrition, but agricultural development makes it more efficient and cost-effective to provide cattle feed grains and other means of nutrition, instead of natural grasses. That seems to mean that the cows today provide much less CLA in their beef than those of only a generation ago. One study out of Australia showed that cattle in that South Pacific nation had more than twice the amount of CLA than American cows. The reason may well be differences in feeding patterns. As evidence for this, have you ever wondered why it is that Americans, despite eating less fat and meat than a generation ago, end up being more fat than their predecessors? Indeed, America’s obesity rate is up substantially over the last 15 years.14
Declining amounts of CLA may explain this disturbing trend. But more on that later.
June 14, 2005 10:52 AM
Nutritional Scorecard by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, June 15, 2004
For over 50 years, the federal government has produced Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) as guidelines for vitamin and mineral intake. Then, in 1993, the Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs) superseded the RDAs. By applying this new designation, the government's guidelines are now supposed to represent the designated amounts that an average person should consume. With this in mind, and the fact that many experts think you should consume more than some of the RDIs, how does your nutritional scorecard add up? Answering a few nutritional questions can point you in the right direction.
Are you trying to lose weight? If you are, the latest thinking on weight loss opines that eating more protein may be the key to keeping your weight down. Two recent studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (5/18/04) found that people who ate a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet lost more weight and had better cholesterol levels than dieters who ate fewer fatty foods. Both studies found that a low-carb diet can improve your triglycerides (blood fats) and boost your HDL, or good, cholesterol.
Eating protein satisfies both tummies and taste buds. Researchers have found that the amount of protein eaten in a meal determines not only how much food you eat but also how satisfied you feel after eating (J Nutr 2004 Apr; 134(4):974S-9S). And when you feel satisfied after eating less food you improve your odds of losing weight.
We need about 50 grams of protein a day to support the body's functions. The best sources of protein are eggs, meat, milk, protein shakes and yogurt.
Does your energy level go up and down during the day? To get off the energy rollercoaster, cut down on carbohydrates, and make sure the carbs you do eat are complex.
Carbohydrates have been getting some unflattering press lately. Yes, if you want to lose weight, you may want to go on a strictly low-carb diet. But for those not concerned with weight, carbohydrates are the principle source of energy for the body.
What's more, even if you do restrict carbohydrates, you should still eat a tiny bit of them. Without some carbs in the diet your body cannot regulate protein or fat metabolism. According to Michael and Mary Eades, MD, authors of The 30-Day Low-Carb Diet Solution (Wiley), "Carbohydrates control insulin and insulin controls your metabolic health."
So, make your carbohydrates count. Indulge in complex carbohydrates: whole grains, fruits and vegetables. In those foods, carbs are accompanied by fiber and larger amounts of vitamins and phytonutrients. Other reliable sources of complex carbohydrates are whole wheat bread, brown rice and oatmeal.
Are you concerned about your heart health? Fiber from beans, oats, legumes, nuts, rice bran, fruits and vegetables helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. Pectins, found in apples, pears, prunes and plums, are a particularly useful form of water-soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber, in cereals, wheat bran and vegetables, reduces the risk of colon-related problems. In addition to adding fiber to the diet, dried beans and soybeans have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve vascular health and kidney functioning, preserve bone mineral density and reduce menopausal discomforts (AJCN 1999 Sept; 70(3 suppl):464S-74S). Fiber also promotes good bowel health and encourages the growth of beneficial intestinal flora.
You need 25 to 40 grams of fiber daily. If you have cut back on your carbohydrates, be sure to take a reliable fiber supplement.
Do you have problems focusing on mentally challenging tasks? If so, you should eat more fish and get more of the omega-3 fatty acids that fish and flax contain. Higher levels of this type of fat have been linked to better concentration while performing demanding intellectual work (Lipids 2004 Feb; 39(2):117-23).
Fats add flavor to food, making meals taste better. Monounsaturated fats like plain olive oil and canola are liquid at room temperature and are suitable for use in cooking at high temperatures. Researchers have found that a diet high in monounsaturated fat has the ability to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol (J Nutr 2001; 131:1758-63). Other fats, such as extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil, are best used in dishes that don't need cooking, such as salads.
Although the RDI for fat is less than 30% of the total calorie intake, some researchers believe that if you eat healthy fat, eating too much is not a concern. Omega-3 fats are available in supplement form.
Do you suffer from dry skin? You may not be drinking enough water. This precious liquid is used by every cell of our bodies and makes up 60% to 75% of our body weight. Water is important for kidney function. Researchers in Italy found that drinking adequate amounts of water can help prevent the formation of kidney stones (Urol Int 2004; 72 Suppl 1:29-33).
Your activity level, environment and diet influence how much water you need daily. Try to drink at least eight cups of fluid a day from noncaffeinated, nonalcoholic sources.
Do you exercise frequently? If you do, you need more antioxidant vitamins like natural vitamin E and vitamin C as well as a healthy supply of carotenoids. A study at the School of Applied Medical Sciences and Sports Studies, University of Ulster, found that exercisers need more antioxidants. Otherwise, their exertion may release an excess number of free radicals (caustic molecules) in their bodies and do damage to the heart arteries and other internal organs.
Vitamins, in general, are defined as micronutrients that are necessary for life. They are necessary for the production of energy, a healthy immune system and hundreds of other functions in the body.
Vitamins aren't the only substances that produce big benefits in small quantities. Phytonutrients are chemicals in plants that have health-promoting properties. These nutrients are getting more and more attention from researchers who are keeping score on our nutritional requirements.
Do your meals contain plenty of calcium? If not, you may need supplements to keep your bones strong and help keep your weight down. One study, presented at the Experimental Biology 2003 meeting in San Diego, found that young women who consumed more calcium had better luck controlling their weight. In this research, it didn't take much calcium to make a difference in Waistlines. Consuming just one more serving daily (a cup of milk or a thumb-sized piece of cheese, each of which contain about 300 mg of calcium) made, on average, about a two-pound difference.
In addition, many experts recommend multimineral supplements (along with multivitamins) to promote better health. A recent study of people with immune problems, for instance, found that those kinds of supplements seem to help boost the immune system (AT News 2004 Feb 27; 398:4-5).
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your Waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
Fats for Life - the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the...
June 12, 2005 02:39 PM
Fats for Life by Henry Wolfe Energy Times, August 6, 2003
For years, many experts argued that the only good fatty foods were the ones you didn't eat. That was a big, fat mistake. Overwhelming evidence now shows that certain fats are not only necessary for optimal health, but that the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the quantity.
Threatening Trans Fats
"The biggest thing wrong with the fats Americans eat today is that they are eating too many trans fatty acids," says Fred Pescatore, MD, author of The Allergy and Asthma Cure (John Wiley). "About 42,000 foods contain trans fats. These fats are linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer."
Trans fatty acids are fats that form when food manufacturers add hydrogen to fat molecules, a process called hydrogenation that makes fats stay fresh longer without growing rancid. Trans fats also form when foods are fried.
Hydrogenation extends the shelf life of refined foods like cakes, donuts, and crackers. Unfortunately, it also creates fats that many experts believe can compromise your health. In a study of the health effects of trans fats, 26 people agreed to eat a diet that changed every five weeks, continually shifting the types of fats in their meals (American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2000). All of the diets in the study provided 30% of calories from fat. One fifth of the fat came from either soybean oil, semi-liquid margarine, tub margarine, shortening, stick margarine or butter.
"We were interested in assessing what would happen when we substituted one fat for another," notes researcher Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, professor of human nutrition at Tufts University, Boston.
The study showed that as people ate more trans fatty acids (in the more solid margarines) and fewer polyunsaturated fats (in the liquid oils), their triglycerides increased after each meal. Triglycerides are blood fats that boost heart disease risk.
For instance, when these folks ate stick margarine, which is high in trans fats, their triglycerides climbed an average 18% higher than when they ate semi-liquid squeeze bottle margarine, a type of margarine that is softer because it is less hydrogenated. Stick margarine raised heart disease risk by causing a drop in HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Although butter increased HDL, it also caused a significant increase in LDL, the "bad" cholesterol that raises heart disease risk.
"The best dietary advice we can give people is to minimize their intake of animal and hydrogenated fats in order to reach the American Heart Association's target of 10% or less of total calories from saturated fat and trans fatty acids," Dr. Lichtenstein says. "That would mean consumers choosing low-fat and non-fat dairy products and lean cuts of meat, and the food industry decreasing the amount of hydrogenated fats used in their products." According to a study at Johns Hopkins University (Amer Coll of Card, 52nd Scientific Session, 3/30/03, Chicago), people who eat saturated fat have more visceral fat, fat surrounding their internal organs. This fat around the Waist is now seen as a risk factor for heart disease and other illnesses.
Another hidden problem in our fat consumption, according to Dr. Pescatore, hides within canola oil. Dr. Pescatore says that although many consumers believe canola oil is beneficial to health, the refined canola oil sold in the US has had its potential health benefits removed during processing.
"People still think canola oil is healthy and eat too much of it," he says. "The problem with canola is that it is highly processed and refined....Processors hydrogenate canola oil to keep it from getting rancid."
According to Fred Ottoboni, PhD, coauthor of The Modern Nutritional Diseases (Vincente Books), "Canola oil is lightly hydrogenated to take out the omega-3 fatty acids (the healthiest, but most unstable, fats) and then the food manufacturers filter the trans fats out. I don't worry about the trans fats in canola, but the problem is the huge ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s."
To get more of the omega-3 fatty acids, which are lacking in most Americans' diets, Dr. Pescatore advocates using macadamia nut oil. "Macadamia nut oil is higher in monounsaturated fats than olive oil; it is the healthiest fat with an omega-3 to -6 ratio of one to one."
The Omega-3 Difference
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are basic forms of fat found in oils. Fish oil, hempseed and flax oil are high in what are called omega-3s. Certain plant-derived oils like corn and soy are richer in omega-6 fatty acids.
"Primitive humans ate a diet that contained a one-to-one ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s," says Dr. Pescatore. "Today we (Americans) eat 20 times more omega-6 than -3; that's why we suffer so much chronic disease and chronic inflammation. For instance, the Japanese eat a (much better) diet that contains a two-to-one ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3." "Not all omega-6s are bad," he adds, "we just eat too many of them."
Switching to healthier fat isn't hard. Eat more fish. When cooking, stick to oils like olive oil and macadamia oil. The quality of your oil and your health may improve in a big, fat way.
Snack Attack - we munch on about 125,000 pounds of pretzels, chips, popcorn and nuts a min
June 12, 2005 02:33 PM
Snack Attack by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, August 5, 2003
Americans are snackers. For instance, during the Superbowl, we munch on about 125,000 pounds of pretzels, chips, popcorn and nuts a minute; 30 million pounds by the end of the game. At work about half of us snack two or three times a day. By the end of today, as a group, we'll have eaten $22 million worth of candy-almost a million dollars an hour for every hour of every day.
If you snack unwisely, these munchies can expand your Waistline and sabotage your health. But if you snack wisely, you can keep your taste buds fulfilled, your brain working at top capacity and your body satisfied.
When searching for snack satisfaction, think protein. Protein bars and protein shakes keep you feeling fuller longer on fewer calories than sweets.
Second to protein, think fiber, as in fresh fruit, dried fruit, or whole grain breads and crackers.
Unlike carbohydrates that break down into sugars and may be quickly stored as body fat, protein-rich snacks release sugar into your bloodstream at a slow, steady and healthy pace. That keeps you satisfied longer on fewer calories.
"Protein is an important building block (for the body)," says Alicia Gonzalez, ND, a teaching fellow at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. "It breaks down into amino acids as precursors to things like neurotransmitters, hormones and muscle."
Besides eating protein-rich snacks, eat protein with every meal and eat it first. "It will help your body absorb sugar at a slower rate."
"Protein and fiber are the best at helping the body absorb sugar at an optimal rate," says Jon Gordon, author of Become an Energy Addict (Longstreet Press).
"Protein bars release sugar at a slower rate, resulting in more balanced blood sugar levels and greater overall energy," Gordon says. "You'll crave sugar less and will have a more sustained source of energy all day long."
Protein Bars' Power
"The biggest advantage of protein bars, besides their convenience, is the fact that they do have considerably more protein, say 10 grams, than candy bars, which can contain as little as 2 grams," says Dr. Gonzalez. Total fat tends to be much less in a protein bar, too.
When choosing a protein bar, Dr. Gonzalez says, "Look for total protein content, say, between 10 and 12 grams and total fat, no more than 5 grams, and be careful with high sodium content."
"Choose a protein bar closest to nature," says Gordon. "Like one with almonds and cashews. Nuts are full of nutrients and minerals. Nuts are also a source of fiber."
If you exercise, protein bars with whey or soy protein make for quick replacement of necessary nutrients. "Eating a protein bar an hour before exercising helps to maintain that energy boost you need and replenishes minerals you lose when working out," says Dr. Gonzalez.
Some protein bars, though, do a bait n' switch with saturated fats and trans fatty acids, says Dawn Weatherwax, RD, author of The Official Snack Guide for Beleaguered Sports Parents (WellCentered Books). "If the label says hydrolyzed or hydrogenated palm oil, that's as bad as saturated fat. People think they're doing the healthy thing by eating a protein bar but they end up getting the wrong type of fat."
Besides protein bars, other healthy and healthful snacks include whole grain bread with peanut butter and cheese on whole grain, high-fiber crackers. "Mixing fiber and protein will help you sustain your energy," says Gordon. "Yogurt is also very good."
"Smoothies are also wonderful (snacks)," says Weatherwax. "Add protein powder, silken tofu and fruit to them and you can have them as a meal replacement."
"Nuts like cashews, almonds, seeds and dried berries are some of the best snacks that you can eat because you're not getting all that sugar," says Dr. Gonzalez. "Nuts have a good balance of good fat versus bad fat, including essential fatty acids, which are really important for cellular health and overall well-being. A combination of nuts, seeds and dried berries provides you with a good mix of all the vitamins and minerals along with the good fats that you need to be healthy."
When snacking, think about variety. "Mix it up, have a protein bar one day, a protein shake the next," says Gordon. "Combine protein with a healthy carbohydrate and you'll have much more sustained energy throughout the day."
Fuel for Your Fire
"We're like a train, we need to keep the furnace stoked," says Weatherwax, a consulting dietitian for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. "The goal is to eat every three or four hours. You have breakfast and lunch and you need an afternoon snack. That's the hardest one to get. Most people don't want to eat another sandwich; they want snack food. So a protein bar with a carb like a piece of fruit, an apple, orange or banana...is a great combination." "Studies show if you have moderate-size meals plus small between-meal snacks you increase your levels of energy and alertness," says Gordon. "It also optimizes your memory and performance and gives you a steady flow of energy rather than the rises and falls. Without healthy snacks your blood sugar falls and you experience fatigue and tension. Just as we need to constantly feed a fire with moderate-sized pieces of wood, we also need to continually supply our internal furnace with food that can be turned into fuel. This keeps our metabolism going strong and steady."
"You want to stay between one-third and two-thirds full," adds Weatherwax.
"Eating less in an effort to lose weight is actually deleterious in the long run," says Dr. Gonzalez. "When we don't eat our body gets mixed signals; it isn't sure when it's going to get its next meal. This makes the body want to store fat and sugar to save it just in case. On the other hand, if your body becomes accustomed to eating more often, the cells will be more inclined to use the fat up, knowing there is more food on the way."
To program your body this way, don't skip meals. Have protein-filled breakfast like a protein smoothie and eggs. Follow up with healthy snacks like a protein bar or shake and regular meals.
"Ideally, it's best to combine the macronutrients, the protein, carbs and healthy fats," says Weatherwax. "By mixing all three you actually burn more energy. One study shows that you burn an extra 35 calories."
Nibbling on refined sweets can give you the snack blues. So let smart-snack strategies. Shift your mental outlook into high gear and use snacks wisely.
Snacking and Exercising
When you incorporate snacks into a consistent exercise program, you boost your chances of maintaining a healthy weight.
To make a big difference in your day, Gordon says, get up a half an hour early to exercise. Next, eat a breakfast that includes protein and fiber, have a mid-morning snack, a healthy lunch, an afternoon snack and good dinner. Take a walk within 30 minutes of eating dinner and you'll give your body a double dose of get-up-and-go.
"It exponentially increases your energy production and fat burning," says Gordon. Do all these things and watch your energy soar. "You'll fuel your life with real sustained power sources rather than the quick fix like coffee that's going to give you the rise in energy and then fall."
You don't need to be told to keep on snacking. Just keep to the protein and fiber side of the snack street.
June 10, 2005 09:37 PM
Diabetes by , February 5, 2002
Lack of exercise and being overweight boosts your chances of developing diabetes. So, as America's epidemic of obesity grows, the number of people afflicted with the condition called type II diabetes is expected to soar. If you follow the typical US pattern of not getting enough exercise while indulging in a diet of too many calories from cookies, cakes, fast food and saturated fat as your Waistline gradually expands, your chances of encountering this health menace grow every day. According to the most recent estimate by health researchers, "more than half of all US adults are considered overweight or obese"(JAMA, 10/27/99).
Those same researchers, who examined the health history and weights of more than 16,000 Americans, confirmed a fact well-understood by health practitioners who understand the chemistry of blood sugar: being overweight greatly increases your chances of not only diabetes but also high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol and arthritis. (If you suffer or think you suffer from diabetes, or any of these conditions, consult a knowledgeable health practitioner.)
While Type I diabetes is a relatively infrequent disease that often strikes kids, Type II diabetes is a much more widespread (and increasing) health problem experienced by 9 out of 10 adults with what is now called adult-onset diabetes.
The popular image of someone with diabetes is, ironically, often of someone who is suffering with Type I. In simplistic terms, Type I diabetes occurs when your pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone-like substance that, among its several tasks, helps deliver sugar from the bloodstream into the body's cells. When your body is functioning normally, insulin helps steady blood sugar levels and keeps tissues fed with nutrients.
People with Type I diabetes often have to inject themselves with insulin. Otherwise, a lack of insulin causes dangerously increased blood sugar levels, cellular damage to blood vessels and nerves plus a high risk of heart attack, blindness, kidney failure and serious damage to your extremities that may, in the long-term, lead to amputation.
On the other hand, someone beginning to suffer Type II diabetes usually has plenty of insulin being produced by the pancreas, but may be insulin resistant: for a variety of physiological reasons, the hormone is unable to do its job. That allows blood glucose to reach levels where it can wreak metabolic havoc.
When you gain weight, drastically increase the amount of your bodyfat and lead a sedentary, couch potato existence without engaging in very much exercise, you boost your risk of becoming insulin resistant. Consequently you also boost the chances of eventually suffering Type II diabetes.
However, a consistent exercise program (and losing weight) can alleviate or moderate some of the blood sugar problems brought on by diabetes or insulin resistance. When you exercise, your working muscles may take in more glucose from the bloodstream and stabilize your blood sugar level. That is one reason physical exercise helps to modify your body's response to blood sugar. (Of course, if you have diabetes or have not exercised in a long time, be sure to consult your health practitioner before engaging in strenuous physical activity.)
One of the most useful supplements employed to help control diabetes is chromium, a mineral that plays an integral role in the body's metabolism of sugar.
In the Natural Health Bible, Steven Bratman, MD, and David Kroll, PhD, discuss a study in China of 180 people with Type II diabetes. In that study, those who took chromium enjoyed better blood sugar levels than the people who took no supplements (Diabetes 46(11): 1786-1791, 1997). In addition, a double-blind study of chromium found that the supplement could reduce the necessary oral medication by more than half in many cases (Harefuah 125(5-6): 142-145, 1993). In this study, women seemed to benefit from chromium more than men.
Relief with Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant nutrient, helps defend nerve cells against painful damage-a condition called neuropathy-that can result from diabetes. Consequently, in Germany, doctors have been prescribing lipoic acid to people with diabetes for more than two decades.
According to Dr. Bratman and Dr. Kroll, studies show that lipoic acid may be particularly helpful when taken with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid found in evening primrose oil and borage oil. Studies of GLA have found that this fat can soothe numbness and pain and slow nerve injuries (Diabetes Care 16(1):8-15, 1993).
Taken together, GLA and lipoic acid may synergistically improve nerve function (Diabetologia 41(4): 390-399, 1998). Blood sugar control may also improve.
Two signs that you may be suffering diabetes are excessive thirst and a dry mouth. This missing liquid, especially in the mouth when the flow of saliva slows, can lead to a lack of lactoferrin, a naturally-occurring protein that fights infection in the mouth by binding iron (Jrnl of Diab Comp 7, 57-62).
Lactoferrin's iron-binding ability destroys harmful micro-organisms like bacteria. In addition, lactoferrin stimulates the body's production of a substance called secretory IgA, which keeps disease-causing organisms out of the body and helps stabilize blood sugar (colostrum also produces this effect).
Fenugreek, a spice, has had long use as a medicine and food ingredient in the Middle East and Asia. And now modern science has begun to accumulate evidence supporting its traditional use: Several studies have shown that this seed can benefit blood sugar levels and keep blood cholesterol down.
In laboratory animals, researchers found that fenugreek kept blood sugar levels under control and also increased HDL (good cholesterol) while dropping triglycerides, blood fats that increase the risk of heart disease (Eur Jrnl Clin Nut 44 (1990):301-306).
Fortuitously, studies on people have supported fenugreek's benefits. In people with Type I diabetes, studies show that fasting blood sugar levels were reduced and glucose tolerance tests (measures of how well the body handles sugar) were closer to normal (Eur Jrnl Clin Nut 42 (1988):51-54). Bilberry for Eye Health
Retinopathy, eye damage resulting from diabetes, is a serious complication of this disease and can cause blindness. Bilberry, a botanical that has been used as a folk treatment for eye health for centuries, may be able to lower the risk of this kind of vision destruction.
Bilberry, a dark berry that grows in Europe, has been shown in a collection of laboratory tests to hold down blood sugar levels (Quart Jrnl Cr Drug Res 17(1979):139-196). Bilberry has traditionally been used to protect eyesight.
According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), natural substances called flavonoids, found in bilberry, "have been shown to increase intracellular vitamin C levels, decrease the leakiness and breakage of small blood vessels, prevent easy bruising and exert potent antioxidant effects."
Apparently, the body uses these flavonoids to protect the eyes' blood vessels and to keep the retina (central part of the eye crucial to preserving sight) functioning normally (Arch Med Int 37 (1985):29-35). Consequently, bilberry has been used by health practitioners in France to treat diabetic retinopathy ever since the 1940s.
As medical researchers look more closely into how insulin functions throughout the body, much more light will be thrown on how supplemental nutrients and your diet interact to promote the healthiest blood sugar levels.
But, today, what we already know about how the body functions can help you: a low-fat, high fiber diet, moderate, consistent exercise and healthy doses of insulin-friendly supplements may help keep your blood sugar under control.
And keep those pounds from accumulating around your Waist. That way, you can keep from singing that nasty old, down and dirty, blood sugar, syncopated ragtime blues.