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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Awesome Muffin Recipe!


Healthy Muffins

• 2 cups raw oats
• 2 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 tablespoon or less cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 2 large egg whites
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia extract or splenda


Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients.
Add wet and dry together and mix thoroughly.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Makes 12 small muffins = 10 g carbohydrates each

Note: You can add fresh blueberries to the recipe.
Spread apple butter on the top when ready to eat.


Enjoy!


About Julie

Julie Mancuso, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Julie Mancuso has been one of the most sought after nutritionists in the Peel/GTA region for the past 8 years. Specializing in weight loss, Julie's personalized approach emphasizes education, on-going support and delicious meals.

She is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Her wide range of experience makes Julie in demand by clients suffering of high cholesterol, depression and diabetes. Married to one of Toronto's top professional boxing coaches - Billy Martin, many of JulieĆ¢€™s clients are professional boxers and jockeys.

To facilitate her unique approach to counseling, all of Julie's clients receive her one-of-a-kind Nutrition Booklet, complete with meal plans, shopping lists and easy to prepare recipes. Through one-on-one counseling and corporate seminars, Julie's clients have an outstanding rate of long-term success.

Source: http://www.jmnutrition.info

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3 Reasons To Mix It Up


Here's why it's important to mix it up every now and then.

1.You don't want to plateau. Adding variety to your workouts will keep your exercises from becoming ineffective. If you run at the same speed on the treadmill everyday for 20 minutes, your body will eventually hit a plateau. You will still be burning calories, but you'll need to increase your resistance levels or speed if you want to really maximize results. This is why personal trainers always push their clients to do more reps each workout session, because it helps boost their metabolism and as your strength and endurance grows, so should your workout.

2.Your body needs time to repair itself. A friend of mine has the best workout routine: Mondays and Wednesdays she goes to yoga and Tuesdays and Thursdays she runs five miles. Because running can be hard on her body, she gives herself a day or two in between to recuperate. If you do the same intense workout each day, you won't be giving certain muscle groups enough time to heal between each workout, and you increase your chances of being injured. Just make sure you have low-intensity workout days between your intense workouts to prevent your body from becoming overtrained.

3.Burnout prevention. The last thing you want is to get bored with something because you do it so much. Loved biking as a kid but now it only reminds you of your loathed spinning class? Here's the thing: if you keep doing the same workout routine each day and your results start dropping, you're more likely to get bored and give up on your fitness goals. To prevent this from happening, always keep your workout schedule mixed up so things don't become repetitive and boring.


Source: Thinkstock

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Energy Pathways for Exercise


How the body converts food to fuel relies upon several different energy pathways. Having a basic understanding of these systems can help athletes train and eat efficiently for improved sports performance.

Sports nutrition is built upon an understanding of how nutrients such as carbohydrate, fat, and protein contribute to the fuel supply needed by the body to perform exercise. These nutrients get converted to energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate or ATP. It is from the energy released by the breakdown of ATP that allows muscle cells to contract. However, each nutrient has unique properties that determine how it gets converted to ATP.

Carbohydrate is the main nutrient that fuels exercise of a moderate to high intensity, while fat can fuel low intensity exercise for long periods of time. Proteins are generally used to maintain and repair body tissues, and are not normally used to power muscle activity.

Energy Pathways
Because the body can not easily store ATP (and what is stored gets used up within a few seconds), it is necessary to continually create ATP during exercise. In general, the two major ways the body converts nutrients to energy are:

•Aerobic metabolism (with oxygen)
•Anaerobic metabolism (without oxygen)

These two pathways can be further divided. Most often it's a combination of energy systems that supply the fuel needed for exercise, with the intensity and duration of the exercise determining which method gets used when.

ATP-CP Anaerobic Energy Pathway
The ATP-CP energy pathway (sometimes called the phosphate system) supplies about 10 seconds worth of energy and is used for short bursts of exercise such as a 100 meter sprint. This pathway doesn't require any oxygen to create ATP. It first uses up any ATP stored in the muscle (about 2-3 seconds worth) and then it uses creatine phosphate (CP) to resynthesize ATP until the CP runs out (another 6-8 seconds). After the ATP and CP are used the body will move on to either aerobic or anaerobic metabolism (glycolysis) to continue to create ATP to fuel exercise.

Anaerobic Metabolism - Glycolysis
The anaerobic energy pathway, or glycolysis, creates ATP exclusively from carbohydrates, with lactic acid being a by-product. Anaerobic glycolysis provides energy by the (partial) breakdown of glucose without the need for oxygen. Anaerobic metabolism produces energy for short, high-intensity bursts of activity lasting no more than several minutes before the lactic acid build-up reaches a threshold known as the lactate threshold and muscle pain, burning and fatigue make it difficult to maintain such intensity.

Aerobic Metabolism
Aerobic metabolism fuels most of the energy needed for long duration activity. It uses oxygen to convert nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and protein) to ATP. This system is a bit slower than the anaerobic systems because it relies on the circulatory system to transport oxygen to the working muscles before it creates ATP. Aerobic metabolism is used primarily during endurance exercise, which is generally less intense and can continue for long periods of time.

During exercise an athlete will move through these metabolic pathways. As exercise begins, ATP is produced via anaerobic metabolism. With an increase in breathing and heart rate, there is more oxygen available and aerobic metabolism begins and continues until the lactate threshold is reached. If this level is surpassed, the body can not deliver oxygen quickly enough to generate ATP and anaerobic metabolism kicks in again. Since this system is short-lived and lactic acid levels rise, the intensity can not be sustained and the athlete will need to decrease intensity to remove lactic acid build-up.

Fueling the Energy Systems
Nutrients get converted to ATP based upon the intensity and duration of activity, with carbohydrate as the main nutrient fueling exercise of a moderate to high intensity, and fat providing energy during exercise that occurs at a lower intensity. Fat is a great fuel for endurance events, but it is simply not adequate for high intensity exercise such as sprints or intervals. If exercising at a low intensity (or below 50 percent of max heart rate), you have enough stored fat to fuel activity for hours or even days as long as there is sufficient oxygen to allow fat metabolism to occur.

As exercise intensity increases, carbohydrate metabolism takes over. It is more efficient than fat metabolism, but has limited energy stores. This stored carbohydrate (glycogen) can fuel about 2 hours of moderate to high level exercise. After that, glycogen depletion occurs (stored carbohydrates are used up) and if that fuel isn't replaced athletes may hit the wall or "bonk." An athlete can continue moderate to high intensity exercise for longer simply replenishing carbohydrate stores during exercise. This is why it is critical to eat easily digestible carbohydrates during moderate exercise that lasts more than a few hours. If you don't take in enough carbohydrates, you will be forced to reduce your intensity and tap back into fat metabolism to fuel activity.

As exercise intensity increases, carbohydrate metabolism efficiency drops off dramatically and anaerobic metabolism takes over. This is because your body can not take in and distribute oxygen quickly enough to use either fat or carbohydrate metabolism easily. In fact, carbohydrates can produce nearly 20 times more energy (in the form of ATP) per gram when metabolized in the presence of adequate oxygen than when generated in the oxygen-starved, anaerobic environment that occurs during intense efforts (sprinting).

With appropriate training these energy systems adapt and become more efficient and allow greater exercise duration at higher intensity.



Source: Elizabeth Quinn, Exercise Physiologist & Fitness Consultant

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Six Pack "Secret"


One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “How can I get a six pack?" It seems like everyone is interested in getting abs. In fact, I would say that I get more inquires specifically about building impressive abdominals than I do about all other body parts combined. So what’s the obsession with abs? For one thing, a well-defined mid section is the center of our physiques and represents someone who puts in a lot of hard work and takes pride in their physical appearance. Also, if someone has well defined abdominal muscles then they probably have a lean physique overall since most people (especially men) tend to hold body fat in their mid section, and this is one of the last place the fat comes off when dieting and exercising to lose fat. Now, there are some people who ONLY care about abs and have a great “six-pack" but no other muscular development. While I prefer and strive to build a more rounded physique, if just having great abs is your thing then that’s fine too.

Either way, obtaining a great “six-pack" is a very simple process that every one can achieve. That’s right, I said everyone. When some people ask me how I am able to get my abs so defined it is if they are trying to get the “big secret" to great abs. I feel like I am letting them down when I tell them that there is no secret, but that it is a matter of doing certain things both inside and outside (mostly outside) the weight room consistently over a period of time. The secret is that you have to both want it bad enough and be willing to do what it takes for as long as it takes. Other than that, it is very simple. So, here is what I tell everyone who asks me about getting abs:

Over the years, I have tried many different approaches, exercises, rep schemes, and frequencies for abdominal training. I have performed hundreds of crunches every day. I have worked abs at the end of each weight training session. I have worked abs 2-3 times a week, and I have worked abs only once a week. I have also concentrated on using lower reps while performing weighted resistance exercises, and performed only non-weighted exercises such as crunches and hanging leg raises using a more moderate rep range. After all of my trial and error I have come to this conclusion: The exercises I perform, the rep range I use, and the frequency in which I work my abs does not make a heck of a lot of difference in how my abs look! What does make a difference is how low my body fat percentage is. The lower my body fat, the better by abs look, period!

I am certainly not the first person to come to this conclusion still I continue to see people working their abs rep after rep day after day hoping for that six-pack that never comes. Even some of my own clients who I have explained that you must have low body fat levels in order to “show" your “six-pack", still want to focus on doing more or different exercises, when their real focus should be on what they are putting in their bodies at the dinner table. It’s almost like people know that what I am saying makes sense and will work, but they don’t like the answer so they continue to try new ab routines, but never improve the appearance of their abs.
If you want great abs, don’t make it more difficult than it has to be. Follow this simple strategy and be on your way to obtaining a “six-pack" in time for summer:

In the weight room:
Again, I can’t emphasize enough that the actual exercises you perform for your abs will only account for about 1% of your abdominal appearance, and if you have too much body fat covering your abs then that 1% becomes 0% because the fat will cover up any abdominal development you do have. That being said, I have found that working my abs once, or sometimes twice a week works well. I usually perform only two different exercises, 2-3 sets per exercise, and work in the 8-15 repetition range. I use weighted resistance exercises such as lying leg raises with a dumbbell between my ankles and rope cable crunches. I approach my abdominal training the same way I do for other body parts. I use relatively heavy weight to stimulate muscle growth. I then give my muscles time to recover and develop before working them again. I feel that working in a lower rep range using weighted exercises helps create deeper ridges and grooves in the abs as opposed to higher rep workouts without weight. However, don’t forget that the training only accounts for 1% of your results! Are you sick of me saying that yet? Well, no one ever seems to get it the first time so if it takes repeating myself and risking being a pain in the butt then I am willing to take that risk.

At the kitchen table:
Here is where 75-99% of your abdominal development comes from. The reason I say 75-99% is that cardiovascular exercise can be used to help burn body fat and bring out abdominal definition. However, if you are meticulous about your diet then you can build a great “six pack" without performing cardio. Depending on how much body fat you have and your metabolic rate, it may take much longer to achieve your “six pack" using weight-training and diet alone, but it can be done. The quicker and more balanced approach is to combine weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and a sound nutritional plan. As far as nutrition goes, in order to lose body fat you have to consume fewer calories each day than you expend. I personally use a diet consisting of approximately 45% protein, 35% carbohydrates, and 20% fat when trying to get lean. I feel these ratios allow me to burn body fat while building, or at least maintaining muscle mass. However, as far as getting lean abs goes, consuming fewer calories than you burn is much more important than the macronutrient ratio you choose to follow.

On the treadmill:
As I mentioned above, cardio is a great way to increase the rate in which your body burns fat and help you achieve your lean six-pack in a shorter period of time. I am a big fan of high intensity short duration cardio for really cranking up your metabolism and melting fat away quickly. Mix it up with some of the different machines in the gym or take it outside. Running intervals or stadiums outside is a great way to boost your metabolism and burn fat.

Conclusion:
Although I went about it in a long-winded way, getting a head-turning set of abdominals that will be the envy of your friends and catch the attention of the opposite sex comes down to 1) train your abs once or twice a week applying the same principles used for other muscle groups 2) (MOST IMPORTANT AND CRITICAL TO YOUR SUCCESS!) consume fewer calories each day than you burn 3) use cardiovascular exercise to rev up your metabolism and burn fat faster. That’s it! Be consistent and true to your workout and nutrition plan and I guarantee you can have a lean set of abs. It won’t happen over night, but if you are persistent and keep working towards your goal it will happen, and the self-satisfaction will far outweigh the sacrifices you have to make along the way. Being able to showcase your new “six pack" on the beach this summer won’t be too bad either.


Source: Russ Yeager

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Importance Of Good Form When Going Heavy



Is it really true that you should go heavy or go home? Everyone goes on about how going super heavy with your lifts is the only way your going to get stronger and gain muscle. But what does that really mean?

Heavy for all intents and purposes, should be defined as "the heaviest weight one can move for a specific number of reps." If you can lift 150 lbs on any given exercise for 8 reps, do those 8 reps. Stopping before that means you did not go heavy.

Lets talk about form. Form is intended to maximize muscle usage, but also prevent injury. It is nearly impossible to injure yourself on any lift if you are demonstrating proper form. Providing you are not using a weight too heavy for you to handle.

Using the squat for example, we will look at the effectiveness of using good form. Thinking of the muscle contracting rather than the amount of weight you have on the bar is important. Keeping your legs about shoulder length apart will allow for maximum push from your quad muscles. At the same time keeping your back flat, not rounded during the lift, will reduce the risk of injury greatly. Your quad muscles are involved to the max potential during the movement. Many of the upper body muscles are involved in this great lift also.

You will know when you are using correct form from the kind of pain you will feel when doing the exercise. If done right, the pain you will feel will be intense burning of the muscle, caused by exhaustive strain.

Heavy lifts are a great way to gain the size and strength you are probably looking for if you are reading this article. Just remember that it is all useless if you are just going to end up injuring yourself or cheating the muscles out of proper work due to lack of good form.

So when you are in the gym don't let your ego take control over your weight lifts. Let your body control them. Be safe with your exercise and fitness training.


Source: Maureen Kurman

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tips To Losing The Last 10 Pounds!


DAY 8

DE-JUNK YOUR SWEETS

Ditch the processed Frankencandy-many treats are made with unwanted additives, including refined sugar and partially hydrogenated oil (read: trans fat). A recent Wake Forest University study found that, even at the same calorie and fat level, a diet rich in trans fat led to four times more weight gain and 30 percent more belly fat than a diet without it. Our healthier picks: Theo Organic Fair Trade 70% Cacao Bars With Cherries & Almonds ($4; theochocolate .com) and Seeds of Change Santa Catarina Dark Chocolate With Mango, Toasted Coconut, and Cashews ($4; seedsofchangefoods .com for stores). You want to stick to a small piece, but that shouldn't be a problem: A new Danish study found that dark chocolate is more filling than the milk variety. Still, if you can't trust yourself with a big bar, Endangered Species Organic Dark Chocolate Bug Bites ($1 for two; wholefoods.com for stores) are one-third of an ounce, perfect for portion control.

DAY 9

EAT MORE SPINACH

One cup of this leafy green (about the size of a baseball) packs just 41 calories-five times less than a cup of cooked brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. This superfood may be light on calories and carbs, but it's rich in more than a dozen stress-fighting antioxidants. Try it sauteed in 1 teaspoon olive oil with chopped red bell pepper, garlic, and a dash of chili oil. Or serve it raw in a salad with strawberries and a little minced onion.

DAY 10

"C" YOURSELF SLIMMER

Summer vegetables and fruits--like strawberries, red peppers, and leafy greens--are rich in vitamin C, which can help you get more out of every sweat session. A study in Nutrition & Metabolism found that exercisers who skimp on the vitamin burn 25 percent less fat during workouts. "Vitamin C helps produce carnitine, an amino acid that helps you use fat for energy. If there is too little carnitine in your tissues, your body will use carbohydrates or protein for fuel," says lead study author Carol S. Johnston, Ph.D., R.D., professor and chair of the department of nutrition at Arizona State University, who published the study. "Not only does this reduce the amount of fat you burn, but you're also more likely to feel fatigued when exercising." Johnston advises aiming for at least 100 milligrams daily, the amount in 10 large strawberries, one small red pepper, or 1 cup of cooked broccoli.

DAY 11

TURN TO 'SHROOMS

According to research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, replacing ground beef with chopped mushrooms in a single meal saved more than 400 calories and 30 grams of fat, but the meal testers felt just as satisfied and didn't compensate by eating more food later in the day. Make mushrooms the main event at mealtime: Sliced or minced 'shrooms are a great stand-in for meat in burritos, sloppy joes, and wraps, or as a pizza topping.

DAY 12

INDULGE IN POTATO SALAD

Spuds are high in resistant starch (RS), a filling, fiber-like substance that, as it passes through your digestive system, releases compounds that enhance satiety and blast fat. "One study found that replacing about 5 percent of your total carbs with RS resulted in a 20 to 30 percent bump in fat burning after meals," explains Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., owner of Mohr Results, a nutrition consulting company in Louisville, Kentucky. RS forms when starchy foods are cooked, then cooled. The best sources are perfect for summer recipes: potatoes, beans, lentils, rice, and pasta. Add half a cup of chilled beans or cubed red potatoes to a salad; or toss lean protein, like shrimp, chicken, or tofu, with chopped veggies, light vinaigrette, and half a cup of brown rice or whole-grain pasta.

DAY 13

HAVE FRUIT FOR DESSERT

The enzymes bromelain (in fresh pineapple) and papain (in fresh papaya) ease digestion by breaking down proteins in meat, tofu, dairy, and beans, so food moves through your system faster, which can decrease bloating. So end your meals with one of these fresh, sweet treats.

DAY 14

SLICE UP AN AVOCADO

This fruit is rich in potassium, a mineral that helps you lose the pooch by flushing out excess sodium and reducing water retention. Per ounce, avocados pack 60 percent more potassium than bananas, and their healthy fats blunt hunger by keeping you fuller longer. Try serving avocado-mango salsa over chicken, fish, or tofu: Chop a quarter of an avocado and toss it with a quarter cup fresh mango, 1 tablespoon lime juice, fresh cilantro, and 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno. Or, for a double hit of potassium, try avocado-banana salsa: Chop a quarter of an avocado and half a small banana and combine with 1 tablespoon minced onion, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and freshly ground black pepper.


Source: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_91_28/ai_n32164998/pg_3/?tag=content;col1

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tips To Losing the last 10 pounds!


You've trained hard; filled your fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy fare; and been diligent about getting your H2O. But despite all that, a little bit of flab lingers. Don't give up! These 14 simple strategies will help you drop 10 pounds in just a month. (Do at least one a day for the first two weeks, then continue using the ones that work best for you for the next two.) You can't get around cutting calories--just don't go below 1,200 a day; 1,500 if you're also doing our bikini body workout, page 98--but the process won't be painful. The tips are designed to boost satiety, banish bloat, rev up your metabolism, and strip away unnecessary additives that can make you retain weight and feel sluggish.

DAY 1

DRIZZLE ON SOME OLIVE OIL

A University of California, Irvine, study found that oleic acid, found in "good" fats, curbs hunger pangs by triggering the production of a compound called oleoylethanolamide in your small intestine. Two of the best sources: olives and olive oil. Use a teaspoon of olive oil on grilled vegetables, pop a few seasoned Greek olives as an appetizer, or whip up these olive-enhanced lettuce wraps: Fill two large romaine leaves with 2 tablespoons each roasted-red pepper hummus and chopped cucumber, five sliced black olives, and 1 teaspoon toasted pine nuts; roll up the leaves. They make a quick, cool, low-calorie meal-perfect for post-workout noshing on a warm summer night.

DAY 2

DON'T RUSH YOUR MEALS

You've heard it before, but new research conforms it-eating slowly can help you eat less but feel just as satisfied. And that keeps you slim. A study involving more than 3,000 men and women published in the British Medical Journal showed that speedy eaters are three times more likely to be overweight than those who are slower-paced. Additional research at the University of Rhode Island found that leisurely eaters took in four times fewer calories--while the people who gobbled down their food reported feeling unsatisfied after their meal, despite eating more in less time.
"Give yourself at least 20 minutes to eat. Putting your fork down or taking a sip of water between bites will help you slow down and will let you really focus on the flavors in your food," says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "It sounds so simple, but most of us don't do it."

DAY 3

FLATTEN YOUR BELLY WITH FIBER

Excess body fat isn't the only thing that leads to tummy bulge: About 80 percent of us struggle with constipation at some point. While brief periods of irregularity are normal, they can make the scale creep up and cause that little extra pooch. The easy solution: Up your intake of soluble fiber, found in apples, citrus fruits, beans, and edamame. "This sticky fiber soaks up water to form a gel-like substance that stimulates the muscles of your digestive system so they contract and push waste through faster," says Gerbstadt. A simple way to boost your intake is to sprinkle chia seeds (found at health food stores) or ground flaxseed into yogurt or a smoothie.

DAY 4

ADD HEALTHY BACTERIA

Yogurt and kefir contain probiotics, such as acidophilus, which may be a hidden factor in weight control. Everyone has bacteria in their digestive system, but in obese people, the blend of those bugs may cause them to extract more calories from the food they eat, and therefore contribute to their being overweight. "Getting more probiotics in your diet can change the balance of bacteria," says Steven Pratt, M.D., author of SuperHealth. And that can lead to weight loss.

DAY 5

EAT FIRST THING IN THE A.M.

"Having breakfast is my No. 1 tip for dropping pounds," says Mark Hyman, M.D., author of UltraMetabolism. The best meal option is a combination of slow-burn foods (foods that are low on the glycemic index), which raise your blood sugar gradually. A bowl of oatmeal with berries, a yogurt smoothie and slice of whole-wheat toast, or scrambled egg whites and veggies rolled in a corn tortilla are all good bets.

A recent British study showed that this type of meal increased production of a potent satiety hormone called GLP-1 by 20 percent, so you take in fewer calories but feel fuller longer.

DAY 6

CRANK UP THE FAT BURN

Capsaicin, the natural substance in peppers that gives them their heat, helps you use more calories, even at rest--and every little bit helps. "Studies show that eating the amount of capsaicin found in one small chili pepper at meals may boost metabolism by 23 percent in the short term," says Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., co-author of Energy to Burn. In other research, people who got about a gram of red pepper in capsule form or stirred it into tomato juice before they sat down to eat cut their calorie intake by 16 percent over the course of the day but didn't feel deprived. Try using fresh chilies or peppery Thai, Indian, or Latin seasonings to spice up egg, bean, tofu, seafood, beef, and chicken dishes.

DAY 7

GO SOLO AT SOME MEALS

Seven out of 10 office workers regularly eat lunch at their desks, according to an American Dietetic Association survey--and that's not a bad thing. "In general, if you eat with someone else, you'll take in 35 percent more food than you would if you ate alone," says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., John Dyson professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University. Conversation distracts you, and you tend to sit at the table longer. Overcome the effect by ordering small dishes (try two starters instead of an appetizer and main course) to limit the amount of food you have in front of you.


To Be Continued...



Source: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_91_28/ai_n32164998/

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Truth about Saturated Fats and Cholesterol


For the past twenty years, we have been encouraged to believe that saturated fats and cholesterol, both found in animal fats, are the main causes of chronic degenerative diseases. Ask the average North American what they know about saturated fat, and the majority will answer that it causes heart disease. Ask the average high school student what they know about cholesterol, and they will tell you that it is bad for you. For years, I would have answered the same. Are these views on saturated fat and cholesterol with merit?


Here are some facts about saturated fats:

They make up at least 50 percent of our cell membranes, providing essential rigidity and strength
They enhance the immune system
They help incorporate calcium into our bones
Some of them have antimicrobial properties that protect us against harmful microorganisms in our digestive tracts


And here are some facts about cholesterol:

It contributes to cell membrane rigidity and strength, just as saturated fats do
It is used to make hormones that help us deal with stress, as well to make sex hormones
It is converted to vitamin D, essential for proper growth, healthy bones, a healthy nervous system, muscle tone, and proper immune system function
It is used to make bile, needed for digestion of fat in our foods
It acts as an antioxidant, actually protecting us against cellular damage that leads to heart disease and cancer
It helps maintain a healthy intestinal lining, offering protection against autoimmune illnesses
Clearly, saturated fat and cholesterol are needed for many vital processes. We need both in our diets to be as healthy as possible. The danger comes when we eat fats and cholesterol that have been damaged by heat, oxygen, and unnatural farming practices. Damaged fats and cholesterol can lead to injury to the walls of our blood vessels, promoting a build-up of plaque that heals the injured areas. It is this build-up of plaque that impairs blood circulation and paves the way to heart disease and other chronic illnesses.



The following foods are likely sources of damaged fats and/or damaged cholesterol:

Pasteurized dairy products – this includes cheese and ice cream that have been made from pasteurized milk
Powdered milk
Powdered eggs
Meats that have been cooked at high temperatures, especially those that have been fried or deep-fried
Most vegetable oils
All hydrogenated oils



The following foods are concentrated sources of healthy fats and/or healthy cholesterol:

Avocado
Nuts and seeds
Cold-water fish
Organic eggs
Organic chicken
Grass-fed beef
Virgin Coconut Oil
Red Palm Oil – used throughout Africa
Cold Pressed Olive Oil



The difference in organic and non-organic animal foods is significant. As an example, let’s look at the difference between organic and non-organic eggs. We function best when we eat an equal balance of two fatty acids: omega-6 and omega-3. Having too much omega-6 and too little omega-3 leads to numerous health problems, including generalized inflammation, high blood pressure, depressed immune function, weight gain, an irritated intestinal tract, and a tendency to form blood clots. An organic egg, one that comes from a hen allowed to eat green plants and insects, contains an optimal ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids of 1:1. A commercial supermarket egg from a hen that is fed mainly grain in a factory-farm environment has a ratio closer to 15 or 20:1.

Virgin coconut oil and red palm oil are the best oils to cook with because they contain a large percentage of saturated fats that remain stable and undamaged with heat. All other vegetable oils are damaged easily with heat exposure. This is why cold-pressed olive oil is best eaten raw.


Source: Ben Kim, MD

Monday, March 21, 2011

Prevent Lower Back Pain By Stretching Those Hip Flexors!




It is estimated that about 8 out of 10 people around the world will suffer some form of lower back pain. While less will be afflicted with severe damage such as bulging (Herniated) or a complete prolapsed disc, the majority will be caused from tight hamstrings or tight hip flexors.

The hip flexors muscles make up the group of skeletal muscles that act to flex the femur (thigh bone). These along with others act to flex the hip joint. Often referred to collectively as the Iliopsoas made up of the Psoas major, Psoas minor and the Iliacus muscle.

The following also play a part these are known as Rectus Femoris (which make up the Quads) and Sartorius. These guys are also then linked in with the gluteal muscles (tensor fasciae and the medial compartment of the thigh involving pectineus, adductor longus and brevis and gracilis. However in this article we want to focus on psoas major and minor.

These hip flexor muscles attach from your hip and then around to the vertebrae in your lower back region. So when your hip flexor muscles are tight, they can pull your lower back into an uncomfortable position, placing additional pressure on the lumbar region. (Lower back)

Your hip flexor is a deep muscle in the front of your hip and when they are tight or shortened they can cause pain and restrict movement. Often pain can occur after walking for long periods and sitting down in an office chair for too long. As we age and don’t stretch these muscles are harder to lengthen. So the key is to stretch these regularly which hopefully will prevent pain and increase mobility. It is also good to stretch the hamstrings as well. Often the hip flexors are the ones causing the damage and can sometimes be misdiagnosed whereby the practitioner works on the abdominals and hamstrings neglecting the hip flexors.

Try these stretches to assist with lengthening your hip flexors. Kneeling on one knee with your opposite leg out in front at 90% to the floor. Lean forward with your head up and chest facing forward, stretching the front of your hip. You should feel this pull in the front of your hip. Change legs and repeat.

Find a table at about hip height and rest your buttocks on the edge. Bend your knee and hold it with both arms. Rock back and let the other leg hang off the table. Have a friend push the over hanging leg towards the floor and push the bent leg towards your chest.

Check the internet for some visuals of these hip flexors exercise and stretches. You will be amazed at how much better your lower back will feel.



Source: John Hart

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Top 10 Supplements


Studies have long proven the benefits of supplementation. Here is the research on the 10 best supplements shown to offer the greatest health benefits when used regularly, at the proper dosage.

1. Super green foods

Most Canadians struggle to consume five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the minimum found to prevent heart disease and a variety of cancers. Why worry when you can get the nutritional value of disease-fighting fruits and vegetables with super green foods? Green foods are available as single ingredients, such as spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, and barley grass, or in formulations of several ingredients.

Let’s first look at spirulina. Blue-green algae that grow wild in warm-water alkaline volcanic lakes, spirulina has a high biological value that makes it a highly bioavailable protein source without toxicity. It also contains all the essential amino acids and has an amino acid content that ranges from 62 to 71 percent.

Spirulina contains beta-carotene, as well as chlorophyll and the essential fatty acid GLA. Phycocyanin, its phytonutrient, has been shown in animal studies to stimulate the production of red blood cells. Among the more than 100 published scientific references relating to spirulina are studies that show spirulina possesses anticancer effects and antiviral properties.

Chlorella offers health benefits similar to spirulina and is also a rich source of vitamin K. Chlorella is used to detoxify heavy metals such as mercury and has been shown to improve constipation. Preliminary research has shown that it is helpful for those with fibromyalgia.

Dosage:
A typical adult dose of chlorella is 5,000 to 10,000 mg daily. The average adult dose of spirulina is 2,000 mg daily.

2. Multivitamins and minerals

Multivitamins and minerals are like an insurance policy against the array of nutritional deficiencies brought on by depleted mineral content in soil, pollution, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and chronic stress.

The health benefits of supplementation with multivitamins and minerals are well studied. One double-blind study looked at the effect of a multivitamin on immune function in the elderly and found that those who received the multivitamin supplement had significantly fewer infections

compared to those who received a placebo. Another study found that a multivitamin and trace element supplement resulted in stronger immune cell markers, as compared to those who took a placebo and found a reduction in immune cell parameters.

Does multivitamin supplementation increase intelligence in children? In a double-blind placebo study, 60 children ages 12 and 13 were given either a multivitamin or placebo for eight months. Only the group receiving a multivitamin showed improved non-verbal intelligence (their ability to perform tasks).

Astoundingly, another study of almost 4,000 women found that infants born to women taking multivitamins were overall 24 percent less likely to have heart defects. I highly recommend women of childbearing age and those who are pregnant take a multivitamin and mineral formula with 600 to 800 mcg of folic acid and 50 to 100 mcg of vitamin B12 to prevent birth defects. Similarly, pregnant women should not take multivitamins with dosages of vitamin A above 5,000 IU.

Dosage:
A range of multivitamins and minerals is available. They are best taken with meals. Generally, I recommend that you take a multivitamin with iron only if your doctor has determined that you are pregnant or have iron-deficiency anemia. Iron supplements may cause oxidative damage when an iron deficiency is not present.

3. Fish oil and omega-3s

The scientific evidence on fish oil continues to mount. Fish oils are a direct source of two long-chain fatty acids known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These fatty acids give fish oil anti-inflammatory properties that allow it to decrease inflammation, thin the blood, and balance the immune system.

EPA appears to be particularly effective in reducing inflammation in conditions like arthritis and autoimmune conditions.

DHA is critical for the proper development and function of the brain, where it helps brain cells transmit electrical impulses efficiently. It is therefore no surprise that a DHA deficiency can lead to memory, behaviour, and learning problems. Supplemen-tation with DHA appears to calm hyperactive children and, in infants, improve IQ and aid in proper retinal development. In people of all ages, DHA helps regulate mood and a deficiency can lead to a condition like depression.

Fish and fish oil are powerful allies in the war against cardiovascular disease. Low blood levels of EPA and DHA are independently associated with increased risk of death from coronary heart disease. As well, studies demonstrate that the levels of EPA and DHA in red blood cells are a risk factor for sudden cardiac arrest. Research has found that not only is fish oil one of the most effective ways to stabilize heart arrhythmias, it also prevents blood clots, reduces inflammation, and lowers triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

Dosage:
I recommend a fish oil product that has a combined total of 1,000 mg of DHA and EPA as your daily dosage. Make sure to choose a product that is independently tested to be free of toxic metals and PCBs. Vegetarians can source their omega-3s in ground flaxseed. Take 1 to 2 Tbsp (30 to 60 mL) daily.

4. Probiotics

Friendly flora are an integral part of the body’s immune, digestive, and detoxification system. In fact, the 100 trillion bacteria that live in our digestive system comprise four pounds of our body weight. Friendly flora such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bifidobacterium, among many others, help in the breakdown of food.

These good bacteria are also part of the immune system, preventing the overgrowth of infectious microbes. Probiotic supplementation has been shown to decrease food allergies in infants. It has also been shown to help prevent and treat childhood constipation, traveller’s diarrhea, and eczema. Those with chronic digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and Crohn’s disease also often benefit from probiotic supplementation.

Many people need a friendly flora tune-up because chlorinated water and the effects of stress deplete their population.

Dosage:
I recommend that a probiotic supplement should be used during and for up to two months after a course of antibiotics or pain medication. Ongoing supplementation containing 5 to 10 billion active organisms should then be taken daily between meals. Children’s probiotics are also available.

5. Garlic

Garlic supplements are a popular way to prevent colds and flu and to lower levels of cholesterol and homocysteine (linked to increased risk of premature coronary artery disease, stroke, and venous blood clots).

Researchers, in a 1997 study published in Circulation, found that garlic protects the elasticity of the aorta, which diminishes with aging as well as with high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Even more impressive, researchers at UCLA Medical Center completed a one-year, double-blind, randomized clinical study with people taking aged garlic extract. Researchers found that people taking aged garlic extract had significantly less coronary plaque formation than those in the placebo group. Also, the group supplementing with garlic tended to have lower blood homocysteine and cholesterol levels.

These results were confirmed by German researchers who reported 2004 findings that garlic is effective at inhibiting the development of arterial plaque as well as reducing the size of existing plaque. Researchers recommended that people start supplementing garlic beginning in their 20s and 30s to prevent plaque buildup.

Dosage:
I recommend 500 to 1,000 mg of garlic extract daily. Garlic has a mild blood-thinning effect so check with your doctor first before using if you are on blood-thinning medications.

6. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a nutrient naturally occurring in foods and in the human body. Cells of the heart (and the rest of the body) use CoQ10 to create energy within the cell mitochondria. Consequently CoQ10 has been shown to help in the treatment of angina, arrhythmias, mitral valve prolapse (heart murmur), cardiomyopathy (inflammation of the heart muscle), congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure.

Studies show that CoQ10 is depleted by commonly used cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. This may explain why some people using statin drugs report experiencing fatigue, muscle weakness, and pain. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology as long ago as 1993 found that the use of statin drugs reduced CoQ10 levels by an average of 40 percent after three months of use.

In other areas of health, CoQ10 has been shown to improve the fertility potential of sperm and may also help in the treatment of gum disease.

Dosage:
I recommend that those taking CoQ10 for health protection take 25 to 50 mg daily. People with existing heart disease and diabetes should supplement with 100 to 300 mg daily. Those using statin drugs should supplement with 100 to 200 mg daily. CoQ10 supplementation at the rate of 100 to 200 mg daily is also recommended for those using beta blockers for high blood pressure and heart arrhythmias.

Like garlic, CoQ10 does have a mild blood-thinning effect so check with your doctor before using it if you are on blood-thinning medication.

7. Ashwagandha

The effects of chronic stress impact every tissue of the body. One of my favourite supplements to help people decrease the effects of stress is the herb ashwagandha (root of Withania somnifera). Also referred to as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, or withania, this herb has many similarities to Chinese ginseng in that it supports energy levels. Yet it is gentler and better tolerated, in my experience.

Traditionally, ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for fatigue, chronic disease, impotence, waning memory, asthma, bronchitis, psoriasis, arthritis, and infertility. Recent studies, including one published in 2005 in the British Journal of Pharmacology, have shown that ashwagandha causes antioxidant activity that protects brain cells, making it one of the best supplements to slow aging.

Ashwagandha also has been shown to stimulate red blood cell production in children to improve anemia, with similar results also shown with adults. Significantly increased hemoglobin and red blood cell count was found in normal healthy male volunteers, age 50 to 59, who received 3,000 mg of purified ashwagandha powder for one year rather than placebo. Study subjects receiving ashwagandha also noted improvements in nail calcium and cholesterol. Further, 71.4 percent of the men reported the benefit of ashwagandha’s traditional use–improved sexual performance.

Dosage:
I recommend 250 mg daily of an 8 percent withanolide ashwagandha extract or 2,000 to 3,000 mg of regular ashwagandha extract. Pregnant women are advised to avoid ashwagandha.

8. Green tea

People who consume green tea on a regular basis appear to have less incidence of cancer. Researchers in one study, who looked at 472 women with stage I, II, or III breast cancer, found that green tea consumption was associated with a decreased risk of lymph node metastasis in premenopausal women with stage I and II cancer. Also, the consumption of five cups a day of green tea on a long-term basis was significantly associated with a decreased cancer recurrence for women with stage I and II breast cancer who were in remission at the follow-up study six years later. Green tea also appears to protect against other cancers, including prostate, esophagus, stomach, colon, lung, skin, liver, bladder, ovary, leukemia, and oral leukoplakia.

Green tea lowers cholesterol, too. A study of 1,371 Japanese men showed that a high consumption of green tea was associated with lower total cholesterol levels, increased HDL “good cholesterol,” and lower LDL “bad cholesterol.”

Dosage:
The typical capsule dosage is one 500-mg capsule taken one to three times daily. Look for products standardized between 80 to 90 percent polyphenols and 35 to 55 percent EGCG. Supplemental forms of green tea usually have the caffeine removed or decreased.

9. Enzyme complex


Enzymes–found abundantly in uncooked plant foods–support every metabolic reaction in the body. People supplement with enzymes for a variety of therapeutic reasons. Proteolytic or protein-digesting enzymes, the most commonly used of which is bromelain, have anti-inflammatory effects when taken between meals. Their use is effective for those with sinusitis as well as arthritis or other conditions involving the joints and tissues.

Enzymes are also increasingly used to support the nutrition of those with cancer. Preliminary evidence is showing enzymes are helpful for some cases of cancer as part of a comprehensive program. Their most well-studied use has been with pancreatic cancer.

Enzymes are also helpful to improve digestion. This makes them very important for people with chronic digestive problems such as colitis or irritable bowel syndrome. Enzymes come in handy when indulging in fast foods to help ensure digestion and absorption.

Dosage:
To support digestive health I mainly recommend the use of microbial-derived enzymes derived from Aspergillus oryzae. Take one or two capsules or as recommended on the label with, or at the end of, each meal.

10. Calcium and magnesium

According to the Osteoporosis Society of Canada (osteoporosis.ca), one in four women over the age of 50 has osteoporosis. One in eight men over 50 also has the disease. Low calcium intake is one of the risk factors in this degenerative disease. Consequently, the best osteoporosis prevention is lifelong supplementation with calcium along with magnesium, with which calcium is intricately linked in many of the body’s metabolic reactions. The minerals work together effectively when taken in a ratio of two parts calcium to one part magnesium.

Calcium is also important in the prevention of colon cancer, PMS, high blood pressure, and muscle spasms. Meanwhile magnesium is important and even more critical for heart function and energy production. In some users magnesium also helps prevent migraine headaches.

Dosage:
I recommend adults supplement 1,000 to 1,200 mg of a well-absorbed calcium product such as calcium citrate or chelated calcium. Magnesium should also be supplemented at a dose of 500 to 600 mg daily. Many formulas that combine the two minerals are available. Better yet is a formula that also contains vitamin D at 400 IU daily, as vitamin D favourably influences calcium absorption.

These top 10 nutritional supplements are worth using to optimize your health and reduce the risk of disease. Quality products are available at your local health food store.


Source: Mark Stengler, ND

Friday, March 18, 2011

How to Treat Injured Foot Arches


The "plantar fascia" is medical term for the tissue along the arch of your foot, starting behind your toes and extending back to the heel. You have plantar fasciitis -- or an injured foot arch -- if that tissue is badly overstretched or partially or fully ruptured.

The cause of this condition is too much pressure exerted on the arches, and although common in athletes, the condition can happen because you went hiking or climbing, you were lifting heavy objects, or you simply walked too far too vigorously. Pregnancy places extra strain on the arches because of both the additional body weight and the effect of hormones on muscles and ligaments.

If the strain is severe enough, it can not only stretch but tear the plantar fascia. No matter what the cause of your problem, however, the end result is the same: foot pronation -- a temporary case of "flat feet" -- and pain.

The best treatment? Apply ice packs, followed by heat (to reduce inflammation), to the area for 20 minutes once a day. Rest is also essential. You will have to avoid any activity -- in some cases, even standing or walking -- that would increase the tear, until the tissue heals on its own (this can sometimes take up to six weeks).

With strains and less severe tears, you may be able to walk on the foot with arch-support shoe inserts. You'll need to see your doctor for more permanent arch support. A doctor can also provide immediate relief from the pain of plantar fasciitis by giving you a local cortisone injection or prescribing anti-inflammatory medication.

Once the plantar fascia is healed, prevent a repeat injury by:

•choosing shoes, especially athletic shoes, that provide good arch and heel support.

•avoiding activities you're not accustomed to that place a lot of stress on the foot.

•doing stretching exercises to strengthen the muscles and ligaments in your feet.

Whatever the injury, the best treatment is preventing the condition altogether. Continue to the next page for tips on how to avoid foot injuries in the first place.


Source: Michael King, DPM

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Glutamine & Creatine Side Effects


Both Creatine and Glutamine are proven to boost strength and muscle gains when combined with a suitable workout program and diet. They are amino acids found naturally within the body which have become popular with bodybuilder and athletes due to their performance gains.


Dehydration
While using creatine and glutamine, water is dawn into the muscles than is normal. This may result in dehydration as a side effect of using these supplements. When using these supplements you should increase your water intake to counteract this effect.


Water Retention
Increase in water retention in the muscles can make them look fuller and shapelier. However some individuals’ body shape means that they will look fatter around the waste which they may find undesirable. Muscles may lose shape when individuals stop taking the supplements.


Upset Stomach
Bloating and stomach upsets are associated side effects with both glutamine and creatine.


Kidneys Problems
No conclusive evidence exists to show that creatine causes problems in the kidneys. However there is significant anecdotal evidence from users linking creatine to kidney problems and specifically to the development of kidney stones. Users should take into account that the likelihood of kidney stones is increased by having a high protein diet, a common habit of bodybuilders. Lack of fluid in the body also increases the chance of kidney stones. Creatine side effects negative impact can include dehydration so it is logical that the creatine could indirectly lead to kidney stones if users do not rehydrate themselves. It is recommended that you contact a medical professional if you have kidney problems.


Long Term Impact
Both supplements are continuously being studied by various groups to have their side effects analyzed. At the current time however the current research is not sufficient to adequately state the long term impact of these supplements.



Source: creatinesideeffects.org

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

10 Fitness Tips


A good fitness program requires a healthy lifestyle, focus, and a good plan. Whether you want to lose the extra-pounds, or just stay in shape, these tips may help you reach your fitness goals.

Tip #1: Work out regularly!
Always remember that it is more important to have a quality workout than to have a long one. However, you should try to progressively increase the time spend working out from twenty minutes to an hour. You can work out harder when you`re full of energy.

Tip #2: Combine the exercises.
Make sure that your fitness workout covers all muscle groups. The fitness program should include cardio exercises like aerobic, jogging, stepping, climbing stairs, or rope jumping. Lifting weights and stretching exercises are also a good option. Don’t overwork yourself: at the end of the workout you should feel full of energy, not stressed and exhausted.

Tip #3: Try new exercises to avoid routine.
Once you`re familiar with some of the fitness exercises, why not try others? Maybe you`ll enjoy them more. For instance, the Pilates exercises help you work on your belly in a different way; or, you may want to try Tae-bo or kickboxing instead of aerobic.

Tip #4: Adapt to your environment!
Try and adapt your workout to your environment. You can find a way to exercise no matter where you’re working out: at home, in the park, or at the gym. Don’t find excuses not to exercise regularly!

Tip #5: Have a balanced diet!
Besides working out, you also need a healthy diet if you want to lose weight. No matter how hard you work out, if you don’t eat unhealthy you won’t see the results you expect. Also, count the calories in your meals and make sure you don’t eat more than you need to maintain or lose weight. If your net calorie consumption – including those you burn when working out – is higher than your daily requirements, you will gain weight even if you work out.

Tip #6: Ask for help!
Always seek help from a fitness trainer and a dietitian who can recommend you a personalized diet. Having a specialist who supervises, supports, and motivates you helps you stay on track with your fitness or weight loss plan, and avoid making costly mistakes.

Tip #7: Create a healthy environment around you
Clean up your fridge of “prohibited” foods and stuff it with fruits, vegetables, and yogurts! Stop smoking, or hanging out in places where a lot of people smoke. Ask your spouse or significant other to smoke outside – or preferably not at all! It’s healthy for both of you. Don’t drink too much, and don’t sleep too little. Fitness is not just about working out; it’s about living healthy, in a healthy environment.

Tip #8: Stay close to people who are motivated.
To achieve your goals, share them with others who’ve gone through the same experience. Most people are happy to help. Learn from their mistakes, learn what’s worked for them, and stay close to motivated people. Positive thinking is contagious!

Tip #9: Keep moving!
Try to walk more outdoors, or better yet in a park, during sunny days. Jog with a friend in the morning or during lunch break at work, or walk the dog more often. Find time to do work around the house. Always try to add physical activity to your life.

Tip #10: Remember that fitness is a step to a healthier lifestyle!
Try to make some time for a fitness program in your schedule and enjoy all its benefits. A fitness program and a healthy diet are a successful recipe for a healthier life.


Source: Project Weight Loss 2008

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Relationship Between Diet & Exercise


The Importance of Diet
The food choices we make throughout our lives can make a difference in the likelihood for many diseases that cause premature death or disability, including heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Three long-term studies being conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health have followed 300,000 people and suggest that:

-- a diet rich in vegetables may help prevent breast and prostate cancer
-- colon cancer is more common among those who eat more red meat
-- high-fat diets increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers
-- a diet with too many refined carbohydrates increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Although there are some nutritional changes associated with aging, for the most part, what was considered a healthy diet at 40 will still be a healthy diet at 60 or 70. Health experts recommend a diet that emphasizes whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other tips:

-- Drink eight to 10 cups of fluid every day, and make at least five of those water. Limit caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
-- Reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet and replace it with monounsaturated fat such as that in olive, canola, sunflower, safflower and soybean oils.
-- When snacking, choose fruits, vegetables or whole-grain products.
-- Make eating fun by sharing dinnertime with family and friends, or joining community functions whenever possible.

The Benefits of Exercise
Many experts believe that regular exercise is the single most important thing anyone can do to improve overall health and well-being. New studies show that aerobic activity increases levels of brain chemicals that encourage the growth of nerve cells, which may be the reason moderately strenuous exercise is associated with enhanced memory skills.

Some ways that exercise can help retain mental capacity include:

-- reducing anxiety and stress
-- improving mood and possibly alleviating depression
-- improving sleep
-- increasing energy levels
-- slowing the rate of bone loss
-- enabling the body to use insulin more efficiently
-- improving cardiovascular health
-- controlling weight and preventing obesity

The National Institute of Aging suggests incorporating four types of exercises into your life. Endurance exercise, such as walking, helps increase stamina. Strength exercise, with free weights or resistance weights, increases metabolism and may help prevent osteoporosis. Flexibility exercise, such as stretching or yoga, prevents and aids recovery from injuries. And balance exercises, such as standing on one foot, help prevent falls.

By following these basic tips, as well as any advice from your physician related to any specific health conditions, it is possible to live well in old age as opposed to just living into old age.



Source: pioneerthinking.com

Monday, March 14, 2011

5 Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment


There are still many people who do not understand all the benefits that a chiropractic doctor can provide or how they can actually help you to improve your overall health. While even the traditional medical community are beginning to understand the benefits that doctors of chiropractic can provide to the medical field as a whole, many average citizens still look on chiropractors and chiropractic treatment with suspicion. There seems to be a lack of understanding on just how chiropractic treatment can be of benefit. For those who want to become informed about What chiropractic medicine can do for you here are the 5 most important benefits you can receive from a chiropractic care giver.

Increase Immune System Function. Perhaps the biggest benefit that chiropractic care has to offer is that it can improve your immune system. Since a healthy immune system is necessary to maintaining your overall health improving the function of this system is a huge benefit to your health. Studies have shown that people who use chiropractic care regularly have fewer colds and when they do the symptoms are less severe.

Helps to Manage Pain. Chiropractic care can also help you to manage your pain by helping to locate and correct serious nervous system stress, strengthen your muscles surrounding your nerves and advising you on the proper care of your body.

Can Increase Your Range Of Movement. By helping you to manage and control your pain and strengthen your muscles chiropractic treatment can often help to increase your range of movements following an accident or injury. Chiropractors will work with you to find exercises that will continue to aid you in recovering all or most of the range of movements you had before the injury or accident.

Avoid The Harmful Side Effects Of Many Drugs. Since chiropractic care is based on natural care they can help you avoid the use or overuse of pain medications and other drugs that often have serious side effects and can increase your health issues. The fewer drugs you take the less dangers await you down the road.

Get The Right Medical Attention You Need. Since chiropractic medicine deals with your overall health and well being a chiropractor often discovers health problems or conditions that are outside his realm of training. When this happens your chiropractor will refer you to a medical professional who can help you deal with these needs, helping to ensure your continued good health.

A chiropractic doctor is just one of the options available for those of you who are concerned about your health.


Source: ezinearticles.com

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Forearm Training For Hand Strength


Forearm and wrist exercises are an often overlooked area for the average person looking to get in shape. However, well-defined forearm muscles add more pizazz to your overall appearance. Forearms the size of twigs just don't look right when paired with big guns (that's bodybuilder lingo for biceps), but forearm exercise can change that. Of course, adding muscularity to your forearms and wrists will give you the power to finally open that jar of mayonnaise-and isn't that what we all want?

Depending upon genetics and other exercises utilized, forearm and wrist training exercises may not really be a big deal to you because you probably have decent hand strength. Even so, it pays to vary your workout routine. Muscles need to be 'thrown for a loop' now and then to obtain maximum growth potential for forearm development. If your forearms are puny and Popeye's spinach hasn't been working, then these forearm training exercises are for you.

Remember, when learning how to do forearm and wrist exercises you should still gently warm up the muscles to be worked and ease into these workout exercises to prevent injury. Some people look at the forearm and wrist muscles as not being as important for stretching and cooling down, but they are.

For a beginner, just one forearm or wrist exercise per workout may be enough to promote muscle growth. As for repetitions (reps) and number of sets, a reasonable beginner's approach might be two sets of an exercise with 10 reps per set. Be sure to rest briefly between sets when doing these arm exercises with hand weights.

WRIST CURLS These work the top side of the forearm, along with the wrist muscles. Use light-to-moderate weights and avoid overstretching to prevent injury.

To perform this exercise:
•In a sitting position, rest forearms on the tops of your thighs. (For greater stability, kneel in front of a bench and rest your forearms on it.)
•Wrists should rest on the knees (or a flat bench). Dumbbells are held with palms facing downward.
•Lift up the weight, moving only your wrists.
•Lower your weights to the starting position.

REVERSE WRIST CURLS These work the bottom side of the forearm, along with the wrist muscles. As the name implies, this is similar to doing wrist curls.

To perform this exercise:
•In a sitting position, rest forearms on the tops of your thighs. (For greater stability, kneel in front of a bench and rest your forearms on it.)


Source: howtodothings.com

Saturday, March 12, 2011

No More Pain In The Neck


Do you walk around with knots in your neck? Do your shoulder muscles feel tight and stiff? A pain in the neck – and shoulders – is not uncommon for people who sit too long at a desk or in a car, lift and carry a baby around, strain under the weight of groceries, a heavy purse or a briefcase, or simply deal with too much stress. And that list covers just about all of us.

Many of the activities in our daily life involve lifting our shoulders up – which compresses the muscles and soft tissue around the neck and upper back. The results are poor posture, fatigue, strain and pain. A great way to fight them is with a shrug – the shoulder shrug!

Do the exercise below to relax your neck and upper back. To reap even greater benefits, do the stretches while you're taking a warm shower or with a warm damp towel draped across your shoulders. (You can dampen the towel and warm it up in the microwave for about 45 seconds.)

Reverse shoulder shrug
This is one of the best exercises for strengthening your shoulders and upper back – key for reducing strain and stress on the muscles in this area and your neck.

1. Sit tall on a chair without leaning against the back for support. Pull your shoulders back toward your spine and down. Reach your fingers toward the floor.

2. Draw your chin back so that your ears align directly over your shoulders; pull your navel in toward your spine. As you draw your chin and your abdominals in, you should feel as if you've lengthened your spine. Be sure to keep your shoulders back and down (imagine your shoulder blades moving in the direction of your back hip pockets) until you feel a moderate amount of effort between and underneath both shoulder blades.

3. Hold this action for a three to five seconds and release. Repeat eight to 10 times. If you feel a simultaneous stretch in your upper shoulders and upper back, it means that this exercise is perfect for you!

As you reawaken the muscles underneath and below your shoulder blades, you'll start to see a lengthening and feel a nice release anywhere from your upper neck to the tops of your shoulders.

If you're having difficulty sensing the correct body positioning, this technique will show you how to align your body: Lie on your bed without a pillow, with your legs bent or relaxed straight out. Try to draw your chin back toward the mattress; you should sense the space between your neck and the mattress becoming smaller. Also draw your shoulders into the mattress and imagine your shoulder blades moving down into your hip pockets (i.e. you want to feel your shoulders move away from your ears and toward your hips). Reach your fingers toward your ankles. Pull your navel in toward the mattress.


Source: canadianliving.com

Friday, March 11, 2011

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat. Do You Know The Difference?


The Good Fats

Monounsaturated Fats


Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Nuts including peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios, avocado, canola and olive oil are high in MUFAs. MUFAs have also been found to help in weight loss, particularly body fat. Click here for more weight loss nutrition tips.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Seafood like salmon and fish oil, as well as corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils are high in polyunsaturated fats. Omega 3 fatty acids belong to this group.


The Bad Fats

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats raise total blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and seafood. Some plant foods are also high in saturated fats such as palm oil and palm kernel oil.


Trans Fats

Trans fats are invented as scientists began to "hydrogenate" liquid oils so that they can withstand better in food production process and provide a better shelf life. As a result of hydrogenation, trans fatty acids are formed. Trans fatty acids are found in many commercially packaged foods, commercially fried food such as French Fries from some fast food chains, other packaged snacks such as microwaved popcorn as well as in vegetable shortening and hard stick margarine.


Source: healthcastle.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Coconut “Sap” ~ Who Knew???



Coconut palms are one of the oldest flowering trees in the world. For centuries throughout the tropics, the traditional practice of “tapping” coconut trees for their prized “sap” is a time-honored art form. The nutrient-rich sap that exudes from the blossoms before they mature into coconuts, is used to make many unique and nutritious food products. The Coconut Secret line is the direct result of these artisanal family recipes.

Tapping the Sap
The principles of tapping the coconut tree blossoms for their sap, bears only minor resemblance to the practice of tapping maple trees for maple syrup production. Containers used to collect the sap are made out of hollow bamboo tubes that are fastened onto the thick fleshy stems covered in small flowers (see photos).

The freshly gathered coconut tree sap is oyster white in color, has a nearly neutral pH, and is already inherently sweet tasting by nature. Whereas, the sap from a maple tree (as well as the juice from an agave cactus) has very little readily available sweetness, and requires long heating times in order to produce the sweet syrup you purchase in the bottle.

The nutrient-rich coconut sap comes right out of the tree naturally abundant in 17 Amino Acids (the building blocks of protein), broad-spectrum B Vitamins (especially rich in Inositol, known for its effectiveness on depression, high cholesterol, inflammation, and diabetes), Vitamin C, Minerals (high in Potassium, essential for electrolyte balance, regulating high blood pressure, and sugar metabolism), as well as FOS (a prebiotic that promotes digestive health).

Coconut tree sap produces a multitude of delicious products, including our Coconut Vinegar, Coconut Aminos Seasoning Sauce, Coconut Nectar, and Coconut Crystals, all made through raw methods of either fermenting the sap (for up to 1 year), or evaporating it (for only 45-90 minutes at low temperatures) after it is collected.

The most remarkable blessing about tapping a coconut tree, is that once it is tapped, it flows its sap continuously for the next 20 years. From a sustainability viewpoint, the harvestable energy production from tapping coconut trees for their sap (which yields 5,000 liters per hectare), rather than allowing them to produce fruit, is 5-7 times higher per hectare than coconut oil production from mature coconuts.


Source: coconutsecrets.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How To Avoid Exercise-Induced Nausea



Exercise-induced nausea is a feeling of sickness or vomiting during or shortly after a workout. While feeling sick during a workout is a common occurrence, it can be frustrating and even worrisome. Determining the cause of exercise-induced nausea is the first step in preventing nausea or vomiting during or after a workout.


Causes of Exercise-Induced Nausea

There are many reasons why exercise-induced nausea can occur. Some of the more common causes include:

•Low blood sugar levels due to working out on an empty stomach
•Overexertion
•Dehydration
•Motion sickness from performing abdominal exercises


Preventing Exercise-Induced Nausea

Although exercise-induced nausea can be troublesome, there are ways to prevent feeling sick or vomiting during or after a workout.


1. If exercise-induced nausea is caused by working out on an empty stomach, eating a small meal or snack an hour or so before a workout may prevent nausea and vomiting from occurring. Stick with a high-carb, low fat meal. The carbs from the meal provide the body with the energy needed to make it through a workout. A high carb/low-fat meal or snack digests easily as well and a moderate amount of protein will help to stave off hunger through a workout.

2. Oftentimes exercise-induced nausea will occur during high-intensity workouts. Pushing too hard or performing exercise at a pace above one's fitness level are common causes of exercise-induced nausea. If overexertion is the cause, try scaling back a workout or working up to performing high-intensity workouts.

3. Be sure to hydrate the body before and during a workout. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of fluid 2 to 3 hours before a workout and an additional 7 to 10 ounces approximately 10 to 20 minutes before a workout to ensure the body is properly hydrated going into a workout. If excessive thirst occurs during a workout, sipping water through the workout may also be beneficial.

4. In a January 9, 2008 NavySeals.com article entitled, "Nausea During Workout," Stew Smith explains how those who like to perform abdominal exercises at the beginning of their workout are prone to motion sickness because of their eyes being closed during the exercises or the eyes scanning the ceiling freely. Smith suggests locking the eyes on a fixed point on the ceiling during abdominal exercises to prevent exercise-induced nausea. Also, performing abdominal exercises mid-workout or closer to the end of a workout may prevent nausea as well.

Anyone who is experiencing nausea or vomiting during or after a workout should first consult a physician just to ensure there are no underlying medical problems causing their exercise-induced nausea.


Source: Suite101.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baking Soda! The Latest Fitness Craze?


No one eats baking soda straight, of course, but sprinkling a little bit into your water glass--as gross as it sounds--may offer some surprising health benefits, say researchers.

The strangest news you'll hear all day? Baking soda--taken in very small amounts--may boost exercise stamina, or so say researchers from China who studied the effect of sodium bicarbonate (known as baking soda) in a small group of tennis players.

Their findings, appearing in a new issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, indicate that "tiny" amounts of baking soda helped increase stamina in the athletes studied.

“We found that sodium bicarbonate supplementation can prevent the fatigue-induced decline in skilled tennis performance seen during matches,” Chen-Kang Chang, head of the Taiwanese research team, said in a news release.

Of course, the study leaves all kinds of questions unanswered: How much baking soda? Are their side effects? Are the benefits only unique to tennis? What about other sports? All of which makes me wary about jumping on the baking soda bandwagon, but I admit: I'm fascinated. Staying energized during a workout is a challenge for many people (me included), and it's fun to think that a little baking soda could help.

But, not so fast with that box. Let's hold the baking soda until we hear more from researchers. (And, I question the safety of using too much baking soda (many brands contain aluminum, and you probably don't want too much heavy metal in your bod).


Source: Sarah Jio, Glamour Magazine

Monday, March 7, 2011

Avoid Torn Ligaments & Tendons


Treatments for Sprained or Torn Ligaments and Tendons

If you've ever had a ligament or tendon injury you know how painful and debilitating it can be. Treatments of these injuries depend on how badly damaged the ligament or tendon is. In mild to moderate injuries, treatment usually includes:

•The RICE formula (rest, ice, compression, elevation)

•A short course of anti-inflammatory medications.

Elbow tendon and shoulder ligament injuries can take longer to heal as it is difficult to completely rest the ligaments and tendons of these areas.

More severe sprains and/or tears may often involve the following:

•Surgery to the ligament or tendon to restore the proper tension to keep bones/joint in proper alignment for correct movement. X-rays and/or MRI films are used to see how badly the ligament or tendon injury is.

•Arthroscopic surgery of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee sometimes is necessary to repair the ligament. Under anesthesia, several ports are made in the knee for an insertion of an arthroscope to enable the surgeon to see/repair the ligament directly.

•AC ligament separations or tears: Reconnective/reconstructive surgery is often necessary.
Recovery from ACL and AC ligament injuries can be slow and may require several weeks of physical therapy. Afterwards treatments include whirlpool, range of motion exercises, direct ultrasound stimulation, heat, and/or ice to the affected areas.

Preventing Ligament and Tendon Injuries

As I tell my patients, the best way to avoid ligament and tendon injuries is to make sure you take time to warm up before exercising. I can't stress how important this is, especially in people just starting an exercise regimen, as ligament and tendon injuries can seriously curb their enthusiasm for future exercise. Here are some basic tips on how to warm up each section of ligaments and tendons that are most prone to injury:

•General stretching: Lay on the floor, raise your arms overhead and stretch out like a cat does, slowly twisting in several directions. Do this for about 5 minutes, breathing in deeply as you go. Your muscles, tendons, ligaments all need oxygen to fire correctly.

•Shoulder shrug/rotations: Slowly shrug your shoulders, bring them up to your ears and rotate them backward slowly. This loosens up tension in the large muscles of the neck and shoulders.

•Elbow stretches: Hold your arm out straight ahead, slowly flex your hand/arm back towards you to the mid position and stop, lower your hand back down.

•Leg stretches: Stand straight, bend over and touch the floor with your fingertips and then slowly, gradually try to flatten your palm on the floor. Be sure to keep your feet flat on the floor and do not twist to the side. This stretches your hamstrings and loosens up tight knee and leg muscles.

•Achilles stretches: Stand facing a wall, about 1 foot away from it, lean into the wall, placing the palms of your hands on it. Extend one leg back behind you on the ball of your foot. Slowly, deliberately, bounce your heel towards the floor. This stretches out the Achilles tendon and helps to avoid heel spurs as well from a tight Achilles pulling on the calcaneus bone.

•Weight Train: Start with light weight training to strengthen ligaments and tendons, build up gradually.

•Get Enough Sleep: Inadequate sleep doesn't allow your muscles, tendons, ligaments to re-strengthen themselves correctly and makes them more prone to injury.

•Drink Water! Your muscles, ligaments and tendons, need water to move fluidly and remove lactic acid that builds up during exercise. It also helps create adequate fluid for joint cushioning. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day, more if you are exercising in very hot, humid weather. Sport drinks can also help keep you hydrated.


Source: Mark Bromson, M.D.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Got Carbs?


Thanks to recent research revealing the true power of glycogen, or carbohydrates stored in muscle tissue, the question is no longer whether to eat carbs, but how much to take in for your level of activity. Too much and your body converts the excess to fat. Too little and you won't have enough fuel for endurance sports.

Over the past two years, researchers at the University of Cape Town have determined that glycogen acts as a helpful communicator between your muscles and your brain. When you start to exercise, it sends signals to your cerebral cortex, telling it how long and how intensely you should work out. Based on this info, the brain then sets your pace.

This process was first observed during a 2004 study in which researchers determined that cyclists set the intensities of their one-hour rides within the first 120 seconds of their efforts—before any fatigue had set in or significant glycogen stores had been burned. The established intensities, scientists discovered, were directly proportionate to the amount of glycogen stored in the cyclists' legs prior to working out. "Additionally, we found that lower glycogen concentrations cause the brain to increase sensations of fatigue dramatically," says Tim Noakes, a professor at the Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town.

The lesson here is simple: To perform at your best during long hikes, rides, and runs, you have to keep your glycogen levels high by eating enough carbs ahead of time. For the Weekend Warrior it's as easy as upping fruit and bread intake before a big outing. But for the Daily Grinder, who trains for an hour or more each day, it gets complicated: Research tells us that, to stimulate your muscles to adapt and use oxygen more effectively, you occasionally want glycogen levels to bottom out. To get the correct amount of fuel at the optimal time, stick to these strategies.

THE DAILY GRINDER:

Fuel up. If you work out nearly every day for an hour or more, it's likely that you're not getting enough carbs to boost your glycogen depots and improve your performance. As a rule, hardworking athletes should get 70 percent of their calories from carbs, taking in four grams of carbs per pound (half kilogram) of body weight a day. That's 640 grams of carbs for a 160-pound (73-kilogram) athlete. But you can't just stuff down 42 slices of wheat bread in one sitting. Glycogen is finicky and best stored in the 30-minute window immediately following your workout. During this period, consume 25 percent of your daily carb intake.

Empty the tanks. To properly diminish your glycogen levels, incorporate longer-than-usual workouts into your program. If, for example, you ordinarily work out for about an hour each day, strive for one 90-to-120-minute session a week.


THE WEEKEND WARRIOR:

Fuel up. If you save your hour-long workouts for the weekend, your carb-intake strategy is a bit more complex. Like the Daily Grinder, you'll want to get about 70 percent of your total calories from carbs, but from Monday to Thursday your daily carb intake should be limited to between two grams per pound of body weight (if you rarely work out) and three grams per pound (if you work out for 30 minutes on most weekdays). On Friday stock up for weekend pursuits by eating the same four-grams-per-pound feed bag as the Daily Grinder. Ditto on Saturday. By Sunday, however, you should scale back your total carb consumption to midweek levels in anticipation of the more sedentary workweek. A note of caution: Your weekend pursuits may leave you ravenously hungry on Sunday evening. Fill up on good carbs—whole grains, fruits, and vegetables—not empty calories.

Empty the tanks. You're already depleting your glycogen levels with semiregular activity and lower carb consumption during the week.


Source: National Geographic

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hamstring Stretching 101


Hamstring stretches are important for the flexibility and range of motion of the hip and hamstring muscles. Good hamstring flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the hip and upper leg.












Source: The Stretching Institute

Friday, March 4, 2011

Processed Foods and Salt



Salting is one of the oldest food preservation methods. Salt (sodium chloride) helps prevent spoiling by drawing water out of the food, depriving bacteria of the moisture they need to thrive. Salt is also an antibacterial agent, killing some of the bacteria that cause spoiling.

At one time, salting was one of the only methods available to help preserve food. But today food processors have many other methods. These include pasteurization, refrigeration/freezing, dehydration/freeze-drying, irradiation and using chemical preservatives. (Note: Some chemical preservatives, such as sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, sodium citrate and sodium phosphate, contain small amounts of salt.) Each of these newer processes has resulted in the need for less -- if any salt -- as an ingredient.

So why do food manufacturers continue to add salt to processed foods? Here are some reasons:

•Salt makes food more flavorful.
•Salted foods such as soups seem thicker and less watery.
•Salt increases sweetness in products such as soft drinks, cookies and cakes.
•Salt helps cover up any metallic or chemical aftertaste in products such as soft drinks.
•Salt decreases dryness in foods such as crackers and pretzels.

Most Americans consume more than double the recommended daily amount of sodium per day -- in part because of a heavy diet of processed foods. To decrease the amount of salt in your diet:

•Eat fewer processed foods such as potato chips, frozen dinners, and cured meats such as bacon and lunchmeats.
•Choose low-sodium or reduced-sodium processed foods.
•Don't add salt to your food. Instead, use herbs and spices to flavor foods.
•Eat more fresh, unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultry, fish and unprocessed grains.


Source: fitnessandfreebies.com