Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Best Exercises for Weight Loss, Improved Health

(Article first published as Choosing the Right Exercise for Weight Loss and Health on Technorati.)
People choose many different types of exercise programs, depending on the goal they intend to accomplish. Some choose cardio aerobic activities such as walking and running in an effort to lose weight, while others gravitate toward resistance forms of exercise to build muscle and improve health. It’s important to combine the proper intensity with an appropriate fitness routine to achieve the proper end result that’s right for you.

Choosing Your Fitness Goal
Physical activity guidelines have been established by the US Department of Health and Human Services which are helpful in determining the proper exercise routine to follow, depending on your fitness level and ultimate goal. Individuals trying to lose weight and body fat will want to hit the treadmill with a moderate intensity level for at least 60 minutes on most days of the week.

Many people understand that it’s important to choose some type of exercise to improve health and retain muscle mass, while strengthening the most important muscle in the body, the heart. Here you’ll want to concentrate more on short burst, high intensity resistance exercises with 10 to 20 reps working all major muscle groups. At least 20 to 30 minutes is needed each day to maintain muscle tone and optimal body conditioning.

Top Exercises for Weight Loss
Always combine regular exercise with a well balanced, reduced calorie diet for maximum results. The best weight loss exercises will combine both an aerobic aspect as well as a toning element to drive your metabolism and burn fat.

Step Aerobics:
The main point behind cardio aerobic conditioning exercises is to raise the heart rate into the training zone which increases metabolism and triggers fat release. Step aerobics is an ideal form of fitness training that targets the hips, legs and belly, prime targets for toning and weight reduction. Step aerobics can burn up to 800 calories per hour and qualifies as an inexpensive and highly effective conditioning method to burn fat.

Whether you choose to ride around the neighborhood on a traditional bike, or opt for a stationary trainer, biking provides an excellent way to burn between 500 and 1000 calories per hour, depending on intensity and terrain. Biking is easy to do and is one of the best exercises to boost metabolism and promote weight loss.

Exercises to Promote Health
Health promoting exercises typically involve improved blood circulation and enhanced metabolic function. Although these forms of physical activity aren’t as intense as those which target weight loss, they lower disease incidence by improving critical bio-markers such as blood pressure, blood glucose and heart rate.

Walking is the perfect exercise for virtually everyone. It requires nothing more than a good pair of shoes and a safe place to stretch your legs, while strengthening the heart and influencing metabolic markers such as improved cholesterol ratios, lowered blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Plan to walk at least 30 minutes a day every day of the week for maximum benefits.

Swimming ranks among the best forms of exercise to improve and maintain health because it conditions every key muscle group in the body. There’s no impact to joints, so there’s little risk of injury which can sideline your efforts. Swimming strengthens the heart and lungs, and has been shown to improve insulin resistance as the muscles become metabolically conditioned for peak efficiency.

Health conscious people understand the importance of regular exercise and need to make the proper choices when determining their ultimate goal. Exercises which are meant to burn fat and lower body weight require more intensity and longer training periods. Training to improve your health demands a shorter session, completed on most days of the week. Regardless of your goal, exercise is the key to sustainable weight loss and optimal health.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Vitmain D Lowers Cancer Risk, Assists Weight Loss

(Article first published as Vitamin D Important in Weight Loss, Cancer Risk Reduction on Technorati.)
The importance of Vitamin D in the battle to lose weight and reduce the risk from many forms of cancer has been largely misunderstood since its discovery in 1922. Researchers have been uncovering the many significant health benefits of this miracle hormone since decoding the human genome, leading to critical discoveries about the interaction of Vitamin D with our DNA and genetic structure.

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Cancer and Autoimmune Disorders
The fact that every cell in the human body carriers a receptor for Vitamin D provides a good indicator of just how critical this pro-hormone is to good health and life itself. Vitamin D circulates in the blood, filling the needs of all cells until a saturation level is achieved, and is then stored in fat for future use.

According to the journal Genome Research, when the genetic receptors on each cell are inadequately filled, the incidence of cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis, Chron’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis rise dramatically. It appears that when Vitamin D is locked properly in its cellular receptor, it acts as a molecular instruction manual for healthy cellular function and replication.

Vitamin D Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
Vitamin D is an important nutrient for those trying to lose weight. Information provided to The Endocrine Society confirms that people following a weight loss program supplemented with Vitamin D dropped one-half pound more per week for every 1 ng/mL increase in Vitamin D in the blood, as compared to a control group who didn’t supplement.

Vitamin D helps to lower blood sugar and reverse the effects of insulin resistance, which may explain the weight loss results with Vitamin D supplementation. Additionally, the hormone is known to reduce levels of systemic inflammation which promotes healthy weight reduction. While Vitamin D is not the only key to successful weight loss, it is a powerful tool which should be used to assist your progress, while reaping the many additional health benefits.

Most People are Vitamin D Deficient
Proper Vitamin D levels can only be determined by a simple blood test. Optimal levels run between 50 and 80 ng/mL, yet the vast majority of people test around 25, and some are dangerously low below 20. When the circulating level is low, cellular receptors are not filled and risk of disease jumps dramatically.

Younger individuals make about 20,000 units of Vitamin D from 15 minutes of sun exposure which is sufficient to raise blood levels into the normal range. After age 35, our body becomes inefficient making Vitamin D from sun exposure and supplementing is required. Most people will need to start by supplementing between 4000 and 6000 units per day. Have your blood tested after 90 days to determine if you need more or less.

Vitamin D has been on the health radar of medical researchers for the past decade. Studies regularly confirm that the hormone is essential to our well being, reducing our risk of certain cancers by as much as 78%. Important information also indicates that Vitamin D can assist those individuals trying to lose weight by stabilizing metabolism and lowering inflammation. The benefits of Vitamin D supplementation are incontrovertible, and will help you to lead a longer life with vibrant health.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Choosing the Correct Weight Loss Plan

(Article first published as Choosing the Best Permanent Weight Loss Diet on Technorati.)
Many people proclaim to have the best diet or lifestyle plan to achieve permanent weight loss, yet nearly 95% of those who begin a new dietary program fail to hit their goal or keep the weight off for good. To a large extent genetics are to blame, as the basic survival mechanism which has allowed us to thrive for generations is also to blame for our weight loss failures.

Drink Water Before Each Meal
Research now confirms that one of the simplest methods for healthy weight loss may offer hope to the millions who struggle with their weight, and is simple and inexpensive. Research presented to the American Chemical Society shows that drinking 2 cups of water right before each meal is enough to help dieters lose an additional 5 pounds over a 90 day period.

Information from this study concludes that the water is enough to fill the stomach before eating so you feel full and don’t over eat. Experts advise everyone to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day, as this supports healthy liver function and is essential for proper fat metabolism.

Drink More Water, Less Diet Drinks
Another benefit from drinking water before each meal is that it helps eliminate the temptation to drink sweetened beverages or diet drinks which are known to sabotage weight loss efforts. Water before meals is a great way to stimulate weight loss with minimal effort, but in order to achieve permanent results, you need to make the correct choice between quick weight loss plans and a sustainable fat burning program.

Quick Weight Loss Plan
There are certain circumstances when you may need to resort to a quick weight loss plan. Nutritional experts warn that rapid weight loss is not the way to drop those extra pounds as they typically involve diet pills or meals which are nutritionally imbalanced and exclude important food groups.

People look to rapid weight loss programs so they can look good for a special event or to fit into a favorite bathing suit. While these may be good reasons to begin your weight loss journey, it’s important to avoid commercially marketed fat burning pills and synthetic metabolism boosters. Some may deliver quick results, but the weight loss cannot be sustained and these artificial supplements will damage your health in the long term.

Permanent Weight Loss Program
A fat burning weight loss plan is the only method which will deliver healthy weight reduction. Quick weight loss schemes help you to lose water and muscle mass, neither of which leads to sustainable weight reduction for life. The best way to drop weight and burn fat is to follow a sensible, reduced calorie diet and compliment with regular physical activity.

Plan to lose between 1 and 2 pounds each week. If you find yourself losing more weight, then increase your calories, as weight lost too quickly is a sign that you’re wasting precious muscle tissue and not actually burning body fat. Men need 1800 calories per day, while women should plan for 1500 calories. Ensure that your menu is well balanced, including healthy options from all food groups and concentrated with plenty of fresh leafy greens and vegetables.

The most common weight loss mistake is losing weight too rapidly. Once you’ve made the decision to begin a new weight loss lifestyle, weight yourself twice each week and keep a chart of your progress, making sure that you don’t drop too fast. Stay away from damaging diet pills and fad diets, in favor of healthy meal options. You’ll enjoy the health benefits of a well planned, steady weight reduction program leading to permanent and sustainable weight loss for life.

Top Guilty Pleasures for Good Health

(Article first published as Top Guilty Pleasures for Good Health on Technorati.)
People want to make the right lifestyle and dietary decisions which will make an impact on their overall health and longevity. Old wives tales abound that are often based on stories passed from one generation to the next, and rarely on solid science. The experts at Health Magazine list the Top 10 healthiest pleasures along with the corresponding scientific evidence, as reported by CNN Health.

Guilty Pleasure 1: Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep is associated with depression, anxiety and weight gain. The body uses sleep to perform critical routine maintenance on a cellular and metabolic level, as it boosts your immune system and ability to store and recall details from memory. Experts advise that 7 to 9 hours are necessary each night, and health declines with either too much or too little sleep.

Guilty Pleasure 2: Making Time for Yourself
Many call it a mental health day, but taking time for yourself relieves stress, blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Time off the job also promotes creative thinking and lowers the chance of becoming depressed. While the exact mechanism of how this works remains a mystery, planning a little down time is a necessity for good health, regardless of the length of time you take off.

Guilty Pleasure 3: Get Frisky!
Regular sexual relations are an amazing form of exercise, causing the release of feel-good endorphins in the brain which lower the risk of depression and improve your connection with the world around you. Relations once or twice a week have been shown to improve the immune response, helping to prevent the common cold and other more serious infections.

Guilty Pleasure 4: Dark Chocolate
Chocolate has received much attention because of the powerful antioxidant, cacao which is extracted from the cocoa bean during the manufacturing process. Cacao has been shown to improve the flexibility of blood vessels, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack, but all chocolate is not created equal. Choose only dark chocolate with a minimum of 75% cacao content stated on the package, and limit yourself to one or two square a day.

Guilty Pleasure 5: Have a Large Social Network
Friends, family and social contacts are an important part of who we are, and how we interact with the world we live in. Developing healthy friend and family relationships improves brain health, reduces the risk from common infections and leads to a longer and happier life.

Most people are aware that a healthy, well balanced diet, regular exercise and stress reduction are all important tools to combat declining health. Much of the health and lifestyle information we rely on to maintain and improve our health may be based on old, outdated tales which have been bantered about for generations. Science is continually bringing new information to light which can help us to live a longer, happier and healthy life.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Super Foods That Help Weight Loss

(Article first published as Super Foods Assist Weight Loss and Control Diet on Technorati.)
While it may be true there’s no magical fat burning food, there are a number of super foods which assist the body to lose weight, or help to maintain a weight range once you’ve achieved your goal. These foods work by naturally controlling your hunger, increasing fat metabolism and burning extra calories for use as energy.

Fill Up on Fresh Vegetables and Limited Fruits
Fresh vegetables are the key to any healthy, well balanced weight loss program. No other food group can provide you with that important satisfied feeling which makes you stop eating. Vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in fiber which helps send the satiety signal to your brain that you’ve finished eating.

Equally important, vegetables are naturally low in sugars so your blood glucose remains stable and you won’t be tempted to snack on junk food between meals. Most fruits are high in fiber and nutrients, but should be limited in the diet due to their relatively high sugar content.

Include Healthy Protein Sources
Protein has rapidly taken on the status of super food for those looking to lose weight. This is because proteins are very complex molecules which require considerable energy for the body to break down. Because of this long protein breakdown cycle, the signal to stop eating is sent to your brain sooner, and you remain satisfied longer, meaning you’re less likely stray from your healthy diet plan.

Information published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provides insight into foods which help to naturally increase our fat burning metabolism and allow us to better establish and maintain our target weight goal. Try incorporating these foods into your daily menu, as you slowly eliminate sugar, refined carbs, snacks and sweetened beverages.

Fresh Brewed Green and White Tea
Green and white teas are at the top of any food list which promotes weight loss. Very few food items have been studied as much as green tea for both their ability to naturally boost metabolism and the added health benefit of reduced cancer risk. Green tea, and to an even greater extent, the less processed white tea are packed with phytochemicals called catechins, known to stimulate metabolism and release stored fat.

Low Calorie, Fresh Green Salads
A fresh green salad is your best bet to fill your stomach without making a considerable dent in your daily calorie budget. The key here is to keep it low calorie. Many people include cheese, processed meats, potato salad, croutons and then top it off with a creamy dressing. Nutritional researchers found that those who ate a reduced calorie salad consisting of fresh greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots ate 12% fewer calories at that meal. By comparison, those who consumed a high calorie salad took in 17% more calories.

Drink Plenty of Fresh Water
Water is considered a super weight loss food for a variety of reasons, but the most important is that it quenches thirst, replacing sweetened beverages which provide no nutrition and plenty of calories. Water is the fluid of life and drives virtually every cellular function in our body, including fat metabolism. There’s no need to count how many glasses you drink each day, just be sure to have some ready for when you become thirsty.

Selecting the correct foods to aid in your new weight loss lifestyle is an important first step which will deliver big rewards. Substitute these super foods into your diet, and slowly drop the high calorie alternatives which were the likely cause of your weight gain. Eating copious quantities of fresh greens and vegetables will not only help you realize your weight goal quicker, but you’ll feel more alive and energized for your efforts.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Busting the Top Fitness Myths

(Article first published as Top Fitness Myths Busted on Technorati.)
Fitness myths are as common as old wives tales, and can have a detrimental effect on your workout routine and overall health. We listen to things others tell us about our health and fitness, and after hearing the same advise long enough, we begin to believe it, correct or not.

Some of the advice is harmless, but other times these commonly accepted half-truths can have a negative effect on your fitness regimen and overall health. Information appearing on WebMD details the top fitness myths which could derail your best efforts to get in top physical shape.

Fitness Myth 1: Using a Treadmill Puts Less Stress on the Knees Than Running on Asphalt

This is a common misperception made by many people who have inflammation in the knee tendons and joints. The bottom line is that it makes no difference how you run, even if the treadmill is equipped with a dampening board designed to reduce the stress on your knees. The end result is that you’re still placing your full body weight on your knees, with the same potential to cause damage.

The best work around is to use a variety of different types of aerobic training equipment, and cross train your different muscle groups. Try using an elliptical machine or a stationary bike which will work your upper and lower body to relieve some of the strain which can result in damage and injury.

Fitness Myth 2: Ab Crunches Will Get Rid of Belly Fat
Abdominal equipment has been the rage on late night infomercials over the past decade, promising to get rid of those love handles. If only it were so easy and true. Experts advise you can’t pick and choose where you want to lose fat, as your body will automatically control where fat is stored and lost based on metabolism and other factors over which we have no control.

The best way to get rid of unwanted belly fat, and health damaging visceral fat from all areas of the body is to begin a structured program of cardio aerobic training, coupled with a well balanced diet plan. Our body is well conditioned to take cues from the types of food we eat, as well as the length and type of physical activity we pursue. Eliminate sugar, refined carbs and trans fats from your menu and start a regular fitness routine to take advantage of the stimulating effects of improved diet and exercise.

Fitness Myth 3: An Aerobic Workout Boosts Metabolism for Hours
This myth is half true, as any type of physical activity which raises the heart rate will cause your metabolism to increase for several hours after you finish your routine. The problem is that the additional amount of calories you’ll burn is likely far less than you may have hoped.

Exercise physiologists calculate that most people will burn an additional 20 calories in the post workout hours, so don’t plan on any significant boost after you finish training. If your goal is to reap the health benefits of exercise, then you’re on the right track with a solid, intense training session, but if you’re looking to drop weight for your efforts, you’re much better served by following a reduced calorie diet which includes plenty of fresh vegetables, lean protein and healthy monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats.

There’s no shortage of fitness myths and ill formed advice on the best ways to use physical fitness to advance your health. Many myths are created by marketers looking to profit at your expense, and should be taken at face value. Common sense is always the best rule when it comes to your physical condition and better health.

Eat More with Food Substitutions

(Article first published as How to Eat More and Weigh Less on Technorati.)
Many people beginning a new weight loss program believe they need to dramatically restrict calories to lose weight, a big mistake which will ultimately result in failure. The body is very sensitive to the amount of food and calories you eat on a daily basis, and will kick into survival mode if you limit calories too severely. Instead of making large changes in the amount of food you consume, try changing the types of food you eat. You’ll reach your weight goal faster and never feel hungry along the way.

Fresh Vegetables and Fruits are the Key to Weight Loss Success
Everybody has heard that it’s important to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and yet only 20% of people actually hit that goal. The reality is that you actually need to double the recommended daily servings of veggies to feel full and jumpstart your weight loss metabolism. Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that you make healthy substitutions at each meal to slowly purge high calorie foods which halt your best weight loss efforts.

Eat More to Lose More
The bottom line is you still need to eat fewer calories to begin the metabolic process in your body which will naturally purge stored fat. The important piece of the puzzle is to understand that fresh vegetables and fruits are packed with the nutrients you need to function optimally, and they fill you up at the same time.

Use Food Substitutions at Each Meal
Make an effort to eliminate one high calorie food at each meal. For breakfast, drop the sausage biscuit in favor of a bowl of mixed berries. For lunch, eliminate that burger and fries for a salad with fresh greens and topped with grilled chicken or turkey. At dinner you can nix the mashed potatoes and substitute some steamed broccoli. Enjoy healthy quantities of your new food substitutions, and you won’t fell hungry while you save about 500 calories each day.

All Foods Have a Different Effect on Your Metabolism
Once you’ve discovered that you can eat more food by substituting, and are beginning to see the weight drop, it’s time to really take a look at the types of food in your diet which are causing you to stall or plateau above your ideal goal. This happens with virtually every dietary alteration, and is the body’s way of protecting you while you adjust to your new lifestyle.

Purge Unhealthy Food Groups
Many times you can provide the small push needed to fuel fat release by looking for those dangerous food groups which are sabotaging your best efforts. Continue to add more vegetables into your diet, and move to eliminate all wheat, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, breads, pasta, and hydrogenated fats from your menu. This will be difficult at first, so proceed by cutting one food group each week. It won’t be long until you’ve fully purged these metabolism busters for good, and you’ll feel rejuvenated for your efforts.

People looking to lose weight have made an important decision which will affect the quality and length of their life. Most are amazed that they can eat virtually unlimited amounts of fresh vegetables and fruit while making food substitutions.

The final step is to drop wheat, trans fats and refined carb food groups which are proven to damage health. It really is possible to hit your weight loss goal, regain your health and never feel hungry again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Burn Belly Fat and Lower Risk of Heart Disease

(Article first published as Tips to Help Burn Belly Fat on Technorati.)
Few people understand the health implications from a few extra pounds packed on the belly. Many consider weight gain a natural component to aging, yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Although metabolism decreases as we age, people continue to eat as they did when they were younger and the extra pounds suddenly appear.

Belly Fat Jumps Risk of Heart Disease
The most common area for fat to be deposited is in the abdomen, as this provided an evolutionary advantage to our early ancestors. Today, it’s much more than just an inconvenience as abdominal fat is metabolically active and causes the body to mount an immune attack leading to systemic inflammation and increased risk for heart disease.

Gaining 9 Pounds Initiates Heart Disease
The results of a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, highlight the importance of gaining weight, especially in the belly. Researchers studied young adults, and compared the changes in their arteries when they put on as little as 9 pounds. They were able to detect significant decreases in arterial blood flow which signaled the beginning of the process known as atherosclerosis. Losing the weight returned blood flow to normal.

Unfortunately most people don’t lose the weight and after decades of layering abdominal fat, heart disease takes root. The human body has an amazing capacity to heal itself when we provide the necessary tools through proper diet, regular exercise and stress reduction principles. Fitness experts encourage people to recognize the dire health risks of excess abdominal fat, and provide tips to target stubborn belly fat.

Tip 1: Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently
Eating several large high carbohydrate meals each day causes blood sugar levels to rise significantly, remaining elevated for hours as the content of the meal are digested. This ultimately leads to insulin resistance, increased cortisol levels and fat stored in the belly. Break meals down to 5 or 6 smaller portions eaten throughout the day, and cut the refined carbs and sugar. This will help to stabilize your blood sugar level, avoiding dangerous surges which can lead to metabolic dysfunction and diabetes.

Tip 2: Don’t Skip Breakfast and Include Protein
It’s amazing how many people avoid breakfast because they believe they’ll lose weight by avoiding the extra calories. Your body will instinctively signal you to eat more to compensate, and those calories are much more likely to be high calorie snack foods. Set aside time each morning to start your day with a healthy breakfast which will jump start your metabolism and drive calories burned for energy. Include a protein source, as this further stimulates fat metabolism.

Tip 3: Stay Hydrated, Drink Water and Green Tea
Water and non-sweetened drinks are your best tool to combat hunger and enable the body to release fat. While you don’t have to count the cups of water, always have some fluids near and dink whenever you feel hungry. Fluids have been shown to assist liver function, a key player in determining whether fat is stored or used for energy. Most teas and especially green and white tea are packed with antioxidants which naturally boost metabolism and drive fat release.

Excess belly fat is a significant cause for concern as it’s been demonstrated to decrease arterial blood flow, leading to the development of heart disease. Small amounts of weight packed around the abdomen are enough to initiate atherosclerosis, as it continues to progress over the years. Fortunately we can target belly fat using common sense lifestyle changes which encourage weight loss and help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top Stress Reducing Tips Drive Weight Loss

(Article first published as Assist Weight Loss With Stress Reduction Techniques on Technorati.)
Weight gain is accelerated by poor diet, lack of physical activity and stress. While most people understand the impact of food and exercise when beginning a weight loss program, most don’t consider stress as a significant factor. Stress exerts a powerful physiological effect that fuels abdominal fat storage and inflammation throughout the body.

Stress Leads to Inflammation and Weight Gain
Information published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that higher levels of stress result in more weight gain, and the pounds were more likely to be stored as dangerous belly fat. Stress hormones such as cortisol are released in response to unresolved situations, triggering inflammation and a systemic immune response as the body attempts to protect itself.

Unresolved stress drives weight gain through a variety of physical manifestations which alter metabolic function within our body. Stress reduction techniques and lifestyle changes are necessary to reverse the negative effects, and place healthy weight loss within your command.

Tip 1: Relax with Meditation and Yoga Techniques
Relaxation techniques are the most popular way to reverse the damaging effects that stress exerts on your body. Meditation and Yoga elicit the relaxation response which lowers cortisol levels and the cascade of deadly effects caused by continually elevated levels of the hormone. Combined with proper diet, relaxation techniques have helped many people to lose weight by stimulating the release of belly fat.

Tip 2: Kick Impulsive Eating Habits
People under stress tend to habitually gravitate toward unhealthy high carbohydrate junk foods which promote blood sugar surges and insulin resistance. This leads the way to metabolic diseases such as diabetes, excess calories and packing on weight around the abdomen. The best way to combat the munchies is to keep those uncontrollable foods out of the house, so temptation won’t get the best of you.

When stress overcomes your willpower, opt for carrots, nuts (limit to a handful each day), edamame, sunflower seeds or fresh water. Most of these travel well, so keep them with you when you’re away from home. Many times the hunger signal is really thirst, so always drink a large glass of water and wait a few minutes for the hunger cue to subside.

Tip 3: Eat at Home and Avoid the Drive Thru
When you’re feeling stress, the last thing you want to do is spend time in the kitchen cooking a healthy meal. Fast food is a staple for those feeling the effects of stress, as it offers a quick and easy sugar, fat and refined carb fix. Concentrate on family meals which emphasize reduced calories, plenty of fresh vegetables and protein with no processed or prepared foods that promote excess fat storage.

Tip 4: Incorporate Physical Activity into Your Daily Schedule
Regular physical activity is essential to your stress reduction program, as it reduces cortisol levels and promotes the conversion of stored fat to energy. It has also been shown to increase the release of important brain chemicals, lifting mood and boosting coping mechanisms. Try taking the stairs instead of an elevator or park at the far end of a parking lot. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily.

Stress is a critical factor which influences body weight and the ability to achieve your weight loss goal. Continual stress increases cortisol levels and drives systemic inflammation which will extinguish your best efforts to drop weight through healthy diet and exercise. Special relaxation techniques and diet tips designed to lower stress levels and eliminate unhealthy eating patterns will enable you to feel better about yourself and lose weight for improved health and quality of life.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reduce Waist Size and Live Longer

(Article first published as Weight Loss Supplements: Which Work, Why? on Technorati.)
It’s no secret that American waistlines are continuing to expand, increasing the risk of disease and sudden death from an early age. The vast majority of overweight and obese individuals are conscious of their excess girth and would like to lose weight, but don’t fully understand the dire health consequences they face from those extra pounds.

Risk of Death Doubles with Waist Size
Large waist size is much more than an inconvenience, as it’s been shown to double the risk of death from all causes in both men and women. According to a report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine which reviewed more 100,000 people aged 50 or older, a waist size above 47” in men or 42” in women doubled the risk of dying.

While the study did not form a conclusion for the increased mortality rate, researchers recognize that abdominal fat is metabolically active and leads to hormonal imbalance and insulin resistance.

Control Your Diet, Extend Your Life
It’s important to understand the implications of this report, and how you can modify your diet and use targeted natural supplements to dramatically lower your risk of dying prematurely. A 100% increase in the risk of death is a very high price to pay for dietary indulgence, yet a large waist size is really the leading preventable cause of death.

Most people know that fresh vegetables are healthy and too much sugar is bad, but it’s very difficult to make the necessary changes to diet, even it could lower your chances of dying early. Begin by taking small steps and use substitutions, and don’t keep tempting foods in the kitchen! Remember that excess junk food is the reason your waist has expanded, and a well balanced diet is the key to reversal.

Replace pancakes each morning with a bowl of berries, eliminate refined carbs at a meal and replace with a serving of broccoli and forget sugary drinks and sweet desserts. You’ll find that after a couple of weeks you won’t even miss those unhealthy staples, and you’ll feel better as your waist size decreases.

Naturally Fuel Weight Loss
Once you’ve learned to control your diet and your waist size has begun to shrink, you should incorporate targeted natural supplements which have been proven effective in stimulating fat release. Stay far away from synthetic diet pills which will ultimately ruin your health. Natural supplements work with your own metabolism as they guide the release of fat from storage.

EGCG from Green Tea: Green tea extract specifically targets abdominal fat stores by inhibiting a brain neurotransmitter which controls metabolic rate and fat burn ability. Interestingly, research has shown that taking the extract in supplement form with meals is more effective than drinking green tea.

L-Carnitine: L-Carnitine is an amino acid which transports fats around the body, and is responsible for ushering fat into the cells where it’s used for energy, rather than being stored as fat. Taken with meals, L-Carnitine has demonstrated significant weight loss results when combined with proper diet.

Capsaicin: Capsaicin in the natural chemical responsible for that spicy kick when eating jalapenos and hot peppers. Capsaicin increases your base metabolic rate for hours, meaning you burn more calories at rest. Fortunately it’s best taken as a coated tablet to avoid potential digestive discomfort.

Sobering research provides important evidence that the excess size of your waist will ultimately determine your risk of dying, regardless of cause. This information should be sufficient to prompt health conscious individuals to correct their dietary shortcomings. Look to assistance from natural supplements in an effort to decrease your risk of unnatural death, lose weight and shrink your waistline for an improved quality of life.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Avoid Statins Through Natural Lifestyle Changes

(Article first published as Would You Like a Statin With Those Fries? on Technorati.)
Cholesterol lowering statins have been hailed as miracle drugs and yet medical research has come to the dismal conclusion that they are virtually worthless in preventing heart disease or death from a heart attack, possibly helping 1 out of 100 who take the drug. Those aren’t very good odds when you consider the documented health damaging side effects reported by as many as one-third of statin users.

High Cholesterol Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease
Cholesterol has been an easy target for drug marketers, as it appears logical the waxy substance would be a factor in clogged arteries. Flawed research from decades ago concluded that high cholesterol levels were the cause of coronary artery disease, and even though this has been disproven, it’s still the prominent theory in the minds of most people and too many medical professionals today.

Distribute Statins in Fast Food Restaurants?
The results of a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology suggest that statins should be handed out along with burgers and fries to offset the cholesterol in the food. The study concludes that statins should be considered a supplement and then distributed freely with high cholesterol meals. This is clearly bad medicine, as statins work by blocking the pathway used by the body to synthesize cholesterol, a critical component of all cells, and essential to our good health.

Coenzyme Q10, a necessary catalyst in producing energy within our cells, is created in the body using the same metabolic path as cholesterol. When statins are used to lower total cholesterol, Co Q10 is also diminished leading to the muscle fatigue and weakness experienced by many statin users. Handing out dangerous statins like condiments would precipitate a national health disaster of epic proportions.

Statins Recommended for Children?
The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending cholesterol screening for high risk children over the age of 2, and statin therapy for children over 8 with an LDL cholesterol level above 190. Cholesterol is an important substance which is required for proper cellular function and development in growing children.

It’s inconceivable to entertain placing children on statin therapy, potentially lasting the rest of their lives. While this may bode well for the bottom line of the pharmaceutical giants, it condemns our youth to a life of muscle pain, liver damage, chronic fatigue and lowered mental performance.

Lifestyle Changes Eliminate the Need for Statins
Medical research has shown that Omega-3 fats from fish and fish oil are more effective at reducing the risk of death from a heart attack than taking a statin. Fish oil lowers triglycerides and oxidized LDL cholesterol, two of the real causes of heart disease for which statins are ineffective.

Slow release niacin is an effective and natural way to increase heart protective levels of HDL cholesterol. Adding slow burst, high intensity resistance exercise to your daily routine, and reducing wheat, sugars and refined junk food from your diet will dramatically lower your risk of coronary artery disease.

Large pharmaceutical companies drive the perception that everybody will need to take a statin, regardless of their age, or the lack of documented health benefit from this class of drug. Profits and greed are behind the marketing machine, as billions in sales rest on the line. Take control of your own destiny and naturally eliminate the need for this most dangerous health damaging prescription.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Top Supplements for Heart Health

(Article first published as Best Heart Health Supplements on Technorait.)
Millions are at risk from developing and dying from the most pervasive killer, heart disease. While more than 750,000 Americans die each year from one of the many types of this often silent disease, the most common form, known as coronary artery disease frequently results in narrowed arteries which become blocked by clots circulating in the blood.

The Cause of Heart Disease is Based on Faulty Science
The American public and many health professionals have been swayed by the millions of advertising dollars spent by the pharmaceutical giants to believe that heart disease is caused by high cholesterol and too much saturated fat in the diet. Extensive studies have demonstrated that the ‘cholesterol theory’ of heart disease is based on false science which has resulted in the untimely demise of countless individuals over the past half century.

Special Antioxidant Cocktail Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
Medical researchers now know that the root cause of heart disease is a processed diet including trans fats and excessive sugary drinks and junk food. These cause blood sugar and triglyceride levels to swing wildly, leading to insulin resistance, high blood pressure and hardened arteries. The results of a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism indicate that a nutrient cocktail consisting of 4 powerful and natural antioxidants was effective in improving blood sugar and lipid response, and have the ‘potential to alleviate atherosclerotic damage’.

Heart Disease Caused by Lifestyle and Dietary Excess
Heart disease is a condition caused by poor lifestyle and diet. Any valid attempt to prevent or treat this disease must include the elimination of wheat, refined carbohydrates, sugar and artificially produced trans fats. Regular exercise should be used to compliment a program designed to thwart this insidious killer. Fortunately there are a number of supplements which can be combined to pack a powerful punch against heart disease and the risk of sudden death.

Antioxidant Cocktail That Reverses Heart Disease
Study researchers concluded that the combination of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10 and selenium were able to produce significant positive effects of sugar and fat metabolism, blood pressure and arterial flexibility. This is important, as these biomarkers are all known causes of coronary artery disease. Vitamin C supplemented well above the recommended daily allowances is known to provide elasticity to the delicate arteries, and is needed to produce collagen which supports vessel wall structure.

Fish Oil Fats and Arginine Boost Heart Health
The Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA have been consumed by man throughout our evolution, and have been shown to reduce the risk of sudden death from a heart attack by one third. These fats reduce the risks posed by blood clots as they keep platelets from clumping, and are also used in the construction of arterial cell walls. Arginine is an essential amino acid which supports the production of nitric oxide in the blood, and helps to relax stiffened arteries and reduce blood pressure.

Natural Powerhouse Trio Eliminates Arterial Plaque
Originally developed by Nobel prize winning scientist, Linus Pauling, the combination of the amino acids lysine and proline along with Vitamin C reduces coronary plaque formation, leading to lowered risk of a heart attack. The amino acids along with Vitamin C have been shown to bind with arterial plaque safely ushering the deadly substance out of the body. Recent studies indicate that the active component in green tea, EGCG can be added to the mixture to increase plaque removal.

Many believe the causes of heart disease are either unknown, or are believed to be precipitated by excess cholesterol in the blood. Modern research paints a much different picture, and provides the natural tools we can use to avert and even treat coronary artery disease. Every adult should be aware of the antioxidant and nutritional cocktails demonstrated to be effective against heart disease.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Is Cardio or Resistance Exercise Best for Weight Loss and Health

(Article first published as Choosing the Correct Exercise Workout for Weight Loss and Health on Technorati.)
It can be difficult to determine if your workout is sufficient to meet your health and weight loss goals. For many people, just making the effort to exercise for 20 minutes several days a week is good enough to provide them with basic fitness benefits. Others need a more rigorous aerobic training session to peak their heart rate and boost overall health.

Establish Your Training Goal
Everybody has different needs to optimize an exercise workout based on level of fitness and long term expectations. If weight loss is your goal, then it’s more important to extend the duration of your training session at a moderate intensity. Target 45 to 60 minute session 5 or 6 days per week, as this will kick start your fat burning metabolism and optimize your weight loss potential.

For those more interested in reducing risk from heart disease and improving overall health from their workout, experts recommend short burst resistance exercise routines. This type of exercise cross-trains the body in high intensity 2 minute intervals, incorporating 10 to 12 repetitions while covering all major muscle groups. Information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines the essential elements your fitness routine should include, regardless of your personal goal.

Punch a Fitness Time Clock
CDC experts suggest that you’re engaged in some type of moderate level physical activity for 150 minutes each week or 75 minutes of more intense training. Moderate activities include brisk walking, mowing the lawn or cleaning the house, while jogging and running are examples of more intense activities.

Be sure to keep a record of your exercise sessions, as your training activities are cumulative. 150 minutes may sound like a lot, but when you break it down into 10 or 15 minute fitness chunks, you’ll find that the time goes by quickly. Spreading your exercise routine across multiple days and different times will also condition your body toward fat metabolism and weight loss.

Choose Cardio for Weight Loss
Cardio aerobic exercise gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. Not only does it provide protection from heart disease, but it increases metabolism, lowers blood sugar levels and assists in weight loss. If weight loss is your goal for training, its’ important to monitor your diet carefully, especially when first starting to exercise, as the body will send an unconscious signal to eat more in an effort to compensate for your increased energy expenditure.

Resistance Training for Toning and Health
Resistance exercises such as those incorporating free weights, fitness bands or the body’s own weight are excellent for body shaping, toning and improving general health. The condition of our muscular system determines the nature of our health and longevity, especially as we age so it’s essential to incorporate resistance training to maintain muscle tone.

Understanding the importance of exercise in achieving your physical conditioning and weight loss goals is an important first step. Once you determine a desired result, you can develop a fitness program which is best suited to your needs. Choose cardio aerobic training to maximize weight loss, resistance training to improve overall health, or a combination of both. Whichever route you take, you’ll benefit from the health stimulating benefits of a properly designed fitness routine.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Exercise Tips That Motivate Weight Loss Results

(Article first published as Best Exercise Startup Tips Deliver Weight Loss Results on Technorati.)
Many people understand the importance of a regular exercise regimen and the positive impact it has on overall fitness, mood and moving you toward your weight loss goal. Individuals fail to develop a solid strategy which will motivate them every day, so they can avoid the high dropout rate experienced by those with the best physical fitness intentions.

Lack of Exercise Increases Risk from Disease
The results of a study published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research showed that adults with chronic illnesses were able to significantly increase their activity and fitness levels by incorporating specific action-oriented strategies.

The vast majority of children and adults alike don’t get enough exercise each day, placing themselves at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Experts recommend incorporating some common sense strategies into your lifestyle to get your heart beating faster and stronger, while you naturally drop those excess pounds.

Tip 1: Set Specific, Attainable Goals
The biggest reason most people never really get off the ground with a fitness program is they set themselves up to fail, before they even begin. Set a starting goal which is appropriate for your fitness level. Start with 10 minutes a day of an exercise you enjoy, and slowly increase to 20 and then 30 minutes a day. Remember, you can break it up into smaller time chunks if time is a constraint.

Tip 2: Use Daily Reminders
Plan your daily physical activity as though it were an appointment or a regular meal. Place it on your calendar, or plan to exercise at the same time each day, making it a part of your routine. Have any special workout clothes or accessories ready to go so you have no excuses.

Tip 3: Reward Your Compliance
You should feel good about your fitness activity, and motivational experts always advise using a reward system as a means to complete your goal. After successfully completing a week or month of your training program, treat yourself to a meal out (be sure to make it healthy), take in a movie or do something special for yourself.

Tip 4: Enlist the Support of a Friend or Family Member
Find a friend or family member who has the same fitness goal as you, and you’ll find the added support invaluable. People don’t want to disappoint each other, so the extra help will provide the motivation you may need when you’re thinking about quitting.

Tip 5: Keep It Simple
The best exercise is one that you find fun and easy to complete. Don’t invest in fancy fitness equipment, when the best exercise requires a simple pair of walking shoes. Walking at a brisk pace is fun, energizing and inexpensive.

A solid physical fitness program is a combination of good planning and psychological motivation. Both are required to get you moving so you can avoid the risks associated with inactivity. Combine exercise with a well balanced, reduced calorie diet and proper motivational strategies to achieve a higher quality of life and your natural weight loss goal.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bad Fats Damage Brain Leading to Obesity

(Article first published as Bad Fat Diets Lead to Obesity on Technorati.)
Diet and exercise are the physical cues which allow our body to function, and the human brain is especially vulnerable to excessive, poor quality calories and lack of physical activity. While the brain remains protected through the blood-brain barrier, it’s still susceptible to damage by the type of foods we eat, environment and level of physical fitness.

The Brain Requires Good Fats
Our brain functions optimally when we eat a properly balanced diet of healthy Omega-3 fats. The modern diet consists of high amounts of synthetically formed trans fats, created by overheating oils for cooking and through hydrogenation to extend the shelf life of foods. When insufficient levels of Omega-3 fats are available for new cell replication, the body is forced to use damaging trans fats and metabolic damage ensues.

Bad Fats Linked to Obesity
Decades of dietary abuse is linked with metabolic dysfunction in the brain. Diets rich in artificial fats and sugars (trans fats and high fructose corn syrup) can actually alter the architecture of brain cells leading to poor circulation, lowered metabolism and damage to areas of the brain which control appetite regulation.

Research completed by the Yale Program in Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism demonstrate that there is a predisposed genetic link in certain individuals which make them more vulnerable to altered brain function due to years of dietary abuse.

Medical researchers agree that while reversing obesity caused by metabolic brain damage can be a daunting task, weight loss is possible by reconditioning the brain through proper nutrition, aerobic exercise and targeted supplementation.

Step 1: Proper Nutrition Controls Appetite Regulation
Diet has a significant impact on brain circulation and function. Eating excessive amounts of calories manufactured in a food laboratory restricts brain circulation, leading to physical alterations in the brain which control appetite. When the brain is no longer able to read the chemical signals to stop eating, significant weight gain ensues.

The important point is that the process can be reversed by slowly transitioning to a natural diet which eliminates synthetic fats in favor of a properly balanced Omega-6 to Omega-3 fat ratio no higher than 4:1. This will allow the brain to begin the healing process as it preferentially incorporates healthy Omega-3 fats and restores metabolic balance.

Step 2: Take Your Brain Out for a Walk
Exercise is required to keep muscles toned and for insulin regulation, but regular physical activity is especially important to brain health. Exercise not only promotes healthy circulation in the brain, but also triggers the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, positively impacting spirit, and lowering risk of depression. Physical activity improves mood and provides the motivation to lose weight.

Step 3: Targeted Brain Nutrition
The brain has very specific nutritional requirements for optimal health, and specially targeted supplemental support can ensure that those needs are satisfied. At the top of the list are EPA and DHA Omega-3 fats from fish oil.

The brain prefers to use DHA for cellular construction, but will resort to inferior fats when DHA is not present. Information from the Yale research indicates that brain structure can be remodeled, assisting in weight loss, and DHA could be a critical link in the healing process.

Research shows that while obesity rates continue to escalate, our diet, fitness level and brain health are all contributors to the epidemic. Although some individuals may be genetically prone to obesity, the problem is largely caused by decades of poor diet, resulting in altered brain circulation and metabolism.

Fortunately the brain has an amazing capacity to heal, providing a solution to a problem which threatens the health of millions, and leads to natural weight loss.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Best Tips to Lose Weight and Prevent Obesity

(Article first published as Obesity Rates on the Rise on Technorati.)
Obesity rates continue to grow at a staggering pace, with dire implications to both individual health and our struggling health care system. Over 2 million people moved from overweight to obese status, based on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale, a standardized measurement of body weight. Obesity has been implicated in a host of diseases ranging from heart disease and stroke to diabetes and cancer.

Stress and the Economy Blamed for Rising Obesity
According to a report published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the annual cost of obesity is $1,429 higher than that of their normal weight counterparts. The report concludes that the continued rise in obesity rates are due to the poor economy and high unemployment leading to increased levels of life stress situations.

Both stress and economic factors play a part in weight gain, as people look for inexpensive food choices which always tend to be high in trans fats, sugar and calories. Stress is one of the independent factors leading to weight gain which can be controlled. Excess stress leads to psychological eating, where food is used as a crutch to cover up the root cause of the problem. While the economy may not be within our control, the report suggests important tips to avoid becoming an obesity statistic.

Tip 1: Incorporate Physical Activity into Your Healthy Lifestyle
Most people simply don’t get enough physical activity to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, or to effectively promote weight loss. Experts advise that people exercise at a moderate pace for 20 to 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.

This is enough to significantly reduce disease risk, but even more intense exercise is needed to fuel weight loss. Avoid excessive exercising to lose weight, as your body will send the signal to eat more in an effort to compensate for calories burned.

Tip 2: Increase Fruits and Vegetables, Lower High Calorie Food and Drink
Balancing food groups and slowly making healthy food substitutions are proven to deliver weight loss results. Poor economic times are a recipe for dietary disaster, as people trend toward inexpensive fast and processed foods to save money, and ruin their health.

While fresh fruits and vegetables are more costly than refined foods, one tip is to find a local farmer’s market and look for produce which is locally grown, and less expensive. Fill up on fiber rich leafy greens and other vegetables which are in season, and during winter months, fresh frozen vegetables make for a healthy, inexpensive compliment to your meal.

Tip 3: Reduce Life’s Stressors
Stress is a hidden, yet mostly controllable cause of weight loss and health decline. Experts agree that continual stress from losing a job or serious financial concerns have the same health impact as smoking a pack of cigarettes each day.

Stress causes alterations in brain chemistry and systemic inflammation, leading to extra pounds around the waist. Sometimes stress is unavoidable, but it’s important to identify and correct the cause of the stress as quickly as possible. Many people find meditation and yoga work well to provide a calm feeling which can be enough to tip the weight loss scales in your favor.

The number of overweight and obese individuals continues to grow at an alarming rate, and many of these people are unaware of the dire health consequences they face from the added weight. Moderate exercise, healthy diet and food substitution as well as stress reduction are all positive tools which lead to healthy weight loss and reversal of the obesity trend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fiber and Good Carbs Assist Weight Loss

(Article first published as Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Using Fiber to Drive Weight Loss on Technorati.)
Most people are familiar with the popular diet plans which millions follow in a desperate attempt to lose weight and improve health. Low carb diets have garnished much attention over the past 40 years as scores of people have quickly dropped weight following the program made popular by Dr. Robert Atkins. The Atkins plan has not been without controversy due to the inclusion of processed meats, high fat dairy and the initial exclusion of fresh vegetables.

Fad Carb Diets Don’t Work Long Term
While initial results of people following the Atkins program are impressive, most are unable to attain or maintain their target weight. For many, sustainable and healthy weight loss is only possible by following a high fiber diet which encourages plenty of leafy greens, proper balance of healthy fats and a high fiber intake which requires more energy for the body to break down.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition distinguishes carbohydrates based on their glycemic index, a measure of how quickly they convert to glucose in the blood. Glucose is released slowly in carbs which are high in fiber, blunting the typical blood sugar spike. These foods are associated with a lowered risk from many metabolic disorders, and may help prevent diabetes from progressing to an advanced form of the disease.

All Carbs Are Not Created Equal
Raw vegetables and cake both contain carbohydrates, yet most people would identify the dessert as an unhealthy carb choice. The key difference is in the way they release glucose to the bloodstream. The sugars in vegetables are closely bound with fiber, and are difficult for the body to break down quickly, while the cake immediately turns to sugar beginning in the mouth. Carbohydrates are essential to good health, but making the proper choices will lead to reduced disease risk and natural weight loss.

Making the Good Carb Choices
Carbs come in all different forms, and selecting wisely by choosing high fiber foods will assist in establishing your weight loss goal. Fiber can’t be digested by the body, and doesn’t have a caloric impact on fat metabolism and storage. Learn to read nutrition labels to determine the fiber content of foods.

You’ll quickly learn that the core of your diet should be from fresh leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds balanced with lesser amounts of meats and unprocessed fats. Work up to 40 to 50 grams of fiber each day, and watch your weight loss progress naturally.

Eliminate the Evil Carbs
Sugar added from any source is a top reason people gain weight and ruin their health. Sugar, glucose and fructose are all bad carbs which have no nutritional value and no fiber content to offset the impact on blood sugar. All refined grains, baked goods, candies and snacks should be eliminated from your diet. Be wary of the multi-grain marketing scheme, as these products will cause your blood sugar to rise as quickly as their refined counterparts.

Healthy weight loss is an admirable goal, frequently sabotaged by the typical refined junk food diet. It’s critical to incorporate high fiber foods into your diet which will help you feel full and avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster which leads to weight gain and declining health. Monitor your fiber intake, and benefit from lower disease risk and natural weight loss.