Monday, January 31, 2011

Pomegranate Fights Cancer and Lowers Heart Disease Risk

(Article first published as Pomegranate Lowers Cancer Risk and Boosts Heart Health on Technorati.)
Pomegranates are a gift from nature that provide powerful multi-modal health benefits. Extracts and the juice from this super fruit are shown to lower the damaging effects from systemic inflammation that are now associated with the development of many deadly diseases. 

Pomegranates have one of the highest antioxidant ORAC scores that help to neutralize the cellular and DNA damaging effects of free radicals that accelerate aging. Pomegranates are a tasty way to provide protection from the risk of developing many forms of cancer, cardiovascular and renal disease as well as stroke and dementia.

Pomegranate in the Fight against Cancer Proliferation
One of the hallmark signs of cancer progression is when cells lose their adhesive properties and break away to different parts of the body in a process known as metastasis. This mechanism of cellular transit provides for the deadly nature of many cancer lines, specifically prostate cancer. The result of research presented to the American Society for Cell Biology shows that pomegranate-treated tumor cells increased cell adhesion and decreased cell migration that can prevent the disease from spreading to different parts of the body.

The researchers conducting this study explain that their results would apply to most types of cancer. While the results of this study pertain specifically to prostate cancer proliferation, they can be applied to most cancer cell lines due to the migratory nature of this disease. The lead research author concludes “we can now modify cancer-inhibiting components in pomegranate juice to improve their function and make them more effective in preventing prostate cancer metastasis, leading to more effective therapies."

Antioxidant Nature of Pomegranate Modifies Blood Lipids, Lowers Blood Pressure
The active compound in pomegranate is called ellagitannin and is credited for the powerful antioxidant capacity claimed by this super fruit. Pomegranate has been shown to influence gene expression and suppress the pro-inflammatory cytokine, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB). The fruit also activates an enzyme that is responsible for generating the artery-cleansing HDL cholesterol.

Information presented to the American Society of Nephrology reveals how pomegranate can inhibit the development of oxidized LDL cholesterol particles that become lodged in arterial vessel walls and cause arterial stiffening and increased blood pressure. Researchers found that extracts from the juice reduce the number of potentially fatal atherosclerotic lesions and protect the vascular system from damage, reducing the risk from a cardiovascular event.

Pomegranate is beneficial to human health because of its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For optimal protection against heart disease and cancer, nutritional researchers advise drinking 8 ounces of the juice daily, combining the contents of an entire pomegranate into a smoothie or supplementing with 400 mg of concentrated extract. Health conscious individuals will certainly want to take advantage of this super fruit to dramatically lower risk from multiple disease processes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Modern Climate Control Linked to Weight Gain and Obesity

(Article first published as Is Your Warm House The Reason You Can’t Lose Weight? on Technorati.)
We are all well aware that eating too much and insufficient exercise are important factors that determine our weight and drive the current obesity epidemic. Weight gain and loss is a product of many other lifestyle factors including stress, sleep and even the temperature of your house. A review published in the journal Obesity Reviews examines the link between reduced exposure to the cold and obesity in the UK and US.

We Burn More Calories When Cold
It’s not something we think a lot about when we’re sitting in our favorite easy chair in front of a warm fire in our well insulated house during winter. We can easily control our environment with a turn of the thermostat. In fact, the only deterrent to staying warm for most people is fear of the fuel oil or electric bill at the end of the month.

Historically, humans have lived in cold climates where they had to endure bitter cold for extended periods. Our body must burn calories at a much higher level to keep us warm during these times, and the increased metabolism helps to prevent overweight and obesity. This study review attempts to explain that seasonal cold helps to regulate energy balance and can help maintain normal body weight on a population level.

Indoor Temperatures Have Increased Over the Past Several Decades
Widespread access to central heating and air conditioning contribute to a restriction of the temperature variations experienced under natural conditions. Humans have evolved to acclimate to mild thermal stress, as our metabolic rate can easily adjust to differing temperature zones. When we’re cold, our heart rate and blood pressure increase as blood vessels close to the skin constrict in response to reduced temperatures.

The net effect is more calories burned for a longer period of time and this translates into lower body weight. Researchers have found that we experience a much smaller range of temperature variation than we did just 30 years ago. While this may not fully explain the skyrocketing overweight and obesity rates now seen across the US and UK, it does provide an important clue to how our environment can impact our ability to maintain a normal weight.

External Temperature Can Modify Our Fat Structure
Over the past decade, medical researchers have gained a much better understanding about the two distinctly different types of adipose or fat cells that we accumulate. White fat is metabolically active tissue that accumulates most commonly around the hips and mid-section of the body. Excess amounts of white fat are associated with inflammation, metabolic disease, heart disease and cancer.

Brown fat is a thermally active type of tissue that actually burns calories for energy and is associated with a higher metabolic rate and lower weight range. Researchers from the Obesity Reviews study found that when people spend more time in a climate controlled environment they produce less brown fat and metabolize fewer calories at rest. This was found to result in a tendency to gain weight, especially when coupled with a sedentary lifestyle.

The researchers concluded "Research into the environmental drivers behind obesity, rather then the genetic ones, has tended to focus on diet and exercise -- which are undoubtedly the major contributors. However, it is possible that other environmental factors, such as winter indoor temperatures, may also have a contributing role. This research therefore raises the possibility for new public health strategies to address the obesity epidemic." The bottom line is to carefully control calories and remain physically active. Be mindful that external environmental factors also contribute to your ability to successfully lose weight.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Coffee Consumption Linked to Lower Diabetes Risk

(Article first published as Coffee Drinking Shown to Naturally Prevent Diabetes on Technorati.)
Millions of people rely on their morning cup of coffee to jump-start each day. That caffeine-packed jolt of java is the right elixir to wake the brain and prepare for the mental and physical demands of your daily routine. 

Coffee has been maligned for years due to its high caffeine content and tendency to be used as a delivery method for sugar, artificial flavorings and trans-fat laden dairy products. Researchers from UCLA have found that coffee demonstrates a molecular protective mechanism that can lower the risk of developing diabetes.

Special Compound in Coffee Shown to Lower Diabetes Risk
Proper regulation of the sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen has long been known to play a role in the development of diabetes. Details published as a result of this research in the journal Diabetes shows how compounds found in brewed coffee increase the level of a protein known as sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Increased plasma levels of SHBG decrease the risk of developing diabetes.

Researchers from the UCLA School of Public Health have shown that women who drink at least four cups of coffee a day are less than half as likely to develop diabetes as non-coffee drinkers. Studies have consistently shown that there is a correlation between coffee consumption and lower risk of diabetes. This effect was attributed to an improved tolerance to glucose, improved metabolism and lowered insulin resistance.

Sex Hormones May Promote Diabetes Development
Study results published in the New England Journal of Medicine provide the first clue to the relationship between genes that code for SHBG and the initial developmental stage of diabetes. SBGH has been shown to regulate biologically active sex hormones and can actively bind to receptors that influence signaling and the production of the hormones. Increased levels of the free, unbound form of the active sex hormones play an important role in lowering risk for metabolic disease. 

The NEJM study established that SHBG levels circulating in the blood have a direct correlation to the genetic susceptibility for diabetes. Lead study author, Dr. Simin Liu established that women drinking four cups of caffeinated coffee each day were at significantly lower risk of developing diabetes due to increased SHBG protein levels. 

Study Finds Coffee Consumption Linked to Diabetes Risk
Dr. Liu commented on the results, “we now further show that this protein can be influenced by dietary factors such as coffee intake in affecting diabetes risk - the lower the levels of SHBG, the greater the risk beyond any known diabetes risk factors.” The study examined nearly 40,000 women and found that those with the highest coffee consumption (4 cups per day) were 56% less likely to develop diabetes compared to non-drinkers.

It’s important to note that the research found the protective nature of coffee consumption was only seen when using the caffeinated form of the drink. Although caffeine is not believed to increase SHBG levels independently, the decaffeination process also removes natural compounds found in the coffee bean that are essential to boosting the protein level. Millions of health-minded individuals will find comfort as they lower their risk of developing diabetes by enjoying several cups of Joe every day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Healthy Diet Lowers Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer

(Article first published as Healthy Diet is Key to Long, Disease-Free Life on Technorati.)
There has been a significant shift in all cause mortality over the past 100 years. Up until the first part of the 20th century infectious disease counted as the leading cause of death. An improved understanding of sanitation practices combined with the present overuse of antibiotics has led to a shift away from infectious disease and toward chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia. 

These afflictions were rarely seen a century ago as our traditional home-grown diet has rapidly been altered toward processed, refined and chemically-altered food sources. The findings of a 10 year study demonstrate how you can significantly lower your risk from the common killers of the 21st century by closely monitoring your diet.

Study Finds Certain Food Groups Linked with Disease
There is little doubt that eating a diet filled with convenience foods, sugary desserts and sweetened beverages is detrimental to both health and waistline. Dietary patterns that are skewed toward high consumption of certain food groups can also increase risk of illness and reduce lifespan. The results of a study of 2500 aging adults between the ages of 70 and 79 draws as direct correlation between diet and mortality.

Research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association spanned a period of 10 years and categorized participants into six distinct clusters based on the type of foods most commonly eaten. Of the 2500 participants, 374 consumed a `healthy` diet consisting of low-fat dairy products, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables and lower consumption of meat, fried foods, sweets, high-calorie drinks, and added fat. The healthy food cluster was found to have significant protection against chronic disease and lower all cause mortality rates.

High Fat Dairy and Sweets Linked to Early Death
The study demonstrated that those individuals consuming the most calories from high fat dairy products had a 40% higher risk of mortality than those classified as healthy eaters. High fat dairy products include ice cream, cheese and full fat milk and yogurt. Participants that were grouped into the sweets and desserts cluster were found to have a 37% increased risk of death compared to the healthy eaters.

Researchers found that adherence to a healthy diet was a feasible and realistic recommendation in light of the dramatic improvements to health and reduced risk of death. The study authors concluded that the "results of this study suggest that older adults who follow a dietary pattern consistent with current guidelines to consume relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish, may have a lower risk of mortality.”

Health conscious individuals understand the delicate balance between nutrients consumed in their raw and natural form and risk of chronic disease. Research data provided by this study underscores the critical nature of purging sugar, high fat dairy and processed foods entirely from your diet. Not only will you lower risk form many killer diseases, you can also cut all cause mortality by almost half.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Controlling Blood Sugar to Prevent Diabetes

(Article first published as Blood Sugar Control is Key to Prevent Diabetes and Chronic Disease on Technorati.)
Humans did not evolve to metabolize the large amount of carbohydrate calories consumed by the most health conscious individuals today. High levels of blood glucose are a significant underlying factor that leads to the development and proliferation of many age-related diseases. 

Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and dementia are all accelerated by slowly increasing fasting and post meal blood sugar levels that cause needless suffering and death for millions of unsuspecting people each year. Taking the necessary dietary and nutritional steps today can prevent the current explosion of new diabetes cases in the future and lengthen natural lifespan.

Redefining Healthy Blood Sugar Readings
Normal blood sugar levels have been continually revised downward over the past several decades as it`s determined that current levels cause cellular damage. Presently a fasting reading over 126 mg/dl repeated twice is considered cause for a diagnosis of diabetes.

A reading of 110 mg/dl or above is classified as impaired by the American Diabetes Association. Information published in the journal Diabetes Care indicates that a fasting blood glucose level above the range of 70 – 85 mg/dl dramatically increases the risk of developing heart disease and death from a heart attack. The researchers conclude “fasting blood glucose values in the upper normal range appears to be an important independent predictor of cardiovascular death in nondiabetic apparently healthy men.”

Excess Sugar Damages Vessel Walls, Leads to Insulin Resistance
Excess blood sugar triggers a cascade of potentially deadly processes that contribute to diabetes, hardening of the coronary arteries and neuropathic complications. High glucose levels from dietary sugar and excess carbohydrate consumption provokes the release of chemical cytokines that promote arterial wall inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. Eventually the pancreas is no longer able to secrete enough insulin, and the insulin that is produced is no longer able to efficiently escort sugar to the cells and muscles.

Naturally Lowering Blood Sugar with Diet
Nutrients such as cinnamon and vinegar taken before eating can help lower post meal blood sugar spikes and can compliment proper diet. The most dependable way to naturally cut blood sugar levels is to dramatically lower calories from carbohydrate sources at each meal. Totally eliminate all processed and refined carb foods including bread, pasta, corn and rice.

Depending on carbohydrate sensitivity, some individuals may also need to limit fruits and starchy vegetables as well. The results of a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as the Mediterranean diet improves post meal blood glucose levels and moderates healthy insulin response.

High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Breakfast Regulates Blood Sugar
The result of research published in the journal Diabetes Care demonstrates the importance of including protein as part of a low carbohydrate breakfast. Participants were given a high protein food shortly before eating a low carb breakfast. Post meal blood sugar readings were 40% lower than the same meal eaten without the protein source in advance. This underscores the importance of combining proteins and monounsaturated fat sources with each meal to slow down the release of potentially damaging sugar surges.

The best way to protect yourself from out of control blood sugar spikes is to monitor your blood glucose at 1 and 2 hour intervals after eating. Avoid any reading above 140 mg/dl as tissue damage has been observed with sustained levels above this threshold. Research provides extensive evidence that controlling fasting and post meal blood sugar results in lower disease risk and lengthened lifespan.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Carnitine and Curcumin Slow Brain Aging and Improve Memory

(Article first published as Super Nutrients Shown to Reverse Brain Aging and Cognition on Technorati.)

Cognitive decline and memory loss are considered a normal function of aging by millions of people. A `senior moment` is the term coined to describe momentary forgetfulness that some people experience from time to time. Lapses in memory are not normal and are a strong indicator of brain decline that typically progresses over a period of several decades. 

Our brain requires nutrition, healthy blood flow and oxygen just as any organ to remain `plastic` and be able to function at optimal capacity. Years of dietary abuse and exposure to toxic household and environmental chemicals cause brain stress, inflammation and insulin resistance. A trio of super nutrients demonstrates the capacity to improve brain health and lower the risk of cognitive decline.
 
Memory Decline is Not a Normal Part of Aging
The brain receives 20% of your body`s supply of freshly oxygenated blood. When this supply is restricted through narrowing of the arteries and inflammation, the brain experiences stress and cognition is diminished. Any nutrient that can specifically target and increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain can slow or even reverse brain decline and restore memory and learning abilities.

Carnitine Promotes Brain Rejuvenation
Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid that has been shown to benefit brain health, improve stress tolerance and protects against excitotoxic damage to brain neurons. Carnitine helps to prevent the nerve-related wear and tear that promotes the buildup of amyloid plaque and is associated with Alzheimer`s disease. Information released in the European Journal of Pharmacology demonstrates that the amino acid inhibits the secretion of nerve cell proteins that become tangled plaque in the brain.

Curcumin Reduces Brain Mediated Stress
The normal process of metabolic function creates free radicals that are damaging to the brain. We can limit the effects of free radicals by eating a naturally raw diet filled with fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds and limiting stressful situations. Super nutrients such as curcumin can help keep free radicals at bay by absorbing the impact of these damaging particles. The results of information published in the journal Neurotoxicity show that curcumin deactivates one of the most damaging free radicals known as peroxynitrite by boosting antioxidant defenses in the brain and lowering inflammatory responses.

DHA Required for Optimal Brain Function
The Omega-3 fat DHA continues to gain importance for its ability to rejuvenate brain cells and prevent cognitive decline. Not only is this essential fat required for neuronal and synaptic connections, but research also confirms that it actually controls the genetics that power the development of neural stem cells. Research published in the journal Neuroscience details how DHA helps to maintain brain plasticity and can prevent the decline that often leads to vascular dementia and Alzheimer`s disease.

Too many people take brain health for granted and accept a steady decline in memory and learning to be normal and acceptable. While the brain remains well protected, it`s still susceptible to many of ravages brought about by poor diet, stress and the environment. Natural nutrients including carnitine, curcumin and DHA are shown to prevent cognitive decline, improve memory and ensure vibrant brain health through advancing age.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Increasing Fruit and Veggies in Diet Lowers Risk of Death by 39%

(Article first published as Add More Veggies and Fruit to Your Diet, Lower Death Risk by 39 Percent on Technorati.)
It will come as no surprise to many health minded individuals that a natural diet high in vegetables and fruits promotes health and extends lifespan. Foods saturated with synthetic chemicals, hydrogenated fats, salt and sugar stress our genetic integrity and result in metabolic chaos. 

We evolved to eat a diet packed with nutrients in a natural state and live in an environment free of pollutants and man-made toxins. Researcher shows a diet high in vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk of death from all causes by up to 39%.

Alpha-Carotene Level Linked with Lower Risk of Death
Alpha-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that we take in largely from eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits. This nutrient superstar is found concentrated in the brightly colored skins and flesh of most foods in their natural form. Information published in the Archives of Internal Medicine provides the results of a study performed on a group of more than 15,000 men and women over a period of nearly 18 years. A review of circulating alpha-carotene in the blood showed a direct correlation between blood saturation of the nutrient and risk of dying.

Healthy Diet Shown to Reduce All Cause Mortality by 39%
Researchers measured alpha-carotene levels to determine risk of death and found that those individuals with the highest blood saturation had a 39% lower risk of dying from any cause compared with the lowest levels. Participants that consumed the most vegetables and fruits were found to have the highest alpha-carotene levels, while a processed food diet yielded virtually no measurable levels of the antioxidant. The study found that alpha-carotene provided a high degree of protection against cardiovascular disease and cancers of the brain, liver and skin.

Foods That Increase Alpha-Carotene Levels
Alpha-carotene reduces risk of disease because it is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes the damaging effects of free radicals on our cells and energy producing mitochondria. It`s best to consume organic vegetables and fruits as your primary source of alpha-carotene. You can find rich sources in yellow-orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash. Dark green leafy vegetables including broccoli, green beans and peas, spinach and leaf lettuce are also excellent sources.

Fruit Shown to Cut Lung Cancer Risk by 23%
The results of a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention reveals that eating a wide variety of different types of fruits can lower the risk of lung cancer by as much as 23%. Interestingly, the study demonstrated that the risk was reduced more by the number of different fruits consumed and was not dependent on quantities eaten. Eating from more than eight sub-groups was shown to provide the most protection. Risk declined by 4% for each additional variety added to the diet.

Research continues to validate the critical importance that proper diet plays in preventing lifestyle illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Our cells have evolved through generations to rely on carotenoids such as alpha-carotene for protection from free radical damage. As health minded individuals, we are charged with the responsibility to eat from a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and foods in their natural form to prevent disease and increase life span.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Purple Fruits and Vegetables Prevent Brain Aging and Alzheimer's Disease

(Article first published as The Color Purple Helps Prevent Brain Aging and Dementia on Technorati.)
The world of natural science is rapidly painting a clear picture that helps us better understand the underlying mechanism behind devastating diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis and conditions that lead to preventable brain aging. Researchers are revealing that these illnesses develop as a result of poor dietary and lifestyle choices and can be prevented by adopting a raw, organic diet including plenty of purple colored fruits and vegetables.

Study Implicates Unbound Iron with Declining Brain Health
Excess iron in the blood is associated with an increased risk for heart disease and heart attack and new research now highlights the metal with a decline in brain health. The result of a study published in the journal Archives of Toxicology shows that the brain is particularly sensitive to unbound iron that crosses the blood-brain barrier to cause free radical damage as well as toxins known as hydroxyl radicals. 

Purple Berries and Green Tea are Excellent Iron Chelators
In order to protect yourself from these damaging iron particles it’s necessary to ensure a healthy intake of binding nutrients known as iron chelators. Purple fruits and vegetables are a particularly potent source of compounds that bind tightly with iron to neutralize their effect on the brain. Blueberries, acai berries and green tea have been cited as excellent foods that help protect the brain.

This study underscores the importance of avoiding red meat as a source of unbound iron in the diet. Most of the iron in red meat is unbound and freely released into the blood where it can wreak havoc throughout the body. Conversely, vegetarian sources of iron such as leafy greens and spinach are tightly bound with fiber and do not elevate iron levels. The study author noted that the antioxidant effect of vitamin C is negated with high levels of unbound iron and is dramatically improved with a diet high in vegetables and fruits.

Acai Berry Extract Shown to Improve Brain Housekeeping
A significant pathway that leads to declining brain health occurs when the normal cellular housekeeping cycle is disrupted in a process known as autophagy. Researchers from the USDA`s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging have found that berry extracts can enhance the process in aging adults in part due to their powerful antioxidant properties.

Anthocyanins in the skins of the berry protect against the pro-inflammatory agents including COX-2 and TNF-alpha. The researchers conclude these results suggest that acai may contribute to ‘health span’ in aging, as it is able to combat some of the inflammatory and oxidative mediators of aging at the cellular level’. Acai berries can be consumed in their natural form, as a concentrated drink or as a supplemented extract.

The purple compounds found in the skins of many fruits and vegetables are important to brain health as they are able to cross the critical blood-brain barrier. Extensive research demonstrates that these chemical structures help to reduce brain inflammation and bind with iron to protect sensitive brain cells. Be certain to include a variety of purple foods to naturally protect your brain and lower your risk from devastating diseases that threaten your ability to walk, learn, think and make new memories.

High Protein Breakfast Fuels Weight Loss Success

(Article first published as Can You Boost Weight Loss Efforts by Skipping Breakfast? on Technorati.)
The New Year has come and gone and many well-intentioned weight loss resolutions are now a fading memory. One of the big problems many people encounter is whether to eat breakfast, the size of the meal and most importantly, what to eat. A host of research studies have demonstrated the importance of eating a healthy breakfast to rev up your metabolic engine for the day.

In fact, this all important meal can be a key to driving weight loss for many people as it can trigger the body to begin burning fat stores for energy. The key to making breakfast work for you is to know the foods that help to burn fat, and the ones that instruct the body to pack on the pounds and make you more likely to overeat.

Eating the Wrong Breakfast Encourages Weight Gain
A study published in the Nutrition Journal suggests that people who eat breakfast do not compensate by eating less at lunch or dinner. The study followed 300 people who were asked to keep a food journal charting the size of the meal, or whether they skipped breakfast altogether. The study authors noted, "The results of the study showed that people ate the same at lunch and dinner, regardless of what they had for breakfast."

Participants that indicated they ate a large breakfast consumed on average 400 calories more over the course of the day. The only difference found was that those eating a large breakfast were more likely to avoid a mid-morning snack, but was not enough to offset the large number of breakfast calories consumed. Researchers concluded that eating a large breakfast was not conducive to weight loss efforts because it did not lower total calories eaten for the day.

High Protein Breakfast Drives Weight Loss Results
The most significant point in this study is the glaring omission of the type of foods eaten. Typical breakfast fare includes cereals, pancakes, sugary treats and fruit, all known to spike blood sugar levels and promote fat storage. These types of food make you hungry after a couple of hours as blood glucose sharply plummets, and you go searching for another hi-carb jolt.

The most important thing you can do to start losing weight today is to eat a light to moderate breakfast each day, and be sure to include a healthy protein source. Avoid processed cereals (even multi-grain choices) and minimize calories from refined carbohydrates. Choose eggs, almonds, walnuts or seeds to compliment a small serving of berries as a perfect way to start off your day. Stay away from breakfast meats such as bacon and sausage as they contain artificial preservatives that cause cancer and inhibit weight loss.

Breakfast can be an important tool in your weight loss arsenal when the proper foods are eaten. A meal filled with refined carbohydrates will quickly metabolize to glucose and encourage calories to be stored as body fat. Protein eaten early in the day has the opposite effect, as it encourages increased metabolic levels and slowly converts to energy to fuel your busy schedule. Ensure the success of your weight loss resolution by including a healthy protein source with breakfast.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vitamin E Critical to Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer

(Article first published as Full Spectrum Vitamin E Required to Prevent Chronic Disease on Technorati.)
Health conscious people understand the importance of a diet that includes all the essential vitamins and minerals to avoid chronic illness as we age. Vitamin E is known to confer many health benefits including support for the heart and brain as well as an immune system booster. 

Many are surprised to find out that this critical vitamin exists in many different natural forms, all of which are required for vibrant health. Those who supplement with the most common form of the vitamin in the absence of the full array of tocopherols may be placing their health at risk. A healthy natural diet of leafy greens, nuts, seeds and monounsaturated fats will ensure you receive full benefit from all sources of this misunderstood antioxidant vitamin.

Poor Diet and Basic Synthetic Multi-Vitamin Harmful to Health
There are 2 primary forms of vitamin E known as tocopherols and tocotrienols. Each form consists of 4 mirror isomers (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) that work in synergy to provide disease protection. Much research exists on the benefits of the most prevalent type of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol that is isolated for use in most multi-vitamins. Many people eating a processed diet of junk food supplement with a basic synthetic multi-vitamin and are unaware they have a vitamin E imbalance that could actually be harmful.

Optimal Antioxidant Action Requires All Forms of Vitamin E
In order to ensure you receive the antioxidant benefit from this powerful vitamin you need to cut all refined foods and sugar from your diet. Include leafy greens, vegetables, monounsaturated fats, fish, nuts and seeds that provide a healthy dose of the full spectrum of vitamin E. Some people will want to supplement when their diet is deficient in natural food options. Choose an organic whole food based vitamin source and be sure the alpha tocopherol being used is natural and not synthetic. The natural form includes the letter `d` at the beginning of the name.

The Vitamin E Family Prevents Heart Disease
In addition to protecting cells from damaging free radicals, the gamma form of vitamin E has shown the capability to reduce damaging levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol that can form arterial plaque. The result of a study published in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that gamma tocopherol lowers levels of blood fats known as triglycerides and was shown to inhibit atherogenic lesions. It`s important to note that both the alpha and gamma forms of vitamin E were necessary to produce the benefits seen this study.

Cancer Risk Reduced with Tocotrienols
Lowered risk of hormone dependent cancer lines including those affecting the breast and prostate have been attributed to the full spectrum of vitamin E forms. In a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, the alpha, gamma and delta forms of vitamin E were shown to halt cancer proliferation by forcing damaged cells to undergo apoptosis or programmed cell death. In this study alpha tocopherol was found ineffective underscoring the importance of the full range of tocotrienols and tocopherols.

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient that is rapidly gaining status as a powerful agent in the fight against heart disease, cancer, dementia and immune health. It`s important to make certain you receive the full complement of tocotrienols and tocopherols that make up this diverse family of antioxidants through natural diet or targeted supplementation.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Lower Risk of Heart Disease by 85%

(Article first published as Top Tips to Lower Risk of Heart Disease by 85% on Technorati.)
Nearly 1,000,000 Americans will succumb to heart disease this year, with millions more living a reduced quality of life in fear of death from a heart attack. Heart disease is largely a lifestyle condition that is the result of years and decades of poor diet and lifestyle habits that deteriorate the delicate vascular system. The end result is a decline in physical function as atherosclerosis weakens the ability of the heart to pump efficiently.

Study Identifies Top Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease
Researchers from Scotland identified five critical lifestyle factors that contribute to the development and progression of heart disease. The result of their study was published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine and shows that those individuals with just one poor lifestyle habit were 85% more likely to die from a heart attack over a 20 year follow up period. Those with 4 poor habits were 349% more likely to die during the same period. The study authors identified the following modifiable factors as being most important to prevent heart disease.

1. Avoid Tobacco and Smoking: Smoking is widely considered to be the most important lifestyle event to prevent heart disease (as well as many other chronic illnesses). Smoke from cigarettes, cigars and pipes contains more than 300 chemicals that are known to promote arterial hardening that leads to high blood pressure and dramatically increased risk of heart attack.

2. Increase Physical Activity and Exercise: Researchers recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise each day of the week. This does not have to be heart-pounding aerobic conditioning, but should be enough to raise the heart rate slightly. Exercise sessions can be broken into 10 minute cycles, 3 times a day to accommodate busy schedules.

3. Achieve Your Ideal Body Weight: Carrying extra weight, especially around the abdomen is a significant risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. Studies demonstrate that losing as little as 5 to 10% of your body weight can lower blood pressure, protect your arteries and lower blood sugar.

4. Eat a Well Balanced, Reduced Calorie Diet: Next to smoking, healthy diet is the next most important factor that will impact your risk for heart disease. Eliminate all sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed convenience foods. Fresh vegetables and greens should make up the core of your meal. Compliment with small quantities of lean meats, nuts, seeds and monounsaturated fat sources.

5. Drink Alcohol in Moderation: Avoid alcohol, or severely limit the number of daily drinks. Men should have no more than 1 or 2 drinks per day, while women should limit their intake to one. While some research has shown a small protective effect for alcohol consumption, if you don’t drink, don’t start.

Information from this study underscores the importance of making modifications for the prevention of heart disease. Extensive research provides undeniable proof that heart disease can be prevented, treated and reversed by making small changes to diet and lifestyle. Following all five of the suggestions outlined in this report will lower the risk of developing heart disease three-fold and dramatically improve your quality of life.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Sexes View Weight Loss Motivation and Strategy Differently

(Article first published as Men and Women Have Different Weight Loss Motivation and Strategy on Technorati.)
It may come as no surprise that men and women have different ideas when it comes to how they approach weight loss, and the trigger that prompts them to begin their journey to improved health and body image. Men and women appear to use a different rationalization for the need to begin a weight loss regimen.

Women are highly motivated to drop excess pounds based on their appearance, while men are more in tune with their health and the way they feel with extra body weight. Regardless of their underlying reasons, it’s important to make the decision to lose weight to dramatically lower the risk from chronic disease.

Survey Examines Weight Loss Strategies Between the Sexes
The result of a survey including 1,000 adults shows that men and women have very different reasons to consider a weight loss program. 40% of women indicated that their physical appearance was the most important determinant to lose weight. 27% of men cited ‘not feeling healthy’ as the primary motivation for weight loss, although looks were an important consideration.

While overweight and obesity prevalence is similar between men and women, women become dissatisfied with their weight much sooner than men. A gain of just 5 pounds was sufficient for most women to consider a dietary or lifestyle change to drop weight. Men typically required a gain of 20 pounds or more before they become motivated to lose weight. For both sexes, a gain of 10 pounds was considered a weight loss trigger.

Weight Loss Mechanism Differs for Men and Women
Both men and women were in agreement that food portion control was an important factor when beginning a weight loss program. Men were more likely to choose vigorous physical activity such as jogging or resistance training as their preferred weight loss method. Women tended to choose healthy diet as a means to lower calories, opting for leafy greens and vegetables as part of their weight loss plan.

Men May Learn From the Women
The survey authors noted that men may benefit by observing the weight loss motivation observed by many women respondents. Men would be much better served by altering diet and lifestyle when they notice a small 5 pound weight gain, rather than waiting until they tip the scales with 20 pounds or more. Also, making healthier, reduced calorie food choices is better for long term success than a plan based on increased activity levels.

Men and women have different strategies and motivation to determine the need to begin a weight loss program.  While the end result may be the same, women tend to focus on outward appearance as their motivation, while men are more concerned about how they feel when overweight or obese. Regardless of method or reason, starting a weight loss program that you can live with will result in improved health and quality of life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fight Cold and Flu, Avoid Sugar and Include Vitamin C and Vitamin D

(Article first published as Fight Cold and Flu with Natural Diet and Super Nutrients on Technorati.)
When given the opportunity our body has the amazing capacity to thwart many diseases and illnesses including the common cold and influenza. When we provide our immune system with the necessary tools to fight bacteria and viruses, vibrant health will always be the natural result. 

The typical processed food diet is void of the nutrients we require to fuel our immune system and we become a magnet for a host of circulating pathogens that cause suffering for millions each year. Proper diet and targeted natural immune nutrients will help you and your family to prevent cold and flu by boosting your innate immune response.

Eat Natural Foods, Avoid Sugar to Boost Immunity
Diet is the single most important lifestyle process that is within your control to help your immune system. Simply put, sugar suppresses our immune system by inhibiting the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacterial and viral invaders.

The results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) demonstrates that the amount of sugar in two sweetened beverages lowers immune response by 50% for up to five hours after drinking or eating. A diet filled with complex carbohydrates has no detrimental effect on immunity and the high nutritional content of fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds provide the building blocks required to mount a healthy attack as needed.

Vitamin D Activates Killer T Cells
Health conscious individuals who ensure proper blood levels of vitamin D appear to have the ultimate defense against the cold and flu. The journal Nature Immunology provides details of the synergy between the sunshine vitamin and our adaptive immune killer T cells. Vitamin D is shown to provide the activation key that stimulates T cells into action when invaders are detected.

Virtually every cell in our body has a vitamin D receptor that is only filled when sufficient amounts are circulating in the blood. A deficiency in this essential compound leaves the cellular receptor open and available for viral hijacking. A separate AJCN study shows that vitamin D is far superior to vaccines at preventing the flu. Maintain your vitamin D blood levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml for optimal protection.

Vitamin C Prepares Immune Cells for Action
Vitamin C has been shown to increase the number of infection-fighting white blood cells and stimulates the production of interferon. Interferon provides a protective coating to the surface of cells that prevents penetration by viruses. Research published in the Journal of Immunology explains that up to 5 grams of vitamin C are needed daily to activate the production of interferon for general health and up to 1 gram every hour should be used when fighting a cold or the flu.

The importance of a strong immune response cannot be underestimated. Elimination of sugar and processed carbohydrates from your diet should be the first step in boosting your front line response. Adding natural nutrients including vitamins C and D have proven effective in providing top notch protection against the common cold and flu virus.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top Tips to Assist Your Weight Loss Success

(Article first published as Small Changes in Lifestyle Drive Weight Loss Success on Technorati.)
The New Year has now officially arrived and it’s time to determine the best way to keep your resolution to lose weight and regain your health and self image. Dropping excess weight can be one of the most difficult tasks you will undertake and also the most important. Research is continually pointing to overweight and obesity, sugar and refined carbohydrates and trans fats as major contributors to chronic illnesses that shorten our lifespan.

Everybody has heard that the key to weight loss success is a combination of reducing calories and increased physical activity. While this is true, there are many more important factors that contribute to a permanent weight loss plan. Constructing a dietary and fitness program you can live with are important, along with proper mindset, drive, motivation and the support of friends and family. Fox News has compiled a list of the top ways you can help yourself stay on a diet to reach your target goal.

Eat Breakfast with Protein Everyday
Resolve to eat breakfast with a good source of protein every day. This meal starts your metabolic engine and begins the process of burning calories for energy. Don’t fill up on breakfast cereals, pancakes or donuts, as these foods will quickly turn to sugar and leave you wanting a between meal snack a couple of hours later. Protein breaks down very slowly and promotes fat metabolism. Raw nuts and seeds are an ideal choice in moderation.

Include a High Fiber Choice with Each Meal
Fiber has been shown to fill you up quickly and decreases feelings of hunger throughout the day. Most people should target 30 to 50 grams of fiber each day, though most consume less than 10 grams. Refined foods have most of the fiber stripped away along with essential nutrients. Natural leafy greens, vegetables and fruits are a great source of fiber to help curb your appetite.

Include More Calcium in Your Diet
Calcium triggers the release of a hormone called calcitrol that is known to regulate the storage of body fat. Studies demonstrate that people who include several servings of calcium-rich foods each day are able to lose significantly more weight that those who don’t. It’s important to include calcium from food sources that are more efficiently metabolized than supplements. In addition to low-fat dairy, good sources of calcium include broccoli, spinach and peas and almonds.

Start Your Meal with Soup
Soup is a tasty way to begin your main meal of the day. A large bowl of broth-based soup is low in calories and will fill you up and remove the temptation to overeat. Studies have shown that women who ate a bowl of chicken and rice soup before lunch consumed 100 fewer calories at the meal. This equates to a net loss of 10 pounds over the course of a year just by making this one small change.

The key to successful weight loss is to make small changes that will compliment and reinforce your ultimate goal. Lowering calories, eating a well-balanced healthy diet and regular exercise are all important in your journey to drop excess pounds. Make the necessary adjustments to your daily routine that will encourage your efforts and promote sustainable weight loss.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Add Green Tea to Your Anti-Aging and Weight Loss Nutrient Arsenal

(Article first published as Add Green Tea to Your Anti-Aging and Weight Loss Nutrient Arsenal on Technorati.)
Would you drink a beverage that has repeatedly been shown to fight cancer initiation and proliferation, prevent damaging genetic mutations and negate the effects of free radicals that cause the outward signs of aging? Green tea and members of the tea family including black and white teas have passed the test of time dating back countless generations and have demonstrated essential health advantages in extensive research studies over the past decade. You can take advantage of the numerous anti-aging benefits from drinking 2 to 4 cups of fresh brewed tea each day.

Green Tea Shields Against Free Radicals
Most health experts agree that free radicals are the root cause of aging. Free radicals are created through the normal processes of breathing, eating and physical activity. The negatively charged particles rip through the cell nucleus where they can knock out critical components to the DNA sequence. Mutations follow and the risk of many types of cancer is dramatically heightened. Anything that can neutralize these particles before they have a chance to damage our genetic material will slow the aging process and protect us from disease.

Two Cups of Green Tea Daily Protects Against DNA Damage
Green tea has been shown to provide needed protection against free radicals. The results of a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that subjects that consumed just 2 cups of green tea daily for a month were able to lower their level of DNA damage by 20%. The natural polyphenol in green tea known as ECGC has been shown to be particularly effective in lowering risk in a host of cancer cell lines including prostate, colon, esophagus, bladder and pancreas.

ECGC Shown to Halt Cancer Growth
The results of a study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research demonstrated that men with prostate cancer were able to lower predictive markers of cancer progression by as much as 30%. Participants supplemented with 1.3 grams of green tea extract each day which is the equivalent of 12 cups of fresh brewed tea. ECGC has been shown to protect cells from DNA damage and can also inhibit new blood vessel formation that cancer cells need to proliferate.

Green Tea Assists in Weight Management
One of the serious effects of obesity is a dramatic rise in systemic inflammation that leads to the onset of many potentially fatal diseases. The body activates our white T-cells in an attempt to calm the flames of inflammation. Researchers reporting in the British Journal of Nutrition have discovered that T-cells are fewer and less efficient in overweight and obese individuals. When obese subjects were supplemented with ECGC, their T-cell numbers multiplied and were activated to fight inflammation. This boosted immune response against pathogens and assisted natural weight loss efforts.

Many people take aging in stride with the misinformed belief that it is normal and inevitable. Forward thinking alternative health advocates understand that aging is a disease that can be prevented and treated with a healthy diet and targeted natural supplementation. Green tea provides a host of essential polyphenol nutrients that have been used for generations to protect us from disease and the ravages of aging.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chocolate Effectively Lowers Risk from High Blood Pressure

(Article first published as Chocolate Protects Against High Blood Pressure and Heart Disase on Technorati.)
High blood pressure is a significant concern as it significantly raises the incidence of vascular disease and stroke. As a result of stress, poor diet and lifestyle, enzymes in our body produce a substance known as angiotensin II that causes blood vessels to narrow and blood pressure to increase. 

Standard medical practice is to prescribe ACE inhibitors to inhibit the action of these enzymes, often with mixed results and always dangerous side effects. Researchers have now confirmed that natural flavanols found in cacao from chocolate can lower blood pressure as effectively as the Big Pharma solutions.

Natural Flavanols from Cacao Effectively Regulate Blood Pressure
Researchers have known for some time that the active catechins and procyanidines in many fruits, vegetables and green tea promote health and protect against disease through a variety of biochemical mechanisms. The results of a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology explains how flavanols from cacao and dark chocolate inhibit the action of angiotensin to influence the body’s fluid balance and effectively regulate blood pressure.
 
Study Demonstrates Blood Pressure Lowering Effect of Chocolate
The study involved ten men and six women aged 20 to 45 who were fed 75 grams of unsweetened chocolate with a cacao content of 72%. Blood samples were taken before and again after eating the sample chocolate to analyze the activity of the ACE enzyme. Researchers were amazed to find that the enzyme activity was reduced by 18%, effectively lowering dangerous blood pressure as well or even better than many pharmaceuticals.

The lead author concluded, “Our findings indicate that changes in lifestyle with the help of foods that contain large concentrations of catechins and procyaninides prevent cardiovascular diseases.” It`s important to note that the results were produced using unsweetened cacao as found in many specialty dark chocolates. The same benefits would not be conferred with commonly available sweetened milk chocolate and semi-sweet varieties.

Flavanols From Chocolate Increases Nitric Oxide, Relaxes Blood Vessels
Information reported in the journal BMC Medicine combines the results of 15 independent studies on the vessel dilating effects of flavanols from chocolate. Researchers found that moderate consumption of chocolate with a high percentage of cacao showed significant blood pressure reduction in people with high blood pressure, and no effect on individuals with normal pressure readings. Flavanols increase the natural formation of endothelial nitric oxide that exhibits a relaxing effect on blood vessel walls and lowered blood pressure.

Cacao from chocolate is shown to be yet another example of how a natural compound can promote health and prevent disease. Flavanols and catechins are chemical compounds found in unprocessed foods that are essential to human health. When consumed or supplemented as part of a whole food diet they demonstrate reduced risk of disease without the damaging side effects commonly seen with pharmaceuticals.