Helping Baby Boomers get fit … get well … and live longer!

Lower Blood Pressure with Beetroot Juice

  • 13th February 2014 |
  • Author: Iris

Beetroot Juice

If you suffer from chronic hypertension or high blood pressure and you’re looking for natural remedies or ways to lower it or manage it without meds, you may want to add beetroot juice (or beet juice) to your shopping list.

Mounting research and clinical studies show impressive results for how beetroot juice affects blood pressure. The British researchers who conducted the study state that the findings reflect the importance of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Many previous studies have shown that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables lowers blood pressure. Antioxidants usually get the credit, but several recent studies have suggested that nitrates may play a much bigger role in lowering blood pressure.

Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and it has high levels of naturally occurring nitrates. These compounds improve blood flow throughout the body, including the brain, heart and muscles.

When beetroot juice is ingested, nitrate in the beetroot juice is converted by bacteria living on the tongue into the chemical nitrite. Once it enters the stomach, it becomes nitric oxide. When the size of the molecules in the blood vessel increases in size and opens up, more oxygen is allowed to flow, which leads to lower blood pressure. Researchers found that blood pressure was at its lowest when the nitrite levels in the blood were at their highest.

In regards to who should drink beetroot juice or gain the most benefit, the elderly stand to gain a huge advantage. Increasing blood flow to muscles can help improve muscle strength which will, in turn, reduce falls, fractures, and impairment associated with muscle weakness. Blood flow to the brain (as measured by MRI) improved in healthy elderly people who drank a cup of beetroot juice daily.

Research suggests that drinking beetroot juice or consuming other nitrate-rich vegetables might be a simple way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Beetroot juice (or beet juice) should be on the Superfoods list, right next to salmon and blueberries. Its benefits include the following:

• improves blood pressure
• improves blood flow throughout the body (including the brain, heart and muscles)
• boosts stamina to help you exercise longer and improve overall physical performance
• enhances heart functioning during exercise
• fights cancer
• can be a natural approach to preventing constipation
• helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system

Meta-analysis of past studies showed clear reductions in blood pressure with both the yellow and red beetroots. The systolic blood pressure measurement (the number on the top) showed the best reduction. And in some of the studies, men showed better results after ingesting beetroot juice than women. Hormones and/or the use of contraceptive pills were noted as possible factors rendering this outcome.

Gram for gram, it has about 20 times more nitrates than most other vegetables. A London study found that drinking only one glass (250 ml or 1 cup) of beetroot juice a day dramatically lowered blood pressure for several hours. When the volunteers drank the beetroot juice, it reached its lowest point 2.5 to 3 hours after ingestion and continued to have an effect on the blood pressure for up to 24 hours.

For lowering blood pressure, drinking beetroot juice is better than eating the whole food. You lose some of the benefits when we cook the beetroots or pickle them. By juicing, you get 100% of the phytonutrients or plant chemicals needed to help decrease your blood pressure.

Because beetroots are a potent detoxifier, it may be wise to start with a lower dose (like a quarter cup) and gradually increasing the amount you drink but do not drink it every day. You will notice your urine and stools changing to a red color. This color change is harmless.

If you are prone to having oxalate kidney stones, you may want to avoid beetroot juice because it is high in oxalates, especially if you use the leaves of the beets. With all things health-related, you want to consult with your physician. Let your doctor know that you are using natural remedies or drinking beetroot juice to lower your blood pressure. You may find that you need to take less medication to lower your blood pressure after adding beetroot juice to your diet.

Monitor your blood pressure at home several days before, several hours after drinking the beetroot juice, and several days after that to see if you get lower readings.     A blood pressure monitor with memory features would make this step easy.

As for the beetroot juice, you can juice the beetroots yourself or purchase the bottled juice for about $7 at a local health food store or online. For at-home juicing, HERE is a good beetroot juice recipe you may find tasty.

Beetroots are very nutritious. They’re rich in potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin C, antioxidants, and nitrates. Adding beetroot juice to your diet may be a simple way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and improve your overall health.

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Beetroot Juice

  • 13th February 2014 |
  • Author: Iris

 

 

Beetroot Juice

Beetroot juice is a favorite of foodies but there’s far more to this sweet, earthy-tasting, ruby-red interior vegetable.    Beets are a superfood and full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.   They are also very cleansing!

 

Sidebar:    When it comes to juicing, it is advisable to not combine fruits and vegetables.   Apples are the only exception because they tend to be neutral and not interfere with maximum digestion and assimilation of nutrients.  It is also best to consume beetroot juice on an empty stomach.

 

Ingredients

• 1 beetroot (small)
• 2 carrots (medium)
• 3 celery stalks
• ½ cucumber (peel if waxed)
• 1 apple (peel if waxed)
• ½” ginger root

 
Wash all vegetables using running water. Scrub root vegetables with a stiff vegetable brush to remove all traces of dirt. Remove the tops from the carrots and beets; peel the carrot and beetroot if skin is tough. Peel cucumber and apple if they are waxed. Dice all ingredients up into chunks. Juice. Pour into chilled glass and drink immediately. Enjoy!

 

Calories:   One 2” (5cm) beetroot contains 35 calories.

 

Health benefits of beetroot juice:

• Lowers blood pressure
• Rebuilds red blood cells; good for iron deficiencies and anemia
• Helps with menstrual cramps and PMS
• Fights cancer; rich source of carotenoids (which is the anti-cancer king)
• Improves circulation
• Calms the nerves
• Improves the health of the liver, kidneys and bladder
• Cleans the intestines
• Reduces constipation

Nutrients found in beetroot:

• Vitamin B
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
• Vitamin A (beta-carotene)
• Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
• Folate
• Chlorine
• Calcium
• Iron
• Magnesium
• Sodium
• Phosphorus
• Potassium
• Copper
• Chromium
• Magnesium
• Zinc
• Selenium
• Amino Acids

 

Adding beetroot juice to your diet once or twice a week is beneficial to your overall  health.

 

Caution:   Anyone with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid consuming beet greens and beetroot because they are high in oxalate. Beet greens have a higher concentration of oxalate than the beetroot..

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Fat Loss Factor Review

  • 23rd March 2013 |
  • Author: Iris

Fat-Loss-Factor-Ebooks

 

Fat Loss Factor is a 12-week comprehensive weight loss and exercise program that can be customized to suit a range of goals and fitness levels. It can help anyone lose belly fat and unwanted body fat quickly.

Finding a program that is effective and sustainable is a challenge.  Fat Loss Factor appears to meet the requirements needed by dieters looking for a long-term solution to combat obesity and belly fat.  It incorporates a lifestyle of fitness, healthy eating and stress management.  Testimonials and feedback support its charge that it will help you lose fat fast.

Fat-Loss-Factor-Charles

The man behind this program is Dr. Charles. He is a board-certified chiropractic physician, certified wellness practitioner, certified advanced nutritionist, author and speaker.
 

 

Program includes:

• Fat Loss Factor Ebook
• Master Cleanse Videos
• 15-Minute Workouts
• Exercise Log
• Goal-Setting Guide
• FooJoo Software
• Forms for Measurements
• Recipes Ebook
• Grocery Shopping List
• Email Coaching
• Mindset Tips for Healthy Eating
• Lifetime Upgrades

 

Fat-Loss-Factor-Lori

Program Levels

Fat Loss Factor offers four different levels of difficulty based on how much weight a dieter wants to lose and how fast they want to lose it.

1. Beginner
2. Intermediate
3. Rapid Weight Loss
4. Extreme Weight Loss

Program Format

Fat Loss Factor is delivered in a digital format via ebooks, worksheets and videos. The ebooks, worksheets and videos can be downloaded with ease and immediately accessible after purchase is approved.

The first phase of the program spans two weeks and entails getting the body prepared to get rid of fat and impurities. To do this, you need to take the body through a series of steps to detox the system. During this detox stage, toxins are eliminated from the body and weight-loss begins.

Calorie-laden, artery-clogging foods are replaced for healthy, natural and organic foods. Fat Loss Factor provides a list of good foods to eat to ensure your success and there are a lot of easy to prepare recipes that the entire family can enjoy.

Fat-Loss-Factor-8Foods

Recommended Foods:   fresh fruits and vegetables; low-fat dairy products; organic free-range poultry; salmon; tuna; organic grass-fed meat; organic free-range eggs; whole grains; legumes; nuts; seeds; olive oil; coconut oil; flaxseed oil; butter; maple syrup; honey; whey protein; hemp protein; Stevia; and herb tea.

Foods and beverages high in sugar and fructose are eliminated and replaced with lots of clean, fresh drinking water.

The next phase is the fat-burning stage which spans for 10 weeks. The crux of the program hinges on this phase. A specially-designed list of foods is provided to ensure that maximum weight loss is realized. Lots of water is consumed during this phase to help flush out the toxins and fat.

Exercise is a crucial factor in this program. Interval training and high-intensity interval training, in addition to strength training, are phased into the program. There are three different levels of exercise for beginners, intermediate and those who are more advanced.

 Fat Loss Factor Recommended Workout Plan:

• Workouts take approximately 35 – 60 minutes
• Workout frequency starts out at three times a week
• Three separate 12-week strength-training regimes for beginners, intermediate and advanced exercisers
• 15-minute workouts
• Video animations of exercises are provided
• Cardio exercise is added after 12 weeks to boost weight loss with HIIT
• Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates are recommended to reduce stress

This program is getting a lot of positive reviews because it is designed to allow the user or dieter to pick a level. Unlike other programs, Fat Loss Factor is based on the fact that not everyone is at the same place with fitness.

There are three levels from which to select: beginner, intermediate or advanced. The beginner level is for people who are couch potatoes, who haven’t found a program that will work for them and for those who have struggled with fitness routines.

The advanced level is for people who do watch their weight, who exercise but haven’t quite been able to get where they want to be physically.

The intermediate level is for people who find themselves between level 1 and 3. The program covers everything you need to succeed at every level. It walks you through the detox, and then starts you on the High Level Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

The frequency and length of the workouts are easy for beginners and very manageable. These workouts are designed to increase the metabolism and speed up weight loss.

When you get to the Maximum Fat Burning phase, you’ll be eating smaller meals more often, giving your body time to use the food for fuel. It’s a better way of eating for your body.

The program helps dieters learn the most effective ways to develop healthy eating habits. The Fat Loss Factor program allows for a little cheating and factors in times to eat whatever you want. There is a lot of eye-opening information based on years of research, case studies and feedback.

The final phase is the strength-training stage. You’ll learn how to shape your body, how to workout, what you need to eat to achieve the maximum results, and what goals to follow.

Mindset is also factored into this program with great success. Coaching is provided during all of these phases and for a total of 12 months via email.

 

Pros

• Offers four diet options depending on dieter’s goals
• Customized for different fitness levels
• Factors in impact of stress on weight loss
• Encourages intake of organic foods, fresh fruit, and vegetables
• Scientifically-based
• Incorporates information on stress management and relaxation
• Encourages goal-setting for greater weight loss
• Encourages journaling for long-term success
• Offers recipes and provides a grocery shopping list
• Coaching available
• Easy to follow plan and workouts

Cons

• Detox phase may be harsh for some people
• Cost of organic and whole foods
• Gym equipment needed to perform some of the workouts

Pricing

The Fat Loss Factor is available online for $47 which is modestly priced for all the materials provided and 12 months of coaching.

Click here to try Fat Loss Factor now.

Customer Support

The Fat Loss Factor customer support team can be described as highly responsible and responsive. Feedback from existing users and dieters has rated their quality of performance as very high based on their ability to act with speed and accuracy.

Product Guarantee

Sixty-day unconditional money-back guarantee.

Conclusion

Fat Loss Factor provides dieters with a detailed plan, instruction, education and tools needed to lose weight, and create a healthy lifestyle.

Fat Loss Factor is developed to suit people of all ages and genders and the workout programs will fit those at any fitness level. It is not some magical weight loss pill. It is a well-thought out and scientifically-proven program that takes a holistic approach to weight loss for long-term success.  CLICK HERE to check it out NOW!


 

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St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Smoothie

  • 17th March 2013 |
  • Author: Iris

green-shamrock-smoothie

If you’re watching your waistline but you want something “green” and tasty today, we’ve got you covered. No need to turn green with envy at those who pull up to McDonald’s to indulge in that 540-calorie Shamrock Shake that has 16 grams of fat.

Why not enjoy a healthier version that won’t leave you overwhelmed with guilt for having consumed such a diet-buster.   Besides, green shakes or green smoothies should be healthy and void of that much fat.  We’ve pulled together some ingredients that will give you a delicious green shake that is tasty, healthy, and nutritious.

Our St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Smoothie has about half the calories, twice the nutrients and none of the green food coloring. Plus, our smoothie is full of healthy fruit and green veggies you can enjoy all year round, not just a couple of weeks in March.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Smoothie

Prep time:   10 minutes
Calories:   150
Servings:   2 – 12.oz glasses

2 cups kale
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup of pineapple juice
1/2 cup mango chunks (frozen)
1/2 cup pineapple chunks (frozen)
1/2 cup strawberries (frozen)
1 banana (sliced – frozen)

 

Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
Pour into 2 glasses and garnish with mint sprig (or 4-leaf clover), if desired.

So, me Lad/Lass, instead of green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, have a healthy, green smoothie!

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Vitamin_D

Can we put the brakes on cancer with Vitamin D?  According to the American Cancer Society and the Bone and Cancer Foundation, Vitamin D may be the pill to take to do so.

Research in lab animals suggests that higher levels of Vitamin D in the body may be linked to lower cancer risk.  They both conclude that further research and studies are required to determine whether a lack of vitamin D will increase your risk of getting cancer, whether cancer results in Vitamin D deficiency, or if there is some other relationship between the two.

Another study published in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that Vitamin D appears to slow down the production of a protein that drives cell division.  This protein is active at elevated levels in more than half of all cancers.  This study found that Vitamin D strongly stimulates the production of a natural antagonist of cMYC called MXDI, essentially shutting down cMYC function.

Researchers are just starting to examine how Vitamin D may impact specific features of cancer, such as the stage or extent of tumor spread, prognosis, recurrence or relapse of disease, and even sub-types of cancer.

Low levels of vitamin D are a definite red flag that your good bill of health is being threatened. Vitamin D deficiency is an underlying cause of many poor health conditions, as well as a major factor contributing to the exacerbation of symptoms of other diseases.

When more than three-quarters of cancer patients have insufficient levels of Vitamin D that raises a red flag.  It also brings into question how Vitamin D fits into the equation.

It can be the matter of which comes first, the hen or the egg.  Does Vitamin D deficiency cause cancer or are people with cancer more likely to develop a Vitamin D deficiency?  Research has shown that people with cancer and people undergoing treatment for cancer are commonly Vitamin D deficient.

Will a loss of appetite resulting in an insufficient intake of dietary Vitamin D be enough to cause this deficiency?  Or does loss of energy or the desire to exercise or go outdoors contribute to the intake of lower levels of Vitamin D which eventually leads to a deficiency?

Fighting cancer and undergoing cancer treatment are two factors that are likely to cause a patient to have a loss of appetite and not feel well enough to spend time outdoors.  Therefore, it is highly recommended that cancer patients have their Vitamin D levels checked and take Vitamin D supplements to prevent health problems caused by a Vitamin D deficiency.

The causes of low Vitamin D can be very complex, but ensuring you get enough is easy with supplementation.  According to the American Cancer Society, some studies have suggested that Vitamin D supplementation during cancer treatment may help chemotherapy work better for the patient and may even slow the progression of certain cancers.

Vitamin_D_n_Chemotherapy

These studies suggest that Vitamin D may slow the progression of cells from pre-malignant to malignant states and put the brakes on their proliferation or keep them in check.

More and more doctors are recommending that Baby Boomers increase their intake of Vitamin D to at least 5,000 IUs daily to improve bone health, strengthen the immune system, and help prevent cancer.

Do you know what your Vitamin D level is?  If not, see your doctor soon to undergo testing and discuss Vitamin D supplements to prevent health problems.

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Get more great tips and alerts to help you live longer!

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Groovy Green Smoothie

  • 2nd March 2013 |
  • Author: Iris
Green_Smoothie_Layers

Green smoothies are great sources of vitamins, nutrients, and anti-oxidants.

Today I had my first green smoothie!  Yaaaaaay!!! What a great way to kick off a Saturday. Green smoothies are a combination of healthy fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients which supplies the body with what it needs to maintain health and wellness.

For at least five years, I have been wanting to try these green monsters.  I’ve talked about them online with my online friends.  I’ve read about them online and in magazines.  I’ve researched them and pondered over the right combination of ingredients to yield the greatest benefits.  I’ve even bought a couple of smoothie cookbooks.  But I have never taken the time to make one for myself … until today.

Yesterday, I decided that I was going to go grocery shopping and get all the ingredients I needed for several green smoothie variations.  I picked up some fresh kale, fresh baby spinach, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, mangoes, avocados,  almond milk, yogurt, ….

This morning, instead of having the same old stuff for breakfast like grits-n-eggs, pancakes, rice-n-butter, oatmeal, or cold cereal, I had a taste for a smoothie.  I pulled out the bounty of fruits and vegetables that were crammed into my fridge.  I decided to start my day off with a BANG! and do the “groovy, smoothie thang!

I threw a little bit of this and that into my blender … and, PRESTO … out pops a delicious, green smoothie full of organic and healthy ingredients.   Now, I don’t own one of those expensive blenders or smoothie machines.  I have a little ole Black & Decker blender I bought about a year ago.  It did a pretty good job blending up all of the ingredients and the ice cubes I added.

In the finished product, I could see little specks of blueberries but that didn’t bother me.  My green smoothie came out nice and smooth.  I had no chunks or anything that were detectable going down the hatch or were difficult passing through the straw.

The recipe I created yielded about six 8-oz servings.  I shared it with my daughter and poured the remaining smoothie mixture into a container and stored in the freezer for consumption at lunch or for tomorrow’s breakfast.

I’m feeling energized!  That smoothie really helped me kick off a fun-filled day where I have a long list of things I need to do, like trying to finish reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn before my book club meeting tonight.

I hope you had your healthy smoothie today or a healthy breakfast to get your day started on the right foot!  If you would like my “Groovy, Green Smoothie!” recipe, let me know.  I will be happy to post it here for you..

Vitamin D Deficiency

  • 25th February 2013 |
  • Author: Iris

During the latter part of 2012, I ran into my doctor’s office for my routine checkup to get it in before my new deductible kicked in for 2013.  A couple of days later, I got a call from my doctor’s office advising me that I had severe hypovitaminosis D or a deficiency of Vitamin D.

This diagnosis was a surprise and caught me totally off-guard.  I had not given much thought to Vitamin D deficiency before getting this diagnosis.  I was truly amazed at the degree in which Vitamin D, and its deficiency, affects the body and mind.

Vitamin D Deficiency -- Sunlight is Not Enough

Vitamin D Deficiency — When Sunlight is Not Enough

Vitamin D

Vitamin D’s major biological function is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.  Vitamin D helps to form and maintain strong bones by aiding in the absorption of calcium.  It increases bone mineral density, decreases fractures, and provides protection against osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer and several autoimmune diseases.

A deficiency may be a result of inadequate nutritional intake of Vitamin D, along with an inadequate amount of exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet B rays.  Or, Vitamin D deficiency may indicate an issue affecting the kidneys, liver, digestive system, or the presence of cancer.

Vitamin D is found in many foods, such as eggs, fish (salmon and tuna), fortified milk, and cod liver oil.  There are two forms of Vitamin D that is important to healthy bones and body:  ergocalciferon (Vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3).  Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants.  Vitamin D3is synthesized by humans in the skin when exposed to sunlight and ultraviolet B rays.  Foods may be fortified or enriched with Vitamin D2 or D3.

Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Frequent headaches
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Chronic pain throughout the body
  • Restless sleep
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Sugar cravings
  • High blood pressure
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bladder problems
  • Chronic allergies

Diagnosis

Vitamin D deficiency is diagnosed from the testing of a blood sample.  There are some differences in the medical community when it comes to categorizing Vitamin D deficiency:

  • 0 – 10ng/ml  indicates the most “severe deficiency” level
  • 11 – 19 ng/ml indicates “deficiency” level
  • 20 – 39 ng/ml indicates “insufficient” level
  • 40 – 70 ng/ml indicates “healthy” level
  • 200 ng/ml and above indicates “toxicity” level

The differences in the categorization of Vitamin D deficiency may have a bearing on how effectively it is treated.

Treatment

It is extremely difficult to maintain a “healthy” level of Vitamin D through foods and exposure to the sun.   Children need 400 – 800 International Units (IUs) for good health, depending on their age, weight and growth.  Adults need at least 1,000 IUs of Vitamin D which equates to approximately 10 glasses of milk and one serving of fish per day.

A daily supplement is recommended for both children and adults to ensure appropriate levels of Vitamin D are maintained.   To treat severe deficiency, as much as 10,000 to 15,000 IUs of Vitamin D may need to be administered daily.  My doctor prescribed a daily intake of 10,000 IUs for me.

Prevention

To prevent Vitamin D deficiency or hypovitaminosis, you should request that your doctor check your Vitamin D level.  A diet rich in Vitamin D, such as eggs, fish, fortified milk, and cod liver oil, is essential to maintain good bone health but is usually not enough to prevent Vitamin D deficiency.  To maintain overall optimum health and wellness, Vitamin D supplements should be added to your daily regime.

It is important to prevent or correct a Vitamin D deficiency as soon as possible.  If you feel you may be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, consult with your doctor to assess your condition.

If you have suffered from Vitamin D deficiency, please let us know what you experienced and how you’re maintaining your health by posting a comment below.

 

 

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How Can I Reduce Stress?

  • 5th November 2012 |
  • Author: Iris

reduce stress with time management

Dealing with stressful situations on a daily basis is not good for your overall health.  We need to find ways to reduce stress by balancing our work and home life.   Good time management skills will reduce stress by putting you more in control of your workload and the pressures of maintaining a family and a life at home.  Good time management also ensures that you are more productive, have more time to relax, and have a better quality of life.

To gain control of your time and increase your productivity, you need to create a list of all the things you need to do and set goals or deadlines.  These goals need to be SMART goals.  SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

list of things to doOnce you have set out your SMART goals, you need to create a “To-Do” list and prioritize your goals in order to complete the most important tasks first.  Difficult tasks should also be at the top of your list; break them down into smaller chunk-size tasks to make it easier to accomplish them and clear them off your list … thus reducing a lot of stress and anxiety.

Starting today, take 15 minutes to jot down a list of things you must get done this week.  Prioritize that list from most to least important tasks.  Strike things off your list as you accomplish them, literally.  When you take a pen and physically strike through a completed task or check it off, you immediately feel a sense of accomplishment and relief.

Take 15 minutes every night to review your daily and weekly list.  Use this time to create a “To-Do” list for the next day.  After you create your list of things you need to do, you can break each item down into a list of tasks you need to accomplish in order to reach your goal.  Revise your list as you see fit in order to keep in step with the challenges that life tends to through our way.  Strike those completed tasks off your list and carry over to the next day the items you were not able to get done.

List of things to doAt the end of the week, review your goals and accomplishments.  Assess the level of stress in your life and make the necessary adjustments to get more control of your time and reduce your stress level even further.

You can minimize your stress when you maximize your time through the use of this time management technique.  And, at the end of the day or at the end of the week, reward yourself with some “ME” time!

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Whole Grains and Weight Loss

  • 22nd October 2012 |
  • Author: Iris

“Can Eating Whole Grains Help You Lose Weight?”

 

Eat Whole Grains Lose Weight

Research and studies show that eating whole grains have tremendous health benefits, especially when it comes to losing weight.  To successfully lose weight and keep the weight off, develop an eating plan that incorporates foods from all food groups to provide the body with the nutrition it needs, while still watching calorie intake.

Including whole grains which are high in fiber and nutrients into your dietary plan will help you lose weight faster.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that dieters who ate whole grains regularly lost a higher percentage of body fat than dieters who did not eat whole grains.

Definition of Whole Grains

Whole Grain KernelWhole grains are foods or products that contain the entire grain kernel or seed.  One hundred percent of the original kernel or seed must be present to qualify as a whole grain.  The whole grain kernel or whole grain seed consists of the bran, germ, and endosperm.  If the kernel or grain seed has been cracked, crushed, or flaked, then it must retain nearly the same relative proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm as the original grain to be called “whole grain”.

Within the whole grain there are nutritious B vitamins, iron, selenium, magnesium, and fiber.  When whole grains are milled or processed into refined grains, they are stripped of the bran and germ.  The nutrients packed into the bran and germ are lost during the refining process, resulting in the loss of dietary fiber (also known as cereal fiber).

Some refined grains are enriched or fortified with vitamins and minerals (like folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron) lost during the refining process but all the fiber cannot be replaced.  Some food manufacturers may fortify whole grain foods where regulations permit the addition of folic acid.  A lot of whole grain, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid.  However, refined grains are not as healthy a food choice as whole grains.

Benefits of Whole Grains

wheat stalksThere are so many wonderful benefits derived from eating whole grains.   Eating whole grains regularly can help you lose weight.  If you are following a healthy weight-loss plan, you can lose weight faster by incorporating more whole grains into your diet … high-fiber foods have fewer calories.  Foods high in fiber also take a longer time to chew, take a longer time to digest, and they make you feel full faster than other foods.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, fluctuating blood sugar levels can lead to cravings, overeating and weight gain.  The vitamins and minerals found in whole grains can help regulate your metabolism and blood sugar levels.  Refined grains such as bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, and other highly-processed foods are digested quickly, which can lead to spikes and drops in blood sugar levels.  Fluctuating blood sugar levels can lead to weight gain.

Because whole grains usually take a longer time to digest, the blood sugar levels are more even.  Regulating the blood sugar levels curbs the appetite which deters you from binge eating and helps you lose weight.  The fiber found in whole grains also keeps the bowels regular and can help prevent or manage diabetes and heart disease.

List of Whole Grains

There are many varieties of whole grains that you can eat to meet the recommended daily intake or allowance.  The following whole grains (when consumed in the original form that includes the bran, germ and endosperm), are examples of generally accepted whole grain foods and flours.  This is not a comprehensive list of all whole grains but a list of the most common grains consumed:

Enjoy More Whole Grains

Aim to eat whole grains for at least half of your daily grain servings.

  • Swap in different whole grains, like quinoa or whole wheat couscous, in place of white rice or pasta in a recipe.
  • Try a new cooked whole grain at breakfast, like warm barley or millet.
  • Choose foods with “whole grain” or “whole wheat” in the ingredient list on the package
  • Add oats, corn or buckwheat to muffins, pancakes or other homemade baked goods.
  • Snack on popcorn popped on the stove in olive or canola oil

Nutritional Labels and Servings

Nutrition LabelBecoming an educated consumer is very important when it comes to selecting healthy foods.  Some packaging may list that they have whole grains added but that does not mean it is a whole grain food.  Read the nutritional labels carefully and look for products that state that they are 100% whole grain.  In addition, the words “whole” or “whole grain” should appear before brown rice, oatmeal, corn, bulgur, rye, oats and wild rice.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a serving of whole grain is defined as the following:

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other cooked grain
  • 1/2 cup cooked 100% whole-grain pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked hot cereal, such as oatmeal
  • 1 ounce uncooked whole grain pasta, brown rice or other grain
  • 1 slice 100% whole grain bread
  • 1 very small (1 oz.) 100% whole grain muffin
  • 1 cup 100% whole grain ready-to-eat cereal

Statistics show that America is one of the fattest nations.  Over one-third of Americans are obese.  The average American eats less than one daily serving of whole grains, and some studies show that over 40% of Americans never eat whole grains at all.   It’s probably safe to say that if more Americans ate whole grains, we may be able to reverse the course we’re on an become a thinner nation.

Conclusion

Can whole grains help you lose weight?  Absolutely!  Lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be regular staples in your daily diet if you want to maintain or lose weight.  Based on recent studies and research findings, whole grains are healthier and more nutritious than refined grains.  The more fiber found, the better it is for your heart, cholesterol, weight loss, and overall health.

Losing weight successfully requires eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercising.  Whole grains need to be incorporated into any weight loss plan or healthy diet.  When you incorporate them into a sensible eating plan and get a little exercise, you will find that whole grains can help you lose weight.

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Walking Reduces Breast Cancer Risks

  • 17th October 2012 |
  • Author: Iris

Women Who Walk for Their Health …

Walking Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Research finds that women who walk in their 30s, 40s and beyond can greatly reduce their risk of breast cancer.   Studies have been done to evaluate the association of breast cancer with exercise during adult life, including quantity, frequency, and age.

One such study was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  This study was conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative.

Objective

Researchers studied over 74,000 women, ages 50 – 79, to see how their level of activity and exercise at different times in their lives affected their risk of getting breast cancer.

Findings

These women were followed for approximately five years to see who developed breast cancer. It was noted that women who exercised regularly or engaged in strenuous activity at age 35 had a 14% reduction in risk compared to inactive women.

Women who walked briskly (2 – 3 mph) 1.5 to 2.5 hours per week had an 18% reduction in their risk of developing breast cancer. Of course, walking 10 or more hours per week rendered slightly greater
reductions in risk. However, the study did show that women with BMIs (Body Mass Index) of 24.1 or lower had the greatest impact for reducing their risk of getting breast cancer. They experienced a 30%
decrease in their risk when they walked briskly for a few hours per week.

Women who were overweight or with BMIs of 25 – 29.9 needed to exercise more than 3 hours a week to see any benefits from walking to reduce risks. The research showed that obese women with BMIs over 30 didn’t see any reduction in risk as a result of walking or exercising regularly.    Click here to calculate your BMI.

Conclusion

The research concluded that more strenuous regular exercise reduced women’s breast cancer risk.  Researchers hope that this moderate to light level of activity will be more achievable for most women as a method of risk reduction. Researchers speculate that exercise helps reduce body fat, which lowers levels of estrogen, a hormone that stimulates the growth of most breast tumors.

Incorporating a weight loss plan with the weekly exercise regime could greatly improve the numbers for women who are overweight or obese. In the same issue of JAMA, another study concluded that 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week, along with eating right is all that is necessary for women to lose weight — though more exercise may be better.

The findings also suggest that it’s never too late to start exercising. An exercise as easy and simple as walking reduces breast cancer risks dramatically.  If you are very obese, are unfit, or have some health problems, make sure you check with a health care professional before increasing your physical activity.

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