24 Good reasons why you may need vitamin supplements.

Many people believe that eating a well balanced diet provides all the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. In ideal circumstances, this is the case, but in reality there are many reasons why you may need vitamin supplements to cope with living in the twentieth century environment. Taking vitamins when required is a safe method of optimizing your dietary sources of nutrients, providing you follow the instructions on product labels.

1. Poor Digestion

Even when your food intake is good, inefficient digestion can limit your body’s uptake of vitamins. Some common causes of inefficient digestion are not chewing well enough and eating too fast. Both of these result in larger than normal food particle size, too large to allow complete action of digestive enzymes. Many people with dentures are unable to chew as efficiently as those with a full set of original teeth.

2. Hot Coffee, Tea and Spices

Habitual drinking of liquids that are too hot, or consuming an excess of irritants such as coffee, tea or pickles and spices can cause inflammation of the digestive linings, resulting in a drop in secretion of digestive fluids and poorer extraction of vitamins and minerals from food.

3. Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol is known to damage the liver and pancreas which are vital to digestion and metabolism. It can also damage the lining of the intestinal tract and adversely affect the absorption of nutrients, leading to sub-clinical malnutrition. Regular heavy use of alcohol increases the body’s need for the B-group vitamins, particularly thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid and vitamins B12, A and C as well as the minerals zinc, magnesium and calcium. Alcohol affects availability, absorption and metabolism of nutrients.

4. Smoking

Smoking too much tobacco is also an irritant to the digestive tract and increases the metabolic requirements of Vitamin C, all else being equal, by at least 30mg per cigarette over and above the typical requirements of a non-smoker. Vitamin C which is normally present in such foods as paw paws, oranges and capsicums, oxidizes rapidly once these fruits are cut, juiced, cooked or stored in direct sunlight or near heat. Vitamin C is important to the immune function.

5. Laxatives

Overuse of laxatives can result in poor absorption of vitamins and minerals from food, by hastening the intestinal transit time. Paraffin and other mineral oils increase losses of fat soluble vitamins A, E and K. Other laxatives used to excess can cause large losses of minerals such as potassium, sodium and magnesium.

6. Fad Diets

Bizarre diets that miss out on whole groups of foods can be seriously lacking in vitamins. Even the popular low fat diets, if taken to an extreme, can be deficient in vitamins A, D and E. Vegetarian diets, which can exclude meat and other animal sources, must be very skillfully planned to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency, which may lead to anemia.

7. Over cooking

Lengthy cooking or reheating of meat and vegetables can oxidize and destroy heat susceptible vitamins such as the B-group, C and E. Boiling vegetables leaches the water soluble vitamins B-group and C as well as many minerals. Light steaming is preferable. Some vitamins, such as vitamin B6 can be destroyed by irradiation from microwaves.

8. Food Processing

Freezing food containing vitamin E can significantly reduce its levels once defrosted. Foods containing vitamin E exposed to heat and air can turn rancid. Many common sources of vitamin E, such as bread and oils are nowadays highly processed, so that the vitamin E content is significantly reduced or missing totally, which increases storage life but can lower nutrient levels. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which defensively inhibits oxidative damage to all tissues. Other vitamin losses from food processing include vitamin B1 and C.

9. Convenience Foods

A diet overly dependent on highly refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white flour and white rice, places greater demand on additional sources of B-group vitamins to process these carbohydrates. An unbalanced diet contributes to such conditions as irritability, lethargy and sleep disorders.

10. Antibiotics

Some antibiotics although valuable in fighting infection, also kill off friendly bacteria in the gut, which would normally be producing B-group vitamins to be absorbed through the intestinal walls. Such deficiencies can result in a variety of nervous conditions, therefore it may be advisable to supplement with B-group vitamins when on a lengthy course of broad spectrum antibiotics.

11. Food Allergies

The omission of whole food groups from the diet, as in the case of individuals allergic to gluten or lactose, can mean the loss of significant dietary sources of nutrients such as thiamine, riboflavin or calcium.

12. Crop Nutrient Losses

Some agricultural soils are deficient in trace elements. Decades of intensive agriculture can overwork and deplete soils, unless all the soil nutrients, including trace elements, are regularly replaced. This means that food crops can be depleted of nutrients due to poor soil management. In one U.S Government survey, levels of essential minerals in crops were found to have declined by up to 68 per cent over a four year period in the 1970’s.

13. Accidents and Illness

Burns lead to a loss of protein and essential trace nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Surgery increases the need for zinc, vitamin E and other nutrients involved in the cellular repair mechanism. The repair of broken bones will be retarded by an inadequate supply of calcium and vitamin C and conversely enhanced by a full dietary supply. The challenge of infection places high demand on the nutritional resources of zinc, magnesium and vitamins B5, B6 and zinc.

14. Stress

Chemical, physical and emotional stresses can increase the body’s requirements for vitamins B2, B5, B6 and C. Air pollution increases the requirements for vitamin E.

15. P.M.T

Research has demonstrated that up to 60 per cent of women suffering from symptoms of pre menstrual tension, such as headaches, irritability, bloated ness, breast tenderness, lethargy and depression can benefit from supplementation with vitamin B6.

 

16. Teenagers

Rapid growth spurts such as in the teenage years, particularly in girls, place high demands on nutritional resources to underwrite the accelerated physical, biochemical and emotional development in this age group. Data from the USA Ten State Nutrition Survey (in 1968-70 covering a total of 24,000 families and 86,000 individuals) showed that between 30-50 per cent of adolescents aged 12-16 had dietary intakes below two thirds of the recommended daily averages for Vitamin A, C, calcium and iron.

17. Pregnant Women

Pregnancy creates higher than average demands for nutrients, to ensure healthy growth of the baby and comfortable confinement for the mother. Nutrients which typically require increase during pregnancy are the B-group, especially B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid and B12, A, D, E and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous. The Ten State Nutrition Survey in the USA in 1968-70 showed that as many as 80 per cent of the pregnant women surveyed had dietary intakes below two thirds of recommended daily allowances. Professional assessment of nutrient requirements during pregnancy should be sought.

18. Oral Contraceptives

Oral Contraceptives can decrease absorption of folic acid and increase the need for vitamin B6, and possibly vitamin C, zinc and riboflavin. Approximately 22 per cent of Australian women aged 15-44 are believed to be on “the pill” at any one time.

19. Light Eaters

Some people eat very sparingly, even without weight reduction goals. US dietary surveys have shown that an average woman maintains her weight on 7560 kilojoules per day, at which level her diet is likely to be low in thiamine, calcium and iron.

20. The Elderly

The aged have been shown to have a low intake of vitamins and minerals, particularly iron, calcium and zinc. Folic acid deficiency is often found, in conjunction with vitamin C deficiency. Fibre intake is often low. Riboflavin (B2) and pyridoxine (B6) deficiencies have also been observed. Possible causes include impaired sense of taste and smell, reduced secretion of digestive enzymes, chronic disease and, maybe, physical impairment.

21. Lack of Sunlight

Invalids, shift workers and people whose exposure to sunlight may be minimal can suffer from insufficient amounts of vitamin D, which is required for calcium metabolism, without which rickets and osteoporosis (bone thinning) has been observed. Ultraviolet light is the stimulus to vitamin D formation in skin. It is blocked by cloud, fog, smog, smoke, ordinary window glass, curtains and clothing. The maximum recommended daily supplement intake of vitamin D is 400 i.u.

22. Bio-Individuality

Wide fluctuations in individual nutrient requirements from the official recommended average vitamin and mineral intakes are common, particularly for those in high physical demand vocations, such as athletics and manual labor, taking into account body weight and physical type. Protein intake influences the need for vitamin B6 and vitamin B1 is linked to kilo joule intake.

23. Low Body Reserves

Although the body is able to store reserves of certain vitamins such as A and E, Canadian autopsy data has shown that up to thirty percent of the population have reserves of vitamin A so low as to be judged “at risk”. Vitamin A is important to healthy skin and mucous membranes (including the sinus and lungs) and eyesight.

24. Athletes

Athletes consume large amounts of food and experience considerable stress. These factors affect their needs for B-group vitamins, vitamin C and iron in particular. Tests on Australian Olympic athletes and A-grade football players, for example, have shown wide ranging vitamin deficiencies.

10 reasons why the mediterranean diet is good for you

Low in Saturated Fat

Physicians and nutritionists the world over all agree that a diet that is high in saturated fat can have very negative consequences on a persons health and well being. Indeed, a diet that is high in saturated fat can cause a person to suffer heart disease, can lead to cancer and can cause a whole host of other health problems and concern.

The Mediterranean diet is noteworthy because of the fact that it is very low in saturated fat. The typical person who follows the Mediterranean diet intakes less than eight percent of his or her calories from potentially harmful saturated fat. This is significantly below the average of people who do not follow a Mediterranean diet regimen.

Includes Plentiful Amounts of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Another reason why the Mediterranean diet is good for you lies in the fact that the diet includes the consumption of a significant amount of fruit and vegetables. Indeed, the diet encompasses more fresh fruits and vegetables than any other dietary program or plan today.

Fresh fruits and vegetables have a significant beneficial effect on a persons health and well being. People who following the Mediterranean diet and consume generous servings of fruits and vegetables each day have a lower incidence of certain diseases including cancer and cardiovascular ailments.

High in Whole Grains and Fiber

A benefit in the Mediterranean diet is found in the fact that it lowers in the incidence of certain types of cancer. One of the reasons that the Mediterranean diet lowers the incidence of cancer is found in the fact that the diet is rich in whole grains and dietary fiber. Both whole grain and fiber have proven to lower the incidence of cancer, including colorectal cancer.

High in Anti-Oxidants

The Mediterranean diet is high in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants play a significant role in maintaining the body — including organs, muscles and skin — in top condition. A diet high in anti-oxidants is believed to ensure that a person will live a longer, healthier life.

Low in Red Meat

Because the Mediterranean diet is low in red meat, the diet plan works to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol. A diet low in bad cholesterol lessens the incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke.

High in Lean Meats

The Mediterranean diet includes lean meats in moderate portions. The reasonable amount of lean meats — including fish and certain seafood and fish — provides a health source of protein and energy for a person.

Low in Dairy

The Mediterranean diet is low in dairy products. In fact, a true adherent to the Mediterranean diet includes almost no dairy products at all. Any dairy that is included in the diet is low fat or non fat. Because the diet is low in dairy, particularly fatty dairy products, the diet encourages a person to obtain or maintain an ideal weight. Additionally, the diet aids in reducing cholesterol and works to prevent heart disease.

Prevents Disease

As mentioned, one of the reasons that the Mediterranean diet is good for you rests in the fact that the diet plan appears to reduce the incidence of certain diseases including:

— heart and cardiovascular disease

— cancer

— diabetes

— hypertension

— diabetes

Longevity

The history of the people of the Mediterranean region demonstrates that the Mediterranean diet works to extend a persons life. In addition, while working to extend a persons life, this diet scheme works to ensure that a persons longer life will be healthy as well.

A Convenient Diet Program

Finally, the Mediterranean diet is good for you because it is a convenience diet program. In order to follow the Mediterranean diet you do not need to buy any special products or prepare a unique and hard to manage diet plan. If used with moderate exercise, it is a great way to lose weight while remaining healthy.

About the author:
Site Owner & Publisher Ray Darken – You can gain much more detail from Ray’s sites along with other relevant information at http://www.safe-and-easy-weightloss.com or http://www.weightloss-diet-health-vitamins.com

 

Vegetarian Food

The world has opened eyes to the harmful side-effects of non-veg food like red meat and is now opening arms to Vegetarian Food. A very common myth found among common man is that vegetarian food doesn’t provide you with necessary nutrients but a Vegetarian Diet, in no ways, is deprived of necessary nutrients, Only if you have a balanced Vegetarian Diet. Make sure you eat a lot of fruits and don’t follow particular monotonous meals.

Make Your Vegetarian Diet A Balanced Diet!

 

 

Some Nutrients you don’t come across normally in Vegetarian Diets are:

a) Iron

b) Calcium

c) Zinc

d) Protein

e) Vitamin D

f) Vitamin B12

But you can always have vegetarian source for these nutrients. On a other side of the coin, there are a lots of benefits of Vegetarian Food.

. You can Find Iron in the following Vegetarian Food items: Cashews, tomato juice, rice, garbanzo beans (chick peas) and tofu.

. You can Find Calcium in the following Vegetarian Food items:- Dairy products, fortified soy milk, fortified orange juice, tofu and broccoli.

. You can find Zinc in the following Vegetarian Food items: Whole grains (especially the germ and bran of the grain), nuts, tofu, leafy vegetables (lettuce, spinach, cabbage), root vegetables (onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, radishes), eggs and dairy products.

. You can find Protein in the following Vegetarian Food items: Vegetarians must eat a variety of plant foods over the course of a day to get enough protein. Eg: Tempeh, miso lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, and peas.

. You can find Vitamin D in the following Vegetarian Food items: fortified cereals (or a small amount of sunlight) and Fortified milk and soy milk

. You can find Vitamin B12 in the following Vegetarian Food items: Tempeh, miso, eggs, dairy products, fortified soy milk and cereals.. Tempeh and miso are foods made from soybeans. They are low in calories and fat and high in protein.

 

Untold Nutritional Secrets

A good understanding of nutrition and how to use the information will be extremely rewarding for anyone. We can all prevent disease and fight infection utilizing a powerful medicine ‘Food’ Using nutrition and supplementing your diet is the key to fat loss and muscle gain. Have a look at these Nutritional Secrets and discover how to stay disease free, feel great, look good and live longer.

Lets take a look:

How Much Protein Do I Need – Protein is a normal part of out diet; a nutrient widely distributed among animal and plant foods, and it plays many essential roles in the body. Dietary protein has two possible fates – it can be either used in growth and repair or burned for energy, like carbohydrate and fat. Sedentary person: 0.75 grams/lb/day, Recreational athlete: 1.00 grams/lb/day, Serious athlete: 2.00 grams/lb/day.

Protein Cycling – Since strength training greatly increases the rate at which protein is broken down in the body, it follows that 0.75gms per Pound is inadequate. On the other hand to increase the intake of protein to say, 3.0gm per Pound straight away would trigger mechanisms to eliminate the excess protein.

One way to overcome this is to increase the protein in steps until a maximum efficiency point is reached and then it is drastically reduced. This obliges the body to compensate by increasing the efficiency for the absorption of protein and amino acids.

Why Carbohydrates? – Carbohydrates supply energy to out body, fibre for prevention against disease and taste and texture to food, they are found in cereals, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. Recommended: 4 to 12 grams/lb/day. Over the last 30 years, research into food and blood glucose response has completely changed our carbohydrate classification system.

It has been learned that it is impossible to predict the impact on blood glucose levels by certain foods, instead people are fed carbohydrate foods and the response measured. This response is known as the Glycaemic Index (GI), it is a measure of how quickly carbohydrate foods are digested and absorbed, as indicted by elevated blood glucose. The slower the rate of blood glucose increases the lower the GI.

Super Foods – In the food industry super-foods are called “functional foods”. These foods provide a health benefit beyond the simple provision of nutrients or energy, and usually target a specific disease or condition. In most cases media headlines about the disease-fighting capacity of foods are hyped up versions of current research reality. Below is a summary of what some super-foods can and can’t do for you.

Vitamins and Minerals – In general an adequate intake of vitamin and minerals can be achieved with a balanced diet. However, there may be a strong rationale for supplementation in specific nutrients.

Herbals – The latest herbal super-stars include Echinacea, gingko, and St John’s Wart. They don’t pitch themselves as lifesavers, but more as life-maximizes, helping you to get through the day with less disruption from colds, memory failures, blue moods, and more.

Supplements – To supplement or not to supplement, that is the question on more consumers’ lips than ever before. There are various reasons why people may be interested in supplementation. Concern about getting adequate nutrients from our food supply. A Suspicion of pharmaceuticals and a belief that diet alone will not achieve optimal nutrition.

Studies suggest that a number of supplements may deliver on advertising claims. However, consumers can spend large sums of money on products that have little or no proven efficacy.

The Bottom Line On Supplements – your diet that might achieve your goals but choose only products that shows the amount of active ingredients on the label. Be aware that “natural” does not mean ‘safe’; some herbal supplements may have unpleasant side effects. Don’t treat serious medical conditions yourself. Discuss supplement use with your doctor. If you are pregnant or are breast-feeding consult a doctor before taking supplements.

Only Eat the Good Fats – Eat the good fats and feel and look great, Authorities now agree that fat is essential for maintaining optimal health. If good healthy skin and fast metabolism is what your after then you must eat some fat. The good fats are found in fish, nuts and seeds, avocados and cold pressed oils. Avoid fried foods and saturated fats as these raise cholesterol and clog arteries.

Eat A Variety Of Foods – For protection from the majority of illnesses such as heart disease and cancer you need a variety of foods that deliver that mix of nutrients and minerals. Aim to eat different coloured fruits and vegetables.

Try to eat a different food each month. Eat an apple a day as the apple pectin cleanses the body’s digestive system by removing toxins and therefore preventing degenerative health problems such as cancer.

In conclusion, I am sure if you can apply even just a few of these tips to your everyday eating habits I am pretty sure you will see the results in the not to distant future.

Weight loss problem portion distortion

Have you noticed that the amount of food considered a normal portion has crept up over the last few years?

Everything comes in ever larger size packs and marketing offers tempt us to buy (and eat) even more with “30% extra free” or “two for the price of one”. We are served far more in restaurants than we need and we are continually encouraged to “supersize” our meals or work our way through “all you can eat”.

A standard bagel from 20 years ago was 3 inches in diameter and 140 calories. The norm has now crept up to 6 inches and a button-popping 350 calories. (And when did you ever eat half a bagel and save the rest for later?) To use up those extra calories you’d have to jog for over 20 minutes. If you consider all the extra calories you now consume in a day through bigger servings, you would never be able to fit in enough activity to use them all up.

The result? You may be eating more than you think you are and struggling to lose weight simply because of the size of your portions.

So what can you do to avoid falling prey to Portion Distortion?

1. Measure your food

Weigh and measure everything for a while to get an idea of how much you’re eating. While calorie counting long term is a bore, it’s good to get a general understanding of just how many calories there are in your normal portions. You’ll be horrified just how many there are in that chunk of cheese you might think of as “just a snack”! Where it’s not feasible to weigh food (for instance when you’re eating out) learn to judge a normal portion size. For example a serving of pasta, rice, cereal and potato should be about the size of a small fist and a normal portion of meat, chicken or fish is about the size of a deck of cards.

2. Buy smaller portions

Buy the smallest portion sizes you can get. Nothing is good value if it ends up in your mouth and on your hips. Only exception? Fruit and vegetables make the most of any offers on these. If you must eat in a fast food restaurant try the children’s meals (just the one!). Buy the smallest skinny latté at the coffee shop etc. Share with a companion wherever you can. Consider ordering two starters rather than a starter and main course in a restaurant and don’t feel you have to finish everything you ordered if you don’t need it. Better in the trash or in the dog than adding to your weight.

3. Read the labels

Read nutritional panels on food packets and look for the correct serving size. This is rarely the whole container (or even half of it) so beware!

4. Out of sight

Practise portion control at home by serving up the food in the kitchen and putting away any leftovers before you sit down. If you decide to have a TV snack, put a small portion on a plate and take it to the room where you watch TV. Taking the whole packet is fatal!

5. Go for Quality not Quantity

Buy the highest-quality in small quantities rather than a mega-pack deal on cheap food. And remember the quality of a meal is not just about what you eat. Present the food well. Set the table and sit down to eat. Take the time to enjoy your food and any company you have.

6. Use your inbuilt hunger meter

Eat slowly enough to notice when you have satisfied your hunger and just stop at that point, no matter how much you have left on your plate or how much is left in the pan or the packet.

From today start to be aware of how much you are eating as well as what you are eating. Notice how food manufacturers and restaurants subtly persuade you to eat more and decide not to let them get in the way of your weight loss efforts. Think about how much less you could eat and still be satisfied. This may be all you have to do to lose the weight you want!

 

Wheat germ

Found at the center of a grain of wheat is the wheat germ (the part of the seed that’s responsible for the development and growth of the new plant-sprouts). The germ is a highly concentrated source of nutrients, including niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc. The germ also contains protein, fiber and some fat. (FYI Wheat germ is found in Cream of Wheat)

 

Wheatgrass the new fountain of youth

Wheatgrass is everywhere these days, quickly becoming the “new age espresso,” offered in smoothies and juices, salads and even in tablets and powders.

As many of you know, wheatgrass packs a nutritional punch, including (per 3.5 grams) 860 mg protein, 18.5 mg chlorophyll, 15 mg calcium, 38 mg lysine, 7.5 mg vitamin C, plus an abundance of micronutrients, such as the B complex vitamins and amino acids. Wheat grass enthusiasts boast its potential to help in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Research suggests that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can be “preventative maintenance” for many ailments, and wheatgrass is one more way to increase the veggie power of your overall diet.

Most people who have explored the avenues of self-healing have heard about wheatgrass. Wheatgrass juice has been proven over many years to benefit people in numerous ways: cleansing the lymph system, building the blood, restoring balance in the body, removing toxic metals from the cells, nourishing the liver and kidneys and restoring vitality.

One ounce of wheat grass juice has the vitamin and mineral equivalent of 2.2 pounds of fresh vegetables. Many of the benefits of wheat grass juice stem from the fact that it is a living food, which is a complete protein with about 30 enzymes and is approximately 70% crude chlorophyll.

Astounding success in the reversal of chronic degenerative diseases has been experienced through eating a diet of mainly vegetarian, living foods including wheat grass juice.

Give your body the gift of life – Wheatgrass! May the juice be with you!

 

Whole Wheat Bread V. White Bread

Junk food addicts argue with health food nuts, asserting white bread to be the best. The health food nuts retaliate exclaiming about how much better store bought whole wheat bread is than white bread.

The battle rages on…

On which side of this debate do you stand?

For that matter, which side should you REALLY be pulling for?

Lets weigh all the facts, the faults about each choice and determine which one we should honestly be proclaiming as “the honest to goodness best!”

THE FAULTS OF WHITE BREAD

1. White bread is nutrition less. Even fortifying it with vitamins can’t replace half of the nourishment that is lost through the bleaching and sifting process that is used on the flour which white bread is make out of.

2. White bread has a lot harmful chemicals and preservatives added to it to increase it’s shelf life, but they decrease your lifespan.

3. White bread is practically tasteless. This is a pro to some people but a con to a lot of others who enjoy tasty food.

THE FAULTS OF STORE BOUGHT WHOLE WHEAT BREAD

1. Store bought whole wheat bread would be extremely healthy and good for your body IF you could find a loaf made without fattening and nutrition less sweeteners like sugar (but no store that I know of sells any such thing).

2. Store bought whole wheat bread contains, unfortunately, the same chemicals and preservatives that white bread does, also to lengthen shelf life.

On light of this information which viewpoint do you now hold to?

Neither hopefully. There is only one thing you can do to make sure you are getting the best tasting, highest quality and healthiest bread. And that is…

Bake your own whole wheat bread! Read why you should below.

THE VIRTUES OF HOME BAKED WHOLE WHEAT BREAD

1. Home baked whole wheat bread tastes good. Home baked whole wheat bread has a very delightful taste that is probably the main reason (even more so than it’s health aspects) people prefer home baked whole wheat bread to it’s bland counterpart, white bread or unhealthy store bought whole wheat bread.

2. Home baked whole wheat bread contains vitamins and minerals your body needs. Medical studies have proven that all the B vitamins in whole grain foods help you to have a healthy heart, and guard against heart disease.

3. Baking your own whole wheat bread is not the least bit “difficult” either. Just learn the basics to baking bread along with a few proven recipes and you’ll be set.

Whats Causing Your Energy Drain

This is such a busy time of year, isn’t it? Whether it’s school or after-school commitments, social or philanthropic organizations that start meeting again after the summer, end of the year plans at work, or all of the above, fall activities are demanding! If you’re like me, you know you plan too much, but you still want to be efficient, accomplish everything, and do it well. There is no time in the schedule for running out of energy or getting sick, and “Collapse From Exhaustion” is not on the TO DO list. But your body will stop you if you don’t stop it first. How will you know if you are running on empty? The number one warning sign is fatigue.

Abnormal fatigue can be a sign from your body that you are overworking, overthinking, underresting, or undereating. (I don’t know if all those are words, but they should be.) A variety of illnesses and medical conditions can cause fatigue, including hormone disorders, depression, and pregnancy, so if you notice a dramatic or persistent change in your energy level, it’s wise to consult your physician. The good news is that if it’s your hectic agenda that’s leaving you drained, you can give yourself the best chance of staying well by looking at a few key areas – sleep, nutrition, hydration, and relaxation.

As with many beneficial life habits, these four staples of health do not have catchy slogans or expensive promotional campaigns. Bottled water brands and sleep number beds are starting to change that, but they’re based on the premise that you need a very extravagant bed or water purification system, rather than the idea that you need sleep and water to be healthy. (Common sense, you say? How long has it been since you got eight hours of sleep and drank two liters of water in the same day?) Most nutrition-related marketing promotes one food or food group over another, rather than the guiding principle that you faithful readers know by now: eating frequent, small amounts of a variety of foods.

On the other hand, I’m sure you’ve seen and heard multiple advertisements for energy bars, energy drinks, and energy boosting supplements, promising more energy if you eat or drink the magical concoction of chemicals. Remember what you learned in Nutrition 101: Your body can only make energy from three things: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. ONLY. Other nutrients help your body USE energy, including iron and B vitamins, but nothing you get in a pill can actually give you more energy than eating actual food. Caffeine, ginseng, guarana, ma huang, ephedra, and xenedrine are all stimulants that make your heart beat faster, so your brain gets more oxygen, so you FEEL like you have more energy…but it’s a trap. When the effects wear off, you will be more tired than you were before. If you use the chemicals again, you perpetuate the cycle, or in other words, you’re hooked!

Quick Tip: Real energy means calories. If a product contains 0 calories, it’s a fake.

The good news (yes, there’s more!) is that although no supplement can make up for poor habits, changing habits can eliminate the need for these potentially harmful chemicals in your body. Easier said than done, I agree. But start in one area, and experiment with a small change. If you see results, you will have proved to yourself that the change is worth it! In the coming weeks, we’ll look at each of the key areas, sleep, nutrition, hydration, and relaxation, with the goal of maintaining exceptional energy throughout your day.

If you need an energy makeover, why not keep an energy log? On 2 weekdays and 2 weekend days write down the following: What time it is each time you eat (you don’t have to write down WHAT you eat); what time it is when you go to sleep and when you wake up; what beverages you drink throughout the day; any relaxing activities you did that day; and a description of your energy (highs or lows) throughout the day. In two weeks we’ll meet back and see what your results mean and where to improve! To be continued…

 

15 Tips For Better Eating Habits

Considering the Bulging Waist Lines of 66% of The Population it is obvious that sticking to a healthy eating plan is a challenge for many people. If your are having problems sticking with that resolution that you set in January, here are some simple tips to help you start to create new and healthy eating patterns.

 

Calories count. It’s not low fat vs. low carb. You can eat fewer calories by eating less food (which is why you can lose weight on any diet that restricts entire categories of foods or limits portion sizes), but you may get hungry and gain it back. Fat has 9 calories per gram, but protein and carbohydrates have only 4 calories per gram. This means that when you eat less fat, you consume fewer calories without having to eat less food. Eat less fat and fewer simple carb. To achieve a one pound weight loss per week, 3500 calories should be subtracted from your normal weekly caloric intake. To do this, reduce your normal daily caloric consumption by 200 to 300 calories per day and increase your physical activity with a goal of burning an additional 200 to 300 calories per day.

Don’t diet. Instead of saying “I can’t have that, I am on a diet” try “I don’t want that, I am changing my eating habits”

Be accountable for what and how much you eat – keep a food journal for a month or at the very least a few weeks to be aware of what, when and why you are eating . Paying attention to physical cues and signals can help you determine when your body is cuing you to eat due to hunger as opposed mental or external cues. Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry or am I eating because ..it is there, it smells good, I don’t want to waste food, I’m stressed, I am bored (insert your favorite here) .

Do not restrict foods! There are no bad foods, only inappropriate portion sizes. If you neglect certain food groups, you’ll end up craving those foods and binging . You also miss out on vital nutrients.

Weigh and measure foods for at least a month but at the very lease 2 weeks to be aware of serving sizes and portions. Serving sizes and portions have gotten so distorted over the years in restaurants and the like that most people are completely unaware of what a single serving actually looks like . Most restaurants servings are 2-3 times single serving sizes.

5. Don’t skip meals – eating 5-6 times a day not only stimulates your metabolism but will keep your blood sugar level eating and avoid overeating

6. Be positive. Recognize irrational thoughts. Focus on the things that you have done right and the positive changes that you have made. Remember – success breeds success.

Lose weight in a way that enhances your health not in a way that detracts from it You can lose weight by smoking cigarettes or taking such but they are not healthful ways of doing so and you will soon resume your old habits (and weight)

Avoid trans-fatty acids and partly hydrogenated fats (“bad fats”). They may increase the shelf life of certain food products, but they decrease the shelf life of people who eat them.

Eat fewer “bad carbs” like sugar and white flour. They are low in fiber, so they are a double punch if you are trying to create healthy eating habits : a lot of calories that don’t fill you up,

Eat more “good carbs” like fruits, vegetables, legumes and unrefined grains (such as whole-wheat flour and brown rice). They are rich in fiber, which slows absorption and fills you up before you take in too many calories.

What you include in your diet is as important as what you exclude. With few exceptions, those protective antioxidant and health benefiting substances are found in good carbs, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

10. Eat less red meat. Dr. Atkins may have disagreed, but it’s loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat and has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Begin by making moderate changes in your diet. If you want to lower your cholesterol level or weight even more (or if you have heart disease and want to reverse it), you may need to make bigger changes.

Choose quality over quantity. Smaller portions of good foods are more satisfying than larger portions of junk foods, especially if you pay attention to what you’re eating