Monday, January 21, 2013

The Science of Junk Food and How to Break the Cycle

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Exercising But still Gaining Weight?

Are you concerned because you’re working out and gaining weight at the same time? Many people work out and diet in order to lose excess pounds, but sometimes they gain weight instead. Before you start to panic or have doubts about your weight-loss program, let’s find out why you’re putting on more pounds.

Why Weight Gain While Working Out

Muscle is Denser Than Fat – If your workout routine is focused on strength training, you may have noticed an improvement in your muscle tone. Strength training builds stronger and bigger muscles, and this is actually a good thing for both men and women. Men want to have big biceps and washboard abs. Toned muscles on women flatter the figure.
When your body starts to replace fat with muscles from working out, you may experience a weight gain. Working out and gaining weight can happen because muscle tissues are denser than fat. As you develop more muscles, you may get heavier but your body will become sleek and trim. You may gain weight, but your figure will look great.
6 Reasons Why Youre Gaining Weight While Working Out
Can Workouts Lead to Weight Gain?
Too Many Calories – Just because you are working out is no excuse to eat more than you should. Sometimes, people consume more calories without knowing it. If your goal is to lose weight, dieting and exercise should go together. In order to lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn in a day.
Eat foods that are rich in nutrients, including lean protein. Proteins provide amino acids required by the body to build muscles. You want to lose fat and gain muscles, because muscle tissues burn more calories compared to fat. Building more muscles will increase your metabolism, allowing you to burn extra calories even while resting
Not Enough Cardio Exercise – If you want to lose weight faster, incorporate cardio or aerobic exercise into your workout program. You need at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for your body to get into a “fat-burning” stage. Perform cardio workouts at least three days a week to get the best results.
Not Getting Enough Sleep – You may be surprised to learn that lack of sleep can be the reason why you’re gaining weight while working out. Lack of sleep puts extra stress on your body, and it will cope by storing fat more efficiently. Besides, your body won’t be able to function properly if it’s not well rested. You’ll have low energy levels and will not feel like working out.
Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night. Keep in mind that regular exercise will help you sleep better.
Medical Condition – If you’re working out regularly but still gaining weight, you may want to consult a doctor and check for medical conditions that could be causing the weight gain. Hypothyroidism is a common medical condition that affects the metabolism and causes weight gain.
Medications – Certain medications and prescription drugs can make you gain weight, including steroids, diabetes medications, antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, and oral contraceptives. Some drugs cause fluid retention, which appears on the scales as weight gain.
When it comes to weight gain as a side effect of medication, you’ll have to balance the increase in weight against the health benefits offered by the medication.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Skin Cancer Risk


Sunbed skin cancer risk double that of mediterranean midday summer sun

Thursday 17 January 2013

Cancer Research UK Press Release

Woman under sunbedThe average skin cancer risk from sunbeds is more than double that of spending the same length of time in the Mediterranean midday summer sun – according to new research1 from the University of Dundee and published today in the British Journal of Dermatology.
The study tested levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from 400 sunbeds in England and found that nine in ten of the sunbeds tested emitted UV radiation at levels above British and EU standards. The average strength of radiation was approaching twice the recommended limit.
The Cancer Research UK study also compared the skin cancer risk from using these sunbeds with the risk from the Mediterranean midday summer sun. The average skin cancer risk from the sunbeds tested was more than twice that of spending the same length of time in the Mediterranean midday summer sun, with one of the sunbeds producing a skin cancer risk six times higher than the sun.
Professor Harry Moseley, consultant medical physicist at University of Dundee and lead author, said: “The development of high-power sunlamps, along with clear failures of the sunbed industry to regulate themselves effectively, is putting young people at an even greater risk of skin cancer than we previously thought.
“We hope that these findings will make people think twice before using sunbeds as you can’t be sure how much radiation you’re exposing yourself to when you try to top-up a tan. People need to be encouraged to take better care of their skin, otherwise the cases of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, will continue to increase in England.”
Yinka Ebo, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s worrying to see that so many sunbeds in England are not meeting the safety standards. This strengthens our advice that using a sunbed just isn’t worth it.
“Research has already shown that using sunbeds for the first time before the age of 35 increases the risk of malignant melanoma by 87 per cent. They’re not going to do you any good – the best case scenario is that they’ll age and damage your skin; the worst case scenario is a cancer diagnosis and potentially death.”
The British and European standard2 was introduced in 2003 and sets out a maximum level of UV radiation to be emitted by sunbeds used for cosmetic purposes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Freezin' For a Reason

Who made a New Year's resolution to get in shape? This is a perfect way to do it! The race benefits Arkansas Children's Hospital. Larry and I will be out there with our bright yellow NF Endurance Team singlets on.......If you want to participate I will do it with you (walk or run or both)....At my age, I'm not lookin' to win it! Click below and sign up......

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Colon Cleanse.......Yes or No??

psyllium husk
Herbal medicines are increasingly popular and many people believe botanical herbs are both harmless and extremely beneficial to support health conditions. In some cases, this is absolutely correct. Many herbs are healthful to the body. Unfortunately,some herbs are not. The National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine has reported a number of dangerous, life threatening consequences that have resulted from taking laxatives containing herbal ingredients. Three common herbal laxative ingredients in particular, psyllium, cascaras sagrada, and senna, may present very serious health risks and major medical complications such as hepatitis and liver failure.


Senna is an herbal stimulant laxative with serious risks, especially to the liver. Using senna to treat chronic constipation can lead to hepatitis, which is an extremely damaging condition to the liver that can lead to death. The Department of Nephrology at Universit√© catholique de Louvain in Brussels Belgium reported a case of a woman who had developed liver failure from ingesting an herbal tea containing senna. Her liver damage was serious enough that transplantation was considered. Researchers warned that liver damage is a risk of using laxatives containing senna, especially in excess. 

Cascara Sagrada

Cascara sagrada, is an herbal stimulant laxative and, like senna, using it can lead to hepatitis. Multiple incidences have been reported of patients who developed serious hepatitis and liver failure after taking herbal products containing cascara sagrada. The Division of Gastroenterology at Texas Tech University’s Health Science Center warns that the reason cascara sagrada has been linked to hepatitis is because it contains a compound called anthracene glycoside, which has long been known to cause hepatitis. 


Perhaps the most common herbal laxative ingredient is psyllium. Psyllium is the seed of plantago ovata, and psyllium husk is a main component of bulk laxatives. When psyllium husk meets water, it has a tendency to swell up like a sponge and subsequently stimulate bowel contractions. However, studies and documented cases of emergency medical situations have shown that psyllium is a harmless or benign ingredient.
Like peanuts, psyllium is a food allergen and allergic reactions from handling psyllium have been reported since 1970. Most notably, anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a serious condition that spurns respiratory tract irritation and swelling to the point of being unable to breath, which is incredibly scary because anaphylaxis can progress from bad to worse in a matter of seconds. If you’re not prepared for an attack, you may find yourself unable to breathe and in real danger. The Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland reported an incidence of psyllium sensitivity that resulted in death from anaphylactic shock. 
The Department of Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported a separate instance of a patient who had experienced runny nose and asthma due to psyllium exposure. The severity of her symptoms progressed to a life-threatening  anaphylaxis. The doctors warned that psyllium allergies are more common than most people appreciate.

A colon cleanse can rid your body of unnecessary toxins and overall make you feel healthier. Not all colon cleanse are bad, just ALWAYS check with your doctor before starting a colon cleanse!

Benefits of Various Teas

Black Tea
Caffeine fanatics favor this ever-popular (it’s said 90 percent of the tea consumed in the world is black) choice. Oolong tea, black and green tea all come from the same source, an antioxidant-rich plant called Camellia sinensis. Their main difference lies in the way they are processed, not in the amount of antioxidants they contain. Black tea and oolong tea leaves undergo a crushing and fermenting process.  But besides its antioxidant arsenal, black tea also is also high in tannic acid, while helps boost moisture levels in the skin. 

Herbal Infusions
There is a whole sect of tea that doesn’t come from leaves. Known as tisanes, or herbal teas, these teas come from flowers (like chamomile), herbs, spices and leaves, which are then combined with water. Since the components don’t come from tea leaves, they don’t contain caffeine, making them an option for those looking for a decaf option.

Green Tea
Best known for its excess of antioxidants, this delicately flavored tea has been a Far East fixture for centuries. Green tea is not fermented; it’s made of steamed fresh leaves at high temperatures, thereby inactivating the oxidizing enzymes and leaving the polyphenol content intact. Studies have also shown green tea extracts are capable of reducing fat digestion by inhibiting the activity of certain digestive enzymes.

Red Tea
Also known as roobios, red tea rivals its counterparts as the antioxidant all star of the group. Red tea is made from the dried leaves of a South American plant. It is low in caffeine and tannins and offers a high level of antioxidants such as aspalathin, nothofagin and flavanones. Because of these properties, it is becoming a popular tea of choice amongst health-conscious consumers.

White Tea
Like the other antioxidant-rich teas in the bunch, white tea packs a high amount of flavanoids, but what makes it really stand out from the bunch is its ability to bust bacteria, making it especially beneficial as an acne-reducer when added as an ingredient to skin care. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

10 Healthy Habits You Can Start Today!

It’s a brand new year…and many of us are already working on our New Year's resolutions. Some people have vowed to save more money in 2013 while others promised themselves to spend more time with family. Losing weight and being healthier are also common resolutions, but sadly – two of the least frequently kept ones.
Getting healthier isn’t hard. You don’t have to make a lot of extreme changes to make it happen. A little adjustment here and there is all you need to be well on your way to a healthier you. There are ten simple changes you can make in your lifestyle that will provide you with long lasting benefits and noticeable results.
fat vs. skinny woman 10 Healthy Habits To Embrace Today
You don’t have to have a strenuous exercise regimen in order to be healthy. Simply getting up and moving about works wonders. Walking is something you have to do anyway so do more of it. If you garden, do more of it. If you like to ride a bike, do more of it. Increasing your activity level helps every part of your body from your brain to your heart.
Drink more water.
Staying hydrated can ward off a host of maladies. Water helps flush impurities from your system, which has endless benefits in itself.
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Again, you don’t have to go on a crazy diet and limit yourself in what you eat in order to be healthy. Simply adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is very beneficial to your body. You eat them anyway – so just eat more of them. Choose a wide variety and change it up often so you don't get bored or end up feeling like sticking with it is a punishment or a chore.
Get more sleep.
Your body functions better when it’s fully rested and sometimes eight hours of sleep just isn’t enough. Some people need more in order to be at their best. Listen to your body and it will tell you when you need to rest.
Eat less sugar.
Sugar is all kinds of bad for you. It rots your teeth, makes you put on weight, and can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels. You don’t have to cut out sugar all together. Just make small changes to your diet that you will hardly even notice. Substitute a sugar free soda instead of a regular one or eat sugar free candy instead of regular chocolate. Doing the substitutions little by little won’t make you feel deprived and will make you more likely to keep in the habit.
Eat less fat.
The same way you substitute sugar free products for regular ones, you can substitute fat-free products for regular ones, too. There are lots of fat-free products on the market from dairy products to snacks. Most of them have all the flavor of your favorite foods, but none of the fat. Small, subtle changes over time is the best way to develop this new habit, just like with sugar.
Stress less.
You might be thinking that’s nearly impossible, given the fast paced, stress-filled world we’re living in. But there comes a point where you have to step back and access certain situations and realize how detrimental they can be to your health. Accept that you are human and that you have limitations. Accept that there are some things that you just cannot do. Accept the fact that there are situations and circumstances that you cannot control. Once you realize these simple things, you will automatically feel more at ease each time you’re able to let…things….go.
Quit smoking.
Quitting smoking is easier said than done, but there’s a wonderful new product on the market that can help you achieve that goal. E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarette, work off a vapor system that uses a battery to create a steam effect you inhale to mimic smoking. E-cigarettes do deliver a certain amount of nicotine, but appear to be exponentially healthier than traditional smokes. They are re-loadable, reusable and much cheaper in the long run than regular tobacco products.
Be social.
Spending a lot of time alone can really affect your mood. You need interaction with people on a semi-daily basis to keep you spirits up and your mood high. We all want to crawl in a hole sometimes and that’s okay – so long as you don’t stay there too long. Being alone and loneliness over prolonged periods of time can lead to all kinds of mental issues like depression, which can have a long and difficult recovery process.
It’s not just your physical health you should worry about maintaining. Having a sound and healthy mind is important, too. We need to find ways to escape to our “happy place” and learn to block out all the worries of the world and clear our heads. Meditation is a wonderful way to do this. You don’t need any special tools or training to do it. Just a quiet, relaxing place and a supply of pleasant and positive affirmations to dwell on in your mind.
The only way to ‘get healthy’ is to ‘be healthy’ and you can’t be healthy if you don’t make an effort. It doesn’t take any special skills, tools or knowledge. All you have to do is introduce small changes that, over time, will become habits. These healthy habits will eventually take the place of the unhealthy ones and bring about the changes you desire.
Being healthy is a lifestyle. It’s a commitment to yourself that you must renew each and every day – sometimes, several times a day. It takes a degree of dedication on your part to achieve it. The key to a creating a healthy lifestyle is to take baby steps. Going too fast too quickly will cause burn out and leave you feeling frustrated when it all fails. Small, tiny steps in the form of small tiny changes are all you need to embark on your journey to a healthier life

What's the Deal With Vitamin D?

Vitamin D and Strength Training – A Potent Combo to Reduce Dangerous Visceral Fat

 One of the most exciting findings is that vitamin D supplementation combined with resistance training may help decrease your waist-to-hip ratio – a measurement that is far better at determining your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease than body mass index (BMI).
The study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition,1 included 23 overweight and obese participants, all of whom completed 12 weeks of resistance training. Half of them also received 4,000 IU's of vitamin D, while the other half got a placebo. Interestingly, analysis revealed an inverse association between the change in vitamin D status and the change in waist-to-hip ratio.
According to the authors:
"The results of the current study demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation improved muscular power in healthy overweight and obese individuals within four weeks and that elevated vitamin D status was associated with greater losses in waist circumference, with no additional benefits in lean mass accumulation, muscular strength, or glucose tolerance during participation in a 12-week resistance exercise training program.
The current results support previous findings that indicate a relationship between vitamin D status and waist circumference rather than fat mass. The inverse relationship with waist circumference is particularly important as abdominal fat has been implicated as an important factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes... 
Waist circumference is also an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the greater decrease in waist circumference associated with higher vitamin D intake represents a potential reduction in risk for metabolic disease and cardiovascular risk.
 More Evidence Vitamin D May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Additional support for the theory that vitamin D can be beneficial in the fight against type 2 diabetes was published in June.3Here, the researchers found "a strong additive interaction between abdominal obesity and insufficient 25(OH)D in regard to insulin resistance." They also claim 47 percent of the increased odds of insulin resistance can be explained by the interaction between insufficient vitamin D levels and a high BMI. They concluded that:
"Within a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample, abdominal obesity and insufficient 25(OH)D interact to synergistically influence the risk of insulin resistance."
Yet another study4 published in Diabetes Care also suggests vitamin D supplements may help prevent type 2 diabetes mellitus in people with pre-diabetes. While the study is only an observational one and cannot establish causality, the researchers report that the participants who had the highest vitamin D levels were 30 percent less likely to develop diabetes during the three-year evaluation period, compared to those with the lowest levels.

Vitamin D Shows Eye Health Benefits

Next, a study5 published in January found that supplementing with vitamin D3 helps rejuvenate aging eyes by reducing inflammation and amyloid beta – a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness. According to the authors:
"Vitamin D3 plays a key role in immune regulation and may protect against the aging process. A focal point for age-related changes is the outer retina of the eye where there is high metabolic demand resulting in a gradual increase in extracellular deposition, inflammation, and cell loss giving rise to visual decline. Here, we demonstrate that vitamin D3 administration for only 6 weeks in aged mice significantly impacts on this aging process... Recently, vitamin D3 has been linked epidemiologically to protection against age-related macular degeneration. Hence, vitamin D3 enrichment is likely to represent a beneficial route for those at risk."

Dietary Vitamin D and Sun Exposure Linked to Reduced Alzheimer's Risk

Speaking of amyloid beta, this component is not just a risk factor for macular degeneration, it's also found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. No wonder then that scientists have discovered an association between vitamin D status and your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.6 As reported by Dr. William Grant for The Vitamin D Council:7
"This cohort included women over the age of 75 years at time of enrollment and was designed to study risk factors for hip fractures over a four-year period. Women who had taken vitamin D supplements in the 18 months prior to enrollment were excluded. Dietary factors and midday sun exposure habits were examined at time of enrollment. The mean dietary vitamin D intake was 334±172 IU/day. The presence of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias was assessed seven years after enrollment.
Those in the highest fifth of vitamin D intake had one-quarter the incidence rate of Alzheimer's disease as the other four fifths... In addition, those in the highest fifth of sun exposure had half the incidence rate of Alzheimer's disease..." "

Reminder: The Best Form of Vitamin D Does Not Come in a Pill...

Again, while this article is focused on research related to vitamin D supplementation, it's important to remember that the IDEAL way to optimize your vitamin D levels is through appropriate sun. While your skin does create vitamin D3 in response to sun light, which is theoretically the same as the D3 you get from an oral supplement, there's cause to believe that the vitamin D created from sun exposure may have additional health benefits.

If Taking a Vitamin D Supplement, Take the Right Form

Keep in mind that if you do opt for a supplement, make sure you're taking vitamin D3 and not the synthetic D2. This is important, as a recent analysis17 of 50 randomized controlled trials, which included a total of 94,000 participants, showed:
  • A six percent relative reduction in mortality among those who used vitamin D3, but
  • A two percent relative risk increase among those who used D2
Also, while Europe is doing the responsible thing by increasing the recommended daily allowance for vitamin D, it's important to realize that the most important factor is your serum vitamin D level (the level in your blood), not the dose. The only way to determine whether you're within the therapeutic range is to regularly test your vitamin D levels. If you're like most people, you'll likely need far more than 4,000 IU's a day. According to the most recent research, the ideal adult dose is closer to 8,000 IU's a day in order to achieve serum levels at or above 40 ng/ml.
That said, you really should be taking whatever dosage required to obtain a therapeutic level of vitamin D in your blood.
vitamin d levels