Back in the 60s and 70s before modern weight loss techniques were invented, there were ways that were employed to reduce weight. Interestingly, some of those old techniques are coming back to light again with claims of authenticity and effectiveness. Having tried various modern methods in vain, some people have resorted to the old methods to try their luck. Some of these methods include The Grapefruit Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, and Cottage Cheese Diet.
The Grapefruit Diet
This type of diet basically involves the consumption of grapefruit or its juice before every meal. The 12-day meal plan is highly rich in protein and fat. Its main intention is to reduce the most amount of weight within the shortest time possible. The diet is based on a few rules like avoiding extremely hot or extremely cold foods. The explanation behind this rule is that grapefruit contains a lot of fat-burning enzymes which require conducive temperatures in order to be effective.
Generally, the diet has registered magical results among many people since the 1930s. However, there have been claims that the weight loss has to do majorly with the meals that are taken alongside the grapefruit. It is scientifically proven that grapefruit is a very nutritious and low-calorie citrus fruit. There is no scientific proof that grapefruit itself has anything to do directly with the weight loss. The meals accompanying the diet are the ones that play the major role.
Cabbage Soup Diet
This diet has registered remarkable results in terms of weight loss. It requires one to consume cabbage soup three times a day. The soup must be fat-free or accompanied by other meals which are fat-free and starch free. The diet runs for seven days and is very rich in fiber. It’s however important to note that health specialists have labeled the diet as very unhealthy as it deprives the body of many vital nutrients. The body is rendered weak and defenseless from diseases. Conclusively, the diet works in terms of weight reduction but it does that at the expense of your health.
This diet may be a little retro but it still is a reliable fast weight loss technique. The good thing about it is that it is low in calories yet it has rich nutrients like proteins and calcium which come in handy in building bones in the body. This diet plan is based on the principle that the first step to losing weight is cutting down on the calories one consumes.
Cottage cheese can be compared to consuming eggs during breakfast in the essence that it keeps you full hence reducing the amount of food you are likely to consume during the day. However, the diet is very low in calories and takes your body into starvation mode. This increases cravings and may result in a drop in metabolism. Too much sodium may also cause bloating, water retention, and puffiness. To increase its versatility, cottage cheese can be dressed with fruits.
So, should you try them?
Almost all of these types of diets will work short term because of the reduction of calories. Using one of these techniques may result in weight loss but we suggest a more balanced approach to meet all of your nutritional needs.
One of the most important and widespread addiction in the contemporary times is sugar addiction. Sugar is a widely used ingredient present in most of the processed products and it would be a nutritional challenge to identify those foods that do not contain sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Despite the past continuous campaigns on the need for cutting back on sugar consumption, sugar still remains to be highly consumed making a third of our calorie intake. Sugar consumption results in a dramatic fall in blood sugar, which leads to loss of self-control and more cravings for unhealthy, high-calorie foods.
Why do we crave sugar?
The brain has reward and pleasure centers which are the centers responsible for the release of neurotransmitters referred to as dopamine. Sugar triggers these centers and they are responsible for the ‘feel good’ feeling. The brain finds the crunch and sensation of sugary food interesting every time, and that’s why you can eat a whole tub of ice cream and still be ready to eat another. Your sugar craving could also be as a result of a need for hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes, possible yeast overgrowth, hidden food allergies, digestive dysfunction, and possible gut dysbiosis.
Some people crave sugar when they experience certain emotions. For instance, you might connect eating sugary foods with feelings such as boredom, happiness, frustration, loneliness, and sadness. An emotional connection with sweets might cause someone to crave sweets if they need to pass time, want to celebrate, or longs for comfort.
Dangers of sugar addiction
There are various side effects associated with sugar addiction:
Too much consumption of sugar results in a condition where the body is unable to control blood sugar levels. This is called diabetes. The symptoms will include numbness of the feet and hands, fatigue and a constant feeling of hunger and thirst. Once a patient is diagnosed, they are required to constantly check their insulin levels and it’s a tedious exercise.
Hypertension is the other side effect associated with sugar addiction and the development of high blood pressure which if untreated could lead to heart problems.
This is a disorder which is caused by high cholesterol levels in the body due to high carbohydrates in the body. It causes a lipoprotein metabolic inefficiency.
Nutritional balancing is the major way through which you can stop sugar cravings.
To break the sugar craving cycle, ensure that you:
Sugar cravings and addiction affect everyone but the key to dealing with it is understanding how you got the addiction in the first place and making changes to lessen and ultimately eliminate the problem.
You can’t go to the grocery store shelves or browse social media without coming across coconut oil. It is one of the few foods that fall under the classification of “superfoods.” The benefits and uses of this sweet-smelling wonder oil go beyond what most people realize. Coconut oil consists of medium-chain fatty acids which are not readily stored as fat because they are processed by the liver, are easier to digest, provides instant energy, and are antimicrobial and antifungal. Let’s look at the impressive benefits of coconut oil.
Coconut oil contains capric acid, lauric acid, caprylic acid, and antimicrobial lipids, which have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal properties. When lauric acid is digested, the body converts it into a substance known as monolaurin, which is effective in killing pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and fungi that cause diseases such as yeast infections, herpes, cytomegalovirus, and influenza.
Contains healthy saturated fats
The saturated fats may help convert LDL cholesterol (bad) into a less harmful form while increasing the HDL cholesterol (good). High cholesterol levels may lead to heart diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Lauric acid present in coconut oil helps prevent heart diseases and also reduces injury and damage to arteries. Consumption of coconut oil, therefore, can help reduce risk factors and promote a healthy heart. Also, this oil improves insulin secretion and helps in controlling blood sugar. This helps prevent and treat diabetes.
Used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is an alternative form of medicine that works to improve the psychological and physical well-being. In aromatherapy, coconut oil is used as a carrier oil since it gets absorbed into the skin easily. This helps in the absorption of herbal extracts and other oils mixed in it for treatment, without altering the properties of products mixed in it. Moreover, unlike other oils and herbal extracts used in aromatherapy, coconut oil does not go rancid and when used as a carrier oil, it prevents the other oils, medicines, or herbal extracts inside of it from spoiling.
Improves skin issues
Coconut oil is wonderful as a moisturizer, sunscreen, and face cleanser, but can also be used to treat many skin disorders such as dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema. The fatty acids, lauric and caprylic reduce inflammation both externally and internally and are a great solution for all skin conditions. Also, coconut oil helps protect and heal the skin thanks to its well-known antioxidant properties. It also delays sagging of skin and appearance of wrinkles, which are associated with aging.
Other great benefits of coconut oil
Pumpkins are featured in a variety of delicious treats and dishes during the holiday season. But did you know that this colorful and easy to prepare vegetable contains loads of nutrients? Here are some of the surprising health benefits of pumpkin that will have you reaching for an extra slice of pie at Thanksgiving.
Pumpkins get their orange hue from beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to Vitamin A. According to the National Institute of Health, Vitamin A boosts vision especially in dim lighting. A cup of cubed pumpkin contains twice the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A. They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that slow down the progress of degenerative eye disease that can lead to blindness.
Promotes Weight Loss
A cup of pumpkin contains about 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber. Because of this low calorie and high fiber content, you consume fewer calories and feel fuller for longer. This makes it a useful substitute for extra sugar in many recipes. Pumpkin puree can also be used as a spread in place of fatty nut butters. So the good news is, adding pumpkin to your baked goods and savory dishes can help place them on your weight loss food list.
Improves Heart & Muscle Health
Perhaps one of the most surprising health benefits of pumpkin is its high potassium content. With about 550 mg per serving, even higher than the much touted banana, this makes it one of the best foods for optimal muscle and heart health. Potassium aids in muscle recovery, so fitness enthusiasts should consider a pumpkin snack post workout.
Research shows that pumpkin seed oil which is rich in phytoestrogens is useful in preventing hypertension.
A Swedish study of men and women also revealed that a high fiber diet reduces risk of heart disease by up to 25%. Getting your fiber from vegetables such as pumpkin gives you the additional health benefits.
Boosts Prostate Health
Pumpkin seeds contain zinc which is essential for male sexual health. A study of young men revealed that low dietary intake of zinc led to low testosterone levels. The beta-carotene in pumpkin helps protect against certain cancers including prostate cancer. Research done in Taiwan also showed that pumpkin seed oil prevents unhealthy prostate growth in male rats.
Promotes Sleep and Improves Moods
If you usually have a hard time falling sleep, pumpkin may do the trick. It contains an amino acid called Tryptophan which is used to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps you relax and fall asleep. Boosting your serotonin levels will also improve your mood.
There are many types of pumpkin you can eat to enjoy all these nutritional benefits. However, they vary in sugar, fat and water content, making some better for cooking than others. Some common pumpkin types are the Baby Pam, Cinderella, Baby Bear, Long Pie, Fairy Tale, New England Pie and Long Island Cheese.
For added health benefits of pumpkin, consume the seeds as they are packed with proteins and healthy fats.
Interested in getting more pumpkin in your diet? It’s easy! Pumpkin can be prepared just as you would any kind of squash. You can easily bake, grill or roast it. Any recipe that calls for squash, you can use pumpkin. All pumpkins are edible, but may have a slightly different taste (some are sweeter than others) and some have more edible “meat” than others. The Baby Pam and Casillas pumpkins are the most widely used because of their slightly sweeter flavor, but like previously stated, all pumpkins are edible.
Beneficial or Gimmick?
Eating a balanced diet helps keep your body functioning optimally and prevents nutritional diseases. Still, a lot of people experience nutritional deficiencies in their diet. To counter this problem, the food industry adopted fortification of common food products with extra nutrients. However, there are concerns that fortified foods are not the solution to nutritional deficiencies and may actually do more harm than good. Let us examine some fortified food pros and cons to understand these concerns better.
The Case for Fortification
Perhaps the strongest argument in the fortified food pros and cons debate is the eradication of diseases such as pellagra, rickets, goiter and beriberi due to filling nutritional deficiencies.
The Dangers of Fortified Foods
Vitamin overdoses have been linked to diseases such as colon-rectal cancer. Others, such as vitamin A pose a risk for birth defects when consumed in excess during pregnancy.
Most products that are fortified prominently advertise the fact. This may cause you to overlook their overall nutritional value or lack thereof. You also can't authenticate the claims companies make on the labels, meaning the amount of nutrients per serving may be misleading
A new study shows that when a snack food had claims that is was a good source of a specific vitamin people were less likely to check the Nutritional Fact label and were more likely to choose that product over a similar product not claiming the added nutritional benefits.
People in the study also felt that the product was healthier than the similar product that didn’t have the claim on the package, even though the products were virtually the same.
From the fortified food pros and cons, it is clear that they can help fill the gaps in our diet and prevent deficiencies. However, fortified foods should not be used as a substitute to whole foods from natural plant and animal sources. Care should also be taken not to consume more than the recommended daily values of a nutrient for your demographic. Also, always compare the nutritional label no matter what claims are made on the packaging of the product.
The popularity of the matcha green tea has increased lately, with the availability of lattes, desserts, teas, and matcha shots in different places from coffee shops to health stores. Drinking matcha is not a fad, it’s one of the longest standing cultures of the Japanese people.
What is Matcha?
Just like green tea, matcha is made from the chlorophyll-rich young leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant. However, it is cultivated differently as farmers cover the tea plants one month to harvest to avoid direct sunlight. That helps boost chlorophyll content, gives the plant a darker green hue, and increases the production of amino acids. After the harvest, the veins and stems are removed, and the leaves are steamed, dried, and ground into a fine green powder known as matcha.
The matcha tea offers unparalleled nutrition and is an easy way to enjoy powerful health benefits. Here, we give you three benefits of adding matcha green tea to your everyday diet.
High in antioxidants
Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that reduce cell damage, protects against UV radiation, prevent life-threatening maladies, and aging. Even though there are other foods lauded for their antioxidant properties, matcha is unparalleled in comparison. The antioxidants produced by matcha green tea are five times more than the content produced by any other food. Furthermore, on that note, match tea is loaded with a catechin known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), which is the most potent and beneficial type of antioxidants. EGCg has powerful anti-cancer properties. Also, they help prevent damage to the liver and kidneys.
Heart disease is one of the leading cause of death globally. The nutrient profile in matcha green tea may help protect against heart disease and stroke. Matcha tea helps prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which is one of the key factors that increase the risk of heart disease. This reduces the levels of bad LDL cholesterol, including triglycerides while at the same time exhibiting higher levels of good HDL cholesterol. Therefore, adding matcha tea to your diet will help protect against disease and keep your heart healthy, giving you a longer life.
Improves cognitive performance
Matcha tea is rich in a rare amino acid known as L-Theanine, which acts upon the brains functioning, promoting a state of relaxation and alertness. While L-Theanine is common in all black and green teas, the content of this amino acid in matcha tea is five times more. Drinking matcha helps promote better concentration, enhanced mood, and improved memory without drowsiness.
Best of all, the matcha green tea is easy to prepare. But first, the powder should be added directly to boiling water as it will have a ‘grassy’ taste. The best way is to boil water, and let it sit to 175 degrees F. Sift the powder into a glass bowl and slowly add the hot water. Whisk until frothy and well mixed. Enjoy your drink and give your day a burst of health benefits and extra flavor.
If you are not a tea drinker there are other ways to reap the benefits of Matcha Green Tea by using the powder in different recipes. Get your download of two great recipes we thought you might like to try:
Green Tea Cupcakes & Green Tea cookies. Try them today!
Remember the suggestion of 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables?
While eating 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables is good if you currently are not eating daily fruits and vegetables, and sadly many fall short of this guideline, eating 10 servings will be even better for your heart!
Eating 10 portions of fruits and vegetables per day was tied to a:
· Reduced risk of heart disease by 24 percent
· Reduced risk of stroke by 33 percent.
· Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease by 28 percent.
· Reduced risk of cancer by 13 percent.
· Reduction in premature death by 31 percent.
Some fruits and vegetables are better than others. For example, apples and pears; citrus fruits; salads and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and chicory; and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower may all help in the prevention of heart disease, stroke, and possible early death.
Research also shows that green vegetables, such as spinach or green beans; yellow vegetables, such as peppers and carrots; and cruciferous vegetables may help reduce cancer risk.
The whole package of beneficial nutrients you obtain by eating fruits and vegetables is crucial to your health. It is why it is important to eat whole plant foods to get the benefit, instead of taking antioxidants or vitamin supplements.
10 servings a day may seem like a lot, especially for people who don’t like the texture, taste or smell of vegetables and fruits, but there are some great ways to try and work them into your daily routine. It may take some planning, but with daily focus it should be able to become a habit.
One idea is to not rely on just eating vegetables at dinner. Try and shoot for three or four servings of vegetables with both lunch and dinner, and one or two servings of vegetables and fruit with breakfast and snacks.
Another great idea is spending time immediately after grocery shopping to do some quick cooking and chopping of vegetables and fruits and putting serving portions in plastic bags or containers.
Also, remember that little trick they suggest for getting kids to eat their vegetables? Hiding the veggies in their food? Well, you just might have to do that to yourself if you can’t get yourself to eat your fruit and vegetables. So, make a pasta dish, and toss in some berries, broccoli or spinach. Instead of flavoring with dressings and dips use fruits and vegetables. Freezing fruit is also a great way to enjoy a cold treat and reap the nutritional benefits. Have you tried cauliflower rice? Another great way to substitute with a vegetable instead of a carb.
And even though both fruits and vegetables are important in your diet, try and go lighter on the fruit and heavier on the vegetables because of the higher sugar content and calories in fruit.
No matter what new fad diet comes out, or whether there is a new superfood of the month , fruits and vegetables are undeniably a part of a healthy diet, so getting as much as you can in your diet will lead to you living a longer life.
In a world of a near future of self-driving cars & Artificial intelligence, we are also learning more and more things about our bodies.
Here comes in your Microbiota.
Your Microbiota which consists of Bacteria and Microbes makes up about 3 pounds of your body weight (that is about the same as what your brain weighs). Microbes are bacteria and other tiny critters not visible to the naked eye but numbering in the trillions – and are busy in your body. Most of these microbes benefit you while others have the potential to cause harm.
With the newest discoveries in research of our bodies, we now realize that the Microbiota performs functions that could impact the functioning of our bodies, many which we don’t even know of yet.
One that we do know is that a disruption of the normal human gut microbiota is associated with many different health conditions, such as asthma, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer, among others. Scientists are still trying to figure out what role the microbiota plays in these conditions, but what is clear is that is it wise to do your best to support a healthy microbiota.
So first, starting with your gut Microbiota, eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt with “good bacteria” may be the first way that comes to mind or shaping the makeup of your gut microbiota. The only problem is that probiotics are not a one-size-fits-all. Certain benefits associated with probiotics, such as supporting immunity or easing constipation which are specific to certain strains of bacteria.
Another great way to “Influence” your gut microbiota is by changing what you “feed” the bacteria and research has shown the diversity of the gut microbiota matters. For example, the diet consumed by most in the U.S. consuming a typical Western diet, is usually low in fiber and high in processed foods is generally less diverse than in people in other areas of the country who have more fiber intake.
Studies are now showing that the more fiber you consume, especially if from a wide range of plant foods, the more diverse your gut microbiota will be, and as noted previously, the healthier your gut microbiota the less likely you will suffer from health conditions such as allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and others.
Researchers suggest trying to eat more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. When it comes to vegetables it is best to eat the rainbow – getting a variety of colorful plant foods.
Other tip is to focus on eating whole plant foods rather than purchasing supplements or other special food products.
Here are a few really great fruits and vegetables specifically with prebiotics:
So how can you insure your Microbiota is functioning at its Best?
Make Healthy eating a habit
What you eat day in and day out is what impacts your microbiota most.
Eat a wide variety of plant foods
Challenge yourself to try fruits and vegetables you’ve never tried before. Check what is in season for best flavor and availability and pick up something different every time you shop.
Choose whole grains instead of refined grains
The higher fiber content of whole grains supports the gut microbiota, among other digestive benefits.
Meet your Fiber quota
On average, women should strive for at least 25 grams of dietary fiber a day; men, 38 grams. Increase intake gradually by eating more whole plant foods (vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes), and drink plenty of water.
I particularly want to focus on trying those vegetables I have never tried before. I challenge you to pick up a new vegetable your next trip to the supermarket. If you have an internet connection you should be able to easily find some kind of recipe to make with whatever vegetable you decide to try.
A compassionate doctor. An early, insightful diagnosis. Effective drugs and treatments that work, with minimal side effects. You deserve all this – and more – from your health care system.
But the reality can be far different: Your doctor’s appointment may be shorter than a television commercial break; your physician may interrupt you and have no interest in listening to you; in the hospital, the doctors and nurses who care for you may forget to wash their hands – raising your risk for a hospital-acquired infection; and you may receive prescriptions that cause unwanted side effects or that interact with other medications and remedies you’re taking. Like any service industry, there are many terrific doctors and hospitals, but plenty of mediocre ones, too, and, on any given day, someone is going to make a mistake.
But there is the other side of the health-care equation. As patients, we don’t always hold up our end of the bargain. Studies show that half of us don’t take prescription drugs as directed, and many of us skip them entirely. One in three of us are reluctant to ask questions. And many of us withhold important information from the doctor, either intentionally of without giving it a second thought. In the end we are ultimately responsible for our health. You need to be the CEO of your healthcare.
Your first step in making sure you receive top quality health care? Believe that you deserve it. Your second step? Follow these strategies to get the care you need – and deserve.
The first thing to focus on is getting doctor visits that work. Here are the strategies to achieve this.
Study up before your visit
Research your medical condition and concerns by reading reputable web sites. Generally, government health web sites and those maintained by medical associations, large nonprofit groups dedicated to a single medical condition, and university medical centers have the most trustworthy, up-to-date medical information. Make notes and create questions. You shouldn’t try to diagnose your symptoms or self-prescribe your remedies. It’s still up to your doctor to do that.
Make a list of questions, and then prioritize them
Doing this you will feel more confident when talking with your doctor – and you’ll get the answers and information you need. In one review if 33 office visit studies, researchers found that people who brought checklists even got more time with their doctors.
Feel intimidated? Try asking your spouse or other relative or friend to play doctor while you voice your health concerns, and ask every question on your list, out loud. The best time to do this is in the hours just before your appointment.
Bring a family member along
Another person who knows about your health and your concerns can help you listen carefully, take notes, ask the right questions, and even help you make important decisions during a doctor’s appointment.
Carry a tape recorder
Replaying an audio tape of your visit could assist you in better understanding instructions and information that you may have missed or not fully understood at the time. Just let the doctor know you are recording for that purpose.
Bring in your current medications
Toss all your prescription drugs as well as herbal supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter remedies and bring them all in a shopping bag with you to your appointment. This will help your doctor understand if you’re experiencing any problems with drug interactions or if you’re taking any drugs you really don’t need.
Be sure your doctor knows these three important things about you:
Finally, evaluate your doctor. You are not obligated to stay with a certain physician if you don’t feel they are a good match for you. Patients who don’t trust their doctors simply don’t get well as quickly, studies show, probably because they’re less motivated to follow their advice and treatments. Ask to see another doctor in the same practice, or ask friends and family for recommendations for a new doctor.
If you have COPD chances are good that your doctor has prescribed various medications and programs to help you cope. But there are simple lifestyle improvements you can make to battle back against the disease.
Ventilate your indoor spaces
High levels of indoor air pollution caused by smoking, indoor fires, and indoor toxins can significantly exacerbate COPD symptoms, say researchers from Aberdeen, Scotland. The scientists measured concentrations of indoor air pollutants in the homes of 148 people with COPD. They found that indoor air pollution levels were up to four times the levels that experts say is acceptable. The higher the levels of indoor air pollution, the worse the individual’s COPD. As expected, the highest pollution levels were found in homes in which someone smoked.
Get at least 20 minutes a day of moderately intense exercise
It could be riding a stationary bicycle, briskly walking, or swimming. Not only will this improve your breathing capabilities but, chances are, you’ll fell sharper mentally afterward. That’s what researchers from Ohio State University found when they evaluated the effects of just one session of exercise on 58 adults, half with COPD and half healthy. The COPD group was able to process and retain information better than before they exercised, while the healthy subjects didn’t show any improvement. The improvements in the COPD group was probably due to the fact that the exercise increased their lung capacity- sending more oxygen to their brains. The healthy group already had good lung capacity; a 20 minute exercise session wasn’t going to affect that much for them. A follow up study in which participants were tracked for a year found that those who continued exercising maintained their cognitive gains, while those who didn’t lost physical, cognitive, and psychological functioning.
Pop some Fish oil
Two grams a day should do it. Take half in the morning and half in the evening. When Japanese researchers had 64 people with COPD supplement their diets with about 400 calories a day of an omega-3 rich supplement or one without omega-3 fatty acids for two years, they found numerous indicators of improved lung function in the omega-3 group, with no change in the placebo group. They also found much lower levels of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines in the omega-3 group. Omega-3 fatty acids are potent anti-inflammatories; their ability to quell the inflammation of COPD likely prevented further lung damage during the study.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight puts more pressure on your heart and lungs, increasing breathlessness. It also makes it harder to exercise. But being underweight – a common problem as COPD progresses and eating a full meal becomes more difficult – is linked to an increased risk of death. You should aim for a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or 26. If you’re having trouble maintaining your weight:
With increased awareness you have the ability to prevent COPD, so make sure you also read my previous blog for the best ways to prevent COPD.
Giving you the most current and up to date advice on living a longer and active life.
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