Thursday, May 31, 2007

Nutritional Supplementation for Reducing Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is America's number one killer, taking the lives of 37% of the people who die each year. 71.3 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, congenital cardiovascular defects, hardening of the arteries, and other diseases of the circulatory system. Cardiovascular disease cost Americans $403.1 billion in 2006 for medical costs and disability. Keeping blood pressure and cholesterol within healthy limits, and not smoking, are the three most important and controllable factors in preventing or stopping the progression of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, there are many natural methods for maintaining a healthy blood pressure and keeping cholesterol levels optimal. (Remember to consult with a qualified health care professional before starting any supplementation program. Just because they are natural, that does not mean that all supplements are safe for each individual case.)

Sodium RestrictionApproximately 40-50% of people with high blood pressure are sensitive to sodium intake. Reducing sodium intake is an important first step in reducing blood pressure. This requires restriction in adding salt to foods, as well as avoiding processed foods. Processed foods include canned vegetables, prepared foods, pickles, salted snacks, and foods containing MSG.

CalciumStudies have revealed that calcium supplementation of 1000-1500 mg per day lowers blood pressure. Calcium aids the kidneys in excreting sodium, and, along with magnesium (see below), helps to relax the smooth muscle lining of some blood vessels, which lowers diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).

Magnesium600 mg per day of magnesium has been shown to decrease blood pressure. Magnesium helps the heart produce energy and beat regularly. Magnesium is found in almonds, lima beans, peanuts, seafood, and spinach, but many people do not get enough magnesium from their diets alone.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (also known as EPA/DHA, fish oil, or flaxseed oil) There are a multitude of studies that show that omega-3 supplementation is effective in reducing blood pressure. You need approximately 1000 mg twice per day to achieve this effect. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which compromises blood vessels.

This supplement also reduces clots and helps the heart beat regularly.

GarlicA garlic supplement with 4000 mcg of allicin, or between a half and a whole clove of garlic, daily, will lower blood pressure by about 20-30 mm Hg systolic (top number) and 10-20 mm Hg diastolic. It also reduces plaque in the arteries in people with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries.) Garlic has been shown to improve the ratio of HDL (good cholesterol) to LDL (bad cholesterol).

Coenzyme Q10Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation of 60 mg twice per day has consistently shown to lower blood pressure. It requires four to twelve weeks to take a noticeable effect. CoQ10 works by helping heart cells create energy, and is especially effective in people with heart failure. It also allows blood vessels to relax and widen, especially in the heart. In food, it is found in beef, broccoli, chicken, eggs, fish, nuts, spinach, vegetable oil, and wheat germ.

Phytonutrient Fruit and Vegetable SupplementationA recent study has shown that subjects taking a green phytonutrient-rich fruit and vegetable powder for 90 days decreased systolic blood pressure by 12.4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 7.1 mm Hg when compared to a control group. The powder consisted of micro algae, barley grass juice powder, multiple fruit and vegetable powders, lecithin, acerola cherry, fermented cabbage, milk thistle, plant enzymes, quinoa sprout, lemon peel, oat beta-glucan, soluble rice bran, green and white tea extracts, resveratrol, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, cinnamon, raspberry, is quercitin-rutin, and aloe vera. The study showed that the benefit of phytonutrients is much stronger when the nutrition of multiple fruits and vegetables are taken together, rather than consumed as isolated nutrients.

Resveratrol, a compound found in high amounts in the phytonutrient powder, and also commonly found in red wine and grape juice, improves blood flow within the brain, which decreases the chances of stroke. It also helps fight obesity and type2 diabetes, two risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and hardens damaged heart tissue.

Vitamin C, which was also found in high amounts in the powder, helps increase blood vessel flexibility and reduces LDL oxidation. Nutritionally, it is found in citrus fruit, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, and tomato juice.

The potassium in the powder helps control blood pressure by regulating water balance. It is also required for proper electrical impulse transmission within the heart. It is found in beans, milk, vegetables, and most fruits.

Folic acid was also high in the powder. It is found in beans, citrus juice, peas, and green leafy vegetables. It reduces homocysteine, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.

GuggulThis supplement is found in gum taken from the myrrh tree. It has been shown to simultaneously decrease LDL levels while raising HDL levels.

HawthornThis botanical opens blood vessels, reduces blood pressure, and improves oxygen usage in the heart. Its usage in heart-related conditions dates back to Greco-Roman times.

Reishi MushroomThis Chinese mushroom is now commercially grown in northern Asia and North American. It has been shown to decrease blood pressure and LDL levels, and also helps prevent blood clots.

ArginineArginine is an amino acid is found in chocolate, dairy, fish, meat and nuts. It counteracts blood vessel constriction. High levels of arginine are inversely proportional to levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a telltale marker of inflammation.

NiacinNiacin, or nicotinic acid, one of the water-soluble B vitamins, improves all cholesterol levels when given in doses well above the recommended daily allowance. It is inexpensive and widely accessible without a prescription but must not be used for cholesterol lowering without the monitoring of a physician because of the potential side effects. The most common side effect is flushing or hot flashes, which are the result of the widening of blood vessels. Most people develop a tolerance to flushing, and it can be decreased by taking it during or after meals, or by taking a slow-release form. People on nicotinic acid are usually started on low daily doses and gradually increased to an average daily dose of 1.5 to 3 grams per day. ConclusionThere is a plethora of research that supports the use of supplementation and natural interventions in controlling the risk of cardiovascular disease. In some cases, they can reduce the need for medication, which helps reduce the chances of side effects from these drugs. In other cases, natural interventions, along with dietary changes and exercise, are all that are needed to control blood pressure.


"Definition of Cholesterol Lowering With Niacin." Medicine Net. Found online at 30 May 2007.

Heart Facts 2006: All Americans. American Heart Association: 2006.

"Heart Smart Nutrients." Energy Times Feb. 2005: 25-27.

Maher, John, DC, DCCN, FAAIM. "The Logan Study: Hypertension and Phytonutrient-Rich Fruit and Vegetable Supplementation." Dynamic Chiropractic 7 May 2007: 22-24.

"Pressure Relief Remedies." Energy Times Feb. 2007: 25-27.

Stillwell, William J, DC. "Reducing High Blood Pressure: Natural Choices." Clinic News Update 2003: 1-3.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Glycemic Index, What Is It

The glycemic index is a measurement of how much blood glucose increases after eating a specific food. Glycemic Index is a measure of the rate at which carbohydrates are digested. Evidence from prospective studies shows that low GI diets are associated with reduced diabetes risk, especially type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease risk, cancer risk, and metabolic syndrome. For this reason, GI diets are more likely to be seen as acceptable by doctors, nutritionists and dieticians. This is because low GI diets are more closely aligned to the healthy eating guidelines promoted by most Western governments than low carbohydrate diets. The foods which are restricted on low GI diets are those which cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to rise fast and high. GI diets are based on the principle of balancing blood sugar

Highly processed, rapidly digested carbohydrates that are high on the glycemic index such as mashed potatoes or cookies cause fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels that contribute to hunger and prevent the breakdown of fat. Whereas foods with a low GI value slowly release sugar into the blood, providing you with a steady supply of energy, leaving you feeling satisfied longer so that you are less likely to snack.

Low-GI diets are based around fibre-rich foods and include lots of fruit and vegetables and generous helpings of beans and pulses, wholegrain bread and brown rice which the body digests slowly. Low GI diets are claimed to be healthier, more satisfying and beneficial in managing blood sugar levels and provide a sustained source of energy for the body. Moderate GI diets are full of slow release foods that keep you feeling full for longer. Even though low GI diets are not called low carbohydrate diets, they are "lower" carbohydrate diets than most other diets. and higher in protein content.

Foods vary in the GI based on origin and processing. Foods containing high amounts of carbohydrate include flour and sugar, potatoes, rice, corn and other grains and the many foods made with them.

Foods with a high glycemic index convert rapidly into glucose, are more quickly digested and provide fast release energy which can be particularly useful after exercise when you need a quick boost.

Foods with a low glycemic index are low in sugar, or release sugar slowly in a more controlled way, which avoids peaks and troughs in blood sugar levels. Foods with low GI values are among the most filling of all foods and delay hunger pangs for longer. fruit such as apples and oranges, pasta, beans and lentils and porridge are examples of food with a low glycemic index

There is evidence that low GI diets are able to reduce abdominal fat specifically. Without any drastic change in regular dietary habits and using the theory behind glycemic index can help keep hunger at bay whilst watching the calories.

Low GI diets are becoming increasingly popular and there is an ever-growing number of books on the subject.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Understanding Normal Cholesterol Level

With nearly a half-million deaths in America alone in the year 2004 attributed to coronary heart disease, it is little wonder warding off this condition is a priority for many. Unfortunately, this particular disease is considered a silent killer. With very few symptoms prior to major problems arising, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Having a normal cholesterol level, however, can be the key to avoiding this disease.

The two primary clues to the development of heart disease are blood pressure level and cholesterol level. Both can be controlled. Having a normal cholesterol level is vital to helping to slow or prevent serious hardening or blocking of the arteries. If this process is not prevented, it can lead to heart attack and even stroke.

But, what is normal cholesterol level and how does one attain it?

Cholesterol is measured in a few different ways. A test might take into account all forms of cholesterol or fat within the bloodstream of a subject, or it might break them out with individual readings for each type cholesterol.

To understand what normal cholesterol level is, it is important to be aware of the main types of it in the body.

The first kind of sticky, waxy fat is known as LDL cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein. This is also known as "bad" cholesterol. It earns the reputation of being bad because it has the ability to clog the arteries. If a normal cholesterol level isn't present with this kind of fat, problems could very well be around the corner.

Since there's a bad cholesterol, there has to be a good one, right? Absolutely! The good version, HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, gets its reputation by helping to remove the bad stuff from the bloodstream. HDL takes LDL to the liver where the body can eliminate it. When levels of HDL are too low, there is a reason for concern or at least a need to remedy it.

Another form of fat or cholesterol checked during a typical test are triglycerides. This is the type of cholesterol the body tends to make all in its own. While this is needed for normal biological functioning, if it is too high, it's a problem.

If a doctor orders blood tests to check levels of cholesterol, he or she will either be looking at combined results or readings for each individual type. While actual desirable levels might vary depending on age, there are some standards for normal cholesterol level.

If a combined test is taken, for example, the normal range is 200 mg/dL or under. If the number is too high, measures to correct that might be suggested.

When the actual types of cholesterol are broken out by a test, the numbers for normal will also need to be looked at separately. Good cholesterol levels should be at 6- mg/dL or above in most cases. LDL needs to read at 100 mg/dL or less to be considered normal. The triglyceride level typically is desirable at 150 mg/dL or less.

Understanding normal cholesterol level and how to attain it can help stave off heart disease and other complication. While bringing cholesterol into check isn't a guarantee, it does greatly decrease the risk for developing major problems down the road.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Time To Warm Up

We all need to take note on our daily and thus weekly exercise program. The first step to a successful program is to decide and commit to doing the exercise. Everyone is challenged emotionally and all of us have good reasons not to exercise. When's the last time you talked yourself out of doing something good for you? Happens all the time, because we are in constant conflict with daily tasks or events in our lives. Designing your program with your physician or by doing research on effective training programs is a good first step. We always recommend a discussion with your medical professional to review your needs and capabilities.

No one is immune from the body breaking down if it is not well tuned and in order to perform we need to stretch and warm up properly. Watch our athletes before they take the court or field. What do you see? These are highly managed individuals who spend countless hours working out and honing their skills yet every day before they go to work (so-to-speak) we see them exercising via routines designed for their individual needs. Great examples for all of us and it doesn't require joining a team. We can stretch and warm up anywhere and at anytime. We just have to agree to do it and execute the warm up program. The first step we should all take into consideration is to begin slowly by stretching our calves, hamstrings and overall joints. Take your time and provide individual movements to each muscle area and warm them up with repeated repetitions. Switch back and forth between each muscle group as you stretch and within 20 minutes you will be ready to take on your exercise fitness program. If you haven't exercised in months or even years its important to set your goals conservatively and to warm up an extra 10 minutes or 30 minutes each day. By warming up properly you will benefit from a more efficient exercise program and your flexibility will improve gradually over time. Often we do not consider flexibility but it's a vital indicator to your doctor as to whether or not you are exercising properly so take the time and stretch out.

Warming up your muscle groups will provide a more relaxed and less stressful exercise fitness routine. Your body will be capable of responding better to muscle requests to walk, step up, run or turn as an example. It may sound simple and it may sound unnecessary but improper warm up even with highly toned athletes leads to muscle tears and possible career ending injuries. No different for the weekend warriors either. So take note of your body, drink plenty of fluids. Investigate and research a good nutritional supplement such as Mona Vie International's acai berry juice. MonaVie has developed an excellent product that allows our bodies to repair internally by delivering a solid and balanced all natural fruit juice drink. So take this away from this article. Write down your warm up plan and commit to execute it every day. We can no longer exercise 20 minutes a day 3 times per week. It isn't working for the population. We must exercise and thus use warm up techniques every day. Strive to spend 30 minutes in the morning and then a healthy long walk after dinner. Warm up to a 10,000 step walk broken down into two 30 minute events and you will achieve your ultimate body the right way!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Overview of Fiber

Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and grains. Its benefits include lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and a feeling of satiety. Fiber is a carbohydrate that can't be digested by the human body. We lack an the enzyme required to use fiber as energy.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. They each have unique functions that help improve your overall health.

Soluble fiber is responsible for reducing cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. In the intestine it binds to bile; a chemical that is made out of cholesterol and involved in the digestion of fats. It is then excreted from the body. Since the body needs this chemical, once it is excreted it makes more and reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood. This can also have a positive effect on blood pressure.

Source of soluble fiber are: legumes, root vegetables, fruits (specifically prunes, berries and plums), vegetables (specifically broccoli and carrots), oats, rye, barley and psyllium seed husk.

Insoluble fiber softens stool and increases its bulk. Sources of insoluble fiber are nuts, seeds, vegetables (particularly green beans, cauliflower, celery and zucchini), the skins of some fruits, bran and whole grain foods.

When you're looking for foods that are high in fiber, stay away from items that are processed. Processing strips out the part of the food that is high in fiber so that it looks good and tastes better.

Eat breads that are made out of 100% whole wheat flours. Check the ingredients to make sure that this type of flour is listed first. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables without peeling them. In many cases, a large portion of the fiber is found in the peel. Aim for around 25 grams of fiber per day.

When increasing your intake of fiber, do it slowly over a period of weeks. Doing it too quickly can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort (which isn't very fun). There are also plenty of fiber supplements on the market that can help you increase your intake. Its always best to get your nutrients from the natural sources but if you can't then supplements may be for you.

Fiber is a very important part of our diets. It has some very beneficial health effects and shouldn't be neglected.

Guide to Fiber

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Secrets to a Flat Stomach

The secrets to a flat stomach are one of those commonly asked questions that everyone wants to know the answer to. The truth is that because of this there are a great number of so called "solutions" on the market all wanting you to spend your hard earned cash on their program. In fact you may have tried many of them.

Having spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on supplements, guides, and equipment in the hope of achieving a flat stomach I know first hand that the majority of them are junk and offer very little practical advice that can be turned into results.

The fastest way to a flat stomach is to abide by proper tried-and-tested methods, rather than to jump onto the next product that is too good to be true. Whenever you see a product that promises to "achieve a flat stomach in 3 days", remember to think how this is at all possible...the answer is, it's not!

The secrets to a flat stomach mean exercise that is not only focused on the abdominals, but also on maximizing your metabolic and hormonal response to the workout regime. You may be a little surprised at this as I'm sure the majority of advice you've been given before has been to do sit-ups everyday. If it were simply a case of doing sit-ups there wouldn't be so many people searching for answers to achieve a flat stomach, but the truth is that there is more to it than this.

Don't get me wrong, abdominal exercises are good for achieving a flat stomach, but there are many people that will solely do exercises directly to the abs and nothing else. This isn't the best way to achieve a flat stomach and a six pack if you want to progress further.

You can actually achieve much better results by NOT concentrating on abs exercises as they do not burn the fat away from the stomach. You should have a full body training routine that when put into action can dramatically improve your fitness, not only for your abdominal muscles but other areas of your body also.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Try This Healthy Eating Diet Plan

How many times have you decided the time had come to loose a few pounds but everything you tried left you frustrated and feeling deprived. Have you ever considered a healthy eating diet plan?

If you aren't familiar with a health eating diet plan you might be surprised at just how simple the concept is and you'll be wondering why more aren't using it to lose those extra pounds.

The healthy eating diet plan starts by recognizing that weight will only be lost when the number of calories burned exceeds the number of calories eaten. It also recognizes that if you drop your calorie intake too quickly your body will go into what's called starvation mode storing fat for that rainy day.

The healthy eating diet plan goes one further stating that you can eat anything you want as long as you don't exceed your calorie count for the day and in fact you need to reduce your calorie intake by 500 calories but no more. While at the same time increasing your calorie burn by 500 calories. That means you are going to have a 1000 calorie difference which is going to be noticeable on the diet scale.

The healthy eating diet plan also looks at the type of foods you are eating. Of course although it says you can eat anything you want it expect that you will not fill your diet with foods high in saturated fats but rather will mix your meals up with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables but it gives you the flexibility to mix it up how you like it without being restricted to certain foods.

So what would a healthy eating diet plan look like? Well it might look something like this:


• 1 cup Cheerios

• 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries

• 1 cup fat-free or low-fat milk

• 1/2 whole-grain English muffin, toasted, topped with 1 teaspoon light margarine

• Coffee if desired

Mid-morning snack

• 4 pieces dried apricot

• 1 cup tea with lemon


• Sandwich: one 6-inch whole-wheat pita, spread with 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise and stuffed with 2 ounces deli-style roast beef, 1-ounce slice of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, 3 tomato slices and lettuce

• 4 baby carrots

• 1 banana,

Afternoon snack

• 5 ounces fat-free yogurt

• 3 vanilla wafers


• 3 ounces grilled or broiled salmon brushed with 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed before cooking

• 2/3 cup brown rice

• 3/4 cup sliced asparagus spears steamed

• Salad: 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves topped with 1 tangerine, peeled and sectioned; 1 tablespoon chopped almonds; drizzled with 1 tablespoon sesame seed vinaigrette salad dressing

• Water or other no-cal beverage

Of course this is just an example of a healthy eating diet plan for a day. There are so many options that you will never be bored and remember you can eat which ever foods you want as long as you don't exceed your daily calorie intake. So if you love fish eat as much as you want or perhaps you hate asparagus but love baby carrots then don't eat asparagus but do eat all the baby carrots you want.

So what will your healthy eating diet plan look like?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Exposed - A 'Little-Known' Secret That Promises To Give You The Ultimate Chest Workout Of Your Life!

How many times have your arms fatigued before your chest during a workout?

That's my question to you.

I can't even count how many times I've heard fitness fanatics cry about how their pectorals (chest) aren't responding to their training program because another muscle group is performing the brunt of the work.

Yes, I'm sure you're well aware that when you work any particular muscle the goal is to isolate it to the fullest extent. As a result, forcing the muscle fiber to break down to the MAX… leading to the ultimate in results!

However, all I see these fitness fanatics or shall I say 'outsiders' do is grind away… set after set on the bench press, dumbbell press or machine press trapped inside their limited cage of thought.

What aren't they aware of?

How are they missing out?

Well, follow along as I explain how this 1, 'Little-Known' Secret Technique can promise to give you the ultimate chest workout of your life!

The Thief:

I'm about to introduce the sneaky thief who's majorly responsible for your lack of a tighter, shapelier and more muscular chest. This muscle group is robbing you blind and you may not even know it!
But before I do, allow me to explain the mechanics of a popular chest exercise, along with the anatomic parts that move the joints during the lift… trust me, this will explain everything.

The Lying Dumbbell Press

Step 1: Start the exercise by lying with your back on a bench while keeping a right angle in your arms as you hold a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip.

Step 2: Keep your elbows out to the side as you press the dumbbells up in an arch and over your eyes.

Step 3: Squeeze your chest muscles briefly at the finish position and then lower the dumbbells back to the start.

If you didn't know already, now you understand the correct form… the mechanics of the movement.

But what joints are moving and what muscles are moving those joints during the exercise?

Specifically, when you rise out of the start position, what you're doing is flexing the shoulder joints and moving the anterior deltoid (front shoulder) and the pectoralis major (upper chest) in order to accomplish that task.

As you continue to hoist the dumbbells up in an arch above your eyes, it's then your elbows that begin to straighten and the muscle group responsible for that function is your chest's worst enemy… the thief… your triceps!

If you're like most people, your triceps lack a lot of punch compared to the chest in terms of strength.

So, as you advance rep by rep through the set is it your chest that normally fails against the weight of the resistance or the weaker triceps instead?

You guessed it… it's the triceps!

Unfortunately this doesn't inspire the greatest results for your cheated chest as workout after workout… week after week… month after month it gets ridiculously robbed.


Now you're aware and discovered how you're missing out… so here's what to do about it.

I've been teaching this 'Little-Known' Secret Technique to my clients for years now and it's been allowing them to feel an INSANE burn in their chest unlike anything they've ever felt before implementing the special technique.

Also, cutting down their workout time and pumping up their flat chests to a shapely and beautiful degree!
So I'm rolling the red carpet under your feet and revealing…


Here's what you do.

Instead of starting your chest workout with a dumbbell press, or any type of pressing motion for that matter, begin with a chest fly.

Here's 3 optional exercises for you;

Flat dumbbell fly

Seated machine fly

Cable crossover

Now let's take the flat dumbbell flye as an example;

This exercise is very similar to the flat dumbbell press that I talked about earlier on. Except on this lift your elbows remain bent at a 45 degree angle and your palms face each other.

As you press the weight upwards in an arch to a point above your eyes, your elbows remain bent in that fixed position and because of this they don't extend and your triceps are almost entirely removed from the motion!

Straining towards the final rep (if you're working towards building muscle and losing fat then go for 12-17) that you can hardly complete… your chest feels numb… your arms feel very fresh and you toss the dumbbells at your sides.


You've just pre-exhausted your chest.

Immediately afterwards, you sprint over to the seated machine press… popping the pin into the selected weight and now that your chest is already pre-fatigued and your triceps are fresh… let the games begin!

Come 15 repetitions into the set you are easily able to straighten your elbows but then to your dismay the dumbbells plummet downwards at a lightning quick speed and then you're stuck in the bottom position and you can't budge an inch.

Well that's not what you're used to.

Normally you fail and stop the set when your elbows are already beginning to straighten.

Congratulations you now know the secret!

… and your triceps are no longer a weak link for you.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Primer on Antioxidants

Oxidation is a natural occurrence. It happens when some atoms or molecules reacts with oxygen. Oxygen is like a magnet for electrons. Molecules whose electrons are not tightly bonded to its nucleus tends to give up an electron to the oxygen. That molecule is then said to be oxidized.

Most stable atoms and molecules have electrons that are in pairs. If one of the electrons loses its pair(becomes a free radical), their tendency is to 'steal' an electron from neighboring atoms to make itself 'whole' so to speak. This becomes the onset of a free radical chain reaction until an antioxidant is encountered.

We witness oxidation in our everyday lives: iron rusts when exposed to oxygen, meat of fruits turning brown when exposed to oxygen, meat fat getting rancid when exposed to oxygen.

We breathe oxygen and our blood distributes it to our cells giving us life and at the same time exposing our insides to possible free radical chain reactions.

The mitochondria, the energy producer of a cell, requires oxygen to manufacture energy. The process undergoes several controlled oxidation of several molecules until energy(ATP) is produced. A by-product of this process are free radicals. Heavy physical activities can multiply these by-product of free radicals several times because the cells need more oxygen to produce more energy. As the energy production grows, free radical by-product also grows.

Free radical chain reactions can damage or 'deform' healthy cells. The onset of many degenerative diseases may be caused by these damages that free radicals leave behind. Some diseases that may be caused by free radicals are Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration and even cancer.

Researchers has also discovered that cell damages caused by free radicals are one of the factors that causes aging. Minimizing free radical chain reactions can increase our average life span.

Since oxidation is a natural occurrence, our bodies are also equipped with 'defenses' for that.

Antioxidants are molecules that can give up or donate an electron to another molecule without becoming unstable or reactive. When a free radical 'steals' an electron from an antioxidant, the chain reaction stops.

Our bodies have internal antioxidants on 'stand by' to stop free radical reactions. Some of these are:

Superoxide Dismutase(SOD)



But sad to say, some internal antioxidants are produced less by our bodies as we age especially when we reach about the age of 30.

Glutathione levels can be raised by supplementing with N-Acetyl Cysteine. N-Acetyl Cysteine not only raises glutathione levels but has other properties that are really beneficial to our bodies.

CoQ10 is also better supplemented as we age. Like N-Acetyl Cysteine, it is not only a potent antioxidant but it also has other properties that benefits our bodies.

Assisting these 'internal' antioxidants, we also take in 'external' antioxidants from the food we eat like:

Vitamin C

Vitamine E

Beta Carotene(Vitamin A)

Bioflavonoids from fruits and vegetables

The food we eat may not be enough to supplement our antioxidant requirements mainly because of our eating habits. It would take quite a discipline to stick to a diet to meet our antioxidant needs.

There are also external causes that can build up free radical reactions in our body like smoking, toxic fumes, second hand smoke from smokers and radiation from sunlight. Even irregular exercise can cause free radical chain reactions.

Funny how oxygen can be life giving and at the same time life threatening. But this is the world we live in - everything has an opposite; male-female, light-dark, cold-hot, peace-war. What matters is how we deal with it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fiber, Fiber...Who's Got the Fiber?

Fiber...we're all familiar with the term, but what is it exactly, and why is it so important to good health?

Fiber comes from plants. Its really the structural backbone, if you will, that gives rigidity and strength to plant stems, fruits and leaves. Once you've eaten a fiber-containing food, it adds bulk to your digestive tract, easing the elimination of wastes and helping to avoid constipation.

Its able to do this because fiber is virtually indigestible--your body can't break down the bonds that hold it together.

There are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble. As the names imply, soluble fiber dissolves in water, whereas the insoluble doesn't. Altogether the foods you eat contain mostly soluble fiber.

Once dissolved, soluble fibers become quite gummy, and in your intestines they can bind with fatty substances which may actually help reduce cholesterol levels. There is also some evidence that soluble fiber can help with blood sugar control.

For optimal health, aim to have between 25 and 35 grams of fiber a day.

How can you figure out how much fiber you are getting in your diet?

Food labels are a good place to start. A product with "High Fiber" on its label contains 5 grams or more of fiber, and a "Good Source" contains 2.5 to 4.9 grams.

What are the best sources of fiber? Beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Aim for at least 4 to 5 cups of fruits and veggies per day, along with whole grain breads and cereals. Add to that some legumes--about 3 or more cups per week--and you should have a great fiber intake.

Remember, though, if you are not used to eating this much fiber, work up to it gradually and don't forget to drink lots of water! Whenever possible, choose fruits and veggies that contain skin...berries are a great source of fiber, too.

Fiber's added bonus...because it adds bulk to your diet, it can make you feel full, which hopefully leads you to eat less and ultimately weigh less!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Calorie Counter and Why You Should Not Trust Them

Calorie counters are used in nearly all aerobic equipments, from treadmills to elliptical trainers. Infact there are even calorie counter that give you the calories you burn when you jog. Unfortunately these gadgets are rarely trustworthy. And if you are not careful they can be a source of frustration.

Exercising to lose weight as it is for most people is already difficult. Few have a natural motivation to keep fit. The last thing you want is a gadget that will give you false hope.

Studies show that most calories counters will over shoot your calorie expenditure by as much as 30%. With many individuals posting calorie burns of above 400 calories per session, it means that an extra 120 calories were falsely calibrated as burnt. This can translate to a deception that you have burnt up to one pound of fat in a month just by using your elliptical trainer.

Obliviously if you are using sound tracking methods like body fat percentage, you will notice the inconsistencies. But for those stuck with the bathroom scale, a more ineffective method of tracking your weight loss, the numbers will just never add up. Your counter will be telling you, "You are losing" while the bathroom scale looks like it is stuck on the same numbers since you started losing weight 6 months ago.

It is important to know that all commercial calorie counters estimate amount of calorie used in a particular activity.

The better ones require you to enter your weight, height, sex and age to better approximate the amount of calories burnt. In particular treadmills are known to be more representative of actual calories burnt. They have been around longer and their formula and calibrations are more established. On the other hand elliptical trainers and stair climbing machines are not that accurate.

Since in exercising for weight loss you are looking to burn fat, estimating how much fat is burnt is really complicated. This adds to the complexity in using calorie counter to determine amount of fat burnt in an exercise routine.

To be able to accurately determine the amount of calories expended from body fat you need to take into consideration the amount of oxygen breathed during the activity. Fat burning to produce energy is only possible in the presence of oxygen.

Machines approximate this by notifying you of a "fat burning" zone where it is approximated most of the energy for the activity is being supplied from body fat.

In reality, you use about 160-200 calories per session; above your regular calorie use (Resting Metabolic Rate). What most machines do is they show the total approximate calorie burnt including RMR, not to mention the inherent 30% error.

This does not mean you do not track your calories though, just adjust them appropriately.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Test Your Calorie Smarts

Who doesn't love to eat out? I know I sure do!

Americans are eating more and more of their meals in restaurants... there just isn't time to cook much anymore. Of course for those of us watching our diet, it can be hard to gauge the calories we eat from all that restaurant fare.

Think you are an expert calorie sleuth? Its often tough! So, just for fun, I put together a little quiz to test your calorie smarts. Let me know how you do!

Which one of the following pairs of foods has more calories*...

1. a) a Cinnamon and Raisin Whole Grain Bagel from Starbuck's, or

b) a Krispy Kreme Glazed Whole Wheat Doughnut

OK, you probably figured I throw a tricky one in here. The doughnut of course, right? Wrong. The bagel has 310 kcal, almost twice as many as the doughnut at 180 kcal. (The doughnut has more fat, though.)

2. a) a Starbuck's Carrot Cake Muffin, or

b) a regular size Dairy Queen Mocha Moolatte

Think this one is a no-brainer? Just because its a muffin doesn't mean it has few calories! The Carrot Cake one is the winner here, with 680 kcal compared to the Moolatte at 568 kcal. (The muffin has two times the amount of fat that the DQ treat has!)

3. a) a Chocolate Thunder from Down Under dessert from Outback Steakhouse, or

b) a Whopper with Cheese and Mayo and a medium size order of french fries from Burger King

Are these getting tougher? I really found this one hard to believe. The Whopper meal contains 1119 kcal, which is almost half of most women's daily calorie requirement, but get this, the Outback dessert wins hands down...1220 kcal. That's right. 1220 kcal in only a dessert! Add that to the rest of you meal, and you'll probably be way over your calorie needs for the day!

OK, let's try one more.

4. a) a Double Meat 6 in. Steak and Cheese Sandwich from Subway, or

b) a Grilled Steak Caesar Salad with toast from Applebee's.

This is probably the easiest one yet, right? Well, maybe. If you guessed the Subway sandwich, you'd be right. This one weighs in at 540 kcal, while the Applebee's selection contains over twice the calories, at 1295. Just because its a salad doesn't make it low calorie!

So, how did you do? Any surprises, or are you a calorie counting guru?

*Source for all calories:

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Benefits Of Vitamin B 12 And B Complex

Before I even begin this article, there is something that I need to say about vitamin benefits in general. Many vitamins are only as good as the vitamins that they are combined with. It's true. Many vitamins on their own don't have the same benefit as when taken with other vitamins. Vitamin B 12 is probably at the top of this list, as I will soon explain. Hopefully, after reading this article, you'll understand the importance of vitamin B 12 and how to get the most out of it.

The B complex of vitamins is kind of like a queen ant and her workers. They all need to work together in harmony in order for the colony to not only survive, but thrive as well. The B complex of vitamins is one where each member of the complex must be taken in order to achieve full benefits from all the B vitamins. This is why taking a B 12 shot by itself won't have the same effect as taking that shot along with taking the remaining B vitamins, either in a multi vitamin or individually. It is important that you understand this. Just taking vitamin B 12 won't give you full benefit.

So, just what is vitamin B 12 good for? One of the main benefits of B 12 is that it formulates and regenerates red blood cells. Without sufficient B 12 in our system, this process slows down which can lead to diseases like leukemia. Vitamin B 12 also keeps your metabolism running at a normal rate. Without it, many people tend to have slow metabolisms which leads to excessive weight gain. Another benefit of B 12 is that it gives is a great deal of our energy. People who are deficient in B 12 tend to be weak and listless. Finally, B 12 is excellent for the nervous system. People who are lacking in vitamin B 12 are prone to depression and other mental disorders.

Unfortunately, many people are unable to process B 12 through natural sources such as the foods where this vitamin is normally found. Common foods with B 12 are meats and dairy foods. Many people who are lactose intolerant are deficient in this vitamin. When a person can't get all the B 12 they need through foods, that is when they have to turn to supplements.

The problem with supplements is that you want to find supplements that are natural and not synthetic. Synthetic vitamins are not as absorbed as well in the body as natural supplements. Also, as I mentioned above, you want to make sure that you take the whole B complex group in order to get full benefits from vitamin B 12. Failure to get enough B 12 in your diet can lead to a number of problems besides the ones already mentioned.

Vitamin B 12 and the B vitamin group can literally make you feel like a new person with the energy and improved mental stability that you will receive from them.

To YOUR Health,

Steve Wagner

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Nutrition and Weight Loss - Carbohydrates, Do I Need Them?

Many of us choose to cut out a specific food group in our diets as a means for weight loss. The most popular choice seems to be excluding Carbohydrates from our daily diets. But do we need them, and are we putting our bodies at risk by excluding this food group?

The best bet when weighing the options of a no-carb died is to go low-carb, and to monitor which carbohydrates you are including in your diet. We need to make sure to choose unrefined foods rich in carbohydrates over the processed foods, which tend to lack the vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need, as well as being a cause for both diabetes and hypoglycemia.

Carbohydrates are used to supply our bodies with the energy we need to function. Period. We tend to confuse the lack of exercise and the increased consumption of the WRONG carbohydrate consumption with a more healthy carbohydrate consumption. What we need to be focusing on is choosing the right carbohydrates, along with exercise.

The main reason our bodies will store excess carbohydrates as fat is when we are consuming more calories than we are burning in the day. The simple solution to this is to monitor our carbohydrate intake, and to incorporate an exercise plan into our day to ensure that we are burning these calories we are consuming.

The best time of day to get your daily carbohydrates is in the morning. You will have all day to use the energy provided and to burn off what you have taken in.

Our bodies need carbohydrates. There ARE some that are better for us, and we should make sure we are consuming the right amount of the right carbohydrates for a healthy diet and overall healthy lifestyle.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Increase Intake Of Vitamins And Minerals To Fight Stress

We all know that too much stress is a bad thing. The Canadian researcher Hans Selye discovered that not enough stress is also not a good thing. We need a little stress in our lives to move us forward. It's when that little stress increases to the point where it becomes unmanageable that life becomes difficult.

Many things can cause stress. Even a nutrition deficiency is stressful. When under stress, whether temporary such as a deadline for a work project, or long term such as a divorce or death in the family you can do a lot to alleviate the stress and cope by increasing the amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet. A well nourished person handles stress well.

Nutrients For Stress Management:

Eat more whole grains and protein and cut down on enriched products and caffeine.

Vitamin E:Preliminary studies have shown that vitamin E might aid in normal active brain function, enabling you to think clearly.

Vitamin B complex:If your diet is high in refined carbohydrates and sugars you could be suffering a deficiency of these necessary nutrients. This group of vitamins is needed for optimal function of the nervous system; without them we become jumpy and on edge, not a good combination with stress!

Vitamin C:This vitamin is reduced during stressful episodes. Vitamin C can reduce the effects of the hormone adrenaline, and improve the body's coping mechanism.

Magnesium:Large amounts of this mineral are depleted during times of stress. Low levels of magnesium may contribute to the stress reaction of hospitalized patients and hinder recovery. If you are a Type A personality you likely also have lower levels of magnesium and higher levels of adrenaline.

Zinc: Studies have not shown whether this trace mineral needs to be increased when you are under stress, but a deficiency does interfere with recuperation from illness and may be lost during periods of strenuous exercise.

While no Recommended Dietary Allowances have been established for stress sufferers, a low-fat, high-fibre diet is the better choice. When considering supplements choose one that contains between 100 and 300 percent of the RDA for all vitamins and minerals. Also consider extra C , E, and beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. The best sources of course are from a nutrient dense diet.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Shorten Your Workout With Full Body Sculpting Exercises

Full body sculpting exercises are the key to spending less time in the gym. Instead of doing a full hour's workout, you can often combine many exercises and thus reduce your workout time. But this does take realizing what muscle groups you should workout and just how you can accomplish this. Here are some simple full body sculpting exercises that you can add to your workout routine.

Before you can begin, you need to understand how full body sculpting exercises work. By creating two motions at the same time, you will be putting two sets of muscles to work. For example, if you were doing a squat exercise, you would primarily be working out your lower body. But if you adding a shoulder press or tricep kickback at the same time, you could workout your upper body as well. These exercises can be tricky to master when you first start, but once you learn the basics of creating a shorter and more effective workout, you'll wonder why you ever did anything else.

Here are some full body sculpting exercises that you can do at home:

* Squat with upward shoulder press – Squat down, keeping your knees within the line of your toes, as you are moving down, push your arms up above your shoulders.

* Plie with upright row – Place your feet about shoulder width or more apart and turn your toes outward as far as you can without falling over. Take a weight in both of your hands, or have both hands share a weight and hold in front of your body near your waist. Plie by bending your knees and lowering your body only a few inches – your knees should not go further than your toes. As you do this, you will lift the weight in front of you to your chest level.

* Pushup/leg lift – Get into an all fours position on the floor, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Take one leg and lift it so that it is straight in line with your back. Lift the leg up and as you do that, lower your upper body down in a slight pushup. Raise the upper body up as you lower your back leg to the straight position.

With full body sculpting exercises, you can reduce your time in the gym without reducing the benefits for your body. When you're first starting out with these exercises, be sure to perform them slowly and without weights until you understand what you need to do. As you get better at these movements, you will be able to create your own full body sculpting exercises. And create a better body too.