Friday, June 29, 2007

The Real Secret to Having a Healthier Life

We all want to look better, feel younger, and live a healthy, happy life for a very long time.

And many of us wonder if there is a simple secret to getting better mental and physical health. We wonder if there is some magic pill that could help us achieve these goals.

How much would you pay for a pill that could provide all these following benefits to your body?

- lower your blood pressure

- strengthen your heart

- improve the oxygenation of your blood

- improve blood circulation

- reduce blood cholesterol

- relieve depression

- improve your ability to deal with stress

- make you look better

- improve your self esteem

- help you sleep better

- keep your blood sugar levels more stable

- help keep your weight down

- benefit your lungs

- keep your bones strong

- increase your muscle strength

- boost your metabolism

- reduce your risk of getting cancer

- feel more energetic

- improve your ability to mentally focus

- improve your complexion

- help you live longer

Wouldn't you pay a lot to find the secret of getting all these benefits?

If there was a pill that could do all this for you, wouldn't you like to get your hands on it?

If a pill existed that could give you all these benefits, how much would you be willing to pay to get it?
Would you be willing to pay $1.00 a day? Would you pay ten dollars a day? Or more?

Chances are that if you knew there was something that could give you all these benefits, you would pay whatever you could afford.

The bad news is that there isn't really a pill that can give you all these benefits. Not yet, anyway.

But the good news is that there is a very simple way that you can ensure that you get all these benefits.

Here in fact is the secret that you may already know deep within yourself, but perhaps you have forgotten.

Simply make sure that you get regular physical exercise!

We constantly hear about the benefits of exercise, yet many of us don't really make a commitment to exercising regularly.

Why not? The simple explanation is that we get busy, and we get lazy.

We know that exercise is good for us, but it seems like too much trouble and too much work.

To really get the benefits of exercise, you have to make a commitment to doing it. You can't just wait until you feel like it.

Many people don't get enough exercise because after a whole day of sitting in front of a computer, they only have enough energy left over to sit in front of a TV set at home.

Switching over to a lifestyle that includes exercise does involve a decision, and a commitment to do so.

If regular exercise isn't a part of your life is because you find exercise too boring, look for some form of exercise that you will enjoy. Think about taking a dance class, or join a group of cyclists in your town.

If you think that exercising is too hard, start off slow. You might have to walk before you can run.

If you need motivation or distraction while you exercise, ask a friend to join you, or join some sort of team sport.

If your joints hurt when you move, you might enjoy a swimming class instead.

If you are telling yourself that exercise is hard and that it's boring, change the messages that you send to yourself. Tell yourself frequently that exercising your body is fun.

And take the time to make a mental shift within yourself.

Turn off your thinking brain, and feel your body. Feel it as it moves. Learn to feel what your body really needs, and what messages your body is really sending you.

Chances are that the secret your body is trying to tell you is "I REALLY need exercise!"

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What is Painful Indigestion?

Today, many people think that painful indigestion and heartburn are two different terms for the same problem. In actuality, this isn't true at all. Painful indigestion and heartburn are quite different, and often warrant different treatments.

The Differences

It is true that heartburn and indigestion are related. Heartburn is actually a possible byproduct of indigestion – that is, it's one possible symptom. Just because you have painful indigestion does not mean you will have heartburn. Heartburn is an occasional symptom, but indigestion often appears without being accompanied by heartburn.

First of all, what exactly is indigestion? Indigestion is not easy to describe in specific terms, but is generally described as discomfort in the chest or upper region. Being nauseated, feeling bloated or suffering from excessive flatulence are good indicators that you may be experiencing indigestion.

The Causes

So what is the culprit of painful indigestion and heartburn? Heartburn, first of all, is usually caused by eating too much food too quickly. Some other causes may include fatty and spicy foods and alcohol.

As discussed earlier, heartburn is one symptom of indigestion. Because of this, all the aforementioned symptoms can be applied to indigestion also without necessarily implicating heartburn is occurring. Additionally, gastritis, smoking, ulcers of the duodenum, gastric ulcers, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs are some potential causes of indigestion.

The Symptoms

So heartburn is just one symptom of indigestion. Heartburn is usually described as a burning sensation in the chest. Other potential symptoms of indigestion are nausea, flatulence, and loss of appetite. If you are suffering from indigestion that occurs regularly, then it may be a good idea to consult a physician.

Someone who is over the age of 50 and experiences indigestion for the first time in their life should also see a doctor, as this is somewhat unusual and may implicate other root problems. Losing significant weight unexpectedly should also raise an alarm.

Continue reading to discover tips to reduce the incidence of heartburn and indigestion and sign up for the free heartburn, acid reflux and GERD newsletter below.


The following are some simple guidelines that will help alleviate indigestion and heartburn:

- Smaller Meals – limiting your portion size is a good first step to eliminating indigestion and heartburn. A good way to judge this is just to stop eating right as you begin to feel full.

- Slower Meals – slowing down when you eat is a good idea no matter what. Allow yourself time to pause between bites. Inhaling food too quickly is a surefire way to bring about indigestion.

- Smart food choices – some foods can bring about acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion. Although these can be different for individuals try to avoid foods high in fat, fried foods, spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol.

- No Smoking – avoid smoking, and for that matter, avoid drinking alcohol as well. Not only will you be healthier as a result, you will also significantly reduce your chances for suffering from painful indigestion.

While heartburn and painful indigestion are prevalent medical conditions in today's society, this doesn't mean they can't be avoided or alleviated. Simply follow the guidelines above, and you'll have a great start on improving your odds.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Supercharge Your Health With Awesome Vitamin Benefits

It's a proven fact that the body requires certain vitamins in order to stay sound and function properly. Now, whether or not you begin a program with those vitamins is completely up to you. Much of this pertains to your regular dieting plan. And just to be clear, everyone who eats is on some kind of diet. It's not always about dropping pounds. It is possible some are even trying to gain weight. In addition to your day-to-day meals, you might want to incorporate multivitamins and supplements. You may not know it, but just about everybody needs these extra vitamin benefits.

I am in all probability one of the few who actually set about taking multivitamins supplements when I was fairly young. I cannot say that I have watched too many teenagers get excited about vitamin gains much. To the contrary, you should not adopt the thought you do not require valid nutritional supplementation. Just because you have time on your side doe not mean you do not need vitamins. Agreed, youth plays a role, but that in itself does not last long. The key is to educate your body for what's yet to come. If you can get your body in shape through persistence and stay intelligent and fit day in and day out, you will be relatively good to go. Just think how much more skillful you will be at age sixty.

Some families require vitamin and supplement benefits even to a higher degree than the rest of us. Let's say you are a football player. Your muscles are put to the exam of endurance in a logical way. When you lift weights, muscles are torn and slightly wiped out. Then it's time to recuperate. How are you going to get your biceps and pectoral muscles back in functional condition and eliminate that post-workout soreness? Vitamins and supplements to replenish what you may use up! You need to develop a knowledge both separate, and altogether about all the vitamin benefits you can.

An inexpensive multivitamin will more beneficial than none at all. When you take them with meals and water, these supplements help to restore nutritional balance. I have been taking beneficial nutrients for a multitude of years, and must aboveboard articulate that it's no hassle whatsoever. You merely pop one a day with your breakfast, or dinner, whatever is best. You know , getting a healthy body is worth it! And what's more, multivitamin pills can do a good deal for your skin and hair. The earliest you begin a proper diet and exercising regimen, the more beneficial.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Healthy Eating - The No.1 Healthy Eating Habit That Guarantees Diet Success

An over load of dietary sugar is the big player in obesity, stomach and hormonal disorders, belly fat, arthritis, asthma, bone health and diabetes. The word is out that Americans are eating 20 teaspoons a day of liquid candy in the form of soda pop. 1 in 5 children is obese and the probable reason is lack of knowledge of healthy eating.

You can learn to develop awareness of how much sugar you eat. Sugar is ubiquitous and can masquerade as healthy eating. How many sodas do you drink per day? How many teaspoons of sugar do you put in every cup of coffee? What is the sugar content of your energy bar? Do you eat milk chocolate or dark? Dark has less sugar and more antioxidants. A client of mine stopped drinking sodas and lost 7 lbs in 2 weeks. He did not change anything else in his diet. Healthy eating habits can make you a winner!

Sugar is usually disguised as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and any word ending in 'ose' like maltose. If the first or second items on the food label are sugar, then the product is mostly sugar. So reading labels is critical for healthy eating. Prepared and convenience food is loaded with hidden sugar. It sneaks into bottled sauces and prepared grocery store meals. Reading labels gives you information about the grams of sugar and the serving size. For instance, your favorite sauce serving size is 1 tbsp. and equals 3g of sugar, but your recipe requires 1 cup of sauce, about 12 tablespoons. This is not healthy eating, because the sugar is unbalanced.

Because selling sugar products brings massive profits for multinational corporations they are not going to change, so you must. Their silent slogan is, "Let the people eat sugar!" So find ways to distract yourself. For instance if you stop for coffee and doughnuts (mostly sugar because of white flour) every morning, then find another route to work.

Take consistent focused action about managing sugar. Get rid of jams, jelly and sugar goods in your pantry. Replace sugary snacks with nuts, seeds and cheese. Tell yourself, "It feels good to carry and drink water". Congratulate yourself for not succumbing to sugar-free drinks. And start loving the healthy eating person you desire to be.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

How to Get Started with a Fitness Program

Step #1 - Walk at least 30 minutes every day

Walking is one the most beneficial activities we can do. It is low stress on the body and has tremendous benefits when it comes to building an aerobic foundation, reducing body fat, and maintaining adequate range of motion in your joints.

Choose walking whenever you have the chance be it going to work, to the store, or anywhere else. Grab a partner or join a walking group to give you some extra motivation and accountability.

Step #2 - Engage in moderate intensity aerobic training 2-4x per week

Walking is a great start but we also have to ensure that you're pushing your cardiovascular system a little more than normal. Instead of using your heart rate as a gauge (many people find this tedious) you can use what I call the "Talk Test". The Talk Test ensures that you can carry a conversation while exercising. This would be appropriate for your walking.

But now that we want to step up the intensity, you need to get to a point where maintaining a conversation is no longer easy to do. You're beginning to hear that "huff and puff" of your breath. Choose any cardio/aerobic activity that you enjoy - running, biking, elliptical, swimming, sports, etc...

We want to do this type of cardio/aerobic training 2-4x per week for at least 20 minutes.

Step #3 - Strength Train 2-4x per week

Resistance (or strength) training is absolutely critical to developing lean muscle and burning fat. It will dramatically increase your resting metabolic rate, strengthen and support your joints, and leave you feeling strong and energetic.

This type of training can take the form of body weight exercises (ie. push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, crunches, dips, etc...) or any other method which will stress your muscles (ie. free weights, tubing, etc...).

These workouts should be well balanced attending to all the body's musculature and don't necessarily have to broken up into "chest-biceps" type routines. I prefer using full-body functional training which means that we train movements and not muscle groups. This is the most effective for developing total body strength, balance between muscle groups, and is the most effective for those looking to lose weight.

For starters, choose 6 exercises and do 3 sets of each for 10-15 reps with a weight that will challenge you by the last few reps.

Step #4 - Stretch on a daily basis (and especially after exercise)

Stretching is crucial in order to maintain muscle flexibility and fluid body motion. The last thing you want is to be strong and have great musculature but limited in your range of motion (especially for athletes). Having a good degree of flexbility is also correlated with a reduction in injuries.

Stretching after (not before) your exercise sessions is recommended and helpful in restoring normal muscle length, especially since the muscles have just been subjected to increased loads and have most likely built up a good amount of toxins (ie. lactic acid).

Hold your stretches for 20-30 seconds (without bouncing) and breathe deeply to help further the stretch and deliver oxygen to the muscles. Activities like yoga are great for keeping the body limber.

Do you want to get in great shape but still not sure how to do so and don't necessarily feel like spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on a trainer?

See how Fitter U™ can help you today!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Home Gyms - Lose The Excuses, Lose the Weight!

If you're one of the many people who are hearing from their doctors that they need to: lose weight, lower their cholesterol, and get more active in order to decrease their risk of various diseases, then it's time to pay attention. There are many ailments that can be largely prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level.

One way to control weight is to make exercise a habit. This increases the metabolism, which helps burn calories. But with today's busy and hectic lifestyles, how do you incorporate regular exercise into your busy day? How will you know if the exercise you do is effective enough to be worth it?

The right exercise equipment, provided you are disciplined enough to use it, may help. There are advantages and disadvantages to owning your own machine(s). Exercise equipment that is personally owned and kept indoors removes the excuse of not having enough time to get to the gym, or enough money to keep up with health club membership payments. It also enables you to work out on your own schedule, instead of getting to the gym before they close, or wanting to work out before they open. For those whom it matters to, it's your equipment, which you don't have to share with hundreds of other people, or worry about disinfecting before each use (although keeping your equipment reasonably clean is important!).

Possible disadvantages of investing in your own exercise equipment is that because it's at home with you, you might just get used to it being there, like another piece of furniture. Too often, exercise machines end up being used more as objects to drape air-dry clothes across, or dust-catchers, than instruments of heart disease prevention. Another con may be that you don't understand how to use the item, and with no instructors or trainers around, like at a health club, you end up injuring yourself or not using the equipment at all because you don't know how to use it properly.

Another potential disadvantage is lack of variety. At a workout facility, you have the choice of many different kinds of equipment to exercise all your different muscles. Weight bearing, aerobic, anaerobic, land, aquatic, you name it, it's not necessary to limit yourself. When you buy exercise equipment, each machine will usually only serve limited functions. If you need a different kind of exercise on alternate days, for example, to stick to your prescribed fitness routine, you may have to either buy other equipment or go outside to run or do another sport -- and in inclement weather, that may become another excuse not to work out.

A great way to get around the problem of too little variety is to look for machines that will provide a number of exercises to meet your health needs. For example, the bowflex treadclimber combines a treadmill and climber in one. So you get an comprehensive cardiovascular workout with only one machine. If the bowflex climber is outside your price range ($1,500 to $2,200 for the high end models) new, look around for a used machine. Or look at other types of machines.

The most important thing is to give up the excuses. After all, there is no excuse that feels as good as being in shape!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Glyconutrients are often referred to as Glyconutritionals, Monosaccharides and Polysaccharides. Glyconutrients are simply food-derived nutrients or biological "sugars". When we say 'sugar', you probably are thinking of common table sugar. However, scientists have found over 200 'sugars'. Eight of these have been found to be necessary to human life and longevity.

When you take Glyconutrients, your cells are able to communicate properly. When your cells communicate, your body is able to repair and defend itself. Glyconutrients don't cure anything; Glyconutrients simply provide the necessary nutrients and your body does all the work. Today, only two Glyconutrients are usually found in the average person's diet. The eight necessary Glyconutrients are:

• Mannose

• Glucose

• Galactose

• Xylose

• Fucose (not fructose)

• N-acetylglucosamine

• N-acetylneuramic acid

• N-acetylgalactosamine

Glyconutrients have been documented to improve your quality of life, help your immune system repair and defend itself, maintain a healthy life and help cell-to-cell communication.

Abundant research has been done with Glyconutrients. The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association (JANA), and Fisher Proceedings have all published research on Glyconutrients. Clinical studies and case reports using glyconutrients have been published on, and – the National Institute of Health's website. Research on glyconutrients has been conducted at Texas Tech University, University of Texas, St George's University (in the UK), & the University of Queensland to name a few.

"The biggest revolutionary change in the war against disease is represented by glyconutrients. Glyconutrients are taking their place as one of the pivotal classes of nutrients. I know this not only because of the medical studies but also by the profound effects it has had toward promoting health in my patients that had been lacking over the past 20 years". ~ Dr. Michael D. Schlachter, M.D. Board Certified Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Disease Clinical Instructor, University of Nevada Medical School

Research has shown that when Glyconutrients are taken on a daily basis, they may be linked to certain positive health benefits. In 1996, Harper's Biochemistry was rewritten to include an entire chapter on Glyconutrients.

Glyconutrients are very important to your cells. Try teaching your child to write a letter to his grandma, but don't allow him to use five of the letters. Do you think "Grandma" will be able to read and understand his letter? It's the same way for your cells. When you don't give your body Glyconutrients, your cells can't "read" each other. However, when you give your body Glyconutrients, your cells become 'coated' with Glyconutrients and they can now communicate with each other. This enables your body to repair and defend itself properly.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dos and Don'ts for Taking Natural Vitamin Supplements

Natural vitamin supplements are mostly beneficial, but there are also rare instances when they become hazardous to your health. Practice caution when taking natural vitamin supplement by adhering to the following dos and don'ts.

Do consider your health. If you're not willing to visit your doctor and have a general checkup, try to identify your physical strengths and weaknesses because this will let you know which specific vitamins you need regular dosages for and which ones you need extra of.

Do choose multivitamins over natural vitamin supplements that contain specific vitamins only. Taking multivitamins will ensure that you get a healthy dosage of all essential vitamins as well as important minerals. It also helps you maintain a routine more easily because you only need to take one tablet a day for multiple vitamins (thus its name).

Do practice care when choosing which natural vitamin supplements to take. Read consumer and professional reviews regarding the product.

Do consider your budget when choosing which natural vitamin supplements to take. As taking natural vitamin supplements can be a lifelong routine, it will become a permanent part of your budget. Make sure you purchase only one you can afford to take regularly without crippling your finances too much. You could also inquire with your insurance company if they have any advice and discounts to offer.

Do not buy any natural vitamin supplement that is not approved and licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration. Unlicensed drugs may have serious side effects that could endanger your health or worse, your life.

Do not buy any natural vitamin supplement from any illegitimate vendor. Even though you know the seller personally, it's still better to purchase from a legitimate pharmacy.

Do check the expiry date of your natural vitamin supplements because there are illegal drugstores which continue to sell expired medication to the public. Consuming expired vitamin supplements can lead to a number of health complications.

Do observe time properly when taking natural vitamin supplements. It's possible for their benefits and effects to be enhanced if you take them on the dot. Setting your watch to alarm on a particular hour every day isn't too much to ask, is it?

Do eat healthy food if you wish to increase the effects of taking natural vitamin supplements. While they can certainly contribute a lot to your health, they shouldn't be seen as miracle workers. Natural vitamin supplements won't help at all if you counter them by eating too much fried foods and sweets. Match your healthy habit with a healthy diet. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits while reducing intake of oils and fats.

Do exercise regularly. A daily workout will only serve to complement the significant benefits provided by natural vitamin supplements. Think of it as natural vitamin supplements laying the foundation of good health and exercise as the glue that maintains it. Choose the type of exercise you can have fun with and one you won't have any problem performing at your preferred time of the day. Fifteen to thirty minutes' worth of workout would do.

Do adopt a healthy lifestyle as well if you wish to maximize use of natural vitamin supplements. Consider quitting smoking, reducing intake of liquor, and try sleeping the required number of hours every day.

Those are the dos and don'ts to make sure that natural vitamin supplements play their role the way they're supposed to in your life. Stay healthy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hoodia Gordonii - The History Behind The Hoodia Craze

The Hoodia Gordonii plant, which is a bitter spiny botanical plant, is only found in the infertile areas of the North Western parts of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. It has been used for generations by the Kalahari San people to stave off hunger and thirst while on long hunting trips. But it wasn't until recently that it was introduced to the Western civilization.

Long before Latin names were given to plants, the San people knew the Hoodia plant by several different names. Some of the names the plant was known by include xshoba, ikhoba and xhooba. Although the San people knew this plant was safe to eat, it was not a preferable source of food because of its flavor.

While it was not a popular choice on the dinner table, the San people did put the Hoodia plant to good use. The bushmen often went on long hunting trips to bring home food for the family, and would often be gone for days. In order to fight off the constant feeling of food and water deprivation, the men would eat Hoodia Gordonii.

At the time, there was no fear of the safety of the plant, as it was often used for abdominal cramps and indigestion as well. It was even used for awhile to treat hypertension and diabetes. Down the road is when questions of the safety of the Hoodia plant arose.

A botanist by the name of Francis Masson, who sailed with James cook, is credited with giving the plant its Latin name of Stapelia Gordonii. He actually wrote a book on it and other species of gordonii. The name was later on changed to hoodia in honor of an enthusiastic succulent grower named Van Hood.

In the 1960's, scientists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research studied many plants used by native people for medical purposes. The scientists identified what they believed to be an active molecule in Hoodia Gordonii and patented the molecule. The scientists continued to actively investigate the safety and effectiveness of the plant.

After several years of the Hoodia plant being transferred from Phytopharm to Pfizer and back to Phytopharm, Hoodia Gordonii was finally brought to the market. News of the plant as a natural appetite supplement is continuously coming in, and for now it is one of the hottest diet pills on the market.

In 2006, Phyopharm announced that they and their partner Unilever had completed the first phase of a five phase clinical research program with the Hooida plant looking into the safety and effectiveness. Only time will tell how effective this appetite supplement really is.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Miracle Cure Through Calcium

Although calcium compounds have been used since ancient times, and metallic compound was isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy way back in 1808, it was only very recently that calcium was used as a dietary supplement to compensate for dietary losses. The Hippocratic adage that all food is medicine is followed with reluctance only. Various myths and misconceptions hinder proper dietary intake that, in turn, exacerbate the diseased condition. One such myth is the ridiculously low RDA, or Recommended Death Allowance, for many minerals and vitamins, including Calcium. In a series of highly documented treatment, Dr. Carl Reich found that extremely high dosage (much above the RDA) of Calcium and Vitamin D were surprisingly successful in treating allergies, Attention Deficit Disorder and even cancer or diabetes. In a famous experiment, some experimenters cut a cancer tumor in half, and put it in two containers of body fluids at 98 degrees F, one of which contained a pinch of calcium salts. After four days the normal beaker had a four times larger tumor, and the calcium beaker had a four times smaller beaker. Miracle? Yes, but it is perfectly rational. The calcium is an alkaline metal, and makes a compound called calcium monoorthophosphate in the blood, something that raises the Ph balance of the blood.

Blood with a higher Ph can absorb more oxygen, at times upto twenty times more. Insufficient oxygen results in the blood squeezing calcium out of bones, saliva and body fluids, something that results in calcium deficit disorders, like weak bones and osteoporosis. The bones contain 99% of the calcium in the body, and it is this supply that slowly gets depleted, resulting in some calcium deposits around bone joints (which fool some doctors ignorant of nutrition to advise stopping of calcium ingestion). It was found that many of the traditional cultures took a diet that in popular perception should be very unhealthy, but those cultures did not have any medical history of disease. For example, the Eskimos and the Inuits of northern North America, until very recently, took an exclusively meat diet of which about 80% was blubber fat.

Yet, the Eskimos did not have any heart diseases, cancer or diabetes. Most of the indigenous populations in the mountainous regions of South America, Central Asia and Afghanistan, and many places in China and India have a primarily animal diet. Their main water source is glacier water that is saturated with undissolved calcium. In most places their daily calcium intake was dozens of times above the RDA, and yet these people are perfectly healthy. In Okinawa, Japan, the diet includes loads of coral calcium that has a great absorption rate.

There too people were completely free of many of the lifestyle diseases that afflict Caucasians. All this goes on to prove that plentiful supplies of minerals and vitamins are always helpful. In fact, Dr. Robert Barefoot, partner of Dr. Reich, mentions that everything god created it good and one may take it without compunction. Such plentiful supplies of natural calcium are not available everywhere, nor individual dietary habits permit such natural calcium intake. In such cases one may take alternative natural dietary supplements like milk, cheese or butter. And if one is averse to such supplements as well, there are many calcium mineral supplements available. Remember, so far is calcium is concerned, there is never too much of it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Watermelon Story told by a Watermelon Lover

"Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus, Family Cucurbitaceae) is both a fruit and a vegetable and plant of a vine-like (climber and trailer) herb originally from southern Africa and one of the most common type of melon. This flowering plant produces a special type of fruit known by botanists as a pepo, which has a thick rind (exocarp) and fleshy center (mesocarp and endocarp); pepos are derived from an inferior ovary and are characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae. The watermelon fruit, loosely considered a type of melon (although not in the genus Cucumis), has a smooth exterior rind (green and yellow) and a juicy, sweet, usually red or yellow, but sometimes orange, interior flesh. The flesh consists of highly developed placental tissue within the fruit. The former name Citrullus vulgaris (vulgaris meaning "common" - Shosteck, 1974), is now a synonym of the accepted scientific name for watermelon, Citrullus lanatus." -Wikipedia

No other fruit says summer like the subtly crunchy, thirst quenching watermelon. Although watermelons can now be found in the markets throughout the year, the season for watermelon is in the summer when they are sweet and of the best quality.

When I was around 14 years old, Daddy planted five acres of crimson sweet watermelons, if memory serves me correct on the acreage. Crimson sweet are the dark green round ones with lighter green stripes. This variety, in my opinion, is the sweetest of watermelons although I've had others that were sweet. Crimson sweet are guaranteed to be sweet when ripe.

My younger sister, Shena (who was 11) and I would make a stack in the front yard using hay for the underbelly and sell watermelons for extra summer allowance. She and I ate a great deal of the profits. I recall slicing several open for display and the two of us eating the display. We would have seed spitting contests. Our cousins and next-door neighbours; Brenda, Glenda and Vaughn would join us in these contests. We'd also keep some chilled for those wanting to eat it straightway.

As a member of the Cucurbitaceous family, the watermelon is related to the cantaloupe, squash and pumpkin, other plants that also grow on vines on the ground. Watermelons can be round, oblong or spherical in shape and feature thick green rinds that are often spotted or striped. They range in size from a few pounds to upward of ninety pounds.

Health Benefits

Watermelon is not only great on a hot summer day; this delectable thirst-quencher may also help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.

Concentrated in Powerful Antioxidants

Sweet, juicy watermelon is actually packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene. Pink watermelon is also a source of the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause a great deal of damage. They are able to oxidize cholesterol, making it stick to blood vessel walls, where it can lead to heart attack or stroke. They can add to the severity of asthma attacks by causing airways to clamp down and close. They can increase the inflammation that occurs in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and cause most of the joint damage that occurs in these conditions, and they can damage cells lining the colon, turning them into cancer cells.

Fortunately, vitamin C and beta-carotene are very good at getting rid of these harmful molecules and can therefore prevent the damage they would otherwise cause. As a matter of fact, high intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown in a number of scientific studies to reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce the airway spasm that occurs in asthma, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A cup of watermelon provides 24.3% of the daily value for vitamin C, and, through its beta-carotene, 11.1% of the DV for vitamin A.

More on Watermelon's Lycopene

Watermelon is also a very concentrated source of the carotenoid, lycopene. Well known for being abundant in tomatoes and particularly well absorbed from cooked tomato products containing a little fat such as olive oil, lycopene is also present in high amounts in watermelon and mangoes. Lycopene has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. In contrast to many other food phytonutrients, whose effects have only been studied in animals, lycopene has been repeatedly studied in humans and found to be protective against a growing list of cancers. These cancers now include prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancers.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that in patients with colorectal adenomas, a type of polyp that is the precursor for most colorectal cancers, blood levels of lycopene were 35% lower compared to study subjects with no polyps. Blood levels of beta-carotene also tended to be 25.5% lower, although according to researchers, this difference was not significant. In their final (multiple logistic regressions) analysis, only low levels of plasma lycopene (less than 70 microgram per liter) and smoking increased the likelihood of colorectal adenomas, but the increase in risk was quite substantial: low levels of lycopene increased risk by 230% and smoking by 302%.

The antioxidant function of lycopene-its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage-has been linked in human research to prevention of heart disease. Protection of DNA (our genetic material) inside of white blood cells has also been shown to be an antioxidant role of lycopene.

Energy Production

Watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production. Our food ranking system also qualified watermelon as a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin B1, magnesium, and potassium. Part of this high ranking was due to the higher nutrient richness of watermelon. Because this food has higher water content and lower calorie content than many other fruits (a whole cup of watermelon contains only 48 calories), it delivers more nutrients per calorie-an outstanding health benefit!

Protection against Macular Degeneration

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

In this study, which involved over 110,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants' consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARMD, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but watermelon can help you reach this goal.

How to Select and Store

The best way to choose a flavorful melon is to look at the color and quality of the flesh, which should be a deep color and absent from white streaks. If it features seeds, they should be deep in color. Oftentimes, however, we do not have this liberty when purchasing watermelon since it is more common to buy a whole, uncut fruit. When choosing a whole watermelon, look for one that is heavy for its size with a rind that is relatively smooth and that is neither overly shiny nor overly dull. In addition, one side of the melon should have an area that is distinct in color from the rest of the rind, displaying a yellowish or creamy tone. This is the underbelly, the place that was resting on the ground during ripening, and if the fruit does not have this marking, it may have been harvested prematurely, which will negatively affect its taste, texture and juiciness.

The quantity of carotenoids from watermelon, particularly lycopene and beta-carotene, increases if this melon is stored at a room temperature, indicates a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. So, increase the lycopene and beta-carotene your watermelon delivers by storing it at room temperature.

Yet, once cut, watermelons should be refrigerated in order to best preserve their freshness, taste and juiciness. If the whole watermelon does not fit in your refrigerator, cut it into pieces (as few as possible), and cover them with plastic wrap to prevent them from becoming dried out and from absorbing the odors of other foods.


Watermelon is not a commonly allergenic food, is not known to contain measurable amounts of goitrogens, oxalates, or purines, and is also not included in the Environmental Working Group's 2006 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce" as one of the 12 foods most frequently containing pesticide residues.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • Purée watermelon, cantaloupe and kiwi together. Swirl in a little plain yogurt and serve as refreshing cold soup.
  • In Asian countries, roasted watermelon seeds are either seasoned and eaten as a snack food or ground up into cereal and used to make bread.
  • A featured item of Southern American cooking, the rind of watermelon can be marinated, pickled or candied.
  • Watermelon mixed with thinly sliced red onion, salt and black pepper makes a great summer salad.
  • Watermelon is a wonderful addition to fruit salad. And fruit salad can be made days ahead since cut fruit, if chilled, retains its nutrients for at least six days.
So I ask you, what could be more delicious on a hot summer's day than a slice of sweet, refreshing watermelon? For a great summer spritzer, blend watermelon with a spoonful of honey and a splash of lemon or lime, then stir in seltzer water and decorate with a sprig of mint. If you didn't experience the fun of a seed spitting contest as a child, it's not too late to introduce this summer ritual to your children or the child in you! Of course, if you buy the seedless variety, you'll miss out on this playtime.


Cho E, Seddon JM, Rosner B, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 June

Edwards AJ, Vinyard BT, Wiley ER et al. Consumption of watermelon juice increases plasma concentrations of lycopene and beta-carotene in humans. J Nutr 2003 April

Ensminger AH, Ensminger, ME, Kondale JE, Robson JRK. Foods & Nutrition Encyclopedia. Pegus Press, Clovis, California 1983.

© 2007 Avis Ward of AWard Consulting, LLC

Friday, June 8, 2007

Don't Let The Heat Zap Your Work From Home Zippity Do Da!

Your Work From Home business can be very stressful. It is a wonderful business, however there are pluses and minus to everything. It's great to be able to work F/T or P/T from home, but many people do not get as much exercise as they should and most do not eat properly.

The heat and humidity are on its way. For some it is merely an inconvenience and for others it can be extremely debilitating causing dizziness, nausea, fatigue, "rubber" legs, leg cramps, heart palpitations and even death. When we feel like this from the heat we know that our electrolytes are low and need replenishing. I would like to share with you a product available called Emer'gen-C that is by far the best I have ever found in replenishing electrolytes. It is nutrient rich with 1000 mg's of Vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid, B12, potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, chromium and a touch of sodium. The vitamin C is buffered with the minerals so it prevents stomach distress. Emer'gen-C is a powerful antioxidant and immune enhancer as well. Some use it daily for it also is a natural energy booster.

Those with chronic fatigue syndrome greatly benefit from taking this product on a dally basis. Many complain of a craving for sweets and a drop in energy between 2 and 4 in the afternoon. This is a perfect time for an Emer'gen-C fizzy drink. Emer'gen-C is a powder that comes in little packets. Just add 1 packet to some water and you have a delicious effervescing drink… it doesn't even need stirring and it totally dissolves in seconds. It is 100% bio-available and works fast, delivering the nutrients to our trillions of cells in seconds. Natural flavors available are; lemon-lime, tropical, cranberry, orange, tangerine and strawberry. The lemon-lime is the most popular. It is sweetened with fructose containing only 5 gram's of sugar. For diabetics not able to handle fructose a "lite" version is available without any sweetener. On average, 1 packet 2 times a day sufficient. Each person is different, some may need more and some less.

Oh, I almost forgot, Emer'gen-C is also the best we have found for Charlie-horses that occur at night while in bed. (If muscle cramps occur throughout the day, the cause may not be electrolyte related but more of a circulatory one). We have seen a 100% success rate in eliminating these painful nighttime muscle cramps by taking 2-3 packets's a day at first, then reducing to 1-2 packets a day.

For those on diuretics, a prescription of potassium is usually given, but what about all the other electrolytes? 1 or 2 packets of Emer'gen-C a day replenishes potassium and other important electrolytes lost with diuretic use.

The elderly with heart problems are extremely vulnerable to the heat and humidity. A friend of mine's mother, Elizabeth, has never tolerated the heat and humidity well, and it is even worse now with her age and heart condition. There were days where Elizabeth took as many as 4 Emer'gen-C packets on one day. They said they carry packets with them at all times.

So, before reaching for the poplar sport drink that it is mostly sugar (14gram's) and salt with a touch of artificial color and flavor, consider a drink that is truly nutritious and delicious to.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Nutrition - A Paramount To Athletic Success

Nutrition is, no doubt, a paramount to athletic success. It is nutrition that provides the required energy for sporting events and vigorous physical activities involved.

Proper nutrients are required for muscle growth and for overall performance as well. Also, a planned nutritional diet allows for optimal body fat required for our sport.

Now-a-days, there are several misconceptions about the right nutritional plan. The aim of an ideal nutritional plan is to instill basic guidelines that can be followed throughout one's athletic and lifelong career.

Following an eight week diet that merely consists of some sort of tasteless cabbage soup will fetch you nothing!

In this article and also in a few related upcoming articles, I have attempted to throw light on the basic principles of a good nutrition and supplementation program that is needed to achieve optimal performance.

To start with, here are some basic components that are of prime importance for athletes.

• Protein:

Proteins constitute the most important macronutrients that all the athletes should be concerned with. They not only help in building muscles but are also needed by the body to replenish the protein pool inside the body.

Proteins that are ingested are an important source of essential amino acids in the body. The most important sources of protein are meats and dairy products.

• Carbohydrate:

Carbohydrate is the main source of energy for the body. To remain healthy, you need to choose the right types of carbohydrates. Fiber is a kind of carbohydrate that is a must for athletes.

Fiber not only helps with digestion but will also help to keep your bowels clean. Grains are the best source of carbohydrates.

• Fats:

If you think that any kind of fat can be detrimental to the health of an athlete, let me tell you that you are highly mistaken. On the contrary, fats have proven to be extremely helpful in nutritional plans.

Certain oils have preferable benefits to other junk fats, usually found in fried food. Oils, dairy products, and nuts are common sources of fats.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Discover the Benefits of Nutritional Supplements

In modern times, there is a growing and important need to incorporate nutritional supplements in one's diet for many reasons. While the average person may believe that he or she is eating a balanced diet, in fact he or she may be missing out on vital nutrients that cannot be easy gained on a daily basis. There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when one is weighing the reasons for taking supplements.

Why Take Nutritional Supplements?

Modern farming methods utilize frequent crop rotations in order to maximize productivity. As a result, however, vital nutrients and especially minerals in the soil are rapidly depleted. This is so extreme that you may notice that a tomato from the store today just doesn't taste like the tomato of your childhood - and it probably has nowhere near the nutrient level either. As a result, those eating mass-produced vegetables and fruits are missing out on key phytonutrients, including bioflavanoids and minerals, which are generally no longer present in the amounts they were in the past.

In addition, today we are constantly exposed to overly processed food products. If you walk into any standard supermarket, you would likely eliminate 90 percent of the store if you were to ignore the processed foods that are offered. It's certainly hard to avoid, since these are the products advertised on television, available at grocery stores, and served in the multitudes of fast-food restaurants. Even if you are conscientious and try to eat well, you still likely are filling your stomach much of the time with processed grains (stripped of bran and fiber), fatty foods (loaded with saturated and trans-fats) and overly sweetened foods with few vital nutrients.

Plus, it can be almost impossible to achieve the diverse and vital nutrients that your body requires just in what you eat day to day. For example, different fruits contain different nutrients - but you are not likely to eat every type of fruit every single day, or even once a month. How often have you eaten blueberries, bananas, pears, cherries and raspberries in a single day? Because there is such a variety out there, and because these nutrients are all important, it can be simply impossible to consistently get them all from diet alone.

Another challenge is that Americans are eating the wrong types of fats - we eat too many products containing high levels of trans fats, saturated fats, and vegetable poly unsaturated fats, instead of healthy monounsaturated fats and fish oils. Fish oils, in particular, are a valuable source of essential fatty acids, which are critical for maintaining normal mental and cardiovascular function. But unless one is eating wild Alaskan salmon three to four times a week, every week, one is not likely achieving the optimal level of these essential fatty acids and vital nutrients from diet alone.

For all of these reasons and more, high-quality nutritional supplements can help fill in the gaps and provide the vital nutrients missing from foods. They can give you the variety that you need on a day-to-day basis. Nutritional supplements are also important as it becomes evident that many vitamins and minerals can optimize your genetic potential - and taking nutritional supplements with the right blend of vital nutrients can also achieve this.

How Can You Choose the Right Nutritional Supplements?

Therefore, if taking nutritional supplements is so important to your health, your next step is to figure out how to navigate the sea of options that currently exist. Walk into any grocery store or pharmacy, or do an online search, and you'll find thousands of nutritional supplements. How do you choose a product or a brand?

Generally speaking, you should start by making sure that any supplement you buy is from a manufacturer and/or supplier working under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). These practices include documentation of the manufacturing process to eliminate the risks of i) contamination or adulteration of the vital nutrients the supplements contain, or ii) product mislabeling. Most well-known brands use GMP, so you may want to stick with a better-known product to ensure quality.

You can also investigate the manufacturer of a supplement to ensure that it has good quality control processes in place. The manufacturer should make this information available for consumers on its website or in product literature, including whether it has in-house testing of its products and whether it works with independent labs to confirm the potency and purity of its nutritional supplements and the vital nutrients that are included. In addition, you should be able to see up front if the manufacturer is promoting clinical research or simply featuring pseudo-science with little back up of its claims.

Take a look at the entire product line offered by the company as well. Many producers of nutritional supplements simply provide stand alone vitamins or single-ingredient herbs, such as a vitamin D supplement or an Echinacea pill. These companies are often simply of the "me too" variety - offering basic products just to make money. Other companies may offer blends or balanced formulations with the right combinations of vital nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, or herbs that work together to produce optimal results. Such companies are likely to provide balanced nutritional supplements that more closely mimic those found in nature and that are better for maintaining your health. Companies that provide such products are more likely to be interested in the overall well-being of their customers rather than in just selling a single type of ingredient.

Finally, look carefully at the delivery method of the vital nutrients in any supplement you are investigating. While many nutritional supplements are offered in a compressed tablet format, this is not necessarily the best way to get the nutrients into your system. If this type of tablet isn't formulated properly, or if it is compressed with too much pressure when it is created, it will not dissolve readily in the stomach. If you decide to try tablets, make sure the label notes that they meet USP dissolution requirements, which means that the product has been tested and will properly dissolve in the stomach.

A better choice for delivery is to find nutritional supplements that are isotonic - provided in powder form that can be mixed with water to create an isotonic solution. This enables vital nutrients to be absorbed more readily in the small bowel without need for digestion in the stomach, thus a very efficient delivery method.


Nutritional supplements can be extremely beneficial to your overall health and well being and can compensate for the lack of vital nutrients in modern processed foods and inadequate diets. However, it is important to choose very carefully the nutritional supplements that you purchase. Look into the background of the manufacturer or supplier of the supplements and make sure they are meeting quality control standards as well as providing these vital nutrients in a delivery form that has the greatest benefit.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

What is the Best Ab Workout for Belly Fat Loss?

The answer to the age-old question of "What is the best ab workout for losing stomach fat?" is...

None! Ab workouts alone don't create enough of a metabolic response in your body to create fat loss.

As a trainer, nutrition specialist, and fitness professional, I often get asked what the best types of exercises and workouts are for losing stubborn stomach fat in order to bring out visible six pack abs. The problem is that most people with excess stomach fat looking to try to uncover their abs are searching for some "miracle abdominal workout" that is going to slash the fat off their abs in no time.

The thing is... they are going about the problem entirely the wrong way! The truth is that you don't lose stomach fat by doing ab workouts.

The problem is that focusing most of your time and effort on abdominal exercises and abs workouts to try to flatten your stomach and bring out 6-pack abs is simply wasting your time from doing the correct workout programs that will acutally reduce your body fat for good.

If I were to choose an answer as to what the best exercises are for losing belly fat, my answer would include full body exercises such as the following:

various forms of squats, lunges, deadlifts, clean & presses, snatches, swings, presses and pulls, mountain climbers, sprinting, etc.

These types of full body exercises would encompass a much higher percentage of the workouts I would design instead of abs exercises directly targeting the midsection. The way you combine those full body exercises into a strategic workout that maximizes your metabolism is also very important.

Don't get me wrong... I do recommend a certain amount of exercises that directly target the abs and core, but these are only a small fraction of the programs I design for my clients as your time is better spent focusing on the full body exercises that stimulate the greatest hormonal and metabolic changes within the body. In addition, a side-effect of working out using mostly full body multi-joint combo exercises are that you indirectly work your entire midsection even though you are not specifically targeting the abs.

Keep in mind that the most important factor for losing belly fat to see your abs is actually in the nutrition arena. No matter how hard you workout, if your diet is full of junk, then your abdominals will be covered with ugly fat. Nutrition is without a doubt the "king of getting a six pack".

So let's clear this up for good...

Stop wasting so much of your time focusing on situps, crunches, leg raises, and all those silly worthless "ab contraptions" in your efforts to try to develop 6-pack abs. Instead focus on high intensity full body lifts using combination multi-joint exercises all strategically combined into highly effective fat loss workouts. Couple that with a healthy diet full of natural unprocessed whole foods as close to their natural state as possible, and those elusive six-pack abdominals will yours in no time!

Check out below for more of my key strategies for getting flat sexy 6-pack abs for life.