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Tips on body shaping

* How stressed are you?

Stress-Inducing Events table

Life Event LCU Life Event LCU
Death of spouse 100 Children leaving home 29
Divorce 73 Trouble with difficult teenagers 29
Marital separation 65 Outstanding personal achievement 28
Jail term 63 Spouse begins or stop work 26
Death of a close family member 63 Starting or ending school 26
Personal injury or illness 53 Change in living conditions 25
Marriage 50 Revision of personal habits (dress, manners, associations) 24
Being fired from work 47 Trouble with boss 23
Reconciliation with spouse 45 Change in work hours or conditions 20
Retirement 45 Change in residence 20
Change in health of a family member 44 Change in school 20
Illness or change in care needs of a parent 40 Change in recreational activities 19
Sexual difficulties 39 Change in religious activities 19
Addition of a family member 39 Change in social activities 18
Major business readjustment 39 Mortgage or loan under $15.000 17
Major change in financial state 38 Change in sleeping habits 16
Death of a close friend 37 Change in number of family gathering 15
Changing to a different line of work 36 Change in eating habits 15
Change in frequency of arguments whit spouse 35 Vacation 13
New loan for major purchase over $15.000 31 Christmas 12
Foreclosure an a mortgage or loan 30 Minor violation of the law 11
Major change in responsibilities at work 29 LCU Total Score______________
  • If your total is 0-150: at the moment, your stress level is low. The chance of your stress triggering a hormone imbalance is also low. Good for you.
  • If your total is 150-300: you have borderline high stress. Your risk for a stress-related hormone imbalance is moderate.
  • If your total is more than 300: warning! You have a high stress level. Your chance of having a stress-related hormone imbalance is significant.

Because the average person's life is full of responsibilities and complications, it is just not reasonable to think that you can completely eliminate stress as a factor. There are, however, tools and strategies that can help you to better cope with day-to-day stress. Proactive stress management has been shown to decrease the body's susceptibility to the fight-or-flight surge of adrenal hormones.

Hormone-healthy habit: beat stress

Although de-stressing is part of the prescription for restoring and maintaining hormone balance, setting aside time for yourself will be one of your greatest challenges. Experiment with different approaches to determine which ones will work best for you.

Breathe

A common response to our hurried and fragmented lives is physical tension in the body and shallow breathing through the chest. Simply making a conscious effort to breathe more deeply and slowly can elicit a relaxation response to counteract your automatic stress response.

Try to set aside five minutes three times a day to close your door, turn off the phone, and just focus on inhalation and exhalation. Some people accomplish this best when they are naturally sequestered; for instance, in the car or on the toilet. Try the following technique:

  • Put your hand under belly button and focus on moving your breath down through your belly rather than up through your chest.
  • Breath in through your nose for a count of four.
  • Hold for a count of three.
  • Exhale through your mouth for a count of four.

Take any routine interruption that you find annoying in life and " reprogram" it as a cue to pause and breathe more consciously. Red lights, e-mail message alerts, e-mail message alerts, and being put on hold during a telephone call can serve this function.

Mediate

For most of us, our minds are busy even when our bodies are still. When you use meditation to elicit the relaxation response, you turn your attention inward, concentrating on a receptive positive thought, prayer, or image to reduce the reactivity of your thoughts.

Some patients have told me that they meditate by repeating a manta of love or peace with each exhalation; others say that they recite a memorized prayer; or personally, I picture myself on the shores of a beach listening to the ebb and flow of the waves. I encourage you to develop your own personal meditation to help your body and begin to quiet down so that a state of physiological and mental rest can ensue.

Begin by setting aside ten minutes each day to meditate. Do you best to find a quiet space where you won't be disturbed. You can meditate in any position, but the best way is to sit up with a straight back or in a comfortable chair. To help you fully relax and eliminate the need to look at your watch, set a timer or gentle alarm.

Visualize

A psychologist I know well has a fun technique to reduce your reaction to stressful people. He suggest that whenever you are around someone who is causing you tense up or feel anxious, you should visualize that person's face on a tiny mouse's body with really big ears. Then, he suggests, imagine yourself taking a big broom to firmly and efficiently swish that mouse away.

Another visualization technique is to imagine that your stress has a shape and form and has attached itself like gum to the bottom of your shoe. Visualize yourself taking off your shoe, peeling off that nasty stress, and throwing it in the garbage. The goal is to create an image of stress as something you can get rid of.

Finally, simply close your eyes and take yourself on a trip to the most peaceful place you have ever been or read about. Imagine how the air fells against your skin and how restful your mind is while you are there. When you reenter your true surroundings, you will most likely feel refreshed from your brief mental vacation.

Sleep disturbances and your hormones

Stress can cause you to toss and turn at night. Stress-induced insomnia can impact two hormones that function to stimulate and control your appetite: ghrelin, the hormone that pumps through your body when you feel hungry, and leptin, the hormone that tells you that you are full and to stop eating.

In the long-term Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, men and women who routinely slept eight hours nightly were compared to those who sleep five hours or less. The findings indicated that those sleeping five hours or less had a 15persent higher level of ghrelin, the hormone signaling hunger and a 16 percent lower level of leptin, the hormone signally fullness.

According to Peter Kilpton, health journalist and author of Less Sleep Can Equal More Weight, when you are deprived of sleep, the production of gherlin and leptin are affected, and not in a positive way. Researchers have concluded that a sleep deficit leads to elevated levels of ghrelin in your system. If you are not getting enough sleep, your body responds by telling you are hungrier. Furthermore, when you do eat, it will take you long to fell and satisfied. This is because the amount of leptin in your system has decreased. The combination of elevated ghrelin (making you feel constantly hungry) and decreased leptin (telling you that you still aren't full) will wreak havoc on your waistline.

By From "Belly Fat to Belly Flat" By C.W. Randolph

Weight Loss: Boost your metabolism and jump-start your weigh loss!

When you work out and the pounds still don’t come off, it can be incredibly frustrating. But certain habits and physical changes can undermine even proven weight loss strategies, especially after you turn 40. When Australian and UK researchers reviewed nearly 100 studies on exercise and weight loss, they discovered why those extra pounds wouldn’t budge. Try these tips to keep the number on the scale dropping.

  1. Make More Muscle

    After you turn 40, your metabolism starts to decline at a rate of 2 to 4% per decade, and weight loss can slow it down even more in a University of Colorado Health Sciences study, losing a mere pound a week for 12 weeks lowered metabolism by 165 calories a day. Part of the reason is that it’s nearly impossible to slim down without losing some muscle-your body’s calorie-burning engine-along with the fat. Each pound you shed is about 70% fat and 30% muscle. But you can counteract the effect.

    Simple Strategies:

    • Lift weights three times a week. It’s the fastest way to build muscle and get results when the scale is stuck. “Regulars strength-training can increase your resting metabolic rate by up to 8% “says Wayne Westcott, PhD, author of Get Stronger Feel Younger. In one 8-week study, women and men who did only cardio exercise lost 4 pounds but gained no muscle, while those who did half the amount of cardio and an equal amount of strength-training shed 10 pounds of fat and added 2 pounds of muscle.
    • Break up your meals. Eating five small meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two snacks) instead of three large ones helps keep metabolism high. Spreading calories throughout the day “keeps blood sugar levels even and controls the release of insulin that can cause your body to store more calories as fat” says Leslie Bonci, RH, MPH, director of sports medicine nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
  2. Outsmart a Plateau

    As you drop weight, your body doesn’t have to work as hard, simply because there’s less of you to move around, says Michele Kettles, MD, medical director of the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. That means your workouts produce a smaller calorie burn. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds and lose 35, you’ll melt about 100 fewer calories in an hour-long cardio class-which can slow down further weight loss.

    Simple Strategies:

    • Get your heart rate up. Watching TV or reading while you exercise can lower your workout intensity-and your calorie burn. Instead, pay attention to your pulse, suggests Kettles. For best results, stay between 60 and 80% of your maximum heart rate. To estimate your MHR, subtract your age from 220. Then multiply your MHR by 0.6 for the lower end of your target heart rate zone and by 0.8 for the upper end. For example, if you’re 40, aim for 108 to 144 beats per minute. (For easier tracking, invest in a heart rate monitor.)
    • Diversify. The more comfortable you become with an exercise routine, the less effective it gets. To continue to lose weight, you need to challenge your body in new ways. “Even replacing one exercise can create enough of a surprise to keep results coming, “says Kettles. Try this: The first week of every month, do a new upper-body exercise; the second week, a new lower-body one; the third, a new abs move; and the fourth, a different type of cardio (cycling instead of walking, for example).
  3. Sweat the Small Stuff

    It may happen subconsciously, but the studies show that some people move less after they begin an exercise regimen. When women and men, average age 59, started to work out twice a week, their everyday activity decreased by 22%, according to research from the Netherlands. The reason for the slowdown, experts speculate, may be post workout fatigue or the perception that if you exercise, you can afford to skimp on the small stuff.

    Wrong! Little activities such as standing (instead of sitting), fidgeting, and walking more throughout the day can add up to an extra 350 calories burned per day, according to Mayo Clinic studies. Other research shows that a decrease in these everyday actions may shut down an enzyme that controls fat metabolism, making weight loss tougher.

    Simple Strategies:

    • Track nonexercise activity. Record your daily step counts with a pedometer on a couple of days when you don’t work out. Then calculate your average (add up your daily totals and divide by the number of days tracked). If you don’t maintain at least this level of activity every day, your fat-burning ability will decline. For instance, if you normally log 5,000 steps a day but skip half of then on days you work out; your weight loss could slow by up to 50%.
    • Set up weekly physical outings. You’ll be less likely to blow them off if you make a commitment to someone else. Plan a hike or bike ride with your family, or volunteer to walk your neighbor’s dog.
  4. Halt Hunger Hormones

    When 35 overweight women and men started exercising, researchers found that some of them compensated for their workouts by eating up to 270 extra calories a day-negating more than half of the calories they burned, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity. “Some research shows that exercising regularly can trigger the release of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone meant to protect the body from losing weight too quickly,” says Bonci. To make matters worse, appetite also appears to increase as you approach menopause because of declining estrogen level, according to animal studies.

    Simple Strategies:

    • Snack before you sweat. “Exercising on an empty stomach lowers blood sugar, which can increase your appetite and set you up to overeat afterwards,” says Bonci. To ward off post exercise hunger, have a light carb-rich snack 20 to 30 minutes before you work out.
    • Write before you eat. Keeping a food diary is a proven weight loss tool, but don’t wait until after your meal. “When my clients record what they’re going to eat, it puts their dietary habits on pause long enough to decide if their food choices are really worth it,” says Bonci.
    • Time your meals. If possible, schedule your workouts before a meal. In studies where meals were served 15 to 30 minutes after exercise, participants ate less than those who had to wait an hour or more to eat.
    • Sip often. People who regularly drink water eat nearly 200 fewer calories daily than those who consume only tea, coffee, or soda, reports one study. Bonus: Make it ice-cold water. Researchers found that drinking 6 cups of cold water a day raised metabolism by about 50 calories daily. And every little bit helps!

Ways to beat Stress Fat!

Anxiety is a powerful biological trigger for weight gain. Here's how to stop it - fast. By Nancy Kalish

For most of us, stress is a fact of life. Unfortunately, recent research reveals that it's also a fact of fat. "Even if you usually eat healthfully and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weight - or even add pounds," says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, a Prevention advisor and the author of Body for life for Woman. But you can fight back!

Here's what happens: Your body responds to all stress - physical or psychological - in exactly the same way. So when you have a stressful day, your brain acts as though you're in physical danger and instructs your cells to release potent hormones. You get a burst of adrenaline, which taps stored energy so you can fight or flee. At the same time, you get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven't used many calories, making you hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out cortisol as long as the stress continues.

Sadly, few of us reach for a carrot sticks in these situations. "Instead, we crave sweet, salty, and high-fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemical that actually do reduce tension," explains Elissa Epel, PhD, a researcher on stress eating at the University of California, San Francisco. This soothing effect becomes addicting, so every time you're anxious, you reach for fattening foods.

In addition, with your adrenal glands pumping out cortisol, production of the muscle-building hormone testosterone slows down. "Over time, this drop causes a decrease in yoiur muscle mass, so you burn fewer calories," explains Shawn Talbott, PhD, author of The Cortisol Connection.

Cortisol also encourages your body to store fat - especially visceral fat, which is particularly dangerous because it surrounds vital organs and releases fatty acids into your blood, raising cholesterol and insulin levers and paving the way for heart disease and diabetes.

Obviously, getting rid of all anxiety isn't an option. But by taking these steps to beat stress, you can get your corisol levels and your weight under control while improving your overall health.

  1. Drop and Do 10

    That's right, power out some pushups. "Moving your muscles is an effective, instant stress reliever. It actually fools your body into thinking you're escaping the source of your stress," says Talbott. "Exercise makes your blood circulate more quickly, transporting the cortisol to your kidneys, and flushing it out of your system." Even a stroll is beneficial. In one study, Talbott found that 18 minutes of walking three times per week can lower the hormone's levels by 15%.

  2. Go Slowly at Meals

    Under stress, we tend to scarf down even healthy food, and research has linked this to bigger portions and more belly fat. But Epel hypothesizes that slowing down and paying attention to feelings of fullness may lower cortisol levels along with decreasing the amount of food you eat, thereby shifting the distribution of fat away from the belly.

  3. Stop Strict Dieting

    Research shows that constant dieting can make cortisol levels rise as much as 18%. In addition, when your cortisol levels spike, your blood sugar goes haywire, first rising, then plummeting. This makes you cranky and ravenous. When your brain is deprived of sugar - its main fuel - self-control takes a nosedive. "The only way around this is to stop rigid dieting," says Peeke. She suggests eating healthy meals and two snacks spaced evenly throughout the day so that your blood sugar stays level: "You won't be hungry, you won't be stressed about being hungry, and you'll still drop the extra pounds."

  4. Give In to Cravings

    When stress drives you toward something sweet or salty, it's okay to yield a little. "It's much better to indulge in a small way and cut off your cortisol response before it gets out of control," says Epel. "Have a piece of chocolate. You will feel better. Just stop at one. "If you have trouble restraining yourself, take precautions so you won't binge. Buy a single cookie when you're out instead of keeping a box at home.

  5. Curtail Caffeine

    Next time you're under duress, choose decaf. Combining stress with caffeine raises cortisol levels more than stress alone. In one study by the University of Oklahoma, consuming the equivalent of 2 ? to 3 cups of coffee while under mild stress boosted cortisol by about 25% - and kept it up for 3 hours. When aubjects took 600 mg of caffeine (the equivalent of 6 cups of java) throughout the day, the hormones went up by 30% and stayed high all day long. You'll experience these effects even if your body is accustomed to a lot of lattes. And because high cortisol levels can contribute to stress eating, you might want to quit caffeine altogether.

  6. De-stress Breakfast

    Deficiencies in B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium are stressful to your body, leading to increases cortisol levels and cravings, says Talbott. He suggests eating a breakfast that's high in these nutrients: OJ, a grapefruit, or strawberries to supply vitamin C; 6 to 8 ounces of low fat yogurt, which contains calcium and magnesium; and whole grain toast with peanut butter. Whole grains have B vitamins, while peanut butter packs fatty acids that can lower the production of stress hormones.

  7. Sleep It Off

    The most effective stress-reduction strategy of all: Get enough shut-eye. "Your body perceives sleep deprivation as a major stressor," says Talbott. A University of Chicago study found that getting an average of 6 ? hours each night can increase corisol, appetite, and weight gain. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours per night. As if that weren't enough, other research shows that lack of sleep also raises levels of ghrelin, a hunger boosting hormone. The good news: A few night of solid sleep can bring all this back into balance, and getting enough regularly helps keep it there.

FOOD LABELS

The food label is a reliable, accurate, user-friendly source of valuable nutritional information. What you learn from reading and comparing food labels will help you to avoid ingredients and additives that may not be good for you. Knowledge leads to empowerment and better choices.

How do I read the ingredients lest?

The ingredients are listed in descending order by weight and include any color additives, preservatives, nutrients, fats, or sugar that have been added. So if a packet of food has sugar as the first ingredient, then you know that the sugar content within that food is high.

What about food additives?

There are over 14.000 man-made chemicals added to our food supply today. Our bodies are not designed to break down and digest so many chemicals and food additives. Be aware of the types of chemicals and food additives you are consuming. Some additives in our food have been linked to a variety of health problems including headaches, fatigue, and allergies.

Top 10 food additives to avoid

  • Acesulfame-K
  • Artificial colorings
  • Aspartame
  • BHA & BHT
  • Caffeine
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • Nitrite and Nitrate
  • Sulfites
  • Tartrazine

If you need a dictionary to decipher the label, chances are you should not be eating that food.

What is fortified?

Fortified means that a nutrient that is not naturally present in a food has been added. Natural foods contain an abundance of nutrients that are instantly recognizable to the human body and so easily digested. The thousands of nutrients and photochemicals found in natural foods work in the harmony with each other. Fortified foods tend to contain isolated nutrients that nave been shown to be commonly deficient in our diet. The problem is that the natural synergy of the nutrients is lost when they are taken separately like this.

Foods fortified with calcium are one example. The type of calcium used is often calcium carbonate, which is poorly utilized and can lead to a buildup of calcium deposits that can actually cause health problems. Calcium utilization is affective by magnesium, vitamin D, boron, fiber, and the ratio of other minerals to the calcium. All of these are likely to be out of balance if calcium is added to a food. It’s not the way nature indicated it.

That is enriched?

Rice is a good example. Everybody tells me how much they love white rice. But the difference between brown rice and white rice is not just in color. The milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys approximately two-thirds of the vitamins B3, 80 percent of the vitamin b1, 90 percent of the vitamin B6, plus half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60 percent of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. The resulting white rice is simply a refined starch that is largely bereft of its original health-boosting nutrients; you’ll probably find that white rice has been “enriched” whit vitamins B1, B3, and iron. Bur the form of these nutrients when added back into the processed rice is not the same as in the original unprocessed version, and at least 11 lost nutrients are not replaced at all.

Keep them low.

On the nutrition label, the nutrients that most people eat too much of are listed first. It is a good idea to read the labels and choose foods that are low in the following:

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Saturated fat

Salt

Salt is needed by the body to help cells take up nutrients and balance fluid levels, but it is needed in only tiny amounts. The recommended limit of salt is 6g per day. Salt is hidden in so many foods, even before you shake it on your food. Try to make sure you eat “no added salt” foods as much as possible and instead of adding salt when cooking, add flavor through dried and fresh herbs.

When reading nutrition labels also watch out for “sodium,” as 1g of sodium is roughly equivalent to 2.5g salt. Table salt is 40 percent sodium, and I want you to cut out using table salt completely. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart disease, stroke, or kidney problems.

Sugar Junkies

Sugars are a type of carbohydrate that occurs naturally in bloods such as fruits. Added sugars are those that do not occur naturally in the food but are added during processing or preparation. Foods containing added sugars provide calories but may have few vitamins and minerals. Frequently consumed foods with added sugars include soft drinks, cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, sweets, chocolate, many ready meals, and some canned foods. Consuming too many of these foods may cause weight gain or prevent you from eating more nutritious foods.

Because added sugars are not always called “sugar,” it can be difficult to identify them in food. Following is a list of just some of the names for added sugars. If one of these names appears first or second in the ingredients list, the food is probably high in added sugar.

  • Brown sugar
  • Cane juice
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Raw cane sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose syrup

The fat problem

Some fats are very good for you; in fact they are essential, hence their name, “essential fatty acids.” Most labels won’t say if the total fat content is good or bad fat, so I would urge you to get your good fat intake from avocados, seeds, nuts, and fish.

Bad fat food is difficult to digest and can lead to weight gain. Saturated fat, which often is included on the nutrition breakdown, is known to raise levels of cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease, so always watch out for that if it is listed.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (butter, lard) and found mainly in animal produce and dairy products, in hard and soft margarines, cooking fats, cakes, biscuits, savory confectionaries, and chocolate.

Trans fats-the evil twin of saturated fats-are produced when vegetable and fish oils are hydrogenated to turn them into margarine or shortening. Like saturated fats from animal food, they block the conversion of essential fats, and research has shown that they may be even worse for you than saturated fats as they not only raise levels of bad blood cholesterol but also lower levels of good cholesterol. Low fat spreads often contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.

Also be aware that low fat foods often contain sugar to make up for the lack of flavor from the fats. If sugar is not used by the body for energy it can be converted into fat and stored just like fat, so there’s no benefit in swapping to “low fat” if it simply means high sugar.

By Slim for life By Dr. Gillian McKeith

Top 10 Foods for Good Health:

All these foods can reduce the risk of getting cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases:

  • Flax seed
  • Soy products (tofu)
  • Wheat germ
  • All deep orange and red-colored vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Olive or canola oil
  • Fish rich in omega-3 oils (salmon, tuna)
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Avocado

Quick Tip. Instead of dressing you can add a few pieces of avocado and small olives into a salad for an easy way to add healthy fat into your diet. Beware of adding too many, which can add a lot of calories to your salad.

Candy Is Not Dandy

Try to skip or limit fat-laden sweets like candy bars: the quick rush of energy they provide is followed by a blood-sugar crash that can leave you feeling even more tired. If you are looking for convenience, it’s better to grad a nutrient bar-a protein or energy bar with about 16 grams of protein per serving. These bars give you more vitamins and minerals, plus carbohydrates, protein, and nutrients for energy, and they’re low fat. However, they are a supplement, which means you still need to eat a good, balanced diet and shouldn’t rely only on them to replace healthy foods. Another option: a medium-sized banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter.

Common Questions

  • What types of vitamins should I take?

    You should add multivitamin whit minerals (such as One-a-Day for women or men) to your daily diet, because, let’s face it, most diets-even those that are well-balanced-may not provide all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. For women, in particular, a multivitamin helps ensure that you’re getting enough calcium, iron, and folic acid or folate (important for women planning to have children to prevent certain birth defects). Make sure the multivitamin you take has close to 100 percent of the daily value (RDA) of most vitamins and minerals. One thing to realize: unless you are deficient in a particular nutrient, mega dosing on vitamins won’t help to increase your energy or help relieve fatigue and may leave you with an upset stomach or, even worse, a toxic reaction.

  • Well then, what kinds of supplements do I need?

    Above and beyond the daily multivitamin, you may benefit from taking certain vitamins in higher levels to compensate for particular deficiencies:

    Vitamin C (60 mg RDA): this vitamin is a very important antioxidant and 1.000 mg of vitamin C per day by mouth can help with sun damage or sun exposure. Because vitamin C is water-soluble, the body will excrete what it cannot use or absorb. The maximum amount of vitamin C an adult can absorb daily is 1.200 mg: achieving this usually requires 3 grams of oral intake of vitamin C (which is not recommended). If you are fighting off a cold or have a depressed immune system, you can take a vitamin C supplement of 500 to 1.000 mg per day.

    Vitamin D (400 IU RDA): vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because the body manufactures the vitamin after being exposed to sunlight. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure three times weekly is adequate to produce the body’s requirement of vitamin D.

    Vitamin E (30 IU RDA): another important, vitamin E-like vitamin A-is fat-soluble, so the body stores what it doesn’t utilize. Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties can help cardiovascular health by preventing cholesterol buildup in the artery walls. Vitamin E is also important for supple skin. Too much vitamin E cause stomach upset and dizziness or even toxicity.

    Thiamin (1.1 mg RDA): thiamin helps enzymes metabolize carbohydrates and helps with nerve function. It is essential for normal development, growth, reproduction, physical performance, and well-being.

    Pycnogenol: this powerful antioxidant can be found in certain vitamins.

    Coenzyme Q-10: this enzyme also has potent antioxidant properties and is readily available as a supplement.

    Riboflavin (1.3 mg RDA): this growth-promoting member of the vitamin B complex family facilitates metabolic reactions.

    Niacin (15 mg RDA): Niacin, an essential vitamin in the body, helps to metabolize energy as well as to break down and synthesize fats.

    B6 (1.6 mg RDA): this water-soluble vitamin helps in protein metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, and hemoglobin synthesis. Be careful not to overdose on your B vitamins. Studies show that greater than 100 mg of B6 may damage nerves in arms, legs, hands, and feet. Keep your dosage of B6 under 50 to 100 milligrams per day.

    B-12 (2.0 mg RDA): this co-enzyme is necessary to metabolize fats; it also helps in nerve function and red blood cell formation.

    Folate (200 mg RDA): this co-enzyme (also called folic acid) is involved in DNA synthesis and red blood cell formation. The RDA for women of childbearing years is 400 mg to help prevent certain birth defects.

  • What are antioxidants and why do I need them?

    Antioxidants are compounds that can give your body a boost in deactivating harmful chemicals in the body known as free radicals. Free radicals are formed daily through normal body processes. They are also generated by environmental pollutants, such as cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust, and radiation.

    Quick Tip. It is good idea to accumulate your sources of antioxidants from food rather than from supplements. The reason? You can get toxic doses of the vitamins over an extended period of time, especially vitamin E and selenium. In addition, foods contain other beneficial nutrients, providing a combined effect, whereas a supplements provides only the nutrient identified.

    Free radicals are unstable compounds that can attack and injure vital cell structures. Certain vitamins and minerals help our bodies to deactivate and minimize free- radical reactions within our cells. They also help with repairing the sun related damage caused by free radicals and may also reduce the risk cancers. These antioxidants are:

    Beta Carotene: Found in orange and green fruits and vegetables (spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, apricots, and cantaloupe)

    Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, broccoli, green and red peppers, and strawberries

    Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, almonds, wheat germ, peanuts, sunflower and sesame seeds

    Selenium: Seafood, meats, eggs, milk, whole grains, and garlic.

  • I’ve been hearing a lot about both green and black teas. What’s the deal?

    Both green and black teas have naturally occurring antioxidants. In recent studies, chemicals derived from green tea have stopped the growth of mouse skin cancers, reduced the incidence of lung cancer in mice exposed to tobacco carcinogens, lowered LDL (cholesterol) levels, and reduced blood clots in mice. In 1997, scientists at the university of Kansas found that green tea contains possible cancer prevention, an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate. To boost health benefits, don’t add milk to green tea: the antioxidant loses its potency when it binds with mild proteins. Take green tea capsules if you don’t want the caffeine.

  • What is the food guide pyramid and how can I use it?

    The food guide pyramid is a general guide to daily food choices and is not an individualized diet for a specific person. It provides a general reference point regarding how many servings as well as the size of a serving for each food group the average individual may need per day. Here is a basic guide:

    Starches/grains 6 to 11 servings

    Fruits 2 to 4 servings

    Vegetables 3 to 5 servings

    Protein 2 to 3 servings

    Dairy 2 to 3 servings

    Oils, sweets, alcohol Use sparingly

  • Can I eat low-protein diet and still function well?

    If your diet lacks protein, it is probably also deficient in zinc and iron, because animal protein is a good source for all three nutrients. By eating a diet with enough protein (65 mg per day, or 2 to 3 servings of 4 to 6 ounces), you’ll help your body build repair muscle tissue and body cells. By not eating enough protein, you can become malnourished, which can lead to illness, fatigue, and decreased concentration. Not sure about portion size?

    Quick Tip. Eating a little protein at each meal (i.e., a balanced meal as opposed to only a bowl of pasta) can increase production of brain chemicals that foster alertness. Any proteins will help, but protein that is low in fat is healthier and will not leave you feeling as full and lethargic, because fat slows digestion. Try fish, skinless chicken, very lean beef, or low-fat yogurt.

    As a frame of reference, the size of a deck of cards is equivalent to about 3 ounces. Everyone needs certain amino acids, the building blocks of protein. If the diet doesn’t provide these essential amino acids, over time the body breaks down its own muscle mass, with the consequences mentioned above. Deficient protein means deficient iron and zinc, which weakens the body and makes it more susceptible to illness.

  • How can I increase iron in my diet?

    You can get more iron in your body diet by increasing your protein intake, eating iron-fortified foods, and taking a multivitamin. Many women need extra iron during their menstrual cycle, because when they bleed heavily they lose blood and therefore iron. Good courses of iron include: dark meats, seafood, milk and cheese, and iron-fortified cereals and breads. Plant sources of iron (iron-fortified cereals and breads, raisins, nuts, seeds, broccoli, prune juice) should be eaten with animal products or foods containing vitamin C to increase the iron’s availability to your system. Drinking caffeinated coffee or tea interferes with iron absorption from these sources.

  • What are the best foods for energy?

    The best foods for increasing energy are complex carbohydrates: whole grain foods such as whole grain bread, bulgar, and oatmeal, brown rice, potatoes, and yams, fruits, and vegetables (which are less complex but still a good source for a quick boost of energy), as well as many vitamins and minerals. Unlike soda or candy, which resulting a quick rush of sugar and then cash, trese carbohydrates (carbs) provide a good energy source and a bunch of nutrients.

  • Do the new low-carbohydrate diets work?

    Avoid low-carb diets. They are usually inadequate in complex carbs, vitamins, and minerals and ultimately will leave you feeling tired.

    When you lose weight from these diets, much of it is from water loss. Another problem with these types of diets is that most people can’t sustain eating this way for a long period of time, so they end up gaining all the weight back.

  • How much fiber do I need?

    You need fiber, because it’s what helps to clean out yours system. Generally 25 to 35 grams per day is recommended. Breads are good sources of fiber if you choose wisely; when shopping for high-fiber bread, check the ingredient list. Avoid breads that list “enriched wheat flour”- even though the label may say “high fiber”, nutrients are stripped out and then “enriched” back in. to ensure that your bread is a good source of fiber, look for unprocessed whole grain products with 100 percent whole wheat on the ingredient list.

  • What about the bloating I get when I eat fiber?

    Many people go to extremes when it comes to fiber intake. They often take in very little fiber at first, and then start a high-fiber diet too quickly. Their system simply haven’t gotten a chance to get used to the added fiber, so they get bloated and gassy. The solution is to increase your fiber intake slowly. Also, most people don’t realize that fiber doesn’t work without water. Water pulls the fiber through your system, moving things along through the digestive system more easily and quickly and avoiding constipation. If you don’t drink enough water, the fiber simply collects, loading down your system.

  • How much water do I need to drink? I’m not a camel!

    Relax. You don’t need to drink until you can’t hold anymore. Instead, follow this rule of thumb: if you are making more than one trip to the bathroom an hour, you’re probably drinking too much for your body to handle, or for it to do your skin any good.

    Quick Tip. Are you drinking enough water? Check your urine. If it is dark yellow, this may be an indication that your body doesn’t have enough water and is conserving it. If you are drinking enough water and eating enough fruit and vegetables (which are 75 to 95 percent water), urine will be clear and plentiful. Also, if you don’t drink enough water, you skin won’t be as supple or elastic as it can be and very-thing you eat is digested less efficiently.

    Once your body is hydrated, no more moisture can get to your skin internally. When the body has become saturated, the kidneys, which are the prime filters of the blood and “balancers” of the body’s water lever, will excrete any additional fluids that enter the body. Instead, you can further hydrate your skin by applying a topical moisturizer over damp skin.

  • How does alcohol (the kind you drink) affect your skin?

    If you drink alcoholic beverages in excess, it shows up in a sallow complexion, puffy face, and red eyes. Why? Because alcohol dehydrates your skin and causes blood vessels to dilate, creating puffiness under the eyelids and a generally puffy appearance.

    Quick Tip. It’s a good idea to drink an extra cup of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume to help prevent dehydration (one of the causes of hangovers!).

    Drinking alcohol can also worsen a rosacea condition. Here are some of the other unattractive effects of alcohol:

    A lowered resting muscle tone, which can make your face look drawn.

    Because of its dilating effects, alcohol causes increased leakage of the blood vessels and capillaries, especially under the eyes, leading to puffiness of the lower eyelids.

    Alcohol depresses the immune system, affecting the body’s ability to fight off any low-level acne-type bacterial infections.

    Alcohol also decreases absorption of several vitamins.

    That’s not to say nobody should ever have a drink. In fact, recent studies have suggested that drinking one glass of wine a day may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • I’ve been hearing a lot about my BMI. What is it?

    Both men and women can check their BMI (body mass index) to determine whether their weight is appropriate for their height (see MBI formula below). You can also use it to determine if you are seriously overweight and to estimate your risk of weight-related disease. The numbers are not foolproof. Some very muscular people may have a high BMI without health risk. Regardless of your BMI, if your waist is larger than 35 inches (if you’re a woman, larger than 40 inches in a men), you have an increased risk of heard disease, diabetes, and other health problems.

    BMI formula

    BMI = weight (pounds) divided by height (inches) squared and multiplied by 705.

    Example: A 5’9 (69’) woman weighing 145 pounds would do this formula as:

    145 divided by 69 squared (4761) = .0304557, multiplied by 705 = 21.47

    A BMI of 25 to 29 usually indicates a person is overweight (where risk to health begins); a BMI of 30 or more usually indicates a person is obese. The most desirable BMI is in the 19 to 24 ranges.

From "Beautiful Skin" by David E. Bank, M.D., with Estelle Sobel

CARBS ALONE DONT CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN

Cut curbs and lose weight, right? Low-carbohydrate diets are a current weight-loss craze. The rationale behind the use of low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss is that foods high on carbohydrate stimulate the release of insulin, which is a hormone that promotes energy storage. It is suggested that the more insulin you take, the more fat you will store. High glycerin index foods which increase blood sugar and then stimulate insulin release, are therefore hypothesized to shift metabolism toward fat storage. In contrast, a low – carbohydrate diet causes less of rise in insulin and therefore is suggested to promote fat loss. Recent studies on the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss show that these diets do promote weight loss. Some of the reason for this is that when carbohydrate intake is low ketenes are produced- these help suppress appetite, so the dieter eats less. In general people who are consuming low-carbohydrate diets are also consuming low-energy diets. The weight loss on these diets, as with other weight-loss diets, it caused by consuming less energy than the body expends, rather than the metabolic effects of insulin.

The popularity of low-carbohydrate diets makes people think that carbohydrates are fattening. In fact, carbohydrates provide 4 Calories per gram: less than half the 9 calories per gram provided by fat. However, this is not to say that if carbohydrates are consumed in excess, they won’t add pounds. Anytime energy is consumed in excess of requirements regardless of the source of the excess, weight will increase. But carbohydrate is no more fattening than fat or protein. In fact, excess carbohydrate in the diet is less efficient at producing body fat than excess fat in the diet. Unrefined carbohydrates might even help reduce energy intake because the fiber in these foods adds bulk to the gastrointestinal tract and is digested and absorbed more slowly causing you to feel full longer and after consuming less.

There is evidence that in some people an abnormal craving for carbohydrate – rich foods contributes to their weight problems. Carbohydrate craving is a component of a variety of disorders including obesity, premenstrual syndrome, bulimia, depression, and seasonal affective disorder. One theory proposed to explain carbohydrate craving is that these individuals have an abnormality in the regulation of brain levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This abnormality causes them to seek carbohydrate like a drug to increase serotonin levels, which improves their mood.

NATURAL EXCERISE

The natural way to a happier and healthier you is to combine a balanced whole diet with regular exercise and adequate sleep. You will then feel good and look good, making you generally more positive and able to tackle the tasks of daily living. The single best thing you can do to protect, maintain, and promote your well being, and prevent serious illness is to exercise responsible: to stretch and move your body regularly, and within your individual needs and means.

How fit are you?

Someone who eats junk food, sits in front of the computer all day, travels home through rush-hour traffic to snack on more junk food, and then verges out in front of the television will look and feel tired, lethargic, ad jaded. This life style actually puts a great deal of strain on the body, but the more but the more you use your body, the better it will perform and cope with the tasks you face. The human body was designed for movement. These days, unfortunately, movement can often consist only of the short walk to the mode of transport, which takes you from home to work. Even this small amount of movement can be rushed and fraught, and not allow you to reap the benefits of fresh air. The society in which we live today dictates that we actually have to allocate time for exercise.

Fifty years ago, people walked more and could except to lead more physically demanding and active lives than they do nowadays. Now the average person will probably rarely move at all, except to perform basic functions , such as shopping for food and cleaning. With such dramatic changes to our basic lifestyle , it is any wonder that the huge rise in death from heart disease and other degenerative illnesses continues, in spite of the amazing advances made in modern medicine and our understanding of the disease?

Unfortunately, too many of us still lead sedentary lifestyles that can lead to many of the illnesses common in the modern world, including depression, stress related conditions, and even muscular wastage in those as young as their mid 20s.Not to mention the increasing problem of obesity in children, who take too little exercise and watch to much TV. However, the message does not seem to be getting through. From the 1980s aerobic workout on, more and more people are awakening to how vital exercise is to good health and longevity, and how it should feature in daily life. With so much choice of , and greater awareness in, the various forms exercise can take, people are turning their attention to creating a healthier life style that incorporates regular exercise , healthy eating and enough sleep.

There is no question that people who take exercise feel better and have more energy and vitality than people who don’t. It is well known that you exercise a rise in alertness for a few hours after a workout, yoga, or dance class, or a good brisk walk. Exercise can help you overcome and treat depression: it raises the levels of endorphins. The body’s natural opiates or “pleasure hormones” , which reduce the sensation of pain in the body.

The adrenal glands produce hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, the levels of which are elevated in stressed and depressed people, causing sleep problems, belly fat and irritable bowel syndrome. Regular exercise keeps hormones in check, helping to stabilize the overall mood and ability to cope. There is also mounting evidence that people who suffer from too much stress or depression are much more likely to develop serious degenerative health conditions, leading to disease. Anything that’s so dramatically reduces this threat , as exercise and good diet do, must be a priority.

Why exercise is important

  • Apart from healthy diet, it is the best thing you can do for preventative health care.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Improves circulation
  • Helps to prevent the development of cancer
  • Improves breathing and the whole respiratory system
  • Strengthens your back and reduces lower back pain
  • Increase bone density
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
  • Increases flexibility
  • Improves posture
  • Slows down the aging process
  • Increases energy
  • Helps reduce body fat levels
  • Helps maintain your ideal body weight
  • Helps shift and prevent cellulite
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps correct bowel problems
  • Improves your self esteem and body image
  • Reduces depression, anxiety, stress.
  • Improves brain function
  • Helps you look better, feel better
  • Stimulates more energy and positive attitude to life
  • Makes you HAPPIER!

HEALTHY EATING

Most people would agree a well body is one that is free of serious imbalances, excesses, toxins, and dysfunction, and certainly free from degenerative disease. To reach a level of whole health and well being, you need simply to realize that you have the ability to achieve a balanced body and mind. By reviewing your dietary habits and lifestyle honestly and implementing a few simple changes, you can redress the balance.

Laying the foundation – the balanced diet

The consensus of medical and nutritional experts around the world is that we should eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, more whole-grain bread, pasta and cereals, lean meat and oily fish and drink more water. All the nutrients we need are to be found in the balanced diet like this. We should eat much less red meat and fatty foods, refined flour and sugar products like cakes and cookies, less white bread, junk food, salt, carbonated and caffeine drinks and alcohol. Golden rules for good nutrition.

OUR BODIES’ BASIC NEEDS:

Carbohydrates

These provide energy and other nutrients. There are two kinds: simple carbohydrates, which are sugars, and complex carbohydrates, which are the starchy foods like grains and vegetables. Although sugars are an excellent source of quick energy, it is much healthier to get most of our energy from complex carbohydrates, since they have few health drawbacks and come in forms that bring lots of other nutrients and benefits.

Fats

These are another good source of energy and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. some fat in the body is essential for maintaining body heat, protecting vital organs, and providing cell wall structure.

Proteins

Necessary for the growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissue, proteins help the building of cells, hormones, and enzymes by providing the amino acids that are the “building blocks” of life. Among meat-eaters and lacto-vegetarians, most proteins in the diet come from animal products, but vegetables contain adequate proteins, too. However, most vegetable proteins don’t contain a full share of the essential amino acids the body needs. (Only eggs contain all eight essential amino acids.) In a goo9d balanced diet, rich in a wide variety of vegetables and whole grains, this is not a problem because each type of food contains a different range of amino acids.

Proteins are an important energy source, but you may need less than you think. Most Americans consume over the recommended level. Too much protein can break down muscle and can create a toxic reaction over time. Serious illnesses may be linked to consuming too much meat – particularly red meat.

Fiber

As well as providing the bulk that facilitates the passage of foods through the system, fiber in sufficient quantities my also help prevent several intestinal problems, including bowel cancer. Derived from plant cell walls, fiber is classified as “insoluble fiber,” which is cellulose, and “soluble fiber,” mainly pectin, which is important in helping reduce blood cholesterol levels and stabilizing blood sugar. A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and grains will ensure you get adequate fiber.

Vitamins and minerals

There are the substances, required in fairly small amounts (apart from the bone- and tooth-building minerals such as calcium) that are essential for the body’s processes to function correctly. Perhaps because of its obvious correlation with body weight, the one message about healthy diet that has now entered into public consciousness is that high fat intake is bad. Unfortunately, all too often this massage has produced a general fear of fa5t that is not only unnecessary but dangerous. There are several different types of fat and only two are really harmful, while others are not just highly beneficial in moderate quantities, but are also essential for our well-being.

The different types of fat

All the fats and oils we eat are a combination of what are termed “saturated” and “unsaturated” fats. The fat in most foods is a mix, but usually either saturates or unsaturates predominate.

Saturates fats

These are the fats that naturally go hard when left at room temperature. Most animal fats, including those in poultry and dairy products, are predominantly saturated. Saturates are implicated in high blood cholesterol levels, arteriosclerosis, and coronary heart disease. They are considered the type of fat you need to keep firmly in check and even reduce in your diet.

Unsaturated fats

These are generally the fats that are naturally liquid at room temperature. The oils from vegetables, nuts, and seeds are predominantly unsaturated. Unsaturated fats have the effect of reducing the bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood.

There are two main categories of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats, at their highest level in olive, peanut, and canola oils; and polyunsaturated fats, at their highest in corn, sunflower, safflower, and fish oils. Monounsaturated seem doubly health in that they not only help reduce bad cholesterol, but can also help maintain or even boost levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.

Cholesterol

This white, crystalline, organic compound is found in most animal and vegetable tissue and is essential for many metabolic functions. The body makes its own cholesterol and normally regulates levels in the blood, no matter how much we consume. However, it has been established that when the diet is high in both damaged cholesterol and saturated fats, then blood cholesterol levels rise.

Cholesterol is a constituent of lipoproteins, which carry fats in the blood. Los-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), in excess, forms deposits on the artery walls, leading to cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) acts as a scavenger, helping clean the blood of fats and cholesterol. Sex and stress hormones are made from cholesterol.

Trans fat

For decades, people all over the world have been replaicing butter with margarine, believing they were making a healthier choice. Experts still maintain it is essential to keep a tight rein on the intake of saturated fatty acids to avoid the risk of heart disease, and that favoring cooking oils and spreads that are high in monounsaturates and polyunsaturates is much healthier. To complicate matters somewhat, recent research has shown that not all fats, margarines, and spreads made from vegetable oils are necessarily healthier. The reason fro this is the presence of trans fatty acids (often called trans fats), which consist of unsaturated fats, the normalmoleculare shape of which has been altered of hydrogenation, the chemical process that makes oils solid at normal room temperatures. They are called trans fats because they are “transformed” fats.

Many studies have demonstrated that trans fats have the same effect on blood cholesterol levels as saturated fats; they raise the level of LDL cholesterol – the bad cholesterol – and reduce the blood levels of good cholesterol – the HDL cholesterol. Some trans fats do actually occur naturally in dairy products, but these do not have the same potentially harmful properties as the trans fats in hydrogenated oils, and they are not as potentially damaging to your health. Trans fats are found in many packaged foods, such as cookies, crackers, and pastries.

The effects of trans fats are now considered so detrimental to our health that most food manufacturers are seriously reducing eliminating them. Indeed, now an over-increasing number of brands and products are carrying labels: “no trans fats”.

The essential fatty acids

As we have seen, there are fats that are bad for us and fats that are good for us, but some fats are actually vital for the correct functioning of our metabolism. Recent reports from Boston University Medical Center in America claim that a diet very low in fat is not good for your heart. Such diets can lack essential fatty acids (EFAs). Research indicates that those with low levels of EFAs in their blood are also deficient in HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol that protects against heart disease.

The essential fatty acids are almost all to be found in vegetable oils, such as olive and sunflower oils, as well as in the omega-3 oils in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. These are necessary for a healthy heart and a healthy body.

THE IDEAL BALANCE OF NUTRIENTS IN THE DIET

Nutritionists recommend that we get a minimum of 55 percent of our calories from carbohydrates, up to 15 percent from proteins, and a maximum of 30 percent in the form of fat.

EXTRA FAT CAN BE USEFULL?

When you eat a meal, the energy contained in that meal is used to fuel your body. When you consume more than you need the extra is stored. Your body stores a small amount of energy as glycogen and a large amount as fat. Between meals or when you reduce your intake for a longer time, you still need energy, and some of it must come from glucose. To get this energy, our bodies rely on energy stores.

When your energy intake exceeds your needs, body stores get bigger.

People typically eat three to six times during the day. The sum of the intake for all of these meals and snacks must meet energy needs for weight to remain stable, but each time we eat we are likely to consume more energy than as is needed at that moment in time. The body must therefore decide which nutrients it will use immediately and which it will store for later. This is determined on the basis of what the body needs, which nutrients can be stored, and how efficiently they can be stored. When alcohol is consumed, it is quickly broken down and used for energy. This is because it is toxic and the body can’t store it. When protein is consumed, its constituent amino acids are used to synthesize body proteins and other nitrogen-containing molecules. Then, any excess amino acids are broken down and used for energy. When carbohydrate is consumed, it is used to supply blood glucose and to build glycogen stores in the liver and in muscles. Once glycogen stores are full, the remaining carbohydrate is used for energy. When fat is consumed, it is used to meet immediate energy needs and any remaining dietary fat is stored as triglycerides, primarily in adipose tissue. These cells grow as they accumulate more fat. The greater the number of adipocytes an individual has, the greater the ability to store fat. Most adiposytes are formed between infancy and adolescence. In adulthood, only excessive weight gain can cause the production of new fat cells.

Most of the fat is stored in the body comes from fat consumed in the diet. This is because excess dietary fat is easy to store as body fat. Dietary fat can be transported directly to the adipose tissue, where the enzyme lipoprotein lipase breaks the triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol, which can then enter the edipocytes, where they are reassembled into triglycerides for storage. The body is capable of converting excess carbohydrate and amino acids into fat for storage. However, under normal dietary circumstances, this doesn’t occur because it involves numerous metabolic reactions and the body must expend energy in the conversion process.

CHOOSING HEALTHY FOOD

A variety of foods.

Developing healthy eating habits is not difficult. In fact, choosing to eat a wide variety of foods makes things much easier. Most large supermarkets are laid out with the fresh food and vegetables, the dairy foods, the bakery, and the meats and fish counters around the outer walls of the store. The inner isles tend to be where the processed foods are found. Nutritionists encourage shoppers to fill their carts with fresh foods first.

Choosing healthy food.

WE ARE what we eat, so why not eat the best? Experts agree that we need an adequate but not excessive calories per day, and that the bulk of these should come from complex carbohydrates, such as bread, rice, or potatoes. These foods are low in fat and provide vitamins and minerals. We should also be selective on the type of protein we eat, focusing in low-fat sources, such as lean meat, fish and poultry, rather then fatty cuts of meat and full-fat dairy products. Fruit and vegetables are a major source of vitamins and minerals-we should eat at least 5 portions per day. As important as getting into healthy eating habits as eliminating bad ones, such as consuming too much salt, sugar and alcohol.

Balance your plate.

Healthy meals should contain a balance of nutrients. For example, a meal of grilled salmon served with snow peas and potatoes provides a mix of high-quality protein as well as complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Eating balanced meals and small healthy snacks helps to keep blood glucose stable.

BODY BUILDING

HISTORY OF BODY BUILDING

The father of modern day bodybuilding is widely considered to be Eugene Sandow. He began his career in the late 1800s with a "strongman" act but later concentrated his efforts on achieving a physique that emulated Greek and Roman sculpture and made posing a focal point of his act. This was the beginning of the "training for size and shape" ideology that began to solidify in the 1940s and became the way modern day bodybuilding competitions are judged. This training emphasis separated the sport of bodybuilding from its close cousin - weightlifting.

Around this time, international bodybuilding organizations began to appear, the most prominent ones being the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) in 1946 and the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association (NABBA) in 1950.

Many consider the 1940s through the 1970s to be bodybuilding's Golden Age. This was a time before anabolic steroids, becoming prevalent in the bodybuilding world in the early 1960s, tainted the sport's healthy image. Although not totally attributable to illegal drugs - advances in training and diet science have been great - today's top professionals are much larger than the bodybuilders of the past, to such a degree that many purists feel this has hurt the sport.

The Mr. Universe competition, started by the NABBA in 1950, continues with annual competitions today and is one of the sports most well-known and prestigious events. In 1965, the IFBB began a new competition called the Mr. Olympia. Along with the Ms. Olympia competition begun in 1980, these competitions have become the ultimate prize for professional bodybuilders. One of the first winners of the Mr. Olympia title (as well as a Mr. Universe champion) has become the sports most recognizable figure - Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Today's competitive bodybuilding world is thriving. Both amateur and professional competitions are held all over the world. The term "natural bodybuilding" has come into existence to denote the drug-free side of the sport and drug testing has become an issue at all competitions.

It is important to note that the majority of the sport's enthusiasts have little interest in competitive bodybuilding. Instead, their focus and motivation is based solely on competing with themselves, using bodybuilding techniques and methods to improve upon their own physiques.

STRENGTH ROUTINE

Monday- Bench workout

  • Bench press 3x3-5 negatives every 2 weeks.
  • Incline bench press 3x3-5
  • Parallel dips 3x5
  • Dumbbell flyes 1x10 just to stretch...
  • Overhead triceps ext 3x6
  • Cable push downs 3x6
  • body weight dips 2xfailure
  • Ab work

Wednesday- Dead lift workout

  • Dead lift 4x3-5
  • Dumbbell shrugs 4x6-10
  • Close grip Lat pull-downs 5x6
  • Dumbbell rows 3xfailure
  • Preacher curls 4x6
  • Dumbbell curls 2x6
  • Hammer curls 2x6
  • Behind back wrist curls 2xfailure
  • Ab work

Friday- Squat workout

  • Squat 3x3-5
  • Lunges 3x6
  • Leg curls 3x6
  • Calf raises 3x10
  • Ab work

IMPORTANT TIP FOR THE WHOLE BODY

In bodybuilding most people thinks that if they do more exercise and eat more then they will develop a good body. Eating more is true for some extend but doing more exercises is waste of time, energy, money and mind. The most important and precious think that I found in bodybuilding is the resting time between your workouts. Whatever type of exercise or workout you want to do you can do but if you do not rest in the right way then you can't able to develop a massive body. (Because muscles do not develop in the training period they only develop in resting period and if your resting period are not long enough then you can't be able to develop a good muscle). So only you can decide that which resting routine is best for you. You can do as follows:

(Different routines)

  • 1 day on and 1 day off training (Monday training, Tuesday rest, then Wed training, Thurs rest and so on)
  • 3 days on training and 1 day rest and so on.
  • 4 days on training and 1 day rest and so on.
  • 5 days training and 2 days rest and so on.

Whatever resting routine you think is best for you then you should apply it. You know I gain 22 pound of my weight (not fat) in just 3 months by applying the above routine. The routine, which I like most, is 1 day on and 1 day off OR 5 days on and 2 days off.

Apply any of these routines and you will see the results. (If you are a beginner then you should train 6 days on 1 day off for 1 week then again 6 days on 1 day off for second week do the same till 1 months and then apply any of the above routine).

BASIC TIPS FOR BODYBUILDERS

As a bodybuilder, the foremost thing you need to do is follow the basic rules of diet. Go for small and regular feedings, instead of binging on irregular and large ones. The best option would be to eat six meals a day, spaces out at 2 ? hours intervals. The proportion of carbohydrates, fats and protein intake should be in the ratio of 4:2:4. This ratio ideally helps in reducing weight and building an impressive muscular body. However, make sure you do not consume carbohydrates three to four hours before going off to sleep.

Week 1 & 2

An important rule for week the first two weeks would be to cycle calories intake. This would help your body avoid the metabolism from getting used to a certain caloric level. For those, who want to increase the muscle mass, go for two days of lower calorie and five days of high calorie diet. However, those of you, who want to lose fat; you need to follow five days of lower caloric intake and two days of high calories. Remember, you diet should provide you with support to indulge in the higher level of physical activity.

Week 3 & 4

Instead of frying food items, begin roasting and steaming. Go for skinless chicken or turkey, instead of high fat meats. Processed foods and junk foods are strict no-no for bodybuilders. The next step would be to eliminate refined sugars from the diet. High sugar content foods like fruit juices and carbonated drinks should pave way for diet sodas. In due course of time, the best bet would be to settle down to water. Make it your main beverage and increase its consumption level. Follow this diet plan, as it is sure to augment with your efforts for a good build-up.

BODYBUILDING

  1. Ensure that you eat 6 times a day (once every 2-3 hours): In this manner, your blood sugar remains stable, cravings are minimized, energy and metabolism are maximized, and muscle gets fed constantly.
  2. Eat the right amounts and types of protein: To figure out your protein needs, multiply your total bodyweight by 1.2 and that will give you the total protein grams you need to consume per day. Divide that number by 6 and that equals the amount of protein grams per meal. Limit your protein sources to lean meats like chicken, turkey, and white fish such as tilapia. Out of the 6 meals, no more than 3 should be protein shakes. The post workout meal should be a whey protein powder mixed with the cream of rice as in this manner nutrients will reach the muscles as quickly as possible. In addition to the post workout meal, no more than 2 other meals should be liquid ones.
  3. Eat the right amounts and types of carbohydrates: To figure out your carbohydrate needs, multiply your lean body mass (Fat free bodyweight) by 0.8 and that will give you the total grams of carbs you need to consume per day. Divide that number by 3 and that equals the amount of carbohydrate grams you will have for Meal 1, on your meal prior to the workout and on your meal after the workout. Since we are emphasizing fat loss, stick to low glycemic carbohydrates (such as oatmeal, brown rice, grits, and sweet potatoes), except for the post workout meal where a high glycemic carbohydrate such as cream of rice is more desirable.
  4. Eat your vegetables: A diet high in fibrous carbs not only helps to suppress appetite, slow down the release of the other nutrients and increases the absorption of the protein you ingest, but also cleans your system and increases your metabolic rate (as the body has to work hard to process the vegetables). No need to count vegetable grams. As long as they are the green leafy type such as broccoli, green beans, and lettuce, you can have as much as you want at any meal (except the post workout one as at this time we do not want the vegetables to slow down the absorption of the nutrients).
  5. Consume your essential fats: These fats are highly important for general health, muscle protection and for fat loss! A deficiency of these and not only energy levels will suffer but you will also encounter issues gaining muscle and losing fat. 2 Tablespoons of Flaxseed Oil with any meal or protein shake (except the post workout one as at this time we do not want the fats to slow down the absorption of the nutrients).
  6. Drink your water: Properly hydrate yourself as water is needed for muscle building and fat loss to happen optimally, in addition to creating a feeling of fullness that helps when one is dieting. Shoot for a minimum goal of half of your bodyweight in ounces of water per day.
  7. Increase carbs over the weekend: Increase the quantities of carbohydrates over the weekend to 1.3 times your lean body mass (fat free bodyweight) in order to prevent your metabolism from getting used to the diet. This time, divide that number by 5 and consume the carbohydrates over Meals 1-5. Try to ensure that Meal 5 is no later than 6 pm so that no starchy carbs are consumed after that time. By Hugo Rivera

More Tips for Bodybuilders

  1. Try to train atleast two body parts at each workout session. One bigger (eg. chest) and one smaller musle group (eg. triceps). And try to train each body part at least once per weak.
  2. Perform each exercise very carefully so that you dont get and injuries.
  3. Get plenty of rest between workouts, make sure the muscle has recuperated before the next sessions. Rest atleast one minute between sets.
  4. Change the exercise routine after every 4-5 weeks (atleast). Try to increase the intensity at each workout.
  5. To build muscle mass, do fewer reps, but do more sets and with more weights. Work your body harder just in a short period of time. Try to perform workouts at least 4 times a week.
  6. Avoid cardiovascular exercise in the begining period.
  7. Do 8-12 reps and 3-4 sets per body part for a smaller muscle group and 5-6 sets per body part for bigger one.
  8. Train an upper body part and then lower body part (rest one body part, work the other). This is goof for motivation and saves time.
  9. If your body takes longer recuperation time while you perform workouts then take more rest days. Try to sleep 8 to 10 hours per day especially imporatant to those with high metabolic rate.
  10. Eating regularly and correctly is absolutely essential for getting a true bodybuilder physique.
  11. Take bodybuilding supplements (high in protein and carbohydrate).
  12. Never allow yourself to go hungry. Eat snacks in between main meals. Ideal : 5-7 small meals per day. If building muscle mass, include weight gain drinks.
    Macronutrient Intake
    Protein intake - 30-35%
    Carbohydrate - 40-45%
    Fats - 20-25%

  13. Drink plenty of liquid. Try to take in 12-15 glasses of water per day in summers and atlest 7-10 glasses of water per day in winter. Drink a protein shake 1? - 2 hours before going to bed. Try to keep stress level in check by learning how to relax (Tip: Try yoga, meditation).
  14. Alternate two weeks of high intensity muscle strength training with 2 to 3 weeks for lower intensity muscle endurance workout to promote both growth and strength.
  15. The key to your muscle workout is variation. This is the best way to avoid burnout and overtraining.
  16. Crosstraining is an ideal way to promote cardiovascular endurance, including walking, running, jogging, biking, stair climbing, swimming, etc.
  17. Perform whole body muscle workout atleast once a week.
  18. Variation is the key to success. Increase and decrease intensity with exercise sets, reps, weight and rest - this is valid for muscle and cardio training.
  19. Use full range of motion and alternate reps by working slowly, moderately and then with fast pace.
  20. Cardiotrain with heart rate 65-75 % of max heart rate.
  21. Proper rest is essential to enhance and then maintain your natural advantage.
  22. Make sure that the train body part is fully recovered before you retrain.
  23. Protein intake should be equal to 1gm per pound of body weight.
  24. Carbohydrate intake should be relatively high 60% of total calorie intake.
  25. Limit fats to 10-20%.
  26. Too much too fast is no-no! It could lead to injuries, overtraining and burnout (muscle and tendons are at risk).
  27. Paitience and discipline are neccessary to reach and maintain goals.

NOTE: Dont ever overtrain, it can slow you down, causing you to lose your motovation. overtraining can also cause injuries to tendons and muscle injuries, which can set you back. They could make you ultimately give up, so be careful.

Supplements For Body Building – What Every Body Builder Needs

Supplements for body building are usually taken by sportspersons or people involved in weight training or other rigorous physical activity to assist in the build up of lean muscles mass or to lose weight. Many people also use these supplements as a means to enhance performance and as a means to improve or recover from training.

Many muscle growth supplements for body building assert that they increase strength and muscle size or help in losing body fat .Here is a list of some of the most popular supplements for body building

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 aids in protecting the body from free radicals and is a strong natural compound present in food and can also be synthesized by the body from the amino acid tyrosine in a process that requires 8 vitamins. It promotes chemical reactions and its anti oxidant properties help body builders maintain a healthy body by exercising its control on the flow of oxygen within the cells of the body. It increases energy and prevents cholesterol by lowering blood pressure.

Whey protein powder

Whey protein is made up of protein, minerals, lactose and fats. It is the priority for many of today’s athletes. It is considered to be an excellent source of increasing the glutathione (GSH) level in the body which is the most vital water soluble anti oxidant useful for the immune system of the body. It is one of the essential supplements for body building as it increases the lean muscle mass level. Whey protein is also useful for fat loss. It raises the t-cell activity and reduces waste tissues during an illness and aids in speeding up of the recovery of the body.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic acid is an anti oxidant produced in the body and aids in preventing many diseases. It is naturally found in meats and vegetables and helps in raising the production of glutathione which dissolves the toxic substances in the liver. It slows the damage in cells due to its anti oxidant qulaties.It increases energy and slows down the ageing proces.It prevents damage to the brain and enhances skin complexion.

Acetyl L-carnitine

Acetyl L-carnitine is synthesized in the liver and kidney of the body. These supplements help in the oxidation of fatty acids .Fatty acids which are primarily used for energy are oxidized for the purpose of breaking them down and aiding in the creation of energy needed for many athletes and body builders. Thus it is useful for producing energy and in losing weight. It enhances cellular energy of the body. It also supports all the functions of the body that require high energy levels.

Carnitine supplements are very popular among sportspersons.

Glutamine

Glutamine is an amino acid that is non –essential –it can be produced using other amino acids in the body. It can be broken down to provide energy required for intense training. It enhances the body’s immune system. It helps in preserving muscle mass and aids in reducing upper respiratory tract infection.

The above supplements for body building are available as discount body building supplements in many stores and are very beneficial for bodybuilders who need to constantly use them to keep up their energy levels.

STEROIDS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS

There are a lot of people who want to build their muscles and ensure that they have a wonderful figure that compliments their style and also makes them quite attractive to the opposite gender. This is one of the reasons why so many people have started taking steroids. This has become quite the norm in body and muscle building circles where a lot of these steroids have also been released in the market. It is now possible to buy quite a few of these products easily over the counter so that you do not have to search high and low for such performance and muscle enhancing products. The main advantage of these steroids is that some of them like non natural hormones are able to increase the synthesis of proteins in the body. It is also help to build up the muscular mass in the body, primarily muscle tissue.

In some instances, legal steroids are used for medical purposes and are recommended for use by doctors. This is where it is quite legal to use these steroids because all of this is under proper supervision where care is taken to ensure that safety is preserved. On the other hand usage of unauthorized and impromptu usage of these substances is quite illegal. This is because of the fact that this is not quite safe and the healthy risks and downside of the products may be significant. For one, using these substances could result in the increase in the bad cholesterol. In some cases the blood pressure level is also increased to a great extent with very dangerous effects on the heart. In some of the cases, it is seen that a few people even lose their life on account of these problems with these substances.

This is one of the main reasons why the sale of steroid based substances is quite regulated and closely monitored also. In many American states, there are severe restrictions on possessing these substances and people who buy steroids and also use them in an unauthorized way should know that they are on the wrong side of the law. It may be noted that such substances are not natural and those who use them to increase their performance in international events are often banned from these events sometimes for life.

There are some steroid based products that are not quite illegal. This is because these are quite mild as well as non harmful in nature. Some of these are weight regulatory and management related products that have become quite popular around the globe. In most cases, it is advisable to take the opinion of a doctor before using any such product so as to avoid any medical complications and life threatening instances.

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