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080417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach. (2/2)

080417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach. (2/2)

Continued from 030417

The study by doctors in Seattle also noted that insulin resistant people with excess abdominal fat also appeared to show higher concentrations of a substance known as apolipoprotein B (apoB) and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, a “good” form of cholesterol. Previous studies have suggested that high levels of apoB may encourage the development of arteriosclerosis.

Study author Dr. Steven E. Kahn of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Washington, states that he and his colleagues suspect that a potbelly likely precedes insulin resistance. Once both conditions have set in, he noted, people’s bodies are more likely to be primed to develop arteriosclerosis.”We think that the deposition of fat in the inside of the abdomen is the critical determinant of insulin resistance in the general population,” Kahn said. “We think that the fat begets the insulin resistance, which helps produce” risk factors for arteriosclerosis, he added.

Kahn’s is not the first study to identify health hazards of potbellies. Although body fat tends to relocate to the abdomen with age, past research has shown that excess belly fat, compared to fat elsewhere on the body, can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as up the chances of stroke in middle age.

In the current study, Kahn and his colleagues measured body fat distribution and screened for insulin resistance in 196 people. The authors also determined how much choesterol, fat, and apoB was present in each participant’s blood.

The average age of study participants was 53. They were all seemingly healthy, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Reporting in the January issue of Diabetes, Kahn and his colleagues discovered that people with bigger potbellies who were more resistant to insulin also had lower levels of HDL cholesterol and higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol–the “bad” form of cholesterol.

Risk factors for arteriosclerosis appeared to be linked more strongly to tummy size than to whether a person had insulin resistance, Kahn and his team note.

The current study findings suggest that even people who are not obese can be at risk of arteriosclerosis, the authors note. Seemingly slim people can carry excess tummy fat and be resistant to insulin, they write, and can therefore be at risk for the blood vessel disease.

In an interview, Kahn noted that abdominal fat could play an essential role in people’s risk of future disease. Specifically, he said having a pot belly “is a critical component of metabolic syndrome,” a condition marked by insulin resistance and high blood pressure, and which often precedes diabetes and cardiovascular disease. SOURCE: Diabetes 2003;52:172-179.

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030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach.(1/2)

030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach.(1/2)

By Danny M. O’Dell, MA. CSCS*D

According to recent research, those who have a large potbelly appear to have a higher risk of arteriosclerosis. This is the medical term for the fatty buildup on the lining of arteries that researchers now believe increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. SOURCE: Diabetes 2003;52:172-179

People who carried this “spare tire” of fat around their waists are more likely to have increased fat and cholesterol in their blood.

The study by doctors in Seattle also noted that insulin resistant people with excess abdominal fat also appeared to show higher concentrations of a substance known as apolipoprotein B (apoB) and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, a “good” form of cholesterol. Previous studies have suggested that high levels of apoB may encourage the development of arteriosclerosis.

Study author Dr. Steven E. Kahn of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Washington, states that he and his colleagues suspect that a potbelly likely precedes insulin resistance. Once both conditions have set in, he noted, people’s bodies are more likely to be primed to develop arteriosclerosis.”We think that the deposition of fat in the inside of the abdomen is the critical determinant of insulin resistance in the general population,” Kahn said. “We think that the fat begets the insulin resistance, which helps produce” risk factors for arteriosclerosis, he added.

Kahn’s is not the first study to identify health hazards of potbellies. Although body fat tends to relocate to the abdomen with age, past research has shown that excess belly fat, compared to fat elsewhere on the body, can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as up the chances of stroke in middle age.

In the current study, Kahn and his colleagues measured body fat distribution and screened for insulin resistance in 196 people. The authors also determined how much choesterol, fat, and apoB was present in each participant’s blood.

The average age of study participants was 53. They were all seemingly healthy, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Reporting in the January issue of Diabetes, Kahn and his colleagues discovered that people with bigger potbellies who were more resistant to insulin also had lower levels of HDL cholesterol and higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol–the “bad” form of cholesterol.

100916 Timing your meals to increase the effectiveness of your workouts

100916 Timing your meals to increase the effectiveness of your workouts

Morning workouts may be somewhat better for weight loss. There is some evidence showing that more fat is burned when exercising before eating breakfast. This may be because when exercising later on these sessions will be fueled by the proteins and carbohydrates from meals eaten earlier in the day.

However, if you have any type of a heart disease, working out in the morning may not be your best option because your risk of a heart attack is slightly elevated.

Some of the research is showing that exercise in the afternoon may be better for building strength and endurance. These same studies are showing that your aerobic capacity, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and reaction time show the greatest training peak between 1600 and 1900 hrs.

Even though the research is becoming clearer as to the best time to exercise each day, it is not going to make a hill of beans if these times are not good for you.

Each day is special, and each day you have to make a conscious decision as to when you are going to work out. The more habitual this workout time becomes the better the chances are that you are going to stick with it over the long haul.

As for deciding what time to eat your biggest meal of the day, you may want to keep this in mind: stuffing yourself at the local buffet shortly before going to bed will almost guarantee you of a poor night’s sleep because your body is working to digest all the food you ate.

310816 Eggs are OK now

Eggs are OK now[1]

Eggs are OK now, just as they were 40 years ago.

A new study out of the University of Finland confirms what our Mothers and Fathers told us back then (for those of us who were around back then). This study reports that eating an egg a day doesn’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, even in those genetically predisposed to a higher than normal effect of dietary cholesterol on their serum cholesterol levels.

This study is a direct contradiction from what we have been told for the last several decades. In fact, over the past few years, several studies have reclassified eggs back into the good to eat category.

Researchers found no association, in the participants of the Finnish study, among those with the APOE4 phenotype. This particular hereditary phenotype affects cholesterol metabolism and is present in about one third of the Finnish population who are also carriers.

[1] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online February 2016

240816 Eat your Raspberries

Eat your Raspberries

In a review of scientific literature, published in the January 2016 issue of Advances in Nutrition the conclusion is “Raspberries have a number of heart and brain-health protective essential nutrients.”[1]

It seems as though Raspberries contain anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and metabolic stabilizing activity. All of which are good news to those of us interested in maintaining our health.

Raspberries also have anthocyanins, a known inflammation suppressant. Additional benefits accrue from the high amounts of polyphenol in the berries. Polyphenol may help in preventing platelet buildup and reduce blood pressure too.

There is further good news for those with diabetes; “Raspberries have potential to help reduce factors contributing to metabolic syndrome, which has implications for diabetes development and overall cardiovascular and brain health” says lead author Britt M. Burton-Freeman, PhD, MS, Institute for Food Safety and Health, Illinois Institute of technology.”[2]

[1] DukeMedicine, April 2016, VOL. 22, No.4

[2] IBID

220816 Healthy movement

220816 Healthy movement

Healthy movement is beneficial to your body and at its lowest level, even some activity is better than doing nothing. If you are just starting out then gradually build up your endurance with 5 to 10 minute exercise breaks throughout the day. At the 10-minute level, your body begins to adapt and then noticeable changes become evident.

After you are able to exercise aerobically for at least 10 minutes, it is time to branch out by adding resistance exercises to the daily routine. One way to begin is by doing one 10-minute session of endurance work and then later on in the day doing 10-minutes of resistance training.

Alternate between aerobic and resistance training for at least thirty minutes for the day.

The aerobic exercises can be brisk walking, skipping rope, riding a bike or any other activity that is continuous and places a demand on your breathing and heart rate. After you are finished then cool down with static stretches, holding each one for fifteen to thirty seconds. Do this three to five times for each stretch.

For the resistance training start out with body weight calisthenics by doing 3-5 sets of fifteen to thirty bodyweight squats, push ups, calf raises, prone back extensions, curl ups, leg raises or others of your choosing. You can do these in a circuit or one exercise at a time. Stay with it for the full 10 minutes.

If you are over sixty-five, the health benefits of activity are just as important to you as they are to the younger people. Start slowly and build up your fitness levels over time. If you have chronic health problems, work around them and do what you can.

If you aren’t able to ride a bike or have access to a treadmill or other such equipment, then get one of the hand ergometers available at Costco for about $49.00 and exercise your upper body. Do counter top pushups by standing two or three feet away from a counter top and then doing pushups on it.

Do chair sits. Sit in and stand up from a chair without pushing on your legs with your hands as you stand up. Practice sitting down on a chair; standing up, walking away briskly for 10 feet, and then coming back and sitting in the chair again. Repeat this for a minute or more. This builds up leg strength and helps with your balance.

Practice your balance to help prevent falls by walking sideways, standing heel to toe; practicing the stork stand on one leg with the other bent ninety degrees at the hip and knee or any of the many other balancing exercises.

160516 Steps to a happier and healthier you

160516 Steps to a happier and healthier you

If you are happier, you normally are healthier and vice versa. Getting there is not too difficult, it just takes a bit of effort to improve your well-being.

According to Dr. Ronald D. Siegel[1], 40% of what determines our happiness is directly under our control. Contrast this with the findings that a mere 10% of our happiness has anything to do with an outside event either good or bad.

“It’s not events, but our responses to events that determine our level of well-being,”[2] Dr. Siegel says. He went on to suggest these steps that you can take to improve your emotional and physical health.

  1. The first and most important step to take is to be happy-just like the song says. Remember, “It’s not events, but our responses to events that determine our level of well-being.”[3] You control the majority of your own happiness with your responses to what happens to you.
  2. Live in the moment, not in the past or future but right now. If you fully embrace the present activities, the enjoyment they bring is increases. This makes you less likely to be thinking or worrying about things in the past or future. Make the most of the moment.
  3. Keep a daily diary of things you are grateful for, things you have enjoyed doing, of people you liked spending time with…each of these promotes positive feelings, improves your outlook, optimism, satisfaction with life and increases your connections to others. The cycle continues onward.

Now that you have several ideas for becoming happier, we are moving onto the physical part of getting healthier. Once again, the resource is from the Harvard Medical School, this time from Dr. Edward Phillips who is the founder and director of The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine. He also is the faculty editor for Simple Changes, Big Rewards, one of the Harvard special reports.

Total health, both mental and physical, is a combination of the two. The better your mental health, the better will be your physical health, and vice versa. If you are presently engaging in poor habits then your health will suffer. By making efforts to change these unhealthy habits, you will be improving your overall health.

Dr. Phillips says, “two thirds of all illness is the result of our lifestyle choices.” Obviously, two thirds of illness is a large part of our health makeup and one that needs attention if we are to become healthier. His advice now follows.

  1. You must take the responsibility for your health. This means not only seeing your doctor on a regular basis but also following their advice. Getting the necessary regular exams, screenings, and tests included in this aspect of being responsible for your own health.
  2. Use your personal strengths to improve your health, for example use the discipline of your personal habits, or make use of the skills of your profession to improve your life. Create great tasting meals from basic ingredients by experimenting with contents. Do something different with your exercise program. If you run, then change your course, add weight to a backpack, find some hills, but change it up. On the other hand, if you lift weights then drastically change the routine around by increasing the reps into much higher numbers than you currently use. Alternatively, lower the rep numbers and increase the intensity up into the 85-100% range for lower number of sets.
  3. Make small changes in your goals so you see progress each week. Pick out a goal that you know for a fact you can accomplish. One such goal, if you are not already doing any cardio workouts, is to start with doing a cardio exercise for 5 minutes each day.
  4. Keep track of what you do with a logbook. A daily diary is useful in keeping track of your moods, the food, and drink you have each day, your exercises, and whatever else is important to you.
  5. The daily benefits you begin to notice will spur you on to even better habits that will most defiantly improve your health.

Each of one of these suggestions is simple to follow and easy to track. By incorporating them into your lifestyle, they will begin the remaking of you into a healthier person.

 

[1] Dr. Ronald D. Siegel of the Harvard Medical School, an assistant clinical professor of psychology and faculty editor of Positive Psychology, a special health report from the school.

[2] Dr. Ronald D. Siegel of the Harvard Medical School, an assistant clinical professor of psychology and faculty editor of Positive Psychology, a special health report from the school.

[3] ibid

290216 Eating clean

290216 Eating clean

The experts at Tufts University set out the basic principles of eating clean as described in the book Eating Clean for Dummies. These are simple, common sense, guidelines that follow good dietary advice.

Start out with whole foods, preferably right from the farm that produced them. These would include such food items as whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and chemical free meat. Included in this area will be low fat dairy products, unsalted nuts (Costco sells these and they are delicious) and many varieties of seeds.

Some people believe that if the food is frozen, it detracts from the nutrients. This is not so, because by neglecting the frozen food isle in the store, you miss the great food choices such as the countless fruits and vegetables available there. Don’t forget the canned beans either. Rinse the liquid off of them first and then have at it in your salads or other dishes.

The most recommended advice from numerous sources is to avoid processed foods. This means any food with a label on it. If you actually do this, you miss out on many healthful options. For example, sugar is processed but so are the other options that are sugar such as agave syrup, fruit concentrate, or honey. The message here is to lower your intake of sugar regardless of its source.

Eating clean means figuring out what are the best options for your eating habits. Some have success grazing all day with five to six small meals during the day. Others stick to a more traditional three meals, with healthy snacks between them. Just make sure the food you eat is more nutrient dense with fewer unhealthy fats, less sugar, and lower sodium contents.

Whether you like to cook or don’t like to cook, the fact of the matter is if you cook your own food, you decide the contents. This can mean less sugar, less fat and less sodium in each meal all of which contribute to a healthier eating style. Plus you may save money too.

The last bit of advice from the experts at Tufts University is to make healthy food choice every day. Choose from the tremendous options of foods in the stores and make certain to get all three categories in your meals. These include the lean proteins found in fish, chicken, and vegetables. Stock up on whole grains of all sorts and use them in your cooking along with high fiber carbs and unsaturated fats[1].

Alter your eating habits one at a time; soon you will notice the benefits of the changes in your health and overall self-confidence.

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550

Monounsaturated fatty acids. This is a type of fat found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that these fatty acids may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

230813 Keeping your heart healthy

Keeping your heart healthy

Hypertension, or as it is commonly referred to as high blood pressure, is a major health risk. But it is also one risk that may be decreased by taking preventive steps before it becomes a problem.

As can be expected, exercise plays a role in managing your blood pressure readings. Thirty to forty minutes of exercise per day and keeping your heartbeat within your target heart range (THR) helps to maintain your blood pressure within the desirable range.

Be knowledgeable about your blood cholesterol levels by getting regular blood tests. The hard part, after you know your blood cholesterol readings is to keep them within the normal range. Two of your primary cholesterol numbers are important to know; LDL, bad cholesterol and HDL, the good cholesterol.

Normal range for the LDL is 130 mg/dL or less. The optimal is less than 100 however if you are one of those with a high risk for heart attack or stroke, this number should be 70 or less. The HDL, for women, should be less than 50 compared to a man’s at 40. Once again, diet and exercise may improve these levels.

The total blood cholesterol you have within your system should be less than 200, however it may be safe to exceed this if your LDL is under 130 and your HDL is high. The fat circulating in your blood, the triglycerides should optimally be less than 100 mg/dL and at a maximum of 150.

If you have a family history of diabetes, it is even more important to check your blood sugar levels regularly. If they are high, you must learn to control it because women with diabetes have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack and stroke than do men with diabetes. Women with slightly elevated levels of normal blood sugar, known as prediabetes, are in a higher risk category for coronary problems than men are with the same levels.

Men and women with diabetes have to be careful and control their blood sugar levels with diet, exercise, weight loss, and possibly even medication.

One of the healthiest ways to help control the cholesterol and blood sugar levels is by eating a healthy diet consisting of beans, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Adding in fish two or three times a week fills in the requirement for omega-3 fats and supplementing with lean meats such as poultry and carefully trimmed cuts of red meat should provide the majority of the protein without the excess fat that goes along with these meats. It is a mistake to cut all fat from your diet since fat is one of the essentials that your body needs to stay functioning.

Avoiding Trans fats, which are in foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils, is also wise decision-making. However, unsaturated fats are good for you when eaten in moderate amounts. Foods containing these unsaturated fats include avocados, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Substitute these in place of the saturated fats found in animals.

Carbohydrates continue to get a bad rap in the press, fat loss forums and in gym conversations. These too are essential for your health, however limiting your intake of sugar-laden foods and refined carbohydrates such as those found in white bread and pasta will help you maintain better blood sugar levels while at the same time helping you lose weight. In addition, increasing soluble fiber in your diet, which has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, is also a healthy decision.

020813 Save money, eat better and weigh less

Save money, eat better and weigh less

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer research Center in Seattle recently studied 123 overweight or obese postmenopausal females. The results of the study published in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetes listed four strategies for losing weight and keeping it off. The most important one was keeping a food journal.

Maintaining a daily food and drink journal showed a strong correlation to greater weight loss for those in the study. The women in the study who did keep one lost approximately six pounds more over the year than those who did not keep a journal.

They also found that those who ate dinner, the noon meal, at home or brown bagged at work not only saved money but lost weight as well. Eating at home and creating your own daily brownbag dinner’s gives you control over the amount of sodium, sugar, and carbohydrates that you are putting into your body. The simple fact of preparing your own meal raises your awareness of what you are eating and encouraging you to make a more nutritious meal.

Another strategy that successful women used to lose and then keep the weight off was by not skipping meals. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, skipping a meal makes you hungry and less able to make good food decisions when it finally comes time to eat. The majority of the women who reported consistently skipping meals lost nearly 8 pounds less a year than the women who did not skip meals. That is nearly a pound a month of weight they could have lost had they not skipped those meals.

The women in the group who ate their dinner in a restaurant at least once a week averaged five fewer pounds when compared to those who did not eat out.

“These findings suggest that a greater focus on dietary self-monitoring, home prepared meals, and consuming meals at regular intervals may improve twelve-month weight loss among postmenopausal women enrolled in a dietary weight loss intervention.”

It appears that if you are serious about losing your weight you will want to include these tips in your strategy.

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