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.

040913 Increase your diabetes protection by lifting weights-part one

Increase your diabetes protection by lifting weights

In a joint study conducted by Harvard and the University of Southern Denmark was found that men who lifted weights were able to significantly cut their risk of developing diabetes. Simply put, if you are unable to do aerobic exercise, then start hitting the gym and begin building up your lean muscle mass.

Our body relies on glucose, a basic fuel that originates from the starches and sugars we eat, to function. Once in our system, insulin transports glucose from your blood into the cells of your body. However, if the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or if your cells, for some reason, are ignoring the insulin you may develop type II diabetes.

The biggest a known risk factor of type II diabetes is being overweight. And being overweight, in the majority of cases, boils down to the deadly trio of too much food, too much drink and too little physical activity. For a long time we have known that aerobic activity uses up a lot of energy which in turn can be used to help weight loss and lower diabetes risk.

One study found that men doing 150 minutes a week of aerobics were able to reduce or diabetes risk by 52%. It would be no stretch to apply similar findings to women. Yet there are some who are unable to do aerobics and for them lifting weights may be the answer.

A new study found that men who strength trained 150 minutes a week realized a 34% risk reduction for diabetes even if they did no aerobics.

Dr. Eric Rimm, an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard school of Public health, explains how lifting weights and building muscle mass works to reduce your risk of diabetes. “Your muscles use glucose. By creating more muscle that needs more glucose when you exercise, you reduce glucose levels remaining in the blood.” He goes on to say that by combining aerobic exercise with lifting, you are providing an even greater risk reduction of up to 59%.

300513 Do you need reasons to exercise?

300513 Do you need reasons to exercise?

Some people just naturally seem to be able to stay active every single day with their exercise program. For these folks it’s a daily part of their routine and if they miss a day, they feel terrible for doing so. For reasons unknown, others don’t have that same drive to stay on the fitness path.

If you are one of these people then perhaps, looking at some of the reasons to exercise may encourage you to reconsider your choice of not exercising.

The number one reason on this short list is the fact that exercise reduces the risk of dying prematurely. Notably, this is true of the diseases that are associated with your heart and the circulatory system.

Regular activity reduces the risk of developing colon cancer and diabetes.

Physical activity plays a prominent role in weight control while at the same time building and maintaining healthy bones, joints and muscles.

High blood pressure is often called the silent killer because most people don’t know they have high blood pressure. There are no symptoms until the disease has progressed to a dangerous degree. Get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. Spend some money and get a home model blood pressure monitor. If you do this, make certain the readings are consistent with your doctors. Take yours in and get the readings at the doctor’s office so you know if yours is reading the same.

Regular exercise can reduce these readings or reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. Losing weight has a similar effect on some blood pressure numbers.

Exercise produces endorphins (1), the feel good chemicals your body manufactures. These not only help promote a feeling of wellbeing, they may diminish depression and help with anxiety issues.

Recent studies have shown increasingly beneficial results of cardiovascular and strength training for the elderly populations in the prevention of falls, increased balance, confidence and flexibility.

(1) en•dor•phin, noun \en-ˈdȯr-fən\
Definition of ENDORPHIN: any of a group of endogenous peptides (as enkephalin) found especially in the brain that bind chiefly to opiate receptors and produce some pharmacological effects (as pain relief) like those of opiates; specifically : beta-endorphin

150313 Is too much blood sugar shrinking your brain?

Is too much blood sugar shrinking your brain?

A recent study, published in Neurology, suggests there is an association between high blood sugar on the high end of normal and brain shrinkage in the areas of the brain “associated with memory and thinking” according to Dr. Gad Marshall was a neurologist at Harvard affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Previous research has already revealed links between high blood sugar, type II diabetes and brain shrinkage.

This study has found that people whose fasting blood sugar levels are at the high end of normal also have a higher possibility of brain shrinkage. After fasting, defined as six hours or more without eating or drinking anything with calories, the normal fasting blood levels are between 70 to 100 mg/dL. You have pre-diabetes if your fasting blood sugar levels are 100 to 125 mL per deciliter. At this point, you have definitely increased your possibility of developing diabetes. Any fasting numbers above 126 mg/dL indicates you probably already have diabetes.

Dr. Marshall says in the article that even though we’ll have to wait a little bit longer until more research confirms the study’s findings he sees these preliminary results as a red flag. “Having a high normal glucose level at age 60 or older can potentially serve as a useful marker of impending neural degeneration.”

He recommends the Mediterranean diet as one that will help prevent the cognitive decline that often shows up with aging. If you are unfamiliar with the Mediterranean diet here are a few highlights.

To get started with the Mediterranean diet, plan on eating as natural as possible with unprocessed foods such as fruits, whole grains, nuts and vegetables. Cut back on the unhealthy fats and begin using olive oil as your principal source of dietary fat. Begin easing back on the amount of red meat you eat on a monthly basis by substituting it with moderate amounts of fish. Also included in this diet is drinking a moderate amount of wine per day. This means about two glasses day for men and one for women.